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.
When determining which team to root for this postseason, the general rule of thumb is to root against the Mets rivals. With the Mets making a number of trades this season, you could also root for teams according to their Mets connections:
East – Boston Red Sox
Assistant Pitching Coach – Brian Bannister (2006)
Bannister made the Mets out if Spring Training in 2006. His tenure was short lived as he injured his hamstring, and Omar Minaya rebuilt the rotation in-season pushing a healthy Bannister out. He’d be moved that offseason in an ill-fated trade for Ambiorix Burgos.
RHP Blaine Boyer (2011)
Boyer pitched just five games for the Mets before leaving via free agency. He would not pitch in the majors again until 2014.
RHP Addison Reed (2015 – 2017)
Acquired on the eve of September, Reed quickly became an important seventh inning reliever on the Mets pennant winning team. He was even better the next season helping pitch the Mets back to the postseason. With Jeurys Familia‘s suspension and injury, Reed became an effective closer before being traded for a trio of Red Sox relief prospects at the trade deadline.
OF Chris Young (2014)
After a few down years, the Mets took a one year gamble on Young. He struggled all year, and he was released with the Mets eight games under .500 and 10.5 games back in the division. Since that time, Young has been a much more effective player.
Central – Cleveland Indians
First Base Coach Sandy Alomar, Jr. (2007 – 2009)
Alomar ended his playing career playing eight games with the Mets in 2007. He would then begin his coaching career with the Mets serving two years as a special catching instructor.
RF Jay Bruce (2016-2017)
Bruce went from bust who struggled mightily after being acquired at the trade deadline last year to fan favorite this year. Fortunately for the Indians, Bruce wouldn’t repeat his struggles helping propel the Indians to 102 wins.
RHP Joe Smith (2007 – 2008)
Smith went straight from being a third round draft pick in 2006 to being a very good reliever for the Mets in two seasons. Ironically, he moved as part the three team J.J. Putz trade intended to improve the Mets bullpen.
West – Houston Astros
DH Carlos Beltran (2005 – 2011)
Seeing him in the postseason again will certainly evoke memories of Adam Wainwright, but he was so much more than that in a Mets uniform. Beltran was the best center fielder in Mets history and perhaps their best outfielder ever.
C Juan Ceteno (2013 – 2014)
Ceteno is a strong defensive catcher who played just 14 games over two years before he was claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Bench Coach Alex Cora (2009 – 2010)
Cora joined the Mets in the hopes of being an important utility player on a playoff caliber team. Unfortunately, injuries and a ballpark ill-suited for the talents of the players on the roster brought that run to an end.
Hitting Coach Dave Hudgens (2011 – 2014)
Hudgens was the Mets hitting coach who was entrusted with helping the Mets adapt to a new ballpark. While he was much embattled in the position, Mets offensive highlights during his tenure included Ike Davis hitting 30 homers and the last great season from David Wright.
Pitching Coach Brent Strom (1972)
Strom was the Mets 1970 first round draft pick. He appeared in just one season with the team going 0-3 with a 6.82 ERA and a 1.615 WHIP.
Third Base Coach Gary Pettis (2003 – 2004)
Pettis served as the first base and outfield coach during the Art Howe Era.
Wild Card – New York Yankees
RHP Luis Cessa
Cessa was the other pitching prospect the Mets sent to the Tigers in the Yoenis Cespedes trade.
Wild Card – Minnesota Twins
Pitching Coach Neil Allen (1979 – 1983)
While Allen had a noteworthy Mets career of his own, he will forever be known as one of the two players traded by the Mets in exchange for Keith Hernandez.
RHP Bartolo Colon (2014 – 2016)
“Big Sexy” became a fan favorite and a mentor to the young pitchers in the clubhouse. There are a number of highlights you can choose from his Mets career, but the one that keeps coming to mind was the unbelievable home run he hit in San Diego last year.
RHP Dillon Gee (2010 – 2015)
Gee is an example of a pitcher who has gotten everything out of his ability. He has been resilient overcoming a number of injuries in his career with his career highlight possibly being his named the Mets 2014 Opening Day starter.
East – Washington Nationals
OF Alejandro De Aza (2016)
De Aza had an interesting year with the Mets. He was terrible to begin the year, and he then had a great July helping propel the Mets second half run to the Wild Card.
Pitching Coach Mike Maddux (1993 – 1994)
Maddux pitched two years for the Mets pitching to a 4.16 ERA as a reliever before departing via free agency.
