Mets Merized Online » Wild Card http://metsmerizedonline.com Sun, 12 Feb 2017 15:00:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 FanGraphs Projects Mets For 83 Wins… Yeah, Right… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/fangraphs-projects-mets-for-83-wins-yeah-right.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/fangraphs-projects-mets-for-83-wins-yeah-right.html/#comments Tue, 31 Jan 2017 17:55:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230347 projected

Those no-good, downright mean-spirited, fake news spouting folks at FanGraphs currently project the New York Mets to win just 83 games in 2017 and  lose the NL East by seven games while missing the postseason and Wild Card by one game. Just kidding about the intro folks, FanGraphs does a fine job.

Just like any set of projections, they are only as good as the input data which can sometimes be very subjective and we have no idea what those data points are. Also keep in mind that these projections can change as team circumstances change, so if the Mets were to bolster their bullpen maybe that can improve their fortunes by a game or two.

Still, color me a bit disappointed by this initial calculation based on how strong the Mets were last season when the team was relatively healthy. The Mets head into 2017 with essentially the same exact offense they ended the 2016 season with, and yes that was an offense that finished the year ranked 26th in Runs Scored, 17th in Slugging Pct., and 17th in OPS.

However, those rankings were greatly impacted by a slew of injuries to 7 of their 8 players in the team’s starting lineup. Only Curtis Granderson was able to avoid the disabled list in 2016. Yoenis CespedesAsdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes all had a DL stint, while David WrightLucas DudaTravis d’Arnaud and Neil Walker missed huge swaths of time and three of them were shutdown for the season.

USP MLB: MIAMI MARLINS AT NEW YORK METS S BBN USA NY

If you were to look at the Mets’ MLB ranking in Runs Scored by Month, it tells the story of just how impacted the team was by all these injuries, but it also illustrates just how good they were in April, August and September when they were essentially at 80-100 percent strength.

April – 10th
May – 28th
June – 30th
July – 20th
August – 8th
September – 5th

After Cespedes, Reyes and Cabrera all returned from the DL, there was a five week span that began in mid August and lasted through mid September that the Mets were the number one ranked MLB offense in runs scored.

Let’s talk about the bullpen real quick as that seems to be the biggest source of consternation right now. Even if the Mets were to lose Jeurys Familia for a month – and that’s not written in stone yet – this was one of the top bullpens in baseball last year with the 6th best ERA and 5th best WHIP in MLB so why all the angst?

Yes, we still have some work to do, I’ll give you that. But as I reported last week I had a very good source tell me that the Mets were not out on Jerry Blevins and that the two sides were still very much engaged. Also heard that Blevins has told friends he wants to return to the Mets. I like the sound of both those things.

Then on Friday, I heard that the Mets were one of the most aggressive suitors for Craig Breslow and that they also reached out to Joe Blanton. Something’s definitely cooking and the Mets are not done yet. If you don’t think Sandy Alderson wants to win as badly as we do you really need to go find yourself a good shrink.

As for the rotation, what else can I say that I haven’t said already? They are young. They are exciting and oozing with All Star potential. And they also have a lot of health concerns. I think they’re all going to be fine, but if they’re not, I’m so glad we have Gsellman and Lugo.

The Mets are going to be fine. The bullpen is going to be fine. The rotation is going to be fine. Having an extra 30-homer bat in the lineup is going to be fine. Terry Collins is going to make me pull my hair out. But no matter what, our New York Mets will win 90+ games in 2017…  Put it in the books.

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2016 Mets Report Cards: Jeurys Familia, RP http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/2016-mets-report-cards-jeurys-familia-rp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/2016-mets-report-cards-jeurys-familia-rp.html/#comments Tue, 15 Nov 2016 17:00:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226418 jeurys familia

JEURYS FAMILIA, RHP

Player Data: Age: 27, Bats: Right, Throws: Right, Arbitration Eligible

2016 Primary Stats: 3-4. 51 Saves, 2.55 ERA, 1.210 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 77.2 IP.

2016 Player Review:

Closers in baseball have a plight similar to that of kickers in football. You expect them to get the job done every time and are relieved when they do, but they really only become the story when they screw up. Jeurys Familia was terrific in 2016, leading the MLB in saves and games finished. When he blew his first save, it was shocking. When he blew a save in the next game as well, panic began to set in. People don’t realize that most teams would kill to have a closer who fails as infrequently as Familia.

Familia will, again, be unfairly judged by his postseason failures. In 2015, he was the scapegoat of the postseason despite an 0.63 ERA (the blown save in Game 1 was fully on him, but that’s it). After the Wild Card game, his postseason ERA skyrocketed to 2.30. Others have done worse. But Familia doesn’t have the pedigree to make these mistakes something people are willing to look past. Nobody cares that Mariano Rivera blew a series-clinching save in two series the Yankees would go on to lose (2001 World Series, 2004 ALCS).

But while I am a huge fan of Familia and will not make the mistake of throwing out two terrific seasons because of a disappointing but much smaller sample, I can’t say I was shocked by what happened in October. Not because I don’t think he has the “clutch gene,” but because I always felt hitters could fare better than they had been doing. It’s as simple as this: He needs to throw strikes. He’s amazing at getting hitters to chase, but it’s astounding how far hitters can get by just refusing to swing. He needs to be able to throw a good pitch for a strike when needed, and that perfect consistency isn’t there yet. After his control betrayed him in the Wild Card game, he finally took off the movement, aimed for the middle and grooved one to Conor Gillaspie. And that was it for our season.

So while I think he is a terrific closer, there is room for improvement. Which is scary, because an imperfect Familia has already done incredible things.

Grade: A-

2017 Outlook:

Familia is currently facing domestic violence charges, and it is impossible to predict how this will turn out without further detail. He could be facing a lengthy suspension, a middling suspension around 30-60 games, or none at all. When he is back on the mound, he will be a great pitcher, but will need to make some adjustments after the Giants finally became the team smart enough to try the not-that-complicated strategy of being patient against him. In the meantime, the Mets need to shore up their bullpen so that it can stay afloat if Familia is absent and then bridge the gap to him when he is available.

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The Mets Should Hold Their Heads High Today http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/the-mets-should-hold-their-heads-high-today.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/the-mets-should-hold-their-heads-high-today.html/#comments Thu, 06 Oct 2016 12:30:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224515 noah-syndergaard-2

The New York Mets were defeated by a score of 3-0 Wednesday night at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in the NL Wild Card game. They have no reason to be down on themselves after going through a roller coaster of a season.

This team was left for dead at 60-62 before a series against this very same Giants team had helped to give them a pulse entering the final weeks of the season. They were down and disappointed at the end of Wednesday’s game, just as most of us were. Manager, Terry Collins though showed nothing but praise for a club that had been written off numerous times this season.

“Well, they’re hurting, but there’s no reason to be,” Collins said. “I mean, they were written off so many times this summer and yet they kept fighting back, and they said the other day you’ve got to have special people and special character to play in this town and in this environment, and that’s in that room.” (Newsday)

Their ace showed up in what was the biggest game of the 2016 season, Noah Syndergaard could not have done anymore. He pitched to seven shutout innings while allowing just two hits and striking out 10. It was possibly the best pitched game in his career, exceeding all expectations. Despite a loss, he would find solace in the fact of just how hard this team fought this season.

“It stings a little bit right now,” Syndergaard said. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet that this season’s over with. But I couldn’t be more proud of this group of guys right here, for everything we went through.”

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The result of the game is not what they wished it would be. The game was handed to their closer, Jeurys Familia, a man who had saved a franchise record 51 games this season. He though would falter, giving way to another postseason victory for the Giants in an elimination setting. He too would reflect on just how much this team battled this season, enduring obstacle after obstacle.

“A lot of people thought we weren’t going to make it here this year,” Familia said. “Everybody should be proud in this room because we made it with those injuries.”

The resounding opinion in the Mets clubhouse Wednesday night was that of feeling accomplished. No, they did not make it past this first round Wild Card game, but they have every reason to be proud. This was a team who were on there way to a disappointing season, only to turn it around and make it back to the postseason. Too many injuries, bad managerial decisions and just bad luck at times, they endured.

