Manager Terry Collins said this was the start of an important two-week stretch for the Mets and they better bring their “A’’ game to the table. Can you imagine what would have happened had they not thought it was important?
I’m being sarcastic, which is the best way to handle a game like the Mets’ 11-4 loss at Washington.
Noah Syndergaard started despite having a barking elbow from his previous game. Syndergaard clearly didn’t have it, giving up five runs on seven hits and three walks in three innings in which he threw a grueling 71 pitches.
Syndergaard imploded in a five-run third, and again couldn’t hold runners as the Nationals stole five bases against him.
Collins said Syndergaard’s elbow wasn’t an issue. Syndergaard refuted multiple media reports he had a bone spur or bone chips in his elbow.
METS GAME WRAP
June 27, 2016, @ Washington
Game: #75 Score: Nationals 11, Mets 4
Record: 40-35 Streak: L 2
Standings: Third, NL East, four games behind Washington.
Runs: 274 Average: 3.65 Times 3 runs or less: 37
SUMMARY: It unraveled for Syndergaard in a five-run third in which the Nationals stole four bases. It would have been worse had Bryce Harper not had a brain cramp on the bases.
KEY MOMENT: Anthony Rendon’s two-run single to right in the third completely erased the Mets’ 4-0 lead. You knew it was over then.
THUMBS DOWN: The Mets had 14 hits, but scored only four runs. … Syndergaard was all over the place with three walks. … Rumor had it Rene Rivera was to catch Syndergaard to but the brakes on the opponent’s running game. … Reliever Sean Gilmartin gave up five runs on seven hits in two innings.
EXTRA INNINGS: The Mets began a stretch of playing 11 of 14 games against first-place teams. … The Mets are now 16-16 vs. NL East teams. … The Mets are 11-13 in June.
QUOTEBOOK: “[Syndergaard] threw almost 40 pitches in the third and that was enough. … His velocity was good but his command was off.” – Collins on Syndergaard’s performance.
BY THE NUMBERS: 6: Stolen bases by the Nationals. Overall, opposing runners have stolen 28 bases in 31 attempts against Syndergaard.
NEXT FOR METS: Matt Harvey will try to get back on track after two mediocre outings.
If the Mets aren’t sure whether Steven Matz should make Wednesday’s start in Washington because of elbow soreness, then maybe he shouldn’t. That’s especially necessary if the ESPN report is true he’s had elbow soreness in at least three of his last eight starts.
The most recent diagnosis, as reported by ESPN, is Matz has a bone spur.
I always react on the conservative side when it comes to pitcher’s injuries, primarily because the interests of the team and players sometimes differ. Sometimes greatly.
Matz has already had arm problems, so why push it? Noah Syndergaard has complained of elbow soreness twice already this season, including after his last start. I’m already on record saying the Mets are pushing him tonight.
No structural damage was found when Matz was examined, but he’s still saying he feels uncomfortable.
Pitchers always want to pitch, that’s in their DNA. It is to be expected. They are also not to be believed when they say they are fine.
As I’ve said before, caution is the way to go with pitcher’s arms.
NEXT STEP FOR REYES: After Monday’s game for Class A Brooklyn, Jose Reyes‘ climb back to the majors next step will be to go to Class AA Binghamton. How long he plays there remains to be seen. Also to be determined is if he’ll remain there or go to Class AAA Las Vegas before joining the Mets.
The Mets are saying a week to ten days, which means he could rejoin the team for the second series with the Nationals at Citi Field.
Curtis Granderson – RF: Expect Granderson to be dropped in the order when Reyes returns. Hitting .109 (5-46) with RISP.
Asdrubal Cabrera – SS: Is a career .257 hitter (9-35) lifetime vs. Nationals. Has six hits in six games against Washington this year.
Yoenis Cespedes – CF: Is hot again, hitting .350 (21-60) over his last 16 games. Playing with sore hip and ankle. Is batting .327 with four homers in 14 games vs. Nationals since joining Mets.
Brandon Nimmo – LF: Went 0-4 with a strikeout in his debut Sunday. Was the Mets’ first-round selection in the 2011 draft.
Travis d’Arnaud – C: Is a lifetime .333 hitter (15-45) lifetime at Washington. Hit .317 in 11 rehab games after going on DL with sore rotator cuff.
Noah Syndergaard – RHP: Pitched seven scoreless innings vs. Nationals, May 17. Is 2-0 with 1.33 ERA in four starts lifetime vs. Nationals.
