Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the shortstop, Wilmer Flores!

Matt Harvey Timeline

I’m presenting the following Matt Harvey timeline with no interpretation or commentary. 

  1. July 16, 2013: Harvey starts the All Star Game at Citi Field
  2. August 2013: Harvey makes a few starts with some elbow problems 
  3. August 24, 2013: Harvey roughed up by Tigers, describes himself as “getting pretty tired.”
  4. August 25, 2013: Harvey informs Mets he’s having an abnormal amount of forearm discomfort. 
  5. August 26, 2013: MRI reveals Harvey has a UCL tear. Harvey reveals he wants to avoid surgery. 
  6. October 4, 2013: Harvey elects to have Tommy John surgery. 
  7. October 22, 2013: Dr. James Andrews performs successful Tommy John surgery on Harvey. 
  8. January 23, 2014: Harvey announces he wants to pitch during the 2014 season. 
  9. March 19, 2014: Harvey announces he wants to rehab with the team and not in Florida. 
  10. March 25, 2014: Mets announce Harvey will split rehab between NY and FL. 
  11. August 1, 2014: Harvey begins throwing from a mound (slightly ahead of schedule) and states he wants to pitch for the Mets if they make the playoffs. 
  12. September 4, 2014: Mets announce they will not let Harvey go 100% until the 2015 Spring Training. 
  13. September 2014: Harvey is shut down and will not appear in a game. 
  14. November 2014: after taking a month off, Harvey begins throwing on flat ground and long tossing. 
  15. February 9, 2015: Harvey reports early to Spring Training. 
  16. February 20, 2015: Alderson announces 200 innings limit for Harvey including playoffs. 
  17. March 3, 2015: Mets set rotation so Harvey starts the second home game, which the Mets admit makes good marketing sense. 
  18. March 6, 2015: Harvey throws 25 pitches in his first Spring Training start. 
  19. April 8, 2015: Harvey beats the Nationals in his first regular season start since 2013.
  20. April 9, 2015: Collins announces Harvey will be limited to 190 innings. 
  21. April 14, 2015: Harvey wins in his return to Citi Field. 
  22. April 17, 2015: Mets announce they will move to a six man rotation with Rafael Montero to keep Harvey fresh. 
  23. April 28, 2015: Montero starts in a loss to the Marlins. 
  24. April 30, 2015: Montero placed on the DL. 
  25. May 25, 2015: Harvey experiencing a dead arm. 
  26. June 3, 2015Dillon Gee comes off the DL, and the Mets announce they’re moving to a six man rotation. 
  27. June 7, 2015: Gee is ineffective and is moved to the bullpen. Collins announces he’s abandoning the six man rotation. 
  28. June 15, 2015: Gee is designated for assignment. 
  29. June 26, 2015: Mets announce they are calling up Steven Matz and will be going back to the six man rotation. 
  30. June 28, 2015: Matz makes his major league debut. 
  31. June – July 2015: Matz informs Mets he has “stiffness underneath his left armpit.”
  32. July – August 2015: Harvey sees a dip in velocity in all of his pitches. 
  33. July 3, 2015: Dan Warthen deems Matz fine after watching a bullpen session. 
  34. July 4, 2015: Harvey complains the six man rotation takes him out of his rhythm after a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers. 
  35. July 5, 2015: Matz pitches six shutout innings in win over Dodgers. 
  36. July 6, 2015: Terry Collins tells Harvey to get over the six man rotation. 
  37. July 9. 2015: Matz has lat injury which requires him to be shut down for three weeks. 
  38. July 12, 2015: Collins announces Mets are abandoning the six man rotation due to Matz injury. 
  39. August 2015: Scott Boras contacts Mets with concerns over Harvey’s innings pitched. 
  40. August 21, 2015: it’s reported that Harvey has no objection to the Mets skipping one or two of his starts. 
  41. August 23, 2015: The Mets skip Harvey in the rotation, and Logan Verrett gets the win over the Rockies. 
  42. September 2, 2015: Mets announce they will skip a second Harvey start. 
  43. September 3, 2015: Harvey is forced to leave a game with dehydration and weakness in a win over the Phillies. 
  44. September 4, 2015: Jon Heyman reports Scott Boras informed the Mets that Harvey has a strict 180 innings limit. 
  45. September 5, 2015: Harvey attends press conference and states he always thought 180 innings was a hard cap. He refuses to answer questions regarding the playoffs. 
  46. September 5, 2015: backlash from fans and media to Harvey’s press conference. 
  47. September 6, 2015: Matt Harvey announces he will pitch in the postseason. 
  48. September 7, 2015: Sandy Alderson announces Harvey has two regular seasons starts left and may not pitch throughout the entire postseason. 
  49. September 8, 2015: Harvey scheduled to pitch against the Nationals. 

