The Mets fought hard to get back into this game. In the end, it was the usual culprits that would let the Mets down – injuries, defense, and the bullpen.
In the bottom of the first, the Marlins had runners on first and second with two outs, but Gsellman couldn’t come up with that big pitch to get out of the inning. Justin Bour singled to tie the game, and Martin Prado doubled to give the Marlins a 3-1 lead.
It was one of those nights where you knew Gsellman probably wasn’t long for the game. You’d be right, but not for the reason you’d expect.
In the fourth, Lucas Duda got a rally started with a one out double, and it appeared as if the Mets would strand him there. Travis d’Arnaud came up with the big two out RBI single pulling the Mets within one.
Then came the Gsellman injury. Gsellman would ground out to the pitcher. On the play, he’d vacillate between jogging and busting it. It led to a leg injury. Rather go on a rant here about another injury, it’s best to leave it to Ron Darling:
Ron's comments about injuries and training pic.twitter.com/yqf47Nu326
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) June 28, 2017
This led to Paul Sewald getting thrown into the game. He did a great job pitching three scoreless innings keeping the Mets in the game. It allowed d’Arnaud to tie the game with a solo shot off Kyle Barraclough.
The hit got the Mets going, and it seemed as if the Mets might take the lead. Brandon Nimmo worked out a pinch hit walk, and Granderson smoked a grounder up the middle.
That’s when JT Riddle made a phenomenal play on the Granderson grounder to get a 6-6-3 inning ending double play.
— #VoteMarlins (@Marlins) June 28, 2017
Ramirez would issue a leadoff walk to J.T. Realmuto, and Riddle would smoke a grounder towards Duda. It was difficult, but Duda needs to make that play. The ball hit off his glove setting up first and third with no outs.
Like all Mets fans, Collins had enough of Ramirez and went to Jerry Blevins, who has pitched poor of late, to pitch to Ichiro Suzuki.
Being the wily veteran with 3,049 career hits entering the game, Ichiro knew just where to hit it – right by Wilmer Flores, who went in the completely wrong direction:
lmao wilmer where are you going?! pic.twitter.com/LgRUZf8nKL
— MetsKevin11 (@MetsKevin11) June 28, 2017
This loss was the same loss that we’ve been seeing all season long. This is the same loss that has derailed the Mets season.
Game Notes: Michael Conforto was not available to pinch hit after getting hit on the wrist in Sunday’s game. Erik Goeddel pitched 1.2 scoreless. He has three scoreless innings in three appearances this year.
After having the tar beaten out of them by the Nationals and Dodgers, the Mets finally found a team worse than them.
The team jumped all over Giants starter Ty Blach.
Curtis Granderson led off his third straight game with a hit. This time it wasn’t a homer. He’d move to third on an Asdrubal Cabrera single. Cabrera’s hit was only a single because Brandon Belt tracked down the bloop hit and threw out Cabrera trying to stretch the single into a double. For a player that did not want to be at second today, Belt granted him his wish.
Granderson would score on a Wilmer Flores two out RBI single. Unlike the past two games, the Mets would win a game they had a 1-0 lead after the top of the first. The main reason for that was the Mets bats exploded in the top of the second.
After Cabrera singled, Yoenis Cespedes would hit his third home run since coming off the disabled list:
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) June 24, 2017
With that lead in hand, Lugo was cruising. Through the first five innings, he had just allowed one run, and he was making quick and efficient work of the Giants.
His lead would grow to 10-1 in the sixth. Cespedes hit an RBI double scoring Granderson. Flores hit a sacrifice fly scoring Cabrera, and Conforto hit a two out RBI single scoring Cespedes.
After another long inning, Lugo struggled. After having thrown just 59 pitches through the fifth, his pitch count would escalate to 95, and he still didn’t get out of the inning.
It was a combination of the Giants batters being more patient and Lugo issuing two of his three walks on the night.
He loaded the bases with one out, and Brandon Crawford tattooed one that became a sacrifice fly.