The 2016 Mets are a team to be proud of. A team with great heart that was such a pleasure to watch. A team that taught you to never give up because if you just keep moving ahead, good things will come.

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Yoenis Cespedes Has That Eye of the Tiger http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/yoenis-cespedes-has-that-eye-of-the-tiger.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/yoenis-cespedes-has-that-eye-of-the-tiger.html/#comments Wed, 05 Oct 2016 15:00:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224419 yoenis-cespedes

The stage is set. The New York Mets will be taking on the San Francisco Giants in a win or go home Wild Card game, tonight at 8:09 PM. This is Yoenis Cespedes‘ time to shine.

Cespedes came back to the Mets this season in hopes of returning to a World Series. That opportunity is within reach to yet again as the team punched their way into the postseason for consecutive years for only the second time in franchise history. This Wild Card game means everything to the Mets slugger.

“It means a lot for me, it means a lot for any ballplayer,” Cespedes said through a translator. These are the fruits of our labor to be out here after everything that we have done and everything we have practiced and worked for so I know we are going to go out on that field Wednesday night and give absolutely everything we have for that one game.’’ (NY Post)

It was another great season for Yo, who hit to a .280/.354/.580 batting line to go along with 31 homers and 86 RBI. He yet again carried the offense at numerous points in the season, showing that 2015 was no fluke.

yoenis cespedes

Cespedes ended the season in a bit of a funk, going 5-for-30. He was reportedly so upset with his play that he opted not to celebrate with his team after they clinched the right to play in the Wild Card game. He though advised he was saving all celebration until the Mets defeated the Giants and moved on to the NLDS. He is focused and ready to go.

“I think whatever happened in the past, is the past, I’ve already forgotten about it,’’ Cespedes said. “Mentally and physically I’m ready for Wednesday night.”

“The season is very long. And we all end up playing through some injury and some pain, not just me, every ballplayer. I think these couple of days helped everyone out, myself included.’’

The Mets would not be in the playoffs without Cespedes, he is the heart of this offense. One of a few players in the game who can legit carry a team on his back to victory. Going up against a tough pitcher like Madison Bumgarner, Cespedes could be the true difference in if the team succeeds against San Francisco.

Maybe to add to his luck as well, Cespedes has reportedly joined Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jerry Blevins, dying his hair and becoming part of the blonde bombers.

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As the New York Mets wrapped up their regular season in Philadelphia over the weekend, securing the number one Wild Card spot and home field advantage, they await the San Francisco Giants in Queens on Wednesday night, with the winner heading to face the Chicago Cubs in the NLDS starting Friday night.

The Mets finished the regular season at 87-75, a true testament to the team’s resilience this year. Perhaps the combination of savvy veterans, good clubhouse guys, a strong back-end of the bullpen, and rookies who didn’t let the moment get to big for them were all successful ingredients for the second half run that saw the Mets go 33-25 from August 1 on. A soft September schedule also played into the Mets’ hands, however, the Mets had a tougher schedule in April and May, facing the Nationals six times, the Dodgers for seven, the Giants for three, Indians for three, and the World Series Champion Royals for the opening two games of the season. In essence, the season always balances itself out.

So now the Mets are back in the postseason, back-to-back seasons in fact, and only the second time in club history that the Mets have made it to two consecutive postseasons, the first time coming in 1999-00. The Mets are also looking to become only the second National League home team since Major League Baseball introduced the second wild card format in 2012, to win the play-in game since the Pittsburgh Pirates won at home in 2013 against the Cincinnati Reds. But the Mets face a challenge on Wednesday, and his name is Madison Bumgarner.

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Bumgarner, 27, has been one of the game’s premier pitchers and one of the best postseason pitchers in major league history. For his career in all rounds of the playoffs, Bumgarner owns a minuscule 2.14 ERA. When the Giants have advanced to the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014, Bumgarner was even more dominant, posting a 0.25 ERA and going 4-0 in all four starts he’s made. His 0.25 ERA in the World Series is currently ranked as the best all-time, ahead of such illustrious names like Mariano Rivera, Christy Mathewson, Sandy Koufax, and Babe Ruth.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as Wednesday calls for the Wild Card game, where anything can happen in a one game play-in game. Looking at Bumgarner’s numbers when pitching in the do-or-die game reveals that the moment never seems too challenging for the bearded lefty. You may recall that Bumgarner pitched in the Giants 2014 Wild Card game against the Pirates, tossing a complete game, four-hit shutout for the 8-0 win. He walked only one, and struck out 10 Pirates, on only 109 pitches. A truly brilliant and efficient performance.

Bumgarner poses a huge threat for the Mets come Wednesday, where his experience in the big game and not shying away from it give him a certain edge. However, it’s worth noting that this season, the Mets have hit a combined .277/.358/.426 off him in 47 at-bats, with two home runs, five RBI, and six walks against him. While that stat line won’t be mistaken for Murderer’s Row, the Mets have gotten to “Mad Bum” before, especially in their August 18 game in San Francisco, where the Mets scored four runs on six hits off him in five innings of work. However, that happened to be the same game where Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom had one of his worst outings of his career, allowing eight runs on 13 hits in five innings. While the Giants ended up winning that game 10-7,  the Mets did hit against Bumgarner, and should give them some motivation and solace heading into Wednesday’s match-up.

noah-syndergaard

And of course, there’s Noah Syndergaard, the Mets ace who will be opposing Bumgarner on ESPN. Thor had a fantastic sophomore season, going 14-9 with a sparkling 2.60 ERA, third in all of baseball. Syndergaard has also had a taste of postseason success, starting in all three rounds of the playoffs last season, winning NLCS Game 2, and World Series Game 3. Combined, Thor went 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance in the playoffs, tossing 19 innings with 26 strikeouts to eight walks, holding opponents to a .217 average overall. Having logged those high pressure innings puts the Mets and Syndergaard in a good position, he knows what it takes to achieve greatness in high pressured situations, and embraces it. Trademarks of a true ace pitcher.

Looking at Thor’s numbers against the Giants this season should give Mets fans a lot to smile about though. In 44 at-bats, the Giants are slashing a combined .159/.229/.227 off Syndergaard, with only one extra-base-hit (homer), three RBI, four walks, and 12 strikeouts. His most recent outing against them came on August 21, where Thor went eight shutout innings, giving up only two singles, walked two, and struck out six on 98 pitches in the Mets 2-0 victory. That game put the Mets back at .500, at 62-62, and from that August 21 game on, the Mets went 26-13 the rest of the way.

It should be noted that Thor also had a rough outing against the Giants in early May, where he gave up four runs on five hits in 5.2 innings pitched for the loss. He was cruising through the first three innings of that game until the fourth, where back-to-back singles, a stolen base, and a home run gave the Giants an early 3-0 lead, one they would not relinquish.

Of course, all these stats and games played start at zero for Wednesday’s Wild Card game, where we get to witness two of the very best starting pitchers the game has to offer, battle for their team’s chances at advancing and facing the Cubs in Chicago starting Friday night in the NLDS. Two teams enter, one team makes earlier than expected golf reservations, the other, a potential date with destiny.

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Talkin’ Mets: Bring on the Giants and the Playoffs http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/talkin-mets-bring-on-the-giants-and-the-playoffs.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/talkin-mets-bring-on-the-giants-and-the-playoffs.html/#comments Mon, 03 Oct 2016 01:11:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224283 mets-win

Tonight Rich Coutinho of 98.7 ESPN joins me to look back at the 2016 Mets and towards their matchup with the Giants in the Wild Card game on Wednesday night.

Rich and I talk about how the Mets went from one of the most disappointing seasons in team history to perhaps one of the most, if not the most, gratifying. We believe this playoff berth can be a real foundation in building a culture that is about sustainable winning.

We also talk about the playoff roster and make predictions on whether the Mets can beat Madison Baumgarner.

