Wilmer Flores

McNeil Shows What Might’ve Been

The Mets had multiple chances this season to call Jeff McNeil up to the majors, and yet, time and again, the Mets opted to go with players like Jose Reyes instead.

Perhaps, the Mets did not give McNeil his chance because they were not sure his incredible season in the minors would translate to MLB success. So far, it has.

In tonight’s game, McNeil was at the center of both Mets rallies with him going a perfect 4-for-4 with two runs, a double, and an RBI.

The first rally started when McNeil hit a leadoff single against Giants starter Chris Stratton. Wilmer Flores would go the opposite way and drive a double to right field.

McNeil scored on a Michael Conforto sacrifice fly, and Flores scored from second on an Austin Jackson RBI single.

Jackson would move to second on Hunter Pence‘s their home, but the Mets could not bring him home.

Still, with the two runs scored, the Mets tied the score and got Steven Matz off the hook.

Initially, things did not look good for Matz. Three batters into the game, he and the Mets were down 2-0 with Evan Longoria hitting a bomb off of him:

Fortunately, Matz would settle in, and he would not allow another hit in his five innings pitched. With this being his second start since coming off the disabled list, Matz was done after five innings and 87 pitches.

Corey Oswalt, who was recently demoted to the bullpen, relieved Matz, and he would pitch three terrific scoreless innings allowing just one hit. Not only would he pitch well, but he would also pick up his third win of the season.

Oswalt got the win because the Mets offense jumped all over Tony Watson starting with a Reyes triple off a ball Pence just could not field.

After Todd Frazier couldn’t hit one deep enough to score Reyes, and Amed Rosario struck out, the game was on McNeil’s bat.

McNeil jumped on the first pitch, and much like Flores did in the previous inning, he hit an opposite field double. The double easily scored Reyes giving the Mets a 3-2 lead.

With the open base, and his historical numbers against left-handed batters, Watson intentionally walked Flores to face Conforto. That was a mistake:

The opposite field three run homer gave the Mets a 6-2 lead.

Seth Lugo pitched the ninth, and he yielded a run after Jose Bautista couldn’t quite get to an Austin Slater liner. Lugo would get the next batter to close the book on the 6-3 win.

In the end, this was a game won because McNeil is a professional hitter who delivered in two big spots. It makes you wonder how different things would have been had the Mets given him a chance when they first needed him.

Game Recap: 2015 NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy was traded by the Nationals to the Cubs as the Nationals have begun selling what they can.

How and Why Dominic Smith Became a Left Fielder

Last night, Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario collided in the outfield leading to a ball dropping and the go-ahead run scoring. When a gaffe like this happens, many are sent looking to pin blame. As has often happens since he was first called up to the majors, Smith was an easy target.

Before looking to levy the blame on him, it is important to review just how Smith became a left fielder.

Back in 2011, the now defunct Sandy Alderson regime made Brandon Nimmo their first ever draft pick. Since that time, the Mets have drafted and signed just 27 outfield prospects.

The breakdown goes: 2011 (six), 2012 (none), 2013 (three), 2014 (five), 2015 (three), 2016 (three), 2017 (four), 2018 (three).

Putting aside Nimmo and Michael Conforto, the outfielders the Mets have drafted since 2011 have played a combined 35 games at the Major League level.

Last year, Travis Taijeron hit .173/.271/.269, and this year, Kevin Kaczmarski is 0-for-5 with a walk.

Currently, the Las Vegas roster only has one outfielder drafted from the aforementioned draft classes on their roster – Kaczmarski. Kaczmarski is currently battling for playing time with players like Zach Borenstein, Bryce Brentz, Matt den Dekker, and Patrick Kivlehan.

Binghamton had Tim Tebow playing everyday because there really wasn’t a Mets draftee pushing him out of the lineup.

Champ Stuart, the Mets 2013 sixth round pick, is repeating the level, and he is hitting .136/.280/.264. Patrick Biondi, the Mets 2013 ninth round pick, is also repeating the level, and he is hitting .222/.333/.247.

Overall, that’s just three part time outfield draft picks playing in the upper levels of their minor league system. Combine them with Nimmo and Conforto, and that makes just five outfield draft picks playing in Double-A or high from the past eight drafts.

