The Mets played two ends of a doubleheader against the Braves with vastly different results.
When you look at the lineup on the first game, you can immediately guess which game they won and which one they lost:
- Nori Aoki
- Jose Reyes
- Brandon Nimmo
- Phillip Evans
- Dominic Smith
- Amed Rosario
- Juan Lagares
- Tomas Nido
- Chris Flexen
For his part, Flexen fought the good fight pitching five good innings allowing just one earned run. Then the sixth inning happened.
Josh Smoker would relieve Flexen, and he would allow all three inherited runners to score. The highlight (lowlight?) was Mets killer Freddie Freeman hitting a two run double.
With the lineup the Mets had, this game was all but over. The base running certainly didn’t help that Tyler Flowers threw out Lagares and Reyes trying to steal a base.
The Braves would score runs in each of the final four innings in the 9-2 blowout. The only Mets runs came off a Nido two run seventh inning double; his first career extra base hit.
Things would go much better in the second game of the double header because Seth Lugo was great.
Lugo pitched six scoreless innings allowing just two hits while walking none. He kept the Braves off balance striking out seven.
He’d get all the run support he needed from Travis d’Arnaud who had another big night in what has been a big month for him.
In the third, after Asdrubal Cabrera had an RBI groundout scoring Nimmo, d’Arnaud doubled home Lagares. The Mets 2-0 lead would become a 3-0 lead with a d’Arnaud eighth inning homer.
The Mets needed all the room they could get because Jeurys Familia had an adventure in his second save opportunity since coming off the disabled list.
After a Kurt Suzuki lead-off single, Familia made an error on a Freeman grounder to set up first and second with no outs.
Familia then bore down, and he got Flowers to ground out to end the game.
Between the two games, the Mets scored five runs. The runs were sufficient in the second half because the Mets had good pitching. That was a reason why the team was good in 2015 and 2016. For at least one night, you were reminded of those days.
Of course, with them getting annihilated in the first half of the doubleheader, you were reminded why the Mets are terrible this year.
Game Notes: Kevin Plawecki started at first base in the second game. With the Mets losing the first game of the doubleheader, they have officially gone the 2017 season without sweeping an opponent at home.
Here’s the thing. While you enjoy beating the Nationals, this game didn’t mean much. It’s not that the Mets season is over, and the Nationals have gone into preparing for the offseason mode. No, it’s because the Mets with Terry Collins at the helm aren’t focusing towards next year enough.
His second RBI was the game winning RBI scoring Juan Lagares.
Now, it’s beer. great to see Lagares get regular playing time. There are so few reasons to watch this team, but his defense is certainly one of them. He did it again today.
The reason the Mets were down was because Robert Gsellman wasn’t the same pitcher he was in his last start. Gsellman would only last five innings allowing four hits, six runs, five earned, and three walks with four strikeouts.
The big blow against him was an Adam Lind third inning three run homer.
However, when all was said and done, it wasn’t the Lind homer, but the Travis d’Arnaud homers. Yes, plural.
Déjà vu for d'Arnaud! His second homer of the game evens things at 6. End-5 pic.twitter.com/dCFusNjuM2
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 23, 2017
The first homer off Edwin Jackson that gave the Mets a 1-0 second inning lead. Jackson seemed to settle in after that, but the floodgates would open after the aforementioned Lagares bunt single.
His second one off Jackson tied the game setting the stage for the bullpen to keep the Nationals at bay.
At least to start the ninth, it was AJ Ramos. However, Ramos would not finish the inning.
Josh Smoker, who has reverse splits in his career, was brought to face Lind. He rose to the challenge getting him to line out for the second out of the inning.
Next, just like Collins went back to Jeurys Familia to close it out. For the first time since returning from surgery. It was just like old times with Familia striking out Victor Robles to end the rally and the game.
Game Notes: Amed Rosario came back after missing three
This season has mostly been a lost season at the plate for Travis d’Arnaud. Well, that is for everywhere he plays except Marlins Park.
