In some ways, the Mets final game before the All Star Break was a microcosm of the entire first half of the season. It started with a lot of promise, and things would quickly unravel from there.
Really, the biggest thing you want to take away from this game is just how good Corey Oswalt pitched. He only needed 59 pitches to get through five innings. In those five innings, he allowed just one earned on two hits while walking none.
In four of his five innings, he got the Nationals to go down 1-2-3. The only issue was the second when Anthony Rendon and Matt Adams led off the inning with back-to-back singles setting the stage for a Michael Taylor RBI ground out. Even with that rally, Oswalt still impressed inducing Matt Wieters to hit into a rally killing and inning ending double play.
Of course, with how well he was pitching, you knew Mickey Callaway was going to be double guessed for lifting him for a pinch hitter in the fifth.
At the time, the score was tied 1-1, and to be fair, the Mets weren’t really setting the world on fire against Jeremy Hellickson.
After Jose Reyes hit a one out double and advanced to third on a wild pitch, Amed Rosario had a chance to deliver the go-ahead RBI and not just get the lead but keep Oswalt in the game. He struck out. Dominic Smith, who was given a talking to by Callaway, pinch hit for Oswalt, and he was hit by a pitch.
Unfortunately, Brandon Nimmo, who hasn’t been hitting near as well since he was hit on the hand in Atlanta, couldn’t deliver.
Seth Lugo came out of the pen for a shutdown inning, but after that it was the typical Mets comedy of errors coming out of the bullpen.
The Mets would use Anthony Swarzak, Tim Peterson, and Jerry Blevins in the seventh. None of them were effective. Swarzak was the worst with him walking the two batters he faced before getting pulled. Ultimately, to add insult to injury, it was Daniel Murphy who delivered the go-ahead hit in what would become a five run inning.
In the end, the Mets lost 6-1, and they have not won a series since May. They have the fewest wins in the National League, and they continue to play Reyes everyday while not giving younger players like Jeff McNeil or Smith an opportunity.
Really, this is a bad team whose front office is managing it to the ground.
Game Notes: Blevins escaped the seventh inning jam by picking off a runner. That was his third pick off of the season tying him with Steven Matz for the team lead.
Even when the Mets were at their best, Max Scherzer dominates them. In fact, as the Mets were preparing for what would be a pennant run, Scherzer threw a no-hitter against them.
Shockingly, the Mets were actually game against Scherzer tonight.
That rally sputtered with Bautista getting nailed by Taylor inches:
.@Nationals challenge call that José Bautista is safe at 2B in the 1st; call overturned, runner is out.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) July 12, 2018
In the fourth, Bautista hit a solo homer, and Kevin Plawecki homered in the seventh.
It wasn’t enough as the Mets were chasing all night.
Aside from the Rendon at-bats, Matz had a pretty good game. He limited the rest of that lineup to six hits in 6.1 innings.
Still, he would be tagged with the loss.
The big hit for the Nationals came after Matz left the game. With the Mets down 3-2 in the seventh, Mickey Callaway brought in Jerry Blevins to face Bryce Harper. Harper would launch a homer to give the Nationals a 5-2 lead:
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 13, 2018
After that homer, Bautista and Michael Conforto drew back-to-back walks putting the tying run in scoring position with one out.
Since it was the eighth and not the ninth, Wilmer Flores fouled out, and den Dekker followed with a strikeout.
In the ninth, Plawecki led off against Ryan Madson with a single. That went nowhere.
The Nationals are back over .500 now and are in the thick of the postseason race. The Mets are 17 games under .500 and starting Reyes.
Game Notes: Jeff McNeil, a prospect the Mets previously said is only a second baseman, started tonight at third base. This is on the same night Bautista started at third for the Mets.
Well, the Mets are terrible, and we are at the point where the Mets are sellers at the trade deadline. Given the composition of their roster, there isn’t much in terms of trade assets unless you start giving away some pretty major pieces. Given the rise of the Braves and Phillies and this awful Mets season, it’s worth asking whether the Mets should burn it all to the ground and start over.
