Steven Matz

Blame Sandy Alderson, Not Mickey Callaway

In a scathing article from David Lennon of Newsday set to take Mickey Callaway to task for the Mets recent poor play ultimately concluding that under Callaway’s 57 game tenure as a manager, the Mets are, “A lot of talk, accomplishing nothing.”

Really, it was full of quick barbs and cheap shots like this gem:

So after two more losses, one lousy run scored in the last 24 innings and a pair of Little League-quality blunders in Sunday’s sweep-completing 2-0 loss to the Cubs, we’re wondering what Mickey Callaway has planned next for the Mets.

A how-to seminar on the basics of baseball? A weeklong retreat to restore all of this depleted self-esteem? Maybe a clubhouse visit by Tony Robbins?

This is just emblematic of how Callaway, who is in a no-win situation is now fair game for mocking, ridicule, and blame.  What is interesting is these downright insults really overlook what Callaway has accomplished in his brief tenure.

Jacob deGrom has gone to a level we had never seen him pitch.  For a Mets organization who looked at Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as enigmas, Callaway has helped turn them into terrific relievers.  Speaking of enigmas, the Mets have recently seen Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz turn a corner.  It that holds true this rotation will be every bit as formidable as we all hoped it would be.

Offensively, Brandon Nimmo has gone from fourth outfielder to a terrific lead0ff hitter who leads all National League outfielders in OBP and OPS.  Amed Rosario has been making continued strides.  After beginning his career hitting .245/.275/.371 with a 27.6% strikeout rate, since May 1st, Rosario is an improved .274/.291/.415 with a 16.4% strikeout rate.  It may not seem like much, but it’s a stark improvement.

We have also seen the Mets go dumpster diving for players like Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, and Devin Mesoraco.  Somehow, these players have been much improved with the Mets than their prior stops, and they have salvaged their MLB careers.

The obvious question from here is if all this is true than why are the Mets 27-30 and in fourth place after such a terrific start?

Much of that answer, i.e. the blame, is attributable to the Mets front office.

Despite time and again facing the same injury issues over and over again, the team AGAIN mishandled a Yoenis Cespedes leg injury, and they are having Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera play poorly through their own injuries.  What’s hysterical about this is Sandy Alderson actually utter the words, “Honestly, sometimes I think we’re a little too cautious with how we approach injuries.”

He’s also made a number of blunders with the in-season managing of this roster.

Consider this.  After short start, the Mets designated P.J. Conlon in a series of roster moves to help bring up three fresh arms including Scott Copeland.  After Copeland pitched 1.1 scoreless in his only appearance, the Mets called up Jose Lobaton and his -0.6 WAR for the intended purpose of allowing Kevin Plawecki and his .198/.282/.288 split against left-handed pitchers at first base to face Mike Montgomery

Meanwhile, a Mets organization loses Conlon as the Dodgers claimed him, and a Mets organization who has been wringing their hands to find a second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, looked on as Buddy Baumann get lit up for four runs on three hits and two walks in the 14th inning of a game the Cubs had not scored a run in over three hours.

The front office’s decision making gets worse and worse the more you look at it.

For some reason, they insist on keeping Jose Reyes on the roster.  This, coupled with the aforementioned Gonzalez and Bautista signings, is emblematic of an organization more willing to trust in done veterans reclaiming their past glory than giving a young player like Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Peter Alonso, or even Gavin Cecchini (before his injury) a chance.

This was one of the reasons why the Mets signed Bruce to a three year deal this offseason.  No, this was not insurance against Michael Conforto‘s shoulder.  Three year $39 million deals are not that.  Rather, this signing showed: (1) the Mets wanted a Cespedes-Conforto-Bruce outfield for the next three years; and (2) the team did not have any faith Nimmo could handle playing everyday at the MLB level on even a limited basis.

Now, the Mets what looks to be an injured $39 million albatross in right, who doesn’t even know to call off a back peddling second baseman with a runner on third.

That’s bad defense, which is something the Mets actively welcome with all of their personnel decisions.  Really, the team has spent the past few seasons looking to plug non-center fielders in center while playing players out of position all across the infield.

Despite what the Lennon’s of the world will tell us, the poor defense and lack of basic fundamentals isn’t Callaway’s doing.  No, it is the result of an organizational philosophy.

The Bruce signing has such short and long term implications.  With his salary, will the Mets bench him instead of Nimmo or Gonzalez when Cespedes comes back healthy.  Will the organization let his salaries in future years block Alonso or Dominic Smith at first base?  Mostly, will his escalating salaries be another excuse why the team rolls the dice and gives a player like Jason Vargas $8 million instead of just going out and signing the player who really fills a need?

