Tomas Nido

20/20 Hindsight: Mariners Make Mets Regret Sewald

For the first time this season, the New York Mets lost a series. To make matters worse, it was Mets incompetence of the past which came back to haunt them.

1.  Paul Sewald is absolutely right. The Mets gave up on him. More to the point, as I’ve pointed out, and as Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen noted on the broadcast, the Mets completely and utterly botched how they handled him. Sewald absolutely deserved this moment.

2.  Sewald was all the more of a debacle when you consider the Mets kept Ryan O’Rourke, Tim Peterson, and Jacob Rhame over him. None of those three pitched past the 2019 season. Sewald is now a very good late inning reliever.

3.  It’s not just Sewald, but Chris Flexen where the Mets screw up was the Mariners gain. The good news here is the morons in charge who made those decisions are now gone.

4.  The people in charge now get us Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt who were again great in their starts. Much of the Mets success this season is directly attributable to bringing those pitchers onboard.

5.  That Patrick Mazeika start behind the plate was rough, and it limited Bassitt to 5.1 innings when he had the stuff to go much deeper.

6.  That said the legend of Mazeika grew. Not only did he have the game winning homer, but he also had a key hit in that ninth inning rally which fell short.

7.  You cannot have worst at-bats than what Starling Marte and Pete Alonso did with the game tying and go-ahead runs on base than what they did. The Alonso one was even worse considering he got one strike in that at-bat, and he didn’t even swing at the pitch over the heart of the plate.

8.  Brandon Nimmo came up huge in that inning with an RBI double. In fact, he’s been great all season and has been the Mets best player. He’s clearly an All-Star, and sooner or later, if he keeps this up, he is going to get MVP consideration.

9.  Drew Smith went from impenetrable to allowing runs in consecutive appearances. He will be fine.

10. Carlos Carraso looked bad. While he was worse against the St. Louis Cardinals, he arguably looked worse in this start. Again, he’s been very good for all but two starts, so there is no need to dwell too much here.

11. Good for Adam Ottavino for picked up that win. He’s responded well to that rough patch, and part of the reason is Buck Showalter has been much more responsible in how he uses them.

12. Congratulations to Colin Holderman on his Major League debut. It was rocky, but it was a scoreless inning, and he did flash what could be very good stuff out of the pen.

13. Sewald wasn’t the only pitcher to stick it to his old team. Edwin Diaz struck out all three batters he faced in his only save opportunity in the series. By the way, he’s now played more seasons with the Mets than the Mariners.

14. Joely Rodriguez wasn’t great, and Chasen Shreve allowed homers in consecutive appearances. On that note, Aaron Loup is having another great season. So far, this looks like an unforced error by the Mets, and you do have to wonder how much of that is attributable to the Robinson Cano contract.

15. James McCann being out is going to hurt the Mets. He was great behind the plate, and believe it or not, he was a starting level bat at the position in the majors so far this year.

16. Tomas Nido did step-up in this series actually drawing two walks. To put that in perspective, he drew five all of last season.

17. McCann’s injury is the type which may cost him this year even when he can return. Those hammate bone injuries tend to linger and hamper the ability to hit again. Unfortunately, Francisco Alvarez has been struggling in Double-A putting him even further off the horizon.

18. Francisco Lindor hit a big homer. The Mets need more of that from him.

19. One massive takeaway from this series, even with the series loss, is the Mets beat up on reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. It doesn’t matter if it was an off game or not from Ray, the Mets finally hit left-handed pitching.

20. The Mets were at the Rangers beating the Penguins in Game 7. Perhaps, we will see the Rangers at Citi Field watching the Mets win their own Game 7 this postseason.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Take Two From Nationals

The New York Mets are now 9-0-1 in their 10 season series, and they are on pace to win 108 games. After another series against the Nationals, the Mets look all the more like a World Series caliber team:

1.  The incredible 5-6-1-9-6 double play was punctuated by Taijuan Walker knocking down Juan Soto, who went in hard. That’s the way it is with this Mets team, they’re there to beat you, and they’re not stepping down.

2.  It just seems like the Mets have something special store in each series. There was the co-no, the epic comeback, and now that double play. These are the things fun and special teams do.

