Aug 18

Conforto Sits Tonight; Lineup Against Marlins

Every star has them, even blooming ones and Michael Conforto is no exception. After hitting three homers last weekend in Philadelphia, Conforto went 2-for-15 with five strikeouts in the four games against the Yankees.

“I definitely was excited for it. I don’t know if that played a part in [my struggles],’’ Conforto told reporters after Thursday night’s 7-5 loss to the Yankees.

“I took some tough at-bats. They pitched me well, they did some things to keep me off balance. But I wouldn’t chalk it up to anything more than that. It was a tough series for me at the plate, but I don’t think I was pressing or anything like that.’’

Such a slump merits a night off, and Conforto is out of the lineup for tonight’s game against Miami. Here’s the lineup:

Juan Lagares – CF

Asdrubal Cabrera – 2B

Yoenis Cespedes – LF

Wilmer Flores – 1B

Travis d’Arnaud – C

Amed Rosario – SS

Matt Reynolds – 3B

Brandon Nimmo – RF

Chris Flexen – RHP

Aug 17

Today’s Question: Can Matz Turn It Around?

Steven Matz insists there’s nothing wrong with his elbow, but that doesn’t mean all is right with how he is pitching. To the contrary, the Mets’ left-hander has pitched poorly for most of the season, with his last five decisions all losses over seven starts, and being tagged for 31 runs in that span.

MATZ: Something isn't right. (AP)

MATZ: Something isn’t right. (AP)

Matz is 2-6 with a 5.54 ERA and opponents are hitting a staggering .299 against him. Long gone is the idea of having a good or even a decent season. All this begs the question: Can Matz salvage his season and find something to build on for next year?

“My biggest concern is making pitches when it counts,” Matz said. “I have to do better with runners in scoring position”

In his last start, Saturday in Philadelphia, Matz lost 3-1, but it was the first time in his last seven starts that he gave up fewer than three runs.

If you’re thinking Matz could be better at home, think again. Opponents are hitting .386 against him at Citi Field, where he has a 9.33 ERA this year.

Jun 26

Don’t Read Too Much Into Giants’ Sweep

In most seasons, the Mets sweeping the Giants in San Francisco would be something to get excited about, but this isn’t most years. To emphasize how bad the Giants are this season, they were just swept by the Mets, and we know how bad they have been.

This weekend was just the Mets’ third series victory of the month, and they’ll need to reel off a dozen more in a row if they are to turn this season around.

The Mets’ next two series are against Miami and Philadelphia – they are 4-6 and 4-2 against, respectively – before back-to-back three-game series in Washington and St. Louis before the break.

The Marlins and Cardinals always play the Mets tough, and I’m certainly not counting on them beating the Nationals.

Against the three division leaders and the one wild-card team they have played, the Mets are 5-19. After the break until the trade deadline, the Mets have three games against what is now the second wild card – Colorado – four more against St. Louis, and four at San Diego and three at Seattle.

Daunting is an understatement, so I’m not reading too much into the Mets fun in the Bay Area.

Jun 03

Rushing Cespedes Smacks Of Desperation

If it was late August and the Mets were five games behind, I might see rushing Yoenis Cespedes off the disabled list. If he could save their season and give them a realistic shot at the postseason, then, why not?

But, they are not. They aren’t even close. Before today’s game, the Mets trailed Washington by 11 games and were nine games out of the second wild card.

ALDERSON: No need to rush Cespedes. (AP)

ALDERSON: No need to rush Cespedes. (AP)

I might be inclined to push the envelope with Cespedes if it meant improving the Mets’ offense, but that’s not even their biggest weakness. The Mets never thought pitching – both starters and relievers – would be what’s holding them back.

Cespedes originally tweaked his left hamstring, April 20, against Philadelphia. The Mets originally said he would miss at least four games, but instead of placing him on the 10-day disabled list, they foolishly kept him on the active list. He missed three games, then after an off-day and rainout, rushed him back.

Cespedes played in two games, reinjured the hamstring April 27 and went on the disabled list the following day.

He hasn’t played since.

Cespedes has had two “setbacks,” including one last weekend. Even so, GM Sandy Alderson said the hope is for him to be activated when the Mets are in Texas, June 6, where he can be the designated hitter.

Manager Terry Collins said Cespedes is “making strides,’’ although the best he’s doing now is jogging.

Cespedes needs to run full speed; change speeds and direction in the outfield; and run the bases. He’s still a week away from doing those things, before he plays at least a week of minor league games.

That is, if Alderson wants to handle this the right way. Anything else is asking for trouble. Forcing Cespedes back now with so much of the season remaining is foolish.

It smacks of desperation.

Apr 27

Today’s Question: Is Anything Wrong With Syndergaard?

Because “I wanted to,” is not a good explanation from Mets manager Terry Collins for his decision to push back Noah Syndergaard for today and start Robert Gsellman last night.

SYNDERGAARD: Is something wrong with him?(AP)

SYNDERGAARD: Is something wrong with him?(AP)

That begs the question: Why?

That Collins made a fuss over an obvious issue makes me wonder what the Mets are trying to hide. If they aren’t, just answer the question.

“Because I thought Gsellman pitched well in his last start and I wanted to keep him on schedule.” “Because I wanted to take advantage of the rainout and give Syndergaard an extra day because he threw a lot of pitches in his last start.” “Because I wanted to see him go against R.A. Dickey.” “Because my psychic said it would be a good thing.”

All of these could have answered the obvious question without triggering cover-up mode.

Collins has dodged so many issues in the past that he really doesn’t merit the benefit of doubt on something as fuzzy as this.

Syndergaard gave up five runs and is coming off a season-high 114 pitches in his losing start last Thursday against Philadelphia. Maybe he was tired and needed an extra day. Maybe the bone spur that bothered him last season flared up again. Maybe this was GM Sandy Alderson’s order.

Aren’t any of you wondering the same things?

We’ll know soon enough when Syndergaard takes the ball this afternoon.