Kevin Plawecki

Lucas Duda Is Better Than You Believe

With the Mets announcement of selling, we have officially begun the silly season of people proposing ridiculous trade rumors.  However, that isn’t limited to fans like you and I.  That goes to people who are actually paid to write about baseball, and those that are paid to talk about it on the air.  The first doozy came from Mark Feinstand of MLB.com who wrote the Mets should trade Lucas Duda to the New York Yankees for Austin RomineShockingly, instead of being met with derision, Evan Roberts was right on board with this one.

How can anyone be on board with that trade?

Since becoming the Mets everyday first baseman, Duda is a .247/.347/.484 hitter who has averaged 28 homers and 83 RBI in the seasons he was able to play a full season.  This year, Duda is hitting .251/.362/.553 with 13 homers and 29 RBI in 53 games.  That’s a 40 HR and 89 RBI pace.

Since 2014, Duda is eighth among first baseman with a 129 wRC+.  Considering Edwin Encarnacion has been a DH more than 1B over that time, Duda is really seventh.  If you focus on his two full seasons of 2014 and 2015, Duda has a 134 wRC+, which would rank him seventh.  Again, if you view Encarnacion as a DH, Duda is sixth.  And with Duda’s stats this year, it looks like he’s back to that 2014-2015 form.

Sure, Duda can be prone to bouts of streakiness (like any other player), and he had one bad throw in the 2015 World Series.  That doesn’t detract from the fact Duda’s in the upper echelon of Major League first baseman.

His return should be much more than a career backup catcher like Romine.  Think about it. Romine’s career numbers are .219/.268/.342, but he is better this year hitting .268/.305/.423.  Sorry, those are Rene Rivera‘s numbers.  Romine is a career .224/.258/.325 hitter who is hitting .231/.262/.314 this year.

How can anyone believe Duda is worth a player worse than Rene Rivera?  The same Rivera who the Mets signed prior to the 2016 season because he was released by the Tampa Bay Rays after Spring Training.  And by the way for all the hand wringing over Travis d’Arnaud‘s arm, d’Arnaud has thrown out to 22% of base stealers in his career to Romine’s 21%.  At this point, you could even argue you would rather have Kevin Plawecki over Romine.

And yet, people believe Duda isn’t good enough to fetch more than a backup catcher . . . a bad one at that.  They say that despite the Yankees, Astros, Angels, Twins, Royals, and possibly other teams being in the market for a 1B/DH.

There is going to be a point where Duda is no longer the Mets first baseman.  He is going to go to another place where the fans are going to appreciate him for getting on base even when he’s cold at the plate.  They’re going to be in awe of a 30 home run caliber bat.  He’s going to play a good first base.

All the while, Mets fans will be bending over backwards to say no one could have expected this.  It’s just another case of Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy.  In reality, they’ll be wrong.  Duda was this good when he was in New York, but you just failed to appreciate him.

Typical Bizarre Mets Game

Mets games have just become the theater of the absurd.  Noah Syndergaard refuses an MRI and then leaves his next start with a torn lat.  Matt Harvey doesn’t show up to every game.  Kevin Plawecki apparently is kinkier than we think.  Mr. Met is walking through Citi Field flipping off the fans.  Today?  Well, for the Mets, it was more of the same.

In the fourth, the Brewers got a rally going on a couple of base hits including a Jonathan Villar single that deflected off Zack Wheeler.  After a Nick Franklin RBI single, the Brewers had a 2-0 lead and runners on first and second.  Brewers pitcher Chase Anderson squared to bunt and popped it up in front of home plate.  Travis d’Arnaud went to let it drop in the hopes of starting a double play.  Instead, he hesitated after picking the ball up, and he couldn’t get an out.  In a normal baseball game, this would be a fairly event filled inning.  Not the Mets.

