9/10/19

Hey, What Happened After the Mets Won Those 15 of 16? Not Good

13 comments

OH, NO, HERE COMES THE BULLPEN!!

Boy, oh boy, man, oh man...

Were the Mets rolling? 

When they won 15 of 16 from July 25 to August 10.  

WOW!  I was excited.  How about you?

But they were mostly against weak teams - they won the first 13 of 14 against the Marlins (4), White Sox (3), Pirates (5 of 6), and Padres (1).  Then they won the first two against the Nationals.

Then: a tougher schedule arrived and the hot streak ended  - here's a recap how the last 25 games (11-14) thru Sunday have gone (of course, before I proceed, this Monday night’s 3-1 deGrom/Lugo/Alonso-starring win was a thing of beauty, I must note).

Aug 11 - Mets were tied with the Nats 3-3, after 3 early unearned runs against Jake, but then Gsellman and Diaz allowed 2 runs each from the pen. Result?  A disappointing 7-4 loss.  (0-1, post winning streak)

Aug 13 - Wheeler not strong, loses to the Braves, 5-3. (0-2)

Aug 14 - Mets led the Braves 2-1, then Seth Lugo had a rare bad outing, allowing 5 in the 7th, and the Mets lost 6-4.  (0-3)

Aug 15 - Alonso has 5 hits, and the Mets led 10-3 in the 8th.  Drew Gagnon surrendered 4 homers and 5 runs, and needed Edwin Diaz to save the game, 10-8.  The wisdom of using a AAAA pitcher against a lethal hitting team with a 7 run lead should have become a valid discussion point, as this crucial game came perilously close to being blown.  (1-3)

Aug 16 - Having lost 3 of 4, and in need of a sweep against a weak team, instead Syndergaard surrenders 2 runs in a 4-1 loss to the lowly Royals.  Brad Brach surrendered the final two runs in relief.  (1-4)

Aug 17 - deGrom wins 4-1, with some late clutch hitting and strong relief from Seth Lugo and Justin Wilson.  Alonso and Lagares had 3 hits. (2-4)

Aug 18 - Zach Wheeler allowed 4 runs in 5 innings, but Familia (4-1), Brach and Diaz allowed just 1 run over the final 4, while the bats erupted late against bad relief pitching for an 11-5 win. (3-4)

Aug 20 - against a good Cleveland team, Steve Mats was strong and 3 relievers (Wilson, Avilan, and Sewald) did well while the Mets bats erupted again late, with 7 runs in their last 3 innings for a 9-2 win. (4-4)

Aug 21 - in a well pitched game, the score was 2-2 going into the 10th.  Avilan allowed a homer top 10th, but the Mets rallied for 2 in the bottom for a 4-3 win. (5-4)

Aug 22 - a three game sweep, as Syndergaard won a 2-0, rain-shortened masterpiece, with Sewald getting the save.  Five straight wins had fans smiling. (6-4)

Aug 23 - the Braves are back.  Can they keep the good times rolling?  No.  deGrom homers and throws a brilliant 7 innings, and the Mets fan 26 in 14 innings, but the Mets forget how to hit in a 2-1 loss.  Jeurys Familia gives up 2 hits and 2 walks in the 14th for the loss. (6-5)  

Aug 24 - Mets lead 5-4, but Wheeler allows the tying run to score.  Diaz and Brach allow 2 runs each in a 9-5 loss.  Fans start to fret. (6-6)

Aug 25 - Matz pitches well, Keuchel pitches better, and the Mets get swept 2-1, with their run coming in the 9th.  Sewald and Wilson pitch well in relief, except Sewald allowed a homer in his 2 innings, which turned out to be the margin of victory. (6-7)

Aug 27 - having essentially given up any chance of overtaking the Braves, the Mets faced fellow Wild Card contending Chicago.  The Mets led 1-0 through 4, but Stroman gave up 2 homers and 4 runs, and Mazza gave up a 5th run on 4 hits over 2 innings, as the Mets lose their 4th straight, 5-2. (6-8)

Aug 28 - Syndergaard allows 10 runs in 3 innings; the Mets rally for 7 runs, but not enough to avoid a 5th straight loss. Sewald, Brach, Diaz and Avilan pitch 6 scoreless innings, giving hope that the bullpen might be reliable for the rest of the stretch run. (6-9)

