This game was a clear dichotomy of what is going right and what is going wrong for the Mets. First, the wrong –
The first moment was in the fourth inning. Paul Goldschmidt broke out of his funk by hitting a homer off Steven Matz to tie the game at 2-2. Later that inning, Matz went from 1-2 to walking Jarrod Dyson. Matz then seemed to get out of the inning by picking Dyson off first:
#Mets challenge call that Jarrod Dyson is safe at 2B in the 4th; call stands, runner is safe.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) May 20, 2018
Somehow both the umpires and the replay officials miss what everyone watching the game saw – Asdrubal Cabrera got the tag in ahead of the slide.
Well, it was a blown call, which led to a typical Matz letdown. Diamondbacks backup catcher and former Yankee John Ryan Murphy hit a go-ahead two run homer.
With that, you had your typical 2018 Matz start. He didn’t get through five. He allowed two homers. He allowed a big walk, and he had a meltdown.
Still, down 4-2, the Mets were still in this game, and it looked like they were going to break through in the sixth with Patrick Corbin on the ropes. The team didn’t break through.
First, Devin Mesoraco popped out, and after the Diamondbacks put Michael Conforto on first, the inning was in Jose Reyes‘ hands. Now, Reyes presumably got the start because he had good career numbers against Corbin. He wouldn’t get a hit off Corbin, and he was in there to face Jimmie Sherfy.
Reyes fouled out, and Adrian Gonzalez couldn’t get the pinch hit. This left the Mets trailing, but it wouldn’t stay that way because of the things that have gone right for the Mets.
First, Conforto is back. After a 4-4 game, he came up in the second inning, and he delievered a two run homer to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.
After Matz surrendered the lead and couldn’t go five innings, the game was once again on the bullpen. The combination of Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald, and AJ Ramos pitched four scoreless walking none, allowing one hit, and striking out six. Ultimately, they gave the Mets a chance.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 20, 2018
Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect ninth giving the Mets a chance to walk this one off.
Like many rallies this season, it began with Brandon Nimmo, who led off the ninth with a double, and then the most clutch Met on the team this year, Asdrubal Cabrera laid down a bunt single moving Nimmo to third. This put the game in Wilmer Flores‘ hands, and as we know he has his own history with walk-off hits.
While not the dramatic homers we have seen, he did end the game with a fly ball to the outfield. This one was a sacrifice fly scoring Nimmo giving the Mets a 5-4 win.
This was the first time since April 10-11 that the Mets have won consecutive games. They are now in position for their first home sweep of the season. They do that, and things will definitely be more good than bad right now.
Game Notes: With the Mets lack of outfield depth, Dominic Smith started in right field for the Las Vegas 51s. Reyes is now 7-53 on the season.
There aren’t many things which are right with the Mets right now, but a big thing that’s right with this team right now is Jacob deGrom, and with him, we are seeing reports how the team may look to trade him. Of course, the best way to do that is to win as many games as you can between now and the trading deadline. Part of doing that is going out and not wasting deGrom starts.
Part of that is letting deGrom go out there and do his thing, and really he did his thing tonight.
In seven phenomenal innings of work, deGrom tied his career high with 13 strikeouts, and as noted by the great Michael Mayer, he became the 10th pitcher in Mets history to reach the 800 strikeout mark. He also lowered his ERA this season to 1.75.
There are many ways to say how great deGrom was, but perhaps the best way to say it is his final line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, R, ER, 0 BB, 13 K.
He carried into the game and extended his scoreless inning streak to 24.1 innings. It ended in the top of the sixth when Jake Lamb scored Steven Souza from first on a double. On what was a truly bizarre play, Souza ran through the stop sign only to stutter step and then take off from home. After Asdrubal Cabrera missed the relay, Adrian Gonzalez backed him up and nailed Lamb at third.
The Diamondbacks threatened in the seventh again with a Daniel Descalso leadoff double. Being the great pitcher he is, deGrom settled down, and he got the next three out in order.
Fortunately for deGrom, this would be one of the few games where he got real run support, and it began with a first inning rally against Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley, and like with many Mets rallies this season, it all began with a Brandon Nimmo walk.
After Descalso botched what was at a minimum a force out, and quite likely with Cabrera’s speed a double play ball, runners were at the corners with no outs.
