Right now, the Mets are 28-36. That puts them eight games under .500, 9.5 games back of the Braves for the National League East, and 8.5 games back of the Nationals for the second Wild Card. With the trade deadline about a month and a half away, it’s time to consider whether the Mets season is over. Our Mets bloggers provide their opinion in the latest roundtable:
To get to 85 wins, the Mets now have to go 57-41. That’s a .582 clip just to make it interesting. I’m guessing that won’t be enough with Atlanta, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Arizona and for fun, San Francisco and Philly in the realistic hunt for a wild card. I do agree and have said if there’s any hope, it’s in the starting rotation, but 85 wins right now is asking a lot for this bullpen and roster which lacks any sort of competitive edge in the heat, not to mention what they probably need which is another 60-62 wins, or a 62-36 record the rest of the way.
Fangraphs currently has the Mets’ playoff odds at 4.6%. It was 9.8% just two days ago; 22% at the start of June. The Mets’ offense has been historically bad. This is not an exaggeration: No team since 1900 has scored fewer runs and recorded fewer hits in an 11 game span than the Mets. So, what I’m trying to say is no the season isn’t over. Almost! But sadly no, we are not yet free. The starting pitching has finally been really, really good lately, and all without Noah Syndergaard. The offense cannot possibly continue to break records in futility, thanks to our new best friends the law of averages. In conclusion: it is definitely probably not over.
It’s hard to be as positive as I was prior to the season, but I still think it’s too early to call it “over.” I wish I had a better feel for the organizational plan here, but I don’t know if Callaway is setting his lineups and managing his bullpen or if he is following a front office script. Until I can determine that, I’m going to wait and see.
The season is far from over, but if the Mets can’t figure out how to score in more than one inning per game, they will be selling off pieces once again and we’ll all be counting down the days to the start of the football season.
The season is definitely not over. The Mets will find a way to pull us all back in again. Just as everything seems to be ok again, BAM! Back to DL and losing some more.
I allowed myself a modicum of optimism after the Mets won the final game of their otherwise winless homestand. Get on the road, get a little momentum going…but the two games in Atlanta disabused me of the notion. Except for playing 98 more games as mandated, the season is 98% done (I of course will hang on the 2% chance it’s not).
No, I don’t think it is. That could simply be the eternal optimist in me coming out, but it’s a very long season. There are 98 games left. The ’99 Mets were 28-28 when they fired their hitting and pitching coach and finished the season with 90+ wins. Our pitching staff is only getting better and the bats are sure to come around at some point. This can’t go on forever, right? Maybe Roessler needs to go. Who knows? But there’s more than enough time to make up for this awful stretch. There’s too much talent here to ’02 this thing.
Dilip Srindhar (MMO & MMN)
Not necessarily. The Mets could always get on some hot streak and get back to .500 given that their starting pitching has been pretty solid. That said, I really want them to realize how unlikely that would be and fully commit to playing the kids. For example, give Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo starts in the rotation. Give Dominic Smith a good long look at first. See what you have in Wilmer Flores. Also call up Tyler Bashlor, Drew Smith, and Eric Handold to see the bullpen. If we get a large sample of these guys, then we can assess the off-season better and not get stuck with making poor insurance investments. This would require the Mets to move Asdrubal Cabrera soon and let Flores play but it should be a nice couple months to see the team get younger and see what might be in fold for 2019.
The Mets can’t score, and even when their starting pitching has turned things around, the bullpen has blown either the narrow lead it was given, or they have let a one run game turn into a 10 run game. It would be worse, but really, a one run lead against this Mets team is like a 10 run lead.
Right now, we’re all pinning our hopes on Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes returning from the DL, but no one knows when or if that is going to happen.
Meanwhile, the Mets are continuing to keep Jose Reyes on the roster and go so far as to defend the decision. That means no young players like Jeff McNeil are going to get a change. Just when you think things couldn’t get more absurd, this team picked up Chris Beck and his career 5.94 ERA off waivers to try to help fix this bullpen.
Meanwhile, Jay Bruce can add a back back to his plantar fascitiis issues. In that way, he’s much like Cabrera in that he’s adding more injuries than base hits. Neither one of these players are even being considered for the disabled list.
Bartolo Colon is singing. It’s over.
What isn’t over is the excellent work these Mets bloggers put out over the course of a season. Much like GKR, these people give you reason to at least follow the Mets with their excellent work. I hope you enjoy their work as much as I do.
