Apr 19

Mets’ Mettle To Be Tested Again

Playoff-caliber teams must overcome adversity and the New York Mets will be tested again.

It was a bad day all around for the Mets despite winning their eighth straight game today, 7-6 over Miami. They not only had bad luck with injuries to Travis d’Arnaud and Jerry Blevins, but also a dose of bad managing.

Let’s start with the bad luck.

D'ARNAUD: Fractured arm. (AP)

D’ARNAUD: Fractured arm. (AP)

It began in the seventh inning when the lefty reliever, Blevins, took a line drive off the bat of Dee Gordon and sustained a fractured left arm. He will be out indefinitely. In the bottom of the inning, Travis d’Arnaud – who was off to a sizzling start – fractured his right hand when he was struck by a fastball from A.J. Ramos. He is also out indefinitely.

As for the bad managing, Matt Harvey was sick, but Terry Collins started him anyway. With his innings carefully monitored this season, here was a perfect opportunity to preserve some of those innings. They gave away a freebie that doesn’t come around often.

If nothing else, Harvey had a 7-1 lead after the fifth. So, why pitch him into the seventh? That made no sense. Collins rested the hot Michael Cuddyer citing the big picture. Why didn’t he apply the same logic with Harvey?

So, where do the Mets go from here?

They have two other lefty relievers in Sean Gilmartin and Alex Torres, but lefty hitters were 0-for-14 against Blevins (who recovered to get Gordon with a glove-hand flip). Hansel Robles will be brought up to replace Blevins. As for d’Arnaud, who is hitting .317 and had two hits before leaving the game, he will be replaced by prospect Kevin Plawecki, who is off to a slow start at Triple-A Las Vegas.

Injuries have already hit the Mets hard, with Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin lost for the season after Tommy John surgery, and David Wright, Vic Black and Bobby Parnell on the disabled list. Wright is resuming activity, but Black had a setback in a rehab assignment.

The injuries tarnished the Mets’ 10-3 sterling silver start – Detroit is the only other team with double-digit victories – but what is important now is how they respond.

Sometimes, season-defining tests come early.

 

 

Mar 30

Mets Deal Den Dekker

Several hours after the Mets acquired lefty reliever Alex Torres from San Diego for pitcher Cory Mazzoni, they pulled off a second deal for Jerry Blevins from Washington for outfielder Matt den Dekker.

Blevins, 31, was 2-3 with a 4.87 ERA in 64 games. Den Dekker was not going to make the team as a reserve outfielder because Kirk Nieuwenhuis is out of options and is having an outstanding spring.

The Mets have been in dire need of a left-handed reliever since Josh Edgin underwent Tommy John surgery.

They have already optioned Scott Rice to the minor leagues and are expected to do the same with Dario Alvarez.

However, Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin could still make the team.

ON DECK: Strong games today by Rafael Montero and Lucas Duda raise questions.

Mar 12

Mets Unhappy With Lefty Relievers

Both GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins lamented the Mets’ lefty situation in the bullpen. However, the criticism was more directed at the pitchers not performing than it was as Alderson for not being in more talent.

COLLINS: Concerned. (AP)

COLLINS: Concerned. (AP)

Let’s face it, Josh Edgin is likely to have Tommy John surgery, which means somebody from the foursome of Dario Alvarez, Sean Gilmartin, Jack Leathersich and Scott Rice must to emerge. Currently they have a combined 15.43 ERA.

“Yeah, I’m disappointed,’’ Collins told reporters today in Port St. Lucie. “Here’s a chance. You come to the major league spring training and all you want is a chance. Now, with our guy down, if I’m left-handed I’m looking in the mirror and deciding what do I need to do to get that job, because it’s out there.’’

Alvarez stunk it up in today’s 11-9 victory over Washington. The Mets had taken an 11-4 lead with nine runs in the eighth, but Alvarez gave up four of the five Nationals’ runs in the ninth.

BOX SCORE

Rice gave up five runs the previous day and couldn’t get out of his inning; Leathersich has five walks in 1.2 innings; and Gilmartin has given up three runs in two innings.

Alderson explained his offseason approach by saying he wanted the competition to come from within and Andrew Miller and Zack Duke were out of their price range.

Alderson again reiterated not using Steven Matz in relief because of his upside as a starter.

Mar 11

Not Trying Matz In Pen Raises Questions

The Mets are saying they won’t consider Steven Matz out of the bullpen, despite Josh Edgin’s injured elbow.

What they aren’t saying is why. This approach leads to numerous questions and maybe a conclusion or two.

MATZ: Why not the pen?

MATZ: Why not the pen?

Do they think Edgin’s injury isn’t as worse as initially believed? Even if he’s ready for the season, what about a second lefty?

Are they that sold on Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin or Scott Rice, Jack Leathersich and Dario Alvarez? They either have to use Gilmartin or lose him, so he should get the first shot. But what if he’s a bust?

“It’s way too early to say anything about anybody,’’ pitching coach Dan Warthen told reporters Tuesday. “We are looking at lefties, so I don’t know. We have been looking at lefties every year, so I don’t have an evaluation right now.’’

What was their reasoning for letting Dana Eveland go? What about not even considering Phil Coke?

There’s plenty of time left, but I want to go back to Matz. If Warthen said he doesn’t have an evaluation, what harm would it do in trying him out of the pen?

The Mets have been telling us they plan to be competitive this season, but that would be hard to do without a lefty out of the bullpen.

More questions.

Is Matz that fragile where he can’t work out of the pen for a while? If he’s that fragile, wouldn’t that be something the Mets would want to know?

If Matz is as highly regarded as the Mets believe, then what is the problem? Would a year out of the bullpen damage him that much? Dave Righetti was able to do it.

If they have reason to believe Matz isn’t capable, I will buy that, but they haven’t said so.

A lefty reliever is vital, and if the Mets are as good as they are saying, then why not roll the dice on Matz? It makes me wonder if the Mets don’t think Matz is good enough, or if the Mets aren’t good enough.

 

Mar 04

Mets Matters: Nieuwenhuis Has Big Day

As far as first impressions go, Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a great one going 4-for-4 with a RBI in the Mets’ 8-2 rout of Atlanta.

mets-matters logoNieuwenhuis, who is out of options, is competing Matt den Dekker for a reserve outfield spot. Not having options gives Nieuwenhuis an edge.

“He’s out of options, so it’s nice to see him have a big day,’’ manager Terry Collins told reporters. “He’s had to battle so many injuries in the last couple of years. The one thing we saw both he and Matt do, that’s shorten their swings up a little bit to where they can put the ball in play more consistently.’’

Today’s box score: Mets 8, Atlanta 2

GEE ROCKED: Dillon Gee, whom the Mets are trying to deal, gave up two runs in a two-inning, 35-pitch debut.

Gee is next scheduled to pitch Sunday out of the bullpen.

EXTRA INNINGS: Wilmer Flores left the game in the fifth inning when he was hit by a pitch on his left pinkie finger. … Flores’ replacement, Matt Reynolds had a RBI single. … Leadoff hitter candidate Juan Lagares had two hits, including a double, with a walk and run scored. … Lucas Duda, out with a left intercostal muscle strain, swung the bat. … Former Met Eric Young, stole a base on Travis d’Arnaud. … The Mets play Washington Thursday (5:05 p.m.), with Bartolo Colon getting the start. Gabriel Ynoa, Cory Mazzoni and Josh Edgin will also work for the Mets.