Ty Kelly

Mets Options Better Than Jose Reyes

Admittedly, this is beating a dead horse, a horse deader than Jose Reyes‘ ability to contribute to a Major League team, but if you are going to complain about something, you need to present solutions.  After all, what is the good in saying Reyes should be released if you are not prepared to suggest improvements?

As much as I like to joke about it, no, David Wright would not be an improvement over Reyes right now, even if the argument could sadly be made.  Jokes aside, there are plenty of better options available to the Mets over what Reyes is giving the team right now and in the future:

Luis Guillorme
MLB Stats:
.400/.400/.500, 2B, RBI
MiLB Stats:
.300/.394/.433, 7 2B, 3B, HR, 15 RBI, 2 SB, CS

The main thing Guillorme brings to the table is great middle infield defense.  Even if his ability to drive the ball will remind you of Luis Castillo, he does have the ability to give you a good at-bat and get on base.  At a minimum, since getting called-up, he has show he is not over-matched, and he is ready right now to contribute as a utility player for the Mets right now.

Ty Kelly
MiLB Stats: .274/.350/.500, 7 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 24 RBI, SB

The immediate reaction whenever Kelly is mentioned is he is a Four-A player because he has a MLB career stat line of .211/.297/.340.  Even if you’re right, it bears mentioning this would be a huge upgrade over Reyes’ current stats.  More than that, Kelly is a versatile player and switch hitter who can play all four infield positions and can handle both corner outfield spots.  And for the knocks against him, he is .255/.351/.340 against left-handed pitching.

Tomas Nido
MLB Stats:
.154/.214/.179, 2B, RBI
MiLB Stats: .257/.333/371, 4 2B, 6 RBI

Nido would mean carrying three catchers and pressing Wilmer Flores to become a backup at short as well.  Given Reyes’ -15 DRS at short last year, Flores is not a dropoff defensively.  Nido’s presence on the roster would accomplish a few things.  First, you can give Noah Syndergaard his own personal catcher, which may not be a bad thing given the challenges catching Syndergaard possesses.  Second, having Nido would free up both Devin Mesoraco and Kevin Plawecki for more pinch hitting attempts.  Third, Nido would allow the Mets to take it easier on Mesoraco, who has an extensive injury history, and it permits the team to not over rely on Plawecki, who is still not quite established as a major leaguer.  However, you would ideally keep Nido in the minors once Plawecki returns to give him the regular at-bats he needs to improve offensively.

Gavin Cecchini
MiLB Stats:
.294/.342/.468, 11 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, SB, CS

After a lost season last year, Cecchini worked on a number of things in the offseason, and he is back to being the player he was just two years ago.  However, this is more on the long-term view as Cecchini has not played since May 9th when he fouled a ball off his foot.

Jeff McNeil
MiLB Stats:
.328/.403/.715, 11 2B, 3 3B, 12 HR, 31 RBI, SB

For all the clamoring over Peter Alonso, many are overlooking his teammate McNeil, who has recently surpassed Alonso in doubles, homers, SLG, and OPS.  The 26 year old is healthy after a few injury riddled seasons, and he’s flat out raking.  With him mashing right-handed pitching, he would be a good platoon partner for Wilmer Flores in Todd Frazier‘s absence.  However, ideally, you’d like to keep him in Double-A longer, and you would want to see him in Triple-A before rushing him to the majors, especially when there are more than sufficient options ahead of him.

In complete fairness, Phillip Evans, who has not gotten a hit in seven at-bats and was not great in Las Vegas was not mentioned.  Also not mentioned is T.J. Rivera because no one can be quite sure when he will be ready to return to playing after his Tommy John surgery.  Really, the Mets need Rivera to return as soon as he can because he would be the best possible internal addition to the Mets bench.

Designating Harvey For Assignment Didn’t Go Far Enough

Given everything that has happened since Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, you can hardly blame Matt Harvey for refusing a minor league assignment and for the Mets designating him for assignment.  Ultimately, this is something which may prove beneficial to all parties involved.

For Harvey, he has a lot of work ahead of him.  Unfortunately, the same goes for the Mets, who for reasons unbeknownst to anyone, stopped their roster alterations at Harvey.

There is no doubt Harvey was under-performing, but at the time of the Mets decision he was the last guy in the bullpen mopping up games like the 6-0 mess left for him by Jason Vargas.  Rarely is the last guy in your bullpen the real issue with your team, and the Mets are not one of those exceptions.

One of the main issues with this time right now is the lineup.  With injuries, slumps, and flat out benching more talented players, the team needs to make changes there desperately.

