Today is National Lefthanders’ Day. The day made me think of my son and his baseball future.
If you’re a baseball fan, and you have a son, you want him to be left-handed because seemingly there are more chances for left handed pitchers. Left handed pitchers throw the ball with more spin. They seem to have longer careers. Mets fans need look no further than John Franco and Jesse Orosco.
Plus left-handed batters are described as having beautiful swings. There is Tony Gwynn, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Ted Williams. For Mets fans, we think of Darryl Strawberry and John Olreud. Oh yeah, the greatest baseball player of all time was left handed.
Now, I know children will not truly have a hand preference until they are about four. Right now, there are some things he does right handed and some things he does left handed. However, it doesn’t stop me from dreaming or playing baseball with my son. When we play baseball, I have him switch hit.
I may want him to throw the ball left-handed, and I may occasionally put it in his left hand, but he really throws with both hands. I joke with my wife that ultimately it doesn’t matter because he’ll throw lefty when he’s older. You may not know this, but Billy Wagner is naturally right-handed. He began playing lefty when he broke his right arm. It reminds me of when I broke my right thumb playing baseball around the same age.
I went to a yard sale and got a left handed glove large enough to fit over my splint. I would practice throwing lefty and catching with my new mitt until I got caught. I would sneak out of the house and ride my bike to my Little League games (my splint hidden in my bat bag). My mom would arrive in just enough time for my name to be scratched from the lineup. I never got the opportunity to be like Billy Wagner. Something tells me my wife won’t let that happen either.
Anyway, that is how much I loved baseball (and still do). You couldn’t keep me off the field without a fight. I already see glimpses of that with my son. He loves baseball. He was watching the game last night telling me when the players hit the ball. He knows a double and a homerun.
I’m glad he loves the sport. Lefty or not, I’ll be there playing with him, and hopefully, one day I’ll be there when he suits up for his first game in the majors. If he doesn’t, I’ll still love him and be proud of him . . . it’ll just mean I’ll have to buy my own tickets.
We all have those conversations that we just hate having. For some of us, it’s that conversation when it’s time to go on a diet. For others, it’s about the household budget. For all Mets fans, it’s about injuries.
They all start out seemingly innocuous and become something more. When it originally seems bad, we’re told it’s not and the player sits on the bench until they can hobble on the field for a PH appearance.
Also, this year we saw David Wright‘s hamstring injury become a spinal stenosis issue. Then the Mets refused to put Michael Cuddyer on the DL, severely limiting the team. Now, Lucas Duda has missed three straight games with an unknown back injury.
Yes, I know it says stuff back in the link, but that’s a symptom; not a diagnosis. For example, a throbbing leg is a symptom. When x-rays show a fracture that’s a diagnosis. Duda has missed three straight games. It’s time to get some tests.
Honestly, I can’t believe I’m saying this after David Wright. You’d think the Mets would be extra sensitive to back injuries. However, when looking at the facts, I’m naive. You’d think the Mets would’ve show extra precaution when a young starting pitcher has arm complaints after Harvey, yet they ignored Wheeler.
I’m not calling for Duda to be put in the DL yet. You need to know what the problem is before making that decision. However, I will note that when they finally put Cuddyer on the DL, he got better, and it looks like he’s playing better.
I’d rather see Duda get right than try to play through this and get more hurt. While we know rest may not be the best cure, he can do the exercises needed to get his back strong for the rest of the year. It’s not about RIGHT NOW; it’s about this season. You need healthy players for the stretch run. First base can be manned by Cuddyer and Daniel Murphy in the interim.
Please let the Mets learn from their mistakes and take care of Duda. They’ll need him.
Way back when the Mets used to be good, an old friend and I would always lament these days games. It wasn’t just because we had to intermittently listen to the game on the radio, but it was also because odd things tend to happen to the Mets in weekday day games.
I was reminded of that a few weeks ago with that bizarre game against the Padres. With the way Noah Syndergaard started the game, I was afraid of another one of those games. In the first he let up two solo homeruns. The Mets got him the lead in the bottom of the first, and he gave it away in the third.
It looked like this was going to be a high scoring game, and Thor would be lucky to get through five. The Mets upheld their end of the bargain by scoring 12 runs. The Rockies wouldn’t score past the third for a 12-3 final. Amazingly, Thir finished with five strikeouts, 2 walks, four hits, and three earned runs in seven innings. Good for Terry Collins for sticking with him.
This may not have been the game in which he had his most impressive stuff or control, but it might’ve been his most impressive game to date. It’s one thing to win when it’s all working. It’s another to have a rough start with less than your best stuff and still find a way. This is the type of game where you say he could join Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey in being considered an ace.
