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.
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.
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.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 13, 2018
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.
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.
Well, if you were feeling good about the Mets after their win last night, those feelings were quickly dispatched. Todd Frazier, arguably their second best position player all year, landed on the disabled list meaning Jose Reyes was in the starting lineup. Worse than that, Jason Vargas was the starter.
Right away, Vargas loaded the bases, and he then allowed a Eugenio Suarez two RBI single to give the Reds an early 2-0 lead. It was a minor miracle the Reds did not score more from that point.
However, they would score two more in the second with Suarez once again being the catalyst. His RBI double scored Joey Votto from first, and he would come home on a Tucker Barnhart, the catcher the Reds kept, RBI single.
Overall, Vargas’ final line was 4.0 innings, six hits, four runs, four earned, two walks, and one strikeout. As poor as that start was, it should be noted this was his best start this year. With his pitching, you almost have to question why he’s guaranteed a starting spot while the team is keeping some pitchers in the minors and sending another one to Cincinnati.
That four run margin would prove to be enough for a number of reasons.
The first was Reds starter, Luis Castillo, no not that one, but then again it doesn’t really matter because nothing good happens to the Mets when there is a Luis Castillo on the field. He would limit the Mets to just a single over the first five innings.
Finally, in the sixth, the Mets would break through on a Wilmer Flores one out homer. Now, Flores did not start the game. Rather, he was double switched in for Amed Rosario despite Rosario being the one Met with a hit, and Reyes being a terrible defensive shortstop.
The Mets would continue from there with a two out rally. With consecutive walks to Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, and Adrian Gonzalez, the Reds forced home a run. That’s when Mickey Callaway opted to pinch hit Brandon Nimmo instead of Juan Lagares or even the newly acquired Devin Mesoraco to face the left-hander Amir Garrett.
Nimmo struck out to end the rally, and things would only go downhill from there.
AJ Ramos was fighting it, but he kept the Reds off the board in the sixth, but he would allow a double to Scott Schebler, and with Votto coming up, Jerry Blevins would come into the game. He got his man, but he would be pulled for Hansel Robles.
After a Suarez single, Scooter Gennett would have Robles pointing to the sky again with his three run homer giving the Reds a 7-2 lead.
Making this game worse was the fact the Mets had called up Corey Oswalt in place of P.J. Conlon to give them some length in the bullpen. Of course, they called up Oswalt on three days rest instead of Chris Flexen on full rest. The end result was Callaway ripping through his bullpen trying to save Oswalt’s arm . . . the very same Oswalt who was called up to supposedly help protect against that.
That’s embarrassing. Almost as embarrassing as getting blown out by the now nine win Reds team.
Game Notes: On the eve of the game, Matt Harvey was traded to the Reds for Mesoraco.
After a horrid offensive homestand, Mets fans were left with the hope coming to hitter’s parks like The Great American Ballpark and Citizen’s Bank Park would help wake up this Mets offense. Well, on the second pitch of the game from Homer Bailey to Michael Conforto, it seems like our hope was well placed:
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 7, 2018
The combination of the Reds pitching and Citizen’s Bank Park really did wake up this Mets offense. Things were going so well offensively that not only did the Mets score in each of the first five innings, but Adrian Gonzalez would hit two home runs.
Jay Bruce would also homer to ensure that all the pure left-handed hitters would have a homer run on the day.
But it was more than Conforto and Gonzalez who woke up. Amed Rosario was 2-3 with an RBI and a sac fly. With the exception of Asdrubal Cabrera and Todd Frazier, the two who happened to be their most consistent hitters all year, each Met in the starting lineup had at least one hit.
Take out Jose Lobaton and all the starters had multi-hit games.
In the beginning, this seemed as if it was going to be more than enough run support for P.J. Conlon and the entire Mets pitching staff. The Irish born lefty making his MLB debut got off to a great start keeping the Reds scoreless through two and to just one run through three.
With two outs in the fourth, and the Reds gaining some momentum, with three doubles in the inning coming from Eugenio Suarez, Scooter Gennett, and Tucker Barnhart, Mickey Callaway went to Paul Sewald to nip the rally in the bud.
Sewald did just that, but he would run into trouble in the sixth yielding a home run to Suarez, and then leaving runners at the corners with one out. Robert Gsellman came on, and he allowed just a sacrifice fly to make it 7-5.
