Jerry Blevins

At Least The Mets Weren’t No-Hit

Austin Voth, a 26 year old rookie pitcher with an 11.81 ERA, yielded only a Michael Conforto fourth inning infield single before departing after five. A pretty bad Nationals bullpen would not surrender a hit over the final four innings giving Voth his first MLB win.

Corey Oswalt got the start for the Mets, and the shame for him was he was pretty good. If not for his allowing a two run bomb to Treat Turner in the third, it’s possible Oswalt walks off with a no decision.

Not that it was going to happen with the Mets bats being completely listless, but any hopes of a comeback were essentially eliminated with the Nationals hitting Jerry Blevins hard in the sixth.

The big blow that inning was a Matt Wieters three run homer.

All told, the Mets lost this game 6-0. On the bright side, no matter the outcome both of these teams are missing the postseason.

Game Notes: While Luis Guillorme is hitting homers in the Super 6, Jack Reinheimer got the start at second and was 0-for-3.

Matz Helped His Friend, Mets Didn’t Help Matz

The Mets had won 19 consecutive games in which a Mets pitcher had hit a homer.  That included Steven Matz‘s last start when he had homered.  Well, Matz woud hit a homer again in this game giving you hope it was going to be 20 straight:

That homer came off of Aaron Nola, and it not only gave the Mets the lead, but it put a little dent in Nola’s Cy Young case.  Certainly, Matz was cognizant of that as after Matz trotted around the bases, he walked up to Jacob deGrom and said, “That was for my friend.”

Really, Matz did all he could do to help deGrom win the Cy Young.  In addition to the homer, Matz was good on the mound.  In his five innings, he would allow just two hits while walking five and striking out four.  In addition to the hitting and pitching, Matz would make an incredible behind the back catch to start a double play:

With the four walks, Matz’s pitch count was up.  At 91 pitches, it made the decision to pinch hit for him in the top of the sixth an easier one than it normally would be.

At the time the Mets had a 2-0 lead because Dominic Smith would double home Brandon Nimmo in the fourth inning.  Smith and Nimmo would take part in another two out rally in the fifth.  After Nimmo walked because, well that’s what he does, and Dom singled, Gabe Kapler would pull Nola and put it Pat Neshek.  Neshek walked Kevin Plawecki to load the bases, and Mickey Callaway sent up Wilmer Flores to pinch hit.

Flores would strike out on three pitches.

That Flores strikeout was a missed opportunity.  With the inherited runners on base, it was a chance to put a further dent in Nola’s Cy Young wishes.  It was also a chance to tack on some needed runs.

The Mets would add .02 to Nola’s ERA which probably won’t have much impact on his Cy Young chances.  Because the Mets failed to take advantage of the opportunity, they would also miss a chance to saddle Nola with the loss. Well, it was the missed chance and the bullpen implosion.

Jerry Blevins started the fire by walking Carlos Santana and hitting Aaron Altherr with a pitch.  Callaway then brought on Drew Smith, who just could not get anyone out.  First, it was a Wilson Ramos single.  Then a Justin Bour double.  Finally, Jorge Alfaro homered.  Anthony Swarzak would come on and get the Mets out of the inning without allowing another run.

But by then, it was too late.  The Mets fell behind 5-2, and they did not have another run in them.  It didn’t matter much as the chance to really dent Nola’s Cy Young case went by the wayside.

Game Notes: In a recent BBWAA poll, deGrom was overwhelming voted as the Cy Young winner.

deGrom Improved Cy Young Case

Heading into the Month of September, Jacob deGrom was probably the favorite to win the Cy Young, but it was still anyone’s game with Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer having great seasons of their own.  So far this month, deGrom has separated himself ever further from the pack.

In Nola’s three September starts, he is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA.  Scherzer had a decent start to the month until his loss to the Braves on Friday.  In that start, Scherzer allowed six earned in four innings.  Now, he’s 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in the month.

Like Nola and Scherzer, deGrom has seen his ERA rise this month.  Still, deGrom’s 2.70 ERA this month is half of Scherzer’s.  That is also because deGrom had a “bad start” in Boston.

For deGrom, it was the bottom of the third in Boston which derailed what had looked to be a truly special start.

After striking out six of the first seven Red Sox batters he faced, Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez hit back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners with one out.  Mookie Betts brought home Devers with a sacrifice fly.  This is normally where deGrom would get out of the inning, but he would leave one up to Brock Holt, who hit a two run homer to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.

