By: Paul DiSclafani
I’ve always loved Opening Day and this one was special. We got to celebrate the raising of our fifth National League Championship banner and for the first time, there was a real palpable feeling that we were going to get another one this year.
Every year in recent memory, all talk about the Mets chances started with “If…” – If the pitching holds up, If this guys has a bounce back year, If the other team under performs. Finally, there aren’t too many “If’s” that are deal breakers.
Of course like any team, the Mets have a number of “If’s” that could be a potential problem, but none of them (I think) cause the train to go off the rails.
“If David Wright Can Play With Spinal Stenosis…” – As it relates to David Wright, of course that is a problem. Although the Mets didn’t specifically address the issue during the Spring, they made some curious moves that could have shored up a solid “Plan B”: releasing Reuben Tejada and not resigning Juan Uribe or Kelly Johnson. Granted Wilmer Flores can learn to play 3B, what if there is an injury to Neil Walker or Asdrubal Cabrera? The Mets are kind of thin on the infield after Flores – how many more chances are we going to give Eric Campbell?
“If the pitching holds up…” – you mean ALL the pitching? If there was any team that could survive a major injury to a pitcher, it’s this team. Of course, injuries to multiple pitchers would derail any team. This staff is constructed to take a licking and keep on ticking. There are three legitimate #1 pitchers and a potential #2 guy. Then our #5 guy would be a number 3 anywhere else, know what I’m saying?
“If Yoenis Cespedes plays like his first six weeks and not his last…” – Really? Is that a concern? He is going to be a major factor in the middle of the lineup and hopefully not a liability in the outfield. Is he going to hit 50 home runs? Did you expect him to hit 50 home runs? Let’s be realistic, people. Cespedes is going to get his hits, drive in runs, and force opponents to pay attention to the other guys in the lineup. We haven’t had anyone like that in a long time.
We are five games into a 162 game season, let’s sit back and enjoy things for a while before we start worrying about things we really don’t have to worry about.
DeGrom and the Lat Injury
Something has been slightly off about Jacob deGrom the entire Spring as he experienced back pain and a groin injury while losing some heat on his fastball. We started to see it late last season, especially as he labored in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Dodgers with a gutsy performance that should always be considered in the top 10 of any Met pitching performance.
I know, I know – last year Steven Matz had “lat tightness” and the Mets let him make his next scheduled start in Los Angeles and we didn’t see him again for two months after he tore the lat. Why don’t we just be cautious on this one?
With his wife about to give birth to their first child and his next start not scheduled until Wednesday, let deGrom go home to Florida to be with his wife and stay there, skipping his next start. Thursday is an off day, so his next scheduled start after that is Tuesday, April 19th in Philadelphia – that’s a full 10 days off. Don’t know how much “rest” a new father can expect to get, but he certainly should not have any chance of “tweaking” his lat changing diapers.
Michael Conforto Is A Hitting Machine
Are we about ready to let this guy play every day? In his first three games, Conforto is 4-9 with two doubles, two walks and three RBI and two of those RBI came against a lefty. Do I love Juan Lagares? I love the 2014 Juan Lagares, but I don’t know where that guy went to. Maybe Terry Collins should consider giving him a few games in right for Curtis Granderson (.063). The slim and trim Lagares is 2-5 so far, but still seems a little tentative in the OF.
But Conforto may continue to push the issue of playing time sooner rather than later for Collins. When you watch him hit, you always get the feeling he is going to put it in play. Conforto, Lucas Duda and Neil Walker are making the middle of the Mets order something to be reckoned with.
Remember that guy who hit home runs in six straight postseason games? Remember that guy who led the team in doubles and was the most clutch and consistent hitter on the team? Remember that guy who just sometimes didn’t know what to do with the ball when it came to him, no matter what position he played?
Listen, I loved Daniel Murphy and was sorry to see him go, especially to a team like the Nationals. But have you been watching Neil Walker in the field? Of course, he has been pretty impressive and productive at bat (4-12, 3R, 1HR, 5 RBI), but is he a professional second baseman or what?
I have watched all three games so far and not once when the ball was hit to second base did I have to say, “oh my God, oh my God, oh my God” and hope that it would result in an out. Is Walker the greatest second baseman to ever play the position? Of course not, but he will do just fine in Flushing. I know that the fans of the Pirates are all lamenting the loss of Walker.
Murphy has certainly kept up his end of the bargain for the Nationals (4-11, 1HR, 5 RBI) and all Mets fans should wish him the best.
Who Makes This Schedule Anyway?
Can someone tell me why baseball can’t schedule the first two weeks of the season in places with domes and warm weather? There are domes in 7 cities, including “cold” weather places like Toronto and Milwaukee. There are another seven teams in “warm” weather cities, like Texas and Atlanta, including five in California alone. That’s almost half the league.
On Monday, when most teams opened the season, Seattle (who has a dome) played in Texas (a warm weather climate) and Toronto (who has a dome), played in Tampa Bay (who has their own dome) while the Dodgers opened the season in San Diego. Was it really necessary to play on April 4th in Cleveland, Baltimore and New York?
This weekend we have games in sunny Detroit, Colorado and Chicago while two teams with their own domes (Houston and Tampa) and three California teams, are all on the road. Oh yeah, Texas is playing in Los Angeles while San Diego is bringing their snow parkas out to Colorado.
Mr. Met Didn’t Get a Ring?
How did that happen? The supposed “Best Mascot in Sports” didn’t get a ring from an organization that gave out over 750 of them? A Mets spokesman said that the organization established a specific set of criteria for the non-players to receive the second place rings and Steven Boldis (Mr. Met for the last 12 years) didn’t qualify.
“There were specific criteria for part-time and per diem employees related to hours worked last season. He (Boldis) worked approximately half of the required hours last season, did not meet the criteria, and as such did not receive a ring.”
Guess the new rules to help speed up play during the games hurt his chances of getting a ring. But let’s be realistic, where do you get a size 67 ring anyway?
The Rest of the Month for the Mets
After starting off the season against the World Champion Royals, the Mets face the Phillies ( six times), Miami (3), Cleveland (3), Atlanta (3) and Cincinnati (3) the rest of the month. That’s 18 games against five teams that lost 463 games last year – an average of 93 games each.
This week’s recaps: