Do you want to get a sense of how this season would have gone if the Mets didn’t suffer all of these injuries? Well, tonight was the night.
After being on the disabled list for seven weeks, Noah Syndergaard return to the mound.
If not for a goofy Tanner Roark triple that rolled up the side wall, it’s likely Syndergaard escapes his five innings without allowing a run.
Still, he would allow just the one run, which is impressive considering both the layoff and the Nationals having the leadoff hitter on against him all five innings, it was quite a performance.
In total, he allowed one run on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Oh, and he also had an RBI single.
While Syndergaard was trying to get his footing, it was Roark who looked rusty from the get-go.
This was another good game from Rosario who was 2-4 with a run, double, triple, and a stolen base.
Despite the hot start and continued base runners, the Mets would not add a run meaning the Mets bullpen would have to come up with 4.0 innings to protect a three run lead.
The only run that duo would allow was a bomb Matt Adams would hit off of Gsellman in the eighth. Gsellman would shake that off to record the six out save.
For a brief moment, we had a glimpse of how good this Mets team once was and how happy things were like when Nimmo made a diving catch to end the game.
When Todd Frazier landed on the disabled list, one of the justifications proffered for the Mets not calling-up Jeff McNeil was the organization views McNeil as a second baseman, and at the moment, the team still had Asdrubal Cabrera.
In true Mets fashion, their narrative and their actions made this statement and position increasingly absurd. And that’s before you consider Cabrera having an MLB worst -16 DRS at second base.
First and foremost, the Mets actually had Mickey Callaway say Jose Reyes was playing well enough recently to man third until Frazier returns. It shouldn’t shock anyone that since Callaway uttered those words, Reyes is 1-for-17 at the plate.
While Reyes was hitting, sorry not hitting, Cabrera would hyper-extend his elbow requiring him to come out early from one game and not start the next.
Now, this wasn’t an opportunity to call-up McNeil. Not for a game. However, this was a chance to play Dominic Smith. After all, the former first round pick and once first baseman of the future has only started in 16 of the Mets past 28 games.
Think about that for a second, the Mets actually went out of their way to start the soon to be 31 year old den Dekker in center over giving the 23 year old Smith playing time. Naturally, the Mets are now looking to send down Smith while presumably keeping den Dekker up in the majors.
It gets better.
The average age of the Mets bench last night was 26.0 years old, and that includes the 22 year old Rosario and the 23 year old Smith.
Remember, this is a Mets team who his now 17 games under .500. Sure, you can understand the concept of playing Bautista to try to pump up his trade value. However, it is unfathomable to sit both Smith and Rosario to get Reyes and den Dekker into the lineup.
If you think this is all a sick joke and a gross mismanagement of the team, we have yet to reach the best part.
Last night, McNeil, the guy the Mets solely viewed as a second baseman, played third base for Triple-A Las Vegas. On Monday, McNeil was just a second baseman. By Thursday, he was capable of playing third base. It didn’t take the Mets a week before completely upending their own narrative.
This just highlights how completely lost this entire Mets organization is.
The player the Mets view only as a second baseman is playing third base. The man who is supposed to be the first baseman of the future has played way out of position in left field over one-third of the time. Their starting shortstop, a player upon much of the future hangs, is sat because he’s playing too well.
The Mets would have to significantly improve things in order for them to start looking completely inept and confused. Really, this is as bad as it gets. But hey, at least the Wilpons are doing well financially.
Whenever a team plays a game, there are issues which are going to emerge, and it is likely going to be a topic of conversation in the hours leading up to the next game. When there is a doubleheader, there is so much more to discuss that some things get lost in the weeds, or in some instances, it allows teams to bury stories.
Yesterday, before the Mets played the first game of the doubleheader against the Phillies, it was announced Todd Frazier was going to go on the disabled list, and to replace him on the roster the Mets were going to recall Ty Kelly. The end result of this would be Jose Reyes taking over in the interim as the everyday third baseman.
Now, the Mets entered the doubleheader 16 games under .500, and the team decided to go with their 35 year old albatross instead of giving a young kid an opportunity. That means Dominic Smith is still a 23 year old sitting on the bench not getting at-bats. It also means Jeff McNeil, a player who has arguably been the best hitter in all of the minor leagues this season, remains in Triple-A.
