The Mets celebrated David Wright’s return from the disabled list Monday by setting franchise records with 15 extra-base hits and eight home runs as part of a blowout 16-7 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. By the way, Wright got the fireworks started by homering in his first at-bat since April 14.
Lost in all of this is that Jacob deGrom had his worst start in the majors, lasting just 2 2/3 innings. The Mets trailed 7-2 after the third inning. However, deGrom picked a good time for an off night, as his offense bailed him out with 14 unanswered runs. Meanwhile, Sean Gilmartin tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to hold the Phillies in check and save the bullpen.
Wilmer Flores hit two home runs, including a go-ahead three-run shot in the fifth inning. Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Cuddyer, Daniel Murphy, and Yoenis Cespedes also went deep. The Phillies hit three home runs of their own, so the two teams combined for 11 home runs, which ties a National League record. It has happened five times, most recently on May 17, 1979 between the Phillies and Cubs.
The Mets are riding high right now. Including their three-game sweep of the Rockies over the weekend, they have scored 49 runs over their last four games. More importantly, they are now a season-high 12 games over .500 at 68-56 and a season-high 5 1/2 games ahead of the Nationals in the National League East.
Well, not everything, but the New York Times has an article up today about Mike Castellani, the sound guy at Citi Field. Most of the article talks about the development of walkup music, the politics of it, such as it is, and how and why players choose their particular jams.
Most of it is pretty straight forward, but this from Travis d’Arnaud just made me laugh:
“I don’t know if you’ve seen that one U.F.C. movie with Kevin James in it,” d’Arnaud said, referring to the comedy “Here Comes the Boom,” about a teacher who trains to become a mixed martial arts fighter. “The teacher talks about how in war they used to play their battle songs to get you ready for the war. And for me, that moment, that’s my war with the pitcher, so I need something to get me hyped up and get me ready to go out there and see a baseball coming at me at 95 miles an hour.”
War-sports analogies are bad enough. Adding Kevin James to the mix renders it fairly amazing.
In any event, good article.
The Mets strengthened their lineup this week by welcoming catcher Travis d’Arnaud back from the disabled list and acquiring slugger Yoenis Cespedes before the trade deadline. More help could be on the way soon.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, third baseman David Wright will travel with the Mets for their upcoming series against the Marlins in Miami before being eased into minor league rehab games with High-A St. Lucie later in the week.
This is great news for Wright, who originally landed on the disabled list in mid-April with a strained right hamstring. The 32-year-old soon began dealing with lower back pain and was eventually diagnosed with spinal stenosis. His status has been in question since, but he has been doing baseball activities this week at Citi Field. Obviously game action will be the real test, but it’s conceivable that he could rejoin the Mets’ lineup later this month if all goes well.
Daniel Murphy and the recently-acquired Juan Uribe are currently handling third base duties for New York.
There’s help on the way for the Mets’ lineup even if they don’t make a trade, as Mike Vorkunov of the Newark Star Ledger reports that catcher Travis d’Arnaud has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment.
d’Arnaud has been out since mid-June with an elbow injury and previously missed two months with a fractured finger, but Vorkunov writes that “he could be back by next weekend.”
He’s hit .250 with 17 homers and a .742 OPS in 127 games since the beginning of last season–very good numbers for a catcher–and has even better numbers dating back to last year’s All-Star break.
Kevin Plawecki has filled in as the Mets’ primary catcher, hitting just .239 with two homers and a .599 OPS in 54 games as a rookie.
The Mets began the season at 13-3, but they are just 28-37 since, even if you include Friday’s win over the Dodgers. Missing key pieces like David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, and Daniel Murphy along the way, a lack of offense has been a big reason for the slide. The Mets have scored two runs or fewer in 13 out of their last 15 games. There’s understandably a lot of frustration in the fanbase right now, but Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com yesterday that Terry Collins doesn’t deserve to be on the hot seat.
“We’re a .500 team,” the GM continued. “We haven’t been moving in the right direction — I understand that. We’ve had a lot of people hurt for a long period of time. We’ve got some young guys in particular that are not hitting. We’ve got some older players that have tried to carry the load. I think to put all of this on Terry would be grossly unfair.”
Alderson added that he doesn’t think there should be a “Terry Collins watch,” but the speculation figures to continue as the Mets go into their toughest stretch of the season. During their current West Coast trip, they have two more games against the Dodgers before going to San Francisco to play the Giants for three. They’ll go into the All-Star break with three against the Diamondbacks at home before beginning the second half with a six-game road trip against the Cardinals and Nationals. They’ll then come home for a four-game series against the Dodgers, just days before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. This stretch could go a long way toward determining whether the Mets have a real shot at contention. And if they continue to fade, it’s not a stretch to think that it could end up costing Collins his job, even if it’s undeserved.
Collins is in his fifth season as Mets manager and owns a 345-384 (.473) record. He’s in the final guaranteed year of his contract.