Mets Merized Online » Joe D http://metsmerizedonline.com Sun, 25 Sep 2016 21:07:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 Mets Rally Falls Short, Phillies Prevail 10-8 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-rally-falls-short-phillies-prevail-10-8.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-rally-falls-short-phillies-prevail-10-8.html/#comments Sun, 25 Sep 2016 03:05:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223691 gilmartin-collins

Despite displaying some tremendous heart after falling behind 10-0 to the Phillies early, the Mets tacked on eighth runs but it wasn’t enough as they lost 10-8 tonight at Citi Field.

Pitching

Sean Gilmartin got the start for the Mets and had himself a nightmarish first inning, letting up five earned runs on four hits and four walks and only able to get two outs before Rafael Montero relieved him and was able to get the third out.  The huge blow came off the bat of Maikel Franco, a three-run bomb to left-center. A disappointing outing for Gilmartin who was pitching in place of Noah Syndergaard.

Not wanting to be outdone, Montero gave up another five runs to the Phillies, but was at least able to last 3.1 innings. Montero allowed seven hits and a walk including a three-run homer to Darin Ruf. On the plus side, he struck out seven.

The Mets turned to lefty Josh Edgin in the fifth and he delivered a 1-2-3 inning while striking out one, while Jim Henderson struck out the side in a scoreless sixth. However after a leadoff single to start the seventh, Josh Smoker replaced Henderson and was greeted by a single himself, but no harm done.

Fernando Salas pitched a perfect eighth and Erik Goeddel stranded a pair of runners in the ninth.

gavin-cecchini

Offense

While Mets pitchers were struggling to keep the game within striking distance, Alec Asher was dealing for the Phillies and keeping the Mets offense in check. He was perfect through the first three innings.

After four innings, Terry Collins pulled Asdrubal Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Reyes and Curtis Granderson out of the game and brought in the B Squad.

The Mets finally broke through against Asher in the fifth inning when they put up a four-spot courtesy of two Phillies errors and RBI hits by Brandon Nimmo and who else – T.J. Rivera.

t-j-rivera

Gavin Cecchini got the Mets within five runs with an RBI double in the sixth, his first major league hit. Then T.J. plated another run with a single to bring home Lucas Duda as the Mets kept chipping away. The score was now Phillies 10, Mets 6 heading into the seventh inning.

More dramatics in the eighth inning as the Mets tack on another run thanks to a Gavin Cecchini double. The Replace-Mets will not go silently into the night.

In the ninth inning, needing three runs to tie, Jay Bruce hit a pinch-hit homer to cut the deficit to two runs and snap an 0-for-15 slump. After Eric Campbell drew a walk in a great at-bat, the Mets would bring the tying run to the plate. Holy shit…

Another walk, this time to Michael Conforto, and the tying runs were on base with just one out. But Lucas Duda pops out to short and Travis d’Arnaud grounds out to end the game. And the greatest comeback win in franchise history would not happen. But they gave it a heck of a shot.

On Deck

Robert Gsellman will close out the series on Sunday, taking on Jake Thompson for the Phillies in a 1:10 PM matinee.

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Collins: Flores Could Miss Rest Of Regular Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/collins-flores-could-miss-rest-of-regular-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/collins-flores-could-miss-rest-of-regular-season.html/#comments Sun, 25 Sep 2016 01:32:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222636 Wilmer - Flores

Terry Collins told reporters on Saturday that Wilmer Flores could miss the rest of the regular season due to his ailing wrist injury.

Flores told reporters that he plans on trying to take swings on Sunday and will try to see how he feels after that, but he remains worried about the bone bruise in his wrist.

He received a second cortisone injection on Monday to try and alleviate the pain and irritation.

Previous Update – Sep 22

It has now been 12 days since Wilmer Flores hurt his right wrist in a home-plate collision against the Braves in Atlanta, but there is still no return in sight.

Flores remains unable to swing a bat despite a second cortisone shot on Monday. Manager Terry Collins said Flores will almost certainly remain out of the lineup tonight with the Mets facing a left-hander.

“I’m really concerned,” Collins said on Wednesday. “We pointed to tomorrow night’s game as a big game for him because it’s a lefty and he just kills lefties. He won’t be a part of it, I can tell you right now, the way he is today. I’m really concerned about it. I’m really worried about it.”

“Wilmer Flores is our dynamic guy from the right side. And without him, you’re going into face some of those relievers late in the game. He can make a big difference, and without him, it’s a little different.”

The level of concern is DEFCON 4, Collins said to reporters.

Original Report – Sep 11 

After Wilmer Flores ripped a two-out double in the top of the eighth with the score tied at 3, the slow-footed Flores remained in the game much to the consternation of everyone on Twitter and even Gary, Keith and Ron in the booth.

As fate would have it, when pinch hitter T.J. Rivera followed with a single, Flores was thrown out at the plate in a violent collision, sliding head first right into a brick wall named A.J. Pierzynski.

Flores laid on the ground dazed and eventually left the game with a neck injury. X-rays taken at Turner Field were negative, but Flores said he felt dizzy and was very sore.

“I feel a lot of pain right now. If you watch the play, home plate was open. I saw it open and my first thought was a head first slide, avoid the tag.”

“When I was sliding, he got the ball and he ran right into me. It’s one of those plays where I really want to score, and I tried to do too much and that’s why I got hurt.”

The Mets can ill afford to lose Flores, who has evolved into one of the top hitters in the NL versus left-handed pitchers, batting .343 with a .697 slugging percentage, 11 homers, and a 1.074 OPS in 99 at-bats entering play on Saturday.

“I should have ran for him there,” Terry Collins said after the game, acknowledging he was distracted and should have pinch run for Flores.

“I was trying to get the pitching set up. My fault. … He’s going to have a stiff neck. But we certainly have enough guys. We could have ran for him, which we should have. I was trying to get the pitching set up and get a pinch hitter in and got distracted. It’s my fault.” (ESPN New York)

The Braves ended up scoring the decisive run and handing the Mets a painful 4-3 defeat in 10 innings,  while the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants both won.

If Flores does miss some time, hopefully it’s not more than a day or two. But as for Collins losing focus at such a critical junction in the game, well that was certainly a costly faux pas as the Mets fall out of the wild card spot and potentially lose a key weapon in their offensive attack against LHP.

