Mets Merized Online » Tommy Rothman Sat, 06 Feb 2016 23:29:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets, Familia Reach Agreement, Avoiding Arbitration Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:30:54 +0000 jeurys familia

The Mets avoided arbitration with closer Jeurys Familia on Wednesday, agreeing upon a one-year, $4.1 million deal, per reports.

Familia, 26, emerged as a star in 2015, taking over the closer’s role and notching 43 saves and a league-high 65 games finished. Familia had an ERA of 1.85 and a WHIP of 1.00, striking out 86 and walking 19 in 78 innings.

He was dominant during the Mets’ run to the World Series, although many criticized his performance in the final series against Kansas City — Familia entered with the Mets ahead in 3 of their 4 losses — despite a 1.80 ERA and a 0.600 WHIP.

Familia is the highest-paid closer ever among pitchers with only one season of closing.

The Mets have avoided arbitration with all of their eligible players.

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Mets trade Darrell Ceciliani to Blue Jays Tue, 02 Feb 2016 20:03:20 +0000 darrell Ceciliani

The Mets have traded OF Darrell Ceciliani to the Toronto Blue Jays, the clubs have confirmed.

Ceciliani hit .206 in 68 at-bats last season. He started 13 games in the early part of the season, having a couple nice moments but mostly struggling before being sent back to the minors when the Mets upgraded their offense. He was DFA’d last week to make room for Yoenis Cespedes on the 40-man roster.

The Mets announced that they acquired cash considerations from Toronto, while the Blue Jays announced that they were sending a Player To Be Named Later to New York. (Reports suggest it is indeed cash)

Sandy Alderson did not manage to walk away with the tattered remains of Toronto’s farm system in this deal.

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Mets Reach Deal With Yoenis Cespedes!

Yoenis Cespedes and the New York Mets have agreed to a three-year deal worth $75 million dollars, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The deal includes a provision that Cespedes will be able to opt-out after one year (in which he will make $27.5 M).

The deal also includes a full no-trade clause. MLB Network’s  Jon Heyman followed up Rosenthal with a confirmation that the deal is indeed done. Jim Bowden of ESPN was the first to report that the two sides were making progress.

Cespedes hit .291 with an .870 OPS and 35 home runs in 2015. The Cuban slugger mashed 17 home runs in 57 games after being sent to the Mets at the trade deadline, powering New York past the Washington Nationals to the NL East title en route to a World Series run. Cespedes also won a Gold Glove for his work in Left Field with the Tigers.


Cespedes gets the security of a $75 million guarantee and lands the top annual salary for a hitter this offseason, while getting the chance to opt-out and be a top prize in a weak free agent class next year. In all likelihood, this deal only keeps “Yo” in Queens for one more year, but Cespedes turned down higher offers, including one from the Washington Nationals, to stay with the Mets, the team he wanted to be with all along.

Thoughts from Joe D.

Bringing back Cespedes will likely push the team’s payroll to roughly $140 million dollars and that’s a great sign anyway you look at it. But more importantly, his addition surely makes the Mets the odds-on favorite to win the National League East and arguably the World Series as well. This could potentially be a 96-98 win team this season.

That Cespedes turned down more years and significantly more dollars from the Nationals to return to the Mets makes this so emotionally satisfying as a fan. This has to be quite the gut-punch to the Nats, who have now been spurned by Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, Justin Upton, and now Cespedes – even though they had higher offers to them.

You have to admire Cespedes who not only showed himself to be an exceptional talent and impact player, but also that he is a man of integrity as well. He said all along he loved playing for the Mets. He said all along he wanted to return to the Mets. And evidently he meant every single word of it. Amazing. Tons of respect for this man.

What else can I say… I’m absolutely thrilled and overjoyed… A truly fantastic job by the unwavering and always tactical Sandy Alderson for delivering an incredible offseason as the Mets look to defend their NL Championship with gusto and bravado. This is a huge win for the organization and their commitment to winning cannot be understated with this signing. Let’s Go Mets!

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Are Mets Punished In Trades Because Of Their Top Young Pitchers? Tue, 29 Dec 2015 10:59:32 +0000 Matz Syndergaard deGrom

The Mets’ young core is giving the fans hope for a sustained run of success. But the mere presence of these budding superstars, in a bizarre way, holds them back as they try to supplement this core. Every team wants to break up our top young rotation.

Other teams ignore our silver, simply because they see we also have gold. Then they accept offers of silver, even bronze, elsewhere

This has bothered me for a long time, and the feeling resurfaced today. By now, you’ve probably heard that superstar closer Aroldis Chapman is coming to New York.

Yes, THAT Aroldis Chapman. The Cuban lefty whose 105 MPH missile makes the Mets’ young “fireballers” look like they’re lobbing water balloons.

But not THAT New York baseball team. Aroldis Chapman is not coming to Queens, where he’d fill what might be the Mets’ biggest hole: an elite relief pitcher to pair with Jeurys Familia in the bullpen. Chapman will not be giving the Mets a multi-headed bullpen monster like the one the Royals showed off en route to their recent World Series title at our expense; he’ll be adding to the one the Yankees have already built across town. Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller (it sure looks like we should have signed him last winter) will give the Yankees a trio of nearly unhittable arms out of the pen. The Yankees won’t have to worry when one of those guys needs a day off. If they can get the ball to their bullpen with a lead, even if they can’t get it straight to the closer, the Yanks will be just fine.

The Mets could have used an elite reliever, and Aroldis Chapman fits that bill. Furthermore, he doesn’t come attached with a long-term commitment— while most teams would rather acquire a guy under “control,” the Mets appear to almost exclusively want guys on one-year deals, which is why they’ll happily shell out over $22 Million to Addison Reed, Jerry Blevins, Alejandro De Aza and Bartolo Colon in 2016 but have balked at multi-year deals for the likes of Darren O’Day, Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria in the bullpen or Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, and Gerardo Parra in the outfield. Chapman, like most players the Mets have brought in, is a free agent after the season.

The Yankees got Chapman while managing to hold on to all of their top prospects. The names you may have heard— Judge, Bird, Mateo, Severino— are all staying put. The Yankees gave up their #6 and #10 prospects, along with two guys outside their top 30.

The Mets reportedly discussed Chapman at the trade deadline, so he was surely at least on their radar at some point. If the Yankees took a guy who had been on the Mets’ list, it wouldn’t be the first time. Look at Starlin Castro, who was connected to the Mets for a couple years in rumors and hypothetical mutually beneficial trade scenarios. The Mets were starting at a steep price tag of at least one of their young aces (Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey) and potentially more. The Yankees got him for a pretty good 28 year-old pitcher with little upside. A similar outcome took place with Didi Gregorius: the Mets balked at the high price tag, but the Yankees scored a discount by landing Didi in a three-team trade that cost them a 26 year-old with a 3.80 ERA.

For the Mets, a comparable Chapman package to the one the Mets gave up would be: Matt Reynolds, Wuilmer Becerra, Akeel Morris and Max Wotell. I have been generous, even, listing a probably-more-valuable package to account for my admittedly lacking knowledge of the details of the Yankees’ farm system. What I am quite confident of, however, is the likelihood that if the Mets engaged the Reds in trade talks— even after the legal troubles I will address at the end of this article— the players being floated about would have been the young aces and guys like Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario and Dom Smith, rather than guys like Reynolds and Morris (he of the 67.50 MLB ERA).

The Mets have a set of absolute gems at the top of their trade-value pyramid. They have a billion-dollar rotation making peanuts (in addition to Michael Conforto). Is there a drop-off after that? Sure, how could there not be, with such amazing young talent at the front of the pack? But the continued pattern— at least one that certainly appears to be the case when we hear about guys other teams are asking for in talks with us, then see the guys they ultimately accept from other squads— appears to indicate that Sandy Alderson’s fellow GMs are expecting him to give a ton simply because he has a ton to give, and are turning up their noses at some very solid alternatives to the untouchable— deservedly so— pieces. The Yankees can trade guys of value on par with Nimmo or even Reynolds and Morris because they don’t have guys like Syndergaard.

What still remains odd, then, is the quality of the players the Yankees gave up relative to their OWN system. It is somewhat understandable that a team might accept Judge from the Yankees when they’d want Thor from the Mets— the Yankees don’t have a guy like Thor to give. But, unlike in negotiations with the Mets, teams appear to be willing to take packages of lesser minor-leaguers when the Yankees hold firm on keeping their own top guys. And if anything, it should be the other way around. The Mets’ 11th-best prospect is probably a good amount better than the Yankees’ 6th-best guy, but Brian Cashman is having a much easier time getting teams to give up great players than Sandy Alderson, despite having inferior chips to trade.

Now, I am not praising Cashman at Sandy’s expense. I happen to think Cashman is a mediocre GM blessed with an aggressive and extremely wealthy ownership group. Sandy has made his share of terrific trades, such as the Beltran-Wheeler deal or the Dickey-Syndergaard/d’Arnaud/Bucerra pillaging. The swap of Marlon Byrd for Dilson Herrera should pay off soon. But what do these deals have in common? Sandy is getting prospects for established MLB studs, and is fortunately (but to his credit) hitting on these prospects rather than getting a haul of busts. That’s all good and well, but the Mets are at the point where they should put a twist on that model, and see if they can move prospects for elite MLB talent— without emptying out the farm system. The Yankees have routinely swung such trades, and while I’m never shy to criticize the Mets’ front office, it seems like much of the issue lies with the attitudes of the people across the table from Sandy when he and his counterparts sit down to negotiate.

