May 27

Pitching Lets Down Mets In Lost Weekend

Pitching was supposed to carry the Mets as far as they’d go this season. Right now, after a blistering start, it has taken them one game over .500 as they head into Atlanta for the start of a four-game series against the no-fluke Braves.

The Mets’ pitching was horrible in losing three of four over the weekend in Milwaukee, with both the starters and bullpen combining to give up 29 games in the series.

The highlight of the weekend was Steven Matz giving up no runs in six innings, but threw 94 pitches in that span. Noah Syndergaard, again, showed he can’t hold runners on base as two of the stolen bases against him scored. Jason Vargas encored a solid start with a sinker Saturday, and Zack Wheeler was so-so today.

The bullpen was awful giving up 17 runs.

Making matters worse heading south is AJ Ramos (shoulder tightness) could land on the disabled list and Wilmer Flores returned to New York to have his sore back examined.

I hate to say it, but if the Mets leave Atlanta less than .500, then never get there again this year.

 

 

May 03

Callaway Tries To Stay Positive Despite Blowout Loss

Now is when Mickey Callaway will earn his money and show the Mets what kind of manager they hired. It won’t tell all, but it will tell a lot.

After the Mets were torched 11-0 by Atlanta today, the second time they’ve been shutout in as many games. The Mets were swept by the Braves today and were outscored 21-2 in the process. The Mets are no longer in first place, so Callaway can’t say, “we’re still in good shape.’’ He can’t because the Mets are no longer in good shape.

Things just aren’t clicking and the Mets have lost eight of their last 12 games. They aren’t hitting; nobody is hitting. Today, Jason Vargas and Matt Harvey have struggled, with the latter’s relief ERA up over 10. The bullpen hasn’t been good lately, and today Amed Rosario didn’t run out a popup.

From the pitching end, Jacob deGrom is nursing a sore elbow; Harvey was rocked for five runs today; and, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz have not pitched well and the latter is hurting,

“I don’t think our guys aren’t giving up or aren’t playing hard,’’ Callaway said. “They just aren’t playing well. It’s part of a long season. They need to take care and keep their routine. They still are playing the game the right way.’’

The biggest things to take out of today’s game is that Callaway remained positive and didn’t rip his team publicly. After only 29 games (they are 17-12) it would do little good to go ballistic this early in the season.

As far as Harvey goes, well, it’s pretty clear if Callaway won’t give the ball to him if deGrom can’t go Monday. It’s also clear Callaway is studying Harvey, and today gave more of an analysis then Terry Collins ever did.

“The first few outs were good, then he tried yanking the ball,’’ Callaway said. “He’s really stiff right now. The way his body is working he was really not throwing through the catcher. He’s got a way to go. The life wasn’t there. He lost his feel for the zone.’’

Callaway hasn’t given up on Harvey so Harvey can’t give up on himself. It’s too long a season and the once-streaking Mets are only 1.5 games behind Atlanta.

Apr 21

Harvey Should Get Another Start, Then What?

The Mets should know more about their options on what to do with Matt Harvey after Jason Vargas is re-examined later today. Barring no setbacks, Vargas will then pitch in a Minor League rehab start Monday.

HARVEY: What options does he have remaining.  (AP)

HARVEY: What options does he have remaining. (AP)

With Harvey’s next start scheduled for Tuesday in St. Louis it stands to reason he’ll make at least one more start before Mickey Callaway makes the most important decision since becoming the manager.

There will eventually be a messy divorce with Harvey, but it’s up to Callaway to determine when the papers are filed.

Since Harvey’s contractual status allows him to block a move to the minors, the only way for it to happen is for him to have a drastic change of heart. If he doesn’t, the Mets’ options are to invent a phantom injury so they can place him on the 10-day disabled list. They could also work him out of the bullpen, but he clearly won’t have his heart in it.

Finally, the Mets can attempt to trade him, but considering Harvey’s performance and injury history since the end of the 2015 season, his value is limited. Of course, in the end, they could simply release him, but things would have deteriorated beyond recognition if that occurred.

I gave up on the pipe dream of Harvey turning his career around and re-signing with the Mets in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series. I’m a proponent of Harvey getting at least one more start because that is the only way the Mets can salvage anything from this fractured relationship.

No doubt, Harvey has spoken with his agent Scott Boras, whose advice should be is to do whatever the Mets want him to do. That’s the only way for Harvey to maximize whatever value he has remaining.

Apr 01

Matz Fails First Test

It didn’t take long for Mets manager Mickey Callaway to learn today wasn’t going to belong to Steven Matz. When a pitcher throws 26 pitches in the first inning, even if he doesn’t give up any runs, you know he won’t be long for that game.

Callaway knew it was the same old problem for Matz – fastball command.

“He struggled with his release point and couldn’t establish the fastball needed to set-up his other pitches,’’ said Callaway. “He battled himself all game. He didn’t execute his pitches. He was struggling from the get-go and couldn’t locate his fastball.’’

Callaway said Matz didn’t have confidence, but that’s now how he started the day that ended in a 5-1 loss to the Cardinals.

“I was trying to do a little too much out there. I was really smooth and easy before the game and was feeling really confident,’’ Matz said. “Then when a hitter stepped in, I was trying to make my pitches better and that’s when I get in trouble.

“I was leaving the ball up a lot and they were able to get their barrels on it. When I don’t have my fastball command that’s where it all starts for me.’’

Matz threw 73 pitches after three innings and finished with 89 pitches in four innings. He gave up three runs on four hits and three walks, including solo homers to Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong.

I’ve been saying all along that it is way too early to make any definitive judgments on anything pertaining to the Mets and that includes on Matz. However, today does raise a red flag.

With Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard the Mets have a strong front end of the rotation. But, it’s what they get from Matz and Matt Harvey that determines what will happen with the Mets this season.

EXTRA INNINGS: Juan Lagares started in center because Brandon Nimmo had flu-like symptoms and responded with three hits. Nimmo was sent home and not available. … Michael Conforto will return to New York and is scheduled to face Jason Vargas in a simulated game Monday. There is a chance Conforto could be activated from the DL as early as Thursday. … Anthony Swarzak will have his sore left oblique muscle re-examined Monday.

 

Apr 01

Mets’ Matz Has Questions To Answer

That the Mets won with Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom isn’t surprising. If Steven Matz is healthy and pitching well that would tell me more about this team. Ditto Matt Harvey tomorrow, assuming they play in the snow.

Both Syndergaard and deGrom could win 20 games this year, but the Mets aren’t going anywhere unless they get stellar production from the back end of their rotation. And wins today and tomorrow would just be a start.

Matz and Harvey have had difficulty staying healthy and productive. Matz struck out 21 in 20 innings during spring training, which is great. Any pitcher would take those numbers. However, he had a 6.30 ERA, which is damned awful.

Things haven’t worked out for Matz since his debut, which is why they got Jason Vargas.

Other thoughts on today’s game: I’m glad Wilmer Flores gets the start at first base. Once again, Mickey Callaway is living up to his word of getting Flores involved. Yoenis Cespedes continues to hit second, which I’m not hot on. I know Callaway loves him there, but I’m still a traditionalist and want my power in the 3-4-5 holes. It will take me awhile before I get used to that lineup.