Here’s tonight’s lineup for the Mets at Philadelphia:
The thing that stands out about the recent Daniel Murphy trade rumors is the lack of denials from the New York Mets. None. Sure, scouts look at players all the time and we shouldn’t be surprised San Francisco was in over the weekend to look at Murphy. It stands to reason considering the Giants have a Pablo Sandoval size hole at third base.
It is no coincidence Murphy was moved to third to be showcased when Dilson Herrera was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas.
It also comes as no surprise the Mets have made no overtures to extend Murphy’s contract. And, they have had plenty of time.
It all makes sense, except for one thing: The Mets are playing winning baseball and Murphy, although not hitting well, does have a pile of RBI since he was moved into a run-producing slot in the batting order.
So, what happens in the next couple of weeks when David Wright comes off the disabled list? Especially if Herrera is hitting?
Who can’t see the Mets trying to unload Murphy?
But, if theMets accept token players, minor league scraps, if you will, while having their best season in six years, if should tell you a lot about GM Sandy Alderson and what management really considers as a priority.
My guess is winning isn’t ranked first.
Matt Harvey did what aces are expected to do, which was pick up his struggling Mets when they needed him most with a 4-0 gem tonight over the Washington Nationals.
The Mets went into the game losers of three straight to watch their once sizable lead over the Nationals dwindle down to five games (4.5 over Atlanta and Miami). Yes, tonight was as close to being a “must win” game as you can get on the first day of May.
Harvey relishes these situations and responded by giving up only five hits in seven scoreless innings despite not having his best fastball (indicative of only three strikeouts). Consequently, Harvey had to go to his breaking ball more than he normally would have wanted.
His 5-0 record is comprised with three victories following a Mets’ loss. Earlier today I wrote about what makes Harvey special, but there’s another reason – he can locate all of his pitches and do so without his best fastball.”
It was thought Harvey, who was aided by Michael Cuddyer‘s homer in the fourth and a diving catch by Juan Lagares‘ diving catch in the fifth, might come out for the eighth, but Collins said he didn’t think he had anything left.
“I thought he had run out of gas,” Collins said. “He was starting to labor between pitches. The one thing I didn’t want to do was to have to go out there if and they got a guy on and you have to go out and get him.”
Harvey had no qualms with Collins’ decision.
“I think he made the right decision,” Harvey said. “He did exactly what he needed to do. He made the right call.”
This put the Mets in position of having to rely on Jeurys Familia for a fifth-out save. What could have been a tense situation was considerably relaxed with Daniel Murphy‘s three-run double in the eighth.
Harvey called Familia’s effort “huge,” but the same can be said for his.
As special as the Mets played Wednesday, today was important for another reason. After winning their tenth straight game last night, there was tremendous letdown potential for today, but this team would have no part of such talk as it tied a franchise best with its eleventh straight victory in sweeping a ten-game home stand.
It was cold, the stands were mostly empty, and there were moments of sloppiness. Daniel Murphy blew a play in the field that lead to a pair of Atlanta runs; Wilmer Flores was picked off second; and the hitting was sporadic.
However, the offense drew eight walks; Bartolo Colon was sharp again in winning his fourth straight start; Murphy drove in four runs; and the bullpen was again in shutdown mode, keyed by another strong appearance from Buddy Carlyle and Jeurys Familia‘s eighth straight save in a 6-3 victory over the Braves.
To win despite not being sharp is another significant sign in a season that already has had so many. The starting pitching; the bullpen; winning close games; winning within the division; coming from behind; just about everything they haven’t done in previous seasons.
What the Mets are doing is changing the perception, which might be one of the hardest things to do in sports.
“That was one of our goals coming out of spring training, that we are different,” manager Terry Collins said. “There are expectations. This sends a huge message to our fans that what we said we meant.”
Previous Mets teams would not have over come the long string of injuries and adversity that has already hit them hard this season.
“It has been the resiliency,” Collins said of the one ingredient that defined the home stand. “We have been behind in a lot of the nights, but we hung in there and executed.”
The Mets had spotty moments today and will have some in the future. However, Collins vowed this team is different and will handle those moments different than from other recent Mets’ teams.
“Whether it will be in the next week, the next six weeks, the next four months, there will be no panic with this team,” Collins promised.
He sounded believable.
Now they face losing David Wright indefinitely with a pulled right hamstring. Wright is undergoing a MRI this morning and Eric Campbell has already been flown in. Wright will go to the disabled list, but with this type of injury, for how long is anybody’s guess.
They’ve played fast and loose with injuries – including to Wright before – but they can’t afford to screw around this time. Wright needs to go on the DL, and even admitted as such.
Several times Wright – by his own admission – foolishly tried to play through an injury. He tried to test it last night, but left the field quickly.
“`I knew it was something bad,” said manager Terry Collins, who added normally would wrap it up and play the next day.
Not this time and Wright knows it.
In a concession to age and experience, not to mention leadership, Wright said: “The last thing I want to do is go out there and do what I did a couple of years ago, where I feel something, you don’t say anything, you try to play through it and you end up missing a significant amount of time rather than something that’s relatively shorter.”
Wright’s injury exposed the Mets’ thin bench as back-up catcher Anthony Recker played first base.
It was a close game and they were lucky nothing happened. They are obviously exposed and it came close to biting them last night.
GM Sandy Alderson might not like it, but he must put together a conventional roster.