Oct 06

Leadoff Hitter Remains A Nagging Question

Of all the Mets’ off-season questions, the matter of their leadoff hitter is one of the most intriguing. That is especially if their intent is to fill it from within.

With no budding Lou Brock or Rickey Henderson in their farm system, their best hope is on their current 40-man roster. I say that because there’s no real answer in the free-agent market and they are reluctant to trade their young pitching.

The primary in-house candidates are Eric Young, Juan Lagares, Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. All have something they could bring to the table, but all have issues to the negative.

Young, Lagares and Nieuwenhuis have speed, but also rather low on-base percentages and a penchant for striking out too much.

Of the group, Murphy is the best hitter, but for a relatively weak lineup he’s better suited for a run-producing slot in the middle of the order. Also, Murphy’s on-base percentage, at .332, isn’t as lofty as one might think.

If Murphy is still here – a substantial question – he should be hitting between second and sixth.

As for Young, there’s an excellent chance it will be a moot point and not be brought back.

Last winter, manager Terry Collins toyed with the idea of experimenting with Tejada. The catch here is Tejada needs a position to play and that means starting ahead of Wilmer Flores, which isn’t a given.

Mets’ 11 different leadoff hitters ranked last in the majors with a .235 average and paltry a .308 on-base percentage. If they want to change that, they’ll have to hope for a breakout season from the names suggested or be willing to spend.

Sep 12

Mets Flat Against Nats; Colon Implodes

Terry Collins earned his extension after last season because his team played hard, alert and aggressive baseball for him down the stretch.

They did anything but Thursday night. They talk about finishing on a high note, but in their 6-2 loss to Washington looked too much like the “same old Mets’’ of the past few seasons.

COLON: Raked by Nats (Getty)

COLON: Raked by Nats (Getty)

Bartolo Colon started digging the hole early by giving up a two-run homer to Adam LaRoche and then hitting Ian Desmond in the first. In the fourth, he hit Jayson Werth after Anthony Rendon homered.

In the second, Colon’s throwing error led to an unearned run.

Colon was tossed in the fourth to force Terry Collins to go deep into his bullpen. Not a good way to start a four-game series with the Nationals.

“I was surprised,” Colon told, “because … I hit Desmond after the home run and nothing happened.’’

That’s the point. Desmond was hit in the first, but it didn’t look blatant. Werth was another matter, and Colon knows that, even without an admission.

“That was a two-seam fastball that moved inside to him,’’ Colon said of the pitch to Werth. “I was trying to pitch him inside.’’

Despite the ejection, Colon probably wasn’t long for the game anyway as his last pitch was No. 70, it was the fourth inning and the Mets were down six and well on their way of losing their 12th straight Washington at home, and 26th in their last 30 at Citi Field.

There’s being bad, but a team can’t be dominated that much at home to a division opponent. That’s not the way to a winning season.

Neither is their offense, which only once in the 12 games against the Nationals this season scored more than three runs.

Last night, the Mets hit into two double plays, including Travis d’Arnaud losing track of the outs and was doubled off first on Dilson Herrara’s infield pop-up in the second. In another base running blunder, Eric Young was thrown out attempting to reach third on an errant pickoff. Overall, the Mets left six runners on and went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

NOTEBOOK: Daniel Murphy left the game in the eight when he was hit on his left wrist by a Matt Thornton fastball. Murphy said he doesn’t believe he was hit intentionally as retaliation for Colon. Don’t bet on him playing tomorrow. … Dillon Gee (6-7, 3.74) goes against Gio Gonzalez (8-9, 3.78).

 

Mar 22

Three Homers Power Mets To 10-2 Win Over Marlins

The Mets banged out 13 hits including three home runs to beat the Miami Marlins by a score of 10-2 on Saturday at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.

There were a lot of great story lines in this game for the Mets, but let’s begin with Travis d’Arnaud, who blasted a two-run homer against Miami Marlins lefthander Brad Hand. The home run snapped a hitless streak that had lasted 21 at-bats for the Mets Opening Day catcher.

Apparently, d’Arnaud and hitting coach Dave Hudgens spent some considerable time together on Friday and hopefully this was a sign that things will now improve for 25-year old backstop.

