Mets Junkies Game Recap: Bullpen Blows 4-run Lead

The New York Mets opened the game with Taijuan Walker taking the mound, and while he only pitched two innings, it was a very good two innings.

I’m not sure if Walker was supposed to exit early, however he looked to call the trainer to the clubhouse after the second inning, before being replaced by David Peterson.

Walker tossed just two frames and struck out four batters without giving up a hit or walking a batter, unfortunately, it would be the Mets back end of the bullpen that would falter.

Mark Canha is still hitting. The right-handed bat went 1-4 and is currently hitting .571 with 3 RBI’s on the very young season.

David Peterson pitched well out of the pen following Walker’s departure. The lefty threw four innings, striking out three while walking two and allowing three hits.

Brandon Nimmo picked up a multi-hit game, going 2-4 with a run scored while raising his batting average to .333 while manning center.

Trevor May also looked to tweak something as Showalter and Hefner, alongside a trainer, came to the mound before removing May.

Shortstop Francisco Lindor picked up a base hit, an RBI single. The perennial All-Star is now batting .250 with 3 RBI’s on the year.

The Mets and Phillies will play the second game of the series, as Philadelphia plays host. First pitch is scheduled for 6:45 PM with Tylor Megill squaring up against former Met Zack Wheeler.

Photo Credit: NYPost

Mets Junkies Game Recap: A Good Look by Cookie; Mets fall to Nats.

New York Mets starter Carlos Cookie Carrasco took the hill for the first time of the 2022 campaign and pitched really well. Unfortunately, the outing did not result in a team victory as the Mets picked up their first loss of the season.

However, back to Carrasco. The right-hander tossed 5.2 innings while allowing a run on two base hits. One of the hits came off of the bat of Nelson Cruz and resulted in a solo home run in the bottom half of the first.

Catcher Tomas Nido picked up a hit but also came up with a big defensive play in the bottom of the seventh. Nido would throw out Josh Bell as he attempted to steal second base with two outs, at which point the Mets still had a 2-1 lead over the Nationals.

Mark Canha is here to hit and that’s being shown as the newly acquired outfielder went 3-4, upping his BA to .700 after 10 AB’s.

Jeff McNeil picked up another hit today, as the super utility man went 1-3 on the afternoon as he also started in left field. McNeil now has a .438 BA as Buck Showalter continues to utilize McNeil’s versatility across the diamond.

McNeil, nicknamed The Flying Squirrel, even took a hit away from Josh Bell in left field as he made a sliding catch to rob the slugger of a cheap hit.

However, it would end up being the Mets defense that would cost them the game. An errant throw by Pete Alonso would eventually give Nelson Cruz and the Nationals the opportunity to take the game, and they did.

The Nationals would take the last game as the Mets take the four-game series.

The Mets will be in Philadelphia for a three game set with the Phillies as Taijuan Walker kicks it off against Ranger Suarez.

Mets Junkies Game Recap: Cookie Crumb’s

New York Mets starter Carlos Carrasco had another tough outing in Orange & Blue. The former Cleveland Indians pitcher made his first appearance of the spring, while giving up three runs in four innings pitched.

So far this spring, Carrasco sports an ERA of 6.75 after his first go-around against the Houston Astros.

Slugger Pete Alonso displayed his mammoth like power as the first baseman hit a three-run shot in the 6th, counting for his first long-ball of the spring.

Also Read: Mets Junkies Projections: Polar Bear Pete

So far during the spring, the Mets pitching staff has looked pretty. Relievers Adam Ottavino, Miguel Castro, Alex Claudio, Drew Smith, and Colin Holderman have all been on point as they haven’t allowed any runs during Spring Training.

The 6-4 Mets will square off against the 1-10 Washington Nationals on Thursday evening as Erick Fedde will take on Taijuan Walker.

Photo Credit: Anthony DiComo

Mets Junkies Game Recap: deGrom & Scherzer lay Cardinals to waste

New York Mets starters and aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer took the hill on Sunday and were the only two pitchers to do so for the Mets. Did you think they’d need any more? Of course, not, but it’s Spring Training.

While deGrom opened the game up and pitched three innings, Scherzer closed out the contest by pitching the final six frames.

deGrom ended up taking home his first win of the Spring as the perennial Cy Young Award nominee struck out five while giving up an earned run. deGrom owns a 1.80 ERA this Spring, which was higher than his ERA during the 2021 season.

Newer Met, Max Scherzer surrendered two runs on three hits in his six innings, but also fanned seven. In total, deGrom and Scherzer struck out 12 batters on Sunday afternoon.

It’s important to note that Starling Marte made his first appearance for the Mets and demonstrated the importance of not just the ability to get on base, but also his speed.

