Mets keep failing to produce with runners in scoring position

The New York Mets lost yet another one-run game this season, this time 4-3, on Monday in the finale against the Washington Nationals. They have a mediocre 27-27 mark in one-run games, according to SNY, and that can likely be blamed, at least partially, on two things: a not-so-reliable bullpen in the late innings, and a constant failure to capitalize with runners in scoring position.

On Monday, we saw the two situations: Edwin Diaz blew a 3-2 game and turned into a 4-3 defeat in the ninth inning, and the Mets went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

For the year, the Mets are batting .240 with men on second or third, which was the the eighth-worst batting average in that scenario before Monday’s game.

“We probably could have won more games, one-run, for sure,” Mets manager Luis Rojas after losing to the Nats.

The Mets need more timely hits

The Mets are currently 69-69, four games behind the division leaders, the Atlanta Braves. They are going to need more timely hits if they want to go to the postseason.

“We went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position today, and we had chances to score more runs, and it’d probably be a different game than 3-2 in the ninth. So I think that’s why most of those games weren’t probably won for the most part. The pitching has been responsible to keep us close. I know it’s a tough loss, and we’ll talk about that ninth inning and the walks and single there, but once again, 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, you just gotta finish. You gotta deliver. You gotta score the runs that you’re setting yourself up to score. It’s happened repeatedly for us this season,” Rojas explained.

Rojas also defended the Mets’ closer after he allowed two hits, two walks, and two runs to lose the game.

 

“Edwin’s done it for us all year. We’re not making drastic changes. I think the command is something he can bounce back from. He had a little stretch in the middle of the season where he was struggling with his command a little bit, and then he bounced back and started throwing more strikes. This is the last two games where he’s done it. For sure, he can work on things like this,” Rojas said.

Mets: Luis Rojas’ job is safe, per report

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The New York Mets have dropped four straight games and have a 9-15 record in the second half. That’s usually associated with a last place team, not one fighting to make the playoffs. Frustration is building up in Queens, and fans are already worried about missing the postseason yet another time.

The Mets’ collapse, however, is not threatening manager Luis Rojas’ job, at least not yet. According to New York Post’s Joel Sherman, sources close to owner Steve Cohen told him that firing Rojas is not an option right now.

After the recent skid, the Mets are 56-55. What was once a five-game lead in the NL East has turned into a fall to third place, 2.5 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies and half a game behind the Atlanta Braves.

The source close to the Mets’ owner said that Cohen “is not holding the manager responsible for the poor play.”

The Mets owner doesn’t want to overreact

Per Sherman, “Cohen believes this is a different time with a different type of player makeup than when George Steinbrenner used to fire Yankees managers regularly in bad periods for the club and/or to try to jolt players into better play,” the source said.

It’s also fair to point out that the Mets have suffered lots of injuries, perhaps more than any other team in the league. They are currently playing without their best position player, Francisco Lindor, and their best pitcher, Jacob deGrom, just to name a couple of examples.

Players such as Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Carlos Carrasco, Jose Peraza, Luis Guillorme, Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Yamamoto, Dellin Betances, and Robert Gsellman have all missed major playing time due to injuries, and another top starter, Noah Syndergaard, is yet to return.

The Mets are still relatively close in the NL East race, he reportedly doesn’t want to overreact, because, per Sherman, there remains a third of the season for the Mets to right themselves and win the division, the source said.

Mets Blow The Game Twice in 6-5 Loss To The Arizona Diamondbacks

The New York Mets are known for their ugly June’s, and the trend is continuing in 2021. They wasted a 4-0 and 5-4 lead in extra innings to lose to the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak and was a rare off game from the Mets bullpen.

The 10th inning had as much action as any in the game. James McCann made a cameo as a pinch hitter and gave the Mets the lead with a leadoff RBI double. The Mets could not get the insurance run around to score, and it came back to haunt them. Trevor May was called into action for the save after struggling and throwing 26 pitches the previous night. May did not have his best stuff and ended up allowing a two-run double to Pavin Smith, which capped off a terrific night for him. Smith also had a monstrous 435-foot three-run home run earlier in the game.

