The narrative going into the game was Noah Syndergaard‘s golf trip would have a negative impact on his start. It seemed to be the case when Syndergaard allowed a first inning solo homerun to Marcell Ozuna.
Instead of struggling from that point forward, Syndergaard did what he’s done all year. He dominated. Syndergaard pitched seven innings allowing six hits, two earned, and one walk with nine strikeouts. All Syndergaard needed was some run support.
Fortunately for Syndergaard, the Mets provided him with more than one run of support. That was the main difference between this game and Jacob deGrom‘s start on Wednesday. The main reason was Wilmer Flores started at third instead of Ty Kelly. In the fourth, Flores broke a 1-1 tie by getting a two out broken bat bloop RBI single scoring Yoenis Cespedes.
Unfortunately, Syndergaard would relinquish the lead in the sixth. The rally was built upon a Christian Yelich double to shortstop. Yes, shortstop. Asdrubal Cabrera, who hit a fourth inning homerun, dove and got a piece of the ball. It was just enough to slow it down so Yelich could get to second and Martin Prado could go to third. Prado would subsequently score on a Ozuna’s sacrifice fly. The Mets would need Flores to get things started again. He did.
In the seventh, Flores got a rally started by drawing a leadoff walk in the seventh. The Marlins then pulled starter Tom Koehler and brought in the lefty, Mike Dunn, to face James Loney. Loney made the Marlins pay by hitting the first pitch he saw for a homerun. It was Loney’s first homerun for the Mets and his 100th career homerun. The homerun broke a 2-2 tie.
Just for good measure, Flores got another rally started with a leadoff double in the ninth. He moved to third on a long fly ball from Loney to center. He JUST MISSED another homerun. Rene Rivera, on the other hand, didn’t. He hit an absolute bomb to left center giving the Mets a 6-2 lead. It gave the Mets a big enough lead to let them relax after losing two straight games in which they had a lead in what were tight scoring games.
This was a great game for the Mets and Flores in particular. He finished the night 2-3 with two runs, one RBI, one walk, and one double. With David Wright‘s most recent injury, the Mets need Flores to step up and take over third base. He did that tonight. If he continues playing like this the Mets will be able to weather not just this storm, but also anything else that comes their way in 2016.
Game Notes: The struggling Michael Conforto was dropped from third to sixth in the lineup. He was 0-4 with two strikeouts dropping his average to .246.
The Mets walked 13 times . . . THIRTEEN . . . and only scored one run in a 13 inning game they lost 2-1.
The Mets once again trotted out an ugly lineup reminiscent of July 2015. David Wright is still unavailable with the neck injection, so Terry Collins decided to go with Ty Kelly over Wilmer Flores. Yoenis Cespedes was out of the lineup as he informed Terry Collins he needed a day off. It was an ugly lineup reminiscent of a July 2015 lineup. It doesn’t help that Michael Conforto is still struggling. With today’s 0-6 with the golden sombrero, Conforto is now one for his last 21. With that said, the Mets had to win the 2015 way. They needed deGrom to be dominant. He was, but it wasn’t enough.
Jacob deGrom‘s velocity continued to tick up a bit with him getting it back up to the 95 MPH range on occasion. He had a season high 10 strikeouts. He had allowed only three hits and no runs over six, and he was at 92 pitches, and due up to lead off in the seventh inning. Terry Collins let him go back out there.
For the second day in a row, Todd Frazier hit a homerun. He tied the score at 1-1.
That matched the Mets offensive output. James Loney got a second inning rally started by walking. He moved to second on a Juan Lagares sacrifice bunt (really looked more like a bunt for a base hit, but that’s official scoring for you). Rene Rivera then came up and hit a one out RBI single to make the score 1-0. It was the first time Loney reached base and scored a run as a Met.
The Mets tore through their bullpen, including but not limited to, an injury to Hansel Robles. Logan Verrett came in, and he eventually gave up the winning run in the 13th in a rally started by a double hit by Matt Albers, an American League relief pitcher.
