Mets Merized Online » World Series http://metsmerizedonline.com Fri, 02 Dec 2016 22:21:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 DeGrom To Throw Soon; Recovery Progressing Well http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/degrom-to-throw-soon-recovery-progressing-well.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/degrom-to-throw-soon-recovery-progressing-well.html/#comments Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:41:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227425 jacob degrom

Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom‘s recovery from ulnar nerve reposition surgery in his pitching elbow is progressing well, and the plan is to start throwing soon, the all-star pitcher said Friday.

DeGrom, 28, pitched to a 7-8 record, with a 3.04 ERA and 8.7 K/9 in 24 games started before going under the knife this past September.

“After I got (the nerve) moved, snapping my fingers was one thing I noticed would hurt, and there’s none of that anymore,” deGrom said, referring to how he has felt after the surgery.

The three-year veteran is arbitration eligible for the first time this winter, and the Mets have not approached him about a contract extension according to deGrom.

If a contract extension is not reached, deGrom is set to earn $4.2 million in 2017, and can become a free agent in 2021.

Regardless of all this, deGrom said the goal in 2017 is to win the World Series.

“We made a playoff push this year, and it was definitely exciting. We made it to the World Series (in 2015) and the same goal is to win it,” deGrom said. “I think everyone on this team has that goal, and that’s what we are shooting for from Spring Training.”

This is great news to hear, as both deGrom and Steven Matz have said they are feeling healthy and ready to go in the last 24 hours. Spring Training can’t come soon enough…

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Good Fundies Episode 26: Rumble Pony Up http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/good-fundies-episode-26-rumble-pony-up.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/good-fundies-episode-26-rumble-pony-up.html/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2016 04:11:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226301 XXX VINTAGE-CARNIVAL-RIDES-RD536.JPG A  ENT USA NY

Brian and Roger returned to talk about that crazy World Series and how Cleveland can’t handle winning. They also started the hot stove speculation on where Yoenis Cespedes will end up and how the team should approach their 2017 bullpen.

We applauded Binghamton for naming the Mets’ Double-A squad the Rumble Ponies, and wondered if the Mets should just go ahead and rename themselves the Rumble Ponies too.

The boys also dipped into the mailbag, realized how much Noah Syndergaard was robbed of a Cy Young nomination, touched on that recent election, and recounted that time Roger thought it was Usher when in fact it really was Usher.

iTunes  –  Stitcher  –  Twitter

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How Mets Have Fared Under Democratic and Republican Presidents http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/how-mets-have-fared-under-democratic-and-republican-presidents.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/how-mets-have-fared-under-democratic-and-republican-presidents.html/#comments Tue, 08 Nov 2016 17:00:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226069 Bush 1st pitch 2001 World Series

There are many factors to consider when voting for a candidate for President of the United States today. At this point, every pitch and angle has been discussed ad nauseam on the web, in print, and on talk radio and cable television. Hopefully, you have all made your decisions by now.

However, if you are still undecided or are looking for a good reason to change your mind, maybe the following will help. If you are wondering how the New York Mets have fared with a Republican or a Democrat in office, you are in luck. Here is how the Mets have performed under each President in their 54 year history:

President Seasons Record Win %
John F. Kennedy 1962 – 1963 91 – 231 0.283
Lyndon B. Johnson 1964 – 1968 303 – 506 0.375
Richard M Nixon 1969 – 1974* 478 – 433 0.525
Gerald R. Ford 1974* – 1976 263 – 277 0.487
Jimmy Carter 1977 – 1980 260 – 388 0.401
Ronald Reagan 1981 – 1988 662 – 573 0.536
George H.W. Bush 1989 – 1992 386 – 423 0.477
William Jefferson Clinton 1993 – 2000 562 – 506 0.526
George W. Bush 2001 – 2008 651 – 643 0.503
Barack Obama 2009 – 2016 630-666 0.486

* Nixon resigned from office August 9, 1974

Here are the cumulative results:

Party Record Win%
Democrat 1,846 – 2,297 0.446
Republican 2,440 – 2,349 0.510

Here are some interesting Mets postseason facts when there was a Democrat or Republican in the White House.

Democrat Postseason Facts

The two times the Mets have been to back-to-back postseasons was when there was a Democrat in the White House (1999 & 2000 – Clinton; 2015 & 2016 – Obama)

The Mets have only had an NLCS MVP when there was a Democrat in the White House (Mike Hampton - 2000; Daniel Murphy - 2015)

The Mets have only won the division once (2015) with a Democrat in office. The other three postseason appearances with a Democrat in office were as the Wild Card.

The Mets have appeared in four total postseasons and two World Series with a Democrat in office. The Mets are 21-17 in postseason games with the following records per round:

Wild Card Game 0 – 1
NLDS 9 – 4
NLCS 10 – 4
World Series 2 – 8

Republican Postseason Facts

The Mets have won their only two World Series with a Republican in office (1969 – Nixon; 1986 – Reagan)
In all five of their appearances in the postseason with a Republican in office, the Mets were the National League East champions.

In three of the five appearances, the Mets won 100+ games with the high water mark coming in 1986 with 108 wins

In four of the five seasons the Mets appeared in the postseason with a Republican in office, the Mets had the best record in the National League (1973 is the exception). In two of those seasons (1986 & 2006), the Mets had the best record in baseball.

In total, the Mets have appeared in five postseason and three World Series with a Republican in office. The Mets are 30-20 in those postseason games with the following records per round:

NLDS 3 – 0
NLCS 16 – 12
World Series 11 – 8

If you wish to mainly focus on player performance over how the team has fared during each administration, Mets players have received more awards during Republican leadership:

Cy Young Award

Republican 4 (Tom Seaver 1969, 1973, & 1975; Dwight Gooden 1985);

Democrat - 1 (R.A. Dickey 2012)

Rookie of the Year

Republican - 3 (Tom Seaver 1967; Jon Matlack 1972; Darryl Strawberry 1983; Dwight Gooden 1984)

Democrat - 1 (Jacob deGrom 2014)

Rolaids Relief Man

Republican - 2 (John Franco 1990; Armando Benitez 2001)

Democrat - 0

Sports Illustrated Man of the Year

Republican - 1 (Tom Seaver 1969)

Democrat - 0

Gold Gloves

Republican - 14 (Tommie Agee 1970; Bud Harrelson 1971; Keith Hernandez 1983 – 1988; Ron Darling 1989; Carlos Beltran 2006 – 2008; David Wright 2007 – 2008)

Democrat - 6 (Doug Flynn 1980; Rey Ordonez 1997 – 1999; Robin Ventura 1999; Juan Lagares 2014)

Silver Sluggers

Republican - 14 (Keith Hernandez 1984; Gary Carter 1985 – 1986; Darryl Strawberry 1988; Howard Johnson 1989 & 1991; Mike Piazza 2001 – 2002; Jose Reyes 2006; Carlos Beltran 2006 – 2007; David Wright 2007 – 2008)

Democrat - 5 (Mike Piazza 1998 – 2000; Edgardo Alfonzo 1999; Mike Hampton 2000)

Roberto Clemente Award

Republican - 2 (Gary Carter 1989; Carlos Delgado 2006)

Democrat - 2 (Al Leiter 2000; Curtis Granderson 2016)

From the Front Office side, Republicans have a 2-1 edge in Executive of the Year with Johnny Murphy winning in 1969, Frank Cashen winning in 1986, and Sandy Alderson winning in 2015. Baseball America named the Mets the top organization in baseball once for the Republican (1984) and once during a Democratic (1995) term.

