P.J. Conlon

Mets Game As Pointless As Keith Reading The Media Guide

The Mets had Jose Reyes at third base, Ty Kelly in left field, and Drew Gagnon on the mound. Put another way, this was going to be a completely pointless game for a Mets team 16 games under .500.

Here’s how pointless this 7-3 game was – Keith Hernandez was reading passages from the Mets media guide about the Mets Hall of Famers.

The best thing from this game was Amed Rosario going 3-4 with two runs, two triples, and an RBI. What’s shocking is both triples were to left.

Tyler Bashlor allowed just one run on three hits in 2.1 innings.

P.J. Conlon pitched two scoreless while striking out three.

Dominic Smith singled in his only at-bat.

Perhaps most important, Wilmer Flores made an impressive play in the field.

With the score already 5-0, Scott Kingery popped up to shallow right. Flores made an over the shoulder catch and threw home to nail Carlos Santana to double him up.

It was a terrific play in a lost game in a lost season. Flores still cares. Be very careful before you trade him.

Game Notes: Mets are 0-13-2 in their last 15 series.

Looks Like The Mets Messed Up The Harvey Decision

While the Mets are trying to pull out all the stops against a Marlins team actively trying to lose games, over in Cincinnati, it seems Matt Harvey is starting to put things together.

Over his last three starts, Harvey has been terrific pitching to a 1.47 ERA, 0.818 WHIP, and a 7.0 K/BB ratio.  Over these starts, opposing batters are hitting just .200/.257/.231 against the Dark Knight.  What makes these starts all the more impressive is when you consider they have come against the Cubs, Braves, and Brewers.

That’s three quality offensive opponents in games all started in hitter’s parks.

But it’s more than just the opponents and the results.  His velocity and control are back.  As already noted, Harvey is no longer walking batters, and apparently, he’s not leaving the ball in a position to be teed up by opposing batters:

According to Brooks Baseball, Harvey is back to throwing 95+ with a slider near 90.  Before getting traded to the Reds, Harvey was missing a tick or two on all of his pitches.  In some of his outings, he had nothing but guts out there.

As noted by C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic, Harvey says he is feeling better than at any time since 2013.  That’s notable because in 2013, he had Tommy John and in 2016 he was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

That could partially because the Mets never really let Harvey get back to full strength post TOS surgery.  It also could be because Harvey always believed he was getting better and getting there.  It just so happened that has actually proven true with the Reds.

Maybe the credit should go to Reds interim pitching coach Danny Darwin and an assistant pitching coach Ted Power.  The duo, especially Darwin, are beginning to get credit for helping turn not just Harvey around, but also what was once considered a bad Reds pitching staff.

That’s not a criticism of Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland.  After all, the Mets duo has helped Jacob deGromreach another level in his game.  They have also seen Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz possibly turn the corner in their careers becoming more reliably and healthy starters.

What it is an indictment upon is the Mets patience and their ability to properly evaluate their own players.  After all, Harvey’s spot in the rotation was effectively taken over by Jason Vargas to be an effective starter this season.  Therein lies the problem.

To that point, here’s the series of transactions and moves the Mets made immediately after designating Harvey for assignment:

Since that time, the Mets have designated both Robles and Conlon for assignment.  We’ve also seen the Mets give chances to Buddy Baumann, Scott Copeland, and Chris Beck.  At a minimum, this is really bizarre roster management, and you have to question what the Mets saw in Baumann, Copeland, and Beck that they didn’t see in Harvey.

Even if you invoke all the Justin Turner non-tender defenses (wouldn’t happen here and the like), that doesn’t mean getting rid of Harvey was the right decision.

It’s not the right decision when you look at the pitchers who have made appearances and struggled in his stead.  It’s not he right decision when you consider the team miscalculated on whether Harvey had something left in the tank.  Really, they miscalculated on his being a disruption.

Since his being traded, the Mets are 14-30 (.318).  They just had a 5-21 month.  On the other hand, the Reds 26-19, and they were 15-11 in June.

