De Aza And Murph: The Curse Reminder Game

Final Score: Nationals 4, Mets 2

At this point, the Mets 2016 season has hit “rock bottom” too many times to even count. The term “rock bottom” has lost all meaning. But the outcome of this game goes much deeper than a simple loss. The recap is quick and simple. Daniel Murphy hit a solo home run off of Logan Verrett in the second inning to make it 1-0. Jayson Werth added a sac fly in the third inning and Murph added a two run shot in the 8th inning off of Sean Gilmartin to make it 4-0. The Mets never had a real opportunity off of Max Scherzer in this game. Scherzer was pulled in the 8th inning after going 7.1 scoreless innings and striking out 10. In the 9th inning, Yoenis Cespedes singled and James Loney hit a two run home run to make it 4-2. Yeah that’s right. James Loney our 2016 cleanup hitter launched a home run.

METS Disease: This wasn’t just some pitchers duel with a few key home runs. This game served as a reminder for all Mets fans how real the franchise curse is. It reminds all Mets fans how real METS disease is. We watched both phenomena happening simultaneously on the field. It’s been genuinely hard to watch Alejandro De Aza step into the batter’s box in 2016. He’s hitting .158/.208/.232 on the season. He is arguably the best example we have in 2016 of what METS disease can do to a player. De Aza is a man who once had major league skills and abilities and now he has none of the above. De Aza came to the Mets with a career .263/.326/.398 batting line. In his career he had success against right handed pitching to the tune of a .743 OPS.

All those skills and credentials became meaningless once he signed with the Mets. As soon as his pen hit the dotted line of his Mets contract he was instantly infected. Alejandro was no different than Chris Young or John Mayberry Jr. These were all players with decent major league resumes. They had known skills. They were versatile outfielders brought in to play a bench role. But with the Mets they couldn’t even make contact in batting practice. With METS disease you inexplicably lose your skills or you lose your health. In rare cases you lose them both at once (e.g. Michael Cuddyer). In last night’s game, De Aza came to the plate in the 8th inning with men on second and third and two outs. He struck out against Shawn Kelley in pathetic fashion. De Aza will suffer the same fate as Chris Young and Mayberry. He will be released mid-season. Goodbye Alejandro. Take some time off to recover from the METS and go rejuvenate your career somewhere else.

Mets Curse: The Daniel Murphy storyline is where we had the opportunity to see the Mets curse happening live. For Mets fans, his success is the least surprising thing of all time. The Mets spent the better part of two years trying to trade Daniel Murphy for a mid-level prospect. Gary Cohen once went on TV and referred to Murph as a “net negative”. We all know what Gary meant. Murph was an above average major league hitter, with limited power, and was an absolute liability at every single position. He cost the Mets games with defensive gaffes all time time. Sure we all saw him carry the team to the World Series with tons of dingers. But we also saw him Murph it up defensively in the World Series. We all knew Murph never hit more than 14 homers. Murph never posted an OPS higher than .770 in a season where he had more than 500 ABs.

Murph was an average to slightly above average hitter. That’s not an opinion. It’s a fact based on his pre-2016 career numbers. We all watched the guy for 7 years. Well he’s not average anymore. He’s having an MVP season. He’s now an MVP candidate and a Met killer for life. That’s not natural. No I’m not attributing it to steroids. It’s just the Mets curse. It’s the way things work. We’ve seen it all before. And now the curse is manifesting itself yet again in the form of Daniel Murphy.

The Takeaway: The only takeaway I have is to never forget. Never let a World Series run or some run of short lived success fool you when it comes to the Mets. The Fans Remember. We must remember the team that we root for and everything that goes with it. It’s not a matter of the fans being cynical or pessimistic. We’ve all seen METS disease and the Mets curse play out a million times in a million different situations. It’s not pessimism. It’s realism.

Today: The Mets open a home series against the Cubs today. Don’t be fooled. Don’t think for one second that anything that happened in the 2015 playoffs will have any impact on how this weekend series will play out. The season is unraveling. It’s all unraveling. The sky is falling. The Cubs are going to dance on our pre All-Star break grave.

It’s Time To Step Up Or Watch The Season Burn

Recap: The Mets lost last night 5-0 to the Nationals. Matt Harvey started the game and gave up a run in 3.2 innings before an 85 minute rain delay ended his start. The one run was too much. The Mets don’t score runs. There’s nothing to recap other than the Mets loaded the bases with one out in the 6th inning when it was 3-0 Nationals. Oliver Perez managed to strike out James Loney and got Wilmer Flores to fly out. Yeah it’s funny that former Met Oliver Perez got big outs. Ha ha freaking ha. You can literally insert any pitcher in that scenario, and he’ll retire Loney and Flores. That’s just 2016 Mets baseball. The other notable news was Curtis Granderson was pulled from the game with calf soreness and Hansel Robles took a comebacker off of his calf. Two more injuries. Toss them in the goddamn body pile. It sure feels like Logan Verrett and the Mets are going to get swept today by Max Scherzer and the Nationals. The season was spiraling out of control long before this series. The Mets are 5 games out of the division. Now they are officially .5 games out in the Wild Card race.

I really don’t have any coherent points to make. So this post will just be me complaining about a bunch of stuff.

Rain Men: Screw the Nationals for starting that game last night knowing rain was inevitable. Screw the umpires for stopping it, and then re-starting it. Everyone responsible for the decision making that went into that horrendous 5 hour stretch of start and stop baseball should burn in hell.

