Rafael Montero

Montero Was Not The Reason The Mets Lost

Due to the rain, the Mets played it safe and started Rafael Montero over Jacob deGrom. While it is smart to protect the best pitcher in your team so you can win games down the road, putting Montero into any game severely hampers your chances of winning that game

That was evident when Montero needed 45 pitches to get through the inning. Of note, the Mets wanted to limit him to 75 pitches due to his throwing 3.1 innings on Sunday. Montero needed 45 pitches because he was usual terrible self. 

In the first, he allowed three walks including one with the bases loaded. He allowed three singles with two of those being infield singles. Despite the mayhem, the Mets were only down 2-0 after the first. Believe it or not, that would be all the runs the Padres needed despite them starting Dimelson Lamet, who was making his first career start. 

The only run the Mets would score would be on a second inning Lucas Duda home run. After that, the Mets would squander opportunity after opportunity. 

After the Duda homer, the Mets stranded Curtis Granderson on second after his two out double. 

In the third, Matt Reynolds, who earned a lead-off walk pinch hitting for Montero. The Padres would execute a perfect relay and get the tag down just before Reynolds touched home as he tried to score from first on a Jose Reyes double. The Mets then stranded Reyes on second. 

Hunter Renfroe handed the Mets a gift in the fifth. He couldn’t get to a Travis d’Arnaud shallow pop up, and then his throw pulled Chase d’Arnaud off the bag. Then for some reason, Terry Collins opted to go with the butcher boy with Paul Sewald instead of a straight sacrifice bunt attempt. Sewald struck out. Michael Conforto, who had a golden sombrero, struck out as well.  Reyes popped out to end the rally. 

Jay Bruce and Neil Walker led off the sixth with back-to-back singles off Padres left-handed reliever Jose Torres. Duda then grounded into the 3-6-3 double play. The Mets were still alive in the inning putting runners at the corners after a Wilmer Flores walked against Kevin Quackenbush. With Granderson coming up to the plate, the Padres brought in Ryan Buchter, and Collins countered with T.J. Rivera. Rivera flew out to end the inning. 
There were runners and first and second and two out in the seventh, but Bruce was unable to cash in grounding out to short. 

The shame of this is this was an extremely winnable game. Even as bad as Montero was, the Mets were still in position to win. Montero’s final line was three innings, five hits, three runs, three earned, three walks, and four strikeouts. 

The score remained at 3-1 because Sewald was brilliant. Sewald was stretched to three innings and 41 pitches due in part to Montero’s ineffectiveness. Sewald once again answered the call pitching three scoreless allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out four. It should be noted Collins deemed him unavailable yesterday. 

Josh Edgin was nearly as good as Sewald pitching two shut out innings himself. Overall, while the bullpen has struggled, they did their job tonight. 

Finally, in the eighth, the Meys offense broke through. Walker hit a lead-off double off Padres reliever Brandon Maurer, and he would score on a Duda seeing eye RBI single. Still, that rally would fizzle as Asdrubal Cabrera would ground into an inning ending double play. 

The Padres added a run off the struggling Addison Reed in the ninth making it 4-2. That run would loom large. 

Juan Lagares walked off Padres closer Brad Hand tostart the ninth inning rally, and he would go to third on a Conforto single. Reyes hit a high chopper which was enough to score Lagares and prevent the double play. Still, it was the second out of the inning. Bruce then fouled out to end the game. 

The foul out put a capper on a frustrating night at the plate going 1-10 with RISP. It does not matter who the Mets did and did not start in this three game series. The Padres are terrible. The Mets should have swept them or at least taken two of three. Instead, they blew a five run lead last night and couldn’t hit with RISP tonight. 

The entire Mets organization needs to do some soul searching after this series. 

Game Notes: Cabrera was activated from the Disabled List but did not start. Kevin Plawecki was sent down to make room for him on the roster. 

Enough Of Rafael Montero

Either the Mets can no longer afford the black mail or the front office cannot admit they were wrong.  Other than those two scenarios it is hard to fathom why Rafael Montero is still with the major league team.

In 12 appearances, Montero is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA and a 2.520 WHIP.  He has entered four games this season with the scored tied, and he has allowed the opposition to take the lead in three of those game.  He has allowed a run in seven of his five appearances.  He has allowed two plus runs in four of those appearances.

