Peter Alonso

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Should Callaway Be On The Hot Seat

When a team disappoints, the manager will be on the hot seat. So far this year, the Mets are one game under .500, the organization had a meeting to discuss what was wrong with Mickey Callaway and to see if there are things the team can do to prevent a repeat of what happened last year. Considering how the team traded away all those prospects in a clear win-now move, it does not seem Callaway is going to stand on firm footing.

The question is whether Callaway should be on the hot seat. The Mets Bloggers offer their views:

Michael Baron

There’s no question about it. I never like to blame the roster or it’s issues on the manager, but the fact remains they have under-performed to this point in the season. The schedule has been rough, but that’s not an excuse for good teams. And the decision making in the dugout continues to be perplexing at its best, which only exacerbates the problems they have. I think there could be action taken if the Mets don’t come through what should be a lighter 16 games heading into Memorial Day over .500.

Tim Ryder (MMO)

Unfortunately, yes, I think he should be. His players appear to enjoy playing for him. But if the results aren’t there, despite his players’ support, he’s gonna have a hard time sticking around.

Joe Maracic (Joe Art Studio)

I never want to see someone lose their job but Mickey should be on the hot seat. Back to back seasons of starting strong then fading is not a good sign. He was a pitching coach and has been anything but creative handling the staff.

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

Should he be? Yes, this team was built to get off to a fast start and should have, despite the injuries. I like Mickey, seems to be a good man who the players seem to like. But that sounds like how people described Terry Collins for the majority of his tenure. Will he be? Hard to tell. Brodie didn’t hire him, and Jeff Wilpon is reactive, so if the team starts creeping toward being 10 games under, a change will be made.

Here’s the rub for me; the heir apparent is Jim Riggleman, who is the living embodiment of a retread. Not much winning in his background, but a get along, go along persona that will fit right in with an organization that thinks scripting the lineup is the way to run the day-to-day. Think a more assertive, more veteran type of skipper is needed in New York, esp a team that has a perception of not being “all in” financially. A guy who can get more out of players, a guy who has the confidence to walk into his office, see a lineup on his desk, and choose to write up his own if he feels it will be a better one.

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

He will be, but he shouldn’t be. I think he should get the season and I think that’s probably going to be it for him. But this team started struggling when it stopped hitting. The players that stopped hitting were Brodie’s acquisitions. They may come out of it and when they do, everything will be fine again. Callaway hasn’t been the best, but we’re living in an age where front offices are taking more of a role in how a manager does his job and makes more decisions than ever. More of what makes a manager successful these days is having a good bench coach. So a manager does less and less, right? Then why now, when we look at fall guys, do we still look at the manager? And if Callaway goes, who replaces him long term, assuming Riggleman is the interim for the season? Is it going to be Joe Girardi or Buck Showalter or Wally Backman? Can you picture the Wilpons hiring a strong personality like that? Okay, so Callaway’s long term replacement is probably going to be somebody else just like Callaway. So my quesion is: what’s the point? Fire Callaway if you want. It won’t do much. This is the way we’re going in baseball now. GMs and team presidents are the stars of the show now. The only question is how long are they going to get away with using managers as scapegoats before people pull back the curtain and realize that front offices have most of the responsibility these days anyway?

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

The hot seat is a terrible concept, but Mickey Callaway hasn’t been much of a manager.

James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)

To me, it seems like too many fans judge managers mostly based on whether or not they look like Lou Brown from “Major League.” I’ve seen a lot of people saying things like “Mickey has no fire” or “this team isn’t hungry enough,” or things like that, but I think the simple truth is that we hit a bunch of offensive skids (Robinson Cano, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, Wilson Ramos, Jeff McNeil to an extent, Todd Frazier, J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo) and not many teams could overcome that. To me, the manager barely matters at all, and in terms of actual managing, I’d say Mickey has been pretty much solid so far. If there was someone else who could make the team better, I’d say sure, go out and get them — but I don’t think the manager is where our problems are coming from right now, and our problem certainly isn’t some ridiculous 1950s-style intangible, like “not wanting it more,” that could be fixed if we just brought in a guy with a beer gut and a mustache who cursed a lot.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

Lou Brown was an analytics pioneer. Knew exactly how many wins the Tribe would need to take the division.

