8/31/19

John From Albany - Brooklyn loses in ninth 5-4, Baty 3 RBIs, now one back in wild card, one back of first. Syracuse loses 6-1, Nimmo ejected, still tied for first.

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The best of pitching and the worst of pitching for Cyclones (box).

An “immaculate” inning.  Nine pitches, nine strikes, three strikeouts.  Only two Major League Mets have ever done it.  Nolan Ryan in 1968, and David Cone in 1991.  Friday night Matt Mullenbach, an undrafted 6’4” Righthander from Iowa, turned the trick in the eighth, only to not record an out in the ninth, as Aberdeen came back from a 4-3 deficit to beat the Cyclones 5-4 in a walk-off. 

Brooklyn starter Matt Cleveland allowed a two-run homer in the first.  Then, after a nine pitch at-bat to draw a walk in his first time up as a Cyclone, Brett Baty delivered a bases clearing double in the third.  Baty’s overall line for the night, 1 for 2 with 2 walks. 

After Aberdeen hit another homer against Matt Cleveland in the 4th, lefty Andrew Edwards came on to pitch for Brooklyn, a 31st round 2019 draft pick from New Mexico State.  In 3.1 innings, Edwards struck out nine Iron Birds.  Overall Brooklyn pitching recorded 15 K’s.

With Brooklyn losing, Staten Island beat first place Hudson Valley.  Now, Aberdeen and Hudson Valley are now tied for first, Brooklyn is a game out in third, and Staten Island is just a half game behind Brooklyn. 

What’s next?  Aberdeen travels to Hudson Valley, while Staten Island and Brooklyn play the final three games in Brooklyn.  What’s more Saturday’s Cyclones game will feature Matt Allen on the mound and the rehabbing Robinson Cano for Brooklyn.

Syracuse loses 6-1 to the Rochester Red Wings (box). 

Frustrating night for the Nimmo and the Syracuse Mets.  Corey Oswalt gave up a run in the first on a double play and a home run in the second as Syracuse fell behind 2-0.  

In the top of the sixth, Sam Haggerty tripled and was driven in by a Dilson Herrera single cutting the lead to 2-1.  In the bottom of the sixth, Oswalt recorded the first out but was removed for lefty Donnie Hart after giving up a walk and a single.  Hart recorded the final two outs but not before the two inherited runners scored. 

Rochester scored two insurance runs against Matt Blackham in the eighth.

In the ninth, Syracuse loaded the bases with one out for Brandon Nimmo.  Nimmo struck out swinging and was ejected by the home plate umpire.  Sam Haggerty then struck out to end the game.  

Overall Nimmo went 0 for 4 with 3 strikeouts and is hitting .219 in 9 rehab games for Syracuse.  It is possible he will be re-activated Sunday when the rosters are expanded. 

While Syracuse lost, so did the Yankee’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders.  They lost to Buffalo.  If the season ends in a tie, the tie-breaker goes to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as they won the head to head series. 
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WHERE JAKE DEGROM IS NOT TOM SEAVER

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PC - Ed Delany

WHERE JAKE DEGROM IS NOT TOM SEAVER

Jake deGrom is a terrifically gifted pitcher....166 major league starts, 2.67 ERA.

He has often labored with poor offensive and bullpen support.

That said, he is not Tom Seaver quality - at least not to me.

I long thought he was Seaver's equivalent...I've changed my opinion, though.  Why?

Tom Seaver would have found a way to get the Mets a must-win Thursday night - but Jake deGrom failed to do so.

Tom Seaver, like Jake, also labored with some poor hitting teams during his first long stint with the Mets, 1967 to 1977.

Many of you watched those years - you know.  He was brilliant on mostly mediocre teams.

The bullpen the Mets had during most of that period seemed, to my recollection, somewhat more competent than what Jake has had behind him.  Seaver used his far less.

Seaver in those 11 years was 189-120, 2.49.  He managed, despite weak offensive support and an average pen, to have a .612 win %.  

I often felt that if he had pitched for a slugging team like the Reds in those 11 seasons, he would have won 40-50 more games and lost an equal amount fewer.

One reason for that level of Seaver winning is during that period of time, he had 42 shutouts in 367 starts.  A shutout equals a win, that simple.

