Discover more from Just Mets
What have we learned about the Mets over the last third of the season?
Believe it or not, there are some very good numbers for these dismantled Mets
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets and Phillies were rained out on Friday - they will play a single-admission doubleheader beginning Saturday at 4:10 PM
The Marlins may have to return to New York to finish their suspended game on Thursday, pending the outcome of their final two games as well as where the Cubs and Reds finish on Sunday - that would likely take place Monday afternoon
The Mets are planning a press conference to announce David Stearns as their new President of Baseball Operations on Monday
Injury Updates 🏥
OF Brandon Nimmo (AJ Joint injury in shoulder) will likely be shutdown for the season
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (72-86) vs. Phillies (89-70)
Where: Citi Field - Flushing, New York
LHP José Quintana (3-6, 3.39 ERA) vs. TBD
TBD vs. TBD
When: 4:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY for Game 1, WPIX for Game 2
A rainy stream of consciousness on the season’s penultimate day… ✍️
Wouldn’t it be something if the Marlins had to come back to New York to finish that ninth inning on Monday, and it rained?
Fortunately, if the Marlins did have to return, it doesn’t look like there’s rain in the forecast, but that’s pretty much how this season has gone for the Mets, hasn’t it?
They’ve lost two games this week. In between is a debacle of a suspended game, a poorly managed field which led to the lost game on Tuesday, and then there was Friday which nobody could control.
As a fan, I always hate these late season rainouts and weather problems, especially during the last week of the season when there is so much at stake. The third wild card makes the majority of the games important even for second-division teams like the Mets. There’s nothing anyone can do of course but its the last baseball we get to see for a while and for those last precious moments of the season to be disrupted like this frustrates me.
Anyway, neither the Mets or the Phillies are playing games of particular import this weekend. The Phillies clinched the top wild card, the Mets clinched terrible four months ago, so whenever these two teams end up getting these final three games in, they should be very much like spring training for both clubs, with the Mets simply trying to play for pride and not losing 90 games this season.
I can’t believe I just said that, by the way.
It seems impossible we are talking about the Mets trying to avoid losing 90 games after everything that led up to this season. I think back on the last off-season, and everything except the Carlos Correa free agency mess went their way.
But then came the Edwin Díaz injury in the World Baseball Classic and it was that moment the air was let out of the balloon. Nothing was the same from that moment on emotionally with the Mets.
With that and so many other players absent because of the WBC in March, I often wonder if that lack of preparation led the way to this club’s demise. With all of the rule changes and strategic changes that went along with them, those absences might very well have played a role in those early season issues. I often wrote earlier in the year the Mets didn’t look prepared and looked unfit for what the game had evolved into given their age, athleticism, and either inability or unwillingness to evolve the way other clubs had.
They often seemed to lack that strategy other clubs came prepared with against them, with some Mets left complaining about the rules through the media instead.
Anyway, only those people in the clubhouse can answer that question. And it’s up to the people in that front office to figure out how to evolve this roster into one that can compete and contend in this new era of baseball.
Every day during these last two months, I’ve wondered what the Mets had to play for on any given day. When they decided to punt and sell off their roster assets, that was it, yet there were 54 games left for Buck Showalter to negotiate with less than a full arsenal to say the least.
Since that deflating day on August 1, the Mets have gone 22-31 but interestingly enough, they’ve hit 77 home runs in those 54 games with a .416 slugging percentage. The 77 homers are eighth best in MLB during that span and the .416 SLG is dead smack in the middle of the pack. A lot of that is thanks to an uptick in power from Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo but that also has a big contribution from DJ Stewart in there.
By no means am I celebrating mediocrity, but the Mets had the 11th most homers in MLB through July 31 with 133 and the 18th best slugging percentage at .404.
Yes, their more recent stretch contains a smaller sample size, but it at least demonstrates their offense was more entertaining and fluid in the final third of the season.
Of course, being entertaining doesn’t always translate into wins, and the entertainment value in professional sports is centrally defined by winning games. But we knew that wasn’t going to happen after August 1 and if you chose to watch, there was no reason to be cynical and negative given the circumstances if you ask me.
That’s really my point. There had to be a value placed in watching and attending games we ultimately knew wouldn’t matter for a playoff chase, and that value was in the evaluation of the hand dealt to Buck Showalter. The individuals in this lineup inclusive of Stewart, Rafael Ortega and the baby Mets in Mark Vientos, Francisco Alvarez, Ronny Mauricio, and Brett Baty were all effectively trying out for either the Mets or another club in 2024. What all of this translates to will specifically depend on what the Mets plan to do with this roster in the off-season but I think the club got a good look at all of this and can generally see where this is going with the baby Mets in particular.
As for the pitching, woof. Although that really applies to the bullpen.
Mets starting pitchers have actually performed very well since the sell-off on August 1, and I’d actually curve the results given the personnel left to replace Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Their starters have produced a 3.77 ERA in their last 54 games, a surprisingly good mark and the fifth best mark during that span. And considering they had to navigate a diminished Carlos Carrasco and what was effectively a tryout between David Peterson, Tylor Megill, José Buttó and Joey Lucchesi, that feels like some kind of achievement under the circumstances.
So, what did we learn?
We learned Megill has at least figured out how to maintain his velocity and stamina end-to-end in his starts. He has better command of the strike zone than he did before, and he’s looking more like a yes, yes, yes pitcher out there than a no, no, no pitcher out there, ie better body language and approach.
We learned Lucchesi can be an effective back-of-the-rotation starter with the occasional flash of brilliance when his churve is at its best. I think he’s probably the strongest candidate for a rotation spot out of camp next March.
Buttó was very impressive in his small sample this month, but his track record doesn’t suggest the command he displayed was sustainable. Pitch quality is his biggest issue, and while it was there for him this month at the big league level, who knows what this will look like in February and March.
Then there’s the mysterious Peterson, who sometimes looks like a big leaguer like he did on Thursday against Miami, and then there are others where his strike quality is non-competitive. He has more big league experience than any of the guys he was competing with, but I think the Mets are really waiting for him to take that next leap of consistency both physically and mentally. How can the Mets get him to look more like what he did on Thursday and in his start against the Reds on September 15, and less like he did against Philadelphia in his previous start?
Alright. That’s enough.
We have 4 1/2 months to discuss this and everything else that unfolds during that long, cold span of time. Enjoy your Saturday and if you’re in New York, I hope you’ve been able to dodge the floods and everyone is safe and sound.
Around the League 🚩
The Marlins came back again, this time against the Pirates and defeated then 4-3. Their win eliminated the Padres from the playoffs, pushed the Cubs back to 1.5 games out with their 4-3 loss to the Brewers, and kept the Reds 1.5 games after they beat the Cardinals 19-2
The Astros edged the Diamondbacks 2-1 - they are just 1/2 game ahead of Miami for the second wild card and two up on both the Cubs and Reds for a playoff spot overall
With Houston’s win over Arizona, they remained one game ahead of the Mariners for the third wild card after Seattle defeated the Rangers 8-0. Texas is now a game ahead of Houston in the AL West, two games ahead of Seattle
The Royals put up a nine-spot in the first inning on Carlos Rodón and Matt Bowman and ultimately defeated the Yankees 12-5 in KC