Jun 21

Yup, Wheeler Is Fine … Except Goes On DL

What did I tell you about believing the injury denials from the Mets and their pitchers? Right, don’t believe a word they say. Less than 48 hours after saying there was nothing wrong with him, Mets starter Zack Wheeler was placed on the 10-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis.

WHEELER: Goes on DL. (AP)

WHEELER: Goes on DL. (AP)

“I’ve been feeling for a little while now and it has gotten a little worse,’’ Wheeler told reporters prior to Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers. “I could miss a start or two.’’

That’s not exactly the same thing as “I feel fine.’’

An MRI showed no structural damage and GM Sandy Alderson expects Wheeler to miss one start, but that’s being optimistic. Alderson speculates Wheeler might have hit a wall after missing the last two years following Tommy John surgery.

Wheeler’s next start will go to tonight’s starter, Tyler Pill, or Rafael Montero.

Wheeler, 27, is 3-5 with a 5.29 ERA after two straight horrendous starts in which he’s given up 15 runs while working 3.2 innings. He’s worked 66.1 innings, a little more than half of what his projected innings ceiling would be.

The Mets went to a six-man rotation, in part, to protect Wheeler. An innings limit shouldn’t be an issue any longer, but the six-man rotation could be gone without Wheeler and Matt Harvey.

“Neither the starting pitching nor the relief pitching is doing very well, and that’s been true over the last week or so with the exception of Jacob deGrom,’’ Alderson said. “We’re working hard to correct it. We haven’t seen any results at this point.’’

Just the last week or so?

Jun 16

Scherzer Toys With Fading Mets

“It’s only June … it’s still early,” some people say when talk turns to the Mets already falling out of the pennant race and becoming sellers at the trade deadline.

However, what the calendar reads and what the NL East standings say are pretty much in sync after tonight’s 7-2 loss to the Nationals.

SCHERZER: Couldn't touch him. (AP)

SCHERZER: Couldn’t touch him. (AP)

After being blown away by Max Scherzer – and Steven Matz giving up three homers – the Mets find themselves 10.5 games behind the Nationals and 11 out of the wildcard, and their season slipping away.

Rapidly slipping away.

Realistically, the Mets needed to win three out of four, if not sweep this series, to have a chance to catch Washington. The best they can hope for now is a split, and they’ll face Stephen Strasburg tomorrow.

Mets’ hitters managed one run on four hits against Scherzer in eight innings and struck out ten times. If there was a turning point in the game it came in the second when the Mets had two on and nobody out, but Scherzer got Travis d’Arnaud to ground into a double play.

“You saw he got really locked in around the third inning,’’ manager Terry Collins said. “You can’t him to get the lead on you.”

Scherzer is now 7-4 lifetime against the Mets, including a 17-strikeout, no-hitter two years ago.

TRANSACTIONS: The Mets placed Juan Lagares and Matt Harvey on the 10-day disabled list and recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas infielder Matt Reynolds and outfielder Brandon Nimmo.

UP NEXT: Seth Lugo (1-0, 1.29) goes against Stephen Strasburg (7-2, 3.27) Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, Jacob deGrom (5-3, 4.33) starts against Joe Ross (3-2, 6.39).

Jun 12

Mets Wrap: DeGrom Turns In Gem

It appears the real Jacob deGrom has been found. Backed by three home runs and four double plays, deGrom dominated the Cubs, 6-1, in the second complete game of his career.

“This was definitely big,” deGrom said. “I struggled in those last two starts, but I had to put that behind me.”

DE GROM: Resurfaces with gem. (AP)

DE GROM: Resurfaces with gem. (AP)

DeGrom gave up 15 runs in his previous two starts and concluded his front shoulder was flying open, a flaw he corrected by tucking his glove against his hip on the delivery to the plate.

“I was trying to stay within myself and not do too much. I concentrated on keeping the ball down and trying to get groundballs.”

Of the 27 outs, deGrom got 17 on the ground, including 4-6-3 double plays in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

DeGrom was in such command that the only question was whether manager Terry Collins would let him go nine. He had 106 pitches through eight and needed only ten in the ninth to finish his masterpiece.

“[I came in after the eighth inning] and said I wanted to finish,” said deGrom, who gave up one run on five hits and four walks with six strikeouts.

CABRERA MAKES STATEMENT: With two homers, Asdrubal Cabrera made a statement he’s not done yet.

Cabrera’s defense has been shaky – he committed another error tonight – but he made two sparkling plays Sunday. He also made a scintillating play in the seventh inning when he made a sliding, backhanded play to throw out Javier Baez.

The Mets needed a replay challenge to get the out, which turned out to be important because the next hitter, Addison Russell, homered.

CESPEDES NOT READY: The Mets have to baby Yoenis Cespedes as it is clear he wasn’t ready to come off the disabled list. He left the game in the fifth with a sore left heel.

He’s been told not to run hard if he thinks he will be out, and the Mets have to give him extra rest, which means they’ll have to play shorthanded.

Collins said Cespedes is scheduled to play tomorrow night, but my guess is he will sit.

