Sep 13

Liking Matt Harvey More And More

Matt Harvey was not in a good mood when he was pulled last night with the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth. In what might have been the best outing from a Mets’ reliever all season, Robert Carson bailed him out by getting two infield pop-ups and a fly ball.

Harvey gave up a run in five-plus innings – enough to win most games – but was clearly steamed in the dugout. He wasn’t much into handshakes and back pats, but his anger wasn’t directed at the Mets’ listless offense – 13 straight home games now scoring three or less runs and the tenth time they’ve been shutout – but at himself.

You see, Harvey is a perfectionist and last night he wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t impressed with striking out ten hitters. He would rather pitch to contact to reduce his pitch count and work longer into games.

“The biggest thing is going deeper into games and figuring it out a lot sooner, and not pressing to go for the strikeout all the time,” said Harvey. “I have to get early contact, like I’ve said before. That’s the biggest thing I’m going to work on.”

Harvey has a dominating fastball, but said his best pitch last night was his change-up. He wasn’t happy with his curveball and claimed his slider had little bite. Those are the pitches that will generate weak or awkward swings and get groundballs and pop-ups. That’s what will limit his pitch count. And, hopefully this year will be the last where he’s on an innings limit.

Manager Terry Collins said Harvey will get one more start and marveled at his maturation level at an early age.

“He’s been so impressive,” Collins said. “We’ve got something special. We’ve got something really special.”

If the Mets are inclined to keep Harvey on an innings count again next season, I hope they are paying attention to how poorly Washington handled the same issue with Stephen Strasburg. To announce it early was counterproductive. Davey Johnson, who doesn’t agree with the limit, said Strasburg’s heart wasn’t in his last start, knowing that would be it for him.

Strasburg hates it too, saying he feels he’s abandoning his teammates. You figure Harvey feels the same way.

If the Mets are going to limit Harvey’s innings next season, there’s a gradual way to achieve that goal. They can skip the occasional start or back it up to where he makes one less start a month. Over the course of the season, that’s six starts. And, they can be juggled around off-days as to give him more rest.

The only problem with that theory, is that Johan Santana is again coming off an injury and the Mets should be inclined to give him more rest.

 

May 17

Mets Latest Bullpen Collapse Raises Questions About Jenrry Mejia Role

Let’s face it, D.J. Carrasco was gone before Todd Frazier’s home run landed. Carrasco was designated for assignment after last night’s bullpen meltdown, the perpetrators being Jon Rauch and Carrasco. The victim, not surprisingly, was Johan Santana.

MEJIA: Mets undecided.

Taking Carrasco’s spot on the roster will be left-hander Robert Carson from Double-A Binghamton.

With Chris Young expected back into the rotation by early June, that leaves the Mets with the dilemma about what to do with Jenrry Mejia. He has the stuff to be a lights out closer, that is when his command is on. What he doesn’t have yet is mastery of his secondary pitches. The Mets are working with him on that as a starter.

Two years ago, under Jerry Manuel’s watch, the Mets brought him up to work out of the bullpen. He had flashes, both mostly was hammered and demoted, where he was put into the rotation and eventually hurt his arm. Manuel insisted on Mejia because he was worried about his job security.  That didn’t work out well for Mejia or Manuel.

Despite pitching as a starter now, the organization doesn’t know what Mejia’s future role will be. If Bobby Parnell made it as a closer, this decision would have already been made.

But, he didn’t and the bullpen remains a mess. That they signed Frank Francisco to two years means they don’t have faith in Parnell as closer and lingering doubts about Mejia’s durability.

It is easier to make the transition from starter to reliever than the reverse. The Mets have had plenty of time to decide. One or the other.

Apr 24

Mike Pelfrey On DL; Could Be Done For Year

The Mets just announced they placed Mike Pelfrey on the DL after a MRI showed swelling in his elbow (retroactive to April 22). Taking his place on the roster is left-handed pitcher Robert Carson from Double-A Binghamton.

ESPN reported Pelfrey has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and could undergo season-ending surgery.

Pelfrey is expected to get a second opinion. Pelfrey was rocked in his first start, but pitched well in his last two.

Carson, 23, is 0-0 with a 3.18 ERA in five games at Binghamton.

Mar 12

Time to re-evaluate conditioning program

The Mets’ medical staff has been under scrutiny for years, but maybe it is time to re-evaluate the team’s off-season and spring training conditioning programs.

WRIGHT: Was his injury preventable?

Seven Mets, including David Wright, who returned to New York for further exams today on his side, have rib cage, oblique or upper body injuries. Manager Terry Collins offered several theories, none of which are acceptable from a team that should know what it is doing. Collins mentioned excessive weight training, overworking in pre-game warm-ups, too much caffeine and not stretching properly or seriously.

All these suggestions are preventable, and honestly, inexcusable. One or two issues is one thing, but the Mets have seven players ailing since spring training. That doesn’t suggest a team with a handle on things.

Wright, Kirk Niewenhuis, Scott Hairston, and Robert Carson have side muscle injuries. Lucas Duda, Daniel Herrera and Reese Havens have back issues. To be fair, I don’t know what it is like with these injuries in other camps, but seven is an epidemic.

Either the players haven’t been schooled or given the proper conditioning programs, the teaching of such is inadequate, or these guys don’t know what they are doing. When it comes to the body core, flexibility is as important as strength.

When Sandy Alderson and Collins took over last year, they promised a return to basics and fundamentals, and that should include conditioning, too. The Mets aren’t a team that can afford any setbacks, and this shouldn’t be occurring, at least not to this degree.