May 17

Alderson Must Take Responsibility Of Mets’ Pitching Collapse

Going against Zack Greinke, it was expected the Mets’ losing streak would reach six, and this morning the fingers would start being pointed.

ALDERSON: Faces a lot of questions. (AP)

ALDERSON: Faces a lot of questions. (AP)

What didn’t happen in the Mets’ 5-4 loss to Arizona was another bullpen meltdown. If you want to call it a moral victory, go for it. I looked for moral victories in the standings and the only thing I could were the regular ones, which have them six games under .500 and nine games behind Washington.

But, wasn’t this team supposed to be a World Series contender if not win the whole thing? They sure were, because many; including GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets possessed the game’s best pitching.

I never bought into that because it simply wasn’t true. How could it be if the vaunted five of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler had never started a complete cycle in the rotation?

How could it be if there isn’t a 20-game winner among the group?

How could it be if they only have two with at least 30 victories (deGrom 32-23) and Harvey (31-31), with Syndergaard (24-18), Wheeler (20-18) and Matz (13-8) to follow? That’s not greatness, that’s potential.

How could it be, if four entered the season coming off significant surgery, and a fifth – Syndergaard – currently on the 60-day DL?

Wishful thinking is nice to have, but building on it is like a house of cards, capable of collapsing at the slightest nudge or breeze.

The Mets tried to build a group of back-ups, but Seth Lugo is on the DL, Robert Gsellman needs be optioned or sent to the bullpen to work on his mechanic, and Rafael Montero can’t find the plate.

New acquisition Tommy Milone was passable tonight, but you don’t win on passable. The best thing Milone did was work into the sixth, which was followed by Paul Sewald (1.1 innings), Fernando Salas (0.2 innings) and Jerry Blevins (0.1) not allowing a run.

The pen worked just 2.1 innings, but most nights it goes three or four, if not longer.

When fingers are pointed, they are initially directed at manager Terry Collins, but that’s too easy. It’s also too easy to blame pitching coach Dan Warthen. In finding out who is responsible for the Mets’ pitching problems, we must look at the nature of the injuries, and who acquiesced in the handling of Harvey and Syndergaard.

That would be general manager Sandy Alderson.

 

May 16

Today’s Question: Will Mets DL Cabrera And Bring Up Rosario?

Sometime today the Mets will make the inevitable decision to DL Asdrubal Cabrera – something they should have done a week ago – and decide if they should replace him with Amed Rosario, That’s today’s question.

The obvious obstacle is whether the Mets are willing to start the clock on Rosario’s Super Two status? Indications are they aren’t willing to take the chance. Instead, they will continue to hope Jose Reyes can rediscover 2006.

When will the Mets learn “hoping” is not a strategy?

 

 

 

 

 

May 16

Robles’ Role In Jeopardy; Free Fall Continues

Dear Mets readers: I haven’t been around for nearly a week after undergoing back surgery. I came home and today learned my server went down. Please accept my apologies. Hopefully, nothing else will happen. I wish I could include the Mets’ bullpen in that. Best to you, John

The Mets dodged a bullet when Paul Goldschmidt’s fly against Hansel Robles off the center field wall was a replay ruled a double instead of a home run. No worries for the Diamondbacks, who would hit three more homers in the fateful eighth, two off Robles.

Considering Robles has given up nine runs in his last two appearances – not including Sunday’s meltdown – it is probably safe to assume the Mets should be thinking his role should be reduced to mop-up situations like it frequently has been when he’s done.

Pitching was supposed to be the Mets’ strong suit, but the bullpen bridge to the closer was always a rickety one over a rocky cavern with a fast-moving river like in the movie Deliverance.

With Jeurys Familia out indefinitely following surgery to remove a blood clot creating a blockage in his right shoulder. Surgery in St. Louis to remove the clot was successful and he won’t start throwing for up to six weeks and it could be three months before he gets in a game. Just where will the Mets be then?

Addison Reed hasn’t pitched well, and whom in the pen do you trust? Certainly not Robles, whom Collins said his role is in serious jeopardy.

“We use him often because he has such a great arm, but he’s not making pitches, Collins said after the Mets’ fifth straight loss to drop them to eight games behind Washington. “We have to take a good hard look at where he fits, but we don’t have a lot of options.

It is what it is, but you have to manage it anyways.”

One positive tonight was Zack Wheeler, who pitched into the seventh after giving up one run. It was the second consecutive game when a starter entered the seventh only to watch the bullpen cough up the game like a cat with a hairball. Jacob deGrom did so Sunday. DeGrom was supposed to pick up the rotation after Noah Syndergaard went down and will be lost for up to three months.

DeGrom is 2-1 which is good two weeks into the season, but he didn’t win his first game until April 28. DeGrom is on top of the leader boards in strikeouts, but what is really alarming are the seven homers he’s allowed (he gave up 16 all of last year).

