When the New York Mets played the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card Series, it was the first time the Mets were in the postseason since they were in the postseason in 2016. In fact, that marked just the second time in team history the Mets went to the postseason in consecutive seasons.
While just seven years ago, none of the players from those 2015-2016 Mets teams are around anymore. Actually, that’s not entirely true with Jerry Blevins working on the SNY postgame and occasionally filling in for Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez.
Blevins isn’t the only player who is retired. Look back at their starting lineup in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. Almost all of those players are retired:
- Curtis Granderson – retired
- David Wright – retired
- Daniel Murphy – retired
- Yoenis Cespedes – attempting a comeback after retiring
- Lucas Duda – retired
- Travis d’Arnaud – Atlanta Braves
- Michael Conforto – San Francisco Giants
- Wilmer Flores – San Francisco Giants
- Kelly Johnson – retired
That is five retired and one more effectively retired. Notably, with Johnson, we saw Michael Cuddyer and Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinch hit in that DH spot, and both are now retired. If anything, it would seem the San Francisco Giants is the official team of the 2015 Mets.
As we see with Conforto and Flores, there are still some of those Mets players still in the majors, Matt Harvey notwithstanding. However, when Jacob deGrom signing with the Texas Rangers, there are currently no players from that team still with the Mets organization.
When Seth Lugo signed with the San Diego Padres, that left the Mets with absolutely no pitchers from that two year run. When Conforto signed with the Giants, that meant Brandon Nimmo was the only Mets player from that two year stretch to remain with the Mets, and he only played in 32 games.
When deGrom signed with the Rangers, we obviously lamented the second greatest Met ever leaving the organization. However, it was Conforto and Lugo leaving which officially turned the page on those teams with so much promise which ultimately fell apart due to the Wilpons malfeasance and cheapness.
In a sense, we should welcome this chapter forever being closed. Now, it is all about Steve Cohen and how he runs the Mets. So far this offseason, that means Nimmo is a Met for life in addition to adding Justin Verlander, Koudai Senga, Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Omar Narvaez and hopefully, Carlos Correa. Oh, and by the way, the Mets brought back Edwin Diaz and Adam Ottavino.
So yes, it is sad to see a part of Mets history gone, but we will have those memories. More than that, we have an exciting new era and owner. Now, it is time to just wait for Correa to sign, and the Mets to win a World Series.
The 2015 season was great for the New York Mets but a trying one for Zack Wheeler. It was never supposed to be that way.
At the end of the 2014 season, Wheeler was terrific. From June 30 to September 7, he was 7-1 with a 2.21 ERA. In the second half, he was 6-3 with a 3.04 ERA.
That was supposed to be his springboard to a true breakout 2015 season. He was supposed to join reigning Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom and a returning from Tommy John Matt Harvey to form a super rotation.
Except it didn’t work out that way. Wheeler succumbed to a torn UCL in Spring Training. He was eventually supplanted by Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz in the young rotation designed to turn the Mets into World Series contenders.
He was replaced and nearly traded. He and Wilmer Flores were nearly traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. If not for Carlos Gomez’s medicals, Wheeler’s story with the Mets ends there.
While we saw Flores crying, Wheeler was trying to intercede with Sandy Alderson. Given the interest in him and the Mets needs, it’s possible his efforts were the reason he was not traded.
However, that was the days of the Wilpon Mets. Embarrassment and nonsense were sure to follow. Mostly, needless pettiness did.
Wheeler wanted to be a part of that 2015 pennant run. This was his team. He was (once) part of the foundation. Only, the Wilpons didn’t want him there.
Seems like just yesterday the Mets were telling Zack Wheeler to buy his own tickets if he wanted to attend the 2015 postseason games.— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) October 19, 2022
Of course, the Wilpons were that cheap. Even their own players had to purchase tickets to see postseason games. After all, these were the owners duped in a Ponzi Scheme and were continuously over leveraging themselves in a desperate attempt to keep the team.
Things were so bad they were a part of Amway. Amway.
