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.