I would be remiss in not acknowledging Aroldis Chapman’s current legal troubles. These troubles certainly hurt his trade value, because he could get suspended— and they hurt his value in the eyes of many fans who are put off by his possible character issues. But it seems unlikely he’d get a massive suspension (if he did, the Yankees might get another year of him due to service time rules, if not, they’ll get a draft pick if they want to let him walk after the season). So the Yankees will have a superstar for nearly the entire season and the postseason, and it doesn’t seem like they gave up much to get him— certainly not as much as the package the Mets would have needed to send to Cincinnati to get the same player.

While these situations are all unique (the Didi deal was a three-teamer, and Chapman’s situation is certainly cloudy) and trading is not based on a mathematical “value” rating like you might see in a video game, it doesn’t seem like the Mets are being given fair treatment when they attempt to play the trade market. As players shed the “prospect” label— Harvey and deGrom already have, the other starters will soon— other teams may stop trying to steal our aces at a “prospect” price and begin to appreciate the considerable value of the next tier— Nimmo, Smith and the like— of top Met prospects when the Mets show up to hammer out a trade.

But the irrational negotiating stance our fellow teams appear to be taking with us is as frustrating as any internal payroll gripe.


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Mets’ Latest Move Is Frustrating, Because Of What It Isn’t Tue, 22 Dec 2015 20:29:40 +0000 aza

Alejandro De Aza is a step forward, but not if he’s the end of the road

The Mets signed Alejandro De Aza to a 1-year, $5.75 M deal today.

When the news first broke, reactions were positive. De Aza is by no means a great player, but he is decent, and a solid upgrade over Kirk Nieuwenhuis (his four memorable home runs aside) in the 5th outfielder slot. With that need filled, the Mets were clear to address the two big concerns they have remaining: a center fielder (with a bat)  and a setup man.

It was a nice move. Some people wondered aloud, though— isn’t $4.5M a bit much for a 5th outfielder, especially for a team with a constrained budget?

And then further reports began to come out, reports saying that De Aza WAS that center fielder, the guy who will play against righties (read: most games) in a not-so-even platoon with Juan Lagares. Reports that this likely ends the Mets’ quest for outfielders.

That’s it. That’s the Mets’ move. Not the stat-geek’s darling Jason Heyward or the relatively young slugger Justin Upton. Not Yoenis Cespedes, the hitter the Mets waited years to get in their lineup and were rewarded beyond their wildest dreams when they made the move.

We braced for that. We saw Heyward sign with the Cubs, but not before the Cubs had signed Mets target Ben Zobrist and added John Lackey and Adam Warren to a rotation suddenly strong enough to make even the most confident of Mets fans— the ones who viewed four games in October as more predictive of the future than the 162 before that— wonder whether the teams’ next meeting will play out like the 7-0 Cubs sweep in the summer or the 4-0 Met triumph under the lights of October.

We heard Cespedes was unlikely to come back. Some of us talked ourselves into the idea that we didn’t want him back. A couple fans probably let one kicked fly ball during the World Series turn them against the man who got us there (unless you think that was Daniel Murphy, who will also be playing elsewhere). People complained about streakiness, or flukey contract years, but at the end of the day, nobody doubted that Cespedes was the scariest bat the Mets had employed since Carlos Delgado.

So we complained about the glove. Nevermind that Cespedes has the best arm in baseball and terrific speed. Forget that he won a Gold Glove in the outfield this past season. He couldn’t play center field and he couldn’t learn it— his arms and legs are blessed with that which can’t be taught, but nevermind that.

With our heads held high and our resolve as strong as ever, we prepared for Gerardo Parra (not a centerfielder himself, but competent, and cheaper) or Denard Span— (injury prone and currently injured, but catalytic, and again, cheaper). We weren’t going to get a big slugger, but we were going to get a real center fielder, who wouldn’t break the budget, and who wouldn’t be an automatic out against righties.

And now we see that we have settled for Alejandro De Aza. He doesn’t give us the bat Cespedes brings, the guy who changes the lineup regardless of whether he has it that day, and wins games when he does. The guy who gives you a team that doesn’t need to hope three of its 6-12 hits come in the same inning in order to score a run. But Cespedes wasn’t a center fielder.

Here’s the thing: Alejandro De Aza isn’t a center fielder. He played one game there last year and 16 in 2014. He isn’t good there when he does play— he’s not a good outfielder in general. And unlike Cespedes, he lacks the physical tools that the advanced metrics can’t argue with. Cespedes, Conforto and Granderson is a better defensive alignment than De Aza, Conforto and Granderson. Granderson could probably manage center just as well as De Aza, giving us our choice of slugging outfielders to fill that last corner spot. The Mets know this. Signing De Aza is a concession to the reality: We can’t afford Cespedes, or Upton.

Alejandro De Aza is a decent player and he’s better than one of the outfielders the Mets had last year. With that in mind, he makes the Mets better. But, as is often the case with our decent signings, this move seems to have lowered the ceiling on this team. If Cespedes is out the window, if Parra and Span are out the window, if the plan is to rely on several decent pieces to make up for our big slugger—God forbid we keep the slugger AND add some decent pieces— well, I’m not sure where that leaves us.

We hit the lottery with this rotation. It might cost a billion dollars to sign these pitchers in free agency. We have a window to win a World Series in front of us. If not for a cruel twist of fates— four losses in a best-of-four series in games where we brought Jeurys Familia in with a lead, after three months of undefeated baseball when we gave the ball to #27— we’d be going for a repeat right now.

But the window means nothing if we don’t take advantage. The Cubs have a similar window because of their young hitters, and they’re doing what needs to be done to make the offense (and defense) even scarier while making their relatively weak rotation a force as well. The Mets, supposedly swimming in playoff revenue, handed a gift with the retirement of Michael Cuddyer, and fresh off of weeks of seeing fans flock to the building they said they would spend to put a winner inside of if fans came to see those winners play, could have kept pace (no, we weren’t ahead) this winter. We could have signed a big bat and put him in the outfield, letting the fly balls work themselves out, UZR be damned. We could have signed a top reliever or two, building a bridge to our elite closer and putting out the fire we spent all of October playing with before falling in November to a Kansas City team that had enough reliable bullpen arms to go 9, or 12, or 14 innings many times over.

Sure, maybe Zobrist didn’t make sense. That’s a move you make when you’re the Cubs or the Yankees, with all the money in the world. The guy who isn’t elite, but makes a good team even better— a good team that can afford to pay top-dollar for that extra win or two that makes all the difference.

We know why the Mets don’t have as much money as the Yankees. But the Mets might have more than they do now if they spent responsibly with the money they did have. They came dangerously close to signing Zobrist to a deal that would have seriously limited the budget while not adding all that much to the team. They’ll pay Bartolo Colon, De Aza, Jerry Blevins, and Addison Reed about $24 Million this year, and while those are all one-year deals, that’s $24 Million the owners won’t have when they wake up on the first day of the offseason next year, so it’s nothing to spit at. The $5.5 M given to Reed is perhaps the most frustrating, with elite setup men having signed deals worth “only” $8M per season this month.

And while these relatively low-commitment contracts should leave room for a setup man at least, filling the second-biggest hole on the team, all the setup men have signed deals already. The only solution appears to be a trade for a guy like Jake McGee.

Now, I am a huge fan of Juan Lagares. I would rather have had Juan play every day than sign De Aza, and I am hopeful that he can get back to being an elite fielder (he wasn’t last year) who makes anything he does at the plate just added gravy— and I think his production at the plate will indeed improve. A full season of Michael Conforto will be a big boost as well. Curtis Granderson might regress a bit, but he certainly should get the job done (although his struggles against lefties had me wondering whether there wasn’t room— at least against some pitchers— for Cespedes in the corner, after all). David Wright should provide more than he did last season. Travis d’Arnaud can’t possibly keep suffering freak injuries. Neil Walker, Wilmer Flores, Asdrubal Cabrera and Ruben Tejada give us four solid middle infielders to pick and choose from (but I’d rather quality over quantity). The likes of Danny Muno won’t be getting at-bats in 2016. Depth won’t be a concern.

But did the Mets do enough to take advantage of their pitching-based window? One big concern is the pitchers themselves. Harvey drama aside (Matt, not Steve), the Mets had good health from The Dark Knight, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. Will we get that again in 2016? It’s not a given. Zack Wheeler will bolster the rotation further, but he won’t arrive until July at the earliest, and he might not get fully back into form for some time after that. Steven Matz needs to stay healthy and prove he’s more than a five-inning guy, but he’s certainly on his way to being the best fifth starter of all time. It’s a great pitching foundation, but it has its risks, its (minor) holes, and it’s not all that deep after several trades of guys like Jon Niese and even Michael Fulmer.

We can take the Royals’ approach. Not much spending. No major sluggers. But the Royals have speed, elite defense, and a lockdown bullpen. Lorenzo Cain finished 3rd in MVP voting, so it’s a stretch to say they don’t have star power.

The Mets’ pitching isn’t enough for them to sit back and coast to a World Series championship. They need a bullpen and, most importantly, they need hitting. And it seems all but certain now that their best hitter— the best hitter they’ve had in a long, long time— will be playing elsewhere in 2016.

