Jay Bruce

Red Sox No Match For Mets

One of the two teams tonight was the best team in baseball. The other was the Boston Red Sox.

It’s an absurd statement for sure, and yet with the bats going and Noah Syndergaard dealing, the Mets looked like world beaters.

Over seven innings, Syndergaard allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out six. He really kept the Red Sox at bay at the plate but not the basepaths.

There were three stolen bases with the most egregious being an Ian Kinsler stolen base. On the play, Kindler basically walked to second (not an exaggeration). Syndergaard would get his revenge by picking off Kinsler in the sixth.

The stolen bases wouldn’t matter as the Red Sox couldn’t touch Syndergaard. Simultaneously, the Red Sox could not get the Mets out.

Left-handed pitcher William Cuevas would make his first career start, and he wouldn’t last long partially because he couldn’t get left-handed hitters out.

Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce hit back-to-back first inning doubles giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. That grew to 4-0 in the second when Bruce hit a second inning three run homer.

Brian Johnson would come on for the Red Sox and calm things down. Still Jeff McNeil would get to him hitting his third homer of the season. McNeil had yet another multi-hit game, and he had an incredible defensive play to end the seventh:

The Mets offense wasn’t done either. In the eighth inning against Tyler Thornburg, Austin Jackson and Amed Rosario would homer giving the Mets an 8-0 lead. The Rosario homer was a classic majestic shot over the Green Monster. Like McNeil, Rosario had yet another multi-hit game himself.

That left Jerry Blevins and Tyler Bashlor to close up shop. With their two scoreless innings, the Mets shut out the best offensive team in the majors. In fact, the Red Sox have the most runs and RBI with the best team batting average, OBP, SLG, and OPS. They have the second highest wRC+.

For their part, the Mets had Thor. That’s why they won.

Game Notes: It was the sixth time all season the Red Sox were shut out. There was a rat running in the Mets dugout during the game. It was not a Wilpon or Jose Reyes.

Things Can Never Just Be Good With The Mets

Last night, the Mets were absolutely rolling knocking Zach Eflin out after three and Jerad Eickhoff, who was making his first appearance of the year, out after one.

Tomas Nido, who was catching either because Kevin Plawecki was hit with another pitch or because Noah Syndergaard likes having a personal catcher, cleared the bases with an RBI double to give the Mets a 3-0 second inning lead.

Todd Frazier hit a three inning homer in the third giving the Mets a 6-0 lead leaving you to wonder how long before Gabe Kapler started going to the position players.

Jeff McNeil was great going 3-for-5 with two runs, and a triple. Michael Conforto surpassed Asdrubal Cabrera for the team lead in RBI. Not too long ago, Conforto also surpassed Cabrera for the team lead in homers. Jay Bruce looked good again at the plate going 2-for-2 with two runs, an RBI, and two walks.

However, this is the Mets, so nothing can be this easy. Not even in a 10-5 win that they led 7-0 heading into the sixth and 9-2 after six.

Dominic Smith followed a good game by going 0-for-2 with a walk before leaving the game with a groin injury. He was replaced by Jack Reinheimer for reasons only Mickey Callaway knows.

Speaking of Reinheimer, you’d be hard pressed to explain why he’s here and Luis Guillorme isn’t.

That wasn’t the worst of it. No, that was Cesar Hernandez hitting a hard liner that went off Syndergaard’s ribs. It may have chased him from the game, but he was able to laugh about it later:

Syndergaard’s final line was 6.2 innings, 12 hits, four runs, four earned, five walks, and four strikeouts. The low strikeouts are alarming, but not as much as the walks or the career high in hits allowed.

Still, this was mostly a fun game with some terrific signs for the Mets going forward. Here’s hoping the Mets didn’t burn through all their offense for this series with Jacob deGrom going Sunday.

Game Notes: Bobby Wahl was placed on the 60 day DL to make room for Jose Lobaton on the roster.

Mets Real David Wright Dilemma

If you’ve been to or watched Mets alumni at Citi Field for events like the 30th Anniversary of the 1986 World Series or Mike Piazza‘s number retirement, you will see just how much former Mets respect and revere David Wright.

What makes those moments so special is you see Wright look on with admiration at players he grew up rooting for as a child, and they treat him as an equal. There is a mutual respect between Mets greats.

As we are seeing with the Mets yet again, this mutual respect is shared between Mets players but not ownership. No, the Wilpons just have a way of alienating themselves with players like they have with the fans.

