Apr 27

Syndergaard And Cespedes Go Down

The answer to today’s question, unfortunately, is YES: Something is wrong with the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard. First Wednesday’s, then today’s scheduled starter, was scratched with what manager Terry Collins called a “tired arm,” but technically biceps tendinitis, or possibly something else.

The Mets have until Sunday to figure it out, as that is when they figure is the earliest Syndergaard could next pitch.

“In my opinion, I think it’s very minor, and I’ll get back on the field Sunday,” said Syndergaard, who to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t have a medical degree.

Collins and GM Sandy Alderson don’t have medical degrees, either, yet roll the dice when it comes to dealing with injuries.

“It’s quite obvious we can’t take a chance on him, hurting this guy,” Collins said prior to today’s game, not long after he said, “because I wanted to,” when asked why Syndergaard was scratched Wednesday night. I wrote last night Collins didn’t deserve the benefit of doubt about being given leeway in discussing Mets’ injuries.

That’s based on Collins’ past deceptive and stonewall comments in covering for Alderson’s lack of decisiveness in those types of situations.

Because he’s a pitcher who works every fifth day, the Mets have the luxury of waiting for a few days before putting him on the disabled list

That wasn’t the case with Yoenis Cespedes, whom they kept hoping his strained left hamstring would get better. Based on Cespedes’ injury history, the Mets should have put him on the 10-day disabled list immediately. Instead, they sat him out last weekend’s series against the Nationals, but hoped he could pinch-hit.

They thought the day off and the rainout could buy them some healing time but gambled on him playing Wednesday. He came away from that game but re-pulled his hamstring legging out a double in the fourth inning.

It is clear Cespedes will be out for a long time.

MORE, MUCH MORE, TO FOLLOW

 

Apr 27

Today’s Question: Is Anything Wrong With Syndergaard?

Because “I wanted to,” is not a good explanation from Mets manager Terry Collins for his decision to push back Noah Syndergaard for today and start Robert Gsellman last night.

SYNDERGAARD: Is something wrong with him?(AP)

SYNDERGAARD: Is something wrong with him?(AP)

That begs the question: Why?

That Collins made a fuss over an obvious issue makes me wonder what the Mets are trying to hide. If they aren’t, just answer the question.

“Because I thought Gsellman pitched well in his last start and I wanted to keep him on schedule.” “Because I wanted to take advantage of the rainout and give Syndergaard an extra day because he threw a lot of pitches in his last start.” “Because I wanted to see him go against R.A. Dickey.” “Because my psychic said it would be a good thing.”

All of these could have answered the obvious question without triggering cover-up mode.

Collins has dodged so many issues in the past that he really doesn’t merit the benefit of doubt on something as fuzzy as this.

Syndergaard gave up five runs and is coming off a season-high 114 pitches in his losing start last Thursday against Philadelphia. Maybe he was tired and needed an extra day. Maybe the bone spur that bothered him last season flared up again. Maybe this was GM Sandy Alderson’s order.

Aren’t any of you wondering the same things?

We’ll know soon enough when Syndergaard takes the ball this afternoon.

Apr 26

Is It Time For Mets To Panic?

As devastating as the five-run first inning against Robert Gsellman was to the Mets tonight, let’s not forget their fourth inning against Julio Teheran.

The Mets had the bases loaded with no outs and the best they could muster was a sacrifice fly. That’s it; the game was over right there, and the Mets were on the way of losing, 8-2, to Atlanta.

i-1They have lost five straight and nine of ten, and have three games this weekend in Washington.

Is time to panic?

In a rare display of candor, exasperated Mets manager Terry Collins said: “It could be pretty soon.’’

The first inning was emblematic of what currently ails the Mets. How many times can you say if the Mets don’t homer they won’t score? When the Mets’ pitching goes south as it did for Gsellman tonight, and their defense is horrible – three errors – that’s too big a hole when the offense gets only five hits.

Collins has long said the Mets are built on hitting home runs, but twice this homestand lamented their inability to produce (1-for-5 with RISP and seven runners left on base).

“You know we’re not going to get a lot off Teheran, so that took the air out of the balloon pretty quick,” Collins said of the early hole. “You don’t see any panic in them. We have to stop worrying about home runs and worry about getting some good swings.”

Gsellman said he was told last night he would start, which is contrary to what Collins said. No matter, he had nothing. He explained the problem as mechanical, saying he was flying open with his shoulder that consequently left the ball out over the plate.

Sounds so simple, but why is it so hard to fix? That applies to a lot of things.

