deGrom Shows No Rust in Mets 3-1 Win Over Rockies

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets desperately needed healthy bodies to return from the injured list, and Jacob deGrom was the first of hopefully many to come back. deGrom looked fresh as ever by leading the Mets to a much-needed 3-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

deGrom came out firing from the beginning of his start, consistently throwing his fastball in the 100-101 range. He only got to throw 63 pitches, but it was enough to pitch five terrific innings, allowing one run and struck out nine. The only blemish on his line was a Ryan McMahon home run in the second inning. Of course, no deGrom start is complete without the theatrics of his bat. He recorded another hit to push his average to .471, and it would have been a double if he did not leave the bag on his slide.

Catcher Collab

The Mets offense was not anything special but did enough to support deGrom. The terrific pitching allows the offense to put up enough runs to survive. The catcher combination of James McCann and Tomas Nido got the job done by driving in all three runs. McCann did it early in the first inning with a ground out, and Nido continued his hot hitting with a two-run homer to put the Mets in the lead. Jonathan Villar and Dominic Smith were the two Mets to record multi-hit games.

The bullpen was tremendous following deGrom. Miguel Castro (2), Trevor May (1), and Edwin Diaz (1) combined for four hitless innings with six strikeouts to secure the victory. The Rockies had just one at-bat with runners in scoring position, which was the exact amount they had the previous night. The win keeps the Mets in first place and improves them to 12-5 at home this season.

Wednesday night features a pitchers duel between German Marquez and Marcus Stroman. The first pitch from Citi Field is another 7:10 p.m. ET start.

Braves Figure Out How To Beat The Mets Replacements in 5-4 Loss

The New York Mets were pulling off miracles with their roster depth but had nothing left for the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves. Manager Luis Rojas tried to ride Jacob Barnes for another inning, and Ronald Acuna had none of it. Acuna took his first pitch right over the center field fence to give the Braves a 5-4 walk-off win and avoid the sweep.

The Mets had an opportunity to take the lead in the ninth, but two consecutive popouts stranded Cameron Maybin on third base to end the inning. Rojas had to turn to his bullpen early again after David Peterson struggled in the fifth inning. Peterson began his start with four no-hit innings but allowed three runs and five hits before being lifted in the fifth.

Drew Smith and Miguel Castro delivered scoreless outings, but Aaron Loup ran into issues in the eighth. Loup allowed three consecutive hits and allowed the Braves to tie the game. Luckily, Barnes worked out of the eighth inning jam with help from the defense of James McCann.

Maybin’s Mets Debut

Maybin went from doing nothing with Cubs to making his 2021 debut as the three-hitter for the injured Mets. The lineup only had four hits, and three resulted in runs. Jonathan Villar opened up scoring with a solo home run, Jose Peraza drove in one with an RBI double, and Tomas Nido had another clutch hit with a two-run single to give them a 4-3 lead. Unfortunately, the cracks in their outfield showed as all three outfielders went hitless, and two (Maybin and Lee) recorded three strikeout games. While the offense was not there, Lee made another tremendous catch while patrolling right field.

Even if the Mets found a way to take the lead, Trevor May would have needed to pitch a third consecutive day. If they made it to extra innings, who knows what combination of pitchers would have made it to the mound. Despite the disappointing loss, the Mets left Atlanta with a rare series win and still sit in first place in the NL East. After Thursday’s day off, they will have another opportunity to take another series when they fly to Miami and face the Marlins.

Nido’s Ninth Inning Homer Leads Mets To Another Unlikely Win, 4-3

The New York Mets needed the bench mob and much more to find carry them to another miracle win over the Atlanta Braves, 4-3. Seven pitchers and a lineup of three starters somehow managed to find another way to gut out a tough victory in a place they rarely win.

