New York Mets: Nats Sweep Doubleheader to End Mets Playoff Hopes

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets needed an amazing start from Jacob deGrom to keep their postseason hopes alive, but he was only average on Saturday. In game one of the doubleheader, the Washington Nationals won 4-3 and took game two 5-3 against the struggling Rick Porcello. It became the fourth consecutive season that the Mets missed the playoffs.

Jacob deGrom came out firing bullets in the first inning. He hit 102 mph with his fastball, the fastest pitch of his career, and tying the fastest pitch of the season. deGrom ran into trouble from the third inning on, as he lost command, allowing a run in each of the final three innings he pitched. While striking out 10, his ERA went up to 2.38 and knocked out his chances of winning the Cy Young.

The Mets offense got to Max Scherzer early with a two-run home run from Wilson Ramos and a solo homer from Amed Rosario. Unfortunately, the Mets offense went dead late in the game as they left the lead run at third with one out in the sixth inning. Back-to-back strikeouts killed the rally and were followed by the Nationals taking the lead in the bottom half of the inning.

The Mets also lost Andres Gimenez to an oblique injury, which caused Rosario to enter the game. Dominic Smith also suffered a crushing blow, running face-first into the left-field fence. It allowed Andrew Stevenson to round the bases for an inside the park home run for his second homer of the game.

Porcello Struggles Again in Game Two

Rick Porcello towed the rubber for a meaningless game two of the doubleheader. He could not replicate the success from his last start allowing five runs over three innings. All the Nationals runs came in the third inning, as ten men went to the plate.

After the game, Porcello was disappointed in his poor season. He likely will not remain with the Mets for next season, and it is hard to see him landing with another contender in 2021. Porcello was not the only disappointed Mets starter as deGrom also voiced his frustrations with the underachieving Mets.

The Mets offense struggled outside of Pete Alonso. He hit a line-drive home run, which added to a good rebound day at the plate. Alonso showed better discipline at the plate and emphasized hitting the ball hard instead of just hitting it in the air.

Seth Lugo gets the final start of the season as he faces off against Austin Voth. Game 60 starts at 3:05 p.m. ET from Nationals Park as the Mets hope to avoid last place.

 

New York Mets: The Peterson/Chirinos Battery Lead Mets To 3-2 Win

New York Mets, David Peterson

Who would have thought the combination of David Peterson and Robinson Chirinos would team up with the 2020 season started? Both guys took different paths to the New York Mets roster but made the difference in their 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals. The win kept their small playoff hopes still alive as they sit 2.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants for the final playoff spot.

While Peterson did not strike out batters at the same rate as his last start, he was still very effective. In his final start of the season, he held the Nationals to one run over seven innings and struck out four. Peterson used his slider to put away the Nats hitters and make the longest start of his career. He will finish the season with a very impressive 3.44 ERA, very deserving of a spot in next year’s rotation.

Rob and Dom Show

While the Mets only pushed across three runs on the night but they made them count. Chirinos drove in all three with a hustle single and a two-run home run. All of his RBI came off Patrick Corbin, and the home run was his first of the season.

Dominic Smith continued his hot hitting with three more hits, including two more double to up his season total to 21. It broke the Mets record for the most doubles through a 60 game stretch, and he still has three more games to add to that total. Robinson Cano also added two hits, including his first bunt single since 2013.

Edwin Diaz picked up his sixth save of the season after allowing one run in the ninth inning. He bent but did not break as he worked around two hits in the ninth to shut the door.

Rick Porcello faces off against former teammate Max Scherzer for the second game of the series on Friday. It is another 6:05 p.m. ET start from Nationals Park.

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: Bullpen, Offense Comes Together in 11-6 Win

New York Mets, Pete Alonso

Wednesday’s 11-6 victory for the New York Mets started they way their losses usually have. Juan Soto tormented the Mets with another three-run home run that landed 466 feet away, above the Coca-Cola corner. The Mets offense responded with four runs in the bottom of the first inning and the Mets did not look back from there.

