Johneshwy Fargas

Luis Rojas Not To Blame For 2021 Season

One day, you’re in first place, and you’re a potential NL Manager of the Year. The next, your team is eliminated from postseason contention with no hope of having a .500 record.

That’s the type of year it has been for Luis Rojas and the New York Mets. As is standard, when a team falls short, the manager faces scrutiny.

It comes with the territory. Obviously, Rojas hasn’t been perfect. Assuredly, he’s made bad decisions, and there are times you wonder what in the world he’s doing.

Go pinpoint your most maddening moment. Make it out to be more than it is. Throw a few more moments on there. Magnify that.

Guess what? That’s not the reason the 2021 Mets didn’t make the postseason. It’s far from it.

In fact, for a while, Rojas was one of the things ruse was right about the Mets. At least, that was the narrative. In the end, blaming or crediting Rojas was just that – narrative.

The truth of the matter is it all fell apart. It wasn’t all at once, but rather in pieces. Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker were the only two starters to last the year with Stroman the only one to have sustained success into the second half.

Offensively, the Mets went with Chili Davis only to utilize advanced data which runs counter-intuitive to what Davis does. We saw the offense have a big letdown.

Francisco Lindor had a slow start. Michael Conforto dealt with COVID and a career worst year. That’s the tip of the iceberg with everyone not named Brandon Nimmo and maybe Pete Alonso having poor to flat out bad years.

Speaking of Nimmo, there were just so many injuries. So, so, so many injuries. When players like Jose Peraza and Jordan Yamamoto were injured, you saw the backups to the backups get hurt.

For his part, Rojas listened to the workload management rules. The front office specifically said it was the player’s fault they got hurt.

That brings us in a roundabout way to a big part of the issue. With last year being a COVID impacted year, depth was more important than ever. For some reason, the front office was cavalier with it.

Steven Matz was traded for two relievers who had little impact and another flipped for the poor performing Khalil Lee. They also made odds unforced errors like designating Johneshwy Fargas for assignment. For our mental health, we probably should’ve dwell too much on Jerad Eickhoff pitching in five games.

Fact of that matter is if Jacob deGrom was healthy, much of this season goes much differently. If the Mets hitters were just a reasonable facsimile of their career stats, the season is far different.

For that matter, if the front office looked at the roster problems and attacked them at the trade deadline, things go differently. At the end of the day, this was a first place team at the trade deadline, and the organization opted to fight another day.

In what way is all of this Rojas’ fault? The simple truth is it isn’t.

We can and should have the debate over whether Rojas is the right man for the job. Realistically speaking, he’s only had one year at the helm, and in that time, he’s shown good and bad.

The issue for any pure novice manager is whether he can grow. No one knows that yet. No one.

What we do know is the Mets shown they can win and fall apart with Rojas at the helm. Both instances were entirely tied to the strength of the roster. That brings us to the front office.

In the end, feel however you want about Rojas. It doesn’t matter because he’s not the reason the Mets disappointed this year. He may eventually be the fall guy but things aren’t magically improving because there’s another manager. The only way that happens is if the roster improves.

Mets Refused To Lose

After first inning homers by Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil, the Mets lead 3-0. That lead didn’t last long.

It wasn’t Jerad Eickhoff‘s fault. Of the seven runs he allowed over his 3.2 innings, only two were earned. The four errors over the first two inning (somehow Luis Guillorme had three) didn’t help.

After all that, the 3-0 lead became a 7-3 deficit, and it looked like Pittsburgh all over again. In actuality, it was, but it was like the series finale.

Michael Conforto got the comeback started with a two run homer in the fourth.

Later in the inning, Tomas Nido drove in a run. Suddenly, just like that, the gap was narrowed to 7-6. That gap would be closed the following inning when Dominic Smith homered.

It was a brand new game, and it would stay tied into the seventh. Miguel Castro departed with one on and two out. He didn’t get out of the inning as J.D. Davis had his typical difficulty getting the ball out of his glove thereby costing the Mets of any chance to get an inning ending double play.

Seth Lugo came on, and he was getting pinched, and he had a tick off his velocity. This led to Jonathan India walking, and Jesse Winker doubling home the go-ahead run.