Like Sewald, Gsellman was in to pitch multiple innings, and he would even hit for himself striking out. When Gennett homered to make it 7-6, you were left questioning the decision.
You were also left questioning some of the Mets base running.
In the sixth, the first inning the Mets did not score, the Reds caught Rosario in a run down off third base on a Yoenis Cespedes ground ball. He was eventually tagged out, and the run did not score.
Fortuantely for the Mets, it did not matter as Jeurys Familia came on and recorded the save giving the Mets their first win in over a week.
This is the point where the Mets were in 2015, 2016, and 2017. A Mets team with much promise has either regressed or been exposed, and you are left wondering how exactly things were going to get better for this team.
One of the more troubling things we saw both yesterday and throughout this season was how Noah Syndergaard hasn’t been Thor. It’s not too dissimilar to how Matt Harvey had stopped being The Dark Knight, except with Syndergaard there really isn’t any reason to suspect any injury.
That’s not to say Thor was or has been bad. Far from it. His only allowing two runs over six innings is a testament to that. However, it was the way he pitched that was the problem.
A pitcher with remarkable control walked four batters. That included him issuing back-to-back walks in the third inning to Nolan Arenado and Gerardo Parra to force in a run. Between that and the solo home run he allowed to Ian Desmond in the second, he gave away the Mets 2-0 lead. Yes, it was a thin margin of error, but we have seen Thor thrive with even narrower margins.
The Mets two runs were scored in the first off of Kyle Freeland. The first run was the result of three straight singles from Juan Lagares, Yoenis Cespedes, and Asdrubal Cabrera to start the game. After that, Todd Frazier hit a sacrifice fly to give the Mets a 2-0 lead. In that first inning, Cespedes once again injured his right quad:
I thought he was just doing the Robert Gsellman exercises pic.twitter.com/aUQXXO631T
— Good Fundies is short for Good Fundamentals (@goodfundies) May 6, 2018
He would be removed from the game for Brandon Nimmo, who we would find out can still draw a walk off a left-handed pitcher, but with two strikeouts, he sure does struggle hitting off of them.
Really, the Mets struggled to hit Freeland for the rest of the game. After that three hit onslaught to begin the game, the Mets would get just one more hit off of him until he departed after seven strong innings.
With the Mets not hitting, Syndergaard settling back down, and Jerry Blevins and AJ Ramos combining to pitch a scoreless seventh, Mickey Callaway went to Hansel Robles in the eighth. No one can be quite sure if Robles pointed to the sky again, but we do know he surrendered another homer. This time to Desmond, his second of the game.
With the Mets inability to hit right now, it might as well have been a walk-off home run for all intents and purposes.
The 3-2 loss ended a dreadful home stand which saw the Mets go 0-6. They pitched poorly and hit even worse. They dropped from first to third place in the NL East. They don’t look like a team in a freefall inasmuch as they look like a bad baseball team without any answers. Hopefully, the trip to Cincinnati and Philadelphia will awaken their bats. Although, we should shutter to thing what will happen to the pitching.
Game Notes: Wilmer Flores was 0-2 with a walk against Freeland. He is now hitting .161/.235/.226 off of left-handed pitching this season.
But, tonight was different. Both Matz and the Mets showed more fight, and they didn’t fall apart like they’ve done recently. In fact, Matz was quite good allowing just the one run over six innings:
Final line on @Smatz88:
6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 6, 2018
The latter helped control the damage the Rockies did to Robert Gsellman and keep the Mets close, but ultimately, the Mets would still lose 2-0.
That was more a matter of Chad Bettis pitching very well over seven innings.
Bettis was also helped by some hard hit balls right at Rockies defenders. This includes a Todd Frazier low liner in the sixth hit right at Trevor Story. Instead of Frazier tying the score with an RBI single, it was an inning ending double play.
Overall, the Mets were 0-4 with RISP.
This was the Mets fifth straight loss and sixth out of their last seven games. During that stretch, the Mets have played some really bad baseball. Not tonight. Tonight, they were just beat by a good team.
It happens, but if the Mets play more like they did tonight with good pitching and defense, and generally showing more fight; the Mets can turn things around.
Game Notes: Matt Harvey was officially designated for assignment before the game. With the loss, the Mets fell to third place in the division.
