Jul 09

Collins Expresses Hope At The Break

Today’s Mets’ buzzword is “energy.’’ Mets manager Terry Collins, in talking about his team’s poor first half, bemoaned their lack of energy.

“We have to get energy back,’’ Collins said. “We aren’t playing with energy. We have to put a streak together, starting Friday.’’

COLLINS: Still has hope. (AP)

COLLINS: Still has hope. (AP)

At the break, the Mets are eight games under .500, 12 games behind Washington in the NL East, and 10 games behind the second wild-card Colorado with six teams to jump.

The Mets have been a string of bad optics from spring training until today. But, they are still alive.

I look at a potential pennant race from two angles. One, for a team to be in a race it has to be playing .500 ball and the Mets are eight games under. Secondly, there is enough time remaining with them being 12 games behind with 12 weeks remaining. As long as they can pick up one game a week it can be done. Mathematically, they are alive, but can they make a run? Have they demonstrated any signs of turning around their season?

So far, they have not.

There have been numerous times when they were on the cusp of making a move but stepped back. That trend started in April when after winning five straight, they lost 10 of 11.

They came out of that slide by winning the first two games of a three-game series in Washington and had Noah Syndergaard going in the final game. The Mets still had a chance with their ace gong.

However, that was the day Syndergaard, after refusing an MRI, tore his lat muscle and the Mets were routed 23-5. That was the singular most important moment of the first half.

From there, the Mets showed the resilience that marked their playoff pushes in the past two years. They went on to win six of eight to get back to .500 and give the perception anything was possible.

However, one of those two losses came when Matt Harvey was suspended and spot starter Adam Wilk was shelled by Miami. Syndergaard’s injury and Harvey’s suspension were two watershed moments from the first half.

However, the underlying theme of the first half was injuries, beginning with losing David Wright. Also going down were Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Juan Lagares, Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman, Harvey and Yoenis Cespedes.

Considering all that, it’s amazing they aren’t 20 games back.

“Well, pretty much the record speaks for itself,’’ said Collins. “No matter if you said, ‘Geez, we played without a lot of big pieces.’ We are not happy with where we are, certainly, so we’ve got to use this time to reassess what we’ve got to do in the second half and hopefully we start getting some of the pieces back.’’

Both the starters and bullpen have ERAs north of five, and there are no guarantees when, or if, they’ll get Syndergaard and Harvey back, and if so, how well they’ll perform. The same applies to Familia.

The Mets will be forced to decide if they’ll be sellers or buyers at the trade deadline. However, before that, they have to figure if they’ll get Syndergaard and Harvey back.

If they believe they’ll be back this season, then they have to be buyers. If they don’t, and GM Sandy Alderson has already decided his positions on Jay Bruce, Addison Reed, Duda, Walker and others for 2018, then they have to be sellers.

The key players are their best offensive player, Bruce, and their closer, Reed. If either is dealt, Alderson would have surrendered on the season.

“If you want to talk about what we saw the last few months, I’ll go back to what we saw in the last 12 months,’’ Collins said when asked if the Mets had it in them. “We saw a team, last year, that when they were challenged they rose up. So, I think it’s in their DNA that they can do it again. We’ll find out.’’

The Mets open the second half with a ten-game homestand against the Rockies, Cardinals and Oakland.

Jul 04

Breakfast With The Mets

If we’re up early to watch the Mets, they damn well better be ready to play. And, Collins better be ready to manage his bullpen. … A lot of things have gone wrong for the Mets this season, and one of them is the pitching. Too many walks. Part of that has to be on Dan Warthen, who has been given a pass.

ALDERSON: Has done bad job. (AP)

ALDERSON: Has done bad job. (AP)

GM Sandy Alderson put together the bullpen on the cheap. The pitchers are coached by Warthen and Terry Collins decides when they go into the game. So far, it has been a trifecta of ineptitude. I understand injuries happen, but who decided to let Noah Syndergaard get muscle-bound and let him start without an MRI? That would be Alderson.

After Warthen said Matt Harvey would be full strength until late May/early June, who put him on the Opening Day roster when he should have stayed back for extended spring training? Why, that would be Alderson, too.

While we’re at it, who let Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy walk? Right again. That’s Sandy Alderson.

And who, as Kevin Kernan of the Post recently wrote, passed on drafting Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger? Hmm, could it possibly be Alderson? Right again.

If you think I’m too hard on Alderson, this is just the beginning.

Happy July 4th all. Enjoy the day with your friends and families, and the Mets if you want some agita.

 

May 25

Collins Prohibited From Talking About Injuries

The Mets’ juvenile attempt to prohibit manager Terry Collins from talking about injuries won’t accomplish anything other than reinforcing the belief than any misinterpretation begins with GM Sandy Alderson.

Collins drives me crazy when he waffles when discussing injuries, but it must be realized he’s spouting the information given him by management.

COLLINS: Gag order on injuries. (AP)

COLLINS: Gag order on injuries. (AP)

First of all, it won’t stop the questions from being asked. Whereas Collins was the one peppered with questions, now it will be Alderson who gets the grilling.

And, it won’t stop the reporters from digging, which won’t make anybody very happy.

All this does is to make nothing the Mets say about injuries to be taken at face value.

The Mets have long been hammered for how they have handled injuries, and to be certain that includes decisions from the front office.

The innings fiasco with Matt Harvey was Alderson’s responsibility, as was his decision for Noah Syndergaard to bypass an MRI, only to start and partially tear a lat muscle.