As a general rule of thumb, the Mets and their players have performed better with a Republican in office. As you enter the voting booths today, take that as you will. But honestly and all kidding aside, I hope you have some better sound criteria for choosing your candidate. Happy Election Day!

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Collins Not Planning to Change Postseason Bullpen Management http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/collins-not-planning-to-change-postseason-bullpen-management.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/collins-not-planning-to-change-postseason-bullpen-management.html/#comments Fri, 04 Nov 2016 18:00:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225856 terry-collins

One theme we saw from the entire 2016 postseason, especially in the World Series, was a shift in how bullpens were used. Terry Francona constantly went to the whip with Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw, and Cody Allen. In the World Series, Joe Maddon returned the favor with Aroldis Chapman. This was not just a departure from what we have seen in prior postseasons, but also in how Terry Collins has managed his bullpens.

Whereas Francona and Maddon asked more from their relievers, Collins pushed his starting pitchers in the postseason. It worked with Jacob deGrom in Game 5 of the NLDS as he somehow navigated through six innings allowing only two runs.

Conversely, it did not work with Matt Harvey in Game 5 of the World Series. Collins stuck with Harvey after Harvey told his manager he wanted to stay in the game. A walk and a double later, the Mets were in trouble. The Royals would tie it up in the ninth, and they would win the World Series with a seven run 12th inning.

Between the fallout from the Harvey decision with the praise that has been bestowed upon Francona with how he managed his bullpen this postseason, it is something that Terry Collins has considered himself:

“I don’t think you can do a lot during the season, because the season’s so long. You’ve got to protect your guys. But I think you’ll see the World Series and the playoffs played in a different manner from now. Those guys know their teams better than I do. You’re pitching good, you’re staying in the game. The Indians’ bullpen was outstanding throughout the entire playoffs. My guys are pretty good. I thought about last year, even Game 5 (of the 2015 World Series when Harvey talked his way into staying in the game). Joe’s a good manager. He knows what he’s doing. He’s got a good feel for things. You make decisions that you think are the best for your team and live with them.”

(Christian Red, New York Daily News).

While Collins likes his guys in the bullpen, he also likes his starting pitching, and who can blame him? Collins has a starting staff that features deGrom, Harvey, and Noah Syndergaard. All three of these pitchers have shown themselves not just to be great starting pitchers, but also great postseason pitchers. As long as they are healthy heading into the postseason, Collins does not anticipate having a short hook with any of them saying,

“We’ve got to keep those (pitchers) healthy. After watching the World Series, you’re picturing your guys out on that mound, they’re pretty good. I think they’re going to get a little farther than 4 2/3 (innings).”

Obviously, the key is health, and most notably Harvey’s health. On that front, Collins noted, “He looks great. He’s in tremendous shape. That’s what you’d expect from him. I know when he shows up in January, he’s gonna be raring to go.”

With Harvey, deGrom, and Syndergaard all healthy, the Mets have a terrific shot to go back to the postseason. If they are back in the postseason, Collins is 100% correct. These guys do not need to be bailed out before the fifth inning. They can go deep into the game and hand it off to a very capable bullpen.

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Cubs Are Odds-On Favorites to Repeat, Mets at 12-1 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/cubs-are-odds-on-favorites-to-repeat-mets-at-12-1.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/cubs-are-odds-on-favorites-to-repeat-mets-at-12-1.html/#comments Thu, 03 Nov 2016 18:07:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225792 i-believe-mets-clinch-fans

With the World Series ending early this morning, odds makers wasted no time in putting out the odds to win the 2017 World Series.  The Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas lists the Cubs odds of winning at 3-1. Bovada has the Cubs has the Cubs as +350 to win the 2017 World Series.

The odds makers give the Mets decent odds to win the 2017 World Series. The Westgate Superbook has the Mets at 12-1, and Bovada has the Mets at +1400.

It should be noted that both odds makers believe the Washington Nationals have better odds of winning the 2017 World Series with them listing the Nationals at 10-1 and +1200 respectively.

Bovada also has the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves in the long shot group at +10000 along with the Cincinnati Reds, Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks.

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World Series Ratings Better Than Football’s Ratings http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/world-series-ratings-better-than-footballs-ratings.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/world-series-ratings-better-than-footballs-ratings.html/#comments Mon, 31 Oct 2016 17:25:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225599 corey kluber

Over the course of the past few months, there have been some debate as to what is causing the decline in NFL television ratings.  There have been many different scenarios discussed from the presidential election to player’s protesting to the decline in the overall product on the field.  One factor that hasn’t been discussed at length has been an renewed national interest in baseball.

According to Forbes, most of the MLB teams saw an increase in their television ratings over the past season.  The Division Series saw record high ratings for Fox Sports One.   Now, with baseball having momentum and football seemingly having lost some of its foothold on the American consciousness, Sports TV Ratings reports that the World Series had much higher ratings than last night’s Cowboys-Redskins game.

The Chicago Cubs win over the Cleveland Indians in Game 5 drew a massive 15.3 overnight rating, easily beating out the the Eagles-Cowboys Sunday Night Football contest which drew an 11.6 overnight rating,

The Dallas Cowboys win over the Philadelphia Eagles in overtimes drew an 11.6 overnight rating, down 19 percent versus last year’s Broncos-Packers week 8 game that scored a 14.3 overnight rating.

The World Series outdrew the NFL despite it being a divisional match-up featuring the Dallas Cowboys.  The World Series outdrew the NFL despite the game having gone into overtime.

This is a good sign for Major League Baseball and the World Series.  Only time will tell if these ratings are being driven by renewed interest in baseball or interest in seeing the Cleveland Indians or Chicago Cubs win their first World Series in decades.

