Through the first four innings I thought the Mets’ offense might be taking the night off again. But once the fifth inning rolled around, the Mets’ offense was able to get to Jaime Garcia and Matt Harvey/the bullpen did the rest.
Overall it was an encouraging game. The Mets were resilient and won the series after that tough extra innings marathon loss. Harvey showed fans that he’s still alive. The offense put together a bunch of hits (8) and scored some runs (6) and it wasn’t all due to the long ball. The back end of the pen continued to look strong. It was a nice opening series win at home.
Dark Knight Looked Great: Matt Harvey pitched 6.2 innings and gave up just 3 hits. Unfortunately both of those hits were solo homers by new Met Killer Matt Kemp (solo homers in 5th inning and 7th inning). Terry yanked Harvey after the 7th inning Kemp jack. Obviously he wanted him leaving feeling good about the start. And he had a lot to feel good about. He was sitting in the mid- 90s with the fastball, and he didn’t walk anybody. The Braves don’t have the best lineup in baseball, and Harvey certainly didn’t strike out the park. But he looked good considering he’s coming back from this crazy surgery. I’ll take it.
Offense Responds: Harvey gave up that solo shot to Kemp in the 5th inning, but the Mets picked him right up and responded with two runs. Neil Walker singled, Jay Bruce walked, and then Travis d’Arnaud launched a 2-RBI double in the left center field gap. Nice to see Travis getting in on the action. The Mets need him to be present on offense. He doesn’t need to be a force, but he sure as hell cant be the black hole that he was in 2016.
Wilmer The Lefty Masher: Terry hit Wilmer Flores fourth in the batting order right behind Yo last night, and it was totally warranted because he continued his dominant streak against southpaws. Jaime Garcia walked Yoenis Cespedes with one out in the 6th inning and put a man on base for Flores. Wilmer promptly made him pay by crushing a hanging breaking ball just inside the left field foul pole for a two run shot to make it 4-1. Teams walking Yo is going to be a theme this season, so it’s nice to see the guy behind him making the other team pay.
Hits! Hits! Hits!: Kemp added that solo shot in the top of the 7th but in the bottom of the 7th the Mets responded again. Michael Conforto was hit by a pitch with one out. Then Jose Reyes singled and Asdrubal Cabrera followed with an RBI single between third base and short taking advantage of the shift. Then Yoenis Cespedes hit a double play ball to the right side of the infield but shortstop Dansby Swanson made a throwing error to first base that allowed Reyes to score to make it 6-2.
Salad And Reed Lockdown: Fernando Salas looked good in the 8th inning and was able to pitch around some defensive blunders (including one by Salas himself). Addison Reed dominated the heart of the Braves order in the 9th to close the game out.
Today: Zack Wheeler makes his return to the mound after a two year Tommy John recovery absence. I’m excited. I remember how electric his stuff was a couple of years ago. And we honestly need him to contribute now. With Steven Matz going down Wheeler is no longer luxury depth. He’s a key contributor. Marlins come to town and send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound. Another lefty. Let’s go Wilmer! Let’s go Mets!
Don’t look now but the Mets are starting to play consistent baseball. Well actually they were playing consistent baseball before too. For months they consistently had strong pitching and couldn’t buy a hit with runners in scoring position. Now the Mets consistent brand of baseball looks like this: 1) Score a bunch of runs 2) Give up a bunch of runs over the course of the game but hold on for the win 3) Lose a bunch of guys to injury every night. Really the only difference is we score now and the pitching is worse. The injuries have been a constant. Either way, last night was awesome. The Mets scored nine runs on Yo t-shirt night, Big Sexy looked great, and we survived two more injuries. The Mets have won 5 of 6. Keep streaking please.
Back To Back Blondes: Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera led off the game with back to back home runs from the right side of the plate. The lefty starter Adam Morgan never stood a chance. Our new Team Platoon crushes lefties now. And the platinum blonde look is really doing wonders for Asdrubal and Jose. Can you imagine if Bartolo Colon came out for his next start rocking blonde hair? The internet would explode. Team blonde is very tempting though. I’m willing to cling to any magic good luck charm at this point.
