Jared Hughes

Jeff McNeil Exits To Observe Mets 2020 Season

The New York Mets never cease to be completely ridiculous and absurd. They never cease to amaze and shock you.

Today, Jeff McNeil picked up a bat and headed off the field, and Luis Guillorme would have to pinch hit and take over for him in the leadoff spot and second base.

Believe it or not, this was due to “gastrointestinal discomfort,” which is probably just another way of saying he had to use the bathroom.

With the one man who scored a run over the first seven innings gone, the Mets had their own runs issues.

David Peterson had allowed two earned over five, but he had retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced. Despite his being at 81 pitches, he was lifted as the Mets went to the bullpen.

Brad Brach and Jared Hughes imploded in the sixth allowing five runs putting the game completely out of reach.

The Mets added two cosmetic runs in the eighth, but all that did was make the score 7-3 giving the allusion it was much closer than it was.

The Mets now have the fourth worst record in the NL, and they’re two games behind the Giants in the loss column for the final postseason spot with 13 games remaining.

Essentially, we’re watching the 2020 Mets season being flushed down the drain while McNeil is standing there watching with a bat.

Game Notes: Dominic Smith has an eight game hitting streak, and he knocked in two of the Mets three runs.

Mets Complete Comeback

This wasn’t your typical Mets script. This is a team who finds a way to get close enough to just rip your heart out. Tonight, they were doing that to the Orioles instead of their fans.

For a while, it seemed there was no shot for the Mets to win this one as the Orioles were teeing off on Rick Porcello. At one point, they were 9-for-15 off Porcello, and seemingly the only way for the Mets to record an out was to throw out a runner looking to stretch a single into a double as Michael Conforto did to Chance Sisco to lead off the second.

Through three, the Orioles were up 5-1. That one run came in the second when Jeff McNeil singled home Dominic Smith, who led off the inning with his MLB leading 17th double.

The score would be 6-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth after McNeil and DJ Stewart traded a pair of homers. In the bottom of the fifth, Conforto would ignite the Mets with a solo homer.

The rally didn’t end with the homer. Later in the inning, Cano snapped out of his slump to hit an RBI single to pull the Mets to within 6-5. That’s when the Mets defense would shine and keep the Mets in the game.

The first came from McNeil who robbed Jose Iglesias of an extra base hit:

Even though that was the second out and there was no one on, Jared Hughes had trouble getting out of that inning. He’d load the bases, and Luis Rojas would bring in the struggling Justin Wilson to face Rio Ruiz. For a moment, it looked like Ruiz hit a bases clearing double:

After those pair of great defensive plays, the Mets would get the big hits they needed. First, it was Andres Gimenez tying the game in the bottom of the sixth with his second career homer:

Then, it was Pete Alonso hitting his 11th homer of the year in the bottom of the eighth to give the Mets a 7-6 lead.

Being the Mets, they weren’t quite out of the woods yet. Edwin Diaz allowed a lead-off single, and for a moment, it looked like the first two would reach. That was until Luis Guillorme, who was brought in for defense, made another great defensive play.

Diaz retired the last two to earn his third save of the year. It was a dramatic and needed win to help keep the Mets postseason hopes alive.

Game Notes: McNeil has homered in four straight. Diaz, Seth Lugo, and bullpen coach Ricky Bones wore 21 today in honor of Roberto Clemente.

Phillies Plan Working Better Than Brodie Van Wagenenโ€™s

The second place Philadelphia Phillies are red hot. With their win tonight against the New York Mets, they’ve now won 10 out of their last 11.

Tonight, the former Cy Young winners, Rick Porcello and Jake Arrieta, who aren’t that anymore, pitched well and to a 2-2 stalemate through six. The Mets two runs coming off an opposite field two run homer by Michael Conforto.

But the Mets couldn’t pull out the win because the Phillies are a better. You see they go to the top of the free agent market, and they use their top prospects to get players who merit it. They built real rotation depth, and they also kept prospects in reserve to address their bullpen issues.