Overuse?

Rojas had Trevor May, Drew Smith, and Seth Lugo to choose from for the 10th inning. Smith seemed like the option if the game remained tied or the Mets extended the lead. Lugo seemed like an afterthought due to Rojas hoping to open his season in a low leverage situation. May is in the middle of a pitching slump and has allowed runs in four of his last six outings. Despite getting five days off before Monday’s outing, it is clear that he has not been at his best as of late.

Either way, the loss should not have come down to extra innings. Marcus Stroman pitched five stellar innings before his confrontation with Josh Rojas after the fifth inning. Both benches and bullpens cleared, but no further conflict resulted from the gathering. Stroman struggled in the sixth inning by allowing Smith’s homer, moving the score to 4-3, and giving them new life.

Staying Alive

Rojas ended up getting his revenge against Edwin Diaz in the ninth. Nick Ahmed‘s single and error from Billy McKinney allowed him to get to second base to set the table for Rojas. With two-outs, Rojas found the hole between the first and second baseman to tie the game and give Diaz his first blown save of the season. Diaz gave up three hits in the inning, but none were hit particularly hard. The blown save was a case of Diaz getting unlucky with the defensive alignments behind him.

On Monday, Dominic Smith and Francisco Lindor showed signs of their power returning and did it once again tonight. Smith recorded a two-run homer and was robbed of a three-run homer, which resulted in a sacrifice fly. In the ninth, he walked and stole second base, the second of his career. Lindor had just one hit, but it turned out to be an RBI triple that ricocheted off the center-field fence. His average sits at .199 and has risen 16 points in the last five games.

The Mets cannot win every game, but this one is inexcusable to lose. They let the D’Backs hang around, gave them life after the bench-clearing issue, and failed to put the game away numerous times. Luckily the loss does not affect their division lead, which remains at 3.5 after the Atlanta Braves lost. At a 3:40 start on Wednesday, two lefties square off to finish the series. David Peterson takes the mound against veteran Madison Bumgarner.

New York Mets: Manager Luis Rojas’ job is reportedly safe for now

The New York Mets are currently playing under .500, with a 11-12 record after Monday’s loss against the St. Louis Cardinals. Outside of Jacob deGrom and maybe Brandon Nimmo and JD Davis (both banged up right now), most of the team starts have been struggling to show what they are capable of.

The New York Mets’ offense, in particular, has been a major problem throughout the season. With a 96 wRC+, they are 17th before Tuesday’s games, and they are last in runs scored with 76, although they do have a few games to play to keep up with the rest due to early-season suspensions.

That is why it didn’t come as a surprise that the Mets fired hitting coach Chili Davis and his assistant Tom Slater after Monday’s loss. After seeing the organization starting to make tough decisions, it is fair to wonder where they stand on manager Luis Rojas.

The Mets are not ready to move on from Rojas

According to Andy Martino of SNY, “the sudden firings of Mets hitting coach Chili Davis and his assistant Tom Slater — which didn’t turn out to be so sudden when you thought about it — led one to immediately wonder if manager Luis Rojas’ job status was also tenuous.”

Martino says that “any speculation about Rojas can die right here. His job is safe, per sources.”

In addition to the Mets’ inauspicious start of the campaign, Rojas also led them to a losing record last year, at 26-34. However, he has the respect of most of the players on the roster, and the front office wishes to give him more time in the position.

However, Rojas’ future with the Mets will largely depend on whether he can right the ship this season. As it turns out, he doesn’t have a contract for next season, but if the Mets can put together a successful campaign when all is said and done, he surely will have one.