It was a bad loss capping off a poor 2-4 home stand. The Mets bench is inexcusably bad even with the injuries. The Mets need to make some moves.
Game Notes: Don Draper took his hatred of the Mets to the next level by sending Roger out there to interfere with Melky Cabrera resulting in interference being called costing Loney a chance at bat. It is the four year anniversary of Johan Santana’s no-hitter.
The Mets entered May 15-7, in second place, and a half game behind the Nationals. The Mets finished May 14-15 and two games behind the Nationals.
The month saw some key injuries and their depth getting exposed. Below are the first month grades for each of the Mets players. Bear in mind, these grades are on a curve. If a bench player gets an A and a position player gets a B, it doesn’t mean the bench player is having a better year. Rather, it means the bench player is performing better in his role.
Travis d’Arnaud (Inc). Due to a rotator cuff injury, d’Arnaud hasn’t played one game this month, and no one knows when he’s going to start a rehab assignment. Given the questions about his durability, this grade could’ve been an F.
Kevin Plawecki (F) Plawecki hit .197/.284/.303 in May. He’s once again established he’s either not ready or incapable of being an everyday catcher in the majors.
Rene Rivera (C). Like Plawecki, Rivera hasn’t hit well. He hit .167/.286/.292 in the month. However, his grade is much higher as he’s been a good veteran presence behind the plate who has worked very well with Noah Syndergaard. Rivera has also neutralized the opponent’s running game.
Lucas Duda (D). Duda only hit .192/.300/.404 in May. We don’t know if these numbers are the result of his lower back stress fracture or not. With that said, you’re judged by your performance on the field, and he wasn’t good.
James Loney (Inc). He played in only one game. It’s too soon to judge.
Neil Walker (C). Walker came crashing back to Earth. In May, he hit .238/.326/.381 while hitting four homeruns. He also missed some games with a shin injury.
David Wright (C). Wright continued to strike out frequently in May. He still hit .215/.346/.462 with five homers. His grade was downgraded because he’s been dishonest about his health. The only thing we care about now is whether the injection in his neck worked.
Asdrubal Cabrera (C-). Like his double play partner, Cabrera’s play was much worse in May. Cabrera hit .268/.308/.406 in May.
Wilmer Flores (D). Flores took a small step forward in May. He hit .250/.300/.357. He also missed some time on the DL exposing the bench.
Eric Campbell (F). Campbell had a decent West Coast Trip, but with that said, he’s been abysmal otherwise with him hitting .167/.281/.241. As a result of his poor play, the Mets designated him for assignment.
Matt Reynolds (D-) It’s a small sample size, but he hit .100 in his eight games. He was so bad, he couldn’t outlast Campbell or Ty Kelly. The only reason this isn’t an F is Reynolds stepped in for an ailing Cabrera one day, and he played decently.
Ty Kelly (F). He was called up due to injuries, and the only reason he stays on the roster is he’s a switch hitter.
Michael Conforto (F). Conforto is struggling for the first time in his career, and as his .167/.242/.349 line will attest, he’s having trouble figuring it out. He eventually will. However, the Mets need him to do it sooner rather than later.
Yoenis Cespedes (A). Cespedes has been everything the Mets could ask for and more. He’s showing that August was him turning a corner and not some hot streak.
Curtis Granderson (C-). Like seemingly every other Mets hitter not named Cespedes, Granderson struggled in May. His grade is higher due to the five homeruns, including the one walk off the other night. He’s also gotten hit lately. Hopefully, he’s turned a corner.
Juan Lagares (A). His bat, even with a low OBP, seems to be getting better. Between that and his Gold Glove defense, he’s going to soon start forcing his way into the lineup more.
Alejandro De Aza (F). Hard to kill a guy who went from platoon to a 5th OF through no fault of his own. With that said, when he does play, he doesn’t hit.
