While things have been going well recently, the Mets have had trouble identifying those relievers whom they can use and trust to eat up innings and take care of games where they have large leads. When that is an issue for your team, you wind up using and wasting good relievers in non-critical spots. You are also forced to use good relievers when it should not have been necessary.
On August 6, the Mets had a five run lead heading into the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins, the worst team in the National League. After eight dominant innings from Zack Wheeler, the Mets went to Robert Gsellman in the ninth. The following night, the Mets once again had a five run lead heading into the ninth. The team would use Jeurys Familia and Luis Avilan to close out the game.
On the roster at that time was Chris Mazza and Donnie Hart. The team did not use either reliever in that spot or really any spot. Truth be told if you can’t trust those relievers to close out games against the worst team in the National League, you don’t have any business being on the roster. It should come as no surprise neither pitcher is currently on the Mets roster.
When Mazza and Hart went down, Drew Gagnon was one of the relievers who replaced them on the roster. The Mets would bring Gagnon to pitch the eighth inning in the August 15 game against the Braves. At that time, the Mets had a 10-3 lead, and they just needed someone to pitch the final two innings to give the bullpen a rest. Instead, Gagnon would allow four homers, including a homer to Freddie Freeman in consecutive innings, thereby necessitating Edwin Diaz coming into the game to record the save in a 10-8 game.
This led to Paul Sewald being selected from Syracuse and re-joining the Mets bullpen. While this was largely met with eye rolls and consternation, Sewald is exactly what the Mets needed. In yesterday’s 9-2 victory over the Indians, the Mets would use Sewald out of the bullpen in the ninth. There would be no drama as he would allow a double while striking out three batters. In the grand scheme of things, these are the types of outings which are both necessary and overlooked.
Since his debut in 2017, Sewald has handled these situations well. In his career, in what is characterized as low leverage situations, he has held opposing batters to a .209/.262/.341 batting line. When there is a four run lead in either direction, Sewald has held opposing batters to a .223/.294/.365 batting line. This has permitted him to pitch multiple innings in these situations. In turn, this has allowed the Mets to save their better relievers for higher leverage situations.
This has an immense amount of value to a team, and these are the types of outings which helps a team get to the postseason. This is what Pat Mahomes provided the Mets in 1999 and 2000, Darren Oliver provided in 2006, and Sean Gilmartin provided in 2015. This is what Sewald can be over the remaining 37 games of the season. His doing that frees up Lugo, Diaz, Familia, and Justin Wilson for the higher leverage situations.
All told, Sewald can provide an immense amount of value to the Mets bullpen by eating up those innings and not having Mickey Callaway need to worry about needing to go deeper into the bullpen in these situations. As we have seen this year, this is not a role which is easily filled. Ultimately, Sewald can perform well in situations where others cannot, and as a result, he provides this bullpen and this Mets team with real value.
The Indians came to town, and there were many storylines. The Mets had their flurry of roster moves. Mickey Callaway was facing off against his mentor Terry Francona. Mostly, these were two teams fighting for a spot in their respective postseasons.
On this front, both teams would get terrific pitching performances, and when there is a pitcher’s duel like this, it’s the team who makes a mistake who loses. That mistake would come in the sixth.
Up until that point it was 2-2. Steven Matz was cruising following up his Braves start with an even better one. On the night, Jason Kipnis was the only Indian to get to him with a solo homer in the second and an RBI single in the fourth.
Overall, Matz pitched 6.1 innings allowing two runs (one earned thanks to a Todd Frazier error) on five hits and two walks while striking out seven. He would pick up the win because the Frazier error wasn’t the game changing error.
Like Matz, Shane Bieber was very good. He was very economical with his pitches, and for a while, it appeared he was going to go the distance. Really, his only mistake before the fateful sixth was his allowing a two run homer in the second to J.D. Davis.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 20, 2019
In the sixth, Bieber has allowed those two runs. He began the inning retiring Amed Rosario, and he got Joe Panik to hit what should have been a harmless pop out to left. Instead, on the same day Luis Castillo was arrested in the Dominican Republic, Oscar Mercado dropped the ball.
For a moment, Bieber appeared to be getting out of the jam by striking out Pete Alonso. Then, Michael Conforto, who is maligned for not being clutch or not being considered a great player, hit a huge homer giving the Mets a 4-2 lead:
.@mconforto8 is good at baseball.
