Mets Game Preview: (5/14/21) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (20-19)

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

After a very successful homestand, the New York Mets take their show on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have two more wins than the Mets but find themselves in fourth place in the AL East while the 18 win Mets are in first place in the NL East. The first pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

The New York Mets turned the calendar to May and hit the ground running. They are 9-2 and in the middle of a seven-game winning streak which has finally seen their terrific pitching get support from their offense. Francisco Lindor is the straw that stirs the drink and has lived up to the hype during the winning streak. Lindor has played in six of the seven wins and is 8-for-20 (.400), with one home run, five walks, and just one strikeout.

Pitching is the key for the Rays, and their 3.62 ERA shows its strength. Outside of Tyler Glasnow, their best arms reside in their bullpen. Andrew Kittredge (1.65 ERA), former Met Hunter Strickland (1.69 ERA), and Diego Castillo (seven saves) lead the way for their dynamic bullpen. The offense has been a bit of a struggle as plenty of talented hitters are performing below expectations. Joey Wendle leads the team with a .270 batting average and is second with a .435 slugging.

Pitching Matchups

David Peterson gets the start and hopes to regain his control after a rough outing against the Diamondbacks. He lasted just 1.2 innings, hitting a batter and leaving a lot of threes on his line. Peterson allowed three hits, runs, walks, and struck out a trio D’Backs. Over 26 innings this season, he has a 5.54 ERA and 32 strikeouts.

The strikeouts master, Tyler Glasnow, takes the mound for the Rays and is an early AL Cy Young award candidate. Glasnow’s 75 strikeouts (3rd), .146 batting average against (4th), 49.1 innings pitched (9th) all rank amongst MLB’s best. Half of Glasnow’s starts have resulted in him finishing with double-digit strikeouts numbers.

Matchups To Lookout For

Tyler Glasnow vs. Jonathan Villar: 2-for-12 (.167), Walk, 4 Strikeouts

Tyler Glasnow vs. Kevin Pillar: 1-for-9 (.111), 4 Strikeouts

Mets Escape Philadelphia By Inches In 8-7 Victory Over Phillies

What the hell just happened?

The New York Mets survived the final game of their three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies thanks to the convenience of instant replay. Rhys Hoskins seemed to rip out the hearts over every Mets fan with a three-run game-tying home run off Edwin Diaz in the ninth.

Thanks to the wonders of instant replay, Hoskins hit the tippy-top of the fence, which changed his home run to a double. Unfortunately, Diaz had to leave the game with an undisclosed injury. Jeurys Familia came in with ice in his veins to strike out Bryce Harper and allow the Mets to crawl away with a victory.

On the offensive side for the Mets, Jose Alvarado made a horrible mistake by waking up a sleeping giant on Friday. Donnie Stevenson was born and has led the Mets to two victories against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Before diving into Alvarado’s lack of control, who would have thought Kevin Pillar and Jonathan Villar would begin a Mets comeback? In the eighth, Pillar brought the Mets within a run with his home run against Brandon Kintzler. Villar found just enough space to record a single up the middle, then wreaked havoc on the bases.

Bullpen Issues on Both Sides

Kintzler spent plenty of time occupied with Villar’s speed over the next two batters. With Villar on the move, Jose Peraza lined a single, and it banged right off the first baseman Hoskins glove. If Hoskins snagged it, the Phillies get a double play to end the inning, but it kept the Mets alive. Once Hoskins picked up the ball to make matters worse, he lobbed it back to the infield, and aggressive baserunning from Villar caught the Phils napping to tie the game.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, and the Mets handed a frozen platter to Alvarado. After allowing a first-pitch single, Alvarado walked Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto consecutively to give the Mets a 5-4 lead. Phillies manager Joe Girardi turned the ball over to David Hale, who provided little relief. Pete Alonso blew the door wide open with a bases-clearing double to cap off the rally and give the Mets an 8-4 lead.

David Peterson looked like he would leave his start early after the Phillies were hitting rockets off him. A masterful double play from McNeil and Lindor gave Peterson all the momentum he needed to allow him to survive. Peterson did more than survive by getting through five innings, holding the Phils to just one run, and recording eight strikeouts.

Why Diaz?

