In the Matrix, Morpheus said to Neo, “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
Apparently, Tyler Pill is the blue pill because there were a number of strange things that happened at Citi Field that only the most ardent Mets fans could believe:
Jose Reyes started over a red hot Wilmer Flores. More than that, Zack Davies appeared to strike him out looking. Instead, the home plate umpire called it a call leading to a Reyes bases loaded walk.
Travis d’Arnaud threw out last year’s stolen base leader Jonathan Villar:
Thing of beauty! pic.twitter.com/biPntHLwZq
— GENY Mets Report (@genymets) May 31, 2017
More than that, Pill only allowed one run over 5.1 innings.
Despite Pill having a minor league 1.60 ERA this year, his peripherals indicated his ERA should be over 4.00. Long story short, Pill has been extremely lucky this year. While that luck escaped him in his major league debut, he brought it with him today.
Through of all this, the Mets had a 4-1 lead scoring twice in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a pair of doubles to tie the game at one. The Mets would then load the bases, and Reyes drew the aforementioned bases loaded walk.
This left Pill on the long side on a night despite allowing six hits, three walks, and a hit batter over 5.1 innings. Despite all of this, he wouldn’t get the win.
He didn’t get the win because in the seventh inning the unthinkable happened. Yes, it was easy to believe Salas would walk two to help load the bases with one out. It’s easier to believe that happened when you consider he was running the bases in the top half of the inning.
Blevins came on, and it appeared he did what he had to do. He struck out Shaw looking. While he did issue a bases loaded walk to Domingo Santana to make it 4-2, he did get Jett Bandy to pop up to short.
That’s when the unthinkable happened. The sure-handed Cabrera Luis Castilloed it:
Eric Thames and Hernan Perez score after Asdrubal Cabrera drops a fly ball in the infield allowing the Brewers to tie the game, 4-4!!! pic.twitter.com/8CQsuaDHlq
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) May 31, 2017
Thankfully, Santana was not hustling like Mark Teixeira did meaning the Brewers merely tied the score on the play instead of potentially going up 5-4.
The bullpen did its job. Josh Edgin and Addison Reed each pitched a scoreless inning, and Josh Smoker pitched three scoreless. Smoker got into a jam, but he got a huge strikeout to get out of the 10th. We then saw one of his signature celebrations:
— MetsKevin11 (@MetsKevin11) May 31, 2017
What’s interesting is Terry Collins had the opportunity to double switch both Reed and Smoker into the game to possibly get an extra inning out of them. He passed both times.
Finally, the Mets got something started in the 12th. T.J. Rivera led off with a pinch hit single off Wily Peralta, and Conforo walked. After Reyes couldn’t get a bunt down, he hit a fielder’s choice with Thames getting Conforto at second. The Mets finally won it with a Bruce single against the drawn-in shifted infield.
A long bizarre game finally came to an end with the Mets winning a game they have typically lost all year. The final score indicates Mets fans really took the blue pill.
Game Notes: Walker’s two doubles on the night gave him 1,000 hits for his career. Mets are 3-10 when they walked six or more. They walked eight.
When Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud came back from the Disabled List, neither one was hitting much. Recentky, Duda broke out, and he’s literally getting on base in half of his plate appearances. After last year, there was legitimate concern over whether d’Arnaud would hit as well.
Those concerns were put to rest as d’Arnaud came within a triple of hitting the cycle. Overall, he was 3-5 with a run, double, homer, and two RBI. It should also be noted the Pirates didn’t attempt one stolen base against him. It was about as good a night as a catcher can have.
Duda was just as good. He was 2-4 with a run, double, homer, and RBI. Seriously, no one can get him out right now including Pirates ace Gerrit Cole. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Duda’s manager was able to get him out.
It was one of a series of bizarre moves from Terry Collins on the night.
Going into the sixth, the Mets had a 4-2 lead due to the aforementioned contributions from Duda and d’Arnaud as well as a Jay Bruce first inning solo home run.
In the sixth, after Neil Walker botched a potential inning ending double play, Collins left Zack Wheeler in to pitch to Andrew McCutchen. At that point in the game, McCutchen had homered and walked against Wheeler. With Wheeler under 90 pitches and pitching well, Collins stuck with his starter who gave up an RBI double.
