Robert Gsellman

Gsellman Dominates With Good Defense Behind Him

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. 

After a Nori Aoki walk to start the game, Jose Reyes would triple him home. 

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. 

Cubs Show Mets How Much Better They Are

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. 

Schwarber would hit a solo homer off Tommy Milone in the fifth. Ian Happ homered off Josh Smoker in the seventh. 

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. 

It wasn’t. 

Game Notes: Erik Goeddel was unavailable as he was in New York seeing a doctor for dizziness and blurred vision. Nori Aoki grounded out with the bases loaded in the ninth to make it 8-3. 

We Still Don’t Know What Gsellman Is

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.

Mets Energy Level Better, Still Lose

Late in the season, both Robert Gsellman and Yoenis Cespedes gave you reasons to question their commitment. 

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. 

Jerry BlevinsPaul Sewald, and AJ Ramos did their jobs combining to pitch 2.2 scoreless innings helping send the game into extra innings. 

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. 

Goeddel issued a lead-off walk to Gregor Blanco before allowing a game winning two run homer to A.J. Pollock:

https://twitter.com/citifieldhr/status/899824587944452096

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. 

GAME NOTES: Steven Matz is done for the year as he will undergo surgery to re-position his ulnar nerve. It is the same surgery Jacob deGrom underwent last year. 

Home Plate Umpire Missed Key Call Dooming Taxed Sewald

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. 

Both Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores suffered injuries before the game leading to Travis d’Arnaud playing third then second then third then second . . . .

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. 

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:

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. 

In the sixth, Gsellman loaded the bases with one out leading Terry Collins to go to Paul Sewald. Sewald did a decent job limiting the damage to one run on a Chase Headley sacrifice fly. 

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. 

Ronald Torreyes led off the inning with a double. After a sacrifice and a walk to Jacoby Ellsbury, the Yankees runners at the corners with one out. Sewald went 3-2 to Aaron Hicks, and this happened:

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. 

Amed Rosario Is Here Making The Mets Much Better

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.

No One Wanted The Mets Position Players

Entering the trade deadline, the Mets had eight players who were impending free agents and another two who could be free agents if the Mets declined their 2018 options.  Despite the Mets looking to get something in return for each of these prospects, they walked away from the trade deadline having made just two deals:

Lucas Duda for Rays minor league reliever Drew Smith

Addison Reed for Red Sox minor league relievers Stephen Nogosek, Jamie Callahan, and Gerson Bautista

If you are going to question why the Mets didn’t do more look no further than their 48-55 record.  Simply put, the teams in contention didn’t have much interest in the players who have led the Mets from potential World Series contenders to also-rans.

Sure, there will be people who point out it was not a robust market for position players.  That’s true, but it did not prevent the White Sox from moving Melky Cabrera, the Athletics from moving Adam Rosales, or for that matter, the Mets from moving Duda.  This brings about the question over why teams weren’t interested in the Mets pieces.  For each player, there is a different answer:

RF/1B Jay Bruce

2017 Stats: .263/.326/.523, 19 2B, 27 HR, 72 RBI, 2.3 WAR

When assessing why teams aren’t interested in Bruce, one thing to keep in mind is team’s don’t covet home runs much in the same fashion they once did.  Remember, Chris Carter went from winning the National League home run title last year to being a non-tendered free agent with little interest on the free agent market.  So, yes, the 27 homers are good, but they do not completely define a player’s value.

Keep in mind, Bruce is no longer considered a good defensive player.  While, it should be noted his 8 DRS and 2.6 UZR are good defensive numbers, it is coming off a season where he posted a -11 DRS and a -8.9 UZR.  To the eyes, Bruce does look a step slower in right.

As for the rest of the value, Bruce has shown himself to be a first half player who tapers off in the second half.  To that end, he hit .250/.281/.500 in July.  Potentially, this could be the beginning of a prolonged slump like we saw Bruce have with the Mets last year.  Certainly, other teams noticed that as well, and they might be scared off by how poorly he performed when asked to change teams mid-season.

INF Asdrubal Cabrera

2017 Stats: .260/.339/.404, 15 2B, 9 HR, 30 RBI, SB, -0.4 WAR

In 2017, Cabrera got hurt, and when he was asked to move off shortstop, a position where he has posted a -9 DRS and -4.7 UZR, he balked.  First, he demanded his option be picked-up, then he demanded a trade.  Things like that don’t go over well when you have shown yourself to have a lack of range at three infield positions, and you are not hitting well at the plate.

OF Curtis Granderson

2017 Stats: .224/.330/.446, 20 2B, 3 3B, 13 HR, 38 RBI, 3 SB

To a certain extent, the relative lack of interest in Granderson is surprising.  After a slow and painful start, he has been a much better player since June 1st hitting .258/.404/.558.  He’s also accepted a role on the bench without being an issue in the clubhouse.  As a pinch hitter this year, he is hitting .267/.421/.533.  If your team has an injury, you know he can capably fill in at three outfield positions.  He’s also a tremendous clubhouse presence.  Ultimately, this tells us teams were scared off by his age and his $15 million contract.

