Mets Merized Online » Mets pitching staff http://metsmerizedonline.com Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:30:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 World Series Re-Emphasizes Pitch Framing Matters http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/world-series-re-emphasizes-pitch-framing-matters.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/world-series-re-emphasizes-pitch-framing-matters.html/#comments Wed, 26 Oct 2016 15:55:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225353 jon-lester-joe-maddon

Everywhere you turned last night, the major discussion was home plate umpire Larry Vanover’s strike zone. As it appeared by the fan watching at home on television, it seemed like Corey Kluber was getting a more favorable strike zone than the one Jon Lester was getting. The critique wasn’t limited to just fans. Lester had his own problems with the strike zone himself.

“I don’t comment on umpires. I’m a competitor. I think every ball I throw should be a strike. We talked it out, we hashed it out and moved on from there,” Lester said after the game.

It was actually the same refrain Mets fans had in the Wild Card Game. It appeared Madison Bumgarner was getting a larger strike zone than Noah Syndergaard. This was one of the reasons Bumgarner was able to go deeper into the game and help the Giants advance to the NLDS. In the World Series, it was one of the reasons why Kluber dominated the Cubs and why Lester left the game down 3-0.

In both cases, it appears the viewers and the teams were correct. One team was not getting the calls the other team was getting. It is not because the umpiring crew likes one pitcher better than another. It is not because umpires put bets down on the game. It is because of the art of pitch framing.

In the Wild Card Game, Rene Rivera struggled in that department while Buster Posey, the best at it in the game, was on top of that aspect of his craft. It made a big difference in that Wild Card game and it was also a big difference last night.

During the 2016 season, both Roberto Perez and David Ross were exceptional pitch framers. As it turns out, Perez was not only better during the regular season, he was also better last night. Perez’s pitch framing made such a huge difference in getting those borderline pitches for his staff. It allows them to get an advantage in the count and to get that called third strike. Indians backup catcher Chris Gimenez said it best:

“He is phenomenal. Blocking, receiving — he’s elite, in my opinion. His game-calling has gone through the roof just from the beginning of this year. And he is literally an elite pitch framer. Even [Andrew Miller] today was like, “It’s so nice having him back there. He makes those 50-50 balls look so good, in the umpire’s eye, that’s a strike.” (Fox Sports)

travis darnaud 2

If that quote sounds familiar, it should. Here is what Addison Reed had to say about Travis d’Arnaud:

“There’s been a couple of times just this season that I’ve went back and looked at video just because I wanted to see how low the ball was, and how good of a strike (d’Arnaud) made it look. He’s the best I’ve ever thrown to at doing that. Just the way he frames the ball, it’s unbelievable. He makes balls that are four or five inches below the zone look like they’re almost right down the middle by just the way he flicks his wrist. I couldn’t even tell you how he does it.” (Mark Simon, ESPN).

While many choose to discount pitch framing, and the importance it has, teams and pitching staffs don’t. There’s good reason for it. As we saw in Game 1 of the World Series, it was the difference between Kluber throwing six shutout innings with nine strikeouts and no walks and Lester walking three and barking at the umpire.

With the Mets, it was the difference between Bumgarner going nine, and Syndergaard going seven. It was also the difference between Reed being a pitcher with a career 4.20 ERA and a 1.275 WHIP to a dominant eighth inning reliever who has a 1.84 ERA and a 0.957 WHIP as a Met. In total, it helps the entire Mets pitching staff.

Fact is pitch framing matters, and it has a huge impact on the game. It was a big factor why the Indians won Game 1 of the World Series, and it was a factor in the Mets run to the post season in 2015 and 2016. It will be a big factor in 2017 when a healthy d’Arnaud is able to catch a healthy Mets staff.

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Mets Still Have the Pitching to Win in 2017 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/mets-still-have-the-pitching-to-win-in-2017.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/mets-still-have-the-pitching-to-win-in-2017.html/#comments Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:30:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225276 degrom syndergaard

Last year, Ben Zobrist was one of the driving forces for a Royals team that beat the Mets in the World Series. This year, he was more of the same for a Cubs team that is on the verge of winning their first World Series since 1908. As luck would have it, Zobrist was one of the many “what if” decisions from the 2015 offseason that leads us to where the Mets are today.

Zobrist choosing the Cubs over the Mets led to a series of dominos falling. It led to the Mets trading Jon Niese for Neil Walker instead of looking to re-sign Daniel Murphy. That, coupled with Brandon Phillips rejecting a trade, led Murphy to the Washington Nationals. Murphy would go on to have an MVP caliber season. Hid season was more than enough to compensate for Bryce Harper having a down year, by his standards, and for Stephen Strasburg having yet another injury plagued year.

There were strange decisions along the way like the Mets initially passing on Yoenis Cespedes and signing Alejandro De Aza to platoon in center field with Juan Lagares. There was the multi-year deal with Antonio Bastardo that ended up being a big time flop. But despite all of that, Cespedes re-signed, and the Mets once again looked like they were primed to return to the World Series in 2016.

Even with Cespedes’ return, the real hope was with the pitching. No one could compete with a rotation of  Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. And if Steven Matz could develop as another exciting young arm all the better. Even with this embarrassment of riches, the Mets still had Zack Wheeler returning from Tommy John surgery. By the way, waiting to close out those games was Jeurys Familia, who had already established himself as a top tier closer. If pitching wins championships, the Mets had pitching in spades.

Early in the season, it worked out. Even with Harvey struggling, deGrom’s velocity not returning, and Wheeler’s return getting pushed back, the Mets were winning. Part of the reason why was Syndergaard taking the next step in his incredible progression, Matz proving he belonged in the ace discussion, and deGrom adapting well with a lower velocity.

In April, the Mets took two out of three from the Indians in Cleveland. In a re-match of the NLCS, with a hot Cubs team looking for revenge, the Mets swept them out of Citi Field. Against this year’s World Series teams, the Mets were 7-3. This showed the Mets, with their pitching staff in tow, could compete with and beat the best of the best.

robert gsellman

As we all know, the pitching staff never did stay intact and things soon unraveled. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman performed better than anyone could’ve anticipated and the Mets clawed their way into the Wild Card game. In reality, the Mets lost that game because Madison Bumgarner was able to go deeper into that game than Syndergaard was.

As we saw in the NLDS, the Giants put a scare into the Cubs by almost sending it back to Wrigley Field for a Game 5. With the Mets having Addison Reed and Familia, who knows if a Mets-Cubs series would have gone much differently.

Really, that is one of many questions from the 2016 season that was just disappointing to Mets fans who were dreaming of a World Series this year. As we saw last year, this Mets pitching staff can beat anybody. In fact, this Mets pitching staff can defeat even the best offensive clubs.

Team doctors are now saying that Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Matt Harvey should all be 100 percent healthy at the start of next season, according to Buster Olney of ESPN. That’s huge.

The biggest concern according to Olney, will be Matt Harvey who is returning from July surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). However, Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras, enthusiastically said the former Mets ace will be fully healthy by spring training.

There is still hope and optimism for the 2017 season. Barring any setbacks, the Mets can expect, Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey, and Matz in the Opening Day rotation. There’s no team in baseball that can match that. And with youngsters Gsellman and Lugo waiting in the wings at Triple-A Las Vegas and a good chance they bring back Bartolo Colon, the Mets have the pitching and depth to win big in 2017. Hopefully, that thought will keep you warm throughout the winter.

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Week 13 Mets Pitching Review http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/week-13-mets-pitching-review.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/week-13-mets-pitching-review.html/#comments Sat, 18 Jun 2016 14:32:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=215238 noah syndergaard

A review of the latest turn through the Mets starting rotation:

stats

Best Start: I think signing of Bartolo Colon in 2014 (2 years, $20 million) will quietly go down as one of the most influential and productive acquisitions of the Sandy Alderson era. He finished 202 innings in 2014, 194 last year, and he’s second on the team in innings pitched this season behind…

With one out in the ninth, Noah Syndergaard threw his longest outing of his career on Wednesday. Last year, he finished eight innings three times including a somewhat memorable performance on August 2 against the Nationals on Sunday Night Baseball to move into a first-place tie.