Josh Osich started the eighth, and he allowed a leadoff single to Conforto. Then, Dave Jauss, who was filling in for the suspended Luis Rojas, made a very curios decision.

At that point, Nido had a double and an RBI. James McCann had been scuffling amidst an 0-for-11 streak. Naturally, when Jauss tabbed McCann to pinch hit for Nido, he hit a go–ahead two run homer.

That shouldn’t been enough for a 9-8 win. The problem was for the first time in his career, Edwin Diaz would blow three straight saves.

Part of that was Diaz walking Kyle Farmer to start the inning. The other part was Jauss unnecessarily having Diaz pitch to Winker. Predictably, Winker hit the game tying single to tie the game at 9-9.

In extra innings, the took advantage of the dumb gimmick when McCann singled home the go-ahead run. Remarkably, the ball double tapped his bat on the singles. It was 10-9 heading into the bottom of the inning.

With all the bullpen usage, the Mets opted for Anthony Banda for the save. It didn’t go well. Two batters into the inning, there were runners on first and second with Tyler Naquin driving home the tying run.

After that, Jose Peraza made an impact against his former team starting the around the horn double play on Eugenio Suarez‘s grounder. He’d then get the put out on the ensuring Shogo Akiyama grounder to send the game to the 11th.

Brandon Nimmo led off the 11th putting runners at the corners. After a poor Alonso at-bat, McNeil delivered the go-ahead single giving the Mets an 11-10 lead.

For some reason, with Banda of all people up, the Mets put the contact play on. The end result was Nimmo getting nailed at home. Fortunately, the Mets weren’t done as Kevin Pillar and Conforto would go back-to-back.

That 15-10 lead was enough for even Banda. Although, he did test that allowing back-to-back one out singles pulling the Reds to within 15-11.

This led to Jauss bringing in Trevor May. Nick Castellanos gave one a ride, but it fell just short and into Conforto’s mitt. May then struck out Mike Freeman to end the game.

With that, May saved hid second in a row and third of the season. That’s a testament to the never give up mentality of this never give up clubhouse.

Game Notes: Mets are 177-0 all-time when scoring at least 12 runs. Johneshwy Fargas was designated for assignment. Travis Blankenhorn was optioned to Syracuse. Eickhoff and Stephen Nogosek were called up.

Mets Obtain Billy McKinney Because There’s No One Else Available

Right now, the New York Mets have 16 players on the IL. That number will grow to 17 when Johneshwy Fargas hits the IL. That also means Cameron Maybin is the only active player with CF experience.

With that as the backdrop, the Mets obtained the recently designated for assignment Billy McKinney from the Milwaukee Brewers. In exchange, they sent 17 year old LHP Pedro Quintana.

In terms of Quintana, no one really knows anything about him, and he didn’t receive a large bonus. Long story short, the Brewers got well to get something here, and this may be the last time we ever hear the name.

As for McKinney, we know of him for a few reasons. First and foremost, McKinney was once a big-time New York Yankees prospect. In fact, he was one of the big pieces the Yankees received in the Aroldis Chapman trade.

McKinney was a well regarded outfield bat when drafted. He was supposed to be a high contact guy with power. It never panned out that way, but maybe, theres something still there.

To date, McKinney really hasn’t translated that skill set to success. Even with his just being 26, you’re probably grasping at straws to suggest he’ll begin to fulfill his promise.

While McKinney can’t really hit, he does provide speed and defense. Baseball Savant suggests McKinney still has good sprint speed and plays a good defense in the corners.

All told, McKinney is a player with some value. He can run, plays good defense, and has some power. That’s a worthy fifth or maybe fourth outfielder.

However, McKinney is an out of options player who can’t really be that. Just ask the Brewers. That said, with the Mets he’s likely a starting player for the simple reason there’s no one better available.

There aren’t any more healthy Mets, and we’re at the stage where we’re all trying to talk ourselves into Dee Strange-Gordon. To that end, McKinney is a good option, and fortunately, there’s real upside. Hopefully, he can tap into some of that to make a desperate move into a great one.

