Stephen Nogosek

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Split Dodgers

The New York Mets traveled to Los Angeles with a depleted pitching staff to face-off against the Dodgers. In the end, this was a split with people’s emotions going through the gamut.

1.  For those who panicked after the second game or wanted a litmus test, just stop. Regardless of how this trip goes, this is a very good Mets team who is a World Series front runner. This series only served to prove that.

2.  This was Buck Showalter‘s best managing of the season. Lifting David Peterson during an at-bat and using Edwin Diaz in the eighth inning against the Dodgers best hitters was inspired and absolutely the right call in each circumstance.

3.  Colin Holderman got his first career win, and Adonis Medina recorded his first career save. This team is just built different.

4.  The Mets might’ve lost Holderman if a Rule 5 Draft was held. Medina was obtained after he was designated from assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Going deeper, Stephen Nogosek has an ERA under 1.00, and the Mets had previously designated him for assignment. Not enough is being talked about with how great Jeremy Hefner has been.

5.  Ron Darling was wrong. They’re not getting contributions from all 26 players. We’re hovering around 35+ right now.

6.  Pete Alonso just owns the Dodgers and destroys pitching at Dodger Stadium, so much so that he left Brusdar Graterol befuddled. Just name him the front runner for the NLCS MVP.

7.  Eduardo Escobar is coming out of his funk and starting his June hot streak on schedule. While the homer was great, that 10 pitch sacrifice fly was one of the team’s best at-bats all season.

8.  Tomas Nido might just be the best hitter in the majors with two outs and RISP. He is actually slashing .455/.500/.636 in those spots. Maybe someone can hypnotize him into thinking every plate appearance is two outs with RISP?

9.  How was no one ejected over that snafu where Dave Roberts tried to use Zach McKinstry against the rules? It was a complete and utter joke, and it further confirms CB Bucknor is a bad umpire.

10. Chris Bassitt is really struggling right now. He’s had a 6.35 ERA over his past four starts with opposing batters hitting .261/.327/.544 off of him with a dipping strikeout rate. The Mets need him now, and he’s faltering.

11. Jeff McNeil is struggling to the point Showalter pulled him from a game and gave him a breather. Hopefully, it’s just a blip because the Mets need him.

12. You can argue no Mets player has stepped up like Trevor Williams has this year. He’s gone from complete afterthought to pitching five strong innings against the best offense in baseball.

13. The Mets bullpen was underrated entering the season, and it is all the more so during the season. Case-in-point, this bullpen is undefeated in extra inning games.

14. While we all understand why Nick Plummer is up with this team right now, if the Mets see him as a real player going forward having him as a little used fourth outfielder is doing him a great disservice right now.

15. Luis Guillorme was bound to cool off. The hope is this is a blip and not a complete regression. As he’s never been truly given this chance, no one can definitely state either way even if all indications are he will be fine. Regardless of those struggles at the plate, his defense remains great.

16. At some point, you have to wonder if Brandon Nimmo needs to go on the IL to let his wrist heal. He is just not hitting at the moment.

17. After a small cold streak, Francisco Lindor is hitting and playing elite defense again. Also, he now has the highest WAR among MLB shortstops. It’s as if he’s a future Hall of Famer in the prime of his career.

18. Tylor Megill‘s rehab stint should not be rushed. Give him the time he needs as this is a marathon, not a sprint. When he’s ready, it looks like it’s Peterson who will need to be sent down.

19. The discovery the Mets are using the same pitching machine the San Francisco Giants used for their resurgence may have more of an impact on this team’s offense than anything Eric Chavez is credited with doing.

20. Let’s be honest here. The NL East race is over. It is now just about the Mets getting ready for the postseason.

Mets Have Nothing To Prove Out West

The New York Mets are in first place in what appears to be a very weak National League East. They’re an astounding 26-12 against under .500 teams. Make no mistake, the Mets are where they are because they are absolutely demolishing bad teams.

If nothing else, this proves the Mets are a great team with nothing to prove.

Look, you can only play the teams on your schedule, and you have to beat the teams on your schedule. So far for the Mets, that schedule has them at 35-17 this season. They have more wins than any team in baseball, and they have the best winning percentage in the National League. This is what good teams do, and the great teams do it while battling adversity.

