Seth Lugo

deGrom Inches Closer To Cy Young

That Cy Young Award is now so close for Jacob deGrom he can almost taste it. While Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola have slipped this month, deGrom continues setting records.

With his win tonight (A WIN!), he broke the record he shared with Bob Gibson and Chris Carpenter for consecutive quality starts in a season.

In his seven innings of work, deGrom allowed just one earned on three hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. He would lower his MLB best ERA to 1.77.

After Wilmer Difo hit a second inning sacrifice fly, deGrom would only yield one base hit. That lone base runner wouldn’t get past first.

Unlike other games where deGrom has taken the loss for a terrific start like this, he would get that rare win.

Amed Rosario hit the first pitch of the game for a double. Victor Robles misplayed it, but Rosario didn’t head to third. For a moment, it looked like Rosario would be stranded there, but Jay Bruce blooped a two out single to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

After the Nationals tied it in the second, the Mets got the lead again in a big three run third.

That rally was started with Michael Conforto and Bruce hitting consecutive one out doubles off Nationals starter Joe Ross.

Dominic Smith brought home Bruce with a key two out RBI. After an uncharacteristic Anthony Rendon error allowed Todd Frazier to reach, Devin Mesoraco doubled home Rosario.

At that point, it was 4-1 Mets, and deGrom was in the drivers seat. Effectively speaking, both offenses went completely silent. That meant the cushion the Mets have deGrom was more than sufficient.

Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless eighth, and Robert Gsellman had an eventful ninth. He’d get through it allowing just one run with some help as Conforto made a leaping catch to take a hit away from Bryce Harper.

With the 4-2 win, both the Nationals and deGrom now see their records at .500. With how the season has gone,

Game Notes: After not playing in over two weeks, Mesorsco was 3-for-3 with a double, RBI, and

https://twitter.com/mikemayermmo/status/1043316071770537984?s=21

deGrom Improved Cy Young Case

Heading into the Month of September, Jacob deGrom was probably the favorite to win the Cy Young, but it was still anyone’s game with Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer having great seasons of their own.  So far this month, deGrom has separated himself ever further from the pack.

In Nola’s three September starts, he is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA.  Scherzer had a decent start to the month until his loss to the Braves on Friday.  In that start, Scherzer allowed six earned in four innings.  Now, he’s 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in the month.

Like Nola and Scherzer, deGrom has seen his ERA rise this month.  Still, deGrom’s 2.70 ERA this month is half of Scherzer’s.  That is also because deGrom had a “bad start” in Boston.

For deGrom, it was the bottom of the third in Boston which derailed what had looked to be a truly special start.

After striking out six of the first seven Red Sox batters he faced, Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez hit back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners with one out.  Mookie Betts brought home Devers with a sacrifice fly.  This is normally where deGrom would get out of the inning, but he would leave one up to Brock Holt, who hit a two run homer to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.

Right then and there, deGrom’s streak of 26 starts not allowing more than three earned and his 21 consecutive quality starts streak was on the line.  From there, there were points where you thought deGrom wasn’t going to reatch the sixth.  In fact, Mickey Callaway had Jerry Blevins warming at one point.  There may have also been points where you thought he would allow another run.

He didn’t.

Instead, deGrom would go seven innings allowing the three earned on five hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts.  The 12 strikeouts were really impressive.  Entering the game, the Red Sox were the second hardest team to strike out (19.7%).  In the game, deGrom would strike out 12 of the 27 batters (44.4%) he faced.

Importantly, the Mets would rally to tie the score and get deGrom off the hook.  In the sixth, Amed Rosario would follow an Austin Jackson single to put runners on second and third with no outs.  Jeff McNeil would not hit a liner deep enough to score a run, but Wilmer Flores would  . . . barely:

 

Unfortunately, Betts would get hurt on the play.  It should shift Jackie Bradley, Jr. to right with Tzu-Wei Lin in center.  Michael Conforto would then hit a double to deep center to tie the game.  It’s debatable if Bradley would’ve gotten to it.  Regardless, the Mets were down a run.

They would tie it in the seventh on a two out RBI single by Rosario.  Brandon Nimmo was 90 feet away from scoring the go-ahead run and giving deGrom the lead, but McNeil couldn’t bring him home.

