I Forgot About Jose

Final Score: Mets 5, Marlins 3

When I thought about all the ways this team could all of a sudden surge and have a huge August/September, I really didn’t think about Jose Reyes being the one to carry the club. I obviously thought about Yoenis Cespedes going on a tear, and he will undoubtedly need to be the engine that drives the club. But I was imagining Michael Conforto rebounding or Neil Walker finally deciding to get involved in the action for the first time since April or Asdrubal Cabrera starting to hit with runners in scoring position or Travis d’Arnaud looking like the hitter we all watched last season or Curtis Granderson smashing long balls. I really wasn’t thinking about Mr. Spark Plug Jose Reyes. Well last night, Jose went 3 for 5 with an RBI, a stolen base, and 2 runs scored. He was the primary reason the Mets won the baseball game.

Mr. Spark Plug: Jose Reyes led off the game with a double and with one out and Cespedes up, he stole third base. Luckily the ball got away from the catcher because he didn’t exactly get the best jump on the steal. But then Cespedes drove him in with a sac fly to make it 1-0 Mets. In the fourth inning, Travis d’Arnaud singled, Juan Lagares singled, and with two outs Jose Reyes hit an RBI single to make it 2-0. It was a huge clutch hit with a runner in scoring position and two outs.

Mr. Rotation Filler: Logan Verrett pitched 5.1 innings and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits. The runs came on a two run shot by Christian Yelich in the 6th inning that tied the game at 2. Terry instantly pulled him from the game even though he had just under 80 pitches. Terry wasn’t screwing around. I was pissed when the Marlins tied the game simply because the Mets had stranded Cespedes at second base with two outs in the third and with this offense you just never know if they’ll have more opportunities to tack on runs.

More Runs: In the 7th inning, the Mets instantly reclaimed the lead. Jose led off the inning with a single off reliever David Phelps. Then Grandy singled and Jose wound up at third base. Then Yoenis Cespedes hit another sac fly to make it 3-2 Mets.

Pen Problem?: Hansel Robles and Addison Reed combined for 2.2 innings of scoreless relief. We hear many calls for the Mets to add a reliever before the deadline. But this crew of Robles, Reed and Familia has been pretty damn good. I suppose we could use another guy simply because their arms will eventually fall off.

Insurance Salesman: In the top of the 9th, Cespedes was hit by a two out Fernado Rodney pitch, and James Loney then mashed a two run homer to make it 5-2 Mets. They said on SNY that Rodney has given up two homers all season. One homer to Alejandro De Aza a few weeks back and one to Loney last night. That’s an absurd stat. I hope Rodney keeps stinking against the Mets.

The Penmaster General: Jeurys Familia closed it out, but he still did his thing where he puts lots of people on base and stresses everyone out. Cespedes made a horrendous misplay in left field that led to a leadoff double for Christian Yelich. Then Familia struck out Giancarlo Stanton, walked Marcell Ozuna, and struck out Derek Dietrich. Martin Prado added an RBI single to make it 5-3 before Jeurys finished the game off. 50 straight regular season saves. Familia is special.

Today: Jacob deGrom vs. Jose Fernandez? Are you kidding me? What a game. Let’s take the series.

Mets Can’t Give Up; Every Team Is Mediocre

I completely understand the way that most Mets fans feel as we approach the final week before the MLB trade deadline. This team has been mediocre for nearly three months now (35-37 since April). Last season at this time the Mets were 2 games out of first place in the NL East. This season we sit 6.5 out of first and a game out in the Wild Card. There is no Yoenis Cespedes type of player coming to this club on July 31st to carry the team in August and September. Although the Mets have had stellar pitching in 2016 (ERA 3rd in MLB) and have hit a lot of home runs (6th in MLB), they haven’t been able to score runs (28th) and hit with runners in scoring position (last). The bottom line is the Mets may not be the luckiest team this year, but they don’t get clutch hits or comeback late in baseball games. That has made for an uninspiring product on the field.

It’s Okay To Be Okay: With all that being said, the notion that the Mets should sell or stand pat at the trade deadline is completely and utterly insane. Why? Because almost every team in the league is mediocre at best. The Mets went to the World Series last year, and openly stated the goal was to win a championship this season. As a result of that, every fan set the Mets 2016 baseline for success at a high level. Everyone expected elite regular season play from this team, and they’ve been about as mediocre as a team can be since the end of April. But the bottom line is very few teams are elite and we don’t have to be to make the playoffs.

The Land Of Mediocrity: Last year at the end of the season, there were 3 NL teams (Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates) in that 95 win, .575 winning percentage realm of success. Right now in 2016 there’s three teams trending in that direction (Nationals, Cubs, Giants). But everyone else stinks! The Phillies, Braves, Brewers, Reds, Rockies, Padres, and D-Backs are all well below .500. The Cardinals and Pirates are hovering around .500 but are nowhere near the regular season juggernauts they were in 2015. The Dodgers are mediocre at best and injured and may lose Clayton Kershaw for the season. Oh and remember those “elite” teams I mentioned? Well the Mets took 5 of 7 from the Cubs this year and 2 out of 3 from the Giants. Sure we’re 4-9 against the Nationals, but they’ve just been Murphing the hell out of us.

It’s Called A Window, Pal: This season will be a war of attrition. Keep pace with all the mediocre teams. Keep the core players on the field. Get the injured bodies back by August. A hot three week stretch in August or September will lead to a Wild Card berth. Let’s see if we can hang around the longest. Why not? I’ve actually heard some crazed fans comparing holding on to Cespedes at the 2016 deadline to when the Mets held on to Reyes in 2011. That’s completely ridiculous. Our current situation is the exact opposite of 2011. In 2011 we were on the verge of a rebuild. In 2016, we are playing in our championship window and Cespedes is part of our core. This young pitching staff is in place right now, and we have to make the most of the 3-6 year stretch where the arms are under team control.

I realize Matt Harvey is out for the season and that sucks. But the core players are here and producing at a high level. Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, and Jeurys Familia were all All-Stars. Jacob deGrom is having an All-Star caliber season. Steven Matz has struggled of late, but he’s still having an impressive rookie campaign. These are the core players. How can we even consider waving the white flag with the core producing? No. I don’t want to hear about bone spurs and sore quads and next year. Giving up on this team and on this pitching staff in 2016 would be insane.

This Is Life In MLB: There’s no denying that the quality of Mets baseball we’ve seen in 2016 has been far from elite. But it’s never elite for 6 months, and it doesn’t have to be. We certainly learned that lesson last year. Baseball nowadays is 4 awful teams, 4 very good teams, and 22 mediocre teams hanging around and trying to get a ticket to the playoffs. That’s just the way the league works. Dave Cameron at FanGraphs wrote a great preseason article essentially dismissing the notion that MLB has a tanking problem. In the article, he highlights the larger point I am trying to get at above.

The point is that MLB is experiencing a “golden age of parity” as Cameron puts it. This isn’t the NBA where the Warriors vs. Cavs is an absolute lock to repeat as the 2017 NBA Finals matchup and where one player can turn a team from garbage to playoff caliber. This isn’t the NFL where there’s like four to six real contenders that make the playoffs every single season and having an 8-8 or 9-7 record is a pretty strong indicator that your team doesn’t have a great chance of winning the Super Bowl. MLB is a league where the average fans spend half the season ripping their hair out because their team fails to live up to a standard of winning that probably wasn’t achievable to begin with. How often do we say over the course of the season “just win this series”? Well good luck maintaining that .667 winning percentage.

Sure We Need A Lot But…: The bottom line is the Mets have a number of areas where they need to improve. They need to do so through internal improvement and via some external acquisitions. But that’s the same situation almost every team is in. If we fail to make the playoffs then we take the roster and tweak what we need to in the offseason. We’re trying to win a championship after appearing in the World Series last year, and we have a window to do so with the core players I mentioned above. You try to win and then you tweak. Try and tweak. It’s all we can do. Giving up is not an option. After all, the Mets just need to be the best damn mediocre team in Stink Town! How hard is that?

One Out Of Three Ain’t Bad

Final Score: Cubs 6, Mets 2

I’m no mathematician, but I think this thing the Mets do where they lose more often than win isn’t going to lead to a playoff birth. I’m not a hundred percent sure on that one. I can’t say it with certainty yet. But since April (when they were actually good) the Mets have a record of 35-37. It’s starting to look like our April performance (15-7) might represent what my statistics teacher taught me is an outlier, and the record over the rest of the months are more in line with the mean. This team has been a below .500 club for almost three months now. I’d love to celebrate the fact that the Mets won 5 out of 7 games in the season series against the Cubs. I really would. But it doesn’t matter. We need to win games. We failed to beat the Braves and Nationals and Rockies and other teams when we had opportunities to win. Now every game is precious.

Start Them, Sit Them, Who Cares?: The Mets sat Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes in this game. I really don’t give a crap about sitting Cabrera and Walker. Walker hasn’t done a damn thing in months. We should consider giving Wilmer Flores more starts over Walker at this point because of how bad he’s been lately. Plus Wilmer Flores hit a garbage time two run homer in this game. He’s hot. Anyway, the Yoenis Cespedes benching is completely insane on the surface. You can’t sit your star against the Cubs in a rubber game when you’re in the Wild Card race. But we all know why he sat. Yo is hurt and couldn’t take the field today. He’s playing hurt, and Terry is trying to get what he can from him when he can get it. Without Yo the offense has no chance.

Socked In The Nuts: In the first inning, Kris Bryant singled. With two outs and a man on, a Bartolo Colon pitch rocked Travis d’Arnaud in the nuts. Then once he recovered, Bryant stole a base on him. What a jerk. Bartolo proceeded to walk the next two batters and gave up a two RBI double to Addison Russell to make it 2-0 Cubs. I thought last night’s win might be a momentum builder. But this literal sock in the nuts, and the runs that followed made the game feel over instantly.

