One of the fun parts of baseball is players sometimes have colorful nicknames. One of the classic examples is Catfish Hunter getting the nickname Catfish because Athletics owner Charlie Finley thought the 19 year old James needed a catchy nickname. To put it mildly, Finley was the opposite of the Yankees in that he actually encouraged players to express themselves and for them to have wild facial hair like Rollie Fingers‘ handlebar mustache.
The nicknames over the years have somewhat subsided, but with Player’s Weekend last year, we have seen these nicknames emerge like Michael Conforto being dubbed Scooter. There was also the Mets fans naming Bartolo Colon “Big Sexy” even before it became ironic with his failure to pay child support. To that end, it is time for Mets fans to step up again and find a nickname for Devin Mesoraco, who is quickly becoming a fan favorite.
Given his unique look, prompting Rocko’s Modern Life type of comparisons. Given his “Rocko” jersey for Player’s Weekend last year, it makes a ton of sense. However, as Mets fans, we can do better. Why not call him “The Groundhog.”
With him coming from Punxsutawney, PA, the home of the famous Punxsutawney Phil, it would seem a natural fit.
You can extrapolate this further to be a more clever and apt comparison. With the trade, the Mets have emerged from the shadows of the Matt Harvey Era, and the team is back on the winning path with him behind the dish. As a catcher, he crouches down deep, and he springs up to let the base runner know if it’s all clear, or if he will have to face six more weeks of winter. Admittedly, these comparisons can be a bit pained.
Really, in the end, this is about being able to take something about his past, his birthplace, and merge it with a great movie like Groundhog Day. There is a quote or gif for everything:
Mets won’t call a game due to rain? pic.twitter.com/E31NSg5maJ
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) May 22, 2018
Since Mesoraco is from Punxsutawney, can we all agree to call him The Groundhog?
Even if it is just an excuse to use awesome quotes and gifs from the movie? pic.twitter.com/XO9WCcaCHm
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) May 22, 2018
Mesoraco in a big spot pic.twitter.com/TZK3IQfJUo
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) May 22, 2018
Oh look, Mesoraco popped out in a big spot pic.twitter.com/bx7mx3ry2E
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) May 22, 2018
Mesoraco hits a big fly pic.twitter.com/kKZzOqimLH
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) May 22, 2018
Mesoraco delivers a big hit pic.twitter.com/p9fVWS9rT4
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) May 22, 2018
Chase Utley is at the plate pic.twitter.com/k0tasJcj0g
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) May 22, 2018
Really, it is endless, including the multiple uses of Ned Ryerson’s “BING!” In the end if this takes off, and the Mets win the World Series, we will all celebrate. While the champagne corks are popping and the beer is flying around the room, we will drink to both a World Series, and of course, to world peace.
This game was a clear dichotomy of what is going right and what is going wrong for the Mets. First, the wrong –
The first moment was in the fourth inning. Paul Goldschmidt broke out of his funk by hitting a homer off Steven Matz to tie the game at 2-2. Later that inning, Matz went from 1-2 to walking Jarrod Dyson. Matz then seemed to get out of the inning by picking Dyson off first:
#Mets challenge call that Jarrod Dyson is safe at 2B in the 4th; call stands, runner is safe.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) May 20, 2018
Somehow both the umpires and the replay officials miss what everyone watching the game saw – Asdrubal Cabrera got the tag in ahead of the slide.
Well, it was a blown call, which led to a typical Matz letdown. Diamondbacks backup catcher and former Yankee John Ryan Murphy hit a go-ahead two run homer.
With that, you had your typical 2018 Matz start. He didn’t get through five. He allowed two homers. He allowed a big walk, and he had a meltdown.
Still, down 4-2, the Mets were still in this game, and it looked like they were going to break through in the sixth with Patrick Corbin on the ropes. The team didn’t break through.
First, Devin Mesoraco popped out, and after the Diamondbacks put Michael Conforto on first, the inning was in Jose Reyes‘ hands. Now, Reyes presumably got the start because he had good career numbers against Corbin. He wouldn’t get a hit off Corbin, and he was in there to face Jimmie Sherfy.
Reyes fouled out, and Adrian Gonzalez couldn’t get the pinch hit. This left the Mets trailing, but it wouldn’t stay that way because of the things that have gone right for the Mets.