At Marlins Park, which was designed to be a pitcher’s park, d’Arnaud entered the game hitting .421/.500/.895 with a double, triple, two homers, and eight RBI.
Tonight, d’Arnaud would continue raking in Miami going 2-5 with a run, homer, and two RBI. Essentially, he was once again Will Smith circa 1997:
Like he was that one glorious game in April, back when we thought this was going to be a special Mets season, d’Arnaud was the difference in this one. In addition to his bat, he did a good job behind the plate catching Seth Lugo.
Lugo pitched well with the Marlins only getting to him in the bottom of the fourth on a Christian Yelich opposite field homer. That’s all the Marlins would get with Lugo settling down after a J.T. Realmuto two out double, which put him in scoring position as the go-ahead run.
Surprisingly, Terry Collins would lift Lugo after five with Lugo having only thrown 83 pitches. It may just be a sign Collins is finally paying attention to the data. With the Mets rumored to replace him, it’s probably too little too late.
One thing of note. Even with Familia coming back from surgery and the Mets now hesitant to use him on back-to-back days, it at least appeared Collins was going to test his limits.
After a scoreless seventh, Familia began warming up to pitch the eighth. Once the Marlins announced the switch hitting Tomas Telis as a pinch hitter, Collins went to Blevins.
It makes you question whether Collins was buying Blevins more time, or if he was trying to get the matchup he wanted. However, considering Giancarlo Stanton was on deck, it’s hard to believe Collins wanted Blevins for him. Then again with Collins, who knows?
One significant note was that with d’Arnaud’s two run homer and homers by Yelich, Justin Bour, and Jose Reyes, all but one run in this game were scored via the home run. It was significant in a season where seemingly every team is hitting homers.
It was on a night where Alex Gordon hit the 5,694th homer in the majors this season – a new record:
A new record for most homers hit in a season – EVER.
— MLB (@MLB) September 20, 2017
The lone run not scored via the homer was a Reyes RBI single in the ninth scoring Phillip Evans. Evans had led off the inning with a single, and he moved to third after a Matt Reynolds sacrifice bunt and a Nori Aoki groundout.
The 4-1 lead meant AJ Ramos would get a save opportunity in his first appearance against his former team. He was greeted by a Bour homer.
Because Ramos likes the high wire act, Realmuto followed the Bour homer with an infield single thereby allowing the tying run to the plate with no outs.
Even with a couple of strikeouts, you still felt uneasy. Things got worse after an A.J. Ellis pinch hit RBI single. Then, finally, after walking a tight rope for so long with the Mets, Ramos blew a save.
Ichiro Suzuki lined one just out of the reach of a leaping Reyes. With the ball skimming off Reyes’ glove, the run scored fairly easily.
If things weren’t bad enough, Stanton and his 55 homers came to the plate. Ramos wanted no part of him, and he walked him. This led to Collins pulling him and bringing in Paul Sewald.
Even with Sewald being an accomplished minor league closer this was a difficult situation. Anytime the bases are loaded, there’s no margin of error. Factor in Yelich being the batter, and Sewald not having been used in these spots, it was a tough ask.
As if things weren’t difficult enough, Sewald went 3-2 with Yelich. Sewald then reached back and found something within himself, and he threw a slider that Yelich swung and missed to send the game to extras.
It was a temporary stay of execution. Realmuto would hit a walk off homer off Sewald in the 10th giving the Marlins a 5-4 win.
Normally, this would’ve been a gut wrenching loss. The way the season has gone, this just seemed to be a quick and merciful end.
Game Notes: Amed Rosario missed a second straight game with gastroenteritis.
If Rosario played for anyone of the other 29 teams, we'd believe gastroenteritis, but since he's a Met, we all know this is happening: pic.twitter.com/IkMHgsfTaM
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) September 19, 2017
- You’ve been in a coma since 2014;
- You’re a much better gambler than Craig Carton; or
- You just started watching baseball this September.
Seriously, Montero and Plawecki have been much improved players at a time where it seemed even the Mets were beginning to give up on both of them. Finally, the Mets faith in both seems to be rewarded. Tonight was the latest example.
