For the second straight game, the offense acquitted itself but the pitching kept the Mets from cracking the win column, as the club dropped a 7-6 decision to the Reds in Cincinnati Tuesday night.

Max Scherzer was scheduled to start for the Mets but a neck injury kept him from making the start. This gave David Peterson a chance to make up for his earlier shortcomings. But Peterson couldn’t throw strikes. The constant pitching from behind led to seven hits and four runs before he was pulled after just 3.1 IP.

Stephen Nogosek didn’t fare much better as he gave up 3 ER in 1.2 IP. And before you knew it, the Mets were down 7-1.

The good news is that the lone run came on a solo homer by Francisco Alvarez. And that turned out to be the first of two homers for the Mets’ rookie catcher, who hit another solo shot to make it 7-2. One inning later, Pete Alonso belted a solo homer. The Mets had something going, as a walk to Daniel Vogelbach loaded the bases with no outs.

But Mark Canha grounded into a double play and Alvarez grounded out to end the threat. But the deficit was cut in half, with the Mets trailing by three runs after seven innings.

Brandon Nimmo led off the eighth inning by getting hit by a pitch. Next batter was Francisco Lindor, who clubbed a homer to make it a one-run game. The Mets again loaded the bases with a Vogelbach walk, bringing up Canha’s spot, this time with two outs.

The Mets pinch-hit this time but the bench had just one lefty, the weak-hitting Luis Guillorme, who ended the rally by striking out. The Mets went down in order in the ninth for their 12th loss in their last 15 games.

The starting pitching again gave the Mets neither quality nor quantity. And the middle relievers are getting exposed. It’s not that they’re getting overused – Nogosek hadn’t thrown since May 6th and before that, May 1. It’s just that there’s a reason that Nogosek didn’t make an Opening Day roster until he was 28. He’s a Quad-A pitcher.

It just further drives home the point how silly it was to ignore building a full bullpen, instead opting for five “locks” and then have the final three spots be a competition among a bunch of guys with options remaining. Here are the guys the Mets have with that approach:

John Curtiss – 4.85 ERA
Tommy Hunter – 7.11 ERA
Dominic Leone – 6.00 ERA
Nogosek – 4.85 ERA
Denyi Reyes – 6.14 ERA
Dennis Santana – 7.04 ERA before his release
Jimmy Yacabonis – 9.00 ERA

Maybe next year the Mets can emphasize “quality” over “flexibility” when it comes to assembling each spot in their bullpen.

With his two-homer game, Alvarez’ OPS is up to .725, despite his early struggles. Fellow rookie Brett Baty now has a .762 OPS. Maybe later this year the Mets can emphasize “quality” over “experience” when it comes to assembling each spot with their hitters, both in the lineup and on the bench. It sure would be nice to have a bigger bench bat than Guillorme and his .572 OPS to bring to the plate with the game on the line.

14 comments on “Gut Reaction: Reds 7, Mets 6 (5/9/23)

  • NYM6986

    Was hoping Vogelbach would get the hit in that big spot instead of just moving the train around. Then when all we had on the bench to PH was Guillorme my heart sank. What a perfect tome for one of those crafty ABs with a bloop single to bring in two. NAH. Peterson continues to go backwards. Verlander to the rescue.

  • Metsense

    Gut Reaction: when is it better to have two singles rather than three solo home runs? Answer: When the singles are with the bases loaded and result in four runs. The Mets wasted opportunities in this game.
    Why did LHP Guillorme pinch hit instead of the switch hitting Escobar? That doesn’t bode for Escobar’s future as a Met. Brian’s summary touched upon two key points. The middle relief is getting exposed and the roster makeup in the off season is suspect.
    The turning point of the game was the non-call interference double play ball that wasn’t called and resulted in Showalter’s ejection. It was a very bad call. The Mets desperately need their starters to be healthy and pitch the way they should.

  • deegrove84

    Ultimately the pen issues are exacerbated by the rotation not being healthy and on the mound.

