Sep 01

Mets Should Skip Niese Before Syndergaard

It’s now three stinkers in a row for Jon Niese, and if Mets manager Terry Collins is considering skidding Noah Syndergaard this weekend, perhaps the smarter play would be to bypass the veteran left-hander instead.

NIESE: Next start should be skipped. (AP)

NIESE: Next start should be skipped. (AP)

Niese was rocked in his second straight start by the Phillies Tuesday night, giving up six runs on seven hits in five innings. Niese fell behind 6-0 before Yoenis Cespedes‘ two-run homer briefly made a game of it, but the night unraveled with an eight-run sixth against the Mets’ very suspect bullpen.

Collins is planning to skip Syndergaard in favor of Steven Matz this weekend in Miami in an effort to conserve his innings. However, Niese’s next start is scheduled for Monday in Washington against Max Scherzer.

Which game figures to have greater for the Mets, Saturday in Miami or Monday in Washington? While all games are important, playing the Nationals can be vital, especially if they have cut into the Mets’ lead. The Mets entered Tuesday night’s game with a 5.5-game lead on Washington with six games left between the two teams.

The math is self-explanatory.

Skipping Niese in a game in which he would face Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth is something worth considering. It might be enough to enable him to clear his head. As for Syndergaard, the Mets could conserve his innings in his next start.

However, for this weekend and Monday, it’s more important for the Mets to conserve their lead in the division than it is Syndergaard’s innings.

Aug 31

Bumping Colon From Playoff Roster Not Good Idea

One of the foregone conclusions of the Mets’ playoff push is that once they get there, they won’t have a role for Bartolo Colon.

Conventional wisdom has Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Jon Niese in the rotation. Although there has been some silliness reported about putting Syndergaard in the bullpen and Steven Matz in the rotation.

COLON: Don't skip him from playoffs. (AP)

COLON: Don’t skip him from playoffs. (AP)

Uh, that’s not a good idea.

Bumping Colon from the playoff roster isn’t a good idea either for a franchise that hasn’t played in the playoffs since 2006.

There have been times when Colon has been dreadful, but more often than not he’s been terrific, like he was Monday night, his start last week in Philadelphia and out of the bullpen Saturday.

Of Colon’s 27 starts, he’s given up more than four runs six times, walked only 21 batters and worked less than five innings only five times.

And, oh yes, Colon got his seventh hit Monday night along with throwing eight scoreless and tying his season-high with nine strikeouts. He’s now thrown 16 straight scoreless innings.

Where Colon also demonstrated his value is with that relief appearance over the weekend. It was for one inning, but should have planted the seed for long-man use.

In his two years with the Mets he has won 27 games. He has won 12 games this season, tied with deGrom for the team lead, one more than Harvey, and three more than Niese and Syndergaard.

Even so, the Mets seem determined to bump Colon in favor of Matz, who seemingly has a bright future but only two major league victories.

The number that works against Colon is that he’s 42. However, somewhere along the line he’ll do something or pass along a tidbit of information that could be invaluable.

The Mets shouldn’t throw that away.

Aug 30

Mets Should Sit Wright Today

I am happy for David Wright and his return to the Mets. In the handful of games he’s played last week, he’s swung the bat well and after an awkward first game in the field his defense has come around.

WRIGHT: Should sit today. (Getty)

WRIGHT: Should sit today. (Getty)

For all he’s gone through and all he’s meant to the Mets, he deserves the opportunity to play in October. That being said, I don’t want to see him play today.

Wright did not play Saturday because of stiffness in his throwing shoulder, and despite two straight losses to Boston, there should be no sense of urgency to get him in the lineup.

Collins said there’s nothing wrong with Wright’s lower back, but why take the chance? Give him an extra, two if need be, because they have Juan Uribe.

Uribe can field the position and has been productive at the plate.

Plus, his heads-up play Saturday in which he backed up a throw to second and almost caught David Ortiz shows his head is always in the game.

