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.

New York Mets Find Their Offense and Wacha Shines in 7-4 Win

The New York Mets only needed four innings to surpass their scoring total from the first three games of the season. They did all of their scoring during innings 2-4 and used three home runs to fuel their 7-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox. The win was also Michael Wacha‘s first in a Mets uniform.

Two-run home runs from Michael Conforto and Pete Alonso in the second and third inning got things started. Both were monster shots but in different ways. Conforto’s traveled 434-feet while Alonso’s was a missile coming off the bat at 116 mph. Dominic Smith added a three-run homer in the fourth to extend the Mets lead to seven. Wilson Ramos also added a double and single to the Mets offense.

Splendid Debut

Michael Wacha had an opposite debut to Rick Porcello. He gave the Mets five strong innings, allowing five hits, striking out four and the only run coming on a Mitch Moreland home run. Wacha kept the Red Sox off balance throughout his start, using his changeup and cutter very effectively. It is a good sign for the Mets rotation, which had significant concerns after Porcello’s disastrous start.

Chasen Shreve pitched two innings following Wacha with the only blemish coming on a Xander Bogaerts home run. The line for Jeurys Familia was uglier than it was during the game. Outside of a Rafael Devers double, the Red Sox did not do too much damage.

A groundball Jeff McNeil could have thrown home in a closer game resulted in an out, and the other hit came on a seeing-eye single up the middle. Familia’s control was not as sharp as it was during his first outing, but his slider was very sharp.

Seth Lugo cleaned up the mess in the eighth and carried the momentum to the ninth inning to retired all four batters in his four-out save. Through the first two outings, it is evident that Lugo is already the best Mets reliever.

For Tuesday’s matchup, the Mets still have not named a starter as of 11 p.m. on Monday. The likeliest option is either David Peterson to make his MLB debut or a bullpen game. Whoever pitches will be opposed by Matt Hall from the Red Sox. The first pitch is at 7:30 p.m. ET.

New York Mets: Bobby Bonilla Isn’t The Only One Getting Paid Today

For the New York Mets and their fans, the dreaded Bobby Bonilla day has arrived. Just like every July 1 until 2035, Bonilla receives his $1,193,248.20 in deferred money. What most fans do not realize is that Bonilla is not the only one receiving deferred money.

Every team in baseball has at least one deferred contract they regret. Unfortunately for the Mets, Bonilla won the grand prize for his lack of production and length of his deferred payments. In 1999, he batted just .160 in 60 games and was a huge distraction which caused the Mets to part ways with him after one season. Bonilla was no longer an issue for the Mets on the field but his journey to becoming a burden on the Mets payroll was just starting.

Other Mets With Deferred Money

Bret Saberhagen has received $250K every year since 2004 and the payments do not end until 2028. The Mets got one All-Star appearance and a 3.16 ERA over the three and a half years the control specialist spend in Queens. The Mets ended up trading Saberhagen to the Colorado Rockies for scraps.

Jeurys Familia deferred $1 million for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. He will receive his money in two separate dates during 2022. Hopefully, the Mets can squeeze out production from Familia before his contract runs out.

Jacob deGrom deferred $52.5 million when he signed his contract extension. Thankfully, the Mets have already received two Cy Young season from him and expect another by the time he is done. deGrom will receive his money from 2035 to 2039. Barring injuries, this one works out well for the Mets.

David Wright has an interesting breakdown. He will receive $6 million with 2.5 percent interest compounded monthly from July 1, 2021, to July 1, 2023. At the end of 2023, Wright receives full interest. Unfortunately, Wright’s body gave up on him which forced him to retire earlier than he should have.

These payments are laced throughout baseball and some work out better than others. What makes Bonilla’s the worst one is how poorly he played, how long his payments are for and the fact the contract should not have been offered to him in the first place.

Former New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson laments 2015 Series Game 1 loss and Familia’s quick pitch

In a postseason series, winning the first game is awfully important and can set the tone for the rest of the matchup. Ask the New York Mets, a team that had the chance of jumping ahead in the 2015 World Series against the Kansas City Royals but blew the chance in painful fashion.

In Game 1 of the 2015 series, the Mets were ahead 4-3 leading to the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Jeurys Familia was up against Alex Gordon with one out and no runners on the basepaths. If they won, they would have stolen home field advantage throughout the series and guaranteed a split before going back to Citi Field for Game 3.

