Wilmer Flores

Eleven Years Later, Vargas Wins

There are many different ways to gauge how bad the Marlins are after they traded Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna. Perhaps the best way to gauge it was how Jason Vargasshut them down tonight.

Entering tonight, Vargas was 0-3 with a 13.86 ERA, and he had yet to pitch long enough to qualify for a win, which based on his ERA, was the least of his problems.

Astonishingly, Vargas was perfect through three. He wouldn’t get into trouble until the fifth. He was able to get through the two on one out situation by striking out Lewis Brinson and Elieser Hernandezto get out of the jam.

At 86 pitches, Vargas was done putting the game into the Mets offense and bullpen’s hands.

The Mets did have a lead when Vargas departed thanks to the speed of Amed Rosario.

In the third, Rosario reached on a one out single, and he was standing there when Asdrubal Cabreracame to the plate. Like he’s done all year, he delivered with a double to right center. On the double, Rosario took off, and with his incredible speed, he scored from first.

This gave the Mets a lead, but with the offense struggling, the bullpen did not have any margin of error.

In the sixth, Paul Sewald got into some trouble. After a two out Starlin Castro single, Sewald walked Brian AndersonJerry Blevins didn’t help matters but walking Justin Bour to load the bases. AJ Ramos came on and fell behind 2-0 to Derek Dietrich. Ramos battled back in that at-bat, and he struck out Dietrich to end the inning.

As impressive as that was, Ramos helped negate a lead-off walk to Miguel Rojas by being aggressive with his defense. He quickly and adeptly fielded a comeback we from JB Shuck. He quickly whipped and threw to second for the 1-6-3 inning ending double play.

The Mets would plate another run lather that inning on a rally started with a one out Devin Mesoraco double. After Luis Guillorme reached on an error by Martin Prado, Wilmer Flores made sure to make the Marlins pay for the misplay by going with an 0-2 fastball on the outer half to drive the ball past Castro and expand the Mets lead to 2-0.

Those two runs were plenty as Seth Lugo and Jeurys Familia combined to shut down the Marlins in the 8th and 9th to give the Mets their fourth win in a row.  It was also the first time Vargas won a game in a Mets uniform breaking a streak stretching back 11 years (and three teams).

Game Notes: The Mets are purportedly showing interest in recently released Jose Bautista.  It will be interesting to see what the corresponding move will be because the team says Jose Reyes‘ spot on the roster is safe.

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.

Rosario, Syndergaard, Mets Breaking Out

Before this series against the Diamondbacks, much of the discussion surrounding this Mets team was about what was wrong with this team.  There were many, many answers, but two of the more surprising ones were Amed Rosario and Noah Syndergaard.

With Rosario, he was struggling at the plate.  He was swinging at too much, and he was not hitting for any power whatsoever.  This also prevented him from using his game breaking speed, and when he tried, he was inevitably caught stealing.

With respect to Syndergaard, he hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been Thor.  Considering how this team and pitching staff has been assembled, for this team to have a shot at competing, they needed Thor to be Thor.  Yesterday, Syndergaard made a huge step getting back to that point.

At first, it didn’t seem that way.  Syndergaard got himself into a bit of trouble in the first, but he managed his way out of it.  He would not be as lucky in the second allowing back-to-back hits to Jarrod Dyson and Nick Ahmed, i.e. the soft spot of the Diamondbacks lineup, before yielding an RBI groundout to Jeff Mathis to give the Diamondbacks an early 1-0 lead.

Through those first two innings, he had thrown 44 pitches, and it looked like it was going to be another one of those short five inning starts Syndergaard has made this year.

Then, something clicked . . . finally, and it began with a 1-2-3 third, and it also helped that Syndergaard got some help in the fifth.

After Mathis led off the inning reaching on a Wilmer Flores error, Buchholz sacrificed him to second.  David Peralta hit what initially looked like an RBI single, but Jay Bruce made a perfect throw to nail Mathis at the plate.

