Big Sexy and The Bomb Squad Victorious

Final Score: Mets 6, Pirates 4

This was a huge series win for the New York Metropolitans. The Pirates are one of our primary Wild Card competitors, and we managed to take the series despite all of our injury problems.

Sex Machine: Bartolo Colon was absolutely electric in this game. He went 7.2 innings, gave up 7 hits, 2 runs and struck out 8. He held the Pirates scoreless on 5 hits over the first 7 innings before they started to get to him in the 8th inning. In the 8th inning, Matt Joyce hit a solo blast. Then with two outs, Sean Rodriguez doubled and Josh Harrison hit an RBI single to make it 6-2. Then Sexy was pulled, and Jerry Blevins got out of the inning. Addison Reed nearly blew it in the 9th when he gave up a solo shot to Andrew McCutchen to make it 6-3 and a double to Jung Ho Kang. But Jeurys Familia managed to bail Reed out and finish this game off.

Bomb Squad Resurrection: The Mets won with home runs and strong starting pitching. Surprise, surprise! Curtis Granderson hit a solo blast in the first inning. In the third inning, Bartolo a Colon hit a glorious leadoff double, Curtis Granderson singled to get Tolo to third, and with one out Yoenis Cespedes hit a sac fly. Then Neil Walker hit a two run blast and Michael Conforto went back to back with his own solo shot to make it 5-0. Neil Walker added an RBI double in the fifth inning to make it 6-0. Conforto, Walker and Grandy all had two hits each. It was great to have Conforto and Walker back in the lineup.

Goodbye David: David Wright officially got surgery on his neck today. It was a cervical discectomy and fusion operation. In case you couldn’t tell from the name of the surgery, it’s a season ender. I wrote about it earlier today. Bye David.

Wilmer’s Out: On David Wright surgery day, Wilmer Flores got hit by a pitch on his hand and left the game. X-Rays were negative. I’m sure he’ll just sit out for a week on the active roster, and then he’ll be back.

Juan’s Out: The torn thumb ligament that Juan Lagares was supposed to play through officially landed him on the DL today. Real smart move keeping him on the active roster for over a week. The Mets say they will wait to see how his thumb responds to rest before making a decision on whether or not he’ll get surgery. Spoiler alert: He’s going to get surgery. He’s out forever.

Seriously?: The Mets promoted Ty Kelly to take Juan’s place on the active roster. Promoting Ty Kelly is the wrong decision. The promotion has to go to Brandon Nimmo, even if it’s for a short term stint. I don’t care that Nimmo bats left-handed. I don’t care that Nimmo won’t play everyday. Promoting an auto-out is absolutely ridiculous. The notion that the Mets should promote bad players because the good young players need to play everyday and will have their growth stunted by sitting is asinine. It’s a foolish move to keep the top talent in the minor leagues if the team feels the young player is major league ready, and the team is also trying to win a championship. We need to go to war with the top 25 major league ready guys in the organization. Any other approach unnecessarily handicaps the team.

Tomorrow: The Mets get the Braves for the weekend. The Mets need to handle their business against this NL Least foe and take advantage of this homestand.

Mets Finally Get Mad As Hell; Offense Erupts

Final Score: Mets 11, Pirates 2

Last night the Mets finally got mad as hell and unleashed their fury on the Pirates.

Thunderous Rage: Noah Syndergaard was mad as hell. He wanted every Pirates head on a pike last night. He was out for blood. He went 8.1 innings, gave up 5 hits, 2 runs (1 ER), and struck out 11. He was untouchable until the 9th inning when he gave up a leadoff double to degenerate crust punk John Jaso. When he gave up the one out double to David Freese that scored Jaso, he smacked his glove and howled at the moon. He wanted the complete game, but I’m sure he’ll take the win. Terry brought in Jeurys Familia with a ten run lead to finish the game off. Terry is hilarious.

Offense Mad As Hell (And Also Supposedly Having Fun): The Mets offense finally erupted last night. They pounded lefty starter Jeff Locke (who stinks by the way) for 7 runs and 9 hits over 4 innings. Curtis Granderson led off with a single, Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a single, and then Yoenis Cespedes walked to load the bases. With the bases loaded, Wilmer Flores hit a dribbler up the first base line that essentially served as an RBI squeeze bunt to make it 1-0. With two outs and two on, Matt Reynolds hit a two RBI double to make the game 3-0. The early outburst really allowed me to exhale as a fan, so I’m sure it was a welcome sight for the players too. Kelly Johnson added a solo bomb in the third inning to make it 4-0. In the fifth inning, the Mets piled on the runs. Cabrera, Cespedes, and Flores started the inning with back to back to back singles to make it 5-0. The Pirates starter Locke was yanked after the Flores RBI single and the new reliever gave up RBI singles to Johnson to make it 6-0. Then with two outs, Rene Rivera singled to make it 7-0. In the 6th inning, Wilmer Flores added a two run blast and James Loney hit an RBI double to make it 10-0. Rivera also added an RBI single in the 8th inning to make it 11-0. It was an absolute hit parade. Yoenis “The Engine” Cespedes had three hits. Kelly Johnson had three hits and two RBIs. Flores had two his and four RBIs. Matt Reynolds finally broke out with three hits and two RBIs. The Mets said after the game they were finally having fun. Duh! Winning and dingers are fun.