That is the tweet. pic.twitter.com/TNnEshRobl
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 21, 2019
Unlike in Atlanta, Callaway let Matz start the seventh. Matz got himself into trouble allowing a one out single to Greg Allen and walking Franmil Reyes. Callaway went to Justin Wilson who came up huge striking out Francisco Lindor and Mercado. After that, the Mets blew the game wide open.
Frazier got the rally started with a single off Adam Cimber. After that, Juan Lagares, who has been taking much better at-bats of late, drew a walk. A failed sac bunt later led to Rosario with another huge hit with an RBI single expanding the Mets lead to 5-2.
Rosario just continues being a legitimately great player in the second half. He’s hitting, running the bases well, and playing good defense. Tonight, he was an impact player going 2-for-4 with a run, walk, and an RBI.
After the RBI single from Rosario, Panik would hit an RBI single, and Alonso hit an RBI double capping off a four run seventh. After not getting a sac bunt down earlier in the game, Davis would cap off his Uber ride with an RBI double in the eighth capping off the scoring and giving the Mets a 9-2 lead.
After seeing Callaway had no faith in Chris Mazza, Drew Gagnon, or Donnie Hart to wrap up blowouts, Callaway would trust Paul Sewald, and Sewald would pitch with higher velocity pitching a scoreless ninth preserving the 9-2 victory.
The Mets are once again five games over .500, and they’re once again poised to make a run. This is an important stretch, and the Mets are playing with a requisite sense of urgency. Things are getting interesting again.
Game Notes: Rajai Davis was selected from Syracuse, and Walker Lockett was sent down to add him to the roster. Brooks Pounders was designated for assignment to make room for Davis on the 40 man roster. Jed Lowrie began a rehab assignment as the DH for St. Lucie, and Brandon Nimmo is continuing his in Syracuse. Robert Gsellman was a partially torn lat.
On Sunday, I was invited to join Tim Ryder for the Simply Amazin podcast to discuss the series against the Royals as well as other Mets matters. Off the top of my head, I remember mentioning J.D. Davis, Pete Alonso, Ruben Tejada, Brandon Nimmo, Dilson Herrera, Aaron Altherr, Amed Rosario, Seth Lugo, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Luis Avilan, Jeff McNeil, Joe Panik, Juan Lagares, Dominic Smith, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Rajai Davis, Luis Guillorme, and others.
Please take a listen and keep an eye (or ear) out for Thursday when I’m next scheduled to appear.
Depending on how you look at things, the Mets either showed they can play with the Braves, or they showed they are not in the same class as the Braves or the best teams in baseball leaving the postseason hopes all the more futile. Really, this was a wild three game series with a lot happening:
1. The one injury the Mets could ill-afford to handle was Jeff McNeil. His versatility is arguably more important than his bat. In any event, his absence really exposes not the Mets lineup but really their depth.
2. As we saw with the Mets yesterday, they can compete without McNeil. For that to happen, Pete Alonso needs to be the first half Alonso, and Amed Rosario needs to continue his breakout. The Mets need higher levels of production from Michael Conforto, and ultimately, they need Juan Lagares and Joe Panik to be everyday players.
3. It has been a pure joy to see Lagares become good again both in the field and at the plate. Of note, Lagares has had as many hits in this series as he’s had in his previous 15 games combined. If Lagares plays like this, he’s an everyday player especially with that glove in center.
4. With respect to second, Panik has to play everyday because Ruben Tejada isn’t good. In one game, he showed why he hasn’t been in the majors in two years, and he looked skittish with his back turned on double plays. You can point to his Triple-A stats, but that ball is all the more juiced than the Major League ball is.
5. Since the Mets opted to go with Tejada, Dilson Herrera has responded by going 3-for-6 with three runs, two homers, five RBI, and two walks in the past two games. He is red hot with a seven game hitting streak. While you may want to say the juiced ball theory applies to him as well (it does), his production was near this level last season. Tejada’s wasn’t.
6. It should be noted the Mets are carrying an extra pitcher with Drew Gagnon, who was beyond terrible last night, and really that spot in the bullpen has been terrible all year no matter who has filled the role. Given how the Mets need some power off the bench, and Herrera presents another player who could play outfield, there is no reason why he spends another day in Syracuse.