Jacob deGrom has not thrown an inning this season. Tylor Megill and Max Scherzer hitting the IL have the Mets stretching out Trevor Williams, who has answered the call. The Mets are also without their starting catcher James McCann. Trevor May, a key reliever, has been injured all season long.

Going deeper, the team had the mess of the Robinson Cano situation to start the season. That helped lead to J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith having slow starts. Between the slow start and pitching injuries, this led to Smith’s demotion to Triple-A.

On the converse, players like Luis Guillorme have emerged. We have also seen Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil return to form. It also helps the Mets had far more pitching depth than anyone anticipated entering the season. After all, who expected Colin Holderman and Stephen Nogosek to have this much of an impact?

Really, everyone has had an impact this season. On that note, look no further than Nick Plummer. Plummer had a game tying homer in the ninth in his first ever start. He then homered in his next start. Remember, this was a guy once labeled a bust while in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

Every time you see the Mets, they are winning. They are doing it in all different ways. Their schedule is their schedule, and they are taking care of business. As an aside, that includes against teams with a winning record as the Mets are 9-5 against those teams.

Digging deeper, the Dodgers only have played seven games against teams with a winning record, and they have the second best winning percentage in the NL. To be fair here, their recent history suggests they have nothing to prove.

That said, the San Diego Padres are ten games over .500 (30-20) despite being 6-9 against teams with a winning record. Moreover, the Los Angeles Angels are in second place in the NL West despite having a 5-10 record against teams with a winning record.

Are we really supposed to believe this 10 game stretch out west is a litmus test for this Mets team? This is somehow their third trip out West. They’re playing with a depleted pitching rotation. Somehow, people want to take these next 10 games to determine if the Mets are good or not?

If that’s what they need, they just haven’t paying attention. The Mets are a very good team who is going to be better as they get healthier. This may be a chance to make another statement, but nothing they have done this season is by accident. They are doing what good teams do. If you need to see more it is because you refuse to acknowledge how good this Mets team is.

Ultimately, that is a you problem and not a Mets problem. The Mets have a chance to make a statement, but they will not be defined by this stretch. In the end, they will be defined by winning the NL East and going on to winning a World Series with deGrom and Scherzer leading the way.

May 20/20 Hindsight: Best Mets Team Ever?

The New York Mets have finished the first two months of the season in first place with a 10.5 game division lead. That is tied for the best ever lead on June 1 in MLB history.

1.  It doesn’t matter what happens with this team. They are perhaps the most resilient Mets team we have ever seen.

2.  Luis Guillorme has earned a job in the starting lineup, and he’s playing like someone deserving of an All-Star right now.

3.  Playing time may hold back Guillorme, but it should not hold back Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo. They’re not just having All-Star caliber seasons, but they are also building budding MVP campaigns.

4.  Lindor going around humming the Rangers goal song is awesome. That run is having a big impact on this Mets team, and it seems to be driving them all the more to have their own special season.

5.  Colin Holderman and Stephen Nogosek have earned a permanent place in the Mets bullpen.

6.  If Drew Smith is hurt, just put him on the IL. There is no need to mess around and have the chance he hurts his arm compensating for the pinkie.

7.  Trevor Williams has stepped up big time, and he has taken that last spot in the rotation for now. He might’ve been a throw-in last season in the Javier Baez trade, but he’s been a very importance piece for this Mets team.

8.  The pitching injuries necessitated Dominic Smith be sent down. The team needs the arms, and right now, Smith hasn’t made the case he should stay in the majors. Then again, J.D. Davis hasn’t either, but looking at everything, he is on borrowed time as well.

9.  Eduardo Escobar is slowly but surely coming out of his struggles, and he is primed to have the same big June he has always had. To his credit, he has not let his struggles get the better of him as he was always out there hustling. That’s why he had the big extra innings catch followed by the walk-off hit.

10. The Mets are in a tough spot at the catcher position, and it seems like the problem isn’t improving as Patrick Mazeika just can’t seem to get on the same page as his pitchers, and he’s made some questionable pitch calls. Case-in-point was that Adam Ottavino fastball.

11. The most important move the Mets made all season was Chris Bassitt. While he was not pegged as such, he has been the team’s ace all season long. That’s because he has pitched that way and because he’s the last man standing.

12. There is not enough we can say about how Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker have stepped up this season. This team is in first place because of them as any other reason.

13. With Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer coming back at some point this season, it is really difficult to pinpoint where this team desperately needs to make a move to make it a World Series contending club.

