Mets Game 105: Win Over Nationals

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Mets 5, Nationals 2

Lemme ask you some questions before I scoot through the recap of the Mets (kinda) drawing level with the Nats. Answer back in the comments below. These enjoyable last few days need more discussion than I can cover in under 1000 words.

This is the first full post after the Yoenis Cespedes trade. So how do you feel about it?

I know Joe’s posted a few comments in response to the trades and I fully agree with Joe that the Mets haven’t given up too much. Not even close. I would have taken the Gomez deal too… well, before the (alleged) knowledge that his leg will (allegedly) fall off next year. I don’t do hindsight and I haven’t seen medical records. If he was ok, a healthy Gomez would have been great… and he was signed up for 2016 at a fair cost. But have the Mets fallen into something better? Inadvertently, this could be the one of the rare good things Mets’ doctors have achieved in a decade.

It boils down to what price you put on prospects. Is Michael Fulmer a ham sandwich? For his sake I hope he turns out to be a Michelin-Star BLT, but his chances are the same as any injury prone prospect. After some tears and a turn of fate, the Mets kept another injury prone potential star in Zack Wheeler, who has proved he can pitch in the majors when his arm isn’t falling off.

Yes, Cespedes is a rental. But his OPS will be .800 or so. In post-PED baseball, that’s a lot. He hasn’t done much so far, but I like how they’re already scared of his arm… did you see them freeze on a long fly from Zimmerman in the sixth? Tyler Clippard is another rental… but didn’t he look good in the ninth? That was some superb hitting by Werth just to scratch out a single.

Then there’s Juan Uribe. I’m making JU pom-poms for his defense. And Kelly Johnson, intent on playing for all 30 MLB teams. Does that matter? For me, this is a cheap way to push for a pennant in a weak NL. I liked it all pre-hindsight too. I hoped the Mets would be the 2014 Royals. Can they be?

86 wins should get the Mets into the Wild Card game. Some geniuses said that around Spring Training. But what do you think about the concept of the second wild card?

I know it’s a blatantly commercial idea. More teams in contention equals more bums on seats. Citi Field was rocking on both Saturday and Sunday. David Wright made a ceremonial appearance in the dugout and we were treated to professional wrestling chants of “this is awesome.” In the fourth, Kevin Plawecki even responded with a long single.

It was silly fun. Watching any sport is silly. Cespedes came out to stereotypical mariachi music he’d probably hate. And I could be saving hedgehogs instead of watching people chase balls. But this is genuinely fun. And when it comes to getting into the playoffs, baseball is still not as goofy as the NBA and the NFL.

The Mets have morphed into the Newish York Mets due to dumbass financial decisions. They are not a big team, as ridiculous as that sounds. But I don’t care if they take the Royals or Giants route from last year. Scramble in and let your pitching do the talking. Does it all cheapen the playoffs? Again, I don’t care. Do you?

Onto the game…

The Mets’ win revolved around the third. Curtis Granderson (I had my CG pom-poms ready) hit a lousy Jordan Zimmermann curve for a two run homer. Lucas Duda slammed a two run homer off a much nastier pitch up and in. I like this pod version of Duda (who Citi Field call “DOOOOOOOD”) and may his Wonderbat continue to homer. This latest HR creeped inside the right field pole as the wrestling crowd quietened. Were they all breathing in to help get it over the fence? It worked.

In between, Daniel Murphy hit a crazily long home run to right center. He had a terrible first at-bat, where he wafted at a 3-2 pitch so far in the dirt it could have rolled there. I wonder whether Murph hates ball four even more than strike three. But Murph caught the HR wave and he also got nicely behind Werth’s quick grounder when Syndergaard ran into some trouble in the sixth. I hope Uribe is giving Murph fielding lessons and also schooling Wilmer for the future. Godspeed Murph in 2016 and beyond. Enjoy your $5m a year on a slightly saner contract.

New-oah Syndergaard continues to be great, kinda defeating my argument that prospects are overrated. At least he was a number one prospect for the Blue Jays with the sometimes right KL stamp of approval. And like DOOOOOOOD he’s a fun guy to watch. It’s a buzz as he chucks a 99mph fastball to get a swinging K over the wunderkind Bryce Harper. But also watch those baby blue boss eyes as he sits in the dugout. He has that faraway stare. Who is he seeing and what are they saying to him? It certainly seems to be a vision of the 22-year-old Walter Johnson rather than Joe Shlabotnik.