Mets Get A Nido Win

Jacob deGrom came off the IL to pitch which meant dominance from deGrom and little to no run support. Of course, the Mets injury destroyed lineup does that too.

Shockingly, deGrom did actually get a modicum of run support. Jonathan Villar and Francisco Lindor reached, and they executed a double steal. That allowed Villar to score on the predictable James McCann groundout.

What wasn’t predictable was the Ryan McMahon game tying homer off deGrom in the second. It was the only run off deGrom and just one of three hits.

The Mets only allowed deGrom to go five. He struck out nine, and he came within a replay review of a hustle double. To no one’s surprise, he walked off the mound with a no decision.

It wasn’t the only reply to bite the Mets. In the third, Villar appeared to have third stolen. However, upon review, he came off the bag.

In the sixth, it only took the umpires convening and not replay to get a call right.

Dominic Smith hit a one out single, and then he looked to score from first on what was initially ruled a double by Tomas Nido. It was, in fact, a two run homer:

This was more than enough support for the Mets bullpen. Miguel Castro pitched two scoreless to pick up the win. Trevor May pitched a scoreless eighth, and Edwin Diaz earned the save.

For a day, things seemed normal for the Mets. deGrom was dominant with little run support. The bullpen was great. The Mets won at home.

Game Notes: Noah Syndergaard left a rehab start after one inning with elbow discomfort. Taijuan Walker threw live batting practice. Johneshwy Fargas appears headed to the IL.

At Least James McCann Was Good

David Peterson was rather pedestrian allowing three earned over six innings. That included homers by Ryan McMahon and Elias Diaz in the second.

Honestly, the game was over at that point. The Mets have a Four-A lineup out there, and things went from bad to worse when Johneshwy Fargas injured himself trying to track down a Garrett Hampson RBI triple in the fourth.

Fargas initially stayed in the game, but that collision into the wall was just too much. He’d eventually leave the game with an AC joint injury.

For a while, it looked like Austin Gomber would no-hit the Mets. That made the Jonathan Villar fourth inning single a relief. That relief turned to angst again when Francisco Lindor followed with a GIDP.

In these situations, we can dwell on the negative, or look for the positives. Well, there was a real positive today.

Due to the injuries, James McCann was pressed to play first base despite not playing there in his professional or collegiate career. Frankly, he was great.

McCann looked like he’s been there for years. He didn’t just make all the routine plays. He made highlight ones as well:

We’d also see him homer. This was easily his best game as a Met, and hopefully, this is the type of game which can jump start his season.

To do that, Tomas Nido may have to relent. While he was hitless, he was good behind the plate, and he made a great play on a wild pitch.

In the end, with Brandon Drury homering in the ninth, this was a 3-2 Mets loss. At this point, we just need to remember the Mets are still in first place, and Jacob deGrom returns tomorrow.

Game Notes: Brodie Van Wagenen was in attendance. Rockies had the worst road record in the majors.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Get Marlins Slip Through Their Grasp

The New York Mets had a chance to put further distance between themselves and the rest of the NL East. Instead, they lost a tough series:

1. Of course, Jordan Yamamoto got hurt because there can’t be a Mets game without an injury.

2. The same fans who wanted Joey Lucchesi pitch the fifth are the same ones who wanted everyone warming when David Peterson last pitched.

3. Johneshwy Fargas belongs.

4. If you wanted proof Baseball is a cruel sport, look no further than Jake Hager being designated for assignment the day after celebrating his first MLB hit.

5. Marcus Stroman cheering on Miguel Castro after Castro blew Stroman’s win speaks volumes about Stroman as a person and teammate.

6. At this rate, and after his strong rehab start, Noah Syndergaard may be the first person back from the IL. Okay, it’s really going to be Jacob deGrom, but you get the point.

7. Tomas Nido gave an inch in this series with the dropped ball, but James McCann again showed no reason why he should play over Nido right now.

8. The Mets are really banged up, but there has to be better options available than Brandon Drury and Cameron Maybin . . . right?

9. Jonathan Villar has been abysmal of late.

10. There’s literally no point in complaining about the lineups right now because there are zero good choices to put out there.