With the Mets blowing two games to the Yankees as part of an eight game losing streak, there wasn’t much reason to be optimistic the Mets would pull out a win tonight.
The Yankees were throwing their ace, Luis Severino, and, after a setback, the Mets were without Noah Syndergaard. Making matters worse, during the game, Asdrubal Cabrera tweaked one of the myriad of leg injuries he’s currently suffering leading to Jose Reyes taking over for him at second.
Well, a funny thing happened.
Seth Lugo, who has been terrific all year, not only matched Severino pitch-for-pitch, he was also better.
Emerging from the bullpen, Lugo went much deeper into the game than most expected. Through six innings, Lugo limited the Yankees to just two hits with no Yankee even reaching second base. Additionally, he walked none while striking out eight.
Amazingly, he departed with the lead.
Probably because the entire Yankees team fell asleep at the switch, Reyes hit a two out single in the fifth, which put him on base ahead of Todd Frazier‘s homer.
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 11, 2018
It almost came back to bite the Mets because Reyes is terrible.
Not only did Reyes fail to touch second, but, with Andujar nowhere near him, he threw the ball away. Everyone was safe.
With that, the eight game losing streak is over, and the Yankees were shut out for the first time all year. For this game to mean anything, the Mets will have to build off of this and win the ensuing series against the Braves.
Game Notes: For the second straight game, Cabrera led off and Brandon Nimmo by third.
It was as if the Mets said to Jacob deGrom, “Here’s your run. Now go win this game.”
For five innings deGrom was brilliant, and he was keeping his pitch count down. It was as if he was going to make sure he wasn’t going to let the bullpen blow this one.
The bullpen wasn’t going to get that chance because the defense did.
A Tanaka grounder somehow ate up Adrian Gonzalez who booted it leading to Tanaka teaching with one out.
Naturally, Jay Bruce labored to get to the ball, and he made an absolutely dreadful season throw home that was already rolling by the first base bag.
The throw, which rolled past Gonzalez, was not in time to catch a hobbled Tanaka, who had to exit the game with a leg injury.
Because he’s Jake, and he’s great, he got out of that jam allowing just the one earned run.
That said, we knew the Mets were going to lose this one. It really was an inevitability from a team who has not scored more than one run in a game since the first of this month. That stretch is made all the worse when you consider it includes a 14 inning game.
Mets had a golden chance in the sixth withJonathan Holder needing to warm up on the fly to get ready to pitch that inning. They went down 1-2-3.
That was a real shame because it set the stage for deGrom to lose his first game of the season.
After a Torres two out single, Gardner got a hold of one which bounced off the top of the right field wall for a two run homer.
If you woke up from a coma, you might’ve gotten excited in the bottom of the ninth.
After Michael Conforto flew out to center, Todd Frazier hit a ball hard that Miguel Andujar made a nice play on. That said, it was a somewhat slow moving play, and it was a play that only Cabrera would be out at second.
To put a nice capper on everything, Bruce popped out to end the game because he apparently had not done enough to help cost the Mets this game.
Game Notes: Noah Syndergaard suffered a setback and won’t be activated for Sunday. Seth Lugo will start in his place. Jeurys Familia was placed on the DL before the game, and Jacob Rhame was called up to take his place.
This was supposed to be the day everything got better.
In the first, the Orioles played two against Jason Vargas with a Manny Machado RBI single and a Danny Valencia sac fly. Believe it or not (you should believe it), the Mets could not overcome that deficit.
Ultimately, with runners on second and third with no out, the Mets would only plate one run on a Jose Bautista sacrifice fly. Bautista just missed it, but he missed it all the same.
With Seth Lugo pitching three scoreless and Swarzak returning with a scoreless inning, the Mets would have a chance to tie the game with a big hit, an error, really, anything.
And the Mets has a golden chance in the eighth.
After an Amed Rosario one out walk, Brandon Nimmo laid down a bunt. Valencia got to the ball, but he pulled the first baseman off the bag with his throw. With the heart of the order approaching, Asdrubal Cabrera hit into an inning ending and effectively speaking a game ending double play.
Now, the Mets are four games under .500, and you’re left wondering where the low point is going to be because the Mets certainly haven’t found it yet.
Game Notes: Cabrera is now one for his last 25.
In a scathing article from David Lennon of Newsday set to take Mickey Callaway to task for the Mets recent poor play ultimately concluding that under Callaway’s 57 game tenure as a manager, the Mets are, “A lot of talk, accomplishing nothing.”
