The Marlins Won For Jose Fernandez 

Final Score: Marlins 7, Mets 3

The Marlins were always going to win last night’s game. I know life doesn’t always have a happy fairytale ending. The world isn’t a fair place. It’s never fair when someone so young, charismatic, and talented is taken from the earth at 24 years old. But the Marlins were always going to win. I knew it. I knew it because when life refuses to give you the storybook feel good ending you crave, baseball often does. It was a night where all baseball fans needed the Marlins to come through in a big way. And they did it. They did it for Jose Fernandez. To honor him. The baseball gods made sure of it. They inspired the Marlins. They gave them the strength and energy to win this game after one of the most emotional pregame tributes I have ever witnessed. Dee Gordon set the tone right away with his clutch and moving lead-off homer. He came up to the plate from the right side to honor Jose and then channeled Jose’s strength when he hit his home run to right field off of Bartolo Colon. The Marlins then piled on 6 more runs over the first 2.1 innings. That was all they needed to win. Last night’s Marlins victory was for the people of Miami, the people of Cuba, and the Marlins organization. Hell, it was for all of baseball.

Game Notes: Bartolo Colon was rocked. He gave up 7 runs on 8 hits over 2.1 innings. He better shake last night’s performance off because the Mets need the elite Bartolo if they have any hope of finishing this week strong and making the playoffs. Marlins starter Adam Conley has really owned the Mets this season. I have to be honest, without Wilmer Flores our lineup against lefties stinks. Nobody wants to face Madison Bumgarner under any circumstances, but if the Mets plan to play a Wild Card game against MadBum with Eric Campbell in the lineup then someone needs to hide Soup’s car keys on October 5th so he can’t get to the game. Lucas Duda came in the game as a pinch hitter in the 5th inning, and in the 8th inning he hit an RBI single. Let’s just start Lucas the rest of the way okay? Terry?!? Can you hear me?!? Lucas should play if he’s healthy. Asdrubal Cabrera also had two more hits. He drove in two runs with a double in the 5th inning. There are no more words left to describe how hot Cabby is.

Tonight: The Mets need to move on and refocus on winning baseball games. The Cardinals lost yesterday to the Reds. I’m always quick to criticize the Mets, but the Cardinals and Giants really don’t deserve a playoff berth. They have been awful. The Mets need to come out strong and prepared tonight. Based on everything I’ve read about his character and personality, Jose Fernandez would want these teams on the field competing as we approach the end of the season. The Mets need to continue honoring his memory by taking the field tonight and competing at the highest level. RIP Jose.

Walk-Off Yo Bomb

Final Score: Mets 2, Marlins 1

To be honest, I needed this win. Monday sucked at work. Then I came home, and my upstairs neighbor apparently spilled a bunch of water all over his bedroom floor. That water then proceeded to leak all over my bedroom ceiling. So if Jose Fernandez shutout the Mets I was ready to start punting couch cushions while screaming “Serenity now!” But Yo saved my day. The Fernandez shutout became unlikely because 1) he wasn’t at his sharpest and 2) the umpire had a horrendous strike zone. Jose’s pitch count was too high and the Mets got to the Marlins pen. And then Yoenis Cespedes did what he does. He saved the day with a 10th inning, 2 out, walk-off solo homerun.

Organizational Incompetence: Before we get into this game, it’s important to highlight how the incompetent Mets organization set the team up to fail. Their poor decision making really almost ruined the team’s chances at a victory last night. On Sunday, Robert Gsellman started and pitched 6 innings. He now serves absolutely no purpose on the roster for at least 5 days. The obvious demotion to make room for last night’s starter Rafael Montero was Robert Gsellman. Gsellman would have to do his league mandated 10 day minor league stint because of the demotion, but it doesn’t matter with rosters expanding on September 1st, and also with the healthy return of Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom.

