Rafael Montero

Scrubs: My Disasterous 2017 Mets Season

In the end, this Mets season was just one large Scrubs season.  It wasn’t quite a comedy.  It wasn’t quite a drama.  Not nearly enough people should have appreciated it.  And, oh yeah, the players resembled the characters:

J.D. – Michael Conforto

There are many ways we can choose to compare the two with how they are treated by authority figures and seem to be dreamers.  Overall, it’s the Janitor who shows how the two are unmistakably intertwined:

Turk – Noah Syndergaard

Like Turk, Syndergaard can be both silly (his hatred of Mr. Met), had their bromances that ended when their bff departed (Bartolo Colon), and are serious about their craft (60′ 6″ away).  Both had serious health issues (Turk – diabetes; Thor – torn lat), that they largely ignored until they could no longer.

Dr. Cox – Sandy Alderson

Both are brash, saracastic, and quick witted.  They want everyone to conform, leave them alone, and they want the higher ups to give them the revenue they need to do their jobs because secretly they care.   Both have to deal with the hand they are given and do better than possibly anyone else would in their position.

Elliott – Jacob deGrom

The precocious blonde with long locks has gone from being overlooked to front and center.  Now, after a drastic haircut, we see them all grown up and in charge

Carla – Curtis Granderson

For much of the show, Carla was really the only adult in the room.  She was the one who was a parent and a friend to everyone.  There was no Met who has ever embodied that better than Granderson.

Kelso – Fred Wilpon

He’s the penny pinching curmudgeon who deep down believes he cares about the place more than anyone.  As time goes on, and they become more separated from the day-t0-day affairs, they become more likeable as newer villains begin to run interference.  In reality, they haven’t changed one bit.  Just ask Enid.

Janitor – Asdrubal Cabrera

He was once a guy with dreams and wanted to be someone.  Instead, he’s stuck around this place finding himself not wanting to be fired despite not being good at his job and terrifying everyone.  Oh, and now he needs this job to provide for his family.

The Todd – Yoenis Cespedes

Both seem like all flash and no substance with high fives, bat flips, cars, banana hammocks, chains, and compression sleeves.  However, once you get past all of that and look at their abilities, they are among the best at what they do.

Ted – Travis d’Arnaud

There was probably a time where dear old Ted had the world as his oyster much like d’Arnaud did when he first joined the Mets organization.  At this point both are beaten down and quite possibly both are forever broken.  In d’Arnaud’s case that’s probably more physical than spiritual.

Jordan – Terry Collins

As we found out in Marc Carig’s piece about Collins’ firing, the manager had contempt for most everyone around him except for a small few he treated kindly.  Of course to him that meant hurting them (ruining their arms).  That’s Jordan in a nutshell – hates almost everyone and is still nasty to those she likes.

Murphy – Ray Ramirez

They want to help, but they just keep killing everyone in their path.  Like with Dr. Murphy, the Mets have finally found a place where he could do less harm.

Keith Dudemeister – Lucas Duda

Aside from the fact that their surnames practically beg for the comparison, both seem like people we could have all been friends with under completely different circumstances.

Laverne – Jose Reyes

Just when you thought they were dead and gone, they’ve come back.  For Laverne, she came back under a different name.  For Reyes, it was a different position.

Enid – David Wright

Both were quite loved in their day, but now they are broken down and our eyes look elsewhere for something younger and sexier to take their place.

Sean – Kevin Plawecki

They seem like perfectly nice guys who try hard. In the end no matter what they do, no matter how good it is, it elicts the same response.  “Nobody cares!”

Bearfacé – Chasen Bradford

Of all the Mets, Bradford was the only Mets player who put together a beard that could come close to Beardface.

Extra points to Bradford for Baseball Reference not quite knowing if it’s Chase or Chasen similar to how Dr. Beardface constantly corrects everyone screaming it’s BEARD-FAS-AY!

Hooch –Hansel Robles

When Robles points to the sky as if to suggest a home run is just a pop fly, you know Robles is crazy.  Like Hooch, the craziness was comical at first, but now it is just downright scary.

