May 07

Colon One Of A Kind

Bartolo Colon swings hard, so you figured if he ever caught a pitch just right it might go out. Well, it finally happened in the second inning Saturday night when Colon, 17 days shy of his 43rd birthday, connected against James Shields in the 226th at-bat of his career.

This wasn’t a “run for the roses,’’ as much as it was a 31-second jog around the bases, long enough for the Mets to vacate the bench, fans back home to text their friends with a “you’ll never believe what just happened,” message, and researchers to discover he became the oldest player to hit his first career homer.

Colon’s blast – and he did crush it – was one of four the Mets hit on the night. Yoenis Cespedes hit the first in the first inning, and David Wright and Michael Conforto went back-to-back in the ninth as the Mets regained their power stroke to beat the Padres, 6-3, and Colon won the 221st game of his splendid career.

COLON: One of a kind. (GETTY)

COLON: One of a kind. (GETTY)

Incidentally, the Mets also have the oldest player ever to hit a homer in Julio Franco at 47.

This is Colon’s third year with the Mets. He was originally signed to pick up the innings void when Matt Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery. Colon won 15 and 14 games, respectively, in his first two years and worked over 190 innings each time.

Colon won over the hearts of Mets’ fans, not to mention his teammates, with his work ethic and outwardly unashamed signs of enjoying himself on the field. Colon also won everybody’s respect last year when he volunteered to pitch out of the bullpen during the playoffs.

Colon’s behind-the-back flip to first base last year in MIami was a sense of comic relief, but Saturday’s homer came at a time when the struggling Mets’ offense most needed a jolt.

However, the Mets didn’t get Colon to rake. They got him to pitch, and once again he came up with a quality outing, giving up three runs in 6.2 innings with five strikeouts. It marked the fourth time in six starts this year Colon (3-1) has gone at least six innings, and the 50th time in 68 starts with the Mets he’s gone that far.

Those, however, are numbers. He means far more than stats to this franchise. To watch his teammates mob him in the dugout, to hear how they love to tease him and enjoy his company, is a reflection how much they like and admire him. That’s a sign of respect not many players get to enjoy.

Colon has been a joy to watch during his short time here. He’ll go down as one of the most beloved Mets.

 

May 07

Mets Wrap: Offense Stalls Again

METS GAME WRAP

Game: #28    May 6: at San Diego    Score: Padres 2, Mets 0

Record: 17-11 Streak: L 2

Standings: Second, NL East 1.5 GB Nationals Playoffs Today: First WC vs. Pittsburgh

Runs: 123 Average: 4.4 Times 3 or less: 12

ANALYSIS: If you don’t score, you don’t win. It’s a very simple game when you come to think about it. I’ve mentioned several times there would be games when the power dries up and Friday night was one of them.

SUMMARY:  Noah Syndergaard pitched well enough to win most games, but when your offense gets only three hits that will usually lose you most games.

KEY MOMENT:  In the seventh, Asdrubal Cabrera was thrown out at the plate following Wilmer Flores’ double for the first out of the inning and a potential big inning disappeared.

THUMBS UP: Two runs in six innings is a quality start. … Curtis Granderson reached base for his 37th straight road game. … Two hits by Cabrera.

THUMBS DOWN: Syndergaard threw 97 pitches in six innings, which is again too many. … Two more stolen bases off Syndergaard.

EXTRA INNINGS:  The Mets have been shut out three times. … Michael Conforto and Neil Walker did not start, but both appeared as pinch-hitters.

QUOTEBOOK: “There are going to be times where you’re not going to hit the ball over the fence like we do.’’ – Terry Collins on the Mets’ offense.

BY THE NUMBERS:  20-38: Mets’ record at San Diego since 2000.

NEXT FOR METS:  Bartolo Colon starts against James Shields Saturday.

May 06

Today In Mets’ History: Happy Birthday Willie Mays

In 1969, the 100th Anniversary of Baseball, Joe DiMaggio was voted the game’s greatest player. That was wrong then and certainly was for the next 30 years of DiMaggio’s career. The voters slighted Mays.

You could make valid arguments for Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Stan Musial and Hank Aaron. You might also lobby on behalf of Willie Mays, who on this day in 1931 was born in Westfield, Ala.

My vote goes to Babe Ruth as the greatest player in history, with Mays second. In addition to his prodigious power and five tools, Mays will always be remembered for his catch in the 1954 World Series (video) against Cleveland.

