Jeff McNeil

Mets Offense Explodes With Giant Win

Another game and another New York Mets starter with a big start. This time it was David Peterson‘s turn.

It didn’t start that way for Peterson. In the second, Brandon Crawford hit a two run homer giving the San Francisco Giants an early 2-0 lead.

The Mets would get him a lead in the top of the third. At the time, you wondered if it was going to be enough.

The Mets would nickel and dime Alex Cobb to death. For example, Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte had consecutive infield singles in the third to help load the bases.

Francisco Lindor followed with a bloop down the left field line. Darin Ruf lumbered over, but he couldn’t make the play as he and the ball landed in the stands for a two RBI automatic double.

The two RBIs tied the score at 2-2. It was also Lindor’s 500th RBI. He would then score his 609th career run as Pete Alonso absolutely launched one to give the Mets a 5-2 lead.

Peterson seemed poised to give that lead right back in the bottom of the third. He walked Ruf to start the inning and then plunked Wilmer Flores.

Peterson bore down, and he got Mike Yastrzemski to hit into the 1-6-3 double play. That play changed the game as Peterson got out of the inning, and the Mets would eventually blow out the Giants.

For Peterson, it was a well earned win. He limited the Giants to the two runs over six while striking out six.

Colin Holderman relieved Peterson in the seventh, and he continued to prove he belongs. He pitched a scoreless inning battling through a bleeding thumb on his pitching hand.

While Mets relievers literally bled, the Giants did figuratively as the Mets offense pounded them in the eighth to break the game open.

It started because Jeff McNeil just couldn’t get a bunt down all game. As noted by Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez, it was partially because his approach has him running towards first at the point of contact.

When McNeil couldn’t get the bunt down to beat the shift, he instead swung away and hit a two run homer off Giants reliever Mauricio Llovera.

And then, Mark Canha went back-to-back increasing the Mets lead to 8-2.

Patrick Mazeika capped off the scoring in the inning with an RBI double. That gave the Mets a 10-2 lead. For Mazeika, it was his third straight game with a double as he attempts to get the starting catching job.

After another scoreless inning from Holderman, the Giants sent outfielder Luis Gonzalez to the mound. After the dog and pony show was over the 10-2 lead grew to 13-2.

The Mets ability to clobber the Giants pitching led to Gonzalez pitching. Things were so bad for the Giants J.D. Davis, who entered the game hitting .188 with a -0.4 WAR, had a four hit night. It was just one of those nights for the Mets.

Chasen Shreve, who has struggled mightily of late, took the mound in the ninth. Again, he let up a run, but in a 13-3 game, it’s a footnote.

The Mets are now eight up in the division. That includes being nine up on the Atlanta Braves. Yes, the Mets are this good.

Game Notes: This was Max Scherzer‘s spot in the rotation. This was Buck Showalter‘s 66th Birthday.

Mets Biggest Need Is Third Base (As Usual)

With the injuries to Jacob deGrom, Tylor Megill, and Max Scherzer, people are understandably taking an all-too early look at the starting pitching trade market. Some of it is an overreaction, but it is understandable when you lose starting pitchers of this caliber, and the Mets are in a position where their next best option is Trevor Williams.

That said, at this time of they year you’re not making blockbuster trades. The one exception is the 1998 Miami Marlins trading Mike Piazza after the Los Angeles Dodgers did something very stupid. So, of course, you call around, but you’re not making huge deals.

All that said, this is a very good time of the year to begin assessing what areas the Mets need to address at the trade deadline. Looking at the roster, it is difficult to come up with any other conclusion than third base is the biggest need the team needs to address.

Part and parcel of the problem is the Mets did not address it in the offseason. Yes, they signed Eduardo Escobar, but he was never a third baseman. We are seeing the impact of that so far this season.

Put the May dry spell aside. Escobar always fades in May only to break out again in June. At the plate. Escobar will be fine in the long run. However, with Escobar the issue has been and will always remain his defense.

Entering this season, Escobar was a -4 OAA at third since 2017. Most of that poor play came last year where he was a -3 OAA. If the belief was more time at third would help Escobar improve, so far, the operating theory has proven false. In fact, Escobar has a -5 OAA. That ranks as the third worst in all of baseball.

Simply put, the Mets need better at third. The problem for this franchise is where exactly are they going to get that better defensive play?