James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)

Oh, believe me…the moment the Mets call the California Penal League and sign a big arm with no control who doesn’t realize he needs glasses, Lou Brown is the guy you want.

Until then, though…

Mets Daddy

There are many and varied valid criticisms of Callaway. Personally, I find his willingness to just burn pinch hitters late in game to be a bizarre move, especially when the front office routinely gives him short benches. But when you look at it, this is the team the front office gave him.

There’s no amount of managing Callaway can do to make Cano younger, or to make players who are playing through injuries, like Nimmo, play better. Also, when a team buys into Chili Davis‘ offensive approach like the Mets seemingly have so far, you begin to realize this is more a problem of design than execution.

When looking at Callaway, you do see a team continuing to play hard, and you do see the team pitching well. These are two areas which could be attributable to Callaway. You also see a manager handling the bullpen much better than he did last year. Taking a long term view, the real strength of this team is the pitching, and it has been Callaway and Dave Eiland who has taken them to the next level.

What the Mets need to do before even considering putting Callaway on the hot seat for the inherent flaws in this roster, is they need to figure out who they can hire to keep Eiland around even if they fire Callaway. Short of Girardi, is there really anyone? Of course, the next step is to figure out why Girardi would make this team his last stop or how exactly the Mets plan to pay him.

No matter what the Mets decide with Callaway, this great group of fans and bloggers aren’t going anywhere. You should do yourself a favor and follow the links to their sites to read their great analysis of Callaway and all things Mets.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Feast on Marlins

Nothing like the league worst Marlins to come into town to help the Mets offense get rolling:

1. Michael Conforto, not Derek Jeter, owns the Marlins. He proved that by going 5-for-6 with four runs, two walks, a HBP, two homers, and three RBI in the two game set.

2. For all the (deserved) talk of Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso, Conforto has been their best player. His 2.0 WAR is sixth in the league.

3. Batting Conforto fifth is plain stupid and reactionary, especially when he’s their best hitter. Same goes to batting Brandon Nimmo sixth.

4. Alonso’s numbers look good due to his first 12 games. Since that time, he’s batting .222/.316/.444. He’s increasingly becoming an all or nothing hitter, albeit one with the propensity for the big hit.

5. Nice to see the Mets wait too long before putting Steven Matz on the IL. It’s like for all of Brodie Van Wagenen’s boasting about things being different, nothing has changed with him in charge.

6. So, Jed Lowrie has gone from being activated on Friday to sitting out two out of the last four games, and the Mets having no timetable for his return.

7. Say what you want about Jason Bay, but at least he played for the Mets.

8. The Mets giving Mickey Callaway no information on Lowrie and then having him be the one answer questions about his status once again shows nothing has changed under Van Wagenen.

9. Mets determined Justin Wilson didn’t need a rehab stint, and now, after one appearance after coming off the IL, he’s going back on with the same injury.

10. Seeing how well things worked with Wilson, the Mets are using the same plan of action with Jeurys Familia.

11. You have to admire Van Wagenen’s refusal to learn and adapt on the job.

12. Injuries create opportunities, and we have seen Tyler Bashlor, Drew Gagnon, and Daniel Zamora take advantage of their opportunity thus far.

13. With Jacob deGrom having three straight good starts after coming off the IL, can we forever have fans stop clamoring for Devin Mesoraco?

14. If Tomas Nido starts hitting that’s a game changer. Over his last three, Nido 4-for-11 with a homer.

15. While it was overlooked, Nido had LASIK surgery in the offseason. It may take time to adjust, but if he’s seeing the ball better, he may begin to hit better.