Post-game, Terry Collins did his improving impersonation of a very happy E.T. His hollowed eyes have never lit up with such dewy glee. Don’t worry, T.C.: you phoned home and this time the accountants didn’t pick up. Let’s enjoy that too.

There it is: 1, 2, 3. In the spirit of Citi Field’s wrestling atmosphere let’s finish with a sign from the crowd: YOU GOT THE BROOMS… WE GOT THE HAMMER. Urgh. The Thor puns will persist through Noah’s career. If only Hammering Hank had taken out a copyright. Damn!

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One Order of Crow…

…but washed down with a tall glass of “well, they finally listened to us.”

The past ten or so days in Mets history have been well-chronicled elsewhere, so there is no need to re-hash them again here. Suffice to say that as a long-time Mets fan, I thought that when it comes to these guys that I had seen it all, but there is nothing that compares to the period from July 24 through last night. Never before have the Mets been so active with in-season trades, while at the same time playing ballgames under the heat and intensity of a playoff stretch.

My feelings on the Wilpon family and the Mets front office mirror those of many readers of this blog and Mets fans in general. So brace yourself—-kudos to Sandy Alderson for making those four deadline deals, especially the buzzer beater on Friday. And a grudging “thanks” to Fred and Jeff for taking on the extra money (although not a whole lot!) to make this team team more entertaining. I promise to buy tickets again. Now, please just go away and let us enjoy baseball.

Although “enjoy” may not be the right term for the emotions I felt as I watched the games this past weekend. I had my hands over my eyes, waiting, waiting for the bubble to burst and the Nationals to take the other hand from out behind their backs and throttle the Mets. Instead, I came away thinking that Washington is a lot like those late 1980’s Mets teams: loaded with talent, but perhaps more than a bit overrated and maybe, just maybe,  lacking that certain something that gets them over the top. At least those 80’s Mets won a World Series. If you want a laugh, check out the comments section in any recent Nationals game recap.

As for the Mets, I have no idea what to expect, but there is reason for optimism. They didn’t implode right after the All-Star break and when the sun came up this morning, it shone on their tie with Washington for the division lead. They could make as many as three more player additions via returns from the DL. While not the slam dunk that the ESPN hacks insinuated last night, their schedule is favorable,  especially when compared to Washington’s. That ficklest  of mistresses, Dame Momentum, is currently in their corner.

There is really no telling how this roller coaster ride of a season will end (and doesn’t that April streak seem like it happened three years ago?), but in the words of Keith Hernandez: “The race is on.”

 

 

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The Hip…Or The Wallet?

So I went to bed last night, thinking that the Mets had finally acquired the ideal player for their lineup and their stadium and at the cost of a pitcher I have long advocated moving, along with an underwhelming middle infielder.

Imagine my chagrin this morning.

And I can’t help but thinking that Carlos Gomez‘ hip has nothing to do with this trade falling through.

Maybe its the same DNA that makes me a Mets fan, but I wonder if someone in the Met ownership box did a quick calculation and decided that Gomez is too rich for their blood.  If that’s the case, we have come to the turning point of the 2015 season; a figurative Mike Scioscia  Game 3 homer to  all of the work done by the players, the manager and the coaching staff and even the much maligned front office to get to this point.  Looking at Sandy Alderson’s press conference being re-run on TBN this morning, I could shake the feeling that he has returned from vacation and replaced the Body Double that stood in for him this past week.

Yes, I know there are still 40-plus hours left to get a deal done. And this probably means that you, like me, will be constantly refreshing whatever website you frequent, hoping for news of another move. But brace yourselves for disappointment, as I think we have seen the true nature of this ownership and the front office. We’ve gotten close and there is genuine excitement about this team again. If an inability or unwillingness to take on a major league contract is the real reason why Gomez isn’t a Met, then our hopes for a turnaround have taken a serious and potentially permanent hit.

Here’s to us.

 

 

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A Reyes Reunion? What Say Ye?

The proverbial ink wasn’t dry on the news of the Tulo to Toronto deal, when the speculation began: will the Rockies spin Jose Reyes off to the Mets? Less than one week ago, before aliens apparently abducted our GM, I would have said “never.” Now, on the heels of Friday’s deal and then again last night, plus the whole Andrelton Simmons story, I am not sure what to think anymore.