This was really the last time all game the Diamondbacks threatened.  Part of the reason for that is in the sixth Syndergaard actually picked Paul Goldschmidt off of first:

Syndergaard’s final line was a very Thor like 7.0 innings, six hits, one run, one earned, on walk, and seven strikeouts.

The only problem is with the Mets offense being stymied by a Clay Buchholz, who had not pitched in over a year, and the strong Diamondbacks bullpen, Syndergaard was not in line for the win.

Fortunately, he was not in line for a loss because in the sixth inning, Rosario hit his first home run of the year off of Buchholz to tie the score at 1-1:

In the seventh inning, it was apparent Syndergaard was done for the day, and with two quick outs, it seemed as if he was destined for a no decision.  However, Tomas Nido, who took the place of the recently designated for assignment Jose Lobaton, singled to allow Mickey Callaway to use Asdrubal Cabrera to pinch hit.  Like he has done all season, he delivered hitting a go-ahead two run homer off Jorge De La Rosa.

Then, Rosario is what might have been his best game in a Mets uniform, followed with his second homer of the game to give the Mets a 4-1 lead:

For Rosario, this would be his first two run homer game of his career.  It was also a big step forward after his making incremental steps forward over the past few weeks.  If he really takes off now, the sky is the limit for this Mets team.

After Jerry Blevins started the eighth by striking out David Peralta, Robert Gsellman took it home by pitching the final 1.2 innings for his first career save.

With that, the Mets have their first three game home sweep of the season, and they have their first series win at home since the April 13-15 series against the Brewers.  They are now back on track and once again ahead of the Nationals.  Things are once again looking much better.

Game Notes: Luis Guillorme went 0-4 snapping a 13 game hitting streak he had combined between the majors and Triple-A.

 

Good And Bad Mets On Full Display In Comeback Win

This game was a clear dichotomy of what is going right and what is going wrong for the Mets.  First, the wrong –

The first moment was in the fourth inning.  Paul Goldschmidt broke out of his funk by hitting a homer off Steven Matz to tie the game at 2-2.  Later that inning, Matz went from 1-2 to walking Jarrod Dyson.  Matz then seemed to get out of the inning by picking Dyson off first:

Somehow both the umpires and the replay officials miss what everyone watching the game saw – Asdrubal Cabrera got the tag in ahead of the slide.

Well, it was a blown call, which led to a typical Matz letdown.  Diamondbacks backup catcher and former Yankee John Ryan Murphy hit a go-ahead two run homer.

With that, you had your typical 2018 Matz start.  He didn’t get through five.  He allowed two homers.  He allowed a big walk, and he had a meltdown.

Still, down 4-2, the Mets were still in this game, and it looked like they were going to break through in the sixth with Patrick Corbin on the ropes. The team didn’t break through.

First, Devin Mesoraco popped out, and after the Diamondbacks put Michael Conforto on first, the inning was in Jose Reyes hands.  Now, Reyes presumably got the start because he had good career numbers against Corbin.  He wouldn’t get a hit off Corbin, and he was in there to face Jimmie Sherfy.

Reyes fouled out, and Adrian Gonzalez couldn’t get the pinch hit.  This left the Mets trailing, but it wouldn’t stay that way because of the things that have gone right for the Mets.

First, Conforto is back.  After a 4-4 game, he came up in the second inning, and he delievered a two run homer to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.

After Matz surrendered the lead and couldn’t go five innings, the game was once again on the bullpen.  The combination of Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald, and AJ Ramos pitched four scoreless walking none, allowing one hit, and striking out six.  Ultimately, they gave the Mets a chance.

The Mets took advantage of that chance.  Jay Bruce led off the eighth with a single off Archie Bradley, and he would come home on a Mesoraco blast:

Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect ninth giving the Mets a chance to walk this one off.

