Mets Game Preview (7/31/21) vs. Cincinnati Reds (55-49)

mets, pete alonso

After a disappointing Friday night loss, the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds rematch for a Saturday night matinee from Citi Field. The Mets also have a new member as Javier Baez will be in the lineup and play shortstop for his new team. If the Mets Hall of Fame ceremony does not push the game back, the first pitch will be thrown at 7:10 p.m. ET.

The Mets hope to avoid their first under .500 month this season if they can pick up a victory. No player needs a better ending to their July than Michael Conforto. He batted just .173 with 23 strikeouts and heard the boo-birds after taking the hat-trick in Friday’s loss. If the Mets’ offense ever consistently gets going, they will need his bat to get going. Hopefully, the addition of Baez will inject some life into a team that needs a spark with Francisco Lindor on the IL.

The Reds still feel that they can make a playoff run during the final two months of the season. Joey Votto is looking to make history by homering in his eighth consecutive game, which would make him the eighth person in MLB history to accomplish the feat. He will likely have to do it off a left-handed pitcher, which he has only hit two home runs off of all season.

Pitching Matchup

Rich Hill takes the mound in his second start for the Mets. In his first outing with the Mets, he danced around trouble to pitch five innings and hold the Blue Jays to three runs. Due to the Tampa Bay Rays philosophy, he has only thrown 100 pitches once this season. With the beleaguered Mets pitching staff, they will need Hill to pitch like a conventional starter.

Wade Miley takes the mound for the Reds and has put together a strong 2021 campaign. When he faced the Mets earlier this season, he twirled 6.1 innings, with eight strikeouts, and allowed just two runs. Overall, he has a 2.86 ERA over 18 starts and allowed just eight home runs on the season.

Matchups To Lookout For

Wade Miley vs. Kevin Pillar: 9-for-27 (.333), Double, Home Run, Walk, 6 Strikeouts

Wade Miley vs. James McCann: 5-for-13 (.385), Double, 2 Strikeouts

Rich Hill vs. Joey Votto: 1-for-10 (.100), 3 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Mets Disappoint in Carrasco’s Debut/Black Jersey Return in 6-2 Loss

The New York Mets supplied plenty of hype going into Friday night’s opener against the Cincinnati Reds. Carlos Carrasco was making his Mets debut, Javier Baez was officially traded to the Mets and it was the return of the black jerseys. Jonathan India could not care less about the energy in the building as he deposited the first pitch of the game over the left field fence.

After India’s leadoff bomb, the Mets responded with a first inning run and loaded the bases with no outs against Sonny Gray. Michael Conforto struck out and Jonathan Villar grounded into an inning ending double play to let Gray off the ropes. Gray ended up settling in for six terrific innings, allowing just the first inning run and striking out seven. As Gray settled in, he began a streak of 15 consecutuve retired hitters which lasted through the eighth inning.

Carrasco’s Debut

Carrasco also rebounded after India’s homer to allow just one run over four innings with four strikeouts. The Reds took advantage of the Mets bullpen by getting at least one run off all three relievers. Their onslaught included a Joey Votto homer for the seventh consecutive game and India’s second home run of the night.

In the ninth, the Mets were down by five but ended up getting the tying run on the on deck circle. Unfortunately, Amir Garrett struckout James McCann to end the game and the two out rally. Conforto’s 0-for-4 and three strikeout game dropped his average below .200 and the fans let him know how they felt. As the game continued, the boos and jeers grew louder towards Conforto, who embodied the struggles of the Mets offense.

Baez makes his Mets debut for Saturday’s game as the Mets hope to avoid a three game losing streak. Rich Hill takes the mound against Wade Miley in the middle game of the series. The first pitch from Citi Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET, but the Mets Hall of Fame ceremony may push the game back.

Mets add shortstop Javier Baez and pitcher Trevor Williams near the deadline

javier baez, mets

Former Chicago Cubs’ shortstop Javier Baez got his wish. This week, the stellar infielder said he would like to play with fellow Puerto Rican Francisco Lindor, and he would be the only player for whom he would move off his preferred position to play second base. Now, the New York Mets are granting his wish and made him a member of the team before the deadline struck.

The Mets are sending center field prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong, taken in the 2020 MLB Draft, to the Cubs in exchange for Baez’s expiring deal and pitcher Trevor Williams, someone that they had pursued before.

The cost for bringing Baez was steep, given that Crow-Armstrong projects as a speedy, high-contact center with a plus glove, but the Mets wanted to make a splash at the deadline, and they brought a flawed but talented infielder that can certainly help.

“If I go to the free agency, I would like to play with Francisco Lindor. I loved playing with him in the World (Baseball) Classic. It is the only option I would take to play second base if it is to play with him, otherwise I stay playing at shortstop,” Baez had stated earlier in the week.

The Mets get some infield and pitching depth

The Mets needed some pitching depth, and Williams will provide it. But Baez is the biggest get in the deal.

While the Mets’ biggest star, Lindor, recovers from an oblique strain suffered recently, Baez will slot as the everyday shortstop. When he is ready to return, Baez will slide over to second base, which will likely result in Jeff McNeil moving to third base.

Baez is a career .262/.302/.474 hitter, capable of hitting lots of home runs for the Mets in the stretch run and also steal some bases. However, he leads the majors with 131 strikeouts and has slashed .248/.292/.484 so far in 2021. He does have 22 dingers, though, and plays excellent defense at shortstop.

 

Williams, meanwhile, is insurance. He has a career 4.49 ERA.

FOCO Releases New York Mets Black Jersey Bobbleheads

The New York Mets are finally back in their black jerseys, and FOCO has fans covered with more great bobbleheads. As the Mets take the field tonight, FOCO’s bobbleheads feature two of the Mets aces, Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman.

There are 321 of each bobblehead, and they are each priced at $65.00. The unique part of these bobbleheads is that their base also spins around as well. Both deGrom and Stroman are in their signature poses on the mound, and Stro even has his highlights on the back of his hair as well. They also have the “back to black” logo on top of the Mets logo. Make sure to get these amazing bobbleheads before they become unavailable!

Analyzing the Mets’ last chance to make a statement on trade deadline day

New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant

The Los Angeles Dodgers are getting Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Nationals. The Milwaukee Brewers brought All-Star infielder Eduardo Escobar. The San Diego Padres brought shutdown reliever Daniel Hudson and are rumored to be interested in starter Jose Berrios. Yes, the New York Mets traded for pitcher Rich Hill, but they could still improve the rotation to give it more depth and certainty, and bring a star infielder.

The Mets remain engaged with the Chicago Cubs for infielder/outfielder Kris Bryant, who would not only give them an exciting slugger to complement the lineup, but would also represent a huge defensive upgrade over JD Davis at the hot corner.

However, another Cubs’ infielder appears to be on the Mets radar: It’s Javier Baez, who said this week that he would like to play with fellow Puerto Rican shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Since Lindor is injured, Baez would be a stellar fill-in, and once the former returns from his oblique strain, Baez could slide over to second base, moving Jeff McNeil to third base.

A Mets – Cubs trade is still a possibility

A combination deal sending Kris Bryant or Javier Baez and pitcher Zach Davies to the Mets is “one possibility,” according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who noted, however, that nothing is close at the moment.

SNY’s Andy Martino reported earlier this month that Davies could be a fit for the Mets. He is not having a particularly good season, however, and is no better than most of the options that New York currently have.

The Colorado Rockies could also be a tempting trade partner for the Mets. They remain open to trading All-Star shortstop Trevor Story, but are now reportedly reluctant to deal starter Jon Gray and reliever Daniel Bard.

Berrios, and perhaps Kenta Maeda, could also be options for the Mets as they look to make a statement and protect their first place in the NL East division.

Mets Escape With 2-1 Victory Over Braves After Exciting Ninth Inning

The New York Mets five-game series against the Atlanta Braves have been a dog fight from the beginning, and it proved again in game four. The Mets 2-1 win was symbolic of their 2021 surprising success. It featured unlikely heroes, bullpen success, and tremendous defense to get a much-needed victory.

After a tense 1-1 battle that carried into the seventh inning, manager Luis Rojas turned to the bat of Brandon Drury. He was fresh off a 3-for-3 night in Tuesday’s blowout loss and was 6-for-14 as a pinch hitter. Drury waited back on a Max Fried curveball and launched it deep into the left-field bleachers for a 2-1 Mets lead.

