Want a perfect encapsulation of what the 2018 Mets are? Look no further than what happened in yesterday’s game.
Nathan Eovaldi was working on a perfect game entering the seventh inning. Brandon Nimmo stepped up to the plate, and he broke it up with a single. This was followed by Wilmer Flores striking out on three pitches, and Asdrubal Cabrera grounding into an inning ending double play.
At that point, the Mets were already down 7-0 because Chris Flexen pitched poorly, and his pitching was exacerbated by the defense behind him, which was just as poor if not worse. After three innings, he was relieved by Chris Beck, who was once again terrible.
Overall, this is just a bad baseball team, and they’re not even losing with a purpose as the team is starting Jose Reyes over Amed Rosario, and Dominic Smith plays once in a blue moon. To make matters worse, he is playing well out of position in left field.
Simply put, this is bad and unwatchable baseball.
Game Notes: Nimmo was not named an All Star despite leading all NL outfielders with a 148 wRC+. This leaves Jacob deGrom as the lone Mets representative.
The Rays have become a story in baseball for using an opener, i.e. a reliever, to start some games. They’ve arguably had to experiment with it due to the state of their starting pitching. The obvious exception to that is today’s starter Blake Snell, who has been phenomenal this year.
Snell is an ace, and when you face him, you have to take advantage of your opportunities and not make mistakes.
Well, Steven Matz did make mistakes, including walking and hitting Snell, but he fought through it with what was a really good start. In fact, in a fair and just world, Matz gets through his 6.1 innings unscathed.
Matz got the grounder with Wilson Ramos grounding it right at Amed Rosario. Rosario charged in, and the ball hit him in the heel of the glove. This cost him a shot at Duffy, and it gave the Rays a 1-0 lead.
With the Mets offense completely sputtering and shooting itself in the foot, that one run was enough.
In seven of the nine innings, the Mets got their leadoff runner on base. In three of those innings, it was a leadoff double.
Still, the Mets had one really good opportunity in the seventh, and it as bad luck that cost them.
Jose Reyes led off the eight with a double past the outstretched arms of Duffy. Then, in what was a tough at-bat against Snell, Brandon Nimmo hit a ball which seemed destined for center field. Instead it tipped off of Snell’s foot leading to a 1-4-3 put out.
So much for the momentum from Bautista’s grand slam.
Game Notes: Wilmer Flores had nearly half of the Mets seven hits going 3-4 with a double.
With the Mets starting Jacob deGrom tonight, the hope was deGrom could go deep enough into the game to minimize the damage the bullpen could do.
Well, deGrom did his part pitching eight brilliant innings striking out eight Rays.
The only mark against him was a Willie Adames fifth inning homer. It hurts when it’s a guy like Adames hits a homer. It hurts all the more when the Mets can’t give deGrom run support.
The only run deGrom got in support was in the third.
After deGrom made the first out of the inning, Brandon Nimmo reached on a throwing error by the aforementioned Adames. After a Jose Bautista walk, Nimmo would come around to score on an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single.
The Mets had a chance to take the lead in the sixth, but Glenn Sherlock would have another one of his awful sends.
Todd Frazier hit a one out double to center, and for some reason, Sherlock sent Wilmer Flores, who was trying to score from first. As it usually happens when Sherlock sends Flores, Flores was out at the plate.
This all looked like it was going to haunt the Mets as the Rays loaded the bases against Jeurys Familia with one out.
Mallex Smith grounded to first. On the good side, Flores aggressively charged the ball. On the bad side, he lollipopped the throw home. The leaping Devin Mesoraco didn’t come down on the plate for the first out. Instead, he lunged to tag out Hunter Wood, who had entered the inning earlier as a pinch runner, by a hair.
#Rays challenge call that Hunter Wood is out at home plate in the 9th; call confirmed, runner is out.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) July 7, 2018
Familia struck out Adames to escape the jam and keep the game at 1-1.
In the ninth, Frazier walked, and after he couldn’t get a bunt down, Mesoraco singled to put runners at first and second with no outs.
Next, the maligned Amed Rosario laid down a great bunt to move up the runners. Of course, the decision to give away an out almost backfired immediately when Dominic Smith grounded out to the pitcher Chaz Roe, which kept Frazier at third.
At that point, the Rays had the option to face either Nimmo or Bautista to get out of the inning. They chose wrong:
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) July 7, 2018
After 336 homers over a 15 year career, this would be the first walk off homer of his career.
