J.D. Davis

Mets Fans Shouldn’t Boo George Springer

In the opener of the series between the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets, Mets fans let George Springer absolutely have it. Certainly, it was a curious attack.

Mets fans, or at least a significant portion of them, purport to hate the New York Yankees. Springer was actually one of the driving reasons why helping the Houston Astros beat the Yankees in the 2017 and 2019 ALCS.

It’s difficult to believe it’s over Springer signing with Toronto. After all, he hasn’t had a good year, and the Mets are in first place. He’s also in the other league.

If reports are to be believed, Steve Gelbs said during the telecast it was over the Astros cheating scandal. If so, that’s just lame.

First and foremost, that didn’t stop a very good potion of Mets fans from wanting Springer this offseason. Mostly, Mets fans have already established they didn’t care when they opted to ignore J.D. Davis‘ part in the scandal.

Yes, we all know the litany of excuses. All of them apply to Tony Kemp as well, but he refused to take part. Instead, Davis took part, and he lied about taking part until he could no longer.

This is just one of those things where you either care, or you don’t. If you’re bothered by it, be bothered by it when your player took part. Don’t draw lines on when it is and isn’t acceptable just because someone had an unsustainably hot second half in 2019.

In the end, fans can and will do what they want. By all means, go ahead and boo Springer. After all, he’s the opposition. That said, with respect to what happened in Houston, he’s far from the only player involved.

Mets Starting Pitching Needs Doesn’t Preclude Addressing Other Needs

With Jacob deGrom down, and with Carlos Carrasco looking further away than initially hoped, the New York Mets have a real need for a starting pitcher. In fact, at the moment, their rotations is Megill, Walker, Stro, and Who Knows?

So, obviously, the Mets are going to need a starting pitcher, and they are going to need one sooner rather than later. Who they can get, and what the cost will be, is anyone’s best guess.

While we know this is a priority, this is not the only area the Mets need to address at the trade deadline. As a result, they should not and cannot get myopic in their endeavors to improve the team. This is a front office well capable of multitasking, and they are well aware of those needs.

Right now, those needs include pitching in general. While the rotation is getting all the focus, the bullpen needs help as well. Since June 1, the Mets bullpen has been one of the worst in baseball. In fact, they own a 5.21 FIP which is the second worst in baseball. Their 4.69 ERA may only be 13th worst, but that is the worst among any teams currently in a postseason position.

While the bullpen has been a strength early, it has been a liability of late. Part of that is fatigue and players hitting the IL. The other part of it has been Edwin Diaz regressing and starting to resemble the unreliable closer who lost his job in 2019. With that being the case, the Mets need to seriously take a look at adding at least an arm or maybe two.

The other big area of need is third base. Right now, Mets third basemen collectively own a -8 DRS, which is the third worst in the National League. Coincidentally, it is the only position where the Mets own a negative DRS defensively.

Part of the reason is the Mets aren’t playing Jeff McNeil there. Instead, they have asked Luis Guillorme, Jose Peraza, and Jonathan Villar to play out of position. That has yielded poor results. The other problem is J.D. Davis has long proven completely incapable of proving the position. The boiling point on Davis should have been when he literally just stood in foul territory in Pittsburgh when Walker unsuccessfully tried to knock a ball foul.

As we see, the Mets have three real areas of need with the rotation, bullpen, and third base. You can also make the case with Peraza suffering a broken finger, the Mets could afford to add a little more depth to the roster. Overall, if the Mets want to win the World Series, and they have the core to do it, they need to look at more than the rotation.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Right At Home In Queen City

The New York Mets showed they had real fight in the series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and they would show even more in Cincinnati:

1. With all the injuries to the pitching staff, Marcus Stroman had the biggest start of the year. Those eight innings were a godsend.

2. The reason the Mets are in first isn’t just because of performances like we saw from Stroman. It’s because of performances like we saw with Stephen Nogosek and Geoff Hartlieb. Even though they lost that game, it saved the pen.

3. Of course, Robert Stock, who is well past Plan Z, makes a spot start, and he leaves the game with an injury after an inning.

4. For over a month now, Dominic Smith has returned to form. He’s hitting for power, and he’s getting big hits.

5. James McCann has had his adjustment period, and he’s been better than the catcher they thought they were signing. Since May 29, he’s hitting .300/.361/.485.

6. People bemoan managers not making gut calls anymore, but Luis Rojas‘ bizarre decision to pinch hit McCann for Tomas Nido paid off to the tune of a go-ahead two run homer.

