After getting outclassed by the Washington Nationals, the Mets are now six games under .500, and they are 10.5 games back in the division. Things are bleaker in the Wild Card race. The Mets are now 12 games out of the second Wild Card spot. One of the teams they are trailing are the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. While it may be too early on July 20th to say the season is over, realistically speaking, the Mets really need to consider selling.
Aside from Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, and the core group of starting pitchers, the Mets should look to sell everyone on the major league roster. The problem is why would anyone want what the Mets are selling?
Travis d’Arnaud has had another injury this year and has regressed in all aspects of his game. His backup, Rene Rivera has been hitting .162/.205/.297 over his last 10 games. With Rivera, this isn’t too far from what he’s been his entire career.
Across the infield, the situation is no better. Lucas Duda has had his typical hot and cold season with him hitting .175/.283/.375 over the past two weeks. It also doesn’t help that he struggles against left-handed pitching.
Just as Neil Walker was playing great again, he suffered a tear in his hamstring, and he will not be able to come back from the disabled list until after the All Star Break. That leaves little time for him to get back into form before the trade deadline assuming he is even able to return by then.
Asdrubal Cabrera is having a terrible season. He has twice landed on the disabled list with a thumb injury. His already poor range has been further limited. While he’s always been a second-half hitter, his stats this season lag behind last year’s first half stats.
Flat out, Jose Reyes has been the worst infielder in the major leagues. With his poor defense, he is little more than a pinch runner.
In the outfield, Curtis Granderson has shaken off his cold start, and he has been much better of late. However, he’s still hitting .212/.302/.396, and he’s still 36 years old. If a team were interested in Juan Lagares and his Gold Glove defense, that opportunity has passed with Lagares’ thumb injury.
Outside of Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins, the bullpen has been mostly terrible. Josh Edgin has had a nice season there, but 30 year old LOOGYs hardly fetch a large haul at the trade deadline. And for what it’s worth, the Mets still have years of control over Edgin. He’s more valuable to the team as a pitcher than a trade asset.
Certainly, if the Mets were interested in moving Blevins, many teams would be interested in the LOOGY. With his outstanding season, he’s probably going to get a larger return than your standard LOOGY, which still won’t be a prospect who will be a major piece of the future.
No, the only two players really capable of that are Reed and Jay Bruce. With respect to Bruce, the bar has been set fairly high for his return. Last year, the Mets traded Dilson Herrera, who was seen as an important part of the Mets future, and Max Wotell, who is an interesting left-handed pitching prospect. If the Mets can match or come near that, they’ve done well. The problem is Bruce is now a pending free agent making that kind of a return all the more unlikely.
Based on last year’s trade deadline, the Mets can legitimately ask for the moon for Reed. He’s been great as a Met, and he’s been great this year. He’s a great eighth inning reliever, and this year, he is showing he can replicate that success as a closer. At the trade deadline, everyone is looking for relief help meaning everyone should be looking at Reed.
And the Mets better maximize that return because looking at the team as a whole, the Mets aren’t likely to get a whole lot back at the trade deadline. Certainly, it will be paltry compared to the Yankees haul last year. The sad part is if these players were playing better, the Mets return might’ve surpassed that. Then again, if these players were playing that well, we wouldn’t be talking about selling at the trade deadline.
When you have a magical season like the Mets had in 2015, there are a number of players that step forward to have remarkable seasons. For the Mets, one of those seasons came from the unlikeliest of sources in Sean Gilmartin.
With the return of Matt Harvey and the signing of Michael Cuddyer, the Mets were letting the baseball world know 2015 was going to be their season. There was just one small problem. They never could quite get the LOOGY they needed. Jerry Blevins was supposed to have that role, but he broke his pitching arm. Josh Edgin and Jack Leathersich would join him on the disabled list. The team traded for Alex Torres, but he was a disaster. That meant the only real lefty they had in the bullpen was Rule 5 pick Gilmartin.
