The history of the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves is typically a one-sided affair. Worse yet, it’s one which features Mets collapses and heart ache.
Most of the horrors were fueled by Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz. Glavine came to the Mets, and the balance of power in the NL East seemed to eventually shift to the Mets. Of course, Glavine melted down in Game 162, and nothing would be the same for that Mets team.
Things re-kindled last year. The Mets were in first place for 103 days. Not only did they eventually cede first place to the eventual World Series champion Braves, but they would also have the indignity of finishing under .500.
Things looked dire again this year. The Mets built a 10.5 game lead. It was 6.5 games after the Mets took four of five in an early August series. The Braves should’ve been left for dead, but they fought back.
It was one thing for the Braves to tie the division. It was another for them to take a half-game lead. The Mets responded by trouncing the Miami Marlins.
They have also gotten some help from the Seattle Mariners. Remember, for all the Braves exploits, they’re only 28-33 against teams with a winning record.
After splitting the first two games of the series, the Braves faced a 6-1 deficit in the eighth before Michael Harris II homered. He’d do it again in an improbable five run ninth giving the Braves a 7-6 lead. The second homer was off former Mets reliever Paul Sewald.
The Mets had already retaken the NL East lead, but this Mariners series could’ve given the Mets some breathing room. The Mets needed a re-payment for the favor of the Robinson Canó trade.
It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Not from the Mets perspective.
Put the 1969 NLCS aside. That was another time in another era of baseball.
The Wild Card and Inter-league play came and so did the Braves tormenting the Mets. Yes, the Mets won two pennants and two division titles. The made the postseason five times.
However, when it came down to just these two teams, the Braves were always on top. The Mets never won a division where the Braves finished second. When they met in the postseason, the Braves came out on top.
That’s what makes the Suarez homer a game changer. In the history of Mets-Braves, the Braves win that game, stay a half game back (tied in the loss column), and they eventually overtake the Mets.
Suarez homered. That is changing the narrative. It moved the Mets up 1.5 games. It’s a little breathing room.
If the Mets do indeed win the division this was one of a series of pivotal moments. It may be THE moment. If so, the Mets owe the Mariners and Suarez a debt of gratitude.
For the first time this season, the New York Mets lost a series. To make matters worse, it was Mets incompetence of the past which came back to haunt them.
1. Paul Sewald is absolutely right. The Mets gave up on him. More to the point, as I’ve pointed out, and as Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen noted on the broadcast, the Mets completely and utterly botched how they handled him. Sewald absolutely deserved this moment.
2. Sewald was all the more of a debacle when you consider the Mets kept Ryan O’Rourke, Tim Peterson, and Jacob Rhame over him. None of those three pitched past the 2019 season. Sewald is now a very good late inning reliever.
3. It’s not just Sewald, but Chris Flexen where the Mets screw up was the Mariners gain. The good news here is the morons in charge who made those decisions are now gone.
4. The people in charge now get us Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt who were again great in their starts. Much of the Mets success this season is directly attributable to bringing those pitchers onboard.
5. That Patrick Mazeika start behind the plate was rough, and it limited Bassitt to 5.1 innings when he had the stuff to go much deeper.
6. That said the legend of Mazeika grew. Not only did he have the game winning homer, but he also had a key hit in that ninth inning rally which fell short.
7. You cannot have worst at-bats than what Starling Marte and Pete Alonso did with the game tying and go-ahead runs on base than what they did. The Alonso one was even worse considering he got one strike in that at-bat, and he didn’t even swing at the pitch over the heart of the plate.
8. Brandon Nimmo came up huge in that inning with an RBI double. In fact, he’s been great all season and has been the Mets best player. He’s clearly an All-Star, and sooner or later, if he keeps this up, he is going to get MVP consideration.
9. Drew Smith went from impenetrable to allowing runs in consecutive appearances. He will be fine.
10. Carlos Carraso looked bad. While he was worse against the St. Louis Cardinals, he arguably looked worse in this start. Again, he’s been very good for all but two starts, so there is no need to dwell too much here.