Instead of that decision, the Mets demoted infielder T.J. Rivera while Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera are supposedly unavailable with injuries. They left the team with a two man bench. Why? Terry said before the game it was because of a miscommunication. He literally said that he thought Asdrubal or Neil would be available and didn’t know they were going to sit until after the roster decision was made. Baffling incompetence by Terry, Sandy and all of these mooks. Unreal.

Kidcaster: Also on a lighter note, early in the game SNY did their annual Kidcaster thing where they let some 8 year old son of a rich network executive do the play by play. The kid last night was great. I can’t imagine being composed while sitting in the booth with Gary, Keith, and Ron now let alone at 8. Anyway, the Kidcaster reminded me of something. Remember when the Mets refused to meet Bobby Ojeda’s SNY contract demands and replaced him with Kidcaster Nelson Figueroa? They replaced their postgame bulldog with puppy dog Nelson Figueroa over dollars and cents. Ridiculous. Nelson is fine, but I’m team Bobby for life.

Umpire Sucked: Anyway, this game was a pitcher’s duel with a bunch of walks. The walks all stemmed from the fact that the home plate umpire sucked. One of the worst balls and strikes umps of the 2016 season. Jose Fernandez had 4 walks and Rafael Montero had 6. With all those base runners I never thought in a million years Montero would make it through the second inning let alone pitch 5 scoreless innings. But he did. He got through 5 innings without surrendering a run. I thought Montero was going to blow the game in the 5th with two men on and one out, but he induced a double play. Once Montero tossed 5 scoreless and Fernandez was pulled with over 100 pitches through 6 scoreless the game became a must win for the Mets. Good teams take advantage of opportunities to win a close game against another team’s ace.

Are You Kidding Me?: In the bottom of the 5th inning with one out, Terry Collins pinch hit Jacob deGrom against Jose Fernandez because of our short bench, and also because he’s a moron. I get that deGrom can hit. But there is almost no situation where it’s appropriate to bat our franchise starting pitcher against a guy who throws 97 MPH. You’re telling me the possibility that deGrom pokes a single into the outfield and gets a one out base runners makes it worth the risk of Fernandez losing a pitch up and in and breaking deGrom’s goddamn hand?!? The only time I’m okay with deGrom pinch hitting is a do or die one game playoff with no position players left on the bench. And you know what? DeGrom is starting a game like that and unavailable to pinch hit in that spot anyway so it’s a moot point. Montero should have pinch hit for himself and struck out on 3 pitches and then come out of the game. In the end nothing happened. Thank God.

Umpire Sucked 2.0: Wilmer Flores had a chance for a big hit with two men on and one out in the 6th but he flew out. Jerry Blevins pitched a scoreless 7th. It should have been a 1-2-3 inning but the ump squeezed him on a 2 strike pitch to Martin Prado.

The Cespedes Route: In the 8th inning, Addison Reed coughed up the first run of the game. Old man Ichiro Suzuki sliced a double to center field. He’s so damn good. Legend. Then Xavier Scruggs hit a frozen rope double to Yo in left field. It was a double off the bat and it made it 1-0 Marlins. Yo took a strange route to the ball but had no chance to catch it regardless. That didn’t stop mooks on Twitter from questioning his skills and decision making. I guess you can’t stop the haters no matter what you do. But the fact that Yo has Mets fan haters blows my mind.

The Home Plate Collision: In the bottom of the 8th, our second best remaining hitter Jose Reyes hit a leadoff double to right field. He then advanced to third on a Alejandro De Aza fly out. It’s funny but before this inning I was thinking of making some joke in this post about how the Mets broke their consecutive games with an injury scare streak. Unfortunately that joke was flushed down the toilet when Reyes scored on a wild pitch and pitcher A.J. Ramos dove into his back at home plate. Ramos had no play, but he managed to tackle Jose as he slid into home.

