Stroman’s Six Shutout Innings Leads Mets to 4-0 Victory Over Phillies

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets carried over the momentum from their walk-off win in game one to a 4-0 victory and a doubleheader sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies. Marcus Stroman was a man on a mission after his nine-pitch, rain ruined cameo on Sunday against the Miami Marlins. Stroman pitched six shutout innings but did not get the opportunity to finish the game after spending an extended period of time on the bases.

Stroman did not record as many groundouts as he did in his first start but barely allowed any hard contact. He struck out just three but did a tremendous job of pinpointing his sinker on the inside corner to right-handed hitters. Stroman also had impeccable control with no walks, and only two three-ball counts. In 12 innings to start the season, Stroman has allowed just one run equaling a 0.75 ERA.

Nola? No Problem

The Mets offense gave Phillies starter Aaron Nola fits again but this time managed to drive in the runners they put on base. All the scoring against Nola came in the fourth inning from Jonathan Villar‘s two-run double and Brandon Nimmo‘s first of two RBI singles. Nimmo recorded another two hits in the game to push his average above .400 and his on-base percentage over .500. On the other hand, Nola did strike out seven in five innings but allowed seven hits. His velocity also dipped from 91-92 to 89-90 during his second time through the order.

Believe it or not, the doubleheader sweep pushes the Mets into a first-place tie in the NL East. It certainly is a change in the feeling over the last 48 hours for Mets fans. It is a lesson to the pessimistic Mets fans who were already flailing in disappointment before they even put a digit in the tens column for games played. The Mets also went 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position, moving their average in those situations to a respectable number.

The Mets face a familiar foe in Zack Wheeler for the third game of their four-game series. David Peterson looked to rebound from an awful first start of the season against the Phillies, where he allowed six runs in a losing effort. The first pitch from Citi Field is the usual 7:10 p.m. ET start.

Mets Game Preview (4/6/21): 7:05 p.m. @ Philadelphia Phillies (4-0)

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets hope to rebound after a disappointing Opening Day collapse in the eighth inning on Monday. They will play game two of their three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies have asserted themselves as an underrated contender for the NL East crown after winning four straight to start the season. All four wins have come against the preseason front runners, three against the Braves and one versus the Mets.

Brandon Nimmo rightly returns to the leadoff spot with a right-handed pitcher on the mound. He plays center field while Dominic Smith makes his first start of the season in left field. The rest of the lineup is what we expect to see for the majority of the season.

The Phillies tweaked their lineup by adding the very selective Matt Joyce to the top of the order. Alec Bohm also moves up to the second spot in the order to replace Rhys Hoskins. He gets a surprising night off after a solid start to the season; Brad Miller will play first place in his place.

The Phillies bullpen has done a complete 180 from their 2020 performance. Over the first four games of the season, they combined to allow just one run. Jose Alvarado and Hector Neris combined to allow just one run in six innings while striking out 12 batters. In Monday’s game, the bullpen pitched 5.2 innings, allowing one run and struck out seven.

Pitching Matchups

Marcus Stroman makes his first start since the 2019 season after he opted out in 2020. Stroman had a 3.44 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 18.1 spring training innings. Of course, Stroman features the hard sinker, a cutter, slider, and the new split changeup that he debuted during the spring. Stroman has to fill the role of the second starter behind deGrom with Carlos Carrasco injured.

Chase Anderson makes his Phillies debut after spending 2020 with the Toronto Blue Jays. In the spring, Anderson had a 3.07 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched. Anderson features a 4-seam fastball, changeup, cutter, curveball, and an occasional sinker. Over his career, left-handed hitters hit just .223/.297/.388 against Anderson.

Matchups To Lookout For

Marcus Stroman vs. Matt Joyce: 4-for-11 (.364), Double, Home Run, 3 Walks, 3 Strikeouts

Marcus Stroman vs. Brad Miller: 7-for-32 (.219), Double, Triple, Home Run, 4 Walks, 9 Strikeouts

Chase Anderson vs. Michael Conforto: 3-for-13 (.231), 3 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 4 Strikeouts

Chase Anderson vs. Brandon Nimmo: 3-for-6 (.500), Double, Home Run, Walk, 3 Strikeouts

Montgomery, Diaz Struggle in New York Mets 10-2 Loss to the Marlins

The New York Mets had to decide Mike Montgomery‘s future, and his outing against the Miami Marlins did not help. Montgomery needed 60 pitches to get through 2.2 innings, where he allowed five runs on six hits. The fish wasted no time in the first inning when they opened up an early 4-0 and sent nine batters to the plate.

