Smith’s Seventh Inning Gives Mets Boost in 4-3 Win to Sweep Marlins

dominic smith, mets

The New York Mets season has been riddled with tough breaks and bad bounces, but things moved in their favor against the Miami Marlins. An error from the Marlins and a ball nicking of Jesus Aguilar‘s glove in the seventh inning resulted in Dominic Smith‘s RBI single, which gave the Mets just enough to win 4-3 and sweep the Marlins. The whole game was filled with errors as both teams combined for seven errors.

The Mets had themselves a situation they had failed in for a majority of the season. Patrick Mazeika‘s single and error by Jesus Sanchez allowed Jeff McNeil to get to third base with one out. Smith ripped the ball over the first-base bag, and since Aguilar was holding on Mazeika, he reached out his glove to attempt to make a play. If Aguilar let the ball go, it would have gone foul, but instincts took over, and it allowed the Mets to steal a run.

Carlos Carrasco had a typical start for his 2021 season. Miguel Rojas ambushed him on the first pitch to give the Marlins an early run, and the fish tacked on another to make it 2-0 in the first. Carrasco once again settled in after the first inning to put together 5.1 innings allowing three runs and striking out five. Aaron Loup relinquished the lead with two walks in relief but survived the keep the game tied. The following three relievers for the Mets all had hitless outings.

Battling Back

The Mets had their work cut out for them early against Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara but were up to the task. Jonathan Villar took notes from Rojas to drill a leadoff home run on Alcantara’s first pitch. It was the first time in MLB history where both team’s leadoff hitters homered on the first pitch. Mazeika was the only Met with multiple hits and also recorded a double. Francisco Lindor only had an RBI double on the night but could have easily had a couple more hits if he was not hitting the ball at people.

The win is the fifth consecutive for the Mets, and they have an opportunity to move within four games of the first-place Atlanta Braves. On Friday, they will begin a five-game series with the Washington Nationals. Two former Long Island Ducks face-off as Rich Hill takes the mound against Sean Nolin. The first pitch from Nationals Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

 

Mazeika Magic Continues As Mets Win 3-2 For Sixth Straight Victory

New York Yankees, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets may not be at their best yet this season, but six straight wins say otherwise as they took another W by a score of 3-2 over the Baltimore Orioles. Patrick Mazeika continues to be an unlikely hero for the Mets as his fielder’s choice once again leads to a walk-off victory. Mazeika still does not have a big-league hit yet but has two walk-off wins to his name.

The Mets almost tied it up in the ninth of Orioles’ closer Cesar Valdez, but Kevin Pillar missed the foul by a couple of feet. He combined singles with Jonathan Villar to set the table for a Dominic Smith pinch-hit single to tie the game and allowed Mazeika’s grounder to seal the win.

The walk-off win overshadows the Mets and Orioles pitchers duel on par with the classic Tom Seaver vs. Mike Cuellar duels from the 1969 World Series. John Means made his first start after his no-hitter and was as good as advertised. Means pitched six shutout innings, working around six hits, striking out three, and needing just 74 pitches. Marcus Stroman was once again dominant, holding the Orioles to one run on 6.1 and recording a typical 11 ground outs.

Stroman’s Intensity

Before the ninth, a key moment of the game came in the top of the seventh inning when the Orioles had the bases loaded and one out. Means’ spot in the order was up, and Orioles skipper Brandon Hyde sent up D.J. Stewart to pinch-hit. Mets manager Luis Rojas countered by pulling Stroman and bringing in Aaron Loup for the lefty on lefty matchup. Hyde once again countered with righty, Pat Valaika, and it was checkmate for the Mets. Valaika attacked the first pitch for a sacrifice fly to break the scoreless tie.

When Rojas met Stroman on the mound, both had a lengthy conversation before exiting. It likely had to do with Stroman’s disappointment of leaving a matchup he felt he could have won. Stewart was a slow runner, nursing a hamstring injury, and Stroman’s sinker could have induced the much needed double play.

