Luis Guillorme

Luis Guillorme Has Earned Starting Job

Truth be told, neither J.D. Davis or Dominic Smith have done anything to claim the DH spot. There are a myriad of factors why including the wasted Robinson Cano plate appearances, and the New York Mets shifting between Davis and Smith trying to find out who should get that spot.

So far this season, Smith is hitting .177/.257/.226 with three doubles and nine RBI. Really, he can’t play everyday while he is hitting like that. Sure the strikeouts are down and the quality of contact is rising, but again, there are zero tangible results to justify playing him at all.

For some the answer is to play Davis. Well, that’s not an inspiring choice either. Through 22 games, Davis is hitting .204/.333/.333 with two doubles, one triple, one homer, and six RBI. You dig deeper and see him hitting the ball on the ground half the time, and you see a player who isn’t forcing his way into the lineup.

The problem with this DH analysis is it has been seen as a binary choice between Davis and Smith. To a certain degree, you understand as they were the two best bats for the DH spot. However, that analysis is wrong and was always the wrong approach. Really, it should be about getting the nine best players into the lineup.

That is why Luis Guillorme should be playing everyday.

No, this is not an argument for Guillorme to be the DH. He doesn’t have that kind of bat, and really, it is a waste of what Guillorme brings to the table.

What Guillorme mostly brings is defense. In his limited time at second this year, he has a 2 OAA. That’s a 4 OAA dating back to last season. He can also play a solid shortstop giving Francisco Lindor a break now and then. While Guillorme isn’t a great third baseman, he is certainly better there than Eduardo Escobar, who has struggled there in his career and this season.

Guillorme’s defense is reason enough to play him everyday. That defense makes the team better. His versatility can make the team fresher. Certainly, his ability to play second gives Jeff McNeil a chance to play third, left, or DH. If McNeil moves to left, that gives Mark Canha a day. As noted, it can also give Lindor or Escboar a day.

Another point here is while Guillorme isn’t going to slug like a DH, he gets on base. So far this season, he is hitting .255/.364/.383 with three doubles, one homer, and two RBI. That’s productive.

Go back to Davis and Smith, Guillorme is actually out-hitting them. His OPS is higher, and he has more extra base hits than Smith while having the same as Davis. Keep in mind, Guillorme has just 56 plate appearances to Davis’ 66 and Smith’s 70.

If this were truly a meritocracy, Guillorme has earned the everyday job. He’s out-hit Davis and Smith, and he has contributed defensively more than either one of them ever could. Sooner or later, the Mets need to accept he’s one of their best players, and they need to find a way to play him everyday instead of finding ways to play Davis and Smith when they’re not earning those chances anymore.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Take Two From Nationals

The New York Mets are now 9-0-1 in their 10 season series, and they are on pace to win 108 games. After another series against the Nationals, the Mets look all the more like a World Series caliber team:

1.  The incredible 5-6-1-9-6 double play was punctuated by Taijuan Walker knocking down Juan Soto, who went in hard. That’s the way it is with this Mets team, they’re there to beat you, and they’re not stepping down.

2.  It just seems like the Mets have something special store in each series. There was the co-no, the epic comeback, and now that double play. These are the things fun and special teams do.

3.  Luis Guillorme had a heads up play to start that double play, and he’s really earning more playing time. Over his last 10 games, he’s batting ..321/.387/.536 with five runs, three doubles, a homer, and two RBI while playing exceptional defense. Perhaps, he needs to play everyday.

4.  Eduardo Escobar is in a real bad place. Over his last 15 games, Escobar is hitting .167/.231/.200, and he has struggled defensively with a -2 OAA and -3 DRS at third. The good news is he usually has a bad May and breaks out in June.

5.  The Mets can’t seem to hit left-handed pitching even when it’s Patrick Corbin. Corbin has a 2.00 ERA, and against the rest of baseball, he has a 7.60 ERA. Overall, the Mets are the fifth worst NL team against left-handed pitching with a 90 wRC+.

6.  We can save the J.D. Davis needs to be the everyday DH narrative. He’s batting .217/.362/.326 driving the ball on the ground with a 51.5% ground ball rate so far this season. With that, he’s now back to a much more reasonable .286 BABIP. Really, this is the batter he is.

