A Bruce Salary Dump Would Be Unacceptable

Jon Heyman recently reported that a rival executive thinks the Mets might consider trading Jay Bruce once they pick up his 13 million dollar contract option after the season. This news really isn’t all that shocking. Mets fans have been speculating for months that this might be a possibility depending on the outcome of the Yoenis Cespedes contract situation.

I want to make one thing clear though. A trade of Jay Bruce for a pitcher or position player that improves the major league roster is completely acceptable. A trade of Jay Bruce for a prospect that improves the overall depth in our farm system is also acceptable provided that the Mets make corresponding moves to enhance the quality of the major league roster in significant ways. But the Mets cannot trade Jay Bruce if they are purely being motivated by financial reasons and plan to just hand the job to Michael Conforto. I refuse to accept the narrative that many fans are citing which is “the Mets can use the Jay Bruce money to pay for Yoenis Cespedes”. The focus of the offseason should be on improving the overall roster relative to last season in an effort to win a championship. I realize every team has payroll limits, but I don’t want those limits to be the running theme that dominates the Mets offseason headlines. And so far, it has already been headline news in the form of the Yoenis Cespedes opt-out discussion and the Neil Walker qualifying offer debate.

The NLCS matchup should be an eye opener for the Mets. The Cubs and Dodgers have incredibly talented farm systems and had arguably the deepest preseason major league rosters. But it’s no coincidence that they were the highest spending teams in the NL at the end of the season. The Cubs “won” the 2015/16 offseason when they signed Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, and John Lackey and now they have a great chance to win the World Series. When the Cubs retained Dexter Fowler their organization didn’t worry about finding enough playing time for Kyle Schwarber, Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward, and Jorge Soler. And the Mets shouldn’t worry either if they wind up retaining Bruce and Conforto.

The Dodgers brought in a plethora of starting pitchers (Scott Kazmir (3 years 48 million), Kenta Maeda (8 years 25 million), Brett Anderson (accepted 15.8 millon qualifying offer)) before the season started to replace Zack Greinke, and they certainly made use of their starting pitching depth over the course of the year. They re-signed second basemen Howie Kendrick and Chase Utley and turned the former into a utility player. Despite having the most regular season injuries in recorded baseball history, the Dodgers were able to survive, win the NL West, and make a deep playoff run because of their unrivaled depth.

Spending big money on payroll doesn’t always equate to success in baseball. But in 2016, the NL teams that flexed their financial muscle in the offseason and assembled deep rosters made it to the NLCS. That can’t be ignored.

Please don’t read this post and confuse me for a member of the Jay Bruce fan club. I don’t think Jay Bruce has to be on the 2017 team for the Mets to have success. And I certainly don’t want the Mets to spend money for the sake of spending money or to “make a splash”. But the days of the Mets making a purely financially motivated roster decision should be over. They appeared to be over last offseason when the Mets raised payroll and retained Cespedes. But the Mets must continue on that track if they want to win it all. Otherwise they will be at a real disadvantage when trying to overtake the Dodgers and Cubs going forward. Because those teams certainly aren’t going to stop spending like big market clubs any time soon.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on Mets Merized Online.

Everything Is Rigged!

Apparently saying “it was rigged” right before you lose whatever you’re competing in is the new hot trend. Trump is going with “it was rigged” for the election. And now Jose Bautista is implying the ALCS has been rigged after the Blue Jays dropped the first two games of the series in Cleveland. 

And what is he basing his claim on? He’s pissed about balls and strikes. Surprise, surprise! The Bautista crybaby sore loser routine is a joke considering the series is far from over. And it’s even more pathetic considering the Jays played in the ALCS last year. How about you act like you’ve been there before Jose? Okay?

He’s also making a stink about the wrong issue.

Wait so the umpires haven’t had a perfect strike zone in the ALCS? Really?!? Talk about the least shocking news of all time. Umps aren’t perfect in the ALCS because they are never perfect. What else is new? I rant and rave about this every season. This isn’t about MLB intentionally fixing a series so the Indians can play in the World Series. There’s no way MLB is dying to have Chief Wahoo plastered all over this year’s World Series memorabilia. If anything, Jose Bautista should be joining me in the crusade for robot umpires. Please fix the horrible officiating MLB! Fix replay!

All that being said, if the sore loser/woe is me routine is en vogue then the majority of Mets fans (myself included) are in luck. I’ll obviously continue to monitor this, but I’m fully prepared to whine and complain about how unlucky the Mets are for the entire offseason and all of the 2017 Mets campaign. Quite frankly, that’s going to happen whether it’s en vogue or not.

