Paul Sewald

Nimmo Brewing Up Rallies In Mets Win

After scoring just four runs in a three game series against the worst pitching staff in the National League, they had to hope playing in a hitter’s park like Miller Park would rejuvenate the offense.

It didn’t work a few weeks back with a road trip to Cincinnati and Philadelphia, but tonight with Zach Davies, who just came off the DL, starting for the Brewers, it worked tonight.

It worked mostly because Brandon Nimmo, who was named as the everyday leadoff hitter by Mickey Callaway, was phenomenal. On the night, he was 4-4 with two runs, two doubles, and a walk. Going back to yesterday’s game, Nimmo reached base safely in eight straight at-bats.

Nimmo really got everything started with a leadoff triple in the third, and he would subsequently score with Wilmer Flores hitting a one out sacrifice fly to deep right.

The Mets “breakout” came in the third, and it started with an Amed Rosario leadoff single, and Nimmo followed with his first double of the night. Needing a big hit, the Mets were fortunate their best hitter this year, Asdrubal Cabrera, came to the plate, and he delivered an RBI double.

This chased Davies, and the Brewers brought in Dan Jennings to limit the damage. He’d get out of the inning, but not before allowing Flores to hit an RBI single expanding the lead to 4-0.

The scoring was capped in the seventh when Michael Conforto scored on a when Devin Mesoraco RBI double.

The five runs the Mets scored were more than enough for Steven Matz, who had his most encouraging start of the year.

It wasn’t encouraging because his six scoreless innings were so dominant. In fact, they really weren’t. He was in trouble all night long.

He had just one 1-2-3 inning, and he had runners in scoring position with less than two outs in the second and third innings.

Both times, Matz executed his pitches and got through the inning. Sure, you could focus on how poorly the Brewers have been against left-handed pitching. However, the Brewers are a good team, and Matz did the job.

Paul Sewald pitched the next two before Jacob Rhame pitched a scoreless ninth securing the 5-0 win.

Game Notes: Yoenis Cespedes and Todd Frazier took batting practice before the game. There is still no timetable for their beginning rehab assignments.

Eleven Years Later, Vargas Wins

There are many different ways to gauge how bad the Marlins are after they traded Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna. Perhaps the best way to gauge it was how Jason Vargasshut them down tonight.

Entering tonight, Vargas was 0-3 with a 13.86 ERA, and he had yet to pitch long enough to qualify for a win, which based on his ERA, was the least of his problems.

Astonishingly, Vargas was perfect through three. He wouldn’t get into trouble until the fifth. He was able to get through the two on one out situation by striking out Lewis Brinson and Elieser Hernandezto get out of the jam.

At 86 pitches, Vargas was done putting the game into the Mets offense and bullpen’s hands.

The Mets did have a lead when Vargas departed thanks to the speed of Amed Rosario.

In the third, Rosario reached on a one out single, and he was standing there when Asdrubal Cabreracame to the plate. Like he’s done all year, he delivered with a double to right center. On the double, Rosario took off, and with his incredible speed, he scored from first.

This gave the Mets a lead, but with the offense struggling, the bullpen did not have any margin of error.

In the sixth, Paul Sewald got into some trouble. After a two out Starlin Castro single, Sewald walked Brian AndersonJerry Blevins didn’t help matters but walking Justin Bour to load the bases. AJ Ramos came on and fell behind 2-0 to Derek Dietrich. Ramos battled back in that at-bat, and he struck out Dietrich to end the inning.

As impressive as that was, Ramos helped negate a lead-off walk to Miguel Rojas by being aggressive with his defense. He quickly and adeptly fielded a comeback we from JB Shuck. He quickly whipped and threw to second for the 1-6-3 inning ending double play.

The Mets would plate another run lather that inning on a rally started with a one out Devin Mesoraco double. After Luis Guillorme reached on an error by Martin Prado, Wilmer Flores made sure to make the Marlins pay for the misplay by going with an 0-2 fastball on the outer half to drive the ball past Castro and expand the Mets lead to 2-0.

