Mets Game Preview: (4/30/21) @ Philadelphia Phillies (12-13)

Simeon Woods-Richardson

After taking a day off, the New York Mets take a trip to Philadelphia to face the Phillies in a three-game weekend series. Both teams enter one game under the .500 mark, but both sit in a three-way tie for first place in the NL East. The first pitch from Citizens Bank Park is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET as both teams try to close out April on a high note.

If there were ever a place for the Mets to revive their offense, the hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park is the perfect place. The Mets have only scored more than four runs in just three games this season and are dead last in MLB in runs scored. They hit a new low in the two-game series against the Boston Red Sox with just nine hits and one run. Their only bright spot has been their pitching staff with a 3.05 ERA, the fourth-lowest in baseball. If the bats ever wake up, they will immediately become a very dangerous team.

The Phillies have cooled off after their hot start to the season and come off a split in a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Their bullpen has regressed to the 2020 form with their ERA at 4.62 and has allowed 14 home runs. They also lead MLB in the most walk-off losses. Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto are the offensive leaders, but there has been little help elsewhere. Rhys Hoskins is 13-for-65 (.200) over the last 16 games, but six of those hits have been homers. Jean Segura is also in the IL with a Quad injury.

Pitching Matchup

Marcus Stroman looks to rebound from his first tough outing of the young season. He only lasted four innings against the Washington Nationals, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits which were all singles. In 12 innings against the Phillies this season, Stroman has allowed just one run and held them to a .171 batting average.

Chase Anderson is also hoping to bounce back from a rough start against the Colorado Rockies. In just 3.2 innings, he allowed six runs on the same amount of hits and inflated his ERA to 6.48. Anderson has very similar lines in his two prior starts against the Mets this year, allowing four runs in nine innings. His first start against the Mets was his longest so far, but he only pitched five innings.

Matchups To Lookout For

Marcus Stroman vs. Matt Joyce: 5-for-15 (.333), Double, Home Run, 5 Walks, 3 Strikeouts

Marcus Stroman vs. J.T. Realmuto: 5-for-10 (.500), Walk, Strikeout

Chase Anderson vs. Dominic Smith: 2-for-5 (.400), 2 Home Runs, Walk, 2 Strikeouts

Chase Anderson vs. Michael Conforto: 3-for-17 (.176), 3 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 4 Strikeouts

Richards 10 K’s Propels Red Sox To 2-1 Win Over Mets

New York Mets, David Peterson

Another day, another game where the New York Mets failed to support a strong outing from their starting pitcher. The Boston Red Sox were not much better but pushed across enough runs to support a terrific outing from Garrett Richards. They only needed five hits to support themselves in the 2-1 victory in game one of their two-game set.

Darryl Strawberry called into the SNY telecast, and the Mets desperately needed his bat against Richards. He concocted the formula most pitchers have used to beat the Mets, bend but do not break. Richards pitched seven innings, allowed seven hits, and struck out 10 in his longest outing of the season. The biggest obstacle for Richards in the past was his inability to find the strike zone, but he did not any free passes on Tuesday.

Richards also had just one three-ball count during the entire outing. Jeff McNeil‘s second-inning home run was the only damage he allowed on the night. Richards also had help from J.D. Martinez in the outfield as he recorded an assist during a rare outfield appearance. Matt Andriese and Matt Barnes shut the door by throwing 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth.

Sorry Petey

David Peterson received the deGrom treatment as the tough-luck loser. Peterson did a great job to quiet a very hot Red Sox offense. In six innings, he kept the Sox to just two runs on four hits. Peterson recorded 15 outs on the ground and served up weak contact all night. Bobby Dalbec tagged him for a third-inning solo homer, and Rafael Devers bloop single gave the Red Sox the lead in the sixth inning.

This loss was another example of how bad of an offensive funk the Mets are in. Manager Luis Rojas can mix up the lineup all he wants, but if the hitters do not produce, the team will not win. Hopefully, Michael Conforto‘s two hits, including double, shows his slump is coming to an end. The biggest concern is Francisco Lindor, who barely hit the ball out of the infield. Lindor is off-balanced, overswinging, and swinging at pitches outside of his zone. He needs just one solid drive into the gap to get himself going and out of his month-long slump.

