Mets Merized Online » Mets News & Notes http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 24 Aug 2016 20:57:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.15 MMO Game Thread: Mets @ Cardinals, 8:15 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mmo-game-thread-mets-cardinals-815-pm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mmo-game-thread-mets-cardinals-815-pm.html/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 20:57:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221225 jacob degrom

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 • 8:15 p.m. (ET)
Busch Stadium • St. Louis, MO
RHP Jacob deGrom (7-6, 2.73) vs. RHP Carlos Martinez (11-7, 3.24)
SNY • WOR 710 AM • ESPN 1050 AM

The Mets picked up their third win a row yesterday as they started a crucial series with the Cardinals, who hold one of the Wild Card spots. The game started off rough for the Amazins’ with Niese needing to be pulled early, but the Mets kept fighting the whole game and the bullpen was able to pitch 8.2 innings of one run ball. Now the Mets need to keep it going to keep their postseason hopes alive behind Jacob deGrom.

Mets Lineup

  1. Jose Reyes – 3B
  2. Curtis Granderson – CF
  3. Yoenis Cespedes – LF
  4. Jay Bruce – RF
  5. James Loney – 1B
  6. Asdrubal Cabrera – SS
  7. Kelly Johnson – 2B
  8. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  9. Jacob deGrom – RHP

Cardinals Lineup

  1. Matt Carpenter – 1B
  2. Jedd Gyorko – 2B
  3. Brandon Moss – LF
  4. Stephen Piscotty – RF
  5. Yadier Molina – C
  6. Jhonny Peralta – 3B
  7. Randal Grichuk – CF
  8. Greg Garcia – SS
  9. Carlos Martinez – RHP

Jacob has a tall task today because not only does he need to keep the line moving, but he also needs to go to deep for the pen. He’s 7-6 over 22 starts and 138.1 innings with a 2.73 ERA. He’s coming off the worst start of his season where he allowed 8 ER and 13 hits over 5.0 innings (coming after 4 starts and 27.2 innings with 2 ER). Last year he held the Cardinals scoreless and to 1 hit with 11 K’s over 8.0 innings. The Cardinals have the following numbers against Jacob:

  • Carpenter 1-6
  • Peralta 2-6
  • Wong 0-5
  • Grichuk 0-3
  • Molina 1-2
  • Garcia 0-2

Carlos Martinez is 11-7 over 23 starts and 144.1 innings with a 3.24 ERA this season. After three less than stellar starts where he allowed 14 runs, 13 earned over 18.0 innings, in his last start he allowed only 1 ER over 7.0 innings. He faced the Mets once this season allowing 2 ER over 5.0 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against him:

  • Bruce 1-15, HR
  • Walker 4-16, 3B, 2 HR
  • Granderson 2-8
  • Cespedes 3-5, 2B, HR
  • Reyes 2-6

Let’s Go Mets!

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Cespedes Insists He Won’t Opt Out, But Mets Shouldn’t Bank On That http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/cespedes-insists-he-wont-opt-out-but-mets-shouldnt-bank-on-that.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/cespedes-insists-he-wont-opt-out-but-mets-shouldnt-bank-on-that.html/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:07:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221259 yoenis cespedes

According to Matt Ehalt of the the Bergen Record, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes plans to honor his three-year deal with the Mets without opting out after the 2016 season.

“I have it in my mind to stay three years,” Cespedes said through a translator.  Asked directly by Ehalt if he intends to complete his three-year deal with the Mets, Cespedes flatly said, “Yes.”

I’m pretty sure that Cespedes’ agent probably cringed upon hearing this, but this is certainly good news for the Mets even though it’s way too early for such declarations and a lot can change once the season officially ends.

Cespedes has proven to be driving force of the team’s offense; he is their lifeblood. When Cespedes is in the lineup, the team is a powerful run-scoring juggernaut. But without him, the offense struggles to score just 2.5 runs per game on average, not nearly enough to maintain a winning posture no matter how good the starting pitching is. We’ve recently seen this first hand during his stint on the DL.

I have no doubt that Cespedes wants to be here just based on all things he’s said over the last 12 months. It’s obvious he enjoys playing on the big stage that only New York can give him and he is unfazed by the bright media spotlight. But more than that Cespedes has connected with and fallen in love with the Mets fanbase. who have embraced him like a conquering hero – much like they did when the Mets acquired Mike Piazza.

Of course, Cespedes – or any other player – is going to respond exactly as Yo did when a driven media keeps sticking a recorder in front of his face and asking that same question again and again.

The Mets are battling in the middle of a playoff race as the last five weeks of the season winds down. Can you imagine any player saying, “Hell no, I’m not going to honor all three years of my deal. I put the opt-out in the deal for a reason.”

Of course not, all Cespedes is trying to do is avoid this becoming a distraction.

Clearly, Cespedes has enjoyed his time with the Mets. But given the choice of staying here and collecting the remaining $50 million dollars left on his original deal, or staying here and renegotiating a new $100 million dollar deal, the likelihood of how this ultimately plays out is quite obvious.

So the onus is on the Mets to renegotiate a new deal while Cespedes remains under their control, or risk letting him opt out which would mean a bidding war with 8-10 other teams that will all crave his bat.

Unlike last offseason when doubts lingered that Cespedes’ MVP-like 2015 finish may have been a fluke, there will be no such concerns this Winter, and given the fact he’ll undoubtedly be the grandest prize in a weak free agent class, expect a ravenous pursuit for everything Cespedes brings to the table.

If I’m the Mets, I’d do my damn best to make sure Cespedes never hits the open market. They can ill-afford to risk losing him.

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Young Arms and Healthy Bats Revive Mets Wild Card Hunt http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/young-arms-and-healthy-bats-revive-mets-wild-card-hunt.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/young-arms-and-healthy-bats-revive-mets-wild-card-hunt.html/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:10:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221219 jeurys familia

Another dubious decision by manager Terry Collins could have caused damaging results, but the Mets were saved by a couple of pitching prospects who performed gracefully under pressure.

In a must win series opener against the Cardinals, starter Jon Niese lasted a third of an inning as his faulty knee failed him, retiring only one of the four batters he faced.

Rookies Robert Gsellman and Josh Smoker restored order tossing a combined 5 2/3 scoreless innings to keep the Mets alive and well in the wild card hunt, with Gsellman getting the 7-4 win in his major league debut.

Gsellman’s introduction to the bigs was foreboding when his first offering was drilled for a double off the bat of Yadier Molina, scoring two of the runners he inherited from Niese.  After Jhonny Peralta tied it up with a ground out to Reyes, the young right-hander struck out Jedd Gyorko, maintaining his cool for the rest of his joyous stay.

Even though Gsellman was warned Niese may have an early exit.  “It was my first time ever coming out of the bullpen, so it felt kind of awkward,” Gsellman said. “You still have to take the mound the same way as when you’re starting.”

Gsellman showed some jitters, but also flashed some big-league stuff after that Molina double, and we saw some of the maturity and pitching smarts that his former B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez talked about in April.

