May 03

Today’s Question: Will Granderson Return Tonight?

Curtis Granderson did not start Tuesday night, instead, spending a considerable amount of time taking extra batting practice trying to rediscover the stroke that has abandoned him. The Mets’ center fielder is in a 1-for-32 funk and showing no signs of breaking out.

So, in the wake of losing 12 of their last 15 games, the question facing the Mets is: What will they do with Granderson?

Granderson has traditionally been a slow starter in April, but this season he has taken things to a new low with a .124 average, one homer and six RBI. Since April 16, he has gone 3-for-49.

However, manager Terry Collins has kept running Granderson out there because he’s one of four players in club history with 75 homers and 200 RBI, but also with Yoenis Cespedes out with a pulled left hamstring, he doesn’t have many other options.

`There’s nothing really major going on wrong,” Granderson said in one head-scratching comment. “I’m not chasing pitches out of the zone. I’m getting to a decent amount of full counts. I’ve swung at strikes. I’ve done a lot of things that could put me into position to be successful. I just haven’t been successful.”

Maybe that’s his problem, he doesn’t know that he’s playing so badly.

May 02

Mets Wrap: Bruce Crushes Two; Granderson Sits

Jay Bruce, the Mets’ Most Valuable Player for April, continued his hot hitting driving in a career-high six runs on two homers – including a cosmetic ninth-inning grand slam – in tonight’s 9-7 loss at Atlanta.

Bruce, whom the Mets tried to trade over the winter, hit seven homers with 16 RBI in April.

“It doesn’t feel like a bandbox at all,” Bruce said on the Braves’ new stadium, SunTrust Park. “But, it seems like a good place to hit so far.”

You think?

When asked about the Mets’ offense, which has scored three or fewer runs in ten games so far, Bruce said: “We have to step up. I wouldn’t say that we need to try harder or try and do more. We just need to work and prepare and get ready to play.”

GRANDERSON SITS: Curtis Granderson, who is in a 1-for-32 funk, did not start, but appeared as a pinch-hitter. He took extra work and expects to play Wednesday night.

“There’s nothing really major going on wrong,” Granderson said in one head-scratching comment. “I’m not chasing pitches out of the zone. I’m getting to a decent amount of full counts. I’ve swung at strikes. I’ve done a lot of things that could put me into position to be successful. I just haven’t been successful.”

Oh, that explains it.

PEDRO QUESTIONS METS INJURIES: Former Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez, questioned all the pitching injuries of his former team.

“I never thought that the nucleus of young Mets pitchers were going to get hurt so early,” Martinez wrote on Twitter. “I’m not sure what’s up with the Mets and injuries.”

Somebody responded to the tweet, writing, “but [Jeff] Wilpon, the Mets’ COO, wanted to sell tickets for a matchup against the star Marlins left-hander Dontrelle Willis.’’

To which Martinez wrote back, saying Wilpon told him, “ `While I’m the boss here, you’re going to have to do what I say.’ ”

EXTRA INNINGS: Travis d’Arnaud left the game in the sixth inning with a sore right wrist. … Wilmer Flores (infection in knee) began his rehab assignment at Triple-A Las Vegas. … Brandon Nimmo also played in a rehab game at Vegas. … Lucas Duda, whose rehab had a setback over the weekend, started hitting off a tee.

UP NEXT: Jacob deGrom (1-1, 2.84) starts against old friend Bartolo Colon (1-2, 5.59) tomorrow. The series finale is Thursday evening with Zack Wheeler (1-2, 4.78) returning to his home area against lefty Jaime Garcia (1-1, 3.99).

May 02

Another Lost Night For Harvey

Even when it became apparent Matt Harvey was no longer an ace on the Mets’ staff – giving way to Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard – he always held the belief of himself that he was among the elite.

HARVEY: Loses again. (AP)

HARVEY: Loses again. (AP)

Even after season-ending injuries – and surgeries – in 2013 and last year, Harvey and the Mets envisioned a return to prominence.