Aug 29 - gloom descends, as the Mets again fail to score for deGrom and he allows 2 seventh inning HRs to lose 4-1, a sixth straight crushing loss.  Lugo and Familia toss 2 scoreless in the defeat. (6-10)

Aug 30 - despite Zach Wheeler pitching well, the Mets trail 1-0 after 6 but tie it in the 7th and score 5 in both the 8th and 9th to take an 11-1 lead.  Mazza allows 4 runs in the 9th to drive the final score to 11-5, after Wilson and Diaz throw scoreless innings.  Again, the concern about using AAAA pitchers with even large leads should be a discussion point.  The 6 game loss streak is over. (7-10)

Aug 31 - Mets beat up Jason Vargas to win 2nd straight, 6-3, and the pen again is strong, going 4 scoreless Avilan Famila Wilson, and lastly Lugo for 2 innings. (8-10)

Sep 1 - with a chance to decisively sweep the Phils, the bullpen (Zamora, Familia) give up 3 late runs in a 5-2 loss. (8-11)

Sep 2 - Syndergaard dominates the Nationals.  Another AAAA, Tyler Bashlor, comes in with a 7-0 lead and promptly gives up 3 runs, necessitating Diaz to come in for the final out.  But that's 3 of 4 after 6 straight losses, and optimism is rising. (9-11)

Sep 3 - the Mets lead 5-2 after 7.   deGrom surrenders an 8th inning 2 run homer to make it 5-4.  The Mets explode for 5 to take a 10-4 lead into the bottom of the 9th.  Mickey forgets that the Nats are at home and dangerous, and brings in AAAA Paul Sewald to replace Seth Lugo, who was brilliant relieving Jake in the 8th and threw just 10 pitches.  Sewald gives up 4 quick runs, recording just 1 out, and Avilan allowed a hit, too.  Diaz, pitching well of late, comes into a tight spot, and allows a double and 3 run homer to result in a crushing 11-10 loss.  (9-12)

Sep 4 - somehow, the Mets bounce back and lead 7-1 behind Wheeler.  Familia gives up a quick 3 runs, but Avilan, Lugo and Wilson throw 3.1 scoreless to secure the 8-4 win.  Despite bullpen shakiness, the Mets beat 2 tough teams (Phils, Nats) 2 of 3 in each series.  (10-12)

Sep 5 - back against the Phils, the Mets take a 4-2 lead with 2 in the 8th.  Diaz promptly coughs that up, but Pete Alonso walks with the bags full for a 5-4 walk off, shirtless win, and the Mets have won 5 of 7.  The pulse is back, despite the bullpen.  (11-12)

Sep 6 - Stroman pitches poorly, and the Mets' offense has a rare off game, as they lose 5-0.  Can they win Sunday, for another series win. (11-13)

Sep 7 - nope.  Syndergaard is spotted to a 3-0 first inning lead, but the Mets fail to expand the lead with runners on.  Mickey foolishly yanks Thor after 5 innings and 78 pitches and a 4-4 score, and brings in Sewald, who allows a hit and records an out, which ultimately leads him to losing his 14th major lague game without a win..  Avilan and Wilson, so good of late, allow 2 runs apiece.  Wilson pitched well but lost a long battle, surrendering a two run shot.  Down 9-6 with 2 outs, Mickey foolishly brings in Tyler Bashlor, who fails to get an out, walking 3 and giving up a hit to make it 10-6.  The Mets get back a run and threaten, but fail to capitalize and lose 10-7.  (11-14)

That a lot of information.  What does it all mean?  Here are my takeaways:

A) the Mets, against a very tough schedule over the past 25 games, went 11-14, largely due to a faltering bullpen that cost them several games. 

B) the Mets' pen had strengthened of late, prior to the streak, but the need to use AAAA guys has killed the Mets in 2018 and 2019 prior to winning 15 of 16, and killed them again afterwards.  

Perhaps ownership will finally realize that the 2020 plan should result in significantly reduced use of AAAA guys.  Their runs allowed per 9 innings in 2018 and 2019 has simply been atrocious and resulted in dozens of losses.  Pen depth and quality is non-negotiable to win.  The 11-14 stretch could easily have been 14-11 or better with a stronger pen.  

Those 3 games are the difference between being right in the mix of the Wild Card and being a long shot team, as remaining games dwindle.