“I think he’s going to be the next guy, I really believe so,” Lopez said of Gsellman. “He probably doesn’t light you guys up with the radar gun. Probably he doesn’t throw the 97, 98 like Syndergaard, Wheeler, Harvey, Matz. I’ll tell you what, this guy — we talked about him in the meetings when big-league camp started.”

Another interesting point in the cited article, was that despite trading away 10 minor-league pitchers last season, the Mets held on to Gsellman and then added him to the 40-man roster last off-season to protect him in the Rule 5 Draft. It seemed obvious he was being regarded as a keeper.

wilmer flores hr

Offensively for the Mets, they continue to flex some more muscle since they’ve gotten healthier. Wilmer Flores drew first blood last night, with a three run blast in the top of the first, which Niese gave right back in the bottom of the inning.

But Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera, red hot from his return from the DL, regained the lead on consecutive run-scoring hits in the 2nd, then Justin Ruggiano provided a signature moment when he crushed a solo shot to center for a 6-3 cushion in the 4th.  The 461-foot blast eclipsed the 457-foot homer by Yoenis Cespedes that was deemed the longest of the season. 

After a Randal Grichuk line drive home run closed the gap 6-4, James Loney picked a fine time to break his slump with a flare to center field, tacking on another dose of insurance.

St. Louis had many attempts to get back in the game, but the Mets bullpen of Jerry Blevins, Jim Henderson, and Addison Reed muscled their way out of men in scoring position, paving the way for Jeurys Familia’s MLB-leading 42nd save.

This monumental win puts the Mets 3 ½ games within striking distance of St. Louis for the second wild card spot, and a chance to gain more ground on Wednesday when Jacob deGrom, looking to redeem himself after his last dreadful outing against the Giants, takes the mound.

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Flores and Ruggiano Come Through With Big Blasts In Win http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/flores-and-ruggiano-come-through-with-big-blasts-in-win.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/flores-and-ruggiano-come-through-with-big-blasts-in-win.html/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:00:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221215 wilmer flores hr

Wilmer Flores and Justin Ruggiano continue to mash left-handed pitching. The two provided big homers for the Mets in their 7-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in what has become the team’s biggest series of the season thus far.

Flores got it going for the Mets early, providing a three-run blast in the first, staking the Mets to a nice lead. The cult hero has put up big numbers against lefty’s this year, hitting to a .344/.392/.678 slash line. He has also accumulated nine homers and 22 RBI against southpaws this season. Overall on the year he is hitting to a .259./.315/.447 slash with 13 homers and 39 RBI.

Ruggiano continues to rake for the Mets, feasting on left-handers himself. He hit a monster solo-shot in the fourth off of Cardinals starter, Jaime Garcia. Ruggiano is 8-for-21 this season with two homers and seven RBI. It is a small sample size but he has shown his ability to be a force in this lineup when needed.

The Mets find themselves right back in the thick of things with a chance to continue to gain ground on the second Wild-Card spot. It is right there within the team’s grasp if they continue to play the way they currently are.

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10 Other Teams That Might Want to Sign Yoenis Cespedes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/10-other-teams-that-might-want-to-sign-yoenis-cespedes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/10-other-teams-that-might-want-to-sign-yoenis-cespedes.html/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:30:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221187 yoenis cespedes 2

When Matt Ehalt of The Record asked Yoenis Cespedes about his opt-out clause and if he intended to honor all three years of his deal with the Mets, Cespedes flatly said, “Yes.”  However, Bob Klapisch, also of The Record, cautions the Mets to prepare for the worst as each dramatic home run only increases the odds that Cespedes will at least be tempted by the open market.

With one of the weakest free agent classes in over a decade looming this Winter, Cespedes would easily be the top draw.  Assuming Cespedes does opt out of his contract, he figures to be in much greater demand than he was an offseason ago. The Mets will try to lock him up long term, but here are 10 other teams that might attempt the same thing:

Baltimore Orioles

The team has a gaping hole in left field despite the steal recent play of Hyun Soo Kim. Also, the team’s right fielder, Mark Trumbo, is a free agent. Add in that Baltimore is a win-now team that thinks offense first, and there might be a match. However, the looming free agent contract of Manny Machado might cause the team to spend less.

Chicago White Sox

With the regression of Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier, the team needs a bat it can count on. Austin Jackson is a free agent and Adam Eaton can shift to center, which opens up an outfield spot. Still, unless the White Sox offer the largest contract, one might question why Cespedes would want to spend his prime with a franchise stuck in mediocrity.

Cleveland Indians

The Indians are one big bat away from a dominant team and have room to add in the outfield. Michael Brantley has been hurt, Rajai Davis is a free agent, and Lonnie Chisenhall can play other positions. One of those spots will soon be filled by prospect Bradley Zimmer, and unless they trust him or Brantley in center field, the Indians might be targeting that position rather than a corner spot.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Right now when you look at left field for the Angels you see Nick Buss, so Cespedes could obviously be a huge upgrade. He also would give the Angels quite an offense with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. But the Angels need pitching and that will likely be their top offseason priority.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Injuries and free agency have made corner outfield an area of need for the Dodgers. Tracy Thompson figures to be given one of the starting jobs next season, but the other is up for grabs. The question is whether the new regime in Los Angeles wants to give out a massive free agent contract after that strategy hurt this franchise in recent years.

Oakland Athletics

The Athletics tend to do the unexpected and bringing Cespedes back would be unexpected. But the team doesn’t have much stability in the outfield or any big bats. But Billy Beane traded Cespedes away for a reason and if those reasons remain or if Cespedes doesn’t want to come back, he won’t be returning.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants are perhaps the Mets’ biggest threat to signing Cespedes. They need offensive help, and Angel Pagan, the team’s current left fielder, is about to hit free agency. The Giants also like to spend money and won’t be afraid to hand out a big contract.

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners have the longest active playoff drought in MLB, so they’ll be using this offseason to see if they can get the team over the hump. Signing Cespedes would do just that and would represent an upgrade to either corner outfield spot. Cespedes, Cano, and Cruz would be as good as it gets in the middle of the order.

St. Louis Cardinals

With Matt Holiday holding a team option, the Cardinals could look to move on from their talented but injury-riddled slugger. If they do they might be in the market for a bat like Cespedes. But the Cardinals could also give the playing time to younger players like Tommy Pham and Jeremy Hazelbaker.

Washington Nationals

With Jayson Werth set to make $21 million in 2017, signing Cespedes would seem not to make sense. But it didn’t make sense last year, and the Nationals still tried it. Plus, if the Nationals could again steal one of the Mets’ best hitters, it would be a double whammy for their chances of winning the NL East.

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Niese Headed to DL, Goeddel Recalled, Gsellman Helps Save the Day http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/niese-headed-to-dl-goeddel-recalled-gsellman-helps-save-the-day.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/niese-headed-to-dl-goeddel-recalled-gsellman-helps-save-the-day.html/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:00:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221211 jon niese

Mets pitcher, Jon Niese lasted just a third of an inning before leaving the game due to injury. He was replaced by rookie, Robert Gsellman, who helped navigate his team to victory in his major league debut.

