Mets win again! Even if it’s fools gold…
The Mets have won five of their last six games, all of them against the second division teams in the NL Central
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets defeated the Cardinals by the score of 7-1 on Friday in St. Louis (box)
LHP Joey Lucchesi was recalled from the minor leagues earlier in the day and delivered 5.2 IP of scoreless ball on only four hits and two walks
Jeff McNeil hit a three-run home run as part of a five-run seventh inning for the Mets, and Brandon Nimmo led the game off with a home run
The Mets got five hits and two runs out of the 1-2 spots in the lineup (Nimmo and Tim Locastro)
Pete Alonso accidentally tossed Cardinals INF Maysn Winn’s ball for his first big league hit into the stands - the ball was eventually recovered although Alonso feels bad and will buy Winn a gift before today’s game (MLB.com)
Prospect Watch 🔎
Drew Gilbert (Double-A): 3-for-3, HR, 4 RBI, now has a six-game hitting streak
Luisangel Acuña (Double-A): 3-for-5, 2 R, RBI, SB (50)
Roster Moves 🗞️
RHP Edwin Uceta claimed off waivers by Cubs
RHP Grant Hartwig optioned to Triple-A Syracuse
LHP Joey Lucchesi recalled from Triple-A Syracuse
Who’s Hot 🔥
Over his last 21 games, Jeff McNeil is hitting .301/.352/.458 with two doubles, a triple, three home runs and 12 RBI with 13 runs scored
Over his last 12 appearances, Trevor Gott has held opponents to a .195 opposing batting average and has been un-scored upon over his last 11.1 IP
Brandon Nimmo has a ten-game hitting streak. He has recorded six multi-hits during that span and is hitting .436/.522/.718 with two doubles, three home runs and four RBI over this stretch
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (57-66) vs. Cardinals (54-69)
Where: Busch Stadium - St. Louis, MO
Starting pitchers: RHP Kodai Senga (9-6, 3.30 ERA) vs. RHP Miles Mikolas (6-8, 4.27 ERA)
When: 7:15 PM EDT
Where to Watch: WPIX, MLB Network
It could be fools gold, but some good things are happening for the Mets right now… ✍️
For what it’s worth, the Mets have won five of their last six games. Yes, it has been against the Pirates and Cardinals, and yes two series against the Braves are sandwiching this stretch against the NL Central’s bottom feeders.
But at least this last week has been enjoyable to watch, hasn’t it? Sure, we don’t know a lot of the guys who are here right now and yes, a lot of these guys will be optioned back to the minors after the season or be designated for assignment, or both at some point during the winter.
Still, it’s been one of the more enjoyable weeks of baseball to watch with this club this season, even if their play has been distorted by their opponent and a reality check could be coming again starting on Monday in Atlanta.
Inside that potential distortion though are a couple of good things happening with some important players with the Mets.
It’s been three months since we last saw Joey Lucchesi. And it was that start he came and put out one of the many fires in the starting rotation.
13 or so weeks later, there was Lucchesi putting out another fire in the rotation for Buch Showalater, and he gave the Mets 5.2 scoreless innings on Friday night.
I have no idea what to make of Lucchesi. He missed so much time thanks to blowing out the UCL in his elbow, he’s got this crazy pitch he calls the “churve,” he’s tall, quirky, crafty, and would seem like someone the Mets can build up to be a reliable back of the rotation starter.
To me, the fact that he’s a lefty and has gone 2-for-2 in these calls to bridge the Mets rotation means he should at least be in the rotation for the rest of the year. If the Mets are planning on scaling back Kodai Senga’s workload, they could inject Lucchesi as their sixth starter for the time being, and just see what he can do for them over the final six weeks of the season.
I certainly see no reason for him to be in the minor leagues and wasting innings there at this point.
Nimmo was among many current and now former Mets with some pointed remarks during the Mets sell off a couple of weeks ago, but he has put his head down and been on a tear to help normalize what had been a bipolar season, on both sides of the ball.