Tomas Nido earned another start due to his hot streak at the plate, and he made manager Luis Rojas look like a genius. Nido’s solo home run off Will Smith gave the Mets just enough support for Edwin Diaz to earn a save. Despite pitching for the third consecutive day, Diaz was throwing 101 with a sharp slider and recorded a 1-2-3 inning to get another save. Jonathan Villar, who has now become a regular, provided half the offense with his two-run home run in the third inning.

The small army of Mets relievers combined to strike out 15, and none of them went more than two innings. It was never perfect throughout the middle innings, but the relievers did enough to stop the bleeding and prevented the Braves from taking the lead at any point. The win was another example of how tough and battle-tested every player on the roster has become this season. Even with the ugly sweep against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Mets have gone 9-3 in their last 12 games.

On Wednesday, David Peterson faces Charlie Morton as the Mets attempt a sweep of their division rival. If they pull it off, it will be the Mets’ first sweep in Atlanta since the 2016 season. The first pitch from Sun Trust Park will be another 7:20 p.m. ET start.

 

Mets Reserves Lead The Way in 7-2 Victory Over Cardinals

It only made sense that in this odd season for the New York Mets, their backup players lead them to a good win. Francisco Lindor and James McCann got the night off, and Jordan Yamamoto pitched, but despite that, the Mets won 7-2.

The Mets enlisted Miguel Castro as their opener for the first time, and he bent but did not break. Castro kept the Cards scoreless in the first and set the table for Yamamoto to make his Mets debut. Yamamoto performed perfectly as a spot starter as he held the Cardinals to just one run in 2.2 innings and allowed the bullpen to finish the job. The final four relievers allowed just one run in the final 3.1 innings of the game.

After a wild pitch and Tomas Nido‘s two-run home run got the Mets a 3-0 lead, the “-illar” duo took care of the rest. Jonathan Villar recorded two hits, two RBIs, and a homer, and Kevin Pillar recorded a double and two RBIs. Dominic Smith also joined the hit parade with two singles of his own. The trio of Villar, Pillar, and Nido is unlikely to produce like this every night, but all of them played well enough to earn a start in the final game of the series.

The final game of the series features Taijuan Walker against former Met prospect John Gant. The first pitch from Busch Stadium is an early 1:15 p.m. ET start.

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.

 

 

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.

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Catcher Tomas Nido

New York Mets catcher Tomas Nido was the backup to Wilson Ramos when summer camp ended but only received 24 at-bats on the season. A bout with COVID-19 ended a strong start to his season that never received a proper finish due to lingering issues after.

Nido’s playing time was sparse as he only appeared in seven games (six starts) over the three weeks he was healthy. He took advantage of the playing time, recording a hit in all but his final game of the season. The memorable game for Nido came against the Washington Nationals. Nido recorded two home runs and six RBIs, joining an elite group of Mets catchers to pull off the feat.

On defense, it was clear that he was the better catcher defensively. Nido only threw out one baserunner in six tries, but his work framing the ball continued to shine. In the limited sample size, he a 48.5% strike rate, it was slightly below his normal rate, but there was nothing that proved it was declining.

Battle With COVID-19

Nido was the only Met to get COVID-19 during the regular season, and it ended his season. He did not play in a single game after August 18 due to the virus and the related complications. While he did not contract the virus the entire rest of the season, it was not enough for him to get back to rejoining the Mets.

Overall, he was far better than expected with the bat during the games he played in. He slashed .292/.346/.583 with two home runs and six runs batted in. While most of that production came in one game, it still was enough for the Mets to depend on him as their backup catcher in 2021. Even if the offense is not productive, the pitching staff loves throwing to him. Should they miss out on J.T. Realmuto or James McCann, they will still have a reliable defensive catcher in Nido.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 60 (25), Still hitting under .200 for his career.

Power: 80 (30), Think there is enough power to get into double digits in a full season, but that is his max.

Run: 20 (20), Probably the fastest catcher on the roster, but that is not saying much.

Arm: 55 (55), Very effective when the pitchers help him by holding on runners.

