Okay guys, I know I'm very late with this weekly review, but I've just been very busy. But I got around to it, so I'll skip all the introductions and get to it, here's Week 4's review:
Friday, April 20th: New York Mets @ Atlanta Braves (Syndergaard vs Newcomb)
Looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss the previous day where they lost 12 to 4 with Harvey giving up 6 runs in the first 3 innings. The Mets looked to take the 2nd game of the 4-game series against the Atlanta Braves. Noah Syndergaard, who was coming off of a dominant start last time out, was looking to take the mound and lead his team to a victory on the road. Sean Newcomb would take the mound for the Braves and looked to keep the Mets’ bats at bay. With a “COLLISION IN THE DIVISION” (I’m sorry) on our hands, we’ve got a lot to cover.
Syndergaard got Inciarte to ground out for the 1st out of the game before being greeted by a home run from Ozzie Albies who swung at the first pitch he saw and drove it to center field to give the Braves a quick 1-0 lead. Syndergaard buckled down and got Freeman to pop out and Markakis to ground out to end the 1st with only that one hit. Suzuki flew out to lead off the 2nd before Preston Tucker singled with 1-out. Dansby Swanson would advance him to 2nd on a ground out. Ryan Flaherty would then hit a 2-out single to put runners on the corners. Flaherty then stole 2nd with Newcomb at the plate. Newcomb would go down swinging to end the inning and avoid disaster for the Mets. Inciarte singled to lead off the 3rd inning but was left there after Albies grounded out and Freeman flew out. With Markakis at the plate, Inciarte stole 3rd but Markakis lined out to end the inning. Inciarte was the 2nd baserunner to steal a base off Syndergaard and Nido in this game alone. Something that needs to be fixed. Syndergaard started off the 4th with a strike out to Suzuki and got a flyout from Tucker. Dansby Swanson singled with 2-out before Flaherty doubled on a ball to Bruce. The ball went over the head of Bruce who completely misplayed the ball. Swanson would score on the double. Newcomb struck out swinging to end the inning but the misplay by Bruce cost the Mets and Syndergaard a run. Syndergaard had his 1st 1-2-3 inning in the 5th with a groundout from Inciarte and strike outs from Albies and Freeman. The Braves led off the 6th with a double from Markakis. A wild pitch by Syndergaard would advance him to 3rd and Suzuki would hit a sacrifice fly to score Markakis. Tucker grounded out for the 2nd out and Swanson struck out to end the inning, but Syndergaard had given up 3 runs in the game. That would be the last inning for Syndergaard as the ball was handed to the bullpen in the 7th. Noah went 6 innings, allowed 3 runs off 7 hits, struck out 6 and walked none. It wasn’t the best performance by Syndergaard who is still finding his stride this season. He hasn’t been bad at all, but when he really gets going, the batters should be shaking in their cleats.
Syndergaard left the game with the score tied at 3 apiece and the ball was handed to Seth Lugo and it was LUGOMANIA time. Seth issued a leadoff walk to Flaherty but in an absolute astonishing moment, Camargo was struck out and Nido threw out Flaherty who was running to 2nd. The FIRST baserunner to be thrown out by the Mets this season. Camargo didn’t make it very difficult as swung for the 3rd strike and didn’t protect the runner who would be running with a full count. But regardless, a great throw by Nido to nail Flaherty at 2nd. Inciarte grounded out for the 3rd out for Lugo’s first inning of relief in this game. Lugo walked Albies to lead off the 8th before getting Freeman to line out. And with Markakis batting, Albies took off for 2nd before being thrown out by Nido! For the 2nd inning in a row, a lead off baserunner was erased by a great throw by Nido. With Plawecki and d’Arnaud (who aren’t exactly great defensive catchers either) absent, Nido throwing out runners is very refreshing. With the game still tied heading into the 9th, the Mets brought in AJ Ramos to keep it tied and send the game into extra innings. Ramos had one of his best performances of the season, getting Suzuki to ground out and then striking out Tucker and Swanson to send us into extra innings. Not knowing how long the game would last, Callaway brought in his long man Robert Gsellman for relief. A strikeout to Flaherty would start the bottom of the 10th inning before 2 groundouts from Culberson and Inciarte to end the inning. Gsellman came out for the 11th and got a ground out from Albies and a strikeout from Freeman for the first 2 outs before walking Markakis. A single by Suzuki put runners on 1st and 2nd with Tucker at the plate. Gsellman got him to strike out on a foul tip to leave the winning run in scoring position. We’re going to talk about Gsellman some more, but he was brilliant out of the bullpen and kept his team in it. After taking the lead in the top of the 12th, Familia came in for the bottom of the inning to get the save. A flyout from Swanson opened the 12th would be followed by groundouts from Flaherty and Bourjos to end the game and seal the Mets’ victory. Lugo went 2 innings, allowing only 2 walks and striking out 1. Ramos had a scoreless inning with 2 strike outs, Gsellman went 2 innings with 1 hit and 1 walk but 3 strikeouts and Familia had a scoreless inning to save the game. The bullpen looked great again and that’s a key piece to Mets’ success.
