With Reyes hitting two home runs, his 100th and 101st with the Mets, accounting for three of the Mets five runs. With the way Collins manages, Reyes will continue to be the lead-off hitter for the rest of the year. If Reyes and Collins come back next year, you know Reyes will remain as the lead-off hitter.
That’s why this September has been such a waste. We’re not finding out what we need to know about these players.
Players like Travis Taijeron, who was added to the 40 man only due to the myriad of injuries to the Mets outfielders. He was a player who flashed power in the minors who hit his first career homer against Amir Garrett in the second.
There’s Gavin Cecchini, who was hitless but made a great play in the field.
Seth Lugo got through six scoreless today by finally making it through the lineup without getting scored upon.
To a lesser extent, the Mets need to find out about Travis d’Arnaud who’s finally hitting again with Kevin Plawecki breathing down his neck. He got a six inning rally started with another opposite field extra base hit.
In the end, there are players the Mets need to learn about and develop. Instead, we’re getting Jose Reyes: Lead-off Hitter and Shortstop. The 5-1 win was nice. Focusing on player development would be better because that’s what the Mets need.
Game Notes: Phillip Evans was called-up to the majors, and he made his MLB debut lining into a double play with the bases loaded in the sixth. To make room for him in the roster, Steven Matz has been put on the 60 day DL.
Whenever you see Brandon Nimmo, you see him grinning ear to ear. Well, tonight he gave Mets fans reason to smile.
That smile never gets old @You_Found_Nimmo. 😁
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 8, 2017
In a surprise decision, Terry Collins made Nimmo the clean-up hitter tonight. Despite, Nimmo not hitting for much power in the minors, he looked every bit the clean-up hitter tonight.
It was a career night for Nimmo who went 3-4 with three runs, a double, two homers, and three RBI. Oh, and of course, he drew a walk.
One of those homers was the start of back-to-back homers with Juan Lagares:
Two solo shots, same celebration. #LGM
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 8, 2017
The Nimmo performance and Lagares homer was part of what was a terrific night for the Mets. Now, it wasn’t just terrific because the Mets won 7-2; it was terrific because of who contributed to the win.
That started with Matt Harvey.
Harvey, starting on normal rest, took a step in the right direction. He pitched five innings allowing two runs on five hits. It was far from a perfect performance, but it was an improved one.
We saw his slider get a little sharper as the game progressed. After allowing runs in consecutive innings to start the game, he allowed just one hit from the third inning through the fifth. Had he not been on a pitch limit, it’s likely he would have pitched the sixth.
Once Harvey left, the Mets bullpen was very good. Josh Smoker struck out the side in the sixth. Jeurys Familia had his best outing of the year pitching two scoreless. While not a save situation, AJ Ramos closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
At this point of the season, it’s really not about wins and losses inasmuch as its about how the Mets are playing. Tonight, the Mets won getting key contributions from important people. That made this a night that gave you reason to smile.
In many different ways, the 2015 season seems so long ago. The biggest example of that might just be Travis d’Arnaud. Back then, d’Arnaud was a 130 wRC+, which was second only to Buster Posey among MLB catchers, and he was an exceptional pitch framer. He seemed like a budding All Star. It has not worked out that way.
We’ve seen two straight injury prone seasons where d’Arnaud has regressed. This year was the most startling. Through 95 games, d’Arnaud is hitting just .232/.281/.397. Even with the team hiring respected Glenn Sherlock as a catching coach, d’Arnaud has regressed in all aspects behind the plate. The pitch framing numbers aren’t there. He’s even throwing out fewer base stealers than he has in the past.
At the same time, we have seen Kevin Plawecki begin to figure things out.
In Las Vegas, we have seen Plawecki hit .300/.348/.484 with 17 doubles, a triple, nine homers, and 45 RBI. Even if you believe these numbers are purely fueled by the hitting environment, you should take into account, he hit just .224/.267/.341 in the same place last year.
You’re a bigger believer these numbers are more of an indication of Plawecki improving as a hitter when you consider who he has played since his recent call-up. In 11 games, Plawecki is hitting .314/.385/.486 with three doubles, one homer, and three RBI. Those numbers translate to a 128 wRC+. Small sample size for sure, but the production is similar to what we saw with d’Arnaud in 2015. Like d’Arnaud in 2015, that would be second to just Posey.
