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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Oct 20

DeGrom Does It Again; So Does Murphy

In the end, the ball getting lost in the Wrigley Field ivy turned out to be a footnote. Daniel Murphy homered for the fifth straight game, but even that wasn’t the headliner. But, in the end, as it has been this October, the real story was Jacob deGrom.

The Cubs homered twice off deGrom and had him on the ropes early, but as he did in Game 5 of the NLDS, he would not cave.

DeGROM: Does it again. (GETTY)

DeGROM: Does it again. (GETTY)

DeGrom has won his three postseason starts despite laboring in his last two. However, tonight he closed strong to complete seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts.

After a 29-pitch first inning, deGrom settled in and kept the ball low in the strike zone with his secondary pitches.

“In the first inning I was not locating my fastball,’’ deGrom said. “I made an adjustment early in the game and went to my off-speed pitches.”

In addition to deGrom and Murphy, the Mets manufactured a couple of runs. And, of a potential sign of things to come, David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes each had three hits.

The Mets will take a three-games-to-none series lead and can reach their fifth World Series in franchise history if they wrap it up Wednesday night behind Steven Matz. There have been 34 teams in history to take a 3-0 series lead and only one, the 2004 Yankees, failed to win.

“We’re not worried about that,’’ said Wright. “We’re worried about beating the Cubs tomorrow. … As we have won three games in a row, they can win three in a row. They have a good team over there.’’

It would be advantageous for the Mets to wrap this up tomorrow, as Kansas City has a 3-1 lead over Toronto in the American League. The World Series is scheduled to begin, Oct. 27, in the American League stadium.

The Mets need to put this away tomorrow as it will enable them to rest both deGrom and Matt Harvey, the scheduled Game 5 starter, who has a deep bruise on the back of his throwing arm.

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Oct 20

Mets Lineup, Game 3, NLCS

Here is the Mets’ lineup for Game 3 of the NLCS tonight in Chicago:

Curtis Granderson – RF
David Wright – 3B
Daniel Murphy – 2B
Yoenis Cespedes – CF
Lucas Duda – 1B
Travis d’Arnaud – C
Michael Conforto – LF
Wilmer Flores – SS
Jacob deGrom – RHP

COMMENTS: Up 2-0, there’s no reason to substantially change anything. … There was some thought as to dropping Wright in the order, but to where?  Keep him second and hope he snaps out of it. And, whatever Murphy is doing keep everything the same. Don’t even change his socks. … They really aren’t doing anything with Cespedes and Duda, are they?

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Oct 20

DeGrom Says Fatigue Not A Factor

Fatigue has been an underlying issue for Mets pitchers in the second half of the season and playoffs, but Game 3 starter Jacob deGrom is hearing nothing about it.

The Mets’ All-Star pitcher cruised through the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS with 13 strikeouts, but labored in Game 5 stranding five runners in scoring position.

DEGROM: Poised and ready. (Getty)

DEGROM: Poised and ready. (Getty)

However, he never gave up that one hit that could have changed the Mets’ season.

I felt fine the whole time,’’ deGrom said. “The adrenaline definitely helps. This is the most I’ve thrown in a year. It’s tough to say if I had this many innings in the regular season how I’d feel. But, I think playoff time, the adrenaline definitely kicks in.’’

The Mets can take a 3-0 games stranglehold on the NLCS with a victory tonight behind deGrom, who clearly knows what is at stake.

Only one team in history – the 2004 Yankees – lost a 3-0 series lead.

“I think we have a lot of confidence going into this game,’’ deGrom said. “We matched up well against two great pitchers and we got a chance to take a 3-0 lead tomorrow. The guys are putting up runs for us, and our job is just to keep it close and let them do what they’ve been doing.’’

Confidence, however, is measured in part by an ability to forget.

In three career starts against the Cubs, deGrom is 0-2 with a 6.46 ERA, including giving up eight runs in 10 innings at Wrigley Field. In his seventh start of this season, deGrom gave up four runs on five hits and four walks in five innings.

After that game, deGrom went on a 16-start run where he posted a 1.44 ERA and opposing hitters batted .167 against him.

“I haven’t looked back at it too much,’’ deGrom said. “I know they weren’t very good starts. I’m going to flush that. I know this is the playoffs, so it’s going to be a good start for me.

“That’s what we play for. We play to get this chance, and you never know how many times you’re going to get it. So when you get this chance you want to make the best of it.’’

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Sep 22

Who Are The Targets Of Collins’ Anger?

It was obvious manager Terry Collins is disturbed, angry and frustrated with the Matt Harvey situation, but for some writers and blogs that are writing his angst is directed at the situation and not one individual is taking the easy way out. There are plenty of people Collins should be annoyed with, but he’s not saying because he’s too low on the food chain. Let me do that for him.

