Category: baseball

Yanks trail the Indians 11-1 after 4 innings

A bad start to the game by #57 Chad Green lead to him giving up 5 runs. #43 Jonathan Loaisiga did no better, giving up 2 runs in the 1st and two in the 2nd inning

Mets Getting a Brutal Dose of Reality

#36 Mickey Callaway file photo Neil Miller /nysportsextra copyright 2019

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

When a team had been going as well as the Mets, when Citi Field had become a playground of thrills and chills, when the Wild Card had become a legitimate goal instead of a punch line, these last few games have served as a brutal reality slap.

Reality: Despite that amazing stretch in which the Mets won 15-of-16 they remain a flawed and thin team.

After Wednesday night’s 6-4 loss to the Braves in Atlanta, an eight-game win streak has been replaced by a three-game losing streak.

It was just this past Sunday that the Mets were even with the Washington Nationals for the Wild Card. This morning they are three games out of the playoffs, muddled with six other teams that are within 4.5 games of the two Wild Card spots.

After winning series against the Padres, Pirates (twice), White Sox, Marlins and Nationals, the Mets (61-59) are assured of losing their first series since July 18-21 when they dropped 3-of-4 to the Giants.

Suddenly, the Mets world seems dubious.

“We’re still in a good spot,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway told reporters. “It’s not the end of the world.”

It’s just starting to feel that way.

#36 Mickey Calloway file photo Neil Miller /nysportsextra copyright 2019

But that’s no reason to lose sight of the long view. No true Mets fan, I’m referring to the Mets fans that have seen the annual hope in April evaporate by the dog days of August, really believed this was a playoff team.

They might have been talking themselves into believing in a miracle but the flaws were too glaring to ignore. The bullpen was awful. The offense was anemic. The depth was shallow. The manager was suspect. And the vaunted starting pitching wasn’t living up to expectations.

We’ve seen several of those warts these last three games.

* Uncloser Edwin Diaz continued his train wreck of a season in the 7-4 loss to the Nationals.

#39 Edwin Diaz file photo Neil Miller / nysportsextra copyright 2019

* Starter Zack Wheeler was off in a 5-3 loss.

#45 Zach Wheeler file photo Neil Miller /nysportsextra copyright 2019

* Seth Lugo, whose been as good a reliever as anyone in baseball, got scorched Wednesday night.

* Callaway still is trying to convince the world he made the right decision pulling Steven Matz in the seventh inning of Wednesday night’s loss when the Long Island native had thrown just 79 pitches.

And during this three-game streak the Mets lost their best hitter, Jeff McNeil to a hamstring injury.

#6 Jeff Mc Neil bats file photo Neil Miller/nysportsextra copyright 2019

Now that the Mets have completed the cream puff portion of their schedule, the flaws are popping out all over once again. Even during the amazing run, one of the players most responsible for that success, was planting the seed that this Mets turnaround wouldn’t necessarily yield the desired result this season.

“At the end of the day or at the end of the year, we are going to be in a really good spot,’’ Alonso told reporters in early August.

The truth is the Mets are in a really good spot going forward. If they resign Wheeler, which they absolutely should, the Mets will have the best rotation in the game. Alonso, McNeil and Michael Conforto are big time hitters.

Bolstering the bullpen, adding another bat and depth, and finding another manager should be high on the offseason to-do list. If the Mets do that, 2020 could be special.

Is this season over? Of course not. Is the possibility of the playoffs kaput? No.

But reality can be a brutal slap. Just brutal.

Mets fail to sweep the Nats on inconsistent pitching

08/11/19 Washington Nationals vs New York Mets at citifield queens ny #48 Jacob De Grom reacts after giving up 3 runs in the 1st inning today Neil Miller /nysportsextra copyright 2019

It would have been nice , but it was not to be on Sundays day game.A rare poor start to a game by Jake DeGrom, was follwed by a bad inning by both Gsellman and Diaz this afternoon, even tho the Mets pulled to a 5-4 deficent, the 2 run homer given up in the 8th inning sealed the deal today.

08/11/19 Washington Nationals vs New York Mets at citifield queens ny #48 Jacob DeGrom pitches in the 4th inning Neil Miller /nysportsextra copyright 2019

Although the Mets did take advantage of most of the chances today in the batters box,it wasnt enough to overcome the pitching mistakes today

08/11/19 Washington Nationals vs New York Mets at citifield queens ny #39 Edwin Diaz reacts after giving up a 2 run homer in the 8th inning

One nice play was by Mike concorto making a catch in deep center field in the 5th innning

08/11/19 Washington Nationals vs New York Mets at citifield queens ny #30 Mike Conforto makes a leaping catching in the 5th inning Neil Miller /nysportsextra copyright 2019

Pinch Yourself: The Mets Are Never Out of a Game

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Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

 When was the first time you pinched yourself Friday night?

Was it when Todd Frazier’s three-run homer left Citi Field faster than the Mets can print playoff tickets? Or was it when Michael Conforto launched the most thrilling single of the season, driving in Juan Lagares with the winning run in a stunning, thrilling, unbelievable 7-6 win over the Nationals?

Or was it Saturday morning when you awoke on planet Earth and it was confirmed that the Amazin’ events of last night were not a dream?

Conforto really was running shirtless in the outfield after the giddiest players not in the Little League World Series celebrated in short center. Dominic Smith, his injured left leg resting on a scooter, was violating some obscure city driving ordinance by tearing out to join the celebration.

“It felt like the playoffs with the stadium packed,’’ Conforto told reporters.

Yep, it felt like the playoffs. It felt like the playoffs In Citi Field not Yankee Stadium, where playoffs feel like an annual rite. The fans that call Citi Field home don’t enjoy October baseball very often. But they got a taste of it Friday night, and man, was that delicious.

Trailing 6-3 in the bottom of the ninth against the best National League team they’ve faced since the All Star Break, J.D. Davis doubled against Nationals closer Sean Doolittle. Wilson Ramos singled to center.

Frazier came to the plate with visions of going deep.

“Pretty much,’’ he admitted later.

Frazier should be charged with baseball abuse for how criminally he crushed Doolittle’s pitch. Game tied, 6-6.

“You don’t feel like you’re out of a game when you’re on a run like this,’’ said Frazier.

Ah yes. The Run. Perhaps that’s the title of the second half of the Mets season. The Run.

With Citi Field still reverberating from Frazier’s blast, more magic. Joe Panik, making his Mets debut, singled. He was erased on Lagares’ bunt. Jeff McNeil flied to right. Amed Rosario singled to left.

Up came Conforto, the former first-round pick in the 2014 draft and closest thing the Mets have to an elite bat. His hard, rising blast to right cleared Adam Eaton’s head and mayhem came to Queens.

The win marked the first time this season the Mets won a game in which they trailed after eight innings. Forty-four times the Mets had failed in that situation. But on this night, the Mets told themselves, and their fans, they are not the same old Mets.

They had won for the 14th time in 15 games, a feat not accomplished since 1990.

As the fans erupted in euphoric celebration, the Mets hopped the dugout railing and made a run for Conforto. Pete Alonso, not quite sure what to do in such scenarios, pulled off Conforto’s jersey.

The Mets are now one-half game out of the Wild Card and one and one-half games behind the Nationals for the first Wild Card.

“Right now, we’re firing on all cylinders,’’ Conforto said. “Our confidence is just building with each win.”

Go ahead. Pinch yourself.

Contenders or Pretenders: Time for the Mets to Declare

08/05/19 Miami Marlins vs New York Mets at citifield queens ny #20 pete alonso celebrates on a go ahead homer in the 7th innning Neil Miller /nysportsextra copyright 2019

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

  Miracle Makers or Dream Teasers?

 The time has come for the Mets to declare.

They are the hottest team in baseball, having won 14 of their last 15. They have gone 20-6 since the All-Star Break. They are a season-high 12 games above .500. They are one-half a game out of the Wild Card.

One-half a game.

This weekend they face the question on everyone baseball fans’ mind, on their mind: Are the Mets contenders or pretenders?

The Washington Nationals, also a team once enduring a bust of a season, come to Citi Field for a three-game series  starting on Friday.  The Nat’s own the first Wild Card with a 61-53 record. The Nats were 19-31 on May, 23rd after getting swept by – the Mets. It was a four-game sweep.

Man, did the Nats turn it around.

Man, did the Mets turn it around?

#20 pete alonso file photo Neil Miller/nysportsextra copyright 2019

“You got to slay the giant so to speak,’’ rookie slugger Pete Alonso told reporters after Wednesday’s 7-2 dusting of the Marlins. “You have to go through these tough teams in order to get to the playoffs and when you get to the playoffs it’s just going to be that much harder.

