Jul 26

Mets’ Mojo Has Changed

Did the Mets turn around their karma in the last two games of the Dodgers’ series? Considering what was projected from them coming out of the break, it’s entirely possible because their chemistry has been significantly altered with the additions made Friday night after they were stuffed by Clayton Kershaw.

Rookie Michael Conforto and trade acquisitions Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe have already made an impact. Johnson and Conforto jumpstarted an offensive explosion, and Conforto and Uribe drove in runs in today’s 10-inning, 3-2 victory over the Dodgers.

DE GROM: Would have left him in. (AP)

DE GROM: Would have left him in. (AP)

Uribe not only drove in the game winner, but for the second straight game made an outstanding defensive play at third.

The Mets scored 15 runs Saturday, but that was an aberration. It was going to be different today against Zack Greinke, we all knew that to be the case. The Mets grabbed a 2-0 lead against Greinke, and Jacob deGrom was coasting.

Personally, I would have liked to see deGrom try to win it himself, but I can’t really argue with Jeurys Familia because of his success.

However, after Familia coughed up the lead, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see the game get totally away from the Mets. But, it didn’t happen that way.

Curtis Granderson lead off the tenth with a double and scored on Uribe’s drive off the center field wall. With the win, the Mets are two games behind Washington with the call-it-a-season San Diego Padres coming to town Tuesday.

There’s still a lot of the season to go, but for the first time in several weeks there’s not a feeling of despair around the Mets. There’s a sense they can still make something of this season.

And, that’s what I wanted all along.

Jul 25

Collins Issues Ultimatum; Mets Respond To Rout Dodgers

Timing is everything for the Mets, so it shouldn’t be shocking on the night manager Terry Collins issued an ultimatum his players better hit or take to the bench, the offense exploded for season-highs in runs (15) and (21).

“They’ve been put on notice it’s time to pick it up,’’ Collins said.

And, picked it up they did to make it an easy night of it for Matt Harvey, who coasted to his ninth victory in a 15-2 rout of the Dodgers. It was one of those games that made you scurry to the record books.

So much happened for the Mets, who had scored 21 runs in their previous eight games since the All-Star break:

* Kelly Johnson had two hits, including a homer in his first game as a Met.

* Rookie Michael Conforto, making his second start, slashed four hits and walked.

* Lucas Duda, the Met who has struggled more than any other Met, ripped two homers.

* Kirk Nieuwenhuis, starting in place of Juan Lagares, ripped four hits and walked.

* Ruben Tejada has three hits and scored three runs.

* Daniel Murphy homered.

* Harvey helped his own cause with two hits and two RBI.

“If you want to stay in the lineup, you’ve got to start hitting,’’ Collins said. “Our pitching is good enough to keep us in any game. … I’ll tell you what: Whoever is swinging the bat is going to play. It’s about scoring some runs right now.’’

In the baseball vernacular, games like tonight are called laughers, and laugh they did. It has been a long time coming.

Of course, it’s baseball, and there’s no telling what can happen the next day. Tomorrow, the Mets face Zack Greinke.

Jul 25

No Question, Alderson Blew It With Turner

There have been numerous personnel mistakes made by Mets GM Sandy Alderson, and at the top includes the decision to cast away Justin Turner after the 2013 season in which he hit .280 with a .319 on-base percentage in 86 games in a reserve role.

TURNER: Alderson blew this decision. (AP)

TURNER: Alderson blew this decision. (AP)

Reportedly, the Mets – Alderson and manager Terry Collins – thought Turner didn’t hustle, but none of his teammates thought so.

Turner ripped the Mets and Jon Niese for two doubles and a homer Friday night, but he would not gloat, although he had every right.

“I mean, I don’t think I need to prove anything to them,’’ Turner told reporters after the game. “I don’t play for them anymore. I play for these guys, and I’m trying to prove it to my teammates and my coaching staff and the organization that I deserve the opportunity that I’m in.’’

The Mets traded two pitching prospects to Atlanta for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe, but Turner’s .327 average and 43 RBI would lead the Mets, and his 13 homers would be second.

The Mets could have kept Turner for $800,000 last season, but are now paying over $3 million for Johnson and Uribe.