The more you break it down, the worse things are for Montero.  He is walking 7.6 batters per nine innings, and he’s allowing 15.1 hits per nine.   Batters are hitting .378/.478/.500 off of him.  Basically speaking, when Montero actually does throw a strike, he’s not fooling anyone.  Montero makes every hitter look like Mike Trout.

It’s no wonder Terry Collins doesn’t trust him.  That creates another problem.  When the Mets are ahead in games by big margins, Collins does not go to Montero.  Instead, he will try to patchwork his bullpen to bring them to the finish line with the lead.  This is a major reason why the bullpen has been overworked. Jerry Blevins is on pace for 98 appearances. Addison Reed and Fernando Salas are on pace for 87 appearances.  It may also have been a reason why Hansel Robles went from a 1.42 ERA to a 6.23 ERA and a demotion to the minors.  Robles was replaced on the roster by Josh Smoker, who had also suffered under a heavy workload and was previously demoted to the minors.

With respect to Smoker and Robles, they have more than earned their respective demotions.  They needed to go down to Triple-A not just to get themselves straight, but for someone to ease off their workload.  Their respective demotions beg the question as to why Montero is still up with this team.  He’s pitching worse than either Robles or Smoker did.  His mere presence on the roster has led to the overuse of more valuable relievers.  When he does actually get into games, he leaves the Mets in a worse position than he found them.

Montero is really hurting this team, and yet this organization continues to stick by him.  It is unfathomable.  Sooner or later, someone needs to press this organization and find out why Montero is still a Met.

Look Elsewhere For Sunday Fun

Originally, I was supposed to be watching this game with my brother, but with him being rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery on Friday, those plans were nixed.  By the way, Happy Birthday to him.  His gift was being discharged from the hospital.  It is a good thing he was going through the discharge process because I’m not sure even his painkillers would have been sufficient to dull the pain of watching that game.

Before you could blink, it was 5-0.  It would have been worse but Michael Conforto nailed Danny Espinosa at home plate.  Believe it or not, it got worse from there.  Mike Trout and Jefry Marte would hit back-to-back homers off Tommy Milone to make it 8-0.  At that point, Milone was done for the day.

To put is succinctly, Milone was absolutely terrible.  He threw 43 pitches with only 27 of them being strikes.  When he did throw a strike, it was hit hard.  Overall he pitched just 1.1 innings allowing eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits and two walks.  As bad as that was, Rafael Montero came into the game.

Bringing in Montero was the right move because it’s already 8-0, and you don’t want to rip through an already tired bullpen.  However, Montero is really just a white flag.  When he comes into the game, it really means “Game Over.”  It was a gorgeous day, and I have a three year old.  I decided to go out and have a fun day away from the team.  There was no sense watching anymore.

And really, it is getting to the point where you don’t want to watch the Mets on Sundays anymore.  Since winning their first Sunday game of the season, the Mets have lost five straight Sunday games.  Overall, they are getting out-scored 65-24 in Sunday games.  The losses have been a mixture of disheartening losses and blowouts. They have made you feel worse about series losses, and they have overshadowed series victories.  It makes me happy that the Mets no longer offer the Sunday Plan because I otherwise would have been at the game watching that mess again.

Sure, in turning the game off, I missed the Mets making a game of it with the Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce homers.  I also missed the continued struggles of Hansel RoblesInstead, I got to ride on a train and drink soda from an animal sippy cup.  I also got to see a sea lion up close.


With that, I at least had a fun Sunday, which is something I would not have had if I continued to watch that Mets game.

Gsellman And Montero Were Used In Pivotal Spots

For the past seven games, the Mets have found new and interesting ways to lose. Today, it was a tried and true method for this team. Not getting hits with RISP and some truly bizarre managerial decisions from Terry Collins

Like most of the games on this road trip, things started well for the Mets. Michael Conforto, who Collins has spent the better part of two years telling us can’t hit lefties, hit a two run homer off Patrick Corbin to give the Mets a 2-0 first inning lead.  

From that point forward, the Mets would go 1-6 with RISP. 

