If you want to crystallize everything going wrong with the New York Mets right now, that paragraph does it. The Mets can’t outscore the Pirates, and in a crucial spot, they have a rookie who had all of 0.2 innings to his career to the mound.
The Mets biggest need at the trade deadline was the bullpen. Billy Eppler walked away with only Mychal Givens. It was inexcusable then, and it’s all the more now.
When you look at this Mets team, they’re just imploding, and nothing is working. In many ways, this is why Showalter was hired. The Mets wanted a season leader to ensure things like this would never be an issue.
For whatever reason, Showalter hasn’t been that calming presence. We see a lot of that with Pete Alonso’s struggles and noticeable frustration on the field.
There’s a lot of panic everywhere. We saw that with Carlos Carrasco getting a start without so much as throwing one rehab inning in the minors.
A lot of this is outside Showalter’s control much like with Willie Randolph in 2007. In 2007, Randolph got a huge chunk of the blame. So far, Showalter is dodging that criticism even with his recent very questionable bullpen management.
Showalter isn’t the reason Max Scherzer left his last start early with a re-aggravated left side. He’s not the reason Luis Guillorme and Brett Baty went down. He’s not the reason Starling Marte got hit in the hand and had to leave the game.
Whatever the case, the Mets lost three in a row against teams on pace to lose over 100 games. Worse yet, each of those losses were by six runs. More than anything, that’s completely unacceptable.
It’s one thing to slump. It happens to everyone. Everyone loses to bad teams. However, there is no excuse to being non-competitive against flat out horrid teams.
Right now, the Mets are imploding. The good news is there’s still plenty of time to right the ship, and they’re still in first place (for now). All it takes, is a big start or hit to turn things around and get the Mets back on track.
Fortunately, Jacob deGrom takes the mound in the doubleheader. After that, we shall see.
Timmy Trumpet coming to Citi Field was a huge deal. Everyone in the stands and watching on TV were waiting with baited breath to see him play Narco with Edwin Diaz running in from the bullpen.
Instead of watching Timmy Trumpet blow his horn, we got to see Joely Rodriguez blow the game. The pitcher brought to the Mets specifically to get out left-handed batters out was beaten by them turning a tied game into a 4-3 deficit.
Keep in mind, that game was close enough to try to find a reason to use Diaz. Instead, Buck Showalter did the right thing and saved his arm.
That isn’t something that would’ve happened under the Wilpons. With Timmy Trumpet there, they would have forced the manager to make sure Diaz enters the game.
We know this because of Pedro Martinez.
As Pedro detailed in his eponymous book, Pedro, Jeff Wilpon ignored the advice of the medical and baseball professionals. Rather than let Pedro heal, Wilpon pushed him to pitch in a game against Dontrelle Willis in an attempt to generate a gate.
The end result was Pedro worsening his toe injury, and it might’ve been a contributing factor in Pedro’s eventual career ending shoulder injury. With respect to the Mets, it might’ve cost them the World Series in 2006.
That was a problem with the Wilpons operation of the Mets. Not all decisions were baseball decisions. In some ways, you could sell they were selling the Mets but not baseball.
This led to odd choices. In a juxtaposition with Timmy Trumpet, the Mets invited the Baja Men in 2000. Now, we get the far superior Timmy Trumpet.
Except, we didn’t quite get what we expected, and there was disappointment. Assuredly, the team wanted to make good on Timmy Trumpet blasting Diaz as he ran in from the bullpen.
From a fan engagement standpoint, that’s what we all wanted. From a baseball standpoint, it didn’t make sense to use Diaz. To a certain extent, that’s why Cohen’s Mets (in a move the Wilpons probably don’t make) are having Timmy Trumpet again as a guest in the hopes that this time the moment will happen.
Make no mistake here. Both Wilpon and Cohen are trying to get people to the ballpark. The key difference is Cohen is trying to do that with baseball first and everything else second.