Chris the Teacher from Metsmerized Online calls in to share his experience of watching the clinching live down in Philadelphia. Chris disagrees with my assertion that everything is “gravy” going forward. He believes the Mets need to win the Wild Card game to earn the “sustainable winning” moniker that I lay out in the opening. Also hear why he thinks Jose Reyes is going to have a huge game on Wednesday.

 

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James Loney Delivers Decisive Homer and Memorable Bat Flip! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/james-loney-delivers-decisive-homer-and-memorable-bat-flip.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/james-loney-delivers-decisive-homer-and-memorable-bat-flip.html/#comments Sun, 02 Oct 2016 11:05:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224235 james-loney

James Loney delivered the decisive homer in Saturday’s 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies that helped the Mets clinch the top Wild Card spot.

For the second consecutive season, the Mets are heading to the postseason. In what was another thrilling victory, Loney crushed a 426-foot bomb to put the Mets ahead for good after the Phillies had tied the game at two a piece in the previous inning.

As soon as he hit it, Loney and his teammates all knew it was leaving the park. Uncharacteristically, Loney performed one of the better bat flips you may see as he dropped the bat as if it were a microphone, looked into the dugout at his teammates before trotting around the bases.

“My emotions just took over,” Loney said. “I was in the moment. You know how big the game is. This is what you play for.” (ESPN)

The Mets first-basemen has had a couple of key hits as of late and has performed quite well over his last 15 games, providing a .292/.320/.563 batting line in 48 plate appearances.

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The homer on Saturday was his biggest yet as a Met, helping the team to clinch a Wild Card spot that they scratched and clawed their way back to this season after seemingly being left for dead. Mets fans were all over Citizens Bank Park to witness their team clinch, Loney could say nothing but great things about the fans following the game.

“We have a great fan base,” Loney said. “You can see their excitement and their passion, and we play off that.”

With his recent prowess at the plate and his above average defense, it begs to ask the question if Loney would get the start over Lucas Duda in Wednesday’s Wild Card game. He is not the same threat Duda is in the lineup but has shown to be clutch as of late.

As Terry Collins ponders who will man first base, we will just leave this right here.

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Mets Magic Number Falls to 5 with Cardinals Loss http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-magic-number-falls-to-5-with-cardinals-loss.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-magic-number-falls-to-5-with-cardinals-loss.html/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:00:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223862 bartolo-colon-3

The New York Mets fell to the Miami Marlins on Monday night by a score of 7-3 in one of the most emotional games you may have witnessed. Following the passing of star pitcher, Jose Fernandez, Miami began their healing process with last night’s game.

A night that included beautiful tributes to their ace, including an unbelievable lead-off home run from Dee Gordon. Players embraced prior to the game, with many struggling to play through the pain they felt inside. Manager, Terry Collins talked about the atmosphere of the game.

“It was a tough game to play,” Collins said. “The whole atmosphere was not baseball that we’re used to playing, especially here. I’m glad it’s over.” (NY Post)

With the Mets falling to the Marlins, the Giants now trail New York by a half game in the Wild Card race. San Francisco had their final day off of the season on Monday night. The Giants open up a series tonight at home against Colorado.

The St. Louis Cardinals though did have a game last night and were trounced by the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds defeated the Cards handily by a score of 15-2. With that loss, the Mets stay a game and a half ahead of St. Louis.

The Mets will look to get back on track tonight with RHP Noah Syndergaard (13-9, 2.63 ERA) making his return to the rotation. Thor will be opposed by Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (9-12, 4.02 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

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Decisions, Decisions: Home Field and the Manic Magic Number http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/decisions-decisions-home-field-and-the-manic-magic-number.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/decisions-decisions-home-field-and-the-manic-magic-number.html/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 18:49:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223803 magicnumber

Terry Collins and his staff may have some interesting decisions to make this weekend regarding his pitching staff and how it sets up for a potential Wild Card Game next Wednesday night.   A lot has to do with the two team wildcard format, tie breaking procedures and how a magic number is calculated.

An important facet in this situation to understand is that a magic number, by definition, pertains to only two teams.  Therefore, the Mets have one magic number against the Giants (currently 5), and a completely separate one against the St. Louis Cardinals (currently 6).  After all, it is in essence, the combination of wins by the leading team and losses by the trailing team that make catching the leader mathematically impossible.  Many fans, tweeters, and intelligent folks are having issues understanding how any of this works in a three team field for two spots.  You are not alone, as the format can get a bit confusing.

How Come the Mets are Further Ahead of the Giants than the Cardinals?

Let’s look at the standings as they currently exist.  The Mets are one full game ahead of the Giants with both teams having six remaining games.  If the Mets go 3-3 on their final road trip, it would make sense to expect the Giants to tie the Mets with a 4-2 record, making up the necessary game and forcing some type of home field playoff.  Well, this is not the case with the two wildcard team format.  Teams that finish with the same record for the top spot (not the final spot, which will be addressed later) will default to head to head season series, which the Mets hold a 4-3 edge on.  In other words, that is tantamount to the Mets having a current two game advantage on the Giants.  The Giants would have to OVERTAKE the Mets in the standings, not just tie them.  So, in the above example, the Mets 3-3 record would task the Giants to have to go 5-1 to overtake the Mets in the Wildcard standings. Any combination of five Mets wins and Giants losses would secure home field for the Mets a Wild Card match-up against the Giants.

The above scenario is solely for the Mets Giants race for the top Wild Card spot.  The St. Louis Cardinals won the season series against the Mets.  As a result, they only have to draw even with the Mets in order to overtake them in the standings, again defaulting to the in season record between the two clubs.  As it currently stands, the Red Birds are 1.5 games back of the Mets for the Wildcard lead with seven games left to play.  The ‘extra game’ will be played Thursday, while the Mets are off.  As a result of the extra game to be played and the Cardinals holding the edge in the season series, the Mets magic number against this club is 6, or higher than the team that is ahead of them (The Giants) in the standings.  If the Cardinals go 3-4 in their final week, the Mets would need to go 3-3 to maintain their lead against them.  Anything less would give the Cardinals home field in any head to head match-up between the clubs if they are the two to qualify and the Giants go home.

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How Could This Impact the Mets Rotation in Their Final Turn?

If you told me in April I would be writing about Noah Syndergaard‘s strep throat and how it will impact home-field advantage in a Wild Card game, I would have laughed.  But after this season, it is impossible to take anything off the table with this team.

Noah was bumped from his start this past weekend due to his illness.  As a result, he is no longer lined up to pitch on Wednesday October 5th, the NL Wild Card Game.  In fact, being scheduled to pitch tomorrow, he is actually lined up to pitch on regular rest in the final game of the season in Philadelphia Sunday.  It would behoove the Mets to wrap up home-field by Saturday the latest, or they could be put in a precarious position before game 162.

If the Mets have clinched a wildcard berth by Sunday morning but have yet to secure home field, they will have to decide on whether or not to send Noah out on regular rest in order to get a home Wild Card ‘play-in’ game, or save him for a guaranteed post season start that may come on the road with their stud on extra rest.  Fans would rather see the game played in Flushing, but they would likely rather see Thor on the bump, regardless of where the game is.  Whats more? Colon is scheduled to pitch Saturday night in Philly, which would leave him on short rest the following Wednesday.

If the Mets postseason hopes come down to their final game, they would find themselves with neither Colon or Syndergaard on regular rest to pitch that play-in game.  The result? Allow Colon to pitch on three days rest, or, everyone’s consensus choice to pitch such a game in spring training, Robert Gsellman is your Wild Card game starter for the Mets.

The scenarios get much more murky if all three teams finish with the same record or a tie breaker game is necessary if two teams tie for the second Wild Card spot, which would lead to a Game 163, as non-competitive tie breaking procedures can not be utilized for a final playoff spot, but a head to head game.

