Mets Reserves Lead The Way in 7-2 Victory Over Cardinals

It only made sense that in this odd season for the New York Mets, their backup players lead them to a good win. Francisco Lindor and James McCann got the night off, and Jordan Yamamoto pitched, but despite that, the Mets won 7-2.

The Mets enlisted Miguel Castro as their opener for the first time, and he bent but did not break. Castro kept the Cards scoreless in the first and set the table for Yamamoto to make his Mets debut. Yamamoto performed perfectly as a spot starter as he held the Cardinals to just one run in 2.2 innings and allowed the bullpen to finish the job. The final four relievers allowed just one run in the final 3.1 innings of the game.

After a wild pitch and Tomas Nido‘s two-run home run got the Mets a 3-0 lead, the “-illar” duo took care of the rest. Jonathan Villar recorded two hits, two RBIs, and a homer, and Kevin Pillar recorded a double and two RBIs. Dominic Smith also joined the hit parade with two singles of his own. The trio of Villar, Pillar, and Nido is unlikely to produce like this every night, but all of them played well enough to earn a start in the final game of the series.

The final game of the series features Taijuan Walker against former Met prospect John Gant. The first pitch from Busch Stadium is an early 1:15 p.m. ET start.

Mets won’t name fifth starter until just before Opening Day

The New York Mets have two top starters currently on the shelf. Noah Syndergaard is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery performed about a year ago, while Carlos Carrasco recently tore his hamstring and is expected to be out at least for several weeks.

The Mets, however, addressed pitching heavily during the offseason. Carrasco himself was a trade acquisition, and the team also signed Taijuan Walker, Jerad Eickhoff, Jordan Yamamoto, traded for Joey Lucchesi, and extended a qualifying offer to Marcus Stroman, which he accepted.

Jacob deGrom, Stroman, Walker, and David Peterson are expected to be the top four options in the rotation. However, Lucchesi and Yamamoto are fighting for that fifth and last rotation spot.

The Grapefruit League doesn’t have enough innings for the two men (and the rest of the Mets’ staff) so Yamamoto pitched a simulated game Tuesday at their Port St. Lucie, Fla. complex. He covered five innings as manager Luis Rojas looked on, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

On Monday, Lucchesi pitched better than his final line suggested: he conceded three runs over 3 1/3 innings of a Grapefruit League game against the Astros.

Mets’ manager Luis Rojas is still evaluating the candidates

When the media asked the Mets’ skipper to compare the two hurlers, Rojas noted that “it’s tough still right now for us to make that decision,” and explained that a final decision isn’t expected until just before Opening Day.

“I’m learning [about] Lucchesi more,” the manager said. “I like how he controlled the running game [Monday]. He was changing speeds well. His fastball’s got the zip, something he didn’t have last year. … The pitch-type repertoire from Yamamoto is deeper. He’s got a lot of pitches on the menu — different than Lucchesi, who’s got only like three pitches. So they’re two different pitchers. Both strike-throwers. Both control the running game well. I think Lucchesi’s got more experience starting games.”

Yamamoto has a 1.08 ERA in 8.1 spring innings, while Lucchesi’s mark is 3.24 in the same number of frames.

Battle for the New York Mets’ fifth starter job is not over

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets boast enviable pitching depth after going to the market and acquiring Taijuan Walker, one of the few reliable starters available, a few weeks ago. The popular belief is that the first four members of the rotation are set, with Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco (provided he can make it in time as he tries to shake off some elbow soreness) and Walker expected to take the ball in the team’s first four games.

The fifth spot of the Mets’ rotation, however, is still up for grabs. David Peterson had a so-so outing on Sunday, in which he allowed three runs on five hits in four innings, and coupled with Jordan Yamamoto’s impressive spring (1.08 ERA in three outings), it makes the race even more interesting. Joey Lucchesi (two shutout innings) is fighting, too.

“There’s plenty to take away from today,” Peterson told reporters over Zoom. “Plenty to work on going forward and looking forward to the next start.”

“Some hard hit balls against him, On and off with his command,” New York Mets’ manager Luis Rojas said after the game. “But he’s working on stuff, you could see that he got some swing and misses on his changeup, from his slider, the fastball velocity is the one that we like seeing. … Stuff is there, I thought location wise was where he just didn’t execute at times.”

Peterson impressed for the Mets’ last season

The left-hander raised a few eyebrows last season, as he put a 3.44 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 49.2 innings as a rookie.

Yamamoto was impressive on Saturday, allowing a run in 3 1/3 innings against the Washington Nationals.