Then again, with Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper being free agents and the Mets starting pitching staff, there is a legitimate question whether the Mets truly need to tear it all down in a rebuild. With that as the pre-text, our Mets Bloggers offered their opinion as to whether any of the Mets players should be absolutely untouchable at the trade deadline:
I don’t think there’s anyone who is untouchable in this scenario. By doing so with sincerity severely handicaps one’s position in the trade market. I think that can be used to posture in an effort to drum up the cost, but in the end, the Mets cannot discount any one single trade scenario they are confronted with. But I also believe if they intend on contending next season, there’s no way they can trade any one starting pitcher. To get this value in free agency would cost 2-4x (if not more) that which they are paying now. That’s not to say Jacob deGrom will repeat his performance, or any one of them will be healthy, but its safe to say that about any starting pitcher. That plus the cost to get equivalent value in years they want to contend would make it foolish to trade from their only strength at this point in time.
No player should be untouchable if there is a team out there willing to give a lot of value in return.
I’m sorry, but I have to flake out and say it’s deGrom AND Noah Syndergaard. I know you said one, but these are two guys that should be built around. And if the Mets spent more money on the fringes of the roster, and on scouting and development, you could rebuild rather quickly. Also, sign players for their baseball ability, not for their clubhouse presence.
Everybody is listenable. That’s the key. The Mets should listen to everybody who asks about anybody — and start conversations as they deem fit. They can decide on who shouldn’t be touched from there.
But, honestly, all things being equal, I don’t want anybody laying a finger on deGrom.
Unless you are a player on an expiring deal, you should be untouchable because this team does not have a front office in place for next season. Seriously, should we trust John Ricco to trade Wilmer Flores or Zack Wheeler let alone deGrom or Syndergaard?
Say good-bye to Jerry Blevins, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jeurys Familia. Maybe Jose Bautista and Devin Mesoraco if anyone will actually give you something in return. After that, unless you are firing Vargas and Jose Reyes into the sun, there’s no other realistic moves to be made . . . at least not by this front office.
As you can see in what has been a depressing season, there is still people putting out quality content about this team. While the Mets really don’t have much to offer at the trade deadline, these writers do. You should take the time to visit their sites.
Whenever a team plays a game, there are issues which are going to emerge, and it is likely going to be a topic of conversation in the hours leading up to the next game. When there is a doubleheader, there is so much more to discuss that some things get lost in the weeds, or in some instances, it allows teams to bury stories.
Yesterday, before the Mets played the first game of the doubleheader against the Phillies, it was announced Todd Frazier was going to go on the disabled list, and to replace him on the roster the Mets were going to recall Ty Kelly. The end result of this would be Jose Reyes taking over in the interim as the everyday third baseman.
Now, the Mets entered the doubleheader 16 games under .500, and the team decided to go with their 35 year old albatross instead of giving a young kid an opportunity. That means Dominic Smith is still a 23 year old sitting on the bench not getting at-bats. It also means Jeff McNeil, a player who has arguably been the best hitter in all of the minor leagues this season, remains in Triple-A.
The Mets are making this option despite Reyes clearly showing he’s incapable of handling a bench spot, and as a result, is really no part of the Mets future. Worse yet, when he does play, he plays terribly. On the season, Reyes has a -1.2 WAR. He can’t hit with a a .168/.238/.235 batting line (32 wRC+), and he can’t field with a negative DRS at third and short.
In essence, the Mets have an old player who can’t hit and field taking away at-bats from young players in a seaosn where the Mets are selling at the trade deadline.
The joke continues with the Mets claiming McNeil is only a second baseman. In his minor league career, McNeil has played 209 games at second base and 148 games at third. Even if you as a franchise believe he’s only a second baseman, why can’t you temporarily shift Asdrubal Cabrera to third?
Cabrera is a much better third baseman defensively than he is a second baseman. In fact, Cabrera is an MLB worst -16 DRS at second base. Why can’t the Mets move him to third to remind teams of a versatility, to keep him healthy, and to give McNeil and/or Smith an opportunity?
When it comes to the Mets, this is by far the most pressing issue in what has become a nightmare of a season.