3.  Luis Guillorme had a heads up play to start that double play, and he’s really earning more playing time. Over his last 10 games, he’s batting ..321/.387/.536 with five runs, three doubles, a homer, and two RBI while playing exceptional defense. Perhaps, he needs to play everyday.

4.  Eduardo Escobar is in a real bad place. Over his last 15 games, Escobar is hitting .167/.231/.200, and he has struggled defensively with a -2 OAA and -3 DRS at third. The good news is he usually has a bad May and breaks out in June.

5.  The Mets can’t seem to hit left-handed pitching even when it’s Patrick Corbin. Corbin has a 2.00 ERA, and against the rest of baseball, he has a 7.60 ERA. Overall, the Mets are the fifth worst NL team against left-handed pitching with a 90 wRC+.

6.  We can save the J.D. Davis needs to be the everyday DH narrative. He’s batting .217/.362/.326 driving the ball on the ground with a 51.5% ground ball rate so far this season. With that, he’s now back to a much more reasonable .286 BABIP. Really, this is the batter he is.

7.  Mark Canha snapped out of it just when the Mets needed him. His 3-for-4 game with a homer and three RBI snapped a streak where he hit .231/.292/.292 over his previous 19 games.

8.  Canha is still a player in decline with him seeing a steady decline in barrels, hard hit rate, exit velocities, whiff%, chase rate, and really all metrics. A game like he had is fun, but overall, there is a reason Buck Showalter removes him late in games and was transitioning him to a part-time player.

9.  Brandon Nimmo has an eight game hitting streak, and he has reached base safely in all but one game this season. He’s the Mets best player, and the way he is playing, he is not only going to get All-Star consideration, but he will get MVP consideration as well.

10. Carlos Carrasco has continued his terrific bounceback season. He is again the pitcher he was in Cleveland, and the Mets are on a different level because of it.

11. Not enough can be said about the job Trevor Williams and Stephen Nogosek did. They saved the bullpen in what was a lost game in more ways than one. These are the unheralded moments which helps teams win divisions and World Series.

12. Trevor Megill had a bad start. It happens. It’s best not to over-analyze it. Just move on and reassess after his next start.

13. The Mets have missed James McCann, who has been out with an injury. He’s been quite good this year, and Tomas Nido has not shown he can replicate what he can give. Now seeing its a hammate bone injury, for all intents and purposes McCann may be done for the year.

14. We can probably now add catcher to third base for trade deadline needs because it is way too soon for Francisco Alvarez. That goes double with Alvarez’s recent slump.

15. Jeff McNeil has been great this year. He has been versatile, and this is the best he has ever hit. He’s learned to combine some patience at the plate with his hit everything approach.

16. This upcoming series was going to be about Jarred Kelenic and Edwin Diaz, but with Kelenic getting sent down, it’s not. Whatever the case, the trade remains an unmitigated disaster.

17. Robinson Cano turned down a chance to go to Triple-A to help get back up to speed and help the Mets in the long term. Instead, he’s going to the San Diego Padres. This is not remotely a player grateful for the Mets keeping tabs on him last year and making sure he was alright and for giving him an undeserved chance again this year.

18. The Mets can beat teams in just so many ways. They can do it with power, with singles and timely hitting, with speed and defense, and with pitching. When you get that rare mix, you’re a special team. This is a special team.

19. No one should care what Noah Syndergaard has to say about the co-no or anything Mets. Just be grateful he was a Met, hope he pitches well this season, and mostly, hope he returns next year.

20. Mets in the black jerseys on Friday the 13th with Max Scherzer on the mound. Mariners are going to be frightened as is the rest of baseball when they see the Mets on their schedule.

Mets Catchers Have Been Great

Entering this season, there was serious concern over James McCann and Tomás Nido. Between the two of them, neither one could really hit, and in terms of McCann, his defense regressed significantly. Between the two of them, Mets catchers were fifth worst in the majors by fWAR.

To some degree, a little over one month into the season, it would appear our concerns were justified. After all, McCann and Nido have combined for a 57 wRC+. While it’s shocking that’s only seventh worst in the majors, it is still horrific.

