The box score says Rafael Montero was tagged with the loss, as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets 6-2 in 10 innings on Tuesday. Montero was definitely awful, as he allowed four hits and four runs while retiring just one batter and giving up several rockets in the process.
The Mets, however, should have won the game before Montero appeared. In the top of the eighth, with two outs and the Mets leading 2-1, Jose Reyes dropped a little pop fly along the third-base line, perhaps a little wary of bumping into catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who was standing a few feet away. Andres Blanco then doubled to tie the game. That's an inexcusable error.
The Mets have five outfielders. What they don't have is a third baseman. Reyes is hitting .100/.182/.140. Besides maybe Rangers reliever Sam Dyson, he has been the least valuable player in the majors. You might be shocked to hear this, but Mets fans are upset:
I've seen enough of Jose Reyes, thank you.— D.J. Short (@djshort) April 19, 2017
I very much do not enjoy watching the 2017 Jose Reyes #Mets— Paul ⚾️ (@MetsFanPaul) April 19, 2017
It will be interesting to see how long a leash Mets manager Terry Collins extends Reyes. He is a below-average third baseman, and he doesn't run much anymore, so any potential value he has is tied to his bat, which was basically league average last year once the Mets signed him after his domestic violence suspension. Given that history, there's even less reason to keep him around. Wilmer Flores can put up decent enough numbers at the plate, and there's always the ghost of David Wright potentially returning. There's also the possibility of a trade down the road; Mike Moustakas, for example, would be a nice trade-deadline acquisition if the Royals fall out of it.
What do you think? Does Reyes last the season as the Mets' third baseman?
Eric the dread. Speaking of players struggling, Eric Hosmer went 1-for-4 in the Royals' 2-1 loss to the Giants in 11 innings, which puts his season line at .200/.259/.260. He hit into an inning-ending double play with two runners on in the 10th.
If hitting a double play ground ball in THAT situation - on a 3-1 count - doesn't convince Hosmer it's time to fix his swing, nothing will.— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) April 19, 2017
What is Rany alluding to? Well, earlier in the day while perusing this thing called the internet, I came across this excellent breakdown of Hosmer's slow start. As author Craig Brown pointed out, Hosmer has pulled the ball in the air once all season. As he wrote, that's a "disgusting spray chart for a cleanup hitter." Here's what it looks like:
Hosmer's hit Tuesday was a little flair to right field, but you can see the problem: Everything is on the ground. This has essentially been Hosmer's problem his entire career, and it's why he has reached 20 home runs just once. He hits the ball hard ... but on the ground. His 25 home runs last season came at the expense of more strikeouts and a lower average and OBP. He was a league-average hitter, which isn't great for a first baseman.
Anyway, Rany is right. Hosmer will never be anything special unless he learns to add loft to his swing, as players such as Josh Donaldson and Justin Turner famously did to turn their careers around. Hosmer is just 27 and heading to free agency. It's probably too much to ask for him to rehaul his swing during the season, but he isn't going to cash in next winter unless he starts hitting fewer grounders and more fly balls that tap into his natural power potential.
Mookie Betts strikeout note of the night. We're going to keep writing about our man Mookie because we have great appreciation for what he's doing in this age of strikeouts. He went 3-for-5 with no strikeouts in Boston's 8-7 win over Toronto, and his K-less streak hit 128 plate appearances. He also hit his first home run of the season -- and just his second during this streak. Considering he hit 31 home runs last year, it will be interesting to see how Betts' power plays out in 2017. Going back to the beginning of last September, he has homered just twice in 157 at-bats, although he has hit .325.
FYI: The longest strikeout-less streak of the expansion era (since 1961) is Dave Cash's 223-PA streak for the Phillies in 1976. He fanned just 13 times in 727 PAs. What's kind of remarkable is that he didn't hit .300, with a .284 mark. To some extent, his streak shows how the game has changed: If you're never striking out and not hitting .300, you aren't hitting the ball hard all that often. Indeed, Cash hit just one home run and just 27 extra-base hits that season. That style of hitting -- just slap the ball in play -- is essentially nonexistent in today's game.
Estimated exit velocity: 1-million MPH. pic.twitter.com/moPYuWG2tO— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 19, 2017
Quick thoughts on Starling Marte's suspension. Obviously, Starling Marte is a huge loss for the Pirates. Factor in Jung Ho Kang's absence due to his legal troubles in South Korea, and the Pirates are missing their top two offensive players from 2016 for the next 80 games. Manager Clint Hurdle moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field -- he of the minus-28 Defensive Runs Saved there last season -- and kept Gregory Polanco in left. McCutchen responded with two nice plays in a 2-1 loss to the Cardinals, including a long run into right-center to rob Mike Leake. Then McCutchen yelled, "This is my spot!" after the catch.
In one sense, I love McCutchen's showing a little attitude there, and it helps explain why managers are so reluctant to move star veterans off their positions. Then again, one nice play doesn't mean McCutchen is suddenly going to be good out there again, and Hurdle might have a big headache when Marte does return. The outfield defense was a problem before the suspension, with the Pirates converting the lowest percentage of fly balls into outs in the majors. For more, Buster Olney and Jerry Crasnick wrote about the suspension.
Who wears the jersey of the team's hitting coach? Apparently, this Padres fan!
Shout out to the Padres fan with an Alan Zinter jersey pic.twitter.com/Wl1xiEN17B— Mike Ferrin (@Mike_Ferrin) April 19, 2017
Quick thoughts: The Marlins flirted with a combined no-hitter for the second time in three games, before Mitch Haniger singled off Kyle Barraclough with one out in the ninth. Meh, it's hard to get that excited about a combined no-no. Henderson Alvarez remains the last Marlin with a no-hitter. He threw one in September 2013 against the Tigers. ... Zack Wheeler continues to be a work in progress for the Mets. The stuff is there, but the command is shaky, as he threw 99 pitches in five innings. ... Kevin Gausman's start remains a bit concerning. Although the grand slam he gave up to Adam Duvall in a 9-3 loss was a wind-aided cheap shot in Cincinnati, his season totals of 12 walks and 13 strikeouts while averaging fewer than five innings per start are a problem. As with Wheeler, the pitch counts are way too high. ... Shout-out to Robbie Grossman and his .489 OBP. Why aren't the Twins batting him leadoff? ... Jose Ramirez looks great for the Indians, showing he can repeat or improve on his surprising 2016. ... There was a ridiculous ending in Atlanta. Down 3-1, the Braves loaded the bases with two outs when Shawn Kelley fanned Chase d'Arnaud swinging on a ball off the plate -- a swing that missed the ball by at least a foot. The Braves asked for a review, and home plate ump CB Brucknor and his crew decided it was a tip. Luckily, Kelley fanned d'Arnaud again. ... We had an exciting ending at Dodger Stadium, in which Yasiel Puig just missed a three-run walk-off home run. The Dodgers scored twice off Greg Holland, but Adrian Gonzalez grounded out with the go-ahead runs on base, as the Colorado bullpen continued to do the job.