Well, it was bound to happen. After all the times the New York Mets were going to ignore his track record, they were bound to get Rich Hill through six. Tonight was that night.
This was Hill’s best start as a Met, and he was helped along by his defense and some Nationals snafus.
Garcia hit his second double in the fifth. If not for a terrific play off the wall by Michael Conforto and a strong relay throw, Riley Adams scores. Instead, Hill got Keibert Ruiz popped out to end the inning
As evidenced by the above and Francisco Lindor, really the play behind Hill was phenomenal. Hill dropping down some and getting Juan Soto out in big spots, like the sixth, is exactly how you pitch six shutout innings.
Hill got the win because the Mets offense did just enough. It also helped they were able to absolutely abuse Soto’s poor defense in right.
Fortunately, Nolin was able to move enough it didn’t hit him in the head. More than that, he was able to stay in the game.
In the third, Brandon Nimmo drew a one out walk, and Pete Alonso hit a ball the other 29 right fielders in baseball catch. Soto was the one who couldn’t turning it into an RBI triple giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.
At this point, the hope was the Mets offense would take off and put the game away. Instead, the Mets offense went away leaving very little margin for error.
The Mets had chances. In the fifth, there were runners on second and third with one out. In the seventh, they had first and third with one out. They failed to score in either situation.
This is where Nimmo almost cost the Mets the game.
On an 0-2 pitch, Stevenson took off, and Adams lined it to center. Nimmo had no chance to catch it, but he dove anyway. If not for Conforto backing up the play, the Mets lose on an inside the park homer.
Instead, they lost their catcher. Conforto made a strong relay, and Báez made a strong but albeit offline throw. Sisco just got blown up on the play, Stevenson scored. and the game was tied with the tying run at third.
Patrick Mazeika came in, and Diaz settled down to get the next two outs to send it to extras. The Mets would score more in the tenth than the previous nine.
With Lindor as the ghost runner, Alonso golfed one to center giving the Mets a 3-2 lead. When Baez fouled out to deep left, Alonso had heads up base running to tag up and go to second.
This led the Nationals to intentionally walk Conforto to set up the double play. Instead, Kevin Pillar ripped a two RBI double to left extending the lead to 5-2.
That lead would be extended to 6-2 later in the inning when Jonathan Villar hit an RBI single. Remarkably, Villar started the game 0-for-2, and he would still have a four hit game.
Jeurys Familia entered the game in the 10th, and there would be no blowing it. He shut the door on a game the Mets had to have.
Well, the Mets need them all. In any event, the Mets turned what could’ve been a bad loss to a terrific 6-2 win.
Game Notes: Brad Hand was activated. Dominic Smith was placed on the bereavement list. Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling went on the road to broadcast a game for the first time in nearly two years.
Perhaps, it is unfair to suggest J.D. Davis was the reason the New York Mets lost. After all, in baseball, it is really more than just a player, play, pitch, or at-bat.
The Mets were down 3-0 after former Los Angeles Dodger Rich Hill allowed homers to Trea Turner, Albert Pujols, and Chris Taylor. With the Pujols homer that was one 40 year old homering off another one.
The Mets would begin to mount a comeback against Max Scherzer in the fifth beginning with a Brandon Nimmo solo homer. The inning continued, and Michael Conforto would have a tough at-bat with two outs to draw a walk with the bases loaded.
This brought J.D. Davis up to the plate. If you were expecting anything other than a strikeout, well, you haven’t been paying attention all season. This was the fifth time he did it all season in five such tries. Again, it was a fastball over the heart of the plate.
Didn't have his best stuff today, but legendary strikeout here from Max Scherzer to get outta the jam pic.twitter.com/IhDRIAbyId
— Blake Harris (@BlakeHarrisTBLA) August 21, 2021
The shame was after Miguel Castro loaded the bases with no outs walking in a run, Jeurys Familia got the Mets out of the jam further unscathed. Pete Alonso would also hit a two run homer off Blake Treinen to pull the Mets to within 4-3.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 21, 2021
That would be the final score, and it was an extremely frustrating one at that.
As for Davis, well, the Mets decided they’d rather let him sink the season. It doesn’t matter he doesn’t play defense, run the bases, and isn’t hitting. In the end, the Mets just seem to be accepting his blaming everyone else for his inability to produce.
The New York Mets briefly fooled us. For a brief moment, Mets fans actually thought the Mets were game and could possibly get a win.
The Mets had fallen behind in the fourth when Rich Hill lost it. Honestly, with Hill, you expect it to happen at some point in the fourth or fifth.
The rally continued anyway with the Giants getting three more hits. Wilmer Flores had the third driving home the second run of the inning. Things might’ve gotten worse, but Miguel Castro got the Mets out of the jam.
What’s shocking is the Mets, who seemed dead in the water, rallied. It was all the more surprising against Kevin Gausman.
After the first two reached, Pete Alonso drove a two RBI triple to Triple’s Alley to tie the score. He then scored on the rarest of rare things, a Dominic Smith sacrifice fly. Improbably, the Mets had a 3-2 lead.
That lead was very temporary. In the very next inning. Kris Bryant hit a two run homer off Castro. It was his first of two on the night.
Trevor May took the mound in the seventh. He struggled and didn’t look right. Theres certainly an explanation for it with his wincing on the mound. Whatever the case, Belt and Bryant homered.
Later on in the inning, Brandon Crawford hit an RBI trouble extending the Giants lead to 7-3. At that point, it was game over.
Yes, Jonathan Villar would hit a two run homer in the eighth, but it was really window dressing. The reason is the Mets ability to hit with RISP is non-existent.
Case in point was this inning. Brandon Drury followed with yet another pinch hit. The tying run was on base with one out as the Mets flipped the lineup.
At the end of the day, the Mets lost 7-5. They’ve now lost four in a row again. They’ve done it twice in less than two weeks. Heads typically roll after games and stretches like this.
Game Notes: Alonso’s triple was the first for the Mets in 68 games).
The New York Mets began the suspended game down 3-1. Rich Hill volunteered to pitch earlier than his spot because the Mets needed a starter. He’d be far from the only person who stepped up on the day.
Now, while Hill stepped up, he wasn’t great. The deficit grew to 4-1 in the second when Victor Robles hit an RBI double.
Then, something happened to the Mets offense. That something was Joe Ross. As fans, we tend to focus on the Mets killers of the world, but we overlook the Rosses of the world who just wilt when they see the orange and blue.
Brandon Nimmo awoke the offense with a leadoff double in the third. That led to the dreaded bases loaded no outs situation. Michael Conforto got the Mets past the mental hurdle of never scoring with an RBI groundout. This sparked a three run inning tying the score at 4-4.
It was the first time in a week the Mets scored more than three and just the second time all month. Whether it was Ross or not, the Mets offense seemed to be clicking.
They needed it to because Hill ran out of gas in the fifth. After allowing the first two to reach, he allowed a Luis Garcia two RBI double putting the Nationals up 6-4. That’s when the Mets went to the bullpen to ask Jeurys Familia to stop the bleeding.
Familia didn’t exactly do that. The first batter he faced, Riley Adams, drove home Garcia with an RBI single. After a sacrifice bunt, he was in scoring position. That set the stage for Jeff McNeil to save the game.
In what was a flashback, Alcidies Escobar, a 2015 Kansas City Royal, was up against Familia with the opportunity to end the game. He’d rip a liner, but McNeil got higher than we’ve ever seen him robbing an RBI base hit and ending the inning.
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 11, 2021
The Mets then started chipping away at that lead. In the bottom of the inning, McNeil drew a leadoff walk, and he was still there with two outs. On a 3-2 pitch, a clearly hobbled McNeil was running when Conforto ripped an RBI single through the shift.
The Mets have sliced a run off of the lead. pic.twitter.com/H1QBJNocxG
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 11, 2021
Thanks to a double clutch from Carter Kieboom on the relay McNeil scored easily. Conforto tried to advance on the throw, but he was caught in a run down easily making the last out.
Gabe Klobosits relieved Ross to start the seventh. Nimmo would led off the inning with a single. Two batter last later, Pete Alonso came sooo close to giving the Mets the lead. Instead, it was an RBI double pulling the Mets within a run.
Pete was thiiiiiiiis close to tying the game
But it's an RBI double ? pic.twitter.com/HpvsSJtg3f
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 11, 2021
While the Mets wouldn’t get the lead there, they finally would in the eighth. With a runner on second, Jonathan Villar was up there hybrid bunting, that is, he was up to sacrifice, but he always bunts to get a base hit.
That always puts extra pressure on the defense, especially with his speed. Nationals pitcher Mason Thompson fielded it rather cleanly and easily, but he appeared to rush the throw leading him to throw it away. The tying run scored, and Villar was in scoring position.
The Mets have tied the game!! pic.twitter.com/njP49RumzQ
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 11, 2021
Later in the inning, we’d see pinch hitting extraordinaire Brandon Drury. For some reason, just like Matt Franco in 1999, some pinch hitters just get locked in at the plate. That’s been Drury this year, and he delivered again with a go-ahead RBI single through a drawn-in infield.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 11, 2021
Astonishingly, that was the first Mets lead in 43 innings. Somehow that seems impossible. Then again, the Mets have been terrible of late losing four straight and nine of 10.
The Mets got to this point not just due to the offense but the bullpen as well. Familia, Miguel Castro, Drew Smith, and Trevor May combined to pitch four scoreless allowing just the two hits. They walked none and struck out two.
While the Mets were armed with the lead heading into the ninth, they weren’t out of the woods. The very mercurial and rusty Edwin Diaz was coming in for the save, and the first batter he’d face was Juan Soto.
Diaz made quick work of Soto striking him out on four pitches. With Soto down, it was effectively game over at that point. Diaz hit the easy save, and the Mets finally won a game.
This is what we envisioned the Mets offense can and should be. There are reasons why he saw it happened with Ross being one of them.
There was also Nimmo being a table setter. McNeil was spraying the ball, and Alonso’s talk about the process produced tangible results.
Mix in Conforto getting further away from COVID and returning to form with some luck, which is always needed, and you get a huge Mets win. The key now is to build off of this.
Game Notes: The second game of the doubleheader was rained out. The Mets signed Josh Reddick to a minor league deal.
For New York Mets fans salivating for one of those good old fashioned Terry Collins throw the players under the bus press conferences, interim GM Zack Scott gave it to them. While it lacked the flair, the substance was on point.
"Most of the time, it's compliance issues"
Zack Scott says there's no systemic issues with the Mets' training staff in regards to injuries this season, and soft tissue injuries can be linked back to players not following through completely on plans set in place for them pic.twitter.com/82xIQULReK
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 10, 2021
Scott said the Mets have been mediocre, and their play of late has been unacceptable. In all honesty, both were true, and there’s no issues with him saying that.
Then, Scott went on to say the soft tissue injuries were really the result of players not following designed protocols from the team. Essentially, the Mets washed their hands from the vast majority of injuries their players faced.
What’s hilarious about that is the Mets started a game with a threat of rain. Remember, before first pitch, the home team decides whether or not to proceed. After that, it’s the umpires.
With the Mets proceeding, they got one inning from Carlos Carrasco. After he sat around a bit, he had to simulate a game to continue with the process of stretching out.
Because the game was suspended, the Mets bullpen, starting with Drew Smith, has to pitch eight innings. And, that’s before the second game of a doubleheader.
Keep in mind, the day after that, Rich Hill takes the mound. The Mets learned the hard way Hill is just a five inning pitcher. That means even more stress for the bullpen. That means they’ll be overtaxed as they hop on a plane to head out west.
So yes, Scott and the Mets can put these injuries on the players. They are in charge and can say whatever they want. However, behind that is a series of pitching decisions and decisions like tonight which have led to pitcher injury after pitcher injury after pitcher injury.
For all we know, it’s these types of decisions and missed opportunities which have trickled down to the position players. Overall, the Mets are right in saying the players have their share in the injures. However, as the Carrasco one inning suspended game shows, this front office isn’t as innocent as they told us they are.
There are actually worse things for baseball teams than losing. One of them is becoming unwatchable. Sure, that sometimes goes hand-in-hand, but being unwatchable is another level.
Take their last game as an example. They strike out nine times including the platinum sombrero from Javier Baez. This somewhat correlated with the 15 runners left on base. The same can be said for the two double the plays.
The Mets started the game with the bases loaded and no outs. They didn’t score. For the other 29 teams, that’s a surprise. For the Mets, it’s becoming par for the course. Moreover, fans excitement is moving the way from excitement to seeing just how the Mets will screw it up.
The starting pitching kept this afloat, but it’s taken a step back a bit due to a mixture of injuries and fatigue. Even when they do well and get a Rich Hill, he’s only a five inning pitcher, which exposes the soft underbelly of the bullpen.
When a player like Albert Almora goes off with a three hit game, he’s carrying the offense instead of taking it to another level. That’s because players like Michael Conforto are a shell of what they’ve been.
This Mets team completely failed to take advantage of their opportunities to create some distance between themselves and the rest of the NL East earlier in the year. Now, those teams addressed their needs at the trade deadline, unlike the Mets, and they’re chasing them down.
Now, the Mets lead is only 0.5 games, and they’re about to face the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies have the chance to not only catch the Mets here, but also leave them in the dust.
Right now, there’s no expectation for anything other than that to happen. That said, there’s still a lot of talent on this roster, and they were very good in May. Hopefully, they figure it out and move from unwatchable to unbeatable again.
There’s no other way to put it. The New York Mets flat out stole this game.
At that point, the Mets looked dead in the water as Wade Miley dominated them over the first five innings, but the Mets got something started in the sixth.
Jonathan Villar drew a lead-off walk, and Pete Alonso singled. That brought the newest Met, Javier Baez, up as the tying run. Well, that was at least until Villar was picked off at second. That loomed large as Baez hit his first homer as a member of the Mets:
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 1, 2021
That got the Mets to within 4-3, but notably, it did not tie the game. They’d need to bullpen to shut down the Reds offense to give them that chance.
For a moment, it didn’t look like the Mets were going to get that chance. Joey Votto got a hold of a Seth Lugo pitch, and for a moment, it seemed like he tied the Major League record by homering in eight straight games.
Loup returned the favor for Villar by catching Votto too far off the bag. Votto broke for second, but Pete Alonso didn’t panic, and he started a run down of Farley for the final out of the inning.
Aaron Loup starts the pickoff play and the Mets are through the 8th! ? pic.twitter.com/EXKICsixrF
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 1, 2021
This meant the Mets had a chance entering the ninth. Jeff McNeil would draw a lead-off walk off Heath Hembree, and Luis Guillorme entered as a pinch runner. Hembree then uncorked a wild pitch moving Guillorme to second.
After Hembree struck out Baez and James McCann, the Reds went to Sean Doolittle to get out Dominic Smith even though Smith hits lefties well. Doolittle did get ahead of Smith, but Smith delivered the game tying single.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 1, 2021
This meant Rob Manfred Gimmick Baseball Time. The Reds started the inning with Jonathan India on second. He moved to third on a wild pitch. Jesse Winker didn’t beat them like he normally does because he walked.
Diaz responded in a way he did in the first half and not the second half. He rebounded by striking out the next two, including Votto, before getting Tyler Naquin to line out hard to center.
In the 10th, Luis Cessa found himself pitching against the Mets on the six year anniversary of when he was traded by the Mets as part of the Yoenis Cespedes deal. On his fourth pitch, Brandon Drury continued his hot hitting July with a walk-off single.
In the end, the Mets won a game they really had no business winning. Make no mistake, this is the hallmark of a good team amidst a special season.
When making decisions at the trade deadline, it is not just about where your team is in the standings. It is also about where you are at as an organization. Right now, the Mets are 4.0 games up on the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, two teams who are under .500. As for the organization, well, they are in a much more tenuous spot.
After this season, Michael Conforto, Jeurys Familia, Rich Hill, Aaron Loup, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, and Jonathan Villar will be free agents. After the following season, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Brandon Nimmo, and Kevin Pillar will be free agents. Jacob deGrom can also opt out of his contract, and Taijuan Walker can decline his player option.
Focusing more narrowly, after two years, the Mets could lose 2/3 of their outfield and 4/5 of their starting rotation. They can also lose four key set-up men as well as their closer. Put another way, this team is on the precipice of losing very important pieces of a team which is going to take it to the postseason this year.
Now, this is certainly a much different proposition with Steve Cohen at the helm than it was with the Wilpons. There is an implicit trust Cohen will continue trying to win. However, as we know, you’re not always successful identifying who to keep and who to let go as well as who the right replacements are.
When we look back to the early 90s, the Mets were coming off their best stretch in Mets history. They made the right decision letting Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez go. However, they made some bad calls like thinking Vince Coleman could replace Darryl Strawberry. They over relied on their belief Kevin Elster, Dave Magadan, and Gregg Jefferies could be first division starters. Of course, there was also the Worst Team Money Could Buy.
All told, when the Mets switched from build around a core to replacing and altering the core, things fell apart. We can look at other points in Mets history when that happened. It happened again when the Mets passed on Alex Rodriguez as part of a calamitous offseason after the 2000 pennant. The 2009 Mets made the mistake of keeping Oliver Perez. The 2017 Mets got their money tied up in Neil Walker, and they saw Robert Gsellman and Lugo couldn’t hang as starters for a full season.
In some ways, that leads us to now. The Mets have extremely important decisions to make on who stays and who goes. They need to see who the correct replacements are. From what we’ve see from this front office, we should have faith they are up to the task. That said, we all had very well placed faith in Frank Cashen, and he blew it up.
Seeing where the Mets are, the best decision they can make right now is to absolutely go for it. Yes, that may very well require overpaying for players and rentals. Back in 2015, that didn’t make much sense. It was year one of contending for a young core who was cost controlled. Their decisions, including letting Daniel Murphy walk, turned it into a two year window. That window slammed shut without a World Series.
Right now, the Mets window is definitely open, but it’s being propped open. Without the right options, this window can slam shut after this year. It may well be that after the 2022 season. The Mets definitely need to keep this possibility in mind as they look to add at the trade deadline.
Players like Kris Bryant and Trevor Story dramatically changes the fortunes of this team. The same can be said for a player like Jose Ramirez. It may hurt to overpay for Max Scherzer or another top of the line starter, but imagine a two headed monster of deGrom and Scherzer (and having deGrom insurance) as the Mets look to win a World Series.
Ultimately, the Mets are going to see radical changes to this roster over the next few years. They’re in first place now with a team capable of winning a World Series. They need to make sure they do everything they need to do to get that World Series, or they may be ruing the missed chance for a team in transition over the next few years.
By no means is it fair to suggest the New York Mets and their players were throwing the game. Certainly, there was nothing Jerad Eickhoff wanted more than to have a strong start.
In many ways, this was the future of Eickhoff’s MLB career. He had already been DFA’d multiple times this season with no one willing to pick him up. That meant he was there for a Mets team desperate for a pitcher.
There’s no doubt the Mets were overturning every stone they could. After all, they just pulled the trigger on a trade for Rich Hill. Clearly, they wanted better than Eickhoff, but they just couldn’t find it.
It was a disaster for Eickhoff. He joined Pat Mahomes as the only Mets starter to walk five and all 10 ER. It was just that bad over his 3.2 innings.
Luis Rojas and the Mets were clearly asking him to wear one in what was a thinly veiled attempt to punt the game from a starting pitching standpoint. As noted, Eickhoff could only give them 3.2 innings.
Eickhoff left the mound to a chorus of boos. It’s unfortunate that’s the way he goes out. Certainly, he will be DFA’d in short order, and with the trade deadline this week and Carlos Carrasco due to come off the IL on Friday, there’s no way Eickhoff pitches for the Mets again.
To their credit, the Mets tried to make a game of it. Jeff McNeil‘s two run homer in the fifth not only extended his hitting streak to 14 games, but it pulled the Mets to within 10-3.
That was certainly the case when Diaz allowed a homer to Austin Riley, a player who is absolutely killing the Mets, hit a two run homer in the sixth. That made a prayer of coming back seven runs back against a bad Braves bullpen, an unrealistic nine run deficit.
Brandon Drury hit a window dressing two run homer to make it 12-5, but this was a game the Mets blew by not having a legitimate Major League starter. We can debate what the Mets should or should not have done, but in reality, there was no one on this roster to put the Mets in position to win.
For the Mets, they still lead the division by 3.5 games. Ultimately, they’ll be fine with getting two starters back and the trade deadline.
Unfortunately, for Eickhoff, this may be it. Certainly, someone could grab him as minor league depth. It’s just hard to imagine he’s going to get a real chance to start in the majors again.
The Toronto Blue Jays of Buffalo came to Citi Field, and like usual, the New York Mets took the series:
1. Luis Guillorme is an absolute magician on the field. That tag between the legs was next level genius.
2. Guillorme also has .417 OBP and 121 OPS+. How he doesn’t play everyday, even when everyone is healthy, is just bizarre.
3. One of the reason the Mets are good is Tomas Nido. On Sunday, he was flashing his cannon picking off one runner and throwing out another. He could start for half the teams in the league.
4. Luis Rojas gets maligned for some reason, but his opting to pinch hit an ailing Jeff McNeil for Nido resulted in a game winning double. Most managers don’t pinch hit for their catcher, especially in the sixth inning.
5. It was absolutely right to pull Tylor Megill. He’s a rookie who threw zero innings in a game last year. You need to keep him going to the finish line and we’ll beyond.
6. Megill has been great, and at this rate, while there are bound to be tough games and setbacks, we should expect him to continue to improve.
7. Keeping Rich Hill in for the sixth was probably the wrong move. At this point in his career, he’s a five and fly. That said, you understand pushing him with the doubleheader and the lack of starters. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
9. J.D. Davis again showed he can’t play third. If you continue playing that glove while relying on a 30.8 K% and .526 BABIP, you’re going to get burned.
10. At the trade deadline, the Mets should call the Cleveland Indians and ask what they want for Jose Ramirez, and then, they should say, “Yes!”
12. Taijuan Walker has struggled out of the break. He’ll be fine.
13. Maybe Michael Conforto won’t be any good this year. Aside from one outburst in Cincinnati, he’s been bad all year.
14. Brandon Nimmo has been terrific this year, and the Mets should be talking extension with him.
15. Mets really need bullpen help at the trade deadline. While you can count on their top guys, they don’t have depth. With the doubleheaders and just four starters, they’re going to get taxed more.
16. Dominic Smith has continued his resurgence, and quietly, he’s at a 0 DRS in left (even if OAA paints a much different picture).
17. Steven Matz once again proved he can pitch in New York. It was nice seeing him treated well by Mets fans. It’s a shame he still isn’t with the team. They needed him this year.
18. Aaron Loup continues to be phenomenal. When he pitches this way in the postseason, they’ll write ballads about him.
19. Seth Lugo has been good and effective, but he hasn’t been Seth Lugo yet.
20. The Mets seem to have the division wrapped up heading into the deadline with the NL East teams really in position to sell. They need to get healthy, and they can’t let anyone try to make things interesting.