Big Injuries: In 2016, the Mets have dealt with the annual injury plague on our house. The 2016 injuries have somehow been worse than the 2015 plague, and that’s saying a lot. David Wright is out forever. Claimed by METS disease too soon. Lucas Duda is supposed to return in roughly a month from his cracked back. Yeah right.

Death Count: The following players are on the disabled list, have missed time due to injury or are struggling due to injury: David Wright (DL- back, neck), Juan Lagares (DL- torn thumb), Zack Wheeler (DL- elbow), Lucas Duda (DL-cracked back), Jim Henderson (DL-shoulder), Travis d’Arnaud (spent most of the year on the DL because of his brittle bones), Steven Matz/Noah Syndergaard (Elbow bone spurs. They need their elbows no?), Michael Conforto (wrist), Jacob deGrom (lat), Matt Harvey (pee problems), Wilmer Flores (I don’t even remember. Hamstring I think.), Hansel Robles (ankle, comebacker off the calf), Neil Walker (back spasms), Asdrubal Cabrera (back spasms), Yoenis Cespedes (hip, ankles, everything). I could be missing people. They’re all hurt. Every last one of them.

Repent and Pray: The only people that have escaped the plague are Jerry Blevins (who broke his arm twice in the same place in 2015) and Bartolo Colon who just took a comebacker off his thumb like a week ago and is a 43 year old HGH fueled monster. All we can do to stop these injuries is repent for our sins and pray for mercy. What other options do we have? Animal sacrifice? Hunger strike? I really have no answers.

Players That Must Step Up:

Travis d’Arnaud: He’s missed almost this entire season due to his pathetic glass bones. He’s hitting .206 with a .520 OPS. He can’t throw out anyone on the base-paths. His absence from the lineup due to injury as well as his lack of production when he’s in the lineup has been a major factor in the demise of our offense. Wake the hell up Travis or get the hell out of town.

Wilmer Flores: I am so sick of the Wilmer apologists. He was useless and hurt in April and May. Then when Wright went down, he briefly got hot to start June. Now he’s stumbling in the second half of the month. So many people saying “Oooh Wilmer is holding his own at third base.” Give me a break. Wilmer’s been so great that the Mets just signed Jose Reyes and crowned him the new utilityman knowing he has no major league experience at any position other than shortstop and 43 games at second base in 2004. Sign the Cuban third basemen Yulieski Gourriel. David Wright with half a neck and a mangled spine was twice the player Wilmer Flores is.

Michael Conforto: He’s young, but after April he evaporated at the plate in his sophomore campaign. The Mets shouldn’t have counted on him in 2016, but they did. Now he needs to get his act together in Vegas. Not in two months. Not in one month. He needs to get it together in like two weeks. He needs to be back in the lineup and producing as soon as the All-Star break is over. Otherwise the season is over.

Curtis Granderson: We all knew Curtis was going to regress from his 2015 form. After a horrendous May he’s turned his season back around in June. But the Mets need even more from him. No more months like May with a .190 average and a million strikeouts. We need him to produce all summer and in big spots. Somebody in this lineup other than Cespedes has to produce for Christ’s sake.

Alejandro De Aza: Ohhh the poor baby De Aza doesn’t get enough ABs so he’s sad and rusty at the plate??? I honestly think we should give him 20 more ABs, and then we should cut him. .165 average and a.458 OPS? Is this real life? Get him off the team. Completely turn it around now or get the hell off my team.

Antonio Bastardo: Let’s be clear on this. Antonio Bastardo the 8 year veteran major league reliever does not suck. Antonio Bastardo the 2016 Mets reliever does suck. He’s having the worst year of his major league career. He’s horrendous. Another clear case of METS disease. We paid him to be one of our setup men. He has a 5.28 ERA. His strikeouts per 9 are down from his career number and his walks per 9 are way up. He stinks. He better turn it around now or he’ll be mopping up out of the pen for the next year and a half. Kill him Terry! Pitch him into the ground. Make him throw 100 bullpen sessions as punishment for his horrendous performance.

Matt Harvey: Matt Harvey had an atrocious April and May. Sure he has a 2.83 ERA in June, but he’s still 0-3 for the month. He needs to replicate his June success the rest of the way. No more setbacks. No more down months. The Mets can’t afford any more performance dips, especially considering the elbow issues Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard are now dealing with. The Dark Knight has to lead the rotation. He needs to give the Mets regular quality starts. I swear if he gives consistent quality outings, I won’t mind when he takes the L because the Mets failed to score him a single run. If he’s destined to lose 15-20 games in 2016 that’s fine by me as long as he gives the team a chance to win each time out.

Neil Walker: I don’t care what Neil did in April. What’s with this .596 OPS in June? How about a little consistency man. And the more inconsistent Neil is, the more I have to hear about Daniel freaking Murphy. I’m so sick of hearing how we never should have dumped Daniel Murphy and how he was the heart and soul of the team and blah blah blah. Murph would be hitting .275 if he was here and making errors every other day. He wouldn’t be an MVP candidate for the Mets. Frankly he’d probably be on the DL. The Mets problems in 2016 are a little more complex then “we got rid of Murph and now we lack passion”. Yeah people actually say that.