The real question is whether Plawecki can do this for the course of a full season. The short answer is we don’t know. However, he has earned a shot.
With his early career struggles, we forget there was a time when the Mets actually expected him to surpass d’Arnaud sometime in 2015. He hasn’t really gotten the opportunity to develop to that point because he’s bounced all over the place with d’Arnaud’s injuries. However, he’s gotten that chance this year, and he has actually improved. The real question is if he’s improved to the point where he’s an everyday catcher.
We won’t know that until he plays everyday. At a minimum, he’s earned that chance. Moreoever, d’Arnaud’s poor play has created a window of opportunity. Overall, the Mets should play Plawecki over d’Arnaud over the final few weeks of the season to see what they have in Plawecki.
In life, we tend to get attached to and attribute meaning to bizarre things. Today, that was my car.
Now, I hated that car. From day one, it was a nightmare. I sank more money into it than I care to admit. Driving into bad neighborhoods time and again, it was constantly dinged and scratched. Tires blown. Dents in the car. Really, I hated it.
But you know what I didn’t hate? All the great things I did with the car.
What started out as a car I purchased to commute to and from work became the family car.
It was the car I drive with my wife to Pre-Cana. The day after our wedding, my wife and I drove home for the first time.
I drove that car with my then infant son to and from doctors appointments. That includes when I had to take him for emergency room visits, and one day his surgery.
We took that car to take him for his first day of school, his first Mets game, his ice skating classes, soccer practice, and on family vacations. We drove that car to places where we would share some of our favorite memories as a family. We drove that car everywhere.
Every so often, he liked to get in the front seat and pretend to drive just like his daddy:
I didn’t realize it at first, but there were hints of all those moments scattered throughout the car. I realized this as I cleaned it out today so I could trade it in for the new family car. In some ways, it felt like a moment right out of The Wonder Years.
As we cleaned out the car, there were remnants of these events. Just like we had done a thousand times, we listened to the Mets game on the radio.
You couldn’t pick a more appropriate starter than Rafael Montero. First terrible, but now you see him in a whole new light.
This is because Montero has been a much better pitcher of late. We saw it again from him today. He cruised through five innings allowing just the one run.
It was the sixth he got into trouble. Like his last start, he put his bullpen into a tough situation handing them a bases loaded one out situation. Unlike AJ Ramos, Paul Sewald, who hadn’t pitched in eight days due to some physical issues, allowed all the inherited runners to score.
Fortunately, it didn’t matter much because the Mets offense exploded against Mark Leiter.
Most of the damage came in a six run fourth inning. Even with him not hitting lead-off, Brandon Nimmo got it all started with a single. Four hits, including a Juan Lagares double and Gavin Cecchini RBI single, and an error later the Mets were up 9-0, and the Phillies brought in Kevin Siegrist.
After Siegrist issued a couple of walks, Nimmo capped off the inning with an RBI single. That single gave the Mets a then 10-0 lead.
It proved to be an insurmountable lead. That was true even for the hurt Sewald and Hansel Robles, who had another adventurous outing.
It was the Robles outing that had me sitting in my car just a little longer. I sat in my car a little longer like I had done several times in the past. Except this time was the last time in this car.
As Ramos got Rhys Hoskins to fly out to end the game, I had the last memory in that car. It was a rather small one, but a memory nevertheless.
It’s now time for a new car with new family memories. This will be the car I take my next son home from the hospital in. It’ll be the car I take to drive him to his first Mets game. Hopefully, it will be the car I drive to see the Mets in their next World Series.
Game Notes: Kevin Plawecki was 2-4 with two runs and a stolen base.
Well, we finally have the moment that perfectly encapsulates the Mets 2017 season. We just had to wait for the 135th game of the season and the second game of today’s doubleheader:
Wilmer is lucky he didn't get hit in the eye at least. Gif is before the blood comes don't worry. pic.twitter.com/eRhyMKfJXb
— Good Fundies (@goodfundies) September 3, 2017
That’s right, Wilmer Flores fouled a ball off his face and had to leave the game.
That moment right there is the Mets season. In fact, the whole double header was the Mets season.