Those two runs were plenty as Seth Lugo and Jeurys Familia combined to shut down the Marlins in the 8th and 9th to give the Mets their fourth win in a row.  It was also the first time Vargas won a game in a Mets uniform breaking a streak stretching back 11 years (and three teams).

Game Notes: The Mets are purportedly showing interest in recently released Jose Bautista.  It will be interesting to see what the corresponding move will be because the team says Jose Reyes‘ spot on the roster is safe.

Good And Bad Mets On Full Display In Comeback Win

This game was a clear dichotomy of what is going right and what is going wrong for the Mets.  First, the wrong –

The first moment was in the fourth inning.  Paul Goldschmidt broke out of his funk by hitting a homer off Steven Matz to tie the game at 2-2.  Later that inning, Matz went from 1-2 to walking Jarrod Dyson.  Matz then seemed to get out of the inning by picking Dyson off first:

Somehow both the umpires and the replay officials miss what everyone watching the game saw – Asdrubal Cabrera got the tag in ahead of the slide.

Well, it was a blown call, which led to a typical Matz letdown.  Diamondbacks backup catcher and former Yankee John Ryan Murphy hit a go-ahead two run homer.

With that, you had your typical 2018 Matz start.  He didn’t get through five.  He allowed two homers.  He allowed a big walk, and he had a meltdown.

Still, down 4-2, the Mets were still in this game, and it looked like they were going to break through in the sixth with Patrick Corbin on the ropes. The team didn’t break through.

First, Devin Mesoraco popped out, and after the Diamondbacks put Michael Conforto on first, the inning was in Jose Reyes hands.  Now, Reyes presumably got the start because he had good career numbers against Corbin.  He wouldn’t get a hit off Corbin, and he was in there to face Jimmie Sherfy.

Reyes fouled out, and Adrian Gonzalez couldn’t get the pinch hit.  This left the Mets trailing, but it wouldn’t stay that way because of the things that have gone right for the Mets.

First, Conforto is back.  After a 4-4 game, he came up in the second inning, and he delievered a two run homer to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.

After Matz surrendered the lead and couldn’t go five innings, the game was once again on the bullpen.  The combination of Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald, and AJ Ramos pitched four scoreless walking none, allowing one hit, and striking out six.  Ultimately, they gave the Mets a chance.

The Mets took advantage of that chance.  Jay Bruce led off the eighth with a single off Archie Bradley, and he would come home on a Mesoraco blast:

Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect ninth giving the Mets a chance to walk this one off.

Like many rallies this season, it began with Brandon Nimmo, who led off the ninth with a double, and then the most clutch Met on the team this year, Asdrubal Cabrera laid down a bunt single moving Nimmo to third.  This put the game in Wilmer Flores‘ hands, and as we know he has his own history with walk-off hits.

While not the dramatic homers we have seen, he did end the game with a fly ball to the outfield.  This one was a sacrifice fly scoring Nimmo giving the Mets a 5-4 win.

This was the first time since April 10-11 that the Mets have won consecutive games.  They are now in position for their first home sweep of the season.  They do that, and things will definitely be more good than bad right now.

Game Notes: With the Mets lack of outfield depth, Dominic Smith started in right field for the Las Vegas 51s.  Reyes is now 7-53 on the season.

 

 

Callaway’s Sewald/Blevins Decision About His Odd Thought Process

In the sixth inning of yesterday’s game, Mickey Callaway was faced with a crucial decision.  Does he go to the well rested Jerry Blevinsto get out the left-handed pinch hitter Nick Williams?  Does he stick with Paul Sewald, who has good splits against left-handed batters?  It was also remotely possible he could have gone with AJ Ramos, who also has good splits against left-handed batters.

