Coming out of the All Star Break, the Mets wisely set their rotation to allow their stud muffins to face the Nationals twice. Initially, the move was a bust. However, after the Yoenis Cespedes trade, the Met took off and swept the Nationals. Now, it seems like the Mets want to go back to the six man rotation, or at a minimum have some spot starts. If the Mets did not go to the six man rotation or have any spot starts, here’s how the rotation would shake out:
8/7 @ Rays
8/12 vs. Rockies
8/18 @ Orioles
8/24 @ Phillies
8/29 vs. Red Sox
9/4 @ Marlins
9/9 @ Nationals
9/14 vs. Marlins
9/20 vs. Yankees
9/25 @ Reds
10/1 @ Phillies
8/8 @ Rays
8/13 vs. Rockies
8/19 @ Orioles
8/25 @ Phillies
8/30 vs. Red Sox
9/5 @ Marlins
9/10 @ Braves
9/15 vs. Marlins
9/21 vs. Braves
9/26 @ Reds
10/2 vs. Nationals
8/9 @ Rays
8/14 vs. Pirates
8/21 @ Rockies
8/26 @ Phillies
8/31 vs. Phillies
9/6 @ Marlins
9/11 @ Braves
9/16 vs. Marlins
9/22 vs. Braves
9/27 @ Reds
10/3 vs. Nationals
8/10 vs. Rockies
8/15 vs. Pirates
8/22 @ Rockies
8/27 @ Phillies
9/1 vs. Phillies
9/7 @ Nationals
9/12 @ Braves
9/18 vs. Yankees
9/23 vs. Braves
9/29 @ Phillies
10/4 vs. Nationals
8/11 vs. Rockies
8/16 vs. Pirates
8/23 @ Rockies
8/28 vs. Red Sox
9/2 vs. Phillies
9/8 @ Nationals
9/13 @ Braves
9/19 vs. Yankees
9/24 @ Reds
9/30 @ Phillies
Now, we are all aware of the rumblings of the Mets using a spot starter or returning to the six man rotation. What we also know is the Mets are going to rip past the innings limits anyway. So in this somewhat academic analysis, just go back and take a look again at how the rotation will work out. For starters, it’s great that Colon only pitches one game against a team over .500 until the last week of the season. Additionally, if everything works out according to plan, you don’t have to finagle the rotation to start the postseason with Harvey, Matz, and Syndergrom. Isn’t that your goal? Now, if things get hectic towards the end, remember the Mets don’t have a huge lead right now, they can shift starts around in September so you can have the stud muffins going against the Nationals in the last series of the season.
Overall, if you are going to rip through the innings limits, why not do it properly and set the team up for success in September and October? My belief is that if you don’t change the rotation as it stands right now, the Mets look to be in good shape for the rest of the season, and they will have their stud muffins front and center entering the postseason. Let’s not overthink things and keep it the way it is.
The way the Mets have been playing, and with the way the Narkins have been playing, this game was effectively over after the Mets four run third. Once Juan Uribe hit a three run homerun in the fifth, the game was over. By the way, this park is so cavernous thst Uribe’s homerun was that much more impressive. Lucas Duda, himself tried to hit two out to CF and only came up with a SF in the ninth.
Rather than lifting Matt Harvey after five, when he was essentially assured the win, he came out for the sixth and the seventh. You don’t throw him those additional unnecessary innings. Why even have Carlos Torres or Sean Gilmartin on the team if they can’t eat up some innings in a laugher?
I hate to be negative after two sweeps and the Mets in first place, but I just don’t understand what the Mets are doing. If Harvey has a no-hitter going, I understand. Absent that, he should’ve been pulled. It makes me question how many innings the Mets have wasted with him, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard.
Further on the negative, Bobby Parnell was not good again. At least, Eric O’Flaherty came in and got out the lefty to snuff out the Markins only threat. He then let up two hits to lefties in the ninth to allow a run and give up the shutout. He let up a second run on an Ichiro RBI single. Collins’ then had to use Hansel Robles, who threw gasoline in the fire.