7. Actually, that wasn’t Rojas, it was Dave Jauss filling in for the suspended Rojas. Jauss certainly seemed to enjoy his time at the helm, and fans seemed to love his infectious personality.

8. We’re seeing it from Edwin Diaz again. There’s just too much Armando Benitez in him. Yes, that’s both a compliment and reason to worry.

9. Luis Guillorme might’ve had one tough inning defensively, but he’s been great all season. It’s long past time messing around and just let him play everyday.

10. Michael Conforto had a huge Two home run game in the comeback extra inning win. At the time, it seemed like he was taking off, but then he stopped hitting again.

11. That’s not too dissimilar from J.D. Davis who is one for his last 10 with five strikeouts.

12. This is just a reminder that unless the Mets move Jeff McNeil to third, they really need a third baseman at the trade deadline.

13. McNeil’s bat has awoken with him hitting .316/.395/.421 over the past few weeks.

14. The loss of Jose Peraza is going to hurt more than you expected at the beginning of the year. He’s been playing great defense, and he has a bevy of clutch hits.

15. People love to love situational hitting and small ball, but then they go berserk when the Mets are mashing homers.

16. Jesse Winker is a no-good evil Mets killer. Actually, he’s not evil. He has fun with the fans and the game. Still, the Mets should never even contemplate pitching to him in a big spot again.

17. In a big spot late in the game, you don’t know it Kevin Pillar is going to get a base hit, but he’s certainly going to tattoo the ball.

18. Gary Cohen deriding skyline chili was like Bud Harrelson punching Pete Rose combined with Al Leiter‘s one hitter. Put another way, Gare landed a punch, and there was no way Cincinnati could come back from it.

19. While we all call Taijuan Walker the best free agent signing, truth is, it might really be Aaron Loup.

20. The Mets certainly love playing in these band boxes in Cincinnati and Philadelphia because they continue to win games in these cities.

Game Recaps

Mets Refused To Lose

Mets Battled But Were Just Short

Marcus Stroman Came Up Huge

Mets Battled But Were Just Short

Robert Stock was recalled, and he lasted all of one inning before leaving the game with an injury. That meant the New York Mets bullpen effectively needed to pitch the entire game.

They would do that, but it would feature pitchers like Stephen Nogosek (3.0 IP), Yennsy Diaz, and Geoff Hartlieb. Somehow, despite that, this was a close ballgame.

What did the Mets in this game more than anything with hitting with runners in scoring position. That problem reared it’s ugly head again with the Mets going 0-for-7 stranding nine runners.

On the bright side, Pete Alonso homered again, and Luis Guillorme had a pinch hit RBI double. Brandon Nimmo made a nice recovery on a Eugenio Suarez double to nail him at third.

On the downside, the Mets couldn’t take full advantage of their opportunities.

In the seventh, Jonathan Villar and Dominic Smith walked to start the inning. Villar would score from second on a Joey Votto missed catch error. However, the Mets couldn’t take full advantage as Jeff McNeil hit into an inning ending double play.

In the eighth. .Guillorme was stranded at second. Smith drew a leadoff walk in the ninth, but he wouldn’t advance.

In the end, it was a hard fought 4-3 loss. It shouldn’t have been this close, but the pitching held up. The only issue now is can it hold up again.

Game Notes: Jose Peraza landed on the IL with a broken ginger. Jerad Eickhoff was designated for assignment. J.D. Davis was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Mets Return The Favor

If you thought blowing a 6-0 lead entering the bottom of the eighth was bad, Taijuan Walker only lasted one-third of an inning. In that one-third, he allowed SIX runs.

The key moment of the inning was a Kevin Newman hit ball Walker tried to touch foul. Instead, the umps called it fair. While Walker argued, and J.D. Davis aimlessly walked towards the third base coaches box not even pretending to care to make a play, the Pirates scored three runs to take a commanding 6-0 first inning lead.

Luis Rojas argued the play as vociferously as we’ve ever seen him argue with an umpire. Between that and a bump, he’d get tossed.

Walker departed as well. He’d be replaced by Drew Smith. Over 2.2 scoreless innings, Smith gave the bullpen some much needed length, and he kept the Mets in position to get back into the game.

The Mets would do that. First, it was a Dominic Smith two out RBI single making it 6-1. In the ensuing inning, Travis Blankenhorn came up to pinch hit for Smith, and he hit his first Major League homer.

Suddenly, it was 6-4 in the fourth. That meant the Mets were back in the game. They’d stay in the game because the bullpen was phenomenal.

After Smith, Miguel Castro threw a scoreless inning, and Aaron Loup followed with two more scoreless. With Smith hitting an RBI double scoring Jeff McNeil from first in the sixth.