The Mets were held hitless until the 3rd inning where Nido hit a leadoff single to get the inning starter. Rosario hit a 1-out single. Nido would score from 1st and Rosario would end up on 3rd thanks to an error by Inciarte. Conforto came up to hit a sac fly and put the Mets up 2-1 in the 3rd. Todd Frazier drew a 1-out walk in the 4th and stole 2nd base with Flores at the plate. Flores hit a single to drive in Frazier, but Flores was thrown out trying to extend a single to a double. Bruce flew out to end the inning, but Flores put the Mets up 3-1. Rosario continued his good night with a 2-out double in the 5th. A 2-out walk by Conforto would set the plate for Cespedes but he struck out and ended the inning. Flores hit a 2-out single in the 6th before Bruce hit a double to left field. For some reason, Sherlock decided to send Flores home even though Flores is not by any means a fast runner and he was out at the plate for the 3rd out of the inning. But Bruce did what he had to do, just poor decision making by Sherlock to send Flores home. Nimmo came in as a pinch-hitter in the 7th and did what Nimmo does, he got on base. He was left on base, but he still proves to be effective off the bench. Looking to take the lead before the 9th, Cabrera hit a 1-out double in the 8th before advancing to 3rd on a wild pitch but he was stranded there by Frazier and Flores. Cabrera walked in the 11th and Frazier reached on a fielding error to put 2 men on with no outs, but the offense couldn’t come through as they were left stranded there. The 12th inning is when the Mets came through and took the lead. Robert Gsellman was batting for himself and ended up getting hit by a pitch to open the inning. Rosario laid down a sacrifice bunt to put Gsellman on 2nd with 1-out. A pop out by Conforto would make it 2-outs with a man on 2nd. Cespedes, who had been struggling at the plate came through in a big spot once again hitting a single that would score Gsellman. Gsellman proved that he might really be the fastest pitcher and he had the world’s best slide into home. So clean, so smooth, you’d think he was an everyday position player. The Mets would take a 4-3 lead. Cabrera then hit a double to score Cespedes, but Cabrera was on his way to 3rd before going back to 2nd and being tagged out. But the run scored, and the Mets had a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the 12th where they’d get the win.
Syndergaard has yet to really find his groove, but he has been good nonetheless and he kept his team in the game by only allowing the 3 runs scattered over the 6 innings of work. In the future, it’ll be nice to see him go deeper into games, but batters have been fouling off most of his pitches to raise the pitch count. Cespedes has been pretty bad at the plate but he’s come through in big moments and did so again tonight. Also, you can’t look past the effectiveness of the bullpen, 6 innings of scoreless work by the pen which is great to see. The Mets move to 14 and 5 on the season and would look to continue their success on the road.
Saturday, April 21th: New York Mets @ Atlanta Braves (deGrom vs Teheran)
Looking to take the 2nd game of the 4-game series against the Braves, the Mets would face off against a familiar face in the form of Julio Teheran. Teheran hasn’t had the same success this season as he has in previous years, but he is still a formidable opponent on the mound and the Mets looked to get to him and score some runs. On the other side, Jacob deGrom would take the mound and look to get his 3rd win of the season. deGrom pitched brilliantly in his last outing, but the bullpen collapsed on him and lost the game against the Nationals. Hoping for a different fate, the Mets and Braves would do battle once more in game 2 of the series.