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World Series Game 4 Thread: Indians vs Cubs, 8:00 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/world-series-game-4-thread-indians-vs-cubs-800-pm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/world-series-game-4-thread-indians-vs-cubs-800-pm.html/#comments Sat, 29 Oct 2016 04:05:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225522 corey kluber

World Series Game 4 – Wrigley Field – 8:00 PM

RHP Corey Kluber (3-1, 1.74) vs. RHP John Lackey (0-0, 5.63)

The Cleveland Indians won Game 3 by a 1-0 score over the Chicago Cubs in the first World Series game at Wrigley Field in 71 years. The shutout victory gives the Indians a 2-1 lead in the series coming into Game 4 tonight with their ace Corey Kluber returning on short rest.

Cleveland Indians

  1. LF Rajai Davis
  2. 2B Jason Kipnis
  3. SS Francisco Lindor
  4. 1B Carlos Santana
  5. 3B Jose Ramirez
  6. RF Lonnie Chisenhall
  7. C Roberto Perez
  8. CF Tyler Naquin
  9. SP Corey Kluber

Chicago Cubs

  1. CF Dexter Fowler
  2. 3B Kris Bryant
  3. 1B Anthony Rizzo
  4. LF Ben Zobrist
  5. C Willson Contreras
  6. SS Addison Russell
  7. RF Jason Heyward
  8. 2B Javier Baez
  9. SP John Lackey

 

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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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World Series Game 2 Thread: Cubs vs Indians, 7:00 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/world-series-game-2-thread-cubs-vs-indians-700-pm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/world-series-game-2-thread-cubs-vs-indians-700-pm.html/#comments Wed, 26 Oct 2016 04:38:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225368 indians-win

World Series Game 2 - Progressive Field – 7:00 PM

RHP Jake Arrieta (0-1, 4.91) vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (0-0, 5.06)

As long as the weather holds up in Cleveland, the Indians and Cubs will play Game 2 of the World Series at Progressive Field on Wednesday night. The start time has been moved up to 7 p.m. ET in an effort to avoid the rain.

Here are your starting lineups:

Chicago Cubs

  1. CF Dexter Fowler
  2. 3B Kris Bryant
  3. 1B Anthony Rizzo
  4. LF Ben Zobrist
  5. DH Kyle Schwarber
  6. 2B Javier Baez
  7. C Willson Contreras
  8. RF Jorge Soler
  9. SS Addison Russell

Cleveland Indians

  1. DH Carlos Santana
  2. 2B Jason Kipnis
  3. SS Francisco Lindor
  4. 1B Mike Napoli
  5. 3B Jose Ramirez
  6. RF Lonnie Chisenhall
  7. LF Coco Crisp
  8. CF Tyler Naquin
  9. C Roberto Perez

 

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World Series Game 1 Thread: Cubs vs Indians, 8:00 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/world-series-game-1-thread-cubs-vs-indians-800-pm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/world-series-game-1-thread-cubs-vs-indians-800-pm.html/#comments Tue, 25 Oct 2016 09:57:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225337 lester-kluber

World Series Game One – Progressive Field

LHP Jon Lester (2‐0, 0.86) vs. RHP Corey Kluber (2‐1, 0.98)

The Chicago Cubs tonight play the Cleveland Indians in the opening game of the 112th World Series after Chicago defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series, four‐games‐to‐ two, to capture its first N.L. Pennant since 1945

One of the two longest droughts in professional sports will soon come to an end. The Cubs are in the World Series for the first time since 1945 and are looking for the franchise’s first championship since 1908. The Indians played in two Fall Classics in the 90’s (1995, 1997) but have not won a championship since 1948. The Indians beat the Boston Braves in six games 68 years ago.

The teams announced their starting lineups for Game 1:

Chicago Cubs

  1. CF Dexter Fowler
  2. 3B Kris Bryant
  3. 1B Anthony Rizzo
  4. LF Ben Zobrist
  5. DH Kyle Schwarber
  6. 2B Javier Baez
  7. RF Chris Coghlan
  8. SS Addison Russell
  9. C David Ross

Cleveland Indians

  1. CF Rajai Davis
  2. 2B Jason Kipnis
  3. SS Francisco Lindor
  4. 1B Mike Napoli
  5. DH Carlos Santana
  6. 3B Jose Ramirez
  7. LF Brandon Guyer
  8. RF Lonnie Chisenhall
  9. C Roberto Perez

 

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The Window to Re-Sign Cespedes is Closing http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/the-window-to-re-sign-cespedes-is-closing.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/the-window-to-re-sign-cespedes-is-closing.html/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2016 18:08:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225026 mets-win-cespedes

Back in the 1998 offseason, neither the Mets nor Mike Piazza were messing around. Before the end of the World Series, which is the time players could file for free agency, the Mets made the 30 year old Piazza the highest paid player in the sport by giving him a seven year, $91 million contract. The rest, as you know, is history. Piazza would become a beloved Met as he slugged his way into the record books, into our hearts, and into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

This is the stage the Mets and Yoenis Cespedes are at right now.

Cespedes, who turns 31 today, has until three days following the end of the World Series to opt out of the remaining two years of his contract. Given the terrific yet injury plagued season Cespedes just had, he is widely expected to opt out and seek a much more lucrative deal in the free agent market.

Unlike last season where players like Justin Upton and Jason Heyward were on the open market, Cespedes stands alone as the top free agent target for any team that needs to add an outfielder with star quality and not on the wrong side of 32.

There have been conflicting reports about Cespedes’ desire to remain with the Mets. However, if the last year and a half have been any indication, Cespedes has enjoyed his time in Flushing, and he has blossomed in the limelight of New York.

Washington Nationals v New York Mets

Cespedes has worked extensively with hitting coach Kevin Long to improve his approach at the plate, getting on base more. and hitting for more power.

“We’re trying to close the gap for Yoenis, between great and dangerous, so that he’s both,” Long said last Spring. “What he’s capable of doing to pitches in the strike zone is downright lethal, but the idea is get him to swing at only strikes.”

The results have led to consecutive seasons of career-high power numbers. In addition to a clubhouse that idolizes him, Cespedes also has a fan base that adores him and plead for him to stay with the Mets.

The Mets have also greatly benefited from Cespedes’ duration in New York. Cespedes and Piazza are the only two superstars who have led the Mets to consecutive postseason appearances. The fans’ love of Cespedes helps increase the gate and merchandise sales. More importantly, Cespedes’ presence in the lineup and the Mets outfield give the team the best possible chance to win a World Series.

