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Matt Harvey DFA’d. What does that mean? May 4, 2018

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Mets mopup reliever Matt Harvey was asked by the team to accept an assignment to the AAA Las Vegas 51s. Harvey refused, so the team will designate him for assignment, or “DFA” him. Here are some big questions that might arise from that move.

First and foremost, why did the team ask Harvey to accept a demotion? Because they needed to. The Mets don’t have the right to send Harvey down on their own volition like they do with other players. Hansel Robles, for example, was optioned to the minors earlier this year, and the Mets were not required to ask his permission because Robles had less than five years of service time and had only been shuttled between the majors and the minors in two prior years. New players have three “option years”: as long as they have less than five years of service time, players can be down to the minors and called back up by the team without having to get the consent of the player. Robles is in his third option year, since the team used options in 2015 and 2017, as well as this year. Steven Matz has never been optioned to the minors, so the Mets could sent him to AAA at will. Harvey, then, would have all three option years left, since he hasn’t been sent down to the minors since debuting in 2012. However, he has over five years of service time. As a result, he can exercise what’s called “veteran’s consent,” meaning the team cannot send him down without his permission or without jumping through some hoops first.

What hoops? In order to send Harvey down, they have to first change his status to “designated for assignment.” That means he comes off both the 25-man (active) and 40-man (extended) rosters. The 25-man roster comprises all the players eligible to play in a game today for the team; the 40-man roster includes players who the team can call up, if they have room on the active roster. Sending Harvey to the minors removes him from the 25-man roster automatically, but had he consented to an assignment to Vegas, he would have remained on the 40-man roster. By DFAing him, the Mets open a spot on both the active and 40-man rosters and place Harvey in a kind of limbo for up to 10 days.

What can the Mets do now? Conceivably, the Mets could immediately release Harvey. They would remain on the hook for his entire $5,625,000 salary for 2018. Harvey would be free to sign with any other team. If he did, any salary paid to him would reduce the Mets’ liability, so these signings are generally at the league minimum. The Mets took advantage of this rule, for example, when they signedGary Sheffield.

More likely, the Mets will put Harvey on waivers. That means that all teams will be informed that Harvey is available and be able to “claim” him for themselves. If multiple teams claim him, the team with the worst record will have priority. The Mets could just let a team claim him, or they could try to work out a trade with one of the teams that shows interest. They could also, on seeing interest in Harvey, revoke the waivers and put him back on the 40-man roster.

If Harvey clears waivers (meaning no team claims him), the Mets then have the ability to send Harvey to the minors. This is called “outrighting” him, for “sending him outright to the minors,” and can only happen to a player once in his career without his consent.

Wow. So what will happen? The Mets won’t likely release Harvey right away. That precludes the chance to arrange a trade and get something out of this situation.

There won’t likely be much trading interest in Harvey. He’s had a difficult year. After returning from injury in September of last year, he put up an 11.28 ERA in 22 1/3 innings across 5 starts. (Really, it was 6, since his game in relief was simply piggybacking on a well-publicized one-inning start by Noah Syndergaard.) There was hope he’d come back in better condition this year, but his first four starts came out to a 6.00 ERA with opponents slashing .302/.337/.512. After his 0-2 start, he was moved to the bullpen against his will. In relief, he’s made four appearances spanning 6 innings and put up a 10.50 ERA with an opposing slash of .304/.414/.696. That’s with a luckier-than-average .263 BAbip, too. It’s possible some team would like to have Harvey, but he’s more likely to end up being sent to the minors.

Harvey hasn’t handled the trip to the bullpen very well, so it’s likely he won’t handle Vegas well, either. He may end up staying in Vegas, or the Mets may find a trade partner. Best case scenario, he sees this as a chance to get his act together and takes advantage of 51s pitching coach Glenn Abbott. Alternatively, he may end up playing for the Long Island Ducks with former Mets Francisco Rodriguez and Jordany Valdespin.


