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.

 

Mets Game Preview: (5/1/21) @ Philadelphia Phillies (13-13)

It is gut-check time for the New York Mets after the Philadelphia Phillies bullied their way to a win on Friday. Game two of the series is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. ET from Citizens Bank Park, and there figures to be plenty of animosity after yesterday’s fireworks.

The bench-clearing issue between Jose Alvarado and Dominic Smith highlighted Friday night’s game. It slightly dimmed the spotlight on the struggling offense that only managed to put up one run and allowed two unearned runs to score. As professionals, the Mets avoided any fight that would have led to suspensions, but there is certainly frustration and anger heading into Saturday’s matchup.

Alvarado’s could be what the Mets need to wake them up as the calendar flips to May. A victory gets them back to .500 and puts the Mets back in a tie for first place. Tensions always run high between Philly and New York, and when both teams are good, they heighten even more. Look for the Mets to get their offense going early and attempt to carry it through the rest of the series.

Pitching Matchup

Taijuan Walker was on the front lines when the benches cleared and gets his chance to get some payback on the field. He is coming off his best start of the season, where he pitched seven shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs. Walks are still a small issue, but he limited the Cubs to just three.

Zack Wheeler has been nothing short of spectacular this season with his 3.13 ERA. In his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals, he went eight innings, allowed one run, and struck out nine. Wheeler also threw a season-high 114 pitches and should be fully ready to match the same number if he pitches well again.

Matchups To Lookout For

Taijuan Walker vs. Andrew McCutchen: 1-for-8 (.125), Double, 4 Strikeouts

Zack Wheeler vs. J.D. Davis: 4-for-9 (.444), 2 Doubles, Home Run, 2 Strikeouts

Zack Wheeler vs. Dominic Smith: 6-for-13 (.462), Double, 3 Strikeouts

Walker Get Heated, Mets Offense Goes Cold in Chilly Loss to Cubs 3-1

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The New York Mets are no strangers to ugly weather this season, but that does not mean they get used to it. Taijuan Walker started strong but did not have a happy finish at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. Walker threw 3.2 hitless innings but failed to make it out of the fourth inning after allowing two singles and three consecutive walks. He needed 91 pitches in his outing and was thrown out in the 3-1 loss.

While Walker failed to make it through the fourth inning, his demise began in the third inning. The first of two errors from J.D. Davis allowed the first Cubs’ run to score on a straightforward play. Davis made two mistakes on the play: first, letting the ground ball come to him instead of charging it and then double clutching on the throw, which has become a bad habit. Simple mistakes like these were habits Davis needed to quit to be an adequate third baseman, and it happened again on his second error.

Walker Loses The Zone

When Walker gave up three consecutive walks, they all went to a full count, and a few tough calls did not go in his favor. The stressful at-bats and frustrating inning made Walker leave the mound bursting with anger. He took it out on home plate umpire John Libka, who, in all fairness, had a very questionable strike zone. Manager Luis Rojas also got the boot in the sixth inning due to Libka’s inconsistent zone. In total, Walker threw 3.2 innings, allowed just two hits but walked six.

Even if Walker pitched adequately, there was no offense to support him. Davis’s solo home run was all the Mets could scratch across against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta. He was not unhittable but found ways to keep the Mets from putting up a crooked number. Arrieta allowed one run, three hits, and walked three over five innings pitched.

Their best scoring chance came against closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth with one out and the bases loaded. Brandon Nimmo struck out, and Francisco Lindor grounded out to leave the tying and winning runs on base. They left 10 runners on base and went just 1-for-6 w/RISP. The biggest positive is from their bullpen, who threw 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits.

The Mets look to start a new winning streak on Wednesday when David Peterson takes the bump against Zach Davies. The first pitch from Wrigley Field is at 7:40 p.m. ET.

Mets Game Preview: (4/20/21) @ Chicago Cubs (6-9)

The New York Mets head from one cold city to another as they begin a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs. Each team comes in on a different trend; the Mets sit in first place while the Cubs are in last place in the NL Central. Once again, there is no guarantee that every game in the series is played this week due to impending ugly weather.