Now, a large part of that is Nido. His 38 wRC+ is eighth worst among catchers who have at least 40 plate appearances. With respect to McCann, for all the consternation, his 70 wRC+ is at least playable for the position as it is the 26th best among catchers. No, it’s not great, but with 30 teams, that’s a starting bat.

Here’s the thing, despite the struggles at the plate, the Mets catchers have been excelling this season, and as a result, the Mets are in first place as a result with the second best run differential in the National League.

In terms of framing, Mets catchers rank best in the National League. They’re also tops in terms of defensive fWAR.

As noted by Baseball Savant, McCann is the 12th best framer in all of baseball, and Nido is 33rd. Make no mistake here, this is a driving force behind the Mets success this season.

From a pitching perspective, the Mets have the fourth best FIP and fifth best ERA. From a starting pitching perspective, they have the third best FIP and foruth best ERA. All told, Mets starters have the second best fWAR in the majors.

It does help having pitchers like Max Scherzer. However, the Mets have gotten top performances across their starting staff, and that is without Jacob deGrom. That includes Tylor Megill surprising, and Chris Bassitt being even better than he was with Oakland.

Really, it was no accident the Mets had a combined no-hitter. McCann was brilliant behind the plate with his framing and pitching calling with Megill, Drew Smith, Joely Rodriguez, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz combining for the no-hitter. Seeing these pitchers with Mets catchers, we are bound to see more memorable performances this season.

Overall, this Mets team has been led by their pitching, and that is in large part because of what is happening behind the plate. No, McCann isn’t hitting, and Nido really isn’t hitting. Despite that, they’ve been driving forces for this Mets team because their work behind the plate has been stellar, and as a a result, so have been the Mets so far this season.

Mets Miracle Comeback After Rangers Win

With the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup playoffs, their games are going to take precedence. That goes double when you see the Philadelphia Phillies annihilating Taijuan Walker to the tune of seven runs over four innings.

It didn’t help that Aaron Nola was having an easy time with the Mets lineup. All-in-all, it just seemed like the Mets were going to get blown out for a second straight night.

Still, when you’re a diehard Mets fan, you check back in here and there. With the Rangers winning, you skip the postgame and head to SNY.

In some ways, it’s a way to reduce the adrenaline. Between the big win and Jeff Carter taking out Igor Shesterkin (and the morons on TNT defending it), the blood was running hot. A cool down was needed.

Then, Francisco Lindor hits a two run homer off James Norwood. Okay, so the score is 7-1, so things don’t look so bad.

Pete Alonso doubles, but just when you think it could get interesting, Eduardo Escobar lines out. Jeff McNeil singles putting runners at the corners.

It’s intriguing, but Joe Girardi is done messing around. He brings in Corey Knebel, the former Milwaukee Braves closer who has been lights out this year.

Except, Mark Canha hits an RBI single. Suddenly, Dominic Smith is up as the tying run. The Mets might just have a chance.

Nah, they don’t. Smith chased ball four to strike out. Buck Showalter throws a Hail Mary sending up J.D. Davis to hit for Tomás Nido.

Davis can’t hit velocity or pitches up in the zone. Knebel is smart, and as a result, you expect this game to be over. However, for reasons beyond comprehension, Knebel grooves a pitch over the heart of the plate, and Davis hits an RBI double.

Suddenly, the Mets are down 7-5 with the go-ahead coming to the plate. To make things all the more interesting, Showalter sent his fastest runner, Travis Jankowski, to pinch run for Davis.

That means a single ties the game. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Knebel hung a curve, and Brandon Nimmo tied the score.

Up to the plate comes Starling Marte. He had hit what seemed like a meaningless sixth inning homer. He had what seemed like a meaningless infield single to start the inning. Now, he could put the Mets ahead.

Off the bat, it looked gone, but it hits the wall. With the way Nimmo perpetually hustles, this was not a Todd Zeile/Timo Pérez situation.

Suddenly, a Mets team left for dead scored seven runs in the ninth to take an 8-7 lead. This was a team who had lost their last 330 games entering the ninth down by at heart six and literally only had a 0.1% chance to win.

That win went to Adonis Medina, a pitcher who most Mets fans probably didn’t know was on the team. He earned that by keeping the Phillies off the board for 2.2 innings.