Eric Sogard would pop up in fair ground in what should have been the second out in the inning.  Instead the ball boy ran directly into Wilmer Flores‘ arm causing him to drop the ball:

Same old Mets.  Fortunately, Wheeler settled down, and he was able to induce Sogard to hit into the inning ending double play.  It was one of three double plays the Brewers would hit into on the day.  The double plays would allow Wheeler to go deep into the game.  He would throw 102 pitches over 6.1 innings allowing 1o hits, two runs, two earned, and one walk with six strikeouts.  He departed the game down 2-0 with a runner left on second base.

Jerry Blevins got the job done getting Sogard to ground out by striking Eric Thames out.

Unfortunately, it didn’t matter as the Mets offense did nothing against the Brewers starter for the second straight game.  Lucas Duda (2-3) and d’Arnaud (1-2) were the entirety of the Mets offense on the day.  To be shut down yesterday by Junior Guerra is one thing.  Getting shut down today by Anderson is another.

While the Mets offense was inept, the pitching was doing its job.  That includes the bullpen.  After Blevins bailed out Wheeler, he got into some trouble of his own in the eighth leaving runners on first and second with no outs.  Fernando Salas came on and he got the Mets out of the jam striking out three batters.

In the eighth, the Brewers went to Jacob Barnes.  On the first pitch he threw, Flores launched a home run to deep left field to cut the score to 2-1.  Unfortunately, it was not the start of a comeback, but rather a single flare that went unheeded by the rest of the Mets offense leading to a 2-1 loss.  Case in point, Reyes and Jay Bruce took back-to-back strikeouts looking to start the ninth against Brewers closer Corey Knebel.

This was an extremely winnable game, and the Mets let it slip through their fingers.  For a team fighting just to get back to .500, they can’t keep doing this.  It’s losses like this that have put them in this position, and it is losses like this that will sink their season.

Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera got the day off, and Jose Reyes moved from third to shortstop for the day game.

Montero Was Not The Reason The Mets Lost

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. 

Travis d’Arnaud Is Better Than Rene Rivera

We saw it again.  When Travis d’Arnaud is healthy, he has the talent to be an All-Star.  However, yet again, he is injured, and his injury has once again created an opportunity for another player.  In the past, Kevin Plawecki wasted those opportunities.  This year, it is Rene Rivera, and he has taken full advantage of the opportunity.

Since d’Arnaud went back on the Disabled List, Rivera is hitting .357/.400/.452 with a double, homer, and 11 RBI.  Right now, Rivera is exactly what the Mets thought they would be getting from a healthy d’Arnaud.  Because of that Terry Collins has basically said d’Ranud is not getting his starting job back when he returns from the Disabled List.  Specifically, Collins said, “When Travis gets back, we’ll have to make some decisions, but obviously Rene Rivera has earned a spot, has earned a job catching, and we’re going to play him as much as possible.”  (Mike Puma, New York Post).

If Collins follows through with that plan, it is going to be problematic.  It is Collins confusing a hot streak at the plate from a veteran to a player transforming themselves.  There are two things that are true here: (1) It is hard to trust in d’Arnaud because of his injury history; and (2) Rivera is playing some of the best baseball in his career.  To say anything different is to read too much into everything.

In fact, this isn’t the first time we have seen this from Rivera.  In July 2016, Rivera hit .323/.400/.581 with two doubles, two homers, and seven RBI.  With that hot streak and another injury prone season from d’Arnaud, Rivera would be the starter the rest of the way.  In the ensuing 34 games, Rivera would hit .216/.278/.295 with one double, two homers, and nine RBI.

We shouldn’t be surprised by this.  Rivera is not a good hitter.  In his career, he is a .219/.269/.338 hitter who has just one season with double digit homers.  He has been slightly better in his one plus season with the Mets hitting .247/.304/.361 with eight homers and 40 RBI in 89 games played.  Even is you were to argue Rivera is a better hitter with the Mets, he is still not a good enough hitter to play everyday.

