Kevin Plawecki

Mets Lose With Veterans Again

Even when the Mets were at their best, Max Scherzer dominates them. In fact, as the Mets were preparing for what would be a pennant run, Scherzer threw a no-hitter against them.

With the Mets lineup featuring Jose Reyes and Matt den Dekker, it was fair to assume the worst.

Shockingly, the Mets were actually game against Scherzer tonight.

A pair of misplays from Michael Taylor in the first led to an Asdrubal Cabrera double and then his scoring easily on a Jose Bautista RBI single.

That rally sputtered with Bautista getting nailed by Taylor inches:

In the fourth, Bautista hit a solo homer, and Kevin Plawecki homered in the seventh.

It wasn’t enough as the Mets were chasing all night.

One of the reasons why is Anthony Rendon owned Steven Matz. Rendon hit a pair of homers off Matz giving the Nationals a 3-2 lead.

Aside from the Rendon at-bats, Matz had a pretty good game. He limited the rest of that lineup to six hits in 6.1 innings.

Still, he would be tagged with the loss.

The big hit for the Nationals came after Matz left the game. With the Mets down 3-2 in the seventh, Mickey Callaway brought in Jerry Blevins to face Bryce Harper. Harper would launch a homer to give the Nationals a 5-2 lead:

Asdrubal Cabrera homered off Kelvin Herrera in the eighth to pull the Mets to within 5-4, but that was it.

After that homer, Bautista and Michael Conforto drew back-to-back walks putting the tying run in scoring position with one out.

Since it was the eighth and not the ninth, Wilmer Flores fouled out, and den Dekker followed with a strikeout.

In the ninth, Plawecki led off against Ryan Madson with a single. That went nowhere.

First, after Reyes failed to get down the bunt, he hit a fielder’s choice. Amed Rosario, who didn’t start because he was hitting too well (seriously) pinch hit and hit into a game ending double play.

The Nationals are back over .500 now and are in the thick of the postseason race. The Mets are 17 games under .500 and starting Reyes.

Game Notes: Jeff McNeil, a prospect the Mets previously said is only a second baseman, started tonight at third base. This is on the same night Bautista started at third for the Mets.

Kevin Plawecki Better Than You Think

For some reasons, Mets fans become fixated on players from other teams, and there is a constant call for the team to acquire those players at all cost. In recent years, one of those players has been Jonathan Lucroy.

Last night, Lucroy made Luis Castillo‘s gaffe not even worth mentioning. In the bottom of the 11th with one out and runners at first and second, Alex Bregman hit a ball right in front of home plate. Lucroy pouned on it, missed the tag, dropped the ball, and then threw it into Bregman’s back. As the ball rolled into right field, Kyle Tucker scored the winning run.

No, it’s not fair to judge Lucroy from one play, but it does merit looking a little deeper into his stats. On the season, Lucroy is hitting .245/.298/.318. Since 2017, he’s hitting .257/.328/.352 with a 79 wRC+.

Simply put, Lucroy isn’t the player Mets fans think he is, not anymore. The same rings true for Kevin Plawecki.

In 2015 and 2016, Plawecki just was not a good baseball player. Rushed to the majors due to Travis d’Arnaud injuries, Plawecki hit .211/.287/.285 in the two year stretch which equated to a 59 wRC+.

If you want to expand it further to the first two months of the 2017 season where he was again thrown into the majors due to a d’Arnaud injury, Plawecki started his career hitting .206/.282/.272 with a 55 wRC+.

At 26 years old, Mets fans had seen more than enough, and they were not only too happy to label him a bust, but they have also been quite upfront about being done with him.

Well, after being sent down in May 2017, Plawecki FINALLY received consistent playing time, and he got to put the work in at Triple-A he needed to do for the past two-and-a-half years. The guy who couldn’t hit was suddenly hitting .338/.386/.529 since his demotion. With Rene Rivera being released, it was as good a time as ever to see if Plawecki was for real.

Well, since August 19, 2017, his first game since being recalled again, Plawecki has been hitting .256/.378/.417. Really, this is much improved from his play to start his career. Digging deeper into the numbers, he’s been much more impressive than you could actually believe.

In this time frame, Plawecki ranks third in wRC+ among catchers. That puts him ahead of catchers like Buster Posey, J.T. Realmuto, and Gary Sanchez.

Now, you may believe each one of the aforementioned catchers are better than Plawecki, and when you assert that belief, there are going to be very few if anyone who dares contradict you. However, making this argument completely misses the point.

The point is Plawecki is continually showing himself to no longer the catcher from 2015 to the first few months of 2017 who had no business being in the Major Leagues. Regardless of where you want to rank him among MLB catchers, one thing is increasingly clear – Plawecki has the bat to play the position.

