Noah Syndergaard

20/20 Hindsight: Did The Mets Even Show Up In Miami?

The New York Mets were swept/embarassed by the Miami Marlins, a team who is rivaling the 1962 Mets in futility. There doesn’t need to be anything else said, but here it is anyway:

1. Managers get fired for the way the Mets played this weekend, but if we are being honest, this has nothing to do with Mickey Callaway. This is all on the team Brodie Van Wagenen built.

2. Van Wagenen fled Miami before the series was over and was not present to answer one question about the team he built or their play. That’s absolute cowardice.

3. Joel Sherman of the NY Post wrote an article finally directing the blame towards Van Wagenen. We also saw Mike Puma of the NY Post say attention will eventually need to turn to to Van Wagenen, but first, the media wants Callaway gone first. Where were these articles in March when Van Wagenen was mortgaging the future to build what projections had as a fourth place team?

4. We all knew Robinson Cano didn’t hustle. With his PED suspension, we knew there was a chance he would be a chance he regressed,especially with him turning 36 years old. Van Wagenen was the only person who dismissed this.

5. Too often, we make the mistake of confusing players struggling with them not caring. The Mets players are probably embarrassed and still trying hard. They’re just not good right now for a multitude of reasons.

6. Then again, it’s hard to make that claim with Cano when he just blatantly did not run. There’s not hustling, and then there’s what he did. While we thought he had his defenses, it turned out they were lies, at least the scoreboard one.

7. Justin Dunn and Jarred Kelenic were tow of the biggest risers on MLB Pipeline‘s updated Top 100. Also, Edwin Diaz hasn’t had a save opportunity in well over a week. It’s almost like trading two top 100 prospects and taking on a $100 million commitment for a closer is a terrible idea. Who knew?

8. It’s telling how respected Callaway is in the clubhouse with Noah Syndergaard and Todd Frazier being so vocal in their support of Callaway. What would be better than those words is playing well.

9. To be fair to Frazier, he has been the Mets player during this five game losing streak. On the converse, it speaks volumes about this team that Frazier has been their best player during this losing streak.

10. The Mets trotted out a lineup on Sunday where the bottom four hitters were Adeiny HechavarriaJuan LagaresTomas NidoNoah Syndergaard. We’re really killing the manager for a lineup that noncompetitive lineup not scoring? That’s four straight 8/9 hitters!

11. The Mets have completely bought into Chili Davis, a man fired by the Red Sox and Cubs because of this philosophy. This is what happens when you make terrible hiring decisions.

12. Syndergaard deserves credit for how he pitched on Sunday. There is no reason whatsoever why he lost that game. In addition to that, the bullpen deserves a lot of credit for continuing to pitch well through all of this. This group is one of the few who deserves credit for actually showing up and performing anywhere close to expectations.

13. With is injury history and how abdominal injuries tend to linger, it’s great to see Jeff McNeil was able to play. Hopefully, we should not see any drop off from his level of play. The Mets can’t afford it.

14. Carlos Gomez was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, and he airmailed a ball on Friday. That throw not only let the one run score easily, but it also put the batter into scoring position. Seeing Gomez play so far, he’s actually worse than what Keon Broxton was forever hammering home the point things can always be worse with the Mets.

15. So far, the Mets have held Broxton, a fifth outfielder, and Travis d’Arnaud, a back-up catcher, accountable for the team’s poor play. That’s obvious scapegoating, and it had no effect because things don’t change when you get rid of a fifth outfielder and back-up catcher to try to send a message to the everyday players you, as an organization, outright refuse to make accountable.

16. If Mike Francesa is going to genuflect when he has Jeff Wilpon in studio, he can’t suddenly rail on the Mets. Well, he can if he wants; it’s his show. Just know that when he does that, he exposes himself to be a fraud, and it helps Michael Kay catch up.

17. The Mets were completely dominated by the Miami Marlins. The Marlins.

18. Through all of this, don’t be confused. There are plenty of reasons to fire Callaway. Just don’t for a second believe firing him is the thing that is doing to turn this team around. It’s not.

