This was supposed to be Jason Vargas‘ start, but he’s so terrible the Mets opted to skip his start. The game was supposed to start a half hour earlier than it did, but the wet weather pushed it back a half hour. Really, there was every indication things were not going to go well.
Still, you couldn’t quite be prepared for what happened to Jacob deGrom. To put it in perspective, he had as many strikeouts as homers allowed.
The first homer was a solo shot by Mitch Garver in the second. Considering Garver entered the game with seven career homers and a .405 SLG, his homer to dead center should’ve been a sign.
When all was said and done, deGrom allowed four runs in the third. It was the first time he allowed four runs in a game since April 10th last year. His allowing the four runs snapped his MLB record starts allowing three runs or fewer and leaves him tied with Bob Gibson for most consecutive quality starts.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, deGrom went out and got touched up for another run in the fourth.
Whether it was the weather, delay, or something else, deGrom really didn’t have it. He was missing his spots by a healthy margin. He didn’t have his velocity, and he didn’t have the movement on his breaking pitches.
For a moment, it looked like the Mets might actually bail him out as the ball was flying out of Citi Field.
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 10, 2019
In the fifth, the Mets really had their shot. After loading the bases with two outs, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli went to his bullpen. Trevor Hildenberger would get Jeff McNeil to fly out to end that threat.
From there, the Mets were just playing catch-up.
Unfortunately, Alonso gave that run right back with an error in the eighth. With Byron Buxton on second after a leadoff double against Robert Gsellman, Alonso allowed a Edhire Adrianza grounder go right through his legs.
Sure, Alonso shouldn’t have been trying to backhand it, but we shouldn’t overstate one misplay in a lost game, especially when this was Alonso’s first error.
After that error, Rosario hit his second homer of the game expanding the Twins lead from an10-4.game
Vargas would finally pitch in the ninth, and he was greeted by a Rosario double, Garver single, Jason Castro single, and Schoop homer before he recorded an out. And just like that, a 10-4 game became 14-4.
Things got a little interesting in the ninth with Alonso hitting his second homer and the Mets plating four, but it was still 14-8 when all was said and done.
That’s basically how this miserable game went. It’s too soon to react to this, but the Mets have now lost three of four at home.
Game Notes: Alonso is the first Mets rookie to homer in three straight games since Benny Agbayani. Agbayani did that twice in 1999. Travis d’Arnaud made strong throws behind the plate throwing out one of the two attempted base stealers.
Two starts into the season, and Zack Wheeler looks more like the maddening pitcher he was most of his career than the pitcher who had a better second half era than Jacob deGrom. In fact, you could say this is the worst he’s ever looked. So far, he’s 0-1 with a 10.24 ERA, 1.862 WHIP, and a 7.4 BB/9.
This has led to a a number of different reactions. There is a wonder if the Mets made the right decision not extending Wheeler. It’s possible the second half was an enigma. Possibly, while we focused on deGrom, maybe it was really Wheeler who benefited from Devin Mesoraco.
The most likely answer is it is none of those things. Really, this is a slow start from a slow starter.
In Wheeler’s career, his April ERA is 4.95, which is his worst of his career. Breaking it down, Wheeler is a slow starter. His career first half ERA is 4.45, and his second half ERA is 2.92. This includes his having a 2.30 ERA in the month of August.
For a moment, take a look back at the 2014 season. In April and May, Wheeler had a 4.31 ERA, and he was getting hit hard by some of the better teams in baseball. As disappointing as his first half would prove, something seemed to click with him in July.
In July, Wheeler had a 1.67 ERA. Between July and August, he had a 2.24 ERA. Over the course of those 10 starts, he averaged 6.1 innings per start, and he limited batters to a .211/.295/.343 batting line. In all 10 of those starts, he allowed three earned or fewer, nine of those starts were two earned or fewer, and in half of those starts he allowed just one earned.
After that second half, there was much excitement about seeing Wheeler being a significant part of the 2015 Mets rotation. Unfortunately, circumstances would prove differently. It would not be until the 2018 season Wheeler would try reemerge.