Rich Man’s Duda: Anthony Rizzo gutted the Mets during this Wednesday matinee with a third inning solo blast and a fifth inning two run shot. After his four strikeout performance last night, I guess he was out for blood. Rizzo is totally the rich man’s Lucas Duda. He was launching bombs while Duda does his daily physical therapy.

Send Him, Hold Him, Who Cares?: In the fourth inning with two outs James Loney, Travis d’Arnaud, and Kelly Johnson hit back to back to back singles. The Kelly Johnson single was a clutch hit with men on base AND in scoring position. And of course James Loney was gunned down trying to score by a laser Jason Heyward throw. I get being aggressive and sending the runner with two outs and Juan Lagares on deck. The Mets never get clutch hits. We were trying to make something happen. I also would have understood if we held Loney. He’s so slow. I always prefer to be conservative. The umpire ended up doing that thing where he calls the runner out because the throw beat him to the base. Umps have been doing it for 100 years. But…when you watch the replay Loney actually appeared to be safe. Too bad challenges aren’t allowed. And by that I mean Terry just forgot that you’re allowed to challenge. Nice!

Double Play Cut and Paste Section: I could have gone back to the posts from half of the games this season to get some generic “The Mets hit into multiple rally ending double plays in this game” language. But instead I’ll just re-type it. Juan Lagares squashed a rally in the second inning by hitting into a double play with two men on base. Then in the 7th inning, Travis d’Arnaud walked and Kelly Johnson singled. Then Lagares popped out and Michael Conforto hit into a double play.

Mr. Mop: The Cubs chased Bartolo from the game in the 5th inning with a barrage of hits. He gave up 6 runs over 4.1. Mop up man Antonio Bastardo entered with two men on base. After getting one out, he gave up an RBI single to Javier Baez to make it 6-0. He is so bad.

Guy At Work: A guy at work asked me what the Mets should do at the trade deadline. He felt they should trade for a reliever. Another guy said a starter. Another guy said they have to add at least one bat. Ummm the Mets need everything. If your team is weak at every position in July you have problems. Problems that you are unlikely to magically solve in-season.

Selling Is A Pipe Dream: All that being said, the notion that the Mets might sell at the trade deadline is a pipe dream. I’m not saying they shouldn’t sell. A strong argument could be made for the Mets to buy or sell. But we all know there’s no way the Wilpons will allow Sandy to sell away their August and September ticket sales. So forget that idea. Don’t even waste your breath. Also the team is coming off a World Series appearance and is in the thick of the Wild Card race. In my opinion giving up would be insane.

Everyone Sucks: Speaking of being in the Wild Card race, how is that possible? Every team is so mediocre. I suppose that’s the price of competitive balance. In the NBA Warriors vs. Cavs is a lock. In the NFL there’s like four to six real contenders. And it’ll still probably be the Patriots that win the Super Bowl this season. But MLB has like six very good teams and the rest are mediocre and fighting for a spot in the playoffs. I’ll take the mediocre team situation over the faux competitive balance that the NBA and NFL pretends to have year after year.

Tomorrow: The Mets are off tomorrow and then open up a weekend series against the Marlins on Friday. Obviously it’s the biggest series of the season. The Marlins are ahead of the Mets in the Wild Card. But every game is enormous now. The Mets need wins. You don’t need to be a math major to figure that one out.

Rene “Big Time” Rivera Comes Through

Final Score: Mets 2, Cubs 1

Considering how hard it’s been for the Mets to get a clutch hit with runners in scoring position at any point this season, never in a million years did I think Rene Rivera would be the guy to get one against the Cubs. But that’s exactly what he did last night.

Just Two Nasty Gunslingers: Jake Arrieta and Noah Syndergaard both had their nasty pitching arsenal on display last night. But Arrieta was superior. He went 7 innings, gave up 1 run on 5 hits and struck out 8. Syndergaard had his high velocity fastball working and seemed to be fully recovered from that dead arm outing. Obviously the All-Star Break rest helped him. But he was also in trouble many times during the game. He battled his way through 5.2 innings and gave up 1 unearned run on 7 hits with 8 strikeouts. Often he was in trouble because of the Mets shoddy defense.

Sloppy Ball: In the first inning, Curtis Granderson briefly froze in center field on the first ball the Cubs hit in the game, and it dropped in front of him. It was certainly a hit, but it showed Grandy has to shake off that rust in center. Then Kris Bryant hit one up the middle, and Neil Walker failed to make a play on the ball. The Walker play was ruled a hit, but it was playable. Thor escaped the inning without any damage, but he had to work hard right away.

Sloppy Ball Part 2: In the third inning with two outs, Willson Contreras doubled. Then Noah Syndergaard threw a wild pitch, and instead of holding on to the ball, Rene Rivera chucked it into left field. That allowed Contreras to score an unearned run making it 1-0 Cubs.

Mets Impression: The Cubs did their best impression of the Mets last night by wasting opportunities on offense left and right. They went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position. They had chances to score in the first, second, fourth, sixth, and then in the ninth against Jeurys Familia. But the Mets kept wiggling out of jams, and the big time Cubs hitters just couldn’t capitalize in key spots.

