Travis Jankowski

Mets Admit Offseason Mistakes

When you think of the New York Mets offseason, you think Max Scherzer. How can anyone blame you. After all, he’s a future Hall of Famer, and he’s still pitching like he’s in his prime.

The other big move was Starling Marte. He’s possibly been even better than expected. He’s an All-Star and may find himself getting down ballot MVP votes.

These are two great moves which have helped the Mets be in first place. They’re phenomenal moves having the exact impact you’d hope. There were other decisions which have fallen short.

First and foremost is the DH disaster.

The Mets decision to go with Robinson Canó at the start was a mistake. Just ask the San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves.

Stubbornly trying Canó shelved J.D Davis and Dominic Smith, neither on whom got going on the season. Davis flopped in his extended chance and was shipped out to replace him. Smith never got his shot, and now he’s injured.

This failed triumvirate has been replaced by Daniel Vogelbach and Darin Ruf. Vogelbach has been great so far with Ruf not yet getting a plate appearance as his platoon partner.

While they’re useless against same side pitching, they’re absolutely lethal against opposite side pitching. That makes this platoon nearly unstoppable, and it seems platoon is the name of the game with the Mets.

One platoon move they made without a trade is at third base. That was forced by Eduardo Escobar’s play. After a strong first month, he’s stopped hitting right-handed pitching, and he has a -4 OAA at third.

There were indications signing him to play out of position was a bad idea, but the Mets proceeded anyway. To a certain extent, they’ve been bailed out by Luis Guillorme (and the organization finally being willing to give him a shot to play everyday).

What’s a surprise is the Mets thought they needed a platoon partner for Mark Canha. By all accounts, Canha was having a good season, and the Mets were finding a way to get the best of him.

Canha has a 121 wRC+ and a -1 OAA. The defense isn’t great, but it’s playable.

That said, we did see continued signs of regression. Canha hit but with no power. He got on base but with a reduced walk rate and high .321 BABIP (.290 career).

That was with Travis Jankowski as his caddy. Jankowski was the late inning replacement in the field and on the base paths. The issue was Jankowski got hurt and then stopped hitting.

Rather than be victims to regression, the Mets were proactive acquiring Tyler Naquin. In a sense it was necessary with the Canha risk, but in another, it was odd considering Canha has always hit right-handed pitching better than left-handed pitching.

For that matter, he’s a better hitter overall than Naquin regardless of the split. However, Naquin has power, and Canha doesn’t. Looking at all the moves, this is an area the Mets specifically targeted.

The offseason approach was players who put the ball in play. That worked over the first two months of the season as the Mets had the best offense in baseball.

However, as the Mets hitting with runners on regressed to the mean, so did the offense. Over the past two months, this was an average to below average offense.

The Mets pitching, more specifically the starting pitching is too special to waste. Rather than wait for players to start hitting while hoping others didn’t stop, the Mets made a course correction.

Rather than be stubborn, the Mets acknowledged the limitations of their offseason plan. They made the necessary pivot. The end result is a far more dangerous team.

Whether this results in a World Series remains to be seen. What we can see is the Mets better positioned themselves to win because they acknowledged what wasn’t working and worked to fix it.

Tyler Naquin Bizarre Move For Mets

The New York Mets struck a deal to acquire OF Tyler Naquin and LHP Phillip Diehl from the Cinnanati Reds for prospects RHP Jose Acuña and center field prospect Hector Rodríguez. From a Mets perspective, the move really didn’t make any sense for the team.

Let’s get the easy one out of the way. Diehl has not been all the good in his career, and that may be kind. His strikeout rates from the minors has not translated to the majors, but his control issues have. If this is the Mets answer for left-handed reliever, the Mets have completely failed on that front. Chances are, he goes to the minors and stays there.

As for Naquin, over his career, he is a good bat against right-handed pitching, and he has real speed on the basepaths. This season he has a 117 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, and for his career, he has a 111. Between him and the Daniel Vogelbach acquisition, you see the Mets are attempting to address the team’s offense against right-handed pitching.

On that front, while the Mets have one of the best offenses on the season with a 112 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, they have only had a 101 wRC+ since June 1. Another note here is the Mets only have 67 homers belying a real power outage in the lineup. On that front, you understand Naquin who has a .472 SLG this season against right-handed pitching.

