Jun 13

Today’s Question: Is Cespedes Available?

The obvious question is will the Mets place Yoenis Cespedes back on the disabled list? Since the Mets don’t think the same way I do, it won’t happen.

While Cespedes’ left hamstring is clearly not 100 percent – he admitted as such when he came off the DL – he left last night’s game in the fifth inning with a sore left heel.

CESPEDES: Can't stay healthy. (AP)

CESPEDES: Can’t stay healthy. (AP)

Manager Terry Collins said Cespedes is scheduled to play tonight against left-hander Jon Lester, but it will depend on how he feels when he reports to Citi Field.

So, that leaves us with the question: Will Cespedes play tonight?

I’m guessing he won’t, which would be the smart decision considering he can’t run and the Mets have to baby him and don’t know from day to day whether he’ll play.

Compounding the Mets’ outfield is Michael Conforto didn’t play last night because of back stiffness and is questionable for tonight.

Jun 12

Mets Wrap: DeGrom Turns In Gem

It appears the real Jacob deGrom has been found. Backed by three home runs and four double plays, deGrom dominated the Cubs, 6-1, in the second complete game of his career.

“This was definitely big,” deGrom said. “I struggled in those last two starts, but I had to put that behind me.”

DE GROM: Resurfaces with gem. (AP)

DE GROM: Resurfaces with gem. (AP)

DeGrom gave up 15 runs in his previous two starts and concluded his front shoulder was flying open, a flaw he corrected by tucking his glove against his hip on the delivery to the plate.

“I was trying to stay within myself and not do too much. I concentrated on keeping the ball down and trying to get groundballs.”

Of the 27 outs, deGrom got 17 on the ground, including 4-6-3 double plays in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

DeGrom was in such command that the only question was whether manager Terry Collins would let him go nine. He had 106 pitches through eight and needed only ten in the ninth to finish his masterpiece.

“[I came in after the eighth inning] and said I wanted to finish,” said deGrom, who gave up one run on five hits and four walks with six strikeouts.

CABRERA MAKES STATEMENT: With two homers, Asdrubal Cabrera made a statement he’s not done yet.

Cabrera’s defense has been shaky – he committed another error tonight – but he made two sparkling plays Sunday. He also made a scintillating play in the seventh inning when he made a sliding, backhanded play to throw out Javier Baez.

The Mets needed a replay challenge to get the out, which turned out to be important because the next hitter, Addison Russell, homered.

CESPEDES NOT READY: The Mets have to baby Yoenis Cespedes as it is clear he wasn’t ready to come off the disabled list. He left the game in the fifth with a sore left heel.

He’s been told not to run hard if he thinks he will be out, and the Mets have to give him extra rest, which means they’ll have to play shorthanded.

Collins said Cespedes is scheduled to play tomorrow night, but my guess is he will sit.

The Mets’ best move would be to put Cespedes back on the disabled list for another two weeks. Better that than have him reinjure his hamstring and have him miss at least a month.

METS DRAFT LEFTY: With the 20th selection in the amateur draft, the Mets selected Oregon lefthander David Peterson.

Peterson, 6-6 and 240 pounds, went 11-4 with a 2.51 ERA this season, and had a 20-strikeout game against Arizona State. Overall, he had 140 strikeouts and 125 walks in 100.1 innings.

“He has been a tremendous man since he stepped foot on campus,” Oregon coach George Horton told The Register-Guard. “I always feel blessed as a coach to be around quality humans like him and when they perform spectacularly like that to go with what kind of a young man he is, that’s great. I hope everything goes well for him in the draft, and he gets what he wants because he deserves everything he gets.”

EXTRA INNINGS: With a double and homer, Bruce is on pace to have 84 extra-base hits this season which would set a club record. Bruce also added an eighth-inning single. … The Mets have beaten the Cubs in seven straight games at Citi Field.

UP NEXT: Zack Wheeler (3-3, 3.45, 1-0, 1.35 ERA lifetime vs Cubs) gets the ball tonight. Wheeler is 8-13 with a 4.38 lifetime at Citi Field. … He is coming off a no-decision in his last start despite giving up one run in seven innings last Wednesday against the Rangers.

 

Jun 12

Mets Need The Real DeGrom

Even when the Mets had a healthy Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey on staff, Jacob deGrom was still the best they had to offer. Nothing seemed to rattle him; he had no prima donna instincts; he had the best combination of velocity and command.

DE GROM: Needs to find himself. (AP)

DE GROM: Needs to find himself. (AP)

DeGrom said he’s healthy which is what makes his sluggish start so puzzling.

