Villar Caps Off Comeback With Walk-Off Single in 4-3 Victory

The New York Mets sleepwalking offense desperately needed something to wake themselves up, and they finally found it their 4-3 walk-off win. It looked like the Mets would play in another miserable doubleheader after the Philadelphia Phillies took the lead in the top half of the inning, but there was no quit in them. Against closer Hector Neris, Pete Alonso led off the eighth with a lined single to tie the game, and Jonathan Villar‘s bases-loaded single brought the Mets back to .500.

The eighth inning started ugly as Trevor May ran into tough luck. James McCann‘s passed ball led to runners on second and third, then Didi Gregorious’s squib single allowed the Phillies to take a 3-2 lead. Miguel Castro suffered a similar fate when he allowed an infield single to Jean Segura, which allowed the Phillies to tie the game in the sixth inning. Both May and Castro were dominant in their outings and are proving to be their best relievers early in the season.

Sky WalKKKKKKKKer

Taijuan Walker had the strikeout pitch working as he recorded eight in 4.1 innings pitched. Due to the urgency of a seven-inning game, manager Luis Rojas opted not to stretch him out. Walker continued to show a fastball in the mid-90s, and he featured a slider which became his best secondary pitch.

Dominic Smith also made an impact both with the bat and with his mouth. His 2-run home run provided all the offense against Phillies starter Chase Anderson. It was his second one off of Anderson this season, except this one came on a fastball that was actually in the strike zone. When Jose Alvarado threw two consecutive up and in pitches to Michael Conforto, the latter drilling him on the hand, Smith was vocal toward Alvarado to cut it out. No altercation resulted from it, but it was clear that Smith was not happy with Alvarado’s lack of control at 99-100 mph.

Game two of the doubleheader will begin at 8:05 p.m. and features a good pitching matchup. Marcus Stroman faces Aaron Nola in the nightcap.

Mets Patience At The Plate Leads To Their First Win of the Season, 8-4

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets lineup is built with dangerous hitters, and their terrific approaches at the plate gave them an 8-4 victory. Marcus Stroman led the Mets with six strong innings, allowing just one run and three hits to hand the Philadelphia Phillies their first loss of the season. Stroman only struck out three but stayed true to his craft with 13 ground ball outs.

Chase Anderson held his own against the menacing Mets hitters. He gave the Phillies five strong innings with a Dominic Smith two-run home run as the only blemish on his outing. The homer was no fault of his own because Smith swung at a ball by his shoulders but still managed to lose it to the opposite field. Vince Velasquez was the first reliever for the Phillies and had a “Jekyll and Hyde” outing. He struck out the 3-4-5 hitters in order in the sixth but was a completely different pitcher in the seventh.

Velasquez walked four batters, three in a row at one point, which eased the Mets into a 3-1 lead. Francisco Lindor picked up his first Mets RBI with a sacrifice fly followed by a first and third double steal, allowing the Mets to score their fifth run. The double steal easily could have been marked as an error on Didi Gregorius, who muffed a catchable throw at second base. Michael Conforto finished off the four-run inning with an RBI double. Pete Alonso put the finishing touches on the win by muscling a 2-run home run over the left field fence in the ninth inning.

Bullpen Woes

A five-run lead would have been an opportune time for Manager Luis Rojas to give Dellin Betances or Jeurys Familia some low leverage work, but he opted for Miguel Castro again. Castro bent but did not break after allowing three straight two-out hits and a run. He got Bryce Harper to fly out on a solid play by center fielder Brandon Nimmo to escape the jam.

Trevor May pitched into another jam in the eighth but struck out Brad Miller and Roman Quinn to slither out of a first and second situation. Jeurys Familia finally got some action with a six-run lead in the ninth and had tough luck on two weak hits and an error resulting in two unearned runs. Despite the issues, Familia got through the inning and completed the first win of the season.

The Mets defense compiled another two errors to push their count to three in the early season. Overall, the defense has been much better than last season, but they still have more work to join the upper class in the NL. The Mets’ eight walks were vital as the offense only mustered five hits. Four of those hits resulted in extra bases; two doubles and two home runs.

J.D. Davis also left the game in the second inning after getting drilled in the hand with a pitch. X-Rays came back negative and his status is day-to-day at the moment. On Wednesday, both teams play the rubber game of their series as the Mets send David Peterson to the mound against Aaron Nola. The first pitch is at 4:05 p.m. ET from Citizens Bank Park.

 

 

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

Lindor Starts, Smith/Alonso Puts Away Astros in Mets 8-3 Victory

The New York Mets offense was rolling on all cylinders during their 8-3 win against the Houston Astros. 12 hits, 5 for extra bases, helped support another terrific outing from Joey Lucchesi. He had some help from Jacob Barnes, who struck out two as the Mets opener, a role Manager Luis Rojas seems to favor Barnes in.

