Mets Merized Online » Stephen Strasburg http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:21:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.17 MMO Game Thread: Nationals vs Mets, 7:10 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/mmo-game-thread-nationals-vs-mets-710-pm-7.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/mmo-game-thread-nationals-vs-mets-710-pm-7.html/#comments Fri, 08 Jul 2016 19:27:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=217083 noah syndergaard back

Friday, July 8, 2016 • 7:10 p.m.
Citi Field • Flushing, N.Y.
RHP Stephen Strasburg (11-0, 2.71) vs. RHP Noah Syndergaard (9-3, 2.41)
SNY • WOR 710 AM • ESPN 1050 AM

The Mets won the home run derby last night against the Nationals as they took the series opener by the score of 9-7. The Mets found themselves behind the Nationals at a few points in the game but the team never rolled over and brought their homer total to 21 in the month of July. Tonight Citi Field will become the battle of the All-Stars as Stephen Strasburg goes up against Noah Syndergaard.

Syndergaard, who was named to his first All-Star team, is fifth in the majors with a 2.41 ERA, and second in the majors with a 8.20 strikeout-to-walk rate. He is tied for seventh in the majors with 123 strikeouts.

Yoenis Cespedes has 11 RBI in his last 14 home games and is hitting .344 with six doubles, four homers and 10 RBI in 18 games vs. Washington since joining the Mets. He’s hitting .369 (38-103) with six homers, 15 RBI and a .431 OBP over his last 27 games.

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Mets Lineup

  1. Jose Reyes – 3B
  2. Curtis Granderson – RF
  3. Yoenis Cespedes – CF
  4. Neil Walker – 2B
  5. James Loney -1B
  6. Asdrubal Cabrera – SS
  7. Brandon Nimmo – LF
  8. Rene Rivera – C
  9. Noah Syndergaard – RHP

Nationals Lineup

  1. Ben Revere – CF
  2. Jayson Werth – LF
  3. Daniel Murphy – 2B
  4. Bryce Harper – RF
  5. Wilson Ramos – C
  6. Clint Robinson – 1B
  7. Anthony Rendon – 3B
  8. Danny Espinosa – SS
  9. Stephen Strasburg – RHP

Noah is 9-3 over 17 games and 16 starts over 101.0 innings with a 2.41 ERA. After his worst start of the season against the Nationals on June 27th, he returned with a classic Noah start going 7.0 innings allowing only one run while striking out 8. Speaking of the Nationals though, he has had two different starts against them. In May he held them scoreless over 7.0 innings while striking out 10. In June he allowed 5 ER over 3.0 innings. The Nationals have the following numbers against Noah:

  • Harper 4-13
  • Rendon 5-12, 2B, HR
  • Werth 1-9
  • Espinosa 2-8
  • Revere 4-8
  • Zimmerman 1-8, 2B

Stephen Strasburg is in the midst of his best season. He has tossed 15 games over 99.2 innings so far this year with a 2.71 ERA while posting a 11-0 record. His last start was his first since June 15th and he held the Reds to no runs and no hits over 6.2 innings while walking 4 batters. Against the Mets this year he has allowed 3 ER over 10 hits and 12.2 innings while striking out 21 batters. The Mets have the following numbers against Stephen:

  • Granderson 3-18
  • Reyes 5-19, 2 2B
  • Walker 6-17, HR
  • d’Arnaud 4-10, HR
  • Lagares 2-12
  • Cespedes 4-8, 2B
  • Flores 2-9, 2B
  • K Johnson 2-8, HR
  • Cabrera 2-6, HR

Let’s Go Mets!

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Nationals Place Stephen Strasburg On 15-Day DL http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/nationals-place-stephen-strasburg-on-15-day-dl.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/nationals-place-stephen-strasburg-on-15-day-dl.html/#comments Sun, 26 Jun 2016 20:28:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=216013 stephen strasburg

The Washington Nationals placed star pitcher Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day DL, retroactive to June 16th, with an upper back strain on Sunday. Strasburg missed two consecutive starts with the back issue and also dislocated two ribs while lifting weights last week.

The Mets won’t see Strasburg in their upcoming three-game series with Washington, but the ace right-hander could pitch against New York in the four-game set at Citi Field before the All-Star Break.

Strasburg boasts a 10-0 record with a 2.90 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 93 innings pitched.

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A Tale of Two Pitchers http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/a-tale-of-two-pitchers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/a-tale-of-two-pitchers.html/#comments Mon, 30 May 2016 13:00:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=213280 strasburg-harvey

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Sports Illustrated called it “The most hyped pitching debut the game had ever seen.” Retailers couldn’t keep his jersey in stock due to demand. And when Stephen Strasburg made his debut the 21-year-old phenom did not disappoint. He compiled a 2.91 ERA. In 68 innings he fanned 92 batters while walking just 17.

And then, like a meteor blazing across the sky, Strasburg flamed out. Tommy John surgery. He would not pitch again for 18 months.

In 2012, the Nationals at  98-64, had the best record in Baseball and were heavily favored to win it all. But manager Davey Johnson and team execs faced an agonizing decision: Shut down their ace his first year back or risk injury in an attempt to win the first championship in franchise history, a history that began over four decades ago in Montreal.

It was decided that with 159 1/3 innings under his belt the gamble to become champions wasn’t worth risking the possibility of a career ending injury. Strasburg was shut down.

Washington promptly got knocked out in the first round.

Meanwhile, in New York, fans were chomping at the bit anticipating the arrival of our own young phenom, Matt Harvey. Not since Gregg Jefferies had a Mets rookie undergone this much hype. In 2012, pitching in AAA, Harvey was erratic. Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins insisted Harvey would not be brought up anytime soon.

Then, they had a change of heart.

Johan Santana got injured, the fan base was in a malaise, there were plenty of empty seats at Citi Field. Despite the Mets going nowhere and being 11 ½ GB in late July, the earlier decision was negated and Harvey was called up.

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Like Strasburg two seasons earlier, Harvey was the face of a bright future, the tip of a sword. And like Strasburg, Harvey didn’t disappoint. He fanned 70 batters in 59 IP and compiled a 2.73 ERA.

In 2013, Harvey continued his dominance, but the innings were piling up. At 24 years-old he was not just the ace, but the workhorse of the staff. By the time he started the All-Star Game at Citi Field in July, Harvey was on pace to toss 235 innings, the most by any Mets starter since 1990.

Then it happened… Matt Harvey, The Dark Knight of Gotham, the new face of the franchise, the guy who packed the ballpark during every home start, the most electric Met starting pitcher since Dwight Gooden toed the rubber, the heartthrob who appeared in magazines and on late night talk shows, and most importantly, the pitcher who had a 2.27 ERA and whiffed more than one batter per inning for a team looking for a new identity…suffered a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament.

Like Strasburg, Harvey would undergo Tommy John.

Despite the arrival of Jacob deGrom and the surprise of Bartolo Colon the next season, the Harvey-less Mets would finish under .500 for the sixth straight year, 17 GB.

In 2015, impelled by young power arms and a one-man wrecking crew named Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets found themselves in a pennant race for the first time in almost a decade. All the while Harvey, first year back from Tommy John, was again piling up innings.

We all remember the back and forth, the he-said-he-said that ensued between Scott Boras, Terry Collins, Dr. James Andrews and Sandy Alderson. And Matt Harvey, lightning rod for bloggers and fans alike, was caught in the middle. It was unwinnable predicament.

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If he decided to sit out and put his health above the team’s wants, it would fly in the face of the tough guy image he’d personified since his debut. The mixture of love and hate he’d gotten over his brief career would lean towards the latter. Fans would scorn him as a sham, all talk and no action. The media would tear the guy to shreds. Yet, if he kept pitching, he would put his career and future on the line, a career where he likely could earn hundreds of millions of dollars.

Like the Nats years earlier, the Mets now faced a similar dilemma: Shut down their star his first year back or risk injury trying to win the first championship in almost thirty years. Unlike the Nats, the Mets allowed Harvey to keep going, despite already tossing over 189 innings.

To digress for a moment, I will state I personally never was a fan of Harvey. Yes, he was good, damn good. But he knew it. Unlike Tom Seaver or Doc Gooden who understood their ability but remained professional about it, Harvey seemed to relish his own hype and delight in his arrogance how talented he was. Yet, all things considered, what had he accomplished? He never won a Cy Young or Rookie of the year like Seaver and Doc, he never won a championship like Seaver and Doc. I viewed him as a lot of bluster. And his prima donna attitude surely didn’t help.

But in the World Series, I jumped on the Matt Harvey train. In 40+ years of watching this game Harvey’s actions going to the top of the 9th in Game 5 was something I’ll never forget. The guy acted like an ace, like a star, like a true competitor. The guy has balls.