The obvious argument is Rivera should be starting because he is a strong defensive catcher that gets the most out of his staff.  Unfortunately, the data does not support this notion.

In April, with d’Arnaud catching 16 out of the 24 games, the Mets pitching staff had a 4.53 ERA and were walking 3.5 batters per nine innings and striking out 9.5 batters per nine innings.  In May, the Mets pitching has fallen apart.  In the month, the Mets pitchers have a 6.02 ERA while walking 4.4 batters per nine and striking out just 8.3 batters per nine.

Now, there are a number of reasons why this happened.  First of all, Noah Syndergaard has not thrown a pitch in the Month of May, and his replacement in the rotation was Tommy Milone.  We have also Adam Wilk make a disasterous spot start due to Matt Harvey being suspended.  That’s another thing.  Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Robert Gsellman have all regressed in May.

April May
       ERA     WHIP      BB/9        ERA     WHIP       BB/9
deGrom 2.84 1.17 3.20 4.50 1.50 4.50
Harvey 4.25 1.15 3.00 8.04 2.11 6.90
Gsellman 6.23 1.71 3.70 7.41 1.77 2.60

Now, there is always a real danger in trying to draw too many conclusions from a small sample size even if that is what Collins is doing in naming Rivera a starter right now.  However, there might be one big reason why these pitchers have struggled since d’Arnaud went on the Disabled List.  It could just be because d’Arnaud is a better pitch framer than Rivera.  In fact, between d’Arnaud, Plawecki, and Rivera, Rivera is the worst pitch framer on the roster.

Now, it might be difficult to accept d’Arnaud is better handling this Mets pitching staff than Rivera because that’s not the narrative.  The narrative is Rivera is the defensive specialist.  If you are looking for proof, look no further than his 36% caught stealing rate.  Actually, people rarely do look further than that.  While Rivera has his strong points as a catcher, he is not a great defensive catcher.  His pitch framing holds him back.  If he’s not getting that extra strike for his pitching staff on a per at-bat basis, it is hard to defend playing him everyday with his offensive ineptitude.

Overall, d’Arnaud is the better pitcher for this Mets pitching staff.  His pitch framing skills help turn balls into strikes.  This get his pitchers into advantageous counts.  This shortens at-bats.  It keeps runners off the bases.  Ultimately, pitchers can now go deeper into games.  Also, the pitchers can have leads when they leave the game with the help of d’Arnaud’s bat in the lineup.  Looking at d’Arnaud’s bat and his pitch framing, there should be no doubt he should play everyday.

Loss Was All Too Similar 

Just like yesterday, Terry Collins asked too much from his starter, which is unfortunate because he’s really not asking that much right now. Yesterday, it was asking Matt Harvey to pitch six innings. Today, it was asking Robert Gsellman to pitch five innings. 

Gsellman was struggling out there each and every inning. It all unraveled in the fifth. What was once a 4-2 lead became a 10-4 deficit. Gsellman got best around that inning allowing the first four Brewers to reach base. He’d depart the game not recording an out in the fifth, leaving the bases loaded, and the Mets still up 4-3. 

That lasted a blink of an eye when Hansel Robles allowed a bases clearing double to the first batter he faced. With that, Gsellman’s final line in the loss was four innings, nine hits, six runs, five earned, three walks, and three strikeouts. 

Robles also imploded. Despite his being double switched into the game, he only lasted one inning. That was because he allowed four runs on four hits and a walk. With that, his sparking 1.42 ERA is a pedestrian 3.15. 

Robles blowing up was eerily reminiscent of the Mets bullpen getting beat up yesterday. In fact, the game was really a poor facsimile of yesterday’s loss. 

This time it was Michael Conforto getting picked off second base instead of Jay BruceNeil Walker had another big game at the plate homering once again. Paul Sewald came on the eat some innings, and he allowed a run. Rafael Montero once again looked good out of the bullpen. 