Conforto would repeat that feat in the fifth inning. After a Flores two out walk and Jay Bruce walk, the inning was on Conforto, and he delivered with another RBI single. It was part of Conforto’s first three hit night of the season and just the second four hit night of his career. Overall, he was 4-4 with two RBI.
Really, the Mets need more of that from Conforto because he is not just the best hitter in the lineup, he’s the best hitter on the team. When the team is without Yoenis Cespedes and Todd Frazier, Conforto has to carry even more of the load. He did it tonight, and if he continues doing it, like he did last year, this Mets team will be in much better shape.
Things got interesting in the eighth. After a Conforto one out single, Gonzalez dropped a perfect bunt against the shift. After a Jose Reyes pinch hit walk, the bases were loaded with two outs. This led to Amed Rosario popping one out to Descalso, but he then dropped it. Initially, it was ruled a drop leading to two runs scoring. Upon the umpires commiserating, it was ruled an out meaning it was a 3-1 and not a 5-1 lead.
After Robert Gsellman and Jeurys Familia shut the door, deGrom had his fourth win of the season, and the team beat a Diamondbacks team who is having a very similar season to the one the Mets are having. Hopefully, this weekend the Mets will take advantage of a reeling team like other teams have done to them over the last few weeks.
Game Notes: Juan Lagares, who suffered a toe injury in the rain soaked game is likely done for the year leaving the Mets with three healthy outfielders on the 40 man roster. Jerry Blevins was activated from the paternity list, and he took Lagares’ spot on the roster. Paul Goldschmidt had the golden sombrero.
This was panning out to be another one of those horrible Mets losses we have seen recently. The Mets were not scoring runs at all even though they were in a hitter’s park. And yes, there was even the really embarrassing and inexcusable moment.
After a Devin Mesoraco double play grounder erased a Michael Conforto seventh inning leadoff single, Jose Reyes got his first pinch of the season in 11 attempts. Understandably, with Reyes’ speed, the Mets reeling, and the team down 1-0, Mickey Callaway went for it.
Instead of going with Amed Rosario, Callaway went with Dominic Smith, who was up due to Jay Bruce going on paternity leave, to get that big hit. Smith wouldn’t get that hit because Jake Arrieta picked Reyes off first base. And with that, all hope seemed lost yet again.
Then Wilmer Flores battled back not just from 0-2, but looking over-matched on the first two pitched of the at-bat to rip a single into left. The Mets at least had life, and for a split second, it looked like Conforto was going to give the Mets the lead, but he pulled it foul. Two pitches later, and Conforto wouldn’t pull it foul.
Conforto HOME RUN puts the Mets ahead 2-1!! pic.twitter.com/GaOTKkqImn
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) May 12, 2018
Mesoraco followed with a homer on the very next pitch. Suddenly, the Mets 1-0 lead, and the team falling to .500 turned into a 3-1 lead. That became a 3-1 victory after a Jeurys Familia 1-2-3 ninth.
Suddenly, the stories weren’t how Steven Matz walked four while somehow managing to allow just one run over five. It wasn’t about how a combination of Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald, and AJ Ramos had to pick up the slack to keep it close for an offense, which did nothing.
No, the story is now how the Mets had perhaps their best victory of the year, and how they may have turned things around with Noah Syndergaard taking the mound tomorrow.
Game Notes: Mesoraco’s teams are now 1-20 in games he has played this season. In Los Angeles, Matt Harvey made his Reds debut pitching four scoreless while allowing just one hit while striking out two.
Well, just when you think things can’t get worse, you’re reminded this is the Mets. Perhaps the biggest punchline of this season, maybe the past decade, was how the Mets BATTED OUT OF ORDER IN THE FIRST INNING!
Can someone send this down to the third base dugout? https://t.co/htjvJss5k1
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 9, 2018
Basically, the Mets skipped Asdrubal Cabrera, and Wilmer Flores took his spot striking out. Cabrera, who was supposed to bat second, came up third and doubled. That’s when Reds manager Jim Riggleman pointed out to the umpires the Mets were batting out of order.
Cabrera’s double was erased from the record books, and Jay Bruce, whose turn it was actually to bat, was ruled out.
Aside from making Mickey Callaway and bench coach Gary Disarcina looking completely incompetent, it really hurt the Mets because this game would prove to be a pitcher’s duel between Zack Wheeler and Sal Romano.