However, is has to be noted here Mark Canha has actually been a better hitter against right-handed pitching. This season, Canha has a 138 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, and he has a 122 for his career. While he has zero power left, sitting him to play Naquin doesn’t make all the much sense. That goes double when you consider Naquin is a very poor outfielder.

While Naquin is fast, he has always been bad in the outfield. This year, he has a -1 OAA, and for his career he has a -25 OAA in the outfield. This is not a late inning replacement by any means.

Yes, he does hit better than Travis Jankowski, but in terms of roster construction, Jankowski offered more to this team. While Naquin has a 28.0 ft/sec sprint speed, Jankowski has a 29.0 ft/sec sprint speed. Whereas Naquin has historically been a very poor base stealer, Jankowski has been a very good one.

Another factor here is Buck Showalter has liked lifting Canha for Jankowski for late inning defense or to pinch run. In his career, Jankowski has been a very good fielder capable of playing all three defensive positions. As noted, Naquin is a horrible fielder and should actually be lifted late in games.

Seeing all of this, you have to question what is the end game here? Did the Mets look at Canha and not trust he can keep up his offensive production? You can understand that because his hard hit rates are very low, and that .317 BABIP is due for a course correction. If that is the case, Canha didn’t last a year before the Mets admitted they needed to upgrade over him making his signing a mistake (even if he has a half season worth of good production).

If it was to have Naquin sit on the bench, well, he’s been an awful pinch hitter in his career. In his 65 attempts, he is hitting just .196/.292/.286.

Again, it’s just a bizarre move. Either, you want him to take over for Canha, who is hitting better against right-handed pitching, or you want him to be a reserve where he is a poor pinch hitter, doesn’t steal bases, and plays bad defense.

Given all that, it would seem a mistake to give up Acuña and Rodríguez. These are two very promising prospects who were already considered top 30 prospects in this system. That’s a high cost to pay for an outfielder who does not really have a role on this team.

Hopefully, the Mets are not done, and there are still moves to be made where eventually this move will make sense. It’s doubtful, but the Mets do have five days to make good on this. If they don’t, they got rid of two promising and rising prospects to not really improve the team.

Mets Should DH Mark Canha

With the New York Mets potentially pursuing Juan Soto, the question becomes what the team does with their outfield alignment. Despite Soto being a poor outfielder, the Mets really aren’t going to get the 23 year old superstar to put him at DH.

If Soto was moved to left, where he belongs, this would force Mark Canha to DH. Really, when you look at it, the Mets should probably move Canha to DH as soon as the second half starts.

The predicate for such a decision is the Mets current options at DH have been a complete failure. J.D. Davis is a strikeout and ground ball machine. Dominic Smith has already been demoted once and is easily having the worst season of his career. Neither belong in the everyday lineup right now.

On that front, Luis Guillorme does belong in the everyday lineup. You can argue it’s for his defense alone, but he’s also been hitting this season. Of course, it’s hard to play him everyday.

Remember, Jeff McNeil was an All-Star second baseman. His defense has been good too with a 0 OAA. It’s not Guillorme good (2 OAA), but with his bat, you can more than justify playing him there.

That said, McNeil is versatile. In addition to being a good second baseman, he is a good left fielder (1 OAA). Actually, he is better in left than second.

On that front, Canha has not been good in left. In fact, he has a 0 OAA. Yes, it’s the same as McNeil at second, but across Major League Baseball, McNeil’s zero ranks higher than Canha’s.

At least from a defensive standpoint, it makes sense to put McNeil in left with Guillorme at second. The move makes further sense with McNeil battling a hamstring issue.

So, it makes sense defensively, and it makes sense offensively.

Guillorme (119 wRC+) has hit much better than Davis or Smith. However. However, he hasn’t hit better than Canha (124). The good news is this never needs to be an either/or calculation. It’s a both/and.

Defensively, Guillorme at second, McNeil in left, and Canha at DH. As it so happens, all three of these bats in the everyday lineup with Davis and Smith sitting is also the optimal batting order.