Dwight Gooden Career Advice

The 1980’s tremendous run was partly fueled by Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden. They had their share of drug problems. They were self destructive. They were labeled the “Dead End Kids.”  

It seems after years, most likely decades, of problems, they’re finally clean. They have seemingly turned their lives around. They now have important things to say and have important things to do. It’s a remarkable turn-around. I want to hear them talk as much as possible about the dangers of drug use. It’s an important message. Hopefully, they’ll prevent someone from repeating their mistakes. Maybe they’ll help a troubled person through a tough time. 

What I don’t want to hear is them lecture other players on how they should be more like they were. Sure enough, Gooden weighed in on the whole Matt Harvey controversy:

This hypocrisy demands a look into Doc’s career, a look I would rather not make. However, when he tells everyone to look at what he did when he was playing, we should. 

Let’s start with the innings. Doc was abused by Davey Johnson and Mel Stottlemeyer. Doc was amazing. He was doing things not even Tom Seaver did. In his age 19, 20, and 21 seasons, he threw 218.0, 276.2, and 250.0 innings. His last All Star Game was in 1988, when he was 23 years old. On September 8, 1991, when he was 26 years old,  he received season ending rotator cuff surgery. For a man who set strikeout records, he would never again reach 150 strikeouts. In the last eight years of his career, his average season was 7-7 with a 4.45 ERA and 94 strikeouts. 

Effectively speaking, he was done when he was 26 years old. If anyone should be preaching caution against overuse, it’s Gooden. His Hall of Fame talent and possible career went the wayside due to abuse and overuse, at least partial so. 

That wasn’t the only abuse that ruined Gooden’s career. Gooden was a drug addict. Gooden became hooked on cocaine during the 1986 season. He missed the championship parade because he was high in the projects. In 1987, he was suspended for one month due to failed drug tests. He was forced into rehab by then Commissioner Peter Ueberroth. Gooden missed the Opening Day after a World Series title. He would return on June 5, 1987. It was 31 games into the season, the equivalent of six starts. The Mets missed the playoffs by three games that year. Gooden would be suspended for the 1995 season for failing a “bunch of [drug] tests.”  

So no, I don’t want Gooden to point to his career as an example of what to do. When he talks about Harvey being shut down for health reasons, he neglects how injuries damaged his career. When he talks about how Harvey should demand that he go out there for his teammates, he neglects to mention all the times he wasn’t. 

I don’t like bashing Gooden. However, I also don’t like the Harvey bashing. Harvey has a hard decision and a career to contemplate. It’s easy for everyone to tell Harvey what to do. It’s not their career or future. It was easy for Gooden to do the same. He just forgot how injuries ruined his career as well as the times he wasn’t there for his teammates. 

Harvey has a big start tomorrow, and he will pitch in the playoffs. I wish the best for him. More importantly, I wish the best for Gooden. They both need our support this year and beyond. 

Mets Are Resilient & Better

The Mets lost 2/3 to the Marlins. The Nationals were coming in hot. The Mets were starting their worst pitcher in Jon Niese, and the Nationals were starting their best in Max Scherzer. There was no reason why you would think the Mets would win this game. 

Except this – the Mets are resilient, and they’re a better team. Niese was handed a three run lead from Michael ConfortoKelly Johnson, and Yoenis Cespedes solo homeruns. He then didn’t get a call leading to a walk loading the bases. Sure enough, he gives up the lead on a grand slam to Met killer Wilson Ramos

He’s pulled and Carlos Torres enters. Sure enough, he pulls up lame and has to leave the game early. The resilient Mets got terrific bullpen work today made all the more remarkable by the fact that Tyler Clippard was unavailable. Erik GoeddelDario AlvarezHansel Robles, and Jeurys Familia combined to pitch four shutout innings allowing one hit and striking out eight. The highlights were Alvarez becoming the LOOGY we imagined he is by striking out Bryce Harper in the seventh, and Robles quick pitching his way into the Nationals’ heads. 

