Mets Game Preview: (5/18/21) @ Atlanta Braves (19-22)

Someone the New York Mets found a way to win again, despite losing two more key players. They will try to lick their wombs and get themselves ready for game two of three against the Atlanta Braves. The first pitch from Georgia is a slightly later 7:20 p.m. ET start.

The Mets will need to dig deeper into their bench as Kevin Pillar is on his way to the injured list. He joins a crew of starting players who have created room for the Syracuse Mets to make their debuts on the roster. Johneshwy Fargas, Jake Hager, and Khalil Lee will have huge shoes to fill while the bat of Pillar, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto are sidelined. Fargas came through during Monday’s game with an RBI double, which was his first big league hit.

Holding Ronald Acuna and Freddie Freeman in check is the key to shutting down the Braves offense. On Monday, the Mets kept them both hitless, which is why their offense was held just to one run. With the Mets using a bullpen game, the task becomes much harder with the weaker parts of the bullpen being exposed to the two MVP candidates.

Pitching Matchup

The Mets will use an opener, but they still have no idea who it is. Drew Smith, Tommy Hunter, and Robert Gsellman are all options to start the bullpen game.

The Braves will throw Tucker Davidson, who only has 1.2 big league innings under his belt. In his only start during 2020, he allowed seven runs (two earned) and walked four batters. The offense should be plentiful for both teams during this middle game of the series.

Davis/Slater Fired, Rojas Fails With Lucchesi in Mets 6-5 Loss to Cardinals

The New York Mets play a game of craps whenever their fifth spot in the rotation comes around, and Joey Lucchesi has crapped out for them every time. It was clear from the outset that Lucchesi had nothing, and manager Luis Rojas relied on him too long in the 6-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite the loss, another story became the topic of discussion from the loss.

In a surprising move after the offense started to wake up, hitting coaches Chili Davis and Tom Slater were fired. Hugh Quattlebaum and Kevin Howard will replace them on the coaching staff. The move tells us two things: Steve Cohen is not messing around, and this is a warning shot to Rojas.

Lucchesi allowed a well-struck leadoff triple in the bottom of the first, and hard contact riddled his start. He allowed a run in each of the first two innings, including a home run to the light hitting Harrison Bader. In the third inning, Lucchesi retired the first two in order and looked like he would settle in.

The Cardinals did not go down easy as back-to-back singles set the table for Nolan Arenado. A questionable foul tip call prevented Lucchesi from recording a strikeout, and it gave Arenado all the life he needed to execute. Arenado burned the Mets and launched a mammoth three-run homer to knot the game at five. The Cards were not done as two consecutive doubles put them in the lead 6-5. It knocked Lucchesi out of the game with an ugly six earned runs in just 2.1 innings pitched.

When the fifth spot in the rotation comes up over the weekend, they may need to look elsewhere. Robert Gsellman and Sean Reid-Foley saved the Mets bullpen by combining for 4.1 shutout innings and allowing only two hits. They are not stretched out to start, but their 2-3 innings would be better than what Lucchesi could provide.

Carlos Carrasco is expected to return next week, but the Mets could also push up his return date. Instead of throwing another simulated game, the team could be better off with 4-5 innings from Carrasco. It will be a perfect tune-up before he pitches full outings.

Offensive Output

It has been a rare occurrence for the Mets offense to have nothing to do with why they lost. Pete Alonso led the way with three hits, including two doubles and a walk. Kevin Pillar also homered in his second straight game, replacing an injured Brandon Nimmo. They hit better with runners in scoring position by going 2-for-8 but left nine on base. Francisco Lindor continued his cold streak and has not recorded a hit in 21 consecutive at-bats.

The Mets attempted a rally against Cardinals closer Alex Reyes, who was a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities. As usual, Reyes lacked control by allowing two walks, giving Dominic Smith a chance to tie or give the Mets a lead. During Alonso’s at-bat, the stadium lights magically went out for about 30 seconds which foreshadowed Mets’ fate. Smith worked a full count but just missed a hanging curveball, flying out and allowing the Cardinals to take game one of the series.

Make a Move

A good manager puts players in the best position to succeed for a better chance at positive results. For the second consecutive night, Rojas failed to do that. On Sunday, it was using Edwin Diaz when he did not need to and leaving him in the game when he clearly did not have his best stuff.

Tonight it was leaving Lucchesi to pitch in a matchup he had no chance of winning against Arenado. He was hitting .333 against lefties this season and .320 over his career against southpaws, with elite power. Lucchesi had his back on the ropes, and Gsellman was a right-handed option in the bullpen. If Rojas does not adjust soon, he will pack his bags along with Davis and Slater.

