The New York Mets (48-41, T-2nd NL East) opened up the second half of the 2016 season with a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies (42-49, 4th NL East) at Citizens Bank Park. After losing three of four to the first place Washington Nationals (55-36, 1st NL East) to close out the first half, the Mets started their post-All Star Game slated tied for the second National League Wild Card with the Miami Marlins. Mets RHP Bartolo Colon (8-4, 3.11 ERA) carried a perfect game into the 5th inning and 2B Neil Walker hit a three-run HR (16) in the top of the sixth to give New York a 4-0 lead. CF Juan Lagares, playing in place of an injured Yoenis Cespedes (quad) reached base three times, hit a solo HR (3) in the third, scored two runs, and stole a base. The Phillies cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth – highlighted by OF Peter Bourjos’ RBI triple – but the Mets bullpen turned the ball over to All-Star closer, RHP Jeurys Familia, who closed the door and converted his 32nd save of the season; Familia is a perfect 32-for-32 in save conversions midway through this 2016 campaign.
The Mets will play two more over the weekend against the Phillies, and then they will travel to Chicago and Miami on this 9-game road trip. Here’s a look at the trip:
- 15-17 July: at Philadelphia Phillies
- 18-20 July: at Chicago Cubs
- 22-24 July: at Miami Marlins
Here are the remaining matchups this weekend against the Phillies (all times Eastern):
Sat, 16 July: RHP Logan Verrett (3-6, 4.34 ERA) vs. RHP Jerad Eickhoff (6-10, 3.80 ERA), 7:05 pm
Sun, 17 July: RHP Jacob deGrom (5-4, 2.61 ERA) vs. RHP Zach Eflin (2-2, 4.08 ERA), 1:35 pm
Series Notes: 2B Neil Walker’s sixth-inning blast was the Mets’ 14th HR at Citizens Bank Park this season. They have not hit more than 7 HRs at any other road park this season. In 2015, the Mets belted 19 homers on the “Streets of Philadelphia”.
Now 32-for-32 in saves, Jeurys Familia has now converted 48 consecutive regular season save opportunities, dating back to the second half of the 2015 season. Familia passed former Phillie Brad Lidge for 5th place on the all-time consecutive saves list. Next up is John Axford, now with the Oakland A’s, who converted 49 straight back during his service with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Mets’ Friday night starter, RHP Bartolo Colon, retired the first 13 batters he faced before Philadelphia C Cameron Rupp broke up the perfect game with a one-out single in the bottom of the fifth. On a hot and humid night, it went south from there for the Met All-Star, as Colon permitted 7 of the next 11 batters to reach, forcing him from the game after 5 2/3 innings and 78 pitches.
Phillies’ 3B Maikel Franco had his 10-game hitting streak stopped by Colon and the Mets bullpen on Friday night.
This weekend in Mets’ History:
- July 15, 1975. Mets’ LHP Jon Matlack is named co-MVP (along with Chicago’s Bill Madlock) as the National League doubles up the American League, 6-3, in the Midsummer Classic in Milwaukee.
- July 15, 1986. Mets’ LHP Sid Fernandez becomes the first Hawaii-born All-Star when he strikes out the side (Brook Jacoby, Jim Rice and Don Mattingly), but the National League falls, 3-2, in the Midsummer Classic at the Houston Astrodome.
- July 16, 1977. Mets’ rookie OF Steve Henderson, acquired in the trade that sent Tom Seaver to Cincinnati, blasts his third game-winning home run in less than a month as the Mets top Pittsburgh, 5-3.
- July 16, 2006. The Mets tie a Major League record by hitting two grand slams in one inning when OFs Cliff Floyd and Carlos Beltran go deep in the sixth. The Mets score a franchise-record 11 runs in the sixth in New York’s 13-7 win over the Cubs.
- July 17, 1973. OF Rusty Staub and 1B John Milner each launch two-run home runs to highlight a seven-run, ninth-inning rally as the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves, 8-7.
- July 17, 1979. Mets’ OF Lee Mazzilli belts the first All-Star home run by a Met and is credited with the game-winning RBI in a National League victory with a bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning at the Seattle Kingdome.
