Jonathan Villar

Mets Fall To .500 With No End In Sight

The New York Mets briefly fooled us. For a brief moment, Mets fans actually thought the Mets were game and could possibly get a win.

The Mets had fallen behind in the fourth when Rich Hill lost it. Honestly, with Hill, you expect it to happen at some point in the fourth or fifth.

Buster Posey got it started with a double, and he scored on a Darin Ruf RBI single. Ruf then made a complete blunder not stepping on the bag when the throw came in behind him.

The rally continued anyway with the Giants getting three more hits. Wilmer Flores had the third driving home the second run of the inning. Things might’ve gotten worse, but Miguel Castro got the Mets out of the jam.

What’s shocking is the Mets, who seemed dead in the water, rallied. It was all the more surprising against Kevin Gausman.

After the first two reached, Pete Alonso drove a two RBI triple to Triple’s Alley to tie the score. He then scored on the rarest of rare things, a Dominic Smith sacrifice fly. Improbably, the Mets had a 3-2 lead.

That lead was very temporary. In the very next inning. Kris Bryant hit a two run homer off Castro. It was his first of two on the night.

Trevor May took the mound in the seventh. He struggled and didn’t look right. Theres certainly an explanation for it with his wincing on the mound. Whatever the case, Belt and Bryant homered.

Later on in the inning, Brandon Crawford hit an RBI trouble extending the Giants lead to 7-3. At that point, it was game over.

Yes, Jonathan Villar would hit a two run homer in the eighth, but it was really window dressing. The reason is the Mets ability to hit with RISP is non-existent.

Case in point was this inning. Brandon Drury followed with yet another pinch hit. The tying run was on base with one out as the Mets flipped the lineup.

Brandon Nimmo popped out. Michael Conforto grounded out. This was just another chapter which saw the Mets strand nine on base while going 1-for-7 with RISP.

At the end of the day, the Mets lost 7-5. They’ve now lost four in a row again. They’ve done it twice in less than two weeks. Heads typically roll after games and stretches like this.

Game Notes: Alonso’s triple was the first for the Mets in 68 games).

Alonso Walks Off Nationals

For the first time in the second half, and the first time in nearly two months, the New York Mets swept an opponent. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Trevor Williams, who came to the Mets in the Javier Báez trade, was recalled from Syracuse to make this start. He looked to be more than just a player thrown into the trade.

He had shut down the Nationals for four innings before getting in trouble in the fifth. In that inning, the Nationals had runners at the corners with one out. With the Mets only having a 2-0 lead, Luis Rojas tabbed Seth Lugo.

Lugo, who hasn’t been great inheriting runners this year allowed a sacrifice fly pulling the Nationals to 2-1. The Mets would get than run back and then some on a Jonathan Villar two run homer in the sixth.

That should’ve been it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. With the Mets using Edwin Diaz to close out the first end of the doubleheader, they gave the bell to Trevor May.

While May has been great in the second half of the season, he didn’t have it in this save opportunity. He loaded the bases with one out leading Rojas to tab closer of yore Jeurys Familia.

This was one of those frustrating Familia blown saves of yore. First, he had a wild pitch scoring run. Truth be told James McCann should’ve had a better effort blocking that ball.

With the game 4-2, Andrew Stevenson pulled a ball to right. It was a ball Jeff McNeil needed to get. It didn’t happen, and as a result, it was a tie game.

Familia navigated his way through the inning to keep it tied into the bottom of the seventh. After McNeil grounded out, Pete Alonso ended the game.

Back when the Mets suffered a brutal loss, Alonso told fans they shouldn’t believe. They should know. Seeing this fame, Alonso gave the Mets reason to know they’re making the playoffs.

The Mets swept the Nationals like they should. Now, they’re in second place with things getting more interesting in the NL East. Now, it’s time to step up and win.

Game Notes: Williams was called up as the 27th man.

Nationals Found Nimmo Beating Them

While he may not normally be recognized as such, Brandon Nimmo is the best hitter on the New York Mets. The Washington Nationals got a first-hand glimpse of that in the first end of the doubleheader.

Nationals starter Sean Nolin allowed a leadoff single to Jonathan Villar in the second. He was close to getting out of it until Marcus Stroman had a bunt base hit. Yes, this is the same Stroman the Mets once refused to let swing the bat with the bases loaded.

