Rays 3, Mets 0
Steven Matz is healthy and pitching incredibly well this season. He’s always put up good results when he starts, but the problem with Matz has been the when he starts. Everything’s aligned for Matz this season, outside of a couple of minor issues, and he may return real value in a potential trade. The lefty turned in a quality start Saturday but wasn’t on his A-game, walking three in addition to allowing five hits. He went out and gave the Mets a chance to win, something he’s actually done a lot of this season.
Wilmer Flores picked up three of the Mets seven hits on the afternoon. A perennial fan favorite, Flores’ days may be numbered with the Metropolitans, for real this time; he’s a prime trade candidate as a platoon option against left-handed pitching, and he likely fits best with an American League team. That being said, it’s doubtful he brings back anything better than a couple of minor league relief arms.
Robert Gsellman’s stuff hasn’t played up as expected in the bullpen. Despite a nice start to the season, his season ERA is up to 4.44 with a WHIP of 1.32. In short, he hasn’t been nearly as good as Jeurys Familia haters would like you to believe. He’s not the only one though, as Anthony Swarzak, one of the Mets’ rare big offseason signings, has a 6.46 ERA and 1.89 WHIP in 15.1 innings. Swarzak’s been truly awful this year, and the kicker here is he’s under team control for another season.
Gsellman and Swarzak aren’t the only two Met relievers to struggle this season (Jerry Blevins, Familia, Paul Sewald and Hansel Robles all come to mind), but their performance relative to the high expectations has been disappointing.
Mickey Callaway was asked about Dominic Smith prior to Saturday’s game and had this to say on the former top prospect: “If we were just going day to day, I think Dom is probably best served off the bench.” We can debate about whether the hype with Smith was warranted or not, but there’s no denying the Mets haven’t given him a fair shake at first base. First, they brought in Adrian Gonzalez this past offseason to be the strong side of a platoon with Wilmer Flores. After a couple months of subpar production, they finally parted ways with him in June, effectively clearing the way for Smith to come up and play. Except Callaway and co. handed the starting job to Flores, opting to leave Smith on the bench.
It may be an effort to enhance Flores’ trade value but seriously, who are we kidding? Front offices in this day and age are far too smart to heavily buy into a hot streak from a 26-year-old first baseman with a career OBP of .300. The Mets are 15.5 games out of first, if this isn’t the time to find out what they have in Smith, when exactly is?
The Mets have given Smith just 25 at-bats in their past 10 games and don’t appear keen on getting him into the everyday lineup. This is what lost seasons are for – finding out who’s worth keeping around and who isn’t – so it’d be nice to see Smith getting consistent playing time for the rest of the year.
Photo credit: Wendell Cruz – USA Today Sports