Except, Gilmartin wasn’t a LOOGY. In essence, Gilmartin was a pitcher. In fact, prior to joining the Mets, Gilmarting had spent the entirety of his minor league career with the Braves as a starting pitcher. As a starter, Gilmartin had neutral to almost reverse splits. To that end, he wasn’t the guy you wanted as the LOOGY. Still, Gilmartin knew how to pitch, and when he was given the opportunity, he showed that to the Mets.
It took about a month and a half, but Terry Collins finally figured out Gilmartin’s role. Gilamartin becaume the long man out of the pen. It may not be the most glamorous of bullpen jobs, but it is of vital importance. You need a pitcher who can go out there and keep his team in the game. If there is an injury or a starter that just doesn’t have it, you need the long man to give the team an opportunity to make the comeback. In extra innings, you need the guy who can go out there and reliably soak up two or even three innings and put up zeros. Mostly, you need someone reliable who can save the bullpen.
Gilmartin was exception in that role. During the 2015 season, Gilmartin made 18 multiple inning relief appearances accounting for 37% of his relief appearances. Beginning on May 20th, which was really when he was made the long man, Gilmartin made 16 multiple inning relief appearances over his final 33 relief appearances of the season. Essentially, half the time Gilmartin was used for multiple innings about half the time thereby saving the bullpen. Namely, Gilmartin was saving Jeurys Familia, who Collins used over and over again because he was just about the only guy Collins trusted out there.
In Gilmartin’s multiple inning appearances, he was dominant. When he pitched multiple innings, he pitched 32.2 innings going 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA, and a 0.704 WHIP. Perhaps the key to this was the fact Gilmartin grew stronger as he pitched. He did his best work between pitches 26 – 50 limiting batters to a .161/.235/.194 batting line.
As for a highlight, pick one. There was his first career win. The Mets found themselves in a rare slugfest after Dillon Gee was bounced after 3.2 innings having allowed eight earned. Torres wasn’t much better. Gilmartin was the first pitcher to enter that game to put up multiple scoreless innings. He stabilized the game, and he put the Mets in position to win.
There was the July 19th 18 inning game against the St. Louis Cardinals. At that time, the Mets were so inept offensively, you could load the bases with no outs and start the batter with a 3-0 count, and the Mets still couldn’t score a run. Gilmartin came on in the 14th inning, and he pitched three scoreless to give the Mets a chance to win that game, which they eventually did with two runs in the 18th.
On August 24th, Gilmartin was overshadowed every which was possible. The Mets were off and running afte rthe team obtained Yoenis Cespedes. It was David Wright‘s first game since he came off the Disabled List, and he homered in his first at-bat back with the team. Lost in the shuffle was this was the rare poor start for Jacob deGrom with him being unable to get out of the fourth. Gilmartin came on and pitched 3.1 scoreless to give the Mets a chance to come back from an early 7-2 deficit.
More than that, Gilmartin got his first career hit and run scored. His sixth inning single got yet another rally started. He scored on a Daniel Murphy three run homer, the Mets lead had actually expanded to 12-7.
Ultimately, it was Gilmartin’s August 24th relief appearance that was the essence of what it means to be a long man in the pen. He not only went out there and saved the bullpen by tossing 3.1 innings, but he also gave his team a chance to win. It was a tremendous effort that was overlooked because Wright played in his first game in four months, and the Mets overcame a five run deficit to blow out the Phillies.
Initially, Gilmartin was left off the postseason roster, but after Erik Goeddel‘s struggles in the NLDS, the Mets did the right thing and put Gilmartin back on the roster. He’d make just one appearance pitching 0.2 scoreless in Game Two of the World Series. Part of the shame of that World Series was there were multiple occasions to bring on Gilmartin. Instead his role had gone to Bartolo Colon, who just wasn’t as effective in the role as Gilmartin.
