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.

Mets, Nationals Will Face Off Twice on National TV in Opening Week of 2020

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets will be the team that Major League Baseball has chosen as the featured opponent of the World Champion Washington Nationals on National broadcasts during the opening week of the 2020 season.

From MLB:

ESPN will provide Opening Day coverage that begins with the defending World Champion Washington Nationals visiting the New York Mets (1:10 p.m. ET), followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers welcoming the San Francisco Giants (4:10 p.m. ET/1:10 p.m. PT), and culminating with the 2019 American League Champion Houston Astros hosting the Los Angeles Angels (7:10 p.m. ET/4:10 p.m. PT). ESPN will broadcast an additional seven games during the first week of the season following traditional Opening Day.

 

FOX will begin its 2020 national coverage on Saturday, March 28th when the Mets host the Nationals at Citi Field at 4:05 p.m. (ET) on FS1, followed by the Atlanta Braves visiting the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field at 8:10 p.m. (ET)/5:10 p.m. (PT). MLB on TBS live game coverage will return on Sunday, July 5th and will continue each Sunday through the end of the regular season.

The Mets will be the home team for the March matchups which will likely feature Jacob deGrom versus Max Scherzer and Noah Syndergaard against Stephen Strasburg.

The Nationals (93-69) finished the 2019 season hot in second place in the NL East four games behind the Atlanta Braves. The Mets were third with an 86-76 record.

Washington qualified for the postseason as a wild card and ran the table, first by defeating Milwaukee in the Wild Card play-in game then defeated the Dodgers in five games before sweeping the Cardinals in the NLCS. In the World Series, the Nats stunned the Houston Astros in seven games, winning the final two games in convincing fashion at Minute Maid Park.

The Mets were also one of the game’s hottest teams down the stretch, playing .639 ball (46-26) after the All-Star break.

 

New York Yankees to offer way more than initially expected for Gerrit Cole

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The initial offer from the New York Yankees to acquire star pitcher Gerrit Cole this off-season was seven-years, $245 million. It was expected that making him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball at $35 million per year would be enough to lure his services to the Bronx. However, the Washington Nationals blindsided everyone and signed Stephen Strasburg to the same deal that was initially offered to Cole.

Strasburg’s new contract completely revitalizes the pitching market, and Cole will ultimately benefit from this record-breaking deal. It is not often you see two record-breaking agreements in the same off-season, but considering Cole is two years younger than Strasburg and has a clean bill of health, it is fair to say he will earn upwards of $300 million on a multi-year deal.

The New York Yankees must hate Scott Boras right now:

The real hero for Gerrit Cole and his family is super-agent Scott Boras, who waited until Strasburg received his contract details to obliterate the Yankees’ expected offerings. With owner Hal Steinbrenner giving general manager Brian Cashman the green light to acquire a Cole at any cost, the Nationals allowance likely has the next generation of Steinbrenner’s trembling in his skin.

To put some perspective on how much money Cole is about to earn, he could theoretically buy 4.6 G6 private jets with the amount of money he will haul in throughout his anticipated deal. That is an astronomical amount of cash that will set him and his family up for the next ten generations.

However, it is well earned. At 29 years old, the former Houston Astro‘s ace logged a 2.50 ERA, with 326 strikeouts, and a 0.895 WHIP in 2019. He is considered the best pitcher in Major League Baseball, and if the Yankees manage to sign him, their probability of making it to the World Series in 2020 skyrockets. This is an achievement the Yankees have evaded for the last decade with Hal at the helm.

Predicted offering:

Yankees — eight years, $320 million (out after five years)

Will the Yankees give Luke Voit another chance at first base and replace Edwin Encarnacion?

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

The New York Yankees can’t rely on utility player DJ LeMahieu to cover the first base position forever. Eventually, they will need to solidify the spot and give him the freedom to return to his favorable positions. That begs the question, is manager Aaron Boone keen on giving Luke Voit a second chance at life at first base?

Voit, who finished the season batting .263 with 21 homers, missed the last quarter of the year with a sports hernia. He also missed the entire postseason despite his desire to be a part of the active roster. His 2019 campaign wasn’t bad, and while his offensive production undoubtedly made up for his defensive mishaps, there could be a place for him on the team moving forward.

The Yankees signed Voit to a one year, $573,000 salary last season, which makes him more valuable considering his low price tag. If they can re-sign him for a similar amount of money, he would be a steal once again for the Bombers. Also, he fits their ideology and homerun centric mentality. He can be a reliable designated hitter as well if the Yankees manage to find a more defensive first baseman.

The New York Yankees could explore other avenues on the FA market:

There are several other options on the market, though. Howie Kendrick is one of them, and at 36 years old, he hit .344 for the World Series-winning Washington Nationals. Over 334 at-bats, he recorded 17 home runs and 62 RBIs (baseball-reference). He had a stellar campaign for the Nationals this year, and he is an attractive option in free agency.

Kendrick earned $4 million this past season and could hover around the same price tag despite his fantastic statistical year. His age is undoubtedly a factor, but 14 years of experience prove his worth.

If the Yankees want to bring in an established player that can help rally the troops, Kendrick could be their man. I imagine they will also keep Voit on the roster, especially after the departure of Edwin Encarnacion.

Kendrick isn’t a bonafide power hitter, but he makes solid contact and gets on base frequently. Also, his defensive abilities are stellar. Over 48 games for the Nationals, he only committed one error with a .997 fielding percentage at first base.

Inserting him into the starting lineup and keeping Voit as a reserve option is not a bad idea. I imagine general manager Brian Cashman will be observing all opportunities this off-season.