Chris Young took the loss today, but worked into the seventh inning, and in doing so passed 100 innings for the season and received a $150,000 bonus.
More importantly, he’s probably showed enough to warrant a contract for 2013, if not from the Mets, then somebody else.
“It means I’m healthy,’’ said Young. “I think I’ve pitched pretty well, better than my record probably indicates. But, there’s a lot of room for improvement.’’
There is, because although Young had his moments when he worked deep into games like today, there were others when he was rocked. Still, he started 18 games, his most since 2008.
Veteran arms are important, so we shouldn’t write off Young returning even though he’s not included in next year’s rotation. Although the Mets have ideas as to how their rotation will look, there are significant questions that make Young’s presence desirable.
Both Johan Santana and Dillon Gee are coming off injuries so there will be caution with them. You have to like Matt Harvey’s future, but it is premature to label him an ace right now.
Something will happen next year, you know it, so having depth is essential. If not Young, then the Mets will shop in the bargain aisle for veteran pitching depth. The advantage of bringing back Young is the Mets’ familiarity with him.
More Mets Matters:
* Terry Collins said Jeremy Hefner would likely get the start Wednesday against the Phillies. A couple of weeks ago this series meant nothing but the Phillies, like the Brewers, have become wild card contenders.
* David Wright now has 1,411 hits, seven shy of Ed Kranepool, the franchise’s career hit leader. Yes, statistics is what it has come down to for the Mets this season. I’d also like to see Wright finish with at least 90 RBI. He has 81. Another milestone would be Ike Davis hitting 30 homers, joining Eddie Murray, Carlos Delgado and David Kingman as Mets first basemen with 30 homer seasons.
* After Jenrry Mejia was shelled Saturday, pitching coach Dan Warthen said he views him as a reliever, claiming he didn’t believe he would be able to throw 200 innings year after year. I wonder how Warthen can make that assessment when the organization keeps bouncing Mejia around from being a starter to the bullpen.
* The opportunities are getting winding down for R.A. Dickey’s bid to win 20 games. He’s scheduled to start tomorrow night against the Phillies and maybe two more after that. He’s stuck on 18 victories.
The Mets honored Chipper Jones Friday night and he makes his last appearance in Flushing this afternoon. You can tell by his reception feelings toward him have mellowed. As they should. It’s one thing to jeer an opponent, sometimes viciously. However, in the end you have to admire how Jones played the game.
I covered Cal Ripken’s last game at Yankee Stadium and he got several standing ovations as the game went long and nobody knew when he’d take his last at-bat. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer in my book and I believe most Mets fans – perhaps grudgingly – have reached that acceptance. Honestly, in his last at-bat I hope he gets a standing ovation.
In other Mets Matters:
* Jeremy Hefner was rocked yesterday, but he’s shown enough to warrant another couple of starts. I don’t know where he fits in next year. That’s what this time is about.
* Chris Young starts today in hope of averting the sweep. Young is 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA and has been rocked lately. Like a lot of others, I don’t know where he fits in. There’s uncertainty in the rotation with Johan Santana and Dillon Gee coming off injuries and not knowing if they’ll return Mike Pelfrey. Young is a veteran, cheap alternative who can usually be counted on to give the Mets five innings. After that it gets dicey. They’ll look inside first, but I can see Young getting another contract.
* Triple-A Buffalo manager Wally Backman will join the team for the rest of the season. I think Backman is the next Mets’ manager after Terry Collins. Not sure how long Collins plans to manage. He’s gotten one extension and deserves another past 2013. I don’t want him to go into next year as a lame duck.
* GM Sandy Alderson admits it’s a long shot for Zach Wheeler to crack next year’s rotation. Just as well. Let him go into spring training with limited pressure and earn a spot.
* Jenrry Mejia is scheduled to start Sept. 19 against the Phillies. I hope the Mets finally has decided on his role as a starter. Have him already stretched out and if starting works out they can always switch him back. That’s an easier transition than bullpen to rotation.
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that starting pitcher Chris Young is expected to remain with Triple-A Buffalo for one or two more starts as Sandy Alderson predicted earlier in the week.
Young took a huge step toward re-joining the Mets rotation after he tossed six scoreless innings yesterday in a start for Triple-A Buffalo. The 33-year old right-hander threw 87 pitches and allowed just two hits and three walks.
The Mets have been struggling to replace Mike Pelfrey since losing him for the season to an arm injury and have already had the likes of Miguel Batista, Chris Schwinden and Jeremy Hefner take turns trying to replace him until the Mets could get Chris Young ready. It appears that the wait is almost over.
Bisons manager Wally Backman assessed the situation as follows:
“If he can do the same thing he did today five days from now, he’s pretty close to being ready. He’s a smart pitcher. That’s why he’s had the success that he’s had in the big leagues. Now, all we hope for is that we keep him healthy.”
Young dazzled in four starts for the Mets last season before his shoulder surgery and went 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA to lead the rotation at the time.
Rubin quoted Josh Thole who happened to catch Young for his start yesterday and came away very impressed with Young’s performance. ”I thought his velocity, to be honest, was better than it was last year.”
If Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey could continue to pitch as they have, the addition of a very effective righty in Chris Young, could make a huge difference in how long the Mets continue to contend for that second wild card spot.
I took a quick glance at the schedule… Assuming Young was to make two more starts for Buffalo, he could return to the Mets in time to get the Sunday start against the Yankees during the Subway Series on June 10.
That would make things pretty interesting…