Collins saw enough and was forced to bring in Jeurys Familia in a save situation in an inning that started 8-0. Talk about wasting a pitcher. Familia let up an RBI single to Dee Gordon to make it 8-6. By the time I was having Padres flashbacks, Familia induced Yelich to groundout to Duda to save the game. Again, if Torres and Gilmartin can’t pick up these innings, I have no idea why they’re on the team. By not using them, the Nets burned through a lot of arms.
In other Mets news, we may have seen the first cracks in the platoon system with Uribe playing and Kelly Johnson sitting against a righty.
I do want to focus on the Dee Gordon groundout to Daniel Murphy. He always comes to play. The Mets were up 7-0, and yet he’s hustling on a routine ball to second. When he was initially ruled safe, he made Murphy look bad (correction: Murphy made himself look bad). Credit is due to Murphy there for immediately accepting responsibility for being lackadaisical. It reminded me of the famous George Brett quote:
I want to hit a routine grounder to second and run all out to first base, then get thrown out by a half step. I want to leave an example to the young guys that that’s how you play the game: ALL OUT.
As a “Mets Daddy,” I appreciate Gordon and Murphy there. It’s great to be able to show him someone who not only plays the right way, but also someone who never gives up. I appreciate Murphy there because rather than make a scene because Gordon should’ve been called out (which he was after replay), he accepted responsibility. I know there was a lot better parts of the game to focus upon, but as a Dad and baseball fan that was my favorite play if the game.
I was naively hoping the Mets were going to ignore the limitations while being smart about how they use their pitchers. For example, if any of the stud muffins are having a rough start, they would pull them a little early. If there is a large run differential, the pitcher could sit down earlier.
I was wrong. It appears the Mets still intend to manage the innings of the stud muffins by having spot starters during the rest of the season. In fact, Terry Collins stated the Mets will soon use a spot starter.
However, the Mets still ultimately want to go with a six man rotation. The most likely candidate is Steven Matz, who was reported to have begun throwing yesterday. If all goes according to plan, Matz will rejoin the rotation for the September stretch run. While we all enjoyed his first two starts, I’m not anxious for his return.
It is too late in the season to mess around with the pitching rotation, which has carried the team thus far. Furthermore, the statistics are not kind to six man rotations. In fact, pitchers’ ERA increases with the extra day of rest.
This begs the question: why would you mess with your biggest strength? We all know it’s pitching that will carry the Mets into the playoffs. The new offense is performing well, but it’s pitching that will help the Mets win now, and we know pitching wins in October.
I already know your answer: we want to protect the young arms. Mets fans have scars from Generation K. Younger fans may remember Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. I think everyone knows the story of Stephen Strasburg sitting out the 2012 postseason.
The end result? The Nationals lost in the NLDS to the eventual World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals three games to two. Strasburg’s replacement in the rotation was the immortal Edwin Jackson. Now Strasburg is injured again (not the elbow) and many question his mental makeup, fairly or unfairly. Thankfully, Terry Collins has assured us we will not see a repeat of the Strasburg incident as the stud muffins will pitch in the playoffs.
However, I’m still troubled by the innings limits. The main reason is because it is based upon the disproven “Verducci Effect.” I’m not willing to risk a whole season on faulty logic. Furthermore, I think the six man rotation overtures are disingenuous.
If the Mets were truly serious about the six man rotation, Dillon Gee would be in the rotation now. Over his last five starts, he’s 4-0 with a 3.03 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP, and two consecutive complete games. He’s doing this in an extreme hitter’s league. I know he was not good this year while he was being jerked around regarding his role with the team and the organization. However, I must ask, if the Mets are truly concerned with results, why is Colon in the rotation?
I’m not going to belabor the point, but he’s been awful this year. I’m not going to turn in the blinders because he had a good start against the worst offensive team in baseball, who is without Giancarlo Stanton. Overall, Colon has the fifth worst ERA in the NL. Even with a revived offense, is this the guy you want to run out there every fifth day? If you tell me you want to replace Colon with Matz, I’d say it would be a great move.