For his part, Wheeler was brilliant, and it was one of the better starts in his Mets career. Over six innings, he limited to the Reds to just one run on four hits and three walks while he struck out seven. He would only really face trouble in the first and the sixth. He got out of the jam easily in the first, but he would not be able to escape the sixth.
The sixth inning Reds rally started with a leadoff walk to Jesse Winker. He’d come around to score after a Jose Peraza bunt single. You could get on Wilmer Flores all you like, but he had no shot on this, and really no one does whenever Peraza lays one down as he is the Major League leader in bunt hits with six.
Joey Votto would follow with an RBI single, and the Mets and Wheeler were teetering. While it was not pretty, Wheeler deserves credit for buckling down and getting the last three outs of that inning without allowing another run.
Unfortunately, that rally tied the score 1-1 because the Mets just blew opportunity after opportunity after opportunity.
After the aforementioned blunder in the first inning, Michael Conforto hit a one out double that Adrian Gonzalez could not score. They stood idly by as Wheeler struck out, and Amed Rosario grounded out to the catcher.
In the third, the Mets did actually score. Brandon Nimmo hit a leadoff triple, and with the team hitting in the correct batting order, Cabrera drove him home with an RBI groundout.
In the fifth, the Mets had runners at first and second with one out only to see Cabrera and Flores come up short. From there, the Mets would little to nothing at the plate, which coupled with some strong work out of the bullpen from Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, both of whom have had recent multiple inning relief appearances, bore down and pitched a scoreless seventh through ninth.
At this point, it is important to note the Mets had called up Corey Oswalt to help out with an overworked bullpen. They did this despite his being on three days rest yesterday. As a result, the Mets called up a guy they would be hesitant to use making calling him up in the first place a complete waste of transaction.
As a result, in the tenth inning, Callaway went with AJ Ramos for his second straight game and third time in four days. Callaway went with Ramos instead of going with Jeurys Familia, who was presumably being saved for a save situation. This is a far departure from Callaway’s overtures early in the season when he said he was going to use his best reliever in the highest leverage situations.
Well, that save situation Callaway was waiting for never materialized as Adam Duvall hit a walk off homer off Ramos.
As a result, the Mets dropped to 18-17 after losing a series to the worst team in the National League. This is a far cry from the who went 12-2 and were world beaters. Now, they are just getting beaten up by the world.
Game Notes: Luis Guillorme was called-up from Tripe-A, and Tomas Nido was sent down. Guillorme would not appear in the game. Devin Mesoraco started his first game for the Mets, and he was 0-4 with two strikeouts.
After a horrid offensive homestand, Mets fans were left with the hope coming to hitter’s parks like The Great American Ballpark and Citizen’s Bank Park would help wake up this Mets offense. Well, on the second pitch of the game from Homer Bailey to Michael Conforto, it seems like our hope was well placed:
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 7, 2018
The combination of the Reds pitching and Citizen’s Bank Park really did wake up this Mets offense. Things were going so well offensively that not only did the Mets score in each of the first five innings, but Adrian Gonzalez would hit two home runs.
Jay Bruce would also homer to ensure that all the pure left-handed hitters would have a homer run on the day.
But it was more than Conforto and Gonzalez who woke up. Amed Rosario was 2-3 with an RBI and a sac fly. With the exception of Asdrubal Cabrera and Todd Frazier, the two who happened to be their most consistent hitters all year, each Met in the starting lineup had at least one hit.
Take out Jose Lobaton and all the starters had multi-hit games.
In the beginning, this seemed as if it was going to be more than enough run support for P.J. Conlon and the entire Mets pitching staff. The Irish born lefty making his MLB debut got off to a great start keeping the Reds scoreless through two and to just one run through three.
With two outs in the fourth, and the Reds gaining some momentum, with three doubles in the inning coming from Eugenio Suarez, Scooter Gennett, and Tucker Barnhart, Mickey Callaway went to Paul Sewald to nip the rally in the bud.
Sewald did just that, but he would run into trouble in the sixth yielding a home run to Suarez, and then leaving runners at the corners with one out. Robert Gsellman came on, and he allowed just a sacrifice fly to make it 7-5.
Like Sewald, Gsellman was in to pitch multiple innings, and he would even hit for himself striking out. When Gennett homered to make it 7-6, you were left questioning the decision.
You were also left questioning some of the Mets base running.