Battle Tested

The usually reliable Aaron Loup got the ball to protect the lead in the eighth but ran into instant trouble. After two straight singles to leadoff inning, a swinging bunt from Freddie Freeman set the Braves up with runners on second and third with only one out. Jeurys Familia came into face the red-hot Austin Riley, who homered earlier in the game. Familia struck out Riley, then induced a Dansby Swanson groundout to escape the jam.

Trouble returned in the ninth inning for Edwin Diaz, who allowed a leadoff double to Abraham Almonte. After getting a flyout, Ehire Adrianza singled to right field, and a perfect throw from Michael Conforto and a great tag from James McCann nabbed Almonte from scoring the tying run. Pablo Sandoval flew out to Kevin Pillar, cutting towards the left-center field gap to secure the win.

Tylor Megill was solid once again in 5.1 innings, allowing just one run while striking out six to lower his ERA to a very impressive 2.04. The combination of five relievers the Mets used allowed just four hits, no walks, and kept the Braves scoreless. The win pushed the Mets four games ahead of the second-place Philadelphia Phillies and five ahead of the Braves.

On Thursday, both teams finish up their series with a 12:10 afternoon game. Drew Smyly faces Taijuan Walker in the rubber game of the five-game series from Citi Field.

Mets: Javier Baez ‘would like to play with Francisco Lindor’

Chicago Cubs’ shortstop Javier Baez is a free agent at the end of the season, so there is a non-zero chance he gets traded before Friday’s deadline if the Cubs want to get something in return rather than losing him for nothing. But it appears he is eager to test the market, and he would definitely consider playing for the New York Mets according to his recent comments.

“If I go to the free agency, I would like to play with Francisco Lindor,” Baez said during an interview with Mega 106.9 FM (link to SNY article here). “I loved playing with him in the World (Baseball) Classic. It is the only option I would take to play second base if it is to play with him, otherwise I stay playing at shortstop.”

Baez is a fantastic defensive shortstop who has already won a Gold Glove last year. He was also worth 31 DRS (defensive runs saved) at the position in 2019. He could have a strong market at short, so the fact that he would sacrifice his preferred spot on the diamond to play with his friend is noteworthy. The Mets have some infield depth, but are surely taking notice of his comments.

What will the Mets do at the deadline?

The Mets remain focused on bringing an additional arm to their roster before Friday’s deadline, but they are also reportedly interested in Kris Bryant. Could they take the discount and pay a little more to get Baez too? It seems unlikely, as they haven’t been connected to Baez, but anything can happen.

Whether he is acquired by the Mets via trade or signed as a free agent after the season (a much more likely scenario), having a double play combo of Lindor and Baez would be really something, as both men are elite with the glove.

The Mets would have to find new positions for Jeff McNeil and/or JD Davis, plus they have several infield prospects, most notably Ronny Mauricio, Brett Baty, and Mark Vientos, knocking on the door.

Baez is batting .245/.289/.483 with 22 homers in 90 games for the Cubs this campaign.

Mets are reportedly interested in Pittsburgh Pirates’ starter

Recent reports had the New York Mets inquiring about Washington Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer, who could potentially be available if the 2019 World Series champs decide they are too far off contention to go for it this year.

However, the Mets may not bring a top name for their starting rotation, and could instead focus on bringing one more medium-level arm to ensure there won’t be any depth issues. After all, they are very confident in Jacob deGrom’s health, and they seem to be pleased with Carlos Carrasco’s latest rehab start.

While Joey Lucchesi is out for the year, there is optimism that the Mets could have Noah Syndergaard back in September. As a result, they will probably shift their focus to a bat and a more modest starter, like Tyler Anderson of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Mets remain interested in trading for the Pirates’ left-hander, according to a report from SNY’s Andy Martino.

Martino says it is “probably too late to swing a trade for Anderson in time for him to start Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field — the Mets’ starter is currently TBA.”

The Mets and the Pirates could swing a deal

Mets’ president Sandy Alderson is said to be very close with his Pirates’ counterpart Ben Cherington, and the possibility of a deal being reached is tangible.

