Verrett Had a Humber-dinger of a Game

Eight years ago, the Mets were falling apart at the seams. We saw the team trying to restrict Pedro Martinez’s innings. They had no choice but to use Phillip Humber. Five years later, he would go on and throw a perfect game, but on that September night, he was terrible. The Mets lost the game. They would miss the playoffs that year too. 

Logan Verrett pitched under similar, but not the same, circumstances. The Mets ├╗determined there was an innings limit problem and they skipped Matt Harvey‘s start. Verrett was terrific. He went eight innings allowing one run on four hits with eight strikeouts. He gave a worn out bullpen a rest. Surprisingly, Hansel Robles shut the door in the ninth securing the 5-1 win. 

The Mets scored all five runs in the first three innings. Most notably, the Mets scored two runs in the second inning that set baseball back about a 100 years. Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] was hit by a pitch, and then Michael Conforto singled. With Flores going first to third, Carlos Gonzalez made a throwing error. The ball didn’t get far away enough for Flores to score, but it permitted Conforto to go to second. I still can’t believe what happened next. 

With every Mets fan hoping Anthony Recker would luck into an RBI, David Hale made sure Recker wouldn’t be a factor. On back-to-back pitches, he threw a wild pitch allowing Flores and Conforto to score. I was dumbfounded.  After the baseball we saw this weekend, so was Keith Hernandez. He was actively calling for no more expansion because the plays and players he saw this weekend was terrible. 

He wasn’t wrong. I’m glad the Mets are out of Colorado, and I’m glad they got the sweep. This weekend was like making sausage. You enjoyed the results, but you didn’t necessarily enjoy watching how it got done. 

There’s a lot more baseball left. I plan on enjoying the remaining games during a pennant race. 

The Mets Are Officially Tempting Fate

As the numbers suggest, the Mets have a good chance to win the division. However, that is predicated on the Mets maintaining the status quo. That officially goes out the door when the Mets skip Matt Harvey‘s start today. 

We all know with Harvey, and Harvey alone, there is an innings limits issue. As per my estimates, Harvey was going to throw approximately 208 innings. Skipping one start will bring him down to 201.1. It seems like this will be the only start the Mets skip because they intend on using a six man rotation when Steven Matz returns. It appears that Matz’s first start back with the Mets will be September 1st or soon thereafter. 

If that’s the case, here is when Harvey will pitch for the rest of the year (assuming a six man rotation from September 1st until the end of the year):

  1. 8/28 vs. Red Sox
  2. 9/4 at Marlins
  3. 9/10 at Braves
  4. 9/16 vs. Marlins
  5. 9/23 vs. Braves
  6. 9/30 vs. Phillies

If the Mets didn’t switch to a six man rotation, guess how many starts Harvey had left?  Seven. Therefore, Harvey will only pitch in one less game. He’s still going to go over his innings limit as he will finish around 195 innings. He’s pitching against much weaker opponents in the stretch drive than he would have in a five man rotation. Speaking of which, this is the stretch drive. The time to do this has passed. 

The other problem is that pitchers pitch worse in a six man rotation than in a five man rotation.  Furthermore, if the Mets make the playoffs, they’ll likely only go with four starters. This means you want to go from giving your pitchers a month of extra rest and changing their routines to quickly shifting back and getting them less rest than normal. 

I don’t have a study that supports this, but I would assume this type of treatment is also dangerous to a pitcher’s arm health. It would then appear the Mets are tempting fate with their pitchers’ health. I hope my assumption is wrong and this won’t be the case. 

For the life of me, I don’t know why the Mets are doing this now and not earlier in the year. I just hope this won’t give the Nationals an opportunity to win the division. 

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the second baseman, Wilmer Flores!

It’s Just a Flesh Wound

The Mets have a terrific team doctor whom they trust. They allowed him to kill the very important Carlos Gomez deal that initially left them with egg all over their face

It’s because of this that I don’t believe the Mets consult with their team physician when a player has complaints. Matt Harvey was the most important part of the otlrganization in 2013. They let him pitch through forearm tightness, and he would subsequently need Tommy John surgery. 

Never ones to learn their lessons, the Mets permitted Zack Wheeler to pitch with ligament damage while Harvey was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He needed Tommy John surgery. 