Big Play At The Plate: In the fourth inning with two outs, Jake Arrieta doubled off of Thor. Then Tommy La Stella singled and Arrieta scored on the hit. But it was clear upon replay review that Michael Conforto threw out Arrieta at the plate. Rivera got the tag down. Thank God for replay. These mook umps really miss the calls on the field all the time. That kept the score 1-0 Cubs.

Reyes Run: In the 6th inning, the Mets scored on a classic throwback Jose Reyes inning. He scorched a leadoff triple. He was running so hard to third, I thought his hammy was going to explode like it always does. That’s certainly part of the throwback feeling. Anyway, then Grandy hit a sac fly to tie the game at 1. It was a huge leadoff hit by Reyes. Dare I say it sparked the Mets? Also, when Jose finally blows his hammy out this year for the billionth time, I really hope it happens at Citi Field, so the team can blast the Curb Your Enthusiasm Theme song throughout the stadium. That would be too full circle to just ignore.

Big Time Hansel: Props to Hansel Robles for giving the Mets two huge innings of relief in the 7th and 8th. The Cubs had chances against Syndergaard, Jerry Blevins, and Jeurys Familia, but they did not have an opportunity against Hansel.

The Rene Rivera Inning: In the 9th inning, James Loney led off with an opposite field single. Then Neil Walker hit into a double play. The inning crushing double play is pretty standard for the Mets, so this wasn’t surprising at all. However, replay saved the Mets again because it showed Walker beat the throw to first, and the Mets won the challenge. Asdrubal Cabrera followed that with a single to make it first and second with one out for future center fielder Michael Conforto. Unfortunately, Conforto struck out for the second time in this game. That set up the enormous two out opposite field RBI single by Rene Rivera. Rene Rivera had three hits in this game. Obviously the one that turned out to be the game winner was the biggest. Meanwhile Kevin Plawecki is probably hitting .750 in Vegas with 30 home runs over two weeks, but nobody up north cares. I hope clutch hitting is contagious like Keith Hernandez says. I really hope this Rivera hit leads to a clutch hitting epidemic for this team.

The Jeurys Houdini Act: Jeurys Familia came in for the 9th, walked the first two batters, and then gave up a bunt single to load the bases. The guy may convert every single save, but he’s a circus act out there every time. With no outs, pinch hitter Matt Szczur hit a ball to James Loney, and the Mets were able to get the first out at home plate. Then Kris Bryant hit into a game ending double play (thanks to a sweet scoop by Loney at first). Familia has converted 49 straight regular season saves. He hasn’t blown a save since the San Diego rain delay game last year. Having a robot save machine closer with the Mariano Rivera software is amazing. Sure they have glitches sometimes where they walk the leadoff man or load the bases with nobody out. But it’s nice that we can rely on their robot programming to convert the save in the end.

Today: The Mets are playing the Cubs in Chicago. Winning 2 out of 3 in Chicago is going to be tough. But we need wins. Must keep pace. Let’s be Sexy and take this matinee with Bartolo Colon on the mound.

Michael Conforto in Center Field Is Bananas

Let me start by saying I fully understand the Mets current predicament. Yoenis Cespedes is playing injured. His legs are sore, and he has stated openly and on the record that playing center field has contributed to his leg problems. As a result of that assertion, the Mets have no choice but to accommodate Cespedes’ request and play him more often in the corner outfield to keep him in the lineup.

I also understand the notion that Cespedes isn’t really a true center fielder, and according to the advanced defensive metrics he hasn’t been that great defensively out there this season anyway. Therefore, if we were willing to play Yo in center field and sacrifice defense, why wouldn’t we be willing to try someone else out there and make a similar sacrifice? I get how someone could come to that conclusion. Unfortunately, that conclusion makes no sense when the “someone” we plan to use in center field is Michael Conforto.

Michael Conforto in center field just feels like something the Mets would try and completely bungle. It’s so Mets. My biggest concern with even entertaining the notion of Conforto in center field is he’s 23 years old, never played the position, and just got sent down to the minors for hitting struggles. Hitting is supposed to be his strength. Hitting is what comes natural to him, and he’s struggled with that at the major league level in 2016. And those struggles are completely understandable for a young player. Now we are going to ask him to figure out hitting as well as learn a position that requires arguably the most athleticism of all the places in the field? It’s borderline unfair to ask Conforto to learn a new position when he’s still learning to hit MLB pitching.

I’m not saying Conforto wouldn’t be able to eventually succeed in center. But this just reeks of a failed Mets experiment that sets a young player’s development back. Let’s teach Jose Reyes a different running style! Let’s move Reyes to second base and make room for Kaz Matsui! For God’s sake, Lucas Duda still wakes up in cold sweats after having nightmares where he’s hurriedly retrieving balls in the left field corner as runners are rounding third and heading home. The Duda outfield experiment screwed with Lucas at the plate, and as a result it took years for the Mets to see what he was fully capable of in the batter’s box. But Conforto in center field sounds great. I’m sure it’ll be different.

