One thing that has become abundantly clear about Yoenis Cespedes in his short time with the Mets is he is prone to leg issues. It’s really not any fault of his own. He does all he can do each and every offseason to address it. After a 2016 season where he dealt with a quad injury, he changed things up, and he went heavy on the Barwis Method. Unfortuantely, it didn’t prevent him from having any leg issues this season.
It may be hard for Mets fans to admit, but Cespedes is far from invincible. The player that dominated in August 2015 could go down any minute with a leg issue. Knowing that, it should be incumbent upon the Mets, who are obviously aware of the issue, to act with precaution with Cespedes. That goes double when you consider Cespedes could very well be the most important player on this team.
Last year, Cespedes was hobbled by the quad. The Mets response to his injury was for him to skip the All Star Game. He did not play in a game for a stretch of 9 games. He returned to the lineup and hit a very un-Cespedes like .205/.302/.318 in 14 games before the team finally acknowledged he had to go on the disabled list. Essentially, the Mets messed around trying to get the bare minimum from Cespedes for about a month before they realized the leg injury wasn’t going to get any better, and he wasn’t going to be able to perform to the normal Cespedes standards.
AFTER THAT, you would think the Mets would treat Cespedes’ leg injury different this year. They saw how it affected the way he played last year. The disabled list has gone from 15 to 10 games meaning Cespedes could have been available five games sooner this year. Before Thursday’s game, he was winching while taking batting practice. Despite this, the Mets ran him out on the field. Putting it plainly, it was a dumb decision.
We all know what happened from there. Cespedes hit an opposite field double, and he aggravated his injury approaching second base. The best hitter on a team struggling offensively had to be helped off the field. At this point, no one knows when, or even if, he will return. All of this so Cespedes could play 13 innings after the Mets discovered he had a hamstring injury.
Every game Cespedes is unavailable to play is another game the Mets offense is compromised. More than any other player, the Mets needed to protect Cespedes, and they didn’t. What is infuriating is Terry Collins‘ comments after the game, where he said, “He did all the things that were required to get in the lineup. It just happens. It’s easy to say you should have put him on the DL. Well you know what? Every time you turn around for every little thing, if you keep putting guys on the DL, we can’t run anybody out there.” (Mike Puma, New York Post).
I’m not sure how a player who winces while swinging the bat during batting practice “did all the things required to get in the lineup.” At this point, it is fair to question is all that was necessary for Cespedes to get into the lineup was his ability to put on the correct uniform combination for the day.
And yes, when you have injured players, you put them on the disabled list. Certainly, you protect someone like Cespedes who is vitally important to your team. We saw it just last year! When Cespedes has an injury like this to his legs, he’s compromised as a hitter. You’re not getting Cespedes out there. It’s an unfortunate truth. You’d be better off letting him sit 10 games than allowing what happened yesterday to happen. Because the Mets did this, they got 13 innings out of Cespedes, which in turn might have cost them a couple of months for Cespedes.
Once again, this team has completely botched an injury situation. This is one everyone. It’s on Cespedes for not asking out of the lineup. It’s on Collins for putting him in the lineup. It’s on Ray Ramirez for being Ray Ramirez. It’s on Sandy Alderson, who is ultimately the one responsible in these situations. Because none of these people made the right decision, the Mets are in real trouble now. And all they got in return for this unnecessary risk was 13 innings.
Someone forgot to tell Gsellman.
In a long first inning, Gsellman did not get a batter out until he faced Dansby Swanson, the eighth batter in the lineup. At that point, the Braves were already up 5-0.
In that brutal first inning, Gsellman allowed walks to Ender Inciarte (lead-off) and Freddie Freeman. Right-handed batters Brandon Phillips, Matt Kemp, and Tyler Flowers (double) took advantage of Gsellman living on the outside corner by going opposite field for their hits.