12. Congratulations to Colin Holderman on his Major League debut. It was rocky, but it was a scoreless inning, and he did flash what could be very good stuff out of the pen.
13. Sewald wasn’t the only pitcher to stick it to his old team. Edwin Diaz struck out all three batters he faced in his only save opportunity in the series. By the way, he’s now played more seasons with the Mets than the Mariners.
14. Joely Rodriguez wasn’t great, and Chasen Shreve allowed homers in consecutive appearances. On that note, Aaron Loup is having another great season. So far, this looks like an unforced error by the Mets, and you do have to wonder how much of that is attributable to the Robinson Cano contract.
15. James McCann being out is going to hurt the Mets. He was great behind the plate, and believe it or not, he was a starting level bat at the position in the majors so far this year.
16. Tomas Nido did step-up in this series actually drawing two walks. To put that in perspective, he drew five all of last season.
17. McCann’s injury is the type which may cost him this year even when he can return. Those hammate bone injuries tend to linger and hamper the ability to hit again. Unfortunately, Francisco Alvarez has been struggling in Double-A putting him even further off the horizon.
18. Francisco Lindor hit a big homer. The Mets need more of that from him.
19. One massive takeaway from this series, even with the series loss, is the Mets beat up on reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. It doesn’t matter if it was an off game or not from Ray, the Mets finally hit left-handed pitching.
20. The Mets were at the Rangers beating the Penguins in Game 7. Perhaps, we will see the Rangers at Citi Field watching the Mets win their own Game 7 this postseason.
With the New York Mets failing to make the postseason, and worse yet, with their collapse, the narrative has become this core hasn’t been good enough to win a World Series. Sandy Alderson seemed to echo that sentiment a bit when he said there were going to be changes to the core this offseason. Of course, with free agency and the like, that was probably going to happen anyway.
Before Steve Cohen purchased the team, the Mets core could probably be defined as Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, and Noah Syndergaard. At least, that was the homegrown core. In that core, you had two ace level pitchers, two All-Star level first baseman (yes, Smith was that in 2020), two All-Star level outfielders, and a jack-of-all trades All-Star.
When you add Francisco Lindor, who joins deGrom as a future Hall of Famer, you’d be hard pressed to find much better cores in all of baseball. This level of talent should be the envy of the other 29 teams in the league. That begs the question what went wrong in 2021.
On the one hand, this was a team which was 3.5 games in first place at the trade deadline. Their high water mark was 5.5 games up on June 16. As we know, this team had the bottom completely fall out as they finished eight games under .500 and 11.5 games back of a mediocre Atlanta Braves team for the division.
The narratives emerged. Luis Rojas was in over his head. The ReplaceMets got them the division lead, but the regulars couldn’t seal the deal. This team had no heart, no will to win, no killer instinct, etc. Basically, chose your narrative and apply it to this team.
In many ways, that’s what people said about the 2007-2008 Mets. As we all learned, firing Willie Randolph wasn’t a solution. Switching out leaders like Cliff Floyd was a mistake. Really, making change for its own sake proved to be a complete and utter disaster. Certainly, so was the Wilpons involvement in a Ponzi Scheme. That said, the level of dissatisfaction with “the core” rather than a real analysis of what was the problem led to the demise of that team.
The real issue with that Mets team was injuries and pitching. During the back-to-back collapses, the pitching completely fell apart at the end. Certainly, Jeff Wilpon playing doctor played a massive role in that happening. In some ways, we’re seeing the same thing happen but with a completely new regime.
Let’s take a look at the 2021 Mets. The first thing which should jump off the page is the team went into the season without a real third baseman or a left fielder. We all knew by Opening Day J.D. Davis could not handle the position, but there he was. Behind him was Luis Guillorme, who was as good a glove in the middle infield as they come, but he was a poor third baseman. After that was Jonathan Villar, but he has never been a good fielder.
As for left field, it’s the Mets mistake as old as time. You cannot just throw anyone in left field and expect it to work. Todd Hundley wasn’t a left fielder. Lucas Duda wasn’t a left fielder. Sticking a good bat in the outfield just never works, and oft times, we see diminishing returns for that player at the plate. While Smith did an admirable job, he again proved he couldn’t play left field.