In the sixth, the first inning the Mets did not score, the Reds caught Rosario in a run down off third base on a Yoenis Cespedes ground ball. He was eventually tagged out, and the run did not score.
Fortuantely for the Mets, it did not matter as Jeurys Familia came on and recorded the save giving the Mets their first win in over a week.
In September 2015, Scott Boras tried to intervene and limit Matt Harvey‘s innings in what could be perceived as an attempt to save the pitcher not just from the Mets, but also from himself. There would be a modified schedule and some skipped starts, but Harvey eventually took the shackles off because he wanted the ball.
Harvey always wanted the ball.
He wanted the ball in the NL East clincher against the Reds. Instead of the five innings he was supposed to pitch, he pitched into the seventh because, well, he wanted to get ready for the postseason, and the Mets were lucky he did.
Harvey won a pivotal Game 3 of the NLDS. With that series going five games, it was Harvey who got the ball in Game 1 of the NLCS. In front of a raucous Citi Field crowd, Harvey set the tone for that series. As he stepped off the mound with two outs in the eighth, he wasn’t tipping his cap. No, he was pumped up like all of Citi Field was because he knew what we all knew . . . this team was going to the World Series.
When telling the story of Matt Harvey, we will forever go back to Game 5. With the Mets team trying to rally back from a 3-1 series deficit, Harvey wanted the ball for the ninth. Terry Collins initially wanted Jeurys Familia, but he relented, and he gave Harvey the ball.
You’d be hard pressed to find a time in Citi Field history louder than when Harvey took the mound in that ninth. A blown lead and Game 5 loss later, you’d never find Citi Field more despondent.
Now, looking back, that Game 5 was the microcosm of Harvey’s Mets career.
He came in, and he gave us all hope the impossible could happen. He brought us all along for the ride. There was no one we wanted out there more than Harvey. And yet at the very end, despite all the hope and brilliance he brought, we were all left in disbelief, and yes, some in tears, over the how and why Harvey was still out there.
Mainly, Harvey was there because despite no matter what anyone said, Harvey wanted to be there, and he was not going to let anyone stop him.
And you know what? Back in 2013, no one could stop him.
In 26 starts, Harvey was 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA, 0.931 WHIP, and a 9.6 K/9. His 2.01 FIP that year would not only lead the Majors, but it would be one of the 10 best over the past 100 years. His WHIP still remains a single season Mets record. It may have seemed premature to put him in the conversation with Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden, but really, it made sense. Harvey was just that good.
He was the reason to watch a terrible Mets team, and on May 7th, he may have pitched the game of his life. If not for an Alex Rios infield single Ruben Tejada could not turn into an out, Harvey likely pitches a perfect game. Instead, he had to settle for a no decision despite allowing just one hit and 12 strikeouts in nine innings. Just file that away next time someone points out his win-loss record.
That game was the signature Harvey moment. He took the mound with a bloody nose. He was reaching near triple digits with this fastball. He was becoming a superstar. He was making Citi Field his playground.
When we look through the history of Citi Field one day, it will be Harvey who emerged as it’s first superstar. He was the one who brought the crowds. He started the first All Star Game at Citi Field. Arguably, he pitched the two best games ever pitched by a Met at that ballpark.
It would be that 2013 season Harvey broke. He tore his UCL, and he needed Tommy John surgery. Mets fans everywhere who were once so hopeful were crushed. There were many low moments in Mets history since the team moved to Citi Field, but that one is among the lowest.
But when he came back in 2015, hope returned. He may not have been 2013 great, but he was great. For all the criticism over his innings limits, he would throw more innings than any pitcher in baseball history in their first season back from Tommy John.
Looking back at that 2015 season, Harvey gave the Mets and their fans everything he had. He pitched great in the regular season, and he was even better in the postseason. Just like in 2013, he was trying to will the Mets back to prominence. He was taking an organization on his back and trying to win a World Series.
It broke him in 2013, and apparently, it broke him again in 2015.
Really, when he stepped off that mound in Game 5 of the World Series, Harvey was done as we knew him. In 2016, he’d be diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome requiring season ending surgery. Last year, Harvey was rushed back to the rotation before he was physically ready, and he suffered a stress reaction. This year, he was healthy, but lost.
Looking back, no one will ever know if Harvey listened to Boras if he’d still be The Dark Knight instead of a guy now looking for a job.