Lloyd – Jeff Wilpon

He’s got the job because of who his father is, and someone he has a place on the Brain Trust.

Dr. Wen – Dan Warthen

They were tutors for a young talented group, but in the end, their time came as they refused to adapt.  For Warthen, it was teaching a slider when everyone was focusing on the curve.  For Dr. Wen, it was:

Ben – Neil Walker

He came here sick, and the Mets just couldn’t fix him no matter what they did.  Before we knew it, he was gone, and we were all looking for someone to blame.

Dan – Jay Bruce

When he first appeared, he was useless, and yet, somehow people seemed to love him.  He was an older brother that tried to take people under his wing, but he, himself, was the one who needed help.  Eventually, he got himself together just before we all said good bye to him.

Leonard – Seth Lugo

It’s the giant hook and the impressive hair (afro, blonde).

Julie – Wilmer Flores

Both are young, lovable, and so accident prone.  In the entire Scrubs series, the only way capable of breaking their own nose the way Wilmer did was Julie.

Jill – Matt Harvey

We all just assumed the worst in their intentions.  However, in the end, we discovered it wasn’t anything they did particularly wrong.  Rather, it was a problem related to something else entirely that if someone detected it earlier, everything might have changed.  Instead, a waste of a 2017 ensued.

Gift Shop GirlCarlos Beltran

We had our chance with him, but we blew it.  We forgot about him for a long time, but now that we remember him, he’s now got a ring on his finger.

Paige – Brandon Nimmo

Both are extremely religious, and you cannot wipe the smile off of either one’s face . . . no matter how much you try.

Mickhead – Barwis

We all know Barwis murdered the Mets season.  We just don’t have the proof.

Mickey Callaway Chose This Mets Pitching Staff

For the most part, Mets fans were ecstatic about the team hiring Mickey Callaway.  That went double after that upbeat press conference where Callaway both promised he would love his players, and they would be the most durable and well-prepared players in the Major Leagues.

There are plenty of reasons to like the move.  The Mets hired someone who worked with Terry Francona, who is a future Hall of Famer.  The team found someone who has shown the ability not just to comprehend analytics, but also to translate them to pitchers in a way that helps them improve.  He’s a new and fresh voice that the team has not had in quite some time.  People around baseball seemed to just love the decision of the Mets hiring the second most coveted managerial candidate behind Alex Cora.

These are all well and good reasons to get excited about the hire.  There are presumably many more.  However, the biggest reason to get excited about the hire is a pitching coach like Callaway chose to manage this Mets team.

That is of no small significance.  After the 2015 season, many believed the Mets were going to be a perennial postseason team.  Certainly, if things broke the Mets way, they could very well have become a dynastic team, at the very least in the mold of the 1980s Mets teams that were in contention each and every season.  However, instead of things breaking the Mets way, the team mostly broke down.

Matt Harvey had to have surgery to alleviate the effects of his TOS, and he followed that up with trying to pitch with an atrophied muscle in his pitching shoulder.  Zack Wheeler missed two seasons due to a torn UCL and complications from his Tommy John surgery, and he found himself missing the final two and a half months of the season with a stress reaction.  Noah Syndergaard had a torn lat.  Jeurys Familia had blod clots removed from his pitching shoulder.  Steven Matz had another injury riddled season with him having to have season ending surgery to reposition the ulnar nerve.  That was the surgery Jacob deGrom had last season.  Speaking of deGrom, he really was the only healthy Mets pitcher during the entire 2017 season.

The pitching behind the injured starters wasn’t pretty.  Rafael Montero continued to be an enigma.  Chris Flexen showed he wasn’t ready to pitch at the Major League level.  Robert Gsellman had his own injury, and he regressed quite severly after a really promising September in 2016.  Seth Lugo had come back from his own injury issues, and upon his return, he struggled to get through the lineup three times.

Add to that Hansel Robles being Hansel Robles, and Josh Smoker failing to emerge as that late inning reliever his stuff promised he could be, and the Mets lack of Major League ready starting pitching talent in the minors, and you wonder why anyone would want to become the Mets pitching coach, let alone a manager whose strength is his work with a pitching staff.