Like that 2014 season, Wheeler struggled through May. In fact, while it may be easy to forget, Wheeler had a 5.40 ERA as the Mets entered June. Once again, he began to figure it out in July, and over July and August, Wheeler would have a 2.o1 ERA. Once again, his second half had people eagerly anticipating him being a part of the Opening Day rotation.
So far, the enthusiasm has been tampered down a bit. Two rough starts against a potent Nationals lineup will do that to a pitcher. It will do that all the more to a pitcher who is typically a slow starter. It’s easy to overlook that early in the season when two bad starts wildly skew a player’s stats.
In the end, baseball is a marathon, and at the end of the day, the Mets need Wheeler to be Wheeler for them to be successful. If he takes his time to warm up, so be it because in the end, we know how great he can be when he gets it going. And when he gets it going, his poor start will once again be a distant memory.
After coming in red-hot after going 5-1 on the road to open the season, the Mets had their first series at home, and while they returned to Citi Field, their momentum did not. While it is waaaaaaay to soon to look at these things, the Mets are now 0.5 games back of the Phillies. Here are some observations from the Mets home opening series:
- Noah Syndergaard seems to be a spokesman of sorts for this team airing their grievances publicly. Look it anyone is going to be the bad guy, Syndergaard is well suited for it because: (1) the fans are going to love him regardless; and (2) he seems to have the do not care what you think personality to make it work.
- Not only did MLB mishandle this by having the Mets play a night game, but they also had a drug test after the game. Considering there were only 7,486 at that game, I cannot imagine attendance was the reason for the later start time.
- If the rumors were true, the Mets are absolutely idiots for starting that game at 1:00 P.M. instead of 4:00 P.M. Those three extra hours matter, especially when a player like Robinson Cano has completely forgotten how to transverse New York after signing with the Mariners after the 2013 season.
- The Nationals came into this series under .500 with an already beleaguered Dave Martinez, a more beleaguered bullpen, and arguably their best player, Trea Turner, on the disabled list. This was a very wounded team who was primed to be knocked down a peg or two and possibly sent into turmoil. It may still be just April, but the Mets missed a big opportunity here.
- The two home run game from J.D. Davis was great to see as was his reaching base safely five consecutive times. However, we are going to need to see a lot more of that before we believe he has finally figured things out.
- As we saw from Davis’ two home run game, April is the time for overreaction, and we are seeing that with Zack Wheeler‘s tough start. One thing to keep in mind here is Wheeler has always gotten better as the season progresses. For example, his career April ERA is 4.95, and his career August ERA is 2.30. Lets give this a month or two before we decided last year’s second half was a blip.
- It seems like Steven Matz figured something out in the bottom of the second against the Nationals. If so, watch out, he’s going to have a breakout season.
- The Mets have gone from Jason Vargas not needing any competition during Spring Training to only trusting him for five innings in a hitter’s park against the worst team in the National League to skipping his start. It’s not even the middle of April, and the Mets have completely bungled their fifth starter situation.
- Perhaps this is an overreaction, but Robert Gsellman has not proven to be that late inning relief ace the Mets imagined him to be. With the Vargas situation, perhaps the Mets should consider sending him down to Syracuse to lengthen him out to rejoin the rotation while making Vargas the long man in the bullpen.
- Even with Jeurys Familia‘s blow-up where he allowed his first homer at Citi Field since Conor Gillaspie, and he allowed two homers in an appearance for the first time in his career, he’s been fine.
- While there has been justifiable hand-wringing over just how poorly this bullpen has been performing, we are seeing Justin Wilson-Familia-Edwin Diaz turn into a formidable 7-8-9 combination.
- Thankfully, Seth Lugo was back to himself Sunday throwing 96 MPH and striking out the side. Overall, he’s very tempting to use, but Mickey Callaway has to be much more judicious in his usage of him.
- With the Mets being a starter short and one to two arms short in the bullpen, just a subtle reminder Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel are still free agents. And for a GM who traded away Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Gerson Bautista, Ross Adolph, Luis Santana, Scott Manea, Bobby Wahl, Adam Hill, and Felix Valerio, we do not need to hear about giving up a draft pick.
- Michael Conforto looks like a real MVP candidate.
- Brandon Nimmo is going to be fine. Whether it was an injury or something else, he will get back to being Nimmo. We saw that with his double yesterday.
