Seth Lugo

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.

Mets Give deGrom Run Support And Shockingly Win Subway Series Finale

In preparation for this weekend’s Little League Classic at Williamsport, the Mets played in the Little League ballpark that is Yankee Stadium.

Right from the get-go, the Mets went to work with Amed Rosario hitting a leadoff homer off Luis Severino. That would be the first of five Mets homers on the night.

With that, the Mets had scored seven runs for Jacob deGrom, which made him winning this game a cinch, or at least that was the anticipation.

Between the Rosario first inning homer and the ensuing Jeff McNeil RBI single, the Mets had a 2-0 lead, which the defense would give back with poor defense in the third.

With two on, Giancarlo Stanton hit what should’ve been a 5-4-3 double play. Instead, with Brett Gardner making a hard slide (which may or nah not have been legal but was not challenged), McNeil threw it into the stands.

This not only forced Austin Romine home, but it also put Stanton at second. He’d score on an Aaron Hicks RBI single tying the game.

Surprisingly, after that, it was all Mets.

One of the reasons why was the Mets patient approach at the plate and their ability to lay off the Severino slider. All told, that would chase Severino after he threw 98 pitches over four innings.

Before he departed, Jose Bautista would tag him with a two run opposite field homer.

Things got a little interesting with Didi Gregorious hitting an RBI single scoring Gardner, who doubled earlier that inning, to pull the Yankees to with 4-3.

The Mets would then tee off on Yankees reliever A.J. Cole with Todd Frazier, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto hitting homers off of him to expand the Mets lead to 7-3.

deGrom would depart after 6.2 innings allowing two earned (three runs) in five hits. Of course, if not for the arcane double play error rules, it should’ve been one earned. As a result, deGrom’s ERA rose to 1.81.

In addition, deGrom would strike out 12 Yankee batters.

After Jerry Blevins got the last out of the seventh, Seth Lugo pitched the eighth, and he got tagged by Miguel Andujar with a two run homer to make an easy game a scary 7-5 game.

The Mets got one of those runs back in the top of the ninth off Zach Britton.

After Conforto was hit by a pitch, Wilmer Flores singled. With that single, each Met in the starting lineup recorded a hit.

McNeil then hit what could have been an inning ending double play, but Gleyber Torres couldn’t make the transfer (McNeil probably beats it anyway). With the ball on the ground, Conforto would score from second to give the Mets an 8-5 lead.

The Mets would load the bases, but Bautista couldn’t deliver that final knock out blue meaning Robert Gsellman would get the save chance.

Gsellman would deliver with a 1-2-3 inning for his seventh save of the season.

With that, believe it or not, the Mets split the Subway Series. If you believe that, can you believe deGrom got the win and is 7-7?

Game Notes: Noah Syndergaard did the player interview during the game, and he made a joke about hoping the Little Leaguers don’t have hand, foot, and mouth.

Mets Problem Isn’t Analytics, It’s The Wilpons

As reported by Mike Puma of the New York Post, Mets owner Fred Wilpon does not want to hire a younger and more analytics driven executive for two reasons.  The first is he feels he will have a harder time connecting with that person.  The second and perhaps all the more baffling is the “thought among team officials that perhaps the Mets became too analytics driven in recent seasons under Sandy Alderson’s watch . . . .”

Taking the thought at face value, we really need to question which analytics the Mets are using to inform their decisions.

For starters, look at Asdrubal Cabrera.  Everyone knew he was no longer a shortstop, so that left the question over whether he should have been a second or third baseman heading into the 2018 season.

In 2017, Cabrera was a -6 DRS in 274.1 innings at second.  That should have come as no surprise as he was a -10 DRS the last time he saw extensive action at second base (2014).  Conversely, in his 350.1 innings at third last year, he had a 1 DRS.