The Best Platoon Of All Time: In the bottom of the fifth inning, Bartolo Colon ripped a double to left center field for his first hit of the game and then Jose Reyes doubled. And on the Reyes double Colon only advanced to third. Colon is really the most entertaining man in baseball. Everything he does is magnificent. Anyway, with two outs the Phils walked Neil Walker to load the bases and Wilmer Flores hit a grand slam to make it 6-1 Mets. He’s batting almost .350 against lefties, and he has 10 bombs against them. During the game I was imagining a modern day platoon of Wilmer Flores and Babe Ruth. Can you imagine The Great Bambino being lifted against a situational lefty in favor of old Wilmer?
Home Plate Double Up: In the 6th inning, Alejandro De Aza walked and Travis d’Arnaud doubled him home to make it 7-1. Bartolo Colon followed that with a single which allowed Travis to advance to third. Then Jose Reyes hit a routine fly out to left center and Travis d’Arnaud was doubled up trying to tag up and score. Also of note on the play was the collision of d’Arnaud and Cameron Rupp at home. Remember when MLB said that blocking the plate and home plate collisions were abolished? Whoops!
The Other Side: Anyway Asdrubal Cabrera followed that double play with a two-run homer to make it 9-1 Mets. It was his second homer of the night and this one came from the left side of the plate. Asdrubal also made two fantastic plays in the field in the fourth inning and the eighth inning. I hate that all the defensive metrics say he has no range. He may lack range but the guy makes every routine play and many spectacular plays as well.
Big Sexy Night: Bartolo Colon pitched 7 strong innings. He had a no-hitter going through 4 and only gave up one run through 7. Unfortunately he fell apart in the 8th inning and gave up 3 more runs. But his 7 inning 4 run line was enough for the win.
The Death Toll:Justin Ruggiano departed the game with shoulder discomfort and Sean Gilmartin had a bloody finger nail or something. There’s not much else to say. I’m sure they’ll be fine. Or maybe they won’t. I don’t know.
Today: Noah Syndergaard on the mound tonight. The Mets must keep streaking. Take this game tonight. Surge! Surge! Surge!
With injuries piling up yet again, this time to the rotation, the Mets were able to come through with a big win against the Wild Card leading St. Louis Cardinals. I’ve said many times that Terry and Sandy deserve some blame for many of the problems this team has had in 2016. But the players deserve the blame and credit most of all. And that’s why the Mets players deserve credit for an impressive win last night. It’s one game. They’re 3.5 games back of the Cards now in the Wild Card race. They need to keep winning and make a real statement.
Wounded Soldier: The Mets continue to generate evidence showing they are the most incompetent organization in baseball. Jon Niese stinks. Jon Niese had a knee injury that was known by the organization and the fans prior to last night’s game. The Mets could have easily put him on the DL or skipped his start. Instead they had him pitch, and of course in the first inning Niese had to leave the game with the aforementioned knee injury. He was placed on the DL after the game.
Private Gsellman: The Mets had previously promoted Triple-A starter Robert Gsellman to pitch out of the bullpen which was something he hadn’t done in years. Gsellman was forced to come in and pitch in long relief for Niese. Terry also left Niese in the game long enough to walk the one and three hitters and give up an RBI single to Brandon Moss. Then Gsellman came in and gave up an RBI double to Yadier Molina and an RBI ground out to Jhonny Peralta. Those runs tied the game at 3. Other than letting the Niese inherited runners score, Gsellman went 3.2 scoreless innings, and he was credited with the win.
Platoon Bombers: Before Niese fell apart, Wilmer Flores hit a three-run shot in the first inning. Justin Ruggiano also hit a solo shot in the fourth inning. Both homers came off of Cards lefty starter Jaime Garcia. The Mets lefty mashing platoon squad of Flores/Ruggiano is pretty impressive. As long as Terry makes the right matchup decisions, I’m totally fine with Team Platoon.
Seasoned Veterans: Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera each had 3 hits, and they both had RBI hits in the second inning. It’s nice to have two seasoned vets at the top of the order. All of a sudden with Reyes setting the table for Yoenis Cespedes, it feels like this team can actually score with runners in scoring position. The Mets were 5 for 10 in those spots last night. The Cardinals on the other hand seemingly left men on base every single inning.
The Reserves: Josh Smoker gave up a solo dinger to Randal Grichuk, but other than that the Mets relief corps was stellar. 6 relievers combined to pitch 8.2 innings and give up 1 run.