The Mets started 12-2, and it seemed like they could do no wrong. That was until a complete bullpen eighth inning meltdown against the Nationals. Since that point, the Mets have gone 5-9, and they have fallen to second place in the division. With that as the backdrop, we turned to the Mets Blogger Roundtable to ask if Mickey Callaway‘s Mets team is for real:
We’re already seeing the Mets falling back to earth, and there was never any question that they would lose more than 15 games this year. The positive is that they have a core that’s skilled, and a new manager who will hopefully find ways to adapt and keep the room positive throughout the highs and lows of a season.
What *is* reality anyway? We are all one big consciousness agreeing upon a never ending list of rules and quibbling over interpretations of shared perceptions, right? That’s what I learned in third grade from the bus driver who smelled weird. If the reality of the situation is I am being asked if the Mets are as good as they were when they started 11-1, then no, they are not “for real.” They have been the fourth-luckiest team in all of baseball while the Nationals have been the most unlucky. We aren’t going to cry over Bryce Harper‘s misfortune (the Vegas native should be aware of streaks of bad luck at the very least anecdotally). We will cry over the Mets though. Yet we shouldn’t; they just have to play .500 ball from their 13th to 162nd game to hit lucky number 86 wins. They uh, haven’t played over .500 ball since that time but I guessed they would make the wild card game five weeks ago, so I might as well keep my chips on 86.
Right now I want to jump off of my seat in section 509.
Editor’s Note: this response was sent during the game after we learned about deGrom’s elbow.
Yes, but they have holes to fix and this passive approach to every situation is part of the problem.
Are the Mets for real in the sense that they have a genuine chance to end the season where they ended April, in first place? Based on what we’ve seen…sure, why not? I’d hate to think they’re pulling the cap down over our eyes.
Are the Mets for real in the sense that I’m supremely confident they won’t fall out of the race altogether after a while? That’s what the rest of the schedule is for: to find out.
But overall I feel pretty good about this team. The next 130+ games are always the hardest.
Caveat: All of the above is up for grabs in light of the uncertainty surrounding Jacob deGrom.
I think the Mets’ start is most-definitely indicative of the potential of this team moving forward through the season.
The inevitably-oncoming adage of “Jake and Thor, then pray for it to pour” that was true for most of the first month of the season seems to be slowly fading away.
After the inconsistencies of Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler over their first few starts, as well as the banishing of Matt Harvey to the bullpen and the alarming start to Jason Vargas’ second stint with the Mets, things have started to look up lately.
If Wheeler can be effective (read: keep his pitches low), his stuff alone places him among the upper-crust of middle-of-the-rotation starting pitchers in the NL, and the same goes for Matz.
If Vargas has shown anything over his career, he’s proven to be the model of mediocre-but-efficient consistency, and that’s all the team really needs out of him.
I think this offense is truly one of the more-dangerous groups we’ve seen here since the days of Carlos Beltran/David Wright/Carlos Delgado, and I mean that. The recent upticks in production for Jay Bruce and Adrian Gonzalez are promising.
The Mets’ bullpen has, for the most part, been the strength of this team and will continue to be, in my opinion. AJ Ramos looks to have found his groove and Robert Gsellman is absolutely thriving in his new role. Even Seth Lugo, who may not be adapting as easily as Gsellman has, has had some success and only figures to get more comfortable as time goes on. And, to be honest, Harvey could come to be a key cog in the relief corps once he gets a feel for things.
Are the Mets for real? It’s hard to say, but what’s becoming clear is that this season certainly won’t be easy. We got off to a hot start with Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, and Bruce all slumping, and you have to think we’ll get more from all of them going forward — but we’ll also presumably see regression from Todd Frazier and Asdrubal Cabrera, and the pitching has gone downhill fast since the first few turns through the rotation. Now deGrom is hurt too…if our starters besides Thor are a failed Harvey, a failed Matz, an inconsistent Wheeler, and an unimpressive Jason Vargas, there’s only so much room to get wins with that kind of rotation. Sure, things could turn out well — anything can happen. But as I said, the only thing that’s clear is that it certainly won’t be easy.
Initially, I had a long piece detailing how much the lineup and the pitching staff could benefit from Kevin Plawecki‘s return. How even with the inability to hit for power right now, Conforto is playing a good outfield and getting on base. How when you look deeper into the farm, you see Gavin Cecchini and Peter Alonso getting off to terrific starts making you wonder “What if . . . .”