The defense wasn’t much help either. Gsellman pulled Jay Bruce way off the bag on an Adonis Garcia dribbler. Yoenis Cespedes had a chance to nail Freeman at the plate on a bad send by Ron Washington, but Cespedes’ throw was well up the third base line.
Before any of this, Inciarte and Phillips nearly pulled off a double steal. Travis d’Arnaud‘s throw was late, but he got credited with a caught stealing as Phillips overslid the bag. Had that not happened, the first inning could’ve been much worse.
Not that it mattered much anyway. When Julio Teheran and his 2.21 ERA against the Mets gets to bat before he pitches, the game is over. This one was.
Worse yet, it was a sloppy game from the Mets. The team had three errors before they got their first hit.
The Mets had their chance in the fourth loading the bases with no out. All they got was one run off a Neil Walker sacrifice fly. The rally ended after that with Curtis Granderson and d’Arnaud popping out.
What is even more maddening during that rally was Terry Collins having Fernando Salas warm up in the pen in case Gsellman’s spot in the lineup came up. Why Collins would warm up his seventh inning guy as opposed to Hansel Robles, who has the ability to eat some innings.
With d’Arnaud making the last out, Gsellman went back out for the fifth. Three hits, one run, and no outs later, Collins was forced to go to Josh Edgin, who did a terrific job getting out of the jam.
Don’t worry, after Edgin pitched 1.2 good innings, Collins brought in Salas to help Edgin get out of the two on two out jam. Nothing like taking a relieved on pace for 90+ appearances and having him warm up twice in a game. Even better, Salas stayed on to pitch the seventh.
Speaking of overworked pitchers, Jerry Blevins pitched as well. He had to bail out Salas who ran into trouble himself allowing three hits and two runs to make it 8-1. This led to the overworked Robles coming in.
The Mets moved some deck chairs, scoring a run in the seventh, but at 8-2 who cares?
We can get on the Mets offense all we want, and they deserve it. However, Gsellman cannot give up five runs in the first inning. Even if he did, he needs to give the Mets some length. Just a bad loss all around.
Game Notes: At 8-12, the Mets are four games under .500 for the first time since the end of the 2014 season. The Mets have the fewest at-bats with RISP in baseball. Bruce was 2-2 with two walks.
One of the ongoing jokes during yesterday’s rain out was that despite the rain out, Terry Collins had Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas warming up in the bullpen in case the game started on time. As with most jokes, this one did have a twinge of truth to it.
So far this season, the Mets bullpen has been going on an unsustainable rate. Mike Marshall holds the single season record for appearances by a reliever with his making 106 appearances for the 1974 Dodgers. The Mets record for appearances is Pedro Feliciano with 92 appearances in 2010. This was the reason why Gary Cohen dubbed him Perpetual Pedro. Interesting enough, Felicano’s record is tied for fourth all-time with Marshall, who had 92 appearances for the 1973 Expos. Right now, the Mets bullpen is set to challenge these records at an alarming rate.
Blevins is on a pace to make 102 appearances this season. Hansel Robles is on pace to make 94 appearances this season. Addison Reed and Salas are on pace to make 85 appearances this season. Josh Smoker is on pace to make 77 appearances this season. Obviously, this would be career highs for each of these pitchers.
If they are to keep up this pace, Blevins would be second all-time for single season appearances by a reliever, and Robles’ 94 appearances would tie the now standing second place position. Looking over the record list, no one has made more than 74 appearances in a season over the last five years. The bullpen’s usage is unprecedented in terms of how many appearances these relievers are making. It is utterly amazing that the current pace of these relievers would put them at the top five appearances made by a reliever in single season over the past five seasons.
When you combine the appearances with the amount of times these pitchers warm up, they are going to be on fumes. Certainly, we have seen some diminishing returns already from Salas. The rest of the bullpen may not be too far behind him. This bullpen needs a rest and the subsequent rain out helped. However, they need more help.