Darryl Strawberry has spoken candidly how he no longer associates with the Mets due to Jeff Wilpon. There are multiple instances of the Mets alienating their former players.

One interesting note is how prominent Mets who have played for both the Mets and Yankees are more closely affiliated with the Yankees organization. David Cone and Al Leiter have worked for YES. We’ve seen them and players like Dwight Gooden participate in Old Timer’s Day.

Part of the reason we see these Mets with the Yankees is because of the World Series titles. We also see the Yankees making the efforts to bring these players back. More importantly, these players have typically received better treatment from the Yankees than they have the Mets.

For example, could you imagine the Yankees removing a popular player’s signature from the walls of their stadium? Would you see them turning Monument Park into an unkept portion of their team store?

More importantly, could you see the Yankees handling the Wright situation in the matter the Mets have? It’s extremely doubtful.

Over what amounts to less than $5 million, the Mets are not going to let Wright play again. For what it’s worth, the Mets have that money socked away from the trades of Asdrubal Cabrera and Jeurys Familia and maybe even the insurance from Yoenis Cespedes.

Sure, the Mets have offered other reasons, rather excuses. They’re going to rely on medical reports (even though he’s been cleared to play baseball games). They’ve said there’s a higher standard of medical clearance to play in MLB as opposed to minor league games.

Now, the Mets are moving the perceived goalposts by saying the team wants him to be a regular player as opposed to a “ceremonial” player or pinch hitter.

Of course, Wright being an everyday player is a bit difficult with the presence of Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and Wilmer Flores. It’s also more difficult due to Wright’s own personal physical limitations.

Of course, the Mets don’t know what Wright wants or feels like he’s capable of doing because John Ricco admits to not talking to Wright about all of this.

Seeing how all of this has transpired and how the Mets have opted to operate their business, especially post Madoff, this is about the insurance money.

While Wright has always said the Wright thing and has never been truly critical of the organization, everyone has their breaking point, and this could be his.

Much like we’ve seen with former Mets greats, Wright may be so aggrieved, he just stays away (not that the Mets give players reasons to return with event like Old Timer’s Day). And seeing how Wright has been treated, we may see the same thing with fans and other former players because, at the end of the day, no one should be alright with how this is transpiring.

Sadly, unlike the greats of Mets past, there’s no other home for him. The Mets are it.

So while we’re seeing what could be Wright’s final chance, we may be seeing the end of Wright before he fades away forever. That could be the saddest thing of all, and it was all over a few million.

Mets Teetering On Irrelevance

Tonight, the new NFL season officially begins with the Atlanta Falcons taking on the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.  With that, for the first time since Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals claimed their first Stanley Cup, Major League Baseball no longer has the stage all to themselves.

That’s a big problem for the New York Mets.

On Sunday, the Mets are going to take on the Philadelphia Phillies at the same time the New York Giants will begin their season at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars.  With respect to the Giants, they are a team featuring a new head coach, the second overall pick from the draft, and of course, future Hall of Famer Eli Manning.

On Monday, the Sam Darnold Era begins as the Jets travel to Detroit to play the Lions on Monday Night Football.  At the same time, the Mets will be hosting the Miami Marlins on Bark at the Park Night.

Certainly, the early NFL season offers optimism for both Jets and Giants fans.  It also features young and exciting players who fans hope will serve as the cornerstones of their respective franchises for the next decade.

By the same token, the Mets have decided it was not time to call-up Peter Alonso, and have instead opted to play Jay Bruce at first base.  For that matter, the team is not playing Dominic Smith at either first base or left field.  Apparently, the team believes fans want to see Austin Jackson play center field over Brandon Nimmo.

That’s the problem with the New York Mets right now.  Short of a Jacob deGrom start and possibly a Zack Wheeler start, the Mets are not offering you a real reason to tune into their games.  That was one thing during the summer when baseball was the only show in town.  However, with the NFL season staring along with your favorite TV shows beginning to roll out their season premieres, the Mets are going to fade further and further away.

Really, short of David Wright making a miraculous comeback, a proposition which seems less and less likely by the day, the Mets are not offering their fans much of a reason to watch.

Clearly, this is something which has been lost on the Mets franchise.  It’s not just that they are a bad team who is 13 games under .500.  Now, they’re a team overshadowed by the world around them.  For the moment, it is something that will affect just September viewership and attendance.  However, until the Mets fix something with their team, it is something that is going to plauge their 2019 season and beyond.