INF Jose Reyes

2017 Stats: .226/.289/.387, 17 2B, 6 3B, 9 HR, 38 RBI, 13 SB, -1.0 WAR

Let’s start with the obvious.  Adding Reyes to your team is a potential PR nightmare.  The Cubs thought it worthwhile for Aroldis Chapman, but it is likely no one is going down that road with a below replacement level player.  As noted, the main issue is Reyes has been bad this year.  Even with the recent surge, he still hasn’t been great this year, and there was zero interest even before he was hit on the hand.

C Rene Rivera

2017 Stats: .232/.277/.374, 4 2B, 6 HR, 20 RBI

Rivera’s reputation as a defensive catcher and pitching whisperer has taken a bit of a hit this year.  Whatever the reason, he did not have the same touch with pitchers like Robert Gsellman like he did last year.  Also, while he is throwing out more base runners, he has taken a significant step back as a pitch framer.  Overall, he still has a good defensive reputation and is a good backup catcher, but he hasn’t excelled in the areas where he excelled in year’s past.

2B Neil Walker

2017 Stats: .266/.347/.455, 13 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 0.9 WAR

If Walker stayed healthy, there may have been some semblance of a trade market for him.  When he has played he has hit, but he has only played in 63 games as a result of a partially torn left hamstring.  This was a year after he had season ending back surgery.  Between the injury history and his $17.2 million salary, the lack of trade interest in him is certainly understandable.

Looking at the above, it is understandable why there was at best tepid interest in the Mets trade pieces.  That is why they are still on the Mets roster.  However, this does not preclude an August trade.  To that end, Mets fans were all disappointed the Mets weren’t able to moved Marlon Byrd at the 2013 non-waiver deadline.  Twenty-seven days later, Byrd was traded with John Buck for Dilson Herrera and Vic Black.

Hopefully, not moving these players is just a temporary set-back.  Hopefully, the failure to move these players does not prevent the Mets from calling up Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario to the majors.

Has Travis d’Arnaud Turned The Corner?

Last year was an abomination for Travis d’Arnaud.  The catcher had another injury plagued year, and he eventually lost his starting job to Rene Rivera.  Part of the reason was his manager did not trust him catching Noah Syndergaard because he could not hold on base runners.  The other part was he believed Rivera to be some sort of pitcher whisperer leading him to catch Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo when they joined the rotation.  With d’Arnaud hitting just .247/.307/.323, he didn’t exactly force his way into the lineup.

That made the 2017 season a pivotal one for d’Arnaud.

Things started out well for him. Fifteen games into the season, d’Arnaud had seemingly recaptured his 2015 hitting .270/.357/.541, and then as always seems to be the case with him an injury happened.  While following through on a throw to second base, d’Arnaud’s hand hit the bat of Aaron Altherr causing him to the leave the game.  With the Mets being the Mets, they had d’Arnaud play through the injury until he could no longer.

In the subsequent 10 games, d’Arnaud would hit .091/.167/.364.  With him obviously unable to play, the Mets finally put him on the disabled list with a bone bruise in his wrist.

When d’Arnaud came back, he struggled at the plate hitting .234/.278/.430 from the date he was activated from the disabled list into the All Star break.  Part of this was his extremely low .247 BABIP.  Now, d’Arnaud has typically always had low BABIPs with a career .273 mark entering this season.  Even in his career year in 2015, it was just .289.  Still, he was never a .247 BABIP hitter.

There may be many reasons for this.  Players tend to suffer the ill effects of hand and wrist injuries after the injuries have been deemed healed enough to play.  It’s also possible d’Arnaud suffered from Terry Collins‘ time sharing system with d’Arnaud having his pitchers and Rivera having the others.  It’s possible this prevented d’Arnaud from getting into a rhythm.  It’s also possible it was just a stretch of bad luck.

Whatever the case, d’Arnaud has been a much better player coming out of the All Star break.  Over the past nine games, d’Arnaud is hitting .333/.394/.400 with two doubles and five RBI.  Despite his not hitting for much power, he’s gotten some big RBIs.

But it’s more than just his hitting.  Recently, d’Arnaud has done more to take over the game from behind the plate.  The other day when Addison Reed was in a war of words with Home Plate Umpire Dan Iassogna, d’Arnaud stepped in, and he probably saved the closer from an ejection from a hot headed umpire.  We’ve also seen him make more mound visits to get a pitcher back in the inning and the game.

No, he’s still not doing a good job throwing out base runners going 0-3 in the second half.  In a surprising turn of events, d’Arnaud actually has poor pitch framing numbers.  Still, we know he’s been typically very good in that area, and he’s likely going to return to being good in that area again.  Just watching games, it seems like he’s getting that outside corner again.

Overall, it appears d’Arnaud is finally showing the Mets he is a complete catcher.  It’s coming at an important time as well.  The organization is in a period of transition with the team being in a position to sell at the deadline.  When you have a season like the Mets have had you have to reassess everyone . . . d’Arnaud included. If he continues to catch this well, he is going to cement his status as the Mets everyday catcher in 2018.