Sure, there are plenty of reasons to attack Callaway.  His bullpen management has been suspect at times.  Lately, he’s been managing more out of fear than attacking the game to try to get the win.  Really, this is part of a learning curve for a first time manager in a new league.

It’s a learning curve that could have been helped by a long time veteran National League manager.  Instead, Sandy Alderson thought it best to hire a Gary Disarcina to be the bench coach because who better to help a young first time manager in a new league than a player who has spent his entire playing, front office, and minor league managerial career in the American League?

Really, that’s just one of several examples of how Alderson has set up both Callaway and this entire Mets team to fail in 2018.

Cubs Steal Home And Game From Matz

It’s exceedingly hard to put this game on Steven Matz. Arguably, doing so is completely absurd, and yet in some ways, the win/loss rules do that.

Through six innings, Matz allowed just two hits while striking out seven. With him locked in a pitcher’s duel with Jon Lester, and the Mets recent bullpen performances, you certainly understood why Mickey Callaway sent Matz out the the seventh.

Javier Baez and Willson Contreras led off the inning with back-to-back singles to at up runners with the corners with no outs. That’s when the Cubs put a set play into effect:

https://twitter.com/cubs/status/1003350544209940480?s=21

On that lazy throw to first, Baez immediately broke for home giving Adrian Gonzalez no chance of getting him at the plate.

While the natural inclination may be to jump on Matz, this was just the Cubs being ultra aggressive and smart. Somethings you just get beat.

Then, there are times you beat yourself.

On Gonzalez’s throw home, Contreras took second, and he’d move to third on a Kyle Schwarber single. Ben Zobrist, who just killed the Mets in this series, hit a pop up to shallow right THAT HAD NO BUSINESS SCORING A RUN.

NO BUSINESS!!!!!!!

But of course, the hobbled Jay Bruce allowed second baseman Luis Guillorme call him off. With Guillorme not being in the same strong position to make a throw home as a charging right fielder, Contreras not only took off, but he also scored.

Of course, Bruce would also fail to deliver at the plate as well.

The Mets had threatened immediately with Brandon Nimmo and Jose Bautista each drawing walks to begin the bottom of the first. Neither would score with Bruce being the first of three straight Mets to strikeout as Lester got out of that jam.

The Mets couldn’t get anything going again until the fifth when they loaded the bases with two outs. The rally would end on a Gonzalez ground out.

Ultimately, the Mets had no shot to win this one as they accumulated just three hits while getting shutout in this 2-0 loss. They’ve now scored just one run over their last 23 innings.

That’s borderline noncompetitive. Borderline.

Game Notes: Todd Frazier and Anthony Swarzak will be activated before Tuesday’s game.

Braves Walk Off Against Overly Taxed, Struggling Mets Pen

Well, with the way the bullpen has been blowing games, and the Mets poor defense, you can understand why the Mets starters are going to have finger issues.

Those finger issues manifested themselves first with Noah Syndergaard landing on the disabled list with a strained ligament in his pitching finger.

Then, during tonight’s game, when the Mets so desperately needed some length from Steven Matz, he departed after three scoreless innings due to his own finger injury.

Long term this further complicates matters with Jason Vargas starting on three days rest tomorrow with Seth Lugo being limited to 50 pitches in a start the following day.

Short term, the Mets had a ballgame to win.

Fortunately, by the time Matz departed, the Mets already had a 4-0 lead due to the Mets roughing up Anibal Sanchez in his first start coming off the disabled list.

The scoring began courtesy of Brandon Nimmo acting like a true leadoff hitter. He led off the game with a hit by pitch, stole a base, and he scored on a Jose Bautista double.

Nimmo would start the next rally with a one out base hit putting him in base before Asdrubal Cabrera‘s first homer of the game giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.

The less grew to 4-0 in the fourth after an Adrian Gonzalez solo shot. If you’re keeping score at home, the Braves paid for Bautista and Gonzalez to help beat them today.

With Matz’s injury, Paul Sewald had as many pitches as he needed before starting the fourth. You can never be too sure how well a pitcher warms in those situations, and you question it with how Sewald struggled in the fourth.

Charlie Culberson hit an RBI single playing Tyler Flowers, who led off the inning with a double. On the play, Nimmo made a very poor throw to the plate. It was about the only black mark on another wise terrific season.

A Dansby Swanson double set up second and third with one out, and with Devin Mesoraco whiffing on a pitch, Culbertson scored making it 4-2 Mets.

Sewald was really struggling to find the zone and was fighting it. Somehow, he made it through the rest of the inning unscathed, and he followed with a scoreless fifth.

After that, the Mets got some much needed insurance runs off Matt Wisler. First, Cabrera hit his second homer of the game in the fifth.

Then, in the sixth, Nimmo doubled home Amed Rosario from first. On the play, Rosario flew around the bases and slid in just ahead of Flowers’ tag.