First, Conforto is back. After a 4-4 game, he came up in the second inning, and he delievered a two run homer to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.
After Matz surrendered the lead and couldn’t go five innings, the game was once again on the bullpen. The combination of Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald, and AJ Ramos pitched four scoreless walking none, allowing one hit, and striking out six. Ultimately, they gave the Mets a chance.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 20, 2018
Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect ninth giving the Mets a chance to walk this one off.
Like many rallies this season, it began with Brandon Nimmo, who led off the ninth with a double, and then the most clutch Met on the team this year, Asdrubal Cabrera laid down a bunt single moving Nimmo to third. This put the game in Wilmer Flores‘ hands, and as we know he has his own history with walk-off hits.
While not the dramatic homers we have seen, he did end the game with a fly ball to the outfield. This one was a sacrifice fly scoring Nimmo giving the Mets a 5-4 win.
This was the first time since April 10-11 that the Mets have won consecutive games. They are now in position for their first home sweep of the season. They do that, and things will definitely be more good than bad right now.
Game Notes: With the Mets lack of outfield depth, Dominic Smith started in right field for the Las Vegas 51s. Reyes is now 7-53 on the season.
There aren’t many things which are right with the Mets right now, but a big thing that’s right with this team right now is Jacob deGrom, and with him, we are seeing reports how the team may look to trade him. Of course, the best way to do that is to win as many games as you can between now and the trading deadline. Part of doing that is going out and not wasting deGrom starts.
Part of that is letting deGrom go out there and do his thing, and really he did his thing tonight.
In seven phenomenal innings of work, deGrom tied his career high with 13 strikeouts, and as noted by the great Michael Mayer, he became the 10th pitcher in Mets history to reach the 800 strikeout mark. He also lowered his ERA this season to 1.75.
There are many ways to say how great deGrom was, but perhaps the best way to say it is his final line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, R, ER, 0 BB, 13 K.
He carried into the game and extended his scoreless inning streak to 24.1 innings. It ended in the top of the sixth when Jake Lamb scored Steven Souza from first on a double. On what was a truly bizarre play, Souza ran through the stop sign only to stutter step and then take off from home. After Asdrubal Cabrera missed the relay, Adrian Gonzalez backed him up and nailed Lamb at third.
The Diamondbacks threatened in the seventh again with a Daniel Descalso leadoff double. Being the great pitcher he is, deGrom settled down, and he got the next three out in order.
Fortunately for deGrom, this would be one of the few games where he got real run support, and it began with a first inning rally against Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley, and like with many Mets rallies this season, it all began with a Brandon Nimmo walk.
After Descalso botched what was at a minimum a force out, and quite likely with Cabrera’s speed a double play ball, runners were at the corners with no outs.
Conforto would repeat that feat in the fifth inning. After a Flores two out walk and Jay Bruce walk, the inning was on Conforto, and he delivered with another RBI single. It was part of Conforto’s first three hit night of the season and just the second four hit night of his career. Overall, he was 4-4 with two RBI.
Really, the Mets need more of that from Conforto because he is not just the best hitter in the lineup, he’s the best hitter on the team. When the team is without Yoenis Cespedes and Todd Frazier, Conforto has to carry even more of the load. He did it tonight, and if he continues doing it, like he did last year, this Mets team will be in much better shape.
Things got interesting in the eighth. After a Conforto one out single, Gonzalez dropped a perfect bunt against the shift. After a Jose Reyes pinch hit walk, the bases were loaded with two outs. This led to Amed Rosario popping one out to Descalso, but he then dropped it. Initially, it was ruled a drop leading to two runs scoring. Upon the umpires commiserating, it was ruled an out meaning it was a 3-1 and not a 5-1 lead.
After Robert Gsellman and Jeurys Familia shut the door, deGrom had his fourth win of the season, and the team beat a Diamondbacks team who is having a very similar season to the one the Mets are having. Hopefully, this weekend the Mets will take advantage of a reeling team like other teams have done to them over the last few weeks.
Game Notes: Juan Lagares, who suffered a toe injury in the rain soaked game is likely done for the year leaving the Mets with three healthy outfielders on the 40 man roster. Jerry Blevins was activated from the paternity list, and he took Lagares’ spot on the roster. Paul Goldschmidt had the golden sombrero.
