Thor Needs to Go Deep

We all know the Mets have bullpen issues. They’re bad. Really, really bad. So bad, that Bartolo Colon had to make a relief appearance yesterday. I’ll give Collins credit for thinking outside the box to help fix a problem he created. 

While the Addison Reed trade helps, he’s just one arm in an exhausted bullpen. The Mets need more help. The best help for a tired bullpen is for your starter to go deep in the game. Again, this is where the Mets inability to do math prevents them from permitting them to allow their starters from going deep into games. 

On Friday, Matt Harvey could’ve and should’ve pitched another inning, especially with the extra rest. Yesterday, it was clear that Jacob deGrom was done after six. I had no problem with Collins pulling him. In fact, I wouldn’t have had a problem if Collins pulled him during the sixth inning. 

Anyway, we don’t know when Addison Reed is arriving at Citi Field. We also don’t know if he’s ready to pitch. Furthermore, the Mets do not have an off day until Thursday. The only solution we’re left with is for Noah Syndergaard is to pitch a good game. I mean a real good game where he goes deep into the game. 

Here’s where the Mets may be getting some luck on their side as Thor is great at home. He is 7-1 at home with a 1.82 ERA and an absurdly low 0.808 WHIP. More important for today’s game, he averages a little over seven innings per home start. If he keeps his pitch count under control today, he should be able to do that today.  However, keep in mind Better pitchers like Harvey and deGrom topped 100 pitches through six innings against this same Red Sox team. 

The Mets need a big start today from Thor. It’s a test for him in advance of a month that’s going to be a series of tests. He’s passed every test so far. I have confidence that if Collins allows him, he can pass this test today. 

Cleaning Up the Roster to Make a Room for the Bull

Yesterday, the Mets acquired Addison ReedErik Goeddel is on the 60 day DL, and he’s in the middle of his rehab assignment. Finally, the Mets need to make room for Eric Young, Jr.  At a minimum, this means the Mets need to make three moves on the 40 man roster, and two of these changes must be made before September 1st. 

Previously, I wrote a fairly lengthy piece on the issue. I won’t regurgitate the analysis here. You can click the link and read it. Instead, I’ll list the players who may see themselves removed from the 40 man roster in the order of what I think is most likely:

  1. Johnny Monell
  2. Darrell Ceciliani
  3. Wilfredo Tovar
  4. Danny Muno

If I’m correct, three of these players will be gone. Now, there is the possibility, the Mets can designate Eric O’Flaherty for assignment, thereby clearing room for Reed on the 25 and 40 man rosters. O’Flaherty has been bad with the Mets, but he’s been put in tough spots by Terry Collins. 

Keep in mind that O’Flaherty is the only true LOOGY the Mets have right now. He’s only supposed to pitch to lefties. He hasn’t been treated that way by Collins. For his career, lefties hit .208/.271/.270. This season those numbers are .258/.333/.290. He’s been worse this year, but there is still evidence in the numbers that the Mets should stick with him. 

There are 33 games left in the season. With the expanded rosters, O’Flaherty should never see a righty except when there’s one beside him warming up in the bullpen.  If you can’t get O’Flaherty right in the final 33 games, you can leave him off the postseason roster. Once you DFA him, he’s forever gone. He’s no longer an asset. You can’t work with him to improve.  It’s better to keep him now rather than move him two days before you could’ve kept him with expanded rosters. 

The better choice is Logan Verrett. The Mets seemingly wanted to see if he could be a seventh inning option, but that plan went away with a spot start. Sure Verrett made two appearances since; one good, one terrible. With Steven Matz being a good bet to join the rotation soon, and the trade for Addison Reed, there appears to be no room for Verrett on the 25 man roster for the time being. 

The other realistic option with options left is Hansel Robles. He has trouble with the strike zone at times. However, he’s got good peripheral stats, and he’s shown he can give some length. Accordingly, I’d send down Verrett. He would then be available 10 days later or September 9th. This is enough time for another start or a few relief appearances. 

As for Goeddel and EY, I wouldn’t take any actions on the 25 man roster to accommodate them. Rather, I would wait the two days and call them up when rosters expand on September 1st. 

