Mets Patience At The Plate Leads To Their First Win of the Season, 8-4

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets lineup is built with dangerous hitters, and their terrific approaches at the plate gave them an 8-4 victory. Marcus Stroman led the Mets with six strong innings, allowing just one run and three hits to hand the Philadelphia Phillies their first loss of the season. Stroman only struck out three but stayed true to his craft with 13 ground ball outs.

Chase Anderson held his own against the menacing Mets hitters. He gave the Phillies five strong innings with a Dominic Smith two-run home run as the only blemish on his outing. The homer was no fault of his own because Smith swung at a ball by his shoulders but still managed to lose it to the opposite field. Vince Velasquez was the first reliever for the Phillies and had a “Jekyll and Hyde” outing. He struck out the 3-4-5 hitters in order in the sixth but was a completely different pitcher in the seventh.

Velasquez walked four batters, three in a row at one point, which eased the Mets into a 3-1 lead. Francisco Lindor picked up his first Mets RBI with a sacrifice fly followed by a first and third double steal, allowing the Mets to score their fifth run. The double steal easily could have been marked as an error on Didi Gregorius, who muffed a catchable throw at second base. Michael Conforto finished off the four-run inning with an RBI double. Pete Alonso put the finishing touches on the win by muscling a 2-run home run over the left field fence in the ninth inning.

Bullpen Woes

A five-run lead would have been an opportune time for Manager Luis Rojas to give Dellin Betances or Jeurys Familia some low leverage work, but he opted for Miguel Castro again. Castro bent but did not break after allowing three straight two-out hits and a run. He got Bryce Harper to fly out on a solid play by center fielder Brandon Nimmo to escape the jam.

Trevor May pitched into another jam in the eighth but struck out Brad Miller and Roman Quinn to slither out of a first and second situation. Jeurys Familia finally got some action with a six-run lead in the ninth and had tough luck on two weak hits and an error resulting in two unearned runs. Despite the issues, Familia got through the inning and completed the first win of the season.

The Mets defense compiled another two errors to push their count to three in the early season. Overall, the defense has been much better than last season, but they still have more work to join the upper class in the NL. The Mets’ eight walks were vital as the offense only mustered five hits. Four of those hits resulted in extra bases; two doubles and two home runs.

J.D. Davis also left the game in the second inning after getting drilled in the hand with a pitch. X-Rays came back negative and his status is day-to-day at the moment. On Wednesday, both teams play the rubber game of their series as the Mets send David Peterson to the mound against Aaron Nola. The first pitch is at 4:05 p.m. ET from Citizens Bank Park.

 

 

New York Mets: Offense Goes Silent in 3-0 Loss to Cardinals

Carlos Martinez has finally figured out a way to shut down the New York Mets in the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 victory. Martinez had a spring ERA over 10 heading into the outing but righted himself with a dominant outing. He threw six scoreless innings, allowing four hits, and struck out five.

The offense could not muster any consistent offense. They had at least one runner on base in five of Martinez’s six innings but could not parlay it to any run. Despite the slow team offense, Francisco Lindor recorded another hit and moved his spring average to .341. Jeff McNeil‘s double was the only extra-base hit as he tries to get himself out of a cold spell.

Originally Taijuan Walker was scheduled to pitch, but the Mets threw him in the “B” game and started Corey Oswalt. He rebounded from an ugly outing to deliver four innings, holding the Cards to one run. It came on John Nogowski‘s solo home run in the second inning; Nogowski is hitting a scorching 11-for-26 (.423) with two home runs and 11 RBIs. After the homer, Oswalt retired the last seven Cardinals he faced.

After Oswalt, Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances delivered scoreless innings with a walk and strikeout. Miguel Castro struck out two and hit 100 mph on the radar gun to continue his brilliant month. Castro has allowed just one hit over 5.1 innings in March. Jerry Blevins was touched up for the final two Cardinal runs in the eighth inning.

The Mets get Thursday off before returning to Clover Park to face the Washington Nationals. Kyle McGowin (2-0, 2.35 ERA) starts against David Peterson (0-0, 4.50 ERA) at 6:10 p.m. ET.

