Steven Matz

Good And Bad Mets On Full Display In Comeback Win

This game was a clear dichotomy of what is going right and what is going wrong for the Mets.  First, the wrong –

The first moment was in the fourth inning.  Paul Goldschmidt broke out of his funk by hitting a homer off Steven Matz to tie the game at 2-2.  Later that inning, Matz went from 1-2 to walking Jarrod Dyson.  Matz then seemed to get out of the inning by picking Dyson off first:

Somehow both the umpires and the replay officials miss what everyone watching the game saw – Asdrubal Cabrera got the tag in ahead of the slide.

Well, it was a blown call, which led to a typical Matz letdown.  Diamondbacks backup catcher and former Yankee John Ryan Murphy hit a go-ahead two run homer.

With that, you had your typical 2018 Matz start.  He didn’t get through five.  He allowed two homers.  He allowed a big walk, and he had a meltdown.

Still, down 4-2, the Mets were still in this game, and it looked like they were going to break through in the sixth with Patrick Corbin on the ropes. The team didn’t break through.

First, Devin Mesoraco popped out, and after the Diamondbacks put Michael Conforto on first, the inning was in Jose Reyes hands.  Now, Reyes presumably got the start because he had good career numbers against Corbin.  He wouldn’t get a hit off Corbin, and he was in there to face Jimmie Sherfy.

Reyes fouled out, and Adrian Gonzalez couldn’t get the pinch hit.  This left the Mets trailing, but it wouldn’t stay that way because of the things that have gone right for the Mets.

First, Conforto is back.  After a 4-4 game, he came up in the second inning, and he delievered a two run homer to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.

After Matz surrendered the lead and couldn’t go five innings, the game was once again on the bullpen.  The combination of Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald, and AJ Ramos pitched four scoreless walking none, allowing one hit, and striking out six.  Ultimately, they gave the Mets a chance.

The Mets took advantage of that chance.  Jay Bruce led off the eighth with a single off Archie Bradley, and he would come home on a Mesoraco blast:

Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect ninth giving the Mets a chance to walk this one off.

Like many rallies this season, it began with Brandon Nimmo, who led off the ninth with a double, and then the most clutch Met on the team this year, Asdrubal Cabrera laid down a bunt single moving Nimmo to third.  This put the game in Wilmer Flores‘ hands, and as we know he has his own history with walk-off hits.

While not the dramatic homers we have seen, he did end the game with a fly ball to the outfield.  This one was a sacrifice fly scoring Nimmo giving the Mets a 5-4 win.

This was the first time since April 10-11 that the Mets have won consecutive games.  They are now in position for their first home sweep of the season.  They do that, and things will definitely be more good than bad right now.

Game Notes: With the Mets lack of outfield depth, Dominic Smith started in right field for the Las Vegas 51s.  Reyes is now 7-53 on the season.

 

 

Everything But the Game Was A Wash Out

Over in Washington, D.C., even though the Nationals and Yankees were facing even more pressure than the Mets and Blue Jays to get their game in, they postponed the roughly game and a half they had to play.  Perhaps both teams were aware they had important players they did not want to see get hurt, and it was better to do this another day.

Not the Mets.

Despite torrential rains, the Mets decided to play.  Despite a rain delay which required the grounds crew to empty the coffers of diamond dust to eliminate the standing puddles on the infield, the umpires decided to let these two teams play.

Actually, check that, it was the Blue Jays who played a game.  The Mets were there to get drowned.

For Zack Wheeler things started well enough.  Sure, he didn’t get an 0-2 pitch quite up and in enough to Justin Smoak, but other than that, Wheeler was good over the first three innings.  In that time, he had struck out six while allowing just the one homer.

Then came the inane rain delay precipitated by J.A. Happ not liking how he landed on the mound.  The umpires did the right thing delaying the game to get the field in playing condition.  It would have been a better thing to call the game because that field was dangerous.

