By Paul DiSclafani
First the Mets placed 2B-Neil Walker on the 10-Day DL with a partially torn left hamstring. No surprise there if you saw Walker pull up lame running down to first last night against the Cubs. Also, no chance he is back after 10 days.
When Matt Harvey left the game after throwing just 58 pitches, one of them landing over the Shea Bridge courtesy of Kyle Schwarber, you knew something was wrong, it was just a matter of what. Arm fatigue? Soreness? Hang-Nail?
Following the game, Harvey lamented that “My arm was just not working at all. I think the last time I threw an 87 mph fast ball was in high school.”
Sure enough, turns out after an MRI and a CAT SCAN, he has a stress injury to the scapula bone in his right shoulder. He is going to miss several weeks. Hope the Mets don’t have one of those Obama Exchange plans because these tests must be costing them a fortune.
The Mets said that both Harvey and Walker received a PRP injection. Walker can begin rehab immediately after receiving the injection, but Harvey cannot begin until he is pain free. Neither is expected back for several weeks.
At a press conference today, general manager Sandy Alderson also said that Noah Syndergaard will not even throw a baseball for at least the next four weeks, meaning it will take a number of weeks after that to begin building up any arm strength. Mets are not expecting to see Syndergaard back with the Big Club until late August.
And oh yeah, The Nationals are coming into town tonight for a four game weekend series.
By Paul DiSclafani
“Matt Harvey has been suspended for three days without pay for a violation of team rules and has been sent home,” Anderson said.
Alderson would not disclose the nature of the violation. Terry Collins would only say that the Mets were “keeping it in-house”.
Adam Wilk was called up from AAA Las Vegas to take Harvey’s spot in today’s game against the Miami Marlins.
On Friday, a picture of TJ Rivera was published by the Mets on their Social Media pages of him smiling and wearing the “crown” as the Mets player of the game. In the background, there appeared to be a large, black dildo in the locker of teammate Kevin Plawecki. The photo was immediately removed, cropped and reposted. Plawecki insisted he was innocent and had no idea how it got there or, more importantly, who might have put it there.
Maybe the Mets found out and then suspended Harvey? It’s a three game suspension, so Harvey will miss only one start no matter what the reason.
Entering the game hitting .154 with just one RBI on a solo home run, Yoenis Cespedes cranked up the volume with three home runs and five RBI in the Mets 14-4 thrashing of their favorite punching bag, the Phillies. The First Place Mets (5-3), who love hitting at Citizens Bank Park, banged out a season high 20 hits, hit a total of seven home runs and have now won three straight. Lucas Duda, who hit his first home run of the year yesterday, hit two more today. Asdrubal Cabrera and Travid d’Arnaud hit their first homers of the year.
Cespedes hit a three-run home run in the first inning after Curtis Granderson walked leading off the game and Cabrera got the first of his four hits, a double. Phillies starter Clay Buchholz (L, 0-1) was down 3-0 before he even got an out.
Matt Harvey (W, 2-0) was the recipient of the early lead, but the Mets tacked on runs in every one of the next five innings, building a 10-1 lead, before Harvey left the game with hamstring tightness after racing to cover first with two outs in the sixth. Terry Collins said Harvey felt fine after the game, but will be evaluated tomorrow.
But this night belonged to hitters as they battered the Phillies pitchers. Buchholz lasted just 7 outs, charged with six earned runs and giving up eight hits. Adam Morgan was rocked for four home runs, two from Cespedes, and seven runs in his 3.2 Innings.
Jay Bruce, who hit two home runs last night, drove in two runs with a single in the second inning to up the Mets lead to 5-0. D’Arnaud made it 6-1 with an RBI single in the third. Cabrera and Cespedes went back to back leading off the fourth to make it 8-1. Cespedes with a 450-foot monster made it 9-1 in the fifth and Duda hit his first of the night leading off the sixth to put the Mets in double digits, 10-1. D’Arnaud went yard in the 8th to make it 12-1 and Duda finished things off in the ninth with a home run to make it 14-4.
Mets go for the sweep on Wednesday as Zach Wheeler (0-1) makes his second start after returning from TJ Surgery in 2014, facing Vince Velasquez (0-1). Both pitchers got battered in their first starts of the season.