COLLINS: Looks concerned and should be. (AP)

COLLINS: Looks concerned and should be. (AP)

As I wrote yesterday, Harvey’s innings won’t keep the Mets from getting into the playoffs. After last night only a collapse of historic proportions would keep them out. Collins’ anger is justified, and some of it should be directed at himself.

Here’s where Collins’ anger should be aimed:

SANDY ALDERSON: The biggest bullseye has to be on GM Sandy Alderson’s back for not having a definitive plan for Harvey coming out of spring training. He also gets heat for not standing up to Harvey. I understand the uncertainty of innings vs. pitches and the concept of “stressful innings.” That’s not the point. The point is the Mets had a vague idea of measuring his workload with innings. So be it.

Had Alderson TOLD Harvey his limit would be six innings, this would be a moot point, including for the playoffs. With that limit, Harvey’s thrown 25.1 extra innings of his 176.2 innings (after the sixth and including the sore throat game). If the limit had been seven innings, then he’s five over (again including the sore throat game). But when your general manager is afraid to stand up to the pitcher, these things happen.

Alderson acting surprised is ridiculous, because he had to have known the limit prescribed by Dr. Andrews. Playing dumb after agent Scott Boras’ e-mail was, well, just dumb. Also, Alderson saying he didn’t think the playoffs would be an issue this year is blatantly absurd. After all, when Harvey went down for 2014, Alderson pointed to this season as to when the Mets would be competitive. And, being competitive includes making the playoffs, especially when the idea of 90 wins are thrown out.

The bottom line is Alderson’s responsibility is to put the best team on the field, and he’s not doing that by putting Harvey’s health on the line and not giving Collins the best chance to win. Collins must also be disturbed at his general manager for consistently undercutting him. While Collins was taking heat for defending the organization’s stance, Alderson was freelancing and at a public function said if Harvey’s “pitch count” was lower he could have stayed in.

On national TV, Collins told ESPN Harvey had one more inning. Yet, Alderson was counting pitches. Well, which is it? Again, “the game’s smartest general manager,” according to his biographer has complicated things.

MATT HARVEY: For being such a diva overall, and initially for not disclosing his injury in 2013. Harvey wasn’t open with the medical staff when he first suffered pain in his forearm. Not only did he hide it, but pitched with it. The result was Tommy John surgery. Sure, I understand he wants to pitch, but you have to be smart and he wasn’t.

Had the Mets immediately given Harvey an MRI at the time and shut him down, all this might have been alleviated.

Collins should also be angry with Harvey’s unwillingness to stick with the program. From the initial injury, to wanting to avoid surgery, to where he would rehab, to wanting to pitch last year, to fighting the six-man rotation, Harvey has been a pain.

And, once again, Boras works for Harvey, and the player knows what the agent is going to say. Harvey knew Boras was going to mention the innings limits, and allowed him to do so because he figured most media (SNY for example), would rip the agent and give him a free pass. Harvey was stunned at the criticism.

THE WILPONS: Harvey is one of their most important commodities, and they should have told him to stop complaining and get with a program. They could have also leaned on Alderson to give him the message. It also would have helped had ownership not been so driven to showcase him in the 2013 All-Star Game and been more concerned with the big picture.

HIMSELF: Collins is a baseball lifer and for the first time the playoffs are within his grasp, and with them a likely contract extension. He’s not going to take the shotgun approach. This isn’t the time for him to point fingers and blow this opportunity.

Here’s where this fiasco is partly Collins’ fault. Against what should have been his better judgment, Collins allowed Harvey to pitch in the sore throat game (April 19) and work into the ninth inning in a blowout win over the Yankees, April 25. He threw 8.2 innings in those two games. Had he stood up to his pitcher this could be a lesser issue, at least as far as the regular season is concerned.

SNY: They have continually blamed Boras for having an agenda, but the truth is the network also had an agenda, which was to be kind to the Mets and paint Harvey as the victim, which he is not. For as objective as the network is during its in-game coverage, all hands dropped the ball on this one.

I expected more from Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez, especially since they know of the working relationship between the player and his agent. They knew Boras didn’t spring anything on Harvey.


All these forces conspired to fan the flames at Collins, The Wilpons are keeping a low profile; when he does speak Alderson does it clipped tones; and after his first press conference, Harvey is in full cliche mode.

However, Collins is there night after night. It’s going to get frustrating. The surprise is he didn’t let loose earlier. But, there’s more. The Mets haven’t announced a playoff plan for Harvey. I’m speculating they’ll hold him back or severely limit him, neither which will go over well.