The now right fielder (Ranked 6th on MLB Top 10 Right Now amongst CF) went 1-2 out of the 9th spot in the line up while also crossing the plate with a run scored on the contest.

Francisco Lindor had a terrific game, as the shortstop went 3 for 4, with a pair of home runs and three RBI’s. It’s a bit of a reminder of Lindor’s last spring, as the potential MVP candidate would like for his hot stretch to carry into the season this time around.

Slugging first baseman Pete Alonso also picked up a multi-hit game, going 2 for 3 with a walk, double, and run scored.

The Mets have Monday off, however will be back in action on Tuesday as the Miami Marlins will play host.

Mets Junkies Game Recap: Escobar flexes some muscle; Mets beat Nationals

Mets starter Taijuan Walker took the mound for the first time this spring as the right hander is coming back from a knee injury. With Walker being behind schedule, he only tossed two scoreless innings before making his exit.

David Peterson entered the contest after Walker’s exit and pitched mediocre in the outing. The left handed went 3.2 innings while allowing two runs on two hits, however he did fan five batters.

Jeff McNeil hit a triple in the fourth and would later be brought home by Robinson Cano’s ground out. The run would cut the Nationals lead in half.

Mark Cahna goes the other way with a hard hit RBI double in the 5th to tie the game at 2. McNeil followed with an opposite field RBI single.

Eduardo Escobar hit his first HR of the spring, a solo shot in the sixth making it 4-2, Mets. Escobar continues to rake, as well as being an important part to the clubhouse.

Chasen Shreve pitched another scoreless inning, his second of the spring. Shreve continues to make his case to be apart of the Mets bullpen.

The Mets would win the game 4-2, after a Sean Reid-Foley save.

Photo Credit: NYPost

Mets Junkies Game Recap: Megill & Castro sharp; Peterson loses to Cards

The game started off with Pete Alonso making a challenging play in foul territory, battling the sun and the turf to make the out. Alonso stated earlier in the spring that he plans to eventually walk away with a gold glove, as the slugger is known to have a hard worker’s ethic.

After the Cardinals put runners on first and third, Dylan Carlson hit a monster of shot over the left field wall. The outfielder, currently in his sophomore season, would give his Cardinals the 3-0 lead.

The bottom half of the second started off with an amazing interview with Mets manager Buck Showalter. It’s evident that the organization now has a leader to call the shots and make that tough call when need be, coming from what seems to be an extremely entertaining personality.

After a lead off walk from Alonso, then a single by Cahna, putting runners on first and third. James McCann would push an RBI single in the hole between second and first, an approach that McCann plans to make his way back to.

Paul Goldschmidt then lead the third inning off, drilling a shot over the left-center field gate. The home run, Goldschmidt’s first of the spring, gave the Card’s a 4-1 lead over the Mets.

Travis Jankowski, a Lancaster, Pennsylvania native and Stony Brook alumni, made a case to be the team’s fifth outfielder, as he made a stellar diving catch in the top of the fourth.

Francisco Lindor started off a phenomenal 6-4-5 double play with a backhanded stop in the hole, McNeil had the wherewithal to go to third for the second out of the play.

Megill also did an in-dugout interview after pitching three scoreless frames. The right-hander told Steve Gelbs that he is working on the command of his slider, his new cutter, as well as his curveball.

Megill spoke about adding a new pitch to his arsenal, “I definitely wanted to add another weapon… I wanted something hard and something that goes into lefties, so they can respect the four-seam.”

Miguel Castro threw a scoreless 7th as the right-hander’s stuff was looking electric. His fastball was getting up to around 98MPH, and a ton of movement on all of his pitches.

Daniel Palka, a 30 year old outfielder/ first baseman acquired from the White Sox, hit a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh, cutting the lead down to 4-3. Palka has approximately two seasons under his belt, and will likely be in Syracuse for most of the year.

Sean Reid-Foley gave up a couple of runs in the 8th, while I really like this right-hander, it looks like he’ll he starting 2022 in Syracuse.

Mets former second round pick and third base prospect Mark Vientos singled in a run in his only at-bat in the 8th inning, shaving the Cardinals lead down to 5-4.

The Mets gave up another run in the top part of the 9th, and would eventually drop the exhibition contest to the Cardinals, their second loss of the Spring.

The 2-0 Miami Marlins will host tomorrow’s exhibition game against the Mets as Max Scherzer is set to take the hill. Unfortunately, the game will not be televised.

Photo Credit: Anthony DiComo

Will Marte’s Opening Day be in Jeopardy?

This is not the question we want to entertain just 18 days prior to the 2022 season, yet here we are. Newly acquired center fielder, Starling Marte is dealing with an oblique injury and Mets manager Buck Showalter has told reporters that Marte has yet to swing a bat since being in camp.

