Mets Game Preview: (7/3/21) @ New York Yankees (41-39)

After Friday night’s downpour pushed back the start of 2021’s Subway Series, the New York Mets and New York Yankees play the first of three games. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET from Yankee Stadium as both teams look to get out of the slides they are in.

After their tough back-to-back losses against the Atlanta Braves, a day off might have been the best thing to clear the mind before heading into the Bronx. They also got healthy bodies back as Jeurys Familia and Brandon Nimmo are officially back with the active roster. Nimmo has always enjoyed hitting against the Yankees Stadium with a 1.007 OPS in 13 games against the crosstown rivals.

The Yankees have dealt with plenty since their ugly loss against the Los Angeles Angels, where they allowed seven runs in the ninth to blow the games. Aroldis Chapman has an ERA over ten since he gave up his first run of the season in late May. Gary Sanchez is coming off an incredible June where he .289 with eight home runs after a slow first two months.

Pitching Matchups

Taijuan Walker makes his 15th start of the season as he takes the mound for the Mets. Walker was once again brilliant in his last start and would have pitched even better if he could get Aaron Nola out. He pitched five innings, allowing three hits, one run, and struck out five. Walker is ninth in the NL with his 2.38 ERA but allowed seven runs (one earned) in 1.2 innings at Yankee Stadium last season.

Jordan Montgomery starts for the Yankees and has been a consistent arm in a year with nothing behind Gerrit Cole. In 15 starts, he has a 4.06 ERA and has done great at limiting walks with just 2.5 walks per nine innings. Montgomery battled through six innings, holding the Boston Red Sox to three runs on eight hits.

Matchups To Lookout For

Taijuan Walker vs. Rougned Odor: 6-for-13 (.462), Home Run, 2 Strikeouts

Jordan Montgomery vs. Kevin Pillar: 2-for-11 (.182), 3 Strikeouts

Tatis Jr. Powers Padres To 7-3 Victory Over Mets to Avoid Sweep

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen wanted them to pull off a sweep of the San Diego Padres, and Fernando Tatis Jr. made sure it did not happen. His mammoth 444-foot grand slam broke a 2-2 tie, and they never looked back to escape New York with a 7-3 win.

Joey Lucchesi had another excellent, five-inning outing. He only allowed one run and struck out six but was taken out after 72 pitches. From this point, manager Luis Rojas began his numerous questionable decisions. Jeurys Familia replaced Lucchesi, and after escaping a busy sixth inning, he went back out for the seventh. Since the Mets had a short bullpen, they would have been better off trying to push Lucchesi, instead of Familia, for an extra-inning.

Throwing The White Flag

Rojas’s plan backfired, and Familia was left in for 41 pitches. He walked in the tying run and left Jacob Barnes to face Tatis Jr. with the bases loaded. Barnes was a horrible matchup for multiple reasons. He has allowed four home runs in 18.1 innings, Tatis Jr. is a top-5 home run leader, and Barnes throws a cutter towards the outside corner, which Tatis Jr. covers as well as any hitter. Manny Machado also followed up with another majestic home run off of Barnes.

Jose Peraza continued his Padres dominance with a two-run home run, and Tomas Nido added a single that featured an error to drive in the third Mets run. As a team, the Mets turned four double plays, but it was not enough to help out the pitching staff, which has been dominant at home.

On Monday, the Mets continue the homestand when the Chicago Cubs come into town. David Peterson looks to turn around his season against a starter to be determined for the Cubs. The first pitch is at 7:05 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

Mets Bullpen Dominates, Lindor Shines Bright For 4-2 Win Over D’Backs

The New York Mets went deep into their bullpen for the second straight night, but they held strong for a 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Of course, offensive production is needed to win games, and the loving couple of Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor provided it for their fourth straight win.

Tommy Hunter has been with the Mets for just a couple of days but has been busy during his short tenure. After throwing two scoreless innings on Friday, he did the same as the opener tonight. Joey Lucchesi followed with 3.1 innings, where he allowed just one earned run. The following duo of Jeurys Familia and Aaron Loup made their outings interesting.

Familia struck out his two batters in the sixth, but three weak singles loaded the bases in the seventh. After falling behind 3-0 to Christian Walker, Familia battled back to get him to ground out to shortstop, and Pete Alonso‘s swift footwork prevented a potential error. Loup allowed Stephen Vogt to get on base as the tying run after his RBI single but found his way out of the inning as well.

Trevor May got the closer job in the ninth, with Edwin Diaz unavailable after pitching the last two nights. May rose to the occasion and shut the door to finish off the victory. The pitching staff was not as dominant as it was on Friday, but they were terrific at tip-toeing out of danger. They allowed eight hits, two walks, and an extra three baserunners on errors but battled to hold the D’Backs to just two runs.

Kiss And Make Up

Only Lindor, McNeil, and the rest of the Mets clubhouse really know what happened in the tunnel on Friday, but both players have responded in great ways. McNeil opened the scoring and provided half the runs for the Mets with his two-run homer in the third inning. Lindor showed off his versatility when he turned instantly turned a walk into a run. When Lindor stole second base, the throw banged off his foot and into no-mans land in left field, which allowed him to chug around the bases and score. Lindor also remained hot with the bat as he had a double and an RBI single.

The Mets were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and had four hits, but three were for extra bases. They also recorded six walks and stole two bases after having five all season heading into the night. Kevin Pillar recorded a double to go along with his stellar defense in center field and Jonathan Villar walked twice as they continue to fill their roles perfectly with key Mets on the IL.