11. Dominic Smith really is a terrific defensive first baseman. Hopefully, his getting time where he’s most comfortable can get him swinging better.

12. Well, except for clutch situations. He’s as good as gold in those situations right now.

13. With Robert Gsellman and Sean Reid-Foley, the Mets have been getting phenomenal performances from the long men in the bullpen.

14. Really, the bullpen has been great from top to bottom. You just have to wonder how much longer they can withstand this usage rate.

15. Luis Rojas and Jeremy Hefner aren’t getting nearly enough credit.

16. Mets need more from Francisco Lindor. They’ll get it eventually. Until that time, just enjoy the great defense and the hugs.

17. The game winning hit was fun and all, but Khalil Lee is completely and utterly overmatched at the plate right now.

18. It’s awesome to see MSG rocking for Knicks playoff basketball. It’s been so desperately missed.

19. The last time the Knicks and Mets made the playoffs in the same year was 2000 when the Mets lost the World Series, and the Knicks lost to the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

20. The Colorado Rockies are coming to Citi Field at a time the Mets weakened roster needs a truly putrid team they can beat.

Mets Fought To The End

An undermanned New York Mets lineup became all the more so when Jose Peraza was unavailable. Suffice it to say, this lineup had more trouble scoring than usual.

Fortunately for the Mets, the pitching and defense were again terrific.

Joey Lucchesi was great through the four scoreless innings allowing just hit while striking out eight. While Ron Darling and many fans were perplexed, given Lucchesi’s year and his career numbers, the Mets went to the bullpen.

Sean Reid-Foley was again terrific. Through his first two innings, he didn’t allow a run while striking out three. Unfortunately, the Miami Marlins got to him with consecutive one out singles putting runners at the corners.

Aaron Loup came into the game to get the left-handed Corey Dickerson out to maybe induce a ground ball double play. Instead, Dickerson hit a fly to medium left.

Cameron Maybin made a terrific throw, and at first glance, it looked like he nailed Brian Anderson at the plate. Just as the home plate umpire was about to ring him up, Tomas Nido dropped the ball. It was 1-0 Marlins, and it looked like the Mets would need a near miracle to tie.

Well, they got it.

The Mets had very limited opportunities in this game, and they squandered them all. That began in the first when Wildredo Tovar struck out with the bases loaded.

In the fourth, Johneshwy Fargas hit a two out double, and he’d be stranded. The Mets would’ve have another base runner until the eighth, and that was courtesy of Anthony Bass.

Bass lost the strike zone issuing a lead-off walk to the pinch hitter Peraza. He’d then issue a one out walk to Francisco Lindor. After Maybin struck out, Don Mattingly brought in Richard Bleier to get out Dominic Smith.

For a split second, it appeared Bleier did his job. However, home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez called what should’ve been strike three a ball. Smith took advantage of the new life hitting the next pitch for an RBI single tying the score.

Wayne Randazzo, who was filling in for Gary Cohen, would not shut up about the blown call. What was odd about his chirping was Marquez was very inconsistent on the low and away pitches all game. It was not at all a surprise he missed that pitch.

From there, the Mets defense did all they could do to help the Mets win. The first great play was in the eighth Smith diving in the hole to get Miguel Rojas.

The next came in the bottom of the ninth. Jesus Aguilar hit what should’ve been a lead-off double. Instead, Fargas make a diving snow cone catch to turn it into an out.

Unfortunately, the Mets magic ran out. With two outs, Anderson hit a ball Smith couldn’t get to with his dive. Then, Drew Smith would wind up taking the loss when Garrett Cooper hit a walk-off two run homer giving the Marlins a 3-2 win.

It was a tough loss for the Mets, but when you’re this injured, it’s going to be difficult to win games like these. Despite all that, the Mets remain in first place.

Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo said he’s dealing with a nerve issue in his finger. Smith is 9 for his last 14 with RISP.

Khalil Lee And Johneshwy Fargas – Just Like They Drew It Up

Miguel Castro came into the seventh of a game the New York Mets led 3-2, and he surrendered a game tying solo homer to Garrett Cooper. Of course, this is the 2021 Mets, so it was a crazy game.