After the 2015 season, the Mets wanted to use Gilmartin as a starter. With a loaded major league rotation, that meant Gilmartin started the year in Vegas. He was doing well there until the Mets started messing with him. With the bullpen not having the effective long man that Gilmartin was in 2015, this meant the team had to call him up to the majors on multiple occasions. This meant Gilmartin would have to fly cross-country, and the Mets would insert him into games despite his not having had full rest. He’d develop a shoulder injury. It may not have been enough to need surgery, but Gilmartin was never the same.
Instead of putting Gilmartin in a position to succeed, the Mets messed around with him until the point they felt his was expendable. For some reason, with this Mets team again needing a Gilmartin in the bullpen, they refused to give him a chance instead going with Josh Smoker and Neil Ramirez and their pair of ERAs over 7.00.
Gilmartin deserved better than this. He was a good pitcher who had a significant impact on a pennant winning team. It disappointing the Mets never again put him in a position to succeed. With that said, getting designated for assignment by the Mets was probably the best thing for his career. He will once again have an opportunity to be a good major league pitcher.
While the Mets have overlooked his importance, and fans have become frustrated with him, there are those that never forgot what he once meant to this team. Personally, I will always be grateful for his 2015 season, and I hope him nothing but success. He’s still a good pitcher, and he should soon remind everyone of that.
Thank you and good luck Sean Gilmartin.
Harvey was good enough. For just the third time in his 12 starts, he didn’t allow a homer. More than that, for the first time this season he had an outing where he didn’t allow a run.
Still, it wasn’t smooth sailing. The only 1-2-3 inning he had was the fifth, which was also his final inning as he needed 104 pitches.
Most of those pitches came in a 27 pitch second inning. The Braves loaded the bases with one out with Teheran coming to the plate. He hit a chopper to Wilmer Flores, who came home with it. His throw barely beat Matt Adams.
For what it’s worth, it may not have beat Adams. That play was close as it gets, and shockingly, the Braves didn’t challenge. It was probably lucky they didn’t. It was emblematic of the luck Harvey continues to have with runners in scoring position.
The Braves were 0-5 with RISP against Harvey leaving six runners on base. It fueled a good start for Harvey whose final line was five innings, four hits, no runs, no earned, two walks, and three strikeouts. It was enough for Harvey to leave with the win.
And it was barely enough. Teheran was his usual terrific self, and the Braves were flashing the leather.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 10, 2017
While he wouldn’t score there, Granderson did get the Mets on the board with a solo shot in the third. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.
Paul Sewald was double switched into the game in the sixth, and he was immediately in trouble after Matt Kemp‘s lead-off double. Sewald was so close to working around it. With two outs in the inning, the Mets had an option: pitch to Danny Santana or Swanson.
The Mets chose Swanson, and intentionally walked Santana putting the go-ahead run on base. The Mets would rue the the decision as Swanson hit a two RBI double to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.
In the seventh, the Braves brought on Jason Motte to pitch to d’Arnaud, and d’Arnaud tied the game at 2-2 with a solo home run.
In the eighth, d’Arnaud would also help the Mets by completing a strike ’em out – throw ’em out double play.
That only stayed the inevitable. In Fernando Salas‘ second inning of work, he allowed a one out hit to Swanson. Swanson got on his horse, and he took advantage of Granderson’s poor arm for the hustle double. It didn’t hurt that Granderson was deep playing no doubles, and he didn’t go full speed getting to that ball.
Terry Collins went to Josh Edgin to pitch to Rio Ruiz. Ruiz hit Edgin’s first pitch past a diving Asdrubal Cabrera. With Conforto unable to get the ball out of his glove, there would be no play at home.
The Mets lost a game they should’ve won further pushing them closer to selling. If only this team had a SS prospect who could’ve had an impact on this game like Swanson.
This was arguably the worst start of deGrom’s career. He needed 105 pitches to get through four innings. His final line was four innings, eight hits, seven runs, seven earned, five walks, and six strikeouts. He probably wasn’t even that good.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 31, 2017
The real highlight of the game for the Mets was Josh Edgin. He came on in the fifth, and he saved the bullpen pitching three scoreless innings. It’s the type of outing that really gets overlooked during the course of the season, especially with Gary, Keith, and Ron talking Caramel M&Ms with Keith throwing the M&Ms to the camera crew. Still, Edgin’s outing is an important one.