One of the changes that needs to be made is to get Brandon Nimmo into the lineup everyday.  At the moment, Nimmo is hitting .256/.448/.442 with a 17.2% walk rate.  By OPS+ and wRC+, he is the second best hitter in the Mets lineup.  There is no justifiable reason to keep him as the fourth outfielder.

However, he is because the Mets are trying to make Adrian Gonzalez happen.  Well, if you go by his hitting .231/.311/.372 with a -0.4 WAR, it’s not happening, and it’s not going to happen.  Game-in and game-out, he’s showing why the Dodgers took on Matt Kemp to get rid of him and why the Braves were happy to pay him $21.8 million to go away.

Really, there is no reason why the Mets continue to trot him out there when they can put the hobbled Jay Bruce at first base.

Whether it is the plantar fascitiis or something else, Bruce has struggled this year and playing the outfield is doing him no favors.  Really, he and the team is best served by moving Bruce to first and allowing more athletic players like Nimmo and Juan Lagares play out there.

Again, the only thing standing in the way of the Mets optimizing both their defensive alignment and their lineup is a 35 year old with a bad back who already has a -0.4 WAR.

Speaking of players in their mid 30s, well past their prime, and standing in the way of more talented players, the Mets need to do something about Jose Reyes.

So far this season, Reyes is hitting .139/.184/.222.  To put that in perspective, the recently designated for assignment Matt Harvey was batting .286/.286/.286.  Put another way, Reyes is hitting like a pitcher . . . or worse.

That’s except when he’s coming off the bench.  When he’s pinch hitting, he’s not hitting at all going 0-9 with three strike outs.  When he substitutes into games, he’s 0-4.

Really, what’s the point of having a bench player who can’t hit when he comes off the bench?

Remember this was the same Reyes who posted a -0.6 WAR last year and his -26 DRS was the worst among Major League infielders.  There is really not hope there’s any upside.

Looking at Las Vegas, Gavin Cecchini is hitting .313/.359/.500 while mostly playing the middle infield with a game at short.

After a slow start, Luis Guillorme is in the midst of an eight game hitting streak that has seen him go 13-28 with three doubles and seven RBI.  After starting the year hitting .211/.338/.281, he’s not hitting .294/.394/.376.

In addition to Cecchini or Guillorme, the Mets could opt to go with Phillip Evans, who won a bench job out of Spring Training or Ty Kelly, who is once again dominating in Las Vegas hitting .300/.364/.600 with four doubles, four triples, six homers, and 21 RBI.

Even if you didn’t like the group as a collective, you’d be hard pressed to present an argument where they would not be able to get at least one hit while coming off of the bench.

Now, are Gonzalez and Reyes the only two problems?  Far from it.  The catching situation is still a mess, the bullpen is regressing, and every starter not named Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard has been completely unreliable.

That said, Gonzalez and Reyes are blocking more talented players who promise to be more productive than what we have seen from both players not just this year, but stretching back to last year.  If the Mets are truly interested in becoming a better team, these two need to join Harvey in looking for another team.

For Thanksgiving, What Each Met Should Be Thankful For

On Thanksgiving, it’s time to go around the Mets 2017 roster and name something each player should be thankful for:

Nori AokiHe looked so much better in September than he did in all of 2017 by being competent while playing on a dysfunctional team.

Jerry BlevinsThroughout all the stress of the season and his extreme workload, the man didn’t even put on one pound.

Chasen BradfordWith his call-up to the majors, he’s now on the short list for best beards in Mets history.

Jay BruceHe learned from his experience last year, and he played well for a team that acquired him in a trade.

Asdrubal CabreraAs we found out this season, all he wanted the Mets to do was to pick up his option so he could provide for him family.  With the Mets having done that, he can now rest easy.

Jamie CallahanOne day when bards tell the tale of the six right-handed relievers the Mets acquired at the 2017 deadline, they will regale us all with stories of how Callahan was the first of them to finish out a game the Mets won.

Gavin CecchiniHe made the switch from short to second where it will be easier for him to make it to the majors.  That goes double if the Mets who are tightening payroll off a poor season don’t bring in a free agent to play the position.

Yoenis CespedesWith Cespedes missing half the season, that left a lot of time for him to hit the course.

Michael Conforto – Collins is gone meaning no one is standing in his way from being a superstar anymore.

Travis d’Arnaud – He became the greatest defensive second baseman in Mets history by posting a 1.000 fielding percentage at the position.

Jacob deGromWith him pitching so well this year, he knows he will finally be able to cash in in arbitration thereby allowing him to afford a haircut.

