Aug 11

Three Mets’ Storylines: Loss Sets Up Vital Syndergaard Start

At 23, the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard has pitched in the World Series. However, it might not be a stretch to say Thursday’s start might be one of the most important of his young career.

Seriously.

SYNDERGAARD: Faces big start. (Getty)

SYNDERGAARD: Faces big start. (Getty)

After losing two straight games to the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team with the 26th worst record in the major leagues, the Mets are a team struggling to keep from going into a freefall.

Oscar Hernandez’s homer off reliever Jerry Blevins in the 12th inning was the difference in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Diamondbacks to drop the Mets to one game over .500.

This time last year the Mets were vibrant and a team on the rise. There were so many moments when they lifted themselves off the ropes on their drive to the World Series.

“We’ve been through these tough times before,” manager Terry Collins told reporters. “But, we’re not coming through like we did a year ago.”

Collins was then asked if he thought the Mets expect to regroup simply because they did so last season.

“I hope not,” Collins said. “You’re not given anything up here. … This is the major leagues. Tonight is over. We have to come back tomorrow. We have to get ready for tomorrow because today is done.”

The seriousness of the Mets’ situation was the most significant storyline of the night. The other two were Kelly Johnson’s big swing in the ninth and another strong outing from Bartolo Colon.

JOHNSON DELIVERS: There might not be a more distinctive sound in sports than the crack of the bat. The Mets had to wait until the ninth before hearing it Wednesday, when Johnson – hitting for Ty Kelly – launched a Jake Barrett deep into the upper deck for a game-tying home run.

Until Johnson unloaded, the Mets’ offense had been silenced, limited to just three singles. With one out, Alejandro De Aza walked to set up Johnson.

Johnson hit homers last week in back-to-back games at the Yankees and Detroit. In fact, he had hits in five straight games, Aug. 3-7, and then was sent to the bench, again.

Sure, I get wanting a bat coming off the bench, but with the way this offense is going, don’t you want that potential three or four times a game?

COLON SUPERB AGAIN: Colon made his second straight strong start, giving up one run in seven innings. He struck out a season-high eight while throwing 110 pitches. Of course, most of them were fastballs, perfectly placed.

A key moment in the game could have been in the first inning when the Diamondbacks put runners on the corners with no outs on a double by Jean Segura and Michael Bourn’s bunt single. However, Segura was caught in a rundown between third and home, and Colon struck out Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb to get out of the inning.

Colon then stranded Diamondbacks in scoring position in the second, fourth and fifth innings.

NOTES: The Mets seemingly traded for Carlos Gomez last year for Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler, but the deal fell through on a medical issue. Earlier in the day, Gomez was designated for assignment by the Astros. The Mets, needing a right-handed hitter and speed, said they would keep an open mind on going after Gomez again. … T.J. Rivera started at third and got his first career hit, a single to center leading off the tenth. … The Diamondbacks stole four more bases and have nine in the two games. … Jeurys Familia pitched two innings for the first time this season. He threw 38 pitches and will likely not be available Thursday. … Neil Walker had two more hits and has 28 in his last 14 games.

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Aug 09

Three Mets’ Storylines: Robles Loses It For Matz

The Mets still haven’t won back-to-back games since before the All-Star break. This time, the fault goes to Hansel Robles for kicking away another winnable effort by Steven Matz.

MATZ: Effort wasted. (AP)

       MATZ: Effort wasted. (AP)

Robles threw 32 pitches – few of them good – as he gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning in the seventh of Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to Arizona at Citi Field.

The Mets had taken a 3-2 lead in the sixth on Neil Walker’s two-run homer to give Matz a chance at the win.

However, manager Terry Collins allowed Robles to stay in the game to walk two hitters and give up three hits. The Diamondbacks also executed a double-steal It’s a close game, so it’s hard to understand Collins’ logic for leaving an ineffective reliever in the game that long.

“You saw him fall behind in some counts,” Collins said. “He had been so good. You think you have the perfect set-up. He just didn’t get it done.”

That was the main storyline of the night, with the others being Matz and injury updates.

MATZ’S EFFORT WASTED: Based on runs given up, Matz pitched well enough to win most games. Two runs in six innings should have beaten Zack Greinke.

However, those were six rough innings. He threw 28 pitches in the first inning and was nearing 50 after two innings.

“The first inning killed him,” Collins said. “After that, he settled down and pitched well.”

Here’s another question: Why would Collins allow Matz to throw 120 pitches?