He’s been destroying the ball during this ten-game hitting streak he’s currently enjoying, but what’s been most impressive about this streak are two things:
He’s staying closed and squaring up against left-handed pitching
He’s using the entire field with a far more level swing than he had been using during the middle of the season
Nimmo was clearly trying to compromise contact-ability for an uptick in power during his trials this season, and who is to argue that didn’t work considering he now has a career-high 18 home runs after last night’s shot? But he was giving up what made him the player he had become in the process.
The launch angle era has tried to force home runs through the process rather than letting the process create home runs. That works for certain players with certain natural swing paths, but Nimmo - much like Jeff McNeil - is an old-fashioned, scrappy kind of hitter who hustles and creates multi-run opportunities for others.
Look, it’s been a bad year for McNeil. There’s no two ways about it. He’s stayed healthy and on the field, but it’s been a light-hitting season for McNeil to say the least overall.
But lately, he’s starting to look like the McNeil the Mets need him to be. Too little too late for 2023 of course but sometimes prolonged and season-long slumps can lead to major concerns about a player, so it’s nice to see McNeil coming out of it in recent weeks.
Over his last 21 games, McNeil has looked like the player the Mets signed to that five-year extension. The at-bats are longer, the contact has been more competitive, and he - like Nimmo - has started to create opportunities for others in the lineup to create runs.
The best version of McNeil is the player who serves as a catalyst at the top of the lineup, but can also muscle up and drive the ball when needed as well. In his best years, McNeil has been the king of the squibbs and “excuse me singles” but also someone who would defy the shift and hit the ball the other way.
Now, one can argue to modified shifts being used this year have hurt him, and to an extent that’s probably true, as 68 percent of his hits are still going up the middle or to the opposite field. But that’s up 19 percent from last year which could mean he’s been trying to go that way too much in 2023.
During this three-week span, he’s been pulling the ball a little more which in turn has allowed him to muscle up a bit when he’s had to, as was the case last night when he gave the Mets some insurance thanks to a seventh-inning three-run homer.
Again, it’s too little too late but it’s important that McNeil not only finishes strong, but finishes in a way that resembles the best version of McNeil. Good vibes are always important.
He didn’t pitch last night, but more and more the Mets are looking like they got something with Trevor Gott.
He was acquired from the Mariners for former Met Chris Flexen last month, who was promptly designated for assignment. Things weren’t great for Gott when he first arrived but he has emerged as the Mets most reliable reliever at the moment. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last 11.1 IP and he earned his first save since 2020 the other night as well.
This isn’t to say the Mets are close to solving their problems in the bullpen, but Gott is yet another “finish strong” guy who can help solve their equation this winter, and at least earn a spot in the Mets latest attempt to reconstruct their bullpen this winter.
It wasn’t one of Pete Alonso’s best days in his career on Friday. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, but that wasn’t even the worst of it.
He accidentally tossed Cardinals INF Masyn Winn’s first big league hit into the stands. For the rest of the game, he was emphatically booed by the Cardinals faithful for his mistake. Thankfully, Cardinals security was able to retrieve the ball and get it to Winn, and Alonso gladly acknowledged his mistake after the game with reporters.
“I feel awful. I know it sounds stupid, but it’s just a bad brain fart,” Alonso explained. “I feel like a piece of crap. In the heat of the moment you just kind of get lost.”
For whatever reason, it reminded me of that time Benny Agbayani forgot the outs and gave a fly ball to a fan with two outs and a runner at third against the Giants at Shea Stadium, I believe in 2000 or 2001.
Even so, it’s ok, and Alonso said he is going to get Winn a nice gift.
Around the League 🚩
Shohei Ohtani hit a grand slam in the first inning for the Angels, turned a triple play but they blew that lead and lost 9-6 to the Rays
The Marlins whacked the Dodgers 11-3 to end LA’s ten-game winning streak - Jorge Soler provided two of the five Miami home runs on the night
The Yankees lost their sixth game in a row, this time via an 8-3 thumping by the Red Sox - Masataka Yoshida hit a three-run home run in the first to pace the Boston offense
The Mariners won their fourth straight game with a 2-0 shutout over the Astros to get them into the third wild card spot in the American League
The Dodgers, Angels and Padres will all play doubleheaders today in their home ballparks ahead of Hurricane Hilary’s expected strike on Southern California tomorrow