Like many rallies this season, it began with Brandon Nimmo, who led off the ninth with a double, and then the most clutch Met on the team this year, Asdrubal Cabrera laid down a bunt single moving Nimmo to third.  This put the game in Wilmer Flores‘ hands, and as we know he has his own history with walk-off hits.

While not the dramatic homers we have seen, he did end the game with a fly ball to the outfield.  This one was a sacrifice fly scoring Nimmo giving the Mets a 5-4 win.

This was the first time since April 10-11 that the Mets have won consecutive games.  They are now in position for their first home sweep of the season.  They do that, and things will definitely be more good than bad right now.

Game Notes: With the Mets lack of outfield depth, Dominic Smith started in right field for the Las Vegas 51s.  Reyes is now 7-53 on the season.

 

 

Time for Reyes to Retire

In 29 games this season, Jose Reyes is hitting .143/.176/.204 with a 6 OPS+ and 6 wRC+.  To put it in perspective, a league average OPS+ or wRC+ is 100.  That’s a major reason why Reyes has a -0.4 WAR so far this season.

When he is getting into games, he’s making mistakes like how he was picked off of first base by Jake Arrieta.  We’ve also seen more than a few occasions where he has failed to make the proper read off the bat, or he is just not hustling around the bases.

His struggles are apparent to all including his manager Mickey Callaway.  Even with Todd Frazier on the disabled list, Wilmer Flores is getting the starts at third base against right-handed pitching.  When the Blue Jays pitched J.A. Happ in the series finale, Callaway opted to have Flores play first, Luis Guillorme get his first professional start at third, and have Phillip Evans play left.

Based on the past few seasons, hitting left-handed pitching was one of the things Reyes had continued to do quite well.  Also judging from the past few seasons, Flores and his career -19 DRS at third base should never be called upon to play the position on an extended period of time.

And yet, here we are.  Flores is the top third base option, and Reyes is not getting any real playing time.  When he finally does get to play, he is unable to get any hits.

Put your personal feelings aside.  This applies to all Mets fans.  The group who still adores the homegrown player and sparkplug of the early 2000s.  The fans who can never forgive him for the domestic violence.  The younger crowd who may have seen him as an energetic player who helped the Mets capture one of the two Wild Card spots in 2016.  Everyone.

Ask yourself one simple question: Is Jose Reyes done?

When looking at Reyes’ career, you always thought the last thing which would go was the spark.  That smile.  The energy.  An excitement unlike almost any other player who has ever played the game.

Seeing his lackadaisical effort in his increasingly limited playing time, you don’t notice that same spark anymore.  It’s not that he’s going through the motions.  That’s an unfair statement.  It’s just that he’s not the same guy on the field.  It seems the boundless joy he had is slowing dissipating.

Seeing Guillorme start his MLB career the way he has, and seeing Gavin Cecchini bounceback after a down 2017, Reyes is getting pushed, and based upon this play on the field, he may not be able to push back, at least not hard enough to stem the tide.

Considering how well respected he is by ownership (despite his domestic violence past), it is incumbent upon them to work with Reyes to find him a respectable way to end his Major League career.  Something akin to what the Mariners did with Ichiro Suzuki.

Schedule a day.  Let him leadoff and start at short.  Let him get a bunt hit in his first at-bat, and let him depart the field to the chants of “Jose-Jose-Jose-Jose . . . Jose-Jose!”  Whatever you need to do to make it feel to Reyes like a respectful and fitting end before taking a front office or coaching job within the organization.

Really, whatever the Mets can do to get Reyes to agree to retirement will do because the one thing this Mets team cannot afford is to let him continue to play and drag a team desperate for each every win down.

Jake Great, Conforto Getting There In Win

There aren’t many things which are right with the Mets right now, but a big thing that’s right with this team right now is Jacob deGrom, and with him, we are seeing reports how the team may look to trade him.  Of course, the best way to do that is to win as many games as you can between now and the trading deadline.  Part of doing that is going out and not wasting deGrom starts.