Edwin Diaz was again lights out picking up his third save of the season.

For a fan, it doesn’t get better than this. The Rangers beat the Penguins 5-2, and then the Mets completely stun the Phillies. Right now, New York owns the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and there are two teams with legit championship hopes.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets/Cardinals Rivalry Still Alive

The New York Mets traveled to St. Louis for another litmus test, and once again, they proved they’re this good. More than that, they proved they’re mentally tougher.

1.  Pete Alonso has now been hit twice in the head and dragged to the ground from behind by Stubby Clapp. He’s either going to break or just absolutely going to go on an absolute tear.

2.  On that note, Alonso needs to start hitting for power again. These opposite field singles aren’t going to cut it.

3.  Chris Bassitt basically said he dominated the Cardinals without being able to get a grip on the ball. He’s that good.

4. Miles Mikolas is an idiot. Bassitt threw his pitchers a life-line saying it was MLB’s fault the Cardinals hit his teammates, and Mikolas, who hit Mark Canha with a pitch, basically said, no, it’s not the ball. We’re going it on purpose, or we’re that incompetent.

5.  Sooner or later, Canha has to get an extra base hit, and it has to be more than an attempt at a hustle double. With him coming out of games last for Travis Jankowski, he’s not good enough to be a glorified slap hitter.

6.  Jankowski has proven himself to be a valuable contributor. He cannot be DFA’s May 1. That goes double when you consider how bad Robinson Cano has been.

7. That may not be an issue with J.D. Davis getting hit on the foot and having to get taken out of the game. The x-rays were negative, but if it’s a lingering issue, there will be an MRI and perhaps an IL stint.

8.  Jacob deGrom‘s MRI was a mixed bag. On the one hand, he is healing, but it does not appear he is on schedule to return when we all hoped. Still, it’s progress, so we should take it.

9.  Max Scherzer has been just as advertised. He’s out there pitching like an ace, and he’s as fierce a competitor as there is. He was in the dugout telling the Cardinals to shut up, and then he was the first one out of the dugout when the benches cleared.

10.  Oliver Marmol is a fraud. His pitchers hit Mets batters in the head. Steven Matz threw one up at Brandon Nimmo‘s head. His team knocked Davis out of a game with an injury. He is then going to get up there and complain like the Mets have been throwing at his batters all series, and then he goes and defends Clapp.

11. Nimmo has been great to start the year as has Jeff McNeil. Those are two homegrown Mets who have been the Mets best players, and they are leading them to first place.

12. The Mets are withstanding slumps from Eduardo Escobar, Francisco Lindor, and Starling Marte to win games, and they are doing it against good teams like the Cardinals. That’s a very good sign for the season.

13. With respect to Marte and Scherzer, there is a real edge to this team. We see it in how the players stick up for one another, and we see it in moments like that comeback against Giovanny Gallegos. This is just a special team.

14. Yoan Lopez made a case for himself when he buzzed Nolan Arenado. That alone is not enough to keep him on the roster (ask Jacob Rhame), but he has the respect of everyone in that clubhouse.

15. There is a lot Buck Showalter is getting wrong here. For example, batting Cano during that ninth inning was indefensibly bad. That said, the way he has handled the time share with James McCann and Tomas Nido has been a masterpiece. He’s starting to get the best out of both of them, and as a result, the Mets pitching staff.

16. Trevor May is fighting it. Fortunately, with the return of the real Seth Lugo in addition to the emerge of Drew Smith, the Mets can wait for him to get fully healthy and back on track.

17. There are some serious 1986 vibes with this Mets team. They are not just beating teams on the field, but they are also taking a mental edge. That is a very large reason why we see miscues like we did from Arenado and why Marmol was so bent out of shape.

18. it may be a golden rule not to make the last out of the inning at third, but you can give Luis Guillorme a pass trying to stretch a double to a triple because that throw from Dylan Carlson was the best you’ll ever see.

19. If you want an idea of how good the Mets are right now, the San Francisco Giants are the second best team in the majors with a 13-6 record. Half of their losses have come against the Mets.

20. The New York Yankees have been surprisingly good to start the year. Aaron Judge has been great, and he has a contract situation. Anthony Rizzo has been phenomenal. Gerrit Cole is struggling mightily. They’re in first place. Despite all of that, right now, they seem to be taking a back seat to the Mets. That is really the most shocking development of the year.

Game Recaps

Mets Shock Cardinals

Mets McCann Beat Good Teams on Road

Mets Lose While Cardinals Lose Their Cool

Mets Lose While Cardinals Lose Their Cool

Over the course of a 162 game season, there are going to be games like this. Frankly, Carlos Carrasco just didn’t have it, and as a result the New York Mets just weren’t going to win.

With the Mets winning six straight series to open the season, we shouldn’t be dwelling too much on a game like this. That goes double with the Mets resting players in advance of a travel day.

Where the focus needs to be is how the Mets comport themselves and are rattling their opponents.

Again, Mets batters were thrown at by the opposing pitcher. Steven Matz went up-and-in on Brandon Nimmo. J.D. Davis left the game with a foot injury after being plunked by Genesis Cabrera.

Finally, for the first time all season, the Mets responded in a way that wasn’t Starling Marte or Max Scherzer threatening the other team. Yoan Lopez took the ball and buzzed Nolan Arenado.

It was a pitch reminiscent of Noah Syndergaard and Alcidies Escobar. It was up-and-in, but the batter was not in danger of getting hit. Like with the 2015 World Series, an overreaction ensued.

Arenado chirped, attacked Tomas Nido, and then, he headed for Lopez. He wouldn’t get there as the benches cleared, and Arenado backed off. During the melee, the Cardinals went after Pete Alonso.

That was done by the Cardinals first base coach Stubby Clapp, a coach whose name is reminiscent of what Jimmy Duggan advises young boys to avoid. Things might’ve gotten worse, but Albert Pujols stepped in and de-escalated the situation.

At this point, the Cardinals had hit five batters. That included hitting Alonso in the helmet. Then, they went after him in a scrum.

Chris Bassitt tried to throw the Cardinals pitchers a lifeline by blaming MLB. Instead, Miles Mikolas effectively called Bassitt a liar and said Bassitt needed to take responsibility for his own control issues. Again, this was in response to Bassitt trying to absolve Cardinals pitchers of throwing at his teammates.

After the game, Cardinals manager Oli Marmol not only whined after the non-HBP, but he went on to defend attacking someone from behind:

When Buck Showalter was asked about the same course of events, his reaction was markedly different. He noted how when Alonso was ACTUALLY HIT IN THE HEAD, he went to first base.

This is where the Mets and Cardinals could not be more different. The Mets are angry they keep getting hit by pitches, but they’re channeling that anger towards beating you. So far, it’s not only worked, but it’s also galvanized the team.

With respect to the Cardinals, they couldn’t handle it. They threw with reckless abandon and kept hitting Mets batters.

When the Mets said, we get what’s happening here. It’s not your fault. The Cardinals response was to tell the Mets to take responsibility.

When the Mets three inside, the Cardinals freaked out and attacked Alonso from behind. Then, they went and pretended like all of their actions were justified.

In the end, the Mets are better than the Cardinals because they’re a better and more mature team. Every time you hit them, they get you back by winning. As for the Cardinals, well, they’re there to whine, complain, and point fingers.

The Mets took two of three, and they’ll have the mental edge when the Cardinals come visit Citi Field.

Mets Shock Cardinals

This game featured an absolutely incredible pitcher’s duel between Max Scherzer and Miles Mikolas over the first seven innings. If not for pitch counts, they’d still be pitching with no one scoring.

Really, it was a shame each of them had to come out. It was a joy to watch them one up each other.

Scherzer only allowed two hits while walking one and striking out 10. Mikolas allowed four hits and walking one while striking out five.

As is typically the case, after a pitchers duel, things tend to get a little haywire with the bullpens. This game was no different.

After a scoreless top of the eighth, Mets killer extraordinaire Yadier Molina led off the inning with single off Trevor May. Again, May didn’t have it, and he’s starting to run out of excuses.

The eight and nine hitters singled, and with the Mets having the wheel play on, Tommy Edman swung away. May jumped and got a piece of it allowing Jeff McNeil to make a quick reaction to get the first out at first.

