Mets Game 99: Win Over Dodgers

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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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Man Up And Get Predicting

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Way back when the Mets were 16-10 on May 6th, I wrote an article about the legendary Izzy and asked Mets Today readers (and pundits) to predict the amount of games the Mets would win. The bold ones amongst you did just that. And, so far, you’re doing pretty darn well.

You can chart your progress on the Mets-O-Meter as the season rolls on after the All Star Break.

If you haven’t already told me how many wins you thought the Mets would get at the start of the season… comment and I’ll add you to the chart. I’ve got my £10 riding on the Mets winning 86-88 games. And you’ve got a piece of lovely Mets merchandise to win if you get the correct number.

No hindsight, though… it’s strictly forbidden. Lemme explain why.

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Mets: Justin or Bustin’ at the Trade Deadline?

Author’s Note:  I fully expect the Mets to be quiet at the trade deadline this year, as I have already posted here and here. That being said, ‘tis the season for this type of speculation. In order to keep the advertisers happy with our site traffic , here is Mets Today’s contribution to the stone soup of trade deadline proposals that will be everywhere the next two-plus weeks.

 The New York Mets should trade for San Diego Padres outfielder Justin Upton. Here’s why:

  • Offense!  He would immediately become the team leader in home runs and stolen bases this season (14 and 17, respectively) and second in batting average. His OBP would rank third among Mets regulars, but his current SLG, OBS and OPS+ rates surpass all Mets in those rankings right now. Certainly the naysayers among us will point out that the Mets are currently getting Upton-like production from Curtis Granderson. But Upton is a 3.1 WAR player vs. Grandy’s 2.2. Also Grandy, while ostensibly the Mets best hitter so far this season, is performing much better than he has in his past two seasons. Is he due for a regression in the second half? His last ten games indicate the regression has already started. Upton is faster, younger and a better fielder.  Put Upton in the lineup in the three hole, bat Daniel Murphy second and whoever else is hot at the time in leadoff and you’ve got a chance for some early innings runs in support of the young arms.
  • He won’t cost the farm: To get Upton from Atlanta, the Padres forked over two A ball pitchers, an AAA outfielder and a major league utility player currently slashing 254/334/352. This means he won’t cost one of the “core four.” Since Upton walks at the end of the year, San Diego is looking at draft pick compensation, so they shouldn’t expect much more than a recent high round draft pick (one not named Conforto) along with perhaps Hansel Robles or Logan Verrett. The Mets will surrender some talent, but nothing likely to come back to haunt them for years.
  • Alderson “wins”: Upton was on the Mets’ radar screen when the Diamondbacks first put him on the market back in 2012-13. They supposedly asked Met GM Sandy Alderson for either Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler, a deal Alderson refused to make. How smart would he look now to get him for far less? Plus, it’s a sneak preview for the Mets; if Upton comes in here and slashes 290/360/520-ish, while leading the charge into the playoffs, it might ease their minds somewhat towards signing him to a long-term deal. An in-his-prime, New-York-tested-and-approved slugger is exactly what “The Plan” calls for (and if not, it or should). If he comes here and pulls a Jason Bay, he can be crossed off the list of free agents that they “monitor” this offseason.
  • The Wright connection: OK,  Michael Cuddyer hasn’t really worked out, but Upton is also from David Wright’s neck of the Virginia tidewater, which if nothing else, is a nice connection to have. David Wright is done. Speaking of Cuddyer, you can now platoon him at first with Lucas Duda and hope that one of them gets his head together for the stretch drive.
  • The itch is scratched: Last but certainly not least for Alderson and the Wilpons, a trade like this will get everyone off of their collective backs for a while. Remember the good vibes here when Alderson traded for those two relievers right before Opening Day? That, coupled with the tear the club went on, lead to a six-week era of good feelings. This deal takes Met fandom’s focus off of  their almost universally-disliked team ownership and front office and puts it squarely on the field, which is where it belongs. Plus Alderson can walk his dog in peace for a while.

Overall, this season has easily been one of the more entertaining ones in recent Mets history, one that we will hopefully look back on in a few years as a “(good) transition year.”  I get it that you can’t mortgage a significant part of your future for a semi-long shot at a playoff berth. That’s why this Upton deal works on the levels spelled out above.

So how about you? Got a trade proposal you’re needing to share? Expect a trade or just more dog-walking? Do you like Justin Upton? Should his brother stick to “Melvin,” or go back to “BJ?” Sound off below.

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Mets Game 89: Win Over Diamondbacks

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Mets 5, Diamondbacks 3

Doing its best impersonation of The Little Engine That Could, the understrength Mets have almost chuffed their way to the top of the hill. Of the back of their (unlikely) 7 wins out of 9, the Mets have hit a bunch of (unlikely) home runs and are within two games of catching up with the Nats in the NL East (won’t happen) and one game back from the Cubs for the second wild card (hmm… check out the Cubbie’s schedule).

What has happened?

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