The Mets’ inability to hit with runners in scoring position, and manager Terry Collins’ insistence they are a home run-hitting team is beyond aggravating. It has gotten tiresome. Unless there’s a reversal in this trend, forget about reaching the World Series, much less getting there.
I don’t know how many times Collins said this year the Mets “don’t play small ball,” that “this team is built on power.”
Collins was at it again after Wednesday’ 2-1 loss in 13 innings to the Chicago White Sox, telling reporters: “We’re not a small ball team. We don’t steal bases. We don’t hit-and-run. To ask them to do something to do that they aren’t used to doing you’re asking them to fail.”
That’s blue-and-orange colored crap. Collins said the Mets work on their situational hitting all the time in batting practice.
“Every team talks about situational hitting,” Collins said. “Now it has to be applied.”
Now it has to be applied? It should have been applied since spring training.
While that’s fair to note, it should also be remembered Wright is hitting .226 with 14 RBI; Duda .231 with 19 RBI; and d’Arnaud .196 with one RBI. The three have a combined 94 strikeouts. Cespedes appeared as a pinch hitter and struck out for the 45th time.
The power-laden Mets lost two games each to the Dodgers and White Sox. They scored only six runs during the Chicago series.
The Mets’ situational hitting wasted a superb outing by Jacob deGrom, who is winless in his last six starts, including a loss and five straight no-decisions. Three of those no-decisions turned into a one-run loss by the Mets.
Today they had 20 runners, but only one scored. They went 1-for-8 with RISP and stranded 14 runners. Also horrible were 12 strikeouts and scoring just one run after getting 13 walks.
Today was a microcosm of how off-base Collins’ reasoning is, and if correct, how poorly this team has been constructed by GM Sandy Alderson.
Yes, the Mets’ 73 home runs are great, but they are an aberration. Everything has to be perfect to hit a home run. The stride, the swing, making contact at the precise split second all have to come together. It might be the most perfect moment in sports.
But, you can’t live off swinging for perfection. History is full of powerful teams that didn’t win a World Series. Take a walk and advance the runner; bunt; steal; hit-and-run; get the clutch hit; and don’t strike out.
A more important and telling stat is in half their 52 games the Mets scored three runs or less.
METS GAME WRAP
June 1, 2016, @ Citi Field
Game: #52 Score: White Sox 2, Mets 1 (13)
Record: 29-23 Streak: L 2
Standings: Second, NL East, 2.5 games behind Washington prior to the Nationals’ game Wednesday night. Playoffs: Second, half-game WC behind Pittsburgh.
Runs: 195 Average: 3.75 Times 3 or less: 26
SUMMARY: It just goes to show you can never tell what might happen in a major league game. Relief pitcher Matt Albers doubled off Logan Verrett to lead off the 13th inning – his first hit in nine years – took third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly.
KEY MOMENT: The Mets left the bases loaded in the sixth. Hell, they Mets left a lot of men on base all day. … Albers double was pretty big, also.
THUMBS UP: DeGrom was superb and deserved better. He struck out ten. … Two hits by Rivera. … One run in six innings from the bullpen. … Two walks each by Asdrubal Cabrera, Neil Walker and Juan Lagares.
THUMBS DOWN: Hansel Robles left the game with one out in the 11th inning with an injury. Jerry Blevins came out but Collins wanted Verrett instead. … The Mets grounded into five double plays. … Michael Conforto struck out four times while going 0-for-6. That includes grounding into a double play. He could use the off day. … DeGrom’s bad pitch to Todd Frazier resulting in a home run.
EXTRA INNINGS: Wright will get more treatment and One join the team in Miami. …
QUOTEBOOK: “He really battles. When you’re living on the edge, it takes a lot out of you.’’ – Collins on deGrom.
BY THE NUMBERS: .208: Mets batting average with RISP in the last ten games.
NEXT FOR METS: They are off Thursday, then start a three-game series in Miami against the Marlins, with Noah Syndergaard starting.
Controversial calls factored in the Mets’ losses today and Saturday, but to be clear, they did not decide the outcome either game.
I’m not sure Juan Lagares ran out of the baseline today, but I am positive Tony Wolters did not foul tip that pitch Saturday. I’m also positive I don’t care for manager Terry Collins’ explanation both times.
“Look [second base umpire Rob Drake] made the call,’’ Collins meekly told reporters. “Doesn’t matter what it’s going to do, you don’t challenge it. So it’s over, let’s go, move on.’’
All fire Saturday, that answer portrayed Collins as defeated today. The Mets seemed defeated mentally after Collins left the field.
All right, the play is not reviewable, but Collins never said he asked the umpire – on either night – to ask for help. If he did, he should have made a big stink about the arrogance of umpires who refuse to ask for a second opinion.
There’s no crying in baseball, as so goes the cliché from the movie. That should include the SNY analysts. The Mets didn’t lose either game because of bad calls, they lost because they didn’t play well, either night.
Rockies pitchers threw 126 pitches Sunday, which means the Mets had 126 potential opportunities to make plays. They also were 2-for-6 with RISP with six runners left on base.
Those numbers were 145 pitches on Saturday, going 3-for-11 with RISP and eight stranded.
Collins likes to say the Mets are a “team built on power.’’ If that is the case, and it appears to be, then they are constructed poorly.
Everybody loves homers, but the Mets’ numbers hitting with RISP and leaving runners on base aren’t good. As a team, they are hitting .212 with RISP, and leave an average of seven runners on base and strike out nine times a game.
Your pitching has to be pretty good to overcome that, and frankly, it hasn’t been.
Reliever Jim Henderson, who has been spotless for much of the season, gave up a two-run homer in the seventh.
