Neil Ramirez

Depressing: Gee Outpitched deGrom

Here’s the best way to synopsize both this game and the 2017 season ➡️ Dillon Gee allowed half the amount of runs in this game than Jacob deGrom did. And no, Gee was not good tonight. 

The former Met allowed four runs over 3.1 innings allowing solo homers to Juan LagaresAsdrubal Cabrera, and Neil Walker. The most impressive of these was Lagares, not just because he hit one, but because it went opposite field:

It was almost four homers, but Jay Bruce got robbed by Jared Hoying:

The other run came in the first and was set up when Michael Conforto led off the game with a double. He later scored on a two out RBI single by the red hot Lucas Duda

For his part, Lagares was uncharacteristicly good at the plate going 4-5 with a homer. 

It wouldn’t matter as deGrom couldn’t hold any lead. He just couldn’t protect a 1-0, 2-1, or a 4-3 lead. He allowed runs in every inning he pitched. 

It started when deGrom couldn’t get his footwork right in the first inning. Adrian Beltre grounded into what should’ve been an inning ending 3-6-1 double play, but deGrom was searching for the bag with his feet instead of stretching for the throw. Instead of getting out of the inning unscathed, deGrom allowed the tying run to score. 

In the second, deGrom lost a 2-1 lead. Rougned Odor hit a double after a Jonathan Lucroy single to set up runners at second and third and no out. Hoying hit an RBI ground out, and Delino DeShields followed with a sac fly to make it 3-2. 

The Mets took the lead, and deGrom gave it back in the third on a Joey Gallo two run homer. On the play, Bruce had a NL opportunity to return the favor to the Rangers by stealing a homer himself, but he fell just short:

It all came crashing down in the fourth for deGrom. With runners on second and third with no outs, deGrom threw a wild pitch while walking Shin-Soo Choo to make it 6-4. The seventh run scored when Elvis Andrus hit into a double play. Unfortunately, deGrom still couldn’t get out of the inning before allowing a solo homer to Nomar Mazara

It was a tough night for deGrom.  His final line was four innings, 10 hits, eight runs, eight earned, one walk, and just two strikeouts. Not too long ago, he seemed to turn the corner. This is now his second poor start, and his ERA has ballooned to 4.75. 

The best thing you could say scour the night was deGrom seems more devastated by his struggles than Mets fans are. 

From there, the Mets had little choice but to bring in Josh Smoker and his 7.43 ERA into the game. Things could’ve gone worse, but he still allowed two runs over his two innings pitched raising his ERA to 7.56. If you really want to be depressed, consider Neil Ramirez was the Mets best pitcher on the night. 

The Mets bats went mostly silent after the third with the team scoring just one run in the 10-5 loss. The team was 2-13 with RISP, and they were only able to score one run when they had bases loaded and one out in the eighth. They were one big hit away from getting back in the game. Instead, they made three quick outs. 

However, the bats reawoke in the ninth. After a Flores lead-off single, Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud went back-to-back to get within 10-8. After a Lagares single and a Conforo walk, the Mets were really in business. Asdrubal Cabrera struck out, and then Bruce hit into a game ending double play. 

The Mets need to get going soon because the Nationals aren’t slowing down anytime soon. 

Game Notes: Duda (2-5, HR) and Wilmer Flores (3-5) continued to hit. Travis d’Arnaud played poorly going 0-4 leaving five runners on base. DeShields also stole two bases off of him. 

Why Bother Watching?

It was a Sunday game, and no offense to him, but the Mets were starting Tyler Pill. With Addison Reed likely unavailable with his pitching two innings last night, you’d be hard pressed to argue the pitching would sufficiently line up to give the Mets a chance. 

Hopefully, you didn’t try to argue the Mets could win this one because they lost a non-competitive 11-1 game. The Mets were probably luck it was that close especially considering both Josh Smoker and Neil Ramirez brought there 7.00+ ERAs to the mound today. 