Matt Harvey‘s comeback is failing; Robert Gsellman would be optioned if Steven Matz was ready to be activated, but he’s several weeks away; recently-acquired Tommy Milone will get the ball tonight?

What’s next for the Mets?

“Somebody has pissed off the baseball Gods, because every move we make turns out to be the wrong one,” Collins said.

In ancient times, sacrifices were made to the Gods to curry favor.

Who will be the first? Robles? Gsellman? Curtis Granderson? Asdrubal Cabrera?

Will the Mets finally forego their obsession with the Super Two status regarding Amed Rosario? Will they stop thinking Yoenis Cespedes‘ return – which is at least three weeks away – will be the panacea for all that ails the Mets?

The most imminent decision is whether to DL Cabrera and already there are reports Rosario won’t be brought up. Looks like another bad decision in the making.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 09

Humble Harvey Apologizes; Now We Wait

A humbled Matt Harvey said and promised to do all the right things. However, actions always speak louder than words, and it will take more than just a quality start Friday in Milwaukee for his apology to be accepted.

“First off, as I just did with my teammates and all the coaches, I apologized for my actions and I do apologize for my actions,” was how Harvey opened his press conference and Citi Field today.

HARVEY: Apology accepted. (AP)

HARVEY: Apology accepted. (AP)

“Obviously, I’m extremely embarrassed by my actions.”

Harvey was emotional, soft-spoken and contrite. There wasn’t a hint of arrogance. He was a man asking for another chance. He admitted he was wrong. As far as getting another chance, Harvey said it was something that needed to be earned.

Harvey was a no-show for Saturday’s game, and the Mets didn’t know of his condition until team security personnel came to his Manhattan apartment at 10 p.m.

They found him well, and when he reported to Citi Field for his Sunday start against Miami, he was suspended for three days. That gave him plenty of time to think about what he would say and the tone of his message.

The apology was “heartfelt,” said Curtis Granderson, one of many Mets who insisted they still trusted Harvey and had his back.

He would need his teammates’ trust and respect to move forward, as manager Terry Collins said, “he can’t do it alone.”

Collins is old school in many ways and has heard more than his fair share of apologies. He knows sincerity when he hears it.

“He gave it some great thought and certainly did it the right way,” Collins said. “I say, `Don’t tell me, show me.’ I think everybody deserves a second chance. Those guys in that room respect him.”

Part of earning respect is owning up to his actions.

“Yes, I was out on Friday night, past curfew,” Harvey said. “I did play golf Saturday morning and I put myself in a bad place to be ready to show up for a ballgame. It is my responsibility and I take full blame for that.”

When Noah Syndergaard was injured, Harvey was moved up to take his spot, then complained he wasn’t given enough time. He said he lifted weights the day before, something he shouldn’t have done.

Harvey was making excuses for a bad outing. Today, he accepted clubbing isn’t proper game preparation: “People make mistakes, and there are things I have realized the last couple days. … [What] I should be doing is putting myself in a better place to perform physically.”

Harvey could have gone Wednesday afternoon, but Collins opted for Friday, which would spare him getting a negative reception at Citi Field.

“I’m looking forward to getting everything back on track and helping this organization moving forward,” Harvey said. “They have my word on that.”

If there is a clubhouse leader with David Wright out indefinitely it is Granderson, who when asked if he bought Harvey’s apology, said: “There’s no reason why I wouldn’t.It was genuine. It was heartfelt. He definitely thought it out and knew what he wanted to say. I think guys have spoken to him even before he said something today, and guys will continue to talk to him after today.”

One of those guys was Bartolo Colon, who reached out in a text telling him he needed to make baseball a priority.

Today was the first step.

One issue Harvey would not address was a report he planned to file a grievance with the Players Association.

There was no way he was going to admit to that today.

“That’s the last thing in the last three days I’ve thought about,” Harvey said. “I’ve been thinking about the team more than anything. … I’ve apologized for what I’ve done. My job is to move forward and do everything I can to help this team and organization get back on track.”

One would think a legal battle isn’t the right was.

May 09

Today’s Question: Any Leftover Feelings By Wheeler For Giants?

At one time, Zack Wheeler was the hot property of the San Francisco Giants, destined to join a rotation of Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. But, to return to the World Series in 2011, the Giants needed a big bat.

That turned out to be Carlos Beltran, and prior to Noah Syndergaard, that was GM Sandy Alderson’s biggest deal.

Wheeler is 1-1 in three starts lifetime against his former team, but some players have long memories when it comes to being traded, so, other getting the Mets going again, what’s in his motivational tank?

In his last start, May 4 at Atlanta, he allowed one run in three innings before the game was eventually washed away. If you’re thinking Citi Field is a motivator, it could be in the opposite fashion. Wheeler is 6-12 lifetime, including 0-2 with a 5.63 ERA this year.