Those two pitches hurt the Mets more than the Lagares call, and even with those pitches, they had their chances.
The bottom line is winning teams take advantage of opportunities and the Mets aren’t playing well right now.
“It was a long trip, a terrible finish to it,’’ Collins said. “We’ll pick up the pieces. We’ve got a long, long, long way to go.’’
METS GAME WRAP
May 15, 2016
Game: #37 Score: Rockies 4, Mets 3
Record: 21-16 Streak: L 4
Standings: Third, NL East 1.5 GB Nationals; half-game behind Phillies Playoffs Today: Second WC vs. Philadelphia
Runs: 146 Average: 3.9 Times 3 or less: 16
SUMMARY: DeGrom wasn’t great, but pitched well enough to win most games, which he might have done had he gotten support from his offense and bullpen.
KEY MOMENT: Ryan Raburn’s two-run, pinch-hit homer off Henderson in the seventh. Perhaps, Collins pulling deGrom after just 102 pitches moments before might be that moment. Your choice.
THUMBS UP: DeGrom gave the Mets a chance to win. … Yoenis Cespedes homered in the second. … Washington and Philadelphia also lost.
QUOTEBOOK: “I’m still not feeling very comfortable on the mound,’’ – DeGrom on his pitching.
BY THE NUMBERS: 32: Runs scored by the Mets during the 11-game trip.
NEXT FOR METS: Noah Syndergaard (3-2, 2.53 ERA) starts against Washington on Tuesday night. He is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three career starts against the Nationals.
One would think a manager shouldn’t make too many key pitching decisions in an 8-2 rout, but the Mets’ Terry Collins made a pair Saturday night in Atlanta that could serve to benefit him down the road.
The first was sending starter Steven Matz out for the seventh inning in the left-hander’s second straight start. Matz was stellar last Sunday in Cleveland and was also brilliant against the Braves. Collins could have played in conservatively and gone to the bullpen, but his confidence in sticking with Matz was refreshing.
Matz didn’t make it out of the seventh, but the important thing was that Collins stretched him out. Matz gave up nine hits – but didn’t walk a batter – and had nine strikeouts in 6.1 innings. He threw 98 pitches, which should only help him later.
Collins’ second key decision was allowing right-handed reliever Hansel Robles to stay in and face left-handed hitter Freddie Freeman. The Braves already had a run in and a runner on, but Robles struck out Freeman.
Granted, Freeman has been struggling, but when the easy thing would have been to go by the book, Collins stuck with Robles. That can only benefit both the Mets and Robles in the future.
Were they outlandish gambles? No, but the confidence Collins displayed in Matz and Robles could pay dividends. I especially liked him sticking with Robles.
METS GAME WRAP
Game: #16 Record: 9-7 Streak: W 2
SUMMARY: A solid start by Matz, a strong performance from the bullpen and the Mets continued to rake with 15 hits and two more homers.
KEY MOMENT: The Braves cut the Mets’ lead to 2-1 in the third, but Matz minimized the damage and benefitted from tack-on runs in the fourth.
THUMBS UP: A pair of doubles from David Wright, who also drove in two runs. … Two more hits from Curtis Granderson. … Two hits by Michael Conforto, who also stole his first career base. … Strong relief efforts from Robles, Addison Reed and Logan Verrett. … Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back homers in the ninth. … Two hits by Travis d’Arnaud.
THUMBS DOWN: Eleven strikeouts, 12 runners stranded and going 2-for-16 with RISP.
EXTRA INNINGS: With the win the Mets have won three straight series. … Walker leads the team with seven homers. Tonight’s was the 100th of his career … The Mets have 23 homers in their last eight games.
QUOTEBOOK: “Focus. Taking it one pitch at a time.”- Matz on the key to his success.
BY THE NUMBERS: 6: Consecutive victories by the Mets at Turner Field. Who would have ever thought that could be possible?
NEXT FOR METS: Jacob deGrom makes his second start of the season and first since April 8.
The New York Mets are finally giving Wilmer Flores his opportunity as they promoted him from Triple-A Las Vegas and will start him tonight at third base against Colorado. Ironically, today is Flores’ 22nd birthday.
The Mets, currently in an overall team-hitting slump, could use an offensive boost from Flores, who is hitting .321 with 15 homers and 86 RBI. The thought of Flores coming close to that with the Mets is enticing. They certainly aren’t going to get production from Justin Turner.
To make room on the roster for Flores, closer Bobby Parnell was placed on the disabled list with pain in his neck. Parnell received an anti-inflammatory injection Monday.
The Mets could make another roster move this weekend if Jonathan Niese is activated from the disabled list. Niese, rehabbing from a partial rotator cuff tear, will make what is hoped to be his final rehab start tonight for Double-A Binghamton. If all goes well, he could start Sunday at Arizona.
If not, he’ll make another rehab start.
Here’s tonight’s lineup, the 82nd different one this season, against Colorado:
Eric Young, LF: Has 15 steals since joining the Mets.
Daniel Murphy, 2B: Has 20 RBI since July 6.
Marlon Byrd, RF: Has at least one hit in 16 of his last 20 games.
Ike Davis, 1B: Batting .194 (13-for-67) with RISP.
Juan Lagares, CF: Is hitting .303 (47-for-155) since June 5.
Wilmer Flores, 3B: Makes major league debut on 22nd birthday. Are all the stars aligned?
John Buck, C: On a 3-for-28 (.107) over his last eight games.
Omar Quintanilla, SS: Drew 19 walks in July, third in the NL.
Jenrry Mejia, RHP: Will make his third start. The first two were quality starts.
As always, your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to answer them. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos