Jed Lowrie

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Season A Little Less Rocky

The Mets went from a very bad loss on Friday to winning a series against the Rockies, a team ahead of them in the Wild Card standings. All in all, it was a good weekend with a lot of great things happening:

1. Noah Syndergaard is not getting enough credit for reinventing himself on the fly. He’s lost his slider due to the new ball, and he’s adapted by throwing more four seamers and his curveball, two pitches he needed to develop further. He’s really turned a corner and maybe he’s on the brink of a stretch like he had in 2016.

2. It does seem every Mets pitcher likes pitching to Tomas Nido. It should come as no surprise as he is a first rate defensive catcher and pitch framer.

3. That said, we cannot have Nido being the personal catcher to Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. That is especially the case when Wilson Ramos has been the Mets best hitter for over the past three weeks, and he has improved his rapport with the pitching staff. Fact is, Ramos has to play.

4. That said, Nido should play a little more. In the first month plus of the season Ramos played in 28 of 29 possible games, and he started in 22 of 29 games. The Mets played 28 games in May, he played 24 games and started 19. Apparently, easing off the throttle off the 31 year old catcher with an injury history has benefits.

5. Speaking of easing off the throttle, Robert Gsellman was dominant in his one inning on Friday, and then he didn’t pitch in the subsequent two days. Getting him more rest could make him more effective like he was earlier in the year. That’s the hope at least.

6. For those who were clamoring for Drew Gagnon in pressure situations, you got to see why Mickey Callaway was hesitant to put him in those spots as he allowed homers to David Dahl and Daniel Murphy. In three of his last five appearances, hes’ allowed runs with two of them being three run blowups.

7. That’s the thing with pitchers like Gagnon. They’re effective in a role like long reliever, but pressure situations are a different animal. From what we’ve seen, Gagnon definitely has a spot in a Major League bullpen just not in the seventh or eighth inning. That’s alright. There’s nothing wrong with having pitchers who can pitch effectively in certain roles.

8. Jeurys Familia has been great in his last two appearances retiring the side both times. If he’s turning the corner, the Mets bullpen is now more than just Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo.

9. Todd Frazier is not this good, but he was also not as bad as he was to start the season. That’s the inherent problem with judging players over hot and cold streaks and especially over week-to-week production. Overall, what we have seen from Frazier is he’s a very good defensive third baseman who can draw walks and has pop in his bat. At least, that is what he is when he’s healthy. He’s healthy now, and he’s finally helping the Mets much in the same fashion Sandy Alderson thought he would.

10. The Mets need Frazier all the more because Jed Lowrie is apparently as real as the Tooth Fairy.

11. Speaking of moves which blew up unexpectedly, Robinson Cano has been less productive than Jay Bruce or Anthony Swarzak, both of whom have been traded in the division and are now working to beat the Mets.

12. With Juan Lagares having a -3 DRS in center and seeing Carlos Gomez play in center, the Mets should give a real consideration to seeing Jeff McNeil in center. As we see he has above average speed, good instincts, and an ability to quickly learn new positions. This would allow Brandon Nimmo to go to left field, which is a more natural fit whenever he comes off the IL.

13. Of course, if Dominic Smith continues to hit and play a passable left field, you could move McNeil to second. Of course, when Cano is healthy that raises a whole other list of issues. However, that falls under the category of good problems to have, which is a really nice change of pace around here.

14. Amed Rosario is an extremely talented player. We keep seeing glimpses of it, but we also see frustrating stretches. Part of this is the coaching staff with the Mets being one of the worst shifting teams there are, which has a negative impact on Rosario’s defensive numbers. There’s also the fact he’s still working to figure things out. Hopefully, sooner or later, something finally clicks.

15. Speaking of something clicking, Mets need to hope Pete Alonso is finally clicking again. While he’s hitting just .223/.298/.559 since May 1, Alonso is hitting .281/.349/.649 0ver his past 15 games. One thing to track here is Alonso is much better against left-handed pitching.

16. Bob Klapisch’s article in Bleacher Report on the Wilpons on their handling of their attempts to void Yoenis Cespedes‘ contract as well as all the other areas where the Wilpons are petty, over-matched, cheap, and whatever other adjective you want to use, is exactly the type or articles which need to be written instead of the paint-by-number fire Mickey Callaway articles which are being written.

