Stroman’s Six Shutout Innings Leads Mets to 4-0 Victory Over Phillies

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets carried over the momentum from their walk-off win in game one to a 4-0 victory and a doubleheader sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies. Marcus Stroman was a man on a mission after his nine-pitch, rain ruined cameo on Sunday against the Miami Marlins. Stroman pitched six shutout innings but did not get the opportunity to finish the game after spending an extended period of time on the bases.

Stroman did not record as many groundouts as he did in his first start but barely allowed any hard contact. He struck out just three but did a tremendous job of pinpointing his sinker on the inside corner to right-handed hitters. Stroman also had impeccable control with no walks, and only two three-ball counts. In 12 innings to start the season, Stroman has allowed just one run equaling a 0.75 ERA.

Nola? No Problem

The Mets offense gave Phillies starter Aaron Nola fits again but this time managed to drive in the runners they put on base. All the scoring against Nola came in the fourth inning from Jonathan Villar‘s two-run double and Brandon Nimmo‘s first of two RBI singles. Nimmo recorded another two hits in the game to push his average above .400 and his on-base percentage over .500. On the other hand, Nola did strike out seven in five innings but allowed seven hits. His velocity also dipped from 91-92 to 89-90 during his second time through the order.

Believe it or not, the doubleheader sweep pushes the Mets into a first-place tie in the NL East. It certainly is a change in the feeling over the last 48 hours for Mets fans. It is a lesson to the pessimistic Mets fans who were already flailing in disappointment before they even put a digit in the tens column for games played. The Mets also went 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position, moving their average in those situations to a respectable number.

The Mets face a familiar foe in Zack Wheeler for the third game of their four-game series. David Peterson looked to rebound from an awful first start of the season against the Phillies, where he allowed six runs in a losing effort. The first pitch from Citi Field is the usual 7:10 p.m. ET start.

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.

 

 

Mets Game Preview (4/6/21): 7:05 p.m. @ Philadelphia Phillies (4-0)

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets hope to rebound after a disappointing Opening Day collapse in the eighth inning on Monday. They will play game two of their three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies have asserted themselves as an underrated contender for the NL East crown after winning four straight to start the season. All four wins have come against the preseason front runners, three against the Braves and one versus the Mets.

Brandon Nimmo rightly returns to the leadoff spot with a right-handed pitcher on the mound. He plays center field while Dominic Smith makes his first start of the season in left field. The rest of the lineup is what we expect to see for the majority of the season.

The Phillies tweaked their lineup by adding the very selective Matt Joyce to the top of the order. Alec Bohm also moves up to the second spot in the order to replace Rhys Hoskins. He gets a surprising night off after a solid start to the season; Brad Miller will play first place in his place.

The Phillies bullpen has done a complete 180 from their 2020 performance. Over the first four games of the season, they combined to allow just one run. Jose Alvarado and Hector Neris combined to allow just one run in six innings while striking out 12 batters. In Monday’s game, the bullpen pitched 5.2 innings, allowing one run and struck out seven.

Pitching Matchups

Marcus Stroman makes his first start since the 2019 season after he opted out in 2020. Stroman had a 3.44 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 18.1 spring training innings. Of course, Stroman features the hard sinker, a cutter, slider, and the new split changeup that he debuted during the spring. Stroman has to fill the role of the second starter behind deGrom with Carlos Carrasco injured.

Chase Anderson makes his Phillies debut after spending 2020 with the Toronto Blue Jays. In the spring, Anderson had a 3.07 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched. Anderson features a 4-seam fastball, changeup, cutter, curveball, and an occasional sinker. Over his career, left-handed hitters hit just .223/.297/.388 against Anderson.

Matchups To Lookout For

Marcus Stroman vs. Matt Joyce: 4-for-11 (.364), Double, Home Run, 3 Walks, 3 Strikeouts

Marcus Stroman vs. Brad Miller: 7-for-32 (.219), Double, Triple, Home Run, 4 Walks, 9 Strikeouts

Chase Anderson vs. Michael Conforto: 3-for-13 (.231), 3 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 4 Strikeouts

Chase Anderson vs. Brandon Nimmo: 3-for-6 (.500), Double, Home Run, Walk, 3 Strikeouts

Canceling The Mets Opening Series Could Open Up The Starting Rotation

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The last 24 hours leading to Opening Day were a complete whirlwind for the New York Mets. At 11 p.m. on Wednesday, they announced the Francisco Lindor extension, which set the momentum going towards the following night’s game. 12 hours later, the disappointment of a postponed game quickly calmed down the positive vibes heading into the day.