J.D. Davis is actually worse than Escobar in the field, and that’s before you consider he’s not hitting. Luis Guillorme has earned an everyday spot in the lineup, but historically, he’s struggled at third with a -2 OAA. However, it should be noted that since 2020, he’s actually a 1 OAA. That said, having him at third does limit his ability to play second where he’s a wizard.

Jeff McNeil remains the team’s best third baseman; however, the team continues to refuse to play him there. By and large, this is still probably a complete overreaction to his struggles in the pandemic 2020 season which lasted all of nine games. Of course, you could make the argument keeping him at second helps with the agility needed to shift to left field when needed.

Forget the minors. Mark Vientos is not a good defensive third baseman in the slightest. Brett Baty has been average, but he is just not hitting right now. Past that, there really aren’t any options.

Whatever the case, the Mets have built quite the versatile team. The only problem is much of that versatility does not involve having a good defensive third baseman. So far, it hasn’t really cost the Mets, but sooner or later, it will. As a result, the team needs to address this definciency by looking for either a starter or a late inning defensive replacement.

Pitchers will heal. Relievers will continue to emerge. However, the Mets will not just conjure a good defensive third baseman or someone capable of playing it everyday. That is a player the organization needs to proactively seek out at the trade deadline.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Back On Winning Ways Despite Biggest Losses Of All

The New York Mets responded to losing their first series of the season by taking three out of four from the St. Louis Cardinals. However, that does not mean the Mets did not sustain major losses.

1.  The worst thing to happen with the Mets this week was the death of Starling Marte‘s grandmother, a woman who began raising him when he was nine after his mother died. This is on the same week as the anniversary of his wife’s death. Nothing related to the Mets can be worse than this, and fans should greet him with a standing ovation when he returns to Citi Field.

2.  In terms of on-field, the Max Scherzer news is devastating. The Mets need him atop the rotation, and really they are at the point where they cannot afford to lose another starter.

3.  It would appear Scherzer and Jacob deGrom are on a race to see who will be the first to return. Never did we think this would happen this season, and yet, here we are.

4.  This makes the Chris Bassitt acquisition all the more important. He’s a legitimate top of the rotation pitcher (not an ace) for this team when they need one. We saw him be that in the series finale.

5.  Mets pitching from unlikely sources have stepped up all season, so maybe we will see it again. For example, Colin Holderman just picked up his first career win.

6.  In fact, pitchers not on the Opening Day roster to begin the season – Holderman, Adonis Medina, Stephen Nogosek, Jake Reed, and Yoan Lopez – have combined to allow just three earned over 17.1 innings.

7.  Speaking of stepping up, Trevor Williams stepped up big time pitching four scoreless innings. Really, he has been very good for the Mets eating innings over his last three appearances allowing just three earned over 11 1/3 innings. That’s great because he now needs to fill-in for Scherzer.

8.  In the series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals, Pete Alonso hit a two run walk-off homer with an accompanying jump shot to give the Mets yet another series win. It was the capper for a big series for Alonso which saw him hit two homers with seven RBI.

9.  Alonso is having a big month. Over 18 games so far, he is hitting .309/.397/.618 with three doubles, six homers, and 19 RBI. It’s about to get a lot better with him and the Mets headed to Coors Field.

10. Again, Luis Guillorme needs to be an everyday player on this team. He was 5-for-12 in this series with a double and RBI. He’s hitting .323/.382/.484 in May. Really, there is zero reason not to play him everyday.

11. Buck Showalter makes some baffling moves sometimes like lifting Guillorme late in the game for Travis Jankowski only to bunt him over. Really, the Mets brought in a pinch runner to be sacrificed over and worsened their defense in what was then a tight game where the Mets had a lead.

12. For all the nonsense hysteria over Francisco Lindor. he was 4-for-12 in this series with six walks and has reached base safely in eight straight games. He’s fine and still a great player.

13. Time and again, Brandon Nimmo comes up huge. Whether it was the RBI triple or another big hit or great play, Nimmo is one of the best players in all of baseball and needs to be extended.

14. Speaking of great plays, Jeff McNeil scaling the wall and throwing out a player tagging up was just a phenomenal play. Really, between the versatility, improved defense, and his hitting, this is the best he has ever been.

15. Good for Dominic Smith for backing up his talk of wanting to play every day by going 3-for-7 with a run, double, two walks, and two RBI. This is the type of player who needs to play everyday.

16. Of course, the Mets followed his hot hitting by forcing J.D. Davis into the lineup who promptly went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. The Mets really just need to stop forcing him into the lineup whenever Smith gets going. It’s just counterproductive.