19. When the Mets play tonight, Boo, don’t boo, who cares? If you’re in the park spending money, the Wilpons don’t care. They got what they want out of you. That’s not to say it’s the fans fault. The point is the Wilpons don’t care about contending. They only care about creating the appearance of it to generate revenues.

20. Through all of it, we can say a lot of things, but the most succinct thing to say here is the Mets suck.

Syndergaard And Ramos Get The Win

Before the game, Mickey Callaway introduced us to the concept of catcher wins. While Mets fans and the collective baseball world rolled their eyes, Wilson Ramos would have his manager’s back.

Robinson Cano hit what should’ve been an inning ending double play in the first. Except it wasn’t because Gerardo Parra, who was playing out of position, dropped the ball and probably pulled his foot off the bag as well. The Mets would make the Nationals pay for the play (which is technically not an error), when Ramos hit a grand slam off Jeremy Hellickson:

That was more than enough run support for Noah Syndergaard who pitched well in Nationals Park for the first time in his career. That’s putting it lightly.

Syndergaard had a no-hitter through five off just 59 pitches. He’d sit on the bench for a lengthy sixth inning, one which featured a Brandon Nimmo RBI double off the left-handed Matt Grace, the Nationals would finally get to Syndergaard.

First, it was a Wilmer Difo leadoff single. Later, with two outs in the inning, Victor Robles hit a two run homer. Even with the homer, the Mets were up 5-2, and Syndergaard was in control.

Overall, Syndergaard pitched eight innings allowing two earned on four hits and one walk while striking out six.

The Mets would get an insurance run in the ninth when Dominic Smith hit a 3-0 pitch from Joe Ross out to dead center. It should be noted with the homer, it was no longer a save situation, and as we know there is the Diaz Dictate.

This meant Callaway would dry hump Edwin Diaz, and he would bring in Seth Lugo to pitch the ninth. Callaway made that decision despite Diaz being ready to go, and Wilmer Font likely giving the team a short start tomorrow. Hopefully, that won’t matter as Ramos looks to win his second in a row. If he does, the Mets will be back over .500.

Game Notes: Jed Lowrie has been shut down again, this time with a grade one hamstring strain, and he currently has no timetable for his return.

Good Luck d’Arnaud

With Travis d’Arnaud struggling in his limited chances since returning from Tommy John surgery, he was designated for assignment. Instead of seeking to outright him to Syracuse, the Mets opted to release d’Arnaud. Now, d’Arnaud is reunited with Bob Geren in Los Angeles. It’s easy to forget now, but with Geren being the Mets catching coach, he got the very best out of d’Arnaud.

Back in 2012, the Mets would trade reigning Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays for a package which included d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard. At that point, d’Arnaud was the best known prospect, and he was certainly a coveted one having previously been traded the Phillies to the Blue Jays so the team could obtain Roy Halladay.

The book on d’Arnaud was he was going to be a good hitting catcher. Being a good hitter or even a catcher was something which was next to impossible to ascertain when d’Arnaud was first called up to the majors in 2013. He didn’t hit at all, and he struggled mightily behind the plate. After that year, d’Arnaud would put his work in and become a much better player.

While the bat never quite materialized the way we anticipated, he did became very good behind the plate. We saw d’Arnaud become one of the best pitch framers in the game. It was one of the reasons why he was in the top 10 in Rookie of the Year voting in 2014, and it was one of the reasons why the Mets would take off in 2015.

Like he would most of his career, d’Arnaud would have injury issues in 2015, but he would be an impactful player when he was on the field. His elite pitch framing helped a staff featuring Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and  Syndergaard not only win the division, but also go all the way to the World Series. It gets overlooked, but d’Arnaud didn’t contribute with his strong play behind the plate, he also contributed as a hitter.

In the 2015 postseaon, d’Arnaud would hit three homers. That included one in Game 1 of the NLCS which would actually hit the Home Run Apple, which led the Mets to put a temporary band-aid on it prior to Game 2.

Of course, the homers overlook his key moments in the NLDS. In a pivotal Game 3, it was d’Arnaud who hit the RBI single which tied the game in the second, and it was d’Arnaud who hit the three run homer in the third which helped the Mets begin to pull away. We also forget with the heroics of deGrom, Jeurys Familia, and Daniel Murphy in Game 5, it was d’Arnaud who had the sacrifice fly which had tied the game setting the stage for the Mets to eventually take the lead and head to the NLCS.

After the 2015 season, d’Arnaud would deal with injuries including the torn UCL which practically cost him the entire 2018 season. Still, when he played, he was a terrific pitch framer, who was an asset to his pitching staff. He would still have the occasional highlight like his 16th inning homer against the Marlins.

One thing which really stuck out with d’Arnaud was how he was a team first player. In his tenure with the Mets, he wore three different numbers partially because he changed from number 7 to accomodate Jose Reyes when he returned to the organization. There was also the August 16, 2017 game which will live in infamy.

With both Wilmer Flores and Reyes unable to play due to injuries, and with Gavin Cecchini and Matt Reynolds unable to arrive from Las Vegas in time for the game, it meant someone was going to have to play out of position. That player would be d’Arnaud, who donned David Wright‘s mitt while switching back and forth between second and third with Asdrubal Cabrera. The lineup card was a mess with it reading d’Arnaud played “3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B.”

In the game, d’Arnaud would hit a game tying sacrifice fly in the sixth. Despite all of Terry Collins‘ machinations, the ball would finally find d’Arnaud when Todd Frazier popped it up to him in the ninth. With d’Arnaud securing it, he now stands as the Mets all-time leader in fielding percentage among Mets second baseman.

When it comes to d’Arnaud, aside from that magical 2015 season, he was never quite the player everyone hoped he would be. He battled injuries during his Mets tenure, and he was never the hitter everyone expected even if he was above average at the position. Mostly, he was very good behind the plate having been one of the best pitch framers in the game.

His Mets tenure ended with a whimper. While fans villified him for what he wasn’t instead of celebrating him for what he was, d’Arnaud opted for the high road thanking the fans and the organization for everything and expressing his gratitude to all.

While things ended poorly here, he is now playing for his hometown team. It is a team who has his former catching coach, who get everything out of d’Arnaud’s talent. He’s at the place where former Met Justin Turner‘s career took off. He’s playing for a very good team, a smart organization, and he will be put in a good position to succeed.

In his tenure, d’Arnaud was a good Met, and the 2015 run doesn’t happen without him. Despite everything, he never complained, and he was willing to do everything asked of him. Every Mets fan should wish him the best of luck. I know I will.

Alonso Gets His Revenge

It was hard to tell what the Mets needed more tonight. Was it their inept offense scoring runs, or did they need a win at all costs?

Things did start well for the Mets, who were using a revamped lineup. Jeff McNeil doubled off Padres starter Cal Quantrill, and Amed Rosario got the Mets on the board with an RBI single. Robinson Cano snapped an 0-for-14 streak with a ground rule double putting runners at second and third with no outs.

Pete Alonso hit an RBI single scoring Rosario giving the Mets a 2-0 lead before the team even recorded an out. Then, it all stopped. After beginning the game 2-for-2 with RISP, the Mets were 0-for-their next 9 stranding seven.

The 2-0 lead would prove to not be enough for Noah Syndergaard, who appears to lose both concentration and velocity during the game.

In the first, Syndergaard could have gotten out of a jam. He got Eric Hosmer to hit a grounder which could have potentially been an inning ending 3-6-1 double play. Of course, that doesn’t work when you overrun the base and whiff on catching the ball. Rosario was charged with the error, and Franmil Reyes scored pulling the Padres to within a run.

The Mets threatened in the second, and they had runners at first and second with one out. Rosario would strike out, and Syndergaard would have a second lapse in as many innings getting picked off second to end the inning.

We then saw Syndergaard lose velocity and leave the ball up. That led to homers hit by Reyes and Ty France to give the Padres a 4-2 lead.

That lead grew to 5-2 in the sixth with Hosmer and Hunter Renfroe, two players the Mets have seen more than enough of, playing a big role.

Hosmer doubled past an outstretched McNeil. Renfroe then hit a sharp grounder to Cano, who whiffed on the ball while appearing to be readying to nail Hosmer at third. That made it 5-2 Padres.