7.  Mark Canha snapped out of it just when the Mets needed him. His 3-for-4 game with a homer and three RBI snapped a streak where he hit .231/.292/.292 over his previous 19 games.

8.  Canha is still a player in decline with him seeing a steady decline in barrels, hard hit rate, exit velocities, whiff%, chase rate, and really all metrics. A game like he had is fun, but overall, there is a reason Buck Showalter removes him late in games and was transitioning him to a part-time player.

9.  Brandon Nimmo has an eight game hitting streak, and he has reached base safely in all but one game this season. He’s the Mets best player, and the way he is playing, he is not only going to get All-Star consideration, but he will get MVP consideration as well.

10. Carlos Carrasco has continued his terrific bounceback season. He is again the pitcher he was in Cleveland, and the Mets are on a different level because of it.

11. Not enough can be said about the job Trevor Williams and Stephen Nogosek did. They saved the bullpen in what was a lost game in more ways than one. These are the unheralded moments which helps teams win divisions and World Series.

12. Trevor Megill had a bad start. It happens. It’s best not to over-analyze it. Just move on and reassess after his next start.

13. The Mets have missed James McCann, who has been out with an injury. He’s been quite good this year, and Tomas Nido has not shown he can replicate what he can give. Now seeing its a hammate bone injury, for all intents and purposes McCann may be done for the year.

14. We can probably now add catcher to third base for trade deadline needs because it is way too soon for Francisco Alvarez. That goes double with Alvarez’s recent slump.

15. Jeff McNeil has been great this year. He has been versatile, and this is the best he has ever hit. He’s learned to combine some patience at the plate with his hit everything approach.

16. This upcoming series was going to be about Jarred Kelenic and Edwin Diaz, but with Kelenic getting sent down, it’s not. Whatever the case, the trade remains an unmitigated disaster.

17. Robinson Cano turned down a chance to go to Triple-A to help get back up to speed and help the Mets in the long term. Instead, he’s going to the San Diego Padres. This is not remotely a player grateful for the Mets keeping tabs on him last year and making sure he was alright and for giving him an undeserved chance again this year.

18. The Mets can beat teams in just so many ways. They can do it with power, with singles and timely hitting, with speed and defense, and with pitching. When you get that rare mix, you’re a special team. This is a special team.

19. No one should care what Noah Syndergaard has to say about the co-no or anything Mets. Just be grateful he was a Met, hope he pitches well this season, and mostly, hope he returns next year.

20. Mets in the black jerseys on Friday the 13th with Max Scherzer on the mound. Mariners are going to be frightened as is the rest of baseball when they see the Mets on their schedule.

Trevor Williams And Stephen Nogosek Helped Mets Postseason Pursuit

The New York Mets game against the Washington Nationals was a disaster. Tylor Megill got lit up for eight runs in 1.1 innings. There is nothing to take from this other than he had a bad start. It happens to the best of them.

Mostly, it was an 8-3 game with not much to say other than Pete Alonso hit a monster three run homer. Overall, Alonso has continued his hot hitting going 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI. It should also be noted Luis Guillorme had a good day at the plate going 2-for-4 as well.

Looking at this game, there were two other huge positives – Trevor Williams and Stephen Nogosek.

As noted, Williams was a forgotten man in the bullpen, and he was not really getting the chances he needed to thrive. He came on in relief of Megill in the second with a runner on and one out, and he would get out of the inning without allowing an inherited run.

Williams followed that by pitching three more scoreless innings. In total, he allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out two. With this outing, Williams stabilized the game and got the Mets through the fifth inning. He also kept this game relatively withing striking distance. After all, this was the same Mets team who just made the massive comeback against the Philadelphia Phillies.

However, it just wasn’t in the cards for the Mets. After the three spot in the first inning, they couldn’t quite get things going. However, that does not mean the Mets failed to do anything else impressive.

In fact, Stephen Nogosek had his best appearance at the Major League level. For this first time since the Addison Reed trade, you got a sense Nogosek could be a real contributor for the Mets.

