Mets Merized Online » Pittsburgh Pirates Sun, 26 Feb 2017 03:48:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 That Crazy 4-Team Trade That Sent Matlack To Texas Sat, 31 Dec 2016 16:10:56 +0000 jon-matlack

On December 8, 1977, the Mets were one of four teams involved in one of the most complex deals in the history of baseball. This was it :

–  The Mets sent John Milner to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
–  The Atlanta Braves sent Willie Montanez to the New York Mets.
–  The Texas Rangers sent Adrian DevineTommy Boggs, and Eddie Miller to the Atlanta Braves.
–  The Texas Rangers sent a player to be named later and Tom Grieve to the New York Mets.
–  The Texas Rangers sent Bert Blyleven to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
–  The Pittsburgh Pirates sent Al Oliver and Nelson Norman to the Texas Rangers.
–  The New York Mets sent Jon Matlack to the Texas Rangers.
–  The Texas Rangers sent Ken Henderson (March 15, 1978) to the New York Mets to complete the trade.

I wish I could tell you who conceived this deal and how it fell into place, but frankly, I have no idea. For the Mets’ part, they replaced John Milner with Willie Montanez and sent Matlack away for Tom Grieve and Ken Henderson.

willie montanez mets osw1Montanez was considered a better all-around player and certainly flashier than Milner, but I think that Met fans were disappointed with Willie’s production and expected a major upgrade from Milner.

Actually, the one full year Willie spent with the Mets wasn’t bad statistically (.256, 32 2B, 17 HR, 96 RBI), but he seemed to fail a lot in big spots and hit his best in one-sided games.

Ironically, the following season, the Mets sent Montanez to Texas, another of the parties in the original deal, in exchange for Ed Lynch and Mike Jorgensen and a couple of years later, the Pirates traded Milner even-up to Montreal for Montanez.

As for the other part of the trade for the Mets, it turned out to be a lot less than either side expected. Matlack had one solid year for the Rangers, but that was about it. Neither Grieve nor Henderson was anything other than a part-time player, though the Mets were expecting more, I’m sure.

The big names in the deal were Blyleven and Oliver, so maybe the deal started out as a one-for-one and other general managers just joined the party. I suppose after giving up Blyleven, the Rangers needed another pitcher and that’s how Matlack got involved, but it looks to me like the Mets were a pawn in this trade, and they were probably fortunate it didn’t turn out any worse than it did for them.

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ESPN Announces First Half Sunday Night Baseball: Three Mets Games Wed, 21 Dec 2016 18:17:02 +0000 noah-syndergaard

ESPN has announced their Sunday Night Baseball schedule for the first half of 2017; three will feature the Mets.

April 9: vs. Miami Marlins

April 23: vs. Washington Nationals

May 28: @ Pittsburgh Pirates

These games will start at 8 PM as per usual.

The April games are not difficult schedule wise, however following the May 28th game vs the Pirates, the Mets have a 1:10 game in New York against the Brewers on the 29th.

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Nationals, Pirates Deep in Talks for McCutchen Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:28:05 +0000 andrew-mccutchen

It has been widely reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates are shopping star outfielder Andrew McCutchen after having the worst season of his eight year career.

According to Stephen Nesbitt of Pittsburgh Post-Gazettethe likelihood of a trade is increasing with the winters meetings right around the corner.

Stephen also says that the Pirates have had discussions with the Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners.

The Pirates are reportedly looking for a prospect heavy package for McCutchen and are targeting Nationals’ top prospect Victor Robles according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Robles, 19, is the 10th best prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline (one spot ahead of Mets top prospect Amed Rosario).

Jayson Stark of ESPN is reporting that talks between the Pirates and Nats have ramped up and that a deal could get done today.

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MMO Players Of The Week: Two Potential All-Stars Mon, 20 Jun 2016 17:00:44 +0000 MMO PLAYER OF THE WEEK

It’s difficult to write a Players of the Week after such a rough showing this weekend. But the Mets did have a pair of deserving standout players.

With the way the pitching lined up, many fans and writers had the Mets sweeping the Braves this weekend, however it was the Braves that essentially knocked the Mets around like they were sparring in the ring, and swept the Mets. The Braves outscored the Mets 15-4 in the three game set, and also out-hit them 29-14. But hey, at least fans were treated to a nice Andy Grammer post-game concert after Saturday’s debacle.

The Mets have a much tougher schedule on the horizon, including two against the suddenly hot Kansas City Royals on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs in the last week of June. The calendar is turning fast, and the Mets need to turn this slump around if they want any chance at keeping pace with the surging Nationals heading into the later months of summer.

While the play this past week left many fans feeling queasy or reaching for a bottle of Tums, there were a few standout performances to highlight.

yoenis cespedes


Yoenis Cespedes gets the nod for Offensive Player of the Week, after he went 7-for-20 with four walks, four runs batted in, four runs scored, and a home run. La Potencia now has 17 home runs on the year in 63 games, on-par with his pace from last season where in 57 games he hit 17 bombs. His production has been stellar, with a slash line of .280/.352/.564, 17 home runs, and 43 runs batted in. He’s currently tied for fourth in the National League with Rockies’ shortstop Trevor Story in home runs, and should be a starting outfielder in this year’s All Star Game in San Diego.

Cespedes provided an early run for the Mets in Saturday’s contest, where in the bottom of the third against Braves RHP Aaron Blair, Cespedes blasted a 2-1 hanging curve into the left-center field seats to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead. Alas, the Mets would end up losing the game, as they did all their scoring the the third and fourth innings and allowed the Braves to chip away late in the game.