The 4-3 record isn’t such a big deal because it can be written off as a lack of run support or a leaky bullpen. However, the 15 runs he’s allowed in his last two starts and 4.75 ERA are particularly head scratching.

We’re used to seeing deGrom give up 15 runs in a month – maybe five starts – not eight innings in his last two. That’s not deGrom.

“It’s frustrating, but I’ve been able to go out and pitch that way, and you have to make an adjustment,” deGrom said after his last start against the Rangers. “You have what you have that day and I’ve done a poor job of that my last two starts, not being able to get outs without having my best stuff, which in the past I was able to do.”

DeGrom said he’s been able to pinpoint the problem but can’t get a handle on the solution. It’s akin to having an itch in the middle of your back and not being able to scratch.

In detailing his problems against the Rangers in his last start, deGrom said: “If you look at my misses, they were either to a righty down and away or up-and-in,” deGrom told reporters last week in Texas. “I’m either yanking the ball or it’s sailing on me, so that tells me it’s rotational.

“This game is not easy. These are big league hitters and when you make mistakes over the middle of the plate, that kind of thing happens, which obviously I have done over my last two starts.”

DeGrom said he’s flying open too soon with his front shoulder while striding to the plate. This is about timing, about muscle memory, and about the placement of his lead arm and shoulder as he begins his stride toward the plate.

Is this related to his elbow surgery? DeGrom says no; he says he’s not ailing.

DeGrom has always been honest and not condescending, unlike Harvey and Syndergaard have been in the past.

 

Jun 12

Cubs-Mets Is Opening Day II

Call Cubs-Mets Opening Day II.  The World Champion Cubs – something I never thought I’d write – are in tonight for a three-game series. After them, the Mets play the Nationals, Dodgers and Giants over a two-week stretch that will define their season.

The Mets are feeling good about themselves these days after winning three-of-four in Atlanta, and the returns of Steven Matz and Seth Lugo – who each worked seven strong in their starts – and Yoenis Cespedes, who ripped a pinch-hit grand slam.

CESPEDES: Mets need his bat. (AP)

CESPEDES: Mets need his bat. (AP)

“This is fun, you’re playing the world champs, you are playing arguably the best team in our division,” Collins said. “We’re a little healthier and having Ces back is big, but we’ve got to go pitch. It’s going to be a fun week. I just hope we go out and play well.”

In their last five games, Mets’ starters have given up three runs over 32.2 innings. However, none of those games include Jacob deGrom, tonight’s starter. DeGrom has given up 15 runs in his last two starts. We’re used to seeing deGrom give up 15 runs in a month of starts, and if he doesn’t get back to that form the Mets can forget about sniffing the playoffs this year.

The big series, of course, is the four-game set against the Nationals. If they sweep that, then the Mets trail by only six games. That’s entirely doable.

However, for that series to mean anything they have to take care of business against Chicago as they can’t afford to fall any further behind. The Mets are fortunate in that they are playing a listless Cubs’ team that is only .500 at 31-31.

“We went through that last year,” Collins said of the Cubs. “Going to the World Series really beats up your pitching and as a team, it takes a while to get that energy back.”

The Mets seemed energized against the Braves, and they can’t afford any letdowns the rest of the way. These next two weeks will determine what they do at the trade deadline and whether there will be a summer worth watching.

ON DECK: What’s Wrong With DeGrom?

 

Jun 12

Today’s Question: Which DeGrom Will We Get?

Jacob deGrom is the Mets’ unquestioned ace despite his sluggish start and even before Noah Syndergaard was injured. Where Syndergaard was determined to overpower hitters, deGrom could throw heat, yet set up the batter.

At least he could do it with greater consistency than Syndergaard.

DeGROM: Who will we get? (AP)

DeGROM: Who will we get? (AP)

In their last five starts – which does not include deGrom – Mets’ starters have given up three runs in 32.2 innings. In comparison, deGrom is coming off the worst start of the season, giving up eight runs in four innings. That wasn’t an aberration as he’s given up 15 runs in his last two starts.

“We have to fix Jake,” said manager Terry Collins. “We have to get him going.”

So, the question: What deGrom will we get? Will we get the guy who is 17-12 with a 2.17 ERA in 43 career starts at Citi Field or the pitcher who is 4-3 with a 4.75 ERA this season and 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA in four regular-season starts lifetime against the Cubs.

DeGrom has been susceptible to the long ball and already five times this year has given up multiple home runs. DeGrom is also walking more hitters than ever before, 30 in 70.2 innings. He’s had games of six walks and two where he issued five.

DeGrom said his problems have been mechanical, claiming his shoulder is flying open too soon and he’s throwing across his body.