As far as the playoffs go, I think the NLCS matchup should be an eye opener for the Mets. The Cubs and Dodgers are the highest spending NL teams, have incredibly deep farm systems, and had arguably the deepest preseason major league rosters. In other words, spend money Wilpons! Keep everyone on the current team and then add a star reliever and another big time hitter. Sign the best free agents! The Cubs won the 2015/16 offseason, and now they have a great chance to win the World Series. The Dodgers lost Zack Greinke, and then they stockpiled starting pitchers to replace him. And what happened? Despite having the most injuries in recorded baseball history, the Dodgers were able to survive, win the NL West, and make a deep playoff run because of their depth. All of the professional sports leagues are copycat leagues. So I hope the Mets copy the Dodgers and Cubs. Please sign stars, continue to build a deep farm system, and explore every conceivable avenue to bolster our already talented roster. And if the Mets fail to do this then I’ll obviously just complain and say the offseason was rigged. With the Wilpons running the team it basically is rigged in favor of their pockets.

Is A Dickey Reunion Possible?

Let me say this right off the bat. I’m not writing this to sell people on the notion that R.A. Dickey has another Cy Young caliber season left in his right arm. I’m not writing this to try and convince people that Dickey the knuckleballer is a better rotation option than our five young aces, our newly emerging Triple-A starting depth, or our other 43 year old Big Sexy starting pitcher. But I am writing this to say that it may be worth bringing in some cheap veteran rotation insurance this offseason considering all the injuries we witnessed this year.

Matt Harvey (thoracic outlet syndrome), Jacob deGrom (ulnar nerve), and Steven Matz (elbow bone spur) all had season-ending surgery to repair their pitching arm issues. Noah Syndergaard was pitching this season with a bone spur, but the team decided against surgery to repair the issue. Robert Gsellman had his labrum surgically repaired in his non-pitching shoulder. Zack Wheeler has missed two straight seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery (he’s probably still listed as day-to-day).

From now on every single conversation about one of the Mets’ young starters will include the caveat “if he can stay healthy”.

Bartolo Colon will eventually be a free agent at 43 years old, and there’s no guarantee he returns to the Mets. The young aces are all supposedly going to be recovered and ready to pitch come spring training. But on the off chance that one of the young starters experiences a slightly delayed recovery timeline (very unlikely because as we all know an injury recovery setback has never happened to a single Mets player in history) it might make sense to have a veteran innings eater like R.A. Dickey as an option.

Dickey will be 42 years old this month and wasn’t that effective last year for the Blue Jays (10-15, 4.46 ERA). His walk rate was up (3.3 BB/9) relative to his career norm (2.8) and his strikeout rate (6.7 K/9) was down relative to his best seasons where he averaged over 7 Ks per 9 innings. But prior to last year, he had pitched 200+ innings for five straight seasons. In 2014 and 2015 he posted an ERA under 4.

He said he’s considering retirement after the season, but if he does continue to play, he’s openly said he wants to play for a team that gives him a chance to win it all. The Mets certainly fit that description. If the interest in Dickey is limited league-wide, and he would sign a one-year deal at a minimal cost (significantly less than the 12 million he made in 2016), I think he’d be a fine rotation insurance policy for the Mets.

The Mets have plenty of major issues to tackle this offseason before they even begin to think about starting pitching depth. And despite all the question marks surrounding their young starters, it’s unlikely the Mets will spend big money in free agency on a starter or trade for a big time arm.

This team is built on the backs of our five young aces. If we are ever going to make it to the promised land in October, the young arms will be the ones that lead us there. But Bartolo Colon emerging as the most durable pitcher in the Mets rotation in 2016 has served as a very real reminder of how fragile the young rotation can be.

Plus, imagine how amazing the 2017 storyline would be if we paired Bartolo and Dickey in the same rotation even for a short stretch. If the stars align and the cost is minimal, I would have no problem watching two 40 year old fan favorites serving as insurance for the Mets young studs. After all, whether they are among the youngest arms in the league or the oldest, you can never have enough pitching.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on Mets Merized Online.

Terry’s Dog-Tired 

“I’m tired, boss. Dog tired. Tired of all the heartbreaking losses. Tired of all the media second guessing. Tired of the Wilpons “forgetting” to pay my salary. But mostly, I’m just tired of all the player injuries, day after day.” – Terry Collins to Sandy Alderson (probably)
I’ve been baffled by many of Terry’s managerial decisions over the years and confused by some of his postgame statements. But there was nothing confusing or shocking about the quotes from Terry that came out today. Today it was reported that Terry is tired and considering retirement after next season. Quite frankly, I feel the exact same way. This 2016 team sucked the life out of me. If I feel this way after next season I’m ready to move down to Florida and be Terry’s neighbor. We’ll just bask in the sun, and he can show me how he achieves his glorious tan. I’ll watch spring training baseball, and then when the teams head north I’ll go to the beach everyday and listen to the games on the radio. Combining the beach with the Mets might at least help keep my regular season blood pressure down.

