Even with him being limited due to injuries, Steven Matz was still one of the better starting pitching options left for this team. However, with impending season ending surgery, he’s shut down, and the Mets went with recently activated off the disabled list Tommy Milone.
Milone entered this game with a 7.91 ERA, 10.50 with the Mets, and he picked up where he left off with J.D. Martinez hitting a first inning three run homer.
At that point, it was 7-0 Diamondbacks. If you were still watching at that point, the question is why?
Michael Conforto missed the game with a thumb injury. Dominic Smith wasn’t in the lineup because the Diamondbacks started the left-handed Patrick Corbin, and Terry Collins apparently breaks out in hives and hyperventilates when he has to play a young left-handed hitter against a left-handed pitcher. Using the same logic, Collins played Matt Reynolds over Brandon Nimmo in right.
Really, there were not many reasons to watch this game. Sure, things are bad right now with the Mets, but with the team they put on the field, this was downright unwatchable. Most 7-1 games are.
The one run was a Rosario home run, his first at Citi Field.
Other notable events was Gavin Cecchini going 1-2 at the plate and making a decent play in the field:
I GOT IT I GOT IT IT'S ALL YOURS pic.twitter.com/nqQBLoLh6n
— Good Fundies (@goodfundies) August 23, 2017
Of note, Cecchini has a base hit in every game he’s started this year.
1B – Wilmer Flores
2B – Gavin Cecchini
3B – Asdrubal Cabrera
SS – Amed Rosario
If you don’t think of Flores as a shortstop, then the all shortstop infield was accomplished with Reynolds moving from right to first in a double switch.
If you do consider Flores a shortstop, then six of the Mets position players in the starting lineup were shortstops or former shortstops as Juan Lagares was originally signed as a shortstop out of the Dominican Republic.
Admittedly, this is a rather long tangent, but these are the things you dwell on when your team is as listless and over-matched as the Mets were today. Trust me, this tangent was more interesting than anything that happened in the field tonight.
Andrew Chafin came on and allowed a Reynolds RBI groundout followed by a Rosario RBI triple to make it 7-4.
This lead to the Diamondbacks bringing on Fernando Rodney to get the final out of the game. After he retired Cecchini, the tomfoolery was over.
Back in 2005, Pedro Martinez was having a Cy Young caliber season that was about to be cut short due to a toe injury. From Rick Peterson to Willie Randolph to the training staff, they all agreed with the Mets out of the race, Pedro should shut it down for the rest of the year. However, there was one person that didn’t agree – Jeff Wilpon.
As Pedro would later tell in his the eponymous book “Pedro,” Jeff Wilpon approached him telling him to pitch to help the Mets sell-out a September 22nd game against Dontrelle Willis and the Marlins. Pedro protested leading to an argument where Pedro even offered to give back the rest of his contract. Ultimately, he pitched because, as Wilpon told him, “While I’m the boss here, you’re going to have to do what I say.” (Tyler Kepner, New York Times).
While we can never be sure of the root cause of the injury, this moment resonates as Pedro would suffer a torn rotator cuff making him unavailable for the 2006 postseason. That was one of many what-ifs that happened that year.
Fast forward a decade.
Last year, Steven Matz had what was described as a massive bone spur the team knew needed to be removed surgically. Rather than have the surgery right away, Matz was pumped full of cortisone shots, told to scrap the slider, and pitched until he could no longer pitch. The odd thing is Matz initially didn’t want to go this route.
As Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported, “[Matz] was seriously considering surgery, and maybe even leaning that way, before a meeting with the Mets brass.” Sound familiar?
During Spring Training this year, Matz had arm issues, which he self-described as a strained flexor tendon. The team disagreed with an unnamed Mets official with knowledge of Matz’s medical care telling Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record, “Our [doctors] found nothing wrong.”
The answer was once again to pitch through the pain and to abandon the slider. Matz continued to pitch despite his elbow reportedly swelling to the size of a grapefruit.
