Betsy Helfand of the Review Journal reports utility player Matt Reynolds has flown to New York presumably to join the Mets. As of this moment, the Mets have not announced a corresponding move. Normally, in these situations, you can surmise what the corresponding move will be. However, given the current state of the Mets, we really have no idea what that move will be.
First and foremost. Yoenis Cespedes has been injured, and he has insisted that he could play today. Before letting him do that, the Mets were supposedly going to really make Cespedes test out that hamstring to make sure he is healthy enough to play. It is possible Cespedes is not healthy enough to play, and as a result, the Mets are going to move him to the disabled list.
If not Cespedes, it’s possible the Mets could move Asdrubal Cabrera to the disabled list. The shortstop has been clearly hobbled and limited. After each play on the field, he noticeably winces, and he takes time to get back to his position. Over the last two games, there have been multiple instances where you question if he could continue playing in the game. Given how he’s played, it’s possible he could be headed to the disabled list.
Then again, this is the time of year Travis d’Arnaud usually heads to the disabled list. On Wednesday, he hit his arm on a bat trying to throw out a base stealer. In every game since, Terry Collins has penciled his name in the lineup only to remove him afterwards when d’Arnaud said he couldn’t throw (insert your own joke here). With him not being able to do more than pinch hit for a solid week, it’s possible the Mets move him to the disabled list.
Then again with the way things are going, it’s possible someone got hurt on an off day. It wouldn’t be the first time in franchise history. You never know with this team.
Maybe the aforementioned players are healthy and ready to go, and the Mets are just moving the deck chairs due to some under-performing players. Although he has received limited opportunities, T.J. Rivera is just 1-10 on the season with no extra base hits or RBI. Maybe the move will be for Kevin Plawecki, who once again looked over powered by major league pitching in the one game he played. Save for Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce, you can really make a case for any one of the Mets players to be sent down or designated for assignment. With that said, no one really believes at this juncture that either Jose Reyes or Curtis Granderson will suffer that indignity yet.
It’s also possible Reynolds is here as a precaution. There is so much wrong with the Mets in terms of injury and under-performance. The Mets may look to see how Cespedes, Cabrera, and d’Arnaud respond to the off-day, and if any one of them can’t go, Reynolds will. At this juncture, we just don’t know.
Ulimately, Reynolds getting called-up to the majors is a microcosm of the 2017 season. He’s here because we don’t know who can play. We don’t know who’s too hurt to play, and we don’t know who’s capable of playing at this level. Sooner or later, this is nonsense is going to have to end.
When a team is riddled with injuries like the Mets have been, what most people focus on is how it negatively impacts the lineup. The converse of that is an injury creates an opportunity for another player. With Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores on the disabled list and Yoenis Cespedes unable to play the field, it forced the Mets to play Jay Bruce at first base and put Juan Lagares in center field. This was Lagares’ opportunity to fight for a bigger role on the Mets.
And there was one there. It’s no secret Curtis Granderson has been struggling to begin the season. Through 18 games, he is hitting just .149/.205/.254 with one homer and six RBI. With the Mets being unable to trade Bruce, Granderson is miscast as a center fielder. His -1 DRS ranks him 16th among players with at least 90 innings in center field this year. His -23.0 UZR/150 ranks 23rd among center fielders with at least 90 innings. Long story short, it has not been a good start to the season for Granderson. With him being 36 years old, there have been more than whispers if he’s not the same player anymore.
While it may be only slightly ajar, the door was open for someone to stake a claim for a spot in the outfield. We saw Michael Conforto do just that. On the season, he is hitting .361/.432/.722 with four homers and eight RBI. He’s also made a series of outstanding defensive plays in left and center field. With Granderson and Jose Reyes‘ struggling, Conforto may just have cemented himself as the team’s lead-off hitter.
Lagares did not make a similar push. While it is inarguable that Lagares is by far the team’s best defensive player, he still does not do enough to play every day. In his 2014 breakout season, Lagares had a 102 OPS+. Given his glove, you could keep a player like Lagares in the lineup everyday with league average bat like his. The problem is he’s regressed every season since. Since that 2014 season, Lagares is merely a .250/.289/.356 hitter with a 77 OPS+. There’s really no amount of defense that can keep a bat like that in the lineup. Certainly, not with a National League team.
