Ryan O’Rourke

Jay Bruce Walks It Off!!!!!

Tonight’s game against the Phillies and the 2019 season as a whole can be summed up like this:

In the 10th inning of a game the Mets once led 4-0, Jay Bruce hit a walk-off double against Stephen Nogosek.

That’s right. A player the Mets traded away got the game winning hit against a reliever who began the year in Double-A and was rushed up to the majors because the Mets had little other option.

Robinson Cano was 0-for-5, but it’s alright because Edwin Diaz pitched a perfect ninth in what was a non-save situation. That’s certainly worth $100 million over five years plus Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn.

At the end of the day, the Mets got what was coming to them for all they did this past offseason. As a fan, you might as well laugh because if you don’t, you’re going to go crazy.

Game Recap: Chris Mazza was called up from Triple-A. To make room for him on the roster, Walker Lockett was sent down, and Ryan O’Rourke was designated for assignment. Dominic Smith homered in his third straight game.

Jay Bruce Walks It Off!!!!!

Tonight’s game against the Phillies and the 2019 season as a whole can be summed up like this:

In the 10th inning of a game the Mets once led 4-0, Jay Bruce hit a walk-off double against Stephen Nogosek.

That’s right. A player the Mets traded away got the game winning hit against a reliever who began the year in Double-A and was rushed up to the majors because the Mets had little other option.

Robinson Cano was 0-for-5, but it’s alright because Edwin Diaz pitched a perfect ninth in what was a non-save situation. That’s certainly worth $100 million over five years plus Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn.

At the end of the day, the Mets got what was coming to them for all they did this past offseason. As a fan, you might as well laugh because if you don’t, you’re going to go crazy.

Game Recap: Chris Mazza was called up from Triple-A. To make room for him on the roster, Walker Lockett was sent down, and Ryan O’Rourke was designated for assignment. Dominic Smith homered in his third straight game.

Decisions Like Designating Sewald For Assignment Matter

Right now, the Mets outfield depth is a mess. Michael Conforto suffered a concussion, and while early indications are positive, no one can be quite sure when he will return. Jeff McNeil has been dealing with an abdominal issue. Keon Broxton was designated for assignment, and now, Brandon Nimmo was placed on the IL with a neck injury he’s been dealing with all season.

Due to that situation, the Mets needed to call up another outfielder. The problem there was with the 40 man roster full someone was going to have to be designated for assignment. That person wound up being Paul Sewald.

Assuredly, the reaction from most Mets fans is who cares, or that Sewald stinks, and he should have been designated for assignment long ago. With Sewald going 107 Major League appearances without a win and his having a career 5.18 ERA, you could understand the point. However, that point misses the overall point. Sewald had actual value and use to this Mets team.

So far this year, Sewald has made four appearances. Three of those appearances were for more than three outs. Yes, the Mets lost by a heavy margin in each of those games, and that is part of the reason why it was Sewald who pitched. It also underscores Sewald’s value to this Mets team. He is the pitcher who is able to come in and absorb innings saving the rest of the bullpen in these blowouts.

Last year, Sewald pitched multiple innings in 18 of his first 32 appearances. Overall in his career, he has pitched multiple innings in 30 percent of his relief appearances. When Sewald has been on the roster, this means he is the one who gets the brunt of the mop up work thereby leaving Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman to perform their multiple inning magic on another day.

And after Sewald mops things up, with his options, the team can just send him to Syracuse for another reliever. This matters, and it helps teams win.

More than what he does well, Sewald is just better than the pitchers the Mets kept over him. As previously explained, he has been a better and more effective Major League reliever than Jacob Rhame. Tim Peterson has a worse Major League ERA, FIP, H/9, K/9, and K/BB. Ryan O’Rourke has always had control issues as exemplified by his walking three of the six batters he faced this year. Clearly, Sewald has been better than these pitchers in his career.

In the end, that may be what matters most. The Mets had options upon whom to designate for assignment (or in Rhame’s case, release) with the aforementioned four relievers being the most likely targets. When boiling it all down, the Mets opted to remove the most effective reliever who also happened to be the one reliever who the organization could consistently rely upon to save the bullpen by going multiple innings in his relief appearances.

