Ron Darling

Long Ending To Mets Season

After Taijuan Walker got knocked out by the Boston Red Sox, you knew it was going to be another long night for the New York Mets. When you’re as bad as the Mets are, that’s just the case.

Since the trade deadline, the Mets are 17-31. Since the All-Star Break, they’re 25 -39. They can’t beat good teams or much of anyone.

Seeing all the one run losses and same mistakes over and over again, it’s as if this is Groundhog Day. Time just stands still.

As it turns out, it basically is. As Mark Simon of Sports Info Solutions points out, the Mets have played 10 straight games exceeding three hours 30 minutes.

To make matters worse, the Mets are 2-8. In that time we’ve seen the Mets postseason hopes go from plausible to needing an act of God to essentially dead. It’s now at the point where even Pete Alonso admits defeat.

The Mets are not a good team right now. They’re uninteresting. Worse yet, they’re borderline unwatchable. Aside from Gary, Keith, and Ron, it’s hard to find a reason to hang on in for a blowout loss taking nearly four hours.

Each and every one of these games are long and drawn out. It’s punishment for the fans. It’s just a long drawn out funeral while we try to figure out what went wrong.

Mets Need To Give Something Extra In Big Win

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.

In the first, Lane Thomas failed to retouch second on a flyout leading to him getting doubled off. In the third, after Luis Garcia doubled, Hill would pick Garcia off second.

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.

In the second. Javier Báez had a hustle double on a ball hit to Soto. He’d score on a frightening moment where Conforto lined one off of Washington Nationals starter Sean Nolin.

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.

Kevin Pillar followed with a double putting runners on second and third. The runs would not score with Chance Sisco and Hill being unable to deliver a hit.

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.

These are the situations which come to haunt you. We saw Aaron Loup and Seth Lugo handle it. Unfortunately, Edwin Diaz couldn’t.

First, Soto got a measure of revenge with a lead-off homer. After a strikeout, Diaz walked Ryan Zimmerman, who was replaced by the pinch runner Andrew Stevenson.

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.

Mets Loss Was For The Birds

The New York Mets couldn’t have gotten off to a better start against the Baltimore Orioles. Before David Peterson took the mound, the Mets had a 2-0 lead off a Pete Alonso two run homer:

There were a number of problems from there. Up first was umpiring and replay. Again, the state of umpiring is poor, and the replay system needs to be scrapped.

Ryan Mountcastle hit what should’ve been an inning ending double play. Francisco Lindor‘s throw beat him. James McCann‘s foot was on the bag. Somehow, not only was Mountcastle called safe, but it was upheld on replay. Gary Cohen and Ron Darling justifiably blasted the whole thing:

Regardless of the horribly blown call, Peterson escaped the inning unscathed. That wouldn’t be the case in the second when the Orioles scored three or when he was knocked out in the third.

It’s the second straight start Peterson didn’t last three innings. He’s now the sixth time in his 11 starts he failed to go five. His ERA is now 6.32.

While Robert Gsellman stepped up the last time this happened to Peterson, he didn’t here. He allowed four over his 2.1 innings.

At that point, it was 8-2 entering the sixth, and it was all but over. Jacob Barnes and Drew Smith each allowed a run, and Alonso hit another homer in the ninth.

All told, this was a 10-3 loss where just about everything went wrong. That includes the replay. It’s probably just best to forget about it and move on to the next game.

Game Notes: Alonso was the DH with McCann back at first. The last Mets pitcher who failed to go three in consecutive starts was Steven Matz.

Mets Fought To The End

An undermanned New York Mets lineup became all the more so when Jose Peraza was unavailable. Suffice it to say, this lineup had more trouble scoring than usual.

Fortunately for the Mets, the pitching and defense were again terrific.

Joey Lucchesi was great through the four scoreless innings allowing just hit while striking out eight. While Ron Darling and many fans were perplexed, given Lucchesi’s year and his career numbers, the Mets went to the bullpen.

Sean Reid-Foley was again terrific. Through his first two innings, he didn’t allow a run while striking out three. Unfortunately, the Miami Marlins got to him with consecutive one out singles putting runners at the corners.