Things would get worse for Wheeler. His Tommy John rehab was a nightmare requiring additional surgeries. He would not return until 2017. That season was cut short with bicep tendinitis and a stress fracture in his humerus.
It would not be until the second half or the 2018 season that we finally saw Wheeler fulfill his potential. He was dazzling going 9-1 with a 1.68 ERA.
With him cane hopes for a Mets quick resurgence. Again, the Wilpons are cheap and dumb. They hired an agent who showed no regard for the Mets future or really any clue as to what he was doing.
He tried to sell Marcus Stroman as his replacement. It was a complete farce to replace Wheeler with someone in the same rotation. It’s the Amway of building rotations.
Wheeler wanted to return and was willing to take less. Perhaps, he didn’t purchase enough postseason tickets because the Wilpons were not willing or able to bring him back at a discount.
Rather than be gracious, Brodie Van Wagenen took unnecessary shots at Wheeker. All Wheeler ever wanted was to be a Met, and Van Wagenen wanted no part in that. That goes double for the Wilpons.
Well, the end result was Wheeler with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was the ace he was with the Mets only to be recognized as such now.
He found himself in the postseason and has pitched great. He’s pitched the Phillies to a pennant. This time, he had a front row seat. He was paid to be there and not the other way around.
Wheeler wanted to fully experience this with the Mets. The Wilpons didn’t want that.
Well, Jeff Wilpon is out of baseball. Their GM is now an agent again. Fred Wilpon sold away almost all of his team. Wheeler is pitching for a pennant winner.
Wheeler deserves this moment. Hopefully, he cherishes it and the bit of irony he’s celebrating it with Syndergaard. Congratulations to them both.
For some reason, the New York Mets just don’t want to give Dominic Smith a full time job. Worse yet, they don’t want him to earn it either.
Consider this, of all the players on the Opening Day roster, Smith is the only player who has not started at least four games in a row. Yes, that does mean Travis Jankowski has.
As previously noted, the Mets first went with Robinson Canó and then J.D. Davis at DH. During Davis’ “winning” the DH job, an admittedly underperforming Smith was sent to Triple-A.
At the time, Smith was hitting .186/.287/.256. Again, when that’s your line, you put yourself in that position, especially when you have options.
However, Davis has similarly faltered. Since June 19, he’s hitting .162/.279/.297 striking out 16 times in 43 plate appearances (37.2%). That’s with a three hit game!
Nowhere will you find the Mets even contemplating sending down Davis. Again, he’s not hitting at all, and he can’t field any position. He’s literally useless to this Major League roster.
Despite that, he continues to get at-bats at the expense of Smith. Even with Smith historically faring better against left-handed pitching, they’ll sit Smith for Davis.
You don’t do this if you’re invested in Smith. That goes double when Smith had a hot bat. The reason is the Mets, at least the Sandy Alderson directed Mets, have never been truly invested in Smith.
This goes back to 2017 and 2018.
Smith and Amed Rosario struggled when they were first called-up. The reaction to each of them could not have been more different.
Smith was given competition to Adrian Gonzalez, who was really signed to play. The Mets preference was made all the easier when Smith was late to pregame, and Mickey Callaway felt the need to display his authority.
This was before Smith’s sleep apnea was diagnosed and treated.
When Gonzalez played poorly and was released, the Mets turned to Jay Bruce and Wilmer Flores. This for a team who was out of it in May and dead in the water in June.
To make matters worse, Smith was used as a left fielder for a good portion of the time. This was a first round pick and top 100 prospect. A Mets team completely out of it thought the best course of action was to see what he had . . . in the outfield.
Keep in mind, Rosario struggled, and the Mets went out of their way to ensure he’s have no competition for the job. Better yet, the team sent down Luis Guillorme for a stretch leaving Rosario as the ONLY shortstop on the roster.
Between 2018 and the present, there’s a pattern, and the person at the helm has been Sandy Alderson. People can say he’s out of the loop, but he’s out there making statements the Mets need to address the DH position.
That was yet another shot at Smith, a player he didn’t want.