Is Alejandro De Aza enough to fill that void? Because he’ll be the one flanked by Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson on Opening Day against the team we just watched celebrate on our field.

There might be more to come. There should— SHOULD— be some payroll flexibility left. Heck, I still have a dream— a complete pipe dream— that Cespedes ends up here. And as we saw last year, impact players can be acquired mid-season to support a playoff push. Maybe De Aza DOES end up being used as a top-notch fifth outfielder. Reports aren’t too promising, but I won’t rule the Mets out just yet. With this team, new developments seem to come out of left field.

But if what we have seen so far is indeed the bulk of the Mets’ effort to return to— and win— the World Series, it makes for quite a letdown.

The championship isn’t won in December. But let’s hope the Mets surprise us (and the reporters, and the “sources,”) by making some moves that make them a more dangerous team when the games begin. Ya Gotta Believe, but ya gotta act, too. Tug’s crew didn’t win the World Series, did they?

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MMO Game Recap: Mets Advance To NLCS With 3-2 Win Over Dodgers Fri, 16 Oct 2015 04:01:57 +0000 mets beat dodgers

They broke our legs. We broke their hearts.

The Mets emerged with a gutty win in a winner-take-all Game 5 against the Dodgers on Thursday night in Los Angeles, earning themselves a date with the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS.

Jacob deGrom got the ball with the season on the line and battled through six innings to earn the win. Jacob allowed two runs on six hits and three walks, striking out seven.

The Mets faced a tall task in the form of Cy Young contender Zack Greinke. But in the top of the first, the Mets struck to grab an early lead. Curtis Granderson reached on an infield hit to lead off the ballgame (with a little help from a video review) and Daniel Murphy drove Granderson by hitting one to the wall in left-center for a double, taking third on an error.

But with one out and a runner on third, Greinke rebounded to strike out Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda, and the Mets were forced to settle for a single run. The Dodgers pounced on the opportunity to seize momentum, scoring two runs on four hits in the bottom of the inning against deGrom’s incredibly flat pitches.

Jacob continued to struggle in the next couple innings, but managed to work out of jams in the second and third innings to keep the Mets in the game.

Zack Greinke was 19-0 this season when given a lead. Was.

Murphy led off the top of the fourth with a single before Cespedes flied out. With one out, Duda worked a walk, and with the Dodger infield asleep and still in the shift, Murphy broke for third and reached easily as Duda ambled to first, somehow giving the Mets runners on the corners with one out. Travis d’Arnaud hit a fairly deep fly ball to right field, and Andre Ethier made the decision to catch it in foul territory, allowing Murphy to score the tying run.

After being taken off the hook, deGrom continued to be somewhat shaky, but fought his way through the middle innings despite some sloppy defensive plays. In the top of the sixth, Murphy came up big once again, pulling Greinke’s fastball over the right-field wall to give the Mets a 3-2 lead.

Given the lead once again, deGrom did his part in the bottom of the sixth with his first perfect inning of the night. Noah Syndergaard threw a scoreless inning in relief to get New York through the seventh, and Jeurys Familia stepped up with two perfect frames to close things out, retiring Chase Utley and four other Dodgers before striking out Howie Kendrick to send the Mets to the National League Championship Series.

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This is unbelievable. There is still work to be done (the magic number is at 8), but I could not be prouder of this team. They deserve it and so do we as fans.

deGrom came out flat tonight out of the gate. It was ugly. But he kept the Mets in the game the whole way, coming up with the big pitches and big strikeouts when needed. There was practically no margin for error against Greinke, and deGrom slipped, but he hung on and gave the Mets six innings of two-run ball, which gave the Mets a chance.

It was huge for the Mets to get on the board so early and make it clear that Zack Greinke was not invincible. But Cespedes’ approach with one out and a guy on third was dreadful, as he swung for the fences when all he needed to do was put the ball in play. For a few innings, it seemed like that might haunt them.

But this team is different. We’ve seen it all year long and we saw it tonight. Daniel Murphy came up absolutely huge in this one and was the unquestioned MVP of this series. Tim Teufel probably saw his career flash before his eyes when he looked up and saw Murphy barreling towards him after that walk, but it was the right move and a move the Mets needed. Gutsy baserunning can swing a playoff game. See Damon, Johnny.

I’m stunned that Ethier chose to catch that ball in foul territory knowing that the tying run would score if he did so.

Syndergaard looked great out of the pen. It’s scary what he could do as a reliever, not needing to hold anything back. But his true value is as a starter, of course, and that might be why Terry pulled him after just one inning. Collins trusted Familia to finish the job and keep Syndergaard fresh enough to pitch game one or two against Chicago. Jeurys was more than game, and I’m glad it was him getting to celebrate on the mound after the final out, after the incredible job he’s done this year filling in for (and far surpassing) He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

The Cubs are a good, scary, dangerous team. But that will be talked about in the coming days. There are 4 teams left. We’re one of them. Bring it on.

Up Next: The Mets will host game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Cubs on Saturday night at Citi Field. Matt Harvey will face Jon Lester at 7:30 PM.

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MMO Game Recap: Dodgers 5, Mets 2, NLDS Tied 1-1 Sun, 11 Oct 2015 05:05:09 +0000 ruben tejada

The New York Mets lost 5-2 to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night at Dodgers Stadium to even the series at 1-1.

Noah Syndergaard pitched pretty well for the Mets. Thor went 6.1 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks, striking out 9. But Thor was inefficient and it cost him, as he ran out of steam late, forcing the Mets to pull him after 115 pitches with runners on the corners in a game the Mets led 2-1  (both runners would score).

New York got to Zack Greinke early with a pair of solo shots from Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto. But that would be all for the Mets offense.

With the Mets up 2-0 early, the Dodgers got back-to-back doubles to start the home half of the fourth and make it a one-run game. They might have tied it had Andre Ethier not been thrown out at third on a comebacker to the pitcher, one play after driving home Justin Turner.

The game was decided in the bottom of the seventh. After striking out the first hitter, Thor walked Enrique Hernandez, who stole second. Chase Utley singled to put runners on the corners and end Thor’s night.

Bartolo Colon came in and got ahead 0-2 on Howie Kendrick. But a couple pitches later, Kendrick lined one softly over Bartolo’s head and up the middle. Daniel Murphy flagged it down and tossed it to Ruben Tejada, who was then taken out on a violent slide from Chase Utley, fracturing Tejada’s right fibula as the tying run scored and the crowd erupted. The play was then reviewed, and the umpires ruled that Tejada had not touched the bag (perhaps he was following Chase Utley’s lead), putting Utley back at second and taking the second out off the board with Kendrick still at first.

Addison Reed came in and got Corey Seager to fly out for what could have been the third out, but instead Reed had to face Adrian Gonzalez, who hit a 2-run double on an 0-2 count to give the Dodgers their first lead of the series. Justin Turner then tacked on another run with a double before Jon Niese came in and stopped the bleeding.

Hansel Robles pitched a scoreless eighth, but the Mets did nothing against the Dodger bullpen, which wrapped up the 5-2 LA victory.

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Yowzers. I felt like we got robbed. After discussing the rulebook with a few people, it’s actually hard to argue against what happened, because it technically wasn’t a neighborhood play, and the rulebook provides for the fact that Utley would of course have touched the bag before running off the field had he not been called out. The only legitimate gripe might be that the slide was dirty. Where the heck was that ump when Marlon Anderson was sliding to second in Philly back in the day? Anyway, you can reconcile what happened with what the rulebook says should have happened. But that doesn’t get rid of our gut feeling that what happened was, well, BS. And I’ll never get over the fact that Terry didn’t at least appeal.

And here are some wise words from Justin Upton:

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I said before the series that the inability of the Mets aces to use their pitches efficiently might cost them, as they would be hard-pressed to deliver the ball to Jeurys Familia. We saw that last night (although it worked out thanks to Terry really squeezing everything out of Jacob) and we saw it tonight (it didn’t work as well). Aside from Familia, it’s hard to trust a lot of these relievers. Thor seemed to be chasing the strikeout at times today. Matt Harvey has to pitch well on Monday (and keep the ball in the park), but he really, really needs to pitch smart.

The offense hasn’t been great but the pop has been there, and the run totals would be a lot nicer had those dingers happened to come with men on base. Brett Anderson isn’t anywhere near the level of the pitchers the Mets faced in the first two games, so while we’ve seen them have horrible showings against irrelevant pitchers, and nothing is guaranteed, Harvey should get a bit more run support than Thor and Jacob had.

I wouldn’t have signed up for a loss with a 2-0 lead in the fourth or a 2-1 lead in the seventh. But I would have signed up for a split going into the series. Game 3 was going to be a must-win going in. It seemed for a few moments today that game 3 might become a luxury, but you have to like our chances with Harvey on the mound. We got the split in LA. We beat an ace. We’re coming home with a chance to make sure this thing never goes back to LA. If Harvey takes care of business, we have two more cracks at the Kershaw-Greinke combo needing just one win. Tonight would have been a huge win to get, and really helped our chances, but things aren’t all that bad right now, no matter how frustrating they may have gotten in this one.

It’s a shame about Tejada. Flores should be ready to step up. Utley will get his (or a more talented teammate will get his for him).

Anderson is no pushover. Harvey is the best pitcher we have. Let’s get this done, go up 2-1 and take it from there. See you at 8 on Monday night.