7. While Gagnon was terrible out of the bullpen, the rest of the bullpen has stepped up. Brad Brach looks as rejuvenated as Jeurys Familia does as late. Along with Justin Wilson, this gives the Mets three battle tested relievers who are pitching very well right now in front of Seth Lugo. That’s suddenly a good bullpen.
8. Lugo blew it on Wednedsay. We can try to say he didn’t have time to warm up (he did), or say it was another problem (not really), but he just wasn’t good. Fortunately for the Mets, he’s going to rebound from this and continue to be great.
9. Mickey Callaway was right in lifting Lugo for Steven Matz. There were many factors at play with that decision, and he ultimately went with the team’s best available pitcher in a high leverage spot. When he doesn’t have it, the Mets aren’t going to win those one run games.
10. On Matz, he was brilliant, and he has been much improved in the second half. In his six second half starts, he is 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.047 WHIP. If you’re getting that from your fifth spot in the rotation, you can beat the good and the bad teams.
11. Don’t make too much about Marcus Stroman‘s “struggles” since joining the Mets. He is adapting to a new team and a new pitching philosophy. The main takeaway from him is he has given the Mets a chance to win in his first three starts. This is probably the floor for his performance, and we should see him take off soon.
12. With Zack Wheeler, it was one poor start. Just one. Don’t overreact and just look forward to his next start against the Royals. On that front, it is interesting he is finally getting that chance to pitch against the Royals after he was supposed to be one of the team’s best starters in 2015 and his almost being traded away for Carlos Gomez that year.
13. The Mets really needed that game from Pete Alonso. He’s been struggling in the second half, and with McNeil down, they really need him to get back to being the All-Star level player. His five hit game was a reminder of just how good he can be. His tying Cody Bellinger‘s National League home run record with more than a month remaining in the season is a reminder as to just how good he has been.
14. Alonso and Rosario each having a five hit game in the same game was not only the first time it happened in team history, but it is a reason to get excited for the rest of the 2019 season and each of the ensuing years.
15. Yet again, we need to point out Rosario has figured things out, and he is now one of the best players on the team and emerging as one of the best shortstops in baseball. Since July 1, he is hitting .364/.399/.536, and in the second half he is a 3 DRS. Don’t be surprised, be ready.
16. Mets should have won this series, but they just couldn’t get that one big hit in either of the first two games. The main culprit was Conforto, but Wilson Ramos was also really bad. It should also be noted in Wednesday’s debacle, almost everyone was bad with the exception of Rosario, J.D. Davis, Luis Guillorme, Panik, and the pitchers not named Lugo.
17. Glass half full is the Mets showed they can play with the Braves. Glass half empty is the Mets chances of winning the division went from realistic to near pipe dream.
18. Starting this pivotal stretch of games 3-3 and being two out of the Wild Card is not a bad start. The Mets now have to make real headway in Kansas City before taking care of business at Citi Field. If they do that, we will have real season to be excited for the meaningful games in September.
19. Congratulations are in order to Howie Rose for being inducted into the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame. This is an honor long overdue, and it should hopefully serve as a precursor to both he and Gary Cohen being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
20. Gary Cohen and Howie Rose are no longer allowed to take time off at the same time. Gary Apple is terrible. He should never be allowed to do play-by-play again. Given his smug attitude, I wouldn’t care if he was gone from SNY all together.
This game almost down to a questionably managed inning by Mickey Callaway (Brodie texting) in the sixth, bit things got crazy in the ninth.
Everything started with his sticking with Marcus Stroman.
Stroman started the night with electric stuff and was untouchable for the first three innings. He then lost it for three batters allowing an Adam Eaton single, Anthony Rendon RBI triple, and a Juan Soto homer.
After that third, Stroman pitches three more scoreless partially because of an absolute Houdini act in the sixth.
Soto led off that sixth with a double. He should have scored when Matt Adams hit a ball deflected by Pete Alonso into right field. Despite the third base coach waiving him in, Soto stopped there. He wouldn’t get past that point even though runners were at the corners with no outs.
Air Amed. pic.twitter.com/dtDsBswPvz
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 10, 2019
At the end of five and a half innings, the score was tied at three with the Mets three runs coming in the fourth when Alonso and J.D. Davis went back-to-back.
Two legends. 💪💪💪 pic.twitter.com/IBqyubp8lb
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 10, 2019
Strasburg was more dominant than Stroman on the night. Those were just two of the four hits he would allow the entire night. The other two came in the bottom of the sixth in the Mets owned botched chance.