Right then and there, deGrom’s streak of 26 starts not allowing more than three earned and his 21 consecutive quality starts streak was on the line.  From there, there were points where you thought deGrom wasn’t going to reatch the sixth.  In fact, Mickey Callaway had Jerry Blevins warming at one point.  There may have also been points where you thought he would allow another run.

He didn’t.

Instead, deGrom would go seven innings allowing the three earned on five hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts.  The 12 strikeouts were really impressive.  Entering the game, the Red Sox were the second hardest team to strike out (19.7%).  In the game, deGrom would strike out 12 of the 27 batters (44.4%) he faced.

Importantly, the Mets would rally to tie the score and get deGrom off the hook.  In the sixth, Amed Rosario would follow an Austin Jackson single to put runners on second and third with no outs.  Jeff McNeil would not hit a liner deep enough to score a run, but Wilmer Flores would  . . . barely:

 

Unfortunately, Betts would get hurt on the play.  It should shift Jackie Bradley, Jr. to right with Tzu-Wei Lin in center.  Michael Conforto would then hit a double to deep center to tie the game.  It’s debatable if Bradley would’ve gotten to it.  Regardless, the Mets were down a run.

They would tie it in the seventh on a two out RBI single by Rosario.  Brandon Nimmo was 90 feet away from scoring the go-ahead run and giving deGrom the lead, but McNeil couldn’t bring him home.

WIth that, deGrom notced another no decision, and he still remains a game under .500, and yet, he he having an all-time great season.  In fact, with this start, deGrom tied Bob Gibson and Chris Carpenter single season mark for consecutive quality starts.  In the seasons Gibson and Carpenter set their marks, they won the Cy Young.

So should deGrom.

Game Notes: Seth Lugo took the loss after allowing a run in the eighth.

Red Sox No Match For Mets

One of the two teams tonight was the best team in baseball. The other was the Boston Red Sox.

It’s an absurd statement for sure, and yet with the bats going and Noah Syndergaard dealing, the Mets looked like world beaters.

Over seven innings, Syndergaard allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out six. He really kept the Red Sox at bay at the plate but not the basepaths.

There were three stolen bases with the most egregious being an Ian Kinsler stolen base. On the play, Kindler basically walked to second (not an exaggeration). Syndergaard would get his revenge by picking off Kinsler in the sixth.

The stolen bases wouldn’t matter as the Red Sox couldn’t touch Syndergaard. Simultaneously, the Red Sox could not get the Mets out.

Left-handed pitcher William Cuevas would make his first career start, and he wouldn’t last long partially because he couldn’t get left-handed hitters out.

Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce hit back-to-back first inning doubles giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. That grew to 4-0 in the second when Bruce hit a second inning three run homer.

Brian Johnson would come on for the Red Sox and calm things down. Still Jeff McNeil would get to him hitting his third homer of the season. McNeil had yet another multi-hit game, and he had an incredible defensive play to end the seventh:

The Mets offense wasn’t done either. In the eighth inning against Tyler Thornburg, Austin Jackson and Amed Rosario would homer giving the Mets an 8-0 lead. The Rosario homer was a classic majestic shot over the Green Monster. Like McNeil, Rosario had yet another multi-hit game himself.

That left Jerry Blevins and Tyler Bashlor to close up shop. With their two scoreless innings, the Mets shut out the best offensive team in the majors. In fact, the Red Sox have the most runs and RBI with the best team batting average, OBP, SLG, and OPS. They have the second highest wRC+.

For their part, the Mets had Thor. That’s why they won.

Game Notes: It was the sixth time all season the Red Sox were shut out. There was a rat running in the Mets dugout during the game. It was not a Wilpon or Jose Reyes.

Matzerterful Performance

Three years after his Major League debut, it’s still difficult to make heads or tails with Steven Matz. There are days he looks absolutely terrible, and then there are days like today.

In seven innings, he completely dominated the Giants with a career high 11 strikeouts. It was the first double digit strikeout game of his career.

Unfortunately for him, what was arguably the best start of his career was just a no decision as the Mets bats are ice cold and Evan Longoria hit a fourth inning solo homer off Matz. It was just one of three hits off Matz all day.

On the other side, Derek Holland was shutting down the Mets. He was not as dominant as Matz, but he was in control all game.

Despite Holland pitching well, Brandon Nimmo would work out a one out walk, and he would score from first on the ensuing Tomas Nido double:

In the sixth, the Mets had a chance to take the lead, but Todd Frazier had some really poor base running.