Brandon Nimmo led off with a home run which got the Mets going quickly. Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith recorded RBI doubles and Andres Gimenez looped a single into left field to tally the fourth Mets run. Surprisingly, in the 10 run effort two and three hitters, Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis were the only Mets who failed to record a hit.

Alonso and Smith also hit back to back homers in the sixth gave the Mets a comfortable lead. The key stats for the Mets came in the areas they consistently struggled in. They went 5-for-13 with runners in scoring position and 9 of their 11 runs came with two men out. The Mets sat at the bottom of the league in those categories despite hitting well in the rest of the categories.

Alonso’s three extra-base hits were exactly what the Mets have searched for out of him. He was on the brink of breaking out of his season-long slump but a game like tonight eluded him. It was also the first time he batted fifth all season, which seemed to make a big difference.

Bullpen Game

Despite Robert Gsellman receiving the start, it was more of a bullpen game since he only threw two innings. He settled down following the Soto homer in the first inning and the bullpen limited the damage to solo homers. The bullpen allowed three runs in the following seven innings. Of course, Soto got them again for another homer and Starlin Castro along with Kurt Suzuki added “garbage time” home runs.

Dellin Betances had the most impressive outing of all the relievers. He struck out the side in order and looked to be in mid-season form. Brad Brach also made his first appearance after battling COVID-19, throwing the ninth inning. He worked around a home run but looked well. Brach fired plenty of strikes, which is a good sign after spending time on the sidelines.

The Mets attempt a split of the series when David Peterson takes the mound for a 1:10 p.m. ET start. He will be opposed by Austin Voth in Thursday afternoon’s matchup from Citi Field.

New York Mets Series Preview: Washington Nationals (8/10-13)

New York Mets, Pete Alonso

The New York Mets continue their march towards the .500 mark as they welcome in the Washington Nationals for a four-game series at Citi Field. The Mets come off a series win over the Miami Marlins during the weekend. The Nats lost the first two to the Baltimore Orioles before Sunday’s game was suspended.

Probable Pitching Matchups: 

Monday, (8/10) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Patrick Corbin (1-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Steven Matz (0-2, 5.66 ERA)

Tuesday, (8/11) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Max Scherzer (0-1, 3.29 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (1-1, 6.92 ERA)

Wednesday, (8/12) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Anibal Sanchez (0-2, 7.84 ERA) vs. TBD

Thursday, (8/13) @ 1:10 p.m. ET: Austin Voth (0-1, 1.80 ERA) vs. David Peterson (2-1, 3.78 ERA)

Michael Wacha’s injury and Marcus Stroman‘s opt-out for the 2020 season makes more of a mess in the Mets rotation. The role of Steven Matz and Rick Porcello heightens even more as they need consistent starters to step up behind Jacob deGrom. Matz and Porcello have two completely different starts against the Nats their first time out. Matz struggled to get through three innings, while Porcello made it look easy through his seven-inning start.

Playoff Hunt?

Throughout the struggles of the first 16 games, the Mets still sit in the second spot of the Wild Card race. The Mets want to be over .500, but the new playoff format gives the Mets hope to rebound and contend after their bad start.

One of the key reasons for their turn around is the emergence of the rookie, Andres Gimenez. He has risen from the last man on the roster to someone the Mets cannot afford to keep on the bench. Thanks to Robinson Cano‘s injury, he cemented himself at second base and is hitting .333 through his young career. A matchup against Corbin and Scherzer is going to be good tests for the young prospect.

Matchups to Lookout For

Patrick Corbin vs. Amed Rosario: 3-for-22 (.136), Double, 2 Home Runs, Walk, 3 Strikeouts

Patrick Corbin vs. Michael Conforto: 8-for-22 (.364), Double, 5 Home Runs, Walk, 6 Strikeouts

Steven Matz vs. Starlin Castro: 8-for-25 (.320), Double, Home Run, 6 Strikeouts

Steven Matz vs. Juan Soto: 6-for-13 (.462), Double, Triple, 4 Strikeouts

New York Mets: Porcello, Lugo Shut Down the Nationals in 3-1 Victory

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

The first two starts of Rick Porcello‘s New York Mets career could only be summed up by one word: atrocious. Porcello rebounded in his third start and pitched like the 2016 Cy Young winner he once was. He only needed 81 pitches to get through seven innings, holding the Washington Nationals to one run.