Nogosek would have the thankless job of saving the Mets bullpen pitching the final three innings of the game. He did not allow a hit or a run. While he did have some of his wildness walking two, Nogosek would strike out three.

Make no mistake, the performances from Williams and Nogosek are the types of performances which win divisions and gets teams to the postseason. Instead of running through arm after arm in a lost game, the Mets were able to have these two relievers step up and make a significant contribution. No, they wouldn’t be in a position like Adonis Medina was, but that doesn’t make their performance any less important.

Overall, the Mets lost a game, but they won the war with these bullpen performances. Now, they have saved their pen allowing them a much better opportunity to try to take yet another series to open the season. Williams and Nogosek are a footnote in that, but they shouldn’t be.

Do Mets Have Something In Adonis Medina?

One thing lost in the New York Mets huge comeback against the Philadelphia Phillies was Adonis Medina. After pitching 2.2 scoreless innings, he was in line for the win. You could argue the 2.2 scoreless was as improbable as the comeback itself.

Medina was grabbed by the Mets off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates just as the 2022 season was about to commence. Keep in mind, the Pirates are not a team in a position to part with any pitching, or really, any useful player. They are a bad team who needs to be investing in players in their mid 20s.

The Pirates had Medina because he was designated for assignment by the Phillies. The Phillies bullpen has been a train-wreck the past few seasons. They’re not remotely in a position to start parting with relievers who can part with any pitcher with promise.

Despite that, the Mets traded for Medina for cash after he was DFA’s and used a 40 man spot on him. Part of the reason why is the Mets needed some minor league depth for their bullpen. The other answer is obviously that the Mets saw something in a player once considered a top 100 prospect.

For starters, Medina is a ground ball machine. He has a low to mid 90s sinker, which has generated a 61.0% ground ball rate over his brief Major League career. When you have an infield with Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil or Luis Guillorme up that middle, that is going to translate to a number of outs. That goes double with how well the Mets shift.

Another factor is Medina does have some swing-and-miss stuff. His 21.2 K% at the Major League level is above average. While his fastball is hittable, batters typically struggle making contact with his sinker and change. The slider is below league average in terms of spin, but Medina’s change can be a real weapon.

According to Baseball Savant, Medina’s change is an above average pitch in terms of both movement and vertical drop. What makes that pitch all the more effective is the fact Medina has a very consistent release point.

In the end, Medina tends to induce weaker contact. This is partially because that sinker is a weapon. There is also the fact his change is thrown from a similar release point and tracks as an above average pitch.

All told, this gives Jeremy Hefner something to work with Medina. With the Minnesota Twins, Hefner has helped pitchers work more vertically than horizontally. As we saw with the Mets, he worked with different grips with Justin Wilson to maximize his curve.

Mostly, Hefner can make the tweaks needed to get Medina to throw strikes. More than anything, it’s the walks holding Medina back from taking the next step as a Major Leaguer. By working with Hefner, perhaps there is something there.

In terms of the Mets bullpen, there is room for Medina to prove himself with Trevor May‘s absence. There is a real void to serve as that bridge to Drew Smith, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz. After 2.2 scoreless, it would appear Medina earned another chance. It will be interesting to see where he goes from there.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Blow Opportunity

The New York Mets had won seven straight series before a key divisional match-up against the Atlanta Braves. They would not make it an eighth straight series.

1.  Last season, the Mets failed on multiple occasions to deliver a knockout blow to the Braves leading to the Braves buying at the deadline, winning the division, and eventually, winning the World Series. This was the Mets first chance to deliver a huge blow to the under .500 Braves, and instead, they let the Braves walk away with a split.

2.  You can’t use Adam Ottavino for three straight games. That’s just an unforced error that helped lead to the Mets getting blown out.

3.  Buck Showalter came into this season with a number of questions. Seeing how he burns Drew Smith for two innings instead of saving him for another day and used an injured Trevor May in a key spot, it would seem like he hasn’t improved in the slightest in this area.

4.  Chris Bassitt and Tylor Megill deserved better.

5.  If Bassitt wants to sign an extension, the Mets should sign him to one. This is a good pitcher who seems to like pitching here. You keep those guys.