But a solid takeaway is that Cespedes continues to rake, and has but up almost identical numbers to what he posted in the 57 games he played in 2015 with the team.

noah syndergaard 2


Noah Syndergaard was the easy choice for MMO Pitcher of the Week. His sparkling outing against a tough lineup in the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday June 15th was absolutely brilliant. Syndergaard pitched into the ninth with an 11-0 lead, and was looking to pitch his first complete game, and complete game shutout.

Unfortunately neither happened, as Syndergaard gave up a leadoff double to John Jaso in the top of the ninth. Gregory Polanco grounded out to Thor, which moved Jaso over to third. Manager Terry Collins seemed to be taking the ninth one batter at time with Syndergaard, who gave up another double to David Freese, with Jaso scoring the Pirates first run of the night. At that point, Syndergaard had thrown 115 pitches, a season high for the six-foot-six right-hander. He left to a standing ovation from the Citi faithful and watched as Jeurys Familia came in to get the final two outs of the game.

His final line on the night was 8 1/3 innings, five hits, two runs, one earned, no walks, while striking out 11, his fourth double-digit strikeout performance this year. Syndergaard also recorded his 100th strikeout on the season that night, and became the fastest Met pitcher to reach that mark in team history in 80 1/3 innings, previously held by Pedro Martinez who did it in 86 innings.

I was in attendance that night, sitting in section 126 down the third base line. Even sitting a distance away from the batter’s box, I could still hear the “thwap” the ball was making when it hit Rene Rivera’s mitt. Syndergaard was absolutely dominating and locating his fastball perfectly that night. In fact, his average fastball that night according to ESPN, was 99 mph, and had his second-highest miss rate (39.7) on the season.

On the year, Syndergaard has posted a 7-2 record, with a 1.91 earned run average, 0.96 WHIP, and 106 strikeouts in 85 innings pitched. Syndergaard should be joining Cespedes to San Diego to compete in his first All Star Game, something that Syndergaard himself set as a goal.

“It was a goal of mine this year. I watched Jacob (deGrom) last year and I thought that was pretty cool, so I want to go,” Syndergaard said earlier this month. “I am not above dropping some hints. I’ll start sucking up (to Warthen and Collins) a little bit. I might mention, ‘Hey the All-Star Game is coming pretty soon, you guys know any reason I shouldn’t make plans?’ Just to let them know.”

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MMO Game Recap: Pirates Blank Mets 4-0 Wed, 15 Jun 2016 01:59:04 +0000 jacob degrom 2

The New York Mets (34-29) were defeated by the Pittsburgh Pirates (33-31) by a score of 4-0 at Citi Field Tuesday evening.


Jacob deGrom was on the mound tonight and he was very good.  He went six innings allowing two runs, walking one, and striking out nine.  deGrom made one crucial mistake to Jung Ho Kang with a runner on first in the top of the sixth.  Kang launched a two run home run to left center field and that would be more than enough for the Pirates offense tonight.

Jim Henderson came on and pitched a scoreless seventh.  Collins tried to squeeze a little more juice out of Henderson in the eighth and the plan backfired.  After a Gregory Polanco walk, Starling Marte hit a home run of his own to center field, doubling the Pirates lead to 4-0.

Erik Goeddel came in and pitched a 1-2-3 scoreless ninth.

Jung ho Kang


The Mets offense surely was not doing themselves any favors tonight but Jameson Taillon was simply incredible and had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning.  Taillon pitched eight innings allowing only two hits while walking one.

The Mets simply have too many players either out of the lineup or not performing at the moment.

Jameson - TaillonNotes:

Michael Conforto and Neil Walker were both held out today due to injuries.

Juan Lagares asked out the game tonight due to a toothache

Travis d’Arnaud is expected to return to the Mets next Tuesday

David Wright and team doctors are considering season-ending neck surgery

Zack Wheeler is expected to start a rehab assignment next week

On Deck: 

The Mets will play their second game of a three game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates tomorrow night at Citi Field. The game has a start time of 7:10 PM.  Noah Syndergaard (6-2, 2.00 ERA) will look to get the Mets going against lefty Jeff Locke (5-4, 5.38 ERA).


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Mets Avoid A Sweep Despite Defensive Woes, Flores Delivers Game-Winner Thu, 09 Jun 2016 15:26:07 +0000 wilmer flores

(USA Today Sports)

Despite a couple of Neil Walker defensive miscues, the Mets escaped a sweep by the skin of their teeth, finally breaking their nine game losing streak against the pesky Pittsburgh Pirates.

With the bases loaded in the top of the 10th, Wilmer Flores dropped a pinch-hit single into center field for the go ahead run. Mets closer Jeurys Familia flirted with potential disaster, walking three in the final frame before recording his 35th consecutive regular season save for a 6-5 Mets win.

“I wanted to stay up the middle against him but the ball got up on me a little bit,” Flores said about his keenly placed bloop single. “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.”

Noah Syndergaard had a very Un-Thor-Like no-decision, surrendering a career high five doubles and leaving the game after 102 pitches with the score tied at 3-3 in the sixth. The Mets defense certainly didn’t do Thor any favors.

Rookie Ty Kelly recorded his first career home run, a two-run shot that evened the score in the fourth.  The 27 year-old utility rookie, filling the cavernous cleats of the injury plagued Lucas Duda and David Wright, was expected to return to Triple-A this weekend when veteran Kelly Johnson rejoins the Mets from Atlanta for the second time in a year.

ty kelly

 (AP, Gene J. Puskar)

“It was exciting,” said Kelly about his first MLB blast. ”I was happy to just hit a home run or just get a hit in the first place. It was a bigger deal because of the score and everything. That was the first thought that went into my head, was tied it up. Just made it that much more fun.”