Yes, Peterson would be designated for assignment after the Mets claimed Aaron Altherr, but that is also besides the point. The point here is the thought process and manner of dealing and operating.

Ultimately, even if fans want to be dismissive of Sewald and the decision, this was a mistake. Worse yet, it was an unforced error. While we may not know the full impact of such a decision, it will have some negative impact on the Mets, no matter how small. Still, even if you don’t believe that, we should still wonder about the poor decision making process which led to keeping three inferior relievers over Sewald.

Mets Once Again Destroy Nationals Bullpen To Pull Off The Sweep

Well, if you missed yesterday’s game against the Nationals, you were lucky because apparently today was the matinee of that game. While not quite Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, Steven Matz and Stephen Strasburg proved to be capable understudies.

For the most part, Strasburg kept what was a woeful Mets lineup at bay. He’d keep the Mets off the board completely through four, but the Mets would get to him in the fifth. Carlos Gomez hit a leadoff single, and he’d steal second and move to third with no outs as Yan Gomes, who had a nightmare of a game, threw the ball into center.

The play was made all the more fun by Gomez’s shoe coming off between second and third. To his credit Strasburg limited the damage to just one run which came off a Juan Lagares sacrifice fly.

Again, it was Gomes who hurt Strasburg in the sixth. After J.D. Davis  singled and Strasburg hit Todd Frazier with a pitch, Strasburg would throw one in the dirt. While it was ruled a wild pitch, it was one Gomes should have had. This meant instead of having the double play in order with one out, the sudden ground ball hitting specialist Wilson Ramos would have an RBI chance.

Ramos would deliver with an RBI single scoring Davis, and Pete Alonso would make it 3-0 on a sacrifice fly. After the inning, Strasburg was done having struck out five Mets with only two of the three runs allowed being earned.

With the way Matz was cruising, you would think that was a sufficient enough lead. Certainly, it seemed that way with how Matz’s curveball was unhittable and his Houdini act. He was in trouble in the first and second with first and third with out one. Both times, he induced an inning ending double play. First, it was Howie Kendrick. Then, it was Gomes, who again, had a horrible day.

In the third, the Nationals had the bases loaded, but they couldn’t score as Anthony Rendon struck out looking at a curveball. It was one of a career high 27 curveballs Matz would throw with 16 of them being called strikes. Matz would not have one 1-2-3 inning all day, but it seemed like it wouldn’t matter as the Nationals kept shooting themselves in the foot and Matz would unleash a curve when needed.

That was until the sixth. Juan Soto hit a lead-off double, and he would score on what was a Brian Dozier infield single. On the play, Adeiny Hechavarria would throw the ball away. Dozier got greedy trying to go first to third on the play as he sought to take advantage on what he thought was Matz not paying attention to him at second. This led to an easy 1-5 put out.

With the way this game was going and how the Nationals season has been going, you sensed a team at its boiling point. We’d see them unleash their fury in the top of the eighth when Kendrick was called on a check swing Home Plate Umpire Bruce Dreckman called himself. Kendrick complained and was tossed. Then Nationals manager Dave Martinez had himself an old fashioned ejection:

The narrative will be this fired the Nationals up. Seeing them tee off on Robert Gsellman, maybe that’s true. For example, it did seem to wake up Gomes. He came up with runners at the corners with two out. Gomes’ double pulled the Nationals within one and put runners at second and third.

Now, it should be mentioned yesterday, the Mets have changed their stance. Mickey Callaway can now use Edwin Diaz for more than three outs. Callaway said Diaz being dry humped yesterday and pitched the previous two days. It should also be noted with all the injuries Ryan O’Rourke was called up. That meant the Mets had three lefties in the pen at their disposal. Instead, Callaway stuck with Gsellman, who admittedly has good numbers against left-handed batters.

The decision cost the Mets as Gerardo Parra hit a two RBI single giving the Nationals a 4-3 lead. Typically, you would believe this to be a back breaking hit which would have sent the Mets into a loss. Then again, this is the Nationals bullpen, who would need to significantly improve to be classified as terrible.