6.  The walks are starting to pile up with Megill. If he isn’t pounding the strike zone, he becomes vulnerable to the big inning. That is essentially what happened to him. Right now, this isn’t any cause for alarm.

7.  All the metrics say Francisco Lindor is hitting the ball very well, but the results aren’t there. Put another way, it’s too soon to overreact, but it is something we need to monitor.

8.  The Mets poor hard hit rates is not an issue for players like Jeff McNeil and Luis Guillorme. However, it is a much larger issue for the rest of the team who are more line drive power hitters.

9.  Eduardo Escobar went from pleasant surprise and leader to looking like the player the Mets shouldn’t have jumped the market to sign. His hard hit rates are cratering as is his defense.

10. Starting J.D. Davis over Dominic Smith, especially with a right-handed pitcher starting is just plain wrong. With extended playing time, Davis’ struggles with any sort of velocity and with pitches up in the zone are magnified.

11. For all the focus on the struggles of the bullpen, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Smith have the final 2-3 innings locked down. Looking at that, building the rest of the bullpen is a much easier task until May returns from the IL.

12. It’s very interesting how May and Jacob deGrom were dealing with very similar injuries. What that says about the Mets is anyone’s guess.

13. The umpiring in this series was embarrassing. It helped cost one game with Dansby Swanson being ruled to have a double on a clear foul ball. Dom was called out on a pitch well out of the zone. Between this series and the Madison Bumgarner ejection in Arizona, the umpiring has been unacceptably poor this season. Really, you know it’s bad when Max Scherzer gets thrown out of a game when he’s not pitching.

14. The notion anything other than balls and strikes is not reviewable is ludicrous.

15. Travis d’Arnaud is certainly going the way of Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner in how he is making the Mets pay for their flat out wrong decision to cut him loose and look in another direction.

16. Players like Travis Jankowski and Guillorme deserve more respect. They fill their roles in perfectly and make this ball club infinitely better. Jankowski knows people won’t buy his jersey, but we will all cheer him on like he’s a superstar.

17. Carlos Carrasco has been amazing this season, and his eight innings not only helped the Mets pick up a win, but it also saved the bullpen.

18. Trevor Williams wasn’t great, but he took one for the team pitching 3.2 innings. Outings like this often get overlooked and under appreciated, but it is something which will really help the Mets in the long run. With May out, you do wonder if the Mets can give him more of a look out of the pen. After all, it’s not like they have other options.

19. The Showalter suspension was ridiculous, especially when you consider Stubby Clapp wasn’t suspended. You do wonder how much that impacted the Mets in the opener of the series, especially with Showalter being informed right before game time.

20. Alonso is heating up just when the Mets need his bat to carry this team. Hopefully, he can help carry the offense as they try to give the Philadelphia Phillies the knock out blow they failed to give the Braves.

Recaps

Same Old Mets Against Braves

Mets Send Message to Braves

Credit to Trevor Williams

Credit To Trevor Williams

Look, this New York Mets loss was a nightmare. Tylor Megill went from dominating and accumulating nine hitless innings to leaving the bases loaded for Adam Ottavino.

When that nightmare sixth inning was over seven runs had scored. Really, the less said about that nightmare of an inning, the better.

Overall, just about the only positive which came out of this game was Luis Guillorme hitting his first homer of the season. It was his first homer at Citi Field since that dramatic pinch hit homer against the Washington Nationals.

He hit it where not even Guillermo Heredia couldn’t rob him the way he robbed Jeff McNeil. That was back when it was a game.

It was just one of those nightmare games. Still, in this nightmare was one Mets performance meriting recognition.

Trevor Williams had not pitched in over a week. In fact, each of his four appearances this season have been about a week apart.

As a result, Williams has not been able to get in any sort of rhythm. Clearly, his role has changed to mop up reliever. That role requires the pitcher to wear one and save the rest of the bullpen.

It’s a thankless job and task.

Things weren’t immediately smooth for Williams. When he entered, he walked the first batter he saw before allowing a single and RBI groundout.

After that, things improved. More than that, he ate up the innings the Mets desperately needed from him.

Williams would pitch 3.2 innings allowing three earned on three hits and one walk. The big hit against him was a two run homer by Heredia in the eighth.

