Matt Reynolds

Ramos Blows First Save In Mets Loss

This season has mostly been a lost season at the plate for Travis d’Arnaud. Well, that is for everywhere he plays except Marlins Park. 

At Marlins Park, which was designed to be a pitcher’s park, d’Arnaud entered the game hitting .421/.500/.895 with a double, triple, two homers, and eight RBI. 

Tonight, d’Arnaud would continue raking in Miami going 2-5 with a run, homer, and two RBI. Essentially, he was once again Will Smith circa 1997:

Like he was that one glorious game in April, back when we thought this was going to be a special Mets season, d’Arnaud was the difference in this one. In addition to his bat, he did a good job behind the plate catching Seth Lugo

Lugo pitched well with the Marlins only getting to him in the bottom of the fourth on a Christian Yelich opposite field homer. That’s all the Marlins would get with Lugo settling down after a J.T. Realmuto two out double, which put him in scoring position as the go-ahead run. 

Surprisingly, Terry Collins would lift Lugo after five with Lugo having only thrown 83 pitches. It may just be a sign Collins is finally paying attention to the data. With the Mets rumored to replace him, it’s probably too little too late. 

After Lugo, Josh SmokerJeurys Familia, and Jerry Blevins combined to throw three hitless and scoreless innings. 

One thing of note. Even with Familia coming back from surgery and the Mets now hesitant to use him on back-to-back days, it at least appeared Collins was going to test his limits.

After a scoreless seventh, Familia began warming up to pitch the eighth. Once the Marlins announced the switch hitting Tomas Telis as a pinch hitter, Collins went to Blevins. 

It makes you question whether Collins was buying Blevins more time, or if he was trying to get the matchup he wanted. However, considering Giancarlo Stanton was on deck, it’s hard to believe Collins wanted Blevins for him. Then again with Collins, who knows?
One significant note was that with d’Arnaud’s two run homer and homers by Yelich, Justin Bour, and Jose Reyes, all but one run in this game were scored via the home run. It was significant in a season where seemingly every team is hitting homers. 

It was on a night where Alex Gordon hit the 5,694th homer in the majors this season – a new record:

The lone run not scored via the homer was a Reyes RBI single in the ninth scoring Phillip Evans. Evans had led off the inning with a single, and he moved to third after a Matt Reynolds sacrifice bunt and a Nori Aoki groundout. 

The 4-1 lead meant AJ Ramos would get a save opportunity in his first appearance against his former team. He was greeted by a Bour homer. 

Because Ramos likes the high wire act, Realmuto followed the Bour homer with an infield single thereby allowing the tying run to the plate with no outs. 

Even with a couple of strikeouts, you still felt uneasy. Things got worse after an A.J. Ellis pinch hit RBI single. Then, finally, after walking a tight rope for so long with the Mets, Ramos blew a save. 

Ichiro Suzuki lined one just out of the reach of a leaping Reyes. With the ball skimming off Reyes’ glove, the run scored fairly easily. 
If things weren’t bad enough, Stanton and his 55 homers came to the plate. Ramos wanted no part of him, and he walked him. This led to Collins pulling him and bringing in Paul Sewald

Even with Sewald being an accomplished minor league closer this was a difficult situation.  Anytime the bases are loaded, there’s no margin of error. Factor in Yelich being the batter, and Sewald not having been used in these spots, it was a tough ask. 

As if things weren’t difficult enough, Sewald went 3-2 with Yelich. Sewald then reached back and found something within himself, and he threw a slider that Yelich swung and missed to send the game to extras. 

It was a temporary stay of execution. Realmuto would hit a walk off homer off Sewald in the 10th giving the Marlins a 5-4 win. 

Normally, this would’ve been a gut wrenching loss. The way the season has gone, this just seemed to be a quick and merciful end. 

Game Notes: Amed Rosario missed a second straight game with gastroenteritis. 

Montero & Plawecki Lead Mets to Victory (Not a Joke)

If you had the duo of Rafael Montero and Kevin Plawecki powering the Mets to victory, one of three things are probably true:

  1. You’ve been in a coma since 2014;
  2. You’re a much better gambler than Craig Carton; or
  3. You just started watching baseball this September. 

