Here’s tonight’s lineup for the Mets at Philadelphia:
Here are the starting pitchers for this weekend’s Mets-Nationals series at Citi Field:
Another day, another batting order for the New York Mets:
Curtis Granderson, RF: A walking machine.
Travis d’Arnaud, C: He’s hot, but I didn’t see this coming.
Lucas Duda, 1B: Off to a terrific start.
MIchael Cuddyer, LF: Playing with bruised hand.
Daniel Murphy, 2B: Homered the other day.
Juan Lagares, CF: Funny, I though the Mets wanted him to leadoff.
Jon Niese, LHP: Gave up three runs in last start.
If this sounds like piling on Mets GM Sandy Alderson, so be it. An ESPN report from Texas has the Mets carrying eight relievers – at the expense of valuable reserve Eric Campbell – because of concerns over the bullpen, most notably the possible overkill of carrying three lefty relievers after spending most of spring training in search of one.
Quite simply carrying three means limited confidence in any of them.
The Mets want to keep lefty Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin along other lefties Jerry Blevins and Alex Torres, plus Rafael Montero, Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Mejia, Carlos Torres and Buddy Carlyle. Of course, the Mets are without Vic Black, Josh Edgin and Bobby Parnell, but knew they would be without the latter.
Had Alderson acquired a lefty during the winter – Gilmartin would have been a gamble anyway because he’s Rule 5 – they would have carried only seven relievers, and thereby could have kept Campbell. Instead they are left with a bench of Ruben Tejada, Anthony Recker, Kirk Nieuwenhuis – whose fast spring training start fizzled – and John Mayberry.
And, according to recent reports, they were unwilling to go with Tejada at second base had Daniel Murphy opened the season on the disabled list.
The Mets knew they would need bullpen help because of the innings limitation on Matt Harvey. Plus, how certain are we of the durability of Bartolo Colon at 41, or for that matter, Jacob deGrom in his second year and the fragility of Jon Niese?
And, considering all that, and the unproven record of Montero, the Mets are still willing to trade Dillon Gee. Yeah, sounds like a good idea.
This leaves the Mets without a quality back-up for David Wright at third, and manager Terry Collins unable use Recker as a pinch-hitter for fear being without another catcher. Campbell had worked behind the plate in spring training. They are also in position where if they go to the bench early, they are pretty much sunk in extra innings.
They are also face the likelihood of taxing their position players.
They are in this precarious position with their bench because of their inability – or unwillingness to go after – needed help in the offseason and because three roster spots are taken by players because of contractual reasons: Carlyle, Gilmartin and Nieuwenhuis.
In the book about Alderson, I keep waiting for the part of how the Mets have been revived.
Jon Niese continued the Mets’ run of strong starting pitching with six scoreless innings Tuesday against St. Louis. The Mets haven’t said where, but Niese will likely be slotted fourth in their rotation, meaning he’ll pitch in the second series at Atlanta.
Niese, who gave up four hits and struck out three in a 2-0 victory over the Nationals, had been trying to correct a striding flaw in his mechanics. He noticed his landing (right) leg was not falling directly toward the plate, but toward first base. Consequently, Niese has been throwing across his body, which placed stress on his left shoulder causing it to tire. Such a strain could cause damage to the shoulder, perhaps leading to surgery.
“I’ve been working on my mechanics in between starts and in the bullpen,” Niese told reporters. “It feels good now. It makes my arm feel a lot stronger, and with a little bit better command as well.
“I’m striding probably a foot further toward home plate. It’s good. I’m using my legs, using my body to do the pitching instead of just trying to muscle it up there with my arm.”
This is a pivotal season for Niese, who has two years remaining on a five-year, $25.27-million contract. Niese was a hot commodity then as a young, hard-throwing left-hander with a manageable contract.
However, since a 13-9 season in 30 starts (190.1 innings) in 2012, Niese’s stock has nosedived. He’s gone 17-18 and made only 54 of a potential 68 starts.
In their growing disenchantment, the Mets tried to trade Niese over the winter, but their asking price was too high. Niese could also be expendable this winter, especially if Steven Matz is brought up and shows potential.
The Mets gambled, and to date lost on Niese. But, he’s only 28 so there’s still time for him to cash his potential check.
ON DECK: Mets Matters: Today’s notebook.