But beyond that, I rarely remember him giving up close leads.

Jake often does not seem to do quite enough to win Seaver style.

First of all, while we live in a rare complete game era. Jake has just 1 career shutouts in 166 starts.  And just 3 complete games, meaning that because he could not finish his 98% of his starts, the far inferior bullpen had to step in 98% of the time.

Seaver, though, had 166 complete games in those 367 starts (45%).  He did not relegate winning close games to his pen - he'd finish what he started nearly half the time.  And it resulted in more wins.  And recall, some of those non-completed games were games where the Mets would have big leagues and pull him to give him a blow.

If we ever needed a win in 2019, we sure needed one last night - but it did not happen.  Jake wasn't as brilliant as the Mets needed him to be.


Michael Jordan in his NBA days refused to lose close games - he somehow was successful most of the time in beating the opposition.

Other NBA stars were very, very good, but did not have that same "we-won't-lose-on-my-watch" killer mentality.

Jake to me?  Falls in the second category.

Seaver falls in the Jordan category.  He shut folks out frequently, finished what he started nearly half the time, and rarely gave up leads.

What do you think?
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Reese Kaplan -- 2019 Mets are Better Than 1973 Club

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For the “You Gotta Believe” crowd, a look back at the 1973 New York Mets might prove inspirational as they sat in dead last on August 30th.  When the month ended the next day, they were 9 games under .500 and things indeed looked bleak.  The big difference between then and now is there was still only a 6.5 game deficit to make up to win the pennant, unlike today when the uphill battle is twice as steep.


That club was somewhat similar to this one in that they had a mix of young talents in the form of Jon Matlack, Felix Millan, John Milner and Rusty Staub, as well as a collection of players who were there for the 1969 World Championship team, including Wayne Garrett, Jerry Grote, Bud Harrelson, Cleon Jones, Jerry Koosman and, of course, Tom Seaver.  Often forgotten in that mix was starter George Stone who had his career year while playing for the Mets after arriving with Millan as part of the deal that sent Danny Frisella and Gary Gentry to Atlanta.

This year’s Mets club has young talent like Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, JD Davis, Seth Lugo, Jeff McNeil and Amed Rosario, as well as 2017 World Series veterans like Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard.  Veteran additions like Wilson Ramos and Justin Wilson have had a positive impact as well.  Unfortunately some of the other players like Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Nimmo and Dominic Smith have not contributed as expected, while others have chosen 2019 to forget how to play at this level. 


Another big difference was that closer Tug McGraw essentially put the club on his back during that September pennant drive.  He delivered a 0.88 ERA, 12 saves and 5 wins over his last 19 appearances of the regular season.  If the Mets today could get that type of performance out of Edwin Diaz then a similar surge is possible, though it would likely be towards a wildcard berth and not the eastern division flag. 

Of course, it also helped having Tom Seaver deliver his second Cy Young Award-winning season with a 19-10 record, a 2.08 ERA and (believe it or not) 18 complete games!  When was the last time you saw a pitcher deliver ONE?

The 2019 NY Mets offense is head and shoulders better than what the 1973 crew had.  The top six hitters today include Rosario, McNeil, Alonso, Wilson, Conforto and Davis.  In 1973 John Milner led the club with just 23 HRs while hitting a paltry .239.  The normally sweet swinging Cleon Jones hit just .260 and the leading hitter with all of 3 HRs and 37 RBIs was Felix Millan. 


Of course, the starting rotation in 1973 was perhaps the best the Mets ever fielded.  In addition to Seaver’s exploits (worth 10.8 WAR!), you had Koosman pitching to a 2.84 ERA, Matlack to a 3.20 and Stone to a 2.80.  The only fly in the ointment was fifth starter Jim McAndrew who was north of 5.00.  Lest you think the bullpen was an unbeatable mix, the best number was Harry Parker at 3.35.  McGraw happened to get on a hot streak at the right time but finished with just 25 saves and a 3.87 ERA. 

