Khalil Lee

Robinson Cano DFA But Is He Done With Mets?

There were two things which became very clear Sunday Night. First, with Dominic Smith going 4-for-4, there was no way the New York Mets could option him to Triple-A Syracuse after that performance. It was just a testament to the fact he needed to play everyday.

With Francisco Lindor being miked up for the game, it also became clear Robinson Cano was a very loved and respected player in that Mets clubhouse. Apparently, his two PED suspensions did nothing to change that.

More than anything, that is what made this easy decision all the more difficult. The Mets players wanted Cano there. They believed in him. Despite that, and despite the $40.5 million still owed to him, the Mets really had no other choice but to designate Cano for assignment due to the rosters shrinking.

Really, the Mets had no other choice. For Cano, he can’t run, and he doesn’t have his bat speed. Sure, he hit a homer, but his exit velocities were lower than Luis Guillorme, who is a slap hitter and stellar defender. There’s just no room for a player like that on the Mets right now.

In some ways, Cano is a victim of the Mets success here (using the term victim very lightly here). The Mets are a very good team and a true World Series contender. They need to be focused on winning over trying to extract the most out of their investment. Another note here is if not for the lockout, this decision may never be made. If it was a 26 man roster out of Spring Training, in all likelihood, Travis Jankowski starts the year in Syracuse with Cano lingering on the roster.

That said, you have to remember Cano was out of baseball for a year. After 2020, you had to imagine there was more in the tank than what we saw so far in 2022. There’s a real chance he still needs some time to get up to game speed, and with that the bat speed will come. It’s just that the Mets were not in a position to be the team to give him the playing time for that to happen.

With the DFA, the Mets are not precluded from assigning him to Syracuse. Obviously, the Mets are going to get that chance because there is no chance whatsoever anyone claims Cano. After all, Brodie Van Wagnenen is out of baseball.

So for Cano, the question is whether he’s wiling to go to Syracuse. To some extent, it makes sense for the Mets. If Cano really is the proven veteran leader he’s made out to be, he can be a good influence on players like Khalil Lee, Nick Plummer, and Mark Vientos. Cano can also get to hit. If he doesn’t, that could put him in position to get called back up to help the Mets, especially in the event of an injury.

If he doesn’t, well, now we all know it will never happen again, and the Mets can finally cut him loose for good knowing they did all they could do.

As for other teams, who is going to come calling? There might’ve been a small chance with the Miami Marlins, but it’s doubtful with Cano’s teammate Derek Jeter out with the Marlins. As of the other 28 teams, who is taking that chance? Remember, this isn’t an Albert Pujols situation. Pujols could still hit left-handed pitching extremely well.

Right now, Cano does nothing well. If he wants to prove he still has it, he has to go to the minors with the Mets being the best chance. Of course,. that is if the Mets want to do that instead of just moving on from this error, sorry era. At this point, you can’t blame them. Still, for whatever reason, you have to believe Cano may just have one more shot before his career is officially done.

Bold 2022 Mets Predictions

The New York Mets will be led by Buck Showalter as the team sets to try to win their first World Series since 1986. Since this is their 60th season, here are 60 bold predictions for the season.

1. The New York Mets will win the 2022 World Series.

2.  Howie Rose will retire after the season. The Mets have already tabbed their replacement in Jake Eisenberg, and Rose could not pass up the opportunity to go out calling a Mets World Series victory.

3.  Rose will return in some limited fashion to SNY and will be a fill-in replacement in 2023 and beyond.

4. Francisco Lindor will be the NL MVP. Like Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran, he’s going to have a huge second year. Unlike them, he wont’ be denied the award.

5.  Dominic Smith will force his way into the lineup. Yes, he’s battling with J.D. Davis and Robinson Cano for the DH spot, but like he did in 2019 and 2020, he’s going to force his way into the everyday lineup and not relinquish his spot.

6.  Edwin Diaz will be an All-Star. Diaz has been an every other year pitcher in his career, and following that pattern, this is his year.

7.  The Mets All-Stars this season will be Diaz, Lindor, and Max Scherzer.

8.  Jacob deGrom will receive some Cy Young votes. Whenever he comes back, he’s going to be deGrom, and he’s going to be so great, he’s going to appear on ballots.