Certainly, this is something the Mets should be considering before they deem Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, or even A.J. Pollock too expensive this offseason.

deGrom Sets Mets and MLB Records In No Decision

When Justin Turner hit a first inning home run off of Jacob deGrom, it was evident deGrom did not have his best stuff.  After all, deGrom had not allowed a home run in his last 42 innings pitched.  As it turned out, it really was a struggle for deGrom with him needing 109 pitches to get through six innings.  That’s notably because he threw 108 pitches in each of his last three starts, and he went 9.0, 6.0, and 8.0 innings respectively.

Through all of his troubles tonight and him fighting it, deGrom’s final line was 6.0 innings, two hits, one run, one earned, one walk, and six strikeouts.

It’s at the point where deGrom is so good his inability to find himself and be on his A game leads him to having an absolutely terrific and dominant start.  He’s been having a lot of those lately.  In fact, with this quality start, deGrom set a new Mets record with 20 straight quality starts.  It gets better.  With deGrom allowing three earned runs or less in his past 25 starts, he has set a new MLB record.

And to think there are some people who don’t want to give him the Cy Young.  Of course, those people’s justification is wins.  Well, tonight was another exercise of how absurd that is.

While deGrom has been great all season, Alex Wood has been great of late, and the Mets do not hit left-handed batters well.  More to the point, for some reason when the Mets have been playing good teams of late, they find ways to shoot themselves in the foot.  Tonight was no exception.

In the first Wilmer Flores hit into an inning ending double play.  In the second, Todd Frazier, who had made a fine catch in the game diving into the stands,  was thrown out stealing to end the inning.  In the third, Austin Jackson struck out to end the inning with runners at second and third.  After all of that, deGrom needed to take control of things himself in the fifth inning.

After a Jay Bruce leadoff walk and a Devin Mesoraco single (he was lifted from the game and Jose Reyes pinch ran for him due to injury), Jeff McNeil hit into a double play leaving it up to deGrom to get Bruce home from third.  With him using McNeil’s bat, deGrom delivered the RBI single tying the game at 1-1.  Really, deGrom was doing all he could do out there with him combining his excellent pitching with him going 2-for-2 at the plate.

There was a chance deGrom was going to get into the seventh inning in this game to just allow him to hang around long enough to hope beyond hope the Mets put him in a position to win.  However with an Amed Rosario error in the sixth inning, that pretty much ended that hope meaning the 8-8 deGrom was saddled with another no decision, and this was going to become a battle of the bullpens.

The Mets would win that battle as the offense would eventually break through and because the Mets bullpen did not break.

In the seventh, the Mets were close.  They had the bases loaded with two outs, but Jackson couldn’t deliver the key hit.  Well, if the Mets thought they were close, the Dodgers were even closer.

Against Seth Lugo in the seventh, they had runners at the corners and no outs.  Lugo first struck out Yasmani Grandal, and then he induced Yasiel Puig to hit into the inning ending 6-4-3 double play.

In the eighth, Drew Smith issued a two out walk to Turner which almost blew up in his face.  If not for the low right field wall in Dodgers Stadium, it is likely Manny Machado‘s double gives the Dodgers a 2-1 lead instead of being a ground rule double putting runners at second and third with two outs.  After getting Enrique Hernandez to fly out to center, Smith officially dodged a bullet.

Kenta Maeda was not dodging the same bullet in the ninth.  After a Bruce leadoff double, Kevin Plawecki sacrificed him over to third base.  After McNeil was hit by a pitch, the Mets had runners at the corners with one out setting the stage for Brandon Nimmo, who came on to pinch hit for Smith:

With Nimmo’s pinch hit three run homer, the Mets had an unlikely 4-1 lead, which Robert Gsellman had the task to save.  It was not going to be easy for him and the Mets.  After a replay review, the Dodgers had runners at the corners with no outs.  The game was 4-2 after Grandal brought a run home with a sacrifice fly.  That would be the final score as Gsellman induced Matt Kemp to hit into the game ending 6-4-3 double play.

So overall, the Mets won a game partially because of the six dominant innings he gave them, but for some reason, there is going to be a voter out there who is not going to put him atop the Cy Young ballot because of his 8-8 record.

