Mets offense is asleep at the wheel as the Mets get schooled by Yu Darvish, Padres
The Mets have scored just nine runs in their last four games
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets opened the second half of their schedule with a sleepy 4-1 loss to the Padres at Citi Field (Box)
The Mets scattered just four hits - one of which was an extra-base hit - against Yu Darvish and the Padres bullpen
Max Scherzer pitched well albeit with no margin for error - he allowed a two-run home run to Eric Hosmer in six innings. It was his first loss at Citi Field since May 17, 2016
Scherzer passed Curt Schilling (3,116) and Bob Gibson (3,117) for 15th on MLB’s all-time strikeout list on Friday - he is three strikeouts short of Justin Verlander (3,121) for the most by any active pitcher
The Mets are now 10-4 in series openers at home, 11-7 in July, 12-25 when the opponent scores first, 32-13 when their starting pitcher goes at least six innings, 13-11 against the National League West, and 9-31 when scoring three or fewer runs in a game
The Mets acquired infielder Daniel Vogelbach from the Pirates in exchange for Colin Holderman (story)
The Mets signed Jett Williams, one of their two first-round selections (14th overall) in the 2022 Amateur Draft
Who’s Hot 🔥
Starling Marte currently has a four-game hitting streak - he’s 7-for-17 with two runs scored during that span
Max Scherzer has recorded 39 strikeouts in 25.1 IP in four starts since his return from the injured list, posting a 1.78 ERA during that span
Injury Updates 🏥
Jacob deGrom (stress reaction in scapula) will workout with the Mets at Citi Field on Sunday, and then make one more rehab start in the minor leagues
Trevor May (stress reaction in humerus) will throw a simulated game at Citi Field on Sunday and could begin a rehab assignment next week
Tomás Nido (left hand contusion) left Friday’s game after being hit on his wrist while catching. X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day
Roster Moves 📰
Selected OF Travis Blankenhorn’s contract from Triple-A Syracuse
Acquired INF Daniel Vogelbach from the Pirates in exchange for RHP Colin Holderman
Recalled RHP Yoan López from Triple-A Syracuse
Signed free agent RHP Joey Lancellotti to a minor league contract
Signed free agent RHP Carlos Brito to a minor league contract
Signed free agent RHP Franyel Díaz to a minor league contract
Playoff Odds Tracker 🎲
The Mets are in first place in the National League East, 1.5 games ahead of the Braves with 68 games to go. They are currently on pace to finish with 99 wins, which would be the most wins since 2006 (97)
Playoff odds (FanGraphs):
Make the playoffs: 99.5 percent
Win the National League East: 59.5 percent
Clinch first round bye: 58.2 percent
Win the World Series: 13.8 percent
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (58-36) vs Padres (53-42)
Where: Citi Field — Flushing, New York
Starters: RHP Chris Bassitt (7-6, 3.79 ERA) vs LHP Blake Snell (1-5, 5.22 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: WPIX
The Mets offense is asleep at the wheel…📝
The Mets picked up right where they left off last Sunday in Chicago.
The Mets got more solid starting pitching, inconsistent relief work, and and an offense that was, well, offensive for nine innings in a lethargic 4-1 loss to the Padres on Friday night.
Yu Darvish was dazzling, to his credit. And he warped the Mets this season, allowing just one run and six hits over 16 innings against them in the two games they faced him. But the Mets are lacking any sort of consistent punch at the plate right now, whether they’re facing a left-handed pitcher or right. They’ve managed just nine runs in their last four games, three of which have come thanks to the ghost runner in extra innings.
The good news is the trade deadline is approaching and the Mets have started to at least attempt to patch their offensive holes. They got Daniel Vogelbach from the Pirates last night, a left-handed hitter who feasts off of right-handed pitching. He’s a good get although the price in trade was pretty steep - they had to give up Colin Holderman, one of their better relievers in a sub-par bullpen to get him.
But Vogelbach’s assignment will be to provide power and balance against right-handed pitchers. He has a career .817 OPS against right-handers and has an .896 OPS against them this season. Among the 178 hitters with at least 200 plate appearances against RHP this season, his 149 wRC+ is tied for 15th in the majors.
So, that’s a good first step for the Mets. However, Vogelbach is not effective against left-handed pitchers - only six of his 61 home runs have come against southpaws and is a career .137/.258/.231 hitter against the left side.
And of course, the Mets are facing LHP Blake Snell tonight, which neutralizes Vogelbach (and probably keeps him out of the lineup at that).
So the Mets will still need a right-handed bat, 1-2 arms in the bullpen (including an effective left-handed reliever) and arguably more starting pitching depth as well. They’re close here and perhaps the art of the trade deadline is to get pieces like Vogelbach to who fill individual needs and build a strength in numbers. They may not come as the sexiest names on the market but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either.
Just ask the Braves how that strategy worked out for them in 2021.
Back to last night…
It’s so difficult to watch the Mets waste outings from Max Scherzer. No, he wasn’t great last night but as he does most of the time at a minimum, he pitched well enough to win. But the Mets gave him next to no support at the plate as Darvish schooled them all night long. He is 1-1 with two no-decisions in four starts since his return from the injured list on July 5, but has a 1.78 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 25.1 innings during that span.
That’s an all-too familiar song on the playlist at this point.
In the process, the Mets saw their lead in the NL East shrink down to 1.5 games. So the margin for error for New York is growing smaller and smaller as their woes in their lineup grow larger and larger. The thing is, even with the addition of Vogelbach and other lineup reinforcements, the Mets will still need to get more out of Eduardo Escobar (who, to his credit, has been better lately despite his 0-for-4 last night), Mark Canha, whoever is catching and everyone else who has slumped over the last couple of months.
And depending on what they do or don’t do at the trade deadline, it maybe time for them to offer Mark Vientos a chance at an everyday job, whether it’s at third base or as a right-handed designated hitter option.
Until then, the Mets offense might continue to stay asleep at the wheel.
Stories to Read 📕
This was the Mets first half MVP…and it’s not even close (Justin Mears)
The calm before the storm (Michael Baron)
Juan Soto, the Hope Diamond of Baseball (Michael Baron)
Despite obvious flaws, the Mets had a successful first half (Linda Surovich)
Down on the Farm 🌾
Francisco Álvarez (C, No. 1 Prospect, Triple-A): 1-for-4, BB, 2B, RBI, R
Brett Baty (3B, No. 3 Prospect, Double-A): 2-for-5, 2 2B
Alex Ramirez (OF, No. 4 prospect, Single-A): 4-for-5, 2B, HR, 5 RBI
Around the League 🚩
The Blue Jays scored 28 runs against the Red Sox on Friday night at Fenway Park, 25 of which came in the first five innings
The Braves torched the Angels 8-1 at Truist Park, pulling to within 1.5 games of the Mets in the NL East
The Cubs routed the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park 15-2 on Friday night
The Yankees edged the Orioles 7-6 in Baltimore thanks in part to another multi-home run game from Aaron Judge, who is on-pace for 61 home runs this season
At least four teams are in play for Reds RHP Luis Castillo (multiple reports)
The Nationals could look to package LHP Patrick Corbin in a deal for OF Juan Soto (CBS Sports)