About the only thing disappointing on the night is Jake didn’t get the win. That, and we weren’t treated to one of Bautista’s epic bat flips.
Game Notes: Suspended reliever Jenrry Mejia will have a chance to resume his suspension end and renew his baseball career in 2019.
Heading into the 2015 season, the Mets handed Wilmer Flores the starting shortstop job. The ensuing two-and-a-half years have been mercurial for both Flores and the Mets organization, and somewhat astonishingly, the Mets probably still do not know what they have in Flores.
For a while, that matter seemed resolved. Flores was a platoon bat you could use to platoon at any position across the infield, especially first base. A funny thing has happened. Flores has learned how to hit right-handed pitching. So far this year, Flores is hitting a robust .301/.359/.553 against right-handed pitching.
Considering Flores has improved his OPS against right-handed pitching in each year since 2015, this may not be a fluke either. Flores may actually be a bat to keep in your everyday lineup right now. However, that leads to the eternal question over where exactly Flores should play.
Well, based upon circling trade rumors, it appears that decision may be up to a new team.
Now, if the Mets are going to trade Flores, they need to first consider what type of prospect would Flores even merit?
While not a perfect comparison, let’s look at Eduardo Nunez. Like Flores, Nunez was seen as a guy who didn’t really have a position on the infield, but ultimately, contending teams were willing to take a chance on him due to his versatility and his offense.
Back in 2017, Nunez was acquired by the San Francisco Giants from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Adalberto Mejia.
As noted by John Sickels of Minor League Ball, Mejia was a C+ prospect who projected to be a fourth starter in the majors. Of note with Mejia, he had already served a PED suspension and didn’t look the same since returning from the suspension.
Since the trade, Mejia has made 22 starts and one relief appearance for the Twins. Overall, he is 4-7 with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.620 WHIP.
Assuming the Mets could even acquire a player the level of a Mejia, the question is whether a C+ prospect would be worth foregoing Flores’ prime years. Put another way, are the Mets really willing to risk Flores becoming the next Justin Turner or Daniel Murphy for what may ultimately become a forgettable prospect?
To that end, Flores may actually be the type of player who is more valuable to his own team than to another team.
Flores is a fan favorite, and he is a player who is steadily improving. We have never heard him complain about his playing time or about what position he plays. More than that, from his crying on the field to his recent comments, this is a guy who genuinely enjoys and wants to continue being a New York Met.
All told, it would behoove the Mets to find out if this is another step in Flores’ progression. They can easily give him the second base job for the end of the year into next year to see if he further grows as a player. If he does, it’s very possible Flores will want to sign a deal to be around for the next Mets team to go to the World Series.
And who knows? Maybe this time, instead of making the last out, he’s delivering the series winning hit as both he and all of New York have tears streaming from their eyes.
If you feel like you’ve seen this game before, you probably have.
The first crack against him was in the fifth as old pal Curtis Granderson double home a run. After that, Wheeler settled down and put up a couple of more zeros.
In the seventh, the Mets added an insurance run on a Michael Conforto double. At that point, the Mets had a 6-1 lead, and there was no indication the Mets would Mets this up.
Jose Bautista in his first game back in Toronto misplayed the Grichuk single into a two base error leaving him on third.
Oddly enough, pulling Wheeler was designed to prevent things from falling apart. The only issue is the Mets bullpen is bad.
Gsellman took care of that by allowing a game tying three run homer to the first batter he saw – Yangervis Solarte.
For those understandably clamoring for Tim Peterson in that spot, well, today wasn’t your day.
In the eighth with the score now tied 6-6, Peterson came on, but after two outs, he walked Grichuk before allowing a go-ahead two run homer to Lourdes Gurriel, Jr.
That’s the ballgame with the finishing touch being former Met Tyler Clippard git Conforto to ground out to end the game.
Basically speaking, there is no lead the Mets bullpen can protect.
Game Notes: Dominic Smith got the start, and he played first. He was 2-4 with two doubles. Mesoraco was lifted in the seventh after getting hit by a foul ball and a swing in successive innings. So far, he has passed concussion protocols
This team doesn’t deserve to have any Mets fan watch them right now. No, not even on a Jacob deGrom start.
Did that mean the Mets won the game? Of course not.
All told, the Mets lost 5-2. Although a lot of them may not have realized it because some of them seemed to have quit before the game even ended.
When they bother to pay attention, they’ll come to realize they are tied for last in the NL East and have the worst winning percentage in the NL.
Game Notes: Reyes claimed he didn’t run out the grounder because he felt something. That something was probably apathy.