Overall, both the Mets and Reds are sellers, and right now the key difference between them is as a result of the deal, the Mets will be looking for someone to take Devin Mesoracowhereas the Reds will have Harvey, who is suddenly a pitcher who is building up trade value.

In the end, it’s funny.  Harvey was partially traded to remove a distraction to help them win ballgames.  In fact, in pure Metsian fashion, the opposite happened.  They fell apart with his replacement in the rotation, Vargas, going 2-6 with an 8.60 ERA and a 1.832 WHIP.

Blame Sandy Alderson, Not Mickey Callaway

In a scathing article from David Lennon of Newsday set to take Mickey Callaway to task for the Mets recent poor play ultimately concluding that under Callaway’s 57 game tenure as a manager, the Mets are, “A lot of talk, accomplishing nothing.”

Really, it was full of quick barbs and cheap shots like this gem:

So after two more losses, one lousy run scored in the last 24 innings and a pair of Little League-quality blunders in Sunday’s sweep-completing 2-0 loss to the Cubs, we’re wondering what Mickey Callaway has planned next for the Mets.

A how-to seminar on the basics of baseball? A weeklong retreat to restore all of this depleted self-esteem? Maybe a clubhouse visit by Tony Robbins?

This is just emblematic of how Callaway, who is in a no-win situation is now fair game for mocking, ridicule, and blame.  What is interesting is these downright insults really overlook what Callaway has accomplished in his brief tenure.

Jacob deGrom has gone to a level we had never seen him pitch.  For a Mets organization who looked at Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as enigmas, Callaway has helped turn them into terrific relievers.  Speaking of enigmas, the Mets have recently seen Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz turn a corner.  It that holds true this rotation will be every bit as formidable as we all hoped it would be.

Offensively, Brandon Nimmo has gone from fourth outfielder to a terrific lead0ff hitter who leads all National League outfielders in OBP and OPS.  Amed Rosario has been making continued strides.  After beginning his career hitting .245/.275/.371 with a 27.6% strikeout rate, since May 1st, Rosario is an improved .274/.291/.415 with a 16.4% strikeout rate.  It may not seem like much, but it’s a stark improvement.

We have also seen the Mets go dumpster diving for players like Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, and Devin Mesoraco.  Somehow, these players have been much improved with the Mets than their prior stops, and they have salvaged their MLB careers.

The obvious question from here is if all this is true than why are the Mets 27-30 and in fourth place after such a terrific start?

Much of that answer, i.e. the blame, is attributable to the Mets front office.

Despite time and again facing the same injury issues over and over again, the team AGAIN mishandled a Yoenis Cespedes leg injury, and they are having Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera play poorly through their own injuries.  What’s hysterical about this is Sandy Alderson actually utter the words, “Honestly, sometimes I think we’re a little too cautious with how we approach injuries.”

He’s also made a number of blunders with the in-season managing of this roster.

Consider this.  After short start, the Mets designated P.J. Conlon in a series of roster moves to help bring up three fresh arms including Scott Copeland.  After Copeland pitched 1.1 scoreless in his only appearance, the Mets called up Jose Lobaton and his -0.6 WAR for the intended purpose of allowing Kevin Plawecki and his .198/.282/.288 split against left-handed pitchers at first base to face Mike Montgomery

Meanwhile, a Mets organization loses Conlon as the Dodgers claimed him, and a Mets organization who has been wringing their hands to find a second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, looked on as Buddy Baumann get lit up for four runs on three hits and two walks in the 14th inning of a game the Cubs had not scored a run in over three hours.

The front office’s decision making gets worse and worse the more you look at it.

For some reason, they insist on keeping Jose Reyes on the roster.  This, coupled with the aforementioned Gonzalez and Bautista signings, is emblematic of an organization more willing to trust in done veterans reclaiming their past glory than giving a young player like Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Peter Alonso, or even Gavin Cecchini (before his injury) a chance.

This was one of the reasons why the Mets signed Bruce to a three year deal this offseason.  No, this was not insurance against Michael Conforto‘s shoulder.  Three year $39 million deals are not that.  Rather, this signing showed: (1) the Mets wanted a Cespedes-Conforto-Bruce outfield for the next three years; and (2) the team did not have any faith Nimmo could handle playing everyday at the MLB level on even a limited basis.

Now, the Mets what looks to be an injured $39 million albatross in right, who doesn’t even know to call off a back peddling second baseman with a runner on third.

That’s bad defense, which is something the Mets actively welcome with all of their personnel decisions.  Really, the team has spent the past few seasons looking to plug non-center fielders in center while playing players out of position all across the infield.

Despite what the Lennon’s of the world will tell us, the poor defense and lack of basic fundamentals isn’t Callaway’s doing.  No, it is the result of an organizational philosophy.

The Bruce signing has such short and long term implications.  With his salary, will the Mets bench him instead of Nimmo or Gonzalez when Cespedes comes back healthy.  Will the organization let his salaries in future years block Alonso or Dominic Smith at first base?  Mostly, will his escalating salaries be another excuse why the team rolls the dice and gives a player like Jason Vargas $8 million instead of just going out and signing the player who really fills a need?

Sure, there are plenty of reasons to attack Callaway.  His bullpen management has been suspect at times.  Lately, he’s been managing more out of fear than attacking the game to try to get the win.  Really, this is part of a learning curve for a first time manager in a new league.

It’s a learning curve that could have been helped by a long time veteran National League manager.  Instead, Sandy Alderson thought it best to hire a Gary Disarcina to be the bench coach because who better to help a young first time manager in a new league than a player who has spent his entire playing, front office, and minor league managerial career in the American League?

Really, that’s just one of several examples of how Alderson has set up both Callaway and this entire Mets team to fail in 2018.

Baumann Not Our Buddy In Mets 14 Inning Loss

Look, there’s just not much to say about a game the Mets lost 7-1 in 14 innings pushing them back to two games under .500.

Once again, Jacob deGrom was great. He twice got out of bases loaded jams unscathed. However, he didn’t get through the sixth unscathed as Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI single to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

With the Cubs starting LHP Mike Montgomery, it appeared that would be enough as the Mets are literally the worst offensive team against LHP.

That made Michael Conforto‘s sixth inning solo shot all the more miraculous. Really, more than anything, it took deGrom off the hook. With the Mets blowing games for him left and right, it was the least the team could do.

And the Mets offense would deliver the absolute least compiling seven hits and 15 strikeouts in 14 innings.

Speaking of strikeouts, the Mets set a new franchise record by striking out 24 Cubs in this game.

Of those 24, 13 came from deGrom in his seven innings of work.

After deGrom departed, Robert Gsellman, Jeurys Familia, Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles, and Tim Peterson (2.0) combined to pitch six scoreless.

The problem is while that quintet put up zeroes, the Cubs bullpen was doing the same highlighted by Luke Farrell, who entered the game with a 6.75 ERA, pitched five scoreless.

After running through the available and more competent arms, Mickey Callaway finally had to turn to Buddy Baumann. He was predictably terrible.

The big hit off Baumann was a one out two RBI Albert Almora, Jr. double. At that point, Baumann was lifted for Gerson Bautista.

Bautista was equally as bad. First, it was a Ben Zobrist two RBI double. Then, it was a Javier Baez two run homer.

It was an ugly inning in a game full of ugly Mets offense. They’re now two games under .500, and you’re left wondering where rick bottom is going to be because the Mets apparently have not yet found it.

Game Notes: P.J. Conlon is now an ex-Met as the Dodgers claimed him off waivers.

The Mets Hate The Irish

Well, maybe hate isn’t the right word, but it could be fair to say that Irish Mets fans do not get the same amount of respect that other Mets fans of different nationalities receive.  Certainly, there is enough evidence to suggest this is the case.  For example, there is the Mets Irish Heritage Night at Citi Field on Friday, August 3rd, which comes complete with this t-shirt:

Well, there is a lot wrong with this.  First and foremost, that’s a four leaf clover, not a shamrock.  Really, it takes a simple Google search to realize the four leaf clover is not an Irish symbol.  The shamrock, which has deeper religious meanings to Irish Catholics is an official symbol of Ireland.

But don’t worry, you won’t see a lot of these t-shirts strewn about Citi Field that day because this is a special giveaway you can only obtain if you purchase a ticket through the website and get a special voucher.  Otherwise, you and everyone else parading through the ballpark will be donning your 70s style New York Mets t-shirt.

This goes much further than just their refusal to get a basic symbol of Ireland correct.

Are you one of the many Irish Mets fans who have an apostrophe in your name?  Do you want to get a personalized jersey for you or your kids?  Not happening as the Mets and MLB will not personalize jerseys with an apostrophe, which is really bizarre when you consider the Mets have a Travis d’Arnaud, who is a player with an apostrophe in his name.

If you want to dig deeper, you will remember the Mets outright refusal to bring back 2015 NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy, and their choosing to DFA Irish born P.J. Conlon instead of Jose Reyes, who has been the worst player in baseball this year, or Marcos Molina, who has regressed in every areas of his game this year and has just one option remaining after this season.

Overall, you can be sure the Mets will say they don’t hate the Irish.  That may be true, but on the same hand, they treat them with such little regard that they get their symbols wrong, and they don’t produce fan gear with apostrophes.  For some reason, because this is against the Irish, it will be okay and overlooked.

Rosario’s Signature Game Leads To Mets Win

More than any game this season, you expected the Mets to lose yesterday.  Jason Vargas and his 10.62 ERA were pitching on three days rest.  The team made a flurry of moves to add Tim Peterson, Buddy Baumann, and Scott Copeland, a trio many joked were really names spit out by the Madden name generator, to the roster.   Once again, they had an extremely short bench.

And to make matters worse, the Braves were pitching Julio Teheran, who has owned the Mets in his career.

But something very interesting happened.  Vargas was actually good.  The veteran lefty would pitch five shutout innings against the Braves.  Better yet because of a pair of fourth inning doubles from Jay Bruce and Adrian Gonzalez, the Mets actually had a 1-0 lead through five.

Interestingly enough, many were actually second guessing Mickey Callaway‘s decision to pull Vargas after five.  The main arguments were he was pitching well, and he had only thrown 65 pitches.

Those arguments neglect the obvious counterpoint that Vargas was on short rest, and he’s been bad all year.  Those five innings were a gift, and rather than look in the horse’s mouth to see if anything was left, he thanked the baseball gods and gave the ball to Peterson.

Peterson is an interesting story because as the Mets 2012 20th round draft pick, he was going to have to do more than the average prospect to prove himself.  He has done just that coming off a 1.14ERA in Binghamton last year, a terrific stretch in the Arizona Fall League, and a 3.45 ERA and 12.6 K/9 for Las Vegas this year.  With the rash of injuries, at 27 years old, Peterson was finally going to get his shot.

He would immediately prove he belonged pitching a 1-2-3 sixth inning, an inning where he faced Ozzie AlbiesFreddie FreemanNick Markakis.  That is no small feat indeed.  In fact, in his two innings of work, he would allow just one hit.  Unfortunately, that one hit was a Johan Camargo homer to the same exact spot he hit his walk-off against Gerson Bautista the previous night.

Fortunately, that homer would cut the lead to 2-1 because the Mets came up with two huge two out hits against Teheran.  First, Amed Rosario hit a rope to center past Ender Inciarte that turned into a two out triple.  Then, Brandon Nimmo would jump on a 3-2 pitch and rip a single to right to give the Mets a then 2-0 led.  That triple set up an important insurance run, but it would not be the last impact Rosario would have on this game.

