It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the story lines from this game, and there were many. However, win, lose, or draw, this game was always going to be about David Wright‘s return. He started his return with a bang . . . or should I say a blast:
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) August 25, 2015
What a way to start! He would finish the game going 2-5 with that homerun, a walk, three runs, and an RBI. He also made two errors in the field. Hey, he isn’t perfect. I’m willing to let him get up to game speed. We all know he’s going to work to get better and be better. Surrounding Wright’s return was quite an interesting game.
While Wright was rising to the occasion, Jacob deGrom wasn’t ready for today. He had his worst outing in terms of innings pitched and runs allowed. His ugly line was 2.2 innings, 8 hits, 3 walks, and 7 runs (6 earned). He left the game down 7-2. Sean Gilmartin would come in and save not only deGrom, but also a depleted bullpen. He would go 3.1 innings striking out four and holding the Phillies to seven runs. That was important because the Mets offense was about to go off again in a bandbox.
The team tied team records with eight homeruns and 15 extra base hits. Here’s the collection of homeruns:
- David Wright (solo, 2nd inning)
- Juan Lagares (solo, 3rd inning)
- Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] (2 run, 4th inning)
- Travis d’Arnaud (464′, solo, 4th inning)
- Wilmer Flores (3 run, 5th inning)
- Michael Cuddyer (solo, 5th inning)
- Daniel Murphy (2 run, 6th inning)
- Yoenis Cespedes (2 run, 9th inning)
It wasn’t until d’Arnaud’s two run double in the sixth that the Mets scored a run without hitting a homerun. It was the Murphy 9th inning double that broke the record, but it was the Cespedes’ “Feats of Strength” that put the cap on the evening. Overall, the Mets treated Citizens Bank Park so much like Coors Field that they scored 14+ runs for the third time in four games. They would win 16-7.
In fact, things went so well from the Mets from the fourth inning on that Hansel Robles pitched a 1-2-3 seventh. Even Eric O’Flaherty had a 1-2-3 inning getting one righty and two lefties out. Carlos Torres‘ ninth inning was even fairly uneventful.
Also, even with the questionable lineup, Terry Collins had a good game. He got deGrom out in time. He rode Gilmartin as long as he could, especially with the short bullpen. I’m not going to disagree with him leaving Wright in fir the full game. You could make a reasonable argument to pull him in a laugher. I liked keeping him in there for a full game. It’s his first major league game since April. Let him get fully up to game speed. Although with the Mets not having two relievers who can give multiple innings, I do question using Torres in the ninth.
One another note, as I said before, these bandboxes produce some ugly and weird baseball. In the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Howard hit a hard line drive into the shift. Flores made a diving stop, but he couldn’t hold onto the line drive. As Howard was walking off the field, Flores got to a knee and threw it to first base. Howard then ran back to first, and because of the off the odd angle, he was heading towards second base when he ran through the bag. As Gary and Ron mused, it would’ve been interesting to see what happened if the throw didn’t beat Howard.
Overall, it’s tough to figure out if Gilmartin or Flores gets the game ball. We do know the Mets expanded their lead to a season high 5.5 games. I’m going to celebrate with a cookie.
I’ve made it well known that I don’t think Bartolo Colon is a good pitcher anymore. Normally, I’d be apoplectic over his giving up seven earned in 3.2 innings.
Actually, you know what? I am apoplectic over it. Look at the photo. They had to ice and rub him just to get him out there. If you were watching it on TV, you saw that bump on his wrist get bigger and bigger. He should’ve been taken out when he was hit on the wrist in the second inning.
I don’t care if you’re one of the stud muffins or a bad 42 year old pitcher, the team does not have the right to put a player out there and risk significant injury. I’m even more incredulous because the Mets have a short bullpen and want to skip Matt Harvey‘s Sunday start. Also, if the Mets want a six man rotation, I’m certain that included Colon and not Logan Verrett.
Lucky for the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes unleashed his “Feats of Strength.” He went 5-6 with a stolen base, double, three homeruns (one grand slam) and seven RBIs. Two homers were to CF and the other went to RF. it would’ve been 6-6 if not for a terrific running catch by Carlos Gonzalez in the ninth. Going into the ninth, Cespedes had a chance for the HR Cycle (solo, two run, three run, grand slam). The Murphy SF took care of that. He was also a triple short of the cycle. Car-Go’s catch took care of that.
The rest you need to know? the six inning, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto hit solo homeruns off former Met Gonzalez German. Sean Gilmartin was marginally effective and got the win. Hansel Robles wasn’t good, but he only gave up one run. The Mets added an insurance run in the eighth with a Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] RBI double scoring Cespedes (who else?). Daniel Murphy would knock in the last run with a ninth inning sacrifice fly. Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia locked down the eighth and ninth to secure the 14-9 win.
It’s funny with everything going on tonight, the thing that threw me for a loop was seeing Jose Reyes bat second. The only other person not to put Reyes in the leading spot was Jerry Manuel. That’s not good company for Walt Weis.
Overall, my favorite part of the night was in the top of the sixth. Despite burning a challenge earlier in the game, Walt Weiss came out to challenge a safe call on a Curtis Granderson stolen base attempt. It was a little ironic because the early failed challenge involved Granderson throwing out Nick Hundley at the plate to end the fifth inning. I think the umpires got the call wrong even if it was upheld on replay.
Anyway, Walt Weiss has no challenges left. It doesn’t stop him. The umpires went forward with the replay, which did confirm the call. Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez were livid and rightfully so. There were a few times I thought Keith was going to drop an expletive. In this mess of a game it gave me a chuckle.
The win gave me a smile. I have a huge grin due to the Nationals loss, and the Mets expanding their lead to five games.
Tonight was yet another example that Terry Collins is not ready to manage in October. This is unacceptable.
I’m angry and you should be angry. Logan Verrett was called up to help in the bullpen. He comes in and faces three batters in the sixth. He’s been starting in AAA, so after a quick inning, in an AL park, I presumed it was a no-brainer that he came on for a second inning.
Nope, he was lifted. Why? So he can start on Sunday to permit the Mets to skip Matt Harvey‘s start. Yup, the Mets are messing around with a team in a pennant race. As I’ve said before, if you want to skip starts, you do it in May when Harvey was struggling; not now, not in the thick of the pennant race.
Sure enough Hansel Robles gives up the game tying HR in the seventh (which was supposed to be Verrett’s innings) to Adam Jones tying the game at four. There’s no shame in allowing a HR to Jones. There is shame in allowing your fourth or fifth best reliever to get beat in the last three innings of a game.
Terry Collins continued his rough night by allowing Juan Uribe to face former Met Darren O’Day after Lucas Duda‘s one out double. O’Day holds righties to a triple slash of .192/.259/.277 for his career. This year Uribe hits righties .246/.300/.375. Predictably, Uribe grounded out with Kelly Johnson on the bench. Travis d’Arnaud would then make the final out of the inning.
If you’re going to sit Michael Conforto against lefties, you pinch hit Johnson there. Sure enough to make sure I get an aneurysm, Collins PH Michael Cuddyer against the lefty Zach Britton. On what planet is it more important to look at lefty-righty match-ups in the beginning of an inning as opposed to during a rally in a tie game.
Finally, to show Collins shouldn’t be managing a team in a pennant race, he puts in Carlos Torres over a warmed-up Jeurys Familia. Sure enough, Torres let up the walk-off homerun to the first batter he saw in the ninth giving the Orioles a 5-4 win. You always want to lose a game with one of your worst relievers when you’re best one is available and ready to go.
I’m angry. Collins botched this game top to bottom. He cost the Mets the win. Some will blame the bullpen. I think it’s how it was deployed and how Collins handled his bench.
Thank God Washington hasn’t fired Matt Williams. Otherwise, I would be positive the Mets would blow this lead.
I don’t understand what the Mets are doing with their prospects right now. First, they are actively stunting the development of Michael Conforto by keeping him in the majors and not playing him everyday. Keep in mind, this is a player, they didn’t want to call-up in the first place.