Montgomery had the upper hand over Jerry Blevins to become the second lefty in the bullpen. With Blevins’s scoreless outing on Saturday, he might have a new life to make the roster. The defense behind him did not provide much help, but the Mets have to decide their plan going forward, and Montgomery can opt-out if he disagrees with it.

The relievers that followed Montgomery did not provide and resistance for the Marlins hitters. Jeurys Familia and Miguel Castro both allowed runs in their one inning outings. Edwin Diaz struggled the most with four hits and three runs allowed but did strikeout three. Surprisingly, Dellin Betances was the one reliever who recorded a 1-2-3 inning.

The Mets’ offense was quiet against Marlins starter Daniel Castano. Brandon Nimmo provided the only run off Castano with his third-inning home run. It was only Nimmo’s second hit against a lefty this spring, and consistent hitting against southpaws can move him from a platoon option to an everyday player. Michael Conforto also hit Castano well with two hits, including a double. Wilfredo Tovar provided the second run with his home run in the ninth inning.

On Monday, the Mets play at 12:05 p.m. ET against the St. Louis Cardinals. Taijuan Walker (1-0, 3.00 ERA) faces off against veteran Adam Wainwright (0-0, 1.83 ERA) from Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

New York Mets: Lindor Hits Fourth Homer in Five Games During 5-3 Win

The New York Mets are getting exactly what they traded for with Francisco Lindor‘s production this spring. Lindor has his best game of spring training by recording three hits, including his fourth home run. His strong game helped propel the Mets to a 5-3 victory over the Miami Marlins.

Marcus Stroman got the start and scattered nine hits over five innings. He was tagged for two home runs, but the umpires bailed Stroman out both times. Starling Marte‘s double hit the chain-link fence behind the right field wall and bounced back in play. Brian Anderson hit a towering shot over the left field foul pole that was called a foul ball. Instead of a three-run homer, Anderson struck out to end the inning instead.

In the third inning, Adam Duvall‘s sacrifice fly gave the Marlins their first run. Miguel Rojas recorded the final two runs with his two-run homer in the fifth inning as Stroman limped to the finish line. The quartet of Jacob Barnes, Aaron Loup, Trevor May, and Tommy Hunter finished the game with four hitless innings.

After Marlins starter Daniel Castano retired the first six batters he faced, the Mets came out swinging in the third inning. Triples from Kevin Pillar and Brandon Nimmo led to the first run of the inning. Francisco Lindor’s double drove in Nimmo, and a sharp single from Pete Alonso capped off the three-run third. Lindor’s fifth inning homer put the Mets in the lead, and another homer from J.D. Davis in the sixth gave their fifth run.

On Wednesday, Taijuan Walker (1-0, 3.00) takes the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter. The offense gets another opportunity to afflict more damage on Carlos Martinez (0-2, 10.03) and his ERA as he starts for the Cards.

Walker Superb, Lindor Hits Grand Slam in Mets 8-5 Win Over Cards

Taijuan Walker became a bigger part of the New York Mets rotation after Carlos Carrasco‘s hamstring injury. He took the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals and was tremendous in the Mets 8-5 victory.

Walker made it look easy in his second start of the spring. He only allowed one hit over four innings and struck out three Cardinals. Walker needed just 50 pitches to get through his outing, and his slider was his best pitch.

The offense tormented Carlos Martinez once again as they tagged him for five runs in three innings. Pete Alonso continued to scorch the ball with a first inning RBI double to drive in Brandon Nimmo. The double was Alonso’s fifth of the spring and moved his average to .400.

