Jacob deGrom

Couldn’t Coca-Cola Feature a Better Met?

Yesterday, while at Target, I stopped to get a Diet Coke. With the summer nearing, they’re back to putting names on bottles. Here’s what I would up grabbing:

Vargas as in Jason Vargas.

With Coke now having the Coke Corner at Citi Field, you’d think they can do better than that.

deGrom. Syndergaard. Lugo. Gsellman.

Really, any other pitcher.

In retrospect, maybe it was genius. After all, the soda was done in the first inning. After that, there was nothing left leading me to find something else. And that Vargas bottle was quickly discarded.

On the bright side, I didn’t have to overpay for it or carry it around empty for two years, so that was a positive.

Jake Great, Conforto Getting There In Win

There aren’t many things which are right with the Mets right now, but a big thing that’s right with this team right now is Jacob deGrom, and with him, we are seeing reports how the team may look to trade him.  Of course, the best way to do that is to win as many games as you can between now and the trading deadline.  Part of doing that is going out and not wasting deGrom starts.

Part of that is letting deGrom go out there and do his thing, and really he did his thing tonight.

In seven phenomenal innings of work, deGrom tied his career high with 13 strikeouts, and as noted by the great Michael Mayer, he became the 10th pitcher in Mets history to reach the 800 strikeout mark.  He also lowered his ERA this season to 1.75.

There are many ways to say how great deGrom was, but perhaps the best way to say it is his final line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, R, ER, 0 BB, 13 K.

He carried into the game and extended his scoreless inning streak to 24.1 innings.  It ended in the top of the sixth when Jake Lamb scored Steven Souza from first on a double.  On what was a truly bizarre play, Souza ran through the stop sign only to stutter step and then take off from home.  After Asdrubal Cabrera missed the relay, Adrian Gonzalez backed him up and nailed Lamb at third.

The Diamondbacks threatened in the seventh again with a Daniel Descalso leadoff double.  Being the great pitcher he is, deGrom settled down, and he got the next three out in order.

Fortunately for deGrom, this would be one of the few games where he got real run support, and it began with a first inning rally against Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley, and like with many Mets rallies this season, it all began with a Brandon Nimmo walk.

After Descalso botched what was at a minimum a force out, and quite likely with Cabrera’s speed a double play ball, runners were at the corners with no outs.

Wilmer Flores drove in the first run with a ground out, and then Michael Conforto came through with a big two out RBI single.

Conforto would repeat that feat in the fifth inning.  After a Flores two out walk and Jay Bruce walk, the inning was on Conforto, and he delivered with another RBI single.  It was part of Conforto’s first three hit night of the season and just the second four hit night of his career.  Overall, he was 4-4 with two RBI.

Really, the Mets need more of that from Conforto because he is not just the best hitter in the lineup, he’s the best hitter on the team.  When the team is without Yoenis Cespedes and Todd Frazier, Conforto has to carry even more of the load.  He did it tonight, and if he continues doing it, like he did last year, this Mets team will be in much better shape.

Things got interesting in the eighth.  After a Conforto one out single, Gonzalez dropped a perfect bunt against the shift.  After a Jose Reyes pinch hit walk, the bases were loaded with two outs.  This led to Amed Rosario popping one out to Descalso, but he then dropped it.  Initially, it was ruled a drop leading to two runs scoring.  Upon the umpires commiserating, it was ruled an out meaning it was a 3-1 and not a 5-1 lead.

After Robert Gsellman and Jeurys Familia shut the door, deGrom had his fourth win of the season, and the team beat a Diamondbacks team who is having a very similar season to the one the Mets are having.  Hopefully, this weekend the Mets will take advantage of a reeling team like other teams have done to them over the last few weeks.

Game Notes: Juan Lagares, who suffered a toe injury in the rain soaked game is likely done for the year leaving the Mets with three healthy outfielders on the 40 man roster.  Jerry Blevins was activated from the paternity list, and he took Lagares’ spot on the roster.  Paul Goldschmidt had the golden sombrero.