It’s unfortunate that the long-time minor leaguer, who may be beginning to hit his stride, has to be the fall guy to the Mets’ infatuation with a player that they’re still not sure they’re in love with. But maybe Kelly staved off a flight to Las Vegas with his performance last night, both at the plate and in the field where he made three sparkling plays and saved a run with a perfect throw to the plate.

Syndergaard’s bat helped his own cause with a double in the 5th, and Michael Conforto’s sac fly protected his starting pitcher from getting the loss.

Right-handed reliever Jim Henderson was the recipient of more Neil Walker woes in the bottom of the 7th after the defensive dynamo muffed a relay on a double by Gregory Polanco, that allowed Andrew McCutchen to score from first. The error gave Polanco 3rd base, and a sac fly by Josh Harrison gave the Pirates a two run lead.

It may not have been a walk in PNC Park Wednesday night, but the Mets found a profound way to claw their way back to remain 3 ½ behind the nasty Nats going into a four game series against the Brewers, who they swept back in May.

“That was a hard-fought game for us,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We had to work hard for everything we got. And then to make it stand up, it was a struggle. We’ll take it and get out of here.”

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Mets Win Seesaw Affair With Bucs 6-5 Thu, 09 Jun 2016 02:56:52 +0000 noah syndergaard 2

The Mets (32-26) defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates (32-27) tonight at PNC Park by a score of 6-5, avoiding the sweep


Noah Syndergaard toed the rubber for the Mets this evening, and the young righty definitely didn’t have his best stuff, yielding three runs on seven hits over six innings. Despite the laborious appearance, Syndergaard still struck out five batters and kept the Mets in the game.

Jim Henderson came in for the seventh with the game tied and served up a pair of runs to give the Bucco’s a late 5-3 to lead.

Thankfully, the Mets offense bailed Henderson out to knot up, and Addison Reed pitched a clean eighth to keep the game tied at five a piece.

Reed went back out for the ninth, and kept the Pirates at bay and in the process would become the pitcher of record, as the Mets took the lead in the tenth.

Jeurys Familia took the mound for the tenth, and despite giving this journalist a near panic attack, was able to luckily seal the win for the Mets.



After the Pirates took an early 2-0 lead, Ty Kelly hit his first major league home run, a two-run shot to knot up the game in the fourth inning.

The Pirates re-took the lead in the bottom half of the fourth, but the Mets got that run right back on a sacrifice fly from Michael Conforto in the fifth.

In the eighth inning, with the Mets down 5-3, Michael Conforto hit a two-run blast to tie the game up yet again.

In the tenth inning after the Mets loaded the bases, Wilmer Flores pinch hit, and gave the Mets a 6-5 lead with a bloop single to center.

This lead would prove to be enough, as the Mets were able to salvage the final game of the series.

On deck:

The Mets travel to Beertown to face the Brewers for a four game, weekend series starting tomorrow night. Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.27 ERA) gets the ball for the series opener, and will be opposed by Jimmy Nelson (5-4, 3.43 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 PM.

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Pirates Sweep Doubleheader With 3-1 Win Over The Mets Wed, 08 Jun 2016 02:15:10 +0000 jacob degrom

The New York Mets (31-26) were defeated by the Pittsburgh Pirates (32-26) by a score of 3-1 as they swept the doubleheader.


Jacob deGrom again put forth a quality start, pitching six innings while allowing three runs. Jacob gave up six hits, while putting nine Pirates down on strikes. He took the loss as his record fell to 3-2 on the season while his ERA rose to 2.80.

Jim Henderson relieved deGrom in the seventh, pitching a scoreless frame. Henderson found himself in trouble with runners on first and second and just one out, but he was able to get Andrew McCutchen to ground into a double play to end the inning without any damage.

Jerry Blevins came on for the eighth, pitching .1 of an inning while allowing one hit before giving way to Hansel Robles. Robles found himself in trouble as the bases were loaded with one out. He was able to get out of the jam without any runs allowed as Wilmer Flores made a big play at third to end the inning.

kevin plawecki


Not much to say on the offensive front yet again, as the team was only able to put together one run against a pitcher in Juan Nicasio who was fighting to stay in Pittsburgh’s rotation.

Kevin Plawecki came through with a big two-out single, plating the Mets’ only run of the game.

Michael Conforto and Alejandro De Aza both contributed with extra-base hits. Conforto would score the team’s lone run.


Jacob deGrom has now given up three runs or less in nine of his ten starts this season.

The Mets have now scored just two runs over their last 27 innings.

On Deck:

The Mets will look to salvage the final game of the series as they send their ace, Noah Syndergaard (6-2, 1.91 ERA) to the mound. He will be opposed by Pittsburgh’s prized prospect, Jameson Taillon who will be making his major league debut. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.

]]> 0 Jon Niese Fires Seven Scoreless As Bucs Beat Mets 3-1 Tue, 07 Jun 2016 22:49:08 +0000 steven matz

The Mets (31-25) were defeated by the Pittsburgh Pirates (31-26) in the first game of a doubleheader by a score of 3-1 this afternoon at PNC Park.


Long Island native Steven Matz toed the rubber for the Mets this afternoon, and though the young lefty labored through a lot of pitches and visibly did not have his best stuff, still managed to hold the Bucs to just two runs over five innings.

Matz final line has him going the five, allowing two runs on eight hits while striking out eight.

Antonio Bastardo relieved Matz in the sixth, and quickly served up a home run to Jordy Mercer, to give Pittsburgh a then 3-0 lead.

