Jay Bruce

20/20 Hindsight: Chairs Going Further Than The Mets

Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, the Mets continue to embarrass themselves as an organization, and there is no one to answer for anything other than the manager:

1. Brodie Van Wagenen was real quick to put down Sandy Alderson in saying he was going to be more available to the media, and he was going to build a team with no ifs. Seeing how he is hiding in plain sight, and this team is a bigger disaster than any team Alderson, he should call up Alderson and apologize.

2. It should be noted former executives and players noted Van Wagenen’s behavior was completely unacceptable. Also unacceptable was how Van Wagenen ducked reporters on not just this question but any question. Instead, he would rather berate Mickey Callaway and send him to the wolves. This is the definition of callow.

3. Jay Bruce has as many homers against the Mets as Robinson Cano has for the Mets this season.

4. The reports Van Wagenen was angry over the team blowing a Jacob deGrom start just feeds into the narrative Van Wagenen took the job to help his clients.

5. The Callaway criticism among the fanbase is getting way over the top. It’s now at the point where they are criticizing him for being directed by the team’s video review official to challenge a play. That’s not a manager lacking feel. That’s a manager doing his job with the information on-hand. It’s also very doubtful if he passed on the challenging the call because he used his “game feel” the same fans killing him for it would give him credit.

6. Like with the media, Callaway is just a whipping boy. The fact he does this without throwing anyone under the bus is really remarkable. Even with the regrettable Healey outburst, he has shown himself to be the consummate professional. Even if you disagree, you should admit no one deserves to be treated the way he has been.

7. More than Callaway, Mets fans deserve better than this.

8. The state of umpiring in baseball is a joke. Rhys Hoskins was out at the plate, and yet, the umpires were perfectly content being wrong on a potentially game changing play. It’s beyond stupid that tag plays at the plate are not automatically up for independent review like touchdowns.

9. Pete Alonso is quickly becoming like Mike Piazza, Yoenis Cespedes, or Darryl Strawberry. You have to stop to watch when he bats. His homer off Aaron Nola ended the no-hitter, and in the rally later in the game, you were just waiting for that Jeff McNeil hit to get Alonso to the plate as the tying run. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.

10. At least at the plate, Amed Rosario has been quite good for over two weeks now. Over the past 19 games, he his hitting .333/.361/.455 with five doubles, a homer, and six RBI. That’s real progress, and if he hits like this he has a spot on this team. Unfortunately, it is increasingly looking like that may not be short.

11. When looking at the trade with the Brewers, everything that has occurred has been reasonably foreseeable. The lone exception may be Edwin Diaz‘s struggles. However, there are indications it may be bone spur related, which was a known problems. So, overall, every disaster that has occurred was foreseeable.

12. A Future’s Game with Anthony Kay, Justin Dunn, and Jarred Kelenic could have been the high point of the season, especially with them being friendly with one another and talking about how much they love and respect Alonso. It was still great seeing Kay pitch a scoreless inning.

13. As if things weren’t bad enough, Jerry Manuel wore a Mets cap as he coached the World Team in the Future’s Game. The backstabbing self-interested walking soundbite sacrificing the team’s youth and potential wearing a Mets cap is just perfect.

14. Somehow, Jake Arrieta hit Todd Frazier and Rosario were hit by pitches, and it was Frazier and Callaway who were tossed from the game. You can say it was unintentional, but Arrieta did hit three in that game which doubled his season total. He also gave that psychopath press conference after the game saying he was going to dent Frazier’s skull.

15. The Mets aren’t going anywhere, and they were heading into the All-Star Break. How the team doesn’t put Michael Conforto on the IL with his stiff back and just give Juan Lagares more playing time in the hopes of creating some sort of a trade market is just plain incompetence.

16. Still no Jed Lowrie.

17. Mets are getting better than can be expected production from Alonso, McNeil, Frazier, Dominic Smith, and Tomas Nido, and they are 10 games under .500. That’s almost impossibly bad and a reflecting on a bad GM making impossibly bad decisions.

18.  Steven Matz in the bullpen didn’t exactly look good with him allowing three hits to the five batters he faced in his second game. Of course, you should probably ask yourself why a starter would work in back-to-back games. But that would assume the Mets have a rhyme or reason for what they do.