Just like that, it was a one run game. After Jeurys Familia pitched an adventurous yet scoreless eighth, the Mets had a chance. Those chances improved when Smith hit a lead-off single. Then, Michael Conforto had his biggest hit of the year.

Conforto has been heating up of late, and we’ve seen him hit for power again. When he hits like this, no deficit is insurmountable, even a 6-0 first inning one.

After Edwin Diaz threw so many pitches in his blown save the previous night, Trevor May got the chance. Despite issuing a lead-off walk, he earned his second save of the year.

This was a game where we saw how special and resilient this Mets team is. They responded to a 6-0 first inning deficit with 8.1 scoreless. Wins like these makes you believe they can win the World Series.

Game Notes: Jacob deGrom has been put on the IL and shut down. Dave Jauss replaced Rojas as manager after the ejection.

Seth Lugo And Edwin Diaz Implode Turning Laugher Into Misery

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been looking like the first place team, and the New York Mets have looked like the second division club. With Tylor Megill on the mound, that changed.

Megill never should’ve been in the majors this year, and yet, due to injuries, he’s suddenly a key part of the rotation. He very much looked like that in this start.

He allowed no runs while pitching a career best six innings. He’d allow just six hits while striking out two. Perhaps, the more astonishing part was his walking none.

He battled through some tricky spots. That began with Adam Frazier doubling on a pop up by J.D. Davis to lead off the first. Later in the game, Pete Alonso made an error to start some trouble for Megill.

There were multiple situations with a runner in scoring position, but Megill showed poise getting out of the jams. Of course, it didn’t hurt Luis Guillorme was playing Gold Glove caliber defense in Francisco Lindor‘s absence.

Guillorme helped abate Lindor landing on the IL. In addition to the great defense, he was 1-for-3 with a run, double, and a walk. He scored that run in the sixth when Travis Blankenhorn had his first career RBI hitting a pinch hit double in the seventh which just missed going out.

It was a night the Mets offense came back to life scoring six runs. Michael Conforto‘s bat started to come alive with two doubles. Jeff McNeil had an RBI. Of the Mets 11 hits, eight were for extra bases including three homers.

Entering the bottom of the eighth, the Mets had a 6-0 lead. It was a good thing too because Seth Lugo had a rare implosion. After allowing just five runs all year, the Pirates scored five runs in two-thirds of an inning off Lugo capped off by a Wilmer Difo pinch hit three run homer.

Suddenly, a 6-0 laugher was a tight 6-5 game. Aaron Loup came in to relieve Lugo to face Frazier. Frazier hit a hard grounder down the line, but Alonso made a diving stop to rob Frazier of an extra base hit.

The Mets got one of those runs back in the top of the ninth courtesy of Brandon Nimmo, who hit a solo homer to straight center increasing the Mets lead to 7-5.

The Mets appeared to need that extra cushion with Edwin Diaz struggling in the ninth. His first pitch hit Ke’Bryan Hayes, and then he walked Bryan Reynolds on five pitches.

After Ben Gamel chased a pitch in the dirt to strike out, Diaz hung an 0-2 slider which John Nogowski smoked towards third. Jonathan Villar, in for defense, knocked down the short hop keeping it in the infield. It saved a run, but it loaded the bases.

What ensued was a great battle between Diaz and Gregory Polanco. At the end of the nine pitch at-bat, Diaz froze Polanco with a 3-2 slider on the corner to strike him out.

But, it didn’t matter. On Diaz’s next pitch, Jacob Stallings took a pitch off the inside corner and hit a walk-off grand slam. Kevin Pillar did all he could in left diving into the stands, but it was all for naught.

The Mets blew a 6-0 lead and lost 9-7. There’s no other way to put it other than admitting it’s time to panic.

Game Notes: Jacob deGrom reportedly dealt with right forearm issues in his bullpen session.

Mets Lose Lindor And Inexplainable Game To Pirates

The New York Mets first game out of the break was a completely unmitigated disaster. To a certain extent, it was an embarrassment.

Against Chad Kuhl and the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen, the Mets kept threatening and faltering. In fact, this team was 0-for-12 with RISP. That’s only part of the story.

In three straight innings, they drew lead-off walks. They had runners on first and second three straight innings. They had eight different men in scoring position.

Just one of them scored. It was Pete Alonso on a Jonathan Villar RBI fielder’s choice in the fourth. That wasn’t enough run support for Marcus Stroman.

Stroman didn’t have his best stuff, and he was fighting it in more ways than one.