Over in Washington, D.C., even though the Nationals and Yankees were facing even more pressure than the Mets and Blue Jays to get their game in, they postponed the roughly game and a half they had to play. Perhaps both teams were aware they had important players they did not want to see get hurt, and it was better to do this another day.
Not the Mets.
Despite torrential rains, the Mets decided to play. Despite a rain delay which required the grounds crew to empty the coffers of diamond dust to eliminate the standing puddles on the infield, the umpires decided to let these two teams play.
Actually, check that, it was the Blue Jays who played a game. The Mets were there to get drowned.
For Zack Wheeler things started well enough. Sure, he didn’t get an 0-2 pitch quite up and in enough to Justin Smoak, but other than that, Wheeler was good over the first three innings. In that time, he had struck out six while allowing just the one homer.
Then came the inane rain delay precipitated by J.A. Happ not liking how he landed on the mound. The umpires did the right thing delaying the game to get the field in playing condition. It would have been a better thing to call the game because that field was dangerous.
And yes, someone did get hurt. Juan Lagares went back on a ball, and his foot hit the wall causing a sprained toe. Maybe if the ground conditions were better, he gets back to the ball quicker, and doesn’t need to jump. Maybe in better conditions, he’s better able to plant and go up. Or knowing Lagares, maybe he gets hurt anyway.
Fact remains, he got hurt in nearly unplayable playing conditions. That’s not okay, and the Mets and MLB should be forced to answer to that.
Yes, we know there were problems with these pitchers, but they knew the job when they took it on. It would have been unfair to expect 2015 results from each of these pitchers, but it was fair to expect a progression based on what we saw last year. We haven’t.
That includes Wheeler falling apart after that lengthy rain delay. He began the fourth and fifth yielding lead-off walks. He got through the fourth allowing a two run homer to Teoscar Hernandez. He wouldn’t get an out in the fifth leading Callaway to go to his bullpen.
While the Blue Jays, who play their home games in a retractable roof, were not bothered by the conditions, the Mets couldn’t manage.
Considering in his last start Happ allowed seven runs in 3.1 innings, his two hit seven inning effort made the Mets offense all the more embarrassing. It gets worse when you consider one of those two hits was a Luis Guillorme infield single.
Perhaps, that is also a reflection of the 4-9 hitters having all spent time in Las Vegas over the past year. It’s also an indication Michael Conforto is not Conforto anymore. With each passing day, we get closer and closer to asking the question about whether this is shoulder related.
In the end, there were really no positives until there were two outs in the ninth. That’s when Brandon Nimmo battled back from down 0-2 in the count to hit an opposite field home run. Really, this team needs a lot more Nimmo than whatever it is this team has right now.
That was once again clear after this 12-1 loss.
Game Notes: Guillorme became the first Met since Steven Matz to being his MLB career going 3-3.
When the 2019 schedule is released, and the Mets are going to have to make sure Jacob deGrom doesn’t start the game because it will inevitably lead in heartbreak. Last year, it was the inexplicable loss to the Brewers. This year, it was one of those everything goes wrong type of games.
For his one inning of work, deGrom turned into Houdini. After walking the bases loaded to start the game, deGrom had to recalibrate and try to get through the inning by limiting the damage. Well, he would do much more than that.
First, he struck out Rhys Hoskins. Then on a dribbler in front of the plate, deGrom got to the ball, and he nailed Cesar Hernandez at home. Finally, he got Maikel Franco to strike out on a 3-2 pitch. It was downright miraculous.
It also required 45 pitches. With that heavy first inning workload, and with his just coming off the disabled list prior to the game after his hyper-extended elbow issue, Mickey Callaway did the prudent thing and put the game in his bullpen’s hands.
While the bullpen was going to the whip, the Mets offense was getting whipped by Aaron Nola who would allow just one run over six to lower his season ERA to 1.99.
It wasn’t that this Mets offense was dominated. Far from it. It’s that the offense didn’t do anything when they had the opportunities.
After Brandon Nimmo got things started with a bunt against the shift, the Mets loaded the bases with one out. Wilmer Flores then struck out on four pitches, and Michael Conforto hit the second pitch he saw for an inning ending ground out.