Mays’ professional career began in 1947, the same year Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. His major league in 1951, the year DiMaggio retired. They faced each other in the World Series that season.

Mays is first, and foremost, a Giant. He became a Met in 1972 when he was traded for Charlie Williams (perhaps the ultimate trivia question answer) and $50,000 in cash. The driving force behind the trade was, of course, money.

MAYS: Not the best memory. (AP)

MAYS: Not the best memory. (AP)

Giants owner Horace Stoneham, who moved the Giants to San Francisco, was operating a team hemorrhaging money. Mays was nearing retirement and the Giants could not guarantee a job when he stopped playing. The Mets could and brought the icon back to New York.

/a>Mays played a year-and-a-half with the Mets, appearing in only 133 games, but played in the 1973 World Series, in which in went 2-for-7, but is best remembered for falling down in the outfield and his plea after being called out at the plate.

Mays looked like he was playing hurt, and later said, “growing old is a helpless hurt.’’

Mays’ last at-bat was grounding into a force play in Game 3. He retired after the season with a career .302 average with 660 home runs. He appeared in a record 24 All-Star Games. He was a 12-time Gold Glover and three-time MVP.

Mays was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979, the first year of his eligibility, but amazingly didn’t appear on 23 ballots.

May 06

Mets List: Hall Of Famers With Mets’ Ties

Tom Seaver is the Mets’ only home-grown Hall of Famer, but unfortunately didn’t play his entire career with the team. Neither will this year’s inductee, Mike Piazza.

There have been no Met with Hall of Fame ties whose entire career was spent in flushing.

With today being Willie Mays’ 85th birthday, and yesterday’s post on Warren Spahn prompted this list of Hall of Famers with Mets’ ties:

Seaver, 1967-77, 1983

Richie Ashburn, 1962

Yogi Berra, 1965 (player), 1972-75 (manager)

Gary Carter, 1985-89

Mays, 1972-73

Eddie Murray, 1992-1993

Nolan Ryan, 1966, 1968-71

Duke Snider, 1963

Spahn, 1965

Casey Stengel, 1962-65 as manager

 

May 06

Mets Wrap: DeGrom Doesn’t Have It And Offense Sputters

METS GAME WRAP

Game: #27 May 5: at San Diego Score: Padres 5, Mets 3 Record: 17-10 Streak: L1

Standings: Second, NL East 1.5 GB Nationals Playoffs Today: First WC vs. Pittsburgh

Runs: 123 Average: 4.5 Times 3 or less: 11

ANALYSIS: Are you getting the feeling the Mets are becoming an “all-or-nothing’’ team? It’s starting look that way for me, because despite all those home runs they have scored three runs or less in 11 out of their 27 games (40 percent). That further underscores the need to manufacture runs in not overrated.

DeGROM: Spot flaw. (GETTY)

DeGROM: Spot flaw. (GETTY)

SUMMARY: Colin Rea’s no-hit bid was broken up in the seventh inning. Jacob deGrom (3-1) took his first loss of the season and later said he pinpointed a mechanical flaw of opening up to much and falling to the first place side in his delivery. This flaw gives the hitter a split second extra to identify the pitch. Perhaps he can help Matt Harvey.

KEY MOMENT: San Diego scored in each of the first three innings to take control of the game.

 THUMBS UP: That deGrom recognized his flaw. … Home runs by Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes, giving the Mets 42 on the year. … A hit by Kevin Plawecki. No, they did not stop the game to give him the ball.

 THUMBS DOWN: Their all-or-nothing offense. … DeGrom’s mechanics. … Logan Verrett gave up two runs in two innings. Could they be using him too much?

 EXTRA INNINGS: This is the Mets’ longest road trip of the season. … Asdrubal Cabrera was hitless, but has at least one hit in his 26 starts. … With his homer, Cespedes has hit four in his last eight games. … Michael Conforto went 0-for-4 and is hitless in four of his last five games, going 1-for-19. Averages drop quickly this time of year, but his has gone from .365 after the April 30 game (the day before going 0-5 against Madison Bumgarner to .301 after today’s game.

 QUOTEBOOK: “[Our pitching] didn’t make the pitches we normally make and gave up a lot of hits,’’ manager Terry Collins on deGrom and Verrett.

BY THE NUMBERS: 9: Strikeouts by Conforto in his last five games.

NEXT FOR METS: Noah Syndergaard goes for the Mets. Opposing base runners are 8-for-8 in steal attempts against Syndergaard in his last two starts.