Niese, 29, left Tuesday’s 7-4 victory over St. Louis after feeling a pop in his left knee. In his short time in the game he allowed three runs on one hit while walking two. He is reportedly heading to the disabled list due to the injury, it is believed the team will call up Erik Goeddel in his place. Niese spoke of his injury after Tuesday’s win.

“It progressively got worse and worse. I think that curveball I threw to Moss was the one where I felt a little pop in there. Every pitch there was just a sharp, shooting pain down my leg. I’ve got to get it fixed.”

“I can’t keep going out there. There’s a lot of pain. It’s altering my mechanics. I’m not able to stay behind each pitch. I’m not able to locate. I’m just really not helping myself out, or the team, when I can’t compete out there when I’m hurt.” (ESPN)

robert gsellman

Gsellman would enter the game for the Mets lefty, pitching in his first major league game and for the first time out of the bullpen. He would go on to pitch 3.2 innings for the team, picking up his first major league win. He reportedly was advised earlier in the day that Niese may be making an early exit and to be ready to come in at any time.

“It was my first time ever coming out of the bullpen, so it felt kind of awkward,” Gsellman said. “You still have to take the mound the same way as when you’re starting. … They told me to be ready when I got here. I just had to take a couple of deep breaths and realize where I was.”

The rookie entered into a mess in the first with two runners on base with just one out. He allowed both inherited runners to score but quickly settled down afterwards. Gsellman allowed two hits on the night while walking three and striking out two.

The win moved the Mets back within 3.5 games of the second Wild-Card spot in which the Cardinals occupy. The team has now won three games in a row and seem to be clicking at the right time as they are in the midst of an all important series to keep their playoff hopes alive.

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Robert Gsellman Steps Up As Mets Beat Cardinals 7-4 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/robert-gsellman-steps-up-as-mets-beat-cardinals-7-4.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/robert-gsellman-steps-up-as-mets-beat-cardinals-7-4.html/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 03:27:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221199 asdrubal cabrera

The Mets (63-62) defeated the St. Louis Cardinals (66-58) by a score of 7-4 tonight at Busch Stadium. With the win, the Mets now sit 3.5 games out of the second wild card spot.

Offense:

The Mets touched up Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia very early on, as Jose Reyes lead off the game with a walk and Asdrubal Cabrera followed up with a liner to left field.

Reyes and Cabrera pulled off a double steal, and were promptly driven in by a three-run jack off the bat of Wilmer Flores, who was batting cleanup for the Amazin’s tonight.

After the debacle in the bottom half of the first that saw the Red Birds tie the game, the Mets regained the lead in the second.

Travis d’Arnaud singled and was moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt from Robert Gsellman. Jose Reyes then hit a ball through the hole on the left side of the infield to bring around d’Arnaud.

Reyes advanced to second on the throw home, and then subsequently scored on an RBI double from Asdrubal Cabrera to make it 5-3 Mets at the time.

After a painless third in which the aforementioned Garcia struck out two, Justin Ruggiano took the lefty deep on a moonshot to central that traveled an estimated 461 feet.

The Mets tacked on an insurance run in the ninth inning, after Jose Reyes singled for his fourth hit of the night, Reyes advanced to second on a wild pitch. Yoenis Cespedes singled to put runners on the corners and James Loney drove in Reyes with a single to left to increase the lead to 7-4.

robert gsellman

Pitching: 

Jon Niese got the start for the Mets, but it was a short lived outing, as the southpaw left the game after just four batters after aggravating his knee.

Niese allowed two walks and an RBI single from Brandon Moss before exiting the game. Niese was replaced by righty Robert Gsellman, who was called up from Triple-A when Steven Matz hit the disabled list earlier this week.

Gsellman allowed the Cards to tie the game, giving up a run scoring double off of Mets killer Yadier Molina, and Jhonny Peralta drove in a run with a groundout.

Gsellman got out of the inning with his first major league strikeout to keep the game tied. All the runs scored were attributed to Niese.

in the second, Gsellman committed the Cardinal (no pun intended) sin of walking his opposition, but rolled a tailor-made double play to end the frame.

In the third, Gsellman put two runners on but got out of the inning on a masterpiece of a play from Asdrubal Cabrera who flipped the ball to T.J. Rivera to get the force at second.

Gsellman put two on again in the fourth, but was bailed out by another magnificent play from Asdrubal Cabrera, who caught a rocket off the bat of Stephen Piscotty.

In his debut, Gsellman’s final line has him going 3.2 innings, allowing zero runs on two hits, while walking three and striking out two.

Josh Smoker relieved Gsellman in the fifth and pitch two innings, allowing one run on a solo homer from Randal Grichuk and almost allowed another to Stephen Piscotty, but Yoenis Cespedes made a splendid catch to end the sixth.

Jerry Blevins started the seventh, and gave up a lead-off hit to Matt Carpenter, but struck out the next batter before being removed in favor of Jim Henderson, who put runners on first and third, but struck out Jedd Gyorko to end the inning. It was Henderson’s first appearance since June 18th.

Addison Reed flirted with disaster in the eighth putting the tying run on base and facing the go-ahead run, but got Matt Carpenter to fly out to end the inning.

Jeurys Familia came on to pitch the ninth inning, and recorded his 42nd save of the year to end a roller coaster of a game.

Game ball:

Robert Gsellman showed a lot of guile tonight, and stepped up big time in a spot where the Mets really needed him. A well earned victory in the young man’s major league debut.

On deck:

Jacob deGrom (7-6, 2.73 ERA) will look to rebound after the beatdown he got his last time out in San Francisco, and will be opposed by Carlos Martinez (11-7, 3.24 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 PM.

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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Cardinals, 8:15 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mmo-game-thread-mets-vs-cardinals-815-pm-3.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mmo-game-thread-mets-vs-cardinals-815-pm-3.html/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 20:56:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221158 jon niese

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 • 8:15 p.m. (ET)
Busch Stadium • St. Louis, MO
LHP Jonathon Niese (8-7, 5.30) vs. LHP Jaime Garcia (10-8, 4.11)
SNY • WOR 710 AM • ESPN 1050 AM

The Mets head into St. Louis after splitting a series with the Giants. On Sunday night Syndergaard out dueled Samardzija who was no-hitting the Mets until Granderson hit a double followed by a Cespedes homer which was all the Mets needed to win. Now the Amazins start a critical series to gain ground in the wild card race.