For both team’s bullpens, making it out alive was the name of the game. At first, it looked like Miguel Castro would become the only casualty. Castro allowed a three-run homer to Didi Gregorius in the sixth inning, giving Phillies a 4-2 lead. The bullpen was due to hit a bump in the road. Heading into the night, they had thrown 18 consecutive scoreless innings.

Manager Luis Rojas managed the game very well until he decided to use Diaz when he did not need to. Rojas easily could have turned to Familia, Sean Reid-Foley, or Robert Gsellman with Diaz as an insurance policy. It was evident from a four-pitch walk that Diaz would not be at his best and resulted in suffering an injury.

Somehow the Mets are 11-11 and back to a tie for first place in the NL East. They will head to St. Louis to face the Cardinals for a four-game series starting on Monday. Even though it was ugly, the Mets needed to get a couple of wins on the board and hope to carry their momentum on the rest of the road trip.

 

Richards 10 K’s Propels Red Sox To 2-1 Win Over Mets

New York Mets, David Peterson

Another day, another game where the New York Mets failed to support a strong outing from their starting pitcher. The Boston Red Sox were not much better but pushed across enough runs to support a terrific outing from Garrett Richards. They only needed five hits to support themselves in the 2-1 victory in game one of their two-game set.

Darryl Strawberry called into the SNY telecast, and the Mets desperately needed his bat against Richards. He concocted the formula most pitchers have used to beat the Mets, bend but do not break. Richards pitched seven innings, allowed seven hits, and struck out 10 in his longest outing of the season. The biggest obstacle for Richards in the past was his inability to find the strike zone, but he did not any free passes on Tuesday.

Richards also had just one three-ball count during the entire outing. Jeff McNeil‘s second-inning home run was the only damage he allowed on the night. Richards also had help from J.D. Martinez in the outfield as he recorded an assist during a rare outfield appearance. Matt Andriese and Matt Barnes shut the door by throwing 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth.

Sorry Petey

David Peterson received the deGrom treatment as the tough-luck loser. Peterson did a great job to quiet a very hot Red Sox offense. In six innings, he kept the Sox to just two runs on four hits. Peterson recorded 15 outs on the ground and served up weak contact all night. Bobby Dalbec tagged him for a third-inning solo homer, and Rafael Devers bloop single gave the Red Sox the lead in the sixth inning.

This loss was another example of how bad of an offensive funk the Mets are in. Manager Luis Rojas can mix up the lineup all he wants, but if the hitters do not produce, the team will not win. Hopefully, Michael Conforto‘s two hits, including double, shows his slump is coming to an end. The biggest concern is Francisco Lindor, who barely hit the ball out of the infield. Lindor is off-balanced, overswinging, and swinging at pitches outside of his zone. He needs just one solid drive into the gap to get himself going and out of his month-long slump.

Jacob deGrom hopes to get the Mets back in the win column on Wednesday against Nick Pivetta. The first pitch is an earlier 6:40 p.m. start from Citi Field.

Mets Game Preview: (4/27/21) vs. Boston Red Sox (14-9)

After getting Monday off, the New York Mets return to action at Citi Field against the Boston Red Sox. They play the first of two against a Red Sox team that has shocked many throughout baseball to begin the season. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET from Queens.

The Mets offense had its ups and downs during their series win against the Washington Nationals. They went from sinking to the bottom of the ocean to treading water enough that they could survive. J.D. Davis and Brandon Nimmo have continued to lead this offense, but it is slowly starting to get more help. Pete Alonso was 4-for-8 with three walks and a home run after he homered twice in Chicago. It is evident that Alonso is becoming more comfortable at the plate and starting to get into a groove.

Exceeding Expectations

The Red Sox are one of the true underdog stories in the American League. They join the Kansas City Royals and Oakland A’s as teams no one expected to hold first place at the end of April. Their offense leads MLB with 213 hits, 54 Doubles, a .276 batting average, and a .455 slugging percentage. All of that equals the Sox being second in runs scored in baseball. Combine all of that with average pitching, and you have their formula for success.

The big three of J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Alex Verdugo are the key parts of their offense. All are in the top-3 in the team’s offensive categories, and Martinez is tied for the AL lead with seven home runs. Since joining the Red Sox in 2018, Martinez has only played 104 games in the outfield due to his poor defensive ability. Despite the defensive shortcomings, it is hard to keep a bat as hot as Martinez’s on the bench.