The Mets’ best move would be to put Cespedes back on the disabled list for another two weeks. Better that than have him reinjure his hamstring and have him miss at least a month.

METS DRAFT LEFTY: With the 20th selection in the amateur draft, the Mets selected Oregon lefthander David Peterson.

Peterson, 6-6 and 240 pounds, went 11-4 with a 2.51 ERA this season, and had a 20-strikeout game against Arizona State. Overall, he had 140 strikeouts and 125 walks in 100.1 innings.

“He has been a tremendous man since he stepped foot on campus,” Oregon coach George Horton told The Register-Guard. “I always feel blessed as a coach to be around quality humans like him and when they perform spectacularly like that to go with what kind of a young man he is, that’s great. I hope everything goes well for him in the draft, and he gets what he wants because he deserves everything he gets.”

EXTRA INNINGS: With a double and homer, Bruce is on pace to have 84 extra-base hits this season which would set a club record. Bruce also added an eighth-inning single. … The Mets have beaten the Cubs in seven straight games at Citi Field.

UP NEXT: Zack Wheeler (3-3, 3.45, 1-0, 1.35 ERA lifetime vs Cubs) gets the ball tonight. Wheeler is 8-13 with a 4.38 lifetime at Citi Field. … He is coming off a no-decision in his last start despite giving up one run in seven innings last Wednesday against the Rangers.

 

Jun 12

Mets’ Lineup, June 12, Cubs

When Terry Collins was asked the other day about pinch-hitting for Michael Conforto with Yoenis Cespedes, he said he wasn’t unhappy with Conforto and just wanted to give Cespedes an at-bat.

Conforto isn’t in the lineup tonight, but the Mets are saying it is because of back stiffness, however, he’s available to pinch-hit. However, there’s no word on if anything is wrong with Wilmer Flores.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Curtis Granderson – CF: Is .260 (27-104) lifetime vs. Cubs. … Is hitting .319 with 11 extra-base hits and 11 RBI over last 24 games.

Neil Walker – 2B: Is .269 (87-323) lifetime vs. Cubs. … Hit .321 with four homers and 18 RBI during May.

Cespedes – LF: Is .256 (10-39) lifetime vs. Cubs. Came off DL and hit grand slam Saturday.

Jay Bruce – RF: CF: Is .255 (118-463) lifetime vs. Cubs. … Leads Mets with 16 homers and 43 RBI.

Lucas Duda – 1B: Is .217 (23-106) lifetime vs. Cubs. … Has six homers with 15 RBI.

Asdrubal Cabrera – SS: Is .250 (5-20) lifetime vs. Cubs. … Hopefully snapped out of defensive funk Sunday in Atlanta.

Travis d’Arnaud – C: Is .294 (10-34) lifetime vs. Cubs. … Hot with three homers in last 10 games.

Jose Reyes – 3B: Is .273 (53-194) lifetime vs. Cubs. … Hit .133 on trip.

Jacob deGrom – RHP: Is 17-12 with a .217 ERA in 43 career starts at home. … Is 1-2 with 5.31 lifetime vs. Cubs.

ON DECK:  Breaking news and/or Mets Game wrap.

Jun 12

Mets Need The Real DeGrom

Even when the Mets had a healthy Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey on staff, Jacob deGrom was still the best they had to offer. Nothing seemed to rattle him; he had no prima donna instincts; he had the best combination of velocity and command.

DE GROM: Needs to find himself. (AP)

DE GROM: Needs to find himself. (AP)

DeGrom said he’s healthy which is what makes his sluggish start so puzzling.

The 4-3 record isn’t such a big deal because it can be written off as a lack of run support or a leaky bullpen. However, the 15 runs he’s allowed in his last two starts and 4.75 ERA are particularly head scratching.

We’re used to seeing deGrom give up 15 runs in a month – maybe five starts – not eight innings in his last two. That’s not deGrom.

“It’s frustrating, but I’ve been able to go out and pitch that way, and you have to make an adjustment,” deGrom said after his last start against the Rangers. “You have what you have that day and I’ve done a poor job of that my last two starts, not being able to get outs without having my best stuff, which in the past I was able to do.”

DeGrom said he’s been able to pinpoint the problem but can’t get a handle on the solution. It’s akin to having an itch in the middle of your back and not being able to scratch.

In detailing his problems against the Rangers in his last start, deGrom said: “If you look at my misses, they were either to a righty down and away or up-and-in,” deGrom told reporters last week in Texas. “I’m either yanking the ball or it’s sailing on me, so that tells me it’s rotational.

“This game is not easy. These are big league hitters and when you make mistakes over the middle of the plate, that kind of thing happens, which obviously I have done over my last two starts.”

DeGrom said he’s flying open too soon with his front shoulder while striding to the plate. This is about timing, about muscle memory, and about the placement of his lead arm and shoulder as he begins his stride toward the plate.

Is this related to his elbow surgery? DeGrom says no; he says he’s not ailing.

DeGrom has always been honest and not condescending, unlike Harvey and Syndergaard have been in the past.