No Magic: Let’s be clear. The Yoenis Cespedes 2015 magic run is not happening this year. I’ve been saying this for weeks now. Last year we lacked depth, and we lacked the big time bat in the middle of our lineup. When the team collectively recovered from the injuries and added Cespedes it cured all our ills. This year is different. We have a bunch of legitimate major leaguers in our lineup right now. Neil Walker, Travis d’Arnaud, Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Yoenis Cespedes. These guys are all here and playing daily. The mix hasn’t been working. This crew has to get it done. If the guys we have don’t step up (and soon) then we’ll be writing off the season in August.

Long Season: I’m really sick of hearing about how long the season is like I don’t understand the law of averages. Yeah it’s a long season. I get it. People are saying that like the Mets are destined to play .650 baseball in August and September like they did last year. Umm what in God’s name would give anyone the impression that this team is destined to start winning and winning consistently? If the Mets turn the season around, I’m sure Team Long Season will throw “I told you so” in the face of every resident of Panic City. It won’t change that for May and June this team has been unwatchable.

Today: Salvage a game against the Nationals. Please beat Mad Eye Max Scherzer. Then we have the Cubs for four games? Jesus Christ.

ElbowSpurGate: It’s All Unraveling 

The game is always secondary with the 2016 Mets. The injury plague has finally spread to the starting rotation. It was announced yesterday that Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard are both pitching with bone spurs in their pitching elbows. Double spur Monday may be the new low point of the 2016 Mets season. There’s no structural damage in their respective elbows. But that doesn’t really matter. They are pitching in pain, and the only way to end the pain is for them to have surgery to remove the spurs. For the record, Thor denied that he had a bone spur when asked by the media. He straight up said it’s a fabricated story. But that’s just something the God of Thunder would say to maintain his image. It’s clear Thor plans to just bathe in cortisone all year, fight through the pain, and get surgery after the season. Matz is apparently in significantly more pain, and the Mets front office braintrust will meet this week to decide if in-season surgery is the right move. Ultimately, Matz and Thor will be fine. Right? After all, Mets head trainer Ray Ramirez has been working with a brain spur for years.

Game Recap:

Final Score: Nationals 11, Mets 4

As far as the game goes, what can I say. We got blown out. I’m kind of surprised the Mets came out flat tonight after that inspiring split against the Braves aka the worst team in the National League. Watching the 2016 Mets is like pitching through a bone spur in the elbow. Always uncomfortable. Often painful. Not gonna end well.

Early Lead: The game started on a positive note when the Mets got out to an early lead. Early lead? Yeah early lead. Don’t get too excited, it didn’t last at all. In the first inning, Curtis Granderson led off with a single and with one out Yoenis Cespedes singled him to third. Then Neil Walker hit a sac fly. Sac fly? Yeah sac fly! Hooray!!!! Then in the second inning, Brandon Nimmo and Travis d’Arnaud hit back to back singles with one out. And with two outs Grandy hit an RBI single. A two out run scoring hit!!! That made it 2-0. In the third inning, Walker singled, James Loney doubled, and Wilmer Flores singled to drive them both in making it 4-0 Mets. With Thor on the mound, it felt like 4-0 would be enough for a guaranteed win. Nope!

Thor: Let’s be clear about the elbow spur problem. I’m sure it is bothering Noah. He denied it was a problem post game, but athletes tend to lie about injuries. It is known. But it sure as hell didn’t stop him from throwing 100 MPH consistently. That being said, he just got smacked around. He went 3 innings, gave up 7 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks, and he allowed 5 stolen bases. He gave up 5 runs in the third inning. Ben Revere led off with a single and stole a base. Bryce Harper hit an RBI single and stole a base. It’s honestly too painful to even recap all the run scoring hits.

The Contingency Plan: Thor was pulled after three innings with the score at 5-4 Nationals. At least the Mets have a great long man in Sean Gilmartin to bail out the starters when they have a rough day. Right? Wrong. Gilmartin gave up 7 hits and 5 runs in two innings. The Nats scored 11 unanswered runs. If this wasn’t the most embarrassing loss of the year it certainly was a nominee for the award.

Stolen Bases: The Nationals ran all over Thor as every team has all season long. He’s allowed 28 stolen bases on the season. That’s double any other guy in the league. Yeesh. Elbow spur aside, what the hell is Noah Syndergaard doing? What are the Mets doing? How are they not prioritizing holding people on as part of practice and as part of every game plan. At this point Rene Rivera has to be Noah’s personal catcher. But it’s not even about the catcher. Thor doesn’t even give his catcher a chance to throw people out.

Don’t Ignore The Wasted Chances: Listen the Nationals took a dump on the Mets last night. They scored 11 runs on 17 hits. But let’s not ignore that the Mets had 14 hits and 4 runs to show for it. They smacked around Nats starter Joe Ross to the tune of 10 hits. But they didn’t capitalize on all the opportunities. That’s just Mets baseball in 2016.

Loney Horrendous: In the fifth inning with runners on first and third and one out, James Loney fielded a ball at first base and made a mistake trying to get the lead runner going home instead of getting the easy out at first. The runner scored on the fielder’s choice. Loney had an ugly night defensively. Whatever. Everyone had an ugly night.

I Turned It Off: I turned the game off when the score reached 11-4. It was my first straight up boycott game turn off of the season. It was just too ugly to keep watching. In my opinion, Terry should have brought in Antonio Bastardo as soon as Thor left the game and made him pitch the rest of the night as punishment for being so crappy this season. Pitch him until his arm falls off. Hell Terry does it with everyone else. Might as well wreck Bastardo for our own good.