Mets Lineup

  1. Jose Reyes – 3B
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera – SS
  3. Yoenis Cespedes – LF
  4. Wilmer Flores – 1B
  5. Jay Bruce – RF
  6. T.J. Rivera – 2B
  7. Justin Ruggiano – CF
  8. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  9. Jonathon Niese – LHP

Cardinals Lineup

  1. Tommy Pham – LF
  2. Stephen Piscotty – RF
  3. Matt Carpenter – 2B
  4. Brandon Moss – 1B
  5. Yadier Molina – C
  6. Jhonny Peralta – 3B
  7. Jedd Gyorko – SS
  8. Randal Grichuk – CF
  9. Jaime Garcia – P

Its a crucial series but (most likely) for the health of the arms in the rotation and Steven Matz heading to the DL with arm issues, the Mets are not skipping Jon Niese’s start. Since joining the Mets he has pitched 10.2 innings allowing 12 hits and 11 ER. Niese has not had the greatest track record against the Cardinals this year allowed 14 runs, 13 earned over 16.0 innings while allowing an alarming 24 hits. The Cards have the following numbers against Niese:

  • Molina 11-31, 2B, HR
  • Peralta 7-20, 2 2B
  • Gyorko 6-16, 2 2B, HR
  • Carpenter 5-12, 2 2B
  • Grichuk 3-12, 2B, 3B, HR
  • Moss 4-10, 2B
  • Piscotty 4-8, 2B, 3B

The Mets bats will try to get to Jaime Garcia who is 10-8 over 24 starts and 142.1 innings with an ERA of 4.11. He’s coming off of a rough start where he allowed 5 ER over 5.0 innings to Houston, his second bad start in his last four. In his one start against the Mets this year he was average allowing 3 runs, 2 earned over 5.0 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Garcia:

  • Bruce 11-47, 2B, HR
  • Reyes 4-17, 2B
  • Loney 4-10, 2B
  • K Johnson 1-5
  • Flores 2-5, 2B
  • Walker 1-5, 2B

Let’s Go Mets!

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Series Preview: New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/series-preview-new-york-mets-vs-st-louis-cardinals.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/series-preview-new-york-mets-vs-st-louis-cardinals.html/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 19:18:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221189 mets win cespedes

The New York Mets (62-62) will enter a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals (66-57) on Tuesday that will wrap up their ten-game road trip. The Mets, coming off a series split with the San Francisco Giants, are 3-4 on their current road trip and are 4.5 games behind the Cardinals for the second Wild Card in the National League.

The defending NL champions, who have tried to tread water with mounting injuries and underachieving performances, have a major opportunity to cut into the Cardinals’ lead. Here’s what to expect from this series.

Series Preview

Tuesday is a direct reflection of how bad the Mets’ injury woes have gotten, which now include left-hander Steven Matz (9-8, 3.40 ERA) heading to the disabled list for a shoulder strain. Matz was already pitching with bone spurs in his elbow in the midst of a breakout season. Instead of Matz, “Fan favorite” Jon Niese (8-7, 5.32 ERA) gets the start for New York. Jaime Garcia (10-8, 4.11 ERA) gets the nod for the Cardinals, who are attempting to hold off the Miami Marlins (1.5 GB) and surging Pittsburgh Pirates (3 GB) as well.

The second game features Jacob deGrom (7-6, 2.73 ERA) for the Mets and Carlos Martinez (11-7, 3.24 ERA) for the Cardinals. Martinez is coming off his best start of 2016, an 8-2 victory against the Houston Astros last Wednesday; he was roughed up in an Aug. 7 start against the Atlanta Braves in which he gave up six earned runs in just five innings. It was Martinez’s worst start of the season, and he subsequently showed up late to Busch Stadium the following day, which violated a team rule and resulted in a fine.

Thursday features Seth Lugo (0-2, 3.40 ERA) for the Mets and Adam Wainwright (9-7, 4.71 ERA) for the Cardinals. Wainwright has had an uncharacteristically terrible season – his ERA is almost one complete run more than his career-high (3.94, 2012) since he became a full-time starting pitcher in 2007. Over Wainwright’s last three starts, he has given up 16 earned runs and is 1-2. Lugo, in his first start of the season in San Francisco last Friday, gave up three runs in 6.2 innings; in what was an eventually 8-1 loss for the Mets after the bullpen imploded, giving up five runs in the eighth inning. Lugo already has one quality start under his belt, and he’ll look to repeat that performance in the series finale.

Mets Quotes:

Kelly Johnson – “The Cardinals have dealt with some stuff themselves. They’ve had some injuries and hard luck and all that and they have battled, and always seem to do what they do. The Cardinals always seem to find a way to win games. I think that is something every team is trying to figure out, is how to be as consistent and persevere as much as they do. They definitely set a standard, them and the Giants the last few years.”

Terry Collins - “When we left spring training we liked our rotation. OK, we’ve had some dings in it, but Jake, Noah, Bart, this is the time of year they’ve got to step up and give us the innings.”

Final Thoughts

As the dog days of August are coming to a close, the Mets miraculously find themselves still within striking distance despite being at .500 and an injury-ridden mess. Patchwork lineups, which now thankfully include slugger Yoenis Cespedes hitting home runs again (three in his last two games) and spot starts have hampered the Mets’ 2016 potential.

A fortunate split against the Giants gives hope that maybe a hot (more appropriately, warm) end-of-summer run can put them in position to play in the Wild Card Game again. A series win against St. Louis – which is totally possible given the up-and-down nature of this beast this season –  would go a long way to making that goal a reality.

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How the Wild Card Competition Stacks Up http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/how-the-wild-card-competition-stacks-up.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/how-the-wild-card-competition-stacks-up.html/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 16:08:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221118 cardinals

Ahead of a huge three game set against the St. Louis Cardinals, the 62-62 New York Mets are at .500 and are 4.5 games back of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot. Even with a good series here, nothing is guaranteed as the Mets are one of four teams currently within five games of the last Wild Card spot. Here is where they all stand:

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals are currently the second Wild Card with a 66-57 record. The team is hot having gone 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Cardinals hot streak is surprising given the fact that they are without Matt Adams, Aledmys Diaz, Matt Holliday, Michael Wacha, Seth Maness, and Trevor Rosenthal. The current Cardinals streak is a testament to their depth, resiliency, and the managing ability of Mike Matheny. Either that or it is a random hot streak, and the Mets are in prime position to take them down.

Miami Marlins

The Marlins are at 65-59 and are 1.5 games back of the Cardinals. Over their last 10 games, the Marlins are playing .500 ball. Worse yet for the team, they are starting to deal with some major injury problems. The team is most likely without Giancarlo Stanton and Wei-Yin Chen for the rest of the season. The team is currently without Adam Conley, and they have the prospect of having to shut down Jose Fernandez at some point in the season. Andrew Cashner was supposed to help alleviate some of these issues, but he has remained the same pitcher he was with the Padres. Offensively, first baseman Justin Bour has been on the disabled list for quite a while, but no one quite knows when he will return.

Over the course of the season, the Marlins have been a pleasant surprise (if you’re not a Mets fan). Ichiro Suzuki seems rejuvenated and got his 3,000 hit. Don Mattingly and Barry Bonds have changed the culture while helping young players like Christian Yelich reach their potential. However, now that they are no longer healthy, there is real doubt that they can stay in the race.

Pittsburgh Pirates

As we have seen with the Pirates the past few seasons, the Pirates a second half team. They are currently 62-60, 3.5 games back, and have a favorable schedule from here on out.

The Pirates are turning things around by turning over their rotation. They have traded away struggling and underperforming pieces in Francisco Liriano and Jon Niese and have replaced them with top prospect Jameson Taillon and former Yankee Ivan Nova. Nova seems to be the type of pitcher pitching coach Ray Searage thrives with, and it certainly hasn’t hurt him being reunited with his old catcher Francisco Cervelli.

Part of the reason the Pirates are in this position is not just their rotation, but it was also due to the struggles of Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen is having a big second half. Coupled with Starling Marte‘s terrific season, and the Pirates suddenly have a potent lineup.