The Opportunity: Wilmer Flores has been on fire offensively since taking over for David Wright. Good for him. You know what? It’s about time he stepped the hell up. Everyone step the hell up goddamnit. We need to score runs and support this pitching staff.

Thumbless Juan: Juan Lagares was scratched last night due to his torn thumb ligament. It flared up. So much for “playing through it” to avoid season ending surgery. How long did that last a week?

New Left Fielder: Kelly Johnson drew the start in left field for the injured Michael Conforto. Honestly if Conforto, Neil Walker, and Juan Lagares ever return from their injuries, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Terry go back to the play whoever is producing model. Kelly should play somewhere if he is hitting. That’s for sure. Speaking of Neil Walker, he’s supposedly going to play tonight.

Yo Says Go Do It: The NY Post asked Yoenis Cespedes about the new Cuban Yulieski Gourriel. Yo said Gourriel was the best player in Cuba when he played with him on the National team, and that they are good friends. Yo also said Gourriel is going to get paid big money as he should. Just a reminder that we should 100% sign this guy. He plays third base now, and if David Wright decides to try and play again next year, he can be moved to second base. Then when David gets injured again we can play Gourriel at third and Dilson Herrera at second base. Go get the Cubano. It’s a no brainer.

Today: Please win this series today Mets. Please score for Big Sexy Bartolo Colon. We need a series win big time.

All Aboard The L Train To Losertown

Final Score: Pirates 4, Mets 0

The Mets L train of despair is spiraling out of control on it’s way to Losertown. The Mets can’t beat the worst teams in the league like the Brewers. They can’t beat the coldest teams in the league like the White Sox a couple of weeks ago and now like the Pirates. You know what that means? It means our worst fears have been realized. Right now, we are one of the worst teams.

Can’t Stop The Starters: Jacob deGrom was great per usual. He went 6 innings, gave up 6 hits, 2 runs, and struck out 9. He made one bad pitch when he gave up a two run blast to Jung Ho Kang. Also deGrom’s ERA is 2.82 and he’s 3-3. The Mets starting pitching is as good as it’s ever been. Shame on this organization for wasting it.

Two Innings: Terry brought in Jim Henderson for two innings. “Oh Jim Henderson! Great find by Sandy.” Remember when we used to say things like that back when the season didn’t feel like it was crumbling before our eyes. Anyway, he was fine in the 7th, and in the 8th he gave up a leadoff walk followed by a two run blast to Starling Marte. His arm easily gets tired. Terry should probably stop bringing him in for two innings when he knows he’s guaranteed to fail. Just a thought.

Offense: Nothing to recap. The Mets had three hits and were no hit by rookie Jameson Taillon through 6 innings. Curtis Granderson broke it up with a single in the 7th inning. Taillon ended up going 8 scoreless innings.

Plawecki: Mike Nickeas, Anthony ReckerJuan Centeno, Johnny Monell. With two horrendous errors last night (he dropped a foul pop and tossed a ball into center field), Kevin Plawecki is beginning to earn a place in the Mets Hall of Horrendous Catchers.

Root Canal: Juan Lagares was scratched from starting last night’s game with a toothache. And by scratched I mean he ended up pinch hitting with said toothache. Also if Juan was actually supposed to start, then I love how quickly the Mets have abandoned the Alejandro De Aza/Lagares platoon. De Aza is really bad. He’s channeling his inner Mayberry big time.

Casual Cortisone: Michael Conforto got a casual unexpected cortisone shot in his wrist, and the Mets said he’d sit out 48 hours to let the shot take affect. Then the Mets immediately scrapped that plan and pinch hit him last night. He struck out in pathetic fashion. It’s pretty obvious that he’s been playing injured. Might as well just keep playing him until his hand falls off.

The Big Surgery: The Mets announced David Wright is expected to decide at the end of the week whether or not he will get season ending neck surgery, or if he will try and rehab the injury so he can come back later in the year. I hope he does what’s right for him. The Mets implied that their approach to the trade deadline will be impacted by Wright’s decision. That is completely ridiculous, and his decision should have no impact on the Mets approach. No matter what he chooses, the Mets should be pursuing an impact bat to replace him in the short and long term.

