Aug 14

Three Mets’ Storylines: Is Bone Spur Issue Over For Matz?

The Mets didn’t get their first no-hitter until their 51st season. It was too much to ask for Steven Matz to give them their second four years later.

Matz took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before Alexi Ramirez lined his 105th of the game into right field. Mets manager Terry Collins jumped out of the dugout as if launched by a spring to answer the question that had been on everybody’s mind.

MATZ: Is spur issue over? (AP)

MATZ: Is spur issue over? (AP)

“I wasn’t going to visit the Johan Santana scenario again, I can tell you that,” said Collins revisiting the night of June 1, 2012, when he allowed the veteran left-hander to stay in to throw 134 pitches in the franchise’s only no-hitter.

Santana, who was coming off shoulder surgery, pitched a few good games later that season, but was never the same.

To this day, Collins regrets letting Santana stay in, and he would later say: “It was without a doubt, the worst night I’ve ever spent in baseball.”

Santana was a veteran, but Matz was making just his 28th career start. This is his first full season in the majors. Collins compared the two through the prism of his baseball roots.

“I can’t get away from my background in player development,” Collins said. “I can see the big picture. I wasn’t going to jeopardize his career for one game.”

The big picture includes that Matz has pitched with a bone spur that will require surgery this off-season. There was speculation he might be shut down for the season. However, he’s been superb in his last two starts.

Even had Matz pitched a no-hitter, perhaps the most important thing coming out of the day is he might be past that issue. Matz threw 105 pitches in beating San Diego, 5-1, Sunday; he threw a career high 120 pitches earlier in the week in a 5-3 loss to Arizona.

“I think it has been out of my mind for awhile,” Matz said of the bone spur. “It has been since I decided to pitch with it. … My arm has been feeling great. I’ve had no problems.”

Matz thanked Collins for letting him stay in for 120 pitches against Arizona.

“I think it’s good when you get deep into games,” he said. “You have to have better command of your pitches when you’re not throwing as hard.”

Matz was the story of the day. The other storylines was the offense and the upcoming schedule.

TACK ON RUNS: The Mets first got on the board with homers from Wilmer Flores and Neil Walker, but more impressive were three manufactured runs in the eighth inning.

In the epitome of a manufactured run, Jose Reyes singled, stole second and went to third on the catcher’s throw into center, and scored on a wild pitch.

They added two more on T.J. Rivera’s two-run double.

The late runs enabled Collins to by-pass Jeurys Familia because it wasn’t a save situation, thereby keeping him fresh for Monday.

THE SCHEDULE: After being swept by Arizona, the Mets have won two of three since Collins’ post-game rant to finish the homestand 2-4. They two victories marked the first time they won back-to-back games since before the All-Star break.

The Mets begin an 11-game road trip Monday in Arizona, with three games against the Diamondbacks, four with the Giants and three in St. Louis.

With the victory the Mets moved one game over .500 and are two games behind the second wild card spot. The Dodgers, Marlins, Cardinals and Pirates are ahead of them.

There have been several times this season when Collins looked ahead at a portion of the Mets’ schedule and defined it as vital. He made no such proclamation before this time.

He didn’t have to.

Please follow me on Twitter

Mar 30

Maybe Harvey’s Poor Spring Comes From Lack Of Work

Matt Harvey might not be pitching to midseason form, but his attitude has a July feel. Harvey’s poor pitching this spring continued Wednesday when he gave up a three-run homer to Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman, and after the game didn’t talk to reporters.

HARVEY: Had poor spring. (Getty)

HARVEY: Had poor spring. (Getty)

Reportedly, he didn’t like the coverage of his bladder treatment, and this is how he decided to handle it.

I’ll just say: If Harvey really wants to be considered an ace, then he needs to understand aces have a responsibility to talk with the media. And, if he’s as smart as he thinks he is, he had to know he would be asked how he felt considering his medical issue. It comes with the territory of being a star.

Real aces would understand. Anyway, Harvey has pitched like anything but a star.

His 1-2 record and 7.50 ERA is irrelevant. However, in 12 innings he’s given up 10 hits and nine walks for a 1.83 WHIP. Hitters are batting .302 against him. And, let’s not forget the six runs he gave up in a minor league game against the Cardinals.

“You can say whatever you want; it’s still spring training,” manager Terry Collins told reporters. “We’ll worry about how he throws the ball on Sunday night.”