2B Daniel Murphy (2008 – 2015)
Somehow Murphy has become one of the most divisive players among the Mets fanbase. Many still fondly remember his for his time witht he Mets, especially his incredible NLDS and NLCS propelling the Mets to the pennant. Others see a player who annihilates the Mets since leaving the team.
LHP Oliver Perez (2006 – 2010)
Believe it or not, there was a time where Perez was beloved for his Game 7 performance and his start the final game of the 2008 season. He then fell off a cliff upon receiving a huge contract. Things got so bad, he refused a minor league assignment, and his last appearance as a Met would be the team throwing him into the 14th inning on the last game of the season just to get the game over with.
Central – Cubs
Quality Control Coach Henry Blanco (2010)
“Hank White” was brought on as a defensive back-up, and he excelled in the role throwing out 50% of base stealers.
C Rene Rivera (2016 – 2017)
Rivera was a defensive specialist who helped Noah Syndergaard overcome his issues holding on base runners. It was more than Syndergaard, Rivera served as a mentor for young starters Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman who helped pitch the Mets to the Wild Card.
West – Dodgers
Bench Coach Bob Geren (2012 – 2015)
Geren served as the bench coach for the Mets serving as a mentor for the Mets catchers. Since his departure, we have seen Mets catchers regress in their pitch framing, and we have certainly seen Travis d’Arnaud regress in nearly every aspect of his game.
OF Curtis Granderson (2014 – 2017)
Granderson is one of the finest men to ever put on a Mets uniform. He also came up biggest when the Mets needed him most. Granderson kept the Mets afloat in 2015, and if not for some blown leads, he was in line to be the MVP of that series. His big outburst to end the 2016 season helped lead the Mets back to the postseason.
3B Justin Turner (2010 – 2013)
Turner was an effective utility player in his years with the Mets who was really non-tendered because he was arbitration eligible. Turner would find himself a home in Los Angeles where he has become a terrific player.
Third Base Coach Chris Woodward (2005 – 2006)
Woodward was a valuable utility player for the Mets for two seasons having the second best season of his entire career in 2005.
Wild Card – Diamondbacks
RHP Matt Koch (2012 – 2015)
Koch was one of the two minor league pitchers traded by the Mets for Addison Reed. While Koch is on the 40 man roster, it is not expected he will be on the postseason roster.
Wild Card – Rockies
Based on the sheer volume of Mets affiliations, it would appear Mets fans would be pulling for the Astros in the American League and either the Nationals or Dodgers in the National League. Considering the presence of Chase Utley on the Dodgers and the recent rivalry with the Nationals, most Mets fans will understandably choose rooting interests for different reasons all together.
In what is likely Terry Collins last game as the Mets manager at Citi Field, he went out the way he would’ve wanted to go out. No, not batting Jose Reyes lead-off while sitting Dominic Smith and Michael Conforto against the left-handed Braves starter Sean Newcomb. Although, we can be sure he was happy to do that. No, Collins went out a winner.
The main reason the Mets won this game was Robert Gsellman.
Gsellman would allow just one run over six innings while allowing six hits. That sole run came off an Ozzie Albies two out RBI single in the third. That wouldn’t be the Braves last threat.
In the fifth, the Braves loaded the bases with two outs with Mets killer Freddie Freeman striding to the plate. Gsellman would get out of the jam striking out Freeman: one of his four on the night.
Gsellman would depart in the sixth due to the bat of Travis d’Arnaud. d’Arnaud would have all three Mets RBI on the night.
Gsellman led off the fifth with a walk, and Reyes followed with a single. After a Lagares strikeout, an Asdrubal Cabrera groundout moved Gsellman and Reyes to second and third for d’Arnaud, who delivered a two RBI single under the diving Swanson for a 3-1 lead.
The game would stay tight until the seventh when the Mets would blow the doors open with the help of a Freeman error.
That error proved costly as Smith would snap out of a 3-35 streak with a three run homer into the Coke Den.
.@TheRealSmith22's 3-run homer highlights the 4 run 7th. 😀
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 28, 2017
Surprisingly, the rally would continue. Matt Reynolds singled, and Nori Aoki walked chasing Johnson. The Braves substituted Ian Krol for Johnson. In what may prove to be Reyes’ last at-bat at Citi Field in a Mets uniform, he doubled home Reynolds and Aoki giving the Mets a 7-1 lead.
Jamie Callahan, Chasen Bradford, and Paul Sewald combined to pitch the final three scoreless innings preserving the 7-1 win.
