May 09

Mets Bat Out Of Order; Lose Again

If what happened to the Mets today in Cincinnati isn’t hitting rock bottom, well, it should be. It doesn’t get much worse than a major league team batting order, which is what occurred in the first inning of today’s 2-1 loss in ten innings to the Reds.

The lineup card coach given the umpires prior to the game by coach Ruben Amaro Jr., has Asdrubal Cabrera second and Wilmer Flores third, which was different than the one publicly. That one had Flores second and Cabrera third, which is how they appeared at the plate when Cabrera blooped a two-out double to left with Jay Bruce coming up.

After the double, Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman, informed the umpires of the discrepancy and Bruce was called out.

This should be double-checked by the bench coach, Gary Disarcina, but Callaway wouldn’t throw his coach under the bus.

“I’m responsible for that,’’ Callaway said. “It probably cost us the game.’’

Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t, but stuff like this shouldn’t happen.

However, to Callaway’s credit, he got in front of it and accepted full responsibility. Rather than make excuses or blame somebody else, Callaway held himself accountable.

I’m sure nobody is happy with what’s going on with the Mets these days, but how Callaway took the blame is something that shouldn’t get lost on his team.

Wheeler Clicks With Mesoraco: Zack Wheeler and newly-acquired catcher Devin Mesoraco are off to a good start in their working relationship. With Mesoraco, who was acquired Monday for Matt Harvey, behind the plate today, Wheeler was sharp in a loss to Cincinnati.

Wheeler retired 12 straight Reds from the second through fifth innings but unraveled in the sixth. Even so, after giving up an RBI single to Joey Votto, Wheeler got out of a bases-loaded jam with only that one run given up.

Wheeler gave up one run on four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in six innings in his best outing since giving up one run in seven innings, April 11, at Miami.

“I felt good,’’ Wheeler said. “I was able to hit my spots today. I did feel like I was moving a little bit quicker. I felt comfortable with him behind the plate. We were both on the same page.’’

Callaway Not Giving Up On Hitters: The Mets had a chance to win today not because of their offense, but because of Wheeler, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo pitching picked them up today.

“Our hitters will come around,” Callaway said. “We did and dig and dig, but sometimes you don’t have an answer. We’ll figure it out.”

With the exception of Cabrera’s .319 average, no Mets starter was hitting higher than Brandon Nimmo’s .255 today. Even so, Callaway is trying to be positive.

“If I were to get angry and yell at people it wouldn’t be productive,’’ Callaway said. “I think the guys have been going about things the right way and we haven’t been winning.’’

Extra Innings: Yoenis Cespedes didn’t start, but grounded out batting for Seth Lugo in the tenth. … The Mets are off tomorrow, then start a three-game series in Philadelphia. The Mets are 40-17 in their last 57 games in Philly, and have outscored the Phillies 307-186 in that span.

May 08

Mets Get Catcher For Harvey

The Mets did better than anybody expected today when they acquired catcher Devin Mesoraco and cash for Matt Harvey, who had been designated for assignment Saturday.

Catching has been a Mets’ weakness since injuries to Kevin Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud landed each on the disabled list. Mesoraco was activated for tonight’s game in Cincinnati.

The Reds will pay the remainder of Mesoraco’s $13.125 million salary and the Mets will pay the balance of Harvey’s $5.625 million contract.

Harvey will join the Reds this week in Los Angeles.

Immediate speculation, which makes a lot of sense considering Harvey will be a free agent this winter, is for the Reds to hope they can turn him around and try to trade him at the July 31 deadline. The Reds are in last place in the NL Central and it’s clear they won’t sign Harvey this offseason.

Mesoraco, 29, an All-Star in 2014, was hitting .220 with one homer and three RBI for the Reds this season. Injuries limited him to 113 games since the start of the 2015 season.

The Mets had no alternative but to DFA Harvey after he refused a minor league assignment to figure out his mechanics. In eight games, he was 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA this season. Harvey was 34-37 lifetime for the Mets.

The only thing wrong with trading Harvey is that the Mets didn’t do it sooner, like after the 2015 season when he had some real value.