— MLBBarrelAlert (@MLBBarrelAlert) June 24, 2017
Lugo issued another walk to re-load the bases, and Gorkys Hernandez followed with a two RBI single. At that point, Terry Collins had little choice but to go to his bullpen. Paul Sewald came on and got the out to keep the score at 10-4.
From there, Duda continued his monster night at the plate. He hit a seventh inning homer, and he nearly missed another in the ninth. Overall, he was 3-5 with with two runs, two doubles, a homer, and an RBI.
In addition to Duda, Cespedes also went 3-5. Cespedes was also amazing falling a triple short of the cycle. With the sac fly, Flores was 3-4. Overall, the only Mets batter without a hit was Jose Reyes who walked twice.
Cabrera should also be signaled out for having a good game. Despite all the pregame hysteria over his move to second base, he came to play. He was 3-6 with two runs. He was flawless in the field even turning a double play. Perhaps if he had played this well all year, the Mets never would’ve had the inking to move him to second.
Game Notes: Before the game, Cabrera demanded the Mets trade him for the team’s decision to play him at second base. Sandy Alderson said Cabrera’s option would not be picked up. Gavin Cecchini was sent down to Triple-A to make room for Cabrera on the roster.
Yesterday, the Mets lost their cool with Yasiel Puig‘s home run trot. Wilmer Flores had something to say to him as he passed first base. Travis d’Arnaud said something as Puig crossed home plate. Between innings, Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Reyes pulled Puig aside to talk with him about the incident. Jay Bruce voiced his displeasure with Puig in a post-game interview. That’s where we are this season.
Cespedes and Reyes, two players known for their on field celebrations, are talking to another player about how he acts on the field. More than that, it’s bizarre that a Mets team who has played terrible baseball this year is going to go out there and tell another player how the game should be played. Instead of Puig, maybe the Mets players should be focusing on their own issues:
1. They Can’t Pitch
The Mets have a team 5.05 ERA, which is the worst ERA the Mets have had since the 1962 Mets. It doesn’t matter Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Seth Lugo, and Steven Matz have been injured this year. That ERA is just inexcusable. There was still enough talent on this roster that an ERA that high should never be that possible. Certainly, there is no reason why this pitching staff should be in the same conversation as the worst baseball team in history.
2. The Defense Is Terrible
The team -9 DRS and team -7.3 UZR ranks 21st in baseball. Their -14 DRS at the shortstop position is the worst in baseball, and the -6.0 UZR is ranked 27th. At third base, the Mets -7 DRS is 27th and -4.8 UZR is 26th. Behind those numbers, Asdrubal Cabrera has no range anymore. Travis d’Arnaud is having difficulty throwing out base stealers. Flores and T.J. Rivera have once again showed they are bats without a position. Overall, it’s ugly, and they are not helping their pitching staff.
3. They’re Always Injured
Of all the position players on the Opening Day roster, Michael Conforto, Bruce, and Reyes are the only ones who have not spent time on the Disabled List. For his part, Conforto is playing through back issues, and his play has dipped in June. The only two pitchers in the starting rotation from the famed seven deep group who haven’t been on the Disabled List are deGrom and Gsellman, both of whom are coming off of offseason surgeries. In the bullpen, the Mets have seen Jeurys Familia go down with an injury, and Terry Collins pitched Josh Smoker into one. If the Mets want to be angry, be angry with their trainers, physicians, and maybe even themselves for how they prepare.
4. They’re Under-Performing
So far this season, the Mets have had 13 position players with at least 100 plate appearances. Only five of them have an OPS+ over 100. Cespedes is the only player with a .300 batting average. Conforto is the only one with a .400 OBP. Aside from Cespedes, each player has had one month where they have been in a deep slump.
Other than Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins, no Mets pitcher who has thrown at least 15 innings has an ERA below 3.29, and that ERA belongs to Syndergaard. After him the lowest ERA on the team is 3.94. There are five pitchers who have an ERA over 6.00 and seven with an ERA over 5.0
We can get on Collins for his bizarre managing decisions all we want, and they are quite justified. Still, Collins is not to blame for these players under-performing. That’s on all of them.
