Apr 16

Why I Admire Dillon Gee

There is a likable quality to the Mets’ Dillon Gee, one that wants you pull for him to do well. He doesn’t have the obvious skill set as say, Matt Harvey. He also doesn’t have the obvious, sometimes, in-your-face demeanor of Harvey.

However, Harvey is whom the public fawns over and Gee is taken for granted. Gee is what is good about sports, but on a different level. This is not to disparage Harvey, but Gee is the underdog who made good. Perhaps, overachieved. He’s the guy the Mets went out of their way this winter to attempt to trade, even though they had pitching issues that required an arm of Gee’s success.

How successful?

Gee is coming off a bad start in his season debut, but even so he has gone at least five innings in 47 straight starts, which is the longest active streak in the major leagues. Longer than Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner.

Gee is a consummate professional. He works and trains hard. He puts team ahead of himself. He shows up when it is his turn to pitch and does his job. He pitches with guile and grit. He’s what they call “blue collar.”

He’s what we want to admire in our professional athletes, and why I pull for him to do well. And, you could do a lot worse for athletes you want to emulate or idolize.

And, that’s whether or not he lasts five innings in his next start.

 

 

Apr 15

Mets Put Wright On DL; Bench Still Thin

The names changed but the numbers remained the same for the New York Mets, who placed David Wright on the 15-day disabled list today with a strained right hamstring and recalled Eric Campbell. Wright underwent a MRI this morning, took a cortisone injection and will be idle for the next two days.

WRIGHT: Goes on DL. (AP)

WRIGHT: Goes on DL. (AP)

It was the prudent course, especially since Wright has a history of trying to play through injuries. Wright is as tough as they come, but this time he knew he couldn’t continue after being injured stealing second base in the eighth inning Tuesday night.

“A couple of feet before the bag I just felt my hamstring grab,” Wright said. “I thought it might be something that I could stretch out a little bit. But then I took a couple of secondary leads and just realized that if the ball was put in play I wouldn’t have been able to do anything positive, that’s for sure. It took a couple of pitches, and it didn’t get any better. That’s when I thought I’d rather say something and hopefully catch this thing before I make the same mistake I made a couple of years ago, when I tried to play through it and made it worse.

“Anytime you feel something like that, you hope that it goes away. And this just didn’t go away.”

The Mets got away from playing Anthony Recker at third base. There wasn’t a ball hit to him, but the inept Phillies didn’t try to bunt except for one half-hearted attempt. Dumb baseball on their part, but lucky for Mets.

The Mets had no other choice but disable Wright because their other options were weak. Moving Lucas Duda left first base exposed. Moving Daniel Murphy left a hole at second. Using a pitcher would have been a horrible idea.

OK, the Mets got away with it last night, but foolishly they will keep eight in the bullpen and still be left with a thin bench. They were lucky the game didn’t go long, or Travis d’Arnaud wasn’t injured, or somebody else wasn’t hurt.

They foolishly insist on playing with a thin bench. I don’t think that’s a good idea, but then again, I didn’t invent baseball.

 

Apr 15

No Fooling Around; Put Wright On DL

They wouldn’t be the New York Mets if they didn’t have adversity. First they opened the season without three key relievers. Then they lose Zack Wheeler to injury and Jenrry Mejia to stupidity.

WRIGHT: Facing DL with hamstring pull. (AP)

WRIGHT: Facing DL with hamstring pull. (AP)

Now they face losing David Wright indefinitely with a pulled right hamstring. Wright is undergoing a MRI this morning and Eric Campbell has already been flown in. Wright will go to the disabled list, but with this type of injury, for how long is anybody’s guess.

They’ve played fast and loose with injuries – including to Wright before – but they can’t afford to screw around this time. Wright needs to go on the DL, and even admitted as such.

Several times Wright – by his own admission – foolishly tried to play through an injury. He tried to test it last night, but left the field quickly.

“`I knew it was something bad,” said manager Terry Collins, who added normally would wrap it up and play the next day.

Not this time and Wright knows it.

In a concession to age and experience, not to mention leadership, Wright said: “The last thing I want to do is go out there and do what I did a couple of years ago, where I feel something, you don’t say anything, you try to play through it and you end up missing a significant amount of time rather than something that’s relatively shorter.”

Wright’s injury exposed the Mets’ thin bench as back-up catcher Anthony Recker played first base.

