Jerry Blevins

Mets Split Bizarre Doubleheader

The first game of the doubleheader between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets was just an ugly game. Really, almost everything about it was bad.

The Mets were 0-for-5 with RISP leaving five men in baseball. That’s really just the tip of the iceberg.

The Mets loaded the bases in the fourth wig no outs. They only scored one run on a James McCann fielder’s choice. On the play, Nolan Arenado fielded the ball while stepping on the bag simultaneously.

After that, Jonathan Villar and Albert Almora struck out to end what was the Mets only rally of the game.

Of course, no discussion of that fourth inning is complete without discussing the Kwang Hyun Kim interpreter controversy and ensuing roughly 10 minutes of deliberations and replay.

Cardinals catcher Andrew Knizer went to the mound to talk with Kim, and Kim’s interpreter came from the dugout to the mound. Later in the inning, the interpreter joined Mike Maddux, Luis Rojas correctly pointed out that was technically a second mound visit necessitating Kim be removed from the game.

The umpires blew the call because they didn’t know the rules, and the replay officials got it wrong even when they informed them of the rule, they let Kim stay in the game.

Sadly, Marcus Stroman, who was making a start on a sore hamstring, made the mistake of allowing two earned runs.

The first was a Paul Goldschmidt first inning homer. In the third, Arenado had an RBI single. That’s all the runs the Cardinals would need.

The final score was 4-1 as Francisco Lindor threw a ball away with two outs, and Paul DeJong continued being a Mets killer by hitting a two run homer.

While we wouldn’t see the Mets offense respond to the Chili Davis firing in the first game, we would in the second.

After a scoreless first where we saw the Mets use Miguel Castro as an opener, the Mets bats would put runs on the board for Castro and Jordan Yamamoto, who was making his first Mets appearance.

Dominic Smith started a rally against Cardinals starter Johan Oviedo with a lead-off single. He’d move to third on a Kevin Pillar double.

With respect to Pillar, he’s really stepped up when the Mets needed it most. Their best hitter, Nimmo, was injured and finally hit the IL. Since Nimmo has gone down, Pillar is 8-for-16 with four runs, a double, two homers, and four RBI.

After two quick outs, you were left wondering if the Mets would ever score. That made Oviedo’s wild pitch allowing Smith to score a relief. What was even better was Tomas Nido‘s ensuing two run homer:

The Cardinals had a chance to respond in the second. Former Met Ali Sanchez doubled, and Oviedo tried to help his own cause, but Pillar would gun down Sanchez.

Villar increased the Mets lead to 4-0 with a solo homer in the fourth.

The Cardinals put a rally together in the fourth. Yamamoto hit Tyler O’Neill to start the inning, and he’d be on second with two outs when the Mets went to the bullpen.

Aaron Loup relieved Yamamoto, and he’d allow an inherited runner to score on a Dylan Carlson pinch hit RBI single. Things were getting dangerous after a Tommy Edman single, but Loup would retire Matt Carpenter to get out of the inning.

After the Cardinals scored one in the bottom of fourth, the Mets would get one back and then some in the fifth.

What was impressive was the Mets delivered with two outs again. With runners on first and second and two outs, Pillar and Villar hit consecutive RBI singles to increase the Mets lead to 6-1.

Villar, the surprise starter at short had a very good game. In addition to the two RBI, he’d later make a very good play in the hole.

From there, Trevor May pitched a scoreless fifth, and Robert Gsellman allowed one run in the sixth.

With Bernardo Flores Jr. wild, the Mets took advantage loading the bases and scoring a run on a Pillar RBI groundout.

The Mets sent Jeurys Familia to the mound to close out the five run lead. Even though such an act was impossible earlier in the week for Edwin Diaz, Familia took care of business securing the 7-2 win.

In a bizarre series of games, the Mets secured a split of the doubleheader, and they are in position to split the series with a win tomorrow. That closes out a wild 72 hours.