Pitching Depth: I wrote about this weeks ago. I said we can’t trade Zack Wheeler because we need all these arms. The only way we survive this season and the seasons to come is with our unrivaled pitching depth. The only guy we have that seemingly can’t be stopped is Bartolo Colon.

It’ll Be Okay (I Think/I Hope): I will say this. Pitchers fight through elbow soreness, bone spurs, bone chips, fatigue, and every other problem under the sun year after year. Remember Jon Niese and his annual elbow/shoulder problems? It was an early summer tradition. I’m not trying to belittle the problem that Thor and Matz have, but I do think it’s possible they can fight through the issue. I also think it’s hilarious that both Matz and Thor came out the gate so strong and before the end of June their arms are barking. They are such young studs. It’s a long season fellas. Rest up and keep those arms strong. The full year grind is intense. Pray.

Gurriel: The Mets watched the new Cuban third baseman Yulieski Gourriel (legally changed to Gurriel) workout yesterday. Sign him. Do it.

Today: Don’t worry, I’m sure Matt Harvey will save the Mets tonight. I never thought I’d type something like that and mean it 100% sarcastically.

Mets Torture Us Again; Leave Them All On Base

Final Score: Braves 5, Mets 2

Watching the Mets this season is straight up torture. We have the number two pitching staff and the 28th ranked offense. It’s the same game every single day. The starting pitcher mows down the opposition. If the starter gives up a run then the Mets probably lose. If he gives up two runs a loss is guaranteed. As a fan, I feel like Brandon Stark in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire Saga. Brandon Stark of Winterfell was tied up by the neck with his sword just out of reach. And he was made to watch as his father was burned to death by the Mad King Aerys of Westeros. He strangled himself to death reaching for his sword as his father was burned alive. That’s every single game as a Mets fan in 2016. We watch and desperately cling to the hope that we will score runs, but they’re always just out of reach. There’s literally nothing we can do other than watch our starting pitcher inevitably get burned on the mound.

Sexy Per Usual: Bartolo Colon was able to pitch with his fat swollen sexy thumb. He was dominant. He went 7 innings, but gave up a Freddie Freeman solo blast in the first inning. The game was really over at that point. Bartolo only had 84 pitches through 7 innings. In the American League he’s going 9 innings in this game. But this is the NL, and the Mets had to pinch hit for him in the bottom of the 7th with Curtis Granderson. They crossed their fingers and hoped Grandy would tie the game at one with a dinger. He didn’t. Also with each passing day, Bartolo looks more and more like the Gungan King on Naboo in Star Wars:

Bastardo is Garbage: Antonio Bastardo entered the game in the 8th inning and promptly blew it. He’s awful. He gave up a leadoff single to Ender Inciarte and balked him over to second base. Pathetic. Then he walked Freddie Freeman and Inciarte stole third base. It was honestly one of the most embarrassing bullpen appearances of the season by any Met. With first and third and no outs, Nick Markakis singled to make it 2-0. Then Bastardo was pulled and Logan Verrett gave up a three run blast to Adonis Garcia. It was a nice reminder that Verrett also stinks. That made it 5-0.

Leave Them All: It was pretty obvious right out of the gate that the Mets weren’t going to score at all today when Bud Norris struck out the side in the first inning. The Mets left a runner in scoring position in the third inning. They left runners on first and third in the fifth inning. Kelly Johnson led off the sixth inning with a single, stole a base, and was left in scoring position. The Mets scored a couple garbage time runs after the Bastardo meltdown. Matt Reynolds led off the 9th with a double and advanced to third on an error. Cespedes hit an RBI ground out to make it 5-1. Then Neil Walker hit a one out double, but James Loney followed that with a foul out to Adonis Garcia. Garcia made an amazing over the shoulder catch. He had already made an amazing catch in foul territory in the second inning on a Neil Walker foul ball. He also hit that dagger three run blast. He’s kind of become a Met killer this season. The Braves love breeding new Met killers. Anyway, Wilmer Flores singled in Walker to make it 5-2, and then Brandon Nimmo struck out to end the game.

Nimmo: Speaking of Nimmo, he went 0 for 4. He came up in a big spot in the fifth inning with runners on first and second with nobody out. He grounded into a force out at second base. He didn’t get the big hit. Nonetheless congrats to Nimmo on his debut.

Days Off: I’d like to get mad at Terry for giving Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud the day off all at the same time. But honestly who the hell cares? We can’t score regardless of who’s in the lineup. And these guys can’t play every day. Grandy and Cabby are old men for baseball. They need days off. I’ve never seen anything like this Mets offense. It’s exactly like last year’s pre-Cespedes squad, but the difference is we have guys who should hit. We have some talented players. They just haven’t been able to get it done consistently at all.

Cespedes Is Our Only Guy: Yoenis Cespedes is the only guy in our lineup we have been able to truly depend on day in and day out. He is the engine. It is known. Unfortunately today he went 0 for 4 (with an RBI groundout haha), and we couldn’t get anything going. No surprise there.

Horrendous Play: It didn’t end up burning us, but Freddie Freeman hit a ball up the middle in the 6th inning. Neil Walker made a crummy off balance throw to James Loney who totally failed to scoop a fairly routine ball. It was called an error on Loney. Freeman advanced to second because of the error, but also because Rene Rivera wasn’t there to backup first base. The ball rolled right into the Braves dugout. Sloppy.

