Apr 07

Mets Wrap: Marlon Byrd And Bullpen Keys To Comeback Win

There are a lot of indicators for a successful team and the Mets did several of them today in beating the Miami Marlins, 4-3, Sunday. Among them are winning close games, being able to come from behind, clutch hitting and solid relief work. The bullpen kept the Mets in the game until aggressive base running by Ruben Tejada and Kirk Nieuwenhuis set up Marlon Byrd’s game-winning, two-run single off Marlins’ closer Steve Cishek.

BYRD: Delivers in clutch. (AP)

BYRD: Delivers in clutch. (AP)

ON THE MOUND: In his Mets’ debut Aaron Laffey gave up three runs on 10 hits, but did get into the fifth inning. … Greg Burke, Josh Edgin, Scott Atchison, LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Rice combined for 4.2 scoreless innings. … Atchison came into the game with one out and runners on second and third in the seventh and was able to get out of the inning.

AT THE PLATE:  Daniel Murphy homered again. … Tejada was hit by a pitch and Nieuwenhuis singled and took second on the throw to set up Byrd for the game-winner. … The Mets overcame 13 strikeouts and going 1-for-8 with RISP.

IN THE FIELD: Lucas misplayed a ball near the wall, but was bailed out by Atchison. … Murphy is getting better at second, starting two double plays.

ON DECK:  A tale of two pitchers heading in opposite directions in their careers when Matt Harvey (1-0, 0.00 ERA) goes against Roy Halladay (0-1, 13.50).

Nov 17

Memo To Mets: Stop Screwing Around And Sign Dickey And Wright

The press release came via email as it always does and my first reaction was: How insignificant is Brian Bixler?

He means something to his family, but hit .193 with two homers and seven RBI last season for Colorado and Washington. Yup, that will have them breaking down the doors at Citi Field.

Another meaningless signing by the Mets, who continue to insult their dwindling fan base. Those are Jason Bay numbers and you know what happened to him.

Bixler is a utility player, of course. Bay? He’s home collecting his fortune, and as we all expect is about to sign with another team where he’ll suddenly be transformed into the slugger who once posted impressive numbers in Pittsburgh and Boston.

The only signings I am interested in now are that of R.A. Dickey and David Wright. The Mets showed signs of life in the first half last season and the primary reasons were Dickey and Wright. I know they were 14 games under .500 with them and could be 14 under with them.

That’s not the point. They can’t get any better, can’t appease their fans, and can’t generate any more excitement without them.

Not only the 2013 Mets, but for years to come, they would be sending the message of irrelevance to their public, to future free agents and Major League Baseball if they don’t keep their two best players.

When Wright hit the skids in the second half, arguably the only reason worth watching the Mets was Dickey. In fact, they juggled the rotation to give him extra starts at Citi Field. Dickey wanted the chance to pitch, and say thank you, to those that cheered him. The Mets wanted a few more fannies in the seats to buy hot dogs and beer.

I railed at the Miami Marlins yesterday for the trade that gutted their franchise and the same feelings apply to the Mets, only worse.

At least the Marlins made a decision – as bad as it was – and acted on it. The Mets? The perception is they are doing nothing. Talks are stagnant. If they let Dickey and Wright leave without pursuing them as they did Jose Reyes, that’s being passive-aggressive and it is worse.

Things could get better if they build around Dickey, Wright, Ike Davis, Jon Niese and Matt Harvey. That’s been the promise anyway. If they get better that’s when they will see a relief in their finances.

You have to spend money to make money, now do it and don’t bother us with any more Brian Bixler type signings.

Oct 02

Mets Matters: Last Look At Dickey As A Met Tonight?

We will get our last look at the best part of this season tonight when R.A. Dickey goes for his 21st victory to make his final Cy Young audition against the Miami Marlins.

It might even be Dickey’s last appearance as a Met if the team deems him to expensive to re-sign and opts to trade him this winter.

The Mets say bringing back David Wright and Dickey are priorities, but if Wright signs first and it is decided they can’t afford Dickey they might not have any other choice.

Whatever happens this winter, it has been a thrill watching Dickey pitch this summer. Every five days he gave the Mets a chance to win, and he did it on the mound with guile and grit, and off the mound with class and humility.

It would be a shame to see him go. There are so few like Dickey these days.

In other Mets Matters:

* CEO Jeff Wilpon and GM Sandy Alderson are with the team in Miami. The Mets say they are optimistic about retaining Wright, but have not announced an off-season timetable or give an indication how much it would cost. For that matter, they haven’t done likewise with Dickey.

Wright indicated he’d like to return, but also left open the possibility of leaving. That’s smart because he doesn’t want to bid against himself.