The Mets look to bounce back for another 7:45 start from Busch Stadium as Jacob deGrom faces Johan Oviedo.

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.

New York Mets Finish Spring Training With a 3-3 Tie Against the Cardinals

Taijuan Walker gave the New York Mets one final hope that he will be a key stabilizer in their rotation with his start against the St. Louis Cardinals. Walker went five strong innings with only two runs allowed in the 3-3 tie. Manager Luis Rojas played most of his regulars but did all he could to ensure their good health going into Opening Day.

The first inning provided half of the scoring in the game. Pete Alonso put the Mets up 2-0 with an RBI double to cap off a spring where he hit .340 to go along with his majestic power. Nolan Arenado responded with a solo home run in the bottom half, which made it a 2-1 game. The Cardinals got to Walker again with a Matt Carpenter RBI single to knot the game at two.

After Walker left the game, Miguel Castro took over and continued to dominate. Castro hurled a 1-2-3 inning on just eight pitches and recorded a strikeout. Robert Gsellman followed and had his best outing after finding out he will make the Opening Day roster. Gsellman pitched a scoreless seventh, and Jerry Blevins did the same in the eighth.

Late Inning Effort

Mallex Smith‘s double gave the Mets a 3-2 lead in the eight, which led to Trevor Hildenberger’s save opportunity. Edmundo Sosa‘s solo home run tied the game and forced it to finish in a tie. The tie left the Mets with an 11-11-2 spring training record, and Francisco Lindor led the way with a .370 average in March. The big question remains whether Lindor will sign his long-term extension before the season begins or test next season’s free-agent market.

Opening Day on Thursday is the next time the Mets play baseball. They will keep themselves ready in Washington D.C. before Jacob deGrom makes his third consecutive Opening Day start. Max Scherzer makes his sixth Opening Day start and four in a row for the Washington Nationals.

Mets give roster spot to Robert Gsellman: ‘G’s stuff is there’

The New York Mets, valuing his ability to be a multi-inning reliever, decided to give one of their roster spots to right-handed reliever Robert Gsellman. He will join a talented unit that includes Edwin Diaz, Trevor May, Aaron Loup, Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia, and a rehabbing Seth Lugo.

The decision comes on the week of the Mets opting not to give a spot to fellow swingman Mike Montgomery. The team knows that Gsellman hasn’t had a particularly good spring training, but they like where he is currently at stuff-wise.

The righty, who has been with the Mets for his entire five-year MLB tenure and has a 4.67 career ERA, has allowed 14 hits and five earned runs in eight frames during Grapefruit League play, with a couple of walks, four strikeouts, and a 5.63 ERA.

The Mets like his versatility

During the shortened 2020 season, Gsellman was needed in the rotation due to the rash of injuries on the Mets’ roster. In six total games (four starts), the 27-year old was bad, with a 9.64 ERA and 7.55 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) in 14 innings. He had 5.79 strikeouts per nine frames, and 5.14 BB/9. Home runs were a problem, as he had a 2.57 HR/9.

“Robert Gsellman was complimented by Rojas for his ‘stuff.’ Mets like that Gsellman can throw multiple innings, which led to their decision to add him to the Opening Day roster,” Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News wrote on Monday.

“G’s stuff is there. He can come in and do something that he’s done in the past, to help us win some games,” Mets’ manager Luis Rojas said, according to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.

The Mets also informed over the weekend that Jerry Blevins, a left-handed relief pitcher, didn’t make the team but will instead keep himself in shape at the team’s alternate training site.

New York Mets: Peterson Pitches Well, Bullpen Not So Much in 7-3 Loss

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets have some questions behind their quartet of top-tier relievers, and Robert Gsellman and Stephen Tarpley continued to heighten the need for reliable middle relievers. After a scoreless seventh inning, the Washington Nationals roughed up Gsellman in the eighth inning.

Josh Bell‘s majestic opposite solo home run tied the game at three and almost cleared the scoreboard. Gerardo Parra put the Nats in the lead with an RBI single giving them a 4-3 lead. They added a two-run homer from Luis Garcia and RBI single from Adrian Sanchez to complete the 7-3 victory.

David Peterson was in line for the win before the blown save from Gsellman. Peterson pitched six solid innings with four hits and two runs allowed. The Nats did a bulk of their damage during the fourth inning, with three hits and two runs in their top half. Singles from Josh Harrison and Hernan Perez were the only damage against the slender lefty. Peterson only struck out two but was very effective in the outing. He did not allow a hit for the first half of his start.

