Apr 20

Harvey Defiant After Loss

The memo to Matt Harvey is an old one: Just shut up and pitch.

The question to Mickey Callaway was an obvious one: Will Harvey make his next start?

“We haven’t made that determination yet,” Callaway said after the Braves hit Harvey for six runs in six innings. “We’ll see moving forward. I’m not sure what we’re going to do.”

There was no reason for Callaway to say anything else. Harvey lost again in giving up six runs to the Braves. His ERA is over six. However, and this is what will probably keep him in the rotation for now, is that he retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.

If Callaway is a proponent on his pitchers leaving a game on a high note, that was a big positive, something Harvey can build on. Because of that, Harvey should stay in the rotation for now.

Also a positive, was Harvey’s defiance to the obvious question: “I’m a starting pitcher. I’ve always been a starting pitcher. That’s my mindset.”

What? Did you expect him to say he wasn’t, that he should be taken out of the rotation, or sent down?

Of course not, although Thursday night was his first start out of his last 13 that he went longer than six innings.

“That last three innings I think I was able to break through that mental block I was feeling every time I went out there,” Harvey said. “I know that the results aren’t there. I feel bad that it took me so long to figure it out.”

Except, he hasn’t figured it out … at least not yet. Thursday was one bad game, and it is a testament to Callaway that he left Harvey in long enough to leave the game on a positive note.

I don’t know if Harvey will ever totally figure it out and return to 2013 form when he was on the top of his game. I’ve been writing for years that I believe Harvey will leave the Mets after this season.

I still think that. I don’t ever see Harvey becoming a star again, but if anybody has a chance to figure it out, it is Callaway.

Apr 14

Mets’ Harvey Continues To Struggle

Another Matt Harvey start, another five innings. By all accounts, Harvey has recovered from thoracic outlet surgery. The radar gun registered a high of 95 mph., so velocity is not an issue. Going back to his last nine starts in 2017, Harvey has not worked past the fifth inning in 12 straight starts, dating back to May 28 of last season when he threw six innings in a win at Pittsburgh.

HARVEY: Still struggling. (AP)

HARVEY: Still struggling. (AP)

Harvey vowed this season would be different, and during spring training said: “It’s a completely new year, like I said. My mechanics are completely different, my arm is completely different.”

Unfortunately, the results have been largely the same. Just four times in 19 starts last year did Harvey pitch into the sixth inning or later. Last season, Harvey averaged just under 20 pitches per inning. This year, he’s averaging just under 18 pitches.

That translates to not enough innings pitched and another four innings logged by the bullpen. Tonight, he gave up four runs on eight hits, including two homers, in a 5-1 loss to Milwaukee to snap the Mets’ nine-game winning streak.

I suppose you can blame the cold weather. That’s a contributing factor, but not the entire explanation.

“He has good stuff,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “The strikeouts are there. He didn’t go after it the way I would have liked. He couldn’t get it going. I didn’t see the confidence that he’s had in the past.”

To his credit, Harvey made no excuses. He didn’t blame the weather, lack of support from his offense or lack of luck, all of which he has done in the past.

“Not very good,” was how Harvey assessed his outing. “I have to be better. This loss was on me. It is frustrating. I have to take my 24 hours and be pissed about it, then move on.

“Keeping the bullpen out of it is something I have to do. I would rather it be two innings at the end of the game and not four. All and all, I have to be better.”

Apr 04

Mets’ Bullpen Rising To Occasion

It has only been five games for the Mets, but the early returns on manager Mickey Callaway’s use of his bullpen, especially with Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman, have been good.

Tuesday night, Lugo relieved Matt Harvey – and two other relievers – after five innings and pitched two scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory, and today, Gsellman relieved Noah Syndergaard after four innings (92 pitches) in a 4-2 victory.

Gsellman pitched two scoreless innings in earning the victory, then was followed by single scoreless innings from Hansel Robles, AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia.

After Harvey was pulled, Ramos entered and allowed two runners to reach and got two outs before he was replaced by Jerry Blevins, who closed out the sixth. Normally, Ramos and Blevins wouldn’t have been in the game that early.

However, Callaway’s theory is to not restrict his relievers by assigned innings, but go with the best match-ups.

And, Lugo and Gsellman pitching multiple innings is something Terry Collins normally wouldn’t have done.

“Our bullpen has done a fantastic job so far this season and we have faith in them,’’ said Callaway. “Everybody is doing the right thing. We are working on the small things, like Robles for example. He went down [to minor league camp], worked on the right things and comes out today and pitches a huge inning for us. I am really proud of those guys for that.”

Robles, who I’m not a fan of, has been terrific and today struck out the side in the seventh.

It has been a good start of the season for the Mets, who at 4-1, will be in Washington for the start of a three-game series. Oh, by the way, snow is forecast for Washington this weekend.

There are a lot of reasons why the Mets collapsed last season after consecutive playoff appearances and the bullpen was as big of an explanation as any. A lot of things have to happen if they are to recover enough to be competitive. And, the bullpen has to play a big part.

So far, so good.

Apr 02

Mets Finally Bag Game

Finally. Nearly five hours after the Yankees postponed their home opener, the Mets postponed tonight’s game against the Phillies. The game will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader in July. Now, was that so hard?

The snow has stopped, but the temperatures will be in the 30s. That they even thought of making their players play under such conditions – and risk injury – and make their fans sit in such miserable conditions is irresponsible and reprehensible.

That the Mets would wait so long to postpone tonight’s game is emblematic of an organization that cares little for its fan base.

Tonight’s scheduled starter, Matt Harvey, will start tomorrow. Tuesday’s starter, Seth Lugo, will be skipped and Noah Syndergaard will start Wednesday.

Too bad the Mets waited so long to make the inevitable announcement. After spending the last six weeks in Florida, the Mets played games on three of the last four days. They were off Friday, so many of the players haven’t had much time to get acclimated to their new city.

Had they called the game at 9 when it was clear the game wouldn’t be played it might have given them a full day to take care of personal business. Just making their lives a little easier.

Mar 31

No Reason To Rush Conforto

It is both good and bad news that Michael Conforto could be activated by the Mets from the disabled list. The good news is that his rehab following shoulder surgery is ahead of schedule. The bad news, of course, is this gives GM Sandy Alderson the potential to tinker with an injury.

Alderson, who snapped, “I can’t tie him down and throw him in the tube,’’ when asked last year why he didn’t force Noah Syndergaard to take an MRI, then subsequently gave the all-clear decision to start him against Washington that resulted in a torn lat muscle that scuttled last season.

Originally, the Mets and Conforto stated a May 1 return date, and April 5 beats that by over three weeks.

“That’s a decision we’ll make over the next couple of days,’’ Alderson said.

Why so soon?

Why not see what Brandon Nimmo can do over the next month? What’s the hurry?

Alderson is the man who constantly pokes at the coals on a grill. He has traditionally mishandled injuries by rushing players back. He’s done it with David Wright, Matt Harvey and Syndergaard to name a few.

Conforto said, “I’m pretty close,’’ but that’s a player itching to get back and not a doctor. He’s already playing in minor league rehab games.

I’m not a doctor, either, but as a student of Mets’ history, I’ve seen too many players rushed back from injuries and know this has the potential to end badly.

There’s nothing to be gained by bringing Conforto back next week, but plenty to lose.