Things appeared promising for him after he won his first two starts coming back from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. At the time Harvey appeared ahead of schedule because in spring training pitching coach Dan Warthen said it wouldn’t be until mid-May when his stuff returned.

Harvey said he felt good, and the radar gun clocked him consistently in the high 90s, but stuff is more throwing a ball through a wall.

“The ball came out of his hand really good,” manager Terry Collins told reporters. “When he was going good, he had great stuff and great command. Today he had great stuff, but his command wasn’t there.”

Stuff is more than just velocity; it is getting movement on his pitches. It is throwing a fastball three inches inside, but see it tail back over the corner for a strike. It is also locating all his pitches, including his secondary pitches anytime in the count.

None of that was there tonight.

Harvey gave up four runs in his two wins but has given up 17 in his following four starts, including 12 in these last two against the Braves.

“His command was off,” Collins told reporters. “His secondary pitchers weren’t there.”

Last time out, Harvey had the built-in reason – excuse if you will – of getting just a few hours notice to make an emergency start replacing Syndergaard. On full rest tonight, Harvey went a little longer, but wasn’t much better, giving up six runs in the 9-7 loss.

Harvey labored throughout, taking 100 pitches to work 5.1 innings, and said he was trying to compete.

“Today was the best I have felt in a long time,” Harvey said. “It was coming out of my hand better than it has in a couple of years.”

Just competing, however, won’t get it done for the Mets, who are trying to make up serious ground early in the season, and trying to do so without Syndergaard and Steven Matz.

To do so, they’ll need Harvey to put on his “big boy’’ pants and pitch to the level he still believes he can.

ON DECK LATER TONIGHT:  Mets Wrap: Bruce’s Hot Start Continues

May 02

Today’s Question: What Will We Get From Harvey?

The Mets asked Matt Harvey to move up a day to replace Noah Syndergaard, April 27. Unbelievably, Harvey said he wasn’t ready and gave up six runs in 4.1 innings.

Totally unacceptable.

HARVEY: What will we get? (AP)

HARVEY: What will we get? (AP)

That isn’t the case tonight and Harvey (2-1, 4.25) will start on regular rest against a team that has handled him. Harvey is 3-5 with a 4.22 ERA lifetime against Atlanta, and leads us to the question: What Harvey will we get tonight?

For a variety of reasons, most of them injury related, May hasn’t been a kind month to Harvey. He is 4-7 with a 3.61 ERA in 17 career starts in May. We get a lot of statistics these days, but not much of an explanation.

Maybe he’s not sharp yet; maybe he’s not in terrific shape; and we know last year it was injury related. However, Harvey says he’s fine physically, and with Syndergaard and Steven Matz on the disabled list, the Mets will need him to pitch to his reputation.

 

May 01

Mets Needed This One

As much as players and managers want to give each game equal weight, it doesn’t always work that way and it didn’t for the Mets tonight in Atlanta. It really was a “must win’’ game for the Mets.

CONFORTO: Homer and three RBI. (AP)

CONFORTO: Homer and three RBI. (AP)

After losing 23-5 and their best pitcher Noah Syndergaard indefinitely Sunday, it would have been easy to see them go into a tailspin. After all, we’ve seen them do it before. We’ve seen them get hit and flop around like LeBron James.

Tonight, the Mets got five pick-me-up innings from Robert Gsellman and got to Mets Killer Julio Teheran with a five-run fourth that didn’t include homers from Michael Conforto and Jose Reyes, in a 7-5 victory over the Atlanta Braves in their new ballpark. Mets finally got to Julio Teheran and gave Robert Gsellman cushion enough to beat the Braves, 7-5.

“It was huge,” said Conforto, who homered to lead off the game and added a two-run single. “It was definitely disappointing yesterday, but it says a lot about this group that we could come back out with this performance.

Manager Terry Collins was understandably testy after Sunday, but said he told his team, “to give it 24 hours and move on.”

Easier said than done because they will be without their best pitcher in Syndergaard and best power hitter in Yoenis Cespedes for an indefinite period, but this was a start, and for Collins, it was the best kind of response.