In preparation for this weekend’s Little League Classic at Williamsport, the Mets played in the Little League ballpark that is Yankee Stadium.
With that, the Mets had scored seven runs for Jacob deGrom, which made him winning this game a cinch, or at least that was the anticipation.
Between the Rosario first inning homer and the ensuing Jeff McNeil RBI single, the Mets had a 2-0 lead, which the defense would give back with poor defense in the third.
With two on, Giancarlo Stanton hit what should’ve been a 5-4-3 double play. Instead, with Brett Gardner making a hard slide (which may or nah not have been legal but was not challenged), McNeil threw it into the stands.
Surprisingly, after that, it was all Mets.
One of the reasons why was the Mets patient approach at the plate and their ability to lay off the Severino slider. All told, that would chase Severino after he threw 98 pitches over four innings.
Before he departed, Jose Bautista would tag him with a two run opposite field homer.
Things got a little interesting with Didi Gregorious hitting an RBI single scoring Gardner, who doubled earlier that inning, to pull the Yankees to with 4-3.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 14, 2018
deGrom would depart after 6.2 innings allowing two earned (three runs) in five hits. Of course, if not for the arcane double play error rules, it should’ve been one earned. As a result, deGrom’s ERA rose to 1.81.
In addition, deGrom would strike out 12 Yankee batters.
The Mets got one of those runs back in the top of the ninth off Zach Britton.
After Conforto was hit by a pitch, Wilmer Flores singled. With that single, each Met in the starting lineup recorded a hit.
McNeil then hit what could have been an inning ending double play, but Gleyber Torres couldn’t make the transfer (McNeil probably beats it anyway). With the ball on the ground, Conforto would score from second to give the Mets an 8-5 lead.
The Mets would load the bases, but Bautista couldn’t deliver that final knock out blue meaning Robert Gsellman would get the save chance.
Gsellman would deliver with a 1-2-3 inning for his seventh save of the season.
With that, believe it or not, the Mets split the Subway Series. If you believe that, can you believe deGrom got the win and is 7-7?
Game Notes: Noah Syndergaard did the player interview during the game, and he made a joke about hoping the Little Leaguers don’t have hand, foot, and mouth.
With Jeff McNeil hitting .300/.417/.500 in his first 14 games in the Major Leagues, Mickey Callaway said of evaluating the second baseman, “Is this guy going to be a kid we might not have to go find a second baseman over the winter? That’s where we’re at right now.” Seeing how McNeil was coming off three straight injury riddled seasons and how the team made every excuse to keep him in the minors this season, McNeil’s even being considered for the 2019 second base job is quite startling.
It’s all the more startling when you consider if things had been different, McNeil may never have received this opportunity.
Coming off a terrible 2017 season, former first round draft pick Gavin Cecchini set out to rededicate himself and to improve himself in each and every aspect of his game. Overall, the goal was for the Mets to give him more than just a cup of coffee in the majors. The next time, he wanted to stick.
As Cecchini noted in an interview with Abbey Mastracco of nj.com, he sought out to improve every aspect of his game. This meant doing work with Mets hitting coach Pat Roessler to not only change his stance and bat angle, but he would begin studying video. Cecchini also spent time improving his physique, and he began talking about trying to steal more bases. Really, he was turning over every stone to become a better baseball player. Cecchini would describe the result of those efforts:
It feels so strong, like the ball is just exploding off my bat. I never felt the type of pop and power that I have no before. Yeah, I’ve gotten stronger, I gained 15 pounds, but still, the ball is just, I can really tell that my body is always in a good position to hit and the ball is just exploding off my bat.
His efforts paid immediate dividends with him getting noticed during Spring Training, but given the Mets infield depth already set, he would begin the season in Triple-A. With his Spring, and the health issues on the Mets roster, Cecchini looked to be on the verge of getting a shot at a call-up in the event his new and improved approach translated to regular season success.
Through 30 games, Cecchini was hitting .294/.342/.468 with 11 doubles, a triple, two homers, and nine RBI. His .174 ISO was the best of his minor league career. While stats can admittedly be inflated in the Pacific Coast League, his 110 wRC+ indicates he was an above average hitter for the league.
All told, Cecchini was doing everything he needed to do to earn another call-up. All he needed was a chance.
Ironically, while he was waiting for a member of the Major League roster to get injured for him to get a chance, it would be Cecchini who would be the one to get injured.
On May 9, Cecchini would foul a ball off his foot, fall to the ground, and he would need assistance to get off of the field. Initially, he sat out some games while he did some work on the side. The hope he would have a quick return quickly faded as Cecchini was sent to New York to have his foot evaluated by a specialist, who fitted him with the dreaded walking boot.
