May 04

Numbers Say Mets Not “Playing Game The Right Way”

There was praise yesterday for manager Mickey Callaway for being positive while the Mets’ world seemed to be crumbling. However, there’s only so much that positivity can bring to a team that has lost eight of its last 12 games.

Callaway said the Mets “are playing the game the right way,’’ which is a positive, yet inaccurate, concept.

When a struggling Amed Rosario doesn’t run out a pop-up, that’s not playing the game the right way, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the ball landing in foul territory. The ball was only a few feet foul.

And, it’s not just the first time that has happened.

Yoenis Cespedes is another who only hustles when the mood strikes.

As far as Cespedes is concerned, yes, he’s talented, but he’s also on pace to strike out over 250 times. That’s obscene.

The Mets will never sit Cespedes for Brandon Nimmo, who has a much higher on-base percentage and always hustles. What the Mets will do eventually is regret signing Cespedes, who, despite his physical gifts, has several holes in his game that will prevent him from being a truly great player.

Conversely, I don’t believe the Mets will ever regret giving Nimmo more playing time.

As a team, the Mets have struck out 263 times compared to only 116 walks, slightly more than a 2-to-1 ratio. The Mets are ranked 26th with a .231 average and 26th with a .688 OPS. They are also a dismal 20th with 129 runs scored.

The Mets have only one regular, Asdrubal Cabrera, who is hitting over .300 (.327). Nimmo, by the way, is hitting .294 with a .478 on-base percentage. The only other regular hitting over .250 in Todd Frazier at .255.

The strikeouts-to-walks ratios for some of the starters are deplorable. Consider: Cespedes (46-9), Rosario (25-4) and the catching duo of Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido a combined 23-8.

The pitching, which got off to a good start, has fizzled with a 4.14 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. They are also ranked in the middle in hits, runs and homers given up.

You can make statistics read anything you’d like, but some of the more significant ones are screaming the Mets have some serious problems.

 

May 03

Callaway Tries To Stay Positive Despite Blowout Loss

Now is when Mickey Callaway will earn his money and show the Mets what kind of manager they hired. It won’t tell all, but it will tell a lot.

After the Mets were torched 11-0 by Atlanta today, the second time they’ve been shutout in as many games. The Mets were swept by the Braves today and were outscored 21-2 in the process. The Mets are no longer in first place, so Callaway can’t say, “we’re still in good shape.’’ He can’t because the Mets are no longer in good shape.

Things just aren’t clicking and the Mets have lost eight of their last 12 games. They aren’t hitting; nobody is hitting. Today, Jason Vargas and Matt Harvey have struggled, with the latter’s relief ERA up over 10. The bullpen hasn’t been good lately, and today Amed Rosario didn’t run out a popup.

From the pitching end, Jacob deGrom is nursing a sore elbow; Harvey was rocked for five runs today; and, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz have not pitched well and the latter is hurting,

“I don’t think our guys aren’t giving up or aren’t playing hard,’’ Callaway said. “They just aren’t playing well. It’s part of a long season. They need to take care and keep their routine. They still are playing the game the right way.’’

The biggest things to take out of today’s game is that Callaway remained positive and didn’t rip his team publicly. After only 29 games (they are 17-12) it would do little good to go ballistic this early in the season.

As far as Harvey goes, well, it’s pretty clear if Callaway won’t give the ball to him if deGrom can’t go Monday. It’s also clear Callaway is studying Harvey, and today gave more of an analysis then Terry Collins ever did.

“The first few outs were good, then he tried yanking the ball,’’ Callaway said. “He’s really stiff right now. The way his body is working he was really not throwing through the catcher. He’s got a way to go. The life wasn’t there. He lost his feel for the zone.’’

Callaway hasn’t given up on Harvey so Harvey can’t give up on himself. It’s too long a season and the once-streaking Mets are only 1.5 games behind Atlanta.

May 03

Mets Get Positive DeGrom News, But Should Be Cautious

When it comes to Mets pitching injuries, I’ve always said: Bet the over.

One day after Jacob deGrom left Wednesday’s game with a hyperextended right elbow, the Mets cleared him to make his next start after an MRI revealed no ligament damage.

We should know more after he throws Friday in preparation for Monday’s game.

“There’s nothing wrong with him,’’ manager Mickey Callaway told reporters prior to today’s game against Atlanta. “He’s gonna try to make his start on Monday.’’

While that’s positive news, I can’t help but think of the times the Mets were encouraged with Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard before they went down long time.

DeGrom said he felt something after swinging at a pitch in the bottom of the third inning Wednesday. He pitched the top of the fourth then left the game.

Seriously, don’t you remember the Mets’ history dealing with injuries? What would it hurt to push him back at start to be sure? That would be better than losing him for the season.