And yes, someone did get hurt.  Juan Lagares went back on a ball, and his foot hit the wall causing a sprained toe.  Maybe if the ground conditions were better, he gets back to the ball quicker, and doesn’t need to jump.  Maybe in better conditions, he’s better able to plant and go up.  Or knowing Lagares, maybe he gets hurt anyway.

Fact remains, he got hurt in nearly unplayable playing conditions.  That’s not okay, and the Mets and MLB should be forced to answer to that.

They won’t much like how right now Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland are not yet being taken to task for what is going on with this pitching staff.

Yes, we know there were problems with these pitchers, but they knew the job when they took it on.  It would have been unfair to expect 2015 results from each of these pitchers, but it was fair to expect a progression based on what we saw last year.  We haven’t.

That includes Wheeler falling apart after that lengthy rain delay.  He began the fourth and fifth yielding lead-off walks.  He got through the fourth allowing a two run homer to Teoscar Hernandez.  He wouldn’t get an out in the fifth leading Callaway to go to his bullpen.

While the Blue Jays, who play their home games in a retractable roof, were not bothered by the conditions, the Mets couldn’t manage.

Considering in his last start Happ allowed seven runs in 3.1 innings, his two hit seven inning effort made the Mets offense all the more embarrassing.  It gets worse when you consider one of those two hits was a Luis Guillorme infield single.

Perhaps, that is also a reflection of the 4-9 hitters having all spent time in Las Vegas over the past year.  It’s also an indication Michael Conforto is not Conforto anymore.  With each passing day, we get closer and closer to asking the question about whether this is shoulder related.

In the end, there were really no positives until there were two outs in the ninth.  That’s when Brandon Nimmo battled back from down 0-2 in the count to hit an opposite field home run.  Really, this team needs a lot more Nimmo than whatever it is this team has right now.

That was once again clear after this 12-1 loss.

Game Notes: Guillorme became the first Met since Steven Matz to being his MLB career going 3-3.

Mets Mishandling Corey Oswalt

The Mets were aware but not yet set on putting Jacob deGrom on the 10 day disabled list, so rather than make sure Corey Oswalt was in line to start the opener against Cincinnati, the team decided to add P.J. Conlon to the 40 man roster and have him make the start.

After Conlon’s short start and with Jason Vargas making a start, the Mets needed to add a fresh arm in the bullpen who could give them some length.  Instead of calling up Chris Flexen, who was on normal rest, the team called-up Oswalt, who was on three days rest.  Since that time, the team has more than ample opportunity to use him, and they haven’t:

Game Bullpen Innings Relievers  Used
May 8th 6.0 Lugo (1.0), Ramos (1.0), Blevins (0.1), Robles (0.1), Sewald (1.1)
May 9th 3.0+ Gsellman (2.0), Lugo (1.0), Ramos (0.0)
May 11th 4.0 Lugo (1.0), Sewald (1.0), Ramos (1.0), Familia (1.0)
May 12th 7.0 Gsellman (3.0), Sewald (2.0), Ramos (1.0), Familia (1.0)

Overall, the Mets needed to go to their bullpen for 19+ innings in a four game stretch.  Robert Gsellman and Paul Sewald went multiple innings on multiple occasions.  AJ Ramos appeared in four games with Seth Lugo appearing in three.  Breaking it down, there were plenty of chances for the Mets to get Oswalt in for even an inning.  They didn’t.

It’s more than that. For a team gun shy to use Oswalt on short rest, between days off and rain outs, Oswalt has not pitched since Saturday, May 5th, he is not going to get a chance to pitch until 10 days after his last star, and that’s if he’s even used. Effectively, Oswalt has skipped two starts so he can sit idly by in the bullpen.

This is not how a team handles their top Major League ready starter.  Oswalt needs to be on a mound pitching, working on his game, and generally improving as a pitcher.  Really, there is no benefit to him by his not pitching, and seeing how Mickey Callaway is reticent to use him, there is really no benefit to him even being on the roster.

The roster spot could be better allocated towards Buddy Baumann, who could serve as a second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, or Tyler Bashlor, who has been lights out in Binghamton.  You could even argue the spot should go to Conlon, who could serve as the 2015 version of Sean Gilmartin.