Game Notes: With the Dodgers starting the left-handed Wood, McNeil batted eighth, and Nimmo was on the bench.  Before the game, the Mets recalled Dominic Smith, Jack Reinheimer, and Drew Gagnon

The Complete Thor

When he was struggling earlier in the year, Noah Syndergaard was saying he was struggling now, but he’ll dominate in September. With how he had struggled in his last few starts, this seemed like a punchline waiting to happen. As it turns out, Syndergaard was right.

Yesterday, he was simply brilliant in his first ever complete game. If not for a Jay Bruce throwing error, on a ball he should not have pursued and probably not thrown, the Giants would not have had a base runner since the fourth inning.

If not for the Alen Hanson third inning triple, the Giants probably never score a run.

All told, Syndergaard allowed one run on just two hits while walking just one and striking out 11.

He’d get his 10th win of the season as the Mets gave Syndergaard run support starting with Michael Conforto‘s 20th homer of the season:

https://mobile.twitter.com/mets/status/1036353184292331520

Syndergaard got more run support in the eighth as he helped himself a bit.

After a Tomas Nido leadoff single, Syndergaard bunted it just right enough of the pitcher to get Nido, who got a great jump, to second.

Amed Rosario singled to set up runners at the corners, and he’d then take the double play out of the equation by stealing second. Jeff McNeil brought him and Nido home with a two RBI single giving the Mets a 4-1 lead.

With that three run lead and Syndergaard still at 99 on the gun, Mickey Callaway had every excuse he needed to keep Syndergaard in the game.

The end result was a 114 pitch masterpiece and finally a return to the Thor we had been awaiting all season long.

Game Notes: Syndergaard’s 10 wins leads the team. With the win, Syndergaard became the first Met to beat the Giants two times in a year since Steve Trachsel did it in 2003.

Matzerterful Performance

Three years after his Major League debut, it’s still difficult to make heads or tails with Steven Matz. There are days he looks absolutely terrible, and then there are days like today.

In seven innings, he completely dominated the Giants with a career high 11 strikeouts. It was the first double digit strikeout game of his career.

Unfortunately for him, what was arguably the best start of his career was just a no decision as the Mets bats are ice cold and Evan Longoria hit a fourth inning solo homer off Matz. It was just one of three hits off Matz all day.

On the other side, Derek Holland was shutting down the Mets. He was not as dominant as Matz, but he was in control all game.

Despite Holland pitching well, Brandon Nimmo would work out a one out walk, and he would score from first on the ensuing Tomas Nido double:

In the sixth, the Mets had a chance to take the lead, but Todd Frazier had some really poor base running.

First, after he drew a two out walk, he stole second. On the play, Nick Hundley three the ball into center. Frazier did not move to third as he was deked by Giants shortstop Alen Hanson.

Worse yet, on a Michael Conforto infield single, Hanson picked Frazier off third base:

Seth Lugo (two innings) and Jerry Blevins (inning) kept the Giants scoreless and hitless as the game went into extra innings.

Finally, in the top of the 11th, one of these two teams would get a hit with Wilmer Flores leading off the inning with a double off Hunter Strickland. He’d move over on a Jay Bruce groundout, and he scored on a go-ahead Frazier sacrifice fly.

Robert Gsellman, who has been struggling of late, pitched a perfect ninth with some help from Nimmo:

That Nimmo catch sealed the Mets win in a game completely dominated by pitching. That domination was headlined by Matz, who we can only hope has turned the corner much in the same way we have seen Zack Wheeler do this year.

Game Notes: With the Giants starting Holland, the Mets sat Jeff McNeil in favor of Flores at second. Bruce played first.

Vargas Gets Run Support deGrom Never Had

The Mets had one of those odd not quite a doubleheader type of days with the Mets and Cubs needing to complete yesterday’s suspended game. The Mets would pick up where they left off by shouting themselves in the foot.

The 10th inning ended on a strike ’em out – throw ’em out double play. Jay Bruce struck out, and Michael Conforto was caught stealing.

In the 11th, Wilmer Flores lined into a double play.

As bad as that was Paul Sewald imploded in the 11th. He first walked Javier Baez and then threw away a sacrifice bunt attempt. That left no choice but to walk Kyle Schwarber to load the bases.

After he struck out Albert Almora, Jr., Mickey Callaway went to Daniel Zamora to get Ben Zobrist. He didn’t, and the Cubs won the suspended game 2-1.

After two close and heart wrenching losses in a row, the Mets set out to ensure there would be no room for late game heroics. They immediately put up a four spot courtesy of a Todd Frazier grand slam:

Of course, the Mets gave this type of run support to Jason Vargas and not Jacob deGrom.