Starting backwards, Ramos would have been an intriguing and possibly inspired decision.  On the season, Ramos has limited left-handed batters to a .211/.348/.263 batting line.  Basically, if he isn’t walking the left-handed batter, they’re not getting on base.

If Callaway turns to Ramos, this could have prevented Gabe Kapler from switching to a right-handed batter to undo the decision to go to the LOOGY.

Now, you could understand Callaway’s reluctance to go to that LOOGY.  Blevins hasn’t been good this season allowing left-handed batters to hit .273/.333/.364 off of him.  It’s a big reason why Blevins has a 5.63 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP this year.

Still, he is your LOOGY in the bullpen, and Williams was 0-3 against Blevins.  More than that, Callaway got Blevins up for exactly this type of situation.  It was Blevins’ job to go out there and get the left-handed batter out in a key spot.

Instead, Callaway went with Sewald.  You can make differing opinions on Sewald.  On the one hand, he has been much better against left-handed batters than Blevins this year.  Sewald came into the game limiting left-handed batters to a .220/.238/.341 batting line, and if we’re looking a small sample size pitcher-batter matchups, Williams was 0-1 against Sewald.

However at 35 pitches, Sewald was nearing his pitch limit, which was part of the reason Ramos and Blevins were warming in the first place.  He had also been struggling in the Month of May.  Prior to this appearance, Sewald had a 5.63 ERA and batters were hitting .273/.273/.515 off of him, and that was with a low .269 BABIP.

Overall, the point is you had your reasons to both stick with Sewald and to pull Sewald from the game.  Really, you could go in either direction.  However, that’s not the point.  Far from it.

Sticking with Sewald goes to the thought process, and frankly, this was one that was lacking with Callaway.

As the manager, he is likely well aware Sewald hasn’t been the Sewald of April.  Aside from that, he is aware Sewald is nearing his pitch limit for the game.  This is the exact reason he had Ramos and Blevins warming in that spot.

At this point, the Mets margin of error is razor thin.  They need to find a way to get out of that inning with a 1-0 lead AND find a way to manage their bullpen for the final 3.1 innings because Jacob deGrom needed to be lifted after a 45 pitch first inning.

When analyzing whether or not Callaway made the correct decision, you need to put aside the Williams’ home run.  It’s easy to look at that home run and say Callaway made the wrong decision.  It’s possible Ramos or Blevins allows that same homer, and the Phillies continue the rally to making a 3-1 lead a 4 or 5-1 lead.  You don’t know.

Here’s what we know.  Callaway knew his reliever was tiring.  He had a right-handed reliever who pitches well against left-handed batters up and ready to go.  He had his LOOGY up whose sole role is to get a left-handed batter out in a key situation. We also know he thought this out:

Hearing him, it was almost paralysis by analysis. Reading more into it, his thought process was lacking.

Really, who was he saving Blevins to face? The switch hitting Cesar Hernandez? The right-handed hitting Aaron Altherr? Was it Odubel Herrera, who was three batters away?

That was is a little hard to believe.

No, this was a case where Callaway had Blevins warmed up to either face a left-handed batter or try to prevent Gabe Kapler from using Williams.

If it was a deke, Kepler not only called his bluff, but to that extent, he out-managed Callaway.

If it was Callaway using his gut over his head, well, his guy failed him.

Whatever that case, there was a scenario where Callaway set everything up to have Blevins face Williams, and he didn’t pull the trigger. Perhaps, this is an indictment on Blevins.

Quite possibly, this is part of the growing pains of a former pitching coach who has never managed professionally and is surrounded by a coaching staff with zero Major League managerial experience.

Whatever the case, when you set everything up for one key matchup, and you don’t immediately go to that pitcher, you not only set yourself up for second guessing, you also make everyone wonder what’s the thought process behind any of his decisions.