Field: 60 (60), Great pitch framer, and pitch caller.

Overall: 65 (35), Small sample size hero.

 

New York Mets: Nido’s Two Home Runs Lead to a 8-2 Victory

The day game after a night game is always an opportunity for the backup catcher to get himself some at-bats. For the New York Mets, Tomas Nido took full advantage of the opportunity with two home runs, including a grand slam, along with six of the eight RBIs in the Mets 8-2 win over the Washington Nationals.

Nido was 4-for-13 heading into Thursday’s matchup but hit under .200 in the previous two seasons. The breakout game gave him more home runs, and RBIs than Wilson Ramos has all season. Nido became the fifth Mets catcher ever to record six RBIs in a game. He joined the selective group of Gary Carter, Todd Hundley, Mike Piazza, and Paul Lo Duca.

Dominic Smith remained hot, adding another home run to his team lead and solidifying his spot as the everyday designated hitter. Pete Alonso also recorded an RBI single for the eighth Mets run. Luis Guillorme also recorded two more hits to push his average to .375. His defense up the middle with Andres Gimenez has proved Guillorme to be a valuable backup.

Injury Woes

The game started with an injury scare as Jeff McNeil fearlessly rammed into the left-field wall, making a tremendous catch to end the first inning. Though he attempted to walk off the field on his own, he had to get carted off. X-Rays for McNeil came back negative, and he will undergo an MRI to get a clearer idea of the severity of his injury. It forced the Mets to insert Billy Hamilton into the third spot in their order in the bottom of the first.

David Peterson once again put together another impressive start. He only allowed one hit through five innings and striking out three Nationals. After allowing two walks and an unearned run in the first inning, Peterson retired seven in a row and only allowed two base runners for the rest of his start. Peterson has proved his worth as the second-best starter behind Jacob deGrom.

At 9-11, the Mets are somehow three games out of first place and begin a three-game weekend series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday. Jacob deGrom takes the mound against a starter to be announced, most likely Vince Velazquez. The first pitch from Citizens Bank Park is at 7:05 p.m. ET.

 

New York Mets: Why Wilson Ramos Should Be a DH Candidate

As the negotiations toward continuing the MLB season continues, one of the key topics is the universal designated hitter. The New York Mets have an abundance of options, but an overlooked choice is Wilson Ramos.

Ramos has one of the most reliable bats at catcher, but his defense prevents him from ranking as a top-10 catcher. His caught stealing has been below league average over the last three seasons and is in the same area with about everything else defensively. The caught sealing numbers were due in part to the inability to hold runners on, but moving Ramos to DH strengthens the defense.

Who Becomes the Catcher

This plan only works if the rosters expand to 30 for the entire season. Rene Rivera handles the bulk of the catching duty, and Tomas Nido becomes the third catcher on the roster. Rivera is better with the running game than Nido, but Nido is stronger in his framing. Rivera has a career 36 percent caught stealing for his career while Nido lags at 13 percent.

The biggest difference for the Mets is adding the extra catcher to the lineup stops them from using Yoenis Cespedes or Dominic Smith as the DH. With the depth of the Mets lineup, using Rivera/Nido should not hurt their offensive production. If they needed a pinch hitter, they could use Cespedes/Smith with the ability to put the third catcher in the game.

In extreme circumstances, the Mets lose the DH to make Ramos the catcher and play classic NL baseball. In an 82-game season with a DH, Ramos should play in all 82. Last season, he hit .307 with runners in scoring position and .367 in high leverage situations.

Keeping Ramos fresh was a key emphasis for the Mets down the stretch run of 2019. His hot hitting in the second half made it hard to take him out of the lineup. Putting him as the DH every 2-3 games allows them to keep him fresh and continue to give Cespedes/Smith the opportunity to DH when Ramos is behind the dish. It serves as an alternative plan if the Mets would rather have more offense than defense with the universal DH.