This is season is becoming magical. In another year, this would’ve been a major let down loss . . . especially against the Marlins. I still have the scars from 2007 and 2008.
This is a different team. The Mets came in rolling from the sweep of the Nationals and treated the Marlins’ arms like they were batting practice pitchers. Even Bartolo Colon got a hit.
Michael Comforto hit his first major league homerun. Yoenis Cespedes hit three doubles that would’ve been homeruns in any ballpark other than the originally designed Citi Field. Everything was so great, the Mets didn’t even need a Lucas Duda homerun. The Marlins offense was so bad, they barely scored a run off Bartolo Colon. Overall, their offense was so bad the Mets got away with starting Wilmer Flores [insert obligatory standing ovation] without incident.
Side note: can you imagine how unwatchable this game would’ve been had Sandy Alderson not made those trades?
With the Nationals losing to the Diamondbacks, the Mets are in first place by themselves. I have a feeling that they’re pulling away from the Nationals. It’s incredible! It’s great!
When I first started this blog, much of the focus at that time was on why everyone thought Michael Conforto should be called up to the majors. Back then, it was assumed the Mets were not going to add offense thereby making him the only source of offense available. We’re not in this world right now.
After the trade deadline moves, the Mets now have a major league roster of major league hitters. So far, Terry Collins has shown he intends to play the following everyday: Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada. Curtis Granderson, and Yoenis Cespedes. Prior to the Cespedes trade, he seemed to have a Kirk Nieuwenhuis/Juan Lagares platoon, but he seems to have done away with that.
Once the Cespedes trade was completed, Granderson and Cespedes have played CF. In turn, Lagares and Nieuwenhuis have been on the bench. Kelly Johnson has played a corner outfield position in those games. These are the games Nieuwenhuis would’ve started as the Nationals were throwing righties. We now know Nieuwenhuis is injured.
However, what we don’t know is if Collins has eschewed the CF platoon for more offense. If so, I’m not sure that was the right move with the return of Duda’s bat, Granderson continuing his good year, and Cespedes’ bat. They are no longer as desperate for offense as they used to be. Now, they need to sure up their outfield defense, especially when their pitchers give up a lot of flyballs. To his credit, Collins is using Lagares as a late inning defensive replacement.
With Nieuwenhuis going on the DL, his spot on the roster has gone to Conforto, who must play everyday. If he’s not playing everyday, he needs to be in Las Vegas. This means the Mets OF for two weeks, minimum, must have Conforto in left, Cespedes in center, and Granderson in right (barring Michael Cuddyer coming off the DL). At the very least, Conforto is a step up from Johnson defensively. However, it is nowhere enough of an upgrade to justify sitting Lagares’ glove.
The natural question is who should the Mets have called up, if not Conforto. That’s the problem. For all the moves, there are still some holes in this organization, especially from a depth perspective. Begrudgingly, I would’ve called up Darrell Ceciliani. You don’t need him to play everyday, and he can play all three OF positions.
I would further endorse this decision as it seemed the Mets were fine with Johnson playing the corner outfield positions during the biggest series of the year. Let Ceciliani be the 25th man while the major leaguers play everyday. Let Conforto play everyday in the minors and come up in September for the stretch drive (like they should do with Kevin Plawecki).
So while I initially endorsed calling up Conforto, I am now against it. My opinion has nothing to do with his 0-12 streak. He looks like he can play. I was very impressed with him. I’m just saying the dynamic of this team has changed and so has the need for him. I only wish the Mets would change their mindset.
On Friday at 3:00 P.M., things were about as bleak as it could be this season. The Carlos Gomez trade fell apart, and there seemed to be bickering as to whether it was due to Gomez’s hip or the Mets’ finances. On Thursday, the Mets’ bullpen inexplicably blew a six run lead.
Then it seemed the Mets would add Jay Bruce until they didn’t. It sure looked like the Mets were never going to add a bat. Worst yet, the Nationals were coming into NY after previously taking 2/3 from the stud muffins. This was a Nationals team that went 15-4 against the Mets last year.
On the eve of the trade deadline, the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes. The attention around the Mets changed from despair to hope. This hope continued to grow throughout the weekend.
On Friday, it was a dominant Matt Harvey and an emotionally satisfying Wilmer Flores’ walk off homerun. On Saturday, it was the Lucas Duda Fireworks Show. Tonight, Thor was once again the story. Thor went eight innings with two two earned and nine strikeouts.
Thor made the homerun barrage in the third to stand up. On back-to-back pitches, Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy homered. After Cespedes’ first hit as a Met, Duda capped off the five run inning with a homerun of his own. Tyler Clippard, in for Jeurys Familia (who pitched two days in a row), recorded his first save as a Mets.
The Mets have flipped the script. They swept the Nationals and are now tied for first place in the NL East. I’m so excited that I’ll ignore they’re one behind in the loss column. The Mets are now 38-18 at home. Surprisingly, they’re 7-6 against the Nationals this season.
