Gut Reaction: Mets 6 Giants 1 (5/9/17)

For one night, at least, the Mets have nothing to apologize for. They raced out early, then cruised home on the recovering right arm of Zack Wheeler.

The sun had barely begun to set over Citi Field when the Mets put their stamp on this game. After Wheeler retired the reeling Giants in order in the top of the first, white-hot T.J. Rivera laced a one out single to left. Jay Bruce then stroked a hustling double into right center. Neil Walker followed that with a looping base hit into left. Left fielder Eduardo Nunez tried to make a daring catch at his shoe tops, but completely whiffed on the ball. It ended up rolling all the way out to the middle of the warning track, Walker had a generously scored triple and the Mets had a 2-0 lead. After Curtis Granderson popped out first, Jose Reyes skulled a base hit up the middle. White-hot other Rivera, Rene, then bombed a long double off the wall in left center and the Mets led 4-0. In the bottom of the second, the Mets tacked on another on back-to-back doubles by Michael Conforto and T.J. Rivera. Once he got past all those potholes, Giants’ starter Jeff Samardzija settled down nicely. For someone who looked like he wouldn’t survive to the third inning, he lasted through the seventh, his only other blemish a long home run to dead center by Conforto.

For his part, Wheeler looked well on the road to wellness. He pitched six extremely strong innings, pulled by manager Terry Collins after 95 pitches. He gave up a bare two hits — one a home run by the ever dangerous Buster Posey — struck out four and walked four. Of the 18 outs he recorded, 12 came on ground balls; an encouraging sight indeed.

The Mets have now won eight of their last eleven, outscoring their opponents 76-71. Now, while that run differential may not sound particularly impressive, bear in mind that that total includes those three losses in which they gave up 9, 24 and 7 runs, respectively. They’ve also now won their fourth consecutive series.

So tomorrow they go for the sweep, with newcomer Tommy Milone facing the grizzled Matt Cain.

18 comments for “Gut Reaction: Mets 6 Giants 1 (5/9/17)

  1. NY Nic
    May 10, 2017 at 12:37 am

    Mets starter went six. Best stat of the evening.

    • Name
      May 10, 2017 at 2:01 am

      Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

  2. TexasGusCC
    May 10, 2017 at 2:14 am

    Here are some of the magical words Colon sent to his former rotation mate, as told to the Post Tuesday by someone who viewed the text. With the wisdom of all his baseball years behind him and some notable failures himself, Colon, 43, wrote to Harvey:
    “You have all the talent and you can get through this and all the things you want will always be there at the end. You go pitch. Let baseball be No. 1.’’

  3. Metsense
    May 10, 2017 at 7:26 am

    The story was indeed Wheeler, six innings from a starter on 95 pitches.
    The Rivera Twins continue to hit. In a 160 AB TJ has a 325/364/481/845 over two different seasons. It is still a small sample size but a solid foundation to built a career off of. Duda is ready to come back, Flores got two hits vs RHP, and Reyes has been batting better but still has May OPS below .700. TC is gushing about TJ.
    TJ should be given the opportunity at third base, Duda/Flores platoon, and Reyes get the occasional start. Reyes and Duda are not signed for next year, TJ and Flores are.
    As for TJ’s Twin, it must be genetics.

    • Jimmy P
      May 10, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Given the composition of the team, there’s something to be said for the consistency of Rivera at 1B over the power potential of Duda. I don’t know that I’m ready to make that argument, but it’s not a slam dunk. Context is important.

      I wish Rivera could field at 3B, but I suspect the answer there is a no.

      Wheeler looked terrific as he slowly works his way back. This is the type of arm that wins playoff games. If he didn’t have an innings limit on his season, would have gotten into the seventh.

      • TJ Fan
        May 10, 2017 at 8:12 am

        We know Flores can’t field at third and yet he plays there. Why don’t you think TJ can? I know he can just give him the shot he’s earned.

        • Chris F
          May 10, 2017 at 8:49 am

          I agree. He certainly cannot be any worse. Watching Flores throw, in particular, makes me cringe. His arm is so bad that he is destined to cause a major injury to a 1B-man by thorwing into a runneer and causing a collision. He simply does not have enough strength, accuracy, and time to make even routine plays cleanly.

  4. May 10, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Bottom of the eighth, Mets batting and up by five runs. They show a shot of the bullpen and we see Montero and Familia warming up. My thought is: I don’t want to see either of those guys in this game. The Mets do not add to the lead and Familia comes in. If you have a reliever on the roster that you won’t use when you’re up by five, you’re playing a man down.

    • Jimmy P
      May 10, 2017 at 7:54 am

      I think Montero is the first man in today if Milone gets knocked out early. Would have been a mistake to use him last night.

      • May 10, 2017 at 8:05 am

        That’s a very reasonable assumption.

        If that’s the case – why was he warming up in the 9th? Shouldn’t it have been Edgin, instead?

        • Jimmy P
          May 10, 2017 at 8:52 am

          As you know, pitchers warm up for all kinds of reasons, not always to be in the game. But honestly, I have no idea.

          There are many things that we’d all do differently, while watching the game on television, than every other manager in baseball. But there are also many internal details we don’t know on any given day. Who is unavailable, who is hurting, who needs work, who prefers a heavy load, who is working on something specific, etc. All that “pulse of the room” stuff.

          I do know that once again the Mets got three scoreless innings from a bullpen that appears to be functioning very well. A nice groove.

          I personally like that TC always tries to win the game that they are playing right now. The only game that can be won. Tomorrow, next week? Who knows! He opts to nail it down rather than horse around.