To a certain extent, this is and should be obvious. However, the Mets have not operated this way. Rather, they’ve flipped a coin and picked one of Davis or Smith to diminishing returns.

It’s one thing if the Mets were still invested in Davis or Smith, but they’re not. They’ve gone out of their way to say they’re upgrading the DH position to replace them.

The thing is the Mets may not actually need a DH. In the end, what they may need is to just optimize their lineup with the players already on the roster.

Mets Never Wanted Dominic Smith In 2022

For some reason, the New York Mets just don’t want to give Dominic Smith a full time job. Worse yet, they don’t want him to earn it either.

Consider this, of all the players on the Opening Day roster, Smith is the only player who has not started at least four games in a row. Yes, that does mean Travis Jankowski has.

As previously noted, the Mets first went with Robinson Canó and then J.D. Davis at DH. During Davis’ “winning” the DH job, an admittedly underperforming Smith was sent to Triple-A.

At the time, Smith was hitting .186/.287/.256. Again, when that’s your line, you put yourself in that position, especially when you have options.

However, Davis has similarly faltered. Since June 19, he’s hitting .162/.279/.297 striking out 16 times in 43 plate appearances (37.2%). That’s with a three hit game!

Nowhere will you find the Mets even contemplating sending down Davis. Again, he’s not hitting at all, and he can’t field any position. He’s literally useless to this Major League roster.

Despite that, he continues to get at-bats at the expense of Smith. Even with Smith historically faring better against left-handed pitching, they’ll sit Smith for Davis.

You don’t do this if you’re invested in Smith. That goes double when Smith had a hot bat. The reason is the Mets, at least the Sandy Alderson directed Mets, have never been truly invested in Smith.

This goes back to 2017 and 2018.

Smith and Amed Rosario struggled when they were first called-up. The reaction to each of them could not have been more different.

Smith was given competition to Adrian Gonzalez, who was really signed to play. The Mets preference was made all the easier when Smith was late to pregame, and Mickey Callaway felt the need to display his authority.

This was before Smith’s sleep apnea was diagnosed and treated.

When Gonzalez played poorly and was released, the Mets turned to Jay Bruce and Wilmer Flores. This for a team who was out of it in May and dead in the water in June.

To make matters worse, Smith was used as a left fielder for a good portion of the time. This was a first round pick and top 100 prospect. A Mets team completely out of it thought the best course of action was to see what he had . . . in the outfield.

Keep in mind, Rosario struggled, and the Mets went out of their way to ensure he’s have no competition for the job. Better yet, the team sent down Luis Guillorme for a stretch leaving Rosario as the ONLY shortstop on the roster.

Between 2018 and the present, there’s a pattern, and the person at the helm has been Sandy Alderson. People can say he’s out of the loop, but he’s out there making statements the Mets need to address the DH position.

That was yet another shot at Smith, a player he didn’t want.

Remember, the Mets nearly traded Smith for Eric Hosmer (horrendous contract), Chris Paddack (injured pitcher with a 96 ERA+), and Emilio Pagan (81 ERA+ over last three seasons). That’s just how much they wanted rid of Smith.

They wanted to take on a ton of money to get worse. It’s no wonder Steve Cohen was reportedly forced to nix the deal.

That’s all well and good, but the front office response was just to not let Smith earn a job. On some level, that’s personal. There’s certainly a history backing it up.

Overall, the Mets didn’t want Smith. Alderson has a long track record of not giving him a fair shot. Now, the Mets are ready to move on without even so much as giving him a week of starts to try to earn a job.

Edwin Diaz Not Quite Elite

The most promising sign we have seen from Edwin Diaz this year was how he reacted to the no-hitter. He knew what was happening, and what he needed to do. That would be the best we’ve ever seen of him.

Really, this year is the best we’ve seen of him. He’s having his first All-Star caliber season with the New York Mets, and there is a real and justified discussion about the need to extend him.

Diaz has been very, very good this year. However, as we saw in San Francisco, he’s just not quite elite. Not yet.

The Mets were down 8-4 entering the top of the eighth when they exploded for seven runs. They took an 11-8 lead.

Drew Smith, who has struggled lately, gave that lead right back. The Giants tied the score at 11-11 before he recorded an out. Fortunately, he was bailed out by Joely Rodriguez.