9.  Jeff McNeil will finish the season as the left fielder. That is an injury prone outfield, and McNeil will eventually be forced to move out there.

10.  Robinson Cano will reclaim a starting job. We forget that when Cano played he was actually good in the field. If the outfield is as injury prone as we think, we will eventually play almost every day at second or DH.

11.  Chris Bassitt will have a slow first month frustrating fans, but he will have a terrific stretch starting in the middle of May as he adjusts to working with the new catchers and Jeremy Hefner.

12.  Starling Marte is going to have a fast start and quickly become a fan favorite. When he’s snubbed at All-Star time, fans are going to be livid.

13. Mark Vientos will have a thrilling MLB debut. Vientos’ bat is arguably Major League ready, and he’s going to get some run during some point of the season as a third baseman or DH. He may not relinquish a spot.

14. Brett Baty will be moved at the trade deadline. With the emergence of Vientos and the ground ball problems, the Mets feel comfortable moving him for that big piece at the trade deadline.

15. The Mets everyday catcher is not on the Opening Day roster. At some point, the Mets will swing a deal or call up Francisco Alvarez to take over as the everyday catcher.

16. The Philadelphia Phillies will be the Mets main contenders. Last year, the Atlanta Braves were dead in the water until the Mets were too injured. The Mets won’t do that again this year, and the Phillies pitching and hitters will give people more of a run than we think.

17. The Atlanta Braves will not challenge the Mets at all for the division. They’ll really miss Freddie Freeman, the bullpen will falter, and they will not get Ronald Acuna Jr. back in time.

18. Tylor Megill will last the entire season in the rotation. Now that he’s here, it is going to be difficult to remove him from the rotation. If need be, the Mets will go to a six man rotation to keep him in the majors.

19. Carlos Carrasco will rebound and will pitch like he did with Cleveland, but he will not make more than 20 starts.

20. Trevor Williams will become a huge part of the Mets bullpen as he becomes more of a fastball/slider pitcher.

21. Steve Cohen will purchase SNY during the course as the 2022 season as the Wilpons are scared off by the increasing rights deals with streamers.

22. The Mets will have multiple Gold Glove winners with Lindor and Marte.

23. Hefner will get interviews for managerial positions with other teams after this season.

24. So will Eric Chavez.

25. The Mets will not have any player at DH for more than 40 games this season.

26. J.D. Davis will make multiple relief appearances for the Mets this season.

27. The Joely Rodriguez trade will work out as well as the Alex Torres trade did for the Mets.

28. None of the Mets outfielders will play over 135 games this season.

29. Fans will fall in love with Nick Plummer and get more frustrated by Khalil Lee.

30. Mark Canha will play more games than any other Mets outfielder, but he will have the lowest WAR out of all the regular outfielders.

31. There will be an issue over Marcus Stroman not receiving a video tribute when the Chicago Cubs visit the Mets in September.

32. Old Timers’ Day will have one team wearing the 1986 Mets jerseys and the other team wearing the black jerseys.

33. Carlos Beltran will not return to Citi Field for Old Timers’ Day. We also will not see Carlos Delgado.

34. The loudest ovation on Old Timers’ Day will go to Piazza. The second loudest will go to Nolan Ryan, who will be a surprise attendee.

35. The defensive highlight of the season will come from Luis Guillorme.

36. Pete Alonso will take a step back defensively, and he will see more time at DH than initially expected.

37. A week or two into the season, we will hear some rumblings about Michael Conforto looking to return to the Mets. He won’t return, and likely, he will not sign with anyone until after the Major League draft.

38. Some team will crack the frequency on the pitch calling device, and we will eventually know it is them because they will be the surprise team of the 2022 season. It won’t be the Mets.

39. Mets fans will actually enjoy the Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts this season.

40. Showalter will be the 2022 NL Manager of the Year, and it might be unanimous.

41. Seth Lugo will return to his dominant form, but he will only be a one inning reliever. The multiple inning role will be assumed by Williams.

42. The Tom Seaver statue will be perfect.

43. Drew Smith will take over the eighth inning and will be groomed as the next closer. He will not take over the eighth due to any fault of Trevor May who will have another good year.

44. People will talk about how Scherzer isn’t what they thought he’d be and the contract was a mistake. Those people will be idiots.