Given how much the Mets drafts have not provided much in terms of outfield depth, the Mets were faced with calling up a Major League has been or never was or to give the shot to Smith. Given how Peter Alonso was nipping at Smith’s heels from Double-A, learning another position did make some sense.

Believe it or not, Smith in the outfield was not as absurd a proposition as it may sound. He entered the year leaner and faster. As noted by Baseball Savant, his sprint speed is better Jose Bautista and Jay Bruce, two players the Mets have felt eminently comfortable in the outfield. When he was drafted, Baseball America noted Smith had a strong arm and was a “fringy defender with below-average speed” in the outfield.

Still, the Mets were forced into that position because of how they handled Smith.

After he struggled last year, they were wise to bring in competition for him in Spring Training in the form of Adrian Gonzalez. Partially due to Smith’s injury in Spring Training, Gonzalez did win the job. However, he played poorly.

In 21 April games, Gonzalez hit .227/.312/.394. After going 3-for-4 with two solo homers in a game at Cincinnati, Gonzalez returned to form hitting just .267/.323/.350 over his next 20 games leading to his eventual release.

With the way Gonzalez was playing, there was a real chance to call-up Smith and give him a shot. The Mets passed, and they instead decided to stick with a guy who was not producing.

When the Mets finally released Gonzalez, they gave Smith three games to prove he could produce at the Major League level. In those three games, he went 4-for-12 with a double, homer, and an RBI. After that three game stretch, Wilmer Flores came off the disabled list, and he was given the first base job.

With Flores being bestowed the first base job, Smith’s great experiment in the outfield truly began. With Smith not playing well in the outfield, he found himself on the bench, and eventually, he would head back to Triple-A. When he was sent back to Triple-A, he was entrenched as the left fielder because Alonso had been called up and given the first base job.

In the end, you have a former first round draft pick and former Top 100 prospect playing out of position because the Mets have failed to give Smith a chance, the team has failed to develop outfield prospects at the upper levels of their minor league system, and the team is more willing to give failing veterans a chance over a younger player who could improve with Major League coaching and playing time.

Overall, that is how you get a promising prospect in the outfield, and that is how you have two young players colliding in the outfield and costing the Mets a game.

Smith Blamed, Veterans Get Major Pass

There are many reasons why the Mets lost yesterday’s game, but ultimately, the blame has been and will continue to be placed on Dominic Smith for his colliding into Amed Rosario:

The two players colliding allowed Andrew McCutchen to score the unearned run and tag Tyler Bashlor with the loss instead of the Mets heading into the bottom of the 13th with the score tied 1-1.

Now, looking at that play ad nauseum, that’s Smith’s ball.

Yes, a more experienced left fielder is more aware on the play, and he would make a stronger call for the call.

For his part, Rosario should know who is in left, and he should have made a stronger call for the ball instead of acting like a timid second grader unsure of whether he really knew the answer to the teacher’s question.

That’s important when you consider Smith actually called for the ball first:

While it’s easy to pin the blame on this, it’s important to note this wouldn’t have been an issue if the veterans who the Mets insist on playing actually delivered.

In the 12th, Austin Jackson came up with runners on first and second with two outs, and he popped out to Brandon Crawford.

On the night, Jackson was 1-6, and he left five men on base.

Jose Reyes had the same situation in the 11th, and he softly lined out to Crawford.

On the night, Reyes was 0-5, and he loved left four runners on base.

Good thing he started over Jeff McNeil who singled in his only at-bat.

Really, the Mets offense did absolutely nothing after the Wilmer Flores RBI double. In fact, Flores was the only Met who was hitting with him going 3-6.

Jose Bautista, the other outfielder who has been playing over Smith, was 0-5 with three left on base.

Devin Mesoraco started over Kevin Plawecki, and he was 0-5.

Ultimately, the Mets played four 30+ year old impending free agents over younger players, and the four went 1-for-21 while stranding 13 runners on base.

In addition to Bautista and Jackson starting in the outfield, the Mets started Jack Reinheimer in left field, a player with only eight innings of outfield experience in the majors and 49.0 innings in the minors.

This became an issue in the seventh inning.