17. Prior to this series against the Rockies, the Mets had exactly one series win against a team with a winning record. That series was the April 22 – 24 series at home against the Phillies where they blitzed them over the first two games before the Phillies destroyed Jason Vargas in the final game of that series. Things went sour for the Mets after that.

18. Mets haven’t been good for a while now, and it does seem like things are turning a corner. Fortunately, the Wild Card and division are still well within reach.

19. The Subway Series always seem to be a seminal moment in the Mets season. They appear headed in the right direction and the Yankees not so this next series could prove to be a springboard for the Mets.

20. What happened to David Ortiz was horrific, and instead of rushing to judgment like Dallas Braden, we should be just offering our prayers for Ortiz for a speedy recovery.

Apparently This Roster Is Callaway’s Fault

Last night, Mickey Callaway trusted Seth Lugo to finish the seventh inning over Noah Syndergaard. Even with Syndergaard cruising, the numbers were the numbers. As a result, Callaway decided to go with his best reliever to get the team a win rather than let Syndergaard get himself into a jam. It didn’t work out.

Sometimes managers make the right move, and it doesn’t work,. Sometimes, you want the managers to have a feel for the game and stick with their starters. After all, that was the justification for Terry Collins sticking with Matt Harvey, and we know how that ended.

But it’s not just Collins/Harvey, it’s also Callaway/Syndergaard.

Take the April 10th game against the Twins as an example. Syndergaard allowed one earned on two hits. He came out to start the eighth, and he allowed three straight hits starting what was a four run inning which chased him from the game.

There have been a number of instances all year where Syndergaard was cruising and just like that he lost it. There was the game against the Tigers where he struggled in the first two, but seemed to settle down only to allow homers in back-to-back innings. There was also his game against the Padres where he allowed homers, and as he got deeper into the game, he began to allow more base hits.

If we’re being honest, while Syndergaard has been much better starting May 1, he still has his issues while he is struggling with this slider. He’s allowed the most hits in the majors. He has a 4.83 ERA, 83 ERA+, and a 3.60 FIP. He’s allowed the most hits in the majors. Most of his numbers, including his strikeout rate, now stand at career worsts.

This isn’t the 2016 Syndergaard who was one of the best pitchers in baseball. This is a very talented pitcher impressively gutting through starts giving his team a chance to win while he’s still trying to rediscover pitches he’s lost due to the new ball.

Point is, we have seen Syndergaard lose it this year at a moment’s notice. It’s one of the reasons why Mets fans and reporters have jumped at the chance to criticize him all year long. But now, all of a sudden, everyone gets amnesia and pretends like they didn’t say the things they said about him about a week ago.

While you can defend keeping Syndergaard in, you can also realize why Callaway would go to Lugo. What you don’t understand is the composition of the roster and why there hasn’t been more attention focused upon it.

Right now, this team has only two reliable bullpen arms – Lugo and Edwin Diaz. That’s it.

In yesterday’s game, the Mets started J.D. Davis in left field and Carlos Gomez in center. They rushed Jeff McNeil off of the IL. Against a Giants bullpen, they mustered just four singles over the final four innings. They played poor defense in the field.

When Lugo blew the lead, eventually Callaway had to go to Robert Gsellman. Now, Callaway does deserve blame for completely overusing Gsellman. It’s led to him being terrible. However, as bad as he is, Callaway’s other options are worse. Honestly, in a pressure spot who do you want him to pick:

Looking at those options and the players who currently comprise the roster, you see that even with Callaway’s faults, this is on Brodie Van Wagenen and the just ridiculously bad offseason he had.

Take into consideration the fact he gave Jed Lowrie a two year $20 million deal. That’s $20 million to a 35 year old with a knee issue. In true J.J. Putz fashion, the Mets didn’t discover anything during the physical before the deal was consummated.

In lieu of that $20 million, the team could have signed Adam Jones ($3 million) and Greg Holland ($3.25 million) and saved some money to add another bench piece or reliever. The point is the Mets needed more depth in the outfield and the bullpen, and Van Wagenen instead opted on another infielder.