Really, it was full of quick barbs and cheap shots like this gem:
So after two more losses, one lousy run scored in the last 24 innings and a pair of Little League-quality blunders in Sunday’s sweep-completing 2-0 loss to the Cubs, we’re wondering what Mickey Callaway has planned next for the Mets.
A how-to seminar on the basics of baseball? A weeklong retreat to restore all of this depleted self-esteem? Maybe a clubhouse visit by Tony Robbins?
This is just emblematic of how Callaway, who is in a no-win situation is now fair game for mocking, ridicule, and blame. What is interesting is these downright insults really overlook what Callaway has accomplished in his brief tenure.
Jacob deGrom has gone to a level we had never seen him pitch. For a Mets organization who looked at Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as enigmas, Callaway has helped turn them into terrific relievers. Speaking of enigmas, the Mets have recently seen Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz turn a corner. It that holds true this rotation will be every bit as formidable as we all hoped it would be.
Offensively, Brandon Nimmo has gone from fourth outfielder to a terrific lead0ff hitter who leads all National League outfielders in OBP and OPS. Amed Rosario has been making continued strides. After beginning his career hitting .245/.275/.371 with a 27.6% strikeout rate, since May 1st, Rosario is an improved .274/.291/.415 with a 16.4% strikeout rate. It may not seem like much, but it’s a stark improvement.
We have also seen the Mets go dumpster diving for players like Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, and Devin Mesoraco. Somehow, these players have been much improved with the Mets than their prior stops, and they have salvaged their MLB careers.
The obvious question from here is if all this is true than why are the Mets 27-30 and in fourth place after such a terrific start?
Much of that answer, i.e. the blame, is attributable to the Mets front office.
Despite time and again facing the same injury issues over and over again, the team AGAIN mishandled a Yoenis Cespedes leg injury, and they are having Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera play poorly through their own injuries. What’s hysterical about this is Sandy Alderson actually utter the words, “Honestly, sometimes I think we’re a little too cautious with how we approach injuries.”
He’s also made a number of blunders with the in-season managing of this roster.
Consider this. After short start, the Mets designated P.J. Conlon in a series of roster moves to help bring up three fresh arms including Scott Copeland. After Copeland pitched 1.1 scoreless in his only appearance, the Mets called up Jose Lobaton and his -0.6 WAR for the intended purpose of allowing Kevin Plawecki and his .198/.282/.288 split against left-handed pitchers at first base to face Mike Montgomery.
Meanwhile, a Mets organization loses Conlon as the Dodgers claimed him, and a Mets organization who has been wringing their hands to find a second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, looked on as Buddy Baumann get lit up for four runs on three hits and two walks in the 14th inning of a game the Cubs had not scored a run in over three hours.
The front office’s decision making gets worse and worse the more you look at it.
For some reason, they insist on keeping Jose Reyes on the roster. This, coupled with the aforementioned Gonzalez and Bautista signings, is emblematic of an organization more willing to trust in done veterans reclaiming their past glory than giving a young player like Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Peter Alonso, or even Gavin Cecchini (before his injury) a chance.
This was one of the reasons why the Mets signed Bruce to a three year deal this offseason. No, this was not insurance against Michael Conforto‘s shoulder. Three year $39 million deals are not that. Rather, this signing showed: (1) the Mets wanted a Cespedes-Conforto-Bruce outfield for the next three years; and (2) the team did not have any faith Nimmo could handle playing everyday at the MLB level on even a limited basis.
Now, the Mets what looks to be an injured $39 million albatross in right, who doesn’t even know to call off a back peddling second baseman with a runner on third.
That’s bad defense, which is something the Mets actively welcome with all of their personnel decisions. Really, the team has spent the past few seasons looking to plug non-center fielders in center while playing players out of position all across the infield.
Despite what the Lennon’s of the world will tell us, the poor defense and lack of basic fundamentals isn’t Callaway’s doing. No, it is the result of an organizational philosophy.
The Bruce signing has such short and long term implications. With his salary, will the Mets bench him instead of Nimmo or Gonzalez when Cespedes comes back healthy. Will the organization let his salaries in future years block Alonso or Dominic Smith at first base? Mostly, will his escalating salaries be another excuse why the team rolls the dice and gives a player like Jason Vargas $8 million instead of just going out and signing the player who really fills a need?
