Apr 23

April 23, Mets’ Lineup Vs. Braves

The Mets will be going for their 11th straight victory this afternoon with this lineup:

Curtis Granderson – RF

Juan Lagares – CF

Lucas Duda – 1B

Michael Cuddyer – LF

Daniel Murphy – 2B

Eric Campbell – 3B

Wilmer Flores – SS

Anthony Recker – C

Bartolo Colon – RHP

Apr 23

Don’t Think We’ll See Mejia Again

Resiliency is a characteristic of a championship caliber team, and so far it defines the 2015 New York Mets.

To date, they have lost for the season Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin to elbow injuries, and Jenrry Mejia to a drug suspension. They are also without David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, Vic Black and Bobby Parnell.

A little more than two weeks in and the Mets are on their second catcher and third closer.

There have been a lot of key figures to the Mets’ climb to the top of the NL East, but arguably one of their most important has been Jeurys Familia, who took the closer role from Mejia and by extension, Parnell.

The Mets’ bullpen is minus Parnell, Black, Edgin and Mejia, which are four of the seven they had counted on. Imagine where they might be today without Familia’s seven saves.

When Parnell does return, manager Terry Collins said he won’t immediately return to closing duties, and chances are Mejia will never wear a Mets’ uniform again.

If Mejia’s 80-game suspension isn’t enough to act as a deterrent for those players that choose to find an illegal edge, then perhaps this might be – not only is Mejia suspended, but his career could be over. At least, his one in Flushing.

Apr 22

Mets Playing Like A Team You Can Love

Eventually, the New York Mets will lose a game, but for now the ride is terrific. The Mets won their tenth straight game tonight, 3-2 over Atlanta, and did it in a manner that makes you admire with how this is all coming together.

They are playing like “a perfect ten.”

FLORES: Big night. (AP)

FLORES: Big night. (AP)

The Mets are 12-3, a lofty record they haven’t seen since 1986, when they rolled through the National League to win the World Series. That team was loaded with stars that won in a braggart, in-your-face style. In spring training then-manager Davey Johnson said his team would dominate.

It’s not that way this year. Of those dozen wins, seven have been of the come-from-behind variety. There’s been a minimum of power, but these guys are playing the game the right way and have overcome a string of injuries to put themselves on top of the National League East.

It should be interesting when the Washington Nationals come to town.

“I really believe winning is contagious,” manager Terry Collins said. “Everybody wants to contribute and be a part of it.”

Tonight included a leaping catch by Ruben Tejada to stunt a potential big inning and reliever Buddy Carlyle got a huge out from the bullpen.

However, it all began with Dillon Gee – who was pitching for his spot in the rotation – giving up two runs in seven innings. That’s a quality game by any definition. The Mets sent down Rafael Montero to stretch him out, and Gee, whom was on the trading block this winter, could be the odd man out. They’ll go with a six-man rotation once, but after that, it’s not encouraging for Gee.

Gee fell behind twice, but the Mets came from behind each time to tie the game. The first time was on Wilmer Flores‘ single and the second came on his homer. Flores began the season as a question mark, but is having a good start and has fielded his position well enough to where it is not an issue.

How they won tonight it was delightful to watch, beginning with pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson drawing a leadoff walk in the bottom of the eighth. Collins rarely calls a hit-and-run, but did so with Juan Lagares, who dribbled the ball into right field. A criticism of Lagares is he doesn’t handle the bat well, but he was flawless here.

Then Lucas Duda, who is off to a blistering start at the plate, went to the opposite field with a game-winning single.

In the end Jeurys Familia blew way the Braves in a 1-2-3 ninth.

There was more, including Lagares’ extra-base hit robbing catch in the seventh that kept Gee in for that inning. In addition to Familia, the bullpen again was solid. At one time the bullpen was a concern, but even without Jerry Blevins they are producing.

During this streak the Mets have beaten every team in their division.

“We are setting the tone for the rest of the summer,” Collins said, adding it will make for interesting watching.

It already is. Nobody knows how this season will unfold, but for now this is a team one can love.

