Aug 18

Time For Mets To Shelve Santana

It is time the Mets care for one of their own. It is time to put the health of one of their players ahead of the possibility of getting a few good games. 

It is time for the Mets to shutdown Johan Santana for the rest of the season. I wrote that several starts ago and Santana has done nothing to refute that reasoning since.

SANTANA: Shut him down. (AP)

After last night’s pasting, Terry Collins said there’s nothing wrong with Santana physically. As manager, he really can’t say anything else. He can’t admit to pitching Santana hurt. But, Collins didn’t come across as believable last night. He came across as someone trying to talk himself out of the inevitable.

Maybe he’s not hurt – at least not yet.

There are three reasons why a pitcher of Santana’s caliber fades so fast: injury, fatigue and losing the skills.

We know from the first half Santana has shown flashes of being the dominant ace the Mets need. We know from the no-hitter he can still be scintillating for an evening.

He hasn’t forgotten how to pitch. 

We also know since the no-hitter he hasn’t been the same.

It is time the Mets remember Santana is coming off a severe shoulder surgery, of which rehab began last December. The calendar says August, but the calendar in Santana’s arm has already recognized a full year plus two months. 

Santana has given us the season’s marquee moment and countless other gems during his tenure with the Mets. He’s helped change the culture. He’s been a leader for the younger players, and not just the pitchers. He’s been a winner in every respect.

Santana has also given us six straight games of allowing at least six runs. It’s a franchise worst stretch as well as a personal one. There’s no bite and little movement on his pitches. He doesn’t challenge hitters inside as he used to. He’s pitching defensive.

He’s been on the disabled list, but with an ankle injury. Did that injury alter his mechanics?

Nobody on the Mets will admit as much, but an alteration can be so subtle it would be hard to notice.

Bobby Ojeda, who should know about such things, said Santana is pitching on fumes. Santana might not be injured now, but seems fatigued and if he keeps going like this an injury is inevitable.

With no playoffs, there’s no reason to keep him going. 

The Mets need to take this decision away from Santana. Sure, he’s a competitor and wants to pitch. He has that mentality, but it is one not conducive to self-preservation. They must realize Santana already exceeded expectations for this year and has nothing left to prove.

The Mets, for Santana’s well being, need to shut him down now as to preserve him for the future. If they don’t, they risk not having him in the future.

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.

Jul 31

Mets To Stay Quiet Today

One of the most bizarre scenes I’ve witnessed in covering ball came in the clubhouse in the old Metrodome when the Orioles were playing the Twins at the trade deadline. The target of interest was Bobby Bonilla. Back then the deadline was midnight. Bonilla sat at his locker not saying a word – yeah, that’s the hard part to believe – as the clock clicked down.

HAIRSTON: Goes deep twice last night. (AP)

Bonilla stayed and the Orioles did nothing big that year, much like the Mets this season. Winning again last night has done nothing to chance the Mets trade landscape. None of the “name” players are going, although Scott Hairston could draw some interest. Hairston, Jordany Valdespin and Tim Byrdak. All serviceable, all capable of helping somebody down the stretch.

None, however, will bring much in return. If you’re the Mets and you aren’t adding to win this year, then you’ll be building for the future. But, the Mets’ role players won’t bring much. They are better off staying and possibly building next summer’s bench.

 

Jul 27

Matt Harvey Scintillating As Mets Win

It was only one game, and not even six innings to boot. But, for one night at least, Matt Harvey gave the Mets a glimpse of a future that could be good. A 3-1 victory last night at Arizona, a place usually difficult for the Mets, snapped their losing streak and gave the team a positive hope.

HARVEY: First impression was a good one. (AP)

In his debut, anticipated for weeks, Harvey gave up three hits and struck out 11 and collected two hits of his own.

Later, he spoke as a vet.

“When I was warming up I looked around and kind of took everything in,” Harvey said. “At that moment I really did believe that I was meant to pitch in the big leagues. It was everything I could have imagined. I just wanted to do everything I could to keep the team in a winning distance.”

Harvey, the Mets’ first pick in the 2010 draft, set a franchise record for strikeouts in a debut, and became the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out more than 10 and collect a pair of hits in his first game.

“He lived up to exactly what everybody has talked about him,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “Now I want him to go out the next time and be a little more comfortable yet pitch as effectively as he did today. He is a different cat.”

The most important thing about last night? With the season slipping away, Harvey gave us

a reason to watch again.

Jul 17

Only The Mets

Yes, only the Mets could lose one like this. Reminiscent of the balk game in Atlanta. Of course, you remember?

HARPER: Bryce Harper barreling into David Wright on game-tying triple. (AP)

After a dramatic ninth-inning comeback – wouldn’t it be great if Jordany Valdespin could pinch-hit three times a game? – the Mets blew leads in the ninth and tenth innings in losing 5-4 in ten innings to the Nationals tonight.

Resiliency has been the Mets’ signature all year. So too, the Nationals, which is why they are in first place.

The Mets left runners on base. David Wright on third with no outs in the seventh and they couldn’t get him home. A bad call likely cost the Mets a run in the eighth. Andres Torres was clearly safe at first, and assuming the events would follow as they did, would have scored on Daniel Murphy’s double.

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