There are no guarantees in the baseball draft, but selecting power arms is generally a good idea, which was the Mets’ thinking when they used their first two picks to take junior pitchers Justin Dunn of Boston College with the 19th overall selection, and left-hander Anthony Kay of Connecticut 12 picks later.
You might wonder why a team struggling offensively and pitching rich would go after more pitching. Quite simply, we’re talking about Dunn and Kay not being ready for up to three more years, and a lot can happen in that span.
From the Mets’ current staff, there are injuries and trades, not to mention free agency. Of course, the way things have been going for him, you could exclude from that mix Bartolo Colon, who gave up one run in seven innings Thursday in Milwaukee.
Also, as the Mets proved with Yoenis Cespedes last year, hitting is generally more easily obtainable.
The 6-2, 184-pound Dunn started the college season in the bullpen, but his 90-mph., plus fastball and power curveball were moved into the rotation in April and went 3-1 with a 1.34 ERA in eight starts.
However, what the Mets should really love is he struck out 49 and walked just 13 in 47 innings.
“I try to pitch in the range of 90-92,” Dunn told The Boston Globe. “That’s where mentally I’d like to think I’m pitching. If it comes out harder than that, it comes out harder than that. Lately, it has been, which is a blessing. I feel pretty confident in all four pitches. That’s what makes it so hard for hitters. A hitter in a 1-and-2 count can’t eliminate one.”
Dunn throws a two- and four-seam fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. Dunn, who is from Long Island, will be pitching this weekend to send the Eagles into the College World Series.
Kay throws in the low 90s and throws a fastball, changeup and curve.
UConn coach Jim Penders says Kay has a Long Island swagger, and you know what he means by that when you watch Matz.
“`It has kind of grown since I left Long Island,” Kay told The Hartford Courant. “It means you don’t care what anybody thinks about you – you just go out and do your job and get it done the best you can.”
Kay was 5-2 with a 2.48 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 83.1 innings.
The Mets drafted Kay in 2013 and made him a six-figure offer, but he opted for college. They got a second chance Thursday.
It is hard to say Matt Harvey turned the corner for the simple reason the Mets’ pitcher himself won’t acknowledge the possibility.
Harvey encored the seven shutout innings he threw in his last start against the White Sox with seven more strong innings in Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Miami Marlins. He sure looked good, but …
“It’s still two starts,” Harvey told reporters. “Obviously, there were massive struggles that happened before. The only thing you want to think of is not letting that creep back in. Today was, I guess you could say, a second step from the last start. But obviously going deep into the game and feeling pretty good, it’s definitely a positive.”
Harvey struck out only three hitters, but that’s a positive because the Marlins put the ball in play to keep his pitch down to 104.
METS GAME WRAP
June 5, 2016, @ Miami
Game: #55 Score: Marlins 1, Mets 0
Record: 31-24 Streak: L 1
Standings: Second, NL East, two games behind Washington. Playoffs: First WC, 1.5 games ahead of Pittsburgh.
Runs: 54 Average: 3.8 Times 3 or less: 27
SUMMARY: Harvey was superb, but Miami starter Jose Fernandez was basically untouchable.
KEY MOMENT: Wilmer Flores struck out to end the seventh with two runners on to end the Mets’ best scoring opportunity.
THUMBS UP: Yoenis Cespedes did not start, but was able to bat as a pinch-hitter. He should be able to play Monday in Pittsburgh. … Michael Conforto continued his breakout signs with another hit. … Another hit by James Loney.
EXTRA INNINGS: Juan Lagares did not play because of a sprained left thumb. He’ll return to New York Monday to be examined by team doctors.
QUOTEBOOK: ““It was one of those game where you have a great pitching match-up head to head, and that’s exactly what you would expect — a 1-0 game,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2: Number of Mets to reach scoring position.
NEXT FOR METS: Steven Matz (7-1, 2.60) vs. former Met Jonathon Niese (5-2, 4.36) at Pittsburgh on Monday.
Bartolo Colon goes for the Mets today as they try to make it a two-game winning streak. Is two games really a winning streak? BTW: Miami is where Colon entertained us with his behind-the-back flip to first base.
Here’s today’s order:
Curtis Granderson – RF: (.203/9/16) Should have a lot more RBI for the number of homers. Hitting paltry .103 (3-29) with RISP. Hitting .217 lifetime against Marlins.