Now, after losing two major pitching prospects to injury two of the past three seasons, they repeated the same mistake with Steven Matz. After telling the team of pains in his side in his first major league start, Dan Warthen declared him fit to pitch after watching a bullpen session. Matz was shut down for three weeks and only recently began his rehab outing. 

It’s an epidemic. You need look no further than Friday’s gameBartolo Colon was not fit to pitch. His wrist was swelling up more and more. The Mets answer?  Ray Ramirez sat there rubbing some ice on it and then sent Colon back out there. I guess we should be happy it wasn’t leeches. 

You see that’s the problem. Injuries aren’t taken seriously. They’re not properly addressed. Players are not placed on the DL and their conditions get worse. 

This became evident again with Lucas Duda‘s back. The Mets saw with David Wright the severity of back injuries and how long they take to heal. Similar to Harvey/Wheeler, the Mets showed an inability to learn their lesson. 

Arguably, Duda is the Mets most important offensive player. You need to take care of him. Despite his back pain, they never bothered to send him for an MRI. That’s right they didn’t order a necessary test despite having gone through what they did with Wright. Only now are they conferring with Wright’s back specialist, Dr. Watkins. 

For some reason the information isn’t going from the player to the right people. Maybe it is, and I dint know it. Maybe the Mets are ignoring the advice. Maybe they don’t know to to properly gauge when a doctor needs to be consulted. Whatever the case may be, there is something wrong here.  

The Mets need to change something and fast. Not everything is a flesh wound. Sometimes an important player gets hurt and is out longer because of the team’s actions. It just happened again with Duda. 

This Isn’t Baseball

Keith Hernandez was right when he asked how you can sell this. I love that he lost his patience with this game. He voiced that quite well tonight. High scoring games can be fun. When it is in Coors Field, it feels tedious. It feels like a gimmic. 

It’s why I can’t pass judgment on Jon Niese for allowing 11 hits and seven earned in 5.1 innings. I don’t care that he had an 11-3 lead. It’s like calling someone terrible at golf because they can’t get the ball past the windmill on the mini golf course. It’s a gimmic version of golf, which does not truly measure someone’s true golf skills. That’s what it’s like pitching in Coors Field. 

It’s also why I didn’t get all excited over the top of the third which I’m not entirely sure ever ended. Sure, at the end of the inning, the Mets scored  eight runs to go up 11-3. It’s also true the final score was 14-9. Another reason I wasn’t excited over the inning was all the tired Oprah jokes on Twitter:

  

I thought with the Dark Knight there would be more creativity. Since these were big hits, I was hoping to see some old Batman references like:  

  
and   

  
and, of course

  
Well, anyway, we all sat through pretty bad baseball and tired, recycled jokes. 

As much as we complain about Terry Collins, Walt Weiss is so much worse. After blowing a game against the Mets for pulling his starter too early, he cost his team a chance to win by leaving his starters in too long the past few nights. I did like that even without a save situation, Collins threw the book away and pitched Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia. This showed an understanding of how these games have gone and the nature of Coors Field. Good work by Collins. 

I got bored with the video game scoring. However, I won’t get bored of is wins. I won’t get bored of a pennant race. Let’s hope for the sweep tomorrow in the last game without David Wright because the only thing worse than watching a game at Coors Field is watching your team lose there. 

EY’s Back, Back Again

As I’ve said a number of times, one of the biggest mistakes the Sandy Alderson regime made was acquiring Eric Young, Jr.  Well, he’s back again

My first reaction was: not again. In his two years with the Mets, he slashed a .242/.310/.321. Despite these poor numbers, Terry Collins always batted him leadoff because he is fast and can steal bases. In fact, he lead the league in stolen bases as a Met in 2013.  It was always my impression, Collins always played EY more than he should. 

We always seem to like certain guys and not others. For example, if you really want to hear me go off, ask me about Ramon Castro. Collins likes EY. He also loves batting Juan Lagares in the leadoff spot. You see my problem was never with EY. He seems like a nice guy. He always hustled. He has positive attributes as a baseball player. My problem is with how Collins used EY. 

I hope it won’t be a problem this time around. There’s enough of a glut in the OF for Collins to try to shoehorn EY in there. There’s too many 2B options to try to force EY in there. So naturally, the question is: why bother acquiring him?

The answer may surprise you. He’s a realistic option for the postseason roster. You read that right. Keep in mind, he won’t be anything more than the last man on the bench, but he’s still a viable option. 