“I’m just having conviction,” Yamamoto said. “That’s the main thing that we were working on that we’ve been talking about, just conviction with all my pitches, being able to throw it in any count, just getting ahead of hitters and making them get in swing mode. Everything and anything that makes me who I am is what I did tonight.”

Who will win the battle for a spot within the Mets’ rotation?

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.

New York Mets: Three Fringe Players With a Chance to Make Roster

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The New York Mets made their first round of cuts in spring training, but it only eliminated three players on the 40-man roster. Pitchers Franklyn Kilome, Sean Reid-Foley, and Thomas Szapucki became the first casualties of spring. With 37 players from the 40-man roster left in major league camp, who are three who could sneak their way onto the roster?

1. Drew Smith

Smith deserves to be on a major league roster, but it becomes a matter of the Mets making room for him. At the moment, he is more reliable than Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia, but both will make the Opening Day roster. Last season Smith found success with a cutter that had a 66.7 whiff rate. Smith has not allowed a base runner in his two outings this spring.

2. Jordan Yamamoto

Yamamoto may have lucked himself into a roster spot with the injury news on Carlos Carrasco. Joey Lucchesi would usually be ahead of Yamamoto for a rotation spot, but he has not pitched in a game yet. Yamamoto has started his spring training strong but allowing two runs in five innings pitched. His next outing should require him to pitch four innings and should determine if he is ready for a rotation spot if Carrasco has to miss time.

3. Albert Almora 

Almora’s minor league option made him a candidate to being the year in Triple-A with Jose Martinez as an offensive option off the bench. Martinez’s knee injury makes Almora a lock to make the roster for Opening Day. Almora has flashed his great defense in multiple outfield positions and also displayed a new leg kick at the plate. He will make a good pairing with Kevin Pillar as the backup group of outfielders.

Mets Play Ugly Defense for the Second Straight Game in 9-5 Loss to Nats

The New York Mets pitching join their defensive struggles in a 9-5 loss against the Washington Nationals. Judging by the tweets and few videos from the game, the Mets should be thankful this game was not televised.

Jordan Yamamoto got the start for the Mets, and his first-inning cost him a good outing. After retiring the first two batters, an error and walk gave the Nats a free opportunity to score. Ryan Zimmerman and Kyle Schwarber tagged him for RBI singles to give them an early 2-0 lead. Yamamoto would pitch two scoreless innings to finish his outing.

Dellin Betances followed him and fell victim to the two-out rally as well. A double from Starlin Castro led to a throwing error from third baseman J.D. Davis and allowed him to score. Betances fastball was in the 91 mph range but peaked at 94 mph.

Matt Allan continued the trend of two-out runs by allowing three (one earned) during his one inning of work. An RBI single led to the first run, then an error from Jake Hager at second base allowed the Nats to drive in another two. Robert Gsellman was the only pitcher who kept the Nationals off the board with his scoreless inning.

Francisco Lindor finally broke the seal with his first two hits as a member of the Mets. It comes on the same day the Mets announced negotiations will begin for a long-term deal. Mark Vientos was the other Met with multiple hits as he recorded two doubles. Jake Hager recorded the biggest hit with a three-run homer, his second home run of the spring. Hager only has two hits in spring training, and both are via the long ball.

The Mets head back to Port St. Lucie to face the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:10 p.m. Taijuan Walker makes his Mets debut against Carlos Martinez (0-1, 32.40 ERA), and it will be televised on SNY.

 

Pair of Homers Power New York Mets to 2-0 Victory Against Astros

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The first two spring training games for the New York Mets have resulted in seven-inning, 2-0 finishes. On Tuesday, they were on the winning side for the first time. Mets pitchers had another strong showing, and solo home runs from Jeff McNeil and Albert Almora Jr. powered the offense.

Marcus Stroman got the start over Jordan Yamamoto and was as good as advertised. Stroman retired all six batters he faced and struck out two. His hard sinker resulted in three groundball outs, and he displayed his brand new changeup as well.

Yamamoto worked around a couple of hard-hit balls to deliver two scoreless innings following Stroman. Jerry Blevins, Drew Smith, and Sam McWilliams finished off the shutout. Mets pitchers have allowed just two runs over 14 innings pitched this Spring.

The bats are still quiet, but the dominant pitching held up the two solo homers. McNeil’s homer came against a hanging curveball from Framber Valdez. Over his career, McNeil has less power against left-handed pitching and is always looking to add more power to his game. Almora is another player looking for more power and has a consistent leg kick in his batting stance. In past seasons, he has used a toe tap which led to increased groundball rates every year of his career.

Prospects Ronny Mauricio, Mark Vientos, Brett Baty, and Pete Crow-Armstrong all made appearances once the starters exited. For Crow-Armstrong, it was his first game in professional baseball, and he struck out in his only at-bat. On Wednesday, the Mets travel to Jupiter to take on the St. Louis Cardinals. Jerad Eickhoff faces Kwang Hyun Kim at 1:10 p.m. ET.