Overall, Syndergaard pitched 6.0 innings allowing five runs (four earned) in nine hits and one walk with five strikeouts. The shame of it was he got help from his defense, especially from Michael Conforto, who threw out a runner trying to stretch a double into a triple and with a diving catch.

The Mets would get him off the hook anyway in the seventh as their lineup finally woke up.

Runners were at second and third after a McNeil walk and Rosario hustle double. After Cano struck out, Alonso singled to pull the Mets to 5-3. It was 5-4 after Conforto hit a sacrifice fly.

Then, finally, it happened. Brandon Nimmo snapped an 0-for-28 streak with an RBI double off Craig Stammen to tie the game.

With two scoreless from Seth Lugo, the Mets entered the ninth with a chance.

Cano would lead off the inning with a single off Adam Warren, and he would score when Conforto hit an absolute bomb off the Metal Supply Building to give the Mets a 7-5 lead.

Edwin Diaz got into trouble in the ninth starting with a one out walk to Greg Garcia. Ian Kinsler then hit a squibber for a single. A Reyes RBI single pulled the Padres to within 7-6.

Diaz would unleash a wild pitch putting runners at second and third leading the Mets to intentionally walk Manny Machado to load the bases.

Diaz got Hosmer looking on a close 3-2 pitch inside and on the black. This put the game in Renfroe’s hands. While he hit a walk off grand slam against the Dodgers, he hit into a game ending fielder’s choice.

The Mets desperately needed this win, and there were a number of Mets who got the monkeys off their backs. There was Cano and Nimmo, but nothing stood out as much as Alonso getting his revenge against the Padres by going 3-for-5 with two runs, a homer, and four RBI.

Game Notes: This is the third anniversary of Bartolo Colon homering off James Shields. Newly acquired Wilmer Font will start tomorrow’s game.

The Syndergaard

When a great pitcher does something, it becomes synonymous with them. For example, when a pitcher throws a complete game shutout with fewer than 100 pitches, it is known as a Maddux. Certainly, it is a fitting tribute to the Hall of Famer because Greg Maddux accomplished that feat 13 times, which is almost more than double than anyone since he made his Major League debut.

The issue becomes what do you call something that a pitcher accomplishes something even fewer times than what Maddux accomplished in his career. What exactly do you call what Noah Syndergaard did on Thursday (or Thorsday if you are being cute).

Prior to Syndergaard, there have been only seven other pitchers who have accomplished this feat. Looking at the pitchers, there are some Hall of Famers and some forgotten names as well:

Looking at this list, there are three Hall of Famers, four retired players, and of course Syndergaard. With respect to the three Hall of Famers (Ruffing, Wynn, Bunning), each one of them had fairly impressive home run totals for a pitcher. Ruffing hit 36 homers, Wynn hit 17, and Bunning hit seven. Each one of them had 40 or more shutouts in their careers.

For his part, Bunning is known as the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in both leagues. He’s also the first National League pitcher to throw a perfect game in the modern era. Wynn is the pitcher ironically known for the pitcher who took the longest between wins 299 and 300. While it may not be as well known, Wynn is also the “most linkable” player in Major League history.

When breaking it down, you could make the argument the feat of shutting out an opponent and hitting a homer to give yourself the 1-0 win should be called “The Ruffing.” After all, he had 45 career shutouts and 31 career homers. If we are being honest, both marks are likely well out of Syndergaard’s reach.

And yet, despite that, like Syndergaard, Ruffing has only accomplished the feat once. Unlike Syndergaard, Ruffing will never have an opportunity to accomplish the feat again. Another consideration is Ruffing retired not just 15 year prior to the Expansion Era but also eight years prior to Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. In sum, while Ruffing is a Hall of Famer on one of the most historic teams of all-time, he’s too remote a figure to have this feat dubbed for him.

When you factor in setting StatCast records hitting 100 MPH homers in the same game he’s throwing 100 MPH, and his big personality, making this feat eponymous with Syndergaard makes sense. As a result, the feat of hitting a homer to win your own shutout should be forever referred to as “The Syndergaard.”