45. The Mets are going to have a monster second half with them running away with the division.

46. With the Toronto Blue Jays winning the division, the Mets are going to make a push to get their unvaccinated players vaccinated to ensure their availability for the World Series.

47. Jeurys Familia will receive a tribute video when he returns to Citi Field, and there will be a mix of cheers and boos with probably more boos.

48. The Wild Card round will be a complete dud and fans will be clamoring for the return of the winner-take-all Wild Card Game.

49. We will see David Peterson bounced around between starting and relieving due to the injury issues with the Mets starting staff. He will struggle for it.

50. The Mets will not need to add bullpen pieces at the deadline because we will see pitchers like Colin Holderman and Thomas Szapucki emerge as quality relief options at the Major League level.

51. James McCann will have very similar production to what he had in 2021, and in short order, he will find himself in a catching rotation with Tomas Nido.

52. No New York baseball player will sign an in-season extension. That includes deGrom and Nimmo, and it also includes Aaron Judge.

53. There will be no negative articles written about Showalter this season even during a time in the season where the Mets slump (as even the best teams in baseball always do).

54. Taijuan Walker will make the fewest starts of anyone in the Mets pitching rotation.

55. The Mets will have a no-hitter this season, but it will not be from a starting pitcher going all nine innings.

56. This will be the last Major League season with nine inning double headers. We will see the return of seven inning double headers in 2023.

57. The Mets will announce their next Hall of Fame class, and it will include Al Leiter and Johan Santana.

58. Mets fans will not care about the Apple TV game, but they will be absolutely livid about the game on Peacock. Of course, MLB will not care one iota about the blowback.

59. Showalter is going to get Guillorme in a lot of games for late inning defense.

60. To reiterate, the Mets will win the World Series, and they will not have to wait another three decades for their next World Series.

Mets Roster Still Feels Very Incomplete

The New York Mets have the rotation which can win them a World Series. That goes double when the top of your rotation is Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. That said, this is a roster which still needs help.

The outfield is more than set with Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte, and Mark Canha. However, they are not a trio who historically lasts a season. That is going to leave the team shallow for good chunks of the season just hoping Khalil Lee figures it out or Nick Plummer can prove last season was him making his march to the majors.

The infield is also set, but that could be a problem as well. Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor seem to be well past their issues, and they promise to be an elite double play combination on the field and at the plate. Pete Alonso made strides defensively and has likely dedicated himself to be even better. However, Eduardo Escobar has always been a poor third baseman, and now, he is going to be asked to play there everyday.

The catching situation is a bit of a mess. James McCann regressed in all areas of his game last season. Unless he starts hitting or framing better, the Mets are going to have to try to pivot to Tomas Nido depsite McCann’s big contract. On that note, Nido remains elite defensively, but he still has issues at the plate.

Looking at the bench, Dominic Smith is a first baseman, and J.D. Davis has no position, which admittedly is much less of an issue with the DH. Robinson Cano has the contract and bat to justify playing everyday, but that is only if he is Cano. Really, at this point, no one knows if he can, but you have to assume with the backing of Buck Showalter he just might get the opportunity to prove he still is.

Luis Guillorme is a great defender who will struggle to find playing time. His pinch hitting ability has also been neutralized with the universal DH. Fortunately, he does seem to finally have a believer in what he brings to a team in Showalter.

Honestly, the concerns over the bullpen is muchado about nothing. Edwin Diaz can close even if he’s not the most reliable. Trevor May is a very good late inning reliever. With the injury concerns past him, Seth Lugo can get back to being Lugo. Drew Smith is on the verge of a breakout. Miguel Castro is good against left-handed batters, and Adam Ottavino gives a different look.

With all the pitching the Mets have a great mix and actual depth which goes down to the Triple-A level. It is something they have not had in quite some time. However, as noted, from a position player standpoint, this team needs some real help. It’s another reminder Michael Conforto is still a free agent, and maybe, it’s a call for one of the players in the organization to step forward and claim a spot.

The Mets need that to happen because the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers continue attacking this offseason looking to push towards winning the 2022 World Series. The Mets have the pitching to get there, but now , they really need to make sure they have everything else.

Minor Leaugers Will Be Impacted By MLB Lockout

With the collective bargaining agreement stalemate, and Commissioner Rob Manfred announcing the first two series of the Major League season will be canceled, minor league baseball appears to be set to be the only baseball left to be played. This was the case on August 12, 1994 until the end of that season, and right now, we don’t know how long it will be until MLB and the MLBPA reach an agreement.