Field General: In addition to his two hits, Yoenis Cespedes made stellar defensive plays including a home run robbery. He also ran hard and seemingly was limping around again. Terry denied this after the game, but I don’t believe him. Yo is banged up. He’s been banged up all season. The notion that Yo doesn’t play hard or that he selectively hustles is one of the most appalling and fabricated false narratives in professional sports.
Captain Blunder: Speaking of Terry making the right platoon decisions, in the 7th inning with runners on first and third and one out Terry pinch hit for Wilmer Flores. He chose to have James Loney face a lefty specialist instead of having Wilmer face the righty who was already in the game. It was the wrong call because Loney doesn’t hit lefties at all, and also he’s been terrible lately. He promptly hit into a double play. He did add an insurance RBI single in the 9th inning to make it 7-4 Mets, so I suppose he redeemed himself.
Man Down: Yesterday Steven Matz was placed on the DL with shoulder discomfort. Supposedly there’s no structural damage, and he’ll only miss one start. Remember when we were supposed to have 5 young aces? Well we’re down to 2.
Today: I don’t want to say tonight’s game is a must win. But with Jacob deGrom on the mound and Seth Lugo on Thursday, it’s a must win. Carlos Martinez is great too, but the Mets have to find a way to win this game.
One Mistake: Jacob deGrom pitched 7 innings, gave up 3 hits and struck out 9. The one hit was a 7th inning solo homer to Yangervis Solarte. And obviously that one mistake prevented him from getting a win.
Another Mistake: The Mets took the lead in this game on a 7th inning Kelly Johnson sac fly. Addison Reed did his job in the 8th inning and then Jeurys Familia blew another game. He gave up a two out solo homer to Wil Myers. I’m still shocked every time Familia makes a mistake. At least this one didn’t cost the Mets another game.
Thanks Padres 2.0: In the 11th inning, red hot Neil Walker led off with a single and James Loney added a one out bloop single that allowed Neil to advance to third base. Then Wilmer Flores hit what appeared to be a double play ball but second baseman Ryan Schimpf went home with the throw and it was way off target. Neil Walker scored to give the Mets the 3-2 victory. The “hero” Wilmer Flores had 3 hits in the game. I don’t care that it was gift wrapped. A win is a win.
Today: Giancarlo Stanton is supposedly going on the DL. The Mets are still 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. The NL really stinks. Can the Mets win two in a row at home (or anywhere for that matter)? We shall see.
What happened in the game? The Mets scored a run in the first inning (RBI single Wilmer Flores) and a run in the second inning (RBI single Kelly Johnson). Then the Rockes got to Bartolo Colon in the fourth and fifth inning (5 ER total) and beat the Mets bullpen (Seth Lugo 2 ER). The Mets made three errors in the game. The Mets never mounted a rally or a comeback. They shriveled up and died on the field on the night Mike Piazza had his number retired.
Other than Piazza’s moving pregame speech, the real story happened in the 9th inning when Wilmer Flores hit a deep drive to left field that either would have ricocheted off the top of the wall or been caught by the left fielder David Dahl. We’ll never know what WOULD have happened because a little weasel of a fan intentionally put his glove out, caught the ball, and stuck his tongue out at the fielder with a smug satisfied grin on his face. The replay review led to Wilmer being called out and Terry being tossed from the game.
I don’t care what team you root for, fans that interfere are pieces of garbage and belong in the Citi Field dungeons. No trial. No hearing. Just seize them and put them in the stockades. I don’t have many harsh stances. But I believe there’s a special place in hell for fans that interfere. There you are forced to make barehanded catches of balls that are on fire. The balls land and melt the flesh off the hand of the sinner who rots in the afterlife. Steve Bartman from Chicago and Jeffrey Maier the Yankee hero will be there. They will pay for their crimes. And so will that fan from last night’s game.
Reyes DL: I wrote about the inevitable Reyes DL trip the day of his injury. It was the lock of locks. Well he’s officially on the DL for his oblique injury. Honestly, the Jose Reyes addition was pointless from day one. I love that we had our scouting department analyzing his remaining skillset. And we had our stats guys projecting what he could produce on the field and how he could boost this team. We had our front office payroll guys leaping for joy when he agreed to a contract option for next season at the league minimum. Meanwhile I’m sitting on my freaking couch saying, “Umm hey guys all those things sound great, but you do realize he’ll be injured the entire time and never actually add anything to the team right?” I mean we all watched the Reyes Era before he departed for Miami. He literally was hurt every single season. Well he’s gone now. So long.