The Mets are making this option despite Reyes clearly showing he’s incapable of handling a bench spot, and as a result, is really no part of the Mets future. Worse yet, when he does play, he plays terribly. On the season, Reyes has a -1.2 WAR. He can’t hit with a a .168/.238/.235 batting line (32 wRC+), and he can’t field with a negative DRS at third and short.
In essence, the Mets have an old player who can’t hit and field taking away at-bats from young players in a seaosn where the Mets are selling at the trade deadline.
The joke continues with the Mets claiming McNeil is only a second baseman. In his minor league career, McNeil has played 209 games at second base and 148 games at third. Even if you as a franchise believe he’s only a second baseman, why can’t you temporarily shift Asdrubal Cabrera to third?
Cabrera is a much better third baseman defensively than he is a second baseman. In fact, Cabrera is an MLB worst -16 DRS at second base. Why can’t the Mets move him to third to remind teams of a versatility, to keep him healthy, and to give McNeil and/or Smith an opportunity?
When it comes to the Mets, this is by far the most pressing issue in what has become a nightmare of a season.
However, that’s not what we are talking about today. We are not because SNY helped changed the narrative.
In the eighth inning in the second game of the doubleheader, Aaron Nola‘s spot was due up, and Gabe Kapler appeared as if he was going to use Odubel Herrera as his pinch hitter. Before Herrera was announced as the pinch hitter, Mickey Callaway had sprung from the dugout out, and he brought in Jerry Blevins.
Initially, this looked like a gaffe from Callaway because it allowed Kapler to keep Herrera on his bench while bringing in the right-handed hitting Jesmuel Valentin to pinch hit instead.
In the postgame, Callaway explained this was not in fact a gaffe. Instead, he opined he hoped Kapler would make the decision to pinch hit Valentin instead of Herrera.
In defending his position, Callaway noted how entering the game Valentin was a .190 hitter whereas Herrera was hitting well against left-handed pitching with a .804 OPS.
Ancedotally, while it is true Herrera is just 1-12 against Blevins, it should be noted only one of those 12 at-bats were this season. That’s an important note because this year, Blevins has really struggled with left-handed hitters allowing them to hit .318/.392/.523 off of him. It is important to note right-handed batter are hitting .150/.292/.250 off of Blevins this year.
Essentially, Callaway made the right move here. He forced Kapler into the match-up he wanted late in the game.
However, instead of commending him for using data to make an informed and well reasoned decision and for his making moves to force the other manager into a decision where a .190 hitter stepped up to the plate, SNY had commentator after commentator after commentator who ripped Callaway for the decision.
With each commentator following the narrative, the Mets decision to give Reyes more playing time over Smith and McNeil became an even distant memory. In essence, the Mets utilized their network to help shift the narrative from “How can you play Reyes and not give McNeil a chance!” to “Callaway is over-matched and doesn’t know what he’s doing!”
It’s infuriating, and it’s going to become increasingly infuriating as people focus on Callaway instead of what the real issue is.
Really, as the end of the day the biggest issue was the Mets insistence on playing a 35 year old who can’t hit or field instead of giving a young player a chance. Anything else is just a distraction and a perpetuated false narrative.
Well, it was a topsy-turvy doubleheader with the Mete earning a split. With a lot to digest, instead of paragraph form, it might be easier to make some quick points:
- This was a Zack Wheeler start from earlier this season with him not making it through the fifth.
- Seth Lugo continues to both confound and be a weapon by pitching 2.2 scoreless in relief.
- Asdrubal Cabrera must really want to go to a contender because he was 2-4 with a double, homer, and two RBI.
- With Todd Frazier landing on the DL, Jose Reyes started both games, and according to Mickey Callaway, Reyes will get the bulk of the playing time.
- The Mets will continue to keep Dominic Smith languishing on the bench and refuse to call up Jeff McNeil, who the team only views as a 2B now.
- Pinch hitting for Tim Peterson in the 10th, Wilmer Flores hit a walk-off home run. He’s now the Mets all-time leader in walk off RBI (10).
- Mets won the first game 4-3 in 10 innings.
- Corey Oswalt looked much improved in the second game of the doubleheader starting things off with four perfect innings.
- In the fifth, Oswalt walked three batters. The first two led off the inning. The third was intentional so Oswalt could face Aaron Nola, who entered the game as a .067 hitter. He would hit a bases clearing double.
- Nola was dominant allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out 10 over 7.0 innings.
- Entering the ninth inning, there were two hits total in the game, and yet, the Phillies lead 3-1.