However, that’s not what we are talking about today. We are not because SNY helped changed the narrative.
In the eighth inning in the second game of the doubleheader, Aaron Nola‘s spot was due up, and Gabe Kapler appeared as if he was going to use Odubel Herrera as his pinch hitter. Before Herrera was announced as the pinch hitter, Mickey Callaway had sprung from the dugout out, and he brought in Jerry Blevins.
Initially, this looked like a gaffe from Callaway because it allowed Kapler to keep Herrera on his bench while bringing in the right-handed hitting Jesmuel Valentin to pinch hit instead.
In the postgame, Callaway explained this was not in fact a gaffe. Instead, he opined he hoped Kapler would make the decision to pinch hit Valentin instead of Herrera.
In defending his position, Callaway noted how entering the game Valentin was a .190 hitter whereas Herrera was hitting well against left-handed pitching with a .804 OPS.
Ancedotally, while it is true Herrera is just 1-12 against Blevins, it should be noted only one of those 12 at-bats were this season. That’s an important note because this year, Blevins has really struggled with left-handed hitters allowing them to hit .318/.392/.523 off of him. It is important to note right-handed batter are hitting .150/.292/.250 off of Blevins this year.
Essentially, Callaway made the right move here. He forced Kapler into the match-up he wanted late in the game.
However, instead of commending him for using data to make an informed and well reasoned decision and for his making moves to force the other manager into a decision where a .190 hitter stepped up to the plate, SNY had commentator after commentator after commentator who ripped Callaway for the decision.
With each commentator following the narrative, the Mets decision to give Reyes more playing time over Smith and McNeil became an even distant memory. In essence, the Mets utilized their network to help shift the narrative from “How can you play Reyes and not give McNeil a chance!” to “Callaway is over-matched and doesn’t know what he’s doing!”
It’s infuriating, and it’s going to become increasingly infuriating as people focus on Callaway instead of what the real issue is.
Really, as the end of the day the biggest issue was the Mets insistence on playing a 35 year old who can’t hit or field instead of giving a young player a chance. Anything else is just a distraction and a perpetuated false narrative.
Want a perfect encapsulation of what the 2018 Mets are? Look no further than what happened in yesterday’s game.
Nathan Eovaldi was working on a perfect game entering the seventh inning. Brandon Nimmo stepped up to the plate, and he broke it up with a single. This was followed by Wilmer Flores striking out on three pitches, and Asdrubal Cabrera grounding into an inning ending double play.
At that point, the Mets were already down 7-0 because Chris Flexen pitched poorly, and his pitching was exacerbated by the defense behind him, which was just as poor if not worse. After three innings, he was relieved by Chris Beck, who was once again terrible.
Overall, this is just a bad baseball team, and they’re not even losing with a purpose as the team is starting Jose Reyes over Amed Rosario, and Dominic Smith plays once in a blue moon. To make matters worse, he is playing well out of position in left field.
Simply put, this is bad and unwatchable baseball.
Game Notes: Nimmo was not named an All Star despite leading all NL outfielders with a 148 wRC+. This leaves Jacob deGrom as the lone Mets representative.
A day after the Mets bullpen blew another big lead, you had to imagine this game was going to be a disaster. The Mets were starting Corey Oswalt, who was not exactly great in his first career start, and if he could not go deep into the game, it meant more of the Mets bullpen.
The good news is Oswalt held his own. Over four innings, he would allow two earned on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts. The first run was a big blast from Kendrys Morales in the second. When Morales came back up in the fourth, it looked like he got another one.
It turned out to be a double that hit a leaping Michael Conforto in the glove. It was one of those can’t be an error because it required a leap, but you would think a player as good as he is should catch that. In any event, Morales was on second with a double, and he would come around to score on a Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. RBI single. Realistically speaking, the Mets should have had a play at the plate, but Brandon Nimmo, who is struggling in every aspect of his game since getting plunked on the hand on June 24th, spiked the throw home into the turf.
Once again, Lugo showed us why he is such a great bullpen weapon. Lugo would pitch three innings allowing just one earned on three hits. If it was a different batter in the sixth, it might’ve been no runs. After Todd Frazier made a nice play, he got it to Asdrubal Cabrera who made the quick turn to first. As it was the speedy Gurriel, Cabrera’s throw had little chance to get him.