Mets Cushioning Blow For Potential Future deGrom Trade

Yesterday, the discussion about the Mets even entertaining Jacob deGrom happened on CMB on WFAN. The lively discussion wasn’t about just the possibility of trading deGrom. No, it was also about the possibility of trading him to the Yankees.

Then, John Harper of the New York Daily News wrote an article not just about trading deGrom but also Noah Syndergaard.

Like Carlin of CMB, Harper dismissed the notion deGrom would be traded to the Yankees as the Mets did not want to give the Yankees the final piece of their championship puzzle. Still, that did not stop the New York Daily News from printing this back page:

It should be noted Carlin was a former SNY employee who still has ties to many at both the network and the Mets organization.

For his part, Harper regularly appears on SNY, especially on Daily News Live.

Yes, for those who forgot, the Mets, SNY, and the New York Daily News are in bed together.

If the Mets were ever going to contemplate trading their big pitchers, especially one as popular as deGrom, you first want to gauge fan reaction. Ideally, if possible, you would want to begin to manipulate fans into agreeing this decision is best for the team.

The best way to do it? Well, that back page is a good start.

At the moment, Mets fans are in a panic deGrom will be pitching the Yankees to a World Series title much like David Cone once did. Only this is worse because it was the Blue Jays who traded Cone to the Yankees. This time the Mets are trading deGrom to the Yankees!

This causes many a Mets fan to exclaim, “Anywhere than the Yankees!”

That’s not the same as don’t trade deGrom.

Now, we know the Mets aren’t trading anyone just yet. It’s still way too soon, and even with a 3-10 May record, this team is still just 4.5 games out of the division and one game in the loss column from a Wild Card spot.

Still, when things are this bad, and everything is on the verge of spiraling out of control, you begin to at least lay the groundwork for being sellers at the deadline. If you want to blow it all up and do a full rebuild that means trading deGrom.

From a PR perspective that’s a nightmare, which is why you put it in Mets fans heads he could be a Yankee. When he’s not a Yankee, you’re relieved.

Then, when you turn on the radio or SNY, you will get to hear what a great return the Mets received in exchange for deGrom and how these players will accelerate this rebuild.

You’ll hear that because the Mets have ties all over the local media to help them manipulate the Mets fan into buying the team’s narrative.

And it all started with then laying a foundation for the Mets trading deGrom . . .

Mets Mishandling Corey Oswalt

The Mets were aware but not yet set on putting Jacob deGrom on the 10 day disabled list, so rather than make sure Corey Oswalt was in line to start the opener against Cincinnati, the team decided to add P.J. Conlon to the 40 man roster and have him make the start.

After Conlon’s short start and with Jason Vargas making a start, the Mets needed to add a fresh arm in the bullpen who could give them some length.  Instead of calling up Chris Flexen, who was on normal rest, the team called-up Oswalt, who was on three days rest.  Since that time, the team has more than ample opportunity to use him, and they haven’t:

Game Bullpen Innings Relievers  Used
May 8th 6.0 Lugo (1.0), Ramos (1.0), Blevins (0.1), Robles (0.1), Sewald (1.1)
May 9th 3.0+ Gsellman (2.0), Lugo (1.0), Ramos (0.0)
May 11th 4.0 Lugo (1.0), Sewald (1.0), Ramos (1.0), Familia (1.0)
May 12th 7.0 Gsellman (3.0), Sewald (2.0), Ramos (1.0), Familia (1.0)

Overall, the Mets needed to go to their bullpen for 19+ innings in a four game stretch.  Robert Gsellman and Paul Sewald went multiple innings on multiple occasions.  AJ Ramos appeared in four games with Seth Lugo appearing in three.  Breaking it down, there were plenty of chances for the Mets to get Oswalt in for even an inning.  They didn’t.

It’s more than that. For a team gun shy to use Oswalt on short rest, between days off and rain outs, Oswalt has not pitched since Saturday, May 5th, he is not going to get a chance to pitch until 10 days after his last star, and that’s if he’s even used. Effectively, Oswalt has skipped two starts so he can sit idly by in the bullpen.

This is not how a team handles their top Major League ready starter.  Oswalt needs to be on a mound pitching, working on his game, and generally improving as a pitcher.  Really, there is no benefit to him by his not pitching, and seeing how Mickey Callaway is reticent to use him, there is really no benefit to him even being on the roster.