Additionally, there is the constant noise over the six man rotation, but their young stud muffins are set to far exceed their innings limits. Plus, these prized arms’ aches and pains are largely ignored until it becomes more serious. They even have Dan Warthen playing doctor. It’s inexcusable.
Their treatment of Kevin Plawecki is almost as ponderous. I understand he might’ve been the best option at backup catcher, but it’s not like he’s been good. It’s just that Anthony Recker and Johnny Monell have been that bad. That was, in part, the rationale behind keeping Plawecki up when Travis d’Arnaud came off the DL on July 30th. Let’s see how that worked out for Plawecki:
- 3 games played out of 11l
- .111 average
- 12 extra days of accumulated service time
In essence, the decision was just short of being a disaster. Plawecki is going to be a Super Two player. Overall, he’s hit .228/.283/.296. Those are ugly numbers, especially when he’s a .292/.368/.435 hitter in the minors. Obviously, he should’ve been in the minors trying to get better. For those that argue that there’s value sitting on a major league bench, it sure hasn’t helped him thus far.
Plawecki probably would’ve benefitted from time in AAA making him a better player. d’Arnaud did the same last year, and he’s the better for it. Plawecki didn’t, and he’s worse off. The Mets catching situation is also worse off.
Overall, the Mets prospects are worse off the past two years in how they’ve been handled. I only hope Plawecki and Conforto can overcome it because they have real promise . . . promise that isn’t being g cultivated by the Mets.
Lucky for the Mets, the Colorado Rockies are more serious about Innings limits than they are. In his second career start, Jon Gray stymied the Mets offense for six innings. The only damage against him was a Travis d’Anaud second inning homerun.
Now there’s no shame in getting shut down by Gray. He was the third overall pick in 2013. He was rated the 13th best prospect by Baseball Prospectus. He is a prized prospect that left the game after 75 pitches in six innings.
After Gray was pulled, the Mets offense finally went to work against Justin Miller. d’Anaud got it started with a single. Michael Conforto and Ruben Tejada walked around a Juan Uribe pop out. Curtis Granderson worked the count full and was hit by ex-teammate Boone Logan’s pitch to tie the game. Daniel Murphy then hit a two RBI single just past old friend Jose Reyes to give the Mets a 4-2 lead.
The Mets seventh not only gave the Mets the lead, but it also gave Jon Niese the win. Niese was good tonight. He only allowed a fourth inning two run opposite field homerun to Carlos Gonzalez, who could hit anything out of the ballpark right now. Niese deserved the win, and the Mets got it for him with that rally.
Tyler Clippard worked a 1-2-3 eighth. Jeurys Familia followed with a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 31st save. As long as the starters go seven and hand it to these two, there will be a lot less agora this year.
Now no matter what happens tonight in Los Angeles, the Mets will keep their one game lead in the loss column, and I can wake up in my birthday with a first place Mets team.
Now that was special. Even with Jacob deGrom and Tyler Clippard unable to keep the game tied, the Mets found a way.
First, Juan Uribe ties the game with a homer after this game started to look like the Grady Sizemore Show (homerun and stole a homerun from Wilmer Flores). After deGrom gave up a James Loney homer, Daniel Murphy hits a game tying homerun. Tyler Clippard gave up the lead on an Evan Longoria homerun that just skipped off the top of the right center field wall.
In the ninth, after Lucas Duda reached in an error and moved over on a wild pitch, Michael Conforto had the biggest hit of his young career (in a terrific AB) with a hustle RBI double to tie the game. He was moved over to third in a Travis d’Arnaud infield single and scored the go-ahead run when Flores served the ball into right [standing ovation].
Jeurys Familia closed out the game to secure the 4-3 win. In an odd sequence it took the Mets a few times to record the first out. Uribe was aggressive in fielding balls in front of third, but the umpire correctly called the ball foul each time.
With Clippard getting the win, when in actuality all he did was put the Mets on the brink of losing, I thought of how my thinking has evolved on wins. As I’ve stated before, I’m generally more open and accepting of Sabermetrics. I do think the pitcher wins are an overrated stat. For example, the horrendous Bartolo Colon is tied for the team lead in wins with Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. Luckily, no one on the Mets side had a loss to put in their ledger tonight.
