Paul Sewald

Mets Outlast Nationals

Like two nights ago, the Mets had the opportunity to take out one of the leading Cy Young candidates to help Jacob deGrom‘s Cy Young case. Like with the game against Aaron Nola, the Mets dealt a small blow but could not deliver the knockout punch.

The Mets did try. In the third, Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce went back-to-back to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.

The one weakness in Max Scherzer‘s game this year was the long ball, and the Mets took full advantage. Conversely, the major strength in Scherzer’s game was the strikeout, and he mowed down the Mets.

After the Bruce homer, the Mets had just one hit and one walk, which did allow Scherzer to go seven. In total, Scherzer increased his lead over deGrom in innings and strikeouts, but his ERA rose .04.

For a while, it seemed as if the Mets were going to hit Scherzer with a loss because somehow someway Jason Vargas was out-pitching Scherzer.

The only damage against Vargas was an Anthony Rendon two run homer in the sixth. Seth Lugo, as part of his 1.1 innings, got the final out of the inning to preserve the 3-2 lead.

After Scherzer was pulled, the Mets immediately went to work against left-handed reliever Matt Grace.

Jeff McNeil hit a leadoff triple, and he’d come home on a Bruce single past the drawn-in infield to give the Mets a 4-2 lead. It wasn’t enough for this Mets bullpen.

Anthony Swarzak allowed the first two to reach in the bottom of the eighth, and Daniel Zamora would come on to face Bryce Harper. In the lengthy at-bat. Zamora would get the best of Harper who just missed out as he flew out to deep right field.

Maybe because it was because he opted to take the bullpen cart, but Robert Gsellman would surrender the lead. He first run came on a Rendon groundout, and the second scored on a Juan Soto RBI double.

With that, Scherzer was off the hook. With us living in a world where deGrom may win the Cy Young with a losing record, the loss was probably inconsequential.

The game would go extras, and the Mets seemed poised to end it early with them loading the bases in the 10th with just one out.

However, even with Greg Holland losing the strike zone having thrown seven straight balls, Jack Reinheimer swung at a 1-0 pitch and hit a soft tapper to Holland, who started the inning ending 1-2-3 double play.

In that 10th inning, McNeil was surprisingly sent up to bunt. In that at-bat, home plate umpire made a few very questionable strike calls, including ruling McNeil bunted at a pitch. This led Mickey Callaway to flip and earn his second career ejection.

In the 11th, Brandon Nimmo hit a leadoff double, and he would be stranded there.

What was surprising was how Jacob Rhame returned serve. After allowing a leadoff double to Ryan Zimmerman, who tagged up and moved to third on a Matt Wieters line out, Rhame would strike out Mark Reynolds and Victor Robles to end the inning.

Finally, in the 12th, the Mets retook the lead.

Amed Rosario led off the inning with a single off Jefry Rodriguez, and this time, McNeil would get the bunt down.

The bases were loaded after Conforto was intentionally walked, and Bruce walked after him. Jose Lobaton pinch hit for Rhame, and he delivered with a go-ahead sacrifice fly to give the Mets a 5-4 lead.

Paul Sewald was given the 12th, and he delivered his second career save with a 1-2-3 inning. Just because it was a 1-2-3 inning, it doesn’t mean it was uneventful.

After Heyward was called out on a pitch outside the strike zone, he argued the call, and he was tossed by Home Plate Umpire D.J. Reyburn. Heyward didn’t even bother going to the clubhouse. Instead, he watched the final out from the bench.

Come next week, Harper will join the Mets in watching games from the bench as the Nationals will soon be eliminated from the postseason.

Game Notes: Wilmer Flores was shut down for the rest of the year after being diagnosed with arthritis in his knees.

Vargas Gets Run Support deGrom Never Had

The Mets had one of those odd not quite a doubleheader type of days with the Mets and Cubs needing to complete yesterday’s suspended game. The Mets would pick up where they left off by shouting themselves in the foot.

The 10th inning ended on a strike ’em out – throw ’em out double play. Jay Bruce struck out, and Michael Conforto was caught stealing.

In the 11th, Wilmer Flores lined into a double play.

As bad as that was Paul Sewald imploded in the 11th. He first walked Javier Baez and then threw away a sacrifice bunt attempt. That left no choice but to walk Kyle Schwarber to load the bases.