Lucas Duda – The slugger was the first Mets player traded at the deadline, and he temporarily got to avoid the We Follow Lucas Duda filming.

Josh EdginHe could be the only pitcher in the history of the Mets organization who is capable of getting both Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy out.

Phillip EvansAfter winning a batting title in 2016, having a good Spring Training, and a good second half for Vegas, the Mets finally decided to let him post similarly good numbers for them in September.

Jeurys FamiliaBlood clots in his shoulder costing him most of the season made most people forget why he missed the beginning of the season.

Chris FlexenAs we learned with Mike Pelfrey, being a Mets pitcher who struggled in the majors after completely skipping Triple-A will get you career earnings of roughly $47 million.

Wilmer FloresHe fouled a ball off his face, and he lived to tell about it.

Sean GilmartinWith his going from the Mets to the Cardinals, he was able to prove he wasn’t bad.  It was just the Mets as an organization did not employ anyone capable of knowing he was actually injured.

Erik GoeddelNo matter how much he struggled this season, he will never be the most hated person in pro sports with the last name pronounced GO-dell\n
Curtis GrandersonHe had a front row seat to seeing Chase Utley fail in the postseason.

Robert GsellmanHe has so much self confidence he doesn’t care what anyone things of him.

Matt HarveyBetween the Tommy John, TOS, and the Mets rushing him into the rotation with atrophied muscles in his throwing arm knowing he wouldn’t really be ready until a month into the season, he should be thankful for getting out of the season with his right arm still attached.

Ty Kelly He got out of here after one game thereby preventing Nurse Ratched from getting to him and ending his season.

Juan LagaresWith all the injuries and the Mets looking to cut payroll, he is once again the center fielder of the future.

Seth LugoAs we learned in the WBC and regular season, when he’s blonde, he’s Cy Young the first two times through the order.

Steven MatzWith him suffering the same injury deGrom suffered last year, we all know he can come back from this to be the same exact injury prone pitcher he was before the surgery.

Kevin McGowanHe will always have a special place in Mets fans hearts as it was his call-up that forced Ramirez off the roster.

Tommy MiloneHe was able to find a team that was okay with him having an ERA over 8.00.

Rafael Montero For the first time in his life, he wasn’t a complete abomination as a pitcher.

Tomas NidoEven with his struggles at the plate in Binghamton, he can rest easy knowing the Mets don’t expect an OBP over .300 from their catchers.

Brandon NimmoNo one, not matter what, has been able to wipe that smile off of his face.

Tyler PillIn a year of embarrassing pitching performances by Mets pitchers, Pill actually acquitted himself quite well before suffering his season ending injury.

Kevin Plawecki – He’s so well liked by his teammates that someone left him a present in his locker, which apparently has inspired him to hit the ball harder and longer thereby resurrecting his career.

Neil RamirezSomehow, someway, he was not the absolute worst pitcher on a team’s pitching staff.

AJ RamosTo him, getting traded to the Mets meant he was traded to a team that actually spends money in the offseason.

Addison ReedHe was so good this year he was worth not just one but three right-handed relievers.

Jose ReyesThe Mets didn’t cut him or his playing time no matter how horrible he played during the 2017 season.

Matt ReynoldsHe got that long look in September Sandy Alderson promised him.  Unfortunately, that only amounted to him getting 10 games to show what he could do at the MLB level.

Jacob RhameHe’s with an organization that has had success getting flame throwing right-handed pitchers who have slimmed down since getting drafted reach their full potential.

Rene RiveraAfter failing to whisper loud enough to help the Mets pitchers pitch better, he was able to go to the Cubs to help their pitchers lead them to an NLCS berth.

T.J. Rivera – With Warthen and Ramirez gone, he’s not going to have to worry about anyone mishandling his return from Tommy John.

Hansel RoblesIn his mind every ball hit in the air is an inning ending pop up.

Amed RosarioHe didn’t have to have his development hampered by being expected to be the savior when he was called-up to the majors as the Mets were well out of contention on August 1st.

Fernando SalasDespite his rough stint with the Mets, he was able to land with the Angels to end the season thereby proving it was the Mets handling of pitchers and not him that was terrible.

Paul SewaldAs a reward for all of his hard work in Vegas, he got the privilege of being the arm Collins loved to abuse during the season.

Dominic SmithHe finally got his call-up in August in Philadelphia of all places allowing him to celebrate the accomplishment and the win with a cheesesteak from Pat’s.  (NOTE: not a cheapshot at his weight, this actually happened)

Josh SmokerAfter the Mets finally gave up on using a pitcher with a history of shoulder issues as the long man in the pen, he showed the team in September that he could be as a lefty out of the pen to get lefties out.