Furthermore, if you want to protect the arms, it’s simple. The Mets need to fire Dan Warthen. First, in 2013, Harvey was permitted to make multiple starts with forearm tightness. Harvey had Tommy John surgery. Second, Zack Wheeler pitched with ligament damage last season. Zack Wheeler had Tommy John surgery. Finally, Warthen, himself, declared Steven Matz fit to pitch. Matz then went on the DL.
If it’s not Warthen’s fault, fine. Who is it? The Mets need to root out the cause for the ignored aches and pains of their prime young pitchers. These problems became major injuries. If the Mets are really concerned with their young pitchers, they should start looking there instead of instituting another version of the six man rotation.
In case you didn’t know, Lucas Duda made sure you knew tonight was Fireworks Night. I told you Duda is awesome.
His first homerun broke up the no-hitter. The second homerun let deGrom off the hook. deGrom deserved to be let off the hook too. He didn’t have his best stuff, and he was fighting it all night. However, he gave the team six solid innings, allowed only two runs, and gave the team a chance to win. Duda took advantage of that chance.
As if the two homers weren’t enough, Duda also doubled in Curtis Granderson in the eighth. In this inning, we saw the impact of Yoenis Cespedes’ presence in the lineup. After Granderson’s double and Daniel Murphy grounded out to the pitcher, Cespedes was intentionally walked. Before tonight there was no one in the Mets’ lineup who would’ve merited that. Instead of now feeling pressure to be the entire offense, Duda was able to relax and deliver . . . and boy did he deliver.
After Hansel Robles shut the door in the right and Duda single-handedly carried the offense to a 3-2 lead, Jeurys Familia slammed the door shut in the ninth. This looked like the Familia of the first half.
My only qualm tonight was the lineup. It looked like Terry Collins was still drunk from celebrating last night’s win and the Cespedes acquisition. I know we all love the Wilmer Flores’ story, but this is a pennant race, and you need to field your best team (even if he almost hit a HR). That team has an outfield alignment of Cespedes in left, Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Juan Lagares in center, and Granderson in right. The only time you want Kelly Johnson in RF right now is when he’s signing autographs before the game.
Luckily, this didn’t hurt the Mets. Also, it was good to see Collins put in Lagares late for defense. It was better to see Duda’s offense and Familia’ dominance again. It’s even better to be a game out with Noah Syndergaard tomorrow. Lets Go Mets!
“Look at me, I can be Centerfield.” That is about as fun as the baseball songs get. Another one of my favorites is “Talkin’ Baseball” with it’s famous refrain of “Willie, Mickey, the Duke.” As you can see, Centerfield is an important position with much history in New York City. You always hear about those good old days of Willie, Mickey, and the Duke playing CF in New York City at the same time. That doesn’t seem fair or possible. The Yankees have had an absurd tradition with their centerfielders with Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. The Mets tradition hasn’t been as good, but then again whose has? However, we’ve had some fun names and good players come through and man centerfield in Flushing.
In 1969, the Mets had Tommie Agee, who for at least the 1969 World Series, was the best defensive CF to ever play the game:
Unfortunately, the Mets did try Willie Mays out in CF in the last two years of his career. From what I’ve been told, it did not end well. Then there was fan favorite Lee Mazzilli, who played for some truly awful Mets teams. However, he was the star, if not the MVP, of of the 1979 All Star Game (back when the ASG meant something). Lee Mazzilli then gave way to Ron Darling. They would both win a World Series together with the Mets in 1986.
Speaking of 1986, the Mets had two other fan favorites who played CF: Mookie Wilson and Lenny Dykstra. Both contributed to the 1986 World Series victory immensely between Dykstra’s leadoff homerun against Oil Can Boyd, and well, we know about Wilson:
After that, we saw a bit of a dry spell with highlights like Lance Johnson, the late Darryl Hamilton, Jay Payton, and Mike Cameron. Then, we were blessed with Carlos Beltran. Say what you will about the Wainwright strikeout, in my opinion, he’s even money on making it into the Hall of Fame, and there’s a significant chance he goes in as a New York Met. Although with the way he was treated here by the fans, and mostly by the Wilpons, he’s probably going in as a Royal.
