Apr 12

Mets Wrap: Syndergaard Start Wasted

GAME WRAP

GAME #7:  Record: 2-5.  Streak: L 4

SUMMARY: The Mets wasted Noah Syndergaard‘s 12-strikeout start and the offense struck out 13 times in a 2-1 loss to the Miami Marlins. Of the Mets’ five losses, three have been by one-run.

SYNDERGAARD: Mets waste his effort. (AP)

SYNDERGAARD: Mets waste his effort. (AP)

KEY MOMENT: Lucas Duda was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single in the first and the Mets left the bases loaded in the second. Teams can’t afford to blow a chance to knock Jose Fernandez from the game. … Dee Gordon outlasted Jim Henderson in a 16-pitch at-bat to lead off the eighth. He stole second and scored on a sacrifice fly.

THUMBS UP: Syndergaard gave up one run on seven hits and one walk with 12 strikeouts in seven innings. He has 21 strikeouts in his first two starts. … Duda threw a runner out at the plate. Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re going to say.

THUMBS DOWN:  Henderson finally gave up a run. Too bad it was the difference in the game. … Travis d’Arnaud is hitting .105 and Curtis Granderson is batting .074. … The Mets have only two homers in seven games.

EXTRA INNINGS: Despite tomorrow being a day game, manager Terry Collins said David Wright will play. … Rafael Montero will be activated for tomorrow’s game. To make room on the roster, Eric Campbell will be optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. … Gordon’s 16-pitch at-bat included fouling off 11 straight pitches. It was the longest at-bat in the majors in two years. … Ichiro Suzuki collected the 2,936th hit of his career and moved into 33rd place on the all-time list, passing Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds in the process.

QUOTEBOOK: “I’m concerned about them. One thing we’d like to do is get into some type of rhythm. We’re not able to get a hit with men on base when we need it.” – Mets manager Terry Collins on his team’s dismal offense.

BY THE NUMBERS:  52: Strikeouts by Mets’ hitters through the first seven games.

NEXT FOR METS:  Logan Verrett will start Wednesday afternoon against left-hander Adam Conley.

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Apr 12

April 12, Mets’ Lineup Against Miami

The Mets’ Noah Syndergaard enjoys the big stage. He’s not as open about it as Matt Harvey, but there’s no denying Syndergaard isn’t shy about the spotlight. Tonight he goes against Miami ace Jose Fernandez in an attempt to snap the Mets’ three-game losing streak.

METS

Curtis Granderson – RF

David Wright – 3B

Yoenis Cespedes – CF

Lucas Duda – 1B

Neil Walker – 2B

Michael Conforto – LF

Asdrubal Cabrera – SS

Travis d’Arnaud – C

Syndergaard – RHP

COMMENTS: It’s too early to be juggling the batting order. Manager Terry Collins should give it another week before big changes are made.

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Apr 12

Mets Not In “Panic City”

This column is in response to Adam Rubin’s question at the bottom of today’s Morning Briefing, I will say no. Rubin asked his readers if they were yet a resident of “Panic City,’’ what GM Sandy Alderson called some Mets fan when the team floundered last season before regrouping to reach the World Series.

SYNDERGAARD: Big start tonight. (Getty)

SYNDERGAARD: Big start tonight. (Getty)

My readers know me for calling it straight. Many of them believe I might be too critical of the team. The over/under for Mets’ victories I posted Opening Day was 92, believing they could improve on last season by having Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud and Yoenis Cespedes full time.

That’s still very possible.

It’s very easy to spot the problems six games into the season: the offense has not produced and their vaunted starting pitching hasn’t lived up to expectations. The bullpen was overworked in Matz’s start, but giving up three runs in 7.1 innings isn’t that bad.

The three best starts were made by Syndergaard in Kansas City, Jacob deGrom in the home opener and Bartolo Colon Saturday night. Matt Harvey has been roughed up twice and Matz was torched Monday night.

I want to go back to a column I posted earlier suggesting the rotation didn’t get enough work during spring training. Normally starters work about 30 innings during spring training, but no Met pitcher worked more than 15. This was done with the objective of protecting those young arms, and the immediate by-product has been location.

The only real concern here is with deGrom’s tight right lat muscle. Perhaps he wasn’t in his best condition before of the shortage of work. His velocity has been off. Is that injury or lack of work? We don’t know yet.

I posted last night I wasn’t concerned with Matz, but let’s go back early in spring training when he was worried about results and manager Terry Collins questioned whether he was in his best condition.

The lack of work will eventually resolve itself as the season continues. After all, they can’t go back to spring training.

Hopefully, Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen will learn from this and tweak their offseason and spring training workout programs. There’s nothing they can do now.

Offensively, we’re seeing signs of life from Cespedes and Wright.