Despite that, we saw Williams strike out six. He had a stretch where he retired six in a row, and he retired the last five batters he faced.

All told, he showed something. He looked like the pitcher who pitched well for the Mets after the trade when the Mets moved him to the bullpen.

Overall, this was a very bad game. That said, Williams did the thankless job of eating innings. In the process, he showed the Mets he may be ready for a bigger role. That’s at least something to take away from this mess.

Mets Send Message To Braves

After losing the opener of the four game set to the Atlanta Braves and playing their worst baseball of the season, the New York Mets had a doubleheaders scheduled. With maybe not as important in the grand scheme of things, the Mets actually needed to sweep that doubleheader to continue their streak of winning their eighth series to start the season.

They did just that.

In the first game, the Mets jumped all over Charlie Morton not giving him a chance. Now, this wasn’t the Mets hitting bombs, but rather, they kept making contact and putting it where they ain’t.

It all started with surprise lead-off hitter Travis Jankowski hitting an infield single. After the perfunctory HBP, this time it was Francisco Lindor, the Mets got RBI singles from Pete Alonso and Eduardo Escobar to jump out to the early 2-0 lead.

Jankowski would be great in this game. He was a huge part of the Mets offense taking part in all of the run scoring rallies. He was there again in the second drawing a one out walk after Luis Guillorme‘s leadoff walk. Lindor hit an RBI groundout to drive home Guillorme, and again, it would be an Alonso single driving home Jankowski.

In the fourth, Jankowski put on a show with his speed. After reaching on a fielder’s choice, he stole second, and then took third on Travis d’Arnaud‘s wild throw. That permitted him to score on a Mark Canha sacrifice fly. Really, as Jankowski explained properly, he does those things a winning teams need to do.

Right there, the Mets had five runs. It would barely be enough.

David Peterson got the call up for the start with the doubleheader. For four innings, he was really good allowing just one run. It would fall apart in the fifth, which is a shame because he should have been out of the inning.

After Travis Demeritte hit a lead-off single, Guillermo Heredia struck out, and Ozzie Albies hit what should’ve been an inning ending double play. However, Peterson booted it leading to everyone being safe. On the very next pitch, Matt Olson hit a three run homer to pull the Braves within one.

The thing is, that’s the last run the Braves would score in the doubleheader.

The Mets bullpen was awesome. Adam Ottavino struck out two in his scoreless inning. Drew Smith struck out two over his two innings. Finally, Edwin Diaz was unhittable yet again. With that, the Mets took the opener 5-4.

If you thought that pitching performance was impressive, you were in for a real treat with Carlos Carrasco in the second end.

After coming out of the gates red hot, Carrasco took a major step backwards in his last start. Given what happened last season, you could understand fans concerns. This start should have allayed all of those fears.

Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a lead-off double, which again gave rise to concerns of the first inning problems last year. Carrasco settled down to mow down the Braves and pitch the first of what was eight scoreless innings.

In doubleheaders, you need at least one starter to step up. When you don’t have that, you run the risk of absolutely burning out your bullpen. Carrasco being the first Mets starter to go eight innings was bigger than the start itself. He saved the Mets bullpen for the next day. This is what veteran leaders do.

After the second inning, Carrasco would allow just two more hits. He would put the Mets in line for a big win.

After making the roster for good with the Robinson Cano DFA, Dominic Smith would get his first start since his 4-for-4 game. He picked right up where he left off hitting a two run double in his first at-bat to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead.

With respect to Dom, it is important to note just how horrid the umpiring was in these games and overall. For example, when Peterson allowed his first run of the game in the first end of the doubleheader, the ball that was hit was clearly foul. However, due to inane MLB replay rules, it was not reviewable.

With respect to Smith, one of his issues this season has been horrendous strike calls against him. We saw it again in the sixth with Smith striking out on a pitch that was a foot off of the plate.

This call was too much for everyone to take. In fact, after seeing this strike call, and really, the umpiring so far in this series, Max Scherzer would actually get ejected for arguing balls and strikes. This was actually the second time in his career he was ejected with both times coming in games he didn’t pitch.