Make no mistake, Callaway had to have liked what he saw with this team.  Maybe it’s an arrogance any manager or coach has thinking they will be the one to turn things around.  Maybe, it was his work with injury prone pitchers like Carlos Carrasco that made him believe he could definitely make things work.  Whatever it is, the pitching guru that Callaway is purported to be liked what he sees with the Mets enough to potentially put his reputations and maybe his managerial future on a staff that some believed had fallen apart beyond repair.

Certainly, Callaway would have had other opportunities to accept a managerial position whether it was this year with an up and coming team like the Phillies, or next year when there would be more openings available.  Instead, he chose to resurrect what was once a great Mets pitching staff.  In part, he chose to do this because he believes in this talent, and he believes he is the man to do it.

That more than anything else is the biggest reason to be excited about this hire, and it is a reason to get excited about the 2018 season.

Mets Final Game An Allegory For The Season

Even though the Mets were well out of it, and there was literally nothing to play for in that final game of the season, there was some buzz to the final game of the season.  The reason why was Noah Syndergaard got the start.  He was great:

Syndergaard lasted just two innings striking out two while allowing no hits.  He would then leave the game.  This wasn’t his April 30th start against the Nationals.  No, this was planned.  Still, like this season once Syndergaard departed the pitchers who followed weren’t up to par, and the Mets chances of winning took a real hit.

Specifically, Chris Flexen and Rafael Montero imploded.  Flexen allowed five runs on six hits in just 1.1 innings.  Things would have been worse for him, but Kevin McGowan bailed him out striking out the final two batters of the inning.

It was then Montero’s turn to implode in the eighth with him allowing five runs on two hits and hit walks.  The low light was a Nick Williams inside-the-park homer.

In many ways, it was quite fitting the worst ERA in team history was clinched on an inside-the-park homer in a bandbox like Citizen’s Bank Park.

Those 11 Phillies runs would go unchallenged as the Mets could only muster two hits on the day.  One of them was by Gavin Cecchini, who was the only Mets player who had a decent day at the plate going 1-3 with a walk.  In many ways, that is a fitting end to the season.  Cecchini, a guy the Mets never gave much of a chance, performed well while the Mets favored players didn’t.

Like all of us, Terry Collins was ready for it all to end, and he just wanted to get out of there:

Game Notes: In what could be the last game of his career as a Met, Jose Reyes did not enter the game.

Dickey Great, Taijeron Walks Off

Almost five years ago to the day, R.A. Dickey took the mound for the Mets, and he earned his 20th win of the season all but locking up his highly improbable Cy Young Award. 

While Dickey hasn’t been anywhere near that good since the 2012 season, he looked like that pitcher once again tonight. He controlled his knuckleball extremely well not walking anyone. He kept the Mets honest by throwing his fastball just enough. 

Through six, the Mets accumulated just two hits – a second inning double by Brandon Nimmo and a third inning Travis Taijeron single. They didn’t amount to anything. 

Really, the Mets didn’t seem like they were going to touch Dickey until Kevin Plawecki hit what seemed to be the first mistake Dickey made all night for a two run homer. The homer pulled the Mets to within 3-2 making the game a bit more perilous for Dickey than originally anticipated when the inning began. 

It would be a two out Amed Rosario triple that finally chased Dickey from the game. With Dickey having been a beloved Met during his tenure, he received a well earned ovation as he entered the dugout.

Dan Winkler struck out Taijeron to end the jam preserving the 3-2 lead. 
The Braves were up 3-2 because they got to Rafael Montero early. 

A pair of first inning doubles from Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. 

In the second, Montero got himself out trouble by issuing a lead-off walk to Dansby Swanson. He scored on a Jace Peterson double, and Peterson scored on an Ozzie Albies RBI single. It was be enough to ensure Montero would finish the year with an ERA over 5.00. 

On the season, Montero finished 5-11 with a 5.26 ERA. Keep in mind, this is what was deemed to be a resurgent year for Montero where the Mets think he could realistically be a contributor next year. 