So, what’s Harvey’s problem? All indications are his arm is fine, but he’s only pitched in four exhibition games. Normally, a starter would get six starts and work 30 innings. Perhaps, in an effort to protect Harvey, the Mets didn’t give him enough work.

Just a thought.

 

 

Mar 16

Interesting Fallout Created With Tejada Cut

When St. Louis shortstop Jhonny Peralta injured his left thumb there was immediate speculation the Cardinals would make a run at the Mets’ Ruben Tejada. It was thought the Mets might hang on to him after Asdrubal Cabrera hurt his knee, but that thinking was quickly dashed.

With Tejada clearing waivers and subsequently waived Wednesday, the initial thought of Tejada to the Cardinals seems like a slam dunk now since they don’t have to give up any players.

Another possibility, which would be the ultimate irony are the Los Angeles Dodgers with their shortstop Corey Seager is currently out with a knee injury and might not be ready for Opening Day.

With Cabrera possibly opening the season on the disabled list, and Tejada now gone, Wilmer Flores could be the Opening Day shortstop for the Mets. This scenario also opens the way for Matt Reynolds and Eric Campbell making the Opening Day roster, something nobody could have anticipated.

 

Mar 12

No Concerns About Colon Or Matz

On Saturday, the Cardinals took it to Bartolo Colon, and the day before the Nationals did likewise to Steven Matz. There’s no reason for the Mets to be concerned about either because there is still two weeks to go before the start of the season. There’s still plenty of time for both to get ready.

Colon gave up four runs on six hits in 3.2 innings. He’s been through this before.

“I feel healthy,” Colon told reporters through an interpreter, and isn’t that the most important thing? “Unfortunately, the way I pitched today, they gave me a little bit of a rough time and it wasn’t great. I thought I was throwing it where I wanted to, but the batters were about to get me. They took advantage”

These things happen. As long as Colon is not hurting, he’ll be fine.

Control was also the issue with Matz, as it often is the case with young pitchers early in spring training. Matz walked the first two batters he faced in the third, then gave up a single to load the bases. He threw 41 pitches in two-plus innings, but 27 were for strikes. Actually, that’s not too bad a ratio.

“I don’t think you ever care for walks,” Matz said Friday. I just got a little erratic there. It’s still early. … I felt good. I really wanted to stay in there and try to work out of that.”

The first thing pitchers want to accomplish early in spring training, and both Colon and Matz were making their second starts, is to be healthy, and that’s not an issue for either. Control, especially of breaking pitches, takes a few starts.

Healthwise, both are on schedule. There’s nothing for the Mets to be concerned about now.

 

 

Mar 10

Syndergaard Makes Us Wonder How High His Ceiling Can Be

It was just Noah Syndergaard‘s first exhibition start for the Mets, but you can’t help but wonder what his upside could be. Could it be higher than that of Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom? Syndergaard gave us a glimpse last year, but every time he takes the mound he has us wanting more.

SYNDERGAARD: How high is the ceiling? (AP)

SYNDERGAARD: How high is the ceiling? (AP)

“There’s always a debate about who’s going to be the best,” Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters. “This kid’s got a chance to be the guy.”

Harvey and deGrom breezed in their exhibition starts. Syndergaard put down the first eight Cardinals, gave up a hit, then got out of the third without a run. Syndergaard cruised.

Perhaps the reason for our attraction or interest in Syndergaard is how hard he throws. He was sitting on 98 mph. consistently today. When he really lets it loose, he’s over 100 mph. Harvey and deGrom put it in the high 90s, but 100 is a special number for a pitcher.

That’s Nolan Ryan territory, and he dominated until his 40s before his arm gave out.

“I felt great out there,” Syndergaard told reporters. “It’s just nice getting out there and getting your feet wet. I was a little amped up. It’s been a long wait to get on the mound, and to be able to get out there and compete. But, overall, l I think it was a pretty solid performance. There are a few things I’d like to continue to work on, just to make the game easier than it can be.”

The caveat, of course, is staying healthy. Harvey, deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler have all had Tommy John surgery. Syndergaard thinks about the same happening to him – a lot.

“I’ve thought about it quite a bit,” Syndergaard said. “But, I trust myself to put my body in the right situations to be able to perform at a healthy level.”

And, a healthy Syndergaard makes us wonder just how high that level can be.