That brought Nimmo to the plate, and he gave the Mets an early 3-0 lead:

This marked the first time the Mets scored first in a game since August 4. It would set them on the path to win consecutive games for the first time July 21-23.

Nimmo would strike again in the fourth. There were runners at second and third with one out after singles by Michael Conforto and Tomas Nido.

Nido singled after Conforto and stole a base. That meant Nido had a stolen base and caught stealing. Nimmo would drive home Conforto increasing the Mets lead to 4-0.

In that inning, Pete Alonso would get hit by a pitch by Nationals reliever Andres Machado. Machado clearly wasn’t trying to hit Alonso, but Alonso was jawing. Both sides would, but eventually, cooler heads prevailed.

The Mets would load the bases in that inning with one out, but they wouldn’t increase the lead. Machado settles down after the hullabaloo getting two strikeouts including J.D. Davis.

It’s difficult to say Nimmo was the Mets entire offense on a day where the Mets had 12 hits over seven innings. That said, Nimmo was the only Mets player who drove in any runs.

These four runs were more than enough for Stroman. For the first five innings, Stroman was locked in limiting the Nationals to one hit and one walk. As alluded to earlier, Nido eliminated one of those base runners with a caught stealing.

There was some concern Stroman wouldn’t get to that point. He labored in the fourth. As he admitted later in the postgame, he needed to do a better job hydrating. With the extreme heat today, that was important.

The Nationals finally got to Stroman in the sixth. It started with Stroman losing Riley Adams after being ahead in the count 1-2. It certainly didn’t help Stroman the umpire missed strike three and called it a ball.

The Nationals followed this with a single from Andrew Stevenson and an RBI double by Victor Robles. Stroman settled back in to strike out Alcidies Escobar for the first out.

With the lefties due up for the Nationals, Luis Rojas turned to Aaron Loup. Loup was phenomenal again. While he did lose and walk Juan Soto, he rebounded to get Josh Bell to hit into the inning ending double play.

Edwin Diaz came on in the ninth and would record his 25th save of the season. With that, the Mets put themselves a half game out of first, the ability to tie atop the division with a win in the second game of the doubleheader, and their first sweep since they took two from the San Diego Padres in June.

Game Notes: This is the first time a Mets starter won a game since Tylor Megill on July 23. The four RBI tied a career high for Nimmo.

Suspended Mets Offense Awakens

The New York Mets began the suspended game down 3-1. Rich Hill volunteered to pitch earlier than his spot because the Mets needed a starter. He’d be far from the only person who stepped up on the day.

Now, while Hill stepped up, he wasn’t great. The deficit grew to 4-1 in the second when Victor Robles hit an RBI double.

Then, something happened to the Mets offense. That something was Joe Ross. As fans, we tend to focus on the Mets killers of the world, but we overlook the Rosses of the world who just wilt when they see the orange and blue.

Brandon Nimmo awoke the offense with a leadoff double in the third. That led to the dreaded bases loaded no outs situation. Michael Conforto got the Mets past the mental hurdle of never scoring with an RBI groundout. This sparked a three run inning tying the score at 4-4.

It was the first time in a week the Mets scored more than three and just the second time all month. Whether it was Ross or not, the Mets offense seemed to be clicking.

They needed it to because Hill ran out of gas in the fifth. After allowing the first two to reach, he allowed a Luis Garcia two RBI double putting the Nationals up 6-4. That’s when the Mets went to the bullpen to ask Jeurys Familia to stop the bleeding.

Familia didn’t exactly do that. The first batter he faced, Riley Adams, drove home Garcia with an RBI single. After a sacrifice bunt, he was in scoring position. That set the stage for Jeff McNeil to save the game.

In what was a flashback, Alcidies Escobar, a 2015 Kansas City Royal, was up against Familia with the opportunity to end the game. He’d rip a liner, but McNeil got higher than we’ve ever seen him robbing an RBI base hit and ending the inning.

The Mets then started chipping away at that lead. In the bottom of the inning, McNeil drew a leadoff walk, and he was still there with two outs. On a 3-2 pitch, a clearly hobbled McNeil was running when Conforto ripped an RBI single through the shift.

