Back in action after the much needed All Star Break. A week and a half of baseball without any days off for the Mets. In fact, it was a 10-game home stand with the Rockies, Cardinals, and A’s coming to Queens. This second “half” gives the Mets a chance to right some wrongs and find their footing heading towards 2018. Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard were having a catch in warmups this week. Not that it means anything, but it’s encouraging and comforting if nothing else. More importantly, with the trade deadline around the corner, these games are of the utmost importance to showcase some trade pieces. As of the publishing of this blog, the Mets haven’t made any moves yet, and nothing is imminent. But there are rumors milling around and some confirmed interest. The Red Sox like Cabrera, the Indians maybe like Jay Bruce, and the Dodgers like Addison Reed. This time next week, hopefully some of these guys won’t be wearing Mets uniforms.
Friday 7/14 – Typically when you travel to Denver, that’s when the offensive explodes. But the Mets kicked off the second half with some serious fire power. They knocked out Rockies starter Jon Gray in the 3rd inning and were able to tally 14 runs off 19 hits. Seven starters had 2+ hits, including Jacob deGrom who is a legitimate threat at the plate for a pitcher. Conforto, Cabrera, and my boy TJ Rivera all brought in 3+ runs, and Cespedes broke out of his slump with 4 hits of his own. deGrom returned to form with 8 innings of 1-run, 11 strikeout ball. The game went about as well as it could have for the Mets in what was an impressive win 14-2 to say the least. The Rockies are no joke, and the Mets made them look silly in the first action after the All Star break.
Saturday 7/15 – The bats stayed awake for the Mets as they made quick, easy work of the Rockies. 4 runs in the 1st and 3 runs in the 2nd were enough to pave an open road towards a 9-3 victory. Jay Bruce, Jose Reyes, and Seth Lugo (yes, Seth Lugo) all went yard. And when a pitcher hits his first HR, he’s appropriately welcomed with the classic silent treatment. The Rockies have been one of the league’s best on the road this season, and their young pitching has been a main reason for their success to this point. Those narratives failed to surface in the first 2 games of this series because the Mets made the Rockies look like the pathetic Rockies from the last decade.
Sunday 7/16 – The Sunday woes continued for the Mets in the series finale. This one was over early, which was nice because it was a beautiful day. Fans were able to enjoy the sun, or enjoy the Game of Thrones marathon on TV. I paid minimal attention to this clunker from the Mets as they were fleeced 13-4. Steven Matz got fucking rocked and couldn’t even record an out in the 2nd inning before being pulled. After 5 strong performances to kick off his year, his last 2 outings have been awful. I’m sure he’ll be back on DL shortly. Speaking of which, Cespedes sat out with hip pain. Lock that in for another nagging, lingering injury for the remainder of this year for Yo that will lead to him sitting twice a week if not more from here on out.
Monday and Tuesday – Two losses to kick off the series against the forever-hated St. Louis Cardinals. Zack Wheeler took the L on Monday and is now 3-7 on the year. He was solid through 5 innings and self-destructed in the 6th en route to a 6-3 loss. I’m so tired of this guy. Pitch count through the roof, walks a ton of batters, can never pull it all together. Obviously it depends on the circumstances, but I think he could end up being moved for some other pieces at some point. Tuesday was a disgrace on all fronts. Michael Wacha went the distance for the Cards in what was a pathetic effort from the Mets. The final was 5-0 but the Mets only had three hits all night. It didn’t matter if it was 1-0, 5-0, or 25-0. The Mets also had three errors. It hurts to watch them play defense because as a team they’re so inept on routine plays. Left side of the infield is the worst in baseball statistically, by far.
Wednesday – When Jacob deGrom gets the start, The Mets seem to flip the script on everything. Mistakes and miscues that they make, we’ll see the other team make. For whatever reason, things just click with deGrom at the helm. This season we’re used to seeing the Mets go behind early and give themselves no chance to win. But on Wednesday, the Mets bats were alive putting up 3 runs in the 1st and 4 runs in the 2nd. Jacob deGrom was stellar as per usual in a 7-3 win.