Matt Harvey would give up that lead. In the first, he allowed a lead-off triple to Rey Fuentes. Fuentes then scored on a Chris Owings ground-out. In the third, Harvey allowed an opposite field two run homer off the bat of Jake Lamb
It was all part of a maddening start by Harvey. He did not have one 1-2-3 inning. He walked four batters including the opposing pitcher. He allowed his 11th homer of the season. He needed 95 pitches to get through 5.1 innings. 

And yet, there were positive signs. He didn’t allow a hit with RISP. He had big strikeouts of Paul Goldschmidt and Yasmany Tomas. He left the game in line for the win. 

The Mets had a 4-3 lead when Harvey departed. The additional two runs came in the fourth. Juan Lagares hit a long home run to tie the score at three. Matt Reynolds followed with a walk, and he would score on a Jose Reyes RBI double. As we know, the Mets wouldn’t win this one. 

For some reason, Collins went to Robert Gsellman and his 7.07 ERA to pitch the seventh. This is the same Gsellman the Mets have just removed from the rotation for the next couple of weeks. Depending on the ETA of Steven Matz and/or Seth Lugo, Gsellman may not start another game this year. Despite this, Collins felt Gsellman was the right man to protect a one run lead to help the Mets break a six game losing streak. 

Gsellman would walk Goldschmidt, and he would score on a Tomas RBI double. Just like that, the score was tied. 

The Mets would mount subsequent rallies to try to get another lead. In the eighth, there were runners on first and second with two outs, and Lagares grounded out. In the eleventh, the Mets had the same situation, and Reyes struck out. That would be the Mets last chance. 

The real part of the Mets bullpen had done a good job. Josh Edgin got Harvey out of the sixth unscathed. Jerry Blevins (8)and Addison Reed (9 & 10) pitched perfect innings to get the Mets to the 11th. At that point, Collins did the complete opposite of what he should have done. 

He brought in Rafael Montero. Not the red hot Paul Sewald. Not Fernando Salas who has been better of late. Not Neil Ramirez who the Mets signed to help the bullpen. No, he brought in Montero, and his rationale was absurd:

First batter Montero faced was Chris Herrmann. Herrmann is a career .207/.277/.338 hitter who entered the game hitting .160/.250/.280.  He injured his hand in this game. Naturally, he did this:

To recap, Collins brought in a guy with a 7.07 ERA to preserve a one run lead, and he used a guy with a 9.00 ERA to keep the game scoreless. At this point, you have to wonder if he’s trying to get fired. 

Game Notes: Reyes tried to go to second on a play in the second on a throw to the cut-off man. The play wasn’t even close, and it killed what could have been a big rally. 

Harvey Wallbanged

Was it too much rest?  Was it Julian Edelman?  Maybe it’s just that Matt Harvey still isn’t quite right. Whatever the case, this was another disappointing start for Harvey. 

Through the first five innings, he was fighting it. He needed 97 pitches to get through those innings. His mechanics weren’t sharp.  He was laboring. He was walking batters. He was getting hit hard. He didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning until the fifth. 

In the second, he allowed a leadoff walk to Domingo Santana who then scored on a Jett Bandy double. On the play, Curtis Granderson had trouble both tracking it down and picking the ball up. Ultimately, it didn’t matter, but it was an ugly play. 

Hernan Perez homered to start the third giving the Brewers a 2-0 lead. To be honest, the score probably should have been worse than that. They were really lucky to still be in the game. 
They initially took advantage. Neil Walker brought the Mets within one with a fourth inning home run. The Mets then put together a two out rally in the sixth after Michael Conforto just missed hitting one out to deep center.  

Asdrubal Cabrera doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch. Jay Bruce walked. Cabrera would score on an ensuing Walker RBI single. The rally ended when the Brewers put on a pickoff play, and Bandy caught Bruce sleeping. The play prevented the Mets from potentially taking the lead. They wouldn’t get close again. 

Coming off a strong fifth, Terry Collins decided to stick with Harvey to start the sixth. What was a decent start Harvey could possibly build off of turned into a nightmare. 