          Not surprised that Smoker was sent down; he’s got work to do. Where are the arms in the farm system? A few isolated guys sprinkled here and there, but the barrenness of AA and AAA is a failure of some kind.

          Btw, off-topic: But I’ve been surprised by the continued success of Guillorme in AA. With his notable lack of power, I never believed in him. And yet he continues to hit for average and get on base — and we know he has a superior glove. Might make the Bigs after all.

          • May 10, 2017 at 9:45 am

            We’re always working with limited knowledge. All we can do is try to connect the dots with common sense and historical precedent.

            My opinion is that pitching your closer with a five-run lead when he pitched the day before and the team has an afternoon game the following day violates common sense. So, what were the other options for Collins? He had Montero, who was actually warming up at the same time. He had Salas and Sewald, who both had extremely heavy recent workloads and were likely unavailable. And he had Edgin. That was the sum total of his options.

            You put forward the idea that TC was holding back Montero for possible use today, which passes the common sense test. My issue with that is why did he need to warm up today at all, then? And if he did have to warm up, why did he choose the exact time when it looked like it would make sense to use him in the game? I think it’s very reasonable to assume that Montero was warming up in the bottom of the eigth inning because Collins wanted him as an option to pitch the ninth.

            Montero has been terrible this year. But he’d have to be twice as bad as his average to blow a five-run lead. He’s pitched 83.2 innings in the majors, been generally bad in those, and has never given up 5 runs in an inning.

            Still, I don’t blame TC for not wanting to use him. In an ideal world – this is how the manager tells the GM to get this guy off my roster and get me someone who I can at least use when we’re up by 5 runs.

            In my mind, the reading of the situation that makes the most sense is that TC had 3 options to pitch the 9th – Edgin, Familia and Montero. With two of the three batters, including Buster Posey, being RHB, he didn’t want to use Edgin. So, he warmed up Familia and Montero and was going to use Montero if they added to the lead and Familia if they didn’t.

            Could Edgin have been unavailable, too? Absolutely. But typically the announcers tell us of such things and there was no mention of that being the case. Edgin didn’t pitch the previous day, which historical precedent for these Mets tells us that means he was available to go. I’d put the probability of Edgin being physically unable to go in the very low single digits.

            Your “end justifies the means” point of view in regards to the bullpen usage — both in the season in general and this game in particular — comes across as nothing more than your complete hesitancy to put any blame TC’s way at all. And what is even more frustrating than normal for me in this type of interaction with you is that I specifically framed my original post in a non-critical way of Collins! Alderson is the one who made a roster move and kept Montero. Could TC have lobbied to keep Montero? Sure, that’s in the realm of the possible. But the common sense approach to our imperfect knowledge is that Alderson is the one who made the decision to keep him.

            You think the criticism of TC here is overboard – I get that, as well as every other single person who reads your posts. Please trust me on this point. But the lengths that you go to stand up for TC are absurd. Any pitcher he used in the 9th inning would have led to a win 99 and 44/100 percent of the time. The added value of using your best available pitcher instead of your worst available pitcher was unbelievably small. Yet you try to spin that as points for how TC manages a game.

            And whenever someone points out how using guys over and over again has the ultimate result of burning them out – you dismiss that completely. And then when they don’t perform well later on – you go on about how it’s because the pen needs better arms. The idea that the Mets should trade assets to acquire another bullpen arm to compensate for the inefficient way the manager utilizes his resources should make a reasonable person shake his head.

  5. Chris F
    May 10, 2017 at 7:58 am

    I agree with Name, Metsense, JP, Brian, and Gus (and Nic) so you can imagine how that makes me feel!

    • Jimmy P
      May 10, 2017 at 7:59 am

      Confused? Drunk? Frustrated?

      • Metsense
        May 10, 2017 at 8:51 am

        Not in a Panic State ! (just kidding Chris)

  6. NormE
    May 10, 2017 at 8:35 am

    A win is a win. The real story in my opinion is that the Giants are a horrible team. Only Posey and Pence are top line players. With Crawford injured and Belt slumping they are a team that the Mets should beat.
    Jimmy’s assumption that Montero is today’s long man is probably correct. I guess he was just getting in some work in the pen.
    Also, nice to see the O’s come from behind the beat the Nats, who have some bullpen problems.

    • May 10, 2017 at 8:50 am

      The Mets had the bases loaded and Conforto at the plate. If Conforto homered and the Mets were up 9, you think they were still going to pitch Familia? They pinch-hit for Reed earlier in the inning so they had to make a pitching move.

      • Jimmy P
        May 10, 2017 at 9:09 am

        Okay, I’ll bite — though I’m trying to pass up this level of chronic nit-picking.

        If Conforto hit a grand slam, yes, it’s entirely probable that the plans would be rearranged and Montero might have finished up the blowout.

        In that case, he might have been unavailable the next day, though that’s highly unlikely. Perhaps it would have made him less effective. But if so, how would we know? He’s always ineffective! For today, Robles is still fresh. Familia would have been even more rested. Edgin, ready to go. Salas, don’t know, probably. Seward, don’t know. Reed, yes.

        I think they’ll muddle through just fine.

        He also might have wanted to save Edgin because hoping to give Blevins a break today? Especially with Smoker released?

        The won 6-1, two-hit the Giants. It’s all good.

        I’ve come to accept certain things about Terry. He manages the bullpen like most guys do nowadays. It’s how the game is played in 2017. And also, as I mentioned above, he manages for today, because tomorrow never knows. That might bite him a couple of times a season, but it also might get the Mets a few extra wins along the way. I personally believe in that approach. I’ve watched far too many youth teams lose tournament games because they were saving their ace for tomorrow.

        It will get better when the starters step it up and get more length, and I fully expect they will.

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