Naturally, the Mets went with Cabrera at second this season where he has been an MLB worst -20 DRS.  That makes him not just the worst second baseman in all of baseball, it makes him the worst defensive infielder in all of baseball.

Of course, the Mets got there by acquiescing a bit to Cabrera’s preference to play second over third.  This was also the result of the team turning down a Paul Sewald for Jason Kipnis swap.  That deal was nixed over money.

With respect to Sewald, he was strong when the season began.  In April, he had a 1.91 ERA and a 0.805 WHIP.  Since that point, Sewald has a 5.73 ERA, a 1.485 WHIP, and multiple demotions to Triple-A.

As for Kipnis, he has struggled this year hitting .226/.313/.363.  It should be noted this was mostly due to a horrific April which saw him hit .178/.254/.243.  Since that tough start to the season, Kipnis has gotten progressively better.  Still, it is difficult to lose sleep over Kipnis even if the rejected trade put Cabrera at second and it led to the Mets signing Todd Frazier, who is hitting .217/.298/.368.

In addition to bringing Cabrera back into the fold, the Mets also brought back Jay Bruce after having traded the then impending free agent to the Cleveland Indians for Ryder Ryan.

At the time the Mets signed Bruce, they needed a center fielder.  The team already had Yoenis Cespedes in left, and once he returned from the disabled list, the team was going to have Michael Conforto in right.  Until the time Conforto was ready, the team appeared set with Brandon Nimmo in the short-term.

In 69 games in 2017, Nimmo hit .260/.379/.418.  In those games, Nimmo showed himself to be a real candidate for the leadoff spot on a roster without an obvious one, especially in Conforto’s absence.  With him making the league minimum and his having shown he could handle three outfield positions, he seemed like an obvious choice for a short term solution and possible someone who could platoon with Juan Lagares in center.

Instead, the Mets went with Bruce for $39 million thereby forcing Conforto to center where he was ill suited.  More than that, Bruce was coming off an outlier year in his free agent walk year.  Before that 2017 rebound season, Bruce had not had a WAR of at least 1.0 since 2013, and he had just one season over a 100 wRC+ in that same stretch.  In response to that one outlier season at the age of 30, the Mets gave Bruce a three year deal.

Still, that may not have been the worst contract handed out by the Mets this past offseason.  That honor goes to Jason Vargas.

The Mets gave a 35 year old pitcher a two year $16 million deal to be the team’s fifth starter despite the fact the team had real starting pitching depth.  At the time of the signing, the Mets had Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Chris Flexen, and Corey Oswalt as starting pitching depth.

Instead of using five of them and stashing four of them in Triple-A, the Mets opted to go with Vargas as the fifth starter.  Even better, they depleted their starting pitching depth by moving Gsellman and Lugo the to bullpen.  Of course, this had the added benefit of saving them money thereby allowing them to sign Anthony Swarzak, a 32 year old reliever with just one good season under his belt.

The Mets were rewarded with the decision to sign Vargas by his going 2-8 with an 8.75 ERA and a 1.838 WHIP.  He’s also spent three separate stints on the disabled list.

What’s funny about Vargasis he was signed over the objections of the Mets analytics department.  From reports, Vargas was not the only one.  Looking at that, you have to question just how anyone associated with the Mets could claim they have become too analytics driven.  Really, when you ignore the advice of those hired to provide analytical advice and support, how could you point to them as the problem?

They’re not.

In the end, the problem is the same as it always has been.  It’s the Wilpons.

They’re the ones looking for playing time for Jose Reyes at a time when everyone in baseball thinks his career is over.  They’re the ones not reinvesting the proceeds from David Wrights insurance policy into the team.  They’re the ones who have a payroll not commensurate with market size or World Series window.  They’re the ones rejecting qualified people for a job because of an 81 year year old’s inability to connect with his employees.

Really, you’re not going to find an analytical basis to defend making a team older, less versatile, more injury prone, and worse defensively.

