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 Game Preview: (5/11/21) vs. Baltimore Orioles (16-19)

After a day off, the New York Mets look to push their winning streak to six against the Baltimore Orioles. They will play the first of two games at Citi Field at 7:10 p.m. Both teams come in with 16 wins on the year, but the Orioles have compiled six more losses so far.

Over the weekend, the Mets needed plenty of help from their bullpen to pull out a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Relievers were responsible for 19.1 innings and allowed just three earned runs as the Mets only received 8.2 innings from starting pitchers. Granted, the Mets used an opener in game two, but they did not plan for David Peterson‘s control issues and Jacob deGrom‘s injury. Francisco Lindor started to get his bat rolling by going 5-for-11 (.455) with a home run, double and four runs batted in during the series.

The Orioles are very much in the middle of a rebuilding phase but have a couple of bright players to build around. Cedric Mullins leads the team with a .312 batting average and four stolen bases but has been a pleasant surprise with his power. Heading into 2021, Mullins had seven career home runs in 115 games. This year, he ramped it up to six home runs in just 35 games.

Pitching Matchup

Marcus Stroman takes the mound and looks to receive more help from his defense. In his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals, he went just five innings and allowed four runs, but only two were earned. It was Stroman’s third consecutive start where he did not pitch into the sixth inning. Despite the lack of length in his outings, his numbers are still terrific through the first month of the season. Stroman has a 2.12 ERA and has a 1.02 WHIP over his six starts.

John Means starts for the Orioles and is coming off a 12 strikeout no-hitter which encapsulated his amazing start to the season. In 46 innings, Means has allowed just seven runs resulting in a 1.47 ERA. The Mets have not hit for any power against lefties as their .349 slugging is the second-lowest in baseball. Means will not give the Mets much help with his MLB best, 0.67 WHIP and 4.1 H/9.

Matchups To Lookout For

John Means vs. Michael Conforto: 2-for-6 (.333), Double, Home Run

Marcus Stroman vs. Trey Mancini: 7-for-16 (.438), Double, Triple, 3 Strikeouts

Mets’ Francisco Lindor may be starting to break out of his season-long slump

Simeon Woods-Richardson

When the New York Mets signed shortstop Francisco Lindor to a $341 million extension the day before the start of the season, fans envisioned a star-caliber player with the ability to impact every game with his bat, his legs, and his glove.

For the first month of the season, it is safe to say that wasn’t the case. In April, Lindor hit a meager .189/.299/.243 with a .542 OPS and just one home run. That was good for a 62 wRC+, well below his career norm.

Mets’ fans booed Lindor because of his bad performance, and the team as a whole wasn’t hitting in the early stages of the season. The situation appeared to improve for the Mets in the last few games, as they are coming off a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and are starting to win some ballgames.

The Mets, and Lindor, are surging

Part of the reason the offense is starting to perform better is tied to Lindor. The shortstop was hitting .157 as recently as May 5, and was mired in a 0-for-26 slump that had everybody questioning his ability to carry a franchise. But baseball is a game of larger samples, and over the long haul, everything pointed out at the infielder being just fine: he is in his prime, has a track record of success, and is adjusting to new surroundings.

After breaking the 0-for-26 skid with a ninth-inning single last week, on May 6, he has gone 6-for-14 in his last four games, with a home run, a double, five runs, four RBI, four walks, and one strikeout.

The Mets’ shortstop would need to sustain that kind of performance over a larger sample size for us to really proclaim him as being back, but he is well on his way to start producing the numbers that his new team expect from him.

Mets Bullpen Dominates, Lindor Shines Bright For 4-2 Win Over D’Backs

The New York Mets went deep into their bullpen for the second straight night, but they held strong for a 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Of course, offensive production is needed to win games, and the loving couple of Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor provided it for their fourth straight win.

Tommy Hunter has been with the Mets for just a couple of days but has been busy during his short tenure. After throwing two scoreless innings on Friday, he did the same as the opener tonight. Joey Lucchesi followed with 3.1 innings, where he allowed just one earned run. The following duo of Jeurys Familia and Aaron Loup made their outings interesting.

Familia struck out his two batters in the sixth, but three weak singles loaded the bases in the seventh. After falling behind 3-0 to Christian Walker, Familia battled back to get him to ground out to shortstop, and Pete Alonso‘s swift footwork prevented a potential error. Loup allowed Stephen Vogt to get on base as the tying run after his RBI single but found his way out of the inning as well.

Trevor May got the closer job in the ninth, with Edwin Diaz unavailable after pitching the last two nights. May rose to the occasion and shut the door to finish off the victory. The pitching staff was not as dominant as it was on Friday, but they were terrific at tip-toeing out of danger. They allowed eight hits, two walks, and an extra three baserunners on errors but battled to hold the D’Backs to just two runs.

Kiss And Make Up

Only Lindor, McNeil, and the rest of the Mets clubhouse really know what happened in the tunnel on Friday, but both players have responded in great ways. McNeil opened the scoring and provided half the runs for the Mets with his two-run homer in the third inning. Lindor showed off his versatility when he turned instantly turned a walk into a run. When Lindor stole second base, the throw banged off his foot and into no-mans land in left field, which allowed him to chug around the bases and score. Lindor also remained hot with the bat as he had a double and an RBI single.

The Mets were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and had four hits, but three were for extra bases. They also recorded six walks and stole two bases after having five all season heading into the night. Kevin Pillar recorded a double to go along with his stellar defense in center field and Jonathan Villar walked twice as they continue to fill their roles perfectly with key Mets on the IL.

After stressing the bullpen arms in the first two games, the Mets are in a perfect position for a sweep, with Jacob deGrom heading to the mound on Sunday. Riley Smith will take the mound for the Diamondbacks for the 1:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

Mets’ Francisco Lindor breaks 0-for-26 cold streak with single, is ‘still working’ to get back on track

As hard to believe as it may sound, New York Mets’ shortstop Francisco Lindor had his first base hit in his last 26 at-bats in the win against the St. Louis Cardinals. The All-Star has been struggling for most of the season in the batter’s box.

However, Mets’ fans had grown frustrated because of his slow start in 2021, disappointed by the lack of production of the $341 million man. For a day, though, he was able to breathe, as a hard ground ball went through the infield for his first hit in a while.

The single came in the ninth inning, just when everybody thought Lindor would have another game without a hit.

“As soon as I hit the ball, I was just hoping that nobody caught it. When it went through, yeah, I had a smile on my face, and a little bit of my shoulders coming down, I had them above my ears,” Lindor said, according to SNY.

“They came down a little bit, but like I said earlier, it’s still a long road. I’m still working, I’m working as hard as I can day in and day out to be the best player I can be, and if I can do something on a daily basis to help the team win, that, to me, that’s it. I don’t need results. I want results, but I don’t need them to feel good. As long as we’re winning, it makes me happy.”

The Mets’ shortstop should eventually be fine

His plate discipline and hard-hit rates are on par with his career numbers or close to them, so the hope is that the Mets’ high-dollar investment can turn things around relatively soon.

“When you have a great group of guys around you, coaching staff, players, and so many people have reached out to me to help me out – current players, former players, coaches, president, owners,” the Mets’ star said. “A lot of people have reached out to me to help me out, and that, to me, means the world. I can’t thank them individually here, but to all of them, thank you for reaching out.

“The road is not over, man. The road is not over. I’m just glad we had a good road trip.”

New York Mets: Francisco Lindor’s slump is getting ugly

One of the most disconcerting stories of the first month of the season, which is already on the books, is Francisco Lindor’s slump. The All-Star shortstop, appointed as the face of the revamped New York Mets when he signed a $341 million contract extension, has looked lost at the plate for much of the campaign.

Lindor went hitless again on Monday in the New York Mets’ loss against the St. Louis Cardinals, and is batting a putrid .163/.284/.209 with one home run and no stolen bases. The team offense appears to be in a nice little groove right now, having scored at least five runs in three straight games, but Lindor is still slumping.

To make matters worse for Mets’ fans, Lindor, a career .253 hitter with runners in scoring position, is hitting .063 this season in that particular scenario.

Lindor, the Mets’ second hitter, will probably stay there at least for a while longer, as manager Luis Rojas, according to MLB.com’s Savannah McCann, hasn’t mentioned the possibility of moving him down the order just yet.

“The last few days, with runners in scoring position, he hasn’t delivered,” said Rojas. “But think of it this way, where moving him to leadoff or to third, I mean, there’s not a lot of spots where you can drop in, because of what he can bring to a lineup. Being early May still, I think we trust that this kid is gonna turn around. He’s done it in the past.”

The Mets’ shortstop doesn’t have a hit in his last 24 trips to the plate

The Mets’ franchise shortstop doesn’t have a hit in his last 24 appearances, which raises some eyebrows.

“I think his presence, what he brings to the ballpark every day, all the guys energize from it, guys have gotten better because of him,” said Rojas. “You know, this guy’s not starting only because of his bat, he’s just starting because of all the other things that he does. Do we think his bat is going to come along? Yeah, I think his bat is gonna come along.”

Back in 2016 with the Indians, he had a 0-for-27 stretch. And everything turned out just fine for him.

He is still hitting the ball hard at a healthy rate, as his 40.5 hard hit rate suggests (similar to his registers in the last three seasons) but mostly to the ground: his 50.7 ground ball percentage is the highest since his rookie year.

When all is said and done, the Mets will be able to enjoy an All-Star shortstop. However, things are getting ugly right now.

Davis/Slater Fired, Rojas Fails With Lucchesi in Mets 6-5 Loss to Cardinals

The New York Mets play a game of craps whenever their fifth spot in the rotation comes around, and Joey Lucchesi has crapped out for them every time. It was clear from the outset that Lucchesi had nothing, and manager Luis Rojas relied on him too long in the 6-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite the loss, another story became the topic of discussion from the loss.

In a surprising move after the offense started to wake up, hitting coaches Chili Davis and Tom Slater were fired. Hugh Quattlebaum and Kevin Howard will replace them on the coaching staff. The move tells us two things: Steve Cohen is not messing around, and this is a warning shot to Rojas.

Lucchesi allowed a well-struck leadoff triple in the bottom of the first, and hard contact riddled his start. He allowed a run in each of the first two innings, including a home run to the light hitting Harrison Bader. In the third inning, Lucchesi retired the first two in order and looked like he would settle in.

The Cardinals did not go down easy as back-to-back singles set the table for Nolan Arenado. A questionable foul tip call prevented Lucchesi from recording a strikeout, and it gave Arenado all the life he needed to execute. Arenado burned the Mets and launched a mammoth three-run homer to knot the game at five. The Cards were not done as two consecutive doubles put them in the lead 6-5. It knocked Lucchesi out of the game with an ugly six earned runs in just 2.1 innings pitched.

When the fifth spot in the rotation comes up over the weekend, they may need to look elsewhere. Robert Gsellman and Sean Reid-Foley saved the Mets bullpen by combining for 4.1 shutout innings and allowing only two hits. They are not stretched out to start, but their 2-3 innings would be better than what Lucchesi could provide.

Carlos Carrasco is expected to return next week, but the Mets could also push up his return date. Instead of throwing another simulated game, the team could be better off with 4-5 innings from Carrasco. It will be a perfect tune-up before he pitches full outings.

Offensive Output

It has been a rare occurrence for the Mets offense to have nothing to do with why they lost. Pete Alonso led the way with three hits, including two doubles and a walk. Kevin Pillar also homered in his second straight game, replacing an injured Brandon Nimmo. They hit better with runners in scoring position by going 2-for-8 but left nine on base. Francisco Lindor continued his cold streak and has not recorded a hit in 21 consecutive at-bats.

The Mets attempted a rally against Cardinals closer Alex Reyes, who was a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities. As usual, Reyes lacked control by allowing two walks, giving Dominic Smith a chance to tie or give the Mets a lead. During Alonso’s at-bat, the stadium lights magically went out for about 30 seconds which foreshadowed Mets’ fate. Smith worked a full count but just missed a hanging curveball, flying out and allowing the Cardinals to take game one of the series.

Make a Move

A good manager puts players in the best position to succeed for a better chance at positive results. For the second consecutive night, Rojas failed to do that. On Sunday, it was using Edwin Diaz when he did not need to and leaving him in the game when he clearly did not have his best stuff.

Tonight it was leaving Lucchesi to pitch in a matchup he had no chance of winning against Arenado. He was hitting .333 against lefties this season and .320 over his career against southpaws, with elite power. Lucchesi had his back on the ropes, and Gsellman was a right-handed option in the bullpen. If Rojas does not adjust soon, he will pack his bags along with Davis and Slater.

The Mets look to bounce back for another 7:45 start from Busch Stadium as Jacob deGrom faces Johan Oviedo.

Mets’ Francisco Lindor understand boos, but hopes fans ‘cheer’ when things are going right

Even though he doesn’t have a World Series ring yet, Francisco Lindor is a winner. First of all, he got to the big leagues, which is more than the vast majority of baseball players in the planet. Not only that, but he also was a top prospect, graduated, earned Gold Gloves, hit lots of home runs, established himself as a star, and is now the face of the New York Mets’ franchise.

That’s why it’s so hard for him to hear boos from Mets’ fans in recent days. It happened on Tuesday and it happened again yesterday, as the team couldn’t back Jacob deGrom yet again and lost 1-0.

Before last night’s game, Lindor answered questions from the media. One of them, of course, was about the booing.