While the walking boot has been removed, Cecchini remains unable to resume baseball activities. Last month, Las Vegas manager Tony DeFrancesco indicated Cecchini is feeling a tear in his foot.
Ultimately, this likely means Cecchini is done for the year. After that is anyone’s guess.
While Cecchini has been unable to play, the Mets have seen Todd Frazier make multiple trips to the disabled list. Asdrubal Cabrera was traded to the Phillies. Amed Rosario has struggled leading the team to sit him multiple days a week. Long story short, the opportunities for Cecchini to prove himself would have been present.
Instead, those chances went to Luis Guillorme and McNeil. As noted by Callaway, McNeil has at least played well enough to merit consideration for being the Mets 2019 second baseman. Where Cecchini will be at that point is anyone’s guess.
If you’re looking for reasons to continue watching this Mets team, Zack Wheeler and his emergence has to be near the top of the list.
For those who forget, Wheeler started this season in Triple-A, and he has built his way to arguably being the Mets second best starter. That trek started with a string seven inning performance in Marlins Park in his first MLB start of the season.
Tonight, he had another string seven inning outing at Marlins Park.
For the first four, it appeared he might no-hit a Marlins team who traded Justin Bour earlier in the day. As an aside, the Marlins are money for a better return. What a novel idea.
Martin Prado broke up what could have been the threat of a no-hitter with a fifth inning single. The Marlins got no momentum from that, and Wheeler kept the Marlins off the board for 6.2 innings.
Wheeler got out of the inning unscathed, and he has now pitched at least seven innings in four of his last five starts. He’s also now won five straight starts.
He won tonight due to his dominance and the Mets bats getting going to the tune of six runs on 13 hits.
That lead grew to 4-0 in the sixth in a rally started by a Conforto leadoff walk. After a fielder’s choice, he scored on a Todd Frazier RBI single.
The rallied continued with the Mets eventually loading the bases. Wheeler wouldn’t get the run home leaving it to Amed Rosario to try to get a big two out base hit.
He would deliver hitting it just off of Starlin Castro. Frazier scored easily, and Austin Jackson scored just ahead of Kevin Plawecki getting nailed by Magneuris Sierra as he tried to go from first to third.
After the Rojas seventh inning homer, the Mets got the runs right back. Jackson hit a ground rule double setting up runners at second and third. Plawecki then delivered with a two RBI single.
While Smith has not received much work, he had had finished four of the seven games he’s appeared with no saves.
With the win, the Mets took round one in the battle for the basement of the NL East, which depending on your perspective is a good or bad thing.
Game Recap: With his third inning single, Conforto has now reached safely in his last 24 road games.
Last year, Player’s weekend was a hit as fans got to see their favorite players wear fun jerseys featuring their nicknames on the back of their jerseys. Believe it or not, some of those were nicknames were rejected for various reasons.
For example, Brandon Nimmo wanted to use his Twitter handle, You Found Nimmo, but MLB was afraid of copyright issues. When it came to Kyle Seager, he wanted to go with “Corey’s Better.” With that rejected, he paid homage to his brother Corey Seager by merely noting on his jersey he was “Corey’s Brother.”
Well, the Mets officially approved Player’s Weekend nicknames and jerseys have been released. However, as noted with Nimmo, there were other names the players wanted which were rejected by MLB:
Tyler Bashlor – Mickey, I’m Available To Pitch
Jose Bautista – Trade Value Going, Going, Gone!
Jerry Blevins – One Magic LOOGY
Michael Conforto – Shouldering The Load
Travis d’Arnaud – d’L
Phillip Evans – DFA TBA
Wilmer Flores – 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Robert Gsellman – Don’t Care What You Think
Austin Jackson – 2019 Opening Day CF
Juan Lagares – Out For The Season
Seth Lugo – Quarterrican (That’s perfection; you don’t mess with that)
Steven Matz – Not So Strong Island
Jeff McNeil – 2B/3B/OF
Devin Mesoraco – Harvey’s Better
Brandon Nimmo – Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Corey Oswalt – Vargas (figured it was the only way he would get a start)
Kevin Plawecki – Plawful
Jose Reyes – Melaza Virus
Amed Rosario – Mentor Wanted
Paul Sewald – AAAAll Star
Dominic Smith – Waist And Future Gone
Drew Smith – Mickey, I’m Available To Pitch (Yes, it’s a repeat of Bashlor. They’re trying to prove a point.)