Wander Suero would come on to hold the lead, and right off the bat, it looked like history was going to repeat itself when Dominic Smith led off the inning with a pinch hit double. For a second, it seemed he would be stranded there as Alonso and Frazier would strike out back-to-back. For some reason, the Nationals would then decide to put the g0-ahead run on base to face Gomez. That would prove to be a huge mistake:

After that homer, the Mets were up 6-4, and finally, we would see Diaz for the save. After a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts and Rendon doing his best Robinson Cano impersonation, the Mets had a four game sweep, and they are now within a game of .500. This also means the Mets are now within one game of being taken seriously again.

Game Notes: During the game it was announced the Mets claimed Aaron Altherr off waivers. To make room for him on the roster, the Mets designated Tim Peterson.

18 Innings And 33 Games Later, Mets Are Under .500

This game was starting to look awfully familiar. Even with Amed Rosario hitting an RBI triple, he was bad in the field making yet another error. The offense wasn’t scoring runs at all putting Zack Wheeler in a position to be a hard luck loser.

Wheeler was good against the team he was almost traded to four years ago. In seven innings, he allowed two earned on six hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts. Even with him pitching well, in a sick twist, he was in a position to get the loss against Gio Gonzalez.That was until Pete Alonso came up to the plate against Junior Guerra:

As Mark Simon of Sports Info Solutions points out, Alonso is now 6-for-10 with three homers in the ninth inning. This is exactly what clutch looks like.

Seth Lugo was also clutch pitching three scoreless innings. Edwin Diaz came into a tie game in the 12th, and he didn’t allow a home run. He would get through the inning unscathed with some help from Jeff McNeil, who made a diving catch to rob Ryan Braun of an extra bass hit.

McNeil came up big again in the 13th. Despite being 0-for-5 up until that point, with two outs, he singled sending Hechavarria to third. The Brewers went to the bullpen to bring in Adrian Houser to face Alonso. Unfortunately, Alonso didn’t come through a second time.

Drew Gagnon took the ball in the bottom of the 13th. With one on and one out and a string of left-handed batters due up, Mickey Callaway brought in Ryan O’Rourke.

O’Rourke was not particularly effective. He walked both Eric Thames and Mike Moustakas, but he was still able to get through the inning because Wilson Ramos picked Thames off first, and Yasmani Grandal flew out to end the inning.

That left Robert Gsellman as the last line of defense. He navigated his way through a Braun one out double in the 14th. On the play, Rosario just dropped a throw from Michael Conforto, which arrived much earlier than Braun did.

Rosario was at it again in the 15th. His error allowed Hernan Perez to get on to lead-off the inning. Tomas Nido would erase him on the basepaths when Perez tried to advance on a ball which trickled not too far from Nido.

Fortunately, the 16th inning was uneventful for Gsellman, which sent the game to the 17th. It wouldn’t be Gsellman for the 17th as Steven Matz pinch hit for him. This meant it was all gong to be on Chris Flexen.

FINALLY, in the 18th, McNeil would drive home a run. His two out RBI single in the 18th knocked in Hechavarria who easily beat Braun’s run home. It was McNeil’s third straight hit in extras after not getting a hit through nine.

Flexen wasn’t going to make it easy walking Thames to start the inning, and he’d walk Grandal and Travis Shaw to load the bases with one out. Specifically with the Shaw at-bat, Angel Hernandez missed pitches in the strike zone and called then mmm balls.

With that, Braun would hit a ball Alonso couldn’t handle. It was hit very hard, and really, it was a problem of Flexens making.

In the end, it took 18 innings and 33 games for the Mets to finally go under .500.

Game Notes: Adeiny Hechavarria made his Mets debut getting double switched into the game in the ninth.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Split Series With Reds

The New York Mets finished a 10 game home-stand going 5-5. Part of the reason was because while their pitching started to pick up, their offense has cratered. Still, as they depart for a very difficult road trip which will take them to Milwaukee and San Diego, they are a team over .500:

  1. Noah Syndergaard did what you are supposed to do against bad offenses. You are supposed to completely dominant them, and he did with a magnificent performance striking out 10 in a complete game shut out.
  2. Syndergaard became just the third Mets starter (Pete FalconeJohan Santana) to homer in a complete game shut out. He is the only Mets pitcher to provide the only run of support in a shutout.
  3. We can debate whether the right retaliation is to throw at a batter or not. However, there is nothing better than seeing Syndergaard strike out Jesse Winker three times in a game and having Winker lose his cool to the point where he is thrown out of the game.
  4. With the fans waiving to Winker and their booing Pete O’Brien, it’s clear the Mets fans are desperately searching for and need a real villian now that Chase Utley has retired.
  5. This was certainly the series for Mets pitchers to get healthy. Jacob deGrom looked like Jacob deGrom again, and even Jason Vargas would finally pitch more than five innings in a start.
  6. While a pitcher’s success isn’t really tied to any one catcher, it may behoove the Mets to let deGrom get into some sort of a rhythm with Tomas Nido. So far this year, deGrom has had six starts, and he has had the same catcher catch him in back-to-back starts just once this year.
  7. Mickey Callaway is oft criticized for his decision making, but he was unfairly in this series. He had little choice but to trust Jeurys Familia for six outs, and he went with Edwin Diaz over Seth Lugo in the ninth because Diaz is supposedly the best reliever in baseball. When you put guys in position, and they fail, sometimes it is on the players and not the manager.
  8. For a moment, it really looked like Familia was back, and then all of a sudden he falls apart and heads to the Injured List.
  9. You can read too much into it, or not, but it is surprising in his career opposing batters hit .333/.403/.608 off Diaz in tie games. It’s too soon to overreact to it, but it is noteworthy.
  10. Speaking of too soon to overreact, Pete Alonso is struggling. Alonso has homered once in his last 39 at-bats, and he has had one homer against a RHP over his last 11 games. While he snapped an 0-11 with a 3-5 game, he is been 3-18 since.
  11. Speaking of cooling off, Dominic Smith is now 0 for his last 7, and 2 for his last 12.
  12. While we’re on the topic of Smith and Alonso, it is great to see Smith lifted for Alonso and his cheering on and applauding Alonso as he walked. It’s a shame they play the same position because these are two likeable guys who are good ballplayers.
  13. Amed Rosario is heating up at just the right time. He just had a five game hitting streak and is in the middle of a seven game errorless streak. This comes right as Jed Lowrie is playing shortstop in rehab games.
  14. It is going to be interesting to see what the Mets do when Lowrie returns. We’ve seen Brodie Van Wagenen have selective memory when it comes to his best 25 man mantra, and as noted Keon Broxton has been really bad. It will be interesting to see if he’s saved because Van Wagenen obtained him or if he befalls the Travis d’Arnaud treatment.
  15. Wilson Ramos has been bad. He has no power, which is partially the result of his having MLB and career worst ground ball rates. He has also been a poor pitch framer and has yielded the most passed balls in the majors.
  16. Drew Gagnon is showing the Mets something out of the bullpen. He saved them when Steven Matz couldn’t get an out, and his 1.1 scoreless allowed the Mets to walk it off. He has earned his shot in the bullpen.
  17. With Daniel Zamora coming into a game to face Joey Votto, and the Mets calling up Ryan O’Rourke, it’s getting fairly clear Luis Avilan‘s time as a Met is going to end fairly soon.
  18. It’s fair to say Avilan hasn’t been used properly, but when your manager has no faith in you, and you haven’t pitched in seven games, you really have no place in the bullpen.
  19. Every time there is a blow up with a Mets starter or with the bullpen, we hear how the Mets are keeping tabs on Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. It’s nothing more than a ruse, and I wish reporters would stop giving it the time of day.
  20. This upcoming road trip to Milwaukee and San Diego is tough travel, and it is the kind of road trip which has the potential to make or break a season.

deGrom And His Run Support Back In 2018 Form

Well, this game looks awfully familiar. Without having to navigate rain delays or other stupid obstacles from the team, Jacob deGrom was Jacob deGrom again. Unfortunately, you get all of it with him tonight.

Through the first 4.1 innings, deGrom kept the Reds hitless, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have any trouble.

Joey Votto gave one a ride in the top of the fourth which center fielder Brandon Nimmo misjudged and misplayed into a two base error. Essentially, Nimmo had more room than he thought he had, but he ran into the wall anyway.