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Terry Collins reneged his earlier decision to pull his ace and allowed Harvey to take the mound with a 2-0 lead in a must-win game. Harvey, first year back from Tommy John surgery and with 216 innings under his belt, the most any pitcher in history ever tossed after coming back, walked the lead-off batter, Lorenzo Cain.

And Terry Collins didn’t budge.

The rest is history.

Seven months after losing to Kansas City, Harvey is yet again in the crosshairs of controversy. He is having the worst year of his career, many insisting he voluntarily request to be sent down to work on his mechanics. Some feel that blowing the 2-0 lead in the 9th got in his head. Donnie Moore and Mitch Williams, two great closers in their day, were never the same after allowing crushing post-season home runs. Is Harvey the latest casualty?

Fans are quick to blame him. And granted, his prima donna attitude and now, avoiding the press after a terrible outing doesn’t help. Yet, no one blames Terry Collins for sticking with him for too long. No one blames Lucas Duda for making an errant throw that allowed Hosmer to score and cement the Mets World Series loss. All the finger pointing is at Matt Harvey.

Maybe it is in his head.

Or maybe the fact that Harvey, with the Mets’ blessing, threw more innings than anyone ever had after TJ surgery, has reinjured himself. The fact that his stats are awful two months after throwing 216 innings is not a coincidence. He put his team ahead of his career, ahead of his livelihood, ahead of his own health. And is now suffering the scorn of a livid fan base and damning media.

A few years back, Washington looked long term and put the health of their ace ahead of the wants of their fans. Since returning from his surgery, the highest ERA Strasburg has recorded is a very respectable 3.46. Currently, he is 8-0 with a 2.79 ERA. He is averaging 11.4 K’s per 9 innings.

On the flip side Matt Harvey is 3-7 with a 6.08 ERA.

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You know things are bad when Bryce Harper, widely regarded by many as the biggest jerk in the game, upon hearing Harvey booed by Mets “fans” actually stated he “feels bad” for the guy. A new low. Opposing players are now pitying our one-time ace.

Washington recently awarded Strasburg with a 7-year deal worth $175 million. While Nats fans are thrilled to see Strasburg pitching for them until 2022, Mets fans are apprehensive about Harvey starting on Monday.

Last year Matt Harvey was pushed more than any pitcher in history. And now we are seeing the results. The man who represented the hope of the future may very well have his best days in the past. Was it worth it?

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How Strasburg Deal Impacts Harvey http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/how-strasburg-deal-impacts-harvey.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/how-strasburg-deal-impacts-harvey.html/#comments Wed, 11 May 2016 14:28:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=211538 harvey strasburg

Watching Stephen Strasburg pitch on Monday night, part of the Monday Night Baseball telecast on ESPN, he wasn’t as sharp against the Detroit Tigers as he had been against his previous two opponents, the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals.

But to quote rapper Jay Z, Strasburg has “99 problems” but a new contract ain’t one.

The news of Strasburg’s brand new contract, seven-years for $175 million including two opt-outs, was bandied about on Twitter during the telecast, and was first reported by The Washington Post. It’s curious that the Washington Nationals would have this leak during his start, as news would surely seep across the entire stadium from fans clutching closely to their smart phones.

Maybe that explains why Strasburg wasn’t his normal sharp self Monday night, surrendering four runs on six hits and three walks, giving up a pair of two-run home runs to Nick Castellanos and J.D. Martinez. He might’ve had, oh I don’t know, 175 million things on his mind during his start. However, Strasburg did pitch seven innings, and had his third double-digit strikeout performance of the season, whiffing eleven.

How does this all relate to the New York Mets? After all, this is the Mets fan site where we all come from our daily dose of news and notes of all things orange and blue. The simple answer is Matt Harvey.

Since Game 5 of the 2015 World Series concluded, fans and media alike have pondered whether Harvey would stay with the Mets once he hits free agency after the 2018 season. Some thought that trading Harvey for a haul of talented and young prospects in similar fashion to what the Atlanta Braves did with Shelby Miller would be the best course of action.

For the moment, Harvey is ours, and still working to break out of the early season funk he’s been stuck in, although his last start on May 8th against the San Diego Padres offered some reassurance that he was slowly coming out of whatever was ailing him, be it mechanics or any physical strain that might’ve been left over from the 200 plus innings he threw last year.

Like Strasburg, Harvey is a Scott Boras client, and Boras clients very rarely elude free agency to sign extensions with their current teams. Of course there are exceptions, with the likes of Carlos Gonzalez and Jered Weaver to name a few.

For his part, Harvey said in early February that he’d be open to discussing a contract extension with the Mets, if it were to come up with the front office.

“I think whatever comes up is going to come up,” Harvey said. “I think I’ve never shied away from it. I’ve never said I wouldn’t consider it.”

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The question remains whether the Mets are better served trying to hash out an early extension deal now with their 27-year-old right-hander, hoping to take advantage of some early struggles and get him possibly a bit cheaper than if they wait and he’s back to his old form.

If they wait until Harvey hits free agency, one would assume that he’d be back on track and barring any health issues, have performed like the Harvey of old. Factoring in that he’ll be pitching in postseason games and showcasing his talents on the biggest of stages the next few years, it will send his stock soaring as long as he performs, which will earn him even more zeros on his big payday.

And of course the Mets would be leaving themselves out there to compete with 29 other ball-clubs for Harvey’s services. And two clubs that can be counted on to show significant interest in him are the two teams that he was situated in between growing up in Mystic, Connecticut, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

There’s also the thought of trading Harvey, considering that with Strasburg off the table for the 2016-17 free agency, not many big namepitchers are going to be available, unless R.A. Dickey, Brett Anderson, Andrew Cashner, or Mat Latos do it for you. Having Harvey available in the off-season could generate a big haul for the Mets, even with his struggles in April. All he needs is a few good months and strong postseason starts to escalate him back into the conversation as one of the best starting pitchers in the game.

And with the emergence of Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz taking the next steps into becoming bona fide aces in their own right, the Mets have a strong rotation before even mentioning Harvey’s name. Maybe it would behoove the Mets to explore what Harvey could fetch in a deal, especially since the team who would trade for him would still get two years of control before he hits free agency. That would potentially net the Mets even more in a trade.

The Strasburg extension is the largest deal ever given to a post Tommy John surgery player, which bodes well for Harvey. The difference however, is that Strasburg has had success and been relatively healthy since he missed most of 2011. He was an All Star in 2012, and was in the top 10 in Cy Young voting in 2014. Harvey had a fantastic 2015 season, his first year back after the surgery. But teams might want to make sure that Harvey has no year after affect, after eclipsing the 180-inning threshold that he was presumed to have last year.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Strasburg extension plays into potential Harvey talks, or if it even does at all. Maybe the Mets accept the fact that Harvey will walk to the highest bidder in 2018, or that they’ll explore deals in the off-season to replenish their system. Whatever the future holds, as long as Harvey stays healthy, he’ll be seeing a big payday for himself, whether that’s with the team that drafted him in 2010 or not remains to be seen.

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Nationals Sign Stephen Strasburg To 7-Year, $175M Extension http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/nationals-sign-stephen-strasburg-to-7-year-175m-extension.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/nationals-sign-stephen-strasburg-to-7-year-175m-extension.html/#comments Tue, 10 May 2016 00:59:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=211451 Marlins @ Nationals_ Major League Baseball

According to multiple sources but first reported by the Washington Post, Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg has agreed to a long term extension valued at $175 million for seven years. The deal is said to include a rolling third and fourth year opt-out clause.

The report said an official announcement will come Tuesday.

Strasburg, 27, is 59-37 with a 3.06 ERA and 1.087 WHIP through 138 career starts. In 818.2 innings he has struck out 948 batters. He wields a 10.4 K/9 and 2.2 K/BB with a 2.78 FIP.

Entering Monday evening, Strasburg is 5-0 with a 2.36 ERA and 1.001 WHIP this season, striking out 47 batters in 42.0 innings pitched.

This is easily the largest contract ever given to a pitcher who has undergone Tommy John surgery, and he has easily established himself as one of the league’s most dominating starters since his return from the procedure.

The news came as a surprise as it was widely expected that Strasburg, a Scott Boars client, was expected to test free agency following the season.

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Morning Grind: Oh, How Sweep It Is! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/morning-grind-oh-how-sweep-it-is.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/morning-grind-oh-how-sweep-it-is.html/#comments Thu, 10 Sep 2015 10:00:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=193089 USATSI_8791139_154511658_lowres

After Stephen Strasburg absolutely dominated the Mets hitters all night on Wednesday, it seemed like 2-1 might be an insurmountable deficit.