Is there anyone else you want up with the bases loaded? (Mets Game 133 Review) September 1, 2016

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Photo: slgckgc

Kelly Johnson. Photo: slgckgc

The Mets tweeted this out last night when Kelly Johnson cleared the bases with a double to Jeff Francoeur:

Including last night, Kelly has made six plate appearances as a Met with the bases loaded. In those appearances, he’s 2 for 6 with a 1.000 SLG: the expectation is that he should get exactly one base. As a team, the Mets hit .245/.242/.436, pretty abysmal; MLB in general hits .264/.299/.414. The Mets’ lower on-base percentage and higher slugging average indicates that hits are comparatively rare but are more likely to go for extra bases than the league as a whole. Kelly is better than other Mets and better than the league.

24 Mets have appeared with the bases loaded; 14 have hits. Justin Ruggiano hit a grand slam in his only appearance; Travis d’Arnaud hit singles in both of his and Alejandro De Aza is 3-4. The next three OBP leaders are David Wright, Lucas Duda, and Neil Walker, all of whom are out for the season. James Loney comes in at a .286 OBP, followed by Wilmer Flores and Yoenis Cespedes at .250, before things get ugly.

Travis hit .333/.556/.333 last year in 9 bases-loaded appearances; Cespedes was 2-5. So is there anyone else you want up? Maybe d’Arnaud – I still believe if he stays healthy he’ll make an excellent hitter, even though it will require moving him to another position to make it happen. Of course, it would have been impossible for d’Arndaud to come up, since he was on first base. (Cespedes was on third and Curtis Granderson was on second.) Given that, Johnson was the best we could have hoped for, and he delivered.

The Mets close out their series against the Marlins tonight with Jacob deGrom starting against Jose Urena and, with any luck, a bunch of September callups in the Marlins lineup.

Fewer runs, grouped more tightly (Mets Game 133 Preview) August 31, 2016

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There’s no question that the Mets have had a different season than we expected. Part of that is due to the unexpected injuries to our pitching staff – this would be a different season if Matt Harvey had been healthy, if Zack Wheeler had recovered more quickly, if Steven Matz had been consistently himself – but part of it is due to the Mets’ run-scoring.

RunspergameIn the regular season of 2015, the Mets were shut out 15 times, a little over 9% of their games. That’s higher than this year’s 9 shutouts, which are just a shade under 7% of their games so far. Still, the Mets had more high-scoring games last year than this year, as well: about 6.8% of games scored double digit runs in 2015, versus 5.3% this year. The Mets scored 4.2 runs per game last year, and that’s dropped to 3.9; all this is happening while the average runs per game in the National League is rising, so the impact of that .3 R/G is amplified. Finally, last year, the Mets spread their run production; the standard deviation of runs per game was about 3.25, versus 2.9 this year. To put it differently, this year fewer runs are being scored, and they’re having fewer blowout games. A lower level of variability would be an improvement if the Mets hit more, but as it stands their consistency is harming them.

Bartolo Colon starts tonight against right-hander David Phelps. Yoenis Cespedes, who has as many home runs as Lucas Duda had all season last year, is 2-12 with 2 walks against Phelps, while Jay Bruce has hit 3-7 and walked three times. James Loney has a .333 OBP facing David, while Wilmer Flores has a .400/.429/1.000 slash line in 7 plate appearances. Even Bartolo has a hit in three at-bats against Phelps.

Having held down the last two games with shaky starters, it would be criminal for the Mets to collapse in a game like this. As long as Terry Collins finds a place to stash Flores, as long as Jay Bruce brings his old self with him, as long as Asdrubal Cabrera or Jose Reyes hits the way he has against Phelps in the past, this should be strong performance for Colon. Though current Marlins have hit him well, he can hold it down until Jerry Blevins, Addison Reed, and Jeurys Familia can finish the game off.

One down, three to go (Mets Game 132 Preview) August 30, 2016

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Rafael Montero exceeded expectations last night, tossing five innings of two-hit baseball; his command wasn’t where we’d hoped, but his six walks didn’t end up hurting the team. Jose Reyes manufactured a tying run and Yoenis Cespedes‘ tenth-inning homer snagged the win for Josh Smoker.