The Mets go searching for discounts. They throw away prospects needlessly. They never address the bullpen by trade.

This left Jared Hughes in a bad spot. He’s just not a two inning reliever. He shouldn’t be going 40+ pitches. In his career, batters have a .900 OPS against him.

After allowing a run in the seventh, he stayed in for the eighth. He ran out of gas allowing two more runs putting the Mets down 5-2.

The Mets had their chance in the eighth. Dominic Smith hit an RBI single to pull the Mets to within 5-3. There were runners on first and second with one out.

Robinson Cano, Van Wagenen’s biggest trade acquisition, lined out. Pete Alonso then popped out to end the inning.

Meanwhile, new Phillies closer, Brandon Workman, recently obtained from the Red Sox, earned the save for the Phillies. Instead of being dismayed by this, just remember Steve Cohen is buying the team, and he can hire a good GM to turn things around.

Game Notes: The Mets DFA’d Billy Hamilton to make room for Erasmo Ramirez. Hamilton is the players the Mets obtained for Jordan Humphreys.

Dellin Betances Throws It Away

Through 7.1 innings, the Mets did nothing against J.A. Happ. Just three singles negated by five strikeouts. He was then lifted for Adam Ottavino.

Aaron Boone‘s decision turned out to be a mistake because Wilson Ramos would hit a game tying homer.

That homer got Robert Gsellman off the hook. It’s a good thing because Gsellman didn’t deserve to lose this one.

After allowing the second batter of the game, Luke Voit, to homer, he turned in his best work since returning to the rotation. After that homer, he allowed just three more hits while walking none and striking out four.

The plan was to have Steven Matz piggyback his start, but Matz left the game after one inning with a shoulder injury and may very well land on the IL.

That meant to the Mets bullpen needed to step up again. It really wasn’t quite up to the task.

After Jared Hughes pitched a scoreless sixth, Brad Brach walked the bases loaded in the seventh. Jeurys Familia fell behind DJ LeMahieu 3-2 before getting LeMahieu to ground out to end the inning.

After Justin Wilson pitched a scoreless eighth, it was Dellin Betances against his former team in the ninth. Betances admitting to being fatigued and not having it. It showed.

Ramos really had no chance to catch Betances’ wild pitch. With that wild pitch, the Mets wouldn’t have another big come from behind win. Instead, they’d be walk-off losers.

On the bright side, Steve Cohen agreed to buy the Mets . . . again. This time it’s for $200 million cheaper. That should allow him to fix all the mistakes Brodie Van Wagenen made which led to losses like this.

Game Notes: Offseason additions Betances, Rick Porcello, and Michael Wacha have combined for a 7.19 ERA. Zack Wheeler‘s is 2.58.

Mets At Homer In Yankee Stadium

Due to a poor Michael Wacha start, the Mets were down 4-1 in the the of the sixth of a seven inning game. Pete Alonso hit a game tying three run homer to dead center starting the home run barrage.

After Alonso tied it, Dominic Smith hit a homer to give the Mets the lead, and Jake Marisnick homered in his first game off the IL for good measure.

Walker Lockett, who would be DFAd after the game picked up the win, and Edwin Diaz earned the save in what was his first true save chance since the first week of the season.

Again, in the second end of the doubleheader, the Mets fell behind the Yankees. However, while David Peterson did struggle in his first start off the IL.

The Mets fell down 3-1 before getting one back on a Brandon Nimmo RBI double scoring Luis Guillorme in the fifth. That’s where it was when Aroldis Chapman took the mound in the seventh.

He walked Jeff McNeil to start the inning, and Luis Rojas sent up the ice cold Amed Rosario to pinch hit for the red hot Guillorme. Long story, short, Rojas is a genius:

With that, Rosario hit a walk-off homer in Yankee Stadium giving the Mets a 4-3 win and doubleheader sweep, and Jared Hughes picked up his first Mets win. The Mets batted last in this game (but were still technically the away team) due to this game being rescheduled from last week.