The Mets knew there was at least one positive COVID case on Wednesday, but the announcement of two more on Thursday forced a postponement of game one. While the three positives do not affect the Mets roster, there could still be more lingering throughout the Nats clubhouse. The players in close contact also quarantine for a limited time. Even with a taxi squad, the Nats will need to make more roster moves to field a 26-man roster for their first game. They faced this same issue at the beginning of 2020 when Juan Soto missed time with a positive test.

Rotation Strength

For the Mets, we still know that Jacob deGrom will pitch the first game of the season, no matter when they play. At this point, it seems that they will open their season on Monday, April 5, in Philadelphia against the Phillies. It still allows Luis Rojas to set his 4-man rotation as he planned before the postponements. deGrom will be followed by Marcus Stroman, David Peterson, and Taijuan Walker before their off-day on Friday.

The Mets ace can return to the mound Saturday, and they can go all the way to April 14 without using a fifth starter. This would be one of two games in April where the Mets would need a fifth starter. After Joey Lucchesi‘s start on the 14th, they have the following two Mondays off. This allows deGrom to get his usual rest and sneak in an extra start out of it. The Mets also get the final Thursday in April off, which allows them to get back to the 4-man rotation for another week.

Not only does this help the current roster, but it helps the Mets on the shelf. Carlos Carrasco‘s absence will not feel as Lucchesi only has two April starts. The same could be said for Seth Lugo as they get an extra arm in the bullpen when Lucchesi goes more than his regular rest without making a start. Of course, we all want the Mets season to get started, but this is the best way to bring light to a dark situation.

New York Mets: Lindor Hits Fourth Homer in Five Games During 5-3 Win

The New York Mets are getting exactly what they traded for with Francisco Lindor‘s production this spring. Lindor has his best game of spring training by recording three hits, including his fourth home run. His strong game helped propel the Mets to a 5-3 victory over the Miami Marlins.

Marcus Stroman got the start and scattered nine hits over five innings. He was tagged for two home runs, but the umpires bailed Stroman out both times. Starling Marte‘s double hit the chain-link fence behind the right field wall and bounced back in play. Brian Anderson hit a towering shot over the left field foul pole that was called a foul ball. Instead of a three-run homer, Anderson struck out to end the inning instead.

In the third inning, Adam Duvall‘s sacrifice fly gave the Marlins their first run. Miguel Rojas recorded the final two runs with his two-run homer in the fifth inning as Stroman limped to the finish line. The quartet of Jacob Barnes, Aaron Loup, Trevor May, and Tommy Hunter finished the game with four hitless innings.

After Marlins starter Daniel Castano retired the first six batters he faced, the Mets came out swinging in the third inning. Triples from Kevin Pillar and Brandon Nimmo led to the first run of the inning. Francisco Lindor’s double drove in Nimmo, and a sharp single from Pete Alonso capped off the three-run third. Lindor’s fifth inning homer put the Mets in the lead, and another homer from J.D. Davis in the sixth gave their fifth run.

On Wednesday, Taijuan Walker (1-0, 3.00) takes the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter. The offense gets another opportunity to afflict more damage on Carlos Martinez (0-2, 10.03) and his ERA as he starts for the Cards.

New York Mets: Carrasco’s Injury Overshadows 3-1 Loss to Nationals

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

Jed Lowrie may no longer steal money from the New York Mets, but his ghost still torments the organization. After recovering from an arm injury, Carlos Carrasco strained his right hamstring while conditioning. Carrasco is likely to be out for Opening Day, leaving the fifth starter job wide open.

As for the Mets on the field, their offense went quiet again in a 3-1 loss for the Nationals. Marcus Stroman continued to impress with five terrific innings. Stroman only allowed one run on two hits while striking out six Nats.

The Mets threw all major league ready arms after Stroman left the game. Jeurys Familia did not walk anyone but allowed a home run and a double during his one inning of work. Aaron Loup suffered a similar fate when he allowed a solo homer to Josh Bell in the seventh inning. Edwin Diaz and Trevor May were as good as advertised in their respective innings. Diaz worked out of a second and third jam while May pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning with a strikeout.

James McCann drove in the lone run in the first with a double that scored J.D. Davis all the way from first base. Kevin Pillar took advantage of batting second to record two more hits to push his spring average up to .348. Luis Guillorme continued to prove his worth with another stellar defensive play. This one came at shortstop with a sliding stop to his backhand to record the groundout.