14. That said, Joely Rodriguez and Chasen Shreve at least have you wondering if the Mets need a left-handed reliever. Then again, maybe David Peterson can move there for the postseason and have a 2015 Jon Niese type of impact.

15. Having Johan Santana out there with Tylor Megill, Smith, Rodriguez, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz was one of the coolest photos in Mets team history.

16. It is amazing hearing Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry will return to Flushing for Old Timers’ Day. It seems like all of the Mets greats want to come back to experience this.

17. Nick Plummer is what makes a season like this so special. He’s a former first rounder who was given the bust label before having a good year in Triple-A with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. It wasn’t enough to keep him around, and the Mets have been the beneficiaries for taking a chance on him.

18. It’s astonishing to think it took the Mets nearly two months to complete their first series sweep of the season. Of course, they may follow it with yet another sweep.

19. The Mets impending west coast trip isn’t really anything but a series of nine tough games. It’s not a litmus test because we know this team is good, and we also know they don’t have all of their pitching.

20. Starling Marte has responded to hearbreak by being great. If there is anyone who understands what it means to be a Met, it may just be him.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Finally Lose Two In A Row

The New York Mets went to San Francisco looking to take yet another series, but this time, they failed, and for the first time this season, we saw some cracks in the foundation.

1.  If Edwin Diaz wants to be considered an elite closer, he cannot blow that save. Even when he is at his best, he has a propensity to blow saves in an inordinate fashion, and that is starting to creep back this season.

2.  A bigger issue in the bullpen is Drew Smith. The Mets can ill afford him regressing. No, you shouldn’t anticipate he would be the 12 scoreless appearance guy he was to start the season, but lately, he’s allowed runs in four of his last six appearances. There needs to be a happy medium here.

3.  Luis Guillorme is one of the Mets best players. He sits. J.D. Davis has a four hit game. He sits. Dominic Smith has a multi-hit game. He sits. It’s like Buck Showalter is punishing players for playing well.

4.  Starting Thomas Szapucki was just plain wrong on every level, and it cost the Mets a game.

5.  Yet again, Trevor Williams and Stephen Nogosek stepped up for the Mets. Williams needs a job in the starting rotation, and Nogosek is earning a deeper look going forward.

6.  Colin Holderman was been fantastic.

7.  Chris Bassitt chose a bad time for his first bad start, but it is what it is. He’s been great all year, and he will be fine.

8.  With his versatility and hitting, the Mets can ill afford to lose Jeff McNeil. That is even with Guillorme being more than capable of locking down second.

9.  McNeil’s sliding catch is why this Mets team is great. It was 9-1 in the third, and he’s risking injury to make an out. This team keeps fighting and does not quit no matter what the obstacle.

10. Francisco Lindor was a force in this series, and he fueled that seven run comeback. It was a reminder he’s an All-Star caliber player and future Hall of Famer.

11. For the first time in a long time, Eduardo Escobar had a good series. It was more than the doubles. It was the hustle on that infield single.

12. Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte certainly set the tone atop the lineup. It’s not just the at-bats or getting on base. It’s the way they hustle. It has rubbed off on everyone on this roster.

13. You can say until you’re blue in the face the Mets need to get a starting pitcher. They’re not available now. The Mets just have to weather this storm.

14. The ceiling is not caving in on this team. That is partially because the Phillies and Nationals are next. That said, they absolutely need to take care of business with an absolutely brutal West Coast trip to open June.

15. Just as Patrick Mazeika looked like he was going to push for more playing time, he stopped hitting. He also doesn’t seem to be syncing with up with the starting pitchers.

16. For all the talk about J.D. Martinez, the Boston Red Sox have gotten hot, and it looks like they can play themselves back into the expanded postseason picture. Also, we again need to note teams don’t make big trades like this in May.

17. While many are focusing on trades and needs and starting to panic, this Mets team keeps reminding us how good they are and just how much fight they have. That ninth inning rally against the Phillies was no fluke. This is deeply ingrained in the team’s DNA.

18. Mark Canha has really stepped it up of late. He had a big series against the Giants, and he’s reached safely in seven straight games. This comes at a time when the Mets need all of their bats to step it up.

19. It is certainly interesting that Showalter thinks Canha needs to sit as much as he does. What it says is difficult to ascertain, but we will see if this changes with McNeil banged up.