That wasn’t always the case with the Wilpons. In fact, you could reasonably argue baseball never really came first under the Wilpons ownership of the Mets.
The Wilpons very likely don’t leave Diaz in the bullpen, and in a similar vein, they don’t bring back Timmy Trumpet. Part of the reason we know this is they didn’t hold Old Timers’s Games bemoaning the costs involved.
Ultimately, Cohen understands the best way to get fans engaged and happy is putting a winning team on the field. The other stuff is great and important, but it comes a distant second to winning. In the end, the baseball is the product.
Sadly, the Wilpons never got that. That’s why Pedro pitched, and Diaz didn’t. It’s also why the Mets are far better run now than at any point during the Wilpon ownership of the team.
The fun part about trade deadline acquisitions is the entirety of your impression of them is formed over their first few weeks with the team. When that player is a pure reveal, there really isn’t much more to assess until October.
On that front, Tyler Naquin has been absolutely phenomenal. We’re seeing a player who adds a dynamic missing from this New York Mets team this season.
That was on display in the series finale against the Cincinnati Reds. In the game, he was 2-for-4 with two runs, a double, homer, and RBI.
Naquin has been a power threat in the lower half of the lineup the Mets have lacked all season. Suddenly, with Naquin typically batting seventh, there is a batter in the bottom third of the lineup who can drive it out of the park.
It’s more than that. Naquin has speed too. While he’s not a stolen base treat, he can and will take the extra base. He will go first-to-third and from second to home. Again, this was a dynamic surely lacking.
We tangibly see it in the stats. In his 10 games with the Mets, he’s hitting .367/.387/.867 with two doubles, two triples, three homers, and seven RBI. He’s also stolen a base.
Naquin rewarded his manager’s faith with a double igniting a two out rally. With the Mets so platooned base, on occasion, the Mets may need to have a Naquin face a lefty. Here, he passed that test.
Another important factor is it let Starling Marte truly get the day off. That’s what depth does. It allows everyone to get a rest and perform at their tip level.
For Naquin right now, it’s just about hitting. He needs to keep driving the ball. With that, there will come more chances. When they come, Naquin can rake.
After the five game series against the Atlanta Braves, the New York Mets bullpen needed a break. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one in the schedule.
That left Chris Bassitt to get them one.
It wasn’t his prettiest outing, but it was his grittiest. While dancing around eight hits and a walk, Bassitt threw 114 pitches over eight innings.
In some ways, this was a page from the 2015 Mets. Use your dominant starting pitching and only those relievers you can trust.
Back in 2015, the only relievers the Mets trusted down the stretch were Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia. They had the starting pitching to limit it mostly to just these relievers in the big spots.
In the 2015 postseason, the Mets got innings primarily from Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey. That proved to be a bit of a double edged sword as it allowed the Mets to only have to roll with these relievers, but then, those relievers were exhausted and faltered in the postseason.
Fortunately for these Mets, they’re deeper. In addition to Díaz and Ottavino, they also have Trevor May, who has looked good since coming off the IL.
Seth Lugo has also better better of late. Moreover, Trevor Williams has performed in whatever role the Mets have needed from him. Keep in mind, Showalter isn’t Terry Collins as Showalter will use the next tier of guys when warranted.
That’s something Collins could never comprehend, and it cost the Mets dearly. Part of the reason the Mets could only use three relievers was because he only trusted three.
That led to disastrous decision making in Game 3 of the World Series which caused further bad decision making the rest of the series. However, the underlying principle was correct.
The more dominant innings you get from your starter; the better your bullpen is. Less innings means more rest. More rest means better performance. Better performance leads to wins.
In pressure spots, the Mets don’t want to see the last couple of pitchers in their bullpen. That goes double in the postseason. Of course, with Mets starters going deep, and we know they can, the Mets can lean on their top performers.
At least for this win, eight from Bassitt meant one from Ottavino as Díaz, May, Lugo, and Williams rested. It means the other pitchers will be fresher when called upon to pitch again.