He struck out 11 and walked none, the fourth time this year Thor has completed a quality start without allowing a free pass. His WHIP of .96 ranks fifth in the league and the 18 earned run allowed all season is the best among ‘qualified’ starters. The numbers don’t lie – Syndergaard is having a great year.

And a small part of me has to believe he’s been influenced by Big Sexy since he got here. Seeing a guy who’s been in the league almost as long as Noah has been alive, one that used to throw just as hard but now throws with far less velocity but continues to just throw strikes. I have no proof, but I think Bartolo’s influence leads to things like all Mets starters not named Matt Harvey have allowed less than 18 walks this season.

By the way, Bartolo held the best hitting team in baseball to just two runs with his overpowering 91 MHP fastball to allow the Mets to take the series from the Pirates.

Worst Start: Should we expect more from rookie Steven Matz at all times, therefore be disappointed when he struggles against the Milwaukee Brewers on the road?

That the Atlanta Braves are the worst team in baseball mean regardless who is on the mound, a loss to them is disappointing, especially when it’s because our recovering ace Matt Harvey had previously allowed just two runs in his last three appearances totaling 20 innings?

Harvey didn’t pitch horribly, but he couldn’t get the big out when he needed it against Ender Inciarte (.233). Errors and the stolen base brought Matz down, moving people into scoring position and allowing for productive outs (safety squeeze by Zach Davies, sacrifice fly by Ryan Braun) to produce runs.

I don’t know which, but can only hope the offense can increase their productive out input. According to ESPN, the Mets productive out percentage is 24th in the league.

Best of the Bullpen: No one pitcher did well this week, but did you know as a whole the unit deemed a huge question mark going into the season is currently the second best pen in the league with a 3.07 ERA? Did you know their 66 earned runs allowed is tied for second, just one run behind Chicago?

How about they’ve only blown four saves all year, tied with the Yankees’ three-armed devil for best in the league, but the team’s save percentage of 85% is tops thanks largely to the fact that Jeurys Familia is 22-for-22? It’s June, so it’s getting harder to say that it’s still early but there is a lot of season left. Either way, this bullpen has been great and as summer approaches and we all expect longer starts from one of the best starting staffs in the game, that will provide more rest and better opportunities for this bullpen.

Next Big Thing: After concluding the current series with the Braves, there’s a random two-game reunion of the 2015 World Series with Thor and Big Sexy scheduled to face the Kansas City Royals. Behind that is a trip to Atlanta, the teaser to the toughest stretch of games this season.

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Week 12 Mets Pitching Review: Big Sexy Bests Them All http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/week-12-mets-pitching-review-big-sexy-bests-them-all.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/week-12-mets-pitching-review-big-sexy-bests-them-all.html/#comments Sun, 12 Jun 2016 11:00:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=214629 bartolo colon

A review of the latest turn through the Mets starting rotation:

Name

InningsThe

Hits

Runs (Earned Runs)

Strikeouts

Walks

ERA (Season)

WHIP (Season)

Quality Start?

Steven Matz (7-2)

6.0

8

2(2)

8

2

2.69

1.11

Yes(10/7)

Jacob deGrom (3-2)

6.0

6

3(3)

9

0

2.80

1.15

Yes (10/7)

Noah Syndergaard (6-2)

6.0

7

3(2)

5

2

2.00

1.00

Yes (12/10)

Bartolo Colon (5-3)

7.0

8

1(1)

2

0

3.08

1.22

Yes (12/7)

Matt Harvey (4-8)

6.0 2

1(1)

8 2

4.66

1.44

Yes (13/5)

 

Best Start: During a week when every starter produced a quality start, ‘Big Sexy’ was the best. For a potential fifth starter and someone who everyone is quick to declare is destined for the bullpen when Zack Wheeler is healthy, Bartolo Colon is quietly putting together another solid season.

His last three starts, Colon has completed 18 innings and allowed just four earned runs. His ERA is a run lower than what he’s put up the past two seasons, seasons I think any reasonable Met fan would have been happy with.

Worst Start: For the second week in a row, this dubious distinction goes to a non-starter. The pitchers are doing their job, but there is no offense at all. Blame it on injuries, blame it on relying on their Triple-A replacements, blame it on slumping superstars.

Regardless, there are certain points where all that’s needed is a quality at-bat. That means a fly ball with a runner on third and making enough contact to score a run when an inning starts with runners on 1st and 2nd…or loading the bases with no one out and finding a way NOT TO SCORE.

This is every fan’s biggest fear – that the bats won’t give any support to an amazing pitching staff. I’m not saying we should have taken two of three from the Pirates, but when Steven Matz hits a triple and gets stranded at third…

Best of the Bullpen: It was great to see Hansel Robles pitch out of a jam he created on Friday night, but that’s something Jeurys Familia has done all season. While his 3.68 ERA is ugly, the 20 saves in 20 chances is what we all expected going into 2016.

Next Big Thing: The Pirates come to Citi Field and our rotation lines up well against a team that has recently owned the Orange and Blue. Maybe some home-cooking will do Thor and deGrom some good against a lineup that makes contact.

METSMERIZED NIGHT LG

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Week 10 Mets Pitching Review: Matz Keeps Rolling http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/week-10-mets-pitching-review-matz-keeps-rolling.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/week-10-mets-pitching-review-matz-keeps-rolling.html/#comments Tue, 31 May 2016 16:28:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=213473 steven matz

A review of the latest turn through the Mets starting rotation:

Name

InningsThe

Hits

Runs (Earned Runs)

Strikeouts

Walks

ERA (Season)

WHIP (Season)

Quality Start?

Matt Harvey (3-7)

5.0

8

5(5)

1

2

6.08

1.69

No (10/3)

Steven Matz (7-1)

8.0

4

0(0)

7

1

2.36

0.99

Yes (8/7)

Jacob deGrom (3-1)

7.0

3

1(1)

7

3

2.81

1.19

Yes (8/5)

Noah Syndergaard (5-2)

2.1

2

0(0)

3

0

1.87

0.97

No (10/8)

Bartolo Colon (3-3

 6.0  7

2(t2)

 3  1

3.39

1.23

Yes (9/5)

Best Start: After the drama of the last three days against the Dodgers, it’s easy to forget that earlier this week Steven Matz continued his amazing start to the season. Did you know he’s 10th in the league with a 2.36 ERA that continues to go down with each start?

How about of the top 40 pitchers in the MLB when it comes to ERA, only three have walked less than 10 people. The first one dazzled on Sunday night (and as a fan of pitching, I’m shocked Dodgers coach Dave Roberts didn’t leave Clayton Kershaw to face Granderson in the 8th). The other two both wear Orange and Blue.

Noah Syndergaard (9 walks in 66.2 innings) is touted every time he touches the ball, but Matz has only walked 9 batters in 49.2 innings. He walked one on Wednesday afternoon in Washington, a game against a division rival and to determine the series. Granted, Bryce Harper didn’t start the game but he did come up in a pressure situation and harmlessly grounded out.

Matz has been using pinpoint accuracy with his 93 MPH+ fastball to offset a quality curve and improving changeup. He’s everything a Mets fan could ask for and while history recently remembered the 1986 team, I think back to the first championship with a hard-throwing righty named Tom Seaver and a lefty named Jerry Koosman who in 1968 broke all the franchise records set by the Franchise a year earlier.

Koosman went 19-12 with seven shutouts, 178 strikeouts and a 2.08 ERA. He would have been the Rookie of the Year if not for some guy named Johnny Bench, but a year later he helped to earn an even better trophy. While we complain about the now, this year’s team is still on track to compete for that same trophy and with Matz on board and pitching well, they’re well-positioned to do just that.

Worst Start: There’s been more than enough said about Matt Harvey, so I’ll only say that I didn’t think his last start was that bad and Joe Trezza of MLB.com wrote about the pitch selection being too similar to batters. I think this is more mental than anything physical…but at the end of the day, we’re focused on one of five starting pitchers for a team with the 3rd best ERA in all of baseball.