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To Beat The Dodgers, Mets Must Trump A Pair Of Aces Wed, 07 Oct 2015 13:00:56 +0000 mlb_greinke_kershaw_576x324

When Joe D messaged the staff with some roundtable questions the other day, the first one on the list asked us what the key was going to be to beating the Dodgers. I responded that the key would be finding a way to win when Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke are on the mound. But the Mets’ performance against those two isn’t simply “something to watch for.”

Finding a way to win games against the Dodgers’ pair of ultra-aces is not simply the key to the series. It is the only way the Mets can win the series. It will be tough.

“I think as deep as we are with our pitching, I don’t think anybody in baseball really has a Kershaw and Greinke,” said team captain David Wright. “We’re going to throw out there some good arms against them, but when you look at the back of the baseball card of those two guys, that’s about as good as it gets.”

The Dodgers are 43-22 when their aces pitch. The Mets will likely see Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in games 1, 2, 4, and 5 against Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, either deGrom or Bartolo Colon, and either deGrom or Syndergaard, in that order. In 30 innings against the two LA aces this season (all in July), the Mets scored three earned runs. And don’t buy the nonsense about Kershaw being unable to pitch in the playoffs. Since came into his own as an ace, he’s had several great playoff starts and two bad ones— or really, two bad innings. That being said, the Mets will bring a better offense to the table than they did in July.

The two pitchers each average seven innings per start, and with what little caution the Dodgers may have displayed in the regular season about to be thrown to the winds, the Mets won’t be able to get to the much-criticized Dodger bullpen— from which manager Don Mattingly may only need to deploy rock-solid closer Kenley Jansen to spell the two aces— unless they can knock Kershaw and Greinke out of the game early. So any way you look at it, the Mets will need to score off of the two superstars, and they’ll need to do it in more than one game.

jacob degrom

How many runs will they need to score? Hopefully not too many. The Mets will be putting some great starters on the mound as well. But there is greater risk of error. DeGrom, Harvey and Syndergaard have not been as good as Kershaw and Greinke (although I’d take Harvey over Greinke). Moreover, Harvey will only pitch once. The Mets might only use the heralded Harvey-deGrom combo twice in the first four games and certainly no more than three times in the series.  Lastly, the Mets starters, especially Syndergaard, are very prone to the long-ball, and a home run with guys on base can be a death blow when facing Kershaw or Greinke. In terms of starting pitching, it’s advantage Dodgers.

matt harvey

And if the Mets’ young aces come up big, and they can match the two LA superstars, how deep in the games can they go? The Mets are certainly careful with their young pitchers, and while the reins will be loosened in the playoffs, they won’t be taken off completely. The Mets’ pitchers might only be able to go 6 or 7 innings if they’re not efficient with their pitches, and the bullpen has been a mixed bag other than Jeurys Familia. Throw in the fact that the Mets are more likely to need to use their non-closer bullpen guys, and the battle on the mound is one that will have me very nervous throughout the series.

mmo feature original footerIf everybody pitches like they are supposed to, the Dodgers will win. But to borrow and censor a phrase from Terry Collins, “Things happen.” Can the Mets make things happen? Can they find a way to scratch a few runs off of the two aces on multiple occasions, and can they make those runs hold up with good defense and pitching from the starters to the bullpen? Maybe. It’s certainly not impossible, but at the same time it’s certainly not going to be easy. And it probably needs to happen early in the series, lest the Mets find themselves down 0-2 by the time they get home.

“We know offensively runs are going to be at a premium, so we have to do a nice job of not giving them extra outs,” Wright said. “Granted, we haven’t exactly been lighting up the scoreboard lately, but we’ve shown that we’re capable of winning games offensively. So just stick to the game plan and do what you’re accustomed to, don’t try to go up there and change anything.”

Do or die time for the Amazins.

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Max Scherzer Strikes Out 17, No-Hits Mets 2-0 Sun, 04 Oct 2015 01:33:53 +0000 max scherzer

The New York Mets (89-72) were no-hit by Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer on Saturday night, losing their fifth game in a row in the process by a score of 2-0.

Scherzer dominated the Mets all game long. New York’s only baserunner came in the sixth, when Kevin Plawecki reached on an error by Yunel Escobar. Scherzer struck out 17 batters, including nine in a row. But with two outs in the ninth, Curtis Granderson popped out to preserve Tom Seaver‘s MLB record of 10.

Scherzer’s no-hitter was his second this season, a feat last accomplished in 1973 by Nolan Ryan with the California Angels.

matt harvey

Matt Harvey pitched very, very well for the Mets. Harvey allowed one unearned run in six innings, allowing four hits, striking out 11, and walking none while throwing 73 pitches. However the Mets offense did nothing to support his stellar performance.

The Nationals got an unearned run in the top of the sixth when Michael Taylor reached on an error by Kelly Johnson and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Wilson Ramos. Dan Uggla added an insurance run with a solo shot off of Hansel Robles in the 7th.

Erik Goeddel and Carlos Torres pitched scoreless innings of relief for the Mets.

The Dodgers will host the Mets in the NLDS.

That was awful. But at least that might wake them up. Let’s see if they can at least grab a win tomorrow to avoid heading into the playoffs on a 6-game losing streak, and crack 90 wins while they’re at it.

The offense has been putrid for the most part ever since the middle of September. With nothing but aces in the Mets’ future, it’s going to be hard to change that. Hopefully they can get some timely hits, and hopefully their starting starters can pitch this well in the postseason— and deeper.

On Deck: The Amazins wrap up the series on Sunday with Jacob deGrom (14-8, 2.60) on the mound to try and end the regular season on a high note for the Mets. He will oppose Tanner Roark (4-7, 4.63) for the Nationals in a 3:10 PM start.

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]]> 0 MMO Game Recap: Nationals 3, Mets 1 Sat, 03 Oct 2015 20:11:34 +0000 noah syndergaard

The Mets (89-71) continued their recent slide, dropping their fourth straight in a 3-1 loss to the Nationals (82-78) in the first game of Saturday’s Citi Field doubleheader.

Noah Syndergaard pitched for the Mets and was terrific. Thor struck out 10 in seven innings, allowing one run on two hits and a walk, also hitting a batter.

The Mets struggled against Gio Gonzalez as their offensive woes continued. Washington took a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh on a monstrous solo shot from Clint Robinson.

The Mets got that run right back against the Washington bullpen. A walk from Lucas Duda and singles from Ruben Tejada and Juan Lagares tied up the game.

The Nationals went back in front in the top of the eighth against Addison Reed. Anthony Rendon drew a one-out walk with some help from a questionable call on a 2-2 pitch (it appeared that the pitch was a strike, and that the hitter went around). The next batter hit a grounder right to Daniel Murphy, who bobbled it before throwing to Tejada covering second for the out. Tejada had plenty of time to make the relay, but his throw went awry, and the Mets missed out on an inning-ending double-play. Bryce Harper made Reed pay, crushing a two-run shot to give the Nats a lead of 3-1, which would become the final score.

juan lagares

Well, that wasn’t good. The Mets no longer control their destiny when it comes to getting Home-Field Advantage in the NLDS. The Dodgers’ magic number is 2, and each team has 2 games left. The Mets need one win and two Dodgers losses, or two wins and one Dodgers loss.

Syndergaard looked great. If he pitches like that, the Mets have a chance to beat whoever the Dodgers throw at them.

The bullpen didn’t look so good between Reed in the eighth and Jon Niese in the ninth. Reed got squeezed by the ump and betrayed by his defense, but he’ll have to get the big hitters out in the playoffs, and he certainly didn’t get it done against Harper (regardless of whether Harper should have gotten a chance to hit there). With Tyler Clippard‘s recent struggles, Hansel Robles‘ recent struggles, and the woes of the rest of the pen, and the likely unavailability of Steven Matz, I’m a bit concerned.

I’m also worried that Murphy’s frequent desire to “do too much” will hurt him when he finds himself in the playoff spotlight. He handles pressure well at the plate, but not in the field. That being said, that failed double-play was on Tejada as well.

I will never agree with the rule that botched double-plays cannot cause runs to be scored as “unearned.”

Although the offense was bad and has been bad for some time now, it was nice to see the Mets bounce right back after giving up that first run. This team is resilient.

Home-Field Advantage might not be extremely important (I’ll have a post coming up about that), but I’d like to get it. Let’s see if the Mets can bounce back in a few hours, and get some help from the Padres against the Dodgers.

Up Next: The Mets will play the nightcap of their doubleheader with the Nationals at 7:10 PM/ Matt Harvey (13-7, 2.80 ERA) will face Max Scherzer (13-12, 2.91 ERA) at Citi Field.

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MMO Game Recap: Phillies 3, Mets 0 Thu, 01 Oct 2015 18:45:09 +0000 sean gilmartin

Take a page out of Terry Collins’ book, and don’t put too much stock in this game.

The Mets (89-70) were swept by the Phillies (62-97), losing 3-0 on Thursday afternoon in Philadelphia.

Sean Gilmartin pitched for the Mets and was pretty good, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk in five innings, striking out three.

Jerad Eickhoff held the Mets at bay all afternoon, striking out 10 and allowing just four hits and a walk in seven scoreless innings.

Gilmartin began the day with three hitless frames, but with two out in the bottom of the fourth, Jeff Francoeur doubled and Darin Ruf homered to put the Phillies up 2-0.