WIth that, deGrom notced another no decision, and he still remains a game under .500, and yet, he he having an all-time great season.  In fact, with this start, deGrom tied Bob Gibson and Chris Carpenter single season mark for consecutive quality starts.  In the seasons Gibson and Carpenter set their marks, they won the Cy Young.

So should deGrom.

Game Notes: Seth Lugo took the loss after allowing a run in the eighth.

Wright’s Playing Days Ending As The Mets Play On

In an emotional press conference, David Wright announced he was playing on Saturday, September 29th and never again. While we’ve already entered into a post-Wright Mets era, this was a crushing confirmation of the news.

With news like this, the last thing on most people’s minds was playing a game. Let alone two. And yet, there was a scheduled doubleheader.

In the first game, we were treated to a terrific performance from Steven Matz.

After allowing back-to-back homers to Peter O’Brien and Isaac Galloway in the second, Matz would hit his first career homer to tie the game.

The game would stay tied 2-2 until the seventh when O’Brien would strike again singling off Drew Smith to drive home Brian Anderson, who led off the inning with a double off Matz.

Overall, Matz pitched 6.1 innings allowing three earned on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

It seemed the Marlins were going to win this game 3-2, but that was until Don Mattingly made a mistake. Instead of sticking with Adam Conley, who absolutely owns the Mets, Mattingly went to Kyle Barraclough because Amed Rosario was due up.

Mickey Callaway went to Dominic Smith who grounded out right in front of home plate.

While Smith wouldn’t deliver, Michael Conforto would hitting a game tying homer off Barraclough. It was his fourth homer in five games.

Three pitches later, Todd Frazier would hit a walk-off homer.

With that, the game ended with a homer by Wright’s heir apparent for best homegrown position player followed by a homer by the guy signed to replace Wright. Really, it was quite the fitting ending.

But still, there was more baseball to be played.

Surprisingly, the Mets got a strong start by Jason Vargas with him allowing little more than a two run homer to Miguel Rojas over six innings.

Vargas would get the win for a few reasons. Chief among them was his catcher Tomas Nido, who made a great play in the field

before hitting his first career homer

The Nido solo shot opened the scoring for the Mets in a three run inning capped off by a two out Conforto RBI double.

That 3-2 lead would hold up as Seth Lugo was as dominant as you can be in his two innings. In fact, Lugo would strike out five of the seven batters he faced.

The Mets built a seventh inning rally starting starting with a Jeff McNeil two out single. As the inning progressed, the Mets scored insurance runs on singles by Conforto and Smith.

That 5-2 lead proved to be save for Robert Gsellman to shut the door on a seemingly rare doubleheader sweep.

With the sweep, the Mets are now just 10 games under .500 for the first time since June 21st.

Game Notes:

Wheeler Great Again

Here’s how good Zack Wheeler has been pitching in the second half of the season.  Last night, he allowed three runs on three hits while walking two and striking out nine.  For him, that now qualifies as a poor start.

The Dodgers were able to score the three runs off of him because they hit two homers.  It should come as no surprise one of those homers was by Cody Bellinger, who absolutely owns Wheeler.  In fact, Bellinger is 4-for-8 against Wheeler with four homers and nine RBI.

The other homer was in the fourth inning.  After Justin Turner hit a comebacker which hit Wheeler in the ribs, Max Muncy would hit a two run homer off of Wheeler.  Given how Wheeler was still dealing with the shot to the ribs, you could put a bit of a mental asterisk next to that one, especially when you consider Wheeler would retire eight of the next nine batters he faced.

Even with those homers, the Dodgers could not pull ahead of the Mets.

In the fourth, the Mets finally broke through against Hyun-Jin RyuAmed Rosario singled and Jeff McNeil doubled to put runners at second and third with no outs.  From that point forward, the Mets would BABIP the heck out of Ryu.

Wilmer Flores would hit one back which hit Ryu that allowed him to reach safely and would allow Rosario to score.  McNeil would challenge Joc Pederson‘s arm on a Michael Conforto flyball, and he would score because Yasmani Grandal could not hold onto the ball.  In an odd official scorer position, Conforto was not given the RBI as it was ruled an error on Grandal.

