Jeurys Familia

Mets Sweep Phillies & Collins Poor Managing Away

The hallmark of a good team is to beat the teams they are supposed to beat. The Mets have now taken that to the extreme with their 12-1 record so far this year against the Phillies. The Mets had to overcome a lot tonight, including their manager. 

It didn’t start well for the Mets. Jon Niese was getting squeezed and frustrated. Then in the third inning he imploded. He allowed five runs putting the Mets in an early hole. Before the All Star Break, you couldn’t have counted have counted on the Mets scoring five runs in a week, let alone one game. 

However, the Mets now have a more completed. It showed as they overcame the five run deficit. In a month where the Mets have hit more homeruns in any other month in their history, the Mets used the long ball to get back in the game. In the fourth, Travis d’Arnaud hit a two run homer. In the fifth, Yoenis Cespedes showed off his “Feats of Strength” with a two run homer. Finally, Kelly Johnson tied the game with a solo homerun in the fifth. It should be noted none of these three players were on the 25 man roster during the extreme offensive struggles in July. 

Both Niese and Aaron Harang would go six making it a battle of the bullpens. It was nice seeing Logan Verrett in the bullpen. However, I didn’t like how he was wasted. Terry Collins should’ve made a double switch with Verrett due up second. It made sense because Verrett can go multiple innings, especially with a short bullpen. 

Instead, Verrett only went one inning. This set up an inning where the Phillies got a chance to get a measure of revenge against Hansel Robles. They failed. Jeff Francoeur was robbed of an extra base hit on a diving stop by David Wright, who was good in the field today. Darin Ruf struck out again. Otherwise, Robles navigated around a one out double to get out of the inning.

Then in the ninth, Terry Collins went with Sean Gilmartin over Jeurys Familia. If Collins felt it was the right move because he needed a reliever to throw multiple innings, then he should’ve double switched when Verrett was in the game. Forget that: he should’ve double switched when Gilmartin came in the game because he was due up third in the tenth. If he was waiting for the save situation, it’s no excuse. You don’t risk losing a game without bringing in your best reliever. 

I think the answer might’ve been Collins wanted multiple innings from Gilmartin because HE LET GILMARTIN HIT FOR HIMSELF!  That’s inexcusable. The double switch is National League Managing 101. 

Just when I thought Collins was done making bad decisions, he takes out Gilmartin, and he puts in Carlos Torres. We then saw the greatest 1-3-1 out you’ll ever see:

Torres was brilliant. He pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, and he got the game winning rally started in the 13th. After he reached, Curtis Granderson singled in a tough AB. With one out Daniel Murphy came up in the same situation he did in the 11th. This time instead of hitting into a rally killing double play, he would hit a two RBI double down the left field line. 

Murphy moved to third on the throw, and he scored when Wright reached on an error. Wright would score on a Michael Conforto RBI single. The rally was ended by Ruben Tejada, who, somehow, was the only Met not to get a hit in this series played in this bandbox. Familia came in to close out the game with the final score of 9-5. Its funny seeing Torres bat for himself in the 13th, but not pitch in the inning. It’s a good thing Collins saved him for the save situation that never arose. 

It was a good win even if it was poorly managed. Again, Collins is making me nervous. I’ll enjoy the win even if I didn’t enjoy Collins’ very suspect managing. 

Is Logan Verrett Getting Another Start?

The strength of the Mets team this year has been their rotation. Even when they weren’t scoring runs, the rotation was able to keep it together for long enough to permit Sandy Alderson to make some moves to improve the offense. 

With the Mets actually having a major league offense, they now seem intent to tempt fate and continue to mess with the rotation.  They got away with it with Logan Verrett having a great game against the Rockies. Reading the tea leaves, Verrett may get another start. 

Verrett did not make an appearance in last night’s game even though they needed him. Instead, we saw Eric O’FlahertyCarlos Torres, and four outs from Tyler Clippard. Now, it appears Clippard will be unavailable tonight. If Verrett was truly available, he should’ve pitched in the eighth or ninth last night. This makes you question why he didn’t make an appearance. Was it because the Mets are giving him another start?