So the 1973 club did it on a powerful starting rotation, a formidable closer’s best work in the final month of the year and the ineptitude of the rest of the division.  There’s no reason deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, Wheeler and Stroman can’t put their best efforts together.  The offense theoretically should not be a problem.  The bullpen lately has been markedly better.  The only things the Mets can’t count on is the dismal failure of the other wildcard hunting teams and the bottom third of the order.  However, it would appear the pieces are indeed there for a run.  Whether or not they have the will, the motivation and the energy to execute to the best of their abilities are other matters entirely. 

*********************************************************************************

While at the second-to-last El Paso Chihuahuas regular season game against visiting Sacramento a few familiar faces were in the opposition's starting lineup:



And perhaps less familiar to all but the most astute Mets fans, he was the Luis Guillorme of his day:



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8/30/19

Carlos Cortes Named FSL All Star

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PC - Ernest Dove

DAYTONA, Fla. – The Florida State League announced its year-end All Star Team on Thursday and the St. Lucie Mets are represented by second baseman Carlos Cortes.

Cortes, 22, is hitting .254 with 11 home runs, 25 doubles, 66 RBI and 63 runs scored. He has played in 126 out of a possible 133 games. Cortes is second in the FSL in RBI, fourth in runs, third in total bases (180), eighth in hits (116), ninth in walks (50) and 10th in extra base hits (39).

Cortes, an Orlando native, was drafted by the Mets in the third round of the 2018 draft out of the University of South Carolina. After finishing the 2018 minor league season in Brooklyn, Cortes skipped over Low-A Columbia this year and started in St. Lucie.

MLB Pipeline ranks Cortes as the Mets’ No. 21 prospect.

Fort Myers outfielder Trevor Larnach was selected as the FSL Player of the Year. Charlotte starting pitcher Tommy Romero was named the League’s Pitcher of the Year. Dunedin’s Cesar Martin was picked as the Manager of the Year.

Votes were cast by field managers, coaches, official scorers and media directors/broadcasters.
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OPEN THREAD - Time To Shut Down?

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Good morning.

Reese Kaplan started my mind thinking this way this morning with his post. Six losses in a row at this point of a Wild Card race, when you are battling the amount of teams we are now facing ahead of us... at least for me... makes me turn to 2020 and start doing the things we can do in September to help our team next year.

There are the issues of expiring contracts to deal with plus rotation pitchers that should be considered to be shut down.

Then there is the additional of a 40-man roster that can be utilized.

So I ask you...

Is it time to move on?

And, if it is, what moves should be made?  

(hint... Ervin Santana and Harol Gonzalez)
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August 29th Transactions and Kudos:

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Both the Kingsport and GCL season came to an end so a various amount of chips were sent to help Brooklyn during their current pennant run. 

They included:

      SP Matt Allen
      RHRP Reyson Santos
      OF Kenedy Corona
      3B Brett Baty

AA-Binghamton moves:

      SP Mickey Jannis placed on temporary unavailable list
      SP Tylor Megill was added from the A+ St. Lucie roster

A-Columbia moves:

      RHP Colin Holderman transferred to advanced-A St. Lucie              RHP Willy Taveras transferred to Columbia’s injured list
RHP Christian Tripp transferred to Columbia from Brooklyn
RHP Nick MacDonald transferred to Columbia from Kingsport

AAA-Syracuse moves:

      RHP Ervin Santana activated off the Temporary Inactive List
RHP Harol Gonzalez placed on the Temporary Inactive List


Kudos –
     
AAA-Syracuse – SP Erwin Santana: 6-IP, 0-R, 6-K

AA-Binghamton – RP Joe Zanghi: 2-IP, 0-R, 3-K

A+ St. Lucie – SP Colin Holderman: 6.1-IP, 0-R, 4-K, 0.00

A-Columbia – RP Cole Gordon: 2-IP, 0-R, 2-K, 2.86

Low-A Brooklyn – RP Hunter Parsons: 3-IP, 0-R, 3-K

GCL – RF Freddy Valdez: 3-4, 2-R, 1st HR, 2-RBI, .400

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John From Albany - Brooklyn gets blasted by Aberdeen 12-3, now tied for wild card, one back of first. Lowrie homers, Syracuse wins 2-0, tied for first.

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A Cyclones loss (box).