The Mets are in a dead heat with the Nationaks and have six head-to-head match ups with them. They have an easy second half schedule. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Mets are in the driver’s seat in the NL East. We’ve waited seven years for this, and so far, it’s been worth the wait. Lets Go Mets!
In case you didn’t know, Lucas Duda made sure you knew tonight was Fireworks Night. I told you Duda is awesome.
His first homerun broke up the no-hitter. The second homerun let deGrom off the hook. deGrom deserved to be let off the hook too. He didn’t have his best stuff, and he was fighting it all night. However, he gave the team six solid innings, allowed only two runs, and gave the team a chance to win. Duda took advantage of that chance.
As if the two homers weren’t enough, Duda also doubled in Curtis Granderson in the eighth. In this inning, we saw the impact of Yoenis Cespedes’ presence in the lineup. After Granderson’s double and Daniel Murphy grounded out to the pitcher, Cespedes was intentionally walked. Before tonight there was no one in the Mets’ lineup who would’ve merited that. Instead of now feeling pressure to be the entire offense, Duda was able to relax and deliver . . . and boy did he deliver.
After Hansel Robles shut the door in the right and Duda single-handedly carried the offense to a 3-2 lead, Jeurys Familia slammed the door shut in the ninth. This looked like the Familia of the first half.
My only qualm tonight was the lineup. It looked like Terry Collins was still drunk from celebrating last night’s win and the Cespedes acquisition. I know we all love the Wilmer Flores’ story, but this is a pennant race, and you need to field your best team (even if he almost hit a HR). That team has an outfield alignment of Cespedes in left, Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Juan Lagares in center, and Granderson in right. The only time you want Kelly Johnson in RF right now is when he’s signing autographs before the game.
Luckily, this didn’t hurt the Mets. Also, it was good to see Collins put in Lagares late for defense. It was better to see Duda’s offense and Familia’ dominance again. It’s even better to be a game out with Noah Syndergaard tomorrow. Lets Go Mets!
Normally, when my son sees a television, he starts asking for Elmo. When you don’t acquiesce, he begins to become upset. As you don’t want to upset your child, you usually relent.
Yesterday, I didn’t immediately relent. I just wanted to finish watching the highlights of the Wilmer Flores’ walk off homerun before putting in that little monster. Before my son could protest, he saw the ball leave Flores’ bat. First, he let out a “Whoa!” when he saw it go over the left field wall. Then he yelled “Yay!” when he saw the Mets players and coaches celebrating. We shared a high five.
Now, he wasn’t asking for Elmo. He was asking me to replay the homerun. Thank God for the Roku and You Tube. After each time we saw it, he would say “more homerun please daddy.” We must’ve watched that homerun 15+ times in a row yesterday.
Then I took out his Little Tykes’ baseball set. After he hit the ball off the tee (we alternate sides of the plate), he ran around the house screaming homerun! Apparently, both 20 month olds and chicks dig the long all. This went on seemingly forever, and I loved every minute of it.
Last night during the game when everyone came up, he said, “homerun please!” Lucas Duda was the only one who obliged. Although we missed the first one to bath time, he saw the second. He was excited. Remember, Duda is his favorite player.
I used to be happy just because he showed an interest in the game. Now that he knows what a homerun is and he wants to see one is all the more awesome. The fact that he created the moment in our living room still astonishes me. While Duda’s two homeruns were key in the Mets’ win, my favorite homeruns yesterday were the ones hit in my living room.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Bartolo Colon is done. His 2.1 innings six earned run game is unacceptable. He pitches in a pitcher’s park, and his ERA is now 4.96. If MLB wants to improve scoring just make sure he pitches every five games.
The Mets entered today one game back (two in the loss column), and Colon gave them no chance to make up ground or keep pace. In fact, the Mets lost ground. He even had his super secret weapon, Anthony Recker, and his .130 batting average.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, the Mets don’t tell Wilmer Flores or Terry Collins about the Carlos Gomez trade. However because this isn’t 1925, he heard about the trade anyway (probably from someone in the clubhouse). Better yet, no one told Terry Collins. So he sends Flores out there crying at SS. Flores did get one last AB and a standing ovation. Collins finally pulled him off the field. After a big loss, Collins had a testy press conference.
Wouldn’t you? The man is facing the brunt of the blame for putting Flores in a tough spot. However, Collins had no idea about the trade. It’s insanity.
Speaking of insanity – THERE WAS NO TRADE! Let me say that again to let that sink in, THERE WAS NO TRADE! Unbelievable. Only the Mets. There’s no one to blame, at least not now. I’m sure we’ll soon find out what happened. At the moment, we all feel like Collins watching his SS crying in the field: baffled, upset, out of the loop, and . . .