Eric Sogard and Orlando Arcia would hit back-to-back homers giving the Brewers a 5-2 lead. With that, a Harvey who was probably done after five innings was officially removed from the game. 
It’s hard to tell why Harvey was still out there. It’s possible Collins thought Harvey found something and thought Harvey had another inning in him. Perhaps, he was trying to save his pen with Jeurys Familia going on the DL after his surgery today to repair the aneurysm in his throwing shoulder. 

Whatever the case, Harvey struggled, and he got tagged with the loss. Brewers starter, Matt Garza, who was able to pitch the sixth, got the win. 

The Mets bullpen behind Harvey would struggle. Josh Edgin allowed a double to Jonathan Villar. After a walk to Perez, there were runners at the corners with one out. Edgin would strike out Travis Shaw on a 3-2 pitch. Perez ran on the pitch, and he forced a run down allowing Villar to score. 

Rafael Montero came on to pitch the seventh. While he looked pretty good, he still allowed a home run to Bandy to make it 7-2. 
It wasn’t until Paul Sewald came on in the eighth that the Mets bullpen didn’t allow a run. The Mets could’ve used a little better effort from their bullpen as their offense came alive in the ninth. 

Walker continued his terrific night leading off the ninth with a single. Overall, he was 3-3 with two runs, a walk, a homer, and two RBI. He’d  move to third on a Granderson double, and he’d score on a T.J. Rivera RBI single. Granderson would score on a wild pitch to make it 7-4. 

That would be the final score. You can’t win when the opposing team had as many home runs as you have runs scored. It was a night that had some promise, but it all fell apart in the bottom of the sixth. 

Game Notes: Lucas Duda returned from the DL, and he was 1-4 with a double.  With Duda being activated and Cabrera ready to play, Jose Reyes sat, and Rivera played. Rivera was 1-3 with an RBI and a walk. 

Wilmer Throws This One Away

Imagine believing you need to use multiple relievers every inning. Imagine using the same relievers. relievers day after day after day. Sooner or later it catches up to you. That moment was today for the Mets. 

It spoiled what was a good day for Tommy Milone. Despite being released by the Brewers and his not having started a game since April 25th, he pitched well. 

Milone pitched five innings allowing six hits, two runs, two earned, and two walks with five strikeouts. He exited the game in the sixth after allowing back-to-back singles to Buster Posey and Christian Arroyo

Fernando Salas came on for Milone and allowed one of the inherited runners to score. That run scored when Justin Ruggiano followed a Nick Hundley single with a deep sacrifice fly. From there Salas slammed the door shut. 
Gorkys Hernandez grounded to the third baseman Wilmer Flores. Instead of trying for the around the horn double play, Flores went home. Kevin Plawecki made a terrific play picking up Flores’ short-hopped throw to tag out Arroyo, who just stopped running on the play. Salas followed this out by striking out Mike Morse to end the rally. 
With Salas ending the rally, Milone was in position to earn his first win in a Mets uniform – a win he didn’t get.  Milone was in that position because he helped his own cause. In the fourth, Milone hit an RBI single off Matt Cain to expand the Mets lead to 3-1. The single scored Curtis Granderson, who had a pretty good game himself. 

It started with an opposite field double in the first inning to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. He also reached on a Buster Posey error to get the aforementioned rally started. 

The other run was courtesy of Jay Bruce:

After losing one to the rainout, Bruce finally got his 10th home run back. The third inning homer also snapped a 1-1 tie. The game was tied because Posey hit yet another homer off the Mets. 

The Mets had a chance to put the game away in the sixth. With a perfect Juan Lagares bunt down the third base line, the bases were loaded against Giants reliever George Kontos with one out. Kontos then recorded back-to-back strikeouts of Asdrubal Cabrera (pinch hitting for Salas) and Jose Reyes to keep it at 3-2. 

The Mets similarly fizzled in the seventh. Bruce and Neil Walker hit back-to-back one out singles. Granderson popped up, and Flores lined out to kill that rally. 

The Mets bullpen tried to keep it at 3-2. Josh Edgin (one batter) and Hansel Robles combined to pitch a scoreless seventh. This continues Robles’ 14 inning scoreless streak. 

Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins pitched a scoreless eighth.  Blevins came on with two outs in the eighth because Brandon Belt was announced as a pinch hitter. Blevins probably came on because Terry Collins was probably having a panic attack thinking about the possibility Blevins may not pitch in a game. He also completely disregarded Reed’s numbers against left-handed batters. 

