Mar 27

What’s Collins Really Thinking With His Lineup?

Here’s why I have trouble taking the Mets seriously at times. In today’s game against St. Louis, manager Terry Collins plans to bat Matt Harvey eighth.

Theoretically, it would enable him to bat Juan Lagares ninth followed by Curtis Granderson and David Wright.

COLLINS: What's he really thinking?

COLLINS: What’s he really thinking?

“I know in our market it’s a big issue. It’ll be a headline, back-page story,’’ Collins told reporters the other day. “But I’ll just do it to see what it looks like. Nothing more than that.’’

So, why do it then? That question becomes more pertinent when you consider the rest of the lineup.

First of all, if this is done to bunch your speed at the top of the order, you can do it the traditional way. The problem is Lagares isn’t even in the lineup, so the initial point is automatically defeated. Traditionally – and why is it tradition is such a taboo word in baseball these days? – a team’s best hitter, which is the combination of average and power, bats third. And, with the Mets that is Wright.

Today, it is Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who admittedly has had a good spring, but will open the season on the bench. Collins also has Michael Cuddyer clean-up and Wilmer Flores fifth – where neither will be during the season – Eric Campbell at first and Danny Muno at second. Campbell is a role player and Muno likely won’t make the team.

Spring training is in part used to experiment. Fine, but it you’re going to experiment then at least do it in such a way that you’ll get somewhat of an idea of how things will be in the season.

Here’s today’s Mets’ lineup:

Curtis Granderson, rf: Will bat leadoff only if Lagares can’t do the job, which means that’s another issue.

David Wright, 3b: Is having a good spring and should bat third until he proves he can’t.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf: Will make the team in part because he’s had a good spring, but also because he’s out of options.

Michael Cuddyer, lf: Won’t hit clean-up as that’s reserved for Lucas Duda. We’ll see how long he lasts in left field.

Wilmer Flores, ss: Is playing with a bruised foot. Let’s hope he doesn’t get re-injured. Even so, I can’t see him hitting this high in the order.

Travis d’Arnaud, c: He hasn’t had a great spring hitting, but I can see him in the sixth slot at times.

Eric Campbell, 1b: Valuable role player.

Matt Harvey, rhp: Yes, the DH is used to spread out at-bats, but they hit in the National League. How many games did the Mets lose because their pitcher was an automatic out or couldn’t advance a runner? Bottom line: The batters should hit more during spring training.

Danny Muno, 2b: Is making a push to make the team, however if Daniel Murphy isn’t ready then Ruben Tejada should be playing more at the end of spring training.

So, there you have it, the Mets’ order one-through-nine. Of the nine spots, only d’Arnaud at sixth seems like something they’ll do during the season.

Collins has wasted today’s batting order and made today a joke. Is that what he really wanted to do, or is he sending a message to GM Sandy Alderson? And, what could that message be? Perhaps that he doesn’t have a legitimate leadoff hitter? Or that Granderson really isn’t a good fit for this team?

I’m sure there are others, and you don’t have to look that hard.

 

Mar 17

Mets Matters: Alderson On Defensive; Pitching Injuries; Beat Marlins

Mets GM Sandy Alderson defended the organization’s handling of Zack Wheeler’s injury. However, as is often the case with Alderson, there were holes in his argument.

“Why would we treat somebody like [Matt] Harvey with the kind of caution that we did and then throw somebody else under the bus – somebody of essentially equal value to us as an organization?’’ Alderson said to reporters today. “That wouldn’t make any sense. I understand people can debate the number of pitches and the number of innings and this and that. We simply wouldn’t treat two guys that differently.’’

mets-matters logoHowever, Harvey was shut down shortly after the All-Star break in 2013 while Wheeler continued to pitch at the end of last season.

Wheeler flew to New York this evening and will be examined tomorrow by Dr. David Altchek.

METS PITCHING INJURIES: For those scoring at home, the following Mets’ pitchers had significant arm injuries during Alderson’s tenure: Harvey, Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Bobby Parnell, Dillon Gee, Johan Santana, Jenrry Mejia, Jeremy Hefner and Jon Niese.

TODAY’S GAME: DeGrom was again sparkling, giving up one hit in five scoreless innings with six strikeouts in Tuesday’s 6-4 victory over Miami in Port St. Lucie. DeGrom gave up a single to the first batter he faced, and then retired 14 straight hitters. … Kevin Plawecki hit a solo homer and Johnny Monell hit a three-run, pinch-hit homer in the eighth for the game-winner.

EXTRA INNINGS: David Wright left the team to return to Virginia for what the family termed a “family matter.’’ He is scheduled to return to camp Tuesday night. … Reliever Vic Black, who has been sidelined with weakness in his throwing shoulder, resumed throwing Tuesday. He threw on flat ground and might not get on a mound until Friday. … Parnell, who had been penciled in to throw in a minor league game today, has been pushed back several days. Parnell said there were no problems, but didn’t say why his session was delayed. … The Mets have their lone day off of the spring Wednesday.

 

 

Mar 17

Today’s Game And Lineups

Jacob deGrom will start for the Mets Tuesday against Miami in Port St. Lucie. He will be followed by LHP Steven Matz, RHP Akeel Morris and RHP Jenrry Mejia.

