Jeff McNeil

Braves Destroy Horrid Mets Defense And Bullpen

Brodie Van Wagenen built a poor defensive club with a bullpen that was an arm or two short. When you do that, you’re not beating average teams like the Cardinals, and you’re not beating good teams like the Braves.

When you get injuries and poor performances from the bullpen, you’re not beating anyone on the road, which is why the Mets have the most road losses in the National League.

Zack Wheeler was decent for four allowing two runs only for the National League worst defense to destroy his and the Mets chances of winning the game.

The Mets got misplays from Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, and Wilson Ramos, the latter of which who appeared to not even bother on the tough balls in the dirt. The embarrassingly poor defense and defensive effort took a 2-2 game and made it 5-2.

If you had a glimmer of hope after the Robinson Cano sixth inning homer, the Mets bullpen made sure to destroy those delusions of grandeur.

Jeurys Familia loaded the bases while recording just one out in the seventh causing Mickey Callaway to go to Drew Gagnon to put out the fire. Sadly, Gagnon decided to use a mixture of gasoline and kerosene to try to put out that fire.

By the time he was done, the 5-3 deficit grew to 12-3. Three of the runs were charged to Familia and four were charged to Gagnon. At the end, who cares? Every reliever not named Seth Lugo is pitching extremely poorly. The defense is worse than that.

You can tell yourself the Mets competed with the Braves for most of this game, and that they tied the score off Mike Soroka and his 1.92 ERA. It doesn’t matter because this bullpen is non-competitive.

Game Notes: Wheeler has a .323 batting average with a .828 OPS.

20/20 Hindsight: It’s Always The Cardinals

The Mets had an opportunity to not just get back to .500 this weekend. They had the chance to make a statement against the Cardinals while going over .500 and making a real push towards the Wild Card and division ahead of a big road trip. As we know, it didn’t happen:

1. Perhaps everything is different if Edwin Diaz could pitch through the rain. He couldn’t. Instead, he blew the save, and the Mets would have to wait another day to lose that game, and then because this is the Mets, blow another game.

2. The criticism directed towards Mickey Callaway in sticking with Diaz for the 10th inning of that suspended game was plain dumb. It’s not like he was running him right back out there. No, he used him after a night of rest, and remember, Diaz was their best available reliever. Sticking with him was the right call.

3. The criticism of Callaway has gone way over the top. Take for example Wally Matthews hit on him when Callaway said Dominic Smith was one of their better hitters against Cardinals starter Daniel Hudson. Matthews mocked Callaway saying they never faced one another instead of pointing out how left-handed batters are hitting .311/.411/.508 off Hudson. Of course, that fact stands in the way of the narrative that Callaway is an idiot.

4. If you want to get on Callaway, get on his ever allowing Mets pitching to pitch to Paul DeJong. For some reason, he turns into a hybrid monster of Chipper Jones and Barry Bonds whenever he plays the Mets. It’s infuriating, especially when it was DeJong who mostly cost the Mets a chance to at least split the series or possibly more.

5. With respect to DeJong, one of his homers came off of Chris Flexen. That’s a tough spot for Flexen, who was JUST converted to a reliever with one relief outing in Syracuse before getting called up. He pitched well otherwise, and the Mets need to give him more of a look. That said, it’s an indictment on Brodie Van Wagenen that Flexen needed to be rushed like this.

6. Speaking of Van Wagenen indictments, who is the fifth starter now that Noah Syndergaard is injured? Corey Oswalt is hurt. Flexen is a reliever. Ervin Santana hasn’t been good in years, and Walker Lockett has never been good. Maybe he’ll just trade another asset for a pitcher another organization clearly no longer wants.

7. Like when he traded cash considerations for Brooks Pounders and his career 8.69 ERA. If history is any guide, this will go the way of Tobi Stoner in terms of relievers with fun names who have a big arm and poor results.

8. The Mets entered this season with zero depth in their rotation and their outfield. It’s already caused a huge problem in the outfield, and it is potentially doing so again with the rotation.