Seriously, Montero and Plawecki have been much improved players at a time where it seemed even the Mets were beginning to give up on both of them. Finally, the Mets faith in both seems to be rewarded. Tonight was the latest example. 

Plawecki has been much improved at the plate.  It’s not just batting average or OBP, it’s his hitting for power. 

His two run shot in the second inning was a no doubter. It was the second of the season and sixth of his career. It gave the Mets a 2-1 lead, and the team didn’t look back. 

For the first five innings that was because of Montero. Except for a 1-2-3 first, he was in trouble all night long. Part of that was the re-emergence of his walks problem with Montero allowing five walks in five innings. 

Still, while the walks re-emerged, the meltdowns didn’t. He made the pitches he needed to get out of jams and innings. 

He then handed the call to Chasen Bradford, who has rebounded well from his one poor outing against these Reds at the end of August. In that outing, he gave up four runs without recording an out tonight. He got redemption pitching 1.2 scoreless striking out four. 

He not only kept the lead, but he allowed the Mets to blow it open for their fourth win in a row. 

The Mets got a little breathing room with a Dominic Smith two out sixth inning RBI single scoring Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera had led off the inning with a double. 

Cabrera’s next double plated Nori Aoki in the seventh. This followed Aoki singling home Matt Reynolds and Jacob deGrom. Reynolds was hit by a pitch, deGrom pinch hit for Josh Smoker, and both advanced on a Jose Reyes sac bunt. 
With the Mets having a 6-1 lead, it was an easy game for rookie Jamie Callahan to put to rest. It might’ve been the reps or the five run lead, but he looked more relaxed and composed. All the Mets look that way with the team playing much better of late. 

Game Notes: Amed Rosario is feeling better, and he may play tomorrow v

Doubleheader A Microcosm Of Mets Season 

Well, we finally have the moment that perfectly encapsulates the Mets 2017 season. We just had to wait for the 135th game of the season and the second game of today’s doubleheader:

That’s right, Wilmer Flores fouled a ball off his face and had to leave the game. 

That moment right there is the Mets season. In fact, the whole double header was the Mets season. 

In the first game, Matt Harvey was rocked in his first game back from the DL. Yes, you did get the sense Houston seemed to relish teeing off on Harvey. More than anything, they just seemed relieved to be playing baseball. 

Harvey only lasted two innings throwing 70 pitches. His final line was two innings, eight hits, seven runs, seven earned, no walks, and three strikeouts. 

Harvey had some velocity hitting 94 MPH, but he didn’t have much else. Again, like he’s done many times in the past, he said there were mechanical issues. As history repeats itself, we know Dan Warthen lacks answers. 

After that, we got the Major League debuts of Jacob Rhame and Jamie Callahan. Rhame had the more successful debut of the two, but still, both threw some serious heat. Like Harvey, Callahan was abandoned by his defense, but he didn’t pitch well enough to make it an issue. 

The shame of Callahan’s tough outing was the Mets made a game of it after a poor Harvey start and bad Tommy Milone relief appearance (2.2 IP, 3 ER). 

Dominic Smith hit a two run fourth inning homer to cut the deficit to 7-2. In the seventh, Flores hit a grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. 
With Callahan’s poor outing, it would end at 12-8. 

Of course, with the doubleheader, we got fun with Collins making lineups. 

Despite Brandon Nimmo starting both ends of the doubleheader, he didn’t lead off once because the Mets have Jose Reyes and now have Aoki. Also, we were blessed to see Cabrera play in both ends of the doubleheader. 

The Mets were much more competitive in the second game of the doubleheader. Note, competitive, not good. 

The main problem was the Mets offense was not doing anything against Brad Peacock. In fact, when the Mets got to him in the sixth, they didn’t really get to him but to George Springer

Juan Lagares led off the sixth with a triple to right-center. Lagares busted it out of the box, and he appeared to have a shot at the inside-the-park home run. However, Glenn Sherlock held him up at third. 
For a moment, it seemed as if the Mets wouldn’t score. Amed Rosario, who came on for Flores, struck out, and Asdrubal Cabrera walked. The Astros then brought in Francisco Liriano to face Smith. 

