Mets/Braves showdown, Francisco Álvarez is here, and the player he should replace...
Mets and Braves set to square off with the NL East title hanging in the balance--and the Mets have a surprise reinforcement
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets were off on Thursday and will begin the biggest series they’ve had in years tonight in Atlanta
In advance of the series the Mets made a surprise decision to promote top prospect Francisco Álvarez (Story)
Despite immense suspense regarding the weekend weather in western Georgia, the latest forecast indicates the Mets and Braves should be able to play all three nights without issue in Atlanta
Mets owner Steve Cohen flew to Atlanta on Thursday to see the series in person (Twitter)
Injury Updates 🏥
Mychael Givens (COVID-19 IL) has completed his major league rehab assignment and will rejoin the Mets on Friday
Roster Moves 📰
Mets to select the contract of C Francisco Álvarez from Triple-A Syracuse
Who’s Hot 🔥
Eduardo Escobar is slashing .330/.379/.638 with eight homers and 24 RBI in September
Francisco Lindor has a 13-game hitting streak, during which he has hit .333/.339/.526 with three doubles, a triple, two home runs and 11 RBI during that span
The Pennant Race 🏁
The Mets have clinched a postseason berth (9/19)
NL East lead: 1️⃣ game
Magic Number to win NL East: 6️⃣
Win pace: 1️⃣0️⃣1️⃣
Playoff odds (Fangraphs):
Win the National League East: 80.1 percent ⬆️
Clinch a first round bye: 80.1 percent ⬆️
Win the World Series: 17 percent ⬆️
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (98-58) @ Braves (97-59)
Where: Truist Park — Atlanta, GA
Starters: RHP Jacob deGrom (5-3, 2.93 ERA) vs. LHP Max Fried (13-7, 2.50 ERA)
When: 7:20 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Darin Ruf has to go…📝
Perhaps the best quality Steve Cohen has brought to the Mets—among many other good ones—is the sincerity in which the Mets honor idea of fielding their best possible team in spite of any complicated circumstances.
A novel concept, huh?
This was made abundantly clear and put on full display when the Mets DFA’d Robinson Canó early this season even though they still owed him a lot of money both this year and next. This was a decision the Wilpon’s would simply not even considered.
The situation with Cano early this year leads into what is currently going on right now with Darin Ruf.
New York brought the veteran right handed hitter here at the trade deadline with hopes he’d mash lefties and make the Mets more formidable against southpaws. Going the other way were J.D. Davis, Thomas Szapucki, and two other prospects.
It was a bad trade at the time, and two months later this transaction has been comically awful.
And of course, Davis instantly turned his season around in the Bay Area. While Davis’ resurgence is arguably due to a change of scenery and a more consistent role in San Francisco, Ruf has been completely ineffective and far less productive than Davis was in the same role with the Mets.
In 66 at-bats since joining the Mets, Ruf has just 10 hits and a .197 slugging percentage. He’s struck out in over 28% of his plate appearances and made very soft contact in most of the rest of them.
He’s been a complete liability wherever Buck Showalter has tried to deploy him in the lineup, and on the other side of the ball has offered very little redeeming value.
When Dominic Smith was here he was a skilled defensive first baseman New York could deploy at first base whenever they wanted to give Pete Alonso a half of a day off and let him DH. Ruf can play first base and has for the Mets nine times, but the way the roster is constructed with Starling Marte on the injured list, its just not practical to have him there. For starters, Alonso is a far superior defensive first baseman, and rookie Mark Vientos is also here to hit lefties. In an effort to get all three of them in the lineup at the same time New York has tried Ruf in right field, but that has not gone well.
In fact, his poor showing out on the grass in Oakland prompted the Mets to start Tyler Naquin in right field the next time the situation presented itself, choosing instead to prioritize the defense.
So if Ruf cannot even get in the lineup against left handed pitching at this point, why is he still on the roster?
There’s no scenario - especially during this series against the Braves - in which the Mets could pinch hit him for anyone at this point. He’s not a defensive replacement candidate. He doesn’t have a distinguishable skill like Terrance Gore as a pinch runner.
Ruf is under contract next season but it’s only for three million. If Cohen was willing to pay Cano 15x that to go away, he certainly could and should do it in this case.
The Mets face Atlanta’s Max Fried tonight, and could see talented left handed starters like him like Jordan Montgomery, Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson, Julio Urias, and Blake Snell in October. If Buck Showalter can’t start Ruf against any of those guys, I’ll ask it again.
Why is he even on the roster?
With the late breaking news last night of Francisco Álvarez’ stunning and downright exciting big league promotion—it would be equally shocking if Ruf were not the one he replaces. The Mets need to put their best foot forward in their biggest series of the year as they eye a division title against another championship-caliber club in the Braves, so now would seem like an ideal time to jettison Ruf and use Álvarez as one right-handed option off the bench with Mark Vientos at a minimum, if not start him every day from here on out.
Otherwise, why have Álvarez here to begin with?
Down on the Farm 🌾
All Mets minor league affiliates seasons have concluded
Around the League 🚩
The Phillies quest for a playoff spot took another hit on Thursday as they were swept by the Cubs and have now lost five straight
Milwaukee blew a 2-0 8th inning lead against the Marlins and were unable to capitalize on the Philadelphia loss. They remain a half game behind the Phillies for the final playoff spot
Baltimore fell to the Red Sox 5-3 and in the process saw their tragic number reach two
Javier Báez homered for the Tigers in Detroit’s 10-3 home win over the Royals
Jose Abreu doubled in the go ahead run in the top of the eighth to lead the White Sox to a 4-3 win in Minnesota