The Mets offense made sure the bullpens work was rewarded. After tying it with runs in the fifth and sixth, the Mets took over in the seventh. After Ruben Tejada negated a Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] lead off double with an awful sac bunt attempt, the Mets were resilient and picked him up. After a Curtis Granderson walk, David Wright hit an RBI single to put the Mets ahead for good. He would later score on a Cespedes RBI double. The image so far for the season is Wright pumping his fist as he beat out Harper’s throw to score the eighth run of the game. 

By the way, Cespedes had himself a day at the plate. He went 3-5 with two runs scored, two RBIs, two doubles and a homer. Terry Collins also had himself a day. Before the game, he declared this is a playoff series, and he was going to manage accordingly. If this is what we can expect in October, I take back every negative thing I’ve said about his managing abilities

This was just a terrific win. It’s the type of game that can sink the Nationals and propel the Mets even further. This’s Mets team is resilient, and they’re taking control of the division again. They’re putting the Nationals in the rear-view mirror, and they’re not looking back. 

The Mets Will Remain in First Place

Today’s game is the biggest game the Mets have played since they moved to Citi Field. It’s their biggest series in seven years. No matter what happens, they will leave Washington in first place. 

They’re carrying a four game lead into Washington. Even if the get swept, they will remain in first. If the Mets sweep, they will be seven up with 26 games remaining.  Like James Ingram, all I’m asking is that the Mets win “Just Once.”  That’ll give them a three game lead presumably forcing the Nationals to sweep the Mets in the last series of the season to have a shot of winning the division. 

The Mets set up their post-All Star Break rotation with Noah SyndergaardMatt Harvey, and Jacob deGrom facing the Nationals in their first two series against each other. After the Mets August 2nd win completing the sweep, the Mets have been in first place, and they do not look like they want to give it back.  The Nationals seem to have noticed. 

They have set up their rotation so the Mets face Max ScherzerJordan Zimmermann, and Steven Strasburg. While the Mets will lead-off with Jon Niese, they will follow with Harvey and deGrom. The last two games of this series is must see TV. Especially with Harvey and deGrom, I like the Mets chances. 

Since 2009, the Mets have had a losing record. We dreamed of the day that this young pitching would come together and lead the Mets to the playoffs and beyond. The Nationals are the only obstacle in their way. “I know we can break through it.”  

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the shortstop, Wilmer Flores!

Who’s on First?

With injuries to Lucas DudaDaniel Murphy, and Michael Cuddyer, the Mets had to improvise at first base this past weekend against the Marlins. That meant we saw Kelly Johnson and Eric Campbell play first base. 

It seems with the most important series in seven years, the Mets can turn back to their two best 1B options. After his two game rehab stint, Duda is rejoining the Mets in Washington. After sitting out two straight games, Murphy made a pinch hitting appearance in the seventh. He grounded into a double play, and he didn’t exactly look like he was busting it down the first base line. Cuddyer has wrist tendinitis requiring a splint and a cortisone shot. He’s still unavailable. 

I’m glad Duda and Murphy are seemingly ready to go. However, I’m still nervous about Duda’s back and Murphy’s quad. These are nagging types of injuries. Given their recent history dealing with injuries, please excuse me for not believing either player is fully ready to go. Murphy running out of the box should convince you of that. 

Terry Collins has a delicate situation here because the Mets need to put their best foot forward in this series. He started it by sitting David Wright yesterday. They’ll be further aided with Duda at first and Murphy at second. I’m sure that’s where they will be in the lineup. I hope they’re able to contribute. 

I hope they stay healthy because a season and postseason rides on it. 

Niese’s Last Chance?

As I’ve said before, it seems like the Mets are having auditions for a spot on the postseason roster. Jon Niese has already been put on warning that his start against the Nationals will be the biggest start of his career

That’s not hyperbole. Right now, Niese is probably the Mets worst starting pitching option. While he’s been shrinking, his teammates have been stepping up. On Saturday, Bartolo Colon became the oldest Mets pitcher to have a complete game shut outNoah Syndergaard pitched a good game saving the bullpen and giving the Mets a chance to win. Steven Matz had a strong start until leaving the game with a blister. 

As the other starters are stepping up, Niese is shrinking from the moment. Hopefully, this has nothing to do with his shoulder. The Mets haven’t done him any favors by putting him up against Max Scherzer and a rejuvenated Nationals lineup. It’s the perfect time to step up. 

