After the five game series against the Atlanta Braves, the New York Mets bullpen needed a break. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one in the schedule.
That left Chris Bassitt to get them one.
It wasn’t his prettiest outing, but it was his grittiest. While dancing around eight hits and a walk, Bassitt threw 114 pitches over eight innings.
In some ways, this was a page from the 2015 Mets. Use your dominant starting pitching and only those relievers you can trust.
Back in 2015, the only relievers the Mets trusted down the stretch were Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia. They had the starting pitching to limit it mostly to just these relievers in the big spots.
In the 2015 postseason, the Mets got innings primarily from Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey. That proved to be a bit of a double edged sword as it allowed the Mets to only have to roll with these relievers, but then, those relievers were exhausted and faltered in the postseason.
Fortunately for these Mets, they’re deeper. In addition to Díaz and Ottavino, they also have Trevor May, who has looked good since coming off the IL.
Seth Lugo has also better better of late. Moreover, Trevor Williams has performed in whatever role the Mets have needed from him. Keep in mind, Showalter isn’t Terry Collins as Showalter will use the next tier of guys when warranted.
That’s something Collins could never comprehend, and it cost the Mets dearly. Part of the reason the Mets could only use three relievers was because he only trusted three.
That led to disastrous decision making in Game 3 of the World Series which caused further bad decision making the rest of the series. However, the underlying principle was correct.
The more dominant innings you get from your starter; the better your bullpen is. Less innings means more rest. More rest means better performance. Better performance leads to wins.
In pressure spots, the Mets don’t want to see the last couple of pitchers in their bullpen. That goes double in the postseason. Of course, with Mets starters going deep, and we know they can, the Mets can lean on their top performers.
At least for this win, eight from Bassitt meant one from Ottavino as Díaz, May, Lugo, and Williams rested. It means the other pitchers will be fresher when called upon to pitch again.
This is how the Mets cover their tracks in the bullpen. Dominant starting pitching going deep into games followed by the 1-2 relievers a night the Mets actually want pitching in a big spot.
It is readily apparent from a position player standpoint Pete Alonso is Mets fans favorite player. After all, he’s been talked about as a future captain and MVP even if those monikers never really quite fit. It doesn’t matter because he’s adored.
And for very good reason. Alonso has set records, started the LFGM thing, had epic Home Run Derby performances, and has donated portions of his winnings to charities helping veterans. All of the love thrown his way has been more than warranted.
The thing is we’re really about to find out how much Mets fans truly love Alonso.
There was a time being a star or superstar on the Mets meant you were starting the All-Star Game. That was the case in the 1980s with Darryl Strawberry. We saw it again with Mike Piazza and then with Carlos Beltran. Keep in mind, with Beltran, he wasn’t all that beloved, and yet, he was voted a starter in 2005 even when he had his worst year in Flushing leading to the booing.
Things changed a little after that. David Wright never really got the same benefit. In fact, back in 2012, Pablo Sandoval was voted the All-Star Game starter over Wright. Yes, Wright was a deserving All-Star that year, but he would not start.
In fact, Wright only started five All-Star Games, The last one in 2013 took a massive push to get Wright elected in the year Citi Field hosted the All-Star Game. This was at a time when Wright was a superstar playing in the largest market in the world.
There are different reasons why Wright didn’t get the same benefit other Mets did. For starters, the internet ballots changed nearly everything. It really negated the advantage larger markets had in having fans flood the park and voting for their favorites.
Another important factor is the Wilpons and the Madoff Scandal was a massive blow to Mets fans. There was a general depression among the Mets fans, and the earliest dimensions of Citi Field did not help. Getting excited for anything Mets was very difficult to do until Matt Harvey‘s Major League debut. Yes, that had a large part of Wright’s boost in the voting that year.
Keep in mind, Mets fans adored Wright. We did see that in his starting five games, but he should’ve started more. Really, in another day and time, Wright would’ve started more. To a large extent, blame the Wilpons for that.
However, now, we have Steve Cohen. We have an owner who will actually do all he can to make the Mets the best they can be. In many ways, this is like when Nelson Doubleday purchased the Mets in 1980. There is a trust in ownership and palpable excitment among the fanbase.
That should translate to All-Star voting.