He kept the ball out of the middle of the plate, working in. Porcello also pitched inside more than he did in his first two starts combined. After allowing two hits and a run in the first inning, he only allowed three hits in the following six innings.

Porcello left the game prematurely with 81 pitches, but Seth Lugo picked up where he left off. Lugo shut the door, striking out two batters and retiring all six he faced to record the two-inning save. Porcello and Lugo combined to retire the last 16 Nats to finish the game.

Defense All-Around

The biggest play of the game came in the fourth inning, where Michael Conforto threw out Juan Soto at third base. Soto tried to test the arm on an Asdrubal Cabrera single, and it was the last scoring chance the Nats had as Porcello cruised from there.

J.D. Davis received his first start at third base since June 16, 2019. He showed no rust, making plenty of great defensive plays and showing why he originally was a third baseman. Luis Guillorme and Andres Gimenez also stabilized the defense up the middle. With the success of a defensive driven lineup tonight, it will be interesting to see if Luis Rojas opts for more defensive centric lineups.

The major story for the Nationals was Max Scherzer‘s exit after one inning due to a hamstring injury. It was clear his velocity dipped, but it was also noticeable that his arm was trailing behind him. Scherzer usually has a rapid arm motion, but it was slow from the start.

Erick Fedde warmed up with Scherzer before the game then replaced him in the second. Scherzer calls the injury “minor,” but any injury to him is a significant concern with Stephen Strasburg already injured.

Yoenis Who?

Dominic Smith showed why he deserves to be the everyday designated hitter. Smith drove in two of the three runs on the night. His sac fly opened up the scoring in the first and then provided an insurance run with his RBI double in the seventh. Guillorme’s RBI single was sandwiched between Smith’s RBI hits.

Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto also set the table at the top of the order once again. Despite only hitting .227, Nimmo’s three walks moved his on-base percentage to .424. Conforto record a single which continued his on-base streak and kept his average above .300.

The Mets receive a day off on Thursday before playing 17 straight games without a day off, starting on Friday with the Miami Marlins.

 

New York Mets: Matz Struggles, Kendrick Dominates in 5-3 Loss

The first two starts for New York Mets starter Steven Matz had promise that he could step up as their two starter. His third start of the season disrupted the momentum he was building. The Washington Nationals took advantage of Matz’s inability to pitch inside and knocked him out of the game after three innings to win 5-3.

Matz struggled to control his four-seam fastball throughout the start. Despite throwing 78 pitches in only three innings, he did not walk anyone. The Nationals worked him into deep counts and continued to put the ball in play against Matz. He allowed seven hits, five runs, and two home runs.

Solo home runs from Howie Kendrick in the first inning, and Josh Harrison in the second got the Nationals out to an early 2-0 lead. The Nats tacked on three more runs in the third, and it was all they needed on the night. Kendrick led the way with four hits, which brought his average to an even .300 on the short season.

Despite Matz’s struggles, the Mets bullpen hurled six shutout innings to keep the Mets in the game. The combination of Paul Sewald, Jeurys Familia, Dellin Betances, and Edwin Diaz only allowed three hits. It was most encouraging to receive good outings from Betances and Diaz, who the Mets need to pitch well if they want any chance to turn around their season.

Conforto Stays Hot

The Mets needed offensive production from their outfield as three-quarters of their starting infield is dealing with injuries. Robinson Cano landed on the 10-day IL, while Jeff McNeil and Amed Rosario are day-to-day. Michael Conforto came into the matchup with Nationals starter, Patrick Corbin, with ten hits, including four home runs. His two-run home run was their only base hit on the night and opened up their scoring.