No Cubano: Speaking of impact bats, the Mets basically reiterated that they don’t typically test out the international market for free agents like the new Cuban third baseman Yulieski Gourriel. They implied they’d consider him if Wright will be out for the season. The funny part was the Mets made these pre-game comments, and then Jung Ho Kang went on to punish them. You know Jung Ho Kang? He’s the guy from Korea, who plays all the infield positions, gets paid like nothing and blasts home runs all day. Sandy and the Mets passed on him. He’s an international player so it was too risky. We don’t need offensive studs like that. Better to stick with reliable Quadruple-A bums. You know what you’re going to get from those guys. Nothing.

Wheeler: Zack Wheeler will supposedly start his final Tommy John rehab stint and is on track to get his first major league loss of the season as a starter after the All-Star break. Take your time Zack. We suck.

Last Bullets In The Chamber: Sandy talked about how great Brandon Nimmo is doing in Vegas before the game. Honestly, I’d say the Mets will consider promoting Nimmo and Dilson Herrera by the end of this homestand if they keep playing this bad. Those two guys are the last internal bullets in our minor league chamber. That’s it. If this losing keeps up you need to call up Herrera and put him at second base and move Neil Walker to third base. And we would also need to consider designating De Aza for assignment to make room for Nimmo.

Giving Up Is Not An Option: One thing is certain this season. We cannot give up. I’m not talking about the fan base giving up. The fair weather fans can do whatever they want. I’ll be watching no matter what happens. My point is the organization cannot give up on the season. I don’t care how many injuries the Mets have. As long as Yoenis Cespedes and this entire pitching staff is intact, they must try and win it all. It’s really as simple as that. The Mets have the second best pitching staff in the league behind the Cubs in terms of runs allowed, and they have the 28th ranked offense. It’s outrageous that we are in this position again, but we need to be all in. Selling at the deadline is not an option. Figure it out Sandy.

Today: Noah Syndergaard pitches today. Bet the under on Mets runs and the over on Thor Ks. Both locks.

Mets Somehow Win Game In Pittsburgh

Final Score (in 10 innings): Mets 6, Pirates 5

The Mets needed this win in a big way. Sure they could have easily lost this game a bunch of different times. Sure it was helpful that Mark Melancon was unavailable after pitching both games of the doubleheader. Sure they failed to capitalize on a number of run scoring opportunities. But they scored just enough to get the W. Noah Syndergaard pitched just gritty enough to keep them in the game. Jim Henderson and Jeurys Familia sucked a lot last night. But they didn’t suck enough to fully blow the game.

Gritty Thor: Noah Syndergaard pitched 6 innings, gave up 7 hits, gave up 3 runs (2 ER) and only struck out 5. He did not have his best stuff. In the first inning, Neil Walker made an error that let John Jaso reach base. Thor then walked Andrew McCutchen. Gregory Polanco promptly made the Mets pay with an RBI double. Jung Ho Kang followed that with an RBI single to make it 2-0. But Thor retired the next three batters and got out of a sticky situation. He got out of a jam in the third inning. He got in trouble in the fourth inning and surrendered an RBI double to John Jaso to make it 3-2. But he limited the damage yet again. He gave a gritty performance on a night where he was getting hit more often than we’re used to.

Just Take The Base: The Pirates stole on Thor once in the first inning, twice in the third inning. I think they had four stolen bases. He really doesn’t hold people on base. Have we given up on fixing that problem? Maybe we’re so focused on our offensive woes that we don’t have time to fix the other cracks in our team infrastructure.

Old Kelly: Yesterday the Mets traded for Kelly Johnson. But last night it was old Ty Kelly who came through with a huge two run blast in the fourth inning to tie the game at 2-2. I complain an awful lot about the Quadruple-A mooks that make up this roster, but look at that picture up top. It was Kelly’s first career home run. Good for him. I feel like the Mets are going to keep him on this roster somehow. I can feel it in my plums.

Conforto Stirs: Michael Conforto hit a game tying sac fly in the fifth inning to make it 3-3, and he added an enormous game tying two run blast in the 8th inning to make it 5-5. He said he felt like he had better ABs last night. Keep it up man. We need his bat back in a bad way.