Sure, we can criticize Callaway for his faults, but this isn’t on him. This was a poorly constructed roster, and it will remain that way even if he’s fired and the team replaces him with Jim Riggleman, Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter, or whoever else you could conjure up.

So go ahead, blow up at Callaway for using a terrific reliever while pulling a starter you have likely been killing all year. Get angry with him for putting in one of his not up to the task relievers in a spot. Get upset when the offense full of bench players and Triple-A starters can’t score runs in a close game.

Certainly, he’s the issue here and not Van Wagenen or the Wilpons who haven’t come up with the money for Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel despite the team desperately needing the. Make Callaway the whipping boy here just like Van Wagenen and the Wilpons want. After all, what good is a human shied if he’s not there to block all the the criticism really due to other people?

 

Mets Need To Pick A Third Baseman

When the Mets signed Jed Lowrie, all indications were he was going to be the Mets third baseman. Of course, he has been injured, and as a result, the team has had to find someone else to play the position. The first option should have been Todd Frazier, but he began the year on the Injured List. So the Mets moved onto Plan C, which was J.D. Davis, who hit but could not field the position.

Since Frazier has returned from the Injured List, the team has not been able to decide on a third baseman. Since Frazier was activated off the Injured List on April 22nd, he has started 13 games, and Davis has started seven games. Over those 20 games, neither player has been able to get into a groove.

Since, April 22, Frazier is hitting .148/.164/.259 (12 wRC+). When you’re hitting like a pitcher, you are not justifying your spot in the lineup. With Frazier hitting that poorly, it should come as no surprise Davis is hitting much better. However, that does not mean he is hitting well. Since April 22, Davis is hitting .278/.297/.333 (75 wRC+). As if being a below league average hitter wasn’t enough, Davis’ has arguably been lucky to have that level of production as he has a .400 BABIP over that span.

The luck isn’t the real issue with Davis. It’s the defense. His defense has been unplayable with a -8 DRS and -3.1 UZR. Among players with 180 innings, Davis’ DRS is the worst in the Majors, not just among third baseman. No, he’s the worst fielder in the entire game.

With respect to Frazier, he has been solid with a 1 DRS. If you look to his 25.8 UZR/150, he’s the third best third baseman in the game with at least a 100 innings played. That said, when you hit like a pitcher, you need to be fielding even better than that to be in the lineup.

That’s the Mets dilemma. They have one third baseman who can hit but can’t field, and they have another who can field but can’t hit. If you look at the history, you could believe Frazier will eventually hit, but with each passing game, that is becoming harder to believe. With his Triple-A stats and early season production, you may believe Davis could become at least a league average hitter, but again, with each passing game, you believe less and less in that and his ability to field his position.

In the long run, it is hard for either player to hit or for Davis to get up to speed defensively if they’re getting irregular playing time. The bouncing back-and-forth between the two players isn’t going either player any good, and in the long run, it is doing the Mets a disservice. Ultimately, the team is acting like they don’t have a player they can trust at the position, and they are flipping a coin everyday.

In the end, the Mets inability to decide on a third baseman is hurting this team, and it will continue to hurt the team until one of Davis or Frazier steps up and claims the job. Based upon what we have seen so far, that’s not happening, nor is Lowrie going to show up and bail the team out.

In the end, considering how things have played out, the answer might just be to move Jeff McNeil to third and play Juan Lagares in center. Sure, Lagares isn’t hitting much either, but his 70 WRC+ isn’t far off the mark Davis is giving the Mets, and his defense is better than Frazier’s, and it is coming from a premium defensive position. Really, seeing how things are with the Mets right now, you’d be hard pressed to argue this isn’t the best option right now.

Syndergaard And Ramos Get The Win

Before the game, Mickey Callaway introduced us to the concept of catcher wins. While Mets fans and the collective baseball world rolled their eyes, Wilson Ramos would have his manager’s back.

Robinson Cano hit what should’ve been an inning ending double play in the first. Except it wasn’t because Gerardo Parra, who was playing out of position, dropped the ball and probably pulled his foot off the bag as well. The Mets would make the Nationals pay for the play (which is technically not an error), when Ramos hit a grand slam off Jeremy Hellickson:

That was more than enough run support for Noah Syndergaard who pitched well in Nationals Park for the first time in his career. That’s putting it lightly.