Then there were the things that were different. Jose Reyes played center field in the sixth inning before finishing the game at shortstop. T.J. Rivera played left field from the seventh inning on. Kevin Plawecki had a good day at the plate going 2-4 with a double and two RBI. There was some normalcy with Plawecki with the Brewers going two for three on stolen base attempts. 

The main similarity to was the Mets losing. This game was by the score of 11-4. After a good stretch, the Mets have lost a game and a series. They’re now three games under .500, and they’re back at the drawing board. 

Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera, who has struggled defensively, committed two errors on one play bringing his error total up to five on the season. He had just seven last year. 

Why Was Wilmer Flores On The Field?

At this point, it’s almost become rote. The Mets have a lead late in the game, and Terry Collins inserts Juan Lagares into the game as a defensive replacement. 

The move makes a lot of sense. Not only is Lagares a Gold Glover in centerfield, but the Mets also lack another true defensive center fielder.  Another thing the Mets lack is a true defensive third baseman. 

With David Wright‘s injury problems, the Mets have been forced to play players out of position. The results have been poor. The Mets collection of third baseman have a -1 DRS and -2.7 UZR which rank 20th and 27th in the majors respectively. 

The main culprits there are Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores. Reyes has a career -8 DRS and -4.5 UZR at third base. Flores has a career -10 DRS and -1.9 UZR at third. Simply put, neither player is a third baseman. 

We all saw that on yesterday’s game. Flores doesn’t have good range at third, and he’s iffy with his throws. In the sixth, he spiked a throw to home plate when he had Christian Arroyo dead to rights. It took a good play by Kevin Plawecki to save him from the error and to record the out. 

There was no one to bail Flores out in the ninth.  In what could’ve been a game ending double play, Flores threw the ball offline. A Neil Walker stretch prevented the ball from going into right field, big it couldn’t get the force out at second.  As we know, this came back to haunt the Mets in a 6-5 loss. 

The obvious question that arises is why was Flores still on the field. The Mets had a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning. Their closer, Jeurys Familia, is a sinker ball pitcher who generates a number of ground outs. With that being the case, isn’t it incumbent on Collins to put his best defensive infield out there?  

Matt Reynolds, who is generally regarded as a good defensive infielder, was available on the bench. Certainly, he’s a better defender than Flores at third. Much better actually. Why wasn’t he in the game?  
Keep in mind, this was another game Collins over-managed. He used four relievers to pitch two innings. He went to the extreme on the matchups to the point where he removed his eighth inning reliever, Addison Reed, because a left-handed batter was coming to the plate. He did that despite Reed pitching extremely well against left-handed batters during his time with the Mets. 

If Collins is willing to empty his pen, why not his bench?  What’s the justifiable reason for keeping the better infielder on the bench with a sinker ball pitcher on the mound?  There is no good reason. 

Look, we can all agree that it’s the players in the field who win or lose games. Certainly, Flores helped lost this game with his error. Familia was the one who gave up the subsequent hits. However, ask yourself whether Collins put his team in the best position to succeed in the ninth inning. 

The answer to that needs to be a clear and unequivocal, “No.”  

Mets Bat Around and Around

When you bat around twice in one game, you know your offense is humming. In fact, tonight marked the fifth straight game the Mets scored seven plus runs. It’s the ninth straight game the Mets scored five plus runs. 

The latter the Mets took care of with a five run first inning. The fifth run was scored when Michael Conforto drew a bases loaded walk. Believe it or not, he did that again in the fifth inning. It was one of six walks the Mets drew on the night.

It was one of those nights. The Mets scored 11 on just seven hits. The walks and the Marlins having three errors will do that. In fact, with all that help, the Mets didn’t need a homer to score a run. 

Every Mets batter reached base tonight except Wilmer Flores and Hansel Robles, and Robles had a successful sacrifice.