Rockies Or Mets?: The Mets have the number two team ERA and are ranked 28th in runs. The Rockies are 28th in ERA and number two in runs. I’ve often said to people that the only thing worse than filling holes in your lineup with Quadruple-A players is filling holes in your pitching staff with Quadruple-A arms. My point really being that having the worst offense is bad, but it’s not as bad as having the worst pitching staff. Lately I’m not so sure. The Rockies are 35-39 so there’s no debate regarding which team is better. But part of me feels like I’d rather watch a team that blows leads, and then sometimes battles back to re-take the lead. At least the Rockies have games that go back and forth and have some suspense. The Mets play the same gave every single time. It’s really hard to watch these starters get screwed each and every outing.

Tomorrow: Well we split in Atlanta. What a joke. Now we head to Washington three games out of first. The Nats offense is ice cold. God I hope we find a way to score some runs. Not bloody likely.

Thank You Kelly Johnson And The Braves

Final Score: Mets 1, Braves 0

Thank you to the Atlanta Braves for being super stinky and for giving the Mets Kelly Johnson two years in a row. This was a classic Mets vs. Braves NL Least ballgame. Jacob deGrom put up zeros and Julio Teheran put up zeros. I feel like every game this season I say “let’s wait to see if the Mets score”. And then I’m two hours late for whatever I’m supposed to be doing. The game seemed like it would go on for three days. Finally in the 11th inning, Kelly Johnson hit a solo blast off of the lefty and former Met Dario Alvarez. By the time the Mets do their annual Kelly Johnson trade in 2020, the entire Braves pitching staff will be made up of former Mets.

No Support: Every Jacob deGrom start is just the perfect representation of how our team operates. He’s a pitching machine. He puts up zeros non-stop. And he doesn’t get a single run of support. He went 8 innings, gave up 7 hits, 0 runs and struck out 6. He got huge double plays in the second, third, and fourth inning. He just puts up zeros. He hasn’t received a run of support in his last 21 innings. He hasn’t won a game since April 30th. Poor Jake. His son baby Jaxon was at this game. I bet his first words will be “zeros”. Or possibly “the offense sucks man”.

Slide? Don’t slide?: The Mets almost got something going in the third inning. Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch to start. Then with one out, Yoenis Cespedes singled to center field. Ender Inciarte made a throw to third and failed to get Grandy. But third basemen Adonis Garcia nailed Cespedes trying to advance to second base. Yo didn’t even slide. If he slid he would have been safe, but honestly I don’t care what Yo does. The guy rolled his ankle yesterday. His entire body is sore. Slide? Don’t slide? I don’t care. Just stay healthy and be smart when you run the bases please.

Alejandro De Moron: So that Yo slide play was in the third inning. Literally nothing else noteworthy happened until the 10th inning. In the 10th, Wilmer Flores singled to leadoff the inning. Then Alejandro De Aza was asked to bunt, and he popped up his attempt. Instead of running, he chucked his bat and gave up. Well the Braves let it drop and got a double play. De Aza has sucked all season. I don’t know why I feel bad for the guy. He has an actual real decent major league resume. But things have not worked out for him here. His days are numbered if Conforto gets his act together in Triple-A.

Tip Your Cap: Julio Teheran deserves as much credit as deGrom in this game for his utter domination. He’s a legit major league pitcher.

Nationals Suck Again: The Nationals have lost 7 straight games! With last night’s win we are 2 games out. The season is so damn long. Ups and downs. It’s so insane. Also, I noticed that since James Loney joined the Mets on May 31 Daniel Murphy has hit .231 and the Nats are 11-11. Somehow he stole Murph’s batting stance and the Nationals mojo.

Today: Bartolo Colon on the mound for the series win. Let’s do it baby. Let’s head into the Nats series hot.

Conforto To Vegas; Nimmo To New York To Handle The Family Business

Today the Mets sent Michael Conforto aka Mikey “The Bull” to Las Vegas for a vacation, and they brought Brandon Nimmo aka “Big Fish” Nimmo to New York to handle the family business. Honestly, the Conforto demotion and Nimmo promotion was long overdue. I’ve been calling for this move for weeks at this point. Conforto is hitting .222/.296/.431 this season. But he hasn’t hit a lick in two months. He’s literally hitting .130 since May 1. Nimmo on the other hand was raking in Vegas. He’s batting .328/.409/.508 with five home runs and 37 RBIs in 63 games for the 51s. I respect the hell out of the way Michael Conforto handled this demotion. He knew it was coming. Instead of fleeing and avoiding the media, he faced them head on. He said he was going to head down to Vegas, fix his problems, and come back better than ever.

Remember in December of 2015 when the Mets didn’t want Yoenis Cespedes and instead were going to gamble the entire 2016 season on sophomore Michael Conforto? Thank god they didn’t do that huh? Thank god Cespedes loved it here and insisted on staying. Without him we’d be completely lost. Now we have the luxury of sending Mikey down and giving him some time to get his swing straightened out. He’s a young player, and he desperately needed a breather to get his head straight. We needed to get him out of the New York spotlight. And now we can see what Nimmo brings to the table. If Nimmo takes off like Conforto did last season and Conforto figures things out in the minors, that’ll be great. Then we’ll have two young studs to help us down the stretch. This can even help increase Nimmo’s trade value if we decide to go that direction.

I suppose it took the Mets the entire week (surprise, surprise), but the Great Mets Shakeup of 2016 has finally arrived. Jose Reyes and Brandon Nimmo on the same day? New blood. Let’s go baby.

