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).

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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).

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May 06

Mets Wrap: DeGrom Doesn’t Have It And Offense Sputters

METS GAME WRAP

Game: #27 May 5: at San Diego Score: Padres 5, Mets 3 Record: 17-10 Streak: L1

Standings: Second, NL East 1.5 GB Nationals Playoffs Today: First WC vs. Pittsburgh

Runs: 123 Average: 4.5 Times 3 or less: 11

ANALYSIS: Are you getting the feeling the Mets are becoming an “all-or-nothing’’ team? It’s starting look that way for me, because despite all those home runs they have scored three runs or less in 11 out of their 27 games (40 percent). That further underscores the need to manufacture runs in not overrated.

DeGROM: Spot flaw. (GETTY)

DeGROM: Spot flaw. (GETTY)

SUMMARY: Colin Rea’s no-hit bid was broken up in the seventh inning. Jacob deGrom (3-1) took his first loss of the season and later said he pinpointed a mechanical flaw of opening up to much and falling to the first place side in his delivery. This flaw gives the hitter a split second extra to identify the pitch. Perhaps he can help Matt Harvey.

KEY MOMENT: San Diego scored in each of the first three innings to take control of the game.

 THUMBS UP: That deGrom recognized his flaw. … Home runs by Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes, giving the Mets 42 on the year. … A hit by Kevin Plawecki. No, they did not stop the game to give him the ball.

 THUMBS DOWN: Their all-or-nothing offense. … DeGrom’s mechanics. … Logan Verrett gave up two runs in two innings. Could they be using him too much?

 EXTRA INNINGS: This is the Mets’ longest road trip of the season. … Asdrubal Cabrera was hitless, but has at least one hit in his 26 starts. … With his homer, Cespedes has hit four in his last eight games. … Michael Conforto went 0-for-4 and is hitless in four of his last five games, going 1-for-19. Averages drop quickly this time of year, but his has gone from .365 after the April 30 game (the day before going 0-5 against Madison Bumgarner to .301 after today’s game.

 QUOTEBOOK: “[Our pitching] didn’t make the pitches we normally make and gave up a lot of hits,’’ manager Terry Collins on deGrom and Verrett.

BY THE NUMBERS: 9: Strikeouts by Conforto in his last five games.

NEXT FOR METS: Noah Syndergaard goes for the Mets. Opposing base runners are 8-for-8 in steal attempts against Syndergaard in his last two starts.

 

May 04

Mets Wrap: Power Turned Back On; Matz Superb

Manager Terry Collins has frequently said the Mets are a team built on power and don’t manufacture runs. He was wrong then and would be wrong now.

With today’s 8-0 victory over the Braves, the Mets have won 13 of their last 16 games, mostly with power. They have hit 38 homers in their last 18 games, which is a blistering rate. However, long-time followers of the Mets know they won’t always get the four homers the got today.

Their inability to manufacture against Matt Wisler, Tuesday, and Madison Bumgarner, Sunday, hurt them. Not scratching runs is indicative of their 5-4 record in one-run games.

METS GAME WRAP

 Mets 8, Braves 0

Game: #26  Record: 17-9  Streak: W 1

SUMMARY: Two homers by Lucas Duda, and one apiece from Asdrubal Cabrera and Rene Rivera, backed the strong pitching of Steven Matz, who gave up two hits in 7.2 scoreless innings.

KEY MOMENT: Rivera’s two-run homer in the second. Matz coasted from then on.

THUMBS UP: Matz is now 8-1 lifetime in 11 career starts. … Analyst Ron Darling, who said, “Aw, c’mon,’’ in protest when Collins came out to pull Matz with two outs in the eighth after 106 pitches. … Duda is streaking again with seven homers in his last 15 games. … Addison Reed struck out the side in the ninth.

THUMBS DOWN: Michael Conforto has cooled. With today’s 0-for-3, he is 1-for-15 since Sunday. … Not letting Matz at least finish the eighth.

EXTRA INNINGS: The Mets have won six straight series, something they haven’t done since 2006. … David Wright had the day off. … Rivera should get the start tomorrow after his homer. Collins was critical of Kevin Plawecki’s hitting after Tuesday’s game. Collins backed off criticism of Plawecki, saying he’s aware he’s only had 34 at-bats. Collins said Plawecki will play Thursday.

QUOTEBOOK: “Those are great signs for Lucas Duda,” – Collins on if Duda going to the opposite can enable him to go on a hot streak. “I hope he stays hot because he can carry you.”

BY THE NUMBERS: 40: Mets homers in 26 games.