Noah SyndergaardMr. Met flipped off someone this year other than him.

Travis TaijeronWith the Dodgers just signing him to a minor league deal, he is now all but assured of becoming the next Justin Turner.

Neil Walker – The Mets moved him to the Brewers where he was able to re-establish his free agency value by being productive and by staying healthy, which was coincidentally was when he was away from the Mets medical team.

Adam WilkBecause Harvey was at home one day in his pajamas, he set off on a path where he would become eligible to earn a share of the postseason money awarded to the Twins for claiming the second Wild Card.

Zack WheelerInstead of missing two years due to injury, he missed two months.

David WrightDespite all evidence to the contrary, the Mets still have not given up on him.

Terry CollinsAt the end of the day, he was able to make a friend of Fred Wilpon who had his back no matter what.  We should all be so lucky.

Dan WarthenHe found a new group of pitchers in Texas who have elbows waiting to learn how to throw that Warthen Slider.

Kevin LongAfter departing the Mets, he was able to smuggle the page out of his binders that showed exactly how he turned Daniel Murphy into Babe Ruth.  He can now bring that with him to Washington.

Sandy AldersonCollins was so poor at managing, he was able to convince ownership it was all Collins’ fault and not his for poorly constructing a roster.

Mets FansWell, even if it wasn’t at this post, we all still have a sense of humor, and we can still laugh at what we put up with from this team on a daily basis.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Mets Uniform Assignments A Small But Interesting Issue

With the Binghamton Rumble Ponies season over, the New York Mets have called up top catching prospect Tomas Nido to serve as the team’s third catcher for the final few weeks of the season. Once he arrived in the clubhouse, he was issued the number 77. 

Now, it’s possible Nido selected the number himself as “his” number 7 was unavailable because it’s already being worn by Jose Reyes. However, the assignment of the number follows an odd pattern where the Mets typically have used number assignments to distinguish between top prospects and others. 

The most recent example was Phillip Evans being assigned 72. His number in the minors was 13, which is currently occupied by Asdrubal Cabrera. There’s a large chasm between those two numbers. 

That’s not the case for Amed Rosario (#1) or Dominic Smith (#22). They had the benefit of their Las Vegas numbers being available, and as such, they were given their numbers.

This is unlike former Mets first round pick Brandon Nimmo. Like Nido, he wore 7 in the minors. When Nimmo was called up last year, Travis d’Arnaud wore the number. Unlike, Nido or Evans, he didn’t get a number in the 70s. Instead, he was assigned 9. 

Later that season, Seth Lugo couldn’t wear 27 because of Jeurys Familia. He was given 67. The fact Lugo was removed from the Las Vegas rotation earlier that year was certainly of consequence. 

Robert Gsellman wore 24, a number mostly out of circulation to honor Willie Mays. The pitcher rushed to the majors was given 65. Chris Flexen had a similar rise this year. His 33 in St. Lucie wasn’t available due to Matt Harvey and his Binghamton 46 was worn by Chasen Bradford. Flexen was given 65. 
By the way Flexen was given that number because his 29 was already worn by Tommy Milone

Bradford’s Las Vegas teammate Paul Sewald is wearing 51 because the Mets have taken Keith Hernandez‘s 17 out of circulation. 

Now, this isn’t to say Sewald should wear 17, or that he didn’t select 51. Same goes for players like Bradford whose preferred number is being worn by a Major Leaguer. 

However, again, there is a real difference between saying no to 13 and assigning the number 72. It isn’t something the team did to Nimmo, but then again, he’s a well regarded prospect. 

The really own exception to this is  Travis Taijeron and his switch from 18 to 28. 

And Taijeron really is an anomaly unless you believe T.J. Rivera (#3) and Ty Kelly (#11) really wanted to wear 54 and 56 because Curtis Granderson and third base coach Tim Teufel already had their uniform numbers.  Really, it’s not likely. 

No, the truth of the matter is the Mets are really only inclined to allow a prospect to pick their own number upon a call up to the majors unless they’ve already been deemed a top prospect. 

Look, we know Rosario is a better prospect than Rivera ever was. Likely, Rosario will be a much better player. Still, that does not mean Rosario gets to pick a number, but Rivera shouldn’t. They’re both New York Mets. They should be treated as such. 

Overall, this is far from the biggest issue with this team, but it is an issue nevertheless. It shows why certain players get chance after chance after chance while those that produce have to continue to reprove themselves. The reason is because the Mets seek confirmation bias rather than results. 

Want to know which players are which?  Just look at the uniform numbers. 