The caveat of course is he needs to stay healthy.  That’s always easier said that done with him.

Mets Need A Long Man In The Bullpen

There are many problems with the Mets bullpen this year.  One of the most understated is the complete and utter lack of a long man in the bullpen for much of the season.  This has led to Terry Collins needing to trotting out a series of relievers whenever a starter can’t go deep into games.  It has led to Collins pushing relievers past their breaking points.

This has saw Hansel Robles completely break down to the point where he’s not even an effective Triple-A reliever.  Collins stretched Josh Smoker to the point where he first was sent down to the minors, and then to the point where he landed on the Disabled List.  With Smoker gone, Paul Sewald seems to be the guy who gets stretched out for three innings despite his being a 1-2 inning closer in most of his time in the minor leagues.

Doing that means Smoker and Sewald, two pitchers who should have been establishing themselves as late inning relievers this season, have been bounced around in their roles.  We have seen uneven performances from them this year to the point where the Mets really don’t know what they have in either pitcher.  More to the point, it has led to Neil Ramirez pitching in important spots.

The latest example was on Tuesday.  The Mets were riding high after a sweep of the Giants, and the team was in a soft part of the schedule where they could have reasonably been at or even over .500 going into the All Star Break.  At that point, who knows?

And this Mets team looked resilient last night.  Robert Gsellman went down in the top of the fourth.  Sewald came on and gave the team three good innings they desperately needed.  Travis d’Arnaud had two RBI, including a solo home run, to tie the game at 3-3 entering the bottom of the seventh.  With Sewald, one of the better relievers on the team, no longer available, Collins went with Ramirez.  To the surprise of no one, Ramirez would earn the loss.

Why was he and his demonic 6.66 ERA even an option?  Ultimately, it is because of the Mets refusal to carry a long man in the bullpen.  Instead, the team would rather carry a group of pitchers who ideally should be limited to two innings or less that can post high strikeout numbers.

Why couldn’t the Mets carry Tyler Pill as the long reliever.  Sure, he was predictably lackluster, but that is a significant upgrade from Ramirez being an abject disaster. While it is a small sample size, there are indications Pill could be useful as a long man.  In this three games, the first time through the lineup teams are only hitting .250/.296/.292 off of him.  Extrapolating this out, this means Pill could be good to keep the Mets into a game for about three innings.

This could led to the Mets turning the game over to their best relievers late in the game.  Instead, the Mets would rather pitch their pitchers past their breaking points.  They would rather pitch Ramirez in important spots.  While there are many things you can pinpoint for the Mets failures this season, it’s the lack of a long man in the bullpen needs to be front and center.

Matz Picks Up A Grandy Win

Another Steven Matz start and another seven innings. Since coming off the Disabled List, Matz has pitched seven innings in three of his four starts. Tonight might’ve been the best start of the lot. 

Matz pitched seven shut out innings befuddling the Marlins. No Marlins player would even make it to third base.  He pitched mainly to contact, weak contact, which permitted him to once again go deep in the game. Over the seven innings, he needed just 110 pitches. 

His final line was seven innings, six hits, no runs, one walk, and four strikeouts. 

And Matz would get the win in this game with some help of some veterans looking to boost their trade value. 

Curtis Granderson was great just like he’s been all June. In fact, he’s been among the top three hitters in the majors during the Month of June. 

To start the game, Granderson battled back from a 1-2 count to draw a nine pitch walk against Marlins starter Jeff LockeAsdrubal Cabrera followed with a home run:

He’s been much better since moving to second base. 

The rally continued with a Jay Bruce single and a Travis d’Arnaud two out walk. In what might’ve been his best game of the season Jose Reyes delivered with an RBI single making it 3-1. 

Overall, Reyes was 3-4 with a double and an RBI. With his seventh inning single, he passed Ed Kranepool for second on the Mets all-time hit list. 

The Mets offense would go silent from there until the Marlins brought Dustin McGowan into the game. d’Arnaud got it started with an RBI single, and he’d go to third on the aforementioned Reyes single. If that ball does not hit McGowan, Reyes has an RBI. 

That RBI would go to T.J. Rivera with his RBI groundout. It appeared to be a sure fire double play ball, but at the last second, it took a strange hop on Marlins shortstop JT Riddle

After a Matz sacrifice bunt, the Marlins brought in the left-handed Justin Nicolino to face Granderson. Granderson responded by hitting a bomb:

This was the third straight game Granderson hit a home run. 

The Mets would build on this 6-0 lead in the eighth. Brandon Nimmo continued his terrific work as a pinch hitter delivering a two out RBI single giving the Mets an 8-0 lead. That’s a lead not even this Mets bullpen could blow. 

Mets are back on track for at least one day, and they look to take the series tomorrow. 

Game Notes: Robert Gsellman was put on the DL, and Matt Reynolds was called-up to take his place on the roster. Reynolds came on for defense for Cabrera in the eighth.