- Callaway opted to bring in Jerry Blevins and force Gabe Kapler‘s hand. Kapler opted to go with that .190 hitter. over Odubel Herrera. Kapler went with Jesmuel Valdez who struck out.
- Flores ninth inning double to pull the Mets to within 3-1. Mets would lose by this score.
- There was a pop up with Amed Rosario calling for it. Instead, Reyes took it from him, and he walked away right as Rosario looked miffed.
- Mets lost the second game 3-1.
With the Mets starting Jacob deGrom tonight, the hope was deGrom could go deep enough into the game to minimize the damage the bullpen could do.
Well, deGrom did his part pitching eight brilliant innings striking out eight Rays.
The only mark against him was a Willie Adames fifth inning homer. It hurts when it’s a guy like Adames hits a homer. It hurts all the more when the Mets can’t give deGrom run support.
The only run deGrom got in support was in the third.
After deGrom made the first out of the inning, Brandon Nimmo reached on a throwing error by the aforementioned Adames. After a Jose Bautista walk, Nimmo would come around to score on an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single.
The Mets had a chance to take the lead in the sixth, but Glenn Sherlock would have another one of his awful sends.
Todd Frazier hit a one out double to center, and for some reason, Sherlock sent Wilmer Flores, who was trying to score from first. As it usually happens when Sherlock sends Flores, Flores was out at the plate.
This all looked like it was going to haunt the Mets as the Rays loaded the bases against Jeurys Familia with one out.
Mallex Smith grounded to first. On the good side, Flores aggressively charged the ball. On the bad side, he lollipopped the throw home. The leaping Devin Mesoraco didn’t come down on the plate for the first out. Instead, he lunged to tag out Hunter Wood, who had entered the inning earlier as a pinch runner, by a hair.
#Rays challenge call that Hunter Wood is out at home plate in the 9th; call confirmed, runner is out.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) July 7, 2018
Familia struck out Adames to escape the jam and keep the game at 1-1.
In the ninth, Frazier walked, and after he couldn’t get a bunt down, Mesoraco singled to put runners at first and second with no outs.
Next, the maligned Amed Rosario laid down a great bunt to move up the runners. Of course, the decision to give away an out almost backfired immediately when Dominic Smith grounded out to the pitcher Chaz Roe, which kept Frazier at third.
At that point, the Rays had the option to face either Nimmo or Bautista to get out of the inning. They chose wrong:
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) July 7, 2018
After 336 homers over a 15 year career, this would be the first walk off homer of his career.
About the only thing disappointing on the night is Jake didn’t get the win. That, and we weren’t treated to one of Bautista’s epic bat flips.
Game Notes: Suspended reliever Jenrry Mejia will have a chance to resume his suspension end and renew his baseball career in 2019.
A day after the Mets bullpen blew another big lead, you had to imagine this game was going to be a disaster. The Mets were starting Corey Oswalt, who was not exactly great in his first career start, and if he could not go deep into the game, it meant more of the Mets bullpen.
The good news is Oswalt held his own. Over four innings, he would allow two earned on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts. The first run was a big blast from Kendrys Morales in the second. When Morales came back up in the fourth, it looked like he got another one.
It turned out to be a double that hit a leaping Michael Conforto in the glove. It was one of those can’t be an error because it required a leap, but you would think a player as good as he is should catch that. In any event, Morales was on second with a double, and he would come around to score on a Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. RBI single. Realistically speaking, the Mets should have had a play at the plate, but Brandon Nimmo, who is struggling in every aspect of his game since getting plunked on the hand on June 24th, spiked the throw home into the turf.
Once again, Lugo showed us why he is such a great bullpen weapon. Lugo would pitch three innings allowing just one earned on three hits. If it was a different batter in the sixth, it might’ve been no runs. After Todd Frazier made a nice play, he got it to Asdrubal Cabrera who made the quick turn to first. As it was the speedy Gurriel, Cabrera’s throw had little chance to get him.
One bright spot there was, that only cut the Mets lead to 6-3, and that was because the Mets had a huge fifth inning.
The scoring began when a Frazier two run homer gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. The homer did not kill this rally as Kevin Plawecki hit a one out ground rule double. After the obligatory Jose Reyes failure to get a base hit, Nimmo walked setting up consecutive RBI singles from Cabrera and Jose Bautista.
Believe it or not, Lugo would get the win as the Mets bullpen did it’s job. First, Jerry Blevins gtting two of the three batters he faced out, and Robert Gsellman got the final out of the eighth. Jeurys Familia came on to pitch a perfect ninth for his 16th save of the season.