Some other fun notes:
- The sound of the crowd made it sound like a home game;
- It was great seeing Dwighg Gooden at the game; and
- Terry Collins shows he’s delirious with some of these lineups
With the DH, he had his lefty platoon lineup out there which meant Conforto and Kelly Johnson (2B). He had Uribe and his defense at third. However, I don’t understand Flores at SS instead of Ruben Tejada. Collins brought in Juan Lagares for defense in the ninth. He should’ve done the same with Tejada. At least the mistake didn’t cost the Mets the game.
In other great news, the Rockies beat the Nationals to extend the Mets lead to 2.5 games (two in the loss). Tonight was a great night for baseball and an even better night to be a Mets fan.
As of today, the Mets 40 man roster is full with Erik Goeddel and David Wright on the 60 day DL. Since players on the 60 day DL do not count towards the 40 man roster, two players will have to be removed from the 40 man before Goeddel and Wright can be added.
The first decision could potentially come on August 11th, when Goeddel is first eligible to come off the DL. The Mets can send down Hansel Robles, who has options, but that only solves the 25 man roster issue. As of today, here are the people who are on the 40 man roster, who are also not on the 25 man roster:
- Dario Alvarez
- Vic Black
- Jack Leathersich
- Steven Matz
- Akeel Morris
- Logan Verrett
- Gabriel Ynoa
- Johnny Monell
- Anthony Recker
- Dilson Herrera
- Danny Muno
- Wilfredo Tovar
- Darrell Ceciliani
- Michael Cuddyer
- Kirk Nieuwenhuis
In deciding who to remove, there are a couple of important factors to take into account:
- This player will be exposed on waivers allowing any team to claim that player, and
- A player must be on the 40 man roster as of August 31st to be eligible for the postseason roster (there are loopholes however).
Immediately, you can rule out the pitchers. They’re young, under control, and will be snatched up by another team . . . even Vic Black. That leaves eight players for two spots.
Next, we can eliminate Michael Cuddyer and Kirk Nieuwenhuis from consideration. Cuddyer is set to come off the DL soon. Nieuwenhuis is a possibility, albeit remote right now for the postseason roster. We’re done to six players.
I would next eliminate Dilson Herrera, who is seen as the second baseman of the future. This is especially important with Daniel Murphy, Kelly Johnson, and Juan Uribe set to be free agents. We’re down to five players: Monell, Recker, Muno, Tovar, and Ceciliani. Here’s where things get tricky. You can make cases for all of these players to stay or go.
I’ll start with the catchers, who have been awful this year . . . absolutely terrible. I’m expecting the Mets to move on from both of these players in the offseason. However, we need to remember Travis d’Arnaud has been injury prone. You don’t want to him to go down and have no playoff replacement. At a a minimum, one catcher must stay on the roster. Possibly both.
Up next are the young middle infielders. Admittedly, they have both been pretty bad in very limited major league experience. Accordingly, you can’t use that experience as the sole reason to outright that player. It should be noted neither player is a top prospect in the Mets organization. I think both are candidates, specifically Tovar, who is behind Matt Reynolds, Gavin Cecchini, and Amed Rosario on the organization’s SS depth chart.
Finally, we have Ceciliani, who played decently with the Mets this year (even if he was a little exposed). It should be noted he was passed over in the last two Rule Five Drafts. I don’t imagine his limited playing time changed the minds of the other 29 teams. Furthermore, with Nieuwenhuis being on the bubble for the postseason roster, there’s no chance he would even see the field. In my opinion, this makes him the most vulnerable.
Now, I have no connections whatsoever, but I would believe Ceciliani and Monell are the two players who will be moved to make room for Goeddel and Wright. You could easily interchange that for Recker and Ceciliani or one of the middle infielders. However, I think Ceciliani and Monell are the two least regarded players on this list.
Further complicating matters is Rafael Montero, who is also on the 60 day DL. Terry Collins recently went to talk to Montero to encourage him to ramp up his rehab so he can help the team. If Montero is coming back, the Mets are going to have to make yet another roster move. I believe at this time, the middle infielders would definitively be in danger of being removed from the 40 man roster. My guess would be Tovar, but then again, I could be wrong.
