As I wrote in my last post, the Mets have a lot of versatility. After thinking about it, I noticed something:
2B: Kelly Johnson (L) & Wilmer Flores (R)
3B: Daniel Murphy (L) & Juan Uribe (R)
CF: Kirk Nieuwenhuis (L) & Juan Lagares (R)
This is the making of the perfect platoon situation. Last night the lefties played against the right handed Zach Lee. The aforementioned lefties were in the lineup. Once the game was out of control, the better defensive players were the Juans who came out onto the field (can’t wait to use that pun again).
I believe Collins will look to ride the hot hand more than he’ll look to platoon players. However, when the Mets have faced lefties this year, he has loaded the lineup with right handed batters. I think the platoon system is the prudent way to go that unless/until the Mets get reinforcements (trades, players returning from injury).
Remember, the only two times the Mets won the Workd Series, they effectively used a platoon system.
In his heart of hearts, Terry Collins is an old school manager. You reward players with playing time. If you don’t do your job, take a seat on the bench. This team, while imperfect, is perfect for Collins.
Now, players will have to earn playing time. Before, Collins was throwing just praying that whatever buttons he hit would produce a run. This is not to disparage Collins. While I sometimes question his in game moves (like using Familia in the ninth tonight instead of Logan Verrette or Alex Torres) nothing that has happened with the offense thus far is his fault.
However, the pressure is all on him now. This team has interchangeable parts with limitations. He really only has three good defensive players: Juan Lagares, Juan Uribe, and Lucas Duda. There are only four players with an OPS over .700: Duda, Granderson, Johnson, and Uribe (even if there are problems with OPS calculation). For most of the season, the problem was how to get blood from a stone. Now, it is don’t screw it up. Saturday night was a great start to say the least. The Mets only scored the most amount of runs they scored in Citi Field.
I’d argue the most important development was Duda’s two HR game. For most people, present company included, Duda’s problems were lack of lineup protection and the weight of carrying this team. If Saturday night is any measure, the pressure is off, and he’s back to being the middle of the order threat the Mets need.
A very close second was Comforto’s night. Remember the old adage: sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t make? Well, if the Mets got Parra, Conforto is still in AA. Conforto looks ready this is confirmed by his 4-4 game with 4 runs scored and an RBI. On a night like tonight, I’ll give the Mets the benefit of the doubt that Conforto needed those minor league ABs.
The third important development was Kelly Johnson and Daniel Murphy getting the start and taking advantage of the opportunity. Both players homered and gave Collins no reason to take them out of the lineup. It was also a smart move for Collins to get Uribe in the game. It was also good to see Uribe get a hit.
The rest was gravy. Matt Harvey was Matt Harvey. Apparently now, he’s a real threat at the plate with three consecutive multiple RBI games. Nieuwenhuis seems to be hitting again. The Mets finally beat up on weak pitching. There seemed to be a different energy to this club and to the ballpark. There was a lot to like.
However, we need to reserve judgment until tomorrow when Zack Greinke takes the mound. If the Mets get some runs off of him tomorrow, they really do have something. The Mets have a chance tomorrow not only because they’re throwing deGrom, but also because they have eight legitimate bats (sorry nine tomorrow) in the lineup. Lets Go Mets!
Look, Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher on the planet right now, and he could shut out the ’27 Yankees. Last night, the Mets trotted out a lineup that isn’t even as good as the ’62 Mets. The Mets had three position players in the lineup below the Mendoza line. In all seriousness, Kershaw has to be kicking himself for not getting the perfect game.
Sadly, after Thursday’s press conference, I don’t think anyone in the Mets front office is kicking themselves for letting the season slip away. Earlier this year, New York Post columnist Mike Vaccaro stated the Mets were committing malpractice. He was being kind. This is either incompetence or indifference. Considering the skills of the front office people, I believe it’s the later.
