May 02

Another Lost Night For Harvey

Even when it became apparent Matt Harvey was no longer an ace on the Mets’ staff – giving way to Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard – he always held the belief of himself that he was among the elite.

HARVEY: Loses again. (AP)

HARVEY: Loses again. (AP)

Even after season-ending injuries – and surgeries – in 2013 and last year, Harvey and the Mets envisioned a return to prominence.

Things appeared promising for him after he won his first two starts coming back from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. At the time Harvey appeared ahead of schedule because in spring training pitching coach Dan Warthen said it wouldn’t be until mid-May when his stuff returned.

Harvey said he felt good, and the radar gun clocked him consistently in the high 90s, but stuff is more throwing a ball through a wall.

“The ball came out of his hand really good,” manager Terry Collins told reporters. “When he was going good, he had great stuff and great command. Today he had great stuff, but his command wasn’t there.”

Stuff is more than just velocity; it is getting movement on his pitches. It is throwing a fastball three inches inside, but see it tail back over the corner for a strike. It is also locating all his pitches, including his secondary pitches anytime in the count.

None of that was there tonight.

Harvey gave up four runs in his two wins but has given up 17 in his following four starts, including 12 in these last two against the Braves.

“His command was off,” Collins told reporters. “His secondary pitchers weren’t there.”

Last time out, Harvey had the built-in reason – excuse if you will – of getting just a few hours notice to make an emergency start replacing Syndergaard. On full rest tonight, Harvey went a little longer, but wasn’t much better, giving up six runs in the 9-7 loss.

Harvey labored throughout, taking 100 pitches to work 5.1 innings, and said he was trying to compete.

“Today was the best I have felt in a long time,” Harvey said. “It was coming out of my hand better than it has in a couple of years.”

Just competing, however, won’t get it done for the Mets, who are trying to make up serious ground early in the season, and trying to do so without Syndergaard and Steven Matz.

To do so, they’ll need Harvey to put on his “big boy’’ pants and pitch to the level he still believes he can.

ON DECK LATER TONIGHT:  Mets Wrap: Bruce’s Hot Start Continues

May 09

Reyes makes you wonder at times.

We keep hearing how good Jose Reyes is, that at 27 he’s a mercurial talent with the potential to be one of the great talents of the game. And, he is good.

REYES: More head scratching.

But, it’s always something with him that makes one pause to think, “what is going on with this guy?’’

Over the past six games Reyes is hitting .440 with a .517 on-base percentage, but that stretch included two head scratching moments Saturday that shouldn’t be excused just because the Mets won that game.

In the second inning he was picked off first as strolled back to first inning, and in the seventh he was inexcusably thrown out at third trying to advance from second on a ball hit to the shortstop.

Stuff like this just shouldn’t happen, especially to a player supposedly as good as Reyes. The play at third is something they teach players in hight school not to do.

Just a couple of more in a long line of earth-to-Reyes moments that have marked his career. They are what separates good from great.

 

Jan 22

Jan. 22.10: Matthews to Mets.

MATTHEWS: Brings baggage to Mets.

MATTHEWS: Brings baggage to Mets.

Gary Matthews Jr., to the Mets from the Los Angeles Angels looks like a done deal. Several media outlets have made the report, but the Mets have not confirmed the deal.

Uncertain, is who the Angels would get in return or if there is a third team involved.

I’m not a Matthews fan, and if the Angels are willing to spend $20 million of the remaining $24 million of his contract to get rid of him, what does that say about their regard for the player? Matthews hit .250 with four homers and 50 RBI, with an on-base percentage of .336 last season.

Since 1999, Matthews has played for seven teams, including two games with the Mets in 2002. There has to be a reason why he’s always been on the move.

His numbers averaged out over a 162-game schedule is a .258 average with 14 homers and 63 RBI. Not exactly earth-shattering stuff.

Matthews’ best season was 2006 when he hit .313 (his only .300 season) with 19 homers and 79 RBI (both career highs), for which he was rewarded with that ridiculous contract by the Angels.

Matthews’ name also surfaced in the Mitchell Report, which begs the question of what he might have hit if he were clean.

I know they need a center fielder, but I don’t like this deal.

I replaced the pitching poll with one on Matthews.

Jan 08

Jan. 8.10: Looking at the Mets’ prospects.

John Sickels, author of the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book, is high on Fernando Martinez and Jenrry Mejia, but lukewarm with John Niese.

Most scouts believe Mejia has the stuff to be a starter, but needs time in the minor leagues – maybe two more years – to refine his secondary pitches. The worst thing the Mets could do is to push the envelope with him, but that’s the fear, that they will rush him as they did Mike Pelfrey.

Sickels also believes Martinez is being regarded too harshly considering his age, but is concerned about his durability. The acquisition of Jason Bay makes it clear the Mets don’t believe Martinez is ready this year. Perhaps by the end of the year he may have put himself in position to help.

As far as Niese goes, if his hamstring is sound he could help the Mets this season, but Sickels doesn’t see much of a ceiling for him, calling him a “classic number three guy.’’

If you’re highest minor league level pitching prospect is a No. 3, that’s not encouraging.

Oct 07

Manny wants BIG bucks

Ramirez: Mets need to run away from him.

Ramirez: Mets need to run away from him.

Tracy Ringolsby of The Rocky Mountain News is in the writer’s wing of the Hall of Fame for a reason. He knows his stuff. Covering the NL Division Series, Ringolsby is reporting Manny Ramirez’s agent, Scott Boras (what a surprise), wants a five-year deal worth $85 million.

In 53 games for the Dodgers, Ramirez batted .396 with 17 HR and 53 RBI. No doubt, despite that short window of playing time, he’ll get some MVP consideration.

That’s fine, as long as the Mets don’t give him any consideration in the off-season. The Mets, their problems hitting with RISP, were still second in the league in runs scored. They need to spent the money on pitching.