I’m more concerned with Thor losing a lightning bolt behind a batter and getting ejected without warning. Therefore the worst start actually goes to umpire Adam Hamari for too quick of a trigger.

Best of the Bullpen: This wasn’t a good week for just about everyone, but especially Jeurys Familia. I’ve never liked a closer entering in the 9th in a non-save situation, but the excuse that he needed work made sense. The results, both on Friday and Sunday were stunning.

The stat that jumped out to me the most was Familia had allowed 5 runs in his first 23 games and 6 runs in the last two. Stuff like that will jump your ERA to 4.07 and plummet the bullpen staff as a whole to sixth in the league with a 3.10 ERA.

Next Big Thing: While the White Sox is what’s right now, a 10-game road trip looms at the end of the week starting with a trip to Miami. Syndergaard returns to the mound on Friday for a scheduled start against the Marlins, who have always been annoying and feature a pretty potent offensive outfield. That’s followed by a visit to PNC Park in Pittsburgh, but there’s time to talk about that potential playoff matchup in the days to come.

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Mets To Face Each League’s Top Left-Hander: Kershaw and Sale http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/mets-to-face-each-leagues-top-left-handers-kershaw-and-sale.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/mets-to-face-each-leagues-top-left-handers-kershaw-and-sale.html/#comments Fri, 27 May 2016 15:02:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=213064 chris sale

As good as the Mets pitching staff has been of late, they have their work cut out for them this weekend and early next week against the Dodgers and the White Sox.

On Friday, the Mets will face baseball’s top pitching prospect — left-hander Julio Urias. Just 19 years old, Urias has pitched only 263.1 minor league innings over four seasons. He owns a 1.10 ERA in 41 Triple-A innings this year, striking out 9.7 per nine while walking just 1.8.

Another Dodgers rookie will toe the rubber on Sunday, as Kenta Maeda matches up against Noah Syndergaard. Maeda allowed four earned runs in five innings in his last outing against the Mets, but owns a 3.07 ERA and 1.077 WHIP on the year.

On Sunday and Monday, the Mets have to face two of the best pitchers in baseball — Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale. Kershaw is having another fantastic season, leading baseball in ERA (1.48), innings pitched (79), and strikeout-to-walk ratio (19). He pitched a three-hit shutout against the Mets on May 12.

Sale is having a great year in his own right. He’s got a 2.26 ERA on the year in an AL-leading 71.2 innings pitched. He and Kershaw have already tossed three complete games each this year.

The headline for Monday’s game, however, will be Matt Harvey, who will make his regularly-scheduled start despite recent struggles. Harvey has a 6.10 ERA in ten starts and has given up a league-leading 73 hits so far this year. Over his last three starts, he’s allowed 19 runs (16 earned) over 13.1 innings.

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Week 9 Mets Pitching Review: Familia A Perfect 15-For-15 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/week-9-mets-pitching-review-familia-a-perfect-15-for-15.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/week-9-mets-pitching-review-familia-a-perfect-15-for-15.html/#comments Tue, 24 May 2016 17:40:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=212732 jeurys familia

A review of the latest turn through the Mets starting rotation:

Name

InningsThe

Hits

Runs (Earned Runs)

Strikeouts

Walks

ERA (Season)

WHIP (Season)

Quality Start?

Matt Harvey (3-6)

2.2

8

9(6)

2

2

5.77

1.66

No (9/3)

Steven Matz (3-1)

7.0

3

2(2)

8

1

2.81

1.06

Yes (7/6)

Jacob deGrom (3-1)

5.0

5

4(4)

7

3

3.07

1.24

No (7/4)

Noah Syndergaard (5-2)

7.0

6

1(0)

11

0

1.94

0.98

Yes (9/8)

Bartolo Colon (3-3)

 7.0  5

1(1)

 2  2

3.44

1.25

Yes (8/4)

 

Best Start: Noah Syndergaard became the second Mets starter in the past 35 years to go back to back starts, throwing 7 innings with 10+ strikeouts. The previous Met? Dwight Gooden…who struck out 32 in two starts in September of 1984.

That’s the kind of company Thor is keeping these days, so it was great to see Steven Matz put up similar numbers on Friday night against the Brewers. In fact IMO it was even better because he did allow a first-inning two-run homer, meaning he was knocked down, got back up and went deep.

Worst Start: I’m saddened to keep putting Matt Harvey in this location, but that’s just it. It’s got little to do with velocity, something Bartolo Colon proves every fifth day. Kevin Kernan of the New York Post spoke with Scott Boras last week and will tell you, “his fastball is good…Basically he’s been victimized by a lot of soft line drives the other way.”

I would tell you that it’s similar to a Billy Joel song, but not the one that plays in the 8th inning at Citi Field.

You can’t go the distance with too much resistance.

I know you have doubts but for God’s sake, don’t shut me out.

‘A Matter of Trust’, 1986

Kernan had a second article in the New York Post on Friday, quoting a scout who commented on Harvey’s “distraught’ reaction after a fielding miscue behind him. While it would be great if Harvey reacted like Colon, just kept chewing gum, he responded like a young man not used to failure and wanting to quiet the boo-birds.

Here’s hoping he trusts his stuff against the Nationals and mimics Steven Strasburg, who struggled early in 2015 and has been one of the best starters in baseball since.

Best of the Bullpen: The 2.33 ERA is the best in the league and Jeurys Familia is a perfect 15-for-15 when it comes to saves. He now has 31 consecutive saves in the regular season dating to August 1, 2015, which is tied with Billy Wagner (8/2/06-5/13/07) for the longest streak in team history. It is also the second-longest current streak in the majors.

Next Big Thing: While Harvey’s start is a big one, Steven Matz on Wednesday afternoon has a chance to ensure a winning series regardless of what Harvey does. He’s been the second best starter for over a month and here’s hoping he keeps it up.

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Mets or Nats: Which Staff Is Really The Best? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/mets-or-nats-which-staff-is-really-the-best.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/mets-or-nats-which-staff-is-really-the-best.html/#comments Tue, 17 May 2016 16:04:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=212130 colon harvey matz syndergaard matz wheeler

I’ve been writing about the Mets pitching staff for MMO every week since the season began, as they make their regular turns through the rotation. Their potential has been consistently written about and that includes the bullpen, who John Harper of the Daily News recently picked as the best in the National League, fourth overall.

But while we’ve all been pleasantly surprised by everything from Jim Henderson (despite allowing the 2-run homer Sunday against Colorado), the effectiveness of Antonio Bastardo after a shaky start and Jeurys Familia giving up hits despite going 12-for-12 in save opportunities…

The state of the starting pitching has been questionable at best.

So I can’t get too angry about Harper giving the advantage to the Nationals going into tonight’s first meeting between the two teams…and the numbers back it up.

Mets Nationals
Staff ERA 3.09 2.97
Starters ERA 3.41 3.01
Relievers ERA 2.44 2.88
Starters Innings Pitched 219.1 239.1
Starters strikeouts 199 242
Starters WHIP 1.26 1.16

Despite the fact that these numbers put both teams in the top five in the league in most categories, as Dan Martin of the New York Post says, it’s hard for Syndergaard, Colon and Harvey to top Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg for this three game series that begins tonight.

So what can be done (besides cheering loudly for Daniel Murphy before his first at-bat for doing whatever was asked of him from the Mets’ front office, coaching staff and fan base for seven years…except for the few times he made bone-headed baserunning mistakes or fielding errors)?

The biggest problem is Matt Harvey and it’s that he’s not performing to the expectation level that we anticipated, especially after last year. Maybe throwing 189 innings in the regular season, then 26.2 more in the postseason is having its effect on his 27-year old arm? Maybe that’s similarly why Jacob deGrom, who threw 191 in the regular season, then 25 in the postseason, is around 91 MPH with his fastball.