One bright spot there was, that only cut the Mets lead to 6-3, and that was because the Mets had a huge fifth inning.
The scoring began when a Frazier two run homer gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. The homer did not kill this rally as Kevin Plawecki hit a one out ground rule double. After the obligatory Jose Reyes failure to get a base hit, Nimmo walked setting up consecutive RBI singles from Cabrera and Jose Bautista.
Believe it or not, Lugo would get the win as the Mets bullpen did it’s job. First, Jerry Blevins gtting two of the three batters he faced out, and Robert Gsellman got the final out of the eighth. Jeurys Familia came on to pitch a perfect ninth for his 16th save of the season.
With that, the Mets earned a somewhat surprising split, and they are coming home for a long homestand where we may get the last chance to see some of the veterans on this team.
Game Notes: The Mets are about to play 11 games in 10 days as they head into the All Star break.
Initially, we planned to run a roundtable on our thoughts about the job Mickey Callaway is doing, but with Sandy Alderson announcing his cancer has returned and due to personal issues, it turns out that roundtable needed to be delayed.
Being a glass half full kind of person, the Mets performance did little to change the opinions set forth on the job Callaway has been doing with the Mets:
Well, Gary Apple called him ‘Mickey Collins’ the other day. That should say enough. Someone on Twitter correctly noted that if Aaron Boone was the manager of the Mets and Mickey helmed the Yankees, those teams’ current records would be exactly the same. *That *should say enough, except the sentences that “say enough” kind of talk over one another, don’t they? So I’ll say that I don’t think we should say “enough” to Mick, while acknowledging he is over-matched, since this fact is obvious yet forgivable. It’s his first time doing this, and none of his coaching staff can say they’ve managed a major league club before without lying. He’s also dealing with a much more crowded kitchen, full of men who think they are cooks because they bought chef costumes, than he could have possibly imagined.
He might be overmatched for the city, not the job. When he said “New York is tough on players,” I think he may have been admitting he wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of media and fan pressure. Willie Randolph played here, and he couldn’t handle it either. I think he’s been forced to follow a script, which is why I think so many of his moves have backfired — much like Terry Collins — but I also thinkhe’s made a few of his own dopey decisions. He reminds me of former New York Giants defensive coordinator Rod Rust; whose read and react defense stifled his own team.
End of the day, if you’re going to struggle and you’re going to lose, lose young and lose playing aggressive. I can take losing, I watched the 1978 Mets. But this guy is boring me to death…
Callaway increasingly comes across as the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s terrific before a season or a game, when nothing has yet gone wrong. In game and afterward, it’s a debacle.
There must be an immense disconnect between how he presented himself while getting the job and everything we’ve seen since the middle of April, as if he just never fully accounted for what managing in real time would be like.
I often listen and get the gist of what he’s saying as he attempts to explain away the latest loss (or losing streak) but am amazed at how he only makes it worse. It’s not the biggest part of his job, but it is an element. Eloquence isn’t everything, of course. We’d also take a tight-lipped winner.
Editor’s Note: Greg wrote a more extensive piece on his thoughts about Callaway on FAFIF. It’s well worth a read.
Initially, I did not believe Callaway was over-matched for the job in the sense he was unable to do the job well from a personal standpoint. However, I did believe him being over-matched in terms of the roster and talent at his disposal on a nightly basis. When your end game options is watching Jose Reyes pop or ground out in a pinch hitting attempt and picking who from Chris Beck, Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles, Paul Sewald, etal you want to blow the lead, you’re going to look over-matched.
That said, Callaway made a decision yesterday which has given me pause. After Reyes completely dogged it on a grounder Saturday night, Callaway double switched Reyes into the game.
If Reyes was hurt, give him the extra day. If he wasn’t, he needs to be benched. In either event, Reyes can not play a day after completely dogging it.
However, he did play, which now makes all questions about Callaway’s ability to control the game and the clubhouse fair game.