I thought Jose was dead. I thought we’d be tossing him into a shallow DL grave right next to his blonde friend Asdrubal Cabrera. Goodbye Blonde Brothers aka Blonde Bombers aka Bleach Boys aka Team Lannister. But luckily Jose shook off the collision and stayed in the game. His speed created a run, and it tied the game at 1. Also for the record, if he had to come out of the game the Mets had no infielders left on the bench and probably would have put Rene Rivera in the infield or something. The unfathomable roster management blunders need to be highlighted as much as possible.

Burn The Damn Bench?: Speaking of roster management blunders, in the 9th inning Terry pitched Jeurys Familia and then with two outs in the bottom of the 9th he pinch hit Rene Rivera for him with two outs. Then Mattingly went to the righty reliever and Terry burned the backup catcher and brought in ice cold Jay Bruce. Terry was crossing his fingers that the pulseless Jay Bruce would hit a walk-off shot. Instead he lined out to first and left the Mets with no bench players for extra innings. I bet if the Kidcaster was still in the booth he would have called Terry a dumb stupid doo-doo head.

The Goddamn Walk-Off: Josh Smoker pitched a clutch 1-2-3 top of the 10th inning  and then with two outs Yo saved the day with his walk-off blast. Pay Yo. Do I need to say anything more? If you want to know how I feel about Yo read every one of my posts. Pay Yo.

Grandy Was Involved: Curtis Granderson reached based 3 times last night with a hit and two walks. I’m sure Terry will finally start benching him in favor of Jay Bruce now.

Sorry I Killed Robles: Before the game Steve Gelbs asked Terry “Why is Hansel Robles struggling?” Terry basically responded: “His arm is tired” aka “I killed him.”

Loser: Daniel Murphy no longer leads the NL in batting average?!? Wow what a pathetic loser. I knew he’d be a bust.

Today: Seth Lugo pitches tonight. Hopefully Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera are back in the lineup. Win! Win! Win!

Mets Lose Battle Of The Aces

Final Score: Marlins 7, Mets 2

It’s a good thing the Mets won on Friday. Friday was the must win game in this series because the odds of beating Jose Fernandez at home are pretty damn low.

Battle Of The Aces: Jose Fernandez went 7 innings and gave up 2 runs on 7 hits. Other than a Yoenis Cespedes RBI single and James Loney sac fly in the third, the Mets didn’t score against him or the Marlins pen. The Mets had opportunities to score in the first, fifth and eighth inning but just couldn’t execute. Jacob deGrom got rocked and chased from the game in the fourth inning. He gave up 5 runs on 10 hits. He just didn’t have it last night and left everything over the middle. His velocity plummeted prior to getting pulled. I don’t even want to think about the outing. Too painful. Let’s just move on.

Stanton Won’t Stop: Giancarlo Stanton hit a two run homer in the third that gave the Marlins a 3-2 lead, and it was a permanent lead. He added an RBI single in the fourth inning and went 4 for 5 with 3 RBIs. He just won’t stop crushing the Mets. As I’ve been saying all season, maybe we should be careful with him and avoid pitching to him? Maybe? Just a thought.

Walker and Cabrera: Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera were both 0 for 4. Cabrera came up in the first inning with two men on and did nothing. He came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning and did nothing. He’s 0 for his last 31 with runners in scoring position. The bottom line is Walker and Cabrera have not executed when the Mets need them to come up big. Walker hasn’t done anything offensively since April. Dilson Herrera is still raking in Vegas. It’s starting to get to the point where the Mets need to consider putting Walker on the bench and giving Herrera a shot.

It Happened: Michael Conforto played center field during this game in garbage time. I still can’t believe the Mets are going in that direction. One of the most ridiculous things about the Conforto move is that the Mets refused to move Neil Walker to third base or first base. Let’s move Conforto to center and Lucas Duda to left and let’s stretch Jeurys Familia out as a starter, but…DON’T MOVE WALKER. The Mets wouldn’t try an MLB veteran at a new position, but they’ll move a struggling young prospect to a new position in real time at the major league level. The organization can really be incompetent sometimes. Well basically all the time.

Today: Obviously the Mets need to win this road series today against their divisional foe. Hopefully Steven Matz can pitch through his bone chips. Pray.

Jose Fernandez Strikes Out The World

Final Score: Marlins 1, Mets 0

There’s not much to recap in this game. Jose Fernandez absolutely dismantled the Mets over 7 innings. He gave up 4 hits and struck out 14. The Mets really didn’t have a chance to do anything offensively in this game. Curtis Granderson hit a two out double in the first but Jose retired Neil Walker to end the inning. In the 7th inning, Michael Conforto and James Loney hit back to back two out singles. Fernandez struck out Wilmer Flores to end that threat. The bottom line is the Mets took 2 out of 3 in Miami, and that’s fantastic in my book. They also did to the Marlins what they failed to do against the Dodgers at home. They won the two games that didn’t involve untouchable aces. The Mets lost to Clayton Kershaw, and they lost to Jose Fernandez. So does every other team in the league. We must tip our cap and move on to the next series.

HarveyDay Back: Matt Harvey pitched great, didn’t get any run support, and got the L. That’s classic HarveyDay. He didn’t really have his strike out stuff working today as he only put away three Marlins. But he was almost as effective as Fernandez this afternoon. He went 7 innings, gave up 4 hits and gave up one run. He made a mistake in the fifth inning. He gave up a one out double to Derek Dietrich and then an RBI single to J.T. Realmuto. That was all it took for Fernandez to get the win.

Asdrubal’s Knee: In the 8th inning Ichiro Suzuki got picked off by Antonio Bastardo and he slid into Asdrubal Cabrera at second base. His head smashed into Cabrera’s knee. Cabrera hobbled off the field but stayed in the game. The Mets roster is littered with blue eyed corpses.

Lagares Dunzo: Juan Lagares is heading to New York to get an MRI on the thumb he injured during yesterday’s game. Might as well zip up that body bag and send him to the DL aka the morgue. Poor Juanny. I cursed him in my series preview by talking about how great of a season he’s been having in this reserve role.

D’Arnaud Stands Up: Rumor has it that Travis d’Arnaud finally stood up in Port St. Lucie and took a few baby steps without having his legs shatter beneath him. Mr. Glass is even going to DH in some Florida State League games. They say he’ll be back in three weeks. Yeah right.

Not Chapman: The Metssiah called this over a month ago, but the Nationals are supposedly eagerly awaiting a Yankees trade deadline sell off so they can trade for Aroldis Chapman. If that comes to fruition, it’s going to be absolutely terrible for the Mets. Hopefully Chapman does steroids or something and gets suspended so he can’t be traded.

Tomorrow: The Mets head to Pittsburgh now to face the Pirates and our old friend Jon Niese. This is a big road series against a top NL team. The Mets need to keep the road momentum going.

The Next Generation: 2016 Top 10 Mets Prospects 

Today, ESPN’s Keith Law released his highly anticipated 2016 Mets Top 10 Prospect rankings. Law is one of ESPN’s baseball analytics gurus, and he previously worked as a special assistant for current Mets Assistant GM J.P. Ricciardi when Ricciardi was GM of the Blue Jays. This year, Law had the Mets farm system ranked at 16th out of the 30 teams. Middle of the pack. Not showing off. Not getting left behind. Now that did represent a significant drop from our 4th place ranking in 2015. That being said, the drop makes some sense considering we promoted the top three prospects from his 2015 list (Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto and Kevin Plawecki), and we traded our top pitching prospect Michael Fulmer to Detroit at the 2015 trade deadline for Yoenis Cespedes.