The last thing I want right now is a setback with Wright. He’ll say he’s fine, because that’s what he does, but Collins should sit him and only use him as a pinch hitter.

Be smart, Mets.

Aug 29

Mets Add Reliever Reed From Arizona

Multiple sources report the Mets helped address their shaky bullpen by trading for Arizona reliever Addison Reed, who is making $4.875 million this year and is arbitration eligible in the offseason.

Reed started the season as the Diamondbacks’ closer but was taken out of the role in mid-May and eventually optioned to the minor leagues in June. Reed, 26, is 2-2 with a 4.20 ERA in 38 appearances this season and has two blown saves in five chances.

What makes Reed attractive to the Mets is his effectiveness against lefty hitters, who are batting .242 against him this season after holding them to .210 and .219 the last two years.

The Mets are set at the end of the game with set-up man Tyler Clippard and closer Jeurys Familia, but are having problems in the seventh inning. Reed figures to get a chance at that role and will get competition from Hansel Robles and Logan Verrett.

Verrett,stellar in a spot start last Sunday, gave up three runs on two homers Friday in relief of Matt Harvey. Robles, 3-2 with a 3.67 ERA in 41.2 innings over 43 appearances this season, has shown flashes of immaturity, highlighted by two quick-pitch incidents this week in Philadelphia.

Other reports have the Mets are talking with San Diego about left-hander Marc Rzepczynski.

The Mets are expected to add to their bullpen depth when the rosters expand Sept. 1 by adding Bobby Parnell, Erik Goeddel, Dario Alvarez and possibly Scott Rice. The last two are lefties.

On Saturday, the Mets used Bartolo Colon in relief on his between-starts throw day.

 

Aug 28

High Flying Mets Due For Letdown Loss

Even after blowing another Matt Harvey start Friday night, a lot of things are breaking for the Mets these days and it is adding up to a wonderful summer. If it keeps going like this, it could be a great October.

For example:

HARVEY: Another no-decision. (Getty)

HARVEY: Another no-decision. (Getty)

* For most of his tenure as general manager, Sandy Alderson sat on his hands at the trade deadline, but this year brought in Yoenis Cespedes, Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe and Tyler Clippard.

Perhaps the most defining, at least in regard to the tweaking of the Mets, was when the Wilmer Flores-for-Carlos Gomez trade fell through and Alderson was able to get Cespedes.

In May and June, and much of July, the Mets hungered for runs. But they’ve been mashing lately, and despite falling behind by three runs and down to their last out, the Mets fought back and the game ended with the winning run on base. Still, four days after hitting a club record eight homers in Philly, they were able to do little with the 12 walks the Red Sox gave them. That can’t happen if they make the playoffs.

* Speaking of Clippard, he fell into the Mets’ hands after blockhead Jenrry Mejia‘s second drug suspension. The Mets have bullpen problems, but not having an eighth-inning set-up reliever could be devastating. Now, the problem is filling in the seventh and this is where not having Mejia hurts.

On Friday they were forced to go with Carlos Torres the day after he pitched multiple innings against the Phillies. Not wanting to extend Harvey and not comfortable with his bullpen options, the Mets had to stay with Torres. This will be an issue in the playoffs.

* After not having David Wright for nearly five months, he homered in his first at-bat, but more importantly has been able to catch up to the speed of the game defensively.

* After Harvey was skipped and given 11 days of rest, there was some wonder as how he would do Friday night against Boston, but six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts answered that question. Of course, in watching the Mets blow the game, the nagging question about monitoring innings resurfaced. If he stayed in for another inning could extra innings have been avoided?

Perhaps, but Collins made a point to emphasize that in the playoffs he would have stayed with Harvey.

So many good things have happened for the Mets lately, including losing on the same day Washington lost. The NL East isn’t a given because we’ve seen leads slip away before, but before that harrowing thought takes seed, first we must look at Friday night as a simple speed bump.

After all, Jacob deGrom is pitching Saturday.