What you will find is meddlesome ownership who thinks they know better than everyone.  That’s why they’re 17 games under .500 with declining attendance and ratings while saying the Yankees financial model is unsustainable at a time the Yankees are heading to the postseason again and the team has the highest valuation of any Major League team.

Mets Stake Claim to Fourth Place

In the Mets weekend series, they faced off against the Miami Marlins to determine who exactly was the worst team in the National League East.  With some guts and guile, the Mets showed it was in fact the Marlins.

In the series, we did see a lot of good from the Mets.  Corey Oswalt had another quality start even if he once again sputtered as he navigated the sixth and the third time through the lineup.  Noah Syndergaard racked up his eighth win of the year, and Zack Wheeler continued his great pitching winning his fifth straight start.

We also saw Michael Conforto continue this second half resurgence.  With his home run yesterday, he’s now hitting .307/.398/.533 with five doubles, four homers, and 11 RBI.  If we were to exrapolate those 21 games over a full 162 game season, he would hit 39 doubles and 31 homers.  That’s right around the pace he was last year when he suffered that brutal shoulder injury.

While Jacob Rhame took another step back, we saw Drew Smith, Tyler Bashlor, and Bobby Wahl pitch well out of the bullpen.  As the season winds to a close, we will have to see that trio get increased chances with the Mets limiting both the appearances and innings of Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, both of whom have been pitching better of late.

Moreover, we are watching Wilmer Flores earn a starting job with the Mets next year.  Since taking over the first base job in mid-June, he’s hitting .290/.337/.489 with 14 doubles, seven homers, and 26 RBI.  In a real surprise, he is getting stronger as the season progresses.

Still despite all that good, there are so many issues, including but not limited to the Mets having three tight games against a bad Marlins team just to win this series.

We have seen Devin Mesoraco continue to regress with him now having a 64 wRC+ since June 1st.  Moreover, he has been one of the worst defensive catchers in baseball with him being in the bottom 15 in the majors in pitch framing.  Really, there’s a reason why the Mets are just one game under .500 when he doesn’t catch and 16 games under .500 when he does.

Overall, like we saw on that botched double play on Saturday, the Mets defense continues to be horrendous.  Per DRS, at every position but third base and left field, they are in the bottom three defensively in the National League.  Up the middle, the Mets are the worst in the majors.  That also speaks to just how disappointing Amed Rosario‘s development has been.

That also goes towards the Mets continued employment of Jose Reyes, who is one of the worst players in baseball this year.  While his selling point this year was he was going to mentor Rosario, it has been a failure.  In almost every areas of Rosario’s game, he is worse.

Really, with the exception of isolated instances like the starting rotation, Flores, and Brandon Nimmo, this team is just worse across the board.

So yes, the Mets beat the Marlins, but in the end, who cares?  This continues to be a rudderless bad baseball team.

Wheeler Wins Fifth Straight

If you’re looking for reasons to continue watching this Mets team, Zack Wheeler and his emergence has to be near the top of the list.

For those who forget, Wheeler started this season in Triple-A, and he has built his way to arguably being the Mets second best starter. That trek started with a string seven inning performance in Marlins Park in his first MLB start of the season.

Tonight, he had another string seven inning outing at Marlins Park.

For the first four, it appeared he might no-hit a Marlins team who traded Justin Bour earlier in the day. As an aside, the Marlins are money for a better return. What a novel idea.

Martin Prado broke up what could have been the threat of a no-hitter with a fifth inning single. The Marlins got no momentum from that, and Wheeler kept the Marlins off the board for 6.2 innings.

After back-to-back strikeouts to lead off the bottom of the seventh, Rafael Ortega singled, and Miguel Rojas homered. That would cut the Mets lead to 4-2.

Wheeler got out of the inning unscathed, and he has now pitched at least seven innings in four of his last five starts. He’s also now won five straight starts.

He won tonight due to his dominance and the Mets bats getting going to the tune of six runs on 13 hits.