Walker Get Heated, Mets Offense Goes Cold in Chilly Loss to Cubs 3-1

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The New York Mets are no strangers to ugly weather this season, but that does not mean they get used to it. Taijuan Walker started strong but did not have a happy finish at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. Walker threw 3.2 hitless innings but failed to make it out of the fourth inning after allowing two singles and three consecutive walks. He needed 91 pitches in his outing and was thrown out in the 3-1 loss.

While Walker failed to make it through the fourth inning, his demise began in the third inning. The first of two errors from J.D. Davis allowed the first Cubs’ run to score on a straightforward play. Davis made two mistakes on the play: first, letting the ground ball come to him instead of charging it and then double clutching on the throw, which has become a bad habit. Simple mistakes like these were habits Davis needed to quit to be an adequate third baseman, and it happened again on his second error.

Walker Loses The Zone

When Walker gave up three consecutive walks, they all went to a full count, and a few tough calls did not go in his favor. The stressful at-bats and frustrating inning made Walker leave the mound bursting with anger. He took it out on home plate umpire John Libka, who, in all fairness, had a very questionable strike zone. Manager Luis Rojas also got the boot in the sixth inning due to Libka’s inconsistent zone. In total, Walker threw 3.2 innings, allowed just two hits but walked six.

Even if Walker pitched adequately, there was no offense to support him. Davis’s solo home run was all the Mets could scratch across against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta. He was not unhittable but found ways to keep the Mets from putting up a crooked number. Arrieta allowed one run, three hits, and walked three over five innings pitched.

Their best scoring chance came against closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth with one out and the bases loaded. Brandon Nimmo struck out, and Francisco Lindor grounded out to leave the tying and winning runs on base. They left 10 runners on base and went just 1-for-6 w/RISP. The biggest positive is from their bullpen, who threw 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits.

The Mets look to start a new winning streak on Wednesday when David Peterson takes the bump against Zach Davies. The first pitch from Wrigley Field is at 7:40 p.m. ET.

Mets’ players and manager to give owner Steve Cohen a keepsake after first victory

The New York Mets won their first game of the season on Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Phillies, a day after dropping their season opener in spectacular fashion. Manager Luis Rojas and the players certainly hope the victory is the first of many to come in a new era of Mets’ baseball led by owner Steve Cohen.

Cohen, a lifelong Mets’ fan, acquired the time last year by bidding approximately $2.4 billion, and brought Sandy Alderson to be the team president. Since then, the team has been extremely active in free agency and trade talks, as they brought shortstop Francisco Lindor from Cleveland and gave him a 10-year, $341 million extension just before Opening Day.

As Albert Almora caught the final out in Tuesday’s 8-4 win, he handed the ball to Brandon Nimmo, who in turn gave it to Kevin Pillar. The latter passed it onto Rojas as a souvenir, a keepsake of the Mets’ first joy of the 2021 campaign.

However, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reported that Rojas won’t keep the ball. Instead, he plans to give it to Steve Cohen on Thursday, before the season opener at Citi Field. Rojas want Cohen to have it as a memento of his first win as a Mets’ owner.

 A new era has begun for the Mets

“The first of many to come,” Rojas said afterward.

“The buzz and the excitement started at the early part of Spring Training,” Mets’ outfielder Dominic Smith, who it a home run yesterday, said. “And it all revolves around him. Obviously when he took over ownership, and the moves he’s made, he’s just been tremendous. Every move he’s made has been great. We’re just excited to see him take over in leadership and to see his passion and his will to want to come and win.”

Cohen couldn’t see the game live last night, but will be at Citi Field seeing the home opener from his suite. There, he plans to interact with fans.

Mets’ fans feel a new era is about to begin. And everything starts at the top.

Mets’ manager Luis Rojas ‘satisfied’ with decision to pull Jacob deGrom after 77 pitches

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The New York Mets, in their season opener last night, decided to pull Jacob deGrom, who was dealing on the mound, after throwing 77 pitches. That call has become controversial ever since Kevin Cash did something similar with Blake Snell in last year’s World Series, as it shows the marked division between two schools of thought: the analytical-driven people who say that having a pitcher face a lineup for a third time it’s not worth the risk, and the old schoolers who live and die with their ace.