- For all of his prodigious power, and how he already looks like a veteran out there, the one thing which really stands out with Pete Alonso is how great a teammate he is. It is utterly stunning to believe a player with less than 10 games under his belt may already be the glue guy in the clubhouse. Speaking of Alonso, while everyone was celebrating the opposite field hitting, it was nice to see the Mets start hitting for power again.
- The Mets signed Wilson Ramos for his bat. We are seeing that with his lackluster pitch framing and how he couldn’t locate a ball which was right behind him allowing a runner to score from second.
- It was great to see Travis d’Arnaud return. He’s been an under-appreciated player because he has not been exactly what he was supposed to be, but he is good behind the plate. Sooner or later, his pitch framing is going to really help this team.
- On the one hand, all of Callaway’s double switching is maddening because it is partially the reason why this bullpen is so taxed. On the other hand, it is proving to be an adept way to get everyone into the game and having them getting enough reps to contribute when called upon. Ultimately, Callaway just needs to find a way to better handle this bullpen.
- I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The Mets sell out when they have these bobble head days. For the life of me, I do not understand how it makes sense to send kids home upset and to ruin their experience at the park by not having enough bobble heads for everyone. This a sponsored giveaway, and they are cheap to make. The mid market Brewers have figured this out, and they order enough so they can donate the extras after the game. Seems like it’s better to have everyone walking out with a Jacob deGrom and Todd Frazier bobble head this weekend than having sad little kids, which is never good for business.
When I was growing up out on Long Island, your sports season was basically pre-determined. You played soccer or football in the fall, CYO basketball in the winter, and Little League in the Spring. Maybe it was just where I lived, or maybe it is times changing, but it seems now there are more sports available, and they are available throughout the year.
There are summer hockey leagues, and there are indoor winter baseball leagues. As a parent of a five year old, my goal is simply to expose my son to as many sports as possible to see which ones he enjoys the most and wants to continue playing when he gets older.
Going through this process, it amazes me how much some sports are better run than others and how much professional leagues are involved in some of these sports.
For example, when it comes to hockey, the NHL runs the Learn to Play program. For $195, a child is fully equipped with hockey gear, and they participate in a 10 week session guided by team officials. Part of that gear is your own personal practice jersey from that team.
Even if you don’t go that route, there is not one hockey arena which does not have some sort of NHL presence. Moreover, when you sign up for different hockey lessons, you actually will receive USA Hockey magazines. Inside are not just stories from American hockey league players or stories on college teams, there is information on different drills to do.
Hockey is not alone in reaching out to fans this way. In addition to hockey, my son if playing NFL Flag Football. That league, run by the NFL, teaches children the basics of football while providing a safe and fun environment to play. Without dropping names, it is interesting to see some former NFL players have their children participating in my son’s league (albeit in a different age division).
What is fun about this is the children receive a reversible NFL jersey. Also, similar to the USA Hockey magazine, there are weekly emails with different drills to do with your children.
This is much different than the Little League experience thus far. Just like when I was in Little League, you got a jersey which was identified with a local sponsor and/or color. I remember growing up, I was the light blue, white, and blue teams. It wasn’t until I was older that there were MLB like jerseys, and those needed to be returned after the season.
It’s also interesting there is no newsletter or emails from Major League baseball. Basically, you are leaving it to your child’s coach. From my experience on both sides of the aisle, that is the luck of the draw.
Really, there’s a disassociation between Little League and MLB as far as children are concerned.
To be fair, Major League Baseball has taken some steps with the Little League Classic. Last year, Mets fans got to see Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz watch a game with the teams participating in the Little League World Series. Then again, the game was broadcast on ESPN on Sunday night.
Often times, we discuss why children aren’t as interested in baseball as they are the other sports. There are many varied and plausible theories focusing on pace of play or time when games are broadcast. Lost in all of those is the fact baseball isn’t focusing enough at creating fans at a very young age.
Honestly, if not for me, I’m not sure my son would be as big a baseball fan as he is. After all, baseball makes little to no effort to make him one themselves.
After the Mets home opener, Nelson Figueroa discussed how Noah Syndergaard has too much talent and ability than to need 11 pitches to strike out Yan Gomes. If you have watched the post-game over the past few years, this has been a common refrain with Figueroa, and it is something which has been espoused elsewhere.