Strasburg was dealing right out of the gate, making the Mets look silly, striking out hitters left and right with his filthy hook that was falling right off the table.

mmo feature original footerI should have known not to worry, especially with how the Mets have been playing the last several weeks, but I guess it’s just in my DNA.

The Mets, like they’ve done 35 times this year, came back from behind to beat the floundering Washington Nationals by a score of 5-3. The Mets are now 59-11 when scoring four or more runs in a game this season.

Yesterday, I wrote an article and spoke about unlikely heroes. Tonight, another one presented himself. Kelly Johnson played difference maker as he blasted the tying home run off of Strasburg in the eighth inning.

Then Yoenis Cespedes, who I truly believe is a superhuman, appropriately hit the go ahead home run to lead the Mets to victory. He just makes it look so easy. To him, the pitchers are throwing beach balls.

It’s been such a Jekyll and Hide season for the Mets. The wins the last three nights would never have been possible even just two months ago.

Going from worst the first half of the season, to first from July 25th on in almost every offensive category has made all the difference.

Had the Mets been down tonight that late in the game earlier this year, they would have just lied down and took the loss. Well guess what? Not anymore.

On winning teams like this one, everyone does their job. The bullpen, which had looked horrendous the last few weeks pitched 11.1 innings this series and allowed just one earned run.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a huge home run last night to help win the game, and Kelly Johnson did the same thing tonight. It’s not just the sexy names that are getting the job the done, everyone is firing on all cylinders.

“At this point in the season, two or three weeks left, you’re looking pretty good if you have a six-or seven-game lead,” Johnson said. “Hopefully those games we play them in New York won’t matter and we can celebrate early.”

The team has such a great chemistry, and believes it can win every single night. And hell, they can. They just came into the Nationals home ball park and completely shell shocked them.

“This has been the three biggest games of my career.” Terry Collins said in his post game interview. “We’re legitimate, this is not a fluke.”

Much of the reason behind the Mets’ success has been slugger Yoenis Cespedes. Kelly Johnson, who delivered a clutch home run of his own, had nothing but positive things to say about the Cuban phenom.

“It’s like he’s some throwback player, like your dad used to tell you about Clemente or Mantle,” said Johnson. “He’s so cool.”

“I don’t know how it works, but he should be in the discussion for the NL MVP.” The Mets captain, David Wright, said after the huge offensive output Cespedes has delivered since the Mets acquired him.

Nobody could have predicted that on September 10th, the Mets would have a commanding seven game lead in the NL East. This is the most exciting team I’ve ever had the pleasure of rooting for, and I truly believe we can go all the way. We aren’t called the Miracle Mets for nothing!

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MMO Game Thread: Astros vs Mets, 1:10 PM (SNY) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mmo-game-thread-astros-vs-mets-110-pm-sny.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/mmo-game-thread-astros-vs-mets-110-pm-sny.html/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:55:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=177111 dillon gee

The New York Mets take on the Houston Astros on Tuesday at 1:10 PM at Tradition Field. Dillon Gee will get the start for the Amazins and he’ll be opposed by former Met Collin McHugh for the Astros.

Rafael Montero initially had been listed for this start, but now will travel to Tampa on Wednesday to take on the Yankees and their Opening Day starter Masahiro Tanaka.

Terry Collins made it official. Here’s your Opening Series starters in D.C. against the Nationals:

Game 1Bartolo Colon vs Max Scherzer (Bart is bigger!)
Game 2- Jacob deGrom vs Jordan Zimmermann (Jake is cooler!)
Game 3Matt Harvey vs Stephen Strasburg (Harvey’s better!)

Matt Harvey only now found out from reporters that he was starting Game 3 against the Nationals. Asked about being passed over for Opening Day: “It’s something that I expected.”

Wilmer Flores, who’s dealing with a sore left foot, plans to throw, stretch and hit today, but no running just yet.

Vic Black is supposed to throw off flat ground today, and him and the Mets say this time they mean it.

Here’s your Starting Lineups:

NEW YORK METS

  1. Curtis Granderson, RF
  2. David Wright, 3B
  3. Lucas Duda, 1B
  4. Michael Cuddyer, DH
  5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, LF
  6. Danny Muno, 2B
  7. Johnny Monell, C
  8. Matt Reynolds, SS
  9. Matt den Dekker, CF

HOUSTON ASTROS

  1. Jose Altuve, DH
  2. George Springer, RF
  3. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  4. Chris Carter, 1B
  5. Jason Castro, C
  6. Jed Lowrie, SS
  7. Colby Rasmus, LF
  8. Jonathan Villar, 2B
  9. Jake Marisnick, CF

Enjoy the game people, and Let’s Go Mets!

tug mcgraw

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Harvey Will Start Season In Rotation, But Is His Relationship With Team Taking A Hit? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/harvey-will-start-season-in-rotation-but-is-his-relationship-with-team-taking-a-hit.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/11/harvey-will-start-season-in-rotation-but-is-his-relationship-with-team-taking-a-hit.html/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 18:25:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=169982 matt-harvey-3

Speaking to reporters at Citi Field, Sandy Alderson said that Matt Harvey will be in the rotation “from the get-go,” and not start the season late to try and conserve innings.

According to Adam Rubin, Alderson says the goal is to have Matt Harvey “pitching through entire postseason,” so any innings that will be conserved would be shaved during the season.

Meanwhile, over at MetsBlog, Matt Cerrone raises the alarm.

This morning, Cerrone reported that according to several people in the organization, “prominent Mets players, coaches and people in the front office were not happy,” when Harvey was at Yankee Stadium for Jeter’s last game, despite what they said in public.

“I wouldn’t say they were angry” Cerrone writes. “But they didn’t like that it happened.”

“They had a similar reaction when he requested time off from his rehab, then turned up in New England hanging out with friends. The same can be said about how they’ve reacted to his rogue magazine features, his endorsements, use of social media and how he’s expressed dissatisfaction in public about his rehab.”

If Cerrone’s sources are accurate, it’s clear that the relationship between the Mets and Matt Harvey is definitely in some serious need of repair.

November 17

Sandy Alderson was a guest of WNBC’s Bruce Beck on Sunday night and briefly discussed how the team will manage innings limits for Matt Harvey in 2015 as he makes his way back from Tommy John Surgery.

“The key for us is figuring out a way to manage his innings this season so that he’s available to us if or when we get to the postseason.”

Alderson is looking to avoid a repeat of the Stephen Strasburg fiasco in 2012, when the Nationals opted to shutdown their young star in early September and made him unavailable for their first post season since rebooting the franchise in Washington. The Nats were eliminated in the NLDS, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Mets could find themselves in a similar predicament and I imagine that it’d be near impossible to convince Harvey to miss the playoffs.

Adam Rubin reported last week, that Alderson is engaged in talks with Harvey and his agent Scott Boras to create a plan for next season to keep that from happening.

Alderson acknowledged there has to be “some restrictions on Harvey” with Alderson himself stating that the real deal’s “capacity over the season might be more limited than it would have been otherwise”.

Among the options the Mets are tossing around are holding Harvey back a couple of weeks in extended Spring Training, limiting his innings per start early on, and a mid-season two week break.

Rest assured that whatever they decide, all parties are on the same page as far as making sure Harvey is available to pitch in October if the Mets make it that far.

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MMO Opening Day Recap: Nationals 9, Mets 7 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mmo-opening-day-recap-nationals-9-mets-7.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mmo-opening-day-recap-nationals-9-mets-7.html/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 21:23:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=152273 juan lagares Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets fell to the Washington Nationals in extra-innings by the score of 9-7 this afternoon at Citi Field in their season opener.

The excitement of Opening Day makes me feel like a giddy little kid every single year. The beginning of nice weather, and most importantly, the beginning of the baseball season never ceases to make me extremely happy.

The Mets roster was announced in typical Opening Day fashion, followed by a heartfelt tribute to the life of Ralph Kiner and the unveiling of the Ralph Kiner sign in left field. Eric Young, Jr. started in place of Daniel Murphy today, as Daniel’s wife had gone into labor. Andrew Brown, who made the Opening Day roster due to Jonathon Niese starting the season on the disabled list, got the start in left field, as Chris Young stayed out of the lineup with a quadriceps strain.

What you should know:

The Mets got off to an early start in the bottom of the 1st inning, as Juan Lagares and David Wright both singled, and were promptly driven in by a three-run bomb off the bat of none other than Andrew Brown.

The Nationals answered back in the top of the 2nd inning, with a two-run home run off the bat of Adam LaRoche.

The Mets tacked on another run in the bottom of the 2nd, with a sacrifice fly delivered by Eric Young, Jr.