Cespedes Dead: Yoenis Cespedes was yanked in the fifth inning with his balky quad that he’s literally been battling since the All-Star break. I really wish I could absorb his quad injury and allow him to play at full strength. I would totally embrace the pain if it could save our season. I’d just be hobbling around at work like Leaping Larry in Seinfeld.
Anyway, I said at the All-Star Break that Cespedes should have been placed on the DL. That was the time to do it. I also said recently that the Mets have been avoiding the DL stint because they know that at this point 15 days without Yo could effectively end our season. Terry basically said that after the game. He said “We’re going to do the best we can to make sure he stays off he DL. We need him. We need his bat in the lineup.”The bottom line is the season is falling apart. If they DL him we’ll probably be out of the race by the time the 15 days are over. If they keep playing him he’s eventually going to do real damage to the quad. It’s totally a lose lose situation. I can’t wait for the Mets to let Yo walk in the offseason because he’s “injury prone”.
Ruggiano: The Mets signed Justin Ruggiano before the game and started him. He’s a right handed hitting platoon outfielder. The Rangers cut him earlier this season. Forgive me if I don’t break out the champagne and party hats. I suppose it’s a nice addition for our sinking ship. He can actually hit lefties like Juan Lagares which is nice.
Deadline Strike One?: It was announced last night that Jonathan Lucroy was traded to the Indians for four prospects. The Mets package centered on Travis d’Arnaud and Brandon Nimmo and just didn’t get it done. Well a few seconds ago Lucroy apparently vetoed the trade to Cleveland! Let’s see what happens. I like Lucroy, but I’m not getting too worked up if the Mets fail to trade for him. Travis d’Arnaud is much better than the player we’ve seen this season. And I just don’t think Lucroy is single-handedly saving this squad.
Deadline Strike Two?: The Mets are pursuing Jay Bruce. Where will he play? I don’t know. But I’m not worried about the Mets figuring out where to play a slugging outfielder. Considering we just signed and started Justin “Scrap Heap” Ruggiano, I think the Mets will find a place for a potent power bat. I’m guessing he’ll play corner outfield while Cespedes is on the DL and then the Mets will just let Cespedes walk!
Screw the Yankees: The Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs for a haul of prospects. They just traded Andrew Miller overnight to the Indians for another haul of four prospects. They turned two stud relievers into 8 young studs. They are selling in arguably the most insane sellers market I’ve ever seen. Figures. Lucky bastards.
Today: Noah Syndergaard today. Let’s see if we can snag one game or if we will go 0-7 against the Rockies in 2016. Pray.
Before this game, Terry didn’t include Wilmer Flores in the lineup. The general consensus among Mets fans was that this was a classic case of Terry being a moron. Wilmer had 4 home runs this week. He’s scorching hot. Everyone was furious about the decision. I must say, I was not angry. I was completely fine with sitting Wilmer. It’s not that I don’t like Wilmer. I just figured he’d play at least two games this weekend, and I didn’t feel like getting worked up about the benching. I’m excited about our new stable of viable infielders, and I got caught up in the depth celebration.
Well a man can only admit when he was wrong and ask for forgiveness. Wilmer has a .309 career batting clip in July. His next highest monthly batting average is .267 in August. His home run last night has started to help us avenge the June sweep by the Nationals in Washington. Wilmer is now Summer Flo. He is…The King in July! The King in July!
Murph Out The Gate: In the first inning, Bartolo Colon gave up a leadoff triple and of course Daniel Murphy drove in the run to make it 1-0. Murph’s public shaming of the Mets organization continued right away last night.
Clutch Single: In the first inning, James Loney struck out with two outs and runners on second and third base. But in the third inning with Yoenis Cespedes on second and Neil Walker on first, Loney came through with an RBI single to tie the game 1-1.
Love Getting Burned By The Big Dogs: In the fourth inning after retiring Murph, Bartolo Colon gave up a solo bomb to Bryce Harper. My first thought was that we really love getting burned by the best player on the team huh? Giancarlo Stanton had a field day and now Bryce. That was before I knew there was no stopping the ball from flying out of the park last night. Plus it’s not like we are going to issue first inning free passes to Harper with the bases empty.
