May 14

Mets Wrap: Struggles Continue; Drop Into Third

It would happen eventually with the Mets, that their vaunted offense would sputter and couldn’t be carried by their pitching.

COLLINS: Bad call costs Mets. (AP)

COLLINS: Bad call costs Mets. (AP)

Logan Verrett, starting in place of Steven Matz, was shelled, and for the third straight game the offense provided little. Together it added up to a 7-4 loss Saturday night to the Colorado Rockies.

The loss, coupled with Philadelphia beating Cincinnati, dropped the Mets into third behind the Phillies. That’s third behind the Phillies.

The Mets were eight games over .500 when they began their season-long 11-game road trip. They close it out Sunday having already lost six games.

Manager Terry Collins insists on saying he has a power-hitting team, but they’ve only scored 29 runs in the ten games so far on this trip and scored three runs or less six times. Add to that Matt Harvey falling deeper into his funk; Matz is ailing; and Bartolo Colon was shelled in his last start.

Jacob deGrom hopes to put the brakes on this slide before the Mets return home to face Washington.

METS GAME WRAP

May 14, 2016

Game: #36   Score: Rockies 7, Mets 4

Record: 21-15  Streak: L 3

Standings: Third, NL East 1.5 GB Nationals and half-game behind Philadelphia   Playoffs Today: Second WC vs. Philadelphia

Runs: 143 Average: 3.97  Times 3 runs or less: 15

SUMMARY: Verrett was hammered, but by the time the offense showed signs of life in the sixth the hole was too deep.

KEY MOMENT:  Catcher Tony Wolters’ two-run double in the third broke the game open. The double came after a controversial call by home plate umpire Carlos Torres that resulted in Collins being ejected. Torres said the ball was tipped, but replays didn’t show it that way.

THUMBS UP: Neil Walker broke out of his slump with three hits, including getting back his home run trot (No. 10). … The Mets had 13 hits, including bunching four together in the sixth. … Another good appearance by Sean Gilmartin. … Ditto for Jim Henderson. … Two hits by David Wright, including a hustle double leading off the seventh.

THUMBS DOWN: Verrett gave up seven runs on ten hits in 2.2 innings. … Mets went 3-for-11 with RISP and left eight. … Only one walk? Hard to believe.

EXTRA INNINGS:  Matz might not throw tomorrow. The Mets haven’t said if he’s in or out of the Washington series. … DeGrom is 2-0 lifetime against the Rockies. … Wright could sit Sunday. There’s talk the Mets should drop Wright in the order, but his on-base percentage is a team-high .376.

QUOTEBOOK: “It’s unfair. No reason for it. [The hitter] was heading back to the dugout. [The umpire] said he heard it. You can’t challenge it. … It cost us the game. End of story.” – Collins on the blown call by umpire Torres.

BY THE NUMBERS: 43: Number of at-bats between homers for Walker. 

NEXT FOR METS:  DeGrom starts Sunday.

Please follow me on Twitter

May 13

Mets Wrap: Harvey Ripped Again

HARVEY: Struggles again. (Getty)

HARVEY: Struggles again. (Getty)

So much for an encore for Matt Harvey. Coming off his best start of the season and providing a reason for optimism, Harvey pitched out of early trouble but again caved in the middle innings in Friday night’s 5-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

Part of Harvey’s problem was a drop in velocity to 91 mph., to go along with his lack of command. Harvey (3-5, 4.93) didn’t walk a batter, but was consistently behind in the count.

Harvey gave five runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings, throwing 101 grueling pitches. This year he has given up 26 runs on 57 hits in 45.2 innings.

Tom Glavine always said he felt more tired after games in Coors Field because of the altitude. Whether that was the problem or something else, Harvey repeatedly was seen flexing his arm on the mound and he looked positively gassed after leading the game.

Once again following a Harvey start we are wondering what is wrong.

METS GAME WRAP

Game: #35   Record: 21-14   Streak: L 2

Standings: Second, NL East, 1 GB Washington

Runs: 139     Average per game: 3.97    Times scoring 3 runs or less: 15

SUMMARY:  Once again, Harvey labored in the middle innings, giving two runs in the fourth, and single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, to take his fifth loss of the season.

KEY MOMENT:  Harvey gave a leadoff single in the fifth to the opposing pitcher, Jon Gray, who scored the go-ahead run.

