May 30

Bruce Picks Up Cabrera And Pill

Jay Bruce, as he has done most of this season, picked up the Mets with a game-winning line drive single to center to give them a 5-4 victory in 12 innings over Milwaukee.

Bruce’s single snapped an 0-for-5 start to the game.

“I’m not trying to do too much,” was how Bruce described his approach. “I’m not trying to muscle up and power the ball.”

CABRERA: Error leads to long game. (AP)

CABRERA: Error leads to long game. (AP)

Bruce’s hit made a winner out of reliever Josh Smoker, who struck out four in three innings.

The game lasted 12 innings because Asdrubal Cabrera dropped what would have been an inning-ending pop-up with the bases loaded in the seventh inning that allowed two runs to score and tie the game.

PILL TERRIFIC: Tyler Pill was under constant duress, but pitched into the sixth inning and left the game with the lead. The 27-year-old made the first start of his career and showed tremendous grit and guile and should have come away with a victory.

Unfortunately, there’s not a stat for “should have.’’

He had every reason to be happy with his effort, and pitched worthy of getting another start while Steven Matz and Seth Lugo remain on the disabled list.

Pill, the ninth different pitcher to start this year for the Mets, pitched out of trouble in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings, stranding a runner in scoring position each time. He was most impressive in the fifth when he left Eric Thames on third after a leadoff triple.

Pill was shaky in the first, hitting the leadoff hitter and giving up a single to Thames. He was on the verge of escaping when he gave up a double to Travis Shaw on a bouncer that just got over the glove of leaping first baseman Lucas Duda. Had Duda lined up one step deeper he would have made the play.

The Mets gave Pill a 2-1 lead in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Curtis Granderson and Cabrera, and a bases-loaded walk to Jose Reyes on what could be argued as a gift call from plate umpire Manny Gonzalez on ball three.

Pill gave up one run on three walks, six hits and four strikeouts in 5.1 innings.

BULLPEN, CABRERA BETRAY PILL: Fernando Salas relieved Pill and got out of the sixth, but he walked two hitters and gave up single to load the bases in the seventh.

I realize manager Terry Collins doesn’t have many options, but you never let a reliever walk two hitters in the seventh.

Enter Jerry Blevins, who walked in a run, then appeared to get out of the inning when Cabrera, channeling his inner Luis Castillo, dropped what should have been an inning-ending pop-up by Jeff Bandy to allow two runs to score and tie the game.

Truth be told, had Domingo Santana, the runner on first been hustling, he could have scored.

EXTRA INNINGS: Neil Walker had two hits giving him 1,000 for his career. … Salas, who turned 32, hit for the first time in four years and collected his first career hit. … Duda remains hot with a two-run homer in the sixth. Over his last eight games he has four homers and 11 RBI.

UP NEXT: Jacob deGrom (4-1, 3.23) will start tonight against Milwaukee. DeGrom is 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA is six starts against the Brewers. DeGrom is coming off a season-high 8.1 innings in the Mets’ 8-1 victory at Pittsburgh, May 26.

 

May 30

With Offense Humming No Need To Rush Cespedes

With the Mets’ offense humming along, there’s no reason to rush Yoenis Cespedes back from the disabled list, especially since he’s still experiencing soreness in his right quad.

Cespedes hit today in Port St. Lucie and will be re-evaluated tomorrow. He won’t be back this week as the Mets originally hoped, so the delay will last until next week.

CESPEDES: No need to rush him now. (AP)

CESPEDES: No need to rush him now. (AP)

“He’s making strides,” manager Terry Collins said. “We’re getting close. The one thing I learned a long time ago is you can’t control the healing process of any player. Just because Yoenis isn’t here, doesn’t mean we can’t win.”

However, the Mets have the potential to push the recovery timetable but should exercise patience. The offense has been hot for much of the month, with everybody in the outfield, Lucas Duda and Neil Walker all producing for the better part of the last two weeks.

Overall, the Mets have homered 12 times in their last eight games; they lead the majors with a .394 on-base percentage with RISP and are second in hitting (.310) in that situation.

What has let down the Mets has been their pitching, both starting and the bullpen, and Cespedes has no bearing on those numbers.

