Jose Reyes

Mets Aim Small, Miss Small

Tonight, the Mets seemed more intent on manufacturing runs than putting together big innings. It’s a time when the Mets needed Benjamin Martin as their manager instead of Terry Collins: 

The first Mets run of the game was the result of Juan Lagares hitting a double, starter Logan Verrett bunting him over, and Jose Reyes scoring him on a sacrifice fly. In the following inning, Curtis Granderson hit a double, moved to third on a Neil Walker ground out, and scored on a Travis d’Arnaud sacrifice fly. The Mets tried to repeat the task in the seventh, but it proved to be one time too many. 

With runners on first and second with no outs, Collins ordered Juan Lagares to lay down a sac bunt with runners on first and second with no outs. Lagares’ successful bunt moved d’Arnaud to third. Kelly Johnson hit a shallow fly ball to left which wouldn’t have scored Usain Bolt. Still it’s very curious that Collins would go all-in on pushing in the one run and not use Alejandro De Aza to pinch run for d’Arnaud in that spot. It was inconsistent in what Collins was trying to accomplish. In the blink of an eye, the Mets went from two on with no outs to two on with two outs. 

Cabrera would be robbed of a hit by a sliding Cody Asche. As a result, the Phillies kept the score at 2-2, and Cabrera moved to 0 for his last 25 with RISP. 

Conversely, Phillies manager, Pete Mackanin didn’t seek to play small ball in the bottom of the seventh. The game winning rally started with a Cabrera throwing error allowing the speedy Peter Bourjos to get on base. He moved into scoring position after Jerry Blevins walked Asche. Hansel Robles came in and got one right into Maikel Franco‘s kitchen. Franco was able to fight it off for an RBI single. 

The Phillies would score another run in the eighth when Erik Goeddel threw a wild pitch allowing Ruiz to score from third. It would increase the Phillies lead to 4-2 ruining a decent start by Verrett and knocking the Mets to seven back of the Nationals. 

One other annoying aspect of the game was seeing yet another team try to re-enact Game Five of the World Series. No matter how slow they are, everyone thinks they can re-create the Eric Hosmer play no matter how slow. Tonight, it was Carlos Ruiz‘s turn:

Ruiz was running as Jerad Eickhoff worked a full count against Logan Verrett. Ruiz kept going as Eickhoff beat out Asdrubal Cabrera‘s throw. couldn’t get the ball to first in time to record the out. However, he wouldn’t score as James Loney alertly threw the ball home and d’Arnaud laid down an absolutely terrific tag. That play kept the game tied at 2-2. As we know, it proved to be all for naught. 

Game Notes: Ryan Howard opened the scoring with a solo home run. Yoenis Cespedes sat out the game with his injured quad. Fittingly, De Aza made the last out of the game. 

Juanderful Start to the Second Half

In the top of the sixth, Neil Walker hit a three run home run to make it 4-0 Mets. With the way Bartolo Colon was cruising, it seemed like the game was effectively over. 

Colon was perfect for the first 4.1 innings. His pitch count was low, and he was moving quickly through the Phillies lineup. He lost the perfect game in the fifth when Cameron Rupp hit a one out single.  Ultimately, it wasn’t the fifth that would be the issue, it was the sixth. 

After Colon was handed the 4-0 lead, the Phillies rallied. It started with a James Loney throwing error making him the only person able to miss the rather large Colon. The run scored on a Peter Bourjos hit RBI triple. After Maikel Franco and Cody Asche RBI singles, it was 4-3, and Colon was chased from the game with two outs in the fifth. 

Hansel Robles was double switched into the game along with Alejandro De Aza because whenever you have an excuse to bring De Aza into the game, you have to do it. Robles came into the game throwing 99 MPH, and he got Freddy Galvis to pop out to get the Mets out of the inning. 
What was once a magical night saw Colon pitch 5.2 innings allowing four hits, three unearned, and two walks with four strikeouts. Colon would still get the win as Robles, Jerry BlevinsAddison Reed, and Jeurys Familia combined to pitch 3.1 scoreless innings to preserve the 5-3 win. 

The insurance run was scored in the seventh courtesy of Juan Lagares, who had a terrific night starting with his third inning leadoff homer off Jeremy Hellickson. Lagares led off the seventh with a walk, and he would steal second base.  He moved to third off a long fly all out off the bat of De Aza. He then scored off a Jose Reyes fielder’s choice. Lagares got a good break on the ball, and made a terrific slide direct to home plate to just beat the drawn-in shortstop Galvis’ throw. 