Flores entering the game was the real downside to the game. He entered due to Asdrubal Cabrera injuring himself while diving for a ball in the third. Initially, many thought it was another aggravation of his leg injury. In fact, he suffered a hand injury. Cue the Amed Rosario discussions. 

Despite Cabrera coming out, the offense didn’t skip a beat with the Mets offense still clicking on all cylinders:

  1. Conforto 0-2, R, 2 RBI, 3 BB
  2. Cabrera 1-2, R, 2B, RBI
  3. Bruce 2-5, R, 2 2B, 3 RBI
  4. Walker 1-5, R, 2B, 
  5. Granderson 0-2, 2 R, 2 BB
  6. T.J. Rivera 1-3, 2 R, RBI
  7. Reyes 2-4, R, RBI
  8. Plawecki 0-2, R, HBP, SF, RBI
  9. Gsellman 0-1, BB

It should be noted Gsellman wasn’t great again. He needed 83 pitches to get through five innings, and Terry Collins lifted him for a pinch hitter in the fifth to help expand the Mets lead. 

Gsellman’s final line was five innings, eight hits, three runs, three earned, no walks, and two strikeouts.

The main issue for Gsellman is he’s not getting the ball down like he did last year, and he’s missing a tick or two off his fastball. That was apparent when both Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna hit long homers off him. 

On the bright side, Paul Sewald pitched two scoreless innings to close out the 11-3 game. Due to two big plays from Granderson in center, Sewald didn’t allow a hit. 

The Mets have now won two in a row at home for the first time all season. They have also won six of their last eight to get back to second place. If they win tomorrow, they get their first home sweep and will be back at .500. 

Game Notes: Even with a five run lead and two outs in the sixth, Collins still lifted Fernando Salas for Josh Edgin to face Derek Dietrich

Rough Knight

It’s time again to wonder what’s wrong with Matt Harvey. Again, he struggled against a poor Braves offense. This time, he couldn’t hold a lead. He’s not striking guys out. 

Tonight, his line was 5.1 innings, eight hits, six runs, six earned, three walks, and two strikeouts. His start was more frustrating than those numbers indicate. 

After being staked to a 2-0 lead on a Jay Bruce first inning homer off R.A. Dickey, Harvey gave the lead right back by surrendering a two run homer to Freddie Freeman. The Mets then fell behind 3-2 when Harvey allowed an RBI double to Ender Inciarte

It’s odd that this was considered an earned run. The rally was started when Jose Reyes threw a ball away allowing Kurt Suzuki to reach. Despite Reyes’ arm and Suzuki’s speed, it was ruled a hit. 

The Mets tied the game at three in the third with an Asdrubal Cabrera leadoff homer. From there on out, it was all Braves. 

Things began to unravel in the fourth with some poor pitching, luck, and umpiring. Adonis Garcia  hit a lead off single, and then he moved to second on a Suzuki hit by pitch. On the hit by pitch, Suzuki actually took a full swing which should’ve negated the hit by pitch, but he was awarded first anyway. It should be no shock this was the decision as the first base umpire Larry Vanover was not good tonight. For example, he initially called Juan Lagares out on this play:

And then there was this one:

In any event, Suzuki was awarded first. Harvey then walked Dansby Swanson to load the bases despite Swanson entering the game hitting .151 and being up 1-2 in the count. Garcia then scored a run on a large hop off Dickey’s bat. Inciarte, a true Mets killer, made it 6-3 with a two RBI single. 

The Mets had things cooking in the fifth and looked to be poised to tie the score again. However, Neil Walker grounded into a double play turning first and second no out to a runner on third with two outs. Then, Nick Markakis absolutely robbed Travis d’Arnaud. It was d’Arnaud’s last at-bat of the game as he’d be lifted in the sixth for Kevin Plawecki because his wrist injury flared up again. 

Harvey pitched into the sixth, but he was removed with one out after throwing 99 pitches. He likely would’ve been hit with another run, but Lagares nailed a runner at the plate. 