Syndergaard had a no-hitter through five off just 59 pitches. He’d sit on the bench for a lengthy sixth inning, one which featured a Brandon Nimmo RBI double off the left-handed Matt Grace, the Nationals would finally get to Syndergaard.

First, it was a Wilmer Difo leadoff single. Later, with two outs in the inning, Victor Robles hit a two run homer. Even with the homer, the Mets were up 5-2, and Syndergaard was in control.

Overall, Syndergaard pitched eight innings allowing two earned on four hits and one walk while striking out six.

The Mets would get an insurance run in the ninth when Dominic Smith hit a 3-0 pitch from Joe Ross out to dead center. It should be noted with the homer, it was no longer a save situation, and as we know there is the Diaz Dictate.

This meant Callaway would dry hump Edwin Diaz, and he would bring in Seth Lugo to pitch the ninth. Callaway made that decision despite Diaz being ready to go, and Wilmer Font likely giving the team a short start tomorrow. Hopefully, that won’t matter as Ramos looks to win his second in a row. If he does, the Mets will be back over .500.

Game Notes: Jed Lowrie has been shut down again, this time with a grade one hamstring strain, and he currently has no timetable for his return.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Feast on Marlins

Nothing like the league worst Marlins to come into town to help the Mets offense get rolling:

1. Michael Conforto, not Derek Jeter, owns the Marlins. He proved that by going 5-for-6 with four runs, two walks, a HBP, two homers, and three RBI in the two game set.

2. For all the (deserved) talk of Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso, Conforto has been their best player. His 2.0 WAR is sixth in the league.

3. Batting Conforto fifth is plain stupid and reactionary, especially when he’s their best hitter. Same goes to batting Brandon Nimmo sixth.

4. Alonso’s numbers look good due to his first 12 games. Since that time, he’s batting .222/.316/.444. He’s increasingly becoming an all or nothing hitter, albeit one with the propensity for the big hit.

5. Nice to see the Mets wait too long before putting Steven Matz on the IL. It’s like for all of Brodie Van Wagenen’s boasting about things being different, nothing has changed with him in charge.

6. So, Jed Lowrie has gone from being activated on Friday to sitting out two out of the last four games, and the Mets having no timetable for his return.

7. Say what you want about Jason Bay, but at least he played for the Mets.

8. The Mets giving Mickey Callaway no information on Lowrie and then having him be the one answer questions about his status once again shows nothing has changed under Van Wagenen.

9. Mets determined Justin Wilson didn’t need a rehab stint, and now, after one appearance after coming off the IL, he’s going back on with the same injury.

10. Seeing how well things worked with Wilson, the Mets are using the same plan of action with Jeurys Familia.

11. You have to admire Van Wagenen’s refusal to learn and adapt on the job.

12. Injuries create opportunities, and we have seen Tyler Bashlor, Drew Gagnon, and Daniel Zamora take advantage of their opportunity thus far.

13. With Jacob deGrom having three straight good starts after coming off the IL, can we forever have fans stop clamoring for Devin Mesoraco?

14. If Tomas Nido starts hitting that’s a game changer. Over his last three, Nido 4-for-11 with a homer.

15. While it was overlooked, Nido had LASIK surgery in the offseason. It may take time to adjust, but if he’s seeing the ball better, he may begin to hit better.

16. One underrated thing Callaway did Saturday was running out Dominic Smith, Todd Frazier, and Juan Lagares for late inning defense. With Conforto in RF, that’s a great defensive lineup.

17. Amed Rosario went from a below average hitter over the first month to a 111 wRC+ so far in May. Seeing his offense progress this way, maybe there’s still hope for his glove to catch up.

18. Keon Broxton has been worse than terrible, and Carlos Gomez has been hot in Syracuse. That doesn’t erase the past few years, and Broxton should get a longer rope considering he’s out of options, has actually been a successful bench player, and has arguably been a better player over the past few years.

19. Mets going a perfect 5-for-5 for the Marlins is no small feat. It’s exactly what they need to do, and destroying bad teams is exactly how the 2015 Mets won the division.

