Baseball is a funny game. Noah Syndergaard has been in the big leagues for 20 starts, but he showed the guile of a 20 year veteran. Michael Cuddyer is a 15 year veteran, who played like it was his fifteenth game.
For starters, Thor needed to get some innings to help a stressed bullpen. He did that. Terry Collins let him go 111 pitches over 6.2 innings. Collins could’ve pinch hit for him in the sixth, but he didn’t. In fact, Collins pulled the oldest trick in the book by having a PH in the on deck circle to force the Red Sox to pitch to Anthony Recker. Most Mets fans questioned if that was a good move. Regardless, Recker hit an RBI single to extend the lead to 4-2.
Taking a 4-2 lead into the seventh, Thor had one on and two out with a chance to come out of the inning unscathed and hand the ball off to the bullpen. Jackie Bradley, Jr. Hit a pinch hit double (which looked like it might go out) to narrow the gap to 4-3. Thor was done. Collins brought in Hansel Robles.
Much like today’s lineup, this wouldn’t have been my choice, especially with Robles pitching a lot lately. Then again, who in the bullpen hasn’t? Now, the box score will say Mookie Betts hit a game tying triple. Your eyes tell you Cuddyer botched the play. Your eyes tell you the play should’ve been made easily had Cuddyer made a break of any kind on the ball within 2-3 seconds.
It was a rookie mistake from a player who should know better. With the game on the line, Collins made the move he had to make, but clearly didn’t want to yet, and brought in Tyler Clippard. He would get the last out of the seventh and pitch a clean eighth.
Cuddyer would get his redemption in the bottom of the inning. With two outs in the inning, Daniel Murphy stole second (remember when that used to be a thing) he was brought home on Cuddyer’s RBI single. It was redemption for him. its funny because other than the OF gaffe, he had a good game. He went 3-3 with a walk, two runs scored, and a huge RBI. He also broke up a double play:
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) August 30, 2015
In the ninth, there was a Red Sox rally started by some typical poor play from Ruben Tejada. He loafed it with a fast runner thereby sparking a rally. Seriously, I’m sick of him . . . again. It would be first and second with two outs. Jeurys Familia found a way with two big strikeouts. He’s showing himself to be an elite closer. It wasn’t easy for him, but he got the save securing the 5-4 win. Clippard got the win.
Now, there are two moves Collins subjected himself to criticism, but I won’t do so myself. The first is the Robles move. I understood it. You’ve been pitching Clippard constantly. You don’t want to burn him out. While I question Robles there, I can’t kill him for it.
The other move was the defensive substitution of Yoenis Cespedes in the eighth moving Cuddyer to 1B and Murphy to 2B. Second guessers may say Cespedes makes the play that Cuddyer didn’t. That’s not on Collins. First, you have to expect Cuddyer to make that play. Second, it’s not like we haven’t seen some Cespedes loafing. Finally, I respect wanting to give a veteran a full day off.
If you want to question Collins, question him leading off Juan Lagares with Curtis Granderson batting second against a LHP. This poor OBP duo went 1-9 with five strikeouts. Also, question him starting Juan Uribe at 2B because he just had to get his .195/.278/.425 in the lineup. At least Uribe got the big two run double in the sixth to give the Mets a 3-2 lead.
In other notes, David Ortiz juiced another HR. Also, Joe West had a strike zone that would make the late Eric Gregg shake his head. As a result, both teams were irritated. Kevin Long was really irritated. He got tossed defending an upset Granderson, who got rung up on a ball.
The Mets avoided the sweep. It was a good win especially since the Nationals won. The Mets continue this 13 game stretch of last place teams in facing the Phillies next. Let’s hope this six game lead grows.
After today’s game, the Mets completed a trade for Addison Reed, while not being able to acquire Marc Rzepczynski. While I’m disappointed in my getting Rzepczynski, I’m glad I’m not going to have a repeat of Doug Mientkiewicz, i.e. mastering how to spell his name right before he’s gone.
I like the addition of Reed. For his career, he has an FIP of 3.45, which suggests he’s a good pitcher. His K/9 is 9.3, which is pretty good. He’s got experience closing games with the White Sox and Diamondbacks the past three seasons. Therefore, he’s used to high leverage situations.