In the top of the eighth, Shane Carle relieved Teheran, and the Mets immediately went on the attack.  After a Jose Bautista double, Bruce was intentionally walked, and Kevin Plawecki worked out a six pitch walk.  Gonzalez, who the Braves are paying $21.8 million not to play for them, hit an RBI single giving the Mets a 3-1 lead.  The rally would end there as Luis Guillorme hit into an inning ending double play.

Callaway then made a decision he promised to make heading into the season, but he has not followed through.  He brought Jeurys Familia into the eighth inning because the Braves had the top of the lineup coming up.  No, this was not going to be a six out save chance.  Rather, Callaway was using his best reliever to get out the best hitters in the Braves lineup.

The move almost blew up with Albies and Freeman hitting a pair of one out singles followed by Markakis smoking a grounder up the middle.  That’s when Rosario made a truly great defensive play to save the inning and perhaps the game:

That 6-4-3 double play ended the inning, and it might’ve saved the game.

In the top of the ninth, Rosario and Nimmo added an insurance run off Miguel Socolovich with a pair of one out doubles to increase the Mets lead t0 4-1.  That three run margin was more than enough for Robert Gsellman to record his first one inning save.

Ulitmately, in a series of many twists and turns, the Mets battled through injury and fatigue and somehow walked away with a split. Perhaps more importantly, we now have a signature game from Rosario, who suddenly seems like he is figuring it out in each and every aspect of his game.  He’s been exciting, and as he continues to develop, you have more and more reason to get excited about this Mets team.

It speaks to the resiliency this team has, and it will be interesting to see what it means for this team as it begins to get healthy with Todd Frazier and Anthony Swarzak on the horizon.

Game Notes: To make room for the aforementioned three relievers, Phillip Evans and Jacob Rhame were sent down to Triple-A.  To make room for Copeland and Peterson on the 40 man roster, Juan Lagares was transferred to the 60 day disabled list, and P.J. Conlon was designated for assignment.

As Expected: Mets Split Doubleheader Losing deGrom’s Gem and Winning Conlon’s Mess

If we learned anything from the doubleheader yesterday, it was baseball makes no sense whatsoever.  How could it?  Somehow, someway, the New York Mets are 5-6 in Jacob deGrom starts and 2-0 in P.J. Conlon. starts.  Just to put how bizarre that is in perspective Conlon has pitched fewer innings in his brief MLB career than deGrom did yesterday.

And it was another virtuoso performance from deGrom yesterday.  The only mark against him was a Tyler Flowers seventh inning shot.  That had made the game 2-1 with the Mets scoring on a Devin Mesoraco bases loaded walk.  While Luis Guillorme would end that rally, he made up for it by hitting a double over the head over Preston Tucker, who had not played the field in about a month and looked like it.  On the double, Mesoraco would score from first.

After the Flowers homer, the Braves apparently smelled blood in the water because they went on the attack.  Tucker walked, and Johan Camargo singled on a ball any other second baseman not named Asdrubal Cabrera fields.  With runners at the corners, the Braves seemed poised to tie the game.  It never happened.

First, deGrom struck out Dansby Swanson.  He then got Kurt Suzuki to pop out to swallow left with Amed Rosario getting to it and running it back to the infield to prevent any shenanigans.  Finally, deGrom got Ender Inciarte to ground out to end the inning.

After that, deGrom gave the Mets the seven innings they needed on a day where they were going to have a bullpen game in the second half of the doubleheader.  It was a 115 pitch virtuoso performance.  In total, he allowed the one run on five hits and three walks while striking out eight.  He furthered this case to win the Cy Young.

It didn’t matter because instead of going to Jeurys Familia, Mickey Callaway went with Seth Lugo.

Admittedly, going to Familia for six outs may not have seemed like the obvious move, but when you’re looking to use your whole bullpen for the second game, why not use Lugo’s for 2-3 innings instead of either setting up or trying to get the six out save himself. For whatever reason, Callaway tabbed Lugo to go out there and get his first career save against the first place team in the division.

It didn’t happen. In the eighth, Ozzie Albies started the inning off with a bunt single, and he was on third after a Freddie Freeman single.  To his credit, Lugo did limit the Braves to just a Nick Markakis sacrifice fly to tie the game at 2-2.

The Mets would take the lead in the ninth when Mesoraco, who was 2-3 with two runs, a homer, and two RBI on the day the catching competition really started, hit a go-ahead homer.

Even with Familia warming, Callaway went to Lugo to pick up the win.  Seemingly just as Gary Cohen’s words left his mouth about the last time he homered, Charlie Culberson hit a walk-off two run homer to give the Braves a 4-3 win.

It was a brutal fourth loss in a row featuring a third bullpen meltdown and questionable Callaway decision making.  It was a bad omen for the night portion of the doubleheader.  Fortunately, it didn’t pan out that way.  Maybe, because in the five plus hour rain delay between games, the Mets finally figured something out.

Like most games recently, the game started off quite well with Adrian Gonzalez opening the scoring with an RBI single.  The rally would continue with Kevin Plawecki, fresh off the disabled list, reaching on an awful throw to second by Brandon McCarthy.  Instead, of an inning ending double play, it was 2-0 Mets.  That lead would grow to 3-1 Mets with a Brandon Nimmo homer to lead off the third.

That lead was not for long as the Braves went to work against Conlon in the third.  After a Freeman two RBI single, Markakis would double setting up runners at second and third with no outs and the game already tied 3-3.  Conlon was done for the day, and Callaway would tab Hansel Robles to come on to stifle the rally.

While it may not have been pretty, in an inning which included Camargo getting hit by a pitch, Robles got through the inning allowing just a Suzuki sacrifice fly to give the Braves a 4-3.  In total, Robles would actually give the Mets three scoreless innings, which not only kept them in the game, but it would allow the Mets to take the lead.

The big hit of the game would come from Rosario.  After Plawecki, Jose Reyes, and Guillorme hit consecutive one out singles to load the bases, Rosario hit a go-ahead two RBI single giving the Mets a 5-4 lead.

To the surprise of no one, the lead didn’t last.  Robert Gsellman came into the sixth, and he was greeted with a Ryan Flaherty single and an Inciarte double to set up runners at second and third with no outs.  Rather than tempt fate by bringing in Jerry Blevins again (who was not warming), after Albies struck out, the Mets intentionally walked Freeman to load the bases before Gsellman allowed an infield single to Markakis to tie the score.

Naturally, Reyes could not make the play.

After a mound visit, Gsellman got a groundball from Suzuki.  Gonzalez made the heads up play of getting the out a home to preserve the tie.  Culberson would not have a second act of heroics today as he flied out to center to end the inning.

In what should be a lot of credit to this Mets team, they responded in the seventh.  The rally started with a Michael Conforto leadoff single. He’d be erased on a Jay Bruce fielder’s choice, but the Mets would load the bases with ensuing singles from Gonzalez and Plawecki.  Reyes, once again, failed by striking out.

Guillorme would give the Mets the lead with a clutch two out two RBI single, and Rosario followed with an RBI single of his own giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.

There would be no bullpen meltdown as Jacob Rhame pitched a perfect seventh before Callaway finally allowed Familia go out there and get his six out save.  With that, in a very odd way, the Mets earned a split of the doubleheader, and they ended a frustrating losing streak.  It will be very interesting to see how this team responds later today if they actually play the game.

Game 1 Notes: In the fifth, Braves starter Max Fried picked-off both Conforto and Jose Bautista off first base.  Bruce played first base.  Technically, Bautsita’s goes down as a caught stealing as he broke for second.  There was a long rain delay when there was no rain on the field.

Game 2 Notes: During the broadcast, Keith Hernandez noted his belief Reyes is struggling at third because he is not comfortable there.  It should be noted Reyes has played more than 90 games at the position and was signed to be a utility player, a utility player who refuses to play the outfield.

Mets Mishandling Corey Oswalt

The Mets were aware but not yet set on putting Jacob deGrom on the 10 day disabled list, so rather than make sure Corey Oswalt was in line to start the opener against Cincinnati, the team decided to add P.J. Conlon to the 40 man roster and have him make the start.

After Conlon’s short start and with Jason Vargas making a start, the Mets needed to add a fresh arm in the bullpen who could give them some length.  Instead of calling up Chris Flexen, who was on normal rest, the team called-up Oswalt, who was on three days rest.  Since that time, the team has more than ample opportunity to use him, and they haven’t:

Game Bullpen Innings Relievers  Used
May 8th 6.0 Lugo (1.0), Ramos (1.0), Blevins (0.1), Robles (0.1), Sewald (1.1)
May 9th 3.0+ Gsellman (2.0), Lugo (1.0), Ramos (0.0)
May 11th 4.0 Lugo (1.0), Sewald (1.0), Ramos (1.0), Familia (1.0)
May 12th 7.0 Gsellman (3.0), Sewald (2.0), Ramos (1.0), Familia (1.0)

Overall, the Mets needed to go to their bullpen for 19+ innings in a four game stretch.  Robert Gsellman and Paul Sewald went multiple innings on multiple occasions.  AJ Ramos appeared in four games with Seth Lugo appearing in three.  Breaking it down, there were plenty of chances for the Mets to get Oswalt in for even an inning.  They didn’t.

It’s more than that. For a team gun shy to use Oswalt on short rest, between days off and rain outs, Oswalt has not pitched since Saturday, May 5th, he is not going to get a chance to pitch until 10 days after his last star, and that’s if he’s even used. Effectively, Oswalt has skipped two starts so he can sit idly by in the bullpen.

This is not how a team handles their top Major League ready starter.  Oswalt needs to be on a mound pitching, working on his game, and generally improving as a pitcher.  Really, there is no benefit to him by his not pitching, and seeing how Mickey Callaway is reticent to use him, there is really no benefit to him even being on the roster.

The roster spot could be better allocated towards Buddy Baumann, who could serve as a second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, or Tyler Bashlor, who has been lights out in Binghamton.  You could even argue the spot should go to Conlon, who could serve as the 2015 version of Sean Gilmartin.

As for Oswalt, he’s serving no purpose right now, and he’s not getting the starts he needs.  The Mets need him in Triple-A at the ready in case Vargas doesn’t improve.  He needs to be at the ready in the event Steven Matz suffers another injury.  Really, they need him to do anything other than sitting unused in the bullpen.  That’s not benefiting anyone.

Mismanagement, Vargas Has Mets Seeing Red in Blowout Loss

Well, if you were feeling good about the Mets after their win last night, those feelings were quickly dispatched.  Todd Frazier, arguably their second best position player all year, landed on the disabled list meaning Jose Reyes was in the starting lineup.  Worse than that, Jason Vargas was the starter.

Right away, Vargas loaded the bases, and he then allowed a Eugenio Suarez two RBI single to give the Reds an early 2-0 lead.  It was a minor miracle the Reds did not score more from that point.

However, they would score two more in the second with Suarez once again being the catalyst.  His RBI double scored Joey Votto from first, and he would come home on a Tucker Barnhart, the catcher the Reds kept, RBI single.

Overall, Vargas’ final line was 4.0 innings, six hits, four runs, four earned, two walks, and one strikeout.  As poor as that start was, it should be noted this was his best start this year.  With his pitching, you almost have to question why he’s guaranteed a starting spot while the team is keeping some pitchers in the minors and sending another one to Cincinnati.

That four run margin would prove to be enough for a number of reasons.

The first was Reds starter, Luis Castillo, no not that one, but then again it doesn’t really matter because nothing good happens to the Mets when there is a Luis Castillo on the field.  He would limit the Mets to just a single over the first five innings.