For starters, EY can play multiple positions. As per UZR, he’s an average 2B, great in LF, and slightly below average in CF and RF. That pretty much makes him their best defensive 2B and their second best defensive LF. He would be the defensive answer to what the Mets envision Kelly Johnson is offensively. 

Next, let’s not discount the speed. As I already noted, EY has won a stolen base title. He’s successful 81% of the time on SB attempts. This is impressive when you consider an acceptable percentage is 75%. Also, we all remember that it was Dave Roberts who helped propel the Red Sox to overcome the 0-3 deficit with this SB:

So even though I don’t fully trust Collins with EY, I have to admit adding EY this time was a good move. Let’s just get him on the 40 man roster to make him postseason eligible. 

Mets Should Bring a Rockie Home with Them

I promise you this is not another trading for Jose Reyes post, even if I still think the Mets need a SS. Instead, this post is about John Axford. I wish I could take credit for this idea, but this one comes from Dan O’Dowd. It’s a good idea. 

First and foremost, the Mets bullpen needs help, and the Mets aren’t utilizing their internal candidates. This leaves external candidates. As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I know the Mets would have to make a move with the 40 man roster, but there is enough fat to cut away there. 

More importantly, the question is of all the players that clear waivers, why Axford?  I would argue he pitches better in a pennant race for good teams.

In 2013, he started the year with the sub .500 Brewers. He wasn’t good. His FIP was 4.77.  His K/9 was a good 8.9. On August 30, 2013, Axford was traded to the Cardinals, and he got much better, like everyone who’s traded to the Cardinals. His FIP improved to 2.08. His good 8.9 K/9 improved to 10.4. 

In 2014, the Cardinals didn’t bring him back. With the Indians, Axford had an FIP of 4.71, but he did have a 10.5 K/9. On August 14, 2014, Axford was traded to the Pirates. Again, he pitched better. His FIP improved to 2.86 even if his K/9 dipped to 9.8. 

It should be mentioned neither the Cardinals or Pirates needed bullpen help. Despite this, they bit traded for Axford. Axford then became a big piece of each of those bullpens. This time the Mets need a bullpen piece. Axford has shown the ability to raise his game, but how is he pitching now?

Now, there is the caveat that he pitches for the Rockies. However, that is why I picked FIP because that takes Axford pitching in Colorado into account. With that said, his FIP is 4.09 with a 9.3 K/9. There is concern about his steady K/9 drop. However, his fastball velocity has remained steady around 95.5 MPH.  Therefore, part of the decreased K/9 could be attributable to the Coors Field effect on breaking pitches. Basically, like the prior two years, Axford appears fixable again. 

Axford is a strong arm who has shown he’s dependable in a pennant race. Better yet, he’s good in the postseason as well. He’s 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA and a 12.8 K/9. If the goal is to make the postseason and succeed, Axford is your man. 

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the second baseman, Wilmer Flores!

Conforto Still Here?

On August 10th, with Michael Cuddyer coming off the DL, the Mets had to decide whether to send down Eric Campbell or Michael Conforto. It seemed both would have to be sent down anyway. Most believed that when David Wright came off the DL, the other player would have to be sent down to AAA. 

I thought it should’ve been Conforto for many reasons. Principally, I thought if you’re going to have to send him down anyway, why not do it sooner to let him really work on some things in AAA where he can get more focused attention. In his infinite wisdom, Mark Simon basically said that we should worry about the second move when the time comes:

https://mobile.twitter.com/msimonespn/status/630832627109335040

It turns out he was right. No one should be surprised because he’s a smart guy and a fantastic follow. Anyway, he’s right because things are a little haywire with the Mets right now. 

The bullpen is a mess right now. Logan Verrett was initially called up to take Bobby Parnell‘s spot in the bullpen. In reality, he was called up for one short relief appearance on his throw day and to make a spot start on Sunday so the team can skip Matt Harvey‘s Sunday start. 
With the bullpen being short, the Mets decided they needed to call-up Dario Alvarez. I don’t know much about him. I’m not putting much stock in his performance last year. It was a small sample size. However, he was ranked as the Mets #22 ranked prospect. After a good start in Binghampton, he moved to Las Vegas where he’s been dominant with a 1.08 ERA, a 0.60 WHIP, and 16.20 K/9. This may turn out to be a great decision especially since Alvarez is a LHP. 