To the surprise of everyone, Terry Collins didn’t PH for Smith. Perhaps that is because Flores was already out of the game. 

Smith lined a ball to Springer, which might have been deep enough to score Lagares. It didn’t matter as Springer misplayed it into a double. Because Cabrera is slower than Sid Bream right now, he didn’t score on the play. 

It wound up biting the Mets because the horrors of this season continue to repeat themselves. 

Seth Lugo cruised through five innings keeping the Astros scoreless. In the sixth, the Astros began going through the lineup for the third time, and they began teeing off on Lugo. 
The first three reached against Lugo with the Astros tying the game on a Josh Reddick RBI single. They then took the lead taking advantage of new Met Nori Aoki‘s bad arm. 

Astros third base and outfield coach Gary Pettis sent Jose Altuve. With Aoki’s throw up the line, he didn’t give Kevin Plawecki much of a chance to make the tag. Just like that, the lead was gone. 

Later, Matt Reynolds got gun shy with a shot to nail the runner at home. He took the sure out at first. With the shift being on, his being far off third allowed Marwin Gonzalez to go to third setting up his scoring on a sac fly. 

As if the indignity wasn’t enough, Reynolds lost a ball that was literally lost in the roof. The ball would drop right in front of him just out of his reach. 

Of course because baseball is cruel, a ball would once again go into the rafters:

After the rough half inning was over, the Mets were down 4-1 with all four runs being charged to Lugo. 

In the end, the Mets were swept in the doubleheader by a MUCH better team. They lost to a team representing a city who needed this distraction. Hopefully, those who are still suffering were able to take some time and enjoy these games. 

As Mets fans, we’re hard-pressed to enjoy any of this. The veterans are still playing over the prospects. The players are still getting hurt. The pitchers are still struggling. 

Game Notes: Reports indicate once the Rumble Ponies season is over, Tomas Nido will get called up to the majors. Former Met Carlos Beltran did not appear in either end of the doubleheader. He is dealing with a foot injury. 

Mets Win What Was Apparently MILB Player’s Appreciation Day

With the Nationals getting in at 6:00 A.M., Dusty Baker put out a lineup that looked like the Nationals Triple-A affiliate with Daniel Murphy. For their part the Mets put out a similar looking lineup because, well, the Mets are bad and injured. 

If you think it couldn’t get worse for the Mets, it did. In the top of that first, Yoenis Cespedes pulled up lame running to third base. Once again, Cespedes left the game with a leg injury. 

The shame of the play was the Dominic Smith single hit the second base umpire. It was a dead ball costing him an RBI, and it helped kill a Mets first inning rally. 

At that point, the Mets already had a 1-0 lead. Once again, Brandon Nimmo lead off a game by getting on base. He would come home to score on an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single. 

The Mets would then load the bases with one out against Nationals starter A.J. Cole. With Travis d’Arnaud and Amed Rosario striking out, the Mets would come up short. 

Speaking of short, the Mets had an insanely short bench tonight. The team had just a three man bench with one of those players being backup catcher Kevin Plawecki

This was mostly the result of the soul crushing Michael Conforto injury, and the Mets having no viable options on the 40 man roster. With Jeurys Familia being ready to return after his rehab stint, the Mets chose to activate him instead. 

The end result was the Mets having a two man bench when Matt Reynolds came in to pinch run for Cespedes. 

Fortunately, it wouldn’t matter as Jacob deGrom was his deGrominant self. For a while, it seemed like he could get a no-hitter tonight. He certainly had the stuff, and the Nationals had the lineup. 

Still, your heart was in your throat during the game with deGrom. First, he is a Mets pitcher. Second, the Mets luck somehow got worse. Third, he was fouling balls off his leg, and he seemed to pull up lame legging out an infield single in the second. 