When asked about possible replacements, Callaway did mention Harvey, but Harvey shouldn’t get that chance until the Mets are convinced he’s ready. So far, he hasn’t been sterling out of the pen.

May 01

Harvey’s Partying Again An Issue

Long-time readers of this site know I’ve frequently been hard on Matt Harvey, and with good reason. For the most part, he’s deserved it. He’s in the bullpen because he’s been stinking up the joint lately as a starter, and if the Mickey Callaway Mets are about accountability, Harvey needs to ask himself: Am I doing all I can to get better?

Frankly, he’s not.

HARVEY: Being a jerk again.  (AP)

                HARVEY: Being a jerk again. (AP)

Harvey has always been for himself first, second and to hell with everybody else.

Harvey’s common sense, not to mention, professional obligations, are under scrutiny again after he traveled to Los Angeles from San Diego last week for a night of partying prior to a lackluster relief appearance.

The Mets traveled from St. Louis to San Diego the day he went to Los Angeles. Obviously, he was preoccupied with finding a way once the Mets landed in San Diego to get a way to Los Angeles. That means he wasn’t concentraing on the game.

Sandy Alderson stopped short of calling it a problem, but reading between the lines it isn’t hard to figure out the general manager isn’t pleased to hear of the so-so pitcher’s nocturnal habits.

After all, this is a player who blew off a game because he was hungover. He was also late to a postseason workout for the same reason.

“I think it can be a problem if it affects a player’s or a pitcher’s preparation for work the following day or the next several days and I am not sure that was the case here,” Alderson told reporters at Citi Field this afternoon. “[But] I think the other thing I have tried to keep in mind is pitching out of the bullpen is different than pitching out of the rotation and part of the preparation for that role is recognizing you can pitch any day at any time and as a result you have to be a little more conscientious about what else is going on in your life in order to be prepared on a moment’s notice to pitch.

“That is part of the realization that maybe’s he’s had over the last few days. So to answer the question as succinctly as I can, ‘Yeah, it can be a problem.’ I don’t think it was in this case.”

Asked if he was surprised to hear of the report about Harvey’s partying, Alderson said: “Usually I get upset if a report is unexpected. So I guess the short answer is no.”

Translation: Alderson knew something like this could be coming about Harvey.

Harvey, who is making $5.8 million n his walk year, clearly isn’t enamored with the Mets, who have bent over backward to placate him.

Callaway met with Harvey today and gave him the same old message he had gotten from Alderson and former manager Terry Collins.

“It is bad in the sense that it’s getting publicity,” Callaway said. “Matt has to be aware of that. The things he does, right or wrong, are going to be brought to the forefront and we have to make sure it’s never a distraction for him or the team.

“… I think he understands at this point that while the bullpen, he might view it as a relegation in some way, that his only way back to the rotation is through the bullpen and being successful in a meaningful role in the pen.’’

The bottom line is Harvey has in the past, and is currently, alienating his teammates. This latest episode is just another reason not to give Harvey the benefit of doubt anymore.

It’s his career, and if he doesn’t care about it anymore, then why should we?

Frankly, the sooner he’s gone the better, and if that means giving him away for a bag of balls at the trade deadline, then go for it.

Apr 27

Fast Start Has Saved Mets

We always knew this day would come, Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who was hired in large part for his optimism, will now be forced to put into practice. Once 11-1, the Mets limp into San Diego tonight with a 15-8 record, having lost their last three series and their closer Jeurys Familia having blown three of his last five save opportunities.

Still, Callaway doesn’t appear flustered.

MATZ: Struggling.. (AP)

                             MATZ: Struggling. (AP)

“It would be frustrating if we weren’t where we’re at in the standings,” Callaway said after Thursday’s 4-3 extra-innings loss in St. Louis. “We’re still in a pretty good spot. What has happened the last week, or week and a half or whatever is not going to continue to happen. It’s just not going to happen.”

Keep a good thought, Mickey.

On a positive note, the best way to stop a fall is with your best pitcher and that’s Jacob deGrom.

On the flip side, the Mets are developing a staggering list of negatives, primarily with their pitching, considered to be their team strength entering the season.

Matt Harvey, 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA, is already out of the rotation, and Steven Matz (1-2, 4.98) and Zack Wheeler (1-1, 4.24) haven’t pitched well enough to stay in.

Closer Familia is floundering and AJ Ramos and Jerry Blevins have done nothing worthy of replacing him.

Should the Mets opt to promote Robert Gsellman and/or Seth Lugo from the bullpen to the rotation, that would consequently weaken the pen.

Offensively, the Mets are down to their third and fourth catchers and combined they are hitting less than .125.

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .203. Yoenis Cespedes hit a 463-foot homer in St. Louis and is on pace to hit 34 homers. Big deal, he’s also on pace to strikeout 277 times. Not even his projected 155 RBI can make up for that many wasted at-bats.