Another cause for suspicion is the Mets handling of the Steven Matz rehab. Initially, the Mets said they wanted to call him up on September 1st and move to a six man rotation. However, the Mets say Matz will need another rehab start before being called back up. That next start would be August 30th. This means he will first be ready to start Friday, September 4th in Miami. That leaves room for one Verrett start. 

In between that time, there’s another opportunity for Verrett to start. His next time up would be tonight. If Verrett comes out of the bullpen tonight, we’ll know he’s out of the rotation. If he doesn’t, barring a Jon Niese complete game, we can reasonably assume, he’s getting another start. 

The Mets may believe Verrett earned another start with his he pitched in Colorado. I think that’s faulty logic. While he pitched well, I think you only start him if you believe he’s one of your five or six best pitchers. I don’t think the Mets believe that. If that’s the case, put him in the bullpen so you don’t burn out your actual good arms like Clippard and Jeurys Familia before the playoffs. 

I think the bullpen is the greater need right now, and I don’t think there is a real innings limit problem. Get Verrett in the bullpen now. 

NOTE: while this is something I drafted after last night’s Mets game, it should be noted this is being published after Ryan Burdette’s excellent tweet. Since I saw this tweet, I felt the need to make this notation before publishing this post. 

Thor Forgets His Hammer

Everyone can talk about the home-road splits with Noah Syndergaard. However, if you think of yourself as a future ace, you don’t have games like Thor had tonight. 

He was handed a 3-0 lead by another “Feat of Strength” by Yoenis Cespedes and Thor’s own RBI single. He gave it back and couldn’t make it past the fifth inning. This was important because the Mets have a really short bullpen. Normally, you’d ask your starter to get some extra innings with a short bullpen. The smarts couldn’t do that because of the phantom innings limit issue. 

What we have instead was another day with a Mets reliever going multiple innings.  Today, it was Hansel Robles‘ turn (more on him later).  He pitched well only allowing one of the inherited runners from Eric O’Flaherty to score. I’m assuming the Mets will not have him and Sean Gilmartin available. Plus Logan Verrett will only be available for one inning. This is not the situation you want to be in with Bartolo Colon on the mound tomorrow, reagardless of his health

Thor was bailed out in the top of the sixth when Travis d’Arnaud, who was inexplicably batting eighth, received an RBI from a bases loaded walk to tie the game. Michael Cuddyer then pinch hit for Thor and hit a two run single to put the Mets up 6-4. This is the latest example showing Cuddyer may still have something to contribute

Tyler Clippard had a rough eighth inning. He left 1st and 2nd with two outs for Jeurys Familia, who came on for the four out save. He induced a groundballs to David Wright to get out of the jam unscathed. He then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the 6-5 win. Now with Familia going four outs for a save, we now have to question his availability for tomorrow. 
Back to Robles. What he did was bush league. It was bush league not because he quick pitched. It was bush league because Cody Asche‘s head was down when he threw the ball. The Phillies dugout was rightfully upset. Normally, I’d argue that Jeff Francoeur should’ve been ejected, but he was protecting his teammate. The dugouts emptied, but neither team really crossed the lines. 

My overall issue is with the home plate umpire. You either instruct the batter to get in the box or have your hands up the whole time to let Robles know he can’t throw a pitch. The umpire needs to be aware Robles likes to quick pitch, and he needs to umpire the game accordingly. 

It should also be noted that Wright’s second game back wasn’t as successful as his first. He didn’t look as good at the plate. He swung at a lot of balls off the plate and out of the strike zone. Overall, he went 0-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. On the bright side, he was better in the field. Regardless, like last night, this was just one game, and I still have faith in him

Ironically, despite the predicament Thor left the Mets in, he notched his first career road win. The Mets have problems to deal with tomorrow with an even shorter bullpen and no Wright tomorrow. At least they took care of business tonight and still lead the divisio by 5.5 games. Let’s enjoy tonight and worry about tomorrow. 

This Isn’t Baseball

Keith Hernandez was right when he asked how you can sell this. I love that he lost his patience with this game. He voiced that quite well tonight. High scoring games can be fun. When it is in Coors Field, it feels tedious. It feels like a gimmic. 