“I’m seeing the ball well,” d’Arnaud said. “I’m just over-swinging. Yesterday me and ‘Hudgy’ just worked on keeping my eye on the ball. If you keep your eye on the ball, you have a higher chance of succeeding than when you don’t see the ball hit the bat.”

More Highlights:

Perhaps the biggest star on the day was Bartolo Colon  who pitched all the way into the seventh inning and got the win. Colon tossed 6.2 innings and allowed two earned runs on five hits while walking none and striking out three. He threw over 80% of his pitches for strikes including 18 of them in a row at one point in the game. Collins was right – this guy is a strike-throwing machine. Additionally, Colon singled, drove in a run, and nearly beat out a grounder for an infield hit, much to the delight of the crowd who gave him a big ovation. This guy is going to be a lot of fun!

Wilmer Flores with a three hit, four RBI day that include a three-run shot – his second homer of the year. Flores leads the Mets in RBIs this Spring, but will likely begin the season in Triple-A Las Vegas. That’s unfortunate.

Ike Davis had his second big day in a row. After going 3-for-3 on Friday, Davis celebrated his 27th birthday by ripping a two-run homer off Marlins closer Steve Cishek. It was his second home run of the spring and he’s now 5-for-15 with four extra-base hits. Lucas Duda had the day off.

How about Chris Young? He reached base 5 times today and is having himself a fantastic spring. Young finished his day going 3-for-3 with a walk and two steals.

Eric Young Jr. batted leadoff and collected a single and a walk in four plate appearances while stealing a pair of bases including third.

Up Next:

The Mets play a pair of split squad games on Sunday. Jenrry Mejia opposes Washington Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark at 1:10 PM at Port St. Lucie, while John Lannan opposes Atlanta Braves right-hander Freddy Garcia at 1:05 PM at Disney.

Mar 18

This Is What The Mets Should Do Immediately

There’s a distinction between ideal and reality for the New York Mets. Ideally, they’d like a healthy Ike Davis or Lucas Duda at first base, to hit 30 home runs and build a consistent attack around them.

However, reality has the Mets – according to ESPN – still trying to deal Davis, and both with nagging leg injuries.

DAVIS:  Time to think DL. (AP)

DAVIS: Time to think DL. (AP)

Neither had significant time this spring and are not running. With Opening Day less than two weeks away, they won’t get the time needed and quite possibly be healed.

That leads us to the reality, and it is harsh.

GM Sandy Alderson is dreaming if he believes he can deal Davis now. Alderson’s bargaining power is even less than it was during the winter.

Davis is hard to move because of his recent production and health issues. He’s even harder now with a nothing spring training. The best option with Davis is for him to open the season on the disabled list and just get well.

The same goes for Duda. Nobody expects anything from either, so let’s move on. Do it now and give what is suggested a time to jell.

Putting Davis on the disabled list is the lead domino, because other moves will follow, and there’s precious little time remaining to get cohesive.

They begin with moving Daniel Murphy, who has the experience, to first base. I previously suggest this spring to use Wilmer Flores because he can play the infield corners, but force-feeding him another position could backfire.

Of course, first base is a power position and Murphy won’t give much. Then again, how much power have they been given by Davis and Duda? I’d rather have Murphy’s .285 average and unimpressive on-base percentage than Davis’ .205 average and thundering nine homers.

With Murphy at first, Eric Young can be moved from left field to second base.

I always wanted Young in the starting lineup because I believe he helps the Mets more offensively in the leadoff position than Juan Lagares would defensively in center field.

This enables the Mets to give Lagares at-bats on the major league level instead of at Triple-A Las Vegas.

There are potential glitches, but it at least keeps the Mets afloat.

Mar 18

Mets Lineup, March 18

Daisuke Matsuzaka, who presumably has won the fifth starter role, starts today for the Mets against Detroit.

Here’s the lineup behind him:

Eric Young, 2b

Chris Young, lf

David Wright, 3b

Curtis Granderson, rf

Josh Satin, dh

Eric Campbell, 1b

Wilmer Flores, ss

Travis d’Arnaud, c

Juan Lagares, cf

LINEUP COMMENTS: With the report GM Sandy Alderson continues to shop Ike Davis, it isn’t hard to see what the Mets are doing. By playing Eric Young at second base, the logical fallout will be moving Daniel Murphy to first base and keep Juan Lagares on the major league roster as the starting center fielder.

ON DECK: Lineup the Mets should field on Opening Day.