Ball Was Flying: Still in the fourth inning, Clint Robinson and Anthony Rendon hit back to back homers with two outs. They made it 4-1 Nats.
Ball Was Officially Flying: After the Nationals fourth inning home run barrage, I was shook. But it wasn’t until the Mets homers in the bottom of the fourth that I realized we were playing this game with diminished gravity levels or something. The home runs did not stop. Travis d’Arnaud hit a solo shot. Jose Reyes launched an upper decker home run to right. Then Curtis Granderson doubled and Yoenis Cespedes doubled to make it 4-4. The Mets came back to tie the game instantly. They chased Lucas Giolito in the fourth inning. Hell, Neil Walker and Yo executed a double steal!
The First Botched Takeout Slide Call: In the fifth inning, Bartolo gave up a single to Oliver Perez and Ben Revere. Jayson Werth then grounded into a force at second. That set up first and third with one out for Murph. Murph hit a double play ball up the middle. The Mets turned the double play and the outs were called on the field. Unfortunately Murph was safe by a mile at first. The Nationals won the challenge, and Oliver Perez scored to make it 5-4 Nationals. My beef on the play was that Jayson Werth’s slide at second was a violation of the takeout slide rule. It was an obvious violation in April of 2016. At the start of the season they were making the call on the field every time. Since then they’ve stopped calling it because MLB listens to fan outcry and seemingly is run by a bunch of pathetic cowards who can’t implement a rule change to save their lives. Well on this particular play the umpires felt the slide was legal and the run scored.
Who Can Leave Their Starter In The Longest: Lucas Giolito should have come out after the Grandy double in the fourth inning. He couldn’t get ahead in the count at all last night. Frankly all the pitchers struggled to execute. But I felt Dusty left him in too long. Well in the fifth inning, Terry tried to steal the crown from Dusty. After the run scored on the challenged double play, Jerry Blevins should have been coming in to face Bryce Harper. Instead Terry left Tolo in. He gave up a single to Bryce and an RBI single to Wilson Ramos that made it 6-4 Nationals. When Terry finally did bring in the pen, Jerry Blevins walked his batter but Hansel Robles was able to get out of the inning.
The King In July: The most important part of Terry’s call to the bullpen in the fifth inning was that he double switched Wilmer Flores into the game. In the bottom of the fifth, Asdrubal Cabrera and Brandon Nimmo hit back to back singles off of Oliver Perez. Then with one out, Wilmer Flores hit the game altering 3-run shot that made it 7-6. TC said after the game it reminded him of Wilmer’s enormous home run last season against Washington. It was remarkable. He has 5 home runs this week alone. He has to be NL player of the week. Also in the fifth, Curtis Granderson doubled with two outs and the Nats intentionally walked Yoenis Cespedes. The Mets should probably take note and stop getting burned by the elite player on every team we face.
Ollie: In the 6th inning, Oliver Perez doubled for his second hit of the game. That was only notable because it was additional evidence that this particular game was completely insane.
More Bombs: Asdrubal Cabrera launched a solo shot in the bottom of the 6th that turned out to be the game winner. It made the game 8-6. As much as Wilmer had the big hit, every single Mets infielder contributed with the stick last night. Reyes, Walker, Loney, Cabrera, and Wilmer all had RBIs.
What Do We Do?: In the 7th inning, Antonio Bastardo reminded us all yet again that he sucks. He gave up a leadoff solo shot to Mets killer Daniel Murphy making it 8-7 Mets. Then he retired Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos. He then induced a comebacker off the bat of Clint Robinson and he made arguably the worst throwing error of the season. He just threw it away right past Wilmer at first. Terry was forced to go to Addison Reed who was just stellar in relief. He retired the side. I really don’t know what to do with Bastardo. We paid him. We need to see if he turns his season around. It’s a really crummy spot to be in.
Bonehead Pickoff: In the 7th inning with one out Jose Reyes walked. I knew as soon as he got on base he was going to try and steal, but I was completely against it. The ball was flying out of the park. I wanted to give Grandy and Yo a chance to put one in the seats. Unfortunately, Jose got picked off like an idiot. In the end we still got the insurance run because Grandy singled, the Nats walked Yo (Duh), and then Neil Walker hit an RBI single to make it 9-7.