Thanks to a double clutch from Carter Kieboom on the relay McNeil scored easily. Conforto tried to advance on the throw, but he was caught in a run down easily making the last out.

Gabe Klobosits relieved Ross to start the seventh. Nimmo would led off the inning with a single. Two batter last later, Pete Alonso came sooo close to giving the Mets the lead. Instead, it was an RBI double pulling the Mets within a run.

While the Mets wouldn’t get the lead there, they finally would in the eighth. With a runner on second, Jonathan Villar was up there hybrid bunting, that is, he was up to sacrifice, but he always bunts to get a base hit.

That always puts extra pressure on the defense, especially with his speed. Nationals pitcher Mason Thompson fielded it rather cleanly and easily, but he appeared to rush the throw leading him to throw it away. The tying run scored, and Villar was in scoring position.

Later in the inning, we’d see pinch hitting extraordinaire Brandon Drury. For some reason, just like Matt Franco in 1999, some pinch hitters just get locked in at the plate. That’s been Drury this year, and he delivered again with a go-ahead RBI single through a drawn-in infield.

Astonishingly, that was the first Mets lead in 43 innings. Somehow that seems impossible. Then again, the Mets have been terrible of late losing four straight and nine of 10.

The Mets got to this point not just due to the offense but the bullpen as well. Familia, Miguel Castro, Drew Smith, and Trevor May combined to pitch four scoreless allowing just the two hits. They walked none and struck out two.

While the Mets were armed with the lead heading into the ninth, they weren’t out of the woods. The very mercurial and rusty Edwin Diaz was coming in for the save, and the first batter he’d face was Juan Soto.

Diaz made quick work of Soto striking him out on four pitches. With Soto down, it was effectively game over at that point. Diaz hit the easy save, and the Mets finally won a game.

This is what we envisioned the Mets offense can and should be. There are reasons why he saw it happened with Ross being one of them.

There was also Nimmo being a table setter. McNeil was spraying the ball, and Alonso’s talk about the process produced tangible results.

Mix in Conforto getting further away from COVID and returning to form with some luck, which is always needed, and you get a huge Mets win. The key now is to build off of this.

Game Notes: The second game of the doubleheader was rained out. The Mets signed Josh Reddick to a minor league deal.

At Least J.D. Davis Got To Play For Soon To Be Third Place Mets

The Philadelphia Phillies started the left-handed Ranger Suarez, who was only slated to go about three innings. The New York Mets completely overreacted to this.

Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith didn’t start. Instead, it was J.D. Davis and Kevin Pillar, who were a combined 0-for-6 with three strikeouts through the first eight innings.

Really, the entire Mets offense had looked inept through the first eight innings. They only had two hits and just one extra base hit came from Tylor Megill in the fifth. Of course, he would be stranded.

Megill was really good for four innings. Unfortunately, the Phillies would get to him in the fifth. Brad Miller hit a solo shot, and Odubel Herrera hit a three run homer to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead.

Megill was out after 4.2 innings. He allowed those four earned on five hits and one walk while striking out five.

The Phillies lead would grow to 5-0 when Miller hit his second solo shot of the game. That one came off Yennsy Diaz in the eighth.

With the Mets appearing to be playing out the string in this one, the Phillies went to Mauricio Llovera to mop it up. That proved to be a giant mistake as Michael Conforto, Jonathan Villar, and James McCann went back-to-back-to-back to pull the Mets to within 5-3.

That forced the Phillies to bring in their newly obtained closer Ian Kennedy. It was very rocky for Kennedy. Pillar greeted him with a single. After a McNeil pinch hit foul out, Brandon Nimmo drew a walk bringing up Pete Alonso as the go-ahead run.

Now, the talking point around the Mets has been their troubles hitting the fastball. For whatever reason, they’re struggling and seem unprepared. Well, Kennedy took advantage of this getting Alonso to chase fastballs up and above the zone to strike himself out.

Kennedy then essentially repeated the act with Davis. Fittingly, it was Davis who struck out to end the game.

With the loss, the Mets drop to 1.5 games out of first. They’re now also a game back in the loss column with Zack Wheeler starting for the Phillies tomorrow. To make it all the better, the Mets are an Atlanta Braves win within dropping to third.