This year, his ERA is 4.20, which is in line with his career numbers. However, his FIP is 3.12, which suggests he’s been a very good reliever this year. However, his results don’t match the advanced statistics. One possible reason is he’s had a career worst K/9 of 7.5. This means there are more balls in play, and when there are more balls in play, there are more chances for bad things to happen.
Sure enough, his BABIP is .344. This is well above the league average. It’s also above his career average of .306. Translation: he’s been unlucky. This means behind a better team, his numbers may improve. The Mets are a better team . . . especially with him on the roster. He’s a great choice for the seventh inning. I expect his numbers will start to come more in line with what his FIP suggests.
In exchange, the Mets gave up Matt Koch and Miller Diaz. I know nothing about them, which usually indicates they aren’t really prospect. However, the Reed surname caused me to take a step back and realize that’s not a good way of looking at things. You see the Mets once traded Jason Bay and the other Bobby Jones as part of a package for Jason Middlebrook and Steve REED. Note to Mets fans, this was trading Bay before he became a Rookie of the Year and three time All Star. This wasn’t trading the Bay that Mets fans came to know.
Chances are this Reed trade is much better. First of all, Addison is under team control for two more seasons. Second, the prospect package seems much weaker. For this, I will rely upon Jeffrey Paternostro, who tweeted his analysis of them:
Seen both Diaz and Koch a few times. This seems reasonable for both sides, but I am one of the higher guys on Koch out there.
— Jeffrey Paternostro (@jeffpaternostro) August 30, 2015
Since I have my notes out anyway. Miller Diaz: 90-93 s91-92, below-avg command and high effort, below-avg SL 82-86, some feel for change.
— Jeffrey Paternostro (@jeffpaternostro) August 30, 2015
All pretty much the same as my Savannah and Brooklyn looks. Potential middle reliever, but fair amount of work to do.
— Jeffrey Paternostro (@jeffpaternostro) August 30, 2015
Koch is in a different notebook. But I think he is the better prospect. Heavy mid-90s fastball out of the pen and slider has improved.
— Jeffrey Paternostro (@jeffpaternostro) August 30, 2015
What I can glean from this is that if everything breaks right, either one of these guys can become a reliever the caliber of Reed. If it doesn’t break right, they won’t become major leaguers. This is more the Uribe/Johnson trade than the Cespedes trade.
That means this is a very good trade with little downside, even if Reed doesn’t perform. This is a great move by Sandy Alderson. Let’s hope Reed takes over the seventh and sites up the seventh. If he doesn’t, the Mets bullpen is still is in as much trouble as it was in the Reed/Middlebrooks days.
In 2008, the Milwaukee Brewers went all-in. They traded their best prospects for CC Sabathia. They rode him hard down the stretch. They were doing everything to make the playoffs. They even fired their manager with 12 games left in the season. It might’ve been reactionary to a late losing streak. It might’ve been a response to their current manager being over his head.
Before continuing, I feel it’s important to note that Terry Collins is a good man. I also need to note, Collins should be commended for holding this team together when the season was seemingly falling apart. However, this is a different roster. There are different stakes.
The first issue is the lineup construction. Here’s last night’s lineup with their OBPs for this year and their career:
- Curtis Granderson .352/.340
- Yoenis Cespedes .328/.318
- Daniel Murphy .332/.333
- David Wright .377/.377
- Kelly Johnson .303/.330
- Travis d’Arnaud .348/.310
- Michael Conforto .360
- Ruben Tejada .331/.328
- Pitcher’s Spot
Note, I gave Johnson’s numbers against RHP because he’s being used as a platoon player. Due to the small sample size, I gave Conforto’s total OBP even though he’s a platoon player.
This lineup doesn’t make sense. You want higher OBP hitters ahead of the big bats. That’s why Cespedes should hit cleanup with Wright batting second. Wouldn’t you rather have Wright on base for one of Cespedes’ “Feats of Strength“? The answer is yes. It makes sense. Look at it this way: if Wright is going to single or double and Cespedes is going to hit a homerun, in which order would you like that to happen?