It was also important because it gave the Mets a chance. They’d load the bases in the seventh with one out. Jay Bruce then grounded into the inning ending 4-6-3 double play. It was a close play at first worthy of a challenge except Terry Collins ran out of time thus ending the Mets only chance to get back into the game.
The shut out was broken up after Conforto followed a Juan Lagares hit a two out infield single with a Conforto RBI double.
From there, the Mets brought in Neil Ramirez, and the guys in the booth broke out the baseball cards. Honestly, there’s not much else you can expect in a 7-1 loss. It was even too much for Mr. Met to take:
— Anthony De Lucia (@adelucia35) June 1, 2017
Game Notes: Curtis Granderson was 2-3 which finally brings his batting average over the Mendoza Line at .201. Mets pitching walked eight batters. The Mets are now 3-11 when they walk six plus batters.
In the Matrix, Morpheus said to Neo, “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
Apparently, Tyler Pill is the blue pill because there were a number of strange things that happened at Citi Field that only the most ardent Mets fans could believe:
Jose Reyes started over a red hot Wilmer Flores. More than that, Zack Davies appeared to strike him out looking. Instead, the home plate umpire called it a call leading to a Reyes bases loaded walk.
Travis d’Arnaud threw out last year’s stolen base leader Jonathan Villar:
Thing of beauty! pic.twitter.com/biPntHLwZq
— GENY Mets Report (@genymets) May 31, 2017
More than that, Pill only allowed one run over 5.1 innings.
Despite Pill having a minor league 1.60 ERA this year, his peripherals indicated his ERA should be over 4.00. Long story short, Pill has been extremely lucky this year. While that luck escaped him in his major league debut, he brought it with him today.
Through of all this, the Mets had a 4-1 lead scoring twice in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a pair of doubles to tie the game at one. The Mets would then load the bases, and Reyes drew the aforementioned bases loaded walk.
This left Pill on the long side on a night despite allowing six hits, three walks, and a hit batter over 5.1 innings. Despite all of this, he wouldn’t get the win.
He didn’t get the win because in the seventh inning the unthinkable happened. Yes, it was easy to believe Salas would walk two to help load the bases with one out. It’s easier to believe that happened when you consider he was running the bases in the top half of the inning.
Blevins came on, and it appeared he did what he had to do. He struck out Shaw looking. While he did issue a bases loaded walk to Domingo Santana to make it 4-2, he did get Jett Bandy to pop up to short.
That’s when the unthinkable happened. The sure-handed Cabrera Luis Castilloed it:
Eric Thames and Hernan Perez score after Asdrubal Cabrera drops a fly ball in the infield allowing the Brewers to tie the game, 4-4!!! pic.twitter.com/8CQsuaDHlq
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) May 31, 2017
Thankfully, Santana was not hustling like Mark Teixeira did meaning the Brewers merely tied the score on the play instead of potentially going up 5-4.
The bullpen did its job. Josh Edgin and Addison Reed each pitched a scoreless inning, and Josh Smoker pitched three scoreless. Smoker got into a jam, but he got a huge strikeout to get out of the 10th. We then saw one of his signature celebrations:
— MetsKevin11 (@MetsKevin11) May 31, 2017
What’s interesting is Terry Collins had the opportunity to double switch both Reed and Smoker into the game to possibly get an extra inning out of them. He passed both times.
Finally, the Mets got something started in the 12th. T.J. Rivera led off with a pinch hit single off Wily Peralta, and Conforo walked. After Reyes couldn’t get a bunt down, he hit a fielder’s choice with Thames getting Conforto at second. The Mets finally won it with a Bruce single against the drawn-in shifted infield.
A long bizarre game finally came to an end with the Mets winning a game they have typically lost all year. The final score indicates Mets fans really took the blue pill.