Heading into the seventh, Zack Wheeler had been absolutely brilliant pitching six scoreless innings.  Those six scoreless innings included his Houdini act in the fifth inning.

After an Evan Longoria double, the Giants had runners on second and third with no outs.  Wheeler responded by striking out Steven Duggar, Alen Hanson, and Derek Holland to get out of the jam.  Wheeler was so close to repeating the trick in the seventh.

Wheeler issued a leadoff walk to Crawford, which would be the only walk Wheeler would allow on the day.  Trouble was brewing immediately as Brandon Belt singled to set up runners at first and second with no outs.  It would be runners at the corners with one out after Crawford moved to third when Longoria lined out to Bautista.

After Duggar struck out again, Wheeler got Hanson to pop up to left.  With Rosario shifted over, and the inexperienced Reineheimer playing deeper than an experienced left fielder, the ball fell past the outstretched hands of Rosario.  Reinheimer was nowhere to be seen.

After the game, Wheeler channeled his inner Jon Niese and griped about players playing out of position, which led to the ball falling.  Wheeler was speaking about the shift, but considering how the Mets both the game and this season, he might as well have been talking about how the Mets play all of their players out of position.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Mets had a chance to get back the lead.  McNeil and Michael Conforto, two left-handed batters sat against the immortal Derek Holland, came up in successive pinch hitting attempts against the Giants bullpen, specifically Tony Watson.  They hit consecutive one out singles to set up runners at the corners with one out.

Rosario hit a 3-2 pitch for an inning ending double play.

To their credit, the booth did discuss how Crawford charged in a couple of steps to get the Rosario grounder, which led him to beat Rosario by less than a full step in turning the double play.

Overall, the Mets lost this game because of their refusal to play young players over the veterans.  Maybe if Smith was playing in the majors instead of Jackson, when this play happens, he and Rosario have the communication issues hammered.  Perhaps, if the Mets didn’t decided a done Adrian Gonzalez was a better option than him, Smith would have been a first base, and this never would have been an issue.

In the end, we will never know because the Mets would rather play 30+ year old players who no other team wanted at the trade deadline to try to win some meaningless games which could only hurt their draft position.

Game Notes: Wheeler’s seventh inning walk to Crawford was the first walk yielded by Mets pitching in 25 innings.

deGrom Showed Up . . . Nola

Yesterday, Aaron Nola threw a gem against the Mets which showed everyone the National League Cy Young race is far from over.

While that may be true, Jacob deGrom stepped on Nola’s mound and reminded everyone that while Nola and Max Scherzer may be in the Cy Young race, they have a lot to do to catch up to deGrom.

All season long deGrom has been great, but today may have been him at his best. Through eight, he was at 99 pitches, and still Mickey Callaway sent him out for that ninth to let deGrom go out and get his complete game.

Any chance of trouble arising after Carlos Santana‘s leadoff single we’re quickly erased after Wilson Ramos hit deGrom’s next pitch to Amed Rosario for a 6-4-3 double play.

When Nick Williams grounded out, deGrom had his complete game. His final line was 9.0 innings, seven hits, one unearned run, no walks, and nine strikeouts.

Really, deGrom was just that close to a shutout.

Wilmer Flores made a nice play to get the lead out at second, but instead of eating the ball, Rosario made a low throw which went past deGrom.

The throw allowed Williams to score from second, but the Mets still got out of the inning as both deGrom and Jeff McNeil made a heads up play.

With Odubel Herrera making the ever so brief turn to first, he was fair game. McNeil got to first and got the tag down on the deGrom throw.

This was just one of several ways McNeil helped deGrom come away with his eight win of the season.

In the fifth, he flat out robbed Herrera of a hit:

McNeil also started a fourth inning rally with a leadoff single against Jake Arrieta. When Arrieta threw one away trying to pick him off, he went to third, and he’d score on a Flores RBI single.

In the seventh, he hit an RBI triple off Luis Garcia to score Rosario. Add in a Devin Mesoraco homer earlier that inning, and the Mets would lead 3-0.

With deGrom pitching like deGrom, the Mets would win 3-1.