Sure, there are plenty of reasons to attack Callaway. His bullpen management has been suspect at times. Lately, he’s been managing more out of fear than attacking the game to try to get the win. Really, this is part of a learning curve for a first time manager in a new league.
It’s a learning curve that could have been helped by a long time veteran National League manager. Instead, Sandy Alderson thought it best to hire a Gary Disarcina to be the bench coach because who better to help a young first time manager in a new league than a player who has spent his entire playing, front office, and minor league managerial career in the American League?
Really, that’s just one of several examples of how Alderson has set up both Callaway and this entire Mets team to fail in 2018.
With the Mets not really stretching out Seth Lugo, he was limited to just four innings in today’s start.
Well, the four innings he was able to give the Mets were terrific. He allowed just three hits while striking out three. However, as he hasn’t truly been stretched out, he was done after 60 pitches.
Enter Hansel Robles.
Robles is as maddening a pitcher as they get. Like in his last appearance, you get three great innings. The next, well, he’s pointing to the sky.
That’s actually something he’s done more than any Mets reliever despite his DL stint and his shuttling between Queens and Las Vegas.
Well, he issued a leadoff walk to Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber should’ve popped out in the at-bat, but with the shirt, no one was near the ball at first. Mesoraco made his way over, but he couldn’t corral it.
even after retiring the next two, he allowed a two run homer to Ben Zobrist giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
Heading into tonight’s game Cubs starter Jose Quintana might’ve had a 4.78 ERA, but in half of his starts he allowed one run or fewer. Basically, he’s been either really good or really bad.
Considering how the Mets can’t score at home or hit left-handed pitching, you knew he’d have a really good night.
He did just that allowing no runs on three hits and two walks while striking out six in six innings.
That became a 4-0 lead in the seventh as once again Buddy Baumann has difficulty getting anyone out. With a run already home, he left the bases loaded with two outs for Scott Copeland, who struck out Baez to get out of the jam.
Despite Copeland getting out of the jam, and finally giving the Mets a chance to get back into the game.
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) June 1, 2018
That hit was the Mets first since the third inning.
The Mets bullpen would be at it again with Gerson Bautista giving that Nimmo run right back.
Of note with the Bautista appearance, Bautista there was a wild pitch and a “passed ball.” Both occurred with Devin Mesoraco behind the plate. It could’ve been due to Bautista having a wild and live arm Mesoraco being hit in the head with a long follow through earlier in the game, both, or neither. In any event, it’s something worth monitoring.
In the game, the Mets used five relievers and four of them allowed runs. That’s how you lose 5-1 and drop to .500 . . . again.
Game Notes: David Wright began baseball activities playing catch in the outfield before that game.
The 2018 MLB All Star Game in Washington, D.C. is about a month and a half away, and All Star voting on the horizon, the Mets will look to send as many as four players to the Midseason Classic:
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B
Stats: .313/.352/.523, 15 2B, 3B, 8 HR, 31 RBI, 1.0 WAR
All-Star Appearnces: 2011, 2012
Cabrera jumped right out of the gate, and he quickly emerged as an early season MVP candidate. When the Mets have needed a big hit, by and large, it has come from Cabrera.
Among qualifying second baseman, Cabrera has the most doubles. He is also in the top five in hits, batting average, OBP, SLG, OPS, homers, and RBI.
Cabrera’s dip in May has weakened his attempt to become a third time All Star. It’s not going to be an easy path for him with some steep competition coming from Ozzie Albies, Scooter Gennett, and Cesar Hernandez.
Brandon Nimmo, OF
Stats: .260/.408/.519, 4 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 8 RBI, 3 SB, 1.2 WAR
All Star Appearances: None
Like Michael Conforto last year, one thing that may complicate Nimmo’s ability to become an All Star is whether or not he will appear on the ballot. While that may prevent him from being elected a starter, his play on the field may force his way onto the roster.
If Nimmo had enough plate appearances to qualify, he would lead all National League outfielders in OBP. His SLG would also be the fourth best in the National League, and quite impressively, his .927 OPS would be the second best behind just A.J. Pollock, who is also going to be out for about two months with a broken left thumb.
Ultimately, this may be too difficult a group to crack for Nimmo as he is battling bigger names like Bryce Harper and Charlie Blackmon, who are arguably having better seasons. There may also be a push for a player like Nick Markakis, a good player for a first place team, to make his first All Star appearance in his 13 year career.