Now after Juan Lagares’ 2014 Gold Glove season and reasonable contract extension, we’re back to who should play CF. This is important because Lagares has a triple slash line of .254/.280/.333. Even if he was what he was defensively last year, this is unacceptable. Honestly, I think a lot of it has to do with his injured elbow. Regardless, CF is now a problem.
It should be noted his splits against LHP are .279/.338/.412. That is much better especially when you consider his defense. Add to the fact that Kirk Nieuwenhuis has hit .333/.400/.444 over the past two weeks (mostly against RHP), there is a real platoon here. Niewenhuis is a very capable CF, but he’s not in Lagares’ league defensively . . . then again who is?
With the Yoenis Cespedes acquisition, there have been some overtures that Curtis Granderson move to CF, a position he hasn’t played since 2012. This is dangerous because the Mets starting pitchers get more outs in the air than on the ground this year. Here are their respective ground ball percentages:
Matt Harvey 44.4%
Jacob deGrom 43.2%
Noah Syndergaard 45.9%
Jon Niese 54.6%
Bartolo Colon 39.9%
According, with the exception of maybe Niese, the Mets need their best defensive outfield out there are all times. This means Lagares must play as much as possible. Granderson and his good OF defense should stay in a corner OF spot where it will remain good defense. While Lagares isn’t hitting and Nieuwenhuis is, the platoon should remain in place.
While we all agree the Mets need to ride their pitching to the postseason, we should also agree that they need to put their best defense out there to help the pitching. Remember helping a pitcher is more than just scoring runs . . . it’s also about preventing runs with good defense. The only effect the Cespedes acquisition should have on the outfield configuration is to demote Michael Conforto to AAA and put Cespedes in LF, where he has played all year. I think that outfield alignment is the best there is that is ready to go out there and play.
In late June, the Mets called up Steven Matz, in part, because the team felt they needed to switch to a six man rotation. The theory was that if the Mets didn’t do this, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard would hit their innings limits in September. The Mets were being proactive to avoid a repeat of the Stephen Strasberg incident.
After Matz was misdiagnosed by Dr. Warthen, he went in the DL with a torn lat. Matz had to completely shut down all baseball activity for three weeks. We do not yet know if: 1) he can come back this season; and 2) what his role would be.
With Matz down, the Mets now face a ticking clock on the innings limits of their three “stud muffins.” Due to Matz’s injury, the Mets have abandoned the six man rotation for the second time this year.
There are different theories to limiting innings from the Verducci Effect (20-30 innings more than year before) to Tampa Bay’s 20% philosophy (20% more innings than prior year). These limitations would apply to deGrom and Thor.
deGrom pitched 178.1 innings last year between AAA and the majors. Accordingly, his innings would be limited somewhere between 208.1 – 214.0 innings. Right now deGrom is at 127.1 innings (not including his one inning in the All Star Game), and he has averaged approximately 6.2 innings per start. deGrom has approximately 12 starts remaining. If he continues averaging 6.2 innings per start, he would pitch 80 more innings giving him a season total of 207.1, which is right at the lower end of the limitation spectrum. At best, he could have one postseason start for 6.2 innings to stay within his innings limits.
Last year, Thor pitched 133.0 innings. So far this year, he had pitched 108.1 innings between AAA and the majors. He has averaged 6.0 innings in his major league starts. Using the aforementioned parameters, Thor’s innings limit would be between 159.3 – 163.0 innings. Like deGrom, he has approximately 12 starts left if he pitched every fifth day. At six innings per start, he would finish the year with 180.1 innings. Therefore, Thor really has nine starts left to stay within his innings limitations. This leaves him unable to pitch in the postseason.
