I was rather surprised to see Jerry Manuel call Fernando Nieve into last night’s game against the Phillies. The Mets had a nice lead, Nieve has been overworked this year and if there was ever a situation for a mopup guy, that was it. Turns out, however, that there may have been a method to the madness: It was a side-session for Nieve, who will likely be called on to start Saturday night’s game against the Brewers.
That’s what Jerry Manuel said after last night’s game, anyway, calling Nieve “the leading candidate” to get the call, and saying that “he deserves a shot.”
Which may be a good thing for him. Nieve is still way up near the top in games pitched this year, and moving him to the rotation could ease up his workload a bit. More pitches but less often, don’t you know. As it is he has struggled lately, maybe because he’s tired.
Quite the reshuffling of the Mets rotation in this last week. So far it’s worked wonderfully, with R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi dominating what is supposed to be the NL’s best offense the last two nights. Milwaukee has a powerful offense too, and I’m curious to see how Nieve does.
Fans, and even some writers, tend to jump on umpires when they make bad calls, but rarely if ever point out when they make good calls on tough plays. Angel Hernandez is one of those umpires who gets a lot of flack — and I may suggest even deservedly so — but in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, he made a great call on a very tough play during Thursday afternoon’s game between the Phillies and Marlins.
With a runner on first base and two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Phillies leading 2-1, first baseman Brock Stassi laced an Edison Volquez pitch down the first base line. Michael Saunders, who was on first base, came around third base and attempted to score. The relay throw from second baseman Dee Gordon beat Saunders, but Saunders slid expertly to the back of home plate, avoiding the tag from catcher J.T. Realmuto just long enough to slip his hand in and touch the plate. Hernandez ruled Stassi safe with no hesitation because he was in a great position to get a look at the play. In real time, it was a bang-bang play. The Marlins didn’t challenge the call.
The MLB.com video doesn’t have the best angle, but still shows what a close call it was in real time. This .gif from Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal provides the best angle:
Hernandez also made this nonchalant grab when catcher Andrew Knapp tossed it attempting to catch a foul pop-up:
The Mets and Braves are playing today and it’s not a great day for the Mets in the injury department.
First they scratched Noah Syndergaard with a “tired arm.” Now they’ve lost Yoenis Cespedes, who pulled up limping at second base following a double in the bottom of the fourth:
The team has announced that he has pulled his left hamstring.
Cespedes, of course, missed three games over the weekend due to hamstring issues. That was merely tightness, however, and following an off day and a rainout, Cespedes played last night without incident. But it now looks as though he’s going to miss some serious time.