Mets enter the biggest series they’ve played in years a mere three games out of first place. It would take a sweep to tie, but two of three would get them to two back. Is that enough? The Mets have been lingering around two back for weeks now, and while there are still a lot of games left, they’re dwindling fast and there are only six against the Nationals after this.
So while getting back to two back would be a good start, at one point the Mets need to rattle off a stretch of wins that gets them back into first place rather than a stone’s throw away. No better time than when you’re actually playing your competition head to head.
On the flip side however, it’d be terrible to actually lose this series. To fall four back or worse, while not critical, is particularly worrying. Much like the second time the Mets played them this season, the Nats have been struggling but very recently have gotten healthy and won a few games. Keeping the pressure on and not letting them get any momentum could be key.
So while two of three doesn’t solve any problems, it prevents new ones. With Travis d’Arnaud back, perhaps some trade help, and a glimmer of hope on the David Wright front things are possibly looking up for the Mets down the stretch. Keep the Nationals off balance and be prepared to strike.
Remember, the Nationals visit Citi Field for the final three games of the season. It’s certainly be nice to get into first before that and clinch, but something tells me that’s going to be a monumental series.
This upcoming series against the Washington Nationals is probably the biggest series the Mets have played in years. It’s still too early to be a make or break series, particularly with so many left against the Nats, but it’s late enough that pulling closer, or ahead, of the opposition really sets things in motion whereas losing makes things a little more difficult.
The Mets have their top three pitchers going against the Nationals, which will certainly help. Of course, it’s scoring runs that’s been the Mets problem this year. They have actually hit the ball well this past series against the Cardinals, they just managed to scatter them and never bunch them enough to really score. Now would be a really good time for that to come together and lead to runs.
The trade deadline also draws near. Holding tight with the Nationals would help reinforce the value added by bringing in another bat or two. The Mets could do a lot with a little more offense.
It’s not about how incompetent the hitting has been for the Mets so far this season, it’s about how competent, and healthy, it will be the rest of the season going forward. Health is a major factor, and a tricky one. It’s the hardest to predict and the biggest problem when it fails.
Juan Lagares has been, or had been, playing hurt for a swatch of this season. David Wright has barely played. Travis d’Arnaud missed a ton of time and now is hurt again. Daniel Murphy has missed time. Michael Cuddyer seems like he might be hiding an injury. These things hurt, no matter the depth you do or don’t have.
It’s hurt the Mets ability to win. Despite some great pitching, they do not score enough runs on a regular basis to win enough games to be truly competitive. You could point fingers to just about everyone except maybe Lucas Duda, and even he’s had a slump here and there. The ability of the Mets to return and stay healthy is going to be a big key of the second half.
Additionally some roster adjustment both on the prospect front and the trade front can go a long way. The Mets could use another bat, particularly one that could play SS or 3B. Admittedly, there aren’t a ton of options in this area. The Mets pretty much have the outfield locked down, at least as much as you’re not going to sit Cuddyer, Granderson, or Lagares enough to make it worthwhile to acquire a fourth regular. Wilmer Flores is driving the ball when he does hit it, but he doesn’t hit it enough to compensate for his poor defense or on base percentage. With Tejada and Murphy and the almost ready Herrera, the Mets can sorta make due at third base until David Wright returns, but it might be wise to acquire a solid upgrade there and worry about where to play him if everyone’s healthy later.
Guys like Herrera are interesting too. Can he take the next step forward and be of value in the majors? Can Darrell Ceciliani have a roll as a bench player and frequent outfield sub? What about Matt Reynolds down in the minors? The Mets have some offensive help on the horizon, both immediately and a little further away. Perhaps it’s not quite time to panic and reach out to the greener grass players on the other side of the fence. After all, that grass could be Astroturf.
The most difficult question facing Sandy Alderson is the existing roster. While it’s unfair to pinpoint a moment in time, particularly one during a slump, to judge a player on, various Mets hitters have not been great this season to this particular point. Michael Cuddyer is having a rough go of it right now, and Curtis Granderson has been merely an average right fielder. However, the question isn’t “Who’s been disappointing so far?” it’s “Who’s going to help out the rest of the way?” and the answer to the first question isn’t really a prediction of the second. Betting on Daniel Murphy, Curtis Granderson, or Michael Cuddyer over counterparts is probably the safest bet, but it’s not a guarantee either. This is where Alderson needs to juggle the roster of who’s going to help, who can be moved for external help, and which guys are best to play where. Sometimes the smartest move you can make is to trust a guy you already have, but Alderson’s already been criticized for being too complacent. That doesn’t mean trading because you’ve been criticized is the right move either–there are shades of gray everywhere.
The Mets are in a difficult spot. Will they ever hit again? Should they explore a trade and at what cost, or should they promote more minor leaguers? Perhaps holding steady and making sure guys come back healthy is the best course. Whatever happens, you can be sure we’re in for a bumpy ride.
The Mets beat the Marlins in less than two hours last night.
That’s too fast.
I’m all for avoiding unnecessary delays. I think calls should stand if a review takes more than two minutes to get right. I’m fully on-board with the between innings game clock that makes sure things move along like they should.