Pitching Matchup

David Peterson gets the start against the team he made his MLB debut against. Peterson started strong in his last start against the Chicago Cubs but failed to get out of the fourth inning. He allowed six runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks in just 3.1 innings pitched.

Garrett Richards makes his fifth start of the season but has failed to give the Red Sox length in his first four outings. He has not pitched longer than five innings, and his inability to throw strikes is why. Richards has allowed 13 walks in 16.2 innings and has thrown just 58% of his pitches for strikes. In his last start, he threw 92 pitches, and only 48 were strikes. The Mets have the fourth-best on-base percentage in MLB, which should be a good matchup for them.

Matchups To Lookout For

Garrett Richards vs. Francisco Lindor: 1-for-8 (.125), Walk, 5 Strikeouts

David Peterson vs. Kevin Plawecki: 2-for-2 (1.000), Double

David Peterson vs. J.D. Martinez: 0-for-3 (.000), 2 Strikeouts

Ugly Middle Innings For The Mets Lead to 16-4 Blowout Loss

Here is a list of facts that show you the theme of the New York Mets ugly 14-4 loss:

  • They had the same amount of runs as errors
  • The Chicago Cubs scored 14 runs in three innings
  • Luis Guillorme pitched an inning

David Peterson and the Mets had a similar start as Taijuan Walker did the previous night. Peterson kept the Cubs hitless for 3.1 innings, but things quickly unraveled in the fourth. The Cubs pushed across seven runs on six hits, with only one reaching an exit velocity of 90 mph or better. It continued to a three-run fifth, and Javier Baez’s grand slam capped off the middle inning outburst to put the Mets away for the rest of the night. Four different Mets made errors on the night, and J.D. Davis made his third in the last two games.

The Mets came into the season understanding their defensive flaws, but it is becoming worse than they could have imagined. Clearly, Davis is not an everyday third baseman with the glove, and it is becoming to defend playing him there every day. His errors show up on the box score, but simple plays become tall tasks for Davis. Unless he puts up MVP caliber numbers, there is no reason to continue to keep Guillorme sitting on the bench while the defense continues to suffer.

Defense Wins Championships

This team is way too talented for a lack of defense to separate them from winning the division. With the season still early and fresh, these losses are not the end of the world. They are certainly disappointing and disheartening, but the next day’s performance determines how bad it stings. If manager Luis Rojas adjusts the lineups and the team responds accordingly, it turns into just another loss. The final game of the series will show the early character of this team.

Offensively, the Mets saw encouraging signs from Francisco Lindor, who had three hits, including his first Mets home run. Davis’s bat continues to be the only thing keeping him in the lineup as he recorded two hits, including an RBI. Pete Alonso’s two-run home run was the last of the scoring and his third of the season.

The Mets look to flush this ugly loss away and avoid the sweep in Thursday’s game. Joey Lucchesi takes the mound against Trevor Williams for a 7:40 p.m. ET start from Wrigley Field.

Mets Game Preview: (4/21/21) @ Chicago Cubs (7-9)

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets get themselves ready for another chilly night against the Chicago Cubs after a tough 3-1 loss in the first game of their series. It will be another 7:40 p.m. ET start as the Mets offense tries to get themselves going against a pitcher with an ERA over 10 to begin the season.

The Mets offense just could not muster any consistent offense against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta in game one. They had no issue getting people on base but failed to score them. Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil highlight the Mets struggles on offense but things are not as bad as they seem. When most players slump, we usually see them increase their strikeout numbers and decrease their walk rate.

Lindor and McNeil are the opposite through their early-season slumps. Lindor has just three strikeouts in 41 at-bats and has nine walks, which puts him in the top-20 in the NL. McNeil also has three strikeouts and half of his hits are for extra bases. Both carry averages of .171 and .162 and it is due to lack of quality contact. It shows in the analytics as Lindor and McNeil are in similar percentiles for average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage. Each of them is too good to carry on the slump longer and it is only a matter of days before they break out of it.

Pitching Matchups

David Peterson makes his third start of the season after one bad and one good outing against the Philadelphia Phillies to begin his season. He allowed six runs in four innings in his first go-around then followed it up with six terrific innings, allowing just one run and striking out 10, tying a career-high. The Cubs offense has barely existed this season but has found success in the power department against lefties. They have nine home runs (3rd in MLB) and a .478 (4th in MLB) slugging percentage against southpaws.