Part of the key to that play was Flores going to third, which would allow him to score from third on the two out RBI single from Austin Jackson.  That was important as Jackson was nailed at second trying to challenge Alex Verdugo‘s arm.  Had Flores been at third, it’s very likely he does not score on the play.

Kevin Plawecki led off the fifth with a double, and he moved to third on a Brandon Nimmo bloop hit.  After Wheeler struck out, Rosario singled home Plawecki.  Later that inning, Flores brought home Nimmo on a ball Enrique Hernandez was not quite tall enough to get.  With that, the Mets had a 5-2 lead, and they were in control of the game.

That became a stranglehold with Conforto delivering a seventh inning RBI single, and Ryan Madson throwing a wild pitch to allow McNeil to come home from third.

After 105 pitches, Wheeler was done after seven, and Mickey Callaway brought on Seth Lugo to close out the final two innings.  He did just that allowing no hits and striking out a batter.  With the win, the Mets have now won consecutive West Coast series, and the team is playing much better baseball of late.  They are two games over .500 in the second half.

Game Notes: In his final at-bat ever against the Mets, Chase Utley lined out to Nimmo.  So in the end, the dirtiest player alive lined out to the nicest and most genuine player in the majors.

deGrom Sets Mets and MLB Records In No Decision

When Justin Turner hit a first inning home run off of Jacob deGrom, it was evident deGrom did not have his best stuff.  After all, deGrom had not allowed a home run in his last 42 innings pitched.  As it turned out, it really was a struggle for deGrom with him needing 109 pitches to get through six innings.  That’s notably because he threw 108 pitches in each of his last three starts, and he went 9.0, 6.0, and 8.0 innings respectively.

Through all of his troubles tonight and him fighting it, deGrom’s final line was 6.0 innings, two hits, one run, one earned, one walk, and six strikeouts.

It’s at the point where deGrom is so good his inability to find himself and be on his A game leads him to having an absolutely terrific and dominant start.  He’s been having a lot of those lately.  In fact, with this quality start, deGrom set a new Mets record with 20 straight quality starts.  It gets better.  With deGrom allowing three earned runs or less in his past 25 starts, he has set a new MLB record.

And to think there are some people who don’t want to give him the Cy Young.  Of course, those people’s justification is wins.  Well, tonight was another exercise of how absurd that is.

While deGrom has been great all season, Alex Wood has been great of late, and the Mets do not hit left-handed batters well.  More to the point, for some reason when the Mets have been playing good teams of late, they find ways to shoot themselves in the foot.  Tonight was no exception.

In the first Wilmer Flores hit into an inning ending double play.  In the second, Todd Frazier, who had made a fine catch in the game diving into the stands,  was thrown out stealing to end the inning.  In the third, Austin Jackson struck out to end the inning with runners at second and third.  After all of that, deGrom needed to take control of things himself in the fifth inning.

After a Jay Bruce leadoff walk and a Devin Mesoraco single (he was lifted from the game and Jose Reyes pinch ran for him due to injury), Jeff McNeil hit into a double play leaving it up to deGrom to get Bruce home from third.  With him using McNeil’s bat, deGrom delivered the RBI single tying the game at 1-1.  Really, deGrom was doing all he could do out there with him combining his excellent pitching with him going 2-for-2 at the plate.

There was a chance deGrom was going to get into the seventh inning in this game to just allow him to hang around long enough to hope beyond hope the Mets put him in a position to win.  However with an Amed Rosario error in the sixth inning, that pretty much ended that hope meaning the 8-8 deGrom was saddled with another no decision, and this was going to become a battle of the bullpens.

The Mets would win that battle as the offense would eventually break through and because the Mets bullpen did not break.

In the seventh, the Mets were close.  They had the bases loaded with two outs, but Jackson couldn’t deliver the key hit.  Well, if the Mets thought they were close, the Dodgers were even closer.

Against Seth Lugo in the seventh, they had runners at the corners and no outs.  Lugo first struck out Yasmani Grandal, and then he induced Yasiel Puig to hit into the inning ending 6-4-3 double play.