Of course, the Mets could have gone with McNeil at either position as he’s played both positions well. Instead, the Mets were obstinate he was a second baseman because that was the belief Sandy Alderson stubbornly held during his first stint with the Mets.
This speaks to a real problem with the Mets and how it colored how the core was viewed. Players were asked to do things they shouldn’t have been asked to do. For example, remember Conforto in center field? It’s been an organizational approach to just plug bats everywhere. The end result was the team suffering as players failed to reach their ceilings as they struggled out of position, and we also saw the defense lag.
Now, the defense wasn’t really the problem in 2021. With the analytics and Rojas at the helm, the defense was much improved. However, to a certain extent, the damage had already been done. Steven Matz, who struggled in large part due to the absence of defense and analytics, was cast off for relievers who pitched poorly. We had already seen pitchers like Chris Flexen and Paul Sewald cast off. There’s more.
Really, the issue isn’t the core, but what the Mets did with it and how they built around it. For years, we knew Alonso and Smith were both first baseman, but they Mets absolutely refused to make the tough decision and pick just one of them and try to move the other to address a need. It’s a decision which has held this team back for three years now. As for the justification of the anticipation of the universal DH, that’s no reason to throw away three seasons, especially with Alonso and Smith is going to a free agency after the 2024 season.
Looking deeper, this was a team really harmed by injuries. Really, you can make the argument if deGrom was healthy, they don’t collapse. If Carlos Carrasco isn’t hurt in Spring Training, they don’t collapse. If Syndergaard returns when anticipated, they don’t collapse. However, that happened. That’s more of a sign of a snake bit team than it is a problem with the core.
Really, despite the flaws in roster building, this team was good enough. We actually saw it with this team being in first place despite the injuries and the odds. If you’re being honest in your assessment, you should be saying the Mets need to get a real third baseman and left fielder, and this team will be primed to win a World Series. After all, this team with a relatively shallow pitching staff and being plagued by injuries was on the precipice.
That brings us to the next issue. The front office didn’t try to go for it. There was the opportunity, and they chose not to get the pitching this team needed. There’s no good explanation why they didn’t.
As a result, the people who failed at supplementing a very good core is now going to call it an eroding one. They’re going to allow people to falsely accuse this core of not being good enough to win. It’s complete and utter nonsense, and it completely obfuscates what the real problem is – how this organization has approached building rosters.
Overall, if the Mets bring back this same exact roster replacing Davis at third with a real third baseman and putting McNeil in left field, they will be the best team in baseball. There should be absolutely no doubts about that.
In what might’ve been his last start of the season, Chris Flexen picked up his 14th win of the year. Now, there are better ways to adjudge pitchers, but those 14 wins is good for fifth best in all of baseball.
Overall, he had a good year. In 30 starts, he was 14-6 with a 3.67 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, and a 6.4 K/9. He averaged 5.2 innings per start with a 114 ERA+ and a 3.82 FIP.
Overall, Flexen had a very good year, and he appears poised to build on this. With his being under team control through 2026, the Seattle Mariners have a solid rotation arm as they emerge from this rebuild.
The Mariners also have a closer. Paul Sewald has been a great closer for the Mariners. In 58 appearances, he is 9-3 with 11 saves, a 2.83 ERA, 1.011 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, and a 14.6 K/9.
Flexen and Sewald are a big reason why the Mariners are in the postseason picture. Frankly, they are two pitchers who would help any of the 30 Major League teams make the postseason.
The Mariners were smart to pounce on the opportunity to sign them. They look like geniuses for taking former low round picks and got the most out of their talent.
The Mets? Well, again, they look bad here.
The Mets had Flexen and Sewald, and they just gave them away for nothing. They sent Flexen to Korea. Sewald was a straight DFA making him a free agent.
Flexen was unnecessarily rushed to the majors after just seven Double-A starts. He was bounced between the minors and majors and starting and relieving. He’d make an emergency relief appearance not long after a start and then not pitch for nearly two weeks.