About the only player who showed up ready to play was the scorching hot Wilmer Flores, who stayed hot going 2-4. Other than that, you’re really stretching to find another positive. 

This season is falling apart fast. In fact, it may have already. Only one team since the 1930s entered June .500 and won the World Series (2003 Marlins). With the Mets not willing to fire their manager and without a Miguel Cabrera to call-up, it’s hard to argue the Mets can repeat that feat. 

It’s next to impossible when you consider the Mets do have uber prospect Amed Rosario, and they still won’t call him up. If we’re being honest, if the Mets do eventually call him up, it’ll probably be too late to salvage this season. 

Game Notes: The Mets scored their only run of the game in the second inning when a run scored on a Travis d’Arnaud GIDP. 

Elias With Previously Unheard Of Stats

There was a time Gerrit Cole against Matt Harvey would be an anticipated pitcher’s duel. Not tonight. Maybe not ever again. Instead, it was a facing off of sluggers. Lucas Duda for the Mets, and Elias Diaz for the Pirates?

Because Francisco Cervelli was sick, he was removed from the lineup, and Diaz was put into the starting lineup. Diaz had only played in nine games over three years, so naturally, he was 2-3 with a double, homer, and six RBI. He absolutely killed the Mets. 

Still, this was a ballgame at one point.  A slugfest, but a ballgame nevertheless. 

In the first, Harvey loaded the bases with no outs. He somehow wriggled out of it allowing just the one run. While he was unable to put anyone away, he reached back and was able to strike out both Josh Bell and Andrew McCutchen to get out of the inning. 

From there, it appeared Harvey had settled in a bit. For a while, it even looked like he’d get the victory in this game. 

This was mostly thanks to Duda who launched two huge homers. The first shot in the second inning nearly took down the Shea Bridge and gave the Mets a 2-1 lead:

Harvey then ran into trouble in the fourth. Once again, he would load the bases with no outs. This time, he wasn’t so lucky. Diaz would hit a pitch over the middle of the plate for a bases loaded triple. This snapped an 0-26 steak opponents had against Harvey with runners in scoring position. 

Despite these struggles, Harvey would be in position to win this game. 

After Harvey failed to get down his second sacrifice bunt of the night, Michael Conforto hit an opposite field homer to tie the score at 4-4. 

After a Jay Bruce walk, Gregory Polanco played a Neil Walker hit into an RBI triple. Walker then scored on a Duda home run that went way up the Pepsi Porch capping off a five run inning and giving the Mets a 7-4 lead. 

At this point, the Mets offense was rolling, and it appeared the game was in-hand. Harvey made quick work of the Pirates in the fifth, and he took the mound in the sixth. That’s where the game changed. 

Bell led off the inning with a home run, and McCutchen followed with a walk. Terry Collins then double switched Paul Sewald into the game. Coming into the game, Sewald was arguably the Mets best reliever with a 2.21 ERA. He’d leave the game with a 4.35 ERA. 

The Pirates just went to work on Sewald. Diaz hit a three run homer off of him. After getting tattooed left and right, he eventually reloaded the bases and walked in a run. Before Collins went it to get him, he faced eight batters get to g just one out. His final line in the loss was 0.1 innings, five hits, five runs, five earned, one walk, and one strikeout. 

Sewald was bailed out by Neil Ramirez, who was probably the Mets best pitcher of the night. He worked 2.2 innings allowing just a home run to Josh Harrison to make it 12-7. 

In addition to Diaz, Harrison killed the Mets. He was 3-4 with two runs, a double, homer, and two RBI. He also made a nice diving catch robbing Conforto of a single. 

Really, the key difference in this game was when the managers pulled their starters. Harvey went too long, and it led to the Pirates game winning rally. The Pirates pulled Cole, and he got the victory despite allowing seven runs in five innings. 

This was just the latest in inexplicably and inexcusable losses for this team. 

