New York Mets Series Preview: Miami Marlins (8/7-8/9)

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets return to Citi Field after an off day to play the first-place Miami Marlins. At 6-1, the Marlins have had plenty of games postponed due to their COVID-19 outbreak. Despite the hot start, the quarantine period for some of their players will be a lot to overcome.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Friday, (8/7) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Humberto Mejia (MLB Debut) vs. Michael Wacha (1-1, 6.00 ERA)

Saturday, (8/8) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. David Peterson (1-1, 3.86 ERA)

Sunday (8/9) @ 1:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. Jacob deGrom (1-0, 2.12 ERA)

The Mets get Jeff McNeil back into the lineup after sitting out the last couple of games dealing with an intercostal strain. Even more interesting for the Mets is the switch of J.D. Davis to third base and McNeil to the outfield. Davis shined with the glove at third in his one start on Wednesday, and McNeil has been a liability to start the season.

Jacob deGrom gets to pitch another day game, which is a specialty for the Mets ace. He has an ERA under two during the day time starts. With a lineup as weak as the Marlins currently is, it should be easy pickings for the two-time Cy Young winner.

Matchups to Lookout For

Jacob deGrom vs. Lewis Brinson: 4-for-20 (.200), Double, 8 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Jon Berti: 5-for-12 (.417), 3 Doubles, 2 Strikeouts

New York Mets Injury Report (8/6/20)

New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets injuries piled up over the second week of the season and it decimated three-quarters of their infield. Here is a look at all of the injuries the Mets are dealing with.

Amed Rosario has left quad tightness that he suffered during Monday’s game against the Atlanta Braves. The injury kept him out of both games against the Washington Nationals but it was not serious enough to put him on the Injured List. He should return to the lineup during the weekend.

Robinson Cano landed on the 10-day IL after a Grade 2 left adductor strain. He suffered the injury attempting to score from second on an infield single and sliding into home plate. It was clear Cano would suffer some type of injury when he had to run at 100%. Cano is confident he will be ready to play once his stint on the IL finishes.

Jeff McNeil has an intercostal strain that kept him out for the last three games. He also sees the injury as minor and should expect to find time in the lineup over the weekend. J.D. Davis solid defense at third base gives real question to McNeil possibly playing left field when he is healthy.

Depth Injuries

Rene Rivera hyperextended his elbow after only two games in 2020. His timetable for a return is unclear but the Mets likely will not carry a third catcher when the roster shrinks on Thursday.

Jake Marisnick has a left hamstring strain which has plagued him since summer camp began. He is scheduled to come off the IL over the weekend but the Mets trading for Billy Hamilton shows the injury is severe. Hamilton was brought in to replace the defense of Marisnick on the roster.

Eduardo Nunez has a left knee contusion he suffered attempting to beat out a ground ball. There is no timetable for his return and upon it he will be unlikely to make the 28-man roster with the play of Andres Gimenez and Luis Guillorme.

Marcus Stroman threw a four-inning simulated game last Friday and is scheduled to throw another on Thursday in Brooklyn. HIs left calf tear has kept him out through the first two weeks of the season but the Mets rotation needs him back. The biggest challenge for Stroman is to field his position. It clear he can pitch but he cannot move off the mound at 100%.

Robert Gsellman should return within the next few days from right triceps tightness. He still has to throw live batting practice but will join the Mets as soon as healthy. Gsellman will be a good addition to the Mets’ middle relief core.

Brad Brach tested positive for COVID-19, which landed him on the IL. He should return a few days after Gsellman and started throwing bullpen sessions during the week. Much like Gsellman, Brach sures up the middle relief core.

Long Term Injuries

Noah Syndergaard started throwing in his recovery from Tommy John Surgery. He had a catch with 2020 draft pick, J.T. Ginn, about a week ago but will not see the field until the 2021 season.

Jed Lowrie’s season came to an end when he landed on the 45-day IL with PCL laxity in his left knee. It affirmatively ended his Mets career, recording zero hits and going down as one of the worst contracts in Mets history.