In the second, Tomas Nido flicked a home run over the right field fence with the help of the Florida wind. The bulk of the scoring came in a five-run fifth when J.D. Davis beat the throw home on a fielder’s choice for the first run. Francisco Lindor capped off the inning with a grand-slam which made it a 7-0 game. Jerry Blevins put up a scoreless top half of the inning to relieve Walker.

In the eighth, Johneshy Fargas recorded a hustle triple, then scored on an error from third baseman Evan Mendoza to drive in a run. Jeff McNeil had some tough luck as he was hit by a pitch three times in three different spots. Luckily, none resulted in any injuries.

Oswalt Struggles

Corey Oswalt took over for the sixth and allowed plenty of hard contact. Oswalt allowed a two-run homer to Max Moroff and an RBI double before Trevor Hildenberger cleaned up the mess. He got an opportunity to redeem himself in the seventh inning thanks to the spring training rules. Oswalt pitched a 1-2-3 inning but lost it again in the eighth. He allowed another two-run homer to push his line to five runs in just 2.2 innings pitched. Daniel Zamora closed out the win with a scoreless ninth inning.

Saturday is a day off before Jacob deGrom takes the mound against the Washington Nationals in West Palm Beach on Sunday. For the first time, pitchers will bat, allowing deGrom ready for his first plate appearances since 2019. Hopefully, the Mets wrap deGrom in bubble wrap to prevent any other injuries to their rotation.

 

 

Alonso’s Grand Slam Propels New York Mets to an 8-4 Victory

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

For the second straight game, the New York Mets came out swinging and had the pitching to back it up. They used three home runs and seven two-out RBIs to defeat the Washington Nationals 8-4.

Brandon Nimmo got the Mets started early with a leadoff home run to give them a quick 1-0 lead against Jackson Rutledge. After three quiet innings, the fifth was loaded with action. Dellin Betances made his Spring debut and became the only reliever to allow runs.

After getting the first two outs of the inning, Betances issued two walks, and an RBI double on a fly ball that left fielder Drew Ferguson misplayed. Ryan Zimmerman capped off the inning with a three-run homer, giving the Nats a 4-1 lead. The only positive of his outing is his velocity in the 92-93 range, which is far better than last year’s spring training.

In the bottom half of the fifth, Pete Alonso‘s grand slam put the Mets back and forth 5-4. It was a classic Alonso homer as he drove it onto the right-center field hill. Alonso did not homer in 13 spring training games in 2020 and already looks more relaxed at the plate. Jake Hager supplied the third homer on the day with a solo shot in the seventh.

Pitching Success

David Peterson was solid in his first start of the spring as he tries to earn a spot in the starting rotation. In two innings, he allowed just one hit, a hit batter and worked out of a second and third jam in the first inning. Peterson finished off his start with a 1-2-3 inning in the second.

After Peterson left the game, the Mets used many relievers who are expected to make the Opening Day roster. Jeurys Familia struggled with his command and needed 31 pitches to get through his scoreless inning. Aaron Loup was the complete opposite, needing just 11 pitches to work through a scoreless fourth inning.

Trevor May, Robert Gsellman, Stephen Tarpley, and Sean Reid-Foley all put up goose eggs in their respective innings. Mets pitchers collectively only recorded two strikeouts on the day. The Mets have a day off on Friday and send Jacob deGrom to the mound on Saturday night against the Houston Astros. Due to MLB’s incompetence, the game will not be televised.

Brandon Nimmo appreciates the faith the Mets have in him to be their center fielder and leadoff hitter

New York Mets, Brandon Nimmo

If the New York Mets’ offseason activity is any indication, then we could assume that the organization wants Brandon Nimmo to compete for the starting center fielder job. He mashed last season, to the tune of a .280/.404/.484 line, a .387 wOBA, and a 148 wRC+. He was 48% better than his peers, yet there are defensive questions surrounding his game.

In 2020, he graded out positively in the corners, but was very bad in center field. He was one of the worst outfielders in MLB per Statcast’s Outs Above Average (OAA.)

The Mets brought two capable defensive center fielders in Albert Almora Jr. and Kevin Pillar. The former could start the season in the minors, while the latter could potentially accept a part-time role.