Jacob deGrom hopes to get the Mets back in the win column on Wednesday against Nick Pivetta. The first pitch is an earlier 6:40 p.m. start from Citi Field.

Mets Can’t Get Anything Going in 7-1 Loss To Nationals

The first play of the game was the theme of the New York Mets‘ miserable 7-1 loss to the Washington Nationals. Josh Harrison’s leadoff single was misplayed by Michael Conforto in right field and rolled all the way to the wall. On the error, Harrison made it all the way to third base. Yadiel Hernandez drove him in with a sacrifice fly and four pitches into the game; the Nats had a 1-0 lead. They never looked back by scoring in each of the first five innings.

It was clear that Marcus Stroman did not have his best stuff from the beginning and received little help from home plate umpire Edwin Moscoso. The smaller zone forced Stroman to work up and throw only 43 strikes in 72 pitches. Stroman also failed to get the soft contact he recorded in his first three starts. He allowed eight singles which resulted in five runs, and only lasted four innings.

Bullpen Help

Stephen Tarpley provided no relief by allowing two runs and all four batters he faced to reach base in his Mets debut. Robert Gsellman‘s effort in relief will be overlooked, but he saved the bullpen from wasting arms. He threw three hitless innings and only allowed a walk. Gsellman was on his way out of the Mets bullpen but proved his worth in his long relief appearance.

The Mets offense struggled to figure out Nationals starter Joe Ross. He bounced back from a 10-run outing against the St. Louis Cardinals to hold the Mets to a Michael Conforto solo-home run in six innings. Pete Alonso recorded two singles as he starts to get into his groove after a small slump to begin the season. The loss drops the Mets back to 8-8, and they could be joined in first place by the Philadelphia Phillies.

The rubber game of the series sends two former Diamondbacks teammates to the mound in Patrick Corbin and Taijuan Walker. The first pitch for the Sunday afternoon game is 1:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

deGrom’s 15 K Shutout Draws MVP Chants in Mets 6-0 Win

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom has exceeded any expectations the New York Mets, or their fans could have ever imagined from him. He set a new career-high with 15 strikeouts in his second career complete-game shutout to give the Mets a 6-0 win over the Washington Nationals.

deGrom had everything working from the beginning and carried it all the way to the end of his outing. He began the night by reaching 101 mph on the radar gun, then completed his outing by retiring the final 19 batters he faced. deGrom’s 50 strikeouts this season set a record for the most strikeouts in MLB history through the first four starts of a season. He even garnered MVP fans from the contingent at Citi Field.

Finally Some Help

Despite the easy victory, it looked like a typical deGrom disappointment through the first half of the game. With no one out, the Mets stranded a runner at third base in the second inning to continue their painfully bad hitting with runners in scoring position. In the fifth, deGrom got the offense going with an RBI double which was the first of his two hits on the night. The strong offensive night brought his season average to an incredible .545.

Brandon Nimmo also continued his hot hitting in his return to the lineup. He finished just a triple shy of the cycle and had four RBIs which helped push his average back over .400. The Mets also got an encouraging game from Michael Conforto, who had two hits, getting his average over the Mendoza line. Overall, the team left eight runners on base but went 3-for-10 w/RISP.

The victory puts the Mets back in sole possession of first place with an 8-7 record. Marcus Stroman faces Joe Ross in the second game of the series which is scheduled for a 4:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

Mets’ Francisco Lindor wants the organization to extend Michael Conforto

New York Mets

The New York Mets acquired shortstop Francisco Lindor back in January, knowing that it would have taken a huge financial commitment to lock him up to a long-term contract. One day before Opening Day, however, both sides were able to hammer out a deal.

The Mets inked the All-Star infielder to a 10-year, $341 million contract extension that will kick in next year. That way, the organization has a new face for, at least, the next decade.

That face, however, wants a teammate to join him among Mets’ players who signed a contract extension in 2021. Outfielder Michael Conforto, like Lindor, has only one year remaining on his commitment with the team. But he hasn’t signed a long-term pact yet.

Will the Mets sign Conforto?

Lindor had told the Mets he wouldn’t negotiate during the regular season. Conforto preferred not to do that, but has been more open to talking even though the 2021 MLB campaign is already under way.