In each of the subsequent innings, the Mets would get at least one base runner on against Nola, and they would do nothing. That was until the sixth when Nola didn’t get one in enough to Yoenis Cespedes, who would hit it out to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 13, 2018
The rally would continue with Adrian Gonzalez and Flores hitting back-to-back singles, and Conforto getting ahead in the count at 2-0. That 2-0 count would turn into an awful at-bat with Conforto striking out, and Devin Mesoraco following with an inning ending double play. Essentially, they did the polar opposite of what they did on Friday night.
Really, this one run gave the Mets bullpen little margin of error. Until the sixth, they were pitching quite well. Robert Gsellman threw three scoreless before the Mets turned to Paul Sewald, who pitched a scoreless fifth. Sewald, who has mostly struggled in May, wouldn’t have it in the sixth.
Santana began the inning with a double, and Scott Kingery walked. Between the rally and this being a bullpen game, Callaway had AJ Ramos and Jerry Blevins warming in the bullpen. They were there when Sewald struck out Jorge Alfaro, and they were there when the left-handed pinch hitter Nick Williams hit a go-ahead three run homer off of Sewald.
Now, there are many ways you could choose to defend the decision. Sewald has been better than Blevins all season long against left-handed pitching. Callaway wanted to get length from as many people as he could muster. However, he had double barrel action going on so he would have Blevins ready for the big at-bat against a left-handed batter, and he didn’t use him.
While you can agree with the decision to go with Sewald, you cannot agree with the thought process of getting your LOOGY warmed up for a big spot and then refusing to use him in that big spot. If you are not using Blevins there, you’re not going to use him in the game.
From there, the Mets had another rally they didn’t fully cash in on. Nimmo drew his first or two walks for the game, and he scored on the ensuing Asdrubal Cabrera double. It was a one run game, and Cespedes strode up to the plate. There was no guessing right this time as Luis Garcia got him to pop out to end the inning.
Instead of building on the momentum from Friday’s Conforto homer, the Mets once again failed to muster enough offense, and maybe even energy to pull this one out. We were also left wondering about Callaway’s thought process with his failing to use Blevins. All-in-all, a disheartening loss.
Game Notes: Luis Guillorme collected his first MLB hit with a bloop pinch-hit single to center in the second inning. Dominic Smith struck out in his only plate appearance, and he will be sent down to Triple-A with Jay Bruce‘s paternity leave ending. Buddy Baumann was sent down to the minors to make room for deGrom. His Mets experience amounted to little more than his getting a pending one game suspension out of the way.
This was panning out to be another one of those horrible Mets losses we have seen recently. The Mets were not scoring runs at all even though they were in a hitter’s park. And yes, there was even the really embarrassing and inexcusable moment.
After a Devin Mesoraco double play grounder erased a Michael Conforto seventh inning leadoff single, Jose Reyes got his first pinch of the season in 11 attempts. Understandably, with Reyes’ speed, the Mets reeling, and the team down 1-0, Mickey Callaway went for it.
Instead of going with Amed Rosario, Callaway went with Dominic Smith, who was up due to Jay Bruce going on paternity leave, to get that big hit. Smith wouldn’t get that hit because Jake Arrieta picked Reyes off first base. And with that, all hope seemed lost yet again.
Then Wilmer Flores battled back not just from 0-2, but looking over-matched on the first two pitched of the at-bat to rip a single into left. The Mets at least had life, and for a split second, it looked like Conforto was going to give the Mets the lead, but he pulled it foul. Two pitches later, and Conforto wouldn’t pull it foul.
Conforto HOME RUN puts the Mets ahead 2-1!! pic.twitter.com/GaOTKkqImn
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) May 12, 2018
Mesoraco followed with a homer on the very next pitch. Suddenly, the Mets 1-0 lead, and the team falling to .500 turned into a 3-1 lead. That became a 3-1 victory after a Jeurys Familia 1-2-3 ninth.
Suddenly, the stories weren’t how Steven Matz walked four while somehow managing to allow just one run over five. It wasn’t about how a combination of Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald, and AJ Ramos had to pick up the slack to keep it close for an offense, which did nothing.
No, the story is now how the Mets had perhaps their best victory of the year, and how they may have turned things around with Noah Syndergaard taking the mound tomorrow.
Game Notes: Mesoraco’s teams are now 1-20 in games he has played this season. In Los Angeles, Matt Harvey made his Reds debut pitching four scoreless while allowing just one hit while striking out two.