Anthony Swarzak – Still Just One Good Season
Noah Syndergaard – 60’6″ Away
Jason Vargas – $16 Million Dollar Man
Zack Wheeler – Finally Good
David Wright – Hurts Here Doc
With the Mets continue to struggle, Homer Bailey, who entered the game with a 7.22 ERA against the Mets, was a sight for sore eyes.
The Mets quickly went to work against Bailey with three first inning runs highlighted by birthday boy Wilmer Flores opening the scoring with an RBI single.
Overall, it was a really good birthday for Wilmer. He would go 3-for-4 with a run, two RBI, and a HBP. As noted during the telecast, Flores was one of 14 players with three singles and a HBP on his birthday. Two of the other players were Lou Gehrig and Shoeless Joe.
That McNeil homer was absolutely crushed going way up the Pepsi Porch:
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 7, 2018
(Yes, it’s the Coke Corner now, but the Pepsi Porch sounds better).
That 6-0 lead was looking very safe with Noah Syndergaard dominating the Reds. That was until the seventh.
With one out, Syndergaard plunked consecutive batters. The Preston Tucker one really must’ve been bad as he was checked on by the trainers multiple times, and he could score from second on a Billy Hamilton single, and that’s even with Brandon Nimmo overrunning the ball in right.
Tucker would score on a Jose Peraza single which chase Syndergaard.
Wahl started by throwing three straight balls to Joey Votto. To his credit, Wahl battled back into the count getting two quick strikes. After Votto fouled off two, Wahl walked in a run making it 6-2 Mets.
Wahl rebounded by striking out Scooter Gennett on a 3-2 pitch.
After a tough couple of at-bats, and with Plawecki saving Wahl’s bacon a few times by blocking balls in the dirt, Callaway went to Robert Gsellman.
Gsellman would allow a two RBI single to Eugenio Suarez before getting out of that inning and pitching a perfect eighth.
In a surprise, Jerry Blevins pitched the ninth, and he recorded his first save of the season. In what has simply been a goofy year, Blevins has a start and a save this year.
Overall, the Mets won 6-4 in a game where we saw some good things from youngish players who could be pieces next year. That’s a pretty good day for the 2018 Mets.
Game Notes: Mets had a tribute video for Matt Harvey before the game. Luis Guillorme had an infield single in the eighth. With that hit, Guillorme extended his MLB best 50 at-bats without a strikeout.
In yesterday’s 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the Atlanta Braves, people had a field day criticizing manager Mickey Callaway for the perceived errors the first time manager made. Of course, all these criticisms first ignored how the Mets lost because the Braves at that much better, especially over this injury ravaged Mets team. Moreover, the perceived errors were not really errors in and of themselves:
Error No.1 – The Starting Lineup
Considering how when he had the appearance of autonomy, Callaway buried Jose Reyes on the bench, we can see he lost some of his control, especially after Reyes complained publicly through the press. Overall, Reyes is in the lineup because ownership wants him there (and fans won’t boo him like he deserves). As for Brandon Nimmo, he’s been scuffling lately, and he could probably use a day off.
Error No. 2 – Going Too Long with Oswalt
Entering the seventh inning yesterday, Corey Oswalt was dealing. At that point, he had allowed just one earned on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He was only at 75 pitches, and he had just made fairly quick work of the Braves in the sixth inning. It was the bottom of the lineup, and he was due up second.
Considering how well he was pitching, how well he has pitched, and this being a period to evaluate players, the mistake would have been pulling Oswalt. He should have started that inning. It’s just unfortunate he gave up the two run homer to Ender Inciarte to lose the lead.
Error No. 3 – Double Switching Nimmo into the Game
Looking at the Mets bench, the player you most wanted up in the bottom of the seventh was Nimmo. If you are going to burn a bench player, you might as well move the pitcher’s spot as far away as possible to at least give yourself the chance to let Paul Sewald pitch more than just the end of the seventh.
Ultimately, do we really care if it mean Austin Jackson and not Jose Bautista came out of that game? Sure, Jackson is hitting better, but it’s Bautista who you are showcasing in the hopes he snaps out of this funk and once again becomes a trade piece.
Error No. 4 – Not Waiting for the Pinch Hitter to be Announced
Before criticizing Callaway on this one, ask yourself one key question: Who would you rather face? Ryan Flaherty, a career .218/.288/.350 hitter or Adam Duvall, a former All Star with two 30 home run seasons under his belt? If you have a brain cell remaining, it’s Flaherty every single day of the week.
Well, Callaway checked to make sure Duvall wasn’t announced, and he went with Sewald over Jerry Blevins, who was warming, to enter the game. By doing that, Callaway helped pressure Brian Snitker to put up the far worse hitter.