16. One underrated thing Callaway did Saturday was running out Dominic Smith, Todd Frazier, and Juan Lagares for late inning defense. With Conforto in RF, that’s a great defensive lineup.

17. Amed Rosario went from a below average hitter over the first month to a 111 wRC+ so far in May. Seeing his offense progress this way, maybe there’s still hope for his glove to catch up.

18. Keon Broxton has been worse than terrible, and Carlos Gomez has been hot in Syracuse. That doesn’t erase the past few years, and Broxton should get a longer rope considering he’s out of options, has actually been a successful bench player, and has arguably been a better player over the past few years.

19. Mets going a perfect 5-for-5 for the Marlins is no small feat. It’s exactly what they need to do, and destroying bad teams is exactly how the 2015 Mets won the division.

20. Whoever came up with the new backpack policy is an idiot, and the Mets deserve to have decreased attendance for having implemented it.

Mets Drown Marlins

Long story, short, the Mets first eight batters reached base safely off Pablo Lopez of the Marlins. The big blast was from Amed Rosario who hit an opposite field grand slam:

By the time the first inning was over, it was 8-0 Mets, which essentially meant it was game over. Really, the Mets abused Lopez. The young pitcher allowed 10 earned over two innings.

Aside from Rosario’s blast, Wilson Ramos and Robinson Cano hit first inning RBI singles, and Brandon Nimmo walked to force home a run. In the second, Michael Conforto hit a homer making it 9-0.

Conforto snapped an 0-for-12 streak heading into the game. He would not make an out going 3-for-3 with a walk, HBP, three runs, and the aforementioned homer.

Later in the game, Jeff McNeil hit a homer of his own, and Nimmo had an RBI single giving the Mets an 11-2 lead.

What was noteworthy about one of the Marlins two runs was Neil Walker drove home Curtis Granderson home in the second. It was certainly an off sight to see for Mets fans.

That rally was the only time the Marlins got to Zack Wheeler. He’d go seven allowing just two runs on nine hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts.

Every Mets starter, including Wheeler, reached base safely. Pete Alonso was the only Mets starter without a hit, and he’d still walk twice and score a run.

Overall, a Mets team scuffling and incapable of scoring runs got real healthy against a terrible Marlins team. This is what the Mets are going to have to continue to do to not just get to .500, but also make headway in the division.

Game Notes: This was the first time since 1989 the Mets first eight batters reached in a game. Dominic Smith was called up to replace Steven Matz, who was placed on the IL.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Show Signs Of Life In San Diego

The Mets went out to San Diego already under .500 and incapable of scoring runs. At least for one day, they figured things out, and suddenly things don’t look so bad:

  1. The Mets schedule so far this year has been idiotic including the team having a two city road trip to Milwaukee and San Diego. Someone should get the person in charge of making the schedules a map of the United States.
  2. If Chris Paddack was a Met, the fans would love this. In fact, they did when it was Matt Harvey before he had the audacity of getting injured.
  3. If Pete Alonso is going to hit homers and celebrate on the field, he is going to make himself a target for other teams. This was a good test for him. While he failed the first part striking out twice, popping out, and whining, he responded the perfect way by hitting the go-ahead homer and having a great bat flip.
  4. Aside from needing to respond to the challenge, he needed a good game because he went into that game hitting .184/.241/.347 over his previous 13 games.
  5. It wasn’t just Alonso who got off the snide, Brandon Nimmo snapped an 0-for-28 streak which was one off Eric Campbell‘s Mets hitless record. Instead of struggling, he’s Nimmo again with him going 2-for-6 with two doubles and three walks over his last two games.
  6. At least Robinson Cano was good for a day, but the Mets needs more than just the sporadic outburst from him.
  7. No one should fault the Mets for rejiggering the lineup to try to get things going, and with the way Amed Rosario has been hitting, it was smart putting him in the second spot in the lineup. However, this is a patch and not a fix, and when Jed Lowrie is finally activated, it is time to move him back down the lineup.
  8. Once Lowrie is activated, Todd Frazier has to go to the bench. While his defense has been great, his bat has been that bad.
  9. There is way too much hand-wringing over Keon Broxton, J.D. Davis, and Adeiny Hechavarria. They’re not that good, and no one should be that worried with them being designated for assignment or headed to Triple-A. Instead, they should be worried about what makes up the best composition of the bench and how it complements the roster.
  10. Indications are if Davis goes to Triple-A, he will work on the outfield. It’s bizarre the Mets would do that with him while simultaneously not even allowing Dominic Smith to work out there.
  11. Speaking of Smith, the Mets really could have used a left-handed bat off the bench during this road trip.
  12. It’s not just Frazier who has been bad. It’s the majority of the lineup. While you may expect this to be a blip, this may be Chili Davis‘ influence as his other teams have done the same exact thing.
  13. Wilson Ramos has a career worst ground ball rate, and there aren’t really signs of him turning things around right now.
  14. Tomas Nido had offseason LASIK surgery. If his hitting is that much improved, given how well he plays defensively, the Mets are going to need to find him more playing time, especially given Ramos’ struggles.
  15. The heart says Jeff McNeil looks like an MVP candidate, but the mind sees a staggering .400 BABIP with a low walk rate and wonders when exactly the regression is going to come.
  16. Brodie Van Wagenen built a team with zero starting pitching depth, and he was forced to trade for Wilmer Font to start a game despite Font not actually being a starting pitcher. It is beyond amusing the Mets had to go to Chaim Bloom to bail them out for the actions of the General Manager who doesn’t quite know what he’s doing.
  17. After a rough start, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have been terrific, and they are giving the Mets every opportunity to win these games.
  18. Michael Conforto going in an 0-for-12 streak where he is still drawing walks and getting on base is a testament to how great a player he is becoming.
  19. More than anyone Conforto gets screwed on balls outside of the strike zone. That’s not just guessing or fan overreaction either, it’s fact.
  20. Mets fans need to stop over-criticizing Mickey Callaway. Who cares if he didn’t throw a tantrum after that bogus third strike call? The team still rallied after it, so it’s quite possible he has the pulse of this team. After all, Callaway did have the team playing hard last year.

Mets Can’t Get With Times . . . New Roman

The all-in Mets who dared everyone to come get them started Wilmer Font against the San Diego Padres. That happened because Jason Vargas and Steven Matz are hurt, and Brodie Van Wagenen could not be bothered to build starting pitching depth this offseason leaving him to trade a PTBNL for Font.

Font isn’t a true starter, but he was pressed into duty. Fortunately for the Mets, he would acquit himself well and not be the reason why the Mets lost.

In four innings, he’d allow two earned on three hits with no walks and a strikeout. This is better than what the Mets could’ve expected, but it wasn’t enough for the struggling Mets offense.

The Mets had grabbed a lead in the game almost immediately due to a Jeff McNeil hustle double to lead off the game followed by an Amed Rosario RBI single. Rosario would then be stranded. That’s certainly been a theme for the Mets of late.

After the Tomas Nido solo shot in the second, the Mets had a 2-0 lead. As noted, Font gave it back, but when you start Font, you should expect that to happen.

After the second, the game was effectively won by Manuel Margot, who has always killed the Mets. He’d rob Pete Alonso of a homer in the sixth.

In the seventh, Michael Conforto would leadoff the inning with a walk, and he’d steal second base. However, he wouldn’t score on a Jeff McNeil double because Conforto thought Margot caught the ball. It also didn’t help Nido and Todd Frazier struck out to end that rally.

Hunter Renfroe, who like Margot kills the Mets, would homer off Tyler Bashlor in the seventh. It was the only run the Mets bullpen allowed that one run due to the strong work of Robert Gsellman and Drew Gagnon.

The Mets would have a chance in the ninth despite just a horrendous third strike call against Conforto.

As noted by the great Jacob Resnick, Conforto gets more balls called strikes against him than anyone not named Cody Bellinger or Domingo Santana.