“It’s interesting and it’s funny and it sucks — it doesn’t feel right, for sure,” the Mets shortstop said according to SNY. “Interesting because it’s the first time that it happens in my career, and funny because I’m getting booed and people think I’m going to go home and just think about why I’m getting booed. I get it. They’re booing me because there’s no results. That’s it. They expect results, I expect results and I get it. It’s part of the job. People expect results and they’re booing because they’re not (getting) results.

“I just hope they cheer and jump on the field when I start hitting home runs and start helping the team on a daily basis a lot more than I’m doing right now.”

The Mets’ shortstop expects more from himself

Through is first 20 games with the Mets, Lindor is batting .203/.317/.261 with only one home runs. He recently signed a $341 million extension to stay in New York through his age-38 season.

“I expected to be successful and help the team win every single day,” Lindor said. “I didn’t expect to come to this season and hit .200, .195 — whatever I’m hitting right now.

“… It is what it is, man. I can’t just sit here and complain. They want results and they’re frustrated. It is what it is. I just hope when they have the results, I hope they cherish those moments as well.”

Mets Offense Hits New Low and Wastes deGrom’s Start in 1-0 Loss

Just when you think the New York Mets offense cannot get any worse, they laugh in your face and waste another three hours of your time. To make matters worse, they wasted another terrific start from Jacob deGrom to allow the Boston Red Sox to steal a 1-0 victory.

By no means should this discredit the great Red Sox pitching but every hitter in the lineup looks like they barely belong at the big league level. From the flailing swings to barely hitting the ball out of the infield, it looks like deGrom is pitching against them every night. Red Sox pitching held the Mets to just two hits after their best scoring opportunity in the first inning.

Nick Pivetta struggled with walks to start the season and continued the trend by walking Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor to start the game. In usual fashion, the following three batters all made outs without driving in a run. For the rest of the game, they were lucky to put the bat on the ball. Pivetta hurled five, one-hit innings with seven strikeouts. Garrett Whitlock followed with a very impressive two innings and struck out four. Adam Ottavino made it look easy in the eighth, and Matt Barnes struck out the side in the ninth to put the Mets to bed.

Same Old S…..

deGrom relived the nightmare scenario he has become so accustomed to. He was not at his best but still managed to strike out nine in six innings and hold the Red Sox to one run. Unfortunately, deGrom was just as cold as the rest of the offense as he went 0-for-2. Lately, the rest of the pitching staff has gotten the same treatment, and at some point, it needs to end.

From the beginning, it looks like the Mets are a team lacking the energy needed to win. It makes it tough to get going when Lindor cannot get himself going either. The Mets will move how he does, and as long as he remains cold, the rest of the team will. There may be the light at the end of the tunnel as Lindor lined out on a terrific leaping play by Marwin Gonzalez in his last at-bat. Hopefully, this is something Lindor can build upon as he moves forward.

After an off-day Thursday, the Mets head to Philadelphia to begin a three-game weekend series with the Phillies. Marcus Stroman will face off against Chase Anderson in game one of the series from Citizens Bank Park.

 

 

Mets’ fans boo All-Star Francisco Lindor amid offensive struggles

When the New York Mets traded for Francisco Lindor (and starter Carlos Carrasco), fans envisioned highly competitive offense coupled with his trademark, elite defense. The combination, they hoped, would get the team off to a fast start and solidify an already excellent offense.

The sentiment increased when the Mets signed Lindor to a record-breaking extension – a $341 million commitment, no less – just before the season started, just like he asked: no negotiating once the campaign started.

Yet, the new face of the Mets has gotten off to a slow start at the plate. After Tuesday’s games, the All-Star shortstop was batting a meager .212/.321/.273 with only one home run and no stolen bases so far.

His defense has been mostly good, but the bat hasn’t gotten going and the Mets’ fans, impatient and frustrated, booed their star after Tuesday’s loss to the Boston Red Sox.

The Mets’ offense has been mostly absent

To be fair, the Mets have several slumping players, not just Lindor. Michael Conforto has only recently started to heat up, but was a mess to begin the year. James McCann, Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil, and others have also struggled.

Yet Lindor is, perhaps unfairly, the scapegoat given his large contract and his status as one of the game’s very best players.

The Mets’ offense has been among the league’s worst so far, with only three runs per game and lots of missed opportunities when it comes to taking advantage of men on base.

Mets’ manager Luis Rojas offered his analysis on Lindor’s current slump. “Watching him in camp, how good he swung the bat in camp, I just feel that he’s one swing away, one at-bat away,” he said to MLB.com. “I keep saying it, because he’s got good body control, he’s got a good feel of what he’s doing there. Right now, his swing is just a little off.”

With such supremely talented players like Lindor, it is always a matter of time. Yet, Mets’ fans are growing impatient.