20. The Mets have a chance to absolutely bury the Phillies. They need to take advantage.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Back On Winning Ways Despite Biggest Losses Of All

The New York Mets responded to losing their first series of the season by taking three out of four from the St. Louis Cardinals. However, that does not mean the Mets did not sustain major losses.

1.  The worst thing to happen with the Mets this week was the death of Starling Marte‘s grandmother, a woman who began raising him when he was nine after his mother died. This is on the same week as the anniversary of his wife’s death. Nothing related to the Mets can be worse than this, and fans should greet him with a standing ovation when he returns to Citi Field.

2.  In terms of on-field, the Max Scherzer news is devastating. The Mets need him atop the rotation, and really they are at the point where they cannot afford to lose another starter.

3.  It would appear Scherzer and Jacob deGrom are on a race to see who will be the first to return. Never did we think this would happen this season, and yet, here we are.

4.  This makes the Chris Bassitt acquisition all the more important. He’s a legitimate top of the rotation pitcher (not an ace) for this team when they need one. We saw him be that in the series finale.

5.  Mets pitching from unlikely sources have stepped up all season, so maybe we will see it again. For example, Colin Holderman just picked up his first career win.

6.  In fact, pitchers not on the Opening Day roster to begin the season – Holderman, Adonis Medina, Stephen Nogosek, Jake Reed, and Yoan Lopez – have combined to allow just three earned over 17.1 innings.

7.  Speaking of stepping up, Trevor Williams stepped up big time pitching four scoreless innings. Really, he has been very good for the Mets eating innings over his last three appearances allowing just three earned over 11 1/3 innings. That’s great because he now needs to fill-in for Scherzer.

8.  In the series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals, Pete Alonso hit a two run walk-off homer with an accompanying jump shot to give the Mets yet another series win. It was the capper for a big series for Alonso which saw him hit two homers with seven RBI.

9.  Alonso is having a big month. Over 18 games so far, he is hitting .309/.397/.618 with three doubles, six homers, and 19 RBI. It’s about to get a lot better with him and the Mets headed to Coors Field.

10. Again, Luis Guillorme needs to be an everyday player on this team. He was 5-for-12 in this series with a double and RBI. He’s hitting .323/.382/.484 in May. Really, there is zero reason not to play him everyday.

11. Buck Showalter makes some baffling moves sometimes like lifting Guillorme late in the game for Travis Jankowski only to bunt him over. Really, the Mets brought in a pinch runner to be sacrificed over and worsened their defense in what was then a tight game where the Mets had a lead.

12. For all the nonsense hysteria over Francisco Lindor. he was 4-for-12 in this series with six walks and has reached base safely in eight straight games. He’s fine and still a great player.

13. Time and again, Brandon Nimmo comes up huge. Whether it was the RBI triple or another big hit or great play, Nimmo is one of the best players in all of baseball and needs to be extended.

14. Speaking of great plays, Jeff McNeil scaling the wall and throwing out a player tagging up was just a phenomenal play. Really, between the versatility, improved defense, and his hitting, this is the best he has ever been.

15. Good for Dominic Smith for backing up his talk of wanting to play every day by going 3-for-7 with a run, double, two walks, and two RBI. This is the type of player who needs to play everyday.

16. Of course, the Mets followed his hot hitting by forcing J.D. Davis into the lineup who promptly went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. The Mets really just need to stop forcing him into the lineup whenever Smith gets going. It’s just counterproductive.

17. With the Mets dealing with starting pitching injuries, they just need to play their best players. That isn’t Davis.

18. Eduardo Escobar is hurting this team with his defense, and he’s still not back to hitting. The Mets may be forced to find a third baseman at the trade deadline.

19. When you hit a game winning homer, you can do whatever crazy celebration you want including the one Alonso did.

20. For all the troubles right now, the Mets are 12 games over .500 with a seven game lead in the division. They did what they needed to do through this part of the season, and now, they just need to keep playing well to win this division regardless of who is healthy or not.ba

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Take Two From Nationals

The New York Mets are now 9-0-1 in their 10 season series, and they are on pace to win 108 games. After another series against the Nationals, the Mets look all the more like a World Series caliber team:

1.  The incredible 5-6-1-9-6 double play was punctuated by Taijuan Walker knocking down Juan Soto, who went in hard. That’s the way it is with this Mets team, they’re there to beat you, and they’re not stepping down.