After he struck out Albert Almora, Jr., Mickey Callaway went to Daniel Zamora to get Ben Zobrist. He didn’t, and the Cubs won the suspended game 2-1.

After two close and heart wrenching losses in a row, the Mets set out to ensure there would be no room for late game heroics. They immediately put up a four spot courtesy of a Todd Frazier grand slam:

Of course, the Mets gave this type of run support to Jason Vargas and not Jacob deGrom.

What was interesting was Vargas actually let those four runs hold up even if he was a little shaky.

He escaped a first inning jam with runners at the corners by striking out David Bote. He allowed just run in the second after Willson Contreras led off with a double.

From there, Vargas really settled in, and he was surprisingly keeping the Cubs at bay. Vargas’ final line would be 5.1 innings, four hits, run, one earned, two walks, and six strikeouts.

With his four straight good start in a row, he’s lowered his ERA from 8.75 to 6.56. Perhaps more impressive than that was his retiring a batter the third time through the lineup for the first time all season.

Vargas got the win because not only did the bullpen make those runs hold up, but the Mets offense exploded in the seventh. Amazingly, it was all with two outs.

Wilmer Flores hit a single, advanced on a passed ball, and scored on an Amed Rosario bloop single.

Rosario scored after a Jeff McNeil walk and Austin Jackson RBI single. Both McNeil and Jackson scored on a Just Release Him Already RBI triple.

The Mets plated two more runs in the ninth on a rally started when Tomas Nido reached on a fielding error by Cubs reliever James Norwood. The rally culminated with Frazier and Brandon Nimmo hitting RBI singles to make it 10-1 Mets.

In the bottom of the ninth, 26th man Jacob Rhame who was called up for the ninth time this season allowed two runs before finally closing the door on the Mets 10-3 victory.

Overall, the Mets played 11 innings, scored 10 runs, and went 1-1. It’s been one of those seasons.

Game Notes: With the loss, Sewald is now 0-11 in his career with one save.

Nationals Take Frustrations Out on Mets

The Nationals scoreless streak had reached 32 innings, and with the way Steven Matz was pitching, it seemed like that streak may reach all the way to 36 innings with the Mets completing a sweep where they allowed no runs.

For a second in the sixth inning, Trea Turner looked to snap that streak with a lead off home run, but the umpires on the field ruled it was a double. It was a call upheld on replay:

While it didn’t go out, it was just a matter of time before the Nationals scored.  Anthony Rendon singled Turner to third, and Turner would score on a Juan Soto ground out.  Matz would get out of the inning without allowing another run, but the damage was done.

Matz was destined to lose this game as the Mets mustered only three hits in the entire game against Jefry Rodriguez and the Nationals bullpen.  Jeff McNeil was one of the three Mets who got a hit, and he would leave the game in the seventh with a strained quad.

Entering the eighth, Paul Sewald took the mound to try to keep the game to one run hoping beyond hope the Mets could run into one and tie the score.  Instead, Sewald imploded.

Sewald loaded the bases and walked in a run.  Then Bryce Harper entered the game as a pinch hitter, and he unloaded the bases with a three RBI double.  On that play, Jose Reyes took the relay throw and spiked the throw home.  With Tomas Nido unable to field the throw, Soto would score easily.

Tyler Bashlor would come on for Sewald, and he really wasn’t any better allowing homers to both Wilmer Difo and Eaton.

All told, it was an eight run inning with five runs charged to Sewald and three charged to Bashlor.

In the ninth, Corey Oswalt, a starting pitcher, was asked to come in and pitch an inning.  On the bright side, he accomplished that task by recording three outs in the top of the ninth.  On the downside, he pitched terribly.

The Nationals were were clearly not running up the score going station-to-station instead of taking the extra base.  This led to them loading the bases.  Difo first singled home a run, and Spencer Kieboom walked to force home a run.  Mark Reynolds would then unload the bases with a grand slam.

That would make the score 15-0.  To put in perspective how poorly this Mets season has gone, this wasn’t even the Mets worst loss to the Nationals.  On July 31st, the Mets would lose 25-4 against the Nationals, which was the worst loss in franchise history.  So to that extent, today’s game wasn’t so bad.

Game Notes: Jay Bruce played all nine innings at first base.

