MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets

What You Need to Know: July 2

The Mets’ week began with an up-and-down home series against the Pirates. Losing twice in three games, their mediocre pitching wasn’t enough to offset the sputtering offense.

Take Monday night as an example, where the Mets erred right off the bat. Starling Marte hit a routine grounder between second and third, Mets third baseman Luis Guillorme charged forward and then bobbled the ball. Guillorme made two more costly mistakes that night: an airmail throw and a botched bare-hander. The loss was sealed thanks to uninspiring relief performances by Tyler Bashlor and Robert Gsellman.

Wednesday’s game was even more painful. The Mets held a late 4-0 lead behind Zack Wheeler’s seven shutout innings, but their relievers weren’t up to the job. Gsellman allowed two hits and a run and Jeurys Familia’s ninth inning meltdown sounded the death knell. 5-3, Pirates.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson announced on Tuesday that he was taking a leave of absence for medical reasons. Choking back tears, he hinted that he may not return to the organization. His emotional farewell preceded a similarly emotional 4-3 win. After Michael Conforto hit a game-tying seventh inning homer, Wilmer Flores won the game with an RBI single in the tenth. “King of the walkoff!” bellowed the Mets announcers. The players danced around the diamond, laughing and hugging as they celebrated their win for Sandy.


A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Series
Losing one game to the Marlins is understandable, but losing two is an indignity. Mets starters were outclassed by Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez — the Marlins’ #20 prospect per MLB Pipeline — and their offense paled against the likes of J.T. Realmuto and Lewis Brinson. They left Florida with the lowest record in the National League and a team-worst 5-21 record in June.
The Mets only salvaged the weekend with Sunday’s 5-2 win. Steven Matz pitched 5.1 strong innings and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a gargantuan solo home run in the second inning.

Injury Update
Mets ace Noah Syndergaard has languished on the disabled list since May 25 with a strained index finger. Earlier this week, he began throwing off a mound and is scheduled to pitch a simulated game in Port Lucie against Jason Vargas, who’s recovering from a calf strain. Assuming the start goes well, they will probably make at least one more rehab start before rejoining the Mets.

David Wright took batting practice with the club on Saturday, looking to return from lingering shoulder and back injuries that wrecked his last two seasons.

Quick Hits

  • Happy Bobby Bonilla Day! Since July 1, 2000, the Mets have given Bonilla annual payments of $1.2 million. They wanted to release him back in 1999, but they still owed him $5.9 million. So they struck a deal. Instead of paying him straightaway, the Mets would give Bonilla $29.8 million over the next thirty-five years. Here’s a more in-depth explainer from Darren Rovell.
  • Vultures are circling the Mets, picking apart its carcass for salvageable trade chips. This New York Daily News article constructs four possible trades involving Noah Syndergaard. Some also speculate about trading deGrom, who recently said that he’s “tired of losing.”
  • Check out this SNY piece about the Mets’ search for a general manager. “This is a leave of absence in name only,” writes Andy Martino. “Starting in August or September, the Mets will begin due diligence in a wide-ranging GM search. An interview process is likely in October.” “Expect a very active trading season. The three interims have been charged with thinking creatively and being aggressive. It seems like a longshot that the team would trade Jacob deGrom, but they’d listen to anything. Free-agents-to-be like Jeurys Familia could go soon, as could players who we haven’t mentioned. The front office could cook up ideas that will surprise us. It won’t be boring.”
  • At least Triple-A Las Vegas had a good week. Josh Provost pitched quite well and the Vegas offense scored fifteen runs on Saturday.

Photo credit: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports

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