In the first game, Matt Harvey was rocked in his first game back from the DL. Yes, you did get the sense Houston seemed to relish teeing off on Harvey. More than anything, they just seemed relieved to be playing baseball.
Harvey only lasted two innings throwing 70 pitches. His final line was two innings, eight hits, seven runs, seven earned, no walks, and three strikeouts.
Harvey had some velocity hitting 94 MPH, but he didn’t have much else. Again, like he’s done many times in the past, he said there were mechanical issues. As history repeats itself, we know Dan Warthen lacks answers.
After that, we got the Major League debuts of Jacob Rhame and Jamie Callahan. Rhame had the more successful debut of the two, but still, both threw some serious heat. Like Harvey, Callahan was abandoned by his defense, but he didn’t pitch well enough to make it an issue.
The shame of Callahan’s tough outing was the Mets made a game of it after a poor Harvey start and bad Tommy Milone relief appearance (2.2 IP, 3 ER).
Dominic Smith hit a two run fourth inning homer to cut the deficit to 7-2. In the seventh, Flores hit a grand slam to make it a 10-7 game.
With Callahan’s poor outing, it would end at 12-8.
Of course, with the doubleheader, we got fun with Collins making lineups.
Despite Brandon Nimmo starting both ends of the doubleheader, he didn’t lead off once because the Mets have Jose Reyes and now have Aoki. Also, we were blessed to see Cabrera play in both ends of the doubleheader.
The Mets were much more competitive in the second game of the doubleheader. Note, competitive, not good.
Juan Lagares led off the sixth with a triple to right-center. Lagares busted it out of the box, and he appeared to have a shot at the inside-the-park home run. However, Glenn Sherlock held him up at third.
For a moment, it seemed as if the Mets wouldn’t score. Amed Rosario, who came on for Flores, struck out, and Asdrubal Cabrera walked. The Astros then brought in Francisco Liriano to face Smith.
To the surprise of everyone, Terry Collins didn’t PH for Smith. Perhaps that is because Flores was already out of the game.
Smith lined a ball to Springer, which might have been deep enough to score Lagares. It didn’t matter as Springer misplayed it into a double. Because Cabrera is slower than Sid Bream right now, he didn’t score on the play.
It wound up biting the Mets because the horrors of this season continue to repeat themselves.
Seth Lugo cruised through five innings keeping the Astros scoreless. In the sixth, the Astros began going through the lineup for the third time, and they began teeing off on Lugo.
The first three reached against Lugo with the Astros tying the game on a Josh Reddick RBI single. They then took the lead taking advantage of new Met Nori Aoki‘s bad arm.
Later, Matt Reynolds got gun shy with a shot to nail the runner at home. He took the sure out at first. With the shift being on, his being far off third allowed Marwin Gonzalez to go to third setting up his scoring on a sac fly.
As if the indignity wasn’t enough, Reynolds lost a ball that was literally lost in the roof. The ball would drop right in front of him just out of his reach.
It appears Houston doesn't have all of its gravity back just yet pic.twitter.com/dsisv6DzKQ
— Good Fundies (@goodfundies) September 3, 2017
Of course because baseball is cruel, a ball would once again go into the rafters:
I don't blame Matt Reynolds for giving up. Horrible thing to say but sometimes kids you might as well. pic.twitter.com/Fxn3cnVGzD
— Good Fundies (@goodfundies) September 3, 2017
After the rough half inning was over, the Mets were down 4-1 with all four runs being charged to Lugo.
In the end, the Mets were swept in the doubleheader by a MUCH better team. They lost to a team representing a city who needed this distraction. Hopefully, those who are still suffering were able to take some time and enjoy these games.
As Mets fans, we’re hard-pressed to enjoy any of this. The veterans are still playing over the prospects. The players are still getting hurt. The pitchers are still struggling.
Game Notes: Reports indicate once the Rumble Ponies season is over, Tomas Nido will get called up to the majors. Former Met Carlos Beltran did not appear in either end of the doubleheader. He is dealing with a foot injury.
For the second time this season, Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki toed the rubber for the New York Mets. His appearance was the second time in Mets history a position player made two relief appearances in a season. It also marked the 10th time the Mets had a position player pitch in a game.
Can you name the eight Mets position players who have pitched in a game? Good luck!