19. The “Sell The Team” chants need to be much more prevalent in the second half of the season. No, it’s not going to get them to spend or operate this team better. What is will do is embarrass the Wilpons who deserve all the embarrassment they’re due.

20. Alonso has the potential to become a superstar tonight with a big performance in the Home Run Derby. Let’s hope it happens.

Mets Still Have Fight

Say what you want about these Mets, but they have fight.

After yet another brutal loss, they jump out to a 1-0 lead with a Michael Conforto RBI double scoring Jeff McNeil, who had a four hit night.

Noah Syndergaard would struggle over five walking three and giving up two homers. Of course, one was hit by Jay Bruce.

The Mets were down 3-1 and responded with a McNeil RBI single in the second. They’d fall behind 4-2, and Dominic Smith would hit an RBI double in the third.

It would be 4-3 with one out in the bottom of the fifth. That’s when Jake Arrieta would hit Todd Frazier. Frazier was hopping mad over it to the point he’d get tossed and the umpires would issue warnings.

After Smith hit his second double, Arrieta plunked Amed Rosario to load the bases. When Arrieta wasn’t ejected, Mickey Callaway argued and was then ejected. Of note here, Arrieta had hit three batters all year entering tonight, and he would double that total.

No, it wouldn’t be the umpire who knocked Arrieta out of the game. It would be Tomas Nido with a three run double giving the Mets a 6-4 lead.

From there, Justin Wilson, Robert Gsellman, Steven Matz, and Seth Lugo combined to allow one run over three innings.

It wasn’t easy. In the seventh, Gsellman hit Jean Segura and wasn’t tossed. This led to Matz coming into the game. He allowed two hits scoring an inherited run before getting Bruce out to end the inning.

Cesar Hernandez led off the eighth with an infield single, and Seth Lugo relieved Matz. This would look more like the Lugo we’re accustomed to seeing. He ended the rally and preserved the 6-5 lead.

Although the Phillies hit the ball hard off Edwin Diaz, he still recorded the save. It’s a positive step, and finally, it’s a win. Even better, the Mets can enter the Break with a series win if they can pull it out tomorrow.

Game Notes: Speaking of having fight, reports indicate Van Wagenen threw a chair while berating Callaway and the rest of the Mets coaching staff after yesterday’s loss.

Boy The Mets Blew It Tonight

On Seinfeld Night, it’s only fitting this season, which has become about nothing, looks like a team run by Wilhelm.

The Mets had a 2-1 lead thanks to a Pete Alonso homer and RBI double. It wouldn’t last due to bad umpiring and the Mets bullpen.

Entering the top of the seventh, the only hit deGrom allowed was a homer to the first batter of the game Scott Kingery. After walking Rhys Hoskins to start the seventh, the second hit was a J.T. Realmuto double setting up second and third with no outs.

After a Jay Bruce groundout with the infield drawn in, Cesar Hernandez hit a slow roller to third. Todd Frazier did all he could do by going home. At first blush, Hoskins beat the Wilson Ramos tag. Upon further review, Hoskins didn’t touch the plate. Didn’t matter because the Mets lost a challenge earlier in the game:

We’ve seen plenty of times umpires initiate a crew chief review after being persuaded by a manager. Here, Mickey Callaway tried to get the review. In 99 times out of 100, there is a crew chief review, but on the night Brian Gorman was content with his incorrect and game alerting call.

The Mets entered the ninth tied 2-2. Edwin Diaz started the inning, yadda, yadda, yadda, Jeurys Familia came on and the Mets lost 7-2. Cue Kramer:

This game is like eating a Snickers bar with a fork. No one is around to take credit for this big salad. We can’t send Robinson Cano and Diaz back to the Mariners like an old man trying to send soup back in the deli. In this unspongeworthy season, each loss is real, and it’s spectacular.

Game Notes: Alonso set the Mets rookie record for most extra base hits surpassing Ty Wigginton. He also broke Jose Abreu‘s rookie record for most extra base hits in the first half. Mets are 16-30 over deGrom’s last 46 starts despite his having a 2.15 ERA.