As if the doubleheader sweep with both wins coming in dramatic fashion wasn’t enough, it appears Steve Cohen will be buying the Mets. All in all, this is about as good a day as it gets for Mets fans.

Game Notes: Juan Lagares was DFAd to make room for Marisnick. In the doubleheader, Smith was an incredible 3-for-4 with two runs, a double, homer, and RBI.

Mets Offense Not Biggest Embarrassment In Marlins Doubleheader Sweep

In the first game of the doubleheader, the Mets were 0-for-10 at the plate with runners in scoring position. Things weren’t as bad in the second half as the Mets offense went just 0-for-5.

The no hits with runners in scoring position, the Mets offense was shut out over 14 innings. Even if the Mets played the other four innings, you’d be hard pressed to find an argument why they’d score a run.

In this game, the Mets offense had just two hits, and those hits were originally Red errors. That at least spared the Mets the indignity of joining the Pittsburgh Pirates in being no-hit today.

At least the Pirates faced Lucas Giolito. This Mets team really has no excuses.

The Mets inability to hit ruined a good return to the rotation by Seth Lugo. Lugo lasted three innings, and he didn’t allow a base runner while striking out five.

While Luis Rojas said Lugo was good for 60 pitches, he lifted Lugo after 39 pitches. Seeing how the fourth inning unfolded, he may want to revisit this decision (or text message).

For the first time this year, Jared Hughes didn’t have it. He walked Jon Berti to start the inning. After a one out single by Corey Dickerson, Brian Anderson hit a two run double.

Chasen Shreve would relieve Hughes and get out of the inning, but it was too little too late as the Mets couldn’t drive in a run.

It’s gotten to the point where the Mets are snake-bit. Case-in-point is the sixth. The Mets had runners on first and second with one out, and Luis Guillorme tattooed a line drive.

That ball was hit right at Marlins first baseman Lewin Diaz. Diaz caught the liner before easily beating the runner to the base to end the inning.

That sixth was a very curious inning for Rojas.

Despite Andres Gimenez on the IL, and with the Mets bench somewhat suspect now, at least in terms of bats, Rojas went to Robinson Cano to pinch hit for Amed Rosario.

After Cano beat the shift by slapping the ball the other way, Rojas tabbed Juan Lagares to pinch run for Cano. He did that even with Billy Hamilton being on the bench. Hamilton is a better runner and weaker hitter. The move made little sense.

As embarrassing as that was, there was Berti flat out embarrassing the Mets in the bottom of the sixth.

Berti drew a leadoff walk against Jeurys Familia. He would steal second. Later in the inning, Berti had a delayed steal of grief where J.D. Davis didn’t pay attention and then didn’t cover third.

That wasn’t the worst of it.

With two outs, Ali Sanchez had looked Berti back to third. Berti moved towards third as Sanchez lollypopped a throw back to Familia.

On the throw, Berti spun and broke for home. Even with Berti slipping, he was able to steal home as Sanchez couldn’t field the throw Familia had spiked in front of him.

It’s one thing to lose. It’s a whole other thing to be flat out embarrassed like this. The Mets lost 3-0. It might as well have been 100-0.

Game Notes: With this being a makeup game, the Marlins batted second. Even with the Marlins batting second, the Mets were still the home team. Jacob deGrom is slated to start tomorrow because the Mets wanted to keep him on his regular schedule. Sanchez had his first career MLB start.

Mets Not Built To Have Seth Lugo In Starting Rotation

Time and again, we’ve seen Seth Lugo come up huge. That’s both in the starting rotation, where he wants to be, and the bullpen, where he has established himself as the best reliever in baseball.

When it comes to Lugo, it’s never really been a question of whether he could pitch in the rotation. The question is what is his best role on this Mets team.

As this Mets bullpen and pitching staff as a whole is constituted, they lean on Lugo’s ability to not just go multiple innings, but to also get the biggest outs in the game. With the current state of the rotation, you could argue Lugo’s ability to eat those innings in pressure spots makes him all the more needed in the bullpen.

With injuries and opt outs, Jacob deGrom is the only Mets starter guaranteed to give you at least five innings. That’s it. As a result, there’s an onus and strain on the bullpen.