But the worst happened. Familia threw a quick pitch to Gordon with the intention of catching him unprepared. But boy, he was prepared: he hit a game-tying home run and the Royals won five innings later.

Former New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson spoke this week about that series and lamented the outcome of that first game.

“I look at Game 1 in 2015. We gave up an inside-the-park home run to the first hitter, which really shouldn’t have happened. And then we get to the ninth inning and give up a lead on a quick pitch, which we sort of counseled Familia against for a long time. … when you quick pitch and always throw a fastball, that’s something different.”

The Mets blew late leads

The Mets were battered in Game 2 but managed to win Game 3 to put the series 2-1. But the fact remains that they blew late leads in both Game 4 and 5, severely damaging their chances of winning the Fall Classic.

“I think, generally speaking, Game 1 is the most important game of a series,” Alderson stated. “It doesn’t have to dictate the rest of the series. In a short series like that, going up the first game — especially on the road — makes a huge difference. Not just in the numbers and the probabilities, but in the confidence.

“The first game is important. Just the way things went, I really feel if we had won the first game that we would’ve won it. Anyway, didn’t happen.”

New York Mets: Jeurys Familia is worried about injuries when things resume

For the New York Mets and the MLB in general, the past few weeks have been slow. Most of the players are training at home with the hope there is a season to play. The league, the union and health authorities are still deciding if it is worth playing this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. The earliest date, at this point, that the regular season can start would be early July, with a couple of spring training weeks in June.

However, that may be, according to Mets’ reliever Jeurys Familia, pushing things a little bit. The righty, who has been working out with the newly signed Dellin Betances under the close look of Dave Paladino in New Jersey, thinks that he and the former Yankees’ pitcher will be fine, but he is worried about other players.

“I think it’ll cause a lot of injuries,” Familia told Pat Ragazzo of Metsmerized. “Most guys aren’t fortunate enough to have the same level of training as me and Dellin. Thank God Dave is allowing us to use his facility so we can throw every day, stretch out our arms, and get the proper physical training we need to prepare.”

The Mets’ reliever have been in touch with the team trainer

Betances made the news early in the spring because his velocity was somewhat down. However, he says he is over the issue now. Familia told Ragazzo that the two relievers have been in constant touch with the New York Mets’ trainer.

“We’ve been in contact with the team trainer, so we come here every day to work on what they give us to do,” he said. “We’ve been staying physically and mentally prepared. That’s the key for us.”

Mets’ pitching coach Jeremy Hefner made a priority for his pitchers to keep throwing and preparing themselves to jump right in when things restart.

“I think the biggest thing that Hef has told me is keep the same intent,” Steven Matz recently said via the Mets about Hefner’s instructions. “Everything should have a purpose while you’re working out or throwing. Keep up the game speed. Act as though this is what you would be doing if the season was going on.”

Familia is eager to return to form in 2020 after an ugly season in 2019. He lost weight and reported to spring training in tip-top shape.

New York Mets: How Does a Shortened Season Affect the Trade Deadline

If the Major League Baseball season resumes in June, with the regular season starting in July, it will shift the season entirely. The New York Mets, along with the rest of baseball, will have to assess their needs quicker than ever before.

Thinking of the trade deadline is very distant considering that a spring training game has not been played yet. But the Mets should be planning for every possible situation. They already head into the season without Zack Wheeler, due to free agency, and Noah Syndergaard, to Tommy John Surgery.

Pitching is Key

Whether it is the rotation or the bullpen the Mets will have key questions to answer. In the rotation, it will lean on if Steven Matz can hold down the three spot in the rotation. If not the will need to find a quality mid-rotation start they can lean on to pitch the middle games of a postseason series. Out of the entire rotation, Matz is the biggest variable.

The bullpen features the questions that have been discussed all year. How healthy is Dellin Betances and how does Edwin Diaz/Jeurys Familia rebound from their 2019 struggles. At this point Betances should be fully healthy but who knows about the final two. Diaz has looked fine while pitching during the delay and Familia’s weight loss are steps in the right direction.

If the trade deadline remains on July 31, teams get less than a month to evaluate their roster. The best move would be to move the deadline to August 30 to give teams an extra month to make a trade. An extreme alternative would be to extend the trade deadline through the last day of the season which will create chaos on par with NBA free agency.

The date is likely set with each plan the MLB has laid out and it is only a matter of time before those dates get released along with the season schedule.