(Photos: USA Today)

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MMO Mailbag: Meanwhile Jonathan Lucroy Is Raking http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-mailbag-meanwhile-jonathan-lucroy-is-raking.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-mailbag-meanwhile-jonathan-lucroy-is-raking.html/#comments Wed, 21 Sep 2016 17:49:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223445 jonathan-lucroy

Alex asks…

While every day we see articles about how awful Jay Bruce is doing since joining the Mets, I have yet to see one article about the MVP caliber second half Jonathan Lucroy is having with the Texas Rangers. Why is this news being buried? All the reports I read at the trade deadline were that Lucroy was the Mets’ primary target and that Bruce was fallback option that wasn’t even the right-handed bat nor the center fielder the team needed. I would like to see an article about this.

Joe D. replies…

I honestly had no idea that Lucroy was producing at such a high level for the Rangers. In 39 games he is batting .286/.362/.563 with 10 home runs, 28 RBI and a 138 OPS+.

You compare that to Jay Bruce and his .176/.255/.289 batting line and 41 OPS+ and you really want to cringe.

The Mets did attempt to acquire Lucroy at least two times. They were initially rejected when the Mets offered Travis d’Arnaud in a one-for-one swap in early July. The Mets then circled back just before the deadline and reportedly offered d’Arnaud and Brandon Nimmo. It appeared the Mets were close to a deal until the Rangers came in and knocked the Mets out of contention. Given what the Rangers gave up in top prospects, the Mets made the right move to back away. At that point there was only a few hours left to the deadline so the Mets jumped on Bruce.

There really isn’t enough here to warrant an article and that’s probably why you haven’t seen any. Teams make trades all the time and sometimes you win and sometimes you just roll snake eyes.

My only quibble is that I wonder if the trade was really necessary for the Mets. We didn’t need another corner outfielder or a left-handed bat or someone that had already been mired in a month-long slump with the Reds. To coin a Sandy Alderson phrase, it looked like a square peg in a round hole.

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Neil Walker Hoping He Remains With Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/neil-walker-hoping-he-remains-with-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/neil-walker-hoping-he-remains-with-mets.html/#comments Mon, 19 Sep 2016 17:13:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223298 neil walker

Second baseman and soon to be free agent Neil Walker is hoping to remain with the New York Mets, according to a report in the Charlotte Observer.

Walker, 31, underwent back surgery last week and saw his career best season come to an end after posting a .282 batting average and a .823 OPS while hitting 23 home runs in 113 games with the Mets.

“I’m hopeful that we have positive discussions here,” he said Sunday. “It makes a lot of sense.”

“This is a good fit. This looks good, but we don’t know what else is out there. We don’t know where teams might be coming from. The free-agent market this year is kind of weak, especially at the infield position, so you never know what could happen.”

Before Walker saw his season come to an end, Mets GM Sandy Alderson had said the team would be exploring a multi year deal with Walker’s agents. But it’s not clear if those anticipated talks are now off the table.

At the very least, it was a foregone conclusion that Walker would have received a $16 million qualifying offer from the Mets this offseason to net themselves a first round draft pick. But that too likely evaporated with the back surgery and the uncertainty if Walker will be healthy by spring training.

Still, the Mets might be able to roll the dice and sign Walker to a discounted one-year deal while allowing Walker to rebuild his value. He was earning $10.5 million for the 2016 season, so perhaps an $8-9 million dollar deal could do the trick, with maybe a team option year for $12 million if Walker is looking for something more.

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I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/i-get-knocked-down-but-i-get-up-again.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/i-get-knocked-down-but-i-get-up-again.html/#comments Sat, 17 Sep 2016 13:15:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223119 jose reyes asdrubal cabrera

An Amazin’ 1-2 Punch at the Top of the Order!

I get knocked down,
But I get up again.
Never ever gonna keep me down.

I get knocked down,
But I get up again.
Never ever gonna keep me down.

Damn, now I’m gonna have that song stuck in my head all day…

I can’t stop smiling after a Mets game these days. I love this Mets team so much. They are so incredibly captivating and engaging to watch night in and night out, and I would argue that they are more fun to watch than last year’s version, which is saying a lot.

I really thought we’d win more games than we did last season, but it doesn’t bother me one bit that we may not win 90 games this year – Even though we still have a slim shot if we win 12 of our last 15 games. (Totally doable!)

And that’s why I’m so hooked on these 2016 Mets. I can’t even count how many gut punches this team has endured this season because there have been so many of them. Going into the 2016 season, the Mets had two faces of the franchise; their beloved captain and third baseman David Wright, and their indisputable ace and dark knight of Gotham, right-hander Matt Harvey. Before the 4th of July weekend, both of them were out for the season.

When the news broke for each of them, it hit us like a ton of brinks, even though neither of them were exactly having good seasons. It was a psychological blow not only for us fans, but for the team as well. Each of them were the heart and pulse of the team and leaders in the clubhouse.

lucas duda hr

Joe D. Really Misses Duda Smash!

There were other huge losses, perhaps none greater than the team’s cleanup hitter Lucas Duda, who had crushed 64 homers over his last 1,000 at-bats and whose OPS was second only to Yoenis Cespedes in 2015. We lost Duda before the end of May, and while James Loney provided a quick fix, let’s not kid ourselves, Loney’s OPS was 200 points lower than Duda and his 0.3 WAR is nothing to write home about. But still the Mets dealt with the loss and endured.

Honestly, when Asdrubal Cabrera landed on the DL with that knee injury, I wanted to punch a wall. It felt like everything kept going against us. Between that, and then Neil Walker‘s balky back and Yoenis Cespedes’ strained quad, I think any other team would have been so demoralized they would have simply quit. But still the Mets kept fighting even though 80 percent of their opening day lineup was either out for the year, limping, hobbled or had the Zika virus.

I guess the last nail in the coffin came when on top of everything we had already endured, news broke that Zack Wheeler was not returning this season, Steven Matz was out with a bum shoulder, and Jacob deGrom had a strained forearm. It was enough that the media closed the book on 2016 and articles popped up about firing Terry Collins and calling Sandy Alderson to the carpet. One New York Post article even suggested blowing it all up and having a fire sale. (Really?)