5. They’re Not Showing Up For The Big Games
It’s easy to forget, but the Mets were on the precipice of being relevant in the National League East and Wild Card races. They had back-to-back four game sets against the Nationals, who were reeling with their terrible bullpen, and the Dodgers, who have had injury issues of their own. Instead of taking control of their destiny and making themselves relevant, the Mets fell flat on their faces. In the seven games thus far, they have allowed 14 homers and have been outscored 53-22. It is one thing lost six of seven. It is a whole other thing to be dominated by teams the Mets believed they were better than entering the season.
If the Mets want to be angry with anyone, they should be angry with themselves. They are allowing the homers. They are the ones who are getting their doors blown off on a nightly basis. They are the ones who have taken a promising season and made it a disaster.
For once, Collins had it right when he said, “We’ve got bigger problems than somebody’s home run trot right now.” (Anthony DiComo, mlb.com). Maybe instead of focusing on Puig, the Mets should be focusing on those bigger problems.
After getting outclassed by the Washington Nationals, the Mets are now six games under .500, and they are 10.5 games back in the division. Things are bleaker in the Wild Card race. The Mets are now 12 games out of the second Wild Card spot. One of the teams they are trailing are the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. While it may be too early on July 20th to say the season is over, realistically speaking, the Mets really need to consider selling.
Aside from Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, and the core group of starting pitchers, the Mets should look to sell everyone on the major league roster. The problem is why would anyone want what the Mets are selling?
Travis d’Arnaud has had another injury this year and has regressed in all aspects of his game. His backup, Rene Rivera has been hitting .162/.205/.297 over his last 10 games. With Rivera, this isn’t too far from what he’s been his entire career.
Across the infield, the situation is no better. Lucas Duda has had his typical hot and cold season with him hitting .175/.283/.375 over the past two weeks. It also doesn’t help that he struggles against left-handed pitching.
Just as Neil Walker was playing great again, he suffered a tear in his hamstring, and he will not be able to come back from the disabled list until after the All Star Break. That leaves little time for him to get back into form before the trade deadline assuming he is even able to return by then.
Asdrubal Cabrera is having a terrible season. He has twice landed on the disabled list with a thumb injury. His already poor range has been further limited. While he’s always been a second-half hitter, his stats this season lag behind last year’s first half stats.
Flat out, Jose Reyes has been the worst infielder in the major leagues. With his poor defense, he is little more than a pinch runner.
In the outfield, Curtis Granderson has shaken off his cold start, and he has been much better of late. However, he’s still hitting .212/.302/.396, and he’s still 36 years old. If a team were interested in Juan Lagares and his Gold Glove defense, that opportunity has passed with Lagares’ thumb injury.
Outside of Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins, the bullpen has been mostly terrible. Josh Edgin has had a nice season there, but 30 year old LOOGYs hardly fetch a large haul at the trade deadline. And for what it’s worth, the Mets still have years of control over Edgin. He’s more valuable to the team as a pitcher than a trade asset.
Certainly, if the Mets were interested in moving Blevins, many teams would be interested in the LOOGY. With his outstanding season, he’s probably going to get a larger return than your standard LOOGY, which still won’t be a prospect who will be a major piece of the future.
No, the only two players really capable of that are Reed and Jay Bruce. With respect to Bruce, the bar has been set fairly high for his return. Last year, the Mets traded Dilson Herrera, who was seen as an important part of the Mets future, and Max Wotell, who is an interesting left-handed pitching prospect. If the Mets can match or come near that, they’ve done well. The problem is Bruce is now a pending free agent making that kind of a return all the more unlikely.
Based on last year’s trade deadline, the Mets can legitimately ask for the moon for Reed. He’s been great as a Met, and he’s been great this year. He’s a great eighth inning reliever, and this year, he is showing he can replicate that success as a closer. At the trade deadline, everyone is looking for relief help meaning everyone should be looking at Reed.
And the Mets better maximize that return because looking at the team as a whole, the Mets aren’t likely to get a whole lot back at the trade deadline. Certainly, it will be paltry compared to the Yankees haul last year. The sad part is if these players were playing better, the Mets return might’ve surpassed that. Then again, if these players were playing that well, we wouldn’t be talking about selling at the trade deadline.