Plawecki has been much improved at the plate. It’s not just batting average or OBP, it’s his hitting for power.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 9, 2017
His two run shot in the second inning was a no doubter. It was the second of the season and sixth of his career. It gave the Mets a 2-1 lead, and the team didn’t look back.
For the first five innings that was because of Montero. Except for a 1-2-3 first, he was in trouble all night long. Part of that was the re-emergence of his walks problem with Montero allowing five walks in five innings.
Still, while the walks re-emerged, the meltdowns didn’t. He made the pitches he needed to get out of jams and innings.
He then handed the call to Chasen Bradford, who has rebounded well from his one poor outing against these Reds at the end of August. In that outing, he gave up four runs without recording an out tonight. He got redemption pitching 1.2 scoreless striking out four.
He not only kept the lead, but he allowed the Mets to blow it open for their fourth win in a row.
Cabrera’s next double plated Nori Aoki in the seventh. This followed Aoki singling home Matt Reynolds and Jacob deGrom. Reynolds was hit by a pitch, deGrom pinch hit for Josh Smoker, and both advanced on a Jose Reyes sac bunt.
With the Mets having a 6-1 lead, it was an easy game for rookie Jamie Callahan to put to rest. It might’ve been the reps or the five run lead, but he looked more relaxed and composed. All the Mets look that way with the team playing much better of late.
Game Notes: Amed Rosario is feeling better, and he may play tomorrow v
Whenever you see Brandon Nimmo, you see him grinning ear to ear. Well, tonight he gave Mets fans reason to smile.
That smile never gets old @You_Found_Nimmo. ?
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 8, 2017
In a surprise decision, Terry Collins made Nimmo the clean-up hitter tonight. Despite, Nimmo not hitting for much power in the minors, he looked every bit the clean-up hitter tonight.
It was a career night for Nimmo who went 3-4 with three runs, a double, two homers, and three RBI. Oh, and of course, he drew a walk.
One of those homers was the start of back-to-back homers with Juan Lagares:
Two solo shots, same celebration. #LGM
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 8, 2017
The Nimmo performance and Lagares homer was part of what was a terrific night for the Mets. Now, it wasn’t just terrific because the Mets won 7-2; it was terrific because of who contributed to the win.
That started with Matt Harvey.
Harvey, starting on normal rest, took a step in the right direction. He pitched five innings allowing two runs on five hits. It was far from a perfect performance, but it was an improved one.
We saw his slider get a little sharper as the game progressed. After allowing runs in consecutive innings to start the game, he allowed just one hit from the third inning through the fifth. Had he not been on a pitch limit, it’s likely he would have pitched the sixth.
Once Harvey left, the Mets bullpen was very good. Josh Smoker struck out the side in the sixth. Jeurys Familia had his best outing of the year pitching two scoreless. While not a save situation, AJ Ramos closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
At this point of the season, it’s really not about wins and losses inasmuch as its about how the Mets are playing. Tonight, the Mets won getting key contributions from important people. That made this a night that gave you reason to smile.
Terry Collins and the Mets continue to push the envelope. With each and every game, they continue to make decisions which continue to de-emphasize player development.
In tonight’s example, Jose Reyes hit leadoff over Brandon Nimmo. As if this wasn’t bad enough, Collins double switched Amed Rosario out of the game in the sixth. As part of that move, Collins put Reyes at shortstop.
When you manage like this, you deserve to have Reyes thrown out trying to steal a base down four in the seventh inning.
Seriously, if Collins is going to make sure he plays Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera, he better make sure they play good fundamental baseball. If you’re having your young players learn by watching, have them learn by watching what to do.
Speaking of what to do and not to do, knowing Collins the way we do, he’ll take issue with Chris Flexen.
Sure, there were many issues with Flexen’s start. How could there not when you don’t make it out of the fifth. His final line was 4.2 innings, seven hits, seven runs, four walks, and four strikeouts.
Those four walks hurt him too. He issued two of them in the first inning to help load the bases. After a Eugenio Suarez single and a Scott Schebler grand slam, the Mets fell behind the Reds 5-1 in the first.
