Thinking, And Rethinking

MLB: New York Mets at St. Louis Cardinals

I didn’t have a lot of hope for Monday’s game because it was a bullpen game, and just about half the bullpen was unavailable because they had all gone twice in a row, so the Mets were left with scraps. So they made the almost last-minute decision to bring Joey Lucchesi in from the alternate site to start the game, and hope to get some length.

The sentiment was good, until they showed Lucchesi’s numbers against Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado against Lucchesi, who saw them a lot when he was with San Diego, Goldschmidt was with Arizona, and Arenado was with Colorado.

  • Goldschmidt: 7-for-15, 2 HR’s
  • Arenado: 7-for-20, 2 HR’s

Combine that with the fact that Lucchesi hadn’t seen the 4th inning this season, and I was nervous at first pitch.

Thinking, And Rethinking
May 3, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; New York Mets center fielder Kevin Pillar (11) hits a two run home run during the third inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets had given Lucchesi some support. The hot hitting Kevin Pillar smacked his second home run in as many days to make the score 5-2, and things were motoring. And Lucchesi cruised through Adam Wainwright and Tommy Edman, but then the house of cards crumbled. Dylan Carlson singled. Then Goldschmidt singled. Then Arenado, who had barely foul tipped what would have been strike three (it didn’t look like it was tipped but according to Lucchesi, Tomas Nido said that he got it) smacked a three run home run to tie the game.

Then after Paul DeJong doubled, the Mets left Lucchesi in for one more batter even though it was clear that Lucchesi’s funky delivery wasn’t fooling anyone second time through the order. Tyler O’Neill then doubled to give the Cardinals a 6-5 lead, and then … and only then … was Lucchesi pulled. Now you would have thought that 6-5 in the third inning wouldn’t wind up being the final score. But the fact that it was made the decision to leave Lucchesi in for two more hitters after Arenado even poorer than it was then. It also shines a light on the Mets sticking with Lucchesi when you have Jordan Yamanoto down at the alternate site (he was recently named the Opening Day starter for Syracuse). Yes, it also shows how good the bullpen has been, but that even makes the loss more frustrating.

Look, Lucchesi can have a role on this team as a long-ish reliever or perhaps an opener. But he hasn’t been able to get through the order a second time. With the depth the Mets have now, and what they will have when Carrasco and Syndergaard get back, it’s well past time to find a role for Lucchesi to succeed in. That role still exists. I’m just not sure it’s as a starter that can go five innings.

My theory is that they went with Lucchesi because he’s a lefty and with the Cardinals having seen a righty the day before against Pittsburgh, and with deGrom going on Tuesday, let’s give the Cardinals a change of pace. But between that and the teams locking themselves in to lalternating lefties and righties in the lineup because of the three batter minimum rule, teams are too worried about alternating lefties and righties and not worried enough about using the players who will help them win. Yamamoto is just not going to be considered as anything other than the designated survivor? Sean Reid-Foley (from Guam) has been literally perfect in his time with the Mets. But he throws with his right hand so he couldn’t start? It might be time to re-think some things.

Thinking, And Rethinking
Feb 25, 2021; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets hitting coach Chili Davis tosses base balls during spring training workouts at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of rethinking things, this was announced after the game …

Okay, so … harsh. The Mets have scored 18 runs in the last three days, so you would think the timing of the news that broke after the game is a little odd. Considering how Chili helped the Mets become a good hitting team in 2019 would have given him more than a month to straighten things out this season (2020 was a wash because he wasn’t even with the team.) But with Francisco Lindor slumping, and I think just as big a key: Dom Smith slumping the way he was, the front office thought there was sufficient reason to make a change. I know nothing about the replacements: Hugh Quattlebaum and Kevin Howard, but I do know that I was livid when the Mets fired Dave Eiland in the middle of the 2019 season. I also know that Phil Regan came on and turned around a lot of pitchers that year, so for me to tell you that the Mets will rue the day they let Chili go would be foolish. I do think Chili got a bit of a raw deal, but this is something where I’m going to concede and say “they know more than me”. Granted, when the Wilpons were in charge, I wouldn’t make that concession. Now? Hey, if it helps Francisco (0-for-4 with two K’s on Monday) and Dom, I’ll go with it.

Today’s Hate List

  1. Dylan Carlson
  2. Adam Wainwright
  3. Harrison Bader
  4. Tyler O’Neill
  5. Andrew Knizner (because Brandon Kintzler already exists, and they faced each other the other day and it was annoying.)
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