By some miracle, deGrom was healthy, and he was able to get the win. His final line was 7.2 innings, five hits, one run, one earned, one walk, and 10 strikeouts. 

In Matt Grace‘s second inning of work, the Mets went to work. It started with a Juan Lagares lead-off double. While many were contemplating the bunt, Terry Collins let Reynolds swing away, and Reynolds rewarded Collins’ faith with an RBI single. 

Cabrera followed with a double setting up second and third with no out. Collins again showed a young player some faith, and he was again rewarded. Collins left Smith in to face the left-handed Grace, and Smith delivered with a sacrifice fly to give the Mets a 3-0 lead. 

The Nationals chipped into that lead. It surprisingly came from two rookie players with two outs in the eighth. First, it was an Andrew Stevenson double. Then it was an Adrian Sanchez RBI single. 

With Murphy coming to the plate as the tying run, Collins went to Jerry Blevins, who got a huge strikeout to end the inning. 

In the ninth, Nimmo created a run. He reached with a one out single, and he put himself in scoring position with his first career stolen base. He then scored on a Lagares RBI single making it a 4-1 game. 

Even with Familia back from the disabled list, Collins stuck with AJ Ramos as the closer.  Even when Ramos struggled, Collins had Paul Sewald warming instead of Familia. 

He was greeted with an Adam Lind homer to dead center to make it 4-2. 

Things got interesting when Wilmer Difo followed the Lind homer with a double. Ramos then gave us all a heart attack hanging one to Anthony Rendon, who just hit one foul. Instead, he walked Rendon setting up first and second with one out. 

Things got really troubling when Ramos walked Matt Wieters to load the bases. For some reason while this was all happening, Collins sat Sewald and had none of his other fifty relievers in his bullpen warming up. 

Nimmo came in and would catch a Difo rope, and he made the perfunctory throw home.   While that was happening, Rendon strayed too far from second, but Witt the throw home, Rendon had time to get back. 

It ultimately didn’t matter as Ramos struck out the final batter of the game to preserve the 4-2 win and deGrom’s 14th win of the year. 

Normally, with a game like this, you would leave the game feeling good about the Mets. deGrom was great, and he recorded his 200th strikeout of the season. Nimmo looks like a lead-off hitter reaching base three times, and his stealing his first career base. Lagares’ bat got going. The young Mets beat the Nationals. 

However, there is still a hangover with Conforto’s injury and uncertain future. On top of that, Cespedes is once again on the shelf. 

Really, this team continues to finds ways to make things more depressing. 

Game Notes: For Player’s Weekend, the players were allowed to put nicknames on their jerseys. For the newer call-ups, there apparently wasn’t enough time to get them a nickname jersey. With respect to Nimmo, his choice, “You Found Nimmo” wasn’t permitted due to potential Disney copyright violations. 

Mets Start Six Shortstops And Come Up Well Short

Even with him being limited due to injuries, Steven Matz was still one of the better starting pitching options left for this team. However, with impending season ending surgery, he’s shut down, and the Mets went with recently activated off the disabled list Tommy Milone

Milone entered this game with a 7.91 ERA, 10.50 with the Mets, and he picked up where he left off with J.D. Martinez hitting a first inning three run homer. 

He allowed a Chris Ianetta one out double in the third. With Amed Rosario being unable to field an A.J. Pollock grounder, it was 4-0 Diamondbacks. 

The remaining two runs were on Milone. He allowed an Adam Rosales homer in the fourth and a Paul Goldschmidt RBI double in the fifth. 

At that point, it was 7-0 Diamondbacks. If you were still watching at that point, the question is why?

Michael Conforto missed the game with a thumb injury. Dominic Smith wasn’t in the lineup because the Diamondbacks started the left-handed Patrick Corbin, and Terry Collins apparently breaks out in hives and hyperventilates when he has to play a young left-handed hitter against a left-handed pitcher. Using the same logic, Collins played Matt Reynolds over Brandon Nimmo in right. 
Really, there were not many reasons to watch this game. Sure, things are bad right now with the Mets, but with the team they put on the field, this was downright unwatchable. Most 7-1 games are. 

