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.

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.

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

 

Walker Get Heated, Mets Offense Goes Cold in Chilly Loss to Cubs 3-1

yankees, New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The New York Mets are no strangers to ugly weather this season, but that does not mean they get used to it. Taijuan Walker started strong but did not have a happy finish at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. Walker threw 3.2 hitless innings but failed to make it out of the fourth inning after allowing two singles and three consecutive walks. He needed 91 pitches in his outing and was thrown out in the 3-1 loss.

While Walker failed to make it through the fourth inning, his demise began in the third inning. The first of two errors from J.D. Davis allowed the first Cubs’ run to score on a straightforward play. Davis made two mistakes on the play: first, letting the ground ball come to him instead of charging it and then double clutching on the throw, which has become a bad habit. Simple mistakes like these were habits Davis needed to quit to be an adequate third baseman, and it happened again on his second error.

Walker Loses The Zone

When Walker gave up three consecutive walks, they all went to a full count, and a few tough calls did not go in his favor. The stressful at-bats and frustrating inning made Walker leave the mound bursting with anger. He took it out on home plate umpire John Libka, who, in all fairness, had a very questionable strike zone. Manager Luis Rojas also got the boot in the sixth inning due to Libka’s inconsistent zone. In total, Walker threw 3.2 innings, allowed just two hits but walked six.

Even if Walker pitched adequately, there was no offense to support him. Davis’s solo home run was all the Mets could scratch across against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta. He was not unhittable but found ways to keep the Mets from putting up a crooked number. Arrieta allowed one run, three hits, and walked three over five innings pitched.

Their best scoring chance came against closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth with one out and the bases loaded. Brandon Nimmo struck out, and Francisco Lindor grounded out to leave the tying and winning runs on base. They left 10 runners on base and went just 1-for-6 w/RISP. The biggest positive is from their bullpen, who threw 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits.

The Mets look to start a new winning streak on Wednesday when David Peterson takes the bump against Zach Davies. The first pitch from Wrigley Field is at 7:40 p.m. ET.

Mets’ Francisco Lindor wants the organization to extend Michael Conforto

New York Mets

The New York Mets acquired shortstop Francisco Lindor back in January, knowing that it would have taken a huge financial commitment to lock him up to a long-term contract. One day before Opening Day, however, both sides were able to hammer out a deal.

The Mets inked the All-Star infielder to a 10-year, $341 million contract extension that will kick in next year. That way, the organization has a new face for, at least, the next decade.

That face, however, wants a teammate to join him among Mets’ players who signed a contract extension in 2021. Outfielder Michael Conforto, like Lindor, has only one year remaining on his commitment with the team. But he hasn’t signed a long-term pact yet.

Will the Mets sign Conforto?

Lindor had told the Mets he wouldn’t negotiate during the regular season. Conforto preferred not to do that, but has been more open to talking even though the 2021 MLB campaign is already under way.

“He’s a good ball player. I told him ‘you’re a good ball player.’ He’s gonna put the numbers up,” Lindor told reporters via Zoom (link to SNY article.) “At the end of the year the numbers will be there no matter what, if he continues to stay healthy, the numbers will be there for sure.

“Enjoy this process, don’t worry about what’s gonna happen. He’s one of the leaders in the Mets organization, so he’s gonna get paid at some point. He’s gonna get what he desires and what he deserves and what God has for him.

“Enjoy every single day. We’re early in the season — there’s a lot of things that can happen. Looking forward to the day he actually — God willing he does sign here, I can say he’s gonna be a teammate of mine for a very long time.”

Before the Mets game on Tuesday, Conforto was mired in an ugly slump. He is hitting .143/.250/.190 with no home runs or RBI.

May, Loup and Mets Defense Implode During Five Run Eighth in 5-3 Loss

It truly would not be a Jacob deGrom start without the New York Mets bullpen and defense sticking a huge middle finger to him once he leaves the game. deGrom cruised through six shutout innings but was pulled after just 77 pitches, even though Manager Luis Rojas said he could get to the 100 pitch plateau. Miguel Castro gave the Mets a scoreless seventh, but all hell broke loose in the eighth.

The debuting Mets relievers had an ugly night. Trevor May was the first and ran into loads of trouble after striking out the first batter he faced. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Bryce Harper, and May turned the ball to Aaron Loup. He hit Harper with the second pitch he threw to make it a 2-1 game, then J.T. Realmuto singled to knot the game up 2-2. Alec Bohm followed with a dribbler to defensive replacement, Luis Guillorme, but a combination of a poor throw and horrible footwork from catcher James McCann resulted in two runs scoring on the error. A sacrifice fly from Didi Gregorious was the final blow in the five-run inning.

The Mets offense showed the rust of a team that spent the last handful of days on the sidelines. Matt Moore looked like Steve Carlton for the first two innings, striking out four in a row at one point. Once the Mets turned the lineup over, their patience grew and forced Moore into four walks. Moore only lasted 3.1 innings and needed 74 pitches to make it through.

After making the first two outs against Jose Alvarado in the ninth, the Mets started a comeback. Kevin Pillar and Francisco Lindor singles gave the Mets first and third. Michael Conforto came to the plate as the tying run and hit a bloop single just off Harper’s glove, making it a 5-3 game. Pete Alonso came three feet from either tying the game with his shot to right field, but Harper had enough room to reeled it in on the warning track.

Questions To Answer

Rojas’s decision to pull deGrom after 77 pitches is a glaring blunder. deGrom retired the last nine batters he faced, which further pushes the idea of Rojas overmanaging the situation. A more in-depth question comes with his use of the bench in the ninth. Rojas used Jonathan Villar instead of Albert Almora to bat for the pitcher. Villar struck out, but the issue is what could have happened after Villar’s at-bat.

When Conforto reached on his single, he was the tying run, and Villar’s speed is always a threat. Regardless of whether Alvarado remained game, Villar is a runner any pitcher has to pay close attention to. If Alonso split the gap, Villar would have given the Mets a better chance of tying the game than Conforto. The erratic Alvarado might have lost the strike zone with his mind occupied on the tying run.

Overall, the Mets have to be happy with their fight in the ninth. They could have easily rolled over and conceded a 1-2-3 finish. On Tuesday, Marcus Stroman makes his first start against Chase Anderson for the Phillies. The first pitch is another 7:05 p.m. start from Citizens Bank Park.