Three New York Mets infielders got injured on Monday, but they are day-to-day

The New York Mets finally stopped a five-game losing streak on Monday night and beat the Atlanta Braves 7-2 behind six solid innings from their ace, Jacob deGrom. The fact that the Mets offense managed to cross the plate seven times in a deGrom start alone needs to be celebrated at this point.

However, the victory was a costly one from an injury standpoint. Before the game, third baseman Jeff McNeil was scratched because of back tightness he reported after batting practice. The issue doesn’t sound like it would require a multi-game absence, though.

After driving in three runs on a couple of hits, starting second baseman Robinson Cano left the game with left groin tightness. He was injured while trying to score from second base on a grounder, and it is yet another lower-body injury for the veteran infielder, as he had several of them last season and spent a large portion of the offseason strengthening the zone. He is considered day to day.

Mets’ infield depth could be tested in the short-term

Before Cano had to exit the game, shortstop Amed Rosario did it with left quad tightness after he grounded a ball to third base and moved slowly out of the batter’s box. The situation may look worrisome at first sight, but it appears that all three injuries are minor and all players involved should be back in the diamond soon.

According to what the New York Mets’ manager Luis Rojas told MLB.com, the weather in Atlanta may have played a role in the events, with humidity spiking over 80 percent last night and facilitating dehydration.

“It’s our fourth game here in Atlanta, [and it was] coming after that game [Sunday] where it was really hot,” Rojas said. “It’s unfortunate it happened to three guys today.”

The Mets are going to need the three men back as soon as possible, as they are currently in fourth place in the National League East division with a 4-7 record. They will face the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.

New York Mets: Cespedes Absence and Opt Out Looms Over 4-0 Loss

New York Mets, Yeonis Cespedes

It was the same story but a different day for the New York Mets, but the mysterious absence then opt out of Yoenis Cespedes became the talk of the game in their 4-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves. As for the players who were on the field, they failed to take advantage of ten hits in the shutout.

It was another chapter in the book of stupidity from the franchise. There were multiple reasons why the Mets made a dumb decision by releasing their statement as early as they did. Brodie Van Wagenen released it shortly after game time, and it became more talked about than the game itself. The Mets also released the statement knowing as much information as we did. They could have held off on releasing any statement at all until they received any new information.

We had to wait until the game ended to find out Cespedes is opting out for the rest of the season. It is a sad ending to a tenure that started in brilliance in 2015. Like we saw with other Cespedes teams in the past his attitude and character forced him to move from team to team. It was clear that his performance was the dictating factor for his opt-out, using “COVID” reasons for his opt-out. Should he have played well, there is no reason why he would not have remained with the team.

There Was a Game Today?

At this point, it is comical at how bad the Mets are at driving in runs. They continued their struggles with runners in scoring position, going 1-for-15, and leaving 13 total runners on base. Strikeouts and double plays kill the Mets as well. They had 11 on the day, and both double plays killed key rallies. For once, the Mets received decent pitching, but the offense, like Cespedes, was absent.

David Peterson gave the Mets another solid start to build on his debut. The rookie pitched six innings, allowing two runs and striking out eight. Peterson used his slider to keep the Braves off-balance, and it helped get swing and misses on his fastball. He also ran into trouble during the third and fourth innings, which could have ended his outing early. Peterson got stronger after that, retiring the final eight batters he faced.

Edwin Diaz pitched after Peterson and immediately walked the first batter he faced. It prompted a visit from pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, and it looked like he did a majority of the talking to get Diaz’s mind in check. Diaz responded great by recording a strikeout and getting a soft liner that Robinson Cano turned into a double play. The outing is a good step in the right direction for Diaz’s attempt to revive his career.

Hot and Cold

Jeff McNeil and Robinson Cano continued doing all they could to attempt to get the Mets on the board. McNeil added another three hits to move his average up to .343, and Cano recorded a hit that extended his hitting streak to 6-games.