The Mets fans are on the fence right now (not me). They’re invoking 2007 and 2008. It’s like they need an exorcism to prove those demons are gone. Niese probably needs one as well. He made his first three career starts in 2008, all in September. He went 1-1 with a 7.07 ERA and a 2.000 WHIP in 14.0 innings. In his last five starts, he has a 7.06 ERA and a 1.535 WHIP. 

He’s almost as bad this year as we was in 2008. We’ve seen the meltdowns with him when something doesn’t go right. The pressure gets to him. It seems like the pressure of a pennant race also gets to him. He has time to prove me wrong. I want him to prove me wrong. 

The Mets won’t take him out of the rotation in the regular season, especially with the recent drama. However, if he keeps this up, he’s out of the rotation in October. It’ll be amazing to see the man born on the day the Mets last won the World Series not be on the postseason roster. 

If Niese wants to be there in October, it starts today. 

Oliver Perez Might’ve Been a Beloved Met

After Duaner Sanchez‘s infamous cabride, Omar Minaya made a trade to acquire Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez. While the thought process might have been to get another reliever, it was Perez who was pressed into action. 

At first, Perez seemed like an asset for the future. More likely, he was a throw-in. However, Pedro Martinez‘s season ended in September because he needed rotator cuff surgeryEl Duque was injured right before Game One of the NLDS. Steve Trachsel was horrid in the NLDS and the NLCS. The Mets had no option but to press Oliver Perez into action. 

With the Mets down 2-1 in the NLCS, Perez pitched reasonably well. Through five innings he only let up three runs. He started to lose it in the sixth, but that was only after the Mets expanded their lead to 11-3. Then came that epic and tragic Game Seven. Perez was pressed into action again. This time it was on three days rest. 

In Game Seven, he allowed one run over six innings. He was terrific that night, but he was mostly aided by Endy Chavez:

By the way, I was there. I’ve never see Shea like that. For all the good Citi Field has to offer, it will never be like it was at Shea after that catch. I don’t need to continue as to what happened next. 

In 2007, Perez went 15-10 with a 3.56 ERA. In 2008, he wasn’t as good, but he was effective going 10-7 with a 4.22 ERA. He started the last game at Shea with another collapse on hand. He gave the Mets 5.1 innings with two earned allowed. He kept the Mets in the game allowing Carlos Beltran to tie the score in the sixth on a two run homerun. The season effectively ended when Jerry Manuel brought in Scott Schoeneweis

Imagine if that was the end of Oliver Perez. He would’ve been remembered as a gamer. He would’ve been remembered for two decent seasons. Unfortunately, he signed that contact, and he was terrible. That was the lasting memory; not his clutch performances. 

It’s a shame. He could’ve been beloved by Mets fans forever instead of the villain he is. While good-byes are hard, sometimes it’s harder when the player stats too long. 

Prado Killed the Mets

For one Sunday afternoon, it was nice to focus on baseball. The good?  Steven Matz went 5.2 innings with four hits, two walks, six strikeouts, and two earned. He left on the long side. The bad?  He had to leave in the sixth with a blister problem. 

Given the hand he was dealt (yet another pun from me), Terry Collins did a good job with the bullpen. I hate that Tyler Clippard let up the game tying homerun in the eighth. I love how angry he was about it. I love how he was pacing in the dugout angry after the inning. I love the fire he showed. 

If nothing else, this is a resilient team. After just losing the lead, the Mets loaded the bases. Unfortunately, Travis d’Arnaud, who has been d’Man lately, hit into a double play. Sure enough, it was started by new Mets killer, Martin Prado

Now, I’m not getting on Collins for pulling d’Arnaud. I know Anthony Recker had a passed ball on a strike three that started the game winning rally, but Recker is a good defensive catcher.  I also trust Collins knows if one of his players needs a blow. Also, you want d’Arnaud as fresh as possible with a huge series starting with tomorrow’s day game against the Nationals. 

The Marlins would win with Prado’s sacrifice fly in the ninth inning. He’s a new Mets killer. I can’t kill anyone for this loss. Collins made the right moves. I don’t have a problem with Clippard going a second inning. The Mets simply lost because the Marlins were the better team today. 

The team fought hard. Sometimes, it’s just not your day. The Mets will still have a four game lead going into Washington. They still control their own destiny. I’m not talking collapse yet. 

This is a resilient, fun team. Have some faith. Have some fun. Lets Go Mets!