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.

Apr 30

Plenty Of Blame To Go Around In Syndergaard Fiasco

“MRI? MRI? I don’t need no stinkin’ MRI.” – Noah Syndergaard

As I wrote this morning, Noah Syndergaard’s refusal to take an MRI on his sore right arm – biceps tendinitis was the initial diagnosis – smacked of stupidity and arrogance, from both the pitcher and management.

As for Syndergaard, I get it, you think of yourself as the fictional superhero the media and fans label you and there’s the desire to show how tough you are. However, save it for Game 7 of the World Series, not Game 24 in April, when your team’s season and arguably your career, could be on the line.

SYNDERGAARD: Walks away, wheels turning. (AP)

SYNDERGAARD: Walks away, wheels turning. (AP)

Long before Syndergaard and the Mets were torched 23-5 by the Nationals today, it has been a bad week for the ace, who was first scratched with what was called a “tired arm’’ Wednesday and upgraded to biceps tendinitis the following day, one in which he ripped into a club official in the clubhouse and was subsequently called out in the press.

Finally, there was Syndergaard’s refusal to get an MRI, saying at the time: “I think I know my body best. I’m pretty in tune with my body, and that’s exactly why I refused to take the MRI.”

So, Noah, what’s your body telling you now as you head to New York for the MRI tomorrow morning you refused?

Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters it is a “possible lat strain, which may or may not be related to his original problem … we’ll know more after he’s examined.”

While the biceps and lat aren’t physically connected, even so, why push it? There was no mistaking everything about Syndergaard’s performance today was not right. Yes, he threw 100 mph., early, but his command was off and he gave up five runs in the first inning.

Then, it looked as if Syndergaard sensed something wasn’t right and muscled up on his pitches as to throw harder in the second. When he reached under his armpit after throwing a strike to Bryce Harper with one out, you knew the second-guess wheels were spinning. And, not just from Syndergaard.

Alderson, who defiantly said, “I can’t strap him down and throw him in the tube,” after Syndergaard brushed back the MRI the way he would a hitter crowding the plate. Alderson didn’t address whether he should have insisted Syndergaard get the MRI or prohibited from pitching until he did. He also didn’t revisit the issue with his pitcher.

“We didn’t get into that,” Alderson said. “I didn’t think it was necessary at that particular time. He understands something is going on now.”

As for Collins, considering what Syndergaard has physically been going through, it had to be apparent to him the pitcher he wasn’t right in the first.

Collins had to make the decision to pull Syndergaard early if not give him the ball in the first place.

Nobody is blameless in this.

ON DECK LATER TODAY: Mets Wrap: Duda not ready.

Apr 19

Game Wrap: Bruce Hammers Phillies

First booed, and then the subject of trade rumors over the winter, Jay Bruce is now taking curtain calls.

“It shows how much respect they have for him,” manager Terry Collins said of the affection given Bruce.

BRUCE: Homers twice. (AP)

BRUCE: Homers twice. (AP)

After GM Sandy Alderson failed to deal Bruce this winter after extending Yoenis Cespedes, the frustrated Mets’ right fielder vowed he wasn’t intimidated by New York.

“He told me in spring training, `I’m the guy you traded for.’ He’s a run producer and we’re glad to have him,” Collins told reporters after Bruce’s monster game, two homers and five RBI in a 5-4 victory over the Phillies Wednesday night that snapped the Mets’ four-game losing streak.

“I don’t think any game in April is a must win, but we needed this one,” Bruce said.

Bruce’s first homer was a three-run drive off Vince Velasquez is the sixth inning to erase a 2-0 deficit. His second was a two-run drive off Edubray Ramos that broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth. Collins said prior to the game what had been missing during the Mets’ skid was power, but Bruce provided that tonight.

“We need to get it going,” Collins said. “This is something that could get us started.”

GSELLMAN ULTRA SHARP: The Mets had a chance to get it going because Robert Gsellman became their first starter to see the eighth inning this season.

“We talked before that he’s got to get us deep into to the game because our bullpen is exhausted,” Collins said.

Gsellman gave up three runs on six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in seven innings.

DUDA, d’ARNAUD HURT: First baseman Lucas Duda and catcher Travis d’Arnaud left the game with injuries and won’t play Thursday.

Duda sustained a hyperextended left elbow in the fifth inning when he reached across the baseline to field Gsellman’s throw and his arm caught runner Cesar Hernandez.

D’Arnaud was hurt two innings later when his hand struck Aaron Altherr’s bat on a throw to second.

REYES PLAYS: Despite a run-producing error and a dreadful hitting slump to start the season, Jose Reyes started as Collins promised.

