New York Mets Turn Triple Play in 5-4 Loss to Houston Astros

The New York Mets have already had themselves a 22-pitch walk this spring, and they added a triple play to their list of oddities in spring training. Despite the triple play, the Mets needed more help in their 5-4 loss against the Houston Astros.

Joey Lucchesi cruised through the first two innings of his start but ran into issues in the third. Jose Altuve’s RBI single through a drawn-in infield and Michael Brantley‘s two-run single off Jerry Blevins put the Mets in a 3-0 hole. Lucchesi went back to the mound in the fourth and completed a scoreless inning to finish the start on a good note. At the moment, he should maintain the upper hand over Jordan Yamamoto for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Jerad Eickhoff pitched the next two innings with mixed success. He allowed four hits, two runs (one earned) and was bailed out by getting Jose Altuve to hit into a triple play. Mike Montgomery continued an impressive spring with two strikeouts in two scoreless innings.

The Mets lineup only contained two expected starters for Opening Day and the pitcher batting ninth. Wilfredo Tovar drove in the first run with a fifth-inning double. Albert Almora was responsible for the rest with an eighth inning three-run home run. Almora’s leg kick is tapping into his power stroke as he now has a .556 slugging percentage during spring training.

On Tuesday, the Mets return to Port St. Luice to face the Miami Marlins. Daniel Castano (1-1, 4.05 ERA) faces off against Marcus Stroman (1-0, 2.70). The first pitch is set for 1:10 p.m. ET.

Diaz (Not Edwin) Blows Save in Mets 3-2 Walk-Off Loss to Marlins

The New York Mets sent Joey Lucchesi to make his first start of the spring, and he headlined a game marked by pitching. In the 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins, Met fans had traumatic flashbacks of a “Diaz” allowing a walk-off home run.

Lucchesi was incredible as he continues to make his case to earn a starting spot. He pitched three hitless innings and struckout four Marlins. Through five innings, Lucchesi has only allowed three walks and punched out seven. Robert Gsellman followed with two innings out of the bullpen and his only blemish was a Jazz Chisholm solo homer.

Yennsy Diaz got the opportunity to record the save but a leadoff walk spelled trouble in the ninth. Joe Dunand made him pay with a line-drive two-run homer to walk it off for the Marlins. Dunand has put together a nice spring training. He is 5-for-17 with two home runs and six runs batted in.

The Mets bats were quiet after an impressive offensive output against the Houston Astros. Albert Almora provided the lone runs with his double in the fifth inning. Three of his five hits this spring have gone for extra bases. Francisco Lindor talked about finally getting into a good hitting position during Monday’s game and it continued to carry over. Lindor recorded two more hits to get his batting average up to .280.

The Washington Nationals venture into Clover Park for a 1:10 p.m. ET start on SNY. Jon Lester makes his first spring training start against Marcus Stroman (1-0, 3.24 ERA).

New York Mets: Three Fringe Players With a Chance to Make Roster

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The New York Mets made their first round of cuts in spring training, but it only eliminated three players on the 40-man roster. Pitchers Franklyn Kilome, Sean Reid-Foley, and Thomas Szapucki became the first casualties of spring. With 37 players from the 40-man roster left in major league camp, who are three who could sneak their way onto the roster?

1. Drew Smith

Smith deserves to be on a major league roster, but it becomes a matter of the Mets making room for him. At the moment, he is more reliable than Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia, but both will make the Opening Day roster. Last season Smith found success with a cutter that had a 66.7 whiff rate. Smith has not allowed a base runner in his two outings this spring.

2. Jordan Yamamoto

Yamamoto may have lucked himself into a roster spot with the injury news on Carlos Carrasco. Joey Lucchesi would usually be ahead of Yamamoto for a rotation spot, but he has not pitched in a game yet. Yamamoto has started his spring training strong but allowing two runs in five innings pitched. His next outing should require him to pitch four innings and should determine if he is ready for a rotation spot if Carrasco has to miss time.

3. Albert Almora 

Almora’s minor league option made him a candidate to being the year in Triple-A with Jose Martinez as an offensive option off the bench. Martinez’s knee injury makes Almora a lock to make the roster for Opening Day. Almora has flashed his great defense in multiple outfield positions and also displayed a new leg kick at the plate. He will make a good pairing with Kevin Pillar as the backup group of outfielders.

New York Mets: deGrom Dominant in Rain-Shortened 6-1 Win

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets only played six innings on Saturday, but there were plenty of positives in their 6-1 over the Houston Astros. Jacob deGrom and Edwin Diaz made their spring debuts while Pete Alonso remained hot at the plate.

Before the game, deGrom was unsurprisingly named the Opening Day starter for the third consecutive season by Manager Luis Rojas. The only surprise from deGrom’s start was the two hitters who found their way on base. deGrom struck out three batters over two innings and needed just 29 pitches to get through his outing. As usual, he lit up the radar gun with a couple of 99 mph fastballs.