In the end, the big question is if the young Pirates rotation and a bullpen without Mark Melancon can continue a second half charge to claim the second Wild Card spot.

New York Mets

The Mets have been a mess since April. Most of their players were hurt, stopped hitting, or both. However, now, the team is healthy, or as healthy as they can possibly be. Seeing Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup reminds you of the difference maker he is in the Mets lineup, and it is a reminder of the type of run the Mets are capable of making. For that to happen, the Mets are going to need more of the same from Jacob deGrom, and they are going to need Noah Syndergaard to keep pitching the way he did on Sunday. The Mets will also need their other pitchers to step up especially with Steven Matz is going on the disabled list.

In the end, if the Mets are going to go on a run, they have to start with them taking the Cardinals down a few pegs in this three game set starting tonight. If the Mets are not able to at least win two out of three, it is going to be an even steeper hill to climb to make it back to the postseason.

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Terry Collins Wants to Return in 2017 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/terry-collins-wants-to-return-in-2017.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/terry-collins-wants-to-return-in-2017.html/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 14:57:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=220877 terry collins

Terry Collins wants to return as manager of the Mets in 2017, according to a report by Marc Carig of Newsday.

“If I’m back – and hopefully I am – I’ll go after it the same way,” said Collins, who has one year left on his contract.

“And if I’m not, I will say thanks a million for the fun, great relationships, and I’m going to walk away with a smile on my face.”

Original Report – Aug 19

The Mets are not currently mulling firing any of the coaching staff or Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson told ESPN’s Adam Rubin before today’s game.

Alderson would not, however, offer any guarantee that Terry Collins or the coaching staff would survive the rest of the season. ”Do I ever make any statement unequivocally?” he said. “There are no present plans to make any changes.”

He emphasized that he understands the frustrations with the way the team has played since April. “We all have an expectation of winning. None of us uses injuries as an excuse. That’s true inside the organization. That’s true for our fans as well. That’s why I understand the frustration.”

This all comes on the same day that Jon Heyman listed Collins as the most likely manager to be fired before the end of the season. He is losing allies in the front office, and it appears Alderson isn’t much of a fan.

Collins and the Mets have a tough stretch in front of them with 11 of 14 games against contending teams.

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The Future of the Mets Outfield Logjam http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/the-future-of-the-mets-outfield-logjam.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/the-future-of-the-mets-outfield-logjam.html/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:00:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221105 jay bruce

When the New York Mets traded for Jay Bruce, it made a logjam in the outfield even worse. What makes matters worse is it’s a problem that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. The Mets could have six MLB-caliber outfielders under contract next season, and it’s likely a problem they will need to solve before doing anything else this offseason.

So here’s a look at those six outfielders and what their future might hold for the Mets:

Jay Bruce

The Mets created a lot of these outfield problems when they traded for Bruce, and his poor play hasn’t made it even better. The most likely scenario is that Bruce will be the Mets’ starting right fielder in 2017, as he has talent and they traded a good piece in Dilson Herrera to get him. However, the Mets could also look to trade him. With only 13 million on the hook for next season, Bruce could be an attractive trade chip for another contender looking for a bat and would solve some outfield playing time issues for New York. They could still get a nice return for Bruce.

Yoenis Cespedes

The most necessary offensive player to have on the roster in 2017 and beyond is also the least certain. Cespedes has a well-publicized opt-out clause after this season and can hit the open market. Just this past weekend’s seres with San Francisco shows how different the Mets are with him in the lineup, and the Mets will likely try to come to an agreement before other teams get start a bidding war.  Even if the Mets get this done, his days of playing centerfield seem to be over.

Michael Conforto

The Michael Conforto question will likely be the toughest to answer in the offseason. It would be foolish to give up on a young hitter that just a season ago was a major offensive piece for the Mets. At the same time, it seems highly unlikely he’ll get regular playing time in any corner outfield spot. The Mets could trade him, but his value has never been lower. The Mets could also play him at centerfield or first base, but he has little experience at both positions. Also, if Lucas Duda is on the roster in 2017, he’s already a lefty. It’s just completely unclear what Conforto’s role will be in 2017, but playing everyday seems unlikely unless the Mets move a corner outfield bat.

Curtis Granderson

There hasn’t been much good to say about Granderson’s 2016 season and with the veteran set to enter his age-36 season in 2017, the end of his career could be near. Considering he’s hit below .230 in three of his last four seasons, the Mets can’t really rely on him for 2017. The Mets should either use him as an expensive bench bat or try to unload his $15 million for next season on a team that has a bigger need for a veteran outfielder. Given his reputation and clubhouse presence, the Mets could likely find a taker for him in a trade if they aren’t expecting much in return.

Juan Lagares

In a perfect world, the Mets would just release Laggers or send him to Triple-A. Over the last two seasons, he’s hit .255/.292/.365 and has failed to play the defense the way he did when he won a Gold Glove in 2014. But alas, Lagares is the owner of the worst Mets contract that no one talks about, as he is due $20 million from 2017-2019. So the Mets can’t cut or demote him and no one will really want to trade for him unless New York eats a lot of money from that contract. Still, the Mets cannot continue to force at-bats for Lagares simply because of what they are paying him. There are too many better options.

Brandon Nimmo

It seems reasonable enough that Nimmo will start 2017 in Triple-A and be the first potential call-up to the major leagues if there is any outfield injury. However, his ability to play centerfield might help his cause to find a way on the major league roster. Still, it’s a cloudy long-term future for Nimmo in terms of having a role with the Mets, so just like his name was popular at the trade deadline, he’ll likely be involved in winter trade discussions.

The prediction

This could go a number of ways (including trading for a true centerfielder), but the best guess here is that the Mets start 2017 with Cespedes in LF, Bruce in RF and Conforto given a chance to play everyday in CF with occasional starts at 1B. Lagares will likely be an expensive fourth outfielder, while the Mets should be able to find a home elsewhere for Granderson. Finally, Nimmo should start 2017 in Triple-A.

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Neil Walker Placed On Paternity Leave, T.J. Rivera Recalled http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/neil-walker-placed-on-paternity-leave-t-j-rivera-recalled.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/neil-walker-placed-on-paternity-leave-t-j-rivera-recalled.html/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 11:40:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221008 neil walker

The New York Mets have placed second baseman Neil Walker on paternity leave and recalled infielder T.J. Rivera to take his place on the 25-man roster.

Walker and his wife, Niki, are welcoming their first child today after doctors induce labor.

Walker, 30, has been raging hot this month, batting .403 with a .448 on-base and .677 slugging while hitting five homers.  His 22 home runs this season are the second-most he’s hit in his career and the third-most by a Mets second baseman in franchise history. Only Edgardo Alfonzo who hit 27 homers in 1999 and 25 home runs in 2000 had more.

Rivera, 27, made his major league debut earlier this month and batted .355 (11-for-31) with a .763 OPS in nine games before being demoted last week.