Now, I’ve heard the argument that the Mets have won seven in a row scoring a lot of runs; why change anything? My first response is that’s not a good reason. Just because the Mets scored a lot of runs doesn’t mean you couldn’t have scored more runs with a better lineup. My next response is you beat the two worst teams in the NL in their bandbox ballparks. They’re one and two in most runs allowed in the NL. OF COURSE YOU’RE GOING TO SCORE RUNS!
My other problem with Collins is the in-game strategy. He’s had some problems this season, but last night was a new low. It’s like he didn’t know you could double switch. When Logan Verrett could’ve given multiple innings with a short bullpen and no Tyler Clippard, Collins didn’t double switch him into the game. As a result, Verrett went one inning and was pinch hit for as we was due up second. This led to some more odd decisions.
With Sean Gilmartin due up third in the tenth, and Collins wanting multiple innings from him, he let Gilmartin bat even though he still had Wilmer Flores [standing ovation], Juan Uribe, and Anthony Recker on the bench. By the way, they never entered a game in which two relievers got an AB.
Then in the same inning it was so important to have Gilmartin in, Collins brought in Carlos Torres. I can’t imagine any situation in which it was alright for Gilmartin to bat and that includes his .400 batting average. The Mets won despite Collins’ terrible managing. Could you imagine if that happened in October against a much better team? The Mets probably won’t be as lucky as they were last night.
Look, Collins has done a nice job here. He was handed a thankless job, and he did a good job. In most seasons, the Mets outperformed their expectations. A few times, they were competitive to the point where we actually considered that they may make a deadline trade. Now, they have a real roster, and they may need a better manager.
The problem is who becomes the next manager. No, it’s not Wally Backman. You don’t turn to someone with no major league managerial experience now. I think the answer is Bob Geren. He has prior managerial experience, and he’s the bench coach. It would be a smoother transition.
Now, I understand if people want to keep Collins. As I’ve said, he has some positive attributes. However, if your reason is you want to keep the status quo because things are working now, I can’t agree with you. You make decisions to try to win the World Series, not seven games against bad baseball teams.
Seriously, when people are now advocating for Collins to be named the Manager of the Year, we should really be talking about if a change is necessary. When Collins can’t double switch and lets his relievers bat with good options in the bench, the time for a switch may have arrived.
The hallmark of a good team is to beat the teams they are supposed to beat. The Mets have now taken that to the extreme with their 12-1 record so far this year against the Phillies. The Mets had to overcome a lot tonight, including their manager.
It didn’t start well for the Mets. Jon Niese was getting squeezed and frustrated. Then in the third inning he imploded. He allowed five runs putting the Mets in an early hole. Before the All Star Break, you couldn’t have counted have counted on the Mets scoring five runs in a week, let alone one game.
However, the Mets now have a more completed. It showed as they overcame the five run deficit. In a month where the Mets have hit more homeruns in any other month in their history, the Mets used the long ball to get back in the game. In the fourth, Travis d’Arnaud hit a two run homer. In the fifth, Yoenis Cespedes showed off his “Feats of Strength” with a two run homer. Finally, Kelly Johnson tied the game with a solo homerun in the fifth. It should be noted none of these three players were on the 25 man roster during the extreme offensive struggles in July.
Both Niese and Aaron Harang would go six making it a battle of the bullpens. It was nice seeing Logan Verrett in the bullpen. However, I didn’t like how he was wasted. Terry Collins should’ve made a double switch with Verrett due up second. It made sense because Verrett can go multiple innings, especially with a short bullpen.
Instead, Verrett only went one inning. This set up an inning where the Phillies got a chance to get a measure of revenge against Hansel Robles. They failed. Jeff Francoeur was robbed of an extra base hit on a diving stop by David Wright, who was good in the field today. Darin Ruf struck out again. Otherwise, Robles navigated around a one out double to get out of the inning.
Then in the ninth, Terry Collins went with Sean Gilmartin over Jeurys Familia. If Collins felt it was the right move because he needed a reliever to throw multiple innings, then he should’ve double switched when Verrett was in the game. Forget that: he should’ve double switched when Gilmartin came in the game because he was due up third in the tenth. If he was waiting for the save situation, it’s no excuse. You don’t risk losing a game without bringing in your best reliever.
