Patience Was Key as Cardinals Gift the Mets a 4-1 Win

The New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals combined to put together an early candidate for the ugliest game of the 2021 season. The Mets showcased how not to hit with runners on base while the Cards pitchers had no idea where the strike zone was. In the end, the Mets won the battle of attrition 4-1 to escape St. Louis with a split of their four-game series.

Taijuan Walker was absolutely masterful when the Mets needed him to go deep into the game. Over seven innings, Walker allowed just one hit and struck out eight. Even after a rain delay, Walker came out to finish the last two innings of his start and retired 18 straight to finish his start. The unearned run came on a throwing error from third baseman Jonathan Villar after a shift beating single. Trevor May struck out two in the eighth and Edwin Diaz rebounded from his ugly outing on Sunday to finish the win.

Bad Baseball All-Around

The combination of Cardinals’ control issues and Mets’ lack of clutch hitting made the top of every inning gruesome. Cardinals pitchers combined for 11 walks, including three with the bases loaded, but the Mets barely took advantage of them. When they did swing the bat, they went 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 17 men on base. The only run that did not come via a walk was Dominic Smith‘s RBI single to give the Mets their fourth run.

In other news, the bats of Francisco Lindor and James McCann have taken themselves off life support. Lindor finally broke an 0-for-26 slump with a single, and McCann recorded two hits on the day. Despite the win, there were not many redeeming qualities from the win, but they can hope Lindor’s single finally gets him going.

On Friday, the Mets return to Citi Field and welcome in the Arizona Diamondbacks for a three-game weekend series. Zac Gallen takes the mound against David Peterson for a 7:10 p.m. Friday night start.

 

DeJong Burns the Mets in 4-1 Loss in Game One of the Doubleheader

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

Paul DeJong has turned into the modern-day New York Mets killer and flexed his muscle again in the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 win. DeJong’s two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning put the game away as the Mets were once again incapable of doing anything on offense.

Francisco Lindor has done nothing to help the Mets offense and figured he might as well help out someone else’s. His throwing error prevented the fifth inning from ending and allowed DeJong to torch the Mets again. Lindor went hitless again to push his slump to 24 straight at-bats without a hit. Despite, the slump manager Luis Rojas rolled out another one of his bright ideas and batted him leadoff.

Stroman’s Outing

Marcus Stroman pitched much better than his line suggests. He went five innings, allowed four runs (two earned) while striking out six. In a pivotal fourth inning, a leadoff error followed by a single put Stroman in a first and third situation. Stroman responded by striking out the next three batters he faced, but it did not come without drama.

Pitching coach Jeremy Hefner visited the mound after the first strikeout, but Stroman wanted nothing to do with him. Stroman walked off the mound in the middle of the visit and said, “just let me f–king pitch man.” Even though he survived the inning, Stroman and Rojas spoke in the tunnel when he came off the field. Rojas let Stroman hit in the fifth inning despite being down by one in a seven-inning game in an even more surprising move.

The Mets had the same amount of errors as hits in what might have been a tribute to fired hitting coach Chili Davis. They went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and went the final three innings without a hit. Lindor will get the second game off as Jonathan Villar will take his place at shortstop. It would fit the Mets logic to have their best offensive output in the game Lindor does not play in. Miguel Castro will face Johan Oviedo in game 2.

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.

New York Mets Lose Slugfest to St. Louis Cardinals 14-9

Simeon Woods-Richardson

The pitching for the New York Mets started off strong over their first two spring training games but lose all momentum against the St. Louis Cardinals. Seven pitchers combined to allow 14 runs, 11 hits, and 6 runs in the 14-9 loss.

Jerad Eickhoff got the start for the Mets and allowed the Cardinals’ offense to get started early. Eickhoff allowed four runs, with three coming on a home run by John Nogowski. Jacob Barnes followed but was erratic in the one inning he pitched. Barnes walked two and allowed three more runs in the third inning. Marcel Renteria struggled the most out of any Mets pitcher. He allowed four runs, two home runs, including one to former Met Ali Sanchez.