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Split Series With Reds

The New York Mets finished a 10 game home-stand going 5-5. Part of the reason was because while their pitching started to pick up, their offense has cratered. Still, as they depart for a very difficult road trip which will take them to Milwaukee and San Diego, they are a team over .500:

  1. Noah Syndergaard did what you are supposed to do against bad offenses. You are supposed to completely dominant them, and he did with a magnificent performance striking out 10 in a complete game shut out.
  2. Syndergaard became just the third Mets starter (Pete FalconeJohan Santana) to homer in a complete game shut out. He is the only Mets pitcher to provide the only run of support in a shutout.
  3. We can debate whether the right retaliation is to throw at a batter or not. However, there is nothing better than seeing Syndergaard strike out Jesse Winker three times in a game and having Winker lose his cool to the point where he is thrown out of the game.
  4. With the fans waiving to Winker and their booing Pete O’Brien, it’s clear the Mets fans are desperately searching for and need a real villian now that Chase Utley has retired.
  5. This was certainly the series for Mets pitchers to get healthy. Jacob deGrom looked like Jacob deGrom again, and even Jason Vargas would finally pitch more than five innings in a start.
  6. While a pitcher’s success isn’t really tied to any one catcher, it may behoove the Mets to let deGrom get into some sort of a rhythm with Tomas Nido. So far this year, deGrom has had six starts, and he has had the same catcher catch him in back-to-back starts just once this year.
  7. Mickey Callaway is oft criticized for his decision making, but he was unfairly in this series. He had little choice but to trust Jeurys Familia for six outs, and he went with Edwin Diaz over Seth Lugo in the ninth because Diaz is supposedly the best reliever in baseball. When you put guys in position, and they fail, sometimes it is on the players and not the manager.
  8. For a moment, it really looked like Familia was back, and then all of a sudden he falls apart and heads to the Injured List.
  9. You can read too much into it, or not, but it is surprising in his career opposing batters hit .333/.403/.608 off Diaz in tie games. It’s too soon to overreact to it, but it is noteworthy.
  10. Speaking of too soon to overreact, Pete Alonso is struggling. Alonso has homered once in his last 39 at-bats, and he has had one homer against a RHP over his last 11 games. While he snapped an 0-11 with a 3-5 game, he is been 3-18 since.
  11. Speaking of cooling off, Dominic Smith is now 0 for his last 7, and 2 for his last 12.
  12. While we’re on the topic of Smith and Alonso, it is great to see Smith lifted for Alonso and his cheering on and applauding Alonso as he walked. It’s a shame they play the same position because these are two likeable guys who are good ballplayers.
  13. Amed Rosario is heating up at just the right time. He just had a five game hitting streak and is in the middle of a seven game errorless streak. This comes right as Jed Lowrie is playing shortstop in rehab games.
  14. It is going to be interesting to see what the Mets do when Lowrie returns. We’ve seen Brodie Van Wagenen have selective memory when it comes to his best 25 man mantra, and as noted Keon Broxton has been really bad. It will be interesting to see if he’s saved because Van Wagenen obtained him or if he befalls the Travis d’Arnaud treatment.
  15. Wilson Ramos has been bad. He has no power, which is partially the result of his having MLB and career worst ground ball rates. He has also been a poor pitch framer and has yielded the most passed balls in the majors.
  16. Drew Gagnon is showing the Mets something out of the bullpen. He saved them when Steven Matz couldn’t get an out, and his 1.1 scoreless allowed the Mets to walk it off. He has earned his shot in the bullpen.
  17. With Daniel Zamora coming into a game to face Joey Votto, and the Mets calling up Ryan O’Rourke, it’s getting fairly clear Luis Avilan‘s time as a Met is going to end fairly soon.
  18. It’s fair to say Avilan hasn’t been used properly, but when your manager has no faith in you, and you haven’t pitched in seven games, you really have no place in the bullpen.
  19. Every time there is a blow up with a Mets starter or with the bullpen, we hear how the Mets are keeping tabs on Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. It’s nothing more than a ruse, and I wish reporters would stop giving it the time of day.
  20. This upcoming road trip to Milwaukee and San Diego is tough travel, and it is the kind of road trip which has the potential to make or break a season.