Last year, new dad Jacob deGrom got the Father’s Day start against the Braves, and he took the loss. However, you could say it was a great day for deGrom because his son was in attendance at the game. This is the same son who had breathing issues after he was born earlier that year. To that end, it was a pretty great Father’s Day for deGrom.
This year was even better.
With his son in attendance, deGrom had one of his best games as a major leaguer. In fact, it if wasn’t for a Wilmer Flores error leading to a first inning unearned run, deGrom might have pulled off the Jerry Koosman.
For eight innings, deGrom dominated a Nationals lineup that has the highest slugging percentage in the National League and has scored the second most runs in the league. In fact, if it wasn’t for Travis d’Arnaud‘s inability to throw out Trea Turner (4-4 in stolen base attempts), no National would have reached third base after the first inning. Overall, deGrom pitched eight innings making it the first time in his career he has pitched eight innings in consecutive starts. His final line was eight innings, three hits, one unearned run, two walks, and six strikeouts.
As if that wasn’t good enough, deGrom helped his own cause hitting his first ever major league home run:
Jacob deGrom crushes his first career home run, a solo shot to left-center field to tie the game at 1 in the bottom of the 3rd inning!!! pic.twitter.com/mmQN93x4vH
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) June 18, 2017
For an extra added touch, deGrom used David Wright‘s bat to hit that home run, so in some small way, Wright has had a contribution this season.
After the home run, the Mets offense came alive against Joe Ross. In the fourth, d’Arnaud delivered with an RBI single scoring Lucas Duda sending T.J. Rivera to third base. Michael Conforto hit a two out infield single allowing Rivera to score putting the Mets up 3-1.
It was part of a big day for Conforto who finally seemed to get his bat going again. On the afternoon, he was 2-3 with a walk and two RBI. The second RBI came in the sixth inning when he singled home d’Arnaud. What was impressive about both of Conforto’s RBI was they were both with two outs.
After Curtis Granderson‘s RBI single scoring Jay Bruce in the seventh, the Mets were up 5-1, and there was no real chance they were going to lose this one. Still, it might have been too little too late for this Mets team that is now six games under .500 and 10.5 games in the division.
Game Notes: Mets moved Flores to second and Rivera to third to try to help Flores defensively and to help him get going again at the plate. Mets begin a 10 game road trip, and they get to face Clayton Kershaw in the first game of the road trip.
Back in 2015, the New York Mets season was falling apart at the seams. The Mets needed offense, and the fans wanted Michael Conforto. Scouts and talent evaluators said the Mets 2014 first round draft pick was ready, but the Mets consistently insisted Conforto wasn’t ready.
Instead of Conforto, the Mets trotted out people who weren’t good and weren’t ready. The Mets were happy trotting out John Mayberry, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Darrell Ceciliani in the outfield. Briefly, the Mets would even try Eric Campbell in left field. For the most part, the Mets mostly stuck with a clearly injured and hobbled Michael Cuddyer in left field. He fell apart in June hitting just .211/.237/.311 in 25 games.
Finally, both Cuddyer and the Mets both had enough, Cuddyer would go the Disabled List, and Conforto would finally get called-up to the majors. At that time, the Mets had lost two in a row and five of their last seven. For a team that once had a 4.5 game lead in the division, they would fall to three games back.
It turns out Conforto was indeed ready. He would play 56 games hitting .270/.335/.506 with 14 doubles nine homers, and 26 RBI. He was a big part of the Mets turn-arond with the team having been 10 games over .500 in the games he played. He was also a big part of the Mets postseason run. He hit three homers in the postseason including two in Game Four of the World Series.
It’s possible Conforto needed every bit the time he had in Double-A. Maybe the extra time he spent in Doube-A put him in position to succeed when he came to the majors. It’s also likely Conforto was ready well before the Mets did what they didn’t want to do when they called him up. Fact is, we’ll never know. The only thing we do know is Conforto was very good when he was called up to the majors, and he has an important part of the Mets success in 2015.