The Mets offense was the polar opposite of their pitching as they had 13 hits and six for extra bases. Kevin Pillar, J.D. Davis, Luis Guillorme, and Drew Ferguson all had multiple-hit games. Brett Baty also supplied an RBI double in the ninth inning.

The Mets are back on SNY on Friday for a 1:10 p.m. start against the Washington Nationals. Kyle Finnegan (0-0, 18.00) faces David Peterson, who is making his first outing of the Spring.

The planned Phillies-Yankees game on Monday has been postponed

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

Coronavirus keeps lurking around the 2020 MLB season and the danger of the season being suspended, at least temporarily, is evident. Such is life scheduling baseball games in times of COVID-19 that a game that still hadn’t been officialized in the calendar, the New York Yankees – Philadelphia Phillies of Monday, has been postponed according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

The Phillies had one coach and one clubhouse staffer test positive in the week, after they played the Miami Marlins over the weekend at Citizens Bank Park. The Marlins, for those who not remember, are currently dealing with 18 positive cases among players, plus two coaches.

The Yankees and Phillies will have to make up for the lost game somewhere along the road, but it is not clear when.
At this point, it is not clear if the season will keep its course next week, although that is the plan as of now.

The Yankees are not the only time with a fluid schedule

To make matters worse, MLB announced that another team, the St. Louis Cardinals, had positive COVID-19 cases. On Saturday morning, several outlets reported that “several” additional members of the organization were positive for the virus, although that was not accurate.

Per Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal, only one additional Cardinals player tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. This comes after two St. Louis ballplayers tested positive for the disease on Friday.

As a result of the mini-outbreak in St. Louis, Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers was postponed. No make up date for the game has been provided at the moment.

Meanwhile, a Brewers player opted out of playing the remainder of the season. All-Star center fielder Lorenzo Cain decided not to play anymore due to concerns about the rapid spread of the virus.

The New York Yankees, meanwhile, are playing the Boston Red Sox this weekend. They took Friday’s night opener 5-1 behind a stellar outing from starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery.

New York Mets: Young Stars Showcase Personalities Against Cardinals

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

Wednesday’s game between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals featured more of the usual from Spring Training. A strong starting pitching performance and Jeff McNeil‘s continued dominance with the bat. The game was televised on ESPN and the Mets certainly had fun being mic’d up with each other.

Marcus Stroman took the mound and had a terrific outing. Over three innings, he only allowed three baserunners and struck out four Cardinals. Things started off rocky when he hit and walked the first two batters. After Rene Rivera threw out a base stealer for the first out, Stroman induced a double play to end the inning. Through the rest of his start, he showed how clever of a pitcher he is. Stroman used his incredible body control to vary his motion which threw off the hitter’s timing drastically.

Bats Waking Up

Jeff McNeil continued his red hot pace with two more hits to move to 10-for-18 (.556), the best mark in Spring Training. Brandon Nimmo chipped in another hit as the 1-2 combination of McNeil and Nimmo have proved to be deadly so far. Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, and Wilson Ramos all supplied hits as they are picking up the pace after short skids at the plate.

One of the best parts of the ESPN broadcast was their live microphones. They picked the right guys in Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, Dom Smith, and Jeff McNeil. Alonso dropped an accidental f-bomb, Smith poked fun at Davis and could not hear anyone at one point, and all of them hyped up an Eduardo Nunez triple. It showed how close this group is and there is truly something special going on at Port St. Lucie.

Zamora Rises

Daniel Zamora has always been seen as a lefty specialist for the Mets, but his stock is rising. Through four outings so far he has only allowed one hit, walk and hit by pitch. Zamora even has five strikeouts and the most impressive part is his ability to put away hitters from both sides of the plate. Dellin Betances still is not a lock for Opening Day and Zamora is asserting himself as the top guy to replace him.

Rick Porcello takes the mound on Thursday when the Mets take on the Cardinals in Jupiter. Porcello has allowed one run over three innings so far in the Spring.