20. Whoever came up with the new backpack policy is an idiot, and the Mets deserve to have decreased attendance for having implemented it.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Show Signs Of Life In San Diego

The Mets went out to San Diego already under .500 and incapable of scoring runs. At least for one day, they figured things out, and suddenly things don’t look so bad:

  1. The Mets schedule so far this year has been idiotic including the team having a two city road trip to Milwaukee and San Diego. Someone should get the person in charge of making the schedules a map of the United States.
  2. If Chris Paddack was a Met, the fans would love this. In fact, they did when it was Matt Harvey before he had the audacity of getting injured.
  3. If Pete Alonso is going to hit homers and celebrate on the field, he is going to make himself a target for other teams. This was a good test for him. While he failed the first part striking out twice, popping out, and whining, he responded the perfect way by hitting the go-ahead homer and having a great bat flip.
  4. Aside from needing to respond to the challenge, he needed a good game because he went into that game hitting .184/.241/.347 over his previous 13 games.
  5. It wasn’t just Alonso who got off the snide, Brandon Nimmo snapped an 0-for-28 streak which was one off Eric Campbell‘s Mets hitless record. Instead of struggling, he’s Nimmo again with him going 2-for-6 with two doubles and three walks over his last two games.
  6. At least Robinson Cano was good for a day, but the Mets needs more than just the sporadic outburst from him.
  7. No one should fault the Mets for rejiggering the lineup to try to get things going, and with the way Amed Rosario has been hitting, it was smart putting him in the second spot in the lineup. However, this is a patch and not a fix, and when Jed Lowrie is finally activated, it is time to move him back down the lineup.
  8. Once Lowrie is activated, Todd Frazier has to go to the bench. While his defense has been great, his bat has been that bad.
  9. There is way too much hand-wringing over Keon Broxton, J.D. Davis, and Adeiny Hechavarria. They’re not that good, and no one should be that worried with them being designated for assignment or headed to Triple-A. Instead, they should be worried about what makes up the best composition of the bench and how it complements the roster.
  10. Indications are if Davis goes to Triple-A, he will work on the outfield. It’s bizarre the Mets would do that with him while simultaneously not even allowing Dominic Smith to work out there.
  11. Speaking of Smith, the Mets really could have used a left-handed bat off the bench during this road trip.
  12. It’s not just Frazier who has been bad. It’s the majority of the lineup. While you may expect this to be a blip, this may be Chili Davis‘ influence as his other teams have done the same exact thing.
  13. Wilson Ramos has a career worst ground ball rate, and there aren’t really signs of him turning things around right now.
  14. Tomas Nido had offseason LASIK surgery. If his hitting is that much improved, given how well he plays defensively, the Mets are going to need to find him more playing time, especially given Ramos’ struggles.
  15. The heart says Jeff McNeil looks like an MVP candidate, but the mind sees a staggering .400 BABIP with a low walk rate and wonders when exactly the regression is going to come.
  16. Brodie Van Wagenen built a team with zero starting pitching depth, and he was forced to trade for Wilmer Font to start a game despite Font not actually being a starting pitcher. It is beyond amusing the Mets had to go to Chaim Bloom to bail them out for the actions of the General Manager who doesn’t quite know what he’s doing.
  17. After a rough start, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have been terrific, and they are giving the Mets every opportunity to win these games.
  18. Michael Conforto going in an 0-for-12 streak where he is still drawing walks and getting on base is a testament to how great a player he is becoming.
  19. More than anyone Conforto gets screwed on balls outside of the strike zone. That’s not just guessing or fan overreaction either, it’s fact.
  20. Mets fans need to stop over-criticizing Mickey Callaway. Who cares if he didn’t throw a tantrum after that bogus third strike call? The team still rallied after it, so it’s quite possible he has the pulse of this team. After all, Callaway did have the team playing hard last year.

Todd Frazier Blew His Opportunity

With the way the Mets built their team, someone was going to be squeezed out of playing time. This meant players were going to have to take their opportunity and prove why they should play everyday. That is exactly what Jeff McNeil did. So far, he has been the Mets most consistent player, and he has firmly established himself as the everyday left fielder.

Todd Frazier had the same chance. With J.D. Davis utterly incapable of fielding his position, and Jed Lowrie‘s injury, Frazier had a clear path to show the Mets why he should be the team’s everyday third baseman.