One thing that is quite notable is a passage from Marc Carig’s Newsday column on the topic, “Matz insisted on powering through, perhaps in defiance of a reputation he’s gained for often being injured. And the Mets proceeded as if he were dealing with inflammation.” More damning was this statement, “One source described a belief by some in the organization that Matz was simply learning to get over the ‘mental hurdle’ of pitching through pain.”
Certainly, this wasn’t the first time we’ve heard people discuss Matz needing to learn the difference between pitching through pain and pitching hurt. Ron Darling has made the point a number of times during games. His manager Terry Collins previously said Matz needed to learn how to pitch through his issues. (Anthony Rieber, Newsday).
Seeing these comments, we should not be surprised the Mets were completely blind-sided by Matz’s recent ulnar nerve injury and need for surgery. It is even less surprising considering the team and team doctors dealt with the same issue with Jacob deGrom.
Seeing this happen time and again, we all look to point the finger at someone. Over the past decade, we have see a change at General Manager, manager, and pitching coach. The Mets have been affiliated with the Hospital for Special Surgery, which is one of the top hospitals in the country. Many will point to Ray Ramirez, but he is actually well-regarded in his field. No, the issue is the Mets organizational culture.
In 2005, they forced Pedro to pitch. In 2010, they were livid Carlos Beltran had knee surgery, which turned out to be a necessary and possibly career saving procedure. Now, they have both pressured Matz to pitch and are surprised by his suffering as a result. Really, the only thing that isn’t surprising is the Mets culture not changing over the past decade. How can it with Jeff Wilpon still calling the shots?
Like he has most of his career, Cespedes has failed to hustle this year. While deemed acceptable when things are going well, this becomes an issue for everyone.
When he comes to Gsellman, he basically said as much. Well, that’s a bit of a stretch. When he was told Sandy Alderson said he needed to pitch better, Gsellman replied he didn’t care.
On the field tonight against a very good Diamondbacks team, they were both very good.
Gsellman was reminiscent of the pitcher we saw last year. He mostly kept the ball out of the air preventing him from being victimized by the long ball. With a much better defense behind him, which somehow included Wilmer Flores making some nice plays at third, Gsellman went deep into the game.
In the odd chance the ball was in the air, the outfield got to those balls. This included Cespedes making not one but two hustle plays in the outfield.
With the defense playing well behind him, and his sinker working, Gsellman arguably had his best start of the year. His final line was 6.1 innings, five hits, one run, one earned, one walk, and three strikeouts.
Even with that terrific outing, he still didn’t get the win because the Mets offense continued to squander their scoring opportunities against Taijuan Walker.
The Mets could bring home Brandon Nimmo after he lead-off the top of the first with a double.
Wilmer Flores and Dominic Smith lead off the second with consecutive singles. Amed Rosario struck out. After Kevin Plawecki intentionally walked to load the bases, Gsellman struck out, and Nimmo lined out.
Flores came up in the third with runners at first and second with one out, and he grounded into the 6-4-3 inning ending double play.
Plawecki’s two out double in the fourth didn’t amount to anything with Gsellman hitting it back to the pitcher.
Plawecki came up in the sixth with runners on the corners and two outs. It would be runners on second and third after Rosario stole second. David Hernandez came on for Rubby De La Rosa, and he got Plawecki to tap it back to him to end the inning.
Finally, the Mets broke through in the sixth.
Travis d’Arnaud, who came on for Plawecki in a double switch in the top half of the inning, hit a lead-off double. Nimmo then sacrificed him to third.
Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Conforto then earned walks to load the bases putting the game in Cespedes’ hands. As noted above, he played this game with a different energy than he has been playing with for most of the season.
Cespedes battled back from 0-2 against Archie Bradley to rip an RBI single past a diving Jake Lamb to tie the game.
It only tied the game because David Peralta nailed Cabrera at the plate. It’s a tough play to pin blame on anyone. With it being so close, it was a good send by Glenn Sherlock. Likely, Cabrera would’ve been safe if his leg was on the ground instead of in the air. You can’t blame Cabrera because that was just tough luck.
In any event, after a Flores foul out, this was now a battle of the bullpens.