Aaron Loup came into the game to get the left-handed Corey Dickerson out to maybe induce a ground ball double play. Instead, Dickerson hit a fly to medium left.

Cameron Maybin made a terrific throw, and at first glance, it looked like he nailed Brian Anderson at the plate. Just as the home plate umpire was about to ring him up, Tomas Nido dropped the ball. It was 1-0 Marlins, and it looked like the Mets would need a near miracle to tie.

Well, they got it.

The Mets had very limited opportunities in this game, and they squandered them all. That began in the first when Wildredo Tovar struck out with the bases loaded.

In the fourth, Johneshwy Fargas hit a two out double, and he’d be stranded. The Mets would’ve have another base runner until the eighth, and that was courtesy of Anthony Bass.

Bass lost the strike zone issuing a lead-off walk to the pinch hitter Peraza. He’d then issue a one out walk to Francisco Lindor. After Maybin struck out, Don Mattingly brought in Richard Bleier to get out Dominic Smith.

For a split second, it appeared Bleier did his job. However, home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez called what should’ve been strike three a ball. Smith took advantage of the new life hitting the next pitch for an RBI single tying the score.

Wayne Randazzo, who was filling in for Gary Cohen, would not shut up about the blown call. What was odd about his chirping was Marquez was very inconsistent on the low and away pitches all game. It was not at all a surprise he missed that pitch.

From there, the Mets defense did all they could do to help the Mets win. The first great play was in the eighth Smith diving in the hole to get Miguel Rojas.

The next came in the bottom of the ninth. Jesus Aguilar hit what should’ve been a lead-off double. Instead, Fargas make a diving snow cone catch to turn it into an out.

Unfortunately, the Mets magic ran out. With two outs, Anderson hit a ball Smith couldn’t get to with his dive. Then, Drew Smith would wind up taking the loss when Garrett Cooper hit a walk-off two run homer giving the Marlins a 3-2 win.

It was a tough loss for the Mets, but when you’re this injured, it’s going to be difficult to win games like these. Despite all that, the Mets remain in first place.

Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo said he’s dealing with a nerve issue in his finger. Smith is 9 for his last 14 with RISP.

Patrick Mazeika With Yet Another Walk-Off

With Marcus Stroman and John Means pitching, we had the hopes of a pitcher’s duel. Boy, were we ever treated to one.

The Orioles didn’t get anything going until the seventh. That was because Stroman was that good. In fact, at one point, he retired 14 of 15.

One of the reasons why is Stroman is a great fielder. When Means tried to get a sacrifice bunt down in the sixth, Stroman popped off the mound and got the lead runner.

The Mets wouldn’t get a rally going until the fourth. Part of the reason for the offensive struggles for them in this game was Means. Another was Jeff McNeil pulling up lame trying to stretch a single into a double.

In the fourth, the Mets got a pair of two out singles, but Jonathan Villar popped out to end the inning. The Mets had a bigger opportunity in the sixth go to waste.

Jose Peraza, who replaced the injured McNeil, and Francisco Lindor hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. After a Michael Conforto fielder’s choice, there were runners at the corners with one out.

Unfortunately, the Mets wouldn’t cash in. Pete Alonso, who had a very bad night, popped out. Kevin Pillar then flew out to end the inning.

The seventh inning saw one of the more unusual things you’ll ever see in a game.

The Orioles got to Stroman in the seventh. After Freddy Galvis and Maikel Franco led off the inning with consecutive singles, Rio Ruiz dropped a successful sacrifice. That led to intentionally walking Pedro Severino to load the bases.

With the game tied 0-0, the Orioles felt compelled to pinch hit for Means. What was odd was right when Means was taken out while throwing a gem, the Mets did the same with Stroman.

Stroman was keeping the ball on the ground, and the Mets needed the double play. Instead, they opted for Aaron Loup. He’d allow a sacrifice fly to Pat Valaika. The Mets got out of the inning, but they were down 1-0.

The Mets chances of responding died when James McCann hit into a double play. That wouldn’t be the Mets only back breaking GIDP of the night.

The Mets fell down 2-0 in the eighth partially due to one of the scariest plays you’ll see. Against Trevor May, Austin Hays hit a drive to deep center. Albert Almora tracked it down, caught it, and then he face planted against the wall going full speed thereby dislodging the ball.

