Apr 01

Matz Putting It Together At Right Time

The one pitching Met I was most concerned with appears to have pulled it together, and that’s Steven Matz, who pitched five hitless innings in an 8-1 rout of the Cubs that snapped a 14-game winless streak.

Matz struck out six and walked two, and there were no comments after questioning his stamina or conditioning.

“This is definitely a good way to go into the season,’’ Matz told reporters. “My slider was working and it’s definitely something I’m going to be using. I’m definitely getting to where I need to be.’’

However, “getting to,’’ isn’t exactly “being there,’’ and it should be pointed out starters are expected to work at least six innings and possibly seven in their final tune-up.

Matz threw 73 pitches, which won’t do in his first start. Meanwhile, Jacob deGrom threw 71 pitches in a minor league game in Port St. Lucie.

All Mets starters operated under a reduced workload in spring training. It took awhile for Matz to come around, but Matt Harvey had a miserable spring. Manager Terry Collins said he won’t be concerned until the games count, and that will be Sunday with Harvey.

After the game, the Mets finalized their Opening Day roster with Kevin Plawecki being the last position player and relievers Jim Henderson and Logan Verrett rounding out the staff.

Mar 31

Not Buying World Series Or Bust For Mets

We’ve heard it already this spring and we’ll hear it again as the season rapidly approaches: This season is World Series or bust for the Mets. Like the rest of you, I’d like to see the Mets return to the World Series, and would love to see them win.

But, for a team that has reached the pinnacle of its sport only five times since 1962, to say the success of the season is dependent on winning the World Series – something they’ve done only twice – is a bit of a reach.

It is because so much can happen between now and the end of October. And, we’ve already seen in spring training how fragile things can be with injuries, slumps, bad luck and a multitude of other variables over the course of six months can change things very quickly.

For so many years before last season, their summers were marred with injuries, poor play and disappointment. However, there was a magical element to 2015, and it wouldn’t be natural to hope for the next step, which as Bob Murphy once said, “to win the damn thing.”

But, what if they don’t?

I’ve seen so many things happen that derailed playoff dreams, and if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. It would be disappointing, for sure. But, it would only be a bust for me if they don’t play well. You can’t do anything about injuries, but they can control so many other things.

Depending on the circumstances, if it doesn’t happen that won’t make the season a bust.

 

Mar 30

Maybe Harvey’s Poor Spring Comes From Lack Of Work

Matt Harvey might not be pitching to midseason form, but his attitude has a July feel. Harvey’s poor pitching this spring continued Wednesday when he gave up a three-run homer to Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman, and after the game didn’t talk to reporters.

HARVEY: Had poor spring. (Getty)

HARVEY: Had poor spring. (Getty)

Reportedly, he didn’t like the coverage of his bladder treatment, and this is how he decided to handle it.

I’ll just say: If Harvey really wants to be considered an ace, then he needs to understand aces have a responsibility to talk with the media. And, if he’s as smart as he thinks he is, he had to know he would be asked how he felt considering his medical issue. It comes with the territory of being a star.

Real aces would understand. Anyway, Harvey has pitched like anything but a star.

His 1-2 record and 7.50 ERA is irrelevant. However, in 12 innings he’s given up 10 hits and nine walks for a 1.83 WHIP. Hitters are batting .302 against him. And, let’s not forget the six runs he gave up in a minor league game against the Cardinals.

“You can say whatever you want; it’s still spring training,” manager Terry Collins told reporters. “We’ll worry about how he throws the ball on Sunday night.”

So, what’s Harvey’s problem? All indications are his arm is fine, but he’s only pitched in four exhibition games. Normally, a starter would get six starts and work 30 innings. Perhaps, in an effort to protect Harvey, the Mets didn’t give him enough work.

Just a thought.

 

 

Mar 28

Harvey’s Ailment Cause For Concern

The Mets shutting down Matt Harvey for the remainder of spring training with an undisclosed medical ailment reminds us of the fragility of an athlete. The Mets aren’t being specific as to the nature of the problem, but are saying it isn’t his elbow or shoulder. Agent Scott Boras hasn’t commented. Opening Day is up in the air. And, Harvey could return to New York for tests.

I would definitely say there’s reason to be concerned.

HARVEY: Opening Day in limbo. (Getty)

HARVEY: Opening Day in limbo. (Getty)

Harvey was scheduled to pitch Tuesday, but that’s not happening. Nobody knows for sure when Harvey will pitch again.

“It’s a non-baseball medical issue that we have to address,” Alderson told reporters. “It came up this morning as far as I know. There will be some follow-up tests and consultation that will take place over the next couple of days.”

Alderson said Harvey will undergo tests and the results might not be known for several days. That will only lead to speculation.

“I think it’s a little early to attach any level of concern,” Alderson said. “I think we need to wait for more medical information before we decide it’s of concern, or great concern, or no concern. It’s way too premature for us to be discussing anything related to Opening Day.

“I understand Opening Day is not too far away, but we’re dealing with tomorrow, and we should know something more tomorrow – or the next day. But right now he’s not pitching tomorrow. That’s kind of where the story ends.”

Only it won’t be ending as the questions are only beginning, with not the least of them being: “If you’re a Mets’ fan should you be concerned?”

I would think, yes.

 

 

 

Mar 28

Are You Concerned With How Mets Are Playing?

At the start of the exhibition schedule, Mets manager Terry Collins said he wasn’t wrapped up in wins and losses as much as he was the team playing well and executing. Including today’s loss to the Cardinals, it has been 11 straight games without a victory. That’s more than a subtle suggestion they aren’t playing well.

COLON: Hasn't had good spring. (AP)

COLON: Hasn’t had good spring. (AP)

For the most part, the starting pitching has done well. Steven Matz had his best start of the spring Sunday, but has given up 16 hits and 11 walks in 18.2 innings, numbers that might send other starters to the minors. Bartolo Colon, today’s starter against St. Louis, has not pitched well. At the end of the game, the bullpen has been inconsistent, something you don’t want to see with a week left in camp.

Injuries are always a concern and the Mets have had their bumps. David Wright has played in only six games and has just 17 at-bats, but is expected to play in four games this week. He won’t open the season as sharp as hoped.

It is hoped Asdrubal Cabrera (strained knee) will be ready. Michael Conforto had a sore lower back, but seems to be all right now. But, he’s only hitting .225. A lot is expected of him this summer.

Other key Mets having poor springs are Neil Walker (.211), Lucas Duda (.206) and Travis d’Arnaud (.200).

It wouldn’t be so bad if there were only a handful of players being off, but I’ve named eight, which a third of the roster.

Yes, it’s only spring training, but slow springs have been known to turn into sluggish Aprils and long seasons. I don’t care about the wins right now, but I will next week. What I do care about is how cleanly and crisply they are playing, and their play leaves a lot to be desired.