The Mets have already pushed Cespedes back several times, so the prudent decision would be to wait another couple of weeks and re-test him then.

Do they want to bring him back and risk an injury that could sideline him for another month or two?

May 30

Mets Lineup, May 30, Brewers

Tyler Pill will make his major league debut tonight against Milwaukee at Citi Field. Here’s the Mets’ lineup behind him:

Michael Conforto, LF: A player of the month candidate tied for first in extra-base hits (16), second in runs scored (25) and tied for fourth in homers (seven).

Jose Reyes, 3B: Hitting .250 with RISP. Is hitting .175 at home. … Recorded 2,000 career hit May 20.

Jay Bruce, RF: Tied for 11th in NL with 18 RBI in May. … Has two homers and seven RBI in last seven games.

Neil Walker, 2B: Is hitting .330 with eight doubles, four homers, 18 RBI and runs scored for May. Has .381 on-base percentage in May.

Lucas Duda, 1B: Another hot Met, hitting .407 with four doubles, three homers and nine RBI over last seven games.

Curtis Granderson, CF: Is five hits shy of 1,600 for career. … Hitting .286 with two homers and nine RBI in last 17 games.

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS: Hitting .423 with RISP. … A career .303 hitter vs. Milwaukee.

Travis d’Arnaud, C: Hitting .286 with RISP. … Hitting just .067 (2-30) at home.

Travis Pill, RHP: Was 4-1 with a 1.60 ERA in the minor leagues. … Making major league debut tonight, but worked two-thirds of an inning and taking the loss Saturday.

May 30

Today’s Question: Who Is Tyler Pill?

For those counting at home, Tyler Pill will be the ninth different pitcher to start a game for the Mets this season.

He certainly has the confidence, saying: “Why not test what you’ve got against one of the best lineups in the sport?’’

It’s true. The Milwaukee Brewers’ lineup Pill will face tonight ranks fourth in the Major Leagues in runs scored (257).

Pill goes against Zach Davies (5-3, 5.33 ERA).

Pill goes his feet wet Saturday night in Pittsburgh pitching in relief against the Pirates, taking the loss in a 5-4 extra-innings loss, giving up one run in two-thirds of an inning.

“I thought, get him an inning, maybe two, get him through those right-handers just to make him feel like he belongs out there,” manager Terry Collins told reporters that night in Pittsburgh. “Instead of just running him out there on Tuesday with 10 days off since he pitched.”

May 29

Alderson Endorses Collins Before Strong Effort From Gsellman

Reportedly, Mets GM Sandy Alderson has been keeping a book on manager Terry Collins, which made today’s semi-endorsement somewhat surprising.

Speaking before the Mets’ 4-2 Memorial Day victory over Milwaukee, Alderson said: “I’m happy with the job Terry has done under the circumstances. Nobody is happy with the won-lost record. There are reasons for the record that have nothing to do with Terry.”

GSELLMAN:  Solid seven then to pen. (AP)

GSELLMAN: Solid seven then to pen. (AP)

Collins has gambled and lost a few times this season, but what has most hurt the Mets have been injuries to ace Noah Syndergaard and closer Jeurys Familia – neither is due back anytime soon – and their All-Star slugger Yoenis Cespedes, who is out for at least two weeks.

There have also been injuries to Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda, Asdrubal Cabrera and David Wright, and pitchers Seth Lugo and Steven Matz.

This is something Alderson should have recognized and vocalized weeks ago.

Much of the criticism directed at Collins is for his bullpen usage, which today featured one inning each from Paul Sewald – who is rapidly become a Collins favorite – and Addison Reed, who earned his seventh save despite letting the first two batters reach in the ninth.

Today’s starter, Robert Gsellman, worked seven strong innings today and is expected to go back into the bullpen when Lugo and Matz – who will each get at least one more rehab start – are activated from the disabled list.

Ironically, Gsellman found his mechanics after he was moved to the pen several weeks ago. Gsellman is better suited for the pen than either Matz or Lugo, and for his money, he doesn’t mind going back.

“I don’t care,” Gsellman said. “I just want to pitch.”