Additionally, the Mets pursued center fielders George Springer and Jackie Bradley jr. in free agency.

However, all signs point to Nimmo being the regular center fielder.

“That is a big deal,” Nimmo said to SNY of the Mets’ confidence in him as a two-way player. “They’ve conveyed to me that they have a lot of confidence in me, so that is very good. But I want to do my best with that confidence and go and work as hard as I possibly can. For them to give me these opportunities, I am so grateful. And I’m gonna go work as hard as I possibly can and make the adjustments. But that’s what I need. I need the opportunities. I need to make the adjustments, and so, now is perfect time to do it.”

The Mets’ best option at leadoff hitter

Not only that, but he is firmly entrenched as the Mets’ leadoff hitter, too.

Nimmo is the perfect leadoff batter for any club, as his .404 OBP confirms.

“We have a ton of options so I think that can be flexible throughout the season. But it does give me a lot of confidence,” he said. “My job is to get on base. We have so many good hitters behind me that the more I can get on base… the better for our team and being able to score runs.”

That’s the spot he occupied in Tuesday’s exhibition game, and according to manager Luis Rojas, that will be his place in the lineup when the real action starts.

Nimmo, a left-handed hitting outfielder, struggled against lefties, slashing .196/.317/.333 in 2020. However, he says that spring training is the perfect time to work on adjustments and he is trying to improve.

“I’ve seen what [the] numbers were last year, and I know that there are improvements that need to be made. But I also have a lot of belief in myself that given the opportunities, I will make the adjustments,” Nimmo said. “…I think that’s the goal of this spring training. Going into the season… I’m just going to try to ask for as many opportunities I can possibly get now in order to make adjustments for when it really matters during the regular season.”

New York Mets Shutout in 2-0 Opening Game Loss to the Miami Marlins

As expected, pitching dominated the first spring training game for the New York Mets. All the Miami Marlins needed was a two-run home run from Jesus Aguilar to secure a 2-0, seven-inning victory. The Mets continued their 2020 tradition of leaving runners on base by going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Brandon Nimmo led the way with two hits at the top of the order. J.D. Davis, Kevin Pillar, and Johneshwy Fargas were responsible for the other three Mets hits. Francisco Lindor also made his Mets debut but failed to record a hit in his two at-bats but recorded a nice play ranging up the middle.

The first three innings were very successful for the Mets pitchers against an aggressive Marlins lineup. Harol Gonzalez (10), Sean Reid-Foley (6), and Stephen Tarpley (8) combined for just 24 pitches in their respective innings of work. Ryley Gilliam was the only pitcher who struggled in his inning. Gilliam allowed a Starling Marte triple and the Aguilar home run.

Trevor Hildenberger worked out of a bases-loaded jam with three strikeouts sandwiched between scoreless innings from lefties Thomas Szapucki and Daniel Zamora. On Tuesday, the Mets play their home spring training opener against the Houston Astros. The first pitch is at 1:10 p.m. ET and will be televised on SNY. Framber Valdez will take the mound against Jordan Yamamoto.

Mets’ Brandon Nimmo discusses his defense and how he is planning to improve

The New York Mets were expected to have a busy Winter, after it was made public that Steve Cohen would be the new owner and Sandy Alderson the new president. They managed to bring reinforcements to several positions in need.

Brandon Nimmo was the Mets’ starting center fielder during the short 2020 season. With the bat, he was phenomenal, slashing .280/.404/.484 with eight home runs, a .387 wOBA, and a 148 wRC+. However, his defense left a lot to be desired.

Nimmo was solid in the corners for the Mets, but in center, he had -5 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), a -4.1 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) and a -19.2 UZR/150. Statcast’s Outs Above Average had him in the 2nd percentile, which means that 98% of his peers were better than him.

The Mets brought not one, but two glove-first center fielders in Kevin Pillar and Albert Almora Jr., and while Nimmo is still the starter, he figures to be subbed a lot late in games if he doesn’t improve.

“I did hear about it. I tried to not pay attention too much,” Nimmo said via Zoom on Thursday about the rumors. “I wanted to try and get the feedback from Luis (Rojas) and Sandy (Alderson) and Zack (Scott) and their message hadn’t changed from ‘you’re our center fielder until otherwise.’ And so as far as that goes, I tried to just keep preparing for center field.

