Game Recap August 15: Dom Smith homers, gets benched

Mets News

OMG Travis Snider is a Met! Okay, so I’m older than 91 percent of BP Mets readers. Still, I have powerful memories of Sabermetric Unicorn Travis Snider.

In 2006 as an 18-year-old in rookie ball, he hit .325/.412/.567. Promoted to the class-A Midwest League for his age-19 season, Snider continued to star, with a .313/.377/.525 triple-slash. Following a .316/.404/.541 Arizona Fall League performance, pretty good for a 19-year-old, Snider made his debut with Toronto the following August. Over 24 games as a 20-year-old in MLB, he continued to produce: .301/.338/.466, a .303 true average. If Jonah Keri or Dave Cameron were producing “Top 50 MLB trade value” columns before the 2009 season, Snider would have been high on the list.

Then Snider proceeded to bat just .242/.309/.396 over his next 1891 MLB PAs between the Blue Jays and the Pirates. With that level performance now established, he hasn’t played in the majors since 2015.

I don’t know who said it or when, but there’s a popular proverb in MLB scouting circles that goes something like, “Once you display a skill, you own it.” Applied to Snider, here’s a guy who bats .300 with plate discipline and power throughout the minors and as a 20-year-old in the big leagues. He must be able to find that skill again. Baseball execs will give Snider a chance to succeed until he’s too old to put on his spikes. That’s what Sandy Alderson’s done in acquiring Snider for cash. Snider remains just 29 years old. Younger than minor-league phenom Tim Tebow! Snider will get to hit in the friendly minor-league confines of Las Vegas. Maybe he proves he deserves a chance to be a fifth outfielder on a 2018 Mets team missing Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson. In any event, 2008 me is really excited.

Not pictured in the news section on Fernando Salas is about to be released. Salas was a trade-deadline pickup last season as the Mets fought their way to the wild card game. His 2.08 ERA as a member of the 2016 Mets was supported by a 19:0 K/BB ratio in 17.1 innings. This year, Salas was not so good, surrendering 20 walks and seven hone runs in 45 innings. When the team is rolling out Hansel Robles on the regular, it’s surprising that Salas is the one to lose his roster spot.

MEANWHILE, Jacob deGrom gave up dingers to Jacoby Ellsbury and Gary Sanchez. Dom Smith’s first career MLB homer wasn’t enough to bring the Mets back. Smith was especially unlikely to get a hit when Terry Collins pinch hit Jose Reyes for him against Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning. Yankees 5, Mets 4.


The Yankees plated the game’s first run in the third inning on what was scored a double and a single. In fact, the double was a bouncer down the third base line that a better third baseman might have turned into a groundout but Wilmer Flores couldn’t reach. And the single was a soft line drive into right-center field that a better outfielder than 36-year-old Curtis Granderson might have caught.

Staying on theme, deGrom didn’t deserve to be victimized by a Jacoby Ellsbury line drive that went 380 feet to left field. At any other field, it’s a double. At Yankee Stadium, it’s a two-run homer. On the other hand, deGrom also allowed a 425-foot bomb to Gary Sanchez that put the Mets down 4-2. deGrom has now allowed 23 home runs in 158.1 innings. His 100 pitches last night were a far cry from his July winning streak.

The Mets might have lost, but it’s worth mentioning that Yoenis Cespedes beat out two infield singles and threw a perfect one-hop strike to second base from the left-field wall on what turned out to be an Aaron Judge double. I’m not a scout or even an internet pretender, but when Cespedes is healthy and running all-out, he’s incredibly fast. And I think he has an 80 arm and double-plus power. As nice as it should be to have a healthy Syndergaard next year, I’m pulling harder for a 155-game Cespedes season.

As mentioned above, Dom Smith hit his first major-league home run — an opposite field shot off of Sonny Gray. Naturally, Terry Collins, who cares not for your top prospect, pinch-hit Jose Reyes for Smith in the ninth inning against Aroldis Chapman. Reyes grounded to the right of Yankee first baseman Chase Headley, who fell/dove to the ground and had the ball clank off his glove for a “hit.” That brought top prospect Amed Rosario to the plate. Figure Terry Collins would have pinch hit for him, too, if Collins could reverse the space-time continuum and have Reyes pinch-hit again. Rewarding Collins’s forced faith in him, Rosario took Chapman deep to pretty much the same spot Ellsbury reached earlier in the game. Still a home run, still a one-run deficit for the Mets.

When Travis d’Arnaud and Juan Lagares were unable to reach against Chapman, the Yankees had swept the mini two-game series in the Bronx.

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“We like Fundies.” — Keith

“Fundies are good” — Ron

“Fundies in a mask” — Gary, on Gary Sanchez, whose fundies some claim need improvement.


Robert Gsellman makes his return to the starting rotation following a DL stint running from June 27. He’ll face recent Yankees acquisition Jaime Garcia as the series shifts to Citi Field.

Photo Credit: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports

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