New York Mets: Defense Struggles in the Ninth in 4-3 Loss to Nationals

The New York Mets and Washington Nationals were reluctant to play defense in Saturday night’s matchup. Both teams combined for five errors on the night, and it helped lead to a Nats 4-3 victory in walk-off fashion.

The Mets’ offense got started early thanks to two Nats’ first-inning errors. Juan Soto‘s error allowed Michael Conforto to advance to third and J.D. Davis to second on his single. Both came around to score on Carter Kieboom‘s throwing error, giving the Mets an early 2-0 lead. The bats went silent for the rest of the game as their third run came on a wild pitch in the seventh inning.

Pitching Strong As Ever

Mets pitchers were solid under the bright lights. Jordan Yamamoto allowed an RBI double to Josh Bell in the first inning but settled in after. Yamamoto pitched 3.1 innings, allowed one run, and retired eight in a row at one point. Jonathan Villar‘s error at third base caused the end of Yamamoto’s start. Through 8.1 innings this spring, Yamamoto has allowed one run and no home runs.

Edwin Diaz was electric and efficient in his one inning of work. He sandwiched a one-pitch out between two, three-pitch strikeouts. Diaz also reached triple digits with his fastball and has retired all nine batters this spring with five strikeouts. Miguel Castro and Drew Smith continued their strong months as each hurled a scoreless inning. Both pitchers are very undervalued parts of a deep bullpen.

Things got crazy when Ryley Gilliam entered in the ninth. Yadiel Hernandez singled to lead off and moved to second on a wild pitch. Jackson Cluff‘s bunt single moved Hernandez to third and put the Nats in business with no outs. A fielder’s choice allowed the Nats to tie the game, then an error by third baseman Mark Vientos but the winning run in scoring position.

Gilliam uncorked another wild pitch to move runners to second and third for Andrew Stevenson. After getting the second out, Yasmany Tomas singled past a diving Wilfredo Tovar to win it for the Nats. Gilliam has allowed three runs and five hits in his two outings this spring.

David Peterson (0-0, 0.00) takes the mound in Port St. Lucie as the St. Louis Cardinals return to town. Carlos Martinez (0-1, 11.57) throws for the Cards at 1:10 p.m. ET on SNY.

Mets are reportedly concerned with Jeurys Familia’s control

New York Mets, Jeurys Familia

Jeurys Familia has been a good reliever for a long time. He is 31 and has spent most of his career with the New York Mets, he went to a World Series with them, and has a 3.20 ERA in 439.1 innings during his nine-year MLB tenure.

Yet the Mets are, at this point in spring training, concerned about the right-hander’s control. Familia has given more than six walks per nine innings in the last two seasons, and it’s worrisome that he can’t throw strikes consistently.

According to MLB.com’s Mets beat writer Anthony DiComo, the Mets “are concerned enough with Jeurys Familia’s control that they have instructed James McCann and other catchers to have Familia aim for the middle of the plate. They hope that in that fashion, the natural movement on Familia’s pitches — particularly his sinker — will matter more than the precise location of them.”

It sounds like a good strategy. Familia had a decent 3.71 ERA last season, but it won’t last long if he keeps running a 7.76 K/9 and a 6.41 BB/9.

The Mets’ struggling relievers

Talking about Familia and fellow struggling reliever Dellin Betances, Mets’ manager Luis Rojas showed faith in them. “They bring so much — their experience, their demeanor in the clubhouse, their demeanor out there,” he said. “They’re both working on new things.”

Familia delivered 31 pitches on Thursday, and he pitched a scoreless inning despite two walks and a fly ball to the warning track.

Familia said he felt “excellent” and said his plan is to incorporate a four-seamer with more regularity.

“It’s not a new pitch,” Familia said through an interpreter. “But this season, and this Spring Training as well, I’ve been trying to incorporate that more.”

The new pitch mix can help, but if Familia can’t consistently throw strikes, it would be very hard for him to repeat a sub-4.00 ERA in 2021.

New York Mets: Aaron Loup and Other Opener Options

Simeon Woods-Richardson

“Who wouldn’t want to be the guy to start the game and then get to sit in the clubhouse and drink a few brews on the back end and watch the rest of it, you know?”

Aaron Loup‘s first press conference with the New York Mets already produced the best quote from camp on an interesting topic. Loup’s former employer (Tampa Bay Rays) revolutionized baseball by introducing the opener, and the veteran lefty would love opening for the Mets.

