Gut Reaction: Diamondbacks 5, Mets 3 – 8/9/16

Hansel RoblesWith our playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the Mets lost at home to one of the worst teams in the league. We managed to put up three runs against a pitcher who pulls in a million bucks per start and countered with a nice bounce back start from Steven Matz (6 innings, 2 ER, 9 Ks). But as we’ve learned of late, the Mets can always find a way to lose. Hansel Robles pitched more like Gretel in the 7th, coughing up the lead and then some with a bunch of walks, hits and steals. As usual, the Mets offense didn’t help matters, managing just one hit in three innings against a no-name bullpen. Other than Neil Walker (3 for 4 with a 2-run homer) this lineup did very little tonight.

As is often the case this season, disappointments Michael Conforto (.221) and Travis d’Arnaud (.234) both went hitless. In fact, Terry Collins felt compelled to pinch hit for d’Arnaud in the 9th (with Ty Kelly!) and who could blame him? In case you missed it, d’Arnaud was placed on waivers this week so if someone claims him, a trade is a possibility. And can you recall seeing a player fall from grace as swiftly as Conforto has this year? So disappointing. There’s plenty of blame to go around the way this team has been playing of late. The fans certainly haven’t given up on the season. Let’s hope these players still have some fight left in them.

 

27 comments for “Gut Reaction: Diamondbacks 5, Mets 3 – 8/9/16

  1. Jimmy P
    August 9, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Can we at least fire Kevin Long and put his head up on a pike? Too many regressions under his watch, not enough success stories.

    You are right. The total collapse of Conforto and d’Arnaud has been disastrous.

    • angelo piccone
      August 10, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      Agree about Conforto and d’Arnaud as two disappointments, but especially Conforto. After his All Star April, it was unthinkable he’d sink to his current level, but he has. Now, back from LV, he’ll tease with a well-struck ball here and there (his HR to LCF) but it’s not nearly enough on a team that was counting heavily on him for steady production, not the occasional decent game. Still time for him to turn it around, but should he fail, it’ll be recorded as arguably the most bitter offensive disappointment of all.

  2. TexasGusCC
    August 10, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Adam Rubin has TJ Rivera replacing Brandon Nimmo. While I got the Nimmo to AAA notification on my phone, I never got the call up.

    About the game: I don’t believe in accidents; I believe there is a reason this team is so tight, but I don’t know what. It isn’t the talent, but it’s the execution.

    Jimmy, two years ago, I spoke to a former MLB player and asked him if the hitting coach makes a big difference. He laughed and said not too much. He may help you with your hands, he may suggest some different techniques, but you are the one that needs to see the ball, recognize the pitch, and hit it. Don’t forget, we ran Dave Hudgens out of town and Houston took him and loves him. I don’t think it’s Long.

    • Jimmy P
      August 10, 2016 at 10:36 am

      I hear you, Gus. But heads gotta roll.

      • TexasGusCC
        August 10, 2016 at 10:58 am

        Amen.

        And after hearing Alderson say in the Post that Collins has done a good job after all the injuries and based on the talent level, it’s a self incriminating statement that makes him just as guilty. Get a real manager, get a real talent evaluator, kick Sandy upstairs.

        They didn’t expect Wright to get hurt? And was he giving that much before? Too, how about the injuries other teams had? Alderson seems to have learned the crying game from Collins, and the Wilpons have a reason to punt. After all, for many years we have been trained to accept punts.

        • Chris F
          August 10, 2016 at 1:07 pm

          We are supposed to have some of the best talent evaluators in the game. It doesnt seem like we do.

          I disagree that this team has enough talent. I dont believe it for a second.

          Several players do, but not enough to put 8 guys on the field every day.
          Walker? yes
          Cabrera? presently yes
          Ces? yes
          Bruce? yes
          Grandy? mostly
          Lagares? kind of
          Reyes? not sure
          Conforto? no
          Nimmo? no
          Slowres? no
          Duda? not really
          TdA? no

          and the near big-league list gets worse from there

  3. Eraff
    August 10, 2016 at 12:59 am

    My Gosh— Tex… you don’t think it’s the Talent!!!???? Ty Kelly and Rivera and Matt Reynolds are on a team that postures itself as Chasing a Playoff spot! …and they’re commanding at bats!!???

    They need to re-think their roster construction, and they need to re-profile some of their ideas of players…. they need to get better…and more athletic…and they need to be healthier.