Also, given his historical pitch framing numbers, he has the ability to be an everyday catcher at the Major League level. Saying differently ignores the progress he has made over the past year and asserts personal biases built up after the terrible start to his career.

 

Mets Have Big Fifth Inning And Don’t Blow Lead

A day after the Mets bullpen blew another big lead, you had to imagine this game was going to be a disaster.  The Mets were starting Corey Oswalt, who was not exactly great in his first career start, and if he could not go deep into the game, it meant more of the Mets bullpen.

The good news is Oswalt held his own.  Over four innings, he would allow two earned on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts.  The first run was a big blast from Kendrys Morales in the second.  When Morales came back up in the fourth, it looked like he got another one.

It turned out to be a double that hit a leaping Michael Conforto in the glove.  It was one of those can’t be an error because it required a leap, but you would think a player as good as he is should catch that.  In any event, Morales was on second with a double, and he would come around to score on a Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. RBI single.  Realistically speaking, the Mets should have had a play at the plate, but Brandon Nimmo, who is struggling in every aspect of his game since getting plunked on the hand on June 24th, spiked the throw home into the turf.

After 65 pitches and the Blue Jays about to go through the lineup a third time, Mickey Callaway took the ball from his young starter, and he gave the ball to Seth Lugo.

Once again, Lugo showed us why he is such a great bullpen weapon.  Lugo would pitch three innings allowing just one earned on three hits.  If it was a different batter in the sixth, it might’ve been no runs.  After Todd Frazier made a nice play, he got it to Asdrubal Cabrera who made the quick turn to first.  As it was the speedy Gurriel, Cabrera’s throw had little chance to get him.

One bright spot there was, that only cut the Mets lead to 6-3, and that was because the Mets had a huge fifth inning.

The scoring began when a Frazier two run homer gave the Mets a 3-2 lead.  The homer did not kill this rally as Kevin Plawecki hit a one out ground rule double.  After the obligatory Jose Reyes failure to get a base hit, Nimmo walked setting up consecutive RBI singles from Cabrera and Jose Bautista.

At that point John Gibbons pulled Marcus Stroman and put in Luis Santos.  Conforto greeted him with and RBI single to give the Mets a then 6-2 lead.

Believe it or not, Lugo would get the win as the Mets bullpen did it’s job.  First, Jerry Blevins gtting two of the three batters he faced out, and Robert Gsellman got the final out of the eighth.  Jeurys Familia came on to pitch a perfect ninth for his 16th save of the season.

With that, the Mets earned a somewhat surprising split, and they are coming home for a long homestand where we may get the last chance to see some of the veterans on this team.

Game Notes: The Mets are about to play 11 games in 10 days as they head into the All Star break.

On Day Of Tears, Wilmer Delivers Walk-Off

Coming off the news their general manager, the man who brought all of them to the Mets, was once again fighting cancer, and he was going to take a leave of absence, which was phrased more like a termination, the Mets seemed game to win one for Sandy Alderson.

In the first, surprise leadoff hitter Jose Bautista led off with a single off Pirates starter Chad Kuhl.  After two quick outs, he found himself on third after an Asdrubal Cabrera walk and a Kuhl wild pitch.  Both runners would score on a Wilmer Flores seeing eye single through the left side of the infield.

From there, the Pirates would make three errors, Pirates pitching would throw three more wild pitches, and Kuhl would leave early due to injury.  They would not be able to take advantage of any of it, which put Steven Matz in a precarious situation.

To start the game, Matz was terrific, and he would not yield a hit until David Freese hit a leadoff single against him to start the inning.  That leadoff single would create some trouble for Matz.

Elias Diaz would double putting runners at second and third.  Both runs would score on successive RBI singles from Jose Osuna and Gregory Polanco.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Mets would have an opportunity to reclaim the lead for Matz.  After Kevin Plawecki was hit by a pitch, the Mets would have runners at first and second with two outs.  Jose Reyes would fly out to left to end the inning.  On the play, Pirates outfielder Austin Meadows almost overran the ball, but he recovered in time to make the inning ending catch.

That all loomed large as it allowed Mickey Callaway to give Matz the seventh.  With two outs in the inning, a terrific outing was spoiled as Polanco hit what looked to be the game winning homer.

Fortunately for Matz, the Mets would bail him out as Michael Conforto delivered hit own two out home run in the bottom of the inning to tie the score anew.

With Matz off the hook, Callaway initially went to Anthony Swarzak to keep the score tied in what would become a truly bizarre top of the eighth.

