Want a perfect encapsulation of what the 2018 Mets are? Look no further than what happened in yesterday’s game.
Nathan Eovaldi was working on a perfect game entering the seventh inning. Brandon Nimmo stepped up to the plate, and he broke it up with a single. This was followed by Wilmer Flores striking out on three pitches, and Asdrubal Cabrera grounding into an inning ending double play.
At that point, the Mets were already down 7-0 because Chris Flexen pitched poorly, and his pitching was exacerbated by the defense behind him, which was just as poor if not worse. After three innings, he was relieved by Chris Beck, who was once again terrible.
Overall, this is just a bad baseball team, and they’re not even losing with a purpose as the team is starting Jose Reyes over Amed Rosario, and Dominic Smith plays once in a blue moon. To make matters worse, he is playing well out of position in left field.
Simply put, this is bad and unwatchable baseball.
Game Notes: Nimmo was not named an All Star despite leading all NL outfielders with a 148 wRC+. This leaves Jacob deGrom as the lone Mets representative.
Initially, we planned to run a roundtable on our thoughts about the job Mickey Callaway is doing, but with Sandy Alderson announcing his cancer has returned and due to personal issues, it turns out that roundtable needed to be delayed.
Being a glass half full kind of person, the Mets performance did little to change the opinions set forth on the job Callaway has been doing with the Mets:
Well, Gary Apple called him ‘Mickey Collins’ the other day. That should say enough. Someone on Twitter correctly noted that if Aaron Boone was the manager of the Mets and Mickey helmed the Yankees, those teams’ current records would be exactly the same. *That *should say enough, except the sentences that “say enough” kind of talk over one another, don’t they? So I’ll say that I don’t think we should say “enough” to Mick, while acknowledging he is over-matched, since this fact is obvious yet forgivable. It’s his first time doing this, and none of his coaching staff can say they’ve managed a major league club before without lying. He’s also dealing with a much more crowded kitchen, full of men who think they are cooks because they bought chef costumes, than he could have possibly imagined.
He might be overmatched for the city, not the job. When he said “New York is tough on players,” I think he may have been admitting he wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of media and fan pressure. Willie Randolph played here, and he couldn’t handle it either. I think he’s been forced to follow a script, which is why I think so many of his moves have backfired — much like Terry Collins — but I also thinkhe’s made a few of his own dopey decisions. He reminds me of former New York Giants defensive coordinator Rod Rust; whose read and react defense stifled his own team.
End of the day, if you’re going to struggle and you’re going to lose, lose young and lose playing aggressive. I can take losing, I watched the 1978 Mets. But this guy is boring me to death…
Callaway increasingly comes across as the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s terrific before a season or a game, when nothing has yet gone wrong. In game and afterward, it’s a debacle.
There must be an immense disconnect between how he presented himself while getting the job and everything we’ve seen since the middle of April, as if he just never fully accounted for what managing in real time would be like.
I often listen and get the gist of what he’s saying as he attempts to explain away the latest loss (or losing streak) but am amazed at how he only makes it worse. It’s not the biggest part of his job, but it is an element. Eloquence isn’t everything, of course. We’d also take a tight-lipped winner.
Editor’s Note: Greg wrote a more extensive piece on his thoughts about Callaway on FAFIF. It’s well worth a read.
Initially, I did not believe Callaway was over-matched for the job in the sense he was unable to do the job well from a personal standpoint. However, I did believe him being over-matched in terms of the roster and talent at his disposal on a nightly basis. When your end game options is watching Jose Reyes pop or ground out in a pinch hitting attempt and picking who from Chris Beck, Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles, Paul Sewald, etal you want to blow the lead, you’re going to look over-matched.
That said, Callaway made a decision yesterday which has given me pause. After Reyes completely dogged it on a grounder Saturday night, Callaway double switched Reyes into the game.
If Reyes was hurt, give him the extra day. If he wasn’t, he needs to be benched. In either event, Reyes can not play a day after completely dogging it.
However, he did play, which now makes all questions about Callaway’s ability to control the game and the clubhouse fair game.
Once again, I want to thank everyone for the well wishes and these excellent writers for contributing to the roundtable. Please make sure you take time to read their great sites, and there’s no excuse this week with a link being provided to FAFIF.
There’s shooting yourself in the foot, and then there is doing what the Mets did against the Rockies today.
Somehow, the Mets grounded into five . . . FIVE! . . . double plays.
Each one of them were brutal.