Somebody Please Hit: I’m so happy the Mets won this game, but it was tough to watch. They left a bunch of men on base and hit into a number of double plays as usual. Brutal. They left Cespedes on base in the first inning. With two men on base and one out in the second inning, Rene Rivera hit into a double play. They left a man on in the third inning. Conforto was only able to get a sac fly in the fifth inning because Thor led off with a double and was sacrificed over to third. In the 10th inning, Yoenis Cespedes led off with a single and Neil Walker followed that with a single. James Loney sacrificed them both over and then Asdrubal Cabrera was walked intentionally to load the bases. Wilmer Flores came through with a pinch hit bloop RBI single up the middle to make it 6-5. But then with the bases loaded and one out, Matt Reynolds and Kevin Plawecki were retired to strand everyone. Familia almost blew the game in the 10th inning, but luckily the squandered opportunities didn’t matter in the end.

Familia Tightrope: Jeurys Familia walked the first two batters in the 10th inning. Then he got a double play. With two outs, he proceeded to walk the next batter. He ended up striking out David Freese with first and third and two outs to end the game. Familia has not been lights out this season. He’s walking the damn tightrope every single outing. I hope he hits his stride in the summer. Otherwise we’re screwed eventually.

Guerrero No Deal: The Dodgers released Cuban 3B/OF Alex Guerrero. He’s been pretty bad in his first two years in the states. He did hit 11 bombs last year, and he bats righty. I’d bring him in if I ran the Mets, but I’m pretty sure they already said they have no interest. Ty Kelly it is!

Draft Day: Today is MLB draft day. The Mets have the 19th, 31st, and 64th overall picks. The 31st pick was compensation for Daniel Murphy signing with the Nats. I bet they’d trade that pick to get Murph back right now huh? Well it’s fine. Honestly we need to replenish the farm system. We’ll need more picks to send the Braves when we reacquire Kelly Johnson in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Mini-Series Preview: No off day today?!? I’ll have to keep my Milwaukee Brewers series preview brief. The Brewers are 6-4 in their last 10, but ultimately they stink. Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy are both studs. There’s a preview, that’s a preview. We need to come up big in this four game series and get our season back on track.

Game 1: Bartolo Colon vs. Jimmy Nelson

Game 2: Matt Harvey vs. Junior Guerra

Game 3: Logan Verrett vs. Wily Peralta

Game 4: Steven Matz vs. Zach Davies

Mets Drop Doubleheader; Wheels Are Falling Off

Final Scores (For both pathetic games): Pirates 3, Mets 1

Yesterday, the Mets disproved the popular notion that doubleheaders are fun. They are in fact sad.

Game 1: It was literally the exact same story in both games. Steven Matz battled. In the first inning, he gave up a leadoff triple to Josh Harrison, and Harrison wound up scoring on an RBI single by David Freese. After giving up back to back singles to start the third inning, Matz got a strikeout, and then got Jung Ho Kang to hit into a double play. In the 5th inning, Josh Harrison hit a leadoff single and stole second base. Then Andrew McCutchen drove him in to make it 2-0. But Matz managed to wiggle out of that inning and limited the damage. He admitted he had nothing in this game, but he still went 5 innings and gave up only 2 runs while striking out 8.

Steven’s performance on the mound just didn’t matter. The Mets had no offense to speak of. Jon Niese shut them down over 7 scoreless innings. They loaded the bases with two out in the fourth inning and Michael Conforto struck out. He’s been awful lately. It’s bad. Steven Matz tripled with one out in the 5th inning, and the Mets couldn’t get him home. What a joke. Curtis Granderson hit a solo home run in the 8th inning. I’d like to celebrate it, but Grandy has been terrible. He’s batting .200. It’s a problem.

Game 2: Jacob deGrom experienced the exact same lack of support in game 2. He battled through 6 innings and gave up 3 runs with 9 strikeouts. He gave up a single to Jordy Mercer in the second inning and then a double to Sean Rodriguez. Cole Figueroa followed that with an RBI ground out. Chris Stewart then singled on an infield ground ball that was deflected by Asdrubal Cabrera. That run made it 2-0. The game felt over as soon as the Pirates took the lead. That’s just the way it is with the Mets offense lately. DeGrom gave up a fifth inning RBI double to John Jaso that made it 3-1. Jacob pitched fine. The Mets just can’t score. They had four damn hits. Kevin Plawecki hit an RBI single in the fifth inning. They had no other opportunities. Everyone is either injured or ice cold.

Déjà Vu Kinda: I cannot believe the 2016 Mets regular season is 2015 Déjà vu all over again. Well it’s kind of Déjà vu. It’s the same in the sense that we are decimated by injuries and the offense is historically incompetent. The difference is last year before the season, I said with confidence “umm hello, we need an impact bat. Why didn’t we get one?” I knew and most fans knew that without that bat we’d be screwed. And of course as soon as we landed one the season took off. This spring training, I said “umm hello, we can’t depend on David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud for anything at all. They are hurt every season. And we have no backup for Lucas Duda so he better not get hurt.” I think those things were fairly obvious before the season started. The problem is the impact bat solution was fairly straightforward and the solution for injury prone regulars is not straightforward at all. As much as depth is important, it’s challenging to build a team through external acquisitions where you carry extremely talented replacements for key regulars. The primary way to account for the injury prone regulars problem is by having a stacked farm system with a bunch of internal solutions. It’s a major luxury and not many teams have it.