Remember, the Mets nearly traded Smith for Eric Hosmer (horrendous contract), Chris Paddack (injured pitcher with a 96 ERA+), and Emilio Pagan (81 ERA+ over last three seasons). That’s just how much they wanted rid of Smith.
They wanted to take on a ton of money to get worse. It’s no wonder Steve Cohen was reportedly forced to nix the deal.
That’s all well and good, but the front office response was just to not let Smith earn a job. On some level, that’s personal. There’s certainly a history backing it up.
Overall, the Mets didn’t want Smith. Alderson has a long track record of not giving him a fair shot. Now, the Mets are ready to move on without even so much as giving him a week of starts to try to earn a job.
Another game and another New York Mets starter with a big start. This time it was David Peterson‘s turn.
It didn’t start that way for Peterson. In the second, Brandon Crawford hit a two run homer giving the San Francisco Giants an early 2-0 lead.
The Mets would get him a lead in the top of the third. At the time, you wondered if it was going to be enough.
The Mets would nickel and dime Alex Cobb to death. For example, Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte had consecutive infield singles in the third to help load the bases.
Francisco Lindor followed with a bloop down the left field line. Darin Ruf lumbered over, but he couldn’t make the play as he and the ball landed in the stands for a two RBI automatic double.
Gary set up the call perfectly…
Francisco Lindor gets his 500th career RBI and the Mets tie it at 2-2! pic.twitter.com/tbAjeT4TMs
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 24, 2022
The two RBIs tied the score at 2-2. It was also Lindor’s 500th RBI. He would then score his 609th career run as Pete Alonso absolutely launched one to give the Mets a 5-2 lead.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 24, 2022
Peterson seemed poised to give that lead right back in the bottom of the third. He walked Ruf to start the inning and then plunked Wilmer Flores.
Peterson bore down, and he got Mike Yastrzemski to hit into the 1-6-3 double play. That play changed the game as Peterson got out of the inning, and the Mets would eventually blow out the Giants.
For Peterson, it was a well earned win. He limited the Giants to the two runs over six while striking out six.
Have Mercy! David Peterson retired the final 11 batters he faced and lowered his ERA to 2.16. #LGM pic.twitter.com/g8BfTmSAxG
— Metsmerized Online (@Metsmerized) May 24, 2022
Colin Holderman relieved Peterson in the seventh, and he continued to prove he belongs. He pitched a scoreless inning battling through a bleeding thumb on his pitching hand.
While Mets relievers literally bled, the Giants did figuratively as the Mets offense pounded them in the eighth to break the game open.
It started because Jeff McNeil just couldn’t get a bunt down all game. As noted by Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez, it was partially because his approach has him running towards first at the point of contact.
When McNeil couldn’t get the bunt down to beat the shift, he instead swung away and hit a two run homer off Giants reliever Mauricio Llovera.
Bye Bye Bay-seball @JeffMcNeil805. 👋 pic.twitter.com/U9ttyJgJmx
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 24, 2022
And then, Mark Canha went back-to-back increasing the Mets lead to 8-2.
🔙 to 🔙@outtadapakmark puts one in the bleachers! #LGM pic.twitter.com/broojbjcNi
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 24, 2022
Patrick Mazeika capped off the scoring in the inning with an RBI double. That gave the Mets a 10-2 lead. For Mazeika, it was his third straight game with a double as he attempts to get the starting catching job.
After another scoreless inning from Holderman, the Giants sent outfielder Luis Gonzalez to the mound. After the dog and pony show was over the 10-2 lead grew to 13-2.
The Mets ability to clobber the Giants pitching led to Gonzalez pitching. Things were so bad for the Giants J.D. Davis, who entered the game hitting .188 with a -0.4 WAR, had a four hit night. It was just one of those nights for the Mets.
Chasen Shreve, who has struggled mightily of late, took the mound in the ninth. Again, he let up a run, but in a 13-3 game, it’s a footnote.
The Mets are now eight up in the division. That includes being nine up on the Atlanta Braves. Yes, the Mets are this good.
Game Notes: This was Max Scherzer‘s spot in the rotation. This was Buck Showalter‘s 66th Birthday.