Yes, Paul Goldschmidt is having a better year. You can say the same for Freddie Freeman in Los Angeles. Seeing that, you can argue Alonso may need the push from Mets fans to be named the deserving All-Star he is. He should be voted as a starter by this fanbase.
Failing to do so wouldn’t be a failure of the fans at all. Rather, it is just be a dose of reality that Mets fans don’t carry the power they once did. There are many reasons for that, but it would seem like they love of Alonso is there for this fanbase to flex their muscles (while also using them to vote Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo) as starters.
Steve Cohen has brought the Mets back to where they should be. Mets fans now need to be back to who they are. They need to make Alonso the starting first baseman for the All-Star Game.
Due to site difficulties, this is going up a week later than anticipated, but fortunately (or unfortunately), all of what was discussed remains relevant. Players discussed during this podcast included Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Melvin Mora, Mike Bordick, Brandon Nimmo, Mark Canha, Starling Marte, Billy Taylor, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Harvey, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Josh Hamilton, David Wright, Ike Davis, Jake Marisnick, Blake Taylor, Dominic Smith, Robinson Cano, Eduardo Escobar, Shawon Dunston, Craig Paquette, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, and many, many more.
As always, thanks to Timothy Rider. It was an absolute blast. Please take a listen to the Simply Amazin podcast (by clicking on this link).
When Matt Harvey was with the New York Mets, there were some warning signs. The biggest might’ve been when he missed the postseason workout at Citi Field right before the Mets headed to Los Angeles for Game 1 of the 2015 NLDS. Of course, there was loud and unconfirmed speculation Harvey had a drug problem when he failed to show up to Citi Field leading to his suspension.
As we found out in his testimony in the criminal case involving Tyler Skaggs‘ death from an overdose, Harvey has a drug problem. During his time with the Mets, Harvey was using cocaine while partying. This is just a sad reminder to Mets fans on how Dwight Gooden‘s and Darryl Strawberry‘s Hall of Fame caliber talent didn’t find its way to Cooperstown because of their drug abuse. Like with Harvey, neither Doc nor Darryl ever received the help they needed.
As we discovered, Harvey was using cocaine when he went to the Los Angeles Angels. Harvey also said teams never asked him if he had a drug problem. That does seem odd considering what people were very loudly whispering behind the scenes about him.
For Harvey, it wasn’t just cocaine. He also had a problem with painkillers. From his testimony, we never discovered the genesis of that abuse, and trying to play a guessing game here would be irresponsible and unfair. That said, Harvey did testify there was a culture where players used painkillers to try to stay on the field. The fact he received pills from a hockey player seems to point to a great issue across sports.
What’s astounding is Harvey saying he and other players, like Skaggs, would use/abuse the painkillers in the clubhouse and even the dugout. Make no mistake here. If Harvey and Skaggs were doing it, and they were getting pills from players in other sports, there is a much larger issue here. We do not know the full scope, and we may never find out. However, there is a significant problem when players have such easy access to these drugs, and they have no issue using them around other people.
We know it is something which led to Skaggs’ death. We know there are many players who have developed an addiction to painkillers. Former Packers QB Brett Favre is one of them. Some may have believed this was just an NFL issue, but apparently, it is much larger than that.
Now, reminiscent of Keith Hernandez in the infamous Pittsburgh Drug Trials, Harvey is testifying about his abuse and the abuse of a dead teammate. Hernandez estimated there were about 40% of players using cocaine back then, and we just saw Harvey testify about what he has seen with painkillers. Like Hernandez saw what happened to Doc and Darryl, Harvey saw what happened to Skaggs and perhaps other teammates.
For that matter, Harvey has his own what if story with his career. Ultimately, yes, TOS was what forever impacted Harvey’s career. However, we don’t know how much the painkillers and cocaine might’ve stopped him from getting the treatment he needed when he needed it. Fair or not, Harvey did testify he believes it all impacted his career negatively. There are those who will forever hold it against him no matter how unfair it is.
In the end, you can only hope Harvey is clean, and he has received or will receive the help he needs. You can also hope with new Mets owners there is an entirely different culture where players like Harvey get the help they need. As we look forward, you can’t help but wonder what this all means for Harvey as he will now publicly live the rest of his life as a known drug addict and as someone who is still looking to hold onto his fleeting MLB career.
In a recent article by Mike Puma of the New York Post, he indicated the New York Mets were going to have difficulty finding a President of Baseball Operations just like they did last offseason. That article cited the errors in the hirings made by Sandy Alderson and Cohen’s Twitter account.