With Josh Harrison following a Meadows one out walk, Callaway took no chances, and he brought in Jeurys Familia.  Familia used his fabled sinker to induce what should have been an inning ending double play.  That never materialized as Reyes took his sweet time not only getting to the ball, but also flipping it to Cabrera.

With Harrison making a good hard-nosed slide, Cabrera had little choice but to record the out and jump to avoid the slide.  That offended Familia who got into words with Harrison leading to the benches clearing.  Things died down when Cabrera hugged Harrison, which was something the booth did not take kindly.

Familia still got out of the jam, and he pitched a scoreless ninth.  Tim Peterson, who has been very good in limited duty, followed with a scoreless tenth.

In the tenth, Conforto got things started with a leadoff walk against LHP Steven Brault.  Things got more interesting when Todd Frazier followed the walk with a single.  After Cabrera popped up not one but two bunt attempts, with the second one being caught, Flores would get his third walk-off hit of the season with a single down the third base line.

On a day of tears, it is quite fitting that Flores would be the guy to get the game winning hit.

Game Notes: Before the game, Luis Guillorme was sent down and Gerson Bautista was called up in his place.  Flores now has nine walk-off RBI which ties David Wright‘s club record.

Embarrassing Mets Lineup Does The Expected

For quite a while, Mets fans have bemoaned the ridiculous lineup with Eric Campbell and John Mayberry, Jr. hitting in the middle of the lineup.  As bad as that lineup was, tonight’s ridiculous lineup might have taken the cake.

Despite Luis Guillorme arguably being the best defensive shortstop in the entire Mets organization, he started the game at third with Jose Reyes, a player who has been a bad everything for a few years now playing the most important position on the infield.

Dominic Smith started the game in left field because for some reason the Mets wanted to get another look at Kevin Plawecki at first base.  This meant the far superior pitch framer in Plawecki was at first base while Devin Mesoraco caught.

Taking it slightly a step further, because of the injuries to pitchers, Seth Lugo, a man who looks like Andrew Miller in the Mets bullpen, was pressed into another start.

Really, looking at this lineup, you have to wonder if the person making that lineup wanted to get fired.  Considering Mickey Callaway essentially let it be known he didn’t want to play Reyes, he may not be the person filling out the lineup card.

Whatever the situation, it was a sick joke, and it was a joke that had no one laughing, especially not Lugo.

The good news for Lugo was he would allow just one earned run in his five innings pitched.  The bad news is when he left the game in the fifth, the Mets trailed 3-0.  The reason for that is the defense behind him was terrible.

What was a surprise was both of the errors leading to the unearned runs came from Guillorme.

Guillorme couldn’t field a ball off the bat of Starling Marte.  Marte was probably safe anyway, but it was ruled an error.  The first batter of the game reached, would promptly steal a base, and he would eventually score on a Josh Harrison sacrifice fly.

It was Harrison who reached on a two out throwing error by Guillorme in the third.  He’d score on an Elias Diaz single.  It should be noted that was a ball Rosario probably fields.

Really, the only earned run against Lugo was a second inning Gregory Polanco second inning solo shot.

After Lugo labored through five, partially due to his defense abandoning him, it was time for Tyler Bashlor to make his Major League debut.  He was rudely welcomed to the big leagues by a Josh Bell excuse me opposite field line drive two run homer.

Other than that, Bashlor looked pretty good in his two innings, and it made you question why the Mets have been subjecting their fans to the Chris Becks and the Jacob Rhames of the world.

While none of this was a surprise, okay, the Guillorme defensive struggles was a bit of a surprise, the Mets fighting back in this game was a bit of a surprise.

After Jameson Taillon dominated the Mets for six innings, the team would finally get to him in the seventh.

A pair of doubles by Reyes and Plawecki scored the first run.  After Tyler Glasnow entered the game, Guillorme walked, and Wilmer Flores hit a pinch hit three run homer to pull the Mets within 5-4.

That prompted Clint Hurdle to bring in Steven Brault.  He walked Michael Conforto putting the tying run on base with no outs.  The rally would die there as Jose Bautista struck out, and Asdrubal Cabrera hit into an inning ending double play.

In the eighth, the Mets put two on with one out.  That rally fizzled as Plawecki struck out, and Guillorme grounded out.

That was pretty much it for the Mets.  In his second inning of work, Robert Gsellman couldn’t get through the ninth unscathed.  This time a tough play for Guillorme was scored a hit.  Gsellman would do well to limit the Pirates to one run when they had the bases loaded with one out, but really, who cares at this point?

The Mets aren’t doing nearly enough to win games, and now, they are putting out embarrassing lineups.