 

LIVE From New York Mets Spring Training: Jacob deGrom Leads a Solid Pitching Effort

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

New York Mets manager Luis Rojas used his pitching staff in a very similar manner as to what we can expect during the regular season. Jacob deGrom started and pitched four solid innings, and Rojas used his three big relievers after that as the Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 7-3.

It was an excellent way for all of us at the soldout Clover Park to see what was an almost full game with starters, as that may not be the case down the road as the fears of the coronavirus are starting to affect attendance at other major sporting events. Nonetheless, it was quite encouraging to see most of the top arms for the Mets pitch well under the warm Florida sun.

deGrom rounding into form for the New York Mets

The two time Cy Young winner looked exactly what you would expect in the first three innings. He struck out Dexter Fowler and Yadier Molina in the first inning. The other Cardinal batters in those three innings could only manage weak groundouts or pop-ups against deGrom.

His fastball velocity looked good, although exact MPH numbers are not posted during this game, we overheard a Mets staffer say he was in the upper 90s.  It certainly looked and sounded like the upper 90’s. His other pitches kept players off-balance, much as we have seen in previous years. He stumbled a bit in the fourth inning when it looked like he got a couple of pitches up in the strike zone, and Matt Carpenter sent one of those over the left-field wall, albeit with maybe a little help from a nice breeze. In all, deGrom faced 13 batters, striking out three without walking anyone.

The New York Mets three big bullpen arms had good outings

Dellin Betances came in to pitch the fifth inning, and while a bit shaky, was much better than his first outing. He walked one batter and retired three batters on fly-outs that were hit pretty hard. Overall, a very encouraging effort. Jeurys Familia pitched the sixth inning. The Met’s single-season franchise saves record-holder walked one but gave up no hits and looked solid. Edwin Diaz pitched the seventh, still facing mostly Cardinal starters, and had a 1-2-3 inning. Very comforting to see all three pitch well.

The only negative of the day came from Brad Brach. The veteran reliever gave up three hits, including a home run in only recording two outs in the eighth inning. Brach appeared to have some difficulty in locating his pitches.

 

New York Mets: Jeurys Familia is happy with his improved splitter

New York Mets, Jeurys Familia

By now, every New York Mets‘ fan knows that Jeurys Familia’s 2019 season went about as bad as anyone could ever expect.

He had by far the highest walk rate of his career, at 6.30 free passes per each nine innings pitched. His final ERA, 5.70, was horrific, and when you think that the team had him throw 60.0 innings, you can imagine that the bullpen suffered a lot.

However, a slimmed-down Jeurys Familia hopes that the weight loss (he shed 30 pounds in the offseason), coupled with a new grip on his splitter will lead to better results in 2020. The Mets sure are hopeful, too.

After all, Familia has been dominant before. His career ERA is 3.16, and he has had seasons of 2.21, 1.85 and 2.55.

In fact, between 2014 and 2017, the Mets’ reliever had a 2.42 ERA. “My job here is to be better,” Familia told Alyson Footer of MLB.com. “It’s not to be better than any other teammate — it’s just always been more of a personal goal to continue on and be better every single year.”

The New York Mets bullpen should be stacked if Familia returns to his best form. They signed Dellin Betances and have Edwin Diaz (who is hoping for a rebound season of his own) Justin Wilson, Brad Brach, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman, among others.

Familia worked extensively with the New York Mets’ pitching coach Jeremy Hefner to change the grip on his split-fingered pitch with the intention of differentiating it more from the sinker.

Up to this point, there was no notable difference in each pitch’s speed. Now, the splitter is noticeably slower, which provides a different view for the batter.

The Mets’ reliever is happy with his progress

Familia seems to be content with the results so far. “The biggest difference between my splitter and sinker was velocity, and how I throw it,” Familia said. “Right now the velocity [on the splitter] is probably about 8 miles an hour less than what I usually throw it. I think it’s been really good for me. Now hitters don’t know what to expect, and I feel like that drop-off has helped me a lot.”

In the past, the difference was between 3 and 5 mph, and now, it is almost double that.

“He’s really happy with how his split has been working,” manager Luis Rojas said. “The depth of it is the most he’s had in his career with the new grip. It plays really well off his fastball. I’m very impressed with his stuff.”

Spring training hasn’t necessarily been successful from a results standpoint. He has a 2.25, but it comes with a 2.00 WHIP. However, the sample size is very small and nobody should be concerned yet.

“For me, this has been the best Spring Training of my career,” Familia said. “I’ve been prepared, I’ve been getting the results that I’ve wanted, and so far it’s been really good for me.”