Jerry Blevins

I Don’t Know What to Make of Collins

Terry Collins came into this season as a lame duck manager. That can be poison going into a year. A lot of that was alleviated by the Mets 11game winning streak in April. Then the injuries came. 

On April 14thDavid Wright went on the DL with a hamstring, but we would later learn it could be much worse. On April 19thTravis d’Arnaud went to the DL with a right hand fracture. He would come off the DL on June 10th, and he would return to the DL on June 23rdJerry Blevins went on the DL with a broken forearm on the same day as d’Arnaud’s first DL stint. On June 5thDaniel Murphy went on the DL with a left quad injury. 

These injuries were on top of season ending injuries to Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin. The Mets lost Jenrry Mejia first two injury on Opening Day and then to a steroids suspension. Rafael Montero was first an option in the bullpen and then the rotation. He went on the DL with a shoulder injury and would never pitch again. Dillon Gee was in and out of the rotation, and he went on the DL. Eventually, he went into the doghouse. 

There was also the issues of ineffectiveness. Lucas Duda started out hot, and then got really, really cold. He had trouble carrying the offense. It’s no wonder his back went outKirk Nieuwenhuis was terrible, and he was traded to the Angels. When Nieuwenhuis flopped with the Angels, the Mets and their dreadful offense took him back. Of course, Michael Cuddyer had a typical first year with the Mets. 

Through all of this, Collins kept it together. It was a miracle. The Mets should not have been in position to make trades. They were in a small part because the Nationals didn’t run away with it. A larger part was Collins holding it together. Then when he finally had a real MLB roster, his abilities as a tactician into question. 

He started making questionable choices, and he cost his team some games. Then the season defining series against the Nationals. Collins said he was treating it like a playoff series. He made a number of moves. He was brilliant. However, it leaves me to question which is the true Terry Collins. Is he the man that is better at getting the most out of a team?  Is he a guy that can jeopardize a game with questionable moves?  Is he the guy that can pull it together to make all the right moves when a series is in the line?

Is he all these things?  I don’t know.  Part of the reason why is this is Collins first real pennant race as the team to beat. Another reason is he’s never had a team this good. Finally, he’s never been in the playoffs. He’s going to get his chance now. 

It’s funny that with no new contract, this could be Collins first and last chance at a World Series. I hope he gets it. Not just because I’m a Mets fan, but because he’s a good man. He’s spent his life in baseball, and he has earned his chance. 

I just hope when the time comes we see the Collins that managed against the Nationals. 

NOTE: hat tip to @koosman2pointOh for his suggestion on this post. 

Quick Pitching Robles

Initially, Hansel Robles was supposed to be a stop gap when Jerry Blevins was injured. He was only supposed to be up until the Mets could find a left-handed replacement. He was only supposed to be up until Vic Black and Bobby Parnell was ready. 

He was recommended by Wally Backman because he was “really throwing the ball good.”  Terry Collins liked him from Spring Training because he had a good arm, and how he responded to his demotion. It’s probably why he was promoted over seemingly more logical options like Jack Leathersich and Zack Thornton

Well, Robles has stuck. He’s shown a 94+ MPH fastball. He’s striking out a little more than one batter per inning. He’s 1.014 WHIP is pretty good. However, none of that is his trademark. His trademark is his quick pitch. A page right out of the LaTroy Hawkins handbook. There’s no stopping him, not even his catcher, Travis d’Arnaud

Once the batter is in the box, he’s pitching. There’s nothing illegal about it, but boy dies it get the opposition hopping mad. He’s psyching out the opponents. He’s getting better. 

Robles was good in the first half limiting batters to a triple slash line of .214/.287/.321. In the second half, he’s only allowed a triple slash line of .171/.236/.427. His WHIP dropped from 1.191 to 0.845. He’s gone from 7.5 K/9 to 11.8. What’s even better is he has no platoon splits. That’s not true. He had a bit of a reverse platoon split. Righties are hitting .215/.300/.430, and lefties are hitting .153/.190/.271. 

If not for the Addison Reed addition, Robles would be the leading candidate for the seventh inning. Now?  He’s the top guy in the pen in the sixth inning and pressure situations. He’s pretty much a lock for the postseason roster. Not too bad for a guy who was never supposed to be here and never was supposed to stick. 

I’m looking forward to him quick pitching the Mets to a World Series title. 

Is Matz the Price for a Postseason Run

Rumor has it the Mets will have Steven Matz rejoin the rotation when he comes off the DL. During the Mets recent run, I began to think the Mets should use Matz out of the bullpen. I never really wrote anything about it because I wasn’t sure it was a good idea with any restrictions that may be placed on him. 

However, two things recently changed my mind:

  1. The Mets bullpen last night was horrible; and
  2. Jerry Blevins is done for the year

It’s no secret the Mets bullpen, outside of Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia, is weak. They had trouble holding an eight run lead last night. Last week, they blew a six run lead to the Padres. They need to sure things up. 

Now, the Mets are down an important piece of Blevins. Admittedly, he’s been gone for most of the year, and he couldn’t be relied upon to return this year. 

I’m also convinced after last night the Mets aren’t that serious about innings limits. How could you?  Not only have we learned that Mets starters have thrown more innings than any other team, but they also let Matt Harvey pitch two extra innings with a huge lead. If they are serious, Dillon Gee could make those starts. 

With all that said, I think the Mets should take a page from the 2008 Rays book and put Matz in the bullpen. In 2008, David Price made one start and four bullpen appearances. He saved Game 7 of the ALCS en route to a World Series appearance. Since that time, Price has been one of the best pitchers in baseball. Sure, he had the stuff, but I’m also sure the early postseason experience helped. 

Also, keep in mind if the Mets make the playoffs, that’s where Matz would go anyway. If that’s the case, why not give him some experience there now instead of throwing him in without any relief appearances in the playoffs.  Put it this way, in a big spot, do you want to see Steven Matz or Hansel Robles?  

So, if the Mets are truly interested in winning this year, Matz needs to go to the bullpen as soon as his DL stint is over. The Mets made win-now decisions with the Yoenis Cespedes trade and the Tyler Clippard trade.  They’re all-in. When you’re all in, you don’t hold back. 

Matz to the bullpen is the only solution. 

O’Flaherty Our New Lefty Man

Finally, the Mets are addressing their second biggest roster hole: the lack of a LOOGY.  The Mets have added Eric O’Flaherty for a player to be named later. I’m assuming the prospect will be of no consequence (although I’m leery with the Mets receiving cash), and accordingly, I love the trade. 

Jerry Blevins had been brilliant to start the year. However, he broke his arm, and it took longer to heal than anticipated. He’s finally been cleared to throw, but there is no timetable for his return. If he does come back, it’ll give the Mets two LOOGYs. That’ll be a nice weapon when you still have six games remaining  against Bryce Harper and the Nationals. 

For his part, O’Flaherty should only be used against lefties. He’s holding lefties to a triple slash line of .186/.286/.209. He has not given up a homerun to a LHB. Conversely, he’s gotten mauled by righties to the tune of .420/.491/.620. 

This is also addition by subtraction because the Mets designated Alex Torres for assignment. At first glance, Torres‘ 3.15 ERA suggests he’s pitched well. However, his peripherals are scary. He has an FIP of 5.68 and a 1.515 WHIP. Furthermore, he’s a lefty who can’t get out lefties. They’re hitting a triple slash line of .268/.406/.393. 

Overall, this is a good trade that addresses a real team need. The only downside is that it’ll drive me even crazier that I can’t get a personalized jersey.