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.

May 22

Adding Bautista Could Mean End For Reyes

If there’s an indictment of the Mets’ cupboard farm system, it is this: They’ve agreed to terms with former six-time All-Star Jose Bautista, who was cast off by the Braves two days ago.

With Juan Lagares (toe injury and out for the season) and Yoenis Cespedes (strained right hip flexor), and an outfield full of lefty hitters, the Mets will be taking a flier of Bautista, who was hitting .143 with two homers and 12 games for the Braves.

BAUTISTA: Another bat added. (AP)

BAUTISTA: Another bat added. (AP)

Over his 15-year career, Bautista is a career .249 hitter, but with 333 homers and 923 RBI. He’s best known, however, for flipping his bat in the playoffs and his brawl with Rangers infielder Rougned Odur (he was cold-cocked in the brawl).

Although signed to as an outfielder, Bautista was playing third base for Atlanta. The signing could mean the end of Jose Reyes second tenure with the Mets. Reyes was in the Mets’ lineup for tonight’s game against Miami, but his playing time has been limited lately.

Reyes, who enters tonight’s game in a 2-for-22 slump, hears the whispers he could be DFA’s soon.

“The only thing I can control is to continue to work,’’ Reyes said. “Last year, I went through a similar situation, but it was a little bit different because last year I had the opportunity to play a little bit more. I can just do my work and routine and try to put my swing together. … It’s not a surprise to because I haven’t been playing too much. That’s nothing new. Whatever happens, happens.’’

Recently-promoted Infield prospect Luis Guillorme started at third base Monday. With the Mets opting to carry 13 pitchers and four role players, Guillorme could be sent down the Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Bautista.

However, if the Mets continue to carry 13 pitchers it stands to reason they could swap out Bautista for Reyes.

 

May 03

Callaway Tries To Stay Positive Despite Blowout Loss

Now is when Mickey Callaway will earn his money and show the Mets what kind of manager they hired. It won’t tell all, but it will tell a lot.

After the Mets were torched 11-0 by Atlanta today, the second time they’ve been shutout in as many games. The Mets were swept by the Braves today and were outscored 21-2 in the process. The Mets are no longer in first place, so Callaway can’t say, “we’re still in good shape.’’ He can’t because the Mets are no longer in good shape.

Things just aren’t clicking and the Mets have lost eight of their last 12 games. They aren’t hitting; nobody is hitting. Today, Jason Vargas and Matt Harvey have struggled, with the latter’s relief ERA up over 10. The bullpen hasn’t been good lately, and today Amed Rosario didn’t run out a popup.

From the pitching end, Jacob deGrom is nursing a sore elbow; Harvey was rocked for five runs today; and, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz have not pitched well and the latter is hurting,

“I don’t think our guys aren’t giving up or aren’t playing hard,’’ Callaway said. “They just aren’t playing well. It’s part of a long season. They need to take care and keep their routine. They still are playing the game the right way.’’

The biggest things to take out of today’s game is that Callaway remained positive and didn’t rip his team publicly. After only 29 games (they are 17-12) it would do little good to go ballistic this early in the season.

As far as Harvey goes, well, it’s pretty clear if Callaway won’t give the ball to him if deGrom can’t go Monday. It’s also clear Callaway is studying Harvey, and today gave more of an analysis then Terry Collins ever did.

“The first few outs were good, then he tried yanking the ball,’’ Callaway said. “He’s really stiff right now. The way his body is working he was really not throwing through the catcher. He’s got a way to go. The life wasn’t there. He lost his feel for the zone.’’

Callaway hasn’t given up on Harvey so Harvey can’t give up on himself. It’s too long a season and the once-streaking Mets are only 1.5 games behind Atlanta.

Apr 20

Harvey Defiant After Loss

The memo to Matt Harvey is an old one: Just shut up and pitch.

The question to Mickey Callaway was an obvious one: Will Harvey make his next start?

“We haven’t made that determination yet,” Callaway said after the Braves hit Harvey for six runs in six innings. “We’ll see moving forward. I’m not sure what we’re going to do.”

There was no reason for Callaway to say anything else. Harvey lost again in giving up six runs to the Braves. His ERA is over six. However, and this is what will probably keep him in the rotation for now, is that he retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.

If Callaway is a proponent on his pitchers leaving a game on a high note, that was a big positive, something Harvey can build on. Because of that, Harvey should stay in the rotation for now.

Also a positive, was Harvey’s defiance to the obvious question: “I’m a starting pitcher. I’ve always been a starting pitcher. That’s my mindset.”

What? Did you expect him to say he wasn’t, that he should be taken out of the rotation, or sent down?

Of course not, although Thursday night was his first start out of his last 13 that he went longer than six innings.

“That last three innings I think I was able to break through that mental block I was feeling every time I went out there,” Harvey said. “I know that the results aren’t there. I feel bad that it took me so long to figure it out.”

Except, he hasn’t figured it out … at least not yet. Thursday was one bad game, and it is a testament to Callaway that he left Harvey in long enough to leave the game on a positive note.

I don’t know if Harvey will ever totally figure it out and return to 2013 form when he was on the top of his game. I’ve been writing for years that I believe Harvey will leave the Mets after this season.

I still think that. I don’t ever see Harvey becoming a star again, but if anybody has a chance to figure it out, it is Callaway.

Mar 27

Seven Things For The Mets To Make The Playoffs

Can the Mets reach the playoffs? It would take at least 86 victories, which is 16 more than last season, and that’s a reach. I don’t think it will happen, but stranger things have happened with the Mets. If it does happen, the  Mets need the following seven things fall into place:

DE GROM: One of the few answers. (AP)

           DE GROM: One of the few answers. (AP)

No injuries: They are due for a healthy season, beginning with their rotation. They already had a few this spring, and Steven Matz and Matt Harvey are coming off surgery. They have to be incredibly lucky from here on out.

As far as their position players are concerned, they need Michael Conforto (shoulder) and Yoenis Cespedes (shoulder and hamstrings) to return and have monster seasons. Conforto will miss the first month, so that’s at least 100 at-bats they’ll miss.

Who will fill that void?

Rotation lives up to the hype: Zack Wheeler will open the season in the minors and Jason Vargas on the disabled list. Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom will have to win at least 17 games each, and Harvey has to win at least 15.

Relievers must fill their roles: Manager Mickey Callaway hinted at a closer-by-committee format, but Jeurys Familia will get the first chance to close.

Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo will combine for the Andrew Miller role (once the latter is replaced in the rotation by either Vargas or Wheeler). That’s something new with Callaway and it is a gamble that must work.

The older guys’ encore: Specifically, that would be Todd Frazier, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Reyes and Jay Bruce. Frazier and Bruce must have big seasons, defined as at least 20 homers and 80 RBI.

The young guys can’t be intimidated: Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares will get at-bats in April with Conforto injured. Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith – when he comes up – are offensive liabilities. That has to change.

Win the East: When the Mets reached the World Series in 2015, they did so in large part by Washington getting off to a miserable start and the Mets beating up on the Nationals and Braves. That has to happen again.

Sandy Alderson must not blink at the deadline: In 2015, when the Carlos Gomez trade fell through he immediately went after Cespedes. If the Mets are close at the end of July, Alderson can’t be afraid to pull the trigger.