We’ve Got Nothing: To further emphasize that point, all you need to do is look at the Cubs. Outfielder Jorge Soler just got hurt for them and they put him on the DL. So what are they going to do? They are dipping into their farm system and calling up Albert Almora another top 100 prospect who plays the outfield. When the Mets dip into their farm system their fingers wind up in an ice cold bowl of Soup. The point is, the only real way to prepare for injuries to regulars you depend on like Wright and d’Arnaud is by having big time minor league talent at Triple-A. The Mets unfortunately lack position players at Triple-A in areas of need. Dilson Herrera is a top second base prospect. The Mets can’t squeeze him in to help. Period. There’s no where to put him. Same goes with Brandon Nimmo. He’s crushing it right now in Vegas. He’s an outfielder. There’s no room at the inn folks. I guess we could bench Granderson considering he’s batting .200. But there’s no chance that happens. The season will be up in flames in late August before the Mets consider benching an outfielder that helped get them to the World Series and makes 15+ million dollars. The Mets may need to find a way to turn Brandon Nimmo or Dilson Herrera into players that fill positions of need. I don’t want to trade them and the front office probably won’t because they don’t live in Panic City like I do. But there’s no room for these guys right now, and we need help.

Let’s Put This To Bed: In April/May when the Mets had that stretch where they led the league in home runs, fans were panicking that the Mets were dependent on the home run. An equal number of fans were calling these fans out for being idiots, and they were regularly reminding everyone that home runs are the best method of scoring in baseball (like that takes a goddamn rocket scientist to figure out). Well now we can see what the Mets real problems are. The Mets offensive struggles are due to injury and the lack of any quality depth. They have nothing to do with a dependence on the home run. That being said, even when the Mets were hitting lots of home runs, they still ranked very low in overall runs scored. In conclusion, you can hit a lot of home runs as a team while simultaneously having a fundamentally flawed offense that lacks quality depth and the ability to consistently score runs. The Mets are living proof of that right now.

Shut Up About Conforto: Michael Conforto is in a slump, and this isn’t about him facing left-handed pitching. The guy is a young player, and he’s slumping. Period. He’ll turn it around. It may take him a while. He’s super young and growing pains were bound to happen. This is baseball.

My Thumb: Juan Lagares said it will probably be a couple more days before he tries to swing. He added that surgery is not a definite plan even after the season. At this point, I’m just going to add a daily reminder to all my posts that playing short handed is dumb.

Bastard: Antonio Bastardo surrendered a solo blast to Jordy Mercer in the bottom of the 6th inning of game 1 of the doubleheader. He now has a 4.13 ERA. I think we’re starting to see why the Pirates didn’t have a tribute video for his return to PNC Park. I think we’re starting to see why he was sitting on the free agent scrap heap late in the offseason. Meanwhile Tyler Clippard is dominating in Arizona. Ehh Eric Campbell, Ty Kelly, Antonio Bastardo. Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, Tyler Clippard. Tomato, Tomahto.

The Pitchers Are Better Again: When Matz hit that triple in game 1, I imagined Eric “Taxi Squad” Campbell watching it from his hotel room and realizing he should probably just stay there for game 2. Remember last season when our pitchers were objectively better hitters than our top backup position players for like two months? Well it’s happening again.

The Plan: What’s the plan? The plan is to batten down the hatches and wait out this offensive funk until fresh supplies arrive. Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Asdrubal Cabrera, and hopefully Curtis Granderson won’t be in funks forever. We have a lot of injuries, but these veterans must perform. They will eventually. Until then, we watch these awful games and survive off of Spam and cans of beans (James Loney and Wilmer Flores). The ship will be righted. I think.

Today: Wow we really can’t beat the Pirates. They swept us last season, it feels like they are going to do the same thing in this series. It’s okay. Let’s take a deep breath. We still hold a wild card spot. We still get to play the NL Least all the time. We’ll just keep beating the bad NL East teams and hopefully at some point we can beat some other teams. Any team other than the Phillies, Marlins, and Braves will do. Noah Syndergaard faces top Pirates pitching prospect Jameson Taillon today. I picked up Taillon in fantasy for next week. I’m expecting the Mets to get shutout as are all residents of Panic City. Poor Thor. Can we get him a run or two?