Despite the horrid calls from the umps on balls and strikes, the Mets would put together a two out rally. J.D. Davis hit an infield single, and Nimmo walked.

This put the game in Nido’s hands. He was having a great game. He was 2-for-3 with the homer. He picked a guy off first base.

But against Kirby Yates, he struck out on three pitches. With that strikeout, the Mets lost the series and finished the road trip 1-5. Fortunately, they’re coming home to a weak schedule.

Game Notes: Jed Lowrie is on track be activated on Friday.

Alonso Gets His Revenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alonso’s Response To Paddack Was Bizarre

After last night’s loss, the media spoke with Pete Alonso about Chris Paddack, and when he was asked specifically about what Paddack said, Alonso said he “didn’t take kindly to it.” During the post-game interview by his locker, Alonso would also take a swipe at Paddack saying,

If he was upset about it, I’m assuming he could’ve been a little jealous. I’m happy to win it and I mean, if he was mad about that, there’s five other months. Also, he said something about winning Rookie of the Year. That’d be nice but, I’m trying to win a World Series.

What should be noted was what Paddack actually had to say about Alonso. If you read what he actually said, you have to really wonder what about the comments really got to him:

He’s a great player, no doubt. Does he deserve (the Rookie of the Month honor)? Absolutely. But I’m coming for him. We’ll see Monday who the top dog is.

That’s something I’m looking forward to, for sure. And I’m not saying that in a cocky way. I’m saying that because I know what I want, just like I’m sure he knows what he wants. It’ll be a fun little matchup.

Do I wish it was me? Yeah. But the way I look at it is, do you want to be Rookie of the Month or Rookie of the Year? We’ll see, man. We’ve got a long season and I’m looking forward to Monday, competing against him.

Essentially, Alonso was bothered by Paddack calling a great player who deserved an award more than he did. He was bothered by Paddack saying he was looking forward to facing off against him and proving himself against Alonso. In the end, Alonso took issue to being challenged.

There are many ways you can take this, but it is really just odd.

From day one, Alonso has been a fun guy. He’s brought energy to the team, and he has not been shy from celebrating on the field. When you are as boisterous as he is, and frankly, when you have been as good as he has been, you are going to get noticed, and players are going to challenge you the way Paddack did. It goes with the territory.

We can make something out of Alonso going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a pop out against Paddack. Mostly, that was about Paddack being a great pitcher, and Alonso slumping.

Since April 23rd, Alonso is hitting .184/.241/.347 with a triple, two homers, and six RBI. He is striking out in 35.2 percent of his plate appearances. He’s struck out in 14 or his last 15 games, and he has had multiple strikeout games in three of his last four games.

Things are going about as poorly as they can for Alonso right now. Certainly, Paddack challenging and then beating him is a symptom, not the problem, so is bizarre response in not taking kindly to being called a great player who other players want to measure themselves.

For Alonso, this was just round one. No, it was not round one against Paddack. It was round one in his being a feared slugger who has gotten other team’s attention. He didn’t do well in round one, but he’s still standing, and he stiill has a lot of fight left in him. We will see how he responds both tonight and the rest of the season.

Paddack Dominates Alonso And Rest Of Mets Lineup

Chris Paddack came into this start upset he lost out on Rookie of the Month honors to Pete Alonso. He was not just vocal about his displeasure, but he also threw down the gauntlet without being disrespectful of Alonso. That said, Paddack felt he had something to prove, and he set out to do it.

Just based on tonight, he made his case. He overpowered Alonso in Alonso’s first at-bat. Overall, Alonso was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a pop out against Paddack. To be fair to Alonso, he wasn’t the only Met to struggle against Paddack.

Paddack struck out 11 Mets and allowed just four hits over 7.2 innings. He was as dominant as you get, and he wasn’t really challenged all night. Seeing how feckless the Mets offense was, you could tell this was a Jacob deGrom start.