Harvey is a different case as he did not pitch last year due to Tommy John surgery. In 2012, the Nationals estimated that Strasburg should be limited between 160.0 – 180.0 innings. For their part, the Mets estimated they would hold Harvey to 190.0 innings. While I think Harvey is the ultimate competitor, he is represented by Scott Boras, who also represents Strasburg. Boras championed limiting Strasburg’s innings.
Right now, Harvey is at 125.1 innings, leaving him with only 64.2 innings left in the season. Assuming he has 12 starts remaining, he can only pitch approximately 5.1 innings per start. He’s currently averaging 6.2 innings per start. Like Thor, he would also be unavailable for the playoffs.
I can’t imagine the Mets intend to heavily rely on Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese in the postseason because of the aforementioned innings limits. If they get to October, they must ride their stud muffins. The Mets know this, and yet, they still made a win-now trade for Tyler Clippard. I believe this is a sign they are ready to disregard innings limits and make a real run for it.
That’s fine because recent studies have shown innings limits do not prevent pitcher injuries. This is something Seaver knew intuitively. I’m sure he will be happy when the Mets do away with the innings limits this year. Mets fans should as well because it means the Mets are not relying on unsupported science and are playing meaningful games in September.
Even after the trades and last night’s increased run production, pitching is the main focus of the team. Front and center has been Jacob deGrom. Last year the question was if he had been up long enough to win Rookie of the Year (he was). This year it is whether the voters will vote for him for Cy Young over the other pitchers who have previously won the Cy Young award.
On Sunday, he arguably made his strongest statement to date that he should be the Cy Young Award winner in the National League. He went 7.2 scoreless with eight strikeouts to lower his ERA to 2.05. He beat Zack Greinke, whose had a ridiculous 45.2 scoreless inning streak was ended by the Mets of all teams.
deGrom left to a standing ovation in the eighth and handed the ball to Jeurys Familia for the four out save. It was exactly how you would draw it up . . . only Familia (who should not have pitched last night) blew the save. Luckily, he would be bailed out by Jenrry Mejia, who navigated the 10th inning, Curtis Granderson, who hit a leadoff double in the 10th, and Juan Uribe, who rocketed a game winning RBI double scoring Granderson. For how good Familia has been this year, it was good the team bailed him out.
On offense, you can’t complain when you end a lengthy scoring streak to a pitcher the caliber of Greinke. Both runs off Greinke may have been a gift with a Joc Pederson error setting up the first run and Greinke hitting Conforto with the bases loaded for the second run, but the Mets took advantage of the opportunities.
Plus, when it really counted, Granderson and Uribe came through in the 10th. It was nice to see the Mets come through despite Ruben Tejada’s awful bunt failing to move up Granderson. You have to give it to Sandy, his two acquisitions came through in their first two games.
As I suspected, Collins used a platoon with his left-handed bats to start the game: Johnson, Murphy, and Nieuwenhuis. Uribe came in late for defense and made a nice play in the ninth that Murphy would not have made. Collins may still yet eschew this platoon system, but he kept his promise that players who produce will play. Those three produced yesterday, and they played today.
The Mets now move on to a softer part of the schedule. Even if the Mets don’t make another move, they now seem ready to compete in this pennant race. Lets Go Mets.
In his heart of hearts, Terry Collins is an old school manager. You reward players with playing time. If you don’t do your job, take a seat on the bench. This team, while imperfect, is perfect for Collins.
Now, players will have to earn playing time. Before, Collins was throwing just praying that whatever buttons he hit would produce a run. This is not to disparage Collins. While I sometimes question his in game moves (like using Familia in the ninth tonight instead of Logan Verrette or Alex Torres) nothing that has happened with the offense thus far is his fault.
However, the pressure is all on him now. This team has interchangeable parts with limitations. He really only has three good defensive players: Juan Lagares, Juan Uribe, and Lucas Duda. There are only four players with an OPS over .700: Duda, Granderson, Johnson, and Uribe (even if there are problems with OPS calculation). For most of the season, the problem was how to get blood from a stone. Now, it is don’t screw it up. Saturday night was a great start to say the least. The Mets only scored the most amount of runs they scored in Citi Field.
