Jacob Barnes

David Peterson Re-Emerges

Every so often you’re reminded why the New York Mets have been so haphazard with their treatment of David Peterson. The talent is so tantalizing, and he can give you the occasional gem. Tonight was one of those nights.

He completely and utterly dominated the Chicago Cubs. For the first time in his career, he pitched six shut out innings. He only allowed one hit, but with it coming in the third, he went flirting with a no-hitter.

The singer and slider were working. Overall, Peterson walked two, allowed the one hit, and he had three strikeouts. Giving the night he had, and the season he’s had, Luis Rojas didn’t push him to go through the lineup a third time, and he got him out feeling good about the start.

He’d also leave with the lead putting him in position for his second win of the season.

For the first 3.2 innings, Jake Arrieta was relatively in control. Then, it quickly and suddenly unraveled for him.

With two out and one on, Billy McKinney drew a walk. James McCann then opened the scoring with an RBI single. On the play, Jake Marisnick‘s throw to the plate for past Willson Contreras allowing McKinney and McCann to advance. Both would score easily on Kevin Pillar‘s two RBI double giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.

That lead grew to 4-0 when Dominic Smith hit a homer to dead center off Arrieta in the fifth.

Entering the sixth, Tommy Nance relieved Arrieta, and he lost control. In walking back-to-back hitters, he threw five straight balls. Brandon Drury then pinch hit for Peterson, and he hit a pinch hit RBI single giving the Mets a 5-0 lead.

Things would get interesting from there. Trevor May entered his first game in a week, and he wasn’t sharp. In fact, he’d allow back-to-back homers to Anthony Rizzo and Patrick Wisdom cutting the Mets lead to 5-2.

Aaron Loup then entered the game with two outs, and he gave the Mets four outs to set up the save opportunity. Edwin Diaz would get that save opportunity, and he’d lock it down for his 13th save of the season.

This was another win where the Mets beat another .500 team. More than that, they have a winning record in June.

Game Notes: Mets have tied their franchise best home start with an 18-6 record. They last did that in 2015. Jacob Barnes was designated for assignment, and Sean Reid-Foley was recalled.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Better Than Padres

For all the talk about the San Diego Padres this year, a depleted New York Mets team just took the season series:

1. People keep telling us to appreciate Jacob deGrom and not take him for granted. Not sure why because every Mets fan absolutely venerates him.

2. One of these days, deGrom is going to have a perfect game. It’s just going to happen.

3. Next time deGrom departs a game early, the reaction should be calm. He’s listening to his body, the Mets are listening to him, and they’re all just getting him ready to dominate in October . . . which he will.

4. While we’re told not to under appreciate deGrom, his sheer greatness is actually overshadowing Marcus Stroman who has been great this year.

5. Give credit where it is due, Joey Lucchesi has absolutely turned around his season. He wants a chance to go through a lineup a third time, and sooner or later, he probably should get that chance.

6. Not enough credit is being given to Luis Rojas and Jeremy Hefner for the job they’re doing.

7. Of course, it was a poor decision to leave in Jeurys Familia that long and to bring in Jacob Barnes in that spot. However, when you’re short bad and indefensible decisions like that are going to happen.

8. The question does need to be asked – if the Mets are so reticent to use Barnes, why is he still on the team?

9. Seeing Seth Lugo back to Lugoat form, you’re further convinced this team is going to win the World Series.

10. People can dismiss what Chris Paddack said all they want, but he does seem to have Pete Alonso‘s number.

11. Dominic Smith really needs to pick it up. Sooner or later, this team will get healthy, and he’s going to be in peril of losing playing time.

12. It’s great to see Luis Guillorme back healthy and performing wizardry in the field.

13. Months later, he may no longer be on the roster, but people should remember how Jose Peraza held down the fort and each and every single one of his homers gave the Mets a lead.

14. He’s probably not the best option, but Jonathan Villar has done everything the Mets could’ve asked. He’s been better than anyone could’ve reasonably expected, and at this point, the third base job should be his.

15. Of course, Billy McKinney is dealing with a sore knee and needed to miss a game. This would’ve be the 2021 Mets if that didn’t happen.

16. Tomas Nido has started struggling at the plate once he stopped being the everyday catcher, but James McCann is thriving.

17. More than what they’re doing at the plate, the Mets pitchers are thriving while throwing to both of these catchers. So long as the catchers are maximizing pitcher performances, they’re doing a great job.

18. On the topic of catchers, if Francisco Alvarez hits a huge homer, let him do a bat flip. Criticize him when he celebrates and the ball doesn’t go out, which is something that hasn’t happened yet.

19. People may want to get rid of the DH, but deGrom has more RBI than earned runs allowed.

20. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s June 14, and the Mets are over .500 so far this month.

Game Recaps

Jacob deGrom Provides Thrills and Chills

Mets Prove Power Rankings Pure Trash

Jacob Barnes Wrong But –

Jacob Barnes Wrong Decision But –

Look, there’s absolutely no defending Luis Rojas bringing in Jacob Barnes to face Fernando Tatis Jr. with the bases loaded in a tie game. The ensuing grand slam was a shock to no one.

Rojas proffered his explanation. The bullpen was stressed, and their best reliever, Seth Lugo, was unavailable. Miguel Castro and Aaron Loup were also unavailable. With Billy McKinney ailing and Jonathan Villar dealing with a family matter, the bench was short limiting the pinch hitting options.

Fact is, you’re not seeing a manager bring his closer into the game in the seventh, so that rules out Edwin Diaz. With David Peterson set to go tomorrow, Robert Gsellman needed to be held back just in case. This all left very few options remaining.

Rojas said he didn’t tab Trevor May because he didn’t want to use him for just one out. So, he ran the roulette wheel and landed on Barnes. The fact that option was on the table was the exact problem here.

Sure, you could argue to pitch May, but that might’ve been for one pitch of one out. Considering for situation, that’s probably the wrong move as that’s the game right there.

However, if you look past the moment, and you assume May escapes the jam, now what? Yes, Drew Smith did go two innings in this game. That took them to the ninth. If the game hit extras, well, that’s the run.

To make the long story short, Barnes was realistically going to have to pitch in this game. This is the same Barnes who entered the game with a 6.27 ERA. Since 2017, Barnes had a 6.62 ERA.

Rojas was obviously aware of this. That’s probably why Barnes only pitched once over that past nine days. That one appearance came in a blowout loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

Clearly, Rojas doesn’t really trust him and tries to limit his use of Barnes. That works for only so long. Eventually, you have to use everyone in your bullpen, and sooner or later, you get caught having to use them in a high leverage situation.

To a certain extent, that’s what happened Sunday. The Mets finally had to use Barnes (although not in that spot), and it completely burned them. It’ll burn them again the next time. Of course, that’s if there is a next time.

With pitchers in the minors like Sean Reid-Foley, it’s hard to imagine why the Mets are carrying Barnes in the bullpen. It helped cost the Mets this game. If this continues, it’s likely going to cost the Mets another game or two.

The Billy McKinney Game On Jose Peraza Day

In the first half of the doubleheader, we had two good starters going head-to-head. In the second half, well, it was more readily apparent these are two poor hitting teams.

Case-in–point was the first inning. Joey Lucchesi walked the first two batters, and with two outs, the Colorado Rockies pulled off a double steal. Still, the Rockies wouldn’t score. Part of that was Billy McKinney making a running catch down the line taking away an extra base hit from Brendan Rodgers:

In the bottom of the first, Jonathan Villar drew a lead-off walk and went first to third on a Francisco Lindor single. McKinney came up, and he’d hit into a double play. Villar scored on the play.

It seemed like this would be another 1-0 game. After that first, Lucchesi settled in for a bit, and he actually no-hit the Rockies through three.

Of course, this would be another lesson in a pitcher is dealing until he’s not. The Rockies immediately jumped on Lucchesi in the fourth.

After Ryan McMahon led off the inning with a single and was picked off/caught stealing, C.J. Cron singled. A wild pitch moved Cron to second, and Lucchesi would walk Yonathan Daza to put runners on first and second with two outs.

Even with the threat of Charlie Blackmon coming in to pinch hit, Luis Rojas brought in Drew Smith. Surprisingly, the Rockies stuck with Connor Joe. It proved to be the right move as Joe hit a game tying RBI single.