Jacob deGrom has been absolutely brilliant on the mound this season. Syndergaard and deGrom are truly the gruesome twosome when it comes to starting pitchers. deGrom has been more efficient than Syndergaard, going deeper into games and managing his pitch count very well. This game was no different for deGrom. He had a scoreless 1st inning, striking out Albies and Freeman after Inciarte grounded out for the 1st out. He had a bit of trouble finding the strike zone in the 2nd after he walked Markakis to lead off the inning. He got a lineout from Preston Tucker and a strike out from Swanson for the 2nd out. He issued a walk on 4 pitches to Camargo though to put 2 men on base for Carlos Perez who grounded out to end the inning. deGrom worked around the walks and got through the inning. He bounced back in the 3rd and had a 1-2-3 inning. He got the inning started with a strikeout from opposing pitcher Julio Teheran, a groundout from Inciarte and a flyout from Albies. The 4th inning we saw much of the same, a strikeout to Freeman and 2 flyouts from Markakis and Tucker for another 1-2-3 inning. deGrom gave up his 1st hit of the ballgame in the bottom of the 5th inning. After striking out Swanson and Camargo, Carlos Perez hit a 2-out single before Teheran popped out to end the inning. Inciarte opened the bottom of the 6th inning with a single and with Albies at the plate, Inciarte swiped 2nd base. Ender would try to swipe 3rd but was caught stealing when he popped off the bag and Frazier held the tag on despite getting spiked in the shin. With 1 out and the bases empty, Albies popped out for the 2nd out of the inning. Freddie Freeman would double with 2-out but was left on 2nd after Markakis popped out for the 3rd out. deGrom would pitch the 7th inning as well, striking out Preston Tucker, giving a single to Dansby Swanson and striking out Camargo for the 2nd out. With Perez at the plate, Swanson swiped 2nd base but Perez struck out swinging. deGrom left with the game scoreless and looking for the offense to score some runs in the next inning to help him secure a win after a brilliant performance. deGrom went 7 innings, allowing 4 hits and no runs, walking 2 and striking out 10. Another exceptional performance by deGrom who continues to be an absolute dominant force on the mound for the Metsies.
Well, it’s time to talk about the bullpen who was brilliant the game prior and looking to keep the Mets ahead after they secured 3 runs in the top of the 8th inning. AJ Ramos was brought in as the first relief pitcher and walked Ryan Flaherty to open the inning. He got Inciarte to strike out but walked Albies to put 2 men on with no outs. Jerry Blevins was brought in to try and put out the fire but gave up a first pitch double to Freddie Freeman to score both runners and put the Braves within a run of taking another win away from the deGrom. Markakis struck out swinging for the 2nd out but Callaway didn’t like the matchup of Tucker vs Blevins and went to his closer Familia in the 8th inning. Familia came in and struck out Tucker to end the 8th inning with the Mets still holding a 1-run lead. Familia opened up the bottom of the 9th by walking Dansby Swanson on 4 pitches. It was at this point I started suffering PTSD from that disastrous bullpen outing against the Nationals a week prior. Johan Camargo would then triple to score the tying run and take away deGrom’s win. Things got worse when Suzuki singled, but Frazier was able to knock the ball down to keep Camargo from scoring. Charlie Culberson struck out for the 1st out of the inning before Inciarte came up and laid down a sacrifice bunt that would score the runner from 3rd and win the game 4 to 3 in the 9th. A blown save by Familia, a troubling outing by Ramos and Blevins and like that, deGrom’s brilliant performance was once again wiped away. I think Callaway is learning what he can and can’t do with his bullpen and I think he’s beginning to learn that Ramos is not as good in non-save situations and calling on Familia 2 days in a row and asking him to get a 4-out save is something that probably doesn’t end well. Regardless though, bad day for the bullpen. Ramos went a third of an inning, walking 2 batters that would be inherited by Blevins. Blevins went a third and gave up a hit to score the inherited runners and struck out one before Familia came in and went two thirds of an inning, allowing 3 hits, 2 runs, a walk and 2 strike outs as he blew his 2nd save of the season.
Well, we know how the game ended but it’s still worth talking about the offense (and sometimes lack thereof.) Cabrera continued to hit the ball well as he had the 1st hit of the game in the 1st inning with a 2-out single. Prior to this, Conforto flew out and Cespedes struck out. Bruce would groundout to leave Cabrera on 1st. The middle of the order went down in order with Frazier flying out, Gonzalez grounding out and Lobaton lining out for a 1-2-3 inning for Teheran. deGrom lined out in the top of the 3rd before Jose Reyes got his first hit of the season, a 1-out single! The dugout gave him a round of applause before he stole 2nd base with Conforto at the plate. Conforto singled to put runners at 1st and 3rd with 1-out. Cespedes and Cabrera proceeded to strike out and leave the runners on base. Lobaton got a leadoff walk in the 5th inning before deGrom struck out. Jose Reyes then got his 2nd hit of the season and the game with a 1-out single. Conforto grounded into a double play to end the inning but Reyes was having himself a good day at the plate. There was no more offense until the top of the 8th inning when the Mets would score some runs. Wilmer Flores drew a walk to open the inning before JOSE REYES hit another single. Conforto reached on an error to load the bases with no one out. Cespedes flew out for the 1st out but Asdrubal Cabrera singled to right field to score Flores and Reyes and give the Mets a 2-0 lead. Jay Bruce then singled as well and scored Conforto to make it 3-0. Frazier struck out for the 2nd out before Gonzalez was intentionally walked to load the bases for Lobaton who lined out the end the inning. But, the Mets had taken the lead off some quality small ball. The Mets were looking for some insurance runs in the top of the 9th (which we know could have done a lot of good.) But, after Nido and Reyes grounded out, Conforto walked and stole 2nd base before advancing to 3rd on an error. Cespedes grounded out and left a key run at 3rd base. If that run had scored, the Braves would have tied the game instead of winning the game in the bottom of the 9th. BUT, we shall not cry over spilt milk and instead just look towards the next game. (I was not this optimistic when this game actually happened.)
