New York Mets: Was Seth Lugo a viable starter?

The New York Mets insisted, before the season, that they didn’t want to convert Seth Lugo back into a starter because he was an excellent reliever, badly needed in the back of the bullpen. However, circumstances changed the team’s view once the 2020 shortened season was under way.

Because of the injury rash in the Mets’ rotation, coupled with Marcus Stroman’s decision to opt out, manager Luis Rojas, together with the front office, decided to go ahead and make Lugo a starter again, a role he last performed in 2018.

How did he fare in the role? Well, let’s go to the numbers. He pitched 26.1 innings as a starer and 10.1 as a reliever. In the former role, he had a 6.15 ERA and batters slashed .296/.350/.556 with a .376 wOBA against him. So, not particularly good.

As a reliever, the talented New York Mets’ righty fared much better, with a 2.61 ERA. Batters had a .211/.250/.342 line with a .257 wOBA. He was a better reliever.

However, much of this could be small sample noise. And you know what? If the Mets want to deploy him as a starter in 2021, he could be much better.

He was an effective pitcher for the Mets, last start nonwhitstanding

For starters, we can’t judge him by only 26.1 innings. Secondly, he has much more diverse stuff than when he started back in 2017 and 2018. In 2020, he used his four-seamer 33% of the time, his sinker 22%, his curveball 20%, his slider 15%, and his changeup 10%.

Additionally, he was very decent until his final start of the season, on the last day. If we exclude that game, in which he allowed six runs and didn’t get out of the second inning, Lugo would have finished with a much more palatable 4.32 ERA as a starter, with a 4.87 FIP and a 2.70 xFIP.

Excluding that last start in which the Mets lost to Wahsington, Lugo had a 6/35 BB/K ratio in 25 frames. That’s incredible, and represents a great foundation to work with if the Mets choose to make him a starter.

All in all, Lugo wasn’t as bad as the numbers suggest.

New York Mets: Only Fitting For A Blowout To End The Wilpon’s Reign

New York Mets, Billy Hamilton

Mediocrity is the first word that comes to mind in the broken marriage between the New York Mets and the Wilpon ownership. Their decisions, hirings, and lousy PR led to the Mets becoming the laughing stock of baseball and the butt of every joke. The Mets 15-5 loss to the Washington Nationals closed an ugly 18 years of Wilpon majority ownership.

Seth Lugo likely made his final start as a Met in which he allowed six runs and did not make it out of the second inning. The lack of quality starting rotation depth put the Mets in a situation where they had to force Lugo to be a starter. Should the Mets fix their pitching rotation, Lugo would play very well in his natural bullpen role.

Early Rout

This game was pretty well decided when the Nats had 11 runs after the third inning concluded. Brad Brach and Steven Matz concluded their poor seasons with poor outings, allowing the Nationals to put the game away. Dellin Betances also continued the trend when he made his second outing off the IL. Jeurys Familia was the only reliever to complete two innings without allowing a run and finished his season with a 3.71 ERA.

The two bright spots came from the bats of Pete Alonso and Guillermo Heredia. Alonso had three hits, including two home runs, to finish up the season on a good note. Heredia had two hits and drove in two runs as he hopes to earn an invite to camp in 2021.

The Mets finished their season at 26-34, tied for last place in the NL East. They fell under the .500 mark seven games into the season and never climbed out of that hole in their disappointing season. Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson inherit a broken organization, filled with potential. With their window to win still wide open, expect the front office to revamp this roster for the 2021 season.

New York Mets: Offense Backs Lugo in 5-2 Victory Over Rays

The New York Mets get a good starting pitching effort for the fourth consecutive night. This one against the Tampa Bay Rays came from Seth Lugo, who desperately needed one after his rough outing against the Phillies. The Mets offense also woke up to support Lugo in their 5-2 victory.

Lugo found the handle on his curveball early in this start. It eluded him over the last two starts, but his equalizer was the curve against the weak Rays offense. Lugo pitched 6.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned), and striking out seven. Out of 95 pitches, 66 were strikes, and he produces plenty of uncomfortable swings.

Solving Snell

Blake Snell had one of the best starts of his career when he faced the Mets back in 2018. He came into his start without allowing any runs in the first two innings of the game during 2020. Robinson Cano changed that with his solo home run on an extremely high fastball in the second. Cano tomahawked the ball into the left-field corner, and it was the highest pitch hit for a home run this season.