The Rays implemented the strategy because of their lack of quality starting pitching. The Mets have less of a need for an opener because Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, and Marcus Stroman are already established starting pitchers. An opener would help conserve innings for David Peterson and Noah Syndergaard or pitchers coming off rough 2020s like Joey Lucchesi or Jordan Yamamoto. Here are three solid opener options for 2021.

Aaron Loup

Loup pitched in 24 games for the AL champs but never opened for them. His splits from last season had right-handed hitters hitting for a worse average than the lefties (.192 vs. .212). Despite the great 2020 splits, Loup has always dominated lefties. Each NL East team has at least one All-Star caliber hitter at the top of their projected lineup (Juan Soto, Bryce Harper, Freddie Freeman, Corey Dickerson). The downside of using Loup as an opener would leave the bullpen without another left-handed reliever.

Jeurys Familia

Familia fits the “Sergio Romo” mold of a perfect opener as a former closer who cannot cut it in the ninth inning anymore. He rebounded from a rough 2019 to put up a 3.71 ERA over 25 games but still struggled with walks (6.4 BB/9). The Mets do not trust/need Familia in the late innings but he is still useful as a middle reliever. Familia limits hard contact very well and pitches better with a new inning. He was a starting pitcher as a rising prospect in the Mets farm system.

Miguel Castro

Castro sidearm delivery with electric stuff and makes him a reliever with a ton of potential. His strikeout rate (90th percentile) and fastball velocity (99th percentile) show the level he can reach. On the other hand, Castro was in the 9th percentile for exit velocity and hard-hit rates.

Castro is very much an “all or nothing” type of pitcher. It makes him a huge risk to use late in games because of the possibility of three strikeouts coming with a home run. This risk is better taken in the first inning than in the eighth or ninth when the game is on the line. Out of the three options, Castro would be the best as an opener.

 

 

New York Mets reportedly trying to “find takers” for Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances

The New York Mets are putting together a quite talented roster that can, as of today, compete with the Atlanta Braves for the top spot in the National League East division. New owner Steve Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson have worked to bring top talent to the organization and have mostly succeeded, even if they failed to capture Trevor Bauer, George Springer or JT Realmuto.

The bullpen, once considered a weakness, is actually good at this point. The fact that the New York Mets brought several rotation reinforcements means that Seth Lugo will return to a setup role.

Additionally, the Mets signed Trevor May and also have Edwin Diaz, Robert Gsellman, Jacob Barnes, Miguel Castro, Brad Brach, Sam McWilliams, Aaron Loup, Drew Smith, Dellin Betances, and Jeurys Familia.

The last two, though, are very expensive. The Mets, therefore, are looking for ways to trade them to other teams, even if it means taking on some of their salary for the 2021 season.

The Mets want to trade their two relievers

According to Andy Martino of SNY.tv, rival executives told him that the Mets “have been trying to find takers” for the contracts of the two aforementioned right-handed relievers.

Familia will earn $11.7 million in 2021 and is in the final year of his contract, while Betances will make $6 million and is also going to be a free agent after the season.

Finding takers for those contracts will not be an easy task for the Mets, especially because Betances struggled mightly in 2020 (7.71 ERA, 4.91 FIP) and will turn 33 when the season is underway.

Familia had a better 2020 (3.71 ERA, 4.92 FIP in 26.2 innings) but is also more expensive. It remains to be seen if the Mets get any interest on their par of relievers, but they have been excellent before even if 2020 wasn’t quite their year.

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Pitcher Jeurys Familia

Jeurys Familia‘s return to the New York Mets did not go as planned during the 2019 season. Familia’s control issues caused him to put up the highest ERA of his career. While 2020 was not a return to All-Star form, Familia still proved to be a reliable option in the Mets bullpen.

We forget that Familia came into camp in February with a significant weight loss. His weight caused issues in repeating his complicated delivery in 2019, and the change helped revive his career. Familia struggled through his first seven outings of the season with a 5.91 ERA. The control issues remained as he walked six in 6.1 innings, but batters only had a .391 slugging against him.