It’s why I can’t pass judgment on Jon Niese for allowing 11 hits and seven earned in 5.1 innings. I don’t care that he had an 11-3 lead. It’s like calling someone terrible at golf because they can’t get the ball past the windmill on the mini golf course. It’s a gimmic version of golf, which does not truly measure someone’s true golf skills. That’s what it’s like pitching in Coors Field. 

It’s also why I didn’t get all excited over the top of the third which I’m not entirely sure ever ended. Sure, at the end of the inning, the Mets scored  eight runs to go up 11-3. It’s also true the final score was 14-9. Another reason I wasn’t excited over the inning was all the tired Oprah jokes on Twitter:

  

I thought with the Dark Knight there would be more creativity. Since these were big hits, I was hoping to see some old Batman references like:  

  
and   

  
and, of course

  
Well, anyway, we all sat through pretty bad baseball and tired, recycled jokes. 

As much as we complain about Terry Collins, Walt Weiss is so much worse. After blowing a game against the Mets for pulling his starter too early, he cost his team a chance to win by leaving his starters in too long the past few nights. I did like that even without a save situation, Collins threw the book away and pitched Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia. This showed an understanding of how these games have gone and the nature of Coors Field. Good work by Collins. 

I got bored with the video game scoring. However, I won’t get bored of is wins. I won’t get bored of a pennant race. Let’s hope for the sweep tomorrow in the last game without David Wright because the only thing worse than watching a game at Coors Field is watching your team lose there. 

Cespedes Backs Up a Damaged Colon

I’ve made it well known that I don’t think Bartolo Colon is a good pitcher anymore. Normally, I’d be apoplectic over his giving up seven earned in 3.2 innings. 

Actually, you know what?  I am apoplectic over it. Look at the photo. They had to ice and rub him just to get him out there. If you were watching it on TV, you saw that bump on his wrist get bigger and bigger. He should’ve been taken out when he was hit on the wrist in the second inning. 

I don’t care if you’re one of the stud muffins or a bad 42 year old pitcher, the team does not have the right to put a player out there and risk significant injury. I’m even more incredulous because the Mets have a short bullpen and want to skip Matt Harvey‘s Sunday start. Also, if the Mets want a six man rotation, I’m certain that included Colon and not Logan Verrett

Also troubling for the Mets, Lucas Duda left the game in the seventh with the game very much in doubt. Hopefully, it has nothing to do with his back

Lucky for the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes unleashed his “Feats of Strength.”  He went 5-6 with a stolen base, double, three homeruns (one grand slam) and seven RBIs. Two homers were to CF and the other went to RF.  it would’ve been 6-6 if not for a terrific running catch by Carlos Gonzalez in the ninth.  Going into the ninth, Cespedes had a chance for the HR Cycle (solo, two run, three run, grand slam). The Murphy SF took care of that. He was also a triple short of the cycle. Car-Go’s catch took care of that. 

The rest you need to know?  the six inning, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto hit solo homeruns off former Met Gonzalez German.  Sean Gilmartin was marginally effective and got the win. Hansel Robles wasn’t good, but he only gave up one run. The Mets added an insurance run in the eighth with a Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] RBI double scoring Cespedes (who else?).  Daniel Murphy would knock in the last run with a ninth inning sacrifice fly. Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia locked down the eighth and ninth to secure the 14-9 win. 

It’s funny with everything going on tonight, the thing that threw me for a loop was seeing Jose Reyes bat second. The only other person not to put Reyes in the leading spot was Jerry Manuel. That’s not good company for Walt Weis. 

Overall, my favorite part of the night was in the top of the sixth. Despite burning a challenge earlier in the game, Walt Weiss came out to challenge a safe call on a Curtis Granderson stolen base attempt. It was a little ironic because the early failed challenge involved Granderson throwing out Nick Hundley at the plate to end the fifth inning. I think the umpires got the call wrong even if it was upheld on replay.

Anyway, Walt Weiss has no challenges left. It doesn’t stop him. The umpires went forward with the replay, which did confirm the call. Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez were livid and rightfully so. There were a few times I thought Keith was going to drop an expletive. In this mess of a game it gave me a chuckle. 

The win gave me a smile. I have a huge grin due to the Nationals loss, and the Mets expanding their lead to five games. 

