May 19

Mets Matters: No Offensive Help In Sight

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he’s not pursuing immediate trade options to improve the offense, and instead will wait to see what spark David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud might provide when they come off the disabled list.

No surprise in that stance.mets-matters logo

Alderson said neither player would be activated soon.

“I don’t think you can expect [Wright] back sooner than a week, maybe 10 days, maybe even two weeks,’’ Alderson said. “I’d say the same with d’Arnaud. I think a week is way too aggressive. It’s going to be a little bit longer than that.’’

I’ve said this a dozen times, but when it comes to injuries and the Mets, always bet the over.

Of course, not much would have helped tonight.

NIESE SLAUGHTERED

After Jon Niese’s last start, manager Terry Collins said the left-hander had to work harder to overcome in-game adversity.

It didn’t happen in tonight’s 10-2 loss to St. Louis.

Niese gave up single runs in each of the first four innings, and overall gave up eight runs on 11 hits in five innings.

It was just a horrible performance. If there was one stat that spoke volumes about how bad Niese was, it was that of the 25 batters he faced he got a first-pitch strike only 12 times. After the game Collins said Niese would remain in the rotation.

There were a lot of low-lights tonight, including Jack Leathersich walking reliever Randy Choate.

The loss, coupled with Washington’s victory over the Yankees, put the Mets in a first-place tie with the Nationals.

MURPHY LOST

There have been numerous times this season that you’ll see Daniel Murphy do something, either in the field or on the bases, and wonder what is going on in his mind.

Murphy’s brain cramp du jour came in the sixth when instead of covering first base on Michael Wacha’s bunt, he went for the ball that was by the mound.

That loaded the bases and was part of the Cardinals’ six-run inning that broke the game open.

May 18

Mets Lucky Tonight, But Can’t Afford To Keep Wasting Harvey Starts

The Mets’ Matt Harvey missed in his third straight start to get his sixth victory tonight against St. Louis. With their offense – and some starting pitching – erratic since April 24, the night Jacob deGrom was torched at Yankee Stadium, the Mets can’t afford to waste a Harvey start.

Harvey threw at least seven scoreless innings for his second straight. It was seven last week against the Cubs and eight tonight against St. Louis. He struck out nine in each start.

HARVEY: Can't waste his starts. (AP)

HARVEY: Can’t waste his starts. (AP)

Harvey has given the Mets a winnable effort in every start. He’ll lose from time to time as he did against the Phillies, but when he comes up with an effort such as the one he had tonight and last week in Wrigley Field last week, well, you can’t throw those away.

The Mets were fortunate to come away with a 2-1 victory in 14 innings.

Part of this goes back to the unpopular debate of limiting Harvey’s innings. By how they’ve handled things so far, the Mets don’t have a definitive plan. Harvey is an incredible talent, but is also coming off Tommy John surgery. They need to be careful as to save his innings for later this year.

Against the Cubs, they pulled him early. They played it the right way tonight and let Harvey pitch the eighth. This was made possible because the defense – keyed by Wilmer Flores – pulled off inning-ending double plays in the fourth and seventh innings.

Take away those plays and Harvey would have had over 100 pitches after the seventh.

This is the year the Mets vowed they would compete, and GM Sandy Alderson has even eyed 90 victories. Given that, innings saved in April and May can later be used in September, and if they are lucky enough, possibly October.

That’s why Harvey starting – and working into the seventh – the game he had strep throat, and letting him pitch into the ninth at Yankee Stadium in a blowout win, were foolish choices because it was more important to pitch longer tonight and last week.

The Mets played it the right way with Harvey tonight. They gave him the extra inning. They handled everything correctly with their pitching. Eventually, Jeurys Familia would blow a save opportunity. They just didn’t give him enough runs.

That’s three straight Harvey starts without a victory. The Mets were fortunate tonight it didn’t bite them.

May 08

Harvey Goes For Sixth Straight Against Phillies

By its simplest definition, a pitching ace must show up big when his team needs him most, which is what the Mets want tonight from Matt Harvey in Philadelphia.

Harvey (5-0, 2.41), who beat the Nationals and Yankees in his last two starts, will be trying to become the first pitcher in the majors to reach six victories this season. The last Mets starter to open a season at 5-0 was Pedro Martinez in 2006. The club record is 7-0 by Frank Viola in 1990.