The first run was a two out rally started by a Jeff McNeil two out single. Wilmer Flores and Michael Conforto followed with consecutive singles off Jose Urena to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead.

That lead grew to 4-0 in the sixth in a rally started by a Conforto leadoff walk. After a fielder’s choice, he scored on a Todd Frazier RBI single.

The rallied continued with the Mets eventually loading the bases. Wheeler wouldn’t get the run home leaving it to Amed Rosario to try to get a big two out base hit.

He would deliver hitting it just off of Starlin Castro. Frazier scored easily, and Austin Jackson scored just ahead of Kevin Plawecki getting nailed by Magneuris Sierra as he tried to go from first to third.

After the Rojas seventh inning homer, the Mets got the runs right back. Jackson hit a ground rule double setting up runners at second and third. Plawecki then delivered with a two RBI single.

Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless eighth. Initially, Jerry Blevins got that ball to start the ninth, but after he hit Derek Dietrich, Mickey Callaway went to Drew Smith who finished the game.

While Smith has not received much work, he had had finished four of the seven games he’s appeared with no saves.

With the win, the Mets took round one in the battle for the basement of the NL East, which depending on your perspective is a good or bad thing.

Game Recap: With his third inning single, Conforto has now reached safely in his last 24 road games.

Mets Players Weekend Nickname Alternates

Last year, Player’s weekend was a hit as fans got to see their favorite players wear fun jerseys featuring their nicknames on the back of their jerseys.  Believe it or not, some of those were nicknames were rejected for various reasons.

For example, Brandon Nimmo wanted to use his Twitter handle, You Found Nimmo, but MLB was afraid of copyright issues.  When it came to Kyle Seager, he wanted to go with “Corey’s Better.”  With that rejected, he paid homage to his brother Corey Seager by merely noting on his jersey he was “Corey’s Brother.”

Well, the Mets officially approved Player’s Weekend nicknames and jerseys have been released.  However, as noted with Nimmo, there were other names the players wanted which were rejected by MLB:

Tyler BashlorMickey, I’m Available To Pitch

Jose BautistaTrade Value Going, Going, Gone!

Jerry BlevinsOne Magic LOOGY

Jay BruceJason Bay

Michael Conforto – Shouldering The Load

Travis d’Arnaud – d’L

Jacob deGromFewest Wins 4 Cy Young Winner

Phillip EvansDFA TBA

Wilmer Flores – 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Todd Frazier Regrets, I’ve Joined The Mets

Robert GsellmanDon’t Care What You Think

Luis GuillormeAssistant to the Regional Manager

Austin Jackson2019 Opening Day CF

Juan LagaresOut For The Season

Seth Lugo – Quarterrican (That’s perfection; you don’t mess with that)

Steven MatzNot So Strong Island

Jeff McNeil2B/3B/OF

Devin Mesoraco – Harvey’s Better

Brandon Nimmo – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Corey OswaltVargas (figured it was the only way he would get a start)

Kevin Plawecki – Plawful

Jose ReyesMelaza Virus

Jacob RhameStay (Refers to his roster spot and glasses)

Amed Rosario – Mentor Wanted

Paul Sewald AAAAll Star

Dominic SmithWaist And Future Gone

Drew SmithMickey, I’m Available To Pitch (Yes, it’s a repeat of Bashlor.  They’re trying to prove a point.)

Anthony SwarzakStill Just One Good Season

Noah Syndergaard 60’6″ Away

Jason Vargas$16 Million Dollar Man

Bobby Wahl After All, I’m Your . . .

Zack WheelerFinally Good

David Wright – Hurts Here Doc

Mets Finally Score for deGrom

With Jacob deGrom entering today’s game with an MLB best 1.85 ERA and a career 1.99 ERA in day games, you knew he was going to completely shut down the Reds.