The Mets would wind up winning this game 3-0. The second run came on a monster Alonso home run to the opposite field. Alonso has been shooting that way all year, and now, he has a big homer out there:

This was a big day for Alonso. Between the two games, he was 4-for-8 with a homer and three RBI. This is the type of hitter we have seen him be, and this is the type of hitter who can carry the Mets offense like he did in these two games.

After Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save of the season, the Mets completed the doubleheader sweep. That was with the help of six scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

Overall, this was not the Mets who have struggled against the Braves. This is a Mets team ready to make a statement. They did in this game and have a chance to win an eighth straight series to start the season and let the Braves know this division belongs to the Mets.

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.

Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil Lead Mets 4-Ward

On May 2, MLB rosters are reduced by two. Buck Showalter said one of those two would be a position player, and it’s long rumored it could be Dominic Smith.

Well, Dom just told the Mets that under no circumstances should he be sent down.

Against the Philadelphia Phillies, Smith would get the start at first. He again looked like the guy who should be the Mets everyday first baseman (or DH).

He would go 4-for-4 with a run, double, and three RBI. For a good chunk of this game, it seemed like the Mets needed every bit of it.

Max Scherzer wasn’t Scherzer. There was an inkling of that when Kyle Schwarber hit a second inning homer off of him.

The Mets responded right away. Smith followed Eduardo Escobar‘s lead-off single with his first hit of the night. After a Starling Marte RBI fielder’s choice and Luis Guillorme RBI double, the Mets were up 2-1.

That lead was short lived as Schwarber got Scherzer again in the fourth. This time, it was a two run shot. Again, that lead was short lived with the Mets responding in the bottom of the inning.

Escobar again got it started with a single. This time, Smith doubled driving him home bringing the Mets to a 3-3 tie.

While Smith was on second with no outs, he would not score as the Mets squandered the opportunity. They wouldn’t in the fifth.

Francisco Lindor hit a one out single, and he’d go to third on a Jeff McNeil double. While Dom was the headliner, McNeil was also phenomenal going 4-for-5 with two runs, two doubles, and an RBI.

Zack Eflin went 2-0 against Pete Alonso. At that point, the Phillies thought it better to not tempt fate walking Alonso and lifting Eflin for Jose Alvarado.

It seemed like it worked with Alvarado striking out Escobar, but Smith came up huge again with a two RBI single extending the Mets lead to 6-3.

In the sixth, it was Scherzer’s former teammate Bryce Harper who homered off Scherzer. Notably, Schwarber was Scherzer’s teammate on the Nationals last year. That pulled the game to within 6-4.

For Scherzer, it wasn’t a great start, but it was good enough for the win. Three of the five hits he allowed were homers as he walked just one and struck out nine.

The Mets blew it open in the seventh starting with Lindor reaching on a Jean Segura. Lindor busted it out of the box causing Segura to try to rush it, and when he picked his head up too soon, he booted it.

McNeil went against the shift with a single through the vacated shortstop hole. Alonso went the other way to increase the Mets lead to 7-4.

Escobar struck out before Smith singled to load the bases. Marte hit a two RBI single, but he’s get a little too aggressive on the base paths getting thrown out at second.

With Smith and McNeil, it was easy to overlook Marte in what was his best game so far with the Mets. In addition to the three RBI, he made an absolutely unreal catch in right field.

Brandon Nimmo would hit his own opposite field single in the eighth. He’d go to second when Lindor was hit by a pitch (more on that in a minute), and he’d score on McNeil’s second double of the game.

With the Mets up 10-4, Showalter went with his “designated hitter” Yoan Lopez. Lopez threw two at Schwarber leading to umpire warnings.

What’s interesting is Lopez was one strike away from ending the game before he accidentally plunked Alec Bohm. He’d come to regret that after allowing a two run homer to Johan Camargo.

Despite the mild fireworks at the end, the Mets won this game 10-6. They got great games from Smith and McNeil as the Mets won their seventh straight series to open the season.

Game Notes: Lindor was miked up for the game. Sean Reid-Foley has a torn UCL.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets/Cardinals Rivalry Still Alive

The New York Mets traveled to St. Louis for another litmus test, and once again, they proved they’re this good. More than that, they proved they’re mentally tougher.