 “If we keep playing the way we are, we’ve hit well, our defense has been awesome and our pitching has been light’s out, so I think that’s going to be a really tough combo.’’

This is the time to see just how tough are the Mets. They say their early-season struggles only made them tougher, closer, more confident. But were they tough players in a soft stretch.

Those 20 wins have come against the Marlins, Twins, Giants Padres, Pirates and White Sox.

If the season were to end today, only the Twins would be in the playoffs. The Marlins and Pirates occupy last place in their respective division. The Padres are half a game out of last place in the NL West.

The Giants, like the Mets, became buyers, not sellers at the trade deadline. They just got swept by the Nationals. Yes, the Nats already revealed one surging team to be a fraud.

Are the Mets next?

#36 mickey calloway in the dugout in the 3rd innning file photo Neil Miller nysportsexta copyright 2019

“What we’ve done is not easy but it’s in the past,’’ manager Mickey Callaway said. “Our focus is on the next game. The things that we’ve been through are going to allow us to be a better team than we otherwise would have been down the stretch. We’re trying to accomplish something as a team together that can be very special.”

Special? Yes. Magical? Perhaps.

The National were expected to be in the playoff discussion. They Mets were not.

The Mets recently lost Robinson Cano to a torn hamstring. The Nats will be without Bryce Harper, who just went on the Injured List with a bruised knee.

The field is even. Are the two teams? It’s time for the Mets to declare.

“We’ve got a chance to do something really great,’’ Alonso said.

They really do.

Pete Alonso is Mets driving force Neil Miller nysportsextra

08/05/19 Marlins vs New York Mets at citifield queens ny #20 pete alonso celebrates on a go ahead homer in the 7th innning Neil Miller /nysportsextra

Last nights 7th inning in the 2nd game of the double header was specila for the fans and the team.The recent comeback to go over .500 was capped by 2 homers by Mike Conforto and Pete Alonso.But Citifield just about exploded when Petes ball left his bat.

08/05/19 Miami Marlins vs New York Mets at citifield queens ny #20 pete alonso celebrates on a go ahead homer in the 7th innning Neil Miller /nysportsextra

This story is just a side bar to the recent Mets push towards a playoff spot, but if they can keep this energy going, its going to be fun for the team and the fans

Yanks pound the Sox 9-2 by Neil Miller / nysportsextra

The Yanks cleaned up on the Sox today with a solid outing form Domingo German, only giving up 2 runs, and a stellar day by D.J. Le Mahieu, going 3 for 5 with 2 homer accounting for 4 of the Yanks runs.

08/03/19 boston red sox vs ny yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny yanks win 9-2. #26 dj lemahieu hits a solo homer in the 1st inning Neil Miller /nysportsextra copyright 2019

Brett Gardner also had a good day going going 3 for five.The down side ,however was Edwin Encarnacion geeting hit on the wrist in the 8th inning, and leaving the game

08/03/19 boston red sox vs ny yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny #11 brett gardner hits a basehit in the 4th inning Neil Miller /nysportsextra copyright 2019
08/03/19 boston red sox vs ny yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny yanks win 9-2. #30 edwin eccarnacion reacts after getting hit on the left wrist on a pitch by #67 josh smith in the 8th innning Neil Miller /nysportsexta copyright 2019
08/03/19 boston red sox vs ny yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German #55 pitches in the 1st inning today Neil Miller nysportsextra copyright 2019

08/03/19 boston red sox vs ny yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny yanks win 9-2. #53 jon holder pitched 2 innnings in releif for the yanks today Neil Miller /nysportsextra copyright 2019

gallery by Neil Miller / nysportsextra copyright 2019

A Historically Bad Week Ups the Ante for a Yankees Deal

Robbins Nest

09/21/12 Oakland Athletics vs New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium Bronx NY neil mille nysportsextra :yanks lead 1-0 after 4 innings New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) returns to the dugout after the 8th inning

By Lenn Robbins

Admit it: You didn’t think it could get any worse. But it did.

You didn’t think it would be historically bad. But it is.

You can’t imagine the Yankees blowing a double-digit games lead in the American League East but suddenly the 8.5-game advantage over the Tampa Rays and the 9-game bulge over the Red Sox doesn’t feel like the Pinstripers are playing with house money.