With his walking Jesse Winker and hitting Derek Dietrich, deGrom would load the bases. He’d get out of that jam by striking out Tucker Barnhart. Barnhart was deGrom’s third strikeout victim that inning.

From there, the Reds never really challenged deGrom again. Part of the reason was deGrom was deGrom again. In seven scoreless, deGrom allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out six.

Much like last year, deGrom got ZERO run support. Overall, the Mets lineup was shut down by Anthony DeSclafani. It would not be until the seventh inning, after he left game, that the Mets would get more than two base runners on in an inning.

That would happen in the seventh in what would be the Mets best (and last) chance to get deGrom a win.

With runners at first and second, the Reds would bring on Wandy Peralta, and Mickey Callaway would also go to his bench. Wilson Ramos pinch hit for Tomas Nido and struck out. Dominic Smith pinch hit for deGrom and grounded out to end the rally.

Ryan O’Rourke made his Mets debut, and he got it started by striking out Votto. After retiring the first two, O’Rourke walked Winker on four pitches. Callaway went to Seth Lugo to get the last out of the inning. Thanks to Jeff McNeil, Lugo would get Yasiel Puig to end the inning.

With the Mets offense doing nothing in the eighth, Callaway went to Edwin Diaz in the ninth inning of a tied game. Like he did two days prior, Diaz would get beat by a two out homer. This time it was by Jose Iglesias, a man who averages 2.75 homers per year in his career.

Once again, this will prompt the second guesses of Callaway. Lugo only pitched one-third of an inning. Batters are now hitting .333/.403/.608 off Diaz in a tied game. However, all of this ignores how Lugo nearly blew the tie himself. It also ignores Diaz being the Mets best reliever, and you want your best reliever in these situations.

It just didn’t work out. Sometimes players have to deliver much like how Winker delivered another wave to Mets fans. This time it was after his sliding catch to rob Nimmo.

Game Notes: Jeurys Familia was placed on the IL with shoulder soreness. He was replaced by O’Rourke on the roster who took the 40 man spot creates by Travis d’Arnaud being designated for assignment.

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Which Mets Will Surprise in 2019

The long winter is over and Opening Day is just three days away. During the 2019 season, we are sure to see some ups and downs, and there will be players who will surprise us over the course of the season. In this latest edition of the Mets Blogger Roundtable, we discussed which players we believe will surprise us and all of baseball during the 2019 season:

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

I don’t think Met fans would be surprised by anybody having a good year, because we’re looking hard at everybody. In terms of the baseball world, I think the surprise would be Amed Rosario. He had a down season but his last two months and his spring would be great. I think around baseball, nobody is really expecting much from him but he could surprise in the way that he might live up to his potential in his second full season.

Though I think the surprise will be Noah Syndergaard. Not that it would shock anyone if he had a good or even great season, but I think he could have “that” season. Like … Jacob deGrom type season. That would even surprise Mets fans, but I think it has a chance of happening.

James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)

I totally agree on Syndergaard. When you actually watch his highlight videos, so much of the time he’s just completely untouchable. If he finally has “that” season, where he pitches up to his potential almost every start, he’s easily a Cy Young candidate.

Another candidate — Juan Lagares? He’s never been an offensive star, but I’ve always thought he looked better than replacement-level as a hitter. I don’t think he’ll bat .300 or hit 30 (or even 20) home runs, but if he finally plays close to regularly and replicates or slightly improves on his 2014 performance — say, .280/.320/.380 — he’ll be an enormous asset. Remember: his defense has stayed fantastic (positive dWAR every year), and last season, in 30 games, he looked like a legitimate professional hitter.

Pete McCarthy (OABT)

I’d agree with Rosario as the best “surprise” candidate. Has tremendous ability but hasn’t put it all together besides the occasional flashes. Think he can take another step forward and grow into more than a decent defender who bats at the bottom of the order.