Buck Showalter then made a curious decision to have May pitch (around?) to Paul Goldschmidt rather than just walk him. The at-bat seemed to take a lot out of May as he wound up walking Goldschmidt anyway to load the bases.

Tyler O’Neill hit a two run RBI single, which at the time seemed like the game winner. Some credit should go to May here for recovering by striking out Nolan Arenado en route to getting out of the inning.

The Mets entered the ninth down 2-0 with Giovanny Gallegos entering the game. That’s usually game over.

It certainly seemed that way when Pete Alonso lined out on the first pitch. Eduardo Escobar followed with a single to give the Mets some hope.

Now, you really had to wonder what Showalter was thinking. It’s one thing to slot Robinson Cano as DH. It’s another to bat him ahead of McNeil. It’s beyond baffling how Showalter let Cano bat in this spot.

In all seriousness, the Mets were lucky Cano didn’t hit into an inning ending double play. That at least gave Mark Canha and the Mets a chance.

Canha had a terrific at-bat. After falling down 0-2, he battled his way back into the at-bat. On the seventh pitch, he grounded it to Arenado.

That should’ve been game over. However, Arenado threw it away. Between the Escobar advancing on the difference indifference and the home town scoring, Canha had an RBI single.

For the baffling decisions Buck made, he made a very good one here inserting Travis Jankowski as a pinch runner. Jankowski absolutely flew around the bases on the ensuing McNeil double, and if not for perfect Cardinals execution on the play, Joey Cora might’ve sent him.

Instead, Cora went against his nature and held Jankowski (the right move) putting the game in Dominic Smith‘s hands. Smith was up pinch hitting for Tomas Nido.

Smith ripped one down the line, and he was robbed by Goldschmidt. Had Gallegos broke immediately, the game was over. Instead, it was a foot race, and Dom beat him to the bag.

That not only allowed Jankowski to score the tying run, but it also allowed McNeil to score. On the play, McNeil never slowed up, and he scored rather easily.

A point here is you have to wonder what the Cardinals were thinking. With Smith pinch hitting (and looming all inning) and Brandon Nimmo lurking, T.J. McFarland was warning. You’d think they use him for the consecutive left-handed batters.

Well, we got a sense of what the Cardinals might’ve been thinking when Nimmo greeted McFarland with a two run homer to put the Mets up 5-2:

It needs to be reiterated the Mets were down to their last strike with Canha. If Arenado makes a routine play, it’s over. Gallegos going to first immediately ends that game.

Yes, the Mets got the breaks here. However, that underscores how good they are. They got those breaks, and they took advantage of them to score five runs and shock the Cardinals.

The 5-2 win was complete when Edwin Diaz came on and earned his second save of the season.

Remember, this is a very good Cardinals team, and the Mets just flew in from Arizona. That’s just two of many factors which just makes this such an incredible win.

Game Notes: Mets still have not been shut out. McNeil had two doubles. Nido struck out three times. Jacob deGrom had an MRI and the results will be shared tomorrow.

Reminder: Mets Season Is 162 Games

Before the New York Mets take the field and try to win a fourth consecutive series to begin the 2022 season, they have emerged as one of the best teams in baseball. In fact, they might even be the best. However, there are going to be ebbs and flows.

We have already seen Tylor Megill and Chris Bassitt go from completely and utterly dominant to struggling against a good San Francisco Giants team. Conversely, we have seen Max Scherzer get better each and every time he has taken the mound.

We have seen the palpable excitement from sweeping the doubleheader against the Giants turn to angst when they lost a frustrating game the following day. What made it even worse was seeing Wilmer Flores absolutely robbing Dominic Smith of an extra base hit which might’ve proven to be a game tying or winning rally.

When things like that and losses like that happen, there tends to be an over-focus on the negative. The fans still don’t quite trust the bullpen even if things look better with Edwin Diaz back from bereavement leave. They become overwrought over how neither James McCann or Tomas Nido are hitting. Even with all that, there are some positives to glean.

Drew Smith has emerged as a true eighth inning guy and possibly future closer. Trevor May has shaken off the rust. Chasen Shreve has been terrific. Right there, you have what you need to win any close game, and that’s before you account for Seth Lugo getting stronger as the season progresses.