Matt Harvey (D). His nightmare of an April got worse in May. This isn’t an F as his last start was vintage Harvey. It looks like he may be back.
Jacob deGrom (B). Surprisingly, he was winless in May. Also, we may be seeing the effects of his decreased velocity with his ERA going up and his WHIP going down.
Noah Syndergaard (A). He followed a dominant April with a dominant May. He also hit two homeruns. It’s not an A+ because he didn’t actually hit Chase Utley.
Steven Matz (A). Matz has been on a roll all month making him not only the odds on favorite for the Rookie of the Year Award but also making him a serious contender for the All Star team. Even in last night’s blip, he still left the game in position to get a win.
Bartolo Colon (C+). He’s been what he’s always been – good against bad teams and struggles against good teams. There were more good teams on the schedule this month, so we saw him pitch to a higher ERA. Bonus points for his first homerun.
Logan Verrett (F). After a month of bailing the Mets out, it was Verrett who needed to be bailed out with a 6.46 ERA and a 1.761 WHIP.
Jeurys Familia (B). He’s still perfect in save chances, but the last week he was shaky in non-save situations. He blew a four run lead in one game, and he earned the loss after pitching poorly in a tied game.
Addison Reed (A+). As good as he was in April, he was even better in May. He has consistently been the best reliever in the Mets bullpen.
Jim Henderson (B-). While his ERA has ballooned this month, his peripherals show that he’s still pitching pretty well. He is starting to get exposed a bit by pitching too much to lefties and by getting a little more work than he was probably read to take on at this point.
Hansel Robles (B). Robles was actually having a better May than April until the past week happened. He’s gotten touched up the past two games by the long ball. It’s something to keep an eye on going forward.
Jerry Blevins (B). While his ERA has steadily gone done over the course of May, he has been hit a little harder.
Antonio Bastardo (C). Bastardo entered the season without the faith of his manager, Terry Collins, and it appears that he is in the same position. Throughout his career, Bastardo has struggled with giving up walks, and he’s had that issue re-emerge this month.
Rafael Montero (Inc.). Montero didn’t pitch in the majors this month. One thing that is telling is even with Harvey’s struggles, the Mets never seriously considered him to pitch in the rotation or bullpen.
Sean Gilmartin (A). Gilmartin had a brief return to the Mets due to some short outings from their starters. Gilmartin did what he excelled at last year – pitching well no matter what the role the Mets gave him.
Terry Collins (B). It was a tough month for the Mets all around. However, this month the Mets seemed to finally get Harvey right, and Collins made sure to protect David Wright from himself. As usual, Collins had his share of baffling lineup and bullpen decisions. With that said, he still has the Mets in the thick of things.
There is no such thing as a bad time to get called-up to the majors. Everything about the majors is better. The money. The travel. The women have long legs and brains. Mostly, it’s what you’ve worked for your entire life.
You don’t want to blow your shot. It’s why now may not be the best time for Matt Reynolds to get called-up.
In Reynold’s last 10 games, he’s hit .175/.214/.275 with no homers and four RBI. He has struck out 15 times. That means Reynolds has struck out 37.5% of the time over his last 10 games. He’s 0-1 in stolen base attempts. After this slump, Reynolds is now hitting .238/.303/.369. Simply put, Reynolds has not played well enough to earn a promotion.
However, he’s getting the promotion because it’s a numbers game. Wilmer Flores is on the DL, and the Mets need a reserve infielder that can play second, third, and short. Reynolds is the only minor league player on the Mets 40 man roster who can do that. So now with Reynolds playing the worst ball he ever has, he’s getting called up.
This is his shot to impress. Considering who the Mets manager is, he’s going to have to impress if he’s going to have a future with the Mets.
Terry Collins has some shortcomings as a manager. The first is he typically relies heavily upon his veterans. The second is that he’s quick to put players in his doghouse. We’ve seen it this season with Collins potentially dangerous use of Jim Henderson rather than using Rafael Montero.