The Rockies threatened to take the lead on what appeared to be an Elias Diaz hit, but Diaz was robbed on a sliding catch by McKinney to get out of the inning.

McKinney made the big catch, and then in the bottom of the fourth he hit a one out double off Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela. From there, the Mets loaded the bases with two outs, and Jose Peraza delivered the go-ahead RBI single giving the Mets a 2-1 lead.

That wasn’t the last rally featuring McKinney and Peraza.

McKinney led off the sixth with a walk against Jordan Sheffield. After a James McCann double and Patrick Mazeika hit by pitch, the Mets had the bases loaded with one out. Peraza would drive home another run by drawing a four pitch walk.

Then, we saw Cameron Maybin is the unluckiest man alive. He was robbed of a hit in the third by Trevor Story. Even with Story out of the game due to injury, the shortstop would again rob him of a hit.

Maybin smoked a ball off the drawn-in infield. The ball would deflect off the diving third baseman McMahon to the shortstop Rodgers. Rodgers then threw home getting McCann on the force out.

Brandon Drury pinch hit for Jeurys Familia, who pitched a scoreless sixth, and in a tough at-bat, he drew a bases loaded walk to increase the Mets lead to 4-1. It was also the Mets first RBI of the day by someone other than Peraza.

The Rockies pulled Sheffield, and Yency Almonte struck out Villar to end the jam. That meant it was a 4-1 game meaning it was still a save situation. Before the rally, it appeared Familia was going to go for the sixth out save.

Rojas was forced to pivot. With Edwin Diaz getting the save in the first half, Robert Gsellman got the save opportunity. He didn’t get it.

Blackmon was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a defensive indifference, and then scored on a Raimel Tapia two out RBI single pulling the Rockies to with 4-2. Rojas then brought in Jacob Barnes. Barnes retired McMahon to pick up the save.

With that, the Mets swept the doubleheader and took three out of four from the Rockies. Sure, the Rockies are bad, but this injury depleted team did what it needed to do.

Game Notes: Maybin tied a record with by starting his Mets career by going 0-for-26. The Mets have drawn nine bases loaded walks this season by nine different players.

Khalil Lee And Johneshwy Fargas – Just Like They Drew It Up

Miguel Castro came into the seventh of a game the New York Mets led 3-2, and he surrendered a game tying solo homer to Garrett Cooper. Of course, this is the 2021 Mets, so it was a crazy game.

The double guessing of Luis Rojas started as he pulled Marcus Stroman after six even with a tired bullpen. Stroman might’ve gotten the no decision, but he gave Castro a big hug.

We’d all need a big hug after this emotional roller coaster.

Trevor May, who has been struggling of late, got himself into a bases loaded two out jam in the eighth. Worse yet, he fell behind 3-1 in the count. May would rally back, strike out Cooper, and help keep this game tied.

Jeurys Familia had two on and no outs in the ninth, and he battled back to send the game into extras.

In the 10th, we’d see one of the craziest things of all with Wilfredo Tovar getting a base hit. Of course, Tovar is one of many pressed into action no one thought would even be contemplated to play for the Mets this year.

That hit was Tovar’ first Mets hit since 2013. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough to score Tomas Nido, and the Mets would somehow squander that opportunity.

For his part, Nido got yet another start, and he again proved he deserves the job. In fact, it was his third inning RBI double which increased the then Mets lead to 3-1. He also had two caught stealings including a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play:

Fast-forward to the 11th, and the Mets had a golden opportunity with Jonathan Villar starting the inning at second. At the plate was Francisco Lindor, who opened the scoring in the first with an RBI double scoring Villar.

Lindor got the hit, but Villar stopped at third. That proved costly when Villar was PICKED OFF OF THIRD?!?!?!?

That’s a horrid job by Villar, but you do wonder where third base coach Gary Disarcina was. On that note, it was another terrible job by Disarcina tonight with his getting two runners caught at the plate. One of those was Nido in the fourth. Nido wasn’t even close.

After Drew Smith navigated his way through the 11th, the Mets would not be denied in the 12th. It was just how the Mets drew it up in Spring Training.