The Mets went to Erik Goeddel in a rare second straight day of work to pitch the 10th. In a rare appearance on consecutive days. We saw the reason why he rarely does this.
The homer snapped a Meys bullpen 17.2 streak of not allowing an earned run.
Mets still has a chance in the bottom of the 10th with the heart of the lineup due up against Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney.
Conforto got the inning off on the right foot hitting an opposite field lead-off home run to pull the Meys within 3-2. That’s as close as the Mets got as Rodney set down Cespedes, Flores, and Smith to end the game.
The main thing that really stood out today was the Mets played with a different energy. At this point in the season, it’s all we can reasonably expect. Well that and better situational hitting.
When that happen, we will see a much better brand of baseball much like we saw tonight.
Right around this time, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun bringing darkness across the country . . . or as Mets fans like to call it, the perfect euphemism for the 2017 season.
We’ve seen Noah Syndergaard go down for the season, and we are not sure when Jeurys Familia can come back. Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler were mishandled coming back from their injuries. Steven Matz had another injury plagued year. We never did get to see David Wright play this season, and we do not know if we will ever get to see him play again.
With the poor season the Mets are having, Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, Rene Rivera, and Neil Walker have been moved and are now playing for teams with an actual shot at the postseason. The moves didn’t bring back much, and there were rumors the Mets were more interested in salary relief than anything causing fans to go back to a dark place they resided at the inception of the Madoff scandal.
The thing is, the eclipse today will last just a brief time. Sandy Alderson has an entire offseason to get to work. If ownership lets him spend the money, and with a little help on the health front, the Mets dark period will last just for the 2017 season. If it is business as usual, this isn’t an eclipse – we’re back to the Dark Ages.
This error eventually led to Gary Sanchez hitting a three run homer.
Matz then got in trouble in the fourth, and he didn’t get through the inning. Then again, he didn’t deserve to with Luis Severino popping up a sacrifice bunt attempt which dropped in front of him for a base hit.
Matz would eventually depart the inning down five runs and with the bases loaded and just one out. Chasen Bradford allowed a two RBI single to Sanchez to make it 7-0 before getting out of the inning.
Of note on the Sanchez base hit was the Yankees again challenged Yoenis Cespedes arm and scored a run.
After the inning was over, the latest Matz clunker was in the books. Since July 9th, Matz is 0-6 with a 10.47 ERA and a 2.051 WHIP. If you’re looking for a bright side, Aaron Judge didn’t hurt him at all. He was 0-2 with two strikeouts and a HBP.
With Bradford doing yeoman’s work in his third straight day out of the pen, he did give the Mets a chance to get back in this one. They almost did too in the seventh.
Judge dropped a Travis d’Arnaud fly ball for a two base error with one out in the seventh. Sandy Alderson’s new favorite player, Matt Reynolds, followed with an RBI single to get the Mets on the board.
Brandon Nimmo, who came on for Cespedes in a double switch, chased Severino with a single. The Mets eventually loaded the bases with two outs, and Michael Conforto was up against the LOOGY Chasen Shreve. With Conforto striking out, the final nail was in the coffin.
By the way, Gary Cohen did confirm this was the first time two Chasens appeared in the same Major League game.
Surprisingly, the Mets had life again in the ninth. It was the same trio that got the Mets started in the seventh. d’Arnaud and Reynolds had back-to-back singles off Bryan Mitchell, and Nimmo walked to load the bases.
That grand slam was about all that was notable from the Mets side in what was a forgettable Subway Series for the Mets. Then again, it’s been a forgettable season, so this series was really just more of the same.
Don’t read too much into tonight’s game. The game started off on a strange foot when Neil Walker was pulled off the field (and his being removed from the lineup) during batting practice with his reportedly being dealt to the Brewers.
There was also the matter of Aaron Nola, who has been pitching like a Cy Young contender of late. Including tonight’s start, Nola now has a 10 start streak with him pitching at least seven innings while allowing two or fewer runs.
Tonight, that one run came off a Yoenis Cespedes fourth inning homer that briefly gave the Mets a 1-0 lead. There’s the argument it should have been a 2-0 lead.
Rosario and Nimmo then attempted a double steal. Cameron Rupp threw through. Seeing this Rosario took off. With Nimmo seemingly having the base, Freddy Galvis didn’t hesitate coming off the bag to meet the throw and go home nailing Rosario.
That play would loom large during a two run fifth inning.
Up until that point, Steven Matz was cruising. He had four no-hit innings, which ended with the Phillies hitting back-to-back singles to start the fifth. Matz was so close to getting out of this jam.
First, Rupp popped out, and then Nola laid down a sac bunt. Matz couldn’t get the big out yielding a game tying single to Cesar Hernandez. Galvis then hit a seeing eye single that was just past Jose Reyes giving the Phillies a 2-1 lead. Ultimately, that was the game-winning hit.
Nola continued to shut down the Mets. His final line was seven innings, two hits, one run, one earned, one walk, and eight strikeouts. This made Ricardo Pinto a welcome sight in the eighth.
Curtis Granderson and Reyes each walked setting up two on and two out for Cespedes. Pinto would strike out Cespedes on three straight pitches to end the rally.
From there, the Phillies would add an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth off Erik Goeddel giving them a 3-1 lead.
Ultimately, the Mets lost a difficult game. They lost a teammate, and they faced a tough pitcher. With that said, they did the right thing and played some young guys. More than that Matz progressed from where he has been.
Given how the Mets are constituted, they’re going to lose a lot of games. That’s understandable. The only thing you can reasonably ask is when they lose, it’s a good game, and the young players are getting their feet wet. That happened today, so all-in-all, that’s not too bad a day.
Game Notes: Michael Conforto started the game in center, and Nimmo played right. Reyes wasn’t initially supposed to be in the lineup, but took over for Walker in the lineup and played second. Asdrubal Cabrera played second.
Before yesterday’s game, Matt Harvey threw from the mound for the first time in what could have been the first step towards a rehab assignment. In fact, after the session, Harvey said, “I’m on track to get back hopefully pretty soon.” (Anthony DiComo, MLB.com).
Of course, Harvey is in this position because he was put on the disabled list with a stress injury to his right scapula. While we cannot state anything with certainty, there is the distinct possibility the stress injury was the result of the muscles in Harvey’s shoulder being roughly half the size of the muscles in his left shoulder. This could stem from the fact Harvey had surgery to alleviate the effects of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS), and he was unable to have his typical offseason workouts.
It should be pointed out that Harvey was not expected to be full strength in May. As Pitching Coach Dan Warthen said, “History says with that surgery that it’s 10 months out. That’s when you really start to feel strong. Generally when you open a season you gain two miles per hour. If he’s playing at 94, 95, it’s a completely different story.” (Mike Puma, New York Post).
Harvey was a different pitcher to start the season. He wasn’t just sitting at a lower velocity, but he was also unable to strike batters out. He tired as the season progressed to the point where he wasn’t even hitting 90 MPH anymore. It was at that point everyone had to face the truth – something was wrong.
However, that something wrong began in the offseason. The Mets knew Harvey wasn’t going to be at full strength, and they put him in the Opening Day rotation anyway. They did it because Steven Matz and Seth Lugo had injury issues. He was put in the rotation because the Mets refused to add a veteran depth to the rotation to protect against a rotation with a number of injury issues heading into the season. Frankly, Harvey was in the rotation because he pushed for it, and there was no one standing in his path telling him it was a bad idea.
There was no repeat of the 2015 Scott Boras controversy. The Mets were unwilling to sit back and wait to do what was best for Harvey and really for the team. Harvey being the competitor he is wasn’t willing to wait.
In the end, the Mets got 13 starts from Harvey, and he went 4-3 with a 5.25 ERA, 1.450 WHIP, and a 6.9 K/9. That’s not Harvey.
Overall, the Mets pushed Harvey forward because they didn’t want to wait for him to be 100%. Harvey pushed because he was a competitor. In the end, it became a forgettable season for both parties. Hopefully, they both learned from this season, and they will be smarter going forward. However, based upon past history, it is unlikely to happen.