POSITIVES: Cespedes is the 13th Met to hit three home runs in a game, but the first to do it twice … Mets had 20 hits, 14 of them were extra base hits … Cabrera, Cespedes and Duda all had four hits … Mets have hit seven or more home runs at Citizens Bank Park four times, hitting eight in 2015 … First time in Mets history that three Mets have had a single, double and home run in the same game (Cabrera, Cespedes and Duda) … Mets have hit 46 home runs in their last 21 games in Philadelphia … Duda’s home run in the sixth hit off the brick wall in center field, about 448 feet away … Every starter in the lineup had a hit, including Jose Reyes. Unfortunately, he was 0-5 in his other AB’s …
NEGATIVES: What can you complain about on a night they hit seven home runs?
Guess this is what Major League Baseball was looking for in speeding up the pace of play as the Mets (2-1) beat the Braves, 6-2, in a tidy 2 hours and 28 minutes. Matt Harvey returned to the mound in a solid outing, giving up just three hits in 6 and 2/3 innings. Wilmer Flores hit a 2-run home run and Travis d’Arnaud drove in two with a double, as the Mets took two out of three from the Braves to open the season.
Harvey, returning from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery and making his first start since 4th of July last season, was cruising along all night, except when Matt Kemp was at bat. Kemp, the former Dodger who had a career high three doubles last night, hit two solo home runs off Harvey. Ender Inciarte had the only other hit off The Dark Knight and his 77 pitches, an infield single in the third.
After breezing through the batting order the first time on just 20 pitches in the first three innings, most Mets fans (and the Mets coaching staff) could breathe again as Harvey passed his first test of the season. Now we will need to see how he bounces back in his next start.
Kemp went deep (very deep) to lead off the fifth, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead, the Mets answered in their half when d’Arnaud doubled to deep left-center scoring both Neil Walker and Jay Bruce to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. D’Arnaud had just 15 RBI in 241 AB’s last year.
Braves pitcher Jamie Garcia (L, 0-1), was making his Atlanta debut after signing as a free agent, spending his career in St. Louis. He was charged with four of the six Mets runs
Mets added on two more in the sixth when Flores (HR, 1) went deep following a walk to Yoenis Cespedes to give Harvey some breathing room at 4-1, but there was that guy Kemp again in the seventh, launching his second home run and cutting the Mets lead in half to 4-2. That would end Harvey’s night.
In the seventh, Mets tacked on two more and put the game away.
The biggest question marks that the Mets vaunted starting pitching staff had at the start of the spring was how they would respond after most of them didn’t finish the season and those that did have varying injuries that were treated in the off-season. Syndergaard pitched six shutout innings on Opening Day, Jacob deGrom pitched six shutout innings yesterday and now Harvey showed arm strength (throwing mostly in the low 90’s). One more to go, Zach Wheeler, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since September 25th of 2014.
Wheeler takes the hill on Friday against the Marlins (1-2) against Wei-Yin Chen, the third straight lefty to start against the Mets.
POSITIVES: Mets had 8 hits including two from Neil Walker … Jose Reyes got hit first hit of the season … Cespedes, d’Arnaud and Walker all hit doubles … Fernando Salas has pitched in all three games of the young season, notching three shutout innings and 5K … Jerry Bevins, Addison Reed and Salas have combined for six shutout innings and 9K … Mets finally shut down Braves Brandon Phillips in a home game. Phillips got a hit last night in the 11th inning, giving him a hit in 35 straight games as a visiting player against the Mets. Who knew they kept track of those things? … What are the chances that both starting pitchers had Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and needed surgery (Harvey in 2016 and Garcia in 2014)? … Flores hit .340 against lefties last year and hit 11 HR in just 100 AB’s … Mets were 77-40 last year when they hit a home run …
NEGATIVES: Reyes (1-13) is hitting .077 and the middle of the order – Cespedes, Flores and Curtis Granderson – are hitting just .167 … Mets were last team in the majors to have a hit from their leadoff batter (Reyes).
Paul DiSclafani is a featured writer on “A View From The Bench”, which has been recognized by Major League baseball as one of the top 100 blog sites.
During the spring of 2016, we were “all in” on the National League Champion Mets. Sure there were concerns about Matt Harvey’s innings following his workload after returning from Tommy John surgery. And of course, there were concerns for all of the pitchers who had been pushed way past any limit they had ever endured while the Mets were chasing a World Series title that eventually eluded them.
And concerns about David Wright? Not to worry, he was going to give us about 130 games.
Of course, you all know what happened. Injuries, injuries and more injuries. And oh yeah, Daniel Murphy ate the Mets alive.
So what did we learn, Mets fans?