I think the answer might’ve been Collins wanted multiple innings from Gilmartin because HE LET GILMARTIN HIT FOR HIMSELF! That’s inexcusable. The double switch is National League Managing 101.
Torres was brilliant. He pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, and he got the game winning rally started in the 13th. After he reached, Curtis Granderson singled in a tough AB. With one out Daniel Murphy came up in the same situation he did in the 11th. This time instead of hitting into a rally killing double play, he would hit a two RBI double down the left field line.
Murphy moved to third on the throw, and he scored when Wright reached on an error. Wright would score on a Michael Conforto RBI single. The rally was ended by Ruben Tejada, who, somehow, was the only Met not to get a hit in this series played in this bandbox. Familia came in to close out the game with the final score of 9-5. Its funny seeing Torres bat for himself in the 13th, but not pitch in the inning. It’s a good thing Collins saved him for the save situation that never arose.
It was a good win even if it was poorly managed. Again, Collins is making me nervous. I’ll enjoy the win even if I didn’t enjoy Collins’ very suspect managing.
Somewhere in my house, I have a “Mojo Rising” t-shirt featuring the greatest infield ever. It became the anthem of the 1999 season. After Kenny Rogers forgot how to throw a strike, there was no more “Mojo Risin.” I also stopped wearing the t-shirt.
The following season seemingly every team adapted “Who Let the Dogs Out?” as their rally cry. I don’t know that I ever got that song out of my head. I knew something bad was going to happen when the Baha Men performed before Game Four of the 2000 World Series. My fears were realized when I watched David Cone struck out Mike Piazza. Luckily, after the 2000 World Series went away, so did the Baha Men.
Speaking of the 2000 World Series, N’Sync performed the National Anthem at Game Three of the World Series. It was the wrong boy band. Clearly, this wrong choice set forth a catastrophic chain of events which led to the Yankees winning the World Series. That’s right. I’m blaming N’Sync.
It seems Juan Uribe wants to right that wrong. He started blasting and dancing to the Backstreet Boy in the locker room. This is one of the reasons why Uribe is such a great addition. He keeps things loose in the clubhouse, and he keeps things fun. We all laughed when we saw it. It was fun. I can see this Backstreet Boys being a thing.
Why not? The dumbest things become a thing during a time when your team is winning. Earlier this year, it was the Citi Field raccoon:
These things take on a life of its own. Personally, I like the Backstreet Boys meme. First, it doesn’t seem as forced as the other ones. Second, it’s fun, and the Mets can have fun with it by blasting it on the loudspeakers. I think we should petition Uribe and the other Mets to use the Backstreet Boys for their walk-up music. It’s as organic as Robin Ventura playing “L.A. Woman” in the clubhouse leading to “Mojo Risin” t-shirts. Finally, the Backstreet Boys are there at the promised land:
Let’s let the Backstreet Boys lead us to heaven. They already seem to know the way. Lets Go Mets!
Well, it wasn’t always pretty, but he responded with seven innings of shutout ball. He was in trouble in the first. He was aided by a double play in the first inning, but he gets credit for inducing the ground ball. There was trouble again in the fourth, but he fought through that as well. After that, it was fairly smooth sailing. Maybe he was inspired by the pregame Backstreet Boys concert? Whatever it was, the Mets desperately needed it.
Unlike Thor yesterday, he was able to hold onto his three run lead. It started in the first inning with a misplayed ball off the bat of Curtis Granderson. The Mets cashed in with a Daniel Murphy RBI ground after Granderson moved to third on Yoenis Cespedes‘ infield single. Cespedes would score on Michael Cuddyer‘s RBI double. The first inning scoring would end with a Michael Conforto RBI single.
These early runs would prove important as young Phillies starter, Jerad Eickhoff, would settle down after that. The Mets would not score another run off of him. However, as he surpassed 40 pitches in the first, he was only able to go six innings.
The Mets were able to add three more runs off of a putrid Phillies bullpen. In the sixth, Juan Uribe singled home Conforto. In the eighth, Cuddyer hit a two run homerun making the score 8-0. It should be noted again that Cuddyer is healthy and contributing.