Jose Reyes Is Happening

Earlier this week, I wrote a post titled “Jose Reyes Ain’t Happening“. I made a mistake. I probably should have titled the post “Jose Reyes Shouldn’t Happen” because that’s really what the post was about. I talked about how he physically assaulted his wife in Hawaii which is the obvious reason we shouldn’t have signed him. I talked about how he’s a shortstop, and we have no need for one. He’s played 0 games at third base in his career and 43 at second base (in 2004) and now we expect him to magically become a utility man overnight. All those facts made no difference to the Mets.

Here we are today, and the Mets are officially bringing Jose Reyes back to Queens. In hindsight, this was the most obvious move ever. No it wasn’t obvious because of his talent or what he brings to the team. No this was obvious because it’s a Wilpon slam dunk. Jose will sell tickets, and he’s free. He’s literally going to cost the Mets the league minimum. I’m sure Jeff will be cancelling the Yulieski Gourriel workout. No more expensive Cubans for the Wilpons. Instead, Jeff Wilpon is buying Jose Reyes at the absolute lowest point in his career and personal life. Diminishing skills? Doesn’t matter to Jeff Wilpon. Domestic violence scandal? No biggie for Jeff. As long as he will play a couple months, steal a few bases, and do that thing where he thrusts his curved arm in the air when he slides safely into a base. That’s all Jeff wants. Tickets tickets dollars dollars baby. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise. We are talking about an ownership group that was linked to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme and a sexual harassment lawsuit. Integrity has never really been the Wilpon’s signature trait.

Jose Reyes served his MLB suspension and donated $100,000 to a domestic violence prevention charity. A lot of people feel that those facts coupled with the belief that he’s “shown remorse” somehow makes it acceptable to welcome him back to the game. This view just reinforces the reality that people are willing to selectively forgive professional athletes and people in general for certain crimes. Jose Reyes the professional athlete? Yeah sure he threw his wife through a sliding glass door, but he’s sorry and he was punished so yeah he’s forgiven. What about former steroid users that are still outcasts in the game to this day? What about the guy who gets arrested as a youth for possession of drugs and down the road he can’t get a job at a well respected institution because of his record? Why don’t we forgive those people? That’s what I mean by selective forgiveness. That reality obviously goes beyond the Jose Reyes debate and speaks to a larger problem with society. I’m not sitting here offering a solution for it. All I’m doing here is acknowledging the problem.

If you factor all the criminal matters out of the equation, Jose is deserving of a major league roster spot purely based on his talent. He has something left to give to the game. He’s a better roster option than Matt Reynolds based on his talent. But the Rockies certainly weren’t willing to “factor out the criminal element” and I’m sure a lot of other teams wouldn’t have been willing to do that either. We’ll never know because Reyes was able to go to his first choice. Good for Jeff. I wish I was there when the Mets conducted their “character review”.

And by the way, I’m not going to sit here and say there’s no part of me that’s excited about the return of Jose Reyes. Jose and David Wright were obviously my two favorite players when I watched the Mets in high school and college. I’ll never forget when Jose was the most electrifying player in the game. The part of me that’s excited is the kid who used to love to watch Jose play. The adult part of me that would never commit an act of violence against the people I love wants nothing to do with him. Whatever. The Mets made their decision. What’s done is done. I’m not boycotting baseball. I’m not walking out on the Mets. Whatever that says about me so be it. At least I voiced my opinion on the issue.

All that being said, I really have no idea what the Mets are planning to do with Jose. Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker are below average defenders by all advanced metrics, but they’ve been solid and dependable up the middle this season for the Mets. They’ve developed a rapport. I don’t think it’s wise to just move them to make room for Jose. It seems silly. So that means Jose will be tossed over to third base and expected to learn the position on the fly. The Mets even talked about playing him in the outfield. The Mets are essentially acting like this is the Matrix, and they can just upload the outfielder/utility infielder program to Reyes’ brain. Except in reality, the only “uploading” the Mets will be doing is giving Jose two weeks in Vegas to learn every position. The odds are he’ll be injured before he even leaves Sin City.

Jose is back. We’ve seen this movie before. Even though he’s not the same player he once was, he’ll make some electric plays, get some big hits, steal some big bases, and before the season is done he’ll wind up on the DL. I guess since he’s now playing the role of utility man instead of franchise shortstop, it won’t be a big deal when he goes down. Hopefully he helps the Mets win some ball games. Let’s see what he’s got left.

Loney Explodes, Matz Implodes, Mets Survive

Final Score: Mets 8, Braves 6

This game went from feel good breakout performance to near disaster. When it was 8-0 Mets in the fifth inning, I felt like the Mets were finally going to have a nice statement win against the NLs worst team. Then the Mets nearly blew it and reminded everyone that they have problems. And by problems I mean this win brings them to within 3 games of the first place Nationals who lost to the Brewers. The Nats suck right now too.

Loney And The Boys Explode: The Mets offense finally pounded the Braves and rookie pitcher Aaron Blair last night. In the second inning Neil Walker singled, James Loney got hit by a pitch, and Wilmer Flores rocked an RBI ground rule double. Travis d’Arnaud added a one out RBI groundout to make it 2-0. In the fourth, the same guys got us going. Neil Walker singled and James Loney doubled. With one out, Michael Conforto was intentionally walked to load the bases for Travis d’Arnaud. I realize Blair wanted to set up the double play but didn’t he read scouting reports? Conforto is an auto-out right now. Anyway d’Arnaud made him pay with a two RBI single to make it 4-0. Steven Matz added a sac fly to make it 5-0. In the fifth inning, Asdrubal Cabrera walked, Neil Walker hit a one out single, and James Loney hit a three run blast to make it 8-0. Neil Walker went 3 for 4, James Loney 2 for 3 with 3 RBI and d’Arnaud had 3 RBI. At that point, the game seemed over.

Matz Implodes: The game seemed over because Steven Matz was untouchable through 4 innings. He had only surrendered 1 hit. In the fifth inning, he completely fell apart. We’ve said this about the young Matz a number of times this season. He faces a little adversity and loses his composure. This meltdown was due to that, and also he was dealing with more elbow discomfort. Oh and also Yoenis Cespedes made an awful fielding blunder. Jeff Francoeur led off with a double, and then Nick Markakis hit a routine fly ball to center field. Cespedes appeared ready to catch it, and then it dropped nowhere near him. He just never saw it. That led to second and third and nobody out. Then the inning fell apart. Adonis Garcia doubled in those runs, Brandon Snyder hit a three run bomb, and Freddie Freeman hit an RBI single to make it 8-6. Matz couldn’t finish the inning. Hansel Robles came in and bailed him out.

Bullpen Fallout: The Mets pen managed to keep the lead intact and seal the victory. Hansel Robles came in and pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless ball. He saved the day multiple times this week. He’s the latest guy to sacrifice his arm in Terry’s pen of death. Pray for Robles. I’m sure Jim Henderson watched as he tweaked on painkillers and soaked his arm in a big bucket of ice. The Mets couldn’t go to Addison Reed or Jerry Blevins because Terry’s overworked the hell out of them. It’s been showing lately in Reed. So he went to Antonio Bastardo in the 8th. When he gave up a two out double to Nick Markakis, Terry went straight to Jeurys Familia for a four out save against the freaking Braves. He got the save though. Pray for Familia. He may set the team’s save record, but God I hope his arm lasts.

Downplayed Injuries: Speaking of injuries, Matz said his elbow is just sore but fine. No biggie!!! We should probably skip his next start or something. I can’t believe they are having him pitch through soreness like that. I realize it’s common for these guys to have sore arms, but he’s a rookie. Handle with care no? And Cespedes rolled his ankle in the 7th inning. I thought it snapped, but he said it was fine. He stayed in. He’s a warrior.

Nimmo/Reyes: Jose Reyes rumors heating up today. Let’s see what happens. The Mets should bring up Brandon Nimmo for Michael Conforto. Nimmo is hitting almost .400 and Conforto ain’t hitting anything.

Today: Jacob deGrom today. Keep winning. Win the series. Anything else sucks. Time to slam the bad teams and be taken seriously. Don’t rely on the Nats playing like crap. Let’s head into that series hot.

The Pathetic Inexcusable Losses Are Piling Up

Final Score: Braves 4, Mets 3

The Mets didn’t deserve to win that game last night against the Atlanta Braves. The pitching staff was getting smacked around, and the umpires gave the Mets a huge break. But that doesn’t matter. The Mets were in a position to win, and they still blew it. We just had a great home series sweep against the Royals, and then we come out the gate at Turner Field and blow the freaking game? Ridiculous. The Mets are 5-5 against the Braves. The Braves are the worst team in the NL. If the Mets aren’t going to beat the Braves this year, then the season is already over. We talked about this before the season even started. We have to beat the NL Least and beat those teams more often than the Nationals. This was another pathetic inexcusable loss, and the losses of that variety have been piling up lately. This team hasn’t been resilient or consistent. We’re supposed to be contenders. We’re supposed to have class. But lately we’ve been bums.

Alejandro Baby: In the top of the second inning, Michael Conforto walked and with one out Alejandro De Aza launched a double to bring him home making it 1-0. Alejandro De Aza went 2 for 4 in this game and made three really nice plays in center field. It’s about damn time that this guy contributed.

Thanks Bonifacio: In the third inning, Asdrubal Cabrera led off with a double and advanced to third on a James Loney line out to center field. Then Neil Walker hit a shallow fly ball to left fielder Emilio Bonifacio who nearly lost the ball in the wind and then made a horrendous throw nowhere near home plate. It was a gift sac fly thanks to Bonifacio’s spaghetti arm. Thanks Emilio.

Singles Not Dingers: In the fifth inning, the Mets did something they never do. They scored on singles instead of dingers. Curtis Granderson singled with one out, and then with two outs James Loney singled to make it first and third. Then Neil Walker singled to drive in Grandy. That gave the Mets their third run.

Dark Knight No Mechanic: Matt Harvey struggled with his mechanics again. He went 6 innings, gave up 8 hits, 2 runs, and only struck out 3. He struggled in the first inning when he gave up a leadoff single to Jace Peterson, but then he picked him off. Then he gave up a single to Ender Inciarte, but he retired the next two guys. He gave up two straight two out singles in the second inning but retired the pitcher to escape that jam. In the third inning, De Aza made a stellar catch to prevent a Jace Peterson double. In the fourth inning, Nick Markakis doubled, and with one out A.J. Pierzynski singled him in to make it 2-1. To end that inning, Michael Conforto made a stellar catch against the left field foul wall. Harvey neded tons of help to get through these arduous innings. In the sixth inning, Nick Markakis hit a one out single and advanced to second base on an Adonis Garcia slow roller to Matt Harvey. Then with two outs, A.J. Pierzynski doubled Markakis home to make it 3-2 Mets. For the record, Pierzynski sucks. He’s hitting .200. But he sure as hell doesn’t suck against the Mets.