Maybe that’s similarly why Jacob deGrom, who threw 191 in the regular season, then 25 in the postseason, is around 91 MPH with his fastball. I heard Howie Rose say this weekend that hitters are batting .400 against deGrom with two strikes. Now I’m sure I heard that stat wrong, but I did find that hitters are .308 against him with runners in scoring position. There are times when he can’t seem to put people away, something that wasn’t a concern last year.

How about the full optimistic view – That despite the decreased velocity, deGrom has a 2.50 ERA and four out of his six starts have been quality.

It’s the middle of May, so is it still early enough to say that while important, there’s a lot of season to play? Is this a statement series that will give Dusty’s boys the confidence they need to run and hide in the NL East? Should Mets fans be patient with our young staff, remind ourselves that Zack Wheeler returns to give them a boost in July and just hope to avoid waking up in fourth place on Friday morning?

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Week 7 Mets Pitching Review: Thor Brings The Thunder http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/week-7-mets-pitching-review-thor-brings-the-thunder.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/week-7-mets-pitching-review-thor-brings-the-thunder.html/#comments Fri, 13 May 2016 14:30:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=211742 noah syndergaard

A review of the latest turn through the Mets’ starting rotation:

Name

Innings

Hits

Runs (Earned Runs)

Strikeouts

Walks

ERA (Season)

WHIP (Season)

Quality Start? (Starts/QS)

Matt Harvey (3-4)

6.0

4

2(2)

10

2

4.50

1.48

Yes (7/3)

Steven Matz (5-1)

6.0

6

2(2)

5

1

2.86

1.18

Yes (6/5)

Jacob deGrom (3-1)

7.0

8

2(2)

4

0

2.12

1.21

Yes (5/3)

Noah Syndergaard (3-2)

8.0

6

2(2)

6

1

2.53

1.07

Yes (5/4)

Bartolo Colon (3-2)

5.0 7

5(5)

3 0

3.53

1.15

No (6/3)

 

 

Best Start: Not only did Noah Syndergaard go eight innings against the NL West leaders, but he paced the offense Wednesday night at Chavez Ravine. However, there were other starts during this turn in the rotation that were more impressive.

OK, maybe not as impressive but positive signs going into a long summer playing in what is quietly the best division in baseball …if you let things like wins and losses (8 MLB teams have at least 20 wins. 3 of them play in the NL East) dictate your ideas instead of previous season’s results and preseason hype.

In a 4-3 win on Mother’s Day, Matt Harvey regained the velocity on his fastball and had command of his other pitches, making the 96-MPH heat look that much faster. The result was 10 strikeouts, but more importantly just two walks.

It’s been his lack of command and walk numbers that pushed up his pitch count, led to longer innings and early negative results. He still hasn’t pitched out of the sixth and who knows what will happen in Denver.

I was certain that Jacob deGrom wouldn’t be in line for a quality start on Tuesday, watching the Dodgers jump on pitches early in the count for extra-base hits. I was watching on MLB Network and made it to the fourth before I tapped out, turned over and went to sleep. deGrom’s only clean innings were his final two, going seven strong and giving the bullpen more time to rest.

There was talk in spring training about his velocity, how it was topping out at 93 MPH. But the caveat I don’t think got enough attention paid to it was “but he’s still getting people out”.

There was a time when every starter didn’t throw 97 MPH, when location, location, location wasn’t just describing home reality and pitchers knew how to pitch and not just throw as hard as they could. deGrom is a throwback to that time and it’s clear he’s going to be good every time out, with or without his ‘best stuff’.

Worst Start: While it’s obvious that Bartolo Colon’s Thursday night start was easily the worst statistically speaking, his approach of always being around the plate plays right into a free-swinging team like the Dodgers. But when I played Little League baseball, the guy who pitched dominantly and scored all the offense also threw a complete game. So I’ll let you decide…

Best of the Bullpen: This was a no-brainer. Last Sunday, Jim Henderson allowed a run in the seventh cutting the lead down to just one. Jerry Blevins entered in  the eighth and allowed a hit, then Addison Reed followed with a game of “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Twice As Bad”, allowed back to back hits.

Antonio Bastardo entered with the bases loaded, no one out and a one-run lead. He sandwiched an infield popup between two strikeouts for the biggest hold of this young season since the eventual win would propel the team into first place.

It’s the kind of hold that a wise producer will note during the 2016 season recap video…if they still make those.

Next Big Thing: I got my wish, sort of. Steven Matz’s start in Colorado will be skipped due to a sore forearm. Logan Verrett will start Saturday, Sean Gilmartin is up from AAA and looked good throwing three scoreless innings. He will solidify a pitching staff that will get a day off before the series we’ve all been waiting for starts on Tuesday.

The Washington Nationals come to Citi Field. The pitching matchups are:

  • 5/17 – Syndergaard vs. Joe Ross (3-2, 2.29 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)
  • 5/18 – Colon vs. Max Scherzer (4-2, 4.15 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)
  • 5/19 – Harvey vs. Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 2.19 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)

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Week 5 Mets Pitching Review: Colon Gets Top Billing http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/week-5-mets-pitching-review-colon-gets-top-billing.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/week-5-mets-pitching-review-colon-gets-top-billing.html/#comments Tue, 03 May 2016 17:52:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=211028 bartolo colon

A review of the latest turn through the Mets’ starting rotation:

Name

Innings

Hits

Runs (Earned Runs)

Strikeouts

Walks

ERA (Season)

WHIP (Season)

Quality Start? (Starts/QS)

Matt Harvey (2-3)

6.0

7

2(2)

7

1

4.76

1.52

Yes (5/1)

Steven Matz (3-1)

6.0

7

0(0)

4

3

3.86

1.52

Yes (4/3)

Jacob deGrom (3-0)

6.0

2

3(0)

5

4

1.02

1.08

Yes (3/2)

Noah Syndergaard (2-1)

5.2

5

4(4)

6

2

2.51

1.02

No (5/4)

Bartolo Colon (2-1)

8.0 7

0(0)

7 0

2.56

1.14

Yes (5/3)

 

Best Start:  While Big Sexy is the first Met starter this year to go 8 complete innings, he was pitching against the Braves and they’re not just terrible. They’re…

B3poMa9.png

I’ve never felt it easier to pitch well with a big lead. If you know one run won’t really hurt, you’re likely to groove a couple of pitches and maybe give up a home run. Steven Matz didn’t do that during the Mets’ 13-1 win over the Giants.

After the 12-run outburst in the third, he allowed runners to get on in the following three innings but quickly got out of trouble. It showed he’s pitching well enough out of the stretch against a good team, that the previous starts weren’t a mirage and we can expect similar results from the rookie going forward.

Worst Start: I didn’t like the way Matt Harvey looked against the Cincinnati Reds, but each week this is like picking the dullest gold nugget – regardless of which, you’re still money. So the proverbial dunce cap falls to Syndergaard, who was the only starter who didn’t finish the sixth.

Best of the Bullpen: The biggest thing about the pen is the starting pitching. Of the 24 starts, 15 has qualified as ‘Quality Starts’ or at least six innings allowing less than three runs. So the 2.92 ERA is great, mostly because no one is getting too much work.

There seems to be a general critique of Jeurys Familia this year…with his 2.77 ERA and lack of truly clean appearances. And while some of that has a solid foundation of truth, the truth remains that he’s a perfect 8-for-8 in save chances.

Next Big Thing: The schedule sends the Mets on the road with 13 straight before an off-day. The starters would do their teammates in the pen a service by continuing to compile innings and giving them rest. Speaking of which, I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but I would love to see Terry Collins slip Logan Verrett for a start during this trip.