The roster spot could be better allocated towards Buddy Baumann, who could serve as a second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, or Tyler Bashlor, who has been lights out in Binghamton.  You could even argue the spot should go to Conlon, who could serve as the 2015 version of Sean Gilmartin.

As for Oswalt, he’s serving no purpose right now, and he’s not getting the starts he needs.  The Mets need him in Triple-A at the ready in case Vargas doesn’t improve.  He needs to be at the ready in the event Steven Matz suffers another injury.  Really, they need him to do anything other than sitting unused in the bullpen.  That’s not benefiting anyone.

Callaway’s Sewald/Blevins Decision About His Odd Thought Process

In the sixth inning of yesterday’s game, Mickey Callaway was faced with a crucial decision.  Does he go to the well rested Jerry Blevinsto get out the left-handed pinch hitter Nick Williams?  Does he stick with Paul Sewald, who has good splits against left-handed batters?  It was also remotely possible he could have gone with AJ Ramos, who also has good splits against left-handed batters.

Starting backwards, Ramos would have been an intriguing and possibly inspired decision.  On the season, Ramos has limited left-handed batters to a .211/.348/.263 batting line.  Basically, if he isn’t walking the left-handed batter, they’re not getting on base.

If Callaway turns to Ramos, this could have prevented Gabe Kapler from switching to a right-handed batter to undo the decision to go to the LOOGY.

Now, you could understand Callaway’s reluctance to go to that LOOGY.  Blevins hasn’t been good this season allowing left-handed batters to hit .273/.333/.364 off of him.  It’s a big reason why Blevins has a 5.63 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP this year.

Still, he is your LOOGY in the bullpen, and Williams was 0-3 against Blevins.  More than that, Callaway got Blevins up for exactly this type of situation.  It was Blevins’ job to go out there and get the left-handed batter out in a key spot.

Instead, Callaway went with Sewald.  You can make differing opinions on Sewald.  On the one hand, he has been much better against left-handed batters than Blevins this year.  Sewald came into the game limiting left-handed batters to a .220/.238/.341 batting line, and if we’re looking a small sample size pitcher-batter matchups, Williams was 0-1 against Sewald.

However at 35 pitches, Sewald was nearing his pitch limit, which was part of the reason Ramos and Blevins were warming in the first place.  He had also been struggling in the Month of May.  Prior to this appearance, Sewald had a 5.63 ERA and batters were hitting .273/.273/.515 off of him, and that was with a low .269 BABIP.

Overall, the point is you had your reasons to both stick with Sewald and to pull Sewald from the game.  Really, you could go in either direction.  However, that’s not the point.  Far from it.

Sticking with Sewald goes to the thought process, and frankly, this was one that was lacking with Callaway.

As the manager, he is likely well aware Sewald hasn’t been the Sewald of April.  Aside from that, he is aware Sewald is nearing his pitch limit for the game.  This is the exact reason he had Ramos and Blevins warming in that spot.

At this point, the Mets margin of error is razor thin.  They need to find a way to get out of that inning with a 1-0 lead AND find a way to manage their bullpen for the final 3.1 innings because Jacob deGrom needed to be lifted after a 45 pitch first inning.

When analyzing whether or not Callaway made the correct decision, you need to put aside the Williams’ home run.  It’s easy to look at that home run and say Callaway made the wrong decision.  It’s possible Ramos or Blevins allows that same homer, and the Phillies continue the rally to making a 3-1 lead a 4 or 5-1 lead.  You don’t know.

Here’s what we know.  Callaway knew his reliever was tiring.  He had a right-handed reliever who pitches well against left-handed batters up and ready to go.  He had his LOOGY up whose sole role is to get a left-handed batter out in a key situation. We also know he thought this out:

Hearing him, it was almost paralysis by analysis. Reading more into it, his thought process was lacking.

Really, who was he saving Blevins to face? The switch hitting Cesar Hernandez? The right-handed hitting Aaron Altherr? Was it Odubel Herrera, who was three batters away?

That was is a little hard to believe.