Terry Collins Needs To Stop Giving Dominic Smith The Michael Conforto Treatment

Last night, the Yankees brought on Aroldis Chapman to close out a Yankees three run lead.  After Wilmer Flores struck out to begin the inning, Dominic Smith strode up to the plate in what would be the rookie’s biggest test in his brief major league career.  Seeing how he hit an opposite field homer earlier in the game, and Rafael Devers hit a huge home run against Chapman in Chapman’s last save attempt, this was promising to be a very interesting match-up.

Sorry, no, the match-up never happened.  Instead, Terry Collins pinch hit for Smith with Jose Reyes.

This is not the first time we have seen this play with Collins.  During Michael Conforto‘s first two years with the Mets, Collins did not let his young left-handed hitter face left-handed pitching.  Instead, he would bat Michael Cuddyer, Juan Lagares, Justin Ruggiano, Ty Kelly, or really any warm body on the bench to prevent Conforto from facing a left-handed pitcher.

The end result of Collins’ refusal to play Conforto against left-handed pitching was Conforto actually struggling against left-handed pitching.  Over his first two big league seasons, Conforto hit .129/.191/.145 with just one extra-base hit, a double, in the 68 at-bats he did get against left-handed pitching.

However, there was no reason to sit Conforto against left-handed pitching.  His hitting coach, Kevin Long, found the notion that Conforto can’t hit left-handed pitching absurd.  Conforto hit left-handed pitching in both his collegiate and brief minor league career.  Still, despite Conforto’s ability to hit left-handed pitching everywhere else, Collins decided to sit him against left-handed pitching.

When pressed on it, Collins said, “We’re in a situation where we’re trying to win games.  This is not a time to develop players.”  (Barbara Barker, Newsday).

Assuming Collins is correct that you shirk the responsibility of developing young players because you have designs on winning a World Series, why is he now repeating the same tactics with Smith?

Currently, the Mets are 10 games under .500.  The team has to win 62% of their remaining games just to get to .500.  The team has already traded away Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Addison Reed, and Neil Walker.  If an opportunity presents itself, Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, and Rene Rivera will find new homes before the end of the month.  Put more succinctly, this team is not in a position where they are trying to win games – this is a time to develop players.

Pinch hitting for Smith the very first opportunity he gets to face a left-handed pitcher in the majors does nothing to accomplish that goal.

Overall, unless Collins is facing some delusions of grandeur, there is no reason to believe the Mets are winning anything in 2017.  Smith is ticketed to be the Mets starting first baseman in 2018.  To that end, the rest of the regular season should be dedicated to helping him best prepare for the 2018 season.  Sitting him against left-handed pitching only hinders his development.

Maybe, just maybe Collins was never truly concerned with player development.  Maybe in his mind young left-handed batters are just incapable of hitting left-handed pitching.  It is likely the reason why he previously sat Conforto against left-handed pitching, and it is the reason why he’s doing it with Smith now.

It’s poor managing, and it has had a tangible effect on player development.  Collins might have had his excuse with Conforto, but he doesn’t have that excuse with Smith now.  If Collins shields Smith from a left-handed pitcher just one more time, the Mets are going to have to find someone else to manage.  Simply put, you cannot permit Collins to hinder Smith’s development to win some meaningless games.

Montero Wasn’t To Blame

The reclamation of Rafael Montero has taken an interesting turn. Montero was just a losing pitcher in a game, and he wasn’t the reason why the Mets lost the game. Instead of him letting the team down, the team let him down. 

It all happened in the seventh inning. After two singles and a Maikel Franco double, the Phillies were up 2-0 with no outs in the inning. Ty Kelly sacrificed him over, and that’s where things went awry. 

The Mets brought the infield in, and Andrew Knapp hit a sharp groundball to the right side. Asdrubal Cabrera couldn’t get to it. He got a glove on it, but he couldn’t field it as it trickled into right field giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead. 

The opposing pitcher Nick Pivetta sacrificed Knapp into scoring position. Knapp would score because his counter-part, Rene Rivera completely botched a play. 

Montero threw a pitch in the dirt. Rather than getting down and trying to block it, he committed the faux pas of just trying to backhand it. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Rivera lost complete sight of it thereby allowing Knapp to score from second giving the Phillies a 4-0 lead. 

While it was only the second inning, the lead was daunting. Over seven innings,  Pivetta and his 5.40 ERA kept the Mets to one hit – a T.J. Rivera fifth inning solo home run. 

Even when the Mets drew a walk, they’d hit into a double play. In a sign of what type of game this was, Lucas Duda hit into a bizarre double play. He hit a shallow fly ball to center, and Aaron Altherr just juggled it. He eventually grabbed it before he was able to double off a confused Bruce. 

Things fell apart in the top of the eighth as Rivera’s poor play reared its ugly head again. 

With two on and no out, pinch hitter Brock Stassi singled to center, and Franco raced home. Brandon Nimmo made a good strong one hop throw home that had Franco by a good margin. Rivera missed the ball, which not only allowed the run to score, but also allowed the runners to move up a base. 

With Daniel Nava‘s subsequent two RBI single off Chasen Bradford pushed the Phillies lead to  7-1. While the Mets made some noise in the bottom of the ninth, they would’ve score a run. 
It didn’t matter. The game fell apart. The one piece of good news was it wasn’t his fault. He pitched well and settled down. Overall, his final line was 6.1 innings, eight hits, four runs, one run, one earned, two walks, and six strikeouts. 

If this is now what qualifies as a poor start from him, there is reason to believe in Montero.  

Whether you believe in this team or not, is up for debate.  We’ll know more as the Mets take on the Nationals for a three game set. 

Game Notes: Curtis Granderson missed the game with a hip issue that prevented him from being able to swing the bat. 

Rain Can’t Wash Away This Win

This is a game the Mets don’t win this year. They blew the lead twice. They fell behind after a bullpen meltdown.  The rain coming was almost an allegory for their season being washed out. Lost in all of that, this team still has some fight it them. 

The Mets 1-0 lead on a Jose Reyes double went away with the help of a pair of fourth inning errors. 

The Phillies loaded the bases on a T.J. Rivera and a pair of walks issued by Zack Wheeler. Ty Kelly grounded to Lucas Duda on easy should’ve been an inning ending double play. Instead, Wheeler missed the return throw from Reyes allowing two runs to score. 

After a Cameron Rupp single, Wheeler was done for the day. In his first start since his brief stint on the Disabled List, Wheeler reminded you of how frustrating he can be. He was unable to put batters away. He walked batters at inopportune times. He didn’t last long in the game. 

Erik Goeddel came on and bailed him out. He also gave the Mets the chance to win. 
The Mets picked themselves off the mat in the bottom of the inning starting with an Asdrubal Cabrera leadoff double off Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson. He’d then score on a Jay Bruce RBI ground out. Duda then untied it:

Goeddel couldn’t hold that lead. He’d issue a two out walk to Aaron Altherr, and before you could blink Altherr was on third base as Travis d’Arnaud threw it away on Altherr’s stolen base attempt. The whole course of events might have been rendered moot as Tommy Joseph doubled him home. 

This put the game in Fernando Salas‘ hands. Outside the first couple of weeks when Terry Collins went to him again and again, Salas has been terrible. For proof of that, look no further than his 5.88 ERA or his 1.693 WHIP. 

Two singles and a Joseph homer later, and the Mets were down 6-3. With the rains coming, it was possible that could’ve been enough to win the game. In fact, a lengthy enough delay after the seventh, and that game is over. With that, the Mets season might’ve been washed away as well.

Then T.J. would jolt everyone alive with a home run to lead off the inning. The home run sparked the Mets offense. d’Arnaud would hit a one out double off Pat Neshek, and he would score on a Wilmer Flores RBI single. 

Then, with two outs, against the team that led to the home run which inspired the day’s bobble head, Cabrera struck again:

7-6

That doesn’t mean it was smooth sailing. There would be a rain delay and a couple of false starts by the Phillies. 

With a 57 minute rain delay with two outs in the eighth, Paul Sewald had to come out of the game putting Addison Reed in a position where he had to get a four out save. 

To lead off the ninth, Altherr hit one to deep center just missing a home run. Reed buckled down, and he made sure to strand Altherr at second to pick up his seventh straight save attempt and his third in as many days. 

With the win, the rejuvenated Mets are now just 8.5 games behind the suddenly reeling Nationals. The Mets have a chance to make things interesting. 

Game Notes: Michael Conforto went to the Disabled List with a bone bruise in his left hand. Wheeler was activated off the Disabled List to make the start. 

deGrom So Close, Mets Getting Closer

Tonight, we were once again reminded why no-hitters are extraordinarily difficult, and next to impossible if you pitch for the Mets. It’s next to impossible as Johan Santana slayed a number of demons one rainy night at Citi Field. 

Jacob deGrom had no-hit stuff tonight. It was one of those nights where the Phillies just couldn’t touch him. With some help from his catcher, Travis d’Arnaud, he was getting the corner. He was getting his fastball up to 98 MPH. All the stars seemed aligned except one thing – his pitch count. 
On his 80th pitch, with two outs in the fifth inning, the Phillies finally got their hit. Andrew Knapp hit a lazy fly ball that should’ve ended the inning. Stat Cast literally put the play at a 99% catch probability. The problem with Stat Cast is it didn’t account for Curtis Granderson losing it in the lights. 