Logan Verrett then came on and stymied the Pirates over two innings of work.

jon niese


The Mets squared off against their old buddy Jon Niese today, and the lefty brought his A-game, firing seven scoreless innings, scattering four hits and inducing 14 ground ball outs.

The only real threat posed against Niese came in the fourth inning, when the Mets loaded the bases, but failed to come away with any runs as Michael Conforto struck out.

With only 91 pitches, Niese was removed from the game in favor of Neftali Feliz, who was greeted abruptly by Curtis Granderson who took the veteran righty deep to get the Mets on the board. 3-1 Bucs.

Mark Melancon came on in the ninth and sealed the victory for Pittsburgh.

On deck:

Stay tuned for the second game of the doubleheader, which will be starting shortly on SNY. Jacob deGrom (3-1, 2.62 ERA) will get the ball for the Mets, and will be opposed by Juan Nicasio (4-4, 4.75 ERA).

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Mets and Pirates To Play Traditional Doubleheader On Tuesday Tue, 07 Jun 2016 03:42:26 +0000 pnc park rain

The New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates had their series opener postponed on Monday due to heavy rains.

As such, the two teams will play a traditional doubleheader at PNC Park on Tuesday beginning at 4:05 PM.

The second game of the twin-bill will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the early game.

Steven Matz and Jon Niese are expected to start in the first game, while Jacob deGrom and Juan Nicasio will oppose each other in the second game of the doubleheader.

Both teams will be allowed to call up an extra player for their rosters.

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Jon Niese Just Couldn’t Resist, Takes Shot At Mets Defense Thu, 10 Dec 2015 12:00:24 +0000 jon niese travis d'Arnaud

Jon Niese didn’t take his trade to the Pittsburgh Pirates too bad. In fact, you could say he sounded like a guy who was relieved to be putting the /New York Mets behind him.’

Never being one to hide his emotions, especially if his defense let him down, Niese told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “I didn’t enjoy facing the Pirates; they have a great lineup,” Niese said. “But, I’m sure what I’ll appreciate more than anything is the way the Pirates play defense. I’m looking forward to that.”

Biertempfel said Niese sounded like someone who wanted to get his issues with the Mets defense off his chest. “It would seem that’s been stuck in his craw for awhile now, and it came flying out the first chance he got on Wednesday.”

According to Big League Stew, Niese joins a Pirates team that led MLB in total chances (6,459), putouts (4,469) and assists (1,868) in 2015. But they also made 122 errors, the second most in MLB, the price he says of being aggressive.

Niese, who went 9-10 with a 4.13 ERA in 33 appearances with Mets last season, must have given Pirates GM Neal Huntington an earful as well.

During his press conference, Huntington said that his new left-hander’s numbers should improve because last season Niese was unhappy with how the Mets used him especially when he had to pitch in a six-man rotation.

Methinks thou dost protest too much, Mr. Niese. We’ll see you on June 6 when the Pirates come to Citi Field for a three-game set. June 6… D-Day.


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Daniel Murphy Takes The Hit For Mets Loss Sun, 16 Aug 2015 13:26:17 +0000 daniel murphy

Daniel Murphy had an awful game last night, going 0-for-6 with two strikeouts and seeing his season-best hitting streak snapped at 10 games.

Additionally, it was Murphy’s costly decision while playing first base that really proved to be the fatal blow in Saturday’s crushing extra-innings loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In the top of the 14th inning, after Francisco Cervelli’s leadoff double, Mets reliever Sean Gilmartin induced a chopper to first by Starling Marte. But rather than step on the bag for the easy first out, Murphy threw to third where he had no chance to get the runner.

What resulted was men on first and third with nobody out. The Pirates responded with back to back RBI singles.

“I took a shot. It was the wrong play,” said Murphy after the game. “That’s all I can say. It was the wrong play. It put us in a bad spot. It put Gilly in a bad spot.”

Murphy is no stranger to plays like this and bad decision-making. But this one really cost the team and they cannot afford to lose games like this as they challenge for the NL East title.


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MMO Game Recap: Pirates 3, Mets 2 Sat, 15 Aug 2015 02:58:15 +0000 bartolo colon

The Mets (63-53) were defeated by the Pittsburgh Pirates (67-46) by a score of 3-2 tonight at Citi Field.


The Pirates jumped out in front early on, as Neil Walker hit a solo home run off Bartolo Colon in the first inning.

Colon regained his composure immediately, however, as the big righty pitched a very strong outing, allowing just the one run on five hits, while walking two and striking out seven against a very potent Pittsburgh lineup.

Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia pitched the eighth and ninth innings respectively, keeping the Pirates at bay.

In the tenth inning, Bobby Parnell came on to pitch and very clearly did not have his stuff working. The Bucs certainly took advantage, as Parnell failed to retire a batter, allowing three straight hits to give Pittsburgh a lead in the late goings.

Carlos Torres was called upon to work out of the mess that he inherited, with two on and nobody out. Torres allowed a run to score on a sacrifice fly, but prevented further damage as he was able to keep further trouble from ensuing.

Parnell’s poor outing proved to be detrimental to the Mets chances of winning, as they failed to rally in the bottom of the tenth to tie or win the game.

yoenis Cespedes


J.A. Happ, who – coming into today -possessed a 4-4 record with a 4.78 ERA, stymied the Mets offense, pitching 5.1 innings, and allowing just one run. The journeyman right-hander did yield seven hits, but was able to stifle the Mets attempts at scoring.

A key scoring opportunity presented itself for the Mets in the third inning, as Juan Lagares singled to lead off the frame, followed by a Curtis Granderson double.

The following three batters would be retired in order, as the Mets failed to score, which turned out to be a crucial missed scoring chance for the Mets tonight.