They may receive some help now that Jeurys Familia has returned from his suspension. Certainly, he is the reliever Collins’ trusts most, and he will likely be the one Collins over uses next. More than Familia, the bullpen can use some length from their starting pitching.
Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, and Jacob deGrom are the only relievers averaging at least six innings per start. Zack Wheeler and Robert Gsellman are averaging just over five innings per start. This means every night the bullpen needs to pick up at least 3-4 innings. With the Mets having already played four extra inning games to start the season, it has been much more than that.
The relative lack of length from the bullpen is understood. Harvey and deGrom are coming back from season ending surgeries last season. Wheeler has not pitched since 2014. Gsellman has not thrown more than 159.2 innings in a season. Really, you’re only workhorse right now is Syndergaard.
However, sooner or later something is going to have to give. The starters are going to have to give more length, or Collins is going to have to trust some of the other guys in the bullpen more. It’s understandable he hasn’t when Josh Edgin is a LOOGY with a 3.68 ERA, and his former long man, Rafael Montero, managed to get worse. The long story short here is someone has to step up. Otherwise, the bullpen may not last very long.
If we’re being honest, this isn’t the greatest Mets lineup even when the team is healthy. It’s full of guys who certainly can all hit the ball out of the ballpark, but it’s also full of players with poor on base percentages. When you lose Lucas Duda and Yoenis Cespedes to injury the problems become even more exacerbated.
Now, the Mets have the pitching to win games no matter who is in the lineup. We saw that in 2015 as the pitching and Curtis Granderson kept the team afloat playing near .500 ball until reinforcements arrived.
In those games the Mets did win, they needed their pitcher’s to be great. At the state the Mets offense is now, the 2017 Mets are back to that point. Yesterday, Jacob deGrom was good.
He was mowing the Nationals down for the first three innings until his wildness caught up to him in the fourth. A Daniel Murphy single was bracketed by walks to Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon loading the bases.
The Mets got a bit lucky as the Nationals third base coach sent Murphy on the ensuing RBI single by Matt Wieters.
In the fifth, the Nationals got to deGrom again. Adam Eaton and Trea Turner hit back-to-back one out doubles to make it 2-0. After Harper was just told to go to first base (essentially what the new intentional walk rule is), Ryan Zimmerman hit an RBI single to make it 3-0.
The Nationals wouldn’t score again in the sixth thanks in large part to Granderson:
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 22, 2017
After getting the first two out, deGrom got in trouble again issuing yet another walk, this time to Eaton, and then allowing a single to Turner. At this point, Terry Collins turned to Josh Edgin to get the Mets out of the jam. Somewhat surprisingly, he did by striking out Harper.
Overall, it was a tough day for deGrom who issued a career high six walks. He was obviously ramped up early getting it up to 98 MPH and recording a lot of strikeouts. The early adrenaline wore off, and deGrom was left throwing 94 MPH and missing his spots. This was an uncharacteristic start for deGrom. His final line was 5.2 innings, eight hits, three runs, three earned, six walks, and 10 strikeouts.
Given the current state of the Mets offense, 3-0 might as well have been 30-0. This game was no different.
For the second time this season, the Mets offense was no-hit through five innings. This time, it was done by Gio Gonzalez. Though the Mets offense looked overmatched and lifeless, they would break through in the sixth.
Michael Conforto didn’t help the narrative he can’t hit left-handed pitching by striking out and going hitless on the day. Where Conforto didn’t come through, a hobbled Asdrubal Cabrera did hitting an RBI single to make it 3-1. That was as close as the Mets would get.
Jay Bruce and Neil Walker had back-to-back strikeouts ending the Mets only rally of the game. The offense then made a struggling Nationals bullpen look like the 1990 Nasty Boys.
Blake Treinen, Enny Romero, and Koda Glover did their best Norm Charlton–Rob Dibble–Randy Myers impersonation to slam the door shut on the 3-1 victory.