What was interesting was Vargas actually let those four runs hold up even if he was a little shaky.

He escaped a first inning jam with runners at the corners by striking out David Bote. He allowed just run in the second after Willson Contreras led off with a double.

From there, Vargas really settled in, and he was surprisingly keeping the Cubs at bay. Vargas’ final line would be 5.1 innings, four hits, run, one earned, two walks, and six strikeouts.

With his four straight good start in a row, he’s lowered his ERA from 8.75 to 6.56. Perhaps more impressive than that was his retiring a batter the third time through the lineup for the first time all season.

Vargas got the win because not only did the bullpen make those runs hold up, but the Mets offense exploded in the seventh. Amazingly, it was all with two outs.

Wilmer Flores hit a single, advanced on a passed ball, and scored on an Amed Rosario bloop single.

Rosario scored after a Jeff McNeil walk and Austin Jackson RBI single. Both McNeil and Jackson scored on a Just Release Him Already RBI triple.

The Mets plated two more runs in the ninth on a rally started when Tomas Nido reached on a fielding error by Cubs reliever James Norwood. The rally culminated with Frazier and Brandon Nimmo hitting RBI singles to make it 10-1 Mets.

In the bottom of the ninth, 26th man Jacob Rhame who was called up for the ninth time this season allowed two runs before finally closing the door on the Mets 10-3 victory.

Overall, the Mets played 11 innings, scored 10 runs, and went 1-1. It’s been one of those seasons.

Game Notes: With the loss, Sewald is now 0-11 in his career with one save.

Nationals Take Frustrations Out on Mets

The Nationals scoreless streak had reached 32 innings, and with the way Steven Matz was pitching, it seemed like that streak may reach all the way to 36 innings with the Mets completing a sweep where they allowed no runs.

For a second in the sixth inning, Trea Turner looked to snap that streak with a lead off home run, but the umpires on the field ruled it was a double. It was a call upheld on replay:

While it didn’t go out, it was just a matter of time before the Nationals scored.  Anthony Rendon singled Turner to third, and Turner would score on a Juan Soto ground out.  Matz would get out of the inning without allowing another run, but the damage was done.

Matz was destined to lose this game as the Mets mustered only three hits in the entire game against Jefry Rodriguez and the Nationals bullpen.  Jeff McNeil was one of the three Mets who got a hit, and he would leave the game in the seventh with a strained quad.

Entering the eighth, Paul Sewald took the mound to try to keep the game to one run hoping beyond hope the Mets could run into one and tie the score.  Instead, Sewald imploded.

Sewald loaded the bases and walked in a run.  Then Bryce Harper entered the game as a pinch hitter, and he unloaded the bases with a three RBI double.  On that play, Jose Reyes took the relay throw and spiked the throw home.  With Tomas Nido unable to field the throw, Soto would score easily.

Tyler Bashlor would come on for Sewald, and he really wasn’t any better allowing homers to both Wilmer Difo and Eaton.

All told, it was an eight run inning with five runs charged to Sewald and three charged to Bashlor.

In the ninth, Corey Oswalt, a starting pitcher, was asked to come in and pitch an inning.  On the bright side, he accomplished that task by recording three outs in the top of the ninth.  On the downside, he pitched terribly.

The Nationals were were clearly not running up the score going station-to-station instead of taking the extra base.  This led to them loading the bases.  Difo first singled home a run, and Spencer Kieboom walked to force home a run.  Mark Reynolds would then unload the bases with a grand slam.

That would make the score 15-0.  To put in perspective how poorly this Mets season has gone, this wasn’t even the Mets worst loss to the Nationals.  On July 31st, the Mets would lose 25-4 against the Nationals, which was the worst loss in franchise history.  So to that extent, today’s game wasn’t so bad.

Game Notes: Jay Bruce played all nine innings at first base.

Reasons To Continue Watching The Mets

The Mets are so far under .500 that they can’t even get in the mix for what is a wide open National League Wild Card.  They’re not even following the Nationals lead who traded off Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams at the same time the Mets are playing Jose Bautista and Austin Jackson everyday.  Given the record and the poor direction of this organization, it becomes increasingly difficult to find reasons to watch.

With that in mind, here are reasons to watch the Mets other than you love the Mets or you hate yourself:

More than any of this, we wait for baited breath to see if David Wright will actually take the field for the Mets again.  If he does, that will be the greatest reason of all to watch the Mets again this year.