“There definitely was a lot of talk going on, and I always welcome the thought of another great player. … If someone pushes me out of center field, they’re a pretty dang good center fielder, so then I feel good about playing corner (outfield) or something like that.”

If the National League returns to using a designated hitter, the Mets could slide Nimmo to left and use Dom Smith at first or at the DH, the other spot going to Pete Alonso. But that doesn’t appear to be the case.

The Mets want Nimmo to be the best center fielder he can be

Nimmo has been working on his defense. According to SNY, he has used information that the Mets helped him gather.

“I’ve been getting ready this whole offseason for center field. And yeah there’s definitely things that I need to work on and that I’m gonna continue to work on,” Nimmo explained. “I think playing depth is one of those things that they outlined in the analytics. There’s other things in the analytics that we can highlight and we can go after. I think that’s one big thing that will help me.

“I’m trying to convey to everyone here — and we’ve had mutual conversations about it — that I can play center field, I can do it well. There’s definitely some things to improve upon. If there’s one person that can make adjustments, I think it’s me. … I take it as a challenge to be a better defender and be a better leader out there.”

“I think early on in the season (in 2020), I think honestly I was playing too shallow,” he said. “And so that was keeping me from catching a lot of balls I think the metrics would say are very catchable balls. That was something we tried to improve on at the end. There was definitely a couple of balls that I just screwed up on. And in 60 games, that’s gonna be highlighted. You’re not gonna have the longevity to make that up.”

The Mets’ outfielder is also working on having a quicker first step.

“I noticed a difference when we made that adjustment right away,” Nimmo said about his positioning. “Definitely was able to play more balls and be able to play the wall a lot easier, a lot better. And then coming in on balls is a strong suit of mine as far as just being able to haul in, rather than going back.”

New York Mets: Is Brandon Nimmo a Top Five Center Fielder?

The New York Mets are searching for a new center fielder this offseason, but there are only four in baseball better than Brandon Nimmo. According to MLB Network’s Shredder, Nimmo is the fifth-best center fielder in baseball behind Mike Trout, Cody Bellinger, George Springer, and Alex Verdugo.

For those who are not familiar with “The Shredder,” it has a recency bias. Nimmo’s offensive numbers alone can make a case for him to be the best player on the list. His defensive ability in center field tells a different story. Nimmo was one of the worst defensive center fielders in baseball and is why the Mets hope to move him to a corner position.

Trout With Less Power?

Nimmo is so strong offensively that this solely earned him the fifth spot. Nimmo’s average and on-base prowess resemble Trout’s numbers, but the main difference is in the power category. He had a great .484 slugging percentage during 2020, but Trout overshadows that at .603. Trout also hits well against both sides; Nimmo hit .191 against left-handed pitching last season.

Assuming there is a universal DH and Nimmo moves to left field, he could see himself higher on the left fielder rankings.

Trout and Nimmo are both below-average defenders. Nimmo had less defensive runs saved (-5 compared to -9) but had a worse UZR (-4.1 to -3.1). Trout also had 0 outs above average while Nimmo was at -4. Trout’s speed is what allows him to keep his defense from falling to Nimmo’s level.

Nimmo’s average sprint speed and below-average reactions, bursts, and routes show he is better off in left field. Trout still has elite speed and takes the best routes to the ball out of all center fielders. It allows him to negate his reactions off the bat, which are the lowest in his position.

What’s The Lesson?

Nimmo is on the brink of becoming a star player, but it will not happen in center field. The Mets will not struggle if Nimmo ended up as the starting center fielder. It is very likely that Nimmo’s defensive numbers will slightly improve because it is tough for him to be worse than he was last season. No matter the outfield position, spring camp will benefit him.

When analyzing MLB Networks Top 10 right now, Nimmo is slotted perfectly. He is better than the five names below him and not as good at the four above him. There could even be a case for Nimmo and Alex Verdugo switching spots at four and five. Either way, the Mets have a valuable player in Nimmo, and he will blossom more once he moves to the left field.