The New York Mets were playing on Sunday night. They were scheduled to play the Los Angeles Dodgers who are currently on a pace to win 115 games. The question wasn’t whether the Mets would lose. The question was whether the game would be competitive.
SPOILER ALERT: It wasn’t.
Shocking, I know.
Effectively speaking, this game was over in the first inning. The shame of it was the Mets initially seemed to get out of that inning unscathed. Travis d’Arnaud made a strong throw to beat Justin Turner at second. However, that’s not what happened. Upon review, Turner made a swim move avoiding the tag. It would turn out to be one of the three stolen bases on the nigh against d’Arnaud and Steven Matz.
After the play, Matz would give up a walk and three hits giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. It would have been 4-0 except Michael Conforto made a good throw from center to nail Austin Barnes at the plate. It was a good block of the plate by d’Arnaud.
However, it didn’t matter much. Hyun-jin Ryu dominated a Mets team that frankly looks disinterested right now. Over seven innings, he allowed just one hit to d’Arnaud while striking out eight batters over seven innings. That would be the Mets only hit in the game.
On the other side, Turner would hit a two run homer off Matz, and Josh Smoker would allow a two run shot of his own to Cody Bellinger. Apparently, Terry Collins doesn’t have access to Baseball Reference because he continues to try to use Smoker to get tough left-handed batters out despite Smoker having reverse splits.
That’s at least better than whatever Matz is doing now. His last six starts, including tonight, have been absolutely terrible. His pitching 5.1 inning is a moral victory at this point. There is something clearly wrong with him whether it is mechanical, mental, or like most of his career, physical.
Because he is now a member of the Mets bullpen, AJ Ramos had to give up a run to make it 8-0.
In sum, the Mets lost another game to the Dodgers, and they got swept in the season series in which they were not competitive. This is the first time there has been a season series sweep in this 55 year rivalry. Isn’t that just the perfect allegory to the 2017 season? The Dodgers reach new heights while the Mets are irrelevant.
Game Notes: Turner made his old team pay again going 2-4 with three runs, a homer, two RBI, and two stolen bases. Jay Bruce and Neil Walker sat with some injury issues. Walker would make a pinch hitting appearance.
Surrounding all the hoopla of Amed Rosario‘s first game with the Mets, a baseball game broke out, and it was a pretty good one at that.
Rosario’s impact was felt immediately. In the first, he made a couple of plays including turning a 1-6-3 double play.
That lead grew to 2-0 when Jay Bruce doubled in Cespedes from first in the sixth.
At that point, things looked great for Steven Matz. Despite a rough stretch over his last four starts where he pitched to a 14.18 ERA (not a typo), he was dealing.
Through the first four innings, he had a no-hitter going. That was broken up on a Trevor Story lead-off single. On the play, Rosario got to a ball no other shortstop on the roster comes near, but with one slight tap of the glove before the throw, Story was able to beat it out.
In that inning, he labored, but he managed to work his way out of the jam. He wasn’t so lucky in the sixth.
A DJ LeMahieu double set up second and third with no outs. Matz was flirting with disaster since the fifth and in the following at-bat. He fought back into the st-bat getting it to a 3-2 count, and that’s when Nolan Arenado hit an opposite field go-ahead homer.
The Mets tied it in the seventh with some help from Rockies catcher Ryan Hanigan. When Pat Neshek struck out Jose Reyes to start the inning, Hanigan whiffed on the ball. With the ball going to the backstop, Reyes reached base safely.
Okay good catch but also pic.twitter.com/8evdHfjcZt
— Good Fundies (@goodfundies) August 2, 2017
It would be untied in the eighth on a Bruce homer off Chris Rusin:
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) August 2, 2017
For a moment, it appeared as if that 4-3 lead might grow.
Rosario would get his first career hit off Scott Oberg. It was an infield single to short (turnabout is fair play). Rosario moved to second on Story’s throwing error. It appeared as if Rosario was going to score his first career run when the ball left Travis d’Arnaud‘s bat.