Finding His Groove

It took a two-inning, four-strikeout appearance for Familia to hit his stride in the season. In those final 18 appearances, Familia threw 20.1 innings, had a 3.10 ERA, and batters hit just .187 against him. While his walked rate slightly decreased, he still walked 13 batters over that period. As Familia started to pitch better, he started to pitch later in the game.

Familia’s sinker location played a major part in his success, and also a little bit of luck helped too. In 2019, the average aginst it was .311, but the expected batting average was .277. Things regressed to normal in 2020 as the average against was .245 with a .276 xba. While he did not throw it as often, Familia’s fastball had an average velocity increase of almost 1.5 mph. He pitched above the strike zone with it as well to drop the average from .407 to .091.

The best part of Familia’s game was his ability to get out of jams. Hitters went 4-for-27 with runners in scoring position and 7-for-37 in late and close situations.

2021 Outlook

There are two things to be concerned with when it comes to Familia repeating his success. His 4.92 FIP was worse than it was in 2019. What saved him was his BABIP being just under 100 points lower in 2020 (.346 to .247). Familia’s walk and strikeout rates heading in opposite directions is also a cause for concern. Both were his worst numbers since his 2013 season when he only pitched in nine games.

Overall, Familia was productive with a 3.71 ERA in 25 games. As he heads into the final year of his deal, they could be cautious with how they used him early in the season. Despite the ERA being lower, other statistics show that he is in the middle of a regression. By no means that is his course for 2021, but his walk rate will be the root of any problems.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Sinker: 50 (45), Thrown 45.2% of the time, and led to his success. Can he rein in the movement is the biggest question for Familia.

Slider: 75 (75), Still tremendous pitch for Familia, great change of pace from his hard stuff.

4-Seam Fastball: 80 (70), I think it will regress since the whiff rate was under 20%, but it will still be effective.

Splitter: 70 (65), Most Familia has ever thrown it at 11.2% and shows potential for more success with a 26.1% whiff rate. Hitters also had a very tough time trying to elevate it.

Curve: 50 (N/A), Only threw one, and it looked like a slower slider that went for a bloop double.

Command: 35 (30), The track record over the last two seasons does not show it will improve.

Overall: 50 (45), Familia’s 2021 is like a coin flip. I do believe a full spring camp benefits him.

New York Mets: Four Run Ninth Inning Catapults 10-6 Win

The final game of the series for the New York Mets against the Philadelphia Phillies was all about surviving and advancing to the next game. Their starting pitcher did not make it out of the second inning, seven combined runs were scored in the first inning, and two pitchers had to throw on their third consecutive day. Despite all of it, the Mets lived to steal a 10-6 victory from the Phillies.

The Mets immediately got a lead for Seth Lugo in the first inning. Dominic Smith‘s RBI double followed by Robinson Cano‘s two-run single gave the Mets an early 3-0 lead. After Lugo struck out the first batter he faced, it was clear he had nothing on the mound.

He allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs to give back the lead as quickly as the Mets got it. After allowing a Jean Segura triple, Adam Haseley drove him in to give the Phillies a 4-3 first-inning lead. Lugo allowed another two runs in the second inning and had to be replaced with Erasmo Ramirez.

Uphill Battle

The Mets bullpen gave them everything they needed and more for the second straight night. Ramirez started with 2.1 shutout innings, Chasen Shreve followed with another 2.1 scoreless innings. During that period, a Pete Alonso solo homer and Brandon Nimmo‘s two-run triple got the Mets even with the Phillies in the sixth.

After Jeurys Familia got through the seventh, he ran into trouble in the eighth. Justin Wilson came in for a third straight game an showed the ill-effects of all the work. Wilson could not locate anything and walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases. Luckily he found the strike zone on one pitch to get Didi Gregorius to pop out and survive the eighth.

The Mets offense came alive in the ninth inning. Nimmo led off the ninth with a home run, Smith had an RBI triple, and Cano capped it off with a two-run home run. Things did not come easy for Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the ninth. He was also in for the third straight day but worked around three walks, getting the Mets a big win.

On Friday, the Mets begin a three-game weekend series against the Atlanta Braves. Steven Matz makes his return to the rotation and faces Cy Young candidate Max Fried. The first pitch from Citi Field is at 7:10 p.m. ET.