But this season wasn’t over by a long shot. Enter the Replace-Mets, who not only revitalized the team with their youth, energy and enthusiasm, but they made the team so much fun to watch. But more important than that, the team started winning and little by little that 5 1/2 game deficit behind the second wild card started to evaporate.

Lo and behold, the ballpark was full again, the fans were delirious, and the Amazins owned the back pages again as the Replace-Mets took turns playing the hero. And of course it didn’t hurt that Asdrubal and Cespedes were back from the DL, taking names, and kicking some major ass at the plate. It was all starting to come together for the Orange and Blue, and what perfect timing.

robert gsellman

Robert Gsellman, Replace-Met Extraordinaire!

August ended on a high note as the Mets defeated the Marlins 5-2 on the last day of the month thanks to a two-run blast by Wilmer Flores and then an 8th inning bases loaded double by Kelly Johnson. It was a memorable game because not only did we send the Marlins into a death spiral, but the Mets had closed the gap behind the Cardinals to just 1.5 games and the wild card was clearly within our grasp.

After a heartbreaking loss to at home to the Nationals with Noah Syndergaard on the mound, the Replace-Mets again rose to the occasion as Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo came through with spectacular performances and each earned a win as we took the final two games against the Nats to take the series, and while we were at it we caught the Cards and took hold of the second wild card. The Mets would go on to win six games in a row featuring huge home runs by Matt Reynolds, Wilmer Fores and Alejandro De Aza, and more great pitching by the Replace-Mets. It was so freaking exciting to take it all in.

So now here we are, with just 15 games left to play and the postseason beckoning… And there’s no god-damn f’kin way any team is going to keep these New York Mets from taking the field on Wednesday, October 5. No way, no how. This Mets team has earned their right to fight this one-game battle with lots of blood, plenty of sweat, and countless tears. It was all so very gruelling, and yet all so very satisfying as well. 

The only question, as far as I’m concerned, is whether or not that wild card game will be played at Citi Field… And I’d bet you dollars to donuts that it will.

So there’s my two cents on the next 15 games and the Amazin outcome. And to all my not so optimistic friends, this why you never give up in June, July or August. Because Mets Baby!

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Duda Will Return to Mets on Saturday http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/duda-will-return-to-mets-on-saturday.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/duda-will-return-to-mets-on-saturday.html/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2016 20:35:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222060 lucas duda

Update -

Lucas Duda will return to the Mets on Saturday at Citi Field according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. At first, he will be limited to pinch hitting duty. Duda hasn’t played in a game with the Mets since May 20th because of a stress fracture in his back. Lucas is currently on the 60-day disabled list meaning to activate him the Mets would need to open a 40-man roster spot. The obvious move would be to slide Jon Niese from the 15-day DL to the 60-day.

Update from September 9th –  

The Mets have announced that Lucas Duda will take live batting practice on Saturday in Port St. Lucie for the first time since his most recent setback with a stress fracture in his back. There is some renewed optimism that Duda could return before the end of the season.

Original Report September 3rd - 

The New York Mets are not ruling out a return this season for first baseman Lucas Duda even if it’s only for a bench role, reports Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

Duda, 30, recently began swinging a bat for the first time since suffering a setback in his recovery from a stress fracture in his lower back. The Mets expect him to advance to full batting practice as soon as next week.

“We’re working the routine as we would if it were July,” general manager Sandy Alderson told DiComo.

“He either makes it back or he doesn’t. How he’s used if he does make it back is a whole other issue, but we’re proceeding as if it were July or August. We’re not trying to speed it up. We’re not trying to slow it down, especially given his relapse the last time.”

It will be interesting to see how the Mets handle Duda going forward. He currently has a $6.725 million salary and enters his final season of arbitration in 2017. MLB Trade Rumors recently tabbed him as a non-tender candidate.

Duda is currently on the 60 Day DL. He was hitting .231/.297/.431 with seven home runs and 19 RBI before suffering his back injury.

I can’t see the Mets non-tendering him unless he suffers another huge setback that would lead him to miss significant time in 2017.

If Duda is healthy, he is a force in the middle of the lineup and a significant upgrade over what James Loney has provided offensively. Even if he gets a modest raise, despite his injury marred season, to let’s say $8 million in 2017, he still offers the Mets some solid value while keeping the seat warm for the heir apparent Dominic Smith.

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Sweet 16: Mets On Verge Of Second Consecutive Postseason http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/the-sweet-16-mets-on-verge-of-second-consecutive-postseason.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/the-sweet-16-mets-on-verge-of-second-consecutive-postseason.html/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2016 16:04:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223050 reyes-rivera

144 down and 16 to go as the New York Mets put the finishing touches on another memorable and exciting regular season, and prepare themselves for what will be a second straight adrenaline-fueled postseason.

What makes this year all the more amazing is that when the Mets finally put the pedal to the metal when the calendar turned to August, the names fueling this run weren’t what I expected, but the results certainly were as I never saw the Mets as anything less than a playoff team and stayed faithful through all those panic infused moments and the nitty-gritty. I loved every minute of it.

Instead of David Wright, Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz leading the charge as the season winds down, new unexpected heroes emerged like Asdrubal Cabrera, who has blown my mind and exceeded all my expectations. Jose Reyes, returned home and gave the top of the order the catalyst it had lacked all season. Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, came out of nowhere to give the rotation a huge boost at a time when the Mets were at the brink and had lost the services of Matz and Jacob deGrom. And then minor heroic efforts from the likes of Kelly Johnson, Rene Rivera, and T.J. Rivera.

All season long, the team has shown a remarkable ability to bounce back from every adversity that came their way, and believe me there were a truckload of them. There were at least three different occasions when the Mets were left for dead this year only to see the team defy the odds with such a remarkable resiliency, displaying such great character and incredible heart all along the way.

jay bruce

As late as August 11 after they were swept at home by the Arizona Diamondbacks, the New York media and many in the fan base, had summoned the coroners office to come and take the lifeless Mets corpse to the city morgue. And much to their surprise, not mine, the Mets bounced back yet again with a 15-4 run to launch themselves into a wild card spot after making up a 5 1/2 game deficit.