Tim Ryder (MMO)

I’m sticking with Jason Vargas as my pleasant surprise this season. His strong second half last year and, for the most part, lights out spring are both very encouraging signs. As long as he sticks to his game (slow and low, that is the tempo), pitching behind four fireballers in deGrom, Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz, I really feel like he’s gonna be successful. A high threes-to-low four ERA out of your fifth starter is a great thing. Hopefully, he can find a rhythm and contribute consistently.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

From two sides: Robinson Cano, for having more left than we suspect.

Ryan O’Rourke, as that useful bullpen arm we didn’t necessarily see coming.

Mets Daddy

My initial instinct was to peg players like Dominic Smith and Gavin Cecchini, but ultimately, I am not sure they are going to receive sufficient enough playing time to really get a chance to surprise anyone or even establish themselves.

One player who should receive an opportunity is Luis Guillorme. Last year, he did establish himself as an adept pinch hitter, and with him being in better shape, he should play excellent defense at second, third, and short. With the injuries to Todd Frazier and Jed Lowrie (especially Lowrie), he’s going to get that opportunity too. He’s the type of guy who could breakthrough and become a fan favorite this season.

While we may see Guillorme as a surprise, what is not a surprise is the excellent content from these bloggers. Please take the time to visit their sites and enjoy their excellent work.

Mets On The 40 Man Roster Bubble

As the Mets approach Opening Day, the team is going to have to make some manuevers if they are going to add their minor league free agents to the 40 man roster. Earlier in the offseason, T.J. Rivera was released, which creates one spot. By the look of Spring Training, the team is going to need more than that one spot.

With his needing Tommy John surgery, another roster spot was opened up by Drew Smith likely headed for the 60 day disabled list. With him likely headed there, the 40 man roster will likely sit at 38. With Yoenis Cespedes hitting the 60 day IL, that drops the number to 37.

At the moment, the team is considering adding Luis Avilan as the LOOGY in the bullpen. The team is also likely to add Adeiny Hechavarria as a backup shortstop. The team is also considering Ryan O’Rourke, Hector Santiago, Pete Alonso, Devin Mesoraco, and Rajai Davis. In total, the Mets are likely to add as many as three players and possibly more.

In the event there is more, the team could opt to put Franklyn Kilome on the 60 day disabled list to preserve his last option, but such a move starts his service clock while having him cost significantly more. This would make adding him to the 60 day disabled list unlikely meaning there are two or more Mets whose 40 man roster spots could now become tenuous:

Right off the bat, Kyle Dowdy is an obvious choice. Should he lose the race for the last man in the bullpen to O’Rourke, Santiago, or one of the Mets young right-handed relief pitchers, it’s quite possible the team returns him to the Cleveland Indians. With him pitching to a 7.36 ERA this Spring and 5.15 ERA between Double- and Triple-A last year, his heading back to Cleveland seems like the obvious choice.

With respect to the Mets young right-handed relievers, Tim Peterson seems to have the most tenuous spot. We have seen Peterson really succeed in spots as evidenced by his 0.87 ERA in the Arizona Fall League or his allowing just two earned runs over his first 11.1 relief innings. However, over time, batters catch up to him and his 91 MPH fastball.

On the relief front, the Mets may also be in a position to designate Paul Sewald and Jacob Rhame for assignment. We have seen each of them pitch well in the majors in spurts, but their overall body of work has been quite lacking. However, given their limited history of success, it would seem while their spots are tenuous, they have a leg up on the aforementioned pitchers.

On the position player front, Luis Guillorme‘s spot seems the most tenuous. After he struggled in 35 games at the Major League level, it appeared the organization really soured on him. If you want evidence to that effect, look no further than how he was not among the September call-ups last year. The Mets offseason moves would seem to indicate his spot is dubious as well.

Hechavarria serves the same role Guillorme could have served, but the Mets thought it better to potentially give Hechavarria $3 million than give Guillorme a chance. With the team adding Dilson Herrera to add to an already crowded Syracuse infield and top prospect Andres Gimenez not too far from Triple-A, Guillorme’s spot seems all the more dubious.

That said, the team did designate Gavin Cecchini for assignment earlier in the year, and Guillorme has had a very good Spring. This means Guillorme’s spot is safe for now. As for the aforementioned pitchers, it may depend on how many players they seek to add the to Opening Day roster and if they are able to swing trades for players like Travis d’Arnaud to open up enough spots.