This begs the question about how this will affect the minor league season. In many ways, the answer is not at all, but in a more global sense, it is a huge impact due to all of the uncertainty.

40 Man Roster Issues

First and foremost, this lockout impacts players on the 40 man roster. Keep in mind with Major League rosters being capped at 26 players, the 14 players who were supposed to play in the minors are now not permitted to play with their respective organizations.

This past offseason, the New York Mets added Mark Vientos, Ronny Mauricio, Adam Oller, and Jose Butto to their 40 man roster. They’re now not eligible to play in games or participate in Spring Training. The same goes for players like Travis Blankenhorn, Khalil Lee, Patrick Mazeika, and Nick Plummer who were likely ticketed for Triple-A to start the season.

Spring Training Battles

If we look back to the pandemic shortened season of 2020, MLB had a very abbreviated “Summer Camp” with players reporting on July 1 and beginning the season on July 24. In 1995, the strike and lockout meant Spring Training was delayed. When the two sides finally agreed to a deal, Spring Training was just three weeks. We’re very likely to see something akin to that again.

As a result, we are not going to have the opportunity to see Spring Training battles breath. At least at the moment, Tylor Megill and David Peterson appear poised to battle for the fifth starter spot. With no real Spring Training, and both pitchers being shut down because they are on the 40 man roster, it would appear the Mets would be all the more emboldened to sign another starter.

Speaking of Spring Training battles, there are those veterans who signed minor league deals. For example, this offseason the Mets signed Daniel Palka who has played 154 Major League games in his career and Matt Reynolds who has played 130 games. They would be permitted to play in Spring Training, where they would not be paid, and they can then report to play in Triple-A Syracuse regardless of the status of the CBA negotiations.

Rule 5 Draft

As noted, players not on the 40 man roster are permitted to participate in Spring Training, and they can begin their minor league seasons when they are slated to begin. That is an enormous benefit for players like Carlos Cortes, Brian Metoyer, and Hayden Senger. Each of these players were on the bubble for Rule 5 protection, and the Mets opted to expose them to the draft.

This means Cortes, Metoyer, and Senger will get to play and improve. That will also give teams an opportunity to get a better look at those three players in determining whether they should be selected in the Rule 5 draft. Of course, that also works in the inverse with the Mets getting a deeper look into players they might be targeting.

Keep in mind, there isn’t much precedent here for this. In 1994, because there was a strike but not a lockout, teams were able to proceed with their business as usual and hold the Rule 5 draft in December (even if it was delayed twice). For the 2020 season, the Rule 5 draft had already taken place in December 2019 because COVID-19 was not yet a concern.

Another important note here is as MLB cancels games, it becomes easier to carry Rule 5 drafted players. As a result, the risk in selecting a Rule 5 player has been greatly mitigated. Another factor at play here is we may see players get drafted based on early season results who may not have been otherwise considered. To sum up, this is a quagmire.

Games

At the moment, the Mets have their minor league mini-camp. Minor League Spring Training is also set to officially begin this week. As of right now, according to their official schedule, the Mets are slated to play their first Spring Training game on March 12 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Of course, games were supposed to begin February 28, but it was delayed due to the lockout. As of right now, there is no official word if games will be delayed further. That said, there will likely be some form of a Spring Training game schedule even absent a CBA being in place to allow the minor leaguers to prepare for their season. The season for the Mets full season affiliates are set to begin as follows:

  • Syracuse Mets – April 5
  • Binghamton Rumble Ponies – April 8
  • Brooklyn Cyclones – April 8
  • St. Lucie Mets – April 8

For those Mets fans who want to attend a baseball game, the Brooklyn Cyclones home opener will be on April 12 at 7:00 P.M. against the Jersey Shore Blue Claws (Phillies).

Coaching

Right now, the Mets are paying Buck Showalter a lot of money to manage a team which is not set to play. That leaves Showalter with the job of preparing to prepare for the season. In some ways, that’s extremely beneficial for the new staff with new coaches like Eric Chavez to come to work together.