DeGrom will throw up to 60 pitches in four innings.

METS LINEUP:

Juan Lagares, cf

Curtis Granderson, rf

Micheal Cuddyer, lf

Lucas Duda, 1b

Daniel Murphy, 2b

Wilmer Flores, ss

Travis d’Arnaud, c

Kevin Plawecki, dh

Alex Castellanos, 3b

Jacob deGrom, rhp

 

NOTES: David Wright left the team to return to Virginia for what the family termed a “family matter.’’ He is scheduled to return to camp Tuesday night. … Reliever Vic Black, who has been sidelined with weakness in his throwing shoulder, resumed throwing Tuesday. He threw on flat ground and might not get on a mound until Friday. … Closer Bobby Parnell, who had been penciled in to throw in a minor league game today, has been pushed back several days. Parnell said there were no problems, but didn’t say why his session was delayed.

Mar 06

Mets Wrap: Harvey Couldn’t Ask For Better Day

With the exception of a few more innings, Matt Harvey couldn’t have asked for more in his first mound appearance with the Mets since August of 2013. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, Harvey’s rehab culminated in two perfect innings in Friday’s 5-4 exhibition victory over Detroit. Harvey struck out three and his fastball topped out at 99 mph.

HARVEY: Perfect start. (Getty)

HARVEY: Perfect start. (Getty)

Harvey was immensely pleased with his performance, and more importantly, with how he felt.

“Things felt so good that the fact that I did have surgery is completely out of my mind,’’ Harvey told reporters. “The big thing is I was happy throwing strikes and not walking anybody. Those are the things you try to work on.

“Especially hearing things about guys going through this process and having tough command, for me, that was the big thing that I was focusing on today. And I was pretty happy about it.’’

Harvey threw only 25 pitches and joked with manager Terry Collins about pitching a few more innings, knowing it wouldn’t happen.

The Mets haven’t clearly defined how they will limit Harvey’s innings this year, but he spoke with dialing down how much, and how hard, he throws between starts.

Of course, with any pitcher coming back from arm surgery, the key is how he feels Saturday. If all is positive, he is scheduled to pitch Wednesday against Miami in Jupiter.

MURPHY INJURED: Daniel Murphy sustained a bone bruise and left Friday’s game after being struck by a David Price pitch on the top of his right hand in the second inning.

He was replaced by Ruben Tejada and is considered day-to-day.

EXTRA INNINGS: Shortstop prospect Matt Reynolds homered off Joe Mantiply in the bottom of the ninth to win the game. … Matt den Dekker hit a two-run double. … The Mets committed three errors. … Justin and Jaden Ramos, sons of Rafael Ramos, a NYPD officer murdered in December, were guests of David Wright and served as batboys. … Jacob deGrom will start Saturday against Atlanta at Port St. Lucie. The game will be on WPIX-11.

 

Mar 03

Wright Flashes Captain’s Bars To Syndergaard

David Wright gets it and always has. Now let’s see if the same can be said for Noah Syndergaard. The Mets’ captain reprimanded the young pitcher Tuesday for being in the clubhouse eating lunch instead of being on the bench for the intrasquad game.

Without getting in Syndergaard’s face, Wright let it be known Syndergaard’s place was in the dugout, not in an air-conditioned clubhouse. It’s something a team captain should do.

WRIGHT: Shows leadership skills. (AP)

WRIGHT: Shows leadership skills. (AP)

Syndergaard did not immediately move until Bobby Parnell picked up the rookie’s plate and dumped it in the trash.

Call that an exclamation point.

Wright is the captain for a reason, and that is to not only be a good example, but make sure his teammates understand.

“Being a young player, any chance you get to learn, you go out there and learn,’’ Wright told Newsday. “I’m not a big ranter and raver. When I get on somebody, it’s 99-percent private. I’m not going to yell and scream, but when I speak to somebody, when I get on somebody, the point needs to be taken.’’

The Mets have pointed to this year as when they could be competitive and possibly even challenge for the playoffs. Syndergaard is counted on to be a integral piece in the Mets’ development, and if he’s to become what they hope, he must learn how to win.

And, that includes learning the protocols of a clubhouse. If Syndergaard is to eventually be a leader, he can’t be if he’s eating in the clubhouse during a game – even an intrasquad game.

Wright was teaching. He showed Syndergaard there is a right way and a wrong way to being a teammate.

Syndergaard should have known better, but made a mistake. He said he didn’t think it was a big deal, and in the grand scheme of things, maybe it wasn’t. But, Syndergaard hasn’t been around long enough to make that decision.

Championship teams are built on little things, and that’s why Wright thought it was a big deal. Lecturing Syndergaard is as much a part of his job description as driving in runs and playing third base.

If he doesn’t step forward, then who will?

“I understand where David was coming from,’’ Syndergaard told Newsday. “We’re playing a team sport. I should be out there supporting my teammates.’’

Often, there is a mental turning point in a player’s career, as if a light switch was flipped. Maybe Wright turned it on for Syndergaard.