The Mets offense picked the team off the mat again. After knocking in the first run of that eighth inning rally, Dominic Smith came up huge again leading off the top of the ninth with a triple. Travis Jankowski pinch ran, and he’d score on a Brandon Nimmo sacrifice fly.

The Mets had a 12-11 lead, and they brought Diaz into the game.

Obviously, you need your closer to lock down every game he pitches. That said, these are the games you REALLY need. The Mets fought to get back into the game, and then, they fought back again.

After a double play, all Diaz needed was one more out. He didn’t get it, and the trouble started with a walk to Mike Yastrzemski.

From there, three straight singles from Darin Ruf, Joc Pederson, and Brandon Crawford turned an exhilarating 12-11 victory to a devastating 13-12 defeat.

You’ll note this damage mostly cane from left-handed batters. There’s something there with Diaz.

Yes, by and large, he’s platoon neutral. That said, he’s always walked left-handed batters at a higher clip than right-handed batters. Those walks lead to trouble, and they did here.

This marked the third blown save in 13 chances for Diaz. Those three saves are the second most in all of baseball this season. We can pretend otherwise, but even when Diaz is at his best, blown saves have been an issue for him.

It’s not just the blown saves but the moments. While there were a number of mitigating factors, you can certainly recall how he wilted in his one and only pennant race in 2019.

Overall, you’re better with Diaz than not. We’ve seen him able to rise to the occasion. You can win games and potentially World Series with him.

However, he’s just not elite. He’s not there quite yet. Elite closers lock down that game. He didn’t. We don’t need to over dwell on it because he will be fine in the long run. That still doesn’t mean we have to pretend he’s something he isn’t.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Back On Winning Ways Despite Biggest Losses Of All

The New York Mets responded to losing their first series of the season by taking three out of four from the St. Louis Cardinals. However, that does not mean the Mets did not sustain major losses.

1.  The worst thing to happen with the Mets this week was the death of Starling Marte‘s grandmother, a woman who began raising him when he was nine after his mother died. This is on the same week as the anniversary of his wife’s death. Nothing related to the Mets can be worse than this, and fans should greet him with a standing ovation when he returns to Citi Field.

2.  In terms of on-field, the Max Scherzer news is devastating. The Mets need him atop the rotation, and really they are at the point where they cannot afford to lose another starter.

3.  It would appear Scherzer and Jacob deGrom are on a race to see who will be the first to return. Never did we think this would happen this season, and yet, here we are.

4.  This makes the Chris Bassitt acquisition all the more important. He’s a legitimate top of the rotation pitcher (not an ace) for this team when they need one. We saw him be that in the series finale.

5.  Mets pitching from unlikely sources have stepped up all season, so maybe we will see it again. For example, Colin Holderman just picked up his first career win.

6.  In fact, pitchers not on the Opening Day roster to begin the season – Holderman, Adonis Medina, Stephen Nogosek, Jake Reed, and Yoan Lopez – have combined to allow just three earned over 17.1 innings.

7.  Speaking of stepping up, Trevor Williams stepped up big time pitching four scoreless innings. Really, he has been very good for the Mets eating innings over his last three appearances allowing just three earned over 11 1/3 innings. That’s great because he now needs to fill-in for Scherzer.

8.  In the series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals, Pete Alonso hit a two run walk-off homer with an accompanying jump shot to give the Mets yet another series win. It was the capper for a big series for Alonso which saw him hit two homers with seven RBI.

9.  Alonso is having a big month. Over 18 games so far, he is hitting .309/.397/.618 with three doubles, six homers, and 19 RBI. It’s about to get a lot better with him and the Mets headed to Coors Field.

10. Again, Luis Guillorme needs to be an everyday player on this team. He was 5-for-12 in this series with a double and RBI. He’s hitting .323/.382/.484 in May. Really, there is zero reason not to play him everyday.

11. Buck Showalter makes some baffling moves sometimes like lifting Guillorme late in the game for Travis Jankowski only to bunt him over. Really, the Mets brought in a pinch runner to be sacrificed over and worsened their defense in what was then a tight game where the Mets had a lead.