Unlike Flexen, Sewald had occasional flashes of brilliance. That was his downfall in the Terry Collins ride the hot hand guide to managing.
One day, he’d be in a pressure spot. In another, he’d pitch three innings in long relief. He’d pitch multiple days in a row and then struggle. Then, he’d be punished and benched.
Mostly due to their usage and how their development wasn’t prioritized, Flexen and Sewald never had a chance with the Mets. No one could really succeed with how they were treated, and as a result, they failed.
Notably, this season especially, Mets pitchers are thriving elsewhere. Steven Matz is also having a good year. While his struggles were different in nature, they were similarly something which could’ve been rectified with the Mets.
You see, far too often, people want to brush players succeeding elsewhere as they couldn’t handle New York. Certainly, this is something which does occur, but it happens far less frequently than people believe.
This isn’t can succeed in New York. It’s can’t succeed with the Mets. That’s a Mets problem and not a player problem.
Some of the culprits are gone from the organization. Jeremy Hefner appears well poised to put the Mets in position to not allow these mistakes to happen again.
As the Mets organization continues to overturn and build, they need an eye towards how to build the best possible organization for players to thrive. Part of that is adapting new practices learned from other places.
Seeing Flexen and Sewald, it’s also taking a look at the Mets previous regime. They need to learn how the Mets were so successful locating these overlooked talents and getting them to the majors. They also need to see how they can make sure they have this success in Flushing.
Time and again, we’ve seen Seth Lugo come up huge. That’s both in the starting rotation, where he wants to be, and the bullpen, where he has established himself as the best reliever in baseball.
When it comes to Lugo, it’s never really been a question of whether he could pitch in the rotation. The question is what is his best role on this Mets team.
As this Mets bullpen and pitching staff as a whole is constituted, they lean on Lugo’s ability to not just go multiple innings, but to also get the biggest outs in the game. With the current state of the rotation, you could argue Lugo’s ability to eat those innings in pressure spots makes him all the more needed in the bullpen.
With injuries and opt outs, Jacob deGrom is the only Mets starter guaranteed to give you at least five innings. That’s it. As a result, there’s an onus and strain on the bullpen.
The real value with Lugo is his versatility. He’s a one inning closer. He’s a long man. He’s there to bail you out of the inning. No one else can do what he does.
The aforementioned long men can give you innings, but they cannot be relied upon in a crucial spot. Right now, Justin Wilson and maybe Jared Hughes can be relied upon in a crucial spot, but they can’t give you more than three outs in a consistent fashion.
As we saw last night, the Mets bullpen is still very suspect in those late innings when Lugo is unavailable. Part of the reason is Dellin Betances, Edwin Diaz, and Jeurys Familia are occasionally prone to fits of wildness.
With respect to Diaz and Familia, they’ve made significant strides from their disastrous 2019 season. As previously explained, Diaz can likely be relied upon to close again. However, like most closers, he’s not as good or as reliable when being brought into a jam.
With respect to Betances, he’s not the same reliever he once was. His velocity is down, and he’s more hittable. As a result, he’s no longer the guy you can just plug into the seventh or eighth.
Now, you may want to argue Steven Matz may be able to be that guy. If that is the case, why remove him from the rotation and disrupt the status quo.
Taking Matz out of the rotation implicitly means the Mets don’t trust him. That goes double when the Mets won’t start him against a Martins team with the fifth wurst wRC+ in the National League.
Digging deeper, the Marlins are the worst offensive team the Mets face all year. This is the team you let Matz get right against. That is all the more the case when the Marlins have a 69 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
All told, the Mets bullpen is already getting taxed. It’s going to get worse with every Gsellman and Oswalt start. Now, it’s going to get worse with each Lugo 2-3 inning start.
Removing Matz from the rotation now is a short-sighted panic move. The team simply doesn’t have the arms for three bullpen games through each turn through the rotation. They’re even less equipped without Lugo.
In the end, Lugo will be a good starter. It’s just that the entire team is not built to have Lugo in the rotation. The Mets should be aware of this, but as usual, Brodie Van Wagenen thinks he knows better than everyone. Each and every time he thinks that, the decision blows up in the Mets faces.
