Jun 12

Mets Wrap: DeGrom Turns In Gem

It appears the real Jacob deGrom has been found. Backed by three home runs and four double plays, deGrom dominated the Cubs, 6-1, in the second complete game of his career.

“This was definitely big,” deGrom said. “I struggled in those last two starts, but I had to put that behind me.”

DE GROM: Resurfaces with gem. (AP)

DE GROM: Resurfaces with gem. (AP)

DeGrom gave up 15 runs in his previous two starts and concluded his front shoulder was flying open, a flaw he corrected by tucking his glove against his hip on the delivery to the plate.

“I was trying to stay within myself and not do too much. I concentrated on keeping the ball down and trying to get groundballs.”

Of the 27 outs, deGrom got 17 on the ground, including 4-6-3 double plays in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

DeGrom was in such command that the only question was whether manager Terry Collins would let him go nine. He had 106 pitches through eight and needed only ten in the ninth to finish his masterpiece.

“[I came in after the eighth inning] and said I wanted to finish,” said deGrom, who gave up one run on five hits and four walks with six strikeouts.

CABRERA MAKES STATEMENT: With two homers, Asdrubal Cabrera made a statement he’s not done yet.

Cabrera’s defense has been shaky – he committed another error tonight – but he made two sparkling plays Sunday. He also made a scintillating play in the seventh inning when he made a sliding, backhanded play to throw out Javier Baez.

The Mets needed a replay challenge to get the out, which turned out to be important because the next hitter, Addison Russell, homered.

CESPEDES NOT READY: The Mets have to baby Yoenis Cespedes as it is clear he wasn’t ready to come off the disabled list. He left the game in the fifth with a sore left heel.

He’s been told not to run hard if he thinks he will be out, and the Mets have to give him extra rest, which means they’ll have to play shorthanded.

Collins said Cespedes is scheduled to play tomorrow night, but my guess is he will sit.

The Mets’ best move would be to put Cespedes back on the disabled list for another two weeks. Better that than have him reinjure his hamstring and have him miss at least a month.

METS DRAFT LEFTY: With the 20th selection in the amateur draft, the Mets selected Oregon lefthander David Peterson.

Peterson, 6-6 and 240 pounds, went 11-4 with a 2.51 ERA this season, and had a 20-strikeout game against Arizona State. Overall, he had 140 strikeouts and 125 walks in 100.1 innings.

“He has been a tremendous man since he stepped foot on campus,” Oregon coach George Horton told The Register-Guard. “I always feel blessed as a coach to be around quality humans like him and when they perform spectacularly like that to go with what kind of a young man he is, that’s great. I hope everything goes well for him in the draft, and he gets what he wants because he deserves everything he gets.”

EXTRA INNINGS: With a double and homer, Bruce is on pace to have 84 extra-base hits this season which would set a club record. Bruce also added an eighth-inning single. … The Mets have beaten the Cubs in seven straight games at Citi Field.

UP NEXT: Zack Wheeler (3-3, 3.45, 1-0, 1.35 ERA lifetime vs Cubs) gets the ball tonight. Wheeler is 8-13 with a 4.38 lifetime at Citi Field. … He is coming off a no-decision in his last start despite giving up one run in seven innings last Wednesday against the Rangers.

 

Jun 10

Perfect Day For Mets And Matz

Pitching and power were to be the formula to carry the Mets this season, and today felt like it was supposed to be.

Today’s 6-1, 8-1 sweep was fueled by pitching; strong efforts from Robert Gsellman and Steven Matz, that were backed by Mets power, a grand slam from Yoenis Cespedes and a three-run homer from Jay Bruce in the nightcap.

MATZ: Gives Mets seven strong. (AP)

MATZ: Gives Mets seven strong. (AP)

“This is what we thought we were going to get with the guys we thought we were going to have,” manager Terry Collins said.

The last time the Mets swept a doubleheader was June 18, 2013, when they showcased fire-ballers Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, their arms of the future. However, the circumstances then differed greatly from today’s mauling today.

Four years ago, the Mets were a team on the rise; a team to be carried with their young pitching. Today, the Mets are a team fighting to keep open their window of opportunity.

Cespedes came off the disabled list, said he didn’t feel 100 percent, then hit a grand slam in the opener. However, today’s real storyline was Matz’s return in the nightcap after ten months on the disabled list.

Matz gave up one run on five hits and one walk with two strikeouts in seven innings. He accomplished that with just 98 pitches. Conversely, in his start Friday, Harvey threw over 100 pitches in five innings.

“His command of his stuff,” Collins said matter-of-factly about the key to Matz’s success.  “He’s around the plate. This is the kind of outing we were hoping we’d see.’’

Matz said he had nerves, but said he always gets them. He said he had to step back and collect himself.

“It feels good to get back out there and compete,” Matz said. “I was able to locate my fastball away. My command was there and I felt really locked in.”

In the opener, Gsellman threw 6.2 scoreless innings while giving up three hits. There has been some talk after this stretch of 18 games in 17 that Gsellman might go to the bullpen, but today’s outing might give pause to that thinking.

While we’re at it, we should give pause to the thinking things will be all right now that Cespedes is back.

“I feel good, but I don’t know that I can run at 100 percent at this point,” Cespedes told reporters prior to the game.

So, why did GM Sandy Alderson activate him? Cespedes didn’t play in the nightcap and may not play Sunday, but could return Monday against the Cubs.

Alderson risked Cespedes for what he got today, the game-icing slam. But, if he can’t run, won’t he cost the Mets in the long run? His failure to advance from second to third on a fly ball could have cost the Mets.

It didn’t, and Collins matter-of-factly said the Mets would protect him, but it the player himself said he’s not 100 percent, then it could be only a matter of time before Cespedes pulls his hamstring again.

As for Matz’s return, he looked sharp and threw free and easy.  There never seemed a question that the Mets took their time to protect Matz.

I can’t imagine them starting Matz if he said his elbow was barking, so, why would they start Cespedes if he says he can’t run 100 percent?

 

Jun 07

Talk Of Six Man Rotation Bogus

With the Mets about to enter a string of 18 games in 17 days, manager Terry Collins said he’s exploiting going to a six-man rotation. The only problem is, by definition, they wouldn’t be going into. six-man rotation if they will go through the cycle two or three times.

Collins said adding Seth Lugo and Steven Matz coming off the disabled list, to be added to Jacob deGrom, Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey, would take the Mets through this stretch. That should take the Mets through the month.

However, for it to be a true six-man rotation, then it should be full time, shouldn’t it?

I have no problem training these guys during spring training and then open the season in a six-man rotation. Personally, considering four starters were coming off arm surgery this spring, it would have been a good idea to start the season in a six-man.

Of course, DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Harvey would have balked, but that would have been expected.

What Collins suggested isn’t a true six-man rotation but simply plugging in an extra starter because of a double-header, which the Mets have this weekend in Atlanta. This isn’t the first time Collins has done this, but I’d actually like to see a six-man rotation.

But this isn’t a six-man rotation if it isn’t full time.

 

 

 

Jun 01

Mets Wrap: Flores Needs To Play

I’m tired of Terry Collins saying Wilmer Flores has worked hard to stay ready, and whenever he gets an opportunity he produces for the Mets.

FLORES: Needs to play. (AP)

FLORES: Needs to play. (AP)

If so, then why isn’t he playing every day?

Several times I laid out a format where he could play at least four games a week – playing one game at each infield position – which Collins has no interest in trying. If not this, then at least start him over Jose Reyes, whose time with the Mets should be nearing an end after their 2-1 loss today to the Brewers.

Flores homered leading off the eighth today, after a blistering May in which he hit .379, third best in the Major Leagues. He started 14 games for the month and had nine multi-hit games.

“I’m seeing the pitches and getting good swings,” Flores said.

Conversely, Reyes has only eight multi-hit games all season. He’s currently on a 0-for-15 slide, and is hitting .193 with a .266 on-base percentage.

It’s clear Reyes isn’t giving the Mets anything, while Flores has provided some punch whenever he gets a chance.

With the Mets six games under .500 and fading, what do they have to lose?

WHEELER START WASTED: Zack Wheeler gave up 10 hits with two walks in 6.1 innings, throwing 102 pitches. However, three double-plays (4-5-6) gave him the opportunity to pitch into the seventh.

“He really did pitch good,” Collins said. “He got out of some jams. He’s back. He’s fine as we continue on.”

I love how Wheeler works out of trouble, but I’m not wild about his high pitch counts, especially since he’s on an innings count.

“All I can ask is for me being healthy,” Wheeler told reporters of his expectations.

His innings limit has been reported at 110, and he’s currently at 55.2.

EXTRA INNINGS: The loss dropped the Mets ten games behind the Nationals. … Fernando Salas did a solid job in relief of Jerry Blevins with five strikeouts in two innings. … Collins was ejected for arguing an interference call of when a ball boy got in the way of Flores’ attempt to catch a foul ball. Initially, the call was ruled an out, but was overturned (correctly so).

UP NEXT: The Pirates are in Friday for the start of a three-game series. Matt Harvey, Robert Gsellman and Tyler Pill will start for the Mets.

Harvey is coming off a 7-2 victory in Pittsburgh, May 28, in which he gave up one run in six innings with only two walks in a 102-pitch effort.

In 46 career starts at Citi Field, Harvey is 16-13 with a 2.73 ERA. He is 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA in four career starts against the Pirates.

May 26

Walker, DeGrom Key Rout Of Pirates

It was a sweet homecoming for Neil Walker, who returned to his Pittsburgh hometown Thursday night to get caught up in the euphoria of his beloved Penguins going to the Stanley Cup Finals, and tonight hitting a pair of homers in the Mets’ 8-1 rout of the Pirates.

WALKER: Goes home with two homers. (AP)

WALKER: Goes home with two homers. (AP)

“I’m happy with the way I’m playing right now,” Walker said. “It’s always special coming back here and nice for people to cheer for you.”

Walker, who is coming off back surgery, accepted a $17.2 million qualifying to return to the Mets rather than test the free agent market. Walker can become a free agent this winter but said he wants to remain with the Mets.

There is reciprocal interest by the Mets in Walker, but there won’t be talks until this winter.

DeGROM BENEFICIARY: The primary beneficiary of Walker’s flexing was Jacob deGrom, who took advantage of the support to be given the opportunity to start the ninth.

DeGrom gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, but Collins left him in to strike out David Freese for his tenth strikeout. DeGrom gave up one run on six hits in 8.1 innings in the longest outing of a Mets’ starter this season.

“He did exactly what we needed,” manager Terry Collins said. “He gave the bullpen the night off.”

ANSWER TO TODAY’S QUESTION: As expected, the Mets optioned Rafael Montero to Triple-A Las Vegas and promoted reliever Tyler Pill.

Pill was 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA for Vegas. The Mets haven’t named a starter for Tuesday’s game against Milwaukee and Pill could get the ball.

CESPEDES UPDATE: Yoenis Cespedes went 0-for-2 with a walk in a rehab start for Class A St. Lucie. The expectations are Cespedes should be activated from the disabled list (left hamstring) next week.

UP NEXT: Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.74) is coming off a win, May 20, against the Angels. In that game, he gave up two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and five walks.