“He’s a good ball player. I told him ‘you’re a good ball player.’ He’s gonna put the numbers up,” Lindor told reporters via Zoom (link to SNY article.) “At the end of the year the numbers will be there no matter what, if he continues to stay healthy, the numbers will be there for sure.

“Enjoy this process, don’t worry about what’s gonna happen. He’s one of the leaders in the Mets organization, so he’s gonna get paid at some point. He’s gonna get what he desires and what he deserves and what God has for him.

“Enjoy every single day. We’re early in the season — there’s a lot of things that can happen. Looking forward to the day he actually — God willing he does sign here, I can say he’s gonna be a teammate of mine for a very long time.”

Before the Mets game on Tuesday, Conforto was mired in an ugly slump. He is hitting .143/.250/.190 with no home runs or RBI.

Mets Offense Fails To Support deGrom in 3-0 Loss To Marlins

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The New York Mets continue to create innovative and disappointing ways to waste Jacob deGrom‘s stellar outings. In their 3-0 loss to the Miami Marlins, the offense managed just three hits against Trevor Rogers, who outdueled the Mets ace.

deGrom and Rogers put on a classic pitchers duel. deGrom hurled eight innings, allowing just one run and striking out 14 Marlins. Unfortunately, a solo home run to Jazz Chisholm was all the fish needed to support Rogers. deGrom came out with his blazing fastball during the first two innings, but Chisholm’s homer forced him to adjust. He went back to being a complete pitcher using all three of his magnificent pitches to keep Marlins hitters guessing. Two more runs in the ninth off, Edwin Diaz gave the Marlins more than enough to complete the victory.

Rogers showed why the Marlins are very high on his future. He worked in and out of jams throughout the latter part of his outing and ended up striking out 10 on the day. Rogers set the tone in the first inning when he worked out of a first and third situation to keep the Mets scoreless. He also slithered his way out of a first and second with none out by retiring the 2-3-4 hitters in order.

Help The Guy Out

The loss makes the Mets 36-42 in deGrom’s starts since the 2018 season. deGrom was even responsible for one of the team’s three hits. They went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and dropped their season average with RISP below .150. There was little fight towards the end as 12 Mets in a row were retired to end the game. Michael Conforto continued his slump with an 0-for-4, three strikeout game and heard vociferous boos from the small contingent at Citi Field.

Through five games, the Mets are 2-3 and are lucky their record is not worse. Their starting pitching deserves a 4-1 record, but their offense is more of a 1-4 team. Either way, the Mets need to do a better job supporting the starting pitching they have received early in the season.

Marcus Stroman makes his second start of the season while the Marlins are waiting to name a starter. Sunday’s rubber game of the series is another 1:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

Mets: Michael Conforto explains what happened the game-winning ‘hit by pitch’

With the bases loaded and the game on the line in the bottom of the ninth inning, the New York Mets got a victory on Thursday’s home opener against the Miami Marlins when closer Anthony Bass hit Michael Conforto with a pitch.

However, it remains unclear if the ball hit Conforto in the elbow or not, and the Mets’ slugger appeared to lean into the pitch, which was in the strike zone. In fact, home plate umpire Ron Kulpa initially called Conforto out on strikes, but just seconds later reversed the decision and said the ball hit him, handing the victory to the Mets.

Don Mattingly, the Marlins’ skipper, argued with Kulpa about his decision, but to no avail. The Mets had won 3-2.

“Still kind of a little befuddled on what happened,” Marlins catcher Chad Wallach said. “I mean, we know what happened. He called it a strike and then changed his mind and called it a hit-by-pitch, so on that part we’re confused. I’ve never seen that before.”

The Mets’ Conforto knew there was going to be some controversy

Conforto explained what happened in that short period of time since Bass threw the ball towards home plate and it landed on Wallach’s mitt.

“It felt like it was coming back to me,” Conforto said of the pitch. “I turned. There may have been a little lift to my elbow just out of habit, out of reaction, and it barely skimmed the edge of my elbow guard. … I didn’t know what was going to happen after that moment. I knew there was going to be some controversy.”

In his postgame press conference, Conforto added, according to the Mets’ official site, that, “obviously, it was not the way that I wanted to win the ballgame,” before saying that “a win’s a win.”

The game rules state that a batter is indeed awarded a base after a hit by pitch, “unless (A) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (B) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball.” Both conditions in the rule appear to support the Marlins’ thesis that the right call should have been a strikeout.

“The guy was hit by the pitch in the strike zone,” Kulpa told a pool reporter after the game. “I should have called him out.”

Conforto’s Controversial Hit By Pitch Wins It In Mets 3-2 Walk-Off Victory

The New York Mets were a sleeping giant just waiting for someone to poke them, and Anthony Bass was the pitcher who suffered the consequences. Jeff McNeil‘s leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth woke up the offense, and Michael Conforto‘s awkward hit by pitch allowed the Mets to steal a 3-2 walk-off victory.

Both hitters desperately needed the big moments; the homer was McNeil’s first hit of the season, and Conforto was hitting just .176, which likely influenced him to lean his elbow guard right over the inside corner.  Overall, the Mets offense left eight runners on base and was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position before Conforto’s controversial HBP.

Conforto’s hit by pitch looked like it would have been strike three, and there is no doubt that he leaned into it. Since it was not a reviewable play, there was nothing home plate umpire Ron Kulpa could do about it. If it were reviewable, it was clear as day that Conforto failed to be discreet when leaning into the curveball.

Walker’s Debut

Taijuan Walker made his Mets debut and came out hot out of the gate. He reached all the way up to 97 with his fastball in the first inning. Walker started the game with 4.1 hitless innings before Brian Anderson’s single broke up the no-no. Walker’s final inning ended his start with a sour taste. Corey Dickerson‘s double tied the game at one, and Jesus Aguilar‘s single gave the Marlins a 2-1 lead they brought to the ninth. Walked finished the day with six strong innings, four strikeouts, and two runs allowed.

Nick Neidert was the spot starter for the Marlins and tip-toed out of trouble throughout his 4.1 innings pitched. He allowed three hits and five walks but held the Mets to just one run. Neidert and new pitcher Ross Detwiler had some help from center fielder Starling Marte with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning. Dominic Smith drove a majestic fly ball to center field, and Marte’s leaping catch on the warning track allowed just one run to score on the sacrifice fly. It seemed like the game saving play for the majority of the game.

The Marlins bullpen kept the 2-1 lead until Bass entered the game. Bass allowed three hits, one walk, and the mystifying hit by pitch to Conforto, which ended the game. It was his second blown save of the season, and he has allowed six runs in just 2.1 innings pitched.

The Mets get Friday off, then Jacob deGrom takes the mound for his second start of the season. Trevor Rogers will take the mound for the Marlins. The first pitch is another 1:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

Mets Cannot Recover From Peterson’s First Inning in 8-2 Loss to Phillies

Simeon Woods-Richardson

David Peterson‘s first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies symbolized the New York Mets issues during their opening series. Flat, rusty, and a step slow as the Phillies tagged Peterson for four runs to put the Mets in an early first-inning hole. Rhys Hoskins‘s solo home run and Alec Bohm‘s three-run homer gave them a 4-0 lead they never looked back from in their 8-2 victory.

Peterson bookended three shutout innings with ugly first and fifth innings. Hoskins got to Peterson again with a double in the fifth, and Bryce Harper‘s drag bunt gave the Phillies a first and third situation. Peterson left the game, and Jacob Barnes made his Mets debut in relief but gave the Mets little help. J.T. Realmuto swatted Barnes’s first pitch over the right field fence to put the game out of reach at 7-1.

Wasted Opportunities

The Mets offense made Phillies ace Aaron Nola worked extremely hard through his four innings of work. Nola worked around eight baserunners to hold the Mets to one run on 92 pitches. The ability to get runners on base but failure to score them was the story of their game. They recorded 11 hits but left 14 runners on base and went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Combine all those factors, and you get their two-run effort. Michael Conforto struggled the most in his 0-for-5 day with two strikeouts and nine left on base.

The silver lining from the game is Joey Lucchesi‘s two innings to finish off the loss. Lucchesi struck out two and only allowed one hit as he tries to keep himself ready for a start next week. Jonathan Villar also finished a home run shy of the cycle.

A 1-2 start to year always stings, but a full 162 game season allows plenty of time to rebound from a rough start. The Mets return to Citi Field for their home opener, with Taijuan Walker making his Mets debut. They will face the Miami Marlins, who have not announced a starter yet due to the current injuries in their rotation. The first pitch from Queens is at 1:05 p.m.

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.