Rosario and Conforto led off the bottom of the sixth with consecutive singles setting up runners at the corners with no outs. This was the Mets chance to take the lead. They didn’t as Alonzo lined out to second, Davis striking out, and Wilson Ramos grounding out.
The Davis strikeout was a particularly egregious call. Down 0-2, he did well to work the count full. The eighth pitch appeared close (possibly too close to take), but that didn’t matter. Despite Davis barely taking the bat off his shoulder, the first base umpire ruled he swung. Strike three.
At that point, Stroman was at 102 pitches. Instead of going right to the bullpen, Stroman was asked to get Trea Turner. Like he did in Turner’s previous at-bat, Stroman lost him and walked him.
Now, the pitcher’s spot was due up third in the bottom half of the inning. The Mets bench is exceedingly weak, and a double switch would require lifting Davis, who is the team’s hottest hitter.
With that in mind, Callaway trusted Justin Wilson to get through the rest of the inning. Things started off well with Eaton striking out. Now, Seth Lugo was tossing, but Callaway stuck with Wilson against Rendon. With Soto on deck and Rendon 0-5 against Wilson plus the pitchers spot up third, you could understand. It just didn’t work out well as Rendon hit a go-ahead two run homer.
As bleak as things looked then, they looked worse when Turner struck again in the top of the ninth. He led off the inning with a single, moved to second on an Eaton single, and he took third off McNeil on a shallow fly to right.
Luis Avilan threw one in the dirt which didn’t get too far from Ramos. Turner read it perfectly and scored easily.
After a Davis double and Ramos single, runners were at the corners with no outs. Todd Frazier has been incredibly cold of late, but there’s still pop in his bat. We saw that with him launching an unexpected game tying three run homer:
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 10, 2019
Unlike the old adage, the homer did not end the rally.
Joe Panik kept things going with a single up the middle. The Mets, who never learn, had Juan Lagares pinch hit to bunt. In typical Lagares fashion, he botched the bunt allowing Rendon to get the force out at second.
After McNeil flew out, Rosario singled. Lost in this game was how great Rosario was tonight. He made the leaping catch to keep the game tied in the sixth. He was 3-for-5 at the plate. He was arguably the Mets best player on the night. He’d get overlooked because of Frazier’s game tying homer, and Conforto’s first walk-off hit.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 10, 2019
So much for Conforto not being able to hit left-handers or hit in the clutch. So much for not recognizing how great a player he is.
This was a GREAT 7-6 win. Great. The Mets absolutely stole one. They rose to this challenge, and they’re dangerous right now. They may have started this run beating up on bad teams, but they’ve now continued it ripping the heart right out of the chest of a good team who got a great pitching performance from their best healthy starter.
The Mets chances of the Wild Card may very well be tied to Steven Matz. He is the starter in whom you have the least amount of confidence, and he has the propensity to blow up at any time. We need not look any further than recent history with him shutting out the Pirates in one start followed by his getting knocked out in the fourth in his next start against the very same team.
The interesting thing with Matz is you usually get a good read on what type of day it is going to be from his first inning. Today, he allowed a leadoff single to Jon Berti, and two pitches later, he got Isan Diaz to ground into a double play. When he struck out Brian Anderson to end the inning, you got a good feeling about him on the day.
People are going crazy for White Paw this summer. ❄️🐻 pic.twitter.com/LZ8wiunUlT
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 7, 2019
One interesting development in Alonso’s career is how he has a good month followed by a bad month. Well, Alonso had the worst month of his young career in July. He has turned things around in August homering in three straight games.
While this was a big development in this game, perhaps a bigger one was Matz navigating his way out of trouble in the second. He got himself into trouble with a leadoff walk to Garrett Cooper, and Cooper would score after consecutive singles from Starlin Castro and Lewis Brinson. Matz would catch a break with a Brinson TOOBLAN as he would get caught in a rundown when Alonso cutoff Jeff McNeil‘s throw. That was a gift out.
From there, the game was basically all Mets as the Mets batters would put on a power show. Michael Conforto hit the first of his two run homers in the third giving the Mets a 4-1 lead. With that homer, he became the 14th Mets player to hit 100 homers, and he joined Darryl Strawberry and David Wright as the only Mets players younger than 27 to hit that mark.
In addition to Conforto, new puppy owner McNeil would keep is end of his bargain with his wife by hitting another homer.
