May 31

DeGrom Gassed, Loses It Early

Every pitcher has several each season, and tonight was Jacob deGrom’s turn for his stinker. Coming off two spectacular starts, two batters into the game and deGrom was down by two runs.

By the time his night was through, deGrom had been rocked for seven runs on eight hits and five walks with two homers over 105 pitches in four innings.

DE GROM: Not tonight Jake. (AP)

DE GROM: Not tonight Jake. (AP)

“He was all over the place,” manager Terry Collins. “That’s the biggest difference between the other day and today.”

DeGrom threw 118 pitches in his last start, and Collins said that might have gassed him last night. Even so, Collins expressed no regrets he might have overworked him over the weekend against the Pirates.

For all the talk about preserving the Mets’ young arms, one would have thought – at least Ron Darling did on the SNY telecast – Collins would have pulled deGrom midway through the fourth inning when the Milwaukee Brewers broke open the game and then rolled to a 7-1 victory.

Then again, whom would he use?

The Mets used their bullpen for over six innings Tuesday and used it for another five innings tonight. They’ll need Zack Wheeler to do some heavy lifting because it is doubtful they’ll have either Josh Smoker (three innings Tuesday) or Josh Edgin (three innings tonight).

DeGrom wanted to hear none of that: “This one is on me. I was just bad.”

TODAY’S ANSWER: It’s yes. Wilmer Flores started at third and singled with Jose Reyes getting the night off. Even after Asdrubal Cabrera’s costly error last night, there was no way Collins was going to sit him.

Collins said Flores would play again Thursday, but said nothing prior to the game about going to a rotation system where Flores would play a different position each night that would give everybody in the infield a game off each week.

EXTRA INNINGS: For the second straight game Mets’ pitchers walked eight Brewers. … Michael Conforto’s two-out RBI double prevented the shut out.

UP NEXT: Wheeler (3-2, 3.83) is coming off a no-decision in his last start, May 27, at Pittsburgh.

 

May 30

Today’s Question: Who Is Tyler Pill?

For those counting at home, Tyler Pill will be the ninth different pitcher to start a game for the Mets this season.

He certainly has the confidence, saying: “Why not test what you’ve got against one of the best lineups in the sport?’’

It’s true. The Milwaukee Brewers’ lineup Pill will face tonight ranks fourth in the Major Leagues in runs scored (257).

Pill goes against Zach Davies (5-3, 5.33 ERA).

Pill goes his feet wet Saturday night in Pittsburgh pitching in relief against the Pirates, taking the loss in a 5-4 extra-innings loss, giving up one run in two-thirds of an inning.

“I thought, get him an inning, maybe two, get him through those right-handers just to make him feel like he belongs out there,” manager Terry Collins told reporters that night in Pittsburgh. “Instead of just running him out there on Tuesday with 10 days off since he pitched.”

May 29

Harvey Not Vintage, But Good Enough

We’ve seen Matt Harvey better, but we’ll take the version we saw last night in Pittsburgh. Last night Harvey pitched with more poise than we’ve seen in a long time; he pitched out of trouble and survived through a season-high six innings in carrying the Mets over the Pirates.

Harvey threw in the mid-90s last night, not the 98 he carried as a punch-them-out weapon in 2013 when he terrorized National League batting orders. His command last night was better as he issued only two walks, and most importantly gave up a season-low one run.

HARVEY: Good enough. (AP)

HARVEY: Good enough. (AP)

The Mets will win most games if he gives up one run, and if that’s the Harvey we’ve been waiting for, it will be worth the wait.

“We’ve been talking about it: He doesn’t have to throw 97 [mph] to get people out,’’ manager Terry Collins told reporters. “Tonight he showed that.”

Harvey has endured two season-ending surgeries since he became a cartoon superhero in 2013. Once defiant, Harvey was acceptant of what has happened.

“Obviously, it’s just taken a little bit of time,” said Harvey. “It’s been frustrating for me. But a lot of the work has been paying off, and really, it’s a huge, huge positive for me being able to execute those pitches tonight.”

At the end of the 2015 season, when Harvey’s innings became an issue when he spoke of his agent Scott Boras, he said he hired him to secure his future, which we all know is his 2018 walk year for a crosstown trip to the Bronx.

