1. Mets Have Three Aces
During last night’s game Mets former Senior Director of Baseball Operations Adam Fisher tweeted, “You now have 3 aces.”
That analysis was mostly due to the emergence of Zack Wheeler. Including his win last night, Wheeler is now 7-1 with a 1.50 ERA, 0.850 WHIP, and a 9.3 K/9 in the second half of the season. Overall, Wheeler is 14th in the majors in FIP (3.27) and 13th in the majors in fWAR among pitchers (3.8).
That’s not too bad for a pitcher who started the year in the minors and needed a month or so to figure things out. With his work with Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland, Wheeler is finally realizing that potential to be a top of the rotation type starter.
He’s just not the top of this rotation because the Mets ace is Jacob deGrom, who was once again brilliant in this series allowing just one run on two hit in six innings of work despite having nothing near his best stuff. Of course for Mets fans, seeing deGrom pitch well on the Dodger Stadium mound is no surprise whatsoever.
2. Pick Me Out a Winner Bobby
Much has been made about Jeff McNeil‘s bat not only because McNeil is hitting .321/.385/.463, but also because it has no knob. Seeing the hysteria over the bat, for a moment, you would think McNeil is really Roy Hobbes.
With McNeil hitting the way he has, we know see Mets pitchers beginning to use the bat. In the past two games, deGrom has used the bat, and he has gone 4-f0r-8 at the plate with two RBI. We have also seen Wheeler start to use it albeit without the same results.
Apparently, much like Wonderboy, there are hits in McNeil’s bats.
3. Frazier’s Hodges Moment
When Todd Frazier flipped into the stands to catch an Alex Verdugo fly ball, the play was mischaracterized as a Derek Jeter type play. For starters, it was mischaracterized as such as Jeter made his catch in fair territory before running into the stands whereas Frazier actually had to go into the stands to make the play.
It’s also mischaracterized as such because the play was much more reminiscent of another New York great.
In Game Five of the 1969 World Series, a Dave McNally pitch went into the dirt and rolled into the Mets dugout. The quick thinking Gil Hodges had Jerry Koosman wipe the ball across his cleat so Hodges could present the shoe polished marked ball to the umpire.
Cleon Jones was then awarded first base on the now ruled hit by pitch, and Donn Clendenon hit a homer to cut the Orioles lead to 3-2 in a game the Mets would eventually win to clinch the team’s miraculous first World Series title.
While Frazier’s play had nowhere near the same magnitude of the Hodges/Koosman/Jones play, it involved the same quick thinking and trickery. As we learned from Frazier, he didn’t actually have the ball in the stands. Rather, he grabbed a rubber ball, presented it to the umpire, and he flipped it back into the stands.
In what has become a lost season, it is certainly fun to now have a play we will probably look back at and talk about for years to come.
1. Vargas is Vargas Again
After some hope Jason Vargas turned a corner, he looked like the Vargas we have become accustomed to seeing in a Mets uniform. Despite being handed a 4-0 lead, Vargas couldn’t manage to hold the lead. Overall, Vargas would last just 3.1 innings turning that 4-0 lead into a 5-4 deficit with him allowing homers to Austin Barnes and David Freese.
What makes starts like these all the more troubling for Vargas is the fact he is all but assured a rotation spot next season due to his contract. Certainly with Corey Oswalt allowing five runs on four hits in the same game without recording an out, it does not seem like there is going to be real competition for that spot anyway.
2. Eighth Place Hitters
The presence of these left-handed pitchers led the Mets to bat McNeil and Brandon Nimmo (twice) in the eighth spot in the lineup. Both players would also sit one game to avoid the left-handed starters. During this stretch of games, Austin Jackson, who is now hitting .186/.230/.186 over his last 18 games, was hitting near the top of the lineup.
At this point, the only thing the Mets have to play for is to develop these younger players. By having them sit against left-handed pitching and batting them in the eighth spot in the lineup, you are failing to do that.
3. Wheeler and Plawecki To Be Examined
Last night, both Wheeler and Kevin Plawecki were hit in the ribs during the game, and as a result, both players are received precautionary MRIs. With respect to Wheeler, he was able to stay in the game and pitch well. With respect to Plawecki, he had to leave the game. Both of the CT scans did come back negative.
If Plawecki really has suffered a significant injury, the Mets are going to have to make a roster move to add another catcher to the roster as Tomas Nido is the Mets only healthy catcher on the roster. Worse than that, as the Mets head into an all important offseason, they lose yet another opportunity to assess their catching situation going forward.