Part of that is letting deGrom go out there and do his thing, and really he did his thing tonight.

In seven phenomenal innings of work, deGrom tied his career high with 13 strikeouts, and as noted by the great Michael Mayer, he became the 10th pitcher in Mets history to reach the 800 strikeout mark.  He also lowered his ERA this season to 1.75.

There are many ways to say how great deGrom was, but perhaps the best way to say it is his final line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, R, ER, 0 BB, 13 K.

He carried into the game and extended his scoreless inning streak to 24.1 innings.  It ended in the top of the sixth when Jake Lamb scored Steven Souza from first on a double.  On what was a truly bizarre play, Souza ran through the stop sign only to stutter step and then take off from home.  After Asdrubal Cabrera missed the relay, Adrian Gonzalez backed him up and nailed Lamb at third.

The Diamondbacks threatened in the seventh again with a Daniel Descalso leadoff double.  Being the great pitcher he is, deGrom settled down, and he got the next three out in order.

Fortunately for deGrom, this would be one of the few games where he got real run support, and it began with a first inning rally against Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley, and like with many Mets rallies this season, it all began with a Brandon Nimmo walk.

After Descalso botched what was at a minimum a force out, and quite likely with Cabrera’s speed a double play ball, runners were at the corners with no outs.

Wilmer Flores drove in the first run with a ground out, and then Michael Conforto came through with a big two out RBI single.

Conforto would repeat that feat in the fifth inning.  After a Flores two out walk and Jay Bruce walk, the inning was on Conforto, and he delivered with another RBI single.  It was part of Conforto’s first three hit night of the season and just the second four hit night of his career.  Overall, he was 4-4 with two RBI.

Really, the Mets need more of that from Conforto because he is not just the best hitter in the lineup, he’s the best hitter on the team.  When the team is without Yoenis Cespedes and Todd Frazier, Conforto has to carry even more of the load.  He did it tonight, and if he continues doing it, like he did last year, this Mets team will be in much better shape.

Things got interesting in the eighth.  After a Conforto one out single, Gonzalez dropped a perfect bunt against the shift.  After a Jose Reyes pinch hit walk, the bases were loaded with two outs.  This led to Amed Rosario popping one out to Descalso, but he then dropped it.  Initially, it was ruled a drop leading to two runs scoring.  Upon the umpires commiserating, it was ruled an out meaning it was a 3-1 and not a 5-1 lead.

After Robert Gsellman and Jeurys Familia shut the door, deGrom had his fourth win of the season, and the team beat a Diamondbacks team who is having a very similar season to the one the Mets are having.  Hopefully, this weekend the Mets will take advantage of a reeling team like other teams have done to them over the last few weeks.

Game Notes: Juan Lagares, who suffered a toe injury in the rain soaked game is likely done for the year leaving the Mets with three healthy outfielders on the 40 man roster.  Jerry Blevins was activated from the paternity list, and he took Lagares’ spot on the roster.  Paul Goldschmidt had the golden sombrero.

Mesoraco, Lagares Come Up Huge

Heading into the game, there was much said about how Dave Eiland challenged or disrespected Noah Syndergaard in his saying Thor hasn’t accomplished much at the Major League level.  During the broadcast, it was discussed, and Ron Darling said as a player, he would have taken it the wrong way.

Whatever the case, Syndergaard seemed motivated by it in the first inning as he struck out the side while needing just 15 pitches.  You got all the more excited seeing Syndergaard knocking home Devin Mesoraco from first after he had drawn a leadoff walk against Jaime Garcia giving the Mets a 1-0 lead.  For a moment, it seemed as if things would go rolling on from there, and we would see the Syndergaard we saw prior to the lat injury.

Instead, we saw the Syndergaard we have seen all this season.