Miami's Tom Koehler. Photo: fressica

Miami’s Tom Koehler. Photo: fressica

Smoker has pitched each of the last three games; Terry Collins obviously didn’t want to use him last night, but the tenth inning left him few options. (I half expected Bartolo Colon to warm up.) The night did get Jim Henderson some rest, though, and Jerry Blevins is rubber-armed. Collins isn’t shy about using Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia every night in key situations. Hansel Robles is also available and may need to redeem himself. It was telling that Collins went to the exhausted Smoker rather than Robles for a back-to-back outing.

The Marlins will start Tom Koehler tonight against Seth Lugo. The Mets’ bullpen is where the Marlins are likely to get an edge; however, Koehler has had a solid August, with a 2.61 ERA and a .237/.278/.381 slash line allowed with a .278 BAbip. That’s slightly luckier than his 4.18 ERA, .262/.348/.394 and .307 BAbip through July. Koehler may be turning it up, or he may be benefiting from slightly better or luckier defense.

Travis d’Arnaud has hit Koehler hard: he’s 7-17 (.412) but has four walks in 21 plate appearances. Jay Bruce is also 2-3 with a walk, with Neil Walker and Jose Reyes other Mets at or above the .500 OBP mark against Koehler. Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera have OPS marks above 1.0. Koehler has a 4.09 ERA in two starts against the Mets this year, allowing 1.364 baserunners per inning pitched but with a 4.9 K9. A well-constructed lineup with a healthy Cabrera-Walker middle infield would go a long way tonight, but the Mets should still be able to put this one away behind Lugo.

Jose Reyes 4 3 1 0 0 1 1 0 .333 .500 1.333 1.833
Jay Bruce 4 3 2 0 0 0 1 0 .667 .750 .667 1.417
Asdrubal Cabrera 7 7 3 0 0 1 0 1 .429 .429 .857 1.286
Yoenis Cespedes 15 14 6 3 1 0 0 1 .429 .467 .786 1.252
Travis d’Arnaud 21 17 7 2 0 1 4 1 .412 .524 .706 1.230
Neil Walker 15 10 3 1 0 0 4 1 .300 .533 .400 .933
James Loney 11 10 3 1 0 0 1 2 .300 .364 .400 .764
Wilmer Flores 16 15 4 2 0 0 1 3 .267 .313 .400 .713
Kelly Johnson 13 12 3 1 0 0 1 3 .250 .308 .333 .641
Curtis Granderson 32 28 6 0 0 1 3 6 .214 .313 .321 .634
Jacob deGrom 10 9 1 0 0 0 1 5 .111 .200 .111 .311
Alejandro De Aza 8 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Bartolo Colon 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Rene Rivera 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Noah Syndergaard 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 162 142 39 10 1 4 17 27 .275 .364 .444 .808
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/30/2016.

Dig Deep, Rafael (Mets Game 131 Preview) August 29, 2016

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Rafael Montero pitches. Photo: slgckgc https://www.flickr.com/people/slgc/

Montero pitching. Photo: slgckgc

The Mets open a four-game series against the Marlins tonight. The Marlins are 8 games behind the first-place Nationals with a magic number of 25; the Mets can be eliminated from NL East contention by any combination of wins by the Nationals and losses by the Mets totaling 24. With 32 games left for each of those teams, even a .500 finish by the Nationals would require the Mets to go 25-7 over the stretch. That means nearly 4 wins for every loss – difficult to achieve.

Meanwhile, the Mets are 2.5 games behind the second wild card in the NL (St Louis) and 5 games behind wild card leader San Francisco. Since overtaking the second wild card necessarily involves passing the Marlins, this series is crucial – up to an 8-game swing hangs in the balance.

Surely, the Mets are bringing their best hurlers, right?

…. oh.