Therefore, while there are three 40 man decisions to be made, the Mets really only need to make one move with the 25 man roster. Here’s hoping they keep O’Flaherty Nd get him right for the playoffs. 

Welcome Home David

Tonight is David Wright‘s first game back since he was injured on April 14th, only eight games into the season. 

Lucky, I don’t need to use this blog to tell the fans they need to give Wright a standing ovation. It’s coming anyway. They’ll give him the standing ovation. Wright will be forced to give a wave or hat tip to acknowledge the fans. We see it all the time, but that doesn’t change the genuineness of the exchange of emotion. 

Anyway, it feels “Wright” having him back and having him be a major contributor to the team. Keep in mind, the Mets need him to contribute. When Wright was gone, the Mets defensive option was Juan Uribe, who has hit .181/.261/.410 since joining the Mets. The other option is Daniel Murphy, which forces either Kelly Johnson (.260/.308/.437) or Wilmer Flores (.264/.294/.414) to play second base. 

Needless to say, the Mets need Wright. They need him to contribute. Based upon the other   options, the bar is not high. Regardless, it’s great having Wright in a pennant race again. In 2006, it seemed like his birthright. Now, with the losing and spinal stenosis, it seems like redemption. 

Harvey or deGrom?

Whenever Matt Harvey starts a home game, the Mets advertise it as “Happy Harvey Day.”  Jacob deGrom doesn’t receive the same type of advertising. I wonder why. I also wonder who Mets fans prefer. 

I thought the best way to look at it was by attendance figures. My experience as a fan is more people come to the ballpark when the ace is on the mound. Luckily, the Mets have two. I used the attendance figures from 

Harvey has had 13 total home starts. In these home starts, the Mets average attendance is 33,109. He has had eight weekend starts (Friday – Sunday). In this eight games, the Mets have averaged 36,627. In his five weekend starts, the Mets average 27,485. 

deGrom has had 12 total home starts. In these home starts, the Mets average attendance is 32,867. He has had only five weekend starts, and in those starts the average attendance is 37,775. In the seven weekday starts, the average attendance is 26,344. 

Honestly, these numbers don’t tell us anything. More fans come out for deGrom on the weekend, but Harvey does better on the weekdays. While Harvey gets the help from “Happy Harvey Day”, deGrom does get some help with things like his own t-shirt

Overall, Mets fans love them fairly equally. I know I do. I love being able to root for them with my son as the Mets are on the upswing, and hopefully, on their way towards the World Series. 

Retire 17?

You know sometimes we forget about the impact Keith Hernandez had upon his teammates. 

After Hernandez left the Mets, David Cone switched his number from 44 to 17 to honor his former teammate. He would wear it again with the Royals. His fellow color commentator, Ron Darling, wore 17 while a member of the Athletics. Bob Ojeda and Roger McDowell did the same with their future teams. In fact, they occupied the number during Mike Piazza‘s early tenure with the Dodgers. This is interesting because Piazza wanted number 17:

When Piazza joined the Mets, John Franco gave him his number 31. It was a terrific gesture that was part of a full court press to make Piazza comfortable and to get him to resign with the Mets. Piazza’s chosen number,17, was taken by Luis Lopez. He’s one of the many who have had the number that drives Hernandez nuts. I’m assuming Piazza never asked for the number. 

With Piazza on the verge of being elected to the Hall of Fame, I presume the Mets would retire his number during the following season. We know that number will be 31. While Franco was a fine Met and a good closer, I’m sure there will be no groundswell to retire the number in his honor as well. 

Now if Piazza wore 17, I’m assuming the Mets would’ve told Luis Lopez to find another number. If Piazza’s number 17 was retired, there would’ve been a major groundswell to retire the number in Hernandez’s honor as well. We know there is one already amongst the fan base. Retiring Piazza’s number might’ve created an avenue to retire the number of a popular player and broadcaster. However, Piazza never got to wear 17, and it’s Hernandez’s fault. 