In the sixth inning, the Mets finally broke through and were able to tie up the game, as Yoenis Cespedes hit a home run to left field, his second as a Met and 20th on the season.

The Mets rallied in the tenth inning, as Juan Lagares doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Curtis Granderson then hit a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 3-2.

However, Yoenis Cespedes struck out and Juan Uribe grounded out to end the ball game.

It’s a tough loss, but the Pirates are a good ball club. Rest up and go get ‘em tomorrow, boys.

On deck:

Jon Niese (7-9, 3.46 ERA) gets the ball for the Mets tomorrow and is opposed by Charlie Morton (7-4, 4.48 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM.

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Strength Of Schedule Has Mets Looking Good For MLB Postseason Tue, 04 Aug 2015 13:30:19 +0000 lucas duda

Being in contention at the start of August is a nice change, and taking sole possession of first place is a significant step in the right direction for the Orange and Blue.

In a decade that has been marred with losses and disappointing finishes – now is the time for the Mets. The team hasn’t been in this position since their last year at Shea is ready for Prime Time and to pounce on the postseason.

The team has a much stronger home record at this point but unfortunately, will be on the road more often before the season is out (as of August 3 – 32 away games, 25 home games). Given that the Mets have MLB Futures priced at +1,000 to win the World Series, they could be a safer bet than some of their other close competitors.

Let’s face it, once the playoffs start, anything can happen. Until then though, most online bookmakers still say the Nationals will have a tight hold on the NL East. I’m not so sure I agree with them after watching the Mets handily sweep them this past weekend. The Nats meet the Mets once more, but also have multiple upcoming dances with the Marlins and Rockies. These meetings are also followed up by dates with the Brewers, Braves and Padres. The Nationals by comparison have themselves a pretty tough schedule.

It is apparent now that the Mets’ focus is on winning the division. The Wild Card is a nice fallback option but it would be no guarantee with the Pirates and Giants and the Cubs all jockeying for position in a race that may not be decided until the final day of the season. Still, the Mets line up nicely there too when you consider their opposition’s schedule.

Let’s start with Pittsburgh; they host the contending Cubs in the first week of August, followed by a series with the LA Dodgers. They then hit the road to take on St. Louis, who has the best home record in the league. The Bucs then follow that trip up, with a stint at Citi against hot-at-home Mets.

The Giants meanwhile have their first nine days of August on the road before returning home to take on the AL West leading Houston Astros, the Washington Nationals, St Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates. They then round out the month with a few more home dates against the Cubs and Cards, before heading to LA to take on the division leading Dodgers.

Finally, the Chicago Cubs are doing everything they can to buck their losing trend. They’ll have the best chance, along with the Mets, at snatching up those two Wild Card berths in the end.

They still have two more series with the Brewers, along with more dates against the Braves, Phillies, Diamondbacks and Tigers in their final two months of work. Of all of the remaining WC contenders, they are facing the most sub .500 clubs.

So while the road may not be that easy for New York the rest of the way, as you can see, it could be a lot worse. Or in other words, forget what FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus say, I love our chances to make the postseason and personally, I think we’ll win the division for this season and the next five after that at the very least. The Mets have arrived and are here to stay.

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MMO Game Recap: Pirates 4, Mets 1 Sat, 23 May 2015 02:17:59 +0000 Noah,  Syndergaard

The Mets (24-19) lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates (19-22) by a score of 4-1 tonight at PNC Park.

Noah Syndergaard got the start for the Mets and was the tough luck loser, as he pitched well despite allowing four runs, three earned over six innings. Realistically, it could have only been one earned run, as there were a couple plays throughout the game that could have been called errors if not for a generous hometown scorer. He falls to 1-2 on the season.

His opposition Gerrit Cole, the Pirates young phenom, pitched very well for the Bucco’s as the Mets could muster up all of one run against him. He pitched into the ninth inning, before being removed after putting two men on. He would get the win, however, as Mark Melancon shut the door out of the bullpen to finish off the game. Cole’s final line has him going 8.1 innings, allowing just the one run on six hits (all singles) and striking out ten Mets. He also induced double plays in three separate innings.

After Syndergaard struck out the first four hitters to greet him, the Pirates put two runs on the board after having two outs and nobody on.

Pedro Alvarez hit a ground rule double, and was driven in after Gregory Polanco hit a ball to first that deflected off of Lucas Duda‘s glove and bounced into right field. Questionably, it went down as a hit. Polanco was then driven in himself on a Chris Stewart double.

The Mets cut the lead in half in the third inning. Juan Lagares reached on a fielding error by Josh Harrison, and then advanced to third on a Kevin Plawecki single. Noah Syndergaard dropped down a sacrifice bunt putting runners on second and third with one out.

Gerrit Cole then threw a wild pitch which pushed Lagares across the plate and moved Plawecki to third. The Mets failed to score Plawecki though, as Curtis Granderson and Eric Campbell were both retired to end the inning.

Syndergaard buckled down after the rough second inning and set down the next eight batters to face him. In the fifth inning, Syndergaard let up two hits to Chris Stewart and Josh Harrison, but stranded them in scoring position, getting Neil Walker to pop out to end the inning.

The Pirates would put up a two spot in the sixth to put them up 4-1, which the score would stay for the remainder of the game. Andrew McCutchen doubled to lead off the inning, and was driven in by Jung Ho Kang two batters later. Kang then reached third on a throwing error by Syndergaard on a pickoff attempt and a stolen base. He was driven in by Pedro Alvarez, who hit a sacrifice fly to right field.

Erik Goeddel relieved Syndergaard and pitched two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, lowering his ERA to 1.13 on the season.