Seriously, how is that a bad thing?
As for the narrative spewed on SNY, it’s false. Just completely false.
This is the National League. A manager is not going to burn two hitters in a tie game in the seventh inning. You don’t have that luxury. Knowing that, Callaway was proactive and got the matchup he wanted. Really, Mets fans should be happy he had the foresight to say he wanted to face Flaherty over Duvall.
And with Callaway, we know this is a strategy he likes to utilize. After all, this is not the first time he has done it, and with this happening two times, we can expect to see this happen again. That’s a good thing.
As an aside, let’s remember the thoughts each of the people criticizing Callaway have had:
- Gary Cohen – called Daniel Murphy a net negative
- Keith Hernandez – wanted the Mets to get Eric Hosmer, a .254/.322/.389 hitter with a 94 OPS+ and a 0.3 WAR this season.
- Jim Duquette – traded Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano
Maybe we should pump the brakes on taking what this group says as gospel and look for them more for entertainment.
Also, it should be noted, doing it that way allowed Callaway let Sewald face the pinch hitter an Ronald Acuna before going to Blevins for the left-handed Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, and Nick Markakis.
Error No. 5 – Double Switching McNeil out of the Game
The Jeff McNeil decision is a little tricky. On the one hand, you want him to get as many reps as he possibly can in the field and at the plate. Yes, his turn in the lineup did come up in the ninth, but it was really unlikely to happen. To that extent, double switching him out to get some length from Seth Lugo did make sense on paper.
Of course, the real anger here was Reyes stayed in the lineup. That’s understandable, but remember this is a player being not just forced on the manager, but also into the lineup. Reyes’ strangehold is such the Mets are challenging plays where he is clearly out because Reyes demands it:
#Mets challenge call that Jose Reyes is out at 3B in the 2nd; call confirmed, runner is out.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) August 5, 2018
During the game, Callaway showed he was a guy who was balancing both playing the guys he is told to play while trying to develop young players and winning games. It’s unfortunate Oswalt couldn’t get an out in the seventh, and it’s a shame Tyler Bashlor gave up the game winning homer in the 10th.
When it comes to Bashlor, there’s your areas of criticism. Callaway is still feeling his way through bullpen management, and even now, he’s still leaning on veteran arms like Lugo over ones like Bashlor.
As for the other decisions? Give him credit for being willing to buck trends and try to dictate match-ups he wants. Allow him to grow on the job and learn from his mistakes, but admit this wasn’t one of them. Overall, remember the level of interference he has.
Ultimately, remember this is a guy who gets his guys to play. In this three game set, the Mets went toe-to-toe with a much better Braves team, and they nearly took the series. Give credit where it is due.
More importantly, don’t distract from the real problem with the Mets – ownership is not spending and is putting an inferior product on the field.
Game Notes: Once again, Luis Guillorme did not get into the game. Part of the reason being is the Mets have said they do not see him as more than a pinch hitter or late inning replacement. Instead, Reyes played the whole game while Todd Frazier, who originally did not start because he was just coming off the disabled list, came on late shifting Reyes to second.
This is exactly the way the Mets are supposed to play things over the final two months of the season. Sure, it’s easy to say that after a 3-0 win, but even if the Mets fell behind or lost the lead, they did he right thing.
Zack Wheeler, who the Mets were right to hold onto at the trade deadline, once again showed the Mets he’s turned a corner.
Over seven shutout innings, Wheeler linter a Braves team who had the third highest batting average in the majors and the fourth most runs in the National League to just three hits and one walk.
Really, Wheeler dominated from the jump with him striking out the side in the first, which would set the tone for a none strike out night. Overall, only one Brave would even reach second against Wheeler.
That was Freddie Freeman with a leadoff double to start the seventh. Wheeler responded by getting three quick outs.
With this not being a Jacob deGrom start, Wheeler would get the run support he would need to get the win.
Overall, McNeil was a perfect 4-for-4 as he raised his batting average from .190 to .320.
The Mets mostly squandered the two on no out situation, but Amed Rosario was still able to get Frazier home on a fielder’s choice to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.
Once again, it was Frazier and McNeil getting things started. They’d follow a Michael Conforto sixth inning leadoff single with consecutive singles to both load the bases and chase Gausman.
Once again, it was an opportunity largely squandered, but the Mets did enough to get a 3-0 lead.
Gsellman for the ninth is an inspired move as it lets you know if he could be part of the later inning bullpen mix.
Well, tonight, Gsellman was up for the challenge much loot McNeil was just for almost the full night.
Overall, the Mets have young players and a chance to play them. For tonight, it worked.