Essentially, the gist is Syndergaard is not getting the most out of his talent, and as a result, he is not the dominant ace many expected him to be when he first burst onto the scene in 2015. By and large, this is an unfair characterization.
Just focusing on Thursday’s start, Syndergaard threw 98 pitches over six innings. He allowed just one hit with two walks while striking out six. If that were any other pitcher, even Mets ace Jacob deGrom, we would consider that to be a very good start, and there would not be any ensuing criticism.
If you dig deeper, you realize Syndergaard was even better than the numbers suggest. For those watching, it was obvious Syndergaard was getting squeezed by home plate umpire Pat Hodberg. He’s a notoriously bad home plate umpire.
In 2015, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina said of him, “He’s a young umpire, and he needs to figure out a better strike zone.” (Jennifer Lagosch, MLB.com). Apparently, things haven’t improved with Michael Fulmer said of Hodberg last year, “I made my fair share of mistakes, but there’s 10 calls about pitches inside the zone that he called balls. I let him know he missed 10.” (ESPN).
Going back and examining that second inning, Hodberg missed a number of calls
Noah Syndergaard's called balls and strikes through two at Citi Field pic.twitter.com/A7okNhm7hJ
— David Adler (@_dadler) April 4, 2019
Going deeper, Juan Soto led off the inning with a walk, but according to Gamecast, at least two of the called balls were strikes. Those types of umpire errors contribute to Syndergaard’s difficult inning and perceived under-performance.
All of that aside, Syndergaard was very good on Thursday as he has been throughout his Major League career.
Since his Major League debut in 2015, he leads all starters in average velocity. He has a 2.69 FIP, which is second in the Majors to just Clayton Kershaw. His HR/9 is second to just Lance McCullers. His 2.97 ERA is fifth behind Kershaw, deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Madison Bumgarner. His K/BB ratio is sixth putting him behind Kershaw, Chris Sale, Josh Tomlin, Scherzer, and Corey Kluber.
Looking at his stats, the biggest knock you have against him is his fWAR since he was called up to the majors ranks just 15th. Considering there are 30 teams in baseball, this definitively shows Syndergaard pitches like an ace. Overall, when you break down his stats his name comes up among pitchers who have won Cy Young awards and who are widely regarded as aces.
As deGrom has shown since the beginning of the 2018 season, any pitcher has room for improvement, and that would certainly apply to Syndergaard. That said, by any measure Syndergaard is a great pitcher who should be celebrated instead of nitpicked after his starts.
In his last on Thursday, Jacob deGrom tied Bob Gibson‘s Major League record for consecutive quality starts while extending his own Major League record for consecutive starts allowing three earned or less. That’s not his only noteworthy feat. In that start, he struck out 14 and hit a homer making him just the ninth pitcher to do that in Major League history. Can you name the other eight? Good luck!
After the Mets swept the Marlins, they’re now 5-1 and in first place as they come home for their home opener. Here’s the 20/20 observations from the last series:
- When Pedro Martinez compared Jacob deGrom to himself, you got the perfect comparison to just how dominant deGrom is right now. Although we can be sure the Dodger loving Wilpons think Sandy Koufax (either way you take it).
- With deGrom pitching great with Wilson Ramos on Opening Day and Tomas Nido yesterday, we’re seeing giving any credit to Devin Mesoraco was nonsense. Moreover, we’re seeing how better catchers help produce better results.
- In addition to their producing well on the field so far, it’s great to see Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith cheering for one another. Since late last year, and perhaps before that, they were adversaries as far as the future of first base was concerned. They rose above it to show they’re better people than they are players.
- While we believe Juan Lagares‘ extension was a mistake, there’s no doubt he impacts the game when he’s on the field. In the series, we saw him hit a game tying homer, and with his hustle, he reached base even on outs. He’s already at a 1 DRS, and he’s flashing his arm again. He’s potentially a difference maker.
- When the Mets traded Ross Adolph, Scott Manea, and Luis Santana, they paid a hefty price for J.D. Davis. It’s becoming increasingly clear, he’s not going to hit well or play good defense. As a result, each game the Mets force him into the lineup only serves to make a bad situation worse.
