1. For Once, There’s Good News on Injuries
Heading into this series, there was concern Yoenis Cespedes might’ve torn a ligament in his thumb after sliding headfirst into third base. Well, not only did Cespedes not suffer a severe injury, but the slide didn’t even affect his game.
While the rest of the Mets lineup was feckless, Cespedes became a one-man wrecking crew. In the three game series, he was 4-for-10 with a double, homer, RBI, and a walk. He also racked up another assist nailing Kurt Suzuki at the plate.
On Wednesday, Jacob deGrom left a game after four dominant innings with a hyper-extended pitching elbow. Considering he was forced to leave the game, and the Mets recent history on the injury front, especially when it comes to pitchers, Mets fans expected the worst.
Shockingly, deGrom didn’t suffer any ligament damage, and he may even be able to make his next start. That’s a good thing too because the Mets desperately need to keep the 3-0 deGrom with his 1.87 ERA and 0.992 WHIP in the rotation.
2. Nimmo’s At-Bat
There are moments you learn something about a player, and yesterday was one of those moments. In the bottom of the ninth with the Mets down 11-0, Brandon Nimmo was down 0-2 in the count to Max Fried. Instead of giving away the at-bat, Nimmo battled back, and he drew the walk.
No matter what the situation, Nimmo is not going to just give-in. Each and every game, not matter the situation, you are going to get Nimmo’s best. That’s how he got to the big leagues, and that is why he is currently batting .294/.478/.529.
After the game, the Mets announced Nimmo is going to be in today’s lineup as the lead-off hitter. On a day where he showed more fight that anyone, and how he has been the Mets best hitter all year, the decision to bat Nimmo leadoff should be a permanent one.
3. Nido’s Making Adjustments
Tomas Nido made the jump from Doube-A to the majors, and he struggled mightily at the plate. In his first 11 games, he was just 2-19 with no extra base hits one walk, and seven strikeouts.
Perhaps, Nido has been better for these struggles and with for his work with Pat Roessler because over his last three games, Nido has gone 4-for-12 with a double, RBI, and a walk.
Considering he has shown himself to be the far superior defensive catcher to Jose Lobaton and with him hitting the ball better of late, Nido needs to take over as the Mets primary catcher until Kevin Plawecki returns from the disabled list or in the unlikely event the Mets make a move to add a catcher.
1. Like the Late 90s All Over Again
One of the reasons the Mike Piazza and Edgardo Alfonzo Mets teams took so long to get over the hump was because of how the Braves just dominated them. Every single year, it was Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz coming to Shea Stadium and pitching lights out as the Braves won on a game featuring big hit after big hit from Chipper Jones.
On Wednesday, we were reminded of those Braves teams as Sean Newcomb was given a strike zone from Home Plate Umpire Lance Barret that would have made Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz blush. And just to rub some salt into the wound, it was Freddie Freeman, the Chipper Jones of this era, who delivered the game winning hit.
After that 12-2 start, everyone is looking to find a reason why the Mets are struggling. Really, the answer to that question might just be the Mets are not able to beat the Braves. So far this season, the Mets are 1-5 against the Braves and 16-7 against everyone else.
In the series, the Mets were outscored 21-2, and that was in a series where the Mets had both Noah Syndergaard and deGrom pitching. That cannot happen.
Much like in the Bobby Valentine days, the Mets have to lick their wounds and rally. Now, it is up to Mickey Callaway to find a way to straighten the now second place Mets and get back to playing good baseball again.
2. Dead Weight
After this series and with Ichiro Suzuki moving to the front office, you can’t come to any other conclusion than it’s time for Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Reyes to follow suit and hang them up. If they don’t, the Mets need to release them.
Gonzalez is hitting .233/.318/.386. Those numbers aren’t acceptable from a first baseman. Worse yet, Gonzalez being on the team is preventing the Mets from moving Jay Bruce to first base to open up playing time for Nimmo, who needs to play everyday.
As bad as Gonzalez has been, Reyes has been far worse.
Reyes, who for some inexplicable reason batted leadoff yesterday, is hitting .139/.184/.222. He’s already a third of the way to the -0.6 WAR he was at last year. Speaking of last year, the Mets spent months watching their season go by the wayside while making an ill-conceived attempt to get Reyes going. The Mets cannot repeat this mistake especially with Ty Kelly and Gavin Cecchini playing well in Triple-A.
In addition to the aging and done veterans, if the time has not yet already come, we are closer and closer to the time for the Mets to designate Matt Harvey for assignment.
With Harvey, hitting 95 MPH yesterday, his pitching well in his first 1.1 innings (before imploding), Steven Matz battling both ineffectiveness and injury, and what we saw from Jason Vargas in his first two starts, you can almost understand why the Mets would give Harvey another chance. Almost.
3. Lefties Have Been Unfriendly to Flores
Right now, there are many reasons why the Mets are struggling offensively, and many of them have been discussed at length including the team getting nothing from the catching position, Michael Conforto not hitting for power, Amed Rosario looking lost at the plate, and Gonzalez looking like he did last year. With these issues at the forefront, Wilmer Flores‘ inability to hit left-handed pitching is getting overlooked.
In 29 plate appearances this season Flores is only 4-for-27 with one double, two RBI, two walks, and two strike outs against left-handed pitching. This goes a long way to explain why Flores is hitting just .196/.274/.357 on the season.
Really, the way this team was structured the Mets needed Flores to be able to go out there and destroy left-handed pitching like he has done in the past. Considering his defense, Flores needs to do this as well even with him hitting a surprising .241/.333/.517 in 33 plate attempts against right-handed pitching this year.