17. With the Mets dealing with starting pitching injuries, they just need to play their best players. That isn’t Davis.

18. Eduardo Escobar is hurting this team with his defense, and he’s still not back to hitting. The Mets may be forced to find a third baseman at the trade deadline.

19. When you hit a game winning homer, you can do whatever crazy celebration you want including the one Alonso did.

20. For all the troubles right now, the Mets are 12 games over .500 with a seven game lead in the division. They did what they needed to do through this part of the season, and now, they just need to keep playing well to win this division regardless of who is healthy or not.ba

Luis Guillorme Has Earned Starting Job

Truth be told, neither J.D. Davis or Dominic Smith have done anything to claim the DH spot. There are a myriad of factors why including the wasted Robinson Cano plate appearances, and the New York Mets shifting between Davis and Smith trying to find out who should get that spot.

So far this season, Smith is hitting .177/.257/.226 with three doubles and nine RBI. Really, he can’t play everyday while he is hitting like that. Sure the strikeouts are down and the quality of contact is rising, but again, there are zero tangible results to justify playing him at all.

For some the answer is to play Davis. Well, that’s not an inspiring choice either. Through 22 games, Davis is hitting .204/.333/.333 with two doubles, one triple, one homer, and six RBI. You dig deeper and see him hitting the ball on the ground half the time, and you see a player who isn’t forcing his way into the lineup.

The problem with this DH analysis is it has been seen as a binary choice between Davis and Smith. To a certain degree, you understand as they were the two best bats for the DH spot. However, that analysis is wrong and was always the wrong approach. Really, it should be about getting the nine best players into the lineup.

That is why Luis Guillorme should be playing everyday.

No, this is not an argument for Guillorme to be the DH. He doesn’t have that kind of bat, and really, it is a waste of what Guillorme brings to the table.

What Guillorme mostly brings is defense. In his limited time at second this year, he has a 2 OAA. That’s a 4 OAA dating back to last season. He can also play a solid shortstop giving Francisco Lindor a break now and then. While Guillorme isn’t a great third baseman, he is certainly better there than Eduardo Escobar, who has struggled there in his career and this season.

Guillorme’s defense is reason enough to play him everyday. That defense makes the team better. His versatility can make the team fresher. Certainly, his ability to play second gives Jeff McNeil a chance to play third, left, or DH. If McNeil moves to left, that gives Mark Canha a day. As noted, it can also give Lindor or Escboar a day.

Another point here is while Guillorme isn’t going to slug like a DH, he gets on base. So far this season, he is hitting .255/.364/.383 with three doubles, one homer, and two RBI. That’s productive.

Go back to Davis and Smith, Guillorme is actually out-hitting them. His OPS is higher, and he has more extra base hits than Smith while having the same as Davis. Keep in mind, Guillorme has just 56 plate appearances to Davis’ 66 and Smith’s 70.

If this were truly a meritocracy, Guillorme has earned the everyday job. He’s out-hit Davis and Smith, and he has contributed defensively more than either one of them ever could. Sooner or later, the Mets need to accept he’s one of their best players, and they need to find a way to play him everyday instead of finding ways to play Davis and Smith when they’re not earning those chances anymore.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Take Two From Nationals

The New York Mets are now 9-0-1 in their 10 season series, and they are on pace to win 108 games. After another series against the Nationals, the Mets look all the more like a World Series caliber team:

1.  The incredible 5-6-1-9-6 double play was punctuated by Taijuan Walker knocking down Juan Soto, who went in hard. That’s the way it is with this Mets team, they’re there to beat you, and they’re not stepping down.

2.  It just seems like the Mets have something special store in each series. There was the co-no, the epic comeback, and now that double play. These are the things fun and special teams do.

3.  Luis Guillorme had a heads up play to start that double play, and he’s really earning more playing time. Over his last 10 games, he’s batting ..321/.387/.536 with five runs, three doubles, a homer, and two RBI while playing exceptional defense. Perhaps, he needs to play everyday.

4.  Eduardo Escobar is in a real bad place. Over his last 15 games, Escobar is hitting .167/.231/.200, and he has struggled defensively with a -2 OAA and -3 DRS at third. The good news is he usually has a bad May and breaks out in June.