Apr 26

Today’s Question: Are Mets Rushing Cespedes?

Conventional wisdom dictates with a hamstring injury you take the estimated return date and add four or five days, perhaps a week if the player has a history of that kind of injury, like the Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes. After last night’s rainout, I wrote – as did several others – that an extra day could help Cespedes.

CESPEDES: Is he being pushed? (AP)

CESPEDES: Is he being pushed? (AP)

That begs the question: If the Mets are thinking one extra day would help Cespedes, is that really enough?

I’m thinking no, but then again, you probably figured that out. After last year’s fiasco with his quad, where he was basically a no-show for much of July, and manager Terry Collins acknowledging Cespedes’ body type makes his susceptible to muscle pulls, what’s the rush? Couple that with the weather supposed to be cool with a chance or rain tonight, it seems an unnecessary risk.

Citi Field drains well, so there shouldn’t be swamp-like conditions, but the field could be slick. I like a healthy Cespedes in the lineup, but I’m don’t think that’s the case. I believe the Mets, considering Cespedes’ injury history, could be pushing it. With there being a 10-day disabled list, I believe the Mets are pushing the envelope.

I believe the Mets, considering Cespedes’ injury history, could be pushing it. With there being a 10-day disabled list, I believe the Mets should have taken that option.

I would rather Cespedes sit a few more games, perhaps be ready this weekend for Washington, than have him out a month or more. It’s a long season and a few more days won’t hurt.

I could only help.

 

Apr 20

How Long Will Mets Play Reyes Charade?

Mets manager Terry Collins said Jose Reyes deserves the chance to turn things around, but that’s too simplistic an approach. In reality, Collins doesn’t have any choice for now but let Reyes try to flail his way out of this wretched slump to start the season.

Reyes refutes the notion he’s trying to do too much, which is often one of the first assumptions to explain a slump.

REYES: Not the same player. (AP)

REYES: Not the same player. (AP)

“When you try to do too much, it’s tough. You have to slow down a little bit and try to let it go. I don’t feel like I am trying to do too much. I am just trying to play my game,” Reyes said.

“My game.”

What exactly does that mean? Is it the style Reyes should be playing, which is to utilize his speed by being patient at the plate and hit the ball on the ground? Or is it the style he insists on playing, which is to hit the ball in the air and not worry about drawing walks or cutting his strikeouts?

For all his speed, Reyes has never been the prototypical leadoff hitter. He has always struck out too much, doesn’t walk and insists on hitting the ball in the air. Through 15 games he has 15 strikeouts and six walks with zero stolen bases. He’s hitting .094 with a .186 on-base percentage and has been dropped to seventh in the order.

The bottom line is for all his supposed physical skills, if Reyes isn’t leading off then he might as well not be in the lineup.

Wilmer Flores can play third base as well as Reyes, if not better. But, he’s off to a slow start, also, at .171. However, Flores’ main problem is he doesn’t play enough because Collins is married to the right-lefty dynamic and won’t give him the regular opportunity to hit right-handed pitching. Again, Flores will never hit right-handed pitching unless he’s given the opportunity.

Reyes’ problems are more complex and I offer several contributory explanations.

First, his mechanics are way off. He’s lunging at pitches he should take and is trying to hit everything in the air. He’s always had that style, but at 33 it is catching up to him. However, ten years ago he could get away with it because the Mets gave him free reign to do what he wanted at the plate. They did so because he gave them enough so they would settle.

Reyes will never be the work-the-count, slap-hitter, get on base and steal his way to third type of player. Reyes always wanted to play like Rickey Henderson, but he was never as good.

Now, it’s too late to transform, and I don’t think he has the discipline to try.

Secondly, I believe this slow start is weighing on him and he is trying to do too much. Reyes will get his money – the Colorado Rockies are paying it – but he could be thinking if it doesn’t work with the Mets this could be his last chance and what else does he know besides baseball?

Could Reyes’ slow start be partially explained by him being away from camp for the World Baseball Classic? This was an important year for Reyes and he could have used the work a full spring training provides.

Finally, and this hasn’t been mentioned in the mainstream media as a cause, but his double life – a mistress with a child and ensuing court case – has to be an emotional burden. Couple that with his domestic abuse suspension and he has a lot of toxic baggage.

Most teams would run away from Reyes, but the Mets aren’t because it isn’t costing them any significant money and they are desperate because they are afraid to go with Flores as David Wright’s replacement.

The only question is how long are they willing to play this charade?