While the three runs were enough to ding Montero, it would not prove enough to give Dickey a win partially because Sam Freeman was snake bit. 

The first issue was his issuing a one out walk to Nori AokiJohan Camargo would then throw the ball away on a Jose Reyes grounder setting up second and third with one out. 
Asdrubal Cabrera then ripped a line drive that should have give the Mets the lead. It would only be a game tying sacrifice fly because Inciarte did it against the Mets again:

After a scoreless ninth from Jeurys Familia, the Mets would have a chance to walk it off. It was going to be difficult against A.J. Minter who has had a terrific rookie season. 

The Mets would give the rookie his first loss of his career. 

The game winning rally started with a Plawecki single, and Juan Lagares pinch ran for him. Terry Collins then uncharacteristically allowed Dominic Smith to face a left-handed pitcher. The decision was all the more surprising when you consider the Mets had a bench full of right-handed batters. 

Smith rewarded Collins’ faith when he drew the first walk Minter has issued in his brief career. Not just a walk to a left-handed batter. First walk. 

After Rosario failed to lay down the sacrifice bunt, Taijeron delivered with a single to left giving him the first walk-off hit of his Major League career. 

Five years later, Dickey was great, and the Mets won the game. If this was really the end of his career, it was a fitting end for a pitcher that really helped turn the Mets around. 

Game Notes:  AJ Ramos has been unavailable with a bicep issue, and he may be done for the season. 

Montero Back To Form, Mets Back To Losers

Well, the good Rafael Montero we had seen become one of the Mets most reliable starters turned back into the Montero of old.  In his four innings of work, Montero had allowed seven hits, two walks, and five earned runs.

The Marlins went to work against him right away with a Dee Gordon lead-off double.  For a moment, it seemed like Montero would get out of the inning unscathed, but he would allow a two out RBI single to Marcell Ozuna.  After a 1-2-3 second and Montero retiring the first two batters of the third, it seemed as if Montero had settled in and was ready to go deep into the game.

That was until a two out walk to Christian Yelich got the rally started.  Yelich stole second and scored on Ozuna’s second RBI two out RBI single of the game.  For a moment, it seemed as if Jose Reyes could make a play on the ball, but it went right by him.  After a Justin Bour two run homer, the Marlins were up 4-0, and it became an easy game for Jose Urena and the Marlins.

The Mets would make things look better than they were.  Travis d’Arnaud would hit a pinch hit RBI single in the fifth scoring Kevin PlaweckiBrandon Nimmo would hit a seventh inning homer to pull the Mets to within a manageable 5-2 score.  It seemed like the Mets would have a chance with Chris Flexen pitching two scoreless innings in what might have been his best outing in a Mets uniform.

It was all for naught as the Marlins would play Home Run Derby against Erik Goeddel in the eighth.  He allowed homers to A.J. Ellis, Miguel Rojas, and Giancarlo Stanton to turn a 5-2 lead into a 9-2 lead.  For Stanton, it was his 56th homer of the year.  Too bad for Stanton, he no longer has games against the Mets in his chase of Roger Maris.

To that extent, the Mets had maybe one win in what was a putrid sweep at the hands of the Marlins.  The Mets will now get a day off, and they will come home for the last home series of the season.  For the first time in two years, that does not involve a loss in a postseason series.

Game Notes: Amed Rosario missed his third straight game with a gastroenteritis.

 

 

Montero Still Hasn’t Figured Things Out

There’s no denying that since his latest call-up, Rafael Montero has been a much better pitcher.  Even if Mets fans have long come to distrust Montero, it’s hard to argue with the results.  Since July 18th, Montero has made 12 starts and one relief appearance.  Over that stretch, he’s 4-5 with a 4.68 ERA, 1.589 WHIP, and an 8.4 K/9.  Mixed in there, Montero has had some brilliant starts including an 8.1 inning three hit shut out against the Reds.