Jeurys Familia, RHP
Stats: 2-2, 2.16 ERA, 14 SV, 1.040 WHIP, 11.2 K/9
All Star Appearances: 2016
Among closers, Familia leads the league in games finished, and he is third in saves and ERA. Another consideration, is for a Mets team who has expected a lot from their relievers, Familia ranks third among closers in innings pitched.
These numbers are easy to overlook for many Mets fans when you consider Familia has only converted 14 of 18 save opportunities, and they are still hung up on some postseason failures from the past.
As it pertains to Familia, those stats may no longer be sufficient. As time progresses, we all look less and less to saves as the true measure of a reliever’s worth. Certainly, the emerge of firemen like Josh Hader are going to complicate things for the selection of relievers for the National League bullpen.
Jacob deGrom, RHP
Stats: 4-0, 1.52 ERA, 1.010 WHIP, 11.7 K/9
All Star Appearances: 2015
Right now, deGrom is the best pitcher in the National League, and he is a lock to represent the Mets in the All Star Game. If the game was not being played in Washington, you could make the case he should start the All Star Game. However, the presence of Max Scherzer will stand in the way of that happening.
What is interesting to note with deGrom is if he doesn’t step aside for Bartolo Colon in 2016, we would be talking about a pitcher who has been in All Star in three out of the last four seasons. That’s something we saw from Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden. As this season continues to unfold, you can make the case deGrom deserves consideration of being grouped with those names. If not them, then at least in the conversation as the third best Mets starter of all-time.
In the end, it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, will be joining deGrom. Up until recently, you could have made a case for both Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, but recent hiccups may be enough to prevent them from being All Stars in their own right. That said, another impressive run from them, or really anyone, could have them joining deGrom as Mets representatives this year.
Well, with the way the bullpen has been blowing games, and the Mets poor defense, you can understand why the Mets starters are going to have finger issues.
Those finger issues manifested themselves first with Noah Syndergaard landing on the disabled list with a strained ligament in his pitching finger.
Then, during tonight’s game, when the Mets so desperately needed some length from Steven Matz, he departed after three scoreless innings due to his own finger injury.
Short term, the Mets had a ballgame to win.
Fortunately, by the time Matz departed, the Mets already had a 4-0 lead due to the Mets roughing up Anibal Sanchez in his first start coming off the disabled list.
Nimmo would start the next rally with a one out base hit putting him in base before Asdrubal Cabrera‘s first homer of the game giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.
The less grew to 4-0 in the fourth after an Adrian Gonzalez solo shot. If you’re keeping score at home, the Braves paid for Bautista and Gonzalez to help beat them today.
With Matz’s injury, Paul Sewald had as many pitches as he needed before starting the fourth. You can never be too sure how well a pitcher warms in those situations, and you question it with how Sewald struggled in the fourth.
Charlie Culberson hit an RBI single playing Tyler Flowers, who led off the inning with a double. On the play, Nimmo made a very poor throw to the plate. It was about the only black mark on another wise terrific season.
Sewald was really struggling to find the zone and was fighting it. Somehow, he made it through the rest of the inning unscathed, and he followed with a scoreless fifth.
After that, the Mets got some much needed insurance runs off Matt Wisler. First, Cabrera hit his second homer of the game in the fifth.
Then, in the sixth, Nimmo doubled home Amed Rosario from first. On the play, Rosario flew around the bases and slid in just ahead of Flowers’ tag.
Unfortunately, that 6-2 lead did not stand.
In Jerry Blevins second inning of work, all he needed to do was get through the Braves two best left-handed hitters, the job for which he is paid, to get out of the inning.
Jacob Rhame came on to bail Blevins out of the seventh, but with a depleted bullpen, no one was on hand to bail him out in the eighth.
Rhame rallied to strike out Ozzie Albies, and after intentionally walking Freeman, he got Markakis to pop out to end the inning.
The game was tied at 6-6 heading into the ninth, and the Mets would squander a golden opportunity against Dan Winkler.
Rosario led off the inning with a single, and Nimmo was hit by a pitch. What ensued was a Cabrera strikeout, Luis Guillorme pinch hit fielder’s choice, and a Conforto strikeout.
That not having little other choice led to Johan Camargo ending the game with a walk off homer to give the Braves a 7-6 win.
This marks the second time in this series the Braves walked one off against the Mets. With the way the bullpen is pitching of late, it may not be the last.
Game Notes: For some reason Jose Reyes started. Predictably, he was 0-4 with a strikeout.