Through the mess that has been the Mets of late, the one thing that has been consistently going well has been the starting pitching. Ok, Brandon Nimmo too, but the starting pitching has been quite good.
That is what has made this run so frustrating. The starting pitching has kept them in games and games close only for the team to invent ways to lose games.
Tonight was another outstanding start from the Mets rotation. This time it came from Zack Wheeler, who has recently been good except for that one inning or batter.
Tonight, there was no except. Wheeler was just dominant.
Through seven scoreless innings, Wheeler allowed just five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. It was about as good a performance as you have seen from him.
Better yet for him, he actually got some run support.
After being sacrificed to second by Wheeler, it seemed like he’d be stranded there. However, Jose Bautista would deliver a two out opposite field RBI double, and then he’d score on an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single.
The Mets 2-0 lead would expand to 3-0 on a Wilmer Flores solo homer in the sixth.
Bring up the 🍎! pic.twitter.com/CJdFWT9jWN
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 28, 2018
The question with this bullpen was whether a 3-0 lead would be enough. Initially, the answer seemed to be no.
Robert Gsellman came in and he was hit hard with the only out he recorded was a sacrifice fly from Austin Meadows. When Josh Bell followed the sacrifice fly with a hard hit single, Mickey Callaway didn’t mess around.
Callaway pulled a struggling reliever for a hot one in Tim Peterson. Callaway’s faith in him was vindicated as Peterson got the next two outs to get the Mets out of the inning preserving the 3-1 lead.
Despite pitching 1.2 innings last night, Jeurys Familia came on in the ninth for the save.
Before he got an out, the Pirates had the bases loaded with no outs and a run scored.
For some reason, through most of this, the Mets had no one up in the bullpen after an inning where Gsellman got the quick hook.
After Familia gave up a four pitch walk, Callaway went well to Anthony Swarzak, who either doesn’t need much time to warm up or came in way too soon.
Well, it was the later as on Swarzak’s first pitch, David Freese hit a two RBI single to give the Pirates a 4-3 lead. Again, there were no outs in the inning.
All said and done, it was Pirates 5 – Mets 3. Another game and series lost by a Mets who is funding ways to lose games.
Game Notes: Cabrera is hitting again going 3-4 with a double, RBI, and a run. Corey Oswalt was held back from his Triple-A starts so he can make a start this weekend for the injured Jason Vargas. Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto swapped defensive positions with Nimmo manning center and Conforto on left.
Coming off the news their general manager, the man who brought all of them to the Mets, was once again fighting cancer, and he was going to take a leave of absence, which was phrased more like a termination, the Mets seemed game to win one for Sandy Alderson.
In the first, surprise leadoff hitter Jose Bautista led off with a single off Pirates starter Chad Kuhl. After two quick outs, he found himself on third after an Asdrubal Cabrera walk and a Kuhl wild pitch. Both runners would score on a Wilmer Flores seeing eye single through the left side of the infield.
From there, the Pirates would make three errors, Pirates pitching would throw three more wild pitches, and Kuhl would leave early due to injury. They would not be able to take advantage of any of it, which put Steven Matz in a precarious situation.
To start the game, Matz was terrific, and he would not yield a hit until David Freese hit a leadoff single against him to start the inning. That leadoff single would create some trouble for Matz.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Mets would have an opportunity to reclaim the lead for Matz. After Kevin Plawecki was hit by a pitch, the Mets would have runners at first and second with two outs. Jose Reyes would fly out to left to end the inning. On the play, Pirates outfielder Austin Meadows almost overran the ball, but he recovered in time to make the inning ending catch.
That all loomed large as it allowed Mickey Callaway to give Matz the seventh. With two outs in the inning, a terrific outing was spoiled as Polanco hit what looked to be the game winning homer.
Fortunately for Matz, the Mets would bail him out as Michael Conforto delivered hit own two out home run in the bottom of the inning to tie the score anew.
With Matz off the hook, Callaway initially went to Anthony Swarzak to keep the score tied in what would become a truly bizarre top of the eighth.
With Josh Harrison following a Meadows one out walk, Callaway took no chances, and he brought in Jeurys Familia. Familia used his fabled sinker to induce what should have been an inning ending double play. That never materialized as Reyes took his sweet time not only getting to the ball, but also flipping it to Cabrera.
With Harrison making a good hard-nosed slide, Cabrera had little choice but to record the out and jump to avoid the slide. That offended Familia who got into words with Harrison leading to the benches clearing. Things died down when Cabrera hugged Harrison, which was something the booth did not take kindly.
