May 07

Colon One Of A Kind

Bartolo Colon swings hard, so you figured if he ever caught a pitch just right it might go out. Well, it finally happened in the second inning Saturday night when Colon, 17 days shy of his 43rd birthday, connected against James Shields in the 226th at-bat of his career.

This wasn’t a “run for the roses,’’ as much as it was a 31-second jog around the bases, long enough for the Mets to vacate the bench, fans back home to text their friends with a “you’ll never believe what just happened,” message, and researchers to discover he became the oldest player to hit his first career homer.

Colon’s blast – and he did crush it – was one of four the Mets hit on the night. Yoenis Cespedes hit the first in the first inning, and David Wright and Michael Conforto went back-to-back in the ninth as the Mets regained their power stroke to beat the Padres, 6-3, and Colon won the 221st game of his splendid career.

COLON: One of a kind. (GETTY)

COLON: One of a kind. (GETTY)

Incidentally, the Mets also have the oldest player ever to hit a homer in Julio Franco at 47.

This is Colon’s third year with the Mets. He was originally signed to pick up the innings void when Matt Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery. Colon won 15 and 14 games, respectively, in his first two years and worked over 190 innings each time.

Colon won over the hearts of Mets’ fans, not to mention his teammates, with his work ethic and outwardly unashamed signs of enjoying himself on the field. Colon also won everybody’s respect last year when he volunteered to pitch out of the bullpen during the playoffs.

Colon’s behind-the-back flip to first base last year in MIami was a sense of comic relief, but Saturday’s homer came at a time when the struggling Mets’ offense most needed a jolt.

However, the Mets didn’t get Colon to rake. They got him to pitch, and once again he came up with a quality outing, giving up three runs in 6.2 innings with five strikeouts. It marked the fourth time in six starts this year Colon (3-1) has gone at least six innings, and the 50th time in 68 starts with the Mets he’s gone that far.

Those, however, are numbers. He means far more than stats to this franchise. To watch his teammates mob him in the dugout, to hear how they love to tease him and enjoy his company, is a reflection how much they like and admire him. That’s a sign of respect not many players get to enjoy.

Colon has been a joy to watch during his short time here. He’ll go down as one of the most beloved Mets.

 

May 07

Mets Wrap: Offense Stalls Again

METS GAME WRAP

Game: #28    May 6: at San Diego    Score: Padres 2, Mets 0

Record: 17-11 Streak: L 2

Standings: Second, NL East 1.5 GB Nationals Playoffs Today: First WC vs. Pittsburgh

Runs: 123 Average: 4.4 Times 3 or less: 12

ANALYSIS: If you don’t score, you don’t win. It’s a very simple game when you come to think about it. I’ve mentioned several times there would be games when the power dries up and Friday night was one of them.

SUMMARY:  Noah Syndergaard pitched well enough to win most games, but when your offense gets only three hits that will usually lose you most games.

KEY MOMENT:  In the seventh, Asdrubal Cabrera was thrown out at the plate following Wilmer Flores’ double for the first out of the inning and a potential big inning disappeared.

THUMBS UP: Two runs in six innings is a quality start. … Curtis Granderson reached base for his 37th straight road game. … Two hits by Cabrera.

THUMBS DOWN: Syndergaard threw 97 pitches in six innings, which is again too many. … Two more stolen bases off Syndergaard.

EXTRA INNINGS:  The Mets have been shut out three times. … Michael Conforto and Neil Walker did not start, but both appeared as pinch-hitters.

QUOTEBOOK: “There are going to be times where you’re not going to hit the ball over the fence like we do.’’ – Terry Collins on the Mets’ offense.

BY THE NUMBERS:  20-38: Mets’ record at San Diego since 2000.

NEXT FOR METS:  Bartolo Colon starts against James Shields Saturday.

May 06

Mets Wrap: DeGrom Doesn’t Have It And Offense Sputters

METS GAME WRAP

Game: #27 May 5: at San Diego Score: Padres 5, Mets 3 Record: 17-10 Streak: L1

Standings: Second, NL East 1.5 GB Nationals Playoffs Today: First WC vs. Pittsburgh

Runs: 123 Average: 4.5 Times 3 or less: 11

ANALYSIS: Are you getting the feeling the Mets are becoming an “all-or-nothing’’ team? It’s starting look that way for me, because despite all those home runs they have scored three runs or less in 11 out of their 27 games (40 percent). That further underscores the need to manufacture runs in not overrated.

DeGROM: Spot flaw. (GETTY)

DeGROM: Spot flaw. (GETTY)

SUMMARY: Colin Rea’s no-hit bid was broken up in the seventh inning. Jacob deGrom (3-1) took his first loss of the season and later said he pinpointed a mechanical flaw of opening up to much and falling to the first place side in his delivery. This flaw gives the hitter a split second extra to identify the pitch. Perhaps he can help Matt Harvey.

KEY MOMENT: San Diego scored in each of the first three innings to take control of the game.

 THUMBS UP: That deGrom recognized his flaw. … Home runs by Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes, giving the Mets 42 on the year. … A hit by Kevin Plawecki. No, they did not stop the game to give him the ball.

 THUMBS DOWN: Their all-or-nothing offense. … DeGrom’s mechanics. … Logan Verrett gave up two runs in two innings. Could they be using him too much?