The Mets, using their JV squad, made hardly any noise in this one. Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a nice day with three hits including two doubles, but the “lineup” struggled for the most part. The Mets got two men on in the seventh, but Eickhoff escaped the jam to keep the visitors off the board.

Tim Stauffer pitched two scoreless innings in relief for the Mets, but Dario Alvarez gave up a solo shot to Andres Blanco in the bottom of the eighth to make it 3-0. Alvarez bounced back to get two outs before Jeurys Familia came in and struck out the lone hitter he faced.

The Mets did nothing against the Philadelphia bullpen, and the Phillies wrapped up the sweep with ease.

kirk nieuwenhuis

Well, not an ideal start to “October Baseball” for the Mets. But they’ve clinched, so these games don’t matter too much. It would be nice to get home-field, and it would be nice to get 90 wins, so hopefully they bounce back against the Nationals this weekend at home and win two of three.

The Mets didn’t really play to win this series, for whatever reason. So their struggles aren’t something to be too worried about. Yes, Eric Campbell is a bad hitter, but Eric Campbell is also a guy who will be sitting and watching come Playoff Time.

Gilmartin gave us a nice effort today and has done everything the team has asked of him all year. Nice work once again from the Rule 5 Pick.

Eickhoff has been fantastic lately, so it’s not like the Mets got shutout by a nobody— or, at least, a talentless nobody.

Hopefully the Nationals don’t play dirty this weekend, and hopefully there are no accidental mishaps either. We’ve come so far, we deserve some health in these final 3 games.

Up Next: The Mets will kick off their series with the Nationals on Friday night at Citi Field. Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 3.34 ERA) will face Gio Gonzalez (11-8, 3.93 ERA).

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Mets Beat Reds 6-4, Magic Number Down To 3 Fri, 25 Sep 2015 02:45:54 +0000 new steven matz

The Mets (86-67) grabbed a 6-4 road win over the Reds (63-89) on Thursday night in Cincinnati.

Steven Matz pitched for the Mets and was okay. The rookie gave up 3 runs on 10 hits in 5.2 innings, striking out 8 and walking none.

The Reds took an early lead, stringing together three consecutive singles in the bottom of the first, including an RBI single form Brandon Phillips.

The Mets got to Reds pitcher Josh Smith in the top of the third.. After Steven Matz hustled to take advantage of a lazy play from Eugenio Suarez at short and reach with an infield hit, he advanced to second on a sharp grounder from Curtis Granderson and scored on a double by David Wright. A single from Daniel Murphy moved The Captain to third, and he scored on a sacrifice fly from Yoenis Cespedes to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. The Mets added another run an on RBI double from Lucas Duda.

Matz settled in for a couple innings, but the Reds once again solved the hard-throwing lefty and started stringing hits together. The Cincy got a run back in the bottom of the fifth on another base-hit from Phillips, and tied it in the next inning when Adam Duvall hit a ball to third that took a tough hop and deflected up and over David Wright for what was ruled an RBI single. That would be the last batter Matz would face; Erik Goeddel came in and struck out one hitter (which was enough to “earn” him the win).

The Mets took the lead right back in the top of the seventh. A single from Granderson and a triple by Murphy put the visitors up 4-3, and Cespedes’ rope up the middle brought Murph home to add an insurance run. The Mets would tack on one more with Lucas Duda’s second RBI double of the night.

After Addison Reed pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh, the Reds cut it to two with Jay Bruce‘s solo shot off of Hansel Robles. But Jeurys Familia shut the door in the ninth for his 42nd save of the year, bringing him within one of the franchise record set by Armando Benitez in 2001.

The Nationals lost tonight, so the Mets’ magic number is 3.

daniel murphy

This was a win the Mets really needed (albeit not from a standings standpoint). People have been talking about them “backing in” to the playoffs. They need a nice run to give them some momentum heading into their all-but-inevitable series with the Dodgers, especially since there’s still a decent chance they can grab home-field advantage for that matchup.

Matz was getting slapped around tonight, with the Reds hitting single after single. But he avoided the big blow, and his control was solid. He really hasn’t had his best stuff from the look of things, which is what makes his strong results so encouraging.

Still, he hasn’t done enough to lock up a spot in the playoff rotation. The Mets have Matt Harvey and, despite some recent struggles, Jacob deGrom should be reliable as well (although he could really use a couple good starts to finish the regular season). The rest of the pitchers are less reliable. Can Matz and Syndergaard be counted on to give the team their best in October? Can Colon pitch against out-of-division teams? Will we get Good Jon Niese or Bad Jon Niese?

The bullpen is more of a concern. They did pretty well tonight, although Robles struggled again, giving up the homer. If Robles, Clippard, Reed, and Familia can take care of business in the playoffs, the Mets become a very, very hard team to beat.

And, of course, there’s the offense. They’ve been a bit quiet lately, but they had a solid showing tonight, and they weren’t dependent on the long-ball. Definitely a good sign.

Cespedes is picking it back up after his mini-slump. Murphy and The Captain are hitting well, and Duda is rounding into form. Watch out, Clayton. Good night, Washington.

Up Next: The Mets will continue their series with the Reds on Friday night in Cincinnati. Noah Syndergaard (8-7, 3.39 ERA) will face Anthony DeSclafani (9-11, 3.79 ERA) at 7:10 PM.

]]> 0 MMO Game Recap: Yankees 5, Mets 0 Sat, 19 Sep 2015 20:27:06 +0000 noah yndergaard terry collins

The Mets (84-64) fell to the Yankees (81-66) by a score of 5-0 on Saturday afternoon at Citi Field.

Noah Syndergaard pitched for the Mets and was shaky, allowing five runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out eight and walking none.

Carlos Beltran got the Yankees on the board early against his former team. After leadoff singles from Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to start the game, Beltran crushed an 0-2 fastball out to right field to put the Yanks up 3-0. Syndergaard settled in and cruised for a few innings, but after working around a leadoff triple in the fifth, Thor allowed a two-run shot to Brian McCann that put the “visitors” ahead 5-0.

The Mets managed nothing against Michael Piñeda and the Yankees bullpen. Their only major threat came in the sixth, when they got the first two men on and, after a Yoenis Cespedes strikeout, loaded the bases with one away. But David Wright and Juan Uribe (pinch-hitting for Lucas Duda in what was a questionable move) whiffed as well, and the Mets went quietly from then on.

Sean Gillmartin threw two scoreless innings in relief and Bobby Parnell added a scoreless frame as well, but the Yankees bullpen was overpowering, striking out eight Mets (including seven in a row) after Pine Tar Boy departed with one out in the sixth, and the Bronx Bombers coasted to a 5-0 victory, evening up the series at one apiece.

noah syndergaard

Well, that wasn’t very entertaining. The Mets were down 3-0 before many of the fans had found their seats, and they didn’t really get back in it after that.

Syndergaard pitched well for the most part after the early mistakes, but all in all it wasn’t a great start. Still, he showed off some filthy stuff, including a nice hard slider. Noah got some help from Michael Conforto, who made a terrific diving catch in the third inning.

Cespedes hasn’t gotten a hit since GETTING hit on Tuesday. Lucas Duda had an HBP-induced slump earlier this year as well. I wonder if Alex Torres‘ “hat guy” does uniforms as well.

Nice work today from Gilmartin and Parnell. We can’t use our big guns every day.

At least it was Beltran who beat us, not A-Rod.

Seeing the Yankees bring in their closer up 5-0 in the ninth is a pleasant reminder that, for the first time in human history, the Yankees need these games infinitely more than we do. But it’d be nice to take the series.

Up next: The Mets will host the Yankees in the rubber game of their series on Sunday night at Citi Field. Matt Harvey (12-7, 2.88 ERA) will face CC Sabathia (4-9, 4.93 ERA) at 8:10 PM on ESPN.

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Mets Equal 2014 Win Total With 7-2 Win Over Braves Fri, 11 Sep 2015 05:00:22 +0000 Juan uribe

The Mets (79-61) beat the Braves (56-85) by a score of 7-2 on Thursday night in Atlanta, matching their win total from last season with 22 games still to play.

Bartolo Colon had a strong game for the Mets, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits and a walk in 6.2 innings, striking out 2. Bartolo’s scoreless inning streak was snapped at 31, an MLB record for a pitcher over the age of 42 (he had been tied with Cy Young and Warren Spahn).

After a two-hour, twenty-minute rain delay, the Mets took a while to get going against Braves ace Shelby Miller, but they broke through in the top of the fourth. Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson singled before both coming home on a double by Kevin Plawecki that put New York up 2-0. The lead grew to 3 when Colon helped his own cause with an RBI single.

Uribe added an RBI single in the top of the seventh that put the visitors up 4-0, but the Braves got themselves back in the game following the Stretch. Nick Swisher hit a leadoff single and scored on a triple from Jace Peterson that snapped Colon’s streak, before Andrelton Simmons cut the gap to 2 with a base-hit. Colon settled down to get the next two hitters before being pulled for Dario Alvarez, who got four outs in a perfect relief appearance.