Asdrubal Cabrera – SS: (.275/5/19). Hitting .297 (11-37) with RISP. Lifetime .301 hitter against Marlins. Ranks third in All-Star voting.
Yoenis Cespedes – LF: (.278/15/37). Hitting .250 (10-40 with 21 RBI) with RISP. Ranks third in All-Star voting.
Neil Walker – 2B: (.284/13/25). Hitting .314 (11-35 with 10 RBI) with RISP. Hit 16 homers last year. Ranks third in All-Star voting.
Juan Lagares – CF: (.277/2/6). Hitting .273 lifetime against Marlins. Is batting .310 (13-42) on the road. Back to playing superb defense.
James Loney – 1B: (.231/1/2). Hit 100th career homer Friday night. Career .247 hitter against Miami. Was batting .342 in minors before trade from San Diego.
Colon – RHP: Is 7-4 with 2.92 ERA lifetime vs. Miami. Is 3-1 on the road this year.
COMMENTS: Four of today’s starters weren’t in Opening Day lineup. … I know Michael Conforto is in a terrible hitting slump, but he’ll never learn to hit lefties if he doesn’t face them. … Mets are 12-5 in day games. … The Mets have eight come-from-behind victories this season.
Considering all that went wrong for the Mets in May, ranging from key injuries to slumps to Matt Harvey’s horrendous pitching, they were lucky finish the month at 14-15 and two games behind Washington.
The Mets ended the month by losing four series, but they enter June with the expected news third baseman David Wright will be placed on the disabled list for an extended period with a herniated disk in his neck.
June starts with a ten-game road trip, beginning with consecutive three-game series at Miami and Pittsburgh, places where they have struggled. It ends with four games in Milwaukee.
It has to go to the only batter who hit with any consistency, which would be Yoenis Cespedes, who hit .342 with eight homers and 14 RBI for the month. Making that more impressive is he’s entering the Miami series on a 1-for-22 (.045) slide. It should also be noted Michael Conforto, Lucas Duda and Wright didn’t offer much protection.
PITCHER OF THE MONTH
Despite spitting the bit in his last start, Steven Matz was named the NL Rookie of the Month by going 4-0 with a 1.83 ERA for the month. He leads all rookie pitchers with seven victories, a 2.60 ERA and 53 strikeouts.
KEY GAME OF THE MONTH
There were several notable games and moments, beginning with Colon’s homer in San Diego and Harvey’s hoped-for turnaround victory on Monday. However, there’s really only one game that ratcheted everybody’s emotions, and that was when Syndergaard threw out Mets’ nemesis Chase Utley. Syndergaard was ejected in the in the third inning which disrupted the Mets’ bullpen for a week and Utley responded with two homers, including a grand slam.
KEY MOVE OF THE MONTH
The Mets had several options as what to do with the frustrated and struggling Harvey, but opted to give him one more start. Harvey responded by pitching the Mets to a 1-0 victory over the White Sox.
RED FLAG ENDURED
After losing Travis d’Arnaud to the disabled list, but Mets brought up catcher Rene Rivera, who has been impressive with his defense and throwing.
KEY ISSUE RESOLVED
The Mets traded for James Loney to replace Duda, who went on the disabled list with a back issue.
Wright will be on the disabled list with a herniated disk for an indefinite length of time. … Duda and d’Arnaud are on the DL with no timetable for their return. … Hansel Robles has a sprained ankle.
SIX QUESTIONS RAISED
Will they generate any offense outside of hitting home runs?
How long will they be without Wright, Duda and d’Arnaud and can their replacements pick up the slack?
Will the new guys, Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera, keep hitting?
Was Harvey’s start Monday a fluke or a sign of things to come?
Can the bullpen pull itself out of its funk?
BY THE NUMBERS
1-4: Harvey’s record for May.
3-3: Record in May vs. Nationals.
5: Homers given up by Robles this season.
5: Third baseman used so far.
6: Extra-base hits by Conforto for May.
33: Strikeouts by Curtis Granderson in May.
.208: Mets’ average with RISP.
3.56: Bullpen ERA in May after it was 2.71 in April.
LOOKING AT JUNE’S SCHEDULE
It begins with ten games on the road, including three at Pittsburgh, where they have not played well. Perhaps Walker can catch a Penguins’ game.
They return home for three games each the Pirates and Braves, and two against World Series opponent Kansas City.
They end the month with four games in Atlanta and three more in Washington, before starting a four-game series at home against the Cubs that extends into July.