The bullpen still fell apart, and like they’ve been in the past, Josh Smoker and Fernando Salas were the culprits. In the seventh, the two combined to allow three runs on four hits and a walk. 

Like that, the Mets had a horrible 9-3 loss dropping them back to last place which is a place no one thought they’d be at this point in the season. 

There were some positives.  Michael Conforto (2-4, R, BB) and Bruce (2-5, 2 R, HR, GS, 6 RBI) stayed hot at the plate. Cabrera hit a homer. Josh Edgin and Paul Sewald were good out of the pen. Despite his struggles, Harvey is regaining his velocity hitting 98 on the gun. 

There was also the ninth inning rally. Matt Wisler loaded the bases and Bruce hit an opposite field grand slam to make it 9-7. Jim Johnson then came on and retired Walker to get the save. 

Still, this was a bad game for the Mets. Harvey struggled with his command. The bullpen struggled more than he did. The lineup past Bruce is still not hitting. They are also not winning games they should win. 

Game Notes: Curtis Granderson asked for the night off as he feels his swing is off. He made a pinch hitting appearance going 0-1. 

Synder-OMG!

Want to know how things went for the Mets today?  Their best pitcher was Kevin Plawecki who allowed four runs on three homers in two . . . TWO! . . . innings pitched.

How the Mets got there is almost too exhausting to detail. Suffice it to say, it all started with Noah Syndergaard. After refusing an MRI for biceps complaints, the Mets sent him to the mound on Sunday. To be fair, Syndergaard probably thought MRI meant Mets related injury. 

Every Mets fan knew what would happen. We knew he’s get injured. We’ve been expecting it since Generation K went up in flames with the injuries suffered by Jason IsringhausenBill Pulsipher, and Paul Wilson. And it happened. After 1.1 innings where he allowed five hits, five runs, two walks (first two of the season) while striking out two, he was gone with a “lat injury.”  It’s in quotes because it’s clear no one knows what’s going on with Syndergaard. 

From there, it’s difficult to decipher what happened. 

Even with the Syndergaard injury, the Mets were only down 6-5 heading into the bottom of the fourth. 

Everyone was pitching in (pun intended). The resurgent Jose Reyes, moved to second in the lineup due to players getting the day off, got it all started with a first inning one out triple. Jay Bruce was 3-4 with a homer and two RBI. Rene Rivera had a homer of his own.  Even Sean Gilmartin got in on the action with an RBI double. 

Gilmartin, that’s where the trouble started. Initially, he kept the Nationals at bay when he came on after the Syndergaard injury. But, he melted down in the fourth allowing four earned. Gilmartin, like the rest of the Mets was victimized by Anthony Rendon, who hit two homers off of him. 

Fernando Salas started the fifth, and he eventually put the game completely out of reach allowing three runs. When he left, it was 13-5. The Nationals still had 10 runs left in them. 

Six of them came off Josh Smoker, who melted down in his second inning of work. He didn’t record one out while facing five batters that inning. He and the whole team left Terry Collins little choice. He had to go to a position player to pitch the final two innings. 

It was hard to tell if Plawecki was throwing a knuckleball or a batting practice fastball. The answer was a knuckleball, but the Nationals were teeing off of him and all Mets pitchers like it was batting practice. Whether it was the knuckleball or the fact that Plawecki was the least important player on the roster, it was an inspired choice by Collins. 

What wasn’t inspired was how the Mets finished this series. After rallying back from losing six in a row, 10 of 11, and Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets beat Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg in back-to-back games. It was an announcement the Mets weren’t done. It was enough to give a Nationals team, who just lost Adam Eaton for the season, doubt they were the better team. 

Twenty-three runs later, in a game started by Syndergaard, that doubt should be erased. Trea Turner was the only Nationals starter without a multi-hit game, and he still hit a double and scored a run. 

More than that, Rendon was 6-6 with five runs, a double, three homers, and 10 RBI. The Mets as a team had five runs on nine hits. 