Lucchesi threw 4.2 innings in “relief” and held the Astros to one run, and struck out four. His only blemish came on an Alex Bregman solo-home run in his final inning of work. The opener worked out perfectly for Lucchesi because he retired the first eight batters he faced. Trevor May was touched up for a Yordan Alvarez home run in his inning of work but struck out two batters. Jerry Blevins finished off the ninth inning as he tries to earn the final spot in the Mets bullpen.

Francisco Lindor had a sparkling day on both sides of the ball. Lindor made a terrific play, ranging to the first base side of the field to throw out a base runner. He was a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a walk. Dominic Smith also homered twice and went back-to-back with Pete Alonso in the seventh inning.

On Sunday, the Mets head back to Jupiter to face the Miami Marlins with Mike Montgomery (1-0, 0.00 ERA) making the start. The first pitch is at 1:10 p.m. ET but will not be on any of the Mets networks.

New York Mets: Peterson Pitches Well, Bullpen Not So Much in 7-3 Loss

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets have some questions behind their quartet of top-tier relievers, and Robert Gsellman and Stephen Tarpley continued to heighten the need for reliable middle relievers. After a scoreless seventh inning, the Washington Nationals roughed up Gsellman in the eighth inning.

Josh Bell‘s majestic opposite solo home run tied the game at three and almost cleared the scoreboard. Gerardo Parra put the Nats in the lead with an RBI single giving them a 4-3 lead. They added a two-run homer from Luis Garcia and RBI single from Adrian Sanchez to complete the 7-3 victory.

David Peterson was in line for the win before the blown save from Gsellman. Peterson pitched six solid innings with four hits and two runs allowed. The Nats did a bulk of their damage during the fourth inning, with three hits and two runs in their top half. Singles from Josh Harrison and Hernan Perez were the only damage against the slender lefty. Peterson only struck out two but was very effective in the outing. He did not allow a hit for the first half of his start.

Manager Luis Rojas hopes to have a second lefty in the bullpen, but Tarpley squandered one of his final opportunities to make the roster. Tarpley allowed four hits and three runs, including the Garcia homer, and only retired one batter. Due to their rough outings, Gsellman and Tarpley made their route to the Opening Day roster bumpier. Tylor Megill came in and prevented more runs from being charged to Tarpley’s ledger in the ninth.

The Mets offense recorded 12 hits but only pushed 3 runs across. James McCann‘s RBI single provided the first run during the second inning. The other two runs came in the sixth when Dominic Smith lucked into an RBI triple on a dribbler that Bell misplayed at first base and J.D. Davis lined an RBI single over a drawn-in infield. McCann and Francisco Lindor were the two Mets with multiple hits on the night.

On Saturday, the Mets play another home game when the Houston Astros visit Clover Park. Bryan Abreu (1-0, 3.68 ERA) takes the mound against opener Jacob Barnes (0-1, 5.40 ERA). Barnes opens up for Joey Lucchesi for the 1:10 p.m. ET start on SNY.

 

Mets’ slugger Dominic Smith still out, but is making progress

New Yor k Mets, Dominic Smith

New York Mets’ outfielder Dominic Smith has spent most of the week sidelined with an annoying wrist injury that refuses to completely go away. The slugger was initially scratched from the lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Miami Marlins with the issue, and hasn’t played since.

However, there is an encouraging update on his ailment. The Mets’ slugger, who broke out last season, took batting practice on Friday, one day ahead of schedule. The soreness is on his right wrist, but the issue likely won’t sideline him for very long, as he is still expected to be a fixture in the Opening Day lineup.

Smith didn’t take the field on Friday, but he does seem to be turning a corner and is expected to be back in Grapefruit League action soon for the Mets. According to what the player himself told manager Luis Rojas, he “would be playing” if it were the regular season, indicating that the soreness is actually not that bad.

The Mets need to have Smith’s bat in the lineup

During 2020’s shortened campaign, Smith had a full-on breakout performance, batting .316 with 10 home runs, 27 runs scored, 42 RBI, and a .993 OPS. If he had a clear defensive home, he would play virtually every day for the Mets.

However, his natural first base position is blocked by Pete Alonso, so he figures to get semi-regular playing time in left field for the Mets, as they try to give at-bats to Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Kevin Pillar and Albert Almora in the outfield.

If the New York Mets and the rest of the National League teams could have the designated hitter spot available, the Mets could simply pencil Smith’s name, or JD Davis, there every day, but MLB owners and the players’ association couldn’t agree on it as well as other topics.

Mets’ outfielder Dominic Smith dealing with a wrist injury

The New York Mets have incredible depth in the position player side of things, which is why they were forced to try Dominic Smith, a first baseman by trade, in the outfield given Pete Alonso’s emergence in 2019.

Smith had his own breakout season for the Mets in 2020, but with Alonso blocking him at first base, he was used mainly as an outfielder and designated hitter en route to a .316/.377/.616 line and 10 home runs in 50 games and 199 plate appearances.

He became one of the Mets’ best hitters last season, which is why any injury news about Smith will be worrisome for fans. In this case, he was scratched from Wednesday’s Grapefruit League game against the Marlins due to wrist soreness.