The one run was a Rosario home run, his first at Citi Field. 

Other notable events was Gavin Cecchini going 1-2 at the plate and making a decent play in the field:

Of note, Cecchini has a base hit in every game he’s started this year. 

Kevin McGowan made his major league debut pitching 1.1 innings. He left the bases loaded in the seventh, and Hansel Robles walked in a run. 
Also of note, the Mets went with an all shortstop infield:

1B – Wilmer Flores 

2B – Gavin Cecchini

3B – Asdrubal Cabrera

SS – Amed Rosario

If you don’t think of Flores as a shortstop, then the all shortstop infield was accomplished with Reynolds moving from right to first in a double switch. 

If you do consider Flores a shortstop, then six of the Mets position players in the starting lineup were shortstops or former shortstops as Juan Lagares was originally signed as a shortstop out of the Dominican Republic. 

Admittedly, this is a rather long tangent, but these are the things you dwell on when your team is as listless and over-matched as the Mets were today. Trust me, this tangent was more interesting than anything that happened in the field tonight. 

There was a ninth inning rally against Matt Koch, one of the two relief prospects traded to obtain Addison Reed in 2015. where Smith hit a pinch hit RBI ground rule double making it 7-2. 

Andrew Chafin came on and allowed a Reynolds RBI groundout followed by a Rosario RBI triple to make it 7-4. 

This lead to the Diamondbacks bringing on Fernando Rodney to get the final out of the game. After he retired Cecchini, the tomfoolery was over. 

Game Notes: David Wright player a rehab game for St. Lucie. He was o-4 with two strikeouts as the DH. Jeurys Familia made a rehab appearance for Brooklyn throwing a scoreless inning. 

Montero Wins – Yes, Seriously, He Did

In his major league career, Rafael Montero had a staggering 2-13 record. You’d be hard-pressed to say that record was the result of his team failing to pick him up. To be fair, he’s usually been so poor, he never really gave his teammates a chance. That wasn’t the case tonight. 

Montero was great for five innings allowing the Marlins to just four hits and two walks. He then ran into some issues in the sixth beginning with the opposing pitcher, Vance Worley, getting a lead-off single. 

The Marlins then got a trade-off they take every day of the week with a Dee Gordon, who hit a fly ball Brandon Nimmo couldn’t get, but he was still able to get Worley at second. 

After a Giancarlo Stanton walk and a Christian Yelich strikeout, Montero was on the cusp of getting out of the inning unscathed. 

He seemed like he did when Marcel Ozuna hit a ball to left. Mets fans thought Yoenis Cespedes could get it. Keith Hernandez gave him a pass. In any event, it was 1-0, and the way Worley was going, it seemed like that was all the Marlins needed. 

That changed when Matt Reynolds pinch hit for Montero and earned a lead-off walk. That walk ignited the Mets offense. 

After the walk, Nimmo singled to set up runners at the corners with no outs. Asdrubal Cabrera then tied the game with a deep fly ball to right. 

Don Mattingly tried to stem the tide by bringing in Drew Steckenrider. It didn’t work. 
Runners were at the corners again after a Cespedes single and a Steckenrider wild pitch. In a tough at-bat, Michael Conforto hit a hard grounder that ate up Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas giving the Mets a 2-1 lead. 

That became a 5-1 lead when Wilmer Flores hit a three run homer. 

If you thought the three run homer by Flores off a right was a surprise, the ensuing two run homer by Kevin Plawecki was a downright shock. 

That Plawecki homer put the cap on a seven run inning where the Mets batted around. It also put Montero in line to win just his third game of his career. With him getting two wins this year, this is his first major league season with more than just one win. 

After that, we got to see why Dominic Smith is so well regarded by the Mets. 

In the eighth, he made a diving stop to rob Yelich of a potential extra base hit . . .

. . . and he followed that with his first homer at Citi Field. 

He absolutely clobbered that ball hitting it beyond what were the original fences. 

Between Hansel Robles and Chasen Bradford, the Mets locked down the 8-1 win. 