Conforto made a heads up play to get it in and keep it to a triple. May came up huge striking out the next two Orioles, but Galvis would drop down a perfect bunt to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead.

Tomas Nido pinch hit for May in the bottom of the eighth, and he drew a lead-off walk. Peraza struck out, and Lindor walked. Conforto then hit an opposite field single to pull the Mets to within 2-1.

The Mets were well poised to not only tied but break it open. That was until Alonso hit into an inning ending double play. With the way the game was going, it seemed like the Mets blew their shot. They’d get another.

The Orioles brought in their closer Cesar Valdez, and for the briefest moment, at least until the umpires got a clue, it looked like Pillar tied the game with a homer. It was foul.

Instead, he singled, and then Villar would single. After McCann first missed badly on a bunt attempt, and then struck out.

Dominic Smith didn’t start due to the left-handed Means, and he came in when Almora was injured. As noted by Ron Darling, Smith, with his ability to hit off-speed pitches, was exactly who the Mets wanted up in that spot.

Smith hit a single which fell just in front of the diving right fielder. Pillar did a great job base running scoring just ahead of the throw. When the third got past Severino, Villar scampered to third.

With runners on the corners and one out, Patrick Mazeika pinch hit. After falling behind 0-2, he’d foul off three pitches and even the count. He’d then hit into a fielder’s choice. First baseman Trey Mancini‘s throw was nowhere near in time to get the speedy Villar walking off the 3-2 win.

Once again, Mazeika delivered a game winning RBI. On the season, he has three RBI and no hits. Certainly, the Mets will take it.

Game Notes: Alonso is 3 for his last 21 with no extra base hits albeit with seven walks. Jeurys Familia picked up the win after pitching a scoreless eighth. Notably, all of the infielders on the 40 man roster are with the team or on the IL.

Phillies Awoke A Sleeping Giant

Last night, the Mets offense was again the Mets offense going 1-for-14 with RISP and leaving 10 men on base. Marcus Stroman was good for 5.0, but he had to leave with a tight hamstring.

The key focus of the game is the eighth when Jose Alvarado came into the game. If you recall last time, he threw two pitches up and in at Michael Conforto. He’d do the same just once to Conforto, but this time Conforto lined out.

That’s probably a ball that goes for extra bases, but the wind was crazy and knocked the ball down. There was a lot of that last night.

As it turned out, the inning set up where Dominic Smith, who was the most vocal when Alvardo threw at Conforto, stepped to the plate with two on and two out. After a wild pitch, it was runners at second and third. In tough at-bat, Smith struck out, and Alvarado had something to say.

Smith went to confront Alvarado, who suddenly wasn’t a tough guy anymore. He found his teammates and did the “hold me back routine.”

This wasn’t over. Later in the game, Miguel Castro came inside twice to Rhys Hoskins. Yes, it was really inside twice, but it was lower. It’s difficult to determine intent, but for a Phillies team who likes to hide behind Alvarado’s selective wildness, the Mets could also do so here.

As Ron Darling noteed, Castro was actively trying to get Hoskins out, but that didn’t matter. Hoskins has something to say as we went up the baseline, and he didn’t come to meet Castro.

The Mets might’ve lost this one 2-1, but they did show some fight. This might’ve been that moment that wakes them up and gives them some fire. As we saw, the Mets are ready, and the Phillies were the ones flinching. We’ll see how that plays out tonight.

GKR Once Again Prove They’re Best Booth In Baseball

When Michael Conforto leaned over the strike zone in on a pitch by Anthony Bass. The end result was a hit by pitch forcing Luis Guillorme home with the game winning run.

There’s no mincing words here. Home Plate Umpire Ron Kulpa blew the call, and he would later admit it. While Kulpa blew it, Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling immediately knew it was a blown call, and they said Conforto should’ve been out.

As you can hear, they said a lot more than just that. First and foremost, we heard Cohen knew the rules cold, and he knew it wasn’t getting overturned.

Both Keith and Ron spoke about how that should’ve been called an out, and Darling took it a step further to point out it’s ridiculous replay can’t overturn this call.