Pete Alonso‘s solo home run in the fourth and RBI single in the sixth provided the other two runs against Snell. Alonso also contributed an RBI fielder’s choice in the eighth. Guillermo Heredia‘s first home run as a Met was sandwiched between Alonso’s RBI chances.

It was a much-needed game from Alonso, who was threatening to fall into the interstate with his batting average. Alonso’s swing looked calmer and relaxed instead of his typical swing, which caused him to be off-balanced.

The bullpen trio of Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve, and Edwin Diaz silenced the Rays bats for 2.2 innings after Lugo left the game. Wilson kept the tying run from scoring in the seventh, Shreve struck out the side in the eighth, and Diaz picked up his fifth save of the season. Diaz lowered his season ERA to a magnificent 1.50 on the season.

The Mets hope to keep their slim playoff hopes alive with Michael Wacha on the mound in the rubber match of the series. He opposes the fireballer Tyler Glasnow 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

 

New York Mets: Four Run Ninth Inning Catapults 10-6 Win

The final game of the series for the New York Mets against the Philadelphia Phillies was all about surviving and advancing to the next game. Their starting pitcher did not make it out of the second inning, seven combined runs were scored in the first inning, and two pitchers had to throw on their third consecutive day. Despite all of it, the Mets lived to steal a 10-6 victory from the Phillies.

The Mets immediately got a lead for Seth Lugo in the first inning. Dominic Smith‘s RBI double followed by Robinson Cano‘s two-run single gave the Mets an early 3-0 lead. After Lugo struck out the first batter he faced, it was clear he had nothing on the mound.

He allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs to give back the lead as quickly as the Mets got it. After allowing a Jean Segura triple, Adam Haseley drove him in to give the Phillies a 4-3 first-inning lead. Lugo allowed another two runs in the second inning and had to be replaced with Erasmo Ramirez.

Uphill Battle

The Mets bullpen gave them everything they needed and more for the second straight night. Ramirez started with 2.1 shutout innings, Chasen Shreve followed with another 2.1 scoreless innings. During that period, a Pete Alonso solo homer and Brandon Nimmo‘s two-run triple got the Mets even with the Phillies in the sixth.

After Jeurys Familia got through the seventh, he ran into trouble in the eighth. Justin Wilson came in for a third straight game an showed the ill-effects of all the work. Wilson could not locate anything and walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases. Luckily he found the strike zone on one pitch to get Didi Gregorius to pop out and survive the eighth.

The Mets offense came alive in the ninth inning. Nimmo led off the ninth with a home run, Smith had an RBI triple, and Cano capped it off with a two-run home run. Things did not come easy for Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the ninth. He was also in for the third straight day but worked around three walks, getting the Mets a big win.

On Friday, the Mets begin a three-game weekend series against the Atlanta Braves. Steven Matz makes his return to the rotation and faces Cy Young candidate Max Fried. The first pitch from Citi Field is at 7:10 p.m. ET.

New York Mets Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (9/15-9/17)

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The last New York Mets series preview against the Philadelphia Phillies, at the time, was the most important series of the season. This three-game series has the same importance times ten as there are only two weeks left in the season. The Mets are 2.5 games behind the Phillies for the first wild card spot and two games behind the San Francisco Giants for the second spot.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, (9/15) @ 7:05 p.m. ET: Rick Porcello (1-4, 6.07 ERA) vs. Jake Arrieta (3-4, 5.54 ERA)

Wednesday, (9/16) @ 7:05 p.m. ET: Jacob deGrom (4-1, 1.67 ERA) vs. TBD

Thursday, (9/17) @ 7:05 p.m. ET: Seth Lugo (2-3, 2.63 ERA) vs. TBD

Over the last 24 hours, you cannot talk about the Mets without the fantastic news of Steve Cohen signing an agreement to own 95% of the franchise. If the Mets do not make the playoffs, at least knowing Cohen is all but certain to own the team alleviates the pain.

Win or Go Home

The first game should get the same treatment a game seven would. Rick Porcello has struggled to find consistency all season and must have a short leash in game one. With Jacob deGrom and Seth Lugo following Porcello, it gives the Mets the best chance to win no matter who they face. Most likely, they will face Aaron Nola at some point in the series as well.

Beating Jake Arrieta is no easy task. He compiled two solid starts in a row, with the first coming against the Mets. As always, the ultimate goal is getting to the bullpen early in the game. It is a major Achilles heel for the Phillies, and Arrieta throws a lot of pitches early in the game, which helps the Mets cause.