After this weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Mets are going to have to make a decision. They will have to cut one pitcher and one position player as the team needs to bring the roster down from 28 to 26. If this was purely merit based, the answer to that conundrum would be Robinson Cano, who has only shown he’s done.
As of this moment, if it is not Cano, all signs point to Dominic Smith, and the biggest reason why is he has an option remaining, and he does not have five years of service time. As a result, he can not reject the assignment to Triple-A.
Based on the numbers so far, there isn’t much of an argument. Through 17 games, he is hitting just .182/.300/.212 with a double and three RBI. More troubling behind that 69 wRC+ is a 30.0 K%. Even if there has been some recent improvement, including his go-ahead pinch hit against the St. Louis Cardinals, he just hasn’t shown enough so far this season.
A large part of that could be attributable to how the Mets have handled him this season.
As the Mets approached Opening Day, Smith was showing his 2021 shoulder issues were behind him. Max Scherzer was commenting how Smith was showing an ability to hit balls he was never able to hit. He was red hot at the plate, and he looked poised to return to his 2020 form where we all thought he was on the verge of being a star.
As it turned out, the team first looked to get Cano going. Even after he had a PED suspension costing him the 2021 season, they rewarded him with the Opening Day start. Smith would have to stay on the bench. He would actually be the last Mets player on the roster to get an at-bat and a start in the season.
Nearly a full month into the season, Smith has only started on back-to-back days just once. While having good numbers against left-handed pitching, better than Pete Alonso, he is benched against left-handed pitchers. Really, this is the story of his entire Mets career.
Heading into the 2018 season, the Mets signed Adrian Gonzalez to block Smith. When Gonzalez didn’t work, they went to Wilmer Flores. They never gave him an opportunity to compete with Alonso for the first base job. Time and again, the Mets just go out of their way to find excuses to not play Smith, and then when he doesn’t succeed in a tough situation, they act like they’re justified pretending like he didn’t thrive with extended playing time in 2019 and 2020.
All-in-all, Smith hasn’t performed this season. Certainly, there is blame on his shoulders for not taking advantage of his limited opportunities. That said, sooner or later, the Mets need to put him in a position where he can thrive and be an everyday player because Smith has shown he isn’t just an everyday player but a good one at that.
After a 7-3 start to the season, there was genuine excitement about this New York Mets team, but there was still some naysayers. After all, the Mets were beating up on the likes of the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Some questioned how the Mets would fare against a good team.
On that note, the San Francisco Giants came to town. Last season, the Giants led the majors with 107 wins, and they were off to a 7-2 start. Simply put, this series was going to be a real litmus test for the Mets.
Things did not get off to a great start. Tylor Megill, who had been great in place of Jacob deGrom finally struggled. The pitcher who was unscored upon would allow four runs over six. Fortunately, the Mets would tie the game in the fifth on RBI doubles by Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor. The score stayed that way until it was sent to extra innings.
With extra innings comes the gimmick Manfred Man on second base. Brandon Belt was the runner, and he would move to third on a Wilmer Flores flyout. After walking Darin Ruf, Brandon Crawford lined out. That left Thairo Estrada for Adam Ottavino. Estrada would hit a routine grounder to Lindor, but Lindor made an errant throw:
Top 10th – @Mets challenge call that Thairo Estrada is safe at 1B; call overturned, runner is out. Powered by @Mitel. pic.twitter.com/8A08odZhr3
— MLB Replays (@MLBReplays) April 19, 2022
Initially, the umpires ruled Pete Alonso was pulled off the bag. However, upon replay, we saw Alonso made an incredible stretch to stay on the bag. That kept the game tied for the Mets to walk it off on a Lindor game winning RBI single.
That stretch was a key moment in the Mets winning that game. From there, the Mets went on to sweep the doubleheader and take three out of four from the Giants. As a result, the Mets proved they can beat a good team.
That moment was also indicative of just how far Alonso has come. Alonso was known as a poor defender when he was first called up to the majors. He has since made tremendous strides to vastly improve there. As a result, Alonso has shown himself as a player who can help the Mets win with their defense, and that is why “The Strech” is the Mets Neon Moment of the Week!