After a horrid offensive homestand, Mets fans were left with the hope coming to hitter’s parks like The Great American Ballpark and Citizen’s Bank Park would help wake up this Mets offense. Well, on the second pitch of the game from Homer Bailey to Michael Conforto, it seems like our hope was well placed:
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 7, 2018
The combination of the Reds pitching and Citizen’s Bank Park really did wake up this Mets offense. Things were going so well offensively that not only did the Mets score in each of the first five innings, but Adrian Gonzalez would hit two home runs.
Jay Bruce would also homer to ensure that all the pure left-handed hitters would have a homer run on the day.
But it was more than Conforto and Gonzalez who woke up. Amed Rosario was 2-3 with an RBI and a sac fly. With the exception of Asdrubal Cabrera and Todd Frazier, the two who happened to be their most consistent hitters all year, each Met in the starting lineup had at least one hit.
Take out Jose Lobaton and all the starters had multi-hit games.
In the beginning, this seemed as if it was going to be more than enough run support for P.J. Conlon and the entire Mets pitching staff. The Irish born lefty making his MLB debut got off to a great start keeping the Reds scoreless through two and to just one run through three.
With two outs in the fourth, and the Reds gaining some momentum, with three doubles in the inning coming from Eugenio Suarez, Scooter Gennett, and Tucker Barnhart, Mickey Callaway went to Paul Sewald to nip the rally in the bud.
Sewald did just that, but he would run into trouble in the sixth yielding a home run to Suarez, and then leaving runners at the corners with one out. Robert Gsellman came on, and he allowed just a sacrifice fly to make it 7-5.
Like Sewald, Gsellman was in to pitch multiple innings, and he would even hit for himself striking out. When Gennett homered to make it 7-6, you were left questioning the decision.
You were also left questioning some of the Mets base running.
In the sixth, the first inning the Mets did not score, the Reds caught Rosario in a run down off third base on a Yoenis Cespedes ground ball. He was eventually tagged out, and the run did not score.
Fortuantely for the Mets, it did not matter as Jeurys Familia came on and recorded the save giving the Mets their first win in over a week.
Before the game, it was announced Matt Harvey refused an assignment to the minors, and in response the Mets designated him for assignment effectively ending his Mets career. This may have been a long time coming, and arguably, you could see Harvey being scapegoated for a Mets team that has struggled since it’s incredible 12-2 start.
Well, Harvey might be gone, but the Mets problems still remain.
Zack Wheeler, who allowed five first inning runs is still inconsistent. Michael Conforto is not hitting for any power, and really, he isn’t even getting on base anymore going 0-5with the golden sombrero. Jay Bruce, for that matter, isn’t hitting for any power either. Maybe there was an impact on Jose Lobaton, who was 1-4, and Amed Rosario, who was 2-4 with an RBI, but probably not.
No, we wouldn’t see Jose Reyes or Adrian Gonzalez bat, both of whom have been utterly terrible, and we did not see Jason Vargas, who by comparison made Harvey look like the 2013 version, and we’ll see what Steven Matz contributes tomorrow.
Overriding point is the Mets problems are still present even with Harvey gone because as bad as Harvey was pitching, he was probably fourth or fifth on lower on the tiers of what is actually wrong with this Mets team.
On the bright side, Bruce played first allowing Brandon Nimmo to hit leadoff going 1-4 with a walk. Of course, he drew a walk. He also scored on the Asdrubal Cabrera home run. That provided a jolt that lasted until Charlie Blackmon hit a homer in the top of the second.
By the time the Mets awoke, it was too late. Todd Frazier‘s eighth inning two run homer made it 8-4. A ninth inning rally with Rosario knocking in Wilmer Flores, who hit a pinch hit double, made it 8-5 This led to Wade Davis coming into the game to close it out . . . just like he did in Game 5 of the World Series.
He allowed a Cabrera RBI triple and subsequently a Frazier RBI single to pull the Mets to withing 8-7. It ended there as Conforto struck out to end the game. Again, somehow Harvey being released didn’t fix him.
Starting tomorrow, it seems like the Mets are going to have to focus on the things that are actually wrong with the team. Seeing how Reyes was re-signed in the offseason, no one should hold their breath.