Dominic Smith was the runner on second (because Rob Manfred hates baseball), and he moved to third when Jake Hager had his first career hit. He wasn’t the only one.

Khalil Lee came up to the plate despite literally striking out in literally all of his career plate appearances. He’d hit a go-ahead double.

This wasn’t good enough. Johneshwy Fargas would hit a two run RBI triple to give the Mets a 6-3 lead. It was 6-3 partially because Fargas went for the inside the park homer but was nailed at the plate.

Initially, it was up to Aaron Loup to earn the save. It didn’t go too well with his allowing back-to-back singles to start the inning pulling the Marlins to 6-4. That’s when Lindor bailed out Loop with a big double play:

Better than the heads up play by Lindor was the Smith pick at first. Yes, a run score, but the Mets were that much closer to winning. They’d get that win with Rojas going to Jacob Barnes.

When Barnes recorded the final out, the Mets had a very hard fought 6-5 win in 12. They’re down 16 players, and they have Triple-A talent out there. Despite all that, they’re 21-17 and in first place.

Game Notes: Pete Alonso was placed on the IL. Brandon Drury was called up to take his place, and Daniel Zamora was designated for assignment. Tommy Hunter was also placed on the IL.

Mets Bullpen Too Exhausted To Hold On

For a while, it seemed like David Peterson was going to have to make a 1-0 lead last. After all, this is a depleted offensive team. However, it’s about as resilient a team as we’ve ever seen.

The Mets had a 1-0 lead due to Jonathan Villar hitting a solo homer off of Charlie Morton in the fourth.

At that point, Peterson was completely and utterly dominating the Braves. He had struck out five and faced the minimum through four.

Unfortunately, it unraveled for him in the fifth, and it happened rather unexpectedly. Austin Riley had hit a one out double, but he then got Dansby Swanson to ground out.

Peterson then plunked William Contreras. Guillermo Heredia hit an RBI single tying the score. The opposing pitcher, Morton, gave the Braves a 2-1 lead with an RBI single. Ronald Acuña then drew a walk.

The walk should’ve loaded the bases except it got away from James McCann. It was ruled a wild pitch, but McCann should’ve had it. Braves had a 3-1 lead.

Surprisingly, that wasn’t the final straw. The final straw was a Freddie Freeman who singled to load the bases.

Drew Smith came on to relieve Peterson, and he got the Mets out of the inning. Smith would give a fatigued Mets bullpen 1.1 shut out innings.

One key moment in that sixth inning was the Braves pinch hit for Morton. That meant he was out of the game, and A.J. Minter was entering the game. Minter is wild and always primed to implode.

After two quick outs, Minter threw one away on what should’ve been scored a Dominic Smith infield single. Whatever the case, he was on second with two outs.

Minter then completely lost the strike zone walking McCann on four straight pitches. After falling behind 1-0, he tried a get me over fastball which Jose Peraza drilled for an RBI double.

The Mets went to Tomas Nido to pinch hit for Smith, and the Braves went to Luke Jackson. Nido got the better of Jackson with a go-ahead two RBI single giving the Mets a 4-3 lead.

It’s important to remember this bullpen is on fumes with all the bullpen games and short starts. In the seventh that meant a tired Miguel Castro. Castro got through the inning unscathed with the help of another phenomenal defensive play in right by Lee.

Unfortunately, there was no magic in the eighth for Aaron Loup in the eighth. Loup allowed three straight hits tying the score at 4-4. Luis Rojas then went to Jacob Barnes to try to get out of the jam.

Barnes entered with runners on first and second with no outs. Heredia couldn’t get the bunt down and then struck out.

Swanson tried to steal third, and he was gunned down by McCann. Barnes then completed the Houdini act when he struck out Ehire Adrianza to end the inning.

For a brief moment, it seemed for the second straight night the Mets would have some ninth inning magic.

Cameron Maybin, in his Mets debut, reached on a wild strike three, stole second, and went to third on a wild pitch. He was there with only one out. He’d stay there as McCann popped out, and Peraza hit a weak line out to end the inning.

