Jun 19

Alderson In No-Win Situation

Jacob deGrom isn’t my all-time favorite Met, but he’s close. I don’t want the Mets to trade him, but if GM Sandy Alderson pulls the trigger on a deal, I would understand the reasoning. I just don’t have faith he’d get it right. I don’t have faith he’d get it right with Noah Syndergaard, either.

ALDERSON: In no win situation. (AP)

ALDERSON: In no-win situation. (AP)

There’s no doubt the Mets could get something substantial for either one, but just how much? Both are highly regarded, but to put either one – or both – on the block is sending a signal the Mets won’t be competitive for at least four years.

The Mets are an old team, and by that time it is likely Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Jeurys Familia, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Reyes and probably the bullpen would be gone. Under the Alderson regime, the bullpen turns over nearly every year.

And although Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz have pitched well over the path month, that’s such a small sample size to assume they become certified aces over the next four years.

The present roster has only two prospects – Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo – I’m confident will pan out. I don’t include Amed Rosario, but there’s always hope.

Given that, if Alderson keeps both deGrom and Syndergaard, there’s little to believe the Mets will have the necessary pieces to build a contender. With their history, it’s safe to believe they will not do any significant spending, and their farm system is barren, so they won’t build that way, either.

The last three games, including deGrom’s gem last night, have been fun to watch, but it’s not enough to think they’ve turned the corner, as even the 1962 Mets won three in a row.

So, whether or not deGrom is traded, will it even matter?

Jun 17

The Mets Rally In Ninth To Beat D-Backs Showing They Have A Pulse

It’s premature to suggest the Mets turned things around, but it isn’t going out on a limb to say that with their last two games in Arizona this is best they have felt about themselves since late April.

On Saturday, Steven Matz pitched brilliantly with his fourth quality start in his last five games. He was helped by Michael Conforto, who drove in four runs with a three-run homer and double, in a 5-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.

NIMMO: Delivers again. (SNY)

NIMMO: Delivers again. (SNY)

Today, Zack Wheeler continued his strong pitching, and the offense scored four runs after two outs in the ninth on Brandon Nimmo’s three-run homer and Asdrubal Cabrera’s solo drive.

“It’s been a while,” Nimmo said. “And so for us to get that second win in a row, on a big hit, that’s really good for our positivity going forward, our momentum going forward. Like I said, I don’t know what it means for our future. I hope this team keeps fighting.”

Outside of Nimmo’s homer, the Mets’ biggest hit was a bunt single by Jose Reyes, who then scored on Jose Bautista’s double.

“I just put it down and ran, man,” said Reyes. “It means a lot, because I feel like I contributed today. I contributed to the ballclub. I contributed to this win.”

Unbelievably, Nimmo followed with his homer.

“It felt like a weight had been lifted off us,” said Nimmo, who has arguably been the Mets’ best player this season.

Wheeler certainly thinks so, saying: “It’s a fresh breath of air. We needed that hit and he came through for us at the right time. He’s becoming a very good player for us.”

With the two victories, the Mets are now eight games under .500 as they travel to Colorado to face the Rockies.

Denver has always been a tough place for the Mets to play, but there have been a lot of things trending up for them, notably Nimmo and Conforto, the latter is showing breakout signs.

The starting pitching with Wheeler, Matz and Jacob deGrom has been strong, and the bullpen has been effective over the past two games.

Yeah, it’s been only two games, but streaks start with the smallest steps.

Jun 13

Mets Can’t Apologize Enough To DeGrom

I suppose things could get worse for the New York Mets, but that would really be frightening, now wouldn’t it? But, it is pretty bad when the players start apologizing to the starting pitcher, as Todd Frazier did to Jacob deGrom this afternoon.

The Mets lost for the tenth time in 11 games, 2-0 to Atlanta, and are now 2-8 in deGrom’s last ten starts despite him having a 0.87 ERA in that span.

DE GROM: Wasting his starts. (AP)

DE GROM: Wasting his starts. (AP)

“I told [deGrom] after the game: ‘Dude, I am sorry,’ ” Todd Frazier said. “I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know why we’re not producing for him.”

In those 11 games, the Mets have scored two or fewer times nine times. Today, as deGrom cruised through the Braves, so did Atlanta pitcher Mike Soroka, who didn’t give up a hit until the seventh inning. The Mets’ second hit came in the ninth, Brandon Nimmo’s double with two outs in the ninth.

Then, with runners on second and third, Jay Bruce popped out swinging on the first pitch.

“We talk about trying too hard,” Frazier said. “Maybe we try too hard when he’s pitching, but a guy throws like that, he works fast, he was just dominant. Of course, he is going to give up one run and everybody is human so, for us not to put up any runs for him again, I told him, ‘I’m sorry.’ I didn’t know what else to tell him.”

DeGrom, as he usually does, said all the right things and wouldn’t point the finger at his offense.

“Nobody is happy that we’re losing,” deGrom said. “You have got to score runs to win and we haven’t been doing that, so nobody is happy with what’s going on.”

DeGrom threw only 86 pitches, and although he said he could have pitched longer, didn’t second-guess manager Mickey Callaway’s decision to pull him.

“I think it was just being smart and not trying to do too much,’’ said deGrom.

Meanwhile, the offense isn’t doing anything.

“We’ve wasted his starts,”  Bruce said.

Jun 03

Callaway: Mets Need To Get Back To Work

Mets manager Mickey Callaway said his team isn’t focused and maybe it’s time to spend less time before games taking batting practice and more time revisiting spring training fundamental drills.

Callaway was upset when the Mets gifted the Cubs the only runs they needed in today’s 2-0 loss that enabled Chicago to finish its four-game sweep and extend the losing skid to nine of the last 11 games. In particular, he said Steven Matz was slow to first base on a pickoff attempt which enabled Javier Baez to steal home.

This came after Baez faked a steal on the previous pitch.

That was followed by Jay Bruce letting up on a pop-up to short right and letting inexperienced second baseman Luis Guillorme to make the play and allow Willson Contreras – who caught all 13 innings Saturday night – tagged up and score.

Clearly, the Mets didn’t anticipate on either play, which is a fundamental part of playing defense.

“I think we need to shift our focus,’’ Callaway said. “We are not focusing on that part of the game very well. If we have to go out and work on cutoffs and relays and pop-ups and PFP [pitcher’s fielding practice], that is what we will do instead of being on the field and hitting. I guess we need to make some adjustments on what we are focusing on.

“We go out there and do defensive work every day and we go out there and hit, maybe we need to shift our focus to make it more stuff like just ground balls and throwing to bags to be more fundamentals specific. I think it’s focus.’’

Matz said he was being cautious with a runner on third.

“I am not trying to snap a throw [to first] and throw it away,’’ said Matz, but conceded he has to throw the ball harder on the pickoff attempt. “It just caught me off guard. In the future, I’ll be more mindful of the throw. I wasn’t thinking about it.”

There’s no excuse for a left-handed pitcher to be surprised on that play.

As for Bruce, he said he thought Guillorme was already camped to make the catch. Even so, he later admitted that the outfielder has to take charge. He also conceded what we already knew: “I haven’t been good this year. That’s just the bottom line.”

EXTRA INNINGS: The Mets are off Monday, then open interleague play with two games against Baltimore. … They have lost six straight home games and are 12-17 at Citi Field this season. … The Mets have been shut out four times, all at home. … The Mets’ offense has scored one run in its last 24 innings. The Mets have scored two or fewer runs 21 times this season. … Brandon Nimmo lead off to start the game and has reached base safely in 14 of 29 leadoff appearances with a .483 on-base percentage in the first inning.

 

Jun 02

Nimmo Needs Play, Even After Cespedes Returns

The Mets appear to have found something during what is fast becoming a lost season. Ignored for bigger names, Brandon Nimmo has gotten the opportunity young players covet – and is making the most of it.

With Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares injured – the latter is lost for the season – Nimmo is getting the regular at-bats that lefty-righty devotees denied him.

NIMMO: Needs to play. (SNY)

NIMMO: Needs to play. (SNY)

That must continue.

Nimmo entered Saturday’s game having homered in two straight games and getting at least two hits in four consecutive games.

“He’s been great,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “He’s doing the job on both sides of the baseball. I feel like he’s playing good defense. He’s obviously swinging the bat well, and taking his walks, things like that. He’s a young player that’s blossoming in front of us, and I think that he’s making a case for himself.”

The numbers support Callaway.

Nimmo had nine hits through May 3, but with Cespedes out, he has 11 extra-base hits, and nine RBI in his past 11 games (hitting leadoff), for a .390 average and .927 slugging percentage. Five of those extra-base hits have been homers. On May 22, Nimmo was batting a pedestrian .244. Today he’s up to .294. It’s all because he’s getting a chance.

“The more playing time that I’ve gotten has helped me get in a good rhythm, and make good adjustments,” Nimmo said. “It might be the biggest thing. I haven’t done anything drastically different. That’s the biggest thing right there.”

More than his production is Nimmo’s passion and enthusiasm. It’s infectious. Nimmo plays every game as if it is his first … or last. How many times in these few weeks have you wondered, “what if everybody played like Nimmo?” Cespedes certainly doesn’t have Nimmo’s passion.

However, even with the emergence of Nimmo, the Mets are still pining for Cespedes. Both GM Sandy Alderson and Callaway spoke of the need for him to get back, and also the amount of money they are paying him. Cespedes will make $29 million this year and next, and $29.5 million in 2020.

“It’s been big,’’ Callaway said. “We count on his offense. We’ve paid him a lot of money to come out there and produce, and we don’t have him right, so it’s been tough.’’

What the Mets should have learned last month is even when Cespedes returns, Nimmo, who makes $555,968 this year, needs to play. The bench and minor leagues should be something said in past tense about him.