Mets Are In Second Place

The Philadelphia Phillies went after it at the trade deadline while the New York Mets didn’t. Tonight, Kyle Gibson got the win, and Ian Kennedy earned the save, two players the Phillies obtained at the deadline, as the Phillies took over first place from the Mets.

Again, we saw the Mets load the bases with no outs and fail to score. Its depressing to think that’s now become the expectation. It certainly didn’t help matters Marcus Stroman was told not to swing when he recorded the first out.

Speaking of Stroman, he pitched well, and he really gave the Mets a chance to win. Unfortunately for him, he made just two mistakes, and they came back to haunt him.

Didi Gregorius homered off Stroman in the second. In the fifth, Brad Miller hit a ball to the wall. Michael Conforto mistimed his jump, and Brandon Nimmo didn’t bother backing him up.

The end result was a Miller triple. Later in the inning, Gibson, who was actually allowed to hit, drove an RBI single through that drawn-in Mets infield increasing the Phillies lead to 2-1.

That one Mets run was courtesy of Dominic Smith. In the third, he followed walks to Nimmo and Pete Alonso with a two out RBI single.

As a credit to Luis Rojas, he treated this like a big game going to Aaron Loup, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz. Loup and Lugo came up big delivering zeros.

Diaz didn’t. Yes, we know the defense he doesn’t pitch well in non-save chances, but this was a huge spot. Jean Segura hit a hot shot, which ate up Jonathan Villar. It was a tough play ruled a single, but a better third baseman (an area of need the Mets didn’t address) makes the play. Bryce Harper followed with a two run homer giving the Phillies a 4-1 lead.

Villar led off the ninth with a homer off Kennedy making it 4-2. The Mets got nothing going after that, and as a result, lost by that score.

It should infuriate every Mets fan the difference in this game was allowing the pitcher to swing. Stroman isn’t incapable with the bat, and he has speed, but he was told not to swing to avoid a double play. As an aside, a double play probably scores a run which is something the Mets can’t do.

Frankly put, when you’re not trying to win games, you don’t deserve to win them. That goes for not letting Stroman swing and how the Mets approached the trade deadline. Whatever the case, they’re now in second place as a result.

Legend Of Brandon Drury Grows

There’s no other way to put it. The New York Mets flat out stole this game.

The Mets blew the 1-0 lead when Rich Hill surrendered a three run homer to Eugenio Suarez in fourth. That deficit grew to 4-1 when Kyle Farmer homered in the fifth.

At that point, the Mets looked dead in the water as Wade Miley dominated them over the first five innings, but the Mets got something started in the sixth.

Jonathan Villar drew a lead-off walk, and Pete Alonso singled. That brought the newest Met, Javier Baez, up as the tying run. Well, that was at least until Villar was picked off at second. That loomed large as Baez hit his first homer as a member of the Mets:

That got the Mets to within 4-3, but notably, it did not tie the game. They’d need to bullpen to shut down the Reds offense to give them that chance.

For a moment, it didn’t look like the Mets were going to get that chance. Joey Votto got a hold of a Seth Lugo pitch, and for a moment, it seemed like he tied the Major League record by homering in eight straight games.

Instead, it hit the top of the wall. There were now runners at the corners with no outs. Lugo rebounded by striking out the next two. Luis Rojas then went to Aaron Loup.

Loup returned the favor for Villar by catching Votto too far off the bag. Votto broke for second, but Pete Alonso didn’t panic, and he started a run down of Farley for the final out of the inning.

This meant the Mets had a chance entering the ninth. Jeff McNeil would draw a lead-off walk off Heath Hembree, and Luis Guillorme entered as a pinch runner. Hembree then uncorked a wild pitch moving Guillorme to second.

After Hembree struck out Baez and James McCann, the Reds went to Sean Doolittle to get out Dominic Smith even though Smith hits lefties well. Doolittle did get ahead of Smith, but Smith delivered the game tying single.

This meant Rob Manfred Gimmick Baseball Time. The Reds started the inning with Jonathan India on second. He moved to third on a wild pitch. Jesse Winker didn’t beat them like he normally does because he walked.