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Week 4 Mets Pitching Review: DeGrom Wins In Return To Rotation http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/week-four-mets-pitching-review-degrom-shines-in-return-to-rotation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/week-four-mets-pitching-review-degrom-shines-in-return-to-rotation.html/#comments Wed, 27 Apr 2016 11:30:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=210549 jacob degrom

A review of the latest turn through the Mets’ starting rotation:

Name

Innings

Hits

Runs (Earned Runs)

Strikeouts

Walks

ERA (Season)

WHIP (Season)

Quality Start? (Starts/QS)

Matt Harvey (1-3)

5.0

7

2(2)

5

1

5.24

1.57

No (4/0)

Steven Matz (2-1)

6.1

9

2(2)

8

0

5.40

1.47

Yes (3/2)

Jacob deGrom (2-0)

5.2

8

1(1)

3

0

1.54

1.11

No (2/1)

Noah Syndergaard (2-0)

6.2

7

3(3)

9

0

1.69

0.98

Yes (4/4)

Bartolo Colon (1-1)

5.0 8

3(3)

4 1

3.42

1.23

No (4/2)

 Best Start: When my wife went into labor, I was recently reminded that I didn’t act like the stereotypical father – driving at high speed to the hospital, then pacing the hallways with a cigar. In fact, I was rather calm and my wife says she had to alert me she was actually in labor. The first few weeks of my daughter’s birth are a blur…

I share that story to display the concentration it takes for Jacob deGrom to return to the mound and perform well. Yes, he missed a quality start by an out and didn’t seem to have the necessary gas on his fastball to dominate. But for his first start as a father and healed from a sore lat, it was a rather impressive performance against the Braves.

Worst Start: Yes, it was a quality start. Yes, he struck out nine, the most in the National League and tied for the most in franchise history after four starts. Yes, Bartolo Colon gave up three runs in just five innings. Yes, ‘Big Sexy’ actually walked someone. But…

Thor showed that while he may hail from Assgard in our minds, Noah Syndergaard is from Mansfield, Texas and has a slow delivery to the plate. I’m guessing this is a mechanical flaw that was never corrected due to the results he’s produced. But Cincinnati stole five bases and it felt like they could have taken more. and while they do feature last year’s league leader Billy Hamilton and Brandon Phillips, who swiped 23 bases last year

While they do feature last year’s league leader Billy Hamilton and Brandon Phillips, who swiped 23 bases in 2015, the other stolen bases came from Eugenio Suarez (11 career steals in 201 games over three years) and Ivan De Jesus (3 steals, 136 games, four years).

And while it seems easy to blame some of this on catcher Travis d’Arnaud and his shaky right shoulder and questionable defense behind the plate, there’s not much that can be done if the runner is already standing on second base.

Yes, this is picky. Yes, it’s a small problem that a young pitcher has time to address and get better at. But in the moment, in the now, it’s something that could be a concern when facing speedsters like Michael Turner, Ben Revere, Dexter Fowler,

Best of the Bullpen: I don’t remember Addison Reed saving 101 games between 2012 and 2014 for the White Sox and Diamondbacks. But I thought he pitched well down the stretch last year and would serve as a good connection to Jeurys Familia in the ninth.

I remember when Antonio Bastardo was signed and word was he would be the 8th inning man, but Reed is showing he can be that guy, lowering his ERA to 2.70 with four straight holds, allowing just three hits over his last six appearances.

Next Big Thing: The San Francisco Giants come to Queens this weekend and will send a man who won every series-clinching playoff game including a World Series championship, an NLCS and World Series MVP and a Cy Young Award winner. What Mets pitcher can you see earning any of those awards this year?

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There’s More to Catching Than Just Throwing Out Baserunners http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/theres-more-to-catching-than-just-throwing-out-baserunners.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/theres-more-to-catching-than-just-throwing-out-baserunners.html/#comments Wed, 24 Feb 2016 12:00:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=206742 travis darnaud

There is no more physically, psychologically, and intellectually demanding position in Major League Baseball than catcher.

A catcher needs to know the entire scouting report for the opposition at the plate and on the basepaths. The catcher needs to balance a hitter’s strengths and weaknesses against his battery mate in calling a game. If a pitcher doesn’t have a pitch working, he has to create a new strategy on the fly. When a pitch is thrown, he has to do all he can to make sure the pitch is called a strike. Throughout the game, he has to keep the pitcher’s head in the game. It’s especially tough when the pitcher is getting squeezed.

When his team is up to bat, he needs to talk to the pitcher about the batters coming up the next inning. He needs to talk with the manager and pitching coach not only about that, but also how the pitcher is throwing and what he has left. By the way, at some point, he has to bat 4-5 times in a game and help his offense put some runs on the board for his pitcher.

The catcher faces pitches in the dirt he has to eat up with any part of his body. He will get nicked with a foul tip or an errant swing. Runners try to take him out with a slide, or in very rare instances, he can get run over at home plate. The catcher is bound to have some bumps and bruises or trips to the DL. Even after a tough game, the catcher heads to the trainer’s room, then comes back and does it all over again tomorrow.

Even though all of this is just the tip of the iceberg of a catcher’s responsibilities, there’s also the all important effectiveness in throwing out potential base stealers.

travis d'Arnaud

It was the topic of John Harper’s Daily News article that centered on Travis d’Arnaud‘s troubles throwing out baserunners in the postseason. Actually, to call it a difficulty is an understatement. Despite being better than league average in throwing out baserunners during the regular season, Travis struggled mightily in the postseason. Would-be base-stealers were a perfect 11 for 11 against him and the Mets pitching staff.

“I wasn’t able to slow the game down,” d’Arnaud said at his locker after the Mets’ workout on Tuesday. “The game sped up on me. I didn’t do what I did all year. Instead of just making a good throw, I was trying to do more than I should.’’

It was an important enough issue for Terry Collins that he made it a point to take a part in the first throwing drills of Spring Training to try and boost his catcher’s confidence.

“For a young guy back there, it can be embarrassing,” Collins said. “Our pitchers didn’t give him enough help, and we have to get better at that, but Travis takes a lot of pride in what he does. So it bothered him.”

One thing that was overlooked I thought, was that of the 11 people who stole a base against the Mets in the postseason, only one scored a run. A big reason for that d’Arnaud was all the other areas d’Arnaud excels at as a big-league catcher.

Since he became the Mets starting catcher, d’Arnaud has been an excellent pitch framer. Last year, he led the majors in highest percentage of balls being called strikes. When there is such a premium being placed on pitch counts and innings pitched for this young staff, every strike d’Arnaud can steal is crucial. Furthermore, getting strikes called puts a pitcher in an advantageous position. This usually leads to shorter at-bats and more outs.

MLB: New York Mets-Workouts

Additionally, there is the subjective element of catching. The pitchers like throwing to him. They feel comfortable when he’s behind the plate. He instills confidence in his staff.

By the way, he’s also a terrific hitter. He was the second best offensive catcher in baseball last year. In the NLCS, he hit one off of the Home Run Apple so hard, the Apple needed a bandaid.

So overall, d’Arnaud does everything you could ever want your catcher to do. He has the confidence of his pitching staff. He gets the pitches called for strikes. He is a good hitter. Basically, d’Arnaud comes to beat you in multiple ways each and every day. If he struggles for a stretch with throwing out baserunners, there are other parts of his game that overshadow it, that help to prevent that run from scoring.

Travis d’Arnaud may struggle throwing out people again this season or maybe not. But that’s fine. As long as he keeps doing what he’s doing, he will still be a terrific all-around catcher and among the best overall in the league. He will certainly help the Mets return to the postseason in 2016 and this time they’ll win the World Series.

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How Should The Mets’ Rotation Order Go? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/how-should-the-mets-rotation-order-go.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/how-should-the-mets-rotation-order-go.html/#comments Fri, 19 Feb 2016 20:20:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=206487 noah-syndergaard-matt-harvey-jacob-degrom-pittsburgh

As pitchers and catchers get going in Arizona and Florida, reporters no longer have to ink their annual rankings for teams and positions. Now they can focus on seeing if their prognostication will come true.

When it comes to pitching, just about everyone: ESPN’s Buster Onley, Paul Casella of MLB.com, Grant Brisbee of SB Nation and Ted Berg of For The Win, has weighed in with the obvious – the Mets have a great rotation.

