Aug 06

Analyzing Mets’ Road Trip

After winning three of four in San Francisco, dropping a series at San Diego is a let down. But, the flip side is you have to be a little high to get down.

Considering they lost 11 of 12 on their previous homestand, I’ll take the 6-5 and be happy. Who among us was brimming with optimism when they took off for the West?

Obviously, the most important development on the trip was Matt Harvey, regardless of yesterday’s game. The Mets now have an arm they can be hopeful of giving them six. They can build from there.

Ruben Tejada and Ronny Cedeno are playing well, making up in part for David Wright’s slump. Yes, Jason Bay is still on the team, but Ike Davis flashed a glimpse of why we should be excited about him and Bobby Parnell threw an inning in San Francisco that was cause for some optimism. That might be a stretch, but look at the whole bullpen picture.

Sometimes you can get in trouble when you big-picture things, but in that vein, the Mets are giving us reason to hang around and watch. I didn’t say “get excited,” but keep us interested in their development.

Many of us got too excited from the first half and those two weeks in July were deflating. However, considering their inactivity in the offseason and dismal spring training, if you were told the Mets would be knocking on .500’s door a week into August, wouldn’t most of you have taken it?

I mean, given Johan Santana’s uncertainty, not to mention stint on the DL, and losing Mike Pelfrey for the season, I’d venture most would have jumped at it.

We all knew going in this was a building season and we’ve seen some good things. This trip helped remind us of them. I would be interested to see what September brings, and I really never thought I’d write that line in March.

 

Aug 05

Matt Harvey Rocked; An Important Step

Matt Harvey pitched five innings in his third start, giving up five runs and eight hits in the process. If there is a positive, it is two scoreless innings after the Padres got the jump on him.

HARVEY: Building on a rough day. (Getty)

All pitchers, and Harvey will not be an exception, get rocked and it is a measure of their development in how they respond. Six outs doesn’t complete the learning curve, but it is a start.

We can’t be thinking we’ve seen the best of Harvey already. Three games is no measure, but the overall impression is good. He’s shown good stuff physically, composure and a degree of mental toughness indicating a future promising good times.

I don’t care about today, and frankly was wondering when he’d get shelled, and most importantly, how he responds. In that regard today is a positive because it is something that can help Harvey mature and develop.

I’m anxious for his next start.

Aug 04

Mets Shouldn’t Mess With R.A. Dickey

The Mets lost Friday night in a game they might have won had they had any offense – or anything left over from their last game in San Francisco. Unfortunately, we all know it doesn’t work that way.

DICKEY: Don't mess with him. (AP)

R.A. Dickey pitched well enough to win most games, and that’s the real point. Dickey has pitched well on traditional rest. Going to three days might be a huge mistake. Reportedly, the Mets aren’t sold on it and let’s hope it they don’t buy.

The only answer is more major league arms, of which the Mets don’t have. I’m not saying Derek Lowe is the answer, or any recently released starter. But, the closest thing the Mets have to an option if they are to remain competitive for the rest of the season is to keep Dickey on normal rest.

Yes, he’s a knuckleballer, but not in the conventional sense. Also, it isn’t just taxing the arm, but the entire body. Dickey has developed into one of the game’s most reliable pitchers, and part of his success in his routine.

Don’t mess with it.

Aug 03

Is .500 For Mets Really A Pipe Dream?

Rudy responded the other day and suggested .500 was a pipe dream. Well, is it?

There have been times this season when I thought so. During spring training and after their last horrid home stand. Not a week ago I ripped Terry Collins for saying things would turn around. I saw no indication of it at the time, but this is a good trip.

 

I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon – cable car – just because the Mets had a fun time in San Francisco. Afterall, they’ve had good stretches before. But, all you have to do is go back to last year and St. Louis and Tampa to see teams get hot late.

I wouldn’t suggest playoffs, but .500 is not out of the question. There are several things outside of making the playoffs that would define this as a successful season, and .500 is one of them.

The Mets are 8.5 games behind in the wild card stretch, but after dismantling the Giants they are only two games under .500. You take these things in small steps and two games isn’t much to make up considering all the games remaining.

Five-hundred? It isn’t the ultimate goal of this team, but it is possible and represents significant progress.

Yes, there are holes in their game, notably the pen. But, Bobby Parnell had a strong outing in the SF series and the pen hasn’t done badly on this trip. Let’s see if they can maintain.  It’s not a pennant race, but it is a small step and that’s what rebuilding teams are about.