Given that, the time between the end of the Wild Card Game and the end of the World Series should be spent with the Mets and Cespedes’ agents, Roc Nation, trying to reach an agreement to keep Cespedes in New York where he belongs.

If a deal is not reached it means one of three things: (1) Cespedes wanted to hit the free agent market; (2) the Mets are not willing to pay what it takes to keep Cespedes; or (3) both sides failed to put forth their best efforts to get a deal done. If any of these are the case, it is a shame, and it could be a decision both sides will rue for years to come.

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Jeurys Familia Is Still Great http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/jeurys-familia-is-still-great.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/jeurys-familia-is-still-great.html/#comments Fri, 07 Oct 2016 15:10:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224573 jeurys familia

One thing that is strange about narratives is that they don’t stay static. Rather, narratives are dynamic and are often change wildly with a strong recency bias.

Last year, the narrative was the Mets blew Game 4 of the World Series because Terry Collins didn’t go to his closer to start the eighth inning. Instead, Collins brought in Tyler Clippard who proceed to walk consecutive batters after retiring the first batter he faced. With runners on first and second with one out, Collins finally went to Jeurys Familia. Familia induced a ground ball that went under Daniel Murphy‘s glove loading the bases. Two singles later, the Mets 3-2 lead turned into a 5-3 deficit.

In Game 5, again Collins was blamed for the loss because he did not go to Familia.  After eight absolutely brilliant innings, Collins allowed Matt Harvey to talk himself into pitching the ninth inning. After a leadoff walk and an RBI double, Collins brought in Familia to now protect a 2-1 with a runner in scoring position and no outs. Familia induced the groundout he needed for the second out. On the play, Eric Hosmer hit a ground ball that Lucas Duda infamously threw the ball away.

With that, Familia technically blew saves in Games 4 and 5 of the World Series. The main reason why Familia blew these saves is his manager brought him into difficult situations and his defense abandoned him. Now, all of a sudden, the narrative has shifted to he’s a choke artist.

In the Wild Card Game, Familia took the loss. It started with a Brandon Crawford opposite field double to left-center. On the play, Yoenis Cespedes, perhaps due to his lingering quad injury, made no effort whatsoever to cut the ball off before it went all the way to the wall.  Familia then struck out Angel Pagan who had been attempting to bunt Crawford to third. Familia then had Joe Panik 2-2, but he couldn’t put him away. With Panik walking, there were runners on first and second with one out. Familia got a sinker up in the zone, and Conor Gillaspie hit a three run go-ahead homer. From there, Familia got out of the inning, but it was too late. After the third out, he was booed off the Citi Field mound.

That’s right. Mets fans booed one of the best closers in the game off the mound. Worse yet, the narrative became Familia can’t pitch the big one anymore.

That’s nonsense. In the World Series, if Murphy fields a ground ball, or Duda makes an even average throw home, Familia saves both of those games. For what it’s worth, Familia had only allowed one earned run in the 2015 postseason, and neither were in those games.

Furthermore, focusing on those games ignores the work he did to get the Mets to the World Series. In Game 1 of the NLDS, Familia came on in the eighth inning to bail out Clippard. Familia would have to go 1.1 innings to get the save. In the Game 5 clincher, Familia pitched the final two innings not allowing a baserunner to send the Mets to the NLCS.

In Game 1 of the NLCS, he came on for Harvey, and he pitched the final 1.1 innings to earn the save. Between the NLDS and NLCS, Familia was a perfect 5/5 in save opportunities with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.414 WHIP. This run is conveniently ignored in discussing how clutch Familia is.

What is also ignored is the phenomenal work Familia has done since taking over and becoming the Mets closer. Yes, his work has been phenomenal.

Over the past three seasons, Familia has thrown more innings than any other reliever in baseball. Over the past two seasons, he leads all major league closers in appearances, innings pitched, games finished, saves, and multi-inning saves. Between the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he has made 154 appearances pitching 155.2 innings recording 94 saves with a 2.20 ERA and a 1.105 WHIP. The advanced stats also indicate he’s been great as he has had a 2.56 FIP and an 180 ERA+.

jeurys familia

During the 2015 season, when the Mets were not getting any offense due to a mixture of injuries and poor performances, the Mets bullpen had no margin for error. From the time David Wright got injured until the Mets acquired Cespedes at the trade deadline, Familia made 42 appearances pitching 45.2 innings. In that time frame, he recorded 24 saves with a 1.97 ERA and a 0.985 WHIP.

Each and every one of those 24 games he saved was important as for much of the summer, the Mets season was on the brink of disaster.  If not for Familia, who had been unexpectedly thrust into the role due to the injuries and suspension of Jenrry Mejia the Mets may not have lasted in the NL East race.

All Familia would do for an encore this season was record the most saves by a Mets closer in a single season. His 51 saves would also stand as the single season record for a Dominican born pitcher. For a Mets team that tied with the Giants in the standings for the Wild Card.  By the Mets winning the season series against the Giants, they had the right to host the Wild Card Game.

In the three games he pitched against the Giants, Familia recorded two saves without allowing an earned run. Without Familia, the Mets play the Wild Card Game at AT&T Park.

The Mets also finished one game up on the St. Louis Cardinals, each and every single one of these saves were important.  If Familia falters just one or two times more, the Mets miss the postseason.

Overall, if Familia is not the best closer in baseball, he’s in the conversation. He’s also more durable than the other closers, and as we have seen with his work throughout the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he is clutch. His defense failing him, and his making one bad pitch to Gillaspie doesn’t change that.

It’s a given that he will be the Mets closer next season. And he should be, because if the Mets have any designs on getting back to the postseason, they are going to need Familia to repeat his successes from the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Then in the 2017 season he can go out there and remind everyone just how clutch he is.

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Syndergaard and Bumgarner Clash in All-Time Pitcher’s Duel http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/syndergaard-and-bumgarner-clash-in-all-time-pitchers-duel.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/syndergaard-and-bumgarner-clash-in-all-time-pitchers-duel.html/#comments Thu, 06 Oct 2016 16:26:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224527 noah-syndergaard

Remember who got the game winning hit in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series? It’s one thing that is not often discussed because Jack Morris pitched a game so great that people cannot shake the idea that he should be a Hall of Famer.

In the other dugout was a young right-hander named John Smoltz who matched Morris pitch for pitch. There were pivotal plays in that game you can point to as to why the Twins ultimately won. However, the biggest reason was Morris was able to go the distance and the young Smoltz was only able to go 7.1 innings.

Last night wasn’t the World Series. However, it was a winner-take-all game featuring just a tremendous pitching match-up. The Giants had the grizzled veteran, Madison Bumgarner, who has laid claim to the best active postseason pitcher, if not all time. The Mets were sending out Noah Syndergaard, who throws harder than anyone in baseball and is coming off a Cy Young caliber award season. Simply put, you do not get better than this.