Wright’s decision to return will not only be money – he said he’s not interested in every last nickel – but what steps the team is willing to take to improve. As of now, all signs point to limited spending.

Wright said he would not negotiate in season in 2013.


* Thanks to Joe DeCaro for posting this morning about Terry Collins wanting Mike Pelfrey back. Considering the holes in their staff and potential concerns in the rotation, it could be a smart move. However, Pelfrey will open the season on the disabled list and I don’t expect the Mets to tender him a contract.

* The Mets will make everybody available this off-season in a possible trade. Reportedly, Boston is scouting the Mets in regards to Ike Davis.

It has been reported the Mets could trade Davis, but it comes with the presumption Lucas Duda fill his power void. Since there’s no assurances Duda will develop as the Mets hope, they would need to receive power in return. If that’s the case, why bother? Especially since Davis’ contract is reasonable.

Sep 22

Collins Should Be More Embarrassed Now

If Terry Collins was embarrassed after his team’s performance Thursday, he should be even more after his comments after last night’s game, won 7-3 by the Mets over the even more inept Miami Marlins.

The Mets broke a nine-game home losing streak last night and a stretch on failing to score more than three runs in 16 straight games. In a word, they have been dreadful. Last night was just their fifth at home since the All-Star break.

Collins should have offered a sigh of relief, but said: “It felt like a playoff game — win. We got some big hits early, played hard, ran the bases hard.”

Hopefully, he was joking, but normally has a poker face. He even kept his composure Thursday, although you could tell be his tone he was angry when he implied the Mets had quit.

“There’s no explanation for what’s happened. None,” Collins said. “No excuses. We know this is what they can do.”

Then why don’t they do it all the time? Teams go into slumps and mental funks all the time, but there’s never a reason not to play hard. They didn’t all the time last night, either. When the Marlins misplayed Lucas Duda’s pop-up in short left field he jogged out of the box and stopped at first. Duda isn’t a sure thing and can’t afford not to hustle.

After Thursday, Collins said there were things he didn’t like, and presumably not hustling is one of them. Evidently, Duda didn’t get the message. Here’s hoping Collins ripped him privately last night. Maybe he should bench him for a couple of games.

I liked Collins getting on his team Thursday and wonder why he didn’t earlier. Last night he retracted his comments. Big mistake. He should stay angry and go to the whip the rest of the season. The message: If you don’t play hard, you don’t play.

Did the retraction spur last night’s breakout?

“I don’t think so. I really don’t,” Collins said. “Probably more today me going to them and making sure that they know I support them, that I respect them in every way. I’ve told you guys all year: They’re a tremendous bunch of guys. It’s a great clubhouse. They just came out today and played like they know they can. Maybe the fact that they got more support than the negative side that they got last night was probably a better way to go about it.”

I don’t think so. There’s a time for positive reinforcement and a time to come down hard, and right now it is the latter. Collins said playing hard is about perception, and the same goes for his comments. When he retracted his comments the perception is he didn’t mean them. His players can’t believe that to be true.

This afternoon they’ll try to make it two straight at home, and will send R.A. Dickey to the mound in search of his 19th victory. Dickey will get two more starts after today.

Aug 07

Interesting Twists For Mets

With the signing of Jose Reyes, the Miami Marlins were the sexy pick to win the NL East, but their meltdown turned into a fire sale with arguably the best player in franchise history, Hanley Ramirez, being shipped to the Dodgers.

Clearly, Ramirez and Reyes didn’t co-exist the way the Marlins hoped. The Marlins obviously didn’t run the signing through Ramirez the way they should have in order to avoid conflict and soothe the temperamental Ramirez.

Interesting, but the Marlins were listening to offers for Reyes at the trade deadline. Nothing substantial, but they made it known they’d listen. Seems the Mets made the right decision in not to cave and give Reyes over $100 million.

The Mets were gambling on Ruben Tejada when they let Reyes walked and he’s produced at both ends.

While the Mets appeared to right themselves on their last road trip, that hasn’t been the case for David Wright, who hit .184 on the trip and has seen his strikeouts spike as it has the past couple of seasons.

Perhaps Wright was trying to carry a floundering team, but he needs to use the whole field and improve his patience.

An interesting note about tonight is Jason Bay in the order. It makes you wonder if he’ll be reduced to playing against left-handers in a platoon role. The last trip was supposed to be a key stretch for Bay, but he produced just two hits. GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets won’t eat Bay’s contract, but if his time is severely cut, why not?

To me, tonight is about Jonathan Niese, who lately has been pitching late into the game – usually clearing six innings – and whether he’ll close the season on a hot streak. Niese has closed previous seasons injured and the Mets want to see him end this one on a positive note.

Whether that means shutting him down once the Mets officially raise the white flag remains to be seen.