Diaz responded in a way he did in the first half and not the second half. He rebounded by striking out the next two, including Votto, before getting Tyler Naquin to line out hard to center.

In the 10th, Luis Cessa found himself pitching against the Mets on the six year anniversary of when he was traded by the Mets as part of the Yoenis Cespedes deal. On his fourth pitch, Brandon Drury continued his hot hitting July with a walk-off single.

In the end, the Mets won a game they really had no business winning. Make no mistake, this is the hallmark of a good team amidst a special season.

Mets Teetering With Reds Loss

This should’ve been a great day for the New York Mets. The black uniforms were back for limited engagement, Carlos Carrasco was making his season debut, and they added Javier Baez at the trade deadline.

Instead of this being the Yoenis Cespedes celebration with Lucas Duda carrying the Mets to first place, you have to wonder if the Mets are in real trouble.

For his part, aside from surrendering a homer to Jonathan India on his first pitch, Carrasco was terrific. Over four innings, he allowed just that one run on three hits and one walk while striking out four.

It should be noted, part of the reason he gave up one run was a phenomenal play by Luis Guillorme to rob Eugenio Suarez of a would be RBI single.

At that time, the Mets should’ve had a lead. Before Sonny Gray could blink Jeff McNeil doubled home Brandon Nimmo to tie the score. Then, the Mets loaded the bases with no outs.

The promising rally completely fell apart. Michael Conforto struck out in what would be an 0-for-4 night with a golden sombrero and a dip below the Mendoza Line.

Jonathan Villar then hit into an inning ending double play. That was about it for the Mets offense for the night. They wouldn’t get a runner into scoring position until the eighth, and they squandered that opportunity as well.

That wasn’t the case with the Reds. Miguel Castro‘s struggles continued. He allowed a double to India, and Jesse Winker was a Mets killer again driving him home.

Drew Smith‘s long ball troubles continued as he allowed a homer to Joey Votto the following inning. This was the seventh consecutive game Votto homered.

It was still theoretically a game in the ninth as it was only 3-1. That was until the Reds roughed up Anthony Banda in his second inning of work for three runs making it a 6-1 Reds lead.

In the ninth, in what may prove to be his last Mets at-bat, Brandon Drury hit a pinch hit RBI double. It proved to be nothing more than window dressing in the Mets 6-2 loss.

As if that loss wasn’t bad enough, Nimmo was going to be taken out of the game with a hamstring issue resulting from a dividing catch. Jacob deGrom was shut down again with more forearm inflammation. It should also be noted with the Mets falling to add a reliever the bullpen struggled.

All told, even with the Baez addition, this was just about as bad a day as you can get. The Mets looked bad and might be in real trouble soon.

Game Notes: In addition to getting Baez for Pete Crow-Armstrong, the Mets also obtained Trevor Williams. Williams was assigned to Triple-A Syracuse.

Mets Must Go All-In At Trade Deadline

When making decisions at the trade deadline, it is not just about where your team is in the standings. It is also about where you are at as an organization. Right now, the Mets are 4.0 games up on the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, two teams who are under .500. As for the organization, well, they are in a much more tenuous spot.

After this season, Michael ConfortoJeurys Familia, Rich Hill, Aaron Loup, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, and Jonathan Villar will be free agents. After the following season, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Brandon Nimmo, and Kevin Pillar will be free agents. Jacob deGrom can also opt out of his contract, and Taijuan Walker can decline his player option.

Focusing more narrowly, after two years, the Mets could lose 2/3 of their outfield and 4/5 of their starting rotation. They can also lose four key set-up men as well as their closer. Put another way, this team is on the precipice of losing very important pieces of a team which is going to take it to the postseason this year.

Now, this is certainly a much different proposition with Steve Cohen at the helm than it was with the Wilpons. There is an implicit trust Cohen will continue trying to win. However, as we know, you’re not always successful identifying who to keep and who to let go as well as who the right replacements are.

When we look back to the early 90s, the Mets were coming off their best stretch in Mets history. They made the right decision letting Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez go. However, they made some bad calls like thinking Vince Coleman could replace Darryl Strawberry. They over relied on their belief Kevin Elster, Dave Magadan, and Gregg Jefferies could be first division starters. Of course, there was also the Worst Team Money Could Buy.