C) Mickey's overuse of AAAA guys in spots where games can be lost, and other questionable decisions, cost them some games that the team was in too much of a hole to not badly hurt their Wild Card chances.

They still are just 4 games out of the Wild Card behind the Cubs, who have obliged by playing poorly since their sweep of the Mets, but the Mets (thru Sunday) trail 2 other teams by 2 games, and another team by 2.5 games.  Thus, it is likely they will need to go 16-4 or better to get past those 4 teams.

Solution?

A) The hitting is set to go - it is improved, as with the late returns of Nimmo, Cano and Lowrie, the need to use weak bats has greatly dwindled.  It is undoubtedly a top 10 offense.  They just need to bludgeon opponents and hope the pitching picks things up.

B) Starters just need to go deeper whenever possible, as the pen remains suspect, to downright inflammatory.

C) Only use AAAA pitchers (we all know who they are) while trailing big.  Leads of at least 8 runs should be the only time a AAAA pitcher is used with a lead.  Against a lethal offensive team like the Dodgers, make that a 10 run lead minimum.  And be ready to pull the AAAA guy quickly as, with them, even a 10 run lead is not safe.

D) Pray that Sunday's strong outings from Diaz and Familia can be their turnaround points for the remaining 20 games.  The Mets desperately need that.  Or the bullpen will keep them out of the playoffs for sure.

D) Pray for a miracle.


With the hot D Backs (yay! We won the first game on Monday) and elite Dodgers coming in, going 11-14 and not going 14-11 in th0se past 25 games may prove to be their Wild Card death knell - but that's why they play the games.  

Hopefully, a hot week for the Mets will allow them to inch back in.  They need to win at least 4 of 6 in these 2 series.




13 comments:

bill metsiac said...

I think you're over-reacting a bit, Tom. The need to improve the pen and reduce the use of AAAA players was VERY obvious a year ago, and not ignored.

Paying a steep price, the top 2018 Closer was added. 3 veteran ML RPs (Avilan, Wilson, Familia) were also added, to join Lugo and Gsellman in what looked to be one of the better pens around.

A very promising rookie, Smith, was also expected, but fell victim to TJS.

The pen disappointed due to injuries and disappointing performances, but it's not fair to say that the need wasn't addressed.

On another note, I guess we have different definitions of AAAA. In my opinion, that label applies to players who have been around for several years or more, not to rookies. Zamora, Sewald, Bashlor (a fave of yours, I think), Flexen, and others are not yet experienced enough to qualify. It's too bad that we gave up too soon on Hansel Robles, but he had his chances and failed here.

Yes, the pen overall hurt us, but not for lack of trying by Brodie.

Tom Brennan said...

Perhaps, Bill, but on the other viewpoint, after the Mets got Diaz, Avilan, Wilson, and Familia, my brother felt they were still two legit arms short, as he had felt the year before. Turns out he was right both years. Injuries happen, guys can have bad years - so you need more REAL pen depth than it might first appear.

Robles, I would have not given up on, and is a cautionary tale to all those who want to find the closest trash heap to dump Diaz in. Guys (including Diaz) have bad years. The example I used a few days ago was Koosman (largely not his fault) going 11-35 over 2 years - then winning 20 the next season. Robles is, of course, another good example. Diaz could well return with a vengeance in 2020. His 2018 season as a reliever was better than any Mets reliever's season in their history.

I invite you to look at the ERAs of my more broadly defined AAAA guys in 2018 and 2019. They collectively are around 7.00. That is horrible and needs to not be repeated in 2020.

Tom Brennan said...

Let me add one thing - Bashlor got into trouble immediately against the Phils - I would never have intentionally walked a guy to load the bases with 2 outs with Harper - Mickey has a screw loose. But Bashlor fought him; however, the last pitch was why I see him as distinctly AAAA - it was over 2 feet high out if the strike zone, just an inexcusable pitch there. We cannot have that sort of thing and hope to win with this team.

I don't want to be critical, but I want the Mets to succeed. Bashlor and Sewald are 0 and 20 combined as Mets. Come on! The franchise, to be successful, simply can't allow that scenario to happen. Add in Chris Flexen, 3-11, 8.07 lifetime. That's 3-31. Winning organizations simply don't allow this under any circumstances.

Tom Brennan said...

Oh, and the Cubs won - so the Mets are still 4 out with 19 to go. Just 2 less pen losses and it would be a highly optimistic 2 games out with 19 to go.