Series Preview: Neil Walkyear Pittsburgh Homecoming

The Jon Niese for Neil Walker trade was a good old fashioned need for need swap. More often than not, we see trades that involve prospects for a stud or salary dumps. This was a rare situation where the Mets wanted a new second baseman and the Pirates wanted a middle of the rotation starter. So far both players have performed as expected. Jon Niese hasn’t had his annual month long injury yet, but I’m sure it will come soon. Walker is a born and raised Pittsburgh guy, and I’m sure the Pirates will treat him right for this three game set despite failing to pay him the contract that he felt he deserved. I’m sure Neil Walkyear will continue to produce for the Mets this year, and then leave for a lucrative offer from one of the Mets rivals like Daniel Murphy did. He’ll get the last laugh when it comes to getting paid. That’s a lock. As far as Niese goes, the Pirates will probably reluctantly pick up the option on his contract because his performance is just good enough to warrant the salary.

The Pirates are sixth in the league in runs scored and fourth in OPS. The Pirates are 15th in the league in team ERA. Their bullpen has been particularly stanky coming in at 22nd in ERA. If the season ended today the Mets would face the Pirates in the NL Wild Card playoff game. The Mets lost all six games against the Pirates last season. Beating up on the three NL East bottom feeders is great, but it won’t be enough this season if the Nationals keep playing the way they are playing. The Mets really need to make a statement in this series and remind the Pirates who represented the NL in the World Series last year. Plus, the Pirates just lost 2 out of 3 to the awful Angels in Pittsburgh and before that they dropped 3 out of 4 to the Marlins in Miami. They are stumbling and now is as good a time as any for the Mets to pounce on them.

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Steven Matz vs. Jon Niese

Jon Niese appears to be having a classic Jon Niese season. He’s 5-2 with a 4.36 ERA and he’s surrendered 12 home runs. He had a strong May however going 2-2 with a 3.82 ERA. He fired 4 quality starts in his 5 outings. His only mediocre start was against the Cubs. His last time out against the Marlins he went 5 innings and gave up 2 runs. Notable Matchups: Curtis Granderson is 3 for 9 in the lefty vs. lefty matchup against Niese. Homeboy Neil Walker is 2 for 13.

Steven Matz is having one hell of a rookie season. In his last start against the White Sox he uncharacteristically lost his composure in the 6th inning and got yanked after giving up 3 runs in 5.2 innings. He’s never faced the Pirates. I’m looking forward to when Jon Niese falls apart in the middle innings and Matz does not. I’m sure it will sting a lot when Niese very publicly shows everyone that he is the poor man’s Matz.

Game 2: Jacob deGrom vs. Juan Nicasio

Juan Nicasio was a reliever on the Dodgers last season. He came over to the Pirates as a project for their pitching coach Ray Searage. So far Donald Trump would say it’s been a disaster. He’s 4-4 with a 4.75 ERA. In May he was 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA. Yuck. Hopefully the Mets crush him so he loses his spot in the rotation, and they call up prospect Tyler Glasnow who’s sitting on my fantasy team bench. That would kill two birds with one stone for me. Notable Matchups: Asdrubal Cabrera is 2 for 6 against Nicasio with a home run, James Loney is 2 for 11, Neil Walker is 3 for 10, and Rene Rivera is 2 for 4 with a home run.

Jacob deGrom is 3-1 with a 2.62 ERA in 2016. He’s just doing his silent ace thing. DeGrom dominates quietly like a damn ninja assassin. Last time out against the White Sox, he went 7 innings, gave up 5 hits, 1 run and struck out 10. He didn’t face the Pirates in 2015. Maybe that’s one of the reasons we lost every game against them last season.

Game 3: Noah Syndergaard vs. Francisco Liriano

Normally this would be a hot pitching matchup for the series finale, but Francisco Liriano has been struggling for the Pirates this year. After going 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in April, he went 2-3 with a 5.34 ERA in May. Those May numbers are a little skewed by a horrendous start against the Cubs where he gave up 8 runs in 4.2 innings. Last time out though he got crushed by the Angels in Pittsburgh. He went 3.1 innings and gave up 10 hits and 7 runs. Most of the season however, he’s been rocked on the road (7.09 ERA) and stellar at home (3.14 ERA) so he’ll probably be tough in the finale. Last season he pitched 6 innings against the Mets in Pittsburgh and gave up a run while striking out 12. Notable Matchups: Asdrubal Cabrera is 12 for 24 lifetime against Liriano with a home run, Yoenis Cespedes is 1 for 15, and Curtis Granderson is 6 for 32 with a home run.