He is 6-0 lifetime against the Philles, whom he beat April 14, 6-5 at Citi Field. If you recall, that was the game Harvey threw behind Chase Utley and plunked in the back. Utley is having a miserable season, batting .103, but is 6-for-15 lifetime against Harvey. Utley sat out the Phillies’ last two games but is in the lineup tonight.

The Mets are coming off a 5-1 win Wednesday over Baltimore, their second straight after losing seven of their previous ten games.

May 05

Mets Game Wrap: Colon Superb In 3-2 Win Over Orioles

The slumping – but not yet reeling – Mets showed wake-up signs tonight in a 3-2 victory over the Orioles. The Mets had lost seven of their last ten games going in.

Tonight was about Bartolo Colon (W, 5-1), who was magnificent, giving up on run on six hits and no walks with nine strikeouts in 7.2 innings.

With his pitch count low, manager Terry Collins pushed the envelope by letting Colon come out for the eighth. But, Collins had seen enough when after one out, Manny Machado homered and Jimmy Paredes flied to the warning track in left.

Carlos Torres relieved Colon and got Adams Jones on a grounder to shortstop. Jeurys Familia earned his major league leading 11th save, but not before giving up a homer to Chris Davis leading off the ninth.

The game’s turning point came long before that, when the Orioles appeared poised to break though in the top of the fourth when Jones and Davis lead off with singles. Delmon Young followed with a dribbler to the right of the mound Colon pounced on and threw to first. Colon then struck out Caleb Joseph and Travis Snider to end the threat.

In the bottom of the inning, the Mets snapped a string of 21 scoreless innings on a double by Lucas Duda, single by Daniel Murphy and back-to-back doubles by Wilmer Flores and Kevin Plawecki.

The Mets improved to 17-10 overall and 12-3 at home.

Jacob deGrom, who was hit hard in his last two starts by the Yankees and Nationals, will start Wednesday night against Baltimore.

 

May 05

We Are About To Learn What Mets Are Made Of

It’s not about the “blips,’’ for the New York Mets, it’s about how they rebound from them that will tell the story of this season. Beginning tonight, we shall see what the Mets are really made of as they have lost three straight series after their 11-game winning streak.

ALDERSON: A lot of thinking to do. (AP)

ALDERSON: A lot of thinking to do. (AP)

Most frustrating is with the exception of the first games of their series against the Yankees and Nationals, they lost five games by a composite nine runs, three of them by one run, including the last two by 1-0 scores.

When manager Terry Collins said there would be “blips,’’ and wasn’t lying.

When the Mets were winning 11 straight there were comments about their strength of schedule. Since the Yankees and Nationals righted their collective ships, the Mets have lost seven of ten games; they have gone from the best record in the majors to the seventh best; and their eight-game lead over Washington has been trimmed from eight to 3.5 games.

However, this isn’t the NCAA Tournament, overall strength of schedule isn’t the issue. The issue is winning your schedule.

What their winning streak accomplished was to buy time to take such a hit, and there is no mistaking the Mets were clipped big time and so far they’ve won at a clip that could get them into the playoffs.

That the Mets stayed close in games was a tribute to their overall strong pitching and a few players hitting in the clutch.

However, this stumble exposed the following: 1) Jacob deGrom must make some adjustments to his game; 2) they miss David Wright; 3) the defense is shaky up the middle; 4) there’s an overall lack of power from Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda; and 5) their overall clutch hitting has been poor.

Collins said there “would be no panic,’’ but signs of panic always come first from management in the form of benching and/or trading players and other roster moves that suggest an overhaul.

* Wilmer Flores was told he has a long leash, but sat the last two games. Whether or not he plays against the Orioles could determine a lot.

* There have long been rumors of trading Daniel Murphy and Dillon Gee, and the Giants have been scouting the former. What’s happening there? Do you trade Murphy while you’re still in first place?

* Eric Campbell replaced Wright, but was subsequently benched for not hitting. In the process Dilson Herrera was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas to play second and Murphy went to third. This was done to showcase Murphy at third, but Herrera isn’t hitting, so what will they do? Wright’s return is far from imminent.

There are a lot of moving parts for the Mets now and how GM Sandy Alderson and Collins respond will go a long way to determine the success of this season. If they panic, that winning streak will be a memory.