May 03

Mets Wrap: Breakout Game For Hitters

See, it can be done. The Mets rapped out 20 hits in a 16-5 rout of the Atlanta Braves tonight without the benefit of a home run.

REYES: Big night. (AP)

                   REYES: Big night. (AP)

Even before they broke open the game with a seven-run eighth, the Mets had this one well in hand, as they went 12 for 20 with runners in scoring position. It might not take until the Braves open up another new stadium before we could see that again.

“We feel like we have a good offensive team,” manager Terry Collins said. “We’re seeing better at-bats and we’re getting better swings.”

The Mets got three hits each from Michael Conforto, Rene Rivera and T.J. Rivera, but one bat that particularly shined was Jose Reyes, who tied a career high with five RBI.

“It is good to see,” Reyes said of the Mets’ resurgent offense. “For the last week we’ve been on fire.”

While a lot of good things happened with the bats tonight, perhaps the most encouraging breakout sign was Curtis Granderson, who hit two doubles and scored three times. Granderson entered the game on a 1-for-33 slide.

The Mets got three hits from Michael Conforto, Rene Rivera and T.J. Rivera, and two hits each from Granderson, Conforto, Reyes, Neil Walker and Jacob deGrom.

The Mets got two doubles each from Conforto, Granderson and T.J. Rivera, and one each from Reyes, Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera.

SECOND OPINION FOR SYNDERGAARD: In the midst of several published reports that have Noah Syndergaard missing up to three months with a partially torn right lat muscle, the 24-year-old Mets pitcher will be in Los Angeles tomorrow to get a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

After Syndergaard complained of discomfort and soreness in his right shoulder and biceps, he had starts pushed back last week first Wednesday and then Thursday.

Syndergaard subsequently refused an MRI, gave up five runs in the first inning of Sunday’s start at Washington, and was injured in the second inning.

JUGGLING THE PEN: Sometimes managers, and I include Collins in this, are married to the accepted norms.

However, with Braves’ right-handed hitting outfielder Matt Kemp leading off the seventh, Collins went with setup reliever Addison Reed to start the inning.

Reed also struck out lefty slugger Nick Markakis and retired Tyler Flowers, but was animated in the dugout after the inning, as if surprised by the move.

“I told him, `I know you’re the eighth-inning guy. But this is the eighth inning for me tonight,’ ” Collins told Reed.

“He understood.”

EXTRA INNINGS: Wilmer Flores was activated from the disabled list and appeared as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. Flores is expected to start Thursday. … Travis d’Arnaud‘s bruised hand kept him out. … Collins said Granderson and Walker might rest tomorrow.

UP NEXT: The series wraps up Thursday evening with Zack Wheeler (1-2, 4.78) returning to his home area against lefty Jaime Garcia (1-1, 3.99). … Rafael Montero is still on to start in place of Syndergaard Friday.

May 01

Mets Needed This One

As much as players and managers want to give each game equal weight, it doesn’t always work that way and it didn’t for the Mets tonight in Atlanta. It really was a “must win’’ game for the Mets.

CONFORTO: Homer and three RBI. (AP)

CONFORTO: Homer and three RBI. (AP)

After losing 23-5 and their best pitcher Noah Syndergaard indefinitely Sunday, it would have been easy to see them go into a tailspin. After all, we’ve seen them do it before. We’ve seen them get hit and flop around like LeBron James.

Tonight, the Mets got five pick-me-up innings from Robert Gsellman and got to Mets Killer Julio Teheran with a five-run fourth that didn’t include homers from Michael Conforto and Jose Reyes, in a 7-5 victory over the Atlanta Braves in their new ballpark. Mets finally got to Julio Teheran and gave Robert Gsellman cushion enough to beat the Braves, 7-5.

“It was huge,” said Conforto, who homered to lead off the game and added a two-run single. “It was definitely disappointing yesterday, but it says a lot about this group that we could come back out with this performance.

Manager Terry Collins was understandably testy after Sunday, but said he told his team, “to give it 24 hours and move on.”

Easier said than done because they will be without their best pitcher in Syndergaard and best power hitter in Yoenis Cespedes for an indefinite period, but this was a start, and for Collins, it was the best kind of response.

 

Apr 03

Game Wrap: Mets Blank Braves In Opener; Syndergaard Leaves With Blister

GAME #1

SCORE: @Mets 6, Braves 0

RECORD: 1-0

RISP: A season-long problem last season, the Mets went 2-for-6 Monday and stranded nine runners.

HOMERS: None.

SYNDERGAARD: Superb in Opener. (AP)

SYNDERGAARD: Superb in Opener. (AP)

ANALYSIS

Although Noah Syndergaard didn’t get the victory, he was the headliner in the Mets’ 6-0 Opening Day blanking of the Atlanta Braves today at Citi Field.

Syndergaard was superb and dominant, giving up five hits, no walks with seven strikeouts before leaving after six innings because of a blister on his right middle finger.

Syndergaard had moments of decision in the fourth and sixth innings. In the fourth, Freddie Freeman tripled with one out, but Syndergaard regrouped to strike out Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis. In the sixth, with one out and runners on the corners, he struck out Kemp and got Markakis on a liner to left.

“That to me was the difference in the game,” manager Terry Collins said. “When the great ones have runners in scoring position against them, they up their game.”

That defined Syndergaard, who was pushed back a day to have his next start flipped with Robert Gsellman.

“It’s a little blister,” Syndergaard said. “I’m not worried about it.”