Game Recap: Curtis Granderson recorded his 1,600 hit with a second inning single. Travis d’Arnaud was 2-3 with a walk. He’s now 6-12 this year against the Pirates. Wilmer Flores has supplanted Jose Reyes as the starting third baseman. 

Ya Gotta Believe In This Team

Let’s be honest.  With nearly two months gone in the season, there is not a lot of reason to believe in the 2017 Mets.  The team is five games under .500 and just 14-16 against their own division.  Important players like Yoenis Cespedes, Jeurys Familia, Steven MatzNoah Syndergaard and David Wright have had extended stints on the disabled list.  Presumably, Familia, Syndergaard, and Wright are done for the season.    The team features two everyday players who are fighting to get and stay atop the Mendoza Line, and the entire pitching staff has underperformed.  And despite all of these problems, and many more which have not been mentioned, there are very real reasons to be optimistic about the Mets as we head into the summer months:

1.  The Starting Pitching Is Improving

In case, you haven’t noticed the Mets are no longer have the worst ERA in all of baseball.  A huge reason for that is the starting pitching is not only improving, but they are also pitching deeper into games.  That has started with the re-emergence of Jacob deGrom.  Before last night’s debacle, in his last two starts, deGrom pitched 15.1 innings allowing just one earned run.  He threw down the gauntlet, and the other starting pitchers have responded.

The Mets are now starting to put together quality starts with some regularity.  Matt Harvey and Robert Gsellman are coming off their best starts in over a month.  Zack Wheeler continues to pregress well in his first season in over two years.  Matz and Seth Lugo will soon join the rotation.  As we have seen time and again, this team goes as its pitching goes, and the pitching is trending in the right direction.

2.  The Bullpen Is Settling Down

With the starters failing to go deep into games and Familia essentially being a non-factor this season, the bullpen has struggled.  The struggles stem from both overwork and trying to slot guys into different roles than had previously been anticipated.  With the starters going deeper, the bullpen is starting to get some rest, and the bullpen is starting to look better.

Another factor is the emergence of Paul Sewald.  A player the Mets were willing to risk losing in the Rule 5 Draft has now become the Mets most important reliever.  He has been used for multiple innings and to nail down the eighth inning.  He has shown his success in Vegas was no fluke pitching to a 2.21 ERA in 20.1 innings.  His emergence has allowed Terry Collins to ease up on some of his other relievers.Salas has responded by lowering his ERA by almost two runs in the month of May, has not blown one lead,  and he has not allowed an earned run in 11 of his last 14 appearances.  A rejuvenated Salas is good for the Mets.

Another key factor is the composition of the bullpen.  Rafael Montero is gone. Neil Ramirez is on his way out as well.  He should be gone once Hansel Robles figures things out in Vegas and/or Gsellman is moved to the bullpen with the return of Matz and Lugo from the disabled list.  Certainly, the composition of arms is going to be much better down there, and with the starters going deeper, they will be better rested.

3.  Help Is On The Way

As noted, Matz and Lugo will soon rejoin the rotation.  Behind them, we may also see Robles return to the majors prompting the Mets to send down one of the more ineffective arms in Ramirez and/or Josh Smoker.  But it’s not just on the pitching side that the Mets will improve, it’s also on the offensive side.

According to various reports, Cespedes is about 7-1o days away.  When he returns, the Mets will be adding an MVP caliber player to play alongside Michael Conforto in the outfield, who is having an MVP caliber season himself.  Cespedes not only lengthens the lineup, but he also adds a right-handed power threat which the lineup is sorely lacking right now.  While the offense isn’t the issue so far, a team that is fighting to not only get back to .500, but also to get back to the postseason needs to upgrade everywhere it can.