Game Notes: To make room for Bashlor on the roster, Chris Flexen was sent down to Triple-A.

Rockies Just Turned Another Double Play

There’s shooting yourself in the foot, and then there is doing what the Mets did against the Rockies today.

Somehow, the Mets grounded into five . . . FIVE! . . . double plays.

Each one of them were brutal.

In the second, after the Rockies turned a 1-0 Mets lead (Todd Frazier first inning solo home run) into a 3-1 Rockies lead, Jose Bautista earned a leadoff walk against Rockies starter Kyle Freeland.

Bautista would be erased when Kevin Plawecki grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.

In the third, after Brandon Nimmo hit an RBI single to pull the Mets within 5-2, Frazier would hit into the inning ending 5-4-3 double play.

In the sixth, Michael Conforto led off the inning with a single. He would be immediately erased when Wilmer Flores hit into a 5-4-3 double play.

In the seventh, Jose Reyes, who for some inexplicable reason started a second straight game, was erased on an Amed Rosario 6-4-3 double play.

Speaking of Reyes, he can’t field and doesn’t know how to use sunglasses:

Finally in the eighth, after the Mets pulled themselves to within 6-3 on a Flores sacrifice fly, Devin Mesoraco hit into the inning ending 5-4-3 double play.

You combine all of these double plays with Steven Matz allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks in 5.2 innings, and you have all the makings of a 6-4 loss.

Game Notes: After another poor outing in this game, Paul Sewald was demoted to Triple-A. He is joined by Chris Flexen. In their stead Drew Smith and Kevin Kaczmarski will be called up.

Mets Offense Can’t Keep Up

Much of the game was deja vu back to the previous game.

While Seth Lugo isn’t Jason Vargas, he really struggled in the thin air. Lugo just couldn’t figure out how to throw his curve, and as a result, he allowed six runs on six hits in three innings.

That really put the Mets behind the right ball despite their breaking out for three runs in the first.

Still, despite falling behind 6-4, the Mets would take the lead with a four run fifth.

The rally started with a Dominic Smith triple. After a Wilmer Flores sacrifice fly, the Mets would load the bases, and a run would be forced home on a Brandon Nimmo walk.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two RBI single to give the Mets a 8-6 lead.

The bases would reload with Michael Conforto drawing a walk. The Rockies then brought in Bryan Shaw, who got Todd Frazier to ground out to end the inning.

With the lead, Mickey Callaway brought in Robert Gsellman to not just hold the lead but to get multiple innings from him. He got neither.

In the bottom of the fifth, right after the Mets retook the lead, the Rockies took it back with Ryan McMahon hitting a three run homer to give the Rockies a 9-8 lead.

At this point in time, it appeared like this was going to be a classic back-and-forth Coors Field game. It certainly felt that way in the sixth as the Mets loaded the bases with one out and Rockies reliever Harrison Musgrave having lost the strike zone.

In a surprise decision, Callaway tabbed Kevin Plawecki to pinch hit instead of Amed Rosario. Perhaps it was the reliever having lost the strike zone and Callaway wanting a hitter who has a better read of the strike zone.

In any event, the choice was Plawecki, who worked a full count, swung at a borderline pitch which was probably ball four, and he hit into the inning ending double play.

That was it from the Mets. After that, there were no more rallies. With the Rockies scoring a run off Anthony Swarzak in the bottom of the sixth, the final score would be 10-8.

Suddenly, a Mets team who appeared poised to make a little run is now just hoping to earn a split.

Game Notes: Chris Flexen, who is on three days rest, was called up to give the Mets an extra arm in the bullpen. To make room for Flexen, Hansel Robles was sent down to Triple-A.

As Expected, Mets Lose To Diamondbacks

The Mets lost this game 7-3. Sadly, one of the reasons for the loss was Seth Lugofinally having a poor game.

The guy we all want in the rotation allowed five earned on eight hits in five innings pitched.

It really was an off night for a guy having a great season. Unfortunately, despite Lugo bailing out the Mets several times this year, the Mets could not bail him out.

In the second, after a Dominic Smithdouble, the Mets had runners at second and third with no outs.

Kevin Plaweckigrounded out, and then on a shallow center, the noodle armed Jarrod Dyson threw it offline, and he still got it there in plenty of time to nail Jose Bautistaat the plate.

One of the reasons Bautista was sent was Lugo was due up. Of course, Lugo would single off his counter-part Zack Godley to start a rally. He’d score on a Todd Frazierdouble.

After the double, the Mets had runners at second and third with one out. Brandon Nimmo and Asdrubal Cabrerastruck out to end that rally.