Injury Concerns

Post-game concerns shift to Jeff McNeil and Albert Almora Jr., who left with injuries. McNeil had a leg cramp but could be available for Wednesday’s game. On the other hand, Almora left the game after crashing into the fence while attempting an incredible catch. He has shoulder pain, and his x-rays came back negative. Almora let fans know he was okay while walking off the field but should be out of commission for a few days.

When teams go on winning streaks of five or more, it takes some tough wins and clutch moments to get it there. They had their tough wins over the weekend with the help of their bullpen, and now they have their clutch win. They will aim for lucky number seven against a familiar face as Matt Harvey makes his first start at Citi Field since leaving the Mets in 2017. Taijuan Walker will start for the Mets at an early 12:10 p.m. ET first pitch.

New York Mets: Ali Sanchez Traded to the St. Louis Cardinals

Ali Sanchez quickly found a new home after the New York Mets designated him for assignment on Thursday. The Mets shipped Sanchez to the St. Louis Cardinals for cash considerations. Yadier Molina is on top of the depth chart, but Sanchez will battle Ivan Herrera and Andrew Knizner for the backup role.

Sanchez joined the organization as a 16-year old international free agent in 2013. He is known for his defensive presence but does not provide any offensive production. Injuries to Rene Rivera and Tomas Nido forced Sanchez to the big leagues in 2020 after six years in the minors.

Sanchez struggled on both sides of the ball in his five big league games. He recorded one hit in nine at-bats and was part of numerous defensive lapses. One of them resulted in Jon Berti stealing three bases in one inning. Sanchez has thrown out 46% of stolen base attempts in the minors but was 0-for-3 with two wild pitches and a passed ball last season.

James McCann, Tomas Nido, and Patrick Mazeika are the only catchers on the Mets 40-man roster. Bruce Maxwell and David Rodriguez are non-roster invites who will also join them in spring training.

New York Mets: What the Bench Looks Like After Villar Addition

After signing Jonathan Villar on Monday, the New York Mets have their best group of bench players in years. Each player has multiple years of experience as starting players, strengthening the competition between each player to earn a roster spot. Here is a look at the bench options on the current 40-man roster.

Catcher: Tomas Nido, Ali Sanchez, Patrick Mazieka

Tomas Nido has the clear upper hand over Ali Sanchez and Patrick Mazeika for the back-up catcher job. Nido is only a .197 career hitter, but his defense is his calling card. He puts up strike rates above 60% on both sides of the plate since 2018. In his seven games during 2020, he was 7-for-24 with two home runs and six runs batted in.

Sanchez looked overmatched in his five games last season. He recorded one hit in nine at-bats and made numerous mental errors on defense. Mazeika made it to the big league roster but never played in 2020.

Infielders: Luis Guillorme, Jonathan Villar, Jose Martinez

Luis Guillorme, Jonathan Villar, and Jose Martinez all specialize in different facets of the game. Guillorme is defense, Villar is speed, and Martinez is power. Guillorme had an incredible offensive year to support his outstanding defense. Guillorme slashed .333/.426/.439 over 29 games with 2 outs above average on defense. He seems like a lock to make the opening day roster.

Villar should make the roster due to his speed and ability to play the infield and outfield. His defensive numbers are poor during the last two seasons, but his speed is legit. Villar led baseball with 62 stolen bases in 2019 and finished second with 16 in 2020. His bat is very streaky, but as a switch hitter with speed, it should be enough for him to make the team.

Martinez is a big wild card due to his defensive struggles. He has a .289 career batting average but -24 defensive runs saved in his career. He brings tremendous value as a pinch hitter with a .306 average and a .534 slugging percentage against left-handed pitching.

Outfield: Albert Almora Jr, Guillermo Heredia

Albert Almora Jr. and Guillermo Heredia is the most balanced battle in camp. Almora is coming off two subpar seasons with the bat but is still regarded as a strong defender. Heredia has similar stats over the last two seasons, but the Mets got to watch him play at the end of 2020. Both will play great defense in spring training, but Almora’s experience playing every day should give him the edge.