- On Davis, do yourself a favor and don’t look at the Astros 1B/DH situation.
- While it was nice to see Luis Guillorme finally get into a game, he needs to see more action, especially with Davis playing his way to a demotion.
- It’s very cool to see Yoenis Cespedes‘ brother Yoelkis regarded as one of the top Cuban prospects available. Here’s hoping the Mets can find a way to add him to the organization.
- The schadenfreude seeing the Yankees follow a Mets-like offseason with a series of Metsian injuries (CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, Troy Tulowitzki, Jacoby Ellsbury) is off the charts.
- With respect to Brandon Nimmo, it was shocking to see him not get a day after getting hit on the hand. Even if he was alright, with him scuffling, it made sense to give him the extra day.
- Mickey Callaway‘s handling of the bullpen in the series was both bad and dangerous. He pushed a Luis Avilan, a LOOGY with a history of shoulder injuries, to try to pitch two innings. He also pushed Seth Lugo to try almost 40 pitches despite his being ill. That’s how you make two laughers nail biters.
- That said, Robert Gsellman needs to be better. It was his performance which led to Callaway needing to turn to Edwin Diaz for the save.
- Even with the struggles from the rest of the pen, the Mets are more than alright with Diaz, Jeurys Familia, and Justin Wilson ready to go 7-8-9 to close out a win.
- If the Mets can’t trust Jason Vargas to go more than five innings against the worst team in baseball when the bullpen is short, why is he in the rotation, especially when Dallas Keuchel is still a free agent.
- With the Mets not trusting Vargas, we need to keep a close eye on Anthony Kay who impressed in Spring Training and will be the Opening Day starter for Binghamton today.
- It was hard to tell on TV, but with a large contingent of Mets fans at Marlins Park, is booing Peter O’Brien still going to be a thing.
- Umpire Ron Kulpa’s behavior was unnecessarily confrontational and unbefitting to the impartiality and temperance we should expect from an umpire. A.J. Hinch was right to confront him, and now it’s time for MLB to confront and potentially begin to suspend umpires who behave this way.
- With respect to Ron Darling‘s book, former teammates Dwight Gooden, Kevin Mitchell, and Darryl Strawberry defending Lenny Dykstra doesn’t mean Darling is lying. There’s a lot of room between those players not hearing something and it actually happening even if Oil Can Boyd said he didn’t hear anything.
- More troubling than the Darling/Dykstra controversy is Darling saying Bob Murphy would pass out drunk in the clubhouse and saying Gary Carter tried to stuff the All-Star ballots. Dykstra is a man who is all too eager to defend himself. Dead men like Murphy and Carter can’t.
- It’s going to be sad to not hear David Wright‘s name announced with the team on Opening Day. It’s not too similar from 2006 when we didn’t hear Mike Piazza‘s name. Hopefully, this will be like 2006 in more ways than one.
There are many ways to describe how great Jacob deGrom has been since the start of the 2018 season. There are not enough superlatives, and there is almost no such thing as hyperbole. And yet, we are all running out of ways to describe him.
With his slider ramping up to 95 MPH, he set a career high with 14 strikeouts. That made him the first Mets pitcher to start a season with back-to-back 10+ strikeout games.
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 4, 2019
With his home run off Marlins starter Trevor Richards, he’s knocked in more runs than he’s allowed all year.
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 3, 2019
His final line was 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, BB, 14 K. That’s his 31st consecutive start allowing three earned or fewer extending his own MLB record. With this quality start, he tied Bob Gibson‘s MLB record of 26 consecutive quality starts.
When you break it all down, it’s hard to quantify or explain just how great deGrom has been. Perhaps the best way to put it is what Pedro Martinez said tonight about deGrom, “He reminds me a lot of myself.”
Remember this is the same Pedro who had one of the greatest seasons and stretches in MLB history with his 1999 and 2000 seasons.
In many ways, this comparison could be the best way to describe just how great deGrom is right now. With Pedro being Pedro, he added deGrom is a taller and better looking version.
That’s all for some other time. Tonight was about how great deGrom is.