It was somewhat of a damper on what was a good night for Wheeler. His final line was six innings, seven hits, three runs, three earned, two walks, and five strikeouts.
For a brief moment, it seemed the Mets would hold onto that 4-3 lead.
In the seventh, Collins went to his bullpen and somehow decided to go with Neil Ramirez. Collins used Fernando Salas to close out an 8-1 game, but he decided to go with Ramirez and his 27.00 ERA with the Mets to hold a one run lead. After Jordy Nelson doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a groundout, it became obvious the pitcher with a 27.00 ERA wasn’t going to get the job done.
Collins then double switched Jerry Blevins into the game. This meant the Mets best hitter and defensive first baseman was lifted from a one run game. Fortunately, Blevins got the Mets out of the jam as he typically does.
The Mets also went unscathed though the eighth with a combination of Blevins and Salas. Salas was helped out by Juan Lagares who raced back to get a McCutchen ball at the wall.
The Mets were no so lucky in the ninth. Mercer hit a double to center off Addison Reed that not even Lagares could catch. The way Lagares played tonight in center, that’s saying something. John Jaso tied the game sending it into extras.
The Mets had a chance to go ahead in the top of the 10th. Lagares hit a lead-off single and moved to second on a T.J. Rivera pinch hit single. However, while d’Arnaud was huge for the Mets all night, he struck out to end the rally.
With Collins once again ripping through his bullpen, he had to go to Tyler Pill to pitch the bottom of the 10th. Things did not go well.
It started with Lagares absolutely robbing Gregory Polanco of an extra base hit. Pill then quickly loaded the bases allowing a single to David Freese, plunking McCutchen, and walking Francisco Cervelli. With all that, the Mets were so close to getting out of that inning.
Gift Ngoepe popped out to shallow right. Collins then went to Josh Edgin to try to get Jaso out. Edgin struggled with his command, but he fought back into the at-bat going 3-2 with Jaso. Jaso then hit a line drive to right almost every right fielder in baseball gets to. Not Bruce. As he flailed at the ball, the Pirates were scoring the game winning run to take the game 6-5.
It should be noted Collins brought Lagares in for defense. Instead if moving the far superior fielder, Curtis Granderson, to right, Collins stuck with Bruce, and it indirectly cost the Mets the game. It’s not exactly how Collins wanted to celebrate his 68th birthday. Instead of blowing out his candles, his overworked bullpen did the job.
Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera was the only hitless Mets starter. He made up for it by dekeing McCutchen in the sixth. Cabrera got to a ball in the hole, and he had no play at first. He feigned going there, and he then nailed McCutchen at home as he tried to score from second.
With Tommy Milone posting a 10.50 ERA in his three starts with the Mets, the team has begun discussing releasing him and having someone else take his spot in the rotation until Steven Matz is ready to return from the Disabled List. Considering at various points this season Milone, Adam Wilk, and Rafael Montero were given starts, it’s fair to say there is a dearth of major league ready prospects in the Mets minor league system.
Well, the name that has been publicly bandied about is Tyler Pill. The reason Pill’s name has been mentioned is he’s had a great start to the 2017 season.
Between Binghamton and Las Vegas, Pill is 4-1 with a 1.60 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP while averaging over six innings per start. That includes Pill no allowing any runs in his two starts for the 51s. If you’re purely scouting the stat lines, Pill should be called up immediately.
There is a reason Pill hasn’t been immediately called to the majors. After all, this is the same pitcher who was 9-10 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in 22 starts for Binghamton last year. In five starts for Vegas, he was 1-1 with a 5.60 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP. After that season, he wasn’t even ranked on MMN‘s Top 100.
Nor should he have been. Pill is four pitch pitcher who touches the low 90s. As a result, he has to mostly rely on control to get batters out. With none of his pitches being outstanding, he does not generate a lot of swing and misses. Since his 2013 should surgery to repair a Bennett lesion in his pitching shoulder, Pill has not posted an ERA under 3.97. This naturally begs the question about what’s different about Pill this year.
In a word, luck.