No, this was a case where Callaway had Blevins warmed up to either face a left-handed batter or try to prevent Gabe Kapler from using Williams.

If it was a deke, Kepler not only called his bluff, but to that extent, he out-managed Callaway.

If it was Callaway using his gut over his head, well, his guy failed him.

Whatever that case, there was a scenario where Callaway set everything up to have Blevins face Williams, and he didn’t pull the trigger. Perhaps, this is an indictment on Blevins.

Quite possibly, this is part of the growing pains of a former pitching coach who has never managed professionally and is surrounded by a coaching staff with zero Major League managerial experience.

Whatever the case, when you set everything up for one key matchup, and you don’t immediately go to that pitcher, you not only set yourself up for second guessing, you also make everyone wonder what’s the thought process behind any of his decisions.

Mets Bullpen Can’t Pull Inside Straight on Another Brutal Mother’s Day Loss

When the 2019 schedule is released, and the Mets are going to have to make sure Jacob deGrom doesn’t start the game because it will inevitably lead in heartbreak.  Last year, it was the inexplicable loss to the Brewers.  This year, it was one of those everything goes wrong type of games.

For his one inning of work, deGrom turned into Houdini.  After walking the bases loaded to start the game, deGrom had to recalibrate and try to get through the inning by limiting the damage.  Well, he would do much more than that.

First, he struck out Rhys Hoskins.  Then on a dribbler in front of the plate, deGrom got to the ball, and he nailed Cesar Hernandez at home.  Finally, he got Maikel Franco to strike out on a 3-2 pitch.  It was downright miraculous.

It also required 45 pitches.  With that heavy first inning workload, and with his just coming off the disabled list prior to the game after his hyper-extended elbow issue, Mickey Callaway did the prudent thing and put the game in his bullpen’s hands.

While the bullpen was going to the whip, the Mets offense was getting whipped by Aaron Nola who would allow just one run over six to lower his season ERA to 1.99.

It wasn’t that this Mets offense was dominated.  Far from it.  It’s that the offense didn’t do anything when they had the opportunities.

After Brandon Nimmo got things started with a bunt against the shift, the Mets loaded the bases with one out.  Wilmer Flores then struck out on four pitches, and Michael Conforto hit the second pitch he saw for an inning ending ground out.

In each of the subsequent innings, the Mets would get at least one base runner on against Nola, and they would do nothing.  That was until the sixth when Nola didn’t get one in enough to Yoenis Cespedes, who would hit it out to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

The rally would continue with Adrian Gonzalez and Flores hitting back-to-back singles, and Conforto getting ahead in the count at 2-0.  That 2-0 count would turn into an awful at-bat with Conforto striking out, and Devin Mesoraco following with an inning ending double play.  Essentially, they did the polar opposite of what they did on Friday night.

Really, this one run gave the Mets bullpen little margin of error.  Until the sixth, they were pitching quite well.  Robert Gsellman threw three scoreless before the Mets turned to Paul Sewald, who pitched a scoreless fifth.  Sewald, who has mostly struggled in May, wouldn’t have it in the sixth.

Santana began the inning with a double, and Scott Kingery walked.  Between the rally and this being a bullpen game, Callaway had AJ Ramos and Jerry Blevins warming in the bullpen.  They were there when Sewald struck out Jorge Alfaro, and they were there when the left-handed pinch hitter Nick Williams hit a go-ahead three run homer off of Sewald.

Now, there are many ways you could choose to defend the decision.  Sewald has been better than Blevins all season long against left-handed pitching.  Callaway wanted to get length from as many people as he could muster.  However, he had double barrel action going on so he would have Blevins ready for the big at-bat against a left-handed batter, and he didn’t use him.

While you can agree with the decision to go with Sewald, you cannot agree with the thought process of getting your LOOGY warmed up for a big spot and then refusing to use him in that big spot.  If you are not using Blevins there, you’re not going to use him in the game.

From there, the Mets had another rally they didn’t fully cash in on.  Nimmo drew his first or two walks for the game, and he scored on the ensuing Asdrubal Cabrera double.  It was a one run game, and Cespedes strode up to the plate.  There was no guessing right this time as Luis Garcia got him to pop out to end the inning.