If you recall, there was a time when the Mets considered Rafael Montero to be a better prospect than Jacob deGrom. Sure, it seems silly now with deGrom winning the Rookie of the Year, being an All Star, and how great he pitched in the 2015 postseason. It seems sillier when you consider Montero has mostly been terrible with the Mets shying away from the strike zone and walking too many batters.
Recently, we have seen glimpses from Montero. He is using that change-up, the pitch that made the Mets believe in him, more effectively. He is also throwing strikes. The stretch has been good, but not great. It certainly didn’t give us any indication why the Mets thought so highly of Montero. That was until last night’s game.
Through eight innings, Montero had allowed just one base hit to a stacked Cincinnati Reds lineup. Even allowing for the obvious issues with the OPS statistic, the Reds lineup featured seven batters with an OPS over .800. Two of the players, Zack Cozart and Joey Votto, were All Stars this year. However, when you were pitching like Montero, it simply doesn’t matter.
Given the fact that you have seen Montero pitch in a Mets uniform before, it is understandable that you have to see it before you believe it. Here is a short compliation:
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 31, 2017
Considering how Montero was pitching, you can certainly understand why Terry Collins allowed Montero to go out there for the ninth inning despite Montero having already thrown 107 pitches. This was Montero’s night, and he earned the right to at least try to finish the game.
After retiring the pinch hitter Billy Hamilton, the Reds finally got to Montero. Phil Ervin singled, and Cozart doubled. With him going to the plate as the winning run, the Mets understandably intentionally walked Votto.
At that point, the Mets also put an end to 8.1 brilliant innings from Montero. During his 117 pitch night, he had allowed just three hits and four walks while striking out eight. The only question remaining was whether he was going to get the win.
It was a real question because the Mets had only given him a 2-0 lead with both runs coming in the first inning off of a pair of RBI doubles from Wilmer Flores and Kevin Plawecki. By the way, if you think Montero’s emergence has been a surprise, what about Plawecki? He has gone from a guy the Mets were probably going to seriously consider cutting from the 40 man roster this offseason to a guy who is hitting .364/.440/.591 with two doubles, a homer, and three RBI in eight games. By the way, he also threw a scoreless inning in relief the previous night.
Getting back to the bottom of the ninth, the Reds had the bases loaded with one out. Once again Collins eschewed Jeurys Familia in a save situation to go to AJ Ramos. Ramos responded by striking out Adam Duvall and Scotter Gennett to end the game.
With that, the Mets now have a victory where Montero and Plawecki were key figures in the game. In what has truly been a bizarre season, this one probably ranks up there. If that isn’t enough for you consider this – the two have combined to throw 9.1 consecutive scoreless innings.
Game Notes: Amed Rosario got the night off. This led the Mets to play Jose Reyes at shortstop and have him lead-off over Brandon Nimmo because that is exactly what you are supposed to do when you are trying to develop players late in the season.
Terry Collins and the Mets continue to push the envelope. With each and every game, they continue to make decisions which continue to de-emphasize player development.
In tonight’s example, Jose Reyes hit leadoff over Brandon Nimmo. As if this wasn’t bad enough, Collins double switched Amed Rosario out of the game in the sixth. As part of that move, Collins put Reyes at shortstop.
When you manage like this, you deserve to have Reyes thrown out trying to steal a base down four in the seventh inning.
Seriously, if Collins is going to make sure he plays Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera, he better make sure they play good fundamental baseball. If you’re having your young players learn by watching, have them learn by watching what to do.
Speaking of what to do and not to do, knowing Collins the way we do, he’ll take issue with Chris Flexen.
Sure, there were many issues with Flexen’s start. How could there not when you don’t make it out of the fifth. His final line was 4.2 innings, seven hits, seven runs, four walks, and four strikeouts.
Those four walks hurt him too. He issued two of them in the first inning to help load the bases. After a Eugenio Suarez single and a Scott Schebler grand slam, the Mets fell behind the Reds 5-1 in the first.
Flexen again walked two batters in the fifth. Not even Adam Duvall hitting into a double play would bail him out. Scooter Gennett would hit an RBI infield single off Flexen’s leg. After Flexen walked Suarez, Collins brought in Josh Smoker.