The Mets would rue the town blown opportunities to tack on runs as Jeurys Familia blew his first save of the season. 

Ironically, it wasn’t Conor Gillaspie who got to him. In fact, Familia dispatched with him easily. In fact, it was Flores who got to Familia. After Joe Panik walked, Flores threw off line to second. Instead of an inning ending double play, there were runners on first and second. Hunter Pence singled past a diving Flores to tie the game at 3-3. Posey then walked, and Arroyo hit a bases clearing double to make it 6-3.

At that point, Rafael Montero came into the game. Note, he didn’t make his way into a 6-1 game, but today, he relieved Familia. Because he has a sick sense of humor, Montero recorded two quick outs to get out of the inning. 

Flores redeemed himself a bit in the ninth. After the Mets put two on with two outs in the ninth, he came up. Flores hit one that deflected just off Ruggiano’s glove and the top of the wall. It made it 6-5, but it was too little too late. Kevin Plawecki grounded out to the catcher ending the game. 

 The winning streak is over, and the Mets fell to a game under .500. 

Game Notes: Michael Conforto sat with a hamstring issue. With Bruce in right and Juan Lagares in center, Granderson played left. With Conforto sitting, Reyes returned to the lead-off spot. 

Collins Bullpen Mismanagement 

The Mets were up 6-1 in the eighth inning against a San Francisco Giants offense that showed no life all game long.  This could be a function of the fact the Giants have scored the fewest amount of runs in the National League. In essence, with the Mets up by five runs, the game was over. 

Not according to Terry Collins. He managed the game like it was a one run game in the seventh game of the World Series. 

Hansel Robles pitched a scoreless seventh lowering his ERA to 1.47. With his being a reliever accustomed to pitching multiple innings, it was justifiable to send him out there to pitch the eighth. He opened the inning by hitting Justin Ruggiano
This led to Collins lifting him for Jerry Blevins. Even with the left-handed Joe Panik and Brandon Belt coming up, this was completely unnecessary. The Mets were up five runs. You don’t need to start playing matchups late in the game. This was a chance to rest Blevins who is on pace for 96 appearance. Furthermore, left-handed batters are 1-19 against Robles this year. 

This isn’t a one year fluke with Robles either. In his career, Robles has limited left-handed batters to a .164/.255/.304 batting line. That’s better than the .210/.262/.314 Blevins has allowed in his career. There’s no need to go to a lefty in that spot.

Once Blevins came in and did his job, there was no need to take him out. He needed just six pitches to get Panik and Belt out. He’s been much better against right-handed batters since joining the Mets. He very well could have pitched to Hunter Pence. Instead Collins went to Addison Reed

With Reed coming into the game, he’s now on pace to make 81 appearances. That would top his career high in appearances which he set last year. As if using Robles, Blevins, and Reed wasn’t enough, Jeurys Familia came in to close the ninth.

Collins did that despite Blevins, Reed, and Familia having pitched on Monday. He did this despite knowing  Tommy Milone was starting tomorrow. 

Milone was picked up off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers. Milone was available because he had a 6.43 ERA in six games this season. In his three starts, he’s averaging under five innings per start. Chances are the Mets are going to need to heavily rely on their bullpen in a day game after a night game. 

Certainly, it’s too soon to pitch Paul Sewald after 3.1 innings on Sunday. To that end, he shouldn’t be available tomorrow. Fernando Salas needed a day off after pitching in seven of the last nine days. 

This is all the more reason you let Robles finish that eighth inning. Then with a five run lead the Mets can pitch Rafael Montero in the ninth inning now that he’s once again out of the rotation.  

Doing this keeps the key bullpen arms fresh for when the team really needs them. Instead, Collins burned the arms with a five run lead against the worst offensive team in the National League. This is how bullpens get burned out. This is why key bullpen arms aren’t as effective later in the season when they’re needed the most. 

The Noise Distracts From How Good The Mets Have Been

It started early for the Mets. Steven Matz was injured before Opening Day, and the Mets again wondering what is really wrong with him. Seth Lugo pitched in the World Baseball Classic, partially tore his UCL, and he is going to try to rehab it rather than having Tommy John surgery. Indirectly, this led to Rafael Montero pitching like, well, Montero. It also led to a less than inspiring performance by Adam Wilk.

