New York Mets: deGrom’s 14 Strikeouts Wasted in 2-1 Loss Against Rays

The New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays displayed why each team sits in their respective positions in their respective divisions. Tampa Bay used their opener method and heads up baseball to win while the Mets failed to make the most of Jacob deGrom‘s stellar start. The 2-1 loss was the third straight game a Mets starter struck out at least ten batters.

deGrom showed no ill-effects from his hamstring spasms that hampered his last start. His strikeouts stuff was on display with 14 strikeouts over seven innings and allowing two runs. deGrom threw a season-high 112 pitches and, most impressively, was still throwing over 100 mph when he reached the century mark.

Bullpen Dominance

The Rays revolutionized the opener for the rest of baseball and showed its worth again. Six pitchers combined to keep the Mets to one run. Josh Fleming had the longest outing with three innings, striking out two while allowing the only Mets run.

The game-changing play came from Willy Adames in the bottom of the fifth inning and the Rays up 2-0. Jeff McNeil lined a ground ball up the middle with the bases loaded and two outs. Adames dove to stop the ball from trickling to the outfield, preventing two runs from scoring. Fleming ended up getting J.D. Davis to fly out, keeping the 2-1 lead. It was the last scoring opportunity the Mets put together.

The lone Rays runs came from Manuel Margot‘s sac fly, and Nate Lowe‘s home run off deGrom. This was the type of game the Rays were built to win. They came into the game with winning records in both one-run and two-run games.

The Mets try to get back in the win column on Tuesday with Seth Lugo on the mound. He faces former Cy Young winner Blake Snell for the 7:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

New York Mets Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays (9/21-9/23)

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets try to hold on to their small hopes of making the postseason as they take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series. The Rays are the best team in the American League, and the Mets need a sweep to keep their chances alive.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Monday, (9/21) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Pete Fairbanks (5-3, 2.74 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (4-1, 2.08 ERA)

Tuesday, (9/22) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Blake Snell (4-1, 3.05 ERA) vs. Seth Lugo (2-3, 4.34 ERA)

Wednesday, (9/23) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Tyler Glasnow (4-1, 4.21 ERA) vs. TBA

Jacob deGrom makes his first start after hamstring spasms forced him out after two innings. The poor start dropped him back in the Cy Young race, but two more great starts from deGrom could do plenty to get him his third straight Cy Young. Also, the Mets need a great start out of him as he tries to contend with the tough Rays offense.

Injuries were not the cause of reason for Seth Lugo’s last start. Balls flew all around Citizens Bank Park, and it was evident his swing and miss stuff was non-existent. Despite the Mets winning the game, it put the rotation for game one against the Braves in shambles.

Rays Pitching Depth

The Rays pitching is one of the biggest reasons they are a World Series contender this season. They have a 3.66 ERA and rank second in the AL in strikeouts. Twelve different pitchers have started games for them, and the same amount have recorded saves. Manager Kevin Cash has weapons to use at any time and is not afraid to use them in big moments.

Young upstart Brandon Lowe is emerging into a start this season. He leads the Rays in all three triple crown stats, hitting .272 with 13 home runs and 33 runs batted in. Lowe also leads the Rays in hits, walks, runs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Key Stats

Blake Snell vs. Todd Frazier: 1-for-8 (.182), Walk, Strikeout

Michael Conforto during Wins in 2020: .419/.537/.756, 8 Doubles, 7 Home Runs, 15 Walks, 17 Strikeouts

Brandon Nimmo w/2-Out during 2020: .341/.400/.610, 3 Doubles, Triple, 2 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 5 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom Career vs. Rays: 2 Starts, 1.88 ERA, 14.1 IP, 15 Strikeouts

 

It would take a miracle for the New York Mets to advance to the playoffs

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

The New York Mets endured a severe blow on Sunday, losing 7-0 to the Atlanta Braves and falling five games below the .500 threshold. While they still can make the playoffs mathematically, it would take a small miracle for it to happen.

The first eight teams will qualify for the playoffs, and the New York Mets are in the eleventh spot in the National League, two and a half games back from a spot in the postseason. With seven games to play, advancing seems like a pipe dream.

The Mets, currently 24-29, have too many teams vying for the playoffs with a better record, so the most realistic scenario for them to advance is to win all seven games remaining in the calendar, or at least six of them. It would take an enormous effort and a little bit of luck at this point.