As for Oswalt, he’s serving no purpose right now, and he’s not getting the starts he needs.  The Mets need him in Triple-A at the ready in case Vargas doesn’t improve.  He needs to be at the ready in the event Steven Matz suffers another injury.  Really, they need him to do anything other than sitting unused in the bullpen.  That’s not benefiting anyone.

Conforto Finally Homers Giving Mets A Win

This was panning out to be another one of those horrible Mets losses we have seen recently.  The Mets were not scoring runs at all even though they were in a hitter’s park.  And yes, there was even the really embarrassing and inexcusable moment.

After a Devin Mesoraco double play grounder erased a Michael Conforto seventh inning leadoff single, Jose Reyes got his first pinch of the season in 11 attempts. Understandably, with Reyes’ speed, the Mets reeling, and the team down 1-0, Mickey Callaway went for it.

Instead of going with Amed Rosario, Callaway went with Dominic Smith, who was up due to Jay Bruce going on paternity leave, to get that big hit.  Smith wouldn’t get that hit because Jake Arrieta picked Reyes off first base.  And with that, all hope seemed lost yet again.

Hector Neris came on to get what should have been an easy save, and it certainly seemed as if that was going to be the case when Adrian Gonzalez popped out to start the inning.

Then Wilmer Flores battled back not just from 0-2, but looking over-matched on the first two pitched of the at-bat to rip a single into left.  The Mets at least had life, and for a split second, it looked like Conforto was going to give the Mets the lead, but he pulled it foul.  Two pitches later, and Conforto wouldn’t pull it foul.

Mesoraco followed with a homer on the very next pitch.  Suddenly, the Mets 1-0 lead, and the team falling to .500 turned into a 3-1 lead.  That became a 3-1 victory after a Jeurys Familia 1-2-3 ninth.

Suddenly, the stories weren’t how Steven Matz walked four while somehow managing to allow just one run over five.  It wasn’t about how a combination of Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald, and AJ Ramos had to pick up the slack to keep it close for an offense, which did nothing.

No, the story is now how the Mets had perhaps their best victory of the year, and how they may have turned things around with Noah Syndergaard taking the mound tomorrow.

Game Notes: Mesoraco’s teams are now 1-20 in games he has played this season.  In Los Angeles, Matt Harvey made his Reds debut pitching four scoreless while allowing just one hit while striking out two.

Pitch Framing Data Underlines Mets Pitching And Catching Woes

Back on April 11th, which was the last day the Mets would have either Travis d’Arnaud or Kevin Plawecki, the Mets would beat the Miami Marlins to improve to a National League best 10-1. At that time, one of the driving forces for the Mets incredible start was their pitching.

Over the Mets first 11 games, the Mets pitching staff had a 2.47 ERA. Robert Gsellman was quickly becoming a dominant weapon, and Seth Lugo was drawing early season comparisons to Andrew Miller.

In that fateful game, Tayron Guerrero broke Plawecki’s hand. Unsurprisingly, d’Arnaud was already on the disabled list with a torn UCL requiring season ending Tommy John surgery.

In the ensuing 21 games with Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido behind the plate, the Mets have gone 7-14. In that time, one of the main culprits has been how poorly the Mets pitching staff has performed. In fact, the Mets team ERA has ballooned from 2.47 to 4.21. The once dominant bullpen now has a 3.89 ERA.

There are many possible causes for this. Certainly, you could expect some regression to the mean after a fast start. Moreover, there is something to be said about how Mickey Callaway has used his bullpen. There are many reasons you can cite, but one which should not be overlooked is pitch framing, especially with the drop-off we have seen since the injuries. Here are the catchers’ respective RAAs:

d’Arnaud 2.0
Nido 0.9
Plawecki -0.4
Lobaton -1.3

Really, Lobaton is the worst of the group, and yet, somehow, in the absence of Plawecki and d’Arnaud, he is getting the bulk of the playing time. You could almost understand it if he was hitting, but Lobaton is hitting .163/.265/.256, and no, there’s not much upside with him as he is coming off a .170/.248/.277 year and is a .216/.294/.321 hitter.

