Justin Wilson

Simulated Recap: Another Extra Inning Win

Another day, another pitcher’s duel, another extra inning game. This time it was Michael Wacha and Johnny Cueto.

This game went into extras tied 1-1 with the Mets run coming when Wilson Ramos scored in the sixth. Yoenis Cespedes was not credited with an RBI as he grounded into a double play.

The Mets took the lead for the first time in the 11th on an Amed Rosario homer off Reyes Moronta. Later in the inning, Michael Conforto hit a bases loaded two RBI single expanding the Mets lead to 4-1.

The Giants scored one in the bottom of the inning off Edwin Diaz, but that was it as Diaz picked up the save. After pitching a scoreless ninth and 10th, Justin Wilson picked up the win.

Simulated Recap: Matz And Mets Bullpen Shredded

This game was tied at 3-3 in the fourth. Michael Conforto has a first inning RBI single. Robinson Cano had a third inning RBI double, and he scored later that inning.

Steven Matz allowed two more runs in the fourth before getting the hook. Any chances the Mets might’ve had of coming back to get Matz off the hook were dashed when the Phillies knocked around Justin Wilson in the eighth and Dellin Betances in the ninth.

That made the 7-3 game an ugly 11-3 loss.

Simulated Recap: McNeil Homers Mets To Comeback Win

The Braves got out to a 6-1 lead against Marcus Stroman and the Mets. However, Stroman would not get saddled with the loss.

In the sixth, the Mets pulled to within 6-4 after homers by Jeff McNeil and Robinson Cano.

In the ninth, Amed Rosario got the game winning rally started with a lead-off double. Later in the inning, McNeil hit his second homer of the game. This one was a go-ahead three run homer giving the Mets a 7-6 lead.

After a Yoenis Cespedes sacrifice fly scoring Pete Alonso, the Mets led 8-6. With Justin Wilson pitching a scoreless eighth, he picked up the win. Edwin Diaz recorded the save.

Simulated Recap: Porcello Shuffles Cards

Rick Porcello had what was probably the best start of his computer simulated baseball career allowing just one earned to the Cardinals over 6.2 innings.

Even though he had allowed just three hits up until that point, Luis Rojas went to his bullpen. Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances kept the Cardinals off the board heading into the ninth for Edwin Diaz, who converted the save.

In this 2-1 Mets victory, Brandon Nimmo hit a second inning RBI single against Cardinals starter Daniel Ponce de Leon scoring Wilson Ramos. In the fourth, Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo homer, which proved to be the game winner.

Similated Recap: Dom Hits Go-Ahead Homer In Ninth

Good teams pull out victories late in games. They show resiliency and rise to the challenge. In tonight’s simulated game, we see how good this Mets team could’ve been had they actually played games:

Down 3-2 in the ninth with the threat of their winning streak being snapped, Brandon Nimmo led off the top of the ninth with a double. Amed Rosario went the other way advancing him to third, and Dominic Smith hit a game winning two run homer to give the Mets a 4-3 victory.

The home run happy Mets also got homers from Yoenis Cespedes and Jeff McNeil. Justin Wilson earned the win in relief, and Edwin Diaz recorded the save.

Simulated Recap: Nimmo Walk-Off Homer In 11th

In the first game of this series, the Marlins offense exploded. In the next game, the Mets responded. In tonight’s game, no one could score:

From the Marlins perspective, you knew this was likely coming with Jacob deGrom on the mound. Jake was Jake shutting out the Marlins for seven innings.

Robert Gsellman, Edwin Diaz (2 IP), and Justin Wilson shut the Marlins down to keep them scoreless through 11. That allowed Brandon Nimmo to be the hero as he hit a walk-off homer to give the Mets a 1-0 extra inning victory.

Simulated Recap: Nationals Sweep Mets Away

In years past, the Mets have been able to use the opening series against the Nationals to make a statement. In this simulated series, the Mets team without Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard was swept at home.

While some were debating Steven Matz or Michael Wacha for the fifth spot in the rotation, it was Matz as the team’s number three over Rick Porcello in the absence of Syndergaard.