I don’t think it’s necessary to add up all the different rankings and calculate the mean…everyone has the Mets with one of the best rotations in all of baseball.

While most articles focus on the starting pitchers, Anthony Castrovince of Sports on Earth took it one step further – his rankings were for the entire staff, from the No. 1 starter to the man assigned to close the door in the ninth and everyone in between.

But while that’s interesting in the moment, few seem to focus on the actual order of the proposed best rotation. Noah Syndergaard has already stated to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that he wants to pitch in one of the first two games of the season against Kansas City.

“Of course. I think everybody would want to pitch in one of those two games,” Syndergaard said. “I think it’s going to be a little bit different — very intense. I’m not really sure what to expect. But it’s going to be fun. And I’m looking forward to it.”

Everyone, including Aaron Dodson of the Washington Post, gave Terry Collins credit when he “tactically planned his starting rotation for his team’s next two opponents” coming out of the All-Star break. In that same light, Nationals manager Matt Williams was criticized at the time by Jim Meyerriecks of Federal Baseball for doing exactly the opposite – not setting up his best pitchers to face the surging Mets.

That’s one of the reasons Williams is no longer in DC.

The actual order of the rotation is obviously important, but surprisingly isn’t discusses as much as one would think. More articles focus on the entire rotation, but not the subtlety of following a fastball pitcher with someone who relies on off-speed stuff.

R+Dickey+Josh+Thole+Baltimore+Orioles+v+New+GNGG-qMXJdylMaybe it’s more obvious when you have someone like R.A. Dickey, a knuckleballer who usually requires a personal catcher like Josh Thole. It would seem obvious that a manager would want to bookend a Dickey start with fastball-reliant throwers to make his knuckleball look slower and the subsequent fastball appear faster.

Or does it not matter at all?

Is it important to mix up Syndergaard’s fastball with the somewhat slower fastball of Colon? How about Steven Matz’s left-handed delivery – should he be followed by Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom? Add to all this the possibility of using a sixth starter early in the season and Collins and Dan Warthen have some things to plan out.

Personally, I think deGrom should start Game 1, Syndergaard in Game 2 and Harvey in the home opener. After that, the Mets play five more at Citi Field before an off-day. In fact, there are a total of six off-days in April which allows for plenty of rest between starts…especially since there’s only two off-days in May.

It’s important for this team to get off to a good start. To expect another 13-3 start is asking a bit much, but regardless the bulk of the heavy lifting on this team is likely to come from the pitching staff. So how do you think Collins should set them up for April?

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Who Has The NL’s Best Rotation? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/who-has-the-nls-best-rotation.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/who-has-the-nls-best-rotation.html/#comments Thu, 31 Dec 2015 16:23:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203337 degrom harvey syndergaard

Scott Kazmir was part of one of the worst trade deadline deals in recent history. Let me refresh your memory (or pour salt in an old wound).

With the Mets six games out of first and in fourth place in the NL East, GM Jim Duquette sent the Mets’ first round selection and top prospect AND a minor pitching prospect to Tampa Bay for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato.

Zambrano showed flashes of being a decent pitcher as a rookie in 2001, going 6-2 with a 3.16 ERA after a mid-season call-up. But SI’s Jeff Pearlman wrote how in 2003, Zambrano led the American League in walks, wild pitches and hit batsmen. Fortunato pitched in 15 games in 2004, two more in 2006 and hasn’t been heard from since.

Hindsight is always 20/20 and others like Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors have already questioned this trade, including a MMO Fan Shot from 2012, so I won’t go in depth on my dismay except to question why the team didn’t just bring him up to the majors…

Kazmir was decent in 2005, an All-Star in 2006 and led the AL in strikeouts (239) in 2007, starting 34 games with a 3.48 ERA and a 13-9 record. That was probably his best season before the 2014 campaign, when he went 15-9 with a 3.55 ERA for Oakland. Last year, he was traded to Houston and despite a 2-6 record with a 4.17 ERA while pitching in the band box known as Minute Maid Park, he’ll get credit for helping the Astros back into the postseason.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced the signing of Kazmir to a 3-year, $48 million contract. It means they’ve added another left-handed starter, joining Clayton KershawBrett AndersonAlex Wood and, if healthy, Hyun-jin Ryu for a southpaw quintet. But does the move make LA’s rotation one of the best in the arm-heavy National League? We all know what the Mets plan to trot out each day, but is it the best?

Using projected Wins Above Replacement (WAR), MLB’s Paul Casella ranked the Top 5 rotations of 2016 before Christmas with Mike Bolsinger as the Dodgers’ fifth starter. Based on FanGraphs’ prediction, this move nudges them ahead of the Washington Nationals with a projected combined WAR of 16.9. A lot of this is based on Kershaw being the best pitcher in baseball…and with five straight top-3 Cy Young Award finishes, it’s hard to argue against that.

It’s hard to argue against the Nationals, who will send out Max Scherzer on Opening Day. His 14-12 record doesn’t look great, but the 2.79 ERA, the 276 strikeouts versus just 34 walks in 228.2 innings is pretty impressive. has been projected to put up similar numbers since arriving in The Show in 2010. While many want to call him a bust, his career numbers (54-37, 3.09 ERA, 1.092 WHIP, six year total WAR of 14.0) speak to the contrary. Is 2016 the year he finally puts it all together?

Is 2016 the year the Cubs finally put it all together? The position players we heard of and saw first-hand as Mets fans. Granted, they were being swept on the biggest stage but you can’t deny the talent of 2015 Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler. The pitching staff isn’t homegrown, but just as talented starting with Jake Arrieta, the reigning 2015 Cy Young winner. Adding the ageless John Lackey to a staff that already featured Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, and Kyle Hendricks is why many think this is the best rotation.

Both Casella and Victor Barbosa of Cheat Sheet put the Mets at No. 2. They admit the Mets have an impressive starting rotation, that Steven Matz could be a No. 2 starter elsewhere but is likely to be No. 5 on this team and will trot out “an ace-caliber pitcher at least once every series”. So why wouldn’t they be the best in the league?

There’s no good answer to that question. Jacob deGrom is considered the No. 1 starter thanks to a 2.54 ERA and a lovely 0.98 WHIP in 191 innings. I can see starting him in Kansas City, only so that the true No.1 can start Game 3 at Citi Field. Matt Harvey sat out a year and despite saying stupid things like any 26-year old, he still put up ace-like numbers (2.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP).

Terry Collins should find a way to ensure Harvey and Noah Syndergaard are separated by Bartolo Colon. Imagine facing Harvey’s 96 MPH fastball, then Big Sexy’s pinpoint fastball at 90 MPH, followed by Thor and the thunder of a 100 MPH heater just “60-feet, six-inches away”.

It’s a frightening thought for opposing batters and an exciting one for those that root for the Orange and Blue.

So who do you think has the best rotation in the NL? I didn’t even mention San Francisco with 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija, Jake Peavy, Johnny Cueto and Matt Cain coming back from a flexor tendon strain that limited him to just 60 innings last year. Where do you rank the Mets against the rest of the Senior Circuit?

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Former Met Al Leiter Praises Amazins’ Young Staff http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/former-met-al-leiter-praises-young-staff.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/former-met-al-leiter-praises-young-staff.html/#comments Mon, 26 Oct 2015 20:27:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=198038 noah-syndergaard-matt-harvey-jacob-degrom-pittsburgh

Former Mets pitcher and current YES and MLB Network analyst, Al Leiter, had some pretty kind words to say about the current young Mets pitching staff. In fact, Leiter believes that there is truly no real comparison to what these young arms have been doing, especially in the postseason.

“If you’re talking about the combination of pure stuff and successful results,” says Leiter, “I have not seen this in my life.”

The combination that Leiter is referring to is one of both power and precision, a killer one-two punch that not all pitchers possess, especially as young as the ones the Mets have.

“Those guys (Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz), have started all nine of the Mets postseason games, posting an ERA of just 2.65. They were also a huge part of why the Chicago Cubs posted just a .164 batting average in the NLCS, the lowest ever.”