So if Terry leaves who’s up next? Terry said he’s been struggling with all the travel. Considering Dan Warthen struggles to travel from the bench to the pitcher’s mound for the occasional conference, I can’t imagine he steps into the manager’s role.

Wally Backman just left the organization. Perfect timing Wally! The guy was waiting for an opportunity for eight years, decided it wasn’t going to happen, stormed off, and a month later Terry announces he’s running out of gas. Whoops!

Tim Teufel is out. He couldn’t even coach third base this year. Maybe David Wright? Bring back the player/manager? Do they have a DL for managers because I’m not even sure David can sit on the bench without tweaking that back of his. He’d probably have to lie down flat on the bench and watch the action from an iPad or something.

What about Bartolo Colon?!? I’d absolutely be in favor of appointing His Sexiness to the managerial throne as long as his translator is willing to work the extra hours.

Who’s left? Bench coach Dick Scott? I’m not even sure I know what he looks like. Did SNY show him on camera once this year? Apparently he’s number 23. The Mets’ media guide probably just has a photo of Mr. Met on Dick Scott’s page, and they just assigned him Michael Jordan’s number.

I can’t wait until Jeff Wilpon takes over the managerial reins in 2018 and has Noah Syndergaard throw 350 innings.

Rest up Terry. We all need this long winter vacation.

The Mets Will Double Down In 2017

Do you like teams built around talented young power arms that could fall apart due to injury at any moment? Do you like streaky power hitters and an offense that scores the majority of its runs via the long ball? Do you like short term contracts and a hard mandate from ownership to avoid expensive long term deals? Well then you probably love the team Sandy Alderson has assembled in Queens. Pitching, power, and payroll flexibility have been three of the hallmarks of Sandy’s New York Mets. And if you’ve watched him operate over the last six years you also probably realize that he’s unlikely to change his approach for the 2017 season. That’s right folks. Don’t get excited about the prospect of the Mets adding a number of new high-priced free agents. Brace yourselves. Sandy is about to double down on the current roster.

Pitching: Despite the injuries to our pitching staff of young aces, the Mets had the third ranked team ERA (3.58) in 2016. Noah Syndergaard emerged as a stud ace. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz are all supposed to be healthy and recovered from their surgeries by Spring Training. Bartolo Colon has stated he wants to return to the Mets in 2017, and considering he was the most durable arm on the staff in 2016 (led the team with 191.2 IP) the Mets have every reason to bring him back. Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, and Gabriel Ynoa stepped up down the stretch and gave the Mets confidence in their organizational rotation depth.

Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed were arguably the two most reliable relievers in baseball in 2016. The Mets aren’t likely to shell out big bucks on a late inning reliever like Aroldis Chapman when they already have an elite back-end bullpen combo. They aren’t likely to bring in another starter when they have all the young aces due back for Spring Training and other young arms ready to step up at Triple-A. All signs point to the pitching staff remaining fully intact and mostly unchanged next season.

Power: The Mets hit 218 homers as a team in 2016 (5th in baseball). They had four regulars who hit 20 or more homers (Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera). Jay Bruce hit 8 home runs as a Met and 33 on the season. Lucas Duda and David Wright failed to amass double-digit home runs totals due to injury, but they’ve both done so many times during their careers. Travis d’Arnaud had an awful season at the plate in 2016 and struggled to throw out base runners, but it’s possible that some of that was due to the rotator cuff injury he suffered during the season.

D’Arnaud is under team control for three more seasons, and the Mets will almost certainly bank on him returning to his 2014/15 form where he showed his power potential. Asdrubal Cabrera is signed for next season and his second half power surge helped propel the team to the Wild Card game. David Wright seemingly plans to attempt another comeback and has no interest in retiring. Lucas Duda is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility and is likely to be tendered a contract. Curtis Granderson is signed for one more season, and when the Mets inevitably pick up Jay Bruce’s one year 13 million dollar option he’ll be under team control as well. If Sandy has his way, this entire group of power hitters will return in 2017.

Payroll Flexibility: The final characteristic of Sandy’s club is an emphasis on payroll/roster flexibility. Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed, and Jose Reyes are all likely to return next year on one year contracts. That sounds like a Sandy Alderson payroll/roster flexibility dream scenario. It will allow him to re-evaluate a large portion of the roster at the end of next season.