This is how the Mets cover their tracks in the bullpen. Dominant starting pitching going deep into games followed by the 1-2 relievers a night the Mets actually want pitching in a big spot.
So far, the New York Mets have dominated the Atlanta Braves over the first four games of this five game set. Like the prior matchups, the Mets are just proving they’re the better team.
The only game the Braves won was when Taijuan Walker had that odd step on the mound. He says he was alright, but his pitching was clearly impacted.
As Carlos Carrasco, David Peterson, and Max Scherzer have shown, the Braves cannot handle the Mets starting pitching. Then again, who can? Oh, and by the way, the Mets have Jacob deGrom up for the finale.
After the dominant starting pitching comes Edwin Díaz. Like the rest of baseball, the Braves haven’t been able to do anything against him either.
Showalter also had the stones to have Tomás Nido lay down that suicide squeeze. With Naquin’s speed and Nido’s bunting ability, that’s knowing your roster and managing to their strengths.
Win or lose the finale, the Mets have taken the series. Win, and the Mets will have wrapped up the NL East in the beginning of August and can their sites on catching the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top overall record.
For those nervous at this statement, put 2007 aside. That year never happened, and really, this is a far different and deeper team.
This is the Mets team with the best chance of winning the World Series since 1986. It can and will happen. This Braves series is all the proof we need.
On the eve of the MLB trade deadline, the New York Mets put J.D. Davis into the lineup as the DH. Even better, he was batting fifth.
That was once true. It’s not any more. It may be in the reverse now. Including this game, he’s 1-for-8 with two GIDP, three strikeouts, and a walk.
Not only is that against a pitcher he’s owned, but it’s also against someone who is probably the worst pitcher in baseball right now. What exactly does that say about Davis?
To answer the rhetorical question, it means Davis cannot play anymore. Not for a team looking to win a World Series.
Credit Buck Showalter for removing Davis for Vogelbach when the Washington Nationals went to their bullpen. That decision should be for good.
The Mets simply have to do better. Davis strikes out over 30% of the time. He hits the ball into the ground half the time. We can go on and on and delve deeper and deeper, but it’s best summed up by his bring lifted and benched.
The sad part is that’s all Davis can do. He’s horrendous in left and at third. Even if you want to overblow that one game saving pick at first, you’re not playing him over Pete Alonso.
Davis has lived far too long off the fluke 2019 season fueled by a juiced ball and an unsustainable BABIP. There’s too much at stake now, and there are players available.
Maybe there’s a Wilmer Flores reunion where the Mets can undo that massive mistake of non-tendering him and trading for Davis. There’s other smaller options, and of course, the chance at J.D. Martinez.
Davis had two at-bats in the game ahead of the deadline. He’s entitled to no more. Not upgrading from him is too egregious to even ponder.
Overall, Davis has to have played his last game as a Met. Once he’s gone, we can then focus on a complete roster ready to win a World Series.
The New York Mets struck a deal to acquire OF Tyler Naquin and LHP Phillip Diehl from the Cinnanati Reds for prospects RHP Jose Acuña and center field prospect Hector Rodríguez. From a Mets perspective, the move really didn’t make any sense for the team.
Let’s get the easy one out of the way. Diehl has not been all the good in his career, and that may be kind. His strikeout rates from the minors has not translated to the majors, but his control issues have. If this is the Mets answer for left-handed reliever, the Mets have completely failed on that front. Chances are, he goes to the minors and stays there.
As for Naquin, over his career, he is a good bat against right-handed pitching, and he has real speed on the basepaths. This season he has a 117 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, and for his career, he has a 111. Between him and the Daniel Vogelbach acquisition, you see the Mets are attempting to address the team’s offense against right-handed pitching.
On that front, while the Mets have one of the best offenses on the season with a 112 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, they have only had a 101 wRC+ since June 1. Another note here is the Mets only have 67 homers belying a real power outage in the lineup. On that front, you understand Naquin who has a .472 SLG this season against right-handed pitching.