Yet, we have seen glimpses of Lagares being a competent hitter. We saw it in 2014. We saw it again in the 2015 postseason. In that postseason, Lagares hit .348/.375/.435 with two doubles and two stolen bases. That may not be his true talent level, but it shows you he’s capable of being at least a decent hitter.
Unfortuantely, he hasn’t to begin the year. So far this season, he is 1-18 with his lone hit being a single to break up Gio Gonzalez‘s no-hitter on Saturday. Again, Lagares seems to be regressing, which means once Cespedes returns, Lagares will once again be limited to being a defensive replacement late in games and getting starts against left-handed pitching. Given the comments made post-game, that will happen on Tuesday.
There was an opportunity for Lagares to be more than that. He had an opportunity to show the Mets he could be an everyday player. As an everyday player, he could live on highlight reels and win additional Gold Gloves. That won’t be happening because rather than take advantage of the opporutnity, Lagares reinforced the notion that he isn’t an everyday player.
When Daniel Murphy hit a grand slam in the first inning with no outs against Zack Wheeler, it seemed like the game was over. The Mets have shown nothing of late to suggest they could score four runs, let alone the five it would take to take the lead. With Max Scherzer pitching for the Nationals, the loss appeared to be a near certainty.
At least the Mets made this one interesting.
Michael Conforto, who is cementing his spot as this team’s lead-off hitter, hit Scherzer’s second pitch of the game for an opposite field home run:
4-1 Washington | End-1 pic.twitter.com/kv0Uz8GjlF
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 24, 2017
He also made a nice play in the field:
4-3 Washington | Mid-6 pic.twitter.com/M0QQ7MIYSr
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 24, 2017
The Mets would narrow the gap to 4-3 on a Neil Walker third inning two run home run.
The game remains close because Wheeler was great after the first inning. After the first inning, Wheeler allowed just one hit and issued just two walks. He had a manageable pitch count, and he was able to pitch seven innings throwing just 101 pitches.
Wheeler’s final line was seven innings, four hits, four runs, four earned, two walks, and six strikeouts.
It’s hard to say a guy who gave up a first inning grand slam deserved a better fate, but Wheeler probably did. At a minimum, you could argue that one day the hitters need to bail out a starter. With this offense, that’s wishful thinking.
The first showdown with the Nationals led to a sweep. Regardless of the Mets health, that’s a bad sign for the 2017 season.
Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera is injured, and he stumbles after each play he makes. He looks more injured than he did last year. Travis d’Arnaud couldn’t catch again, but he pinch hit yet again. Kevin Plawecki got his first start of the year.
If we’re being honest, this isn’t the greatest Mets lineup even when the team is healthy. It’s full of guys who certainly can all hit the ball out of the ballpark, but it’s also full of players with poor on base percentages. When you lose Lucas Duda and Yoenis Cespedes to injury the problems become even more exacerbated.
Now, the Mets have the pitching to win games no matter who is in the lineup. We saw that in 2015 as the pitching and Curtis Granderson kept the team afloat playing near .500 ball until reinforcements arrived.
In those games the Mets did win, they needed their pitcher’s to be great. At the state the Mets offense is now, the 2017 Mets are back to that point. Yesterday, Jacob deGrom was good.
He was mowing the Nationals down for the first three innings until his wildness caught up to him in the fourth. A Daniel Murphy single was bracketed by walks to Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon loading the bases.
The Mets got a bit lucky as the Nationals third base coach sent Murphy on the ensuing RBI single by Matt Wieters.
In the fifth, the Nationals got to deGrom again. Adam Eaton and Trea Turner hit back-to-back one out doubles to make it 2-0. After Harper was just told to go to first base (essentially what the new intentional walk rule is), Ryan Zimmerman hit an RBI single to make it 3-0.
The Nationals wouldn’t score again in the sixth thanks in large part to Granderson:
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 22, 2017
After getting the first two out, deGrom got in trouble again issuing yet another walk, this time to Eaton, and then allowing a single to Turner. At this point, Terry Collins turned to Josh Edgin to get the Mets out of the jam. Somewhat surprisingly, he did by striking out Harper.
