Mickey Callaway

Media Kills Mets Players While Giving The Wilpons A Pass

Noah Syndergaard left last night’s game with an apparent leg injury. Whatever the reason, he was still in the clubhouse after the game instead of getting treatment or an examination in the trainer’s room or somewhere else.

Syndergaard finally left the clubhouse when the media entered, and the media pounced:

As is typically the case, reporters pounce on when a player ducks them. We saw it happen earlier this year with Clint Frazier, and we’ve seen it with the Mets with Matt Harvey and others.

It’s a player’s responsibility to face the media, and when they failed to meet up to their responsibilities, they should be held accountable. Even if the media attacks tend to go over the top, they’re within their right to do it.

The question is why this only applies to players.

Sandy Anderson used to meet with the press before every homestand. He was there to answer for everything good or bad (mostly bad). It’s a tradition Brodie Van Wagenen has not followed. Instead, his media availability during homestands typically only goes as far as the notes he leaves telling the media he hopes they enjoy the doughnuts he bought them.

There’s also Jeff Wilpon, who never makes himself available to the media. That is, unless, he’s in studio with his friend Mike Francesa whose toughest question to Jeff is whether Jeff McNeil or Yoenis Cespedes could come within 25 strokes of him on the golf course.

Basically, the media will kill players for their self-imposed unavailability, but they’re unwilling to do the same with the General Manager or ownership. That goes at least double for ownership.

Sure, we will hear about how Syndergaard left his team high and dry to answer questions for him. However, we won’t hear the same about how Van Wagenen and the Wilpons do the same exact thing to Mickey Callaway and the Mets players.

No, for some reason only players need to be held accountable by the media. The Wilpons and Van Wagenen can and will continue getting a pass for the same behavior despite their unavailability being all the more egregious than what an injured Syndergaard, a player who’s always there to answer questions, did today.

That is a ridiculous double standard.

No Relief In Sight

The Mets picked up last night’s suspended game today. The Mets didn’t score in the ninth, so the game went into extra innings.

Mickey Callaway stuck with Edwin Diaz. Diaz had blown the game in the ninth, but that happened last night. Despite fans consternation, it was the right move because Diaz was the best pitcher available.

Of course, with this being the Mets, it didn’t work out.

Diaz allowed a leadoff single to Yairo Munoz, and he presented no impediment to Munoz stealing second. After a groundout, he was on third outing him in position to score on a Paul DeJong RBI single.

The Cardinals won 5-4, and it would not be the last time DeJong and the Mets bullpen would be heard from tonight.

After a tough three run fifth, Steven Matz appeared to be headed for his fifth loss of the year. His fifth inning homer pulled the Mets to within two. The seventh inning rally got Matz off the hook and gave the Mets the lead.

After loading the bases with no outs, the first run scored when Kolten Wong robbed Pete Alonso of a hit, but he then threw it too low for DeJong. Everyone was safe, and the Mets pulled within one.

After Dominic Smith struck out and Todd Frazier hit a fielder’s choice with Matt Carpenter getting the runner at home, Wilson Ramos delivered a huge two out two RBI hit to give the Mets a 5-4 lead.

It didn’t matter.

Jeurys Familia immediately gave up the game tying homer to DeJong. With another blown save for him and the Mets in the books, the Mets have a Major League worst 16 blown saves.

It got worse for Familia as the Cardinals continued to hit him hard, and eventually, they’d take the lead on a three run Dexter Fowler homer. It was the second time in his career Familia allowed two homers in a game. Both times happened this year.

Not to be outdone, Hector Santiago took over in the ninth, and he allowed s homer to Wong. The final score would be 9-5.

Instead of being at .500 or a game over, the Mets are back to three under. This is a team who can’t get out of their own way, and a large part of it is because Brodie Van Wagenen did a bad job and continues to do a bad job.

Game Notes: As pointed out by Zach Braziller of the N.Y. Post, Mets pitchers have five homers, and Mets center fielders have six.

Mets March To .500 Suspended

Aside from the stretch where he was dealing with illness and some slight injury issues, Jacob deGrom hasn’t been too far off from his Cy Young season. When he’s going this good, the Mets just need to get him a lead to get the win. Tonight, the Mets needed to do it twice.

The Mets and deGrom fell behind in the third as Matt Carpenter beat the shift for a two out RBI single. We saw deGrom frustrated in the dugout, and we are all reminded how the Mets are among the worst in shifting their infield.

The Cardinals lead was very short lived as Michael Conforto hit a two run homer off Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty. Not only did that homer give the Mets the lead, but it’s a reminder Conforto should be an All Star.