Somewhat surprisingly, Trevor May was warming, but Rojas opted for Barnes for a second inning over May on a third straight day. Acuña had gone hitless in the series, but he hit the first pitch he saw from Barnes for a walk-off homer.

The Mets showed a lot of heart and magic to pull out two wins in this series. The fact they were even this close to a sweep speaks highly of everyone on this team.

Game Notes: Khalil Lee has begun his career with seven straight strikeouts.

Mets Had A Lot Of Good Despite Jacob deGrom

Look, when Jacob deGrom goes down, that’s the biggest and most important story. However, even with that, there was a lot of good that happened as the Mets won their fifth game in a row.

Michael Conforto made a phenomenal catch in the second, and later in the game, when he and Kevin Pillar collided, neither were injured.

deGrom got another hit and his batting average is .467. That starter a rally where Lindor and Conforto drove home runs.

On that topic, the Mets have seemingly mastered the art of the bases loaded walk. This time, it was Patrick Mazeika. What’s fascinating with Mazeika is he’s delivered two RBI in his young career without getting a hit.

Dominic Smith came through again with a clutch RBI.

Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor continued working their magic in the middle infield. That included two HUGE double plays.

The first helped bail deGrom out of a bases loaded no out jam. A run would score, but that would be it. This would not be the biggest one they turned.

In the eighth, the Mets were on the verge of blowing it. With the bullpen a bit taxed of late, Luis Rojas looked to see if he could get a second inning out of Jacob Barnes.

Right off the jump, it didn’t go well as old friend Asdrubal Cabrera led off the inning with a homer. When Josh Rojas hit a one out double, Rojas asked Edwin Diaz to do something he had done only once before in his career – earn a five out save.

It was made all the more difficult by the rain pouring down hard. That was evident when Diaz plunked Josh VanMeter. Diaz and the Mets were bailed out when McNeil and Lindor turned a huge double play off a David Peralta grounder.

This was a huge moment for Diaz. He usually struggles when brought into games with runners on base, and he’s struggled when asked to get more than three outs. Not today.

That was the case even when his job was made all the more difficult. After striking out the first two batters in the ninth, Nick Ahmed popped up, but Jonathan Villar couldn’t field it.

Over the past two plus years, this is when Diaz tends to fall apart. Instead, he bore down and struck out Daulton Varsho to end the game.

It was a huge save and a big win. The Mets won their fifth straight, and we saw a once maligned Rojas not only setting up his team to perform, but he’s also getting them to go above and beyond. Even with another big injury, things are still looking good.

Game Notes: Players wore pink for Mother’s Day. Diaz’s last five out save was in 2018. Mets are 14-2 this year when they score at least four runs.

Mets Front Office Hurts Mets Chances To Win

Honestly, the New York Mets lost this game when the front office made a baffling decision. The St. Louis Cardinals are dangerous against left-handed pitching, and they relatively struggle against right-handed pitching.

Knowing that, the Mets decided to call-up Joey Lucchesi to make the start. Not Jordan Yamamoto, who has good numbers against the Cardinals. They didn’t even look to pitch Robert Gsellman or Sean Reid-Foley.

No, they went with Lucchesi, and it backfired spectacularly. Keep in mind, the Mets offense handed Lucchesi a 5-2 lead heading into the third.

In the second, Adam Wainwright got wild. With runners on first and second and one out, Mike Shildt made the odd choice to intentionally walk Jonathan Villar to load the bases.

That decision backfired as Wainwright plunked Tomas Nido to force in a run. After striking out Lucchesi, Wainwright walked Jeff McNeil to force home a second run.

The rally ended there as Francisco Lindor struck out to end the inning. Again, Lindor’s struggles at the plate continue. However, his defense remains as magnificent as ever:

The Mets would get back at it in the third starting with a Michael Conforto lead-off walk. After Pete Alonso hit his second double of the game, Dominic Smith drove home a run with an RBI groundout. Kevin Pillar followed with his second homer in as many days:

With a 5-2 lead, Lucchesi retired the first two batters he faced in the third. He then completely fell apart.

After allowing back-to-back singles to Dylan Carlson and Paul Goldschmidt, Lucchesi would surrender a game tying three run homer to Nolan Arenado. For some odd reason, Luis Rojas didn’t have anyone ready to relieve him.