Montero has been in Collins’ doghouse for being injured last year and not pitching effectively this Spring Training. Collins only used Montero when he absolutely had to use him and no more. Montero didn’t produce in his limited chances, and he moved into Collins’ doghouse.
Right now, Reynolds is scuffling. He’s going to get very limited chances, especially with six of the next nine against the Nationals. When Reynolds does get his shot, it’s going to leave a huge impression with his manager. If he gets a basehit, Collins may be inclined to use him more. If he doesn’t get hits, Collins will bury him on the bench. If and when he’s recalled, Collins will again bury him on the bench.
Whether it’s fair or not, Reynolds’ performance will have a big impact on the rest of his Mets career. With the way he’s been playing lately, this chance could not have come at a worse time.
Yesterday’s 0-3 with a strikeout certainly isn’t going to help his cause.
Editor’s Note: this was first published on metsminors.net
The Mets finished an interesting month that saw them finish 15-7. Over the course of the month, they received contributions from everyone, well almost everyone. They finished in second place only a half game behind the Nationals.
Below are the first month grades for each of the Mets players. Bear in mind, these grades are on a curve. If a bench player gets an A and a position player gets a B, it doesn’t mean the bench player is having a better year. Rather, it means the bench player is performing better in his role.
Travis d’Arnaud (F). Overall, d’Arnaud struggled offensively and defensively. He’s on the DL now with a shoulder injury. It’s the worst possible start to the season he could’ve had.
Kevin Plawecki (C-). Plawecki has only seen limited duty. While he did get a big game winning hit in his second start of the year, he hasn’t done much from that point forward. Furthermore, he’s not making a case he’s fit to take over full time for d’Arnaud whenever he does come back.
Rene Rivera (Inc). He played in only one game.
Lucas Duda (C-). While Duda did have one hit streak, he hasn’t done much in other games. He had a .294 OBP. He’s not seeing the results from his new leg kick. At least he did throw out a runner at home.
Neil Walker (A+). He led the league with nine homers. He’s even hitting lefties. Walker has been far better than anyone could’ve expected.
David Wright (B). Wright went from being a corpse to being the Wright of old to just old. He’s having problems on his throws. With all that said, he’s still getting on base at a decent .354 clip, and he remains the Mets best 3B option.
Asdrubal Cabrera (A). Cabrera has been better than expected. He’s hit like he did in the second half last year. Even if his range is limited, he’s made every play he should’ve made at SS.
Wilmer Flores (D). He was woeful at the plate hitting .107/.194/.214. This grade would’ve been lower except he’s only played in 12 games, and he’s shown himself to be a terrific defensive first baseman.
Eric Campbell (F). He’s seen even less time than Flores, but he’s also done less on those opportunities.
Michael Conforto (A). He’s consistently been the Mets best player. When Terry Collins moved him to the third spot in the lineup, both he and the team took off. Even more amazing is the fact he has the potential to do more.
Yoenis Cespedes (B+). Cespedes had a rough start to the season, but he seems back to the form he was in last year. In the field, he still shows limited range for center while still having that cannon of an arm.
Curtis Granderson (B-). Granderson experienced the same slow start he experienced last year but without the walks. He’s started to turn things around and return to his 2015 form.
Juan Lagares (A). He’s hitting lefties and his incredible defense has returned.
Alejandro De Aza (C) Aside from one incredible game in Cleveland, De Aza hasn’t hit much. However, when you play limited time that one game does carry a lot of weight.
Matt Harvey (D). This was the year he was supposed to completely fulfill his potential as the staff ace. So far, he’s 2-3 with a 4.76 ERA. There may be a million valid excuses for the slow start, but ultimately we’re judged by performance. On the bright side, he’s pitched much better his last two times out.
Jacob deGrom (A). With decreased velocity and troubles at home, the results are still where they are supposed to be.
Noah Syndergaard (A+). He’s throwing harder than anyone in the majors, and in a very short time frame, he’s become the staff ace.