Smoker allowed a Schebler RBI single. Nimmo had a shot at Gennett at the plate, but Travis d’Arnaud could not corral the short hop. Once Smoker got out of the inning, it was 7-1 Reds with all runs charged to Flexen.
However, that won’t be what irritates Collins. It will be that Flexen showed up Reyes.
Reyes was out there playing his first career game in left field. With the injuries and the possibility Reyes could return next year in a utility role, Reyes playing left isn’t a ridiculous idea. It’s just ridiculous he would lead-off.
Reyes took a ridiculous route to a second inning Billy Hamilton fly ball. He broke in and the ball went well over his head. A clearly frustrated and dejected Flexen threw up his hand in disappointment.
Yes, Flexen shouldn’t show up his fielders. That goes double when you’re walking the ballpark and giving up a grand slam. Still, this is the same Reyes who never had an issue doing this himself. Again, if you’re holding out players as an example, this is the stuff that happens.
But this is Terry we’re talking about, and we know his veterans are Teflon. That goes double for Reyes.
The Mets would attempt to make a game of it with the help of the surprisingly not double switched out of the game Dominic Smith.
After a Cabrera walk and a d’Arnaud double, Smith hit a two out RBI single in the sixth to pull the Mets to within 7-3.
Smith came up again in the eighth, and he collected his first career hit off a left-handed pitcher. It set up runners on the corners with two outs. Unfortunately, Travis Taijeron would strike out to end the inning. So far in Taijeron’s career, he’s 0-9.
The Mets would get no closer than 7-3. In fact, things would get much worse.
While Chasen Bradford has been really good this year with a 2.38 ERA in 17 appearances, he had nothing tonight. He recorded no outs while allowing seven runs (five earned) on six hits and one walk.
The unearned runs were due to two Wilmer Flores errors in the inning.
With Collins having done all he could do to burn out a larger than usual bullpen during Sunday’s double header, Collins finally did the right thing by going to a position player to pitch.
Plawecki came in with the bases loaded and no outs. Phil Ervin hit into a double play. After a Hamilton double, and a Flores error allowing Cozart to reach, two of the three inherited runners had scored. Credit should be given to Hamilton who could’ve scored on the error but chose not to run up the score.
In a shock to everyone, Plawecki got Joey Votto to ground out giving Plawecki a story to tell his grand kids. It’s certainly a better story than the contents of his locker.
In the end, the Mets lost 14- 4 with that all too brief ninth inning rally ending on a Flores GIDP. Right now, it’s not about wins and losses. It’s really about developing players by playing them and having them learn from their mistakes.
Collins favorite young player Jose Reyes certainly has a lot to think about tonight. Hopefully, he learns from this, and he gets better. Certainly, the team needs him over the next decade.
Game Notes: Plawecki became the second Mets position player to pitch twice in a season. The first was Matt Franco in 2000. Hat tip Greg Prince:
Matt Franco preceded him in this honor.
— Greg Prince (@greg_prince) August 30, 2017
The win snapped a Mets 14 game winning steak against the Reds.
With the Nationals getting in at 6:00 A.M., Dusty Baker put out a lineup that looked like the Nationals Triple-A affiliate with Daniel Murphy. For their part the Mets put out a similar looking lineup because, well, the Mets are bad and injured.
If you think it couldn’t get worse for the Mets, it did. In the top of that first, Yoenis Cespedes pulled up lame running to third base. Once again, Cespedes left the game with a leg injury.
The shame of the play was the Dominic Smith single hit the second base umpire. It was a dead ball costing him an RBI, and it helped kill a Mets first inning rally.
Speaking of short, the Mets had an insanely short bench tonight. The team had just a three man bench with one of those players being backup catcher Kevin Plawecki.
This was mostly the result of the soul crushing Michael Conforto injury, and the Mets having no viable options on the 40 man roster. With Jeurys Familia being ready to return after his rehab stint, the Mets chose to activate him instead.
The end result was the Mets having a two man bench when Matt Reynolds came in to pinch run for Cespedes.
Fortunately, it wouldn’t matter as Jacob deGrom was his deGrominant self. For a while, it seemed like he could get a no-hitter tonight. He certainly had the stuff, and the Nationals had the lineup.