5.  The Mets can’t seem to hit left-handed pitching even when it’s Patrick Corbin. Corbin has a 2.00 ERA, and against the rest of baseball, he has a 7.60 ERA. Overall, the Mets are the fifth worst NL team against left-handed pitching with a 90 wRC+.

6.  We can save the J.D. Davis needs to be the everyday DH narrative. He’s batting .217/.362/.326 driving the ball on the ground with a 51.5% ground ball rate so far this season. With that, he’s now back to a much more reasonable .286 BABIP. Really, this is the batter he is.

7.  Mark Canha snapped out of it just when the Mets needed him. His 3-for-4 game with a homer and three RBI snapped a streak where he hit .231/.292/.292 over his previous 19 games.

8.  Canha is still a player in decline with him seeing a steady decline in barrels, hard hit rate, exit velocities, whiff%, chase rate, and really all metrics. A game like he had is fun, but overall, there is a reason Buck Showalter removes him late in games and was transitioning him to a part-time player.

9.  Brandon Nimmo has an eight game hitting streak, and he has reached base safely in all but one game this season. He’s the Mets best player, and the way he is playing, he is not only going to get All-Star consideration, but he will get MVP consideration as well.

10. Carlos Carrasco has continued his terrific bounceback season. He is again the pitcher he was in Cleveland, and the Mets are on a different level because of it.

11. Not enough can be said about the job Trevor Williams and Stephen Nogosek did. They saved the bullpen in what was a lost game in more ways than one. These are the unheralded moments which helps teams win divisions and World Series.

12. Trevor Megill had a bad start. It happens. It’s best not to over-analyze it. Just move on and reassess after his next start.

13. The Mets have missed James McCann, who has been out with an injury. He’s been quite good this year, and Tomas Nido has not shown he can replicate what he can give. Now seeing its a hammate bone injury, for all intents and purposes McCann may be done for the year.

14. We can probably now add catcher to third base for trade deadline needs because it is way too soon for Francisco Alvarez. That goes double with Alvarez’s recent slump.

15. Jeff McNeil has been great this year. He has been versatile, and this is the best he has ever hit. He’s learned to combine some patience at the plate with his hit everything approach.

16. This upcoming series was going to be about Jarred Kelenic and Edwin Diaz, but with Kelenic getting sent down, it’s not. Whatever the case, the trade remains an unmitigated disaster.

17. Robinson Cano turned down a chance to go to Triple-A to help get back up to speed and help the Mets in the long term. Instead, he’s going to the San Diego Padres. This is not remotely a player grateful for the Mets keeping tabs on him last year and making sure he was alright and for giving him an undeserved chance again this year.

18. The Mets can beat teams in just so many ways. They can do it with power, with singles and timely hitting, with speed and defense, and with pitching. When you get that rare mix, you’re a special team. This is a special team.

19. No one should care what Noah Syndergaard has to say about the co-no or anything Mets. Just be grateful he was a Met, hope he pitches well this season, and mostly, hope he returns next year.

20. Mets in the black jerseys on Friday the 13th with Max Scherzer on the mound. Mariners are going to be frightened as is the rest of baseball when they see the Mets on their schedule.

Trevor Williams Forgotten Man In Mets Bullpen

In the third game of the season, Buck Showalter shoehorned Trevor Williams into a game under the auspices he needed to get the reliever work. In that game, Williams was credited with a blown save and a loss after allowing two unearned runs. After Williams blew that game, it seems like Showalter feels no need to get him into a game again.

In fact, since that game, Williams has only gotten into four more games. Aside from the “start,” each of those times the score differential was more than four runs. That included when the Atlanta Braves put a beating on the Mets. All told, whatever you want to call a low leverage reliever, that’s what Williams is.

It’s really bizarre when you look at is. For example, Sean Reid-Foley, a pitcher who was widely anticipated was going to be designated for assignment, was used on seven different occasions. He’s been on the IL for about two weeks now, and he still has three more appearances.

We have also seen some diminishing returns from Adam Ottavino. Ottavino has been mostly good with nine scoreless relief appearances out of his 12 appearances for the season. That said, Showalter also felt compelled to use him for three consecutive days in a series against the Braves. That helped lead to the aforementioned blowout and Williams’ fourth appearance of the season.

The problem there is the Mets need that one extra right-handed arm in the pen. Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Drew Smith are the late inning relievers. Joely Rodriguez and Chasen Shreve are there for the left-handed relievers. Ottavino was fine for the middle innings, and Trevor May was there for that bridge, but now he’s injured and gone for months.