How can this be avoided? Simple! The Mets Win the next six and make it all moot! Easy enough…

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MMO Game Thread: Phillies vs Mets, 1:10 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-game-thread-phillies-vs-mets-110-pm-4.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-game-thread-phillies-vs-mets-110-pm-4.html/#comments Sun, 25 Sep 2016 15:11:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223719 robert-gsellman

Sunday, September 25, 2016 • 1:10 p.m.
Citi Field • Flushing, N.Y.
RHP Jake Thompson (3-5, 5.62) vs. RHP Robert Gsellman (2-2, 3.13)
SNY • WOR 710 AM • ESPN 1050 AM

The Phillies jumped out to an early 10-0 lead against the Mets last night, and somehow the Mets clawed back to a final score of 10-8. Meanwhile, the Giants and the Cardinals both won last night so the pressure continues for the Mets this afternoon as they look to win another series and keep a Wild Card spot and post-season berth.

Jay Bruce, who had a pinch-hit homer Saturday to snap an 0-for-15 skid, is making only his second start in the last eight games.

Mets Lineup

  1. Jose Reyes – 3B
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera – SS
  3. Yoenis Cespedes – LF
  4. Curtis Granderson – CF
  5. Jay Bruce – RF
  6. T.J. Rivera – 2B
  7. James Loney – 1B
  8. Rene Rivera – C
  9. Robert Gsellman – RHP

Phillies Lineup

  1. Cesar Hernandez – 2B
  2. Freddy Galvis – SS
  3. Odubel Herrera – CF
  4. Maikel Franco – 3B
  5. Ryan Howard – 1B
  6. Cody Asche – LF
  7.  Aaron Alther – RF
  8. Jorge Alfaro – C
  9. Jake Thompson – RHP

The Mets will turn to Robert Gsellman today who is 2-2 over 6 games and 5 starts over 31.2 innings with a 3.13 ERA. In his last two starts he has tossed 11.0 innings allowing 2 ER while striking out 10 batters. His longest start of his career came against the Phillies where he pitched 6.0 innings allowing 7 hits and 4 ER. The Phillies have the following numbers against Robert:

  • Altherr 1-2
  • Franco 1-3
  • Hernandez 1-3
  • Joseph 1-3
  • Paredes 2-3, 2B
  • Ellis 0-2
  • Galvis 1-2, 2B

The Mets bats will draw a rookie this afternoon in Jake Thompson who is 3-5 over 9 starts and 49.2 innings with a 5.62 ERA. (It is worth noting that his numbers are still heavily influenced by 3 of his first 4 starts where he allowed 6, 5, and 7 ER). In his last two starts he’s 2-0 over 11.0 innings allowing 10 hits and 5 ER. He’s never faced the Mets before in a major league game.

Let’s Go Mets!

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R.I.P. Jose Fernandez, 24

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Does Jay Bruce Have a Postseason Roster Spot? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/does-jay-bruce-have-a-postseason-roster-spot.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/does-jay-bruce-have-a-postseason-roster-spot.html/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 13:22:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223459 jay-bruce-2

After 40 games played entering Wednesday night’s game, I think we can all agree that Jay Bruce has been a major bust since joining the Mets. His numbers since the trade that brought him over from Cincinnati are cringe-worthy; a stat line of .176/.255/.289 with four home runs, 11 runs batted in, 14 walks, and 39 strikeouts in 142 at-bats. A far cry from the player the Reds had through 97 games, where he hit .265/.316/.559 with a National League leading 80 runs batted in, 25 homers, and a 1.125 OPS with runners in scoring position, earning an All-Star appearance in San Diego this year.

We’ve all read the various reports indicating that New York wasn’t the first place Bruce wanted to be traded to, how he looks like he’s pressing at the plate, can’t handle the New York pressure, and on and on it goes. Bruce’s $13 million option for 2017 was appealing for Sandy Alderson and Co. when evaluating trade options at the deadline, as Yoenis Cespedes will likely opt out of his three-year contract in the off-season, with the hopes of obtaining that big payday which he will most certainly get after back-to-back sensational seasons with the Detroit Tigers and Mets. Bruce was supposed to serve as a cheaper alternative in case Cespedes could not be retained by the Mets, someone who can offer 25-30 homers, and drive in close to 100 runs each year.

But after witnessing Bruce’s struggles and odd loss of power with the Mets, there’s no way he should be picked up for next season. Instead, the Mets should decline the option and pay the $1 million buyout for Bruce. Even Jason Bay, who never replicated the numbers he put up with the Pittsburgh Pirates or Boston Red Sox, put up better numbers with the Mets in his first 40 games: .276/.367/.407 with 16 RBIs. While his power disappeared with the Mets as well (he had 26 total in 288 games between 2010-12), he still produced a higher OBP and SLG in both his first 40 games with the Mets, and in his Met career overall (.318 OBP, .369 SLG).

Making matters worse was the outfield gaffe in Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves, where in the 6th inning a shallow popup fell in between center fielder Curtis Granderson and Bruce, with both intimating after the game that it was a lapse in communication. This was the turning point of the game, one in which the Mets were leading by a slim 1-0 margin, only to see them give up five runs in the sixth and seventh innings. It was like watching someone slowly letting the helium out of a balloon, with the balloon slowly wilting before our very eyes.

And while many will say it’s the center fielder’s job to make any play they can, clearly Bruce was in better position to make the catch and throw home, as the bases were loaded with only one out in the inning. Bruce has the stronger arm of the two, even more of a reason why he should’ve made the call and the catch to begin with, instead of being passive and having that deer in the headlights look afterwards.

After Terry Collins elected to pinch-hit Eric Campbell for Bruce in he 8th inning with a runner on second and two outs, going with a guy that hadn’t had a major league at-bat since May 30 against the Chicago White Sox, that was enough for me to see that Collins has lost faith in the 29-year-old slugging outfielder. Bruce handled himself well postgame, something he should be commended for. He spoke by his locker on how it was the manager’s right to remove him from the game, and he didn’t need or expect an explanation from Collins. He said he always thinks he’s the best option at the plate, but clearly he hasn’t been that better option for some time now. Bruce realizes that he’s as much beloved in New York as the aforementioned Jason Bay, Oliver Perez, and Luis Castillo combined.

Which brings me to this question: Does Jay Bruce have a guaranteed roster spot for the Mets postseason?

With 25 precious roster spots for the postseason, would it be in the Mets’ best interest to include the struggling left-handed hitter into the mix, in the biggest stage of the season? Can Jay Bruce play himself into the postseason conversation with a strong final week and a half of play?

All legitimate questions to pose, especially when narrowing down the roster spots and planning ahead for various match ups, situations, etc. As management and the front office begin to crunch numbers and analyze who should be the best 25 group of men to take the field, I made my own postseason roster, to narrow down who the best roster would be comprised of.

Catcher: Rene Rivera, Travis d’Arnaud

Infielders: Lucas Duda, James Loney, T.J. Rivera, Kelly Johnson, Wilmer Flores (health permitting), Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera

Outfielders: Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Alejandro De Aza, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto

Pitchers: Noah Syndergaard, Bartolo Colon, Steven Matz (health permitting), Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Jerry Blevins, Fernando Salas, Addison Reed, Jeurys Familia, Hansel Robles, Josh Smoker

In my mock postseason roster, I’m carrying both Lugo and Gsellman in case Matz hasn’t had the necessary time to work up his pitch count, and or if the Mets elect to use a four man rotation, and one of Gsellman or Lugo ends up being the long man out of the pen. I’m also carrying Loney and Duda on the roster, since Duda has not had much playing time and no minor league games to rehab in, but can offer a late inning power bat off the bench in the worst case scenario.

I’m carrying Lagares as my late-inning defensive replacement, something he did a lot in the lead-up to the postseason last year. Lagares can also pinch-run, however, his thumb isn’t strong enough for him to take consistent at-bats with, but I’d still like to have him on the roster to ensure the best possible defensive alignment for the later innings.