Steven Matz (B). His last three games were spectacular. However, his first start was horrendous, and it really jammed up the bullpen.
Bartolo Colon (B+). He’s back doing Bartolo Colon things out there from great defensive plays to the helmet flying off his head when he swings. He’s poised to eat up innings again while feasting on lesser competition.
Logan Verrett (A+). When deGrom couldn’t pitch, he stepped in and made two great starts. He’s also pitched well out of the bullpen.
Jeurys Familia (B-). He’s perfect in save chances, but he’s been shaky at times. He’s allowing more baserunners than usual. In his last three outings, he does seem to be returning to form.
Addison Reed (A-). Reed has recoded six holds and one save. His WHIP is 0.973 and his K/9 is 11.7. Would’ve been an A except for one blown save in Cleveland and one rough appearance on Saturday.
Jim Henderson (A-). Henderson went from non-roster invitee to locking down the seventh inning. He’s been all the Mets could’ve asked for and more. His WHIP is a little high, and as we saw from Collins, he’s susceptible to overuse.
Hansel Robles (A). Collins has asked him to pitch on seemingly every situation imaginable, and he’s succeeded.
Jerry Blevins (A). He’s really a LOOGY, and he’s limited lefties to a .158/.158/.211 batting line. When he’s been asked to do more, he’s performed admirably.
Antonio Bastardo (A). We’re a month into the season, and he still has no clear cut role. Based upon his usage, it appears Terry Collins views him as the worst reliever in the bullpen. Even with all of that, he has pitched very well. He sports a 2.61 ERA.
Rafael Montero (F). He’s only appeared in two games, but he was dreadful in those two games. He sports a seemingly low 11.57 ERA. It was clear Collins didn’t trust him in the bullpen. Montero the went out and proved Collins right.
Terry Collins (C-). His team struggled to start the year, but he got things on track. He’s managed Wright’s back, and he’s found ways to get his reserves into games to keep them fresh. With that said, his early lineups were ponderous, and things didn’t turn around until he fixed the lineup. Additionally, his use of Henderson was egregious.
It’s only been 20 games, but there’s a lot to talk about with the Mets. There’s Neil Walker turning into Postseason Daniel Murphy. There’s Noah Syndergaard becoming the ace of the staff. Michael Conforto is already batting third, and he’s already become the Mets best hitter.
Also, the bullpen has been dominant. Really dominant.
The Mets bullpen has recorded with nine saves with a 2.54 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 69 appearances. They’ve recorded 78 strikeouts in 63.2 innings pitched. That’s good for a 11.03 K/9. All these numbers are all the more impressive when you consider it includes Rafael Montero‘s 11.57 ERA and 2.571 WHIP. When you back out Montero’s stats, the Mets bullpen would have a 2.20 ERA and an 1.17 WHIP.
Of particular note, Jim Henderson, Hansel Robles, and Addison Reed have been outstanding. They have combined to pitch 29.2 innings with a 1.82 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and a 12.74 K/9. The group of them have created the perfect bridge to Familia.
All the more impressive is that the Mets bullpen has performed this well without Jeurys Familia getting going. He has a 2.45 ERA and a 1.545 WHIP. However, even with his relative struggles, the he’s still a perfect 7/7 in save opportunities. Even better, he seems to have settled down, and he’s starting to pitch better. Over his last two appearances, he hasn’t allowed a baserunner. Once Familia returns to form, and there is no doubt he will, the Mets bullpen will become even more dominant.
That’s bad news for teams that are trying to get into the Mets bullpen after 6-7 innings against one of the Mets aces. Overall, the Mets not only have the best starting pitching staff in the majors, they really have the best pitching in the majors period.
Editor’s Note: this article was also published on metsmerizedonline.com
With the Mets recent winning streak and just overall better play, the only issue was Matt Harvey‘s slow start and his mechanics. Four pitches into the game, Zack Cozart hit a homerun. Ivan DeJesus followed with a single. It looked like Harvey was going to struggle again.
Then the Harvey of old emerged. He struck out the next five batters and retired six straight. His fastball was topping 97 MPH. The Reds would cease making hard contact against him. As impressive as that was, the third inning was all the more impressive.
The bases were loaded with one out after two soft singles and a Neil Walker error. Harvey then struck out Eugenio Suarez, and he got Devin Mesoraco out on a soft liner up the middle. Walker made a nice diving play up the middle there to redeem himself after his earlier error. Walker would then redeem himself in the bottom of the third:
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 28, 2016
Walker’s homerun would put the Mets up 3-1. The other two runs were scored in the first. Alejandro De Aza, starting in place of Curtis Granderson, scored an unearned run when Lucas Duda reached on a two base error. Duda scored on a Walker RBI single.
Harvey ran into trouble again in the fifth. The Reds hit two infield singles leading to a run scored making it a 3-2 game. Harvey then induced Mesoraco to hit into an inning ending double play. At this point, Terry Collins would’ve been justified pulling Harvey there. He was in line for the win. The defense behind him was sloppy all night. Harvey hasn’t been good so far this year in the sixth. Instead, Collins sent him back out there. He might have had to with a somewhat taxed back end of the bullpen.
Harvey rewarded Collins’ faith by getting a 1-2-3 inning. Harvey’s final line was six innings, seven hits, two earned, one walk, and seven strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches. Most importantly, he got the win. Now, Harvey may not be all the way back yet, but he took an important step. It’s definitely a game to build on.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Mets blew it open against the Reds dreadful bullpen. Eric Campbell, pinch hitting for Harvey, drew a walk. De Aza followed with a walk of his own. Michael Conforto then stepped up to the plate. What was strange was in a 3-2 game with two outs in the inning, the Reds didn’t turn to a lefty. They paid for it when Conforto hit opposite field double to left-center. It was Conforto’s ninth double in 18 games played.
Jim Henderson came on for Harvey in the seventh because it was the seventh inning. He had a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. After Collins’ earlier overuse of him, it appears Henderson is settling back in. Hansel Robles pitched the eighth inning (as he should). He too pitched a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. That’s 15 strikeouts in ten innings pitched for Robles this year. Addison Reed, pitching for the fifth time in six games, pitched the ninth and recorded his first save of the year. He also recorded a 1-2-3 inning except he only had one strikeout. Mets pitching had 12 strikeouts in total.
The Mets have now won six in a row and 11 of their last 13. Shockingly, this was the Mets first series win at home this season. Now after the easy stretch is over, the Mets have tomorrow off (because it’s a Thursday in April), and they welcome the Giants for a weekend series.
Game Notes: In 12 of the Mets 20 games, they have struck out 10+ batters. Yoenis Cespedes was given another night off with his leg contusion despite hitting a homerun last night. Granderson was just given the day to rest. De Aza started in right with Juan Lagares in center.
These are the games that can be the difference between winning the division and the Wild Card. These games are the difference between making the postseason and playing golf. There’s no excuse why the Mets are 3-3 through six games against the Phillies. There’s no excuse why the Mets couldn’t hit a terrible Phillies bullpen.
This Mets offense hit 12 home runs in three games. The problem was they didn’t hit one after the fifth, and they struck out 17 times.
The Mets hit back-to-back home runs in three consecutive games. That was the first time it happened in Mets history. Lucas Duda was involved all three times. That’s another way of saying Duda hit a homer in three consecutive games. In essence, the Mets got hot, and their offense is working as intended.
It’s gotten so absurd that the Mets were scoring runs on plays that appeared to be homeruns. The first run came off of what was originally ruled a three run homerun off the bat of Asdrubal Cabrera. Upon review, we had a Todd Zeile situation crossed with a Jeffrey Meier situation. It was changed to a groundrule double scoring one run. The next run would score on a wild pitch from Jeremy Hellickson.