This game closed a chapter in the legacy of Collins and perhaps Reyes. It’s very likely neither one of them will be Mets next year. For Collins part, he deserved to go out this way.
Through it all, he gave his all to the Mets and treated Mets fans better than any other Mets manager. Whoever takes over for him will have big shoes to fill on that front.
Here’s the thing. While you enjoy beating the Nationals, this game didn’t mean much. It’s not that the Mets season is over, and the Nationals have gone into preparing for the offseason mode. No, it’s because the Mets with Terry Collins at the helm aren’t focusing towards next year enough.
His second RBI was the game winning RBI scoring Juan Lagares.
Now, it’s beer. great to see Lagares get regular playing time. There are so few reasons to watch this team, but his defense is certainly one of them. He did it again today.
The reason the Mets were down was because Robert Gsellman wasn’t the same pitcher he was in his last start. Gsellman would only last five innings allowing four hits, six runs, five earned, and three walks with four strikeouts.
The big blow against him was an Adam Lind third inning three run homer.
However, when all was said and done, it wasn’t the Lind homer, but the Travis d’Arnaud homers. Yes, plural.
Déjà vu for d'Arnaud! His second homer of the game evens things at 6. End-5 pic.twitter.com/dCFusNjuM2
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 23, 2017
The first homer off Edwin Jackson that gave the Mets a 1-0 second inning lead. Jackson seemed to settle in after that, but the floodgates would open after the aforementioned Lagares bunt single.
His second one off Jackson tied the game setting the stage for the bullpen to keep the Nationals at bay.
At least to start the ninth, it was AJ Ramos. However, Ramos would not finish the inning.
Josh Smoker, who has reverse splits in his career, was brought to face Lind. He rose to the challenge getting him to line out for the second out of the inning.
Next, just like Collins went back to Jeurys Familia to close it out. For the first time since returning from surgery. It was just like old times with Familia striking out Victor Robles to end the rally and the game.
Game Notes: Amed Rosario came back after missing three
If you want to see how important defense is to a starting pitcher, especially a ground ball pitcher, you need to look any further than today’s game.
With a better infield defense featuring Amed Rosario, who we all recall cannot pitch, and Phillip Evans in his first career start, Robert Gsellman reminded us of the pitcher we all thought was going to take a big step forward this year instead of the struggling one that doesn’t care.
Gsellman had that power sinker working today getting the Braves to drive the ball into the ground. With the better defense behind him, most of those balls turned into outs. Part of that was also Gsellman getting the ball inside. Credit there should go to Kevin Plawecki, who called a superb game.
Really, the only time the Braves got to him was when the infield defense failed him. On back-to-back plays in the seventh, Rosario made errors allowing Johan Camargo and Dansby Swanson to reach with one out. To Gsellman’s credit, he shook off the errors, and he got out of the jam allowing just the one run.
Gsellman’s final line would be seven innings, three hits, one run, none earned, no walks, and three strikeouts. Because his offense did just enough, he would get the win.
It was tough going for the Mets offense because the Braves started Julio Teheran has been great against them in his career. Entering today, he was 8-4 with a 2.56 ERA against the Mets.
That made the first inning rally all the more important.
Teheran would then lose his control a bit walking Brandon Nimmo, who had a typical Nimmo game walking twice, and Dominic Smith to load the bases. Rosario would knock in Reyes on an RBI groundout giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.
From that point until the ninth, the Mets would only get two more hits, both by Aoki, for the rest of the game. It didn’t matter because the two runs they did score were more than enough for Gsellman.
The Mets would put the game out of reach in the ninth. After a Rosario infield single and stolen base, Evans would hit his second career double and earn his first major league RBI.
After Evans’ double, Asdrubal Cabrera put a 10 game hitting streak on the line in his pinch hitting appearance. He now has an 11 game hitting streak after his two run homer giving the Mets a 5-1 lead.
AJ Ramos closed out the ninth with a scoreless inning. The win gave the Mets their seventh win in 10 games at SunTrust, which already makes it much more hospitable than Turner Field ever was.
Game Notes: Rosario was recently rated by Statcast as the fastest player in the majors. The Mets rank last in the majors in infield hits, bunt singles, and stolen bases.
For three and a half innings, the Mets had fight, and they were actually leading the Cubs 1-0. They were in that position for unlikely reasons.
The first is Travis Taijeron, who has struggled mightily since he was called up, delivered his first non-HR RBI as a major leaguer. That rally got started due to a Juan Lagares hustle double to start that inning.
