Matt Harvey

Why Didn’t Anyone Pitch a Good Bullpen Idea?

When the Mets assembled this front office, they were all touted as geniuses. Apparently, everyone just disregarded J.P. Riccardi’d tenure in Toronto and Paul DePodesta’s brief tenure in Los Angeles. The only known contributions from the two of them is the Colin McHugh-Eric Young, Jr. trade

The reason I bring this up is everyone in the whole organization is acting like idiots right now.  We all agree that the Mets needed to do something with Bobby Parnell. Some wanted him released. I wanted them to give him time to get himself right. Seemingly, the Mets found a terrific option: put Parnell on the DL and call-up Logan Verrett to take his place. Only that’s not what happened

What happened is they brought him up to make a spot start for Matt Harvey on Sunday. Yup, they called up Verrett to pitch one very quick inning on this throw day, Wednesday, and then make a spot start on Sunday. 

Where was the genius that said, “maybe this is a bad idea?”  Who said, “let’s delay putting Parnell on the DL until Sunday so as to not short change our bullpen one arm Friday and Saturday?”  How come no one thought, “is there an another option, like Vic Black, that we can call up and have available until Sunday?”

This mismanagement is unconscionable. Keep in mind you’re not just shortening your bullpen for two games, you’re also doing it in Colorado with your three worst starting pitchers. This is like going to Iceland in December and saying, “I have a heavy sweatshirt, why would I need a winter coat?”  It’s not like the entire country is one massive glacier in the Artic Circle. Oh, it is. Well then I’ll bring a winter hat. 

Keep mind, the Mets are also shortchanging their bullpen going to Philadelphia. It’s not like Verrett will pitch Sunday and be available on Monday. The earliest he will be available would be Wednesday. So essentially, the Mets called up Verrett to shorten the bullpen for at least five games. How does this make sense?

All of this also ignores the insanity of how this team has handled Matt Harvey this season. We all knew there was going to be an innings limit issue. Did the Mets hold him back a month to restrict his innings? No. Did they decide to sit him after two rough May outings? No. Instead, they’re choosing to sit him in the middle of a pennant race when he’s been pitching really well. 

Maybe they send down Verrett after Sunday’s start and recall Black or someone else. Maybe there is a move I’m completely missing. I doubt it. 

Overall, I don’t know what the Mets are doing right now. When they act like this, I’m not sure they even know what they’re doing either. 

Collins Managing Like It’s 1995

Tonight was yet another example that Terry Collins is not ready to manage in October. This is unacceptable. 

I’m angry and you should be angry. Logan Verrett was called up to help in the bullpen. He comes in and faces three batters in the sixth. He’s been starting in AAA, so after a quick inning, in an AL park, I presumed it was a no-brainer that he came on for a second inning. 

Nope, he was lifted. Why?  So he can start on Sunday to permit the Mets to skip Matt Harvey‘s start. Yup, the Mets are messing around with a team in a pennant race. As I’ve said before, if you want to skip starts, you do it in May when Harvey was struggling; not now, not in the thick of the pennant race. 

Sure enough Hansel Robles gives up the game tying HR in the seventh (which was supposed to be Verrett’s innings) to Adam Jones tying the game at four. There’s no shame in allowing a HR to Jones. There is shame in allowing your fourth or fifth best reliever to get beat in the last three innings of a game. 

Terry Collins continued his rough night by allowing Juan Uribe to face former Met Darren O’Day after Lucas Duda‘s one out double. O’Day holds righties to a triple slash of .192/.259/.277 for his career. This year Uribe hits righties .246/.300/.375. Predictably, Uribe grounded out with Kelly Johnson on the bench. Travis d’Arnaud would then make the final out of the inning. 

If you’re going to sit Michael Conforto against lefties, you pinch hit Johnson there. Sure enough to make sure I get an aneurysm, Collins PH Michael Cuddyer against the lefty Zach Britton. On what planet is it more important to look at lefty-righty match-ups in the beginning of an inning as opposed to during a rally in a tie game. 

Finally, to show Collins shouldn’t be managing a team in a pennant race, he puts in Carlos Torres over a warmed-up Jeurys Familia. Sure enough, Torres let up the walk-off homerun to the first batter he saw in the ninth giving the Orioles a 5-4 win. You always want to lose a game with one of your worst relievers when you’re best one is available and ready to go. 

I’m angry. Collins botched this game top to bottom. He cost the Mets the win. Some will blame the bullpen. I think it’s how it was deployed and how Collins handled his bench. 

Thank God Washington hasn’t fired Matt Williams. Otherwise, I would be positive the Mets would blow this lead. 

Parnell Finds Out His Arm Hurts

After a number of bad outings, the Mets decided it was time to make a changeLogan Verrett is going to take Bobby Parnell‘s place in the bullpen. 

It was decided that Parnell would go on the DL with arm fatigue. This is a good move because Parnell had been effective earlier in the year, and he probably just needed some time off. It’s good the Mets didn’t DFA him because you don’t throw away a potential asset.

What this also signals to me is how the Mets have mismanaged the innings limits of their young pitchers. Look at how easy that was. Just throw a guy on the DL. No real excuse needed. If they did this at some other time, like when Matt Harvey had some rough outings, we wouldn’t be talking about reintroducing the six man rotation in September. 