Bumgarner and Syndergaard were even more dominant than you would’ve thought they could be. Combined, the two aces threw 227 pitches. Only six of those pitches would result in base hits. The two would combine for 16 strikeouts with just five walks. No one would reach third base against them let alone score a run. In July, this is a game that is game you would call an instant classic. In the postseason, this is a game for the ages.

Syndergaard had a no-hitter through 5.2 innings. He struck out 10 Giants batters. Overall, he pitched seven dominant innings allowing just two hits and three walks.  Through those seven innings, he was the better pitcher. The best hitter in the Giants’ lineup, Buster Posey, would describe Syndergaard as “unhittable, almost unreal.” (northjersey.com).  Eventual hero, Conor Gillaspie, described Syndergaard as having “some of the best stuff I’ve ever seen.”

Syndergaard became just the third Mets pitcher to go at least seven innings while allowing two or fewer hits in a postseason game. The two previous pitchers were Bobby Jones in Game 4 of 2000 NLDS vs the Giants and Jon Matlack in Game 2 of the 1973 NLCS against the Reds.

As Terry Collins said after the game, “I’ve got to rank this one tonight as good as any under the circumstances. He stepped up when we needed him. He stepped up last year when we needed him. He’s grown so much, even though he’s still very, very young, he’s grown so much and matured so much as a pitcher. He’s going to be really, really good.”

madison-bumgarner

Utlimately, that’s how Bumgarner won. He didn’t beat Syndergaard; he just outlasted him. A big reason why is Bumgarner needed just 21 pitches to get through the first three innings. For some pitchers, they need that many just to get through one inning. To get through three innings with that few pitches is extraordinary. It was a huge reason why Bumgarner needed only 118 pitches to finish the complete game shut out.

With Bumgarner outlasting Syndergaard, the Giants lineup was rejuvenated. With Syndergaard leaving Posey talked about how confident the Giants were saying, “We just knew in the next half-inning we’d still have a chance.”

They loaded the bases in the eighth before Addison Reed got a huge inning ending strikeout of Hunter Pence. Then in the ninth, Brandon Crawford got the rally started with a leadoff double off Jeurys Familia. It set the stage for Familia having his Alejandro Pena moment giving up the game-winning hit to Gillaspie.

Just like the 1991 World Series, it was the team that had their dominant starter go the distance that got the victory. Just like Smoltz, Syndergaard was better than Bumgarner in every single facet of the game last night save one. That one, going deep into the game, was the main difference between the two, and ultimately, it is the reason why the Giants are playing in the NLDS.

In the end, Mets and Giants played baseball at the highest of levels yesterday and put on an display as to what makes baseball truly great. Neither team deserved to lose that game. And yet, a game like this also shows how cruel baseball can be. Despite the Mets having the better pitcher and them having outplayed the Giants for seven innings, the Mets would wind up losing a heartbreaking game in front of a raucous Citi Field.

Syndergaard put it best when he said:

Looking at the scorecard, it’ll say the Giants beat the Mets in the Wild Card Game. It’ll show there were two great pitching performances. Looking up and down the big names and potential Hall of Famers on both sides of the equation, you’ll notice it was Gillaspie, who was only playing in the game due to an Eduardo Nunez injury, getting the game winning hit. It was as shocking as it was beautiful (unless you’re a Mets fan).

Overall, the real winner of this game was the game of baseball itself. It showed everyone how great it can be while also showing how cruel it can be. Last night’s game, just like that World Series game 25 years ago, showed that when baseball is at it’s best there is nothing better.

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MMO Fan Shot: Let’s Make Some Magic! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/mmo-fan-shot-lets-make-some-magic.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/mmo-fan-shot-lets-make-some-magic.html/#comments Wed, 05 Oct 2016 20:06:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224480 wright homer

An MMO Fan Shot by Lisa P.

When the 2016 season began, I was sure we would go far into the postseason, and thought it was probable we would win the World Series. I figured it would be smooth sailing and that we’d probably clinch the NL East sometime in the middle of September. I couldn’t imagine there would be much of a pennant race because we easily found ourselves winning the NL East last season and we made it all the way to November. And after all, we did resign Yoenis Cespedes.

However, beginning in April, our team was plagued with injury after injury. Travis d’Arnaud, Wilmer Flores, Asdrubal Cabrera and Juan Lagares all missed playing time on and off. Worse yet, Matt Harvey was not himself and eventually required surgery, Zack Wheeler never returned like everyone expected, Michael Conforto struggled terribly, and Lucas Duda missed nearly the entire season.

wilmer flores jose reyes

On June 25th, the Mets made one of the smartest moves of the season when they signed Jose Reyes in what many saw as a controversial decision. However, the move immediately paid big dividends as Jose was rejuvenated and added some energy to the team. He was finally home where he belonged, and his infield versatility allowed him to fill gaps all over the field initially before finally settling in at third base to replace his injured buddy, David Wright.

As the season progressed we were able to patch up some holes with the additions of James Loney and of course Kelly Johnson, who returned better than ever.

However, our rotation of aces was struggling. Jacob deGrom had several uncharacteristically tough starts while Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard each were diagnosed with bone spurs. Thankfully, Bartolo Colon was better than could be expected from a 43-year old, and he became our most reliable starter for a while.

I can’t say I ever gave up hope, because after all – Ya Gotta Believe. I would be lying though, if I didn’t admit that I was pretty scared in the middle of August. The NL East had slipped away and the Wild Card race seemed nearly out of reach, not because 5.5 games are impossible to make up, but because our team seemed to be losing ground, falling to two games below .500, any it felt like the losses were quickly mounting.

asdrubal-cabrera

Thankfully, things began to turn around. Reyes, Yo, and Asdrubal all returned from the DL and they each hit the ground running, especially Cabrera who was on fire. Wilmer was also carrying a lot of the offense and crushing left-handed pitching like nobody’s business. Things were looking up.

Our ailing rotation was patched up by a pair of rookies in Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman who performed in such a way that is nothing short of miraculous. And here we are in the postseason.

Tonight’s the night! We’ll find out if the Mets or the Giants will advance to play the Chicago Cubs in the NL Division Series.

Thor gets the nod and he’s hit his stride at the perfect time. We hit Madison Bumgarner really well when we faced him this summer, so that is good news. We have Yo, we have Reyes, and we have Familia with his newly found confidence.

yoenis-cespedes-jay-bruce

While I am deeply saddened about the injury of Wilmer, we do have Bruce who has suddenly found his groove and is red hot. I always hoped that if we started Bruce long enough, this would happen. It did, just at the perfect time. I’m also thrilled with the way Rene Rivera turned out. He seems to be the best option for Wednesday night.

I just know that if we survive tonight, we will go far. The Nats could stand in our way say all the experts, but I say maybe not.  Once you make the playoffs, you’ve got as good a chance as any to win the World Series. Especially when your team is the Amazin’ Mets. I don’t want to wait for 2017. Why should I? We have the championship in our sights now. I know we can do it and I’m pretty sure we will. So let’s get this done! Let’s Go Mets!

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This MMO Fan Shot was written by MMO reader Lisa Pecaro. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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

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

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

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

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

jay bruce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mets Offense Stifled in 1-0 Loss to Nats http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-offense-stifled-in-1-0-loss-to-nats.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-offense-stifled-in-1-0-loss-to-nats.html/#comments Wed, 14 Sep 2016 22:48:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222920 asdrubal cabrera

The New York Mets (77-69) lost to the Washington Nationals (87-57) by a score of 1-0 Wednesday in Washington. The Giants and Cardinals both lost today, so the Mets remain a half game behind the Giants for the first Wild Card spot, and a half game ahead of the Cardinals for the second.

Offense:

Reyes started the game off by lining Tanner Roark‘s third pitch down the right field line for a base hit. Asdrubal Cabrera then continued his hot hitting with a hot shot up the middle to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Yoenis Cespedes got jammed and popped out to the first baseman before some sort of cross-up between Roark and the catcher Wilson Ramos led to a passed ball, moving the runners to second and third with one out and Curtis Granderson at the dish.

With Reyes getting a comically large lead from third with the infield shifted to the right, Curtis Granderson walked to load the bases. Jay Bruce then struck out on three pitches for the second out of the inning, bringing last night’s hero T.J. Rivera to the box. He hit one in the air down the right field line, on which Bryce Harper made a nice sliding grab on the line to end the inning.

The Mets were kept quiet all day. With the exception of some walks here and there, the only other hit before the 9th inning was a Jay Bruce single.

Mark Melancon came in for the save, his 5th time pitching in the last 6 days. Curtis Granderson greeted him and lined one down the first base line. It would have been an easy double, but Ryan Zimmerman was quite literally playing right on the line and picked it out of the air for the first out. Up came Jay Bruce who coming into today was 6-11 (.545) career against Melancon. He hit one just short of the warning track in center which was run down for the second out of the inning.

Up came T.J. Rivera, a rematch from last night. Melancon got ahead of him 0-2, just as he did last night, however this time he got Rivera to ground out to shortstop to end the game.

robert gsellman

Pitching:

Robert Gsellman was phenomenal today, pitching 5.2 scoreless innings allowing only 5 hits and one walk while striking out 4. He was removed from the game in the 6th inning after throwing 77 pitches.

Josh Smoker came in with a runner on second base to face Daniel Murphy, who he walked intentionally. Bryce Harper then came up with runners on first and second with two outs, and Smoker struck him out looking at a 96 mph fastball on the outside corner to end the inning.

Fernando Salas was tasked with the 7th inning and allowed only one hit. Unfortunately, that one hit was a solo home run off the bat of notorious Met-killer Wilson Ramos who gave the Nationals a late 1-0 lead. He stayed in and pitched a perfect 8th inning.

Notes:

Verizon Trivia Question: Who had the game-winning hit in Game 7 of the 1924 World Series for the Washington Senators?

Daniel Murphy had at least one hit in every single game against the Mets this season.

Verizon Trivia Answer: Earl McNeely (12th inning)

On Deck:

The Mets head home, sending Bartolo Colon (13-7, 3.27 ERA) to the Citi Field mound to face off against Jose Berrios (2-6, 9.27 ERA) and the Twins at 7:10 PM.

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The Mets’ 2016 Rallying Cry http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/the-mets-2016-rallying-cry.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/the-mets-2016-rallying-cry.html/#comments Tue, 06 Sep 2016 16:48:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222262 1973 mets yogi tug mcgraw milner

We all remember or have heard the legend of Ya Gotta Believe. How the 1973 Mets, racked by injuries all season, in last place on August 30, went on a blistering tear in September and broke the tape by the thinnest of margins.  Their 82 wins were tied for the worst ever to qualify for the post-season, and just enough to clinch the NL East one day after the regular season was scheduled to end.

So it occurred to me: this team facing similar circumstances to ‘73 needs their own rallying cry to supplement Yo’s awesome walk-up music, The Circle of Life (you will remember the ‘99 team adopted as its theme, Who Let the Dogs Out).  And it wasn’t until about the fifth time I uttered it to myself as events unfolded over the last couple of weeks that the realization came upon me:  The slogan for this team has been hiding in plain sight:

Hey, You Never Know. (kudos to the NY State Lottery).

I mean, with 80% of our once-in-a-generation stable of young rotation studs on the shelf, and 7 of 8 opening day starting players missing huge chunks of the season, we shouldn’t even be in the running right about now.  I don’t really want to even get my hopes up for a trip to October.

But…..this Seth Lugo kid actually looks OK – how could he have put up those nightmare numbers in Vegas?  Where the heck did this guy Robert Gsellman come from?  Is Joe Hardy (of Damn Yankees fame) on his way?

Reyes Jose

Is Jose Reyes really injecting new life into this team?  Are Grandy and Bruce ready to really, finally break out?  Is Wilmer actually hitting righties? Is this team actually doing some timely hitting?  Is their swagger back?  Their run of 12 wins in 16 games begs these questions.

But is all this enough for them to scratch and claw their way to a single elimination game and a chance to play up with the big boys?

Hey…you never know, now do you?

After the ‘73 Amazins’ iced their trip to October with a victory before a reported 1900 fans (though it was likely closer to 500) at Wrigley Field (scene of many a Mets’ conquest over the years), no one remembered all the injuries or cared that they had staggered through five dismal months, or even that they had a woeful offense typified by the lightly regarded (read AAAA-quality) Don Hahn in the leadoff spot and CF.

No, they only cared that the Mets were en fuego at just the right time, and that they had Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Jon Matlack lined up to face the Big Red Machine and, hopefully, the defending champion A’s, giving them a punchers chance against clearly superior teams.  They rode that wave all the way to the 7th game of the World Series.

Is a puncher’s chance not the perfect description for this team’s pursuit of the playoffs right now?

Sure, even with an entirely enviable schedule the rest of the way – only three games against winning teams, as opposed to 15 for the Cardinals – the team could revert to its historically bad situational hitting.  The only two reliable guys in the bullpen could get worn out. The “ReplaceMets” chariots could turn back into pumpkins.  Of course, in amazing Mets fashion, this trio has formed an acronym identical to the most primal team cheer – LGM – no longer standing just for Let’s Go Mets, but for at least the immediate future, Lugo, Gsellman & Rafael Montero.

robert gsellman 2

It’s becoming conventional wisdom that whatever Frank Viola is endowing these young pitchers with in that pitchers’ graveyard in the desert, where what happens in Vegas – in a pitching sense – apparently doesn’t stay in Vegas, well, as per When Harry met Sally, we’ll have what he’s having.

September is generally replete with minefields, but you never know, because you only need to be hot right now, without regard to either the future or the past.  It’s all about the couple of dozen games dead ahead.

You never know, because last year this same group, or close to it, in the lineup, bench and bullpen, came up huge when it counted the most.

You never know, because this is a franchise defined by being an underdog.  Not because they haven’t had strong, even powerful teams, but because underdog is in the franchise DNA.  They were overwhelming underdogs last year.  In fact, they have been underdogs, by my figuring, for all but seven of the 54 years of their existence (1970, ‘86-’88, ‘92, ‘07, ‘16).

Admittedly, it requires a mental adjustment for a team favored to win their division (and their fans) to embrace the role of the little engine that could, but at this point, it’s whatever gets you through the night, and on to the promised land.

Analogies to ‘73 and history in general are, of course, only so instructive, because historical facts can often turn out to be just historical anomalies, and are not necessarily normative or predictive. As a simple example, the Red Sox were never going to beat the Yankees when it counted or win a World Series again…because they had not done either in 86 years.  Then 2004 happened.  Since this is a presidential year, one might remember back to when Gerald Ford was surely going to beat Jimmy Carter in a presidential race because a shorter candidate had never beaten a taller candidate.  But Carter won, and nobody discusses height any more in presidential races.  Because what was once true is, well, no longer true.

Whether you believe history repeats itself, or, per Henry Ford, that history is bunk, embrace this team, once considered a powerhouse but now reduced to an upstart.  A division title is not in the offing, but it was only two years ago that the last team in, the second wildcard (the Giants) won the World Series.  And just ten years ago, the Cardinals went all the way after winning a paltry 83 games.  Don’t we remember.

Hey, you just never know.

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If Mets Miss Playoffs, Will Terry Collins Take the Fall? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/if-mets-miss-playoffs-will-terry-collins-take-the-fall.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/if-mets-miss-playoffs-will-terry-collins-take-the-fall.html/#comments Tue, 09 Aug 2016 11:00:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=219882 Terry Collins, Manny Gonzalez

There are less than two months to go in the regular season, and the Mets’ playoff chances are dwindling by the day. The NL East is all but decided, and the tease of the second Wild Card is the only thing keeping the team relevant at this point. If the Mets do miss the playoffs, it will be viewed as a massive failure given the high expectations and higher payroll. Something will change, and usually the first thing to change is the manager.

Terry Collins is in his sixth season with the Mets. He’s one of the longest-tenured managers in baseball, which is somewhat surprising given his track record. The Mets posted just one winning season in his first five years, and it was very possible that he would have been gone after last season had the team missed the playoffs.

The stance of the Collins defenders is well known. The front office often puts him in a tough position. He took the team to the World Series. He handles the New York media well enough. He fights for his players (even if he didn’t play any in the All-Star game).

But the stance of the detractors is well known too. He favors his gut too much. He blew the World Series. He can’t handle a bullpen. He doesn’t like to play young players.

And while he fights for his players, he doesn’t seem to have garnered that same love and respect from his guys that managers like Joe Maddon, Bruce Bochy, Terry Francona, Dusty Baker, and so on have.

While Collins isn’t free of criticism, no one is exactly blaming him for 2016. There have been rampant injuries to the ball club and an unfathomable inability to hit with runners in scoring position. But the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals have had rampant injuries too. And the Miami Marlins still have less talent than the Mets, even when New York has an injured roster.

Putting Game 4 and 5 of the World Series aside, Collins’ 2016 has enough issues alone. The team looked unprepared to start the season, and he’s been unable to find any way to get them out of this slump since the beginning of May. But it’s the little things too.

After the Matt Harvey debacle in Game 5, Collins’ inability to say no to a player was often highlighted in 2016 He couldn’t say no to Jeurys Familia’s insistence to pitch the day after his first blown save in a year. He stresses playing the hot hand, but after Travis d’Arnaud (who needs to get hot) homers against the Yankees, he sits him two of the next three games to play journeyman catcher Rene Rivera. On Friday against Detroit, he missed a challenge call at second base that eventually cost the Mets a run. They lost 4-3. Those are just recent things. Any Mets fan has a few more examples of their own.

These are all little things but when you’re two games back of the Wild Card and haven’t won back-to-back games in a month, little things add up. And of all the changes the Mets can make over the offseason, this is the easiest, especially when Collins has said he will be retiring soon anyway.

The 2016 Mets season is not Terry Collins’ fault. He’s not hurt, and he’s not batting with a guy on second base and one out. But he’s also not helping, and the front office gave him more talent than he’s ever had before. And with this window that the Mets have, they cannot afford another 2016. So something has to change. And Collins is the easiest change. Will it matter? If it means a few extra wins, then it could mean all the difference.

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Mets Avoid Sweep in Detroit, Eyeing Wild Card Spot http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mets-avoid-sweep-in-detroit-eyeing-wild-card-spot.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mets-avoid-sweep-in-detroit-eyeing-wild-card-spot.html/#comments Mon, 08 Aug 2016 16:50:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=220056 neil walker alejandro de aza

The New York Mets made it to the World Series last season, eventually losing to the Kansas City Royals. Due to the success the team had last year, they entered the season as one of the favorites to make it back to the World Series.

However, things haven’t gone as smoothly as the team had hoped, and they currently sit nine games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East. With almost two months left in the regular season, the Mets still have a chance to win the division, but they will need to go on an extended winning streak to make it happen. If they do, make sure to take them on the baseball betting lines.

On Sunday, the Mets got a big win over the Detroit Tigers, which helped the team avoid getting swept in the three-game series.

Neil Walker, whose wife is expected to deliver their first child this week, had a four and a half hour drive ahead of him so he could spend Monday, which is his off-day, with his wife. Walker made sure the Mets departed Detroit in a timely manner by hitting a two run homer in the ninth inning to help the Mets get the win.

Michael Conforto, who has been struggling since he was called up from the Mets Triple A Las Vegas team, also came up big for the Mets as a pinch hitter. Conforto hit a homer to give Mets the lead in the seventh inning, then hit a single in the ninth inning.