Believe it or not, this game started out great for Brooklyn.  Yoel Romero walked.  Jake Mangum grounded to the shortstop who made an errant throw and Brooklyn had 1st and 3rd, no outs with the team MVP, Wilmer Reyes, up.   Reyes promptly singled scoring Romero with Mangum taking 3rd.  Then with Reyes stealing 2nd, Mangum stole home.  Brooklyn up 2-0 on one base hit.  That in a nutshell is what Brooklyn baseball has been all year, aggressive base running, and exciting.  It has been a fun team to watch and the pennant race has been great to follow.

But on Thursday it was not to be.  Mets 2019 fifth round pick, Nathan Jones had the roughest night of his professional career.  In just 2/3rd of an inning, Nathan gave up 4 hits, two walks, and a wild pitch.  He left the game with two men on base and 4 runs in.  RHP Corey Gaconi did not fare better in relief as he allowed two of the runners he inherited from Nathan score and gave up two of his own.  At the end of one inning it was 8-2 Iron Birds.  Final score 12-3. 

With Hudson Valley winning, Brooklyn dropped back to a game out of first, tied with Aberdeen for the wild card.  Brooklyn sends Matt Cleveland (3-3 3.57 ERA) to the mound Friday in what could very well be the deciding game of the wild card race.  Should Aberdeen and Brooklyn end the season tied for the wild card, their head to head play will determine the winner.  After Thursday’s game, the season series is tied. 

Syracuse’s 2-0 win (box). 

Jed Lowrie and Rymer Liriano homered and Ervin Santanna went six scoreless innings as the Syracuse Mets got back to a first place tie with the Yankee’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders who split a pair with Pawtucket.  Nick Rumbelow, Stephen Nogosek and Tyler Bashlor all added an inning in relief.

That is now 22 games with 30 scoreless innings for Nogosek.  Impressive at any level. 

Syracuse now heads to Rochester for the final four games of the year.  Manager Tony DeFrancesco told Syracuse.com that Lowrie will now get the night off but that Brandon Nimmo will be back in the lineup on Friday. 

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SOON, IT WILL BE...ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE TIME

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SOON, IT WILL BE...ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE TIME

To the tune of the song My Sharona, everyone reading this, please sing along:   

A-A-A-Arizona!!!

The land of the Arizona Fall League, where some form of Mets baseball occurs in October and November for its Mets-all-year-round fans.  Last year, Pete Alonso did well there.  Maybe you heard of him.

This year, the Mets assigned players join others in playing in Scottsdale.   

And an interesting list it is:

Andres Gimenez, SS/2B  - Andres is finally heating up this season for Binghamton and ready to work further on his skills as he hopes to reach the Mets in some capacity in 2020.
David Peterson, LHP - Peterson has had some real quality outings and others that have disappointed, and this would be a chance to position himself as a solid AAA starter at the beginning of 2020
Thomas Szapucki, LHP - the fireballer has made a very solid, low inning comeback from Tommy John surgery - the fall league assignment should challenge him against real tough hitters and add to his 2019 innings total, as I imagine he hopes to accelerate his progress towards Queens.  What better place to add accelerant than in Arizona.
Ryley Gilliam, RHP - the reliever was hot-hot-hot until hewas not-not-not in Syracuse, due to injury.  Seeing how he does healed up and getting more quality innings in a tough hitters' league should be fascinating.
Ali Sanchez, C - with his hitting steadily improving the past two seasons, his bat can use as many at bats as possible to keep the growth coming.
Patrick Mazeika, C has hit with lots of pop after April in AA - Arizona is a good place to see swinging in hopes of getting better.  
Luis Carpio, SS/2B - Carpio's power slid back somewhat this season but he has hit solidly while moving higher...a good chance to keep that going.

Should be fun to follow them - I plan to be checking in.  I hope I'm not "alone-a" in that regard.
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Reese Kaplan -- How to Get to the Playoffs

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We’ve heard it all before – how the club is at the proverbial crossroads.  After Thursday night’s game they sit but a single game over .500.  Considering the high-water mark of five games over  and just one game out of the playoff race on August 10th, they’ve fallen off the pace fairly quickly in the few weeks that have transpired since then.  Many folks were celebrating the return to contention and are horrified to have them fall back to Earth.  Those people don't realize how far forward mediocrity is considering where the club has been the past few years.  Loyal reader Bill Metsiac reminds us that in 1973 the Mets were at the bottom of the pack as late as mid-September.  Consequently, as the calendar prepares to flip to the final month of the regular season, what do the Mets need to do to have a realistic shot at the post-season?