Bautista would be erased when Kevin Plawecki grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
In the third, after Brandon Nimmo hit an RBI single to pull the Mets within 5-2, Frazier would hit into the inning ending 5-4-3 double play.
Speaking of Reyes, he can’t field and doesn’t know how to use sunglasses:
How is Reyes to know to put his sunglasses on? He's only been alive for 35 years. pic.twitter.com/5GbS3AvmIs
— Good Fundies is short for Good Fundamentals (@goodfundies) June 21, 2018
Finally in the eighth, after the Mets pulled themselves to within 6-3 on a Flores sacrifice fly, Devin Mesoraco hit into the inning ending 5-4-3 double play.
You combine all of these double plays with Steven Matz allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks in 5.2 innings, and you have all the makings of a 6-4 loss.
Much of the game was deja vu back to the previous game.
That really put the Mets behind the right ball despite their breaking out for three runs in the first.
Still, despite falling behind 6-4, the Mets would take the lead with a four run fifth.
Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two RBI single to give the Mets a 8-6 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, right after the Mets retook the lead, the Rockies took it back with Ryan McMahon hitting a three run homer to give the Rockies a 9-8 lead.
At this point in time, it appeared like this was going to be a classic back-and-forth Coors Field game. It certainly felt that way in the sixth as the Mets loaded the bases with one out and Rockies reliever Harrison Musgrave having lost the strike zone.
In a surprise decision, Callaway tabbed Kevin Plawecki to pinch hit instead of Amed Rosario. Perhaps it was the reliever having lost the strike zone and Callaway wanting a hitter who has a better read of the strike zone.
In any event, the choice was Plawecki, who worked a full count, swung at a borderline pitch which was probably ball four, and he hit into the inning ending double play.
That was it from the Mets. After that, there were no more rallies. With the Rockies scoring a run off Anthony Swarzak in the bottom of the sixth, the final score would be 10-8.
Suddenly, a Mets team who appeared poised to make a little run is now just hoping to earn a split.
The hapless Mets offense had gone searching for a place to have an offensive breakout. Their tour took them to hitter’s parks like Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Arizona. All hitter’s parks, but form them to be hitter’s parks, you need to have hitters. The Mets haven’t, at least not until recently.
Finally, the Mets made it to the hitter’s paradise that is Coors Field. After two good performances to close out their series against the Diamondbacks, this Mets team was primed for an offensive explosion. That would begin with Brandon Nimmo leading off the game:
Over-the-fence home runs are becoming a little too easy and conventional for Brandon Nimmo. pic.twitter.com/52B07uHPWa
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 19, 2018
It was Nimmo who hit the go-ahead homer in Sunday’s big comeback against the Diamondbacks, and it was him homering again to lead-off the game.
With that Nimmo homer, Jacob deGrom was in a rare position. He had a lead with himself on the mound. If you had any concern about how deGrom would handle these uncharted waters in a ballpark like Coors Field, you shouldn’t. One again, deGrom was great.
Through eight innings, deGrom limited the Rockies to two runs (one earned) on five hits while walking one and striking out seven. This made deGrom the rare pitcher who came to Coors Field and actually lowered his ERA. It now stands at an MLB best 1.51.
Though it’s criminal it took this long, deGrom finally got his fifth win of the season. That happened because the Mets offense finally exploded.
One important thing to note about this game is the Mets organization has long shied away from having either Nimmo or Conforto face Major League left-handed pitching. In a game started by the left-handed Tyler Anderson, both Nimmo and Conforto had great games:
- Nimmo: 4-6, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI
- Conforto: 3-4, 2 R, 2B, BB, SB
At that point, the Mets lead 6-2, and the game was pretty much on hand. That said, with this being Coors Field, it didn’t hurt the Mets added on some insurance runs.
In a six run ninth inning, the Mets batted around, and the Mets would score runs on:
- Mesoraco bases loaded walk
- Bautista bases loaded walk
- Amed Rosario two run double
- Nimmo two RBI single
After that, it was 12-2. After a scoreless ninth from Paul Sewald, the Mets have finally have won three games in a row. That is in no small part due to their bats waking up scoring 22 runs over three games. To put that in perspective, the Mets offense only scored 21 runs over the 13 games prior to Saturday’s victory over the Diamondbacks.
Game Notes: Bautista replaced Jay Bruce from the starting lineup after he was once again scratched due to injury.
Things got interesting for the Mets in the sixth inning. Very interesting.