The Mets got one of those runs back in the top of the eighth on an RBI groundout from Plawecki, and put the game away in the top of the ninth on a two-run double by Uribe. Addison Reed closed things out in the ninth to seal a Met victory and give New York a 7.5 game lead in the NL East— its largest lead since 2006.

bartolo colon

Bartolo truly is an ageless wonder. We didn’t get any behind-the-back defensive gems in this one, but any time you see Bart get an RBI hit and break a record held by Cy Young and Warren Spahn (CY YOUNG AND WARREN SPAHN!), it’s a pretty good day.

Plawecki had three RBIs tonight. He’s had a rough year at the plate, but anything he can provide when asked to spell d’Arnaud is a bonus for this team, and, of course, for his value.

The Cespedes trade will get all the love, but boy, that Uribe/Johnson deal looks amazing right now.

I would have liked to see Bobby Parnell pitch that ninth inning. Why waste Reed when you have a perfect opportunity to get Bobby some work in a low-leverage situation? Being the guy out there on the mound during the postgame handshake line might give Parnell the confidence boost he so desperately needs.

No home runs in this one, just some well-timed hits, several walks, and a good approach against a very good pitcher. It’s nice to see the offense put up big numbers even when the ball isn’t flying over the wall left and right.

The Magic Number is 16. Tick-Tock, Bryce.

Up Next: Steven Matz (2-0, 1.89 ERA) will face Matt Wisler (5-6, 5.8a ERA) when the Mets take on the Braves in Atlanta on Saturday at 7:35 PM

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MMO Game Recap: Red Sox 3, Mets 1 Sat, 29 Aug 2015 23:24:49 +0000 juan uribe

The Mets (71-58) lost 3-1 to the Red Sox (60-69) on Saturday evening at Citi Field.

Jacob deGrom pitched well for the Mets after a disastrous start his last time out. DeGrom went 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 10.

The Mets got leadoff baserunners in four of the first five innings against Joe Kelly, but failed to cash in. DeGrom held Boston hitless for the first four innings, but Boston got their first hit in the fifth and got on the board in the sixth. Mookie Betts hit a leadoff single and, after a wild pitch, scored on a double by Pablo Sandoval. After moving to third on a sacrifice fly, Sandoval missed an opportunity to score on another wild pitch a few moments later, but eventually came home on an RBI groundout from Brock Holt, whose speed kept Boston out of a double-play after Daniel Murphy passed up a great chance to nab Sandoval at the plate.

Betts hit a solo shot off of Hansel Robles in the top of the seventh to put Boston up 3-0, but New York got the run back in the bottom of the frame when Kelly Johnson singled and scored on a double by Juan Uribe.

Eric O’Flaherty and Bartolo Colon (you read that right) kept the Red Sox off the board in the 8th and 9th out of the pen, but the Mets could not rally against Boston’s bullpen, and dropped their second straight game and their fifth straight at home.

jacob deGrom

DeGrom wasn’t terrific, but he pitched well enough to win and certainly too well to lose (ironically, he didn’t lose when he gave up seven runs in Philly). His strikeout total was impressive, but as we’ve seen before, when pitchers rack up the strikeouts, it often costs them innings, and deGrom found himself unable to go more than six innings with his pitch count up at 109.

The Mets relievers weren’t very impressive today, although the box score will only show one run allowed. O’Flaherty was very shaky (surprise!) and Colon gave up a shot to David Ortiz that very nearly went over the wall (Ortiz should have been out at second after an amazing throw by Yoenis Cespedes, but the umps missed the call, Terry Collins decided not to challenge, and Colon stranded Big Papi to render the play inconsequential). The Mets really do need some help in the bullpen, or at least some improved play from the guys who are already there. UPDATE: The Mets have acquired reliever Addison Reed from Arizona

Is Bartolo Colon now a member of that bullpen? His (potential) playoff roster spot is certainly in jeopardy with Steven Matz coming back, but if Colon can pitch well out of the pen, it would be a big boost for the Mets and would help solve the roster dilemma the team might face with their pitching staff. This is something to watch going forward.

The biggest issue today was obviously the offense. They didn’t come through in the clutch, rarely made solid contact, and let a series of mediocre pitchers limit them to just 1 run. This offense tore it up on the road, in large part via the home run. Let’s get some more of that at home.

Up Next: The Mets will look to salvage the final game of their series with the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field. Wade Miley (10-10, 4.51 ERA) will face Noah Syndergaard (8-6, 3.19 ERA) at 1:10 PM.

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]]> 0 Mets Erase Early Hole To Complete Sweep With 9-5 Win In Extras Fri, 28 Aug 2015 04:24:44 +0000 Cespedes Granderson

The Mets (71-56) beat the Phillies (50-78) by a score of 9-5 in 13 innings on Thursday night in Philadelphia, completing a four-game sweep of their formerly formidable rivals and extending their winning streak to seven.

Jon Niese struggled on the mound for the Mets, although all of the damage came in one inning. Niese allowed five runs on five walks and five hits in six innings of work.

After the Mets left the bases loaded in the top of the second against Aaron Harang, the Phils scored five in the bottom of the third, on a 2-run single from Jeff Francoeur, an RBI groundout by Aaron Altherr, and a two-run shot off the bat of Darin Ruf.

The Mets got two of those runs back in the next inning, when David Wright singled and Travis d’Arnaud hit the Mets’ franchise-record-breaking 41st home run of the month. Michael Conforto followed with a double, but the Mets, who struggled mightily with runners in scoring position, could not bring him home.

The Mets evened it up in the top of the fifth, with some more help from the long-ball. Curtis Granderson hit a leadoff single, and Yoenis Cespedes (PAY THE MAN!) uncorked a two-run blast to cut the gap to 5-4. With two outs, Kelly Johnson went deep to tie the ballgame.

The Mets squandered many opportunities in the late innings, but Niese settled in, and after his departure, the bullpen shut down the Phillies, with Logan Verrett, Hansel Robles, Sean Gilmartin, and Carlos Torres doing the honors. The Mets escaped defeat in the tenth when Dominic Brown’s would-be walk-off home run hooked just foul. Moments later, the Mets turned in the Play of the Year, when Carlos Torres kicked a sharp grounder into the hole, where Daniel Murphy changed direction, dived to snare it, fired the throw to Torres covering the bag to nab Francoeur at first (words don’t come close to doing it justice… here it is)

Batting for himself in the top of the 13th inning, Carlos Torres hit a leadoff single, and Granderson followed with another base-hit. Cespedes flew out, but Daniel Murphy hit a two-run double and took third on a throwing error. Wright then reached second on another throwing error as Murphy came to make it 8-5, and the Captain scored on an RBI single from Conforto. Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning to seal the 9-5 victory.

wright d'Arnaud

This team is HOT. Even their nail-biters end up being near-blowouts. They don’t quit, either. And if they keep hitting Home Runs like this, no deficit will be too large to overcome.

Niese did a solid job of bouncing back, and the bullpen was marvelous tonight.

The Phillies are bad. So were the Rockies. But make no mistake… these Mets are GOOD.

Up Next: The Mets will host the Red Sox on Friday night at Citi Field. Matt Harvey (11-7, 2.57 ERA) will face Henry Owens (2-1, 4.50 ERA) at 7:10 PM.

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]]> 0 An Amazin’ Night In Enemy Territory Tue, 25 Aug 2015 14:35:42 +0000 david wright

As I arrived in Philadelphia for my sophomore year at UPenn, the Mets arrived in The City of Brotherly Love for a four-game set against the Phillies. So with Jacob deGrom on the hill for the series opener and David Wright making his long-awaited return to the field, the decision to go to Monday’s game was easier than pulling Eric O’Flaherty against a righty. I was rewarded with the greatest live experience of my life as a Mets fan.

I emerged from the subway station a half-inning late with the group of Mets fans (and fans of other teams masquerading as Mets fans for a night— although one turned on them quickly) I had bought tickets with, and we hustled to get to our seats before Wright’s first at-bat. We watched from the concourse as Ryan Howard put the Phillies up by three— seemingly before deGrom had even finished his warmup pitches. We completed the hike to section 301 just as deGrom was getting out of the inning, with his pitch count soaring his morale noticeably draining. From our seats in the third deck in left field, we had a spectacular view of the 11 home runs that were hit over the course of the game, so we quickly abandoned our original plan to abandon our seats in search of premium seats guarded by inattentive ushers.

Leading off the top of the 2nd was none other than The Captain. We found ourselves in a section with a good amount of Mets fans, and we all stood up to give David a nice hand as he was announced over the loudspeaker. We were hoping for a hit, or at least for an indication that David Wright had not returned only as a shell of his former self. The childish optimists deep inside us would have all loved to see a home run, but recognized that this was a mere pipe dream.

Until it wasn’t. Because David didn’t just hit a homer, he hit a titanic blast into the upper deck, an absolute no-doubter, one that made it loud and clear that this battlestation was fully armed and operational. It seemed like a dream, or a joke. But David had pulled it off, and at that point, most Mets fans in attendance would have been satisfied with their experience regardless of the game’s outcome. The Mets were down 3-1 after Wright crossed the plate, but even on the road, and especially in our section, one looking at the crowd would have thought David had just hit a walk-off blast. The Mets fans were rooting for the Captain and the Team, the Phillies fans were just rooting for the storyline.