Mets Bullpen Can’t Pull Inside Straight on Another Brutal Mother’s Day Loss

When the 2019 schedule is released, and the Mets are going to have to make sure Jacob deGrom doesn’t start the game because it will inevitably lead in heartbreak.  Last year, it was the inexplicable loss to the Brewers.  This year, it was one of those everything goes wrong type of games.

For his one inning of work, deGrom turned into Houdini.  After walking the bases loaded to start the game, deGrom had to recalibrate and try to get through the inning by limiting the damage.  Well, he would do much more than that.

First, he struck out Rhys Hoskins.  Then on a dribbler in front of the plate, deGrom got to the ball, and he nailed Cesar Hernandez at home.  Finally, he got Maikel Franco to strike out on a 3-2 pitch.  It was downright miraculous.

It also required 45 pitches.  With that heavy first inning workload, and with his just coming off the disabled list prior to the game after his hyper-extended elbow issue, Mickey Callaway did the prudent thing and put the game in his bullpen’s hands.

While the bullpen was going to the whip, the Mets offense was getting whipped by Aaron Nola who would allow just one run over six to lower his season ERA to 1.99.

It wasn’t that this Mets offense was dominated.  Far from it.  It’s that the offense didn’t do anything when they had the opportunities.

After Brandon Nimmo got things started with a bunt against the shift, the Mets loaded the bases with one out.  Wilmer Flores then struck out on four pitches, and Michael Conforto hit the second pitch he saw for an inning ending ground out.

In each of the subsequent innings, the Mets would get at least one base runner on against Nola, and they would do nothing.  That was until the sixth when Nola didn’t get one in enough to Yoenis Cespedes, who would hit it out to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

The rally would continue with Adrian Gonzalez and Flores hitting back-to-back singles, and Conforto getting ahead in the count at 2-0.  That 2-0 count would turn into an awful at-bat with Conforto striking out, and Devin Mesoraco following with an inning ending double play.  Essentially, they did the polar opposite of what they did on Friday night.

Really, this one run gave the Mets bullpen little margin of error.  Until the sixth, they were pitching quite well.  Robert Gsellman threw three scoreless before the Mets turned to Paul Sewald, who pitched a scoreless fifth.  Sewald, who has mostly struggled in May, wouldn’t have it in the sixth.

Santana began the inning with a double, and Scott Kingery walked.  Between the rally and this being a bullpen game, Callaway had AJ Ramos and Jerry Blevins warming in the bullpen.  They were there when Sewald struck out Jorge Alfaro, and they were there when the left-handed pinch hitter Nick Williams hit a go-ahead three run homer off of Sewald.

Now, there are many ways you could choose to defend the decision.  Sewald has been better than Blevins all season long against left-handed pitching.  Callaway wanted to get length from as many people as he could muster.  However, he had double barrel action going on so he would have Blevins ready for the big at-bat against a left-handed batter, and he didn’t use him.

While you can agree with the decision to go with Sewald, you cannot agree with the thought process of getting your LOOGY warmed up for a big spot and then refusing to use him in that big spot.  If you are not using Blevins there, you’re not going to use him in the game.

From there, the Mets had another rally they didn’t fully cash in on.  Nimmo drew his first or two walks for the game, and he scored on the ensuing Asdrubal Cabrera double.  It was a one run game, and Cespedes strode up to the plate.  There was no guessing right this time as Luis Garcia got him to pop out to end the inning.

From there, Jeurys Familia allowed a homer to Santana, and the Phillies didn’t use Hector Neris, so there would be no recreation of Friday’s magic.

Instead of building on the momentum from Friday’s Conforto homer, the Mets once again failed to muster enough offense, and maybe even energy to pull this one out.  We were also left wondering about Callaway’s thought process with his failing to use Blevins.  All-in-all, a disheartening loss.

