For the second time this season, the Mets will go with a six-man rotation. The first time was earlier this month when Dillon Gee came off the disabled list, but quickly fizzled when he was hammered. This time, it is to squeeze Steven Matz into the rotation. He’ll start Sunday against Cincinnati.
Prior to Noah Syndergaard‘s 2-1, eight-inning gem Friday over the Reds, GM Sandy Alderson told reporters the Mets were committed to this move. Then again, that’s what Alderson and manager Terry Collins said the first time.
“We’re going to go to a six-man rotation,” Alderson said. “I expect that will continue for a period of time and we’ll see where it goes.”
Alderson wouldn’t define “period of time.”
Matz is 24, left-handed and throws gas. There’s a lot to like about him opposed to Jon Niese, whose career has been on a steady decline the past few years.
The Mets have six starters, but still aren’t scoring any runs. They only scored two tonight and would have lost if not for Syndergaard. Matz increases the depth of the rotation, but the Mets are still a team that can’t score.
There were considerable rumblings when the six-man rotation was initially bagged it was because those in the rotation – notably Matt Harvey - didn’t want to pitch with too much rest.
“This arrangement has been discussed with the other five pitchers,” Alderson said. “I think they understand it’s in their interest.”
The Mets came across as unprepared and in a panic mode the first time they did this, and it’s no different now. As mentioned several times here, this juggling could have been alleviated had the Mets adopted a concrete plan to limit innings going into the season, but Harvey balked.
Once again, the Mets are flying by the seat of their pants.
The thing that stands out about the recent Daniel Murphy trade rumors is the lack of denials from the New York Mets. None. Sure, scouts look at players all the time and we shouldn’t be surprised San Francisco was in over the weekend to look at Murphy. It stands to reason considering the Giants have a Pablo Sandoval size hole at third base.
It is no coincidence Murphy was moved to third to be showcased when Dilson Herrera was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas.
It also comes as no surprise the Mets have made no overtures to extend Murphy’s contract. And, they have had plenty of time.
It all makes sense, except for one thing: The Mets are playing winning baseball and Murphy, although not hitting well, does have a pile of RBI since he was moved into a run-producing slot in the batting order.
So, what happens in the next couple of weeks when David Wright comes off the disabled list? Especially if Herrera is hitting?
Who can’t see the Mets trying to unload Murphy?
But, if theMets accept token players, minor league scraps, if you will, while having their best season in six years, if should tell you a lot about GM Sandy Alderson and what management really considers as a priority.
My guess is winning isn’t ranked first.
It’s not about the “blips,’’ for the New York Mets, it’s about how they rebound from them that will tell the story of this season. Beginning tonight, we shall see what the Mets are really made of as they have lost three straight series after their 11-game winning streak.
Most frustrating is with the exception of the first games of their series against the Yankees and Nationals, they lost five games by a composite nine runs, three of them by one run, including the last two by 1-0 scores.
When manager Terry Collins said there would be “blips,’’ and wasn’t lying.
When the Mets were winning 11 straight there were comments about their strength of schedule. Since the Yankees and Nationals righted their collective ships, the Mets have lost seven of ten games; they have gone from the best record in the majors to the seventh best; and their eight-game lead over Washington has been trimmed from eight to 3.5 games.
However, this isn’t the NCAA Tournament, overall strength of schedule isn’t the issue. The issue is winning your schedule.
What their winning streak accomplished was to buy time to take such a hit, and there is no mistaking the Mets were clipped big time and so far they’ve won at a clip that could get them into the playoffs.
That the Mets stayed close in games was a tribute to their overall strong pitching and a few players hitting in the clutch.
However, this stumble exposed the following: 1) Jacob deGrom must make some adjustments to his game; 2) they miss David Wright; 3) the defense is shaky up the middle; 4) there’s an overall lack of power from Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda; and 5) their overall clutch hitting has been poor.
Collins said there “would be no panic,’’ but signs of panic always come first from management in the form of benching and/or trading players and other roster moves that suggest an overhaul.
* Wilmer Flores was told he has a long leash, but sat the last two games. Whether or not he plays against the Orioles could determine a lot.
* Eric Campbell replaced Wright, but was subsequently benched for not hitting. In the process Dilson Herrera was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas to play second and Murphy went to third. This was done to showcase Murphy at third, but Herrera isn’t hitting, so what will they do? Wright’s return is far from imminent.
There are a lot of moving parts for the Mets now and how GM Sandy Alderson and Collins respond will go a long way to determine the success of this season. If they panic, that winning streak will be a memory.
Resiliency is a characteristic of a championship caliber team, and so far it defines the 2015 New York Mets.
To date, they have lost for the season Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin to elbow injuries, and Jenrry Mejia to a drug suspension. They are also without David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, Vic Black and Bobby Parnell.
A little more than two weeks in and the Mets are on their second catcher and third closer.
There have been a lot of key figures to the Mets’ climb to the top of the NL East, but arguably one of their most important has been Jeurys Familia, who took the closer role from Mejia and by extension, Parnell.
The Mets’ bullpen is minus Parnell, Black, Edgin and Mejia, which are four of the seven they had counted on. Imagine where they might be today without Familia’s seven saves.
When Parnell does return, manager Terry Collins said he won’t immediately return to closing duties, and chances are Mejia will never wear a Mets’ uniform again.
If Mejia’s 80-game suspension isn’t enough to act as a deterrent for those players that choose to find an illegal edge, then perhaps this might be – not only is Mejia suspended, but his career could be over. At least, his one in Flushing.