May 19

DeGrom Pitches Like Ace He Is

There are a lot of ways to define an ace, and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom nails it on all fronts. There are eye-popping fastballs leading to brow-raising statistics, but the ultimate measure is when things are going to pot, as they were in the seventh when a blister grew raw on his right ring finger and the Angels loaded the bases with no outs.

DE GROM: Glimmered tonight. (AP)

DE GROM: Glimmered tonight. (AP)

With the Mets up by two runs, the game was clearly in the balance, but deGrom regrouped to strike out Danny Espinosa, get Ben Revere on a juggling catch by Jose Reyes, and then get Cameron Maybin on a fly to right.

“We needed a win tonight,” said manager Terry Collins. “We needed to win bad. … It us unbelievable what he did in the seventh inning. He wasn’t tired, but did have the blister. He reached back when he needed to.”

DeGrom (W, 3-1) was done after seventh, giving up four hits and three walks with nine strikeouts, to enable the Mets to snap a seven-game losing streak.

Both Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard have been termed “an ace,’’ but for my money if you had to pick one, it would be deGrom, and it really isn’t close.

 

May 09

Humble Harvey Apologizes; Now We Wait

A humbled Matt Harvey said and promised to do all the right things. However, actions always speak louder than words, and it will take more than just a quality start Friday in Milwaukee for his apology to be accepted.

“First off, as I just did with my teammates and all the coaches, I apologized for my actions and I do apologize for my actions,” was how Harvey opened his press conference and Citi Field today.

HARVEY: Apology accepted. (AP)

HARVEY: Apology accepted. (AP)

“Obviously, I’m extremely embarrassed by my actions.”

Harvey was emotional, soft-spoken and contrite. There wasn’t a hint of arrogance. He was a man asking for another chance. He admitted he was wrong. As far as getting another chance, Harvey said it was something that needed to be earned.

Harvey was a no-show for Saturday’s game, and the Mets didn’t know of his condition until team security personnel came to his Manhattan apartment at 10 p.m.

They found him well, and when he reported to Citi Field for his Sunday start against Miami, he was suspended for three days. That gave him plenty of time to think about what he would say and the tone of his message.

The apology was “heartfelt,” said Curtis Granderson, one of many Mets who insisted they still trusted Harvey and had his back.

He would need his teammates’ trust and respect to move forward, as manager Terry Collins said, “he can’t do it alone.”

Collins is old school in many ways and has heard more than his fair share of apologies. He knows sincerity when he hears it.

“He gave it some great thought and certainly did it the right way,” Collins said. “I say, `Don’t tell me, show me.’ I think everybody deserves a second chance. Those guys in that room respect him.”

Part of earning respect is owning up to his actions.

“Yes, I was out on Friday night, past curfew,” Harvey said. “I did play golf Saturday morning and I put myself in a bad place to be ready to show up for a ballgame. It is my responsibility and I take full blame for that.”

When Noah Syndergaard was injured, Harvey was moved up to take his spot, then complained he wasn’t given enough time. He said he lifted weights the day before, something he shouldn’t have done.

Harvey was making excuses for a bad outing. Today, he accepted clubbing isn’t proper game preparation: “People make mistakes, and there are things I have realized the last couple days. … [What] I should be doing is putting myself in a better place to perform physically.”

Harvey could have gone Wednesday afternoon, but Collins opted for Friday, which would spare him getting a negative reception at Citi Field.

“I’m looking forward to getting everything back on track and helping this organization moving forward,” Harvey said. “They have my word on that.”

If there is a clubhouse leader with David Wright out indefinitely it is Granderson, who when asked if he bought Harvey’s apology, said: “There’s no reason why I wouldn’t.It was genuine. It was heartfelt. He definitely thought it out and knew what he wanted to say. I think guys have spoken to him even before he said something today, and guys will continue to talk to him after today.”

One of those guys was Bartolo Colon, who reached out in a text telling him he needed to make baseball a priority.

Today was the first step.

One issue Harvey would not address was a report he planned to file a grievance with the Players Association.

There was no way he was going to admit to that today.

“That’s the last thing in the last three days I’ve thought about,” Harvey said. “I’ve been thinking about the team more than anything. … I’ve apologized for what I’ve done. My job is to move forward and do everything I can to help this team and organization get back on track.”

One would think a legal battle isn’t the right was.

May 09

Today’s Question: Any Leftover Feelings By Wheeler For Giants?

At one time, Zack Wheeler was the hot property of the San Francisco Giants, destined to join a rotation of Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. But, to return to the World Series in 2011, the Giants needed a big bat.

That turned out to be Carlos Beltran, and prior to Noah Syndergaard, that was GM Sandy Alderson’s biggest deal.

Wheeler is 1-1 in three starts lifetime against his former team, but some players have long memories when it comes to being traded, so, other getting the Mets going again, what’s in his motivational tank?

In his last start, May 4 at Atlanta, he allowed one run in three innings before the game was eventually washed away. If you’re thinking Citi Field is a motivator, it could be in the opposite fashion. Wheeler is 6-12 lifetime, including 0-2 with a 5.63 ERA this year.

 

 

 

 

May 07

Today’s Question: Who Is The Real Harvey?

The Mets scored at least five runs in their ninth straight game. Eventually, that roll will stop, and when it does they will have to rely on their starting pitching, which is in dire straits these days.

HARVEY: Needs to step up. (AP)

HARVEY: Needs to step up. (AP)

Jacob deGrom is their most reliable starter, but the Mets aren’t getting seven innings a start from him. Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz remain on the disabled list with no expected return date. Robert Gsellman and Rafael Montero aren’t setting any innings records, either, and the latter will get another start because the Mets can’t find any better.

That leaves us to today’s question: What can they expect from Matt Harvey?

Harvey won his first two starts, giving up just four runs while working a total of 12.1 innings. Starts three and four were no-decisions, but he gave up five runs. However, his last two games were losses in which he gave up a combined 12 runs in 9.2 innings. He gave up two homers in those games but had only three strikeouts and eight walks.

Harvey said he’s feeling good – no residual pain from his shoulder surgery – but he’s said that before.

The Mets hoped Harvey could ease back into the rotation, but with the way things are going, they need him to be at his best.

And, the sooner the better.

May 05

Today’s Question: What Montero Will Mets Get?

The Mets return home tonight to open a six-game homestand against the Miami Marlins. It will be the second time already this season the Marlins have been to Citi Field.

Rafael Montero will get the ball in place of Noah Syndergaard.

MONTERO: Who will Mets see? (AP)

MONTERO: Who will Mets see? (AP)

Today’s question is obvious, will we get the Montero whom the Mets were so high on, or will we get the version that last year fell out of favor because he couldn’t find the strike zone?

At one time Montero was a highly regarded pitching prospect, perhaps on a level just below Jacob deGrom, but was always held back by his command. In three starts last season, Montero pitched 11 innings and compiled 14 walks and a 7.36 ERA.

Montero isn’t doing much better this year, with eight walks in 6.2 innings, all of them in relief. He’s also given up eight runs (9.45 ERA).

The Mets don’t have any options other than Montero until Seth Lugo or Steven Matz are eligible to come off the disable list in the next month or so.