Robinson Cano led off the bottom of the ninth with a double after narrowly missing a game tying homer. Starting with J.D. Davis, the Mets failed to bring Cano home to tie the game. That symbolizes how the Mets fell just short in this one.
The Cardinals scored five runs off the losing pitcher Marcus Stroman through the first three innings knocking him out of the game after 2.1 innings.
The Mets were behind 6-1 entering the sixth. To that point, a Jeff McNeil homer in the fourth was the Mets only run. They’d get back into the game on a Cano grand slam. The Mets couldn’t push another run across as they lost this game 6-5.
Marcus Stroman look the loss after allowing three runs over five innings.
Former Astro J.D. Davis was 0-for-4. Apparently, he only got the signs when he was a member of that Astros team.
The Mets had the tying runs on base with no outs in the ninth. J.D. Davis would prove to be unable to hit one out in the bandbox that is Citizen’s Bank Park. From there, the Mets wouldn’t be able to push home a run in the Mets 6-4 loss.
Somehow, Jacob deGrom took the loss after allowing six runs over five innings. Clearly, MLB the Show needs to correct their algorithms.
With the universal DH coming in 2020 (to the extent there even is a 2020), the common refrain is the Mets are one of the few NL teams well situated for this. After all, J.D. Davis is a positionless player who was terrible at third and LF last yearRo, Yoenis Cespedes is coming off double heel surgery and a broken ankle,and Robinson Cano is 37 years old. They also have a player like Dominic Smith who may well be an everyday first baseman for many Major League teams.
While we hear those names in the mix, one name we don’t hear as a DH possibility in 2020 is Pete Alonso. While the possibility is ignored, it shouldn’t.
Looking at Alonso’s rookie season, he was much better than he had been advertised in some circles. Before his rookie season, some gave the impression Alonso could little more than just stand a first base. Truth be told, Alonso put in a lot of work on his defense, and he made very clear strides. As a result, we saw him make many highlight defensive plays in 2020:
This caused many to question those scouting reports and just how much those scouts knew. However, when you peel back the highlights, while Alonso is FAR from the inept defensive player he was portrayed in some circles, he was still not a good defensive player.
On the year, he was a -3 DRS and a -7 OAA. That had Alonso ranked as the third worst defensive first baseman in the game by DRS and the worst defensive first baseman by OAA. In the end, even with the defensive gems, Alonso was just not good at first base in 2019.
On the other hand, Smith was very good at first base. In his limited attempts there, Smith had a 1 DRS and 1 OAA. Both marks put Smith in the top 20 out of the 84 players who played first base in the majors last year. With Smith, his defensive reputation in the minors proved true as he played a good defensive first base.
Just looking at Alonso and Smith, if you are going to put one in the field and one at DH, wouldn’t it make sense to put the far superior player in the field? There really isn’t an argument on how playing Alonso at first base with Smith at DH helps the team win more than by putting the vastly superior defender in the field.
Admittedly, there are caveats to this.
With the Mets selecting Alonso as their first baseman of now and the future, you can understand the impetus to keep Alonso at first. After all, why would you sacrifice one year of development for Alonso at first for the sake of trying to win in 2020?
There is also the Cespedes factor. At the moment, no one knows if he can play at all in 2020. If he can play, no one is quite sure what he can contribute. However, if he can hit, we have seen they type of dynamic game changing bat he can be, and it is going to be difficult to keep him out of the lineup, especially when you can certainly play Alonso at first.
Even if Cespedes can play the field and play it at a near facsimile to how well he played it in his career, he is still likely going to need his days off. In the end, if Cespedes can play and hit, he is the obvious and probably the best choice for DH.
If he can’t the Mets are likely juggling between a group of first basemen and designated hitters on their team. While many see this as a possibility to load the Mets lineup with bats, the reality is this should be a way for the Mets to be able to put a very good defensive team on the field and surround them with very good bats.
With that being the case, the Mets ideally should have Alonso at DH, Jake Marisnick in CF, and Smith at first base. They can certainly move that around as needed based on match-ups and to give players like Cano a day off here and there. Certainly, injuries are going to play a factor. However, in the end this is the Mets best lineup to try to win the 2020 World Series . . . assuming the 2020 season ever gets played.
The Mets fell behind 3-0 with the Brewers putting up three through the fourth against Marcus Stroman. The Mets would take the lead in the fifth.
The first run was scored on a comically bad throw to the pitcher on a Michael Conforto grounder. Yoenis Cespedes, Robinson Cano, and Wilson Ramos followed with RBI singles. The Mets didn’t push another across with J.D. Davis striking out with the bases loaded.
With that comically bad error, all the runs were unearned. Whether earned or not, the Mets won 4-3.
While the world is dealing with COVID19, and trying to figure out how to get back to our lives as usual, Rob Manfred is taking advantage of the pandemic to push his agenda. A few weeks ago, that mean shortening the draft, which, when you break it down, really only served the purpose of having fewer players. With fewer players, it is easier to push forward with the plan of contracting 42 minor league teams.
Now, Manfred is doing this again to try to implement the universal DH.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported MLB is considering utilizing Spring Training facilities to allow MLB to play the 2020 season. With the Grapefruit League and Cactus League being split up by an East/West designation rather than an AL/NL designation, in order to effectuate this plan, there will need to be radical realignment for one year.
With that radical realignment would come a universal DH.