From there, Jeurys Familia allowed a homer to Santana, and the Phillies didn’t use Hector Neris, so there would be no recreation of Friday’s magic.

Instead of building on the momentum from Friday’s Conforto homer, the Mets once again failed to muster enough offense, and maybe even energy to pull this one out.  We were also left wondering about Callaway’s thought process with his failing to use Blevins.  All-in-all, a disheartening loss.

Game Notes: Luis Guillorme collected his first MLB hit with a bloop pinch-hit single to center in the second inning.  Dominic Smith struck out in his only plate appearance, and he will be sent down to Triple-A with Jay Bruce‘s paternity leave ending.  Buddy Baumann was sent down to the minors to make room for deGrom.  His Mets experience amounted to little more than his getting a pending one game suspension out of the way.

Designating Harvey For Assignment Didn’t Go Far Enough

Given everything that has happened since Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, you can hardly blame Matt Harvey for refusing a minor league assignment and for the Mets designating him for assignment.  Ultimately, this is something which may prove beneficial to all parties involved.

For Harvey, he has a lot of work ahead of him.  Unfortunately, the same goes for the Mets, who for reasons unbeknownst to anyone, stopped their roster alterations at Harvey.

There is no doubt Harvey was under-performing, but at the time of the Mets decision he was the last guy in the bullpen mopping up games like the 6-0 mess left for him by Jason Vargas.  Rarely is the last guy in your bullpen the real issue with your team, and the Mets are not one of those exceptions.

One of the main issues with this time right now is the lineup.  With injuries, slumps, and flat out benching more talented players, the team needs to make changes there desperately.

One of the changes that needs to be made is to get Brandon Nimmo into the lineup everyday.  At the moment, Nimmo is hitting .256/.448/.442 with a 17.2% walk rate.  By OPS+ and wRC+, he is the second best hitter in the Mets lineup.  There is no justifiable reason to keep him as the fourth outfielder.

However, he is because the Mets are trying to make Adrian Gonzalez happen.  Well, if you go by his hitting .231/.311/.372 with a -0.4 WAR, it’s not happening, and it’s not going to happen.  Game-in and game-out, he’s showing why the Dodgers took on Matt Kemp to get rid of him and why the Braves were happy to pay him $21.8 million to go away.

Really, there is no reason why the Mets continue to trot him out there when they can put the hobbled Jay Bruce at first base.

Whether it is the plantar fascitiis or something else, Bruce has struggled this year and playing the outfield is doing him no favors.  Really, he and the team is best served by moving Bruce to first and allowing more athletic players like Nimmo and Juan Lagares play out there.

Again, the only thing standing in the way of the Mets optimizing both their defensive alignment and their lineup is a 35 year old with a bad back who already has a -0.4 WAR.

Speaking of players in their mid 30s, well past their prime, and standing in the way of more talented players, the Mets need to do something about Jose Reyes.

So far this season, Reyes is hitting .139/.184/.222.  To put that in perspective, the recently designated for assignment Matt Harvey was batting .286/.286/.286.  Put another way, Reyes is hitting like a pitcher . . . or worse.

That’s except when he’s coming off the bench.  When he’s pinch hitting, he’s not hitting at all going 0-9 with three strike outs.  When he substitutes into games, he’s 0-4.

Really, what’s the point of having a bench player who can’t hit when he comes off the bench?

Remember this was the same Reyes who posted a -0.6 WAR last year and his -26 DRS was the worst among Major League infielders.  There is really not hope there’s any upside.

Looking at Las Vegas, Gavin Cecchini is hitting .313/.359/.500 while mostly playing the middle infield with a game at short.

After a slow start, Luis Guillorme is in the midst of an eight game hitting streak that has seen him go 13-28 with three doubles and seven RBI.  After starting the year hitting .211/.338/.281, he’s not hitting .294/.394/.376.

In addition to Cecchini or Guillorme, the Mets could opt to go with Phillip Evans, who won a bench job out of Spring Training or Ty Kelly, who is once again dominating in Las Vegas hitting .300/.364/.600 with four doubles, four triples, six homers, and 21 RBI.