Considering former Miami Marlins executive David P. Samson was the source, you can take all of this with a grain of salt. After all, Samson loved operating his teams and treating the Marlins fans every bit like the Wilpons did with the Mets.
That right there is the problem. There have been years of transgressions by the Wilpons largely unreported and/or criticized in the press. These are the same people who claimed they were duped in a Ponzi scheme. They had a number of hirings and a lawsuit hostile to women in their workplace. They threatened the press about the coverage of their team, and they would go so far as to restrict access in response to a negative story about them or a favored player.
They stripped the team down for financial solvency. They used SNY as an intermediary to do exactly what the McCourts did with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jeff Wilpon interfered with medical decisions which cut short Pedro Martinez‘s career, and he tried to interfere with Carlos Beltran‘s career saving knee surgery. By and through Sandy Alderson, there was the lie about Matt Harvey‘s innings limits, and we saw what happened with Harvey’s once promising career.
Overall, the Wilpons were just flat out bad people. They did horrid things, and they did them purposefully. They cared about no one but themselves and their own power. This largely went unreported and uncriticized except when a reporter would leave the beat.
However, with Cohen, if his eye glasses are askew or he tweets something, it is a capital offense demanding the power of the pen. In the end, those now criticizing him have let us know they’re not reporting what they know, but rather, what ownership tells them they’re allowed to report. If anything, these reports attacking Cohen are a credit to Cohen because he is not standing in the way.
If nothing else, that tells us the Mets are truly in a much better spot. It’s not just the money or the desire to win. While there have been missteps requiring reflection and growth, things have truly changed in how the team is operated. The only hope is these mistakes are cleaned up, and the Mets get back on the path towards winning a World Series.
The New York Mets were up 2-1 (an actual lead!) when the San Francisco Giants came to bat in the top of the seventh. An inexplicable stretch would follow.
Kris Bryant, a player the Mets opted to not obtain at the trade deadline, reached on a Jonathan Villar error. Keep in mind, this is a roster basically bereft of third baseman, and Villar is masquerading there (poorly) right now.
After Bryant reached on the error, Alex Dickerson singled. Now, that single probably should’ve been caught, but Jeff McNeil has lingering leg problems, and Michael Conforto got a late read on the bloop.
With first and second and no outs, Luis Rojas had a decision to make. Does he stick with Taijuan Walker who had allowed just a Bryant homer entering the inning? Or, does he go to Aaron Loup to face the left-handed hitting Brandon Crawford?
Rojas went with Loup, and Walker was justifiably angry. After the way he pitched, why wouldn’t he?
Walker is every Mets fan at that moment pic.twitter.com/wImyyJS6j3
— Brett Herskowitz (@bretther) August 26, 2021
Just because Walker was at 74 pitches and was angry doesn’t mean it was the wrong decision. Here are some stats:
- Walker (pitches 76-100) .250/.321/.500
- Walker (third time through order) .279/.324/.500
- Loup 1.03 ERA
- Loup (2nd Half) 0.00 ERA
- Loup (vs. LHB) .159/.203/.159
- Loup (2nd Half) .167/.234/.167
- Loup (Runners 1st & 2nd) .100/.182/.100
Look at the numbers up and down. Loup was the right decision. As for the potential Walker was cruising arguments, so was Matt Harvey.
Yes, Loup did allow a two run RBI double, and the Mets then trailed 3-2. That doesn’t mean it was the wrong decision. After all, if Walker’s career numbers held true, something bad was likely to happen that inning.
For some, they still think Walker should’ve stayed in the game. They’re absolutely wrong. Many will blame Rojas for the loss. Those people should never be taken seriously.
Remember, the Mets hit into five double plays. Nine men were left on base. They were 2-for-8 with RISP. They wouldn’t accept the Giants trying to hand the game to them.
Case-in-point was the ninth. Brandon Belt overran a foul ball, and Jonathan Villar followed with a single. Brandon Drury reached when Dickerson pulled a Bump Bailey causing the easy fly ball to hit the ground.
Alonso was just bad in the game going 1-for-5 hitting into two double plays and stranding seven. He came up with the bases loaded in the sixth too, and the Mets only scored due to a Bryant throwing error.