Game Notes: Sean Reid-Foley was the Mets 27th man for the doubleheader. Lindor is hitless over his last 24 at-bats, the second worst stretch in his career. Brandon Nimmo was put on the IL between games with Patrick Mazeika getting called up off the taxi squad. Keith Hernandez was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Get Red Sox Knocked Off

The New York Mets had not lost a home series or been swept once this season. That was until the Boston Red Sox came to town:

1. The best way to sum up Jacob deGrom‘s greatness is a bad start is one run over six innings.

2. In four starts, deGrom is 2-2 with a 0.51 ERA. That’s beyond absurd.

3. The long story short is if deGrom doesn’t shut ’em out and hit one out, he’s going to lose the game.

4. That may not be a deGrom thing anymore. The Mets offense has been that bad lately.

5. This isn’t exactly by chance. The Mets are following the pattern of teams who previously retained Chili Davis as hitting coach.

6. As noted and will continue to be noted, Francisco Lindor is a slow starter. If you’re booing him over that, you’re an idiot.

7. Also, imagine booing him when he makes a great play to turn an unassisted double play.

8. Speaking of defense, Pete Alonso has been great at first. While we note the diving play, that stretch on the James McCann throw was excellent.

9. With the Mets offense the way it is, making bad pitching look great, they need all the great defense and pitching they can get. Fortunately, the pitching has been great leading the league in FIP.

10. Keep in mind, this is before Carlos Carrasco, Seth Lugo, and Noah Syndergaard come off the IL. That’s how good the pitching has been.

11. Mets really need to navigate this Brandon Nimmo hip issue because he’s the one consistent bat in this lineup. He’s also playing well in center.

12. Jeff McNeil homered and was dropped in the lineup. It’ll be interesting to find out what Sandy Alderson comes up with to bench McNeil again and/or drop him in the lineup again.

13. Mets held the best offensive team in 2021 to three runs TOTAL over two games. Somehow, the Mets were swept over the two game set.

14. With the Mets pitching and hitting this way, it’s reminiscent of the summer of 2015. The only difference is these Mets are healthy and the other batted Eric Campbell and John Mayberry in the heart of the lineup. These Mets are healthy.

15. It’s way too soon to panic or overreact, but the Mets problems have gone from bad to worse. That said, there is still plenty of time to turn things around.

16. The at-bats by Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis at the end of the second game where literally as bad as you can get. They were swinging at pitches in the dirt.

17. Jeurys Familia and Trevor May have been nearly unstoppable since their struggles in their first appearances. Miguel Castro has been unstoppable all year.

18. Jerry Blevins seemed to be a casualty of the dumb three batter rule when he announced his retirement. Same goes for former Met Oliver Perez who was designated for assignment by the Indians despite pitching well.

19. As Joe Girardi was rightfully flipping out over Genesis Cabrera hitting Bryce Harper in the face and Didi Gregorius in the ribs, he has no issue putting Jose Alvarado on the mound who threw consecutive dangerous up and in pitches to Conforto. If you’re going to be upset about hard throwers with zero control endangering batters, don’t put one on the mound yourself.

20. Despite what people want to tell you, the Mets are going to be fine. They’ll finish April near or at first, and they’re primed for a big May.

Mets Fail Jacob deGrom

In the second inning, Jacob deGrom allowed doubles to Xander Bogaerts and Christian Vazquez to give the Boston Red Sox a 1-0 lead. That qualified this as a bad deGrom start.

Overall, deGrom “only” struck out nine and “only” pitched six innings. His punishment for allowing the one run on just three hits and one walk and for his failing to get a hit himself was a loss.

While deGrom was having an “off-night,” which by the way is better than anyone else’s best, the New York Mets offense was making Nick Pivetta look like deGrom.

Pivetta entered the game with a 3.48 ERA and 1.355 WHIP while walking nearly as much as he struck out. That made him unhittable to this Mets lineup. His final line was 5.0 IP, H, 0 ER, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K.

It’s not like Pivetta was having the game of his life either. He was throwing hittable pitches. The problem is the Mets can’t hit those right now.

The Mets also couldn’t do anything against the Red Sox bullpen. What makes this so maddening was the Mets pitching was PHENOMENAL.

After deGrom, Aaron Loup, Trevor May, and Edwin Diaz each pitched a scoreless inning. The four pitchers combined to allow one run over nine with one walk and 15 strikeouts.

It was just a lame effort all around. Things were at their worst when Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis struck out on pitches in the dirt and in front of the plate. That’s not just how this night went. It’s been like this for a while now, and it needs to change.

The Mets have been swept for the first time this season, and they lost their first home series. They’re also under .500. At least no one in the NL East is really playing any better.

Game Notes: Jerry Blevins was at the game after announcing his retirement. Francisco Lindor was booed again.

Jerry Blevins Sticking Around

After missing the pandemic season and becoming a budding TV star commentator, Jerry Blevins decided he wanted one last crack at a ring. There was only one catch. He only wanted to be a Met.

After a good (but not great) Spring Training, Blevins didn’t make the Opening Day roster. Rather than retire or seek his release, Blevins is going to report to Brooklyn thereby extending his chances of winning that elusive World Series ring.

Right now, the Mets bullpen is in a state of flux. Seth Lugo and Drew Smith are hurt. Veterans like Tommy Hunter and Mike Montgomery didn’t make the team. Players like Dellin Betances and Robert Gsellman had some worrisome signs with their velocity.

Aside from that, over that course of the season, there are pitcher injuries, and there are players who are sent down, designated for assignment, or released due to ineffectiveness. By staying Blevins gives himself a shot, and he very well find his way to Flushing soon.

If nothing else, Blevins had his curveball working. Back when he was with the Mets the first time, he utilized that curve to be a very good reliever in the Mets bullpen.

There is still the chance for him to be that again. He showed this spring he still has the stuff to get Major League batters out. There is still room for him to fulfill a role in the Mets bullpen. What role that is or when it will be is still to be determined.

The one thing we do know is Blevins will stick around until that time comes. That’s very good for the Mets as Blevins can very be a part of a bullpen who can get him that ring he returned to get.

Projecting Mets 2021 Opening Day Bullpen

The New York Mets bullpen has been through for a loop with the injury to Seth Lugo to start the season. Things have grown increasingly complicated by diminished velocity of Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances. With all that said, the bullpen has talent, and there are many spots accounted for already.

Guaranteed – Miguel Castro, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Aaron Loup, Trevor May

Obviously, Diaz is going to be the closer coming off of a strong 2020 season. May is going to figure into the equation as a late inning reliever, and Loup was brought on to be the LOOGY. That’s the easy part.

Castro is out of options, and it is very likely he would be picked up off waivers if the Mets tried to send him down. Fortunately, that does not seem to be an issue with Castro having a great Spring striking out four in 4.0 scoreless and hitless innings.

After him, with Familia seemingly getting his elite level stuff back, he is a lock to make the bullpen. If nothing else, he can pitch the middle innings while the Mets hope Jeremy Hefner gets him back to his dominant form.

Bubble – Dellin Betances, Robert Gsellman, Drew Smith, Daniel Zamora

The 13 pitcher roster rule has been suspended for the 2021 season, but that may be a good general construct. Considering a five man rotation with the aforementioned five guaranteed spots, that leaves three remaining spots.

Given his salary and history of building up his velocity in-season, it is likely Betances makes the Opening Day roster. That leaves two spots available in the bullpen. Given the performances this Spring, that is going to be a difficult decision.

Gsellman has been a mainstay in the bullpen over the last few seasons and based on seniority he gets the call. Notably with him, the Mets did have the option to stretch him out as a starter, but they opted not to do that this spring with Gsellman only throwing 4.0 innings over three appearances.

Smith was the one reliever from the 2017 trade deadline debacle who has proven he could pitch in the majors. So far, he looks good, and the Mets are going to have to go out of their way to try to keep a pitcher with three scoreless appearances with no walks and three strikeouts off of the roster.

Finally, there is Zamora who probably presents the Mets best option to carry two left-handed pitchers in the bullpen. He has been a little wild with two walks over 3.2 innings, but he has also struck out three batters. That is typical for Zamora over the last few years.

Fifth Starter Competition – Joey Lucchesi, David Peterson, Jordan Yamamoto

The injury to Carlos Carrasco certainly changed the complexity of the fifth starter battle. With his injury, that opened up two spots instead of one. Given the nature of the injury, the Mets could feel more comfortable putting Peterson in the Opening Day rotation as the fear of having to send him down at one point isn’t as strong.

If Peterson were to make the rotation, the Mets could put one or both of Lucchesi or Yamamoto in the bullpen. Both pitchers have been great this Spring, and they have both more than made the case they deserve to be on the Opening Day roster in some way, shape, or form.

Outside Looking In – Jerry Blevins, Tommy Hunter, Arodys Vizcaino

Blevins probably has a much better chance than this given his curveball looking great. However, he has only appeared in two games walking two and striking out three. While this arguably puts him ahead of Zamora, especially with his track record, adding Blevins would require the Mets to make a roster move.

With respect to Hunter and Vizcaino, they may well both prove to have an impact on the Mets in 2021. That said, neither quite seem ready to pitch Opening Day at the moment. That goes double for Vizcaino who has only made one apperance so far.

Wild Card – Mike Montgomery, Corey Oswalt

With Carrasco suffering an injury, the Mets are said to begin stretching out Montgomery. That would seemingly be an indication they are looking for him to begin the season in Syracuse instead of Flushing. Still, it is hard to overlook his ability to be another lefty in the bullpen and a pitcher who can give you multiple innings. That said, Lucceshi could offer that himself.

Oswalt has had a very good Spring Training with Luis Rojas being very impressed. His velocity is way up, and he has looked quite strong. In fact, we probably shouldn’t completely rule him out in the fifth stater competition. If it is about competition, Oswalt has a strong case to make the Opening Day roster. That said, the fact it’ll require a 40 man move serves as a significant impediment.

Opening Day Bullpen

Joining the aforementioned group of Castro, Diaz, Familia, Loup, and May will very likely include Betances giving the Mets two more spots to figure out. With Lucchesi and Yamamoto now poised to start the season in the rotation, it would seem the final two spots can go to pitchers who are strictly relievers and not converted starters.

At the moment, it looks like one of those two spots should go to Smith. It’s possible the last spot goes to Gsellman due to his ability to give the Mets an extra inning here or there, but it would seem his spot is about as tenuous as Betances’ is right now. Overall, there are two weeks to go and a lot can happen. It will be very interesting to see where things go from here.

Mets Probably Don’t Need Another Reliever

Like it always seems to be, the New York Mets entered the offseason with the need to rebuild their bullpen. As the Mets entered Spring Training without Seth Lugo, there seemed to be a renewed emphasis on the need to add more relievers to the bullpen. However, when you break it down, the Mets may not need to actually add another arm.

Typically speaking, we will see the Mets carry a 12 man pitching staff which means seven relievers. Right off the bat, the Mets are set at closer with Edwin Diaz. He will certainly be joined in the bullpen by recent signees Trevor May and Aaron Loup. That trio right there takes care of the Mets closer, the eighth inning, and their LOOGY.

That leaves them having to figure out the other four relievers in the bullpen. Based upon the moves of Brodie Van Wagenen, three of those spots are occupied by Dellin Betances, Miguel Castro, and Jeurys Familia. This trio could very well become the core of what might be an excellent bullpen.

As previously detailed, Betances induced very weak contact last season, and he would miss a lot of bats. Looking at Baseball Savant, there was also a lot of promise with Jeurys Familia‘s season as he also induced a lot of weak contact, and he had terrific velocity. What really hampered each of their seasons was a mixture of walks and plain old bad defense.

Betances had a 1.56 GB/FB last year, but despite the weak contact, he yielded a .353 BABIP. Familia didn’t have the same issues with ground balls turning into outs as Betances, but he did see a career worst walk rate come back to bite him. Keep in mind, in only two of the 10 appearances where he didn’t walk a batter did the opposition score off of him.

Both relievers will be helped by the improved infield defense we should see with Francisco Lindor at short. Also, while we may see J.D. Davis start at third, in all likelihood, he should be removed late in games for Luis Guillorme thereby making the Mets defense elite for these groundball pitchers who induce weak contact.

Keep in mind, while Betances and Familia have typically had higher walk numbers, neither had really posted numbers that poor in their careers. Part of that could easily be explained by them trying to regain their prior form in a disjointed offseason. Really, both pitchers needed to hone a number of things, and the pandemic really cost them the opportunity to work with Jeremy Hefner like they needed.

Given a normal offseason and Spring Training, it is reasonable to assume both could be reasonably relied upon to at least easily handle the middle innings. Perhaps, they could eventually be reasonably be able to be relied upon for the seventh and eighth. In fact, we should be able to see them close a game or two here and there.

In terms of Castro, no one throws it harder. Really, that makes him a bit of a wild card not too dissimilar to what Hansel Robles used to be for the Mets. If you can harness him, you have an elite reliever. If you don’t you have an interesting mop up reliever. Either which way, he is out of options, and he is going to get every chance for the Mets to be the team to finally unlock his abilities.

When you add Lugo to these relievers, this bullpen could be the envy of every team in the majors. The question for the Mets is what to do in his absence. In terms of that, the Mets have plenty of options.

Joey Lucchesi profiles as a potential elite reliever. We have seen Robert Gsellman be elite out of the bullpen for stretches. If nothing else, we know he can absorb innings. The same could also be true for Jordan Yamamoto. The Mets also have a number of interesting young relievers to throw at the problem with Jacob Barnes, Yennsy Diaz, Sam McWilliams, Sean Reid-Foley, Drew Smith, Stephen Tarpley, and Daniel Zamora. Of course, there is also Mets fan favorite Jerry Blevins here on a minor league deal.

The moral of the story is the Mets have the talent in the bullpen. The real challenge is going to be for Hefner to work with them to get the most out of them. Then, perhaps the even bigger challenge is for Luis Rojas to deploy them properly. Overall, if Hefner and Rojas are successful, the Mets will get the most out of what is an extremely talented group, and we will begin to wonder why exactly we were so overly concerned about adding a big name reliever in the offseason.

Anyone Calling Mets Offseason A Failure Is Clueless

So, the Mets didn’t get Trevor Bauer. Instead, Bauer went to his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers for what might’ve been less money. Despite Bauer really not being better than the Mets fifth best starter, the over the top criticism started:

This is just scratching the surface of what we find at the bottom of the barrel. For their sake, you hope this is just schtick because these are purely horrid opinions.

Yes, we all know the Mets didn’t get Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, or George Springer. Instead, they got better players and a much deeper roster. In fact, just look at who they signed/acquired so far this offseason:

That doesn’t include interesting depth options like Jerry Blevins, Jerad Eickhoff, Jose Martinez, Mallex Smith, Jose Peraza, and Arodys Vizcaino. There are other moves made on top of that.

We’ve also just learned with the Bauer bidding the Mets have at least $40 million they can invest in the 2021 team. It can also be used to extend players like Michael Conforto, Lindor, Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard.

If someone can take a look at that and what the Mets can still do, and say to you this is the same old Wilpon run Mets, they’re either lying, trying to get attention, think you’re gullible, have no idea what they’re talking about, or some mixture of these.

Make no mistake, this has been a phenomenal offseason. Yes, we can quibble with a move or two, but in the end, calling this anything but a success is dumb. Really, the people pushing these narratives really know better.

Well, at least they should. They should because it’s absurd to think adding a top five player in the game on Lindor on top of everything else they did is disappointing or a failure. It’s really beyond absurd.

This has been nothing short of a great offseason. Arguably, it’s among if not the best the Mets have ever had.

Dominic Smith Walks 2019 Off Into Sunset

With what happened this year, it was just perfect seeing the bullpen blow-up. It blew up all year, and unfortunately it would today. Sadly, when Adeiny Hechavarria homered off of Paul Sewald, the Mets would blow their 28th save of the season moving them into a tie with the Cubs for the fifth most blown saves in baseball.

It would also cost Sewald of his second straight win after not earning a win over his first 118 Major League appearances. That ended one feel good story. Actually, it was two feel good stories ended as local guy, Joe Panik, had hit an eighth inning homer to put the Mets ahead 4-3.

As the game headed into extras, you wondered who was going to be this year’s version of Oliver Perez. It turns out the answer was Walker Lockett.

Lockett allowed back-to-back homers to Hechavarria and Adam Duvall to put the Mets down 6-4. It seemed like that was the sour note upon which this season was going to end.

Of course, that overlooked how this team constantly got up from gut punches. It also overlooked how forgotten and overlooked players took full advantage of their chances. We saw that again in the 11th when Luis Guillorme hit a leadoff single against Jerry Blevins.

Then came a string where all three Mets catchers would bat. That should serve as a subtle reminder this is the last time there will be 40 man rosters in September. Of the trio, Wilson Ramos would get a single off Anthony Swarzak putting the tying run on with two outs.

That brought up Dominic Smith. Smith had not had an at-bat since July 26 when he landed on the IL with a broken foot. He was just activated last week but had not played until today. On the second pitch he saw from Grant Dayton, Smith would end the Mets 2019 season:

This was a great moment for Dom. Not only did he get back from a broken foot, but it put an exclamation point on a season where he rejuvenated his career. He earned this moment due to all the hard work he put in during the offseason and just to get back from his broken foot.

As Dom celebrated dancing his way to the plate, he and the Mets would walk off into the sunset. There’s a lot of different ways this Mets season could’ve gone better, but in the end, these players were easy to root for, and we should all look forward to seeing them all play next year.

Game Notes: Noah Syndergaard started the final game of the year for the fourth straight year. He took a no decision after allowing three earned and striking out nine over seven. Chris Mazza picked up his first career win.

Mets Blow Golden Opportunity Against Braves

As impressive as this Braves club has been since the start of last year, and even with them having a big lead in the division, they can be beat. The key is to wait them out.

That’s what the Mets almost did with Steven Matz tonight who was brilliant despite not getting much help in the second.

Matz got himself into trouble allowing a leadoff single to Josh Donaldson and a walk to Adam Duvall. He’d recover by inducing what should’ve been a double play for Johan Camargo. Instead, it was a fielder’s choice with Amed Rosario making a slightly wide throw and Ruben Tejada fielding it like Chase Utley was ready to tackle him.

Following an Ender Inciarte double J.D. Davis was late getting to, it was 1-0 Braves. It’s be like that for a while because Matz was terrific and Dallas Keuchel was very good as well.

Keuchel got out of a jam in the first caused when Tyler Flowers didn’t get down on two of his pitches thereby putting Amed Rosario at third. He’d be stranded there when Michael Conforto struck out.

The Mets got to Keuchel with a rally in the sixth, but it was killed by a Wilson Ramos double play. Conforto followed with a hard fought walk giving Todd Frazier a chance. For a moment, it looked like Frazier would deliver all the way up until Freddie Freeman made the incredible over the shoulder catch on the bloop to end the inning.

Apparently, Freeman doesn’t need a bat to be a Mets killer.

Keuchel looked poised to get through seven until Matz had a two out single. That was it for Keuchel who was lifted for Chris Martin as the lineup flipped over.

Rosario had a hard hit ball which ripped through Johan Camargo. With Duvall trying to get Matz at third, Rosario moved to second. Duvall’s poor decision loomed large when a Davis bloop landed softly into center giving the Mets a 2-1 lead.

At this point, Matz was at 79 pitches. He allowed just the one earned on two hits with a walk and five strikeouts. He retired the last 14 straight.

Conversely, he ran the bases. There was a long delay when Pete Alonso‘s follow through hit Flowers in the mask necessitating a trainer’s visit. The last three outs of the sixth were very hard hit and two of them likely fall for hits if Juan Lagares wasn’t in vintage form.

Opposing batters hit 284/.330/.490 off Matz the third time through the lineup, and Donaldson hits 263/.385/.526 the third time he faces a starter.

Given all involved, Mickey Callaway went with Seth Lugo, who is the best reliever in the National League. He’s also a much more reliable pitcher in that spot.

It just didn’t work out with the umpire squeezing him. A bunch of balls found a hole. There was Alonso going deep into the second base hole instead of allowing Tejada to make a routine play.

Donaldson had a leadoff walk, and Duvall followed with a hard hit single. After that it was hit after hit after hit. By the time he was lifted for Luis Avilan, it was 5-2 Braves. After Avilan allowed an RBI single to Ozzie Albies, it was 6-2 Braves.

Because the Braves bullpen is terrible the Mets had a chance against Mark Melancon in the ninth.

After Tejada grounded out, Lagares jump started the offense with a single. Joe Panik pinch hit for Aaron Altherr and doubled. Rosario then hit an RBI single making it 6-3.

Now, at this point, it was Luis Guillorme pinch hitting instead of Davis batting because Davis was inexplicably double switched out of the game when Lugo entered the game. That decision didn’t come back to bite the Mets as Guillorme hit an RBI single pulling the Mets to within 6-4.

This set the stage for Alonso. Throughout the first half he was great against bullpens and from the seventh inning on. He hasn’t been that in the second half. It was more of the second half Alonso with him hitting what should’ve been a game ending double play.

Instead, Camargo missed second initially, and then he dropped the ball. Bases were now loaded for Ramos. He came up short striking out. The Braves went to old friend Jerry Blevins who struck out Conforto to end the game.

Ultimately, Callaway went with his best guy in the biggest spot in the game. He made the right decision there (with Lugo, not Davis). It didn’t work. It happens. Chances are Lugo won’t blow up like that again, and the Mets win this game the next 10 times.

Game Notes: Tejada was called up for the injured Jeff McNeil.

Mets Might’ve Lost Much More Than A Game To The Braves

As big as the Nationals series was, the series against the Braves is bigger. It’s bigger because it’s on the road, a step up in competition, and it’s an opportunity to get into the division race.

Unlike this past weekend, the Mets were not up to the task.

Right off the bat, Zack Wheeler‘s 15 inning scoreless steak was snapped. Actually, it was 15.1 innings as Ozzie Albies flew out between the trio of singles from Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman, and Josh Donaldson. That 1-0 deficit grew to 2-0 on a Matt Joyce RBI single in the first.

To put in perspective how difficult the task was against Max Fried and the Braves tonight, Juan Lagares was the team’s best hitter. To be fair, he was 3-for-3 against Fried.

That first hit was a two out single in the second. He moved to scoring position on a Wheeler HBP, and he’d score on a Jeff McNeil RBI single. It was 2-1, and the Mets would get no closer.

The Braves got that run back in the bottom of the inning on a Freeman RBI single. That lead grew to 3-1 when Acuna homered in the fourth, and then 5-1 when Ender Inciarte hit an RBI double in the fifth.

In total, Wheeler lasted just the five innings allowing a run in four of the five innings he pitched. He was easily out-pitched by Fried, and Acuna was a one man wrecking crew.

For example, in the sixth, the Mets had Fried on the ropes, but they’d shoot themselves in the foot.

Michael Conforto followed a Wilson Ramos leadoff walk with a GIDP. Todd Frazier then just missed a homer hitting it off the center field wall, and he’d need a great slide to get the double. Lagares followed with his third hit of the night, and for some reason, Gary Disarcina thought it wise to challenge Acuna’s arm:

With that, the Mets blew a chance to score, and they trailed 5-1 in what was now a battle of the bullpens.

Brad Brach pitched a clean sixth. Luis Avilan got into trouble in the seventh allowing a leadoff single to Donaldson an led plunking Adam Duvall. With Mets killer Charlie Culberson up, Mickey Callaway turned to Jeurys Familia. Familia continued his recent strong stretch by striking out Culberson to end the jam.

It was 5-1, but with the way the Mets have played and with the Braves weak bullpen, there was a chance. That chance came in the eighth.

Shane Greene, who has already lost his closer’s job, did little to instill confidence tonight.

After allowing back-to-back singles to Pete Alonso and J.D. Davis, he had some bad luck. First, Culberson tripped up what should’ve been a Ramos GIDP getting just the out at second.

Then, with Jerry Blevins relieving Greene to face Conforto, the Braves could not convert the 3-6-3 double play allowing Alonso to score. Anthony Swarzak came on to face Frazier. After Frazier singled, Lagares hit a ball which ate up Freeman allowing Conforto to score.

Unfortunately, Joe Panik could not get the big pinch hit. This left the Mets squandering what could’ve been a much bigger opportunity and entering the ninth 5-3.

As if things could’ve be bad enough in this frustrating loss, McNeil hurt himself trying to leg out a single against newly installed Braves closer Mark Melancon. With so many games remaining, the Mets could afford to lose a game, but they cannot afford to lose McNeil.

We will all be holding our breath awaiting word.

Game Notes: Drew Gagnon pitched a scoreless ninth. He was recalled earlier in the day with Chris Mazza being sent down to Triple-A.