Dom Played First And Homered In Mets Win

Since the All Star Break, the Mets are playing much better baseball. In fact, the team is actually two games over .500, and they have won 12 of their last 19 games.

One of the major reasons for the improved play is the Mets are finally playing their talented younger players, and they’re taking advantage of their opportunity.

Last night, that included Dominic Smith, who not only played first base, but he also homered off Casey Kelly:

That second inning homer did not end the rally.

Jack Reinheimer hit a two out single, and Jose Bautista, who leadoff for some reason, reached on a Brandon Crawford error.

Jeff McNeil then drove home Reinheimer with an RBI single. With that single and his first inning triple, McNeil reached base safely in seven consecutive at-bats.

What’s amazing about that first inning triple is McNeil didn’t score even with Todd Frazier reaching on a Crawford throwing error.

Speaking of Frazier, he would drive home the third run of the inning on a ground rule double.

In this 2016 Wild Card Game rematch, Noah Syndergaard would give back two of the runs right away.

After consecutive singles and Kelly’s sacrifice bunt, Syndergaard got Steven Duggar to hit an RBI groundout. Joe Panik then hit a two out RBI single to pull the Giants to within a run.

Syndergaard would shut the Giants down from there. In six innings, he would throw 101 pitches limiting the Giants to two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out five.

With Bautista hitting a solo homer in the fourth, he’d depart with a 4-2 lead.

Mickey Callaway then put in Drew Smith for what seemed like his first high leverage situation.

First batter he faced, Austin Slater, hit a homer.

With one out in the inning, he’d hit Chase d’Arnaud with a pitch before Duggar popped out on a bunt attempt.

Callaway then went to Jerry Blevins, who retired Panik to get out of the jam.

Frazier got that run back with a homer in the bottom of the seventh,

Robert Gsellman was dominant in the bottom of the eight striking out two of the three batters he faced.

Callaway tabbed Daniel Zamora to get Crawford to start the ninth before giving the ball to Paul Sewald, who got the final two outs to earn his first career save.

With that, the Mets won 5-3. Who knew that this team could win young players getting playing time and a chance to succeed?

Game Recap: With the win, the Mets have ensured at least a series split. The Mets have now either won or split their past five series.

Orioles Beat Mets In Game No One Should’ve Watched

This was a matchup not even Gary Cohen to bring himself to watch.

The Mets and Orioles entered the night a combined 65 games out of first place, and the pitching matchup was Andrew Cashner against Jason Vargas.

Really, to put how dreadful both this game and the Orioles are, Vargas’ final line was 6.0 innings, five hits, two runs, two earned, three walks, and a strikeout.

Astonishingly, he had a 2-1 lead in the sixth before allowing a homer to Adam Jones.

That eliminated the lead from the Mets fifth inning rally. Up until that inning, the Mets were mostly stymied by Cashner, who retired the first 10 straight and 12 of the 13 batters he faced through four.

That changed with Brandon Nimmo drawing a two out walk and Todd Frazier singling. For a moment, it looked like that rally would sputter out with Austin Jackson hitting into a 6-4-3 double play.

However, Jose Bautista would draw a walk on a 3-2 pitch, and Kevin Plawecki and Amed Rosario would hit consecutive two out RBI singles.

After that rally, it was all Orioles beginning with the aforementioned Jones homer.

Bobby Wahl came on in the seventh, and he struggled mightily starting with a Chris Davis homer. Remember, Davis entered the night hitting .148/.242/.299. That’s not a typo. That’s just how bad a hitter he’s been this year.

After that, he issued a pair of two out walks leading to Mickey Callaway bringing in Paul Sewald, who allowed an RBI single to Renato Nuñez.

On the play, Frazier dove to stop the ball, but he deflected it towards center and past Rosario.

Sewald would get out of the inning without allowing another run, but he would allow a two run homer to Tim Beckham in the eighth giving the hapless Orioles a 6-2 lead.

After a Nimmo triple and Frazier RBI single in the ninth, it was 6-3 Orioles, which was the final score of this nearly unwatchable game.

Game Notes: The Orioles have the worst record in baseball and are 3-0 against the Mets

Mets Problem Isn’t Analytics, It’s The Wilpons

As reported by Mike Puma of the New York Post, Mets owner Fred Wilpon does not want to hire a younger and more analytics driven executive for two reasons.  The first is he feels he will have a harder time connecting with that person.  The second and perhaps all the more baffling is the “thought among team officials that perhaps the Mets became too analytics driven in recent seasons under Sandy Alderson’s watch . . . .”