Sure, Alex Avilabailed out Godley more than a few times by stopping a few balls in the dirt with a runner on third. But really, this was in an inept Mets offense.

Things looked interesting with a Smith fourth inning homer off the foul pole to make it 3-2.

From there, Lugo allowed two earned. Newest Mets Chris Beck allowed a run in 1.2 innings of work. Anthony Swarzakallowed a run in the eighth.

In the ninth, a bewildered Mets team stood at the top railing almost willing something to happen.

There was a rally in the ninth against Jorge De La Rosa with Wilmer Floreshitting an RBI double scoring an unearned run.

At that point, the Diamondbacks went to their closer, Brad Boxberger, who got Michael Confortoto fly out to left to end the game.

In case you haven’t noticed, the Mets are really bad right now.

Game Notes: Smith made an appearance in LF

Mets Lose To Yankees Again

If you looked at the Mets lineup today, it looked like the lineup you put together when you’re: (1) grasping at straws; (2) overthinking things; or (3) trying to do something different for its own sake:

As bizarre as the lineup looked, it worked . . . at least in the first.

Against Yankee starter Domingo German, second place hitter Todd Frazier opened the scoring with his first homer since returning from the DL:

After third place hitter Brandon Nimmo tripled, Asdrubal Cabrera homered to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.

From there, the Mets offense reverted back to itself throwing away golden opportunities. That gave Steven Matz a decent lead, but not a big one against a dangerous Yankee lineup.

For a while, Matz kept the Yankees at bay. He did what he needed to do to stymie rallies including picking off Aaron Hicks in the first.

Despite Matz pitching well, it didn’t stop Gleyber Torres from hitting a third inning homer to pull the Yankees to within 3-1.

In the sixth, Matz got himself into trouble by walking Gary Sanchez on five pitches, and then he hung a curve to Miguel Andujar. Suddenly, it’s a tie game, and you’re once again wondering just how the Mets are going to score.

Really, from the Cabrera homer through the sixth, the Mets offense did little. Then, against David Robertson, Adrian Gonzalez led off the inning with an opposite field double down the third base line.

He wouldn’t move from that base. One of the reasons why was Mickey Callaway opted to pinch hit Luis Guillorme instead of Jose Bautista after a Kevin Plawecki strikeout.

Guillorme struck out against a reliever who had reverse splits.

In the ensuing inning, Anthony Swarzak hung his first pitch to Aaron Judge, who hit what would be the game winning homer.

In quite fitting fashion, this game ended with Jose Reyes flying out to end the game. Really, on a night where the Mets had no real bench to rely upon, it made sense there was no better option than Reyes, who we all knew would fail.

Game Notes: Cabrera was ejected an inning after he struck out looking for barking from the dugout. Yoenis Cespedes was pulled from his rehab start.

Cabrera’s Bunt Epitomizes The Drag That Is This Terrible Team

There isn’t much to say about this team right now.

Zach Wheeler was great shutting out the Orioles over seven innings allowing just three hits and a walk striking out five.

At the same time, the Mets were dominated by Dylan Bundy, which is at least more palatable than getting dominated by Alex Cobb.

The Mets couldn’t get two on until the seventh, and it was due to a Kevin Plawecki two out double.

Buck Showalter took advantage of an opportunity to force Mickey Callaway‘s hand by intentionally walking Adrian Gonzalez to bring up Wheeler.

Despite Wheeler’s .286 batting average, with how horrid the Mets offense has been Callaway had little choice but to try to get that runner home by pinch hitting Jose Bautista.

In a tough at-bat, where Bautista took some borderline pitches, he walked to load the bases.

Then Amed Rosario had a terrible at-bat striking out on three straight pitches ending the inning.

Worse yet, he took it into the field misplaying a Pedro Alvarez hit into an infield single.

An Adam Jones single and Manny Machado sacrifice fly later, and the Mets faced an insurmountable 1-0 deficit with Jeurys Familia facing the loss.

And just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, you got to see the epitome of the Mets offensive ineptitude.

After Brandon Nimmo singled to lead-off the bottom of the eighth, Asdrubal Cabrera went to bunt his way on. Typically, this is a smart baseball play, especially for a player in a slump because the only real downside is you move a runner into scoring position.

That is unless you did what Cabrera did, which was pop the bunt up to the pitcher who could throw it quickly to first to complete the easy double play.

So, there you have it. The Mets limited the worst team in baseball to just three runs in two games, and they got swept because they could only muster one run. Just one.

This has to be rock bottom, right?

Game Notes: Mets are contemplating releasing Jose Reyes but want to do so in a way that honors him because anytime you get a chance to honor a player who threw his wife through a glass door, you just have to do it.