A tough day for the Mets

“Obviously, today is a tough day,” outfielder Brandon Nimmo said to MLB.com. “We don’t have many more losses that we can handle. So it’s tough, but this team is resilient. I believe in this team, and I believe in the fight. All we can do, that’s our only choice right now, is to fight.”

On Sunday, it wasn’t Rick Porcello the one who faltered. In fact, he delivered his best start of the season for the Mets, throwing seven innings of one-run ball, with 10 strikeouts. But the bullpen and the offense made sure that the game was lost.

The Mets have had to fight injuries, especially in the starting rotation. But the truth is that they haven’t been able to consistently hit with men on base despite the fact that they are among the best offenses in the league. The bullpen, outside of Edwin Diaz, hasn’t performed well.

“It’s not talent that separates you,” Porcello said. “It’s playing good baseball.”

“Time is ticking away,” Nimmo said. “We don’t have many more to really try and recover. It is disappointing to all of us.”

For the Mets, it is now, truly, do or die time. Will they be able to pull off a miracle and advance to the postseason?

New York Mets: Jacob deGrom is ‘good to go’ and will take the ball on Monday

New York Mets‘ ace Jacob deGrom received some great news this weekend, thinking about his chances of helping the team in its quest for a playoff spot and securing a third straight Cy Youn award in the National League.

The right-hander, who left his last start after just two innings with some issues on his hamstring, will be able to take the ball on Monday in a crucial game for the New York Mets against the AL East leaders Tampa Bay Rays.

If he was forced to miss time, deGrom’s chances of a third consecutive Cy Young would have virtually vanished. Thankfully, that will not be the case. The Mets will now have their ace for two more starts this season, which (they hope) will be a boon to their chances of taking one of the Wild Card spots. They are currently 2.5 games out of a place in October baseball.

The Mets will have their star pitcher back

By throwing bullpen sessions on Friday and Saturday at Citi Field, the Mets’ most prominent pitcher was declared ready for the last week of the 2020 regular season.

What he suffered was deemed as hamstring spams. He said he felt the ailment the start before the one in which he abandoned early.

“I talked to him and he said, ‘I’m good. I’m good,’” manager Luis Rojas said to MLB.com. “He’s good to go and he’s lined up for Monday.”

The New York Mets are counting on deGrom, who has a 2.09 ERA in 10 starts this year, to keep them in the game tomorrow and then over the weekend in Washington. As far as the Cy Young race is concerned, he will have to impress to boost his chances of winning, because Yu Darvish, Trevor Bauer and Max Fried have all been pitching very well recently.

The Mets will send Rick Porcello on Sunday, deGrom on Monday, and Seth Lugo on Tuesday.

New York Mets: Peterson’s 10 Strikeouts Highlight 7-2 Win

New York Mets, David Peterson

After getting three straight starters lasted no more than two innings, David Peterson had the tall task of stopping the slump the New York Mets starting rotation are in. Peterson went far and above the call of duty striking out a career-high 10 Atlanta Braves in the Mets 7-2 victory.

Peterson lived up to his top prospect status in this big start. He held the Braves to one run over the six innings he pitched. His slider was one of the major reasons his strikeouts were up, and it was impressive to see him shut down a lineup that scored 15 runs the previous night.

In the seventh and eighth, Miguel Castro, Jeurys Familia, and Justin Wilson combined to keep the lead into the bottom of the eighth. It allowed them to add some insurance runs late in the game.

Patience is Key

Braves starter Ian Anderson held hitters to a .130 average but allowed ten walks over 21 innings. They paid close attention to their scouting report, drawing three straight walks to begin the bottom of the first. Robinson Cano got the Mets on the board with a two-run single to the opposite field to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead.

The only other run the Mets got off Anderson was an RBI single from Robinson Chirinos in the fourth inning. Depsite Anderson struggles, Atlanta’s bullpen held the Mets silent until Chris Martin entered in the eighth. He allowed back to back home runs to Dominic Smith and Robinson Cano to being the inning. Brandon Nimmo finished it off with a two-run single to extend the Mets lead to 7-2.

