Mets Game(s) Preview: (4/17/21) @ Colorado Rockies (3-10)

Mother Nature was once again mean to the New York Mets as snow showers prevented the first game of their series with the Colorado Rockies. Thanks to the snow, the Mets will play their second straight doubleheader after another cancellation.

7 of the original 15 games for the Mets have already been canceled, and there may still be more cancellations in the upcoming week. Despite the wacky schedule, the Mets sit in first place by half a game over the second-place Philadelphia Phillies.

The Rockies are a much different story. Trevor Story is the lone star on the team after Nolan Arenado was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals, beginning the rebuilding period for the Rockies. They have lost six straight games, but Ryan McMahon has started strong by leading the team in batting average, home runs, RBIs, and hits.

Pitching Matchups

Jacob deGrom gets the ball for game one and has been as good as advertised to begin the season. The Mets are 0-2 in his starts, but none of it is deGrom’s fault. A combination of bad defense and ugly offense has wasted his outings. Coors Field is hell for most pitchers, but deGrom has faired well with a 2.51 ERA in two prior starts in Colorado.

Chi Chi Gonzalez starts for the Rockies and has a 3.60 ERA over 3 outings (1 start) this season. Gonzalez only has five strikeouts in 10 innings pitched and has not pitched in a week. He will likely be on a short leash in his outing as the Rockies try to build his stamina.

Joey Lucchesi makes his first start with the Mets in the nightcap. Lucchesi has had a long rest after pitching two scoreless innings in the Mets third game of the season. After spending three seasons with the San Diego Padres, Lucchesi is very familiar with Coors Field but has a 5.56 ERA in five prior starts. He will be another pitcher who is not expected to pitch deep into the game.

German Marquez will pitch for the Rockies and looks to build on two straight solid outings where he allowed three runs in both. The Achilles heel for Marquez has been the inability to limit base runners. His 1.79 WHIP is dead last among qualified starters, and the Mets offense is known for their ability to flood the bases and work deep counts.

Mets Offense Fails To Support deGrom in 3-0 Loss To Marlins

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The New York Mets continue to create innovative and disappointing ways to waste Jacob deGrom‘s stellar outings. In their 3-0 loss to the Miami Marlins, the offense managed just three hits against Trevor Rogers, who outdueled the Mets ace.

deGrom and Rogers put on a classic pitchers duel. deGrom hurled eight innings, allowing just one run and striking out 14 Marlins. Unfortunately, a solo home run to Jazz Chisholm was all the fish needed to support Rogers. deGrom came out with his blazing fastball during the first two innings, but Chisholm’s homer forced him to adjust. He went back to being a complete pitcher using all three of his magnificent pitches to keep Marlins hitters guessing. Two more runs in the ninth off, Edwin Diaz gave the Marlins more than enough to complete the victory.

Rogers showed why the Marlins are very high on his future. He worked in and out of jams throughout the latter part of his outing and ended up striking out 10 on the day. Rogers set the tone in the first inning when he worked out of a first and third situation to keep the Mets scoreless. He also slithered his way out of a first and second with none out by retiring the 2-3-4 hitters in order.

Help The Guy Out

The loss makes the Mets 36-42 in deGrom’s starts since the 2018 season. deGrom was even responsible for one of the team’s three hits. They went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and dropped their season average with RISP below .150. There was little fight towards the end as 12 Mets in a row were retired to end the game. Michael Conforto continued his slump with an 0-for-4, three strikeout game and heard vociferous boos from the small contingent at Citi Field.

Through five games, the Mets are 2-3 and are lucky their record is not worse. Their starting pitching deserves a 4-1 record, but their offense is more of a 1-4 team. Either way, the Mets need to do a better job supporting the starting pitching they have received early in the season.

Marcus Stroman makes his second start of the season while the Marlins are waiting to name a starter. Sunday’s rubber game of the series is another 1:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

Mets Game Preview (4/10/21): 1:05 p.m. vs. Miami Marlins (1-6)

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets look to make it two in a row against their division rival Marlins in the middle game of their three-game set. Of course, game one ended with the controversial hit by pitch to Michael Conforto, which gave the Mets a walk-off victory. The Mets will send their ace to the mound for Saturday afternoon’s game to leave no doubt in their potential victory.

The health of J.D. Davis is still day to day as he works himself back from the hand injury he suffered in Philadelphia. With a long season still ahead we should expect Davis to get ample time to return to full health. The combination of Luis Guillorme and Jonathan Villar have served the Mets fine during the last couple of games.

On the pitching side, the other major question concerns the pitch limit for Jacob deGrom. Manager Luis Rojas pulled him after just 77 pitches and it was a major factor in their Opening Day loss. Rojas said he was good for 90-100 on Opening Day and we should see deGrom hit that mark against a very familiar Marlins lineup.

Pitching Matchups

With deGrom on the mound the Mets have to provide him support in all aspects of the game. They have wasted start after start, year after year and they need to win to emerge as a World Series contender. deGrom was brilliant in his Opening Day start against the Phillies where he threw six shutout innings with seven strikeouts. He was very fastball dominant and we will see if he carries that trend over to an aggressive Marlins lineup.

Trevor Rogers takes the ball for the Marlins after a rocky start against the St. Louis Cardinals. Rogers struckout six over four innings but four walks elevated his pitch count to 77. He features a 4-seam fastball in the mid-90s, slider and changeup. Rogers faced the Mets in his first two career starts and held them to two runs over nine innings.

Matchups To Lookout For

Jacob deGrom vs. Jesus Aguilar: 4-for-12 (.333), Double, Home Run, 2 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Jon Berti: 6-for-19 (.316), 3 Doubles, 5 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Brian Anderson: 8-for-35 (.229), 2 Doubles, Home Run, 3 Walks, 10 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Corey Dickerson: 2-for-14 (.143), Walks, 4 Strikeouts

Mets’ manager Luis Rojas ‘satisfied’ with decision to pull Jacob deGrom after 77 pitches

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The New York Mets, in their season opener last night, decided to pull Jacob deGrom, who was dealing on the mound, after throwing 77 pitches. That call has become controversial ever since Kevin Cash did something similar with Blake Snell in last year’s World Series, as it shows the marked division between two schools of thought: the analytical-driven people who say that having a pitcher face a lineup for a third time it’s not worth the risk, and the old schoolers who live and die with their ace.

Mets’ manager Luis Rojas called the bullpen in the seventh, bringing right-hander Miguel Castro even though the skipper had said prior to the game that deGrom’s pitch count for the contest would be near 100.

“Going out for the six innings and you guys saw the activity on the bases. And he hasn’t thrown in 10 days. So the conversations in between innings with him led us to make the decision of pulling him,” Rojas told reporters via Zoom following the Mets’ 5-3 loss to the Phillies (link to the SNY article here). “…I know he was way under than what he’s built up leaving camp. But maybe the 10 days without throwing led to the decision during the game.

The Mets had already discussed the idea

The Mets’ manager said “it was an agreement between everyone after we got to that spot in the sixth.”

He later added that despite the result (the bullpen and defense blowing the game), he was “satisfied” with the decision to pull his ace.

The Mets’ pitcher confirmed that it was discussed before the game that he wouldn’t go as far as initially planned.

“That was kind of discussed where we’re going to be before,” deGrom said. “10 days without facing hitters, kept trying to throw bullpens but didn’t want to throw too many pitches with the hope of playing Saturday and then finding out that series is canceled so that was the last time I was able to throw. So it was kind of a how many ups thing, how many pitches not being in a game facing hitters for 10 days.”

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.

 

Mets Game Preview (4/5/21): 7:05 p.m. @ Philadelphia Phillies (3-0)

The New York Mets finally get to start their season after their opening series matchup against the Washington Nationals was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. It will not be an easy matchup as they take on a red hot Philadelphia Phillies team who swept the Atlanta Braves over the weekend.

Thankfully Mets fans will get the illustrious SNY booth for their opener instead of the cringefest that ESPN brings to their broadcast team. During their time off in our nation’s capital, the Mets continued working out and keeping themselves ready for their eventual trip to Philadelphia.

On the other hand, the Phillies were rolling on all cylinders as they made sure they were not forgotten in the chase for the NL East crown. Their pitching led the way by holding the strong Braves offense to just three runs in the series. The starting pitching was tremendous, but their revamped bullpen was dominant to make sure their starter’s efforts were not thrown away. Jose Alvarado had led the way with five strikeouts in his two scoreless innings.

Despite the strong pitching, the bats provided the Phillies just enough to win. Andrew Knapp provided the lone home run of the weekend, and it was one of six extra-base hits. Despite the lack of power, the important hitters have started strong for the Phils. Bryce Harper is 3-for-10 (.300) with three walks, and J.T. Realmuto is 4-for-9 (.444) with two doubles.

Pitching Matchups

Jacob deGrom can finally make his Opening Day start, and it comes in a ballpark he has found plenty of success in. Over eight starts at Citizens Bank Park, he has a 2.95 ERA, two complete games (one shutout), and only allowed four home runs in 42.2 innings pitched. deGrom has continued to climb his way up the radar gun over the last two seasons, and we will see if the long layoff has any effect on his velocity.

Matt Moore is back in the states after a successful tour in Japan, where he posted a 2.65 ERA in 15 outings. Moore last pitched in the majors during the 2019 season, where he pitched 10 scoreless innings for the Detroit Tigers. In the two seasons prior, he had an ERA just under six in 71 outings. Moore is a left-handed pitcher who features a 4-seam fastball, cutter, curveball, and changeup. With the lefty on the mound, we will get our first glimpse of Brandon Nimmo’s status against them. Lefties have always done better against Moore, so we should expect Nimmo to play.

Matchups To Lookout For 

Jacob deGrom vs. Rhys Hoskins: 3-for-16 (.188), Double, 4 Walks, 6 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. J.T. Realmuto: 4-for-25 (.160), Double, 9 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Didi Gregorious: 3-for-19 (.158), 4 Strikeouts

Matt Moore vs. Francisco Lindor: 8-for-13 (.615), Home Run

Matt Moore vs. Kevin Pillar: 1-for-11 (.091), 2 Strikeouts

 

Canceling The Mets Opening Series Could Open Up The Starting Rotation

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

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

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

Rotation Strength

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

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

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

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.

 

Mets’ Jacob deGrom is “aging like fine wine”

Another night, another impressive outing by New York Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom. During Thursday night’s start against the Houston Astros, the right-hander casually dropped 100 mph heaters, and even reached 102 mph at one point. He is such an ageless wonder that it is becoming customary.

When he wasn’t pumping fastballs by Astros’ hitters, he was freezing them with 94 mph changeups. Lots of major league pitchers would dream to have a heater as fast as deGrom’s changeup.

The 32-year-old Mets’ ace has found a way to increase velocity almost every single year of his career. When he broke into the league in 2014, the fastball averaged 94 miles per hour. The yearly increase began in 2018, with 96 mph, and it reached 97 on average in 2019. Last season, it usually hovered around 98.6 mph, but hit 102.2 during his final outing.

This time, he is already at 102 in spring training.

“He’s aging like fine wine,” Mets first baseman Pete Alonso said to MLB.com. “It’s so fun to watch, because every year, he just keeps getting better and better.”

The Mets’ ace totally dominated the Astros

During last night’s start, deGrom struck out seven of the nine hitters he faced, mostly Astros’ minor leaguers and bench players. His three innings on the mound were scoreless, and that didn’t surprise anyone in attendance.

“Totally dominated,” said a scout in attendance.

“He looked like a Hall of Famer out there,” added Alonso. If he looked like one, it’s probably because he is well on his way to be elected one day.

“He knows his routine,” Mets’ manager Luis Rojas said. “He’s gone through Spring Training before and these Opening Days now. … He knows what to do out there.”

Unsurprisingly, the Mets announced deGrom as their Opening Day starter, and the pitcher himself has said that winning his third Cy Young award is a personal goal of his. Watch out.

deGrom Lights Up Radar Gun, Alonso Homers Mets 1-0 Victory

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets played an untelevised game against the Houston Astros as Jacob deGrom faced Zack Greinke for the second straight outing. deGrom was as good as advertised and hit 102 mph on the radar gun as he continues to dazzle baseball.

deGrom faced nine batters and struck out seven of them in three innings pitched. He faced a lineup filled with backups and minor leaguers while the Mets put out a close to Opening Day lineup. Even with the lack of competition, deGrom did exactly what should be done when facing weaker competition. There may be a concern with deGrom throwing hard early on, but there is no reason not to trust the two-time Cy Young winner.

Pete Alonso provided the only run with his solo homer in the sixth inning. Despite also striking out twice, Alonso is hitting .313 this spring and has no issues hitting for power. Brandon Nimmo continued his hot spring with two more hits and pushed his average to .467.

Mets pitchers allowed just one hit and struck out 17 Astros. Mike Montgomery followed with two scoreless innings and four strikeouts. Jacob Barnes (1), Stephen Tarpley (2), and Daniel Zamora (1) combined for the final four innings.

The Mets are back on television for Friday’s matchup against the Miami Marlins. Marcus Stroman (1-0, 3.60 ERA) makes his third start of the spring against Pablo Lopez (0-0, 0.00). The first pitch from Clover Park is at 1:10 p.m ET.