THUMBS UP: Kevin Plawecki’s two-run double in the second. … Asdrubal Cabrera’s play saved the Mets a run in the fifth. … A good bounce-back outing by Hansel Robles with two perfect innings.

THUMBS DOWN:  Harvey’s velocity, command and line. … Mets’ hitters struck out 11 times. … Only six hits. … David Wright struck out three times.

EXTRA INNINGS: The Mets’ 11-game winning streak over the Rockies was snapped. … Wright’s string of walks in 11 straight games ended. …  Wright is now on a 0-for-14 slide. … Michael Conforto tripled and is now 6-for-42.

QUOTEBOOK: “There are two types of people in this game. Those that have been humbled and those who are going to be humbled.” – Mets manager Terry Collins on Harvey’s troubles.

BY THE NUMBERS: 0-16: Harvey’s record when the Mets score two runs or less.

NEXT FOR METS:  Logan Verrett replaces Steven Matz Saturday. Jacob deGrom starts Sunday.

Please follow me on Twitter

May 11

Why We Love Jacob DeGrom

It wasn’t Jacob deGrom at his best, but perhaps it was vintage Jacob deGrom nonetheless.

DE GROM: True Grit. (AP)

DE GROM: True Grit. (AP)

Who didn’t have flashbacks to Game 5 of last year’s NLDS when deGrom gutted out six innings to give the Mets a chance to win? On Tuesday, despite lacking his best stuff and perfect mechanics, deGrom was all grit in guile in giving the Mets seven innings in the 3-2 loss to the Dodgers.

Sure, it would have been great for him to be rewarded with a win, even so watching deGrom squirm his way out of trouble was akin to John Elway scrambling to avoid the pass rush.

Watching deGrom is watching sport at its finest and why we love this guy. No drama, no excuses, just a player competing at the highest level.

“This night showed what Jake deGrom is made of,’’ manager Terry Collins told reporters. “We all talk about the ‘plus’ stuff. He’s fighting through some mechanical things right now, and this guy was in trouble for the first five innings.

“And yet you looked up and he gave you seven innings. That tells me a lot about him. … This guy is usually pinpoint, and he hasn’t been that. That’s why he’s been struggling. I’ll tell you one thing: I like running him out there every fifth day.’’

And I love watching him every fifth day.

Hopefully, fifteen years from now, when those long dark locks have been shorn and faded to gray, we’ll enjoy him at the end of a spectacular career.

All done in a Mets’ uniform.

May 11

Mets Wrap: DeGrom’s Outing Wasted

You hate to see good pitching go to waste, but that’s what happened in the Mets’ 3-2 loss to the Dodgers Tuesday night. Jacob deGrom gave up two runs in seven innings – good enough to win most games – but the Mets’ offense responded with an effort bad enough to lose most games.

Mets’ hitters struck out 13 times and only twice had as many as two runners on base in an inning at the same time.

The Dodgers scored the game-winning run in the ninth inning when Trayce Thompson homered off Hansel Robles. It came after Robles shook off catcher Kevin Plawecki’s call for a slider.

I have no problem with Robles shaking off the pitch, because as Plawecki explains in the Game Wrap, a pitcher must be confident in the pitch.

METS GAME WRAP

Game: #32   Record: 20-12   Streak: L 1

Standings: First, NL East

Runs: 137     Average per game: 4.3    Times scoring 3 runs or less: 13

SUMMARY:  The Mets’ all-or-nothing offense was nothing Tuesday night against Alex Wood and three relievers. They had five hits and two walks; went 1-for-7 with RISP; and struck out 13 times to waste a strong outing from deGrom.

KEY MOMENT:  In the second, Mets had two runs home and two runners on with no outs, but Wood regrouped to get the next three hitters.

THUMBS UP: DeGrom was grit again. … Yoenis Cespedes gunned down Adrian Gonzalez at second. … Two hits from Juan Lagares. … A RBI single from Plawecki. … Antonio Bastardo worms out of trouble in the eighth inning once again.

THUMBS DOWN:  After endorsing Michael Conforto, he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. It doesn’t matter, he still should’ve hit No. 3. … Three strikeouts by David Wright. … Lagares was picked off to end the fifth.

EXTRA INNINGS:  Be honest, after Chase Utley’s double in the first, how many people thought, “deGrom should have plunked him?’’ … After appearing in three straight games, Bastardo will likely not be available Wednesday night.