It was a win the Mets needed, as all of the games have become must-win games. The rubber game of the series comes down to Kyle Wright and Rick Porcello. The first pitch is at 1:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Cespedes’ decision to opt out wasn’t just about COVID-19, per report

New York Mets, Yeonis Cespedes

When negotiating the terms of the 2020 shortened season, MLB and the union agreed on the fact that a ballplayer could opt out of playing because of concerns or fears of COVID-19. Numerous players elected this route, most notably David Price, Mike Leake, Michael Kopech, Marcus Stroman and others. Joining the group is controversial New York Mets‘ outfielder/designated hitter Yoenis Cespedes.

It has been over a month since Cespedes failed to report to a New York Mets’ game, presumably without letting anybody of the team know about his decision to opt out of the season.

But was it only related to COVID-19? Or is the issue a lot deeper? SNY’s Andy Martino investigated and reached some conclusions about the matter.

First off, Cespedes was presumably upset with the Mets ever since they worked to restructure his deal following the ankle fracture that the infamous boar incident produced. He was forced to accept a deep paycut, with some money available through bonuses.

“Paranoid” about the Mets’ actions and intentions

One of those bonuses, a $5 million one for making the opening day roster, was met. But after not seeing his name in the lineup for the fourth game of the season, the Mets’ slugger reportedly was “paranoid” over the fact that the team could be intentionally limiting his playing time so he wouldn’t hit the incentives of his re-worked pact.

According to Martino, Cespedes also wasn’t happy about playing in the DH role. He said playing the outfield helped him feel “engaged” during games. Between the new position, the aforementioned grudges and his perception that the Mets wanted to manipulate his playing time to avoid paying him, the Cuban star decided to quit.

His decision was met with much criticism, but truth be told, he hasn’t been the reason behind the Mets’ inability to accumulate enough wins to contend in the NL East. His replacement, Dom Smith, received an extended opportunity and is now slashing .338/.399/.635 with eight homers and 40 RBI.

New York Mets: Betances is ramping up his activity and is close to return

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Dellin Betances

Outside of Edwin Diaz, the New York Mets have had some trouble navigating the last few innings of ballgames in 2020. Seth Lugo was taken off the relief corps and sent to the rotation, Robert Gsellman was lost to injury, and Dellin Betances has been dealing with his own physical ailments, as well. Other hurlers just haven’t shown the necessary consistency for the unit to offer reliability.

Speaking of Betances, the Mets’ offseason signing, who has been dealing with a right lat injury since late August, threw a simulated game at the team’s alternate training site on Thursday according to the team’s official site.

The righty has been ramping up his activity this week and could be an option to return in short notice. Once he does, he will help set up for Diaz and try to bring some stability to a unit that badly needs it.

The struggling Mets’ reliever is looking to return to form

The 2020 season hasn’t been kind to Betances. In 13 games and 10.1 innings, he has a 6.10 ERA, but a much more decent 4.26 FIP. Still, his performance level has been far from the one he showed while dominating the American League from 2014 to 2018 with the New York Yankees.

A partial Achilles tear in September ruined his offseason and forced him to take a one-year deal with the New York Mets for less than what he would have collected under normal circumstances. He has struggled with injuries and fastball velocity for months now, and it has reflected on his numbers.

For his career, Betances has averaged 14.44 K/9 and 4.06 BB/9. This season, the Mets’ right-hander has 6.97 K/9 and 6.10 BB/9. He just hasn’t been himself, primarily due to the toll that injuries have had in his body.

For now, the Mets are hoping he can close the season on a high note, but he has to return to the mound first.

New York Mets’ Brodie Van Wagenen is not focused on his future role amidst ownership change

Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen has an agreement in place to buy the New York Mets‘ franchise from the Wilpons. And while the deal is pending the approval of the other 29 ownership groups in MLB, there shouldn’t be too many roadblocks for Cohen to take over in the near future.

A new era is set to begin for the New York Mets, and it is unclear if general manager Brodie Van Wagenen is part of that future. According to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, the two men have had only one “real talk” but the GM knows more will be in the horizon.

“There are still a few i’s to dot and t’s to cross before it will become official,” Van Wagenen said. “At this point my collaboration is still among the senior leaders in my department and then communication with Jeff and Fred [Wilpon], and then from there we’ll continue to go forward. But at this point, right now, our transactions are focused on today, tonight and tomorrow to try to get us through this regular season.”