The Mets also considered using Lucas Duda, but that would have left Recker playing first. They could have also used Daniel Murphy. They had other options, but none of them good.

It was a close game and they were lucky nothing happened. They are obviously exposed and it came close to biting them last night.

GM Sandy Alderson might not like it, but he must put together a conventional roster.

 

 

Apr 14

Harvey Needs To Be Smarter For Mets

If you’re the Mets, you want more from Matt Harvey than he gave them last night. Yes, they won and he got the decision, but you need more from your ace.

You want Harvey to be sharper, but you need him to be smarter.

HARVEY: Frustrated despite win. (AP)

HARVEY: Frustrated despite win. (AP)

Harvey looked ordinary after starting with back-to-back strikeouts, but later missed on a couple of pitches in the “sweet spot,’’ zone on homers to lefty hitters Chase Utley and Cody Asche. That happens, but where Harvey was totally off was how he plunked Utley in retaliation for Phillies starter David Buchanan hitting Wilmer Flores and Michael Cuddyer.

Harvey said it was the situation of the game, but he wasn’t believable when he said he “got over amped it got away.”

Everybody knows when a pitcher throws at a hitter he does by throwing behind him. Utley knew it; he never made a move toward Harvey and didn’t even stare him down, unlike what the pitcher did with him.

Of course, I wouldn’t expect him to admit it as that means an automatic fine, if not a suspension.

Harvey was clearly not happy with the home run, or the RBI single, to Utley. His pitch count was slowly rising – another 90-plus pitches in six innings – and he was getting frustrated. You could see it on his face when the cameras caught him in the dugout.

One expected retaliation, but Harvey must be smarter in picking his spots. Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez – as you expect them – weren’t happy with Harvey. The other apologists at SNY, from Nelson Figueroa on down couldn’t bow enough to him.

Harvey definitely seems off after the delay on the challenge, which the Mets waited to do. You either make the call or you don’t, but you don’t make your pitcher wait and get out of rhythm.

Harvey missed on the home run pitches, but by inches. He’s walked only one hitter in his two starts compared to 17 strikeouts, so you know he can locate when he has to. It was clear that ball didn’t get away; Harvey knew where it was going.

In a close game and a runner on third, you don’t hit Utley. It was blatantly obvious. What if the umpire ejected him right there? What if he missed and the runner scored?

This came right after pitching coach Dan Warthen went to the mound, and there was no way he told Harvey to hit Utley. Harvey, as he frequently likes to do, acted on his own.

Earlier today I wrote how Harvey’s presence gives the Mets a chance to win. Tonight, he gave them a chance to lose.

Harvey actions weren’t the lone dark spot on what was a bright night in a bizarre game at Citi Field.

In the long term, David Wright had to leave the game with a pulled hamstring sustained while stealing second in the eighth inning.

“A couple of feet before I got to the bag I felt my hamstring grab,” Wright said. “I thought I could stretch it out but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to make the same mistake I made a couple of years ago.”

Wright will undergo a MRI Wednesday morning and the Mets are expected to bring up Eric Campbell from Triple-A Las Vegas.

 

 

Apr 14

Note To Mets Fans: Wilpons Not Selling And Stop The Roll Call

Without question, Mets fans are among the most passionate and loyal around. I know that from this blog, from talking to many of you at spring training and at the ballpark.

Their passion was on display yesterday in several forms.

The first was the billboards directed at the Wilpons telling them to sell. That passion came at the cost of $6,000, which prompted manager Terry Collins to say: “You want to spend $6,000? Go feed the homeless.’’

Not the answer you wanted, but you got his attention. That the Wilpons would not comment also tells you they were aware.

However, I assure you being aware and responding the way you want are two different things. They know their fan base is discouraged and frustrated, but they will not sell. They are weathering the storm of the Madoff scandal, and if they didn’t sell then, they won’t sell know. It won’t happen.

They have an idea of how they want to run this team, and it doesn’t include wild spending anymore. What Sandy Alderson has done the past few years is how things will go.

Now, for the other display of passion yesterday, who couldn’t notice the roll call chants from center field?

That must stop. The roll call is a Yankees tradition and yesterday was a cheap imitation. How can any self-respecting Mets fan adopt a Yankees fan tradition?

Mets fans are better than that, so please … no more roll call. Do something original. Do something Metsian. Just don’t imitate the Yankees.