Rafael Montero starts for the Mets tonight against Jose Fernandez. In 24 games in relief for AAA Las Vegas, Montero has a 6.54 ERA. Although that’s a bit inflated, he’s still got a 2.95 ERA at AA Binghamton, and has started only twice. Montero is, of course, a bit of a sore spot for Mets fans after Terry Collins_going_to_see_injured_ra.html”>taking most of last season off. With Montero’s depth in question, and with him making his first major league start of the year, the Mets’ bullpen will be crucial. However, Josh Smoker and Jim Henderson each pitched both of the last two games; Hansel Robles has had a difficult August following a fantastic July, carrying a 10.38 ERA in 13 innings over 12 games. Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia are both available, and Jerry Blevins pitched only 2/3 of an inning last night, but otherwise the bridge to the 8th inning will be Sean Gilmartin.

With Seth Lugo starting tomorrow’s game, this is a crucial win for the Mets. Tomorrow, Henderson and Smoker will be rested and Terry Collins will have a bit more flexibility. If ever there was a time for Montero to dig deep, it’s today.

Do the Mets have it right against the Diamondbacks? August 7, 2016

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The Mets are idle on Monday but begin a homestand on Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They’ll also see the San Diego Padres before heading to Arizona to face the Diamondbacks and play a four-game series against San Francisco and three against the Cardinals.

The Dbacks are notable as one of the most right-handed lineups in the majors. Arizona’s left-handed batters have made only 1149 plate appearances as of Sunday morning; for comparison, the Phillies have had 1896, Miami 1477, Washington 1881, and Atlanta a whopping 2386. Fortunately, the rotation is leaning toward some of our least effective starters against lefties.

Although Tuesday night starter Steven Matz is a southpaw, he takes a beating against lefties. He allows a .308 OBP to righties but a .348 OBP against left-handers. Wednesday night starter Bartolo Colon is about even (.298 OBP regardless of handedness), and Thursday afternoon starter Noah Syndergaard allows a .333 OBP to left-handers but holds right-handers to a .257 mark.

Outfielder Jake Lamb is likely to be the hardest lefty to get rid of. Fortunately, Erik Goeddel has held lefties to a .219 OBP in 32 plate appearances (.220 vs right-handers in 59 PA). Goeddel has really been a sleeper for the Mets this year, although those numbers are deflated a bit by a lower-than-average BAbip. That means that the Mets can confidently use Goeddel regardless of the arrangement of batters. In addition, traditional LOOGY Josh Edgin is available for crucial outs, even as alleged left-handed specialist Jerry Blevins has allowed a .275 OBP to left-handers against a .250 OBP to right-handers.

Future Mets closer Hansel Robles has continued his weird reverse split; he’s holding lefties to a .272 OBP while allowing a .333 OBP to righties (inflated a bit by a high BAbip). That’s not as good as Addison Reed (.193 vs RHB, .262 vs LHB), but it’s still fairly solid. Robles, incidentally, is 5-0 with 3 holds and a 2.28 ERA on a very slightly high BAbip since his 3 2/3 of relief for Bartolo Colon. Although he melted down against Mark Teixeira, he’s still maintained a 3.0 KBB ratio in those last 16 games.

Julio Urias’ debut and a full Mets bullpen (Mets Game 47 Preview) May 27, 2016

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Urias in 2014 spring training. Photo: Dustin Nosler via Wikipedia.

Urias in 2014 spring training. Photo: Dustin Nosler via Wikipedia.

Friday night, the Mets host the Dodgers for the home portion of their season series. The teams split their early May series with wins for Mets starters Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, and the Koufaxian Clayton Kershaw. The Mets will start Jacob deGrom against the debuting Julio Urias.