Speaking of, navigating the regular season has been rough for Van Wagenen and the Mets, who currently hold a 23-28 record and will have to win most of their nine remaining games to have an outside shot at making the playoffs. From a roster standpoint, the pitching depth was mostly lost with so many injuries, opt outs and ineffectiveness, and that has really affected the club’s chances.

The Mets’ current task is winning

Those remarks represented the first time that Van Wagenen has spoken publicly since Cohen’s agreement was announced. However, he declined to make specific comments about his winter plans, even though he is under contract through the 2022 season.

“In terms of my own job security, I’ve said it many times: I don’t think about that,” Van Wagenen said. “I don’t give it any thought, because my task is to win today.”

Before thinking about the future, it is clear that the New York Mets need to focus on the present, which brings too many on-field challenges to even entertain other things or scenarios.

New York Mets: 2020 has been a rough year for Steven Matz

New York Mets, New York Yankees, Steven Matz

The 2020 season hasn’t been kind to New York Mets‘ starter Steven Matz. He was coming off a successful 2019 in which he had a 4.21 ERA in 160.1 innings, but this time around, he has battled injuries and ineffectiveness and has an unsightly 9.79 ERA in 26.2 frames. He has had to deal with a left shoulder ailment and his usual first-inning issues.

The left shoulder bursitis that he had in early September clearly limited, and Matz had to travel back and forth between the Mets’ alternate training site and the big league camp in search for answers.

In his first start since August 15 – he had a brief move to the bullpen – Matz was the losing starter for the New York Mets as they got thrashed 15-2 by the Atlanta Braves on Friday night. In 2.2 innings, he conceded six runs, eight hits and three walks.

With the loss, the Mets fell to 23-28, and it is now very difficult to qualify for the postseason with so many teams vying for a Wild Card spot and less than 10 games left in the calendar.

“It always comes down to executing pitches,” Matz said according to MLB.com. “The sharpness wasn’t there. Executing pitches wasn’t there. I gave those guys a chance, and they capitalized.”

“The command hasn’t been there,” manager Luis Rojas said. “The execution of the pitches, the sequencing … made it big innings against him. From the first inning basically, that was happening to him, where he was not able to execute his pitches.”

The Mets expect more from him

With a mid-90s fastball and a big curveball, it is perplexing that Matz can’t get better results. His command issues are just too much to overcome.

“His stuff is one of the things we like a lot — the fastball velo, the changeup, the contrast that he can create, the angle of his pitches,” Rojas said.

“It’s been a frustrating year for me,” Matz said. “I came into Spring Training 2.0. I was feeling great. I pitched great early on. For it to go this way is really frustrating. … I’ve just got to keep working hard. All I can do is keep putting my best foot forward.”

New York Mets: Matz Fails in Return to Rotation in 15-2 Loss

The New York Mets were out of options in their starting rotation, so Steven Matz lucked into the start against the Atlanta Braves. Matz’s outing went exactly the way we all expected it to. The Braves treated it like batting practice and gave the same treatment to Franklyn Kilome to put up a 15-2 victory.

The only savior for the Mets would have been a rainout because of the lack of confidence in Matz. It was the same pitcher they had before his IL stint, and he put the Mets in a hole early. Over 2.2 innings pitched, Matz allowed six runs on eight hits, including two more home runs. It was part of the Braves scoring in the first four innings of the game.

Kilome returned to the Mets roster before the game since the Mets needed relief help. He provided relief but did not offer any help in the game. Kilome allowed six runs and another two home run to the Braves offense.

Hughes to the Rescue

Jared Hughes came in for a rare long relief appearance throwing 3.2 innings and allowing three more runs and two more homers. While it was not the best performance, it saved the Mets from overusing their bullpen.

Brad Brach and Todd Frazier (you read that right) were the only pitchers with scoreless appearances. While Brach’s was only a one-out cameo, Frazier hurled a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth. He even got Adam Duvall to strikeout looking on a knuckleball.

On the other side, Max Fried continued his Cy Young campaign. Over five innings, he only had three strikeouts but held the Mets to one run, keeping his ERA under two. Jeff McNeil provided the only offense off Fried with an RBI double in the fifth.

Amed Rosario provided three of the five Mets hits on the night. His sixth-inning single gave the Mets their second and final run of the game.

On Saturday, David Peterson tries to become the first Mets starter to make it to the third inning in three games. He faces Ian Anderson at 7:07 p.m. ET from Citi Field.