The Mets offense is not struggling to get hits but is failing to hit for power and hit with runners in scoring position. They have a .246 team average but just a .353 slugging percentage which is the third-worst in baseball. The Mets hit just .194 with runners in scoring position, but they look amazing compared to the MLB worst .137 average the Cubs own.

What separates these teams is their pitching. The Mets 2.93 team ERA is fifth in baseball, while the Cubs 4.98 mark is third from the bottom. When scoring is not coming easy, the Mets have covered their tracks with amazing pitching. Jacob deGrom (0.45) and Marcus Stroman (0.90) are both in the top-10 of MLB’s ERA leaders.

Pitching Matchup

Taijuan Walker takes the mound and has been stellar in his first two starts. Walker has allowed three runs in 10.1 innings pitched with 12 strikeouts. His five walks are high than where he wants to be, but he can attack the inconsistent Cubs offense tonight.

Former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta takes the mound for the Cubs and has pitched very well in his second go-around in Chicago. Arrieta has not thrown more than 90 pitches in any of his three starts but has gone at least five innings in all of them. The 35-year old has plenty of experience against the Mets and has a 3.09 ERA in 16 career starts against them.

Matchups To Lookout For

Taijuan Walker vs. Joc Pederson: 7-for-15 (.467), 2 Doubles, Home Run, Walk, 2 Strikeouts

Jake Arrieta vs. Jeff McNeil: 15-for-26 (.577), Double, Home Run, Strikeouts

Jake Arrieta vs. Brandon Nimmo: 5-for-16 (.312), Double, Home Run, 2 Walks, 4 Strikeouts

Villar Caps Off Comeback With Walk-Off Single in 4-3 Victory

The New York Mets sleepwalking offense desperately needed something to wake themselves up, and they finally found it their 4-3 walk-off win. It looked like the Mets would play in another miserable doubleheader after the Philadelphia Phillies took the lead in the top half of the inning, but there was no quit in them. Against closer Hector Neris, Pete Alonso led off the eighth with a lined single to tie the game, and Jonathan Villar‘s bases-loaded single brought the Mets back to .500.

The eighth inning started ugly as Trevor May ran into tough luck. James McCann‘s passed ball led to runners on second and third, then Didi Gregorious’s squib single allowed the Phillies to take a 3-2 lead. Miguel Castro suffered a similar fate when he allowed an infield single to Jean Segura, which allowed the Phillies to tie the game in the sixth inning. Both May and Castro were dominant in their outings and are proving to be their best relievers early in the season.

Sky WalKKKKKKKKer

Taijuan Walker had the strikeout pitch working as he recorded eight in 4.1 innings pitched. Due to the urgency of a seven-inning game, manager Luis Rojas opted not to stretch him out. Walker continued to show a fastball in the mid-90s, and he featured a slider which became his best secondary pitch.

Dominic Smith also made an impact both with the bat and with his mouth. His 2-run home run provided all the offense against Phillies starter Chase Anderson. It was his second one off of Anderson this season, except this one came on a fastball that was actually in the strike zone. When Jose Alvarado threw two consecutive up and in pitches to Michael Conforto, the latter drilling him on the hand, Smith was vocal toward Alvarado to cut it out. No altercation resulted from it, but it was clear that Smith was not happy with Alvarado’s lack of control at 99-100 mph.

Game two of the doubleheader will begin at 8:05 p.m. and features a good pitching matchup. Marcus Stroman faces Aaron Nola in the nightcap.

Conforto’s Controversial Hit By Pitch Wins It In Mets 3-2 Walk-Off Victory

The New York Mets were a sleeping giant just waiting for someone to poke them, and Anthony Bass was the pitcher who suffered the consequences. Jeff McNeil‘s leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth woke up the offense, and Michael Conforto‘s awkward hit by pitch allowed the Mets to steal a 3-2 walk-off victory.