I’d argue the most important development was Duda’s two HR game. For most people, present company included, Duda’s problems were lack of lineup protection and the weight of carrying this team. If Saturday night is any measure, the pressure is off, and he’s back to being the middle of the order threat the Mets need.
A very close second was Comforto’s night. Remember the old adage: sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t make? Well, if the Mets got Parra, Conforto is still in AA. Conforto looks ready this is confirmed by his 4-4 game with 4 runs scored and an RBI. On a night like tonight, I’ll give the Mets the benefit of the doubt that Conforto needed those minor league ABs.
The third important development was Kelly Johnson and Daniel Murphy getting the start and taking advantage of the opportunity. Both players homered and gave Collins no reason to take them out of the lineup. It was also a smart move for Collins to get Uribe in the game. It was also good to see Uribe get a hit.
The rest was gravy. Matt Harvey was Matt Harvey. Apparently now, he’s a real threat at the plate with three consecutive multiple RBI games. Nieuwenhuis seems to be hitting again. The Mets finally beat up on weak pitching. There seemed to be a different energy to this club and to the ballpark. There was a lot to like.
However, we need to reserve judgment until tomorrow when Zack Greinke takes the mound. If the Mets get some runs off of him tomorrow, they really do have something. The Mets have a chance tomorrow not only because they’re throwing deGrom, but also because they have eight legitimate bats (sorry nine tomorrow) in the lineup. Lets Go Mets!
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say Terry Collins made his biggest managerial decision of the year . . . and the entire planet disagreed with him. Collins pinch hit Eric Campbell for Jacob deGrom in the top of the seventh. We all know that deGrom has better hitting statistics than Campbell, and deGrom was pitching well. No one would have second guessed Collins if he left in deGrom.
Instead, he went with Campbell seeking to capitalize on a missed call leading to a gift double to Nieuwenhuis. The gutsy move paid off as Campbell hit a two run single turning a 2-1 deficit to a 3-2 lead. What was even more surprising was Collins used Campbell over Cuddyer, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth. Good for Collins, who has been a gentleman all year. He’s never publicly complained about this offense and/or roster. Also, good for Campbell. He’s been a punching bag this year. However, he has earned Mets fans respect as he always hustles and really is doing everything he can do to be on the big league roster.
Also, good for deGrom and the Mets pitchers. deGrom pitched well enough to win, and he got that win. This post very well could’ve been about how deGrom handed a lead back and how the Mets pitchers can’t do that with this offense. Hopefully, the explosion in the ninth inning is a sign of things to come. Maybe Campbell’s single allowed everyone to take a deep breath and relax. Maybe it was just one game. I’m choosing to be optimistic.
A hat tip is also due to Matt Harvey. He had a rough start yesterday, but he settled down and powered through 7 innings. It allowed a tired bullpen to rest after an 18 inning game, and it allowed Collins to gamble knowing he had a rested Mejia, Parnell, and Familia.
After watching the Mets-Cardinal series, it’s easy to be negative . . . I know I was. The Mets got blew a great Thor game, we saw the fork sticking out of Colon, and then watched them take 18 innings to score three runs. However, it’s the beginning of a new week, so let’s start that week off with some optimism.
Going into the All Star Break, the Mets were 2 games behind the Nationals (3 in the loss) with 12 games yet to play against them. After an awful weekend in St. Louis (and really is there any other kind there), the Mets are still in the same position. Now, the Mets come storming into Washington with Harvey, deGrom, and Thor. The Mets are ready to throw down (yes, the pun is intended).
This was Sandy’s rebuilding plan come to fruition. No matter how bad the offense is or how much it is struggling, good luck trying to score. Harvey has a 16 inning scoreless streak, deGrom has given up 12 runs in his past 10 starts (not including the All Star Game), and Thor’s last four starts have seen him allow 2 ER or less.
The Mets have been brutal on the road, but their three best pitchers are going out there. This is a pennant race. Through everything that has happened thus far this season, I’m still excited. Lets Go Mets!