Unfortunately, that 6-2 lead did not stand.

In Jerry Blevins second inning of work, all he needed to do was get through the Braves two best left-handed hitters, the job for which he is paid, to get out of the inning.

Instead, Freddie Freeman continued his dominance of Blevins with a single, and he would score on an ensuing Nick Markakis double.

Jacob Rhame came on to bail Blevins out of the seventh, but with a depleted bullpen, no one was on hand to bail him out in the eighth.

After a run had already scored on a Preston Tucker RBI groundout, Ender Inciarte hit a two RBI triple Michael Conforto couldn’t get but took a bad route to the ball.

Rhame rallied to strike out Ozzie Albies, and after intentionally walking Freeman, he got Markakis to pop out to end the inning.

The game was tied at 6-6 heading into the ninth, and the Mets would squander a golden opportunity against Dan Winkler.

Rosario led off the inning with a single, and Nimmo was hit by a pitch. What ensued was a Cabrera strikeout, Luis Guillorme pinch hit fielder’s choice, and a Conforto strikeout.

This put the game in Gerson Bautista‘s hands. This is a pitcher with all of 22.0 innings above Single-A. With the bullpen already taxed before this game, Mickey Callaway really had little choice.

That not having little other choice led to Johan Camargo ending the game with a walk off homer to give the Braves a 7-6 win.

This marks the second time in this series the Braves walked one off against the Mets. With the way the bullpen is pitching of late, it may not be the last.

Game Notes: For some reason Jose Reyes started. Predictably, he was 0-4 with a strikeout.

Nimmo Brewing Up Rallies In Mets Win

After scoring just four runs in a three game series against the worst pitching staff in the National League, they had to hope playing in a hitter’s park like Miller Park would rejuvenate the offense.

It didn’t work a few weeks back with a road trip to Cincinnati and Philadelphia, but tonight with Zach Davies, who just came off the DL, starting for the Brewers, it worked tonight.

It worked mostly because Brandon Nimmo, who was named as the everyday leadoff hitter by Mickey Callaway, was phenomenal. On the night, he was 4-4 with two runs, two doubles, and a walk. Going back to yesterday’s game, Nimmo reached base safely in eight straight at-bats.

Nimmo really got everything started with a leadoff triple in the third, and he would subsequently score with Wilmer Flores hitting a one out sacrifice fly to deep right.

The Mets “breakout” came in the third, and it started with an Amed Rosario leadoff single, and Nimmo followed with his first double of the night. Needing a big hit, the Mets were fortunate their best hitter this year, Asdrubal Cabrera, came to the plate, and he delivered an RBI double.

This chased Davies, and the Brewers brought in Dan Jennings to limit the damage. He’d get out of the inning, but not before allowing Flores to hit an RBI single expanding the lead to 4-0.

The scoring was capped in the seventh when Michael Conforto scored on a when Devin Mesoraco RBI double.

The five runs the Mets scored were more than enough for Steven Matz, who had his most encouraging start of the year.

It wasn’t encouraging because his six scoreless innings were so dominant. In fact, they really weren’t. He was in trouble all night long.

He had just one 1-2-3 inning, and he had runners in scoring position with less than two outs in the second and third innings.

Both times, Matz executed his pitches and got through the inning. Sure, you could focus on how poorly the Brewers have been against left-handed pitching. However, the Brewers are a good team, and Matz did the job.

Paul Sewald pitched the next two before Jacob Rhame pitched a scoreless ninth securing the 5-0 win.

Game Notes: Yoenis Cespedes and Todd Frazier took batting practice before the game. There is still no timetable for their beginning rehab assignments.

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Should Lugo Start?

The Mets once vaunted rotation seemingly has three holes in it.  Steven Matz has failed to pitch at least five innings in half of his starts.  Against teams that are not the Miami Marlins, Zack Wheeler is 1-3 with a 6.97 ERA.  Jason Vargas finally lasted five innings in his last start, and those five scoreless innings lowered his ERA from 13.86 to 9.87.

With each poor start, there is a renewed call for Seth Lugo to join the Mets rotation.  To a certain extent, those fans will get their wish when Lugo gets a spot start next week.  However, the question still remains about whether he should be in the bullpen or the rotation.  In this edition of the Mets Blogger Roundtable, we tackle that exact question:

Michael Baron (MLB)

It’s not that simple, especially without having Anthony Swarzak at their disposal. Right now, they don’t have an effective reliever – other than Lugo – against left-handed hitters. AJ Ramos has struggled as well. Lugo is one of three relievers they can count on to get the ball to Jeurys Familia, and because the rotation is so thin, he continues to come up aces in extended relief outings. Also, Lugo seems to have found a niche in relief, knows how to get outs in short stints utilizing a heavier fastball and that curve, proving to be a huge asset for them in this role. But, there is a need in the rotation – starters not named Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard have an ERA over 6 (as of 5/20) and are struggling to throw even 4 innings consistently. So, they might have to rob Peter to pay Paul at some point in Lugo’s situation.