While Buck says that he expects Marte to start the year in the Opening Day lineup, oblique injuries have proven to be tricky and can linger for a period of time.

Defensively, they won’t lose too much if anything at all, as the Mets are prepared to slide Brandon Nimmo over to center from the corner. The Wyoming native was already slotted in at the top of the lineup with an incredible .393 career on base percentage.

However focusing on the offensive side, the Mets lose the spark plug speed that Marte possesses. The kind of talent and speed that allows you to reach base at a .383 percentage and swipes 47 bags.

Let’s make no mistake, the organization has been missing this caliber of a spark plug since Jose Reyes was in his prime and departed for the Miami Marlins. So signing Marte was as significant as it gets, especially for a club that’s heavily pushing for World Series victory within the next few years.

If the injury turns out to be bigger than initially thought, this could force the hand on a Conforto-Mets reunion.

While Conforto rejected a $100M+ deal last year, he could possibly be tempted to accept a shorter term offer in order to build his value on the open market.

This would be very unlikely, in my opinion. It would make a lot more sense for the Mets to find a plug and play type player, or two… or three.

Mets Must Address Bullpen After Lockout

Although this has been a very exciting offseason for the Mets, the team still has one glaring issue—the bullpen. Aaron Loup, who was their best bullpen arm, is now with the Angels. So how do they improve the pen in such an important year? There are options that would instantly improve it, one being free agent lefty Andrew Chafin. Chafin, an 8-year veteran, had the best year of his career in 2021, posting a 1.83 ERA in 71 games. Even if Chafin’s 2022 is underwhelming, it would still be a vast improvement over what New York has now. Chafin enters the ’22 season at 31 years of age. A 2 or 3 year deal is likely on the table, which the Mets can definitely handle.

Reuniting With an Old Friend

Another solid option is a familiar face in Collin McHugh. McHugh was drafted by the Mets back in 2008. He made his big league debut in 2012, but his Mets tenure did not go well. He only appeared in 11 games with the Mets over 2 seasons and posted an 8.26 ERA. In June of 2013, McHugh was traded to the Colorado Rockies for Eric Young Jr. McHugh also struggled in Colorado, only appearing in 4 games and getting designated for assignment after the 2013 season.

McHugh finally found his footing with the Houston Astros in 2014. In 6 seasons with the team, he had a 3.63 ERA. In 2020, McHugh signed a one year deal with the Red Sox. He had elbow issues and did not end up appearing in a game with Boston. Given McHugh’s age and elbow issue, it wasn’t looking good for 2021, but he rebounded nicely with the Tampa Bay Rays. In 37 games Collin posted a 1.55 ERA. The risk is still very much there with McHugh given his elbow and his age, but a 1 or 2 year deal wouldn’t hurt and would give the Mets another solid option in the pen. As every Mets fan knows, you can never have too much depth, and McHugh is more than capable of being flexible and bailing the team out if the injury bug bites again in 2022.

Could Jansen Be a Match for the Mets Bullpen?

Kenley Jansen is also a free agent, and it wouldn’t be a bad thing if the Mets gave him a shot. Anyone that follows the Mets knows how shaky Edwin Diaz can be at times, and Jansen could perhaps take some of the pressure off of Diaz. The 12 year veteran pitched well last season, putting up a 2.22 ERA. He is 34 and has had many injury issues in the past, but he’s proved that he has plenty left in the tank . The 3 time All-Star would also bring plenty of postseason experience to the bullpen. Outside of Trevor May, not one pitcher in the Mets bullpen has ever appeared in a postseason game. If the Mets were to make the playoffs this year, that could be a problem. Perhaps Jansen could be a part of the solution to that problem, with Chafin and McHugh who also have experience in October.

Can These Veterans Keep Up Their Success?

One thing that all of these players have in common is they are all veterans. This obviously includes major injury risk, which is nothing new to the Mets. In the past, the Mets have added pitchers such as Dellin Betances to the bullpen with the same hope of getting a few solid years out of a veteran, but it just didn’t work out. So why are these options different? All three of these players are coming off of very solid seasons. That obviously does not guarantee success this year, but it is a drastic change from the Wilpon solution in Betances, whom they signed after only appearing in one game during an injury plagued 2019 season. Signing any veteran is a gamble, but the gamble has greater odds of success when that veteran is coming off of a successful season.

Photo Credit: Sportnieuws.nl

Analytical Management: The New Feel For The Game.

Here’s a thought:

When the Mets fired Dave Eiland back in 2019, the pitching started to get better. His methods were “Old school” and players were having trouble adapting to his methods and teachings. When Phil Regan (GOAT/Vulture) took over, the Mets pitching seemed to have gotten better. Regan followed the Analytics while also implementing his own experience, but mostly putting the analytical data first.

