Jun 02

Mets Wrap: Harvey Doesn’t Have It

After a rough start, the Mets’ Matt Harvey struck out five of six hitters to provide the illusion he might have turned things around. However, that stretch became the illusion to give credence to speculation his last start was more smoke than substance, if not a fluke.

It’s hard to believe Harvey’s 31-pitch first inning was his high point as he ended up giving up six runs on five hits and four walks in five innings in taking the loss in losing to Pittsburgh, 12-7, tonight at Citi Field.

HARVEY: Didn't have it. (AP)

HARVEY: Didn’t have it. (AP)

Once again, it was Harvey’s inability to locate his fastball and command his secondary pitches. In short, nothing worked for Harvey, now 4-3 with a 5.43 ERA.

“Last week he was so good,” said manager Terry Collins said. “There are times when you have to battle through it.”

Coming off thoracic outlet surgery, pitching coach Dan Warthen said it wouldn’t be until mid-June at the earliest that Harvey would regain his velocity. Well, he’s topped out at 97 several times but was consistently in the low 90s tonight.

`My location wasn’t there,” Harvey said. “When you score seven runs you should win the game. … My location was off. I felt good (physically), but the location was off.”

However, regaining his pinpoint command has been another issue. It was clear in the first his command was off by the high pitch count, and further underscored by a leadoff walk and three runs given up in the fourth.

After Lucas Duda’s homer gave the Mets a lead for a second time, Harvey helped give it back again with a leadoff homer by Josh Bell and walk to Andrew McCutcheon in the sixth.

Why Collins let Harvey come out for the sixth is beyond me.

BULLPEN LOSES IT IN SIXTH: It’s hard to figure out what Collins was thinking as he left Paul Sewald in to struggle in the sixth inning as he retired only one of the eight hitters he faced.

Sewald gave up a single, two-run homer, infield hit, RBI double, single, hit a batter and issued a bases loaded walk.

Yeah, I know the Mets are short-handed in the bullpen, but one would think sometime before the walk to Bell to force in a run a light-bulb would have gone on in Collins’ head telling him Sewald didn’t have it tonight and short-handed or not, the Mets still had a game to win.

The Mets lead 7-5 going into the inning and trailed 11-7 when it was over.

Sewald should have been pulled after Elias Diaz’s homer (he drove in three with a bases-loaded double in the fourth off Harvey).

“It was one of those nights,” Sewald said. “I didn’t have my best stuff. I didn’t have my best fastball. I was struggling to get people out.”

Yeah, I get it, Collins doesn’t have many reliable relievers in the bullpen. Sewald was one of them before tonight.

“We were short tonight in the pen,” Collins said. “We didn’t want to burn too many guys in the pen. … He’s got to get us through the inning and he couldn’t do it.”

Now what?

If Collins doesn’t trust his relievers, then they shouldn’t be on the team, and that’s on GM Sandy Alderson.

DUDA’S POWER WASTED: Duda homered twice against Pirates starter Gerrit Cole giving him ten for the season.

Duda has been sizzling with six homers in his last eight games.

Too bad it was wasted.

 

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?

May 30

With Offense Humming No Need To Rush Cespedes

With the Mets’ offense humming along, there’s no reason to rush Yoenis Cespedes back from the disabled list, especially since he’s still experiencing soreness in his right quad.

Cespedes hit today in Port St. Lucie and will be re-evaluated tomorrow. He won’t be back this week as the Mets originally hoped, so the delay will last until next week.

CESPEDES: No need to rush him now. (AP)

CESPEDES: No need to rush him now. (AP)

“He’s making strides,” manager Terry Collins said. “We’re getting close. The one thing I learned a long time ago is you can’t control the healing process of any player. Just because Yoenis isn’t here, doesn’t mean we can’t win.”

However, the Mets have the potential to push the recovery timetable but should exercise patience. The offense has been hot for much of the month, with everybody in the outfield, Lucas Duda and Neil Walker all producing for the better part of the last two weeks.

Overall, the Mets have homered 12 times in their last eight games; they lead the majors with a .394 on-base percentage with RISP and are second in hitting (.310) in that situation.

What has let down the Mets has been their pitching, both starting and the bullpen, and Cespedes has no bearing on those numbers.

The Mets have already pushed Cespedes back several times, so the prudent decision would be to wait another couple of weeks and re-test him then.