Swarzak Is The Difference

Bottom of the seventh. One out. The Mets pulled to within 3-2 after Tomas Nido singled home Todd Frazier. Dominic Smith was the tying run at third base. The Braves went to the bullpen.

Anthony Swarzak entered. He’d allow a pinch hit infield single to J.D. Davis to load the bases. After nearly missing a grand slam, Jeff McNeil struck out. Pete Alonso, who hit a homer earlier in the game, lined out to end the jam.

And that was it.

A series after Jay Bruce beat up on the Mets, Swarzak shut the Mets down. Again, we’re reminded of just how terrible that trade was and how awful Brodie Van Wagenen has been as the General Manager.

The bright side is the Mets bullpen wouldn’t get another chance to blow a lead. Still, even without a lead, Robert Gsellman would have his own bases loaded jam except he gave up a bases clearing double to Johan Camargo to increase the Braves lead to 6-2.

What else is there to say? Jacob deGrom lost a game despite having a quality start. The Mets left seven on base. Amed Rosario had an error. Mostly, the Mets are nine games under .500.

Game Notes: A year after their horrific 5-21 June, the Mets ate so far 9-16.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Bullpen Saved Someone’s Season

The Mets went to Philadelphia to take on a wounded Phillies team who was aboslutely reeling. You knew after this series one of these two teams would still be standing, and the other will look like their past offseason was all for naught. Well, the Mets bullpen would make sure that would happen:

1. As noted by Michael Mayer, the last time a team blew five games where they led by at least two runs was the 2011 Mets. No, not the last time the Mets did it – the last time anyone did it. The closer that year was Francisco Rodriguez with Pedro Beato, Bobby Parnell, and Jason Isringhausen serving as setup men. Prior to this season, no one was saying “Come get us!”

2. We can talk about different parts of this Mets team getting exposed, but no one was more exposed than Brodie Van Wagenen. He mismanaged the “crisis” with Mickey Callaway and Jason Vargas. The media reported his involvement in game decisions like removing Jacob deGrom from a game. There were reports it was more than that as well.

4. This debacle is reminiscent of the 1993 Mets with Vince Coleman throwing fireworks at fans and Bret Saberhagen dousing reporters in bleach. What’s the common denominator between those two Mets teams? The Wilpons.

5. It was good for the Wilpons to take nine years to finally do the right thing by honoring Tom Seaver. Of course, they waited so long Seaver is now suffering from dementia so he cannot travel for these honors, and he may also not have the mental faculties to enjoy the honors being bestowed upon him.

6. The article by Wallace Matthews of Yahoo is completely ridiculous. Not only does he call Vargas the team’s most reliable starter, but he gets a chance to speak with Jeff Wilpon. With that access, he talks about the incident with Tim Healey instead of literally anything else. Honestly, if Jeff wants to talk about that, don’t bother. It’s a waste of time.

7. Jeff Wilpon’s silence on the state of this team and the continual inept way it is run from a number of facets should be met by fans with silence. We could call to organize a boycott or something, but in reality, the team being this soul crushingly bad is going to keep the fans away anyway. When that happens, Jeff’s silence will be met with silence.

8. Worse than that, Jay Bruce gets a key pinch hit home run and a walk off double, Robinson Cano has multiple 0-for-5’s, and Edwin Diaz blows a save. Right there, his biggest move completely busted. Actually, that’s not fair, it was a bust long before that.

9. So much for scapegoating Dave Eiland and Chuck Hernandez because the Mets bullpen imploded in the four game set. Worse yet, these were games the Mets absolutely should have won:

10. What Dominic Smith has done this season has been nothing short of remarkable. This team needs to be smart and really look at him in left field for the rest of the year to determine if he can be a long term solution there. If nothing else, the Mets need as many cheap bats as they can get.

11. Amed Rosario has had a number of peaks and valleys, and recently, this has been a bit of a peak. Over his last 11 games, he is hitting .342/.366/.500 with four stolen bases in as many attempts. Ultimately, there still remains hope for him.

12. The Mets need to figure out what to do with Cano, and they need to figure it out sooner rather than later. Realistically speaking, he needs to be moved to a less demanding position like third base and get some days off. As each day passes, it’s clear he can’t play second everyday.