Game Notes: Walker’s two doubles on the night gave him 1,000 hits for his career. Mets are 3-10 when they walked six or more. They walked eight.
When Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud came back from the Disabled List, neither one was hitting much. Recentky, Duda broke out, and he’s literally getting on base in half of his plate appearances. After last year, there was legitimate concern over whether d’Arnaud would hit as well.
Those concerns were put to rest as d’Arnaud came within a triple of hitting the cycle. Overall, he was 3-5 with a run, double, homer, and two RBI. It should also be noted the Pirates didn’t attempt one stolen base against him. It was about as good a night as a catcher can have.
Duda was just as good. He was 2-4 with a run, double, homer, and RBI. Seriously, no one can get him out right now including Pirates ace Gerrit Cole. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Duda’s manager was able to get him out.
It was one of a series of bizarre moves from Terry Collins on the night.
Going into the sixth, the Mets had a 4-2 lead due to the aforementioned contributions from Duda and d’Arnaud as well as a Jay Bruce first inning solo home run.
In the sixth, after Neil Walker botched a potential inning ending double play, Collins left Zack Wheeler in to pitch to Andrew McCutchen. At that point in the game, McCutchen had homered and walked against Wheeler. With Wheeler under 90 pitches and pitching well, Collins stuck with his starter who gave up an RBI double.
It was somewhat of a damper on what was a good night for Wheeler. His final line was six innings, seven hits, three runs, three earned, two walks, and five strikeouts.
For a brief moment, it seemed the Mets would hold onto that 4-3 lead.
In the seventh, Collins went to his bullpen and somehow decided to go with Neil Ramirez. Collins used Fernando Salas to close out an 8-1 game, but he decided to go with Ramirez and his 27.00 ERA with the Mets to hold a one run lead. After Jordy Nelson doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a groundout, it became obvious the pitcher with a 27.00 ERA wasn’t going to get the job done.
Collins then double switched Jerry Blevins into the game. This meant the Mets best hitter and defensive first baseman was lifted from a one run game. Fortunately, Blevins got the Mets out of the jam as he typically does.
The Mets also went unscathed though the eighth with a combination of Blevins and Salas. Salas was helped out by Juan Lagares who raced back to get a McCutchen ball at the wall.
The Mets were no so lucky in the ninth. Mercer hit a double to center off Addison Reed that not even Lagares could catch. The way Lagares played tonight in center, that’s saying something. John Jaso tied the game sending it into extras.
The Mets had a chance to go ahead in the top of the 10th. Lagares hit a lead-off single and moved to second on a T.J. Rivera pinch hit single. However, while d’Arnaud was huge for the Mets all night, he struck out to end the rally.
With Collins once again ripping through his bullpen, he had to go to Tyler Pill to pitch the bottom of the 10th. Things did not go well.
It started with Lagares absolutely robbing Gregory Polanco of an extra base hit. Pill then quickly loaded the bases allowing a single to David Freese, plunking McCutchen, and walking Francisco Cervelli. With all that, the Mets were so close to getting out of that inning.
Gift Ngoepe popped out to shallow right. Collins then went to Josh Edgin to try to get Jaso out. Edgin struggled with his command, but he fought back into the at-bat going 3-2 with Jaso. Jaso then hit a line drive to right almost every right fielder in baseball gets to. Not Bruce. As he flailed at the ball, the Pirates were scoring the game winning run to take the game 6-5.
It should be noted Collins brought Lagares in for defense. Instead if moving the far superior fielder, Curtis Granderson, to right, Collins stuck with Bruce, and it indirectly cost the Mets the game. It’s not exactly how Collins wanted to celebrate his 68th birthday. Instead of blowing out his candles, his overworked bullpen did the job.
Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera was the only hitless Mets starter. He made up for it by dekeing McCutchen in the sixth. Cabrera got to a ball in the hole, and he had no play at first. He feigned going there, and he then nailed McCutchen at home as he tried to score from second.
Due to the rain, the Mets played it safe and started Rafael Montero over Jacob deGrom. While it is smart to protect the best pitcher in your team so you can win games down the road, putting Montero into any game severely hampers your chances of winning that game.
That was evident when Montero needed 45 pitches to get through the inning. Of note, the Mets wanted to limit him to 75 pitches due to his throwing 3.1 innings on Sunday. Montero needed 45 pitches because he was usual terrible self.
In the first, he allowed three walks including one with the bases loaded. He allowed three singles with two of those being infield singles. Despite the mayhem, the Mets were only down 2-0 after the first. Believe it or not, that would be all the runs the Padres needed despite them starting Dimelson Lamet, who was making his first career start.
The only run the Mets would score would be on a second inning Lucas Duda home run. After that, the Mets would squander opportunity after opportunity.
After the Duda homer, the Mets stranded Curtis Granderson on second after his two out double.
In the third, Matt Reynolds, who earned a lead-off walk pinch hitting for Montero. The Padres would execute a perfect relay and get the tag down just before Reynolds touched home as he tried to score from first on a Jose Reyes double. The Mets then stranded Reyes on second.
Hunter Renfroe handed the Mets a gift in the fifth. He couldn’t get to a Travis d’Arnaud shallow pop up, and then his throw pulled Chase d’Arnaud off the bag. Then for some reason, Terry Collins opted to go with the butcher boy with Paul Sewald instead of a straight sacrifice bunt attempt. Sewald struck out. Michael Conforto, who had a golden sombrero, struck out as well. Reyes popped out to end the rally.
Jay Bruce and Neil Walker led off the sixth with back-to-back singles off Padres left-handed reliever Jose Torres. Duda then grounded into the 3-6-3 double play. The Mets were still alive in the inning putting runners at the corners after a Wilmer Flores walked against Kevin Quackenbush. With Granderson coming up to the plate, the Padres brought in Ryan Buchter, and Collins countered with T.J. Rivera. Rivera flew out to end the inning.
There were runners and first and second and two out in the seventh, but Bruce was unable to cash in grounding out to short.
The shame of this is this was an extremely winnable game. Even as bad as Montero was, the Mets were still in position to win. Montero’s final line was three innings, five hits, three runs, three earned, three walks, and four strikeouts.
The score remained at 3-1 because Sewald was brilliant. Sewald was stretched to three innings and 41 pitches due in part to Montero’s ineffectiveness. Sewald once again answered the call pitching three scoreless allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out four. It should be noted Collins deemed him unavailable yesterday.
Josh Edgin was nearly as good as Sewald pitching two shut out innings himself. Overall, while the bullpen has struggled, they did their job tonight.
Finally, in the eighth, the Meys offense broke through. Walker hit a lead-off double off Padres reliever Brandon Maurer, and he would score on a Duda seeing eye RBI single. Still, that rally would fizzle as Asdrubal Cabrera would ground into an inning ending double play.
The Padres added a run off the struggling Addison Reed in the ninth making it 4-2. That run would loom large.
Juan Lagares walked off Padres closer Brad Hand tostart the ninth inning rally, and he would go to third on a Conforto single. Reyes hit a high chopper which was enough to score Lagares and prevent the double play. Still, it was the second out of the inning. Bruce then fouled out to end the game.
The foul out put a capper on a frustrating night at the plate going 1-10 with RISP. It does not matter who the Mets did and did not start in this three game series. The Padres are terrible. The Mets should have swept them or at least taken two of three. Instead, they blew a five run lead last night and couldn’t hit with RISP tonight.
The entire Mets organization needs to do some soul searching after this series.
Game Notes: Cabrera was activated from the Disabled List but did not start. Kevin Plawecki was sent down to make room for him on the roster.
Gsellman went out there and gave the Mets what is technically considered a quality start, which is three earned over six innings. Things might’ve gone better for him, but Yangervis Solarte got to him twice knocking in all three runs against Gsellman.
After the top of the sixth, Gsellman had thrown just 84 pitches. There would be no seventh inning though because Gsellman was due to lead off the inning. That and the fact Gsellman hasn’t started in a while.
