In Todd Frazier‘s 24-game absence, Mets third basemen hit a paltry .222/.283/.289. When looking at the reasons why the Mets were playing terribly, the third base play had to be front and center right with the bullpen.
A few games off the disabled list, Frazier is back being a team leader and doing all he can to help this team win.
In the Subway Series, Frazier hit two homers and even stole a base. More than that, he played a very good defensive third base, which included turning a line out into a game-ending double play in the Mets lone win in the series.
While the Mets offense did not get going, his presence was huge for a team who fought one of the best teams in baseball tough despite this being an under-manned and struggling Mets team.
2. Lugo & Gsellman
Fittingly, Gsellman would say to Mickey Callaway that they got this.
It started with Lugo becoming the first Mets starter to ever limit the Yankees to six scoreless innings with just two hits. In those six brilliant innings, no Yankees runner would so much as reach second base. One of the reasons why was Lugo struck out eight and walked none.
With this outstanding performance, one in which he out-pitched Yankees ace Luis Severino, Lugo lowered his ERA to 1.77.
That performance held up because Gsellman pitched two scoreless. That included him picking up Jose Reyes, who not only failed to step on second on a potential double play, but he also threw the ball away.
In the series, Gsellman pitched three scoreless innings, and he’s now pitched six straight scoreless.
3. Doing What Needs to Be Done
Perhaps precipitated by Asdrubal Cabrera tweaking one of his myriad of injuries, the Mets finally made some moves they needed to make long ago.
As an aside, this gives the Mets a chance to get an extended look at this sleeker Smith at the time of the year he typically heats up. At a minimum, the Mets will get clarity on the Smith/Alonso question.
Another important development was seeing Jason Vargas in the ‘pen in the ninth. After the game, Callaway said of Lugo, “He’s making a case for himself. We have a tough decision to make.” Last night, it at least appeared as if Callaway is closer to making the switch than we may have originally believed.
Now, all the Mets need to do is schedule a retirement press conference.
1. Still Can’t Score
During the Mets nine-game homestand, the team only managed to score 12 runs, or 1.3 runs per game. That’s how you go 1-8 despite your starters having an MLB-best 1.93 ERA over that stretch. Considering how the stretch included games against the Cubs and Yankees, that ERA is all the more remarkable.
While the Mets starters have an MLB-best ERA over that stretch, it should be noted the Cubs and Yankees have the second and fourth best ERAs over that stretch. That is in no small part due to their having to face this Mets team.
Right now, the Mets seem to have figured the pitching out. It’s time for the offense to join them.
2. More Injury Issues
For all the Mets hand-wringing and challenging of Yoenis Cespedes to get back to playing, he would leave his second rehab game with a different injury, and he would be sent down to St. Lucie for further rehab and evaluation.
As previously noted, Cabrera hurt himself further making you question just how long the Mets can go with an almost completely immobile Cabrera in the field and at the plate.
Devin Mesoraco has been nicked up, and his bat has regressed with him hitting .095 over the past two weeks.
More troubling is Jeurys Familia landing on the disabled list. With him not only do the Mets lose their closer in what had finally been a healthy bullpen, but depending on the severity of the injury and how the Mets play over the next month, the team could have lost their biggest trade asset.
These injury issues are made all the more complicated by what is happening in Las Vegas. That team has seen many injuries too with players like Corey Oswalt and Gavin Cecchini landing on the disabled list. Those were two depth players the Mets have needed over the past few weeks, and they weren’t available when the team needed them most.
3. Disrespecting Conforto
There has been a lot wrong with the Mets this season. That’s generally the case with teams who are six games under .500.
Yes, Michael Conforto has been one of the team’s issues all season long. With him hitting .215/.335/.359, he’s just not the player they were counting on him to be.
There could be a myriad of factors, including the possibility his shoulder may never allow him to be the player he was and the player we all thought he could be. It also can’t be discounted how the Mets just rushed him back.
Conforto suffered a severe shoulder injury, which was followed by an offseason of rehab. He then had an extremely truncated Spring Training and no rehab assignment. How could the Mets possibly be surprised he’s struggled under those circumstances?
What’s even worse, despite how he was mismanaged, is how he’s an eminently better option at the plate and in the field than Jay Bruce. Despite that, the Mets decision was going to demote Conforto to Triple-A when Cespedes returned from the disabled list. That was a plan that was scrapped when Cespedes re-injured himself.
No matter how you cut it, for this Mets team to be successful, Conforto has to be a cornerstone player, and you have to do everything you can do to make him that. It’s hard to believe rushing him back from injury and demoting him helps that. If it’s the case the Mets believe Joel Chimelis is a better hitting coach than Pat Roessler, one has to question why the Mets hired Roessler over Chimelis.
Overall, the Mets handling of Conforto this year shows you all that is wrong with this entire organization. They mishandle injuries and rehab, and when times are tough, they create scapegoats.
At the end of this 3 Up, 3 Down, I wanted to include a personal note regarding a colleague and friend Michael Mayer.
As some of you may be aware in conjunction with my writing for MMO, I serve as an editor for MMN. During that time, I’ve had the privilege to work alongside Michael Mayer, who, for my money, is the best there is covering Mets minor league news.
At times, that includes breaking news. I’ve seen the careful work he puts in before breaking any news, and he only runs it when he’s 100% positive. This week he got two huge scoops in reporting the Justin Dunn and David Peterson promotions. Unfortunately, Michael did not get the credit from other media sources for breaking the news.
At MMO, we’ve always been careful and respectful when it comes to giving credit to people for their stories. Personally, I wish people would do the same for Michael.