The only real offseason question marks surround the future of Neil Walker and Yoenis Cespedes. This is where the payroll flexibility trait becomes a double-edged sword. On the surface, it makes sense for the Mets to retain Yo and Walker. They were arguably the two most productive hitters on the roster last year. But we all know ownership is unlikely to engage in a bidding war and pay Yo the contract he deserves if he decides to opt-out of his deal. Based on historical precedent, it’s unlikely that Sandy signs Neil Walker to a long-term deal either. But his late season back surgery at least makes it conceivable that he will entertain accepting a one year 16.7 million dollar qualifying offer if the Mets extend it. If by some miracle Walker accepts a qualifying offer and ownership is willing to add a few extra years to Cespedes’ current deal to keep him from opting out, the Mets might just be able to keep the entire roster intact while also meeting Sandy’s long-term payroll flexibility standards.

The bottom line is once you take a look at the state of the roster outlined above, it becomes pretty clear that Sandy is going to double down on his three pillars- pitching, power, and payroll flexibility. They may look to trade some outfield depth for another player that fits better on the roster and to create an opportunity for Michael Conforto to play. But based on how Sandy has operated in the past, I wouldn’t expect a massive roster overhaul. He’s more likely to make every effort to bring back this entire 87 win squad and hope that the team has some better luck in 2017. And considering Sandy led this team to two straight playoff appearances for only the second time in franchise history, it’s hard for me to doubt him if that turns out to be his approach.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on Mets Merized Online.

Season Over; Pray For The Metssiah

Final Score: Giants 3, Mets 0

The Mets lost the NL Wild Card game last night to MadBum and the Giants. The season is over. Pray for the Metssiah. The game itself was a true nail-biter and basically the Mets’ worst nightmare. MadBum pitched a complete game shutout, and once again reminded the baseball world why he is the postseason GOAT. He kept the Mets off-balance all night and his dominance was really the only storyline that mattered in the end. 

First Time Through: The first time through the order the Mets were extra aggressive against Bumgarner. I suppose they figured they’d see hittable pitches early in the at-bat before MadBum was able to get ahead in the count. The plan backfired, and Bumgarner had an incredibly low pitch count after three innings. 

Loney Stinks: The Mets started James Loney in this game and made their typical claim that he’s a better defender than Duda. He isn’t. He stinks. He can’t hit either. Rene Rivera led off the third inning with a single, and then James Loney hit into a double play on the first pitch of his at-bat. Pathetic.

Umps Stink: In the fourth inning, Thor issued a leadoff walk to Denard Span. As expected, the Giants were running on Thor. Span immediately stole second base, but he was called out on the field for some reason. On replay it was clear that Span was safe, but the umps reviewed and upheld the out call (wrong call) on the field. It was a gift blown call for the Mets. The umps sucked all game. The home plate dude had an inconsistent strike zone. Bumgarner was barking at him non-stop. Hopefully Rob Manfred rolls out robot umps in the offseason. I’m sick of these mooks. 

Squandered Chance: In the fifth inning T.J. Rivera doubled. Then Jay Bruce came up with a runner in scoring position and struck out. He not only failed to come through with a hit, but he also failed to advance the runner. Awful. Then Rene Rivera hit a ball to shortstop and T.J. Rivera was caught off second base. Rene managed to get to second base while T.J. was in a rundown but it was awful base running by T.J.

Late Battling: Span singled and stole another base in the 6th inning (that time it counted). But Thor was able to escape the inning thanks to an unreal two out Grandy catch in center field. In the 7th inning with two outs, Thor walked Brandon Crawford. Then Loney made an awful effort on an Angel Pagan infield ground ball that led to a single. But with runners on first and second base Noah Syndergaard buckled down and retired Panik to end the inning. 

Thor: Noah was really dominant in this game. He pitched 7 scoreless innings, gave up 2 hits, 3 walks, and struck out 10. Against almost any other pitcher this game is going down as a legendary Syndergaard start. Unfortunately MadBum outdueled him, plain and simple. 

Familia/Reed Dead Arms: I’ve raved on and on for months now about how Terry has killed his best relievers by overusing them. The fatigue of Reed/Familia showed a bit in late September, and it showed last night. Addison Reed gave up a leadoff single and struggled in the 8th inning with walks and passed balls. He ultimately intentionally walked Buster Posey to load the bases with two outs for Hunter Pence. By some miracle Reed was able to strike out Pence and escape that jam.

In the bottom of the 8th inning, Ty Kelly singled but Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera failed to come through with a big hit. Then Jeurys Familia had nothing in the 9th inning. He gave up a three-run shot to Mr. Nobody Conor Gillaspie. It started with a leadoff double by Brandon Crawford. Angel Pagan followed that by failing to get a bunt down, and he struck out on a foul tip. Then Familia walked Joe Panik. Honestly the Mets should have considered walking Gillaspie to load the bases. At least it would have forced the Giants to pull Madison Bumgarner from the game. Maybe it wouldn’t have. In the end Gillaspie hit the three-run shot and that was that. The ump blew some close strike zone calls for Familia. The umps sucked. Waddya gonna do?