With Jacob deGrom receiving his contract extension, it appears he is going to be a Mets pitcher during his prime, and it sets the stage for him to join David Wright and Ed Kranepool as Mets for life. With that being the bulk of the list, there is a host of Mets players who got away. The most famous of which was Tom Seaver who headlined the Midnight Massacre. Putting Seaver aside, the Mets bloggers discussed those players who got away:
Michael Ganci (Daily Stache)
Honestly in recent memory John Olerud comes to mind. He had one of the best pure swings I can remember. Other than that I guess you have to bring up Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner, but who saw those coming?
Daniel Murphy is the most recent Met to have gotten away. And, I’ve heard there are people in the front office who would like a mulligan on that one as well. Having him in 2016 and 2017 would’ve been huge, and not having him kill the Mets in DC would have been huge too.
Allison McCague (Amazin’ Avenue)
To me the most egregious example of a Met getting away is Justin Turner, simply by virtue of how little it would have cost to keep him. Of course, it was impossible to know that he would put up the numbers he did after leaving the Mets, but unlike the Murphy situation where it was a choice not to sign the player as a free agent, they non-tendered a perfectly serviceable utility man just because they didn’t want to pay him and trashed his character on the way out for good measure. I think a dark horse candidate in this conversation, however, would be Collin McHugh, who changed his approach after joining the Astros by throwing his fastball less often and his off-speed pitches more often to much greater success than he ever had as a Met. And now he remains a key piece in the Astros bullpen as they head into another season where they will likely make a push for the postseason.
I’ll give you Justin Turner for sure. What irks me is he’s a good guy and even in the form he was in when he was here, was a valuable piece for the solution. That he evolved thanks to the tutelage of Marlon Byrd while he was here makes it even worse, since this version of Justin Turner would‘ve unquestionably transformed the Mets.
Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)
James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)
Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)
Olerud; he was a far superior player to Todd Zeile. Just look at his seasons 2000-02; think he would have helped? In my opinion, if Mets have Olerud, they win 2000 World Series. My God, remember the Zeile farewell tour? Infamnia!
Tim Ryder (MMO)
I’m gonna hesitantly go with Melvin Mora. The guy he got traded away for, Mike Bordick, was a fine pickup and helped that 2000 team get over the hump, no doubt. But Mora went on to have a solid little career and Bordick was back in Baltimore via free agency the following season.
Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)
The Mets let 18-year-old Paul Blair go to the Orioles in the minor league draft of 1962. Blair played 18 seasons in the majors, winning eight Gold Gloves as the premier AL center fielder of his generation.
Then again, had the Mets kept Blair, they wouldn’t have needed to trade for Tommie Agee prior to 1968, and Agee robbed Blair in the 1969 Series, so all’s well that ended well, perhaps.
Pete McCarthy (OABT)
I thought Nolan Ryan was the only answer to this question, but there are some fun ones in here. Yay Mets!
Far be it from me to disagree with you Pete but Ryan wanted out as much as the Mets were frustrated with him. It wasn’t so much that they traded Ryan and he became a Hall of Famer after it’s what they traded him for.
Scott Kazmir would like a word.
There is always going to be a part of me who wonders what would have happened if the Mets kept Darryl Strawberry. He would have one good year in Los Angeles before everything fell apart for both him and the Mets. For those who forget, the Mets opted to replace him with Vince Coleman, who was detestable as a Met, and it lead to a series of poor decisions which built as bad and unlikable a Mets team as we have ever seen. For Strawberry, his personal problems were far worse than anything the Mets encountered.
Looking at everything, there are a number of mistakes like trading Jeff Kent for Carlos Baerga, but that at least indirectly led to the team signing Robin Ventura. Murphy leaving transferred the balance of power back to the Nationals.
But overall, the one which comes to mind right now is Matt Harvey. For Harvey, it was more than trading him for Devin Mesoraco. It was everything. The 2013 version looked like future Hall of Fame. The 2015 version looked like a staff ace. The ramifications of that 2015 season were far reaching, and we never saw Harvey return, literally and figuratively.
Before you go away from this piece, please sure you click on the links and visit the sites of those who have taken their time to contribute to this roundtable.
Also, a very special congratulations to Pete McCarthy and his wife on the birth of their baby girl!