9. The outfield really highlights the Mets stupidity. Right now, the Mets are considering playing Jeff McNeil, who is just a second baseman, or Michael Conforto, who will only play right field this year, to play center so they can get Smith, who is only going to play first base, into the lineup as the team’s left fielder.

10. McNeil made a game and season ending play when he nailed Jack Flaherty at the plate. If the Mets lost that game, there may not have been any coming back from it. It’s bizarre to think this was one of just two season altering types of a plays in the same four game series, the other being Amed Rosario‘s inability to get the relay throw in Diaz’s blown save.

11. Say what you want about this team, but they are resilient. They came back from Diaz’s blown save and loss, and they were in position to win the next game until Jeurys Familia blew it. They then came back the next night and won it. They then battled all day Sunday trying to pull out the series split.

12. This team can hit at home. Their 117 wRC+ at home is the fourth best in the majors and second best in the National League. The trick for the team is to find a way to bring that offense on the road.

13. Speaking of offense at home, the team should just leave J.D. Davis at Citi Field because it’s apparently the only ballpark in the majors he can hit. In his career, he hits .209/.274/.341 on the road, .150/.200/.300 at Minute Maid, and yet, somehow, .347/.424/.587 at Citi Field. Maybe there’s just something to the Mets infield dirt that makes those ground balls find a way through.

14. If you are looking for the reasons for the Mets struggles, it’s not Callaway. It’s the bullpen, which is terrible, and it is the defense, which may actually be worse than the bullpen. That’s a combination which is not going to play well on the road, and as we saw in this series, it is not going to play well against good teams.

15. As bizarre and tiresome as this sounds, the Mets still could be in this race. They’re just five games out of a Wild Card and 7.5 back of the Braves, and the Mets have the games against the opponents to make it a race. They just have to go out and to their job.

16. For what it’s worth, Flexen being in the pen along with a returning Justin Wilson may address the bullpen enough that they could be good there. Move McNeil to center with Smith in left, and maybe, this is a team ready to go. After all, we see the fight this team has in it. It’s really just a matter of putting it all together at once.

17. That said, if it was that easy, the Mets wouldn’t be in this position.

18. If you want to know if there is a real chance for the division, look no further than this series against the Braves. If they take two, it’s a whole new ball game. If they get swept, they’ve already lost the division, and they’ll be lucky if there’s still a Wild Card to put their focus.

19. Pete Alonso almost pulling a Tommie Agee is what makes him such a fun player to watch. You just never know when he is going to hit the next towering homer.

20. You could buy the criticism directed at Syndergaard for not speaking reporters after his injury if the media held the General Manager and ownership to the same standards. Instead, they fight over themselves to throw jabs at the team’s designated punching bag Callaway, especially when you see how the Mets have handled Brandon Nimmo‘s STILL injured neck.

Media Kills Mets Players While Giving The Wilpons A Pass

Noah Syndergaard left last night’s game with an apparent leg injury. Whatever the reason, he was still in the clubhouse after the game instead of getting treatment or an examination in the trainer’s room or somewhere else.

Syndergaard finally left the clubhouse when the media entered, and the media pounced:

As is typically the case, reporters pounce on when a player ducks them. We saw it happen earlier this year with Clint Frazier, and we’ve seen it with the Mets with Matt Harvey and others.

It’s a player’s responsibility to face the media, and when they failed to meet up to their responsibilities, they should be held accountable. Even if the media attacks tend to go over the top, they’re within their right to do it.

The question is why this only applies to players.

Sandy Anderson used to meet with the press before every homestand. He was there to answer for everything good or bad (mostly bad). It’s a tradition Brodie Van Wagenen has not followed. Instead, his media availability during homestands typically only goes as far as the notes he leaves telling the media he hopes they enjoy the doughnuts he bought them.

There’s also Jeff Wilpon, who never makes himself available to the media. That is, unless, he’s in studio with his friend Mike Francesa whose toughest question to Jeff is whether Jeff McNeil or Yoenis Cespedes could come within 25 strokes of him on the golf course.