New York Mets: Middle of the Order Carries the Mets to an 8-4 Victory

The New York Mets longed for a game where the middle of their lineup finally broke out in a big way. Their 3-4-5 combination of J.D. Davis, Pete Alonso, and Michael Conforto combined for a home run each and drove in all eight of the Mets runs in their 8-4 win over the Miami Marlins.

Davis moved his hitting streak to 12-games with his third-inning single. He also flashed the leather and his strong arm at third base, proving his defense at third improved significantly from last season. Alonso’s home run was a lined shot that came of the bat at 116.9 mph. He also drew a walk on the night, though he is not entirely out of his slump, the last three games are very encouraging.

Peterson Staying Strong

Mets starter David Peterson struggled with his command throughout the night but managed to hold the Marlins to two runs over five innings. Their poor decision making on 3-0 counts also bailed Peterson out twice during his outing. Despite struggling with his command, it was encouraging to see a young pitcher battle and keep his team in the lead through his start.

In the sixth inning, Jeurys Familia walked three batters but had help from Drew Smith to get out of the inning, keeping a one-run lead. In the final three innings, the bullpen held the Marlins scoreless, and Robert Gsellman also made his season debut.

The Mets hope to take the series on Sunday afternoon when Jacob deGrom takes the mound at 1:10 p.m. ET. Pablo Lopez makes the start for the Marlins as he attempts to keep up with the day game warrior that deGrom is.

New York Mets: Matz Struggles, Kendrick Dominates in 5-3 Loss

The first two starts for New York Mets starter Steven Matz had promise that he could step up as their two starter. His third start of the season disrupted the momentum he was building. The Washington Nationals took advantage of Matz’s inability to pitch inside and knocked him out of the game after three innings to win 5-3.

Matz struggled to control his four-seam fastball throughout the start. Despite throwing 78 pitches in only three innings, he did not walk anyone. The Nationals worked him into deep counts and continued to put the ball in play against Matz. He allowed seven hits, five runs, and two home runs.

Solo home runs from Howie Kendrick in the first inning, and Josh Harrison in the second got the Nationals out to an early 2-0 lead. The Nats tacked on three more runs in the third, and it was all they needed on the night. Kendrick led the way with four hits, which brought his average to an even .300 on the short season.

Despite Matz’s struggles, the Mets bullpen hurled six shutout innings to keep the Mets in the game. The combination of Paul Sewald, Jeurys Familia, Dellin Betances, and Edwin Diaz only allowed three hits. It was most encouraging to receive good outings from Betances and Diaz, who the Mets need to pitch well if they want any chance to turn around their season.

Conforto Stays Hot

The Mets needed offensive production from their outfield as three-quarters of their starting infield is dealing with injuries. Robinson Cano landed on the 10-day IL, while Jeff McNeil and Amed Rosario are day-to-day. Michael Conforto came into the matchup with Nationals starter, Patrick Corbin, with ten hits, including four home runs. His two-run home run was their only base hit on the night and opened up their scoring.

Pete Alonso struck out twice on the night, but his RBI single provided the third Mets run. He still is in the midst of a season wide slump, but at least recording one hit and a walk is a step in the right direction. Moving Alonso down in the order would strengthen the Mets offense until he starts to return to his 2019 form.

Andres Gimenez was the only Mets to record multiple hits on the night. He replaced the injured Rosario at shortstop and made a couple of solid defensive plays as well. The play of Gimenez has quickly moved him from the 30th man on the roster to a player they cannot afford to send back to their training site.

The Mets continued their lousy baseball in the eighth when Brian Dozier was thrown out as second base while the Mets had the tying run at the plate. Dozier attempted to advance when a ball trickled away from Yan Gomes, and after being called safe, the replay review overturned the call.

The Mets also left ten runners on base, despite recording ten hits on the night. Their lack of ability to record any hit other than a single is halting their offense.

This sums up the Mets’ horrible start to the season as another veteran makes an unexcused mistake. Mickey Callaway may longer be the manager, but his presence remains with how this year’s team plays.

On Wednesday, Rick Porcello tries to get the Mets a split of the two-game series. He has his work cut out for him as he faces Nationals ace, Max Scherzer. The first pitch is at an unusual 6:05 p.m. ET from Nationals Park.