Another disappointing outcome for deGrom after a brilliant performance. He had a great outing, but the bullpen was unable to help him secure a win. The offense wasn’t great, but Reyes finally got some hits and that should do plenty for his confidence moving forward. The Mets still have a good record, 14 and 6 on the season and look to win some more games against the Braves on the road as the series continues.
Tuesday April 24th: New York Mets @ St. Louis Cardinals ( Wheeler vs Weaver)
After the finale between the Mets and the Braves was postponed due to rain, the Mets had 2 days of rest as they went to St. Louis for a series against the Cardinals. It’ll be the last time the Mets and Cardinals play this season as they look to win this series like they did in the Opening Series of the season. After his fellow starter Matt Harvey was moved to the bullpen, Zack Wheeler looked to prove a case for himself after a disappointing start last time out. The offense looked to come alive with the warmer weather in St. Louis and get back in the win column.
Things didn’t look good for Wheeler as soon as the game started. He gave a leadoff walk to Matt Carpenter to open the game and right after that he gave a 2-run homer to Tommy Pham to give the Cardinals an early 2-0 lead. Still looking for his 1st out, he gave a single to Jose Martinez. He got his 1st out after Marcell Ozuna grounded out, he got a fielder’s choice out at 3rd after Yadier Molina hit a grounder, Fowler grounded out himself to end the inning, but Wheeler had already given up 2 runs very early on. He got DeJong to ground out in the bottom of the 2nd but gave up a 1-out single to Kolten Wong. He got the opposing pitcher Luke Weaver to strikeout before getting a lineout from Carpenter to end the 2nd inning with the score still at 2-0. Wheeler gave up a leadoff walk to Tommy Pham but got the next 3 outs via a lineout from Martinez, a flyout from Ozuna and a force out from Molina. Things got worse for Wheeler in the bottom of the 4th though. He got Fowler to strikeout to lead off the 4th but then hit DeJong with a pitch to put a runner on with 1-out. Kolten Wong doubled for the 2nd time and scored DeJong from 1st. Luke Weaver hit a single of his own and scored Wong to add another run on Wheeler’s scorecard. Carpenter struck out swinging for the 2nd out but Tommy Pham kept the inning alive with a single. After a visit to the mound, Wheeler got Jose Martinez to lineout and end the inning, but he had given up another 2 runs to the Cardinals. Wheeler wouldn’t come out for the 5th inning. Wheeler went 4 innings, giving up 6 hits and 4 runs, walking 2 and striking out 3. The first inning really did Wheeler in from the beginning. He racked up his pitch count and after another long inning in the 4th, Wheeler wasn’t going back out there. The Mets have hit a wall as it relates to their 3rd 4th and 5th string pitchers. Wheeler will likely be sent back to Vegas when Vargas returns but that’s not for certain. Wheeler has a 4.24 ERA over the 3 starts he’s made in the MLB this season.