Basically, the media will kill players for their self-imposed unavailability, but they’re unwilling to do the same with the General Manager or ownership. That goes at least double for ownership.

Sure, we will hear about how Syndergaard left his team high and dry to answer questions for him. However, we won’t hear the same about how Van Wagenen and the Wilpons do the same exact thing to Mickey Callaway and the Mets players.

No, for some reason only players need to be held accountable by the media. The Wilpons and Van Wagenen can and will continue getting a pass for the same behavior despite their unavailability being all the more egregious than what an injured Syndergaard, a player who’s always there to answer questions, did today.

That is a ridiculous double standard.

Mets Barely Hold On

Lot to digest with this one, so just like in Spaceballs, we’ll go with the short-short version:

Pete Alonso almost pulled off a Tommie Agee in the first off Cardinals starter Michael Wacha:

Home Plate Umpire Brian O’Nora vomited on the field causing a 10 minute delay. Believe it or not, it was not due to having to watch this Mets team play.

Noah Syndergaard pitched well coming off strep throat, and entering the seventh, the Mets were up 8-3. Syndergaard seemed to pull a muscle or something in his leg and had to leave the game.

The Mets bullpen is terrible, and they made an 8-3 game an 8-7 one. Edwin Diaz would need Jeff McNeil to track down a ball which fell between him and Michael Conforto and nail Jack Flaherty at the plate.

That was a really bad send there, but the Mets benefitted. You can call it a bad win all you want, but it’s still a win. Take it and be happy.

Game Notes: Mets have as many wins as they did all last June (5). J.D. Davis had a career day at the plate going 4-for-5 falling a triple short of the cycle.

Mets Could Have Five All Stars

The New York Mets have been making a push for fans to elect their players as All-Stars. At first, it started with Pete Alonso and only recently it was grown to include Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto. These are three Mets who are putting together strong cases to be All Stars, and they are three of five Mets who could be legitimately named All Stars this year:

Pete Alonso

Traditional Stats: .258/.339/.598, 13 2B, 2 3B, 22 HR, 49 RBI
Advanced Stats: 2.4 bWAR, 2.2 fWAR, 150 OPS+, 145 wRC+

Any other year and Alonso would be a no-doubt All-Star. Currently, he’s tied for second in the league in homers, and he is seventh in RBI, sixth in slugging, and tenth in OPS in conjunction with being in the mix on advanced metrics leaderboards. The problem for Alonso is first base in the National League is extremely deep this year with Max Muncy, Freddie Freeman, and Josh Bell having a higher WAR and Bell, Freeman, and Anthony Rizzo having a higher wRC+.

It is a difficult race, but Alonso has a legitimate shot to be an All Star, especially when you take injuries into account. No matter what the case, at a minimum, Alonso should be taking part in the All Star festivities as part of the Home Run Derby.

Michael Conforto

Traditional Stats: .258/.383/.507, 13 2B, 13 HR, 32 RBI, 4 SB
Advanced Stats: 1.9 bWAR, 2.0 fWAR, 142 OPS+, 138 wRC+

While he’s mostly overlooked, Conforto probably represents the Mets best shot as an All Star because he’s one of the best at his position. Currently, Conforto ranks sixth among National League outfielders in WAR and seventh in wRC+. Also, by DRS, Conforto rates as the fourth best defensive right fielder.

While he’s deserving, Conforto has real impediments to his induction. There’s players with name recognition like Charlie Blackmon or Bryce Harper or players who could be a team’s lone All Star like Brian Anderson of the Marlins. Even if they are impediments, they are not more deserving.

Jacob deGrom

Traditional Stats: 3-6, 3.38 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, 11.1 K/9
Advanced Stats: 2.3 bWAR, 2.3 fWAR, 118 ERA+, 3.09 FIP

Let’s get the obvious out of the way and point out deGrom hasn’t been the deGrom of last year, but that alone does not mean he’s not a worthy All-Star. While he’s had a “down year,” deGrom is still third in the National League in strikeouts and K/9, and he’s seventh in K/BB (5.1) and FIP. Another note, deGrom is also fifth in the league in fWAR.