We learned that we probably should have enjoyed ourselves more during that World Series run in 2015, but more importantly, we learned that we need to be a little more cautious in our pre-season hoopla. Not that we shouldn’t be excited about this team in 2017, just that maybe we should take a step back and look at exactly what we have.
We have a really good team here that is built on pitching and Yoenis Cespedes. We have four pitchers that missed time last year (some significantly) with injuries and another that hasn’t pitched in the majors since September of 2014. Our first baseman and second baseman had significant back injuries. Our new right fielder doesn’t seem to like to play in New York. Our rookie sensation in the outfield from 2015 suffered a severe sophomore slump and currently doesn’t have an open outfield position. We are in a Division that includes the Washington Nationals, who won 95 games last year and beat us about 100 times. Oh yeah, our closer that saved over 100 games in the last two seasons is suspended for the first 15 games.
Of course, don’t they usually say that “past performance is no indicator of future results”?
Yet many baseball pundits think that this team is not only going to win the National League East, but they are going back to the World Series.
And I tend to agree with them, but I’m cautiously optimistic.
If you have been reading all “previews”, the one word that permeates all of these articles is “if”. If the pitching holds out, if this guy stays healthy, etc. Isn’t that little “if” the same for all teams at this point? It seems to make sense that if you get good pitching and clutch hitting, you are going to win a number of games.
Like most of you, I am looking forward to this season. I think we have something to prove. I think the Mets think they have something to prove. I think the pitchers think they have something to prove.
If you want a position by position breakdown with predictions, the Daily News and Newsday have provided that for you already this week. I’m out of the prediction game (for now). But I like what I have seen down in Florida.
The pitching looks good. Cespedes looks primed for an MVP caliber year. David Wright is not a factor (which is sad), but that gives Jose Reyes a lot more playing time. Jay Bruce looks like he has accepted the fact that he is not going back to Cincinnati (or anywhere else). How many batting orders are going to have a number six (Bruce) and seven (Lucas Duda) that can go deep?
Take a quick look at the starters – Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler and Robert Gsellman. We still have Steven Matz (hopefully) and Seth Lugo (hopefully) waiting in the wings. That’s seven guys who could be a 1, 2 or 3 pitcher on any roster right now. Are all of them going to perform at a CY Young level? Of course not, but they don’t have to. They just need to continue to give their team a chance to win every day.
Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker are still a good double play combo and Curtis Granderson might surprise some people in Center Field and hitting cleanup.
Does this team have a lot of question marks? What team doesn’t? They have too many left handed hitting outfielders. Who is going to come off their bench? Is Matt Harvey ready? How long before Syndergaard’s arm falls off? Is Wheeler a bomb waiting to explode? Why didn’t they address first base with someone other than Wilmer Flores? Are injuries a problem already? Lugo, Matz and Juan Lagares are starting on the DL.
Come on, now. Can we just get the season started? Did anyone notice that the Yankees won 24 games in Spring training, more than any other team in baseball. Did you also notice that Masahiro Tanaka, who allowed only one earned run in 23 and 2/3 innings only got 8 outs today and was charged with seven earned runs?
Let’s take this spring training thing with a grain of salt, shall we? Let’s take all the talk and hype down a notch and let the game begin.
Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. Let’s be ready to go on Monday and enjoy this baseball season, no matter what happens. This is a very good baseball team. This is not a 72 win team. This could be a 90 win team, This team could make the playoff for the third consecutive year – a first in franchise history.
I’m on board. I’m ready for Opening Day. I’m just cautiously optimistic…
Paul DiSclafani is a featured writer on “A View From The Bench”, which was ranked as one of the top 100 MLB Blogs
By Paul DiSclafani:
On Wednesday evening, June 29th, the Nationals completed a sweep of the Mets in Washington to take a season high six game lead in the NL East. Licking their wounds and losers of four straight, the Mets and their fans opened one eye to peek at the remaining schedule before the All-Star break and saw an 11-game home stand on the horizon that included four games against the best team in the league, three more against the team directly behind them and four more against these same Nationals. I think the word most fans were looking for was, “Sheesh!”
With injuries beginning to mount as two of their star pitchers, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, announced that they are experiencing elbow discomfort and have bone chips in their elbows, the Mets got even more bad news. While Sundergaard and Matz would continue to pitch through the pain, Matt Harvey’s puzzling season came to an abrupt halt with something that nobody had ever heard of, “Thoracic Outlet Syndrome”.
