May 03

DeGrom Off, But Manages To Win

Fortunately for Jacob deGrom, pitching victories aren’t scrawny fish – he’s not required to throw this one back, no matter how off he looked in tonight’s 16-5 rout of Atlanta.

The Mets need deGrom more than ever with Matt Harvey struggling, and Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard on the disabled list. Matz could be back in a month, but some reports have Syndergaard possibly out for up to three months.

DE GROM: Doesn't kick away win. (AP)

DE GROM: Doesn’t kick away win. (AP)

DeGrom gave up five runs on eight hits with five strikeouts, but what was most alarming were five walks and 109 pitches thrown in that span.

“It’s perplexing,” manager Terry Collins said of deGrom’s lack of command. “His command wasn’t there. In the middle innings, he didn’t make his pitches.”

But why?

“I honestly don’t know why,” deGrom said. “I felt good early on, but for some reason, I lost control. I felt fine (physically). I just wasn’t able to control my pitches.

“It wasn’t a very good effort by me tonight. These guys did a tremendous job picking me up. The most important thing was we got the win.”

In an effort to find out what’s wrong with his control – it has been two straight starts in which he’s been off – deGrom said he’ll go to the videotape tomorrow in an attempt to pinpoint a mechanical flaw.

But, for right now, “I honestly don’t know.”

May 02

Today’s Question: What Will We Get From Harvey?

The Mets asked Matt Harvey to move up a day to replace Noah Syndergaard, April 27. Unbelievably, Harvey said he wasn’t ready and gave up six runs in 4.1 innings.

Totally unacceptable.

HARVEY: What will we get? (AP)

HARVEY: What will we get? (AP)

That isn’t the case tonight and Harvey (2-1, 4.25) will start on regular rest against a team that has handled him. Harvey is 3-5 with a 4.22 ERA lifetime against Atlanta, and leads us to the question: What Harvey will we get tonight?

For a variety of reasons, most of them injury related, May hasn’t been a kind month to Harvey. He is 4-7 with a 3.61 ERA in 17 career starts in May. We get a lot of statistics these days, but not much of an explanation.

Maybe he’s not sharp yet; maybe he’s not in terrific shape; and we know last year it was injury related. However, Harvey says he’s fine physically, and with Syndergaard and Steven Matz on the disabled list, the Mets will need him to pitch to his reputation.

 

Apr 30

Today’s Question: Why Does Alderson Let Inmates Run Asylum?

As of now, Noah Syndergaard remains on to start against the Nationals’ Joe Ross in the series finale today in Washington.

SYNDERGAARD: Not smart. (AP)

SYNDERGAARD: Not smart. (AP)

Syndergaard said he felt fine during his bullpen session Friday and eschewed an MRI scheduled for him. Because GM Sandy Alderson acquiesced to Syndergaard’s prima donna attitude this week – which included berating a club official in the clubhouse for not keeping reporters away – we have an answer to today’s question: Who exactly is running the asylum?

In 2015, Alderson bowed to Matt Harvey and never established a definitive innings limit. It wasn’t until Harvey’s agent mentioned it in the press that it became an issue.

Syndergaard was bothered for much of last season with a bone spur in his elbow and was scratched from a start Wednesday with biceps tendinitis. An MRI seemed a logical next step, but Syndergaard said no, which is his right.

“I’m pretty in tune with my body,” said Syndergaard. “That’s exactly why I refused to take the MRI. I knew there was nothing happening in there.”

Alderson meekly told reporters, “I can’t strap him down and throw him in the tube.”

All too often the Mets get heat for not properly handling injuries. Despite wanting the MRI, Alderson can’t skate this time, either. Yes, Syndergaard can refuse medical treatment if he’s that stupid, but Alderson is supposed to be the adult in the room.

“No, Noah, you don’t have to have the MRI if you don’t want,” should have been Alderson’s response. “But, if you don’t we’re putting you on the DL and you won’t pitch until you do.”

Syndergaard is big and strong and probably nothing will happen to him, but can he be that naïve – not to mention arrogant – as to put his own health, and possibly the Mets’ season on the line?

Apr 29

Today’s Question: Can Wheeler Encore DeGrom’s Effort?

Jacob deGrom pitched like an ace last night to ease the Mets’ hemorrhaging. Today’s question is obvious: Can Zack Wheeler duplicate that effort?

WHEELER: Pressure start for him. (AP)

WHEELER: Pressure start for him. (AP)

Wheeler is 1-2 after missing the last two years following Tommy John surgery. It’s not a great record, but he is coming off a strong seven-inning performance last weekend against Washington. Wheeler gave up four runs on four hits with six strikeouts while throwing 101 pitches.

After the Mets’ 7-5 victory Friday night, to keep the momentum going they need to win at least twice in this series and preferably sweep. If they lose the next two they’ll trail the Nationals by 8.5 games. There’s plenty of time to make that up, but two losses would mean giving away the momentum created by deGrom.

The Mets have long waited for their dream five-man rotation of Noah Syndergaard, deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Wheeler to dominate. However, the five have never gone one cycle in that rotation. That might not come until next year as when Matz is ready to come off the disabled list, Wheeler’s innings limit might sit him.

Apr 27

Syndergaard, Cespedes Lost … Is Season Far Behind?