Flexen again walked two batters in the fifth. Not even Adam Duvall hitting into a double play would bail him out. Scooter Gennett would hit an RBI infield single off Flexen’s leg. After Flexen walked Suarez, Collins brought in Josh Smoker.
Smoker allowed a Schebler RBI single. Nimmo had a shot at Gennett at the plate, but Travis d’Arnaud could not corral the short hop. Once Smoker got out of the inning, it was 7-1 Reds with all runs charged to Flexen.
However, that won’t be what irritates Collins. It will be that Flexen showed up Reyes.
Reyes was out there playing his first career game in left field. With the injuries and the possibility Reyes could return next year in a utility role, Reyes playing left isn’t a ridiculous idea. It’s just ridiculous he would lead-off.
Reyes took a ridiculous route to a second inning Billy Hamilton fly ball. He broke in and the ball went well over his head. A clearly frustrated and dejected Flexen threw up his hand in disappointment.
Yes, Flexen shouldn’t show up his fielders. That goes double when you’re walking the ballpark and giving up a grand slam. Still, this is the same Reyes who never had an issue doing this himself. Again, if you’re holding out players as an example, this is the stuff that happens.
But this is Terry we’re talking about, and we know his veterans are Teflon. That goes double for Reyes.
The Mets would attempt to make a game of it with the help of the surprisingly not double switched out of the game Dominic Smith.
After a Cabrera walk and a d’Arnaud double, Smith hit a two out RBI single in the sixth to pull the Mets to within 7-3.
Smith came up again in the eighth, and he collected his first career hit off a left-handed pitcher. It set up runners on the corners with two outs. Unfortunately, Travis Taijeron would strike out to end the inning. So far in Taijeron’s career, he’s 0-9.
The Mets would get no closer than 7-3. In fact, things would get much worse.
While Chasen Bradford has been really good this year with a 2.38 ERA in 17 appearances, he had nothing tonight. He recorded no outs while allowing seven runs (five earned) on six hits and one walk.
The unearned runs were due to two Wilmer Flores errors in the inning.
With Collins having done all he could do to burn out a larger than usual bullpen during Sunday’s double header, Collins finally did the right thing by going to a position player to pitch.
Plawecki came in with the bases loaded and no outs. Phil Ervin hit into a double play. After a Hamilton double, and a Flores error allowing Cozart to reach, two of the three inherited runners had scored. Credit should be given to Hamilton who could’ve scored on the error but chose not to run up the score.
In a shock to everyone, Plawecki got Joey Votto to ground out giving Plawecki a story to tell his grand kids. It’s certainly a better story than the contents of his locker.
In the end, the Mets lost 14- 4 with that all too brief ninth inning rally ending on a Flores GIDP. Right now, it’s not about wins and losses. It’s really about developing players by playing them and having them learn from their mistakes.
Collins favorite young player Jose Reyes certainly has a lot to think about tonight. Hopefully, he learns from this, and he gets better. Certainly, the team needs him over the next decade.
Game Notes: Plawecki became the second Mets position player to pitch twice in a season. The first was Matt Franco in 2000. Hat tip Greg Prince:
Matt Franco preceded him in this honor.
— Greg Prince (@greg_prince) August 30, 2017
The win snapped a Mets 14 game winning steak against the Reds.
This was one of those days that makes you question why exactly the Mets are sticking with Terry Collins right now?
He also continues to make just poor decisions with his pitching. If you didn’t know any better, you’d expect Collins gets paid by the bullpen move, and he gets paid double for each double switch.
He really pressures his pitching staff. Today, Collins took that to an absurd level.
Even knowing Seth Lugo would be limited to 75 pitches in the second game of the double header, Collins ripped through his bullpen.
Part of that was Tommy Milone only lasting 4.1 innings. The bigger part of that was Collins managing the game like it was Game 7 of the World Series to try to protect a five run lead.
What was really irritating was Collins first ripped through the guys who could give him multiple innings – Hansel Robles, Rafael Montero, and Josh Smoker. The trio combined to pitch one inning with 35 pitches.