Offensively, the lefties were hitting on National Lefthanders’ Day. Curtis Granderson went 1-3 with a walk, two runs scored, and a three run homer. Daniel Murphy went 1-5 with a run scored and an RBI double. Kelly Johnson went 3-4 with a double, a home run, a run scored, and three RBIs. Michael Conforto went 2-3 with a walk and three runs scored. The only left not in on the action? Lucas Duda, who missed his third straight game with his back injury.
It was also great to see Juan Lagares hit a pinch hit three run homer. He’s been going well pretty lately. It’ll be great to see him continue because the Mets could use his glove in the field everyday.
On another note, you have to admit you feel great about this team right now. I’m sure there are fans still scared from 2007 and 2008, but this team isn’t that team. Plus, the Nationals aren’t the Phillies. The Mets swept the Rockies and made them look like a last place team. The Rockies beat the Nationals two out of three.
I’m not guarantee in a division title, but I think it’s fine to feel confident and enjoy these games. Don’t let bad memories stop you from enjoying these new ones.
Good morning Mets fans. For some reason, food tastes better this morning. The air smells a little sweater. Overall, everything seems just a little bit better. Why? Here’s why:
Team W L GB
Blue Jays 63 52 –
Yankees 61 51 0.5
Team W L GB
Mets 62 52 –
Nationals 58 55 3.5
That’s right. The Mets are in first, and the Yankees aren’t. It seems like an Abbott and Costello routine. Not even ol’ Sebastian Dimwitty could figure this one out. Do you know the last time the Mets were in first place and the Yankees weren’t this late in the season? 1990!
Here’s a snapshot of what things were like in 1990:
- There were only four divisions and no Wild Card
- There was no interleague play
- Gary Cohen did radio and Howie Rose did TV
- Bud Selig owned the Brewers
- Tom Seaver was not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame
- Ron Darling pitched for the Mets
- Keith Hernandez was finishing his career in Cleveland
- Matt Harvey was one, Jacob deGrom was two, and Bartolo Colon was 30 (numbers are approximate).
- Noah Syndergaard, Wilmer Flores, and Michael Conforto weren’t born yet.
We know now that 1990 was the last hurrah for those 1980’s Mets teams. Now, it just seems like the beginning. Like I’ve said before, it’s a lot easier to raise a Mets fan when the Mets are good. It’s also easier when they’re better than the Yankees.
I know this may only last a day, but let’s enjoy it while it lasts. I get a feeling the Mets are in first to stay. Let’s Go Mets!
Personally, I love how quietly Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey are in this competition amongst themselves to be the ace of this staff. We shouldn’t be surprised the Mets have had two straight shut outs. Last night, Harvey allowed 4 hits and no walks with four strikeouts in eight innings.
Tonight, deGrom was brilliant behind that brilliant fastball of his. He ended his last inning brilliantly with his 10th strikeout in the seventh. Overall, he allowed two hits with an uncharacteristic four walks. All the more remarkable, he didn’t allow a run with first and third with no out in the fifth (much of that due to poor Rockie base running).
Offensively, Travis d’Arnaud is red hot going four for last nine. Michael Cuddyer played his second game in a row. He plated Juan Uribe, who had an RBI double of his own. We saw Yoenis Cespedes show a “Feat of Strength.” Other than that, there was much not going on offensively. This included a Michael Conforto pop-out in the seventh, when he pinch hit for deGrom. However, on a night with deGrom, three runs (3-0 final score) was all the Mets needed, especially with Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia locking down the win.
I guess I should also mention Cespedes had quite the armband . . .
Jacob deGrom is taking the mound tonight. Mets fans are all excited for his start tonight. Why shouldn’t we be. The man has been “deGrominant,” whether it was him winning Rookie of the Year, his All Star Game appearance, or his terrific 2015 season. How quickly we all forget that this was never supposed to happen.
When deGrom was first called-up to the Mets, he was supposed to be in the bullpen while Rafael Montero was supposed to be in the rotation. As we know, deGrom had a strong rookie season, and in the beginning of 2015, it was Montero who was assigned to the bullpen (at least initially). It turns out that would have been a colossal mistake. In fact, this should make Mets fans question every pitching move this front office makes.
To be fair, Montero did enter last year ranked ahead of deGrom. However, that is an independent rating of those two players. Each organization should know their prospects better than fine sites like Baseball America. Additionally, this is the same team that gave up on Collin McHugh, a very dependable major league starter for a team that wants to go to a six man rotation, for Eric Young, Jr., who is a part time player on an under .500 Braves team.
It didn’t stop there. Right before the season began, the Mets traded for Alex Torres, who pitched so well he’s in AAA right now. The cost was Cory Mazzoni, who was a prospect the Mets became frustrated with due to his injury history. It should be noted these were non-arm related injuries. Mazzoni has a decent repertoire that makes the 2011 former second round pick a back end starter or reliever. This is something the Mets need now. Instead, the Padres have the prospect and the Mets have dead weight. I just hope we don’t have another Heath Bell situation here.