At the time the run was scored, you figured it wasn’t going to be enough for Robert Gsellman who was flirting with disaster only to be bailed out by some good defense and good luck.
In the first, the Cubs had bases loaded and one out. With Willson Contreras having been ruled to have gone out of the baseline to avoid a Jose Reyes tag, Ian Happ grounded into an inning ending double play.
The Mets turned their second double play in the third with Travis d’Arnaud throwing out Ben Zobrist after a Kris Bryant strikeout for the strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play. Before you get too excited by d’Arnaud, Zobrist was running at maybe half speed.
Through three Gsellman was well over 60 pitches, and despite him throwing three straight scoreless innings, he was laboring. For those three innings, he bent. In the fourth, he broke.
The Cubs tied the game on a Jose Quintana perfectly placed sacrifice bunt down the first base line. It not only allowed himself to reach safely, but he moved Jason Heyward to second. More than that, Kyle Schwarber scored on the play.
He scored because Dominic Smith somehow got a late break and still tried to get Schwarber at the plate. Many will disagree, but trying to get Schwarber wasn’t a bad play because a better throw gets him.
From there, the Cubs played Home Run Derby blowing the doors off the Mets. The first was a three run homer by Bryant off Gsellman.
By the time the fourth inning was over, the Mets were down 4-1, and Gsellman had thrown 93 pitches. His final line in the loss was 4.0 innings, five hits, four runs, four earned, five walks, and four strikeouts.
In sum, the Mets would use four relievers to pitch the final four innings. All of them, Milone, Smoker, Jacob Rhame, and Chris Flexen, would pitch an inning and allow a run. They all contributed to the 8-3 loss.
If you’re looking at a positive from this loss, Asdrubal Cabrera was 3-4 with a double. However, the contributions of Reyes and Cabrera don’t mean much in what should be a 90 loss season.
Other than Cabrera, you’re looking at Lagares and Amed Rosario each making terrific plays in the field. Short of that, there’s not much to be enthusiastic about in this loss. That is unless you think d’Arnaud throwing out a base runner and his fifth inning sacrifice fly was a big deal.
Last year, Robert Gsellman started the year in Binghamton, and he would find himself starting important games in September as the Mets pushed towards a Wild Card. In eight games (seven starts), Gsellman was 4-2 with a 2.42 ERA, 1.276 WHIP, and an 8.5 K/9. During that run, Gsellman had seemingly emerged as the Mets newest potential ace in what was already a star studded rotation. Due to his emergence and injuries to the Mets pitchers, Gsellman joined the Opening Day rotation to give him a chance to take the next step.
Gsellman didn’t take that step forward he was expected to take. In fact, he took a giant step backwards.
In his 21 games (18 starts), Gsellman has been 6-6 with a 5.44 ERA, 1.567 WHIP, and a 6.2 K/9. But it’s more than just the numbers. Gsellman has regressed in every aspect of his game.
According to Brooks Baseball, Gsellman was predominantly a sinker/slider pitcher throwing about a 95 MPH fastball and an 89 MPH slider. He’s still the same sinker/slider pitcher, but now his fastball velocity has dipped to just under 94 MPH. It may not seem like much, but there has been a tangible effect with batters hitting him harder and more frequently.
Now, you could blame some of this on the Mets defense, which has been terrible this year. However, it should be pointed out Gsellman had gone from a .336 BABIP against last year to a .319 BABIP this year. So while the Mets defense has been terrible, it’s not the whole reason for Gsellman’s struggles.
There’s also the matter of his frustrations. Things have not gone well for him since the beginning of the year. His first start was a five inning outing where he allowed three runs on six hits. He followed that with a 4.2 inning effort where he allowed eight runs (four earned) off eight hits. Things got worse from there before they got better, if things every truly got better.
Gsellman would strain his hamstring covering first base during his June 28th start. He left the Mets unimpressed during his rehab appearances causing General Manager Sandy Alderson to say Gsellman would stay in Double-A until he pitched better. When the information was relayed to Gsellman, he infamously responded, “I don’t really care.”
It’s hard to believe Gsellman didn’t care. Likely, this was more a result of his frustrations from a disappointing and difficult season boiling over. Certainly, he has pitched better of late. Better, but not where he was last season.
Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. We’ve seen him be great, and we’ve seen him pitch terribly. Maybe he’s not the pitcher he was last year. Maybe he’s not the pitcher he is this year. He could be better. He could be even worse.
Fact is, this is a 23 year old pitcher who has a long career ahead of him. What his career will be is anyone’s guess. That could be top of the rotation starter to bullpen arm. No one can confidently say what that will be. In the end, it will all matter how he responds to this difficult season.
Like he has most of his career, Cespedes has failed to hustle this year. While deemed acceptable when things are going well, this becomes an issue for everyone.
When he comes to Gsellman, he basically said as much. Well, that’s a bit of a stretch. When he was told Sandy Alderson said he needed to pitch better, Gsellman replied he didn’t care.
On the field tonight against a very good Diamondbacks team, they were both very good.
Gsellman was reminiscent of the pitcher we saw last year. He mostly kept the ball out of the air preventing him from being victimized by the long ball. With a much better defense behind him, which somehow included Wilmer Flores making some nice plays at third, Gsellman went deep into the game.
In the odd chance the ball was in the air, the outfield got to those balls. This included Cespedes making not one but two hustle plays in the outfield.
With the defense playing well behind him, and his sinker working, Gsellman arguably had his best start of the year. His final line was 6.1 innings, five hits, one run, one earned, one walk, and three strikeouts.
Even with that terrific outing, he still didn’t get the win because the Mets offense continued to squander their scoring opportunities against Taijuan Walker.
The Mets could bring home Brandon Nimmo after he lead-off the top of the first with a double.
Wilmer Flores and Dominic Smith lead off the second with consecutive singles. Amed Rosario struck out. After Kevin Plawecki intentionally walked to load the bases, Gsellman struck out, and Nimmo lined out.
Flores came up in the third with runners at first and second with one out, and he grounded into the 6-4-3 inning ending double play.
Plawecki’s two out double in the fourth didn’t amount to anything with Gsellman hitting it back to the pitcher.
Plawecki came up in the sixth with runners on the corners and two outs. It would be runners on second and third after Rosario stole second. David Hernandez came on for Rubby De La Rosa, and he got Plawecki to tap it back to him to end the inning.
Finally, the Mets broke through in the sixth.
Travis d’Arnaud, who came on for Plawecki in a double switch in the top half of the inning, hit a lead-off double. Nimmo then sacrificed him to third.
Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Conforto then earned walks to load the bases putting the game in Cespedes’ hands. As noted above, he played this game with a different energy than he has been playing with for most of the season.
Cespedes battled back from 0-2 against Archie Bradley to rip an RBI single past a diving Jake Lamb to tie the game.
It only tied the game because David Peralta nailed Cabrera at the plate. It’s a tough play to pin blame on anyone. With it being so close, it was a good send by Glenn Sherlock. Likely, Cabrera would’ve been safe if his leg was on the ground instead of in the air. You can’t blame Cabrera because that was just tough luck.
In any event, after a Flores foul out, this was now a battle of the bullpens.
The Mets went to Erik Goeddel in a rare second straight day of work to pitch the 10th. In a rare appearance on consecutive days. We saw the reason why he rarely does this.
The homer snapped a Meys bullpen 17.2 streak of not allowing an earned run.
Mets still has a chance in the bottom of the 10th with the heart of the lineup due up against Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney.
Conforto got the inning off on the right foot hitting an opposite field lead-off home run to pull the Meys within 3-2. That’s as close as the Mets got as Rodney set down Cespedes, Flores, and Smith to end the game.
The main thing that really stood out today was the Mets played with a different energy. At this point in the season, it’s all we can reasonably expect. Well that and better situational hitting.
When that happen, we will see a much better brand of baseball much like we saw tonight.
If nothing else, you knew tonight was going to be an interesting game from the Mets perspective.
The day began with Sandy Alderson voicing his displeasure with Robert Gsellman saying he didn’t care that Sandy believed he needed to pitch better.
Officially, d’Arnaud and Cabrera switched 22 times tonight. That’s a lot.
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) August 17, 2017
Basically, d’Arnaud was constantly repositioned to avoid being at the pull side of the opposing hitter. It wasn’t until the ninth that he had to make a play. It was a pop out.
P4! P5? P4! pic.twitter.com/YG2A9ZT99r
— Good Fundies (@goodfundies) August 17, 2017
From there, we saw some good baseball and some really poor home plate umpiring.
For a pitcher that needed a big game after his comments, Gsellman was just okay. His final line was 5.1 innings, four hits, three runs, three earned, three walks, and three strikeouts.
One of the runs he allowed was an Aaron Judge monster of a homer to the third deck that was somehow just the third longest homer in Citi Field history:
Um, well… On the plus side it only counts as one. pic.twitter.com/VxagVw3LqI
— CitiFieldHR (@CitiFieldHR) August 17, 2017
Even with that monster homer, the game was tied going into the sixth.
