May 18

Mets Lucky Tonight, But Can’t Afford To Keep Wasting Harvey Starts

The Mets’ Matt Harvey missed in his third straight start to get his sixth victory tonight against St. Louis. With their offense – and some starting pitching – erratic since April 24, the night Jacob deGrom was torched at Yankee Stadium, the Mets can’t afford to waste a Harvey start.

Harvey threw at least seven scoreless innings for his second straight. It was seven last week against the Cubs and eight tonight against St. Louis. He struck out nine in each start.

HARVEY: Can't waste his starts. (AP)

HARVEY: Can’t waste his starts. (AP)

Harvey has given the Mets a winnable effort in every start. He’ll lose from time to time as he did against the Phillies, but when he comes up with an effort such as the one he had tonight and last week in Wrigley Field last week, well, you can’t throw those away.

The Mets were fortunate to come away with a 2-1 victory in 14 innings.

Part of this goes back to the unpopular debate of limiting Harvey’s innings. By how they’ve handled things so far, the Mets don’t have a definitive plan. Harvey is an incredible talent, but is also coming off Tommy John surgery. They need to be careful as to save his innings for later this year.

Against the Cubs, they pulled him early. They played it the right way tonight and let Harvey pitch the eighth. This was made possible because the defense – keyed by Wilmer Flores – pulled off inning-ending double plays in the fourth and seventh innings.

Take away those plays and Harvey would have had over 100 pitches after the seventh.

This is the year the Mets vowed they would compete, and GM Sandy Alderson has even eyed 90 victories. Given that, innings saved in April and May can later be used in September, and if they are lucky enough, possibly October.

That’s why Harvey starting – and working into the seventh – the game he had strep throat, and letting him pitch into the ninth at Yankee Stadium in a blowout win, were foolish choices because it was more important to pitch longer tonight and last week.

The Mets played it the right way with Harvey tonight. They gave him the extra inning. They handled everything correctly with their pitching. Eventually, Jeurys Familia would blow a save opportunity. They just didn’t give him enough runs.

That’s three straight Harvey starts without a victory. The Mets were fortunate tonight it didn’t bite them.

May 17

Reflecting On The Mets Last Week

At the beginning of the week, after winning two of three in Philadelphia, I wrote the Mets could snap out of their funk with consecutive series against the Cubs and Brewers. I thought they had the opportunity to stabilize their batting order and get their offense on a roll. Well, it could have happened.

SYNDERGAARD: Solid again. (AP)

SYNDERGAARD: Solid again. (AP)

Here’s what I took from the past week:

* Noah Syndergaard took scoreless efforts into the sixth inning today and Monday. I was impressed with how he responded from beaning Carlos Gomez. He gave up a RBI single to Ryan Braun, but limited the damage to one run. Many pitchers, veterans included, could get rattled after hitting a batter like that, but not Syndergaard.

After the game, Syndergaard said: “I’d love to stay, so I’m going to do everything possible to stay up here. I watched [Jacob] deGrom last night pretty heavily and saw how he attacked hitters, and tried to transfer it over to the next day.”

If he keeps attacking batters like that, there’s little doubt he will stay.

* They easily could have won three of four in Chicago. The one that stings the most, of course, was Matt Harvey’s game.

As I watched Carlos Torres give it up that night, I couldn’t help but think of those who ripped my columns about preserving Harvey’s innings. A quick question: What would you have preferred, Harvey staying in against the Cubs and possibly winning, or remaining in to pitch a complete game against the Yankees, which he didn’t?

The answer is a no-brainer.

* The bullpen started the season as a positive, but has soured. Injuries have been a big part, but there has to be a reliable bridge to Jeurys Familia and there’s not. They can’t say things will get better when Bobby Parnell and Vic Black return, because nobody can say when that will be or if they will be productive when they do.

* The offense appeared to get going the last two games, ignited by homers from Curtis Granderson. I am wondering, as Granderson’s power emerges, whether Terry Collins will leave him at the top of the order or move him down to the run-producing slots.

It is, however, premature to think all is well with their bats, because they start a four-game series Monday with the Cardinals, who by the way, have pitching far superior to Milwaukee’s.

* They really miss David Wright, who is supposed to begin baseball activities this week, perhaps as soon as Monday. Then again, they’ve said that before. Wright was having a good year when he was injured, and although he hasn’t hit with great power the past few years, his presence does offer stability and would reduce the juggling.

That being said, the Mets have won when Eric Campbell is in the lineup. They should leave him hitting second and see where it goes.

Also, your guess is as good as mine, or Collins’, as where Daniel Murphy will hit next. He’s been all over the place.