With there being no rain delay (although there was the rare threat of rain in San Diego), deGrom was great. Really, the only Padres batter who could touch him was Hunter Renfroe, who followed hitting a walk off grand slam against Kenley Jansen last night by going 2-for-3 with a double and homer off deGrom.

With the way the Mets offense has been of late, Renfroe’s fifth inning homer was effectively the game clinching run. His seventh inning double set up a Ty France sacrifice fly giving the Padres a 2-0 lead.

From there, Justin Wilson made his first appearance since being activated off the IL, and he would allow two runs in the eighth, all with two outs. At 4-0, there was zero chance of a Mets comeback win.

In total, the Mets were challenged today by Paddack, and they shrunk from the challenge. Maybe it was the travel. More likely, this is now a bad hitting club whose approach under Chili Davis is really not working right now. After all, that’s seven runs over six games.

Game Notes: Before the game, the Mets obtained Wilmer Font for a PTBNL/cash from the Rays. Jason Vargas was sent to the IL, and Tim Peterson was sent to Syracuse.

18 Innings And 33 Games Later, Mets Are Under .500

This game was starting to look awfully familiar. Even with Amed Rosario hitting an RBI triple, he was bad in the field making yet another error. The offense wasn’t scoring runs at all putting Zack Wheeler in a position to be a hard luck loser.

Wheeler was good against the team he was almost traded to four years ago. In seven innings, he allowed two earned on six hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts. Even with him pitching well, in a sick twist, he was in a position to get the loss against Gio Gonzalez.That was until Pete Alonso came up to the plate against Junior Guerra:

As Mark Simon of Sports Info Solutions points out, Alonso is now 6-for-10 with three homers in the ninth inning. This is exactly what clutch looks like.

Seth Lugo was also clutch pitching three scoreless innings. Edwin Diaz came into a tie game in the 12th, and he didn’t allow a home run. He would get through the inning unscathed with some help from Jeff McNeil, who made a diving catch to rob Ryan Braun of an extra bass hit.

McNeil came up big again in the 13th. Despite being 0-for-5 up until that point, with two outs, he singled sending Hechavarria to third. The Brewers went to the bullpen to bring in Adrian Houser to face Alonso. Unfortunately, Alonso didn’t come through a second time.

Drew Gagnon took the ball in the bottom of the 13th. With one on and one out and a string of left-handed batters due up, Mickey Callaway brought in Ryan O’Rourke.

O’Rourke was not particularly effective. He walked both Eric Thames and Mike Moustakas, but he was still able to get through the inning because Wilson Ramos picked Thames off first, and Yasmani Grandal flew out to end the inning.

That left Robert Gsellman as the last line of defense. He navigated his way through a Braun one out double in the 14th. On the play, Rosario just dropped a throw from Michael Conforto, which arrived much earlier than Braun did.

Rosario was at it again in the 15th. His error allowed Hernan Perez to get on to lead-off the inning. Tomas Nido would erase him on the basepaths when Perez tried to advance on a ball which trickled not too far from Nido.

Fortunately, the 16th inning was uneventful for Gsellman, which sent the game to the 17th. It wouldn’t be Gsellman for the 17th as Steven Matz pinch hit for him. This meant it was all gong to be on Chris Flexen.

FINALLY, in the 18th, McNeil would drive home a run. His two out RBI single in the 18th knocked in Hechavarria who easily beat Braun’s run home. It was McNeil’s third straight hit in extras after not getting a hit through nine.

Flexen wasn’t going to make it easy walking Thames to start the inning, and he’d walk Grandal and Travis Shaw to load the bases with one out. Specifically with the Shaw at-bat, Angel Hernandez missed pitches in the strike zone and called then mmm balls.

With that, Braun would hit a ball Alonso couldn’t handle. It was hit very hard, and really, it was a problem of Flexens making.

In the end, it took 18 innings and 33 games for the Mets to finally go under .500.

Game Notes: Adeiny Hechavarria made his Mets debut getting double switched into the game in the ninth.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Split Series With Reds

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

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