12. For all the nonsense hysteria over Francisco Lindor. he was 4-for-12 in this series with six walks and has reached base safely in eight straight games. He’s fine and still a great player.

13. Time and again, Brandon Nimmo comes up huge. Whether it was the RBI triple or another big hit or great play, Nimmo is one of the best players in all of baseball and needs to be extended.

14. Speaking of great plays, Jeff McNeil scaling the wall and throwing out a player tagging up was just a phenomenal play. Really, between the versatility, improved defense, and his hitting, this is the best he has ever been.

15. Good for Dominic Smith for backing up his talk of wanting to play every day by going 3-for-7 with a run, double, two walks, and two RBI. This is the type of player who needs to play everyday.

16. Of course, the Mets followed his hot hitting by forcing J.D. Davis into the lineup who promptly went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. The Mets really just need to stop forcing him into the lineup whenever Smith gets going. It’s just counterproductive.

17. With the Mets dealing with starting pitching injuries, they just need to play their best players. That isn’t Davis.

18. Eduardo Escobar is hurting this team with his defense, and he’s still not back to hitting. The Mets may be forced to find a third baseman at the trade deadline.

19. When you hit a game winning homer, you can do whatever crazy celebration you want including the one Alonso did.

20. For all the troubles right now, the Mets are 12 games over .500 with a seven game lead in the division. They did what they needed to do through this part of the season, and now, they just need to keep playing well to win this division regardless of who is healthy or not.ba

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 Blow Opportunity

The New York Mets had won seven straight series before a key divisional match-up against the Atlanta Braves. They would not make it an eighth straight series.

1.  Last season, the Mets failed on multiple occasions to deliver a knockout blow to the Braves leading to the Braves buying at the deadline, winning the division, and eventually, winning the World Series. This was the Mets first chance to deliver a huge blow to the under .500 Braves, and instead, they let the Braves walk away with a split.

2.  You can’t use Adam Ottavino for three straight games. That’s just an unforced error that helped lead to the Mets getting blown out.

3.  Buck Showalter came into this season with a number of questions. Seeing how he burns Drew Smith for two innings instead of saving him for another day and used an injured Trevor May in a key spot, it would seem like he hasn’t improved in the slightest in this area.

4.  Chris Bassitt and Tylor Megill deserved better.

5.  If Bassitt wants to sign an extension, the Mets should sign him to one. This is a good pitcher who seems to like pitching here. You keep those guys.

6.  The walks are starting to pile up with Megill. If he isn’t pounding the strike zone, he becomes vulnerable to the big inning. That is essentially what happened to him. Right now, this isn’t any cause for alarm.

7.  All the metrics say Francisco Lindor is hitting the ball very well, but the results aren’t there. Put another way, it’s too soon to overreact, but it is something we need to monitor.

8.  The Mets poor hard hit rates is not an issue for players like Jeff McNeil and Luis Guillorme. However, it is a much larger issue for the rest of the team who are more line drive power hitters.

9.  Eduardo Escobar went from pleasant surprise and leader to looking like the player the Mets shouldn’t have jumped the market to sign. His hard hit rates are cratering as is his defense.

10. Starting J.D. Davis over Dominic Smith, especially with a right-handed pitcher starting is just plain wrong. With extended playing time, Davis’ struggles with any sort of velocity and with pitches up in the zone are magnified.

11. For all the focus on the struggles of the bullpen, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Smith have the final 2-3 innings locked down. Looking at that, building the rest of the bullpen is a much easier task until May returns from the IL.

12. It’s very interesting how May and Jacob deGrom were dealing with very similar injuries. What that says about the Mets is anyone’s guess.

13. The umpiring in this series was embarrassing. It helped cost one game with Dansby Swanson being ruled to have a double on a clear foul ball. Dom was called out on a pitch well out of the zone. Between this series and the Madison Bumgarner ejection in Arizona, the umpiring has been unacceptably poor this season. Really, you know it’s bad when Max Scherzer gets thrown out of a game when he’s not pitching.

14. The notion anything other than balls and strikes is not reviewable is ludicrous.

15. Travis d’Arnaud is certainly going the way of Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner in how he is making the Mets pay for their flat out wrong decision to cut him loose and look in another direction.

16. Players like Travis Jankowski and Guillorme deserve more respect. They fill their roles in perfectly and make this ball club infinitely better. Jankowski knows people won’t buy his jersey, but we will all cheer him on like he’s a superstar.

17. Carlos Carrasco has been amazing this season, and his eight innings not only helped the Mets pick up a win, but it also saved the bullpen.

18. Trevor Williams wasn’t great, but he took one for the team pitching 3.2 innings. Outings like this often get overlooked and under appreciated, but it is something which will really help the Mets in the long run. With May out, you do wonder if the Mets can give him more of a look out of the pen. After all, it’s not like they have other options.

19. The Showalter suspension was ridiculous, especially when you consider Stubby Clapp wasn’t suspended. You do wonder how much that impacted the Mets in the opener of the series, especially with Showalter being informed right before game time.

20. Alonso is heating up just when the Mets need his bat to carry this team. Hopefully, he can help carry the offense as they try to give the Philadelphia Phillies the knock out blow they failed to give the Braves.

Recaps

Same Old Mets Against Braves

Mets Send Message to Braves

Credit to Trevor Williams

Mets Send Message To Braves

After losing the opener of the four game set to the Atlanta Braves and playing their worst baseball of the season, the New York Mets had a doubleheaders scheduled. With maybe not as important in the grand scheme of things, the Mets actually needed to sweep that doubleheader to continue their streak of winning their eighth series to start the season.

They did just that.

In the first game, the Mets jumped all over Charlie Morton not giving him a chance. Now, this wasn’t the Mets hitting bombs, but rather, they kept making contact and putting it where they ain’t.

It all started with surprise lead-off hitter Travis Jankowski hitting an infield single. After the perfunctory HBP, this time it was Francisco Lindor, the Mets got RBI singles from Pete Alonso and Eduardo Escobar to jump out to the early 2-0 lead.

Jankowski would be great in this game. He was a huge part of the Mets offense taking part in all of the run scoring rallies. He was there again in the second drawing a one out walk after Luis Guillorme‘s leadoff walk. Lindor hit an RBI groundout to drive home Guillorme, and again, it would be an Alonso single driving home Jankowski.

In the fourth, Jankowski put on a show with his speed. After reaching on a fielder’s choice, he stole second, and then took third on Travis d’Arnaud‘s wild throw. That permitted him to score on a Mark Canha sacrifice fly. Really, as Jankowski explained properly, he does those things a winning teams need to do.

Right there, the Mets had five runs. It would barely be enough.

David Peterson got the call up for the start with the doubleheader. For four innings, he was really good allowing just one run. It would fall apart in the fifth, which is a shame because he should have been out of the inning.

After Travis Demeritte hit a lead-off single, Guillermo Heredia struck out, and Ozzie Albies hit what should’ve been an inning ending double play. However, Peterson booted it leading to everyone being safe. On the very next pitch, Matt Olson hit a three run homer to pull the Braves within one.

The thing is, that’s the last run the Braves would score in the doubleheader.

The Mets bullpen was awesome. Adam Ottavino struck out two in his scoreless inning. Drew Smith struck out two over his two innings. Finally, Edwin Diaz was unhittable yet again. With that, the Mets took the opener 5-4.

If you thought that pitching performance was impressive, you were in for a real treat with Carlos Carrasco in the second end.

After coming out of the gates red hot, Carrasco took a major step backwards in his last start. Given what happened last season, you could understand fans concerns. This start should have allayed all of those fears.

Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a lead-off double, which again gave rise to concerns of the first inning problems last year. Carrasco settled down to mow down the Braves and pitch the first of what was eight scoreless innings.

In doubleheaders, you need at least one starter to step up. When you don’t have that, you run the risk of absolutely burning out your bullpen. Carrasco being the first Mets starter to go eight innings was bigger than the start itself. He saved the Mets bullpen for the next day. This is what veteran leaders do.

After the second inning, Carrasco would allow just two more hits. He would put the Mets in line for a big win.

After making the roster for good with the Robinson Cano DFA, Dominic Smith would get his first start since his 4-for-4 game. He picked right up where he left off hitting a two run double in his first at-bat to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead.