After stressing the bullpen arms in the first two games, the Mets are in a perfect position for a sweep, with Jacob deGrom heading to the mound on Sunday. Riley Smith will take the mound for the Diamondbacks for the 1:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

Vintage Jeurys Familia bailed out injured Edwin Diaz: the Mets’ closer will undergo testing

New York Mets, Edwin Diaz

Last night’s game was crazy from almost every point of view. It featured a New York Mets’ victory against the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-7, and it stayed that way because of an overturned call on a home run that would have tied the game, but the crew eventually ruled as a double after review.

With a four-run lead, the Mets decided to give the ball to their best reliever, who happens to be their closer, Edwin Diaz. It wasn’t a save situation, but manager Luis Rojas went with Diaz anyway.

The strategy did not work out for the Mets, given that Diaz conceded a base on balls and then allowed an RBI triple with one out.

After striking out Odubel Herrera for the second out, Diaz was about to get out of the jam. However, he walked another hitter and then reported back tightness to Mets’ pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, but opted to try and pitch through it.

That was costly, as it was when Rhys Hoskins hit the controversial double that was initially called a home run, thus tying the game. When the crew said it was a double, the game went from 8-8 to 8-7 instead, and Rojas decided it was enough for Diaz and brought Jeurys Familia.

“We were hoping that ball stayed in the yard,” outfielder Kevin Pillar said per the Mets’ official site.

The Mets ‘familiar’ closer

With two outs, former Mets’ closer Jeurys Familia struck out Bryce Harper no less, to end the ballgame.

“We trust our bullpen,” Pillar said. “We had the right guys step up and make some good pitches, and we got out of there with a win.”

Familia, who is among the Mets’ leaders in saves, has a 1.29 ERA and a 2.54 FIP in the early going, a crisp turnaround from what he showed last season and in 2019.

Rojas confirmed that Diaz will undergo testing on Monday. The hope is that the issue is minor and doesn’t require a stint in the injured list.

The victory, seen from that angle – potentially losing the closer for at least a couple of days – was costly. But it was a victory nonetheless.

“We’re a tough team,” Mets’ first baseman Pete Alonso said. “We’re a really tough team. Win or lose, we’re not going to make it easy. We’re relentless. And we finish games.”

Mets Escape Philadelphia By Inches In 8-7 Victory Over Phillies

What the hell just happened?

The New York Mets survived the final game of their three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies thanks to the convenience of instant replay. Rhys Hoskins seemed to rip out the hearts over every Mets fan with a three-run game-tying home run off Edwin Diaz in the ninth.

Thanks to the wonders of instant replay, Hoskins hit the tippy-top of the fence, which changed his home run to a double. Unfortunately, Diaz had to leave the game with an undisclosed injury. Jeurys Familia came in with ice in his veins to strike out Bryce Harper and allow the Mets to crawl away with a victory.

On the offensive side for the Mets, Jose Alvarado made a horrible mistake by waking up a sleeping giant on Friday. Donnie Stevenson was born and has led the Mets to two victories against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Before diving into Alvarado’s lack of control, who would have thought Kevin Pillar and Jonathan Villar would begin a Mets comeback? In the eighth, Pillar brought the Mets within a run with his home run against Brandon Kintzler. Villar found just enough space to record a single up the middle, then wreaked havoc on the bases.

Bullpen Issues on Both Sides

Kintzler spent plenty of time occupied with Villar’s speed over the next two batters. With Villar on the move, Jose Peraza lined a single, and it banged right off the first baseman Hoskins glove. If Hoskins snagged it, the Phillies get a double play to end the inning, but it kept the Mets alive. Once Hoskins picked up the ball to make matters worse, he lobbed it back to the infield, and aggressive baserunning from Villar caught the Phils napping to tie the game.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, and the Mets handed a frozen platter to Alvarado. After allowing a first-pitch single, Alvarado walked Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto consecutively to give the Mets a 5-4 lead. Phillies manager Joe Girardi turned the ball over to David Hale, who provided little relief. Pete Alonso blew the door wide open with a bases-clearing double to cap off the rally and give the Mets an 8-4 lead.

David Peterson looked like he would leave his start early after the Phillies were hitting rockets off him. A masterful double play from McNeil and Lindor gave Peterson all the momentum he needed to allow him to survive. Peterson did more than survive by getting through five innings, holding the Phils to just one run, and recording eight strikeouts.

Why Diaz?

For both team’s bullpens, making it out alive was the name of the game. At first, it looked like Miguel Castro would become the only casualty. Castro allowed a three-run homer to Didi Gregorius in the sixth inning, giving Phillies a 4-2 lead. The bullpen was due to hit a bump in the road. Heading into the night, they had thrown 18 consecutive scoreless innings.

Manager Luis Rojas managed the game very well until he decided to use Diaz when he did not need to. Rojas easily could have turned to Familia, Sean Reid-Foley, or Robert Gsellman with Diaz as an insurance policy. It was evident from a four-pitch walk that Diaz would not be at his best and resulted in suffering an injury.

Somehow the Mets are 11-11 and back to a tie for first place in the NL East. They will head to St. Louis to face the Cardinals for a four-game series starting on Monday. Even though it was ugly, the Mets needed to get a couple of wins on the board and hope to carry their momentum on the rest of the road trip.

 

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.