During the 8-game win streak the Mets were scoring an unsustainable 6.75 runs per game while only giving up 3.  During the 16 games since then they have scored 4.31 runs while giving up 4.56.  Consequently, their 6-10 record is not really a big surprise.    


Lost in the nuclear implosion of Noah Syndergaard’s worst-ever start was a sterling performance of the much-maligned bullpen.  They provided 6 innings of shutout ball after Thor’s 10 run (9 earned) debacle.  One of those innings as a 3-strikeout, no-hit, no-walk performance from none other than Edwin Diaz.  Other positive contributors on this disastrous night included Luis Avilan, Paul Sewald and Brad Brach.  In total they provided 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 walk and 8 strikeouts.  THAT’S the kind of bullpen pitching the club has been needing all year long.

Also lost in the shuffle was the ongoing uselessness from Juan Lagares, he of the 0-5 collar, dropping him to a 2017/2018 Frazier-like .213.  He got the starting nod again on Thursday and now he's down to just .210.  His partner in ineptitude, Todd Frazier, had more hits in this game than seemingly in the past several weeks combined when he entered the game as a pinch hitter, remained in, going 2-4 and raising his season’s batting average to a less-than-lofty .229 before reverting to form on Thursday with another 0-fer collar. 

So going forward, what must the Mets do to have any shot at the playoffs?  Well, the obvious answer is that they need to score more runs than their opponents, but the starting pitching which had been so good after the All Star break needs to rediscover its magic.  Marcus Stroman has been as bad as early-season Jason Vargas, Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler have been odiferous of late (though Matz gets something of a pass as he’s been on a roll until his last game).  Only Jacob deGrom has been old reliable, someone you know will keep you in the game, but even he succumbed to a two-homer losing effort on Thursday night.

The bullpen has been surprisingly good of late.  Resurgences from Justin Wilson and Jeurys Familia have been most welcome.  A healthy Luis Avilan is throwing the way they had hoped.  As good as Brad Brach looked on Wednesday, the fact is he’s thus far pitching to a fugly 7.50 ERA.  Paul Sewald is, to most Mets fans, an instant groan when he enters a game, but you might be surprised to learn that thus far in his limited use he’s pitching to just a 3.00 ERA.  Seth Lugo has been consistently good.

Edwin Diaz, unfortunately, has not been good, but since blowing a save on his first game after the All Star break is pitching to a 4.50 ERA which is decidedly better than what we’ve seen.  More importantly, during that streak he’s saved 7 games, blown 1 save and continued to rack up strikeouts at a prodigious rate – 83 in less than 50 innings pitched.  He’s holding batters to a good, not great .232 BAA. 

So we know the starting pitching needs to get back on track.  We know the bullpen needs to build on its recent success.  What of the hitters?  We can see what Wilson Ramos, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto and Amed Rosario are doing.  They are fine.  


The issue is the use of guys like Todd Frazier, Juan Lagares and Joe Panik.  There is something to be said for the fine defense all of them bring to the table, but their offense is pretty woeful.  I recently outlined that Lagares, for example, is on a pace for less than 24 RBIs on a full season.  Winning clubs can’t sustain that lack of production, particularly when the pitching isn't holding the opposition to 3.5 runs or less.  Panik was cut by San Francisco for a reason.  He’s hitting .267 with the Mets which is close to his career .271 AVG and markedly better than the .235 he delivered to the Giants.  However, he has trended downward for the past three years offensively and for a club challenged to score runs, the return of Brandon Nimmo can’t happen soon enough as it will allow Jeff McNeil to slot in at 2B.  The equation is Nimmo > Panik.  That’s undebatable. 