Bartolo Colon would relinquish the 2-0 first inning lead in the second allowing a two run homerun homerun to Freddy Galvis. The Mets fell behind 3-2 when David Lough hit a sac fly in the fourth. You know it was a deep fly because it scored Ryan Howard. Overall, Colon would pitch six innings allowing three earned, one walk, and four strikeouts.
Colon had a chance to get the win because Yoenis Cespedes and Duda hit back-to-back homeruns in the fifth. Colon didn’t get the win because the Mets bullpen blew the lead in the seventh.
Jerry Blevins started the inning, and he allowed a one out double to Lough. Addison Reed then came in and allowed Peter Bourjos to hit the game tying RBI single. After allowing the inherited runner to score, Reed got out of the inning. Antonio Bastardo came on and pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth. Terry Collins tabbed Jim Henderson after Bastardo even though it wasn’t the seventh inning. Henderson was able to navigate around a leadoff single.
Hansel Robles pitched the eleventh, and he would take the hard luck loss. He allowed a leadoff double to Galvis. He would advance to third on a wild pitch. It was a wild pitch, but it should be noted it hit d’Arnaud in the pocket of his mitt before popping out. In any event, Robles appeared like he would get out of it. He survived a suicide squeeze due to a foul tip. He got to two outs. He got Bourjos to pop it up foul. Wright made his way over and he missed it. Wright had to contend with the wall, but he had room, and he missed it. Later in the at bat, Bourjos hit a ball down the line, which Wright fielded. However, Wright doesn’t even throw out someone with Bourjos’ speed even before spinal stenosis.
Plain and simple, the Mets gave this game away. They need to do better against these second division clubs. The Nationals certainly are. The Mets will get their chance this weekend as they travel to Atlanta.
Game Notes: This was the Mets first extra inning game of the year. David Wright might need the day off on Thursday after getting the Golden Sombrero today. It was the first time all year Wright hasn’t reached base. He went 0-6. Travis d’Arnaud seems to have put the early season nightmares behind him going 2-5 with two doubles.
Thank goodness for PIP (picture in picture) technology. Because of that, I was able to watch both the Mets-Phillies game and Game Three between the Rangers and Penguins. By the way, if not for my wife and the Declaration of Independence, I’d propose getting rid of Pennsylvania a together.
In any event, the Mets did all people who were both Mets and Rangers fans a huge favor tonight by blowing out the Phillies and giving Rangers fans something to cheer about.
While the Phillies have terrific young starting pitching, we were reminded of the perils of relying on young pitching. While Vincent Velasquez has pitched incredibly well this season (including a terrific game against the Mets), he struggled against the Mets. The Mets jumped on him right away when Michael Conforto hit a two run homer in the first. It was not a good start for Velasquez who only lasted 4.1 innings allowing five hits, five runs (two earned), no walks, and four strikeouts. With the Phillies bullpen, the game was over once Yoenis Cespedes did this:
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 20, 2016
This was more than enough for Logan Verrett, who once again had a terrific spot start. Verrett would go six innings allowing six hits, no runs, one walk, and four strikeouts. He seemingly had someone on every inning, but he navigated how way through all the trouble.
Overall, it was the type of night you expected from a World Series contender against a team that’s expected to contend for the first pick in the draft. The Mets offense went off hitting six homeruns. Aside from the aforementioned homeruns, the Mets got homeruns from Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, and two from Neil Walker. Walker gave one a ride in the ninth but fell just short of a three homerun game. All told, the Mets would score 11 runs.
Things went so well, there was even a Rafael Montero sighting. Keep in mind, that was only after Terry Collins pitched Jim Henderson of an inning to protect the then 9-0 lead. As always, the seventh inning belongs to Henderson.