Then in the eighth, the Mets sowed off their own putrid bullpen options. I don’t care if it’s a 20 run lead, you don’t let Eric O’Flaherty pitch to righties. He did. He couldn’t get them or the lefties out. He left with two down, runners on first and second and one already across home plate. Carlos Torres came in and promptly allowed a two run double.
Here’s where I think Terry Collins is starting to get better. He said enough of this nonsense and brought in Tyler Clippard. Clippard allowed an RBI single to Frenchy, but he then struck out Darnell Sweeney to put an end to the nonsense leaving the score at 6-4.
In the ninth, the Mets then did something good teams do. They tacked on a run by taking advantage of a mistake. When Juan Lagares reached on an E-6, Granderson moved him to third with a hustle double. When the sweep tag was applied, the ball dislodged from the second baseman’s mitt. An alert Lagares scored easily from third.
Cespedes then knocked in Granderson with an RBI triple. Cespedes then scored on a Murphy sac fly. Just like that the score was 9-4 removing the save situation permitting Collins to save Jeurys Familia. In place of Familia would be Clippard, who got to bat in the ninth, to permit him to record the four out save.
It should’ve been a surprise to no one that David Wright didn’t play. He’s not quite ready to play everyday, so I have no problem easing him back (pun intended). I’m shocked Logan Verrett did not pitch. There were multiple spots to use him in the eighth. He could’ve been used in the ninth to give Clippard a blow. Him not being used tonight makes me nervous. Very nervous.
What I’m getting less and less nervous about is the division. With the Nationals loss, the Mets are now up 6.5 games with six head-to-head match ups remaining. The Nationals no longer have their own fate in their hands.
Everyone can talk about the home-road splits with Noah Syndergaard. However, if you think of yourself as a future ace, you don’t have games like Thor had tonight.
He was handed a 3-0 lead by another “Feat of Strength” by Yoenis Cespedes and Thor’s own RBI single. He gave it back and couldn’t make it past the fifth inning. This was important because the Mets have a really short bullpen. Normally, you’d ask your starter to get some extra innings with a short bullpen. The smarts couldn’t do that because of the phantom innings limit issue.
What we have instead was another day with a Mets reliever going multiple innings. Today, it was Hansel Robles‘ turn (more on him later). He pitched well only allowing one of the inherited runners from Eric O’Flaherty to score. I’m assuming the Mets will not have him and Sean Gilmartin available. Plus Logan Verrett will only be available for one inning. This is not the situation you want to be in with Bartolo Colon on the mound tomorrow, reagardless of his health.
Thor was bailed out in the top of the sixth when Travis d’Arnaud, who was inexplicably batting eighth, received an RBI from a bases loaded walk to tie the game. Michael Cuddyer then pinch hit for Thor and hit a two run single to put the Mets up 6-4. This is the latest example showing Cuddyer may still have something to contribute.
Tyler Clippard had a rough eighth inning. He left 1st and 2nd with two outs for Jeurys Familia, who came on for the four out save. He induced a groundballs to David Wright to get out of the jam unscathed. He then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the 6-5 win. Now with Familia going four outs for a save, we now have to question his availability for tomorrow.
Back to Robles. What he did was bush league. It was bush league not because he quick pitched. It was bush league because Cody Asche‘s head was down when he threw the ball. The Phillies dugout was rightfully upset. Normally, I’d argue that Jeff Francoeur should’ve been ejected, but he was protecting his teammate. The dugouts emptied, but neither team really crossed the lines.
My overall issue is with the home plate umpire. You either instruct the batter to get in the box or have your hands up the whole time to let Robles know he can’t throw a pitch. The umpire needs to be aware Robles likes to quick pitch, and he needs to umpire the game accordingly.
It should also be noted that Wright’s second game back wasn’t as successful as his first. He didn’t look as good at the plate. He swung at a lot of balls off the plate and out of the strike zone. Overall, he went 0-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. On the bright side, he was better in the field. Regardless, like last night, this was just one game, and I still have faith in him.