Anderson is no star, but he can certainly help the Mets and give more depth to their rotation. This year, the 31-year-old southpaw has a 4.35 ERA (4.26 FIP) and 1.20 WHIP with 86 strikeouts in 103.1 innings over 18 starts.

He is also affordable, making $2.5 million this season and slated to hit free agency when it ends.

The Mets, besides Scherzer and Anderson, have also been linked with Arizona Diamondbacks’ right-hander Merril Kelly.

New York is still the top-ranked team in the NL East and intends to keep it that way.

Mets Game(s) Preview (7/26/21) vs. Atlanta Braves (48-50)

The New York Mets and Atlanta Braves begin a critical five-game series with a doubleheader starting today. As the trade deadline approaches, this series could clarify the type of moves each team needs to make this week. The first pitch of the seven-inning twi-night doubleheader is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. ET.

The Mets took two out of three from the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend and kept a four-game lead in the NL East. Pete Alonso led the way in the series with three home runs and is in the middle of a nine-game hitting streak. During the hot streak, Alonso is slashing .368/.442/.789 with five home runs and ten runs batted in. Jeff McNeil should see his way back into the lineup for the doubleheader after pinch-hitting in Sunday’s win. McNeil delivered a two-run double, which gave the Mets the lead in the sixth inning.

The Braves come off a series split with the Philadelphia Phillies and sit four games behind the Mets. After Ronald Acuna Jr.’s season-ending injury, the Braves have not rebounded to charge up the standings. With the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers destined to play in the wild card game, the Braves’ only hope is to win the division. Should they lose the series to the Mets, they may become sellers.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1

Marcus Stroman takes the mound for the Mets and was stellar in his last outing. He threw eight shutout innings, allowing just one hit, and struck out seven against the Cincinnati Reds. The Mets will need Stroman to go deep in the game once again with the uncertainty of their starting rotation for the rest of the week. Stroman’s 2.59 ERA is the 10th best in all of baseball.

Kyle Muller starts for the Braves and has managed to survive in the Braves rotation. He has only gone deeper than five innings in one of his outings but has only allowed more than two runs once. In his start against the Mets earlier this season, Muller pitched four no-hit innings, allowing one run on two walks.

Game 2 

The Mets will likely use a bullpen game in game two as they have no options for a regular starter.

Bryse Wilson gets the start for the Braves in game two and is making his first start in the big leagues since June 20. In two doubleheader starts this season, Wilson has pitched four innings in each start and combined to allow eight runs. Wilson typically throws plenty of strikes, but this has resulted in seven home runs allowed in just 28.2 innings pitched.

Matchup To Lookout For

Marcus Stroman vs. Ozzie Albies: 4-for-10 (.400), Strikeout

Mets will reportedly inquire about Nationals ace Max Scherzer

Could the New York Yankees pursue Max Scherzer in a trade?

The New York Mets added left-handed starting pitcher Rich Hill last week, in exchange for reliever Tommy Hunter and a minor league catcher. Hill had a good debut on Sunday and is expected to be a valuable contributor.

However, the Mets are, most likely, not done searching the market for pitching upgrades prior to the July 30 deadline. After all, while some of them are inching towards an eventual return, Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Noah Syndergaard, David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, and Jordan Yamamoto remain injured.

According to SNY’s Andy Martino, the Mets will ask the Washington Nationals about their ace, veteran right-hander Max Scherzer. The multiple Cy Young winner could be available in trade talks depending on what the Nats think about their chances to get back in the NL East race.

These chances don’t look particularly good: Washington is 45-53, eight games behind the Mets for the division lead. They could become sellers.

Will the Nationals deal him to the division-rival Mets?

Martino reports, however, that outside executives are “skeptical” that Nats GM Mike Rizzo would make a trade to help the division rival Mets, but New York plans to ask about the ace’s availability anyway.

Scherzer will be a free agent after the season and is 37 years old, two situations that could bring his value down somewhat. However, if he is indeed made available, the Nationals will likely ask the Mets for a significant return.

Scherzer, who won the 2019 World Series with the Nationals, is 7-4 with a 2.83 ERA this season. He has been dealing with some triceps discomfort, but the issue is not considered serious.

The righty recently said he would consider waiving his no-trade clause if his acquiring team could sign him to a contract extension.

Will the Mets invest the prospects and money needed to secure Scherzer?