Pete Alonso struck out twice on the night, but his RBI single provided the third Mets run. He still is in the midst of a season wide slump, but at least recording one hit and a walk is a step in the right direction. Moving Alonso down in the order would strengthen the Mets offense until he starts to return to his 2019 form.

Andres Gimenez was the only Mets to record multiple hits on the night. He replaced the injured Rosario at shortstop and made a couple of solid defensive plays as well. The play of Gimenez has quickly moved him from the 30th man on the roster to a player they cannot afford to send back to their training site.

The Mets continued their lousy baseball in the eighth when Brian Dozier was thrown out as second base while the Mets had the tying run at the plate. Dozier attempted to advance when a ball trickled away from Yan Gomes, and after being called safe, the replay review overturned the call.

The Mets also left ten runners on base, despite recording ten hits on the night. Their lack of ability to record any hit other than a single is halting their offense.

This sums up the Mets’ horrible start to the season as another veteran makes an unexcused mistake. Mickey Callaway may longer be the manager, but his presence remains with how this year’s team plays.

On Wednesday, Rick Porcello tries to get the Mets a split of the two-game series. He has his work cut out for him as he faces Nationals ace, Max Scherzer. The first pitch is at an unusual 6:05 p.m. ET from Nationals Park.

New York Mets Series Preview: Washington Nationals (8/4-8/5)

New York Mets, New York Yankees, Steven Matz

The New York Mets and Washington Nationals face off for the first time in the 2020 season. This matchup accounted for a few of the best games in all of baseball during the 2019 campaign. In 2019, the Mets were 12-7 against the World Series champions.

The Mets come off a series loss against the Atlanta Braves, where they took the last game of a four-game series. Washington has not played a game since July 30 due to COVID-19 precautions but are 3-4 on the season.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Tuesday (8/4) @ 7:05 p.m. ET: Steven Matz (0-1, 3.18 ERA) vs. Patrick Corbin (0-0, 1.42 ERA)

Wednesday (8/5) @ 6:05 p.m. ET: Rick Porcello (0-1, 13.50 ERA) vs Max Scherzer (0-1, 2.84 ERA)

The Mets hope they can take advantage of any rust that has built up on the Nats during their extended pause. One of the benefits of the break is allowing them to line up their pitching staff in their favor. The Mets offense started to wake up, which is a good sign with the Nats aces coming up.

Infield Issues

The Mets are dealing with quite a few issues in their infield. Injuries to Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, and Robinson Cano all make them questionable to play in the series. McNeil suffered a back injury during Monday’s batting practice, but his is the least severe of the trio. Neither Rosario nor Cano’s leg injuries seemed significant, but the DH could allow the Mets to put Cano in the lineup without further injuring him. Andres Gimenez figures to play shortstop in game one if Rosario can’t play.

Pete Alonso is the only starting infielder who is healthy but is struggling mightily with the bat. He walked in his first three at-bats on Monday but is still only hitting .167. Alonso taking three walks, shows an adjustment in his approach after swinging at too many pitches outside of the strike zone. He is an aggressive hitter, but the sooner Alonso understands that pitchers do not want him to swing the bat, the better hitter he will become. With the added patience, Alonso can easily become a hitter whose on-base percentage ranks 100 points higher than his batting average.

Porcello Struggles

Hopefully, Rick Porcello can rebound from his first two starts with the Mets. He struggled to have any command with his secondary pitches and missed multiple times over the middle of the plate. The Mets desperately need him to pitch better with no Marcus Stroman return on the horizon. Despite not allowing a hit to the first batter of an inning, his ERA still sits at an inflated 13.50.