Ironically, despite the predicament Thor left the Mets in, he notched his first career road win. The Mets have problems to deal with tomorrow with an even shorter bullpen and no Wright tomorrow. At least they took care of business tonight and still lead the divisio by 5.5 games. Let’s enjoy tonight and worry about tomorrow.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the story lines from this game, and there were many. However, win, lose, or draw, this game was always going to be about David Wright‘s return. He started his return with a bang . . . or should I say a blast:
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) August 25, 2015
What a way to start! He would finish the game going 2-5 with that homerun, a walk, three runs, and an RBI. He also made two errors in the field. Hey, he isn’t perfect. I’m willing to let him get up to game speed. We all know he’s going to work to get better and be better. Surrounding Wright’s return was quite an interesting game.
While Wright was rising to the occasion, Jacob deGrom wasn’t ready for today. He had his worst outing in terms of innings pitched and runs allowed. His ugly line was 2.2 innings, 8 hits, 3 walks, and 7 runs (6 earned). He left the game down 7-2. Sean Gilmartin would come in and save not only deGrom, but also a depleted bullpen. He would go 3.1 innings striking out four and holding the Phillies to seven runs. That was important because the Mets offense was about to go off again in a bandbox.
The team tied team records with eight homeruns and 15 extra base hits. Here’s the collection of homeruns:
- David Wright (solo, 2nd inning)
- Juan Lagares (solo, 3rd inning)
- Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] (2 run, 4th inning)
- Travis d’Arnaud (464′, solo, 4th inning)
- Wilmer Flores (3 run, 5th inning)
- Michael Cuddyer (solo, 5th inning)
- Daniel Murphy (2 run, 6th inning)
- Yoenis Cespedes (2 run, 9th inning)
It wasn’t until d’Arnaud’s two run double in the sixth that the Mets scored a run without hitting a homerun. It was the Murphy 9th inning double that broke the record, but it was the Cespedes’ “Feats of Strength” that put the cap on the evening. Overall, the Mets treated Citizens Bank Park so much like Coors Field that they scored 14+ runs for the third time in four games. They would win 16-7.
In fact, things went so well from the Mets from the fourth inning on that Hansel Robles pitched a 1-2-3 seventh. Even Eric O’Flaherty had a 1-2-3 inning getting one righty and two lefties out. Carlos Torres‘ ninth inning was even fairly uneventful.
Also, even with the questionable lineup, Terry Collins had a good game. He got deGrom out in time. He rode Gilmartin as long as he could, especially with the short bullpen. I’m not going to disagree with him leaving Wright in fir the full game. You could make a reasonable argument to pull him in a laugher. I liked keeping him in there for a full game. It’s his first major league game since April. Let him get fully up to game speed. Although with the Mets not having two relievers who can give multiple innings, I do question using Torres in the ninth.
One another note, as I said before, these bandboxes produce some ugly and weird baseball. In the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Howard hit a hard line drive into the shift. Flores made a diving stop, but he couldn’t hold onto the line drive. As Howard was walking off the field, Flores got to a knee and threw it to first base. Howard then ran back to first, and because of the off the odd angle, he was heading towards second base when he ran through the bag. As Gary and Ron mused, it would’ve been interesting to see what happened if the throw didn’t beat Howard.
Overall, it’s tough to figure out if Gilmartin or Flores gets the game ball. We do know the Mets expanded their lead to a season high 5.5 games. I’m going to celebrate with a cookie.
I’ve made it well known that I don’t think Bartolo Colon is a good pitcher anymore. Normally, I’d be apoplectic over his giving up seven earned in 3.2 innings.
Actually, you know what? I am apoplectic over it. Look at the photo. They had to ice and rub him just to get him out there. If you were watching it on TV, you saw that bump on his wrist get bigger and bigger. He should’ve been taken out when he was hit on the wrist in the second inning.
I don’t care if you’re one of the stud muffins or a bad 42 year old pitcher, the team does not have the right to put a player out there and risk significant injury. I’m even more incredulous because the Mets have a short bullpen and want to skip Matt Harvey‘s Sunday start. Also, if the Mets want a six man rotation, I’m certain that included Colon and not Logan Verrett.