The double guessing of Luis Rojas started as he pulled Marcus Stroman after six even with a tired bullpen. Stroman might’ve gotten the no decision, but he gave Castro a big hug.

We’d all need a big hug after this emotional roller coaster.

Trevor May, who has been struggling of late, got himself into a bases loaded two out jam in the eighth. Worse yet, he fell behind 3-1 in the count. May would rally back, strike out Cooper, and help keep this game tied.

Jeurys Familia had two on and no outs in the ninth, and he battled back to send the game into extras.

In the 10th, we’d see one of the craziest things of all with Wilfredo Tovar getting a base hit. Of course, Tovar is one of many pressed into action no one thought would even be contemplated to play for the Mets this year.

That hit was Tovar’ first Mets hit since 2013. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough to score Tomas Nido, and the Mets would somehow squander that opportunity.

For his part, Nido got yet another start, and he again proved he deserves the job. In fact, it was his third inning RBI double which increased the then Mets lead to 3-1. He also had two caught stealings including a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play:

Fast-forward to the 11th, and the Mets had a golden opportunity with Jonathan Villar starting the inning at second. At the plate was Francisco Lindor, who opened the scoring in the first with an RBI double scoring Villar.

Lindor got the hit, but Villar stopped at third. That proved costly when Villar was PICKED OFF OF THIRD?!?!?!?

That’s a horrid job by Villar, but you do wonder where third base coach Gary Disarcina was. On that note, it was another terrible job by Disarcina tonight with his getting two runners caught at the plate. One of those was Nido in the fourth. Nido wasn’t even close.

After Drew Smith navigated his way through the 11th, the Mets would not be denied in the 12th. It was just how the Mets drew it up in Spring Training.

Dominic Smith was the runner on second (because Rob Manfred hates baseball), and he moved to third when Jake Hager had his first career hit. He wasn’t the only one.

Khalil Lee came up to the plate despite literally striking out in literally all of his career plate appearances. He’d hit a go-ahead double.

This wasn’t good enough. Johneshwy Fargas would hit a two run RBI triple to give the Mets a 6-3 lead. It was 6-3 partially because Fargas went for the inside the park homer but was nailed at the plate.

Initially, it was up to Aaron Loup to earn the save. It didn’t go too well with his allowing back-to-back singles to start the inning pulling the Marlins to 6-4. That’s when Lindor bailed out Loop with a big double play:

Better than the heads up play by Lindor was the Smith pick at first. Yes, a run score, but the Mets were that much closer to winning. They’d get that win with Rojas going to Jacob Barnes.

When Barnes recorded the final out, the Mets had a very hard fought 6-5 win in 12. They’re down 16 players, and they have Triple-A talent out there. Despite all that, they’re 21-17 and in first place.

Game Notes: Pete Alonso was placed on the IL. Brandon Drury was called up to take his place, and Daniel Zamora was designated for assignment. Tommy Hunter was also placed on the IL.

20/20 Hindsight: M*E*T*S* Nearly Sweep Braves

The New York Mets have been an injury a minute, and somehow, they went to Atlanta and took two out of three from the Braves:

1. If Tomas Nido keeps this up, the discussion may shift from whether he should be the everyday catcher to whether he’s one of the best catchers in the game.

2. Khalil Lee can keep striking out if he is going to continue to make outstanding game saving catches in right field.

3. Kudos to Edwin Diaz to taking that significant step in his career where you can rely on him on consecutive days.

4. The front office people who told Diaz to put on more weight deserves a raise. The same goes to Jeremy Hefner, who is getting all you can out of Diaz and the entire bullpen.

5. The same goes for the people designing the Mets shifts. They’re shifting nearly more than everyone, and they’re doing it better than almost everyone.

6. Seeing how the Mets played this series and the improvements he seems to be making, Luis Rojas should be getting more credit than he is.

7. Jonathan Villar is a guy with poor numbers across the board, and yet, he just finds a way to have an impact in nearly every game.

8. Kevin Pillar suffered the worst HBP this side of Ray Chapman. It’s miraculous he didn’t suffer more than multiple nasal fractures.