Overall, it was a tough day for deGrom who issued a career high six walks. He was obviously ramped up early getting it up to 98 MPH and recording a lot of strikeouts. The early adrenaline wore off, and deGrom was left throwing 94 MPH and missing his spots. This was an uncharacteristic start for deGrom. His final line was 5.2 innings, eight hits, three runs, three earned, six walks, and 10 strikeouts.
Given the current state of the Mets offense, 3-0 might as well have been 30-0. This game was no different.
For the second time this season, the Mets offense was no-hit through five innings. This time, it was done by Gio Gonzalez. Though the Mets offense looked overmatched and lifeless, they would break through in the sixth.
Michael Conforto didn’t help the narrative he can’t hit left-handed pitching by striking out and going hitless on the day. Where Conforto didn’t come through, a hobbled Asdrubal Cabrera did hitting an RBI single to make it 3-1. That was as close as the Mets would get.
Jay Bruce and Neil Walker had back-to-back strikeouts ending the Mets only rally of the game. The offense then made a struggling Nationals bullpen look like the 1990 Nasty Boys.
Blake Treinen, Enny Romero, and Koda Glover did their best Norm Charlton–Rob Dibble–Randy Myers impersonation to slam the door shut on the 3-1 victory.
With that, the Mets are 8-10 and are in fourth place 4.5 back. They’re having trouble beating the Phillies and can’t even hit a poor Nationals bullpen. It’s still April, so it’s still early, but things do not look good right now.
Game Notes: Cabrera tried to leg out an infield single in the fourth. He was noticeably hobbled, and he came out to take his position right before the first pitch of the fifth inning. For the second day in a row, an injured Yoenis Cespedes informed the team he was too injured to pinch hit. Once again, Travis d’Arnaud was limited to pinch hitting duty. T.J. Rivera got the start at third base over a healthy Reyes. He was 0-3.
When you are 36 years old and playing out of position in center field, fans are going to question whether you are done. They are going to call for the younger player to play over you. They will tend to overlook all that you have done for a team and focus on what best helps the team to win now. Baseball is cruel that way, and baseball is being cruel to Curtis Granderson right now.
Through his first 15 games, Granderson hit just .143/.197/.214 with no homers and four RBI. It is an especially slow start for sure, but it isn’t the first slow start of his career. In fact, using OPS+ as a barometer, April has been Granderson’s second worst month of the season. In his relatively short time with the Mets, we have seen that play out:
- 2014 April: .136/.252/.216
2014 Final: .227/.326/.388
- 2015 April: .231/.362/.321
2015 Final: .259/.364/.457
- 2016 April: .247/.347/.471
2016 Final: .237/.335/.464
With the noted exception of last year, Granderson typically grows stronger as the season progresses. Granderson is aware of it himself telling Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, “I’m not sure if it’s the transition from spring to the beginning of the season. If it’s the timing of the games, more day games to more night games. The weather. The inconsistency of playing [time in spring training]. … I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s a different view [when you’re hitting]. You have fewer things out there in spring training and you have more things during the season.”
No matter what the reason, Granderson has always figured things out. More importantly, Granderson has been there when the Mets needed him most. In 2015, when he was really the only major league caliber bat in the lineup, he helped keep the team afloat. In June of that season, Granderson hit .291/.371/.544 with seven homers and 11 RBI.
In the 2015 World Series, when most of the Mets lineup was struggling, Granderson was trying to will the Mets to victory hitting three home runs in that series. All three of those home runs gave the Mets the lead.
Last season, with the Mets desperately fighting to get back to the postseason, Granderson stepped up. He was moved out of the lead-off spot in the order to the cleanup spot where he would finally provide Yoenis Cespedes the protection in the lineup the team was seeking all season. From the cleanup spot, Granderson hit .321/.440/.605 with six homers and 18 RBI. In September, when the Mets were making their real push to claim a Wild Card spot, Granderson hit .302/.414/.615 with eight homers and 21 RBI.
Simply put, the Mets do not make the postseason in 2015 or 2016 without Granderson. Fortunately, the Mets allowed Granderson to fight through his slumps, especially his April ones, to be the contributor they both knew he could be, and more importantly, become the one the Mets needed. Granderson has a well established track record. More to the point, he has been an important part of the Mets that should not be overlooked . . . especially right now.
Yoenis Cespedes has a hamstring problem, and no one knows when he will be able to return to the lineup. Lucas Duda is on the disabled list as is his primary backup Wilmer Flores is as well. This means Jay Bruce will be playing first base for the foreseen future. It also means regardless of Granderson’s struggles, he will play everyday.