Surprisingly, that lead didn’t hold up because Paul DeJong hit a game tying homer in the sixth past a leaping Carlos Gomez. Between DeJong and Yadier Molina, the Cardinals have too many Mets killers. That should come as no surprise as that’s the way it’s always been between these two teams.

Once again, the Mets answered the Bell with a two run rally right after a Cardinals run.

Pete Alonso got the rally started with a ground rule double, and he’d score off a Dominic Smith RBI single. That hit gave the Mets the lead, and the team would continue to rally.

The Mets immediately loaded the bases causing the Cardinals to pull Flaherty and bring in Giovanny Gallegos. Amed Rosario got a hold off of one and drove it to deep center only to be absolutely robbed of an extra base got by Harrison Bader.

The ball was hit more than deep enough to score Smith from third. On the play, Bader made a horrific throw, and there was no one covering third. Todd Frazier, who was halfway and slow to get back took off for third. Carpenter was able to get the errant ball to Kolten Wong who barely beat Frazier to third for the third out.

You understand Frazier going there, but you have to be safe there because it killed what could have been a bigger rally. It would haunt the Mets.

deGrom came out for the seventh and put up another zero. He finished the game with seven innings allowing just two earned on six hits and no walks with eight strikeouts. In sum, it was a deGrom start.

Before the ninth started, the umpires called for the tarps. Mickey Callaway with some animated players behind him, like Alonso with his glove under his jersey coaxed the umpires to reverse course. The tarps came off the field, and instead, the grounds crew went back to work.

It was deemed a rain delay as a warmed o Diaz was left wandering around the dugout while the grounds crew tried to clean and dry up a pretty soggy infield. Whatever the case, it was a nine minute rain delay.

Diaz walked the Marcell Ozuna to leadoff the inning, and he just couldn’t get that last out. With two outs, Wong knocked in Ozuna. Presumably due to the field conditions, Wong couldn’t get to second even with the ball in the corner. Bader then ripped a ball to the left field corner.

Carlos Gomez made a poor relay throw to Rosario. With the wet weather, Rosario couldn’t pick it allowing Wong to score. It was frustrating because if Gomez makes even a decent throw Wong would’ve been out ending the game.

Instead, after Bader slipped and fell and was thrown out trying to get back to second, the Cardinals tied the score 4-4, and this time, the umpires called a real delay with the tarps out before the bottom of the ninth.

Between the field conditions and weather reports, the game is suspended until tomorrow. That means the Mets will have to wait another 24 hours (perhaps longer) until the Mets can get back to .500.

Game Notes: Before his at-bat in the fourth, Wilson Ramos‘ wife held a sign in the stands to inform him she’s pregnant with their third child. He struck out looking. deGrom became the eighth Mets pitcher to strike out 1,100 batters. Mets have now homered in 17 straight home games.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Escape Bronx With Split

The Mets and Yankees had their first doubleheader since 2008, which was also their first doubleheader in one ballpark since the inception of the Subway Series. The Mets walked out of Yankee Stadium with a split, and they are still one game under .500. How that happened was quite eventful:

1. The Subway Series needs to stop. The Mets get four games against the Yankees while the teams they are fighting against for the division or Wild Card don’t have the same four tough games locked into their schedule all year. I don’t care how much fun it is, it is putting the Mets at a competitive disadvantage.

2. We can and should talk about payroll disparity and ownership commitment when it comes to why the Mets are the Mets and the Yankees are the Yankees. However, it’s more than that. The Yankees got Luke Voit and IFA money for essentially nothing while the Mets traded three prospects for J.D. Davis.

3. Speaking of Davis, it’s inexcusable hes’ one of three players who started both ends of the doubleheader in the field. Really, the team needs to stop trying to make this ill-advise trade work and instead focus on making decisions to help this team win games.

4. The Mets defense was terrible in the first game. Amed Rosario missed first. Todd Frazier threw one away. J.D. Davis couldn’t get to anything because he was sitting in the front row of the bleachers to make up for his lack of range. Overall, this is a terrible defensive club with a National League worst -51 DRS.

5. With respect to the poor defense, Juan Lagares is a -2 DRS in center, which seems unfathomable. However, if you look at the new stat called jump, Lagares is not getting the same read on the ball as he did over the previous two years. Who knows why that is, but until he figures it out, he’s borderline unplayable at this point.

6. Zack Wheeler needs to be better than this. Yes, the defense behind him was atrocious, but he wasn’t much better. It was not the defense who served up the homers to Gio Urshela or Luke Voit. Overall, his peripherals show he’s better than this, and he has shown himself to be a second half pitcher. You just wish he would get to being the second half Wheeler sooner rather than later.