Whatever it is too, Lobaton is just not working well with this Mets pitching staff. Remember, he was the catcher when the Mets bullpen completely collapsed against the Washington Nationals. During his time, we have seen the ERAs of almost every Mets pitcher rise.

For example, Steven Matz struggled mightily in his three starts with Lobaton. In those three starts, Matz averaged 4.0 innings per start, had a 6.39 ERA, and opposing batters hit .239/.333/.478 off of him. Short sample size for sure, and it may be a coincidence Matz had his best start since July of last year with Nido behind the plate.

It could also be the result of pitch framing. Certainly, the ability to get the extra strike and/or make sure a strike is called a strike is of vital importance. It is the difference between getting ahead in the count to set the batter up to make an out and making sure you get your pitches more over the plate so you don’t walk batters. The more you have to pitch over the plate, the worse a pitcher is going to fare.

Ultimately, with Lobaton behind the plate, nearly all of the Mets pitchers are struggling. There are many reasons why with his pitch framing chief among them. Until Plawecki is ready to return, at a minimum, Nido has to become the primary catcher. Ideally, Sandy Alderson is trying to make a move for a catcher even if if means grabbing Miguel Montero off the scrap heap.

No matter what, the only thing that is clear is Lobaton cannot be the starting catcher anymore.

Post-Harvey Mets Rally Late And Still Come Up Short

Before the game, it was announced Matt Harvey refused an assignment to the minors, and in response the Mets designated him for assignment effectively ending his Mets career.  This may have been a long time coming, and arguably, you could see Harvey being scapegoated for a Mets team that has struggled since it’s incredible 12-2 start.

Well, Harvey might be gone, but the Mets problems still remain.

Zack Wheeler, who allowed five first inning runs is still inconsistent.  Michael Conforto is not hitting for any power, and really, he isn’t even getting on base anymore going 0-5with the golden sombrero.  Jay Bruce, for that matter, isn’t hitting for any power either.  Maybe there was an impact on Jose Lobaton, who was 1-4, and Amed Rosario, who was 2-4 with an RBI, but probably not.

No, we wouldn’t see Jose Reyes or Adrian Gonzalez bat, both of whom have been utterly terrible, and we did not see Jason Vargas, who by comparison made Harvey look like the 2013 version, and we’ll see what Steven Matz contributes tomorrow.

Overriding point is the Mets problems are still present even with Harvey gone because as bad as Harvey was pitching, he was probably fourth or fifth on lower on the tiers of what is actually wrong with this Mets team.

On the bright side, Bruce played first allowing Brandon Nimmo to hit leadoff going 1-4 with a walk.  Of course, he drew a walk.  He also scored on the Asdrubal Cabrera home run.  That provided a jolt that lasted until Charlie Blackmon hit a homer in the top of the second.

As bad as the five run first was or the Blackmon homer was, it was the Josh Thole-esque Tony Wolters hitting one to the top deck off Wheeler that was the worst.

By the time the Mets awoke, it was too late.  Todd Frazier‘s eighth inning two run homer made it 8-4. A ninth inning rally with Rosario knocking in Wilmer Flores, who hit a pinch hit double, made it 8-5   This led to Wade Davis coming into the game to close it out . . . just like he did in Game 5 of the World Series.

He allowed a Cabrera RBI triple and subsequently a Frazier RBI single to pull the Mets to withing 8-7.  It ended there as Conforto struck out to end the game.  Again, somehow Harvey being released didn’t fix him.

Starting tomorrow, it seems like the Mets are going to have to focus on the things that are actually wrong with the team.  Seeing how Reyes was re-signed in the offseason, no one should hold their breath.

Game Notes: With Harvey gone, Jerry Blevins and his 6.43 ERA is the worst ERA in the Mets bullpen.

 

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Are the Mets for Real?