When you break it all down, deGrom’s tough stretch fueled by illness and injuries have his stats a little off from what we anticipated. That said, breaking down the numbers more deGrom should absolutely be an All-Star this year as he is still one of the best pitchers in the league.

Seth Lugo

Traditional Stats: 3-0, 2.43 ERA, 0.930 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, 11.6 K/9
Advanced Stats: 0.6 bWAR, 0.8 fWAR, 166 ERA+, 2.64 FIP

As baseball heads towards these multi-innings relievers, pitchers like Lugo have become more valuable, and in recent years, we have begun seeing more set-up men be included on the All-Star teams over closers who simply accumulate saves. Ultimately, the question with Lugo is just how far is the modern game willing to go to acknowledge pitchers like him.

When comparing Lugo to other National League relievers, you see he is near at in the top 10 in many categories including important ones like innings, K/9, K/BB, FIP, WHIP, and fWAR. In fact, he ranks eighth among all National League relievers in strikeouts. Now that he’s healthy, we should see him advance higher on each of these lists and continue to strengthen his case.

Jeff McNeil

Traditional Stats: .337/.408/.467, 15 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 4 CS
Advanced Stats: 2.2 bWAR, 1.5 fWAR, 140 OPS+, 139 wRC+

The problem with evaluatin McNeil is you don’t know where to put him. Is he an outfielder? Second Baseman? Third Baseman? Looking at the positive DRS he has at each of those positions, the answer is clearly yes to each. When looking at it that way, you realize what McNeil really is is a baseball player, a very good baseball player.

He’s third in the league in batting average, fourth in OBP, 10th in OPS+, eighth in HBP (8), and 14th in wRC+. When you look at these and other numbers, you realize it doesn’t matter where he plays. What matters is he does play, and in fact, his ability to play three positions well makes him extremely valuable. IF we look at him as a baseball player, he is definitely one of the best players in the National League, and you are going to need a really good argument to keep him off the All-Star team.

Overall, the Mets should have at least two All-Stars, and realistically speaking the maximum they would have is three. It would seem likely deGrom and one of McNeil or Conforto makes the team with Alonso joining them as part of the Home Run Derby. At least that’s what the analysis says. As we know, who is and who is not an All-Star sometimes makes zero sense, so we just have to sit and wait and hope one of the deserving Mets will not be a snub.

 

The Mets are really pushing Pete Alonso for the All Star Game. You can understand why. He was a sensation in April, he’s threatening Darryl Strawberry‘s Mets and Mark McGwire‘s MLB record for homers by a rookie. On top of that, he’s a fun player who has quickly become a fan favorite.

The problem with pushing Alonso is he shouldn’t be an All Star first baseman. Trailing Max Muncy, Freddie Freeman, and Josh Bell in WAR, and he’s tied with Anthony Rizzo. What may come as a shock is Alonso trails all but Muncy in wRC+.

Now, it’s not a travesty if Alonso makes it. In fact, he’s had a good enough season where his being named an All Star is more than merited. It would be good for him and baseball. Then again, there are more deserving candidates.

There are also more deserving Mets. Front and center is Michael Conforto.

Conforto is currently in the top six in WAR among outfielders meaning he should solidly be an All-Star. He’s also sixth in wRC+. Defensively, he’s just 16th in DRS, but that does qualify as fourth best among right fielders.

Overall, Conforto has been terrific this year, and looking at the numbers, he absolutely should be an All-Star. Considering his production and what he’s been for this team, there should be a push among fans and the team to elect him an All Star starter.