Apr 22

Harvey Will Pitch With Slight Ankle Sprain

Here’s why the New York Mets – despite winning ten straight games – can make you want to beat your head against a cement wall.

The person: Matt Harvey.

The issue: An injury.

The event: Harvey went to see a doctor Wednesday afternoon for consultation on a lingering foot injury.

The diagnosis: The doctors said it was a mild left ankle sprain, but before that manager Terry Collins, who apparently received his medical degree in an online medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico, said, “he’s fine, it’s nothing.’’

Collins also said Harvey pitched with it for a month and will make his start Saturday against the Yankees. After Wednesday’s 3-2 over the Braves, Collins said he didn’t even know about it until two days ago. How is that possible? How does the manager not know his best pitcher has a sprained ankle? For him to admit that is admitting he doesn’t know what is going on with his team.

Incomprehensible.

Collins also said Harvey dismissed the idea of skipping the start. Of course he did, because Harvey is the one who makes those decisions. Collins never should have said Harvey would start prior to the exam, and even after should have said he would see later.

After the game Collins called it mild, but leg injuries are critical to a pitcher because it can alter mechanics and put stress on the arm, not a good thing for someone coming off Tommy John surgery.

How would Collins know it is “nothing?’’ It was obvious something enough to where Harvey had to see a doctor, which, whether it was his decision or somebody else’s, was the proper move.

When it comes to injuries, never trust management’s assertion “it is nothing,’’ and for projected missed time always bet the over.

And, for those who say they are long-time Mets fans, remember this is an area where management hasn’t done well. Don’t believe me?

That’s your choice, but kindly remember David Wright, Ike Davis, Johan Santana, Ryan Church, Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and well, need I say more?

Apr 21

Plawecki Era Begins As Mets Roll

We all knew the New York Mets would bring up catcher Kevin Plawecki this season. Unfortunately for Travis d’Arnaud, we didn’t think it would be before May.

Opportunities come in the strangest places, and Plawecki got his Tuesday night with d’Arnaud’s fractured right hand. He not only was in the line-up, but will also have the fulltime job until … whenever.

PLAWECKI: Good start in debut. (AP)

PLAWECKI: Good start in debut. (AP)

Reportedly, d’Arnaud will be out for at least three weeks. A lot can happen between now and then, but it is hard to believe Plawecki – two hits notwithstanding and his flawless handling of Jon Niese – will light it up in that span to where the Mets will decide he is the answer and d’Arnaud will be thought of in the past tense.

“I think I’ve taken some good strides in the right direction,’’ said Plawecki, who ripped a single to left in the Mets’ four-run fifth for his first major league hit. “Obviously, everything is still a work in progress, but I think I’ve come a long way.’’

It’s great he has confidence, but can we tone down the hysteria just a bit? If Plawecki, who was hitting just .216 with six RBI at Triple-A Las Vegas, is already better than d’Arnaud, he would have been brought up before now.

Manager Terry Collins said the Mets have had a good feeling about Plawecki, and that was before tonight’s 7-1 rout of Atlanta for their ninth straight victory.

“We all felt in spring training that if we lost Travis we would have something coming,” Collins said. “He’s going to be a big league player for a long time.”

However, can we stop with the Wally Pipp analogies? As with Matt Harvey, can we let him do something before putting him into the Hall of Fame? However, if Plawecki plays well, it could lead to some interesting scenarios. For example, would the Mets carry both and send out Anthony Recker?

Would they feel good enough about the impression Plawecki makes to prompt them to trade d’Arnaud? Probably not enough during this season, but perhaps to where it could help shape their off-season strategy.

However, as a catcher, there’s more than at the plate where the Mets are curious about Plawecki’s development. There’s also the matter of his ability to handle pitchers, play defense and throw out potential base stealers.

“I’m happy to get the first one out of the way and that we came out of it with a win,” said Plawecki, who plans to give the ball from his first hit to his parents, who were at the game. “I was happy to be able to contribute, and Niese made it easy for me.”

Plawecki, the Mets’ 2012 first-round pick, also said what most rookies say when they first come up, and that is he’s playing the same game he has been playing his entire life.

Well, not exactly, although tonight was pretty damn close.