Mets’ manager Luis Rojas called the bullpen in the seventh, bringing right-hander Miguel Castro even though the skipper had said prior to the game that deGrom’s pitch count for the contest would be near 100.

“Going out for the six innings and you guys saw the activity on the bases. And he hasn’t thrown in 10 days. So the conversations in between innings with him led us to make the decision of pulling him,” Rojas told reporters via Zoom following the Mets’ 5-3 loss to the Phillies (link to the SNY article here). “…I know he was way under than what he’s built up leaving camp. But maybe the 10 days without throwing led to the decision during the game.

The Mets had already discussed the idea

The Mets’ manager said “it was an agreement between everyone after we got to that spot in the sixth.”

He later added that despite the result (the bullpen and defense blowing the game), he was “satisfied” with the decision to pull his ace.

The Mets’ pitcher confirmed that it was discussed before the game that he wouldn’t go as far as initially planned.

“That was kind of discussed where we’re going to be before,” deGrom said. “10 days without facing hitters, kept trying to throw bullpens but didn’t want to throw too many pitches with the hope of playing Saturday and then finding out that series is canceled so that was the last time I was able to throw. So it was kind of a how many ups thing, how many pitches not being in a game facing hitters for 10 days.”

May, Loup and Mets Defense Implode During Five Run Eighth in 5-3 Loss

It truly would not be a Jacob deGrom start without the New York Mets bullpen and defense sticking a huge middle finger to him once he leaves the game. deGrom cruised through six shutout innings but was pulled after just 77 pitches, even though Manager Luis Rojas said he could get to the 100 pitch plateau. Miguel Castro gave the Mets a scoreless seventh, but all hell broke loose in the eighth.

The debuting Mets relievers had an ugly night. Trevor May was the first and ran into loads of trouble after striking out the first batter he faced. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Bryce Harper, and May turned the ball to Aaron Loup. He hit Harper with the second pitch he threw to make it a 2-1 game, then J.T. Realmuto singled to knot the game up 2-2. Alec Bohm followed with a dribbler to defensive replacement, Luis Guillorme, but a combination of a poor throw and horrible footwork from catcher James McCann resulted in two runs scoring on the error. A sacrifice fly from Didi Gregorious was the final blow in the five-run inning.

The Mets offense showed the rust of a team that spent the last handful of days on the sidelines. Matt Moore looked like Steve Carlton for the first two innings, striking out four in a row at one point. Once the Mets turned the lineup over, their patience grew and forced Moore into four walks. Moore only lasted 3.1 innings and needed 74 pitches to make it through.

After making the first two outs against Jose Alvarado in the ninth, the Mets started a comeback. Kevin Pillar and Francisco Lindor singles gave the Mets first and third. Michael Conforto came to the plate as the tying run and hit a bloop single just off Harper’s glove, making it a 5-3 game. Pete Alonso came three feet from either tying the game with his shot to right field, but Harper had enough room to reeled it in on the warning track.

Questions To Answer

Rojas’s decision to pull deGrom after 77 pitches is a glaring blunder. deGrom retired the last nine batters he faced, which further pushes the idea of Rojas overmanaging the situation. A more in-depth question comes with his use of the bench in the ninth. Rojas used Jonathan Villar instead of Albert Almora to bat for the pitcher. Villar struck out, but the issue is what could have happened after Villar’s at-bat.

When Conforto reached on his single, he was the tying run, and Villar’s speed is always a threat. Regardless of whether Alvarado remained game, Villar is a runner any pitcher has to pay close attention to. If Alonso split the gap, Villar would have given the Mets a better chance of tying the game than Conforto. The erratic Alvarado might have lost the strike zone with his mind occupied on the tying run.

Overall, the Mets have to be happy with their fight in the ninth. They could have easily rolled over and conceded a 1-2-3 finish. On Tuesday, Marcus Stroman makes his first start against Chase Anderson for the Phillies. The first pitch is another 7:05 p.m. start from Citizens Bank Park.