Not enough for you? How about Yoenis Cespedes straining a quad making a diving catch in the outfield that will put him on the shelf for about a week and cost him his starting role in the All Star game?
Need more? How about Syndergaard throwing three consecutive fastballs that went from 96 to 94 to 91 and then having to come out of the game with “fatigue”? Not to worry, he has no pain in his shoulder or his bone chip filled elbow. “His arm went dead,” manager Terry Collins said. “He’s got a tired arm and (his) stuff went away”.
Where did it go?
His missing “stuff” cost Syndergaard his first ever All Star appearance. “It’s disappointing,” Syndergaard said about not being able to pitch in the All Star game, “But there will be a lot more. It’s a long season, you put a lot of wear and tear on your body, just right now I think I need a little break.”
Through all of this, the Mets had to play 11 games against the Cubs, Marlins and Nationals before they get five days off. And they won seven of them.
That’s right, seven of them. Shouldn’t Mets fans be happy?
They swept all four against the Cubs (hitting 11 home runs) and took two of three from the Marlins, then came back from a 6-0 deficit (the last game Harvey will pitch this season) to beat the Nationals, 9-7 and cut their lead in the NL East to just three games.
Then the bottom fell out when the team found out about Harvey’s TOS and both Cespedes and Syndergaard left the game within 10 minutes of each other. You think that had an effect on the last three games before the All Star break, at least mentally?
Give me a show of hands – how many Mets fans, on Thursday morning June 30th, would have taken a 4-7 record on this 11-game home stand? How about even 5-6? If you are still raising your hand when I get to 7-4, you are not being honest.
With all that has happened to this team in the last two weeks, they are exactly where they were 11 days ago. Granted, a home stand that started out 7-1 and finished with three straight stinkers is not giving you any confidence going into the All-Star break, but what’s the alternative?
Once again, the Nationals are tearing it up against the Mets (9-4 with 6 games left, all in September). However, if you take the seven games against the Mets (6-1) out of the equation for the Nats these last two weeks, they are just 5-10 in 15 other games that included the Padres (2-2), Dodgers (0-3), Brewers (1-3) and Reds (3-1).
Baseball is a funny game and it plays out over six months, not six days. Although six days may not be able to change the course of the season, but it can certainly change the mindset of the fan base. Think about where Mets fans (and the media) were coming into this home stand and where they were after sweeping the Cubs and taking two of three against the Marlins? Now just four games later, it’s gloom and doom again?
Welcome to baseball again, Mets fans. We don’t have a lot of experience with the ups and downs of a baseball season and maybe we panic and celebrate too quickly.
Let’s take a break this week and just try and catch our breath, shall we?
Jose Reyes hit two home runs in today’s 3-2 loss, Wilmer Flores has begun to heat up and we won’t have to see (or hear about) Daniel Murphy until football season starts. Maybe our expectations of dominance were a tad too high? Maybe our reliance on starting pitching without regard to offense will come back to bite us in the butt? We lost our Captain and third baseman for the season and no one has seen or heard from our first baseman in six weeks.
But we have an All Star closer and Bartolo Colon, the ageless wonder. Our pitching hasn’t been dominant, but they have been pretty darn good. And where would we be without Cabrera and Walker?
I don’t think any Mets fan (including this one) is “happy” with being just six games over .500 at 47-41 after getting to the World Series last year, but let’s be honest – with all the injuries, it could be much, much worse.
Take a deep breath and exhale with me. Then we’ll see where we are on August 1st…
Paul DiSclafani is a featured author at “A View From the Bench”, an official affiliate of MLB.com. “A View from the Bench” is recognized in the Top 100 of MLB.com/blogs.
By Paul DiSclafani:
After their surprising four game sweep of the Chicago Cubs last weekend, the Mets (46-38) took care of business against the Marlins, winning the rubber game, 4-2 and can now set their sights on the First Place Nationals, who come into New York for a four game weekend set.
After being swept by Washington, the Mets were left for dead heading into their big rematch series with the Cubbies, but pulled themselves out of the offensive funk that plagued them for most of the month of June, shocking everyone, including themselves, and sweeping all four games against the team with the best record in the league. But that left them vulnerable this week as their personal tormentors, the Marlins, came into town.
With Matt Harvey on the mound for the Holiday game on Monday, the Mets found themselves in a 6-0 hole before chipping away at the lead, scoring in each of their last five frames for an 8-6 comeback win for their fifth straight. But on Tuesday they laid an egg, dropping a 5-2 decision as Giancarlo Stanton hit two home runs. That set up the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon.
Wilmer Flores, who hit two home runs on Sunday when he tied a franchise record going 6-6 against the Cubs, hit two more today as the Mets get a win for Jacob deGrom, 4-2. DeGrom, who hadn’t won a game since April 30th (10 straight starts) has now won two straight as the Mets have won six of their last seven.
DeGrom (W, 5-4) pitched seven strong innings, striking out seven and allowing two runs. Both came in the form of solo home runs by Stanton, who also hit two home runs on Tuesday. Stanton hit milestone #200 in the sixth inning. He hit home runs in his last two AB’s on Tuesday and his first two AB’s on Wednesday, giving him four home runs in consecutive AB’s. Last time that happened was with Albert Pulols in 2006.
Jose Reyes got to play shortstop instead of third base when Asdrubal Cabrera was unable to play due to a family emergency and made the most of his second start in his re-debut with the Mets. After taking an 0-4 collar on Tuesday, Reyes smacked two doubles as the leadoff hitter. “He creates a lot of problems at the top of the lineup,” Neil Walker said. “He’s going to be important for us setting the table for the guys in the middle.”
Curtis Granderson, batting behind Reyes in the lineup, drove in two runs in the third inning to give the Mets a 3-0 lead before Stanton got one back in the top of the fourth. But Flores got that one right back in the bottom of the inning.
Addison Reed pitched a perfect 8th while protecting a 4-2 lead, setting up first time All-Star closer Jeurys Familia to get the final three outs for his 30th save of the year. Familia has now registered 46 consecutive regular season saves.
Now the Nationals, with a four game lead over the Mets, come into town before the All-Star break, for a four game series. After being swept in their previous series, the Mets have fought back, winning six of their last seven, but trimming only two games from the Nationals lead. This might be considered a “statement” series for the Mets, their chance to show the Nationals they are not going to go quietly into the night.
Game one will feature 43 year-old Bartolo Colon (7-4, 2.87) against rookie Lucas Giolito (0-0, 0.00). The highly regarded Giolito made his major league debut against the Mets on June 28, throwing four shutout innings of one-hit ball before the rain came and he needed to be replaced.
The rest of the series probable pitchers shape up like this:
- Game 2 (FRI): Noah Syndergaard (9-3, 2.41) vs Stephen Strasburg (11-0, 2.71)
- Game 3 (SAT): Logan Verrett (3-5, 4.01) vs Max Scherzer (9-6, 3.21)
- Game 4 (SUN): Steven Matz (7-4, 3.34) vs Gio Gonzalez (4-8, 4,79)
HARVEY ON THE DL
Matt Harvey landed on the 15-Day DL with “discomfort in his right shoulder”. After meeting with team doctors, Harvey will visit a Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) specialist Robert Thompson in St. Louis on Thursday. Maybe this at least partially explains the recent poor performances Harvey has experienced. Zack Wheeler is not expected back until late July, so the logical choice will be Logan Verrett to take Harvey’s spot in the rotation.
Harvey is just 4-10 in his 17 starts with an ERA of 4.86. He has allowed 111 hits in 92.2 innings, the fourth highest hit total in the league and tied for the league lead with 10 losses.
Former Mets pitcher Chris Young experienced “Thoracic Outlet Syndrome” in his career and was miserable until he had surgery. Obviously, the Mets are worried enough that Harvey might also be suffering from TOS that he is seeing an expert on the subject tomorrow.
THE RETURN OF JOSE REYES
The superstitious baseball fan will point to Tuesday’s Mets loss, following a five game winning streak, as proof that you don’t mess with success and that putting Jose Reyes into the lineup jinxed the Mets. Guess that lasted only one game as Reyes followed his 0-4 re-debut with the Mets on Tuesday with two doubles and a run scored in Wednesday’s win. Reyes, for all his baggage, gives the Mets the one thing that no one on the current roster can – speed. Is it really a bad thing that he took a spot away from Matt Reynolds?
POSITIVES: Familia is only the 15th player in Major League Baseball history to reach 30 saves before the All-Star break, which happens to be a Mets record. Three of the other 14 did it in 2013: Jim Johnson (33), Joe Nathan (30) and Mariano Rivera (30) … Granderson, Flores and Reyes all had two hits … Flores now has seven home runs … Cespedes (0-4) snapped a nine game hitting streak and has had a hit in 13 of his last 15 games, raising his average from .280 to .304
NEGATIVES: Got a bad feeling about Harvey going to see a Thoracic Outlet Syndrome expert …
Paul DiSclafani is a featured author at “A View From the Bench”, an official affiliate of MLB.com. “A View from the Bench” is recognized in the Top 100 of MLB.com/blogs.