It’s more than Cespedes.  At some point, the moving target that is the Super Two deadline is going to comfortably pass clearing yet another hurdle for the Mets to call-up Amed Rosario.  If Rosario does get called-up, it would significantly improve the Mets infield defense, and it could also improve the lineup.  Through his first 50 games, Rosario is hitting .354/.393/.519 with 13 doubles, three triples, five homers, and 37 RBI.

With all that, there is legitimate reason for hope the Mets will be a better team over the final four months of the season.  That team could catch the Nationals in the standings especially when you consider the two teams have 13 games against one another remaining.  That is enough games to make-up the 9.5 game gap between the teams in the standings.  That goes double when you consider the Nationals have bullpen issues of their own, and they are just 15-12 since losing Adam Eaton for the season.

If the Mets play as well as they can play, this is going to be an exciting summer at Citi Field.  If the Mets play the way they are capable, this will soon become a pennant race.

Harvey Was Something

Whenever he takes the mound, the biggest story in any Mets game is going to be Matt Harvey.  Part of the reason is Harvey is a lightning rod.  The main reason is the Mets need Harvey to be good if they have any hopes to get back to .500 and then back into the NL East race.  If we get the Harvey we saw tonight, there is a chance.

Now, this wasn’t the Harvey of 2013 or even 2015.  Heck, this wasn’t even the Harvey of April.  This was a Harvey still trying to find himself and succeeding more than he has been.  We saw some things from his struggles this year that gave you some pause as to how this game would progress.  First, there is his propensity to give up the long ball as evidenced by the Gregory Polanco second inning home run.  There is the command as shown by Harvey’s two walks.  Then, there is the inability to really put batters away.  Tonight, he had only four strikeouts.

And yet, there was a Harvey emerging that could be a good pitcher again.  The one thing that stood out was his ability to limit the damage.  The biggest example of this was the fourth inning.  The Mets had a narrow 2-1 lead, and the Pirates had a rally going.  David Freese hit a one out infield singles, and Andrew McCutchen followed with his own single.  As if this wasn’t enough, Harvey threw a wild pitch putting runners on second and third with one out.  Harvey responded by striking out Francisco Cervelli and Jordy Mercer to end the inning.

Overall, Harvey threw 102 pitches over six innings.  It was his longest outing in over a month, and it was his second straight win.  It might’ve been due to a weak Pirates lineup.  It could be Harvey is getting back to becoming a reliable pitcher.  Whatever it is, the Mets should take it right now.

The Mets will also take the seven runs they got tonight.  The biggest source of those runs came from the three players who would be most affected by the return of Yoenis CespedesJay Bruce, Lucas Duda, and Curtis GrandersonBruce showed signs of getting out of his May funk going 3-5 with a run, two doubles, and an RBI.  Granderson, hitting lead-off with Michael Conforto getting the night off, had hit first three hit game of the season going 3-5 with a run, double, and an RBI.  Duda homered in his second straight game, and third out of the last four games.

Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera also collected RBI hits in what was an easy 7-2 victory.  Overall, the only thing that put a damper on the night was Terry Collins‘ handling of the bullpen.  With a five run lead in the seventh, he turned to Paul Sewald for two innings making him unavailable again for a few days.  It wasn’t until the ninth that he used Neil Ramirez, and Ramirez struggled enough to lead to Jerry Blevins having to warm up in yet another game.

Still, the Mets took two out of three in the series.  It was a step in the right direction and another step towards .500.  Sooner of later, the Mets are going to have to stop giving games away, and they are going to have to turn some of these series victories into sweeps.  Still, it was a good win leaving the team on a good note as they head back to Citi Field.

Game Notes: This was the Mets first win on a Sunday since their first Sunday game of the season.  For the second straight game, a Mets pitcher failed to get down a sacrifice bunt.  Juan Lagares was the only Mets starter without a hit.

Quality Start Begets Brutal Loss

Due to the ineffectiveness and injury to Tommy Milone, the Mets put Robert Gsellman back in the rotation. 

Gsellman went out there and gave the Mets what is technically considered a quality start, which is three earned over six innings. Things might’ve gone better for him, but Yangervis Solarte got to him twice knocking in all three runs against Gsellman. 

After the top of the sixth, Gsellman had thrown just 84 pitches. There would be no seventh inning though because Gsellman was due to lead off the inning. That and the fact Gsellman hasn’t started in a while. 

Still, it should not have mattered. The Mets were up 5-3 against the team with arguable the worst offense in the National League. 

Well, the Mets look like the worst bullpen in the National League, and Terry Collins used all the quality arms last night. Well push came to shove, and Fernando Salas was the one who got hit. 

Salas loaded the bases with two outs following a pinch hit single by Chase d’Arnaud with back-to-back walks to Matt Szczur and Solarte. At that point, Collins decided to make the worst possible move he could’ve made. He went with Neil Ramirez and his 10.32 ERA to pitch to Wil Myers:

Thanks in part to a little luck and some Timo Perez-esque base running, the Padres only tied the score. Fortunately, Josh Edgin got the Mets out of the jam. 

Unfortunately, Collins went to Josh Smoker to pitch the eighth. For the second straight night he was greeted with a long home run. This one was hit by Hunter Renfroe

Renfroe would return the favor to the Mets in the bottom of the eighth. He flat out dropped a Juan Lagares fly ball. To his credit, Lagares hustled on the play and got to second base. The Mets would strand him there. 

That was about all that the Mets offense had done wrong on the night. Michael Conforto continued to rake going 2-3 with a run, RBI, and two walks. Wilmer Flores hit a bases clearing double in the third. He scored on a Curtis Granderson single. Overall, every Mets starter except Rene Rivera reached base at least once. 

The Mets offense would get one last chance against Brad Hand who came on to save the Padres 6-5 lead. 

Neil Walker got the rally started with a lead-off single. Lucas Duda had a tough at-bat drawing a well earned walk, his third of the game. He came off for Matt Reynolds. The bases were then loaded as Flores hit a seeing eye single just past the shortstop. 
Granderson and Rivera then struck out putting the game in Lagares’ hands. Renfroe wouldn’t drop this flyball leading to yet another brutal loss created by a bullpen meltdown. At least we know Collins won’t learn from this game either. 

Game Notes: Jay Bruce sat with a back injury. 

Gsellman And Montero Were Used In Pivotal Spots

For the past seven games, the Mets have found new and interesting ways to lose. Today, it was a tried and true method for this team. Not getting hits with RISP and some truly bizarre managerial decisions from Terry Collins

Like most of the games on this road trip, things started well for the Mets. Michael Conforto, who Collins has spent the better part of two years telling us can’t hit lefties, hit a two run homer off Patrick Corbin to give the Mets a 2-0 first inning lead.  

From that point forward, the Mets would go 1-6 with RISP. 

Matt Harvey would give up that lead. In the first, he allowed a lead-off triple to Rey Fuentes. Fuentes then scored on a Chris Owings ground-out. In the third, Harvey allowed an opposite field two run homer off the bat of Jake Lamb
It was all part of a maddening start by Harvey. He did not have one 1-2-3 inning. He walked four batters including the opposing pitcher. He allowed his 11th homer of the season. He needed 95 pitches to get through 5.1 innings. 

And yet, there were positive signs. He didn’t allow a hit with RISP. He had big strikeouts of Paul Goldschmidt and Yasmany Tomas. He left the game in line for the win. 

The Mets had a 4-3 lead when Harvey departed. The additional two runs came in the fourth. Juan Lagares hit a long home run to tie the score at three. Matt Reynolds followed with a walk, and he would score on a Jose Reyes RBI double. As we know, the Mets wouldn’t win this one. 

For some reason, Collins went to Robert Gsellman and his 7.07 ERA to pitch the seventh. This is the same Gsellman the Mets have just removed from the rotation for the next couple of weeks. Depending on the ETA of Steven Matz and/or Seth Lugo, Gsellman may not start another game this year. Despite this, Collins felt Gsellman was the right man to protect a one run lead to help the Mets break a six game losing streak. 