Zach Davies makes his fourth start and has found little success in his prior two. He allowed two runs in 5.2 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates to open up his season but ran into issues after that. Davies faced the Pirates again and lasted just 1.2 innings, allowing seven runs then allowed four runs in the same amount of innings against the Atlanta Braves. The odd part of his season is his inability to finish off innings. Batters are just 3-for-27 (.111) before there are two outs but they jump to 13-for-23 (.565) with two outs. Davies and his 10.32 ERA provide a great opportunity for the Mets to wake their offense up.

Matchup To Lookout For

Zach Davies vs. Michael Conforto: 2-for-10 (.200), 2 Doubles, 5 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Zach Davies vs. Brandon Nimmo: 3-for-6 (.500), 2 Doubles, Triple, Strikeout

 

Mets Game Preview (4/12/21): 7:10 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (6-3)

The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies hope to play the first game of a four-game series at Citi Field if the weather holds up. Each team comes off of Sunday’s games riddled with controversy. The Mets wasted Marcus Stroman‘s start by forcing a game in the rain and the Phillies stole a win off a controversial call in the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves.

The Mets split their two games against the Miami Marlins but should have taken both easily. Their offense has started slow out of the gates and they were lucky to even take the first game of the series. Jeff McNeil’s game-tying home run tied it in the ninth inning and Michael Conforto‘s elbow won it with an awkward hit by pitch. In game 2, the Mets were shutout and wasted Jacob deGrom’s 14-strikeout effort.

The Phillies are rolling on all cylinders to start their season. Their 6-3 record puts them in first place in the NL East but they lost two of three games to the Atlanta Braves over the weekend. J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins are the team’s leading hitters with .333 and .306 batting averages. Jose Alvarado, Hector Neris, and Connor Brogdon are the three anchors leading their bullpen. They have allowed just one run in 14.1 combined innings pitched.

Pitching Matchups

David Peterson looks to rebound from his first outing against the Phillies where he allowed six runs in four innings. It started ugly for Peterson as Alec Bohm (solo) and Rhys Hoskins (three-run) tagged him for home runs in the first inning. There is no doubt there will be an emphasis on keeping Hoskins in check this time out.

Chase Anderson makes his second start again the Mets and did a terrific job of battling the first time. He only pitched five innings and struck out three but held the offense just to one run. Anderson is notorious for allowing home runs but only allowed one to Dominic Smith on a ball that was at his shoulders.

Matchups To Lookout For

Chase Anderson vs. Michael Conforto: 3-for-15 (.200), 3 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 4 Strikeouts

David Peterson vs. Rhys Hoskins: 4-for-5 (.800), 2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, Strikeout

Mets Cannot Recover From Peterson’s First Inning in 8-2 Loss to Phillies

Simeon Woods-Richardson

David Peterson‘s first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies symbolized the New York Mets issues during their opening series. Flat, rusty, and a step slow as the Phillies tagged Peterson for four runs to put the Mets in an early first-inning hole. Rhys Hoskins‘s solo home run and Alec Bohm‘s three-run homer gave them a 4-0 lead they never looked back from in their 8-2 victory.

Peterson bookended three shutout innings with ugly first and fifth innings. Hoskins got to Peterson again with a double in the fifth, and Bryce Harper‘s drag bunt gave the Phillies a first and third situation. Peterson left the game, and Jacob Barnes made his Mets debut in relief but gave the Mets little help. J.T. Realmuto swatted Barnes’s first pitch over the right field fence to put the game out of reach at 7-1.

Wasted Opportunities

The Mets offense made Phillies ace Aaron Nola worked extremely hard through his four innings of work. Nola worked around eight baserunners to hold the Mets to one run on 92 pitches. The ability to get runners on base but failure to score them was the story of their game. They recorded 11 hits but left 14 runners on base and went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Combine all those factors, and you get their two-run effort. Michael Conforto struggled the most in his 0-for-5 day with two strikeouts and nine left on base.

The silver lining from the game is Joey Lucchesi‘s two innings to finish off the loss. Lucchesi struck out two and only allowed one hit as he tries to keep himself ready for a start next week. Jonathan Villar also finished a home run shy of the cycle.

