May 04

Today’s Question: Will Collins Leave Well Enough Alone?

Mets manager Terry Collins has often been like the weekend grill master who can’t resist poking at the coals.

So, the day after they rapped out 16 runs on 20 hits, today’s question is: Will Collins leave well enough alone?

That means not being seduced by Jose Reyes’ five RBI and resist moving him back to the leadoff spot. It also means leave Michael Conforto at the top of the order.

There could be some juggling because Collins said Curtis Granderson and Neil Walker could use a day off.

But, nothing drastic should be done. Let’s hope Collins slept on last night’s 16-5 rout in Atlanta was something he savored and left well enough alone.

 

May 03

DeGrom Off, But Manages To Win

Fortunately for Jacob deGrom, pitching victories aren’t scrawny fish – he’s not required to throw this one back, no matter how off he looked in tonight’s 16-5 rout of Atlanta.

The Mets need deGrom more than ever with Matt Harvey struggling, and Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard on the disabled list. Matz could be back in a month, but some reports have Syndergaard possibly out for up to three months.

DE GROM: Doesn't kick away win. (AP)

DE GROM: Doesn’t kick away win. (AP)

DeGrom gave up five runs on eight hits with five strikeouts, but what was most alarming were five walks and 109 pitches thrown in that span.

“It’s perplexing,” manager Terry Collins said of deGrom’s lack of command. “His command wasn’t there. In the middle innings, he didn’t make his pitches.”

But why?

“I honestly don’t know why,” deGrom said. “I felt good early on, but for some reason, I lost control. I felt fine (physically). I just wasn’t able to control my pitches.

“It wasn’t a very good effort by me tonight. These guys did a tremendous job picking me up. The most important thing was we got the win.”

In an effort to find out what’s wrong with his control – it has been two straight starts in which he’s been off – deGrom said he’ll go to the videotape tomorrow in an attempt to pinpoint a mechanical flaw.

But, for right now, “I honestly don’t know.”

May 03

Today’s Question: Will Granderson Return Tonight?

Curtis Granderson did not start Tuesday night, instead, spending a considerable amount of time taking extra batting practice trying to rediscover the stroke that has abandoned him. The Mets’ center fielder is in a 1-for-32 funk and showing no signs of breaking out.

So, in the wake of losing 12 of their last 15 games, the question facing the Mets is: What will they do with Granderson?

Granderson has traditionally been a slow starter in April, but this season he has taken things to a new low with a .124 average, one homer and six RBI. Since April 16, he has gone 3-for-49.

However, manager Terry Collins has kept running Granderson out there because he’s one of four players in club history with 75 homers and 200 RBI, but also with Yoenis Cespedes out with a pulled left hamstring, he doesn’t have many other options.

`There’s nothing really major going on wrong,” Granderson said in one head-scratching comment. “I’m not chasing pitches out of the zone. I’m getting to a decent amount of full counts. I’ve swung at strikes. I’ve done a lot of things that could put me into position to be successful. I just haven’t been successful.”

Maybe that’s his problem, he doesn’t know that he’s playing so badly.

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 01

Mets Wrap: Gsellman Gives Innings; Offense Awakens

Robert Gsellman came out of nowhere last year to save the Mets season after Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz went down. They are counting on him again this season – especially with Noah Syndergaard out indefinitely – and gave them five innings tonight.

Given six runs, Gsellman gave up five runs on six hits in a 77-pitch five innings to get the win in a 7-5 victory. Not great numbers, but the most important stat was getting ten ground ball outs.

GSELLMAN: Gives important innings. (AP)

GSELLMAN: Gives important innings. (AP)

“I got a lot of ground balls today,” Gsellman told reporters. “I had my sinker down in the zone.”

Gsellman and Seth Lugo picked up the Mets last season after injuries cost them Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz. With Lugo and Syndergaard on the disabled list, Gsellman will have to pitch better and they’ll need innings from Rafael Montero, who is scheduled to start Friday.

OFFENSE WAKENS: The Mets offense came alive in the first two games of the Washington series, and did so again tonight.

Michael Conforto homered to lead off the game and drove in three runs. Most importantly, the Mets strung together five hits in a five-run fourth.

“Some days the offense is going to have to carry us,” manager Terry Collins told reporters.The best part of that inning is that none of the hits were homers.

The best part of the inning is none of the hits were homers.

REED REBOUNDS: Another bright spot was Addison Reed, who pitched so well last season, but has been hit hard lately, giving up four homers in April.

He looked good last night, but after giving up a leadoff single to Matt Kemp he shut down the Braves for the rest of the eighth inning.

REYES HOMERS AGAIN: Collins said the other day he’s considering moving Jose Reyes up in the batting order. It won’t happen because Conforto keeps raking, leading off the game with a homer.

Reyes extended his hitting streak to seven games with his third homer in that span. Traditionally, Reyes hits them in bunches and then goes during a stretch where he tries to hit them and slips into a tailspin.

We’ll see what happens.

UP NEXT: Matt Harvey (2-1, 4.25) was moved up on April 27 to replace Noah Syndergaard and gave up six runs in 4.1 innings and later said he wasn’t ready. Former Mets Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey (2-2, 3.80) will start for Atlanta.

ON DECK LATER TONIGHT: Some wins are more important than others.