With respect to McCann and Nido, no, they aren’t hitting. However, they are framing extremely well. As a result, they are doing exactly what they need to be doing. They are helping this pitching staff immensely, and their respective work behind the plate is a big reason why Mets pitching has been so good to start the season.

Overall, things are very positive right now. This Mets team never seems truly out of it. They battle and fight back. They have pitching and timely hitting. These are the things which tend to last, and as a result, it is a good harbinger for the rest of the season and hopefully the postseason.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Roll Over Phillies

The New York Mets traveled to Philadelphia for their first “test” of the 2022 season. While it started rocky, the team passed with flying colors.

1.  The Mets built this team on starting pitching, and it is working. They league the league in innings, ERA, and WHIP while being second in strikeouts. That could be the biggest reason they started the season 5-2.

2. Tylor Megill is doing everything we expected from Jacob deGrom did. Just imagine how good things will look when they are both in the rotation.

3.  Taijuan Walker looked great until he had to leave with injury. Fortunately, it appears he will be fine.

4.  David Peterson stepped up in long relief, and it appears he will rejoin the rotation. On that front, he started out jittery, and the K/BB wasn’t great. Still, there is talent there.

5. James McCann isn’t hitting now, but at least his framing seems much improved. So long as he and Tomas Nido continue to frame, they are more than doing their job.

6. As good as the starting rotation is, the bullpen has been that bad. Much of the blame there goes to how Buck Showalter chooses to utilize them.

7. Showalter knew Trevor May was dealing with bicep and tricep issues, and he still tried to push him another inning. This is all the more egregious considering it was cold and Showalter just came from a lecture about not pushing relievers early in the season. Fortunately, May is alright.

8. Joely Rodriguez is terrible when pitching to right-handed batters, which is exactly why trading away Miguel Castro for him made zero sense.

9.  Brandon Nimmo has been phenomenal atop the lineup. He has been everything we could expect and more.

10. The lineup in the finale of this series was perfect. Switching Francisco Lindor and Starling Marte makes so much sense analytically. Also, getting Robinson Cano out of the lineup right now makes even more sense.

11. Cano looks just about done. He has no bat speed. He has no speed. He isn’t hitting the ball with authority. This is already a huge problem.

12. Pete Alonso looks very comfortable as the DH. You still want to use the position to cycle through players on a modified rest, and you want to keep him engaged defensively, but it would be ideal for him to be the primary DH.

13. Dominic Smith needs to be better. Assuredly, some of the slow start is being sat to see if the Mets could get Cano or J.D. Davis going, but he needs to earn his way back into the linup. Hopefully, that sacrifice fly will get him going.

14. It is a pleasure watching Eduardo Escobar play. He gives his all on every play, and it was his hustle that allowed the umpires to award him a triple on that fan interference.

15. Sending Escobar was just plain dumb. Even a semi-competent throw gets him easily, and Escobar has real speed. The Mets have a very real Joey Cora issue, and it was an unforced error.

16. That Phillies lineup is frightening. As we saw on Monday, you give them an inch, and they can make you pay. More than that Joe Girardi alternates L/R so effectively you can never bring in a true LOOGY.

17. It’s a testament to this Mets offense they knocked both Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola out of the game early. It wasn’t that they put up a lot of runs, but rather, they just continued to grind and force up the pitch counts for both pitchers.

18. It should bother everyone Clayton Kershaw left a perfect game after seven innings with just 80 pitches. That is inexcusable, and there is simply no defending it. It really was everything wrong with baseball right now.

19. It is long past time we have a Tom Seaver statue, and it is going to be great seeing one on Opening Day.

20. The Mets still need to face some of the better teams in baseball to get a true feel for them, but so far, they look like a real contender this year.

Game Recaps:

Phillies Five Run Eighth Bucks Mets

Tylor Megill Outpitches Zack Wheeler

Mets Outlast Phillies

Mets Outlast Phillies

Like yesterday, the finale of the three game set between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies promised to be a real pitchers’ duel. It didn’t quite pan out that way due to the relative control issues of both starting pitchers.

