Well, if you had any hopes of the Mets washing away an embarrassing sweep against the Brewers with a victory in Arizona last night, you went to sleep disappointed. The Mets dropped their fifth game in a row after losing to the Diamondbacks 7-3. Panic City seems to be in full effect, as the Amazins’ continue to stumble in the first half of 2017. Despite the loss, the Mets remain in second place, but have dug a significant eight-game deficit between them and the first-place Washington Nationals.
Wheels Keep On Turning
The Mets may have stunk Monday night, but Zack Wheeler certainly didn’t. Building on two solid efforts against the Nationals and the Giants, Wheeler put forth his best start of the season tonight. The 26-year-old right-hander tossed six-plus innings of one-run ball, with six strikeouts and only one walk. This team is in desperate need of quality starts and Wheeler has delivered on back-to-back occasions now. The most promising sign from Wheeler’s effort last night was his ability to limit his walks, resulting in a much more efficient pitch count. It’s great to see Wheeler progressively get better from start to start, but now he has to focus on surrendering fewer hits and long balls. Wheeler gave up seven knocks and an opposite-field home run to Jake Lamb, not to mention a Yasmany Thomas fly-ball that was about two feet away from being a two-run homer.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Arizona’s Zack Godley outdueled his counterpart tonight. Godley posted a stellar effort tonight over 6.2 innings, surrendering only a run in the first on a Rene Rivera single. Godley tossed seven strikeouts to go with five walks and lowered his season ERA to 1.93. Pulled on only 98 pitches in a one-hitter, you have to wonder if Godley could have went the distance if he had cut down his walks. Thrust into the rotation as a result of the injury to Shelby Miller, Godley has not looked back, and, with his second quality start in a row, the 27-year-old is making a pretty strong claim to be a permanent fixture in the Diamondbacks’ starting rotation.
Overusage Taking A Toll On The ‘Pen
Last week, I was raving about the stellar effort of the Mets’ bullpen. Last night, they sunk any chance this team had at winning. Taking the mound in a 1-1 tie in the eighth, Hansel Robles completely imploded, surrendering a three-run bomb to Yasmany Thomas and a two-run home run to Jeff Mathis, who, I’d like to point out, is only batting .174 on the season. Josh Edgin entered the game following Robles, but gave up a solo shot to Daniel Descalso, widening the deficit to six runs. Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles, Addison Reed, and Fernando Salas are four of the top-12 most used relievers this season, all with 20 or more appearances. Overusage seems to be playing a major factor in the effectiveness of these relievers. Hansel Robles has already eclipsed the 20-inning mark on this season and was essentially tossing grapefruits Monday. Yes, a certain amount of blame should fall on Terry Collins for marching out the same guys night after night, but at some point you have to fault the organization. The team simply does not have enough quality relievers to rely on at this point and Sandy Alderson should be looking to acquire bullpen depth if he wants to keep this ship afloat.
Terry Collins: "Right now, somebody has pissed off the baseball gods, because every move we make has been the wrong one." #Mets
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) May 16, 2017
Ice Cold Offensive Effort
The offense was just flat out bad last night. I don’t know how else to put it. Michael Conforto came back down to earth tonight with an 0-4 effort, dropping his average to .327. Of the Mets starters, only Neil Walker, Curtis Granderson and Rene Rivera recorded hits, with Rivera driving in Jose Reyes in the first. Wilmer Flores homered with a runner on base in the ninth, but at that point it was garbage time. With injuries to Yoenis Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera, the offense may be depleted, but you had to expect more from the club in the hitter-friendly Arizona heat, especially since after notching 17 runs in Milwaukee over the weekend.
The Grandy Man Still Can
Granderson’s bat may not have come around yet, but I have to say he has played an impressive and respectable centerfield. At age 36, it’s hard to expect anything out of Grandy, who would be best served in a corner outfield spot, but he’s continued to show a little life left in those legs. In addition to a nice sliding catch in center, Granderson picked up a rare outfield assist, nailing a runner at third. Granderson notoriously has a “noodle arm,” a term generally reserved for the left-fielder on my Sunday softball team (Sorry Ricky), but watching him gun Jeff Mathis at third made me yell in both joy and disbelief.
Don’t Be Surprised, Don’t Be Anything
Amed Rosario continues to destroy Triple-A pitching, launching another three-run homer last night. In his postgame press conference, Terry Collins reaffirmed that Rosario would not be called up at this point to alleviate the Mets’ struggles.
Losing five in a row has made the team hard to watch, but nevertheless, the Mets are back at it tonight at 9:40 p.m. Tommy Milone makes his second start for the Mets, facing off against Zack Greinke.
Photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas – USA Today Sports