After LaRoche’s home run, Dillon Gee locked in and retired fifteen batters in a row and struck out four, however, he ultimately ended up with a no decision.

Gee went out for the 7th, but surrendered two runs to tie the game. Carlos Torres and Scott Rice each came in to face one batter, and walked both of them to allow the tying run to score.

Jose Valverde stopped the bleeding to end the 7th by striking out Ryan Zimmerman. Valverde would pitch 1 and 1/3 innings, striking out three.

Stephen Strasburg got off to a shaky start for Washington, but buckled down, pitching six innings and striking out 10 Mets batters.

Juan Lagares hit a go-ahead solo home run off of Tyler Clippard in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Bobby Parnell came in to shut the door in the top of the 9th, but surrendered an RBI double to Denard Span with two outs to tie the game.

The Nationals proceeded to break the game open in the top of the 10th with a passed ball, that led to a sacrifice fly by Ian Desmond off of Jeurys Familia and a three-run home run off the bat of Anthony Rendon, surrendered by John Lannan.

The first challenge in Mets history was used in the top of the 10th inning with two outs. After a close call at first, Nationals manager Matt Williams challenged that Lucas Duda did not tag baserunner Danny Espinosa, however the play was not reversed.

Jerry Blevins came on for Washington in the bottom of the 10th, and surrendered a two-run home run to David Wright, but then struck out Curtis Granderson to end the game.

Additional Notes:

Curtis Granderson went 0-5 in his Mets debut, striking out three times.

David Wright went 3-5 with a two-run home run.

Jose Valverde was impressive in his Mets debut, however, the rest of the bullpen was atrocious.

Juan Lagares was also impressive, not just defensively, but offensively as well.

The Mets have now gone to extra innings seven times in Opening Day history.

The Mets struck out 18 times including four whiffs by Eric Young.

Their record on Opening Day now stands at 32-21.

Player of the Game:

Opening Day’s player of the game goes to Mets center fielder Juan Lagares, who went 2-4 with a walk, three runs scored and a home run.

Final score:

Nationals 9, Mets 7

Wining pitcher: Aaron Barrett (1-0)

Losing pitcher: Jeurys Familia (0-1)

On Deck:

The Mets look to even the series against Washington on Wednesday night, with Bartolo Colon making his Mets debut squaring off against Gio Gonzalez.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Nationals, 1:05 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mmo-game-thread-mets-vs-nationals-105-pm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/mmo-game-thread-mets-vs-nationals-105-pm.html/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 16:21:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151626 Zack_Wheeler1

The Mets face the Washington Nationals this afternoon at Space Coast Stadium in Viera at 1:05 PM. Zack Wheeler will oppose Stephen Strasburg in what should be his final appearance of the Spring. The game is not on television or radio in New York, but will be on the Nats’ MASN network.

Wheeler has had an excellent spring after arriving to camp proclaiming he would give the Mets every reason to name him the opening day starter. However, that honor will go to Dillon Gee the team announced yesterday.

“I would have liked to be considered, of course,” Wheeler said. “I don’t want them to hand anything to me, but I wanted to work for it and show them I wanted it. I’ll keep trying to show them I want it.”

The young righty has a 1.69 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in four spring starts.

Here are today’s lineups:

Mets

  1. Eric Young Jr., 2b
  2. Juan Lagares, cf
  3. David Wright, 3b
  4. Curtis Granderson, rf
  5. Chris Young, lf
  6. Ike Davis, 1b
  7. Travis d’Arnaud, c
  8. Zack Wheeler, rhp
  9. Ruben Tejada, ss

Nationals

  1. Denard Span, cf
  2. Anthony Rendon, 2b
  3. Jayson Werth, rf
  4. Ryan Zimmerman, 3b
  5. Bryce Harper, lf
  6. Ian Desmond, ss
  7. Adam LaRoche, 1b
  8. Jose Lobaton, c
  9. Stephen Strasburg, rhp

Mets Notes

Ike Davis is back in the lineup after a couple of days of rest. He asked out of a game over the weekend after telling Terry Collins he felt tired.

With Daniel Murphy getting the game off, Eric Young starts at second base and is in the lineup together with Juan Lagares. The latter may lose significant playing time in center field if Young is named the everyday leadoff man by Collins.

Matt Harvey will do his rehab with the team in New York when they are home and then fly to Port St. Lucie when the Mets are on the road, GM Sandy Alderson said Tuesday. Once he begins pitching off a mound, he will stay in PSL full time. “I think he’s happy with that arrangement,” said Alderson.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is expected to get word today that he has made the Opening Day roster. Noon is the deadline for the Mets to inform him he has made the club. Otherwise, the Mets would have to release him, or give him $100,000 for the right to send him to the minors. M

Sandy Alderson acknowledged that Jenrry Mejia will not pitch in relief or work out of the bullpen this season.

Jonathon Niese threw off a mound Monday for the first time since receiving a cortisone shot in his left elbow one week earlier. The southpaw felt good afterward and expects to be activated from the disabled list for an April 6 start against the Cincinnati Reds.

Enjoy today’s game and Lets Go Mets!

Wheeler Glove

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Collins Continues To Rave About Ike Davis http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/collins-continues-to-rave-about-ike-davis.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/collins-continues-to-rave-about-ike-davis.html/#comments Sat, 22 Feb 2014 19:43:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=148784 ike davis cage 2

Terry Collins continues to rave about Ike Davis even though he hasn’t had one at-bat against live pitching since his last at-bat of the 2013 season. Here is a quote from MetsBlog:

“I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen,” Collins said. “His swing is absolutely, completely different than it was last year. He’s really quited down all the action he had at home plate. He knows he needed to do it. The batting practices are outstanding. He’s hitting a lots of balls to center field, left-center field.”

The thing of it is, everyone looks like Babe Ruth in the batting cage when Bob Geren and Tim Teufel are throwing down-the-middle marshmallows to the batter.

Three beat writers have all commented that Davis is STILL dropping his hands before every swing. That’s a problem.

I saw a shot of Ike Davis last week (from Adam Rubin) following through on a swing where he was so off balance he looked like he was going to fall over.

Spring Training games begin next week. Let’s wait and see how he fares on a Stephen Strasburg breaking pitch before we start using words like “brilliant, outstanding and impressive” to describe Ike Davis’ swing.

Photo by Veloz

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2013 Season Review: Matt Harvey, RHP http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/2013-season-review-matt-harvey-rhp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/2013-season-review-matt-harvey-rhp.html/#comments Wed, 09 Oct 2013 16:38:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130844 matt harvey

MATT HARVEY, RHP

PRESEASON EXPECTATIONS

The Mets were patient in bringing up Matt Harvey last year and it paid off. After making a splash with 10 mostly eye opening starts and leaving a strong impression with his poise and command, it was anticipated Harvey would take the next step and become a solid starter in the rotation. Harvey outpitched his experience and numbers with an ability to mix his pitches and throw breaking pitches in fastball counts. Never mind Harvey’s 3-5 record in 2012, but instead look at his 2.73 ERA and 70 to 26 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. Harvey had a dominant 10.6 strikeouts per-nine-innings average. Those 70 strikeouts came in 59.1 innings, which screams domination. With Johan Santana out, the Mets hoped Harvey would step into the No. 2 role in the rotation behind Jon Niese. When the season began the Mets did not have an innings limit on Harvey as the Washington Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg. However, that changed as the season progressed, and perhaps it was too late.

CAREER STATS

Screenshot_3

2013 SEASON REVIEW

After winning his first five decisions and seven of eight, Harvey had the world in the palm of his hand. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, showcased on the late-night talk shows and dating a supermodel, with pictures of him on the back pages in the midst of public displays of affection. All that was the result of what he did on the mound, as he overpowered hitters from the beginning and started the All-Star Game. There was talk of him being a Cy Young Award candidate. However, he lost three of his last four decisions and had 12 no-decisions before sustaining a partial ligament tear in his elbow. Harvey complained of tightness in his right forearm prior to the break, of which Terry Collins professed no knowledge. Harvey was truly dominating with 191 strikeouts in 178.1 innings, and walking just 31 with a microscopic 0.93 WHIP and 2.27 ERA.

LOOKING AT 2014

John Delcos Says:

Harvey eschewed immediate surgery to opt for rest and rehabilitation before starting a throwing program in the hope of being ready for spring training. The Mets hoped Harvey could pitch in the Arizona Fall League as a test, but that is becoming remote. Harvey will be re-examined in late October or early November, and if there’s not sufficient healing in the tear, surgery is still on the table. Harvey is taking a risk that if he doesn’t have surgery, he could further tear the ligament next summer and would miss the rest of next year and 2015 as well. If he has the surgery now he could conceivably be ready next September, which would be important if the Mets are competitive. The way things are progressing it appears Harvey will undergo surgery and the Mets will shop for mid-level veteran innings eater.