There was every reason to believe he could do it. He’s easily the best defensive infielder on the team. In fact, you may be surprised to find out his 18 DRS since 2015 is the best out of any infielder on the roster, and it is seventh best among all Major League third basemen.

At the plate, Frazier would frustrate people with his low batting average and high strike out numbers. However, in the seven years prior to this year, his only year as a below league average hitter was last year. Overall, he had entered this season with a career 109 OPS+, and that includes his being a 107 OPS+ from 2016 – 2017.

One positive trend is his career was his improving his walk rate. He had gone from a 6.5 percent in 2015 to 9.6 percent in 2016 and 14.4 percent in 2017. His HR/FB rate is characterized by Fangraphs as great.

In total, Frazier had his flaws, but he was a good player. In fact, he was a player who averaged a 3.3 WAR over 2016-2017. The reason is because this was a good defender who provided a decent bat in the lineup. No, Frazier wasn’t the guy you wanted in the middle of the lineup, but you could do much worse than him in that sixth or seventh spot in the lineup.

Even with last year’s down year, there were positive signs for Frazier. In every way, it was a career worst year for him as he landed on the Disabled List twice, and by his own admission, he would rush back from the injuries. Still, Frazier had a 1.9 WAR because he was still good in the field. While it was a career worst year for him, there were some positive signs like his hard hit rate and his hitting well in April, which was just about the only time he was healthy all last year.

Unfortunately, Frazier was injured in Spring Training, and it would be a lengthy rehab assignment before he would return. So far this year, Frazier has been excellent defensively. Among players who have played 100 innings, Frazier’s 2 DRS is fourth best in the National League. His 1.8 UZR is second best in the National League.

Without him, the Mets pitching staff had a 5.66 ERA and a .325BABIP. Since his return, Mets pitchers have a 3.50 ERA and a 2.83 BABIP. This wasn’t all Frazier, but his playing well at third stopped the bleeding with all the base hits going through the left side of the infield unchallenged.

However, as good as Frazier has been defensively, he has been that bad at the plate. So far this year, he has not drawn a walk, and he has struck out 32.7 percent of the time. He has a career worst ground ball rate (a pattern developing among Mets hitters under Chili Davis‘ tutelage) with a career worst hard hit rate. This is all a long winded way of saying what everyone can see. Frazier is lost at the plate.

Depending upon your perspective, there are reasons to believe Frazier will or will not rebound. Normally, a team could give him time to figure things out and get back to being the hitter the Mets know he is. However, the Mets also have Lowrie coming off the Injured List on Friday.

While Lowrie may not be the fielder Frazier he, he is far from the butcher Davis is. Lowrie has also been a much better hitter than Frazier. When Lowrie comes off the Injured List, there is no doubt he should take over as the every day third baseman.

As for Frazier, who knows where he goes from here. Perhaps, going to the bench will light a fire under him, and he will rebound. Certainly, his glove and late inning defense will be a positive. With the way Mickey Callaway double switches, Frazier will get his opportunities. In the end, you never know how things shake out on the injury front, and perhaps Frazier will get another opportunity to prove himself.

Unfortunately for him, he didn’t do it now, and now he is going to find himself on the bench fighting for playing time.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Split Series With Reds

The New York Mets finished a 10 game home-stand going 5-5. Part of the reason was because while their pitching started to pick up, their offense has cratered. Still, as they depart for a very difficult road trip which will take them to Milwaukee and San Diego, they are a team over .500:

  1. Noah Syndergaard did what you are supposed to do against bad offenses. You are supposed to completely dominant them, and he did with a magnificent performance striking out 10 in a complete game shut out.
  2. Syndergaard became just the third Mets starter (Pete FalconeJohan Santana) to homer in a complete game shut out. He is the only Mets pitcher to provide the only run of support in a shutout.
  3. We can debate whether the right retaliation is to throw at a batter or not. However, there is nothing better than seeing Syndergaard strike out Jesse Winker three times in a game and having Winker lose his cool to the point where he is thrown out of the game.
  4. With the fans waiving to Winker and their booing Pete O’Brien, it’s clear the Mets fans are desperately searching for and need a real villian now that Chase Utley has retired.
  5. This was certainly the series for Mets pitchers to get healthy. Jacob deGrom looked like Jacob deGrom again, and even Jason Vargas would finally pitch more than five innings in a start.
  6. While a pitcher’s success isn’t really tied to any one catcher, it may behoove the Mets to let deGrom get into some sort of a rhythm with Tomas Nido. So far this year, deGrom has had six starts, and he has had the same catcher catch him in back-to-back starts just once this year.
  7. Mickey Callaway is oft criticized for his decision making, but he was unfairly in this series. He had little choice but to trust Jeurys Familia for six outs, and he went with Edwin Diaz over Seth Lugo in the ninth because Diaz is supposedly the best reliever in baseball. When you put guys in position, and they fail, sometimes it is on the players and not the manager.
  8. For a moment, it really looked like Familia was back, and then all of a sudden he falls apart and heads to the Injured List.
  9. You can read too much into it, or not, but it is surprising in his career opposing batters hit .333/.403/.608 off Diaz in tie games. It’s too soon to overreact to it, but it is noteworthy.
  10. Speaking of too soon to overreact, Pete Alonso is struggling. Alonso has homered once in his last 39 at-bats, and he has had one homer against a RHP over his last 11 games. While he snapped an 0-11 with a 3-5 game, he is been 3-18 since.
  11. Speaking of cooling off, Dominic Smith is now 0 for his last 7, and 2 for his last 12.
  12. While we’re on the topic of Smith and Alonso, it is great to see Smith lifted for Alonso and his cheering on and applauding Alonso as he walked. It’s a shame they play the same position because these are two likeable guys who are good ballplayers.
  13. Amed Rosario is heating up at just the right time. He just had a five game hitting streak and is in the middle of a seven game errorless streak. This comes right as Jed Lowrie is playing shortstop in rehab games.
  14. It is going to be interesting to see what the Mets do when Lowrie returns. We’ve seen Brodie Van Wagenen have selective memory when it comes to his best 25 man mantra, and as noted Keon Broxton has been really bad. It will be interesting to see if he’s saved because Van Wagenen obtained him or if he befalls the Travis d’Arnaud treatment.
  15. Wilson Ramos has been bad. He has no power, which is partially the result of his having MLB and career worst ground ball rates. He has also been a poor pitch framer and has yielded the most passed balls in the majors.
  16. Drew Gagnon is showing the Mets something out of the bullpen. He saved them when Steven Matz couldn’t get an out, and his 1.1 scoreless allowed the Mets to walk it off. He has earned his shot in the bullpen.
  17. With Daniel Zamora coming into a game to face Joey Votto, and the Mets calling up Ryan O’Rourke, it’s getting fairly clear Luis Avilan‘s time as a Met is going to end fairly soon.
  18. It’s fair to say Avilan hasn’t been used properly, but when your manager has no faith in you, and you haven’t pitched in seven games, you really have no place in the bullpen.
  19. Every time there is a blow up with a Mets starter or with the bullpen, we hear how the Mets are keeping tabs on Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. It’s nothing more than a ruse, and I wish reporters would stop giving it the time of day.
  20. This upcoming road trip to Milwaukee and San Diego is tough travel, and it is the kind of road trip which has the potential to make or break a season.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Can’t Handle Milwaukee’s Brew

For the second time this year, the Mets faced an NL Central team who could be a Wild Card contender, and the Mets lost 2/3. Certainly, in this series, the Mets roster moves and decisions didn’t help matters:

1. It was raining, Corey Oswalt was fully rested and called up for the game. Jacob deGrom was coming off the Injured List. Naturally, the Mets opted to have deGrom wait around for nearly three hours in the rain.

2. While deGrom has had his struggles this year, it should be noted they all coincide with rain delays.

3. It’s getting harder to defend Oswalt even if he’s rarely given situations conducive to proving his ability.

4. Noah Syndergaard has peripherals in line with his best years. That, when you have three consecutive five inning starts where you allow five plus runs, it’s hard to notice.

5. Syndergaard’s comments about the baseballs being like ice confirm everyone’s suspicions about a juiced ball. With the ball, Thor has said he’s losing confidence in his secondary offerings.

6. Certainly, a different ball could explain the Mets starters struggles. If these is indeed a new ball, we should still have confidence this very good staff figures it out eventually.

