Baseball

Game 1 Box Score: Cubs 5, Mets 2

Game 2 Box Score: Cubs 10, Mets 7

Game 3 Box Score: Cubs 4, Mets 1

While the Cubs may be the only team, or fanbase, that still gets shivers when thinking about the Mets, it’s also important to remember they’re still the Mets. Which means they can METS at anytime, and it just might be for your benefit if you time it right. There was no better cure for the Cubs than the Mets on a downswing, And once again, this team looks on the upswing, and we’re just going to have to get used to the ride if you haven’t already.

Let’s..

-I wish Yu Darvish‘s overall numbers reflected how good he’s been lately. This fucking baseball, amirite? It’s something when walking one dude is newsworthy, but the Mets weren’t anywhere close to him. Then again, no one has been lately except for that weirdness with the Giants. He apparently struck out Jeff McNeil with a knuckle-curve he just decided a week ago to fuck with. That’s the good stuff, baby. It’s gone to where you’re actively looking forward to his start Sunday.

-Of course Kyle Hendricks would fail to get through five with a nine-run lead on the same day I went at it with Joe Sheehan about calling him a #3 starter. Timing, Cerebral Assassin!

-It can be a little upsetting when Baez busts out by going the other way and up the middle, because he should never get away from it. But as long as he gets back there, because the Cubs will need him.

-Ok, that’s enough of Jason Heyward in the leadoff spot. Yes, he doesn’t want to be moved around, but he lost the right to complain by not being able to hit a bull in the ass with a banjo since he moved there. Back to Schwarbs, now.

-The first inning off Thor might have been the most enjoyable inning of the whole season. Not only did the Cubs tee off on a premier starter we had turned into Darth Vader in our heads, but it contained some true Mets-iness with Rosario’s error that started it all. Without that, they might not even get one.

-Remember when everyone was shitting themselves that the Cubs didn’t have a backup catcher? That Willson would die of exhaustion because of it? Good stuff there.

-It felt like it was going to be one of THOSE Lester starts. Itchy, sweaty, twitchy, yell-y, bad. When he gets through five or six innings well, it still doesn’t feel like it. You kind of wonder how he did it. But if we call him the 5th starter, that’s what 5th starters do. It’s never really comfortable unless you’re blessed.

-This pen can make last night’s game interesting, and then smother for nine outs tonight, because they hate us. I kind of wanted to see if Chatwood could take it to the house, but with Kintzler not having thrown on Wednesday it’s fine. I’m not going to lose a kidney over it.

-I was going to shit a chicken over removing Schwarber and Happ for Lucroy and Kemp against deGrom, as it felt like Maddon felt that two of three was enough and tonight was a bonus. The Cubs have lost that right. But hey, whatever works. Though I don’t need to see Kemp start again, I really don’t.

Can end the Brewers season over the next week. Onwards…

Baseball

vs.

RECORDS: Cubs 69-61   Mets 67-61

GAMETIMES: Tuesday-Thursday 6:10

TV: NBCSN Tuesday/Wednesday, ABC 7 Thursday

OUR DAY WAS RUINED: Amazin’ Avenue

PREVIEW POSTS

Depth Charts & Pitching Staffs

Mets Spotlight

It feels like this season is on the precipice now, doesn’t it? And three games in Queens only exacerbates that. Queens. The Black Cat. Victor Fucking Diaz. The Goddamn Mets. Arrieta running out of gas in ’15. Daniel Motherfucking Murphy. If they asked you where any Cubs season was most likely to come totally unglued, you’re picking right off the 7 train and you know it.

The Cubs sit three games out, which feels significant, though the Cardinals won’t get to play the Rockies and decomposing Brewers the rest of the season. They’ve just come off getting swept at home, and are now staring down the gun of the meat of the Mets pitching staff. Their lineup feels like it was exposed against the Nationals, though that’s just three games. They have a whole bunch of questions and a dearth of answers. That teetering feeling is real.

So what do the Cubs have to get past here to remain on terra firma? They already spent a week not getting Jeff McNeil out earlier in the season, so that’s on the list. It’s not a great offense in Queens, as past Alonso and McNeil there isn’t that much. Michael Conforto has the sweetest swing and looks like he should hit .330 every year, but he hasn’t yet though he still gets on base a ton. J.D. Davis has juiced the lineup a bit from left field, though he probably should be playing third, but it’s a top-heavy crew. Still, Alonso already has 41 homers and can get the Mets close to a lot of wins by himself. When the Cubs need big out against him or McNeil or Conforto…well, you know the drill.

A string of Marcus StromanNoah SyndergaardJacob deGrom is just about the last thing you’d ask for when you need at least two wins, but the Cubs blew the chance to get past the Nats when they didn’t have to see Scherzer or Corbin and actually came out tied with Strasburg. So now they have to do it the hard way. Stroman doesn’t get the mass amount of grounders he used to, and has had pretty big walk problems. Thor and deGrom are Thor and deGrom though, so Hendricks and Lester are just going to have to be at the top of their games. No other way around it.