Thor faced the Pirates at PNC last year. He went 6 innings, gave up 4 runs (only 1 ER) and struck out 5. I expect the Lightning Lord to continue to wreak havoc on the Pirates as he’s done with every other team.

Things To Look For:

Korean Star: Jung Ho Kang is hitting .280 with 2 homers in his last 7 games. Remember when the Mets could have signed him for basically nothing a year and a half ago, but we passed and elected to use Ruben Tejada again? Well whatever it’s not like we need a versatile infielder.

Outfield Of Dreams: The Pirates outfield is so goddamn elite. Starlin Marte is hitting .326 with 5 dingers, Gregory Polanco is hitting .308 with 9 dingers, and Andrew McCutchen has 9 long balls. He’s only hitting .250, but he’s a perennial MVP candidate, and he’ll take off eventually. It’s always exciting when you get a chance to watch the best players the game has to offer and the Pirates outfield has three of them.

So Short We Forfeit: Juan Lagares‘ status is still up in the air. Asdrubal and Cespedes are a little banged up. The Mets roster is a damn injury train wreck. Honestly, this reminds me of Little League when a game was being played on a holiday weekend or something and a bunch of kids couldn’t make it. I feel like we are going to show up to PNC with six position players, and we are going to have to forfeit. Then we’ll just borrow three Pirates players and play an exhibition game. Then everyone will get ice cream after the game. Sounds fun!

I Hate His Damn Face: Francisco Cervelli was a nobody before 2013 and in 2014/2015 he morphed into one of the better catchers in the game. He’s a known cheat who served a 50 game suspension in 2013 for steroids. In all likelihood he “morphed” thanks to his involvement in the Biogenesis steroid scandal. I hate him, and I don’t like his face. He’s got that smug Yankee smile, and it makes me sick. He’s actually not really having a great season in 2016, but screw him anyway.

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

My Best Guess: Predicting the 2016 National League Central

Leo bear

(This is one post in a series of posts where I will be predicting the outcome of each MLB division. The final post will include full 2016 MLB postseason predictions.)

In 2015 the Cardinals, Pirates, and Cubs were the three best regular season teams in Major League Baseball, and it wasn’t really that close. The Cardinals are just completely ridiculous. They are like the Yankees in that they are God’s other chosen team. Every season, things seemingly work out for them. They overcome every injury and obstacle. In 2015, they overcame the statistical regression of their veteran catcher Yadier Molina, and they overcame injuries to veteran outfielder Matt Holiday. They also consistently get the most out of the players they acquire. Case in point would be John Lackey posting the best ERA of his career in 2015 as a 36 year old Cardinal. They won one hundred freaking games! They had the 24th ranked offense, but they had the league’s best pitching staff. Before the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes, they had an offense at the bottom of the barrel and a pitching staff at the very top too. Just like the Cardinals. Yet the Mets could barely maintain a .500 record without Cespedes. The Cardinals cruised to a hundo wins. Now that’s God’s work. Not to mention the fact that they had the best pitching staff with Adam Wainwright missing the whole damn season. The acquisition of Jason Heyward and his sabermetric mojo seemingly helped add to that win total. But I attribute it to voodoo magic or something. And I guess a little credit goes to the emergence of young outfielders Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk.

The Pirates have had their young core in place for a few years now, and they keep winning a ton of games. But they keep losing MLB’s stupid one game Wild Card playoff. An entire damn season of domination wasted. Poor Pirates. They are just as talented as their division rivals. They just need some damn luck. And maybe this year Jung Ho Kang won’t get crippled by a takeout slide in September. But judging by the new rules he probably will.

The Cubs were a very similar team to the Mets before the 2015 season. They’d both been rebuilding for a nice long stretch, and they finally had their young talent ready to produce at the major league level. The only difference being the Mets had the talented young pitching and the Cubs were brimming with talented position players. In order to really compete, the Mets needed a big impact bat. The Cubs needed the big time arm. The Mets signed useless old man Michael Cuddyer. The Cubs actually filled their need with Jon Lester. The result? The Mets were mediocre until they got the big bat at the trade deadline. The Cubs dominated all season. The Cubs immediate jump from worst to almost first surprised people. But ironically it was the Mets young pitching that defeated them in the NLCS. So the Cubs went into the offseason knowing at a minimum they had to bolster their rotation. And in addition to their rotation, they decided to bolster every other part of their team.