Even if you didn’t like the group as a collective, you’d be hard pressed to present an argument where they would not be able to get at least one hit while coming off of the bench.

Now, are Gonzalez and Reyes the only two problems?  Far from it.  The catching situation is still a mess, the bullpen is regressing, and every starter not named Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard has been completely unreliable.

That said, Gonzalez and Reyes are blocking more talented players who promise to be more productive than what we have seen from both players not just this year, but stretching back to last year.  If the Mets are truly interested in becoming a better team, these two need to join Harvey in looking for another team.

Matt Harvey, Thank You And Good Luck

In September 2015, Scott Boras tried to intervene and limit Matt Harvey‘s innings in what could be perceived as an attempt to save the pitcher not just from the Mets, but also from himself.  There would be a modified schedule and some skipped starts, but Harvey eventually took the shackles off because he wanted the ball.

Harvey always wanted the ball.

He wanted the ball in the NL East clincher against the Reds.  Instead of the five innings he was supposed to pitch, he pitched into the seventh because, well, he wanted to get ready for the postseason, and the Mets were lucky he did.

Harvey won a pivotal Game 3 of the NLDS.  With that series going five games, it was Harvey who got the ball in Game 1 of the NLCS.  In front of a raucous Citi Field crowd, Harvey set the tone for that series.  As he stepped off the mound with two outs in the eighth, he wasn’t tipping his cap.  No, he was pumped up like all of Citi Field was because he knew what we all knew . . . this team was going to the World Series.

When telling the story of Matt Harvey, we will forever go back to Game 5.  With the Mets team trying to rally back from a 3-1 series deficit, Harvey wanted the ball for the ninth.  Terry Collins initially wanted Jeurys Familia, but he relented, and he gave Harvey the ball.

You’d be hard pressed to find a time in Citi Field history louder than when Harvey took the mound in that ninth.  A blown lead and Game 5 loss later, you’d never find Citi Field more despondent.

Now, looking back, that Game 5 was the microcosm of Harvey’s Mets career.

He came in, and he gave us all hope the impossible could happen.  He brought us all along for the ride.  There was no one we wanted out there more than Harvey.  And yet at the very end, despite all the hope and brilliance he brought, we were all left in disbelief, and yes, some in tears, over the how and why Harvey was still out there.

Mainly, Harvey was there because despite no matter what anyone said, Harvey wanted to be there, and he was not going to let anyone stop him.

And you know what?  Back in 2013, no one could stop him.

In 26 starts, Harvey was 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA, 0.931 WHIP, and a 9.6 K/9.  His 2.01 FIP that year would not only lead the Majors, but it would be one of the 10 best over the past 100 years.  His WHIP still remains a single season Mets record.  It may have seemed premature to put him in the conversation with Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden, but really, it made sense.  Harvey was just that good.

He was the reason to watch a terrible Mets team, and on May 7th, he may have pitched the game of his life.  If not for an Alex Rios infield single Ruben Tejada could not turn into an out, Harvey likely pitches a perfect game.  Instead, he had to settle for a no decision despite allowing just one hit and 12 strikeouts in nine innings.  Just file that away next time someone points out his win-loss record.

That game was the signature Harvey moment.  He took the mound with a bloody nose.  He was reaching near triple digits with this fastball.  He was becoming a superstar.  He was making Citi Field his playground.

When we look through the history of Citi Field one day, it will be Harvey who emerged as it’s first superstar.  He was the one who brought the crowds.  He started the first All Star Game at Citi Field.  Arguably, he pitched the two best games ever pitched by a Met at that ballpark.

It would be that 2013 season Harvey broke.  He tore his UCL, and he needed Tommy John surgery.  Mets fans everywhere who were once so hopeful were crushed.  There were many low moments in Mets history since the team moved to Citi Field, but that one is among the lowest.

But when he came back in 2015, hope returned.  He may not have been 2013 great, but he was great.  For all the criticism over his innings limits, he would throw more innings than any pitcher in baseball history in their first season back from Tommy John.