This is a far cry from the Montero who entered the season with a 1-5 record, 5.15 ERA, and a 1.636 WHIP.  Things were actually worse than that in his earlier call-ups this season.  Prior to July 18th, Montero was 1-5 with a 5.77 ERA and a 1.897 WHIP. The main culprit for all of these struggles was the walks.  Until his most recent call-up, he was walking 5.4 batters per nine.  According to Fangraphs, that’s a significant step past “Awful.”

Now, Montero has been much better because he has been attacking batters and the strike zone.  That’s why he is getting better results and has begun to change everyone’s impression of him.  However, he is still walking too many batters.   Through the aforementioned 13 appearances, Montero is walking 4.7 batters per nine.

Again, according to Fangraphs, this is still a step past awful.

Overall, this is the danger with judging pitchers on the sole basis of them improving.  Montero has gone from being a pitcher once demoted to Double-A to a pitcher who has had some successful starts at the Major League level.  For the first time, we have seen some glimpses of the pitcher the Mets have held onto for so long.  Still, we are not seeing a complete and finished product that can be consistently relied upon throughout the course of a season.

In the end, Montero is improved, and there are hopes he could actually be a contributor.  How he contributes becomes dicey.

He’s out of options meaning he cannot be stashed away in the minors as an emergency starter.  With him walking as many batters as he does, you can’t rely upon him as a reliever to preserve a lead.  That really leaves two options for the Mets with Montero: 1) move on from him and run the risk of him figuring it out elsewhere; or 2) make him a long reliever.

The long reliever role is one the Mets have been sorely lacking for the last two seasons.  It has led to the decimation of the bullpen time and again.  With the Mets having stayed with Montero this long, you might as well give him the chance as he’s finally earned it.

 

Improved Montero Can’t Get Out Of Fifth

After you get your brains beat out like the Mets did in Chicago, you want your ace taking the mound. The good news is the Mets had their ace taking the mound. The bad news is that their ace has become Rafael Montero

That’s no slight on Montero, who had pitched much better of late. It’s more of an indictment on the Mets starting pitching staff who has the second worst ERA in the majors. 

Tonight, Montero regressed a bit needing 108 pitches to get through 4.2 innings. It harkened back to the days when he couldn’t put anyone away. On the flip side, he only walked two batters. With Montero only pitching 4.2 innings, he didn’t qualify for a win. 

He also didn’t qualify for a win because he reliqushed the lead in that turbulent fifth inning. 

The Mets had the lead partially because Dominic Smith continued flashing his extra base power. In the fourth, he doubled home Asdrubal Cabrera to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. 

The Mets first run was scored in the third on a Jose Reyes groundout scoring Gavin Cecchini

Cecchini got the rare start partially due to Amed Rosario missing tonight’s game with a hip injury which forced him out of last night’s game. Cecchini took advantage of the opportunity going 1-3 with a run and a double. He was also good at second showing range and helping start a double play. 

Despite Cecchini playing well defensively, it was defense that cost the Mets this game. 

The game winning rally started in the fifth when Brandon Nimmo misread a ball cutting in on a David Freitas liner. Hard to say it would have been an out with the correct read, but with Freitas’ speed, Nimmo might’ve been able to limit him to a single. 

Freitas would score on a Ender Inciarte game tying single. Inciarte then put himself in scoring position with a stolen base. With his speed and Kevin Plawecki‘s arm, it really was only a matter of time before Inciarte stole that base. 

After that stolen base, Montero walked Ozzie Albies. Worse yet, Montero threw a wild pitch during Freddie Freeman‘s at bat putting runners on second and third with one out. Freeman was then intentionally walked bringing Lane Adams to the plate. 

Adams hit a sinking line drive that Nimmo made a great play on:

It was a great play, but it was also a sacrifice fly giving the Braves a 3-2 lead. 

The Mets would rally in the eighth staring with a two out Cabrera walk. After a Plawecki single, the tying run was in scoring position for Smith, the team’s leading RBI guy since he call-up. Unfortunately, he didn’t deliver. 

With that, the Mets had a rather mundane 3-2 loss against the Braves.  The real hope in watching this game is that Smith continues to hit for power, and Cecchini builds off of this game. 
Game Recap: In addition to Rosario, Travis d’Arnaud sat a day after being lifted from a game. It is possible he was going to sit anyway with Plawecki having served as Montero’s personal catcher of late. 