All told, when the Mets switched from build around a core to replacing and altering the core, things fell apart. We can look at other points in Mets history when that happened. It happened again when the Mets passed on Alex Rodriguez as part of a calamitous offseason after the 2000 pennant. The 2009 Mets made the mistake of keeping Oliver Perez. The 2017 Mets got their money tied up in Neil Walker, and they saw Robert Gsellman and Lugo couldn’t hang as starters for a full season.

In some ways, that leads us to now. The Mets have extremely important decisions to make on who stays and who goes. They need to see who the correct replacements are. From what we’ve see from this front office, we should have faith they are up to the task. That said, we all had very well placed faith in Frank Cashen, and he blew it up.

Seeing where the Mets are, the best decision they can make right now is to absolutely go for it. Yes, that may very well require overpaying for players and rentals. Back in 2015, that didn’t make much sense. It was year one of contending for a young core who was cost controlled. Their decisions, including letting Daniel Murphy walk, turned it into a two year window. That window slammed shut without a World Series.

Right now, the Mets window is definitely open, but it’s being propped open. Without the right options, this window can slam shut after this year. It may well be that after the 2022 season. The Mets definitely need to keep this possibility in mind as they look to add at the trade deadline.

Players like Kris Bryant and Trevor Story dramatically changes the fortunes of this team. The same can be said for a player like Jose Ramirez. It may hurt to overpay for Max Scherzer or another top of the line starter, but imagine a two headed monster of deGrom and Scherzer (and having deGrom insurance) as the Mets look to win a World Series.

Ultimately, the Mets are going to see radical changes to this roster over the next few years. They’re in first place now with a team capable of winning a World Series. They need to make sure they do everything they need to do to get that World Series, or they may be ruing the missed chance for a team in transition over the next few years.

Mets Score Just One In Doubleheader Split

For reasons which defy logic, the New York Mets offense just stops scoring runs all together. That was exactly the case today.

In the first game, the Atlanta Braves scored a run in the second and third off Marcus Stroman. That gave them a 2-0 lead.

Unfortunately, the Mets offense just shot themselves in the foot. In the third, Stroman got it started with a bunt single, and there were two on with one out. Peter Alonso and Michael Conforto struck out to end the inning.

Alonso failed to come through again in the fifth. With two on and one out, he hit a ball down the line which Austin Riley made a 5-5-3 inning ending double play.

The worst one of them all was in the bottom of the seventh. After Tomas Nido singled with one out, James McCann pinch hit for Luis Guillorme (who has been clutch all year) and hit into the game ending double play.

The Mets really wanted that one because not only did Stroman pitch well, but the Mets were also bullpenning the second game of the doubleheader.

After a scoreless inning from Aaron Loup to begin the game, Jeurys Familia got into trouble in the second through no fault of his own.

Alonso lost a Riley pop up in the lights. Then Dansby Swanson hit what should’ve been a double play, but J.D. Davis couldn’t catch the ball on the dive for a ball literally any other third baseman easily fields for an around the horn double play.

Familia rebounded to strike out the next three batters to end the inning. Anthony Banda followed with two scoreless innings. Of course, while this was happening, the Mets offense wasn’t delivering.

In the first, Davis grounded out with RISP. In the fourth, Jonathan Villar struck out swinging, and McCann followed with an inning ending double play.

Finally, the Mets broke through in the fifth. Brandon Nimmo hit a one out single. After an Alonso strikeout, Jeff McNeil knocked in the Mets only run of the game with an RBI double.

From there, the Mets would hold on. Seth Lugo got into trouble allowing the first two on. Freddie Freeman, the ultimate Mets killer, gave one a ride which died right at the wall for an out.

Speaking of Freeman, earlier in the game, he had some fun with Nimmo after Nimmo drew a walk:

After Freeman long flyout, Riley hit into an inning ending double play. That set it up for Edwin Diaz, who struck out the side for his 22nd save of the season.

The Mets avoided near disaster in this game in advance of a potential bullpen game tomorrow. Things could’ve gotten ugly quick for a team who scored once in 14 innings. Instead, they got the split, and they fend off the Braves for at least one day.

Game Notes; The Mets have not been swept in a doubleheader this season.