Cincinnati and Milwaukee were in the bottom third of the league in hitting and pitching. They were terrible, and they were terrible from day one. Both teams had been in denial about their demise, but in 2015 they hit rock bottom. This offseason, both organizations officially checked themselves into a baseball rehabilitation program (aka a rebuild) and will take all the necessary steps to get better. Here’s what I see in 2016:

NL Central: 1) Chicago Cubs (x) 2) Pittsburgh Pirates (wc) 3) St. Louis Cardinals 4) Cincinnati Reds 5) Milwaukee Brewers

When Theo Epstein entered this Cubs roster into his robot projection computer, it exploded. No doubt about it. Every projection system has the Cubs winning 140 games, and then the computer starts to smoke and ultimately shorts out. And I understand why. They won 97 games last season. Their young position player studs should all improve. They retained Dexter Fowler. And they added two players that the sabermetric experts adore in Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward. Oh and they also added John Lackey to their rotation. Oh and Lackey and Heyward came directly from the division rival Cardinals. So yeah I see why the computers shorted out. Their lineup should be elite from top to bottom with Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and Anthony Rizzo at it’s core. After breaking out in his age 29 season and winning the Cy Young, Jake Arrieta seems poised for another elite season at the top of their rotation and should get paid the big bucks very soon. According to Wikipedia, Jake is known as a “workout freak” who does pilates and incorporates kale juice into his diet. I’ll have to get me some of his kale Popeye smoothies so I can totally “emerge” as I approach 30.

Jon Lester and John Lackey give the Cubs strong veteran starters behind Arrieta. I don’t see Lackey matching the 2015 numbers he had with the Cardinals particularly at Wrigley Field. His ERA was much higher at the hitter friendly Fenway Park when he was with the Red Sox, and I could see the same thing happening in Chicago. They don’t have any studs behind their big 3 in the rotation. But they have so much depth on offense that they can really pull a trade for a starter at any time during the season. I don’t think the Kyle Schwarber experiment in LF is going to pan out. The guy is a big fat DH. I expect a lot of embarrassing belly flops out there for him with balls rolling all the way to the wall all season long. It’s got Lucas Duda outfield experiment written all over it. Addison Russell is going to be a star. The Mets lucked out that he was injured for the NLCS. The Cubs bullpen is full of former starting pitchers which is so trendy right now. Starting pitchers in the pen is so big in this year’s summer bullpen collection by MLB. Trevor Cahill and Adam Warren are two such examples. The computers are not wrong. The Cubs are going to be elite. They are going to battle with the Cardinals and Pirates all season long in the same way they did last year. But they will take the division this time.

The Pirates won 98 games in 2015. Andrew McCutchen is going to be an MVP candidate per usual. Gerrit Cole is going to be a Cy Young candidate as well. Francisco Liriano is a great number 2. They replaced A.J. Burnett and J.A. Happ with Jon Niese and Ryan Vogelsong. A little mid-rotation starter musical chairs. Who cares. They straight up let Pedro Alvarez walk to Baltimore, but they seemingly like the platoon they have at 1B now with John Jaso and Sean Rodriguez. Neil Walker is now a Met. But they were pretty deep in the infield already and Josh Harrison is great for 2B. They also just signed David Freese to bolster the infield depth. The ace in the hole here is top pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow is coming. And he’s coming in 2016. The Pirates definitely see him having a major impact for them this season. He could bring that rotation to the next level. It’s part of the reason they were willing to sacrifice some offense in Alvarez and Walker.

The Cardinals lost Jason Heyward and John Lackey to the Cubs. Matt Holiday is getting old. They have two first basemen in Brandon Moss and Matt Adams aka Fat Adams and only one base for them to play. But their rotation and bullpen are still elite even without Lackey. They signed a great replacement in Mike Leake. They have Adam Wainwright back. They signed Jonathan Broxton and Korean reliever Seung-hwan Oh for the bullpen. They had the number 3 bullpen ERA and the number 1 starters ERA in 2015. And they won 100 games. They should be in the same ballpark this season. Plus the Cardinals in general are just so #blessed like the stupid Yankees. But I still think the Cubs and Pirates find their way to the top of the Central in 2016.

Cincinnati and Milwuakee are in full rebuild mode. They are going to be unwatchable and will be trampled by the Cubs, Pirates and Cardinals all season long. Basically the same story as last season except the Reds and Brewers are now officially out of the “tanking” closet. The Brewers traded Khris Davis. They have former Met bum Kirk Nieuwenhuis hitting cleanup for them this Spring with former Met Eric Young Jr. battling for a spot on the bench. Captain Kirk hit 3 dingers in a game last season. Other than that he never did shit. Poor Brewers fans. May God have mercy on your souls.

The Reds have their white flags up and waving for 2016. They traded Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman for a plethora of prospects this offseason. The consensus was that they got hosed by the Yankees and White Sox in those trades. Whoops!


Other Divisional Predictions:

American League East

American League Central

American League West

National League East