After five shutout innings, the Braves pulled Mike Foltynewicz in favor of LHP Jesse Biddle. The Mets got to work with Todd Frazierearning a one out walk. The ensuing batter, Brandon Nimmo, stuck out his elbow, and he was hit by a pitch.
Except, he wasn’t awarded a base because the home plate umpire Stu Scheurwater ruled Nimmo didn’t try to get out of the way of that pitch. Upon review, he was correct.
That didn’t stop Mickey Callawayfrom going absolutely ballistic leading to his first ejection in his managerial career.
In case you were wondering whether this was going to be an offensive breakout, don’t.
Devin Mesoracoripped a ball right at Braves third baseman Johan Camargo, who tagged out the lead footed Cabrera, who was standing next to the bag, before throwing to first to complete the double play.
Considering how Mets starting pitchers haven’t had leads for nearly a week (with the exception of Sunday), you could almost understand Zach Wheelerseemingly not knowing how to handle the situation.
Wheeler’s first pitch in the bottom of the sixth was hit by Freddie Freeman for a game tying solo homer.
What was odd after that was even after Tyler Flowersbarely beat the throw on what was almost a double play grounder, Bruce would nail him at third on a Camargo single. On the play, Frazier fielded the throw and dove back to tag Flowers out.
In a what was impressive base running, Camargo moved to second on the Flowers gaffe.
With two outs and a runner at second, Wheeler couldn’t get out of the inning. Like most of the night, it was a soft single which did him in.
Now, before reflecting on the final score and Wheeler’s final line, consider this – the Mets should have gotten out of that inning down 3-2.
Inciarte took off for second, and Mesoraco made a perfect throw to second. Only problem was Cabrera flat out dropped the ball. What appeared to be a gassed Wheeler walked the next two batters.
What is odd was with the pitcher’s spot due up third that inning, Disarcina didn’t bother double switching Sewald into the game. Considering it was a one run game, at a minimum, it was a curious decision.
It wound up not mattering as Sewald surrendered a grand slam to Ozzie Albies. With the Mets down 7-2, Sewald hit for himself in the top of the seventh because at that point, why not?
Sewald allowed another run in the seventh to make it an 8-2 game. That was the final score of a game the Mets had a lead and were in decent position of winning. Things are getting real bad.
Game Notes: The Mets have scored 14 runs in nine games this month.
It was as if the Mets said to Jacob deGrom, “Here’s your run. Now go win this game.”
For five innings deGrom was brilliant, and he was keeping his pitch count down. It was as if he was going to make sure he wasn’t going to let the bullpen blow this one.
The bullpen wasn’t going to get that chance because the defense did.
A Tanaka grounder somehow ate up Adrian Gonzalez who booted it leading to Tanaka teaching with one out.
Naturally, Jay Bruce labored to get to the ball, and he made an absolutely dreadful season throw home that was already rolling by the first base bag.
The throw, which rolled past Gonzalez, was not in time to catch a hobbled Tanaka, who had to exit the game with a leg injury.
Because he’s Jake, and he’s great, he got out of that jam allowing just the one earned run.
That said, we knew the Mets were going to lose this one. It really was an inevitability from a team who has not scored more than one run in a game since the first of this month. That stretch is made all the worse when you consider it includes a 14 inning game.
Mets had a golden chance in the sixth withJonathan Holder needing to warm up on the fly to get ready to pitch that inning. They went down 1-2-3.
That was a real shame because it set the stage for deGrom to lose his first game of the season.
After a Torres two out single, Gardner got a hold of one which bounced off the top of the right field wall for a two run homer.
If you woke up from a coma, you might’ve gotten excited in the bottom of the ninth.
After Michael Conforto flew out to center, Todd Frazier hit a ball hard that Miguel Andujar made a nice play on. That said, it was a somewhat slow moving play, and it was a play that only Cabrera would be out at second.
To put a nice capper on everything, Bruce popped out to end the game because he apparently had not done enough to help cost the Mets this game.
Game Notes: Noah Syndergaard suffered a setback and won’t be activated for Sunday. Seth Lugo will start in his place. Jeurys Familia was placed on the DL before the game, and Jacob Rhame was called up to take his place.
Well, it took 58 games, but the Mets are finally under .500. Again, it was a combination of the same issues which cost the Mets this game.
For some reasons after Wheeler threw 97 pitches, Mickey Callaway stuck with him for the seventh.
The game quickly unraveled from there.
The Cubs took the lead later that inning on a Kris Bryant RBI single.
Now, the justification for no Robert Gsellman was he needed another day off. Honestly, you can never question managers over giving fatigued pitchers a day off. However, you can question why Sewald for a second inning after a seventh where he had nothing.