After the Mets tied the game in the top of the 5th, Matt Harvey made his first appearance out of the bullpen in the bottom of the 5th. Harvey got the first 2 outs after a groundout from Ozuna and a strikeout from Molina. A double from Dexter Fowler would keep the inning alive before another double by DeJong would score the go-ahead run for the Cardinals. Kolten Wong struck out, but Harvey didn’t have a memorable first appearance out of the bullpen. He came back out for the 6th though and got a groundout, and a flyout before walking Pham. He got another groundout from Martinez though to end the inning. Paul Sewald replaced Harvey in the 7th and got 3 quick outs despite a single from Molina, he got Fowler to ground into a Double Play and end the inning. Sewald stayed in the game for the 8th and got 2 flyouts from DeJong and Wong before getting Garcia to strike out to end the inning. Robert Gsellman came in for the bottom of the 9th with the game retied at 5 apiece. Gsellman gave a walk to Carpenter and a single to Pham to start the inning. With 2 men on and no outs, he struck out Martinez and then got Ozuna to ground into a double play and got a huge break to avoid giving up a walk off. After the Mets took the lead in the top of the 10th, Familia came in for the save opportunity and had a brilliant outing. He struck out Molina, got Fowler to fly out and struck out DeJong for the save and lock the win for the Mets. A pretty good day for the bullpen, despite Harvey giving up the go ahead run in the 5th. Harvey went 2 innings, gave up 2 hits, a walk, and a run, while striking out 2. Sewald went 2 innings allowing just 1 hit and striking out 1. Gsellman went an inning with 1 hit, 1 walks and 1 strikeout. Familia had 1 inning and 2 strikeouts. The bullpen in total gave up 4 hits over 6 innings and only the 1 run from Matt Harvey. We’re going to talk a lot about Matt Harvey a little later on. But other than that, a good outing by the bullpen.
Facing a 2-0 deficit early in the game, the Mets looked to start chipping away early. Todd Frazier drew a leadoff walk in the top of the 2nd and was scored on a triple by Bruce. The ball was mishandled by Ozuna and probably could have been a double and an error, but it was ruled a triple for Bruce and got the Mets on the board. With the tying run on 3rd, the Mets needed to come through and score Bruce. Gonzalez grounded out for the 1st out. Rosario walked to put another runner on base before Nido struck out and Wheeler grounded out. The Mets left a runner in scoring position early on and could have tied the game quickly. But, they got on the board courtesy of Bruce. The Mets went down in order during the 3rd and 4th inning but rallied in the 5th. Rosario flew out and Nido grounded out for the 1st 2 outs of the 5th inning but Flores came in as a pinch-hitter and drew a walk. Conforto then drew a walk before being driven in on a MONSTER homerun by Yoenis Cespedes to tie the game. When I say “monster” it was really a monster of a homerun. Weaver then walked Cabrera on 4 pitches and that would run Weaver out of the game. Frazier hit a single to keep the inning rolling to put runners on 1st and 2nd before Bruce flew out. But the game was tied courtesy of the homerun by Cespedes. Down a run heading into the 8th, the Mets looked to rally again and tie the game or take the lead. Todd Frazier drew a leadoff walk and moved to 3rd on a single by Bruce. Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly to score Frazier and make it 5 apiece. Rosario struck out and Nido lined out to end the inning but again, the game was tied. The Mets were unable to take the lead in the top of the 9th but came through in the top of the 10th. Cabrera singled to open the inning before Frazier grounded into a double play. With 2 outs, Jay Bruce came to the plate and hit a homerun to center field to give the Mets the lead. The homerun was actually reviewed because Cardinal’s manager Mike Matheny questioned whether or not Bruce had touched 1st base. Matheny had used his challenge in the 1st and lost it but asked for a crew chief review. The 1st base umpire Brian Gorman agreed to the review. This basically said that Gorman wasn’t paying attention and wasn’t doing his job. It was a waste of time and Bruce clearly touched all bases and it was just a stupid challenge. But regardless, Bruce had a breakout night and got the winning run for the Mets.
Yup, before we go to the “overall” part, we’re going to talk about Matt Harvey. After his first bullpen outing, Matt Harvey declined to speak to the media. Okay, that’s really not acceptable because it then left the young catcher Nido to answer the questions for him. That’s unacceptable and as a player in New York you know you have to answer to the media, it’s part of the job. So, the next day the reporters attempted to ask Harvey again. Harvey laughed and told them “not a chance” and when asked why he said, “Because I don’t f---ing want to” and walked away. Matt Harvey has proved that he doesn’t give a damn about anyone or anything except Matt Harvey. Before this season started I said that I’d stand by Matt Harvey as long as he had the right attitude, but he clearly hasn’t changed his attitude at all. He is still the Matt Harvey who missed practice in the 2015 postseason and didn’t show up to the clubhouse last season. I wish the Mets would send Matt Harvey down to AAA, but he’d just refuse the assignment and then he’d have to be kept on the 25-man roster, traded or released. I don’t even know what the Mets would get for Harvey at this point, but something needs to be done because not only is he not performing, but he’s got a terrible attitude and is bringing nothing positive to this team. Harvey think he is owed something because he WAS a good pitcher, but he is no longer that guy anymore. He claims that he “is a starter and has always been a starter” but the fact is, he is not pitching like a starter and hasn’t since 2015. His comments to the media paint a poor representation of what a player on this team is supposed to act. When any other player has a bad day, they answer to the media. You do your job, you answer the questions. If you can’t handle that, pack your bags and head to Vegas or to a small market team where no one cares what you do. The media is doing their job, maybe he should start doing his. End rant.
