MLB: New York Mets at San Francisco Giants

Game recap June 23: Movable force, meet stoppable object


Well, even if the Mets front office has left a lot to be desired recently, they at least can recognize a lost season. A day after getting swept in a four-game series by the Dodgers, the Mets made it known that their free agents to be are available. Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Addison Reed, and Asdrubal Cabrera should all attract some degree of interest from contenders as the trade deadline approaches. Hopefully some of the magic Sandy Alderson worked in his early days as GM of the Mets can resurface as he re-tools the roster for next season.

Of course, the season still trudges on, and we’ve got another 90 games of Mets baseball to get through. Seth Lugo would take the mound against the Giants, arguably the only team more disappointing than the Mets this season. Ty Blach toed the mound for San Francisco, who sport a a 27-48 record as the magic they’ve somehow maintained throughout most of the last decade finally dries up.

Game Recap

Curtis Granderson continued his excellence out of the leadoff spot, starting the game with a single. Asdrubal Cabrera followed that with a pop-up single, which he attempted to into a double, but was thrown out at second. Wilmer Flores pick him up, however, driving in Granderson with a single to give the Mets a quick 1-0 lead. Lugo promptly coughed that lead up, giving up a leadoff single to Denard Span and, two batters later, a double to Brandon Belt to tie the game at one apiece.

Perhaps motivated by their front office seemingly waving the white flag on the season, or more likely simply taking advantage of a bad Giants team, the Met offense exploded in the second. Lucas Duda lead off with a double and, after a Jose Reyes pop out (shocker), Lugo drove him in with a double of his own. A wild pitch and a sacrifice fly from Granderson made it a 3-1 game. With two outs, the Mets were far from done. Cabrera looped his second single of the game, and then the next four Met hitters launched extra base hits. Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run homer, and Wilmer Flores, Michael Conforto, and Travis d’Arnaud all doubled, giving the Mets a 7-1 lead.

Things quieted down after that outbreak, with Lugo and a slew of Giants relievers dancing around the occasional baserunner. Things got going again in the sixth for the Met offense, when Granderson and Cabrera both singled to put runners on first and second with one out. Cespedes then hit an absolute laser of a double to dead away center, scoring Granderson. Flores drove in Cabrera with a sacrifice fly, and Conforto drove in Cespedes with a single, stretching the Met lead to 10-4.

Lugo ran into some trouble of his own in the bottom half of the inning. A walk and two singles loaded the bases with one out for Brandon Crawford, who drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. A walk to Nick Hundley reloaded the bases, and Gorkys Hernandez drove in two more runs with a single to center. That chased Lugo, who exited the game having given up four runs in 5.2 innings, walking three and striking out two. Thankfully, Paul Sewald was able to strike out Kelby Tomlinson to end the inning and stop the bleeding, keeping the Met lead at 10-4.

Duda promptly got one of those runs back, leading off the seventh with a solo home run against left Josh Osich. T.J. Rivera added a pinch-hit single in the inning, but was stranded at first. Jerry Blevins entered for the bottom half of the frame – because Collins just has to get his most overused reliever in a game with a seven-run lead – and looked much better than he did on Thursday, working around a two-out single to hold the Giants at bay.

Erik Goeddel pitched a quiet eighth and Addison Reed, getting some work in after not pitching since Sunday, pitched a quiet ninth as the Mets wrapped up an 11-4 victory. The win snaps a four-game losing streak and pulls the Mets back to 32-41. Arguably, a win hurts the Mets at this point, though it’s still remotely possible that the Mets can get back in the race. Either way, they’ll need to build on this win over the upcoming soft stretch in their schedule if they hope to regain relevance.

Thoughts from the Game

Seth Lugo continues to get by on mostly smoke and mirrors. Despite his famous curveball spin rate, he doesn’t strike many hitters out and has been running an ERA more than a run under his cFIP throughout his time in the majors. For now, he makes it work, but it will be interesting to see if he can maintain this performance for the rest of the season and state his case for a long term spot in the Met rotation. My bet would be on some heavy regression coming over the next couple months, however.

On the offensive side, Jose Reyes continues to be a black hole. On a night when the team pounded out 20 hits, Reyes was the only Met without one. Seemingly every at-bat ends with a weak pop-up. It hardly needs to be said, but continuing to play him instead of Amed Rosario hurts the Mets both now and for the future, as the best prospect they’ve had in a while labors away in 115 degree heat. Maybe once Reyes hits 500 steals (he’s two away) he’ll finally be let go.

Other Met News

Aside from the Mets announcing that they’re open for business, the biggest story of the day was Asdrubal Cabrera voicing his displeasure at being moved to second base as he’s activated off the DL. It’s a tricky situation, muddied by the Mets managerial incompetence.

On the one hand, Cabrera has sacrificed for this team. He played through multiple knee ailments last season and has looked less than 100% for most of this season, but the Mets, as they too often do, keep putting him out there. Additionally, the Mets did a poor job of communicating this change, as Cabrera played his one rehab game at shortstop. To compound that, the Mets are replacing him at short with Jose Reyes, who has been one of the least productive players in baseball this season but is, for some reason, a favorite of Terry Collins. From that perspective, one can understand why Cabrera is upset.

However, the simple fact is that he is no longer a viable shortstop, injured or otherwise, and asking for a trade or for his option to be picked up is simply not realistic. Realistically, there should be no reason to sympathize with Cabrera here, but the Mets’ continued poor process, both with injuries and the refusal to play prospects makes them at least partially culpable.

Photo credit: Neville E. Guard – USA Today Sports

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1 comment on “Game recap June 23: Movable force, meet stoppable object”

Do we know who’s decision it was to play Cabrera at short in the rehab game? He might have refused to play 2nd then also. His agent needs to explain to him that his insistence on only playing short is hurting his value.

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