Thursday – Camp Day at Citi Field aka a 12:10 PM first pitch; a true classic. If I recall correctly, there should be another in August. However I’m so down on the Mets that I don’t know who they’re playing before a series starts, let alone the calendar of special events for the rest of the summer. Three players earned individual recognition in a 3-2 win to split the series after barely showing up for the first 2. First, Seth Lugo was fantastic in 6.2 innings of 1-run work. Last game he hit his first HR, and this start he gave the Mets a strong enough effort that kept them in the game. Secondly, Lucas Duda’s bat stayed hot. He hit a HR that moved him into 7th on the all-time Mets list, usurping Todd Hundley. Lastly, and most importantly, shout out to Jose Reyes for walking it off in the 9th on a 2006 Jose Reyes-esque hustle play. Sure, the pitcher failed to cover at first, but Reyes bust out of the box for a walk off infield single. Good win for the Mets.
Friday – The first of three against the mediocre Oakland A’s went to the Mets by a final of 7-5. Michael Conforto had a big day with 2 dingers and 4 RBIs. Yoenis Cespedes, with his new blue hair, added 3 hits, and my guy TJ Rivera had a pair of his own. ‘Twas a come-from-behind victory for the Mets thanks to big 6th and 7th innings. Steven Matz was better than he’s been as of late but far from good; he was able to recover after a first inning run to produce an “okay” outing, one that was good enough to keep the game close and keep the Mets in the game.
Saturday – This was one of the better games of the year for the Mets. Zack Wheeler shit the bed early, surrendering 4 runs before the Mets even came to bat. 5 innings, 5 runs, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts, 1 ugly start. Down 5-0, the Mets rallied for 4 runs in the 6th, followed by the tying run in the 8th, and the winning run in the 9th courtesy of a Wilmer Flores walk-off HR. Last time Wilmer hit a walk-off HR was 48 hours after crying on the field in the infamous “traded but not traded” game, which led to a historic run that ended in the World Series. I’m sure there are fans out there who believe the same will happen again with Saturday’s late-game heroics, but I am not a part of that group. It was nothing more than a great comeback and an awesome moment. You can’t beat a walk-off home run.
Sunday – Heading into Sunday, the Mets had not swept a series at home all season, largely in part because they’ve made a bad habit out of pooping their pants on Sunday’s. The streak continues as the Mets lost 3-2. Three straight Sunday losses prior to this one, all by 6+ runs, so a 1-run loss is something to build off of for a team going nowhere. The combination of it being Sunday and Rafael Montero pitching is as automatic a loss as you can have. Looking at the stat line, Montero was okay, but he really is a bum and nothing else. The A’s scored in the 1st inning again, and Montero served up 3 solo home runs. As soon as the Mets tied the game at 1, Montero gave the lead right back. As soon as the Mets tied it at 2, Montero gave the lead right back. He fucking stinks. 2 more hits and another HR for Conforto as he continues to mash. And despite an 0-4 afternoon for Lucas Duda, he’s hit around .320 over the last week with 3 HRs and 7 RBIs. If there’s any trade market for Duda, this offensive breakout is coming at a perfect time.
In the 10 games since the break, the Mets have gone 6-4 and currently sit in 3rd place at 45-51. If the Mets finish behind the Atlanta Braves, they should be forced to sit out an entire season. At least the Phillies are the worst team in baseball. The trade deadline is 8 days away, and the Mets are remaining patient (or possibly and more likely complacent). There’s legit demand for Addison Reed, and if the Mets are only going to sell one guy, it’s likely that it’ll be him as of now. Hopefully someone will take Asdrubal Cabrera off our hands, and hopefully we can send Jay Bruce somewhere for some young dudes. I have zero faith in Sandy Alderson, let’s see if he proves me wrong.