Manager Luis Rojas hopes to have a second lefty in the bullpen, but Tarpley squandered one of his final opportunities to make the roster. Tarpley allowed four hits and three runs, including the Garcia homer, and only retired one batter. Due to their rough outings, Gsellman and Tarpley made their route to the Opening Day roster bumpier. Tylor Megill came in and prevented more runs from being charged to Tarpley’s ledger in the ninth.

The Mets offense recorded 12 hits but only pushed 3 runs across. James McCann‘s RBI single provided the first run during the second inning. The other two runs came in the sixth when Dominic Smith lucked into an RBI triple on a dribbler that Bell misplayed at first base and J.D. Davis lined an RBI single over a drawn-in infield. McCann and Francisco Lindor were the two Mets with multiple hits on the night.

On Saturday, the Mets play another home game when the Houston Astros visit Clover Park. Bryan Abreu (1-0, 3.68 ERA) takes the mound against opener Jacob Barnes (0-1, 5.40 ERA). Barnes opens up for Joey Lucchesi for the 1:10 p.m. ET start on SNY.

 

Diaz (Not Edwin) Blows Save in Mets 3-2 Walk-Off Loss to Marlins

The New York Mets sent Joey Lucchesi to make his first start of the spring, and he headlined a game marked by pitching. In the 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins, Met fans had traumatic flashbacks of a “Diaz” allowing a walk-off home run.

Lucchesi was incredible as he continues to make his case to earn a starting spot. He pitched three hitless innings and struckout four Marlins. Through five innings, Lucchesi has only allowed three walks and punched out seven. Robert Gsellman followed with two innings out of the bullpen and his only blemish was a Jazz Chisholm solo homer.

Yennsy Diaz got the opportunity to record the save but a leadoff walk spelled trouble in the ninth. Joe Dunand made him pay with a line-drive two-run homer to walk it off for the Marlins. Dunand has put together a nice spring training. He is 5-for-17 with two home runs and six runs batted in.

The Mets bats were quiet after an impressive offensive output against the Houston Astros. Albert Almora provided the lone runs with his double in the fifth inning. Three of his five hits this spring have gone for extra bases. Francisco Lindor talked about finally getting into a good hitting position during Monday’s game and it continued to carry over. Lindor recorded two more hits to get his batting average up to .280.

The Washington Nationals venture into Clover Park for a 1:10 p.m. ET start on SNY. Jon Lester makes his first spring training start against Marcus Stroman (1-0, 3.24 ERA).

Mets Play Ugly Defense for the Second Straight Game in 9-5 Loss to Nats

The New York Mets pitching join their defensive struggles in a 9-5 loss against the Washington Nationals. Judging by the tweets and few videos from the game, the Mets should be thankful this game was not televised.

Jordan Yamamoto got the start for the Mets, and his first-inning cost him a good outing. After retiring the first two batters, an error and walk gave the Nats a free opportunity to score. Ryan Zimmerman and Kyle Schwarber tagged him for RBI singles to give them an early 2-0 lead. Yamamoto would pitch two scoreless innings to finish his outing.

Dellin Betances followed him and fell victim to the two-out rally as well. A double from Starlin Castro led to a throwing error from third baseman J.D. Davis and allowed him to score. Betances fastball was in the 91 mph range but peaked at 94 mph.

Matt Allan continued the trend of two-out runs by allowing three (one earned) during his one inning of work. An RBI single led to the first run, then an error from Jake Hager at second base allowed the Nats to drive in another two. Robert Gsellman was the only pitcher who kept the Nationals off the board with his scoreless inning.

Francisco Lindor finally broke the seal with his first two hits as a member of the Mets. It comes on the same day the Mets announced negotiations will begin for a long-term deal. Mark Vientos was the other Met with multiple hits as he recorded two doubles. Jake Hager recorded the biggest hit with a three-run homer, his second home run of the spring. Hager only has two hits in spring training, and both are via the long ball.

The Mets head back to Port St. Lucie to face the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:10 p.m. Taijuan Walker makes his Mets debut against Carlos Martinez (0-1, 32.40 ERA), and it will be televised on SNY.

 

New York Mets Non-Tendered Four Players On Wednesday

As 8:00 p.m. struck on Wednesday struck the New York Mets had some big decisions to make regarding their roster’s future. The deadline to tender contracts for most of their roster came and went. Things went as expected with a couple of small surprises from the Mets front office.

Before anything else, the Mets brought back Steven Matz and Guillermo Heredia on one-year contracts. Matz’s contract is not guaranteed, and the Mets can release him by March 17 with the price slightly over 800k. This gives the Mets an insurance policy to give Matz a final shot to see if he can return to his 2019 form without wasting regular-season games on him.

Who is Going Home?