13. Moving Cano to third solves the problem there, and it allows the team to move Jeff McNeil back to second base. This should clear that spot for Smith and hopefully Brandon Nimmo if his injury proves to not be career altering.

14. Speaking of Nimmo, only the Mets could take a talented fan favorite player like him, have him get to an All Star level, and then do all they can to completely ruin him. It’s a not so fun pattern with this team.

15. Todd Frazier has done a lot to help this team and build his trade value. The problem is he’s still a rental who is not really getting you something in return. Really, if you want to make a difference at the deadline, you need to trade major pieces, but with the young talent so close, you can’t do that either.

16. Michael Conforto continues to show himself to be both a great and underappreciated player. He should be an All Star this season. If he isn’t, it’s because this team stinks, and the organization can’t be bothered to promote it’s most talented and perhaps best position player.

17. Chris Mazza getting called up at 29 years old is a feel good story. It’s a feel good story just like Tyler Pill and Drew Gagnon was before him. He should enjoy the moment, but we shouldn’t be expecting anything from him.

18. Chris Flexen looks like a real weapon in the bullpen. Brooks Pounders may become that as well. The optimistic Mets fans could look at them joining Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman in front of Diaz, who really cannot be this bad next year, to become a formidable bullpen. As Mets fans, we should know better than to hope.

19. Callaway does sound ridiculous when he says the Mets are so close, but he’s not wrong. This team continues to fight and play hard. If they had even a capable bullpen, they’d be in a much better position. If fact, this is the only team in baseball with more blown saves (20) than saves (18). If you just take back half of those blown saves, the Mets are 47-35, which puts them a game out of first place.

20. Short of honoring the 1969 Mets this weekend, and maybe sometime late in the season to see if Pete Alonso breaks some home run records, there is zero reason to go see the Mets at Citi Field other than your love of the Mets and baseball. The latter is why the Wilpons have us and will never sell the team.

Jay Bruce Walks It Off!!!!!

Tonight’s game against the Phillies and the 2019 season as a whole can be summed up like this:

In the 10th inning of a game the Mets once led 4-0, Jay Bruce hit a walk-off double against Stephen Nogosek.

That’s right. A player the Mets traded away got the game winning hit against a reliever who began the year in Double-A and was rushed up to the majors because the Mets had little other option.

Robinson Cano was 0-for-5, but it’s alright because Edwin Diaz pitched a perfect ninth in what was a non-save situation. That’s certainly worth $100 million over five years plus Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn.

At the end of the day, the Mets got what was coming to them for all they did this past offseason. As a fan, you might as well laugh because if you don’t, you’re going to go crazy.

Game Recap: Chris Mazza was called up from Triple-A. To make room for him on the roster, Walker Lockett was sent down, and Ryan O’Rourke was designated for assignment. Dominic Smith homered in his third straight game.

Jay Bruce Walks It Off!!!!!

Tonight’s game against the Phillies and the 2019 season as a whole can be summed up like this:

In the 10th inning of a game the Mets once led 4-0, Jay Bruce hit a walk-off double against Stephen Nogosek.

That’s right. A player the Mets traded away got the game winning hit against a reliever who began the year in Double-A and was rushed up to the majors because the Mets had little other option.

Robinson Cano was 0-for-5, but it’s alright because Edwin Diaz pitched a perfect ninth in what was a non-save situation. That’s certainly worth $100 million over five years plus Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn.

At the end of the day, the Mets got what was coming to them for all they did this past offseason. As a fan, you might as well laugh because if you don’t, you’re going to go crazy.

Game Recap: Chris Mazza was called up from Triple-A. To make room for him on the roster, Walker Lockett was sent down, and Ryan O’Rourke was designated for assignment. Dominic Smith homered in his third straight game.

Mets Bullpen Blows Yet Another Game

Things were looking great for the Mets. To put it in perspective, Robinson Cano had an RBI single to open the scoring.

It was 2-1 Mets after one, and Walker Lockett was looking pretty good after allowing a leadoff homer to Scott Kingery. He would settle in from there allowing just a Rhys Hoskins homer in the fourth as the two teams entered the sixth.

The lead at that time was 4-2 as Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith homered off Jake Arrieta.