7. Yankee Stadium is a real joke where pop flies to the infield in other parks go out. That said, Pete Alonso‘s homer in the second game of the doubleheader would have left Yosemite.

8. Alonso is becoming way too much of an all or nothing guy. Since May 1, he’s hitting .224/.300/.560 with 13 of his 30 hits being homers. He has also struck out 26 percent of the time while walking six percent of the time. As the season progresses, he looks more and more like this type of a hitter than he does the guy who set the world ablaze in April.

9. Alonso’s being in the top five in All Star voting is fun. We should celebrate that. However, it’s bizarre Mets fans are only rushing to help him when Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil have been so good all year.

10. As noted previously, McNeil is hitting like Ichiro Suzuki. This shouldn’t be sustainable, but yet, it has been. Hat tip to Jerry Beach, a man whose taste in television shows is as excellent as his taste in managers is poor, for saying McNeil is like Wade Boggs after Gare tried to say McNeil wasn’t Boggs.

11. As much as I adore Gary, Keith, and Ron, they need to stop talking about the advanced stats, especially since they clearly don’t fully understand it, and they are mostly doing it to disparage them. Case in point was Gare saying how the shift only affects ground balls.

12. Jeurys Familia has been looking much more like Familia. He now has three consecutive completely dominating innings/appearances. We are getting closer and closer to trusting him in pressure situations again. And the Mets should if everything is ironed out as this looks more like a mechanical issue than a mental one.

13. The Mets bullpen has too many bottom feeders in it. At most, you can have one of Wilmer Font, Drew Gagnon, Tim Peterson, or Hector Santiago. You cannot have four of them. That’s how you start burning out productive arms in the pen and putting games way out of reach.

14. Yesterday, Brandon Nimmo, Robinson Cano, and Justin Wilson played in a rehab game in Syracuse. The team needs all three of them back as soon as possible to help this team go on a run, but the team cannot bring them back until each one of these players is fully healthy and ready to contribute.

15. Somehow, someway, Jason Vargas escaped the third allowing just three runs, and he got out of the fourth unscathed. When all was said and done, he had a quality start and a win. That’s a big credit to him.

16. Right now, Vargas is on one of the better stretches in his career. He pitched well against two good offensive teams, and he flat out dominated a terrible Giants team. The .286 BABIP and 83.3 LOB% would indicate this is not at all sustainable. That said, Vargas is getting results, so you might as well ride this out as far as this takes you.

17. Wilson Ramos seems to be doing with the extra days off here and there. Starting in May, he played less frequently, and he started to become much more productive. When Tomas Nido hits like he did in the first game of the doubleheader, the plan to get the over 30 and injury prone Ramos more rest becomes a more viable solution.

18. Speaking of back-up catchers, good for Travis d’Arnaud for turning things around with the Rays. In addition to catching, he’s also working out at other spots in the diamond. This is what the Mets should have done with him. Instead, they rushed him up way too soon, and they then DFA’d him in a complete overreaction.

19. There was a real fear this team was going to repeat it’s horrendous June of last year. So far, the Mets are 4-4 this month meaning they are just one short of the total win total from June 2018. While things could be better, things could also be a lot worse.

20. Mickey Callaway said about the team how he believes once this team gets back to .500 they are going to take off. With Nimmo, Cano, and Wilson in Syracuse and as Syndergaard puts it, the Mets are a second half team, it’s hard not to believe him.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Season A Little Less Rocky

The Mets went from a very bad loss on Friday to winning a series against the Rockies, a team ahead of them in the Wild Card standings. All in all, it was a good weekend with a lot of great things happening:

1. Noah Syndergaard is not getting enough credit for reinventing himself on the fly. He’s lost his slider due to the new ball, and he’s adapted by throwing more four seamers and his curveball, two pitches he needed to develop further. He’s really turned a corner and maybe he’s on the brink of a stretch like he had in 2016.

2. It does seem every Mets pitcher likes pitching to Tomas Nido. It should come as no surprise as he is a first rate defensive catcher and pitch framer.

3. That said, we cannot have Nido being the personal catcher to Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. That is especially the case when Wilson Ramos has been the Mets best hitter for over the past three weeks, and he has improved his rapport with the pitching staff. Fact is, Ramos has to play.

4. That said, Nido should play a little more. In the first month plus of the season Ramos played in 28 of 29 possible games, and he started in 22 of 29 games. The Mets played 28 games in May, he played 24 games and started 19. Apparently, easing off the throttle off the 31 year old catcher with an injury history has benefits.