Power surge in the Citi. 💪 pic.twitter.com/ECJwkDUPBv
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 7, 2019
Going back to Matz, he pitched 6.2 innings allowing just two earned on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Since the All Star Break, he’s 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA. Better yet, he’s 5-0 at Citi Field. When he is going at least six innings like he has in three of these five starts, you seem him as a very good fifth starter. Really, that’s what the Mets need from him.
They also need this continued good work out of the bullpen. Matz would depart with two outs in the seventh leaving Bryan Holaday at second after a two out double. Justin Wilson came on, and despite allowing a single to Martin Prado, he would get the Mets out of the inning preserving what was then a 4-2 lead.
As noted, Conforto and McNeil would each homer in the seventh expanding that lead to 7-2. That was a safe enough lead for Jeurys Familia, who pitched a scoreless inning even with him allowing a walk. Luis Avilan recorded the final three outs in the ninth with the rain looming to get the Mets the four game sweep of the Marlins.
This win completed a stretch of 16 games against teams with a losing record. The Mets took care of business in that stretch going from nine games under .500 to three games over. They have gone from seven games back in the Wild Card standings to just one game out. Now the hard part begins.
Game Notes: The last time the Mets swept the Marlins in a four game series at Citi Field was April 2015. Once again, the Mets did not trust Chris Mazza or Donnie Hart to preserve a five run ninth inning lead.
While the Mets did not make a trade to improve their bullpen at the trade deadline, they did improve the bullpen by adding Marcus Stroman. Much like in 2015, the Mets are relying upon their starters going deep into games thereby requiring less from their bullpen. When that happens, a bullpen which only needs to use pitchers like Seth Lugo, Edwin Diaz, Justin Wilson, and Robert Gsellman suddenly looks very good.
Then, there is Friday night in Pittsburgh. With Steven Matz only lasting 3.2 innings, the Mets had to go to the part of the bullpen they have not had to in a while. It eventually caught up with the Mets with Tyler Bashlor allowing three earned over 1.1 innings putting a winnable game out of reach.
With the Mets cycling through relievers like Bashlor, Jacob Rhame (10 day IL), Chris Mazza, Stephen Nogosek, and others, it is clear the team is at least a bullpen arm short, and they are attempting to cycle through these pitchers until one sticks. So far, that hasn’t happened, and it is time for the Mets to make a real move. There are some free agent options available.
Brad Brach was recently designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs in a season where he has gone 4-3, 6.13 ERA, 1.765 WHIP, 6.4 BB/9, and a 10.2 K/9. After seeing his ERA jump in each of the two seasons since his 2016 All-Star season, Brach has put up a career worst 6.13 ERA and a 6.4 BB/9. Beyond the walk rate, opponents have been hitting the ball harder against him, and as a result, he has a high .375 BABIP.
Conversely, he also has the best K/9 since 2016 and the best K% since 2017. Baseball Savant indicates he is above league average in fastball velocity, K%, and xSLB. All told, he still has Major League talent. With Phil Regan and Mickey Callaway, it would be well worth signing a pitcher the Mets have actively pursued over the past few seasons.
Another veteran pitcher who is available as a free agent is Cody Allen. Allen is available because the Los Angeles Angles released him on June 18, and he was released by the Minnesota Twins on July 31 after pitching to a 3.38 ERA with a 1.500 WHIP and 1.40 K/BB for Triple-A Rochester.
The season had gotten off to a good start with Allen converting four save chances to begin the season. Since that time, he has an 8.10 ERA in the Majors. One of the possible reasons for his struggles is his losing fastball velocity. Another reason may be his over reliance on the curveball. While it has been a good pitch for him, he has thrown it with much more frequency with worse results. To be fair, the same can be said for his fastball. Ultimately, with Allen, this is now two straight down years for him, and really, this could just be a sign he is no longer the same pitcher he was for Cleveland.
The hope with Allen is reuniting with Callaway would pay off dividends. Similarly, there may be hope an Addison Reed return to New York would work out well for both sides.
Reed was released by the Twins before throwing a pitch for the team this year. In total, he only made five appearances for Triple-A Rochester during a rehab assignment for a left (non-pitching) thumb sprain. He was shelled over those five appearances allowing eight runs over 5.0 innings. Since being released on May 21, he has not signed with another team.