Leiter, who has been a part of and seen his fair share of dominant pitching staffs, recently conducted a breakdown segment of deGrom, Harvey, and Syndergaard. Even though those three would be considered power pitchers, Leiter was surprised to find that their fastballs only account for 61-62 percent of pitches thrown per game.

“To have guys throw that hard, from 95-100 mph,” said Leiter, “yet be able to use their off-speed stuff that frequently and command it the way they do, I just marvel at it.”

Leiter says that there have been dominant 1-2 guys, like Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, but that those teams lacked that third starter.

“And that’s why I say there have not been three like that on the same team like this. People said to me, “What about Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine with the Braves?’ And obviously they are all Hall of Famers, but as a group they didn’t have the pure stuff these guys do.”

Even Ron Darling, who of course was a part of one of the best Mets pitching staffs ever assembled during the 80’s, put this young group ahead of their’s.

“I’m not diminishing what we did,” said Darling. “We were as good as there was back then, but this staff is going places that we as a staff couldn’t match.”

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For Terry’s Future, It’s Playoffs or Bust http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/for-terrys-future-its-playoffs-or-bust.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/for-terrys-future-its-playoffs-or-bust.html/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 21:08:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=188635 terry collins

After Tuesday night’s 4-0 win against the San Diego Padres, Terry Collins told the media that he doesn’t believe there’s too many teams out there that would want to face the Mets pitching staff in a playoff situation. He’s probably right about that. After all, what manager would sign up to face something to the tune of Harvey-deGrom-Syndergaard in a 7 game series?

However, in order for that to become a reality, the Mets need to first get to baseball’s most coveted month of the year. By doing so, it would go a long way in solidifying Terry Collins as the Mets manager for at least a few more years.

This has become a topic of discussion several times throughout the course of the season, whether Terry Collins deserves to continue as Mets manager after 2015 or not. There have even been a few instances this year where many fans believed Terry was one step away from being on the hot seat. In fact, you could make the claim that Terry has been on the hot seat ever since 2012, when the Mets had their second straight losing season under Collins.

In most cases, I tend to give Collins the benefit of the doubt. Let’s be honest, he hasn’t exactly been dealt a good hand. After all, it isn’t his job to construct the roster; it’s his job to manage it. The Mets have lost more player days to the DL than any other team in the majors.

Injuries are not the only thing that has prevented Terry Collins from sending out a formidable lineup night in and night out. He has had to preside over a team that was slashing payroll and selling off any major league talent for the vast majority of his time at the helm.

Since Collins’ first year at the helm in 2011, the Mets have seen their payroll plummet from 7th in the majors at $147 million, to an average payroll of $89,302,833, dipping as low as $73,396,349 in 2013.

terry collins

In baseball however, it’s not always about dollars and cents, it’s about numbers.

356-393

That would be Terry Collins’s wins and losses since taking over as Mets manager. That’s a winning percentage of just .475, ranking him 11th out of the 20 managers that have ever coached the Mets. The Mets have also never won more than 79 games under Collins, averaging just 76 wins the past four seasons.

Based off of these numbers, Collins has simply not gotten the job done. Which is why this season’s outcome is as important as it gets for his future as Mets manager.

The pieces are finally starting to come together for him, and we all know by now that the upcoming schedule for the Mets bodes extremely well for them. Couple that with Sandy’s recent acquisitions, and there is no doubt the Mets have a “Win Now” attitude.

I happen to like Terry a lot. He’s been around the game for quite some time now, and it seems (at least as of recently), that he isn’t afraid to hold guys accountable. After all, players have reportedly been “put on notice.”

But perhaps it’s Collins himself who is the one who that’s on notice, and will be for the remainder of the season.

If the Mets fail to reach the postseason for yet another year, it would be a surprise to see Terry Collins back as Mets manager. While he may not have been given much to work with in the past few seasons, he has enough talent now.

On the other hand, if he does make the postseason does that mean an automatic new multi-year deal?

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Syndergaard To Get Second Half Started For Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/syndergaard-to-get-second-half-started-for-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/syndergaard-to-get-second-half-started-for-mets.html/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 01:36:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=186909 noah Syndergaard

Terry Collins told reporters on Sunday that rookie right-hander Noah Syndergaard would get the first start of the second half when the Mets open a three game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals.

The team officially announced on Thursday, that Bartolo Colon will get the start on Saturday and that Jon Niese will start the following game and pitch in the series finale against the Cards on Sunday.

  1. Noah Syndergaard
  2. Bartolo Colon
  3. Jon Niese
  4. Jacob deGrom
  5. Matt Harvey

That sets up Jacob DeGrom, Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard to pitch in the very critical series against their division rival, the first place Washington Nationals, in DC.

This new alignment will also afford Harvey and DeGrom some extra rest as the Mets look to conserve their innings load. Both Harvey and DeGrom are on pace for 200 innings this season.

I love what’s happening here. There’s obviously a lot thought involved as the Mets have set this up to have their top three guns going against a nemesis who beat them in 15 of 19 contests last season, and have already taken 4 of 7 this year.

When the season first started, I wrote that “the road to the postseason for the Mets goes through Washington D.C..” It was true then… it’s still true now.

The starting pitching is largely responsible for the Mets being just two games out of first place and just one game behind a wild card spot.

They rank sixth in the majors with a 3.41 ERA, and are tied for fourth in the majors with 488 strikeouts, and the starters have a 1.40 ERA in their last 15 games.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride filled with lots of challenges in the second half for our Mets. And it begins with two big series against a couple of tough opponents. I can’t wait…

(Updated 7/15)

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 7, Reds 2 (Game 2) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/06/mmo-game-recap-mets-7-reds-2-game-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/06/mmo-game-recap-mets-7-reds-2-game-2.html/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 00:24:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=185757 MLB: Cincinnati Reds at New York Mets

The Mets (39-37) completed the sweep of the Cincinnati Reds (34-39) this evening at Citi Field by a score of 7-2.

Brandon Phillips hit a lead off home run for the Reds off of Steven Matz, who was making his major league debut for the Mets today. It would turn out to be just a small blemish on what was otherwise a very successful day for Steven.

After the solo shot, Matz settled down and pitched very well, allowing just one more run, a solo home run to Todd Frazier in the fourth inning. His final line has him going 7.2 innings, allowing just the two runs on five hits, while walking three and striking out six. He also earned his first major league victory.

Steve Matz

Other than his pitching which was very impressive, Matz dazzled at the plate, and made history in the process. He went 3-3 with 4 RBI’s. No Mets player has ever had a more successful debut at the plate.

In the second inning, Darrell Ceciliani reached on an error, and advanced to third on two ground outs. The Reds then intentionally walked Eric Campbell to get to Matz.

Steven surely made them play, hitting a long double to center field, much to the pleasure of his parents and other family members and friends who were in attendance to see the young lefty and Long Island native make his major league debut.

In the fifth inning, Eric Campbell walked to lead off the inning, and went first to third on Steven Matz’s second hit of the day, a single up the middle.

Curtis Granderson put the Mets up 3-2 with a double to score Campbell and put runners at 2nd and 3rd with still nobody out.

Two batters later, Lucas Duda was intentionally walked to load the bases, as the Reds decided to pitch to Wilmer Flores with one out.

However, Flores flew out and Darrell Ceciliani struck out, as the Mets were unable to add on to their lead.

In the sixth inning, the Mets started the inning with John Mayberry and Johnny Monell singling, and Eric Campbell being hit by a pitch. Guess what that means? The bases were loaded for the second straight inning. And for who? None else than Steven Matz.

matz debut

And what did Matz do? He drove in two more runs with a single to right center field. He also contributed to the Mets scoring their third run of the inning when Ruben Tejada hit into a potential double play and Matz took out the second baseman, who throw wildly to first, causing Eric Campbell to score.

In the seventh inning, Matz let up a pair of singles, but got a big double play to erase the threat. He then struck out Jason Bourgeois to end the inning.