By the way, for all of the Mets refusal to have even a decent defense, the team turned five double plays. The defense did its part, and as you see, when you’re this good defensively, even Montero looks very good. 

Game Notes: Rene Rivera was claimed off waivers by the Cubs. With him a Cub, and Curtis Granderson a Dodger, the Mets were able to call up Plawecki and activate Tommy Milone from the DL.  

Montero Wins – Yes, Seriously, He Did

In his major league career, Rafael Montero had a staggering 2-13 record. You’d be hard-pressed to say that record was the result of his team failing to pick him up. To be fair, he’s usually been so poor, he never really gave his teammates a chance. That wasn’t the case tonight. 

Montero was great for five innings allowing the Marlins to just four hits and two walks. He then ran into some issues in the sixth beginning with the opposing pitcher, Vance Worley, getting a lead-off single. 

The Marlins then got a trade-off they take every day of the week with a Dee Gordon, who hit a fly ball Brandon Nimmo couldn’t get, but he was still able to get Worley at second. 

After a Giancarlo Stanton walk and a Christian Yelich strikeout, Montero was on the cusp of getting out of the inning unscathed. 

He seemed like he did when Marcel Ozuna hit a ball to left. Mets fans thought Yoenis Cespedes could get it. Keith Hernandez gave him a pass. In any event, it was 1-0, and the way Worley was going, it seemed like that was all the Marlins needed. 

That changed when Matt Reynolds pinch hit for Montero and earned a lead-off walk. That walk ignited the Mets offense. 

After the walk, Nimmo singled to set up runners at the corners with no outs. Asdrubal Cabrera then tied the game with a deep fly ball to right. 

Don Mattingly tried to stem the tide by bringing in Drew Steckenrider. It didn’t work. 
Runners were at the corners again after a Cespedes single and a Steckenrider wild pitch. In a tough at-bat, Michael Conforto hit a hard grounder that ate up Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas giving the Mets a 2-1 lead. 

That became a 5-1 lead when Wilmer Flores hit a three run homer. 

If you thought the three run homer by Flores off a right was a surprise, the ensuing two run homer by Kevin Plawecki was a downright shock. 

That Plawecki homer put the cap on a seven run inning where the Mets batted around. It also put Montero in line to win just his third game of his career. With him getting two wins this year, this is his first major league season with more than just one win. 

After that, we got to see why Dominic Smith is so well regarded by the Mets. 

In the eighth, he made a diving stop to rob Yelich of a potential extra base hit . . .

. . . and he followed that with his first homer at Citi Field. 

He absolutely clobbered that ball hitting it beyond what were the original fences. 

Between Hansel Robles and Chasen Bradford, the Mets locked down the 7-1 win. 

By the way, for all of the Mets refusal to have even a decent defense, the team turned five double plays. The defense did its part, and as you see, when you’re this good defensively, even Montero looks very good. 

Game Notes: Rene Rivera was claimed off waivers by the Cubs. With him a Cub, and Curtis Granderson a Dodger, the Mets were able to call up Plawecki and activate Tommy Milone from the DL.  

Matz Can’t Last 4th, Neither Can Mets in Subway Series

On the sixth pitch of the game, Brett Gardner hit a tapper back to Steven Matz, who then threw the ball away. That set the tone for the latest poor Matz start. 

This error eventually led to Gary Sanchez hitting a three run homer. 

Matz then got in trouble in the fourth, and he didn’t get through the inning.  Then again, he didn’t deserve to with Luis Severino popping up a sacrifice bunt attempt which dropped in front of him for a base hit. 

Matz would eventually depart the inning down five runs and with the bases loaded and just one out. Chasen Bradford allowed a two RBI single to Sanchez to make it 7-0 before getting out of the inning. 

Of note on the Sanchez base hit was the Yankees again challenged Yoenis Cespedes arm and scored a run. 

After the inning was over, the latest Matz clunker was in the books. Since July 9th, Matz is 0-6 with a 10.47 ERA and a 2.051 WHIP. If you’re looking for a bright side, Aaron Judge didn’t hurt him at all. He was 0-2 with two strikeouts and a HBP. 