So, lets take a look at our erstwhile leadoff guy, Mr. Reyes. He is currently slashing 285/322/385 for the Jays (he has yet to play for Colorado). His health has been OK, he has appeared in 69 of Toronto’s 99 games. FWIW, he played in 143 games for them last year. His stolen bases are way down, 16 this year, so reaching even 30 might be a stretch. He turned 32 last month.

His contract is probably the biggest concern. He’s owed $44 million, plus the remainder of this year’s salary, thanks to the boneheaded Marlins. BTW, I dislike all of  our division rivals, but I really despise the Marlins, however that’s another post. There is a $4 million buyout in 2018, which by then Jose will be 35.

As has been frequently pointed out by myself and many others, the Mets haven’t had a bona fide leadoff hitter since Jose left. But is he the answer? I really can’t see Colorado keeping him. Who else might be interested? The Yankees? The Giants? Pittsburgh? Again, at least until last weekend, these three and several others where probably more likely to pull off a trade like this. Would Colorado swallow say half of Jose’s remaining salary for a package of say Michael Fulmer, Brandon Nimmo, Wilmer Flores and Domonic Smith? They go from paying nearly $100 million for a shortstop, down to $22 million (easy enough to spend someone else’s money!) and get a load of Mets and Blue Jays prospects. That might work for them, but do Alderson and the Wilpons cash in their chips on a risk-filled move like this?

Maybe it’s that the last few years have worn me out, but I just don’t see it happening. But, I certainly didn’t see Friday’s trade coming and I was surprised they gave up what they did for Clippard. So I guess anything is possible. Sorry for burying the lead at the end of the post, but what do you think? Should the Mets bring Jose Reyes back? What should they be willing to give up? Sound off below.

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Mets Game 99: Win Over Dodgers

juan-uribe-mets

Mets 3, Dodgers 2

They call it the “Commentator’s Curse.” It’s when a commentator raves about a player and unwittingly sets them up for disaster. As soon as Gary said “The Dodgers have failed to get a hit EVER against Familia,” I knew there would be trouble. The Dodgers had gone 0-19 against Jeurys Familia up until that moment. Sadly, with a Kirk Nieuwenhuis-like bid for a respectable batting average, Adrian Gonzalez promptly smacked a long double. Gonzalez then scored on Justin Turner’s double to left center. Then Turner scored on Yasmani Grandal’s single just inside the third base bag. Well, the Dodgers were now 3 for 22 vs. Familia and the game was tied at 2. Urgh.

I’m not blaming Gary, of course. It was a strange outing for Familia. He couldn’t spot any pitches inside and when he reared back for 98-100mph heaters he was spiking them way down. When he fell behind in counts, he threw safer cutters they sat unhappily in the middle of the zone. Against the middle of the Dodgers order, that’s bad news. It could have been even worse, too, had Juan Uribe not flashed his underrated glove to make a sweet barehanded play on Kendrick to get the first out.

But, heck, these are the Newish New York Mets and not the old Mets who lost 4-3 to the Nats on Wednesday. In the bottom of the tenth, Curtis Granderson scampered a double, and following some farting around from Juan Nicasio (who makes Mike Pelfrey look fast to the plate) the Mets had one out and runners at first and second. Hello Kenley Jansen and hello my favourite of the new players, Juan Uribe. Juan dutifully crushed an 0-2 pitch off the left-center field wall, just falling short of matching Robin Ventura’s longest RBI single ever.

Leading up to that, it was hard not to sigh throughout a lazy bottom of the ninth and a typical Jenrry Mejia outing in the tenth. One of the kinda-newish players, hopefully on caffeine rather than anything stronger, Mejia is still a sucker for living on the edge. He walked Rollins, who stole second, then was bunted to third. Cue some extended misery watching Joc Pederson foul off pitches, including one nasty slider that just grazed his bat on 2-2. Next pitch? A 95mph fastball that Pederson swung under to strike out for the 119th time. A lazy fly ball later and Meija was out of it.