Montero & Plawecki Lead Mets to Victory (Not a Joke)

If you had the duo of Rafael Montero and Kevin Plawecki powering the Mets to victory, one of three things are probably true:

  1. You’ve been in a coma since 2014;
  2. You’re a much better gambler than Craig Carton; or
  3. You just started watching baseball this September. 

Seriously, Montero and Plawecki have been much improved players at a time where it seemed even the Mets were beginning to give up on both of them. Finally, the Mets faith in both seems to be rewarded. Tonight was the latest example. 

Plawecki has been much improved at the plate.  It’s not just batting average or OBP, it’s his hitting for power. 

His two run shot in the second inning was a no doubter. It was the second of the season and sixth of his career. It gave the Mets a 2-1 lead, and the team didn’t look back. 

For the first five innings that was because of Montero. Except for a 1-2-3 first, he was in trouble all night long. Part of that was the re-emergence of his walks problem with Montero allowing five walks in five innings. 

Still, while the walks re-emerged, the meltdowns didn’t. He made the pitches he needed to get out of jams and innings. 

He then handed the call to Chasen Bradford, who has rebounded well from his one poor outing against these Reds at the end of August. In that outing, he gave up four runs without recording an out tonight. He got redemption pitching 1.2 scoreless striking out four. 

He not only kept the lead, but he allowed the Mets to blow it open for their fourth win in a row. 

The Mets got a little breathing room with a Dominic Smith two out sixth inning RBI single scoring Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera had led off the inning with a double. 

Cabrera’s next double plated Nori Aoki in the seventh. This followed Aoki singling home Matt Reynolds and Jacob deGrom. Reynolds was hit by a pitch, deGrom pinch hit for Josh Smoker, and both advanced on a Jose Reyes sac bunt. 
With the Mets having a 6-1 lead, it was an easy game for rookie Jamie Callahan to put to rest. It might’ve been the reps or the five run lead, but he looked more relaxed and composed. All the Mets look that way with the team playing much better of late. 

Game Notes: Amed Rosario is feeling better, and he may play tomorrow v

One Last Drive

In life, we tend to get attached to and attribute meaning to bizarre things. Today, that was my car. 

Now, I hated that car. From day one, it was a nightmare. I sank more money into it than I care to admit. Driving into bad neighborhoods time and again, it was constantly dinged and scratched. Tires blown. Dents in the car. Really, I hated it. 

But you know what I didn’t hate?  All the great things I did with the car. 

What started out as a car I purchased to commute to and from work became the family car.

It was the car I drive with my wife to Pre-Cana. The day after our wedding, my wife and I drove home for the first time.  

I drove that car with my then infant son to and from doctors appointments.  That includes when I had to take him for emergency room visits, and one day his surgery. 

We took that car to take him for his first day of school, his first Mets game, his ice skating classes, soccer practice, and on family vacations. We drove that car to places where we would share some of our favorite memories as a family. We drove that car everywhere. 

Every so often, he liked to get in the front seat and pretend to drive just like his daddy:


I didn’t realize it at first, but there were hints of all those moments scattered throughout the car. I realized this as I cleaned it out today so I could trade it in for the new family car. In some ways, it felt like a moment right out of The Wonder Years

As we cleaned out the car, there were remnants of these events. Just like we had done a thousand times, we listened to the Mets game on the radio. 

You couldn’t pick a more appropriate starter than Rafael Montero. First terrible, but now you see him in a whole new light. 

This is because Montero has been a much better pitcher of late. We saw it again from him today. He cruised through five innings allowing just the one run. 

It was the sixth he got into trouble. Like his last start, he put his bullpen into a tough situation handing them a bases loaded one out situation. Unlike AJ RamosPaul Sewald, who hadn’t pitched in eight days due to some physical issues, allowed all the inherited runners to score. 