If we learned anything from the doubleheader yesterday, it was baseball makes no sense whatsoever. How could it? Somehow, someway, the New York Mets are 5-6 in Jacob deGrom starts and 2-0 in P.J. Conlon. starts. Just to put how bizarre that is in perspective Conlon has pitched fewer innings in his brief MLB career than deGrom did yesterday.
And it was another virtuoso performance from deGrom yesterday. The only mark against him was a Tyler Flowers seventh inning shot. That had made the game 2-1 with the Mets scoring on a Devin Mesoraco bases loaded walk. While Luis Guillorme would end that rally, he made up for it by hitting a double over the head over Preston Tucker, who had not played the field in about a month and looked like it. On the double, Mesoraco would score from first.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 28, 2018
After the Flowers homer, the Braves apparently smelled blood in the water because they went on the attack. Tucker walked, and Johan Camargo singled on a ball any other second baseman not named Asdrubal Cabrera fields. With runners at the corners, the Braves seemed poised to tie the game. It never happened.
First, deGrom struck out Dansby Swanson. He then got Kurt Suzuki to pop out to swallow left with Amed Rosario getting to it and running it back to the infield to prevent any shenanigans. Finally, deGrom got Ender Inciarte to ground out to end the inning.
After that, deGrom gave the Mets the seven innings they needed on a day where they were going to have a bullpen game in the second half of the doubleheader. It was a 115 pitch virtuoso performance. In total, he allowed the one run on five hits and three walks while striking out eight. He furthered this case to win the Cy Young.
Admittedly, going to Familia for six outs may not have seemed like the obvious move, but when you’re looking to use your whole bullpen for the second game, why not use Lugo’s for 2-3 innings instead of either setting up or trying to get the six out save himself. For whatever reason, Callaway tabbed Lugo to go out there and get his first career save against the first place team in the division.
It didn’t happen. In the eighth, Ozzie Albies started the inning off with a bunt single, and he was on third after a Freddie Freeman single. To his credit, Lugo did limit the Braves to just a Nick Markakis sacrifice fly to tie the game at 2-2.
The Mets would take the lead in the ninth when Mesoraco, who was 2-3 with two runs, a homer, and two RBI on the day the catching competition really started, hit a go-ahead homer.
Even with Familia warming, Callaway went to Lugo to pick up the win. Seemingly just as Gary Cohen’s words left his mouth about the last time he homered, Charlie Culberson hit a walk-off two run homer to give the Braves a 4-3 win.
It was a brutal fourth loss in a row featuring a third bullpen meltdown and questionable Callaway decision making. It was a bad omen for the night portion of the doubleheader. Fortunately, it didn’t pan out that way. Maybe, because in the five plus hour rain delay between games, the Mets finally figured something out.
Like most games recently, the game started off quite well with Adrian Gonzalez opening the scoring with an RBI single. The rally would continue with Kevin Plawecki, fresh off the disabled list, reaching on an awful throw to second by Brandon McCarthy. Instead, of an inning ending double play, it was 2-0 Mets. That lead would grow to 3-1 Mets with a Brandon Nimmo homer to lead off the third.
That lead was not for long as the Braves went to work against Conlon in the third. After a Freeman two RBI single, Markakis would double setting up runners at second and third with no outs and the game already tied 3-3. Conlon was done for the day, and Callaway would tab Hansel Robles to come on to stifle the rally.
While it may not have been pretty, in an inning which included Camargo getting hit by a pitch, Robles got through the inning allowing just a Suzuki sacrifice fly to give the Braves a 4-3. In total, Robles would actually give the Mets three scoreless innings, which not only kept them in the game, but it would allow the Mets to take the lead.
The big hit of the game would come from Rosario. After Plawecki, Jose Reyes, and Guillorme hit consecutive one out singles to load the bases, Rosario hit a go-ahead two RBI single giving the Mets a 5-4 lead.
To the surprise of no one, the lead didn’t last. Robert Gsellman came into the sixth, and he was greeted with a Ryan Flaherty single and an Inciarte double to set up runners at second and third with no outs. Rather than tempt fate by bringing in Jerry Blevins again (who was not warming), after Albies struck out, the Mets intentionally walked Freeman to load the bases before Gsellman allowed an infield single to Markakis to tie the score.
Naturally, Reyes could not make the play.
After a mound visit, Gsellman got a groundball from Suzuki. Gonzalez made the heads up play of getting the out a home to preserve the tie. Culberson would not have a second act of heroics today as he flied out to center to end the inning.
In what should be a lot of credit to this Mets team, they responded in the seventh. The rally started with a Michael Conforto leadoff single. He’d be erased on a Jay Bruce fielder’s choice, but the Mets would load the bases with ensuing singles from Gonzalez and Plawecki. Reyes, once again, failed by striking out.
Guillorme would give the Mets the lead with a clutch two out two RBI single, and Rosario followed with an RBI single of his own giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.
There would be no bullpen meltdown as Jacob Rhame pitched a perfect seventh before Callaway finally allowed Familia go out there and get his six out save. With that, in a very odd way, the Mets earned a split of the doubleheader, and they ended a frustrating losing streak. It will be very interesting to see how this team responds later today if they actually play the game.
Game 1 Notes: In the fifth, Braves starter Max Fried picked-off both Conforto and Jose Bautista off first base. Bruce played first base. Technically, Bautsita’s goes down as a caught stealing as he broke for second. There was a long rain delay when there was no rain on the field.
Game 2 Notes: During the broadcast, Keith Hernandez noted his belief Reyes is struggling at third because he is not comfortable there. It should be noted Reyes has played more than 90 games at the position and was signed to be a utility player, a utility player who refuses to play the outfield.
The Mets once vaunted rotation seemingly has three holes in it. Steven Matz has failed to pitch at least five innings in half of his starts. Against teams that are not the Miami Marlins, Zack Wheeler is 1-3 with a 6.97 ERA. Jason Vargas finally lasted five innings in his last start, and those five scoreless innings lowered his ERA from 13.86 to 9.87.
With each poor start, there is a renewed call for Seth Lugo to join the Mets rotation. To a certain extent, those fans will get their wish when Lugo gets a spot start next week. However, the question still remains about whether he should be in the bullpen or the rotation. In this edition of the Mets Blogger Roundtable, we tackle that exact question:
Michael Baron (MLB)
It’s not that simple, especially without having Anthony Swarzak at their disposal. Right now, they don’t have an effective reliever – other than Lugo – against left-handed hitters. AJ Ramos has struggled as well. Lugo is one of three relievers they can count on to get the ball to Jeurys Familia, and because the rotation is so thin, he continues to come up aces in extended relief outings. Also, Lugo seems to have found a niche in relief, knows how to get outs in short stints utilizing a heavier fastball and that curve, proving to be a huge asset for them in this role. But, there is a need in the rotation – starters not named Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard have an ERA over 6 (as of 5/20) and are struggling to throw even 4 innings consistently. So, they might have to rob Peter to pay Paul at some point in Lugo’s situation.
If Anthony Swarzak can be as effective as Lugo has been when he returns from the disabled list, then and only then should Lugo be considered for a role in the starting rotation. Otherwise, why mess with a good thing? There’s no guarantee Lugo will be able to pitch as effectively when he has to pitch five-plus innings as a starter. It’s up to Wheeler, Matz and Vargas to step up their game so Lugo can continue to be at the top of his in the bullpen.
Moving a pitcher whose primary flaw was the inability to get batters out a third time through the order from a role where he’s more effective because he doesn’t have to do that would not seem to strengthen either the rotation or the bullpen.
He’s a vital part of the bullpen, but if the rotation continues to struggle I would want him in the rotation. But only when Swarzak comes back, so they aren’t short handed in the bullpen.
Ultimately, the Mets are going to need to try something. Ideally, you would give a llook to Corey Oswalt or Chris Flexen in the rotation, especially with a doubleheader scheduled for Monday. It should be noted Oswalt had a terrific start yesterday in Las Vegas, and Flexen’s last start in Vegas was great as well before he was called up to languish in the Mets bullpen.
Really, the Mets need to try something here because unless the Mets are facing the Marlins, neither Wheeler nor Vargas has been cutting it. Who knows what will get Matz going again? In the end, Lugo may just be the best available starting pitching option, and the Mets are going to have to replace him with one of the aforementioned pitchers in the bullpen. While that may sound risky, it should be noted Lugo has been a much different pitcher in the bullpen than he has in the rotation. Maybe the same will hold true for Wheeler, Matz, etc.
While what the Mets should do with Lugo remains uncertain, one thing that remains certain is the Mets have a great fanbase and group of bloggers who regularly write about the team. I encourage you to read their work in the attached links.