 

 

New York Mets: Starting Pitchers Announced For First Two Spring Games

yankees, New York Mets, Luis Rojas

New York Mets begin their spring training schedule on Monday and announced their starting pitchers for the first two games. Harol Gonzalez opens game one on the road against the Miami Marlins, and Jordan Yamamoto gets the home opener against the Houston Astros.

The 25-year old right-hander has spent the last six seasons pitching through the Mets farm system. In 2019, Gonzalez had his best season pitching between Double and Triple-A. Gonzalez pitched to a 3.01 ERA over 137.2 innings pitched. He is a long shot to make the roster, but we could see him debut later in the season. Like most road spring training games, this one will not be televised.

Yamamoto was acquired during the offseason after a dreadful 2020 season. In 11 innings, he allowed 24 runs (23 earned) and eight home runs. Yamamoto burst onto the scene as a rookie with a 2.61 ERA in his first seven career starts but has not rekindled the same success. His debut will be televised on SNY at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

New York Mets: David Peterson Ready For Starting Pitching Competition

New York Mets, David Peterson

David Peterson was the second-best starting pitcher for the 2020 New York Mets, but he will need to earn his spot in the 2021 rotation. The additions of Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker, and a returning Marcus Stroman pushes Peterson to the fifth spot.

He will compete with fellow left-hander Joey Lucchesi and former Miami Marlin Jordan Yamamoto. Peterson may deserve the fifth starter job, but he welcomes the challenge from Manager Luis Rojas.

“I want to come in here and do my thing and let the rest take care of itself,” Peterson said during Saturday’s Zoom call. “However I can help the team win, that’s what I’m here to do.” Spoken like a true competitor, Peterson does not want something handed to him when he still has more to prove.

Peterson had a 3.44 ERA in 10 games (9 starts) last season, which was far more productive than his competition. Despite the small sample size success, the Mets have seen the same story before. In 2016, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo burst on the scene when the Mets needed pitching. Both had ERAs under 3.00, but Gsellman regressed to 5.03 while Lugo stayed solid at 3.61 over the next four seasons.

Innings Limit

No matter how well Peterson pitches, he may end up starting the season in the bullpen. Peterson has never thrown more than 128 innings in a minor league season, and the Mets aim to limit his innings jump. Starting his season as a reliever will allow the Mets to do so without shutting him down towards September and October.

The Mets could also use a six-man rotation when Noah Syndergaard returns. They’ll kill two birds with one stone by conserving innings for both Syndergaard and Peterson. It will also allow Peterson to keep the same role for the entire season and presumably move to the bullpen once the postseason starts. Whether in the rotation or bullpen, Peterson will have a huge role on the 2021 roster. He will be one of two left-handed pitchers and the only one who can pitch multiple innings.

New York Mets: Weighing the Possibility of a Six-Man Rotation

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Depth was the top priority during the New York Mets offseason, and it shows the most with their rotation options. With the new depth, they consider using six starting pitchers with Taijuan Walker joining the rotation.

We know the top three starters are Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, and Marcus Stroman, with Walker as the fourth. David Peterson has the upper hand on Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto going into camp, but all three are fighting for the last rotation spot.

The Mets might look to conserve Peterson’s innings because he only has two seasons over 100 in the minors with a career-high of 128. Around baseball, teams are considering the extra starter because of the shortened 2020 season. Pitchers will get extra rest without making shorter starts, and it lessens the innings jump from last season.

All five Mets starters were healthy in 2020 and are amongst the fittest in the sport. Despite the great physiques, the Mets expect to play deep into October. A long playoff run requires pitchers to log 20-40 high-leverage innings. Pitchers like Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, and Max Scherzer saw these innings’ taxing effect the following year. If Lucchesi or Yamamoto pitches well in spring training, the Mets should not be afraid to tack on another starter.

Syndergaard’s Return 

If the Mets have a six-man rotation to being the season, Syndergaard would slide right in and conserve innings for the rest of the rotation. With a five-man rotation, he would tack on and potentially save the Mets from holding Peterson back in September. The one drawback is the one less arm in the bullpen, but a strong rotation solves any bullpen issues.

In October, the Mets would love a rotation of deGrom, Carrasco, Stroman, and Syndergaard. Allowing Syndergaard to save his innings early in the season will allow him to avoid injury and stay fresh for a playoff run.

Despite missing out on an expensive free agent, the Mets finally have starting pitching depth with respectable MLB track records. This accolade alone deserves an A grade for the offseason.