The real shame is how Harvey went out. The same guy who heard the loudest ovations from the fans, the same one who heard Mets fans serenade Stephen Strasburg with “Harvey’s Better!” chants, was booed off the mound the last time he ever pitched on what had once been his mound.
There are some who will find behavioral excuses why Harvey faulted, and maybe they do exist. However, you’d be hard pressed to find a pitcher who was at the top of his game in November only to completely lose it by the next April. Most pitchers get a transition period to figure things out. Harvey’s cruel fate was he had more injuries followed by his getting about a month and a half before being given an ultimatum.
In what once seemed impossible, Harvey was designated for assignment. Sure, Mets fans always expected him to leave one day, but we all thought it would be Harvey who spurned the cheap Wilpon family, not the Wilpons kicking him out the door despite the team still owing him around $4 million.
Much has been made of the Mets crop of starting pitchers, the group who brought them to the 2015 World Series. Make no mistake, Harvey was the best out of the group. Better than Jacob deGrom. Better than Noah Syndergaard.
Really, he was better than anyone not named Seaver or Gooden, and if things had broken right, Harvey could have been a Hall of Famer. He was that good when he was healthy, but he wasn’t healthy making him this generation’s version of Paul Wilson, Jason Isringhausen, or Jon Matlack.
Harvey being designated for assignment wasn’t a shock. With every struggle on the mound, and yes, some personal issues that emerged, he was getting closer and closer to this point. It doesn’t mean this doesn’t hurt the Mets fan, the ones who got to experience in the joy of seeing the real Harvey pitch, any less.
There will come a day down the line where all will be forgiven, and we can all just look back and appreciate all Harvey did for the Mets. We can take a step back and marvel how he potentially sacrificed his entire career to win that one World Series. Really, he has never been thanked or appreciated enough for that.
Now, he is looking for a new team and a new fan base. Hopefully, Harvey rediscovers some of that magic he once had, and hopefully, he gets those cheers again. He’s certainly earned them.
And when he does return to Citi Field, whether it be this year or the next, let’s hope he gets that true standing ovation he deserved, the one he might’ve received on Thursday had we all known it was going to be his last game in a Mets uniform.
No matter what happens, Mets fans everywhere should wish him the best of luck. There was a time we showered him with all the love we had, and he returned the favor by giving us everything he had. Everything. Here’s hoping he gets everything he is looking for in his next stop.
I know no matter what he does, I’m rooting of him. More than that I appreciate Harvey for all he did as a Met. Really, best of luck to you, Matt Harvey.
With the Mets having lost three straight series, the last thing they needed was a West Coast trip. They needed to play in Petco Park even less. It’s not just that it’s a suddenly woeful Mets offense was going to one of, if not the, most extreme pitcher’s park in the league. No, it was the Mets all-time record at Petco Park entering this game was 18-32.
Fortunately for the Mets, they had their best weapon out there tonight – Jacob deGrom.
Once again, deGrom was brilliant. His final line on the night was 7.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, and 8 K.
This is the third straight game he would strike out at least eight, and he now has the longest stretch in the National League of pitching at least 5.1 innings. Basically, deGrom is pitching about as well as anyone, and really, he’s been better than almost everyone.
Given how he’s pitched of late, the offense, and his luck, the questions were whether he was going to get run support and whether the bullpen could hold things down.
In Jacob deGrom's last two starts he's left the game in line for the win only to have the bullpen surrender the lead .According to Elias, since 2014, deGrom has 20 such "blown wins", the most in the majors.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayerMMO) April 27, 2018
Well, deGrom would get his run support before he even stepped foot on the mound. After Doug Eddings, who had a wildly inconsistent strike zone all game long, ruled a 3-1 pitch was a strike and not a ball, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a lead-off double off Clayton Richard. After moving to third on a Yoenis Cespedes fly out to deep right, Cabrera scored on a two out Todd Frazier RBI single.
The score stayed that way until the seventh because the Mets could not get anything going against Richard, Michael Conforto made a couple of nice plays in the field, and the Padres were afraid to challenge Yoenis Cespedes‘ arm.
At that point, it was time for Cabrera to once again leave his mark not just on the game but on the early part of the season.
Juan Lagares led off the inning with an infield single just beating Carlos Asuaje throw. Jose Lobaton, who easily had his best game as a Met, singled to set up runners at the corners with no outs. With Richard faltering, it seemed like this is where the Mets would blow the game open. It almost . . . ALMOST didn’t happen.