Taking the thought at face value, we really need to question which analytics the Mets are using to inform their decisions.

For starters, look at Asdrubal Cabrera.  Everyone knew he was no longer a shortstop, so that left the question over whether he should have been a second or third baseman heading into the 2018 season.

In 2017, Cabrera was a -6 DRS in 274.1 innings at second.  That should have come as no surprise as he was a -10 DRS the last time he saw extensive action at second base (2014).  Conversely, in his 350.1 innings at third last year, he had a 1 DRS.

Naturally, the Mets went with Cabrera at second this season where he has been an MLB worst -20 DRS.  That makes him not just the worst second baseman in all of baseball, it makes him the worst defensive infielder in all of baseball.

Of course, the Mets got there by acquiescing a bit to Cabrera’s preference to play second over third.  This was also the result of the team turning down a Paul Sewald for Jason Kipnis swap.  That deal was nixed over money.

With respect to Sewald, he was strong when the season began.  In April, he had a 1.91 ERA and a 0.805 WHIP.  Since that point, Sewald has a 5.73 ERA, a 1.485 WHIP, and multiple demotions to Triple-A.

As for Kipnis, he has struggled this year hitting .226/.313/.363.  It should be noted this was mostly due to a horrific April which saw him hit .178/.254/.243.  Since that tough start to the season, Kipnis has gotten progressively better.  Still, it is difficult to lose sleep over Kipnis even if the rejected trade put Cabrera at second and it led to the Mets signing Todd Frazier, who is hitting .217/.298/.368.

In addition to bringing Cabrera back into the fold, the Mets also brought back Jay Bruce after having traded the then impending free agent to the Cleveland Indians for Ryder Ryan.

At the time the Mets signed Bruce, they needed a center fielder.  The team already had Yoenis Cespedes in left, and once he returned from the disabled list, the team was going to have Michael Conforto in right.  Until the time Conforto was ready, the team appeared set with Brandon Nimmo in the short-term.

In 69 games in 2017, Nimmo hit .260/.379/.418.  In those games, Nimmo showed himself to be a real candidate for the leadoff spot on a roster without an obvious one, especially in Conforto’s absence.  With him making the league minimum and his having shown he could handle three outfield positions, he seemed like an obvious choice for a short term solution and possible someone who could platoon with Juan Lagares in center.

Instead, the Mets went with Bruce for $39 million thereby forcing Conforto to center where he was ill suited.  More than that, Bruce was coming off an outlier year in his free agent walk year.  Before that 2017 rebound season, Bruce had not had a WAR of at least 1.0 since 2013, and he had just one season over a 100 wRC+ in that same stretch.  In response to that one outlier season at the age of 30, the Mets gave Bruce a three year deal.

Still, that may not have been the worst contract handed out by the Mets this past offseason.  That honor goes to Jason Vargas.

The Mets gave a 35 year old pitcher a two year $16 million deal to be the team’s fifth starter despite the fact the team had real starting pitching depth.  At the time of the signing, the Mets had Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Chris Flexen, and Corey Oswalt as starting pitching depth.

Instead of using five of them and stashing four of them in Triple-A, the Mets opted to go with Vargas as the fifth starter.  Even better, they depleted their starting pitching depth by moving Gsellman and Lugo the to bullpen.  Of course, this had the added benefit of saving them money thereby allowing them to sign Anthony Swarzak, a 32 year old reliever with just one good season under his belt.

The Mets were rewarded with the decision to sign Vargas by his going 2-8 with an 8.75 ERA and a 1.838 WHIP.  He’s also spent three separate stints on the disabled list.

What’s funny about Vargasis he was signed over the objections of the Mets analytics department.  From reports, Vargas was not the only one.  Looking at that, you have to question just how anyone associated with the Mets could claim they have become too analytics driven.  Really, when you ignore the advice of those hired to provide analytical advice and support, how could you point to them as the problem?

They’re not.

In the end, the problem is the same as it always has been.  It’s the Wilpons.