Juan Lagares got the rally started with a leadoff double off Jaime Garcia. He got over and then scored on a Yoenis Cespedes sacrifice fly.
After Judge hit his homer, Rene Rivera hit one of his own in the fifth. It wasn’t as impressive as Judge’s, but you couldn’t tell that from Garcia’s reaction.
The Mets rallied back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. Cespedes lead off with a walk and moved to third on a Michael Conforto double. The second base umpire ruled Cespedes was interfered with on the basepaths, but he was only awarded third. Cespedes then scored on a d’Arnaud sacrifice fly.
At this point, Collins did what he always does with Sewald – he pushed him. It wasn’t good enough that he got out of a stressful jam. No, he had to go back out there. The combination of questionable managing and poor umpiring would do him in.
— Mets Strike Zone (@MetsUmp) August 17, 2017
On the pitch, Sewald missed his spot by a good margin, and Rivera did him no favors by stabbing at the pitch. With that said, the home plate umpire Chad Whitson cannot miss that call. Then again, he was so terrible, you shouldn’t be surprised.
Even with Sewald did get Judge to pop out, but his luck ran out with Didi Gregorious ripped a two RBI double that provided the winning margin in a Yankees 5-3 victory. The Didi double snapped an 0-25 streak Sewald had with runners in scoring position.
Ultimately, the story here was bad umpiring, Collins putting too much on Sewald again, and the Yankees bullpen just being that good.
Game Notes: d’Arnaud became the first Mets to appear at catcher, second, and third since Jeff McKnight in 1993.
All season long, Mets fans have been clamoring for the team to call-up top prospect Amed Rosario. It was more than just wanting hope for a season the Mets have mostly squandered. It was because Rosario addressed specific deficiencies this team has had all year.
Throughout this entire season, the left side of the Mets infield has been abysmal. Mets shortstops accounted for a -19 DRS, which is the worst in the majors. Mets third baseman also rank last in the majors with a -14 DRS. It should then come as no surprise the Mets left side of the infield accounted for a -33, which is by far the worst in the majors.
It should also come as no surprise the Mets pitching staff has yielded a league high .321 BABIP. This has been the under-reported part of the Mets pitching staff’s troubles. Certainly, it had a profound affect on a ground ball pitcher like Robert Gsellman who had .331 BABIP and a 6.16 ERA. We have recently seen some issues on that front with Steven Matz. The overriding point here is the pitching has been affected by the inability of the left side of the infield to make the plays that need to be played.
There’s also the matter of how the Mets run the bases. The Mets rank dead last in BsR, which is a stat designed to take into account all the different aspects of base running. For many fans, we don’t need a fancy stat to tell us what we already know. This team doesn’t steal bases. They don’t take the extra base. They’re thrown out on seemingly ever close play. In sum, they’re a bad base running team.
When you’re bad defensively and bad base runners chances are you are bad team. The Mets 48-55 record confirms as much.
Would Rosario have solved all of these issues? No, nor would he have prevented so many of the Mets from going on the Disabled List throughout the season. However, Rosario would have had a profound impact on this team.
Consider the defense for a second. The Mets have the worst defensive shortstop play, and Rosario is seen as a player who could be a Gold Glover at the position. Even assuming he has growing pains and is just worth a 2 DRS. This year, that’s the difference between having Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes at shortstop and having Brandon Crawford at shortstop. The separation between those two is vast, which would tell you how much better the defense would be.
There’s also the matter of Rosario continuously proving this year he’s ready. In 94 games, Rosario has hit .328/.367/.466 with 19 doubles, seven triples, seven homers, 58 RBI, and 19 stolen bases. He was also the starting shortstop in the Triple-A All Star Game and the Future’s Game.
All season long, Rosario has shown the skill set the Mets desperately needed all year. Now, with the team having sold off Addison Reed and Lucas Duda, and the team sitting with a 48-55 record, we are finally going to see the type of impact Rosario could have on this Mets team. It is more than likely it is too late to save the 2017 season. It is also impossible to tell if this is the right time or not.
Maybe if he’s called up in May, he struggles. Maybe he would have been the great player he has been. After all, this is a prospect that seems undaunted.
No matter what the case, the Mets promise to be a much better team for the rest of the 2017 season. Even if it doesn’t translate to wins and losses, there is now reason to watch because we get to see Rosario play. At this point in the season, that’s all we can ask.