It also gives them an opportunity to work with the minor leaguers in Spring Training, and perhaps, depending on the length of the lockout, to travel to work with some of the minor leaguers. This presents an enormous opportunity for players like Brett Baty, who is battling with Vientos for that future third base job. More than that, it allows some of the more unheralded prospects like a Harol Gonzalez to make an impression in camp and get an advocate from the Major League coaching staff in their corner.

That just speaks to just how different everything will be for minor leaugers. Yes, the players not on the 40 man roster will have no change to their schedule. They will report to Spring Training at the same time, and they will play the games like they normally do.

However, they will also get more exposure to Major League coaching, and they have more of an opportunity to distinguish themselves. Moreover, they will get to prepare for their season and work on their games while fellow minor leaugers who are on the 40 man roster will be at home unpaid and without a chance to work with their coaches to improve their game.

Mets Should Obtain Clint Frazier

With the deadline to protect Rule 5 players, you’ll typically see some shocking moves. The New York Yankees designating Clint Frazier ranks as a shocking move.

While shocking, it probably wasn’t all that surprising. It never really worked for him with the Yankees, and there are questions about whether he’s really recovered from his concussions and/or if he had other neurological issues.

Whatever the case, Frazier’s time with the Yankees appears to be over, and he will be with a new organization in 2022. That organization should be the New York Mets.

As constituted, the Mets only have Brandon Nimmo as an outfielder right now. Perhaps, depending on what they do this offseason, Jeff McNeil can slot back in left field. And no, once and for all Dominic Smith is not a LF.

In the minors, Khalil Lee is all the Mets have has Major League ready outfield depth. While we shouldn’t take away too much from an 11 game stint, he didn’t appear ready.

He looked overmatched for the most part. Certainly, he made improvements and should continue to improve. That said, he can’t be counted on as depth on Opening Day.

That’s what Frazier could be. He could be real depth for the Mets with upside. In some ways, he could provide the Mets with what Billy McKinney (another player designated for assignment) provided the Mets in 2021.

The two biggest positives with Frazier is he still hits the ball extremely hard, and his walk rate continues to improve. There is real offensive promise there, and a mixture of a new team, different analytical approach, and a new hitting coach could get Frazier to reach his potential.

On the latter two, we know the Mets are still addressing these needs. With the right people, the Mets could not only get the most out of Frazier, but really anyone on the team.

With Frazier, the bat isn’t the issue. There is enough to but in on the potential. That same probably can’t be said of the defense.

Aside from 2020, Frazier has put up a negative OAA. Part and parcel with that is Frazier’s decreasing spring speed. Even with improved positioning, it’s difficult to see how his defense would improve suddenly.

Of course, Frazier’s defense can improve, as we saw in 2020, but it’s difficult to see it improve to the point where he doesn’t hurt you everyday. With Frazier, that’s not an issue.

If the Mets got Frazier as a fourth outfielder, they can pick and choose his spots in the outfield. An even bigger benefit is he’s a right-handed bat who can complement what the Mets already have.

For this reason alone, this merits putting in a waiver claim on him. Perhaps, the Mets could swing a minor trade to endure they get him. In either event, there’s still real upside with Frazier, and the Mets could use another outfielder.

In the end, Frazier is very low risk with high reward. He’s well worth the gamble. That goes double for a Mets team which desperately needs outfielders.

Luis Rojas Not To Blame For 2021 Season

One day, you’re in first place, and you’re a potential NL Manager of the Year. The next, your team is eliminated from postseason contention with no hope of having a .500 record.

That’s the type of year it has been for Luis Rojas and the New York Mets. As is standard, when a team falls short, the manager faces scrutiny.

It comes with the territory. Obviously, Rojas hasn’t been perfect. Assuredly, he’s made bad decisions, and there are times you wonder what in the world he’s doing.

Go pinpoint your most maddening moment. Make it out to be more than it is. Throw a few more moments on there. Magnify that.

Guess what? That’s not the reason the 2021 Mets didn’t make the postseason. It’s far from it.

In fact, for a while, Rojas was one of the things ruse was right about the Mets. At least, that was the narrative. In the end, blaming or crediting Rojas was just that – narrative.

The truth of the matter is it all fell apart. It wasn’t all at once, but rather in pieces. Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker were the only two starters to last the year with Stroman the only one to have sustained success into the second half.

Offensively, the Mets went with Chili Davis only to utilize advanced data which runs counter-intuitive to what Davis does. We saw the offense have a big letdown.

