Jun 10

Harvey’s Five Not Enough

Matt Harvey pitched well tonight for the Mets, but are you completely convinced he’s back. Or at least good enough the Mets to think they can rely on him every fifth or sixth day.

HARVEY: Five-inning man. (AP)

HARVEY: Five-inning man. (AP)

Harvey pitched five scoreless innings and issued only two walks and four hits. However, he threw 104 pitches in those five innings, which says he labored. For that many pitches, he needs to go seven innings.

I mean, that’s what Harvey would have done in 2013 or 2015.

It looks as if Harvey has been reduced to being a five-inning pitcher, which really isn’t acceptable on this level. It means the Mets must go into their bullpen for four innings.

That many pitches say his command if off and an inability to put hitters away. It also suggests he hasn’t fully recovered from his thoracic shoulder surgery.

So, from here on out, the Mets have to go into every Harvey start thinking five innings from him and four from the bullpen. With that thinking manager Terry Collins will have to go into the surrounding starts thinking more innings from the starters to preserve the bullpen.

Even so, defense cost the Mets tonight in the ninth. Dansby Swanson’s double was the epitome of hustle, and lack of it from center fielder Curtis Granderson, who played it casually.

It was ninth inning in a tie game. That’s when defense should be at a premium. That calls for Juan Lagares, and that’s on Collins.

The Mets might have been better off with Jose Reyes at shortstop instead of Asdrubal Cabrera because of range. The positioning of Cabrera more to the bag instead of toward the hole might have cost them on Rio Ruiz’s game-winning single to left.

As it was, Cabrera had no chance at the ball, but it makes one think the shortstop defense – especially in the later innings – needs to be re-evaluated.

With the season slipping away, a lot of things must be re-evaluated.

Jun 06

What Is Special About Mets?

Somebody asked me the other day if I thought the Mets were done for the year. As a follower of pennant races, I don’t like giving up on a season this early. I mean, it is only June. We’ve seen teams come from farther behind and later in the season to reach the World Series, so it could happen.

CESPEDES: He won't be enough. (AP)

CESPEDES: He won’t be enough. (AP)

However, before we can give up on the 2017 Mets, we must ask ourselves is there anything special about this team that makes one wonder if it has the capability becoming a historical icon.

Even when Yoenis Cespedes returns, he’s not enough to turn around the Mets, not with their multitude of pitching problems. Pitching was supposed to carry the Mets, but none of their vaunted young power arms have more than five victories. How can that be?

Seth Lugo and Steven Matz are due off the disabled list this weekend, with the side benefit of transferring Robert Gsellman to the bullpen. There is nothing guaranteed about either development. There’s also the unknown about Matt Harvey recovery from thoracic surgery and now Jacob deGrom is having issues.

And, no, we can’t expect Noah Syndergaard and/or Jeurys Familia to return this year.

Among the hitters, Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Travis d’Arnaud and Jose Reyes are all having off years with no signs of turning things around.

There are too many Mets battling injuries and struggling through off years to believe they can all come together to salvage this summer.

 

 

Jun 01

No Longer Reyes’ Time

It seems safe to say the story of Jose Reyes‘ return to the Mets has run its course. It would have been fun to see him play side-to-side with David Wright, but the latter’s injuries precluded that goodwill notion. But, that’s only a secondary story.

REYES: Nothing to shout about any more. (AP)

REYES: Nothing to shout about any more. (AP)

The real story would have been whether Reyes could remotely become a shell of his former self, which he hasn’t been.

If Reyes can’t play shortstop, which he does only when Asdrubal Cabrera gets a day off like today, then what’s the use? He’s adequate at third base at best (Wilmer Flores is better). If Reyes can’t lead off, get on base and make things happen with his legs, then he’s not being used properly.

Perhaps that will happen when Yoenis Cespedes returns from the disabled list, because it might mean dropping Michael Conforto to third, which is a greater run-producing slot. But, as of now, Conforto is a far better leadoff presence than Reyes.

Currently, Reyes is out of position defensively and in the batting order, and isn’t hitting at all. Reyes remains determined to hit the ball in the air, where he should concentrate on hitting the ball on the ground or with line drives.

Frankly, he’s wasting his God-given physical abilities because he’s not smart enough to change. His plate discipline has never been good and it hasn’t improved with age.

The Mets acquired Reyes because they thought he would spark their offense. He hasn’t done so, and if this team doesn’t turn it around soon, they would be better off trying to trade him – he has a reasonable contract – and bringing up Amed Rosario for the second half of the season.

It is time to move on.

May 31

DeGrom Gassed, Loses It Early

Every pitcher has several each season, and tonight was Jacob deGrom’s turn for his stinker. Coming off two spectacular starts, two batters into the game and deGrom was down by two runs.

By the time his night was through, deGrom had been rocked for seven runs on eight hits and five walks with two homers over 105 pitches in four innings.

DE GROM: Not tonight Jake. (AP)

DE GROM: Not tonight Jake. (AP)

“He was all over the place,” manager Terry Collins. “That’s the biggest difference between the other day and today.”

DeGrom threw 118 pitches in his last start, and Collins said that might have gassed him last night. Even so, Collins expressed no regrets he might have overworked him over the weekend against the Pirates.

For all the talk about preserving the Mets’ young arms, one would have thought – at least Ron Darling did on the SNY telecast – Collins would have pulled deGrom midway through the fourth inning when the Milwaukee Brewers broke open the game and then rolled to a 7-1 victory.

Then again, whom would he use?

The Mets used their bullpen for over six innings Tuesday and used it for another five innings tonight. They’ll need Zack Wheeler to do some heavy lifting because it is doubtful they’ll have either Josh Smoker (three innings Tuesday) or Josh Edgin (three innings tonight).

DeGrom wanted to hear none of that: “This one is on me. I was just bad.”

TODAY’S ANSWER: It’s yes. Wilmer Flores started at third and singled with Jose Reyes getting the night off. Even after Asdrubal Cabrera’s costly error last night, there was no way Collins was going to sit him.

Collins said Flores would play again Thursday, but said nothing prior to the game about going to a rotation system where Flores would play a different position each night that would give everybody in the infield a game off each week.

EXTRA INNINGS: For the second straight game Mets’ pitchers walked eight Brewers. … Michael Conforto’s two-out RBI double prevented the shut out.

UP NEXT: Wheeler (3-2, 3.83) is coming off a no-decision in his last start, May 27, at Pittsburgh.

 

May 31

Today’s Question: Will Wilmer Flores Start Tonight?

He’s done everything the Mets have asked of him, and yet Wilmer Flores is not in the starting lineup despite having the ability to play any of the four infield positions. Will he get the nod tonight?

FLORES: The night he became a Mets' icon.  (AP)

FLORES: The night he became a Mets’ icon. (AP)

If anything, manager Terry Collins should start him over Jose Reyes (.202) more often. Asdrubal Cabrera was recently activated from the disabled list and Neil Walker, who is coming off back surgery, and should be rested more often.

I’ve always been a Flores supporter, even long before the “crying” game.

If Flores is what the Mets expected all along – that he’s a role player – then take advantage of those expectations. Start his four times a week, with each start resting either Reyes, Walker, Cabrera or Lucas Duda, all of whom have some health issues.

That shouldn’t be all that hard, is it?