On the night Lagares was 1-2 with two runs, one walk, one RBI, and the aforementioned homer. Asdrubal Cabrera would also have a great start to the second half going 3-4 with a run scored. Overall, it was a good night for the Mets who got off to a nice start in their first game after the All Star Break. 

Game Notes: Reyes charged in nicely on a ball and made a bare-handed play in the eighth that was reminiscent of David WrightYoenis Cespedes missed the game with his strained quad.

Granderson Should Be Hitting Leadoff

Except for the Jerry Manuel experiment in 2010, Jose Reyes has spent the vast majority of his career as a leadoff hitter.  Throughout his career, he’s been the prototypical leadoff hitter.  He was the guy that got on base and would wreck havoc on the basepaths.  He’d score from first on a double.  He’d steal second and score from second on a single.  He’d steal third and he would either score on a sacrifice fly or get a pitcher to balk him home.  This is why Reyes has lead off his entire career, and this is why Terry Collins made him the leadoff hitter when Reyes played his first game with the Mets on July 5th.

However, Reyes isn’t the same player anymore.  He’s gone from a .341 OBP and averaging 37 stolen bases a year with the Mets to a player with a .334 OBP who averages 27 stolen bases a year.  Last year, he had a .310 OBP and 24 stolen bases while playing in two of the best hitter’s parks in all of baseball.  Simply put, Reyes is no longer the same player, which means he shouldn’t be treated as such.  It might be time for him to be moved out of the leadoff spot.

The leadoff spot should return to Curtis Granderson.  The same Curtis Granderson who was the leadoff hitter that went to the World Series last year.  The same leadoff hitter that needed just a little over one season to match Reyes’ team record for home runs leading off a game.  This is the same Granderson who has a higher career OBP than Reyes and who had a .364 OBP for the Mets last year.  After a tough May, Granderson has returned to that form with him hitting .276/.386/.496 with six homers and 11 RBI.

Overall, Granderson is a better hitter than Reyes is right now.  He’s a better hitter than what Reyes has been the past few seasons.  The Mets were at their most successful with Granderson leading off.  It’s time to restore him to to leadoff spot.

Fair or Not Matz Needed More Than a Quality Start

In baseball lingo, a quality start is defined as a start in which a pitcher allows three earned or less in at least six innings pitched. With that said, Steven Matz did indeed have a quality start today allowing six hits, three earned, and four walks with five strike outs over seven innings. Unfortunately, with a Mets offense without Yoenis Cespedes, a quality start isn’t enough. 

No, the Mets needed the Matz that existed prior to the one we saw prior to everyone knowing about him being bothered by bone spurs in his elbow. From April 17th to June 7th, Matz was 7-1 with a 1.38 ERA and a 1.006 WHIP. He was throwing a 94 MPH fastball 62% of the time, an 84 MPH change 11% of the time, an 88 MPH slider, 13% of the time, and a 78 MPH curve 14% of the time. 

Since that game we saw him rubbing his elbow, Matz has maintained his velocity. However, he’s almost completely stopped using his slider. He now only throws it 3% of the time.  Since he’s stopped throwing the slider, Matz has gone 0-3 with a 5.05 ERA and a 1.430 WHIP. Those numbers include today’s loss. 

While Matz was pitching better than he has in over a month, the Cespedesless Mets offense continued to sputter. The only offensive support came in the form of two Jose Reyes solo homers, including his Mets all-time leading 17th home run to leadoff a game. That broke the tie he had with current teammate Curtis Granderson.  Reyes was the only Met with a multi-hig game one a day where the Mets only managed four hits. Juan Lagares and Asdrubal Cabrera got the other two hits. 

While the Mets were starved for offense, Daniel Murphy continued to try to make the Mets rue the day they decided not to re-sign him. Murphy hit a two run homer in the first inning. The other run was scored off a Wilson Ramos RBI single in the third.  Two of the Nationals’ Mets killers did it again. 

Somewhat fittingly, it was De Aza who made the last out of the game for the Mets. The Mets lost 3-2 and fell six behind the Nationals after losing three out of four and six out of seven. At the very least, the Mets are still in playoff position as the second Wild Card heading into the All Star Break. 

Game Notes: Alejandro De Aza started over Brandon Nimmo with the Nationals starting the lefty Gio Gonzalez

Amed Rosario Is Racking Up the Accolades

On a field in Binghamton, New York the shortstop of the Mets’ past played alongside the Mets’ shortstop of the future.  As it turns out, it was the the old shortstop, Jose Reyes, who came away impressed by the minor leaguer Amed Rosario saying, “Wow! He’s 20 years old and he looks like a veteran.” (New York Post).  This is but one of the many accolades that have been bestowed upon Rosario in his young career.