9. Pillar certainly made himself more fans with his play and his talking about how it’s breaking his heart he can’t be out there when his team needs him.

10. That should serve as a reminder we shouldn’t be rushing to judgment to players after a week. Remember, there were plenty of very vocal fans who were convinced Pillar would do nothing this year.

11. It’s not hyperbole to say the Mets play a game and someone else turns up injured. It’s so bad we find out Pete Alonso suddenly has a wrist issue and can’t play.

12. It looks like Dominic Smith could supplant Alonso as the first baseman for now. Hopefully, that helps get him going.

13. For as much as the Mets didn’t want to give Jordan Yamamoto a real chance, they have no choice now. Oh, and we’re probably going to see Thomas Szapucki soon.

14. There’s joy, and then there’s Tommy Hunter, a 14 year MLB veteran, getting his first career hit.

15. Good job by the Chicago Cubs honoring their commitment to Cameron Maybin by trading him to the Mets for $1.

16. It wasn’t that long ago Brodie Van Wagenen and Jeff Wilpon didn’t honor their agreement to Devin Mesoraco. That led to Mesoraco retuning, rushing to activate Travis d’Arnaud, and then rage cutting d’Arnaud.

17. If you’re looking for a comp for David Peterson, it’s Mike Pelfrey. Both were sinkerball first rounders rushed to the majors from Double-A, and the team didn’t let them go back and develop after the initial panic call-up.

18. If you’re even being competitive with a Maybin-Johneshwy Fargas-Lee outfield, you’re doing something right. Seriously, what the Mets did in this series was beyond impressive.

19. Think of everything that has gone wrong with this team. They’re still over .500 and in first place.

20. Sometimes teams just have one of those special seasons. So far, this is shaping up to be one of them.

Game Recaps

Mets Win Game And Lose Two More

Tomas Nido Wins It

Mets Bullpen Too Exhausted To Hold On

Tomas Nido Wins It

With all the New York Mets injuries, they’re at a point where they need everything to go right to win games. Well, tonight, Luis Rojas was pushing the right buttons.

With this being a bullpen game, Tommy Hunter was second up. Not only did he pitch two scoreless innings, but he’d hit a one out single against Tucker Davidson. That meant he’d score the first run of the game when Jonathan Villar hit a two run homer.

We’d also get some big time defensive plays. In the fourth, Jose Peraza picked Freddie Freeman off the base paths.

We’d see some more big plays later, both offensive and defensive.

After the Braves pulled themselves to within 2-1 when Austin Riley homered off Robert Gsellman in the fifth. The Mets would get that run back.

Leading off the sixth, Francisco Lindor hit a ground rule double. He’d eventually score on a Pete Alonso sacrifice fly to make it a 3-1 game.

The Braves responded with a Freddie Freeman homer off Trevor May. The Mets then used their defense to try to desperately hold onto the 3-2 lead.

Khalil Lee make his first real impression in the majors with a diving catch robbing Ozzie Albies of an extra base hit.

In the eighth, Ehire Adrianza doubled off Aaron Loup. Adrianza made a phenomenal slide to avoid the tag after Johneshwy Fargas made a phenomenal throw.

Jeurys Familia entered the game and walked Ronald Acuña. That’s when Lindor pulled off a phenomenal double play tagging out Ozuna, and then beating Freeman at first.

On the play, Adrianza went to third. That meant he was in place to score when Marcell Ozuna hit an RBI single. With that, all the Mets did to grab and hold a lead was gone.

However, the Mets weren’t done. There was one trick up their sleeve. That was Tomas Nido.

With the way he’s been playing, the Mets have been shifting towards using him more. His play coupled with James McCann‘s troubles led to Nido starting a second straight game and his batting in the ninth:

Nido’s go-ahead homer off Will Smith gave the Mets a 4-3 lead. Edwin Diaz pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save.

After a tough weekend in Tampa, the very depleted Mets are in Atlanta making a statement. Even without their best players, the Mets are a better team, and they’re suddenly making a case they’re the best team in baseball.

Game Notes: The Mets acquired Cameron Maybin for cash from the Chicago Cubs.