Game Notes: Luis Guillorme collected his first MLB hit with a bloop pinch-hit single to center in the second inning.  Dominic Smith struck out in his only plate appearance, and he will be sent down to Triple-A with Jay Bruce‘s paternity leave ending.  Buddy Baumann was sent down to the minors to make room for deGrom.  His Mets experience amounted to little more than his getting a pending one game suspension out of the way.

Conforto Finally Homers Giving Mets A Win

This was panning out to be another one of those horrible Mets losses we have seen recently.  The Mets were not scoring runs at all even though they were in a hitter’s park.  And yes, there was even the really embarrassing and inexcusable moment.

After a Devin Mesoraco double play grounder erased a Michael Conforto seventh inning leadoff single, Jose Reyes got his first pinch of the season in 11 attempts. Understandably, with Reyes’ speed, the Mets reeling, and the team down 1-0, Mickey Callaway went for it.

Instead of going with Amed Rosario, Callaway went with Dominic Smith, who was up due to Jay Bruce going on paternity leave, to get that big hit.  Smith wouldn’t get that hit because Jake Arrieta picked Reyes off first base.  And with that, all hope seemed lost yet again.

Hector Neris came on to get what should have been an easy save, and it certainly seemed as if that was going to be the case when Adrian Gonzalez popped out to start the inning.

Then Wilmer Flores battled back not just from 0-2, but looking over-matched on the first two pitched of the at-bat to rip a single into left.  The Mets at least had life, and for a split second, it looked like Conforto was going to give the Mets the lead, but he pulled it foul.  Two pitches later, and Conforto wouldn’t pull it foul.

Mesoraco followed with a homer on the very next pitch.  Suddenly, the Mets 1-0 lead, and the team falling to .500 turned into a 3-1 lead.  That became a 3-1 victory after a Jeurys Familia 1-2-3 ninth.

Suddenly, the stories weren’t how Steven Matz walked four while somehow managing to allow just one run over five.  It wasn’t about how a combination of Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald, and AJ Ramos had to pick up the slack to keep it close for an offense, which did nothing.

No, the story is now how the Mets had perhaps their best victory of the year, and how they may have turned things around with Noah Syndergaard taking the mound tomorrow.

Game Notes: Mesoraco’s teams are now 1-20 in games he has played this season.  In Los Angeles, Matt Harvey made his Reds debut pitching four scoreless while allowing just one hit while striking out two.

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.

deGrom Hurt, More Than This Game May Be Lost

Through the first four innings, Jacob deGrom was pitching like the ace we know he is.  After a tough loss, and with first place in the balance, he was as great as he has ever been.  Through the first four innings, deGrom had walked none, allowed just two hits, and he struck out six.

He then went into the tunnel into the clubhouse.  He was done for the day with a hyper-extended elbow.  Based upon the ensuing MRI, he may be gone longer than that.  If deGrom is gone, the Mets will have lost much more than a 7-0 game.

Look, we can get into Tom GlavineGreg MadduxJohn Smoltz 1999 strike zone Sean Newcomb was getting from Home Plate Umpire Lance Barrett.  The Mets were clearly irritated by it, and we even saw Todd Frazier say something about umpiring in general after the game.

We can delve into Paul Sewald and Robert Gsellman struggled out of the bullpen really for the first time all season long.

We can even wonder how in the word Wilmer Flores forgot to do the one thing in baseball he is actually good at doing – hitting left-handed pitching.

Really, right now, none of this matters.  As it stood, this pitching staff needed at least one more starter, and that was assuming Jason Vargas will get better and Zack Wheeler won’t turn back into the guy who forced the Mets to put him in Triple-A to start the season.

Sure, the Mets are just a half game back, and it is possible Matt Harvey, Seth Lugo, and/or Corey Oswalt step up here.  We saw something like that happen in 2016 when Lugo and Gsellman performed a miracle over the last month of the season.

Maybe it’s being a little overly dramatic, but after what we saw with Noah Syndergaard‘s injury last year, and how the energy from the team and the ballpark flat-line after deGrom left the game, it’s very possible the Mets need a miracle.