Still, it should not have mattered. The Mets were up 5-3 against the team with arguable the worst offense in the National League.
Salas loaded the bases with two outs following a pinch hit single by Chase d’Arnaud with back-to-back walks to Matt Szczur and Solarte. At that point, Collins decided to make the worst possible move he could’ve made. He went with Neil Ramirez and his 10.32 ERA to pitch to Wil Myers:
Mets had a 5-1 lead. Now tied at 5 in the 7th after Wil Myers' two-run single. Missed a grand slam by thismuch: pic.twitter.com/uiQHeKeu71
— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) May 25, 2017
Renfroe would return the favor to the Mets in the bottom of the eighth. He flat out dropped a Juan Lagares fly ball. To his credit, Lagares hustled on the play and got to second base. The Mets would strand him there.
That was about all that the Mets offense had done wrong on the night. Michael Conforto continued to rake going 2-3 with a run, RBI, and two walks. Wilmer Flores hit a bases clearing double in the third. He scored on a Curtis Granderson single. Overall, every Mets starter except Rene Rivera reached base at least once.
The Mets offense would get one last chance against Brad Hand who came on to save the Padres 6-5 lead.
Neil Walker got the rally started with a lead-off single. Lucas Duda had a tough at-bat drawing a well earned walk, his third of the game. He came off for Matt Reynolds. The bases were then loaded as Flores hit a seeing eye single just past the shortstop.
Granderson and Rivera then struck out putting the game in Lagares’ hands. Renfroe wouldn’t drop this flyball leading to yet another brutal loss created by a bullpen meltdown. At least we know Collins won’t learn from this game either.
Game Notes: Jay Bruce sat with a back injury.
For the past seven games, the Mets have found new and interesting ways to lose. Today, it was a tried and true method for this team. Not getting hits with RISP and some truly bizarre managerial decisions from Terry Collins.
Like most of the games on this road trip, things started well for the Mets. Michael Conforto, who Collins has spent the better part of two years telling us can’t hit lefties, hit a two run homer off Patrick Corbin to give the Mets a 2-0 first inning lead.
From that point forward, the Mets would go 1-6 with RISP.
Matt Harvey would give up that lead. In the first, he allowed a lead-off triple to Rey Fuentes. Fuentes then scored on a Chris Owings ground-out. In the third, Harvey allowed an opposite field two run homer off the bat of Jake Lamb.
It was all part of a maddening start by Harvey. He did not have one 1-2-3 inning. He walked four batters including the opposing pitcher. He allowed his 11th homer of the season. He needed 95 pitches to get through 5.1 innings.
The Mets had a 4-3 lead when Harvey departed. The additional two runs came in the fourth. Juan Lagares hit a long home run to tie the score at three. Matt Reynolds followed with a walk, and he would score on a Jose Reyes RBI double. As we know, the Mets wouldn’t win this one.
For some reason, Collins went to Robert Gsellman and his 7.07 ERA to pitch the seventh. This is the same Gsellman the Mets have just removed from the rotation for the next couple of weeks. Depending on the ETA of Steven Matz and/or Seth Lugo, Gsellman may not start another game this year. Despite this, Collins felt Gsellman was the right man to protect a one run lead to help the Mets break a six game losing streak.
Gsellman would walk Goldschmidt, and he would score on a Tomas RBI double. Just like that, the score was tied.
The Mets would mount subsequent rallies to try to get another lead. In the eighth, there were runners on first and second with two outs, and Lagares grounded out. In the eleventh, the Mets had the same situation, and Reyes struck out. That would be the Mets last chance.
The real part of the Mets bullpen had done a good job. Josh Edgin got Harvey out of the sixth unscathed. Jerry Blevins (8)and Addison Reed (9 & 10) pitched perfect innings to get the Mets to the 11th. At that point, Collins did the complete opposite of what he should have done.