I get that Curtis Granderson can’t effectively play the position anymore. He can’t cover the ground in center and doesn’t have the arm. Unfortunately, this whole outfield debacle really exposes one big issue that we’ve all been ignoring/pretending doesn’t exist. If Cespedes opts-out and the Mets pony up the dough to keep him, they have to trade Curtis Granderson for a player that fits better on this roster. I love Grandy. He’s one of the best players on the team and a class act off the field. I don’t want to get rid of him at all. But if Yo can only play the corner then there’s no place for Grandy.

As far as this season goes, there’s only one real answer. If Cespedes can only play center field once or twice a week, then Juan Lagares gets the rest of the starts. That’s the only real option. I realize the plan was to have Juan platoon against lefties. Well throw that plan out the window because having Cespedes in the lineup is the only thing that matters.

Frankly, I’m not quite sure why this is even being made out to be an emergency situation. Michael Conforto wasn’t hitting when he was demoted. We crowned him as our number three hitter before he even had a chance to get fully acquainted with big league pitching. But he’s struggled this season, so why are we rushing to reconfigure our defensive alignment to “get his bat in there”? We’ve tried every configuration imaginable this season, and the team has still failed to produce with runners in scoring position.

The idea of giving Juan Lagares more at-bats and starting him more often in center field down the stretch doesn’t scare me at all. I actually like the idea of prioritizing defense the rest of the season. Our young studs are pitching through elbow bone spurs. Matt Harvey is out for the season. That should mean strikeouts will be down and more balls will be in play. Let’s see how many runs Lagares can save with a healthy throwing arm (let’s just pretend he has two healthy thumbs). Let’s not forget the Mets paid Lagares. We need to determine if he really is the future full time center fielder who will be flanked by Conforto and Cespedes for years to come. There’s no better time to assess that than the present.

No Big Hits! No Comebacks! No Fun!

Final Score: Cubs 5, Mets 1

Glass Half Full BS: Let me get the glass half full positive crap out of the way to start. The Cubs are one of the elite teams in Major League Baseball. We dropped the first game of a three game set in Chicago. The Cubs are 29-15 at Wrigley this season. Jon Lester is a stud, and he pitched 7.2 innings and gave up 1 run on 4 hits. In the third inning, Anthony Rizzo crushed a three run homer off of Steven Matz after a great at-bat where he fouled off a ton of pitches. Matz tried to get a pitch up and in, and it caught too much plate. But Rizzo is beast. He’s an MVP candidate. It happens. That homer made it 3-0, and the Mets only scored a run on a Wilmer Flores solo shot. So the Rizzo dinger was really the game.

Matzy Spurs: Okay let’s get to the negative reality. Steven Matz only lasted 5 innings and gave up 4 runs on 8 hits. The Rizzo shot was the big damage, but he struggled. He’s really struggled since this bone spur issue surfaced. He’s 0-5 in his last 9 starts. Not good.

No Big Hits: The Mets were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position tonight. Neil Walker and Wilmer Flores got on base to start the second inning and Asdrubal Cabrera hit into a double play to end the threat. In the third inning Steven Matz and Jose Reyes got on base with one out and the Mets failed to score. In the fifth the Mets left Travis d’Arnaud on second base. In the 8th inning, Curtis Granderson singled and Yoenis Cespedes was hit by a pitch with two outs. Neil Walker struck out and stranded them all. In the 9th inning Asdrubal Cabrera singled and Michael Conforto singled with one out. Travis d’Arnaud hit into a double play to end the game.

This team has sucked for a long stretch now. After a monstrous April full of home runs and wins, we haven’t been able to put together any consistent stretch of winning baseball. The Mets don’t get hits with runners in scoring position. The team batting average with runners in scoring position is just over .200 and dead last in the league. I don’t care how many home runs the team hits. The 2016 Mets consistently fail to execute with runners in scoring position, and as a result I have no confidence in their ability to win baseball games.

I’m not questioning the effort of the players. I’m not providing an explanation as to why the team consistently fails to hit with RISP. It’s obviously due to bad luck (Mets are dead last in team batting average on balls (BABIP) in play). It’s obviously due to a bunch of players performing way below their career numbers with men on base and runners in scoring position. But the failure to execute in these “clutch spots” is happening consistently, and it makes for frustrating and boring baseball games.

No Comebacks
: The Mets are 0-38 when trailing after 8 innings this season per Rich MacLeod. In other words we never come back late in a game. It would be nice if we never needed to come back because we always led games in the late innings. But that’s not a reality. This is just another stat that adds to the feeling of hopelessness during Mets games this season. We don’t get clutch hits or come back when we are behind. That’s kind of a problem. That doesn’t mean the team can’t turn things around. But we’re more than halfway through the season here. The sample size is pretty prettay large at this point.

No Fun: I want to love this team. I want to watch and have fun doing it. I really do. But for all the reasons I mentioned it’s been tough to connect with this squad so far this season. It’s tough to feel confident in our ability to win night in and night out. We officially fell out of the second Wild Card spot tonight.