Francisco Lindor had a slow start. Michael Conforto dealt with COVID and a career worst year. That’s the tip of the iceberg with everyone not named Brandon Nimmo and maybe Pete Alonso having poor to flat out bad years.

Speaking of Nimmo, there were just so many injuries. So, so, so many injuries. When players like Jose Peraza and Jordan Yamamoto were injured, you saw the backups to the backups get hurt.

For his part, Rojas listened to the workload management rules. The front office specifically said it was the player’s fault they got hurt.

That brings us in a roundabout way to a big part of the issue. With last year being a COVID impacted year, depth was more important than ever. For some reason, the front office was cavalier with it.

Steven Matz was traded for two relievers who had little impact and another flipped for the poor performing Khalil Lee. They also made odds unforced errors like designating Johneshwy Fargas for assignment. For our mental health, we probably should’ve dwell too much on Jerad Eickhoff pitching in five games.

Fact of that matter is if Jacob deGrom was healthy, much of this season goes much differently. If the Mets hitters were just a reasonable facsimile of their career stats, the season is far different.

For that matter, if the front office looked at the roster problems and attacked them at the trade deadline, things go differently. At the end of the day, this was a first place team at the trade deadline, and the organization opted to fight another day.

In what way is all of this Rojas’ fault? The simple truth is it isn’t.

We can and should have the debate over whether Rojas is the right man for the job. Realistically speaking, he’s only had one year at the helm, and in that time, he’s shown good and bad.

The issue for any pure novice manager is whether he can grow. No one knows that yet. No one.

What we do know is the Mets shown they can win and fall apart with Rojas at the helm. Both instances were entirely tied to the strength of the roster. That brings us to the front office.

In the end, feel however you want about Rojas. It doesn’t matter because he’s not the reason the Mets disappointed this year. He may eventually be the fall guy but things aren’t magically improving because there’s another manager. The only way that happens is if the roster improves.

Mets Still Alive After Sloppy Win

This is the way it works with Carlos Carrasco. He struggles in the first, and he shuts the opponent down after that. That’s what happened again in his start against the Miami Marlins.

It was 2-0 before Carrasco recorded an out, but he kept the Marlins there. What was unusual was the Mets responded immediately with a Jonathan Villar lead-off homer off Sandy Alcantara.

In the fourth, we’d see Francisco Lindor put his stamp on the game.

Brandon Nimmo led off the fourth with an infield single. He went to second when Isan Diaz threw it away. Lindor drove home Nimmo with an RBI double and moved to third on a fielder’s choice. That put him in position to score when he induced Alcantara to balk.

This speaks to how bizarre the game was from a defensive standpoint. There were just a number a terrific defensive plays. However, there were also a number of errors and miscues. By some miracle, there were no unearned runs in the game.

Case-in-point, in the fifth, Jorge Alfaro reached on a Villar error. He took off on a pitch which Bryan De La Cruz lined to right. Javier Báez brilliant deked Alfaro allowing Michael Conforto to easily throw him out at first.

We saw that in the sixth. Mets killer Miguel Rojas, who opened the game with a homer, hit a lead-off single, and he moved to second on an error from Carrasco. After a one walk, Luis Rojas brought in Aaron Loup.

While he’s been the Mets best reliever, Loup just didn’t have it. He’d walk back-to-back batters to force home the tying run. He’s dig down to get out of the inning, but the damage was done.

After Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless seventh, he was in line for the win. They’d get it for him giving him a team high nine wins.

Jeff McNeil and Patrick Mazeika hit consecutive one out singles. McNeil was able to go to third on a Jesus Sanchez error.

Rojas went to his bench to have Dominic Smith pinch hit. Smith sat because he’s been struggling and due to his best 0-for-9 off Alcantara. After he ripped a double off Jesus Aguilar‘s glove, he’s now 1-for-10.

If Aguilar didn’t touch it, the ball probably goes foul. However, he did, and in a fitting fashion, the go-ahead run scored on an almost play.

The Mets made good on that 4-3 lead. First, it was Trevor May in the eighth. May did all he could do that inning including trying to dive to catch a foul ball.

In the ninth, Edwin Diaz continued his recent stretch of dominance. He struck out two in a perfect inning saving the sloppy 4-3 win featuring seven errors and a number of misplays.