However, is has to be noted here Mark Canha has actually been a better hitter against right-handed pitching. This season, Canha has a 138 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, and he has a 122 for his career. While he has zero power left, sitting him to play Naquin doesn’t make all the much sense. That goes double when you consider Naquin is a very poor outfielder.
While Naquin is fast, he has always been bad in the outfield. This year, he has a -1 OAA, and for his career he has a -25 OAA in the outfield. This is not a late inning replacement by any means.
Yes, he does hit better than Travis Jankowski, but in terms of roster construction, Jankowski offered more to this team. While Naquin has a 28.0 ft/sec sprint speed, Jankowski has a 29.0 ft/sec sprint speed. Whereas Naquin has historically been a very poor base stealer, Jankowski has been a very good one.
Another factor here is Buck Showalter has liked lifting Canha for Jankowski for late inning defense or to pinch run. In his career, Jankowski has been a very good fielder capable of playing all three defensive positions. As noted, Naquin is a horrible fielder and should actually be lifted late in games.
Seeing all of this, you have to question what is the end game here? Did the Mets look at Canha and not trust he can keep up his offensive production? You can understand that because his hard hit rates are very low, and that .317 BABIP is due for a course correction. If that is the case, Canha didn’t last a year before the Mets admitted they needed to upgrade over him making his signing a mistake (even if he has a half season worth of good production).
If it was to have Naquin sit on the bench, well, he’s been an awful pinch hitter in his career. In his 65 attempts, he is hitting just .196/.292/.286.
Again, it’s just a bizarre move. Either, you want him to take over for Canha, who is hitting better against right-handed pitching, or you want him to be a reserve where he is a poor pinch hitter, doesn’t steal bases, and plays bad defense.
Given all that, it would seem a mistake to give up Acuña and Rodríguez. These are two very promising prospects who were already considered top 30 prospects in this system. That’s a high cost to pay for an outfielder who does not really have a role on this team.
Hopefully, the Mets are not done, and there are still moves to be made where eventually this move will make sense. It’s doubtful, but the Mets do have five days to make good on this. If they don’t, they got rid of two promising and rising prospects to not really improve the team.
From a New York Mets perspective, the first installment of the 2022 Subway Series was a success. After all, they completed a sweep.
None of these moments were more important than Seth Lugo’s appearance.
In the previous game, both Díaz and Adam Ottavino pitched over an inning. In all likelihood, neither were available for this game. That goes double for Ottavino.
And yes, Lugo has been part of the problem. On-and-off the field has been mentally tasking for him. There’s the injuries, a sick child, a pregnant wife, and then the missed birth of his second born child.
In some ways, it’s no wonder we hadn’t seen the real Lugo yet. As a result, we see a pitcher with a career worst year out of the pen.
He has a 4.01 FIP and 2.83 K/BB with his strikeouts down to an 8.3 K/9. He has a 9.64 ERA on no rest. He hasn’t been nearly as effective in a second inning of work.
This played a part in Peterson over Lugo to start the inning. Now, if this was the Lugo of old, he’s out there for the six inning save. Well, after the Peterson blown save, we got to see the Lugo of old:
Lugo’s curve embarrassed and struck out Josh Donaldson. It was the first out of the five Lugo recorded en route to his second win of the season.
Lugo was excellent.
After getting two quick outs in the eighth, he would face Aaron Judge with the go-ahead run on first. He would get Judge to ground out to end the inning and the rally.
This is what Lugo once was not long ago. He was dominant for more than an inning golf work. He took control of the game. Lugo chalked it up to adrenaline.
If that’s all he needed, he needs to make sure he has it in his next outing and each of the ensuing ones. If a full house ramped up with energy brought out the best in Lugo, he’s ready and will be phenomenal for October.