The Mets would take that right now because it would mean a Harvey that could be good enough to pitch them into an October or two.

May 26

Walker, DeGrom Key Rout Of Pirates

It was a sweet homecoming for Neil Walker, who returned to his Pittsburgh hometown Thursday night to get caught up in the euphoria of his beloved Penguins going to the Stanley Cup Finals, and tonight hitting a pair of homers in the Mets’ 8-1 rout of the Pirates.

WALKER: Goes home with two homers. (AP)

WALKER: Goes home with two homers. (AP)

“I’m happy with the way I’m playing right now,” Walker said. “It’s always special coming back here and nice for people to cheer for you.”

Walker, who is coming off back surgery, accepted a $17.2 million qualifying to return to the Mets rather than test the free agent market. Walker can become a free agent this winter but said he wants to remain with the Mets.

There is reciprocal interest by the Mets in Walker, but there won’t be talks until this winter.

DeGROM BENEFICIARY: The primary beneficiary of Walker’s flexing was Jacob deGrom, who took advantage of the support to be given the opportunity to start the ninth.

DeGrom gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, but Collins left him in to strike out David Freese for his tenth strikeout. DeGrom gave up one run on six hits in 8.1 innings in the longest outing of a Mets’ starter this season.

“He did exactly what we needed,” manager Terry Collins said. “He gave the bullpen the night off.”

ANSWER TO TODAY’S QUESTION: As expected, the Mets optioned Rafael Montero to Triple-A Las Vegas and promoted reliever Tyler Pill.

Pill was 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA for Vegas. The Mets haven’t named a starter for Tuesday’s game against Milwaukee and Pill could get the ball.

CESPEDES UPDATE: Yoenis Cespedes went 0-for-2 with a walk in a rehab start for Class A St. Lucie. The expectations are Cespedes should be activated from the disabled list (left hamstring) next week.

UP NEXT: Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.74) is coming off a win, May 20, against the Angels. In that game, he gave up two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and five walks.

Aug 25

Mets Should Not Hold Pat Hand At Deadline

Most reports indicate the Mets won’t make a deal by the August 31 deadline. However, after watching Seth Lugo’s first career victory cut short by a cramp in his right calf, they shouldn’t be so sure about that position.

All teams put players on waivers throughout the season to ascertain who might be interested in making a deal later. If nobody claims that player – the term is “clears waivers,” – then he could be available. You’d be surprised who might show up on the list.

LUGO: Solid before injury. (AP)

LUGO: Solid before injury. (AP)

We can assume most contenders are adding this time of season. We can also assume the teams sparring with for the Mets for a wild-card would also be interested in adding a pitcher, but since these things are done in reverse order, as of now that player would slip to the Mets before the Pirates, Marlins, Cardinals or Giants could block the deal.

There’s such fragility with starting pitchers as the Mets learned this season with Matt Harvey, Jon Niese and Zack Wheeler – neither will pitch again this year – and now Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and possibly Noah Syndergaard are suspect. Matz is on the DL, deGrom’s next start will be pushed back, and everybody is waiting for the other shoe to fall on Syndergaard.

The Mets have been fortunate with Lugo, so far, but what will they get Sunday from Robert Gsellman, who’ll be making his first career start?

Also fragile are playoff opportunities. Prior to last season, 2006 was when the Mets were in the postseason. As we learned this year, injuries and bad luck happen. Will the Mets be in contention next year? Nobody can say.

However, everybody in the wild-card hunt has issues. Everybody.

The Mets are now 3.5 games behind for the second wild-card with 35 games remaining following Thursday’s 10-6 victory in St. Louis. Sometime in that span, the Mets might need somebody to step up and take the ball. Who are they going to give it to? Rafael Montero? Sean Gilmartin? Gabriel Ynoa? Surely, the Logan Verrett boat has sailed.

The Marlins are going after it. Reportedly, they are interested in the Braves’ Julio Teheran after a proposed deal for Arizona’s Shelby Miller fell through.

Meanwhile, the Mets seem they will go with a pat hand. And, it isn’t all that great a hand.

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