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.

 

Aug 02

Mets Considering Juggling Rotation

Mets manager Terry Collins confirmed on his weekly radio show he’s contemplating using R.A. Dickey on short rest, which would enable Johan Santana and Chris Young to get more rest.

Sounds plausible, but we don’t know what toll, if any, this would have on Dickey. He does throw a knuckleball, but but it isn’t a conventional knuckler.

Another thing the Mets are throwing against the wall to see if it will stick is limiting Jon Niese’s innings similar to what Washington is thinking about with Stephen Strasburg. Niese ended recent seasons on the mend so it isn’t a bad idea, especially if the Mets are out of it.

 

 

 

Jul 04

Fourth Of July Good Omen For Mets

History dictates that whoever is leading on July 4th will make the playoffs. That’s a good omen for the Mets, who lead in the wild-card chase. By the end of the month, if there are trades, then the Mets will be buyers.

Their top priority is the bullpen as they have enough offense, despite limited power, to get the job done.

Let’s look at the other playoff contenders.

Washington has the best record in the National League and with its pitching could sustain it into the playoffs. The question here is what will happen if, and when, they shut down Stephen Strasburg.

Atlanta could make a run, but the Marlins and Phillies have too many issues.

In the Central, it would be nice to see Pittsburgh hold on, but the Reds, Cardinals and Brewers are still close. This division should be a scramble until the end.

In the West, it is the Dodgers and Giants, with Arizona 5.5 games out.

Things seem more definitive in the American League. I expect the current leaders to hold on, with Tampa Bay, Detroit and the Angels the prime wild card contenders.

Jun 26

Mets Matters: Bay Update

The more I think about it, the more aggravated I am about last night. Not so much that they lost, but in Terry Collins bringing up the possibility of a let down because of a late arrival into Chicago. It was a self-fulfilling prophesy. Think it and it might come true.

The bottom line is travel in MLB is blatantly unfair, but it is an issue that must be dealt with by all. Adversity is something a championship caliber team must overcome.

Among the Mets notes:

* Jason Bay has been cleared to work out on a stationary bike. If there are no concussion symptoms he can run and resume baseball activities this weekend in Los Angeles. Once again, the Mets have been getting production elsewhere so there’s no need to rush him back.

* Collins said Johan Santana’s starts won’t be cut short like the Nationals will do with Stephen Strasburg. The Mets will go with a five-man rotation the rest of the way. Santana is on a 115-pitch limit, and at the start of the season Collins said 28 starts would be ideal. He’s on pace for that, and if he can get to 32, it could translate into a good season for the Mets. That is, if he gets bullpen support.

* Although Daniel Murphy has been sitting against lefties, Collins said it isn’t permanent. Actually, that’s up to Justin Turner. If he hits lefties when he plays, he’ll continue to get time. Pretty simple, really. Murphy is homerless in his last 347 at-bats.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf

Ruben Tejada, ss

David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, rf
Ike Davis, 1b
Scott Hairston, lf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Josh Thole, c
Dillon Gee, rhp

Feb 03

Another look at Mets’ woeful pitching.

ESPN had an interesting post when it examined the starting rotations of the NL East teams. They still have Johan Santana listed as No. 1, which is puzzling.

What I found most interesting is that every team’s No. 3 starter would qualify as the Mets’ No. 1.

Edwin Jackson is reportedly on his way to Washington, where he’s the projected third starter behind Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. The Braves’ No. 3 is Tommy Hanson. Miami’s third starter is Ricky Nolasco and Philadelphia’s is Cole Hamels.

The Mets’ projected rotation is Santana, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee.

It’s all about pitching and this is a grim reminder of the Mets’ status.