Overall, the Mets got the win and worked around the poor performance of Zack Wheeler to come through and win the game. Jay Bruce broke out in a big way and was a big part of the teams win. The bullpen was great despite Matt Harvey and that’s what the Mets needed in this game. Taking game 1 of the 3-game series, the Mets look to continue their success against the Cardinals and take the series.
Wednesday, April 25th: New York Mets @ St. Louis Cardinals (Matz vs Wacha)
The Mets looked to take the 2nd game of the series against the Cardinals when Steven Matz took the mound. Steven Matz was still looking for a good outing this season as he, like Wheeler and Harvey have struggled to get it going. Matz would face the team that beat him in his 1st start of the season and look for some retribution.
Matz was already off to a better start than Wheeler from the day prior, he set down the side in order and looked good doing it. He threw a decent amount of pitches out of the zone for balls, but he got flyouts and groundouts as well as a strikeout. He looked good in the 2nd as well as he set down the side in order again. Ozuna struck out, Molina lined out and DeJong was called on strikes. With a 1-run lead to work with, Matz looked to keep the Mets ahead as he went out for the 3rd. He got the 1st out on a lineout from Jedd Gyorko before Kolten Wong got the Cardinals’ first hit of the night with a 1-out single. Pitcher, Michael Wacha came up in a sacrifice situation and Matz went to throw the ball to 1st but missed the target and Wong moved to 3rd and Wacha was safe on 1st as well. Matz then gave a 1-out walk to Harrison Bader to load the bases with 1-out. Dexter Fowler hit a sacrifice fly to score Wong from 3rd and tie the game. In need of an out, Matz instead got a single from Jose Martinez to reload the bases. Marcell Ozuna hit a single to score Wacha and Bader to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead. Molina flew out to end the inning but Matz had gotten rattled and it showed. Matz came out for the 4th and gave up a leadoff double to Paul DeJong and thing were beginning to look bleak for Matz. Jedd Gyorko flew out for the 1st out but Kolten Wong hit a single to put runners on the corners with 1-iut. Michael Wacha hit a sac fly to score DeJong and Wong moved to 3rd on a catching error by Lobaton. Matz was really shaken up at this point as he hit Bader with a pitch to load the bases. He then walked Dexter Fowler to walk in a run and that was it for Matz. The score was now 5-1 Cardinals with the bases loaded and 1-out. It was a really discouraging start by Matz. 3.1 Innings, 5 hits, 7 runs (3 earned), 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. Even though only 3 of the runs were “earned” he was the one who gave up the error, so I mean, they should still be his runs but whatever. Regardless, there seems to be a pattern with Matz that as soon as he gives up a hit or a run, he gets rattled and can’t settle himself down. Up until the 3rd inning he was doing just fine, but the single and the error really messed with his head and he wasn’t able to settle down after that. I’m not sure what the Mets do next with Matz and Wheeler.
Corey Oswalt who was just called up was thrown right into the fire as he had to clean up the mess provided by Steven Matz. He got the 2nd out on a force out by Jose Martinez, but another run scored to make it 6-1. Ozuna reached on a fielding error by Frazier to score another run and make it 7-1. Molina grounded out to end the inning. With the bases loaded and only 1-out, Oswalt managed to minimize the damage by only allowing 2 of the inherited runners to score and one of them was by a fielding error. For his 1st full inning of work, Oswalt was greeted with a single from DeJong (who continues to kill the Mets) and then a 2-run homer by Jedd Gyorko to put the Cardinals up 9-1. He got a flyout from Wong, a strikeout from Wacha and a groundout from Bader to end the inning. Oswalt remained in the game for the 6th and had a 1-2-3 inning getting 2 groundouts from Fowler and Martinez before striking out Ozuna. With the Mets completely out of it at this point, Oswalt remained in the game for the 7th as well and had another 1-2-3 inning getting Molina to lineout, DeJong to pop out and Gyorko to strike out. It was suddenly the Corey Oswalt show as he remained in the game for the 8th as well and got a lineout from Wong before hitting Tyler O’Neil with a pitch, but he worked around it with a pop out from Bader and strikeout from Pena to end the inning. The Mets didn’t tie the game or anything so Oswalt didn’t pitch in the 9th but he had a pretty good night out of the bullpen. He went 4.2 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs, no walks and 4 strikeouts. If you compare that to Steven’s start, very impressive work out of the bullpen by Oswalt. It’s refreshing to know that there are capable arms down in AAA if needed by the Mets.