He brought in Rafael Montero. Not the red hot Paul Sewald. Not Fernando Salas who has been better of late. Not Neil Ramirez who the Mets signed to help the bullpen. No, he brought in Montero, and his rationale was absurd:
To recap: Mets were down to Montero, Sewald, Salas, Robles, Ramirez.
Salas-off, Robles-iffy, Ramirez-extended lay off; Sewald-closer.
— Matt Ehalt (@MattEhalt) May 18, 2017
First batter Montero faced was Chris Herrmann. Herrmann is a career .207/.277/.338 hitter who entered the game hitting .160/.250/.280. He injured his hand in this game. Naturally, he did this:
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) May 17, 2017
To recap, Collins brought in a guy with a 7.07 ERA to preserve a one run lead, and he used a guy with a 9.00 ERA to keep the game scoreless. At this point, you have to wonder if he’s trying to get fired.
Game Notes: Reyes tried to go to second on a play in the second on a throw to the cut-off man. The play wasn’t even close, and it killed what could have been a big rally.
The best way to summarize Zack Wheeler‘s start is he answered the bell. Despite throwing 89 pitches through five, he went out for the sixth. Even with him throwing 103 through sixth, he came out for the seventh.
In the sixth, it backfired a bit as Wheeler allowed a lead-off homer to Jake Lamb to tie the game at one. In the seventh, he gave up a lead-off single to the eighth place hitter Jeff Mathis. After that lead-off hit, Terry Collins lifted Wheeler.
Unfortunately, that meant Wheeler would not get the win despite a very good outing. He didn’t get the win because the Mets offense only registered one hit against the Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley.
The Mets did make that one hit off Godley count. In the second, Godley issued back-to-back one out walks to Jose Reyes and Curtis Granderson. Rene Rivera then got the Mets lone hit off Godley giving the Mets a 1-0 lead.
With the Mets not scoring more runs for Wheeler, he got a no decision despite striking out six and allowing just one run on seven hits and one walk.
He also didn’t get the win because Collins lifted him after one batter in the seventh. Wheeler started that inning despite his having an at-bat the prior half inning. In what was an obvious pinch hitting situation, Collins instead elected to play matchups.
Despite the lead-off hit to start the seventh, the Diamondbacks would not score a run. Jerry Blevins relieved Wheeler to face the left-handed hitting David Peralta. Peralta hit a shallow bloop to center that Granderson made a nice sliding play on.
Granderson couldn’t get to a bloop hit by the next batter Rey Fuentes. However, Granderson was able to nail Mathis who tried to go from first to third on the play. The one thing we learned on that play was just how slow Mathis is.
Mets dodged a huge bullet in the eighth when Paul Goldschmidt hit what appeared to be a go-ahead homer off Robles. Upon replay, it was ruled a double as Goldschmidt’s ball hit the yellow line. It should be noted for a manager hell-bent on playing matchups, Goldschmidt is now 5-6 off Robles.
The Mets good fortune was short-lived. After Lamb was intentionally walked, Yasmany Tomas hit a no-doubter to center giving the Diamondbacks a 4-1 lead. Later on in the inning, Mathis would hit a two run homer to make it 6-1. At that point, Robles would be lifted.
It should be noted Robles has had two rough appearances after he has been overworked like the rest of this Mets bullpen. In his first 18 appearances, Robles allowed three runs. He’s now allowed nine runs in his last two appearances. He’s apparently gassed. It’s not an excuse. It’s a fact.
That’s mop up duty for a reliever on pace to make over 80 appearances while Rafael Montero sat unused. If Montero isn’t being used in mop up duty, why is he on the team?
Wilmer Flores hit a two run pinch hit homer in the ninth to make the final score look more palatable. Still, whether it is 7-1 or 7-3, a loss is a loss.
The Mets have now lost five straight games and four straight on this road trip. All four of those games were winnable at some point. That point was up until a gassed bullpen was asked to get some outs. Something has to change and fast.
Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera missed the game with a thumb injury. The Mets are debating whether or not to put him on the DL.