The Mets started 12-2, and it seemed like they could do no wrong.  That was until a complete bullpen eighth inning meltdown against the Nationals.  Since that point, the Mets have gone 5-9, and they have fallen to second place in the division.  With that as the backdrop, we turned to the Mets Blogger Roundtable to ask if Mickey Callaway‘s Mets team is for real:

Becky (Blue Seat Blogs)

We’re already seeing the Mets falling back to earth, and there was never any question that they would lose more than 15 games this year. The positive is that they have a core that’s skilled, and a new manager who will hopefully find ways to adapt and keep the room positive throughout the highs and lows of a season.

Roger Cormier (Good Fundies)

What *is* reality anyway? We are all one big consciousness agreeing upon a never ending list of rules and quibbling over interpretations of shared perceptions, right? That’s what I learned in third grade from the bus driver who smelled weird. If the reality of the situation is I am being asked if the Mets are as good as they were when they started 11-1, then no, they are not “for real.” They have been the fourth-luckiest team in all of baseball while the Nationals have been the most unlucky. We aren’t going to cry over Bryce Harper‘s misfortune (the Vegas native should be aware of streaks of bad luck at the very least anecdotally). We will cry over the Mets though. Yet we shouldn’t; they  just have to play .500 ball from their 13th to 162nd game to hit lucky number 86 wins. They uh, haven’t played over .500 ball since that time but I guessed they would make the wild card game five weeks ago, so I might as well keep my chips on 86.

Michael Ganci (Daily Stache)

Right now I want to jump off of my seat in section 509.

Editor’s Note: this response was sent during the game after we learned about deGrom’s elbow.

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

Yes, but they have holes to fix and this passive approach to every situation is part of the problem.

Joe Maracic (Loud Egg)

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

Are the Mets for real in the sense that they have a genuine chance to end the season where they ended April, in first place? Based on what we’ve seen…sure, why not? I’d hate to think they’re pulling the cap down over our eyes.

Are the Mets for real in the sense that I’m supremely confident they won’t fall out of the race altogether after a while? That’s what the rest of the schedule is for: to find out.

But overall I feel pretty good about this team. The next 130+ games are always the hardest.

Caveat: All of the above is up for grabs in light of the uncertainty surrounding Jacob deGrom.

Tim Ryder (MMO & FOB)

I think the Mets’ start is most-definitely indicative of the potential of this team moving forward through the season.

The inevitably-oncoming adage of “Jake and Thor, then pray for it to pour” that was true for most of the first month of the season seems to be slowly fading away.

After the inconsistencies of Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler over their first few starts, as well as the banishing of Matt Harvey to the bullpen and the alarming start to Jason Vargas’ second stint with the Mets, things have started to look up lately.

If Wheeler can be effective (read: keep his pitches low), his stuff alone places him among the upper-crust of middle-of-the-rotation starting pitchers in the NL, and the same goes for Matz.

If Vargas has shown anything over his career, he’s proven to be the model of mediocre-but-efficient consistency, and that’s all the team really needs out of him.

I think this offense is truly one of the more-dangerous groups we’ve seen here since the days of Carlos Beltran/David Wright/Carlos Delgado, and I mean that. The recent upticks in production for Jay Bruce and Adrian Gonzalez are promising.

The incredible starts of Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo are even more exciting, but we, of course, must be wary of Newton’s Law of Physics in their cases.

The Mets’ bullpen has, for the most part, been the strength of this team and will continue to be, in my opinion. AJ Ramos looks to have found his groove and Robert Gsellman is absolutely thriving in his new role. Even Seth Lugo, who may not be adapting as easily as Gsellman has, has had some success and only figures to get more comfortable as time goes on. And, to be honest, Harvey could come to be a key cog in the relief corps once he gets a feel for things.