Keep in mind, this is the Mets, not the Marlins telecast. GKR wanted it called correctly because they’re honest about what they see. They’re honest even when it comes to a player in Conforto they really like and respect.

Now, this should be the norm, but we all know it isn’t. What we got there, what we always get from GKR, was an honest assessment of what transpired. These are three people who love the game, and it always shows.

Mets fans are lucky to have GKR as is all of baseball. They don’t rely on shtick, and they’re not embarrassing homers. Rather, these are three people who are honest about what they see on the field no matter how much they all love the Mets.

Jordan Yamamoto For Governor

Among the many issues people have with Governor Andrew Cuomo, he did the unthinkable. He wore a Mets/Yankees face mask while avowing to be a fan of both teams.

Not even the great Carmelo Anthony could pull this off without ridicule. While it’s debatable whether a Mets/Yankees rivalry truly exists, we can say you cannot be a fab of both teams, and there is no wearing gear with both teams on it.

It’s a mortal sin of New York fandom. While Cuomo, who has spent nearly his entire life in New York doesn’t get it, new Mets pitcher Jordan Yamamoto does.

Heading into this past offseason, no one could’ve reasonably expected Yamamoto would be the leader need we need, but here he is. Unlike Cuomo, he gets it.

And it’s high time the Mets had a Hawaiian leading the way. When it was Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez, the Mets won the 1986 World Series and 1988 NL East title.

When it was Benny Agbayani, the Mets went to consecutive postseasons for the first time in team history capturing the 1999 Wild Card and 2000 pennant.

So who better to lead New York than Yamamoto? After all, he implicitly understands fandom in New York, and he is well poised to help the Mets capture their third World Series.

Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia Poised To Make Mets History

Tom Seaver did something unique in New York Mets history. When he took the field for player introductions before Game 1 of the 1986 World Series, he became the first pitcher to stand on the field for three separate Mets postseason games.

Of course, Seaver was wearing a Boston Red Sox uniform, and he never did pitch in that series. To date, no Mets pitcher has pitched in three separate postseasons for the Mets . . . yet.

Back in 2015, Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia were big pieces of a Mets pitching staff which not only led the team to the postseason but also a pennant. They’d join Addison Reed as the only members of that 2015 staff to pitch in the ensuing postseason when the Mets lost the Wild Card Game.

That trio joined a number of the 1999-2000 Mets pitchers to pitch in consecutive postseason. That list included Armando Benitez, Dennis Cook, John Franco, Al Leiter, Rick Reed, and Turk Wendell.

They are just part of a group of Mets pitchers to pitch in multiple postseasons. The other pitchers in that group are Rick Aguilera, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman, Roger McDowell, Tug McGraw, and Seaver.

That’s a total of 17 pitchers who have appeared in two postseasons for the Mets. However, none have appeared in three.

If Syndergaard can return from Tommy John, and Familia can stay healthy and productive, they’re going to get that chance because this is an excellent Mets team. This is a team which should get there, and maybe this time Syndergaard and Familia can celebrate a World Series.

After that, with both being pending free agents, the question will be whether they’ll get the opportunity to get to pitch in a fourth postseason. Time will tell.

Mets Should Reunite Gary Cohen And Howie Rose To Deliver Tom Seaver’s Eulogy Today

What makes Mets broadcasts so special is Gary Cohen and Howie Rose grew up Mets fans. They’ve been there since the beginning, and they’re an encyclopedia of Mets knowledge.

To wit, no one knows just how great Tom Seaver was and just how much he meant to Mets fans.

For Mets fans, today is the wake and funeral. We’ve lost Seaver, and we’re turning in more to hear the tributes than we are to see the Mets face the Yankees.

We need Cohen and Rose to deliver the eulogy. They’ll do that in their pre-game introductions. They’ll do it by spinning tale after tale during the games.

They should do so unfettered. No need for Steve Gelbs interjections or for Wayne Randazzo to be able to really provide no perspective on this.

There is a place for Seaver’s former teammates Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez to provide some perspective. Having listened to them through the years, they both respect and revere Seaver much like we all do.

Overall, this is the day we all want to hear from Cohen and Rose. SNY and 880 should find a way to get them in the booth again together and to have them simulcast the game across TV and radio.

Let them deliver Seaver’s eulogy in a way only they can.