7. Travis d’Arnaud had about as bad a game as you’ve ever seen from a Mets catcher. A Mackey Sasser or Choo-Choo Coleman comp was certainly warranted.

8. Seeing d’Arnaud out there was more evidence the Mets needlessly rushed him back.

9. Based on his struggles, you can certainly understand the Mets designating him for assignment, especially with Tomas Nido playing well in Syracuse.

10. Make no mistake, this was a clear double standard. In the end, d’Arnaud, a backup catcher, was held to a higher standard than Jason Vargas, the fifth starter.

11. Vargas can’t go five innings, and yet the Mets won’t so much as have him lose his rotation spot, so they can sign Gio Gonzalez, who showed on Sunday, he was a clear upgrade. Guess there are different rules for Brodie Van Wagenen’s former clients.

12. Brandon Nimmo once again showed why he and not Jeff McNeil needs to be leading off.

13. After starting the year hitting .424, McNeil is hitting .235 over his last nine games. Hopefully, teams aren’t figuring him out.

14. Pete Alonso rebounded nicely from an 0-for-11 stretch going 3-for-5 in Saturday with a homer.

15. One benefit of bunching the lefties a bit with Alonso in the middle is a manager being almost forced to have a LOOGY pitch to Alonso. We saw Alonso crush a homer off Alex Claudio as a result.

16. Steven Matz was once again very good, and for a pitcher whose mental makeup is always maligned, it’s interesting to see how he follows bad starts with a string of very good ones (when healthy).

17. With Mike Moustakas homering off Matz, I’m well beyond being done with the 2015 Royals.

18. With Robinson Cano being hit on the hand again, and really all the Mets batters being hit on the hand, maybe it’s time Chili Davis figures out a way to get it to stop. Either that or Mets pitchers find non-bush league ways to retaliate.

19. With Amed Rosario struggling offensively and defensively, it’s very interesting to see Jed Lowrie get a rehab start at SS. Who knows? Maybe if Todd Frazier continues playing well defensively and delivering in RBI spots, Rosario’s roster spot could become tenuous.

20. There are reasons to criticize the Mets bullpen, but they do know how to hold a lead. The Mets hand won every game they had a lead in the sixth. One reason why is Edwin Diaz being phenomenal. He’s a perfect 8-for-8 in save chances with a 0.84 ERA and a 16.9 K/9.

Mets Need Todd Frazier Back

Right now, the Mets have the worst defense in the National League, and they have the worst left side of the infield defense. Amed Rosario has been the worst shortstop in the National League, and J.D. Davis has been the worst infielder in all of baseball.

Now, it is fair to point out these are small sample sizes. However, historically, both of these players have been poor defenders. Considering this is their respective histories, the Mets are in desperate need for a defensive upgrade at third. Fortunately, they already have a very good defensive infielder on their 40 man roster. It’s just a matter of when he will be available to play.

During Spring Training, Todd Frazier suffered an injury. As a result, he opened the season on the Injured List. For a player who had never been on the Injured List over the first seven years of his career, Frazier has now landed there three times over the past year plus.

So far, it has been slow going for Frazier. Over 10 rehab games for St. Lucie, Frazier has struggled hitting .200/.282/.200. However, yesterday, he finally broke out. He was 1-for-2 with a run, home run, three RBI, and two walks.

That could be a sign he’s finally ready and not a moment too soon.

The Mets have lost four of their last five games with their defense being a culprit. Davis plays way too deep, he has difficulty getting in front of balls, and his throws have been very poor. Really, his defense has been hurting the team.

Defense is one thing Frazier does really well. Since 2017, his 12 DRS is the fourth best among third baseman. His UZR is fifth best. Put another way, the Mets are getting the chance to replace the worst third baseman with one of the best.

It’s a reason why McNeil should continue playing left. Another reason is the Mets organization outfield depth is poor. Moreover, Keon Broxton and Juan Lagares not hitting, and Brandon Nimmo dealing with neck issues.

With McNeil in left, Frazier can play third until Jed Lowrie returns (whenever that will be) or Frazier establishes he shouldn’t be playing everyday. At a minimum, the Mets defense will be vastly improved. Best case, he goes on and has a Ray Knight type of season.