With all the disappointment flooding the Mets season, they still have an opportunity to erase that during this series. Winning two is a must; three is a dream, and anything less spells the end of their season. The Phillies are the last opponent they play, which allows them to move up in the wild card hunt with victories automatically.

Stats to Lookout For

Rick Porcello vs. Didi Gregorious: 7-for-43 (.163), 2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jake Arrieta vs. Robinson Cano: 6-for-34 (.176), 2 Doubles, 4 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jake Arrieta vs. Jeff McNeil: 13-for-23 (.565), Double, Home Run, Strikeout

Jacob deGrom vs. Bryce Harper: 11-for-36 (.306), 2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, 8 Walks, 12 Strikeouts

New York Mets: Offense Held Silent in 3-2 Loss to Blue Jays

Amed Rosario, New York Mets

The New York Mets could not produce the same way the did in their 18-1 victory on Friday night. All the Blue Jays needed were three runs off Seth Lugo to secure themselves a 3-2 victory to even up the series at one game apiece

Lugo was dominant through the first three innings of his start. He held the Blue Jays to a single and struck out four. The following 2.1 innings had a different story for Lugo as he seemed to progressively lose steam and the feel for his curveball as his pitch count rose.

Lugo gave up a run in each of the last three innings he pitched along with six hits. His curveball hung in the fourth inning and struggled to a point where he barely used it for the rest of the start. His velocity also sat around 92-94 with the occasional 95. It was not a great start for Lugo, but it certainly put the Mets in a position to win.

Ray Too Much to Handle

One year ago, Robbie Ray did not get out of the first inning against the Mets. It was the only bad start Ray has made against them and he found his groove early. Ray held the Mets to one run over five innings and struck out five. His money pitch was his slider and used it often as he got deeper in his start. The start was much needed for Ray and lowered his season ERA to 6.85.

Jake Marisnick provided the only run off Ray with a double in the fourth inning. Unfortunately later in the game, Marisnick had to leave the game with right hamstring issues. It was the same injury that kept him sidelined early in the season.

The only other run came on a gift when Joe Panik fumbled a double play transfer allowing Wilson Ramos to score in the seventh inning.

Amed Rosario had a good game with three hits but he showed once again why he is not an everyday player. After getting first base with a gift wild pitch strikeout, he fails to advance on a ball in the dirt then proceeds to get picked off to end the game with the red hot Jeff McNeil at the plate.

A pair of lefties square off in a 3:07 p.m. ET start time as David Peterson faces Hyun-Jin Ryu in the final game of the series.

New York Mets Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (9/11-9/13)

New York Mets, Pete Alonso

The New York Mets head up to Buffalo to take on the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game weekend series. Toronto comes off taking two of three from the New York Yankees, while the Mets come off a two-game split against the Baltimore Orioles.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Friday, (9/11) @ 6:37 p.m. ET: Jacob deGrom (3-1, 1.69 ERA) vs. Chase Anderson (0-0, 4.94 ERA)

Saturday, (9/12) @ 6:37 p.m. ET: Seth Lugo (2-2, 2.05 ERA) vs. TBD

Sunday, (9/13) @ 3:07 p.m. ET: TBD vs. TBD

Friday’s game comes on the 19th anniversary of the tragic World Trade Center attacks. For the first time in over a decade, the Mets are allowed to wear first responder hats during the game. This is a movement led by Pete Alonso, who led the team to wear commemorative cleats on 9/11 during the 2019 season.

Ride deGrom Out

It is no secret to how poor the Mets starting pitching has been this season. The main reason they do not sit dead last in the National League in rotation ERA is due to Jacob deGrom’s greatness. His 1.69 ERA is first in the NL and second in all of baseball. Manager Luis Rojas lined up his rotation to squeeze out as many starts as possible for deGrom, and the Mets will need those in order to make the playoffs.

Seth Lugo has not started as many games as deGrom but is another anchor to the Mets rotation. The Mets lined him up to pitch after each of deGrom’s start to get the momentum going. It is much better than having deGrom throw a gem then watch a mediocre starter allowed five runs the following night.

As for the Blue Jays, their lineup packs a mighty punch. They are second in the American League in home runs, fourth in RBIs, and fourth in hits. They are led by Teoscar Hernandez, who is slashing .308/.358/.637, with 14 home runs and 27 runs batted in. Hernandez’s slugging percentage is third in the AL behind Nelson Cruz and Mike Trout. Luckily for the Mets, Hernandez is currently on the injured list.