The Second Takeout Slide Call: Addison Reed slammed the door in the 7th and retired the Nats in the 8th. He’s been absolutely stellar. Jeurys Familia came on in the 9th and walked the leadoff man like a fool. But then in true Curb Your Enthusiasm fashion, the entire game came full circle. With Jayson Werth on first, Murph hit a ball that nearly got past a diving Cabrera at short. But Cabby made a fantastic stop and started to turn the double play. The Mets got the out at second and made an unsuccessful throw to first. But Werth rocked Neil Walker on a takeout slide, and this time the umps called the Utley rule. They called the double play. The Werth slide wasn’t all that different from the play in the fifth inning. The bottom line is Werth purposely took out Walker and came off the bag. It’s a rule violation. Then Familia struck out Harper to end the game.
Nats Cry Like Babies: The Nats GM Mike Rizzo tried to fight umpire Jim Joyce after the game. I get their frustration. I share it. It’s appalling that the umps can’t make consistent calls in the same season, same month, same week, or the same freaking game. It’s a complete joke. But they got the call right. The Nats can’t complain about that. I’m done listening to complaints about the slide rule. The rule has been changed. Stay on the bag and slide directly at the bag. Period.
Also Harvey Is Out Forever: On the day of arguably the biggest win of the regular season, the Mets basically announced Matt Harvey is deciding between getting surgery for thoracic-outlet syndrome and missing the rest of the season or getting some interim thing done that will ultimately delay the inevitable surgery until after the season. He’s dunzo. I’ll have more on this once Harvey decides. Until then there’s really nothing new to report. Well other than what Sandy snuck in at the end of the Harvey press conference. Apparently Zack Wheeler is behind in his rehab from TJ and may not be back this season. Sandy snuck that gem into the conference at the last second. Jesus Christ we can’t have nice things at all.
The power of Wilmer Flores, the spark of Jose Reyes, and the grit of Jacob deGrom on the mound helped the Mets take today’s rubber game from the Miami Marlins. It’s really hilarious how Wilmer consistently raises his performance level when he thinks he’s going to lose his job. He caught one whiff of Reyes, and all of a sudden he’s going home run for home run with Giancarlo Stanton. Two multi-home run games in one week for our boy Wilmer? That’s insane.
Happy To Get Canned: Wilmer launched a solo home run in the second inning to give the Mets a 1-0 lead, and he added another solo shot in the fourth inning to make the lead 4-1. Both shots came off Marlins lefty starter Justin Nicolino. Wilmer did hit into a double play with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. Ultimately the wasted opportunity didn’t cost the Mets the game. I suppose Wilmer The Great can’t do everything. Flores said postgame that he’s happy Jose Reyes is here because it makes the team better. And I totally believe he’s being honest. How could he not be excited to have a stable of viable starting infielders? It’s amazing. Right after the game Terry is wondering aloud how in the world he’s going to find playing time for Wilmer and Jose. Ummm Terry I think we’ll figure it out. Is he serious? It’s called a rotation. It’s called depth. You give old man Neil Walker and bum knee Asdrubal Cabrera a day off. They are dying. Michael Cuddyer disintegrated after one half of baseball last season because he was played into the ground. This suddenly deep crop of infielders makes me smile even more than Wilmer when he finds out he’s been demoted.
The Playing Time Usurper: Jose Reyes got the start at shortstop today because Asdrubal Cabrera was up all night dealing with some family matter. Hopefully nothing serious. Anyway he had two doubles. In the third inning, Rene Rivera walked and Jacob deGrom failed to bunt him over. But Reyes doubled and set up second and third for Curtis Granderson who singled in two runs. That made it 3-0 Mets.
My Man: Jacob deGrom is my man. With David Wright seemingly gone forever, deGrom really is my favorite player on the team hands down. He didn’t have his best stuff, and he had to battle today. He got through jams in the first and fifth inning. But he always seems to find his way through 6 or 7 innings and limits any damage. He went 7 innings, gave up 6 hits, 2 runs, walked 2, and struck out 7. Noah Syndergaard is heading to the All-Star Game, Steven Matz is a Rookie of the Year candidate, and Bartolo Colon has been sexier than ever. But my confidence is at its highest when deGrom has the ball.