    • TexasGusCC
      August 10, 2016 at 1:19 am

      Well yes, however those aren’t your core pieces. Those are your 24th and 25th man. I’m thinking it’s the guys with the 200+ plate appearances that are not performing. Actually, Reynolds has had more big hits per at bat than most Mets; Rene Rivera has helped the pitching staff immensely and has had a big hit now and then; and Kelly has 20 plate appearances? You are pointing the finger at those guys??? Every team has bench players. They don’t make your season.

      Maybe two months of Walker being in a funk and batting cleanup without a day of rest? Or, the Granny man that was listed to have a .038 RC+ in clutch situations, worse in MLB, but hitting second or first all year with the odds of greater plate appearances available and 90% of his home runs are solo shots to account for his “power”? I could go on for a while with a collection of examples, but my previous posts all point in the direction where I lay the blame.

      Edit: I see your post below and that is my point. Like I said, I could give a ton of examples like that one. How do you think players feel seeing moves like that? Think they feel energized and confident or “man, we’re screwed”? I’m pretty sure the latter. Collins has no problem allowing this team to fail so he could avoid conflict.

  4. Eraff
    August 10, 2016 at 1:05 am

    Kelly PH for d’Arnaud… amazing…and with Nimmo still on the Bench. Hey…Thor was still on the Bench!!!

    They needed a Blast, and they sent up a bloop… amazing.

  5. Eraff
    August 10, 2016 at 1:51 am

    Gus—– Grandy…Flores…. Reynolds… Rivera…. These are not core Playoff guys.

    the 23/24/25 Guys on this roster are not Major League Ballplayers… the 11-17 recent run is driven by lack of talent. Playoff Rosters are stuffed with Major Leaguers….this is not a playoff team—Not Today!

    Even Healthy, it’s a 1 tool per player assortment…if that! As for The Mnager…I’m not sure whether the team has given up on him…maybe he’s given up, but he doesn’t have a complete team…certainly not a talented team. I believe the talent problem has driven the other problems.

    • TexasGusCC
      August 10, 2016 at 2:19 am

      All are very fair points and I can agree to some extent on most of them. But, while I won’t debate on whether Kelly and Reynolds are or aren’t MLB quality players, my point is they are a very small percentage of the problem. Between them they have 99 at bats and the team as a whole is at 3720. That means they have 2.66% of the atbats on the year. The problem is how the other 97.34% were handed out.

      To your original point, I feel that while Alderson didn’t build a flexible roster (and in my post on Suturday’s game I went off on Alderson for his screwups), I feel the team has underperformed because the roster was not used to its optimum. Players that were hot didn’t play or weren’t moved up. Players that were not hitting were batting second, fourth or fifth. I think that has more to do with the win/loss record.

  6. Chris F
    August 10, 2016 at 2:04 am

    The team is filled with players that would be bench guys on competitive teams. Who is really a full time regular every day player: Ces, Grandy, Cabrera, Walker. After that you have a team of roster filler. That wont get the job done.

    And here we are at a threshold, and whats happening? Sandy is in panic mode. the main parachute ripcord has failed, back up chute 1 has failed…and hes searching for a second backup chute…and the ground is rapidly approaching. Promote, option out, promote someone else…re-option, promote yet someone else. theres no help coming. Im in favor of playing the kids now to see if there is any value to be had.

  7. Metsense
    August 10, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Unfortunately Robles had a bad night on a night he needed to be sharp. It happens.
    Kelly Johnson sat because Flores had good stats vs Greinke. Reynolds should have sat instead. Reyes won’t be ready Thursday so they promote a third baseman, TJ Rivera, instead of a shortstop Cecchini. Kelly Johnson is hitting and should be playing.
    Down two runs and a blast was needed. Pinch hitting for TdA was an unnessary move. If you want to bury the guy then send up Rivera who has some power and completely bury TdA. TdA is a disappointment, offensively and defensively.
    This was another disappointing loss in a month of disappointing loses.

    • Jimmy P
      August 10, 2016 at 10:44 am

      It’s like TC really has it out for Travis this year. That was a humiliating moment. The votes of “no confidence” keep piling up. He’s this year’s version of Angel Pagan, 2011.

      Again: I realize that Travis has not performed well. But it sure feels like nobody’s got his back.

      • MattyMets
        August 10, 2016 at 1:31 pm

        Going into this year, I felt it was make or break for d’Arnaud. I imagine management and the coaching staff is as frustrated as we all are.

        I like how Mike Francessa pronounces his name “dunno.” Is he going to stay healthy? Dunno. Is he going to ever throw out a baserunner? Dunno. Are the Mets going to remain committed to him or move on? Dunno.