First, after he drew a two out walk, he stole second. On the play, Nick Hundley three the ball into center. Frazier did not move to third as he was deked by Giants shortstop Alen Hanson.

Worse yet, on a Michael Conforto infield single, Hanson picked Frazier off third base:

Seth Lugo (two innings) and Jerry Blevins (inning) kept the Giants scoreless and hitless as the game went into extra innings.

Finally, in the top of the 11th, one of these two teams would get a hit with Wilmer Flores leading off the inning with a double off Hunter Strickland. He’d move over on a Jay Bruce groundout, and he scored on a go-ahead Frazier sacrifice fly.

Robert Gsellman, who has been struggling of late, pitched a perfect ninth with some help from Nimmo:

That Nimmo catch sealed the Mets win in a game completely dominated by pitching. That domination was headlined by Matz, who we can only hope has turned the corner much in the same way we have seen Zack Wheeler do this year.

Game Notes: With the Giants starting Holland, the Mets sat Jeff McNeil in favor of Flores at second. Bruce played first.

Cubs Make Thor Look Human

Despite the Phillies claiming Jose Bautista off waivers, the Mets risked getting a deal getting nixed due to injury by putting him in the lineup. The reason for the decision was Bautista’s numbers against Jon Lester.

Essentially, the Mets risked a possible piece for the future to win a meaningless August game.

Perhaps inspired the Mets got off and running. Amed Rosario hit a single on the first pitch of the game, stole second, and scored on an Austin Jackson RBI single.

In what would become a theme for the night, Noah Syndergaard immediately away the lead starting with a Daniel Murphy leadoff double.

Murphy did not seem as if he was initially going to second, but with Michael Conforto not fielding it cleanly with the backhand, Murphy took the extra base. He’d score on an Anthony Rizzo RBI double.

To his credit, Syndergaard got out of that jam partially because he picked Javier Baez off first, and the rundown was executed well enough to prevent Murphy from scoring from third. That was a moot point after the Rizzo double.

The Mets reclaimed the lead in the second with Conforto hitting an absolute monster home run:

The second inning rally began anew with Kevin Plawecki drawing a two out four pitch walk. Surprisingly, Lester then walked Syndergaard leading to Rosario hitting an RBI single to give the Mets a 3-1 lead.

It was a very uneven game for Plawecki. Behind the plate, he struggled, but at the plate, he excelled.

In the third, Syndergaard seemed close to working his way around a Javier Baez leadoff double. With runners at the corners and two outs, Syndergaard threw a pitch in the dirt.

Rather than getting down to block the call, Plawecki tried to backhand it leading to a wild pitch and a run scoring. Subsequently that at-bat, Syndergaard threw one in the dirt, and Plawecki didn’t get down quick enough. Fortunately, Jason Heyward didn’t move up because he lost track of the ball.

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t matter.

After a Willson Contreras infield single, Mickey Callaway ordered an intentional walk to load the bases. With two outs and Lester up, a career .092 hitter at the plate, it should have been inning over.

Instead, Syndergaard threw a fat pitch, and Lester hit a two RBI single giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead.

In total, Syndergaard pitched six uninspiring innings allowing four earned on nine hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Maybe it’s all the missed time, but Thor is not Thor right now.

When he departed, he was in line for the loss. That was until Plawecki got the run back he allowed with a game tying homer in the seventh:

With the much improved Mets bullpen, it seemed like the Mets were going to actually have a chance to pull this one out. Unfortunately, Jerry Blevins would have his first poor outing on over a month.

Rizzo led off the top of the seventh with a ground rule double which bounced off the tape:

Ben Zobrist, who has really become a Mets killer, gave the Cubs the lead with an RBI double. Heyward singled putting runners at the corners with no outs leading to Callaway bringing in Drew Smith.

Smith was able to navigate his way out of that jam by yielding just an RBI groundout to Contreras.

Daniel Zamora pitched the eighth, and he blew through the first two hitters he faced. Then his seemingly unhittable slider was hit by Rizzo for a home run giving the Cubs a 7-4 lead heading into the ninth.

Despite going 0-for-3 after being put in the lineup for his great numbers against Lester, Bautista would draw a leadoff walk off Pedro Strop.

Predictably, Jose Reyes didn’t come through instead hitting into a fielder’s choice.

That didn’t stop the Mets from loading the bases with one out. With the bases loaded, the Cubs went to Jesse Chavez for the save.

He dominated Rosario getting him to strike out. Chavez would then strike out Jackson on a couple of dubious strike calls, especially strike three, to end the game.

