Sep 02

The Importance Of The Mets Playing Today

It’s easy to sit back outside of Houston and say “the Mets and Astros shouldn’t have played today,’’ and you could be right.

But, you’d also be wrong.

HARVEY: Ripped in return. (AP)

HARVEY: Ripped in return. (AP)

Unless you’re from that community – the way we experienced September 11 and Sandy – you can’t comprehend the impact sports has on a region. It’s almost a cliché to say sports brings a sense of normalcy to a community.

SNY told the story of a man who took six kids to the first game – only one his own – to give his neighbors a chance to dig out from their homes destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. It’s been said sports act as a diversion, which Mets manager Terry Collins could relate to.

“If we can bring a distraction to what the town’s going through, certainly we’re up for it. We’ve been through it before obviously in our city,’’ Collins said “We know what the feeling is like. Tough atmosphere to play in when you’re a visitor.’’

The Mets not only lost both ends of today’s day-night double-header, but did so after volunteering throughout the Houston area during Friday’s off-day.

“We did what we thought was right,’’ said Travis d’Arnaud.

The Mets went where the Astros and Houston’s civic leaders thought they would help the most.

“We all wanted to help out however we could,’’ said outfielder Brandon Nimmo. “I know we only made a little dent in what could be done, but that’s the way that we felt like we could go in and just help out a little bit at a time.’’

One group helped unload a truck full of supplies. Others volunteered at shelters. Still, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said the Mets’ biggest contribution was to agree to move the series from Tampa to Houston, so the Astros players could reunite with their families.

“For that,’’ Hinch said, “I’m forever grateful.”

“It takes tragedies to bring people together, and that’s what’s going on here,” said Collins. “If this helps people’s spirits … then it’s the right thing to do. We’re willing to do anything to help. … You do what you’ve got to do. When they ask you to do this for the reasons they asked, you just do it. You don’t question it. You don’t complain about it. You just do it. … We just hope we can add something to help get these people through the next several months.”

HARVEY ROCKED: The best thing one could say about Matt Harvey’s return from the disabled list was he didn’t get hurt again.

Harvey threw 70 pitches – only 45 for strikes – in two innings in which he gave up seven runs on eight hits. Despite the numbers, felt optimistic.

“I’m fully confident that within the next start, or the start after that, whatever it is, that by the end of the season I’ll be comfortable on the mound and throwing to hitters,” Harvey said. “There’s not one doubt in my mind that with health, mechanics will come, and so will success. I’ve been there before. I’ve come back from Tommy John healthy and effectively, and there’s no doubt that by the end of the season I will do the same.”

FLORES INJURED: Wilmer Flores, who hit a grand slam in the Game 1 12-8 loss, left the Game 2 4-1 loss in the fourth inning after a foul batt struck him flush in the face.

Flores sustained a broken nose and will be out indefinitely.

CONFORTO TO HAVE SURGERY: The Mets confirmed outfielder Michael Conforto will undergo surgery on his left field, making it questionable he will be ready for the start of next season. The news puts the Mets in the market for an outfielder this winter, creating speculation the team might revisit bringing back Jay Bruce.

 

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 06

Will Cabrera Injury Open Way For Rosario?

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said if all the signs are aligned, then yes, Amed Rosario could be brought up if shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is placed on the disabled list with a thumb injury. Already slowed by hamstring and knee problems, Cabrera seemingly jammed his left thumb attempting to make a diving stop in the third inning of tonight’s 11-3 Mets’ rout of Miami at Citi Field.

CABRERA: Thumb injury shelves shortstop. (NY Daily News)

CABRERA: Thumb injury shelves shortstop. (NY Daily News)

Alderson said X-Rays were negative and Cabrera will have an MRI Sunday.

Previously, Alderson said he didn’t want to elevate Rosario this early to maintain the leverage of keeping him away from arbitration and free agency for another year. However, Alderson insisted the Mets’ immediate on-field issues take precedent.