Rocket Arm: In the third inning after the Rizzo three run shot, Willson Contreras hit a ground rule double into the ivy in left field. Yo saw the ball hit the ivy and immediately called for the ground rule double. I really thought it was going to be that 2015 NLCS play all over again, but this one was called a ground rule double. Anyway, Matt Szczur hit a single with two outs and Cespedes gunned Contreras at the plate. He has such a rocket arm.

Sloppy Ball: Wilmer Flores missed a routine foul pop at first base tonight. In the 8th inning with two outs, Matt Szczur doubled and then Albert Almora Jr. hit a single to Yoenis Cespedes in left field. He may have been able to gun down Szczur at the plate, but he let the ball go right through his legs and all the way to the wall instead. Sloppy play isn’t fun to watch either. Duh.

He’s Hurt: The big story today was that Terry Collins said he may play Michael Conforto in center field so Cespedes can play left field and rest his legs. If Terry does that he’s a moron. It’s clear the Mets are forcing a banged up Cespedes to play. We need him, so I get why he’s staying on the field. In my opinion, the Conforto in center field story is complete nonsense, and I won’t believe it until he is officially misplaying balls in center. The Mets should just play Lucas Duda in CF when he returns, and create the best blooper reel of all time.

Tomorrow: Noah Syndergaard vs. Jake Arrieta tomorrow night. Let’s shake this loss off and get them tomorrow.

Thank deGod for deGrom

Final Score: Mets 5, Phillies 0

Thank you sweet Jesus for my man Jacob deGrom. The Mets needed to win this series in Philly real bad. Keith Hernandez called it a “must win” since the Nationals expanded their division lead to 7 games last night. And Jacob deGrom delivered in the biggest way possible with a complete game one hit shutout. It was the first complete game of deGrom’s career which is kind of insane considering how fantastic he’s been since his debut in 2014. With the Mets offense being as bad as it is, it often feels like a complete game shutout is needed for this squad to stand a chance. Well we got what we needed today. Jake told Terry at the All-Star Break that he felt gassed. I think these days off obviously helped him. He’s the ace we need for the dog days of summer. I fully expect him to continue his dominance the rest of the way. Also, the only hit against deGrom was by the Phillies starter Zach Eflin. Of course.

He’s Hot So He Plays: In the second inning with one out, James Loney singled and advanced to second on a throwing error by Zach Eflin. Then Juan Lagares hit a two out RBI triple to right field to make it 1-0 Mets. Juan Lagares has been hot at the plate lately. Juanny is hot, therefore he plays until he’s not. It ain’t rocket science folks. Plus Yoenis Cespedes‘ legs have been barking all season, and he thinks playing center field has put additional strain on the legs. Terry said postgame that Yo prefers left field. Soooo that means we’ll play Juan Lagares our hot hitting gold glove center fielder a little more this month. Fine by me. Yo is our best player, and we need to accommodate him in every single way. Michael Conforto also didn’t start in Vegas today. There’s been some rumors that he may get called back up to the big club for the Cubs series. Whenever he gets the call, we’ll find a way to play everyone. I’m not too worried about it.

Double Steal: In the 5th inning with two outs Jacob deGrom singled, and Jose Reyes drove him in with a double making it 3-0 Mets. Then Curtis Granderson walked, and Cespedes came up with two men on base. Before Cespedes had a chance to do some damage, Jose Reyes and Grandy successfully pulled off a double steal. And of course the Phillies instantly decided to pitch around Yo and put him on base. Neil Walker ended up grounding out to first base for the third out. The lesson here is never take the bat out of Yo’s hands. Although who am I kidding, the Phils probably would have pitched around Yo anyway. Nobody should give Cespedes anything to hit ever.

Win When We Homer: In the top of third inning, Curtis Granderson launched a solo homer to right center field making it 2-0 Mets. In the 8th inning, Asdrubal Cabrera gave the team some insurance runs with a two run homer that made it 5-0 Mets. The Mets win when they hit home runs. It is known. And they also win when the starter pitches a complete game shutout. It’s hard to lose when that happens.

Coincidence?: Is it a coincidence that Rene Rivera was catching and deGrom pitched a complete game shutout? Nope. Rene calls a hell of a game and is a fantastic pitch framer. This isn’t a knock on Travis d’Arnaud or a call to give Rivera more starts. But Rivera does deserve to be recognized for his receiving skills.

Can’t Ask For More: James Loney had two more hits in this game. His average is up to .284. He’s been an amazing fill-in for cracked back Duda. Lucas Duda is supposedly going to resume baseball activities soon. Obviously Duda starts at first base when he returns, but it’ll be nice to have Loney on the bench for defensive purposes.

Murphslayer Update: The Nationals were losing 1-0 to the Pirates in the 9th inning with two outs this afternoon. Daniel Murphy has missed the last few games with hamstring soreness. He came in to pinch hit and hit a game-tying solo blast. He just can’t stop killing us. He’s having an MVP season. Nuts.

Tomorrow: The three game set against the Cubs in Chicago starts tomorrow. We face Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta in this series. I still can’t believe we swept the Cubs at Citi Field. This series at Wrigley is going to be tough. Thank God for deGrom. We needed this series win against the Phillies real bad. Let’s keep it up.