Original Report – Aug 21

Second baseman Neil Walker returned to action on Saturday after missing four games with a sore lower back. He picked up right where he left off going 2-for-4 with two runs scored in the Mets’ 9-5 win over the San Francisco Giants. He also impressed in the field, making two wide ranging diving stops to prevent a couple of base hits with runners on base.

Walker, 30, has been raging hot this month, batting .403 with a .448 on-base and .677 slugging while hitting five homers.  His 22 home runs this season are the second-most he’s hit in his career and the third-most by a Mets second baseman in franchise history. Only Edgardo Alfonzo who hit 27 homers in 1999 and 25 home runs in 2000 had more.

A free agent at season’s end, Walker  is batting an NL-leading .455 (35-77) with two doubles, one triple, six home runs, 14 RBI and 14 runs scored in his last 19 games dating to July 27. He also has a .488 OBP during that stretch which is fourth in the majors.

Following Sunday’s game, Walker is flying home to be with his wife Niki for the birth of the couple’s first child, a daughter. Doctors are going to induce labor on Monday and then Walker will go on the paternity list until Friday when the Mets take on the Phillies at Citi Field.

Walker will miss the upcoming Cardinals series in St. Louis which begins on Tuesday after a day off on Monday. There’s a good chance we might see T.J. Rivera back for that series, unless the Mets decide to carry an extra reliever for those three games and turn to Wilmer Flores to play second base.

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Mets Promote Pitching Prospect Robert Gsellman http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mets-promote-pitching-prospect-robert-gsellman.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mets-promote-pitching-prospect-robert-gsellman.html/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2016 20:56:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221144 robert gsellman

With the Mets putting Steven Matz on the disabled list with a mild strain in his rotator cuff, the Mets are promoting Robert Gsellman from AAA Las Vegas.

The 23-year old Gsellman was the Mets 2011 13th round draft pick out of Westchester High School in Los Angeles, CA. He started the year with AA Binghamton, and he worked his way up to AAA. Gsellman has combined to go 4-9 with a 3.99 ERA and a 1.252 WHIP. In his nine AAA starts, he has gone 1-5 with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.479 WHIP.

In 2015, Gsellman was the Sterling Organizational Pitcher of the Year after going a combined 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA (46 earned runs/143.1 innings) in 24 starts between St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League and Binghamton.

Gsellman has been better lately with a 3.72 ERA in his last six Las Vegas starts with 35 strikeouts in 38.2 innings during that span. He was ranked as the Mets number 6 prospect according to Baseball America in their midseason update.

The plan is to move Gsellman to the bullpen. In his professional career, Gsellman has come out of the bullpen only 12 times but half of those were piggyback starts. The other half were in his first pro season as the Mets were limiting his innings. The plan is to go with Jon Niese and Seth Lugo in the rotation.

With Niese and Lugo having recently been in the bullpen, Gsellman should be insurance for either one of them not being able to go deep into games.

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Steven Matz Heading to DL with Shoulder Tightness http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/steven-matz-heading-to-dl-with-shoulder-tightness.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/steven-matz-heading-to-dl-with-shoulder-tightness.html/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2016 19:39:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=220892 steven matz 2

According to beat reporters Matt Ehalt and Adam Rubin, the New York Mets will place left-hander Steven Matz on the disabled list with “shoulder tightness.”

Matz was diagnosed with a mild strain and rotator cuff inflammation during an examination with team doctors on Monday in New York and the team says an MRI revealed no structural damage in his left shoulder.

This is a significant blow for the Mets who just can’t seem to stay healthy this season. No word on how much time Matz will miss, but look for right-hander Seth Lugo to replace him in the rotation and start against the St. Louis cardinals on Thursday.

Additionally, RHP Robert Gsellman has been scratched from his scheduled start with Triple-A Las Vegas, which could be related to a call-up to the majors, according to Betsy Helfand of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Gsellman would give the Mets another starting pitching option if Jon Niese were to falter on Tuesday against the Cards.

Matz, 25, was scratched from his scheduled start on Friday due to some shoulder soreness. He was scheduled to undergo a full exam on his shoulder today with team doctors.

Additionally, he is expected to have elbow surgery after the season to remove a bone spur.

For the season, Matz is 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.204 WHIP in 22 starts. In 132.1 innings he has struck out 129 batters while walking just 31.

Previous Report – Aug 21

Steven Matz played catch on flat ground Saturday in San Francisco and will visit with the team doctor on Monday, according to Matt Ehalt of NorthJersey.com. Matz did not thrown any breaking pitches, but he told Ehalt that he “felt fine” afterward.

The Mets will wait until the results of Matz’s examination on Monday before deciding what the next step will be.

Matz, 25, was scratched from his scheduled start on Friday due to some shoulder soreness. On the season he is 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.204 WHIP in 22 starts. In 132.1 innings he has struck out 129 batters while walking just 31.

He was replaced by Seth Lugo on Friday who gave the Mets a solid start against the Giants despite the loss.

Original Report – Aug 19

According to Mets manager Terry Collins, Steven Matz has been scratched from his scheduled start on Friday with a shoulder issue, and in replacement, Seth Lugo will toe the rubber for the Amazins instead.

Collins said Matz felt a twinge in his shoulder after his last start and he still felt some discomfort when the team arrived in San Francisco.

“He felt great after his start Sunday,” said Collins. “The following day, he threw a curveball and felt some discomfort in his shoulder. Did not feel it while throwing a fastball.”

“The next day he got on the mound, threw some fastballs, and when he wanted to throw a curveball, his shoulder bugged him again. As a precaution, we got to skip him this time.”

Matz nearly tossed a no-hitter against the Padres on Sunday before Alexei Ramirez broke up the historic bid with a single in the eighth inning.  He was the first Met to carry a no-no into the eighth inning since Johan Santana in 2012.

Matz, 25, has pitched to a 9-8 record so far this season in 22 games started, and holds a 3.40 ERA.

He told reporters that he is not too concerned about the shoulder.

“Not so much,” Matz said. “It’s just discomfort. I’m really not worried about it.”

Lugo will make his first major league start, after appearing exclusively in relief thus far this season for the Mets.

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Cespedes Returns With A Bang, Revives Mets’ Playoff Hopes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/cespedes-returns-with-a-bang-revives-mets-playoff-hopes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/cespedes-returns-with-a-bang-revives-mets-playoff-hopes.html/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2016 18:40:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=220983 yoenis cespedes hr

Yoenis Cespedes really knows how to make an entrance. Fresh off a 15 day stint on the disabled list, Cespedes returned with a bang this weekend, blasting three mammoth home runs while driving in five and helping the Mets end their west coast swing on a high note with two straight wins.

I think it’s safe to say that Cespedes’ quad is fully healed and one can’t help but wonder where the Mets would be if they had simply DL’ed him back in early July instead of letting him limp through some woefully inadequate production while playing at less than 100 percent strength for a month.

But the good news is that there’s still plenty of time for the Mets to grab that second wild card, and with Cespedes now firing on all cylinders and giving the lineup that potent punch that it had been lacking, I really love our chances.

Cespedes is a true difference maker in every sense and his numbers as a Met are kind of jaw-dropping. In 154 games with the Amazins, he’s batted .290 with 33 doubles, nine triples, 42 home runs and a .937 OPS in 575 at-bats.