It’s not happening. Instead, the team is pushing Alonso and Jeff McNeil. As an aside, McNeil is very deserving as well. That said, neither McNeil nor Conforto are among the top nine. They should be. Perhaps, if the Mets and their fans cared to notice how good they’ve been they would be.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Escape Bronx With Split

The Mets and Yankees had their first doubleheader since 2008, which was also their first doubleheader in one ballpark since the inception of the Subway Series. The Mets walked out of Yankee Stadium with a split, and they are still one game under .500. How that happened was quite eventful:

1. The Subway Series needs to stop. The Mets get four games against the Yankees while the teams they are fighting against for the division or Wild Card don’t have the same four tough games locked into their schedule all year. I don’t care how much fun it is, it is putting the Mets at a competitive disadvantage.

2. We can and should talk about payroll disparity and ownership commitment when it comes to why the Mets are the Mets and the Yankees are the Yankees. However, it’s more than that. The Yankees got Luke Voit and IFA money for essentially nothing while the Mets traded three prospects for J.D. Davis.

3. Speaking of Davis, it’s inexcusable hes’ one of three players who started both ends of the doubleheader in the field. Really, the team needs to stop trying to make this ill-advise trade work and instead focus on making decisions to help this team win games.

4. The Mets defense was terrible in the first game. Amed Rosario missed first. Todd Frazier threw one away. J.D. Davis couldn’t get to anything because he was sitting in the front row of the bleachers to make up for his lack of range. Overall, this is a terrible defensive club with a National League worst -51 DRS.

5. With respect to the poor defense, Juan Lagares is a -2 DRS in center, which seems unfathomable. However, if you look at the new stat called jump, Lagares is not getting the same read on the ball as he did over the previous two years. Who knows why that is, but until he figures it out, he’s borderline unplayable at this point.

6. Zack Wheeler needs to be better than this. Yes, the defense behind him was atrocious, but he wasn’t much better. It was not the defense who served up the homers to Gio Urshela or Luke Voit. Overall, his peripherals show he’s better than this, and he has shown himself to be a second half pitcher. You just wish he would get to being the second half Wheeler sooner rather than later.

7. Yankee Stadium is a real joke where pop flies to the infield in other parks go out. That said, Pete Alonso‘s homer in the second game of the doubleheader would have left Yosemite.

8. Alonso is becoming way too much of an all or nothing guy. Since May 1, he’s hitting .224/.300/.560 with 13 of his 30 hits being homers. He has also struck out 26 percent of the time while walking six percent of the time. As the season progresses, he looks more and more like this type of a hitter than he does the guy who set the world ablaze in April.

9. Alonso’s being in the top five in All Star voting is fun. We should celebrate that. However, it’s bizarre Mets fans are only rushing to help him when Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil have been so good all year.

10. As noted previously, McNeil is hitting like Ichiro Suzuki. This shouldn’t be sustainable, but yet, it has been. Hat tip to Jerry Beach, a man whose taste in television shows is as excellent as his taste in managers is poor, for saying McNeil is like Wade Boggs after Gare tried to say McNeil wasn’t Boggs.

11. As much as I adore Gary, Keith, and Ron, they need to stop talking about the advanced stats, especially since they clearly don’t fully understand it, and they are mostly doing it to disparage them. Case in point was Gare saying how the shift only affects ground balls.

12. Jeurys Familia has been looking much more like Familia. He now has three consecutive completely dominating innings/appearances. We are getting closer and closer to trusting him in pressure situations again. And the Mets should if everything is ironed out as this looks more like a mechanical issue than a mental one.

13. The Mets bullpen has too many bottom feeders in it. At most, you can have one of Wilmer Font, Drew Gagnon, Tim Peterson, or Hector Santiago. You cannot have four of them. That’s how you start burning out productive arms in the pen and putting games way out of reach.

14. Yesterday, Brandon Nimmo, Robinson Cano, and Justin Wilson played in a rehab game in Syracuse. The team needs all three of them back as soon as possible to help this team go on a run, but the team cannot bring them back until each one of these players is fully healthy and ready to contribute.

15. Somehow, someway, Jason Vargas escaped the third allowing just three runs, and he got out of the fourth unscathed. When all was said and done, he had a quality start and a win. That’s a big credit to him.