At the end of the day, Syndergaard looked less god than human, and Bautista went hitless in a game he played due to his bat.

Game Notes: Rosario was picked off by Lester for venturing way off first. Jeff McNeil‘s 11 game hitting streak ended with him popping out in a pinch hitting appearance.

Nationals Wheels Falling Off While Mets Wheeler Is Rolling

Seeing how the Nationals have performed recently, including how they performed yesterday against Jason Vargas, it’s difficult to get excited about any pitcher dominating them.

That said, Zack Wheeler has been great recently and today was another one of his terrific outings.

Wheeler pitched seven scoreless allowing six hits and three walks while striking out four.

This was the eighth time over his last 12 starts where he has gone at least seven innings. It is also the sixth straight start he’s allowed two runs or fewer.

For a while, it looked like Wheeler would walk away with the no decision as Tanner Roark was matching zeros with him over the first five innings.

Up until that point, the Mets just had three hits and no one reached third.

Finally, with one out in the sixth, Amed Rosario would hit a solo homer to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

The Mets would tack on runs in the ensuing two innings.

In the seventh, Todd Frazier would continue his hot hitting with a homer of his own.

In the eighth, Rosario beat out a potential double play ball extending the inning. He would then score as both Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto would hit singles off Nationals left-handed reliever Matt Grace.

That 3-0 lead was more than enough for Wheeler and what has been a terrific Mets bullpen this month.

Daniel Zamora retired Bryce Harper to lead off the eighth. Drew Smith then pitched an inning before handing the ball to Jerry Blevins who recorded the seventh save of his career.

Just like that, it appears the Mets are trending in an upward trajectory while the Nationals are struggling to find themselves. Hopefully, that will last longer than just the final two months of this season.

Game Notes: This is the first time the Mets recorded consecutive shutouts since 2015. Conforto started the game in center for the first time since June 26th.

Dom Played First And Homered In Mets Win

Since the All Star Break, the Mets are playing much better baseball. In fact, the team is actually two games over .500, and they have won 12 of their last 19 games.

One of the major reasons for the improved play is the Mets are finally playing their talented younger players, and they’re taking advantage of their opportunity.

Last night, that included Dominic Smith, who not only played first base, but he also homered off Casey Kelly:

That second inning homer did not end the rally.

Jack Reinheimer hit a two out single, and Jose Bautista, who leadoff for some reason, reached on a Brandon Crawford error.

Jeff McNeil then drove home Reinheimer with an RBI single. With that single and his first inning triple, McNeil reached base safely in seven consecutive at-bats.

What’s amazing about that first inning triple is McNeil didn’t score even with Todd Frazier reaching on a Crawford throwing error.

Speaking of Frazier, he would drive home the third run of the inning on a ground rule double.

In this 2016 Wild Card Game rematch, Noah Syndergaard would give back two of the runs right away.

After consecutive singles and Kelly’s sacrifice bunt, Syndergaard got Steven Duggar to hit an RBI groundout. Joe Panik then hit a two out RBI single to pull the Giants to within a run.

Syndergaard would shut the Giants down from there. In six innings, he would throw 101 pitches limiting the Giants to two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out five.

With Bautista hitting a solo homer in the fourth, he’d depart with a 4-2 lead.

Mickey Callaway then put in Drew Smith for what seemed like his first high leverage situation.

First batter he faced, Austin Slater, hit a homer.

With one out in the inning, he’d hit Chase d’Arnaud with a pitch before Duggar popped out on a bunt attempt.

Callaway then went to Jerry Blevins, who retired Panik to get out of the jam.

Frazier got that run back with a homer in the bottom of the seventh,

Robert Gsellman was dominant in the bottom of the eight striking out two of the three batters he faced.

Callaway tabbed Daniel Zamora to get Crawford to start the ninth before giving the ball to Paul Sewald, who got the final two outs to earn his first career save.

With that, the Mets won 5-3. Who knew that this team could win young players getting playing time and a chance to succeed?

Game Recap: With the win, the Mets have ensured at least a series split. The Mets have now either won or split their past five series.

Mets Score Ton of Runs in Doubleheader Split

Amed Rosario hit the very pitch of the game from Ranger Suarez for a home run, and the Mets were off and running to set a new franchise record with 24 runs on 25 hits in their 25-4 victory.  These records were previously set 30 years to the date in a Mets game at the Cubs.