Chili Davis and Tom Slater had old school methods and approaches. Now that they’re gone, the Mets are going with…You guessed it, more of an analytical approach. Hense why they brought Hugh Quattlebaum and Kevin Howard. Both worked in the Minor leagues. Hugh as the Minor League Coordinator and Howard as the Farm director….In other words, heavy in analytics.

The Struggles of Francisco Lindor didn’t help their case, but neither did the struggles of the offense as a whole, including struggling with RISP with the exception of recently in the Series win in Philadelphia.

As for Luis Rojas, his job is completely safe. He’s an analytics first manager like most in the league, meaning that most/If not all of his decisions are based off of Analytics. This includes writing the lineup (Written for him), In game decisions, which pitchers to bring in at which times, you name it. No manager has full say anymore in today’s game with everyone so heavily sold on analytics, with the exception being the Phillies in Joe Girardi, who demanded he have control of writing the lineup before he signed on to be the manager for Philly.

Although I don’t agree with it at all, MLB has been trending in this direction since if I were to guess, 2016/2017. The art of a manager actually managing a game, those days are long gone now. The manager is now a scapegoat while the analytics department gets the ultimate free pass. Every team now invests heavily in analytics. It’s the way of the game nowadays sadly. You can say to hell with the stats, but that’s ultimately what’s driving the game. It’s no longer a feel for the game anymore, unless you feel the analytics.

Mets Third Base Situation a Concern?

Coming into this season, the Mets third base situation was the most concerning of all. With an off-season full of rumors about the Mets interest in adding a third baseman, they ended up with adding Villar in the mix.

During Spring the Mets also tried Jeff McNeil at third, with the possibility of having Guillorme play second. Unfortunately McNeil couldn’t correct flaws from his 2020 campaign, as the Mets gave McNeil the second base spot, were he looks more comfortable.

So, the Mets kept a combination of J.D. Davis, Luis Guillorme and Jonathan Villar, to be the Mets third base solution. So far they all have hit very well, but their defense has been a major concern. Even slick fielding Luis Guillorme has shown issues at third.

Let’s start with the talk of the moment: J.D. Davis. Davis committed three errors in the 2 games so far at Wrigley Field. In Tuesdays 3-1 loss, Davis committed two throwing errors and yesterday he booted a ground ball (which could have been a double play), for an extremely costly error as a 7 run inning followed.

This season Davis has had limited time and he already collected a minus 2 OAA. His succes rate on plays were at 69% while his estimated success rate is 84%. Showing he just doesn’t make the plays he should make.

Davis has the issue for his whole career. Over his career he has a combined minus 10 OAA at third base, which shows his lack of skills in the field.

So what is the solution? Is it Luis Guillorme the slick fielding player of the three. Unfortunately Guillorme hasn’t been what we expect from him at third as well.

Guillorme has collected a minus 2 OAA as well in limited time. This shows he is off to a horrendous start as well with the glove.

Yes Guillorme get the more difficult plays, so it seems like Davis his struggles are more major but Guillorme has a succes rate of just 43% with a 63% estimated success rate. That’s 20% lower, which is even worse than Davis at this point.

For the record, this isn’t me saying Davis is a better defender than Guillorme, because that’s obviously isn’t true. However, how great Guillorme is at the middle infield spots, he hasn’t been great at third. Over his career in the majors he has collected a minus 4 OAA at the position.

Guillorme is a great second baseman and in a perfect world, McNeil would be the third baseman and Guillorme the second baseman. I can’t fault Guillorme because it’s a position he isn’t accustomed too. However at this point 3B is the position he is asked to play.

We have one more on the 26 man roster who can play third and that’s Jonathan Villar. Villar has been the best of the three on defense so far, but he is clearly more of a bench player for this team.

Villar has collected a 82% succes rate at third with a 79% estimated success rate. The only of the three who collected more success rate than was estimated. Villar has an even 0 OAA, but again obviously a small samplesize. Before this season, the last time Villar played third was 2016, when he was atrocious at the position (-10 OAA).

Al of the three are hitting well so far. That makes the decision who to play even more tricky. In my opinion Villar is and should be a bench player. So it’s should be between Davis and Guillorme.

I have way more faith in Guillorme being able to handle the position but Davis does have the stronger and more powerful bat. In a perfect world we have the DH, but that is not the case right now.

Although Guillorme third base defense hasn’t been good in his MLB Career, he does have the skills to right his wrongs. He should be able to play the position at least average and if he is hitting like he is, he should get more playing time. JD should get playing time with the strikeout/flyball pitchers and Luis should het playing time with our Ground ball pitchers. And mix Villar in their occasionally is what I should do.

What would your solution to the third base issues be?