Cubs 7, Mets 1
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Jacob deGrom was brilliant once again and the Mets still somehow found a new and excruciating way to lose. The Mets ace worked in and out of trouble all night, allowing seven hits, none of which were hard hit, and one earned run while striking out a career high-tying 13 Cubs. It was a masterful performance by deGrom, who loaded the bases in the first before striking out two to end the inning, but the offense that’s failed him time and time again was up to the same old tricks Saturday. The only Met run came on a Michael Conforto solo shot off Cubs starter Mike Montgomery in the sixth inning.
In an attempt to win what sure seemed like a must-win game for the Mets, Mickey Callaway burned through his entire bullpen minus Paul Sewald. He was rewarded with clean innings by all of them, minus Buddy Baumann and Gerson Bautista. Baumann was added to the roster as Jerry Blevins insurance, a valid move in theory considering Blevins’ struggles thus far, except for the fact that he’s much worse than Jerry Blevins. Bautista throws a 100 mph fastball and, well, that’s about it. His secondary offerings leave a lot to be desired and while the young flamethrower deserved a chance, it’s apparent he’ll require some more seasoning in the minors. The Mets need to work with the 23-year-old on his slider and changeup if they ever plan for him to be a bullpen mainstay.
Kevin Plawecki got his first career start at first base and it went just as well poorly as one might’ve imagined. In an attempt to hide Adrian Gonzalez against left-handed pitching, the Mets chose to call-up old friend Jose Lobaton in order for Plawecki to get starts at first. Yes, the same Plawecki who owns reverse splits (.228/.321/.311 vs RHP, .196/.277/.290 vs LHP) and whose only value to the organization comes from his work behind the plate is now part of a platoon at first base. Plawecki was 0-5 while the Mets still chose to pinch hit Gonzalez and Jay Bruce against left-handers. It’s not like the Mets have a right-handed hitting first baseman in the minors who destroys left-handed pitching, so the move at least makes some sense. What was that? You mean to tell me they do have a righty first baseman prospect who tees off on lefties and is close to major league ready? Yet they still somehow believe this current roster configuration gives them the best chance to win? Welcome to the Mets, my friends.
OTHER METS NEWS
Prior to Wednesday’s game against the Braves, the Mets announced a flurry of moves, the most controversial of which was the stunning decision to designate P.J Conlon for assignment. Now, Conlon’s no world-beater, but he’s flashed potential as a bullpen piece in the Jerry Blevins mold and surely could have provided some value as some much-needed depth. With a fastball that barely touches 90 mph, Conlon relies on a good changeup and a funky delivery that has proven effective once through the order. Although he had minor league options, the Mets chose to designate him to free up a 40-man spot for Scott Copeland, a 30-year-old reliever who was on turn at Binghamton.
It was a puzzling move that lacked comprehension: teams don’t cut pitchers with minor league options who can provide value in the big leagues, especially when said team is in constant need of pitchers. Except that’s inexplicably exactly what the Mets did. I theorized in Week Five of the Prospect Watch that the Mets had no idea what they had in Conlon and apparently they didn’t have any interest in finding out.
The corresponding move for Conlon was Copeland, who threw all of 22 pitches Thursday before he himself was designated for assignment. He struck out two in one inning of relief and was a fresh arm for a bullpen in dire need of one. Mets brass somehow concluded that Jose Lobaton’s presence was again required on the active roster, so the only logical move was to designate Copeland. So they could carry three catchers. Who all can’t hit.
Did you think it couldn’t get any worse? Because it’s about to get worse. Mickey Callaway told reporters Friday night that the Mets had only three available relievers in the bullpen: Paul Sewald, Tim Peterson and Jeurys Familia. If the Mets didn’t need Lobaton to complete the Jose, Jose, Jose bench, they could’ve held on to Copeland, who’s been stretched out as a starter with Binghamton. It simply would’ve made too much sense though, so Copeland was sent packing while Callaway overworked Sewald, Friday night’s losing pitcher.
I’m assuming you thought that this was the end of the rant. Well guess what, I’m here to tell you this isn’t the end of the rant. What could possibly be worse than this you might ask? Well by designating Conlon, the Mets ensured he’d have to pass through waivers in order to remain with the organization. The Dodgers, an organization seemingly always in need of pitchers, claimed Conlon Saturday. Which means the Mets gave up on an intriguing 24-year-old left-handed pitcher for 22 pitches from Scott Copeland. Not 22 starts from Copeland, nor 22 innings. 22 measly pitches!
Photo credit: Noah K. Murray – USA Today Sports