5. Speaking of easing off the throttle, Robert Gsellman was dominant in his one inning on Friday, and then he didn’t pitch in the subsequent two days. Getting him more rest could make him more effective like he was earlier in the year. That’s the hope at least.

6. For those who were clamoring for Drew Gagnon in pressure situations, you got to see why Mickey Callaway was hesitant to put him in those spots as he allowed homers to David Dahl and Daniel Murphy. In three of his last five appearances, hes’ allowed runs with two of them being three run blowups.

7. That’s the thing with pitchers like Gagnon. They’re effective in a role like long reliever, but pressure situations are a different animal. From what we’ve seen, Gagnon definitely has a spot in a Major League bullpen just not in the seventh or eighth inning. That’s alright. There’s nothing wrong with having pitchers who can pitch effectively in certain roles.

8. Jeurys Familia has been great in his last two appearances retiring the side both times. If he’s turning the corner, the Mets bullpen is now more than just Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo.

9. Todd Frazier is not this good, but he was also not as bad as he was to start the season. That’s the inherent problem with judging players over hot and cold streaks and especially over week-to-week production. Overall, what we have seen from Frazier is he’s a very good defensive third baseman who can draw walks and has pop in his bat. At least, that is what he is when he’s healthy. He’s healthy now, and he’s finally helping the Mets much in the same fashion Sandy Alderson thought he would.

10. The Mets need Frazier all the more because Jed Lowrie is apparently as real as the Tooth Fairy.

11. Speaking of moves which blew up unexpectedly, Robinson Cano has been less productive than Jay Bruce or Anthony Swarzak, both of whom have been traded in the division and are now working to beat the Mets.

12. With Juan Lagares having a -3 DRS in center and seeing Carlos Gomez play in center, the Mets should give a real consideration to seeing Jeff McNeil in center. As we see he has above average speed, good instincts, and an ability to quickly learn new positions. This would allow Brandon Nimmo to go to left field, which is a more natural fit whenever he comes off the IL.

13. Of course, if Dominic Smith continues to hit and play a passable left field, you could move McNeil to second. Of course, when Cano is healthy that raises a whole other list of issues. However, that falls under the category of good problems to have, which is a really nice change of pace around here.

14. Amed Rosario is an extremely talented player. We keep seeing glimpses of it, but we also see frustrating stretches. Part of this is the coaching staff with the Mets being one of the worst shifting teams there are, which has a negative impact on Rosario’s defensive numbers. There’s also the fact he’s still working to figure things out. Hopefully, sooner or later, something finally clicks.

15. Speaking of something clicking, Mets need to hope Pete Alonso is finally clicking again. While he’s hitting just .223/.298/.559 since May 1, Alonso is hitting .281/.349/.649 0ver his past 15 games. One thing to track here is Alonso is much better against left-handed pitching.

16. Bob Klapisch’s article in Bleacher Report on the Wilpons on their handling of their attempts to void Yoenis Cespedes‘ contract as well as all the other areas where the Wilpons are petty, over-matched, cheap, and whatever other adjective you want to use, is exactly the type or articles which need to be written instead of the paint-by-number fire Mickey Callaway articles which are being written.

17. Prior to this series against the Rockies, the Mets had exactly one series win against a team with a winning record. That series was the April 22 – 24 series at home against the Phillies where they blitzed them over the first two games before the Phillies destroyed Jason Vargas in the final game of that series. Things went sour for the Mets after that.

18. Mets haven’t been good for a while now, and it does seem like things are turning a corner. Fortunately, the Wild Card and division are still well within reach.

19. The Subway Series always seem to be a seminal moment in the Mets season. They appear headed in the right direction and the Yankees not so this next series could prove to be a springboard for the Mets.

20. What happened to David Ortiz was horrific, and instead of rushing to judgment like Dallas Braden, we should be just offering our prayers for Ortiz for a speedy recovery.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Overcome More Than Giants

On Monday, people wanted Mickey Callaway sacrificed to the baseball gods, and by Wednesday, the Mets had won a home series. As you can guess a lot happened in just three games:

1. While the vast majority of people would have let Noah Syndergaard face Evan Longoria, it doesn’t mean pulling him from the game was the wrong decision, especially with Syndergaard’s numbers a fourth time through the lineup.

2. If you’re upset Seth Lugo entered the game and/or pinpoint his entering the game as the reason the Mets lost, you don’t trust or have faith in him. There’s no arguing around it.