New York Mets Pick Up Second Win of Spring Against Cardinals

New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals squared off in their fourth matchup of the Spring. Marcus Stroman and Adam Wainwright squared off against each other, both looking to improve on their first Spring outings. The Mets also feature a lineup of mostly regulars and Tim Tebow.

Stroman pitched decently, allowing two hits, one run, one walk, and struck out one over two innings of work. He allowed a first innings home run to Paul Goldschmidt, but it would be the most damage he allowed. Stroman ran into trouble in the second.  A walk, bunt single, and Dominic Smith error led to a bases-loaded, no one-out jam. Stroman induced a lineout and a double play to end the jam and complete his outing.

Big Heart and a Big Paycheck

Brandon Nimmo returned to the lineup after a health scare which forced him to miss two games. He went 1-for-2 with a run scored and also mixed in a good call on a “sun ball double.” Robinson Cano made his Spring debut as the designated hitter. He walked and flew out to center field in his only two plate appearances.

Jeff McNeil, Dom Smith, and Wilson Ramos were the other regulars who tallied hits on Friday. McNeil and Ramos are hitting .400 and .444 in the Spring, respectively. Both are picking up from where they left off in 2019.

Andres Gimenez improved on his strong start at the plate. He blasted his first home run of the Spring and is 4-for-12 at the plate. Two of his four hits have gone for extra bases. It is a promising sign for the 161-pound shortstop who has been known more for his defense than offense. Should Gimenez continue to hit the ball well, it could make the choice to send him to minor league camp harder than expected.

Tebow Struggles

It is hard to write a Mets article without leaving out the blooper from Tebow. Not only did Tebow strikeout in both of his at-bats, but he also fell flat on his face trying to secure the final out of the ball game. Tebow looked to be under the ball but tripped over his feet, and the ball lightly plopped about a foot away from the quarterback once known as mobile.

On Saturday, the Mets head to West Palm Beach to face the Houston Astros at 1:05 p.m. Steven Matz makes his second start of the Spring as he tries to secure a spot in the Mets rotation.

 

New York Yankees: Was Luke Voit A One Hit Wonder Or Is He A Gem?

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

On July 28th, 2018, the New York Yankees acquired first baseman Luke Voit in a deal that sent LHP Chasen Shreve and RHP Giovanny Gallegos to the St. Louis Cardinals.

This trade made Yankees fans extremely happy, but not because of Voit. Chasen Shreve had been with the Yankees since 2015, and overall pitched poorly and Brian Cashman could not move him to the minors due to him being out of minor league options.

There was hope for fans that Shreve would be DFA’d or traded, and that finally happened. Shreve had an ERA of 4.26 in 2018, and in 2016 had an ERA of over five. He wasn’t working out and traded him just to get rid of him because he really had no spot and the same as Voit with St.Louis.

Finally getting a chance with the New York Yankees:

In 2017, Luke Voit appeared in 62 games for the Cardinals 28 hits, 18 RBI, and 4 HR. That would translate of a major league average of .246 that year.

In 2018, he started the season with the Memphis Redbirds, the AAA affiliate of Cardinals. He bounced up-and-down from the MLB to AAA a lot that season, not really able to get comfortable and batting for the Cardinals, but .299 for the Redbirds.

Once he was traded to NYY, he was assigned to the Scranton/Wikes-Barre Railriders and continued to rake, batting .310. With Greg Bird continuing to struggle and injuries still an issue, Voit was called up and made an immediate impact for the Yankees.

Once Voit was called up, he went right to work and took Greg Bird’s spot away. Bird was playing extremely poor, making errors and batting a terrible .199 over 82 games.

The more Voit played, the better he played. He hit a whopping .333, had an OBP of .405, and his slugging was through the roof at .689. In 39 games, he amassed 14 HR and 33 RBI. Also must note, the home-runs he was getting weren’t really with much help of the short porches down the lines of Yankee Stadium, he was hitting Aaron Judge like home-runs that were no-doubters.

He would only really sit when there was a match-up with an RHP that Aaron Boone didn’t like, so Bird or new Miami Marlin Neil Walker would start.