James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report

Are the Mets for real? It’s hard to say, but what’s becoming clear is that this season certainly won’t be easy. We got off to a hot start with Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, and Bruce all slumping, and you have to think we’ll get more from all of them going forward — but we’ll also presumably see regression from Todd Frazier and Asdrubal Cabrera, and the pitching has gone downhill fast since the first few turns through the rotation. Now deGrom is hurt too…if our starters besides Thor are a failed Harvey, a failed Matz, an inconsistent Wheeler, and an unimpressive Jason Vargas, there’s only so much room to get wins with that kind of rotation. Sure, things could turn out well — anything can happen. But as I said, the only thing that’s clear is that it certainly won’t be easy.

Mets Daddy

Initially, I had a long piece detailing how much the lineup and the pitching staff could benefit from Kevin Plawecki‘s return.  How even with the inability to hit for power right now, Conforto is playing a good outfield and getting on base.  How when you look deeper into the farm, you see Gavin Cecchini and Peter Alonso getting off to terrific starts making you wonder “What if . . . .”

None of that matters if deGrom is injured like he was in 2016 or Syndergaard was in 2017.

This is not to say his having a serious injury ends the Mets season.  Rather, it means the season needs a miracle.  In 2016, the Mets got that out of Lugo and Gsellman.  Maybe the Mets get that this year out of some group that includes Harvey, Matz, Corey Oswalt, or Chris Flexen.

Maybe . . . .

Personally, I’d like to thank everyone for being able to respond to this roundtable.  It was all the more impressive when you consider how panic striken we were collectively as a fanbase when deGrom left the game last night.  We do know when that news finally breaks, there will be some terrific things written about deGrom and the Mets.  Some of the best things will be written by the people in this roundtable, and I hope you will visit their sites.

That is except for Becky.  She is currently a free agent and needs a home to write about the Mets.  Hopefully, someone will soon jump in and find a home for her terrific work.

Mets Desperately Need Plawecki Back

On April 11th, the New York Mets were soaring at 10-1, and they lost their second catcher when Kevin Plawecki was hit on the hand by a Tayron Guerrero pitch.

Up until that point, the Mets catching situation was actually one of the bright spots to what was a great start to the season.  The combination of Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud combined to hit .229/.341/.343 with six runs, a double, a homer, and four RBI.  While they were catching, the Mets pitching staff had a 2.47 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, and a 9.9 K/9.

Since d’Arnaud opted to have Tommy John surgery and Plawecki’s hand has taken longer to heal than expected, things have gone quite differently for this Mets team with the new catching tandem of Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido.

Whereas the Plawecki/d’Arnaud tandem was at least passable offensively, Lobaton/Nido have not.  Combined, Lobaton and Nido have hit .164/.269/.218 with a double, triple, and four RBI.

While we should be cautioned not to rely upon things like catcher ERA or results in small sample sizes, the Mets pitching staff has had a 5.30 ERA.  Surprisingly, the walks have come slightly down to a 3.0 BB/9 while the strikeouts have remained at a 9.9 K/9.

More troubling, the Mets who got off to a 10-1 start have gone 7-9 with their new catching duo.

There are many reasons for the difference in records including a natural regression from a team that started the season 10-1.  Really, no one believed the Mets were going to go 147-15 for the full season.

And the catching situation has nothing to do with Amed Rosario regressing, Michael Conforto not hitting for power, or Adrian Gonzalez not contributing anywhere near what the Mets expected.  Still, these catchers are part of a black hole the Mets have in the bottom of their lineup.

The Mets have also had two bad bullpen meltdowns with Lobaton behind the plate.  The first one was the Nationals six run 8th inning.  It was a complete meltdown, and no one quite knew how to stop it from happening.  Not Mickey Callaway.  Not Dave Eiland.  Not Lobaton.

The second one, much smaller in scale was the Mets blowing a 3-0 lead to the Braves.  Lobaton was on for the two run eighth, and Nido was there for the two run ninth.

Maybe these meltdowns were coincidences.  It’s possible Matt Harvey would have regressed the way he has anyway.  We’ve seen enough of Steven Matz to know we don’t know what he’s going to provide.  AJ Ramos and Jerry Blevins always had difficulty with walks.  The list goes on and on.