Game Notes: Brad Hand was claimed off waivers. As it happened after August 31, he will not be postseason eligible. Khalil Lee was sent down for Yennsy Diaz. Like Lee briefly was, Albert Almora is a September call-up.

Jacob deGrom Nearly Perfect

Joe Musgove. Carlos Rodon. John Means. Wade Miley. Spencer Turnbull. Corey Kluber.

It just doesn’t make and sense. Somehow, these six have no-hitters, and yet, with one out in the fifth, Carson Kelly hit a single off Jacob deGrom.

Regardless of the inane scoring when Billy McKinney dropped a Josh Reddick line drive, that’s all the Arizona Diamondbacks could muster off deGrom through six. He had no-hit stuff (as usual), and the Diamondbacks were his victims.

All told, deGrom’s final line was 6.0 innings, two hits, zero runs, zero walks, and eight strikeouts.

As is the case, deGrom drove in more than he allowed. In the fourth, Jose Peraza hit a one out double, and Merrill Kelly intentionally walked Mason Williams to get to deGrom.

Kelly and the Diamondbacks paid for that mistake when deGrom hit an RBI single. With that hit, he’s driven in as many runs as he’s allowed this year. Honestly, there was nothing unusual about that.

What was unusual was the run support. A big part of that was the return of Pete Alonso to the lineup.

In the third, Alonso came up with the bases loaded and two outs, and in his second at-bat since coming off the IL, he hit a two RBI single giving the Mets a 2-0 lead. Alonso got two more RBI when he hit a two run homer in the seventh.

At that point, the Mets were in control. That’s when Luis Rojas went to the bullpen. Between the 5-0 lead and deGrom’s recent IL stint, you understood the move.

The problem is Trevor May struggled. Eduardo Escobar homered off of him to lead off the inning.

After two quick outs, Pavin Smith singled off May and then took second on a wild pitch. He then scored on a Reddick RBI single. Miguel Castro relieved May and got the Mets out of the inning further unscathed.

Well, it wasn’t so much Castro as it was Williams. The call-up singled in his first at-bat, and he’d make a big play to get the Mets out of the seventh up 5-2.

Castro would give the Mets another inning, and with the help of another fine Jonathan Villar play, it was a scoreless eighth. Even with the scoreless inning, he did not give the ball off for a save situation.

The reason for that was Billy McKinney hitting his second homer in as many games. This one gave the Mets a 6-2 lead.

With the four run lead, Jeurys Familia came on to finish the game. Familia retired the first two quickly, but the second batter, Smith, hit one off Familia’s hand.

Familia shook everyone off, but there was some concern after a Reddick bloop double. Whatever concern that might’ve been, Familia put it to rest striking out Domingo Leyba.

Game Notes: In addition to Alonso, Kevin Pillar and Seth Lugo were activated off the IL. Sean Reid-Foley, Khalil Lee, and Patrick Mazeika were optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. Sam McWilliams and Cameron Maybin were designated for assignment. The Mets had 13 hits with James McCann being the only starter without a hit.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Get Marlins Slip Through Their Grasp

The New York Mets had a chance to put further distance between themselves and the rest of the NL East. Instead, they lost a tough series:

1. Of course, Jordan Yamamoto got hurt because there can’t be a Mets game without an injury.

2. The same fans who wanted Joey Lucchesi pitch the fifth are the same ones who wanted everyone warming when David Peterson last pitched.

3. Johneshwy Fargas belongs.

4. If you wanted proof Baseball is a cruel sport, look no further than Jake Hager being designated for assignment the day after celebrating his first MLB hit.

5. Marcus Stroman cheering on Miguel Castro after Castro blew Stroman’s win speaks volumes about Stroman as a person and teammate.

6. At this rate, and after his strong rehab start, Noah Syndergaard may be the first person back from the IL. Okay, it’s really going to be Jacob deGrom, but you get the point.

7. Tomas Nido gave an inch in this series with the dropped ball, but James McCann again showed no reason why he should play over Nido right now.

8. The Mets are really banged up, but there has to be better options available than Brandon Drury and Cameron Maybin . . . right?

9. Jonathan Villar has been abysmal of late.

10. There’s literally no point in complaining about the lineups right now because there are zero good choices to put out there.