* * * * * *
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The New York Mets have played four series this year and have won all four.
1. Now that the Mets have beaten an excellent team in the San Francisco Giants, it will be interesting to see the next talking point as to why the Mets aren’t this good.
2. The DH seems to be magic for the Mets with whomever bats there.
3. The universal DH is still an abomination.
4. Francisco Lindor is playing like a man who is going to be the 2022 NL MVP.
5. When looking into just how great that trade was for the Mets, remember they also got Carlos Carrasco, who has arguably been the Mets best starter so far this year.
6. We got a glimpse of the real Max Scherzer when he flirted with a no-hitter. Man-o-man is this going to be fun.
7. The bullpen has been phenomenal with 15 scoreless innings. Things are going so well even Sean Reid-Foley is putting up zeros.
8. Let’s never do that manager by committee thing again. Putting J.D. Davis at third and using Robinson Cano over Jeff McNeil to pinch hit (and using McNeil as a defensive replacement) is enough to see that never be invoked again.
9. To be fair, Buck Showalter has had his share of those moves. For example, pinch hitting Luis Guillorme to bunt over runners for Travis Jankowski in the ninth was something else. Oh, and he didn’t pinch hit Nimmo.
10. Sometimes the dumbest things work. For example, Guillorme couldn’t buy a hit. After shaving his beard, he’s on a hot steak.
11. Wilmer Flores, who doesn’t have arthritis, absolutely robbed Dominic Smith of the RBI double he desperately needed. Just the latest hard luck out for Dom.
12. Tylor Megill might’ve had a poor outing, but he fought, gave the Mets innings, and he kept it to where the Mets could comeback and win. That’s another huge step for him.
13. Lindor, Eduardo Escobar, and Brandon Nimmo have an OPS of 1.000+.
14. Starling Marte has really struggled to start the year, but when things are going this well, you can easily overlook these things.
15. The Mets have gone from completely inept to lethal with RISP. Part of that is Mark Canha who is 5-for-10 with RISP.
16. You have to love Gary Cohen all the more for his annoyance over SNY showing Yankees highlights.
17. The SNY app has been horrible, and you’re reminded the Wilpons never really had interest in making the Mets watchable.
18. Carlos Rodon is a terrific pitcher who pitched a great game. However, behind that is the fact the Mets haven’t hit left-handed pitching well this season.
20. Its a small thing now, but the Mets are doing something they didn’t do last year. They’re putting separation between themselves and the division while the other teams are struggling.
Before the New York Mets take the field and try to win a fourth consecutive series to begin the 2022 season, they have emerged as one of the best teams in baseball. In fact, they might even be the best. However, there are going to be ebbs and flows.
We have already seen Tylor Megill and Chris Bassitt go from completely and utterly dominant to struggling against a good San Francisco Giants team. Conversely, we have seen Max Scherzer get better each and every time he has taken the mound.
We have seen the palpable excitement from sweeping the doubleheader against the Giants turn to angst when they lost a frustrating game the following day. What made it even worse was seeing Wilmer Flores absolutely robbing Dominic Smith of an extra base hit which might’ve proven to be a game tying or winning rally.
When things like that and losses like that happen, there tends to be an over-focus on the negative. The fans still don’t quite trust the bullpen even if things look better with Edwin Diaz back from bereavement leave. They become overwrought over how neither James McCann or Tomas Nido are hitting. Even with all that, there are some positives to glean.
Drew Smith has emerged as a true eighth inning guy and possibly future closer. Trevor May has shaken off the rust. Chasen Shreve has been terrific. Right there, you have what you need to win any close game, and that’s before you account for Seth Lugo getting stronger as the season progresses.
With respect to McCann and Nido, no, they aren’t hitting. However, they are framing extremely well. As a result, they are doing exactly what they need to be doing. They are helping this pitching staff immensely, and their respective work behind the plate is a big reason why Mets pitching has been so good to start the season.
Overall, things are very positive right now. This Mets team never seems truly out of it. They battle and fight back. They have pitching and timely hitting. These are the things which tend to last, and as a result, it is a good harbinger for the rest of the season and hopefully the postseason.