This could have been a chance to see what Williams has in the tank. However, the Mets haven’t seemed inclined to use him at all. That was even the case in doubleheaders where a spot start opportunity was there. The Mets understandably and correctly went with David Peterson.

Williams was actually useful in the Mets bullpen last season, and he did show some promise. In eight appearances, he pitched 22.1 innings with a 9.3 K/9 and a 3.83 K/BB. Digging deeper, there is something there with Williams.

Generally speaking, he induces weaker contact than most pitchers, and batters have a hard time squaring the ball up against him. Typically speaking, he induces pull side ground balls. With the Mets ability to shift plus having Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil up the middle, this should play right into the Mets hands.

He has an effective sinker, and his change is a weapon. We’ve seen his sinker be one as well. There is something there with Williams even if that is being a long or low leverage reliever. Perhaps he could be more, especially refining things and working on pitch mixes with Jeremy Hefner, but he would have to get the reps to do that.

On the long reliever front, he’s been dormant for even that role. For example, Sean Gilmartin made 50 appearances in 2015, and we saw Darren Oliver make 45 appearances in 2006. So far, Williams is on a pace to make 21 appearances. That’s not going to help him, and it’s not going to help the rest of the bullpen.

Sooner or later, the Mets are going to have to give Williams more chances. They’re going to have to get him in a rhythm and try to establish himself as a real part of this bullpen. If he does, this bullpen is even better. If not, you can move on and find someone else. However, if you’re not pitching him, you can’t make any of these needed assessments. That needs to change soon.

 

Mets Win With Rat, Not Raccoon

For some reason, the New York Mets couldn’t get to Patrick Corbin even though he’s been terrible since the Washington Nationals won the World Series. Fortunately, he could only go five, and that would be the Nationals undoing.

Entering that top of the sixth, the Nationals were up 2-0. Carlos Carrasco was pitching well, but he allowed an RBI double to Maikel Franco (shocking) and a solo homer to Riley Adams.

The Nationals brought in Carl Edwards, Jr., and the Mets went to work. They loaded the bases with one out, and Jeff McNeil did what he does best – he got it in play.

It was hit hard, but it’s a play Josh Bell needs to make. In any event, Bell pulled a Dorn, and McNeil had a game tying two RBI double.

The Mets took the lead on a James McCann sacrifice fly scoring Eduardo Escobar. It was part of a big game for McCann. In addition to going 1-for-3 with the sacrifice fly and his usual terrific work behind the plate, he also threw out Drew Strange-Gordon attempting to steal second.

It was part of a tremendous defensive inning for the Mets. In addition to the caught stealing, Francisco Lindor robbed Franco of a hit.

That helped Drew Smith get through the seventh. He’d need a little help in the eighth.

Smith departed with one on and Juan Soto coming to the plate. Soto is having a down year (for him), and it didn’t get better as he popped out on the first pitch he saw from Joely Rodriguez.

Buck Showalter would have an interesting ninth. After Mark Canha reached on an error, he didn’t pinch run Travis Jankowski even though he’d bring in Jankowski later in the inning to pinch run, and he’d be the defensive replacement for Canha.

Canha wouldn’t score from second on a Lindor single.

He was also intending to bring in Dominic Smith for defense. However, he didn’t use him to pinch hit for J.D. Davis. Davis was overpowered by low 90s fastballs up in the zone by Erasmo Ramirez.

Davis did fly out. Fortunately, with the infield and outfield in, the Mets took advantage of the back pedaling Soto to not only score a run, but also to see all base runners advance.

The lead was 4-2, but it did seem the Mets left a big inning on the table with some of Showalter’s decisions playing a factor there.

Fortunately, two runs were more than enough for Edwin Diaz, who has been phenomenal all season. He slammed the door shut for his seventh save of the season.

While the win was fun in and of itself, there was some levity during that sixth inning rally when a Rat ran onto the field.

While Keith Hernandez was doing his best James Cagney, Mets fans were remembering the Ratcoon controversy. That’s the way it is when things are going well.

What was once controversy is now fun. Right now, everything is fun for a Mets team on pace for 110 wins.

Do Mets Have Something In Adonis Medina?

One thing lost in the New York Mets huge comeback against the Philadelphia Phillies was Adonis Medina. After pitching 2.2 scoreless innings, he was in line for the win. You could argue the 2.2 scoreless was as improbable as the comeback itself.