In a surprising move, Collins sent Matz, who already had a high pitch count and left on a high note in the seventh, back out for the eighth. He quickly recorded two outs, but then walked Joey Votto, and was pulled.

Carlos Torres got the last out of the inning, inducing a ground out from Todd Frazier.

In the eighth inning, Eric Campbell walked again, but was erased at second on a ground out from Michael Cuddyer.

Cuddyer stole second base with Curtis Granderson at the plate, and Curtis subsequently drove him in with a single to right field, giving the Mets a 7-2 lead.

Hansel Robles pitched the ninth inning, and shut the door for the Mets, topping off the sweep of the Reds and a brilliant debut from Steven Matz.

Thoughts:

There’s not much more to say about the Mets pitching staff other than they’ve been simply brilliant. With Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler coming back next year, and Rafael Montero also in the shuffle, this pitching staff is a force to be reckoned with. If we can get a few bats, this rotation is very capable of competing with the best of them.

What a debut. Definitely one of the most exciting and interesting games I’ve seen all season. I might just have to invest in a Steven Matz jersey now. :)

On deck:

The Mets are off tomorrow, but start a three game series with the Chicago Cubs Tuesday night. Jon Niese (3-7, 4.12 ERA) takes on Kyle Hendricks (2-4, 4.46 ERA) in the series opener. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

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Strikeouts Are Both A Concern And An Asset For Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/06/strikeouts-are-both-a-concern-and-an-asset-for-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/06/strikeouts-are-both-a-concern-and-an-asset-for-mets.html/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 16:51:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=183347 michael cuddyer

During the past 30 days, only four other teams have struck out at a higher rate than the Mets.

Mets’ hitters struck out in 23.2 percent of their plate appearances in this span, which is the fifth highest mark in the league.

This problem has been magnified during the last two games against San Diego. Padres’ starter Andrew Cashner punched out 12 Mets in 4.2 innings while Ian Kennedy fanned eight in six innings.

Overall, New York has struck out at total of 28 times in these two games.

It’s critical for the lineup to start making better contact, especially since it does not supply a lot of power.

The Mets are 19th in the MLB in home runs and 28th in slugging percentage. Low power numbers combined with poor contact hitting and high strikeout rates is a very concerning mix.

The NL average for strikeout rate is 20.5 percent. The Mets have more than half their hitters striking out at a higher rate, led by Anthony Recker (31.7), John Mayberry (28.6), Kevin Plawecki (27.9), Michael Cuddyer (23.6), Curtis Granderson (22.4) and Lucas Duda (22.3).

Daniel Murphy is one of the toughest hitters to strikeout, leading the team with a 7.7 percent strikeout rate.

Meanwhile, the strikeout numbers on the pitching side are extremely encouraging. New York has one of the most overpowering staffs in the majors as they are top ten in the MLB in K’s and K/9.

In the month of May, Mets’ pitchers posted a 8.38 K/9. The league average stands at 7.66.

The Mets’ also have a firm lead in the MLB in strikeout to walk ratio. Their 4.10 K/BB still remains the best in baseball. The next closest team is the Cubs at 3.50.

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The Forgotten Man: Jonathan Niese http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/the-forgotten-man-jonathan-niese.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/the-forgotten-man-jonathan-niese.html/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:30:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=175057 As I scrolled through my daily Mets spring training content, something hit me: Where the heck is Jon Niese?

There are so many storylines in camp this year. You have the returning super-star Matt Harvey, the reigning Rookie of The Year Jacob deGrom, and the fire-baller on the verge of breaking out Zack Wheeler. These three have demanded most of the coverage so far in Port St. Lucie. The rest of the coverage dedicated to the Mets pitching staff is centered around Dillon Gee, the trade rumors surrounding him and his feelings about possibly being pushed into a bullpen role.

But don’t worry everyone; Jon Niese is alive, well and ready for another solid season. Niese provides a consistency that the Mets brass have come to expect even during this recent dark age of Mets baseball.

jon niese

It’s hard to believe Niese, now 28 years old, is entering his 8th year in the majors, all wearing orange and blue. Since his debut in 2008, Niese hasn’t dazzled anyone. He never blew batters away with 95 MPH fastballs. He doesn’t have a 12-6 curve in his arsenal that breaks the knees of the leagues most feared hitters. What he does have is a consistency that Mets fans, as well as the front office, appreciate and respect.

Niese has averaged a 12 wins a year and a 3.87 ERA along the way during his seven-year major league journey. He averages 34 starts a year during that time and 204 innings pitched per year, both above league average. Last year, Niese ranked 54th in the majors in innings pitched with 187.2. Additionally, Niese being a southpaw makes him all the more valuable in the Mets rotation.

He has quietly blended into the rest of the Mets pitchers not named Harvey, DeGrom, Wheeler, Syndergaard, Gee or Matz as far as headlines are concerned.

Health problems have been a factor in Niese’s major league career. “He’s gone through MRI’s the way his teammates go through sunflower seeds,” Marc Carig said in an article in Newsday.

“I haven’t been this confident in my arm in probably three years,” Niese told Carig on the first official day for pitchers to report to Port St. Lucie. Niese participated in the Mike Barwis conditioning program during the offseason, joined by many fellow teammates and prospects. He hopes that the work he put in will limit his time on the disabled list in 2015 and maximize his time on the mound.

“I’ve never worked out like that in my whole career,” Niese said to Carig about the conditioning program. It’s hard to put into perspective the importance of Niese’s positivity concerning his body, given where he was this time last year.

Last spring training, Niese suffered an array of setbacks including soreness in his elbow, which delayed his progress and eventually forced him to begin the year on the disabled list. Niese, eager to get back on the mound, returned after a week, which was probably a bit to soon. Niese suffered shoulder pain shortly after, which persisted into July, forcing him to miss more time.

However, Niese was solid when he was on the mound, posting a 3.40 ERA in 30 starts and also cutting his walk rate to a career-low 2.2 per nine innings.

Niese’s name has circled the rumor mills during this offseason. The Mets surplus of young, under-contract fire-ballers and the southpaw’s team-friendly contract ($7 million in 2015 and $9 million in 2016, with team options for 2017 and 2018), it is easy to see why Niese was a prime trade candidate.

However, reports have indicated that Dillon Gee is be pushed on the trade market as the season gets closer. Alderson failed to move Gee during the winter and has indicated possibly moving the starter to the bullpen if he isn’t moved before then.

What does this all mean for Niese? Nothing out of the ordinary. His job is safe for now in orange and blue as he is part of one of the most dynamite young staffs in all of baseball. With less pressure on his shoulders, Niese can be primed for an above-average year in the middle of the Mets rotation.

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Niese Glad He Wasn’t Dealt, Says There’s Method To Sandy’s Madness http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/niese-glad-he-wasnt-dealt-says-theres-method-to-sandys-madness.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/niese-glad-he-wasnt-dealt-says-theres-method-to-sandys-madness.html/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 13:05:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174396 jon niese

Veteran columnist Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, delivers another solid player profile from Port St. Lucie where he’s been reporting from the last few weeks.

This time Kernan catches up with lefthander Jon Niese who is glad to still be a Met and says he was told he would not be traded.

“They told me they didn’t want to move me,” Niese said. “I’d love to stay. I don’t see myself going anywhere.”

Niese feels the team has made some great progress and that they’ll be taking things to a new level this season.

“I think we have a really good shot. Obviously, there’s a lot of competition this year in the East. It’s going to be a tough division. But I think we have all the tools to really compete.”

“I think if we keep making the jumps and guys are getting more experienced and we’re getting the right pieces in place, we’re kind of finding an identity on our team, and I think that’s key.”

Niese, 28, told Kernan his body and arm haven’t felt this good since 2008 and he’s ready to go. He also praised GM Sandy Alderson and the job he did rebuilding the team.

“Sandy [Alderson, general manager], he has kind of a method to his madness. He didn’t bring everybody in at once, he kind of built it up year by year, understanding that our pitching staff was going to be built up.”

Niese and his fellow pitchers told Kernan they promise they will put up a fight in the NL East.

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