2.  It just seems like the Mets have something special store in each series. There was the co-no, the epic comeback, and now that double play. These are the things fun and special teams do.

3.  Luis Guillorme had a heads up play to start that double play, and he’s really earning more playing time. Over his last 10 games, he’s batting ..321/.387/.536 with five runs, three doubles, a homer, and two RBI while playing exceptional defense. Perhaps, he needs to play everyday.

4.  Eduardo Escobar is in a real bad place. Over his last 15 games, Escobar is hitting .167/.231/.200, and he has struggled defensively with a -2 OAA and -3 DRS at third. The good news is he usually has a bad May and breaks out in June.

5.  The Mets can’t seem to hit left-handed pitching even when it’s Patrick Corbin. Corbin has a 2.00 ERA, and against the rest of baseball, he has a 7.60 ERA. Overall, the Mets are the fifth worst NL team against left-handed pitching with a 90 wRC+.

6.  We can save the J.D. Davis needs to be the everyday DH narrative. He’s batting .217/.362/.326 driving the ball on the ground with a 51.5% ground ball rate so far this season. With that, he’s now back to a much more reasonable .286 BABIP. Really, this is the batter he is.

7.  Mark Canha snapped out of it just when the Mets needed him. His 3-for-4 game with a homer and three RBI snapped a streak where he hit .231/.292/.292 over his previous 19 games.

8.  Canha is still a player in decline with him seeing a steady decline in barrels, hard hit rate, exit velocities, whiff%, chase rate, and really all metrics. A game like he had is fun, but overall, there is a reason Buck Showalter removes him late in games and was transitioning him to a part-time player.

9.  Brandon Nimmo has an eight game hitting streak, and he has reached base safely in all but one game this season. He’s the Mets best player, and the way he is playing, he is not only going to get All-Star consideration, but he will get MVP consideration as well.

10. Carlos Carrasco has continued his terrific bounceback season. He is again the pitcher he was in Cleveland, and the Mets are on a different level because of it.

11. Not enough can be said about the job Trevor Williams and Stephen Nogosek did. They saved the bullpen in what was a lost game in more ways than one. These are the unheralded moments which helps teams win divisions and World Series.

12. Trevor Megill had a bad start. It happens. It’s best not to over-analyze it. Just move on and reassess after his next start.

13. The Mets have missed James McCann, who has been out with an injury. He’s been quite good this year, and Tomas Nido has not shown he can replicate what he can give. Now seeing its a hammate bone injury, for all intents and purposes McCann may be done for the year.

14. We can probably now add catcher to third base for trade deadline needs because it is way too soon for Francisco Alvarez. That goes double with Alvarez’s recent slump.

15. Jeff McNeil has been great this year. He has been versatile, and this is the best he has ever hit. He’s learned to combine some patience at the plate with his hit everything approach.

16. This upcoming series was going to be about Jarred Kelenic and Edwin Diaz, but with Kelenic getting sent down, it’s not. Whatever the case, the trade remains an unmitigated disaster.

17. Robinson Cano turned down a chance to go to Triple-A to help get back up to speed and help the Mets in the long term. Instead, he’s going to the San Diego Padres. This is not remotely a player grateful for the Mets keeping tabs on him last year and making sure he was alright and for giving him an undeserved chance again this year.

18. The Mets can beat teams in just so many ways. They can do it with power, with singles and timely hitting, with speed and defense, and with pitching. When you get that rare mix, you’re a special team. This is a special team.

19. No one should care what Noah Syndergaard has to say about the co-no or anything Mets. Just be grateful he was a Met, hope he pitches well this season, and mostly, hope he returns next year.

20. Mets in the black jerseys on Friday the 13th with Max Scherzer on the mound. Mariners are going to be frightened as is the rest of baseball when they see the Mets on their schedule.

Trevor Williams And Stephen Nogosek Helped Mets Postseason Pursuit

The New York Mets game against the Washington Nationals was a disaster. Tylor Megill got lit up for eight runs in 1.1 innings. There is nothing to take from this other than he had a bad start. It happens to the best of them.

Mostly, it was an 8-3 game with not much to say other than Pete Alonso hit a monster three run homer. Overall, Alonso has continued his hot hitting going 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI. It should also be noted Luis Guillorme had a good day at the plate going 2-for-4 as well.

Looking at this game, there were two other huge positives – Trevor Williams and Stephen Nogosek.