We Did It Again: Jacob deGrom’s only mistakes were surrendering two solo blasts to Giancarlo Stanton. Remember him? He hit two home runs yesterday. We obviously didn’t learn our lesson about being careful with Stanton. I don’t care that deGrom is an ace. I don’t care that Stanton came up without men on base or that the Mets had a lead. He’s a one man wrecking crew. He scored all the damn runs for the Marlins. Joe Maddon had the right idea earlier this year when he put Bryce Harper on base every time up. Just walk the guy. Pitch around him. Challenging him and consistently getting burned is the definition of insanity. We have an actual choice. Make the right one next time please.
Tomorrow: The Mets start a four game home set against the Nationals tomorrow. Big Sexy is on the mound. I’ll be at the game. We have some nice momentum. Let’s take it to the top team in the NL East. Let’s head into the break scorching.
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.
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.
Backups Step Up: Well well well. Yesterday I wrote about how the Mets are only going to overcome their injury woes if the people they’ve penciled in as “depth” actually do their job. In particular I said a lot of this season is riding on whether Wilmer can step the hell up and return to form. Well last night against Tom Koehler, the subs showed up to play. Other than Asdrubal Cabrera who got the Mets scoring started in the 4th with a solo bomb, it was the Wilmer Flores, James Loney and Rene Rivera show. After the Cabrera bomb, Yoenis Cespedes singled and Neil Walker got hit on the foot by a pitch. The struggling Michael Conforto hit into a double play. With Cespedes on third and two outs, Wilmer Flores picked up a huge two out RBI single to right field. That gave the Mets a 2-0 lead. In the 7th, Wilmer Flores walked and James Loney crushed a two run bomb to make it 4-2. In the 9th, Wilmer Flores crushed a leadoff double and with one out, Rene Rivera cranked a two run insurance jack to make it 6-2. Those were all the runs the Mets needed. Wilmer went 2 for 3 with a walk and Loney was 2 for 4.
Like Loney, Like Murph: James Loney is a contact hitter who can take a walk. The Mets gave him number 28. Before Murphtober, that’s pretty much how we would have described Daniel Murphy. Here’s Murphy’s career batting line .294/.336/.435. Here’s Loney’s career batting line .285/.338/.411. Umm pretty pretty similar. Hell they even have a similar batting stance:
Maybe Kevin Long can sprinkle some of his leftover magic Murph home run dust on Loney. Whatever he’s done so far it worked for Loney last night.
Aces Gonna Ace: Noah Syndergaard is the ace of this staff, and he just did his thing last night. He went 7 innings, gave up 2 runs on 6 hits, and he struck out 9. He made a mistake pitch to Marcell Ozuna in the second and Ozuna hit a solo bomb. He also made an error in that inning when he covered first and dropped the throw allowing Adeiny Hechavarria to reach base safely. It didn’t matter because he struck out the next two guys. He also gave up a sac fly to Ozuna in the 6th. That tied the game 2-2. Ultimately he gave the Mets everything they needed last night.
Rene: As I said in the series preview, I think Rivera is going to draw way more starts that Plawecki now. These pitchers like throwing to him. Even Rivera couldn’t stop guys from stealing on Thor last night though. Ichiro stole second and third base and J.T. Realmuto stole a base.
Cespedes Reminder: Yoenis Cespedes was briefly struggling at the plate before this series. He went 2 for 4 last night. He was involved in all the action on offense. The Mets scored six runs and won. Obviously when Yo is hitting the entire lineup hits. It is known. He really loves hitting in Miami.
Miguan Lagarto: Michael Conforto is really struggling offensively at the moment. He’s going to fight through it. I’m sure the Juan Lagares end of Terry’s favorite platoon will draw more starts if Conforto’s struggles continue.
Reed Locked In: Addison Reed is like the best reliever in the league. I’m not even kidding. He’s got a 1.82 ERA. He’s averaging over 12 Ks per 9 innings. He’s been untouchable. I kind of don’t get it. He throws 93 MPH down the middle. I guess he locates his pitches and hides the ball well. I hope this turns out to be the Mets bullpen trade Sandy is remembered for and not a two month fluke.
Today: Bartolo Colon goes tonight. We face a lefty. We should probably start hitting lefties tonight. Also the Nats lost to the Reds yesterday. Baaahahaha.