QUOTEBOOK: “I put the slider down. Ultimately, I want my pitcher to have conviction with what he’s throwing. And if he doesn’t feel comfortable throwing his slider in that situation, then I’ve got to trust him on that.’’ – Plawecki on Robles shaking off his call for a slider prior to Thompson’s game-winning homer.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3: Strikeouts by Cespedes in his last 10 games. During that span he has also walked seven times and driven in eight runs.

NEXT FOR METS:  Wednesday: Noah Syndergaard (2-2, 2.58) vs. RHP Kenta Maeda (3-1, 1.66). Thursday: Bartolo Colon (3-1, 2.82) vs. Kershaw (4-1, 2.02).

Please follow me on Twitter.

May 10

Mets Wrap: Another RBI, Another Brain Cramp By Cespedes

It is not piling on to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for getting doubled off second base to end the third inning Monday night in Los Angeles.

The play cost the Mets a run – Wright would have scored after tagging up – and consequently the game. The Mets came away lucky by beating the Dodgers, 4-2, but Cespedes shouldn’t come away blameless.

Manager Terry Collins called out Kevin Plawecki for not hitting. To be consistent, he needs to tell Cespedes to wake up.

Cespedes has all the tools – he has 11 homers already and is batting .303 with a .384 on-base percentage – but his hustle and concentration lapses are maddening to watch.

You can forgive a bad throw. You can forgive a dropped fly ball, unless, of course, when you hot dog it and try to make a one-handed catch.

But, you can’t forgive a brain cramp. You can’t forgive being lazy, which is what Ron Darling called him. However, Cespedes may have redeemed himself when he backed up Juan Lagares in the eighth when the latter dropped a fly ball.

I don’t expect perfection for $27.5 million, but I do expect him to think about what he’s doing in the field.

METS GAME WRAP

Game: #31   Record: 20-11   Streak: W 3

Standings: First, NL East

Runs: 137     Average per game: 4.4    Times scoring 3 runs or less: 12

SUMMARY:  Once again the Mets took an early lead – 3-0 after three innings – on homers by Curtis Granderson and Plawecki, and Cespedes’ RBI single, and Steven Matz made it stand up to improve his record to 5-1 this year and 9-1 overall in 12 career starts. Matz also helped his cause with a RBI double in the sixth.

KEY MOMENT:  After the Dodgers pulled within 3-2 on Trayce Thompson’s two-run homer in the fourth, Matz regrouped to strike out Howie Kendrick with the tying run on third.

THUMBS UP: Granderson homered to lead off the game. It’s the 37th game-opening homer of his career. … Plawecki hit a solo homer in the second, his first of the season. … Love that Collins had the hit-and-run on with Matz in the fourth. Didn’t work, but it was a good call. … Flores stole second in the fourth, but not without cutting his nose. … Matz gave up two runs in six innings with five strikeouts. … Cespedes leads the NL with 31 RBI. … Jim Henderson came back from being 2-0 in the count to strike out Yasiel Puig in the eighth. Henderson then got Thompson out on a pop up to end the inning. … Three hitless innings from the bullpen.

THUMBS DOWN: Cespedes being doubled off second in the third. … Matz throwing 98 pitches in six innings. As long as the Mets keep pulling their starters around 100 pitches, it is fair game to call them out on this. … Lagares’ error in the eighth. … Sunday’s hero, Antonio Bastardo, had a rocky eighth, hurt by Lagares’ error.

EXTRA INNINGS:  Chase Utley not in the starting lineup, which isn’t a surprise against the left Matz. … Bartolo Colon was named Co-NL Player of the Week with the Cubs’ Ben Zobrist. Remember him? … Did you know Mets’ pitchers have hit Utley 28 times with pitches?

QUOTEBOOK: [The issue of retaliation] was brought up. What happened, happened. We won the series; let’s not get anybody hurt,” – Collins on retaliation against Utley.

BY THE NUMBERS: 24-5: Mets’ scoring vs. opponents in the first inning.

NEXT FOR METS:  Jacob deGrom (3-1, 1.99) vs. Alex Wood (1-3, 5.18). Wednesday: Noah Syndergaard (2-2, 2.58) vs. RHP Kenta Maeds (3-1, 1.66). Thursday: Bartolo Colon (3-1, 2.82) vs. Kershaw (4-1, 2.02).

Please follow me on Twitter.