With respect to Max Scherzer, he struggled out of the gate walking three in the first before he recorded two outs. As a testament to his status as a true ace, Scherzer would get out of it by striking out Jean Segura before getting Didi Gregorius to ground out to end the inning.

That first inning cost Scherzer as he would have to leave the game after five partially because he had already thrown 96 pitches. The only run he allowed was in the fourth when Bryson Stott singled home Nick Castellanos after Castellons led off the inning with a double. Overall, he left on the long side of the ledger after allowing one run on five hits and three walks while striking out seven.

By no means was this is good start by Scherzer, at least not by his standards. That said, it was more than good enough to get the Mets the win.

On the other side, Aaron Nola didn’t get out of the fourth. There may have been some issue with the ball early on because he too struggled with control to start the game, and he also walked three in the game. Still, the Mets were not able to get to him until Brandon Nimmo homered in the third:

The fourth inning is where the Mets offense started to take off. After Starling Marte singled to start the inning, Pete Alonso doubled him home. That’s when the Mets batters started getting plunked again. After Eduardo Escobar drew a walk, Mark Canha and Jeff McNeil would get plunked to force home a run.

Seranthony Dominguez relieved Nola, and he got Tomas Nido to hit into an inning ending double play. The Mets were up 3-0 at this point, but they were far from done.

After the Phillies got one in the fourth, the Mets got it back in the fifth. Francisco Lindor hit a one out double, and he would score on Alonso’s two out double. If nothing else, you could see in this game just how well Alonso is handling the DH position this season. In fact, he wasn’t done after those doubles.

In the sixth, the Mets appeared to blow the game wide open. Nido singled, and Nimmo walked. After a Lindor fielder’s choice advanced the runners, Marte drove home Nido with an RBI single. Alonso brought home the rest with a three run homer.

At that point, it was 8-1, and the Mets should have had smooth sailing. Of course, with the state of the Mets bullpen, that’s not what happened.

Sean Reid-Foley struggled. Right away, he hit Segura on the hand knocking him out of the game. SRF followed that by walking Gregorius. For a moment, it seemed Johan Camargo hit a two RBI double, but upon replay, it was ruled foul. Instead, Camargo brought one home with an RBI single. Successive RBI groundouts by Stott and Matt Vierling pulled the Phillies to within 8-3.

Buck Showalter went to Joely Rodriguez to get Kyle Schwarber and get out of the inning. Rodriguez did his job, but for some reason, with J.T. Realmuto leading off the next inning, Showalter stuck with him. Apparently, Showalter never learned his lesson.

Rodriguez would walk Realmuto and Bryce Harper back-to-back to start the inning. After letting him collect dust, Showalter went to Adam Ottavino. Ottavino was greeted with an excuse me RBI double, and then he allowed Alec Bohm to hit a sacrifice fly to pull the Phillies to within 8-5.

After Gregorius flew out to short, McNeil made a big play keeping a Camargo single in the infield. That kept Castellanos from scoring, and he would not score after Stott lined out to end the inning.

Fortunately, Seth Lugo would come on and pitch a perfect eighth to stabilize things.

In the top of the ninth, Escobar hit a one out triple against Bailey Falter. There was question whether it was a homer or not, but it was ruled fan interference. As Escobar busted it out of the box, and he made it safely to third, the umpires used their discretion in fan interference cases to put him on third.

Smith followed with a fly ball to shallow left. Joey Cora had another horrible send. With even a semi-competent throw, Escobar was dead to rights. Fortuantely, Castellanos made a horrendous throw, and Escobar was safe expanding the Mets lead to 9-5.

Edwin Diaz came on for the ninth, and he was greeted with a Harper homer. Diaz would rebound from there to get Castellanos to strike out. Diaz retired the final two. It was not a save situation, but considering the craziness of the final few innings, it might as well have been.

The Mets have now won their first two road series before returning home for Opening Day. All-in-all, it was an adventure, but the Mets held on to win.

Game Notes: Clayton Kershaw was pulled after seven perfect innings against the Minnesota Twins. Fortunately, the Los Angeles Dodgers would lose the perfect game and the no-hitter. Dominic Smith has had a terrible start to the season going 1-for-11 at the plate with eight strikeouts.