He left a tremendous impact with the fans and his teammates. The fans and his teammates wanted to honor him. It’s ironic this impact is what is preventing him from having his number retired. 

Is Logan Verrett Getting Another Start?

The strength of the Mets team this year has been their rotation. Even when they weren’t scoring runs, the rotation was able to keep it together for long enough to permit Sandy Alderson to make some moves to improve the offense. 

With the Mets actually having a major league offense, they now seem intent to tempt fate and continue to mess with the rotation.  They got away with it with Logan Verrett having a great game against the Rockies. Reading the tea leaves, Verrett may get another start. 

Verrett did not make an appearance in last night’s game even though they needed him. Instead, we saw Eric O’FlahertyCarlos Torres, and four outs from Tyler Clippard. Now, it appears Clippard will be unavailable tonight. If Verrett was truly available, he should’ve pitched in the eighth or ninth last night. This makes you question why he didn’t make an appearance. Was it because the Mets are giving him another start?

Another cause for suspicion is the Mets handling of the Steven Matz rehab. Initially, the Mets said they wanted to call him up on September 1st and move to a six man rotation. However, the Mets say Matz will need another rehab start before being called back up. That next start would be August 30th. This means he will first be ready to start Friday, September 4th in Miami. That leaves room for one Verrett start. 

In between that time, there’s another opportunity for Verrett to start. His next time up would be tonight. If Verrett comes out of the bullpen tonight, we’ll know he’s out of the rotation. If he doesn’t, barring a Jon Niese complete game, we can reasonably assume, he’s getting another start. 

The Mets may believe Verrett earned another start with his he pitched in Colorado. I think that’s faulty logic. While he pitched well, I think you only start him if you believe he’s one of your five or six best pitchers. I don’t think the Mets believe that. If that’s the case, put him in the bullpen so you don’t burn out your actual good arms like Clippard and Jeurys Familia before the playoffs. 

I think the bullpen is the greater need right now, and I don’t think there is a real innings limit problem. Get Verrett in the bullpen now. 

NOTE: while this is something I drafted after last night’s Mets game, it should be noted this is being published after Ryan Burdette’s excellent tweet. Since I saw this tweet, I felt the need to make this notation before publishing this post. 

Hahn & Humpty

As I’ve said before, I’m a fan of Hahn & Humpty. I’m thrilled they’re replacing the miscast political activist Mike Lupica. 

Hahn & Humpty are smart, and they talk about all sports . . . including hockey. Hahn is an old Newsday reporter, who worked the Islander and Knicks beats. He’s well connected, and he uses this to keep his listeners informed.  Rick DiPietro is the former Islanders goalie, who used to drive me nuts because he seemed to only play well against the Rangers. 

Together, they have good chemistry. I’ve found them to be both funny and informative. They’ll get into it with their listeners on the air and over Twitter. They understand what it means to have a radio show in 2015.  They can create real competition for WFAN and Joe & Evan. 

If you’re like me, you hate commercials . . . especially the Kars 4 Kids jingle. I also am diving for the dial when Joe Benigno has another Sabermetrics or Billy Beane rant. As I’ve said before, I don’t understand why Sabermetrics bothers people. You don’t like it? Great don’t bring it up on the show. It’s your show, and by extension, I’m presuming you have control over content. 

Now, Hahn & Humpty is behind the eight ball everyday. First, they follow six straight non-New York, non-baseball sports talk. Joe & Evan enjoy the lead-in from Boomer & Carton, who are number one in their time slot. Joe & Evan already have a strong following and are number one in their time slot. 

They also have to fend off hack attacks from hacks like Bob Raissman. Seriously, where does he come off?  He has the gaul to attack they’re credibility due to Hahn’s relationship with MSG, but he fails to mention both he and Lupica work for the New York Daily News. Also, Raissman is no stranger to conflicts of interest. He appears on Daily News Live on SNY. I must’ve missed his articles criticizing this show. 

I really hope ESPN Radio gives Hahn & Humpty a chance. It’s going to take a while to make a dent, but they’re certainly capable. I encourage everyone to listen for a few days. I know I will. If you’re interested, they go on the air five minutes after this post. 

C is for Championship

Before last night’s game, David Wright handed out cookies sparking the team’s offensive explosion. I know the Cookie Monster would’ve been proud

In all seriousness, baseball is supposed to be fun. What Wright did yesterday was fun. It loosened the team up on a big night. Did it lead to the victory?  Probably not. However, these are the fun things that keeps a fun season going. 

What I also know that anytime there’s a chance for baseball to intersect with Sesame Street, it’s a good thing. I think we need to have the Cookie Monster at Citi Field with cookies to fuel a championship run. If we can get the Baha Men to perform “Who Let the Dogs Out?” we can get Cookie Monster to Citi Field. In fact, it’s a better option. It’ll be more fun. 

We all know “C is for Cookie.”  Maybe with fun things like Wright handing out cookies, C can also be for Championship. 

Bullpen Giving Me a Headache

We all knew the Mets needed to make a roster move to make room for David Wright. We all believed it was going to be Logan Verrett, who was terrific yesterday

Nope. We were all wrong. Apparently, the Mets enjoy shortchanging the bullpen. Verrett is going to stay and Dario Alvarez is going down. The Mets got away with it last week. With the Phillies and Red Sox coming up, you can tell the Mets think they can get away with it again. The problem is they’re tempting fate in more ways than one now. 

Not only are they shorting the bullpen for two days, but they may also have a rotation problem. We don’t know the severity of Bartolo Colon‘s wrist. He’s due to pitch Wednesday against the Phillies, which is also Verrett’s throw day. As we saw in Baltimore, that means Verrett will only be good for an inning. That means Colon better be alright to pitch. 

If he’s not the Mets could have Matt Harvey start on Wednesday instead of Friday. I don’t think they’ll do that because it would defeat the purpose of them skipping Harvey’s start. There’s also no one on the 40 man roster who’s ready to get called up to make a spot start. 

That means Colon has to start and all hands need to be on deck . . . like they needed to be on Friday. Hopefully, Verrett’s inability to go more than one inning won’t be a major problem. Hopefully, multiple innings of Sean Gilmartin and Carlos Torres won’t harm the Mets chances of winning a game in bandbox like Citizens Bank Ballpark. 

No matter what’s going on, I’m starting to get a headache just trying to figure out what the Mets are doing in the bullpen. 

Selecting the Wright Lineup

Today is the day David Wright comes off the DL. We know he will play 3B. We don’t know much more than that. 

Actually that’s not entirely true. We know Curtis Granderson will hit leadoff except when there’s a lefty in the mound. Then Juan Lagares will hit leadoff. We also know Terry Collins wants Wright batting second. We know there’s a platoon system. I also assume we know the pitcher is batting ninth. I also assume Collins will try to alternate lefties and righties in the lineup. We’ll see later today, but I presume the lineup against righties would look like this:

  1. Granderson RF
  2. Wright 3B
  3. Murphy 1B
  4. Cespedes CF
  5. Johnson 2B
  6. d’Arnaud C
  7. Conforto LF
  8. Tejada SS
  9. Pitcher 

Against lefties, the lineup may look like this:

  1. Lagares CF
  2. Wright 3B
  3. Murphy 2B
  4. Cespedes LF
  5. Granderdon RF
  6. Cuddyer 1B
  7. d’Arnaud C
  8. Tejada SS 
  9. Pitcher

Of course, Collins likes to tweak it here and there to get Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] some ABs. I can also see him batting Granderson second against lefties with Wright third and Murphy fifth. I also assume Anthony Recker bats eighth when he plays. 
Anyway, with the rough time Collins has been having, it’s hard to completely judge how he’ll map up the lineup. This is especially evident with him batting Juan Uribe cleanup. With Wright only playing four games in a row, there will be plenty of chances to do that. Overall, the challenge is not just setting the lineup, but it’s also keeping everyone engaged. Furthermore, it’s about keeping Wright healthy. 

When Lucas Duda comes BACK, there will be some real challenges getting ABs for Uribe and Johnson. If argue the real challenge them would be making sure Collins doesn’t give them regular ABs and let the best players play.