Through his first seven starts, Pill is allowing just a .265 BABIP, including a .255 BABIP in Triple-A. Typically, pitchers don’t have BABIPs under .300, especially those that pitch to as much contact as Pill. In fact, in his minor league career, Pill has allowed a .317 BABIP.
And batters have been putting a lot more balls in play off Pill. So far this year, Pill has just a 4.2 K/9, which would stand as the lowest K/9 in his career. His 2.4 BB/9, while encouraging, only further serves to show there are more balls in play against Pill than there had been in prior years. This creates further concerns there will be a stark regression.
These numbers all factor into his 4.01 FIP for the 2017 season. That’s closer to the pitcher who wasn’t even considered one of the Mets Top 100 prospects than the one who has yet to allow a run for Vegas this year.
Overall, Pill has had terrific numbers to start the 2017 season. However, as you dig deeper, it does not appear Pill is any different than the pitcher who has struggled the past few seasons. Still, the run he’s on has gotten him promoted to the majors. Unfortunately, unless he makes some adjustments with Dan Warthen, he is not going to be successful at the major league level.
Currently, MLB and many of their full season affiliates are at the All Star Break. At each and every level, the Mets had a minor league pitcher named to their level’s All-Star Game. Listed below is a synopsis of the Mets’ organizations leaders at the break:
Class A Full Season – Columbia Fireflies
- Wins: P.J. Conlon (8)
- Saves: Alex Palsha (14)
- Strikeouts: Joe Shaw (88)
- ERA: P.J. Conlon (1.84 – League Leader)
- WHIP: P.J. Conlon (1.00)
- Games: Alex Palsha (28)
- Starts: Kevin Canelon, Chase Ingram (16)
- Innings: Kevin Canelon (97.2)
- Holds : Tyler Bashlor (4)
- All-Stars: P.J. Conlon, Alex Palsha
- Promotions: P.J. Conlon, Alex Palsha
Class A Advanced – St. Lucie Mets
- Wins: Ricky Knapp (8)
- Saves: Corey Taylor (13)
- Strikeouts: Chris Flexen, Corey Oswalt (63)
- ERA: Ricky Knapp (2.01)
- WHIP: Ricky Knapp (1.08)
- Games: Corey Taylor (28)
- Starts: Chris Flexen (17)
- Innings: Chris Flexen (95.1)
- Holds: Robert Coles (5)
- All-Stars: Alberto Baldonado (DNP – promoted)
- Promotions: Alberto Baldonado, Casey Delgado, Kevin McGowan, Tim Peterson
Double-A – Binghamton Mets
- Wins: Tyler Pill (6)
- Saves: Beck Wheeler (6)
- Strikeouts: Tyler Pill (88)
- ERA: Rainy Lara (3.98)
- WHIP: Tyler Pill (1.21)
- Games: Beck Wheeler (28)
- Starts: Tyler Pill (17)
- Innings: Tyler Pill (107.2)
- Holds: Tim Peterson (5)
- All Stars: Logan Taylor, Tyler Pill
- Promotions: Robert Gsellman, Beck Wheeler, Josh Zeid
Triple-A – Las Vegas 51s
- Wins: Sean Gilmartin, Gabriel Ynoa (9)
- Saves: Paul Sewald (9)
- Strikeouts: Sean Gilmartin (77)
- ERA: Gabriel Ynoa (4.19)
- WHIP: Sean Gilmartin (1.32)
- Games: Chasen Bradford, Josh Smoker (38)
- Starts: Gabriel Ynoa (18 – League Leader)
- Innings: Gabriel Ynoa (109.2)
- Holds: Josh Smoker (9)
- All-Stars: Gabriel Ynoa
- Promotions: Seth Lugo
- Wins: P.J. Conlon COL & STL (10)
- Saves: Alex Palsha COL (14)
- Strikeouts: Joe Shaw COL, Tyler Pill BNG (88)
- ERA: P.J. Conlon COL & STL (1.97)
- WHIP: P.J. Conlon COL & STL (1.03)
- Games: Chasen Bradford LV, Josh Smoker LV (38)
- Starts – Gabriel Ynoa LV (18)
- Innings – Gabriel Ynoa (109.2)
- Holds – Josh Smoker LV (9)
* stats are updated through July 13, 2016
Editor’s Note: this was first published on metsminors.net