When we last wrote about the Yankees, we said they could possibly win the battle against the Twins – which they did – but would probably lose the playoff war if they didn’t get a quality starter before the July 31st trade deadline.

Since then we’ve seen the Yankees win the final game of the three-game set in Minneapolis, 10-7, despite starter J.A. Happ getting shelled for six earned runs and two home runs in just three and one-thirds inning of work.

They arrived in Boston where we haven’t seen flames like this since tea was burned. The Yankees 19-3 loss to the Red Sox was the most lopsided defeat in the 117-year history of the two teams.

The Sox tied a major league record with eight players driving in at least two runs.

The starting pitching fiasco sadly picked up where it left off Friday night. James Paxton somehow managed to strike out nine in four innings while allowing seven earned runs. If that didn’t scare you, consider this.

neil miller nysportsextra

Yankees manager Aaron Boone thought Paxton had ‘electric’ stuff. The only person in North America who might agree with that is Mookie Betts, who hit three runs off of Paxton in a 10-5 Red Sox win.

The last quality start for the Yankees came more than a week ago when Happ allowed two runs in five innings. In other words, the Yankees would be eliminated from the playoffs if they have another week like this in October.

The Yankees have given up 64 runs over the last six games, an infamous record for the franchise. Historic.

05/10/16 Kansas City Royals Vs N.Y.Yankees at Yankee Stadium Bronx N.Y. New York Yankees lead 5-3 after 4 innings New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka #19 pitches in the 3rd innning photos by nysportsextra

The starters – Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, CC Sabathia, Domingo German and J.A. Happ – have posted a 15.61 ERA in 27²/₃ innings, surrendering 54 hits and issuing 13 walks.

General manager Brian Cashman told reporters before his big off-season acquisition, Paxton, gave a up four home runs in four innings Saturday night that he would not be forced into a bad trade.

Fair enough but one can only hope some of it is trade-week bluster. Cashman knows he’s working in a city that demands championships more than it appreciates prudence.

Unfortunately for Cashman and the Yankees, actions speak louder than words. This pitching bloodletting has forced the Yankees to go a roster comprised of 14 pitchers and two bench players – Austin Romine and Gio Urshela.

With Gary Sanchez (groin) on the injured list for the foreseeable future, Romine must stay healthy. The teams in sell mode that have quality know this. They can press for a better package and the Yankees probably will have to give more than then they might have a week ago.

Not a bad trade but a necessary one.

“It’s obviously been a rough week for us,’’ Boone told reporters after the most recent loss. “All we can do is dive in and do the best we can and try to tighten things up and get things corrected.’’

A rough week: You never thought the Yankees pitching could have a week this tough.

ANOTHER RING DEATH – Argentine boxer Hugo Alfredo “Dinamita” Santillan, 23, became the second boxer in a week to die from injuries suffered in the ring. Santillan fought to a 10-round draw Thursday night with Uruguayan fighter Eduardo Javier Abreu.

Santillan started bleeding from the nose in the fourth round. After the decision was announced his legs gave out. He suffered three heart attacks before he died of a blood clot in the brain.

Russian boxer Maxim Dadashev, 28, died Tuesday.  He too suffered brain damage during his Friday night fight against Subriel Matias of Puerto Rico.  Have to ask if boxers are getting appropriate care during fights.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Giants quarterback Eli Manning responding to a GQ article in which former receiver Odell Beckham Jr. claimed he was the marquee draw that kept securing prime time television slots for Big Blue.

“I won a few games before he was here,’’ said Manning, the understated assassin.

Mets hard luck continues by Neil Miller nysportsextra

07/24/19 San Diego Padres vs New York Mets at citifield queens ny #34 noah syndergaard pitches in the 3rd inning

This was a game that ,once again, was hard for Mets fans to watch.Noah Syndergaard pitched fairly well, but was betrayed by shoddy fielding and not enough clutch hitting.

07/24/19 San Diego Padres vs New York Mets at citifield queens ny #22 dominic smith is upset as he returns to the mets dugout agter the 3rd innning

Much was published about Dom Smith poor fielding tonite, and for certain, the two error he committed didnt help the Mets cause, but neither didnt Mike Conforto’s strike out with bases loaded as well.

07/24/19 San Diego Padres vs New York Mets at citifield queens ny #30 mike conforto rects after striking out with the bases loaded to end an innning

The Mets team that hit so well on Tuesday night was no where to be found.