In the eighth, Drew Smith issued a two out walk to Turner which almost blew up in his face.  If not for the low right field wall in Dodgers Stadium, it is likely Manny Machado‘s double gives the Dodgers a 2-1 lead instead of being a ground rule double putting runners at second and third with two outs.  After getting Enrique Hernandez to fly out to center, Smith officially dodged a bullet.

Kenta Maeda was not dodging the same bullet in the ninth.  After a Bruce leadoff double, Kevin Plawecki sacrificed him over to third base.  After McNeil was hit by a pitch, the Mets had runners at the corners with one out setting the stage for Brandon Nimmo, who came on to pinch hit for Smith:

With Nimmo’s pinch hit three run homer, the Mets had an unlikely 4-1 lead, which Robert Gsellman had the task to save.  It was not going to be easy for him and the Mets.  After a replay review, the Dodgers had runners at the corners with no outs.  The game was 4-2 after Grandal brought a run home with a sacrifice fly.  That would be the final score as Gsellman induced Matt Kemp to hit into the game ending 6-4-3 double play.

So overall, the Mets won a game partially because of the six dominant innings he gave them, but for some reason, there is going to be a voter out there who is not going to put him atop the Cy Young ballot because of his 8-8 record.

Game Notes: With the Dodgers starting the left-handed Wood, McNeil batted eighth, and Nimmo was on the bench.  Before the game, the Mets recalled Dominic Smith, Jack Reinheimer, and Drew Gagnon

Matzerterful Performance

Three years after his Major League debut, it’s still difficult to make heads or tails with Steven Matz. There are days he looks absolutely terrible, and then there are days like today.

In seven innings, he completely dominated the Giants with a career high 11 strikeouts. It was the first double digit strikeout game of his career.

Unfortunately for him, what was arguably the best start of his career was just a no decision as the Mets bats are ice cold and Evan Longoria hit a fourth inning solo homer off Matz. It was just one of three hits off Matz all day.

On the other side, Derek Holland was shutting down the Mets. He was not as dominant as Matz, but he was in control all game.

Despite Holland pitching well, Brandon Nimmo would work out a one out walk, and he would score from first on the ensuing Tomas Nido double:

In the sixth, the Mets had a chance to take the lead, but Todd Frazier had some really poor base running.

First, after he drew a two out walk, he stole second. On the play, Nick Hundley three the ball into center. Frazier did not move to third as he was deked by Giants shortstop Alen Hanson.

Worse yet, on a Michael Conforto infield single, Hanson picked Frazier off third base:

Seth Lugo (two innings) and Jerry Blevins (inning) kept the Giants scoreless and hitless as the game went into extra innings.

Finally, in the top of the 11th, one of these two teams would get a hit with Wilmer Flores leading off the inning with a double off Hunter Strickland. He’d move over on a Jay Bruce groundout, and he scored on a go-ahead Frazier sacrifice fly.

Robert Gsellman, who has been struggling of late, pitched a perfect ninth with some help from Nimmo:

That Nimmo catch sealed the Mets win in a game completely dominated by pitching. That domination was headlined by Matz, who we can only hope has turned the corner much in the same way we have seen Zack Wheeler do this year.

Game Notes: With the Giants starting Holland, the Mets sat Jeff McNeil in favor of Flores at second. Bruce played first.

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Player’s Weekend Jerseys We Would Like To Have Seen

For the second straight year, Seth Lugo has the best Player’s Weekend jersey with “Quaterrican.”  Seeing that jersey as well as some others we will see over the course of this weekend coupled with the color players from Mets past, it does not you wonder which jerseys Mets players from years past would have selected.  On that front, the Mets bloggers offer some of the jerseys we would have like to have seen.

Michael Baron (nym.news)

Tom Seaver. “THE FRANCHISE.”

Second place is Gary Carter. “KID.”

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

Marv Throneberry

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

Franklin Gutierrez, who was a Met for ten minutes, was nicknamed “Death to Flying Things”. I’m sorry but the only two things that could top that would have been Richie Hebner using a middle finger emoji, or anything Willie Montanez would have come up with.