With Reed, he had not been the same pitcher with the Twins than he was with the Mets. There are a number of reasons including his losing about two MPH off of his fastball making him more hittable. Given the state of the Mets bullpen and depth, it may be well worth bringing him back to the organization on a minor league deal and seeing how he performs in Syracuse.
In the end, the Mets external options are extremely limited. Given how the internal options have performed, it may be well worth claiming Brach and having him work with Callaway and Regan. With his strikeout rate, he could well be worth a flyer. The same can be said with Reed on a minor league deal. Overall, with the performances from the pitchers the Mets are willing to pitch, these players present not just a current upgrade, but also more upside than what we’ve seen.
Again, like he’s been all of this season, he was flat out terrible behind the plate.
But at the plate, he was vintage Ramos. He had an RBI single in the first to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Overall, he was 3-for-4 including a huge go-ahead two run homer in the eighth:
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 4, 2019
As shocking as that was, the homer was set up by a Robinson Cano double. This probably marks the first time this year Ramos and Cano have combined for back-to-back big hits.
That gave the Mets a 4-3 lead with the other non-Ramos run coming off a Jeff McNeil pinch hit homer in the seventh. McNeil sat after struggling the past few days with a sore wrist. Taking his spot stop the lineup was Amed Rosario, who continued to hit well with a 3-for-4 night with a walk and a stolen base.
Up until the homers, the Mets trailed 3-1 in Stroman’s debut.
As noted, Ramos was not helping him at all. The combination of Ramos and a stingy home plate umpire led to a 35 pitch first inning. In that inning, he allowed a run to score before he got an out, and he walked in a run. Things would’ve been worse if Stroman wasn’t a Gold Glover on the mound:
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 4, 2019
Stroman did well to settle in until the fifth. In that inning, he’d leave with one out and runners on the corners. With his being on a pitch limit due to a prolonged time between starts resulting from the trade, he was done, and Luis Avila came in. He’d walk a batter and hit another to force home a run.
Surprisingly, Jacob Rhame kept the Mets in the game pitching 1.1 scoreless. There was also scoreless frames from Justin Wilson and Seth Lugo. It was setting up for an interesting ninth with a struggling Edwin Diaz to get the save in a one run game.
That trepidation fell by the wayside with Ramos hitting a bases clearing double in the eighth giving the Mets a 7-3 lead. It was Ramos’ first six RBI game of his career, and it was his first 3 RBI game since May 25.
As it turns out, the Mets needed the insurance with Diaz allowing a two run homer to Starling Marte in the ninth. Diaz settled back in and got the final outs to preserve the 7-5 win.
The Mets are back to two under .500 as a result of a huge come from behind victory. They need to keep this up as they’re nearing a return to Citi for a huge homestand.
This was the typical Jacob deGrom start in that he was great, and he got little to no help from his offense.
deGrom would only struggle in the third. In that inning, he loaded the bases with one out. That was partially the result of his struggling with his command walking two batters. Unlike last night in his at-bat against Seth Lugo, Jose Abreu took advantage hitting a sacrifice fly giving the White Sox a 1-0 lead.
From there, deGrom would retire nine straight and 12 of the last 14 he faced. In total, he pitched seven innings allowing in run on five hits while walking two and striking out 11. Being this is deGrom, he would get the no decision for this typically great deGrom effort.
One of the reasons why was Lucas Giolito was arguably better on the night. The Mets wouldn’t get a runner into scoring position against him until Todd Frazier hit a leadoff double in the fifth. Giolito responded by getting the next three in a row to strand Frazier there.
Giolito did not have the same luck on the sixth after issuing a leadoff walk to Michael Conforto. After striking out Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano singled putting runners at the corners. Wilson Ramos hit a slow chopper to third, and Conforto broke home on the contact play. Conforto was safe on a nifty slide tying the game at 1-1.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 1, 2019
J.D. Davis had a chance to give the Mets a lead, but because this isn’t Citi Field, he hit into an inning ending double play.
Giolito settled back in, and he shut down the Mets allowing just the one run on three hits with three walks and nine strikeouts over 7.0 innings.
This became a battle of the bullpens, and Justin Wilson somehow got through the eighth unscathed. With runners at first and second and two outs, Jon Jay hit the ball up the middle. On the play, it was very difficult to see if Cano was going to get to it. It didn’t matter as the ball hit second base umpire Stew Scheurwater. That meant instead of a potential go-ahead RBI, it was an infield single and a dead ball.