The latest accolade to be bestowed upon Rosario was him being named the MLB Future’s Game.  Earlier in the month it was being named to Baseball America’s All-Prospect Team for June.  Somewhat surprisingly, Rosario was named to the team for his bat as he hit .381/.423/.536 with nine doubles and three triples in his time between St. Lucie and Binghamton.  Rosario put up these impressive stats while continuing to play the terrific defense that was a major factor in the reason why the Mets signed the 16 year old Rosario out of the Dominican Republic in 2012.

Overall, Rosario has shown a terrific work ethic that has led to his continuous improvement.  He’s gone from a .278/.328/.378 hitter for four different A league teams to a .344/.394/.459 hitter in AA.  This marked improvement is why he has named the 79th best prospect by MLB.com this year.  It’s why Keith Law named him baseball’s 42nd best prospect and has called him a superstar.  It’s also why Baseball America named him the 98th best prospect in 2015, the 58th best prospect in 2016, and a member of the All-Prospect Team for June.  Overall, it’s why Rosario keeps receiving accolades and drawing “Wows” from the people that come in contact with him.  All of this and more is why the Mets aren’t going to trade Rosario.

In many ways, the Mets naming Rosario an untouchable prospect in a year they may need to make a big trade could be the biggest honor of them all.  He’s earned that honor as well as all the others he has received.  As long as Rosario keeps working hard and keeps improving, he’s going to receive even more.

Editor’s Note: this was first published on metsminors.net

Mets Suffered Four Losses Today

The only thing that matters about tonight’s game is the fact that Yoenis Cespedes left the game with a strained quad in the third and Noah Syndergaard left the game in the fifth with an apparent injury. It’s worth noting that Syndergaard’s last two fastballs were 93 and 91 MPH. He throws offspeed pitches faster than that. 

These injuries came on the heels of Matt Harvey announcing he was electing to have season ending surgery to address his thoracic outlet syndrome. With Cespedes and Syndergaard leaving the game, Harvey’s season being over, and tonight’s 3-1 loss to the Nationals, the Mets would suffer four losses tonight. 

In the game tonight, Stephen Strasburg was awesome. He had a no-hitter going until Asdrubal Cabrera homered off of him in the fifth. Strasburg’s final line was seven innings, two hits, one earned, three walks, and nine strikeouts. 

Strasburg was able to win because the Nationals’ Mets killers showed up again. Clint Robinson hit a two run homer in the second, and Daniel Murphy, of course, hit an RBI double in the third. 

The Mets tried to muster a rally in the eighth beginning with a Wilmer Flores double off Nationals reliever Shawn KelleyJose Reyes followed with an infield single that Murphy stopped from going into the outfield while rolling over 2-3 times.  It was first and third with no outs, and Reyes would just stay there. He stayed there while Oliver Perez got Curtis Granderson to pop out to short. He stayed there when Juan Lagares, who came in for the injured Cespedes, hit into the inning ending 4-6-3 double play. That double play ended the Mets best shot to tie the game. 

If you want to take something positive from the day allowing you to smile like you’re Brandon NimmoSeth Lugo had another impressive performance. Lugo pitched two scoreless and hitless innings. Given Harvey’s injury and Syndergaard leaving tonight’s game, Lugo is making a case for himself to join the rotation

Game Notes: The Mets announced Syndergaard left the game due to arm fatigue and not due to issues related to his bone spurs. That’s not all that comforting either. 

Mets Win the Home Run Derby

On the eve of the All Star Game, the Mets and Nationals engaged in their own Home Run Derby with each team hitting four apiece. Of all the home runs, none was bigger than Wilmer Flores‘ near Promenade shot in the fifth giving the Mets a 7-6 lead. 

It was Flores’ third home run in the past two games and his fifth on the home stand. It was made all the more gratifying as it came off of everyone’s favorite ex-Met Oliver Perez

Flores had entered the game in the top of the fifth as Bartolo Colon was ineffective and couldn’t make his way out of the fifth. In fact neither he nor Nationals rookie starter Lucas Giolito were good. Colon looked too old giving up six earned over 4.2 innings, and Gioloto looked too young allowing four earned in 3.2 innings. Neither pitcher would factor in the decision. 