And as of now, Flores hasn’t been able to make his way back from the left wrist he injured during the Sept. 10 game against the Braves, and might not return in time for the postseason. Collins appeared worried on Wednesday, indicating that his level of concern is at “DEFCON FOUR”. Flores still has some time to work back from the injury, so with that in mind, I’m keeping him on my playoff roster. In the case Flores in unable to play, the Mets could decide to go with Matt Reynolds who can backup Cabrera at short, or go with Ty Kelly for his switch-hitting abilities or Eric Campbell who can man the corners and offer a strong .798 OPS as a pinch-hitter for his career.

michael-conforto-2

And I’m also carrying Conforto on the playoff roster, who had a tough Divisional and League Championship series in 2015, but put together a tremendous World Series going 5-for-15 (.333.) with two homers, and four runs batted in. Conforto is also part of the Mets’ future plans, and offers a better option than Bruce does currently. When comparing the two, Conforto in 2016 has a wRC+ of 91, wOBA of .304, and an OPS of .706. In Bruce’s Met tenure, he’s posted a wRC+ of 45, a .235 wOBA, and an OPS of .544. I also believe that giving Conforto the roster spot over Bruce would show good faith in the 23-year-old, and might go a long way in boosting his confidence for the postseason and moving forward for his career.

Bruce is a half season rental at this point, and should be viewed as such. The thoughts of picking up his option for ’17 should be immediately erased, and instead, all the resources the Wilpon’s have should be going to their efforts in re-signing Cespedes. Remember when the Mets went 5-9 in Cespedes’ absence from August 4-18? Since his return on August 19, the Mets have gone 20-10, and he’s provided clutch hits, big moments, and also put together his first back-to-back 30 plus homer seasons of his career. Needless to say, Cespedes is the outfielder the Mets need to make priority number one.

Obviously the Mets still have work to do in the regular season before worrying about postseason rosters. Before Wednesday night’s game with the Braves, the Mets sit in a three-way tie with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants for the top Wild Card. Of the three teams, the Mets have the easier schedule to close the regular season, however, as the Braves’ series has shown, you can never take the schedule for granted, and the Mets need to approach each game as a must win from here on out.

If Bruce wants a shot at a postseason roster spot, he needs to start putting together better at-bats, and producing at a closer level in which the Mets brass thought they were acquiring. Time is ticking and running out on that goal, which is why, in my opinion, Bruce does not belong on the postseason roster. What do you think?

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The Amazin’ Metscast: The Jay Bay Chronicles http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/the-amazin-metscast-the-jay-bay-chronicles.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/the-amazin-metscast-the-jay-bay-chronicles.html/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 13:00:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223479 amazin-metscast-baron

The Amazin’ Metscast – Episode 11 – The Jay Bay Chronicles

On this week’s dumpster fire of an episode we are joined by Michael Baron as we discuss the Mets’ struggles with teams they should beat while in the midst of a Wild Card race.

We also delve into the hot topic that is Jay Bruce as we witness the possible reincarnation of Jason Bay in front of our very eyes.

Baron and I also take a look at Wild Card possibilities, Travis d’Arnauds struggles, Steven Matz and more.

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NL Wild Card Tie-Breaker Scenarios http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/nl-wild-card-tie-breaker-scenarios.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/nl-wild-card-tie-breaker-scenarios.html/#comments Tue, 20 Sep 2016 16:22:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223370 terry collins

With 12 games remaining in the season, the National League Wild Card race is extremely tight between the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, and the St. Louis Cardinals.  Currently, the Giants and the Cardinals are tied for the second Wild Card spot, and they both trail the Mets by one game in the Wild Card standings.  Long story short, there is a very real possibility there will be tiebreaker games required to settle out who will get the right to play in the National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs.  Here is a breakdown:

Mets and Giants Tie

As the Mets took the season series 4-3 from the Giants, they would have the tiebreaker for home field advantage.  If the Mets and Giants tie for the Wild Card spot with the Cardinals finishing third, the Wild Card Game will be played at Citi Field on Wednesday, October 5th.  In the event the Cardinals finish ahead of the Mets and the Giants in the Wild Card standings, the Mets will host the Giants at Citi Field for a one game playoff on October 3rd with the winner of that game flying to St. Louis to play the Wild Card Game on October 5th in St. Louis.

Mets and Cardinals Tie

With the Mets and Cardinals splitting their season series, the next tiebreaker is division record.  As it stands today, the Cardinals have the better division record having gone 36-30 against the Central whereas the Mets have gone 33-31 against the East.  With the Mets only having division games remaining, the Mets will definitely have a worse division record than the Cardinals do in the event the two teams have the same record.  Accordingly, in the event the Mets and Cardinals are tied in the standings, the Mets will have to play a tiebreaker game or the Wild Card Game in St. Louis.

Three Way Tie

This is where it starts to get a little complicated.  Keeping it as simple as possible to start, as the Mets and the Cardinals have won their season series against the Giants, the Giants will temporarily be deemed to be the second Wild Card with the Mets and the Cardinals needing to decide who is the first Wild Card.  Here is a breakdown to explain what follows as easily as possible:

tie-breaker

Of course, the Mets could avoid all of this by making sure they win enough games to ensure they win the first Wild Card and play the Wild Card Game at Citi Field on October 5, 2016.

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The Wild Card Race Tightens as Mets and Giants Lose http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/the-wild-card-race-tightens-as-mets-and-giants-lose.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/the-wild-card-race-tightens-as-mets-and-giants-lose.html/#comments Tue, 20 Sep 2016 11:00:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223359 noah syndergaard

With the Mets falling to the Atlanta Braves Monday night by a score of 7-3, the Wild Card race tightened some more.

The St. Louis Cardinals took care of business on their end, defeating the Colorado Rockies by a score of 5-3. The San Francisco Giants blew a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth, falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers by a score of 2-1.

With the win, the Cards were able to pick up a game on both the Mets and Giants. They trail the Mets by one game for the top Wild Card spot and are now tied with the Giants for the second Wild Card spot.

The Mets will send Robert Gsellman (2-1, 3,08 ERA) to the mound tonight as they look to hold on to sole possession of the top Wild Card spot on Tuesday night. The Braves though will send Julio Teheran (5-10, 3.18 ERA) to the mound, who has dominated the Mets this season. Teheran has only given up two runs in 23 innings against them this year.

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MMO Players Of The Week: Who Else But Rivera and Thor! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-players-of-the-week-who-else-but-rivera-and-thor.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-players-of-the-week-who-else-but-rivera-and-thor.html/#comments Mon, 19 Sep 2016 17:13:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223290 MMO PLAYER OF THE WEEK

With just under two weeks left in the 2016 regular season, the New York Mets are making their final push to position themselves as the top Wild Card seed, giving them home field advantage for the one-game playoff.

After a sweep over the weekend of the Minnesota Twins, and the San Francisco Giants splitting their four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Mets have a one-game lead over the Giants for the first wild card spot. The Mets continue to face a light schedule to end their season, facing the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Miami Marlins.

The Mets went 4-2 for the week of September 12-18 against the Washington Nationals and the Twins, but faced grim news over the weekend about one of their aces, Jacob deGrom. He was slated to return and start the final game of the Twins series on Sunday, but had to be shut down for the rest of the season due to an injury in the ulnar nerve in his right elbow. DeGrom didn’t complain of any troubles in his Friday bullpen session, however, he did feel pain when he was shagging fly balls in the outfield soon after. He’s been out since September 1 and was looked upon to give the Mets a dynamic one-two punch along with Noah Syndergaard, just in time for the playoffs. He will need surgery and the recovery time is expected to be three months.

The team is also waiting on the return of LHP Steven Matz, who hasn’t pitched since August 14, and has been on the disabled list with a left shoulder impingement since August 22. The Mets are hoping for his return later this week, but will be monitoring his workload.

The Mets will continue to rely on their rookie pitchers along with Noah Syndergaard and the ageless Bartolo Colon to help guide them to a potential October 5 date at Citi Field with the Giants for the Wild Card.

As always, here are your MMO Players of the Week for September 12-18.

t-j-rivera

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: T.J. RIVERA

T.J. Rivera earns MMO’s Player of the Week after going 9-for-20 (.450) with four runs batted in, three runs scored, two homers, one double, and one walk.

In his brief time with the big club, Rivera has displayed why he’s considered a professional hitter in the minors, hitting to all fields and striking out a low 10.9% of the time thus far. Rivera has put together some terrific at-bats as well, and had one of his breakout games last Tuesday against the Nationals. Rivera tied the game up at one in the third inning, singling to left on a 0-1 slider that scored Asdrubal Cabrera. He added another RBI in the top of the fifth, hitting a sac-fly to center field, allowing Curtis Granderson to score and give the Mets a 3-1 lead.