Now, if a radical one-year re-alignment is necessary to pull off baseball in 2020, no one is going to complain. With AL teams being built for the DH, you can understand implementing a universal DH under this plan. After all, it is difficult to ask teams like the White Sox with Edwin Encarnacion to find a place to put him in the field for a full season.
If you look to the Mets, you could make the argument this benefits them. This would allow the team to DH Yoenis Cespedes in the last year of his contract. Digging deeper, J.D. Davis really belongs in a DH role. You could also look to DH Pete Alonso to permit the superior defensive first baseman in Dominic Smith to play first.
However, this isn’t an argument for what is best for the Mets. Rather, this is an analysis about what is best for baseball. Maybe, a truncated season split up like this for one year is what is best for everyone. Maybe, you do need the universal DH to make this work.
On a one year basis, we should be willing to do whatever is necessary to have baseball in a safe fashion. Safety is the first priority.And yet, this once again appears like Manfred is really taking advantage of the situation.This time, instead of reducing the amount of minor leaguers with no specific purpose, he is now pushing for a universal DH for these games.
It is difficult to come to a different conclusion when the original proposed plan was to have all 30 teams in Arizona and effectively quarantining them as a league there. Now, the plan is to have half the teams in Arizona and the other half spread across the State of Florida. The very minute this shifted from lockdown to travel is where suspicions should arise.
Maybe, this is all bluster, and nothing will come of this. It is possible this is just the brainstorming which needs to and should occur. You can argue all that you want, but after we get through every plausible explanation, there is still the air of suspicion which should surround the commissioner moving on from limiting the draft to finding a way to implement a universal DH.
In the end, it just appears like Manfred is using this situation to push through his agenda knowing there won’t be much opposition due to people’s safety concerns. There is a phrase for this – it’s called taking advantage.
These are hard times for us all, and we’re desperately looking for anything close to normal we can get. We got that tonight with Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling announcing a simulated game:
It was phenomenal. They were talking about the gameplay. The hard to see neck tattoos. How poor the caps looked. Brandon Nimmo not smiling or hustling to first on a walk, and Jeff McNeil not swinging at everything. There was also Gare taking a shot at the Astros every chance he got.
In addition to the Mets getting the win to improve to 3-7, it was also nice to see Yoenis Cespedes come off the simulated IL, and Edwin Diaz get the save. Mostly, at least for one night, it was great having GKR back in our lives because for one brief moment, everything seemed at least a little normal.
The next three homers would come from the Nationals. The first was a two run shot by Juan Soto against Stroman in the bottom of the sixth.
The Mets would load the bases in the eighth, but J.D. Davis struck out, and Robinson Cano flew out. Throw in a Nationals homer off Jeurys Familia in the bottom of the eighth, and the Nationals would win 4-1.
On the bright side, neither we nor the virtual Mets had to watch the Nationals raise their virtual banner.
Now that Major League Baseball has finally done the right thing in shutting down Spring Training and postponing the first few weeks of the 2020 season, we can now look at how this will impact individual teams. With respect to the New York Mets, this shutdown is exactly what they needed. That may seem a bit crass, but it is true nonetheless.
At the moment, the Mets were put in a precarious situation as Michael Conforto was dealing with an oblique injury. This injury left the Mets in a position where they needed to go with a couple of first basemen in J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith in the corners or go with Jake Marisnick in an everyday role despite his inability to be even a near league average hitter when he knew what was coming.
This shutdown doesn’t just give Conforto time to heal, but it also gives Yoenis Cespedes more time to heal and get ready for the season. According to all reports, he had been working quite hard to get back on the field, and he was making considerable progress. However, even with all of his progress, he had not yet been playing in full games.
The further back the season is pushed; the more time Conforto and Cespedes have to get ready to play games. With each day the start of the season is pushed back (that’s an unknown at this point), the greater the chance Conforto and Cespedes will be ready for Opening Day.
Even if they are not ready for the new Opening Day, they will miss fewer games as a result of the delay to the start of the season. That means we are this much closer to an outfield of Cespedes-Brandon Nimmo-Conforto. That type of outfield takes the Mets from postseason contender to World Series contender.
It is not just Cespedes who is rehabbing from an injury which robbed him of his 2019 season. Dellin Betances was only able to pitch 0.2 innings for the Yankees last year due to a shoulder injury and then a partially torn Achillies. It was only recently he began pitching in Spring Training games.
As is typically the case, it takes Betances time during Spring Training to go from the low 90s to the upper 90s. When Betances is able to get to that point, he is a completely different reliever. It may be difficult to remember now, but when Betances can ramp up his fastball to the upper 90s he truly is the best reliever in baseball. The more time he has to get back to that pitcher (which may not be a given) the better for him and the Mets.
Generally speaking, the more time the Mets pitching staff has to work on things, the better. This is the first year with pitching coach Jeremy Hefner. There are things he wants to share with players, and there are tweaks in deliveries and pitch sequencing/usage he wants the staff to make. Getting to get some of that out of the way now as opposed to in games helps.
Speaking of more time to prepare for the season, this is Luis Rojas‘s first year at the helm. While he has managed most of these players previously, he has not done it at this level. The more time he has to bond with the team and manage expectations the better he and the team will be set up for success.
Overall, the coronavirus has created a serious situation, and things should not be taken lightly. It may seem crass to say this about a virus which is infecting people at a scary rate leading to the shut down of all pro sports and society as a whole, but this is a bad situation which will help the New York Mets.