* It will be like this all season for Wilmer Flores. He’ll make errors and follow it up with a big game at the plate. For all the criticism he gets, it was sweet to see him respond with the grand slam.

* I don’t like the pitcher in the eighth slot, but they’ve won the past two games with it so they might as well stick with it for a while. Don’t mess with a streak, regardless of how short it is.

* Bartolo Colon was eventually going to hit a rough stretch, and might be on it now.

* The Mets opened the season with Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the bench because he was out of options. With a .081 batting average, his time remaining with the Mets could be short.

After beating the Brewers today, the Mets hold a slim one-game lead over Washington with the sixth-best record in the major leagues. It is a tenuous lead at best, especially with the Cardinals and Pirates coming up.

 

 

 

May 16

Mets Call On DeGrom To Stop Slide

The other day in Chicago, Mets manager Terry Collins said, “what slide?’’ Well, by the end of tonight, that slide could erase the Mets’ once seemingly comfortable lead over Washington into a half-game deficit.

The Mets are in a 7-13 skid, including five straight losses where they scored just 10 runs while hitting .192. In their last two losses, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon gave up 12 runs in 11.2 innings.

Asked to stem the tide is Jacob deGrom, loser of three of his last four starts. That includes giving up four runs and two homers with four walks in a loss Monday at Chicago.

His problem has been fastball command that runs up the pitch count.

“It boils down to location,’’ deGrom said after the Cubs lost. “I can’t throw the pitches I want for strikes and make some mistakes over the plate and they seem to hit a long way.’’

DeGrom will especially be wary of keeping Ryan Braun in the park. Braun homered twice Friday as Milwaukee mugged Colon.

DeGrom’s opponent is Matt Garza, who has thrown four straight quality starts. Garza will face this lineup:

Curtis Granderson, RF

Juan Lagares, CF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, LF

Daniel Murphy, 2B

Eric Campbell, 3B

Kevin Plawecki, C

Jacob deGrom, RHP

May 15

Mets Game Wrap: Colon Rocked By Milwaukee

Greetings. When I first started blogging the Mets I was the first reporter to have live game threads where we could talk about the game we are watching. I’ve gotten away from that for a variety of reasons, like spending almost all of last season in the hospital.

I would like to start that again. It will take time to get where it used to be, but let’s see what happens. I will try to be there as much as possible, but would like to encourage you to talk among among yourselves.

Who knows? We could have some lively conversations. The top segment will be the most current.

COLON ROCKED BIG TIME

Sooner or later, Bartolo Colon was going to get rocked and look like a 41-year-old. Tonight was that night as he was pummeled by the Milwaukee Brewers, 7-0, a game which featured two home runs from Ryan Braun.

It also featured three hits from the Mets’ offense, which means it really didn’t matter what Colon did tonight, which, by the way, wasn’t good. Colon gave up six runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and no walks issued. His ERA jumped from 2.70 to 3.86.

The Mets have lost five straight games and were shut out for the third time this season. On the bright side, it only took 2:18 to watch. And, should Washington win later tonight in San Diego, their lead in the NL East will be a half-game.

HERRERA GOES ON DISABLED LIST

The Mets just announced infielder Dilson Herrera was placed on the disabled list with a fractured finger. Here’s an opportunity to temporarily move Wilmer Flores to second base and promote Matt Reynolds.

The Mets are obviously unhappy with Flores at shortstop, and with a trade not imminent, this enables them to experiment and possibly learn something. However, the Mets said they will bring up Eric Campbell and leave Reynolds in the minor leagues.

But, we know what Campbell can do, and it wasn’t much when he was here recently. What we don’t know about Reynolds.

THE ROUT IS ON

Milwaukee just crushed another homer off Colon, who clearly doesn’t have it tonight. Then again, the Mets have one hit and we’re in the fifth. They aren’t going to win a lot of games that way.

BREWERS GRAB EARLY LEAD

It’s the second and the Brewers just took a 1-0 lead against Colon on a pair of doubles. Then they made it 5-0 in the third. That inning was set up by another Flores throwing error and a misplayed ball by Curtis Granderson in right.

Follow that with a monstrous homer from Braun, who hit two to give him eight on the season.

WHAT ABOUT RYAN BRAUN?

The Brewers are in town to face the Mets, and with them is Braun. The Brewers are obviously not going anywhere, so it is logical to figure Braun could be made available. But, should the Mets be interested?

Wow, that’s an interesting one.

The Braun who won the MVP Award several years would be great. But, that player was a product of chemistry?

Braun would come with a high salary and the Brewers would want a lot, but don’t the Mets need more than a couple of months to see if what he’s doing is for real? It would take a lot of stones to make a deal like that, and frankly, I don’t see where GM Sandy Alderson swim in the deep end of the trading pool.