deGrom started against the Dodgers on May 10; he pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on 8 hits, 4 strikeouts, and no walks. He was lifted after 103 pitches, and a ninth-inning home run by Trayce Thompson off Hansel Robles won the game for Kenley Jansen. In two starts since, deGrom has had a confusing set of numbers – he’s held opponents to a .220 batting average and a .313 OBP, along with a luckier-than-average .233 BAbip, but allowed 7 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings pitched for a 5.56 ERA. Current Dodgers have hit deGrom fairly well; first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has hit a monstrous .375 against deGrom in 18 plate appearances, plus a walk for a .389 OBP; though he’s struck out 8 times, he’s hit two home runs for a .750 slugging average. In 14 plate appearances, Justin Turner (3B) has hit .357/.357/.571 with two doubles. Likely leadoff hitter Chase Utley (2B) is hitting .267/.353/.333, followed up by shortstop Corey Seager at .333/.333/.556. With Gonzalez, and then Turner, following up, there’s a huge chance (about 57%) that Gonzalez will come up with at least one man on base and 0 or 1 out. On the other hand, deGrom tends to strike out opposing hitters at an alarming KBB of 4.33 (13 Ks, 3 walks) the first run through the order. The second time through, the strikeouts stay high but the walks climb (2.00, 12K to 6 BB). In the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, though, deGrom’s ERAs are 1.29, 2.57, and 1.29; deGrom shows the confusing trend of having stronger batting-against stats but allowing more runs in the early innings. As long as he can get through that first run through the Dodgers infield, deGrom can serve as a strong bridge to the bullpen with Hansel Robles, Addison Reed, and Jeurys Familia.

Note that Familia is tied for second in the NL with 16 saves, behind only the Phillies’ Jeanmar Gomez.

The 19-year-old Urias is making his MLB debut. He’s been filthy at AAA this year, with a .780 WHIP, a 1.10 ERA and a 9.7 K9 in 41 innings pitched. Young pitchers have mixed success moving to the majors – you’ll always have your Clayton Buchholz types who take advantage of their unfamiliarity to opposing hitters, but you’ll also have young pitchers who need development to grow into their roles – so it’s tough to predict how Urias will do. When he was bumped from AA to AAA last season, for example, he started two games but allowed 9 runs in only 4 1/3 innings, leading to an unsightly 18.69 ERA. Mets fans can hope Urias has some difficulty adjusting tonight, considering the volume of the Citi Field crowd.

Dodgers numbers against deGrom are below:

A.J. Ellis 5 3 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 .333 .600 .333 .933 0
Alex Wood 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0
Adrian Gonzalez 18 16 6 0 0 2 6 1 8 .375 .389 .750 1.139 0
Justin Turner 14 14 5 3 0 0 1 0 1 .357 .357 .571 .929 0
Chase Utley 17 15 4 1 0 0 0 2 3 .267 .353 .333 .686 0
Joc Pederson 12 9 1 1 0 0 0 3 2 .111 .333 .222 .556 0
Corey Seager 9 9 3 2 0 0 1 0 4 .333 .333 .556 .889 0
Yasmani Grandal 9 8 1 1 0 0 0 1 3 .125 .222 .250 .472 0
Yasiel Puig 9 9 2 0 0 1 1 0 3 .222 .222 .556 .778 0
Carl Crawford 11 9 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 .000 .182 .000 .182 0
Howie Kendrick 10 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .100 .100 .100 .200 0
Enrique Hernandez 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0
Clayton Kershaw 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0
Total 121 109 25 8 0 3 9 11 33 .229 .298 .385 .683 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/27/2016.

Free at last! (Mets Game 16 Preview) April 23, 2016

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Matt Harvey finally notched his first win of the year, going 5 innings with 7 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 1 walk (to Nick Markakis), and 5 strikeouts. That walk came in the fifth inning, when Harvey has traditionally labored; fortunately, a dead-on throw from Yoenis Cespedes to Travis d’Arnaud kept A.J. Pierzynski from bringing Markakis home to end the fifth and get Harvey through the minimum.

Freddie Freeman. Photo: Bruce Tuten via Wikimedia Commons

Freddie Freeman. Photo: Bruce Tuten via Wikimedia Commons

Cespedes extended his streak of extra-base hits to 7; over those 7 games, he’s hitting .345/.406/.931 with a .400 batting average on balls in play. In the first 8 games of the season, he hit .233/.324/.333 with a .333 BAbip. The Mets were 3-5 during those first 8 games and 5-2 during Cespedes’ streak. Yo left the game after an extended rain delay due to aggravating his leg injury sliding into second for last night’s double; Juan Lagares may make the start in center tonight. Ces has never faced Braves pitcher Jhoulys Chacin, but Lagares is 2-6 lifetime against him with a double.

