For the first time in the second half, and the first time in nearly two months, the New York Mets swept an opponent. It couldn’t have come at a better time.
He had shut down the Nationals for four innings before getting in trouble in the fifth. In that inning, the Nationals had runners at the corners with one out. With the Mets only having a 2-0 lead, Luis Rojas tabbed Seth Lugo.
Lugo, who hasn’t been great inheriting runners this year allowed a sacrifice fly pulling the Nationals to 2-1. The Mets would get than run back and then some on a Jonathan Villar two run homer in the sixth.
JONATHAN VILLAR WITH THE INSURANCE RUNS! THE METS LEAD 4-1 pic.twitter.com/ssJeFmTx5Y
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 12, 2021
While May has been great in the second half of the season, he didn’t have it in this save opportunity. He loaded the bases with one out leading Rojas to tab closer of yore Jeurys Familia.
This was one of those frustrating Familia blown saves of yore. First, he had a wild pitch scoring run. Truth be told James McCann should’ve had a better effort blocking that ball.
Familia navigated his way through the inning to keep it tied into the bottom of the seventh. After McNeil grounded out, Pete Alonso ended the game.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 12, 2021
Back when the Mets suffered a brutal loss, Alonso told fans they shouldn’t believe. They should know. Seeing this fame, Alonso gave the Mets reason to know they’re making the playoffs.
The Mets swept the Nationals like they should. Now, they’re in second place with things getting more interesting in the NL East. Now, it’s time to step up and win.
Game Notes: Williams was called up as the 27th man.
As the New York Mets stared down the trade deadline, they needed to address their pitching, and they needed to get a third baseman. Instead of doing that, they instead opted to trade for Javier Baez.
For Baez, the Mets parted with Pete Crow-Armstrong, and the Chicago Cubs threw in Trevor Williams. Considering Baez was going to receive a qualifying offer, the deal was more than fair. In fact, you could argue the Mets got the better end of the deal.
However, while the Mets won the trade, you do have to wonder just how much better Baez makes them. It’s debatable.
For now, Baez stands as a replacement for the injured Francisco Lindor. Baez is not on Lindor’s level defensively, and he has really struggled this year.
So far, Baez has a career worst -1 OAA. DRS tells a different story with a 4 DRS. That’s the second best mark of his career in a full 162 game season. That’s not the defensive wizard he’s purported to be, and it’s probably not a significant upgrade than what Luis Guillorme could provide.
Offensively, Baez is at a 105 wRC+. If he stays at or near this level, that’ll be just the third time over his eight year career he is at least a league average hitter.
The problem with Baez is he’s got a poor mix of not taking walks and swinging and nodding frequently. In fact, he leads the league in strikeouts. Overall, his 36.3 K% is borderline unplayable.
Keep in mind, Baez only exacerbates Mets offensive issues. They’re in the bottom half of the NL in strikeout and walk rates. Baez will serve as a hindrance to both. If anything, Baez moves the Mets further towards an all or nothing offense.
All that said, Baez does make the Mets better. If nothing else, he eventually moves Jeff McNeil to third and J.D. Davis to the bench. That helps the pitching significantly, especially starters like Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker.
There’s also his friendship with Lindor and experience playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. With that, he has a familiarity with Edwin Diaz. Diaz has missed Lindor, and it’s shown. Hopefully, Baez can temporarily fill that void.
Baez also has championship pedigree being a part of the 2016 Chicago Cubs. In his career, he’s had some big series including his being the 2016 NLCS MVP.
On that note, Baez does create a more defined path towards winning the World Series. This is going to have to be a team which wins with its pitching and defense. They have enough offense to get it done.
All told, Baez is an improvement. The problem is he may not be sufficient. He hurts the offense, and he’s no longer the defensive genius we thought him to be.
Now, as evidenced by his 2.8 WAR, he’s a good player. In fact, that mark puts him as the Mets top position player. So yes, the Mets are better. However, it’s really debatable if they’re significantly better or really improved their chances to hold onto the division or win the World Series.
This should’ve been a great day for the New York Mets. The black uniforms were back for limited engagement, Carlos Carrasco was making his season debut, and they added Javier Baez at the trade deadline.
For his part, aside from surrendering a homer to Jonathan India on his first pitch, Carrasco was terrific. Over four innings, he allowed just that one run on three hits and one walk while striking out four.
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 31, 2021
Jonathan Villar then hit into an inning ending double play. That was about it for the Mets offense for the night. They wouldn’t get a runner into scoring position until the eighth, and they squandered that opportunity as well.
It was still theoretically a game in the ninth as it was only 3-1. That was until the Reds roughed up Anthony Banda in his second inning of work for three runs making it a 6-1 Reds lead.
In the ninth, in what may prove to be his last Mets at-bat, Brandon Drury hit a pinch hit RBI double. It proved to be nothing more than window dressing in the Mets 6-2 loss.
As if that loss wasn’t bad enough, Nimmo was going to be taken out of the game with a hamstring issue resulting from a dividing catch. Jacob deGrom was shut down again with more forearm inflammation. It should also be noted with the Mets falling to add a reliever the bullpen struggled.
All told, even with the Baez addition, this was just about as bad a day as you can get. The Mets looked bad and might be in real trouble soon.