1. Wilmer Smiling, Not Crying
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Wilmer Flores stepped to the plate, and he hit his second career walk-off home run. The homer ensured the Mets would win their fifth straight series to start the season, and it would return them to 10 games over .500 in April. That’s a mark the Mets have only done in 1986 and 2015.
The homer was part of a better stretch for Flores after his slow start to the season. Over his last four games, Flores is 4-for-14 with two doubles and two homers. With Flores hitting, he gives the Mets much needed depth off the bench. More than that, he gives the Mets another weapon who can alter the trajectory of a game with one swing of the bat.
2. Frazier Spicing Things Up
One of the originators of the salt and pepper grinder meme for the Mets, Todd Frazier did not have much opportunity to grand himself as he sputtered over the first 11 games of the season hitting just .222/.375/.333 with no homers.
Since coming back to Citi Field for this latest home stand, Frazier is back to being the player the Mets thought they were signing in the offseason. In fact, Frazer might be even better than that.
In the three game series against the Brewers, Frazier was 8-for-12 with two homers, five RBI, and four walks. With that series, he’s now hitting .295/.450/.523 on the season, and he’s doing that while playing a very good third base of late.
If you go back nearly 20 years, this was exactly the type of season and the type of effect on the team Robin Ventura once had. This isn’t to necessarily say Frazier is Ventura or this is a 97 win team. What this is saying is something special is brewing up here.
3. Thor Back to Form
One of the oddest things we have seen to start the season was Noah Syndergaard beginning the year with his typical stuff without getting the results we have become accustomed to seeing him have.
Yesterday, we saw the return of Thor with him striking out 11 Brewers over 5.1 innings while yielding just one walk and two hits.
He had a no-hitter through four with no-hitter stuff. He struck out eight completely over-matched Brewers in a row. He was throwing 97 MPH with a lot of movement. As noted by Mathew Brownstein of MMO, Syndergaard’s slider is 92.7 MPH, which is almost three MPH faster than the second highest in baseball.
Put another way, Syndergaard is Thor again, and he seems ready to take off and put together a stretch which will put him first into All Star and then Cy Young discussions.
1. Dark and Stormy Knight
There were a number of caveats you could cite including that wind which turned what should have been a Jonathan Villar foul ball into a three run homer. Really, all Mets fans seemed as incredulous as Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen were when that ball went out.
That said, Harvey just wasn’t that good on Saturday needing 95 pitches to get through five innings. Even with the six strikeouts, it didn’t seem like he was really fooling the Brewers that night. After all, the Brewers did amass eight hits and one walk over the five innings while hitting a double and two homers off of him.
Since an impressive first start of the season, Harvey has now been progressively worse in his two subsequent starts. He has yet to pitch into the sixth inning. And now, with Zack Wheeler dazzling in his first start in Miami and Jason Vargas coming off the disabled list at some point, Harvey may get just one more start to prove he still belongs in the rotation.
2. Catching Dilemma
The good news with Kevin Plawecki‘s hairline fracture was he could return from the disabled list in about a month’s time. This meant the Mets were not pressed into having to find a long term replacement. However with what we saw this series, it does seem as if the Mets are going to have to tread some rocky waters until his return.
Behind the plate, the new perceived superior defensive tandem has yielded a wild pitch, and the opposition is a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. As a result, Mets catchers, even with the perceived better defensive ones, still have not thrown out one base stealer this year.
If this continues and Plawecki has a setback, the Mets may very well be pressed to make a move on their catching front. It’s too soon to overreact, but certainly, there is real reason for concern at the moment.
3. Cespedes Needs a Rest
One thing we saw with Brandon Nimmo hitting the game tying homer in the sixth inning yesterday was the Mets need to find time to slot him into the lineup. After all, in eight games this year, he is hitting an astounding .400/.571/.800 with six runs, a double, triple, homer and an RBI.
The problem is with the Mets being in the rare position of all their outfielders being healthy, it’s hard to find him some playing time. That said, it’s pretty clear Yoenis Cespedes needs a day off.
The star left fielder is still hustling and had a terrific defensive series against the Brewers. However, he still went 3-for-13 at the plate with two key RBI but six strikeouts. He is now the league leader with 26 strikeouts.
Cespedes is one of the three Mets who have played every game this season. He asked into the lineup even when he had the flu, and despite not being 100 percent, he has still delivered some key hits. He should really be commended for not just wanting to play everyday, but also for raising his game at the precise moment the Mets need him most.
Still, with him hitting .190/.266/.362, this isn’t Cespedes. The real Cespedes is a game changer from the first inning onwards. The Mets need to give him a day off to get himself rested and back to being himself. Fortunately for the team, they have Nimmo to take his spot for a day.