Familia still got out of the jam, and he pitched a scoreless ninth. Tim Peterson, who has been very good in limited duty, followed with a scoreless tenth.
In the tenth, Conforto got things started with a leadoff walk against LHP Steven Brault. Things got more interesting when Todd Frazier followed the walk with a single. After Cabrera popped up not one but two bunt attempts, with the second one being caught, Flores would get his third walk-off hit of the season with a single down the third base line.
On a day of tears, it is quite fitting that Flores would be the guy to get the game winning hit.
For quite a while, Mets fans have bemoaned the ridiculous lineup with Eric Campbell and John Mayberry, Jr. hitting in the middle of the lineup. As bad as that lineup was, tonight’s ridiculous lineup might have taken the cake.
Despite Luis Guillorme arguably being the best defensive shortstop in the entire Mets organization, he started the game at third with Jose Reyes, a player who has been a bad everything for a few years now playing the most important position on the infield.
Dominic Smith started the game in left field because for some reason the Mets wanted to get another look at Kevin Plawecki at first base. This meant the far superior pitch framer in Plawecki was at first base while Devin Mesoraco caught.
Really, looking at this lineup, you have to wonder if the person making that lineup wanted to get fired. Considering Mickey Callaway essentially let it be known he didn’t want to play Reyes, he may not be the person filling out the lineup card.
Whatever the situation, it was a sick joke, and it was a joke that had no one laughing, especially not Lugo.
The good news for Lugo was he would allow just one earned run in his five innings pitched. The bad news is when he left the game in the fifth, the Mets trailed 3-0. The reason for that is the defense behind him was terrible.
What was a surprise was both of the errors leading to the unearned runs came from Guillorme.
Guillorme couldn’t field a ball off the bat of Starling Marte. Marte was probably safe anyway, but it was ruled an error. The first batter of the game reached, would promptly steal a base, and he would eventually score on a Josh Harrison sacrifice fly.
It was Harrison who reached on a two out throwing error by Guillorme in the third. He’d score on an Elias Diaz single. It should be noted that was a ball Rosario probably fields.
Really, the only earned run against Lugo was a second inning Gregory Polanco second inning solo shot.
After Lugo labored through five, partially due to his defense abandoning him, it was time for Tyler Bashlor to make his Major League debut. He was rudely welcomed to the big leagues by a Josh Bell excuse me opposite field line drive two run homer.
While none of this was a surprise, okay, the Guillorme defensive struggles was a bit of a surprise, the Mets fighting back in this game was a bit of a surprise.
After Jameson Taillon dominated the Mets for six innings, the team would finally get to him in the seventh.
That prompted Clint Hurdle to bring in Steven Brault. He walked Michael Conforto putting the tying run on base with no outs. The rally would die there as Jose Bautista struck out, and Asdrubal Cabrera hit into an inning ending double play.
In the eighth, the Mets put two on with one out. That rally fizzled as Plawecki struck out, and Guillorme grounded out.
That was pretty much it for the Mets. In his second inning of work, Robert Gsellman couldn’t get through the ninth unscathed. This time a tough play for Guillorme was scored a hit. Gsellman would do well to limit the Pirates to one run when they had the bases loaded with one out, but really, who cares at this point?
The Mets aren’t doing nearly enough to win games, and now, they are putting out embarrassing lineups.
Game Notes: To make room for Bashlor on the roster, Chris Flexen was sent down to Triple-A.
There’s shooting yourself in the foot, and then there is doing what the Mets did against the Rockies today.
Somehow, the Mets grounded into five . . . FIVE! . . . double plays.
Each one of them were brutal.
Bautista would be erased when Kevin Plawecki grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
In the third, after Brandon Nimmo hit an RBI single to pull the Mets within 5-2, Frazier would hit into the inning ending 5-4-3 double play.
Speaking of Reyes, he can’t field and doesn’t know how to use sunglasses:
How is Reyes to know to put his sunglasses on? He's only been alive for 35 years. pic.twitter.com/5GbS3AvmIs
— Good Fundies is short for Good Fundamentals (@goodfundies) June 21, 2018
Finally in the eighth, after the Mets pulled themselves to within 6-3 on a Flores sacrifice fly, Devin Mesoraco hit into the inning ending 5-4-3 double play.
You combine all of these double plays with Steven Matz allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks in 5.2 innings, and you have all the makings of a 6-4 loss.