Well with one on and two out, Willson Contreras hit a ball, Reyes should have fielded. With him failing to make the play, two runners were on base for a Schwarber three run homer instead of the Mets getting out of the inning.
From there, Jeurys Familia allowed the Cubs to tack on an insurance run to give the Cubs a 7-4 lead. With the Mets failing to do much of anything in the ninth, that would be the final score.
And with that, the Mets are now under .500.
Well, with the way the bullpen has been blowing games, and the Mets poor defense, you can understand why the Mets starters are going to have finger issues.
Those finger issues manifested themselves first with Noah Syndergaard landing on the disabled list with a strained ligament in his pitching finger.
Then, during tonight’s game, when the Mets so desperately needed some length from Steven Matz, he departed after three scoreless innings due to his own finger injury.
Short term, the Mets had a ballgame to win.
Fortunately, by the time Matz departed, the Mets already had a 4-0 lead due to the Mets roughing up Anibal Sanchez in his first start coming off the disabled list.
Nimmo would start the next rally with a one out base hit putting him in base before Asdrubal Cabrera‘s first homer of the game giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.
The less grew to 4-0 in the fourth after an Adrian Gonzalez solo shot. If you’re keeping score at home, the Braves paid for Bautista and Gonzalez to help beat them today.
With Matz’s injury, Paul Sewald had as many pitches as he needed before starting the fourth. You can never be too sure how well a pitcher warms in those situations, and you question it with how Sewald struggled in the fourth.
Charlie Culberson hit an RBI single playing Tyler Flowers, who led off the inning with a double. On the play, Nimmo made a very poor throw to the plate. It was about the only black mark on another wise terrific season.
Sewald was really struggling to find the zone and was fighting it. Somehow, he made it through the rest of the inning unscathed, and he followed with a scoreless fifth.
After that, the Mets got some much needed insurance runs off Matt Wisler. First, Cabrera hit his second homer of the game in the fifth.
Then, in the sixth, Nimmo doubled home Amed Rosario from first. On the play, Rosario flew around the bases and slid in just ahead of Flowers’ tag.
Unfortunately, that 6-2 lead did not stand.
In Jerry Blevins second inning of work, all he needed to do was get through the Braves two best left-handed hitters, the job for which he is paid, to get out of the inning.
Jacob Rhame came on to bail Blevins out of the seventh, but with a depleted bullpen, no one was on hand to bail him out in the eighth.
Rhame rallied to strike out Ozzie Albies, and after intentionally walking Freeman, he got Markakis to pop out to end the inning.
The game was tied at 6-6 heading into the ninth, and the Mets would squander a golden opportunity against Dan Winkler.
Rosario led off the inning with a single, and Nimmo was hit by a pitch. What ensued was a Cabrera strikeout, Luis Guillorme pinch hit fielder’s choice, and a Conforto strikeout.
That not having little other choice led to Johan Camargo ending the game with a walk off homer to give the Braves a 7-6 win.
This marks the second time in this series the Braves walked one off against the Mets. With the way the bullpen is pitching of late, it may not be the last.
Game Notes: For some reason Jose Reyes started. Predictably, he was 0-4 with a strikeout.
It was inexcusable for the Mets to lose this game, but what else is new.
Heading into the seventh, Zack Wheeler battled. He gave you the six innings needed, and he fought a tough Brewers offense.
Through it all, the Mets were up 6-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Sure, you wish they could have plated more runs in a four run second inning. But even with Wilmer Flores and Jay Bruce leaving the bases loaded, the Mets had a two run lead heading into the bottom of the seventh thanks in large part to an Asdrubal Cabrera solo shot in the top half of the inning.
That’s when Mickey Callaway repeated the same exact mistake he did from the previous loss.
Now, two days ago, Shaw double off Gsellman. However, Gsellman has limited left-handed batters to a .174/.291/.413 batting line. Jerry Blevins, on the other hand, is morphing into Scott Schoeneweis and Eric O’Flaherty.
This season, lefties are hitting .296/.367/.370 off Blevins. Predictably, Blevins allows the base hit to bring the Brewers within a run.
It didn’t matter as Michael Conforto struck out to end the game.
There were many reasons to be frustrated by this loss, including a suspect home plate umpire. However, it was the Mets and their manager repeating the same mistakes that did them in.
Game Notes: Flores left the game in the fourth with a back injury. He’s being evaluated in New York while the team travels to Atlanta.