The Nationals tied the game up at three in the bottom of the ninth against Jeurys Familia and an error by Jose Reyes at third, sending the game into extras. After Jay Bruce grounded out, it was the Bronx product’s turn at the plate. Rivera smacked an 0-2 cutter off closer Mark Melancon into left field for a go-ahead homer, his first major league homer run. It was only the third home run given up by Melancon between the Pirates and Nationals this season.

Rivera was not known for his power while in the minors, only swatting 35 home runs in 625 career minor league games. His career high is 11, which he accomplished this season while playing for Triple A Las Vegas.

Rivera also had a huge weekend series against the Twins, including six hits, two for extra bases. Rivera hit his second career homer in Sunday’s 3-2 win in the third on a seven pitch at-bat against Kyle Gibson, his first at Citi Field.

Rivera has given the Mets a taste of what he can offer going forward, and should be afforded a chance in spring for the full-time second base job, unless the Mets decide to bring back Neil Walker on an extension or they offer and he accepts the qualifying offer in the off-season. At the very least, Rivera should be given an opportunity for the utility infielder role, similar to how Wilmer Flores was intended to be used this season.

noah syndergaard

PITCHER OF THE WEEK: NOAH SYNDERGAARD

Noah Syndergaard takes home MMO’s Pitcher of the Week, after tossing another gem against the Nationals last Tuesday, in the Mets 4-3 win in 10 innings.

The Mets needed a win after dropping the first game of the Nationals’ series on Monday night, with the Giants ahead in the wild card standings by a game and a half, and the Mets only a half game ahead of the Cardinals. Syndergaard was tasked with shutting down the Nats’ lineup, and he produced. Thor tossed seven innings of one run ball, giving up four hits, one walk, and striking out 10, his fifth multi-strikeout game of the season, and first since his June 15 start against the Pittsburgh Pirates at home.

Syndergaard’s only blemish came in the bottom of the second, when he walked Bryce Harper to start the inning. Harper stole second (Syndergaard’s 46th stolen base allowed) and later scored on Wilson Ramos‘ 23rd double of the season, giving the Nationals an early 1-0 lead. But Syndergaard settled down and worked out of early trouble in the fifth, giving up a lead-off double to Ryan Zimmerman. Syndergaard would then proceed to strikeout the side in order, fanning Danny Espinosa, Stephen Drew, and Trea Turner on 14 pitches to get out of the inning.

Syndergaard has been sensational in his sophomore season with the Mets, with a record of 13-8 with a 2.43 ERA, currently third best in the majors behind only the Chicago Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester. He’s logged a career high 174 innings to date, with 205 strikeouts to 40 walks.

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MMO Game Thread: Twins vs Mets, 7:10 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-game-thread-twins-vs-mets-710-pm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-game-thread-twins-vs-mets-710-pm.html/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2016 20:18:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223044 bartolo colon

Friday, September 16, 2016 • 7:10 p.m.
Citi Field • Flushing, N.Y.
RHP Jose Berrios (2-6, 9.27) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (13-7, 3.27)
SNY • WOR 710 AM • ESPN 1050 AM

The Mets now have a full game lead in the second Wild Card spot thanks to the Cardinals sliding their past two games and now the Mets look to beat up on the Twins to extend their chances of getting the Wild Card.

Mets Lineup

  1. Jose Reyes – 3B
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera – SS
  3. Yoenis Cespedes – LF
  4. Curtis Granderson – CF
  5. Jay Bruce – RF
  6. T.J. Rivera – 2B
  7. James Loney – 1B
  8. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  9. Bartolo Colon – RHP

Twins Lineup

  1. Brian Dozier – 2B
  2. Joe Mauer – 1B
  3. Jorge Polanco – SS
  4. Max Kepler – RF
  5. Kurt Suzuki – C
  6. Eduardo Escobar – 3B
  7. Eddie Rosario – LF
  8. Byron Buxton – CF
  9. Jose Berrios – RHP

Bartolo Colon will start things off for the Mets this weekend. He’s 13-7 over 30 games and 29 starts with a 3.27 ERA over 170.2 innings. In his last three starts he’s tossed 19.0 innings, striking out 7 and posting a 1.89 ERA. The last time he faced Minnesota was back in 2013 where he held them scoreless over 6.0 innings and to 5 hits with 8 strikeouts. The Twins have the following numbers against Bartolo:

  • Kurt Suzuki 5-13, 2 2B
  • Grossman 2-6
  • Mauer 3-4, 2B
  • Dozier 0-3
  • Santana 0-3
  • Schafer 0-2
  • Escobar 2-2

The Mets draw Jose Berrios to start series tonight. Jose is 2-6 over 11 starts and 44.2 innings with a 9.27 ERA while walking 28 batters and striking out 42. In his last five starts he has tossed 18.2 innings allowing 26 runs, 22 earned (10.61 ERA). Not surprisingly since he’s a rookie on an AL Central team who has only made 11 starts, he has not faced the Mets yet in his career or anyone on the Mets roster.

Let’s Go Mets!

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MMO Players Of The Week: Cespedes and Lugo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-players-of-the-week-cespedes-and-lugo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-players-of-the-week-cespedes-and-lugo.html/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 22:41:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222743 MMO PLAYER OF THE WEEK

After another successful week for the New York Mets, going 5-1 against the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves from September 5-11, they now hold a half game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild card spot before their Tuesday night game against the Washington Nationals.

The Mets held a six-game winning streak last week, extending from their Saturday, September 3 win against the Nationals to their Friday, September 9 victory against the Braves. It was their second longest winning streak of 2016, as they had an eight-game winning streak from April 22-30 against the Braves, Reds, and San Francisco Giants.

The Mets opened up a big three game series against the Washington Nationals on Monday, winning only the middle game Tuesday night, with a tremendous pitching performance by Noah Syndergaard and late inning heroics from T.J. Rivera, swatting his first major league homer in the top of the 10th to give the Mets a 4-3 lead.

While the Mets didn’t lose any ground in the wild card standings, they could’ve taken advantage of the Cardinals losing two out of three to the Chicago Cubs, and the Giants getting swept at home by the San Diego Padres.

Following the Nationals series, the rest of the Mets schedule is against teams currently under .500, including the Minnesota Twins, Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Miami Marlins.

As always, here are your MMO Players of the Week for September 5-11.

yoenis cespedes

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: YOENIS CESPEDES

Yoenis Cespedes earns MMO’s Offensive Player of the Week, going 6-for-22 with five runs scored, three home runs, 10 RBI, two walks, one intentional walk, and a double.

Cespedes set the tone early for the Mets on Sunday, where he drove in the first run of the game on a groundout to second in the first inning. But the real damage was done in the third, as Cespedes stepped to the plate with the bases juiced and only one out. On a 1-0 count, Braves starter Williams Perez threw a sinker to Cespedes that he promptly drilled into left field for his 30th home run on the season. It was Cespedes’ second grand slam this season, and fourth of his career.

With his 35 combined homers from Detroit and New York last year, Cespedes has his first back-to-back 30 homer seasons of his career.

Since his return from the disabled list on August 19, due to a strained right quad, the Mets have gone 16-7, as opposed to 5-9 during his absence from August 4-18. His value on this team can’t be discussed enough, as he keeps getting big hit after big hit for this club. His secondary numbers are fantastic, evident by his wRC+ at 145 before Tuesday’s game, good for 11th best in baseball, and also 9 points better than what he put up combined between Detroit and New York last season (136).

seth lugo 2

PITCHER OF THE WEEK: SETH LUGO

Seth Lugo earns MMO’s Pitcher of the Week honors, as his brilliant seven innings of two-run ball helped propel the Mets to the second wild card spot this past Sunday against the Braves.

After losing the night before in extra innings along with the Cardinals beating the Milwaukee Brewers, the Mets were sitting a half game back and mere percentage points behind the Cardinals for the second wild card spot, and needed a win Sunday to keep from potentially falling behind further against St. Louis, who had won five out of their last seven games.