In the victory, deGrom lowered his already MLB best ERA to 1.71. He would also clear the 200 strikeout plateau. Basically, he continues to prove he’s the best pitcher in all of baseball with each and every start.

Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo missed another game after injuring his hand.

Mets Score Ton of Runs in Doubleheader Split

Amed Rosario hit the very pitch of the game from Ranger Suarez for a home run, and the Mets were off and running to set a new franchise record with 24 runs on 25 hits in their 25-4 victory.  These records were previously set 30 years to the date in a Mets game at the Cubs.

What is interesting is this game was back-and-forth for the first four innings with the Phillies getting to Corey Oswalt with solo homers from Rhys Hoskins, Maikel Franco, Nick Williams, and Jorge Alfaro.

Entering the fateful fifth inning, it was just 5-4 Mets.  Then in that fifth inning, Alfaro threw away the ball on an Oswalt bunt, and then Hoskins would later just completely miss a fly ball in left.  The big hit in what would be a 10 run fifth inning was a Jose Bautista grand slam.  From there, the game was over, and eventually Phillies manager Gabe Kapler actually turned to position players to get the final nine outs of the game so to save his bullpen for the second half of the doubleheader.

To put in perspective how well that went, the Mets scored seven runs off the position players, and that was highlighted by Jerry Blevins hitting an RBI single off of Scott Kingery.  Yes, that’s how absurd things got.  A reliever got a hit off of a position player.  All told, the Mets had an absolute field day at plate:

As you can see from the 1-2 for Nimmo, the one downside was he had to come out of the game due to him hitting his hand when he swung at a pitch he put in play.  Nimmo would come out the game, and his x-rays would be negative, but with the Mets being the Mets, you never know what will happen next.

In the second game of the doubleheader, it seemed like the Mets were going to once again be off and running.  Against Phillies starter, Zach Eflin, Rosario, Jeff McNeil, and Conforto would hit three consecutive doubles to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.

The disappointment of Conforto not scoring from second would soon be magnified by Steven Matz giving up the lead by surrendering a three run homer to Hoskins in the bottom of the first.  Matz would not settle in during the second inning either with him giving up a homer to Kingery in what would be a consecutive three run inning for the Phillies.

All told in his first start since returning form the disabled list, Matz pitched just those two innings allowing six runs (four earned) on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

As bad as Matz looked, Devin Mesoraco looked worse.  After Roman Quinn reached on a throwing error by Matz, Mesoraco would push him to second with a passed ball.  Later that inning, Mesoraco threw through on what would be a double steal, and on the return throw, the out of position Mesoraco whiffed on the tag.

Things would lie dormant until the bottom of the sixth when Bobby Wahl entered the game.  Wahl would appear to have tweaked something in his leg or bat on the Quinn bunt single.  Wahl would stay in the game, and he would surrender an RBI double to Cesar Hernandez.  On the double, Conforto got to the ball, and made a strong throw to second.  Hernandez was dead to rights, but McNeil just dropped the ball.

Later that inning, Williams hit a sinking liner Williams just missed getting to in time.  At that point, it was 8-2 Phillies.

The Mets, who have been playing much better of late would show some fight.

In the seventh, Rosario doubled home Jack Reinheimer, and Conforto would hit a single through Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana to pull the Mets to within 8-4.

Tyler Bashlor would give one of those runs back by allowing back-to-back doubles to Santana and Franco in the seventh before settling in and retiring the Phillies.

Even with the five run deficit, the Mets would go on the attack in the ninth starting with Plawecki reaching with Phillies reliever Yacksel Rios throughing a screwball between Santana’s legs.  As the inning continued Conforto and Flores would hit RBI singles to pull the Mets to within 9-6, which then led to Kapler brining in his closer Seranthony Dominguez.

The Mets would bring the tying runs to the plate with Jackson and Bautista, but both would strike out to end the rally and the game.

Overall, it was quite a day for a Mets offense who is suddenly alive and robust.  It will be interesting to see how this continues as this series progresses with the Mets always hitting well at Citizens Bank Park.

Game Notes: With the Mets scoring 25 runs, they became the first team in a decade to score 15 runs in consecutive games.  Jacob Rhame was available as the 26th man, and he would pitch two scoreless to close out the first end of the doubleheader.