Now, the Mets need to make a make room for Alvarez. Throughout the game on Friday, Gary Cohen suggested it would be Conforto. With him having to go down on Monday and the Rockies throwing a LHP on Saturday, meaning Conforto wouldn’t play, it seemed to be the right move. Then, as Mark Simon said, things began to work themselves out.”

First, Bartolo Colon was hit on the wrist and has a large bump there. It was severe enough that it merited getting an x-ray. Luckily, it’s not broken, but Colon said it did affect his pitching. He doesn’t want to have to skip a start, but I’m not ruling it out at this point. At some point, the Mets may need to consider putting him on the DL. 

Speaking of the DL, Lucas Duda had to be pulled from the game with an aggravation of the same back injury. According to Adam Rubin, it may be Duda who winds up on the DL. It should be noted with the Mets not putting Duda on the DL when the problem first arose, they got a PH appearance, two games at DH, and six full innings at 1B. If he was initially placed on the DL, he would’ve been ready to come back on August 28th. Presumably, he would’ve been in better shape and not susceptible to a relapse. Instead, the Mets will get three games from Duda between August 13th and September 6th. Yet again, they’ve botched an injury situation. 

With Duda presumably going to the DL, Conforto gets a reprieve. I wish the Mets would let him bat against lefties. It doesn’t make sense that they don’t, especially when they let Curtis Granderson do it. However, that’s another argument to re-hash at another time. 

Let’s hope Colon and Duda get better. Let’s hope Conforto begins to produce better than his .224/.333/.448 triple slash line. Let’s hope Alvarez is effective. Mostly, let’s hope the Mets start reacting better to player injuries. 

Cespedes Backs Up a Damaged Colon

I’ve made it well known that I don’t think Bartolo Colon is a good pitcher anymore. Normally, I’d be apoplectic over his giving up seven earned in 3.2 innings. 

Actually, you know what?  I am apoplectic over it. Look at the photo. They had to ice and rub him just to get him out there. If you were watching it on TV, you saw that bump on his wrist get bigger and bigger. He should’ve been taken out when he was hit on the wrist in the second inning. 

I don’t care if you’re one of the stud muffins or a bad 42 year old pitcher, the team does not have the right to put a player out there and risk significant injury. I’m even more incredulous because the Mets have a short bullpen and want to skip Matt Harvey‘s Sunday start. Also, if the Mets want a six man rotation, I’m certain that included Colon and not Logan Verrett

Also troubling for the Mets, Lucas Duda left the game in the seventh with the game very much in doubt. Hopefully, it has nothing to do with his back

Lucky for the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes unleashed his “Feats of Strength.”  He went 5-6 with a stolen base, double, three homeruns (one grand slam) and seven RBIs. Two homers were to CF and the other went to RF.  it would’ve been 6-6 if not for a terrific running catch by Carlos Gonzalez in the ninth.  Going into the ninth, Cespedes had a chance for the HR Cycle (solo, two run, three run, grand slam). The Murphy SF took care of that. He was also a triple short of the cycle. Car-Go’s catch took care of that. 

The rest you need to know?  the six inning, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto hit solo homeruns off former Met Gonzalez German.  Sean Gilmartin was marginally effective and got the win. Hansel Robles wasn’t good, but he only gave up one run. The Mets added an insurance run in the eighth with a Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] RBI double scoring Cespedes (who else?).  Daniel Murphy would knock in the last run with a ninth inning sacrifice fly. Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia locked down the eighth and ninth to secure the 14-9 win. 

It’s funny with everything going on tonight, the thing that threw me for a loop was seeing Jose Reyes bat second. The only other person not to put Reyes in the leading spot was Jerry Manuel. That’s not good company for Walt Weis. 

Overall, my favorite part of the night was in the top of the sixth. Despite burning a challenge earlier in the game, Walt Weiss came out to challenge a safe call on a Curtis Granderson stolen base attempt. It was a little ironic because the early failed challenge involved Granderson throwing out Nick Hundley at the plate to end the fifth inning. I think the umpires got the call wrong even if it was upheld on replay.

Anyway, Walt Weiss has no challenges left. It doesn’t stop him. The umpires went forward with the replay, which did confirm the call. Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez were livid and rightfully so. There were a few times I thought Keith was going to drop an expletive. In this mess of a game it gave me a chuckle. 

The win gave me a smile. I have a huge grin due to the Nationals loss, and the Mets expanding their lead to five games.