Still, your heart was in your throat during the game with deGrom. First, he is a Mets pitcher. Second, the Mets luck somehow got worse. Third, he was fouling balls off his leg, and he seemed to pull up lame legging out an infield single in the second.
By some miracle, deGrom was healthy, and he was able to get the win. His final line was 7.2 innings, five hits, one run, one earned, one walk, and 10 strikeouts.
In Matt Grace‘s second inning of work, the Mets went to work. It started with a Juan Lagares lead-off double. While many were contemplating the bunt, Terry Collins let Reynolds swing away, and Reynolds rewarded Collins’ faith with an RBI single.
Cabrera followed with a double setting up second and third with no out. Collins again showed a young player some faith, and he was again rewarded. Collins left Smith in to face the left-handed Grace, and Smith delivered with a sacrifice fly to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.
With Murphy coming to the plate as the tying run, Collins went to Jerry Blevins, who got a huge strikeout to end the inning.
In the ninth, Nimmo created a run. He reached with a one out single, and he put himself in scoring position with his first career stolen base. He then scored on a Lagares RBI single making it a 4-1 game.
He was greeted with an Adam Lind homer to dead center to make it 4-2.
Things got interesting when Wilmer Difo followed the Lind homer with a double. Ramos then gave us all a heart attack hanging one to Anthony Rendon, who just hit one foul. Instead, he walked Rendon setting up first and second with one out.
Things got really troubling when Ramos walked Matt Wieters to load the bases. For some reason while this was all happening, Collins sat Sewald and had none of his other fifty relievers in his bullpen warming up.
Nimmo came in and would catch a Difo rope, and he made the perfunctory throw home. While that was happening, Rendon strayed too far from second, but Witt the throw home, Rendon had time to get back.
It ultimately didn’t matter as Ramos struck out the final batter of the game to preserve the 4-2 win and deGrom’s 14th win of the year.
Normally, with a game like this, you would leave the game feeling good about the Mets. deGrom was great, and he recorded his 200th strikeout of the season. Nimmo looks like a lead-off hitter reaching base three times, and his stealing his first career base. Lagares’ bat got going. The young Mets beat the Nationals.
However, there is still a hangover with Conforto’s injury and uncertain future. On top of that, Cespedes is once again on the shelf.
Really, this team continues to finds ways to make things more depressing.
Game Notes: For Player’s Weekend, the players were allowed to put nicknames on their jerseys. For the newer call-ups, there apparently wasn’t enough time to get them a nickname jersey. With respect to Nimmo, his choice, “You Found Nimmo” wasn’t permitted due to potential Disney copyright violations.
Rafael Montero pitched much better than the score indicated with him getting dinked and dunked for the three runs he did allow. Yoenis Cespedes is hitting for power once again with him hitting a double and a homer in the game. Amed Rosario completed a nifty unassisted double play on a liner up the middle. Kevin Plawecki threw out a base stealer. Gavin Cecchini reached twice and scored a run. In the end none of this happens because this happened to Michael Conforto:
The worst four seconds of my life pic.twitter.com/ihqVrPqkem
— Good Fundies (@goodfundies) August 24, 2017
Early returns are Conforto suffered a dislocated shoulder on the play leading Ron Darling to talk about his own history with shoulder dislocations letting us all know they tend to be chronic. It’s a good thing too because watching it happen certainly wasn’t depressing enough.
Just to let you know how bizarre a season it has been for Mets fans, Mets fans were actually relieved this was just a dislocation. They were understandably anticipating an amputation. You could just envision the scene in the clubhouse with the Mets covering Conforto with leeches and getting him drunk on whiskey before giving him a bit to chomp on before Ray Ramirez came over with the saw.
Likely, this was Conforto’s last game of the season meaning he’s not getting to 30 homers this season. We also don’t get to see him finish off what was a brilliant season for him. We can only hope the Mets don’t mess this one up like they have with Matt Harvey time and again.
Overall, the Mets lost this game 3-2, but who cares? The real loss here was Conforto.
Game Notes: With a doubleheader on Sunday, the Mets are hoping Seth Lugo can start in the second game. If his bullpen does not go well tomorrow, the Mets will call Marcos Molina up from Double-A. If he does get called-up, he will join Chris Flexen in getting called straight up from Binghamton to start a game for the Mets.