Final Game Thoughts: 

  • Thank God for Thor. He gave the Mets every chance to win. Not only in this game but all season long. 
  • Yoenis Cespedes was ice cold at the end of the season, and in this game. Without Yo we don’t go, but this you already know. I’m sure the Mets will use Yo’s cold ending combined with the fact that he didn’t talk to the media after the game as an excuse to let him walk. Pray that doesn’t happen. Sign Yo. 
  • The Wild Card is a joke crapshoot ratings ploy by Major League Baseball, and I hate them for it. 
  • It wasn’t the year for this Mets team because ultimately there were too many key injuries. I’m happy they rallied and at least made the playoffs, but in the end the season was a failure. Year two of “the window” has officially been flushed down the toilet. 
  • The Mets ran into the MadBum buzz saw. They weren’t the first team to suffer that fate and won’t be the last. 

The Metssiah Will Rise Again: I’m taking a break for a few days to grieve for the lost season. Pray for me. But I assure you, The Metssiah will rise again with expanded end of season thoughts before fully converting to offseason mode. There are also some big announcements coming for the site and for The Metssiah personally. Stay tuned. Let’s Go Mets!

The Metssiah Is Ready For Thor vs. MadBum

We are a little more than a day away from the marquee NL Wild Card pitching showdown that the MLB script writers have been fantasizing about for weeks. My winner-take-all single-elimination Wild Card game anxiety is approaching dangerously high levels. But I’m ready for Thor vs. MadBum.

My Lineup

  1. Jose Reyes 3B,
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera SS
  3. Yoenis Cespedes LF
  4. Curtis Granderson CF
  5. T.J. Rivera 2B
  6. Jay Bruce RF
  7. Lucas Duda 1B
  8. Rene Rivera C
  9. Noah Syndergaard P

This is the best lineup we can roll out there right now. Rene Rivera obviously starts at catcher for defense, and because he went 2 for 3 (with a homer) against MadBum this season. I think the only question in the lineup is around first base. In my opinion the starter has to be Duda. If he’s healthy you have to roll with the heavy hitters. But early indications from the Mets are that James Loney will draw the start. If Duda isn’t in the lineup it’s obviously due to health reasons which is extra disappointing.

My Fears

MadBum Duh: Madison Bumgarner is capable of dominating any team at any time. And he’s MLB’s best big game pitcher (career postseason ERA 2.14/road postseason ERA 0.60). The Mets will have to do what hardly anyone has done. They’ll have to beat MadBum in a big game. Our lefty heavy lineup (Grandy, Bruce etc.) isn’t ideal for a matchup with MadBum. But Grandy is hot, and we have no choice but to roll with our veterans.

Not 100%: Yoenis Cespedes looked like crap in the season finale. He was furious after the game, and he said it was because of his performance. He denied any physical issues, but he’s been playing banged up all season. Asdrubal Cabrera has been playing hurt too. Duda is still rusty. Are they ready to go? We’ll find out.

Always The Defense: The Mets D always worries me. Noah Syndergaard has to hold men on base. Lucas Duda can barely move out there when his back is healthy. Jose Reyes isn’t perfect at third base. Hopefully the Giants don’t expose any of his defensive inexperience. Grandy in CF? How are Yo’s legs? We all know Bruce is as slow as they come.

Waddya Say Rook: T.J. Rivera looks like a Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez love child. That Bronx blood flows through his veins. But does he have the clutch gene like Jeter? I hope so.

Terry Hits The Panic Button: After HarveyGate last year in Game 5 of the World Series, I’m worried Terry will have PTSD and pull Thor at the first sign of trouble or something crazy.

Rocket Science Over/Unders That Equal Victory

MadBum pitches under 7 innings: If Bumgarner is out of the game after 6 innings or gets pulled in the 7th it means the Mets drove his pitch count up and the Giants bullpen is involved in the game. The Giants pen has been atrocious this year. Pray for the pen.

The Mets lineup has over 2.5 homers: The Mets win when they hit home runs. If the Mets hit 3+ homers they’ll win #rocketscience.

Jose, Cabby, and Yo combine for over 4.5 hits: The Mets need the top of their order to stay hot. Jose, Asdrubal and Yo have all had historical success against MadBum. If they have success tomorrow the Mets will triumph.

Thor has over 9.5 Ks: I’m hoping Thor has his best stuff. Overpowering fastball, nasty slider, 90+ changeup. Hopefully the adrenaline brings out that 101 MPH gas. If he’s striking everyone out we don’t have to worry about him holding men on base.

Rene Rivera throws out over 1.5 prospective base stealers: Hopefully Noah strikes out the world. But if men get on base he has to at least hold them on effectively enough to give Rivera a chance to throw out some base stealers. I hope the Giants run themselves out of opportunities to score.

Duda (or Loney)/Bruce combine for over 2.5 hits off of MadBum: If Bumgarner is able to plow through the bottom half of the Mets order consistently, we may deal with some of those RISP woes we complained about all season long. Let’s hope Duda (or Loney) and Bruce can lengthen the lineup.

Bold Predictions 

  1. Jose Reyes hits a leadoff homer off of MadBum.
  2. MadBum has pitched in 7 road postseason games for the Giants and in those games the Giants are 7-0. That will be 7-1 after Wednesday and MadBum will take the L.

Please God No BS

All we can do is pray at this point. But please God make sure there are no BS calls, no BS replay issues, no BS game-changing bloop hits for the Giants, no BS home plate collision or takeout slide controversies, no BS freak injuries, no BS player ejections. No BS at all. Please God?!? Let’s go Mets!

The 2016 Wild Card Mets

Final Score: Mets 5, Phillies 3

The Mets have made the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Mets have achieved two straight playoff appearances for only the second time in franchise history (the other being 1999, 2000). We went into the season hoping for the NL East crown and a World Series Championship. After a hot April the Mets proceeded to play mediocre baseball for roughly four months and lose key player after key player to injury. They failed to produce with runners in scoring position at historically bad levels. The entire young pitching staff that carried the team to the 2015 World Series fell victim to some type of arm injury. But despite all those problems, the Mets went on to be the hottest team in baseball over the final month. They took advantage of a Giants collapse and won all their “meaningful games in September”. Wild Card playoff, here we come!

Early Scoring: In the fourth inning of yesterday’s clincher, T.J. Rivera hit a clutch two out RBI single to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. In the fifth inning, after a Travis d’Arnaud single and a sac bunt, Jose Reyes hit an RBI single to make it 2-0 Mets.

The Lock: In the bottom of the fifth inning, Maikel Franco singled off of Bartolo Colon and Ryan Howard came up in an obvious game-tying home run situation. Lock of the century. Every Mets fan felt it coming. Right on cue he put one in the seats to tie the game at 2.

The Unexpected: In the 6th inning, James Loney broke the tie with a two out two-run homer to make it 4-2 Mets. Loney smiled at the Mets dugout and gave the bat a drop flip. I thought the Phillies were going to retaliate in some way, but luckily they let it go. Hopefully it’s a sign that the game is moving past the bat flip retaliation crap.

The Fusion: In the 7th inning, Darin Ruf hit a pinch hit solo homer off of Fernando Salas to cut the Mets lead to one run. For some reason Darin Ruf and Cameron Rupp just blur together in my mind as one large bearded Philadelphia baseball player.

The Umpire BS: In the 9th inning Asdrubal Cabrera added a huge two out insurance RBI single to give the Mets a 5-3 lead. Jeurys Familia slammed the door in the 9th and that was the final score. But right after the Cabrera single, Yoenis Cespedes came up and was called out on strikes. Yo had a rare awful day at the plate. He went 0 for 5 and hit into some double plays. So obviously the tension was bubbling up for Yo at that point. But the umpire had an awful zone the entire day. And the strikes he called on Yo were awful borderline pitches. Yo had words for the umpire after the K and the ump instantly tosses him. All I have to say is this. I don’t really care what Yo said. If an umpire tosses a team’s best player because the guy said a few curse words over some questionable strike calls then that umpire needs to be banished from the sport. Pathetic disgraceful display by the home plate umpire yesterday.

One Note On Terry: I think it’s absurd that everyone feels the need to take an extreme view on Terry. For some reason when it comes to Terry Collins people seemingly have one of two stances. Either they say “he’s a great manager and his players love him” or “Terry is a moron who doesn’t know how to make the right in-game managerial decisions”. Umm it’s both people. Terry kept this team playing hard for 162 games and deserves credit for that. Terry also blew a bunch of games over the course of the season due to poor decision making. It’s both. I just hope nobody ever likens my parenting skills to Terry’s managerial skills. The Metssiah is terrible at the day to day parenting decision-making but his kids will run through a wall for him.

Wild Card Thoughts: I’d prefer to play the Cardinals. I don’t care that they are heating up lately. I don’t want to face Madison Bumgarner in a do or die playoff game. Nobody in their right mind wants to face MadBum. But I think we all know it’s going to be the Giants and MadBum at Citi Field on Wedneday. Noah Syndergaard vs. Madison Bumgarner feels like the matchup MLB would want. We’ll see what happens today. But whether the Mets play the Cardinals or the Giants, I assume both teams will shake off their regular season flaws and play like the classic National League clubs we all know. The Giants will do their inspired October magic routine and the Cardinals will channel their dark magic powers.

The MadBum matchup isn’t ideal considering he’s a lefty and our lineup is full of lefty sluggers but the more I think about it the more confident I become. Jose Reyes has been mashing as a right-handed hitter and is 3 for 9 lifetime against MadBum. Asdrubal Cabrera (2 for 4 lifetime) and Curtis Granderson are both en fuego and can hit anyone right now. T.J. Rivera went 2 for 3 against him when he faced him. Yoenis Cespedes is 3 for 10 lifetime against him. Rene Rivera hit a homer during the season against him. He’s not an ideal matchup for Lucas Duda and Jay Bruce but they are professional hitters. I think they’ll step up in the big spot.

Today: I’m going to enjoy the hell out of this meaningless game 162 today. No pressure. No worries. Rest and relax. Let’s go Mets!

Robert Bruceman Wins It For Mets

Final Score: Mets 5, Phillies 1

It comes down to today’s game. The Mets need one more win to lock up the first Wild Card spot and home field advantage. The Mets performance over the past month has been incredible. Sure the schedule has been soft overall, but they beat the Cardinals and Giants down the stretch. They deserve praise for this improbable run. If the Mets make the one game Wild Card playoff and lose, it’ll leave a sour disappointing taste in our mouths for 2016. As I’ve said many times, I barely consider the Wild Card game a playoff game. But the bottom line is the Mets deserve praise for waking the hell up a month ago and getting to this point.

The Mets won last night because of Robert Bruceman (i.e. the combined stellar pitching performance from Robert Gsellman and the three hit, three RBI night from smoking hot Jay Bruce). Robert Bruceman sounds like a swarmy classless business man that would pick up a woman in a hotel bar, accompany her to her room, and then disappear the next morning leaving her with an enormous room service bill.

The Bruce Is Beyond Loose: Jay Bruce hit an RBI single in the 4th inning, a solo homer in the 7th inning, and an RBI single in the 8th inning. Streaky players are completely ridiculous. He went from completely lost at the plate to absolutely en fuego. T.J. Rivera also added a 4th inning RBI single, and Yoenis Cespedes had an RBI in the 8th on one of the most absurd pop force outs to first base that I’ve even seen. God I hope this team clinches today and wins the damn Wild Card game. Bruce is hot. The offense is hot. Please just give these bats a chance in a short playoff series. Also, after all the struggles we had on offense this season I can’t believe I just typed that sentence.

Trust Issues: Robert Gsellman gave up 7 hits and 1 run over 6 innings. He struck out 7. Is it weird that I don’t trust him? He’s been spectacular. ERA under 3. He’s firing off quality start after quality start. And I just don’t trust him. I’m expecting him to turn into a pumpkin despite the fact that he’s always been a promising minor league arm, and he’s showing his talent at the major league level. I suppose the skepticism has more to do with being a Mets fan than anything else. We’re always doubting the validity of every good thing. We just sit around waiting to be burned.

Trust Issues 2.0: Speaking of skepticism, the Fernando Salas, Addison Reed, Jeurys Familia combination struck out 7 Phillies over 3 innings. The back end of the pen has been logging so many innings, but it’s remained dominant. Terry used all the big guns again last night because he’s trying to lock this damn Wild Card spot up. I get it. But I’m skeptical yet again. I’m waiting for their arms to fall off when it matters most. Reliever trust issues also come with the territory when it comes to being a Mets fan. All teams really.

Cancel The Game: Terry Collins said after the game that he’d consider starting Eric Campbell at first base if the Mets make the Wild Card game and face Madison Bumgarner. If that’s the case just cancel the game now. I’d rather start any left-handed hitter on our 40 man roster in that game over Soup. Soup stinks. I’m just going to assume Terry had a moment of temporary insanity after the game when he said that. Please God no Soup. Also, the Mets confirmed after last night’s game that Wilmer Flores tried to swing and failed. He’s out forever. It’s a huge blow. It’s the reason we’re talking about Soup and playoffs in the same sentence. I’ll never forgive Terry for that pinch running oversight that led to Wilmer’s home plate collision if it means we see Soup hitting in a big spot.

Today: Clinch today baby! Let’s go Mets!

The Mets Better Watch Their Backs

Final Score: Mets 5, Marlins 2

The Mets concluded one of the most emotional series in recent memory by winning last night’s rubber game against the Marlins. Seth Lugo gave the Mets another decent outing, Jay Bruce continues to show his previously lost power, and Curtis Granderson reached base five times. After watching some of the video from the Jose Fernandez funeral on Wednesday, I’m honestly amazed the Marlins were able to suit up and take the field for these games. I really wish they could just call it a season a focus on grieving. I’m happy the Mets handled this series the right way, and now they can focus on finishing strong against the Phillies.

Which brings me to my next point. The Mets better watch their damn backs.

The Phillies are horrible and have nothing to lose. They basically said they’re coming for us. The Mets better keep their heads on a damn swivel. Terry better wake the hell up. Watch out for dirty pitches, late slides, and every other form of cheating that the Phillies can use this weekend in the hopes of ruining our chances of clinching this Wild Card playoff berth. Protect Yoenis Cespedes. Double the number of pads on Yo’s elbow and have Ty Kelly and Eric Campbell guarding him at all times since they serve no other purpose.

Loney In, Duda Fine: Lucas Duda was supposed to start at first base last night, but he was scratched with back soreness. It’s unfortunate because Terry had just appointed Loney his special assistant in charge of reminding him to pinch run for slow guys. I’m sure Duda’s back is fine. The Mets promised he was fine when they rushed him back from the DL, so I obviously believe them. They never lie about injuries ever. Anyway, it worked out because James Loney hit a two-run homer in the second inning to tie the game after Lugo had surrendered a two-run shot to Martin Prado in the first inning.

Lugo: Seth Lugo pitched 5.1 innings and other than the two-run homer to Prado he was fairly effective. He walked three Marlins and gave up five hits. He was definitely forced to escape a few jams. People were angry with Terry for his quick hook because Lugo had a low pitch count when he was removed. In theory I agree that Terry should have left him in the game a bit longer. But I also read that fatigue has been an issue with Lugo because he was previously a reliever. In this particular case I trust Terry. I assume he had some insider knowledge. It worked out because the pen shut the Marlins down. Seth Lugo also had some nice ABs and added a two out double in the fourth inning. Jose Reyes drove him in with an RBI double of his own to make it 3-2 Mets.

Bruce is Loose: In the fifth inning, Curtis Granderson singled and then Jay Bruce followed that with a two-run homer to make it 5-2 Mets. Fans can sit there and debate all day whether Michael Conforto was “cheated” out of ABs while Bruce was struggling. The bottom line is what I said weeks ago. Bruce is an established streaky veteran slugger, and he was on an ice cold streak. The Mets were always going to continue playing him in the hopes that his bat would heat up during the final weeks/the playoffs. Well it looks like that’s actually happening.

Hot For Grandy: Curtis Granderson had four hits and a walk in this game. A hot Grandy is one of the most welcome sights of the season. Grandy is getting on base and Bruce is rediscovering his power stroke while hitting behind him. I like the sound of that.

Loving This .350 Thing: T.J. Rivera had another hit last night. I must say, I’m a big fan of his whole guy batting .350 thing. He’s been mashing for around 100 ABs now, and he hasn’t slowed down much. I really hope he continues to rake. At least keep it up in the short term. That would be oh so sweet.

Unlimited Innings: Hansel Robles, Fernando Salas, Addison Reed, and Jeurys Familia shut down the Marlins. Fernando Salad has been fantastic since his arrival. Salas/Reed/Familia are all among the league leaders in innings pitched out of the pen. Pray for their arms. We need them now more than ever.

Bartolo Shagging Fly Balls: Bartolo Colon supposedly has a strained tendon in his foot and before last night’s game he was in the outfield shagging fly balls. Next thing you know the Wilpons will be challenging Tolo and Thor to a pickup basketball game. Ummm let’s keep the non-pitching activities to a minimum okay Tolo?

I Like It: The Mets need to handle their own business this weekend. But the Dodgers play the Giants and they are shooting to have a better record than the Nationals so they can have home field advantage in the NLDS. The Cardinals play the Pirates, and I have to believe the Pirates will be extra bitter this weekend considering the letdown this season has been for them. Nothing is guaranteed but I like these matchups. I like our chances.

The Thor Debate: Terry actually said before the game that he was debating whether he’d prefer Noah Syndergaard on the mound in a road Wild Card playoff game or some other pitcher going at Citi Field. Let me clear this one up for you Terry. You go with Thor. Sometimes I feel like I’d rather have a random Mets fan in the stands making the big decisions. Moron.

Tebow: In Tim Tebow’s first at-bat in the instructional league he hit an opposite field homer off of a left-handed pitcher. In his second AB he grounded out. In his third AB he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right-hand of the Father.

Today: Day off today. Rest. Let’s crush Philly. Let’s clinch. Please finish this the right way Mets.