Key Statistics

Joe Panik vs. Jacob deGrom: 3-for-19 (.158), Double, 3 Walks, 5 Strikeouts

Michael Conforto vs. Chase Anderson: 2-for-11 (.182), 2 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 3 Strikeouts

First Pitch Swings Against deGrom in 2020: 5-for-59 (.085), Double, Home Run, 23 Strikeouts

Seth Lugo As a Starter in 2020: 1-0, 1.54 ERA, 11.2 IP, 20 Strikeouts, 4 Walks

New York Mets: Lugo’s Best Start of the Season Gives Mets a 5-1 Win

The New York Mets needed Seth Lugo to pitch as long as he could, and it was exactly what he did. Lugo gave the Mets five strong innings, holding the Phillies to one run and throwing a season-high 81 pitches. The Mets offense came together to give them a relaxing 5-1 victory.

The command that Lugo lacked with his fastball he made up for with his curveball. It helped him record eight strikeouts and keep the Phillies to four hits. Their only run came off a Rhys Hoskins home run on a fastball in the first inning. Lugo recording the win was the first Mets starter to earn a W in 19 games.

Team Effort On Offense

Six different Mets recorded hits and half of them had multiple-hit games. Michael Conforto made use of the opposite field for two hits, including an RBI single. Jeff McNeil did not have an RBI but had a double to continue his hot hitting.

Andres Gimenez was the best player for the Mets on both sides of the ball. He had four productive plate appearances. Two hits, a walk, and a sacrifice fly that was a gift from the Phillies defense as Bryce Harper’s laziness forced a backpedaling Neil Walker to make the catch.

The strong play on offense and defense is showing why he should play more than Amed Rosario. With the Mets needing every single victory they can get, Gimenez will likely continue to play as Luis Rojas rides the hot hand.

The struggling Mets bullpen also hurled four shutout innings and recorded five strikeouts. The entire staff also held the Phillies to 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 Phillies on base.

Sunday afternoon’s matchup is a battle of the aces as Jacob deGrom faces Aaron Nola at a 1:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

New York Mets Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (9/4-9/7)

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

After two straight victories, the New York Mets welcome in the red hot Philadelphia Phillies for a four-game weekend series. It is the biggest series of the season for the Mets, and it is against a team that swept them in their prior matchup in the abbreviated 2020 season.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Friday, (9/4) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Jake Arrieta (2-4, 6.49 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (1-4, 6.00 ERA)

Saturday, (9/5) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Spencer Howard (1-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Seth Lugo (1-2, 2.12 ERA)

Sunday, (9/6) @ 1:10 p.m. ET: Aaron Nola (4-2, 2.45 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (2-1, 1.76 ERA)

Monday, (9/7) @ 1:10 p.m. ET: Zack Wheeler (4-0, 2.20 ERA) vs. TBD

The Mets come into the series just 1.5 games out of a wild card spot. With the constant failures throughout the pitching staff, they have to feel lucky to have an opportunity to make the postseason. The Phillies have won nine of their last ten, which allowed them to surge up into one of the spots the Mets are trying to chase.

Need Innings?

The only way the Mets can maintain success is with a rested bullpen due to their starters going deep into games. Rick Porcello has thrown the second-highest amount of innings, but they have not resulted in success. He has a 6.00 ERA and needs to set the tone with a good start to open the series.

Seth Lugo hopes to get into the fifth inning for the first time this season. He is almost stretched out fully as a starter and has not skipped a beat since returning to the rotation. One more strong start from Lugo, and we could see his ERA drop below two.

Sunday afternoon’s matchup features two premiere aces. Jacob deGrom against Aaron Nola sets up to be a low scoring contest. Both pitchers have previous strong outings against their opponents throughout their careers. Let us not forget that deGrom also pitches his best during day games.

Zack Wheeler also closes out the series, making his first start as an opponent at Citi Field. He won 19 games and had a 4.15 ERA over 60 career starts at Citi Field.

After homering in two consecutive games, Pete Alonso looks to start a hot streak that carries through the rest of the season. Out of all the bats in the Mets lineup, he holds the most weight when he is hitting consistently.

Matchups to Lookout For

Jake Arrieta vs. Robinson Cano: 6-for-31 (.194), 2 Doubles, 4 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jake Arrieta vs. Jeff McNeil: 13-for-20 (.650), Double, Home Run

Rick Porcello vs. Didi Gregorious: 7-for-40 (.175), 2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. J.T. Realmuto: 4-for-25 (.160), Double, 9 Strikeouts

Aaron Nola vs. Michael Conforto: 5-for-32 (.156), Double, Home Run, 4 Walks, 12 Strikeouts