Syndergaard Misses The Maddux, But Gets The Syndergaard

The Mets offense has been bad of late, and with their recent usage, the Mets bullpen was without Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo heading into the game. This is the exact type of situation where a team needs their starting pitching to just completely take over a game.  That is exactly what Noah Syndergaard did today.

Syndergaard pitched a complete game shut-out against the Reds. In the game, the Reds managed just four hits and one walk. There was really nothing they can do as evidenced by their 10 strikeouts. When you see the stuff Syndergaard had today, like in his strikeout of Joey Votto to end the eighth, you understand why:

For as good as Syndergaard was on the mound, the Reds pitching staff were nearly up to the task. Reds starter Tyler Mahle allowed just one earned on four hits. One of those hits was a Syndergaard homer:

Overall, Syndergaard would come one just five pitches short of the Maddux. While he didn’t get the Maddux, he would get the Koosman. The Koosman is hitting one out and shutting them out. It is called that because former Mets starter Jerry Koosman used to say it was a starter’s job to hit one out and shut them out. That’s exactly what Syndergaard did today.

It should be noted that while that is what Koosman used to say, Syndergaard has become the first pitcher in Mets history to win a game 1-0 where the pitcher homered and shut out the opponent. In retrospect, maybe we should now call this the Syndergaard.

Game Notes: With his second homer of the season, Syndergaard now has six homers. That has him tied for second place with Tom Seaver and one short of Dwight Gooden on the Mets pitchers home run list.

Not How You Draw It Up, But Mets Win

This was quite a night for the Mets who have frustrated the fan base with poor play and not meeting expectations. That started with the night’s starter Jason Vargas.

Against a Reds team with the fifth worst team wRC+, Vargas had his best and longest outing of the year. With the help of some good defense, balls dying on the track, and some rope-a-dope, he would allow just one earned on three hits and three walks with five strikeouts.

Mickey Callaway trusted Vargas to go out for the sixth. After getting one out, Eugenio Suarez finally got to Vargas with a home run. With Vargas at 86 pitches, he was lifted for Robert Gsellman. The shame was Vargas did pitch well enough to win, but he wouldn’t get it because he left the game with the score tied 1-1.

On the other side, the Reds had Luis Castillo on the mound. No, not the Luis Castillo of dropped ball infamy. No, this Castillo has been great all year for the Reds entering the game with a league leading 1.23 ERA.

Even with him having a dominant outing tonight, the Mets would get to him partially because Amed Rosario proved to be his kryptonite. The struggling Rosario had a great game going 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.

In the third, Rosario started a rally with a leadoff single. Juan Lagares hit into a fielder’s choice, and Lagares would be sacrificed to second by Vargas. He was then on third when Castillo unleashed a wild pitch. This put him in a position to score when McNeil laid down a great bunt:

What was interesting is McNeil seemed intent on bunting his way on there. In fact, two pitches prior to the hit, he fouled off a bunt attempt. McNeil pulled a Roberto Alomar and dove to first JUST beating Castillo to the bag.

The score would stay tied 1-1 entering the bottom of the seventh. That’s when Todd Frazier jumped all over the first pitch of the inning:

With Edwin Diaz having pitched three days in a row, this meant it was Jeurys Familia for six outs to get the save. Fortunately, he’d get some help.

In the eighth, Joey Votto would have a TOOBLAN leading to Lagares turning an easy double play. That kept Familia to just seven pitches putting him in a good spot to go two innings.

In the bottom of the inning, the Mets would also get him an insurance run. McNeil, who was great tonight (4-for-5, R, 2B, RBI) got the rally started with a double against Robert Stephenson.

After a couple of strikeouts, McNeil was in a position to be stranded at second. With Michael Confortos struggled against Castillo all night (3 K), even the LOOGY Amir Garrett must’ve been a welcome site. It sure seemed that way when he delivered an RBI single to give the Mets a 3-1 lead.

Familia then started the ninth with two strikeouts giving the Mets some hope this would end without a hitch.