3. Callaway’s real mistake was Robert Gsellman in the ninth. While we can all understand the other non-Lugo set-up men are terrible, you can’t pitch Gsellman into the ground this way. It’s indefensible.

4. Under the unjustifiable workload, Gsellman has a 12.96 ERA raising his season ERA from 2.48 to 5.05. Essentially, Callaway made one of his few reliable guys completely unreliable.

5. With everything that’s happened to the Mets bullpen, Jeurys Familia going out there and looking like the Familia of old might’ve been the most important thing that happened in this series.

6. Considering the state of the Mets bullpen and the complete lack of starting pitching depth, they needed one of Craig Kimbrel or Dallas Keuchel. Not only did that not happen, the overwhelming odds are the Mets didn’t even try.

7. Keuchel going to the Braves makes it so much the worse. His replacing one of Kevin Gausman or Mike Foltynewicz making their rotation much improved. That’s huge for a team just one game back in the division.

8. Andrew McCutchen trading his ACL is bad for both the Phillies and baseball. That said, it does open a door permitting the Mets to contend for a division title.

9. One cure for the bullpen ills is the Mete starters going deeper into games. Mets starters are on a streak of nine straight games of pitching at least six innings.

10. If before the season, someone told you Jason Vargas had a complete game shut out in the same game Adeiny Hechavarria hit a homer, you’d probably talk about the terrific job Wally Backman has done with the Long Island Ducks.

11 With that Hechavarria homer, he now has one more homer and just one fewer RBI than Robinson Cano despite having 114 fewer plate appearances.

12. With Cano leaving a game early, and his season in general, you’d realize this is just year one of what’s an onerous contract.

13. With Brandon Nimmo staring his rehab assignment, and Dominic Smith playing well, you do have to question if the Mets aren’t better off with McNeil at second, Frazier at third, Smith in left, and Cano as a pinch hitter.

14. Things have certainly changed over the past few weeks when it’s Clint and not Todd who’s the Frazier who is subject to scorn.

15. With his go-ahead homer, you realize Frazier has been the Mets best player over the past few weeks.

16. Carlos Gomez hasn’t been good, but at least he didn’t cost three players like Keon Broxton did.

17. The Mets and Juan Lagares needed him to have the game he had yesterday. If nothing else, he becomes a more viable fourth outfielder or defensive replacement.

18. Van Wagenen does deserve credit for keeping Tommy Tanous and Marc Tramuta. That duo helped the Mets have another terrific draft.

19. If nothing else, the Mets are great at home. At Citi Field, they’re 17-10 (.630), have a 118 wRC+ at home (third best in the Majors), and a 3.73 FIP (fourth best in the NL). Essentially, they’re the best team in baseball when they’re at home.

20. It’s great to see and hear Ron Darling again. He’s been sorely missed. Here’s hoping he’s healthy and will not have to leave the booth again anytime soon.

Frazier And McNeil Pull Out Giant Win

The Mets have won just rubber game all year, and it does seem like these mid-week day game typically ends terribly for the Mets. Even with the Mets starting the game with back-to-back homers from Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith off Giants starter Shaun Anderson, you could understand any unease from the fans. Then it seemed to be happening all over again.

After going through the lineup without allowing a hit, Mike Yastrzemski opened the fourth with a leadoff single, and he would come home on a Brandon Belt two run homer tying the game. The Mets would then fall behind when Wheeler allowed a Pablo Sandoval homer in the sixth. To put the bad luck into perspective, Wheeler allowed just three hits to the Giants all afternoon, and all three of those runs scored on two homers. Worse yet, the team was down 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh.

The Mets got something brewing that inning with a Juan Lagares lead-off walk. The Giants then went to their bullpen, which has been pretty good all year, and brought in Reyes Moronta. He allowed a single to Tomas Nido. Then Mickey Callaway would make some curious decisions which stymied the rally.

Instead of allowing Wheeler to stay in and lay down the sacrifice bunt, he pinch hit Carlos Gomez to do that. That decision is all the more curious when you consider Robinson Cano was sitting with a leg injury, and the team did not start Jeff McNeil a day after a night game in order to not overtax him after returning from two injuries. But, he would effectively waste Gomez to do what Wheeler could have done just as well.

Callaway would pinch hit McNeil for Rosario, and he would drop a bloop single just beyond the reach of Brandon Crawford to tie the score and get Wheeler off the hook. Bruce Bochy then went to Tony Watson to pitch to Smith. Now, Smith has been decent against left-handed pitching this year, and he was 2-for-3 with a homer on the day. However, this was the Mets shot, and Callaway went to J.D. Davis. Unfortunately, he hit into the inning ending double play.