Joe D. Says:

The best case scenario for Matt Harvey in 2014, would be a return sometime around mid to late August. I can almost envision the excitement of his return – culminating in a dominating glimpse of the great season to come in 2015. The return of Harvey Day would electrify the fan base and be the perfect tonic going into the offseason and ushering in what we hope will be a run of success for the franchise beginning in 2015. Going into that offseason knowing that Harvey was back and healthy would eliminate the shadow that would be cast if he doesn’t return to make at least 2-3 starts. We need to see him back on the mound. It’s important for his teammates as well as the fans.

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Harvey Ready For Elbow Surgery, Understands It Was His Only Option http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/harvey-ready-for-elbow-surgery-understands-it-was-his-only-option.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/harvey-ready-for-elbow-surgery-understands-it-was-his-only-option.html/#comments Tue, 08 Oct 2013 23:05:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130883 matt harvey

Kevin Kernan of the NY Post spoke agent Scott Boras who told him that Matt Harvey is mentally prepared to undergo elbow surgery which should happen within the next two weeks.

“The thing is that he gave it time and he had repeated conversations with the doctors, and did a very thorough analysis and I think in the end the doctors agreed that this is something that Matt ought to do,” Boras told The Post. “He looked closely at all the information that was given him and made his decision.”

Boras told Kernan that the tear to Harvey’s ulnar collateral ligament was to such a degree that surgery was, in the end, the only option, especially with Harvey being a power pitcher.

Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery and Harvey is expected to miss the 2014 season.

The Mets are expected to sign one or two veterans and Sandy Alderson sounds committed to Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler at the top of his rotation.

Harvey, 24, is expected to follow a similar rehab and core strengthening plan like the one the Nationals employed with Stephen Strasburg, whose made a complete recovery from his 2010 elbow surgery.

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MMO Mailbag: Why Do The Mets Baby Their Starting Pitchers? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/mmo-mailbag-why-do-the-mets-baby-their-starting-pitchers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/mmo-mailbag-why-do-the-mets-baby-their-starting-pitchers.html/#comments Tue, 20 Aug 2013 15:36:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127541 wheeler harvey

Justin asks…

Why are the Mets always babying their pitchers? It’s not like any of these inning caps and pitch counts have resulted in fewer injuries. Look at Matz and Fulmer and Mejia just this year alone. I just don’t get this obsession. Nobody worried about these things with Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan and Jon Matlack and all four had great careers. Ron Darling complains about it all the time and he’s supposed to be our expert analyst, right? So what gives?

Joe D. replies…

Thanks for your question, Justin…

I can’t argue with the long and mostly healthy careers of the Mets pitchers you cited, but this new philosophy of trying to protect a young pitcher is not unique to the Mets and is an MLB-wide focus and it begins in the lowest levels of the minors.

I don’t really have a problem with safeguarding these young arms in the minors and trying to minimize any injuries to their arms. When you’re just 17-22 years old, there should be some checks and balances in place to keep from taxing them at so young an age.

I have a bigger problem with it when your 25 or older as in the case of Jacob deGrom, who isn’t even a hard thrower to begin with. The type of pitcher you are should matter and flame-throwers should be handled differently than pitchers who rely mostly on breaking balls and changeups.

One pitching coach told me that from the day a kid gets drafted or signed from the International arena, there is a progression these younger pitchers go through not only from year to year, but also from game to game. They start off gradually, increasing their pitch counts from 50 and then rise 10-15% per outing. Some pitchers will get maxed out at 75 pitches, others 90-100, but not repetitively – especially in the lower levels.

One of the things the Mets and other organizations stress is being efficient so that you can go deeper into the game. In other words reducing the walks and not expending 7-10 pitches to get a batter out.

We’ve seen that contrast at play between Zack Wheeler and Jenrry Mejia before he was shut down. Wheeler himself in his last start told reporters he needed to stop focusing on striking batters out and running up his pitch counts and just pitch more efficiently.

The formula is simple said one pitching coach in the Washington Nationals’ system, “Throw the ball over the plate, force contact, and don’t walk people.” “If you throw six, seven, eight pitches per batter, you’re not going to be out there very long.”

You may recall the Nationals deciding to shut down their ace Stephen Strasburg last fall and not pitch in the post season. Some blamed their first round exodus on that decision. Was it the right call? Nobody really knows.

Many pitchers have been limited to 100 pitches, and many of them suffer arm injuries just as frequently as those who have no such limitations.

It may take another 10-15 years until we have enough data to prove whether or not these pitch limits have done anything scientifically conclusive to prove that they have extended the average careers of pitchers in the 2000′s than it did in the 80s and 90s.

So I can’t say emphatically that I agree or disagree with a system wide approach to this. I’m leaning toward disagreeing. I think limits should be done on a case by case basis. I see Matt Harvey and I see a workhorse who is built for endurance. I can’t say the same thing about Zack Wheeler. His wiry frame and unorthodox delivery makes him a great candidate for an innings cap.

I’m not a proponent of a one size fits all philosophy for pitchers or hitters… Each player is unique and altering what makes them unique just so it fits neatly into an organizational philosophy sometimes leads to a player regressing rather than improving.

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Zack Wheeler And Why Hype Can Be A B**ch http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/zack-wheeler-and-why-hype-can-be-a-bch.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/zack-wheeler-and-why-hype-can-be-a-bch.html/#comments Sun, 30 Jun 2013 16:13:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123427 wheeler harvey

Andy Martino of the Daily News weighs in on the problem with hype, projection, unrealised expectations, and something about Mike Pelfrey being the devil.

It is dehumanizing, what happens to phenoms like Zack Wheeler over the long arc of a professional baseball career. In the minor leagues, you are an abstraction, a blank screen onto which fans and media project hopes that have little to do with who you actually are.

Then you arrive in the big city and, as any person would, reveal your normal imperfections. You are not a savior, but a human, and the public can grow bitter.  Ask Mike Pelfrey, a first-round pick who became a solid pitcher, and was seen by many fans as the devil by the middle of his Mets years. Or even better, ask the guy whose debut brought more hype than perhaps any pitcher in history, Stephen Strasburg.

“What happens is, that they build you up just to bring you down,” Strasburg said Saturday. “They never get it. Unfortunately, that’s people who never played the game.  You really can’t control what people write or say.”

This reminds me of an article by Danny Knobler of CBS Sports a couple of weeks ago, where he surveyed some scouts who all seemed to be bailing on Zack Wheeler after his major league debut.

Both scouts who watched Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader in person listed Harvey as perhaps the most impressive pitcher they’ve seen this season. But neither came away raving about Wheeler, despite six shutout innings in his major-league debut.

One of the scouts suggested that Wheeler should still be in Triple-A, and in any case might still need a trip back to the minor leagues before he comes back for good. The other scout was even less impressed. ”He’s going to be a middle-of-the-rotation guy,” the second scout said. “Edwin Jackson, maybe.”

Edwin Jackson? Really?

Martino correctly asserts that a rare set of circumstances created the frenzied Wheeler buildup: He was acquired for Carlos Beltran, one of the greatest players in franchise history; he arrived at a time when the organization was marketing its future over its present, and became a symbol of that trend; he dazzled scouts in the minor leagues with raw talent, and copy-hungry writers like me relayed their quotes to the public without context; he followed Matt Harvey, who has worn the phenom crown as well as anyone could, convincing some fans that it can happen again.

Because of those factors, Wheeler’s major league debut generated an absurd volume of attention — and that buzz drowned reality. Wheeler is a high-ceiling talent with flaws in his delivery, who might not even be ready for the major leagues. But he is here, and he is working to improve, which is all we should ask of a young player.

Yes, yes and yes…

You may remember how often I would say over the last 18 months how sorry I felt for Zack Wheeler. This was why. I knew he would be over-hyped, and that in most fans’ minds his uniform number would always be No. 15. Throw in the fact that this whole “Plan” thing was built mostly upon Wheeler’s back as soon as he became Sandy Alderson’s signature move.

I still feel bad for the kid… The all-out nonsense to make him out to be more than what he really was, will have a heavy toll on Wheeler. And unless he ends up his career with a room full of major league awards and hardware, there will be an unfortunate minority who will see him as a disappointment.

We do love our mythological heroes in baseball, but like Strasburg says, we love tearing them down as well. I like this summation from Martino:

Hype is fiction, and it is actually cruel: Building a man up is just as wrong as tearing him down, because neither honors who he really is.  Maybe we could just watch, and appreciate the complexity of Wheeler’s learning process.