Instead, we would be talking about what to do with Bartolo Colon. We would be talking about whether Steven Matz should go to the bullpen. No, we are instead talking about who’s going to be the seventh inning reliever. It’s too late in the season to leave this unanswered. 

It’s also the result of uninspired thinking. The Mets never truly pivoted from the failures of Vic Black and the suspensions of Jenrry Mejia

Hopefully, Verrett, a player the Mets were alright subjecting to the Rule 5 draft, will be the seventh inning answer. I would like the Mets to consider Matz. I wouldn’t rule out Parnell once he decides his arm no longer hurts. 

I Hate the Pirates

It’s funny. The three divisional format in every league was supposed to, in part, amp up rivalries. The problem when they set up the NL East was that there were no rivalries amongst those teams. 

The teams I hated are all in the NL Central: the Cardinals, Cubs, and Pirates. I came to hate the Pirates in 1990. The Pirates crushed my young dream of seeing the Mets in the playoffs again. 

In 1990 , I rooted for the Reds in the NLCS. In 1991 and 1992, I rooted for the Braves. One of my favorite memories as a kid was this: 

It’s funny now to think of ever rooting for the Braves, but baseball was much different back then. It’s also funny to think Barry Bonds couldn’t throw out former teammate, Sid Bream. After the 1991 NLCS, the Pirates couldn’t resign Bobby Bonilla allowing the Mets to get him on what would become “The Worst Team Money Can Buy.”

Again, your memory is funny. When the Mets first got Bonilla, I was thrilled. You were too. You know what else is funny?  If you look over his stats, he was a pretty good player on the Mets. However, any sympathy I would’ve had for him went out the door with 1999 poker game. 

Anyway, after 1992, that was it for the Pirates. Barry Bonds would go to San Francisco, and the Pirates wouldn’t have a winning team again for another 21 years. I loved every minute of it. Now, however, the Pirates are a loaded, dangerous, and likeable team. 

With them it all starts with Andrew McCutchen, who is the best player in the National League. He’s a CF putting up consistent All Star and Hall of Fame stats. It seems like every year, he gets unexpected help. This year that man is Jung Ho Kang, who probably is the rookie of the year. 

A deep pitching staff is lead by Gerritt Cole, who is on the fringes of the Cy Young discussions. Luckily, they will miss him. Unfortunately, the Mets will throw Bartolo Colon. Also, Matt Harvey will be the only stud muffin to fm go in this series. 

Right now, the Pirates are the better team. However, the Mets play well at Citi Field while the Pirates are [barely] a sub .500 team in the road. Overall, I see this series as a measuring stick rest. I hope the Mets are up for the challenge. 

Arm Wrestling

About three weeks ago, I addressed the Mets innings limitations problem. Without completely regurgitating everything here, my conclusion was that without a spot starter, Jacob deGrom would be the only stud muffin able to make a postseason start. Even at that, he would only be available for one game. 

I thought with the latest go-round of stud muffin starts, it would be helpful to re-visit where we are on the innings limits:

Matt Harvey: I’ve noted his innings limits are between 180 – 190 innings. Right now, he’s at 148.0, or 42.0 innings before a hypothetical shutdown (don’t worry Collins said there’s no shutdown). By my rudimentary calculation, Harvey has nine starts left, at most. He’s averaging 6.2 innings per start meaning he will go over his limit by 18 innings (about three starts), not including the postseason. 
Jacob deGrom: I’ve noted his innings limits are between 208 – 214 innings. Right now, he’s at 146.2, or 71.1 innings before needing to be shutdown. With approximately nine starts left and his averaging 6.2 innings per start, he looks to finish the year with 206.2 innings. It looks like he will be below his limits, postseason aside. 

Noah Syndergaard: I’ve noted his innings limits are between 159.0 – 163.0 innings. Right now, he’s at 105.2, or 57.1 innings before needing to be shut down. With nine starts remaining and his averaging 6.2 innings per start, he looks to finish the year with 165.2 innings. He will be slightly above his innings limits right before the postseason.

So interestingly enough, if you’re only looking at the regular season, there isn’t an innings limitation problem with anyone but Harvey.  This is yet again a sign the Mets shouldn’t “Matz” with the rotation right now. 
While not addressing the pitching, Sandy Alderson did say, “[i]t’s about this year. Not next year.”  I hope he keeps this in mind and puts Steven Matz in the bullpen. Remember it’s all about this year. 

BACK to Having This Conversation

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. 

Prior to this year, it was the awful way, the Mets responded to Matt Harvey‘s and Zack Wheeler‘s arm complaints. It continued this year with Dan Warthen playing doctor with Steven Matz

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. 

Thor LEFT Out There

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’ DayCurtis 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. 

Who’s in First?

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:

AL East

Team         W    L     GB

Blue Jays   63    52     –

Yankees    61    51   0.5

NL East

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:

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!

Fastballs by Jake

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 . . . 

  
. . . that just so happened to match the color of the new Rally Parakeet

  
Whether it’s the black cat in 1969, or the yellow parakeet in 2015, I’ll take all the help we can get. 

Are the Mets Reckering Their Prospects?

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.