In other news, Lucas Duda is objectively awesome, and Collins is still using the platoon system. Colon is terrible and is possibly costing the Mets a playoff spot. Today was Flores’ last game for the Mets until it wasn’t. A lot of people, including me, wasted time with an analysis of a non-trade.
It’s late. I’m confused. I’m going to bed. Maybe there will be some sanity tomorrow.
If we are honest with ourselves, we admit that we’re not always objective. I often joke that I know this is true because everyone says their kid is the cutest and the smartest, when in truth, the the cutest and smartest kid is my son.
From the beginning, he would cozy up next to me while I watched the Mets (or Rangers in the Winter) as he goes to sleep. He loves baseball and the Mets because his Daddy loves baseball and the Mets. I’m a huge fan of Lucas Duda because of my son.
It all started during Spring Training when Lucas Duda ripped a double down the right field line. When my son heard Gary Cohen yell Duda’s name during the call, he began saying Duda. Since that time, when I ask him who plays first base for the Mets, he says, “Duda!” For Father’s Day, he got me a Duda jersey (told you he’s smart). Naturally, we went to Citi Field to get our Lucas Duda growth chart. By the way, if you’re reading this Lucas, I’m taller than you are and my son is a lot shorter.
When the season started, it was looking great for Duda and our Duda Baby Fanclub. In April, he was .325/.427/.488 with two homeruns. In May, he was .276/.366/.582 with seven homeruns. Since? It’s been ugly; real ugly. He’s hit .160/.253/.358 with four homeruns. He was a big reason for the Mets’ hot start, and he’s been a reason for their offensive struggles.
I keep in mind last year he hit .253/.349/.481 with 30 homeruns and 92 RBIs. Last year, he had a great July, bad August, and terrific September. By looking over this year’s and last year’s stats, his slumps and hot streaks are prolonged. The Uribe and Johnson acquisition has hopefully taking some pressure off of him. He responded Saturday by hitting two homeruns.
I still think Lucas Duda will be a big part of the team this year. He actively seeks to become a better player. He is hitting more line drives this year. He’s amongst the league leaders in hard hit ball percentage. We have to hope these are indicators he wasn’t a one year wonder. Looking at the current roster, he’s the only true power threat.
As you can tell, I’m a bigger Duda fan than most (literally and figuratively), but I think we all want him to turn things around. If he doesn’t, I’ll always have a soft spot for him while I hope the Mets upgrade the position next year. If he does turn it around, we’re talking playoffs. If so, I’d love to recreate this photo in October.
In his heart of hearts, Terry Collins is an old school manager. You reward players with playing time. If you don’t do your job, take a seat on the bench. This team, while imperfect, is perfect for Collins.
Now, players will have to earn playing time. Before, Collins was throwing just praying that whatever buttons he hit would produce a run. This is not to disparage Collins. While I sometimes question his in game moves (like using Familia in the ninth tonight instead of Logan Verrette or Alex Torres) nothing that has happened with the offense thus far is his fault.
However, the pressure is all on him now. This team has interchangeable parts with limitations. He really only has three good defensive players: Juan Lagares, Juan Uribe, and Lucas Duda. There are only four players with an OPS over .700: Duda, Granderson, Johnson, and Uribe (even if there are problems with OPS calculation). For most of the season, the problem was how to get blood from a stone. Now, it is don’t screw it up. Saturday night was a great start to say the least. The Mets only scored the most amount of runs they scored in Citi Field.
I’d argue the most important development was Duda’s two HR game. For most people, present company included, Duda’s problems were lack of lineup protection and the weight of carrying this team. If Saturday night is any measure, the pressure is off, and he’s back to being the middle of the order threat the Mets need.
A very close second was Comforto’s night. Remember the old adage: sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t make? Well, if the Mets got Parra, Conforto is still in AA. Conforto looks ready this is confirmed by his 4-4 game with 4 runs scored and an RBI. On a night like tonight, I’ll give the Mets the benefit of the doubt that Conforto needed those minor league ABs.
The third important development was Kelly Johnson and Daniel Murphy getting the start and taking advantage of the opportunity. Both players homered and gave Collins no reason to take them out of the lineup. It was also a smart move for Collins to get Uribe in the game. It was also good to see Uribe get a hit.
The rest was gravy. Matt Harvey was Matt Harvey. Apparently now, he’s a real threat at the plate with three consecutive multiple RBI games. Nieuwenhuis seems to be hitting again. The Mets finally beat up on weak pitching. There seemed to be a different energy to this club and to the ballpark. There was a lot to like.
However, we need to reserve judgment until tomorrow when Zack Greinke takes the mound. If the Mets get some runs off of him tomorrow, they really do have something. The Mets have a chance tomorrow not only because they’re throwing deGrom, but also because they have eight legitimate bats (sorry nine tomorrow) in the lineup. Lets Go Mets!