Turner hit seven homers with 43 RBI while batting .340 with a .404 on-base percentage in 109 games last year and was rewarded with a $2.5 contract for this year.

Turner clicked with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. For whatever reason, Turner figured it out in Los Angeles and is batting third. Alderson claims to like reclamation projects, but Turner is clearly better than Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada.

It is safe to say, Alderson missed on this decision. Big time.

Jul 25

Harvey Tries To Get On Track Against Dodgers; Lineups

Matt Harvey hopes to put the brakes on a skid that began in mid-May when the Pirates roughed him up for seven runs in four innings. Harvey, once the epitome of control and avoiding the long ball, walked two and gave up two homers that day.

Including that game, Harvey gave up eight homers in four starts. For the most part, he avoided the home run since, giving up just two in his next six starts. However, his control has been terrible as he’s walked 16 in his last five starts.

Here’s the lineup for Harvey’s start tonight against the Dodgers:

Curtis Granderson, RF

Ruben Tejada, SS

Daniel Murphy, 3B

Kelly Johnson, 2B

Lucas Duda, 1B

Michael Conforto, LF

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF

Kevin Plawecki, C

Matt Harvey, RHP

LINEUP COMMENTS: Interesting to see Tejada in the lineup when the expectations were he’s sit for Wilmer Flores However, if based on recent production it was the right call. … Newcomer Johnson is hitting clean-up with Duda dropping to fifth. … Nieuwenhuis playing over Juan Lagares, which is another good call.

 

Jul 24

The Mets Add Conforto; Deal With Braves Pending

Michael Conforto was lifting weights when his minor league manager, Pedro Lopez, approached him with a cell phone to inform him of his promotion to the Mets. Now, comes the part of trying to withstand the temptation to lift the Mets.

Of course, that’s easier said then done, especially with the numbers screaming this is a team in desperate need of help. After Friday’s 7-2 loss to the Dodgers the Mets are losers of six of their last eight games. They have the worst team batting average in the majors at .233 and next to last in runs scored with 331.

Yes, the Mets are a team in need and along with the much-anticipated promotion of Conforto, they were on the verge of swinging a deal with Atlanta for third baseman Juan Uribe and left-handed hitting utility player Kelly Johnson.

Conforto, at least, seems to have his head screwed on straight regarding expectations.

“I haven’t played in big league games,’’ Conforto said. “So really there’s no way for me to really know if I’m ready.’’

Conforto is here because Michael Cuddyer was finally placed on the disabled list with a sore knee. That decision came at least three weeks too late by GM Sandy Alderson.

Alderson, as usual, spoke legalese when it came to talking about Conforto’s expectations, saying there was thought he would “super dramatically,’’ upgrade the Mets’ production. Conforto was hitless but drove in the Mets’ first run with a groundout.

Maybe Alderson was attempting to take the pressure off Conforto, but the game’s smartest general manager, according to his auto-biography, couched everything.

Alderson said the promotion might have occurred without Cuddyer’s injury, but since it was tied to a player going on the disabled list there was no guarantee how long he would stay up here. Alderson also said the promotion was no connection as to how active the Mets will be on the trade market.

By the end of the game, the Mets hadn’t announced the trade that would send pitching prospects Michael Gant and Rob Whalen to the Braves.

Figuring it does, the Mets could play Uribe at third, move Daniel Murphy back to second and Wilmer Flores back to shortstop. Of course, that means Ruben Tejada will likely return to the bench.

Johnson, who can also play both outfield positions as well as the infield, is hitting .275 with nine homers and 34 RBI, numbers which could arguably make him the Mets’ best hitter.

Do Conforto, Uribe and Johnson make the Mets decidedly better?

Not really.

Uribe, who is hitting .272 with eight homers and 23 RBI, this year with Atlanta and the Dodgers, and Johnson, bring with them batting averages that would put them at the top of Mets, but they are essentially complementary players. And, Conforto, whom Alderson didn’t want to bring up in the first place, remains a Double-A prospect.

You could say they make the Mets better because what has been here has been so bad.

That’s not really that comforting, is it?

Surely, there has to be more. There just has to be.