By Paul DiSclafani:
Mets (31-24) take two out of three against the Marlins (30-27) this weekend, but after a 1-0 domination at the hands of Jose Fernandez in the finale and losing more players to injuries, they probably can’t wait to get out of Miami.
The weekend started with the news that Captain David Wright will miss significant time with a herniated disk in his neck, but that didn’t stop them from winning on Friday night behind Noah Syndergaard, 6-2. Then on Saturday, Yoenis Cespedes came up lame with a sore hip before the game and later on, they lost CF-Juan Lagares after he made a game saving diving grab in the sixth. The Mets were able to score four times in the last two innings to win the game, 6-4.
Matt Harvey matched up with Marlins Ace Fernandez, who had won seven straight starts, and pitched well again, allowing just one run in his seven innings without walking a batter. Although he allowed just four hits in the game, two of them came in fifth when the Marlins scored the only run of the game. After giving up five runs against the Nationals on 5/24, Harvey has rebounded with two straight solid starts, allowing just one earned run and six hits over 14 innings.
After getting Justin Bour to pop out to third to start the inning, Harvey was ahead 0-2 against David Dietrich when he lined a 2-2 pitch off the wall in right for a double, just the third hit for the Marlins. But after falling behind 2-0 to JT Realmuto, the Miami catcher powered a base hit to center that scored Dietrich.
Meanwhile, Fernandez seemed like he was just toying with the Mets depleted lineup. No Cespedes, no Wright, no Duda, not even Lagares. Fernandez tied a career high with 14 strikeouts in seven shutout innings, holding the Mets to just four hits. Mets got just one runner to second – Curtiis Granderson, who doubled in the first; and one runner to third – back to back singles from Michael Conforto and James Loney in the seventh, but both scoring opportunities came with two outs, and both were extinguished by strikeouts.
Fernandez (W, 9-2) has an amazing 23-1 record at Marlins Park with a 1.53 ERA in 33 career starts. Harvey posted his second consecutive solid start, but this time was just outmatched. Harvey dropped to 4-8 on the season.
“It was one of those game where you have a great pitching match-up head to head, and that’s exactly what you would expect — a 1-0 game,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Now the Mets move onto Pittsburgh, where Neil Walker will make his return as an opposing player for the first time as the Mets face Jonathan Niese, who was traded by the Mets for Walker in the off-season. Niese (5-2, 4.36) will face Steven Matz (7-1, 2.60).
LAGARES INJURY UPDATE:
Lagares was diagnosed with a sprained thumb on Sunday in Miami, but will travel with the Mets to Pittsburgh before heading to New York for more extensive tests with Mets team doctors. Lagares still had some swelling after making a diving catch on Saturday that saved two runs. “It just feels like last night – a little bit of swelling”, Lagares said. No Pain.”
POSITIVES: Cespedes was able to pinch hit and flied out … New 1B James Loney had a very productive series in Miami, going 6-13 with a HR and 3 RBI. Since Lucas Duda went down, the Mets have gotten only 7 hits from that position before Loney took over … Michael Conforto had one of the hits against Fernandez and drove in two runs on Saturday … Alejandro De Aza drove in two runs on Saturday and had another hit on Sunday … Rene Rivera caught Ichiro Suzuki stealing and has gunned down six of eight since joining the Mets.
NEGATIVES: Granderson and Walker struck out three times. Every regular in the lineup struck out except for Rene Rivera, but he was 0-3 …
By Paul DiSclafani:Can we please stop worrying so much about Matt Harvey? Talk radio today was teeming with theories about what is wrong with “The Dark Knight”. Everyone was an expert and everyone knew exactly what the Mets should do.
Except the Mets know what they want to do and it’s not what everyone else wants them to do. They are going to give their pitcher a chance to work out his problems.
But don’t they know they are in a fight for the pennant? Don’t they know that they can’t afford to let a player “work things out” at the major league level? Don’t they know that his head is so messed up that he should be sent to the minors where he can find his groove and get back to an elite level?
Do you really think that sending Matt Harvey to the minors will help him get his confidence level back?
“He was the best in baseball [in 2013]. That’s the guy we’re trying to get back instead of ‘woe is me,'” Manager Terry Collins said. “What he did last year, there’s going to be a period he’s got to recover. … That’s where I want the fight. That’s where the fight has to be. Quit fighting yourself and just understand we’re a support team here. We’re in this together.”