NEXT FOR METS: The Mets begin a three-city, 11-game road trip tomorrow at San Diego (four games), followed by Los Angeles (four) and Colorado (three). Thursday, RHP Jacob deGrom (3-0, 1.02) vs. RHP Colin Rea (2-1, 4.61); Friday, RHP Noah Syndergaard (2-1, 2.51) vs. LHP Drew Pomeranz (2-3, 2.48); Saturday, RHP Bartolo Colon (2-1, 2.56) vs. RHP James Shields (1-4, 3.23); RHP Matt Harvey (2-4, 4.76) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (2-2, 4.85).

May 02

Mets’ April Review And Looking At May

Just as they did last season, the Mets won 15 games in April, and again the spark was a long winning streak. Last year it was 11 games; this year it was eight.

WALKER: My Mets' MVP for April. (AP)

WALKER: My Mets’ MVP for April. (AP)

As much as the Mets like to boast about their young pitching – as well they should – the springboard this time was power. It was not, as has been suggested, Terry Collins’ knee jerk managing in the eighth game of the season.

Yes, they won that game and have gone on to win five straight series. That’s purely coincidental.

The Mets tied a club record with 33 homers for the month, which enabled them to overcome Jacob deGrom’s two missed starts because of a strained lat muscle and Matt Harvey’s 0-3 start.

A key that can’t be underestimated has been the Mets’ ability to get an early lead, as they scored first in 10 of their last 14 games in April. Overall, they are 13-3 when they scored first this year.

The Mets crushed three homers and took a 4-0 lead in the first inning Monday against the Braves.

APRIL MVP

Contrary to the popular opinion of Yoenis Cespedes, I’m going with Neil Walker, who was hitting before Michael Conforto was moved to third in the order. Walker is tied for third in the majors with nine homers and finished the month with a career-high 19 for April.

Conforto would be my second choice and Cespedes third.

PITCHER OF THE MONTH

Noah Syndergaard took a pounding Sunday, but has been overpowering with 38 strikeouts with a 1.69 ERA for the month.

KEY GAME OF THE MONTH

Matt Harvey lost his first three starts, but finally won, April 22, 6-3, at Atlanta. He wasn’t totally on his game, but he pitched out of trouble enough times to turn it around. Sure, the game when Cespedes hit a three-run pinch-hit homer was more dramatic, but in the big picture getting Harvey going was more important.

KEY MOVE OF THE MONTH

On April 15 in Cleveland, Collins moved Conforto to the No. 3 spot in the batting order and the Mets have sizzled since going 12-3. When hitting third or fourth, Conforto is batting .373 with nine doubles, four homers and 15 RBI.

RED FLAGS ENDURED

Jacob deGrom missed two starts because of a strained right lat; Harvey lost his first three starts; closer Jeurys Familia sustained a rocky stretch, but has converted all eight of this save opportunities.

KEY ISSUE RESOLVED

Shortstop and the bullpen were two significant issues facing the Mets entering the season, but Asdrubal Cabrera has been superb both in the field and at the plate. The bullpen converted nine of 11 save opportunities and stranded 26 of 35 runners.

HEALTH ISSUES

Travis d’Arnaud was placed on the disabled list with a strained rotator cuff. … Cespedes missed close to a week with a bruised right leg. … David Wright ended the month without a problem, but his back remains an issue.

SIX QUESTIONS RAISED

Will the power continue?

Power of not, can Conforto keep it up?

Can Wright stay healthy?

Will the new guys, Walker and Cabrera, keep hitting?

Will we see deGrom and Harvey go on a roll?

Can the bullpen keep it up?

BY THE NUMBERS

.333: Walker’s average with RISP.

4: Times the Mets hit back-to-back homers.

5: Consecutive series the Mets won to close the month.

9: Consecutive games in which Cespedes had at least one extra-base hit.

22: Strikeouts by Cespedes.

29: Strikeouts by Wright.

33: Homers hit by the month.

LOOKING AT MAY’S SCHEDULE

They began May losing to Madison Bumgarner Sunday and close their current homestand against Atlanta.

The Mets are on a stretch of 17 games in 17 days, including their first West Coast trip, with four games in San Diego and Los Angeles and three in Colorado.

They’ll return home for a pair of three-games series against Washington (May 17-19) and Milwaukee (May 20-22), then go to Washington (May 23-25) for three more against the Nationals.

They’ll close out the month with three at home against the Dodgers (May 27-29) and two against the Chicago White Sox (a three-game series that ends June 1).