With Bradford doing yeoman’s work in his third straight day out of the pen, he did give the Mets a chance to get back in this one. They almost did too in the seventh. 

Judge dropped a Travis d’Arnaud fly ball for a two base error with one out in the seventh. Sandy Alderson’s new favorite player, Matt Reynolds, followed with an RBI single to get the Mets on the board. 

Brandon Nimmo, who came on for Cespedes in a double switch, chased Severino with a single. The Mets eventually loaded the bases with two outs, and Michael Conforto was up against the LOOGY Chasen Shreve. With Conforto striking out, the final nail was in the coffin. 

By the way, Gary Cohen did confirm this was the first time two Chasens appeared in the same Major League game. 

Surprisingly, the Mets had life again in the ninth. It was the same trio that got the Mets started in the seventh. d’Arnaud and Reynolds had back-to-back singles off Bryan Mitchell, and Nimmo walked to load the bases. 

Curtis Granderson then hit a grand slam to pull the Mets within 7-5. 
Unfortunately, this also meant the Yankees were now in a save situation. Dellin Betances then came on to slam the door shut. 

That grand slam was about all that was notable from the Mets side in what was a forgettable Subway Series for the Mets. Then again, it’s been a forgettable season, so this series was really just more of the same. 

Game Notes: Jose Reyes was put on the DL, and Kevin McGowan was sent down to Triple-A to make room for Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini on the roster. 

Mets May Have Soured On Cecchini Before He Gets His Shot

With Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes suffering injuries, we got to see Travis d’Arnaud shift all game between second and third base.  With the Mets not wanting to be put in that situation again, the Mets have flown both Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini to New York as a precaution.  In the event both Reynolds and Cecchini are activated, it appears that Reynolds, not Cecchini, will be the one who will get playing time.

Before the game and before injuries were an issues, Sandy Alderson informed reporters he was inclined to give Reynolds a long look in September.  Alderson also stated the team will not be giving Cecchini a long look at second base in September.  Alderson’s statements could be interpreted to mean the Mets are now moving on from Cecchini.

In one sense, this shouldn’t be that surprising.  After struggling at shortstop and with the rise of Amed Rosario, Cecchini was moved to second base.  While he has been good defensively at second, he has taken a step back offensively.

Cecchini had a breakout offensive season in 2015 in Binghamton.  He continued that success last year in both Las Vegas and the Arizona Fall League.  Seeing him hit .267/.329/.380 this season, it makes you question what was the issue with him.

There are some plausible explanations for this.  For starters, Cecchini’s 2015 and 2016 stats were partially fueled by a high .348 and .357 BABIP.  Certainly, his being an aggressive contact line drive hitter with low walk and strikeout rates, he is susceptible to swings in his BABIP from year to year.  To that end, it may not be such a surprise to see Cecchini see his BABIP drop to .329 this year and his offensive stats drop they way they have.

Another possible explanation is Cecchini has had to put extra work and attention to learning second base.  With the Mets focus this season with making their players more versatile, Cecchini has also had to work on his play at shortstop.  This is a plausible explanation as to why we have seen Cecchini struggle at the plate this year.

Still, this is a talented player.  It was one of the reasons the Mets made him their first round draft pick (12th overall) in 2012.  In his two brief stints in the majors, he has not been over-matched at the plate.  Last year, he hit two doubles in seven at-bats.  In his call-up this year, he had a four game hitting streak that included a home run off Clayton Kershaw. Seeing this, and how much the Mets have invested in him, it seems peculiar the Mets would just pass on giving him an extended look in the majors.

Then again, this seems to be a pattern with Sandy Alderson.  He and his front office have truly struggled with contact hitters like Cecchini who have not shown power at a young age.  Many will point to his decision to non-tender Justin Turner, but there is also the way the Mets have handled T.J. Rivera.  The team continuously passed him over for players who did not pan out.