Our suddenly Amazin’ Again Mets saw their playoff odds jump from 11 percent to the current 81 percent as they get set to play the final 16, with a three game set against the Minnesota Twins, otherwise known as the worst team in baseball.

While we play the next sweet 16 against MLB’s bottom feeders, our competition for the wild card don’t have it nearly as easy.

The Marlins and Pirates are no longer in the wild card picture and have folded up and left camp. Meanwhile the Cardinals are 6-8 in September and the Giants are 21-35 since posting the best record in the major leagues at the All Star break.

The Giants and Cards both had a firm lock on wild card spots two weeks ago, but have since crashed and burned allowing the Mets to slide into the playoff picture while they continue to play poorly. In a strange twist, both teams are knocking heads this weekend while we play the Twinkies.

With the Mets already holding onto one of the final wild card spots, all they need to do is take care of business and win 12 of the next 16 games, or in other words continue playing as they have for the last month. If they do that, they’re a cinch to get in.

This may not have been the original script when the season opened back in April, but what season ever plays out as planned? What matters most is getting into the postseason and how you get there hardly matters as long as you do. And that’s exactly what this Mets team is on the verge of accomplishing in this improbable but incomparable playoff run.

So I’m going to chillax as we run out the string and get ready for that one game wild card that I’m hoping will be played at the friendly confines of Citi Field. LGM

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MMO Game Thread: Cardinals vs Giants, Battle for NL Wild Card http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-game-thread-cardinals-vs-giants-battle-for-nl-wild-card.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mmo-game-thread-cardinals-vs-giants-battle-for-nl-wild-card.html/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 23:11:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223027 molina-moss-cards

St. Louis Cardinals (76‐69) at San Francisco Giants (77‐68)
10:15 PM EST ◆ AT&T Park ◆ September 15, 2016
Adam Wainwright (11‐8, 4.45) vs. Johnny Cueto (15‐5, 2.90)

The Giants look to turn a three-game losing streak around as they host the St. Louis Cardinals for a four-game series. SF is coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of
the Padres to begin their seven-game homestand.

St. Louis is playing the first game of a 10‐game, 11‐day road trip with stops in SF (4 games), COL (3 games) and CHI (3 games). The Cardinals own the top road record in Major League Baseball at 43‐28, but are 33‐41 at home.

The Giants (77-68) currently trail the Los Angeles Dodgers (81-62) by 5.0 games in the National League West, but still owns a half-game lead over the Mets for the National League’s top wild-card playoff spot, with the Cardinals 1.0 game behind the Giants.

buster-posey-angel-pagan

Giants Lineup

Angel Pagan – LF
Joe Panik – 2B
Buster Posey – C
Hunter Pence – RF
Brandon Belt – 1B
Brandon Crawford – SS
Eduardo Nunez – 3B
Denard Span – CF
Johnny Cueto – P

Cardinals Lineup

Matt Carpenter – 1B
Jedd Gyorko – SS
S. Piscotty – RF
Brandon Moss – LF
Yadier Molina – C
Jhonny Peralta – 3B
Randal Grichuk – CF
Kolten Wong – 2B
Adam Wainwright – P

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Bruce-Less? I Don’t Think So… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/bruce-less-i-dont-think-so.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/bruce-less-i-dont-think-so.html/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 03:02:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222939 jay bruce

It was ugly… It was glaring… It was tough to take. Watching right fielder Jay Bruce strike out with the bases loaded in the first inning against Tanner Roark on Wednesday, in a game we lost 1-0 to the Washington Nationals, had my insides in an uproar.

I’m not sure why it bothered me so much, having seen Bruce fail to come through in a big spot time and time again. I guess it’s because it was the god damn Washington Nationals. Or that we’re running out of season with just 16 freaking games left. Or maybe I’m just fed up.

Maybe for the first time since we acquired Bruce I’m finally ready to admit he’s been a first class bust for the Mets. At least I held out longer than manager Terry Collins who began benching Bruce and giving him “mental breaks” weeks ago.

A week ago in our comment threads, I remember reading something along the lines about doing everything we can to trade Bruce this winter before he ends up sinking our 2017 season like the Titanic. I laughed at the suggestion, but now I don’t know, maybe that guy was really onto something. Or maybe not. I’m not ready to give up on Bruce yet.

Jay-Bruce

A tiny part of me wants to believe that this three-time All Star isn’t the .190/.271/.317 hitter we have seen since joining the Mets. There has to be more to Jay Bruce than what we’ve seen thus far.

After Wednesday’s game, Terry Collins said he has to continue running Bruce out there because he has no other viable option he has confidence in. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Bruce or Michael Conforto, Alejandro De Aza or Ty Kelly.

So what else can Collins do, I asked a reader this evening? What would you do? The fact of the matter is that essentially you have to keep playing Bruce with the hope that it will soon come together for him and he can rise to the occasion as he’s done so many times when he was with the Cincinnati Reds.

In our last road trip which ended in Cincy, I saw Bruce honored by Reds fans with the same reverence we here at home have bestowed on Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo and Keith Hernandez. I came away impressed thinking, “Wow, they really love this guy.”

Jay Bruce has won some pretty huge games for the Reds in his career. Twice he’s finished in the top ten for MVP. Twice he has won a Silver Slugger. I can’t bring myself to believe this guy is finished at age 29.

So I’m going to put on my Ya Gotta Believe cap and hope and pray that Bruce is going to bust out in such a big way that we’ll forget about these last six weeks and instead bask in the glory of another postseason finish led by No. 19. So that’s what I’m going to do. What are you going to do?

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Gsellman Has Labrum Tear In Non-Pitching Shoulder http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/gsellman-has-labrum-tear-in-non-pitching-shoulder.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/gsellman-has-labrum-tear-in-non-pitching-shoulder.html/#comments Wed, 14 Sep 2016 23:55:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222934 robert gsellman 2

Robert Gsellman has at least some degree of labrum tear in his non-pitching shoulder, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

Team doctors will wait until after the season to determine whether Gsellman will require surgery.

Gsellman has not been swinging the bat at all in Las Vegas or with the Mets, which has made the issue glaring, adds Rubin.