Just like in 2015 and 2016, the Mets need Granderson to step up. Last night, he did just that. Granderson had his best game of the season by far. He was 2-4 with a run, two RBI, a walk, and a home run. His first RBI was a two out RBI single. The second was a game tying solo homer to the second deck. On top of his hitting, Granderson had a nice game in the field including making a sliding catch by the wall.
Once again, Granderson is stepping up when the Mets need him, and based upon his Mets career, we can expect Granderson to continue to improve. Come October, it’s likely the Aptil struggles will be forgetten. It’s likely we will be once again thankful Granderson is a Met.
As if the Mets weren’t injured enough, the team had a new rash of injuries heading into tonight’s game.
Wilmer Flores and Lucas Duda went on the disabled list. Travis d’Arnaud and Yoenis Cespedes didn’t, but they couldn’t start. At least d’Arnaud was available to pinch hit. To make matters worse, Asdrubal Cabrera is now dealing with a hamstring injury keeping him out of the lineup, and Jacob deGrom woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
With deGrom waking up with a stiff neck, he missed tonight’s start, and he probably needs someone to start for him tomorrow.
With so many people out of the lineup, the Mets needed someone to step up. The Mets had people stepping up all over the place tonight.
First was Matt Harvey who was the surprise starter. Harvey gave his team a chance to win pitching seven innings. His final line was seven innings, four hits, three runs, three earned, two walks, and two strikeouts.
Harvey pitched well, but he was tripped up by the long ball. In the first inning, he grooved one to Bryce Harper who launched it for a two run homer. It was a strange site to see when you consider Harper couldn’t get a hit off pre-TOS Harvey. The third run off Harvey came off a Jose Lobaton solo shot in the fifth.
Despite the two homers and the makeshift lineup, Harvey had a no decision.
.@mconforto8 stays 🔥!
2-1 Washington | End-1 pic.twitter.com/RK74WLFI9C
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 21, 2017
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 22, 2017
It was a terrific night for Granderson. Coming into the night, he was hitting .143/.197/.214. Just like he’s done in his entire Mets career, Granderson stepped up when the Mets needed him most going 2-4 with a run, two RBI, one walk, and the home run.
The Mets nearly took the lead in the seventh. Zack Wheeler hit for Harvey and hit a pinch hit double. The Mets would load the bases, and the Nationals would go to Oliver Perez, who got Bruce to line out to end the inning.
Cabrera then pinch hit for Addison Reed and drew a walk. Given his hamstring issues, Collins sent out Kevin Plawecki to pinch run for him. No, it didn’t make sense to do this and force the pitcher’s spot to come up earlier in the lineup, but nothing in this inning made much sense.
In the long run, Blanton worked his way out of the inning. Another side effect of the inning, Collins’ mechanations led to the pitcher’s spot coming up three spots earlier in the lineup. He did that in a game where the Mets had a short bench. Just an inexcusable move.
The Mets certainly could’ve benefitted from better managing as the pitcher’s spot did come up in the bottom of the 11th with the Mets down 4-3.
The Mets were down 4-3 because Jeurys Familia is still rusty. Keep in mind, he only made two relief appearances in the minors before his suspension was over.
After Josh Smoker allowed a lead-off double to Harper, Murphy was intentionally walked, and Familia entered the game. He threw a wild pitch allowing Harper to go to third. It didn’t matter much as he issued back-to-back walks to Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner to force in a run. Familia settled down after that, but it was too late. The Nationals took the lead.
Shawn Kelley came on in the 11th and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to earn the save. With that, the Mets fought valiantly, but still lost. They’re now under .500, and who knows who will be healthy enough to play tomorrow.
Game Notes: Daniel Murphy‘s 19 game hitting streak came to an end. He was 0-4, and he was intentionally walked in the 11th. Apparently, Reed wore the wrong hat during his appearance.
One of the best things to come out of the past offseason was Major League Baseball shortening the stint on the disabled list from 15 days to 10 day. Presumably, that change made it easier for teams to place their players on the disabled list to allow them to recover. Someone should tell that to the Mets.