Fortunately, it didn’t matter much because the Mets offense exploded against Mark Leiter

Most of the damage came in a six run fourth inning. Even with him not hitting lead-off, Brandon Nimmo got it all started with a single. Four hits, including a Juan Lagares double and Gavin Cecchini  RBI single, and an error later the Mets were up 9-0, and the Phillies brought in Kevin Siegrist

After Siegrist issued a couple of walks, Nimmo capped off the inning with an RBI single. That single gave the Mets a then 10-0 lead. 

It proved to be an insurmountable lead. That was true even for the hurt Sewald and Hansel Robles, who had another adventurous outing. 

It was the Robles outing that had me sitting in my car just a little longer. I sat in my car a little longer like I had done several times in the past. Except this time was the last time in this car. 

As Ramos got Rhys Hoskins to fly out to end the game, I had the last memory in that car. It was a rather small one, but a memory nevertheless. 

It’s now time for a new car with new family memories. This will be the car I take my next son home from the hospital in. It’ll be the car I take to drive him to his first Mets game. Hopefully, it will be the car I drive to see the Mets in their next World Series. 

Game Notes: Kevin Plawecki was 2-4 with two runs and a stolen base. 

As Mets Always Planned, Montero And Plawecki Led Them To A Win

If you recall, there was a time when the Mets considered Rafael Montero to be a better prospect than Jacob deGrom.  Sure, it seems silly now with deGrom winning the Rookie of the Year, being an All Star, and how great he pitched in the 2015 postseason.  It seems sillier when you consider Montero has mostly been terrible with the Mets shying away from the strike zone and walking too many batters.

Recently, we have seen glimpses from Montero.  He is using that change-up, the pitch that made the Mets believe in him, more effectively.  He is also throwing strikes.  The stretch has been good, but not great.  It certainly didn’t give us any indication why the Mets thought so highly of Montero.  That was until last night’s game.

Through eight innings, Montero had allowed just one base hit to a stacked Cincinnati Reds lineup.  Even allowing for the obvious issues with the OPS statistic, the Reds lineup featured seven batters with an OPS over .800.  Two of the players, Zack Cozart and Joey Votto, were All Stars this year.  However, when you were pitching like Montero, it simply doesn’t matter.

Given the fact that you have seen Montero pitch in a Mets uniform before, it is understandable that you have to see it before you believe it.  Here is a short compliation:


Considering how Montero was pitching, you can certainly understand why Terry Collins allowed Montero to go out there for the ninth inning despite Montero having already thrown 107 pitches.  This was Montero’s night, and he earned the right to at least try to finish the game.

After retiring the pinch hitter Billy Hamilton, the Reds finally got to Montero.  Phil Ervin singled, and Cozart doubled.  With him going to the plate as the winning run, the Mets understandably intentionally walked Votto.

At that point, the Mets also put an end to 8.1 brilliant innings from Montero.  During his 117 pitch night, he had allowed just three hits and four walks while striking out eight.  The only question remaining was whether he was going to get the win.

It was a real question because the Mets had only given him a 2-0 lead with both runs coming in the first inning off of a pair of RBI doubles from Wilmer Flores and Kevin Plawecki.  By the way, if you think Montero’s emergence has been a surprise, what about Plawecki?  He has gone from a guy the Mets were probably going to seriously consider cutting from the 40 man roster this offseason to a guy who is hitting .364/.440/.591 with two doubles, a homer, and three RBI in eight games.  By the way, he also threw a scoreless inning in relief the previous night.

Getting back to the bottom of the ninth, the Reds had the bases loaded with one out.  Once again Collins eschewed Jeurys Familia in a save situation to go to AJ Ramos.  Ramos responded by striking out Adam Duvall and Scotter Gennett to end the game.

With that, the Mets now have a victory where Montero and Plawecki were key figures in the game.  In what has truly been a bizarre season, this one probably ranks up there.  If that isn’t enough for you consider this – the two have combined to throw 9.1 consecutive scoreless innings.

Game Notes: Amed Rosario got the night off.  This led the Mets to play Jose Reyes at shortstop and have him lead-off over Brandon Nimmo because that is exactly what you are supposed to do when you are trying to develop players late in the season.