None of that matters if deGrom is injured like he was in 2016 or Syndergaard was in 2017.
This is not to say his having a serious injury ends the Mets season. Rather, it means the season needs a miracle. In 2016, the Mets got that out of Lugo and Gsellman. Maybe the Mets get that this year out of some group that includes Harvey, Matz, Corey Oswalt, or Chris Flexen.
Maybe . . . .
Personally, I’d like to thank everyone for being able to respond to this roundtable. It was all the more impressive when you consider how panic striken we were collectively as a fanbase when deGrom left the game last night. We do know when that news finally breaks, there will be some terrific things written about deGrom and the Mets. Some of the best things will be written by the people in this roundtable, and I hope you will visit their sites.
That is except for Becky. She is currently a free agent and needs a home to write about the Mets. Hopefully, someone will soon jump in and find a home for her terrific work.
Through the first four innings, Jacob deGrom was pitching like the ace we know he is. After a tough loss, and with first place in the balance, he was as great as he has ever been. Through the first four innings, deGrom had walked none, allowed just two hits, and he struck out six.
He then went into the tunnel into the clubhouse. He was done for the day with a hyper-extended elbow. Based upon the ensuing MRI, he may be gone longer than that. If deGrom is gone, the Mets will have lost much more than a 7-0 game.
Look, we can get into Tom Glavine–Greg Maddux–John Smoltz 1999 strike zone Sean Newcomb was getting from Home Plate Umpire Lance Barrett. The Mets were clearly irritated by it, and we even saw Todd Frazier say something about umpiring in general after the game.
We can even wonder how in the word Wilmer Flores forgot to do the one thing in baseball he is actually good at doing – hitting left-handed pitching.
Really, right now, none of this matters. As it stood, this pitching staff needed at least one more starter, and that was assuming Jason Vargas will get better and Zack Wheeler won’t turn back into the guy who forced the Mets to put him in Triple-A to start the season.
Sure, the Mets are just a half game back, and it is possible Matt Harvey, Seth Lugo, and/or Corey Oswalt step up here. We saw something like that happen in 2016 when Lugo and Gsellman performed a miracle over the last month of the season.
Maybe it’s being a little overly dramatic, but after what we saw with Noah Syndergaard‘s injury last year, and how the energy from the team and the ballpark flat-line after deGrom left the game, it’s very possible the Mets need a miracle.
I guess it’s times like these we all channel our inner Tug McGraw and say, “Ya Gotta Believe”
With the Braves sending to the mound RHP Mike Soroka for his Major League debut, you knew this was going to be a rough game for the Mets. The players change. The managers change. Even the uniforms have changed. And yet, somehow, whenever a pitcher makes his Major League debut against the Mets, you know he is going to shut the Mets down.
For a brief second, it seemed like Soroka would be the exception. The Mets had two on and two out, but Todd Frazier would ground out to end the threat. From there, it was pretty smooth coasting for Soroka. Even with he was in trouble, he would be aided by an Adrian Gonzalez double play grounder in the third and a Mets team who was 0-4 with RISP.
Really, the only blip from Soroka on the night was one pitch he threw to Yoenis Cespedes:
Yo seems fine to us.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 2, 2018
Even in this frustrating loss, the good news was Cespedes was still sizzling hot even after his thumb injury which forced him to leave Sunday’s game. On the night, he was 3-4 with a run, homer, and an RBI. In the field, he made a couple of nice plays, and he had one of those trademark Cespedes throws:
The throw. 💪
The tag. 💰
The celebration. 😃 pic.twitter.com/bu5K4OkkKQ
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 2, 2018
The problem with the Mets tonight was they needed more than just Cespedes. Ideally, that would have come in the form of Noah Syndergaard.
It wasn’t to be as the Braves were very aggressive against Syndergaard with many attacking the first pitch. To start the game, the Braves got consecutive hits from Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman, and Nick Markakis. After that Syndergaard settled in a bit, and he gutted through six innings. That’s what a true ace does. Even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he finds a way.
Unfortunately, even with him figuring a way to get a quality start, the Mets just didn’t have it. After Soroka, Dan Winkler, who was pressed into action after a Shane Carle injury got through the seventh. In the eighth, Michael Conforto, Cespedes, and Jay Bruce failed to plate Asdrubal Cabrera, who had led off the inning with a single off A.J. Minter.