Hansel Robles would be the pitcher who got the win for the Mets. He came on in the fifth, and he bailed the Mets out of a bases loaded situation by getting Anthony Rendon to fly out to center. Robles kept the Mets in the game allowing for Flores’ heroics. Overall, he would pitch 1.1 innings allowing only one hit while striking out two. 
It was a good hard fought win that saw the Mets rally from 1-0, 4-1, and 6-4 deficits. You accomplish that by getting key hits from everyone in the lineup:

  • James Loney hit a two out RBI single in the third to tie the game 1-1. 
  • Travis d’Arnaud and Jose Reyes homered in the fourth to narrow the gap from 4-1 to 4-3. 
  • Yoenis Cespedes tied the game in the fourth with an RBI double scoring Curtis Granderson
  • Brandon Nimmo battled from back in the count to get a single in the fifth. He would later score on Flores’ three run homer. 
  • Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo home run in the sixth to give the Mets an 8-6 lead. 
  • Neil Walker added an insurance run in the seventh with his seventh inning RBI single making it 9-7. 

Quietly, Granderson, the new second place hitter, had a brilliant night. He was 3-5 with two runs, two walks, and a double.  The Mets needed this entire offensive output because the Natuonals weren’t going away and because the Mets had to use Antonio Bastardo. In the seventh, Bastardo allowed Daniel Murphy to hit a bomb to right center. Murphy joined Bryce HarperClint Robinson, and Rendon in Nationals who homered on the night. 

After Bastardo was out of the game, the Mets turned to Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia to secure the 9-7 win. Reed pitched 1.1 scoreless, and Familia recorded his 31st straight save to start the season. 

Familia was aided by a terrific play by Cabrera after he issued a leadoff walk to Jayson Werth. Murphy hit a ball that Cabrera made a terrific play just to get to the ball with a dive to his right. He flipped to Walker to get the force out. It become a double play as Werth was ruled to have interfered with Walker by sliding past the base. For what it’s worth, Murphy was safe at first by a mile, but that’s the new rule. Familia then struck out Harper to end the game. 

The Mets have now closed the gap to three games and two in the loss column. 

Game Notes: The eight home runs were the most in any single game at Citi Field. Reyes had started, stumbled, stopped, and was picked off of first by Wilson Ramos. It went down as a caught stealing. 

Flores Does His Best Stanton Impersonation 

When the Mets signed Jose Reyes to predominantly play third base in David Wright‘s prolonged absence, many believed this would mean Wilmer Flores would find himself back on the bench. Today, Flores would have something to say about that. 

In the second inning, Flores hit a bomb to left centerfield off Justin Nicolino to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. In the fourth, Flores hit another one to left center to give the Mets a 4-1 lead. 

There was some excitement when he came up with the bases loaded in the fifth, and he worked a 3-1 count. Unfortunately, he hit a hot shot right at Don Kelly, who started the 5-5-3 double play. However, this double play wouldn’t mar what was a 2-4 day with the two solo homers. 

Between Flores’ two homers and Curtis Granderson‘s two RBI single in the fourth, Jacob deGrom had all the run support he needed in his last start before the All Star Break. 

For most of the afternoon, deGrom spent his time in and out of trouble. He was twice aided by timely double plays that prevented a run from scoring. Overall, it was a very good start that saw deGrom throw 117 pitches over seven innings allowing six hits, two earned, and two walks with seven strikeouts. The two runs were courtesy of Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton killed the Mets like he did this entire three game series. He tied a major league record by having homers in his last four at bats, which included his first two at bats today. In total, eight of his last ten hits at Citi Field have been homers. He’s got three of the four longest homers at Citi Field. By the way, Yoenis Cespedes has the other:

Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia made sure of that Stanton wouldn’t cause any more damage. Reed struck out the last batter in the eighth to ensure Stanton couldn’t tie the game with another homer.  Familia struck him out leading off the ninth en route to his 30th consecutive save to start the season.  

The Mets 4-2 win moved them to 2.5 games up on the Marlins in the East and the Wild Card. The Mets will now look to make similar headway against the Nationals this weekend. 

Game Notes: Reyes started at shortstop because Asdrubal Cabrera was up late last night due to a family illness. Reyes  was 2-4 with two doubles and a run. Flores was shifted from first to third, and James Loney got the start. The Marlins challenged a call in the fifth, but the double play ruling on the field was upheld

Wright & Reyes Still Aren’t Together

In 2004, the Mets called up David Wright to play alongside Jose Reyes.  At that moment, everyone imagined the pair winning World Series titles, having their numbers retired, and joining one another again in Cooperstown.  As it would turn it, they couldn’t spend their careers playing alongside one another.  With the Mets financial troubles, the Mets had to choose between the two.

Reyes had been in the Mets organization since he signed as a 16 year old out of the Dominican Republic.  During his tenure with the Mets, he was the team’s sparkplug.  He energized the players on the field, and he energized the fans in the stands.  He was the team’s single season and all-time leader in stolen bases.  He was the all-time leader in triples.  His speed on the basepaths was only matched by the speed in which he threw the ball.  He was the greatest shortstop in Mets history.