With that, the Mets are 8-10 and are in fourth place 4.5 back. They’re having trouble beating the Phillies and can’t even hit a poor Nationals bullpen. It’s still April, so it’s still early, but things do not look good right now.
Game Notes: Cabrera tried to leg out an infield single in the fourth. He was noticeably hobbled, and he came out to take his position right before the first pitch of the fifth inning. For the second day in a row, an injured Yoenis Cespedes informed the team he was too injured to pinch hit. Once again, Travis d’Arnaud was limited to pinch hitting duty. T.J. Rivera got the start at third base over a healthy Reyes. He was 0-3.
There was every chance that the Mets defense was going to suffer tonight. Jose Reyes isn’t a third baseman. Michael Conforto is miscast as a CF. With Lucas Duda (elbow) and Wilmer Flores (infection) out, Jay Bruce was really miscast as a first baseman.
After the Phillies had already plated a run off a Tommy Joseph RBI double, he would move to second on a Noah Syndergaard wild pitch. It was in the dirt, but Rene Rivera did a terrible job on the ball. He tried to backhand a ball between his legs and didn’t get down. Terrible.
Freddy Galvis “singled” to Bruce and advanced to second on a “Bruce throwing error.” Look at what really happened:
— MetsKevin11 (@MetsKevin11) April 20, 2017
Walker ran to the bag and stopped despite the ball apparently being theory to him.
The throw not only allowed a run to score (it was anyway), but it put Galvis in scoring position. He’d then score on an Andrew Knapp ground rule double.
Just like that, it was 3-0 Phillies after two.
The Mets would get one of those runs back led by a Reyes single and stolen base. He’d score on a two out Rivera RBI single.
Syndergaard plunked Daniel Nava to lead off the inning, but he did get the double play ball he needed. However, Cabrera booted the Odubel Herrera grounder. Nava scored on a Maikel Franco RBI double to left.
On the double, Cespedes made a great throw to Walker, who literally fell over himself trying to make the tag. Right there, the Mets had already given away three outs in the inning.
Fortunately, Syndergaard limited the damage allowing just one more run on an Aaron Altherr RBI groundout.
Syndergaard was not at his best, but he deserved a much better fate. Technically, only three of the runs allowed were earned. However, watching the game and the shoddy defense, only the first run was really on him. Syndergaard’s final line was seven innings, seven hits, five runs, three earned, no walks, and 10 strikeouts.
While his team wouldn’t help him, Syndergaard helped his team by pitching that extra inning going to 114 pitches.
Still, the team couldn’t rally to get him off the hook or get a win. It appeared there was a chance after the Walker three run homer to center in the third inning. It was his first extra base hit off a right-handed pitcher all year.
However, at 5-4 that’s as close as the Mets would get. To add insult to injury, Cespedes left the game after the fifth. In that inning, he pulled up lame on what was a Bruce 3-6-1 double play.
Fernando Salas couldn’t keep the Phillies at bay in the eighth. He first allowed a lead off homer to Franco. He then allowed back-to-back singles to Altherr and Joseph leading Terry Collins to pull him for Josh Edgin.
Edgin would be the lone bright spot on the day getting three straight outs punctuated by striking out Andres Blanco.
Even with that, there was no momentum in what was a disappointing 6-4 loss. The Mets are banged up and .500 with the Nationals coming into town. This is exactly where you don’t want to be.
Game Recap: Juan Lagares was the back-up infielder on the night due to all the injuries. It didn’t happen, but he got into the game with the Cespedes injury. Jeurys Familia made his first appearance since coming back from suspension. His rust showed with him needing 30 pitches to get out of the ninth.
Through his first 14 games of the season, Jose Reyes is hitting an insanely putrid .100/.182/.140 with no stolen bases. Even if you track the three year plus decline Reyes is currently on in his career, this streak is completely and utterly unexpected. Over an offseason, Reyes has gone from being a decent stop gap for David Wright to a player hoping he could put up Eric Campbell type numbers.