Curtis Granderson hit two home runs including one grand slam, along with a single, for 9 total bases and 5 RBIs. One of those RBIs came when Harvey made it to first on a throwing error by the pitcher, trying to force Asdrubal Cabrera out at third. On this road trip, Granderson is hitting .353/.476/.941 on a close-to-league-average .300 BAbip. Granderson is 1-2 with a walk against Chacin. Neil Walker is .333/.333/.556 against Chacin in 9 plate appearances.

Freddie Freeman extended his lifetime hitless streak against Matt Harvey to 9 plate appearances with a pop foul, a flyout, and a swinging K. Freeman hasn’t hit well this year (.167/.318/.241, compared to last year’s .276/.370/.471), but he’s been fairly good against current Mets: he has an OPS above 1 against 5 Mets pitchers, including starter Steven Matz(1-3, walk), relievers Addison Reed (1-2) and Jerry Blevins (3-7), and closer Jeurys Familia (5-11, walk, 2 home runs). Freeman hit .246/.317/.509 in his first 15 games last year, so his OBP isn’t too big a surprise – it’s really the last of extra-base hits that’s causing the Braves trouble.

Steven Matz is largely unproven against the Braves. His only previous start against Atlanta was in September of last year, allowing 6 hits and 2 walks for 1 run. Current Braves have hit him reasonably well, so it will be good to see whether Matz continues what he started last time out or whether he looks more like his first start against Miami.

Daniel Castro 3 3 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 .667 .667 1.667 2.333
Freddie Freeman 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .500 .667 .500 1.167
Adonis Garcia 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667
Nick Markakis 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667
Matt Wisler 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 14 13 5 0 0 1 1 1 1 .385 .429 .615 1.044
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/23/2016.

Vince Velasquez Really Didn’t Pitch That Badly (Mets Game 13) April 20, 2016

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Or, back to that wretched Phillies bullpen

Brett Oberholtzer as an Astro. Photo: Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Brett Oberholtzer") [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Brett Oberholtzer as an Astro. Photo: Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons

Vince Velasquez is starting to look human, but don’t get too excited. Entering last night’s game, he was 2-0 on 15 innings pitched, 6 hits, 3 walks, a whopping 25 strikeouts, and no runs. He was coming off a shutout of the Padres on a monstrous 97 game score. Contrast that with last night: in 4 1/3 innings, Velasquez gave up 5 runs on 5 hits, although only two of them were earned because, in arguably the most important play of the game, Mets pitcher Logan Verrett reached on an error to start the third inning. Reconstructing the inning without the error:


However, because Verrett was safe at first, he was on base for Michael Conforto to single him over to second, and then for Yoenis Cespedes to bring them home on a home run. Although Conforto had already hit a wind-aided homer off Velasquez in the first, it’s debatable whether those hits would still have come at the beginning of an inning with a fresh pitcher. Since Conforto has been so problematic for pitchers, it’s likely he’d have made it to base in the phantom fourth inning, but Cespedes had struck out in the first, and the wind was certainly a factor in his homer; it’s plausible the fourth inning would have gone:

  1. Conforto singled
  2. Cespedes flied out to center
  3. Neil Walker flied out to right
  4. Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out to short

Then we enter the fifth inning with Velasquez down 2-0, rather than 5-0. That inning may have looked like this:

  1. Travis d’Arnaud grounded out to shortstop
  2. Verrett doubled.
  3. Granderson hit by pitch
  4. Wright struck out looking.