Medina was grabbed by the Mets off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates just as the 2022 season was about to commence. Keep in mind, the Pirates are not a team in a position to part with any pitching, or really, any useful player. They are a bad team who needs to be investing in players in their mid 20s.

The Pirates had Medina because he was designated for assignment by the Phillies. The Phillies bullpen has been a train-wreck the past few seasons. They’re not remotely in a position to start parting with relievers who can part with any pitcher with promise.

Despite that, the Mets traded for Medina for cash after he was DFA’s and used a 40 man spot on him. Part of the reason why is the Mets needed some minor league depth for their bullpen. The other answer is obviously that the Mets saw something in a player once considered a top 100 prospect.

For starters, Medina is a ground ball machine. He has a low to mid 90s sinker, which has generated a 61.0% ground ball rate over his brief Major League career. When you have an infield with Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil or Luis Guillorme up that middle, that is going to translate to a number of outs. That goes double with how well the Mets shift.

Another factor is Medina does have some swing-and-miss stuff. His 21.2 K% at the Major League level is above average. While his fastball is hittable, batters typically struggle making contact with his sinker and change. The slider is below league average in terms of spin, but Medina’s change can be a real weapon.

According to Baseball Savant, Medina’s change is an above average pitch in terms of both movement and vertical drop. What makes that pitch all the more effective is the fact Medina has a very consistent release point.

In the end, Medina tends to induce weaker contact. This is partially because that sinker is a weapon. There is also the fact his change is thrown from a similar release point and tracks as an above average pitch.

All told, this gives Jeremy Hefner something to work with Medina. With the Minnesota Twins, Hefner has helped pitchers work more vertically than horizontally. As we saw with the Mets, he worked with different grips with Justin Wilson to maximize his curve.

Mostly, Hefner can make the tweaks needed to get Medina to throw strikes. More than anything, it’s the walks holding Medina back from taking the next step as a Major Leaguer. By working with Hefner, perhaps there is something there.

In terms of the Mets bullpen, there is room for Medina to prove himself with Trevor May‘s absence. There is a real void to serve as that bridge to Drew Smith, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz. After 2.2 scoreless, it would appear Medina earned another chance. It will be interesting to see where he goes from there.

Mets Miracle Comeback After Rangers Win

With the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup playoffs, their games are going to take precedence. That goes double when you see the Philadelphia Phillies annihilating Taijuan Walker to the tune of seven runs over four innings.

It didn’t help that Aaron Nola was having an easy time with the Mets lineup. All-in-all, it just seemed like the Mets were going to get blown out for a second straight night.

Still, when you’re a diehard Mets fan, you check back in here and there. With the Rangers winning, you skip the postgame and head to SNY.

In some ways, it’s a way to reduce the adrenaline. Between the big win and Jeff Carter taking out Igor Shesterkin (and the morons on TNT defending it), the blood was running hot. A cool down was needed.

Then, Francisco Lindor hits a two run homer off James Norwood. Okay, so the score is 7-1, so things don’t look so bad.

Pete Alonso doubles, but just when you think it could get interesting, Eduardo Escobar lines out. Jeff McNeil singles putting runners at the corners.

It’s intriguing, but Joe Girardi is done messing around. He brings in Corey Knebel, the former Milwaukee Braves closer who has been lights out this year.

Except, Mark Canha hits an RBI single. Suddenly, Dominic Smith is up as the tying run. The Mets might just have a chance.

Nah, they don’t. Smith chased ball four to strike out. Buck Showalter throws a Hail Mary sending up J.D. Davis to hit for Tomás Nido.

Davis can’t hit velocity or pitches up in the zone. Knebel is smart, and as a result, you expect this game to be over. However, for reasons beyond comprehension, Knebel grooves a pitch over the heart of the plate, and Davis hits an RBI double.

Suddenly, the Mets are down 7-5 with the go-ahead coming to the plate. To make things all the more interesting, Showalter sent his fastest runner, Travis Jankowski, to pinch run for Davis.

That means a single ties the game. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Knebel hung a curve, and Brandon Nimmo tied the score.

Up to the plate comes Starling Marte. He had hit what seemed like a meaningless sixth inning homer. He had what seemed like a meaningless infield single to start the inning. Now, he could put the Mets ahead.

Off the bat, it looked gone, but it hits the wall. With the way Nimmo perpetually hustles, this was not a Todd Zeile/Timo Pérez situation.

Suddenly, a Mets team left for dead scored seven runs in the ninth to take an 8-7 lead. This was a team who had lost their last 330 games entering the ninth down by at heart six and literally only had a 0.1% chance to win.

That win went to Adonis Medina, a pitcher who most Mets fans probably didn’t know was on the team. He earned that by keeping the Phillies off the board for 2.2 innings.

Edwin Diaz was again lights out picking up his third save of the season.

For a fan, it doesn’t get better than this. The Rangers beat the Penguins 5-2, and then the Mets completely stun the Phillies. Right now, New York owns the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and there are two teams with legit championship hopes.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Blow Opportunity

The New York Mets had won seven straight series before a key divisional match-up against the Atlanta Braves. They would not make it an eighth straight series.

1.  Last season, the Mets failed on multiple occasions to deliver a knockout blow to the Braves leading to the Braves buying at the deadline, winning the division, and eventually, winning the World Series. This was the Mets first chance to deliver a huge blow to the under .500 Braves, and instead, they let the Braves walk away with a split.

2.  You can’t use Adam Ottavino for three straight games. That’s just an unforced error that helped lead to the Mets getting blown out.

3.  Buck Showalter came into this season with a number of questions. Seeing how he burns Drew Smith for two innings instead of saving him for another day and used an injured Trevor May in a key spot, it would seem like he hasn’t improved in the slightest in this area.

4.  Chris Bassitt and Tylor Megill deserved better.

5.  If Bassitt wants to sign an extension, the Mets should sign him to one. This is a good pitcher who seems to like pitching here. You keep those guys.

6.  The walks are starting to pile up with Megill. If he isn’t pounding the strike zone, he becomes vulnerable to the big inning. That is essentially what happened to him. Right now, this isn’t any cause for alarm.

7.  All the metrics say Francisco Lindor is hitting the ball very well, but the results aren’t there. Put another way, it’s too soon to overreact, but it is something we need to monitor.

8.  The Mets poor hard hit rates is not an issue for players like Jeff McNeil and Luis Guillorme. However, it is a much larger issue for the rest of the team who are more line drive power hitters.

9.  Eduardo Escobar went from pleasant surprise and leader to looking like the player the Mets shouldn’t have jumped the market to sign. His hard hit rates are cratering as is his defense.

10. Starting J.D. Davis over Dominic Smith, especially with a right-handed pitcher starting is just plain wrong. With extended playing time, Davis’ struggles with any sort of velocity and with pitches up in the zone are magnified.

11. For all the focus on the struggles of the bullpen, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Smith have the final 2-3 innings locked down. Looking at that, building the rest of the bullpen is a much easier task until May returns from the IL.

12. It’s very interesting how May and Jacob deGrom were dealing with very similar injuries. What that says about the Mets is anyone’s guess.

13. The umpiring in this series was embarrassing. It helped cost one game with Dansby Swanson being ruled to have a double on a clear foul ball. Dom was called out on a pitch well out of the zone. Between this series and the Madison Bumgarner ejection in Arizona, the umpiring has been unacceptably poor this season. Really, you know it’s bad when Max Scherzer gets thrown out of a game when he’s not pitching.

14. The notion anything other than balls and strikes is not reviewable is ludicrous.

15. Travis d’Arnaud is certainly going the way of Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner in how he is making the Mets pay for their flat out wrong decision to cut him loose and look in another direction.

16. Players like Travis Jankowski and Guillorme deserve more respect. They fill their roles in perfectly and make this ball club infinitely better. Jankowski knows people won’t buy his jersey, but we will all cheer him on like he’s a superstar.

17. Carlos Carrasco has been amazing this season, and his eight innings not only helped the Mets pick up a win, but it also saved the bullpen.

18. Trevor Williams wasn’t great, but he took one for the team pitching 3.2 innings. Outings like this often get overlooked and under appreciated, but it is something which will really help the Mets in the long run. With May out, you do wonder if the Mets can give him more of a look out of the pen. After all, it’s not like they have other options.

19. The Showalter suspension was ridiculous, especially when you consider Stubby Clapp wasn’t suspended. You do wonder how much that impacted the Mets in the opener of the series, especially with Showalter being informed right before game time.

20. Alonso is heating up just when the Mets need his bat to carry this team. Hopefully, he can help carry the offense as they try to give the Philadelphia Phillies the knock out blow they failed to give the Braves.

Recaps

Same Old Mets Against Braves

Mets Send Message to Braves

Credit to Trevor Williams