Ed Leyro (Studious Metsimus)

If Anthony Swarzak can be as effective as Lugo has been when he returns from the disabled list, then and only then should Lugo be considered for a role in the starting rotation. Otherwise, why mess with a good thing? There’s no guarantee Lugo will be able to pitch as effectively when he has to pitch five-plus innings as a starter. It’s up to Wheeler, Matz and Vargas to step up their game so Lugo can continue to be at the top of his in the bullpen.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

Moving a pitcher whose primary flaw was the inability to get batters out a third time through the order from a role where he’s more effective because he doesn’t have to do that would not seem to strengthen either the rotation or the bullpen.

Breanna Susa (MMO, That Mets Chick)

He’s a vital part of the bullpen, but if the rotation continues to struggle I would want him in the rotation. But only when Swarzak comes back, so they aren’t short handed in the bullpen.

Mets Daddy

Ultimately, the Mets are going to need to try something.  Ideally, you would give a llook to Corey Oswalt or Chris Flexen in the rotation, especially with a doubleheader scheduled for Monday.  It should be noted Oswalt had a terrific start yesterday in Las Vegas, and Flexen’s last start in Vegas was great as well before he was called up to languish in the Mets bullpen.

Really, the Mets need to try something here because unless the Mets are facing the Marlins, neither Wheeler nor Vargas has been cutting it.  Who knows what will get Matz going again?  In the end, Lugo may just be the best available starting pitching option, and the Mets are going to have to replace him with one of the aforementioned pitchers in the bullpen.  While that may sound risky, it should be noted Lugo has been a much different pitcher in the bullpen than he has in the rotation.  Maybe the same will hold true for Wheeler, Matz, etc.

While what the Mets should do with Lugo remains uncertain, one thing that remains certain is the Mets have a great fanbase and group of bloggers who regularly write about the team.  I encourage you to read their work in the attached links.

Mesoraco Exactly What The Mets Needed

In many ways, Devin Mesoraco proved to be the perfect return for Matt Harvey – former first round draft pick and All Star whose career has been completely altered by injuries, and he has now been surpassed by others.  While we don’t know if Mesoraco wore out his welcome in Cincinnati, we do know that like Harvey, he needed a change of scenery to at least see if it could rejuvenate his career.

In that way, New York was the perfect place for Mesoraco.

Right off the bat, with Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido, the one thing the Mets were able to provide was playing time.  With playing time comes opportunity, and after that it is just a matter of whether you take advantage of it or not.

Another thing in Mesoraco’s favor was the lack of expectation.  That’s not just because Mesoraco hit .195/.291/.318 in 316 plate attempts between 2015 and the trade.  No, it is because Lobaton was hitting .152/.250/.239 before he was designated for assignment, and Nido is hitting .154/.214/.179.  Simply put, even is Mesoraco was the bad version of himself, he’s an offensive upgrade for this Mets team.

He’s also an upgrade behind the plate.  From a pitch framing perspective, he’s a better catcher than Lobaton, and he’s on par with Kevin Plawecki.  Since a tough start to his career, with the nadir coming in 2014, he has made significant strides blocking balls in the dirt, and he is now quite capable to good in that perspective.

Perhaps it is a change of scenery, consistent playing time, playing for a better team, or the limitations of a small sample size, but Mesoraco certainly has looked like a much improved player since coming to the Mets.  In eight games, he is hitting .200/.333/.600 with a double, three homers, and five RBI.

More than anything, his play behind and at the plate shows early indications of a player who is rejuvenated.  This doesn’t mean Mesoraco will return to his All Star form.  The injuries may limit him from ever being that again.  However, we see for the first time since those injuries how good a catcher Mesoraco can still be if given the chance, and right now, the Mets are being rewarded for taking this chance.

There is a tangible effect too.  In one of the most bizarre stats you’ll ever see, the Reds were 0-18 in games Mesoraco played this season.  Since coming to the Mets, the team is 5-2 in games he has started.  Part of that is how much his bat is a big upgrade over what the Mets had.  Another part is how well he has handled the pitching staff.

As noted by Wayne Randazzo, the Mets pitchers are 5-2 with a 2.03 ERA in games Mesoraco has started.  Keep in mind, those games include games started by Jason Vargas, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler as well as a bullpen game when Jacob deGrom couldn’t pitch past the first due to a high pitch count.

Overall, the Mets are seeing tangible results from the significant upgrade Mesoraco has provided.  They are playing better baseball, and they are winning games.

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.