Yankees: last call in 2016
This is the proverbial last call for the 2016 New York Yankees. Starting the second half at 44-44 (4th AL East), 7 ½ games behind AL East-leading Baltimore, and 5 games out of the second AL Wild Card behind 5 other teams, the Yankees opened a critical home stand on Friday night. RHP Michael Pineda (3-9, 5.56 ERA) allowed three Red Sox homers at Yankee Stadium putting the Yankees in a 5-0 hole in the top of the sixth, while Boston All-Star knuckleballer Steven Wright (11-5, 2.78 ERA) was again effective against New York, throwing six innings and allowing three runs for the win. Cue Paul Simon – the Yankees are slip sliding away.
Here’s a glance at the Yankees 11-game home stand and their run-up to the August 1st non-waiver trade deadline:
- 15-17 July: Boston Red Sox
- 18-21 July: Baltimore Orioles
- 22-24 July: San Francisco Giants
- 25-27 July: at Houston Astros
- 29-31 July: at Tampa Bay Rays
Will VP/GM Brian Cashman and Yankee ownership agree, after this upcoming home stand, that it is time to trade off some pieces from this underachieving roster and posture themselves for a quick re-tooling, and prepare for 2017 and beyond? There were conflicting reports on Friday that stated that Cashman was ready to move out and sell, but that ownership, led by Managing Partner Hal Steinbrenner and Team President Randy Levine were opposed to trading off assets with two weeks to go before the deadline. Stay tuned for more of this struggle for influence and control of the Yankees’ future.
Regardless of what the Yankees decide, here’s what they should consider:
Move Aroldis Chapman, and maybe Andrew Miller. The Yankee bullpen is a strength, and Cashman knows that LHP Aroldis Chapman is a free agent at the end of this season. It’s time to trade him to a contender for whatever the Yankees can acquire. Andrew Miller is under team control past 2016 for two more seasons at $18M. His contract is market-friendly, and the Yankees should not be compelled to move on from the combination of him and RHP Dellin Betances, unless potential suitors, like the Cubs, would be willing to part with OF/C Kyle Schwarber, or other big name, major-league ready talent.
Send Carlos Beltran to a contender for prospects, and bring Aaron Judge to New York. Beltran has been the Yankees’ best player in 2016, along with SS Didi Gregorius, but his bat is coveted by contending teams (most notably, Cleveland). It’s time to move the 39-year old switch hitter, also in the last year of his 3-year deal, obtain some prospects, and open his spot for AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre RF Aaron Judge. Judge is currently sidelined by a knee injury, but once he is healthy, it’s time to bring him to the Bronx. He has conquered all levels of minor league pitching.
Send Brett Gardner, Brian McCann, and Jacoby Ellsbury packing — if the right deal presents itself. Gardner is in decline, but still plays a strong left field and has some life in his bat. If a contender is interested, it’s time to move on from the disappointing duo at the top of the Yankees’ lethargic lineup. McCann is still under contract through ’17, but if another team is interested (Texas?) the Yankees should eat some of the contract and let Austin Romine and AAA catcher Gary Sanchez handle the duties. McCann is too pull-happy, and much of his production comes at meaningless times. Jacoby Ellsbury – moving that contract, an albatross around the Yankees’ neck through 2020 (another 4 years / $88M) – would be too good to be true. But, if another team would step up and produce a prospect for the Yankees, and if New York was in turn willing to eat some of the money due Ellsbury, it might be addition by subtraction.
Move out Ivan Nova, and let Chad Green pitch in the rotation as well as Eovaldi. Nova is a free agent at the end of the year. Get something for him, and slot Green and Eovaldi back in the rotation. The Yankees will sink or swim with the talented and mercurial Pineda, and the strong-armed, erratic Eovaldi.
Yankee ownership is concerned that this will signal surrender to their fan base and that there will be a lot of empty seats at the Stadium come August and September. Understandable, but there will be a lot of empty seats anyway as this team slides out of contention. This team does not resonate with the fan base, and that will never be so clear, as it will be on Sunday, August 14th when the Yankees honor the 1996 World Championship team. Twenty years ago, that team, rooted in a productive farm system, and buoyed by shrewd acquisitions in both the trade market and through free agency, captivated New York with their run to the Yankees’ first title since 1978. The Yankees should give more credit to their fan base – it is smart and understanding. Taking a step back to take a step forward is the right thing to do, and it’s time.
Mike Lalor can be heard talking NY Sports on the Spadora on Sports Radio Program. Visit SpadoraOnSports.com for more details.