After the game, Walker was the first man out of the door, and according to his teammates, he was going straight home to his wife.

Even with their struggles this season, the Mets are still in the thick of the playoff hunt because they are only two games behind the Miami Marlins for the final Wildcard spot in the NL.

The Mets also seem to be in luck because their next two series are against the San Diego Padres and the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are two of the worst teams in the National League this season. If the Mets can win both series, it will give them the opportunity to take the second Wildcard spot from the Marlins.

When asked about Michael Conforto’s struggles, Mets manager Terry Collins said the team has to figure out how to get Conforto going. Collins added that Conforto was a big part of the club and he would love for him to perform the way he did last year after getting called up to the majors.

In another strange twist, the Mets won the game on Sunday despite not having a single at-bat with runners in scoring position, mostly due to pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who struck out 10 batters in eight innings, allowing four hits.

The Tigers had a chance to take the lead in the eighth inning, but Justin Upton blew it for the team by taking off toward third base before noticing that J. D. Martinez, who was running ahead of him, stopped at third base.

Upton’s mistake ended up getting Martinez tagged out, which ended the inning. After the game, Collins said his team caught a break in that situation.

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Mets Should Bring Back Juan Uribe http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mets-should-bring-back-juan-uribe.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/mets-should-bring-back-juan-uribe.html/#comments Thu, 04 Aug 2016 16:00:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=219619 Juan,  Uribe

One thing that is lost when evaluating a player is their impact on the clubhouse. The one thing we all saw with Juan Uribe with the Mets last year was he was a great clubhouse presence.

He was the guy who walked into the clubhouse, and he suddenly owned the place. He was blaring the Backstreet Boys on the stereo.  He felt comfortable joking around with everyone including team captain David Wright. He also was on hand to remind everyone that baseball is the greatest sport in the world. It takes a well equipped man to act this way, and as we found out this year, Uribe is that kind of guy.

The two time World Series winner’s impact on the 2015 Mets was understated. He kept that team both loose and focused. He helped that team win the division and go to the World Series. Uribe was having a similar impact on the Indians’ clubhouse this year until his release after the team made several trade deadline acquisitions.

Uribe hasn’t been very good this year hitting .206/.259/.332 with nine doubles, seven homers, and 25 RBI in 73 games. That almost matches the lackluster production he had with the Mets in 44 games when he hit .219/.301/.430 with nine doubles, six homers, and 20 RBI. Fact is, Uribe is a 37 year old player who shouldn’t be playing everyday, nor should he be relied upon to provide consistent offense. What you want him for is his presence.

The Mets also should want him due to their recent rash of injuries.

The Mets have already lost Wright, Jose ReyesLucas Duda, and Asdrubal Cabrera to injury. No one can guarantee when or if any of these players can return. In the interim, the Mets have an unproven, but playing well, Matt Reynolds at shortstop. The hot-hitting, but still susceptible to right-handed pitching, Wilmer Flores at third. The short bench forces the Mets to play James Loney everyday despite him being unable to hit left-handed pitching. Additionally, the Mets are now carrying Ty Kelly on the bench.

At a minimum, Uribe is a much better option off the bench than Kelly. Also, with his ability to play both second and third, he opens up some platoon options thereby allowing the Mets to maximize their offense against left-handed pitching.

Overall, given the current state of the Mets, Uribe is a viable option for them. He’s even more attractive when you consider how valuable he is in the clubhouse. Once he’s available, the Mets should go out and bring him back for another World Series run and Sandy Alderson hasn’t ruled it out according to last night’s Met broadcast.

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Time for Harvey and deGrom to Take Charge http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/time-for-harvey-and-degrom-to-take-charge.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/time-for-harvey-and-degrom-to-take-charge.html/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 18:54:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=216186 matt harvey jacob deGrom

As the 2015 season began, the Mets finally had reason to hope.  The main reason for that was Jacob deGrom and the return of  Matt Harvey. There was also the expectation that the Mets would also get contributions from prospects Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, but no one knew what, if anything, either could contribute in 2015, it was all about deGrom and Harvey.

Seemingly out of nowhere, deGrom had a spectacular 2014 season that saw him win the Rookie of the Year Award.  Due to his performance, Terry Collins slated him ahead of Harvey in the rotation.  Throughout the 2015 season, deGrom justified his manager’s confidence by going 14-8 with a 2.54 ERA and a 0.979 WHIP.  He would be the lone Mets All Star, and he would be the story of the All Star Game striking out three batters on 10 total pitches.  In the NLDS, he out-dueled both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke to pitch the Mets into the NLCS.  During that season, deGrom established that he is as good as any pitcher in baseball including his teammate Matt Harvey.

In his first start of the 2015 season, Harvey declared he was back by shutting down the Nationals over six innings, allowing only four hits and walking one while striking out nine.  Future MVP Bryce Harper would go hitless.  He defeated former first overall pick Stephen Strasburg in a classic pitching duel.  That start set the tone for a season in which Harvey would go 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA and a 1.019 WHIP. Harvey carried this greatness forward in the postseason.  In Game 5 of the World Series, he showed the world why he’s a great pitcher.  He shut down the Royals over eight innings while striking out nine.  Once again, he gave Mets fans hope that the team could win the World Series.

Well here we are at almost the mid-point of the 2016 season, and what the Mets need more than anything else is a healthy dose of good news and some hope… The kind of hope that Harvey could provide again.

The Mets were absolutely bludgeoned last night with Noah Syndergaard on the mound.  After the game, the young ace denied rumors that he is dealing with a bone spur issue in his pitching elbow.  For his part, Steven Matz did not deny the issue. The question surrounding him was not only whether he could make his start tomorrow, but also whether he would need surgery.

On a night like that you tend to focus on all the negativity surrounding the Mets and the media had no problem fanning those flames. The team is struggling offensively.  They fell four games back of the Nationals and into third place in the National League East.  And questions abound about what is wrong with the Mets.

With a strong start tonight, Harvey can remind everyone about all that is right with the Mets.  Harvey has a chance to make a strong statement and change the narrative.

After a turbulent start to this season, a mechanical flaw was found and fixed for Harvey, and in the five starts since, he has a 2.25 ERA and a 0.875 WHIP.  Opposing batters have only hit .205/.237/.286 against him in that stretch.  Simply put, Harvey is back.  It’s a good thing too because the Mets desperately need him.

The Mets need Harvey to go out there tonight and shut down the Washington Nationals like he’s done throughout his career. Harvey can give the Mets the shot in the arm they so desperately need right now with a strong performance and a win.

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