Aug 17

Matt Harvey Gives Us Something

I’ll admit, there are two things I want to see from the 2012 Mets. The first is to finish over.500, which, while demonstrating a strong positive step, is becoming more remote. The second is for R.A. Dickey to win 20 games.

While watching Dickey get hammered earlier this week I started to wonder if 20 wins was a long shot and whether there was anything interesting and compelling to concern myself with this team.

Matt Harvey answered that question last night in a scintillating performance against the Reds, perhaps the NL’s best team.

Harvey ended a personal three-game losing streak with 7.2 strong innings iced by hitting a two-run double as the Mets salvaged the series. In this recent stretch of their second half freefall, the Mets have lost eight of their last 12 games.

Yes, it is one start, but for the most part he has been solid in each of this first four starts. Last night was easily his best. Since 2006, when the Mets last saw a meaningful October, the Mets received similar strong glimpses from guys such as Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee, but there’s something different about Harvey, a first-round pick from North Carolina.

He just seems polished beyond his experience.

Unlike some of the previous flashes mentioned, Harvey leaves the impression of working with a plan. Maybe there was a chemistry click with Kelly Shoppach, and Terry Collins needs to pair those two again. It is fun watching Harvey work quickly and pound the corners for strikes. He’s not afraid to go inside on a hitter, works efficiently and with poise.

Maybe Harvey won’t be electric like Doc Gooden, but he doesn’t figure to be an enigma such as Pelfrey, either.

 

Aug 16

Dickey Seeing Red After Losing Bracelet In 6-1 Mets Loss

R.A. Dickey‘s quest for a Cy Young hit a speed bump Wednesday night in a bizarre 6-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

But Dickey will have to wait at least five more days to bolster his credentials. The knuckleballer served up a season-high three home runs to the Reds on Wednesday, dropping the Mets to a 6-1 loss.

Dickey may have been thrown off his game when the umpires forced him to cut off a bracelet that his daughter had given him when he made his climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Dickey was visibly pissed, and had worn that bracelet all season long without any previous gripes by the umpires. Terry Collins confirmed it was the umpires who ordered Dickey’s bracelet cut and that it was not requested by Reds.

The Reds tagged Dickey five earned runs on ten hits including three home tuns in six innings of work. The home runs were definitely not cheapies especially Todd Frazier‘s which was estimated at 475 feet. Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce walloped the other two. He did strike out ten, so there’s that…

The Mets only had four hits in the games, two each by Mike Baxter and Ruben Tejada who batted first and second in the order.

The Mets are 9-22 since the all-star break and now seven games under .500 for the season.

Bobby Ojeda says the Mets now have a growing reputation in the league that they are passive offense and that teams are pounding the middle of the zone because they know the Mets batters are not going to swing.

The Mets will try to avoid the sweep in tomorrow’s finale as rookie Matt Harvey (1-3, 3.63 ERA) faces Cincinnati right-hander Homer Bailey (10-7, 4.08).

Aug 06

Analyzing Mets’ Road Trip

After winning three of four in San Francisco, dropping a series at San Diego is a let down. But, the flip side is you have to be a little high to get down.

Considering they lost 11 of 12 on their previous homestand, I’ll take the 6-5 and be happy. Who among us was brimming with optimism when they took off for the West?

Obviously, the most important development on the trip was Matt Harvey, regardless of yesterday’s game. The Mets now have an arm they can be hopeful of giving them six. They can build from there.

Ruben Tejada and Ronny Cedeno are playing well, making up in part for David Wright’s slump. Yes, Jason Bay is still on the team, but Ike Davis flashed a glimpse of why we should be excited about him and Bobby Parnell threw an inning in San Francisco that was cause for some optimism. That might be a stretch, but look at the whole bullpen picture.

Sometimes you can get in trouble when you big-picture things, but in that vein, the Mets are giving us reason to hang around and watch. I didn’t say “get excited,” but keep us interested in their development.

Many of us got too excited from the first half and those two weeks in July were deflating. However, considering their inactivity in the offseason and dismal spring training, if you were told the Mets would be knocking on .500′s door a week into August, wouldn’t most of you have taken it?

I mean, given Johan Santana’s uncertainty, not to mention stint on the DL, and losing Mike Pelfrey for the season, I’d venture most would have jumped at it.

We all knew going in this was a building season and we’ve seen some good things. This trip helped remind us of them. I would be interested to see what September brings, and I really never thought I’d write that line in March.

 

Aug 01

What Is Sandy Alderson Watching?

Most of us didn’t expect the Mets to be active at the trade deadline, a thought emphasized by a stretch in which they lost 11 of 13 games. But, to hear GM Sandy Alderson say he opted not to trade Scott Hairston, or anybody else for that matter, by saying: “We haven’t given up on the season. We didn’t move players off the team for a reason. We think we have lots of good baseball in front of us, and Scott can be part of that.”

ALDERSON: Blowing smoke.

Of course, the Mets could have been more a part of things had they not waited for their collapse, which somewhat slowed in Arizona with the split, but in reality did it really? Since hitting the West Coast time zone, the Mets are 3-3, hardly a stretch to sound the trumpets.

When asked on a conference call why the Mets didn’t act sooner, Alderson said: “There really wasn’t availability. If you’re talking about an impact reliever at the end of the game, and you go back to right after the All-Star break, the market really had not fully formed. … Would a reliever of some renown, some ability, have made a difference? It’s possible.

“But, about the same time that it would have been nice to get a reliever, our starting pitching went south and we weren’t scoring quite as many runs as we had. So there was a period of time until very recently that we had a number of problems that could have been addressed. The bullpen was just one of those.”

The demise of the starting pitching and offense is true, but to say there was nothing available isn’t accurate, at lease not on the surface. Not all deals were made at the deadline. The Dodgers and Yankees made acquisitions a week ago. The fact is, and Alderson knows this, that there are few untouchables.

It is understandable the Mets didn’t want to purge their farm system, but not all deals would have meant trading Matt Harvey and/or Zach Wheeler. And, if Alderson really believes the Mets are still in it, then why didn’t they act in the last few days? Jonathan Broxton (to Cincinnati), Wandy Rodriguez (to Pittsburgh) and Francisco Liriano (to the White Sox) were done recently.

The fact is the Mets didn’t want to part with their farm system – and, it better turn out great after this – and/or don’t really believe they are in it. All acceptable explanations. But, please don’t tell us you’re not giving up on the season and then not do anything. There’s no way, barring a long-shot miracle the Mets can win anything this year with their present roster.

If Alderson really believed there is a chance he should have done something. By not doing so, he let down all those fans who were on the Mets’ bandwagon in the first half, and all those who bought tickets for games in the second half.


 

 

 

 

Jul 28

Mets, Niese Routed By Diamondbacks

With no hot shot rookie to propel them, the Mets were reduced to Terry Collins’ vow of working the count and pitching better. Arizona scored six in the second and it was over just like that. Another snake bite in the desert.

NIESE: Hammered.

Just a miserable night altogether, although the Matt Harvey videos were nice.

Usually, the Mets hang around in games and find annoying ways to lose late. Yesterday was refreshing because it was over early. The butler did it in the second chapter.