As Gary Cohen was contemplating if you should bring in the warming Jeurys Familia, Ron Darling was rather forceful in saying Mickey Callaway should stick with Wilson. Callaway stuck with Wilson, and he got out of the jam getting Tim Anderson to ground out.
Against White Sox closer Alex Colome, Ramos would lead off with a grounder twice booted by Anderson. After Davis singled up the middle, Aaron Altherr pinch ran for Ramos. It proved to be the right decision as he scored easily on a Todd Frazier RBI single. It’s very likely Ramos was not sent or would be thrown out if he remained in the game.
The Mets had a chance to add-on with the bases loaded, and for a moment it looked like they’d squander the chance when Jeff McNeil struck out. It was not his night going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. While it wasn’t his night, it was Conforto’s hitting a two out two run single expanding the Mets lead to 4-1.
That left breathing room for Edwin Diaz, who was not traded, to get the save. He looked much different tonight than he has most of the season striking out the first two he faced. After a Leury Garcia homer, things felt much more ominous, but Diaz settled in to record his 24th save of the season in the Mets 4-2 win.
Mets have now won six in a row, and with the Nationals losing today, they’re closer to at least one of the teams ahead of them. It’s becoming more and more real.
If the Mets thought they could improve the team by trading Noah Syndergaard, he went out today and showed the Mets why the idea is monumentally stupid.
Syndergaard was Syndergaard pumping his fastballs up to 100 MPH. The White Sox didn’t have a hit against him until a Ryan Goins double to lead off the fifth. The White Sox only scored a run off of him because of a Todd Frazier error.
Other than that, the White Sox could touch Syndergaard through the first seven innings. Up until that point, Syndergaard had allowed just the unearned run on three hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts.
Things were different in the bottom of the eighth with the White Sox going through the lineup a fourth time.
Syndergaard bore down and got a huge strikeout of Leury Garcia. Mickey Callaway then brought in Justin Wilson to face the left-handed hitting Jon Jay who had good career numbers against Syndergaard entering the game.
Jay popped up a bunt which Pete Alonso could not get to in time, but with it being a pop up, the runners froze. As a result, the bases were loaded with Jose Abreu coming to the plate. Callaway countered with Seth Lugo. What ensued was a classic matchup.
It was an eight pitch at-bat which ran full with Abreu fouling off four pitches. On the eighth pitch, Abreu grounded into an inning ending 5-4-3 double play.
Confirmed: Seth Lugo has ice in his veins. pic.twitter.com/xpVjr4wnsH
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 31, 2019
Frazier, who was spiked earlier in the inning, got it quick to Robinson Cano, who made a poor throw to first. He was bailed out by Alonso’s terrific scoop.
The Mets needed that double play to preserve the 2-1 lead and keep Syndergaard on the long side of the ledger.
Syndergaard has now pitched 7.0+ innings in four straight starts allowing three earned or fewer and striking out 8+ in each of those starts. You’re not getting a better pitcher than this. It’s Exbibit AA why the Mets cannot trade him.
In the game, the Mets only scored two runs because they squandered opportunities going 0-for-12 with RISP and leaving 11 on base. To that end, the Mets only two runs came on RBI groundouts.
In the second, Tomas Nido plated Frazier with a groundout. In the fifth, a Cano groundout scored Michael Conforto. In both innings, and in eight of the nine innings, the Mets left runners on base. It was something front and center in your mind in that stressful eighth, and Edwin Diaz‘s eventful ninth.
It hurt as Anderson hit a sac fly. One more here is Callaway went with Aaron Altherr as the late inning defensive replacement in center instead of Juan Lagares. Even thigh Altherr’s throw was off line allowing the runner to score easily, it probably still didn’t matter. That said, it was an interesting development.
Diaz would get out of the inning sending it to extras, but it was still his fifth blown save.
The rally was started by a Rosario single. He’s sizzling hot now with a four hit game under his belt. He scored on the McNeil two run homer, and Conforto hit a massive homer giving the Mets a 5-2 lead.
— MLB (@MLB) July 31, 2019
The game ended on July 31 meaning it’s now the trade deadline with the Mets increasingly looking like buyers. Perhaps, but this run may be too little too late for that. It may not be for the Wild Card.
Game Notes: Conforto’s and Amed Rosario‘s hot second halves continued. Conforto was 3-for-5 with a two runs, a walk, double, homer, and an RBI. Rosario was 4-for-5 with a stolen base.