In the third, he allowed a one out single to old friend Curtis Granderson, who was playing his first game against the Mets since being traded to the Dodgers for Jacob Rhame last year.  After Josh Donaldson popped out, that should have been the end of any prospect of danger.

Instead, we got to see some of Granderson’s knowledge from his playing time with the Mets.  He would put himself in scoring position stealing a base, and he would hold at third on a Justin Smoak single.  It wound up being a terrible throw from Juan Lagares, but he charged the ball hard, and Granderson, being perhaps well aware of Lagares’ arm, held on third.  It didn’t matter because after Syndergaard plunked Teoscar Hernandez with a pitch, Yangervis Solarte hit a two RBI single.

On the single, it is quite arguable any other second baseman but Asdrubal Cabrera gets to that ball, but he didn’t leading the the Blue Jays taking the 2-1 lead.

Seeing how the Mets have played of late, this was a real danger sign.  Fortunately, the Mets offense would finally break out.

Beginning with a Jay Bruce double, the Mets would quickly load the bases for Syndergaard, who tied the score with a sacrifice fly.  Amed Rosario then nearly hit one out with the ball hitting the top of the fence and bouncing in instead of out.  In any event, it was a two RBI double giving the Mets a 4-2 lead.

It should be noted Jose Reyes, who started because with the left-handed pitcher on the mound, Wilmer Flores started at first and Adrian Gonzalez sat, somehow did not score from first.  Really, he did not score from first on a ball which was nearly a homer to one of the deeper parts of the park.  At best, this was shades of Timo Perez.  At worst, this is a player who no longer belongs in the majors.

Lagares would make sure both Reyes and Rosario both scored as he slashed a two RBI single to center, and even with Donaldson cutting it off, he would get to second ahead of the throw.

A Cabrera double after that, and the Mets not only had a five run inning, but they would also have a 6-2 lead. In the fifth, the Mets would add the runs needed to make this the laugher the Mets desperately needed.

Gonzalez, Rosario, and Brandon Nimmo would hit consecutive singles first scoring Mesoraco and later scoring Gonzalez.  After that Lagares hit an infield single to third allowing Rosario to score.

When Gonzalez pinch hit for Syndergaard that inning, it was the end of Syndergaard’s night, but really, he was going to be pulled after the fifth anyway.

As noted earlier, Syndergaard labored through the third, and he would do the same in the fifth needing a Hernandez double play to get out of the inning.  Overall, Syndergaard needed 103 pitches to get through five.  He walked an uncharacteristically high two batters.  While he’s been effective, he has not yet been Syndergaard this year.

Perhaps in an effort to save the bullpen a bit, Mickey Callaway had Seth Lugo pitch three innings before having Rhame close it out.  Lugo was dominant allowing just one hit while striking out four.

Finally, in the eighth, the Mets would put a capper on this game.  Lagares hit a leadoff triple, and he scored on a Luis Guillorme RBI single, his first RBI.  After a force out, Mesoarco hit his second homer as a member of the Mets expanding the Mets lead to 12-2.

All-in-all, a pretty good night for the Mets.  Mesoraco could not make an out going 2-2 with three walks, four runs, a homer, and two RBI.  Lagares was just as good going 4-5 with two runs, a triple, and three RBI.  Really, in a game like this, you are going to see everyone contribute somehow, and that’s what the Mets did.  The only hope now is the team left some hits in those bats.

Game Notes: The Blue Jays have never beaten the Mets in Flushing going 0-12.

Meet the Mets Fan: HoopsHype’s Bryan Kalbrosky

The Mets Fan

My name is Bryan Kalbrosky, I’m a writer for HoopsHype and an editor for USA TODAY Sports Media Group. I’ve previously written about the Mets for various sites, including Bleacher Report and Amazin’ Avenue.  Here is an article about Robert Gsellman.

