Apr 24

April 24 Mets Lineup Vs. Yankees

Here’s tonight’s lineup for the Mets against the Yankees in the Bronx.

Curtis Granderson – RF
Juan Lagares – CF
Lucas Duda – 1B
Michael Cuddyer – DH
Daniel Murphy – 2B
Eric Campbell – 3B
Wilmer Flores – SS
Kevin Plawecki – C
Kirk Nieuwenhuis – LF

Jacob deGrom – RHP

COMMENTS: In previous seasons the Mets might have considered giving Lucas Duda the night off as the designated hitter. Frankly, his defense has been exceptional to think that way right now. He’s become a presence at the plate and in the field. … I like Cuddyer as the DH tonight as it gives Nieuwenhuis a chance to play in the field. … I don’t think they’ll play Granderson as the DH, but I can see them giving John Mayberry Jr. a chance to get some at-bats. … One baseball tradition is you don’t mess around with a streak, which is why Lagares will stay in the No. 2 spot in the order. This might not become an issue until David Wright is ready to play. … As is always the case in interleague play for the National League manager is not having to worry about hitting for the pitcher. I’m wondering if this means he might be more willing to extend deGrom.

 

Apr 06

Mets Game Thread: Colon Done For Day

The Mets built their lead to 3-1 in the seventh when Juan Lagares reached on Ian Desmond’s throwing error and scored on Travis d’Arnaud’s drive off the center field wall.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinch-hit for Bartolo Colon to close his pitching line at one run on three hits and one walk with eight strikeouts in six innings

Carlos Torres was the first reliever out of the Mets’ bullpen and put down the Nationals on three straight grounders.

Score: Mets 3, Nationals 1. (7th)

Apr 04

Mets’ Roster An Indictment Of Alderson

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.

ALDERSON: Trouble could be coming from different direction.  (AP)

ALDERSON: Trouble could be coming from different direction. (AP)

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 BlackJosh 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.

 

 

Mar 27

What’s Collins Really Thinking With His Lineup?

Here’s why I have trouble taking the Mets seriously at times. In today’s game against St. Louis, manager Terry Collins plans to bat Matt Harvey eighth.

Theoretically, it would enable him to bat Juan Lagares ninth followed by Curtis Granderson and David Wright.

COLLINS: What's he really thinking?

COLLINS: What’s he really thinking?

“I know in our market it’s a big issue. It’ll be a headline, back-page story,’’ Collins told reporters the other day. “But I’ll just do it to see what it looks like. Nothing more than that.’’

So, why do it then? That question becomes more pertinent when you consider the rest of the lineup.

First of all, if this is done to bunch your speed at the top of the order, you can do it the traditional way. The problem is Lagares isn’t even in the lineup, so the initial point is automatically defeated. Traditionally – and why is it tradition is such a taboo word in baseball these days? – a team’s best hitter, which is the combination of average and power, bats third. And, with the Mets that is Wright.

Today, it is Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who admittedly has had a good spring, but will open the season on the bench. Collins also has Michael Cuddyer clean-up and Wilmer Flores fifth – where neither will be during the season – Eric Campbell at first and Danny Muno at second. Campbell is a role player and Muno likely won’t make the team.

Spring training is in part used to experiment. Fine, but it you’re going to experiment then at least do it in such a way that you’ll get somewhat of an idea of how things will be in the season.

Here’s today’s Mets’ lineup:

Curtis Granderson, rf: Will bat leadoff only if Lagares can’t do the job, which means that’s another issue.

David Wright, 3b: Is having a good spring and should bat third until he proves he can’t.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf: Will make the team in part because he’s had a good spring, but also because he’s out of options.

Michael Cuddyer, lf: Won’t hit clean-up as that’s reserved for Lucas Duda. We’ll see how long he lasts in left field.

Wilmer Flores, ss: Is playing with a bruised foot. Let’s hope he doesn’t get re-injured. Even so, I can’t see him hitting this high in the order.