Montero wasn’t good. He allowed two hits, one earned, one walk, and two strikeouts. It would’ve been much worse if not for a Gold Glove play by Juan Lagares, who came into the game after the blowout started, robbing Maikel Franco of a homerun:
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 20, 2016
Naturally, Collins gave the ball to Hansel Robles in the ninth to preserve the 11-1 victory rather than letting the long man Montero, who will soon be sent back to Triple-A, finish the game.
Right now, the Mets are beginning to get in a rhythm and are beating up on bad teams. It’s what they did very successfully last year. It’s what they’ll need to do in order to return to the postseason.
Game Notes: The Mets are back over .500 at 7-6. Every Mets starter got a hit, including Verrett, who had his first career hit. Verrett has not allowed a run in 12 innings as a starter. Travis d’Arnaud returned to the lineup after getting hit on the elbow on Saturday. The referees are still calling the Rangers-Penguins one-sided even as Sidney Crosby asks for the Rangers to get a game misconduct for giving him a mean look. Rangers trail the Penguins 2-1 in the series.
* photo from the Mets Twitter account
With the Mets bullpen on fumes from a very short Steven Matz start and Logan Verrett making a spot start in place of an injured Jacob deGrom (our prayers are with him and his family), the Mets recalled Rafael Montero to add a fresh arm to the bullpen mix. The Mets needed an extra arm after the bullpen pitched 7.1 innings on Monday without any contributions from their long man. It was a waste of a move. At this point, it’s clear Montero is in Terry Collins’ doghouse, and Collins won’t use him until he’s burned out all of the other arms on the bullpen.
On Wednesday, Collins controversially pitched Jim Henderson despite him having problems locating his pitches and throwing more pitches he ever had in one game the previous night. Collins then proceeded to use Hansel Robles, who pitched 2.2 innings on Monday. Collins went to four relievers that day to preserve a 2-1 win.
On Friday, the Mets had a four run lead. Collins first turned to Antonio Bastardo to get out of a sixth inning jam. He then have way to Robles for 0.1 of an inning. At that point, the Mets had a four run lead in the eighth inning. Collins turned to Addison Reed to get the last six outs. Reed got five and allowed two runs in the process. Collins decided to let Jeurys Familia pitch for the fourth time in four games. Despite allowing a run, he recorded the save.
At no point in either of these games did Montero so much as warm up.
An argument can be made for not using Montero Wednesday because of how close the game was. The Mets were in the midst of a frustrating losing streak, and Collins wanted his best arms out there to get the win. With that said, there’s no reason why Montero didn’t pitch on Friday. After Bastardo got out of the jam, the Mets had a four run lead. That was the perfect spot for Montero.
Instead, Collins asked both Bastardo and Reed to pitch over an inning. He asked two middle relievers to pitch more than an inning rather than asking the long man in his bullpen to pitch more than an inning. Collins was ready, willing, and able to once again tire out his bullpen rather than putting Montero in a game to preserve a four run lead. At this point, it’s fair to say either Collins doesn’t trust Montero, has him in his doghouse, or both.
It’s strange to think it’s reached this point when Collins has tried to get the most out of Montero.
Last August when things were starting to take off for the Mets, Collins drove to Port St. Lucie to have a conversation with Montero in order to tell him the Mets still needed him. At that time, Montero was dealing with shoulder issues. The Mets insisted there was nothing wrong while Montero felt like it prevented him from pitching. Montero tried to make that comeback, but he would have a setback in a rehab start. His season was over.
In Spring Training, Collins again took time to deliver a special message for Montero. As Tim Rohan of the New York Times reported, Collins told Montero, “Get your act together. We haven’t forgotten about you. We still want you.” Collins gave him the start in the Mets first Spring Training game. Montero allowed the first five guys to reach base. In total, he allowed four runs, four hits, and two walks in one inning of work. Montero would not pitch in another game, and he would be in the first group of Spring Training cuts.
At this point, the Mets need Montero. He’s gotten his act together with some mechanical adjustments in Triple-A. However, it’s too little too late. Collins has either forgotten him or doesn’t want him anymore.