First, there was the Lagares base running mistake. Instead of following Christian Villanueva down the line on the deGrom sacrifice bunt/safety squeeze, he immediately dashed back to third. If he followed Villanueva down the line, it’s quite possible he scores. Instead he stayed, and when Amed Rosario hit a sharp grounder to Asuaje, the Mets had runners at second and third with no runs and two outs.
With the Padres going into a strong bullpen, it seemed as if they were going to get out of the jam. That perception was absolutely wrong as Cabrera hit a Craig Stammen mistake for a three run homer to effectively end the game.
In the eighth, the Mets would expand their lead with a two out rally. After recording two quick outs, Kazuhisa Makita hit Lagares with a 1-2 pitch, and Lagares would score on the ensuing Lobaton RBI double.
Again, Lobaton easily had his best game as a Met. He caught deGrom, who had a great game. He threw out Franchy Cordero, who was the only Padre to attempt a stolen base. On the play, it was a perfect throw and a perfect tag by Cabrera. Finally, and perhaps most surprisingly, Lobaton was 2-4 with a run, a double, and an RBI.
With the 5-0 lead, the only remaining question was whether the bullpen could hold onto the lead or whether there would be another meltdown.
When deGrom parted with one out in the eighth, there was a runner on, and Jerry Blevins came on to face Eric Hosmer. Conforto needed every bit of that deep right field to corral the long fly Hosmer would send. Mickey Callaway then went to AJ Ramos who got Villanueva to fly out.
Then, Callaway went with Matt Harvey in the ninth to close the door. As bad as things have been for Harvey since 2015, no one could have imagined this outing.
No, he didn’t blow the lead, although he did make everyone nervous with Cordero greeting him with a homer, and Harvey walking Jose Pirela. Given Harvey’s recent history and the recent bullpen meltdowns, this was an ominous sign, and Jeurys Familia was rapidly trying to get loose in the bullpen.
Fortunately for the Mets, Harvey, whose velocity dipped all the way down to 90, yes 90 MPH, got a fly out and a game ending double play.
Yes, there was plenty of reason to be excited for this 5-1 win, but seeing Harvey pitch this way certainly did put a bit of a damper on things. Hopefully, both Harvey and the Mets can figure something out at this point because this has become sad and painful to watch.
GAME NOTES: Before the game the Mets recalled Jacob Rhame and sent Corey Oswalt back down. The Mets moved David Wright to the 60 day disabled list to make room for LHP Buddy Baumann, who the team claimed off waivers from the Padres. Bauman was sent down to Triple-A Vegas. Despite his good numbers against Richard, Callaway sat Adrian Gonzalez in favor of Wilmer Flores
The story of this game should have been Noah Syndergaard returning to form. Like on Opening Day, he was mowing down the Cardinals, but this time, he was much more efficient in doing so. Through six, he kept the Cardinals scoreless striking out six and allowing just two hits, and it looked like the Mets were going to cruise to a 2-0 victory at that point.
Both RBI came from Yoenis Cespedes, who snapped out of his funk going 2-5 with a double and two RBI. The first RBI was a first inning off Carlos Martinez scoring Brandon Nimmo from first. In the seventh, in what looked like window dressing at the plate, he plated Amed Rosario with a sacrifice fly.
However, as we have learned with Cespedes, sometimes he will giveth and sometimes he will taketh.
That was evident with Tommy Pham “doubled” on a ball that hit off of Cespedes’ glove. Pham would then come home to score on a Marcell Ozuna single to cut the lead to 2-1. With the way Paul DeJong kills the Mets, really it was a miracle he didn’t tie the score on his double.
Ultimately, it didn’t matter as the Mets gave up the lead in the eighth with some more poor defense.
What was interesting was Mickey Callaway let Syndergaard start the eighth while holding back Robert Gsellman. Really, you wonder why not just go to the fresh arm after an inning in which Syndergaard faced some trouble. Really, this is a bit nitpicky because this is Syndergaard we are talking about here.
In any event, Rosario threw a ball away on a Greg Garcia grounder starting off the inning with a runner on first instead of one out and the pitcher’s spot coming up. Syndergaard struck out Yadier Molina before allowing a single to Matt Carpenter leading to his getting pulled from the game.