The Mets are in the same exact situation in 2017.
The team has seen Asdrubal Cabrera struggled offensively and defensively, and he has landed on the Disabled List twice. His primary back-up, Jose Reyes, has statistically been the worst infielder in the major leagues this year, and he appears to be getting worse. Now, Neil Walker has suffered an injury that will keep him on the Disabled List for an extended time frame.
Unlike 2015, the real issue for this Mets team is defense. As a team, the Mets rank last in the majors with a -13 DRS, and it is not likely to improve. Reyes is not only struggling offensively, but he is struggling defensively as well. The other players on the roster aren’t much better.
The Mets took the starting shortstop position away from Wilmer Flores for a reason. The Mets also transitioned T.J. Rivera from shortstop to other positions because he couldn’t handle the position defensively. Same goes for Gavin Cecchini who is now a second baseman. Matt Reynolds is actually a good defensive shortstop, but he can’t hit enough to play everyday.
Like in 2015, the fans are clamoring for the Mets top prospect, and like in 2015, everyone but Sandy Alderson seems to believe he’s ready. In 65 games for Las Vegas, he’s hitting .336/.378/.500 with 15 doubles, four triples, seven homers, 47 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. Based on the offensive statistics, he seems ready, but that’s not an in depth analysis. Truth is considering the hitting environment that is the Pacific Coast League, we probably don’t know how much improvement a player is making until they get to the majors.
However, the Mets don’t need Rosario for his offense even if anything else is likely better than what Reyes is providing. No, the Mets need him for his defense, and the Mets need him sooner rather than later.
After losing last night’s game, the Mets are five games under .500, and they are 10.5 games back in the division. Like in 2015, the Mets promising season is falling apart. Instead of the team calling up the player who could help address the team’s needs, they are being stubborn in insisting the top prospect isn’t ready. They are once again letting the season slip away. Unlike 2015, things are much more dire.
Sure, the Mets could be right in saying Rosario isn’t ready. After all, it is very well likely they know more than anyone about where Rosario stands in his development. Maybe, just maybe, the Mets know what they’re doing, and when they finally bring Rosario up to the majors, he will have the success and impact Conforto did in 2015.
Hopefully, there is still a season to salvage whenever the Mets get around to calling up Rosario.
There’s one fatal flaw if the strategy against the Nationals is to get into their bullpen – you have to actually get into their bullpen. With how dominant Max Scherzer has been against the Mets, and how dominant he’s been this year, that wasn’t happening tonight.
That’s not to say the Mets didn’t have their chances. The Mets grounding into three double plays only confirms the Mets had their chances. Like all double plays, these were back breakers.
The following inning, Steven Matz tried to help his own cause with a lead-off single, but he was erased when Michael Conforto grounded into the double play. The shock here was that entering tonight’s game, Conforto actually hit Scherzer well going 6-15 with three homers off him. Tonight, Conforto was 0-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
Finally in the sixth, the Mets had runners on first and second with one out. That rally ended with Wilmer Flores grounding into the inning ending double play. It was the latest sign Flores is cold. After scorching through May and earning a starting job, Flores is 2-19.
The squandered opportunities cost the Mets. It put Matz, who was making his second start off the Disabled List, in the unenviable position of having to be perfect. Unfortunately, Matz was just good.
While he generally kept the Nationals off the basepaths, he was victimized by the long ball. Matt Wieters and Michael Taylor went back-to-back to start the third. In the sixth, Anthony Rendon hit an opposite field two run homer that just cleared the wall.
With that, the Nationals were up 4-0 and in position to win despite the Matz pitching fairly well. His final line was seven innings, eight hits, four runs, four earned, no walks, and four strikeouts.
With Dusty Baker understandably not wanting to go to his bullpen, a tiring Scherzer pitched the eighth. Things got a little interesting with Reyes leading off the inning with a homer, and Curtis Granderson sending one to the wall in his pinch hitting appearance.
This is where Scherzer showed how great he is. He was clearly on fumes, but he bore down. He made quick work of Conforto before entering a battle with Yoenis Cespedes. Despite Scherzer quickly getting up 1-2 in the count, Cespedes fouled off a number of pitches, and the count would go full. On the 11th pitch, Scherzer finally got his strikeout.
Still, it was within striking distance at 4-1. That’s when the Mets defense blew their chances.
Taylor led off the inning with a well placed bunt single. Flores made a nice play, but with his arm, he had no shot at Taylor. Same went for d’Arnaud when Taylor stole second. Taylor was certainly helped by Fernando Salas not even bothering to hold him on.
Despite all of that, the Mets had a chance to get out of the ninth inning unscathed. There were runners at the corners with one out, and Brian Goodwin hit a tailor made double play ball. For some reason, T.J. Rivera lollipopped it over to Reyes, who had no shot to get the speedy Goodwin.
After a Bryce Harper single, Ryan Zimmerman hit a single to left. Goodwin seemed like he would score with ease, and for some reason, Harper headed to third. Cespedes made a one hop throw to third Flores could not field. It at least appeared if Flores fielded it cleanly, Harper would’ve been out before Goodwin scored thereby negating the run.
It didn’t happen that way and because official scorers do that the do, Cespedes was charged with the error despite his heads-up play and good throw.
Then Terry Collins does what he does best. He made a questionable move.
Despite the Nationals bullpen being bad, they’re not six runs in the ninth inning bad. The real shame is the Nationals bullpen pitched as expected with Jay Bruce greeting Shawn Kelley with a lead-off home run in the ninth to make it 7-2. The Mets would get no closer.
The Mets have had two cracks at the Nationals to help them make some headway in the National League East. They responded by playing some of their worst baseball this month. They were not fundamentally sound, nor were they smart. They didn’t effectively work counts to get into that bullpen, and they played poor defense.
The most the Mets can hope for now is a split. If they continue playing like this, it won’t happen.
The Mets have added a whole other draft class and with them comes hope they will become great players that will lead the team to another World Series. They were close with Michael Conforto in 2015, and hopefully, they will be close again.
Overall, many will tell you the draft is a crap shoot. Sometimes the best player you draft is towards the end of the draft. The Dodgers can tell you about that with Mike Piazza. Other times, you draft the incredible talent, but you are unable to sign him to a deal. He re-enters the draft, and you see him go and succeed elsewhere. Worse yet, you do sign him, and you trade him before he figures it out.
In any event, the New York Mets have been drafting since 1965. Can you name the 10 best players the Mets have ever drafted? Good luck!
This game was probably over as soon as Anthony Rizzo lead off the game with a homer. If it wasn’t then, it was over in the second inning. Zack Wheeler just didn’t have it, and he got knocked out in the second inning. His final line was 1.2 innings, six hits, eight runs, eight earned, three walks, and three strikeouts.
It was irresponsible for Terry Collins to leave Wheeler in as long as he did. After missing two years due to Tommy John surgery, he let Wheeler throw 46 pitches in the fourth inning.
Look at it this way, Wheeler loaded the bases, walked in a run, and then allowed a grand slam to Ian Happ to make it 6-1. Collins left him in to put on two more runners who scored on an Addison Russell bases clearing double making it 8-1.
Then Collins went to Josh Smoker, and he abused his arm. Smoker threw 81 pitches over four innings. That’s 40 pitches more than his career high.
Sure you don’t want to burn your bullpen in these games, but you don’t risk a player’s health. Smoker is a guy who can get it up to 98 MPH. By the time he was pulled, he was struggling to hit 89 MPH. This gets pitchers hurt, and it’s inexcusable. Yes, it’s even inexcusable when a pitcher has a 7.45 ERA. You don’t mess with careers for one game.
By the way, it was unnecessary. The bullpen is rested with the last four Mets starters pitching into the seventh, and Jacob deGrom throwing a complete game yesterday.
At least Collins wasn’t irresponsible with everyone. Yoenis Cespedes was lifted after the fifth because the Mets were losing 8-1.