The only way to avoid removing anyone, and risking losing a player, is to make a trade with another team. The problem there is if these players had value to other teams, they would have been moved already. Specifically to Ceciliani, we’ve seen teams pass on him a number of times. There is also the possibility that the player to be named later in the Eric O’Flaherty deal is one of the aforementioned 15 players making part of this post moot. However, I think that is unlikely.
Overall, the Mets have a lot of important decisions to make with an eye towards who they want on the postseason roster. It’s fun to be a Mets fan again.
Yesterday, the Mets activated Travis d’Arnaud from the DL, and they surprisingly optioned Anthony Recker to the minors (I guess Bartolo Colon has an excuse again for his poor performance). I was surprised about this because it means Kevin Plawecki is staying on the Mets roster.
I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised because this is what happened the last time d’Arnaud was activated off of the DL. Look I understand the Mets’ reasoning in wanting to ease d’Arnaud back. He’s an important part of the lineup. However, if he needs to be eased back, why are they rushing him to the majors? We know the answer is his bat, but if his elbow is not healthy, he’s not going to hit. If this isn’t a case of rushing his bat back to the majors, then why did the Mets pick Plawecki over Recker or Monell?
The reason is simple. None of the Mets catchers are hitting. Plawecki is hitting .212/.257/.212 over the past two weeks. Anthony Recker is hitting .123/.254/.228. Al Leiter hit better than that as a 36 year old pitcher. I know I’m cherry picking there, but I should not be able to pick out any of Leiter’s offensive seasons and compare them to a major league hitter. The last option is Johnny Monell, who is hitting .178/.245/.222. So you could argue, the Mets are going with the option that gives them a chance to win now. However, we should really be asking ourselves if this is the best option for the team.
Kevin Plawecki is a 24 year old catching prospect, who should be playing everyday. While d’Arnaud has been on the DL, Plawecki has been playing everyday. However, now that d’Arnaud is back, I do not see how sitting on the bench is going to help him. Plawecki has been up in the majors for 59 games worth of action. This is more than a cup of coffee. Normally, I would agree that sitting on a major league bench is good exposure for a rookie. However, he’s already done that. Whatever benefit that may have for his has or at least should have sunk in already.
Furthermore, last year when d’Arnaud wasn’t hitting, he was sent down to the minors. Plawecki is in the same situation d’Arnaud was in last year. When d’Arnaud went down to AAA, he found his stroke. This season he’s hitting .296/.338/.535, albeit in very limited action. With Plawecki currently struggling at the plate, shouldn’t the Mets consider sending Plawecki down to get him right? Seriously, at this point what’s the difference between Plawecki’s bat and Monell’s bat? If you want to sit d’Arnaud a little, let Colon have Recker as his personal catcher for now. You can always recall Plawecki in September when the rosters expand. God willing, you can have him on the postseason roster over Recker or Monell.
Overall, the Mets’ three priorities right now are: 1) make the postseaon; 2) build a team that can win in October; and 3) don’t do anything that can harm the future of the team. With respect to making the postseason, I don’t see a Plawecki being a difference maker over Recker or Monell in the limited action he’s going to see with d’Arnaud up. With respect to winning in October, I’d rather see Plawecki in the minors getting his swing right and being an option off the bench in September and October. Lastly, having him in the majors right now prevents him from really working to get better.
While I appreciate the Mets are trying to do everything they can to win, I think they are being extremely short sighted with Plawecki right now. He needs to be sent down to the minors to improve for the stretch drive and for seasons to come.
I’m done with analyzing potential trades and players. I don’t think the Mets are making any more moves. I don’t think Sandy Alderson had the money to spend. He was bluffing at that press conference because that’s his job. He cannot announce to the world the Mets don’t have the money to add a contract. That’s foolhardy. It reduces your leverage in trade discussions, and it could keep fans away from the ballpark. Both are bad for business, and if anything, Sandy is a good businessman.