I understand putting Michael Cuddyer out there when he wasn’t producing. You have to assume he will eventually revert back to form. Furthermore, the Mets roster is shallower than the Caddy Shack pool. Only this tIme, that’s not a Baby Ruth. Rather, it’s a bench complete with players under the Mendoza Line.
Cuddyer has been hurt since June 30th. At the time, Cuddyer knew it was bad. It’s almost a full month later, and he’s still not in the DL. In St. Louis, he couldn’t play a full game. The Mets tell us they have money and are looking to make moves, but it simply just isn’t true. Also, we keep hearing Michael Conforto isn’t ready and Kyle Schwarber is an outlier. He might be. He might not be. Regardless, they have to try something. They’ve effectively been playing with a 24 man roster for a month!
This loss is strictly on Sandy Alderson. We criticize players who make a gaff and don’t make themselves available to reporters. Sandy hides behind Terry every game. That, like his roster, is embarrassing . . . almost as embarrassing as Kershaw letting up three hits tonight.
The Mets put everything into this series. They set the rotation to face the Nationals. They were holding three aces and put their chips to the middle of the table. They lost.
You could kill the offense, but they did score three runs off of Jordan Zimmermann, who’s a really good pitcher in his own right. You could go after Thor for struggling all day and only going five innings. However, he only let up one run. Overall, the story of the game is the bottom of the eighth . . . that’s where the Mets blew it.
When you are up two runs in the eighth, you have to win the game. To his credit, Josh Lewin said Familia needed to come in the game after the hard hit liner by Tyler Moore. Instead Parnell stayed in the game, threw a wild pitch putting runners in scoring position. Michael Taylor followed up with a two RBI single Ina fastball down the middle. After not holding on Taylor, Taylor stole second and scored on a Danny Espinosa single. Game over.
As Josh Lewin pointed out, Parnell’s Nationals Park ERA is over 8.00 (before today). Who’s to blame here? First, it’s Parnell. He’s got to close the door. Second, it’s Collins. Look, when you set up the rotation to go directly after the Nationals out of the All Star Break, you have to go all the way. It was time for a four out Familia save attempt there. To his credit, Collins took complete blame for the loss.
However, you can’t feel good either with the offense questions not resolved, an 8-21 record against the Nationals the past two years, and a 17-32 road record. Next up? The Dodgers, who are leading off with Kershaw and Greinke.
You have to admit the atmosphere at Citi Field would’ve felt a whole lot different than it would’ve had they won this game.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say Terry Collins made his biggest managerial decision of the year . . . and the entire planet disagreed with him. Collins pinch hit Eric Campbell for Jacob deGrom in the top of the seventh. We all know that deGrom has better hitting statistics than Campbell, and deGrom was pitching well. No one would have second guessed Collins if he left in deGrom.
Instead, he went with Campbell seeking to capitalize on a missed call leading to a gift double to Nieuwenhuis. The gutsy move paid off as Campbell hit a two run single turning a 2-1 deficit to a 3-2 lead. What was even more surprising was Collins used Campbell over Cuddyer, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth. Good for Collins, who has been a gentleman all year. He’s never publicly complained about this offense and/or roster. Also, good for Campbell. He’s been a punching bag this year. However, he has earned Mets fans respect as he always hustles and really is doing everything he can do to be on the big league roster.
Also, good for deGrom and the Mets pitchers. deGrom pitched well enough to win, and he got that win. This post very well could’ve been about how deGrom handed a lead back and how the Mets pitchers can’t do that with this offense. Hopefully, the explosion in the ninth inning is a sign of things to come. Maybe Campbell’s single allowed everyone to take a deep breath and relax. Maybe it was just one game. I’m choosing to be optimistic.
A hat tip is also due to Matt Harvey. He had a rough start yesterday, but he settled down and powered through 7 innings. It allowed a tired bullpen to rest after an 18 inning game, and it allowed Collins to gamble knowing he had a rested Mejia, Parnell, and Familia.