Whatever the case, the one thing that is apparent, even if this stretch is not completely the fault of either Lobaton or Nido, the Mets miss their catchers.  Unfortunately, d’Arnaud is gone for the season, and he may never suit up for the Mets again.  As for Plawecki, he’s still a few weeks away.  Seeing how the Mets are performing in his absence, he cannot get back here soon enough.

Mets Spahn And Sain And Pray for Rain

Back in 1948, Gerald Hern of The Boston Post penned a poem, which was shortened, and the words have forever lived on in baseball lore: “Spahn and Sain and Pray for Rain.”

The reason for the poem was not so much a reflection on the Boston Braves staff as a whole, but more of a reflection of the greatness that was Johnny Sain and Warren Spahn.  Both pitchers were aces, and any manager in their right mind would want them pitching more frequently than the rest of their rotation.  And that’s basically what happened with Sain making 39 starts and three relief appearances and Spahn making 35 starts and one relief appearance.

The Braves followed that plan to win the 1948 National League pennant.

Now, in 2018, you have to wonder if the Mets should follow that plan with their own version of Spahn and Sain with Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.

With deGrom and Syndergaard, the Mets have two aces and Cy Young contenders atop their rotation.  After that, at best, you have question marks.

Matt Harvey has been removed from the rotation, and so far, he can’t figure things out in the bullpen.  Steven Matz has been struggling just to get into the fifth inning.  Zack Wheeler had a Spring Training so poor he began the year in the minors, and after two strong starts for the Mets this year, he reminded you of that guy again in his last start.  Finally, Jason Vargas, the guy who was supposed to be an innings eater, got lit up by the worst hitting team in baseball in the ultimate pitchers park.

Seeing what has happened to the once vaunted Mets rotation, they are now in Spahn and Sain territory.  The question is what should the quip be.  Here are some ideas.

  • Thor and Jake and Pray for an Earthquake
  • Jake and Thor and Can’t Watch Anymore
  • Jake and Thor and the Revolving Door
  • Thor and Jake and Oh for God’s Sake
  • Thor and Jake And Who is on the Take?
  • Jake and Syndergaard Followed By Batters Going Yard
  • Thor and deGrom And The Rest Bomb

Personally, I like the first one as it encapsulates both an event which would cause a game cancellation, and it also conveys the disaster the third, fourth, fifth, and now sixth starters have been to start the season.

 

Matz Bad Again In Mets Loss

Well, the rotation problem which surfaced when the team had to move Matt Harvey to the bullpen has reached near crisis after another terrible Steven Matz start resulting in a Mets 9-1 loss.

Strange thing is Matz had been looking good retiring the first four batters, and the light hitting Kolten Wong, the only lefty in the Cardinals lineup, strode to the plate.

He’d hit the ball up middle, and Wilmer Flores couldn’t make the bare-hand play. Michael Wacha bunted, Matz made a terrible throw, and Flores didn’t come off the base thereby allowing Wong to get to third.

That was the first of three Mets errors between the third and fourth.

Like other Mets meltdowns, we saw runs being walked in and safety squeezes where runs score easily. At the end of it Matz didn’t get out of the fourth.

Matz’s final line was 3.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, and 3 K.

Matz was victimized by poor defense, but he was also victimized by poor pitching. Time and again, when he had a chance to make a big pitch, he didn’t. It should leave the Mets wondering what to do with his rotation spot.

Maybe that spot could go to Corey Oswalt.

The rookie pitcher, who was last year’s Eastern League Pitcher of the Year, came in and did yeoman’s work.

He entered into a bases loaded jam with one out, and if not for an uncharacteristic Todd Frazier error, he would’ve limited the damage to one run. As it stood, he limited the damage to two runs.

Mostly, Oswalt saved the Mets bullpen by pitching the final 4.2 innings, and he pitched well yielding just two runs on two hits. He’d walk none and strike out four.

Arguably, he’s earned another look, which is more than you can say about Harvey or Matz right now.

Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera was held out of the game with an injury. Jay Bruce delivered the Mets lone run with a third inning RBI single.