Collins said he had no trepidation in letting Matz throw that many pitches. Matz didn’t have any problems, either.

“No, I felt really good,” Matz said. “I didn’t feel tired at the end. I felt strong.”

INJURY UPDATES: Yoenis Cespedes took batting practice. GM Sandy Alderson, as both he and Collins frequently do, said he expects Cespedes to be activated after the 15 days. You have heard that before, right? … The news isn’t so encouraging for shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. He hit off a tee. … Jose Reyes’ right side remains sore. He was supposed to start a rehab assignment Tuesday. … Reliever Jim Henderson, whom the Mets pushed hard too soon following his surgery, will have his rehab assignment moved from Port St. Lucie to Triple-A Las Vegas. … Zack Wheeler will stay in Port St. Lucie to make a second rehab start.

NOTES: Alderson said he will talk with Walker’s agents about an extension. … The Diamondbacks stole five bases off Mets’ pitchers. “That’s something we have to clean up,” Collins said. … Logan Verrett will stay in the rotation and start Friday. … After the game, the Mets optioned Brandon Nimmo to Las Vegas. They did not announce a corresponding move, but speculation is it could be a reliever. … Matt Harvey watched the game from the dugout. … Bartolo Colon will start Wednesday. … The Mets fell to 2.5 games behind the second wild-card.

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Apr 09

April 9, Mets Lineup Against Phillies

Bartolo Colon will go after his 219th career victory tonight against the Phillies, which would tie him with Pedro Martinez for the most by a Dominican-born pitcher.

Here’s his support group:

Curtis Granderson, RF

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS

Yoenis Cespedes,  CF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Neil Walker,  2B

Michael Conforto, LF

Wilmer Flores, 3B

Travis d’Arnaud, C

Colon, RP

NOTES: Interesting Cabrera is hitting second and not Conforto. … Flores got a huge cheer yesterday. Hope he gets another one today. … With the weather cold and perhaps rainy later, it’s a wise move to rest David Wright. …

ON DECK: Mets Wrap: Game # 4 vs. Phillies.

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Apr 08

Mets Game Wrap: DeGrom Falls Short; Offense Sputters

SCORE: Washington 2, Mets 1.

RECORD: 1-1.

THE SKINNY: It’s painful to waste strong outings by the starter, but that’s what the Mets did Wednesday behind Jacob deGrom. The Mets’ offense sputtered and left the bases loaded in the second against Jordan Zimmerman.

GAME SUMMARY: Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run homer off deGrom and the Mets’ new look line-up offered just six hits.

PITCHING:  Under normal circumstances, the Mets would take what deGrom gave them every night, two runs in six innings. … Rafael Montero pitched two scoreless innings in relief.

HITTING:  Could we please forget about this line-up? … The Mets bunched together three hits for a run in the second, with Travis d’Arnaud getting a RBI single. However, they left the bases loaded. … David Wright singled in the eighth for his first hit of the season.

NOTES:  Prior to the game GM Sandy Alderson poked his head into Terry Collins‘ office and joked he had the lineup. Always with the jokes is Alderson.

UP NEXT: The Mets conclude their first series of the season Thursday in an afternoon game with Matt Harvey starting against Stephen Strasburg.

Apr 06

Mets Game Wrap: Colon Leads Way To Opening Day Win

SCORE: Mets 3, Washington 1.

RECORD: 1-0.

GAME SUMMARY: Bartolo Colon threw six sterling innings and the Mets scored three unearned runs against Max Scherzer. All the Mets’ runs were set up by a pair of errors from Ian Desmond.

PITCHING: Colon gave up one run (Bryce Harper’s homer in the fourth and struck out eight. The bullpen, which is under scrutiny, threw three perfect innings behind Carlos Torres, Jeurys Familia, Jerry Blevins and Buddy Carlyle, who earned his first career save at age 37.

HITTING: Lucas Duda drove in two runs with a single and Travis d’Arnaud the final run with a triple. The Mets only had five hits. … Curtis Granderson walked twice.

NOTES: Closer Jenrry Mejia complained of elbow soreness and was unable to pitch the ninth. … Lefty reliever Blevins got Harper on a fly to right to lead off the ninth. … With the victory, the Mets improved their major league best Opening Day record to 35-19. And, they are a team that won a World Series before winning on Opening Day.

BOX SCORE

UP NEXT: The Mets are off Tuesday, but play the Nationals Wednesday with Jacob deGrom getting the start.

ON DECK: Colon Proves Worth