Noah Syndergaard is gone for an extended period of time with a torn lat. Matt Harvey has been suspended three games for failing to show up at the ballpark. Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda have not played in a few weeks, and there are just rumors that they are soon to return. Travis d’Arnaud is yet again on the disabled list himself, and as usual we are unaware when he can return. Once again, Asdrubal Cabrera has been hobbled in the early part of the season leading everyone to wonder when the Mets finally put him on the disabled list.

Jeurys Familia was suspended for the first few weeks of the season, and he was not sharp immediately upon his return. Addison Reed struggled in his adaption to closer and again in his transition to the eighth inning reliever. Fernando Salas just struggled, and Josh Smoker has probably struggled more than Reed and Salas combined.

Jose Reyes was hitting .095 midway through April. Curtis Granderson entered the month hitting just .128. Neil Walker is under the Mendoza Line against right-handed pitching, and he entered the month of May hitting just .195. Wilmer Flores cannot his right-handed pitching. Juan Lagares can’t hit any pitching.

The end result was the Mets losing six in a row and 10 of 11. Already, people were starting to wonder if this team was similar to the 1992 or the 2009 Mets teams. Despite all of this, the Mets are back at .500 and second place in the National League East. How did it happen?

Well, for starters young and under utilized players have stepped up. Michael Conforto went from the bench to one of the best hitters in baseball. For the second straight season, T.J. Rivera has taken complete advantage of an unexpected opportunity being given to him. Josh Edgin has become a dominant LOOGY in the bullpen. We have even seen Paul Sewald step up pitching terrifically after some initial hiccups.

Then there are the veterans who have had career best seasons so far. Jay Bruce is on base to put up career best numbers in every offensive category. Jerry Blevins has been used almost every game, and he is putting up better numbers than he did last year’s career best season for him. Rene Rivera is hitting over .300. Hansel Robles is 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in 16 appearances.

More than there, the Mets have exhibited some professional pride. Reyes is hitting .282/.341/.564 with three doubles, a triple, two homers, nine RBI and a stolen base over his last 10 games. Granderson has hit .250/.368/.625 with three doubles, a homer, and four RBI over his last five games. Walker has hit .276/.364/.414 with four doubles and four RBI in the month of May.

In addition, the bullpen has been much better of late. Familia has had five straight scoreless outings. Reed has allowed just two hits with no runs in the month of May. Terry Collins has been more judicious in his use of Salas, and Salas has not allowed any runs in his last five appearances. With Blevins, Edgin, and Robles continuing their outstanding seasons, this has become the dominant bullpen everyone envisioned it would be to start the year.

With the combination of the resurgent veterans and the outstanding young player, the Mets are winning again. In the month of May, the Mets lead the majors in runs scored. They are fifth in the National League in homers. However, unlike last year, the Mets do not need homers to score runs. The Mets .320 team batting average and .517 slugging with runners in scoring position is second best in the majors, and its .419 OBP with runners in scoring position is the best in baseball.

Despite all the noise around the Mets, this team is playing its best baseball of the season. Once their pitching gets relatively healthy, and their current pitchers pitch close to their true talent levels, this team will once again be one of the best teams in all of baseball. Until then, this current group of Mets will make sure the Washington Nationals will be within shouting distance allowing the Mets to compete for the division.


Collins Made Sure The 6-1 Lead Held Up

It doesn’t matter how poorly the Giants are playing this season. If Zack Wheeler is going to pitch like he did tonight, he is going to beat even the best offensive teams. 

Through six innings, Wheeler allowed just two hits and one run. The only issue was the four walks, but with the stuff he had there was no way the Giants were capitalizing. His slider was sharp, and he was getting his fastball up to 98 MPH. The only damage against him was a Buster Posey fourth inning solo homer. 

By the time Posey hit that homer, the game was effectively over. The resurgent Mets offense jumped all over Jeff Samardzija

In the first, Eduardo Nunez misplayed a Neil Walker ball into a two RBI “triple.”  The ball was likely going to land and score one run, but it was not a triple. 