They’re the ones looking for playing time for Jose Reyes at a time when everyone in baseball thinks his career is over.  They’re the ones not reinvesting the proceeds from David Wrights insurance policy into the team.  They’re the ones who have a payroll not commensurate with market size or World Series window.  They’re the ones rejecting qualified people for a job because of an 81 year year old’s inability to connect with his employees.

Really, you’re not going to find an analytical basis to defend making a team older, less versatile, more injury prone, and worse defensively.

What you will find is meddlesome ownership who thinks they know better than everyone.  That’s why they’re 17 games under .500 with declining attendance and ratings while saying the Yankees financial model is unsustainable at a time the Yankees are heading to the postseason again and the team has the highest valuation of any Major League team.

Rains, Reds Drown Mets

Give Jason Vargas credit.  It only took him just 14 pitches to earn the loss in tonight’s game.  That’s a new low for even him.

Sure, there were extenuating circumstances.  Four batters into the game, and the Reds already up 1-0, there was an hour and 45 minute rain delay.  This necessitated Vargas depart after just one-third of an inning, and it meant the Mets were going to use two pitchers before the Reds even used one.

Vargas left behind two baserunners, each of whom Paul Sewald allowed to score.  At that point, the Reds had an impenetrable 3-0 lead.

One of the reasons it was impenetrable was because Reds starter, Sal Romano, who grew up rooting for the Mets, dominated his hometown team.  In six innings pitched, he limited the Mets to one run on two hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

The Mets lone run off Romano came courtesy of a Jose Bautista two out RBI single which scored Brandon Nimmo, who had doubled earlier that inning.  The Bautista single ended a long 0-fer drought for Bautista.  After that single, he would begin a new one as the Mets offense wouldn’t get another hit until the ninth inning.

Overall, the Mets would use six pitchers to differing results.

Bobby Wahl had his first blemish as a member of the Mets allowing a two run homer to Phil ErvinJacob Rhame allowed a deep bomb to former Met Dilson Herrera.

Other than that, Tyler Bashlor and Drew Smith would combine to pitch four scoreless to both help save the bullpen and to also raise their stock with the organization.  It was a good thing they did because when you lose 6-1 like this, many don’t notice the positives many do actually contribute.

Game Notes: Between pitching changes and pinch hitters, the Mets would have nine different players appear in the ninth spot in the order – Vargas, Sewald, Wahl, Luis Guillorme, Bashlor, Jose Reyes, Smith, Austin Jackson, Rhame.

Calm Down on the Callaway Criticism

In yesterday’s 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the Atlanta Braves, people had a field day criticizing manager Mickey Callaway for the perceived errors the first time manager made.  Of course, all these criticisms first ignored how the Mets lost because the Braves at that much better, especially over this injury ravaged Mets team.  Moreover, the perceived errors were not really errors in and of themselves:

Error No.1 – The Starting Lineup

Considering how when he had the appearance of autonomy, Callaway buried Jose Reyes on the bench, we can see he lost some of his control, especially after Reyes complained publicly through the press.  Overall, Reyes is in the lineup because ownership wants him there (and fans won’t boo him like he deserves).  As for Brandon Nimmo, he’s been scuffling lately, and he could probably use a day off.

Error No. 2 – Going Too Long with Oswalt

Entering the seventh inning yesterday, Corey Oswalt was dealing.  At that point, he had allowed just one earned on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts.  He was only at 75 pitches, and he had just made fairly quick work of the Braves in the sixth inning.  It was the bottom of the lineup, and he was due up second.

Considering how well he was pitching, how well he has pitched, and this being a period to evaluate players, the mistake would have been pulling Oswalt.  He should have started that inning.  It’s just unfortunate he gave up the two run homer to Ender Inciarte to lose the lead.

Error No. 3 – Double Switching Nimmo into the Game

Looking at the Mets bench, the player you most wanted up in the bottom of the seventh was Nimmo.  If you are going to burn a bench player, you might as well move the pitcher’s spot as far away as possible to at least give yourself the chance to let Paul Sewald pitch more than just the end of the seventh.

Ultimately, do we really care if it mean Austin Jackson and not Jose Bautista came out of that game?  Sure, Jackson is hitting better, but it’s Bautista who you are showcasing in the hopes he snaps out of this funk and once again becomes a trade piece.