Of course, the Mets didn’t exactly seize momentum from that point. Cameron Rupp‘s homer in the second turned the tide back in the home team’s favor and sucked the air out of our section. The Mets got a run back in the next frame on a solo shot from Juan Lagares (my decision to wear my Lagares jersey over my deGrom shirsey certainly paid off), but by the third inning, it was awfully clear that Jacob deGrom, on this night, was not Jacob deGrom. Dominic Brown’s three run shot, punctuated by that unbearable gonging “Liberty Bell” noise the PA system blared as he circled the bases, had all the makings of a dagger, a clear sign that the Phillies were not going to let this game get away.

wilmer flores

But by the end of the next inning, nearly everybody in the ballpark surely must have known the Mets would emerge victorious, even with the Phils still up 7-5. Wright began the frame with a single, and Wilmer Flores lined one just over the wall in the left-field corner. From our vantage point, it was a no-doubter; all of the home runs were, because from the third deck, the altitude and speed at which the baseballs were traveling was exhilaratingly visible from the moment the balls left the bat. Nothing is better than knowing a ball is going to go out of the ballpark, and then getting to watch joyously as it does go out of the ballpark and the runs go on the board.

The next hitter, Travis d’Arnaud, followed suit with a solo shot to cut the gap to 2, and it became a matter of how long the Phillies could hold on before the Mets overtook them. It wasn’t long. An inning later, Flores’ second shot of the night came with two men on, and it was a moonshot, one that sent the plethora of Mets fans in attendance into a frenzy. With the exception of Wright, no other Met could have provided the unwelcome Mets fans with the level of joy than Flores, New York’s latest folk-hero. “MVP” chants and “Wil-mer Flor-es” chants came raining down, as the Mets jumped out to a 1-run lead and never looked back.

Michael Cuddyer followed two batters later with the Mets’ sixth blast of the game, and at that point it truly took on the vibe of a home game. The Phillies fans had been struck dumb, while the rowdy Mets fans, drunk with confidence, had their way with Citizens  Bank Park. Daniel Murphy tacked on a two-run blast in the next inning, and d’Arnaud added a two-run double. As Sean Gilmartin held down the fort in relief of deGrom, the Met fans in the bleachers began doing a “roll call,” and the players obliged their cries for acknowledgement. A bang-bang play at first in which the runner (Ryan Howard) was rounding a base he would not reach in time was the punchline in what had become an absolute laugher, and of course it was none other than the crowd-favorite Flores making the throw from the seat of his pants after an incredible diving knock-down to make the play possible. By the end of the sixth, some of the Phillies fans were laughing along with us, and more than a couple young fans started wondering aloud whether a conversion to the Orange and Blue was the right move for them.

The Mets added another run in the 7th, but didn’t score in the 8th, and as the game’s result became a forgone conclusion (for the second time in the contest), the Mets fans began to tire and grow bored. Yoenis Cespedes ensured that the game would end on a high note, hitting an absolute rocket for the Mets’ franchise-record-breaking eighth home run of the ballgame. Flores nearly brought the house down with a long fly ball, but it landed just foul to avoid becoming his third dinger of the game.

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The Phillies didn’t score once against the often-criticized, short-handed, and, on this night, heavily-burdened Mets bullpen. The Mets pulled away by pouring on the runs, and the sense of superiority us Mets fans (deservedly) felt was tangible at CBP— a far cry from the days of Roy Halladay and Luis Castillo. The Mets were the better team on Monday night, and once they got rolling, they looked like a truly unbeatable bunch, one that— although their matchups will be exponentially tougher— should strike fear into any opponent if (or dare I say, when?) October rolls around.

I have no argument to make today. I have no point to prove or player to exalt or theory to debunk or statistic to shove down anybody’s throat. But last night’s Mets game, despite being played away from the increasingly friendly confines of Citi Field, was the perfect experience, and it’s time to look forward to what will be a hell of a stretch run for a team that has finally restored itself to relevance and respectability, and put itself in a position to make 2015 a truly special season. Here’s to many more jubilant experiences between now and the Mets’ final game— however late we end up being fortunate enough to see that game played.

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Mets Blast Their Way To 14-9 Win At Coors Field Sat, 22 Aug 2015 05:00:32 +0000  

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In the Coorsiest Game Ever Played, The Mets (65-56) outslugged the Rockies (49-71) en route to a 14-9 win in the series opener, stretching their NL East lead to 5 games.

Bartolo Colon struggled on the mound, allowing 7 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks in 3.2 innings, striking out 1 and serving up 3 home runs. Colon was hit on his pitching arm (even the pitchers were hitting Bartolo in this one) while bunting in the 2nd inning, but stayed in the game.

The Mets grabbed an early lead against Jon Gray at Coors Field, getting the better of the rookie who had stifled them in Queens a week earlier. Yoenis Cespedes doubled with 2 out in the top of the first, and Lucas Duda singled him home. Duda would later exit the game due to unknown reasons (stay tuned— UPDATE: Duda’s previously injured back “locked up,” and he may go on the DL).

The Rockies got that run back on a solo shot from Carlos Gonzalez in the bottom of the first that would have done more damage had Colon not picked off Charlie Blackmon (who was ruled safe until the call was overturned after review) following his leadoff single.

The Mets exploded in the top of the second. A single from Kelly Johnson, a walk worked by Michael Conforto, and Gray’s drilling of Bartolo loaded the bases. Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy each drove in a run with singles that moved everybody up a base, before Cespedes unloaded the bases with a grand slam that scraped the top of the high fence in right field and put the Mets up 7-1.

Ben Paulsen homered to make it 7-2 in the bottom of the second, after which Terry Collins and the trainer came out to check on Bartolo’s wrist. Colon stayed in the game, but after barely escaping further damage in the second (a Wilmer Flores error only made his job harder), the big righty gave back two more runs in the third on an RBI double by Nolan Arenado and a single from DJ LeMahieu which brought him home.

Cespedes homered again in the top of the fourth to make it 8-4, but after Blackmon doubled and CarGo walked in the bottom of the frame, Arenado sent a three-run shot over the wall in left with two outs to end Colon’s night.

Sean Gilmartin got the final out in the fourth, but a leadoff single by LeMahieu and a triple from Nick Hundley tied the score at 8 and Colorado found themselves with the go-ahead run 90 feet away with none out in the fifth inning. Gilmartin fanned the next batter for the first out, and then escaped the jam when Kyle Parker flied out and Curtis Granderson gunned down Hundley trying to score (the play was very close and was subjected to a lengthy review, but the umpires confirmed the call for the third out).

After Daniel Murphy walked with one out in the sixth, Cespedes launched his third homer of the game to put the Mets back in front 10-8. Back-to-back solo shots from Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto off of former Met Gonzalez Germen put the visitors up 12-8 in the seventh. Colorado got one run back against Hansel Robles after the Stretch on a double by Arenado, a balk,and an RBI groundout.

Cespedes had a shot at a 4-HR game, but instead poked a single through the hole for his fifth hit of the night leading off the top of the eighth. Cespedes then stole second and scored on a Wilmer Flores double. Tyler Clippard tossed a scoreless eighth, and after Murphy’s ninth-inning sacrifice fly drove in Uribe following his leadoff double, Cespedes finally made an out, rocketing one to the gap in right-center that was flagged down by CarGo.

Jeurys Familia shut the door in the bottom of the ninth to wrap up a 14-9 victory for the Mets.

yoenis Cespedes

Coors Field is a very odd place. No lead is safe. Each run means very little. Fortunately, the Mets made sure to pour it on after blowing their initial lead, and grabbed a victory out West.

How awesome was Cespedes tonight? Allowing him to completely win us over is like letting your kid name an animal you know will only be around for a day, but… Sandy, can we keep him? Please? (Seriously, pay the man.)

I thought it was absolutely huge that Gilmartin (and Granderson) somehow got out of the 5th inning without allowing the Rockies to take the lead despite having a runner on third with no outs. In previous years, the Mets would be the team squandering that opportunity at the plate, not putting out the fire on the other side.

Cespedes was the main story, but d’Arnaud’s homer provided some valuable insurance and should boost his confidence as he looks to re-find his rhythm following his length DL stint, and the ball Conforto hit was an absolute rocket. Nice to see that from our young hitters.

Colon was dreadful tonight. Part of it may have been due to the HBP. The Mets need him to be healthy, and to be acceptably good. His role from here on out is to provide a bunch of palatable innings down the stretch to keep our young pitchers’ arms intact for what has become a temptingly feasible playoff run.

I hate seeing guys like Clippard and Familia (and to a far lesser extent Robles) used when the Mets have pretty comfortable leads. We should be trying to save these guys for when we need a zero late in a close game. Coors Field is obviously a unique ballpark, but if Carlos Torres can’t pitch the ninth with a 5-run lead, he shouldn’t be in the MLB, no matter what stadium he’s pitching in. As Dillon Gee would say: Wasted Bullets.

The news about Duda stinks. Hopefully this back injury doesn’t keep reoccurring for the rest of the season (or worse, beyond). We need his big bat in the lineup down the stretch, but it looks like he’ll miss some time.

It was a bit closer than it seemed like it would be early on, but winning a game in which your 5th starter pitchers (horribly) is always nice. Let’s take the series tomorrow.

Up Next: The Mets will play the Rockies at 8:10 on Saturday night at Coors Field. Jon Niese (7-9, 3.50 ERA) will face Chris Rusin (4-5, 3.99 ERA)

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]]> 0 MMO Game Recap: Pirates 5, Mets 3 (14) Sun, 16 Aug 2015 03:34:38 +0000 jon niese

The Mets (63-54) fell to the Pirates (68-46) by a score of 5-3 in 14 innings on Saturday night.