Other options still exist:

Though Voit had that instant success with the Yankees in 2018, many still wonder if he is the man in 2019 at first base. A lot of players have historically struggled in their sophomore season, and could he be the next?

Neil Walker signing with Miami obviously takes away any thought of him returning in 2019 to play first. DJ Lemahieu has signed for the next two seasons to be a utility player, and though he hasn’t played a lot of first base recently, he could still be an option.

Obviously, the Yankees still have Greg Bird, but it seems that he has played worse as more time goes on. Miguel Andujar could possibly play first, but that likely won’t happen unless the Yankees sign Machado. Entering the offseason, the Yankees were shopping a first baseman, expressing serious in then Arizona Diamondback Paul Goldschmit, now being traded to Voit’s previous home, St. Louis.

Several men have the opportunity to win the first base job in Spring, but will it be Voit? If it is Voit, will he have the same success? Only time can find out.

New York Mets Series Preview: St. Louis Cardinals (4/24-4/26)

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Zack Wheeler

Coming off back to back series losses, the New York Mets will fly to St. Louis for an Opening Day rematch against the Cardinals. The Cardinals are currently tied for first place with the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. They come off a series sweep against the lackluster Cincinnati Reds. The Mets come off a series loss against the Atlanta Braves where their bullpen struggled in the series.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(4/24, 8:15 PM) Zack Wheeler (1-1, 2.77) vs. Luke Weaver (2-1, 4.22)

(4/25, 8:15 PM) Steven Matz (1-1, 4.42) vs. TBD

(4/26, 1:15 PM) Noah Syndergaard (2-0, 3.29) vs. TBD

The Mets have cooled off after their red hot start but still hold a half game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies. Over the last week their bullpen has let the team down. It blew a five run lead against the Washington Nationals and a three run lead against the Braves. These two days off were much needed for the Mets because they had three pitchers in the top 20 in games pitched. Manager Mickey Callaway has not been afraid to pull starters early and bring in multiple pitchers in an inning.

The Dark Knight in the Bullpen

After his struggles to start the season, the Mets have moved Matt Harvey to the bullpen where he hopes to find his stuff again. Harvey was “pissed off” about the move but the Mets are a contending team this year and they have the depth to easily replace him in the rotation. The Mets will look for Harvey to regain the swagger and stuff that made him a Cy Young caliber pitcher before the injuries took its toll.

The Cardinals are a team built on power bats which is why they are tied for second in baseball with 30 home runs. Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina have combined for 13 home runs to lead the way for the team. Carlos Martinez has bounced back from his rough first start to lead the Cardinals with a 1.42 ERA. Bud Norris has also been a pleasant surprise at the back end of the bullpen, going 5-for-5 in save opportunities.

The injury bug has kept out two of the team’s biggest contributors out of the lineup. Adam Wainwright made three starts after being injured for his first scheduled start, but landed on the 10-day DL with right elbow inflammation. Tommy Pham is questionable for the series with a groin injury he suffered a few days ago. He was their best player last season so the Cards will want him back when he feels 100 percent.

Matchups to Look Out For

The Cardinals are still figuring out who will pitch the last two games of the series. If they pitch Carlos Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes will be happy to be in the lineup. He has hit .333 (5-15) with a home run against the Dominican born right hander. Marcell Ozuna has also put up strong numbers against Steven Matz in his career. He has hit .308 (4-13) and has always been very good against lefties in his career.

If the struggling Jay Bruce has to face Michael Wacha, the Mets may want to keep him out of the lineup. Bruce has hit a miserable .032 (1-31) with 13 strikeouts against Wacha, who has completely owned this matchup. Jedd Gyorko has not found any success against Zack Wheeler, who has held him to a .111 (1-9) average with five strikeouts.

Interesting Stats

Yadier Molina has always been a Met killer and help up his reputation with a home run off Syndergaard. He has hit .322 (91-283) over his lengthy career, facing good and bad Mets pitching. Over his career Zack Wheeler has pitched to a 3.06 ERA on the road, compared to a 4.88 ERA at home.