Pete Alonso had the worst looking game of his season-long slump. He went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and left six runners on base. Alonso’s lack of approach showed an anxious hitter who is overthinking at the moment. There is no doubt that he will find his way out of it, but manager Luis Rojas has to think about dropping him in the order until he at least puts together better at-bats.

At 3-7 on the season, they need a tremendous turnaround or a season cancellation to put themselves out of their misery. With the way they are driving runs now, there is no end in sight for the Mets failures. On Monday, the Mets attempt to avoid the sweep as Jacob deGrom takes the mound in an attempt to end the five-game losing streak. He faces off against his Opening Day counterpart Mike Soroka. The first pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET.

New York Mets: The Home Series Preview Against the Boston Red Sox

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets got themselves back on track in Fenway Park with back to back victories to open up their four-game, home and home series with the Boston Red Sox. They revived their offense and received two good starting pitching outings from the back of their rotation. The Mets try to take the series as it shifts back to Citi Field.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Wednesday, July 29 @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Thursday, July 30 @ 7:07 p.m. ET: Martin Perez (0-1, 7.20 ERA) vs. Steven Matz (0-0, 1.50 ERA)

The Mets are 3-2 thanks to two solid starts from Michael Wacha and David Peterson. After Rick Porcello struggled against the Atlanta Braves, significant questions were surrounding the starting rotation. Though those questions still linger, they have quieted thanks to Wacha and Peterson combining to allow three runs over 10.2 innings pitched.

Take the Sweep

The Mets have an excellent opportunity to sweep a struggling Red Sox team, who has lost four straight. The best two starters in the Mets staff will throw the final two games and were both impressive in their two starts against the Braves. deGrom has a career 3.46 ERA against the Red Sox, his highest against any American League team (min. 10 IP). Matz is making his first career start against the Sox.

The Mets are changing their lineup around for game one of the series as Andres Gimenez makes his first start at shortstop, and Rene Rivera does the catching for deGrom. Dominic Smith also makes his first start of the season in left field as manager Luis Rojas opts for offense over defense in the outfield.

Also, keep a lookout for the defense of Jeff McNeil at third base. He already has three errors through five games, the most he has made at any position in his career. Throwing has been the issue for McNeil, and despite Pete Alonso messing up a couple of scoops, his errors come when he does not put enough on his throws.

Matchups to Lookout For

Nathan Eovaldi vs. Yoenis Cespedes: 4-for-12 (.333), Double, 2 RBIs

Martin Perez vs. Yoenis Cespedes: 5-for-15 (.333), Double, Triple, RBI, 2 Walks,

Dellin Betances vs. Xander Bogaerts: 3-for-21 (.143), Double, 2 RBI, 8 Strikeouts

New York Mets Ride Peterson’s MLB Debut to 8-3 Win

The New York Mets opted for David Peterson to make his MLB debut against the Boston Red Sox, and he did not disappoint. Peterson had the longest Mets outing of the season and became the first rookie since Steven Matz in 2015 to get a win in his first career start.

The rookie left-hander continued to ease the stress the Mets had thinking about the starting rotation. Peterson threw 5.2 innings, allowing seven hits, two runs and struck out three. He was not dominating by any means, but his line is what the Mets want out of their fifth starter. Peterson also received help from his defense, which turned two double plays for him.

Red Hot Offense

The Mets’ offensive struggles from opening weekend seem far behind them now. Much like Monday’s victory, they used a crooked number in the second inning to build a lead they never gave up. J.D. Davis led the way with a two-run homer and a double. It was a well-rounded effort as Jeff McNeil and Robinson Cano each recorded two hits and a double.

The only two Mets who failed to record a hit were Pete Alonso and Yoenis Cespedes. While Alonso drew a walk, both have started the season 2-for-20 and 2-for-14, respectively, with half of their hits coming via the home run.

Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances continued to look strong out of the Mets bullpen, each hurling a scoreless inning. Drew Smith also struck out the only batter he faced in relief of Peterson.