Flores Winning 2019 First Base Job

This year, the Mets have been unwilling to give either Dominic Smith or Peter Alonso an opportunity to prove themselves at the Major League level. We’ve also seen recent reports Jay Bruce will get a long look at first base to close the season. Of course, there’s also Yoenis Cespedes who may need to play first when he returns from his double heel surgery, whenever that might be.

While all of this has been occurring, Wilmer Flores has been playing first base, and he’s done a good job there.

Since June 15, the day he ostensively took over the first base job, he’s hit .283/.332/.473 with 14 doubles, seven homers, and 26 RBI. That production equates to a 118 wRC+.

If Flores maintained that level of production, his 118 wRC+ would rate as the eighth best among MLB first basemen. This would leave him tied with Cody Bellinger and ahead of players like Anthony Rizzo, Jose Abreu, Carlos Santana, and Justin Bour.

It also happens to be the same level of production which prompted the Mets to give Bruce a three year $39 million contract even with Bruce not having a season anywhere near as productive since 2013.

There are a few reasons why Flores has been this productive.

First and foremost, he’s learned how to hit right-handed pitching. So far this year, he’s hitting .286/.344/.492 against right-handed pitching. This makes this the first year of his career the once thought of platoon bat has hit right-handed pitching better than left-handed pitching.

Flores is also showing improved plate discipline. Flores has a 7.8 percent walk rate and a 9.3 percent strikeout rate. Both numbers are career bests and both follow positive yearly trends Flores has made since 2015.

That’s one of the unheralded aspects of Flores’ 2018 season. He’s shown himself to be an improved player on the field, and he’s shown the ability to withstand playing everyday.

At 27, Flores is now in the prime years of his career, which means we could reasonably expect him to take a positive step forward in each of the next few years.

Looking over the roster and the Mets choices at the position, you’d be hard pressed to argue the Mets could do better than a 118 wRC+ player making improvements in his plate discipline and against right-handed pitching.

Looking at it objectively, Flores deserves that first base job next year over the options the Mets currently have.

Subjectively, it doesn’t hurt to have a fan favorite who has the most walk-off hits in team history. Moreover, you would like to get another look at him in his last year of team control to avoid another Justin Turner/Daniel Murphy situation.

Overall, Flores is a guy who wants to be a Met, and he is a guy who continues to make improvements in his game. Give him the 2019 first base job he’s earned with his play on the field.

Mets Give deGrom Run Support And Shockingly Win Subway Series Finale

In preparation for this weekend’s Little League Classic at Williamsport, the Mets played in the Little League ballpark that is Yankee Stadium.

Right from the get-go, the Mets went to work with Amed Rosario hitting a leadoff homer off Luis Severino. That would be the first of five Mets homers on the night.

With that, the Mets had scored seven runs for Jacob deGrom, which made him winning this game a cinch, or at least that was the anticipation.

Between the Rosario first inning homer and the ensuing Jeff McNeil RBI single, the Mets had a 2-0 lead, which the defense would give back with poor defense in the third.

With two on, Giancarlo Stanton hit what should’ve been a 5-4-3 double play. Instead, with Brett Gardner making a hard slide (which may or nah not have been legal but was not challenged), McNeil threw it into the stands.

This not only forced Austin Romine home, but it also put Stanton at second. He’d score on an Aaron Hicks RBI single tying the game.

Surprisingly, after that, it was all Mets.

One of the reasons why was the Mets patient approach at the plate and their ability to lay off the Severino slider. All told, that would chase Severino after he threw 98 pitches over four innings.

Before he departed, Jose Bautista would tag him with a two run opposite field homer.

Things got a little interesting with Didi Gregorious hitting an RBI single scoring Gardner, who doubled earlier that inning, to pull the Yankees to with 4-3.

The Mets would then tee off on Yankees reliever A.J. Cole with Todd Frazier, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto hitting homers off of him to expand the Mets lead to 7-3.

deGrom would depart after 6.2 innings allowing two earned (three runs) in five hits. Of course, if not for the arcane double play error rules, it should’ve been one earned. As a result, deGrom’s ERA rose to 1.81.

In addition, deGrom would strike out 12 Yankee batters.