It wasn’t just this outing. This is his second one after the All-Star Break. That’s 3 1/3 scoreless. Seeing Lugo out there, there’s a lot more to come.
If so, that’s one fewer reliever the Mets need at the deadline. If so, the Mets could have a lights out bullpen. That goes double with Trevor May returning from the IL.
For at least one moment, Lugo was Lugo, and the Mets won. We’ll see the if he is his next time on the mound. Odds are, Lugo will be great again, and if so, this Mets team is on a whole other level. Just ask the Yankees.
What if I told you the game was on the line? Down one. Tying run on second. Winning run on third.
Even more unfatomable to go with Nido over McNeill. Well, it gets better.
Nido had to leave the previous game after a Max Scherzer pitch hit him in the wrist. The concern was such that the Mets traded for Michael Perez from the Pittsburgh Pirates, who is having a terrible tear framing and hitting.
It gets better.
Nido was a surprise starter. During the game, Nido’s injured hand was stomped on by Jake Cronenworth in the eighth inning.
So, Nido had a hand injury stemming from a Scherzer fastball. Then, a day later, it gets stomped on in the eighth inning. Somehow, Nido gets to bat with a game on the line.
Short of McNeil getting the Monty Python black knight treatment, it’s ludicrous to think anyone in their right mind would bat Nido over McNeil?
Nido has a 55 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, which is far better than the 38 he has against right-handed pitching. For his career, he has a 69 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
Nido is only in the lineup because if his work behind the plate. He’s never thete to hit. That’s the case whether it’s the first or the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the tying and go-ahead runs on base.
But, that’s just what Buck Showalter did. He let Nido go up there and pop out to end the game while McNeil set on the bench.
If you thought he had a good explanation fir it, well, you’d be sadly mistaken:
There were articles upon articles last year demanding Luis Rojas be fired, and he never did anything this dumb. We won’t see the same with Showalter.
What’s odd was the clamoring for him. He’s won nowhere, and he keeps doing things like this. There’s a reasons he’s won nowhere.
This time, it was Nido over McNeil. Given his track record, we should all shudder over what it will be next.
In the New York Mets 4-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves, their biggest flaw was highlighted and their downfall. Their bullpen.
Peterson was at 98 pitches before he allowed that homer to Matt Olson. In the at-bat. Olson hit a very long foul. When Mookie Betts did that to Peterson in Los Angeles, Buck Showalter gave him the hook.
The Mets really weren’t able to do that here. That’s even with Peterson set to go over 100 pitches for just the third time all season. It was the third time through the order. That’s something the Mets have justifiably shielded him from all season.
Here, the Mets had little choice. After all, aside from Edwin Diaz, who do you absolutely trust in the Mets bullpen right now? The answer is probably nobody.
Well, Diaz was unavailable as was Adam Ottavino. The Mets bullpen was short, and they needed Peterson to get through six. He didn’t, and he allowed the Olson two run homer to put the Mets down 2-1.
Just like that a shallow and tired pen helped turn what could’ve been a 1-0 win into a 4-1 loss.
Yes, we can and should point to the offense. However, the Mets had a lead. They just don’t have the arms to bring games like these home.
Tommy Hunter is a great story, but you still don’t know if he can trust him quite yet. Same goes for Colin Holderman, who did pitch well in this game and all season. Maybe they’ll get there, especially Holderman, but the Mets don’t trust him completely right now.
That leaves you questioning who else is there? Well, until Trevor May comes back, the answer is no one. That’s the problem.
The Mets proved this in 2015. One of the ways do address a faltering bullpen is to just not use it. Let the starters absorb the innings.
The plan works, but you need more than just a Jeurys Famila, or in this case, a Diaz. They’re also going to need more than just May returning and Peterson likely shifting to the bullpen come October.
The Mets need an answer. That may come from a Holderman. Mostly, it’s going to have to be a trade deadline move. Really, it’s both that are needed. We’ll see if the Mets get it.