Paul DeJong would continue being a Mets killer hitting a double. He’d then score on a Tyler O’Neill RBI double. With that, the 5-2 lead became a 6-5 deficit, and Lucchesi would be out of the game.

The real shame is Gsellman (2.1 IP) and Reid-Foley were terrific (2.0) over 4.1 scoreless innings. They’d combine to allow just two hits while walking none and striking out four.

When you throw in Jacob Barnes, the bullpen pitched 5.1 scoreless. Converse that with Lucchesi who allowed at least one run over each of the first three innings.

Both bullpens did their job not allowing any runs after that third inning. Of course, that meant the decision to start Lucchesi was the big factor which cost the Mets this game.

It’s a shame because the Mets scored five runs, played good defense, and pitched well in the pen. Someone should be accountable for that, but instead, Rojas will have to face the criticism for it.

Game Notes: J.D. Davis was put on the 10 day IL. Stephen Tarpley was called up to take his place.

Mets Make Alvarado And Hoskins Pay

This had all the makings of a New York Mets brutal Sunday Night Baseball loss. They weren’t hitting, and they blew a late lead . . .

Entering the bottom of the sixth, David Peterson was in line for the win. He had allowed one run on four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. Really, he cruised along after allowing an Andrew McCutchen to start the first.

Now, Peterson did get some help with Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor performing pure defensive magic behind him. That included one beauty of a double play:

Peterson had that 2-1 lead because of his defense. He also had some help from the offense. The first run came when Conforto singled home McNeil in the third.

Notably, McNeil was batting lead-off with Brandon Nimmo unavailable. With McNeil returning to a familiar and comfortable spot in the lineup, he was much better at the plate going 4-for-6 with two runs and a double.

It was a double again that got the Mets going again in the sixth. Dominic Smith led off the inning with a double, and there were runners at the corners with no outs after a Kevin Pillar single.

After Jonathan Villar struck out, the Phillies had the opportunity to get out of the inning unscathed with a double play. James McCann obliged by hitting the require grounder, but Phillies starter Zack Eflin threw it wide to second allowing everyone to reach safely and for the go ahead run to score.

The Mets would load the bases with two outs with Lindor coming to the plate. Lindor would fly out to right leaving behind a golden chance to blow the game open.

Keep in mind, that wasn’t their only shot to put up more runs. Back in the second, Smith led off the inning with a single, and Gary Disarcina needlessly sent him home on a Pillar single. Smith was out at the plate, and J.T. Realmuto would deliver a cheap shot.

The Mets would regret blowing those run scoring opportunities in the bottom of the sixth.

Now, the Mets bullpen has been great with a 19 inning scoreless streak. Miguel Castro has been one of the Mets best pitchers in the pen, but he didn’t have it tonight.

On a rally started when Castro made an error, Didi Gregorius hit a go-ahead three run homer. At 4-2, it seemed like the Mets might be done.

In fact, they weren’t. The momentum shifted when Pillar homered to lead off the eighth:

This was easily Pillar’s best game as a Met. The player who struggled so mightily to start the season stepped up in Nimmo’s absence. In addition to the homer, he was 3-for-5.

As good as Pillar was, no one was ready for what Villar would do. Villar singled off Brandon Kintzler to start off the rally. With no one really left on the bench, partially due to injuries, Jose Peraza pinch hit for Castro. Peraza hit one Rhys Hoskins couldn’t handle, and well, Hoskins misplayed it just about every way you could:

Villar scored all the way from first on an infield single to tie the game at 4-4. That’s when the Phillies brought in Jose Alvarado to try to keep the game tied.

What’s interesting is Alvarado was suspended for his antics the other day. However, he was able to appear in the game because he appealed that three game suspension. As it turned out, the Phillies probably wish he accepted that suspension.

Alvarado faced McNeil, Lindor, and Conforto, and he failed to get any of them out. McNeil singled, and then Alvarado issued consecutive walks forcing home the go-ahead run.

The Mets were up 5-4, and Pete Alonso faced Phillies reliever David Hale. He’d go the opposite way for a three run double giving the Mets an 8-4 lead.