Yes, yes and yes…

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Scouts Say Harvey’s Better http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/scouts-say-harveys-better.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/scouts-say-harveys-better.html/#comments Fri, 21 Jun 2013 21:07:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=122744 matt harvey zack wheeler

Danny Knobler of CBS Sports spoke to two scouts who were on hand for Super Tuesday, when Matt Harvey stymied the Braves and Zack Wheeler made his long anticipated debut with six scoreless innings for a Mets doubleheader sweep in Atlanta.

“I don’t know if you’re doing a survey, but put me down for Harvey over Strasburg, and it’s not even close,” said one scout who watched the Mets right-hander’s latest great performance, Tuesday in Atlanta.

“Not even close,” another scout agreed. “He’s tougher to pick up. His stuff is more dynamic. And his slider is unhittable.”

Mets fans can say they were ahead of the curve on this one, but they won’t like the next thing both scouts said.

Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler? Again, not even close.

Both scouts who watched Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader in person listed Harvey as perhaps the most impressive pitcher they’ve seen this season. But neither came away raving about Wheeler, despite six shutout innings in his major-league debut.

One of the scouts suggested that Wheeler should still be in Triple-A, and in any case might still need a trip back to the minor leagues before he comes back for good. The other scout was even less impressed. ”He’s going to be a middle-of-the-rotation guy,” the second scout said. “Edwin Jackson, maybe.”

Knobler took the debate to a scouting panel who all concurred with the first two scouts and concluded the following:

Matt Harvey: “He’s the real deal, no doubt. We all got excited about Strasburg, but you come to realize that the other guy’s just better. Harvey seems possessed. You watch him and you can tell he wants to be the best, not just on his team, not just in the National League but in all of baseball. Even Stephen Strasburg at his best wasn’t like the stuff Harvey showed Tuesday. High 90s and even 100 mph, kept it into the late innings, a slider at 91-92 that’s unhittable, and then a changeup at 85 where you just say, ‘Good luck.’ And it has late finish to it.”

Zack Wheeler: ”He’s a good-looking kid with a good arm, but he looked to me like he should still be in Triple-A. It’s not all about lighting up the gun. The boxscore line looks better than how he pitched. … Even when he gets where he’s going to be, he’s not as good as Harvey. My guy feeling is that he’s always going to have to throw a lot of pitches. And everything’s hard. It’s fastball-slider, and the curve is a hard curve. And the fastball is fairly straight. He’s a nice, good piece of a rotation, but he’s not Harvey.”

Here’s the thing about these types of comparisons, and you could be sure there will be plenty more in the coming weeks, nobody really knows or has all the answers. There’s a lot of guesswork and speculation at work here. Yes, they are making these assessments based on what they do for a living, but even the best scouts are wrong 50% of the time.

Yes, we’ve all seen enough of Harvey to know he truly is the real deal. But is it really fair to Wheeler to make a judgement based on just one start?

Sure, these are scouts and most scouts make their opinions based on one glimpse of a player all the time. They know what to look for and are paid well to analyze players and report their assessments to their team’s player development and scouting departments.

But aren’t these the same scouts who had Wheeler ranked as one of the top three pitching prospects in the game six months ago?

Can their opinion of him change that drastically after just one major league start?

I’m still hoping that Harvey and Wheeler end up becoming 1A and 1B rather than 1 and 2.

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Wheeler Says He’s Not A Savior, But Will Try To Help Team Anyway He Can http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/the-future-of-the-mets-is-on-full-display-tomorrow.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/the-future-of-the-mets-is-on-full-display-tomorrow.html/#comments Mon, 17 Jun 2013 19:44:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=122285 zack-wheelers-jerseyZack Wheeler held a 14 minute press conference with reporters at Turner Field this afternoon ahead of his major league debut on Tuesday.

Wheeler said he does not see himself as a savior.

“I don’t think I’m the savior at all. We’ve got great arms here and we’ve got great players. We might not be doing too well right now, but I know the talent of these guys and hopefully we can turn it around soon. I’m just trying to come up here and help the team any way I can.”

He doesn’t expect to treat his first MLB start any differently than any other start and doesn’t feel he has to live up to Matt Harvey.

“He set the bar so high. Matt just took off, but I’m in majors to just pitch my game and be myself.”

“Some people expected it. Some people didn’t. I’m just going to go out there and do the best that I can. People can take it how they want it. Hopefully I’ll do well and just be up there with him.”

He feels his experience at Triple-A Las Vegas was valuable. It toughened him up and taught him how to battle.

Turner Field will be packed with plenty of family and friends tomorrow night, as the Georgia native will be playing in front of his hometown crowd.

“I grew up watching Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux,” he said.

He got some advice from his brother last night who told him, “Whatever you do, don’t go up there and look up, ’cause all the lights and the fans and everybody will be moving and make you sick.”

Wheeler will wear uniform No. 45 because it’s his favorite and he’s worn it since he was 12 years old.

Here’s a video of the presser from SNY.

This is pretty damn exciting, I can’t wait…

Original Post

zack wheeler usa today

On Tuesday, during the second game of a doubleheader against the first place Atlanta Braves, Mets prized pitching prospect Zack Wheeler will make his long anticipated major league debut.

For Wheeler, he will feel unlike any other pitching prospect who who is making his first big league start. He’ll be wound up tighter than the guts of a baseball and those butterflies will be fluttering in his stomach. And then it all goes from surreal to real when that first pitch is fired toward home plate… Will he hear the pop of the leather or the crack of a bat?

Before Wheeler there was that other much ballyhooed Mets debut… The one from that pitcher whose stuff wasn’t nearly as good as Wheeler’s – I’m talking about righthander Matt Harvey.

He of course burst onto the scene with an 11 strikeout gem against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was the most strikeouts a pitcher has had in his debut since Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals whiffed 14 in June, 2010 against Pittsburgh.

Harvey pitched 5.1 innings, allowing three hits and no earned runs and for good measure went 2-for-2 with a double in his only two at-bats. Since that day, Harvey has become an unstoppable force and is now among the National League’s elite.

matt harvey usa today

Tough act to follow? Ironically enough, that’s exactly what Wheeler will be doing tomorrow as Harvey is slated to pitch the first game of the twin-bill.

When you compare Wheeler and Harvey’s minor league numbers, the similarities are so uncanny it’s scary, but will those similarities play out at the major league level? We’re all about to find out.

Last week I asked Lynn Worthy, who covers the B-Mets and has seen both of them pitch, what differences he saw in the two and he told me, the obvious similarities were how hard they threw hitting 96 miles per hour regularly.

“The fact that they were highly-touted prospects before they got here, and how after a few starts opposing hitters just started jumping on the first fastball they saw from each of them.”

Worthy remarked that of the two Harvey was very intense. “I still recall talking to him after his final start – he went just three innings, gave up four runs and walked four – and he wanted no part of talking about the season as a whole. All he could do was boil over his last start.”

While he agreed with the scouts who all say Wheeler has the best pure stuff and plus pitches, he also noted that he struggled to command certain pitches.

“When you looked at Wheeler, he didn’t give off the intensity that Harvey did. However, Wheeler always seemed confident in his stuff even when he didn’t have his best.”

While both pitchers measure in at 6’4″, Wheeler has a lanky frame at 185 pounds, while Harvey packs an additional 40 pounds checking in at 225. Both have great frames for pitchers. Harvey reminded many scouts of Roger Clemens and in fact even Clemens himself said that Harvey is the first pitcher he’s seen that reminds him of himself. I’ve seen Wheeler compared to many pitchers ranging from Matt Cain to A.J. Burnett to Philip Humber.

Tomorrow should be an exciting day for Met fans as the future of the franchise will be on full display for the first time since Sandy Alderson became the general manager. Wheeler represents what many feel is his one singular signature move. He and the team have a lot riding on what happens tomorrow.

The scouts were all wrong about Harvey having the ceiling of a number two pitcher, but lets hope they are all right about Wheeler having the ceiling of an ace pitcher.

One thing is certain though… Tomorrow you can throw away everything you ever heard about Wheeler… You can ditch all the comparisons… Forget what he did in the minors… And even trash everything the scouts and experts had to say… Tomorrow we’ll all see what we have in Wheeler for ourselves.

Here’s to another smashing Mets debut…

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NL East Report: Harper Day-To-Day, McCann Raking, Hamels Smacked Around Again http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/nl-east-report-harper-day-to-day-mccann-raking-hamels-smacked-around-again.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/nl-east-report-harper-day-to-day-mccann-raking-hamels-smacked-around-again.html/#comments Wed, 29 May 2013 18:00:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=119636 KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER!

KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER!