That lead grew to 5-2 in the top of the sixth. The run was set up by Rosario. After hitting a one out single, he stole second, and he went to third on a throwing error by J.T. Realmuto. Rosario would score on a two out RBI single by Jeff McNeil.

Speaking of McNeil, earlier in the game, he flat out robbed Bryce Harper of an extra base hit:

Going back, it was a two out RBI single by McNeil because Mickey Callaway was told by Brodie Van Wagenen to have Lockett bat in the top of the sixth. Sure, he had a walk and a single, but that was the time to pinch hit for him. The Mets would regret not doing it.

Harper led off the sixth with a walk, which is always a bad omen. There would be runners on second and third on a Realmuto one out double. That double led Van Wagenen to have Callaway bring in Wilmer Font.

Font allowed the first inherited runner to score on a Jay Bruce RBI groundout. The other scored on a Cesar Hernandez RBI single. After that, it was back-to-back homers from Maikel Franco and Brad Miller to give the Phillies a 7-5 lead.

To make matters worse, Font responded by going way up and in on Kingery. The HBP led to both benches bring warned, the ejection of an irate Gabe Kapler‘s ejection, and the Mets bringing in Robert Gsellman.

Gsellman and Chris Flexen would combine to pitch 2.1 scoreless to give the Mets a chance to comeback in this game. For a moment, it looked like they did when McNeil hit one deep off Juan Nicasio in the eighth.

Instead of it being a game tying two run homer, it was a ground rule double. Apparently, there’s a small fence above the actual fence. Balls must clear that to be a homer. It didn’t. With the fan interference, Wilson Ramos wouldn’t get a chance to score from first (not that he would’ve anyway).

With Pete Alonso on deck, the Phillies went to Hector Neris for the four out save because, apparently, other teams allow this.

Neris would get Alonso, and he’d work his way around a Cano leadoff ninth inning double to close the door. With the loss, the Mets are a season low six games under .500. You get the sense this isn’t rock bottom.

Game Notes: Mets were 2-for 12 with RISP leaving 11 men on base. Mets June bullpen ERA is 7.44.

Jeff Wilpon Needs To Speak About What’s Going On With His Mets

The New York Mets are five games under .500, which is the lowest point they’ve been at any point this season. As with most teams under .500, everything seems in disarray. This is a pattern for the Mets franchise which exists even in good times. Still, things have been at a higher level of dysfunction lately.

Mickey Callaway didn’t take kindly to what appeared to be an innocuous comment from Newsday’s Tim Healey. The frustration coming from a tough loss, having to answer difficult questions, or whatever else is related to being the Mets manager came flying out. Callaway finally snapped and directed it at Healey, which he shouldn’t have done.

Things were heightened when Jason Vargas purportedly to knock out Healey, and he needed to be restrained by Carlos Gomez and an injured Noah Syndergaard.

This was an embarrassing course of events which were made all the more difficult when Callaway had to speak with reporters three times before getting the words which people wanted to hear from him out. As bad as you may want to characterize what Callaway did or did not say, it’s nowhere near are terse and sarcastic as what Vargas had to offer:

It should be noted here Callaway was at least man enough to speak with Healey personally and offer an apology. Nowhere was it reported Vargas did the same. Despite that, both were not suspended and were fined $10,000.

Of course, with this being the Mets, that’s not enough. During the game, we were reminded just how bad a job Brodie Van Wagenen has done as the General Manager. Jay Bruce would hit a pinch hit home run against Brooks Pounders, a scrap heap guy Van Wagenen had to obtain to try to piece together what was an incomplete bullpen to begin the year. That homer essentially put the game away for good.

In that game, there would be 20 runs scored and 34 hits. The only position player in either starting lineup not to register a hit? Robinson Cano. Cano was 0-for-5 dropping his stat line to .223/.270/.361. So far, he has a -0.8 WAR in year one of a five year $100 million obligation to the 36 year old second baseman.

At the same time, we have seen Edwin Diaz have the worst year of his career while Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn are progressing well in the Mariners system. According to MLB Pipeline, Kelenic is the 24th best prospect in all of baseball, and Dunn is the 67th best.