Therefore, I’m not going to address how well I think Gerardo Parra will fit on this team, especially given Juan Lagares’ questionable health and offense. I’m not going to address how a Jose Reyes deal will benefit the Mets on the field and in attendance. I won’t go into how Justin Upton has been lousy since April and will only drag the Mets offense further down. I’ve already wasted my breath on Jay Bruce. We all know Yoenis Cespedes and Carlos Gonzalez are not going to be moved by their teams.
Any other players the Mets get besides the aforementioned players are just background noise. They are bench parts that don’t have the day to day impact the Mets need on the field. If the Mets acquire someone, I’ll do a write up on the trade. If the Mets get one of the above, I’ll concede how very wrong I was.
I’m not being pessimistic. I’m being realistic. I do think the team on the field can compete for the postseason and the World Series. When Travis d’Arnaud returns, the team is that much better. If David Wright returns, and is at least a shadow of himself, watch out. If Steven Matz returns, we’re really cooking.
Instead of focusing on what could be, I’m going to focus on what is and enjoy that. I don’t think people do that enough nowadays. I’m going to sit down tonight and watch the Mets game with my son until he falls asleep. I’m going to watch the team on the field, and I’m going to enjoy the game (hopefully). I’m just not going to sit here anymore and fret over what could be. I’m going to enjoy what is.
Last month, The Sporting News ranked Sandy Alderson right in the middle of all GMs in Major League Baseball (15/30). That sounds about right, although I could quibble with the order. To me, when you give Sandy a rating of 15/30, you’re really giving that rating to the entire front office, which includes Paul DePodesta, JP Riccardi, and John Ricco.
Since Sandy Alderson has been the GM for the Mets, he has really been tasked with getting rid of salaries and selling at the trade deadline. To that end, he and his front office have done an admirable job. In my opinion (and most people’s really), his three best trades were to sell and not to buy:
- RA Dickey, Josh Thole, and Mike Nickeas for Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, John Buck, and Wullmer Becerra;
- Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler; and
- Marlon Byrd, John Buck & cash for Dilson Herrera and Vic Black.
Looking over the rest of the trades, there really is not much to get worked up about, except the two trades Sandy Alderson made to help the team on the field (and not the team down the road):
- Angel Pagan for Andres Torres and Ramon S. Ramirez; and
- Collin McHugh for Eric Young, Jr.
There has been so much written about the first trade. Rather than regurgitate all that has been written, I’m going to make a couple of quick points. First, this was part of a quick hitting series of moves to try to rebuild the bullpen and TRY to take attention away from Jose Reyes leaving. Second, it seems like every year this team is trying to build a bullpen because the prior season’s acquisitions were terrible or everyone got hurt again. Lastly, this trade violated the old adage of “the team that gets the best player wins the trade.” We knew then Pagan was the best player in that deal.
I want to focus on the EY deal because with the Mets rotation, it has largely been ignored. In full disclosure, I didn’t see it with McHugh. I thought he was an AAAA starter or a 12th man in the pen. I didn’t see him finishing fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting last year or having another solid year for the Astros, especially when he pitches half his games is Minute Maid Park.
Just because I didn’t see it, it doesn’t excuse the current front office for this mistake. EY was acquired because Paul DePodesta loves him. In EY’s two seasons with the Mets, he was a 0.9 WAR player, who won a stolen base crown. The Mets were under .500 and had no shot at the postseason.
In the same time, McHugh has combined for accumulated WAR of 5.2, i.e. he has been the best player in the deal. I shutter to think what the careers Cory Mazzoni or Brad Wieck will be.
Now after all of this, how can I be expected to trust Sandy’s regime to properly rate their own prospects? Sure when he has someone of value, he does a good job maximizing the return. However, when he is making a deal to improve his club, he has been shown to undervalue his assets.
This brings me to an extremely important point: Sandy effectively traded a first round pick for Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer hasn’t been himself at the plate or the field (even preinjury), which further exacerbated this “trade.” All in all, I’m not sure we can trust this front office to go out and get a player. With that said, I’m sure I’m just wasting my breath because there is no way the Mets would take on money to improve this team.