Both hitters desperately needed the big moments; the homer was McNeil’s first hit of the season, and Conforto was hitting just .176, which likely influenced him to lean his elbow guard right over the inside corner.  Overall, the Mets offense left eight runners on base and was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position before Conforto’s controversial HBP.

Conforto’s hit by pitch looked like it would have been strike three, and there is no doubt that he leaned into it. Since it was not a reviewable play, there was nothing home plate umpire Ron Kulpa could do about it. If it were reviewable, it was clear as day that Conforto failed to be discreet when leaning into the curveball.

Walker’s Debut

Taijuan Walker made his Mets debut and came out hot out of the gate. He reached all the way up to 97 with his fastball in the first inning. Walker started the game with 4.1 hitless innings before Brian Anderson’s single broke up the no-no. Walker’s final inning ended his start with a sour taste. Corey Dickerson‘s double tied the game at one, and Jesus Aguilar‘s single gave the Marlins a 2-1 lead they brought to the ninth. Walked finished the day with six strong innings, four strikeouts, and two runs allowed.

Nick Neidert was the spot starter for the Marlins and tip-toed out of trouble throughout his 4.1 innings pitched. He allowed three hits and five walks but held the Mets to just one run. Neidert and new pitcher Ross Detwiler had some help from center fielder Starling Marte with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning. Dominic Smith drove a majestic fly ball to center field, and Marte’s leaping catch on the warning track allowed just one run to score on the sacrifice fly. It seemed like the game saving play for the majority of the game.

The Marlins bullpen kept the 2-1 lead until Bass entered the game. Bass allowed three hits, one walk, and the mystifying hit by pitch to Conforto, which ended the game. It was his second blown save of the season, and he has allowed six runs in just 2.1 innings pitched.

The Mets get Friday off, then Jacob deGrom takes the mound for his second start of the season. Trevor Rogers will take the mound for the Marlins. The first pitch is another 1:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

Mets Game Preview (4/8/21): 1:05 p.m. vs. Miami Marlins (1-5)

New York Mets, Pete Alonso

The New York Mets host the Miami Marlins for their home opener at Citi Field after a disappointing series loss against the Philadelphia Phillies. Luckily, the Marlins are coming off a three-game sweep to the St. Louis Cardinals and are missing a couple of key rotation arms. The weekend series is a good chance for the Mets to get back into the win column a couple of times before the Phillies come back to town.

The Mets looked a step slow in multiple aspects of the game during their first series. The Mets bullpen pitched to an ERA close to eight and their offense was very inconsistent. It is understandable after getting an unexpected extra time off due to the Washington Nationals Covid outbreak. From game to game, they went from lacking timing at the plate to getting timely hits to leaving runners on base. The one constant was their ability to work deep counts, drawing 15 walks over three games.

The Mets are unlikely to play J.D. Davis in this series while he recovers from a hand injury from getting hit by a pitch. Davis will go for more X-Rays before the Mets make an official decision on his path back to the starting lineup. Luis Guillorme will continue to fill in during his absence.

The fish have been fried early this season with five losses in their first six games. Their offense is only hitting .219 with a .316 slugging percentage. Despite the team struggles, Jesus Aguilar and Starling Marte have started the season on a good note. Aguilar is 6-for-17 (.353) with four walks and has only struck out once. Marte has proven to be a key acquisition for them by starting the season going 8-for-23 (.348) with a stolen base.

Pitching Matchups

Taijuan Walker makes his Mets debut after a solid spring where he had a 3.27 ERA in 11 innings. Walker brings his fastball in the 93-95 range, a slider, changeup, and curveball. Much like Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman, we should see Walker stay in the 75-90 range with his pitch count.

The Marlins have not decided on a starter as of nine this morning but it will be either Nick Neidert or Paul Campbell. Neidert made four appearances in 2020 but never got started in any of his outings. Campbell made his MLB debut on Saturday and allowed three runs in two innings pitched.