Lugo, 26, was up to the challenge, tossing seven innings while giving up two earned runs on six hits, walking one, and striking out five. Lugo was economical with his pitch count, leaving the game with 95 pitches, 62 for strikes.

Lugo faced trouble in the bottom of the fourth, when he gave up a double to Adonis Garcia followed by three singles from Freddie Freeman, Matt Kemp, and Nick Markakis. The Braves only scored one run though, as Lugo got Anthony Recker to hit into an infield fly rule to first, followed by Dansby Swanson hitting into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.

The only other run Lugo allowed came in the bottom of the seventh, as pinch-hitter Brandon Snyder smacked a 2-2 changeup into left-center, making it a 10-2 ballgame.

Lugo has been tremendous in his last four starts for the Mets, winning all four starts while tossing 25 innings, giving up 19 hits, five walks to 18 strikeouts, and five earned runs.

Terry Collins has to be pleased from what he’s seen from Lugo so far, and was heaping plenty of praise after his most recent outing.

“This guy has a feel for pitching,” manager Terry Collins said. “He knows how to get a ground ball to help him get out of trouble, which some pitchers need to learn it. And Seth Lugo I think has a feel for it.”

While it’s still premature to tell how Lugo would fare over a full major league season, there is plenty of optimism going forward with the tall right-hander, as he offers the Mets an affordable rotation option for the 2017 season.

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Who Do You Want: Cardinals or Giants? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/who-do-you-want-cardinals-or-giants.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/who-do-you-want-cardinals-or-giants.html/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 16:56:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222982 giants-bumgarner

Tonight, the St. Louis Cardinals head out west to begin a pivotal four game series against the San Francisco Giants that will have far reaching implications on the National League Wild Card race. With each game played, the Mets will both gain ground on one team and lose ground to another. As the series begins, here is where the Wild Card race stands:

1. San Francisco Giants (77-67)
2. New York Mets (77-68)

St. Louis Cardinals ( 1/2 Game Back)
Miami Marlins (5 Games Back)
Pittsburgh Pirates (6 Games Back)
Colorado Rockies (8 Games Back)

With the Mets being idle, one of two things are going to happen today: (1) they are going to be tied with the Giants for the first Wild Card; or (2) they are going to be tied with the Cardinals for the second Wild Card.

Case for the San Francisco Giants

Each generation of Mets fan has a tale of woe that has come at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals. There was the Terry Pendleton home run off Roger McDowell in 1987, and Carlos Beltran looking at an Adam Wainwright curveball in 2006. There have been many other instances, and if history is any indication, there will be more. It is quite understandable if Mets fans do not want to see a Cardinals uniform in a winner-take-all Wild Card Game.

There are other baseball reasons to want to face the Giants over the Cardinals. Since the All Star Break, the Giants have had the worst record in all of baseball. Their ace, Madison Bumgarner, has struggled in the second half going 4-5 with a 3.87 ERA. The last time Bumgarner pitched against the Mets he only lasted five innings allowing six hits, four runs, four earned, and three walks while striking out six. Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants star that has struggled in the second half.

Buster Posey is in the midst of the worst year in his career. He is hitting .274/.352/.366 with only one home run in the second half. Posey is a major reason why the Giants have scored the third least runs in the National League after the All Star Break. You would have to like the Mets chances against this lineup when they are hopefully sending Noah Syndergaard to the mound.

Even if the Giants were to get an early lead on the Mets in the Wild Card Game, it will not be a safe lead for a Giants bullpen that has completely fallen apart. Santiago Casilla has lost his closer’s job. Joe Nathan was given a chance, but only proved why he was a 41 year old pitcher in the minors this year. Hunter Strickland crashed and burned in his first chance to take over the closer’s position. Fact is, the Giants don’t have a bullpen that can protect a lead and that is really dangerous against a Mets team that has Yoenis Cespedes ready, willing, and able to hit a clutch home run late in the game.

In addition to the Giants falling apart, the Mets could very well have more trouble with the Cardinals. Yadier Molina is a Mets killer. Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk give the Mets fits. While the Cardinals rotation has been a big disappointment this season, Carlos Martinez has pitched like an ace this year and is 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA against the Mets. If the Cardinals get a lead, Seung-hwan Oh has shown himself to be a dominant closer. Given the past history, and how poorly the Mets matchup against the Cardinals, they would be better off facing the Giants.

molina-moss-cards

Case for the St. Louis Cardinals

We can say all we want about Madison Bumgarner having a tough second half, and it is true. However, under no circumstances do you want to face him in a winner-take-all game. You only have to look at the 2014 Wild Card Game, when Mad-Bum pitched a complete game shutout. In Game 7 of the World Series, he came out of the bullpen to pitch five shutout innings to earn the save. In his postseason career, he is 7-3 with a 2.14 ERA and a 0.883 WHIP. You don’t want to be anywhere near him.

In addition to this, many people will remind you that you don’t want to face the Giants because it is an even-numbered year.

No matter how much better the Mets may matchup against the Cardinals, you always want to avoid an ace like Bumgarner in the postseason. Pitching wins, and the Cardinals have no one on the level of Bumgarner.

Case for a Split

A sweep at the hands of the other could bury one of the Wild Card contenders. The corollary to that is it will rejuvenate one of the two Wild Card contenders. As it stands, the Giants and Cardinals have seemingly had trouble getting out of their own way. If either team was able to sweep or take three out of four in the series, it will be a significant mental boost that could lead to them playing better baseball from here on out. Ideally, the Mets do not want to face a hot team in that Wild Card game.

Ideally, the Mets would also have home field in the Wild Card Game. Unless, the Mets sweep the Twins, which may prove to be more difficult than it should be with Gabriel Ynoa potentially slated to go on Sunday, the Mets will trail one of these two teams for home field in the Wild Card race. As of right now, the Mets do not have any teams over .500 remaining on their schedule. If the Mets take care of business, they should be able to earn a Wild Card spot no matter what happens in the Giants-Cardinals series.

As it stands, the Mets would probably want to face the Giants, and they would want to face them at home. However, baseball is an unpredictable game, and as we have learned far too often, you should be careful for what you wish for.

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Kelly Johnson Helps Mets Keep Wild Card Lead http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/kelly-johnson-helps-mets-keep-wild-card-lead.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/kelly-johnson-helps-mets-keep-wild-card-lead.html/#comments Sat, 10 Sep 2016 13:00:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222592 kelly johnson

Clutch hitting machine, Kelly Johnson did it again on Friday night as the Mets beat the Braves by a score of 6-4.

With the team tying the game up in the eighth inning, Johnson came to the plate with the opportunity to put them ahead. Kelly of course would rip a double down the right-field line, allowing the go-ahead run to score against his former team. He could not have been happier for the hit and who it was against.

“It’s just because this is the place you debuted and you come home,” Johnson said. “This was the first team, so you like to come back and kind of show off a little bit and have some success. It’s a little sweeter, I guess.” (ESPN)

Johnson has come and gone from the Braves over the years, being traded for the second consecutive year by his former team to the Mets. He has helped the boys from Queens tremendously off the bench in both stints as a Met.

Friday’s win was the team’s sixth in a row and helped the Mets hold onto the second Wild Card spot by a half game over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals won their game against Milwaukee Friday night by a score of 4-3.

The Mets also still trail the San Francisco Giants by a half game for the top spot as they defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks by a score of 7-6 Friday night. If the Mets did not complete their comeback win against Atlanta, they again would have been on the outside looking in for that second Wild Card spot. Manager, Terry Collins though knows things are working out for his team as of late.

“Right now things are falling our way,” Collins said.

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]]> http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/kelly-johnson-helps-mets-keep-wild-card-lead.html/feed/ 0 MMO Players Of The Week: Granderson and Lugo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-players-of-the-week-granderson-and-lugo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-players-of-the-week-granderson-and-lugo.html/#comments Tue, 06 Sep 2016 14:30:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222194 MMO PLAYER OF THE WEEK

The New York Mets embarked on a tough stretch of games to close out August and usher in September. The Miami Marlins visited Citi Field for four games, followed by the first-place Washington Nationals for a three-game weekend series. The Marlins series was especially momentous, considering that both the Mets and Marlins are eyeing the second wild card spot, and have been close in the standings to one another for weeks.