The argument for the Mets using Curtis Granderson in the leadoff spot last year was his high on-base percentage. Fueled by 91 walks, it was a solid .364 last season, which enabled him to score 98 runs.
His current numbers refute that argument. Granderson’s on-base percentage is a puny .316 this year with only 27 walks, but 61 strikeouts. These are numbers not befitting a leadoff hitter, which is why the decision to move him to third in the order, sandwiched between Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes is a good one.
Actually, there is not much else the Mets could have done. They aren’t hitting, especially with runners in scoring position. They aren’t getting on base. They have three starters on the disabled list and Neil Walker’s back and Michael Conforto’s wrist have them sidelined. With no help coming from the minors or in a trade, it is time to tinker.
With no help coming from the minors or in a trade, it is time to tinker. Moving Granderson to a traditional RBI spot seems like a logical first step, For his 12 homers, he should have a lot more than 20 RBI.
The Mets’ order tonight reminds me of when managers of slumping teams pulled the lineup out of a hat. It’s not quite that bad for Terry Collins, who was released from a Milwaukee hospital and will be on the bench.
Here’s tonight’s order:
Alejandro De Aza, LF: His .181 average isn’t encouraging, but he’s fast enough to be considered at the top of the order.
Cabrera, SS: Is hitting .267, but has been fairly consistent. Is not really a No. 2 hitter in the classic sense, but is comfortable here.
Granderson, RF: Not the prototypical No. 3 hitter, but his power (12 homers) fits in the middle of the order. He should have more RBI and should get more opportunities more RBI opportunities with Cabrera, and perhaps in the future, Juan Lagares hitting ahead of him. Hitting ahead of Cespedes, his walks could increase.
Cespedes, CF: Has hit five of his 16 homers with RISP. Overall, in the 57 games in which he has played, he’s batting .282 with 16 homers, 40 RBI and 34 runs scored. In his first 57 games with the Mets last year, he hit .287 with 17 homers, 44 RBI and 39 runs scored.
Kelly Johnson, 2B: Is 4-for-9 since coming over from Atlanta. Has gone 55 at-bats since his last homer, so he’s due.
Jacob deGrom, P: Lost to the Pirates, June 7, giving up three runs in six innings. DeGrom hasn’t registered a win since April 30, getting two losses and five no-decisions in that span.
As I wrote the other day, the Mets are floundering and in dire need of a spark. Maybe this is it.
Here’s a shock, the Mets have another player down with a lower back injury and it has manager Terry Collins concerned. Very concerned.
Neil Walker left Saturday’s 7-4 loss at Milwaukee with tightness in his lower back. He won’t play Sunday and beyond that the Mets don’t know of his availability.
Walker grounded into an inning-ending double play in the third and was out of the game in the fourth.
“`With what we’ve been seeing, yeah,” Collins told reporters if he was concerned, saying Duda’s soreness turned out to be a broken back.
“Any time you’re talking about the lower back there is a concern.”
Collins said Walker will be examined Sunday, but what happens next nobody knows. Of course, you must assume the worst, which is usually what you have to do when it comes to the Mets and injuries.
Walker said he’s not concerned and hopes to play Tuesday.
Kelly Johnson will likely play tomorrow, but beyond that we could end up seeing Dilson Herrera up from the minors sooner than we expected. I floated the idea of signing Jimmy Rollins, but unless Walker’s injury is severe, they won’t do anything substantial.
METS GAME WRAP
June 11, 2016, @ Milwaukee
Game: #61 Score: Brewers 7, Mets 4
Record: 34-27 Streak: L 1
Standings: Second, NL East, three games behind Washington. Playoffs: First WC.
Runs: 226 Average: 3.7 Times 3 runs or less: 30
SUMMARY: Logan Verrett gave up three homers in a spot start and Mets’ pitching surrendered five overall.
THUMBS UP: Two hits by Cabrera, including a two-run homer in the second. … Granderson had three hits and fell a double short of a triple. …
THUMBS DOWN: Verrett gave up five runs on four hits and four walks in four innings. … Reliever Hansel Robles walked two. … Antonio Bastardo gave up two homers in the seventh. … Mets’ hitters struck out nine and their pitchers walked seven.
EXTRA INNINGS: The Mets had won six straight before losing Saturday. … The Mets have 83 homers, third in the league. … The Mets’ pen has given up 18 homers. … Travis d’Arnaud caught in a rehab assignment in Port St. Lucie.
QUOTEBOOK: “He threw 80 pitches in four innings. That’s a lot.’’ – Collins on Verrett’s performance.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5-for-51: The numbers behind Michael Conforto’s recent slump.