If he continues to produce these kinds of numbers over the next 38 games, and the Mets continue to get solid performances from Syndergaard, deGrom and Matz, a second consecutive trip to the postseason is well within the team’s grasp.

- – - Joe D.

Original Report – Aug 21

In just his second game back from the disabled list, Yoenis Cespedes ignited the Mets’ offense with an incredible afternoon at the plate. He belted a RBI double to left field in the first inning, and then later smashed two solo homeruns off Matt Moore and Jake Peavy.

Cespedes’ triumphant return to the lineup has given Terry Collins renewed hope that the Mets will make it back to the playoffs.

“Let me tell you something, if this guy gets going, we’ll make it [to the postseason],” Collins said. (Kevin Kernan, NY Post)

The best news about Cespedes’ performance is that it shows his injury, which he suffered just before the All-Star break, is finally behind him.

“Today was a good day for any ballplayer,” Cespedes said. “You could say today is an excellent day. I felt very good at the plate. But you can’t say the timing is 100% back, though we’ll see what goes on next.”

“When I am up at the plate, I am able to swing better now that I have that strength back in my leg,” Cespedes added. (Mike Puma, NY Post)

With the Mets 4.5 games out of the wild card and their record standing at 61-62, they desperately need Cespedes back at full strength.  They have to to go 27-14 the rest of the way just to win 88 games, but Cespedes has helped the Mets overcome seemingly insurmountable odds before.

Last season, with the Mets’ also in dire need of offense, it was Cespedes who rejuvenated the team. He batted .287/.337/,604 during the second half with 17 homeruns and 44 RBI in 57 games.

While some regarded it as a fluke, Cespedes has shown that his heroics last season wasn’t the product of a small sample size. His performance this year has been just as good with a .293 average, .930 OPS and 24 homeruns in 96 games.

He’s without a doubt the best hitter on the team as he leads the Mets in almost every major category, including average, OBP, slugging percentage,  homeruns and RBI. .

“Cespedes, that presence is just sort of fear and concern in the other team,” Bartolo Colon said.

Obviously, it’s asking a lot for one player to turn an entire season around, so the Mets need the rest of the team to step up as well.

But the Mets won’t be able to do it without the star power of Cespedes. If he can go on a tear during the final weeks of the season, he could help lead the Mets back to the playoffs.

“Cespedes is so dangerous in the middle of our lineup and he makes such a big difference,” Collins said. “It’s nothing against anybody else, but he’s tough to replace.”

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Strawberry Is Trying to Save Gooden’s Life http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/strawberry-is-trying-to-save-goodens-life.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/strawberry-is-trying-to-save-goodens-life.html/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2016 17:13:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221107 strawberry and gooden

After the 30 for 30 special entitled “Doc and Darryl,” many Mets fans came away from the documentary feeling that while Darryl Strawberry had turned his life around, many feared that Dwight Gooden had not. Many feared that trouble still lied ahead for the once great Met phenom.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, those fears may not have been displaced. In fact, they were re-ignited when Gooden failed to appear for what was supposed to be a joint interview with Strawberry on WFAN with host Joe Beningo.

In an exclusive interview with John Harper of the New York Daily News, Strawberry somberly said, “I have to try something before he’s dead.”

“The condition Doc is in, it’s bad, it’s horrible. It’s like cocaine poison. I feel like I’ve got to get it out there because nobody else is doing anything to help him, and it might be the only way to stop him.”

Strawberry painted a dire picture of Gooden’s health, a player who was 190 pounds in his playing days, saying, “I don’t think he weighs 150 pounds soaking wet right now.”

Dwight Gooden, Jr. (Doc’s son) reached out to Strawberry, begging him for help. “I’ve been trying behind the scenes to talk to him and get him to go for help, but he won’t listen. He thinks he can manipulate and BS his way through everything. His son called me to beg me to help his dad before he dies.”

In a publicly released statement, Gooden’s son said:

On behalf of myself and my brothers and sisters we would like to thank Darryl (Strawberry), Janice (Roots), members of the media, friends and most of all, the fans for their concern for our father’s health,” he said. “His problems have been well documented and publicized through the years. At this time our only concern is his health and that he takes care of himself. There has not been a single day that our love for him or his love for us has ever wavered. One thing that has always been constant has been our Father’s determination to provide for us regardless of what was going on in his life. He has always provided for us and has always been there for us.

This has been a very hard year for our entire family. With our Grandmother’s diminishing health and her passing last month, the stress and sadness that this brought us has been unthinkable. She was the leader of our family and things will never be the same without her. Between this and our father’s work schedule he has been under an extraordinary amount of stress, pressure and above all sadness. He has been planning on taking a break from the spotlight to rest and regroup and address his health. We will be pushing this respite up. We, as a family, are currently planning his best course of action and thank you all for your concern, messages and prayers.

But it’s not just Strawberry and Gooden’s son who are speaking out, it is also Gooden’s ex-girlfriend, Janice Roots, who desperately tried to get him to go to treatment as she told John Harper.

“I felt helpless to do anything. I finally left because to sit there and watch somebody kill himself was devastating. It got to a point where he just succumbed to his addiction.”

Roots explained that Gooden has consistently struggled not just with addiction but also with how he is perceived publicly. “He was embarrassed. He went on his book tour (in 2014) and told everybody that he was OK. He’s a celebrity. I think that’s part of the fear. He felt like others would judge him, and they probably would. Most people don’t understand addiction.”

In the end, Roots had to break off a four year relationship with Gooden this past February because his addiction became too much to handle.

“It breaks my heart because Dwight is a loving, compassionate man who took care of me when I had health problems. But then he morphed into a cocaine monster.”

I would urge you to read the entire exclusive by John Harper, who reached out to many of Doc’s friends and loved ones. The sad truth is Gooden is in a very bad place, and ultimately, it is up to him to get the help he so desperately needs.  It has been a lifelong struggle for Gooden, whose battle with addiction still wages on. Despite all the interventions by those closest to him, the fear is that Gooden is spiraling toward a tragic end.

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Terry Collins Knows Michael Conforto Is Raking http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/terry-collins-knows-michael-conforto-is-raking.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/terry-collins-knows-michael-conforto-is-raking.html/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2016 14:57:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221057 Photo: Josh Holmberg, Las Vegas Review

Photo: Josh Holmberg, Las Vegas Review

Former Yankee and current ESPN analyst Aaron Boone is very high on Mets outfielder Michael Conforto who was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas two weeks ago for the second time this season.

“I still think he’s going to be a good hitter,” Boone told Joe Giglio of NJ Advance Media. “Everyone’s path is different. Even the good ones have fallen on their face during development. Last year, he was a big part of what they did—but he may have been rushed to the big leagues to help that team and hurt his overall development.”

“Now it’s about becoming more polished,” Boone continued. “Look at a guy like Xander Bogaerts in Boston. I don’t see why he can’t follow that path. In 2013, Bogaerts helped the Red Sox win a World Series. In 2014, he fell on his face and that team had to sign Stephen Drew. Last year, he bounced back. Look now. He’s one of the best hitters in the American League.”