Last night, with the Lucas Duda injury and Wilmer Flores infection, Jay Bruce was forced to play first base for the first time since he played three games there in 2014. That also put Juan Lagares in the position of being the team’s lone back-up outfielder and middle infielder. Lagares was initially signed by the Mets as a shortstop, but he has not played the middle infield since he played six innings for the Single-A Savannah Sand Gnats as a 20 yeard old in 2009. To put it in perspective how long ago that was, back in 2009, Citi Field just opened, and Daniel Murphy was considered a left fielder.
When Cespedes had to leave the game with a hamstring injury after running the bases in the fifth inning, the Mets were in trouble. If the game were to go deep into extra innings, the Mets were likely going to have to consider which infield position other than first could Kevin Plawecki handle. They might have followed through with the plan to put Zack Wheeler at first base like it was contemplated during the 16 inning game. If things got bad enough, the team might have had to lean on Jacob deGrom‘s experience as a collegiate shortstop.
Simply put, this is unacceptable. Year-in and year-out the Mets find themselves in this position, and they are more than willing to play with short benches with players not even available to pinch hit. Worse yet, they ask players to do too much.
Last year, the Mets saw Asdrubal Cabrera deal with a knee injury all season. From the middle of May until the end of July, he was hobbled and struggling. Over that stretch, he hit .232/.285/.436. The Mets finally put him on the disabled list so he could rest his knee. He responded by becoming the 2015 Yoenis Cespedes and willing the Mets to the postseason hitting .345/.406/.635 over the final 41 games of the season.
Speaking of Cespedes, the Mets were also stubborn about putting him on the disabled list. On July 8th, he suffered an injured quad. He would not go on the disabled list, and he would not play in another game until July 17th. When he did play, he was noticeably hobbled. From July 17th to August 3rd, Cespedes hit just .205/.302/.318 in 14 games before the Mets finally put him on the disabled list. When he came back, he hit .259/.335/.490 over the final 38 games of the season.
Then there was Michael Conforto. We are not quite sure when he was injured, but we do know that he received a cortisone shot in June of last year. Clearly something was bothering him as Conforto went from the best hitter on the team in April to a guy who hit just .174/.267/.330 for the rest of the year. Instead of a disabled list stint, the Mets treated him to multiple demotions to Triple-A, where he absolutely raked, and being stuck to the bench for far too long stretches. Perhaps if the Mets put him on the disabled list, his second season would have gone much differently, and the Bruce trade might not have been necessary.
You would think the Mets would have learned from that, but they clearly haven’t as they are already repeating the same mistakes.
While it is not ideal with six of the next nine games coming against the Nationals, the Mets can definitively get away with Bruce at first with an outfield of Conforto-Lagares-Curtis Granderson from left to right. While it does not have the offensive punch you would like, that is a really good defensive outfield. On the infield, the Mets could recall T.J. Rivera, who showed the Mets last year he has a place in the major leagues. The Mets could even get bold by calling up Gavin Cecchini to play second and moving Neil Walker to third. At a minimum, it would get a struggling Jose Reyes out of the lineup. It could also allow the Mets to pick and choose their spots with Reyes to allow him to be an effective pinch hitter or pinch runner in late game situations.
The overriding point is the Mets have talent on the 40 man roster even if Duda and Cespedes went on the disabled list. With the Mets throwing Noah Syndergaard, deGrom, and Matt Harvey, the Mets can still win a fair share of those games to keep the team afloat until Duda and Cespedes are ready to return to the lineup. In fact, the team might be better off because you’d rather have two healthy sluggers mashing all season than two injured players trying to find a way to produce to their normal levels.
That is something that didn’t work last year, and we can’t expect it to work this year. It’s about time the Mets learned how to properly utilize the disabled list and field a team of healthy players.
There was every chance that the Mets defense was going to suffer tonight. Jose Reyes isn’t a third baseman. Michael Conforto is miscast as a CF. With Lucas Duda (elbow) and Wilmer Flores (infection) out, Jay Bruce was really miscast as a first baseman.
After the Phillies had already plated a run off a Tommy Joseph RBI double, he would move to second on a Noah Syndergaard wild pitch. It was in the dirt, but Rene Rivera did a terrible job on the ball. He tried to backhand a ball between his legs and didn’t get down. Terrible.