Anyway, here is Law’s list and my thoughts:

1) Dominic Smith: The scouts love this guy. He was drafted 11th by the Mets in the 2013 draft. Law has him at 29th in his overall MLB Top 100 Prospects list. Law describes him as “one of the best pure hitters in the minors”, and he hit .305 in 118 games at High A ball last season. His power is still developing, but his glove is supposedly MLB ready and gold caliber. The idea of a defensive-minded player in our infield is borderline unfathomable (closes eyes…sees Lucas Duda throwing ball over D’Arnaud’s head in Game 5… shudders). His ETA is 2017 which would align well with Duda’s free agency timeline after the 2017 season. The only negative mentioned by Law is that Smith looked like he had gained a lot of weight in the Arizona Fall League, and he wasn’t talking about muscle mass.

Keith Law just fat shaming the hell out of Dom Smith. I think we can cut the guy a break, I mean after all it is winter. A perfect time to put on a little mass in the midsection for the sake of warmth. Granted, Smith is from California so additional blubber might not be entirely necessary. And conditioning is part of his job description as a professional athlete. But I am just going to pretend its a minor seasonal weight fluctuation, and that he’s on track for a breakout rookie campaign in 2017.

2) Steven Matz: Hard to count Matz as a prospect, but he didn’t hit maximum rookie innings thresholds in 2015. So he’s still technically a rookie. And why didn’t he meet the thresholds? Late promotion but also injuries. And injuries are the biggest red flag with him. In fact Law indicated his ceiling is capped at a number 4 starter with number 1 stuff because he fears he just won’t pitch enough. He doesn’t see him as a horse like Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, or Jacob deGrom. Let’s hope Matz proves Law wrong.

3) Amed Rosario and 4) Gavin Cecchini: Two shortstops in our Top 5 and in the leagues Top 100? Really? Is a Jose Reyes successor really on the horizon? Are the annual Spring battles between Ruben Tejada and someone else finally coming to an end? According to Law the answer is yes. Rosario, ranked at 42 in Law’s Top 100, is 20 years old but projects as a possible star. Law says “he has the kind of raw tools and athleticism to be a top 10 prospect in the game in a year”. Cecchini, ranked at 89 in Law’s Top 100, is closer to the major leagues then Rosario. He projects as a contact hitter with above average defensive skills. We selected Cecchini 12th in the 2012 draft, so the high expectations around him make sense. He broke out offensively at AA last year and is likely to start at AAA Vegas this season. If he can get past the distraction of the Vegas clubhouse slot machines and have a big season in AAA, he may be in the plan for 2017.

5) Wuilmer Becerra: We got this OF in the R.A. Dickey trade. He is 20 years old and projects to be a regular who can hit for average and power. The idea to trade R.A. Dickey after he won his CY Young Award in 2012 was an absolute no brainer. However, the haul Sandy got for him is truly astounding. Thor, Travis d’Arnaud, and this outfielder Becerra. It’s already looking like an all time heist based on the early success of Thor and D’Arnaud. If they both really go on to have successful, healthy major league careers and Becerra actually becomes a viable major leaguer, it’s going to look even more lopsided in the Mets favor.

6) Brandon Nimmo: Jose Fernandez, Sonny Gray, Kolten Wong, and Joe Panik. All pretty good players right? Well we passed on all of them in the 2011 draft when we selected Nimmo 13th out of high school. Nimmo doesn’t project to have the defensive skills to play CF, and he has not developed the power that the Mets originally anticipated. He was going to start the season at AAA, but he tore a tendon in his foot so he will now miss 4 to 6 weeks. “4th outfielder” is being thrown around. “Bust” can’t be far behind.

7) Desmond Lindsay: Mets second round pick in 2015. He projects as a speedy defense first CF.

8) Robert Gsellman: He’s a sinkerballer that projects as a 5th starter. Should start the year in AAA Vegas and serve as rotation depth. Hopefully, our young starters are healthy and we never see him in the rotation. Ever.

9) Jhoan Urena: He’s a 21 year old third basemen that played at Single-A last year but battled injuries. Keith Law likes his swing and propensity to make contact.

10) Luis CarpioHe’s a 17 year old SS that has raw skills and handles himself well in the field and at the dish for his age.