In the ninth, the Braves turned to Arodys Vizcaino for the save, and Frazier got it all started with a single that bounced just in front of the diving Markakis. Then, the Braves did their best Luis Castillo impersonation with seemingly their entire 25 man roster incapable of fielding a pop up to right before second base.
Amed Rosario twice tried to butcher boy it, and he swung and missed both times. He then just fanned on the third pitch of the at-bat. Still, the runners would advance on a Vizcaino wild pitch thereby allowing Frazier to score on a Wilmer Flores RBI groundout. With the Mets down 3-2, the game was then in Jose Reyes‘ hands.
In a surprise to no one, Reyes failed to deliver.
One of the most interesting phenomena in sports is how when an aging player returns to his old stomping grounds, sometimes he is just able to turn back the clock. As Mets fans, we saw this in 2006 when Mike Piazza had a two home run game against Pedro Martinez. Yesterday, we saw Adrian Gonzalez have one of those days.
It’s been bad for Gonzalez of late, really bad. He’s been mired in a 1-17 stretch with no extra base hits. Going back a little further, over his last 10 games, he’s hitting .121/.205/.212.
Things have been so bad Wilmer Flores got the previous two starts at first base. Yes, the Padres were starting left-handed pitchers both days, but Gonzalez has killed Clayton Richard. However, when you’re hitting like he’s been hitting, you’re not going to get into the lineup. You’re also going to hear about the Mets planning to move Jay Bruce to first base. This meant if Gonzalez was going to do anything to stop it all from happening, he was going to have to do it now.
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 29, 2018
That seventh inning three run homer was needed because it helped put what was a close game away. Instead of a tight 4-2 game with Mickey Callaway having to use his best relievers, it was a 7-2 laugher allowing Callaway to get work for guys like Matt Harvey.
It was all part of a great day for Gonzalez. Overall, he was 3-6 with a run, double, homer, and five RBI. He would have had an even better day had Franchy Cordero not robbed him of another double earlier in the game.
With Gonzalez front and center, this was really a day when a lot of beleaguered Mets got healthy. Jose Reyes contributed going 2-5 with three runs, a homer, RBI, walk, and a stolen base. Tomas Nido was 2-5 with a run, RBI, and a walk. And Harvey would pitch a scoreless ninth, even if he did allow a hard hit double to Eric Hosmer. Really, that’s the last time I want to ever put Harvey’s name, double, and a 2015 Royal in the same sentence.
Going with the rejuvenation theme, Zack Wheeler was good, which was needed from a Mets rotation still trying to figure out who can be an effective third starter in this rotation.
He battled most of the afternoon, and he did not get a 1-2-3 inning until the fifth, his last inning of work. That said, what impressed you most about this start was how Wheeler found that extra something at times when he’s usually lost it. Wheeler ended a rally in the first by striking out Freddy Galvis. He helped curb a third inning rally limiting the damage to two runs by striking out Carlos Asuaje. After Manuel Margot‘s two out single, stolen base, and advancing to third on a throwing error, Wheeler struck out Hosmer.
Overall, Wheeler had nine strikeouts, but what was really remarkable was how he got them at key moments when he needed a strikeout. That hasn’t always been his M.O., and it’s a real positive step going forward for him.
Even with his start and with Gonzalez turning back the clock was how the Mets offense put five spots on the board in consecutive innings. It was a full on onslaught by a Mets offense which saw every starting position player register two hits. Even Brandon Nimmo, who came on for Yoenis Cespedes, would register two hits. In addition to Gonzalez, Reyes and Todd Frazier would homer. The sum total of this barrage was a 14-2 Mets win marking the first ever time the Mets have scored double digits at Petco Park.
Of course with this being the Mets, not everything could be a positive. Cespedes, who has been torrid of late, had to come out of the game after executing a double steal with Bruce. In what was his second stolen base of the inning, Cespedes jammed his thumb. The good news is the x-rays were negative. The bad news is Cespedes believes he can’t play over the next three days, and that’s with the Braves coming to town.
Still, things could have been a lot worse with Cespedes, and with the Mets going to Petco, a place where they had only previously won one series, things could have gone a lot worse there. All in all, this was a good series where the Mets got back on track.
Game Notes: Paul Sewald recorded his first hold of the season. He initially came on to relieve Wheeler when it was a two run game. He now has a 1.98 ERA on the season.