His toughest inning was the second. The Pirates loaded the bases against him with one out, and then the rains came. There was roughly a half hour rain delay.

He’d strike out Kuhl, but he’d allow a two RBI single to Adam Frazier giving the Pirates a 2-0 lead. After that Ke’Bryan Hayes hit one up the middle making Stroman look like Charlie Brown. Stroman escaped the inning without any further damage.

That damage would come later. The fifth inning would be as bizarre and damaging an inning as we’ve seen. It started with Francisco Lindor leaving with an apparent oblique injury.

In the bottom of the inning, we’d see Stromsn retire John Nogowski to get out of a tough jam to leave the game at 2-1. Stroman celebrated, and Nogowski thought he was tougher than Stroman.

Stroman couldn’t get to Nogowski because James McCann wouldn’t let him. We’d see Stroman bent over and run off the field. Apparently, he was alright as he back to the dugout to chirp Nogowski.

This was all well and good, but Stroman and the Mets took the loss. The 2-1 deficit grew to 4-1 when Drew Smith and Jeurys Familia each surrendered long homers.

It was another ugly, inexplicable, and unacceptable loss to a very bad Pirates team. They now loss three out of five to the Pirates, and worse yet, they’ve lost their best position player.

Game Notes: Gary Thorne came back to do play-by-play with Gary Cohen on vacation. Billy McKinney was designated for assignment to make room for J.D. Davis on the roster. Luis Guillorme replaced Lindor at short.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Walk The Plank

The New York Mets had a golden opportunity with seven straight games against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Somehow, they started the stretch with a split:

1. Blowing a five run first inning lead to the Pirates is completely unacceptable.

2. Part of blowing that game was bullpenning. As correctly noted by Zack Braziller, if you’re the Mets, you do that you should choose a seven inning game and not the nine inning game.

3. That game was exactly why they waited so long on calling the Jacob deGrom start.

4. Luis Rojas has been really good, but in these bullpen games he just gets too greedy pushing relievers an extra inning. Pushing Miguel Castro, who was been bad lately, is a classic example of that.

5. It’s odd that Rojas and the Mets don’t trust Drew Smith. For the most part, when he’s been called upon, he performs.

6. Simply put, while they shouldn’t have been All-Stars, Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo are currently playing and at MVP level.

7. . Taijuan Walker was a very deserving All-Star, and it will be great to see him pitch on Tuesday. It’s still shocking to believe the Mets were his only offer.

8. You’re going to get game like that from Tylor Megill. It’s why he’s a fifth starter. It’s also why the Mets really need Carlos Carrasco back to ensure Megill is the fifth starter.

9. That homer from Michael Conforto was much needed. The Mets really need him to have a big turnaround on his season much like Dominic Smith has.

10. With the draft last night, and Kumar Rocker fortunately falling to the Mets, its interesting to note with Smith, Nimmo, and Conforto, the Mets starting outfield is all first round picks.

11. This is just another reminder of how just impossibly good the Mets are at drafting. They really don’t pay those guys enough money.

12. With Jonathan Villar homering from both sides of the plate, you see a player not willing to give up his third base job to J.D. Davis.

13. On that note, it’s interesting to hear Rojas say he’s not giving Davis the job back. It’ll also be interesting to see what exactly the Mets do with the position at the trade deadline.

14. Seeing the series against the Pirates, the Mets main need at the deadline seems to be the bullpen. Too many of their guys are tired and have been pushed too much.

15. If Adam Frazier wants to come to the Mets, he sure made a good impression. Still, there are some real question marks about the wisdom of adding him.

16. The Mets offense has shown they can be clutch, and they’ve shown the propensity for the big inning, but we’re not seeing them be able to sustain an onslaught throughout a game.

17. Luis Guillorme continues to be clutch and a good pinch hitter.

18. Heading into the break. deGrom is the Mets best pitcher, and Lindor is the best position player. For all the hysteria, that’s what you ultimately expected.

19. For all the disappointment and consternation over this split, the Mets are still in first place heading into the break.

20. Again, if you haven’t already, take the time to help Howard Johnson‘s grandson who suffered an injury in a regrettable accident.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Cruise Along Subway

This year’s edition of the Subway Series saw two struggling New York teams. After the series, the Mets weren’t the ones struggling anymore:

1. There shouldn’t be anymore doubt Brandon Nimmo is the Mets best offensive player, and he’s the real catalyst for the team.

2. If the point of replay is to get the calls right, there’s no point to replay when Nimmo is called out on a play he was clearly safe.

3. Gerrit Cole and Aroldis Chapman certainly are not the same pitchers since the crack down on sticky substances.

4. Imagine being someone who thought Cole deserved to be in the same breath as Jacob deGrom let alone thinking he was better.