That means if Van Wagenen did not make the trade, right now, the Mets would have five top 100 prospects (Andres Gimenez, Ronny Mauricio, Anthony Kay) with more on the horizon. That means the Mets farm system would have been the envy of everyone, and the team could have sold REAL hope for an under .500 fourth place team.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Mike Puma of the New York Post wrote an article alleging Van Wagenen called the Mets to instruct Callaway to remove Jacob deGrom from a game. The reporting has been confirmed many times over with the allegations going much further than this being an isolated event. On the topic, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post had this to say:

I asked the question to Brodie Van Wagenen this way, a few hours before the Mets would prove to be a splendid tonic for the reeling Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in serving as 13-7 patsies, a few minutes after he feigned ignorance at a subtler version of the inquiry:

“Do you tell Mickey what to do?”

*  *  *  *  *

So I asked. And this is what Van Wagenen said: “This organization is about teamwork and collaboration and the ability to trust the manager on an everyday basis.”

This is what he didn’t say: “No.”

It wouldn’t be until after the game Van Wagenen would seek to deny the reports. When he did, he would come across as less than convincing.

This is all coming off the heels of the team scapegoating both Dave Eiland and Chuck Hernandez while replacing them with an 82 year old Phil Regan and their bringing back Ricky Bones less than a year after he was removed from the position. We’ve also seen Travis d’Arnaud and Keon Broxton scapegoated this year.

On top of all of this, Brandon Nimmo went from neck pain we shouldn’t worry too much about to a bulging disc he tried to play through (both in the majors and in a rehab stint) to being shut down. Jed Lowrie has yet to play this season. Overall, the handling of the medical situations has continued to be inept, and the offseason acquisitions have mostly been a disaster.

At this point, no one has any credibility, and people have long since stopped wanting to hear what Callaway and Van Wagenen have to say.

The Mets have been embarrassed by the actions of his manager and fifth starter. There’s a potential scandal brewing with the General Manager allegedly violating MLB rules. There’s the continued problems with handling injuries, and the payroll remains an issue. Fans are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the team, and they’re staying away from the ballpark. Overall, the team is five games under .500, and they are closer to last place than the division or a Wild Card.

This is the exact time Jeff Wilpon needs to speak with the media. He needs to show everyone the team is not dysfunctional. He needs to support his embattled General Manager and manager. He needs to provide a vision for the future; one which can get the fans reengaged. In the end, this team is run by Jeff Wilpon, and he is the one who has to be accountable for the decisions made.

Speaking now is what a true leader would do. When put that way, we shouldn’t be holding our breath waiting for him to be accountable for the decisions made by him and the people he put in charge.

Mets Fans Owed Apology For Watching This

While Mickey Callaway was finally giving the apology which was demanded of him (which was summarily dismissed) and Jason Vargas barely did the bare minimum, Brodie Van Wagenen filled out a lineup card with Robinson Cano batting third and an outfield of Dominic SmithMichael ConfortoJeff McNeil.

However, it wasn’t discussed as there were “more pressing matters.”

If you didn’t think anything could be more embarrassing, Cano was the only position player in either starting lineup who did not have a hit in a game where there was a combined 20 runs and 34 hits in the Mets 13-7 loss. You think that’s bad? Well, Jay Bruce came and got the Mets:

This is a solid reminder Van Wagenen’s trade with the Mariners was a disaster and with each passing day things get worse.

Steven Matz couldn’t keep a lead or last five innings. He blew a 2-0 and a 6-5 lead. He was chased after allowing seven runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings.

It blew a big game at the plate for Conforto who hit a double and a homer. In fact, the Mets as a team teed off on Phillies starter Zach Eflin. In addition to Conforto, Todd Frazier, Wilson Ramos, and Smith homered.

It was all for naught as Matz didn’t have it, and the Mets outfield defense let Brooks Pounders down including Conforto playing a what should’ve been a J.T. Realmuto single into a triple. Pounders would give up the homer to Bruce.

In the end, the Mets blew another winnable game, and when you break it down, the only people owed an apology are those who watch this terribly assembled team.

Game Notes: Jeff McNeil‘s hitting streak grew to six games, but he snapped his streak of five straight multi-hit games.