The bigger question is what of Jed Lowrie?  Is he going to be more productive than Todd Frazier?  Can he hold up to playing nearly every day at 3B?  For his last two years in Oakland he has averaged .272/18/84.  That’s the kind of offensive shot in the arm the club can use right now.  Homering in his AAA rehab assignment last night suggests the time may indeed be near.  JD Davis could also move to 3B which is allegedly his natural position, but that would again return the unproductive Juan Lagares to the regular lineup. 

The wildcard in all of this is Robinson Cano who, since the All Star break is hitting .284 with 6 HRs and 14 RBIs in just about a month.  THAT’S the kind of production the Mets were expecting when they traded for him and his return would enable them to consider JD Davis at 3B with Lowrie becoming a supersub, McNeil in the outfield once again with both Frazier and Lagares where they belong on the bench, available for late inning defense.  

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8/29/19

August 28th Transactions and Kudos: Jim D’Aloia, Colin Holderman, Arizona League

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The Mets dismissed their Senior Director of Pro Scouting, Jim D’Aloia. After eight years with the team..

He’s still listed on the Mets site as second in command behind the VP of International and Amateur Scouting, Tommy Tanaous.

Now, you all know what a King of Mets scouting and draft picks I am (sic) and, frankly, I have never heard of this guy nor have I ever seen his name in print other than on the Mets site.

What exactly did he do? Was he a field man? Did the field men report directly to him? Or is this just an internal paper pusher that couldn’t keep up with the transformation of this game to analytics?

We will never know the answers of these questions.

(chatter yesterday online was that he was very well liked within the Mets scouting community and there is currently much unrest there as well)


SP Colin Holderman was promoted from A-Columbia to A+ St. Lucie.

     The 23/yr. old was drafted by the Mets in the 9th round of the 2016 draft (Heartland JC – Ill).

     He stat lined this year 15-G, 14-ST, 3.90, 1.32, 60-IP, 45-K for combined Brooklyn/Columbia)

     The funny part is that he may actually be being sent to a team that is going to be rained out for the remainder of this year’s season.


Mets going to play in the Arizona Fall League this year:

     Pitchers: Ryley Gilliam, David Peterson, Thomas Szapucki

     Catchers: Patrick Mazeika, Ali Sanchez

     Infielders: Luis Carpio, Andres Gimenez



Kudos –
     
AAA-Syracuse – CF Brandon Nimmo: 2-4, 2-R, HR, 2-RBI


AA-Binghamton – CF Quinn Brodey: 2-5, R, 3-RBI, .251


A+ St. Lucie – 3B Blake Tiberi: 2-4, R, .252


A-Columbia – RP Jose Moreno: 1.1-IP, 0-R, 3-K


Low-A Brooklyn – SS Wilmer Reyes: 3-5, R, .329


Rookie-Kingsport – DH Andres Regnault: 2-5, 2-R, 8th HR, 3-RBI, .292

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DO THE METS HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO REACH THE WILD CARD?

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A few days ago, exuberant Mets fans felt the Mets could do anything.  

Then the Mets lost 5 tough games in a row.

So...reality once reminded that you can't win them all.

So let's reassess: do the Mets have the horses to win the Wild Card?

I don't want to get into the current odds, based on their record vs. other contenders through Wednesday.

I mean, do they have the horses?

I say yes.

Why?

The offense, starting pitching, and bullpen say YES.

OFFENSE

1) Jeff McNeil is back and hitting like Jeff McNeil, Superstar, a huge boost to the offense.

2) Jed Lowrie started at 2B in AAA last night and was 1-3.  I'd think another week and he's back, which will (or at least ought to) help.  Remember, the guy had a ton of XBHs in 2017 and 2018, and 99 RBIs in Oakland's pitchers' park last year. 

3) Brandon Nimmo is even closer - like this weekend - and hot: 5 for 12 and 2 walks in his last 3 games.  Makes for a nice platoon with Juan Lagares.

4) Alonso, Rosario, Ramos, Conforto, JD - all strong hitters.

That would give them one of the strongest offenses they've ever had.  No need for AAAA guys to take another important bat soon.  Or slumping Todd Frazier.


STARTING PITCHING

Jake and Matz great, while Stroman, Thor and Wheeler scuffle a bit - but they are quality arms.  Starters still a relative strength compared to most teams.


