MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets

Game Recap June 15: The Best Version Of These Mets


The Mets absolutely crushed the Pirates to the tune of an 11-2 finish, backing a tremendous pitching performance by Noah Syndergaard with an uncharacteristic offensive outburst from a diminished lineup. Basically, everything that could have gone right went right, which is a nice change of pace from the team’s recent struggles.

The Big Finish

This game was over after the first inning, as Syndergaard was shoving from the start, and the Mets posted up three runs in the bottom of the first. The Mets didn’t score their first runs via homer binge–they manufactured them off Jeff Locke. Singles by Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera opened the game, and then Yoenis Cespedes walked to load the bases before the Mets even recorded an out. Wilmer Flores drove in the first run via groundout, and later Matt Reynolds blasted a two-run double to put the Mets up by three. That’s all they’d need, but they’d go on to add eight more insurance runs as the game went on.

The Small Finish

Syndergaard made it all the way to the ninth, but after giving up two solid hits in the top of the inning and retiring just one, Terry Collins pulled him after 115 pitches in favor of Jeurys Familia. Though not exactly a save situation, the Mets closer came in and did his job, though he did allow another run on a Wilmer Flores throwing error before punching out Matt Joyce and retiring Josh Harrison to end the game.

Shut Up And Play The Hits

In essence, this game was exactly what the Mets needed, but also they could’ve used some of these runs spread out over lesser non-Thor pitching performances. While many teams can beat up on Jeff Locke, the Mets’ lineup of backups and castaways recorded 19 hits against the Pirates’ pitchers over the course of this game, though mostly of the smaller variety. While both Kelly Johnson and Wilmer Flores went yard for their second homers of the season, the rest of the hits were of the one- or two-base variety. Every Mets starter had at least two hits save James Loney and Noah Syndergaard–no Home Run Derby for you!–and Yoenis Cespedes, Kelly Johnson, Matt Reynolds, and Rene Rivera each had three hits.

No, this doesn’t mean that the Mets suddenly have a good offense, but this game sure will help the overall numbers for several of the team’s players. And really, that’s what baseball is all about.

Two Minutes on The Best Right-Handed Pitcher In Baseball

Noah Syndergaard was unbelievable again last night, throwing 8.3 innings of masterful baseball. The Mets ace struck out 11, walked none, allowed five hits and just one earned run in the ninth inning. His slider was incredible–he threw 26 of them, 20 for strikes, and topped out at 94 mph. Best of all, of those sliders that were swung at (16 of them), half of them were whiffed on. The young ace had 23 whiffs in 115 pitches.

Clayton Kershaw is destroying Thor’s chances of winning the NL Cy Young Award, but the big righty is establishing himself as the second-best thrower in the game right now. Before yesterday’s game, Syndergaard was second in baseball in FIP among starters (1.86) and both his DRA (2.49) and ERA (2.00) were among the best in the game. All those numbers went down after yesterday’s masterful performance. The only bummer is that he couldn’t hold out for his first complete game (or shutout).


The Mets Play Short … Again

During this game, here’s a list of players who were unavailable despite being on the 25-man roster: Neil Walker, Juan Lagares, and Michael Conforto. The Mets are addicted to playing one-to-two players short, but this is silly even for them. Especially for a team that needs to eke out every last bit of offensive performance, having pinch-hit and platoon options is required, not optional. This team needs more active players.

Lagares is probably DL-bound, so the team should set him at least on the 15-day and call up a right-handed-hitting outfielder to spell him. As much as I don’t love Eric Campbell’s repeated chances at the big-league level, having him available is far superior that playing with a 23-man roster. Or bring T.J. Rivera up for a shot–everyone else has gotten one. Or Dilson Herrera. Or anyone. Anyone?

(Walker should be back and ready to roll for Thursday.)

The Future Is Unwritten

Tonight, the 35-29 Mets look to close out the series against the Pirates, as Bartolo Colon faces off against Juan Nicasio. The Mets sit five games behind the Nationals in the East, but still hold the first Wild Card slot … not that it matters this early in the season. While it’s silly to expect such crazy offense in another game, the team must be hoping that the bats keep talking as the month continues.

Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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