Error No. 4 – Not Waiting for the Pinch Hitter to be Announced

Before criticizing Callaway on this one, ask yourself one key question: Who would you rather face?  Ryan Flaherty, a career .218/.288/.350 hitter or Adam Duvall, a former All Star with two 30 home run seasons under his belt?  If you have a brain cell remaining, it’s Flaherty every single day of the week.

Well, Callaway checked to make sure Duvall wasn’t announced, and he went with Sewald over Jerry Blevins, who was warming, to enter the game.  By doing that, Callaway helped pressure Brian Snitker to put up the far worse hitter.

Seriously, how is that a bad thing?

As for the narrative spewed on SNY, it’s false.  Just completely false.

This is the National League.  A manager is not going to burn two hitters in a tie game in the seventh inning.  You don’t have that luxury.  Knowing that, Callaway was proactive and got the matchup he wanted.  Really, Mets fans should be happy he had the foresight to say he wanted to face Flaherty over Duvall.

And with Callaway, we know this is a strategy he likes to utilize.  After all, this is not the first time he has done it, and with this happening two times, we can expect to see this happen again.  That’s a good thing.

As an aside, let’s remember the thoughts each of the people criticizing Callaway have had:

Maybe we should pump the brakes on taking what this group says as gospel and look for them more for entertainment.

Also, it should be noted, doing it that way allowed Callaway let Sewald face the pinch hitter an Ronald Acuna before going to Blevins for the left-handed Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, and Nick Markakis.

Error No. 5 – Double Switching McNeil out of the Game

The Jeff McNeil decision is a little tricky.  On the one hand, you want him to get as many reps as he possibly can in the field and at the plate.  Yes, his turn in the lineup did come up in the ninth, but it was really unlikely to happen.  To that extent, double switching him out to get some length from Seth Lugo did make sense on paper.

Of course, the real anger here was Reyes stayed in the lineup.  That’s understandable, but remember this is a player being not just forced on the manager, but also into the lineup.  Reyes’ strangehold is such the Mets are challenging plays where he is clearly out because Reyes demands it:

Summation

During the game, Callaway showed he was a guy who was balancing both playing the guys he is told to play while trying to develop young players and winning games.  It’s unfortunate Oswalt couldn’t get an out in the seventh, and it’s a shame Tyler Bashlor gave up the game winning homer in the 10th.

When it comes to Bashlor, there’s your areas of criticism.  Callaway is still feeling his way through bullpen management, and even now, he’s still leaning on veteran arms like Lugo over ones like Bashlor.

As for the other decisions?  Give him credit for being willing to buck trends and try to dictate match-ups he wants.  Allow him to grow on the job and learn from his mistakes, but admit this wasn’t one of them.  Overall, remember the level of interference he has.

Ultimately, remember this is a guy who gets his guys to play.  In this three game set, the Mets went toe-to-toe with a much better Braves team, and they nearly took the series.  Give credit where it is due.

More importantly, don’t distract from the real problem with the Mets – ownership is not spending and is putting an inferior product on the field.

Game Notes: Once again, Luis Guillorme did not get into the game.  Part of the reason being is the Mets have said they do not see him as more than a pinch hitter or late inning replacement.  Instead, Reyes played the whole game while Todd Frazier, who originally did not start because he was just coming off the disabled list, came on late shifting Reyes to second.

Some Positives From Expected Loss To Braves

On the bright side, this was probably one of Jason Vargas‘ best starts of the season. The down side is his final line was 5.0 innings, six hits, four earned, three walks, and seven strikeouts.

With Mike Foltynewicz on the mound, it basically meant the Mets weren’t winning, and yes, that’s even with him having a 5.72 ERA in July.

It also didn’t hurt the Mets kept shooting themselves in the foot.

In the fifth, after Luis Guillorme hit a pinch hit RBI single to pull the Mets to within 4-2, Brandon Nimmo hit into an inning ending double play. On the bright side, Nimmo hit a leadoff homer.

In the sixth, after a Michael Conforto one out walk, Wilmer Flores was thrown out trying to go to second after Ronald Acuna initially overran his single.

Speaking of Flores and Acuna, Vargas appeared to have Acuna picked off of first in the third inning. Flores made a poor throw to second giving Acuna the steal. Five batters later and Johan Camargo hit a bases loaded, bases clearing double.

While the Mets lost 4-2, there were some bright spots including another terrific Nimmo diving grab:

For the talk of his misplays, Flores was 2-for-3 with a walk. That walked matched a career high. He set his previous career high in 2016 in 45 fewer at-bats.