He also played alongside the greatest third baseman in Mets history.  Wright was the lifelong Mets fan who was the MVP type talent.  He was a Gold Glove third baseman and a 30/30 man.    He was the player the Mets seemed to be grooming to become the face of the franchise.  In many ways, Wright was the chosen one.  It should come as no surprise that with Reyes’ free agency in 2011, the Mets picked Wright over Reyes.

From that point forward, it was a difficult road for both.

Reyes initially signed with the Marlins only to be traded away one season later to the Blue Jays.  During his time on the unforgiving turf of the Rogers Centre, Reyes would not only suffer injuries, but he would also lose a step or two.  For the first two years, the Blue Jays underachieved.  They were unable to make a real push for the postseason.  When they were finally able to do so in 2015, the Blue Jays traded him away for Troy Tulowitzki.  Reyes was with the Rockies for a last place club.  In that offseason, he would be charged with domestic violence.  Heading into this season, he would be suspended for 51 games and released by the Rockies.

Wright had his own problems when he was apart from Reyes.  He had troubles with Citi Field like most of the Mets hitters did under the original constructs of the outfield walls.  Since the Mets moved to Citi Field, Wright seemingly alternated between healthy and injury prone seasons.  He alternated between an All Star caliber player and an average third baseman.  All the while, the Mets were a sub-.500 team that were going nowhere fast.  It was discovered in 2015 that Wright suffered spinal stenosis.  He would return to be able to play in the World Series and be the Mets 2016 Opening Day third baseman, but he was no longer the same player.  This year, Wright’s body would break down yet again with him requiring a discectomy and cervical fusion.  He was all but gone for the season.  The Mets were left in a lurch as they needed a third baseman.

With the Mets in need of a third baseman and Reyes in need of a job, the two came together to give Reyes a chance at redemption.  In order to make room for Reyes on the 40 man roster, the Mets moved Wright to the 60 day disabled list. Wright and Reyes still aren’t united as both will not take the field aside one another like we all assumed they would do in 2004.  Amazingly, Reyes has become Wright’s replacement not just at third base, but also on the roster as Wright was placed on the 60 day disabled list to make room for Reyes.

This was the second time the Mets had to sacrifice one to make room for the other.  It was never supposed to be this way.  They were supposed to be on the same team for their entire careers.  They were supposed to be side-by-side from 2004 until their induction in Cooperstown.  It hasn’t worked out that way.  In fact, they may never play alongside each other ever again.

Stanton Beat the Mets

Steven Matz had a terrific start pitching seven innings allowing only two earned on six hits and one walk with six strikeouts. The outing was all the more impressive considering he’s dealing with bone spurs in his elbow that Matz once believed required in-season surgery.  Unfortunately, despite this terrific start, he’d be a hard luck loser because he made one bad pitch to Giancarlo Stanton:

Just like that Stanton turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. From there Stanton would go on and make sure the Marlins would win the game. 

Yoenis Cespedes led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk off Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen. After the next two batters recorded outs, James Loney became the first Mets batter not named Cespedes to get a hit off of Chen. Juan Lagares then hit a sinking line drive to right that looked like it was going to tie the game:

In the top of the eighth, Stanton added all the insurance the Marlins needed after he hit a three run home run off Erik Goeddel to make it 5-1 and unofficially put the game out of reach. 

The main issue tonight was Chen was really good for the Marlins. He allowed only three base hits, and two of them were off of the bat of Yoenis Cespedes. The only run he allowed was Cespedes’ solo home run in the fourth. The only other Mets to reach base off of Chen was Loney with the aforementioned base hit and Curtis Granderson with a walk. 

It’s easy to get hung up on Chen’s 5.11 ERA heading into tonight’s game. However, that overlooks the fact that the Mets have been hitting of late. It also ignores Chen’s lifetime 3.88 ERA and his 3.34 ERA in 2015. In essence, Chen was capable of this performance, and he just so happened to do it tonight in a Marlins’ 5-2 win. 

Game Notes: Jose Reyes played his first game with the Mets since re-signing with them after his domestic violence incident. He wore his familiar number 7, and Travis d’Arnaud switched to 18. He leadoff and played third. Reyes was 0-4 with a strike out. There was not one ball hit his way. 

With Reyes’ return, Matt Reynolds was demoted to AAA meaning the Mets kept Alejandro De Aza. For once, he rewarded the Mets faith by hitting a pinch hit home run in the eighth off Fernando Rodney