Home Plate Play: In the top of the 7th, the Mets had a chance to score some more runs with two outs. James Loney walked with two outs and Neil Walker singled to set up first and second for pinch hitter Wilmer Flores. Wilmer failed to come through. In the bottom of the 7th inning, Terry pulled Harvey with 91 pitches. Some might call that an early hook, but not based on the way Matt was pitching. He looked like crap, and I had no confidence that he was going to get out of any inning let alone the 7th inning 91 pitches deep. So Terry brought in Sean Gilmartin (I guess because everyone else was dead?). Gilmartin proceeded to walk Emilio Bonifacio and give up a single to pinch hitter Jeff Francoeur. Jace Peterson then sacrificed the runners over to second and third. Ender Inciarte then hit a ball to Michael Conforto in left field foul territory. Conforto caught the ball for the second out and made an incredible throw to home plate to nail the tagging Emilio Bonifacio. The only problems were 1) Travis d’Arnaud kind of blocked the plate illegally and 2) Emilio Bonifacio kind of slid in safely anyway even though it was a horrendous slide. The Braves challenged, and the umpires reviewed the play. I figured the call would be overturned and it would be 3-3 Braves. Luckily for the Mets, the umpires continue to blow calls every single day. Either the umps were punishing Bonifacio for his terrible slide or rewarding Conforto for his fantastic throw, but they made the wrong call on the field and confirmed the wrong call. They didn’t even defer to the “not enough evidence to overturn the call” mantra. Nope they felt it was obvious that the runner was out. I’m happy the Mets got the break (this time), but it’s ridiculous that these guys can’t make the right calls with replay. Absurd. Obviously the Braves manager got tossed.

We Blew It Anyway: After that huge break from the umpires the Mets went ahead and blew the game anyway. Jerry Blevins started the 8th inning and gave up a single to Freddie Freeman. It’s tough to get mad at Blevins because he’s been great all year. But a leadoff hit was brutal. Then with one out and Freeman on first, Terry went to Addison Reed. Reed gave up an 0-2 two run shot to Adonis Garcia. It was a terrible 0-2 pitch right over the middle of the plate. He tried to get it up and completely missed. I realize Reed has been fantastic this season, but your setup guy blowing a game against the worst team in the league stings like hell. A mistake pitch on an 0-2 count is a joke. Anyway that made it 4-3, and that was the ball game.

D’Arnaud Taking Names: Travis d’Arnaud threw out a base stealer last night in the 8th inning. I think it’s the second guy he’s nailed since returning. I guess his shoulder feels better. For now.

Lucky Bastards: The Braves had 12 hits yesterday, but a bunch of balls just managed to find holes. Lots of cheap lucky hits. And the Mets crushed a bunch of balls that just found gloves. Unlucky night for the Mets.

Thor Blames Workload: Noah Syndergaard indicated that his labor intensive start against the Pirates where he threw 115 pitches may have led to his struggles/elbow soreness in his start against the Royals. Ummm that’s Terry’s fault bro. TC needs to handle these guys with care. Not most of the time. Not some of the time. All of the damn time. If that means cap them at 105 pitches you do it. The guys who study this crap know that high stress pitches late in games lead to the arm injuries. It’s science. So let’s avoid those situations all the time. Okay TC? I’m looking at you moron.

Jose: Jose Reyes is officially going to be released on Saturday. The Mets/Reyes reunion is being rumored as inevitable at this point. I wrote my thoughts on the potential reunion earlier in the week. Let’s wait and see what happens.

Today: Speaking of high stress pitches and elbow soreness, Steven Matz pitches tonight. Jesus Christ please be careful with him. Limit his innings. He’s a rookie, and he’s had TJ surgery already. Let’s turn it around tonight.

Thor, Yo, and Wheeler Healthy; The Gods Are Merciful

As my prayer vigil raged on late into the night, I feared the worst for our boys Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, and Zack Wheeler. The Mets were indicating they wouldn’t have an update on any of the guys until today. Ray Ramirez couldn’t update the fans because he was too busy running from room to room at the Hospital For Special Surgery asking each of the players to provide another stool sample for his “collection”. Then after 10pm, the first bombshell finally dropped. Thor posted the above photo on Instagram. “Happy elbows” was all I needed to hear. Then, just before 11pm the Mets dropped the news on SNY. All three guys are fine. Praise Jesus.

Thor’s MRI showed no elbow damage, and he was cleared. Yoenis Cespedes was diagnosed with a mild sprain of his left wrist. He got a little cortisone and will take a couple days off. Zack Wheeler just had some nerve irritation in his elbow. He got a cortisone injection too, but his elbow structure was fine. I’m sure the Mets will handle all three of these guys with care, but for another day we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Our two best players are alive. The season isn’t over.

P.S. The Nationals are finally hitting a rough patch. They’ve dropped five straight games and three straight in LA to the Dodgers. Michael Taylor went 0 for 5 (5 Ks) last night and misplayed a ball that led to the game winning run. He turned a single into a three base error and a loss for the Nats. Can the Mets please take care of the Braves in this four game set? Please? Let’s try and limit the setbacks. I think we’ve reached our quota for the week.