Even with him getting squeezed a bit by the home plate umpire leading to an increased pitch count, deGrom would dominate yet again.  In his six scoreless innings pitched, deGrom limited the Reds to just four hits and a walk while he struck out 1o.

Two of those four hits would come in the first inning with Phil Ervin and Scooter Gennett hitting back-to-back one out singles.  After Eugenio Suarez struck out, the Reds put on a play in an attempt to score a run.

Gennett broke for second, and he was supposed to stop when Devin Mesoraco threw through.  Gennett would go too far leaving him in position to get tagged out by Amed Rosario before Ervin could score.

While it was surprising the Mets made a good defensive play and took advantage of another team’s error, it was all the more surprising the Mets scored some runs for deGrom.  In fact, he would get eight runs of support, which was more than he received in any game he has had since the middle of June, which was a Mets game in Coors Field.

To put it in perspective, over his last four starts, the Mets scored six runs for him.  In entire Month of July, he received 10 runs of support.  Basically, today was an extreme and welcome outlier.

The first run came in the second inning when Austin Jackson doubled home Michael Conforto from first.  Conforto and Jackson would once again take part in the scoring in the fifth.

Conforto would get a one out hustle double, and he would come home to score on a Brandon Nimmo RBI double.  Nimmo scored on Jackon’s second RBI single of the game.

At that point, it was 5-0 Mets as in the previous inning, Reds starter Robert Stephenson loaded the bases by intentionally walking Mesoraco to pitch to deGrom.  deGrom would help his own cause by walking on four pitches, and Rosario would tack on another run with a sacrifice fly.

At 5-0 in the fifth, deGrom had nearly a half month’s worth of run support.  After six, it was up to the bullpen to make sure they didn’t blow a big lead for a pitcher everyone on the Mets owed a win.

Seth Lugo, Jerry Blevins, and Robert Gsellman did their job by pitching three scoreless to give deGrom the rare win.

The use of Gsellman was certainly odd as the Mets rallied in the eighth to tack on three runs.  Again, that was the result of Conforto and Jackson at work.  Conforto, who walked, scored with Wilmer Flores on Nimmo’s double, and once again, Nimmo scored on a Jackson RBI base hit.  This one was a double.

Speaking of Nimmo, this was a nice bounceback game for him with his going 3-for-5 with three runs, three doubles, and three RBI.

All-in-all, this was a very good game for the Mets, and it was the type of game which will hopefully get deGrom that Cy Young Award he so richly deserves.

Game Notes: A day after Mickey Callaway said he isn’t pressured by anyone, specifically the Wilpons, to play Jose Reyes, Reyes announced he wants to return to the Mets next season.

Calm Down on the Callaway Criticism

In yesterday’s 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the Atlanta Braves, people had a field day criticizing manager Mickey Callaway for the perceived errors the first time manager made.  Of course, all these criticisms first ignored how the Mets lost because the Braves at that much better, especially over this injury ravaged Mets team.  Moreover, the perceived errors were not really errors in and of themselves:

Error No.1 – The Starting Lineup

Considering how when he had the appearance of autonomy, Callaway buried Jose Reyes on the bench, we can see he lost some of his control, especially after Reyes complained publicly through the press.  Overall, Reyes is in the lineup because ownership wants him there (and fans won’t boo him like he deserves).  As for Brandon Nimmo, he’s been scuffling lately, and he could probably use a day off.

Error No. 2 – Going Too Long with Oswalt

Entering the seventh inning yesterday, Corey Oswalt was dealing.  At that point, he had allowed just one earned on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts.  He was only at 75 pitches, and he had just made fairly quick work of the Braves in the sixth inning.  It was the bottom of the lineup, and he was due up second.

Considering how well he was pitching, how well he has pitched, and this being a period to evaluate players, the mistake would have been pulling Oswalt.  He should have started that inning.  It’s just unfortunate he gave up the two run homer to Ender Inciarte to lose the lead.