 

New York Mets’ manager praises his team’s positional flexibility

New York Mets‘ manager Luis Rojas had his “state of the Mets” conference on Wednesday, this time via Zoom, and covered several topics, most notably his team versatility when it comes to positions and names.

It’s baffling that the Mets and all MLB teams still don’t know if there will be a designated hitter in 2021, but right now the club is preparing as if it won’t be available. Thankfully, all positions are covered.

Rojas doesn’t want a starting eight set in stone, but he did say, according to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, that Dominic Smith will play “more left field than he will first base,” and that J.D. Davis will spend the vast majority of his time at third base.

The Mets can also employ Brandon Nimmo and even Jeff McNeil (who will play primarily second base) at left, spelling Smith, and Jonathan Villar can play third and some second.

Kevin Pillar and, potentially, Albert Almora, will serve as defensive substitutions late in games at center field, with the potential of making some starts.

“There’s multiple guys that can play multiple positions,” Rojas said. “In a camp like this, you want to give everybody a chance in the positions that they can come in and play. … There’s different strategies to the depth that we have in camp right now.”

Other Mets’ news

Rojas also informed that rehabbing pitcher Noah Syndergaard threw a side session on Wednesday, as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. He is expected back around June.

“We’re still on schedule with him, and what we’ve said in the past,” Rojas said.

On another subject, The Athletic revealed in the last few hours that the New York Mets dismissed an employee because of past sexual harassment.

Former hitting coordinator Ryan Ellis was accused by three different women of inappropriate conduct.

“We’ve set new expectations,” Rojas said. “There’s also new avenues added to it to report cases like this. It’s been disappointing to see it from afar when you get reports of this news, and [it’s] upsetting. … Those misconducts, they’re just unacceptable. We should have a safe environment to work, a safe workplace, and everyone should feel safe around here.”

New York Mets: What To Expect From Manager Luis Rojas in 2021?

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

New York Mets manager Luis Rojas had a roller coaster ride in his first season as skipper. Rojas assumed the job of hired, then fired, manager Carlos Beltran, lost spring training to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then started up again for a two and a half month season. There were plenty of peaks and valleys throughout that ride, but Rojas is in a much better position for success in 2021.

Lost in all the 2020 mess is the ownership change that was ongoing throughout the season. Jeff Wilpon and Brodie Van Wagenen always found a way to screw something up during their time with the Mets. Now that both are gone forever, Rojas can manage and influence the game his own way.

New Year, New Me

Regardless of when spring camp gets going on time, Rojas will head into it way more prepared than he was in 2020. If COVID-19 precautions are taken seriously, he will manage an entire season without any major interruptions. Rojas has a strong relationship with a majority of the roster from his time managing in the minors. Those who are new have past relationships with other coaches on his staff.

Of course, the Mets will have a much better roster with Steve Cohen, Sandy Alderson, and Jared Porter as the Mets’ brain trust. Rojas is symbolic of their new GM and assistant GM, a young, good baseball mind who worked his way up from the bottom.

He has teachings from his father, Felipe Alou, and said teachings will be better utilized in 2021. Despite spending many years managing in the big leagues, year one is still a big challenge no matter the experience. Rojas learned plenty of valuable lessons during the underwhelming 60-game struggle. He was managing a wounded roster, but Rojas will never use that as an excuse.

The biggest strength Rojas has is his unique ability to keep his cool. Even in a short season, Rojas never got ejected and never even came close to one. Some see that trait as weak, but that is an essential skill for the modern-day manager.

Thanks to Cohen, the Mets have plenty of buzz surrounding them, and Rojas helps it even more. 2021 is going to be a big year for Rojas due to the hype and much-improved roster. 60-games was not a true indication of Rojas’s ability as a manager, and he will be much better in a full season.

Reminder: This was someone who wanted him fired a week after the season ended