Chances are, this decision will too.
For all his bravado, Brodie Van Wagenen has not only stripped the farm system down, but he did it while impinging the Major League roster’s ability to compete for a World Series. To put it in perspective, let’s just look at what the Mets roster would look like right now if Van Wagenen only kept the Mets players in the organization had he not taken the job, or, if he did nothing.
Some caveats here. This assumes free agents were re-signed. Without the Robinson Cano deal, that would’ve been possible. Also, it assumes the same players who are injured for the season would remain injured. Finally, this will eliminate those players not on active 28 man rosters. With that in mind, here’s what the 2020 Mets would’ve looked like.
2B Jeff McNeil
3B Todd Frazier
SS Amed Rosario
CF Juan Lagares
DH Pete Alonso
INF Wilmer Flores
1B/OF Jay Bruce
INF Luis Guillorme
RHP Jacob deGrom
RHP Zack Wheeler
LHP Steven Matz
LHP Anthony Kay
LHP David Peterson
RHP Seth Lugo
RHP Rafael Montero
RHP Justin Dunn
RHP Robert Gsellman
RHP Drew Smith
LHP Blake Taylor
RHP Bobby Wahl
LHP Daniel Zamora
RHP Paul Sewald
RHP Franklyn Kilome
Looking at the team overall, the starting pitching is vastly superior as is the team defense. The bullpen may not be as deep, but they certainly have the arms.
Overall, this non-Van Wagenen impacted roster would’ve certainly been better than the 9-14 team his Mets roster is. This just goes to show you how bad of a GM Van Wagenen is.
He’s made the Mets worse in 2020, and he’s made the Mets future less promising. You could not have done a worse job than Van Wagenen has done.
It seems at least once a year the Washington Nationals just embarrass the Mets. While much has changed in this COVID19 world, apparently, this tradition has survived.
Brandon Nimmo had a rough night in the outfield. He didn’t make an error, but he didn’t get to a lot of balls. He wasn’t the only one off during the Nationals 16-4 thrashing of a the Mets.
The Nationals hit four homers with two of them coming from former Met Asdrubal Cabrera. That included a true juiced ball homer.
JUICED BALL HR OF THE NIGHT pic.twitter.com/uGxSYEHKSb
— Dookie Blossom Gain III (@_Hornik_) August 11, 2020
You may remember Cabrera from his stint with the Mets. If not, you may remember him as the guy Brodie Van Wagenen didn’t give a courtesy call to when he instead opted to sign his former client Jed Lowrie, who had a busted knee.
Lowrie gave the Mets nine pinch hit attempts, and Cabrera helped the Nationals win the World Series. He also helped destroy the Mets tonight. So, thanks for that Brodie.
Really, the less said about this debacle, the better. It’s time to turn the page and just try to figure out how to piece together a starting rotation. Again, thanks for that Brodie.
Well, after losing two in a row, Rick Porcello got to play the role of stopper for his hometown team. Initially, it didn’t look good.
After two quick outs, notorious Mets killer Freddie Freeman got the rally started with a single. That started a string of four starting singles. The last two came for Matt Adams and former Met Travis d’Arnaud. That gave the Braves a 2-0 lead when if they lowered Porcello’s ERA.
Rick Porcello just allowed two runs in the first inning, which LOWERED his ERA from 27.00 to 24.00.
— Ed Leyro (@Studi_Metsimus) July 31, 2020
Porcello would actually settle in, and he’d put up some zeros. Thanks to a six run fifth, he’d be in position to pick up the win.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 1, 2020
Alonso walked to force in a run, and then Michael Conforto showed incredible wrist strength on a 3-2 check swing and also walked to force in a run. Yoenis Cespedes hit a two run double. The Mets then batted around with Cano hitting an RBI single increasing the Mets lead to 8-2.
You’d think the Mets should cruise, but then again, this is the Mets.