I guess it’s times like these we all channel our inner Tug McGraw and say, “Ya Gotta Believe”

Game Notes: AJ Ramos now has a five appearance stretch without issuing a walk. There was a delay in the game because Yoenis Cespedes‘ necklace broke, and they had to get the diamonds off the diamond.

Gonzalez Rejuvenated in San Diego

One of the most interesting phenomena in sports is how when an aging player returns to his old stomping grounds, sometimes he is just able to turn back the clock.  As Mets fans, we saw this in 2006 when Mike Piazza had a two home run game against Pedro Martinez.  Yesterday, we saw Adrian Gonzalez have one of those days.

It’s been bad for Gonzalez of late, really bad.  He’s been mired in a 1-17 stretch with no extra base hits.  Going back a little further, over his last 10 games, he’s hitting .121/.205/.212.

Things have been so bad Wilmer Flores got the previous two starts at first base.  Yes, the Padres were starting left-handed pitchers both days, but Gonzalez has killed Clayton Richard.  However, when you’re hitting like he’s been hitting, you’re not going to get into the lineup.  You’re also going to hear about the Mets planning to move Jay Bruce to first base.  This meant if Gonzalez was going to do anything to stop it all from happening, he was going to have to do it now.

That seventh inning three run homer was needed because it helped put what was a close game away.  Instead of a tight 4-2 game with Mickey Callaway having to use his best relievers, it was a 7-2 laugher allowing Callaway to get work for guys like Matt Harvey.

It was all part of a great day for Gonzalez.  Overall, he was 3-6 with a run, double, homer, and five RBI.  He would have had an even better day had Franchy Cordero not robbed him of another double earlier in the game.

With Gonzalez front and center, this was really a day when a lot of beleaguered Mets got healthy.  Jose Reyes contributed going 2-5 with three runs, a homer, RBI, walk, and a stolen base.  Tomas Nido was 2-5 with a run, RBI, and a walk.  And Harvey would pitch a scoreless ninth, even if he did allow a hard hit double to Eric Hosmer.  Really, that’s the last time I want to ever put Harvey’s name, double, and a 2015 Royal in the same sentence.

Going with the rejuvenation theme, Zack Wheeler was good, which was needed from a Mets rotation still trying to figure out who can be an effective third starter in this rotation.

He battled most of the afternoon, and he did not get a 1-2-3 inning until the fifth, his last inning of work.  That said, what impressed you most about this start was how Wheeler found that extra something at times when he’s usually lost it.  Wheeler ended a rally in the first by striking out Freddy Galvis.  He helped curb a third inning rally limiting the damage to two runs by striking out Carlos Asuaje.  After Manuel Margot‘s two out single, stolen base, and advancing to third on a throwing error, Wheeler struck out Hosmer.

Overall, Wheeler had nine strikeouts, but what was really remarkable was how he got them at key moments when he needed a strikeout.  That hasn’t always been his M.O., and it’s a real positive step going forward for him.

Even with his start and with Gonzalez turning back the clock was how the Mets offense put five spots on the board in consecutive innings.  It was a full on onslaught by a Mets offense which saw every starting position player register two hits.  Even Brandon Nimmo, who came on for Yoenis Cespedes, would register two hits.  In addition to Gonzalez, Reyes and Todd Frazier would homer.  The sum total of this barrage was a 14-2 Mets win marking the first ever time the Mets have scored double digits at Petco Park.

Of course with this being the Mets, not everything could be a positive.  Cespedes, who has been torrid of late, had to come out of the game after executing a double steal with Bruce.  In what was his second stolen base of the inning, Cespedes jammed his thumb.  The good news is the x-rays were negative.  The bad news is Cespedes believes he can’t play over the next three days, and that’s with the Braves coming to town.

Still, things could have been a lot worse with Cespedes, and with the Mets going to Petco, a place where they had only previously won one series, things could have gone a lot worse there.  All in all, this was a good series where the Mets got back on track.