As noted, Williams was a forgotten man in the bullpen, and he was not really getting the chances he needed to thrive. He came on in relief of Megill in the second with a runner on and one out, and he would get out of the inning without allowing an inherited run.

Williams followed that by pitching three more scoreless innings. In total, he allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out two. With this outing, Williams stabilized the game and got the Mets through the fifth inning. He also kept this game relatively withing striking distance. After all, this was the same Mets team who just made the massive comeback against the Philadelphia Phillies.

However, it just wasn’t in the cards for the Mets. After the three spot in the first inning, they couldn’t quite get things going. However, that does not mean the Mets failed to do anything else impressive.

In fact, Stephen Nogosek had his best appearance at the Major League level. For this first time since the Addison Reed trade, you got a sense Nogosek could be a real contributor for the Mets.

Nogosek would have the thankless job of saving the Mets bullpen pitching the final three innings of the game. He did not allow a hit or a run. While he did have some of his wildness walking two, Nogosek would strike out three.

Make no mistake, the performances from Williams and Nogosek are the types of performances which win divisions and gets teams to the postseason. Instead of running through arm after arm in a lost game, the Mets were able to have these two relievers step up and make a significant contribution. No, they wouldn’t be in a position like Adonis Medina was, but that doesn’t make their performance any less important.

Overall, the Mets lost a game, but they won the war with these bullpen performances. Now, they have saved their pen allowing them a much better opportunity to try to take yet another series to open the season. Williams and Nogosek are a footnote in that, but they shouldn’t be.

Blue Jays Bomb Mets

Well, as Art Howe used to say, the Mets battled. Put another way, for a minute, this was a game.

In the battle of 99s, Hyun-Jin Ryu definitely outpitched Taijuan Walker even if neither pitcher got through five. Walker fell shorter.

For the second straight start out of the All-Star Break, Walker struggled. It started in the third when he allowed homers to George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez giving the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead.

Walker appeared to settle down in the fourth, but it all came crashing down in the fifth. This time, instead of starting with a Springer homer, it was a Springer single against the shift.

After the single, the Mets checked on him. Apparently, his non-throwing shoulder was bothering him after a swing. The Mets opted to keep him in the game. Perhaps, they shouldn’t have.

Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. followed by hitting a ball VERY hard for a double. Walker battled with Marcus Semien in an 11 pitch at-bat. Semien won by annihilating a pitch for a three run homer. Just like that, it was 6-0, and Walker was done.

For the Mets offense, the problems began with Gary Disarcina in the first. Again, he showed no ability to properly judge when to send runners.

Brandon Nimmo led off the first with a double, and he was there with two outs when James McCann singled to left. Disarcina had no business sending Nimmo, and yet, he did with Nimmo dead to rights to end the inning.

Beyond that, the Mets ability to score runs was somewhat of a story of two Springer plays. In the third, the Mets didn’t get a rally started because Springer absolutely robbed Nimmo of an extra base hit.

In the fifth, with one on, Brandon Drury appeared as a pinch hitter and drove one to right-center. The ball was in and out of Springer’s glove and was ruled a double.

Nimmo, Pete Alonso, and Dominic Smith each followed with singles to make it a ballgame again at 6-3. After the five straight hits, Ryu was pulled for Trevor Richards.

Richards stymied the rally by first striking out J.D. Davis. After McCann struck out the rally was over. While the Mets would amass some hits, their scoring was over too.

That wasn’t the case for the Blue Jays. Bo Bichette hit a monster homer off Drew Smith. In the ninth, the Blue Jays roughed up Anthony Banda for three more runs.

In the end, this was a 10-3 loss. If not for some mistakes, perhaps it would’ve been closer. It’s also possible the Mets win. Whatever the case, it all happened, and it’s just time to look towards the rubber game.

Game Notes: David Peterson went to the 60 day IL with a broken toe. Stephen Nogosek was put on the IL. Brandon Drury was recalled. Nick Tropeano was sent to Syracuse. Rich Hill was officially added to the roster and will start tomorrow.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Right At Home In Queen City

The New York Mets showed they had real fight in the series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and they would show even more in Cincinnati:

1. With all the injuries to the pitching staff, Marcus Stroman had the biggest start of the year. Those eight innings were a godsend.

2. The reason the Mets are in first isn’t just because of performances like we saw from Stroman. It’s because of performances like we saw with Stephen Nogosek and Geoff Hartlieb. Even though they lost that game, it saved the pen.