Mets actually had an early lead when Wilson Ramos hit a two out two run double in the fourth. However, the wheels came off for Matz in the fifth as the Nationals scored five runs capped off by a Kurt Suzuki two run homer. Matz was lifted when he couldn’t get the last out of the inning.

The Mets were down 6-2 entering the seventh. Robinson Cano chased Patrick Corbin with an RBI single. Amed Rosario and Jake Marisnick greeted the Nationals bullpen with RBI singles pulling the Mets to within 6-5.

The Mets had two on, no out, and they were ready to flip to the top of their lineup. For some reason, Justin Wilson hit for himself, and he couldn’t quite get the sacrifice down leading the Mets to strand the tying run at third.

An eighth inning rally sputtered without scoring a run, and the Nationals racked on two insurance runs in the ninth for the 8-5 win.

In the series, we saw the Nationals were a better team as they flexed their championship muscles. Of course, while some may debate whether that’s an actual thing, it’s most likely not in a simulation. The other key detail is while we have not seen Luis Rojas manage a game yet, we can be certain he doesn’t bat Wilson in that situation.

Overall, the Mets may be 0-3 in MLB The Show, but they’re still 0-0, so that’s something.

Simulated Recap: Mets Lose Another 11 Inning Game

With there being no baseball, or really any professional sports being played right now, MLB The Show 20 continues simulating the 2020 season.

The second game of the season went much like the first. Like with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, Marcus Stroman and Stephen Strasburg each had a no decision. Robinson Cano also homered, and Jake Marisnick would be caught stealing.

The game would also go into extras. Like on Opening Day when Robert Gsellman pitched a second inning, Justin Wilson would do the same. Wilson would also take the loss after surrendering a run in the top of the 11th.

This time the rally started with a Howie Kendrick lead-off single. After a wild pitch and fielder’s choice, he’d be on third with two outs. Whereas the Mets couldn’t turn a double play to keep the run from scoring on Opening Day, Brandon Nimmo just couldn’t get to a Kurt Suzuki shallow bloop near the line.

Instead of a 3-2 loss, the Mets lost this one 3-2 with Sean Doolittle recording the save again. Doolittle taking care of business against the Mets might be the most unrealistic part of these simulations.

In the end, these simulations highlight just how close these two teams are on paper. From these simulations, we’ve apparently missed out on some exciting baseball games. On the bright side, these losses don’t count for anything.

Mets Can Be Patient With Dellin Betances

The New York Mets signed Dellin Betances to be a big piece of their bullpen. The question for Betances and the Mets is when exactly that is going to happen.

Betances dealt with shoulder issues entering the 2019 season, and he would never quite regain his full velocity. When he was able to finally pitch he would partially tear his achilles. That set forth a trip into free agency with a number of questions marks and suppressed value on the market.

With there being just weeks before Opening Day, Betances has yet to play in a Spring Training game. Moreover, Betances’ velocity is still down, which isn’t all that unusual for him at this point in the year.

With the velocity down and Betances not appearing in a Spring Training game, the conversation about his availability for Opening Day needs to begin. While he COULD theoretically be ready, the Mets need to discuss whether he SHOULD be there.

No matter what the decision, one thing should be clear – the Mets don’t need to push Betances because the Mets have viable short-term alternatives at their disposal.

At the outset, it should be noted the Mets do have a bit of a Spring Training battle for the last spot in the bullpen. With Brad Brach, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo, and Justin Wilson guaranteed spots, there are three bullpen spots up for grabs. One of those is likely going to Michael Wacha, and when he is healthy, Betances takes the other leaving one.

It’s very likely that last spot goes to Robert Gsellman, but the Mets do have him spend the offseason preparing to be a starter. In the potential absence of Betances, he should be all but guaranteed a bullpen spot. That leaves some interesting options behind him.

Jacob Rhame is out of options, and as noted, he may be a sneaky candidate to make the Opening Day roster. Walker Lockett is in the same position as Rhame, but he does not have the same spin rates or velocity as Rhame, and he has also been more of a starter in his career.

Paul Sewald is continuously overlooked, but when he gets his chance, he does pitch well in spurts. He has shown versatility as a one inning reliever and as a late inning reliever. With the exception of one poor outing, he allowed one earned or less in 16 of his 17 relief appearances. His penultimate one last year yielded his first Major League win.