This isn’t really an anomaly as the aforementioned 30+ year old veterans on expiring deals have been getting regular playing time over the younger players.
Earlier this season, Dominic Smith was up with the Mets for a 31 game stretch. The 23 year old former first round pick started in just 16 of those games. During this time, Mickey Callaway described Smith as a bench player.
That’s better than what Guillorme got. Despite his not getting a chance to ever really prove himself, he was described as a pinch hitter and late inning replacement who should not be getting starts the rest of the year. Naturally, this was said on a day Reyes got a start at second.
Seeing how the Mets don’t play the young players when they’re here on how they seemingly go out of their way to disparage those players, as a fan, ask yourself why you would want Peter Alonso called up right now.
Do you want to see him on the bench behind Bautista, or in the event be actually does manage to return this year, Jay Bruce?
Do you want to see him get benched for failing to scoop out a Reyes throw in the dirt leading to his eventual (punishment) benching?
Do you want to see him sit and have the team refer to him as a late inning power threat off the bench?
Judging from what we’ve seen this year and the last, we know that’s what’s going to happen to Alonso.
With that in mind, again ask yourself, do you really want to see the Mets call up Alonso this year?
Tonight, Jacob deGrom pitched eight innings allowing just two earned on six hits. He struck out nine and walked one.
Believe it or not, this outing increased his ERA from 1.82 to 1.85. He lowered his K/9 from 10.7 to 10.6.
Put another way, deGrom has been so great this season that this qualifies as an off night for him.
He did his part to offset his “poor” pitching by driving home a run. That would be one of the Mets only two hits on the night.
To make matters worse, it’s not even like the Mets lost with the young players either:
- Jose Bautista started at third over Wilmer Flores
- Jose Reyes started at second over Flores, Jeff McNeil, and Luis Guillorme
- Devin Mesoraco started at catcher over Kevin Plawecki
There are many, many reasons to criticize the Mets. Even with the presence of smart baseball people, who have been a part of well-run organizations in their previous stops, the Mets are a mess. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out this is directly attributable to ownership.
That same ownership has decided that rather than appointing one of their existing assistant general managers to be the interim general manager, they would each role share with them presenting ideas they used to offer to Sandy Alderson directly to Jeff Wilpon. Yes, Jeff Wilpon essentially named himself the general manager.
The end result of that has led to a number of decisions which have made the Mets even more of a laughingstock then they already have been.
The Jeurys Familia trade was widely panned. Making matters worse, we subsequently discovered Will Toffey, the key prospect in the deal not only needs offseason shoulder surgery, but his dad is also friends with J.P. Riccardi. It so happens Riccardi was the pointman for the deal.
We didn’t know that initially because the Mets went into media silence. The reason for that was the team was actively ducking the media over their continued bungling and outright lying in delivering the message about what they knew and didn’t know about Yoenis Cespedes‘ heels.
Consider that over the course of a few days, John Ricco and the Mets went from saying they didn’t know Cespedes needed surgery to saying surgery was a last resort to saying he needed the surgery.
What was even better about all of this was the Mets waited for this noise to clear before calling on Ricco to speak with the media about the Familia trade, a trade which he said Riccardi ran point and that one of the key pieces was the international money which Omar Minaya could utilize well. So basically, the team sent out the one guy of the three to speak on a deal who didn’t work on getting the deal done or who will utilize the assets acquired.
Meanwhile, the Mets continual insistence Jeff McNeil was a second baseman blew up in their faces. Within a week of this proclamation, McNeil would play third in a Triple-A game, and eventually he would be called up to play third base in the majors.
After the trade deadline, the three general managers hopped on a conference call where they told everyone ownership entasked them with being creative and open to all possibilities. That resulted in them getting a poor return for Familia. Worse yet, the team was unable to move Jose Bautista, Jerry Blevins, or Devin Mesoraco despite them being 30 year old veterans on expiring deals.
Better yet, they added to the over 30 mix by signing Austin Jackson on the eve of the trade deadline.
After what we have seen from this front office in a very limited time period, you really trusted them to make major deals on these players. You really thought they were capable of getting the type of return the Rays got for Chris Archer?
Have you been remotely paying attention to anything that has happened over the past two years?
Honestly, how could you want this structure get rid of players who will have a huge market during the Winter Meetings should the Mets eventually decided to tear it all down and rebuild?
That’s just being completely delusional.
Again, the Mets need to be held to task for many things they do. They need to be constantly reminded of their failures and ineptitude.
That said, with those failures and ineptitude, how can we possibly trust them to do anything until they bring in a fresh voice into the organization who knows what he is doing?