All told, the Giants begged the Mets to win this game. Despite the Giants best efforts, and aside from a Dominic Smith RBI double in the sixth, the Mets offense was just plain bad.
People can make it all about Rojas all they want. However, just know, when they do that, they’re flat out wrong, and in the end, they’re just looking for a fall guy instead of just admitting this team isn’t as good as advertised.
That’s on the GM and the front office. Not Rojas.
The New York Mets traveled to Baltimore to play the Orioles to complete their nine game road trip. With the split, they finished 5-4:
2. On the subject of homers, Pete Alonso hit three, and he’s heating up just before a temperature check series against the San Diego Padres.
3. Alonso has always been one to speak his mind, and he was right on point when he said the biggest issue is the way MLB changes the ball year-to-year.
4. It’s funny. The Mets really had no choice but to obtain Billy McKinney, but now they suddenly look like geniuses for it.
5. The story of how Kevin Pillar has been a big believer in McKinney, was exited about the acquisition, and picked up McKinney when he joined the team speaks volumes about why this team is performing so well.
6. It’s funny how quickly fans went from why would the Mets sign Pillar to Pillar becoming a fan favorite they fiercely defend has been hilarious. It’s also a sign about all the things Pillar does right on and off the field.
7. While the Mets offensive onslaught felt great, especially the day after the Mets were blown out, some of the joy was taken out of it because it happened against Matt Harvey.
8. At this moment, David Peterson is not an MLB caliber starting pitcher, and it’s unfair to him to keep putting him in a position to fail.
9. No, the Mets don’t have a real answer in Triple-A, and it is going to be tough to navigate this next stretch, but when Peterson has given you 3.0 innings over the last two starts, he’s not going to help you.
10. The Mets desperately need Robert Gsellman to be good. As we saw, when he isn’t, games get way out of hand.
11. The best way for the Mets to navigate things going forward is to get starts like they did from Taijuan Walker.
12. There’s something to be said for Walker and McKinney, two once highly regarded prospects who haven’t lived to expectations, starting to look like the players we thought they would become under Luis Rojas.
13. This is getting way to ahead of ourselves, but McKinney just has this vibe right now where he’s just going to have a really big moment this postseason.
14. McKinney and Ty Kelly are doppelgängers.
15. It was hard to take Ron Darling seriously yesterday when he didn’t have Jacob deGrom atop his pitcher power rankings. In fact, it’s hard to take MLB Network seriously as Darling wasn’t the only one.
17. It’s actually amusing the Mets had a game where Alonso and Dominic Smith were both in the lineup and neither played first base.
18. The replay system has become a complete and utter joke. They can’t even manage to get clearly blown calls overturned.
19. Nobody is talking about him, but Cedric Mullens is a phenomenal baseball player who put on a show against the Mets. The All-Star Game is at its best when it gives a player like him a stage to introduce himself to the world, and it’ll be great to see that next month.
20. MLB can keep the Mets down in the power rankings all they want. This is still a first place team.
The New York Mets got beaten up last night, but tonight, they returned the favor in a 14-1 win. The only downside was the bulk of the damage came against Matt Harvey, who the Mets pushed closer to getting DFA’d.
5 ABs. 3 HRs. ?
Safe to say Pete is having a good time in Baltimore. pic.twitter.com/kaxmqEThkL
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 9, 2021
Mask off. pic.twitter.com/SiJBXklaEQ
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 10, 2021
Harvey wouldn’t pitch past the third, and Taijuan Walker was dominant. Walker pitched 7.0 innings allowing one run on five hits and one walk while striking out nine.
As for the Mets, they just keep on hitting. The best way to show how dominant they were is to just show the batting stats from the game:
- Jonathan Villar 2-5, 2 R, 2 2B
- Francisco Lindor 1-3, R, BB
- Pete Alonso 3-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
- Dominic Smith 0-5
- James McCann 2-4, 2 R, 2B, BB, RBI
- Billy McKinney 3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI
- Kevin Pillar 3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI
- Mason Williams 2-4, R, HR, RBI
- Jose Peraza 0-4
Overall, the Mets hit six homers. That included Pillar and Williams going back-to-back in the eighth. Believe it or not, that was the first time it’s happened this year.
The Mets end their road trip and season series with the Orioles. They are now primed to go home and send another statement to the San Diego Padres.