Five New York Mets position player prospects that can help in 2020

New York Mets, Andres Gimenez

Recent trades, notably the ones for Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, and Marcus Stroman, have decimated the New York Mets‘ farm. Most of the high-end talent is in the lower minors now.

Trading Jarred Kelenic to the Seattle Mariners last year was a blow to the system, which lost its brightest prospect.

However, that doesn’t mean that there are no players on the verge of contributing to the major league team. Yes, most of the Mets‘ spots are filled with either young, talented players like Jeff McNeil or Pete Alonso; or high-salary veterans like Robinson Cano, but these players have the potential to help the Mets in 2020:

Five prospects in the New York Mets‘ system that can contribute next year

Ali Sanchez, C

The Mets think highly of Sanchez, as they added him to their 40-man roster in November. That way, he can’t be scooped up by a rebuilding team in the Rule 5 Draft.

Sanchez will play the 2020 season as a 23-year-old, defense-first catcher. He will most likely start in Triple-A, a level he failed last season after a decent showing in Double-A.

The Venezuelan backstop hit .278 with one home run, 13 doubles, 28 runs scored, and 30 runs batted in 270 Double-A at-bats. His .674 OPS there is proof of his defense-first nature. He had a .179 average in 56 Triple-A at-bats.

If he can hit decently at Triple-A and the Mets need to have a catcher around, he may get the call since he is now in the 40-man roster. He is a fantastic defensive backstop with a cannon of an arm, great instincts, and knows how to call a game.

Andres Gimenez, SS

Of the five prospects listed here, Gimenez may be the least likely to be called up to the major leagues in 2020, but he is also the best prospect of the bunch by all accounts.

Small but toolsy, he is excellent at shortstop with athleticism, range, great hands, and instincts. He also has above-average speed but not much power.

Gimenez spent the entire season in Double-A and hit .250 with nine home runs and 28 stolen over 432 at-bats. He had a reverse split, batting .223/.274/.365 against right-handed pitching and .320/.394/.443 versus lefties.

Given his slick glove, Gimenez could play a good shortstop for the Mets right now. However, the team prefers to let him face Triple-A pitching first.

Patrick Mazeika, C

Mazeika is a left-handed hitting catcher who hasn’t played in Triple-A yet but had a great year in Double-A. There, he hit 16 homers and drove in 69 runs while hitting .245. His OPS was .738.

While he is no Buster Posey or Yadier Molina behind the plate, he can make it work. His arm isn’t his most potent tool, but he is known for getting would-be baserunners out around a 30 percent rate over his career.

He is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, so it is not a given that he will be with the Mets in 2020. However, if he masters Triple-A, he could find himself in Flushing in the summer.

Luis Carpio, 2B/SS

Like Mazeika, Carpio is also eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, so he may not stick with the Mets. There is not much power in his profile, but at 22 years old, it may come.

Carpio’s defense is outstanding, and he can play in second or shortstop. He is willing to draw walks and had been experimenting with modifying his swing plane so he can add more power. However, he only hit four homers between Class A-Advanced and Double-A last season.

Overall, he hit .263/.347/.362 and a .709 OPS in 243 Double-A at-bats. He has had shoulder surgery, so his power may take a spike in 2020 now that it is well in the rearview mirror.

Sam Haggerty, 2B/OF

Statistically, 2019 was a breakout season for Haggerty, a 25-year old who can play in the outfield and second base.
He played in Class A-, Double-A, Triple-A, and even the majors. He accrued the most games in Double-A, with 68, and he hit .259/.370/.356 there with a .339 wOBA and a 120 wRC+. Additionally, he also stole 19 bases there and 23 at all levels.

His biggest strength as a player is his ability to take walks. However, as there isn’t much thump in his swing, big leaguers can attack him aggressively to see if he can do damage. Will he? It is uncertain, but he could help the New York Mets in 2020.