Gsellman would walk Goldschmidt, and he would score on a Tomas RBI double. Just like that, the score was tied. 

The Mets would mount subsequent rallies to try to get another lead. In the eighth, there were runners on first and second with two outs, and Lagares grounded out. In the eleventh, the Mets had the same situation, and Reyes struck out. That would be the Mets last chance. 

The real part of the Mets bullpen had done a good job. Josh Edgin got Harvey out of the sixth unscathed. Jerry Blevins (8)and Addison Reed (9 & 10) pitched perfect innings to get the Mets to the 11th. At that point, Collins did the complete opposite of what he should have done. 

He brought in Rafael Montero. Not the red hot Paul Sewald. Not Fernando Salas who has been better of late. Not Neil Ramirez who the Mets signed to help the bullpen. No, he brought in Montero, and his rationale was absurd:

First batter Montero faced was Chris Herrmann. Herrmann is a career .207/.277/.338 hitter who entered the game hitting .160/.250/.280.  He injured his hand in this game. Naturally, he did this:

To recap, Collins brought in a guy with a 7.07 ERA to preserve a one run lead, and he used a guy with a 9.00 ERA to keep the game scoreless. At this point, you have to wonder if he’s trying to get fired. 

Game Notes: Reyes tried to go to second on a play in the second on a throw to the cut-off man. The play wasn’t even close, and it killed what could have been a big rally. 

Not Worth Staying Up To Watch

No matter how bad the Mets are, I am in front of the TV, or I have the radio on to see how the game is going.  Heck, even on the day I was married, I tipped the limo driver extra to give me score updates.  Jon Niese was starting that day, and Carlos Beltran wasn’t playing due to his pre-season knee surgery, so I had to tip a little extra.  I use that as the context for my going to sleep last night.

The Mets are not just playing bad baseball right now, they’re playing depressing baseball right now.  It was the same thing yesterday.

To start the game, the Mets had Zack Greinke on the ropes.  After Curtis Granderson earned a bases loaded walk, the Mets rally ended.  Sure, it is unreasonable to expect Tommy Milone to deliver an RBI in that spot.  And yes, it is hard to get on Michael Conforto for striking out in that spot considering how good he has been to start the season.  The Mets offense has also been humming of late, so again, you can’t get on the offense too much.  Still, it was demoralizing because with Milone on the mound, you knew the Mets needed more than just that one run.

And they did.  Gregor Blanco hit a two RBI single to give the Diamondbacks a 2-1 lead.  After Paul Goldschmidt was intentionally walked, Chris Owings hit an RBI single to make it 3-1.  At that point, you figured things can’t possibly get any worse.  It did.  Owings would break for second, and Rene Rivera would have nailed him if Owings didn’t get caught in a run-down.  While this is happening, Lucas Duda notices Goldschmidt break for home, and of course, he makes a terrible throw home allowing Goldschmidt to score.

As a Mets fan, you were disgusted.  Right now, the team is finding different ways to make watching them more painful.  Duda reminding you of the Eric Hosmer play took the cake.

I didn’t go to bed immediately.  The anger had to subside.  I got to see the Granderson homer.  No, I wasn’t fooled into thinking they would win the game.  I feel asleep not to long after that.  I didn’t even try to fight it.  I subsequently missed the Rivera two run homer, and the Paul Sewald appearance.

Overall, it doesn’t matter.  It’s hard to watch this team right now, and it is harder to watch them when games start at 9:30 at night.  Thankfully, today’s game starts at 3:40.  As a result, you will only lose sleep over them going over what transpired during the game as opposed to watching those things transpire.

Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera finally hit the disabled list, and the Mets added Neil Ramirez and his 8.71 ERA to help the bullpen.