The left-handed slugger was replaced in the Mets’ lineup by Mallex Smith. Manager Luis Rojas is calling him day-to-day with the ailment, and the skipper did tell reporters that the player did defensive work before the game.

The Mets expect it to be a short-term absence

If there are no setbacks, Smith should be in the lineup for the Mets’ Opening Day tilt.

With the absence of the designated hitter (at least so far) for the 2021 season, it will be a challenge for the Mets to fit Smith in the everyday lineup, but given his considerable offensive contributions (he did, after all, had a 164 wRC+ last season) they better do it.

Smith should be the Mets’ left fielder most days when the real action starts, but he will also make some starts at first base on the days that Alonso rests. He should also be the designated hitter when the Mets play in American League parks.

With a two-hit performance by Mets’ shortstop Francisco Lindor, New York won Wednesday’s game against the Miami Marlins, backed by a fantastic outing by rotation hopeful Joey Lucchesi.

New York Mets Club Three Home Runs in 8-3 Win Over Astros

The New York Mets put all of their valuable assets on display against the Houston Astros. Jacob deGrom had another dominant outing, and the offense pushed across eight runs in an 8-3 victory.

deGrom pitched four innings, allowed one run, and struck out six. His fastball did not quite reach 102 again, but he sat in the 100-101 range. deGrom also showed his best slider of the spring, which resulted in plenty of swings and misses. The one run allowed came on a high home run from Jeremy Pena, which bounced off the top of the left-field fence.

Jeurys Familia struggled with his control again but worked out of a bases-loaded jam to complete a scoreless outing. Dellin Betances was the victim of an unlucky bloop double with two outs that resulted in two runs. It should have resulted in an out, but Brandon Nimmo played Taylor Jones like Hank Aaron. The weak double ballooned Betances spring ERA to 13.50.

Trevor May bounced back from a couple of rough outings to strike out three in his one inning of work. Miguel Castro and Sam McWilliams finished off the eighth and ninth to give the Mets a win.

Hit Parade

It was all hands on deck for the Mets offense as five different hitters. Dominic Smith‘s three-run home run put the Mets on the board in the third inning. The homer was another example of his unique ability to wait back on the breaking ball. In the fifth, Pete Alonso took a high fastball and drove it into the left-field picnic area.

The third Mets homer came from Francisco Lindor. His no-doubter was his first homer as a Met and second hit of the day. Brandon Nimmo’s single and Jeff McNeil‘s double drove in the other two Mets runs.

On Wednesday, Joey Lucchesi (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his first start of the spring against Sandy Alcantara (0-0, 0.00 ERA) and the Miami Marlins. The road game for the Mets begins at 1:05 p.m. ET from Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

 

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.

Where does Dom Smith fit in the Mets’ defensive alignment?

The New York Mets could find themselves in a bit of a problem if the universal designated hitter isn’t implemented for the 2021 season. The rule was in play in the atypical 2020 campaign, and it was a success. But as of now, the league doesn’t seem too inclined to use it again unless it is part of a bargaining opportunity.

The Mets really took advantage of the DH in 2020. It allowed them to include Dominic Smith’s bat in the lineup on a regular basis while also playing Jeff McNeil, JD Davis, Brandon Nimmo, and Pete Alonso.

However, what will the Mets do if they can’t, as a National League team, use the DH spot this season? By trade, the most affected player would be Smith, at least at first glance. McNeil can play second, third, and left field, Nimmo can man center field, Davis can alternate between left field and the hot corner, and Andres Gimenez can play all over the infield except first base.

Smith is a first baseman who was tried in the outfield corners in recent years as a way to include his bat in the lineup more often. The issue, for the Mets, is that Pete Alonso is the first baseman and there are several outfielders, like McNeil, Nimmo, Davis, and Michael Conforto, the regular right fielder.

The Mets need to find a spot for Smith’s bat

So where would Smith play? His bat did the talking for the Mets in 2020, with a .316/.377/.616 slash line, 10 home runs, and 42 RBI. He was among the league leaders in wRC+, with 165, and extra base hits.

MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo can foresee a potential competition between Alonso and Smith for first base reps. “If the National League proceeds without a designated hitter in 2021, the Mets won’t have an obvious place to deploy Dominic Smith, their most valuable offensive player in ’20. Left field remains an option, though far less of one if the Mets acquire Springer. That leaves first base, where Smith outperformed Pete Alonso on both sides of the ball last season. Will that performance be enough for the Mets to call first base an open competition between Smith and Alonso, who is just two years removed from his breakout, 53-homer NL Rookie of the Year Award campaign? Or will Smith go back to the bench, where he thrived as a slugging, left-handed pinch hitter in 2019? Is a third option, such as a trade of Smith — a popular clubhouse figure — in play?” he explained.

As of now, the Mets could play McNeil at second, Davis at third, Smith in left field, Nimmo in center, and Alonso at first. The defense, however, would be very shaky, and that would leave one between Amed Rosario and Gimenez without a spot.

It’s an issue that Mets’ manager Luis Rojas will have to deal with, and soon.