Sure, the Giants are terrible, but considering how the Mets bullpen has been of late, the last thing this team wants was a battle of the bullpens in a game which could be going extra innings.

Fortunately, the Mets had their full bullpen available, which meant Seth Lugo and a scoreless eighth. The Mets would then make him the pitcher of record.

Pete Alonso led off the inning with a single against Mark Melancon. Fortunately, Belt could not handle Michael Conforto‘s ensuing liner. This meant instead of a double play, Conforto, the much better runner, was on first. He wasn’t there long as he would steal his fourth base of the year. This put a runner in scoring position for Todd Frazier, who would knock in Conforto and himself:

The ball was carrying all day. The Giants certainly took advantage, and it was good to see Frazier do it as well. It was even better to see the homer not killing the rally.

After the homer, Adeiny Hechavarria singled, and Lagares doubled. After a Nido ground out, Wilson Ramos would pinch hit and walk to load the bases. This set the stage for McNeil who would deliver with another RBI single. This time two runs scored making it 7-3 Mets. This single allowed the Mets to sit down Edwin Diaz to save him for another day and put in Jeurys Familia. For seemingly the first time since the 2015 NLCS, Familia had a quick 1-2-3 inning to lock down the game.

After Monday’s loss, the Mets were facing some adversity with Callaway once again the media looking to give him the pink slip. Once again, the team responded and won games for both them and their manager. While you would have wanted more, the Mets took the series against the Giants, and they have righted the ship. The key here is what they do next.

Game Notes: Conforto is a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. The four stolen bases are already a career high. McNeil has 40 multi-hit games in his 112 games played.

Apparently This Roster Is Callaway’s Fault

Last night, Mickey Callaway trusted Seth Lugo to finish the seventh inning over Noah Syndergaard. Even with Syndergaard cruising, the numbers were the numbers. As a result, Callaway decided to go with his best reliever to get the team a win rather than let Syndergaard get himself into a jam. It didn’t work out.

Sometimes managers make the right move, and it doesn’t work,. Sometimes, you want the managers to have a feel for the game and stick with their starters. After all, that was the justification for Terry Collins sticking with Matt Harvey, and we know how that ended.

But it’s not just Collins/Harvey, it’s also Callaway/Syndergaard.

Take the April 10th game against the Twins as an example. Syndergaard allowed one earned on two hits. He came out to start the eighth, and he allowed three straight hits starting what was a four run inning which chased him from the game.

There have been a number of instances all year where Syndergaard was cruising and just like that he lost it. There was the game against the Tigers where he struggled in the first two, but seemed to settle down only to allow homers in back-to-back innings. There was also his game against the Padres where he allowed homers, and as he got deeper into the game, he began to allow more base hits.

If we’re being honest, while Syndergaard has been much better starting May 1, he still has his issues while he is struggling with this slider. He’s allowed the most hits in the majors. He has a 4.83 ERA, 83 ERA+, and a 3.60 FIP. He’s allowed the most hits in the majors. Most of his numbers, including his strikeout rate, now stand at career worsts.

This isn’t the 2016 Syndergaard who was one of the best pitchers in baseball. This is a very talented pitcher impressively gutting through starts giving his team a chance to win while he’s still trying to rediscover pitches he’s lost due to the new ball.

Point is, we have seen Syndergaard lose it this year at a moment’s notice. It’s one of the reasons why Mets fans and reporters have jumped at the chance to criticize him all year long. But now, all of a sudden, everyone gets amnesia and pretends like they didn’t say the things they said about him about a week ago.

While you can defend keeping Syndergaard in, you can also realize why Callaway would go to Lugo. What you don’t understand is the composition of the roster and why there hasn’t been more attention focused upon it.

Right now, this team has only two reliable bullpen arms – Lugo and Edwin Diaz. That’s it.

In yesterday’s game, the Mets started J.D. Davis in left field and Carlos Gomez in center. They rushed Jeff McNeil off of the IL. Against a Giants bullpen, they mustered just four singles over the final four innings. They played poor defense in the field.

When Lugo blew the lead, eventually Callaway had to go to Robert Gsellman. Now, Callaway does deserve blame for completely overusing Gsellman. It’s led to him being terrible. However, as bad as he is, Callaway’s other options are worse. Honestly, in a pressure spot who do you want him to pick:

Looking at those options and the players who currently comprise the roster, you see that even with Callaway’s faults, this is on Brodie Van Wagenen and the just ridiculously bad offseason he had.

Take into consideration the fact he gave Jed Lowrie a two year $20 million deal. That’s $20 million to a 35 year old with a knee issue. In true J.J. Putz fashion, the Mets didn’t discover anything during the physical before the deal was consummated.