Jose Reyes singled home Walker, and Rene Rivera doubled him home. Just like that it was 4-0. 

In the second, back-to-back doubles by Michael Conforto and T.J. Rivera made it 5-0. In the seventh, Conforto put the final nail in the coffin hitting a solo home run to left-center field. 

Now, despite having a 6-1 lead in a May game against a terrible offense, Terry Collins managed the eighth inning like it was the eighth inning in the seventh game of the World Series. 

After a scoreless seventh, Collins let Hansel Robles start the eighth.  After Robles hit Justin Ruggiano, Collins brought in Jerry Blevins to pitch to the left-handed hitters Joe Panik and Brandon Belt. Collins went to Blevins despite him being used way too frequently early this season despite the score being 6-1, and despite left-handed hitters hitting just 1-19 off Robles. 

After Blevins got the two lefties, Collins went to Addison Reed to face Hunter Pence because of a little known MLB rule that if Pence hits a home run in Citi Field in the eighth inning of a game played on May 9th with the Giants down by five runs, the home run counts for 10 runs. 

This ladies and gentleman is why Collins has stuck around long enough to pass Bobby Valentine for the second most games managed in Mets history. 

Naturally, given how close this 6-1 game was Collins went to Jeurys Familia to close it out in the ninth. Somehow, the official scorer did not give Familia a save for this one. In any event, thanks to Collins pulling out all the stops, the Mets are back to .500. 

Game Notes: Josh Smoker was sent down before the game to make room for Matt Harvey whose suspension just ended. Rafael Montero remains on the roster. 

Sandy Alderson Miscalculated

Yet again, the Mets have had to turn to Rafael Montero to make a start because there weren’t better options for the Mets.  There weren’t better options because Sandy Alderson believed the Mets had enough starting pitching to never need to sign a veteran signing pitcher.  As we have seen, this was a miscalculation.

Lost in the excitement of the Mets having seven starting pitchers was the fact that pitchers break down.  This pitching staff exemplifies this axiom.  Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz were coming off season ending surgeries.  For his part, Matz is seemingly never healthy.  Zack Wheeler hadn’t pitched in over two years due to his having Tommy John surgery and the ensuing complications therefrom.  Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo were terrific in September of last year, but it was against some fairly weak competition.  Also, it is likely both were going to be on some form of an innings limit.  Finally, there was Noah Syndergaard, who seemed indestructible.

Now, we could have anticipated Matz doing down, but the other manner in which the Mets have turned to Montero and Adam Wilk has been a surprise.  No one expected Lugo to suffer a torn UCL.  Syndergaard tearing his lat never could have been reasonably anticipated, nor was the Mets needing to suspend Harvey.  Still, given the relative injury histories, it was certainly plausible the Mets would be down three plus pitchers at any point of the season.  It was also plausible because pitchers break.

Despite this, Alderson moved both Logan Verrett and Gabriel Ynoa to the Orioles in separate deals.  Both moves were defensible because the Mets needed space on the 40 man roster to accommodate free agent signings.  Still, those arms needed to be replaced by cheap veterans who could be stashed in Triple-A, or the Mets could have signed a swingman who could have served in long relief and be available to make a spot start.

Now, we know players like Doug Fister and Colby Lewis likely weren’t signing unless they got minor league deals.  Still, there were pitchers like Jon Niese and Dillon Gee available.  Mets fans may not love them, but they are certainly better than Montero.  There was also Scott Feldman who has served in both relief and long man roles, and he signed with the Reds for just $2.3 million.  There are several other names like Jake Peavy who at least has the veteran guile to gut through five innings.  Instead, the Mets stuck with Sean Gilmartin, who they won’t even trust to make a start, and they signed Wilk who is not a viable major league pitcher.

And now, the once vaunted Mets starting pitching is a mess, and it is up to Alderson to fix it.  This is the same Alderson who has been very cavalier in moving pitching the past few seasons to help fix the weaknesses in teams he has built.  So far, his answer has been Milone who has a 6.43 ERA in six starts this season.  That’s hardly an answer.

Likely, Alderson’s real answer is to hope for some health with presumably both Matz and Lugo will be ready by the end of the month.  Maybe this time the health plan with work.