It’s hard to paint a player as talented as Pederson as the goat, but this wasn’t his best game. Aside from his 0 for 5, he botched fielding Plawecki’s spinning bloop in the third, which moved Kirk to third. Luckily, next up the Mets had the one position that leads its area in RBIs… pitcher. Jakob deGrom delivered again with a dribbler to first and Nieuwenhuis beat the throw home. Poor Zack Greinke lost his lengthy scoreless streak, and deGrom flashed his surfer boy smile.

Greinke and deGrom are first and second in ERA for good reason, but their stuff is nasty in different ways. Greinke throws a heavy ball, with late sink, pounding lefties and righties inside. Until the seventh, when the new dad started to tire, he repeatedly got lazy grounders with the batters shaking their hands from getting jammed. My favourite AB, though, was when he threw a bizarre pitch in the first to get the wildly flailing Daniel Murphy. It looked like a circle change, but it was at 90mph and moved like a hard slider. Forget the gyroball, I christen this the unhittoball.

Meanwhile, Jacob deGrom was plying his own trade of brilliant pitching. DeGrom doesn’t have the same sink on his slider, although he threw a great one moving outside to strike out Yasiel Puig in the seventh. DeGrom was predominantly just spotting his fastball. Inside, outside, and slightly above the strike zone. Constantly. Resulting in a huge amount of swing and misses. No wonder Kevin Plawecki forgot there was one out in the third and was doubled off on Ruben’s fly-out. His hand must have been hurting like crazy from catching all those laser guided 96-99mph strikes.

Watching these two pitchers go head to head was a hell of a lot of fun. I loved it. And for the Mets to salvage a split in the series is something for the Newish New York Mets to build from. Trade Murphy (I know they won’t…), move Uribe to third, keep platooning Flores/Johnson at second and Nieu-ish-huis/Lagares at center and then the Mets could average, oooh… 3.8 runs a game? That 0.3 extra still counts, and would make the Mets’s offense less eye-wateringly lousy.

The 4-6 run against the three top placed NL teams may not look like much. But it was better than many of us feared. And at least there’s the carrot of contending leading into the trade deadline. Are the Mets three guys away from the wild-card game? d’Arnaud (in a week or so?), Matz (in a month or so?) and a decent right-handed outfielder (Friday?). Or is it four? Five? You tell me. I definitely think the Mets need to sign that great Angels fan with the handmade Trout Net to encourage more homers. Prepare for the Grandy Grabber.

There will bumps in the road, of course, and it’s worrying that Michael Confonto seems hellbent on catching the Mets’ injury bug. In the past two games he’s clattered into both Ruben Tejada and Kirk Nieuwenhuis at high speed. Michael, there are thousands of innocuous ways you can injured as a Met. Don’t bring it on yourself, son.

Comment below on the Newish New York Mets, (sane) suggestions for trades and whatever else you fancy. The soon-to-be fire-selling Padres are next up for the Mets’ 100th game of 2015. There are 63 games left. 36-27 should leave them as the fifth best team in the league and faced with the Pirates. Well… maybe. Share your thoughts and we’ll let the final Mets-o-Meter judge us.

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Do The Mets Really Have The Pieces To Get A Bat?

There was plenty to be discouraged about on Thursday–Michael Cuddyer‘s on-going delay to the DL, The Fraud’s Worst Press Conference Ever, an historically bad batting order and of course Clayton Kershaw’s 9-inning suffocation of the Mets on the field. With all of this going on, it is pretty easy to overlook probably the worst news of the day, which was buried in yesterday’s Daily News:

The (Mets and A’s)  have exchanged names on (Ben) Zobrist, but haven’t been able to agree. With Alderson totally unwilling to move any of his young pitching stars, and Oakland so far uninterested in the likes of Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini and Michael Fulmer, this deal is going nowhere, for now. In fact, the Mets aren’t particularly close to any deal.

Uh-oh.

One of the harsh facts in this statement is that two of those names are The Fraud’s recent top draft picks. If this is indicative of the type of talent he has been bringing in, then we are probably looking at some dark days ahead. The Fraud shouldn’t and most likely won’t trade any of his young arms or Michael Conforto for a two-month rental. But it sounds like at least one opposing GM isn’t impressed by this “second wave” of Mets prospects. If that’s an industry-wide opinion, then we’re looking at one of two options: trade a young arm or continue down the path with these “one f—- seventy” batting averages.

The third option would be to sign a free agent like Yoenis Cespedes in the offseason, but who am I trying to kid?

 

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