For this season, there is going to be a new feature after every series wraps up called “20/20 Hindsight.” Essentially, the concept is to look back at a series, and make 20 quick observations about the state of the Mets. This can include both things which directly affect the Mets and those which circumstantially affect the Mets. Without further ado, here is the initial 20/20:
- With Jacob deGrom opening the season with six shutout innings, he’s continued his streak of consecutive starts with three earned or fewer and is one off Bob Gibson‘s Major League record for consecutive quality starts. Sooner or later, the conversation with deGrom is going to focus on his being an all-time great pitcher.
- Seeing deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Aaron Nola pitch great on Opening Day, this is already shaping up to be a fun and exciting race for not just the National League East but also the National League Cy Young.
- Pete Alonso has so far been everything the Mets touted him to be. After going 0-for-3 against Scherzer, he was 6-for-9 with a run, two walks, three doubles, and three RBI.
- Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler do not pitch well at Nationals Park. Syndergaard is still winless there, and Wheeler has a 4.24 ERA and a 1.441 WHIP at the park.
- The Nationals bullpen is once again terrible highlighted by Trevor Rosenthal and his INF ERA after failing to get an out in two appearances.
- While we focus on the NL East aces, we already see the division being loaded with MVP candidates including Robinson Cano, Michael Conforto, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, and Trea Turner. With respect to Turner, he single-handedly beat the Mets on Sunday.
- It wasn’t a popular decision, but Mickey Callaway made the right decision sitting Jeff McNeil on Sunday. In addition to McNeil having durability issues in his professional career, he only hit .255/.331/.390 off left-handed pitchers in the minors last year. Don’t let Patrick Corbin foul him up when he is going good.
- McNeil has been off to a hot start picking up where he left off in 2018. If he keeps this up, he’s going to cost at least one of Todd Frazier or Jed Lowrie a job (whenever they can return to the lineup).
- The Mets quickly showed they are not going to be neutralized by left-handed pitching whether that is in the form of a Corbin or a LOOGY like Tony Sipp. So far, Cano and Conforto have combined to hit 6-f0r-16 against left-handed pitching.
- It was shocking to see Stephen Strasburg look like a shell of his former self. A guy who lived at 98+ MPH is now in the 93 MPH range. That follows a trend of diminished velocity from him last season. Nationals need him to be great to win, and he didn’t look like he’s up to the task.
- J.D. Davis made some flashy plays at third which overshadowed his lack or range at the position, and his error on a routine play on Saturday, set-up the bullpen machinations which partially attributed to Sunday’s loss.
- Callaway had some bad luck on the reliever front. He got trapped looking to ride Seth Lugo to easily close out a seven run lead in the ninth, and he looked bad not having someone ready in time. On Sunday, he tried to do the right thing by double switching Tim Peterson into the game, but the rally took him out and left Callaway looking to get two innings out of Justin Wilson.
- While he was trapped in those two games, Callaway’s use of his bullpen remains to be an issue dating back to last season. Given his experience as a pitching coach, his troubles handling a bullpen is particularly odd.
- Callaway also has to let go of the manager fear of not removing a starting catcher from the game. On Saturday, Wilson Ramos was on third in a tie game in the eighth inning. With speedy runners on the bench, he should have been substituted out of the game for a runner.
- It’s odd Luis Guillorme has not seen any game action yet, especially when the Mets have opted for late inning defense in their games.
- It’s still very early for Brandon Nimmo, but his striking out in half of his plate attempts is problematic. On the bright side, he got off the snide with a single against the left-handed Corbin.
- Keon Broxton showed he has to play against left-handed pitching. In his lone start, he was 2-2 with a walk off Corbin with a stolen base. For his career, he hits .242/.357/.445 off lefties.
- Phillies sweeping the Braves was certainly eye opening, but we should take into account Jake Arrieta walked six against a fairly aggressive Braves lineup, and Nick Pivetta couldn’t even get out of the fifth.
- Dominic Smith has gotten off to a good start in his own right going 1-for-3 with a run, walk, and two RBI on top of being a defensive substitution. His start makes you wonder if he should start seeing some outfield time to occasionally fit him into the lineup.
- The Mets being the best Opening Day team in Major League history is perfect for a team who continuously builds up Mets fans hope only to quickly dash them. Hopefully, this is more like 2006 than it is just about every other year in Mets history.