Travis d’Arnaud, c: He hasn’t had a great spring hitting, but I can see him in the sixth slot at times.

Eric Campbell, 1b: Valuable role player.

Matt Harvey, rhp: Yes, the DH is used to spread out at-bats, but they hit in the National League. How many games did the Mets lose because their pitcher was an automatic out or couldn’t advance a runner? Bottom line: The batters should hit more during spring training.

Danny Muno, 2b: Is making a push to make the team, however if Daniel Murphy isn’t ready then Ruben Tejada should be playing more at the end of spring training.

So, there you have it, the Mets’ order one-through-nine. Of the nine spots, only d’Arnaud at sixth seems like something they’ll do during the season.

Collins has wasted today’s batting order and made today a joke. Is that what he really wanted to do, or is he sending a message to GM Sandy Alderson? And, what could that message be? Perhaps that he doesn’t have a legitimate leadoff hitter? Or that Granderson really isn’t a good fit for this team?

I’m sure there are others, and you don’t have to look that hard.

 

Mar 18

Projecting Opening Day Roster

Things change in spring training, and they have in a big way for the Mets, who are now without Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin for the year with both having Tommy John surgery.

I figured on projecting the Mets’ Opening Day roster several times this spring and I am minus two pitchers plus having second thoughts on other players, notably Dilson Herrera.

Here’s what I am thinking:

HARVEY: Could he be Opening Day starter? (Getty)

HARVEY: Could he be Opening Day starter? (Getty)

ROTATION (5)

Matt Harvey: Has been solid all spring, and although the Mets say he won’t be the Opening Day starter, I’m not sold on that.

Bartolo Colon: He was my first choice to be Opening Day starter, but his 10.29 ERA gives me second thoughts. However, the way the rotation plays itself out after the off day, Colon would be the starter.

Jacob deGrom: Last year’s Rookie of the Year has been scintillating.

Jon Niese: He’s pitched well so far. I have him pegged as the No. 3 starter in the rotation.

Dillon Gee: There’s a reason why he wasn’t traded, and that reason is being examined in New York today.

BULLPEN (7)

Jenrry Mejia: Will be the closer coming out of spring training with Bobby Parnell on the disabled list.

Jeurys Familia: Will be the eighth-inning set-up reliever.

Vic Black: Has a balky shoulder, but expected to be ready.

Carlos Torres: Able to work in situational and long relief.

Rafael Montero: He’s been up before and the Mets aren’t as protective of him as they are Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. He’s been able to get out lefty hitters.

Buddy Carlyle: He’s not shutdown coming out of the pen, but was decent for the Mets last summer.

Sean Gilmartin: I’m taking him over Scott Rice or Dario Alvarez because of his Rule 5 status.

CATCHERS (2)

Travis d’Arnaud: He’s hitting a miserable .160, including a double and three RBI. He should get a long look before the Mets pull the plug.

Anthony Recker: Gets the nod over Kevin Plawecki, whom the Mets want to have the at-bats.

INFIELD (6)

Lucas Duda: A strained left intercostal has limited him to only 11 at-bats.

Daniel Murphy: The Mets will continue to look to trade him by the July 31 deadline.

Wilmer Flores: It’s his job and he’s done nothing to lose it, hitting .414 with two errors.

David Wright: The reports have been good on his health and swing.

Ruben Tejada: He’s having a decent spring, good enough to warrant staying on the team.

Eric Campbell: Very capable coming off the bench to spell Wright.

OUTFIELD (5)

Michael Cuddyer: They still don’t know whether it will be right field or left field.

Juan Lagares: Having a great spring with a .467 on-base percentage, but we’re talking in playing only nine games with 27 at-bats.

Curtis Granderson: They don’t know where to play him, either in the field or in the order.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis: He’s out of options, but his .483 average makes him worthy.

John Mayberry Jr.: Showing flashes of power, which is what they want.