  8. MattyMets
    August 10, 2016 at 10:46 am

    So many places to point a finger, where to begin?

    1) regression/disappointments of d’Arnaud and Conforto
    2) collective inability to hit with RISP
    3) Harvey’s injury/off year
    4) collective slumps
    5) mismanagment of bullpen and lineup
    6) Duda’s injury/off year
    7) lack of team speed
    8) bad signings of Bastardo and de Aza
    9) other injuries
    10) Wright’s injury (more or less expected)

    I did not include “letting Murphy walk” as a) I believe his success is due in part to being protected by Harper in the lineup and possibly something else b) we did make him an offer and c) Walker has been good

    • Jimmy P
      August 10, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      I think you are making a huge mistake by not including Murphy at the top of this list.

      For starters, let me begin by saying that it does not matter what anyone thought at the time. What matters is what hindsight tells us. The things that actually transpire. That’s how we evaluate trades and drafts. What happened next?

      Secondly, the only way to read the Mets on the Murphy situation was, this: 1) They believed in Dilson Herrera as the future second-baseman. Across five years, that’s a savings of, say, $60 million. They just needed to stopgap the position for one year; 2) They didn’t love Murphy, for reasons that are not clear to me; 3) Money was a huge issue, it was a fiscal move.

      I mean, the Mets knew Murphy well. He’d been in the organization from the beginning. He’s intense. Nobody wants to win more. And he was a very good hitter who seemed to be turning a corner. We had the best view of that in baseball and couldn’t see it. Two other keys: He was a contact hitter on a team with too many strikeouts, a guy who put the ball in play at a time when that was a diminishing skill across all of baseball. Secondly, but much more important, Murphy had proven ability to play 1B or 3B. Positional flexibility, supposedly a trait that the organization outwardly prized and sought out. Not only that, Murphy displayed a selfless willingness to do whatever the team asked. The Mets had Wright, an even bet to play under 100 games, and Daniel Murphy in the house. Or they could have flipped Duda and kept Murphy at 1B.

      You say they gave him an offer but that’s a joke. He signed a bad contract with the Nationals, earning $8 million in 2016. The fact is, the Mets didn’t want him.

      Sure, the Mets got Walker in a trade. He’s played very well. But they could have used Niese to address some other needs, rather than to fill a hole they created for themselves.

      As a result, Murphy has solidified the Nationals and helped turn a very good club into a powerhouse. And the Mets lost Murphy. Even crazier, they then traded away Herrera and are now reportedly “open” to discussing a contract extension with Walker.

      If you are looking for keys to the season, and coming up with a list of ten items, in my mind that’s where you start. They got it wrong on Daniel Murphy. A lot of people did. But when you look at the ends that transpired after, it becomes a decision that is impossible to defend. They screwed the pooch.

      • Chris F
        August 10, 2016 at 5:24 pm

        I dont think there is any way to imagine Murph was going to be an MVP candidate. He had an anomalous streak in 2 playoff series, but not so much in the WS. Every person watching the playoffs said he was on an unsustainable path. Murph was a professional hitter as a Met, but I dont think he has the numbers as a Met he has as a Nat. But Murph was also a poor 2B man. You are right this was a money thing too, but I think at the time decisions were made it was a personnel move just as much.

      • August 10, 2016 at 6:21 pm

        I disagree completely that it doesn’t matter what was thought at the time.

        You don’t get to make moves in hindsight. If the Mets would have traded Matt Harvey for Rick Porcello last December, that would be a slam dunk win for the club right now. But they would have been rightfully crucified at the time. The end doesn’t justify the means.

        The Mets handled the Murphy situation about as well as could have been hoped for. They were willing to bring him back at a significantly higher salary and he turned that down. If every other free agent hadn’t spurned the Nationals, there’s no telling where Murphy would have ended up. See Howie Kendrick, a second baseman who no one was willing to pay for and who ended up taking nearly $6 million fewer to return to Los Angeles. That could have been Murphy’s fate, too.

        I’m happy for Murphy, who was always a favorite of mine.

        • Metsense
          August 10, 2016 at 7:48 pm

          Murphy chose to turn the Mets qualifying offer down. The $16M pay day would have been an overpay for the 2015 version of Murphy. The Mets were willing to overpay him. It appears that Murphy sold himself short for security. That was Murphy’s decision not the Mets decision.

        • Jimmy P
          August 11, 2016 at 2:56 pm

          How do you evaluate the signing of a free agent? The selection of a draft? Or a trade? You step back and look at what happened. Should the Mets have picked Reggie Jackson? Traded for Joe Foy?