Mets Lose Clash Of Clowns; Need Yo Back

Final Score: Phillies 4, Mets 2

The Mets didn’t get a hit in this game with a runner on base. That really tells you all you need to know. The game was hard to watch. The highlight of the game may have been when this Pete Rose lookalike caught a hard hit foul ball down the right field line barehanded. We need Yoenis Cespedes back. He’s a walking highlight reel.

Manufacturing Runs: In the third inning, Juan Lagares hit a leadoff double. Then Logan Verrett sacrificed Lagares to third and Jose Reyes drove him in with a sac fly to make it 1-1. In the fourth inning, Curtis Granderson hit a leadoff double. Neil Walker helped Grandy advance to third with a ground out. Then James Loney was hit by a pitch and Travis d’Arnaud hit a sac fly to make it 2-1.

Nice Effort: Logan Verrett gave the Mets a quality start. He went 6 innings, gave up 8 hits, and 2 runs. He gave up a Ryan Howard second inning solo homer. Of course Gary Cohen caused the home run by citing the exact number of career home runs Howard has against the Mets seconds before he launched the ball. Howard almost hit another one in the 6th inning to the opposite field but came up just short. Verrett escaped some two out trouble in the fourth inning. In the fifth inning he gave up back to back doubles to pitcher Jerad Eickhoff and Odubel Herrera. Eickhoff undoubtedly should have scored on the Herrera double, but for some reason he was standing on second tagging when the ball was inches from being a home run. Base running blunder for sure. Eickhoff ended up scoring anyway on an RBI ground out by Cody Asche to make it 2-2. But Verrett limited the damage in the inning.

Thanks I Guess: In the 6th inning, Logan Verrett retired the first two Phillies. Then he hit Carlos Ruiz with a pitch and gave up a single to Freddy Galvis. With two outs and runners on first and second, the Phillies left pitcher Jerad Eickhoff in to hit instead of pinch hitting. I understand he can hit, and he already hit a double against Verrett in the game. But leaving Eickhoff in to bat is the wrong move. Terrible managing by Pete Mackanin. Anyway, Eickhoff ended up hitting a weak grounder to shortstop and actually beat Asdrubal Cabrera’s throw to first base. But Carlos Ruiz, arguably the slowest runner in the league, decided to run home and James Loney nailed him at the plate. Travis d’Arnaud applied a perfect tag. The only thing bad about the play was Ruiz’s choice to run. Instead of bases loaded for Odubel Herrera, the Phils ran themselves out of an inning. I get taking a chance with two outs. But it’s the wrong decision. Maybe Lucas Duda throws that ball away, but Loney is making that play for sure. Thanks for the break I guess. It certainly didn’t end up costing the Phils the game because the Mets couldn’t execute with men on base at all.

Can’t Execute: Yoenis Cespedes isn’t playing. He’s our best hitter. It’s tough to do anything without him in the lineup. In the 7th inning, Travis d’Arnaud hit a leadoff double. Then Brandon Nimmo hit a ball back to the pitcher and d’Arnaud was caught off second base. But Eickhoff waited too long to throw back to second and d’Arnaud made it back to the bag. The Mets had first and second with nobody out and failed to score a run. Juan Lagares bunted the runners over and Kelly Johnson couldn’t get a sac fly. Horrendous execution.

Errors: In the 7th inning, Peter Bourjos reached on an error by the always dependable Asdrubal Cabrera. Great. Then Cody Asche walked and Maikel Franco hit an RBI single to make it 3-2.

More Blunders: In the 8th inning, Erik Goeddel gave up a leadoff double to Carlos Ruiz, and Ruiz advanced on a soft ground out by Freddy Galvis. Then Goeddel threw a wild pitch and Ruiz scored. The old men Ruiz and Howard really helped beat the Mets tonight. And of course the Mets also beat themselves.

Niese and Clippard: I read real rumors today that the Mets would entertain trading for Jon Niese if the Pirates do end up dealing him. I also saw that the D-Backs are open to trading Tyler Clippard. If the Mets wind up trading for Niese and Clippard, the front office should publicly apologize for their offseason.

DL Management: Tonight was the 8th straight day that Cespedes was out due to his injured quad muscle. I’m sure the Mets will continue to play short-handed because we always do. Someone should be fired for the handling of our injured players. Remember when the Jets hired Dick Curl for clock management? The Mets need to hire a coach for disabled list management.

Tomorrow: The Mets will fall 7 games behind the Nationals once they win tonight. The Yankees fell below .500 today. When we play the Yankees the last week in July, we may both be in sell mode. Although probably not since the Mets are at least in the Wild Card race. Thank God for the Wild Card. Thank God for Jacob deGrom on the mound tomorrow. Please win this series. Let’s get Yo healthy.

Reed and Familia Are Pretty Prettay Good

Final Score: Mets 5, Phillies 3

I don’t care that we’re playing the Phillies. A win to start play right after the All-Star Break is fantastic. In fact, the games against the Phillies are the must win affairs. We need to at least outplay the “bad teams” the rest of the way. Even if the “bad teams” aren’t that far behind us in the NL East standings.

Juanny One Thumb: Yoenis Cespedes didn’t start because his quad is still bothering him. But Juan Lagares stepped up in his place. He smashed a solo shot in the third inning to make it 1-0. A big second half from Juanny One Thumb would do a lot to help this team make a playoff run. He’s capable of being a spark in the field and at the plate. He’s not usually a spark on the base paths because he’s slow as hell. But even in this game he had an impact on the bases. In the 7th inning he stole a key base after he led off with a walk, and he ultimately scored the fifth run for the Mets in that inning on a Jose Reyes grounder. The Phillies threw home and Juanny beat the throw.

Walkyear Back On: Neil Walker was smoking hot in April. Then he cooled off in May and was awful in June. Last night he hit the game winning 3-run shot off of Jeremy Hellickson in the 6th inning. It would be nice if the Walkyear level of production that Neil had in April is back for the second half. Then maybe some pressure can be lifted off of Cespedes’ shoulders.

Hit A Wall: Bartolo Colon was untouchable until the bottom of the 6th inning. Then the wheels fell off. James Loney made a throwing error that let Odubel Herrera reach base with one out. Then Peter Bourjos tripled in a run, Maikel Franco hit an RBI groundout, and Cody Asche singled in a run. Bartolo was yanked when the game was 4-3.

Reed/Familia Es Muy Nasty: The Mets were fortunate that the pen gave them 3.1 innings of scoreless relief. But Hansel Robles and Jerry Blevins didn’t exactly make it easy for us. Terry was forced to go to Addison Reed with two outs in the 7th and he dominated like he has all season. Jeurys Familia was super nasty in the 9th inning, and he slammed the door. It may make sense for us to trade for one more reliable reliever (and a starter and a bat).

Cubano: The Mets didn’t get the new Cuban Yulieski Gurriel. I wrote about it here. What a joke.

Today: Today Logan Verrett gets another chance to convince the Mets we don’t need to trade for a starter before the trade deadline. Let’s see what he’s got.

Mets Pass On Cuban Star; Prefer To Have One

In the least surprising news of all time, the Mets passed on signing free agent Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel (formerly spelled Yulieski Gourriel). He plays second base and third base and was touted as the best international talent available in the market. But the Mets don’t have a need at either of those positions. We already have our studs Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes. I mean let’s be reasonable here. We have all these infielders signed to expensive long term deals. How can we possibly fit any other infielders on our roster? And by “all these” I mean just David Wright who may never play another game again. The Mets infield logjam is a real problem. We can’t go complicating things by adding another talented body.

Instead, Gurriel goes to the Astros on a 5 year deal worth $47.5 million dollars. The Astros have an abundance of infielders on their major league roster and Alex Bregman their top position player prospect is also a middle infielder. Obviously the Astros GM has lost his mind. How will his team possibly accommodate all these talented players? There’s simply no way to do it. If the Mets have taught us anything this year it’s that maintaining a deep roster is simply too risky. A team is much better off playing short-handed every single week and being forced to address roster deficiencies during the season by trading pitching prospects for Kelly Johnson.

Plus the Mets don’t want to violate MLB’s strict “one Cuban All-Star per team” policy. I know Yo wanted Gurriel to join the Mets very much. But he just doesn’t understand that rules are rules. One star Cuban per team. That’s it. I’m sure he’ll be disappointed. Also it’s hilarious that the Mets completely ignored the plea by Cespedes. He came to them and said this guy is the real deal and the team should sign him. Cespedes is rarely vocal about anything with the media. He went out of his way to express his feelings about Gurriel. What did the Mets say to that? Nope! Pass!

This is 100% foreshadowing the Mets 2016/17 offseason Cuban relations. Don’t be fooled people. Yoenis Cespedes opting out of his current contract is an absolute lock. There is no way in hell the Mets are going to give him the long term deal he wants and deserves. And you can rest assured that some team is going to give him his money this time. If his unproven former Cuban teammate is getting 10 million a season over the next 5 years, I guarantee you some team is giving Cespedes (who’s younger than Gurriel and a major league All-Star) 25 million a year over 6 years. I know everyone said that last offseason Cespedes would get paid. But last offseason it was pretty obvious that Cespedes wanted to stay in New York more than anything. The World Series trip was so fresh. He just couldn’t get over that feeling and pass on a chance to try and get there again. I’m sure that feeling will wear off by the end of this season. Plus he’s going to need extra cash considering he’s spent his entire 2016 salary on horses, pigs, and sports cars.

Speaking of Cespedes, he tried running the bases today and his quad injury hasn’t healed. I can’t decide what’s more likely. He’s either going to sit for 15 days on the active roster and then come back, or the Mets will pinch hit him tonight and he’ll re-aggravate the injury thus making it impossible for the team to backdate the DL stint. Whatever. I’m just going to assume the Mets passed on this new Cuban to save their money for Cespedes. Because if the Mets let Cespedes walk away from the team, we all should do the same thing.