Error No. 3 – Double Switching Nimmo into the Game

Looking at the Mets bench, the player you most wanted up in the bottom of the seventh was Nimmo.  If you are going to burn a bench player, you might as well move the pitcher’s spot as far away as possible to at least give yourself the chance to let Paul Sewald pitch more than just the end of the seventh.

Ultimately, do we really care if it mean Austin Jackson and not Jose Bautista came out of that game?  Sure, Jackson is hitting better, but it’s Bautista who you are showcasing in the hopes he snaps out of this funk and once again becomes a trade piece.

Error No. 4 – Not Waiting for the Pinch Hitter to be Announced

Before criticizing Callaway on this one, ask yourself one key question: Who would you rather face?  Ryan Flaherty, a career .218/.288/.350 hitter or Adam Duvall, a former All Star with two 30 home run seasons under his belt?  If you have a brain cell remaining, it’s Flaherty every single day of the week.

Well, Callaway checked to make sure Duvall wasn’t announced, and he went with Sewald over Jerry Blevins, who was warming, to enter the game.  By doing that, Callaway helped pressure Brian Snitker to put up the far worse hitter.

Seriously, how is that a bad thing?

As for the narrative spewed on SNY, it’s false.  Just completely false.

This is the National League.  A manager is not going to burn two hitters in a tie game in the seventh inning.  You don’t have that luxury.  Knowing that, Callaway was proactive and got the matchup he wanted.  Really, Mets fans should be happy he had the foresight to say he wanted to face Flaherty over Duvall.

And with Callaway, we know this is a strategy he likes to utilize.  After all, this is not the first time he has done it, and with this happening two times, we can expect to see this happen again.  That’s a good thing.

As an aside, let’s remember the thoughts each of the people criticizing Callaway have had:

Maybe we should pump the brakes on taking what this group says as gospel and look for them more for entertainment.

Also, it should be noted, doing it that way allowed Callaway let Sewald face the pinch hitter an Ronald Acuna before going to Blevins for the left-handed Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, and Nick Markakis.

Error No. 5 – Double Switching McNeil out of the Game

The Jeff McNeil decision is a little tricky.  On the one hand, you want him to get as many reps as he possibly can in the field and at the plate.  Yes, his turn in the lineup did come up in the ninth, but it was really unlikely to happen.  To that extent, double switching him out to get some length from Seth Lugo did make sense on paper.

Of course, the real anger here was Reyes stayed in the lineup.  That’s understandable, but remember this is a player being not just forced on the manager, but also into the lineup.  Reyes’ strangehold is such the Mets are challenging plays where he is clearly out because Reyes demands it:

Summation

During the game, Callaway showed he was a guy who was balancing both playing the guys he is told to play while trying to develop young players and winning games.  It’s unfortunate Oswalt couldn’t get an out in the seventh, and it’s a shame Tyler Bashlor gave up the game winning homer in the 10th.

When it comes to Bashlor, there’s your areas of criticism.  Callaway is still feeling his way through bullpen management, and even now, he’s still leaning on veteran arms like Lugo over ones like Bashlor.

As for the other decisions?  Give him credit for being willing to buck trends and try to dictate match-ups he wants.  Allow him to grow on the job and learn from his mistakes, but admit this wasn’t one of them.  Overall, remember the level of interference he has.

Ultimately, remember this is a guy who gets his guys to play.  In this three game set, the Mets went toe-to-toe with a much better Braves team, and they nearly took the series.  Give credit where it is due.

More importantly, don’t distract from the real problem with the Mets – ownership is not spending and is putting an inferior product on the field.

Game Notes: Once again, Luis Guillorme did not get into the game.  Part of the reason being is the Mets have said they do not see him as more than a pinch hitter or late inning replacement.  Instead, Reyes played the whole game while Todd Frazier, who originally did not start because he was just coming off the disabled list, came on late shifting Reyes to second.