Fastballs by Jake

Personally, I love how quietly Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey are in this competition amongst themselves to be the ace of this staff. We shouldn’t be surprised the Mets have had two straight shut outs. Last night, Harvey allowed 4 hits and no walks with four strikeouts in eight innings. 

Tonight, deGrom was brilliant behind that brilliant fastball of his. He ended his last inning brilliantly with his 10th strikeout in the seventh. Overall, he allowed two hits with an uncharacteristic four walks. All the more remarkable, he didn’t allow a run with first and third with no out in the fifth (much of that due to poor Rockie base running). 

Offensively, Travis d’Arnaud is red hot going four for last nine. Michael Cuddyer played his second game in a row. He plated Juan Uribe, who had an RBI double of his own. We saw Yoenis Cespedes show a “Feat of Strength.”  Other than that, there was much not going on offensively.   This included a Michael Conforto pop-out in the seventh, when he pinch hit for deGrom. However, on a night with deGrom, three runs (3-0 final score) was all the Mets needed, especially with Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia locking down the win. 

I guess I should also mention Cespedes had quite the armband . . . 

  
. . . that just so happened to match the color of the new Rally Parakeet

  
Whether it’s the black cat in 1969, or the yellow parakeet in 2015, I’ll take all the help we can get. 

Rockies Limit Their Chance to Win

Lucky for the Mets, the Colorado Rockies are more serious about Innings limits than they are. In his second career start, Jon Gray stymied the Mets offense for six innings. The only damage against him was a Travis d’Anaud second inning homerun. 

Now there’s no shame in getting shut down by Gray. He was the third overall pick in 2013. He was rated the 13th best prospect by Baseball Prospectus. He is a prized prospect that left the game after 75 pitches in six innings. 

After Gray was pulled, the Mets offense finally went to work against Justin Miller. d’Anaud got it started with a single. Michael Conforto and Ruben Tejada walked around a Juan Uribe pop out. Curtis Granderson worked the count full and was hit by ex-teammate Boone Logan’s pitch to tie the game. Daniel Murphy then hit a two RBI single just past old friend Jose Reyes to give the Mets a 4-2 lead. 

The Mets seventh not only gave the Mets the lead, but it also gave Jon Niese the win. Niese was good tonight. He only allowed a fourth inning two run opposite field homerun to Carlos Gonzalez, who could hit anything out of the ballpark right now. Niese deserved the win, and the Mets got it for him with that rally. 

Tyler Clippard worked a 1-2-3 eighth. Jeurys Familia followed with a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 31st save. As long as the starters go seven and hand it to these two, there will be a lot less agora this year.
Now no matter what happens tonight in Los Angeles, the Mets will keep their one game lead in the loss column, and I can wake up in my birthday with a first place Mets team. 

Ray of Hope

Now that was special. Even with Jacob deGrom and Tyler Clippard unable to keep the game tied, the Mets found a way. 

First, Juan Uribe ties the game with a homer after this game started to look like the Grady Sizemore Show (homerun and stole a homerun from Wilmer Flores). After deGrom gave up a James Loney homer, Daniel Murphy hits a game tying homerun. Tyler Clippard gave up the lead on an Evan Longoria homerun that just skipped off the top of the right center field wall. 

In the ninth, after Lucas Duda reached in an error and moved over on a wild pitch, Michael Conforto had the biggest hit of his young career (in a terrific AB) with a hustle RBI double to tie the game. He was moved over to third in a Travis d’Arnaud infield single and scored the go-ahead run when Flores served the ball into right [standing ovation]. 

Jeurys Familia closed out the game to secure the 4-3 win. In an odd sequence it took the Mets a few times to record the first out. Uribe was aggressive in fielding balls in front of third, but the umpire correctly called the ball foul each time. 

With Clippard getting the win, when in actuality all he did was put the Mets on the brink of losing, I thought of how my thinking has evolved on wins. As I’ve stated before, I’m generally more open and accepting of Sabermetrics. I do think the pitcher wins are an overrated stat. For example, the horrendous Bartolo Colon is tied for the team lead in wins with Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom.  Luckily, no one on the Mets side had a loss to put in their ledger tonight. 