Looking back at that 2015 season, Harvey gave the Mets and their fans everything he had.  He pitched great in the regular season, and he was even better in the postseason.  Just like in 2013, he was trying to will the Mets back to prominence.  He was taking an organization on his back and trying to win a World Series.

It broke him in 2013, and apparently, it broke him again in 2015.

Really, when he stepped off that mound in Game 5 of the World Series, Harvey was done as we knew him.  In 2016, he’d be diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome requiring season ending surgery.  Last year, Harvey was rushed back to the rotation before he was physically ready, and he suffered a stress reaction.  This year, he was healthy, but lost.

Looking back, no one will ever know if Harvey listened to Boras if he’d still be The Dark Knight instead of a guy now looking for a job.

The real shame is how Harvey went out.  The same guy who heard the loudest ovations from the fans, the same one who heard Mets fans serenade Stephen Strasburg with “Harvey’s Better!” chants, was booed off the mound the last time he ever pitched on what had once been his mound.

There are some who will find behavioral excuses why Harvey faulted, and maybe they do exist.  However, you’d be hard pressed to find a pitcher who was at the top of his game in November only to completely lose it by the next April.  Most pitchers get a transition period to figure things out.  Harvey’s cruel fate was he had more injuries followed by his getting about a month and a half before being given an ultimatum.

In what once seemed impossible, Harvey was designated for assignment.  Sure, Mets fans always expected him to leave one day, but we all thought it would be Harvey who spurned the cheap Wilpon family, not the Wilpons kicking him out the door despite the team still owing him around $4 million.

Much has been made of the Mets crop of starting pitchers, the group who brought them to the 2015 World Series.  Make no mistake, Harvey was the best out of the group.  Better than Jacob deGrom.  Better than Noah Syndergaard.

Really, he was better than anyone not named Seaver or Gooden, and if things had broken right, Harvey could have been a Hall of Famer.  He was that good when he was healthy, but he wasn’t healthy making him this generation’s version of Paul Wilson, Jason Isringhausen, or Jon Matlack

Harvey being designated for assignment wasn’t a shock.  With every struggle on the mound, and yes, some personal issues that emerged, he was getting closer and closer to this point.  It doesn’t mean this doesn’t hurt the Mets fan, the ones who got to experience in the joy of seeing the real Harvey pitch, any less.

There will come a day down the line where all will be forgiven, and we can all just look back and appreciate all Harvey did for the Mets.  We can take a step back and marvel how he potentially sacrificed his entire career to win that one World Series.  Really, he has never been thanked or appreciated enough for that.

Now, he is looking for a new team and a new fan base.  Hopefully, Harvey rediscovers some of that magic he once had, and hopefully, he gets those cheers again.  He’s certainly earned them.

And when he does return to Citi Field, whether it be this year or the next, let’s hope he gets that true standing ovation he deserved, the one he might’ve received on Thursday had we all known it was going to be his last game in a Mets uniform.

No matter what happens, Mets fans everywhere should wish him the best of luck.  There was a time we showered him with all the love we had, and he returned the favor by giving us everything he had.  Everything.  Here’s hoping he gets everything he is looking for in his next stop.

I know no matter what he does, I’m rooting of him.  More than that I appreciate Harvey for all he did as a Met.  Really, best of luck to you, Matt Harvey.

deGrom Not An Excuse For NL DH

For the second straight season, the Mets potentially lost their best player to a fateful swing and miss.  Last year, it was Michael Conforto swinging and missing, falling to the ground, and having his season end with a disclocated shoulder.  This year, it was almost Jacob deGrom.

In deGrom’s third inning at-bat, he swung and missed at a Sean Newcomb pitch, and he struck out.  After that at-bat, deGrom would go out and pitch a scoreless fourth before heading into the tunnel into the clubhouse.  After a quick examination, it was determined deGrom needed to come out of the game.

Fortunately, deGrom suffered nothing more than a hyper-extended elbow, and by some miracle, he could make his next start.  However, knowing it was his elbow and with what happened with Conforto last year, we know things could have been worse, far worse.

Naturally, in some corners, it was a rallying cry for people to try to make their claims that the National League needs to implement the DH.  Of course, cooler heads like deGrom disagree:

Now, in the case of deGrom, the issue at the forefront for implementing the DH was to protect pitchers. Hopefully, this is just a straw man because it is a flimsy argument.