This is why I wasn’t happy with the Tyler Clippard and Yoenis Cespedes trades. These are both rentals, who aren’t resigning with the team. If the A’s didn’t trade Clippard to the Mets, then the Nationals overpay or Billy Beane finally accepts the Mets offer. Overall, this is bad negotiation.
It’s also bad valuation of assets. Remember if not for injuries deGrom would be setting up for Jeurys Familia, or possibly closing while the Mets are figuring out the rotation on a sub .500 team.
This is why I question this front office. People may disagree with me, but this is partially why I question their treatment of Michael Conforto and Kevin Plawecki. Given their other moves, I think they invite this skepticism. I hope I’m not the only one.
That’s right. Even though Curtis Granderson has had a real nice year, he’s not hitting lefties. This shouldn’t surprise anyone because he’s effectively been a platoon candidate throughout his career:
vs. RHP .269/.356/.504
vs. LHP .224/.294/.398
Now, since Terry Collins has an infatuation with leading off Juan Lagares, I would say this is a natural platoon. However, I shudder to think of Collins putting him in RF again with Yoenis Cespedes in center. Plus, Lagares is in that platoon with Conforto.
Last night, Michael Cuddyer played his first game since coming off the DL, and he played well. He was 2-4 with two runs scored. On the first run, he scored from second on Carlos Gonzalez’s strong arm. In the eighth, he stole a base. In sum, he looked healthy. If he’s really healthy, he creates a good problem to have.
He’s a professional hitter (an “ultimate pro“) with a career triple slash line of .277/.344/.462. Arguably, if healthy, he’s the best hitting OF currently on the team (I think it’s Cespedes). In his career, he’s been deadly against lefties to the tune of .288/.376/.495. I think it’s a no-brained for him to platoon with Granderson, at a minimum.
For his career, Cuddyer hits righties to the tune of .273/.330/.447. He’s much better against lefties. Here’s the Mets other OF options against righties (Granderson is above)
Yoenis Cespedes .277/.317/.478
Michael Conforto .206/.317/.382 (SSS)
Juan Lagares .253/.285/.336
What this tells us, is if Cuddyer is healthy, he needs to play everyday. I think it would be wise to ease him back, but I would not limit him to a strict platoon. This means, on offense alone, the OF against righties should be: Cuddyer LF, Cespedes CF, Granderson RF. Again, this indicates Conforto should be demoted.
If Cuddyer’s not healthy, then the Mets need to figure something out with Granderson in RF. He did come through the past few nights against a lefty, but that was more about the reliever than him.
I hope Cuddyer’s really healthy because he’ll be a huge boost to the offense as he was last night. If not, he should be Granderson’s caddy against lefties.
Right now, with all of these interchangeable parts, Collins has to earn his money by putting the best team on the field. He can’t gamble because there is so much to lose right now. If Cuddyer’s healthy, a lot of the risk is removed and it makes Collins’ job a lot easier. It also makes the Mets a better team.
I don’t understand what the Mets are doing with their prospects right now. First, they are actively stunting the development of Michael Conforto by keeping him in the majors and not playing him everyday. Keep in mind, this is a player, they didn’t want to call-up in the first place.
Additionally, there is the constant noise over the six man rotation, but their young stud muffins are set to far exceed their innings limits. Plus, these prized arms’ aches and pains are largely ignored until it becomes more serious. They even have Dan Warthen playing doctor. It’s inexcusable.
Their treatment of Kevin Plawecki is almost as ponderous. I understand he might’ve been the best option at backup catcher, but it’s not like he’s been good. It’s just that Anthony Recker and Johnny Monell have been that bad. That was, in part, the rationale behind keeping Plawecki up when Travis d’Arnaud came off the DL on July 30th. Let’s see how that worked out for Plawecki:
- 3 games played out of 11l
- .111 average
- 12 extra days of accumulated service time
In essence, the decision was just short of being a disaster. Plawecki is going to be a Super Two player. Overall, he’s hit .228/.283/.296. Those are ugly numbers, especially when he’s a .292/.368/.435 hitter in the minors. Obviously, he should’ve been in the minors trying to get better. For those that argue that there’s value sitting on a major league bench, it sure hasn’t helped him thus far.
Plawecki probably would’ve benefitted from time in AAA making him a better player. d’Arnaud did the same last year, and he’s the better for it. Plawecki didn’t, and he’s worse off. The Mets catching situation is also worse off.
Overall, the Mets prospects are worse off the past two years in how they’ve been handled. I only hope Plawecki and Conforto can overcome it because they have real promise . . . promise that isn’t being g cultivated by the Mets.