Welcome, my friends, to Panic City, where your mayor, GM Sandy Alderson and his deputy, Terry Collins, have some serious scrambling to do before they take their last place Mets into Washington for a three-game series with the Nationals.

While Alderson was in his office after today’s 7-5 loss to the Braves – the Mets’ sixth straight – weighing his limited options, Collins was delivering his annual, closed doors, “nobody is going to feel sorry for you … it’s time to grind it out, starting now,” address to his shell-shocked team, losers of ten of their last 11 games.

CESPEDES: Yes, things can get worse. (AP)

CESPEDES: Yes, things can get worse. (AP)

Collins was in a testy mood following a day when starter Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes were lost.

Syndergaard has biceps tendinitis and the Mets hope he’ll be ready for Sunday, but they are accomplished at wishful thinking. Cespedes, whom the Mets gambled was back from a tight hamstring, significantly pulled it legging out a double in the fourth inning and will be lost for an extended period.

Cespedes will get another MRI Friday and likely will be placed on the disabled list before facing Max Scherzer in Washington. There, he will join Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, David Wright, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo and Brandon Nimmo.

Collins, his voice getting louder with each name, ticked them off one at a time, Duda, Wright, Matt Harvey, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Cespedes, Matz, Jacob deGrom and Travis d’Arnaud, and said the Mets eventually pulled it together to reach the playoffs.

“I told them, ‘We can do it again, but it’s got to start now,’ ” Collins said. “OK, so the weather is gonna start changing. That can no longer be the excuse. It’s now time to go out and grind it out as we did last year.

“It’s still April, I understand that, but, we can no longer sit back and say, ‘It’s ugly weather, we’ve got some guys hurt.’ No one cares. [The Braves] don’t care, the Nationals don’t care. The only thing that matters are the guys in [the clubhouse], because that’s the product. They’ve got to care. They’ve got to come out, play with some energy and get this going and I truly believe they can do it.”

When asked the timing for this message, Collins played the perception-reality card, Collins said he’s aware of the talk energy is down, but that’s to be expected when your team batting average is .184 and on-base percentage is .268 during this slide.

“Look, it’s just April, I get it, but it’s time,” Collins said. “We’ve got a tough road trip ahead. … We’ve got to grind it out. We can do it, but we’ve got to start now.”

Now, is best defined as Friday in Washington, where the Mets, currently 7.5 games behind the Nationals, will try to stop their free-fall. As of now, deGrom, Zack Wheeler and to-be-announced will start, but Collins can’t say whether the offense will show, especially with Cespedes out.

“We’ve got to go out there and have energy,” said third baseman Jose Reyes. “We know we are going to better than this. … We’re going to see what we’re made of. It’s only April, we have five more months. We don’t want to go too deep in the standings. We have a good ballclub and we’re going to turn it around.”

It’s going to be difficult without Cespedes and Syndergaard. Collins said losing Cespedes “is a big hole.”

Losing Cespedes could have been prevented had the Mets acted proactively, which they did not. Instead, they kept hoping he’d get better. By putting Cespedes immediately on the disabled list, he might have missed both Washington series. Instead, foolishly gambling on a player with a history of muscle pulls, they not only miss Cespedes for both Nationals series, and for possibly up to a month.

“No,” a defiant Collins said when asked if he had any regrets by not putting Cespedes on the disabled list a week ago.

“He did all the things that were required to get in the lineup,” Collins said. “It just happens. It’s easy to say you should have put him on the DL. Well, you know what? Every time you turn around for every little thing, if you keep putting guys on the DL, we can’t run anybody out there.

“The guy pulled a hamstring. He’s wound tight. I am going to go with that. Now he’s going to be out for awhile.”

In saying Cespedes is wound tight, and especially after last season, are specifically the reasons why he should have been put on the disabled list. But, Collins doesn’t make those decisions; he’s there to shield GM Sandy Alderson from the flack he deserves.

As for Syndergaard goes, the Mets can afford a few extra days in making a decision because as a pitcher he works every five days. Syndergaard was supposed to start Wednesday, but was scratched because “I wanted to,” said Collins, not because he felt something in his arm while shagging fly balls before the game.

Syndergaard said the discomfort is in his shoulder and biceps area and isn’t a reoccurrence of the bone spur that bothered him last season.

“It’s quite obvious we can’t take a chance on him,” Collins said. “He’s a big piece of the puzzle.”

Prior to the game, Syndergaard said, “it’s a little thing right now, but we definitely don’t want to become a big thing,” but after the game got testy with a team official for not preventing reporters from questioning him.

Harvey started in place of Syndergaard and was lit up by the Braves. He got a phone call early today saying he would start.

“I really physically prepared for starting today,” said Harvey, who lifted weights Wednesday. “Having those workouts that I did yesterday and the throwing that I did yesterday, I just definitely wasn’t prepared.”

That’s odd because had he paid attention Wednesday when Syndergaard’s arm was barking and he was scratched, should have realized something was going on. Of course, that wouldn’t have taken away the workout, but Harvey could have been more mentally prepared.

Should have, could have, would have can’t turn this thing around for the Mets, who are in desperate need of something to go right.

“We need to be cognizant, when things aren’t going your way, not to go through the motions,” said Jay Bruce, one of the few bright spots for the Mets. “We’re up to the challenge.”

They better be, because 21 games into a season they all believed a World Series was possible, they are looking at that opportunity slipping away.