Game Notes: Paul Sewald recorded his first hold of the season.  He initially came on to relieve Wheeler when it was a two run game.  He now has a 1.98 ERA on the season.

Mets Defense Blows Another Game

The story of this game should have been Noah Syndergaard returning to form.  Like on Opening Day, he was mowing down the Cardinals, but this time, he was much more efficient in doing so.  Through six, he kept the Cardinals scoreless striking out six and allowing just two hits, and it looked like the Mets were going to cruise to a 2-0 victory at that point.

Both RBI came from Yoenis Cespedes, who snapped out of his funk going 2-5 with a double and two RBI.  The first RBI was a first inning off Carlos Martinez scoring Brandon Nimmo from first.  In the seventh, in what looked like window dressing at the plate, he plated Amed Rosario with a sacrifice fly.

However, as we have learned with Cespedes, sometimes he will giveth and sometimes he will taketh.

That was evident with Tommy Pham “doubled” on a ball that hit off of Cespedes’ glove.  Pham would then come home to score on a Marcell Ozuna single to cut the lead to 2-1.  With the way Paul DeJong kills the Mets, really it was a miracle he didn’t tie the score on his double.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter as the Mets gave up the lead in the eighth with some more poor defense.

What was interesting was Mickey Callaway let Syndergaard start the eighth while holding back Robert Gsellman.  Really, you wonder why not just go to the fresh arm after an inning in which Syndergaard faced some trouble.  Really, this is a bit nitpicky because this is Syndergaard we are talking about here.

In any event, Rosario threw a ball away on a Greg Garcia grounder starting off the inning with a runner on first instead of one out and the pitcher’s spot coming up.  Syndergaard struck out Yadier Molina before allowing a single to Matt Carpenter leading to his getting pulled from the game.

Gsellman was in a tough spot, and he didn’t deliver immediately.  The first batter he faced, Pham, singled to tie the score.  To his credit, with the go-ahead run in scoring position and just one out, Gsellman got Jose Martinez to ground into the inning ending 6-4-3 double play.

After a rusty Seth Lugo battled through a hit batter and walk to get through a scoreless ninth, the Mets would get an absolute gift run in the 10th.

After two quick outs, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back singles putting the game into Adrian Gonzalez‘s hands.  Somehow, not only would Luke Gregerson walk Gonzalez, but he would also walk Jose Lobaton to force in a run. With Jeurys Familia coming into the game, it seemed like the Mets would win a series after losing two straight.

Didn’t happen.

After two quick outs, Pham hit a ball up the middle most second baseman make fairly routinely.  The problem is Asdrubal Cabrera, even at full strength, doesn’t have much range.  With his current leg injury, he has almost no range.  Cabrera did all he could do, but he really had no shot at Pham.

Oddly enough, Juan Lagares wouldn’t have a shot at the subsequent Martinez double.  Oddly enough, Callaway went against his recent trends, and he put in Lagares for defense.  Martinez’s ball to deep center was a play almost no center fielder makes, but we have all become so spoiled by Lagares, he almost makes the impossible seem routine.  He ran back to dead center, leaped, and missed.  Instead of another highlight reel defensive play, it was a game tying double.

AJ Ramos pitched a perfect 11th, and Paul Sewald pitched a perfect 12th.  Unfortunately, the hottest pitcher in the Mets bullpen couldn’t keep the Cardinals off the board.  A Martinez walk followed by consecutive singles to Ozuna and Dexter Fowler was the ballgame.

With that, the Mets have lost three straight series, and the vibes from their amazing start have faded.  They have faded because the bottom of the lineup is black hole, but mostly, it is because this defense is bad and plays bad.

Game Notes: With the Mets out of position players, Sewald hit for himself in the top of the 13th.  Jose Reyes grounded out in the 10th to end that rally.