Curtis Granderson hasn’t produced, but the same thing happened last year. His track record is he’ll get better. The Mets have only two homers in six games, but that will change. There have been too many strikeouts and missed scoring opportunities.

You can blame the weather, but it was just as cold for the Royals, Phillies and Marlins. It won’t get any easier tonight against Jose Fernandez or over the weekend in Cleveland.

We also should remember something Wright said at the start, and that’s the Mets will have a bullseye on their backs all year. Philadelphia and the Marlins, not surprisingly want a piece of the Mets. They were the National League champs, every team should want to knock them down a peg.

Tonight’s Mets’ lineup has only two hitters – Granderson and Lucas Duda – who were with the team all of 2015.

The others were either injured and missed significant time – Wright and d’Arnaud – or are in their first full seasons with the team. That would be Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera.

You can’t tell much about a team or a player after six games. Let’s see how things are at the end of the month. We all knew getting back to the Series wouldn’t be a breeze.

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Apr 11

Mets Wrap: Let’s Not Worry About Matz

If you’re of the belief Steven Matz will be a good pitcher, one worthy of winning the NL Rookie of the Year, then there’s nothing to worry about. After all, disastrous starts will happen, and that was the case Monday night.

MATZ: Rocked by Marlins. (AP)

MATZ: Rocked by Marlins. (AP)

Matz was rocked for seven runs in 1.2 innings as the Mets were routed 10-3 by Miami. And, what would a loss to the Marlins be without a Giancarlo Stanton bomb?

Matz did a lot of things wrong. He walked two to start the second inning; he got the ball up; he gave up four hits after getting two strikes.

What Matz didn’t do was make excuses and quickly dismissed a postgame question about being rusty from going 10 days between starts.

“I don’t think so,’’ Matz told reporters. “The second inning got away from me really quickly. … It wasn’t very good.’’

But every pitcher gets ripped from time to time, no matter how good they are.

Matz said he would look at video to check his mechanics. He’ll also work in the bullpen with pitching coach Dan Warthen.Matz said he’s usually very hard on himself, but he will be better served if he tries to grasp something catcher Travis d’Arnaud said: “It happens to everyone.’’

Matz said he’s usually very hard on himself, but he will be better served if he tries to grasp something catcher Travis d’Arnaud said: “It happens to everyone.’’

If anything, the Mets should be more concerned about their bullpen – which worked 7.2 innings – than Matz.But, let’s not worry about Matz. It’s way too early to panic.

But, let’s not worry about Matz. It’s way too early to panic.

GAME WRAP

Here are the nuts-and-bolts about the Mets’ third straight loss:

GAME #6:  Marlins 10, at Mets 3.  Record: 2-4. Streak: L 3

SUMMARY: Matz gave up seven runs in the second inning. The listless Mets’ offense had seven hits.

KEY MOMENT: Stanton’s two-run homer in the second chased Matz.

THUMBS UP: You want to hold me to this? OK. Yoenis Cespedes had two more hits for continued breakout signs. … David Wright also had two hits. … Addison Reed struck out four in 1.2 innings in relief. … Jacob deGrom’s wife finally went into labor.

THUMBS DOWN: Pretty much everything else. Didn’t I write that, yesterday? … Another 0-for-4 from Curtis Granderson. … The Mets were 1-for-7 RISP and stranded eight runners. … Eight more strikeouts.

QUOTEBOOK: We know he’s better than that.’’ – Manager Terry Collins on Matz.

BY THE NUMBERS: 29: Strikeouts by Mets’ hitters in the last three games.

NEXT FOR METS: Noah Syndergaard goes against Jose Hernandez in a matchup of fireballers.

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Apr 11

Today In Mets’ History: Grote Homer Beats Reds

Not known for his power, on this day in 1971 Mets catcher Jerry Grote’s homer in the bottom of the 11th was the difference in a 1-0 victory over Cincinnati at Shea Stadium.

Batting eighth, Grote homered off Wayne Granger to lead off the inning. Grote homered twice that season and 39 times during his 16-year career, which included 12 seasons with the Mets where he carved a reputation as a defensive specialist with a strong throwing arm.

GROTE: Mets' best defensive catcher. (AP)

GROTE: Mets’ best defensive catcher. (AP)

Grote was a National League All-Star in 1968 and 1974. In those days, the NL was strong behind the plate with the likes of Johnny Bench, Tim McCarver and Randy Hundley.

How good was Grote defensively? Bench once said: “If Grote and I were on the same team, I’d be playing third base.”

Tom Seaver started that day and pitched nine scoreless innings. He was relieved by Tub McGraw, who worked two innings for the victory.

Grote also played with Houston (1963-64), the Dodgers (1977-78, and 81), and Kansas City (1981).

Grote was inducted into the Mets’ Hall of Fame in 1992.

He is 73 and lives in San Antonio, Tx.

ON DECK: April 11, Mets’ Lineup Against Miami

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