After taking the first two games in Boston, they return home to face the Red Sox at Citi Field. They put themselves in an excellent position to build a lead in the division as Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz will throw the next two games. The first pitch between deGrom and Nathan Eovaldi is Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. in Queens.

 

New York Mets: Second Base Options Without Robinson Cano

New York Mets’ second baseman, Robinson Cano’s absence from summer camp, is a growing issue each day. The Mets have no timetable for his return, and they will need to figure out a replacement if he is not ready for opening weekend in just ten days.

Jeff McNeil

The obvious choice comes in moving Jeff McNeil to second base. Though his best defensive position is at third base, his production at second base would rank with the best in baseball. With moving McNeil to second, third base needs a replacement.

For the best offense, J.D. Davis moves to third, which allows the combination of Yoenis Cespedes and Dominic Smith to play a majority of the time in left field. Defensively, a healthy Jed Lowrie moves to third, allowing Davis/Cespedes to split DH and left field.

Jed Lowrie

If Jed Lowrie is ever healthy enough to play consistently, he is the simplest option. Lowrie has been a second baseman since 2016 and allows McNeil to remain at third base. He is likely the only switch hitter to stay on the Mets 30-man roster when camp breaks. With his damaged legs, at an older age, it is safe to assume his defense is not what it used to be but could hold the position if Cano is only out for a short period.

Andres Gimenez

Things get interesting with Andres Gimenez. The natural shortstop and top prospect is a long shot at earning a starting job in 2020. He has only played 26 games at second base throughout the minors but is a high upside option should the Mets turn to him for a 60-game sprint.

Due to the Mets’ “win-now” mentality, he needs a very impressive summer camp for the Mets to give him the nod to play every day at second base. During the 30-man roster period, he should see a couple of games there, without Cano, but anything more is unlikely at the moment.

Can New York Mets’ Jeff McNeil hit .400? “Hopefully,” he says

Jeff McNeil is a special hitter. Yes, he only has a couple of seasons of MLB experience, but it is not hard to reach that conclusion. He has a lifetime batting average of .321 in 815 plate appearances and 196 games, and when he catches fire, you know something special could happen. Reports from the New York Mets’ camp at Citi Field are glowing, as players and coaches say he has been crushing the ball.

When we consider the fact that the 2020 season will only have 60 games, there will be space for plenty of statistical oddities. For example, it is not so crazy to imagine a player finishing with a sub-2.00s ERA, or over .400 of batting average. Jeff McNeil is certainly a candidate for the latter.

During the first 60 games of the 2019 season, the Mets’ infielder hit .329. However, it was as high as .370 at one point. Given how good he is looking, could he hit the sacred milestone? It will be extremely hard, but possible. Why not?

Could the Mets’ hitting machine make history?

The last player to ever hit at least .400 during a complete season was Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams in 1941.

“It would be nice. I know I had a good first half of the year last year. Hopefully I can do it again,” McNeil said on Thursday, per SNY.tv. “I’ve got 60 games to go out there and get as many hits as possible. Hopefully by the end of the year it is .400, but we’ll see. My goal is just to get on base as much as I can for the guys behind me.”

He understands, however, that in such a short season, the focus will be on taking the New York Mets to the promised land: the playoffs.

“The ultimate goal is to go out there, make the playoffs, and win a World Series,” said McNeil. “That’s still our goal. Personally, I’m trying to go up there every single at-bat, get on base, and make good things happen for this team.”

New York Mets: Jeff McNeil Getting Himself Game Ready

As Spring Training 2.0 is right around the corner, Jeff McNeil is getting his swing back in rhythm. The 2019 New York Mets All-Star took some cuts against live pitching and looked game-ready with his home run swing.

Before heading to Citi Field, McNeil headed to Wahoos Indoor Baseball League to get his reps in. He took on New York Yankees prospect Matt Sauer in the hitting tunnel. When McNeil connected on a ball that looked like a homer off the bat he dropped the first bat flip we have seen from him.