    The Mets were supposed to have a rotation of Scherzer, Verlander, Senga, Carrasco and Quintana but of those players have only gotten less than half of their starts. Scherzer is back from suspension and fighting through injury concerns, Verlander is healthy again and Carrasco is on the mend so that will all hopefully right itself. Assuming the Mets had less games started by Megill, Peterson, Butto, Santana and the like the back half of the bullpen would have been less taxed and the five sure things would have been the more vital pieces.

    Francisco Alvarez had a big game and, I pray, he will not be pinch hit for again. I was pleased to see signs of life from Marte after his move back in the lineup.

    It’s time for the Mets to pull the trigger on Mauricio (maybe Vientos too) and get some of these bats that lack production out of the lineup.

    Vs. RHP:
    1. Brandon Nimmo – CF
    2. Francisco Lindor – SS
    3. Jeff McNeil – LF
    4. Pete Alonso – 1B
    5. Brett Baty – 3B
    6. Starling Marte – RF
    7. Daniel Vogelbach – DH (sometimes Mark Vientos)
    8. Francisco Alvarez – C
    9. Ronny Mauricio – 2B

    Vs. LHP:
    1. Brandon Nimmo – CF
    2. Starling Marte – RF
    3. Francisco Lindor – SS
    4. Pete Alonso – 1B
    5. Brett Baty – 3B
    6. Mark Vientos – DH
    7. Jeff McNeil – LF
    8. Francisco Alvarez – C
    9. Ronny Mauricio – 2B

    • AgingBull

      I would love to see these lineups. Push LG to the bench and make MC a 4th OF and an occasional DH. Yes, please.

  • JamesTOB

    Given the problems with the starting pitcher and considering that the Mets kept Khalil Lee on the AAAA roster even after accusations of abusing his girlfriend. Yes, he’s a jerk, but he’s a Cy Young quality pitcher and it wouldn’t cost much. So my question is: how many of you would be open to the Mets signing Trevor Bauer. He’s been punished after all.

    • Brian Joura

      In an article published on Christmas, Chris F and I talked about Bauer

      On Carlos Correa, Steve Cohen, Danny Mendick and Trevor Bauer

      • deegrove84

        Khalil Lee was just fully released.

      • JamesTOB

        Brian, I appreciated your carefully reasoned article. I think you are correct that the issue is what the players in the clubhouse think, especially the key players. I think that most fans will forgive almost anything if the player helps the team win. Thanks for the link. Do you know any writers who could ask around the clubhouse?

        • Brian Joura

          I gotta be honest, if I had someone inside the clubhouse – which I don’t – that I could call in a favor and ask a question, it certainly wouldn’t be about a player pitching in Japan.

    • AgingBull

      Hard pass on Bauer.

  • Name

    Food for thought : the relievers listed are being used by Buck as multi inning relievers, something Brian has advocated for. Not sure if that was by choice or by necessity, but does this show that it’s hard to find guys who can actually do that role or is it simply something a role that is unsustainable in the long run?

    At the very least, does Buck need to abandon the concept with this current group and instead use relievers for 1 inning but more back to back days?

    • Brian Joura

      This is where the SP being unable to go long really hurts.

      Trevor Williams was great in the multi-inning role last year. But he didn’t have to go multi-innings consistently as the Mets’ middle relievers do now. Plus, Williams was an established MLB pitcher, having four and a half years in the majors as a full-time rostered guy, not a AAAA pitcher who gets some MLB appearances here and there.

      And yes, it’s not easy to find guys to fill the role. And if the guys succeed in the role, they want to start and get paid more, like Williams and Seth Lugo, both starting this year after leaving as free agents rather than staying in NY and being relievers.

      • Name

        To add some stats to your comment, Williams only pitched with <2 days of rest just once last year, and that was after a 1 ip game.

        Meanwhile Hunter has already been asked to do that twice, Reyes once, Nogosek once, Curtiss 3 times

  • David_Hong

    Just when the hitting has been coming through over the last couple games, the pitching is messing up again.

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