In lieu of that $20 million, the team could have signed Adam Jones ($3 million) and Greg Holland ($3.25 million) and saved some money to add another bench piece or reliever. The point is the Mets needed more depth in the outfield and the bullpen, and Van Wagenen instead opted on another infielder.

Sure, we can criticize Callaway for his faults, but this isn’t on him. This was a poorly constructed roster, and it will remain that way even if he’s fired and the team replaces him with Jim Riggleman, Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter, or whoever else you could conjure up.

So go ahead, blow up at Callaway for using a terrific reliever while pulling a starter you have likely been killing all year. Get angry with him for putting in one of his not up to the task relievers in a spot. Get upset when the offense full of bench players and Triple-A starters can’t score runs in a close game.

Certainly, he’s the issue here and not Van Wagenen or the Wilpons who haven’t come up with the money for Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel despite the team desperately needing the. Make Callaway the whipping boy here just like Van Wagenen and the Wilpons want. After all, what good is a human shied if he’s not there to block all the the criticism really due to other people?

 

Callaway’s Mistake Was Gsellman, Not Lugo

In the rematch of the 2016 NLDS between Noah Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner, the key difference tonight seemed to be the Mets weren’t starting James Loney and Rene Rivera.

It seemed that way in the sixth inning when Pete Alonso homered to lead off the inning, and three batters later Wilson Ramos would hit a go-ahead two run homer to give the Mets a 3-2 lead.

With the lead in hand, Syndergaard went to pitch the seventh. There were two outs with a runner at first and Evan Longoria heading to the plate.

Some things to consider here. Longoria entered the game 3-for-10 off Syndergaard. Syndergaard was over 100 pitches. In his career, batters are hitting .320/.358/.400 off of him. Really, when you break it down, even if you wanted to see Syndergaard finish that inning, Mickey Callaway pulling Syndergaard for Seth Lugo.

After all, Lugo is the team’s best reliever, and although the bullpen had been taxed, Mets starters had a streak of six straight games with 6.0+ innings pitched, and the Mets were off yesterday. You may not agree, but Callaway made a defensible and arguably the right decision.

Being the Mets, it didn’t work out. Longoria singled, and Brandon Belt doubled to tie the game. The Giants didn’t take the lead there because Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil executed a perfect relay to cut down Longoria at the plate.

After Lugo pitched a scoreless eighth, and Edwin Diaz pitched a scoreless ninth, Callaway would make an indefensible decision. He brought in Robert Gsellman for the tenth.

Even with the off day and the starters giving length, Gsellman is completely gassed. He’s allowed at least one earned run in five of his last six appearances and has a 9.95 ERA over the stretch. Believe it or not, things got worse.

Stephen Vogt hit a two RBI double off Gsellman to give the Giants a 5-3 lead. As if that wasn’t enough, after a Kevin Pillar groundout and an intentional walk to Brandon Crawford, Steven Duggar hit what should’ve been an inning ending double play. Instead, it deflected off Gsellman’s back and became an RBI double giving the Giants a 6-3 lead.

Well, if you’re a fan who questions why exactly Callaway has gone to the whip so often with his top three guys, Hector Santiago would provide the answer.

He’d allow an RBI double to Pablo Sandoval and an RBI single to Mike Yastrzemski making it a 9-3 game. The inning would mercifully end when Santiago retired Tyler Austin, who became the zombie batter (PH making a second plate appearance in the inning).

The Mets lost this game 9-3. They lost it to the second worst team in the NL. With the Mets now four games under .500, they’re looking more and more like one of the worst teams in the game.

Game Notes: Despite saying Robinson Cano was much closer to return than McNeil, McNeil was activated while Cano wasn’t. Tyler Bashlor was sent down to make room for McNeil on the roster.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Blow Another Series

You can understand blowing games against the Dodgers. They are both a really good and a relentless team. It really becomes an issue when you do it against mediocre teams like the Diamondbacks:

1. The most bizarre criticism of Mickey Callaway was his lifting Pete Alonso for a pinch runner in the eighth inning of a game where the Mets had a four run lead. By lifting him for Juan Lagares, you’re getting more speed on the basepaths, and you are helping bolster both the infield and the outfield defense. It was 100% the right decision.

2. The criticism over his use of Jeurys Familia and Robert Gsellman was understandable, but let’s not pretend there was another real option. Drew Gagnon was bad in his last two pressure situations. Tyler Bashlor had three consecutive blown saves, and he wound up being the losing pitcher in the game. Really, other than those two and with it being too early to utilize a fatigued Edwin Diaz, there really wasn’t a better choice.

3. On Familia, there appears to be two problems. The first is he’s walking too many. The second is the defense behind him. He has a career worst .344 BABIP (.312 career) and a 66.2% LOB (75.4%) career. Essentially, the Mets are combining a ground ball pitcher with a bad infield defense. Not a good mix.

4. We should again note that as of today Craig Kimbrel no longer has draft pick compensation attached to him. We should also note he is now only going to get a prorated portion of the salary he wanted. If you’re all-in, there’s absolutely no excuse for the Mets to not sign him today.

5. The Mets have a National League worst -48 DRS with Amed Rosario (-13), J.D. Davis (-9), Wilson Ramos (-7), and Robinson Cano (-4). That’s -26 DRS from your infield.

6. Davis had a hot start, but he’s regressed to the mean, and he’s now one of the problems with the team. His defense is unplayable across the diamond, and he has been hitting .248/.313/.385. Since May 1st, Davis is hitting .208/.238/.351. As a point of reference, Eric Campbell hit .221/.312/.311 in his career with the Mets.

7. Seeing Arizona is a reminder how much the Mets miss Wilmer Flores. Aside from the things he did well as a player, he would have been great for this clubhouse. Flores went through this in 2015 and 2016. He also knows what it’s like to go from struggling to fan favorite. His attitude, rapport with his teammates, and his ability to play is needed on this team.

8. Looking at the team Brodie Van Wagenen assembled, the players he brought in have combined for a -0.7 WAR. The best position player he has brought aboard was Adeiny Hechavarria. Not to unfairly dump on Hechavarria, who is playing the best baseball of his career, but no General Manager in the history of baseball should ever be in a position to say the most productive position player he added to the roster was Adeiny Hechavarria.

9. The Mets are winning behind the talented players left behind by Sandy Alderson. One of those players has been Dominic Smith, who the team didn’t even want to give a chance to win the first base position in Spring Training.

10. Smith has really proven himself. He’s in the best shape of his life, and he’s a better player having had better treatment of his sleep apnea. He’s been great in the clubhouse, and he finally got his chance. It’s an extremely small sample size, but he’s hitting .359/.519/.609 with a 1 DRS when he’s a left fielder.

11. The Mets are playing Smith and Davis in left field because the team went into the season with just two starting everyday outfielders. This has also led them to flipping coins over whether Carlos Gomez (79 wRC+, 0 DRS), Aaron Altherr (-40 wRC+, 0 DRS), and Lagares (40 wRC+, -1 DRS).

12. It should also be noted the Mets had a chance to give Keon Broxton more playing time to see if they could salvage him. Instead, they cut him so they could call up Gomez. Since being traded to the Orioles, Broxton is hitting .250/.300/.500 (0.2 WAR). That’s a clear upgrade over the mess they have now.

13. Between Broxton and Davis, that’s just five prospects and Bobby Wahl thrown away from nothing.

14. That is a good reminder when Adam Jones hit that game tying three run homer off of Gsellman. It’s important to remember here Jones signed for just $3 million. THREE MILLION!

15. Steven Matz needed to be better than what he was on Sunday. The team needed a lift, and he gave up two runs before he even recorded an out. He gave up five runs total. Yes, the offense and defense didn’t show up either, but the Mets needed more from him. To be fair, he at least gave them length to help the pen, and unlike most of the lineup, he actually had a hit.

16. This team sure looks a lot different when Seth Lugo is available. His ability to pitch well and give the team length certainly masks a lot of problems with the bullpen.

17. It is great to see the Jacob deGrom of last year return. Maybe it’s Tomas Nido, and maybe it’s just getting back into a groove, but he’s looked like the guy he was last year. Since May 1st, he’s allowed two earned or fewer in six of his seven starts. Even with the inexplicable clunker in Miami, he has a 2.68 ERA, 1.008 WHIP, and a 4.6 K/BB over this stretch.

18. The hysteria about the personal catcher for deGrom is muchado about nothing. If deGrom pitches well to Nido, let him pitch to Nido. We should also note his pitching to Nido also affords Wilson Ramos a little extra rest. That seems to be working for him with him hitting .293/.376/.500 since May 1.

19. Zack Wheeler could’ve been better on Friday, but he did give the Mets a chance to win that game, and he gave them length to help save that bullpen.

20. After playing 20 consecutive games and going 9-11 over the stretch, the Mets are in need of today’s day off. Seeing Mets fans completely overreact to Callaway’s every look and smile, the fans can use the day off as well.