Harol Gonzalez Silences Kannapolis On Sunday

Gut Reaction: A’s 3, Mets 2 – 7/23/2017

The Sunday blues continue as the Mets yet again failed to complete a series sweep of the Oakland A’s, falling 3-2. Rafael Montero pitched seven strong innings, allowing three solo home runs but not much else. But the Mets could only muster two runs of their own, courtesy of a Michael Conforto solo shot and an RBI ground out by Jose Reyes. They had a chance to rally in the sixth inning, but stranded two runners.

On a positive note, the Mets not only weren’t charged with any errors but made a few nice plays, including Jay Bruce throwing out a runner at second and Rene Rivera throwing out a base runner at third. They also turned two nice double plays. Yoenis Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera had the day off.

The Mets hop a flight tonight as they begin 10-game road trip. Tomorrow night they start a four game series at San Diego’s Petco Park with with ace Jacob deGrom opposing lefty Clayton Richard. There’s a chance Neil Walker will return from the DL for the series.

Mets rebound for 3-2 win over Fire Frogs

The St. Lucie Mets rebounded from their 15-inning loss to defeat the Florida Fire Frogs 3-2 on Sunday at Osceola County Stadium.

Conlon’s Work Helps Ponies Avoid Brooms, 3-1

PJ Conlon pitched into the seventh inning and supported his own cause with an RBI single in the Binghamton Rumble Ponies' 3-1 win over the Harrisburg Senators on Sunday afternoon at FNB Field.

Game Chatter: Daniel Gossett vs Rafael Montero (7/23/17)

Mets playing their best baseball of 2017 as trade deadline looms

The Mets have a half a dozen guys on the disabled list, the pitching is in shambles, the infield defense is terrible and the general manager has all but admitted that half the team is available in trades. Meanwhile, the team is playing its best baseball of the season. In their last 23 games, the Mets are 14-9, including 6-3 since the All-Star break.

Sandy Alderson is seemingly never in a hurry to do anything. Conventional wisdom said that the players the Mets are offering for trade were most teams Plan B, which is why when other teams like the White Sox and A’s have already made moves, the Mets have yet to do so. We can debate whether or not that’s true or if it’s more likely that Alderson is waiting for the 30 or 31 to make a deal.

Yet it’s possible that inertia or waiting their turn may transform the Mets from sellers into buyers.

The shouts of disbelief can be heard all over the land. After all, the Mets are still five games under .500, are 10 games back of the second Wild Card and have four teams ahead of them in the chase. According to FanGraphs, they have just an 8.8% chance of making the playoffs. When the odds are stacked against you to this degree, the smart play is to aim for next year and try to get whatever return for assets that are unlikely to be here in 2018 that you can.

Still, we’ve seen this team come back from the dead both of the past two seasons. Neither of the Wild Card leaders are playing particularly good at this point in time, with the Diamondbacks riding a 6-13 stretch and the Rockies checking in at 10-16. One of the teams ahead of them in the chase may end up winning the N.L. Central and the Mets still have seven games remaining against the Braves, who they already have a 7-5 record against, including wins in their last three games.

After today’s game against the 43-54 A’s, the Mets have a four-game set against the 42-55 Padres and three more against the 49-50 Mariners. That’s eight games against sub .500 teams before the trade deadline. With the way this season has gone, no record from 0-8 to 8-0 would be a surprise here. Well, maybe 8-0 would be a surprise. Still, it’s easy to see why there’s no rush in the front office to pull the trigger on a deal.

This administration, whether on orders from the owners or of their own beliefs, has never embraced the idea of tanking and trying to get the best draft pick it could get. In seven drafts under Alderson, the Mets have never had a pick lower than 10. Of course, that’s the year they ended up selecting Michael Conforto, which makes it easier for fans to endorse the concept of punting this season and focusing on the future.

Additionally, while the schedule appears favorable, we can’t overlook the fact that the next seven games after today are on the West Coast. This year the Mets are 5-13 when playing a road game outside the Eastern Time zone. It doesn’t inspire confidence that the Mets will ride out of either San Diego or Seattle with their brooms held high.

The final Seattle game is on July 30, which allows the team to wait until then before making a final decision on the 2017 season. The question becomes: What’s the minimum record needed to keep faint hopes alive? If the Mets sweep their next eight games, they are three games over .500 and 7-1 still leaves them with a winning record. The optimists will point out that the team was 60-62 last year and still wound up winning 87 games. A 15-12 record over their next 27 games will have them at that point.

Most rational people would not look at the team as currently constructed as a potential playoff squad. But Neil Walker is expected back Monday and as weird as that sounds, he might make the infield defense better. Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard have all started throwing programs and could be back in late August. If Syndergaard were to replace a struggling starter and Familia a gas can reliever – that would be a tremendous upgrade.

But that still leaves a month with the likes of Rafael Montero and Zack Wheeler starting along with Fernando Salas and Josh Smoker coming in out of the pen. Which is why a winning record over their next eight games might make being buyers make sense. Acquiring a competent starter and/or a competent reliever – and not the memories of a competent pitcher, either – could help bridge the gap.

Recently, we saw a rare prospect for prospect mid-season deal between the Mariners and Cardinals. It’s at least theoretically possible that a team could need a hitter and offer up a serviceable bullpen arm in return. We’ve heard the Mets and Red Sox as potential trade partners. Could an Asdrubal CabreraBrandon Workman deal be a fit for both sides? Could Jay Bruce + cash net a starter who could go seven innings?

The offense has put up 53 runs in nine games here in the second half and should be able to handle the loss of a current regular to upgrade the pitching, especially with Walker on the way back and the potential of an Amed Rosario promotion, too. We saw Conforto promoted in late July and it wouldn’t be a shock to see Rosario on a similar time schedule, although a finger injury may push that back some.

So, for me personally, there’s no urgency to make a move here on July 23. My preference is to see how the next eight games play out. A losing record and my voice will be added to the chorus of those who want to trade everyone and regroup for next year. But my preference is to make the current season count if at all possible. Which is why even with a scant 8.8% chance of making the playoffs, you won’t see me embrace tanking.

At least not yet.

Fire Frogs outlast Mets 5-4 in 15 innings

The Florida Fire Frogs rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 15 inning to win a marathon game 5-4 over the St. Lucie Mets on Saturday at Osceola County Stadium.

Fireflies Take Down Intimidators 4-0 On Saturday

Fireflies Take Down Intimidators 4-0 On Saturday

Gut Reaction: Mets 6, A’s 5 (7/22/17)

Wilmer Flores cracked a solo homer with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Mets to a 6-5 win over the A’s Saturday night. The win leaves the Mets once again looking to complete a sweep on a Sunday.

  • While Flores delivered the big hit, the Mets’ offense had plenty of stars, as they rallied back from an early 5-0 deficit. Flores started the initial rally with a double to deep center leading off the sixth inning. Jay Bruce followed with a homer to center to get the Mets on the board. Jose Reyes delivered a one-out triple and scored on a single to right by Travis d’Arnaud. Michael Conforto followed with an RBI double to bring the Mets within a run.
  • The Mets tied it in the eighth as d’Arnaud delivered a two-out double to center. Lucas Duda came off the bench and while the A’s brought in a lefty to face him, Duda knotted the game with an RBI single.
  • The unsung heroes in the game were in the Mets’ bullpen. After Zack Wheeler had another disappointing outing, Josh Smoker, Josh Edgin and Hansel Robles contributed four scoreless innings, with Edgin going two frames. Flores’ homer made a winner out of Robles for the second straight game, bringing his record to 6-1 on the season.