After tossing 5,2 scoreless innings in a non-decision against the Nationals on Wednesday, Gsellman has a 3.08 ERA over five appearances including four starts since being called up.

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Backman Discusses Decision To Resign, Mets Front Office, Future http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/backman-discusses-decision-to-resign-mets-front-office-future.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/backman-discusses-decision-to-resign-mets-front-office-future.html/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2016 19:35:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222840 Is it time for some Wally Ball at Citi Field?

Here is a recap and summary of Mike Francesa’s interview with Wally Backman this afternoon, which I live tweeted.

Backman explained how he watched each play, scouted them and tipped off the Mets on all three, telling Sandy how each could help the team. But he never got a thanks or pat on the back after the team signed them.

Backman said he was disappointed that the Mets opted for Dick Scott instead of him for the bench coach position.

This is what hurt Backman the most. That as soon as he informed Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson that he was resigning, an hour later leaks were coming out blaming him for things that never transpired and were untrue. He denied he was ever insubordinate. “Not once. I gave my heart to this organization.”

“Whoever put that out there, the source within the system, they lied,” said Backman. “And that’s the part that pisses me off.”

No matter where life takes him, Backman says he will always be a Met in his heart. He started to choke up after he said that and Francesa gave him a minute to compose himself.

Backman took some time to talk about his players this season and had some nice things to say about Conforto.

Backman said he was a big advocate of advanced metrics to make pre game decisions, setting up lineups, etc. But believed that once the game started it was about the feel of the game and the makeup of the players. “These are not robots,” he said.

Backman believed in the front office but felt the front office never believed in him – or respected him personally and as a baseball guy.

Backman pushed for Gsellman and loved not only his stuff, but his bulldog attitude.

I thought Backman was going to go off on the Mets. That pause was long and deafening. But Wally handled that potential land mine with class and like a true professional.

“When you work for an organization and do everything, you want to be respected for what you do. I just felt for my time being there, the respect wasn’t there. I could be wrong. They could say different. They could say they respected me. The things that went on this year turned my head in the direction that it was time to move on.”

That’s all, folks…

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Updated: Wally Backman Resigns As Mets Triple-A Manager http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/wally-backman-resigns-as-mets-triple-a-manager.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/wally-backman-resigns-as-mets-triple-a-manager.html/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2016 15:50:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222773 backman

As we reported on Monday, general manager Sandy Alderson announced that Wally Backman has resigned as manager of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, thus severing ties with the New York Mets organization.

“He has decided to move on and look for other opportunities, including the possibility of a major league coaching position,” Alderson said. “We wish him well. Been the Triple-A coach and manager since I have been here, wish him the best of luck.”

Backman confirmed as much shortly after, telling followers on Twitter: I have officially resigned from the Mets organization. Thank you to all of the Mets fans for your support over the years.

It’s no secret that both Backman and Alderson were rarely on the same page and there were several instances in recent years that Backman had become more combative and resistant to some of the front office protocols and directives on player development.

Mike Puma of the New York Post cites a team source who says Backman was fired by Alderson, citing various reasons including not using Brandon Nimmo at leadoff, and sitting Michael Conforto against lefties. Although I’m not so sure that’s so true.

Just a week ago, Backman practically accused the big-league coaching staff of ruining Conforto, while proclaiming how he was fixed after a few days with him. Additionally, he took far too much credit for the readiness and development of all the young arms, when it was Frank Viola who deserved most if not all of the credit.

The same source who spoke to Puma, also said Backman would have been fired three years ago if not for Jeff Wilpon’s intervention.

Reached by phone, Backman declined comment, but said he would have “plenty to say later” and knowing Backman believe me, he will.

The reality is that Backman, who has managed in the Mets minor league system for seven years, was never going to manage the big league team as long as the current front office remained in place. He was never a Sandy Alderson guy and at times their relationship was very tenuous to put it mildly, or acrimonious if you were to listen to those who were in the know.

Expect Backman to fire some retaliatory shots at some point in the future, because this isn’t the type of guy that will leave quietly.

I would imagine that Backman leaving to pursue MLB opportunities was a canned response because I know for a fact that the Mets have always made Backman free to interview for any major league position.

One report says that Backman resigned is a preemptive move because he learned that he was being fired at season’s end.

The problem for Wally was that very few teams ever inquired about him even though it was well known the Mets wanted to rid themselves of him.

Backman, who won manager of the year honors for the PCL league in 2014, had become a cult hero of sorts for some Mets fans who hoped he would one day take over managing duties of the major league club. But that was never happening.

Whatever the truth might be, fired or resigned, the Wally Backman era with the Mets is finally over. I would expect Double-A manager Pedro Lopez to be the likely replacement for Wally as the manager of the Las Vegas 51s, but we’ll see what Sandy has planned this offseason.

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Remembering September 11 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/remembering-september-11-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/remembering-september-11-2.html/#comments Sun, 11 Sep 2016 13:27:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222633 9113gr6

I can’t believe that its been 15 years since that awful and unforgettable day. I guess it’s true what they say, time does not heal all wounds.

The pain of what happened on September 11th, 2001 has not subsided. We can put the tragedy of what took place on that day in the back of our minds, but we can never put it out of our hearts.

Let’s take some time to remember those victims and honor them. Let’s also take a few minutes to remember and honor those who still put their lives on the line every single waking hour, so that we here at home can go on living our lives and rebuilding the dreams that perished on that fateful day… Our brave military and our first responders.

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The best way to honor the fallen is to go on living our lives and cherishing the freedom for which they died defending.

The best way to honor the heroes who still fight to preserve our way of life, is to live our lives in a manner that is worth defending, and to reflect the values and the virtues of being an American, every single day.

Freedom and liberty can mean a million different things to a million different people, but there is one common truth that our differences cannot dissuade. Freedom is as fragile or as strong as the will of those who are willing to defend it.

911 never forget

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Mets Take Sole Possession Of Second Wild Card http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-take-sole-possession-of-second-wild-card.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-take-sole-possession-of-second-wild-card.html/#comments Fri, 09 Sep 2016 13:34:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222495 Sign man

After getting pounded by the Milwaukee Brewers 12-5 on Thursday night, the St. Louis Cardinals fell behind the New York Mets in the wild card standings, giving the Amazins sole possession of the second wild card spot. The MLB betting lines continue to rise in the Mets favor.

The Mets had the night off, but now find themselves just one-half game behind the San Francisco Giants for the top wild card spot which would give them home-field advantage in a one-game playoff.

 Domingo Santana and Orlando Arcia hit back-to-back homers for the Brewers while Hernan Perez had four hits and three RBI as the Brew Crew won their season-high fifth straight game on the road.

Jaime Garcia (10-12) started for the Red Birds and lost his fourth straight decision, allowing five earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.

While the Mets have picked a great time to get hot, the Giants, Cards, Pirates and Marlins are dropping like flies and look absolutely impotent compared to the revitalized New York Mets.

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The Mets now have a 69.4 percent chance of making the playoffs according to FanGraphs.

Just 2.5 weeks ago, the Mets were 5.5 games out of the second wild card spot and were pronounced dead by all the experts.

Look at them now.

We have won five series in a row and are riding a five game winning streak as we pull into Atlanta for a three game set with the last place Braves who are 32 games under .500.

Getcha popcorn ready!

homer the dog

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Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz Remain Out Of Rotation, Returns Still Uncertain http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/jacob-degrom-steven-matz-remain-out-of-rotation-returns-still-uncertain.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/jacob-degrom-steven-matz-remain-out-of-rotation-returns-still-uncertain.html/#comments Thu, 08 Sep 2016 17:49:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222433 syndergaard degrom

According to beat reporter Kristie Ackert of the Daily News, there are still no planned dates for the returns of RHP Jacob deGrom (forearm) or LHP Steven Matz (shoulder) to return to the starting rotation.

DeGrom, 28, is expected to miss another start Terry Collins said on Sunday, so he’ll continue to rest his strained forearm. He last pitched on September 1 in a loss to the Miami Marlins. After undergoing an MRI last week, team doctors determined that there is no structural damage in deGrom’s arm.

Matz, 25, appears to be the biggest concern for the Mets. The Long Island southpaw has been on the disabled list since August 15. But on Monday he began throwing on flat ground, which is an encouraging step in the right direction. Despite concerns about whether the Mets should just shut him down for the season and let his shoulder rest while getting the elbow surgery to remove bone spurs over and done with, Matz says he expects to pitch again in 2016.

Meanwhile Terry Collins is focused on what he has to work it and not who’s missing in action.

“It may sound harsh, but I don’t worry about the guys who aren’t here. …You got to worry about what you’ve got here, because that is what is going to help you win tonight,” Collins said. “ We can’t sit there after the game, regardless of the outcome, and say I wish we had Jake tonight, because we don’t.”

With the Mets off on Thursday after a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, the team will get some much needed rest before beginning a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. The Mets will turn to rookie right-handers Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo to start Friday and Saturday, while the veteran Bartolo Colon will get the nod in the series finale on Sunday.

Luckily for the Mets, all three upcoming starters have stepped up in big ways and are chiefly responsible for the incredible starting pitching that has rocketed the team all the way to the brink of a wild card spot, and there’s no doubt in my opinion, that their recent run of success will continue. The Mets have finally put it all together and I think right now they are among the top two teams in the NL along with the Chicago Cubs.

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Marlins Activate Giancarlo Stanton From DL http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/marlins-activate-giancarlo-stanton-from-dl.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/marlins-activate-giancarlo-stanton-from-dl.html/#comments Tue, 06 Sep 2016 22:37:00 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222301 Giancarlo, Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton took batting practice with his team this evening.

The Wild Card race in the National League may have just gotten a little more interesting. MLB Network just reported that the Miami Marlins, in a stunning move, have officially activated Giancarlo Stanton from the disabled list- yes, the same Giancarlo Stanton that many reports said he was out for the season.

Manager Don Mattingly said Stanton is with the team, participated in batting practice, and is available to pinch hit tonight as the Marlins look to ease their slugger back one day at a time.

Stanton suffered a Grade 3 groin strain back in mid-August and ha has defied the odds by returning in just three weeks rather than the  8-10 weeks that was initially projected.

Before he was injured, Stanton was batting just .244, well off his career pace, but he was still dangerous in the power department, clubbing 25 homers with 70 RBIs in just 381 at-bats. He had a .826 OPS on the season with a career high .496 Slugging Pct. and a 2.6 WAR.

The Marlins had a healthy Wild Card lead before they lost Stanton, but that lead has since evaporated and the team has been in a virtual free fall.

After getting to a season-high nine games over .500 on July 31, the team has gone 11-22 since that point, most of those losses coming after they lost Stanton.

Stanton is a huge presence in the middle of that lineup and he carried the team in June and July, but I think this might be a case of too little too late especially if it takes a week or more for Stanton to start playing every day.

I don’t see this as something the Mets should be concerned about. They have a 4.0 game lead over the Marlins and are one game behind the Cardinals for the second Wild Card entering play tonight.

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Bartolo Colon: A Hunk Of Burning Love http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/bartolo-colon-a-hunk-of-burning-love.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/bartolo-colon-a-hunk-of-burning-love.html/#comments Tue, 06 Sep 2016 11:00:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222204 bartolo colon

Every great baseball season is sprinkled with so many profound and uplifting stories, some that even transcend the game itself. Stories within a story that sometimes gets lost amidst all the balls and strikes, safe and out calls, wins and losses.

I love the stories of the late bloomers who come out of nowhere to inspire and lead their teams, or those unheralded youngsters who show up to the big leagues and perform way beyond anyone’s expectations. The Mets have certainly had their share of those this season, haven’t they.

Then there’s Bartolo Colon, a larger than life baseball treasure, who doesn’t really fit so neatly into those aforementioned categories. Bartolo deserves a category unto himself.

Watching Bartolo Colon pitch is one of the great joys of baseball. The way he performs his craft so effortlessly at the ripe old age of 43 is not only astounding and uncanny, it really is a thing of beauty.

As Mets fans, we are so fortunate to have this titan of the mound leading our rotation and providing the consistent performance that has kept this team afloat in a season that has been beset with far too many injuries to our young and promising players.

And it’s not just his prowess on the mound that separates Colon from most other pitchers, it’s all the other thing he brings to the table, in particular his valuable veteran leadership and the special bond he’s developed with all his teammates. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Bartolo was the most respected player in the Mets clubhouse.

Colon Bartolo

It amazes me that at a time when the Mets are getting socked with a slew of devastating injury news on several of their key players, that it was Bartolo Colon above all others who came forward and stepped up his game, providing the leadership and a steady hand that the team needed to navigate through the last two weeks.

After another spectacular performance on Monday against the Cincinnati Reds, Colon is 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA in his last four starts.

In his latest act, it was mesmerizing to see him escape a pair of jams with a runner on third and no outs. It was like watching a neurosurgeon perform the most delicate and dangerous of procedures with such remarkable ease. Not only did Colon walk away with a scoreless six inning performance that lowered his season’s ERA to 3.22, but he didn’t even break a sweat doing it.

There were a pair of special moments in his outing that really stood out for me. The first was after Colon navigated through that two on, nobody out jam. After he got the third out, the camera followed him to the dugout before cutting to a commercial. There was Colon standing amongst his peers a little winded, when I saw Travis d’Arnaud walk up and hug him as Bartolo smiled and hugged him back. I don’t really know what precipitated that, but it was a poignant moment you rarely get to see.

bartolo colon

The true highlight of the game for me didn’t even go in the Mets’ favor. It was an epic at-bat in that same sixth inning that pitted Reds slugger Joey Votto against Bartolo Colon in a tense showdown when the game was still on the line.

After putting Votto in an 0-2 hole, the All Star first baseman worked the count to 3-2 and then kept fouling one pitch after another off with neither player willing to give up an inch. Eventually Votto worked out a walk as Colon was unwilling to give him that pitch over the plate he desperately wanted.

As he jogged to first base, Votto glanced over at Colon who nodded his head and Votto did the same. Two baseball giants paying each other some respect. It was a cool ending to a key moment in the game.

You cannot measure what Bartolo Colon has meant to the young arms who look up to him and try to emulate his straight forward approach to throwing strikes and trusting your stuff. Clearly, his value to the team this season cannot be overstated.

The Mets are 12-4 in their last 16 games and 25 percent of those wins are on account of Bartolo. This latest win, the 231st of his career, makes Colon the active MLB leader in wins and he ties Luis Tiant for the second most wins All Time by a Latin American-born pitcher.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad that I’ve had the opportunity to see this class act pitch for my beloved Mets. And I truly hope we are not seeing the last of him and that he will return to pitch for the orange and blue next year which he says will be his final season.

Watching Bartolo close out his career in Flushing would be a fitting end to a remarkable career and one of the best storylines of the 2017 season for the New York Mets.

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The 2016 Ya Gotta Believe Mets! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/the-2016-ya-gotta-believe-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/the-2016-ya-gotta-believe-mets.html/#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2016 17:00:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221873 curtis granderson asdrubal cabrera

“This team continues to be resilient in the face of injuries and adversity and I think that speaks volumes about their character. This season hasn’t played out quite the way I envisioned it, but here they are only 3.5 games out with a healthier team, a revitalized offense, three young power pitchers in the rotation, and a shutdown backend of the bullpen. Looking at the remaining schedule, the Wild Card is there for the taking. We can do it… Let’s get this done.”

I wrote those words a week ago today and of course it was met with a lot of the usual consternation by the readers, one who wanted to know what kind of drugs they were giving me at the VA. But that’s okay because I actually love reading the snickering chatter whenever me or one of my staff pours it on with the optimism.

And I don’t do this as often as I should, but I gotta say thanks to MacDaddy for sticking up for me that day, and to TheFordhamFlash who saw how quickly that thread had devolved and wrote: “You people stink. Literally incapable of any sense of optimism.”

Those are the kind of fans I enjoy writing for and that keep me going. Having witnessed a couple of Mets miracles in my lifetime, I can’t surrender a season as quickly as so many other fans do. Where’s the fun in tossing in the towel in May or June or July?

Anyway, enough about that.

yoenis cespedes kelly johnson

Guys… With last night’s win the Mets have now won 9 of their last 11 games, and more important than that – we have leapfrogged the Pirates and the Marlins and we’re now only 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals in the Wild Card standings.

Everything has changed so much in the past week and it actually has me saying screw the second wild card… We want and deserve the first wild card. And we have the team, the resiliency, the character, and the drive to get this done.

What I have seen from this team in the last seven days has emboldened the Ya Gotta Believe spirit within me.

Faced with the jeering and scrutiny of an unforgiving media, the Mets had the guts to hand five critical starts with playoff ramifications to youngsters Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo and Rafael Montero – and they each came through in the most incredible, unimaginable and magnificent ways.

That, more than this recent bluster of home runs, has impressed me more than anything else during the Cardinals and yet to conclude Marlins series.

And can I say this again? Kelly Johnson is without question the best bench player in baseball right now.

wilmer flores

This Mets team never gives up no matter how much pain and adversity comes their way. They have no quit in them. None.

That begins at the top with Sandy Alderson, who reacted with such remarkable speed to acquire players like Johnson, James Loney, Jose Reyes and Justin Ruggiano in rapid response to a key injury to one of our integral players.

And even on the eve of the September 1 ultimate trade deadline, he snagged righty reliever Fernando Salas from the Los Angeles Angels to bolster the bullpen.

I love this team and I am so proud of how they seemingly play at their best when all the signs and odds point to the worst.

So yes, I say the hell with the second wild card. Let’s bring that one-game playoff to Citi Field where it belongs. Let’s not just stop at catching the Cardinals, let’s keep pouring the pressure on the Giants and Dodgers. We can do this.

It feels like we are a team of destiny, much like the Kansas City Royals were last season. We have all the pieces to bring home the gold this postseason.

The Mets are a team hardened by last postseason’s experience and this season’s commitment to finish the job. A commitment that has never once wavered in the Mets clubhouse even amidst all the doubts in the fan base.

What an incredible group of players we have in that clubhouse. That Ya Gotta Believe spirit is alive and well with this bunch, Tug McGraw would be so proud.  LGM

ya gotta belive

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An Electifying Jose Reyes Proving All His Detractors Wrong http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/an-electifying-jose-reyes-proving-all-his-detractors-wrong.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/an-electifying-jose-reyes-proving-all-his-detractors-wrong.html/#comments Tue, 30 Aug 2016 18:28:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221701 Reyes Jose

Last week, I wrote about the three keys to the Mets staking a claim to a playoff spot; continued excellence from the rotation and bullpen, a healthy Yoenis Cespedes and the difference-maker Jose Reyes.

I wrote: “The addition of Jose Reyes has given the team the speed and prototypical leadoff hitter they’ve lacked all year long and it’s made a big difference.”

Last night, during an exciting Mets win, that difference I spoke about was on full display when for the fifth time since being acquired, Reyes manufactured the critical game-tying run all on his own using his quick bat, keen instincts, and his game breaking speed. A month ago, the Mets don’t win that game, or the one in St. Louis for that matter.

In other words, if not for Reyes, there’s no Yo Show in the bottom of the tenth.

Reyes has not just sparked the offense with his burst of speed and energy, but he’s had the same effect in the clubhouse according manager Terry Collins.

“I talked to him the other day about taking a blow,” Collins said. “He said, ‘I’ve missed enough time already.’ The energy on the field, always having fun. The clubhouse – he’s a dynamic figure in that clubhouse. We’re lucky. We all certainly are glad he’s here. He’s a great teammate and I think he’s bringing something to our team, too.”

It’s all coming full circle for Reyes, who was never the same happy and enthusiastic player he was with the Mets once he moved onto the Marlins, Blue Jays and Rockies. He’s now back in Flushing, back home, back where he once was the most electrifying player in baseball.

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And while he may have lost a half a step in speed, Reyes never once doubted that he could still be the catalyst he once was the last time he played on a playoff team – the 2006 Mets.

There were those who doubted him and many others who proclaimed him as done, finished, and dead as a door nail after he finished serving out his suspension for violating MLB’s domestic abuse policy.

Even Gary Cohen of SNY lamented that “Reyes wasn’t worth the headache” when the news broke the Mets were going to sign him, saying: “He has nothing left in the tank.”

But Reyes is making all his detractors eat a large heaping helping of crow because he has brought his team from the cusp of elimination and transformed them into a bona fide playoff contender that is just a hair away from a second consecutive post season berth.

“I never doubted my talent, what I could do on the field,” Reyes said. “A lot of people, before the Mets signed me, said, ‘This guy’s done’, and I heard that.” (NJ.com)

“I don’t try to put that kind of stuff in my head; I know what I can do as a player,” he said. “Like I said, I just need the opportunity to be on the field very single day … I’m not surprised because I’m a hard worker, working hard every day to try to get better in every aspect of my game.”

Damn straight.

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Asdrubal Cabrera Leaves Game With Sore Knee http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/asdrubal-cabrera-leaves-game-with-sore-knee.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/asdrubal-cabrera-leaves-game-with-sore-knee.html/#comments Sun, 28 Aug 2016 17:59:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221564 asdrubal cabrera hr

Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera left Sunday’s game against the Phillies in the first inning with what the team is calling a sore left knee. Cabrera had an issue with the same knee last month and missed three weeks with a strained patellar tendon.

Cabrera was injured when he collided with Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph after bunting for a base hit. Oddly enough, it appeared that Cabrera had injured his wrist on the collision, and trainer Ray Ramirez seemed to be examining his arm and elbow.

However, Cabrera remained in the game and then while running to second base on a Kelly Johnson single, he appeared to be limping and was removed from the game and replaced by Wilmer Flores.

Hopefully this is nothing serious as Cabrera has been raging hot since returning from the disabled list, batting .438 (14-for-32) with four doubles, three homers and nine RBI in eight games.

Asdrubal hit his 16th home run of the season last night, a two-run shot in the third inning that gave the Mets the lead. The 16 home runs are tied for the second-most he’s hit in a single season in his career.

Additionally, the 16 home runs by Cabrera are tied for the second-most by a Mets shortstop in team history with José Reyes’ 16 homers in 2008.

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Amazin’ Finishes: Wild Card Well Within Mets’ Grasp http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/amazin-finishes-wild-card-well-within-mets-grasp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/amazin-finishes-wild-card-well-within-mets-grasp.html/#comments Fri, 26 Aug 2016 15:48:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221393 flores de aza

Last night felt so good in a month full of not so good moments for the Mets. It was so satisfying to see them jump out in front and take command of the game en route to a much needed series win against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Can you imagine what the alternative could have been? So instead of coming home to Citi Field down 5.5 games for that coveted second wild card, our Boys from Flushing begin a three-game series with the Phillies just 3.5 games away from a postseason berth. Considering how the road trip started, I’ll take that everyday plus Sunday.

I’ve gotta tip my cap to Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, two unheralded rookies who were thrust into a raging inferno of doubt as the Mets were scrambling to get back over .500 amidst the losses of Steven Matz and Jon Niese. It’s amazing how polished these pitchers look after we get them from that pitching guru in Las Vegas, Frank Viola. He doesn’t get nearly the accolades he so richly deserves.

With 35 games to go and 22 of those games against the Phillies, Reds, Braves and Twins, the Mets are in an ideal position to finish this season strong and earn that second wild card spot.

This team continues to be resilient in the face of injuries and adversity and I think that speaks volumes about their character.

wilmer flores hr

The addition of Jose Reyes gave the team the speed and prototypical leadoff hitter they’ve lacked and it’s made a difference. Wilmer Flores has become a force when the Mets face a left-hander, while Justin Ruggiano and Kelly Johnson have been excellent in part-time roles. Neil Walker has been huge and with his return to the lineup tonight, we’ll finally get to see what him, Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Asdrubal Cabrera and the aforementioned Reyes can all do together in the same lineup. Finally.

I’m hoping for a strong return from Steven Matz and a bounce-back performance from Jacob deGrom. If those two and Noah Syndergaard can finish as strong as they did last season, there’s no stopping the Mets.

This season hasn’t played out quite the way I envisioned it, but here they are only 3.5 games out with a healthier team, a revitalized offense, three young power pitchers in the rotation, and a shutdown backend of the bullpen. Looking at the remaining schedule, the Wild Card is there for the taking. We can do it… Let’s get this done… Let’s Go Mets!

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