“He deserves the chance to get a chance to turn things around,” Collins said. “He earned that right.”

CESPEDES BASE BLUNDER: Poor base running by Cespedes cost the Mets a run in the first inning. On first base, Cespedes took a peak over his shoulder running toward third instead of looking at the third base coach.

Doing so forced him to slow down a step and change his stride. When that happened, he had to look for the bag and missed coach Glenn Sherlock’s stop sign.

ROTATION WON’T CHANGE: There are no plans to push Thursday’s starter, Noah Syndergaard, back a day so he could start against the Nationals instead of the Phillies. It was thought Collins might push Syndergaard back after he tore a fingernail in his last start.

Apr 10

Bruce Red Hot; Value Enhanced

How can you not feel good for Jay Bruce? Booed by when he floundered last year following the trade that brought him from Cincinnati and into a pennant race, and whom GM Sandy Alderson desperately wanted to trade over the winter, has emerged as the Mets’ hottest hitter.

And, it isn’t close.

BRUCE: Sizzling (AP)

BRUCE: Sizzling (AP)

It started with three walks on Opening Day and continued Monday night in Philadelphia with a pair of homers in a 4-3 victory over the Phillies.

Bruce hit a solo drive off Phillies starter Jared Eickhoff to pull the Mets within 2-1 in the fourth, then put them ahead with a two-run drive off his image on the video board against reliever Joely Rodriguez.

“I think it is an approach,” was how Bruce explained his hot start to reporters. “I concentrate on being ready. Every day, I go into the game looking for the right pitches and taking a good swing.”

Bruce insisted he wasn’t daunted by the pressures of playing in New York when he struggled last summer, and that he didn’t want to leave his new team.

And, Alderson shouldn’t be in any hurry to deal Bruce, even if those teams that played hardball with him over the winter start calling him now.

It’s early, but Bruce leads the Mets with four homers and six RBI, and overall, they aren’t hitting, and in each of the last two seasons, they went into lengthy hitting droughts in the second half.

Quite simply, there will be a time this summer when the Mets have to count on Bruce carrying them the way he did the Reds for so many years.

Bruce, who has had 30-plus homers in four of his last six years, was moved to the clean-up slot to replace Curtis Granderson, and will likely remain there in the foreseeable future as the latter struggles.

Bruce, 30 is making $13.1 million this year, while the 36-year old Granderson is pulling in $15 million, which could give him a greater long-term value to the Mets.

Granderson has more of an immediate value to the Mets because he can play center field. However, that shouldn’t last too long because Juan Lagares will be coming off the disabled list shortly, at which time Michael Conforto will be shipped to Triple-A Las Vegas.

The Mets will need Bruce this year, and likely they’ll need him next year. I can’t see the Mets bringing back both Bruce and Granderson. If they don’t bring back either, having just Lagares and Conforto next season to complement Yoenis Cespedes probably won’t be good enough and the Mets could go shopping again in July.

Meanwhile, at 37 next season, the Mets could lowball Granderson and bring him back for less in 2018. However, they couldn’t pull that off with Bruce because after a good year, his free-agent market value would he higher than Granderson’s.

 

Mar 28

Why Is Alderson Rushing Wheeler And Matz?

Zack Wheeler insists he’s ready and Steven Matz is desperate to convince the Mets they should save a seat for him on the plane to New York at the end of the week.

MATZ: What's the rush? (AP)

MATZ: What’s the rush? (AP)

While I appreciate the competitive nature of both, the bottom line is it’s a long season and the Mets don’t have to commit to both, or either, right now, especially with there being other options.

Let’s get to Matz first. He’s coming off elbow surgery and he was shut down from his start earlier this week and could get a few innings this weekend. As it is now, Matz has thrown 12.2 innings this spring, which traditionally is not close to being enough.

What’s the rush?

As for Wheeler, he’s coming off a good start, which followed a bad one. He’s thrown 12.1 innings this spring. He’s barely worked the past two seasons following Tommy John surgery.

Again, what’s the rush?

Seth Lugo is coming off a poor outing, but for the most part had a good spring at the WBC. Rafael Montero has also had a good spring, and the Mets have three off-days in the first 24 days of April.

Wheeler and Matz are coming off surgery; the Mets have other options plus off days; neither have had a lot of work this spring; and there’s usually lousy weather in April leading to rainouts and delays.

This isn’t manager Terry Collins’ decision, it is GM Sandy Alderson’s, and rushing either would be a bad one.

While I appreciate the desire for each to want to pitch, part of that desire is fueled on emotion. However, Alderson is supposed to be the adult in the room. He’s supposed to make decisions based on logic instead.