Given his .267/.326/.443 batting line last year, you could reasonably expect for Reyes to eventually snap out of it and become at least a league average hitter. There are stats you could point to to provide hope for that conclusion. For example Reyes BABIP is only .139 which is well off of his career mark of .310. It’s also off the .306 mark he posted from 2014 – 2016. Couple that with Reyes’ speed, you would expect him to at least leg out a few hits.
However, there is an underlying reason why Reyes’ numbers and his BABIP are so low this season. Reyes has become a different hitter at the plate. Now, 14 games is a small sample size, but let’s compare some of Reyes’ numbers this year to previous seasons.
For his career, Reyes has generally been a player with low strikeout totals. In his career, Reyes has never struck out more than 82 times in a season, and he has only struck out in just 10.8% of his career plate appearances. This year, Reyes is striking out in 25.5% of his plate appearances. For those looking for some glimmer of hope, Reyes struck out in 17.6% of his plate appearances last year, which is a similarly unacceptable rate.
Unfortunately for Reyes, it is more than just his inability to make contact. According to Fangraphs, in his career, Reyes’ contact is as follows 21.6% soft, 54.0% medium, and 24.4% hard. This year Reyes is making weaker contact hitting 19.4% soft, 63.9% medium, and 16.7% hard. Ultimately, when you make softer contact, you give fielders the ability to make more plays on the ball, which they have this year.
Even more troubling than the severity of the contact is the direction. One of Reyes’ strengths was he was a hitter who used the whole field. According to Fangraphs, his career spray chart is 39.3% pull, 35.1% up the middle, and 25.7% opposite field. This year Reyes has been much more of a pull hitter with him pulling the ball 44.4% of the time, and him hitting it up the middle just 25% of the time. Essentially, Reyes has gone from a player who it was difficulty to shift against to a player susceptible to the shift.
That’s lethal to a player that has typically been a ground ball hitter. For his career, Reyes hits the ball on the ground 43.8% of the time. It’s more exacerbated now with Reyes hitting the ball on the ground 48.6% of the time.
Long story short is Reyes is making it easy on the defense. He’s making weaker contact on the ground, and he’s become more susceptible to the shift.
Yes, it is still early, and this is a small sample size. Certainly, you could argue Reyes hasn’t had much luck this season. However, until Reyes makes some type of adjustment, it’s hard to believe he’s going to become a much better hitter than he is now. It’s harder to imagine he’s capable of staying in the lineup much longer even with Terry Collins bending over backwards to keep him in the lineup.
Last night, the score was tied 2-2 entering the 10th inning. With the heavy bullpen use of his key relievers, Terry Collins was certainly justified in pulling Addison Reed after one inning. However, for some reason, Collins decided the move that best helped the Mets win that game last night was to bring in Rafael Montero. It was the latest incident in what has been a bizarre fascination with him.
There was a time back in 2014 where Montero was regarded as the Mets best pitching prospect. In fact, he was better regarded than Jacob deGrom. Believe it or not, the belief was justifiable. Back then, Montero was a three pitch pitcher that had a fastball he could get into the mid 90s. With that, he had a pretty good change-up and slider. In fact, he still does. However, what set Montero apart back then was he had exceptional control. That control has escaped him, and as a result, he’s not even a shadow of the highly touted prospect.
During his time with the Mets, we have seen Montero get chance after chance after chance. It’s a mixture of his talent, injuries, and just pure stubbornness to move on from him. Last season, Montero was the first player cut from Major League camp in Spring Training. He struggled so much in Triple-A, he was actually demoted to Double-A. However, due to the Mets pitching staff becoming a M*A*S*H* unit, he was called up to the majors. He rewarded their faith by pitching to an 8.05 ERA and a 2.053 WHIP in nine appearances, and somehow, he probably wasn’t even that good.
After that season, he is still somehow with the organization. In the offseason, the Mets had to make multiple 40 man moves to accommodate free agent signings. The Mets would DFA Ty Kelly. In separate deals, they traded both Logan Verrett and Gabriel Ynoa for cash. Each one of these players has either had some measure of major league success, had some value to the team, or had some level of promise.
It’s just not the Mets front office. It’s also Collins. Last night, he had a well rested Sean Gilmartin, and instead he went with Montero. Keep in mind, Gilmartin has had success with the Mets as a long reliever. In 2015, Gilmartin made 50 appearances going 3-2 with a 2.67 ERA and a 1.186 WHIP. That season is better than anything Montero has ever done in the majors.
Arguably, Gilmartin on his worst day is better than what you can expect from Montero. Montero entered the game and did what you expected him to do . . . he lost it. In 0.1 innings, he allowed three hits and four runs. The only out he recorded was on a sacrifice fly hit to the right field wall.
Including last night’s game, Montero has made 30 appearances and 12 starts going 1-7 with a 5.51 ERA and a 1.800 WHIP. On the season, Montero is 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA and a 3.600 WHIP. His BB/9 is an almost impossibly high 10 .8. It is all part of Montero not being the same pitcher the MEts thought he was. It continues the trens of Montero getting worse each and every season.
The Mets shouldn’t even wait for Jeurys Familia to be available on Thursday to send Montero to Triple-A. Send him on the first plane back. Bring up Paul Sewald for a day if you want an extra bullpen arm. If you want to lengthen what is a short bench, call up Matt Reynolds, which as an aside, may not be a bad move considering the poor defensive options the Mets have at third base. Seriously, the Mets should do anything . . . literally anything because anything is better than having to see Montero pitch in another game.
The only run scored off Wheeler was a first inning Odubel Herrera solo home run. From there, Wheeler was far from perfect and battled himself and the Phillies. The second inning was his only 1-2-3 inning.
In the third, Cesar Hernandez singled to lead-off the inning, and he stole second on a horrendous throw by Travis d’Arnaud. The throw was to Neil Walker who wasn’t even the middle infielder covering on the play. Wheeler then issued a walk to Herrera to put runners on first and second with one out.
Wheeler would depart after five innings and 99 pitches. His final line was five innings, four hits, one run, one earned, two walks, and seven strikeouts.
He’d leave on the long side due to a Mets first inning rally.
Michael Conforto, leadoff man extraordinaire, would earn a leadoff walk off Phillies starter Zach Eflin. Yoenis Cespedes then earned a one out walk of his own. Conforto would then score on a Jay Bruce RBI single.
Cespedes went to third on the play, and he would score on a wild pitch during the Walker at-bat. It’s a good thing Cespedes scored there because the Mets offense would do nothing from there on out.
For the rest of the game, the Mets only amassed three more hits and no one would reach third. This is troubling considering Eflin’s career ERA is 5.54 and the Phillies have a mediocre bullpen.
In the sixth, Hansel Robles struggled issuing a one out walk to Tommy Joseph and hitting Cameron Rupp. At this point, I’m sure Rupp has had enough of Robles. Terry Collins did as well lifting him for Josh Smoker with two outs in the inning.
DFA Reyes PHI@NYM: Galvis reaches on Reyes' dropped ball https://t.co/VdSB1ghzWp
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) April 19, 2017
A hustling Rupp went to third and the slow jogging Galvis would only go to first. It would cost both teams.
Jerry Blevins came on for Salas, and his steak of stranding 11 batters would end. Andres Blanco ripped a double into left field. It would have scored two, but upon replay, it was determined to have hopped the wall for a ground rule double. With that, it was a 2-2 instead of a 3-2 game.
The Reyes error cost the Mets a run, and Galvis’ lack of hustle cost the Phillies. Had Galvis ran, he might’ve been in second. If he was on second, he scores on a ground rule double.
Blevins got out of the jam, and Addison Reed mowed down the Phillies in the ninth.
In the ninth, Reyes drew a two out walk and took off initially on a pitch in the dirt. He stopped half way and was only safe because Hernandez pegged him in the back with a throw. It wound up not mattering as d’Arnaud grounded out to end the inning.
With Reyes’ horrible game and Collins double switched Rafael Montero into the game with Wilmer Flores taking over at third and batting fifth (pitchers spot when Juan Lagares was double switched into the game in the seventh).
For some reason, Collins has been loathed to use Sean Gilmartin no matter how much the bullpen could use some length or how much Montero struggles. It costs the Mets.
Saunders led off the 10th with a single off Montero. Even with him having to freeze on a rope hit in his direction, he went to third on the Joseph single. Then, for some reason, Collins didn’t bring the infield in.
It didn’t really matter. Rupp hit a deep sacrifice fly which would be the only out Montero would record. Galvis would follow with a single putting runners on first and second.
Aaron Altherr then hit a pinch hit RBI single to center. On the play, Lagares made a good throw home, but d’Arnaud couldn’t corral it.
On a night where many Mets struggled, perhaps no one struggled more than d’Arnaud. He was 0-4 with the two miscues. What am I saying? Reyes and Montero were worse.
In any event, Collins was finally forced to go to Gilmartin. Gilmartin pitched reasonably well, but the two inherited runners scored when Asdrubal Cabrera didn’t have enough range to get a ball hit up the middle. While Cabrera is as sure handed as it gets, he really lacks range.
With that, the Mets had a frustrating and downright embarrassing 6-2 loss dropping them to .500. It’s their fourth consecutive loss.
Game Notes: Walker still doesn’t have an extra base hit as a left-handed batter this year. Conforto was 0-4 with the one walk, one run, and two strikeouts. Collins had his excuse not to play him tomorrow.
We have been teased by Travis d’Arnaud‘s talent in the past. In fact, back in the 2015 season, d’Arnaud had the second highest wRC+ among catchers with at least 250 plate appearances. While he had always been knocked for his throwing, he caught 33% of base stealers, which was higher than the league average of 28%. d’Arnaud did this in conjunction with his terrific pitch framing skills behind the plate. Unfortunately, d’Arnaud did not build off of this terrific season. Instead, in 2016, d’Arnaud had another injury plagued year where he regressed in almost every aspect of his game.
This offseason saw the Mets hire Glenn Sherlock as a catching coach to help d’Arnaud sure up those aspects of his game where he regressed. He worked with Kevin Long to eliminate the wrap in his swing. While it is still early in the season, d’Arnaud not only seems to be back to his 2015 form, he appears to be better than that.
After his early season struggles, d’Arnaud is now hitting .323/.417/.645 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs, and nine RBI. His most recent home run was the game winning home run after he had already caught 15 innings. For all the concerns about his throwing arm, no one has been running against him this season. Through 10 games, there has only been one stolen base attempt against him. This includes two games against the Marlins, whose running game Terry Collins was so intimidated by he started Rene Rivera over him in one game.
Another aspect of d’Arnaud’s game that has been overlooked has been his adeptness around the plate when it comes to tagging out base runners. While both Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto deserve a lot of credit for making strong accurate throws, d’Arnaud deserves credit as well. Each time, d’Arnaud cleanly fielded the throw and got the tag down before the runner could touch the plate. Over the past weekend that stopped four runs from scoring.
But there is more to it than just that. We have seen d’Arnaud improve as a pitch caller. During Jacob deGrom‘s second start of the season, the two adapted on the fly and called a different game to much better results. And yes, he has continued his terrific pitch framing. He is adept at both making sure strikes are called strikes and in getting that extra inch on the corner for his pitchers.
Overall, d’Arnaud is excelling in each part of the game right now, and he is quickly becoming one of the best catchers in the National League. Because of this, he has started to move up in the lineup. If it continues, we may not be talking just about where he is in the Mets lineup, but where he will be in the All Star Game lineup.