Gary Seagren said...

Simply put if Diaz was anything close to his 2018 self we would be at least in a good second WC position. Tom I agree with you about BP depth which has been a problem forever but the biggest issue facing BVW this off season is how we can compete within our own division which is scary going forward particularly with the Braves looking like a juggernaut in the forseeable future. Alonso and McNeil have saved us from being after thoughts but Brodie has alot of work to do and I hope he fully uses the new FO to our advantage and doesn't play that "I'm the smartest guy in the room card". I've just been wondering how teams like the Braves and Nats to name two can come up with amazing amateur FA players like Acuna, Albies and Soto and we don't so is it the FO, scouting, ownership, money or all of the above as it just can't be all luck.

Tom Brennan said...

Gary, I think trading Kelenic, Dunn, Kay and SWR will look very bad for the Mets in 2021.

I think at least 3 of those 4 will do very well, and add them to McNeil, Alonso and others, and this team would have a strong core.

This team is absolutely going to need Szapucki and Megill to become star pitchers, in both cases being iffy, Szapucki due to his injury history, and Megill due to his just arriving on the radar screen. Other minors pitchers - until we get to Allen and Wolf in 2-3 years, I am not sure there is much that will truly help us in the majors. And that is scary. Because you can only spend so much $$ making up for a lack of a robust pipeline.

bill metsiac said...

While the mid-level(Bingo, Lucie) may not be "srocked"), the draft results at the ML level (Alonso, 4to, McNeil, Nimmo, Smith) are just fine. And players who would be at Bingo and Lucie brought us JDD, Stroman, Diaz and Cano. Whether or not you are happy with the deals, the products of our system got them done.

At the bottom of the system, the products of recent drafts (Allen, Wolf, Baty, Szapucki, Humphreys and others) look very promising, along with the International signings Mauricio, Gimenez, Newton and others.

Given the youth of our ML team, we shouldn't need to add many others in the next 2-3 years anyway, so we have time to develop the recent kids at Kingsport, Brooklyn, and Savannah.

Adding FO talent, and bringing Omar back, should make our system just fine.

Tom Brennan said...

Bill, I am not worried about the Mets' offense - I am worried that they will continue with middle-of-the-pack, or worse, pitching because of a lack of a sufficient pipeline for the next 3 years. Most of the pitchers we call up are good enough...to lose a lot. Guys who can succeed at the major league level as pitchers are few. Guys who can pitch well up to AAA are many.

Hitting this team is fine.

Pitching? I am very concerned going forward after 2019.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

A lot of work here.

The addition of the 4 stated relieve pitchers that arrived before the season started should have made this into one of the strongest pens in baseball.

Even the experts on MLB.com and Fangraphs said so.

The two trades involving the existing of four of our top chips were for seasoned vets that, on paper, created a top 10 lineup.

Yes, you are right Tom. The trades will bite us in the ass a few years from now, but I still would have done them for the players we received.



Anonymous said...

Improvements perhaps worthy of discussion.

Outside of maybe obtaining KCR OF Jorge Soler ($4.0 mill/1 year left with opt out clause/44 HR/.250 BA) and 3B Michael Chavis (around league min. sal./18 HR/.250 BA in rookie encounter), all the Mets need in the off season more may be a lefty closer.

The starting rotation should be fine, there are around four MiLB starters getting close in K. Smith, H. Gonzales, T. Szapucki, and maybe even D. Peterson. And who knows maybe R. Gsellman gets another shot at it too. Would be nice to be able to re-sign Z. Wheeler, but we will have to see how this plays out. Nice game last night by "Wheels", right on the dime all night.

I think the pen is closer than maybe many Mets fans may think. Looks relatively sound for 2020 with Lugo, Brach, J. Wilson, and Gsellman. Then too J. Familia, Edwin Diaz, and Matt Blackham have a good chance too. However, although in this scenario mentioned above acquiring Soler after an opt out, other teams still think of pitching when they think of the NY Mets.

In the Michael Chavis scenario above, the Red Sox would be one team looking for more pitching. Dombrowski got the axe perhaps because of the current pitching shortage. The new GM may take learn from this fact, and go after more starters and relievers. Maybe one more closer.

Michael Chavis literally has nowhere to start on the Red Sox diamond. Every position is taken with experience and a higher regarded rookie expectation. But Michael Chavis is solid and will hit 25+ homeruns per season with a .280 BA. Plus, this was Michael's rookie season only. Sound, stable, put it all on the line type player. A perfect fit for here 2020.