Now it’s the fifth inning, you have Conforto on deck, men on first and second, but the lead runner is a pitcher. Verrett is unlikely to score on a single. Even though Conforto beat Velasquez up pretty badly that evening, Velasquez is one out away from his fifth inning, making him eligible for a win if the Phillies turn it around. Additionally, entering last night’s game, Velasquez’ platoon splits were all in favor of having him face the lefty: he doesn’t strike lefties out as often, but they hit significantly worse. Bringing left-handed specialist Elvis Araujo in to face Conforto was a move that made sense if Velasquez was being beat up, but in this case I’d have been likely to leave him in as a development move. It’s not a given that Conforto would have hit him. Then, we have a totally different game.

Fortunately, the Phillies bullpen is terrible.

Araujo was perfect for two outs and Dariel Hinojosa pitched a perfect ninth, but Brett Oberholtzer allowed four runs on four hits and two walks in two innings; three (!) of those hits were home runs. James Russell allowed another two runs on three hits (one homer) and a walk. Russell was visibly shaken, although his ERA dropped .21 to 18.69. Meanwhile, Verrett gave us six scoreless innings; a rested Jim Henderson was perfect, and although Rafael Montero pitched relatively poorly (gave up one run, with at least one more saved by a killer catch by Juan Lagares in center), Hansel Robles got three outs on one hit. He was visibly pitching around Cameron Rupp (double) and Darin Ruf (struck out looking), both of whom handled the fact that Robles had attempted to murder them with grace and aplomb.

I’m not saying that last night’s game was a fluke. Conforto’s development has come at an alarming pace. Still, the two key plays last night that knocked Vince Velasquez out of the game boiled down to Logan Verrett reaching base twice. Pete Mackanin waved the white flag by leaving Brett Oberholtzer and James Russell out to eat innings, when an extra inning from Vince Velasquez may well have made this one a nailbiter. (Seriously, three and two thirds innings pitched by three different lefties?)

The Mets close out their series against the Phillies tonight. Bartolo Colon took a tough loss against the Phillies in his first start; Jeremy Hellickson has allowed a .256/.316/.430 slash line to current Mets. Yoenis Cespedes has hit .444 in 10 plate appearances against Hellickson; David Wright is .600 in five plate appearances. Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores and Eric Campbell are each 1 for 3, while Granderson and Lucas Duda are both below the Mendoza line in 23 and 8 plate appearances, respectively.

Mets Weekend Roundup: Hot in Cleveland! (Mets Games 9, 10, 11) April 18, 2016

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On Friday, Bartolo Colon started against his old Cleveland Indians team. Colon snagged the win on 5.1 innings pitched with 8 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 1 walk and 5 strikeouts for a game score of 48. This is Colon’s first win of the season and his first cheap win since May of last year. Bart has had exactly one cheap win each season as a Met.

On Saturday, Matt Harvey took his third loss of the season in a non-quality start. Harvey has raised concerns over the past several starts; though the Mets scored 5 runs in the game, Harvey’s run support has been 3.33 runs per game this year. Last year, the Mets averaged 4.37 runs per game behind Harvey; that’s the difference between above- and below-league-average support. On the bright side, that means the trend is unlikely to persist. Meanwhile, Corey Kluber – the Indians’ ace – is also 0-3 on a 6.16 ERA. Kluber took a tough loss to the Rays on April 12th but has otherwise pitched pretty poorly. He averages one run of support per game, with high hit totals and lots of extra-base hits.

On Sunday, Steven Matz bounced back from a difficult first start and grabbed a brilliant 78 game score in 7 innings of 3-hit baseball. Matz walked 2 and struck out 9.

As DH in Cleveland, Yoenis Cespedes hit a monstrous .417/.462/1.083; this included a .600 batting average on balls in play, indicating that he got lucky on a few of those hits. Meanwhile, honorary Met Juan Uribe had a .444/.545/.546 weekend against the Mets, starting all three games at third base.

The Mets bullpen allowed 5 earned runs in 8 innings for a 5.63 ERA, but inherited six runners with none scoring. Hansel Robles, Antonio Bastardo, and Jim Henderson all looked like strong options coming out of thrower jail, with Jeurys Familia notching an ugly but effective one-out save to bail out Addison Reed on Friday.