A baseball season is 162 games. While you want to win each and every game, there are games where there may be a goal other than just winning a game. After last night’s 16 inning victory leading to Josh Smoker and Hansel Robles being unavailable tonight was one of those nights.
The pen was limited and exhausted meaning Noah Syndergaard had to go deep in the game. Syndergaard mostly accomplished his job lasting six innings.
It seemed as if Syndergaard was pitching more to contact than usual. It reflected in the first inning rally that saw a Gordon lead off single, error, and sacrifice fly to put the Marlins up 1-0.
Despite that rally, Syndergaard was mostly effective with a final line of 6.0 innings, six hits, two runs, one earned, no walks, and four strike outs. He got through six having thrown just 87 pitches. As it turns out, he was lifted with his finger nail tearing off:
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 15, 2017
The Marlins needed their starter to go as deep just as much as the Mets did. However, with a Mets offense working the count against Edison Volquez, and with him pitching on short rest with today’s scheduled starter Adam Conley, he would only last 4.2 innings.
Unfortunately, the Mets couldn’t take full advantage of Volquez. In the third, the Mets loaded the bases with one out. Michael Conforto, starting in place of Yoenis Cespedes because Cespedes has the flu, hit a deep sacrifice fly scoring Curtis Granderson.
It was the only run they’d score in the inning, but at least it tied the score up at one.
The Mets took the lead in the fifth with Lucas Duda absolutely crushing a home run to deep center:
DUDA HOME RUN!! pic.twitter.com/iJtq22uHqp
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) April 15, 2017
The Mets had a chance to get Syndergaard the lead back , and they squandered it. Jose Reyes earned a lead-off walk, and he a advanced to third on Syndergaard’s sacrifice bunt. The Mets couldn’t push Reyes, and the team wouldn’t get another real chance.
For the first time all season, Reyes had a good game going 1-2 with two walks. With the game, Reyes’ batting average is now at .100.
For the second straight game, it was a battle of the bullpens. The difference was the Mets did not definitively have the upper hand with the tired and unavailable arms.
In the seventh, Rafael Montero hit into trouble loading the bases with one out. At that point, Terry Collins brought in Jerry Blevins to get both Yelich out and get out of the jam. Blevins would with a little help from Conforto:
Here's that Michael Conforto laser beam home to preserve a tie game between the Mets and Marlins. My goodness. pic.twitter.com/SzP0tgBM42
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 15, 2017
Now, despite T.J. Rivera being sent down to make room for Sean Gilmartin, Collins decided to go with Josh Edgin to pitch the final two innings. Collins did this despite Edgin’s early season struggles and the fact that it was Gilmartin’s turn in the Las Vegas rotation.
It was a messy eighth that saw Edgin allow a lead-off single to Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna was then erased when Justin Bour grounded into the 6-6-3 double play. Right after that, Edgin hit Derek Dietrich with a pitch. Forunately, Edgin was able to escape the inning by striking out Ichiro Suzuki.
In the ninth, Edgin wasn’t so lucky. He gave up a lead-off walk to Rojas, who would score from first on a walk-off two out double by Realmuto.
While Bruce was hustling, his lack of range showed on the play. It also didn’t help the ball took a huge hop off the wall. Bruce had zero chance to throw out Rojas. It’s possible if that was someone else out there, they get to the ball quicker. However, it’s likely Rojas scores there no matter who was in right.
While you wanted the win, the Mets came out of that game only needing to use Blevins. To that end, the game was a successful one for the Mets even if it wasn’t a victorious one.
Game Notes: It appears Granderson is the new lead-off hitter with his leading off the fourth time this year. Reyes returned to the line-up after a mental health day. Neil Walker got the day off, and Wilmer Flores got his first start of the year against a right-handed pitcher. Flores was 0-4.