There were rumors Dominic Smith wasn’t going to be happy with a bench or part-time role with the New York Mets, and he wanted one elsewhere. As is typically the case, that came around the time he was almost traded. Well, Smith, himself, put those rumors to rest:
🎥 Following a weekend of pretty serious trade rumors, Dominic Smith acknowledges that while he'd love a chance to play full-time somewhere, he's happy to be in New York and happy to be a Met. pic.twitter.com/tDEJHvJjsh
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 4, 2022
Smith has long made the case he should play everyday. We are seeing it again this spring. His shoulder is healthy, and Max Scherzer noted Smith is hitting balls he hasn’t hit before in his career out for homers. Once again, Smith is poised to have a big season.
More than that, Smith is someone who wants to be a Met. In years past, that is not something which the Mets have actually valued. It is an odd thing to see loyalty and allegiance not valued or honored, but that was the way the Mets were operated under the Wilpons.
That’s not to say those values should be treated in higher regard than performance. However, the Mets have taken poor stock of a player’s drive to succeed not just in baseball but with the Mets. They overlooked skills and conditions which served as detriments to performance. Instead, of removing those obstacles, they just removed the player and later lamented why that player is thriving elsewhere.
It is something we have seen time and again. Justin Turner and his new launch angle approach became an All-Star, NLCS MVP, and World Series champion with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Wilmer Flores has been a coveted and very successful role player. The list goes on and on.
That list includes Zack Wheeler. When he and Flores were almost traded for Carlos Gomez, Wheeler went to the Mets and said he wanted to stay. He backed that up by getting healthy and improving each season. In his last season with the Mets, it was apparent he was emerging as an ace.
Wheeler went to the Philadelphia Phillies, and he arguably should have won the Cy Young award in 2021. He was that good, and he will continue to be that good as the Mets continue to try to address pitching depth in their organization. To be fair here, things are much improved under Steve Cohen.
When the Mets have a player who is on the verge of a breakout, and that player wants to be a Met, the Mets need to find a way to get that player to succeed here. Like Wheeler, Smith has. Now, the Mets need to make sure they allow him to succeed in 2022 and beyond. It is the right thing to do for someone who is going to be a very good and impactful player, and it is the right thing to do for someone committed to this franchise.
Like 2015, Wilmer Flores was the last man standing between elimination and celebration. Once again, an umpire made a horrendous call.
Back in the 12th inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, Home Plate Umpire Alfonso Marquez called Flores out looking despite the Wade Davis pitch being well off the plate. Truth be told that call didn’t impact the series as the Mets trailed 7-2.
That’s not the case in Game 5 of the 2021 NLDS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
There were two outs in the bottom of the ninth with the Dodgers leading 2-1 in the winner-take-all game. Kris Bryant represented the tying run at first, and Flores, the Mets all-time leader in walk-off RBI was at the plate.
Max Scherzer was up 0-2 in the count, and Flores entered the at-bat 0-for-17 against Scherzer. And yet, there was still a chance. That was until first base umpire Gabe Morales made a call which had even Don Dekinger shaking his head:
Umpire Gabe Morales eliminated the Giants from the playoffs with a blown check swing call to Wilmer Flores.#Giants #Dodgers #LADvSF pic.twitter.com/8LiUDSR6fo
— Umpire Auditor (@UmpireAuditor) October 15, 2021
As Jimmy Rollins said in the postgame, Morales is the only person on the planet who thought Flores swung. Curtis Granderson heavily inferred Morales choked under the pressure.
It wasn’t the only completely blown check swing call by Morales in this series. Going back to the Bryant fourth inning strikeout with five of six pitches out of the zone, it wasn’t even the only series changing blown call.
Put another way. MLB Umpires blew a call they can’t blow. It wasn’t close. It was an embarrassment to the sport. It needs to be fixed and corrected, but Rob Manfred and the Umpire’s Union has zero interest in that. Simply put, they don’t care AT ALL, and that’s why this garbage will continue to happen.