With all Collins histrionics, the Mets still blew the 5-0 lead. They got there because Cabrera and Flores hit a pair of homers.
Rosario has 4 homers, 3 of them in the 8th inning or later, 2 to give the Mets a lead in a tie game.
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) August 27, 2017
The Mets would hold onto the 6-5 lead with AJ Ramos getting the sixth out save to preserve the rare Mets Sunday win. Of course, to get the rare win, you needed a play you rarely if ever see.
Murphy ripped a liner above a leaping Cabrera. Travis Taijeron, who had some on in one of the multitude of double switches, overran the ball, and Jackson broke towards home.
Juan Lagares adeptly backup up Taijeron on the play. He then made a strong throw to Cabrera, who in turn, made a strong throw to Travis d’Arnaud. With the tag, the Mets cut down Jackson, and the Mets won the game on your typical 9-8-4-2 put out.
After this game, the question was whether the Mets pitching staff had enough bullets left to pull out a win in the nightcap. The answer was a resounding no.
The Mets had rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead in the second game.
Lagares knocked in the first run on an RBI double. He then came home to score on a Brandon Nimmo two run homer to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. It was short-lived.
After Lugo went 3.2 innings allowing two runs, Smoker came on, and he kept the Nationals at bay in his 1.1 innings of work.
Then came Robles in his second appearance on the day. After getting a Murphy line out, the Nationals had a runner on first with one out.
Robles continued by walking the first four batters allowing the Nationals to not only tie the game, but also take a lead. On the bright side, Collins double-switched Smith out of the game meaning he was willing to sacrifice development to win this one game.
Ultimately, it didn’t matter. Erik Goeddel pitched the eighth, and Lind took him deep to give the Nationals a 5-3 lead. The insurance run loomed large with the Mets rallying in the ninth off Sean Doolittle.
d’Arnaud led off with a pinch hit single, and Gavin Cecchini singled to move d’Arnaud to second. With a 0-2 count, Reyes dropped a single right in front of Taylor allowing d’Arnaud to score to pull the Mets within one.
The tomfoolery ended with a Lagares line out to Alejandro De Aza.
Collins did everything he could to win both ends of the double header even if it meant eschewing his main responsibility right now- developing players. He didn’t care what he did to the bullpen. For all that effort, he just had a split to show for it.
Game Notes: Kevin McGowan was activated for the second half double-header as the 26th man. He would not pitch.
Today’s Mets game was scheduled at 12:10 because it was Camp Day at Citi Field. Apparently, the Mets aren’t much interested in generating new baseball fans because the team played one of their typical dreary day games. With today’s loss, the Mets are now an MLB worst 10-23 in day games.
This loss was one of the worst. It wasn’t the worst because the Mets were blown out. The 5-1 score dictate otherwise. Rather, it was a dreary day when the Mets gave you very little reason to cheer.
Rangers starter Martin Perez allowed just three hits over eight innings to the Mets with Wilmer Flores‘ fifth inning homer being the lone run scored. Perez was so good on the mound that he was able to stick around long enough to earn a golden sombrero.
One pitcher who did not last very long was Rafael Montero. His good stretch of pitching is now long forgotten, and he’s back to being the very bad pitcher that would drive Mets fans crazy. Just to put it in perspective, the first run of the game scored on a Montero balk, and he followed that up by allowing a three run homer to Joey Gallo, who has just worn out the Mets in this short two game series.
The run in the second inning was maddening. Elvis Andrus would steal consecutive bases off of the combination of Montero and Rene Rivera, and then he would score just ahead of Jose Reyes‘ throw home. It was a bad job blocking the plate by Rivera. The only thing worse than that was Collins failure to challenge the play at second on the first stolen base. Replays would show Andrus was actually out.
Montero’s final line would be 3.0 innings, five hits, four runs, four earned, three walks, and five strikeouts.