Game Notes: With Harvey gone, Jerry Blevins and his 6.43 ERA is the worst ERA in the Mets bullpen.
For the second straight season, the Mets potentially lost their best player to a fateful swing and miss. Last year, it was Michael Conforto swinging and missing, falling to the ground, and having his season end with a disclocated shoulder. This year, it was almost Jacob deGrom.
In deGrom’s third inning at-bat, he swung and missed at a Sean Newcomb pitch, and he struck out. After that at-bat, deGrom would go out and pitch a scoreless fourth before heading into the tunnel into the clubhouse. After a quick examination, it was determined deGrom needed to come out of the game.
Fortunately, deGrom suffered nothing more than a hyper-extended elbow, and by some miracle, he could make his next start. However, knowing it was his elbow and with what happened with Conforto last year, we know things could have been worse, far worse.
Naturally, in some corners, it was a rallying cry for people to try to make their claims that the National League needs to implement the DH. Of course, cooler heads like deGrom disagree:
Asked if he's now in favor of the DH since he hurt himself on a swing, Jacob deGrom smiled.
"Nah, not really," he said.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) May 3, 2018
Now, in the case of deGrom, the issue at the forefront for implementing the DH was to protect pitchers. Hopefully, this is just a straw man because it is a flimsy argument.
If deGrom was truly injured swinging the bat, at least to the extent he would have required a stint on the disabled list, his injury would have been as rare of an injury as the one Conforto suffered last season. That doesn’t mean teams shouldn’t investigate ways to keep pitchers healthy. It just means pitchers swinging the bat is really not one of those areas in which we see them befall injuries.
Look at it this way, can you remember the last time you saw a pitcher get injured swinging a bat? Maybe even getting hit by a pitch? It might just be me, but I don’t know recall any off the top of my head.
As for running the bases, my only memories are of Adam Wainwright and Chien-Ming Wang tearing tendons while running. No, not because they were awkwardly sliding or misstepped on a base. They were running. This is a sport, and as we see with his highlight defensive plays, even Bartolo Colon runs. Much as we may like, you can’t legislate running out of baseball.
And really, if we are that concerned about pitcher injuries, why aren’t the people calling for the DH calling for actual reforms which will protect pitchers? How many times has a pitcher had to come out of a game, even for precautionary reasons due to a comebacker? Whether it was liner off some part of the body, them foolishly trying to barehand a ball, or even one of those gruesome instances where a pitcher got hit in the head, we have seen more pitchers go down with injury due to comebackers than to taking an at-bat.
Why not look for protective screens or protective gear? Note, those calls aren’t made because this isn’t really about pitcher’s health. After all, why would you add another potent hitter to a lineup thereby forcing a pitcher to go full effort to record an out thereby putting additional strain on their elbow and shoulder?
No, it’s not about health. It is because some people prefer games with the DH. Fortunately for them, the entire American League plays with the DH. There are other fans who don’t like. That is one of the great things about baseball. If you like or dislike the DH, you have a league to watch, and you don’t have to subject yourself to the other league.
So really, don’t pretend this is about pitcher’s health. It isn’t. This is just because you can’t stand to see two or many three at-bats where a pitcher is hitting. Overall, that’s a really bizarre reason to radically change the sport using the pretext of injuries which rarely if ever occur.
The Mets started 12-2, and it seemed like they could do no wrong. That was until a complete bullpen eighth inning meltdown against the Nationals. Since that point, the Mets have gone 5-9, and they have fallen to second place in the division. With that as the backdrop, we turned to the Mets Blogger Roundtable to ask if Mickey Callaway‘s Mets team is for real:
We’re already seeing the Mets falling back to earth, and there was never any question that they would lose more than 15 games this year. The positive is that they have a core that’s skilled, and a new manager who will hopefully find ways to adapt and keep the room positive throughout the highs and lows of a season.
What *is* reality anyway? We are all one big consciousness agreeing upon a never ending list of rules and quibbling over interpretations of shared perceptions, right? That’s what I learned in third grade from the bus driver who smelled weird. If the reality of the situation is I am being asked if the Mets are as good as they were when they started 11-1, then no, they are not “for real.” They have been the fourth-luckiest team in all of baseball while the Nationals have been the most unlucky. We aren’t going to cry over Bryce Harper‘s misfortune (the Vegas native should be aware of streaks of bad luck at the very least anecdotally). We will cry over the Mets though. Yet we shouldn’t; they just have to play .500 ball from their 13th to 162nd game to hit lucky number 86 wins. They uh, haven’t played over .500 ball since that time but I guessed they would make the wild card game five weeks ago, so I might as well keep my chips on 86.