Those are on Alderson. Actually, this should take pressure off of Collins, who can say, “go ask Sandy.’’

Ever since Collins has managed the Mets, he’s had to explain and defend Alderson’s policies and decisions, even if he didn’t agree with them.

MONTERO SHOWS NOTHING: An argument can be made that the worst thing to come out of tonight’s 4-3 loss outside of the obvious, is that Rafael Montero’s shabby three-inning performance forced Collins to use Paul Sewald for three innings of relief.

Montero gave up three runs on three walks and five hits. He threw 87 pitches, 45 of them coming in the first inning.

As far as Sewald goes, his scoreless three innings – with four strikeouts – has him making serious strides towards becoming a reliable arm in the Mets’ faulty bullpen.

EXTRA INNINGS: Jacob deGrom was pushed back to avoid the possibility of starting and then losing him in a long rain delay. He’ll start Friday in Pittsburgh. … Michael Conforto went 1-for-5, with four strikeouts. … Lucas Duda and Jose Reyes had two hits each. … Mets hitters struck out 11 times. … The Mets went 1-for-10 with RISP and left nine runners overall, so they had their chances.

May 01

MRI Results Reveal Bad News We Saw Coming; Alderson’s Decision To Start Syndergaard

UPDATED:  Adding GM Sandy Alderson comments at 6:30 p.m.

Who didn’t see this coming for the Mets?

When Noah Syndergaard refused an MRI exam after being diagnosed with biceps tendinitis, yet remained scheduled to pitch Sunday, it was figured the following could happen: a) he’d get roughed up by the Nationals, b) he’d still have arm soreness, c) that arm soreness would be deemed serious.Syndergaard hitting the trifecta, which happened today when an MRI at the Hospital

Syndergaard hit the trifecta, which happened today when an MRI at the Hospital of Special Surgery revealed a partial tear of his right lat muscle. He was immediately placed on the 10-day disabled list with no timetable for his return.

SYNDERGAARD: Walks away, wheels turning. (AP)

SYNDERGAARD: Mets get bad news they feared. (AP)

As a measure of reference, Steven Matz missed two months in 2015 with a similar injury.

The news came less than a week after Yoenis Cespedes was rushed back into the lineup and re-pulled his left hamstring and placed on the disabled list and tempered any positive feelings from winning the first two games of their weekend series against the Nationals.

Oh yeah, Syndergaard’s injury in Sunday’s 23-5 rout also closed their hellish 10-14 April. One thing Syndergaard’s MRI did not do is answer the questions of responsibility.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said “It was my decision for him to pitch.” He said it was based on input from several sources, including Syndergaard’s.

Syndergaard’s refusal to take the MRI is beyond comprehension as the mighty Thor must have dropped that hammer on his head. You’re a major league pitcher whose livelihood is based on the health of your arm and yet you refuse an exam that could reveal a problem?

I’m waiting … go ahead, tell me how smart that is. And, while you’re at it, spare me talk there is a difference between a lat and biceps so an MRI would have shown nothing, although that’s how Alderson tried to spin things.

However, there’s no telling how the muscles interact. Syndergaard was overthrowing in the second inning, muscling up to throw harder. Was this to compensate for something bothering his biceps? And you is to say an MRI wouldn’t have discovered some wear – but not yet a tear – in his lat muscle?

Alderson did admit “anything is possible,” when asked if Syndergaard was overthrowing to compensate for the previous discomfort in his arm. Alderson also admitted it was conceivable Syndergaard bulked up too much in the offseason, adding 15 pounds by weight lifting.

That leads to the further question of whether – and how closely – Syndergaard’s offseason conditioning program was monitored.

We can’t ignore Alderson has to be the adult here. His comment, “I can’t tie him down and throw him in the tube” could become the epitaph on the tombstone of this season. Alderson said a team can’t put a player who is not injured on the disabled list, but he can tell Syndergaard that he either takes the MRI or goes on the disabled list.

That’s part of protecting his players, something manager Terry Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen, didn’t do a good job of either.

Didn’t anybody in that dugout notice this valuable asset struggling, and this has nothing to do with the radar gun still showing the high 90s? Weren’t those five runs in the first inning a tip off?

When Alderson was hired, Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon promised a complete evaluation of the club’s medical operations. That hasn’t been done, unless of course, you consider letting the players call the shots.

 

May 01

Today’s Question: What Will MRI Bring?

Today’s question is what we’ve all been wondering for the past 24 hours: What are wthe results of Noah Syndergaard’s MRI taken this morning in New York?

Will the results give the Mets cause for a sigh of relief, or force them to ease their grip on the rope to their season or let go of it entirely?

SYNDERGAARD: Gets crucial MRI today. (AP)

SYNDERGAARD: Gets crucial MRI today. (AP)

The Mets should get the results today, and if they are bad, count on them getting a second opinion. That’s not to be confused with second-guessing; of which there will be a lot.

By Syndergaard, for turning down an MRI last week. By GM Sandy Alderson, for not being the adult in the room and insisting upon it. By manager Terry Collins, for not pulling him Sunday in the first, if not refusing to start him in the first place.

I don’t care how Syndergaard felt when he threw in the bullpen. The bottom line is he already missed a start; he’s a pitcher who’ll never refuse the ball; and, Collins and Alderson should use their years of experience to protect the pitcher and perhaps their season.

The Mets stopped a potentially devastating losing streak by winning their first two games against the Nationals, but may have given back that momentum in foolish fashion.

Unless an MRI tells us differently.