DeGrom Aces Bullpen: Jacob deGrom had a good up-and-down bullpen session today and is on schedule to start Sunday in Philadelphia. DeGrom hyperextended his right elbow swinging the bat last Wednesday against Atlanta.

“I feel like I am good to go,’’ deGrom said.

DeGrom is not expected to bat against the Phillies.

Frazier Goes On DL: Third baseman Todd Frazier was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Frazier is batting .237 with five homers and 21 RBI. In addition, reliever Anthony Swarzak was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

May 06

Mets Do Right Thing And Will Skip DeGrom

The Mets did two things right during their lost homestand. The first was long overdue when they designated Matt Harvey for assignment Friday. There hasn’t been a hint of remorse or regret from the Mets, or words of being missed by his former teammates.

The second came prior to the Rockies completing their sweep of the Mets today with the announcement – perhaps overdue, but certainly expected – Jacob deGrom will miss tomorrow’s start in Cincinnati.

This came the day after the Mets said he would stay in the rotation.

“The more and more we thought about it, we have to make sure that he’s totally fine,” manager Mickey Callaway told reporters. “He feels no pain and he wanted to pitch tomorrow.”

Coming up from Triple-A Las Vegas to take deGrom’s spot in the rotation against Cincinnati will be P.J. Conlon, who is killing it with a 1-2 record and 6.75 ERA in five starts this season. Last season, at Double-A Binghamton, he was 8-9 with a 3.38 ERA.

DeGrom is 3-0 with a 1.87 ERA in seven starts for the Mets.

“I said I felt like I could go, but I think the bigger picture is what we’re looking at,” deGrom said. “If you go out there and something happens, you end up missing five starts, vs. skipping one and making sure everything is fine. After talking to them, I understand the decision. Erring on the side of caution is what we’re doing.”

DeGrom will throw a 50-pitch bullpen session Tuesday, but will have intermittent rest to simulate real game conditions. Barring a setback, he will throw a bullpen session Friday before his next start.

DeGrom was injured swinging a bat last Wednesday against Atlanta.

 

May 05

No Empathy For Harvey

Mickey Callaway was generous when he said, “we failed Matt Harvey.’’ In actuality, Harvey failed himself, with help from the Mets. Sometimes, when a pitcher loses his fastball, or a slugger’s bat slows down, the end can be delayed by his track record, or his popularity in the clubhouse, or the goodwill garnered within the organization.

It’s why the Mets were patient with Johan Santana and David Wright. Harvey accrued none of that goodwill. None.

Because of their histories, you root for some players. You have empathy and compassion for them.

Maybe only Harvey’s family and agent have empathy for him. I can’t imagine anybody pleased Harvey’s career was derailed by injuries, including two season-ending surgeries.

However, it is the way Harvey carried himself and alienated his teammates, how he made himself bigger than the team, how he made everything about him, that has him alone and without any emotional support in his darkest professional hour.

Perhaps that, more than his injuries, is what makes this a modern-day Greek Tragedy. It’s difficult to show compassion for somebody who showed little for anybody else.

Harvey’s selfishness was never more transparent than it was when he bullied former manager Terry Collins into giving him the ninth inning in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series. I don’t know how any of Harvey’s teammates that night can condone Harvey’s actions that night.

What happened the night he traveled two hours from San Diego to Los Angeles for a restaurant opening the night before a game, was not advisable although not technically wrong. However, Harvey’s penchant for enjoying the nightlife has already run him afoul with the Mets’ front office and teammates.

Why – other than selfishness – would Harvey chase fates? That GM Sandy Alderson sounded resigned Harvey would do such a thing spoke volumes. Alderson didn’t have to say he was fed up with Harvey. It was implied.

Harvey wasn’t worth the energy to get angry about any longer.

In previous years the Mets bent over backward to placate Harvey, and a case could be made they enabled his boorish behavior by not standing up to him.

It took a while, but it is about time.

May 04

Mets Banish Harvey From Gotham

In the end, Matt Harvey’s Mets’ career ended in the way in which he lived it, with stubbornness and selfishness. The Mets’ long, tumultuous nightmare with Harvey ended today when the hard-partying, formerly hard-throwing right-hander was told he would be designated for assignment because he refused to help himself by taking a Minor League assignment.