The Mets trailed the Marlins by one game before the start of Monday’s matchup, and had not only the Marlins in front of them in the standings, but the Pittsburgh Pirates were only a half game back of the St. Louis Cardinals, the current second wild card leader.

But a funny thing happened during both series. The Mets took three out of four from Miami, and took two out of three against the Nationals, leading to a 5-2 week. The Mets leapfrogged over both the Marlins and the Pirates, and sit just one game back of the Cardinals before the start of Monday’s Labor Day game against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Mets starting rotation has featured several new faces in the absence of Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom. Seth Lugo, Rafael Montero, and Robert Gsellman have all filled in admirably and produced terrific outings in the past week for the Mets, going a combined 3-0 including five shutout innings from Montero in a no-decision last Monday night. The Mets will look to Montero for another spot start on Tuesday, as deGrom’s next few starts will be skipped due to a sore right forearm.

The Mets have a chance to take advantage of facing two teams under .500 in the Reds and Atlanta Braves this week, and are giving their fans hope for a late playoff push.

As always, here are your MMO Players of the Week.

curtis granderson

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: CURTIS GRANDERSON

Curtis Granderson earns MMO’s Offensive Player of the Week after going 6-for-21 (.286), along with a .407 on-base percentage and a .762 slugging percentage. Granderson had three big home runs this past week, scored six runs, had a team leading eight RBIs, and had more walks (5) than strikeouts (3). After watching Granderson struggle for most of the year, it’s encouraging to see him break out and provide a spark that he did so well in 2015 as their primary leadoff hitter.

Granderson came up big in Tuesday’s 7-4 win against Miami, and he wasn’t even in the starting lineup! In the bottom of the sixth, Granderson pinch-hit for Seth Lugo, grasping to a 3-2 lead. Granderson crushed a 1-0 fastball to deep center for his 21st homer on the year, and his first homer since August 19 in San Francisco. But he wasn’t finished. Granderson remained in the game as part of a defensive switch, and in the bottom of  the seventh and Rene Rivera on first, Granderson smacked a 3-1 fastball off RHP Dustin McGowan into the visiting bullpen in right-center, his 22nd on the year.

The Grandy Man left his mark during the weekend series against the Nationals, where the Mets took two out of three. Granderson had five runs batted in and a homer in the three-game series. Sunday’s rubber game was especially gratifying for Granderson, who opened the scoring for the Mets in the bottom of the first with a sacrifice fly, plating Jose Reyes who walked to open the inning. Then in the bottom of third, with the scored tied at one and a runner on first, Granderson strode to the plate. Many fans had reason to despair, his numbers had been putrid with runners on base this year, to the tune of a .175 average, .560 OPS along with three home runs. Looking to reverse those trends, Granderson deposited a 1-1 fastball down the right field line for his 23rd home run of the season, giving the Mets a 3-1 lead.

seth lugo

PITCHER OF THE WEEK: SETH LUGO

After two strong pitching performances this past week, Seth Lugo takes home MMO’s Pitcher of the Week. The 26-year-old went 2-0 in two starts this week, pitching six innings of two run ball on Tuesday night, and then going a career high seven innings in Sunday’s win over the Nationals. The 34th round draft pick in the 2011 MLB Draft has been impressive this year for the Mets, pitching in both relief and making four starts.

In the Sunday night ESPN game, Lugo was called upon despite a blister on his finger. He had a rocky start to the game, tossing 28 pitches while loading the bases. Lugo escaped the inning cleanly, and then settled in for six more, giving up only a solo homer to Danny Espinosa in the top of the second. Lugo’s final line was seven innings of six hit ball, one run scored, no walks, and four strikeouts.

Despite tossing 47 pitches through the first two frames, Lugo tossed only 54 through the next five innings, drawing praise from Manager Terry Collins on his workman like approach.

“I thought he settled down after the second inning and really, really pitched well,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He commanded the strike zone, both sides of the plate. And really pitched well.”

As a starter, Lugo has posted a 3-1 record, with a 2.19 ERA, much better numbers than what he posted with Triple A Las Vegas, where he struggled giving up a ton of hits and not being able to control his curveball. The conditions in Vegas aren’t great to analyze pitching prospects, due to the high altitude conditions and dry air, leading to some ballooning statistics. His 6.50 ERA with the 51s would’ve registered as the second worst in the Pacific Coast League had he qualified. However, his FIP was almost a full two-runs less for the year in Las Vegas, registering at 4.66. Lugo also had some tough luck when it came to balls in play, registering his worst BABIP of his professional career at .375.

But Lugo’s found a place on the Mets roster, and has been solid for them on the year, registering a 0.98 WHIP in 41.2 innings pitched. Look for him to continue to get starts for the Mets playoff push in September, and if turns in more outings like he did the past week, then he’ll be in the conversation as starter heading into the 2017 season, and might find himself yet again on MMO’s Pitcher of the Week list.

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Mets Need to Beat the Teams They Should Beat http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mets-need-to-beat-the-teams-they-should-beat.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mets-need-to-beat-the-teams-they-should-beat.html/#comments Fri, 26 Aug 2016 17:30:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221421 wilmer flores 2

There are a multitude of reasons why the Mets are only a game over .500 and 3.5 games back of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card.

The most popular excuse is injuries. There is some validity there with Matt HarveyLucas Duda, and David Wright gone for the year. Yoenis Cespedes was hobbled by a quad injury before he was finally forced to go on the disabled list. Now that he’s back, he has a heel issue. Both Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz are dealing with bone spurs.  Matz is also dealing with a shoulder issue that landed him on the disabled list. For what it’s worth, Jon Niese is also on the disabled list as he needs arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

That’s a litany of injuries, and that’s not all of them. However, that’s not the Mets biggest problem. The Mets biggest problem is they’re not beating the Mets they are supposed to beat.

Over the past two weeks, the Mets went 1-5 against the woeful Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks can’t best anyone as represented by their 53-75 record, which is a 93 loss pace.

The Padres are on the same 93 loss pace with a 53-74 record. On the season, the Mets could only muster a 4-3 record against them.

The Mets are 7-6 against the Braves this year. The Braves are well on their way to a 100 loss season with a 46-82 record.

The Mets are 5-4 against the Phillies. The Phillies are near a 90 loss pace with a 59-68 record. With the Phillies rolling into town, the Mets can turn that 5-4 mark to an 8-4 mark.

Fact is the Mets need to do that if they have designs on getting back to the postseason. Keep in mind, beating teams like the Phillies and Braves powered the Mets run to a division title.

In 2015, the Mets were 90-72, which is 18 games over .500. Against the Phillies, Braves, and Marlins, three teams that lost over 90 games, the Mets were a combined 36-21. Against just those three terrible teams, the Mets went 15 games over .500. It goes a long way in explaining why the Mets were 18 games over .500 and won the division.

Currently, the Mets are 64-63. Against the aforementioned second division clubs, the Mets are 17-18, one game under .500. If the Mets played those 35 games at a similar clip than they did against the intradivision 90+ loss teams in 2015, the Mets would’ve gone 22-13. That would mean that the Mets would be a more respectable 69-58. That would’ve put them in a tie with the Giants for the first Wild Card and five games back in the division.

Now, if the Mets beat the aforementioned second division clubs at the same rate other teams beat them, their record against those teams would be 21-14. This means the Mets record would be 68-59 giving them a half game lead for the second Wild Card and putting them a game behind the Giants for the first Wild Card.

Overall, people can point to injuries all they want, but the simple fact is even with those injuries, the Mets were still better than the Phillies, Braves, Diamondbacks, and Padres. They just didn’t play like it.

The Mets have a chance to reverse course. Of their remaining 35 games, 22 of them are against teams under .500. If the Mets truly want to win the Wild Card, they’ll need to destroy those opponents like they did in 2015. That begins tonight when the Mets begin their three game set against the Phillies.

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