Finally, in the sixth, the Mets would break through on a Wilmer Flores one out homer.  Now, Flores did not start the game.  Rather, he was double switched in for Amed Rosario despite Rosario being the one Met with a hit, and Reyes being a terrible defensive shortstop.

The Mets would continue from there with a two out rally.  With consecutive walks to Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, and Adrian Gonzalez, the Reds forced home a run.  That’s when Mickey Callaway opted to pinch hit Brandon Nimmo instead of Juan Lagares or even the newly acquired Devin Mesoraco to face the left-hander Amir Garrett.

Nimmo struck out to end the rally, and things would only go downhill from there.

AJ Ramos was fighting it, but he kept the Reds off the board in the sixth, but he would allow a double to Scott Schebler, and with Votto coming up, Jerry Blevins would come into the game.  He got his man, but he would be pulled for Hansel Robles.

After a Suarez single, Scooter Gennett would have Robles pointing to the sky again with his three run homer giving the Reds a 7-2 lead.

Making this game worse was the fact the Mets had called up Corey Oswalt in place of P.J. Conlon to give them some length in the bullpen.  Of course, they called up Oswalt on three days rest instead of Chris Flexen on full rest.  The end result was Callaway ripping through his bullpen trying to save Oswalt’s arm . . . the very same Oswalt who was called up to supposedly help protect against that.

That’s embarrassing.  Almost as embarrassing as getting blown out by the now nine win Reds team.

Game Notes: On the eve of the game, Matt Harvey was traded to the Reds for Mesoraco.

Mets Offense Snaps Funk, Bullpen Holds On

After a horrid offensive homestand, Mets fans were left with the hope coming to hitter’s parks like The Great American Ballpark and Citizen’s Bank Park would help wake up this Mets offense.  Well, on the second pitch of the game from Homer Bailey to Michael Conforto, it seems like our hope was well placed:

The combination of the Reds pitching and Citizen’s Bank Park really did wake up this Mets offense.  Things were going so well offensively that not only did the Mets score in each of the first five innings, but Adrian Gonzalez would hit two home runs.

Jay Bruce would also homer to ensure that all the pure left-handed hitters would have a homer run on the day.

But it was more than Conforto and Gonzalez who woke up.  Amed Rosario was 2-3 with an RBI and a sac fly. With the exception of Asdrubal Cabrera and Todd Frazier, the two who happened to be their most consistent hitters all year, each Met in the starting lineup had at least one hit.

Take out Jose Lobaton and all the starters had multi-hit games.

In the beginning, this seemed as if it was going to be more than enough run support for P.J. Conlon and the entire Mets pitching staff.  The Irish born lefty making his MLB debut got off to a great start keeping the Reds scoreless through two and to just one run through three.

With two outs in the fourth, and the Reds gaining some momentum, with three doubles in the inning coming from Eugenio Suarez, Scooter Gennett, and Tucker Barnhart, Mickey Callaway went to Paul Sewald to nip the rally in the bud.

Sewald did just that, but he would run into trouble in the sixth yielding a home run to Suarez, and then leaving runners at the corners with one out.  Robert Gsellman came on, and he allowed just a sacrifice fly to make it 7-5.

Like Sewald, Gsellman was in to pitch multiple innings, and he would even hit for himself striking out.  When Gennett homered to make it 7-6, you were left questioning the decision.

You were also left questioning some of the Mets base running.

In the sixth, the first inning the Mets did not score, the Reds caught Rosario in a run down off third base on a Yoenis Cespedes ground ball.  He was eventually tagged out, and the run did not score.

In the eighth, Jose Reyes pinch ran for Cespedes, and he misread a ball, and did not bust it to third causing Glenn Sherlock to hold him at third.

Fortuantely for the Mets, it did not matter as Jeurys Familia came on and recorded the save giving the Mets their first win in over a week.

Game Notes: Conlon joined teammates Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz in getting a hit in his MLB debut.