Jon Niese turned in a decent outing for the Mets, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings, striking out 5.

The Mets were bitten by the long ball in the first inning for the third straight game. After a questionable call by Bob Davidson behind the plate put Andrew McCutchen on first with a two-out walk, Aramis Ramirez sent Niese’s next pitch over the wall to put the Pirates up 2-0. Gregory Polanco extended Pittsburgh’s lead in the third inning with a solo shot that put the visitors up 3-0.

The Mets failed to do anything against Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton early in the game. But after Carlos Torres worked a scoreless top of the seventh in relief of Niese, the Mets came roaring back after the stretch to get their starter off the hook. Juan Uribe led off the frame with a solo shot, and after a throwing error by Aramis Ramirez put Travis d’Arnaud on base with one out, Michael Conforto rocketed one over the wall in right to tie the game at three and send Morton to the showers.

After Tyler Clippard worked through the top of the eighth, Jeurys Familia put up a zero in the ninth with some major help from Yoenis Cespedes. Sean Rodriguez hit one into the gap for an extra-base hit, but when the ball took an odd bounce, he turned for third and was gunned down by an absolute missile from Cespedes.

The game headed to extras, where Hansel Robles pitched three strong innings out of the bullpen for the Mets. The Mets got the winning run in scoring position in the bottom of the 12th when Lucas Duda worked a pinch-hit walk and Ruben Tejada singled, but Wilmer Flores struck out to extend the ballgame.

Sean Gilmartin pitched a scoreless frame in the 13th, but the Pirates got to him in the 14th to win the game. A leadoff double by Francisco Cervelli put the go-ahead run in scoring position. Starling Marte grounded one to Daniel Murphy, who made a poor decision and tried to get the lead runner rather than taking the sure out at first, and instead got nothing. Chris Stewart lined a single into center to put the Pirates up 4-3, and with runners still on the corners, Rodriguez popped one over the drawn-in infield to make it 5-3. Gilmartin got out of the inning thanks to a double-play on a popped-up bunt attempt and a runner caught stealing, but the damage had been done.

Kelly Johnson doubled with one out in the bottom of the 14th against Pirates closer Mark Melancon, but Travis d’Arnaud and Anthony Recker‘s well-hit drives both found the glove of Andrew McCutchen, and the Pirates escaped with an extra-inning victory for the second straight night, allowing Ne-Yo to finally take the stage for his postgame concert.

michael Conforto

For the most part, the Mets offense has quieted down lately. But the resilience is still there, as shown by their comeback in the seventh inning— a combined effort from veteran Juan Uribe and rookie Michael Conforto. Conforto hasn’t been putting up great numbers, but he’s shown a good eye and has been hitting the ball quite hard, which is all you can ask for. As for Uribe, I’m not sure how he’s successful— he pulls out on every swing, and it seems like he’d never get a hit if pitchers just stuck with off-speed pitches on the outside part of the plate. But he seems to make it work.

Niese wasn’t great tonight, but he kept the Mets in the game, as he has done in nearly every single start the last few months. However, the Mets can’t keep giving up all these first inning runs. It cost them a game back in Tampa, and it’s definitely been an issue the last three games here at home.

The bullpen did a solid job, taking over in the 7th and keeping the Pirates off the board until the 14th inning. Robles in particular was terrific. At some point, the offense has to pick up the relievers and put the ballgame away.

Murphy hasn’t made many mistakes over the last few months, but his gaffe tonight was boneheaded to say the least. The Mets probably weren’t putting up a zero in that inning anyway, but he certainly didn’t help the cause (of course, the issue was that he was trying far too hard to keep that go-ahead run off the board).

Cespedes has been hitting well, and we finally saw that arm tonight. He’s a terrific ballplayer, and it’s frustrating that—while I won’t waste too many words on it tonight— we almost certainly won’t see him in a Met uniform next year. Let’s try to enjoy him while he’s here, but we can’t get too attached.

Bob Davison was a huge detriment to this game. A home plate umpire’s presence should never be as noticeable as it was tonight. I don’t think anybody in either dugout was happy with him in this (extended) contest.

It’s a frustrating loss, but not an infuriating loss. The Mets have hung with one of the better teams in the league the last two nights, and while moral victories don’t count in the standings, their small cushion in the NL East allows one to avoid living and dying with each game. In the long run, however, the Mets will need to win these games more often than not. And they’ll certainly need to avoid the sweep with their ace on the hill next game.

Up Next: The Mets will wrap up their series with the Pirates on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field. Matt Harvey (11-7, 2.61 ERA) will face Jeff Locke (6-7, 4.43 ERA) at 1:10 PM.

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Which Mets Ace Would Get The Ball In A One-Game Playoff? Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:00:26 +0000 harvey-degrom-2

The Mets have more than their fair share of terrific young pitching, and with Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, they would have pocket aces should they get a chance to play a series in October.

But what if the Mets earn a Wild Card spot, and find themselves in a one-game playoff with a trip to the NLDS on the line? Joe D raised the question, so I’ll attempt to tackle it.

Before doing so, I must state the obvious (but often taken for granted)— both of these pitchers are phenomenal. If the Mets are running either of these guys out there, their chances to win are very good, and life will be very tough for the opposition. If there is a better option, the lesser option is still pretty damn good.

In addition, the Mets might not find themselves faced with a choice. If they end up with a Wild Card spot, they will likely have been fighting for it until the very end, which means they won’t have had a chance to rest their top pitchers at the end of the regular season to prepare them for the playoffs.

New York’s final three games are against the Nationals, so even if they fail to win the division, that might not be confirmed until the season’s final days. If one ace is unable to go, the decision will have been made easy for the Mets.

If deGrom and Harvey both pitch too close to the date of the Wild Card Game (which will likely be almost immediately after game 162), the Mets will have to go with a third option— assuming the strategy of having them split the game on short rest is off the table.

But for the sake of the argument, let’s say both are fully rested and ready to go with a win-or-go-home game against the other NL Wild Card team. Who should get the ball?

The Stats:


DeGrom: 10-6, 2.05 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 127 IP, 9.0 K/9, 1.6 BB/9, 6.3 H/9, 0.6 HR/9 2.56 FIP (19 GS). Team is 12-7 in his starts.

Harvey: 9-7, 3.16 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 125 IP, 8.3 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 7.6 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 3.69 FIP (19 GS). Team is 11-8 in his starts.


DeGrom: 19-12, 2.39 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 268 IP, 9.1 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 6.9 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 2.62 FIP (41 GS)

Harvey: 21-17, 2.65 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 363 IP, 9.3 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 7.0 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 2.80 FIP (55 GS)

The Argument for deGrom:

DeGrom has been the better pitcher this season— better than Harvey, and probably better than anybody not named Zack Greinke. DeGrom also has a slight edge in terms of their career numbers. If the game is at Citi Field, deGrom’s 1.59 career ERA at home would only help his case. And Harvey might have more risk. How effective will Harvey still be come October in his first season back from Tommy John Surgery? Harvey has been very prone to the long-ball this year, how do we know it won’t come in a killer spot? Harvey has given up 4+ runs 5 times and 7 runs 2 times— how do we know he won’t pull a Tom Glavine with the season on the line? DeGrom has only allowed 4+ earned runs twice this year, and gives up fewer home runs.

Jacob has been the team’s best pitcher in 2015, so why not run him out there with the 2015 season on the line?

The Argument for Harvey:

Harvey hasn’t been as good as deGrom this season, but he has been good. His ERA is solid but not great— it would be great if not for a few catastrophic games. When he’s on top of his game, he’s better than deGrom, despite what the stats from their respective peaks (2013 for Matt, 2015 for Jacob) might suggest. Harvey’s 2013 FIP shows that he was even more dominant than his ERA would show, while the opposite is true for deGrom. And anybody who saw Matt pitch in 2013 can tell you that when Harvey has his best stuff, he’s the best pitcher East of wherever Clayton Kershaw happens to be at any given time.

Harvey hasn’t lost velocity, and he hasn’t been wild, but he has had struggles with his command in the zone at times since his return, which is why he hasn’t been able to put up the dominant stats we saw two years ago, and which is why he has made mistakes that have ended up in the seats. If Harvey can keep the ball in the park, he’ll win— his ERA in his 9 starts without a HR allowed is 1.35.

DeGrom isn’t without risk. How good will he be as he reaches the end of his first full season? How will he handle the big moment on the mound? Harvey has more of a bulldog mentality, which would likely serve him better with the season on the line (although deGrom certainly didn’t shrink from the spotlight in the All-Star Game).

Matt Harvey is the ace of this staff. For me, “Ace” carries a greater meaning than “best pitcher on the team” (which I think Harvey is, anyway). Unless he’s really struggling heading into the game, I’m giving him the ball when it matters most.


If the Dodgers had one game that determined their fate, they would almost certainly go with Kershaw over Greinke, even though Greinke has been better this year. For the same reason, I would go with Harvey— he’s our guy, and if he brings his best stuff, he’s our best option. That being said, the argument for deGrom is certainly very valid, possibly more so than the case for Harvey. As I said in the beginning, you really can’t go wrong with either pitcher. Harvey has more risk, but you don’t skip over your ace because of what might happen if he doesn’t have his best stuff. Give me Harvey.

Who would YOU start, and why?


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