Cecchini may or may not be an everyday second baseman or even a Major League player.  At this point, we don’t know, but it also seems odd to take that stance when he’s still just 23 years old, who has not been afforded the opportunity to receive the benefit of Kevin Long’s tutelage.   There’s also the matter of the Mets giving playing time to Reyes, Flores, and Asdrubal Cabrera.  In large part, the Mets know what they have in them, and for the most part, they haven’t been good enough to help the Mets win this year.

We don’t know that with Cecchini.  It’s time to give him a chance.

 

Rosario Flashes Talent And Inexperience In Debut

Surrounding all the hoopla of Amed Rosario‘s first game with the Mets, a baseball game broke out, and it was a pretty good one at that. 

Rosario’s impact was felt immediately. In the first, he made a couple of plays including turning a 1-6-3 double play. 

That play helped preserve a 1-0 lead when Yoenis Cespedes doubled home Michael Conforto, who has reached with a lead-off walk against Rockies starter Jeff Hoffman

That lead grew to 2-0 when Jay Bruce doubled in Cespedes from first in the sixth. 

At that point, things looked great for Steven Matz. Despite a rough stretch over his last four starts where he pitched to a 14.18 ERA (not a typo), he was dealing. 

Through the first four innings, he had a no-hitter going. That was broken up on a Trevor Story lead-off single. On the play, Rosario got to a ball no other shortstop on the roster comes near, but with one slight tap of the glove before the throw, Story was able to beat it out. 

In that inning, he labored, but he managed to work his way out of the jam. He wasn’t so lucky in the sixth. 

DJ LeMahieu double set up second and third with no outs. Matz was flirting with disaster since the fifth and in the following at-bat. He fought back into the st-bat getting it to a 3-2 count, and that’s when Nolan Arenado hit an opposite field go-ahead homer. 

After a Mark Reynolds double, Terry Collins finally pulled Matz. The combination of Josh Smoker and Erik Goeddel would limit the damage keeping the game at 3-2.

The Mets tied it in the seventh with some help from Rockies catcher Ryan Hanigan. When Pat Neshek struck out Jose Reyes to start the inning, Hanigan whiffed on the ball. With the ball going to the backstop, Reyes reached base safely. 

Reyes moved to third on a Conforto single, and he’d score the tying run on an Asdrubal Cabrera sacrifice fly. On the play, Charlie Blackmon didn’t have much of a chance to get Reyes, but still:

It would be untied in the eighth on a Bruce homer off Chris Rusin:

For a moment, it appeared as if that 4-3 lead might grow. 

Rosario would get his first career hit off Scott Oberg. It was an infield single to short (turnabout is fair play). Rosario moved to second on Story’s throwing error. It appeared as if Rosario was going to score his first career run when the ball left Travis d’Arnaud‘s bat. 

Unfortunately, the ball ricocheted off Oberg’s leg to Reynolds. Reynolds was able to flip to Oberg to record the out. It was a bigger out than originally anticipated. 

Paul Sewald started his second inning of relief by allowing a base hit to Reynolds. Collins responded  to this by bringing in Jerry Blevins to face a couple of lefties. 

Blevins responded by allowing singles to Gerardo Parra and Carlos Gonzalez. The hit by Gonzalez was cued right off the end of the bat, and Cabrera had little to no chance to get anyone out. With Blevins allowing yet another inherited runner to score, it was a tie game. 

The Rockies rally sputtered when Hansel Robles came on to get the last two outs. Robles wouldn’t be so lucky in the ninth. 

After allowing a lead-off walk to Blackmon, LeMahieu hit what could’ve been a double play ball. Likely, it was just a fielder’s choice. Still, that play wasn’t turned as Rosario broke towards second with Blackmon moving on the play. With Rosario booting it, it was first and second with no outs instead of bases empty with no outs. 

After that, Arenado blooped the ball into center, and Conforto had no chance to get Blackmon. Ballgame. 

Overall, it was an entertaining game where we saw all that Rosario could be. We also saw that he’s an inexperienced rookie that needs more seasoning. 

Game Notes: Matt Reynolds was sent down to make room for Rosario on the roster.