Heading into Sunday’s action, Conforto is batting .571 (20-for-35) with four doubles, three home runs, 33 total bases and seven RBI in nine games since being sent down on Aug. 12. His OPS is off the charts at 1.548, that’s not just PCL good, it’s other-worldly.

Triple-A manager Wally Backman was asked why Conforto has struggled this season in the majors and why for the second time this season he’s hit the ball so consistently and with great authority for the Las Vegas 51s.

“He’s a guy that needs to play every day through the good and through the bad,” Backman said. “He’s a 23-year-old kid that’s had his confidence taken away from him from time-to-time where he’s doubted himself.”  (Betsy Helfand, Review Journal)

“This kid is going to be a real player, real, real soon in the big leagues. He’s going to be a force. He’s going to be somebody that’s in the middle of your lineup that you expect to drive in big runs.” He’s a young kid still. He’s still learning. He’s 23 years old but he can hit, he just needs to relax.”

Backman has been giving Conforto extensive playing time against left-handed pitching which is where the sophomore outfielder has lost most of his confidence. Conversely, most of his production has come against southpaws during his time with Vegas:

vs LHP – .517 (15-29), .576 OBP, 1.231 OPS 

vs RHP - .365 (23-63), .479 OBP, 1.159 OPS

Beat writer Maria Guardado reported that manager Terry Collins is well aware that Conforto is scorching the ball since his demotion, but it still sounds like he’ll stay in Vegas until rosters expand in September.

“I know he’s swinging the bat better — swinging the bat good, not just better,” Collins said Saturday. “But as we know, it’s got to translate here when he gets here.”

Asked if the Mets will turn to him during the upcoming critical series against the St. Louis Cardinals while Neil Walker is out on Paternity Leave, Collins responded, ”I really can’t answer that.”

For now, Conforto will get the everyday at-bats he needs as it’s tough to see him getting much if any playing time from Collins with his veterans Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson all healthy.

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Mets 4.5 Games Back of Second Wild-Card, Head to St. Louis Showdown http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mets-4-5-games-back-of-second-wild-card-heading-to-st-louis-showdown.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mets-4-5-games-back-of-second-wild-card-heading-to-st-louis-showdown.html/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2016 13:00:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221088  

yoenis cespedes hr

Just when you think they’re dead, they pull you back in. Winning the last two games in San Francisco and getting back to .500 has put the Mets 4.5 games away from the second Wild-Card spot.

The team ahead of them, the St. Louis Cardinals, will be their opponent for the next three games, starting Tuesday. Winning this series is crucial for this team going forward.

The Mets send Jon Niese (8-7, 5.30 ERA) to the mound in the opening game of the series as he will be opposed by Jaime Garcia (10-8, 4.11 ERA). It is hard to believe that the team would turn to Niese in such a big game, one would believe his leash may be short as the team need to get off to a good start in this series.

The final two games of the series have Jacob deGrom (7-6, 2.73 ERA) taking the mound for the first time since his disastrous start in San Francisco. He will be opposed by one of the Cardinals best in Carlos Martinez (11-7, 3.24 ERA).

The final game will tentatively see Steven Matz (9-8, 3.40 ERA) getting the start depending on the recovery of his shoulder.It is very possible Seth Lugo starts in his place. That being said, old friend, Adam Wainwright (9-7, 4.71 ERA) will pitch the final game of the series for St. Louis.

Even if the Mets can take just two out of three in this series and be only 3.5 games back of the second Wild Card, it would breathe new life into the season. The Metropolitans have the strength of schedule going forward. As Yoenis Cespedes begins to heat up, you never know what could happen. Ya gotta believe, right?

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Syndergaard Returns to Form With Brilliant Performance http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/syndergaard-returns-to-form-with-brilliant-performance.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/syndergaard-returns-to-form-with-brilliant-performance.html/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2016 11:00:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221084 noah syndergaard 2

The Mets needed Noah Syndergaard to put forth a stellar performance in the worst way. Thor obliged, helping to carry the Mets back to .500 with a 2-0 victory over San Francisco.

Thor was efficient through the night, pitching eight shutout innings on just 98 pitches. He allowed only two hits while walking the same amount and striking out six. Looking like the Syndergaard of old, he breathed life into what seemed a dwindling Mets season.

“For the past month and a half, I feel like today was the first day I went out there and I actually relaxed,” Syndergaard said. (NY Post)

Noah picked up the win Sunday night, improving his record to 11-7 on the season. He has now won two consecutive games, as his ERA dropped to 2.61 while his WHIP stands at 1.16.

Many were hoping that Thor would go out for the ninth to get the complete game. He had Giants hitters on the ropes all night, but Syndergaard had no issue with giving way to Mets closer, Jeurys Familia.

“I thought it would be just the best decision to hand it over to the best closer in the game and get a win and get back on the bus and go to St. Louis,” Syndergaard said.

Having Syndergaard return to form gives this team some hope as they head into St. Louis for a pivotal three-game series. The Mets wish to carry the momentum from these final two games in San Francisco all the way to Busch Stadium.

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Syndergaard, Cespedes Carry Mets to 2-0 Win http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/syndergaard-cespedes-carry-mets-to-2-0-win.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/syndergaard-cespedes-carry-mets-to-2-0-win.html/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2016 02:49:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221074 noah syndergaard

The New York Mets (62-62) defeated the San Francisco Giants (68-56) by a score of 2-0 at AT&T Park Sunday evening.

Pitching:

Noah Syndergaard was on the mound for the Mets tonight and he was incredible. This was a good old fashion pitching duel as both starting pitchers were at the top of their game. All in all, Syndergaard went 8 innings giving up zero runs, allowing only two hits, walking two, and striking out six.

What a performance by Noah! He had Giants hitters baffled all night in a game where he had to be perfect. Jeff Samardzija had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning but Syndergaard was able to best him. Syndergaard left the game after eight innings at only 98 pitches.

Jeurys Familia came in to shut things down in the ninth and earn his major league-leading 41st save.

yoenis cespedesOffense: 

Jeff Samardzija was very impressive himself as he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning tonight. Curtis Granderson led off the seventh with a double off the left field wall to break up the bid and finally get things started for the Mets.

Yoenis Cespedes followed by crushing his 25th home run of the year to put the Mets up 2-0. There is absolutely no doubt how invaluable Cespedes is to this lineup and how his presence alone has changed everything lately. Is it too little too late?

Notes:

Following the game, Neil Walker is flying home to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Doctors are expected to induce labor Monday and Walker will be out and on paternity leave until Friday.

Steven Matz will have his shoulder examined tomorrow before deciding what his next step will be.

Terry Collins now has 900 managerial wins, including 456 with the Mets. He is the 10th active manager to reach 900 wins.

JZ Player of the game: Noah Syndergaard. This may have been Syndergaard’s most impressive start of the year in a season full of them.  He had all of his pitches working tonight and he was efficient which allowed him to pitch deep into the game.

On Deck: 

The Mets will open with a three-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium Tuesday evening. The game has a start time of 8:15 PM. Jonathon Niese (8-7, 5.30 ERA) looks to keep the Mets going against Jaime Garcia (10-8, 4.11 ERA).

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