The McNeil Factor

The Mets would certainly welcome the power production from McNeil in 2020. He is a vital part of a powerful Mets lineup. In 2019 he slashed .318/.384/.531 with 23 home runs and 38 doubles. That power production also came with a low strikeout rate with only 75 punchouts in 133 games.

McNeil also carries versatility unmatched by anyone on the Mets roster. He batted in five different lineup spots and also played both corner positions along with second and third base. For the modified 2020 season, McNeil likely plays third base a majority of the time which is his best defensive position. In a 60-game season, he is also the Mets best candidate to finish the season with the magical .400 batting average.

Ranking the New York Mets Second Basemen of the Last 20 Seasons

The New York Mets had a steady rotation of second basemen over the last 20 seasons. One common theme is their second basemen tend to carry the team during the postseason. Our first two names on the list exemplify postseason excellence the best.

1. Daniel Murphy (2008-15)

Daniel Murphy put together one of the greatest postseasons in baseball history. In 2015, he hit .421 with seven home runs, including homers in six consecutive games to lead the Mets to an NL Championship. Murphy did not play second base every day until 2012 and was raw at the position but turned himself into a very serviceable defender. He is third all-time on the Mets doubles list with 228.

2. Edgardo Alfonzo (1995-2002)

Edgardo Alfonzo spent the earlier part of his career at third base but moved over to second when Robin Ventura arrived in 1999 and stayed there until 2001. During that period, he hit .293/.381/.487 and averaged 23 home runs and 34 doubles per season. Alfonzo added an All-Star appearance, four postseason home runs, and only made 22 errors during those three seasons.

3. Jeff McNeil (2018-19)

Jeff McNeil settled in at second base during his rookie season in 2018, but the acquisition of Robinson Cano made him a utility guy in 2019. As a second baseman, he is hitting .323 with nine home runs, 19 doubles, and six triples. When baseball starts again, he will likely play a majority of third base.

4. Neil Walker (2016-17)

Neil Walker had the tall task of replacing Daniel Murphy and played great. The only problem came with Murphy’s power surge with the Washington Nationals over shadowed Walker’s greatness. He batted .275/.344/.462 with 33 home runs in 186 games in Flushing.

5. Jose Valentin (2006-07)

Jose Valentin earned his ranking based on his revival season of 2006. The 36-year old veteran batted .170 the year prior and took the job away from Kazuo Matsui. Valentin batted .271 with 18 home runs and 62 runs batted in to stabilize the bottom of the Mets order.

6. Luis Castillo (2007-10)

Unfortunately, Mets fans will only remember Luis Castillo for his dropped pop-up against the New York Yankees. He batted .274 with 55 stolen bases and still played Gold Glove defense at second base. Castillo only made 21 errors over 365 games.

7. Robinson Cano (2019)

The Mets took a significant risk in bringing in Robinson Cano, and he played just okay during his first season with the Mets. It was a tale of two seasons for Cano; he hit .240/.287/.360 with only four home runs during the first half of the season. Cano returned to his hall of fame form in the second half batting .284/.339/.541 with nine home runs and could have done more damage if a hamstring injury did not slow him down.

8. Roberto Alomar (2002-03)

Roberto Alomar seemed like a safer risk than Cano, but Alomar never produced as a Met. Like Cano, he only played okay but never put up his All-Star caliber numbers. Alomar’s .265 average was the lowest he had with any team he played with for at least 200 games.

9. Ruben Tejada (2010-15, 19) 

Before primarily playing shortstop, Ruben Tejada spent the first two seasons of his career playing second base. Never known for his power, he slashed .256/.338/.314 with only one home run but had 27 doubles in 174 games.

10. Kazuo Matsui (2004-06)

Kazuo Matsui was the definition of disappointment after coming with so much hype that Jose Reyes had to play second base in 2004. While the Yankees struck gold with a different Matsui, the Mets got one decent season in 2004 with Kazuo, but he was playing shortstop in all but three games. He hit .274 with 32 doubles during his rookie season but failed to keep himself on the field during the following two. Matsui ended up with the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Eli Marrero.