From there, Terry Collins played his favorite stretch everyone out in the bullpen game. Josh Smoker would pitch two innings, but he couldn’t get through that third. He would load the bases with no outs. Hansel Robles came on, walked a batter, got out of the jam, and he would pitch three innings. This for a reliever that just said he couldn’t feel his fingers the other day.
Chasen Bradford pitched a scoreless ninth to at least give the Mets a chance to win the game in the ninth. They didn’t.
Really, the one highlight other than Flores’ homer was Amed Rosario making a terrific diving play:
— ? BIG APPLE METS ⚾️ (@BigAppleNYM) August 9, 2017
GAME NOTES: Neil Walker started the game at third base making him the 164th third baseman in Mets history.
The New York Mets were playing on Sunday night. They were scheduled to play the Los Angeles Dodgers who are currently on a pace to win 115 games. The question wasn’t whether the Mets would lose. The question was whether the game would be competitive.
SPOILER ALERT: It wasn’t.
Shocking, I know.
Effectively speaking, this game was over in the first inning. The shame of it was the Mets initially seemed to get out of that inning unscathed. Travis d’Arnaud made a strong throw to beat Justin Turner at second. However, that’s not what happened. Upon review, Turner made a swim move avoiding the tag. It would turn out to be one of the three stolen bases on the nigh against d’Arnaud and Steven Matz.
After the play, Matz would give up a walk and three hits giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. It would have been 4-0 except Michael Conforto made a good throw from center to nail Austin Barnes at the plate. It was a good block of the plate by d’Arnaud.
However, it didn’t matter much. Hyun-jin Ryu dominated a Mets team that frankly looks disinterested right now. Over seven innings, he allowed just one hit to d’Arnaud while striking out eight batters over seven innings. That would be the Mets only hit in the game.
On the other side, Turner would hit a two run homer off Matz, and Josh Smoker would allow a two run shot of his own to Cody Bellinger. Apparently, Terry Collins doesn’t have access to Baseball Reference because he continues to try to use Smoker to get tough left-handed batters out despite Smoker having reverse splits.
That’s at least better than whatever Matz is doing now. His last six starts, including tonight, have been absolutely terrible. His pitching 5.1 inning is a moral victory at this point. There is something clearly wrong with him whether it is mechanical, mental, or like most of his career, physical.
Because he is now a member of the Mets bullpen, AJ Ramos had to give up a run to make it 8-0.
In sum, the Mets lost another game to the Dodgers, and they got swept in the season series in which they were not competitive. This is the first time there has been a season series sweep in this 55 year rivalry. Isn’t that just the perfect allegory to the 2017 season? The Dodgers reach new heights while the Mets are irrelevant.
Game Notes: Turner made his old team pay again going 2-4 with three runs, a homer, two RBI, and two stolen bases. Jay Bruce and Neil Walker sat with some injury issues. Walker would make a pinch hitting appearance.
What could have gone down as a pretty interesting game fell apart.
deGrom's full of surprises pic.twitter.com/mfJVOA0mXI
— Mets Citi (@metsciti) August 5, 2017
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 5, 2017
Other than that, there wasn’t much reason to cheer. After Michael Conforto‘s single to lead-off the bottom of the first, the Mets offense would only get two more hits.
Long story short, Yu Darvish completely dominated the Mets. He pitched seven innings allowing just three hits. If not for the stolen bases, no Met would have made it to scoring position. He only walked one and struck out 10.
Unfortunately, deGrom could not match zeros with him. It was pretty impossible to do it when Chris Taylor homered to begin the game.
In total, the Dodgers just wore down deGrom, who would need 99 pitches to get through just five innings. His final line was five innings, five hits, three runs, three earned, three walks, and eight strikeouts.
Just like that, it was 5-0 Dodgers. After scoring a run off Chasen Bradford in the seventh, it was 6-0 Dodgers. It might as well have been 600-0 at that point. The Mets were overmatched and were not going to do much in this game.
This game was a solemn reminder of the different directions these two teams have gone since that epic NLDS just two years ago.
Game Notes: Conforto, Rosario, and deGrom were the only Mets to get a hit in the game. Conforto was the only Met with a multi-hit game.