In the ninth inning, the Mets got two runners on against Cole, before he was removed in favor of Mark Melancon. With the tying run at the plate and only one out, Melancon set down Lucas Duda and Michael Cuddyer to end the game.

In the last nineteen games, the Mets have scored two runs or less ten times.

On deck:

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The Mets will look to even up the series tomorrow as Matt Harvey (5-1, 1.98 ERA) takes on A.J. Burnett (3-1, 1.38 ERA). First pitch is at 4:05 PM.

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Ex-Mets Catcher John Buck Announces Retirement Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:28:14 +0000 John Buck With Harvey

Braves catcher and ex-Met John Buck announced his retirement on Thursday, so he can spend more time with his family, the Braves announced.

The one-time All Star had spent 11 years in the Major Leagues, playing for the Royals, Marlins, Mets, Angels, Pirates, Mariners and Blue Jays. He had signed this season with the Braves and was hitting .320 in the spring before the announcement.

The Mets traded Buck, along with Marlon Byrd, to the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 2013 trade deadline in exchange for second baseman Dilson Hererra and reliever Vic Black.

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Pirates Agree To 4-Year Deal With SS Jung-Ho Kang Tue, 13 Jan 2015 01:44:58 +0000 jung-ho kang

According to Jim Bowden of ESPN, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang to a four-year, $16 million dollar contract. The Yonhap News Agency adds that the Pirates paid a slightly greater than $5M posting fee, bringing the total cost for the shortstop to around $21 million. Even if he fails to come close to what he produced in Korea, that’s a steal.

Last season for the Nexen Heroes, the 27 year-old hit .356 with 40 home runs and 117 RBIs in only 501 plate appearances.

Many scouts have been concerned that his power may not translate to the major leagues, as the pitching in Korea is comparatively weak and the Heroes’ home stadium’s fences are shallow.

The Mets seemingly had interest in the shortstop before he was posted, but then decided not to go after him. At this point, all roads lead to Wilmer Flores starting the season as the Mets’ starting shortstop.

Thoughts from Joe D.

There are some questions as to what this signing means for incumbent shortstop Jordy Mercer.

The way things stand now, Josh Harrison, who had a breakthrough season in 2014, is the presumptive third baseman.

Kang says he prefers to play third if he can’t play short, and MLBTR doesn’t rule out Kang supplanting Mercer at SS altogether.

I thought Mercer did a fine job of establishing himself as a solid starting shortstop last season, posting a slash line of .255/.305/.387 with 27 doubles, 12 homers, and 56 RBIs in 149 games.

While they could just use Mercer in a similar utility role as Harrison last season, I’m wondering if the Bucs actually consider shopping him instead. And if he does hit the market, is he someone that could interest Sandy Alderson?


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MMO Fan Shot: Why I Love The Mets Thu, 11 Dec 2014 20:15:54 +0000 Last year at this time, we ran our annual MMO Fan Shot Contest. Contestants were urged to submit a Fan Shot, the theme of which was, “Why I Love The Mets.” We gave away Amazon Gift Cards to the runners up and the grand prize winner won a brand new Kindle Fire HD Tablet. We’ll soon be rolling out details for our 2014 Fan Shot Contest, but before we do here is last year’s winning entry.

john franco

Why I Love The Mets

By Steven Colasanto

I love the Mets so much and I owe it all to my dad, but not in the way you would think. After he died tragically in 1996, I was devastated and wasn’t really handling it as well as my older brothers and sisters. I was named after him, and everyone always called me Stevie instead of Steven. I hated baseball growing up and I wasn’t a big sports kid at the time. I was addicted to video games and no matter how hard my dad tried to get me to go out with him and have a catch, I always found some way to get out of it. Today, I beat myself up over it whenever I think about it.

He was a huge Mets fan and would always talk about them. My dad would never miss a game, even when my oldest sister got married. The catering hall had a bar with a TV and he’d keep going back there to watch the action to the dismay of my mom. When the game was on at home, we all knew never to disturb him, I mean he was totally addicted to the Mets. Unfortunately, he was killed in a car accident while driving home from work less than five miles from home. It was raining and a witness said he swerved to avoid hitting a dog and lost control of his vehicle.

About a year after his death I was home alone and had gotten into a big argument with my girlfriend that day. I was still upset and turned on the TV to get my mind off of it. It was the third or fourth inning of a Mets game and they were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates. Instead of changing the channel as I would normally do, I kept watching. It was weird, but I felt like my father was sitting there with me. It felt good and I just kept watching. All that you could hear in my house was the game, and it was a good one. It drew me in. During a break in between innings, I grabbed a Coke and hurried back to watch as the Mets were three outs away from winning the game as they headed into the top of the ninth ahead 9-7. I couldn’t believe how exciting this all was to me. I grabbed the remote and raised the volume to watch the end.

But then the unthinkable happened. The Pirates came roaring back with two runs to tie the game. I don’t know why, but I moaned something inaudible in frustration as the tying run crossed the plate. I didn’t know who John Franco was at the time, a Met I’d grow to love, but at that moment I started yelling at my TV and cursed this poor guy out. The Mets didn’t score in the bottom half of the inning and so it was onto the tenth, further adding to my anxiety.

At this point I was totally engrossed in this game. I wanted to to see the Mets win. I wanted so desperately to see them come back and beat these Pirates for my dad. And wouldn’t you know it, I was going to experience my first ever Mets miracle – my first taste of Mets magic.

In the bottom of the tenth, Carl Everett hit a three-run shot that just cleared the top of the fence to beat the Bucs 12-9. I jumped up and yelled “yes!!!” at the top of my lungs just as my mother was just coming home. “What are you screaming about and why is the TV so loud!”

