I’m Still Brooding Over The 2016 Season

The 2016 World Series started last night, and a few pitches into the game I realized there is no way I’ll really enjoy it. A friend of mine recently said it was hard for him to get too worked up about the Mets fate in 2016 because their demise at the hands of Madison Bumgarner was so quick and efficient. I agreed at the time but I kind of lied. I just didn’t want to spend five hours ranting about why I’m so bitter.

I’ve heard Mets fans say they’ll enjoy this World Series because it’s free of certain rivals. Sure, it could have been worse. The Nationals could have made a run sparked by our former 2015 playoff hero Daniel Murphy. Or it could have been the even year Giants who disposed of the Mets in the 2016 NL Wild Card Game. Or it could have been stupid David Ortiz and the Red Sox. It’s nice that the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs period. But still, as a jealous Mets fan this series won’t be easy to watch.

On the one hand I can root for the team that was often compared to the 2015 Mets before the season. The talking heads all raved about the Indians elite starting pitching staff. Many experts felt they’d be a big bat short on offense (especially without Michael Brantley) unless they made a move at the deadline. They even had their own failed trade with the Brewers at the deadline like the 2015 Mets. In the end it turned out they had plenty of talent and won 94 games without adding a middle of the order presence. They’ve had a great playoff run despite missing two of their best starting pitchers.

On the other hand, the Cubs had the best record by far in 2016 and no matter what happens in the World Series they are showing they will be a National League powerhouse for the foreseeable future. The Cubs spent a ton of money last offseason and bolstered a team that already had arguably the most talent. They lived up to the hype. Theo Epstein is the man.

Whether the Cubs win or Indians win, one team will break an enormous championship drought. By next week, the number of sad, self-loathing, championship-less fans will diminish in a big way. There will be a mass exodus from Losertown as either the Cubs or Indians faithful pack up and leave. And I’ll remain behind with the rest of the sad sacks. As far as I’m concerned, the Mets have never won a championship. I wasn’t alive for ’86. My team will be 0-28 in my lifetime.

I think it’s hard for me to stay upbeat about the future for the Mets because I’ve never witnessed anything remotely close to competitive stability. Making the playoffs two years in a row is nice. It’s literally the greatest accomplishment I’ve witnessed during my time as a Mets fan. Forgive me if I keep the two year playoff streak celebratory champagne on ice.

And then there’s the fact that Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller are both playing in this World Series. So Yankees fans get to have a World Series talking point and feel like they were instrumental in crowning this year’s champion. It’s just a nice little Yankee cherry on top of this stupid Mets-less World Series. Sure it’s nice that the Yankees voluntarily traded Andrew Miller, arguably the best reliever in the game. But they’ll probably just re-sign Chapman, and then we’ll watch all the prospects they acquired instantly turn into stars. And we’ll still hear Yankees fans talk about the great “rebuild” of 2016. A season where they won 84 games and played better AFTER they traded away their most talented players at the deadline and brought up a once in a generation catching phenom in Gary Sanchez.

Meanwhile the Mets went from a four year rebuild, to a 2015 World Series appearance fueled by elite young pitching, to a 2016 offseason where Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz had their arms surgically rebuilt. Ehh whatever. I’m brooding. I’m bitter. I’ll shake it off eventually, but not until the season is actually over. Until then I’ll be sulking in Losertown, trying not to be sick as I watch some of the longest-tenured residents boxing up their belongings before they move out.

A Bruce Salary Dump Would Be Unacceptable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

What Is Happening To The Mets?

Final Score: Mets 14, Cubs 3

The Mets just inexplicably went from watching the season spiral out of control to sweeping the best team in the National League. That’s the most baseball thing I’ve ever heard. The season is so freaking long and ridiculous.

The Mets Hit Lefties Now?: The Mets were getting shut down by left-handed pitchers all season. Before the game, the Mets had a .693 OPS against lefties which ranked 26th in baseball. But now we can beat Jon Lester? Somehow we chased Jon Lester out of the game in 1.1 innings. We scored 8 runs and hit 3 home runs off Lester despite him having an ERA hovering around 2 on the season. How in the world does a team go from having one of the worst offenses and being unable to hit lefties to crushing one of the best lefties in the game? I’d like to think it’s because we “have the Cubs number” or some BS, but I think it’s just the offense finally breaking out and taking out any pitcher in its path.