Team News and Notes

Atlanta Braves (31-20)

Justin Upton has really cooled off at the plate in May, batting .232/.360/.366 with just two home runs. B.J. Upton has found himself sitting on the bench lately, due to an unsightly batting average of .148 to along with 60 strikeouts already. Brian McCann has been a welcomed addition back to the team, cranking six home runs in just 16 games since his return. On the pitching side of things, the recent rash of injuries to key members in their bullpen has left manager Fredi Gonzalez scrambling to find a bridge to stud closer Craig Kimbrel. Julio Teheran is finally starting to deliver on his promise with a 3.67 ERA, although he is not quite the dominant pitcher they had hoped he would be. Mike Minor has been the best pitcher on the staff this season with a record of 6-2 and a 2.47 ERA, while veteran Tim Hudson has hit the skids and currently owns a 5.37 ERA. The Braves have been surpassed by the surging Orioles, and now rank second in the majors with 70 home runs, On the flip side, their propensity to strikeout has them ranked second in the majors, right behind the lowly Houston Astros.

Washington Nationals (27-25)

Stephen Strasburg had the longest outing of his career last week, going eight innings to earn his second win of the season, and his first since Opening Day. The big righty is beginning to round into form, and has now gone seven innings or more in three straight starts. Jordan Zimmerman has been the ace of the staff so far this season, sporting an 8-2 mark with a 1.71 ERA. The 20-year-old Bryce Harper continues to lead the charge offensively, hitting .287, with 12 home runs and 23 RBI. Ryan Zimmerman has been slow to get going, but is beginning to pick things up a bit batting .321 in May with 13 RBI. The Nats slow start can be attributed to their poor offensive output thus far. As a team they rank 28th in Majors in batting with a .233 average and just 181 runs scored. With Zimmerman on track for a Cy Young season, and Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez coming around, it is clear that the offense is what is keeping this team from being as good as they were last season.

Philadelphia Phillies (25-27)

The struggles for Phillies ace Cole Hamels just continue to get worse with each start, as he now owns a team worst record of 1-8. Cliff Lee leads the staff with a 2.34 ERA, while rookie Jonathan Pettibone has been solid with a record of 3-0.  Domonic Brown is finally delivering on his potential, leading the team with 11 home runs and 30 RBI. Ryan Howard has remained relatively healthy so far, and has six home runs and 25 RBI, to go along with 13 doubles. The Phils remain in the thick of things for the division, despite having inconsistent production offensively and poor performances from Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay.

Miami Marlins (13-39)

The Miami Marlins continue their season long battle with the Houston Astros to stay out of the cellar in the Majors. As of right now though, they are the worst team in baseball. They currently the have the Majors worst offense, ranking last in runs, home runs, RBI, doubles, and batting average. Giancarlo Stanton was the last man left standing after another fire sale this past winter. The slugger who hit 37 home runs last season, has just three so far in 2013, while batting a measly .227.  Justin Ruggiano has been the lone bright spot offensively, leading the team with eight homers and 22 RBI. Ricky Nolasco has 17 strikeouts over his last two starts, while rookie Jose Fernandez has struggled and hasn’t made it past the fifth inning in either of his last two outings.

Injury Report

Nationals: Bryce Harper (left knee) is day-to-day. Jayson Werth experienced a setback with his ailing hamstring recently, but will begin a rehab assignment on Wednesday. Wilson Ramos has once again been placed on the DL, this time due to a left hamstring strain. Ross Detwiler lands on the DL with an oblique injury.  Reliever Christian Garcia remains on the DL with partial tear in his forearm.

Braves: Lefty relievers Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty both saw their seasons come to an end when it was determined that they would require Tommy John Surgery. Brandon Beachy, who is also recovering from Tommy John surgery, began his rehab assignment on Sunday. Jordan Walden (shoulder) still needs some more recovery time.

Phillies: Chase Utley landed on the DL with a grade 1 left oblique strain, and could be out 2-4 weeks. John Lannan (quad) remains on the DL, but could start facing hitters this week. Roy Halladay (bone spur, torn rotator cuff) is targeting a late August return. Carlos Ruiz is on the DL with a hamstring injury with a possible mid-June return. 

Marlins:  Giancarlo Stanton remains on the DL with a grade 2 strain of his hamstring, but started some light jogging and took batting practice this week.  Casey Kotchman who is on the DL with a strained hamstring may return by early June. Logan Morrison (torn patella tendon) began a rehab assignment last week, and along with starter Nathan Eovaldi is targeting a return the week of June 9. Matt Diaz (knee) was placed on the DL and is expected to return in early June. Henderson Alvarez is still on the 60-day DL, and remains out indefinitely.

Upcoming Schedules (5/27-6/2) 

Nationals: (BAL, 5/27-5/28), (@BAL, 5/29-5/30), (@ATL, 5/31-6/2)

Braves: (@TOR, 5/27-5/28), (TOR, 5/29-5/30), (WSH, 5/31-6/2)

Phillies: (@BOS, 5/27-5/28), (BOS, 5/29-5/30), (MIL, 5/31-6/2)

Marlins: (@TB, 5/27-5/28), (TB, 5/29-5/30), (NYM, 5/31-6/2)

Even with these two young phenoms, the Nats are still hovering around .500.

Even with these two young phenoms, the Nats are still hovering around .500.

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Injury Update: Wheeler To Rejoin Las Vegas Rotation Next Wednesday http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/wheeler-to-rejoin-las-vegas-rotation-next-wednesday.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/wheeler-to-rejoin-las-vegas-rotation-next-wednesday.html/#comments Sat, 18 May 2013 00:35:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=118847 zack wheeler Michael G. Baron

Photo by Michael G. Baron of SNY.

Updated by Mitch Petanick on May 17, 2013

Adam Rubin has reported that Zack Wheeler is scheduled to start throwing again today, and is back with the team in Las Vegas. He was placed on the seven day DL, retroactive to his last start. He will rejoin the rotation next Wednesday when the team is in Iowa.

Wheeler received a cortisone shot last Wednesday after being diagnosed with inflammation of the AC joint in his throwing shoulder. He is still expected to only miss one start, which would have been on Saturday of this week.

Updated by Joe D. on May 15, 2013

Zack Wheeler has been diagnosed with slight inflammation in the AC joint in his shoulder, and will miss one start, according to Assistant GM John Ricco.

Wheeler received a cortisone shot at the Hospital for Special Surgery in his right shoulder and is flying to rejoin his team at Triple-A Las Vegas.

We spoke to his agent a few minutes ago who said there is no structural damage and that he is in good spirits.

That said, until I see Wheeler back on the mound pitching again, I will remain concerned.

It’s just the Mets fan in me.  :-)

Get back on that mound soon, Zack…

Original Post May 14, 2013

Zack Wheeler has a sore right clavicle, and will fly to New York to be examined by team doctors tomorrow at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

“I think we’re being a little conservative,” assistant GM John Ricco told reporters about the Mets top prospect. Wheeler had already met with the team doctor in Las Vegas.

That said, Ricco added that Wheeler will not make his scheduled start on Saturday in Omaha.

Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that Wheeler will undergo an MRI exam on his collarbone while in New York.

Terry Collins commented on this and said:

“From what I’ve heard today, it doesn’t sound serious. But any time you miss a start, it’s for the best interest of the player. We’ll wait to hear the doctor’s report and go from there. If it’s only one start, that’s certainly something we can handle easily.”

After a rough start to the season. Wheeler made a mechanical adjustment and has had incredible success over his last three starts for Triple-A Las Vegas and walked only three while posting a 1.35 ERA.

Overall, the right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.74 ERA for the season with 18 walks and 47 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched.

While the team calls this precautionary and conservative, any kind of soreness in the surrounding shoulder area should be a cause for some concern.

Thoughts From Mitch Petanick:

I’m hoping for the best here, but preparing for the worst. What I am worried most about is the fact that Zack Wheeler pitches using a delivery called the “Inverted W,” which could put added stress on the anterior labrum ligament in the shoulder — it slowly loosens the ligament and can actually lead to tears. Some pitchers use this delivery and go through their careers injury free, but many of them suffer injuries that require surgery…like John Smoltz and Stephen Strasburg.

Wheeler also recently tweaked his mechanics, which is what his improved control is accredited to, but could that mechanical fix in addition with the Inverted W delivery been enough to cause this shoulder discomfort? I guess we will find out after his MRI, but even precautionary MRIs are a cause for concern.

The Inverted W is like playing with fire…you can get burned.