 EXTRA INNINGS: This is the Mets’ longest road trip of the season. … Asdrubal Cabrera was hitless, but has at least one hit in his 26 starts. … With his homer, Cespedes has hit four in his last eight games. … Michael Conforto went 0-for-4 and is hitless in four of his last five games, going 1-for-19. Averages drop quickly this time of year, but his has gone from .365 after the April 30 game (the day before going 0-5 against Madison Bumgarner to .301 after today’s game.

 QUOTEBOOK: “[Our pitching] didn’t make the pitches we normally make and gave up a lot of hits,’’ manager Terry Collins on deGrom and Verrett.

BY THE NUMBERS: 9: Strikeouts by Conforto in his last five games.

NEXT FOR METS: Noah Syndergaard goes for the Mets. Opposing base runners are 8-for-8 in steal attempts against Syndergaard in his last two starts.

 

May 04

Mets Wrap: Power Turned Back On; Matz Superb

Manager Terry Collins has frequently said the Mets are a team built on power and don’t manufacture runs. He was wrong then and would be wrong now.

With today’s 8-0 victory over the Braves, the Mets have won 13 of their last 16 games, mostly with power. They have hit 38 homers in their last 18 games, which is a blistering rate. However, long-time followers of the Mets know they won’t always get the four homers the got today.

Their inability to manufacture against Matt Wisler, Tuesday, and Madison Bumgarner, Sunday, hurt them. Not scratching runs is indicative of their 5-4 record in one-run games.

METS GAME WRAP

 Mets 8, Braves 0

Game: #26  Record: 17-9  Streak: W 1

SUMMARY: Two homers by Lucas Duda, and one apiece from Asdrubal Cabrera and Rene Rivera, backed the strong pitching of Steven Matz, who gave up two hits in 7.2 scoreless innings.

KEY MOMENT: Rivera’s two-run homer in the second. Matz coasted from then on.

THUMBS UP: Matz is now 8-1 lifetime in 11 career starts. … Analyst Ron Darling, who said, “Aw, c’mon,’’ in protest when Collins came out to pull Matz with two outs in the eighth after 106 pitches. … Duda is streaking again with seven homers in his last 15 games. … Addison Reed struck out the side in the ninth.

THUMBS DOWN: Michael Conforto has cooled. With today’s 0-for-3, he is 1-for-15 since Sunday. … Not letting Matz at least finish the eighth.

EXTRA INNINGS: The Mets have won six straight series, something they haven’t done since 2006. … David Wright had the day off. … Rivera should get the start tomorrow after his homer. Collins was critical of Kevin Plawecki’s hitting after Tuesday’s game. Collins backed off criticism of Plawecki, saying he’s aware he’s only had 34 at-bats. Collins said Plawecki will play Thursday.

QUOTEBOOK: “Those are great signs for Lucas Duda,” – Collins on if Duda going to the opposite can enable him to go on a hot streak. “I hope he stays hot because he can carry you.”

BY THE NUMBERS: 40: Mets homers in 26 games.

NEXT FOR METS: The Mets begin a three-city, 11-game road trip tomorrow at San Diego (four games), followed by Los Angeles (four) and Colorado (three). Thursday, RHP Jacob deGrom (3-0, 1.02) vs. RHP Colin Rea (2-1, 4.61); Friday, RHP Noah Syndergaard (2-1, 2.51) vs. LHP Drew Pomeranz (2-3, 2.48); Saturday, RHP Bartolo Colon (2-1, 2.56) vs. RHP James Shields (1-4, 3.23); RHP Matt Harvey (2-4, 4.76) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (2-2, 4.85).

May 04

If Issue Is 2015 Innings, Harvey Deserves Responsibility

I couldn’t help but laugh after hearing Terry Collins last night talking about Matt Harvey’s problems.

Collins, who admitted the Mets don’t have a real answer as to Harvey’s mechanical issues, but threw out it could be “one of those years where it’s due to all of the innings last year, we’re going to see the effects of it.’’

HARVEY: Must accept responsibility. (ESPN).

HARVEY: Must accept responsibility. (ESPN).

Apparently, one of the effects is a loss of memory, at least by Collins.

If we can rewind a moment to the end of last spring training, I wrote how the Mets needed to come up with a definitive innings plan for Harvey and offered a couple of suggestions, none of which they adopted.

Instead, GM Sandy Alderson – echoed by Collins – a “fly by the seat of his pants,’’ approach. Their approach was to acquiesce to Harvey’s whims, from where to do his rehab and delaying when to have surgery.

I made a big deal about this at the time how important it was to have a concrete plan, which included limiting his innings in blowout games, skipping occasional starts, and definitely pulling him out of games in which he was hurting or ill.

Do you remember the start against the Yankees when he insisted on going after a complete game shutout when he had a huge lead?

And, don’t tell me you’ve forgotten the strep throat game when he wanted to pitch and Collins gave in when the smart thing would’ve have been to skip him.

Then, fast-forward to late August when agent Scott Boras leaked out the limit was 180 innings. Harvey first said he would follow his agent, then after the backlash against him he said wanted to pitch.

This made everybody connected with the Mets look bad.

Neither Alderson nor Collins had the backbone to stand up to Harvey, which ultimately brings us to the ninth inning of Game 5.

Harvey threw 216 innings last year – 36 more than Boras’ number. I estimated skipping one start a month would have saved Harvey at least that number, and even more if they pulled him early from blowout games.

So now, Collins is telling us Harvey threw too many innings in 2015. Well, whose fault is that? If Collins stood up to Harvey, this wouldn’t be an issue.

Now, we learn Harvey was ill before he pitched Tuesday night. Didn’t Collins learn anything from last year?

Obviously not.