Some other fun notes:

  1. The sound of the crowd made it sound like a home game;
  2. It was great seeing Dwighg Gooden at the game; and 
  3. Terry Collins shows he’s delirious with some of these lineups 

With the DH, he had his lefty platoon lineup out there which meant Conforto and Kelly Johnson (2B). He had Uribe and his defense at third. However, I don’t understand Flores at SS instead of Ruben Tejada. Collins brought in Juan Lagares for defense in the ninth. He should’ve done the same with Tejada. At least the mistake didn’t cost the Mets the game. 

In other great news, the Rockies beat the Nationals to extend the Mets lead to 2.5 games (two in the loss). Tonight was a great night for baseball and an even better night to be a Mets fan. 

Is Matz the Price for a Postseason Run

Rumor has it the Mets will have Steven Matz rejoin the rotation when he comes off the DL. During the Mets recent run, I began to think the Mets should use Matz out of the bullpen. I never really wrote anything about it because I wasn’t sure it was a good idea with any restrictions that may be placed on him. 

However, two things recently changed my mind:

  1. The Mets bullpen last night was horrible; and
  2. Jerry Blevins is done for the year

It’s no secret the Mets bullpen, outside of Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia, is weak. They had trouble holding an eight run lead last night. Last week, they blew a six run lead to the Padres. They need to sure things up. 

Now, the Mets are down an important piece of Blevins. Admittedly, he’s been gone for most of the year, and he couldn’t be relied upon to return this year. 

I’m also convinced after last night the Mets aren’t that serious about innings limits. How could you?  Not only have we learned that Mets starters have thrown more innings than any other team, but they also let Matt Harvey pitch two extra innings with a huge lead. If they are serious, Dillon Gee could make those starts. 

With all that said, I think the Mets should take a page from the 2008 Rays book and put Matz in the bullpen. In 2008, David Price made one start and four bullpen appearances. He saved Game 7 of the ALCS en route to a World Series appearance. Since that time, Price has been one of the best pitchers in baseball. Sure, he had the stuff, but I’m also sure the early postseason experience helped. 

Also, keep in mind if the Mets make the playoffs, that’s where Matz would go anyway. If that’s the case, why not give him some experience there now instead of throwing him in without any relief appearances in the playoffs.  Put it this way, in a big spot, do you want to see Steven Matz or Hansel Robles?  

So, if the Mets are truly interested in winning this year, Matz needs to go to the bullpen as soon as his DL stint is over. The Mets made win-now decisions with the Yoenis Cespedes trade and the Tyler Clippard trade.  They’re all-in. When you’re all in, you don’t hold back. 

Matz to the bullpen is the only solution. 

Outta Hand

Now, we’ve seen these Mets for the past 50 plus seasons. They face a spot starter, emergency starter, or rookie pitcher, and they struggle at the plate. Tonight, it was Brad Hand. 

Personally, I knew the Mets were in for a tough night when I saw Angel Hernandez on the mound. For the uninitiated, the Mets have a history with him. This is mostly because he’s a bad umpire. 

Luckily, Jon Niese pitched very well. He kept this team in the game while they struggled against the 1-2, 5.12 ERA Hand.  In fact, the Mets didn’t score until Adam Conley came in the game. It took a Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] double and nice slide (good job by Niese directing him where to slide) to tie the game on the Ruben Tejada single. 

For the second time this year, Eric Campbell bailed out Terry Collins for some questionable moves. Collins had Flores bunt with two on and no out in the eighth. Flores popped out [polite applause], and Tejada couldn’t deliver. Campbell then got the go-ahead bloop hit, right over the outstretched hands of Hechavarria, scoring Lucas Duda.  Juan Lagares gave some breathing room with a two run RBI triple. The rally ended with a Curtis Granderson RBI double, which stretched the lead to 5-1. 

Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia had a bumpy eighth and ninth respectively. However, they didn’t give up a run. 

Despite winning this game, Collins’ decision making was very questionable. Look, I know I’ve been the one pounding the drum that Terry Collins has been using the platoon system; however, you cannot use it to sit Michael Conforto. When he was called up, the Mets took on the responsibility of playing him everyday. If he’s not going to play everyday, they should bring up Darrell Ceciliani. 

No matter what the Nationals do tonight (they’re currently tied at three in the eighth), the Mets will remain in sole possession of first place. Just don’t tell Bryce Harper.