Freddy Galvis “singled” to Bruce and advanced to second on a “Bruce throwing error.” Look at what really happened:
— MetsKevin11 (@MetsKevin11) April 20, 2017
Walker ran to the bag and stopped despite the ball apparently being theory to him.
The throw not only allowed a run to score (it was anyway), but it put Galvis in scoring position. He’d then score on an Andrew Knapp ground rule double.
Just like that, it was 3-0 Phillies after two.
The Mets would get one of those runs back led by a Reyes single and stolen base. He’d score on a two out Rivera RBI single.
Syndergaard plunked Daniel Nava to lead off the inning, but he did get the double play ball he needed. However, Cabrera booted the Odubel Herrera grounder. Nava scored on a Maikel Franco RBI double to left.
On the double, Cespedes made a great throw to Walker, who literally fell over himself trying to make the tag. Right there, the Mets had already given away three outs in the inning.
Fortunately, Syndergaard limited the damage allowing just one more run on an Aaron Altherr RBI groundout.
Syndergaard was not at his best, but he deserved a much better fate. Technically, only three of the runs allowed were earned. However, watching the game and the shoddy defense, only the first run was really on him. Syndergaard’s final line was seven innings, seven hits, five runs, three earned, no walks, and 10 strikeouts.
While his team wouldn’t help him, Syndergaard helped his team by pitching that extra inning going to 114 pitches.
Still, the team couldn’t rally to get him off the hook or get a win. It appeared there was a chance after the Walker three run homer to center in the third inning. It was his first extra base hit off a right-handed pitcher all year.
However, at 5-4 that’s as close as the Mets would get. To add insult to injury, Cespedes left the game after the fifth. In that inning, he pulled up lame on what was a Bruce 3-6-1 double play.
Fernando Salas couldn’t keep the Phillies at bay in the eighth. He first allowed a lead off homer to Franco. He then allowed back-to-back singles to Altherr and Joseph leading Terry Collins to pull him for Josh Edgin.
Edgin would be the lone bright spot on the day getting three straight outs punctuated by striking out Andres Blanco.
Even with that, there was no momentum in what was a disappointing 6-4 loss. The Mets are banged up and .500 with the Nationals coming into town. This is exactly where you don’t want to be.
Game Recap: Juan Lagares was the back-up infielder on the night due to all the injuries. It didn’t happen, but he got into the game with the Cespedes injury. Jeurys Familia made his first appearance since coming back from suspension. His rust showed with him needing 30 pitches to get out of the ninth.
The only run scored off Wheeler was a first inning Odubel Herrera solo home run. From there, Wheeler was far from perfect and battled himself and the Phillies. The second inning was his only 1-2-3 inning.
In the third, Cesar Hernandez singled to lead-off the inning, and he stole second on a horrendous throw by Travis d’Arnaud. The throw was to Neil Walker who wasn’t even the middle infielder covering on the play. Wheeler then issued a walk to Herrera to put runners on first and second with one out.
Wheeler would depart after five innings and 99 pitches. His final line was five innings, four hits, one run, one earned, two walks, and seven strikeouts.
He’d leave on the long side due to a Mets first inning rally.
Michael Conforto, leadoff man extraordinaire, would earn a leadoff walk off Phillies starter Zach Eflin. Yoenis Cespedes then earned a one out walk of his own. Conforto would then score on a Jay Bruce RBI single.
Cespedes went to third on the play, and he would score on a wild pitch during the Walker at-bat. It’s a good thing Cespedes scored there because the Mets offense would do nothing from there on out.
For the rest of the game, the Mets only amassed three more hits and no one would reach third. This is troubling considering Eflin’s career ERA is 5.54 and the Phillies have a mediocre bullpen.
In the sixth, Hansel Robles struggled issuing a one out walk to Tommy Joseph and hitting Cameron Rupp. At this point, I’m sure Rupp has had enough of Robles. Terry Collins did as well lifting him for Josh Smoker with two outs in the inning.
DFA Reyes PHI@NYM: Galvis reaches on Reyes' dropped ball https://t.co/VdSB1ghzWp
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) April 19, 2017
A hustling Rupp went to third and the slow jogging Galvis would only go to first. It would cost both teams.
Jerry Blevins came on for Salas, and his steak of stranding 11 batters would end. Andres Blanco ripped a double into left field. It would have scored two, but upon replay, it was determined to have hopped the wall for a ground rule double. With that, it was a 2-2 instead of a 3-2 game.
