Benches clear in tension-filled Mets – Phillies game

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The New York Mets – Philadelphia Phillies game on Friday night was full of tension. The Mets lost 2-1, and their offensive woes continued, but the story of the evening was the jawing session between Dominic Smith and pitcher Jose Alvarado, which prompted the dugouts to empty at one point.

The Mets were extremely frustrated after a tough week, and when Jose Alvarado struck Smith out to end a run-scoring threat in the eighth inning, he was very effusive and began jawing at the Mets’ slugger, who is mired in an ugly slump.

“I don’t mind people pimping strikeouts, pimping stuff on the field,” Smith said to MLB.com. “I’ve never been a player like that, but I don’t mind it. I love it. But him pointing at me, coming after me, stuff like that? I’m a grown-ass man. Come meet me then if you really got a problem, and we can really handle it. So that’s how I look at that issue. He waited for his team to grab him and stuff, but I’m right there. And he can meet me in the tunnel tomorrow if he really wants to get after it.”

The Mets and Phillies have some recent history

Of course, there is some history between Smith and Alvarado. After the latter hit Michael Conforto with a pitch on April 13, Smith had some words for him. He also hit Jeff McNeil last night.

“I don’t speak Spanish, so I can’t really interpret everything he said,” Smith said. “He was pointing at his head, he was pointing at me, he was pointing down the middle, he was saying stuff. Obviously, he felt some type of way because I yelled at him when he went up and in against Conforto and then hit Conforto. … Like their manager said, if you can’t throw strikes, you shouldn’t be in the big leagues. So I’m going to protect my guys. He’s throwing 100 out there. It’s not OK to just hit guys.”

Mets’ reliever Miguel Castro threw two very close pitches to Rhys Hoskins, which made tensions rise yet again. There is some bad blood between the two teams, and they are going to face each other a lot this year.

Stay tuned.

Mets Game Preview: (5/1/21) @ Philadelphia Phillies (13-13)

It is gut-check time for the New York Mets after the Philadelphia Phillies bullied their way to a win on Friday. Game two of the series is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. ET from Citizens Bank Park, and there figures to be plenty of animosity after yesterday’s fireworks.

The bench-clearing issue between Jose Alvarado and Dominic Smith highlighted Friday night’s game. It slightly dimmed the spotlight on the struggling offense that only managed to put up one run and allowed two unearned runs to score. As professionals, the Mets avoided any fight that would have led to suspensions, but there is certainly frustration and anger heading into Saturday’s matchup.

Alvarado’s could be what the Mets need to wake them up as the calendar flips to May. A victory gets them back to .500 and puts the Mets back in a tie for first place. Tensions always run high between Philly and New York, and when both teams are good, they heighten even more. Look for the Mets to get their offense going early and attempt to carry it through the rest of the series.

Pitching Matchup

Taijuan Walker was on the front lines when the benches cleared and gets his chance to get some payback on the field. He is coming off his best start of the season, where he pitched seven shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs. Walks are still a small issue, but he limited the Cubs to just three.

Zack Wheeler has been nothing short of spectacular this season with his 3.13 ERA. In his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals, he went eight innings, allowed one run, and struck out nine. Wheeler also threw a season-high 114 pitches and should be fully ready to match the same number if he pitches well again.

Matchups To Lookout For

Taijuan Walker vs. Andrew McCutchen: 1-for-8 (.125), Double, 4 Strikeouts

Zack Wheeler vs. J.D. Davis: 4-for-9 (.444), 2 Doubles, Home Run, 2 Strikeouts

Zack Wheeler vs. Dominic Smith: 6-for-13 (.462), Double, 3 Strikeouts

Mets Offense Barely Shows Up For 2-1 Loss to Phillies

The New York Mets offense continues to fail hilariously, and the Philadelphia Phillies added insult to injury. In the bottom of the eighth, the Mets had their best chance to take the lead against the wild Jose Alvarado. Dominic Smith wasted a 3-0 count with runners on second and third and struck out to leave to tying and lead runs on base.

The fired-up Alvarado made a gesture toward Smith to shut his mouth after Smith was vocal about his lack of control earlier this season. It looked like Alvarado was welcoming a fight as well, and Smith wanted all the smoke. Much like fights in the NBA, the guy who starts it ended up backing away once there was any action. Also, much like MLB fights, nothing came of the bench clearings.

An unfortunate stat from the loss is that the Mets had more bench clearings than runs scored. Another ugly number is their 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position with nine men left on base. Smith was responsible for the lone run with his RBI single but other than that; this was another dreadful game. The Phillies did nothing to earn their runs either as a passed ball in the second inning allowed their only two runs to score.

Stroman’s Strong Outing

Marcus Stroman‘s outing is lost in all of the late-inning chaos. He only needed 64 pitched to make it through five innings but was removed due to a left hamstring issue. Stroman had eight strikeouts, which was his season-high, but fell victim as another tough-luck loser to the Mets offense.

If this rock bottom loss to end the month does not light a fire under the Mets, nothing will. They handed the Phillies their runs, wasted 14 opportunities to score, and were actively challenged to a fight. Hopefully, they can turn the calendar to May and flush the crazy month of April away. Saturday’s matchup will be a true test of the type of character this team is made of.

Taijuan Walker was on the front lines when the bench cleared and will start against former Met Zack Wheeler. The game will start an hour earlier at 6:05 p.m. ET and be ready for plenty of fireworks as the series continues.

Mets Game Preview: (4/30/21) @ Philadelphia Phillies (12-13)

Simeon Woods-Richardson

After taking a day off, the New York Mets take a trip to Philadelphia to face the Phillies in a three-game weekend series. Both teams enter one game under the .500 mark, but both sit in a three-way tie for first place in the NL East. The first pitch from Citizens Bank Park is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET as both teams try to close out April on a high note.

If there were ever a place for the Mets to revive their offense, the hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park is the perfect place. The Mets have only scored more than four runs in just three games this season and are dead last in MLB in runs scored. They hit a new low in the two-game series against the Boston Red Sox with just nine hits and one run. Their only bright spot has been their pitching staff with a 3.05 ERA, the fourth-lowest in baseball. If the bats ever wake up, they will immediately become a very dangerous team.

The Phillies have cooled off after their hot start to the season and come off a split in a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Their bullpen has regressed to the 2020 form with their ERA at 4.62 and has allowed 14 home runs. They also lead MLB in the most walk-off losses. Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto are the offensive leaders, but there has been little help elsewhere. Rhys Hoskins is 13-for-65 (.200) over the last 16 games, but six of those hits have been homers. Jean Segura is also in the IL with a Quad injury.

Pitching Matchup

Marcus Stroman looks to rebound from his first tough outing of the young season. He only lasted four innings against the Washington Nationals, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits which were all singles. In 12 innings against the Phillies this season, Stroman has allowed just one run and held them to a .171 batting average.

Chase Anderson is also hoping to bounce back from a rough start against the Colorado Rockies. In just 3.2 innings, he allowed six runs on the same amount of hits and inflated his ERA to 6.48. Anderson has very similar lines in his two prior starts against the Mets this year, allowing four runs in nine innings. His first start against the Mets was his longest so far, but he only pitched five innings.

Matchups To Lookout For

Marcus Stroman vs. Matt Joyce: 5-for-15 (.333), Double, Home Run, 5 Walks, 3 Strikeouts

Marcus Stroman vs. J.T. Realmuto: 5-for-10 (.500), Walk, Strikeout

Chase Anderson vs. Dominic Smith: 2-for-5 (.400), 2 Home Runs, Walk, 2 Strikeouts

Chase Anderson vs. Michael Conforto: 3-for-17 (.176), 3 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 4 Strikeouts

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.