“The Mets won! The Mets won!” I said. “You should have seen it, mom!”

“Since when did you become a Mets fan,” my mom asked. I thought about it and said, “just now.” That was the first day of my Mets journey.

My dad left behind a huge collection of books on the Mets for me to catch up on all their history. He also left me his Mets baseball card collection which was now all mine. One day, while going through some of the cards and reading the backs, I discovered a note from him in one of the boxes of cards. It said, Dear Stevie, I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as I have. Love, Dad. I was so shocked that this note from my dad was sitting in one of those old boxes for all this time.

He was probably waiting to give them to me, if I had only gone out and played that game of catch with him. So this is why I love the Mets. They are a bridge to my dad who I miss so much. But also because they taught me how to believe in miracles. I love this team.

Lets Go Mets!

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NL Wild Card Thread: Giants vs Pirates, 8:05 PM Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:30:02 +0000 volquez bumgarner

San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates

Wednesday, Oct. 1, 8:07 PM, ESPN

Madison Bumgarner (18-10, 2.98) vs. Edinson Volquez (13-7, 3.04) 

The National League Wild Card Game will be in Pittsburgh for a second consecutive year, with the Pirates set to host the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park. The Pirates and Giants met six times this year and the Bucs won four of those contests.

San Francisco Giants

1. Gregor Blanco CF
2. Joe Panik 2B
3. Buster Posey C
4. Pablo Sandoval 3B
5. Hunter Pence RF
6. Brandon Belt 1B
7. Brandon Crawford SS
8. Travis Ishikawa LF
9. Madison Bumgarner LHP

Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Josh Harrison 3B
2. Jordy Mercer SS
3. Andrew McCutchen CF
4. Russell Martin C
5. Starling Marte LF
6. Neil Walker 2B
7. Gaby Sanchez 1B
8. Travis Snider RF
9. Edinson Volquez P


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MMO Exclusive: Dilson Herrera Goes From Big Dreams To Big Leagues Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:34:19 +0000 herrera

Wow, what a dramatic change of events for the Mets on Thursday night, first Daniel Murphy goes on the DL and then the Mets catch everyone off guard and call up top prospect Dilson Herrera.

When I first heard the news, I was shocked and not because Herrera does not deserve the opportunity, oh he definitely does, but because the Mets actually thought enough of his amazing season to jump him straight from Double-A.

I spoke with Dilson last night after finding out the news and he was just so thankful that his dreams are finally becoming a reality. But from what I have witnessed from spending time with him and just chatting about baseball and life, was that he has a confidence that I have never seen before in a player so young and he knows in his mind that he belongs in the majors.

The Mets bring up a player that has played exciting baseball in both Advanced-A St. Lucie and then got better at Binghamton. For his reward, he’ll now showcase his amazing talent on the big stage and what better place to do that than New York City.

What he isn’t is a flashy player. What he is is a player with a solid bat that can turn on a fastball and drive it. He can also take the ball the other way and knows how to get on base. He plays good defense, gets the job done, and has proven to be a winner.

I am very excited about this move and looking forward to seeing him perform in the show. Also with Herrera being the first Colombian native to don a Mets uniform, Citi Field should be rocking again very shortly.  The team will not be in contention this season, but with a few more moves the future is going to be brighter than ever.

Below is an interview I conducted with Herrera this past season..

When the Mets knew that their 2013 season wasn’t going anywhere, they decided to unload two main players, Marlon Byrd and John Buck to the Pittsburgh Pirates, hoping that in return they would receive some future value to the organization. What they did receive would not pay any dividends for years to come, but it was a way to continue to solidify their farm system with additional talented ballplayers.

In last summers trade with the Pirates, the Mets brought in relief pitcher Vic Black and middle infielder Dilson Herrera, and even though Black may have been the player to make an immediate impact to the big league roster, Herrera could actually be the most significant part of the deal.

Herrera signed an international contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates at 16 years old. I asked him if they were the only team that showed interest in him, “I tried out with a few organizations and wasn’t sure who I would sign with, but the Pirates showed the most interest, so I decided I would sign with their organization,” he says.

While growing up in his native land of Colombia, both his father and grandfather played baseball and he tells me that he owes his talents to his upbringing, “My family has always loved baseball, and because my father played the game, he was able to show me how to play the right way.”

Before signing a contract to play professional baseball, Herrera was molded to be a shortstop and he even emulated how Jimmy Rollins played the position. But the Pirates had other plans and decided to sign him to play third base. But then after one season they moved him to second base.

Even though Herrera preferred to play short, he tells me that the move to second was a better fit.

“I felt that I was more comfortable playing second base, because shortstop was a bit more difficult to get adjusted to early on and the throws were much longer. But now, I have shown that I am capable of adjusting and playing both positions very well.”

In 2011, the he played his first pro season in the Venezuelan Rookie League for the Pirates and he hit .308/.413/.472 with 19 doubles, five triples, two home runs, and 27 RBI’s. The following season he was promoted to the Pirates’ Gulf Coast team and in 53 games, he batted .281/.341/.482 with seven home runs, and 27 RBI’s. Herrera finished out the 2012 season with a bump to Low-A State College in the NY Penn League and in seven games batted .321/.345/.536.

Herrera would call the South Atlantic League home in 2013, and in 109 games for Single-A West Virginia he batted .265/.330/.421, with 27 doubles, 11 home runs, and 56 RBI’s. His prospect status was on the rise.

During that summer, Herrera represented the Pirates in the All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field, and became the second-youngest player to ever play in the game.