The Reyes error cost the Mets a run, and Galvis’ lack of hustle cost the Phillies. Had Galvis ran, he might’ve been in second. If he was on second, he scores on a ground rule double.
Blevins got out of the jam, and Addison Reed mowed down the Phillies in the ninth.
In the ninth, Reyes drew a two out walk and took off initially on a pitch in the dirt. He stopped half way and was only safe because Hernandez pegged him in the back with a throw. It wound up not mattering as d’Arnaud grounded out to end the inning.
With Reyes’ horrible game and Collins double switched Rafael Montero into the game with Wilmer Flores taking over at third and batting fifth (pitchers spot when Juan Lagares was double switched into the game in the seventh).
For some reason, Collins has been loathed to use Sean Gilmartin no matter how much the bullpen could use some length or how much Montero struggles. It costs the Mets.
Saunders led off the 10th with a single off Montero. Even with him having to freeze on a rope hit in his direction, he went to third on the Joseph single. Then, for some reason, Collins didn’t bring the infield in.
It didn’t really matter. Rupp hit a deep sacrifice fly which would be the only out Montero would record. Galvis would follow with a single putting runners on first and second.
Aaron Altherr then hit a pinch hit RBI single to center. On the play, Lagares made a good throw home, but d’Arnaud couldn’t corral it.
On a night where many Mets struggled, perhaps no one struggled more than d’Arnaud. He was 0-4 with the two miscues. What am I saying? Reyes and Montero were worse.
In any event, Collins was finally forced to go to Gilmartin. Gilmartin pitched reasonably well, but the two inherited runners scored when Asdrubal Cabrera didn’t have enough range to get a ball hit up the middle. While Cabrera is as sure handed as it gets, he really lacks range.
With that, the Mets had a frustrating and downright embarrassing 6-2 loss dropping them to .500. It’s their fourth consecutive loss.
Game Notes: Walker still doesn’t have an extra base hit as a left-handed batter this year. Conforto was 0-4 with the one walk, one run, and two strikeouts. Collins had his excuse not to play him tomorrow.
We have been teased by Travis d’Arnaud‘s talent in the past. In fact, back in the 2015 season, d’Arnaud had the second highest wRC+ among catchers with at least 250 plate appearances. While he had always been knocked for his throwing, he caught 33% of base stealers, which was higher than the league average of 28%. d’Arnaud did this in conjunction with his terrific pitch framing skills behind the plate. Unfortunately, d’Arnaud did not build off of this terrific season. Instead, in 2016, d’Arnaud had another injury plagued year where he regressed in almost every aspect of his game.
This offseason saw the Mets hire Glenn Sherlock as a catching coach to help d’Arnaud sure up those aspects of his game where he regressed. He worked with Kevin Long to eliminate the wrap in his swing. While it is still early in the season, d’Arnaud not only seems to be back to his 2015 form, he appears to be better than that.
After his early season struggles, d’Arnaud is now hitting .323/.417/.645 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs, and nine RBI. His most recent home run was the game winning home run after he had already caught 15 innings. For all the concerns about his throwing arm, no one has been running against him this season. Through 10 games, there has only been one stolen base attempt against him. This includes two games against the Marlins, whose running game Terry Collins was so intimidated by he started Rene Rivera over him in one game.
Another aspect of d’Arnaud’s game that has been overlooked has been his adeptness around the plate when it comes to tagging out base runners. While both Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto deserve a lot of credit for making strong accurate throws, d’Arnaud deserves credit as well. Each time, d’Arnaud cleanly fielded the throw and got the tag down before the runner could touch the plate. Over the past weekend that stopped four runs from scoring.
But there is more to it than just that. We have seen d’Arnaud improve as a pitch caller. During Jacob deGrom‘s second start of the season, the two adapted on the fly and called a different game to much better results. And yes, he has continued his terrific pitch framing. He is adept at both making sure strikes are called strikes and in getting that extra inch on the corner for his pitchers.
Overall, d’Arnaud is excelling in each part of the game right now, and he is quickly becoming one of the best catchers in the National League. Because of this, he has started to move up in the lineup. If it continues, we may not be talking just about where he is in the Mets lineup, but where he will be in the All Star Game lineup.