3. Of course, Robert Stock, who is well past Plan Z, makes a spot start, and he leaves the game with an injury after an inning.

4. For over a month now, Dominic Smith has returned to form. He’s hitting for power, and he’s getting big hits.

5. James McCann has had his adjustment period, and he’s been better than the catcher they thought they were signing. Since May 29, he’s hitting .300/.361/.485.

6. People bemoan managers not making gut calls anymore, but Luis Rojas‘ bizarre decision to pinch hit McCann for Tomas Nido paid off to the tune of a go-ahead two run homer.

7. Actually, that wasn’t Rojas, it was Dave Jauss filling in for the suspended Rojas. Jauss certainly seemed to enjoy his time at the helm, and fans seemed to love his infectious personality.

8. We’re seeing it from Edwin Diaz again. There’s just too much Armando Benitez in him. Yes, that’s both a compliment and reason to worry.

9. Luis Guillorme might’ve had one tough inning defensively, but he’s been great all season. It’s long past time messing around and just let him play everyday.

10. Michael Conforto had a huge Two home run game in the comeback extra inning win. At the time, it seemed like he was taking off, but then he stopped hitting again.

11. That’s not too dissimilar from J.D. Davis who is one for his last 10 with five strikeouts.

12. This is just a reminder that unless the Mets move Jeff McNeil to third, they really need a third baseman at the trade deadline.

13. McNeil’s bat has awoken with him hitting .316/.395/.421 over the past few weeks.

14. The loss of Jose Peraza is going to hurt more than you expected at the beginning of the year. He’s been playing great defense, and he has a bevy of clutch hits.

15. People love to love situational hitting and small ball, but then they go berserk when the Mets are mashing homers.

16. Jesse Winker is a no-good evil Mets killer. Actually, he’s not evil. He has fun with the fans and the game. Still, the Mets should never even contemplate pitching to him in a big spot again.

17. In a big spot late in the game, you don’t know it Kevin Pillar is going to get a base hit, but he’s certainly going to tattoo the ball.

18. Gary Cohen deriding skyline chili was like Bud Harrelson punching Pete Rose combined with Al Leiter‘s one hitter. Put another way, Gare landed a punch, and there was no way Cincinnati could come back from it.

19. While we all call Taijuan Walker the best free agent signing, truth is, it might really be Aaron Loup.

20. The Mets certainly love playing in these band boxes in Cincinnati and Philadelphia because they continue to win games in these cities.

Game Recaps

Mets Refused To Lose

Mets Battled But Were Just Short

Marcus Stroman Came Up Huge

Marcus Stroman Comes Up Huge

It wasn’t just that Marcus Stroman pitched a great game. It was the fact New York Mets starters had amassed five innings combined over the three previous games.

The bullpen was beyond taxes and exhausted. Frankly, with the team leaning on players like Stephen Nogosek and Geoff Hartlieb, they were well past the point of Plan B or C or well beyond.

With that backdrop, Stroman took the mound for the Mets in a day game the day after a tough loss. He brought his usual infectious energy, and he brought it on the mound.

Things got rolling after an inauspicious start. Stroman plunked the first batter he faced, but he quickly rebounded by getting Mets killer Jesse Winker to hit into a double play. After that, the Reds wouldn’t have a base runner until the third.

That single by Aristides Aquino was the only hit Stroman allowed over his eight shut out innings. From there, the Reds wouldn’t get another base runner until a Joey Votto two out walk in the seventh.

It’s somewhat of a surprise Stroman wasn’t given the opportunity for a complete game after throwing just 90 pitches, but that misses the point a bit. Stroman was great allowing just those two base runners while striking out seven.

Stroman would pick up the win as the Mets offense continued to hit for power and drive in runs. When Dominic Smith hit a second inning grand slam, the game was effectively over.

That was an inning after Jonathan Villar opened the scoring with a solo shot. We’d also see Luis Guillorme hit his second career homer in the fifth.

All told, this was a 7-0 victory for the Mets. At least for a day, the Mets offense was clicking. With an actual day off, Stroman gave the bullpen a long needed rest.

The Mets have more importantly righted the ship since Pittsburgh. Now, it’s time to make a move to lock things up as we head towards the trade deadline. .

Game Notes: After being designated for assignment, Billy McKinney was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Carlos Rincon.