If deGrom was truly injured swinging the bat, at least to the extent he would have required a stint on the disabled list, his injury would have been as rare of an injury as the one Conforto suffered last season.  That doesn’t mean teams shouldn’t investigate ways to keep pitchers healthy.  It just means pitchers swinging the bat is really not one of those areas in which we see them befall injuries.

Look at it this way, can you remember the last time you saw a pitcher get injured swinging a bat?  Maybe even getting hit by a pitch?  It might just be me, but I don’t know recall any off the top of my head.

As for running the bases, my only memories are of Adam Wainwright and Chien-Ming Wang tearing tendons while running.  No, not because they were awkwardly sliding or misstepped on a base.  They were running.  This is a sport, and as we see with his highlight defensive plays, even Bartolo Colon runs.  Much as we may like, you can’t legislate running out of baseball.

And really, if we are that concerned about pitcher injuries, why aren’t the people calling for the DH calling for actual reforms which will protect pitchers?  How many times has a pitcher had to come out of a game, even for precautionary reasons due to a comebacker?  Whether it was liner off some part of the body, them foolishly trying to barehand a ball, or even one of those gruesome instances where a pitcher got hit in the head, we have seen more pitchers go down with injury due to comebackers than to taking an at-bat.

Why not look for protective screens or protective gear?  Note, those calls aren’t made because this isn’t really about pitcher’s health.  After all, why would you add another potent hitter to a lineup thereby forcing a pitcher to go full effort to record an out thereby putting additional strain on their elbow and shoulder?

No, it’s not about health.  It is because some people prefer games with the DH.  Fortunately for them, the entire American League plays with the DH.  There are other fans who don’t like.  That is one of the great things about baseball.  If you like or dislike the DH, you have a league to watch, and you don’t have to subject yourself to the other league.

So really, don’t pretend this is about pitcher’s health.  It isn’t.  This is just because you can’t stand to see two or many three at-bats where a pitcher is hitting.  Overall, that’s a really bizarre reason to radically change the sport using the pretext of injuries which rarely if ever occur.

Vargas, Whole Mets Team Terrible

Jason Vargas‘ last start of 2007 was a 3.1 inning effort where he allowed nine runs on 11 hits.  His first start of this season was a 3.2 inning effort where he allowed nine runs on nine hits.  Seeing that, you would only assume Vargas could only improve from there.

Seeing his start today, you would be right.  That’s the good news. The bad news is he’s still terrible.

A Nick Markakis double and Kurt Suzuki gave the Braves a 3-0 lead in the first, and they were off and rolling.

Really, at that point, the game was over.  It was.

Not only did the Braves have Julio Teheran on the mound, but the Mets had another one of their non-competitive lineups enragingly featuring Jose Reyes leading off and playing third.  To be fair, Reyes limited the damage by going 0-4 and misplaying what should have been a foul out.

To perfectly encapsulate both how this game and this series was, Teheran was 2-2 with an RBI and a sac fly.  The entire Mets offense had just two hits off of him, and those did not come until the seventh inning when the score was already 11-0.

That’s right.  11-0.

It got to that point because the Braves chased Vargas in the fifth with a Ronald Acuna and Markakis home run.  Matt Harvey would get the Mets out of the fifth inning jam, and he would pitch a perfect sixth.

Harvey’s velocity was back up to 95, and for a moment you caught yourself thinking maybe he turned the corner.  Well, he didn’t.  Not even close.  In the seventh, he allowed five runs on three hits and three walks.

After the game, you heard people like Nelson Figueroa say Harvey isn’t even a Major League pitcher anymore.  Of course, the silence on Reyes, who was terrible again, and Adrian Gonzalez, who wasn’t great again, was deafening.

Right now, there are a lot of problems with the Mets.  Fortunately, one of them isn’t Jacob deGrom, who appears to be healthy enough to make his next start.  So, there’s that.

Game Notes: The Mets entered this series without being swept or shut out all year.  They’ve now been swept and been shut out in consecutive games.