Oct 25

Examining Pros And Cons Of Mets’ Layoff

There is no telling how the Mets’ long layoff will come into play during the World Series. There will be rust if they lose Tuesday night; there will be needed rest should they win behind Matt Harvey in Game 1. Since it’s all speculation prior to the first pitch, here’s what I’m thinking.

HARVEY:  Bruised arm has time to heal. (Getty)

HARVEY: Bruised arm has time to heal. (Getty)

The Cons:

1) Will Daniel Murphy cool down? Nobody has ever been as hot as the Mets’ second baseman. Terry Collins said something the other day about Murphy’s legs needing a rest, but when you’re as hot as he has been, you want to keep swinging.

2) Turning it on again. It isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. Layoffs, in all sports, are hit and miss. The Mets limped into the playoffs, so there was speculation they might be an easy out. After surviving the Dodgers in the NLDS, the Mets hit on all cylinders against Chicago. When you’re as hot as they have been, you don’t want to stop playing. They can can rest during the winter.

3) The pitchers need to stay in a groove, too. Pitchers are especially creatures of habits, and if a pitcher is too strong the first thing to go is command. And, against a team that works the count and relies on contact such as Kansas City that could mean an early hole.

The Pros:

1) Rest can be good. There are some Mets, not necessarily Murphy, but others. perhaps catcher Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores, that could use a day or two to regroup. You might also include Jeurys Familia in that group.

2) The time to heal. From Yoenis Cespedes‘ shoulder to Juan Uribe‘s chest to pitchers Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey, the latter two whose innings became an issue this fall, could use the time to regroup. The extra time should also benefit Harvey’s bruised pitching arm.

3)  The long layoff enabled Collins to set up his rotation the way he wanted, which was Harvey and deGrom in Games 1 and 2 on the road, and Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz in Games 3 and 4 at Citi Field.

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Oct 24

Harvey Named Game 1 Starter

The advantage for the Mets in sweeping the NLCS and having six days of rest is being able to set up your pitching to preclude working a starter on three days of rest. Ironically, for manager Terry Collins it means using the pitcher he tried to protect all season, Matt Harvey, at least twice in the World Series.

Harvey will start Game 1 Tuesday in Kansas City, followed by Jacob deGrom, Noah Synergaard in Game 3 at Citi Field and Steven Matz in Game 4. Harvey gets Game 5, followed by deGrom and Syndergaard.

Of course, if needed Harvey would be available to work in Game 7.

Collins said there are no pitch or inning restrictions in the World Series.

Part of what went into Collins’ decision was how much deGrom labored in his last two playoff starts, against the Dodgers and Cubs, respectfully. He has hinted since the end of the NLCS how much deGrom needed rest despite being 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA.

DeGrom had three starts in the first two rounds while Harvey only had one. Collins said he liked the idea of his two best going in the first two games, with Syndergaard getting the first game at Citi Field because he’s better at home.

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Oct 24

Murphy Showing Us The Folly Of WAR

Ladies and Gentlemen, I do not profess to be a disciple of baseball’s new statistical age. I do not know what Daniel Murphy’s regular season WAR was entering the playoffs, nor, do I know what his WAR is during this postseason.

I am sure somebody will find both numbers and post them with a delightful note how I don’t know anything. You may have your fun, but you will be wrong on that last point.

MURPHY: Can't measure this. (AP)

MURPHY: Can’t measure this. (AP)

WAR is a mathematical formula designed to provide a definite measure of a player’s ability to perform and produce. But, it is nonsense – or crap, ca ca, doo doo, bull or any other descriptor – for the simple reasons players are human and the variables of measure aren’t identical in each case.

These playoffs have shown us Murphy’s recent tear is beyond compare. He is having a once-in-a-lifetime stretch against the highest level of competition and under the hottest lights. That it is against Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta under the glare and intensity of the playoffs should account for more than it coming against the Miami Marlins in May, but it doesn’t. The math comes out the same.

WAR doesn’t account for the human element within the player, or the outside variables. If WAR were a true measure, wouldn’t all conditions be the same?

Everything would be identical, as is a true scientific survey the measuring samples should be the same: the opposing pitcher; the weather; the field conditions; the lighting; how much sleep he had; the game conditions; what he had for breakfast; is he getting along with his WAG; and the home plate umpire? (Speaking of which, it is a shame what happened last night to the Blue Jays, but then again, lousing umpiring is a human element.) Also, in the cases of Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens, you would need the steroid dosages.

All those variables are different for each hitter, which makes the final number nothing more than a wild guess. The only true stats are those we’ve had for over a century: hits, runs scored, runs driven in and average. Of course, the new age disregards those numbers, foolishly calling them obsolete.

I once had a conversation with a retired player about the preponderance of statistics, and he liked my idea of a do-your-job stat. Going into each at-bat a player has a specific objective, whether it be to get on base, advance a runner, or drive him in. The success of that at-bat is dependent on what he does.

That’s why strikeouts are a necessary measure, as they tell us of an empty at-bat. Today’s young, baseball minds want everything to be the same, but that is impossible.

Murphy’s do-your-job stat for this postseason is more than phenomenal. It probably is beyond comprehension as he’s not only doing his job, but everybody else’s, too.

Yeah, I know I am older than most of you, but I have no intention of lecturing. However, I have covered well over 2,000 games and probably seen another 1,000. I know this much, what Murphy is giving us exceeds amazing. It’s something beyond what WAR vainly attempts to do. It is something you can’t draft on FanDuel.

So, turn away from your calculators, computers and stat tables, because you’re missing a historical reckoning. I just wish I didn’t have to wait until Tuesday to see him play again because what he has is fleeting and I don’t want to see him lose it.

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Oct 23

Wright Responds To Cubs’ Gesture

Mets captain David Wright was extremely taken by the Cubs’ gesture of presenting him the third base bag from the deciding Game 4 of the NLCS.

In an email, Wright wrote the gesture was: “Incredibly cool. I’m very appreciative of the gesture and I will obviously display it proudly. Both the Cubs organization and the Cubs fans are top notch.”

Thanks David for your response.

ON DECK: Mets World Series rotation.

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Oct 23

Mets’ Fans Should Be Pulling For Toronto

As Mets fans, I would think you would be pulling for Toronto tonight and the ALCS to go seven games. Regardless of the opponent, the World Series starts Tuesday, but you want it to go seven to put a strain on whatever rotation gets in.

From the Mets’ pitching perspective, Toronto should be a better match-up. The Blue Jays have a powerful lineup, while the Royals tend to be more of a contact team. That being said, I can see Mets pitchers piling up the strikeouts.

Of course, the flip side to all this is Mets-killer Troy Tulowitzki. That reminds me, I wonder what Jose Reyes is thinking right about now. Reyes against the Mets in the World Series would have been fun.

ON DECK: Wright responds to Cubs gesture.

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