Of course, what is going on with Harvey is a mystery to everyone at this point, including Harvey. They all agree it is not a physical problem – yet his fastball velocity on Monday dipped from 96 to 92 in just two innings. By the time he got to the fifth inning, he was out of gas.
Callers and baseball experts are now pointing to the 216 innings he threw last season, although that was not part of their dialogue in Spring Training. Why is that an issue now? Collins had a different take on his recent struggles. “This guy has thrown 200 pitches in five days,” Collins said, suggesting that Harvey’s throwing regimen between starts might be a contributing factor, “So when he hit the wall in the fifth (inning), I’m not surprised.”
Collins, pitching coach Dan Warthen and assistant general manager John Ricco had a powwow this morning along with general manager Sandy Alderson via phone to discuss how to get their former Ace back on track. All the options that the fans have been screaming about on talk radio were on the table – skipping a start, a trip to the DL, sending him to the bullpen and even a demotion to AAA Las Vegas. But they chose to have Harvey stay in the rotation and make his next start on Monday against the Chicago White Sox.
“We believe the best way to get him back is to have him keep pitching and keep making progress and stay up here in the big leagues,” Ricco said.
Collins knows how important Harvey is to the Mets: “This guy is too big a piece to write him off, to flip him in the bullpen to where you’ve got to pick and choose when you might use him.”
Can we look at this situation a little differently and take emotion out of it? As a matter of fact, take the name off the back of the jersey for this discussion.
The Mets are a contending team in the NL East and just one-half game out of first. Some say they can’t afford to allow player to “work things out” at the major league level. Again, some perspective – have they got a better option to take this player’s place? Are the Mets relying on him to win every fifth game right now? With Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom and Bartolo Colon pitching the other four days, is it really critical that our #5 pitcher is struggling?
Who do you want to bring up, Rafael Montero?
If the name on the back of this jersey was “Verrett”, would we be having this discussion? If all four of the other Mets starters lose their games, is needing a win from the #5 starter a requirement?
This Mets rotation is built to withstand a string of loses one time through the rotation – can you ever see this team losing 10 straight? Granted, they went through a rough patch with a 4-7 west Coast trip, but wasn’t that an aberration? Is that going to happen four or five more times this season? If it does, this entire Matt Harvey discussion is moot anyway.
Harvey seems lost out there on the mound, like he has no friends to lean on. And maybe that’s his doing. He has alienated the fan base with his “star” attitude, and he alienated most of his teammates last season by not pitching when they needed him the most, so he has earned his prima donna reputation.
And now he is on the verge of becoming a distraction. If Harvey wants the adulation that comes with being a star baseball player in New York, then he needs to know what comes with the territory – and that’s standing up for yourself and meeting the media head-on. Skipping out of the locker room after Monday’s debacle was childish and caused his teammates to have to cover for him.
Harvey embraced his “Dark Knight” persona when things were going well, so it’s time for him to back it up with his actions. And I am not talking about on the field. He is too good of a pitcher to have his efforts on the mound continue in a downward spiral. It is time for him to grow into the professional baseball player he needs to be. It is time for him to understand that at one point in his Met career, he was the only star here. But not now, not on this team. He is just 1 of 25 and he needs to understand his place in the pecking order.
Obviously, the Mets are going to struggle if he is unable to pull himself out of this funk, no question. Although the brain trust is going to do everything they can to help him, Harvey has to accept that help. It’s time for him to understand that the Mets and their fans want him to succeed and are as frustrated as him when he does not.
Gotham needs their Dark Knight, and he may need us now, more than ever.
By Paul DiSclafani:
The Mets (26-18) hit three home runs off Nats starter Gio Gonzalez to win their fourth straight game and pull to just one-half game of Washington, 7-1. The Nationals (27-18) took two of three last week at Citi Field as Gonzalez threw seven shutout innings in a 7-1 win over Bartolo Colon. What a difference a week makes.
This time it was Colon (W, 4-3) who was the master, following up his miserable performance last week where he walked five and hit a batter with seven innings of five hit ball, walking just two.
Gonzalez (L, 3-2), who had gone 44 consecutive starts without giving up more than one home run, was tagged for three dingers and charged with all seven runs. He had a microscopic 0.97 ERA against the Mets in his last four starts. Gonzalez gave up a 3-run home run to David Wright in the third inning, when the Mets strung together six consecutive base runners to put up a five spot and erase a 1-0 deficit. Then in the fifth, Yoenis Cespedes launched his 15th to right center followed two pitches later by Neil Walker’s 11th of the year. It’s the seventh time the Mets have gone back-to-back this year already.