Right now I want to jump off of my seat in section 509.
Editor’s Note: this response was sent during the game after we learned about deGrom’s elbow.
Yes, but they have holes to fix and this passive approach to every situation is part of the problem.
Are the Mets for real in the sense that they have a genuine chance to end the season where they ended April, in first place? Based on what we’ve seen…sure, why not? I’d hate to think they’re pulling the cap down over our eyes.
Are the Mets for real in the sense that I’m supremely confident they won’t fall out of the race altogether after a while? That’s what the rest of the schedule is for: to find out.
But overall I feel pretty good about this team. The next 130+ games are always the hardest.
Caveat: All of the above is up for grabs in light of the uncertainty surrounding Jacob deGrom.
I think the Mets’ start is most-definitely indicative of the potential of this team moving forward through the season.
The inevitably-oncoming adage of “Jake and Thor, then pray for it to pour” that was true for most of the first month of the season seems to be slowly fading away.
After the inconsistencies of Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler over their first few starts, as well as the banishing of Matt Harvey to the bullpen and the alarming start to Jason Vargas’ second stint with the Mets, things have started to look up lately.
If Wheeler can be effective (read: keep his pitches low), his stuff alone places him among the upper-crust of middle-of-the-rotation starting pitchers in the NL, and the same goes for Matz.
If Vargas has shown anything over his career, he’s proven to be the model of mediocre-but-efficient consistency, and that’s all the team really needs out of him.
I think this offense is truly one of the more-dangerous groups we’ve seen here since the days of Carlos Beltran/David Wright/Carlos Delgado, and I mean that. The recent upticks in production for Jay Bruce and Adrian Gonzalez are promising.
The Mets’ bullpen has, for the most part, been the strength of this team and will continue to be, in my opinion. AJ Ramos looks to have found his groove and Robert Gsellman is absolutely thriving in his new role. Even Seth Lugo, who may not be adapting as easily as Gsellman has, has had some success and only figures to get more comfortable as time goes on. And, to be honest, Harvey could come to be a key cog in the relief corps once he gets a feel for things.
Are the Mets for real? It’s hard to say, but what’s becoming clear is that this season certainly won’t be easy. We got off to a hot start with Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, and Bruce all slumping, and you have to think we’ll get more from all of them going forward — but we’ll also presumably see regression from Todd Frazier and Asdrubal Cabrera, and the pitching has gone downhill fast since the first few turns through the rotation. Now deGrom is hurt too…if our starters besides Thor are a failed Harvey, a failed Matz, an inconsistent Wheeler, and an unimpressive Jason Vargas, there’s only so much room to get wins with that kind of rotation. Sure, things could turn out well — anything can happen. But as I said, the only thing that’s clear is that it certainly won’t be easy.
Initially, I had a long piece detailing how much the lineup and the pitching staff could benefit from Kevin Plawecki‘s return. How even with the inability to hit for power right now, Conforto is playing a good outfield and getting on base. How when you look deeper into the farm, you see Gavin Cecchini and Peter Alonso getting off to terrific starts making you wonder “What if . . . .”
None of that matters if deGrom is injured like he was in 2016 or Syndergaard was in 2017.
This is not to say his having a serious injury ends the Mets season. Rather, it means the season needs a miracle. In 2016, the Mets got that out of Lugo and Gsellman. Maybe the Mets get that this year out of some group that includes Harvey, Matz, Corey Oswalt, or Chris Flexen.
Maybe . . . .
Personally, I’d like to thank everyone for being able to respond to this roundtable. It was all the more impressive when you consider how panic striken we were collectively as a fanbase when deGrom left the game last night. We do know when that news finally breaks, there will be some terrific things written about deGrom and the Mets. Some of the best things will be written by the people in this roundtable, and I hope you will visit their sites.
That is except for Becky. She is currently a free agent and needs a home to write about the Mets. Hopefully, someone will soon jump in and find a home for her terrific work.