For much of the season the Mets played decent baseball. More significantly, though, they played fundamentally sound, team-oriented baseball and there weren’t any typical-for-the-Mets stories of discord and strife. In a decade or so when Mets fans routinely found their palm to their face for some damn reason or another, it has been a remarkably facepalm-free year.
At least until recently. The Mets, losers of six straight, are skidding and yesterday some frustration was on display:
Tim Byrdak jawed at Josh Thole and then shared his displeasure further with pitching coach Dan Warthen after giving up a two-run homer to Adam LaRoche with a fastball he didn’t want to throw in the Mets’ 5-2 loss to the Nationals at Citi Field — their sixth straight defeat.
Terry Collins wasn’t pleased with it and, after the game, made noises about “seeing a different team” in the next ten days. Whether that means he’s gonna shape his men up or ship some of them out remains to be seen.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.
ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.