Of course, Familia would walk Jesse Winker and allow a hit to Jose Iglesias to make things too close to comfort. Callaway stuck by Familia in the spot. It seemed like the wrong move when Kyle Farmer hit a soft RBI single over Pete Alonso‘s head to pull the Reds to within 3-2. Worse yet, the tying run was at third.

Callaway would go too far with Familia. Jose Peraza hit the game tying single. Then again, it seemed like his only other choice was Drew Gagnon, and that’s not exactly a safe choice. Gagnon would find himself in the inning anyway.

With Votto due up, Daniel Zamora came in, and he made matters worse by walking Votto to load the bases. Gagnon would get the job done striking out Suarez to keep the game tied. He’d get into trouble in the 10th, but he’d get out of that jam too.

J.D. Davis had a very good at-bat to start the 10th, and he’d double off a hanging slider from Raisel Iglesias. After a McNeil single, Alonso got his first walk-off RBI with a sacrifice fly giving the Mets a 4-3 win.

This was never how you would draw it up, but you gladly take this one. Certainly, this game was a testament that it takes everyone contributing to win. Hopefully, this won’t be the last time this year we say that.

Game Notes: With Vargas’ ERA now down to 5.75, his ERA is now lower than Noah Syndergaard‘s.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Can’t Handle Milwaukee’s Brew

For the second time this year, the Mets faced an NL Central team who could be a Wild Card contender, and the Mets lost 2/3. Certainly, in this series, the Mets roster moves and decisions didn’t help matters:

1. It was raining, Corey Oswalt was fully rested and called up for the game. Jacob deGrom was coming off the Injured List. Naturally, the Mets opted to have deGrom wait around for nearly three hours in the rain.

2. While deGrom has had his struggles this year, it should be noted they all coincide with rain delays.

3. It’s getting harder to defend Oswalt even if he’s rarely given situations conducive to proving his ability.

4. Noah Syndergaard has peripherals in line with his best years. That, when you have three consecutive five inning starts where you allow five plus runs, it’s hard to notice.

5. Syndergaard’s comments about the baseballs being like ice confirm everyone’s suspicions about a juiced ball. With the ball, Thor has said he’s losing confidence in his secondary offerings.

6. Certainly, a different ball could explain the Mets starters struggles. If these is indeed a new ball, we should still have confidence this very good staff figures it out eventually.

7. Travis d’Arnaud had about as bad a game as you’ve ever seen from a Mets catcher. A Mackey Sasser or Choo-Choo Coleman comp was certainly warranted.

8. Seeing d’Arnaud out there was more evidence the Mets needlessly rushed him back.

9. Based on his struggles, you can certainly understand the Mets designating him for assignment, especially with Tomas Nido playing well in Syracuse.

10. Make no mistake, this was a clear double standard. In the end, d’Arnaud, a backup catcher, was held to a higher standard than Jason Vargas, the fifth starter.

11. Vargas can’t go five innings, and yet the Mets won’t so much as have him lose his rotation spot, so they can sign Gio Gonzalez, who showed on Sunday, he was a clear upgrade. Guess there are different rules for Brodie Van Wagenen’s former clients.

12. Brandon Nimmo once again showed why he and not Jeff McNeil needs to be leading off.

13. After starting the year hitting .424, McNeil is hitting .235 over his last nine games. Hopefully, teams aren’t figuring him out.

14. Pete Alonso rebounded nicely from an 0-for-11 stretch going 3-for-5 in Saturday with a homer.

15. One benefit of bunching the lefties a bit with Alonso in the middle is a manager being almost forced to have a LOOGY pitch to Alonso. We saw Alonso crush a homer off Alex Claudio as a result.

16. Steven Matz was once again very good, and for a pitcher whose mental makeup is always maligned, it’s interesting to see how he follows bad starts with a string of very good ones (when healthy).

17. With Mike Moustakas homering off Matz, I’m well beyond being done with the 2015 Royals.

18. With Robinson Cano being hit on the hand again, and really all the Mets batters being hit on the hand, maybe it’s time Chili Davis figures out a way to get it to stop. Either that or Mets pitchers find non-bush league ways to retaliate.