How I Became a Mets Fan

My grandpa was born in Brooklyn and was a Dodgers fan before they moved to Los Angeles. My father was born just a couple years before the inaugural Mets season and the entire family has been a fan of the team since then. My dad moved to LA in 1986 and I was born a few years later. I moved to Brooklyn last summer and have loved living closer to Citi Field.

Favorite Mets Player

My favorite Mets player of all-time is Robert Gsellman. He is my childhood best friend and next door neighbor at my family’s house in Los Angeles. We are the same age and grew up playing on the same little league teams and practiced on his front lawn every day. He was always way better than I was but did not get to be taller until high school. When he was drafted by the Mets, it was one of the coolest things that has ever happened in my life. Following his career (I flew out for a Cyclones game back in 2013) as a member of my favorite team in any sport has been unreal. It’s always special to watch him throw at Citi.

Favorite Moment in Mets History

t’s not a nostalgic memory of my childhood, which is what I initially thought it would be when I first read this question. It’s when Wilmer Flores hit a walk-off home run in the twelth inning against the Washington Nationals. It shows how much this team means to so many people — both fans and those who actually are on the club. The emotion he showed on the field was beautiful and I was so moved by the way he reacted to the news of his trade. To him, the Mets were truly his American experience. And for his redemption to come in the form of a walk-off that sparked such an amazing stretch of baseball…

Message to Mets Fans

Ya gotta believe! The Mets have created such a special bond that I share with my family. They’ve helped keep us close for so many years and if there was one thing I could talk to my grandpa about since he has passed, it’s this baseball team. I’m grateful for their existence and even when they don’t look great, keeping that belief alive has helped me stay a fan.

Mets Bullpen Can’t Pull Inside Straight on Another Brutal Mother’s Day Loss

When the 2019 schedule is released, and the Mets are going to have to make sure Jacob deGrom doesn’t start the game because it will inevitably lead in heartbreak.  Last year, it was the inexplicable loss to the Brewers.  This year, it was one of those everything goes wrong type of games.

For his one inning of work, deGrom turned into Houdini.  After walking the bases loaded to start the game, deGrom had to recalibrate and try to get through the inning by limiting the damage.  Well, he would do much more than that.

First, he struck out Rhys Hoskins.  Then on a dribbler in front of the plate, deGrom got to the ball, and he nailed Cesar Hernandez at home.  Finally, he got Maikel Franco to strike out on a 3-2 pitch.  It was downright miraculous.

It also required 45 pitches.  With that heavy first inning workload, and with his just coming off the disabled list prior to the game after his hyper-extended elbow issue, Mickey Callaway did the prudent thing and put the game in his bullpen’s hands.

While the bullpen was going to the whip, the Mets offense was getting whipped by Aaron Nola who would allow just one run over six to lower his season ERA to 1.99.

It wasn’t that this Mets offense was dominated.  Far from it.  It’s that the offense didn’t do anything when they had the opportunities.

After Brandon Nimmo got things started with a bunt against the shift, the Mets loaded the bases with one out.  Wilmer Flores then struck out on four pitches, and Michael Conforto hit the second pitch he saw for an inning ending ground out.

In each of the subsequent innings, the Mets would get at least one base runner on against Nola, and they would do nothing.  That was until the sixth when Nola didn’t get one in enough to Yoenis Cespedes, who would hit it out to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

The rally would continue with Adrian Gonzalez and Flores hitting back-to-back singles, and Conforto getting ahead in the count at 2-0.  That 2-0 count would turn into an awful at-bat with Conforto striking out, and Devin Mesoraco following with an inning ending double play.  Essentially, they did the polar opposite of what they did on Friday night.

Really, this one run gave the Mets bullpen little margin of error.  Until the sixth, they were pitching quite well.  Robert Gsellman threw three scoreless before the Mets turned to Paul Sewald, who pitched a scoreless fifth.  Sewald, who has mostly struggled in May, wouldn’t have it in the sixth.