BULLPEN

Edwin Diaz said he felt his most effective Wednesday night since 2018, great news, as he fanned the side with great sliders and fastballs.  That would be a huge upgrade.

Strong cohort: Familia, Wilson, Avilan, Lugo, even Sewald and Brach, join Diaz to form an imposing pen.  Steve Nogosek, who has not allowed an earned run in 29 AAA innings, can provide depth. 


Strong offense, above average starting, strong pen - that wins game.

They DO have the horses.

Now the horses just have to run like Secretariat.

Ya gotta believe!

What you think about that?




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Cyclones ride the roller coaster to 9-8 win, lead wild card, tied for first. Nimmo and Lowrie help Syracuse win 8-3, half game out of first.

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The Brooklyn Cyclones jumped out to a 7-0 lead only to hang on and win 9-8 (box). 

It all seemed so easy.  Luke Ritter (2 for 3, 3 runs) scored on a Joe Genord groundout in the second.  Then in the third Brooklyn exploded for 6 runs on 7 hits highlighted by a double and two more RBIs from Joe Genord and a double from Ranfy Adon to give them a 7-0 lead. 

In the bottom of the third, the O’s Aberdeen team plated three to try and get back in it.  Then in the top of the 4th, Gavin Garay drove in a run with one of his three hits for the night and it looked like Brooklyn had a comfortable 8-3 lead.

But wait a minute.  One of Brooklyn best relief pitchers this year, and a NY Penn League all-star, Mitch Ragan came on to pitch in the bottom of the fourth.  After allowing a single, double, and a walk, while striking out two, Aberdeen’s Jaylen Ferguson connected off Ragan for a long grand slam and the Aberdeen Iron Birds were back in it at 8-7.  It had been the first home run allowed by Mitch Ragan this year. 

The next thing that happened surprised me.  Mitch Ragan, after allowing the four runs in the 6th, was allowed to come back out and pitch the 7th in this big game.  Mitch responded by throwing a scoreless inning.  Allowing a pitcher to get right back out there after a tough inning?  Great move by a manager that I grow more impressed every day, Edgardo Alfonzo.

In the top of the 8th, Brooklyn went to manufacturing an insurance run like they do best.  Ranfy Adon walked.  Jake Ortega bunted him to second.  Ranfy took third on Yoel Romero’s long fly ball.  Then with two out, Jake Mangum came through with a clutch two out hit and a big insurance run and an 9-7 lead.   

Brooklyn would need the extra run as Nelson Leon started off the 8th by hitting a batter, throwing a wild pitch and then giving up a single to Aberdeen’s Jean Carmona.  Then, perhaps the turning point of the game.  Jake Ortega, picked off Jean Carmona at first.  Nelson Leon settled down at that point.  Finished the 8th and a scoreless ninth to earn his 3rd save.

In other NY Penn games, the Staten Island Yankees beat the Rays’ Hudson Valley Renegades which means that Brooklyn and Hudson Valley are tied for first, Aberdeen is just a game out and the Yankees are just a half game back of Aberdeen.  Between now and Labor Day, they all play each other. 

But wait there’s more playoff baseball in NY.

The Syracuse Mets got back to winning Wednesday night with an 8-3 win (box) over the Phillies’ Lehigh Valley team Monday and pulled a half game behind the Yankee’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre who were rained out against Pawtucket.

Nimmo led off, split time in center and left, went 2 for 4, with 2 runs scored and a 2 run homer.  Lowrie hit second, played 5 innings at 2nd base and went 1 for 3.  Sam Haggerty also had a solid two for two with two RBIs in relief of Lowrie.  Haggerty is hitting .343 after being called up from Binghamton.  On the mound Harol Gonzalez improved to 5-0 since his Binghamton call up with 2 runs in 5 innings.  Eric Hanhold and Daniel Zamora each added two innings apiece in relief.   

Syracuse manager Tony DeFrancesco told Syracuse.com that Lowrie will get in a couple at-bats against the Phillies’ AAA Lefty JoJo Romero to get the switch hitter some reps from the right side.  Brandon Nimmo is expected to have Thursday off.

Finally, Kingsport lost on Wednesday to get eliminated from playoff contention.  Why not bring some of the K-Mets up to Brooklyn to join the fun?

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