19. With Amed Rosario struggling offensively and defensively, it’s very interesting to see Jed Lowrie get a rehab start at SS. Who knows? Maybe if Todd Frazier continues playing well defensively and delivering in RBI spots, Rosario’s roster spot could become tenuous.

20. There are reasons to criticize the Mets bullpen, but they do know how to hold a lead. The Mets hand won every game they had a lead in the sixth. One reason why is Edwin Diaz being phenomenal. He’s a perfect 8-for-8 in save chances with a 0.84 ERA and a 16.9 K/9.

Winter Is Here

You’d think on Game of Thrones night, the Mets wouldn’t throw a Lannister who was killed by a dragon. But that was fiction, and this is the Mets.

Instead of a dragon getting Noah Syndergaard, it was a mixture of defense, bad luck, and eventually, just poor pitching.

In the first, Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil tried to get cute and pick Lorenzo Cain off second after a Mike Moustakas groundout. Instead of an out, Alonso threw the ball into the now vacated left field to allow Cain to score easily.

In the third, he’s load the bases and allow Eric Thames to hit a two RBI single before inducing an inning ending double play.

The Mets got one back in the bottom of the inning. After getting on base via a HBP, McNeil would eventually find himself on third. With the shift on with Michael Conforto at the plate, McNeil was well down the line potentially causing a distraction. Not only would Brandon Woodruff lose Conforto walking him, but Yasmani Grandal whiffed (ruled a wild pitch) on ball four allowing McNeil to score.

Syndergaard gave it right back and then some allowing homers to both Ben Gamel (who has 13 homers in a four year career) and Christian Yelich (first on the road this year).

With this poor five inning outing behind him, Syndergaard now has three consecutive poor five inning starts, and his ERA is now 6.35.

The Mets did come close to getting Syndergaard off the hook. In the seventh inning, the first five Mets would reach base with Travis d’Arnaud making the lone out trying to stretch a single into a double.

With respect to d’Arnaud this was definitely the low point of the season for him. In addition to getting thrown out, he struggled behind the plate. He had a passed ball, and he allowed three wild pitches. He would nail Cain trying to steal a base, but on a Grandal attempt, d’Arnaud tried to be Benito Santiago. Instead, he dropped to his knees and threw the ball into center.

Against Alex Wilson, Amed Rosario hit alead-off homer. After d’Arnaud was nailed at second, Dominic Smith pinch hit for the pitcher’s spot, and he drew a walk.

Then Craig Counsell did something a little curious. With three of the next four batters being left-handed, he went to his LOOGY Alex Claudio. After a McNeil infield single, Alonso made Counsell pay for his decision.

That three run homer pulled the Mets to within one.

The problem for the Mets is Jeurys Familia would give half of the runs back.

After walking Gamel to start the inning, he allowed hits to Cain and Yelich to make it 7-5 Brewers. Cain would then put on a base running display.

With Moustakas at the plate, Familia would throw a pitch off target and in the dirt. d’Arnaud would knock it down, but Cain got a good read and easily took third. In the same at-bat, Moustakas hit a ball back to Familia, who booted it. Cain read the play and scored leaving the only play to first.

The Mets didn’t let the inning get them down. Instead, they went to work against Jeremy Jeffress. The first three Mets reached, and the Mets pulled within 8-6 when Rosario singled home J.D. Davis. With Todd Frazier being announced as the pinch hitter for Ramos, Counsell went to Josh Hader to get the six out save.

Hader made quick work of Frazier, Wilson Ramos (pinch hitting for Familia)), and McNeil striking them all out. Because Counsell does not have the same inane rules for Hader as Mickey Callaway has for Edwin Diaz, Hader stayed on in the ninth.

Hader would strike out five of the six Mets he faced needing just 20 pitches to do it. His save would push the Mets to .500. Who knows where the Mets will be after Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for the Brewers tomorrow.

Game Notes: McNeil hit leadoff, and Brandon Nimmo hit sixth. Drew Gagnon was called up and Corey Oswalt was sent down to provide the bullpen with some depth.