May 03

DeGrom Off, But Manages To Win

Fortunately for Jacob deGrom, pitching victories aren’t scrawny fish – he’s not required to throw this one back, no matter how off he looked in tonight’s 16-5 rout of Atlanta.

The Mets need deGrom more than ever with Matt Harvey struggling, and Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard on the disabled list. Matz could be back in a month, but some reports have Syndergaard possibly out for up to three months.

DE GROM: Doesn't kick away win. (AP)

DE GROM: Doesn’t kick away win. (AP)

DeGrom gave up five runs on eight hits with five strikeouts, but what was most alarming were five walks and 109 pitches thrown in that span.

“It’s perplexing,” manager Terry Collins said of deGrom’s lack of command. “His command wasn’t there. In the middle innings, he didn’t make his pitches.”

But why?

“I honestly don’t know why,” deGrom said. “I felt good early on, but for some reason, I lost control. I felt fine (physically). I just wasn’t able to control my pitches.

“It wasn’t a very good effort by me tonight. These guys did a tremendous job picking me up. The most important thing was we got the win.”

In an effort to find out what’s wrong with his control – it has been two straight starts in which he’s been off – deGrom said he’ll go to the videotape tomorrow in an attempt to pinpoint a mechanical flaw.

But, for right now, “I honestly don’t know.”

May 02

Another Lost Night For Harvey

Even when it became apparent Matt Harvey was no longer an ace on the Mets’ staff – giving way to Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard – he always held the belief of himself that he was among the elite.

HARVEY: Loses again. (AP)

HARVEY: Loses again. (AP)

Even after season-ending injuries – and surgeries – in 2013 and last year, Harvey and the Mets envisioned a return to prominence.

Things appeared promising for him after he won his first two starts coming back from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. At the time Harvey appeared ahead of schedule because in spring training pitching coach Dan Warthen said it wouldn’t be until mid-May when his stuff returned.

Harvey said he felt good, and the radar gun clocked him consistently in the high 90s, but stuff is more throwing a ball through a wall.

“The ball came out of his hand really good,” manager Terry Collins told reporters. “When he was going good, he had great stuff and great command. Today he had great stuff, but his command wasn’t there.”

Stuff is more than just velocity; it is getting movement on his pitches. It is throwing a fastball three inches inside, but see it tail back over the corner for a strike. It is also locating all his pitches, including his secondary pitches anytime in the count.

None of that was there tonight.

Harvey gave up four runs in his two wins but has given up 17 in his following four starts, including 12 in these last two against the Braves.

“His command was off,” Collins told reporters. “His secondary pitchers weren’t there.”

Last time out, Harvey had the built-in reason – excuse if you will – of getting just a few hours notice to make an emergency start replacing Syndergaard. On full rest tonight, Harvey went a little longer, but wasn’t much better, giving up six runs in the 9-7 loss.

Harvey labored throughout, taking 100 pitches to work 5.1 innings, and said he was trying to compete.

“Today was the best I have felt in a long time,” Harvey said. “It was coming out of my hand better than it has in a couple of years.”

Just competing, however, won’t get it done for the Mets, who are trying to make up serious ground early in the season, and trying to do so without Syndergaard and Steven Matz.

To do so, they’ll need Harvey to put on his “big boy’’ pants and pitch to the level he still believes he can.

ON DECK LATER TONIGHT:  Mets Wrap: Bruce’s Hot Start Continues

May 02

Today’s Question: What Will We Get From Harvey?

The Mets asked Matt Harvey to move up a day to replace Noah Syndergaard, April 27. Unbelievably, Harvey said he wasn’t ready and gave up six runs in 4.1 innings.

Totally unacceptable.

HARVEY: What will we get? (AP)

HARVEY: What will we get? (AP)

That isn’t the case tonight and Harvey (2-1, 4.25) will start on regular rest against a team that has handled him. Harvey is 3-5 with a 4.22 ERA lifetime against Atlanta, and leads us to the question: What Harvey will we get tonight?

For a variety of reasons, most of them injury related, May hasn’t been a kind month to Harvey. He is 4-7 with a 3.61 ERA in 17 career starts in May. We get a lot of statistics these days, but not much of an explanation.

Maybe he’s not sharp yet; maybe he’s not in terrific shape; and we know last year it was injury related. However, Harvey says he’s fine physically, and with Syndergaard and Steven Matz on the disabled list, the Mets will need him to pitch to his reputation.

 

May 01

Mets Wrap: Gsellman Gives Innings; Offense Awakens

Robert Gsellman came out of nowhere last year to save the Mets season after Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz went down. They are counting on him again this season – especially with Noah Syndergaard out indefinitely – and gave them five innings tonight.

Given six runs, Gsellman gave up five runs on six hits in a 77-pitch five innings to get the win in a 7-5 victory. Not great numbers, but the most important stat was getting ten ground ball outs.

GSELLMAN: Gives important innings. (AP)

GSELLMAN: Gives important innings. (AP)

“I got a lot of ground balls today,” Gsellman told reporters. “I had my sinker down in the zone.”

Gsellman and Seth Lugo picked up the Mets last season after injuries cost them Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz. With Lugo and Syndergaard on the disabled list, Gsellman will have to pitch better and they’ll need innings from Rafael Montero, who is scheduled to start Friday.

OFFENSE WAKENS: The Mets offense came alive in the first two games of the Washington series, and did so again tonight.

Michael Conforto homered to lead off the game and drove in three runs. Most importantly, the Mets strung together five hits in a five-run fourth.

“Some days the offense is going to have to carry us,” manager Terry Collins told reporters.The best part of that inning is that none of the hits were homers.

The best part of the inning is none of the hits were homers.

REED REBOUNDS: Another bright spot was Addison Reed, who pitched so well last season, but has been hit hard lately, giving up four homers in April.

He looked good last night, but after giving up a leadoff single to Matt Kemp he shut down the Braves for the rest of the eighth inning.

REYES HOMERS AGAIN: Collins said the other day he’s considering moving Jose Reyes up in the batting order. It won’t happen because Conforto keeps raking, leading off the game with a homer.

Reyes extended his hitting streak to seven games with his third homer in that span. Traditionally, Reyes hits them in bunches and then goes during a stretch where he tries to hit them and slips into a tailspin.

We’ll see what happens.

UP NEXT: Matt Harvey (2-1, 4.25) was moved up on April 27 to replace Noah Syndergaard and gave up six runs in 4.1 innings and later said he wasn’t ready. Former Mets Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey (2-2, 3.80) will start for Atlanta.

ON DECK LATER TONIGHT: Some wins are more important than others.

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.