What is interesting is this game was back-and-forth for the first four innings with the Phillies getting to Corey Oswalt with solo homers from Rhys Hoskins, Maikel Franco, Nick Williams, and Jorge Alfaro.

Entering the fateful fifth inning, it was just 5-4 Mets.  Then in that fifth inning, Alfaro threw away the ball on an Oswalt bunt, and then Hoskins would later just completely miss a fly ball in left.  The big hit in what would be a 10 run fifth inning was a Jose Bautista grand slam.  From there, the game was over, and eventually Phillies manager Gabe Kapler actually turned to position players to get the final nine outs of the game so to save his bullpen for the second half of the doubleheader.

To put in perspective how well that went, the Mets scored seven runs off the position players, and that was highlighted by Jerry Blevins hitting an RBI single off of Scott Kingery.  Yes, that’s how absurd things got.  A reliever got a hit off of a position player.  All told, the Mets had an absolute field day at plate:

As you can see from the 1-2 for Nimmo, the one downside was he had to come out of the game due to him hitting his hand when he swung at a pitch he put in play.  Nimmo would come out the game, and his x-rays would be negative, but with the Mets being the Mets, you never know what will happen next.

In the second game of the doubleheader, it seemed like the Mets were going to once again be off and running.  Against Phillies starter, Zach Eflin, Rosario, Jeff McNeil, and Conforto would hit three consecutive doubles to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.

The disappointment of Conforto not scoring from second would soon be magnified by Steven Matz giving up the lead by surrendering a three run homer to Hoskins in the bottom of the first.  Matz would not settle in during the second inning either with him giving up a homer to Kingery in what would be a consecutive three run inning for the Phillies.

All told in his first start since returning form the disabled list, Matz pitched just those two innings allowing six runs (four earned) on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

As bad as Matz looked, Devin Mesoraco looked worse.  After Roman Quinn reached on a throwing error by Matz, Mesoraco would push him to second with a passed ball.  Later that inning, Mesoraco threw through on what would be a double steal, and on the return throw, the out of position Mesoraco whiffed on the tag.

Things would lie dormant until the bottom of the sixth when Bobby Wahl entered the game.  Wahl would appear to have tweaked something in his leg or bat on the Quinn bunt single.  Wahl would stay in the game, and he would surrender an RBI double to Cesar Hernandez.  On the double, Conforto got to the ball, and made a strong throw to second.  Hernandez was dead to rights, but McNeil just dropped the ball.

Later that inning, Williams hit a sinking liner Williams just missed getting to in time.  At that point, it was 8-2 Phillies.

The Mets, who have been playing much better of late would show some fight.

In the seventh, Rosario doubled home Jack Reinheimer, and Conforto would hit a single through Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana to pull the Mets to within 8-4.

Tyler Bashlor would give one of those runs back by allowing back-to-back doubles to Santana and Franco in the seventh before settling in and retiring the Phillies.

Even with the five run deficit, the Mets would go on the attack in the ninth starting with Plawecki reaching with Phillies reliever Yacksel Rios throughing a screwball between Santana’s legs.  As the inning continued Conforto and Flores would hit RBI singles to pull the Mets to within 9-6, which then led to Kapler brining in his closer Seranthony Dominguez.

The Mets would bring the tying runs to the plate with Jackson and Bautista, but both would strike out to end the rally and the game.

Overall, it was quite a day for a Mets offense who is suddenly alive and robust.  It will be interesting to see how this continues as this series progresses with the Mets always hitting well at Citizens Bank Park.

Game Notes: With the Mets scoring 25 runs, they became the first team in a decade to score 15 runs in consecutive games.  Jacob Rhame was available as the 26th man, and he would pitch two scoreless to close out the first end of the doubleheader.

Mets Give deGrom Run Support And Shockingly Win Subway Series Finale

In preparation for this weekend’s Little League Classic at Williamsport, the Mets played in the Little League ballpark that is Yankee Stadium.

Right from the get-go, the Mets went to work with Amed Rosario hitting a leadoff homer off Luis Severino. That would be the first of five Mets homers on the night.

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.

This not only forced Austin Romine home, but it also put Stanton at second. He’d score on an Aaron Hicks RBI single tying the game.

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.

The Mets would then tee off on Yankees reliever A.J. Cole with Todd Frazier, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto hitting homers off of him to expand the Mets lead to 7-3.

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.

After Jerry Blevins got the last out of the seventh, Seth Lugo pitched the eighth, and he got tagged by Miguel Andujar with a two run homer to make an easy game a scary 7-5 game.

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.