May 17

Alderson Must Take Responsibility Of Mets’ Pitching Collapse

Going against Zack Greinke, it was expected the Mets’ losing streak would reach six, and this morning the fingers would start being pointed.

ALDERSON: Faces a lot of questions. (AP)

ALDERSON: Faces a lot of questions. (AP)

What didn’t happen in the Mets’ 5-4 loss to Arizona was another bullpen meltdown. If you want to call it a moral victory, go for it. I looked for moral victories in the standings and the only thing I could were the regular ones, which have them six games under .500 and nine games behind Washington.

But, wasn’t this team supposed to be a World Series contender if not win the whole thing? They sure were, because many; including GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets possessed the game’s best pitching.

I never bought into that because it simply wasn’t true. How could it be if the vaunted five of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler had never started a complete cycle in the rotation?

How could it be if there isn’t a 20-game winner among the group?

How could it be if they only have two with at least 30 victories (deGrom 32-23) and Harvey (31-31), with Syndergaard (24-18), Wheeler (20-18) and Matz (13-8) to follow? That’s not greatness, that’s potential.

How could it be, if four entered the season coming off significant surgery, and a fifth – Syndergaard – currently on the 60-day DL?

Wishful thinking is nice to have, but building on it is like a house of cards, capable of collapsing at the slightest nudge or breeze.

The Mets tried to build a group of back-ups, but Seth Lugo is on the DL, Robert Gsellman needs be optioned or sent to the bullpen to work on his mechanic, and Rafael Montero can’t find the plate.

New acquisition Tommy Milone was passable tonight, but you don’t win on passable. The best thing Milone did was work into the sixth, which was followed by Paul Sewald (1.1 innings), Fernando Salas (0.2 innings) and Jerry Blevins (0.1) not allowing a run.

The pen worked just 2.1 innings, but most nights it goes three or four, if not longer.

When fingers are pointed, they are initially directed at manager Terry Collins, but that’s too easy. It’s also too easy to blame pitching coach Dan Warthen. In finding out who is responsible for the Mets’ pitching problems, we must look at the nature of the injuries, and who acquiesced in the handling of Harvey and Syndergaard.

That would be general manager Sandy Alderson.

 

May 05

Mets Lose D’Arnaud – Again – To Disabled List

The Mets placed Travis d’Arnaud on the 10-day disabled list today with a bruised right wrist, but manager Terry Collins said he would be out longer.

“It’s a bone bruise they discovered,” Collins told reporters. “It sounds like it’s not a big deal, but we know from the past, it is a big deal. There’s no timeframe right now. … It won’t be just a 10-day DL, I don’t think.”

D'ARNAUD: Goes to DL. (AP)

D’ARNAUD: Goes to DL. (AP)

D’Arnaud – who has always had trouble staying on the field – was initially hurt, April 19, when his wrist hit Aaron Altherr’s bat on the follow-through of his throw to second.

Over the next four games he was only available as a pinch hitter. D’Arnaud returned as a starter, April 26, then aggravated the injury on Tuesday swinging at R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball.

“The swelling wouldn’t go away for the past two days, so we went and got it checked and it showed a bone bruise in my hand, and I just need time to let it heal,” said d’Arnaud, who played in just 67 games because of hand and elbow injuries in 2015, and 75 games last season.

When he plays, d’Arnaud shows offensive potential, although throwing out base runners has always been a problem.

“It’s pretty frustrating for us because we know what this guy’s potential is, and we’ve seen it,” Collins said. “It seems like just when he starts to get it going, something happens. Again, it’s not one of those three- or four-day things. It’s something that takes him out of the lineup for two weeks or three weeks. Hopefully, this doesn’t take that long.”

Rene Rivera started tonight and had two hits, including a RBI single in the Mets’ 8-7 come-from-behind victory over Miami. He had three hits in the Mets’ 20-hit explosion Wednesday in Atlanta.

Rivera is better than d’Arnaud defensively, but the more he plays the more his offensive flaws get exposed. That brings us to Kevin Plawecki, who hasn’t been able to take advantage of his opportunities. He is expected to start Saturday.

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.