“If we have a need at this point in the season, would we consider it? Yes,” Alderson told SNY during a rain delay.

Rosario, the Mets’ highest-rated position player prospect, is hitting .381 with a .927 OPS at Triple-A Las Vegas. A downside of bringing up Rosario now, is that if Cabrera is able to play relatively soon, what would happen to the prospect? Certainly, they won’t sit Jose Reyes, who is sizzling, and they don’t want Rosario to sit in the majors.

“It is nice to be put in a situation where there are expectations,” manager Terry Collins told reporters of a possible promotion. “If he comes up here, he’ll need to play.”

Of course, with Cabrera out, it would enable Reyes – who isn’t thrilled at third base – to move back to shortstop and play Wilmer Flores at third base. Collins said that is the immediate plan without Rosario.

The Mets toyed with the idea of switching Cabrera and Reyes, but the former wasn’t agreeable to the idea.

While I am anxious to see Rosario like everybody else, knowing how the Mets to things, they won’t bring him up now, especially when they have options.

ON DECK LATER TONIGHT: Mets Wrap: Offense Keeps Humming

Mar 11

First Base Prospect Dom Smith Optioned; Matz Sharp

Dominic Smith was sent to the minor league camp this morning, primarily to get more at-bats prior to the start of the season. Smith hasn’t had a good spring at the plate, hitting .185 with ten strikeouts in 27 at-bats, but he wasn’t going to make the Opening Day roster, anyway.

Smith hit .302 last season for Double-A Binghamton and will likely be assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas

“He just needs to keep on doing what he’s been doing,” said Keith Hernandez, former Mets Gold Glove first baseman and current SNY analyst. “He’s a future Gold Glover if he plays every day. He’s so smooth.”

Offensively, according to Hernandez, Smith needs to concentrate on hitting line drives and not worry about hitting for power, as that will come.

Assuming a full, and productive, season in Triple-A, Smith could be a September call-up and could make the 25-man roster next spring as the Mets don’t figure to bring back Lucas Duda, who is scheduled to become a free agent.

GOOD START FOR MATZ: Steven Matz made a strong start in Saturday’s 6-0 loss to the Nationals, giving up one unearned run (set up by Yoenis Cespedes’ error in left) on three hits with two strikeouts in three innings.

“The big thing is fastball command, trying to establish the fastball on both sides of the plate,” Matz said as to what he was trying to work on in his second start. “Comparing myself to last year, I think I’m ahead of where I was last year.”

As of now, Matz is third or fourth in the Mets’ rotation.

EXTRA INNINGS: Erik Goeddel, who is competing for a spot in the bullpen, gave up three runs in one inning. … Curtis Granderson had two hits. … Re-assigned to the minor league camp in addition to Smith were pitchers P.J. Conlon, Kevin McGowan, David Roseboom, Corey Taylor and Logan Taylor; infielders Phillip Evans and Luis Guillorme ; and outfielder Champ Stuart.

Mar 08

Why Will You Watch Tebow?

Of course, I’ll watch Tim Tebow today. So will a lot of people, which will make the Mets and SNY very happy. Not to mention the stadium vendors hawking Tebow jerseys at $120 a pop.

So, what’s your reason for watching?

TEBOW: Very curious. (AP)

TEBOW: Very curious. (AP)

Are you curious to see if there’s really something there and he could actually help the Mets?  Will you watch like a rubbernecker watching an accident on the Interstate?

Tebow hasn’t played competitive baseball for over a decade, so I don’t think he’ll go deep against a Cy Young Award winner.  He might not even go short. But, that’s not why I’ll be watching.

Tebow is with the Mets, so that’s the main reason. For whatever reason Tebow wants to play, he’s trying something he wants to do and isn’t good at. He’s trying something different – and hard to do – and for that reason alone he should be applauded. That’s why I’ll watch.

And, if he happens to hit a couple of homers, then I guess I’ll have another reason to watch again.