Mets just announced that "Yoenis Cespedes was removed because of the game situation." pic.twitter.com/g8DftdkLBr
— Joe Maracic (@GrafixJoker) June 14, 2017
It was that type of night. Gary, Keith, and Ron broke out the baseball cards. Keith was sighing loudly into the mic. Darling was taking pot shots at sabermetrians. Both Smoker and Neil Ramirez pitched.
But you know what? The Mets deserved this loss. Joe Maddon tried to wake up his team and get them going by mixing up the lineup. That included hitting Rizzo lead-off.
On the Mets part, Jose Reyes played in his fifth straight game. And guess what, he’s going to play in at least nine more because Asdrubal Cabrera went on the DL with a thumb injury. Yes, it is the same thing that landed him in the DL earlier this year.
Rather than the Mets using as an opportunity to call up Amed Rosario, the Mets said, “We’re good with Reyes hitting under the Mendoza Line and playing bad defense.”
Organizations like that deserve to lose 14-3.
To make matters worse, the Nationals pen didn’t blow another one, so the Mets fell to 9.5 games out.
Game Notes: Michael Conforto missed a second straight game with a back issue. With the left-handed Jon Lester on the mound, Juan Lagares got the start in center and lead-off. He went 1-4 scoring a run on a Cespedes first inning double. Neil Walker and Lucas Duda hit back-to-back homers in the ninth.
There are times a manager is stuck playing a player because he doesn’t have a better option. There are times when a manager is stuck playing a player because that player has a big contract, and the team wants to try to extract as much value from the player as they can. There are other times when you play a player because you legitimately believe that player will improve.
You cannot possibly justify putting Reyes in the lineup now. In his first 58 games this year, Reyes is hitting .186/.261/.294 with nine doubles, two triples, three homers, 18 RBI, and nine stolen bases. Among Major League third baseman, Reyes has the lowest batting average and slugging. He also has the second worst on base percentage. His -1.1 WAR is the second worst in the majors among third baseman, and it is the third worst among major league infielders. Overall, he’s a bad hitter.
You can’t even argue Reyes is hot. He is current two for his last 30, and he hasn’t had an extra base hit in over two weeks. You could call it a funk, but look at his numbers for the season. This is who Reyes is now.
He’s also not much of a fielder. In 270 innings at third, he has posted a -4 DRS and a -2.2 UZR. It’s a short sample size for sure, but it lines up with the numbers he posted in 427 innings at third last year when he had a -6 DRS and a -2.5 UZR.
It’s not like Collins is stuck playing Reyes. First and foremost, Reyes is making the major league minimum, and he is going to be a free agent after the season. There’s no need to try to save any face by playing Reyes. Also, there is a much better option.
Wilmer Flores is in the middle of a career year. He’s hitting .326/.349/.507 with eight doubles, a triple, five homers, 18 RBI, and a stolen base. He’s not the platoon bat he once was either. Against right-handed pitching this year, Flores is hitting .298/.327/.462 with six doubles, a triple, five homers, and 14 RBI. Since May 1st, Flores is hitting .366/.398/.573 off of right-handed pitching.
In essence, Flores is not just the Mets best choice at third base. Right now, Flores is the best hitter in the Mets lineup. Sure, he will likely be supplanted by another player on the roster. However, that player is likely to be Michael Conforto or Yoenis Cespedes. It’s not going to be Reyes.
By the way, if you are interested in fielding your best defensive infield, Flores still needs to play ahead of Reyes. In 197.1 innings at third this year, Flores has a 1 DRS and a -2.3 UZR. No, those aren’t great numbers, but they are better numbers than Reyes is posting.
Overall, there is absolutely no reason why Reyes is in the starting lineup. Frankly, you could argue the Mets should have kept Sean Gilmartin and designated Reyes for assignment. At the very least, that would have kept T.J. Rivera, who is having a much better season than Reyes, on the roster.
But no, Reyes has been in the starting lineup for four straight games and five out of the last six games while appearing in all six games. That’s more than any other infielder on the roster. It needs to stop, and it needs to stop now. Unfortuantely, with Reyes’ sizzling hot 1-4 with an RBI last night, it’s not likely Collins will reduce his playing time.
Editor’s Note: This was first published on MMO.