As the ball fell behind him, the crowd groaned, and Knapp had his triple. It wasn’t much of a surprise Granderson lost the ball in the lights. In the previous at-bat, he had temporarily lost a line drive off the bat of Nick Williams only to recover at the last minute. 

To a certain degree, Ty Kelly following with a well hit single was a bit of a relief. Whereas the Knapp hit was cheap, this wasn’t. Another consideration was with deGrom already over 80 pitches, he wasn’t going the distance. 

On the other hand, the score was 2-1, and deGrom lost the no-hitter in the most excruciating way possible. It should come as no surprise he was miffed:

Despite his anger, deGrom would continue dominating the Phillies. His final line was seven innings, three hits, one run, one “earned,” one walk, and 12 strikeouts. It was just the latest in what has been a stretch of dominating starts for deGrom:

Lost in the Granderson botched play was his providing some offense to give deGrom the lead. 

T.J. Rivera led off the second inning with a double, and it appeared as if he might be stranded there with the pitcher’s spot coming up with two outs. deGrom would work out a walk against Ben Lively bringing up Granderson. 
Granderson hit a slow roller up the middle.  Freddy Galvis got to the ball, but with Granderson’s speed, it was an infield RBI single giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. 

Speaking of triples that should have been outs, Jose Reyes hit a ball to the wall in center. More times than not, Odubel Herrera makes that play. Tonight, he couldn’t hang onto it. This set up a d’Arnaud RBI single. 

d’Arnaud is getting hit. Over his last three games, including tonight, he is 4-10 with a double, homer, and three RBI. If he continues hitting like this, he’ll quiet the talk of the Mets needing to upgrade at catcher. In fact, he may even get his manager to play him everyday. 

This game was ultimately closer that it probably should have been. A first inning rally was ended with a Wilmer Flores GIDP. Part of the reason the Mets only came out of the second with a run was a d’Arnaud GIDP. 

The Mets had little room for error, but their bullpen made it work. 

Jerry Blevins allowed a one out double to Cameron Perkins.  He kept things at bay with a Daniel Nava ground out. Terry Collins brought on Paul Sewald, who got Galvis to fly out to end the inning. 
Addison Reed pitched a perfect ninth to give the Mets a good win. Mets are really trending in the right direction with good pitching and timely hitting. They’ce now won six of seven, and the Nationals may be facing another injury. 
Game Notes: Lucas Duda missed another game with the flu, and Michael Conforto sat because he still cannot swing a bat. No, he still hasn’t been put on the DL. 

Get Rid Of Rafael Montero Now

Last night, the score was tied 2-2 entering the 10th inning. With the heavy bullpen use of his key relievers, Terry Collins was certainly justified in pulling Addison Reed after one inning. However, for some reason, Collins decided the move that best helped the Mets win that game last night was to bring in Rafael Montero. It was the latest incident in what has been a bizarre fascination with him.

There was a time back in 2014 where Montero was regarded as the Mets best pitching prospect. In fact, he was better regarded than Jacob deGrom. Believe it or not, the belief was justifiable. Back then, Montero was a three pitch pitcher that had a fastball he could get into the mid 90s. With that, he had a pretty good change-up and slider. In fact, he still does. However, what set Montero apart back then was he had exceptional control. That control has escaped him, and as a result, he’s not even a shadow of the highly touted prospect.

During his time with the Mets, we have seen Montero get chance after chance after chance. It’s a mixture of his talent, injuries, and just pure stubbornness to move on from him. Last season, Montero was the first player cut from Major League camp in Spring Training. He struggled so much in Triple-A, he was actually demoted to Double-A. However, due to the Mets pitching staff becoming a M*A*S*H* unit, he was called up to the majors. He rewarded their faith by pitching to an 8.05 ERA and a 2.053 WHIP in nine appearances, and somehow, he probably wasn’t even that good.

After that season, he is still somehow with the organization. In the offseason, the Mets had to make multiple 40 man moves to accommodate free agent signings. The Mets would DFA Ty Kelly. In separate deals, they traded both Logan Verrett and Gabriel Ynoa for cash. Each one of these players has either had some measure of major league success, had some value to the team, or had some level of promise.