Do they want to bring him back and risk an injury that could sideline him for another month or two?

May 29

Alderson Endorses Collins Before Strong Effort From Gsellman

Reportedly, Mets GM Sandy Alderson has been keeping a book on manager Terry Collins, which made today’s semi-endorsement somewhat surprising.

Speaking before the Mets’ 4-2 Memorial Day victory over Milwaukee, Alderson said: “I’m happy with the job Terry has done under the circumstances. Nobody is happy with the won-lost record. There are reasons for the record that have nothing to do with Terry.”

GSELLMAN:  Solid seven then to pen. (AP)

GSELLMAN: Solid seven then to pen. (AP)

Collins has gambled and lost a few times this season, but what has most hurt the Mets have been injuries to ace Noah Syndergaard and closer Jeurys Familia – neither is due back anytime soon – and their All-Star slugger Yoenis Cespedes, who is out for at least two weeks.

There have also been injuries to Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda, Asdrubal Cabrera and David Wright, and pitchers Seth Lugo and Steven Matz.

This is something Alderson should have recognized and vocalized weeks ago.

Much of the criticism directed at Collins is for his bullpen usage, which today featured one inning each from Paul Sewald – who is rapidly become a Collins favorite – and Addison Reed, who earned his seventh save despite letting the first two batters reach in the ninth.

Today’s starter, Robert Gsellman, worked seven strong innings today and is expected to go back into the bullpen when Lugo and Matz – who will each get at least one more rehab start – are activated from the disabled list.

Ironically, Gsellman found his mechanics after he was moved to the pen several weeks ago. Gsellman is better suited for the pen than either Matz or Lugo, and for his money, he doesn’t mind going back.

“I don’t care,” Gsellman said. “I just want to pitch.”

Apr 28

Mets Wrap: D’Arnaud, deGrom Combine To Defeat Nats

The Mets have long waited for Travis d’Arnaud to flex his muscles. He did so Friday night when he crushed two 420-foot-plus homers in a career-high five-RBI night to carry the Mets to a 7-5 badly-needed victory over the Nationals.

“We’ve seen him swing the bat, so we know what he can do,” manager Terry Collins said.

D'ARNAUD: Powers Mets with two homers. (AP)

D’ARNAUD: Powers Mets with two homers. (AP)

D’Arnaud was facing Max Scherzer, who usually has his way against the Mets. Not what you’re looking for if you are to break out.

“I knew it was going to be tough against Scherzer,” d’Arnaud said. “I wanted to keep things as simple as I could.”

What’s more basic than a two-run homer in the second and a three-run blast in the fourth?

You might answer by saying have one of your stud pitchers gut out seven innings. That’s what Jacob deGrom did to earn his first victory of the season.

DeGrom, after Matt Harvey faltered in his last start and the uncertainty surrounding Noah Syndergaard, needed a big effort and was all grit in striking out 12 and giving up three runs in seven innings. It was the third straight game in which he struck out at least ten hitters.

If there was a moment of decision for deGrom, it came in the second. After being given a two-run lead on d’Arnaud’s homer in the top of the inning, deGrom coughed up the lead on a solo homer by Ryan Zimmerman and two-run drive by Matt Wieters.

After the inning deGrom stormed up the runway from the dugout to avoid what the cameras might capture.

“I need to put up a zero there,” deGrom said. “I can’t be doing that. After that, my goal was to continue to put up zeroes.”

DeGrom did that, including striking out Bryce Harper with a runner on base to end the fifth.

SYNDERGAARD TO START: Desperate for some positive news of any kind, the Mets hope they got some after Syndergaard said he felt great and expects to start Sunday at Washington.

Syndergaard missed his last start Wednesday against Atlanta with what the Mets called biceps tendinitis. There has been considerable speculation – including here – that Syndergaard would be placed on the disabled list and Sean Gilmartin would start Sunday.

“I should have started yesterday,” Syndergaard said prior to Friday’s game.

RIVERA SURFACES: Almost lost with Travis d’Arnaud’s muscles and deGrom’s grit, is T.J. Rivera, the former minor league batting champion, got a start at first base and contributed three hits and scored three runs.

The unconventional start of Rivera at first base sent Jay Bruce back to right field and Juan Lagares to the bench.

Rivera will undoubtedly start at first Saturday and could stay there until Lucas Duda returns from the disabled list.