16. Right now, Vargas is on one of the better stretches in his career. He pitched well against two good offensive teams, and he flat out dominated a terrible Giants team. The .286 BABIP and 83.3 LOB% would indicate this is not at all sustainable. That said, Vargas is getting results, so you might as well ride this out as far as this takes you.

17. Wilson Ramos seems to be doing with the extra days off here and there. Starting in May, he played less frequently, and he started to become much more productive. When Tomas Nido hits like he did in the first game of the doubleheader, the plan to get the over 30 and injury prone Ramos more rest becomes a more viable solution.

18. Speaking of back-up catchers, good for Travis d’Arnaud for turning things around with the Rays. In addition to catching, he’s also working out at other spots in the diamond. This is what the Mets should have done with him. Instead, they rushed him up way too soon, and they then DFA’d him in a complete overreaction.

19. There was a real fear this team was going to repeat it’s horrendous June of last year. So far, the Mets are 4-4 this month meaning they are just one short of the total win total from June 2018. While things could be better, things could also be a lot worse.

20. Mickey Callaway said about the team how he believes once this team gets back to .500 they are going to take off. With Nimmo, Cano, and Wilson in Syracuse and as Syndergaard puts it, the Mets are a second half team, it’s hard not to believe him.

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.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Overcome More Than Giants

On Monday, people wanted Mickey Callaway sacrificed to the baseball gods, and by Wednesday, the Mets had won a home series. As you can guess a lot happened in just three games:

1. While the vast majority of people would have let Noah Syndergaard face Evan Longoria, it doesn’t mean pulling him from the game was the wrong decision, especially with Syndergaard’s numbers a fourth time through the lineup.

2. If you’re upset Seth Lugo entered the game and/or pinpoint his entering the game as the reason the Mets lost, you don’t trust or have faith in him. There’s no arguing around it.

3. Callaway’s real mistake was Robert Gsellman in the ninth. While we can all understand the other non-Lugo set-up men are terrible, you can’t pitch Gsellman into the ground this way. It’s indefensible.

4. Under the unjustifiable workload, Gsellman has a 12.96 ERA raising his season ERA from 2.48 to 5.05. Essentially, Callaway made one of his few reliable guys completely unreliable.

5. With everything that’s happened to the Mets bullpen, Jeurys Familia going out there and looking like the Familia of old might’ve been the most important thing that happened in this series.

6. Considering the state of the Mets bullpen and the complete lack of starting pitching depth, they needed one of Craig Kimbrel or Dallas Keuchel. Not only did that not happen, the overwhelming odds are the Mets didn’t even try.

7. Keuchel going to the Braves makes it so much the worse. His replacing one of Kevin Gausman or Mike Foltynewicz making their rotation much improved. That’s huge for a team just one game back in the division.

8. Andrew McCutchen trading his ACL is bad for both the Phillies and baseball. That said, it does open a door permitting the Mets to contend for a division title.

9. One cure for the bullpen ills is the Mete starters going deeper into games. Mets starters are on a streak of nine straight games of pitching at least six innings.

10. If before the season, someone told you Jason Vargas had a complete game shut out in the same game Adeiny Hechavarria hit a homer, you’d probably talk about the terrific job Wally Backman has done with the Long Island Ducks.

11 With that Hechavarria homer, he now has one more homer and just one fewer RBI than Robinson Cano despite having 114 fewer plate appearances.

12. With Cano leaving a game early, and his season in general, you’d realize this is just year one of what’s an onerous contract.

13. With Brandon Nimmo staring his rehab assignment, and Dominic Smith playing well, you do have to question if the Mets aren’t better off with McNeil at second, Frazier at third, Smith in left, and Cano as a pinch hitter.

14. Things have certainly changed over the past few weeks when it’s Clint and not Todd who’s the Frazier who is subject to scorn.

15. With his go-ahead homer, you realize Frazier has been the Mets best player over the past few weeks.

16. Carlos Gomez hasn’t been good, but at least he didn’t cost three players like Keon Broxton did.

17. The Mets and Juan Lagares needed him to have the game he had yesterday. If nothing else, he becomes a more viable fourth outfielder or defensive replacement.