1.  Pete Alonso has now been hit twice in the head and dragged to the ground from behind by Stubby Clapp. He’s either going to break or just absolutely going to go on an absolute tear.

2.  On that note, Alonso needs to start hitting for power again. These opposite field singles aren’t going to cut it.

3.  Chris Bassitt basically said he dominated the Cardinals without being able to get a grip on the ball. He’s that good.

4. Miles Mikolas is an idiot. Bassitt threw his pitchers a life-line saying it was MLB’s fault the Cardinals hit his teammates, and Mikolas, who hit Mark Canha with a pitch, basically said, no, it’s not the ball. We’re going it on purpose, or we’re that incompetent.

5.  Sooner or later, Canha has to get an extra base hit, and it has to be more than an attempt at a hustle double. With him coming out of games last for Travis Jankowski, he’s not good enough to be a glorified slap hitter.

6.  Jankowski has proven himself to be a valuable contributor. He cannot be DFA’s May 1. That goes double when you consider how bad Robinson Cano has been.

7. That may not be an issue with J.D. Davis getting hit on the foot and having to get taken out of the game. The x-rays were negative, but if it’s a lingering issue, there will be an MRI and perhaps an IL stint.

8.  Jacob deGrom‘s MRI was a mixed bag. On the one hand, he is healing, but it does not appear he is on schedule to return when we all hoped. Still, it’s progress, so we should take it.

9.  Max Scherzer has been just as advertised. He’s out there pitching like an ace, and he’s as fierce a competitor as there is. He was in the dugout telling the Cardinals to shut up, and then he was the first one out of the dugout when the benches cleared.

10.  Oliver Marmol is a fraud. His pitchers hit Mets batters in the head. Steven Matz threw one up at Brandon Nimmo‘s head. His team knocked Davis out of a game with an injury. He is then going to get up there and complain like the Mets have been throwing at his batters all series, and then he goes and defends Clapp.

11. Nimmo has been great to start the year as has Jeff McNeil. Those are two homegrown Mets who have been the Mets best players, and they are leading them to first place.

12. The Mets are withstanding slumps from Eduardo Escobar, Francisco Lindor, and Starling Marte to win games, and they are doing it against good teams like the Cardinals. That’s a very good sign for the season.

13. With respect to Marte and Scherzer, there is a real edge to this team. We see it in how the players stick up for one another, and we see it in moments like that comeback against Giovanny Gallegos. This is just a special team.

14. Yoan Lopez made a case for himself when he buzzed Nolan Arenado. That alone is not enough to keep him on the roster (ask Jacob Rhame), but he has the respect of everyone in that clubhouse.

15. There is a lot Buck Showalter is getting wrong here. For example, batting Cano during that ninth inning was indefensibly bad. That said, the way he has handled the time share with James McCann and Tomas Nido has been a masterpiece. He’s starting to get the best out of both of them, and as a result, the Mets pitching staff.

16. Trevor May is fighting it. Fortunately, with the return of the real Seth Lugo in addition to the emerge of Drew Smith, the Mets can wait for him to get fully healthy and back on track.

17. There are some serious 1986 vibes with this Mets team. They are not just beating teams on the field, but they are also taking a mental edge. That is a very large reason why we see miscues like we did from Arenado and why Marmol was so bent out of shape.

18. it may be a golden rule not to make the last out of the inning at third, but you can give Luis Guillorme a pass trying to stretch a double to a triple because that throw from Dylan Carlson was the best you’ll ever see.

19. If you want an idea of how good the Mets are right now, the San Francisco Giants are the second best team in the majors with a 13-6 record. Half of their losses have come against the Mets.

20. The New York Yankees have been surprisingly good to start the year. Aaron Judge has been great, and he has a contract situation. Anthony Rizzo has been phenomenal. Gerrit Cole is struggling mightily. They’re in first place. Despite all of that, right now, they seem to be taking a back seat to the Mets. That is really the most shocking development of the year.

Game Recaps

Mets Shock Cardinals

Mets McCann Beat Good Teams on Road

Mets Lose While Cardinals Lose Their Cool