Also, did you know that George Foster‘s nickname was “Yahtzee”? I would buy that.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

I like seeing the nicknames we don’t learn about as matter of course, the ones that are personal or known more in the clubhouse than in the public. So ideally, Tom Seaver would have been SPANKY, Willie Mays BUCK and Howard Johnson SHEIKH.

Also, though it would have been hard to resist CHOO-CHOO for Clarence Coleman, I’d like to believe the catcher of few words from the 1962 Mets would have gone with BUB. And given that it was 1962, I could only hope everything was properly spelled.

James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)

George Theodore

Mets Daddy

Looking back, a Darryl Strawberry “Straw” jersey would have been hilarious for the noted coke problems of that team.  It would have been funny to see Paul Lo Duca wear a “Captain Red Ass” jersey.  Funny, but not likely to happen.

Ultimately, the jersey I would have liked to have seen could have been done this year.  After all, what would have been better than seeing Jacob deGrom opting to chose “Sidd Finch” for his jersey?

The answer to the rhetorical question is reading the blogs from the writers who are so generous in contributing their time.  Certainly,t hey all have stories to tell about these and many more players.  In fact, they may have some nicknames all of their own, but to find that out, you will have to visit those sites.

Mets Win Pointless Game Over Nationals

Well, today was a day the Mets pretended they were 15 games over instead of 15 games under .500.

With the Mets refusal to put Devin Mesoraco and his injured neck on the disabled list, the team called up Tomas Nido from Double-A to serve as a back-up to Kevin Plawecki.

With Jay Bruce having a bobble head day on Saturday and his finally eligible to come off the disabled list, this meant the Mets needed to either demote or DFA two players.

Naturally, the Mets opted to demote Jack Reinheimer despite his having a batting average nearly 80 points higher than Jose Reyes.

The other player was Dominic Smith, who had gone 2-for-6 with a double, homer, and two RBI in the bizarrely limited playing time he had been given during this all too brief call-up.

To make matters worse, the Mets started Bruce in the outfield with Austin Jackson and Jose Bautista.

Remember Jackson and Bautista are Mets because no one else wanted them. The Mets called these 30+ year old impending free agents from their homes because other teams were paying them not to play for them.

Naturally, the Mets decided to play all three of them over Michael Conforto.

To top it off, Jason Vargas started the game instead of Corey Oswalt because we need to find out about the 35 year old left-hander and not the 24 year old prospect.

This is the squad the Mets opted to go with to face off against the Washington Nationals.

That Nationals team they played just traded away Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams as they admitted to themselves their .500 club was not making the postseason.

Basically, this set the stage for a game between two teams playing out the string, and it showed.

In the first, Amed Rosario hit a leadoff single off Gio Gonzalez, and he would steal second. Jeff McNeil pushed him over to third on a groundout to the right side, and Rosario would score on a Wilmer Flores RBI single.

Sadly, that was all the run support Vargas would need as the Nationals really didn’t show up.

Vargas pitched six shutout innings while allowing three hits, walking none, and striking out eight.

In the entire game, the Nationals would have just four hits with no one reaching third.

Seth Lugo pitched two innings, and Robert Gsellman earned his eight save of the season in the Mets 3-0 victory.

Those other two runs came courtesy of a Bruce two run homer. It was his first homer of the year at Citi Field.

Given how the Mets are dedicated to this 30+ year old veteran movement, we should see Bruce gets more chances to add to that home run total.

Overall, it was just astonishing to see how a Mets-Nationals game has zero juice. Both teams are very disappointing, and when they play games like this, it’s completely pointless.

Game Recap: Before the game, Mickey Callaway said Bruce could be the first baseman for the Mets next year. That would require Bruce getting time there next year, which all but eliminates the chances we see Peter Alonso this year or Smith again (at least in terms of his getting extended playing time).

McNeil Shows What Might’ve Been

The Mets had multiple chances this season to call Jeff McNeil up to the majors, and yet, time and again, the Mets opted to go with players like Jose Reyes instead.

Perhaps, the Mets did not give McNeil his chance because they were not sure his incredible season in the minors would translate to MLB success. So far, it has.

In tonight’s game, McNeil was at the center of both Mets rallies with him going a perfect 4-for-4 with two runs, a double, and an RBI.

The first rally started when McNeil hit a leadoff single against Giants starter Chris Stratton. Wilmer Flores would go the opposite way and drive a double to right field.

McNeil scored on a Michael Conforto sacrifice fly, and Flores scored from second on an Austin Jackson RBI single.

Jackson would move to second on Hunter Pence‘s their home, but the Mets could not bring him home.

Still, with the two runs scored, the Mets tied the score and got Steven Matz off the hook.

Initially, things did not look good for Matz. Three batters into the game, he and the Mets were down 2-0 with Evan Longoria hitting a bomb off of him:

Fortunately, Matz would settle in, and he would not allow another hit in his five innings pitched. With this being his second start since coming off the disabled list, Matz was done after five innings and 87 pitches.

Corey Oswalt, who was recently demoted to the bullpen, relieved Matz, and he would pitch three terrific scoreless innings allowing just one hit. Not only would he pitch well, but he would also pick up his third win of the season.

Oswalt got the win because the Mets offense jumped all over Tony Watson starting with a Reyes triple off a ball Pence just could not field.

After Todd Frazier couldn’t hit one deep enough to score Reyes, and Amed Rosario struck out, the game was on McNeil’s bat.

McNeil jumped on the first pitch, and much like Flores did in the previous inning, he hit an opposite field double. The double easily scored Reyes giving the Mets a 3-2 lead.

With the open base, and his historical numbers against left-handed batters, Watson intentionally walked Flores to face Conforto. That was a mistake:

The opposite field three run homer gave the Mets a 6-2 lead.

Seth Lugo pitched the ninth, and he yielded a run after Jose Bautista couldn’t quite get to an Austin Slater liner. Lugo would get the next batter to close the book on the 6-3 win.

In the end, this was a game won because McNeil is a professional hitter who delivered in two big spots. It makes you wonder how different things would have been had the Mets given him a chance when they first needed him.

Game Recap: 2015 NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy was traded by the Nationals to the Cubs as the Nationals have begun selling what they can.

Mets Made Little League Classic a Big Event

Believe it or not, two years ago, Todd Frazier was part of a Toms River team who won the Little League World Series.  Of course, you believe it because we are reminded of it all the time. But it wasn’t just Frazier with Little League World Series exploits.  Michael Conforto is the only player to homer in both the World Series and the Little League World Series.

Considering the Mets connection with to the Little League World Series, it made them the natural choice to participate in the Little League Classic.

What made the choice even better was how much the team embraced it.  Frazier was out there signing autographs. Jacob deGrom was interviewing Little Leaguers.  Noah Syndergaard was sharing pitching grips with members of the Spanish team.  Really, to a man, the Mets were taking pictures with the young players.  Syndergaard and deGrom would join Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler in watching the game from the stands with the Staten Island Little League team.

The Mets also embraced the challenge on the field, which included Jason Vargas having his best start in a Mets uniform.

Surprisingly, the Phillies could not get to Vargas until the sixth when Carlos Santana hit a two run home run off of him.  After a Wilson Ramos double, Mickey Callaway brought in Seth Lugo, the Quarterrican, to get out of the jam.  At that point, it was too little too late for the Phillies.

The Mets first rally was started by Frazier (who else?).  His leadoff single against Nick Pivetta was the first of four straight singles.  The Jose Bautista and Kevin Plawecki singles would plate two runs. After a Vargas sacrifice bunt, Amed Rosario would hit a two RBI single to give the Mets an early 4-0 lead.

The Mets lead would grow to 7-0 before the Phillies would even score a run off of Vargas.  Jeff McNeil plated two runs with an RBI single in the fourth, and Rosario plated a run with another RBI single in the sixth.

Things were going so well for the Mets that Dominic Smith, who was called-up as the 26th man for the game, would hit an RBI pinch hit double in the eight.  With Brandon Nimmo hurting, the Mets are now considering keeping Smith up to play left field, which would obviously be the right thing to do.

Ultimately, the final score would be 8-1 as Lugo, Drew Smith, and Daniel Zamora, who was throwing filthy sliders, kept the Phillies off the board.

Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera went 1-for-17 against his former team in this series.