With that, the Mets earned a somewhat surprising split, and they are coming home for a long homestand where we may get the last chance to see some of the veterans on this team.
Game Notes: The Mets are about to play 11 games in 10 days as they head into the All Star break.
On the one hand, you knew it wasn’t June anymore because the Mets beat the Marlins 5-2. On the other hand, things aren’t that different because they played a really sloppy game.
The thing is the Marlins played an arguably sloppier one. To that end, we shouldn’t be surprised these two teams set the game of baseball back a few years.
Even with the comedy of errors, three Mets errors to be precise, Steven Matz kept the Marlins at bay.
Oddly enough, the one time the Marlins scored off of him, it featured a Matz error.
Like Matz, who lowered his road ERA to 2.25 after allowing no earned in 5.1 innings, Cabrera and Frazier would contribute to the win.
Cabrera hit a third inning solo homer off Straily. In the eighth, Frazier hit an RBI double which gave the Mets a then 4-1 lead.
That would become a 5-1 lead when JT Realmuto got cute and tried to pick Frazier off third. Instead, he threw it away allowing Frazier to score.
The Mets other runs came from a Kevin Plawecki second inning RBI double and a Matz fourth inning RBI single.
One note on Lugo entering. He came in with one out in the fifth after Matz threw 109 pitches.
That cannot happen.
Just yesterday, Reyes blatantly refused to run a ball out because he claimed to have felt something. As a result, he needed to be benched today.
He needs to be benched because: (1) he dogged it; (2) he’s hurt; or (3) both.
In any event, the Mets finally won and are out of the basement of the NL East.
Game Notes: It was revealed Dominic Smith has been dealing with a wrist injury which required an injection. Purportedly, that’s why he hasn’t been playing.
This team doesn’t deserve to have any Mets fan watch them right now. No, not even on a Jacob deGrom start.
Did that mean the Mets won the game? Of course not.
All told, the Mets lost 5-2. Although a lot of them may not have realized it because some of them seemed to have quit before the game even ended.
When they bother to pay attention, they’ll come to realize they are tied for last in the NL East and have the worst winning percentage in the NL.
Game Notes: Reyes claimed he didn’t run out the grounder because he felt something. That something was probably apathy.
There’s shooting yourself in the foot, and then there is doing what the Mets did against the Rockies today.
Somehow, the Mets grounded into five . . . FIVE! . . . double plays.
Each one of them were brutal.
Bautista would be erased when Kevin Plawecki grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
In the third, after Brandon Nimmo hit an RBI single to pull the Mets within 5-2, Frazier would hit into the inning ending 5-4-3 double play.
Speaking of Reyes, he can’t field and doesn’t know how to use sunglasses:
How is Reyes to know to put his sunglasses on? He's only been alive for 35 years. pic.twitter.com/5GbS3AvmIs
— Good Fundies is short for Good Fundamentals (@goodfundies) June 21, 2018
Finally in the eighth, after the Mets pulled themselves to within 6-3 on a Flores sacrifice fly, Devin Mesoraco hit into the inning ending 5-4-3 double play.
You combine all of these double plays with Steven Matz allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks in 5.2 innings, and you have all the makings of a 6-4 loss.
Much of the game was deja vu back to the previous game.
That really put the Mets behind the right ball despite their breaking out for three runs in the first.
Still, despite falling behind 6-4, the Mets would take the lead with a four run fifth.
Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two RBI single to give the Mets a 8-6 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, right after the Mets retook the lead, the Rockies took it back with Ryan McMahon hitting a three run homer to give the Rockies a 9-8 lead.
At this point in time, it appeared like this was going to be a classic back-and-forth Coors Field game. It certainly felt that way in the sixth as the Mets loaded the bases with one out and Rockies reliever Harrison Musgrave having lost the strike zone.
In a surprise decision, Callaway tabbed Kevin Plawecki to pinch hit instead of Amed Rosario. Perhaps it was the reliever having lost the strike zone and Callaway wanting a hitter who has a better read of the strike zone.
In any event, the choice was Plawecki, who worked a full count, swung at a borderline pitch which was probably ball four, and he hit into the inning ending double play.
That was it from the Mets. After that, there were no more rallies. With the Rockies scoring a run off Anthony Swarzak in the bottom of the sixth, the final score would be 10-8.
Suddenly, a Mets team who appeared poised to make a little run is now just hoping to earn a split.