Even so, Collins said it doesn’t hurt to start taking care of his pitchers from the beginning: “We preach protecting these guys, now we have to do something about it.’’

ON THE MOUND: Hansel Robles pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to earn the victory. … Projected set-up reliever Fernando Salas worked the eighth. … Gsellman pitched the ninth. Speculation is because he’ll be moved up a day to replace Syndergaard

AT THE PLATE: Asdrubal Cabrera had three hits, including driving in the game-winner in the seventh. … The Mets broke the game open with six runs in the inning highlighted by five of their eight walks and Lucas Duda’s three-run double. … Jay Bruce walked three times including once with the bases loaded. … Syndergaard got a hit. … Wilmer Flores and Cabrera each stole bases.

IN THE FIELD: Superb pick and throw by Jose Reyes to nail Brandon Phillips leading off the seventh. … Bruce played Freeman’s triple in the fourth like he was a first baseman.

EXTRA INNINGS: With the victory, the Mets improved their Opening Day record to a major league best 36-20 (.643) R.A. Dickey, David Wright, Bartolo Colon and Jacob deGrom received the loudest cheers, with Colon probably getting the longest.

ON DECK: Colon vs. deGrom, Wednesday night at Citi Field in the second game of the season.

 

Sep 09

Is There No Turning Back For Mets?

This certainly isn’t your father’s Turner Field for the Mets. This place used to torment the Mets not too long ago. Just ask David Wright; if you want to go back further, there’s Armando Benitez.

Not Friday night. In the first game of their final series for the Mets here before Turner Field closes after the season, they rallied from four runs down to beat the Atlanta Braves, 6-4.

JOHNSON: Hits game-winner. (AP)

JOHNSON: Hits game-winner. (AP)

With the all-hands-on-deck victory, the Mets have won six straight games and 15 of their last 19 to move a season-high nine games over .500 and remain a half-game ahead of St. Louis for the second wild-card spot.

“Right now, things are falling our way,” manager Terry Collins said. “That’s what you have to have. We had a lot of games this year when they weren’t falling our way. We have to keep plugging.”

On Aug. 19, they were 5.5 games out of wild-card contention and fading fast. Tonight, I can’t help but wonder if there’s no turning back for the Mets.

There were plenty of Mets to pick up Robert Gsellman, who has two wins in picking up their injury-ravaged rotation.

* It began with Curtis Granderson, who started the comeback with a two-run homer in the sixth. It was the fourth straight in which the now hot Granderson has homered.

* The bullpen of Jim Henderson, Josh Smoker, Hansel Robles, Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia combined to throw four scoreless innings.

* James Loney started a 3-6-3 inning-ending double play in the sixth after the Braves opened the inning with runners on the corners. Smoker relieved Henderson to strike out A.J. Pierzynski and get Ender Inciarte to hit into the double-play.

* Alejandro De Aza’s walk jumpstarted the Mets’ four-run eighth, keyed by Yoenis Cespedes’ sacrifice fly – he always does something – Granderson’s game-tying single and Kelly Johnson’s go-ahead pinch-hit double.

Players who have struggled all year are playing big; players who weren’t even on the team on Opening Day are making contributions.

Everything is clicking for the Mets. Every decision Collins is making is working. With 21 games remaining, the Mets are playing like they are counting on October.

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Jun 19

Collins Suggests Changes Coming For Mets – But What?

The Mets had just finished being swept out of Citi Field by the Atlanta Braves on Sunday when manager Terry adamantly suggested changes were in order, if not imminent.

COLLINS: What's he going to do? (Getty)

COLLINS: What’s he going to do? (Getty)

“You don’t want to panic early, but right now with what’s going on, we may shake some things up,” Collins told reporters after the Mets had lost for the sixth time in eight games. 6-0 to the Braves and dropped into third place in the NL East.

He wouldn’t specify, but it isn’t hard to speculate what options the Mets have, or don’t have.

TRADES: There are so many Mets, who based on their contracts, health and performance are difficult to trade. With the trade deadline roughly six weeks away, conventional thinking is it is too early to be making trades because the sellers and buyers haven’t yet been defined. In the Mets’ case, they care clearly buyers now, but if this slide continues that could change.

The Mets’ biggest trade chips are their young pitching, which they don’t want to deal, primarily because they will likely need those arms if they are to contend.

The minor league pitching bait is Zack Wheeler, whom the Mets nearly traded last year for Carlos Gomez.

THE VEGAS SHUTTLE:  There’s been much speculation the Mets might sending Michael Conforto to the minor leagues. Considering the Mets pinch-hit for him the other night indicates a growing lack of confidence by Collins in the player whom he said would be the team’s long-term No. 3 hitter. Conforto is on a 7-for-56 slide and has seen his average drop over 100 points since April.

Collins said Conforto would not stay with the Mets coming off the bench, so that means if he stays he plays. If Conforto goes down, coming up would probably be outfielder Brandon Nimmo.

THE DISABLED LIST: Travis d’Arnaud is expected to be activated this week. However, if the Mets continue to form and use Rene Rivera to catch Noah Syndergaard on Tuesday, we might not see d’Arnaud until the next day,

However, there’s no timetable for Lucas Duda and we might not see Wright for the rest of the season.

THE BATTING ORDER: Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker will continue to hit in the middle of the order. Collins toyed with using Curtis Granderson batting third, but that didn’t last long. Asdrubal Cabrera seems best as the second hitter, although I might take a shot at him leading off and dropping Granderson ahead of Cespedes. It couldn’t hurt.

At this point, the Mets might as well try anything.