The Mets Hit Home Runs Again?: Yoenis Cespedes hit that moon bomb homer on Thursday. Then the Mets hit 5 bombs on Friday. Neil Walker added a jack yesterday. And then today the Mets hit 5 more home runs. The offense goes from lifeless to raining home runs on the Cubs elite pitching staff. Live by the dinger, die by the dinger. The ball is flying out yet again. Curtis Granderson hit a solo shot in the first inning to make it 1-1. Then in the second inning, the Mets chased Lester from the game. Wilmer Flores hit a solo homer to start the inning. Literally seconds before Wilmer hit the blast, I was sitting in my seat at the game ranting about how his power has dissipated this season. So I take full credit for his power resurgence today. Anyway, with one out Matt Reynolds doubled and Rene Rivera hit a two run shot to make it 4-1. Then Lester, like an idiot, walked Noah Syndergaard. Juan Lagares doubled to make it second and third with one out. Grandy, Yoenis Cespedes, Neil Walker and Wilmer Flores then hit consecutive singles to run up the score and make it 8-1. The Flores single finally drove Lester from the game. Later in the game, Wilmer Flores (5th inning) and Kelly Johnson (7th inning) added two run home runs. Rene Rivera and James Loney had RBI singles. In total the Mets had 14 runs on 22 hits. It was the highest hit total the team collected at home since 1981.

Wilmer Flores Is Amazing Now?: Wilmer Flores went 6 for 6 with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs. He tied the Mets single game hit record set by Edgardo Alfonzo in 1999 against the Astros. I was at the Kirk Nieuwenhuis 3 home run game last season. I went from a 2016 Citi Field jinx to inspiring Mets players to set franchise records. Also, Wilmer can totally feel Jose Reyes breathing down his neck. I love that Wilmer’s response to the arrival of Reyes is to step up his performance. The fact that we will soon have Wilmer Flores, Jose Reyes, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Kelly Johnson, and James Loney is fantastic. Hopefully with Nimmo, Grandy, Cespedes, Lagares, and eventually Michael Conforto in the outfield, our team will now just be a straight up regular rotation of major league players. It will keep all these guys fresh. We just spent the weekend watching the Cubs do it. Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, and Javier Baez are playing all over the place in Chicago. Willson Contreras is catching and playing outfield. Miguel Montero is catching and pitching! Honestly the rotating stable of position players is the best way to go. It should have been the Mets plan from day one, but better late than never.

Bone Spurs Don’t Matter?: Noah Syndergaard went from elbow bone spurs and getting blasted by the Nationals to straight up dominating again. I guess the cortisone shot has started to take effect. He went 7 innings, gave up 7 hits, 1 run, and struck out 8.

The Mets Beat Elite Teams?: The Mets went from getting dumped on by the Braves to embarrassing the best team in the NL. The Mets really got smoked by the elite teams in the NL Central last year, but had a lot of success against the NL East. So far this season they have had real success against the NL Central, but the results have not been nearly as good against the NL East. The Mets need to improve their performance against their division rivals immediately.

Mop Up Stink Off: As you would expect, Antonio Bastardo and Logan Verrett handled mop up duties against the Cubs. I think at this point they are both low men on the totem pole. Bastardo handled the 8th inning fine, but Logan Verrett gave up a homer in the 9th and threw a wild pitch that led to a second run. He still managed to close the game out though to seal the 14-3 win. Also, Logan Verrett autocorrected to “slogan Verrett” on my phone. I think his slogan for 2016 would be, “Logan Verrett: When the game gets out of hand and you need an arm.”

Hot Notes From The Game: I saw a guy at the stadium with a Tsuyoshi Shinjo #5 jersey. Then on the way home I saw another guy rocking a Shinjo jersey on the subway. I had no idea there were that many Shinjo jerseys in circulation, but what a classic. I also saw a guy with a custom #25 jersey that said Last Name “BA”. Bad ass? Big Al? I honestly couldn’t crack the case on that one. Before first pitch, I was sitting near the right field line watching Rene Rivera toss the ball around in the outfield. Rivera has such a big fat catcher’s body. I had trouble telling the difference between Rivera and Dan Warthen purely based on their frame.

Paul Newmo: I keep trying to figure out a doppelgänger for Brandon Nimmo. Is it young Paul Newman? Nimmo has gangly teeth so he’s not quite at the movie star dreamboat Newman level. But I think it’s kind of uncanny.

Tomorrow: The Mets now have three games against the Marlins and four against the Nationals before the All-Star Break. They really need to run off a bunch of wins and head into the break hot. Need to beat the NL East.

Sex Machine Takes Out Arrieta

Final Score: Mets 4, Cubs 3

I really couldn’t be more elated to see that the Mets have something on Jake Arrieta. He’s arguably the top pitcher in the game, and the Mets just keep on beating him. They make him look human. I don’t get it. I’m not going to dig deep into the reasons behind it. All I know is we beat him again and took 3 out of 4 against the super hyped up Cubbies. The Stinko rock bottom Mets that got swept into oblivion by the Nationals just came home and embarrassed the NL juggernaut Cubs. You really can never tune out when it comes to baseball. This series is actual proof that when you least expect it, your team can turn things around. Hopefully it’s a permanent turn and not an aberration.

Neil Walkyear: Neil Walker set the tone for the game right away. He kept the team’s power weekend going with a two run blast in the first inning. As I said yesterday, his June disappearance really hurt this squad. If his ding dong stick is back, then the Mets offense will certainly be partially back.

Big Sex Machine: The success of Bartolo Colon is truly mind blowing. The guy just paints the corners, pitches to contact, and gets outs. That’s it. He went 6 innings, gave up 4 hits, 3 walks (unusual), 2 runs and struck out 5. He seemingly got the Cubs to hit key groundouts whenever he needed one. He made one big mistake in the fourth inning when he surrendered a two run bomb to Anthony Rizzo to make it 2-0. Sometimes all that contact can burn him. But it was just another robotic quality start. He outdueled Jake Arrieta. Arrieta only went 5.1 innings, gave up 8 hits and 4 runs! Unbelievable.

D’ArNeed Him: In the fourth inning, Asdrubal Cabrera singled with one out and Alejandro De Aza walked with two outs. Is De Aza heating up? Probably not. Still destined to be cut. Anyway, with two on and two out Travis d’Arnaud hit a little bloop pop up that landed between the center fielder, shortstop, and second baseman. It was the perfect lucky little dinky BS hit that the Mets never get. Luck! BABIP! Hooray. That made the game 4-2.

Chances: The Mets had opportunities in the fifth and sixth inning to score more runs. In the fifth Brandon Nimmo and Neil Walker singled to get on base. And nobody could drive them in. Both were left on base. Then in the sixth inning, De Aza and d’Arnaud singled with one out and Juan Lagares hit into a double play. Men left on base. What else is new? But this time it didn’t burn us. The gods smiled upon us this weekend.

Commissioner: In the 7th inning, Erik Goeddel gave up a solo blast to Ben Zobrist with two outs to make it 4-3. The Mets should have just signed Zobrist, Daniel Murphy and traded for Neil Walker. Just corner the second base market.

Battle Of The Addisons Part 2: In the 8th inning after surrendering a leadoff single, Addison Reed struck out the damn side. He struck out his same named nemesis Addison Russell to end the inning. The guy has been dynamite this season. God I hope he keeps it up for the long run. Anyway, Jeurys Familia retired the side in the 9th inning without the tightrope act. Having an elite lockdown closer is arguably my favorite thing about this team.

Sore What?: Bartolo said after the game that he’s dealing with some left leg soreness. Ummm what? He battled a sore back earlier this year and now a leg. But the soreness doesn’t actually affect his play. It’s really hilarious that the 43 year old guy on our roster is by far the most durable.

Time To Gamble: So before this series the Mets were going off at 18 to 1 to win the World Series. I think it’s time to lock in that bet. I went from writing them off in Washington to gambling the big bucks on them to win it all. That’s how things go in the Panic City casinos.

Draw The Line: So I’ll be at today’s game watching Noah Syndergaard. The Mets are 0-4 in games I’ve attended this season. I think I need to actually draw the line at 8. If the Mets go 0-8 in games where I’m at the park I don’t see how I can keep showing up. Too risky.

The Bombs Are Back In Town

Final Score: Mets 10, Cubs 2

The Mets hit home runs again? Is this happening for real? The calendar flips from June to July, and now the Mets have seemingly rediscovered their power stroke. The Mets hit 5 home runs last night. The game may have had two rain delays, but the weather gods could not stop the Mets.

Dingers In The Rain (Act 1): The Mets power surge started in the second inning when James Loney and Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back solo blasts off of Jason Hammel to make it 2-0 Mets.

Rain Delay: The tarp came out after the second inning, and I thought for sure that would be the end of the night for Jacob deGrom. He was dealing right out of the gate. Originally, I was pissed they even started the game because of the possibility that the rain could jeopardize deGrom’s outing. But the Mets brought him back out after a delay that lasted over an hour. The Cubs brought Jason Hammel back out there too. I guess I missed the memo that says it’s okay to bring starters back out after long rain delays.

The Lone Man: James Loney hit a pre-rain dinger, and once the game got started again he added a two out two RBI double in the third inning after Neil Walker singled and Yoenis Cespedes walked. He went 3 for 5 in the game with 3 RBIs. He’s hitting .297/.345/.495. Yeah I’d say the decision to take a flier on him has worked out thus far.

Dingers In The Rain Act 2: In the fourth inning, Wilmer Flores walked, Travis d’Arnaud singled, and deGrom sacrificed them over to second and third. Brandon Nimmo then launched a three run shot to make it 7-1. In the fifth inning Yoenis Cespedes added a solo dinger and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two run blast to make it 10-1. It was his second dinger of the game. That was really all the scoring the Mets needed.

Rain Delay 2.0: Other than a solo blast he surrendered to Kris Bryant, deGrom had a great night. He went 5 innings, gave up 3 hits, 1 run and struck out 7. He got pulled after the second rain delay. Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles and minor league call-up Seth Lugo combined to pitch four innings (1 run) to close out the game. All these rain delays brought back memories of the July 30, 2015 game against the Padres. I’ll never feel confident in the Mets chances of winning during a rain delay ever again. I’m scarred for life.

The Hot Guys: Everyone got involved for the Mets last night. Nimmo, Cabby, and Loney. Oh and Yoenis Cespedes was 2 for 4. Yo had two hits and the Mets won the game because duh. They win when Yo goes.

Asdrubal and Neil: I mentioned this earlier in the week but look how much Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera disappeared in June.

Neil and Asdrubal are going to have to pick it up big time now that the calendar has flipped to June. Last night was a good start.

Jesus Is Good Again?: Brandon Nimmo went 2 for 5 with his big 3 run shot. He also made a stellar play in the field. I also noticed he’s a big Jesus guy. He did an awful lot of pointing to the man upstairs on his big hits. I suppose that’s good. Daniel Murphy was a godly man, and I think we’ve felt his absence this year. Hopefully Nimmo can help get us back in the good graces of the Lord.

Baseball Is So Ridiculous: Every single Mets fan had their nooses ready for this weekend. The Mets season was spiraling out of control. And now here we are two days later and we’ve snagged two games from the freaking Cubs. We can’t beat the Braves. But the Cubs? No problem.

Today: Let’s see if we can beat Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. I’ll be at the park on Sunday jinxing the hell out of the Mets. So I hope we win tonight.

Sandy and Matz? Respect 

Final Score: Mets 4, Cubs 3

Before last night’s game even started, the media talked to Sandy Alderson about the state of the team. I respect the hell out of what Sandy said. Sandy basically said there’s no savior coming. He said there’s no Yoenis Cespedes on the horizon. There’s no big trade or trades that will help the Mets salvage this season. Sandy put the onus on the players on the current roster. Sandy essentially said “step the hell up”. Which is what I’ve been preaching for a while. I really respect Sandy doubling down on the roster he built. It may come back to burn him. But in my opinion he’s saying the right thing.

Matz Respect: Before the game, it was being widely reported that Steven Matz was considering surgery to get that bone spur removed from his elbow. Apparently the Mets convinced him to battle through the injury. They gave him the anti-inflammatory injection. Now, it goes without saying that nobody should ever trust the Mets medical advice. He shouldn’t pitch if he’s risking any long term damage. That being said, I respect his decision. I respect that he went out there and gave the Mets a chance to win. He basically abandoned his slider because it puts the most strain on his elbow. I’m not sure if his approach is sustainable, but I respect him for not giving up on us.

Steven Matz went 5.1 innings, gave up 7 hits, 3 runs, walked 3 and struck out 6. He certainly wasn’t at his best. In the first inning, Kris Bryant hit a 2 run jack off of Matz. Matz tried to get a 1-2 pitch down and in, and he left it over the plate. Bad pitch. Great hitter. In the 6th inning, he left another pitch out over the middle and Javier Baez made him pay with a solo blast that made it 3-0 Cubs. Once Matz’s pitch count got over 100, Terry decided to yank him. It worked out because Erik Goeddel gave the Mets 1.2 innings of solid relief.

Yo Bomb: In the bottom of the 6th inning, Yoenis Cespedes did his job as team spark and crushed a moon shot homer off of John Lackey. It went to the upper deck in left. It was over 450 feet. Absolute bomb. The Mets didn’t score anything else that inning, but I think it woke the team up.

Finding Nimmo: So I think the Cespedes homer helped wake the team up, and also the Cubs bullpen was dog crap. Travis d’Arnaud hit a one out single off of Lackey in the 7th inning. D’Arnaud had two hits in the game. He needs to get things going for the Mets to have any chance of competing this summer. Anyway, Cubs reliever Joel Peralta came in and promptly walked Alejandro De Aza. I don’t care that De Aza had a nice AB. Inexcusable walk by the Cubs pen. Then last night’s leadoff hitter Brandon Nimmo came to the plate. Nimmo had a fantastic AB against Peralta. He got the count to 3-2 and managed to rope one up the middle to drive in d’Arnaud and get De Aza to third base. I can’t even remember the last time the Mets had a clutch hit, but this one was as clutch as they come. That made the score 3-2 Cubs. Then Joe Maddon brought in Pedro Strop and the Cubs essentially gave the Mets the lead. With De Aza on third and Nimmo on second, Neil Walker hit a ball to second baseman Javier Baez. Baez threw the ball to third base to try and get Nimmo, and he made a terrible throw that missed Bryant’s glove. De Aza scored and Nimmo scored and that made it 4-3 Mets.

The Bridge: Addison Reed came in for the 8th inning and gave up a single to Willson Contreras. He struck out the next two batters, although he did toss a wild pitch along the way that allowed Contreras to get to second base. Then in the “Battle of the Addisons”, Reed walked Addison Russell and Terry pulled him from the game. Luckily, Jerry Blevins came in, retired Jason Heyward and preserved the lead.

Thank You Jeurys: Jeurys Familia did his 2016 tightrope routine. He walked leadoff man Miguel Montero and gave up a double to Ben Zobrist. Then he struck out Kris Bryant for the first out. He walked Anthony Rizzo intentionally to load the bases. Then Familia got a strikeout followed by a pop out to end the game.

Fire: Steven Matz was ready to charge the mound last night when Lackey almost hit him with a pitch in the fifth inning. Nimmo was jacked up when he won his battle against Joel Peralta and smacked that clutch hit in the 7th inning. Addison Reed was ready to punch a wall when Terry pulled him in the 8th inning. Jerry Blevins was screaming and shouting when he got the last out in the 8th. Familia’s head was about to explode when he closed the game out. I’m sure these guys are jacked up for the Cubs. There’s no doubt about it. But they have to be jacked up to turn this season around too. They knows what’s up. They feel our pain. I hope they keep this fire all weekend.

Today: Jacob deGrom goes tonight. Let’s win two games before Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester take the mound. Right the ship baby. Score runs please.

My Best Guess: Predicting the 2016 MLB Playoffs and Player Awards


Major League Baseball has such parity. Sure we can probably narrow down the field of competition to around 15 teams before the season even starts. Roughly half the league is actually competing for a championship. But that’s a hell of a lot better than the annual three team dance in the NFL or the one team in the NBA that has a chance to win (I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with Olden Plate Warriors). Jayson Stark from ESPN (and Winterfell) writes a brilliant annual column showing how the parity in MLB compares to that of the NFL. It really gives you an idea of how even the MLB playing field is, and how hard it is to predict the outcome of the season. Honestly, if you want the real crystal ball just look at the Vegas lines. Vegas knows better than me or any of the other baseball writers. That being said, if you want some of my magic insight, here are my playoff and player award predictions for 2016:

The Metssiah’s Player Award Predictions:

AL MVP: Manny Machado. Yeah I didn’t pick Mike Trout. I’m crazy!! Machado had a breakout season last year, he’s young, and he’s part of a beastly lineup. Plus my scouts (google images) say Machado’s head looks enormous this spring. Maybe he’s been getting his swoll on this offseason. I’m no phrenology expert, but big head equals big season.

AL Cy Young: Chris Archer

AL Rookie of the Year: Byron Buxton

NL MVP: Bryce Harper. Again. That being said, Yoenis Cespedes is going off at 25 to 1 in Vegas for MVP. I like that sweet action.

NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer. Yeah I’m betting against my boys, but I’ll say Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard finish 2, 3 and 4 respectively so I feel better about the betrayal.

NL Rookie of the Year: Corey Seager. But Steven Matz will probably be in the conversation.


The Metssiah’s American League Playoff Predictions:

WC Game: Rangers over Blue Jays

ALDS: Royals over Rangers and Astros over Yankees

ALCS: Astros over Royals


The Metssiah’s National League Playoff Predictions

WC Game: Nationals over Pirates

NLDS: Cubs over Nationals and Mets over Giants

NLCS: Mets over Cubs


World Series Prediction: Mets over Astros


Also, for my previously published divisional predictions see these posts:

American League East

American League Central

American League West

National League East

National League Central

National League West