Once again, I want to thank everyone for the well wishes and these excellent writers for contributing to the roundtable. Please make sure you take time to read their great sites, and there’s no excuse this week with a link being provided to FAFIF.
With the way things are going with the New York Mets, it is becoming increasingly clear this team will be in position to sell at the trade deadline. The question is what in the world do the Mets have to sell.
Well, the biggest asset the Mets have right now is Jacob deGrom. If he was ever truly available, you would have 29 teams lining up to give you their best prospects. The problem with that is, you could assume the Mets will not deal with either the Yankees or the Nationals. With the Yankees, you are taking one deep farm system off the table, and that is assuming the Yankees would part with their top prospects in a trade with the Mets.
Overall, based on recent comments from Sandy Alderson, it does not appear the Mets are trading deGrom anytime soon, which is a relief because Sandy really does poor work at the trade deadline. He’s much better working deals in the offseason.
So when looking at players to trade, you obviously begin with guys on the last year of their deals. Well, the Mets don’t have much to offer there:
Jerry Blevins – the LOOGY has a 5.28 ERA, 1.761 WHIP, and a 6.5 BB/9. Worse than that, left-handed batters are hitting .351/.415/.514 off of him.
Jose Bautista – When he was released, the Mets were seemingly the only team who called him, and it’s hard to imagine teams giving up much for a second division bench player with a .366 SLG.
Asdrubal Cabrera – A year after the Mets found no takers for him, they may be in the same position after having him play through injuries. Since April 24th, he’s hitting .233/.269/.423 while playing the worst defensive second base in the majors (-10 DRS).
Jeurys Familia – If he returns from the DL healthy, Familia has real value because he has once again shown himself to be a good reliever and closer. The issue with him is Sandy Alderson flipped Addison Reed, who was healthier and having a better year, for an uninspiring group of Gerson Bautista, Jamie Callahan, and Stephen Nogosek.
Devin Mesoraco – Briefly, Mesoraco was a revelation showing power and helping buttress a struggling Mets lineup. The hot streak has worn off, and he’s hitting .107 with no extra base hits over his last nine games.
AJ Ramos – Ramos is contemplating season ending shoulder surgery. That would take him off the table. The same can be said for his 6.41 ERA.
Jose Reyes – He’s the worst player in all of baseball this year; one the Mets are reportedly asking to retire.
Alright, so the Mets don’t have much in terms of players on expiring deals. Maybe, the team can look at players whose deals are expiring after the 2019 season:
Todd Frazier – The normally durable Frazier landed on the DL, and he has not been the power hitter he has been in his career. The positives are he’s kept a solid walk rate while playing a solid third base. Overall, he’s the type of player who is of more value to you than to what you would get back in a deal.
Jason Vargas – He’s now a five inning pitcher with a 7.39 ERA.
Zack Wheeler – Wheeler is an interesting case because he has shown promise, but he is still prone to the occasional hiccups. He’s probably not due for a large arbitration increase from his $1.8 million, which should be enticing for a Mets team who probably doesn’t want to spend $8 million to replace him with next year’s Vargas.
So, right now, looking at the expiring deals by the end of the 2019 season, the Mets assets basically amount to Familia and maybe Frazier and Wheeler. Arguably, Frazier and Wheeler are not bringing back the type of players who would be key pieces of a rebuild. To that extent, you at least have to question why you would move them on a Mets team with a fairly solid core which includes Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Noah Syndergaard, and deGrom.
And really, past that group, there isn’t much else available for the Mets to trade to justify blowing it up.
Jay Bruce is injured, and he already looks like he’s in a group with Jason Bay and Vince Coleman for the worst free agent mistake in Mets history. Yoenis Cespedes is both injury prone and has a no trade deal, which will likely limit their ability to move him.
Really, what the Mets need to be doing is some soul searching.
Much like they did when they extended David Wright, the team needs to assess whether players like deGrom and Syndergaard will be here when promising young players like Andres Gimenez, David Peterson, Justin Dunn, Mark Vientos, and Jarred Kelenic are here to open the Mets next World Series window.