A 1-2 start to year always stings, but a full 162 game season allows plenty of time to rebound from a rough start. The Mets return to Citi Field for their home opener, with Taijuan Walker making his Mets debut. They will face the Miami Marlins, who have not announced a starter yet due to the current injuries in their rotation. The first pitch from Queens is at 1:05 p.m.

Mets Game Preview (4/7/21): 4:05 p.m. @ Philadelphia Phillies (4-1)

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets look to take the rubber game of their opening series against the Philadelphia Phillies. After a lackluster performance in game one, the offense led the way with an eight-run performance in the second game. They will have their work cut out for themselves against Phillies ace Aaron Nola.

The Mets will be shorthanded while J.D. Davis rests his injured hand that was struck by a pitch in Tuesday’s game. Luis Guillorme will take his place at third base. Jonathan Villar makes his first start of the season as he bats sixth and plays second base, giving Jeff McNeil a day off. James McCann remains in the lineup for a day game after a night game instead of receiving the usual day off.

The Phillies turn back to their usual top of the order, with Andrew McCutchen and Rhys Hoskins batting first and second. Didi Gregorius and Adam Haseley are the lone left-handed hitters in the lineup against David Peterson. No one in their lineup has faced Peterson more than twice in their career.

Pitching Matchups

David Peterson makes his first start of the season as he looks to build on a strong rookie season. Peterson was solid in the spring with a 3.75 ERA in 12 innings pitched but only struck out three. In 2019, he had a double-digit strikeout game but also had outings with only one strikeout. The jury is still out on the type of pitcher Peterson is at the big league level.

Aaron Nola takes the mound for the Phillies was as good as advertised on Opening Day against the Atlanta Braves. He threw 6.2 innings, but Pablo Sandoval’s two-run pinch-hit home run put a damper on his stellar outing. Nola features a fastball in the 92-94 range and backs it up with a changeup and knee-buckling curveball. Like with most aces, the Mets need to get to him early before he settles in.

Matchups To Lookout For

Aaron Nola vs. Michael Conforto: 7-for-37 (.189), 3 Doubles, Home Run, 5 Walks, 14 Strikeouts

Aaron Nola vs. Brandon Nimmo: 4-for-21 (.190), 9 Walks, 9 Strikeouts

Canceling The Mets Opening Series Could Open Up The Starting Rotation

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The last 24 hours leading to Opening Day were a complete whirlwind for the New York Mets. At 11 p.m. on Wednesday, they announced the Francisco Lindor extension, which set the momentum going towards the following night’s game. 12 hours later, the disappointment of a postponed game quickly calmed down the positive vibes heading into the day.

The Mets knew there was at least one positive COVID case on Wednesday, but the announcement of two more on Thursday forced a postponement of game one. While the three positives do not affect the Mets roster, there could still be more lingering throughout the Nats clubhouse. The players in close contact also quarantine for a limited time. Even with a taxi squad, the Nats will need to make more roster moves to field a 26-man roster for their first game. They faced this same issue at the beginning of 2020 when Juan Soto missed time with a positive test.

Rotation Strength

For the Mets, we still know that Jacob deGrom will pitch the first game of the season, no matter when they play. At this point, it seems that they will open their season on Monday, April 5, in Philadelphia against the Phillies. It still allows Luis Rojas to set his 4-man rotation as he planned before the postponements. deGrom will be followed by Marcus Stroman, David Peterson, and Taijuan Walker before their off-day on Friday.

The Mets ace can return to the mound Saturday, and they can go all the way to April 14 without using a fifth starter. This would be one of two games in April where the Mets would need a fifth starter. After Joey Lucchesi‘s start on the 14th, they have the following two Mondays off. This allows deGrom to get his usual rest and sneak in an extra start out of it. The Mets also get the final Thursday in April off, which allows them to get back to the 4-man rotation for another week.

Not only does this help the current roster, but it helps the Mets on the shelf. Carlos Carrasco‘s absence will not feel as Lucchesi only has two April starts. The same could be said for Seth Lugo as they get an extra arm in the bullpen when Lucchesi goes more than his regular rest without making a start. Of course, we all want the Mets season to get started, but this is the best way to bring light to a dark situation.