Lucky for the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes unleashed his “Feats of Strength.” He went 5-6 with a stolen base, double, three homeruns (one grand slam) and seven RBIs. Two homers were to CF and the other went to RF. it would’ve been 6-6 if not for a terrific running catch by Carlos Gonzalez in the ninth. Going into the ninth, Cespedes had a chance for the HR Cycle (solo, two run, three run, grand slam). The Murphy SF took care of that. He was also a triple short of the cycle. Car-Go’s catch took care of that.
The rest you need to know? the six inning, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto hit solo homeruns off former Met Gonzalez German. Sean Gilmartin was marginally effective and got the win. Hansel Robles wasn’t good, but he only gave up one run. The Mets added an insurance run in the eighth with a Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] RBI double scoring Cespedes (who else?). Daniel Murphy would knock in the last run with a ninth inning sacrifice fly. Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia locked down the eighth and ninth to secure the 14-9 win.
It’s funny with everything going on tonight, the thing that threw me for a loop was seeing Jose Reyes bat second. The only other person not to put Reyes in the leading spot was Jerry Manuel. That’s not good company for Walt Weis.
Overall, my favorite part of the night was in the top of the sixth. Despite burning a challenge earlier in the game, Walt Weiss came out to challenge a safe call on a Curtis Granderson stolen base attempt. It was a little ironic because the early failed challenge involved Granderson throwing out Nick Hundley at the plate to end the fifth inning. I think the umpires got the call wrong even if it was upheld on replay.
Anyway, Walt Weiss has no challenges left. It doesn’t stop him. The umpires went forward with the replay, which did confirm the call. Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez were livid and rightfully so. There were a few times I thought Keith was going to drop an expletive. In this mess of a game it gave me a chuckle.
The win gave me a smile. I have a huge grin due to the Nationals loss, and the Mets expanding their lead to five games.
For the first time since 2008, the Mets are in a pennant race. Fans have lost their minds and started magic number counts, debating playoff rosters, and setting playoff rotations. This is a good thing, and certainly I’m not immune to it myself.
Currently, the Mets are 64-56 with a four game lead in the division. In 2008, they had the same record through 120 games and were tied for first place with the Phillies. In 2007, the Mets were 67-53 with a three game lead in the division. Long story, short, there’s nothing to celebrate yet . . . especially when those earlier Mets teams were better. Thankfully, those Phillies teams were better also.
Using straight winning percentage, the Mets are on pace for an 86-76 season. For the Nationals to tie, they would have to go 26-16 (.619). I don’t care how bad they’ve been lately; they are certainly capable of that. As I like to do at times, let’s dig a little deeper.
The Mets have 18 home games left and 24 road games left. With a home winning percentage of 66.67%, they will go 12-6 at home the rest of the way. With a road winning percentage of 38.60%, they will go 9-15 on the road the rest of the way. Adding it all up, this equates to a final record of 85-75 (not that different). Again, the Mets aren’t running away with anything.
Since August 1st, Yoenis Cespedes‘ first game with the Mets, the team has gone 11-6 (SSS Alert!), which is a fairly unsustainable winning percentage of 64.71% (over 162 games that equates to a 105-57 record). Of course, if they kept that up, they would go 27-15 the rest of the way, and the Mets will run away with the division with a 91-71 record. I can’t imagine the Nationals, no matter how talented they are, running off a 31-11 clip.
Now, it’s not really unrealistic the Mets have a terrific run to end the year. The Mets have 33 games against teams with a sub .500 record. They have gone 41-22 (.651) against those teams. There are only nine games against teams with a .500 or better record left on the schedule. This includes six against the Nationals. The Mets are 23-34 (.404) against such teams. Working the math out, the Mets will go 25-17 the rest of the way. That means the Mets will finish 89-73. This forces the Nationals to go from a .500 team to a team playing .643 ball just to tie the division.
For what it’s worth, 89-73 is how the Mets finished in 2008. They were one game worse in 2007. You know what? Those aren’t harbingers. They’re the records for completely different teams. Those Mets teams were being chased by different teams. Those seasons are in the rear view mirror. Let’s leave them there.
If we’re going to be concerned, let’s be concerned with the bullpen. Let’s be concerned with the handling of the rotation. Let’s be concerned with Terry Collins. Let’s not get ourselves concerned with the Ghost of Baseball Past.
Let’s just have fun and enjoy the ride.