So, I already spoiled it by telling you that the Mets didn’t tie the game or anything, but regardless let’s talk about the offense. Todd Frazier had the 1st hit of the game in the top of the 2nd with a leadoff single but was stranded there by his teammates. Matz singled to lead off the 3rd. Rosario lined out and Conforto grounded into a force out to end up on 1st with Matz out at 2nd. Cespedes then singled to get on base and put Conforto in scoring position. Bruce singled to right field and scored Conforto from 3rd. Frazier drew a walk to put 2 men on with 2-out with the inning ending on a Wilmer Flores groundout. That would be the only run the Mets scored during the game. The next hit from the Mets wouldn’t come until the 5th with a 1-out Conforto single but was stranded. Jose Lobaton had a leadoff single in the top of the 7th and Rosario hit a 1-out single to give the Mets a chance to score some runs, but Conforto grounded into a double play to end that inning. Juan Lagares reached on an error in the top of the 8th but like those before him, he was also stranded. They were set down in order in the top of the 9th and that was it for the Mets. 1 run, 7 hits and 3 errors. Not a game to remember for the Mets who move to 15-7 on the year.
Overall, I don’t know what the Mets do next with their starting pitchers. Wheeler and Matz have both proven that they can’t be called on and the same goes for Harvey who now has a spot in the bullpen. I’m planning on a post about what their options are, but in the meantime, I’ll just say that I think the best options are for Lugo and Gsellman to return to the rotation and the Mets to call up Oswalt, Rhame and some of their other hard throwing relievers to throw in the bullpen and put Wheeler and Matz in Vegas so they can still make starts and get their stuff figured out. But that’s a different discussion for a different time. Overall, disappointing game for the Mets all around and they hope to get back in the win column and try to get the series win for the rubber game on Thursday.
Thursday, April 26th: New York Mets @ St. Louis Cardinals (Syndergaard vs Martinez)
With 2 disappointing games from Wheeler and Matz, the Mets turned to Noah Syndergaard in an Opening Day rematch for the rubber game against the Cardinals. Looking for his 3rd win of the season and the team’s 16th win, the Mets looked to take the series win and get back on track.
Noah Syndergaard is a different kind of breed. The man is an absolute monster, but he had yet to find his stride to this point. He had stricken out plenty of batters, but he hadn’t gone as deep into games as himself and his skipper would have hoped for. This game though, he hit his stride and looked like mid-season Syndergaard. He had a 1-2-3 first against the Cardinal’s line up. He struck out Matt Carpenter on 4 pitches to start the day before getting groundouts from Pham and Jose Martinez (that Martinez guy that Syndergaard said wouldn’t get so comfortable next time they saw each other after Opening Day.) He kept the outs rolling in the 2nd where he got Ozuna to groundout, Fowler to strikeout on 3 pitches and a pop out from DeJong. He struck out Kolten Wong to open the bottom of the 3rd before getting a lineout from Pena and a groundout from the pitcher Martinez. The Cardinals had their first hit in the bottom of the 4th when Tommy Pham hit a 1-out single. With Jose Martinez at the plate, Pham tried to steal 2nd but a good heads up from Gonzalez got Syndergaard’s attention and he picked him off at 2nd. The first runner Syndergaard has thrown out this season. Martinez popped out to end the inning and Syndergaard had still faced the minimum to this point. He started the bottom of the 5th with back-to-back strikeouts to Ozuna and Fowler. Paul DeJong hit a 2-out single, but Wong flew out to end the inning. Noah struck out Pena to open the bottom of the 6th and got a ground out from Jedd Gyorko and a lineout from Carpenter. With a 2-run lead to work with and a decently low pitch count, Noah returned for the 7th inning. He ran into trouble for the first time of the afternoon though. Tommy Pham hit a leadoff double and was scored by a 1-out single from Ozuna. Dexter Fowler flew out for the 2nd out before DeJong doubled to put Ozuna on 3rd with 2-outs in the inning. Kolten Wong flew out to end the inning and Syndergaard escaped with just the 1-run given up. Noah came back to pitch the 8th inning and faced pinch-hitter Greg Garcia. Garcia was able to reach base on a fielding error by Rosario to start the inning. Molina struck out for the 1st out but with a 1-out single from Carpenter and a pitch count now exceeding 100, Callaway went to the bullpen to end the inning. Syndergaard went 7.1 innings, allowed 6 hits and 1 Earned Run. He struck out 7 and walked 0. He left with the lead intact and was in line for his 3rd win of the season. But…well, let’s talk about that.
