Daniel Vogelbach breaks out of funk, Mets and their pass-the-baton offense results in gritty win over Dodgers
10 of the Mets 14 hits were singles, but Daniel Vogelbach broke out of his early season slump with an important home run on Monday
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets came from behind to defeat the Dodgers on Monday night by a score of 8-6 at Dodger Stadium (Box)
LHP David Peterson started for the Mets and struggled from the beginning - he allowed a first inning solo homer and a fifth inning two-run homer to Freddie Freeman, a pair of runs in the second thanks to a two-run double from Austin Wynns, and a solo homer to Max Muncy in the sixth
Daniel Vogelbach plated three runs to break out of his early season slump - he knocked a second inning, two-run home run to give the Mets a brief lead, and then delivered a go-ahead RBI ground out to give the Mets another brief lead
The Mets last dash came in the seventh inning when they tied the score at six. thanks to a balk, followed by the final go-ahead RBI from Francisco Lindor on a ground out and an insurance run courtesy of a Pete Alonso RBI single
Brooks Raley, Drew Smith and Adam Ottavino shut the door on the Dodgers combining for three scoreless innings of relief
Brett Baty made his 2023 debut, going 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the fourth
Alonso and Jeff McNeil each went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored
Roster Moves 🗞️
OF Tim Locastro placed on the injured list with back spasms
RHP José Buttó optioned to Triple-A Syracuse
RHP Edwin Uceta recalled from Triple-A Syracuse
INF Brett Baty recalled from Triple-A Syracuse
Injury Updates 🏥
RHP Justin Verlander (teres major strain) will throw another bullpen session today in Port St. Lucie, followed soon by a live BP session and a rehab start
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets @ Dodgers
Where: Dodger Stadium - Los Angeles, CA
Starters: RHP Tylor Megill (3-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-1, 3.50 ERA)
When: 10:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Notes: Daniel Vogelbach’s necessary breakout, David Peterson’s shaky outing, and little things from Pete Alonso ✍🏻
Whenever the Mets play the Dodgers, it always seems like an important day for the club.
After all, the Dodgers have been setting the gold standard in the National League for a decade, winning one division title after the next (with a few gap years when they’ve had to settle for a wild card), they always seem to run into future hall of famer Clayton Kershaw (tonight will be their next clash with him), Freddie Freeman always seems to crush the Mets regardless of where he’s playing (see last night) and the series always seems to serve as a litmus test for the Mets as a result.
Indeed, this is an early-season test for the Mets although the Dodgers came into this series playing fairly mediocre ball over the first ten percent of the season. Even so, it’s the Dodgers and they looked like they were up to the task of giving the Mets an important “show-me-what-ya-got” performance on Monday.
But while the Dodgers were putting on a power display against David Peterson on Monday, the Mets were up to their usual game of “death-by-a-thousand-blows,” stringing singles together, moving runners along, and coming from behind in ways this offense is known for.
In other words, while the Dodgers were hitting atom bombs out of Dodger Stadium, the Mets were setting booby traps and it would seem the Mets strategy prevailed against Dustin May and the Dodger bullpen on Monday.
Notes from last night’s gritty win, in case you couldn’t stay up…
Vogelbach’s critical keynote…
Sure, the Mets did get a necessary home run out of Daniel Vogelbach on Monday. The home run was extra-important as it gave the Mets an early lead in the second after falling behind in the first thanks to Freeman’s first homer of the night.
For Vogelbach, he had been just 4-for-23 at the plate to start the year with one extra-base hit. He’s a player who serves one purpose on this roster, and that is to hit home runs from the left side of the plate. It’s really that simple. So, his homer - and his RBI later in the game as well - was refreshing and felt somewhat critical not just for the team, but for him in particular.
That’s not to say the Mets are going to look elsewhere for production right now, but with Brett Baty here and Eduardo Escobar on the bench, they at least have options to play with as they search for more offense and more power in particular from this lineup. Hopefully, Vogelbach’s night in LA is a sign of things to come, although there’s almost no chance he is starting tonight against Clayton Kershaw.
David Peterson and strike quality…
There’s no question David Peterson has earned this opportunity to serve as a fill-in for this rotation, and he was indisputably the rotation’s savior in 2022. But right now, he could very well be losing the race to keep that rotation spot when Justin Verlander returns (hopefully next week, by the way).
The recipe for Peterson is simple - he must have his change-up working on the outside part, and his back-foot slider must be, well, coming close to hitting the back foot. But not only did he lack consistency and threw those pitches uncompetitively at times, the balance between those and the number of fastballs he threw was not in the right place considering his command was off.
Peterson is also always seeking to throw better quality strikes and, as was the case last night, he’s struggling to do so in the early part of the year.
The good news for Peterson on Monday? He didn’t issue any walks, something that had been a problem for him over his first three starts. But he got knocked around a lot thanks to too many sliders and change-ups ending in the zone.
He will likely get at least one more crack at his spot in the rotation, the next one being in San Francisco this weekend.
The bullpen shut the door!
If anyone had told me the bullpen would be as effective as it’s been following the Edwin Díaz injury, I wouldn’t have believed it. But time and time again this bullpen has come in and shut the door on the opposition over the first 17 games of the year. If it isn’t David Robertson, its Adam Ottavino, and if it isn’t Ottavino, its Drew Smith. And now Brooks Raley is getting himself going - he gave the Mets a sixth consecutive scoreless outing last night in LA. There’s no question there are times and situations where this Díaz injury is burning the Mets - look no further than how Buck Showalter was forced to use the bullpen in the eighth inning on Sunday in Oakland. But that worked itself out in the end, much like it has over the first three weeks of the season in large measure.
Look - the Mets are going to get a late inning reliever at the trade deadline. Write it down. They’re not going down the stretch and into the playoffs without at least one more game shortener at the end of the bullpen. But what they’ve done so far bodes well for the time they need to bridge between now and when the markets inevitably open for relief pitching in July.
The one thing I’ve grown to admire about Pete Alonso is that he has become a well-rounded offensive threat. Of course, his power is what’s going to get him his big pay day, but he never gets greedy or selfish at the plate.
There are times he needs to load up and deliver, and he did that big time on Sunday with his game-tying, ninth inning homer to center in Oakland. But there are times like last night where poking singles around the field to plate runs are just as relevant and necessary for the club.
He’s a special player and he loves the spotlight. But he also knows what the club needs and when they need it, and is able to do some blue-collar things at the plate to help deliver wins.
Around the League 🚩
The Braves ran their winning streak to seven games with a 2-0 win over the Padres in San Diego
The Rangers moved to 10-6 with a 4-0 win over the Royals, but Jacob deGrom left the game early with what the team described as wrist soreness
The Diamondbacks continued their strong start to the year, moving to 10-7 with a 6-3 win over the struggling Cardinals, thanks to a grand slam from Pavin Smith in the seventh
The Twins and RHP Pablo López have agreed to a four-year, $73.6 million contract extension (Miami Herald)
The Angels outright INF David Fletcher off their 40-man roster - he is still under contract after signing a five-year, $26 million contract extension after the 2020 season (Orange County Register)