After Porcello issued a lead-off walk to Dansby Swanson, J.D. Davis just flat out dropped a fly ball. His error was dubbed the Mets worst error of the year by Gary Cohen. Instead of one on, one out, it was two on, no outs. That led to Paul Sewald replacing Porcello thereby cheating Porcello of the chance of getting the win.
Again, it was Adams and d’Arnaud hurting the Mets. Adams hit an RBI double, and d’Arnaud singles to pull the Braves within 8-4. An Austin Riley RBI groundout made it 8-5.
An Amed Rosario homer to lead off the sixth began a two run inning giving the Mets a 10-5 lead. It still wasn’t enough.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 1, 2020
Chasen Shreve, easily the Mets best pitcher of the night still allowed a run in his two innings. On the bright side, five of his six outs recorded were strikeouts. His one non-strikeout was a great play by Gimenez
— Matt Musico (@mmusico8) August 1, 2020
The Mets brought on Dellin Betances to start the eighth, and that’s when the wheels fell off.
Betances didn’t have it both in terms of control and stuff as he was only hitting 94 MPH on the gun. The bad inning started with a leadoff single by Adeiny Hechavarria. Then, Betances walked Ender Inciarte.
Swanson singled to pull the Braves within 10-7. Then, Betances nearly hit Freeman on a 3-0 pitch. That pitch got past Ramos. Betances was late to the plate, and he still almost got the tag down on Inciarte. In fact, it appeared he did, but replay confirmed the run.
Lugo wasn’t sharp. He walked Marcell Ozuna. That was the seventh walk Mets pitchers issued and the fifth by the Mets bullpen. After Lugo got Johan Camargo to hit a shallow fly ball, d’Arnaud came up to the plate.
d’Arnaud would hit an RBI double to right center. Notably, on that play career right fielder Ryan Cordell, put in center for defense, couldn’t cut it off in time. As a result, it was a bases clearing double giving the Braves an 11-10 lead.
Instead, the Mets fell behind. The decisive blow was delivered by their former catcher, a guy Brodie Van Wagenen cut. Last year, d’Arnaud was more productive than Ramos, and tonight, d’Arnaud was 3-for-4 with a double, walk, and five RBI.
In a nice juxtaposition, it was Ramos, who is hitting .208 this year, who flew out to end the game with the tying run at second. That saddled Lugo with the loss and the entire Mets team with an uglier loss.
This was an ugly loss which exposed the Mets bullpen and only further highlighted the team’s bad defense. When you have that, you’re going to have more than your fair share of these losses.
Game Notes: Gimenez started at third over Jeff McNeil. Mets scored 10 runs tonight. They’ve scored 12 runs in five home games.
Apparently, Christian Vazquez now belongs on this list.
After an impressive first start of the season, Steven Matz was good again tonight. Good, not great, and that was because of Vazquez.
Over his 5.1 innings, Matz allowed three runs on eight hits. All three of those runs came on Vazquez homers.
The first homer came in the top of the second. Matt settled in, and the Mets would get him a lead. In the third, Jeff McNeil hit a bases loaded two RBI single. The Mets only had one out, but failed to push across another run. It would cost them.
In the fourth, Matz had one of his moments of old. Xander Bogaerts led off the inning with a slow roller down the third base line. McNeil had little choice but to eat it. Matz was visibility frustrated by getting beat on a slow dribbler off a good pitch.
Like we’ve seen in the past with him, he can let the emotions get the better of him. He’d leave a fastball up and over the middle of the plate, and Vazquez would hit his second homer of the game giving the Red Sox a 3-2 lead.
Vazquez really just wore out the Mets in this four game two city set. He was 4-for-12 with three homers and four RBI. All three of his homers came over the last two games.
It wasn’t just his work at the plate. He was also terrific behind the plate. He worked well with Martin Perez. On that note, Perez allowed just two runs on two hits and four walks over 5.1 innings.
Vazquez would also throw out one of the two stolen base attempts against him.
Back to Perez, he was good but very wild walking four. Even with those four walks, the Mets really only got something started in the third against Perez.
Fortunately, the Mets bullpen was great with Drew Smith pitching 1.2 scoreless with two strikeouts. Jeurys Familia has his turbo sinker working striking out two in a 1-2-3 eighth. That gave the Mets a chance.
Michael Conforto came up with a chance, but he had a terrible at-bat. He was uncomfortable with many check swings, and he’d just get overpowered when he struck out. As good as Conforto was to start he year, he’s been that bad the last two games.
Despite not really preparing for the season and missing Summer Camp, the Mets activated Brian Dozier. Not only was he activated, but he’d also be thrust into the starting lineup.
Dozier was 0-for-2 with a GIDP. With the Red Sox pitching the right-handed Heath Hembree, Luis Rojas sent Robinson Cano to the plate. After Cano’s lead-off single, Rojas sent Gimenez in to pinch run for Cano. Gimenez would steal a base, but he’d get stranded.
That meant Gimenez was up in the Dozier/Cano spot in the eighth. Unlike yesterday when he tripled, he rolled over one for the inning ending groundout.
Brandon Workman, who really labored yesterday and nearly blew the save, came on to try to get another save tonight.
Alonso swung at a 2-2 pitch well out of the zone to strike out and end the game. The Mets turned what should’ve been a series sweep with two flat out ugly loses at home, and they fell back under .500.
Game Notes: Dozier replaced Eduardo Nunez, who was placed on the IL. Daniel Zamora was recalled, and Hunter Strickland was designated for assignment. Despite having a 22 game on base streak, Brandon Nimmo continues to bat ninth.
Last night, Corey Oswalt was thrust into action, and well, he was terrible. In addition to allowing two inherited runners from Rick Porcello to score, he allowed five runs over four innings. He was sent down after that poor performance.
Looking at Oswalt’s career, it’s difficult to say last night was surprising. After all, over the last two years, he has made 12 starts and seven relief appearances with uninspiring results. Overall, he was 3-4 with a 6.43 ERA and 1.458 WHIP.
There’s nothing there which would suggest last night was a fluke. In fact, last night wasn’t a fluke. Really, last night was a microcosm of why Oswalt has struggled so mightily in his Major League career.
Even if the Mets would not officially confirm it, Oswalt was slated to be the Mets fifth starter. He was supposed to be preparing for a Tuesday start against the Boston Red Sox.
Instead, Oswalt was rushing to warm up to relieve and bail out Porcello. Luis Rojas could have used an actual relief pitcher to get the Mets out of the inning and then switch to Oswalt. He also could’ve gone to Paul Sewald, who has experience entering a game with runner on and giving the Mets multiple innings.
Instead, Oswalt was rushed to warm up and again put in a position to fail. This has been the story of Oswalt’s brief MLB career.
We have seen Oswalt flown cross country and make relief appearances on fewer than three days rest. We’ve seen him sit for weeks unused. He’d been shuttled back-and-forth between Triple-A and the majors and shuffled between the rotation and bullpen.
No pitcher can develop, thrive, and succeed under these circumstances. It’s simply bizarre the Mets continue to do this with Oswalt and expect different results. If this was any team other than the Mets, you’d be shocked a team would treat a prospect this way.
When you look at his career, he really only had one almost normal stretch of starts in the Majors. From July 4 – August 16, he made seven starts (plus an additional one in Triple-A), and he was 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA while averaging 5.1 innings per start.
When you take out his first poor start, which came on the heels of his being unused for over a week, Oswalt was 2-1 with a 4.24 ERA while averaging 5.2 innings per start.
No, these are not great numbers. However, these numbers show the then 24 year old rookie had the ability to pitch at the Major League level. With some time to develop, he could’ve improved and maybe emerged to be more than the fifth starter he appeared to be.
Maybe not. Fact is, we don’t and can’t know. The biggest reason why is the Mets absolutely refuse to put Oswalt in a position where he can succeed. Somehow that includes this year for a team with no starting pitching depth. It’s just ponderous.
Hopefully, at some point someone will present Oswalt with a chance to succeed. When he gets that chance, he may well prove everyone who says he can’t succeed wrong, very wrong. For that to happen, it may have to happen with a different organization, one who believes in helping all of their pitchers succeed.