Apr 11

Mets Wrap: Wheeler Sterling In First Start

The most important thing to take away about the Mets from tonight’s victory in Miami isn’t that it was their eighth straight, but how well Zack Wheeler pitched in his first start of the season.

If I were into bandwagon hopping, I would say if Wheeler continues to bring it as he did in beating the Marlins, 4-1, to extend the best start in franchise history to 10-1.

WHEELER: Solid debut. (AP)

WHEELER: Solid debut. (AP)

Wheeler, who hasn’t pitched for the Mets in two years, gave up one run on two hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in seven innings. It is the longest a Mets’ starter has gone this young season.

“I thought he did a really good job of staying ahead,’’ said manager Mickey Callaway. “He pitched with a lot of confidence.’’

Wheeler, who had a spring training ERA north of eight, gave up a first-inning homer to Miguel Rojas in the first, was in complete control after that and retired the last 16 batters he faced.

“I was trying to go out there and give up a chance to win,’’ Wheeler said. “I was able to pound the zone and have command of my fastball for the most part. It was very satisfying.’’

We can presume Wheeler will get at least another start with Jason Vargas on the disabled list.

PLAWECKI GETS HIS BREAK:  Catcher Travis d’Arnaud was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The Mets recalled catcher Tomas Nido from Binghamton (AA), who was activated for tonight’s game.

The ten days enables the Mets time to evaluate the injury, including the possibility of Tommy John surgery. If that happens, d’Arnaud could be transferred to the 60-day disabled list, and former Washington National Jose Lobaton would be promoted to the Mets. That decision could be reached as soon as Friday.

“That’s a long road if he goes the surgery route,’’ Callaway said. “Anytime anybody has to go through that, that’s tough.’’

Callaway had a sense something was wrong with d’Arnaud’s arm from watching try to throw runners out at second – unsuccessfully.

Plawecki was struck on the left hand by a pitch and sustained a deep bruise. X-Rays were negative.

GONZALEZ DOES IT AGAIN: Veteran Adrian Gonzalez, who hit a grand slam in Washington, drove in the game-winning runs with a two-run, pinch-hit single in the eighth inning.

Gonzalez, who made the Opening Day roster in large part because of Dominic Smith’s leg injury, is hitting .298 with a .406 on-base percentage. Gonzalez’s two-run single gave the Mets their sixth-come-from-behind victory of the season.

“When we’re down, we know how to get the job done,’’ Callaway said. “You can feel the energy in the dugout.’’

 

Apr 09

Shouldn’t The Mets Always Play This Way?

Ron Darling made a big deal about Noah Syndergaard backing up a play at third base tonight in the fifth inning. In fact, SNY has been gushing non-stop how fundamentally sound the 8-1 Mets have been so far this season.

From their hustle and aggressive baserunning, to their situational hitting, to manufacturing runs without the benefit of the home run, to their defense, to their bullpen. SNY has been gushing non-stop and newspaper columnists are doing the same.

Their points are valid, but also painfully obvious. How the Mets are playing is how they should be playing all the time. It begs the question: Why weren’t they doing this for the past ten years?

Is it just Mickey Callaway? Was Terry Collins that bad? Although my head still hurts from him saying, “we are a home run hitting team.’’

That, of course, stemmed from GM Sandy Alderson’s love affair with analytics. However, as much as Major League Baseball seems married to sabermetrics and launch angles, and seemingly has abandoned the game’s traditions, it really remains a simple sport relying on pitching, defense and timely hitting, one-two-three, with home runs a distant fourth as a matter of importance.

SYNDERGAARD STRUGGLES: Syndergaard threw 46 pitches through four innings, then threw 44 combined in the fifth and sixth innings. For all the talk about Syndergaard being an overpowering pitcher – and at times he can be – he’ll never all he can be until he lowers his pitch count and goes deeper into games.

The same applies to Steven Matz and Matt Harvey, and to a lesser extent, Jacob deGrom.

We’re only nine games into the season and the Mets have already had two days off and a rainout, so their bullpen has not been taxed despite the starters not working long innings.

However, eventually, the starters will have to do better than the six innings Syndergaard gave them in tonight’s 4-2 victory.

SNY TAKES SHOT AT JETER: SNY took a not-so-subtle jab at Miami figure-head owner Derek Jeter after the third inning when it ran a montage of departed Marlins stars Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna with a sentimental ballad in the background.

EXTRA INNINGS: Assuming nothing happens and Zack Wheeler starts Wednesday’s game at Miami, it will mark the first the Mets’ highly-touted rotation. … I realize Hansel Robles gave up a homer to Bryce Harper the other day, but overall, he’s pitched very well. I liked that Callaway went right back to him. … It might be time to give Yoenis Cespedes a day off.  He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, including with the bases loaded.

Jan 26

Small-Market Brewers Shame Mets

The Milwaukee Brewers have long been regarded as a small-market franchise while the Mets play in the country’s largest market. Yet, events over the past 24 hours paint the two franchises with different brushes: The Brewers as a team that wants to win while the Mets continue to take the cheap way out and give their fans no reason to come out this summer.

In a span of less than two hours last night the Brewers engineered a trade for outfielder Christian Yelich, a budding superstar, and then signed outfielder Lorenzo Cain to the largest free-agent contract of the winter.

Either of those moves separately would have improved the Mets, who yesterday signed Jose Reyes for $2 million to play a utility infield role if they sign either Todd Frazier or Neil Walker or Eduardo Nunez.  Any of those three combined with Reyes won’t substantially elevate the Mets to contending status.

As of now, the Mets can only be projected to finish ahead of Derek Jeter’s dumpster fire in Miami, who had scuttled their team to save money. In addition to the revenue the Marlins will make from the television networks, they will get another $50 million from the sale of MLB Advanced Media.

So, what Jeter is doing is what George Steinbrenner always hated – and something he always accused the Mets of doing – which is pocket the money derived from the networks and revenue sharing and not put it back into improving the team.

The Brewers ponied up four prospects for Yelich and $80 million over five years for Cain, prices that would force GM Sandy Alderson hang up the phone.

 

 

Jan 04

Imagine Being A Marlins’ Fan

If you’re a Mets fan, and the assumption is you are, then you have to be grateful to Miami, because as stagnant as Wilpon’s team has been, the Marlins simply don’t care. Derek Jeter, one of baseball’s greatest frauds, is the face for the Marlins’ latest ownership group bent on stripping whatever competitiveness is left of the franchise.

The Marlins, reeling after the death of ace Jose Fernandez, were realistically a pitcher or two of being a contender for a wild card. Two starters could have made it a possibility.

Well, after trading Dee Gordon to Seattle, and Giancarlo Stanton the Yankees for a song, and then Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals for a whistle, the Marlins can be regarded possibly as worse than the Mets.

That would be assured if Jeter is successful in trading outfielder Christian Yelich, catcher J.T. Realmuto and infielder Martin Prado. Compounding matters for the Mets is the contenders to land these players are the Nationals, Braves and Phillies.

Reportedly, Jeter told MLB in the screening process he had no intention of stripping the Marlins. Whether he did or not is open for debate, but his actions speak otherwise.

The Marlins’ ownership groups have always been a mess, and it goes before Jeter. Have you forgotten the Marlins gutted their franchise after winning the World Series in 1997 and 2003?

This time Jeter didn’t even wait until a parade. He has scuttled the Marlins. So, if you think things are bad with the Mets, imagine being a Marlins fan.

Dec 22

Wilpon Has No Reason To Resent Yankees

I admit, I laughed out loud when I read The Post’s article on how Mets owner Fred Wilpon was “irate’’ after hearing about the Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton in a trade with Miami.

Anything the Yankees do money wise paints the Mets in a bad, if not embarrassing light, because it highlights their penny-pinching ways and reluctance to make any high-profile moves.

WILPON: No reason to be angry at Yanks. (Getty)

WILPON: No reason to be angry at Yanks. (Getty)

Wilpon doesn’t believe the Yankees can sustain their spending, which is what envious owners have said since George Steinbrenner purchased the team from CBS in the early 1970s.

It’s a foolish belief.

I don’t buy the Wilpons are afraid to spend, because after all, their Opening Day payroll last season was $154 million. That’s post-Ponzi spending, mind you. But, now there appears a reluctance

The problem is the Mets don’t spend wisely and they’ve been stung by their last three $100-million plus contracts – Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright and Johan Santana – were injured, as is their vaunted rotation.

Even though the Mets are two years removed from the World Series – and the Yankees were last there in 2009 – the latter is a lot closer to returning than the former. And, that was even before the Stanton trade, and even if they don’t get Gerit Cole from the Pirates.

Instead, the news this offseason about the dysfunctional Mets have made a franchise icon – Ed Kranepool – unwelcome, but have re-hired former GM Omar Minaya back to act as a special assistant to GM Sandy Alderson.

Both are head-scratching moves, but what isn’t was hearing of Fred Wilpon’s ire directed at the Yankees.

That’s something he has control over.