After Jerry Blevins got the last out of the seventh, Seth Lugo pitched the eighth, and he got tagged by Miguel Andujar with a two run homer to make an easy game a scary 7-5 game.

The Mets got one of those runs back in the top of the ninth off Zach Britton.

After Conforto was hit by a pitch, Wilmer Flores singled. With that single, each Met in the starting lineup recorded a hit.

McNeil then hit what could have been an inning ending double play, but Gleyber Torres couldn’t make the transfer (McNeil probably beats it anyway). With the ball on the ground, Conforto would score from second to give the Mets an 8-5 lead.

The Mets would load the bases, but Bautista couldn’t deliver that final knock out blue meaning Robert Gsellman would get the save chance.

Gsellman would deliver with a 1-2-3 inning for his seventh save of the season.

With that, believe it or not, the Mets split the Subway Series. If you believe that, can you believe deGrom got the win and is 7-7?

Game Notes: Noah Syndergaard did the player interview during the game, and he made a joke about hoping the Little Leaguers don’t have hand, foot, and mouth.

Mets Stake Claim to Fourth Place

In the Mets weekend series, they faced off against the Miami Marlins to determine who exactly was the worst team in the National League East.  With some guts and guile, the Mets showed it was in fact the Marlins.

In the series, we did see a lot of good from the Mets.  Corey Oswalt had another quality start even if he once again sputtered as he navigated the sixth and the third time through the lineup.  Noah Syndergaard racked up his eighth win of the year, and Zack Wheeler continued his great pitching winning his fifth straight start.

We also saw Michael Conforto continue this second half resurgence.  With his home run yesterday, he’s now hitting .307/.398/.533 with five doubles, four homers, and 11 RBI.  If we were to exrapolate those 21 games over a full 162 game season, he would hit 39 doubles and 31 homers.  That’s right around the pace he was last year when he suffered that brutal shoulder injury.

While Jacob Rhame took another step back, we saw Drew Smith, Tyler Bashlor, and Bobby Wahl pitch well out of the bullpen.  As the season winds to a close, we will have to see that trio get increased chances with the Mets limiting both the appearances and innings of Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, both of whom have been pitching better of late.

Moreover, we are watching Wilmer Flores earn a starting job with the Mets next year.  Since taking over the first base job in mid-June, he’s hitting .290/.337/.489 with 14 doubles, seven homers, and 26 RBI.  In a real surprise, he is getting stronger as the season progresses.

Still despite all that good, there are so many issues, including but not limited to the Mets having three tight games against a bad Marlins team just to win this series.

We have seen Devin Mesoraco continue to regress with him now having a 64 wRC+ since June 1st.  Moreover, he has been one of the worst defensive catchers in baseball with him being in the bottom 15 in the majors in pitch framing.  Really, there’s a reason why the Mets are just one game under .500 when he doesn’t catch and 16 games under .500 when he does.

Overall, like we saw on that botched double play on Saturday, the Mets defense continues to be horrendous.  Per DRS, at every position but third base and left field, they are in the bottom three defensively in the National League.  Up the middle, the Mets are the worst in the majors.  That also speaks to just how disappointing Amed Rosario‘s development has been.

That also goes towards the Mets continued employment of Jose Reyes, who is one of the worst players in baseball this year.  While his selling point this year was he was going to mentor Rosario, it has been a failure.  In almost every areas of Rosario’s game, he is worse.

Really, with the exception of isolated instances like the starting rotation, Flores, and Brandon Nimmo, this team is just worse across the board.

So yes, the Mets beat the Marlins, but in the end, who cares?  This continues to be a rudderless bad baseball team.

Wheeler Wins Fifth Straight

If you’re looking for reasons to continue watching this Mets team, Zack Wheeler and his emergence has to be near the top of the list.

For those who forget, Wheeler started this season in Triple-A, and he has built his way to arguably being the Mets second best starter. That trek started with a string seven inning performance in Marlins Park in his first MLB start of the season.

Tonight, he had another string seven inning outing at Marlins Park.

For the first four, it appeared he might no-hit a Marlins team who traded Justin Bour earlier in the day. As an aside, the Marlins are money for a better return. What a novel idea.