On Friday, Taijuan Walker takes the mound for the second time this spring. Walker gets to pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals for another 1:10 p.m. ET start on SNY.

Stroman Pitches Well Again in Mets 4-2 Loss Against Marlins

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets were back on television on Friday after only a couple thousand fans watched Jacob deGrom‘s dominance on Thursday. While not as dominant, Marcus Stroman put together a strong start against the Miami Marlins. Stroman became the first Mets starter to pitch into the fourth innings this spring in the 4-2 loss.

Stroman needed 58 pitches to get through 3.1 innings. He allowed a run in the first inning on a Jesus Aguilar single but settled in after that. Stroman recorded four strikeouts and lowered his spring training ERA to 3.24. Dellin Betances also pitched a scoreless inning with his fastball in the 89-93 mph range. The jury is still out on if Betances will sit at that speed all season, but he will need the best control of his career if he does.

Trevor May and Tommy Hunter struggled in their outings. May allowed three straight singles to load the bases, but a double play helped him escape with only one run allowed. Hunter’s inning was littered with hard contact. Monte Harrison broke the 2-2- tie with his RBI double, and Joe Dunand blooped a single to make it 4-2.

It is hard to find a hotter hitter than Brandon Nimmo this spring. His second double of the spring kept his average at a tremendous .444. Pete Alonso also remained hot with a line-drive RBI double to right-center field. Brandon Drury drove in the first Mets run with an RBI single in the fourth.

Jordan Yamamoto (0-1, 0.00) takes the mound against the Washington Nationals on Saturday. The first pitch is at 6:05 p.m. ET from West Palm Beach.

New York Mets Play Ugly Defense in 4-4 Tie Against Miami Marlins

The New York Mets lived up to the reputation of being a team lacking “defensive geniuses” on Sunday. Four errors, including three from Jeff McNeil, led to an ugly 4-4 tie against the Miami Marlins. The Marlins also had an ugly game at the plate as they went 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position.

If last season was not enough, McNeil proved he cannot play third base on an everyday basis. He is more than capable of playing at second base, but there is very little hope for him at the hot corner. Kevin Pillar made the fourth Mets error, dropping a routine fly ball hit directly at him. Jose Martinez also left the game with a knee injury in the fourth inning.

Marcus Stroman took the mound as the first Mets starter to make his second spring outing. Stroman was not as sharp but still pitched well overall. He allowed two runs over three innings on 52 pitches. Stroman’s velocity was a positive as he was sitting in the 92-93 range, and his split-changeup continued to produce swings and misses.

Offensively, the Mets scattered eight hits to produce their four runs. A three-run home run from Jonathan Villar was the biggest hit of the day and Villar’s first homer of the spring. Pillar recorded the only other extra-base with his line drive double off the left field fence.

The Mets are off TV again on Monday when they head to West Palm Beach to play the Washington Nationals. Jordan Yamamoto (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his first start of the spring against Joe Ross. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET from The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

 

Mets: Marcus Stroman talks about his new pitch, a split-change

New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets got their first victory of spring training in their second game, on Tuesday against the Houston Astros. It was a 2-0 win, which means the afternoon’s theme was quality pitching, especially from right-hander Marcus Stroman.

Stroman, who took a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer to stay with the Mets one more season, has been working on a new pitch for months, and Tuesday marked the first time he got to test in during a live game.

During the offseason, Stroman learned a new split-change from Mets’ teammate Robert Gsellman, and he threw it six times in the win against the Astros. It helped him achieve one swing-and-miss from Michael Brantley, a very good hitter, and makes for a nice complementary offering to add to his fastballs, sinkers and sliders

“Man, I love it,” Stroman said to MLB.com. “That’s a new pitch for me. I’m still getting comfortable with it, but to see the results today, it’s extremely encouraging.”

The Mets’ righty has a new weapon

According to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, “unlike a traditional changeup, Stroman’s split-change relies on pressure from his ring finger, which he places on the outer edge of the seam. Stroman has been working for months to perfect the pitch, but he couldn’t be sure about its effectiveness until he used it in games. Now that he has, Stroman is more confident than ever in his ability to use it this season.”

Over the last four years,  Stroman used changeups only 5% of the time, but on Tuesday, he went to his new split-change roughly 25% of the time.

“You never know until you throw it against hitters,” Stroman said. “It can feel filthy, it can feel nasty, it can feel like the best pitch ever. But until you actually get out there and throw it in a game, and see how hitters react to it, I feel like you can’t actually consider that pitch a weapon. … After throwing it today, I feel like it’s a weapon.”

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.