Robert Gsellman was called on to finish the 8th inning but gave up a single to Tommy Pham to score the tying run at 2 apiece. Jose Martinez grounded into a double play to end the inning, but the lead was blown, and Syndergaard was no longer in line for the win. The run wasn’t earned since the runner was Garcia who reached on an error. Gsellman has been a good arm out of the bullpen and I don’t think this should tarnish what he’s capable of. What I do think, is that Syndergaard should have finished the inning. If they’re going to score, they should score off of him and I think he would have kept them from scoring. I mean that’s just a gut prediction but with the way he was rolling, I think he would have been fine. So, with the game tied, Seth Lugo came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th inning and try to send the game into extra innings. Ozuna flew out for the 1st out but then Lugo hit Dexter Fowler with a pitch to put the winning run on base. He then walked DeJong on 5 pitches to put the winning run in scoring position. Lugo got Wong to fly out and Garcia to ground out to end the inning though and the Mets were heading into extra innings. The Mets would take the lead by a run in the top of the 10th inning and so Familia was brought in to close the game out and get the save. Molina lined out for the 1st out and Tyler O’Neil struck out. With 2-outs in the inning, Familia was looking to get that last out and get the Mets the win. But Pham singled and the Cardinals had the tying run aboard. Jose Martinez then hit a fly ball to center field where Juan Lagares was stationed as a defensive replacement. Hoping to flash the leather and show off his gold glove, Lagares leapt for the ball and missed it. He was so far off from the ball, no one knew what happened. But, the tying run came across to score. It wasn’t an error, Lagares just lost the ball in the sun and didn’t position himself correctly to get to the ball in time and it cost the team. Ozuna grounded out and the inning was over but the game was going to continue. Ramos came in for the 11th and set down the side in order. Paul Sewald came in for the 12th inning and also set down the side in order. He returned to the mound for the 13th inning. He struck out Pham before walking Tommy Pham. Ozuna singled to put the winning run in scoring position. Dexter Fowler singled to right and Pham came across to score the run and win the game in extra innings. A disappointing result. Syndergaard was great all day and the Mets were so close to winning but Familia allowed that fly ball that Lagares misplayed and it was over. I don’t know if I blame the bullpen or not, I don’t know who there is to blame honestly. Regardless, the bullpen was supposed to lock the game for Syndergaard and didn’t, so I suppose they are to blame. Although, sloppy defense plays a key role here.
The Mets scored early, as they have many times this season. Brandon Nimmo was hit by a pitch to lead off the game and was drove in on a double by Cespedes and the Mets were ahead early. There wasn’t much offense until the 7th when the Mets scored the 2nd run of the game. Syndergaard struck out to start the inning, but Rosario hit a 1-out single before he moved to 3rd on a single by Nimmo. Cespedes hit a sacrifice fly to score Rosario and the Mets had a 2-0 lead. With the game tied in the 10th, the Mets did some rallying to take the lead. With 2-outs in the inning, Bruce and Frazier hit back-to-back singles to put men on. Gonzalez then drew a walk to load the bases. Jose Lobaton then drew a walk to bring in the go ahead run. It was a great appearance at the plate for Lobaton who hadn’t had a hit since his triple in his first game as a Met. Reyes grounded out to end the inning, but the lead was taken for the time being. They were held hitless for the next few innings until the Cardinals broke through and took the game. As a team they had 9 hits and 3 runs. They went 0 for 7 with RISP and left 11 men on base. So, while it’s easy to blame the bullpen, the offense didn’t give them much to work with.
So far, a disappointing road trip for the Mets. They head to San Diego next to take on the Padres and look to get back in the win column. The bright side of this all is that Syndergaard finally hit his stride and looked like the Thor we were used to seeing and hopefully next time the bullpen can help him score that 3rd win.
Since I waited so long to post this weekly review, everyone is aware of what happened in San Diego and we’re going to talk about that in next week’s post. I’m going to try to have it up by a reasonable time, I’ve just been so busy with school and a new job. Until then, hope for some more wins for the Mets so I have some good stuff to write about.