Martin Prado broke up what could have been the threat of a no-hitter with a fifth inning single. The Marlins got no momentum from that, and Wheeler kept the Marlins off the board for 6.2 innings.

After back-to-back strikeouts to lead off the bottom of the seventh, Rafael Ortega singled, and Miguel Rojas homered. That would cut the Mets lead to 4-2.

Wheeler got out of the inning unscathed, and he has now pitched at least seven innings in four of his last five starts. He’s also now won five straight starts.

He won tonight due to his dominance and the Mets bats getting going to the tune of six runs on 13 hits.

The first run was a two out rally started by a Jeff McNeil two out single. Wilmer Flores and Michael Conforto followed with consecutive singles off Jose Urena to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead.

That lead grew to 4-0 in the sixth in a rally started by a Conforto leadoff walk. After a fielder’s choice, he scored on a Todd Frazier RBI single.

The rallied continued with the Mets eventually loading the bases. Wheeler wouldn’t get the run home leaving it to Amed Rosario to try to get a big two out base hit.

He would deliver hitting it just off of Starlin Castro. Frazier scored easily, and Austin Jackson scored just ahead of Kevin Plawecki getting nailed by Magneuris Sierra as he tried to go from first to third.

After the Rojas seventh inning homer, the Mets got the runs right back. Jackson hit a ground rule double setting up runners at second and third. Plawecki then delivered with a two RBI single.

Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless eighth. Initially, Jerry Blevins got that ball to start the ninth, but after he hit Derek Dietrich, Mickey Callaway went to Drew Smith who finished the game.

While Smith has not received much work, he had had finished four of the seven games he’s appeared with no saves.

With the win, the Mets took round one in the battle for the basement of the NL East, which depending on your perspective is a good or bad thing.

Game Recap: With his third inning single, Conforto has now reached safely in his last 24 road games.

Mets Players Weekend Nickname Alternates

Last year, Player’s weekend was a hit as fans got to see their favorite players wear fun jerseys featuring their nicknames on the back of their jerseys.  Believe it or not, some of those were nicknames were rejected for various reasons.

For example, Brandon Nimmo wanted to use his Twitter handle, You Found Nimmo, but MLB was afraid of copyright issues.  When it came to Kyle Seager, he wanted to go with “Corey’s Better.”  With that rejected, he paid homage to his brother Corey Seager by merely noting on his jersey he was “Corey’s Brother.”

Well, the Mets officially approved Player’s Weekend nicknames and jerseys have been released.  However, as noted with Nimmo, there were other names the players wanted which were rejected by MLB:

Tyler BashlorMickey, I’m Available To Pitch

Jose BautistaTrade Value Going, Going, Gone!

Jerry BlevinsOne Magic LOOGY

Jay BruceJason Bay

Michael Conforto – Shouldering The Load

Travis d’Arnaud – d’L

Jacob deGromFewest Wins 4 Cy Young Winner

Phillip EvansDFA TBA

Wilmer Flores – 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Todd Frazier Regrets, I’ve Joined The Mets

Robert GsellmanDon’t Care What You Think

Luis GuillormeAssistant to the Regional Manager

Austin Jackson2019 Opening Day CF

Juan LagaresOut For The Season

Seth Lugo – Quarterrican (That’s perfection; you don’t mess with that)

Steven MatzNot So Strong Island

Jeff McNeil2B/3B/OF

Devin Mesoraco – Harvey’s Better

Brandon Nimmo – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Corey OswaltVargas (figured it was the only way he would get a start)

Kevin Plawecki – Plawful

Jose ReyesMelaza Virus

Jacob RhameStay (Refers to his roster spot and glasses)

Amed Rosario – Mentor Wanted

Paul Sewald AAAAll Star

Dominic SmithWaist And Future Gone

Drew SmithMickey, I’m Available To Pitch (Yes, it’s a repeat of Bashlor.  They’re trying to prove a point.)

Anthony SwarzakStill Just One Good Season

Noah Syndergaard 60’6″ Away

Jason Vargas$16 Million Dollar Man

Bobby Wahl After All, I’m Your . . .

Zack WheelerFinally Good

David Wright – Hurts Here Doc