Game Notes: Mets were 5-4 on the nine game road trip.
After sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks, the New York Mets swept the Baltimore Orioles to complete a perfect 5-0 homestand:
1. What’s the over/under on game winning RBI Patrick Mazeika gets before finally collecting his first Major League hit?
2. Mazeika is the first player with two walk-off RBI in his first four games, and it’s been well over a century before someone had multiple walk-offs before a hit.
3. Mazeika is why Old Timer’s Days are great. Some random player who most of baseball history will overlook gets to come back to a huge ovation and be treated like a legend.
4. That sentiment may apply perfectly to Mike Baxter.
5. Players and plays like this are a testament that you need contributions from up and down your roster. The Mets are getting that and then some right now.
6. Certainly, it helps the Mets experienced those injuries during a soft spot in their schedule. Then again, in years past when they didn’t have players like Kevin Pillar on the bench, they would fall completely apart anyway.
7. One annoying GKR trait is when a player like Pillar makes a good defensive play, they’ll mock defensive metrics.
8. We can talk about a number of reasons why the Mets are doing well, but defense is front and center. This has gone from a dreadful defensive team to a top 12 team.
9. When you’re playing good defense, your pitching can shine, and you only need four runs per game. When the Mets hit that mark, they’re 15-2.
10. If Jeff McNeil really only had cramps, and this front office has actually been upfront about injuries, the Mets dodged a huge bullet.
11. Albert Almora‘s collision with the wall is one of the scariest you’ll see. And yes, he did catch that ball.
12. It’s amazing after all the years of Jeff Wilpon laying waste to careers like Pedro Martinez, Ryan Church, Jason Bay, and many more with his playing doctor, people like Buster Olney only now take issue with the Mets handling injuries with Jacob deGrom landing on the IL.
13. We’re truly living in bizarre times when deGrom is on the IL, and Matt Harvey is pitching at Citi Field.
14. Harvey deserved each and every one of those standing ovations, and it was wonderful to hear how much it meant to him. Certainly, he meant the world to us.
15. Dominic Smith has started hitting again, and not a moment too soon with that clutch game tying RBI.
16. Contrary to previously held beliefs, Michael Conforto is indeed clutch.
17. Taijuan Walker continues to pitch great, and he’s probably been the best free agent starter. That said, he embarrasses the game of baseball when he doesn’t even try at the plate.
18. Marcus Stroman continues to be phenomenal both on the mound and as a fielder. As we’ve seen, he’s an even better teammate.
19. With deGrom, Stroman, and Walker, the Mets have three of the top seven in ERA.
20. The sting of Jarred Kelenic getting called up and the sheer stupidity of all things Brodie Van Wagenen will dull if the Mets keep playing like this.
Matt Harvey came back to pitch at Citi Field for the first time as a visitor. While he received multiple deserved ovations, he was greeted quite rudely.
Kevin Pillar gets the Mets on the board with a triple. ? pic.twitter.com/qBNuIUP7sJ
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 12, 2021
Harvey rebounded with a scoreless fourth, but the Mets would knock him out in the fifth.
Jonathan Villar led off the inning with a single, and he’d steal second. He’d then score on a one out RBI single by Michael Conforto. After Harvey walked Pete Alonso, Harvey was taken out of the game, and he was treated to another standing ovation.
Harvey was responsible for the two on base, and Orioles reliever Shawn Armstrong would let them both score. First, it was a Dominic Smith RBI double. Peraza would get his second RBI single giving the Mets a 7-0 lead.
Unsurprisingly, that was all the support Taijuan Walker needed as he was again excellent. Through seven innings, he allowed just one run on four hits and three walks while striking out four.
As good as the offense and Walker was, the Mets defense might’ve been better.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 12, 2021
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 12, 2021
"Mets pitchers living right today with some fine gloves behind them" ? pic.twitter.com/VrTdQIgyPr
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 12, 2021
Overall, this was an all-around effort for the Mets. What made the 7-1 win all the more impressive is it came from the bench, or Bench Mob, as they have been dubbed.
The Mets have completed consecutive sweeps, and they have now won seven in a row. While the NL East is still fighting it, the Mets are taking off.
Game Notes: Jeff McNeil was available off the bench after dealing with cramps. Albert Almora landed on the IL, and Khalil Lee was called up. Drew Smith made his season debut pitching a scoreless inning.