Guillorme has not struck out in 49 plate appearances, which is the longest current streak in the majors.

The bullpen combined to pitch four scoreless innings.

This included Paul Sewald pitching 1.1 scoreless and Jerry Blevins pitching a scoreless inning which included his finally getting Freddie Freeman out.

Mostly, the thing which stands out is Bobby Wahl pitching a scoreless inning while hitting 98 on the gun while showing off an impressive slider and curve.

In the end, the Mets lost, which was to be expected. That said, there were some positives, which is exactly what you want to see from the Mets right now.

Game Notes: Jose Reyes started over Amed Rosario and will continue to do so for approximately two times a week for the rest of the year.

Mets Undefeated With McNeil

Well, it may not have been the prettiest of games, but the Mets came to play, and they beat the Pirates pretty handily.

Once again, it started with Michael Conforto and his hot hitting. After he would nearly hit one out against Pirates starter Nick Kingham, Wilmer Flores would actually hit one out.

The homer gave the Mets a 2-0 lead, and the team was off and running.

For three innings, it was back-and-forth with David Freese and Josh Harrison hitting two run homers off Steven Matz.

To Matz’s credit, he settled down, despite him apparently not feeling well, he gutted through six innings keeping the Pirates to the four runs. He would also strike out a career high nine batters.

Because the Mets bats exploded, he would get the win.

One of the big reasons why was Asdrubal Cabrera putting on a show in what is likely one of his final games in a Mets uniform. Overall, he was 3-5 with two runs, a double. homer, walk, and four RBI.

The first big inning for the Mets was the fourth, and it was aided by two big Pirates errors.

After a Cabrera two run homer, Conforto reached on a Harrison fielding error. Later that inning, with bases loaded and two outs in the inning, Freese threw it away allowing Devin Mesoraco to reach safely and Brandon Nimmo to score.

Jose Bautista would get thrown out at home with him trying to score from second. That would end the inning with the Mets leading 7-4.

The Mets bats awoke again in the seventh, and it began with a beautiful Jeff McNeil, who was starting his first game, base hit:

It was an uneven game for McNeil in his first ever start.  He was 1-2 with a run and two walks, and he did help turn two 5-4-3 double plays.  He also made an error and base running mistake in the game.  Fortunately, not only did they not cost the Mets the game, but his positives did outweigh his negatives in this game.  It should come as no surprise the team is 3-0 in games he has played.

After a Mesoraco single, Jose Reyes predictably failed to deliver the big hit by popping out to Freese.  Where Reyes failed, the player he is supposed to be mentoring (but isn’t) came up a delivered what could have been the final blow in the game.  Rosario’s RBI single gave the Mets an 8-4 lead.

With Pirates reliever Rich Rodriguez throwing a wild pitch, Mesoraco was able to get to third and Rosario to second.  This would not just allow Mesoraco to score on a Cabrera grounder to the right of the pitcher, but it would put Rosario to score on another wild pitch during Conforto’s at-bat.  At that point, it was 10-4 Mets, which is a rare place for this team to have been lately.

Things were going so well for this team, Matt den Dekker would even contribute hitting a sacrifice fly in the eighth.  In fact, Flores would hit one as well in the ninth giving the Mets a then 12-5 lead.

It is remarkable how the Mets had three sacrifice flies in this game.   Those are the sort of small ball runs this team had been leaving on the bases all season long.  While it has been a rough first year for Mickey Callaway, we are seeing this team improve fundamentally by getting bunts down and their starting to take advantage of these run scoring opportunities.

Surprisingly, Jerry Blevins and Paul Sewald would get the first cracks out of the bullpen.  Blevins might’ve helped his trade value with a scoreless inning.  Sewald struggled after two quick outs, but he did get out of his inning having allowed just one run scored.

It was the same story for Drew Smith.  He got two quick outs before getting into minor trouble, minor because the game was nowhere near jeopardy.  After he allowed one run, the Mets would win the game 12-6.

Surprisingly, this team is not only on a three game winning streak, but they are also over .500 in the Month of July.  Oh what could have been.

Game Notes: Corey Oswalt was sent down to Triple-A so Jason Vargas could be activated from the disabled list to start the Mets next game.