With respect to Dom, it is important to note just how horrid the umpiring was in these games and overall. For example, when Peterson allowed his first run of the game in the first end of the doubleheader, the ball that was hit was clearly foul. However, due to inane MLB replay rules, it was not reviewable.

With respect to Smith, one of his issues this season has been horrendous strike calls against him. We saw it again in the sixth with Smith striking out on a pitch that was a foot off of the plate.

This call was too much for everyone to take. In fact, after seeing this strike call, and really, the umpiring so far in this series, Max Scherzer would actually get ejected for arguing balls and strikes. This was actually the second time in his career he was ejected with both times coming in games he didn’t pitch.

The Mets would wind up winning this game 3-0. The second run came on a monster Alonso home run to the opposite field. Alonso has been shooting that way all year, and now, he has a big homer out there:

This was a big day for Alonso. Between the two games, he was 4-for-8 with a homer and three RBI. This is the type of hitter we have seen him be, and this is the type of hitter who can carry the Mets offense like he did in these two games.

After Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save of the season, the Mets completed the doubleheader sweep. That was with the help of six scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

Overall, this was not the Mets who have struggled against the Braves. This is a Mets team ready to make a statement. They did in this game and have a chance to win an eighth straight series to start the season and let the Braves know this division belongs to the Mets.

Robinson Cano DFA But Is He Done With Mets?

There were two things which became very clear Sunday Night. First, with Dominic Smith going 4-for-4, there was no way the New York Mets could option him to Triple-A Syracuse after that performance. It was just a testament to the fact he needed to play everyday.

With Francisco Lindor being miked up for the game, it also became clear Robinson Cano was a very loved and respected player in that Mets clubhouse. Apparently, his two PED suspensions did nothing to change that.

More than anything, that is what made this easy decision all the more difficult. The Mets players wanted Cano there. They believed in him. Despite that, and despite the $40.5 million still owed to him, the Mets really had no other choice but to designate Cano for assignment due to the rosters shrinking.

Really, the Mets had no other choice. For Cano, he can’t run, and he doesn’t have his bat speed. Sure, he hit a homer, but his exit velocities were lower than Luis Guillorme, who is a slap hitter and stellar defender. There’s just no room for a player like that on the Mets right now.

In some ways, Cano is a victim of the Mets success here (using the term victim very lightly here). The Mets are a very good team and a true World Series contender. They need to be focused on winning over trying to extract the most out of their investment. Another note here is if not for the lockout, this decision may never be made. If it was a 26 man roster out of Spring Training, in all likelihood, Travis Jankowski starts the year in Syracuse with Cano lingering on the roster.

That said, you have to remember Cano was out of baseball for a year. After 2020, you had to imagine there was more in the tank than what we saw so far in 2022. There’s a real chance he still needs some time to get up to game speed, and with that the bat speed will come. It’s just that the Mets were not in a position to be the team to give him the playing time for that to happen.

With the DFA, the Mets are not precluded from assigning him to Syracuse. Obviously, the Mets are going to get that chance because there is no chance whatsoever anyone claims Cano. After all, Brodie Van Wagnenen is out of baseball.

So for Cano, the question is whether he’s wiling to go to Syracuse. To some extent, it makes sense for the Mets. If Cano really is the proven veteran leader he’s made out to be, he can be a good influence on players like Khalil Lee, Nick Plummer, and Mark Vientos. Cano can also get to hit. If he doesn’t, that could put him in position to get called back up to help the Mets, especially in the event of an injury.

If he doesn’t, well, now we all know it will never happen again, and the Mets can finally cut him loose for good knowing they did all they could do.

As for other teams, who is going to come calling? There might’ve been a small chance with the Miami Marlins, but it’s doubtful with Cano’s teammate Derek Jeter out with the Marlins. As of the other 28 teams, who is taking that chance? Remember, this isn’t an Albert Pujols situation. Pujols could still hit left-handed pitching extremely well.

Right now, Cano does nothing well. If he wants to prove he still has it, he has to go to the minors with the Mets being the best chance. Of course,. that is if the Mets want to do that instead of just moving on from this error, sorry era. At this point, you can’t blame them. Still, for whatever reason, you have to believe Cano may just have one more shot before his career is officially done.