Game Recap: Reyes had another error, but this one was at shortstop as the Mets gave Asdrubal Cabrera the day off. Neil Walker had another poor game at the plate and is now hitting .195. Same goes for Curtis Granderson who is now hitting .128. 

A Win So Improbable Edgin Got The Save

So without Yoenis Cespedes and with Max Scherzer in the mound, the Mets really had no chance to beat the Nationals, right?  Well, at least for one night, it was no Yo no problem. 

With Cespedes out, someone had to replace him as the spark plug in the Mets offense. Tonight, Travis d’Arnaud was d’Man. In the second inning, his no doubt blast gave the Mets their first lead in over nine games:

Intersting enough, do you remember the last time the Mets had a lead in a game?  

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Unfortunately, that lead was short lived. In the bottom of the second, Jacob deGrom first allowed a solo home run to Ryan Zimmerman and then a two run homer to Matt Wieters. The Mets short lived 2-0 lead became a 3-2 deficit. From, there it was all Mets. 

deGrom settled in and started mowing down the Nationals. He didn’t allow another run in the final five innings he pitched. He was terrific striking out 12 while allowing those three runs. For the first time in nine games, he was a Mets pitcher that recorded a win. He was the first Mets starter to record a win since Zack Wheeler got the win on April 12th. 

He got the win because his battery mate made sure he had enough run support:

It was d’Arnaud’s first five RBI game of his career. He once again showed his offensive potential on a night reminiscent of Mike Piazza. He even had a 445 foot blast like Piazza used to do. 

The Mets then got to the Nationals bullpen in the eighth. It was a refreshing change after a terrible Nationals bullpen dominated the Mets batters at Citi Field. 

Jose Reyes led off the inning with a double off Jacob Turner. He moved to third on a fielder’s choice by T.J. Rivera. With Zimmerman coming off the bag, the Mets had runners at the corners with no outs. The Mets would then load the bases when d’Arnaud worked out a walk. 
Kevin Plawecki then pinch hit for deGrom and hit an RBI single through the drawn in infield. Yes, it did really happen. Michael Conforto made it 7-3 when he worked out a bases loaded walk. 
The damage would be limited there as Asdrubal Cabrera hit into the 3-2-4 double play, and Jay Bruce grounded out. Still, the Mets got two insurance runs. It turns out they needed them. 

Jerry Blevins came on to start the eighth, and he allowed a one out single to Trea Turner. After he struck out Bryce Harper, Collins turned to Addison Reed to get out of the inning. 
Reed was greeted by Zimmerman’s second homer of the game. Things got tense when Daniel Murphy ripped a single, and Reyes made an error allowing Anthony Rendon to reach. Reed was struggling, but bore down and got a huge strikeout of Jayson Werth to get out of the jam. 

This set the stage for Jeurys Familia to record his first save of the season. 

It wasn’t easy as the Nationals immediately loaded the bases off Familia with three straight singles to lead off the inning. The last one was an Adam Eaton infield single Reyes should’ve played but let go to Cabrera. While Reyes had a good night at the plate going 2-4 with two runs, a walk, double, and a stolen base, he was poor in the field again. 

With Eaton coming up lame on the play, Dusty Baker had to use three pinch runners in the inning. Believe it or not, that wasn’t the panic move of the game. 

After Familia struck out Turner, Terry Collins went to Josh Edgin to pitch to Harper. Somehow it worked with Edgin getting Harper to hit into the 1-2-3 double play. On a night where the Mets got an improbable win, why not Edgin recording the save there?  

Game Notes: With the Cespedes injury, Bruce returned to his familiar RF. The plan is to go with Rivera at first until Lucas Duda, who just began his rehab assignment, is ready to come off the DL. Reyes is heating up going six for his last 14 with a HR. Granderson is in a 1-22 funk and now has a lower batting average than Reyes.