“It was an amazing experience to be in New York and have an opportunity to play at Citi Field. It was very special to me to be chosen for the game and something I will never forget,” says Herrera.

When the Pirates decided to part ways with the young infielder, initially he says he didn’t take it too well.

“I was a bit confused and down when I was traded to the Mets, because I didn’t understand why the Pirates would trade me especially since they were the first team to sign me. I felt like they were my team.”

For a young kid from another country who was still not comfortable with the English language, leaving the only organization he ever knew was a shock to the system. But the one of the good things that came out of it was the immediate connection he made with the Mets organization.

Pedro Perez, a player within the Mets farm system, knew Herrera from their homeland of Colombia and he played a big part in helping Herrera to adjust to his new organization.

“Pedro was the first person to contact me and welcome me to the Mets and I was very thankful that I had a friend that understood me and could help me feel comfortable in my new surroundings.”

After the trade, Herrera was assigned to Single-A Savannah for the last seven games of the season. He batted .316/.417/.316 with his new club. The move also allowed him to be a part of a team that would capture the 2013 SAL Championship.

“When I arrived in Savannah, the players, especially our manager Luis Rojas welcomed me and instantly made me feel like a member of the team. It was a great feeling to play with a group of guys that were good enough to win the league championship. I was very grateful for the opportunity to not only play but help the team win.”

For a player that is 5’10”, Herrera has displayed some surprising power, belting 22 home runs in three minor league seasons. But his plate approach is not about hitting home runs, but as he says, playing the game the right way. “I like to drive the ball the other way, and I don’t focus on hitting home runs, I just focus on putting the bat on the ball and making things happen,” says Herrera.

Dilson  Herrera Bunting

Herrera oozes with confidence and focuses on producing the best he can from day to day. He tells me that he doesn’t worry about things beyond his control. “My main focus is to do what needs to be done on the field. I can only control that part of my game and I know that in time I will get my opportunity.”

Herrera, who is now playing with Advanced-A St. Lucie in his first full season with the organization, started the year 3-for-17 (.176) in his first five games. But since then he reeled off an 11-game hit streak in which he batted .391 (20 for 51), with three doubles, a triple, home run, five RBIs and four walks.

Overall this season, he has been a catalyst, batting .333/.389/.432, with eight multi-hit games. After seeing his hitting streak come to an on Monday, he started a new one on Tuesday with three hits and one more hit in Wednesday night’s game.

This exciting infield prospect has solidified himself in the lead-off spot for St. Lucie and he is one of the main components in a potent lineup that leads the Florida State League through Wednesday games with a .283 batting average, 99 runs, 190 hits, 92 RBI’s, 267 TB, and a .356 OBP.

“I feel very comfortable playing with St. Lucie and we have a very good team with a great group of talented guys that go out each and every night and compete.”

I had a chance to watch Herrera play from April 17-19, when the Mets visited the Miracle in Fort Myers, and what I witnessed was a very talented ballplayer that could turn on any fastball and drive it with power. His range at the shortstop and second base were flawless and his throws to first were very strong and accurate.

Only 20 years old, Herrera has had an incredible minor league career thus far, producing at every different level he’s played. He’s been dynamic both at the plate and in the field. In a few short years I can see him becoming an impact player on our big league roster. I’m excited for the day he makes his debut and electrifies our lineup.

Interview was conducted in Spanish and translated into English for our readers to enjoy.

mmo always believe

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MMO Flashback: Why 19 Is Greater Than 69 Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:00:13 +0000 This is an article I wrote exactly 365 days ago, when the Mets initially traded John Buck and Marlon Byrd to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later, which turned out to be Vic Black. As you can see, I was a huge fan of the trade at the time, but little did I know that one year later, Herrera would be the Mets’ top hitting prospect, and second baseman of the future.

It was 100% clear then that this was a perfect move, and somehow it’s even more perfect a year later.

And yet, the Sandy-bashing continues.

byrd  hr 2

Today the Mets traded Marlon Byrd and John Buck to the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league infielder Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later.

This has been quite the polarizing move in the circles of Mets fans that I’ve noticed throughout the day. Judging by the title of this post, and my overall philosophy when it comes to roster construction, it will be pretty easy to figure out what camp I’m in. 

Good riddance, don’t let the door hit you on the way out Or let it, I really don’t care. Both Byrd and Buck would have been out the door as soon as the season was over, faster than you could say Saltalamacchia. Neither of them would have helped the Mets get anywhere next year and certainly not by the time the team will finally be in position to make a playoff run in 2015. 

Marlon Byrd’s 36th birthday is on Friday, and while he’s been decent this year, this success will not last for very long. In the case of 33 year old John Buck, he just has not been good this year. At all. His already paltry .652 OPS decreases to an abysmal .591 when you take away his great first 12 games of the season, when he got off to a blazing start. So yes, since the second half of the Colorado doubleheader on April 16th, the Mets have 85 times started a player who produced a .591 OPS in that time period. The only thing he’s done of note since then is become a father, and console Matt Harvey last night. That was an absolutely great moment, but it doesn’t change the fact that Buck has produced nothing since mid-April.  

Herrera is only 19 years old and he received an invite to the Futures Game during All Star Weekend. So he can’t be completely worthless. Even if he never makes it out of A-ball, the idea behind this move is the important thing. It’s much better to get something out of these two not very valuable assets before they leave for good. 

I like it. 

I won’t even delve into the insulting idea that the Mets could have turned this deal into a blockbuster involving CarGo, Stanton, Profar, Starlin Castro or any other major league player. Please stop, if you seriously believe that. Or at least never attempt to talk about sports again. For the sake of the world. 

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