Matchups to Lookout For

Steven Matz vs. Trea Turner: 8-for-25 (.320), 3 Doubles, 2 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Rick Porcello vs. Howie Kendrick: 10-for-31 (.323), 3 Doubles, 9 Strikeouts

Patrick Corbin vs. Michael Conforto: 7-for-19 (.368), Double, 4 Home Runs, Walk, 6 Strikeouts

Max Scherzer vs. Michael Conforto: 10-for-31 (.323), Double, 4 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 13 Strikeouts

New York Mets: Matz Shines, Betances Struggles in 5-0 Loss

New York Mets, New York Yankees, Steven Matz

The theme for the New York Mets throughout Spring Training has been great starting pitching and a dreadful offensive output. The trend remained the same for Steven Matz and the rest of the Mets as they lost to the Washington Nationals, 5-0.

Matz had everything working and pitched three perfect innings with three strikeouts. Out of the trio including Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha, Matz has undoubtedly been the best. The outing dropped his Spring ERA to a sparkling 1.50.

Betances, Familia Struggle

Dellin Betances made his long-awaited Mets debut. Still recovering from his Achilles injury, he only recorded one out in his appearance. He allowed two walks, struck out one and gave up a two-RBI single to Ryan Zimmerman. To go along with the bad outing he also allowed two stolen bases and uncorked a wild pitch. Betances’s velocity was way down but the one bright spot is Betances having no issues with the Achillies.

Jeurys Familia did not fair as bad as Betances. He made it through his one inning of work but allowed four hits including a home run. Familia did strike out two and his ERA only increased to 2.25 for the Spring.

Nimmo Hot, Cano Cold

Brandon Nimmo continues to make a case to be the Mets leadoff hitter. His 2-for-3 outing brought his average to .435 on the Spring. Out of the nine games Nimmo has played he has only gone hitless in two. Robinson Cano is still searching for a fraction of the success Nimmo has. His 0-for-3 dropped him to .091, but only in 11 at-bats so far. An interesting stat for Cano is that in 15 Spring Trainings, he has only hit below .300, three times.

The shutout put the Mets back as the lowest-scoring offense in Spring Training. On Sunday, they face the reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros. The Mets will counter with Noah Syndergaard on the mound.

deGrom and Wacha Shine in Split Squad Outings

The New York Mets starting pitching has been nothing short of elite through the first ten games of Spring Training. While the bats are still shaking the rust off, the pitching has exceeded expectations so far. In their split-squad games on Sunday, they beat the Nationals 3-1 and lost to the Marlins, 7-2.

Jacob deGrom picked up where he left off in 2019. The back to back Cy Young winner threw three scoreless innings, only allowing one hit and striking out two batters. He a majority of the Nationals everyday players and made it look easy to cruise through the lineup once.

Michael Wacha also pitched well against the Marlins. Over his three scoreless innings of work, he allowed a walk, two hits and struck out one. Wacha still firmly believes he is a starting pitcher, and his two Spring starts show he should be a starter.

Diaz Settles In

If you did not hear about Edwin Diaz’s outing, there were not any problems. He threw a scoreless fourth inning with the only blemish being a Ryan Zimmerman double. Justin Wilson followed by striking out the side in the fifth inning. He has retired all six batters he has faced, and four of them are on strikeouts.

Jeff McNeil continued to stay hot with two hits in the same amount of at-bats. His average is now .500 for the Spring. Michael Conforto homered for the first time and now has hits in three consecutive games after starting 1-for-8. Robinson Cano also added a two-run double to open up the Mets scoring in the first.

Who’s Hot, Who’s Not

Pete Alonso lined a single to center field for his only hit in three at-bats. The concerns were only small for 2019’s home run champ, and the single took the stress off the Polar Bear. Eduardo Nunez has started the Spring hot, his two hits Sunday moved him to 5-for-15. Nunez was a non-roster invite but could easily steal a spot away from Luis Guillorme.

Amed Rosario continued his struggles at the plate. He went hitless in three at-bats and is hitless in all five of his games so far. Only two of the at-bats ended in strikeouts, which is a good sign for the young shortstop. As he settles in more, the hits should follow.

The Mets get a day off on Monday before welcoming in the Marlins to Port St. Lucie. Noah Syndergaard will make his second start of the Spring.