Gsellman was in a tough spot, and he didn’t deliver immediately. The first batter he faced, Pham, singled to tie the score. To his credit, with the go-ahead run in scoring position and just one out, Gsellman got Jose Martinez to ground into the inning ending 6-4-3 double play.
After a rusty Seth Lugo battled through a hit batter and walk to get through a scoreless ninth, the Mets would get an absolute gift run in the 10th.
After two quick outs, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back singles putting the game into Adrian Gonzalez‘s hands. Somehow, not only would Luke Gregerson walk Gonzalez, but he would also walk Jose Lobaton to force in a run. With Jeurys Familia coming into the game, it seemed like the Mets would win a series after losing two straight.
After two quick outs, Pham hit a ball up the middle most second baseman make fairly routinely. The problem is Asdrubal Cabrera, even at full strength, doesn’t have much range. With his current leg injury, he has almost no range. Cabrera did all he could do, but he really had no shot at Pham.
Oddly enough, Juan Lagares wouldn’t have a shot at the subsequent Martinez double. Oddly enough, Callaway went against his recent trends, and he put in Lagares for defense. Martinez’s ball to deep center was a play almost no center fielder makes, but we have all become so spoiled by Lagares, he almost makes the impossible seem routine. He ran back to dead center, leaped, and missed. Instead of another highlight reel defensive play, it was a game tying double.
AJ Ramos pitched a perfect 11th, and Paul Sewald pitched a perfect 12th. Unfortunately, the hottest pitcher in the Mets bullpen couldn’t keep the Cardinals off the board. A Martinez walk followed by consecutive singles to Ozuna and Dexter Fowler was the ballgame.
With that, the Mets have lost three straight series, and the vibes from their amazing start have faded. They have faded because the bottom of the lineup is black hole, but mostly, it is because this defense is bad and plays bad.
Game Notes: With the Mets out of position players, Sewald hit for himself in the top of the 13th. Jose Reyes grounded out in the 10th to end that rally.
Through seven innings, the batters in this game might as well have gone up to the plate blindfolded and holding onto a broken tennis racket. That was how good their chances were scoring a run against either Jacob deGrom or Julio Teheran, both of whom dominate the other team and allowed just four hits apiece tonight. Really, their final lines were practically identical:
deGrom (ND) 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K
Teheran (ND) 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, BB, 6 K
It wasn’t until the bullpens got involved that these offenses would wake up, and with the Mets being the away team, they were the ones who went off first.
Wilmer Flores drew a leadoff walk against Braves reliever Sam Freeman, and he moved to second on a Jose Reyes single. For Reyes, despite him entering this game 0-20, he had a resurgent game reaching in his first three plate attempts going 3-4 with a run and a stolen base.
The pivotal moment of the inning, and at that time, the game was when Ozzie Albies just botched catching the throw in his haste to turn a double play on a Michael Conforto grounder. While Reyes was initially ruled out, Mickey Callaway challenged the call, and Reyes was ruled safe.
As an aside, it was the second successful challenge for the Mets on the day. The other was just as important on what was initially ruled an Ender Inciarte stolen base of third with no outs in the sixth:
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) April 22, 2018
Todd Frazier‘s holding on the tag kept the game scoreless, and it helped allow this game remain scoreless into the eighth.
With the bases loaded and no outs, this was the spot where you assumed Yoenis Cespedes would come through. Even with his recent struggles, and his batting .195 on the season, he’s still gotten the clutch hits, and he is still hitting with the bases loaded. Except for tonight. He hit a shallow fly to Nick Markakis, and with Flores on third, there was no way he was going to tag up and score on that. With Cespedes’ failure to deliver, it put the rally in jeopardy.
Eventually, Adrian Gonzalez was intentionally walked, and Jose Lobaton hit a sinking line drive which Preston Tucker almost misplayed. Instead he made a sliding catch getting the Braves out of the inning down 3-0.
With his performance yesterday, you thought this would be enough for AJ Ramos to lock down. Unfortunately, we didn’t see that Ramos tonight.
No, we saw the Ramos who has troubles maintaining the strike zone. He’d bookend an Inciarte strikeout with walks to Ryan Flaherty and Albies. With Mets killer Freddie Freeman coming up, Callaway understandably went to his lone lefty Jerry Blevins.
Much like how he performed on the season, Blevins failed to get the exact guy he was brought into the game to get. Freeman hit a two RBI double to pull the Braves within one.
Blevins would strike out Markakis, but the damage was done. It was done not just because the Braves plated two runs, but because Blevins failure to get both left-handed batters, but also Ramos’ ineffectiveness, Jeurys Familia needed to come into the game to get the last out of the eighth.
Going multiple innings like this was something that was once old hat for Familia, and with him doing it already two times this season, the hope was he could do it tonight. He didn’t.
The Mets got a bit of a break with Kurt Suzuki lining a ball off of Frazier’s glove. Suzuki reached first safely, but Camargo wouldn’t score on the play. It seemed things were turning back towards the Mets direction as Charlie Culberson struck out, which at least created the possibility the Mets could get out of the inning with double play. That didn’t happen because, as Gary Cohen predicted may happen, Inciarte dropped down the drag bunt:
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 22, 2018
With that bunt, the Mets lost the game 4-3. More than that, the Mets blew a great start from deGrom. More than anything, this is the second time this week, the Mets bullpen has lost a game against a division rival. It is still too early to begin worrying about these sorts of things, but it is never to be soon to be aware of what issues it could raise for the Mets down the road.
With the Mets blowout loss on a really bad Matt Harvey start, it looked like a team who lost three of their past four games needed to gain some momentum. Fortunately for the Mets, in baseball, momentum in the next day’s starting pitcher, and the Mets were sending Noah Syndergaard to the mound.
Unfortunately for the Mets, the rest of the team was not quite up to the task when he was on the mound.
Yes, Syndergaard was beat by Ozzie Albies on a fastball, but that was Albies hitting a good pitch. The other runs against Syndergaard was really on the Mets.
In the sixth, Nick Markakis made the mistake of challenging Yoenis Cespedes‘ arm trying to stretch and single into a double. As poor as the decision was to challenge Cespedes’ arm, it was a smart decision to test Asdrubal Cabrera‘s glove. With Cabrera unable to field the one hop throw, Markakis was safe at second.
The shame of it was Syndergaard was very good on the night. His final line was 6.0 innings, seven hits, three runs, three earned, no walks, and six strikeouts. He would get the no decision, partially because Wilmer Flores couldn’t quite score in the top half of the inning:
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) April 21, 2018
Still, the Mets did score three runs against Braves starter Sean Newcomb.
The Mets scored their first run in the third inning on an Amed Rosario double to deep center allowing Nido to score from first. With Ender Inciarte making a throwing error on the play, Rosario was able to scoot over to third. This allowed him to score on a Michael Conforto sacrifice fly, which, at the time, gave the Mets a 2-1 lead.
The Mets lead grew to 3-1 the following inning. Todd Frazier drew a walk to lead off the inning, and he stole second putting him in scoring position to score on a Flores RBI single.
After the sixth, the Mets would begin to play much better in the field, including Nido, who threw out both Flaherty on a strike ’em out-throw ’em out double play in the seventh. He would then nail Albies in the eighth. These would be the first two players thrown out on the basepaths by Mets catchers.
As impressive as that was, the Mets bullpen was even better allowing just one hit after Syndergaard departed the game. Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth. AJ Ramos threw a scoreless ninth. Robert Gsellman contributed a scoreless 10th and 11th.
Gsellman would reach with Ravin hitting him with a pitch, and Gsellman quickly found himself on second on a successful Rosario sacrifice bunt. For a moment, it appeared the Mets were going to squander an opportunity with Conforto popping out, and the .197 hitting Cespedes, who had already had the golden sombrero on the night, coming to the plate.
However, like Cespedes has done many times this season, despite his struggles, he came through hitting an opposite field single against the shift scoring Gsellman from second and giving the Mets a 4-3 lead. That lead expanded to 5-3 when Cabrera hit a double off the right field wall.
Then for the second time in a week, Cabrera made a really bad base running mistake. On the way to third on what should have been a stand up triple, he did one of his slides to stop himself, and he went back to second. He was beaten back to the base by Swanson leading to the third out of the inning.
The good news is that play needed a replay review giving Jeurys Familia more time to warm up and get into the game. Between that and the two run lead, the Mets had all they needed to lock up this 5-3 win.
Once again, the Mets are back to their winning ways, are still in first place, and are sending another ace to the mound in tomorrow’s game. Once again, things are looking up for the Mets.
Game Notes: With a bloop opposite field double in the sixth, Bruce snapped an 0-19 skid. He then went hitless in his next two at-bats.