Matchup To Lookout For

Taijuan Walker vs. Corey Dickerson: 3-for-6 (.500), Triple, 2 Home Runs, Strikeout

Canceling The Mets Opening Series Could Open Up The Starting Rotation

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The last 24 hours leading to Opening Day were a complete whirlwind for the New York Mets. At 11 p.m. on Wednesday, they announced the Francisco Lindor extension, which set the momentum going towards the following night’s game. 12 hours later, the disappointment of a postponed game quickly calmed down the positive vibes heading into the day.

The Mets knew there was at least one positive COVID case on Wednesday, but the announcement of two more on Thursday forced a postponement of game one. While the three positives do not affect the Mets roster, there could still be more lingering throughout the Nats clubhouse. The players in close contact also quarantine for a limited time. Even with a taxi squad, the Nats will need to make more roster moves to field a 26-man roster for their first game. They faced this same issue at the beginning of 2020 when Juan Soto missed time with a positive test.

Rotation Strength

For the Mets, we still know that Jacob deGrom will pitch the first game of the season, no matter when they play. At this point, it seems that they will open their season on Monday, April 5, in Philadelphia against the Phillies. It still allows Luis Rojas to set his 4-man rotation as he planned before the postponements. deGrom will be followed by Marcus Stroman, David Peterson, and Taijuan Walker before their off-day on Friday.

The Mets ace can return to the mound Saturday, and they can go all the way to April 14 without using a fifth starter. This would be one of two games in April where the Mets would need a fifth starter. After Joey Lucchesi‘s start on the 14th, they have the following two Mondays off. This allows deGrom to get his usual rest and sneak in an extra start out of it. The Mets also get the final Thursday in April off, which allows them to get back to the 4-man rotation for another week.

Not only does this help the current roster, but it helps the Mets on the shelf. Carlos Carrasco‘s absence will not feel as Lucchesi only has two April starts. The same could be said for Seth Lugo as they get an extra arm in the bullpen when Lucchesi goes more than his regular rest without making a start. Of course, we all want the Mets season to get started, but this is the best way to bring light to a dark situation.

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.

Walker Superb, Lindor Hits Grand Slam in Mets 8-5 Win Over Cards

Taijuan Walker became a bigger part of the New York Mets rotation after Carlos Carrasco‘s hamstring injury. He took the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals and was tremendous in the Mets 8-5 victory.

Walker made it look easy in his second start of the spring. He only allowed one hit over four innings and struck out three Cardinals. Walker needed just 50 pitches to get through his outing, and his slider was his best pitch.

The offense tormented Carlos Martinez once again as they tagged him for five runs in three innings. Pete Alonso continued to scorch the ball with a first inning RBI double to drive in Brandon Nimmo. The double was Alonso’s fifth of the spring and moved his average to .400.

In the second, Tomas Nido flicked a home run over the right field fence with the help of the Florida wind. The bulk of the scoring came in a five-run fifth when J.D. Davis beat the throw home on a fielder’s choice for the first run. Francisco Lindor capped off the inning with a grand-slam which made it a 7-0 game. Jerry Blevins put up a scoreless top half of the inning to relieve Walker.

In the eighth, Johneshy Fargas recorded a hustle triple, then scored on an error from third baseman Evan Mendoza to drive in a run. Jeff McNeil had some tough luck as he was hit by a pitch three times in three different spots. Luckily, none resulted in any injuries.

Oswalt Struggles

Corey Oswalt took over for the sixth and allowed plenty of hard contact. Oswalt allowed a two-run homer to Max Moroff and an RBI double before Trevor Hildenberger cleaned up the mess. He got an opportunity to redeem himself in the seventh inning thanks to the spring training rules. Oswalt pitched a 1-2-3 inning but lost it again in the eighth. He allowed another two-run homer to push his line to five runs in just 2.2 innings pitched. Daniel Zamora closed out the win with a scoreless ninth inning.

Saturday is a day off before Jacob deGrom takes the mound against the Washington Nationals in West Palm Beach on Sunday. For the first time, pitchers will bat, allowing deGrom ready for his first plate appearances since 2019. Hopefully, the Mets wrap deGrom in bubble wrap to prevent any other injuries to their rotation.