5. Taijuan Walker absolutely should’ve been an All-Star, and he proved it again with his no-hitting the Yankees for 5+ innings. Hopefully, he will be an alternate for when deGrom won’t pitch in the game.

6. Was the Aaron Judge homer off Walker the first time one 99 broke up the no-hitter of another 99?

7. Again, there is no way the Mets should even contemplate DFAing Jose Peraza, especially after that bases loaded double to clear the bases. Use one of J.D. Davisoptions and teach him how to play a position.

8. It’s funny that Tony Tarasco was on the field for the play where the Mets fan reached over the wall for the Peraza double. Tarasco was the Baltimore Orioles RF on the Jeffrey Meier/Derek Jeter play.

9. Pete Alonso‘s homer off Chapman was arguably the biggest hit of the year.

10. Alonso looks much more like the 2019 version hitting 275/.343/.517 with nine homers and 135 wRC+ over 134 PA since returning from the IL (h/t Tim Ryder).

11. Dominic Smith is red hot with a .875 OPS the past week and a .327/.365/.571 over the past two weeks. Like Alonso, he absolutely can keep this up.

12. That sure looked like the Jeff McNeil of old in this series.

13. The Mets made the right call keeping Billy McKinney up over Albert Almora. Now, McKinney needs to prove he can play off the bench effectively. He may get a week to prove it.

14. Considering he’s being stretched out, you absolutely take those five innings from behind Corey Oswalt, who looked good besides the one mistake.

15. On the bright side, while we may not see Carlos Carrasco or Noah Syndergaard until August or September, they’re going to be well rested and ready to dominate in the postseason.

16. What is going on with Michael Conforto?

17. Good thing Jeurys Familia is back because Miguel Castro doesn’t have it anymore.

18. This Mets team is built for the postseason because of their pitching and their ability to fight back late in games.

19. It was odd to see the Mets not optimize their defensive alignment behind Marcus Stroman, especially with the DH in play.

20. This series coming up against the Milwaukee Brewers is a good temperature check to see how good the Mets are, and for that matter, just how good the Brewers are.

Jeff McNeil Should Play Third, Luis Guillorme At Second

It finally happened. In the New York Mets 8-4 loss, the late inning machinations led to Jeff McNeil playing third base. It took 74 games for the Mets to put their best third baseman at third base.

Now, many don’t believe that to be true because McNeil struggled there for exactly nine games in a COVID impacted season. For some reason, those nine games were weighed much more than the rest of his career.

Entering 2020, McNeil had played 171.1 innings at third at the MLB level. Over that admittedly small sample size, he had a 6 DRS, 3.1 UZR, and a 5 OAA. Those numbers are excellent. Really, when you have a player of that caliber, you don’t move him off the position.

That goes double when you look at the other Mets third basemen. J.D. Davis and Jonathan Villar entered the year with reputations as poor defenders, and they haven’t disappointed.

In 94.0 innings, Davis has a -2 DRS, -0.9 UZR, and a -1 OAA. While having the propensity to make the highlight play, Villar has a -1 DRS, -1.9 UZR, and -2 OAA in 362.2 innings at third.

At the moment, both Davis and Villar are on the IL taking them out of the third base mix. That means Luis Guillorme is the third baseman for now.

Shockingly, Guillorme is not a good third baseman. In 113.2 innings this year, he has a -3 DRS, -1.0 UZR, and a -1 OAA. For whatever reason, the skills which make him an extraordinarily gifted middle infielder isn’t translating at the hot corner.

This makes the Mets putting McNeil at second and Guillorme at third an inexplicably bad and stubborn decision. Remember, when McNeil wasn’t initially called up in 2018, Sandy Alderson’s initial rationale was McNeil wasn’t a third baseman.

Of course, the problem is McNeil is s third baseman, and he’s a very good one at that. They’re taking one of their best players and neutralizing just how great he can be.

More than that, they’re purposefully not allowing Guillorme to thrive. He is a player who plays exceptional defense and finds a way on base. When he’s played second, he’s done that. When he hasn’t, he’s a player who hits for no power and plays poor defense. Continuing down this path is insane.

This is a good Mets team which can be great. They can win a World Series. To do that, they’re going to have to get the most out of their roster and put their players in a position to succeed. As long as McNeil is at second with Guillorme at third, they’re not going that.

It’s past time to make the switch. The Mets can maximize their defense and help their pitching by making this switch. They can be an even more imposing club. Hopefully, we will see McNeil at third with Guillorme at second soon.