Diaz was even better in his one inning of relief. He needed seven pitches to record one strikeout and had help from Francisco Lindor behind him. Miguel Castro worked around a walk in one scoreless inning after Diaz left the game.

Coming Out Swinging

It was an all-around effort for the Mets offense that featured a different look without Brandon Nimmo. Jeff McNeil took over as the leadoff man, with Lindor batting second. Another line drive to the opposite field from Alonso resulted in an RBI double to get the Mets started in the first. Michael Conforto showed off his underrated speed by scoring all the way from first on the play.

Albert Almora and Kevin Pillar both received starts and made the most of their chances. Both recorded RBI singles as the eighth and ninth place hitters. Dominic Smith recorded his first home run of the spring with a majestic shot to right field.

The young blood of Ronny Mauricio and Pete Crow-Armstrong took over in the sixth. Crow-Armstrong led off the inning with a triple, his first hit in professional baseball. Mauricio drove him in with a single, giving Mets fans a sneak peek of a potential combination in the future.

The Mets are back on SNY on Sunday when they face the Miami Marlins. Marcus Stroman (1-0, 0.00) makes his second start of the season against Pablo Lopez (0-0, 0.00). The first pitch is at 1:10 p.m. from Clover Park.

Pair of Homers Power New York Mets to 2-0 Victory Against Astros

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The first two spring training games for the New York Mets have resulted in seven-inning, 2-0 finishes. On Tuesday, they were on the winning side for the first time. Mets pitchers had another strong showing, and solo home runs from Jeff McNeil and Albert Almora Jr. powered the offense.

Marcus Stroman got the start over Jordan Yamamoto and was as good as advertised. Stroman retired all six batters he faced and struck out two. His hard sinker resulted in three groundball outs, and he displayed his brand new changeup as well.

Yamamoto worked around a couple of hard-hit balls to deliver two scoreless innings following Stroman. Jerry Blevins, Drew Smith, and Sam McWilliams finished off the shutout. Mets pitchers have allowed just two runs over 14 innings pitched this Spring.

The bats are still quiet, but the dominant pitching held up the two solo homers. McNeil’s homer came against a hanging curveball from Framber Valdez. Over his career, McNeil has less power against left-handed pitching and is always looking to add more power to his game. Almora is another player looking for more power and has a consistent leg kick in his batting stance. In past seasons, he has used a toe tap which led to increased groundball rates every year of his career.

Prospects Ronny Mauricio, Mark Vientos, Brett Baty, and Pete Crow-Armstrong all made appearances once the starters exited. For Crow-Armstrong, it was his first game in professional baseball, and he struck out in his only at-bat. On Wednesday, the Mets travel to Jupiter to take on the St. Louis Cardinals. Jerad Eickhoff faces Kwang Hyun Kim at 1:10 p.m. ET.

 

 

New York Mets: What the Bench Looks Like After Villar Addition

After signing Jonathan Villar on Monday, the New York Mets have their best group of bench players in years. Each player has multiple years of experience as starting players, strengthening the competition between each player to earn a roster spot. Here is a look at the bench options on the current 40-man roster.

Catcher: Tomas Nido, Ali Sanchez, Patrick Mazieka

Tomas Nido has the clear upper hand over Ali Sanchez and Patrick Mazeika for the back-up catcher job. Nido is only a .197 career hitter, but his defense is his calling card. He puts up strike rates above 60% on both sides of the plate since 2018. In his seven games during 2020, he was 7-for-24 with two home runs and six runs batted in.

Sanchez looked overmatched in his five games last season. He recorded one hit in nine at-bats and made numerous mental errors on defense. Mazeika made it to the big league roster but never played in 2020.

Infielders: Luis Guillorme, Jonathan Villar, Jose Martinez

Luis Guillorme, Jonathan Villar, and Jose Martinez all specialize in different facets of the game. Guillorme is defense, Villar is speed, and Martinez is power. Guillorme had an incredible offensive year to support his outstanding defense. Guillorme slashed .333/.426/.439 over 29 games with 2 outs above average on defense. He seems like a lock to make the opening day roster.

Villar should make the roster due to his speed and ability to play the infield and outfield. His defensive numbers are poor during the last two seasons, but his speed is legit. Villar led baseball with 62 stolen bases in 2019 and finished second with 16 in 2020. His bat is very streaky, but as a switch hitter with speed, it should be enough for him to make the team.

Martinez is a big wild card due to his defensive struggles. He has a .289 career batting average but -24 defensive runs saved in his career. He brings tremendous value as a pinch hitter with a .306 average and a .534 slugging percentage against left-handed pitching.

Outfield: Albert Almora Jr, Guillermo Heredia

Albert Almora Jr. and Guillermo Heredia is the most balanced battle in camp. Almora is coming off two subpar seasons with the bat but is still regarded as a strong defender. Heredia has similar stats over the last two seasons, but the Mets got to watch him play at the end of 2020. Both will play great defense in spring training, but Almora’s experience playing every day should give him the edge.