What makes it all the worse is Robert Gsellman and Corey Oswalt being in the rotation. Those are two pitchers who could be relied upon to at least eat innings.

Keep in mind, that’s just eat innings. Presumably, you can also have Paul Sewald, Walker Lockett, and Franklyn Kilome do that. However, that’s only one part of the equation.

The real value with Lugo is his versatility. He’s a one inning closer. He’s a long man. He’s there to bail you out of the inning. No one else can do what he does.

The aforementioned long men can give you innings, but they cannot be relied upon in a crucial spot. Right now, Justin Wilson and maybe Jared Hughes can be relied upon in a crucial spot, but they can’t give you more than three outs in a consistent fashion.

As we saw last night, the Mets bullpen is still very suspect in those late innings when Lugo is unavailable. Part of the reason is Dellin Betances, Edwin Diaz, and Jeurys Familia are occasionally prone to fits of wildness.

With respect to Diaz and Familia, they’ve made significant strides from their disastrous 2019 season. As previously explained, Diaz can likely be relied upon to close again. However, like most closers, he’s not as good or as reliable when being brought into a jam.

With respect to Betances, he’s not the same reliever he once was. His velocity is down, and he’s more hittable. As a result, he’s no longer the guy you can just plug into the seventh or eighth.

Now, you may want to argue Steven Matz may be able to be that guy. If that is the case, why remove him from the rotation and disrupt the status quo.

Taking Matz out of the rotation implicitly means the Mets don’t trust him. That goes double when the Mets won’t start him against a Martins team with the fifth wurst wRC+ in the National League.

Digging deeper, the Marlins are the worst offensive team the Mets face all year. This is the team you let Matz get right against. That is all the more the case when the Marlins have a 69 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.

All told, the Mets bullpen is already getting taxed. It’s going to get worse with every Gsellman and Oswalt start. Now, it’s going to get worse with each Lugo 2-3 inning start.

Removing Matz from the rotation now is a short-sighted panic move. The team simply doesn’t have the arms for three bullpen games through each turn through the rotation. They’re even less equipped without Lugo.

In the end, Lugo will be a good starter. It’s just that the entire team is not built to have Lugo in the rotation. The Mets should be aware of this, but as usual, Brodie Van Wagenen thinks he knows better than everyone. Each and every time he thinks that, the decision blows up in the Mets faces.

Chances are, this decision will too.

Roadsario Re-Emerges In Win Over Marlins

Around many corners, many were wondering if this was it for Amed Rosario. The one time uber prospect was struggling while Luis Guillorme and Andres Gimenez seemed to be forming an all-time great Mets middle infield.

That’s what small sample sizes will do to you. That’s also what the urgency of the 60 game season will do.

To their credit, the Mets haven’t given up on Rosario’s talent. Last night, they were rewarded.

It started as an ominous day. That was because in typical Mets fashion David Peterson‘s shoulder injury being worse than originally advertised. That led to Peterson being placed on the IL, and Corey Oswalt being recalled to make the emergency start.

Oswalt acquitted himself well. He threw three scoreless before getting into trouble in the fourth. In that inning, Jesus Aguilar hit an RBI double and come in to score on a Brian Anderson RBI single. That Marlins rally narrowed the score to 3-2.

The first two Mets runs came via solo homers off Marlins starter Humberto Mejia. The first of which was a Brandon Nimmo third inning shot which has continued his impressive stretch of extra base hits.

The Mets rallied in the fourth with another solo homer. After that Michael Conforto walked, and Pete Alonso hit a one out single. Dominic Smith would drive in the Mets third run with a ground rule double.

That put Oswalt in position for the win, but he would fall just short. Overall, his final line was 4.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. He’d also have a pick-off.

Magneuris Sierra led off the fifth with a single, and he would steal second. With the Mets holding a one run lead and the tying run in scoring position, Luis Rojas brought in Justin Wilson to relieve Oswalt with one out in the fifth.