          It doesn’t matter what anyone “thinks” will happen. It matters what happens.

          Clearly — to me at least — the Mets would be better off if they kept Murphy. They failed to do so, and they got it wrong, and they’ve paid the price all season long.

          • August 11, 2016 at 4:00 pm

            It’s process versus results.

            No one can control what the results are going to be. You evaluate the process that led to the decision. Did they properly weigh the factors? Did they neglect certain information? Was there an easily anticipated change in circumstances? Things of that nature.

            The late 1960s Mets absolutely should have reviewed the process that had them take Chilcott over Jackson. Historically, high school catchers taken in the first round of the draft have been the worst “bet” you can make. I get that no one knew that yet in the early days of the draft. And I’ve always wondered how much race played in that particular decision.

            Still, the issue isn’t what the Mets did with that one specific pick, regardless of how poorly it turned out for them. The issue was that they whiffed on 9 of their first 12 first-round picks and missed on their first 11 second-rounders, too. Given how often they were drafting in the top six, that was a huge problem. Their draft process stunk and needed to be overhauled.

            Sure, the Mets would have been better off if they had kept Murphy. But he’s producing at a level that no one anticipated. You could have purchased Apple Stock in 2002 when it was trading for $7. I hope you don’t beat yourself up today because it’s trading at $108

            • Michael Geus
              August 11, 2016 at 5:19 pm

              I went on the record in November that Murphy should be the number one priority. More than Cespedes. And certainly more than Ben Zobrist who they were falling over themselves to get at the time.

              The rationale:

              1. The power was real. If you watched Murphy the entire second half, although the post season was crazy it was not the start of his switch to driving the ball. I predicted 25 HRs for 2016 and felt that made him a very different hitter.

              2. His willingness to play all over the infield.I love David Wright, but you didn’t need a crystal ball to know he wasn’t playing 162 games at 3B in 2016. And if you signed Murphy for four years it was all but a guarantee that 3B would be available for most of the contract.

              3. He was a relative bargain. Look at the deal he got and look at Zobrist’s deal. And Zobrist was on record that he did not want to move around the diamond.

              I do not buy the hindsight argument. This was not hard to figure out.

              As for where I stated these things I said them on a truly great Podcast, the Mets 360 Podcast hosted by the legend Brian Joura. Well, points one and two, point three I suggested but it became a fact later.

              Thanks so much to Brian for having me on!

              Now I have to get some PT for my back, I may have seriously injured it from all this self patting.

            • Michael Geus
              August 11, 2016 at 5:25 pm

              I know a guy who bought Microsoft shortly after it went public, and sold it when the price doubled. The opportunity amount he lost was astounding and he knew the number, because he tracked it constantly.

              People are crazy. Up is up, down is down, enjoy any and all successes.

  9. Michael Geus
    August 11, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    One more and then I will see you folks in another few months. I am not saying I predicted this overall year from Murphy. Not at all. I expected a similar batting average and OBP to his usual season with additional power.

    Not this.

  10. Jimmy P
    August 11, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    I felt — and said — that I could accept the decision if they were right about Dilson Herrera. If the plan was to make room for Herrera, whom (supposedly) they believed in, and to use those limited financial resource to fill other holes (as there were many), then there was an undeniable, cold logic to the Murphy decision.

    The key was that they had to be right about Herrera.

    And nope, they weren’t.

    So now it’s the stupidest scenario of all, where they are looking to extend Walker at an even higher price. Bungled.

    Hey, nobody’s perfect.

    I’ve also said before that my favorite moment in the famous Wilmer Flores HR video is not when he gestures to the name on his jersey. It was Murphy leaping out of that dugout, jumping sky high, the happiest player on the planet. The guy really cared. And to steal a line from Metsense, I’m old school enough to still believe that stuff matters.

  11. MattyMets
    August 12, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Now, how much louder is this second guessing going to be in a few years if Dilson turns out to be a star in Cincinnati?

    This winter’s hot stove is going to be a serious chess match for Sandy. A lot of surplus, a lot of holes and a lot of questions. Did he make some questionable moves before and during this season? Sure. Just as Terry Collins made some bad calls as a manager. My point is that neither of those are the biggest reason we are at .500 and treading water. Disappointing play (Harvey, TDA, Conforto, Grandy, Bastardo,) and injuries (Wright, Duda, TDA, Harvey, Lagares, Cespedes, Cabrera, Henderson, Wheeler) top the list.

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