The most notable non-tender goes to Chasen Shreve, who had a surprisingly good season. Shreve had a 3.96 ERA and emerged as a solid long relief pitcher for the Mets. Letting Shreve walk leaves Daniel Zamora as the only left-handed reliever on the 40-man roster. Thinking ahead, a reliever like Brad Hand would be a suitable upgrade to Shreve in the bullpen.

Ariel Jurado and Nick Tropeano were former GM Brodie Van Wagenen acquisitions that will not return in 2021. Jurado made one dreadful start in 2020, while Tropeano was claimed off waivers in October. While Jurado was a waste of a trade, Tropeano would have been an interesting arm in the bullpen.

Paul Sewald also got the boot after spending four seasons up and down from AAA to the big leagues. He finished his Mets career with a 5.50 roster in 125 games with a dreadful 1-14 pitching record.

Out of all players to receiver a tender, Robert Gsellman is the most surprising. Gsellman has a 5.03 ERA over the last four seasons and has dealt with rough injuries over the last two seasons. He provides depth as a swingman in the bullpen, but he currently is the odd-man-out in the current bullpen makeup.

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Pitcher Robert Gsellman

Robert Gsellman was the right-handed version of Steven Matz for the 2020 New York Mets. Another sinkerball pitcher who failed to find any ability to keep the ball down in the strike zone. Unfortunately, it was the second consecutive season where Gsellman’s season ended due to an injury.

Gsellman dealt with some health issues that forced him to wait until August 8 to make his first appearance of the season. It was only a one-inning relief outing, and it turned out to be his only scoreless outing of the season. Due to the lack of depth in the starting pitching department, the Mets thrust him into the starting rotation.

Starting Pitcher Gsellman

It was not the first time Gsellman was forced to make important starts. In 2016, Gsellman came up as a rookie to join a beleaguered rotation and push the Mets to a wild card spot. The starts were his first since 2017, where he struggled mightily, and the nervousness showed in the first two outings.

Gsellman gave up four runs in just 3.2 combined innings during his first two starts. His biggest issue was struggling to keep his pitch count down as he needed 80 pitches to get through those two starts. After getting 11 days of rest, Gsellman came back to hold the New York Yankees to one run over four innings pitched. This outing only needed 57 pitches and used a season-high four strikeouts to battle through four hits.

Gsellman ran out of luck in his second consecutive outing against the Yankees. He was knocked out in the second innings after giving up four hits, walks, and runs on 52 pitches. Things only got worse when he was sent back to the bullpen and allowed six runs and two home runs in a mop-up role. To add injury to insult, Gsellman fractured his rib during a pitch and was in visible pain as he walked off the field.

Gsellman’s Future 

Like Matz, Gsellman had an issue figuring out how to keep his sinker low in the zone. Gsellman discussed using a one-seam fastball to get more sink instead of run, but it did not work out for him. The inability to put hitters away with his slider also led him to failure. Over the last two seasons, batters hit .130 and .208 against it, but this year it jumped all the way to .375. Instead of having whiff rates in the mid-30s, it dropped below his sinker at 14.3%.

The ugliest stat from Gsellman’s season was the hard-hit rate of 49.1%. When virtually half the balls hit have an exit velocity of 95 mph or better, it is impossible to put together a consistent success. Gsellman also had his groundball to fly ball rate drop for the fifth consecutive season, which is a major concern. Combining increased fly ball rates and high exit velocities create the .672 slugging percentage against him.

Gsellman is still under Mets control through the 2022 season. The Mets forced a failed starter back into the role due to Brodie Van Wagenen’s inability to find quality pitching depth to get the team through the season successfully. Due to the 9.64 ERA, Gsellman is on the outside looking in of a bullpen role. Gsellman can turn himself back into a useful reliever if he can regain his slider success and better his sinker’s location. At the moment, he finds himself on the outside, looking in at a bullpen spot.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Sinker: 40 (45), Only pitch batters hit below .300 against, and he threw it 45 of the time.

Slider: 25 (60), This is a pitch I believe Gsellman will refine. It was too good over the 2018-19 seasons to simply castaway.

4-Seam Fastball: 20 (30), The pitch hitters teed off on the most for a .857 slugging.

Changeup: 50 (50), All 20 were thrown to left-handed batters and swung and missed at 28.6% of the time.

Curve: 35 (35), Only threw 19 but had an above-average spin rate. Be on the lookout for Gsellman using this more in 2021.

Cutter: 30 (N/A), These were the final two pitches Gsellman threw in 2020. I believe they were hanging sliders due to their lack of movement.

Command: 25 (40), The command of his slider is what let him down the most. If nothing improves but the slider, it will make a major difference for Gsellman in 2021.

Overall: 20 (45), At least Gsellman cannot get worse.