Anonymous said...

I really like this 2019 NY Mets team.

One of the most amazing aspects to it, is that it really does have WS potential written and evident all over it right now, and for the world to see and appreciate. It isn't anything like the 1986 NY Mets championship team in construction and concept, which was basically Daryl, Dwight, Mookie, and Kevin all developed from within. Then a bunch of solid and established veterans having been brought in here from other teams to round it out. Guys like Gary Carter, George Foster, Keith Hernandez, Tim Teufel, Ray Knight, Bobby O' and Ronnie Darling, to name but a few.

The construction and concept now is more like 80% built from within the NY Mets own organization. Players who were well scouted and well developed for here. And then too, a few established veterans players (like Wilson Ramos and Robinson Cano) sprinkled in from outside.

It's a totally different approach, but one hopefully with the same exact outcome. Stay tuned Mets fans. One more season to go, if not this one. Stranger things have happened.

Anonymous said...

Star (MM) writer Tom Brennan worries about trading younger players who could be good later on, and it's understandable. I personally don't. The reason why is because we got rid of the oft injured Bruce Jay aka "The Limping Bandit." I haven't looked recently, but he is probably by now out injured again somewhere.

I truly have never seen a professional athlete as out of shape and banged up as Bruce Jay last year here. Certainly Jay was very, very good on Cincy all those seasons ago. But what has he done lately Groucho and Karl Marx?

On another thought wave.

The Mets have drafted really well of late, and they have four really good starting pitchers who appear very close now. They are namely: 1. Kevin Smith (L) 2. Tom Szapucki (L) 3. H. Gonzales (R) 4. D. Peterson (L) At some point in the Mets near future, they could have (3) lefty starters in the rotation like Boston has had over the past three seasons, incl. their 2018 WS Championship team. And here on the Mets, there will be more starters coming along to help us forget the great Anthony Kay (no relation to Danny), who BTW had scouts concerned with his being much more than a 4 starter in MLB. Now J. Dunn could potentially be a top-end starter, true, but time will always tell us this.

With Jarred Kelenic, I do see sincere potential there definitely. But how does a fan or GM ever really know much of anything until that player is batting against MLB pitching and everyday. The jump from AAA to MLB pitching is a large one, and we will all have to see how Jarred fares once he is up in the bigs.

Remember Benny Ayala anyone? (Fore!)

Anonymous said...

Top of the Order. No, not that order. The Mets batting one.

Jeff McNeil - Needs to ground himself. Dig into the batter's box like it is fresh cement drying. Relax. See the universe as your own. Picture in your mind Keith's cats sleeping on your couch after chewing all your furniture to smithereens. Breath in deep. Be in the moment. Be the guy you were the first half, and not this one. Peaceful thoughts.

Pete Alonso - The Polar Bear never met a pitch that he did not think that he could hit out of the county that he is currently standing in. But singles score runs too Pete. Even the great Ted Williams (when with head still attached) figured out the importance of not only being Ernest, but also that scoring runs one by one can actually win baseball games too. Learn by Ted's head, it is beckoning to you now.

Brandon Nimmo - The fans love you, smile broadly and just be you. That is all anyone could ever hope for. Have no worries, none, for He has your back man. Your skill set is outstanding, and you can actually hit doubles off pitches 1/2 inch outside the dish box, regardless of what you may currently think. Trust me, I have seen this. Confidence soldier.

Todd Frazier - I am not buying your sudden surge, sorry. You are grandstanding for a new contract, aren't you? Rascal. But please keep it up, because we want a 1969 repeat this year. Okay? (Thank you)

Amed Rosario - As good as he can be batting leading off, he is super hero in the eighth slot. Let it be and 2020 All Star. Promise.

Wilson Ramos - Okay, you can start now, despite whatever Noah says. Let Noah shake you off and come up with his own pitch selection that he wants more. I see a "C" on Wilson's shirt soon. Or however one says that in Spanish. Si?

Robinson Cano - I really did not buy your torn hamstring, but darn glad you are back now intact because the Mets need you out there every game playing. Having fun is fun, isn't it?

JD Davis - Squeeze glove tightly. Won't hurt it. All Star written all over you. Know your pitch, own it.

Mack's Mets © 2012