It’s just not the Mets front office. It’s also Collins. Last night, he had a well rested Sean Gilmartin, and instead he went with Montero. Keep in mind, Gilmartin has had success with the Mets as a long reliever. In 2015, Gilmartin made 50 appearances going 3-2 with a 2.67 ERA and a 1.186 WHIP. That season is better than anything Montero has ever done in the majors.

Arguably, Gilmartin on his worst day is better than what you can expect from Montero. Montero entered the game and did what you expected him to do . . . he lost it. In 0.1 innings, he allowed three hits and four runs. The only out he recorded was on a sacrifice fly hit to the right field wall.

Including last night’s game, Montero has made 30 appearances and 12 starts going 1-7 with a 5.51 ERA and a 1.800 WHIP. On the season, Montero is 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA and a 3.600 WHIP. His BB/9 is an almost impossibly high 10 .8. It is all part of Montero not being the same pitcher the MEts thought he was. It continues the trens of Montero getting worse each and every season.

The Mets shouldn’t even wait for Jeurys Familia to be available on Thursday to send Montero to Triple-A. Send him on the first plane back. Bring up Paul Sewald for a day if you want an extra bullpen arm. If you want to lengthen what is a short bench, call up Matt Reynolds, which as an aside, may not be a bad move considering the poor defensive options the Mets have at third base. Seriously, the Mets should do anything . . . literally anything because anything is better than having to see Montero pitch in another game.

Good Luck Ty Kelly

After toiling away away in the minor leagues for seven years, and after three teams had decided to move on from him, Ty Kelly found himself as a member of the Las Vegas 51s last year.  At 27, it was becoming harder and harder to believe that Kelly was ever going to find that light at the end of the tunnel.

Still, he was undeterred.  He just went out there and did all he could do to give the Mets no other choice but to call him up to the majors.  He jumped right out of the gate hitting .386/.500/.477 in April.  He was even better in May hitting .394/.463/.592.  Kelly did this while also playing all eight defensive positions.  Finally, due to a number of injuries, and his hot hitting, on May 24th, Kelly got the call up to the majors.

Unfortunately, Kelly struggled.  Right off the bat, he was 0-4 with three strikeouts in his first ever game.  During that first call-up, Kelly played in nine games only hitting .182/.250/.318.  With that, call-up it seemed as if his first ever career home run might just be the lone highlight of his career:

His second call-up in June didn’t go much better with him going 0-5 in his five pinch hitting appearances.  With that Kelly found himself in a familiar position.  He was back in the minor leagues just waiting for his chance to get called back up to the major leauges.  In some sense, this time it had to be all the more frustrating because he finally got his chance, and he struggled.  He got his chance, and he was right back to square one.  Fortunately for Kelly, he got one more chance, and he took advantage of it.

In August, Kelly was a surprise call-up due to his struggles, and he was an even bigger surprise as the starting left fielder.  This time, Kelly took full advantage of the opportunity going 2-4 with two runs and a walk.  During this stint, he proved he could hit at the major league level.  He showed he can be a versatile player.  Mostly, Kelly established there was a spot for him in the major leagues.  This is no small feat for anyone, let alone anyone who waited over seven years for this chance.

In total, Kelly finished his first season in the major leagues hitting a very respectable .241/.352/.345 with a double, triple, home run, and seven RBI in 39 games.  He was used in a myriad of roles playing first, second, third, and all three outfield positions.  He was used as a pinch hitter and a pinch runner.  He proved himself to be a smart baseball player.  He earned himself a spot on the Mets Wild Card Game roster.  In fact, Kelly should pinch hit for Addison Reed in the eighth inning, and he would get the one out single.  His hit was only one of the four hits the Mets collected that day.

Kelly showed enough during his stint with the Mets to be named to the Team Israel roster in the World Baseball Classic.  He was the team’s third baseman, and the number two hitter in a lineup that shocked the World by making it into the second round.

His play last season was enough to get him named to the Mets Opening Day roster, but it was not enough for him to stick.  With both Zack Wheeler and Robert Gsellman both having short outings back-to-back, the Mets needed to clear space on the 40 man roster to bring up another pitcher.  It was a numbers game, and Kelly was the one the Mets gambled on keeping.  Ironically, the move was made so Paul Sewald could finally get his shot after waiting five years in the minor leagues.

It should come as no surprise that a team was interested in a player like Kelly.  The Blue Jays made room on their roster for a player squeezed out by the Mets.  Oddly enough, Kelly is now with a team that once passed over him.  Once again, Kelly gets to prove everyone wrong and show both the Blue Jays and all of Major League Baseball that he belongs in the majors.  Based upon last year, I wouldn’t bet against him.

And when he finally does get called back up to the majors, and we know he will, all Mets fans should wish him the best of luck.  I know I will.