And if you can hang close with the starters of the Mets, the bullpen is aching to give it all back to you. Edwin Diaz has been a mess all season, same goes for Jeurys Familia, and they’ve been making up the rest along the way. Of late, they’ve been counting on Justin Wilson for big outs, which is a choice. Luis Avilan has been good the last month, but never count on Mickey Callaway to make the right choices at the right times. Again, this is the Mets. You have to allow them the platform to be the Mets.

And they come in licking their wounds as well. They just got swept at home by the Braves and their wildcard hopes are on the line here. They’re two games behind the Cubs, which is something the Cubs have to be aware of now. Since that big streak to get back into things they’re 5-7, so they need to find it again.

There’s also the road woes to consider for the Cubs, which eventually might be their undoing. On the other side, they did win their last road series in Pittsburgh/Williamsport. We keep saying it’s time for the Cubs to stand up, be counted, show what they really are. But at this point, it’s hard to conclude they’re anything else than what they’ve shown. Which means if they continue their wayward/doofus ways this week, they may find the division is already over. And then the questions they’ll have to answer are a lot harder than the ones they biffed after last season.

Baseball

The one thing you can count on is that the Mets will always try and destroy anything special about themselves. But this being the Mets, they can’t ever be consistently successful at anything, which every so often works to their benefit. Take their acquisition of Marcus Stroman. There is no one on this planet who believes that getting Stroman was part of some short-term or long-term plan. Most believe he was insurance to make up the gap when either Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard were traded mere hours later.

But neither happened. And even with Wheeler likely to move along in the winter in free agency, the Mets are better than they were for 2020 with Jacob deGrom, Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Stroman. It certainly wasn’t the plan, but thanks to the Mets inability to always shoot themselves in the face, they’ve come out ahead.

And their handling of Syndergaard all season matches that kind of confusion and goofiness. From spring training on, Thor has heard trade rumors and whispers that the Mets didn’t want him anymore. Of course, deGrom heard the same thing during the winter, and then he ended up with a fat new contract extension. You never know which way the wind blows with the Mets.

It seems ridiculous that the Queens Club would ever consider moving Syndergaard along. After all, this is probably still the best pure stuff in the game, and in the team photo if it’s not. He’s also under team control for another two seasons after this one, so even if he gets a good settlement in arbitration the next two years he’s still probably coming in at value. He’s also only 26. Could you ever get more than 75 cents on the dollar for him? What were the Mets thinking?

Well, this is the Mets, so there’s never a guarantee they ever were. Certainly health played a role. Syndergaard missed most of 2017 with arm problems, and only made 25 starts last year. Considering how hard he throws everything, the idea that his arm would never be able to hold up isn’t a farcical notion. So naturally, because logic never applied to Queens, he’s taken the ball for every start this season. Maybe that takes its toll down the road, or maybe he’s finally matured into the burden he asks his arm and body to carry.

Syndergaard has clashed with the Mets brass in the past, as he definitely is a free thinker. But that would seem ultimately petty, at least it would for most any other organization in any sport. But again…METS.

Perhaps the Mets thought, or still think, that Syndergaard is just never going to live up to what they original hype, what the stuff suggests, and what he’s flashed in the past. Considering he’s got their repertoire, Thor has never vaulted himself into Cy contention with deGrom or Scherzer or Verlander or the like. His best season was ’17, but his strikeout rate has declined in each of the next two seasons. And his walks have increased.

However, it’s not like his stuff has got worse. His fastball averages 98 MPH, and while he’s lost velocity on both the slider and curve, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Syndergaard has gone away from his slider more this season, but has used his four-seam more rather than a sinker, even though he threw a sinker at 97 goddamn miles-per-hour. Still, you’d think you’d get more Ks from him considering how hard he throw.

But like we discussed with Giolito earlier today, or rather opposite of that, Thor doesn’t use the upper part of the zone with it nearly as much:

Which seems a shame, because there’s gold for him higher than he’s using his fastball:

But he just doesn’t use it as a put-away pitch:

He also doesn’t use his curve enough at all, especially with two strikes, because it gets half whiffs when anyone swings at it. Just overthinking things?

Still, you’d bet on something being unlocked with Syndergaard much more than him just being a pretty good #2 starter–which admittedly is all the Mets need him for when they have deGrom. But when you’ve got this guy for cheap for the next couple years, why let him go?

It’s the Mets, so what they really want is to be cheap. And while Thor isn’t expensive yet, the prospects he would have brought back are even cheaper. And now that Pete Alonso is up, the Mets don’t have much in the minors. But still, with this pitching staff next year, and Alonso, Conforto, and McNeil in the lineup, the Mets can’t be all that far away from competing. That is if they’d stop doing dumbass things like getting Robinson Cano‘s name and wasting what little money they deign to spend. Or trying to crowbar Jay Bruce into the lineup like last year. Or playing Todd Frazier ahead of J.D. Davis at third.

But it’s the Mets. You can always overdose on logic when studying them.