Unfortunately, the ball ricocheted off Oberg’s leg to Reynolds. Reynolds was able to flip to Oberg to record the out. It was a bigger out than originally anticipated.
Blevins responded by allowing singles to Gerardo Parra and Carlos Gonzalez. The hit by Gonzalez was cued right off the end of the bat, and Cabrera had little to no chance to get anyone out. With Blevins allowing yet another inherited runner to score, it was a tie game.
The Rockies rally sputtered when Hansel Robles came on to get the last two outs. Robles wouldn’t be so lucky in the ninth.
After allowing a lead-off walk to Blackmon, LeMahieu hit what could’ve been a double play ball. Likely, it was just a fielder’s choice. Still, that play wasn’t turned as Rosario broke towards second with Blackmon moving on the play. With Rosario booting it, it was first and second with no outs instead of bases empty with no outs.
After that, Arenado blooped the ball into center, and Conforto had no chance to get Blackmon. Ballgame.
Overall, it was an entertaining game where we saw all that Rosario could be. We also saw that he’s an inexperienced rookie that needs more seasoning.
Game Notes: Matt Reynolds was sent down to make room for Rosario on the roster.
Last time Conforto and Rosario were in the same lineup? May 28, 2015 when St. Lucie lost 4-3 to Lakeland.
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) August 2, 2017
All season long, Mets fans have been clamoring for the team to call-up top prospect Amed Rosario. It was more than just wanting hope for a season the Mets have mostly squandered. It was because Rosario addressed specific deficiencies this team has had all year.
Throughout this entire season, the left side of the Mets infield has been abysmal. Mets shortstops accounted for a -19 DRS, which is the worst in the majors. Mets third baseman also rank last in the majors with a -14 DRS. It should then come as no surprise the Mets left side of the infield accounted for a -33, which is by far the worst in the majors.
It should also come as no surprise the Mets pitching staff has yielded a league high .321 BABIP. This has been the under-reported part of the Mets pitching staff’s troubles. Certainly, it had a profound affect on a ground ball pitcher like Robert Gsellman who had .331 BABIP and a 6.16 ERA. We have recently seen some issues on that front with Steven Matz. The overriding point here is the pitching has been affected by the inability of the left side of the infield to make the plays that need to be played.
There’s also the matter of how the Mets run the bases. The Mets rank dead last in BsR, which is a stat designed to take into account all the different aspects of base running. For many fans, we don’t need a fancy stat to tell us what we already know. This team doesn’t steal bases. They don’t take the extra base. They’re thrown out on seemingly ever close play. In sum, they’re a bad base running team.
When you’re bad defensively and bad base runners chances are you are bad team. The Mets 48-55 record confirms as much.
Would Rosario have solved all of these issues? No, nor would he have prevented so many of the Mets from going on the Disabled List throughout the season. However, Rosario would have had a profound impact on this team.
Consider the defense for a second. The Mets have the worst defensive shortstop play, and Rosario is seen as a player who could be a Gold Glover at the position. Even assuming he has growing pains and is just worth a 2 DRS. This year, that’s the difference between having Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes at shortstop and having Brandon Crawford at shortstop. The separation between those two is vast, which would tell you how much better the defense would be.
There’s also the matter of Rosario continuously proving this year he’s ready. In 94 games, Rosario has hit .328/.367/.466 with 19 doubles, seven triples, seven homers, 58 RBI, and 19 stolen bases. He was also the starting shortstop in the Triple-A All Star Game and the Future’s Game.
All season long, Rosario has shown the skill set the Mets desperately needed all year. Now, with the team having sold off Addison Reed and Lucas Duda, and the team sitting with a 48-55 record, we are finally going to see the type of impact Rosario could have on this Mets team. It is more than likely it is too late to save the 2017 season. It is also impossible to tell if this is the right time or not.
Maybe if he’s called up in May, he struggles. Maybe he would have been the great player he has been. After all, this is a prospect that seems undaunted.
No matter what the case, the Mets promise to be a much better team for the rest of the 2017 season. Even if it doesn’t translate to wins and losses, there is now reason to watch because we get to see Rosario play. At this point in the season, that’s all we can ask.