Mets drop finale with White Sox in Quintana debut, and a note about Drew Smith
The Mets also lost at least one outfielder to the IL, with another possibly being put on the shelf for a while as well. Plus, news on David Stearns
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets failed to complete a sweep of the White Sox, falling to Chicago 6-2 at Citi Field on Thursday afternoon (Box)
LHP Jose Quintana made his Mets debut and allowed two runs in five innings
Omar Narváez started behind the plate and had the lone two hits for the team including his first Mets home run
Pete Alonso made a crucial error to begin the 6th inning that helped contribute to a four run inning for Chicago
David Peterson, Dominic Leone, and Trevor Gott combined to throw 3.1 scoreless innings in relief to keep the Mets relatively close
News and Notes 🗞️
IF Mark Vientos is expected to join the club in Boston today
David Stearns continues to be Steve Cohen’s target to be the team’s president of baseball operations, and the chances for Cohen may be improving (New York Post)
Who’s NOT Hot 🥶
Pete Alonso went 1-for-4 on Thursday, but is hitting just .174/.280/.405 with six doubles, a triple, 16 home runs and 40 RBI over his last 67 games dating back to April 22
Francisco Lindor is just 3-for-his-last-27 at the plate with one RBI over his last eight games
Brandon Nimmo is hitting .125/.288/.313 over his last 13 games
Trade rumors 🤐
Multiple teams have checked in on Mark Canha, with Seattle being a possible match for a trade (Olney)
Despite missing most of the first half other teams have expressed interest in LHP José Quintana (SNY)
Injury Updates 🏥
OF Starling Marte was placed on the IL due to his ongoing migraines
OF Tommy Pham left Thursday’s game with tightness in his groin and could go on the IL
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (45-51) @ Red Sox (51-46)
Where: Fenway Park – Boston, MA
Starters: RHP Kodai Senga (7-5, 3.20 ERA) vs. RHP Kutter Crawford (4-4, 3.74 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Has Drew Smith already hit his ceiling?✍️
At the trade deadline six years ago the Mets made a plethora of trades that sent veteran players to contenders and collected a horde of hard-throwing relief pitchers in return. The only one of them that really stuck and carved out a big-league role for himself is righty Drew Smith, whom New York always felt could eventually become a late inning arm.
Smith debuted for New York in 2018 and impressed, and then was forced to miss all of 2019 due to Tommy John Surgery.
Since returning, the Fort Worth, Texas native has been a steady contributor in the middle of the Mets relief corps, but there was always a feeling that he could ultimately develop into more. Armed with a plus fastball and a sharp curveball, he has the repertoire to be an upper echelon relief pitching in the big leagues, but that simply hasn’t happened and this year in particular has been filled with frustration and underperformance.
In 34 outings in 2023, Smith has worked to a 4.65 ERA with a 1.45 WHIP. He’s striking out well over a batter/inning, but he’s served up four home runs in 31 frames, and his command has been an issue all year long. All of this after posting a 2.89 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 87.1 IP over 75 appearances between the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Smith has already walked 16 hitters and hit four more, which is the reason his WHIP is more than 20 points higher than his career mark. But his issue with command has not just been evident in the free passes.
His outing on Thursday was doomed from the beginning when Pete Alonso made an error on a pretty routine ground ball from the leadoff hitter. In a matter of minutes the bases were loaded with nobody out and the Mets chances of sticking around in the game were on life support.
Yasmani Grandal, who had swung the bat well for Chicago in the series, stepped to the plate in a spot where a strikeout was really the only acceptable result for Smith and the Mets.
And after blowing his fastball by him up in the zone Smith had him right where he wanted him. Grandal was a strikeout waiting to happen if Smith could have delivered the same high velocity pitch up in the zone on consecutive offerings. Catcher Omar Narvaez implored him to get the ball up, even coming out of his stance early asking for it there. But Smith missed his spot badly, leaving the ball down and in in a spot where Grandal could get the barrel on it and drive one off the wall in right to score two and essentially ice the game.
With his sticky stuff suspension from last month is factored in, this has quite obviously been the most difficult season of his career.
Even at his worst, Smith is a serviceable middle reliever whose track record indicates he should be better than he’s thrown in 2023. He’s still eligible for arbitration and has one more year of team control, so there’s no reason for the Mets to consider non-tendering him this winter considering the other major problems they have to solve in the bullpen and pitching staff as a whole. Also - it can only go up from here with Smith, right?
Even so, it could be time to acknowledge that we have seen the ceiling for Smith, and he is what he is. The days of waiting for him to blossom into a high leverage pitcher that works in the eighth or ninth inning are over.
Around the League 🚩
Austin Riley crushed a game flipping three run homer in the bottom of the 8th to guide the Braves past the Diamondbacks 7-5
Christian Yelich crushed an early three run bomb and Corbin Burnes went eight scoreless innings as Milwaukee cruised to a 4-0 win in Philadelphia
George Kirby tossed seven scoreless frames and helped lead Seattle to a 5-0 win over the Twins
Rookie southpaw Andrew Abbott gave the Reds eight scoreless innings of one hit ball in the Reds 5-1 win over the Giants
Former Mets righty Chris Bassitt earned his 10th win of the season in Toronto’s shutout win over the Padres