If they’re not, you’re doing the franchise a complete disservice by hanging in this if everything breaks right structure. Really, things only broke right in 2015, and the team has been ill designed every since.
Blow it up now, or start spending money on players like Manny Machado this offseaosn. If you’re not doing that, this Mets team isn’t going anywhere for at least the next decade.
While any game where the Mets are trying to snap out of this horrendous June skid has its own level of interest, this game had some extra intrigue because the Mets were facing one of the two pitchers they traded in 2015 to obtain Addison Reed.
Well, on this night, it seemed as if the Diamondbacks got a much better return for Reed than the Jamie Callahan, Gerson Bautista, Stephen Nogosek triumvirate the Mets received from the Red Sox at last year’s trade deadline.
Things look good real early for the Mets as Brandon Nimmo hit a first inning homer off of Matt Koch. After that, Koch allowed just a fifth inning single to Dominic Smith that went nowhere before he allowed a Michael Conforto solo shot in the sixth inning.
All told, Koch pitched six innings allowing the two homers while walking one and striking out five. To be fair, with the way the Mets offense is going, we can’t tell if Koch is the one who got away or if a pitcher with a 4.20 ERA entering the game looked good because any semi-competent pitcher can shut down the Mets right now.
Now, the aforementioned Conforto homer pulled the Mets to within 3-2. They were behind because Jason Vargas wasn’t great . . . again.
After getting a lead, he surrendered it almost immediately in the second on a rally started by his first issuing a leadoff walk to John Ryan Murphy and then hitting David Peralta. Now, Peralta made no effort to get out of the way of the ball, a point Mickey Callaway seemed to be chirping about from the dugout, but there’s not point being bitter, right?
Anyway, Murphy came around and scored on an ensuing Ketel Marte single.
Vargas got out of that jam, but he allowed solo shots to Paul Goldschmidt and Peralta in consecutive innings to put the Mets down 3-1.
After his five innings, you could honestly say Vargas kept the Mets in the game. That’s a real accomplishment from where he was to start the season.
By the seventh, the Mets were down a run, and they were still in this game. After 1.2 fine innings from Hansel Robles, Callaway brought in Jerry Blevins to face a stretch of left-handed Diamondback batters starting with Daniel Descalso.
With two outs and an inherited runner from Robles, Blevins first allowed Descalso to single, and then he hit the left-handed hitting Jon Jay to load the bases.This led to Callaway bringing in Sewald, who is struggling every bit as much as Vargas and Blevins. He proceeded to walk Nick Ahmed to force home a run.
Think about that. Robles was the Mets best reliever of the night, and he is the one charged with a run after Blevins’ and Sewald’s inept performances.
Speaking of poor performances, after Amed Rosario hit a solo shot in the eighth inning to pull the Mets within 4-3, Jacob Rhame came in and allowed solo homers to Peralta and Jake Lamb. At that point, the Mets were down 6-3, and they were well past their quota for runs in a game.
Ultimately, this game amounted to the pitchers Sandy Alderson brought in to help this team completely failing, but sure, let’s all blame Callaway for this team’s performance.
You know what the Mets do to win a game? Score a run.
You know what they need to score those runs? Get some hits, at least more than two.
Through the first six innings, Braves rookie Mike Soroka faced the minimum while no-hitting the Mets.
While the Mets were once again setting baseball back to the days of the New York Nine, Jacob deGrom was once again pitching like the best player in baseball.
In seven innings, deGrom allowed just one run, and while that run was charged as an earned run, it wasn’t entirely on him.
That was it. Once that run scored, the Mets chances of winning went with it. In fact, as noted by Elias, the Mets are the first team ever to score fewer than 15 runs and compile less than 50 hits over an 11 game span (h/t Good Fundies).
Because Freeman owns both the Mets and Jerry Blevins, he hit a solo shot in the eighth to expand the Braves lead to 2-0.
The Mets did have a rally in them in the ninth. Conforto drew a one out walk, and Nimmo hit a two out double. That put the game in Bruce’s hands.
With the tying runs on base, Bruce hit the first pitch Aroyds Vizcaino offered him. It was a game ending pop out to short. It was a fitting end to another miserable loss.