11. Dominic Smith really is a terrific defensive first baseman. Hopefully, his getting time where he’s most comfortable can get him swinging better.

12. Well, except for clutch situations. He’s as good as gold in those situations right now.

13. With Robert Gsellman and Sean Reid-Foley, the Mets have been getting phenomenal performances from the long men in the bullpen.

14. Really, the bullpen has been great from top to bottom. You just have to wonder how much longer they can withstand this usage rate.

15. Luis Rojas and Jeremy Hefner aren’t getting nearly enough credit.

16. Mets need more from Francisco Lindor. They’ll get it eventually. Until that time, just enjoy the great defense and the hugs.

17. The game winning hit was fun and all, but Khalil Lee is completely and utterly overmatched at the plate right now.

18. It’s awesome to see MSG rocking for Knicks playoff basketball. It’s been so desperately missed.

19. The last time the Knicks and Mets made the playoffs in the same year was 2000 when the Mets lost the World Series, and the Knicks lost to the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

20. The Colorado Rockies are coming to Citi Field at a time the Mets weakened roster needs a truly putrid team they can beat.

Khalil Lee And Johneshwy Fargas – Just Like They Drew It Up

Miguel Castro came into the seventh of a game the New York Mets led 3-2, and he surrendered a game tying solo homer to Garrett Cooper. Of course, this is the 2021 Mets, so it was a crazy game.

The double guessing of Luis Rojas started as he pulled Marcus Stroman after six even with a tired bullpen. Stroman might’ve gotten the no decision, but he gave Castro a big hug.

We’d all need a big hug after this emotional roller coaster.

Trevor May, who has been struggling of late, got himself into a bases loaded two out jam in the eighth. Worse yet, he fell behind 3-1 in the count. May would rally back, strike out Cooper, and help keep this game tied.

Jeurys Familia had two on and no outs in the ninth, and he battled back to send the game into extras.

In the 10th, we’d see one of the craziest things of all with Wilfredo Tovar getting a base hit. Of course, Tovar is one of many pressed into action no one thought would even be contemplated to play for the Mets this year.

That hit was Tovar’ first Mets hit since 2013. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough to score Tomas Nido, and the Mets would somehow squander that opportunity.

For his part, Nido got yet another start, and he again proved he deserves the job. In fact, it was his third inning RBI double which increased the then Mets lead to 3-1. He also had two caught stealings including a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play:

Fast-forward to the 11th, and the Mets had a golden opportunity with Jonathan Villar starting the inning at second. At the plate was Francisco Lindor, who opened the scoring in the first with an RBI double scoring Villar.

Lindor got the hit, but Villar stopped at third. That proved costly when Villar was PICKED OFF OF THIRD?!?!?!?

That’s a horrid job by Villar, but you do wonder where third base coach Gary Disarcina was. On that note, it was another terrible job by Disarcina tonight with his getting two runners caught at the plate. One of those was Nido in the fourth. Nido wasn’t even close.

After Drew Smith navigated his way through the 11th, the Mets would not be denied in the 12th. It was just how the Mets drew it up in Spring Training.

Dominic Smith was the runner on second (because Rob Manfred hates baseball), and he moved to third when Jake Hager had his first career hit. He wasn’t the only one.

Khalil Lee came up to the plate despite literally striking out in literally all of his career plate appearances. He’d hit a go-ahead double.

This wasn’t good enough. Johneshwy Fargas would hit a two run RBI triple to give the Mets a 6-3 lead. It was 6-3 partially because Fargas went for the inside the park homer but was nailed at the plate.

Initially, it was up to Aaron Loup to earn the save. It didn’t go too well with his allowing back-to-back singles to start the inning pulling the Marlins to 6-4. That’s when Lindor bailed out Loop with a big double play:

Better than the heads up play by Lindor was the Smith pick at first. Yes, a run score, but the Mets were that much closer to winning. They’d get that win with Rojas going to Jacob Barnes.

When Barnes recorded the final out, the Mets had a very hard fought 6-5 win in 12. They’re down 16 players, and they have Triple-A talent out there. Despite all that, they’re 21-17 and in first place.

Game Notes: Pete Alonso was placed on the IL. Brandon Drury was called up to take his place, and Daniel Zamora was designated for assignment. Tommy Hunter was also placed on the IL.