The Mets didn’t want Harvey to go to Las Vegas as punishment for partying last weekend in Los Angeles on the team’s first night in San Diego, but in the hope he could rediscover his mechanics that one time produced 98 mph., fastballs and had him destined for superstardom.

HARVEY: In the beginning. (MLB)

HARVEY: In the beginning. (MLB)

The Mets will designate Harvey for assignment prior to tomorrow’s game, which will give them a week to either trade him, which won’t happen, release him or place him on irrevocable waivers.

With teams knowing they can just sign Harvey after he’s released rather than give up talent, it will be a miracle if there’s a trade. The Mets are destined to eat the remainder of his $5.6 million contract.

“This was a long time coming,” GM Sandy Alderson said. “This is something we’ve tried to address, we’ve struggled with, we’ve wrestled with over two managerial regimes. The move to the bullpen was dramatic in itself. So I think that at this point, pragmatism, realism far outweighed other considerations.”

Harvey, who twice refused to speak to reporters when the Mets were on the West Coast, left Citi Field without a word and a 34-37 record with a 3.66 ERA over six seasons.

Manager Mickey Callaway, whose reputation of helping pitchers rediscover themselves was in part why he was hired, accepted responsibility, ironically which was something Harvey rarely did.

“We feel like we failed Matt Harvey,” said Callaway. “Our job is to help every player in there. It’s not a good feeling when you can’t.”

Harvey’s career began as the seventh overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. Two years later, he debuted in 2012. The following season Harvey blossomed into part star/part comic book character after he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated calling him “The Dark Knight of Gotham’’ after the Batman movie.

Nobody knew it at the time, but the moniker would hurt Harvey as he seemed more interested in being a New York hero instead of a New York star. Ironically, Harvey’s downfall started before his career highlight, which was starting the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field.

Harvey initially withheld tightness in his right forearm after a start prior to the All-Star Game. The Mets didn’t do Harvey any favors when rather than pull him from the game they let him start.

It didn’t take long before it all started to unravel for Harvey, who was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Rather than immediately opt for Tommy John surgery, which several doctors recommended, Harvey chose to rehab the elbow, which was his right, but a bad decision as it set him back several months.

After spring training in 2014, Harvey fought with the Mets as to where he would rehab. The Mets wanted him to train in Port St. Lucie, but Harvey insisted on staying in New York where he could date models, go to the Rangers games, and party.

Harvey was quoted in a magazine article about how much he wanted to squire women like Derek Jeter and boasted of his drinking like a college sophomore.

Harvey returned in 2015, but not without controversy. The Mets began the season saying they would monitor Harvey’s innings, but there didn’t seem to be a concrete plan and former manager Terry Collins handled it poorly by letting him start with a strep throat and work into the late innings when the Mets were routing the Yankees.

Rather the closely monitor Harvey’s innings, they became an issue when his agent, Scott Boras, raised the possibility he might not pitch in the postseason. This painted Harvey in a bad light until the agent backed down.

Harvey did pitch in the postseason, but skipped a workout prior to the NL Division Series because he was hung over from a night of drinking. Harvey’s signature moment came when he pitched a hissy fit in the dugout and talked Collins into let him go out for the ninth inning of Game 5.

The next year Harvey developed thoracic outlet syndrome. He also missed time in 2017 with shoulder weakness, but also drew a three-game suspension for blowing off a game because he was sleeping off another party fest.

Harvey continued to struggle this season, then cursed at reporters who questioned him about going to the bullpen. Then was his night of partying in Los Angeles, the plans were made while the team was playing a game in St. Louis.

“I like Matt, in spite of all the stuff that’s gone on, certainly because of a lot of the stuff that’s gone on,” Alderson said. “He’s a human being. He’s a vulnerable human being, and kind of leaves himself open for those of us who know him and whom he semi-trusts. I’m going to miss him in a lot of ways.”

And, probably won’t miss him in a lot of other ways.