Wilson got out of the jam, and he’d pitch 1.1 scoreless. He’d pick up the win as he’d combine with Jared Hughes, Dellin Betances, and Edwin Diaz to shut out the Marlins over the final 4.2 innings.

They’d maintain the lead and see it grow as Rosario began to put on a show. In addition to making diving stops in the infield, we’d see his bat come back to life. We first saw that with a no doubter in the seventh.

He wasn’t done. In the eighth, the Mets loaded the bases, and Smith drew a wall forcing home a run. Then, Rosario came up and delivered an opposite field two RBI single effectively ending the game.

Nimmo delivered the final RBI with a single to increase the Mets lead to 8-2. In addition to Rosario, Nimmo had a huge game as well going 3-for-5 with a run, triple, homer, and three RBI.

Going back to Rosario, he was 2-for-5 with a run, homer, and three RBI. Perhaps more than any Met, he needed this one. Maybe, he just needed to get away from Citi Field as he’s been a MUCH better hitter on the road.

Whatever the case, he put together a big game with Guillorme and Gimenez seriously vying for playing time. He helped a Mets team desperately trying to right the ship. They’re now 11-14 and three games behind the Braves.

Game Notes: Wilson picked up the win on his birthday. Jacob deGrom appears set to start the series finale against the Marlins.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Mightโ€™ve Found Path To Contention

The Mets lost two out of three to the Washington Nationals dropping them deeper into last place. While that was not good, they really found something. Hopefully, they’ll follow it through.

1. Luis Guillorme and Andres Gimenez without hyperbole promises to be the Mets best ever defensive middle infield.

2. Guillorme and Gimenez gave the Mets a chance to win with their defense and their offense. Right now, the Mets cannot justify taking either out of the lineup. Not when they’re changing the complexion of games with their defense.

3. On that point, the Mets should be cognizant with Rick Porcello, David Peterson, and now Robert Gsellman in the rotation, they need that middle infield defense more than ever.

4. The Mets build a staff of ground ball pitchers. That includes Jared Hughes and Jeurys Familia in the bullpen. The Mets need to lean into it and stop fighting it.

5. Amed Rosario is still an everyday caliber player at the Major League level, and he very well may still reach the full potential he has. With the Mets, that may need to be in CF where his tools translate extremely well.

6. Brodie Van Wagenen not looking to move one of Gimenez or Rosario to CF in an organization with tremendous middle infield depth and ZERO outfield depth is another indictment on him.

7. It’s another reason why the Robinson Cano trade was short sighted and very poorly executed. Cano needed to be moved to first or third.

8. It should be no surprise this is how Van Wagenen has operated as this is all one big grift. It’s clear the Wilpons were selling, and they were willing to trade off all of the future to win now.

9. With the sale bidding process, we see the Wilpons will do what they can to win one last World Series. We also see Van Wagenen has a complete disregard for his farm and acts like an excited puppy when teams asks for real prospects for defensive replacements. That means right now no prospect is safe . . . no matter how ridiculous the trade.

10. To set narratives straight, Michael Conforto continues to be the Mets best hitter, and he came through with a clutch hit yesterday.

11. Also, Dominic Smith should be playing everyday. Between his bat and heads up play getting the tag at second, this is a smart and very good baseball player.

12. Brandon Nimmo is an on-base machine. As we saw again on Monday, he’s not a center fielder. He needs to be in left with Jeff McNeil back at third.

13. Something just seems off all year with McNeil. He’s nowhere near the hitter or defender he was last year. He’s still a productive player, but we’ve learned to expect more. He’ll figure it out soon.

14. The Marcus Stroman trade was a bad trade at its inception, not because he opted out. The only thing the Mets can do to salvage the trade is to extend Stroman, but there’s no way the Mets do that before the sale.

15. It’s good to see Pete Alonso hitting again. The team needed it. If he’s hitting again, the Mets can roll with their defense, and they’re going to win a lot of games.

16. While everyone is taking about what the Mets need to do this offseason at catcher, they really need to have discussions on what they should do right now with Wilson Ramos playing like the worst catcher in baseball.

17. The Mets getting completely blown out by the Nationals at least once a year is a tradition we can all do without.

18. Juan Soto hitting monster homers, including two of longest in Citi Field history, and killing the Mets is another thing we never need to see again.

19. Gsellman was the right choice to move to the rotation. The Mets have the bullpen depth now to bullpen it as he gets up to speed, and his stuff plays better as a starter than reliever.

20. The NL East is a mess right now. It’s still winnable. The Mets don’t need bold moves at the trade deadline. They just need to play the right players, and they’ll win a lot of games.

Game Recaps

Nationals Annual Beat-Down Of Mets Continues

Mets Defense Was Phenomenal In Loss To Nationals

Mets Offense Wakes Up And Beats Nationals

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Finally Win A Series

Well, the last place Mets took a series from the first place Marlins. That’s certainly something we never thought would happen in August 2020, but that’s where we are.

1. Andres Gimenez continues to prove he’s a Major Leaguer. When Robinson Cano is ready to return, it’s going to be impossible to pull him from the lineup.

2. If you’ll note, since the Mets have been forced to switch to a vastly superior defensive alignment, they’ve begun winning.

3. As we see that includes getting J.D. Davis out of left where he made you pine for the days of Todd Hundley, Daniel Murphy, and Lucas Duda.

4. Ty Cobb is the MLB all-time MLB leader with a .378 BABIP. Post World War II, Rod Carew is the leader at .359. Simply put, if you’re over those marks, your numbers are not sustainable.

5. On a related note, the Mets embarrass themselves, when they tout average plays as being great plays as part of their endeavoring to make a horrendous GM look somewhat competent.

6. Gimenez shows how great the Mets had been identifying Major League talent in the draft and international free agent market during the Sandy Alderson era.

7. The Mets bullpen had stepped up in August. Part of that is Edwin Diaz returning to his old form. No, it’s not because he’s out of the closer role. It’s because he has great stuff.

8. Seth Lugo needs to be used in the highest leverage spots. That’s not always the ninth, and that’s why he can’t be used as just a closer.

9. Speaking of pitchers with great stuff, Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball and not even a blister or “hot spot” can get in his way.

10. Tomas Nido has completely outplayed Wilson Ramos this year. You know the Mets will never make the switch, but you do wonder if the Mets will find more spots for Nido.

11. Jared Hughes is one of those players who come along and are a pure joy. Not only has he pitched well, but he’s also shown the ability to laugh at himself. Like the Juan Uribe era, the Jared Hughes era will go down as one of the most enjoyable in Mets history.

12. Even with the juiced ball appearing to return, the Mets offense has looked off all year. That’s most likely the result of their inability to hit with RISP.

13. Pete Alonso struggling doesn’t help either. The frustrating part is every time he appears to break out, he starts slumping again.

14. Mets have been lucky getting serviceable starts from David Peterson. He did it again in this series helping the Mets turn things around.

15. With Michael Wacha going down with a shoulder injury, the question before the Mets is whether Corey Oswalt or Franklyn Kilome can step in the way Peterson has.

16. This further highlights how the Mets desperately need Marcus Stroman back. That was the case when Wacha was “healthy.”

17. Michael Conforto has a hit in every game this season, and Brandon Nimmo has reached in 30 straight games (dating back to last year). Somehow, Mets fans still have a hard problem embracing them and instead ask why they’re not perfect.

18. The Cardinals have only played five games, and seemingly every time they appear set to return, there’s another positive test. Maybe they should just be contracted . . . at least for the 2020 season.

19. MLB went from not suspending or fining Carlos Correa for clearly violating COVID19 protocols. Let’s see if MLB continues their Astros double standard when dealing with Ramon Laureano.

20. If the Mets want to be taken seriously, they need to beat up on a Washington Nationals team who is undermanned and playing terribly right now.

Game Recaps

At Least Dominic Smith Homered

Mets Homegrown Talent Beats Marlins Youth

Andres Gimenez Shows Marlins He Belongs