DUDA TO THE DL
Fresh off their weekend sweep of the Brewers, the Mets needed to make a statement against Washington. With all the talk about Matt Harvey’s confidence being shot, Jacob deGrom’s velocity being down and Colon being rocked in his last two starts, the Mets got more bad news when they learned Lucas Duda would miss significant time with a stress fracture in his lower back. He could miss as much as six weeks.
“There’s no real timetable,” Manager Terry Collins said. “It’ll be a while. I guess there are some exercises he can do, but nothing baseball related for a while. We’re looking at a fairly long period before he’s going to be able to get back and do some baseball stuff.”
David Wright had a similar injury in 2011 and tried to play through it before it was diagnosed properly and he missed two months. He had words of encouragement for Duda, but didn’t sugarcoat it.
“You have to be conservative with it. You have to take your time with it,” Wright said. “You have to make sure that you’re meticulous with your rehab. It’s something where you’re talking about a bone being damaged. There’s going to be a time, if it was anything like mine, where you can’t do anything. You have to be very aware of your movements on a daily basis. You have to do things that keep that area stabilized so the bone can heal itself. And then, after that, is when the rehab comes into play. That’s when you really have to stay on top of it. It’s pretty boring. It’s a little long. It’s monotonous. But you have to stick with it because, as me being somewhat of a case study now, these things can kind of creep on you later in your career. And I felt like I did my rehab as good as I possibly could have.”
WHO’S ON FIRST?
So what is Plan B for the Mets? Eric Campbell made the start on Monday and Wilmer Flores is eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday. The Mets are exploring other options, including using Michael Conforto and David Wright. Conforto never played first base in a game, but has taken ground balls there in college.
“They always had me taking ground balls,” Conforto said about college. “They always had me make sure I was available in case there was an emergency situation, or if something wasn’t working out with one of our infielders. I was always taking ground balls at third, shortstop, first base. So I’ve been in there. I’ve practiced there. Just not a whole lot of game experience. … I’ll give it my best. I’ll do what I can to prepare myself for that if that becomes an option.”
Collins said he even approached The Captain, who of course agreed to do whatever is best for the team.
“I said that my entire career: Whatever this organization, whatever the team needs me to do, I’ll be on board as long as I can do it and can help,” Wright said. “With that being said, besides the handful of times that we played the shift, that’s about as many groundballs as I’ve ever taken on that side of the infield.”
Mets brought up career minor leaguer Ty Kelly, who has spent more than seven seasons in the minors, but whose .391 average at AAA is the best in all of professional baseball. Kelly plays all positions (except pitcher and catcher) and worked as a first baseman after being drafted by the Orioles in 2009. Mets indicated that 2013 first round pick Dominic Smith, a 20-year old who was drafted out of high school and has only been at AA for two months, is not ready for the majors.
Bet the Mets wish they still had Kelly Johnson …
UP NEXT: The soap opera that is Matt Harvey will debut another chapter tomorrow as The Dark Knight tries to find himself after two straight disappointing starts, including the worst outing of his career last time against Steven Strasburg, when he gave up nine runs while recording just eight outs. Harvey spoke about his frustration with ESPN, but he is not going to miss a start. “For me, taking time off isn’t going to do anything. I’m not a quitter. I’m not going to just quit and put the ball down.”
Terry Collins poo-poo’d the notion of skipping Harvey against the Nationals tomorrow.
Nobody is more frustrated than him. He said, ‘I’m not backing away from this.’ A lot of guys would have taken that out. He had a shot to. He could have said, ‘I need to get away from this.’ But he didn’t. He just said, ‘I’ve got to get back out there and I’ve got to pitch. That’s the only way I’m going to get through this.’ I thought that was the most impressive part of it.”
POSITIVES: Six Mets had two hits each – Granderson, Lagares, Cespedes, Walker and Cabrera .. Colon turns 43 tomorrow – Happy Birthday, Big Sexy! … Wright’s home run in the third inning was the 86th of his career that put the Mets in the lead and his 240th as a Met. He is just 12 behind Darryl Strawberry for the franchise record … Cespedes’ home run was his 32nd since he joined the Mets on 7/31/15, Matching Chris Davis and Khris Davis for the most in the majors since then …