Thoughts from Matt Musico:

It sounds like sending Wheeler to the Hospital for Special Surgery to get his sore clavicle checked out is precautionary, but that only goes so far for my nerves. I (like everyone else) will be anxiously waiting to find out whether or not this discomfort will be more serious than him missing his scheduled start, which was slated for Saturday in Omaha. I hope this ends up being minor, as Wheeler was just starting to gain steam toward a potential promotion following his last three starts, which included 19 strikeouts against only three walks in 20 innings pitched.

When it comes to top prospects, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and I’m happy that Wheeler didn’t try to ignore this discomfort and pitch through it. However, him calling attention to it makes me think it could possibly be more serious than the organization is letting on, but for now, we wait and see what the immediate future holds for Wheeler.

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NL East Report: Stanton To DL, McCann Set To Return, Strasburg Injury Scare http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/nl-east-report-stanton-to-dl-mccann-set-to-return-strasburg-injury-scare.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/nl-east-report-stanton-to-dl-mccann-set-to-return-strasburg-injury-scare.html/#comments Wed, 01 May 2013 18:00:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=116333 KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER!

KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER!

Team News and Notes

Atlanta Braves (17-9)

Justin Upton launched his major league leading 12th home run of the season this week. He hit just 17 a year ago, and is currently on pace to shatter his career high of 31 back in 2011. The same can’t be said for his brother B.J. Upton, who has just three home runs, and is hitting a paltry .143 on the season. Freddie Freeman has not made much of an impact since returning from the DL eight games ago, as the first baseman has just one extra base hit during that span. The great start to the season by Paul Maholm came to an abrupt end in his last start. The lefty took his minuscule 1.03 ERA into Detroit, and was battered around to the tune of eight earned runs, and left with a 3.30 ERA. Tim Hudson earned the 200th win of his career on Tuesday, as he pitched a gem against the Nationals. Hudson continues to pitch well despite being 37-years of age, and owns a career record of 200-105.

Washington Nationals (13-14)

How scary is Bryce Harper? Harper hit 22 home runs in his rookie season, and is already almost half way there with nine, and we are only one month into the season. The 20-year-old has been on a tear of late, hitting .353, with four home runs, seven RBI, four doubles, and a triple over his last 11 games. Harper leads the team with a .344 batting average. The Nationals had an injury scare with Stephen Strasburg, and pulled him early from his last start due to forearm tightness. The big guy says he will make his next start, but the Nats might take precautions and skip a start. The Nationals who were expected to be a powerhouse team, continue to struggle, and are under .500 after one month of the season.

Philadelphia Phillies (12-15)

The Phillies starting catcher Carlos Ruiz returned to the lineup on Sunday after missing 25 games due to an amphetamine suspension. The Phillies backstop had a great year in 2012, hitting .325 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI. Delmon Young was activated from the DL on Tuesday, and had two hits including a home run in his season debut. Ryan Howard has been heating up of late, and is showing flashes of his old self. Over his last eight games, the lefty slugger has a .300/.290/.633 slash, with two home runs, 10 RBI, and four doubles. Kyle Kendrick is quietly having one of the best seasons on the Phillies pitching staff. He recently completed a three-hit shut out against the Mets, and owns a tidy 2.41 ERA through five starts to begin the year. Roy Halladay was rolling until he ran into Cleveland on Tuesday, and lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up eight earned runs. I was going to say that he was almost all the way back this week, but apparently he’s not.

Miami Marlins (8-19)

Marlins stud outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was beginning to come around, as he finally tallied his first home run of the season this past week. Stanton was red hot before he strained his hamstring on Monday, as he finally turned the power on hitting three jacks, while also driving in eight runs.  The rest of the Marlins remain in a coma offensively, ranking at the bottom of the majors in home runs, runs, and RBI. Jose Fernandez hasn’t made it into the fifth inning in two of his last three starts, while Kevin Slowey leads the team with a 2.15 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.

Injury Report

Nationals: Stephen Strasburg might miss his next start, after being pulled from his most recent outing with forearm tightness. Ryan Zimmerman is ready to play in rehab games, and after a few tune ups this week, he should be activated from the DL on Friday. Jayson Werth was out of the lineup on Tuesday, as he is dealing with hamstring and ankle ailments. Wilson Ramos was activated from the DL on April 29. Reliever Christian Garcia remains on the DL with partial tear in his forearm.

Braves: Jason Heyward who was placed on the DL after having an appendectomy on last Monda, is hoping for a late-May returnBrian McCann (offseason shoulder surgery) began a rehab assignment on Friday, and is all goes well will be activated on May 6.. Jonny Venters (elbow) will begin throwing on Tuesday. Brandon Beachy (Tommy John surgery) is still recovering and could return by midseason.

Phillies: Delmon Young made his return to the lineup a little earlier than expected, as he was activated on April 30. John Lanna remains on the DL, and could miss 6-8 weeks due to a strained quad.

Marlins:  Giancarlo Stanton was placed on the DL with a grade 2 strain of his hamstring, which should sideline him a minimum of three weeks. Joe Mahoney was also placed on the DL with a hamstring injury. Adeiny Hechavarria was placed on the DL with a bruised elbow, is ready to begin rehab games. Casey Kotchman who is on the DL with a strained hamstring may return by mid-May. Logan Morrison is recovering from a torn patella tendon that required surgery last September, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on May 10. Henderson Alvarez is throwing and could return by early May, while Nathan Eovaldi remains out indefinitely, and was transferred to the 60-day DL.

Upcoming Schedules (4/29-5/5) 

Nationals: (ATL, 4/29-5/2), (@PIT, 5/3-5/5)

Braves: (WSH, 4/29-5/2), (NYM, 5/3-5/5)

Phillies: (@CLE, 4/30-5/31), (MIA, 5/2-5/5)

Marlins: (@MIN, 4/29-5/1) (@PHI, 5/2-5/5)

 

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MMO Player Of The Week: David Wright Nabs His Second In A Row http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mmo-player-of-the-week-david-wright-nabs-his-second-in-a-row.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mmo-player-of-the-week-david-wright-nabs-his-second-in-a-row.html/#comments Mon, 29 Apr 2013 16:36:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=116674 wright spring

DAVID WRIGHT, 3B

MMO PLAYER OF THE WEEK

David Wright is officially rolling, and despite the lack of production and support around him, he continues to produce and be the leader of this team. Wright batted .300/.400/.350, with six hits, a double, a sacrifice fly, five RBI, and a stolen base as he helped lead the Mets offensive attack last week.

Wright reached base in all six games the Mets played this past week, with six hits and four walks. Taking it a step further, the 30-year-old has reached base safely in 21 of the Mets 23 games this season.

Terry Collins shook up the lineup this week and moved Wright into the cleanup spot for a few games, before moving him back into the three-hole. The third baseman has not yet begun to show much in the way of power, having just two long balls on the season. However, he continues to hit and drive in runs seemingly on a nightly basis. To date, the Mets captain is batting .309/.436/.506, with two home runs, four doubles, three triples, and 19 RBI. He has an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 15:19, and has already swiped six bases.

Right now, Wright is doing the best he can with the pitches he is seeing. There is no real fear of any of the hitters behind him, so pitchers can be careful how they pitch him. They are fine with giving him a free pass, or having him slap a single to left or center. With John Buck cooling off a bit, and Lucas Duda and Ike Davis yet to provide the protection Wright needs, he will continue to see limited pitches that he can drive.

Honorable Mentions

Matt Harvey

Harvey had his worst start of the season, and it wasn’t even that bad. The big righty gave up three earned runs over six innings of work, while striking out seven. Harvey makes two starts this coming week, and if he keeps rolling like this, I will be hard pressed to not hand him his second MMO player of the week honor.

Ruben Tejada

The young shortstop began to pick things up with his bat this week. Tejada had a .300/.417/.450 slash, including three doubles, an RBI, and scored four runs. Tejada returned to the top of the order this week, which is where he spent almost all of last season. The move paid immediate dividends, as Tejada is currently riding a five game hitting streak, and seemed to return to his old self at the plate. Tejada is batting a measly .163 in the eighth spot in the order, while he is hitting a combined .341 when he bats first, second or seventh.

Jeremy Hefner

Hefner may not have many quality starts as the season goes along, but he pitched a gem in his last outing. Hefner went seven innings, gave up just three hits, one earned run, and struck out four batters. The righty did not receive the victory, and remains winless on the year. I hope that the 27-year-old has more starts like that to offer this season.

Jordany Valdespin

Valdespin has a flare for the dramatics, and his walk off grand slam was a great moment early in this season. Spin makes the honorable mention list mainly because the big hit, but aside from that, he did not do much else during the week. The 25-year-old batted just .167, with five RBI, a double, and the game winning grand salami against the Dodgers.

Player Of The Week Scoreboard

1. David Wright – 2

2. John Buck - 1

2. Matt Harvey - 1

button WRIGHT

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