Now, Luis Rojas had Edwin Diaz warming when the Mets initially got the lead. After getting him up, it made little sense to not use him. Instead, Rojas (justifiably) believed his closer would lock down the much needed win.

Well, Diaz imploded, and it started with a leadoff walk to Gregorius.

Roman Quinn tripled him home to bring the Phillies to within three. Diaz was on the verge of getting out of it, and then he issued a two out walk to Matt Joyce. That brought Hoskins to the plate representing the tying run . . .

What was a game tying home run was ruled to be a ground rule double. That meant instead of a tie game, the Mets still had a lead at 8-7.

Things were still dire with the tying run in scoring position. It was all the more so with Diaz hurt. That led to Jeurys Familia coming on to face Bryce Harper to earn the save.

In a flashback to 2015, Familia delivered by striking out Harper. With that, the Mets won a game they blew twice (or almost twice), and they find themselves not only back at .500, but also delivering a message to the Phillies.

Game Notes: Jacob Barnes earned his first win as a Met. This was Familia’s first save with the Mets since 2018.

Marcus Stroman Will Be Fine, Michael Conforto?

It was just one of those days for Marcus Stroman. You got that sense from the jump.

Josh Harrison singled to start the game, and he’d go to third on a Michael Conforto error. Yes, the ball took a strange almost non-hop, but you have to keep that ball in front of you. Instead, Harrison was on third, and he’d score on a Yadiel Hernandez sacrifice fly.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the last Conforto misstep. In the second, Stroman got himself into some trouble. He issued a pair of one out walks before striking out Andrew Stevenson. To get out of the inning, he needed to retire Joe Ross.

Ross singled, and there could have been a play at the plate. However, in what is a dangerous pattern early in the season, Conforto made a really poor throw home. As a result, the Nationals led 2-0.

The issue with Stroman on the day was he was leaving the pitches over the plate, and as a result, he was getting hit fairly hard. The movement was there, but the location wasn’t. When all was said and done, he lasted just four innings after allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks.

The Mets should’ve had a chance to get Stroman off the hook, but it was more of the same. Conforto had the two defensive miscues, and he lined out hard to end the first with runners on first and second.

There was some measure of redemption for Conforto in the bottom of the fourth when he hit his first homer of the season:

It was 5-1 entering the top of the fifth. No matter how much the Mets offense has struggled, that’s not an onerous lead with Ross and the Nationals bullpen.

The problem is Stephen Tarpley wasn’t great, and that’s being kind. He walked two, allowed a hit to Kyle Schwarber, and then he hit Alex Avila to force home a run. At that point, it was 6-1, and Luis Rojas went to Robert Gsellman.

Gsellman did all he could to get out of the jam, but he still allowed a run. That was on a Stevenson fielder’s choice. Still, it was impressive for Gsellman to limit the damage to one run.

This was a positive step after Gsellman’s rough appearance against the Cubs. In fact, it was a really important appearance for Gsellman. Not only did he limit the damage in the inning, but he also pitched three scoreless innings.

That was an indication as to what Gsellman could do to help this team. It also saved the bullpen, which was all the more important after Mets starters failed to pitch more than four innings in Chicago.

On the bright side, aside from Tarpley, the bullpen was really good. Gsellman (3.0), Jacob Barnes (1.0), and Jeurys Familia combined to shut out the Nationals over five innings while allowing one hit, walking one, and striking out three.

The larger issue was Conforto. After that homer, he went back to struggling again.

After Pete Alonso was hit by a pitch to start the sixth, Conforto hit into a double play. In the eighth, runners were on first and second with two outs, and Conforto struck out looking on a pitch over the middle.

Now, Conforto should not be solely blamed for the loss. The Mets had six total hits with Conforto’s homer being one of them. That said his defense continues to be a problem, and he’s leaving small villages on the basepaths.

In the end, the Mets aren’t playing well. Given all that’s happened, it’s understandable. The fact that they’re struggling, and they’re .500 is a phenomenal sign. Just imagine how much better they’ll be when Conforto picks things up again.

Game Notes: Dellin Betances was transferred to the 60 day IL. With Stroman losing, he was unable to keep pace with Steven Matz, who is now the Major League wins leader.