Santana began the inning with a double, and Scott Kingery walked.  Between the rally and this being a bullpen game, Callaway had AJ Ramos and Jerry Blevins warming in the bullpen.  They were there when Sewald struck out Jorge Alfaro, and they were there when the left-handed pinch hitter Nick Williams hit a go-ahead three run homer off of Sewald.

Now, there are many ways you could choose to defend the decision.  Sewald has been better than Blevins all season long against left-handed pitching.  Callaway wanted to get length from as many people as he could muster.  However, he had double barrel action going on so he would have Blevins ready for the big at-bat against a left-handed batter, and he didn’t use him.

While you can agree with the decision to go with Sewald, you cannot agree with the thought process of getting your LOOGY warmed up for a big spot and then refusing to use him in that big spot.  If you are not using Blevins there, you’re not going to use him in the game.

From there, the Mets had another rally they didn’t fully cash in on.  Nimmo drew his first or two walks for the game, and he scored on the ensuing Asdrubal Cabrera double.  It was a one run game, and Cespedes strode up to the plate.  There was no guessing right this time as Luis Garcia got him to pop out to end the inning.

From there, Jeurys Familia allowed a homer to Santana, and the Phillies didn’t use Hector Neris, so there would be no recreation of Friday’s magic.

Instead of building on the momentum from Friday’s Conforto homer, the Mets once again failed to muster enough offense, and maybe even energy to pull this one out.  We were also left wondering about Callaway’s thought process with his failing to use Blevins.  All-in-all, a disheartening loss.

Game Notes: Luis Guillorme collected his first MLB hit with a bloop pinch-hit single to center in the second inning.  Dominic Smith struck out in his only plate appearance, and he will be sent down to Triple-A with Jay Bruce‘s paternity leave ending.  Buddy Baumann was sent down to the minors to make room for deGrom.  His Mets experience amounted to little more than his getting a pending one game suspension out of the way.

Conforto Finally Homers Giving Mets A Win

This was panning out to be another one of those horrible Mets losses we have seen recently.  The Mets were not scoring runs at all even though they were in a hitter’s park.  And yes, there was even the really embarrassing and inexcusable moment.

After a Devin Mesoraco double play grounder erased a Michael Conforto seventh inning leadoff single, Jose Reyes got his first pinch of the season in 11 attempts. Understandably, with Reyes’ speed, the Mets reeling, and the team down 1-0, Mickey Callaway went for it.

Instead of going with Amed Rosario, Callaway went with Dominic Smith, who was up due to Jay Bruce going on paternity leave, to get that big hit.  Smith wouldn’t get that hit because Jake Arrieta picked Reyes off first base.  And with that, all hope seemed lost yet again.

Hector Neris came on to get what should have been an easy save, and it certainly seemed as if that was going to be the case when Adrian Gonzalez popped out to start the inning.

Then Wilmer Flores battled back not just from 0-2, but looking over-matched on the first two pitched of the at-bat to rip a single into left.  The Mets at least had life, and for a split second, it looked like Conforto was going to give the Mets the lead, but he pulled it foul.  Two pitches later, and Conforto wouldn’t pull it foul.

Mesoraco followed with a homer on the very next pitch.  Suddenly, the Mets 1-0 lead, and the team falling to .500 turned into a 3-1 lead.  That became a 3-1 victory after a Jeurys Familia 1-2-3 ninth.

Suddenly, the stories weren’t how Steven Matz walked four while somehow managing to allow just one run over five.  It wasn’t about how a combination of Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald, and AJ Ramos had to pick up the slack to keep it close for an offense, which did nothing.

No, the story is now how the Mets had perhaps their best victory of the year, and how they may have turned things around with Noah Syndergaard taking the mound tomorrow.

Game Notes: Mesoraco’s teams are now 1-20 in games he has played this season.  In Los Angeles, Matt Harvey made his Reds debut pitching four scoreless while allowing just one hit while striking out two.