As enticing as Sewald may be, Daniel Zamora may be more so. With the new three batter minimum rule, left-handed relievers who can get right-handed batters out become all the more valuable. In his professional career, Zamora has reverse splits, and he has pitched well against them during Spring Training.

In terms of Zamora, with the three batter rule, you could argue he should be a leading candidate for the Opening Day bullpen even if Betances was ready.

Of course, Betances could be ready for Opening Day making this all academic. Still, the Mets need to prepare for that eventuality, and perhaps even if Betances might be ready, they could opt to give him some additional time. After all, Betances has thrown all of 0.2 innings over the past year.

If nothing else, you wonder how deep into the season he can go after not throwing many innings at all last year. No matter what the Mets do, they need to remember it is not about Opening Day. It is about October – how to get there and how to win when they get there. Fortunately, they have the depth options to get Betances there.

Mets Must Pitch J.D. Davis Early And Often

Major League Baseball has implemented new rules which not only restrict the use of left-handed relievers (i.e. LOOGYS), but they have also severely restricted the ability of position players to pitch in games. In fact, according to the new rules, a position player may not pitch unless it is extra innings or “his team is losing or winning by more than six runs when he enters as a pitcher.”

There is a caveat there where a position player can freely enter a game if they are designated as a two-way player. A two way player is someone who has 20 games started as a position player and has pitched 20 innings. As the rule implies, this is a status a player achieves during the course of the season.

Obviously, the 20 way player rule was implemented for a player like Shohei Ohtani who serves as both the Angels DH and a member of their pitching rotation. However, that does not mean other teams should not look to take advantage of this rule.

For the Mets, that means pitching J.D. Davis every opportunity they get.

When the Mets traded for Davis, one of the justifications for the deal was he could step in a reliever if needed. In fact, in his brief Major League career up until that point, Davis had made three relief appearances for the Houston Astros allowing an earned run over 2.2 innings. In those 2.2 innings, he struck out four and walked one.

That was his first pitching experience since college. While at Cal State Fullerton, Davis had 20 appearances. While pitching 43.1 innings, he had a 2.70 ERA, 1.177 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, and an 8.1 K/9. In his draft report, Baseball America noted ” shows good arm strength off the mound, showing 91-93 mph heat and a decent breaking ball, but his fastball is straight and his arm action isn’t great.”

Put more succinctly, Davis isn’t a Major League quality reliever, but he is a capable pitcher who could help a team out of the bullpen in a real pinch. The thing is you never know when that pinch is going to come.

Far too often, we see times in the season where the Mets pitching staff is completely gassed. The pitchers weren’t giving the length needed. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have begun piling up the multiple inning outings. That puts more of an onus on the one inning relievers to push harder than they typically should. Following the Mets, this happens at least twice a year.

With those stretches, an already questionable Mets bullpen will cost the Mets some games they wouldn’t otherwise lose. The job for new manager Luis Rojas and new pitching coach Jeremy Hefner is to find ways to mitigate against that. While being more judicious in how you use your pitching is one element, another is knowing when you send out a position player to pitch.

Early in the season, whenever the Mets have a six run lead or deficit, they should put Davis into the game to accrue innings necessary to achieve that two way player designation. Later in the season, that will allow the Mets to use him in four or five run games when they feel they need to save their pitching staff to give them a break.

Remember, this is an extremely talented Mets bullpen, but it is one with some health issues. Lugo has the torn UCL. Gsellman partially tore his lat. Dellin Betances is coming off an Achillies, and he had shoulder issues prior to that. Justin Wilson pitched through elbow soreness. Edwin Diaz has bone spurs in his pitching elbow. Michael Wacha was shut down with shoulder problems multiple times in his career.

Point is, bullpens, even the best bullpens, need breaks whenever they can get them. That can come in the form of a Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard complete game, and it can come in the form of Davis coming into a game and eating an inning here or there when the opportunity presents itself.

In order to really accomplish that, the Mets should remember a 162 game season is a marathon, and they need to prepare in April and May for problems which may come into play in July and August. Those problems are usually bullpen exhaustion related. To best prepare for that, the Mets should begin implementing strategies to get Davis qualified as a two way player so he is available when they really need help down in the bullpen.