18. Van Wagenen does deserve credit for keeping Tommy Tanous and Marc Tramuta. That duo helped the Mets have another terrific draft.

19. If nothing else, the Mets are great at home. At Citi Field, they’re 17-10 (.630), have a 118 wRC+ at home (third best in the Majors), and a 3.73 FIP (fourth best in the NL). Essentially, they’re the best team in baseball when they’re at home.

20. It’s great to see and hear Ron Darling again. He’s been sorely missed. Here’s hoping he’s healthy and will not have to leave the booth again anytime soon.

Frazier And McNeil Pull Out Giant Win

The Mets have won just rubber game all year, and it does seem like these mid-week day game typically ends terribly for the Mets. Even with the Mets starting the game with back-to-back homers from Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith off Giants starter Shaun Anderson, you could understand any unease from the fans. Then it seemed to be happening all over again.

After going through the lineup without allowing a hit, Mike Yastrzemski opened the fourth with a leadoff single, and he would come home on a Brandon Belt two run homer tying the game. The Mets would then fall behind when Wheeler allowed a Pablo Sandoval homer in the sixth. To put the bad luck into perspective, Wheeler allowed just three hits to the Giants all afternoon, and all three of those runs scored on two homers. Worse yet, the team was down 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh.

The Mets got something brewing that inning with a Juan Lagares lead-off walk. The Giants then went to their bullpen, which has been pretty good all year, and brought in Reyes Moronta. He allowed a single to Tomas Nido. Then Mickey Callaway would make some curious decisions which stymied the rally.

Instead of allowing Wheeler to stay in and lay down the sacrifice bunt, he pinch hit Carlos Gomez to do that. That decision is all the more curious when you consider Robinson Cano was sitting with a leg injury, and the team did not start Jeff McNeil a day after a night game in order to not overtax him after returning from two injuries. But, he would effectively waste Gomez to do what Wheeler could have done just as well.

Callaway would pinch hit McNeil for Rosario, and he would drop a bloop single just beyond the reach of Brandon Crawford to tie the score and get Wheeler off the hook. Bruce Bochy then went to Tony Watson to pitch to Smith. Now, Smith has been decent against left-handed pitching this year, and he was 2-for-3 with a homer on the day. However, this was the Mets shot, and Callaway went to J.D. Davis. Unfortunately, he hit into the inning ending double play.

Sure, the Giants are terrible, but considering how the Mets bullpen has been of late, the last thing this team wants was a battle of the bullpens in a game which could be going extra innings.

Fortunately, the Mets had their full bullpen available, which meant Seth Lugo and a scoreless eighth. The Mets would then make him the pitcher of record.

Pete Alonso led off the inning with a single against Mark Melancon. Fortunately, Belt could not handle Michael Conforto‘s ensuing liner. This meant instead of a double play, Conforto, the much better runner, was on first. He wasn’t there long as he would steal his fourth base of the year. This put a runner in scoring position for Todd Frazier, who would knock in Conforto and himself:

The ball was carrying all day. The Giants certainly took advantage, and it was good to see Frazier do it as well. It was even better to see the homer not killing the rally.

After the homer, Adeiny Hechavarria singled, and Lagares doubled. After a Nido ground out, Wilson Ramos would pinch hit and walk to load the bases. This set the stage for McNeil who would deliver with another RBI single. This time two runs scored making it 7-3 Mets. This single allowed the Mets to sit down Edwin Diaz to save him for another day and put in Jeurys Familia. For seemingly the first time since the 2015 NLCS, Familia had a quick 1-2-3 inning to lock down the game.

After Monday’s loss, the Mets were facing some adversity with Callaway once again the media looking to give him the pink slip. Once again, the team responded and won games for both them and their manager. While you would have wanted more, the Mets took the series against the Giants, and they have righted the ship. The key here is what they do next.

Game Notes: Conforto is a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. The four stolen bases are already a career high. McNeil has 40 multi-hit games in his 112 games played.