This game was too fast. Part of the allure of baseball, particularly of a tied 0-0 game going into the later innings, is the perpetual battle that happens pitch by pitch. A 3-1 pitch could be the start of a rally. A hanging curve could be the one mistake that gets hit out of the park. This game went too fast to really absorb any of that. Just as you’re getting settled in, it’s getting late. It became a race instead of a duel and Dillon Gee faded first. Admittedly, he was tired and this is where the Mets offense failed. When your pitcher has thrown 50 pitches in roughly 10 minutes, it would behoove the Mets to take a few pitches and try to work some deep counts. Draw a few throws at first when you do happen to get on. Dillon Gee’s pace was great, but the Mets needed to do more to disrupt Cosart’s.
I wonder what’s more taxing for an arm? 70 pitches into the eight in 90 minutes, or 105 with a more normal cadence and rest between innings?
While endless delay tactics, stepping out of the box, throwing to first, catchers visiting the mound, and all the other tricks guys pull can often be tiresome, sometimes the mind games of trying to throw someone off their rhythm is part of the fun. I almost feel cheated. I expect 150-180+ minutes of baseball every night and the Mets and Marlins couldn’t even get me 120.
Still, a win is a win. The Mets have the best record in baseball, Murphy’s starting to shake off the rust and David Wright might only be a week to ten days away. Things are looking up.
With the excitement of Opening Day, and the disappointment of a rain delay and a loss, our first series win, and Matt Harvey’s return the Mets have packed a lot into the first week of the season. Now it’s time to settle in for the long season and make the Mets a part of our routine.
Next week the Mets return home, we get Citi Field noises and visits, normal 7:10 start times and the flood–might still be a trickle–of Mets caps and jerseys representing people headed to the game that evening. The Mets play everyday. It becomes a routine. Arrow, Jeopardy and iZombie episodes pile up on the DVR. We’ll have seen every NL East team by next weekend, and we’ll get acquainted with new heroes and villains.
Baseball is back!
Monday is Opening Day. I’ll be doing my usually stroll through the stadium looking for what’s new, cataloging the new beer selection, and just generally tweeting and sharing interesting observations. Make sure you follow along on Twitter.
Are you? I admit I’m almost always excited when Opening Day comes around.
It’s about Matt Harvey. Harvey has star power, and that’s going to be fun. Whether or not he is an MVP candidate or not, he’ll pitch well because he’s a talented pitcher. He’ll be interesting and exciting as well, and he’ll piss people off. All that makes for good entertainment.
It’s about Juan Lagares, who even in Spring Training was impressing opposing announcers making plays in center field. While Lagares might not be great at the plate, I have confidence in him driving the ball occasionally and playing well enough to be an extremely valuable all-around player.
It’s about David Wright being back and healthy. Sure, he might not stay like that, but I have hope he will. He’s a Mets legend we have the privilege of still watching, and I’m going to enjoy that. He did seem to be a little looser this spring, but of course it’s spring training and most people feel pretty good. Outside of strictly gameplay, I’ve seen a few stories this spring about the Mets doing something ‘at Wright’s suggestion’. Seems like he’s taking this captain thing seriously.
What about Lucas Duda, our quirky big-man with the lumberjack swing? Jacob deGrom’s hair, and his pitching? The varied amount of hard throwers in the bullpen? The impending promotion of even more talented starting pitching?
The Nationals are certainly going to present a challenge, but they’ve shown plenty of signs of injury too.
The Marlins made a lot of changes, and have a lot of young players, but change for change’s sake isn’t always good change and just because a player is young and has talent doesn’t mean he becomes a useful major leaguer overnight. The Marlins will probably be what the Marlins usually are; pesky but ultimately an average team.
The Braves and Phillies are barely worth mentioning.
It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be without some struggle.
But it IS going to be fun.
Baseball is back!
The Mets have committed to not riding Matt Harvey, just back from Tommy John surgery, as hard as they can from bell to bell. A little caution and prudence is the right course here.
Managing the innings and workload early is the best way to handle this. Despite what you see in meaningless Spring Training games, there just might be an adjustment period for Harvey as he settles into facing competitive batters again. April, and the cold, are generally harsher on bodies than the warmer summer months and even the fall after you’ve build up arm strength all season. He’ll still face the Washington Nationals, the Mets’ principal foe this season, in the first round.
It’s those very Nationals that provided the template for what not to do. Perhaps if the Nationals had been wiser in 2012 about resting Steven Strasburg earlier in the season, they’d have had innings left to use him in the playoffs and perhaps the Nationals would have more to show for their playoff appearances than they do right now.
A slow ramp up is the right move with Harvey, especially as his own mentality would have him pressing hard and fast from the get-go. Ease into it; it’s a long season and the hope is to have Harvey healthy and fresh for October.
These days most pitchers and catchers are in camp days earlier, and the position players are showing up earlier and earlier too. Thanks to the Mets acquiring a popular training program and moving it to Port St. Lucie, many players have been down there sporadically all winter, working out and getting ready for the season.
What we’re really counting down to when we talk about pitchers and catchers is to the day many of the media and beat writers start covering the team from Spring Training. The day is less about the start of baseball season and more about the start of forced columns about how guys are in the best shape of their lives. It’s basically beat writers taking attendance of all the players walking through the door.
What we’re really looking for is the first game against another opponent. The first game is Wednesday March 4th, and it’s the first game on the radio as well. We’ll get Josh Lewin’s voice, and perhaps Howie Rose’s as well if he can pop over to Florida between Islanders games in Dallas and Nashville, and the sounds of baseball in our ears. That’s when things start getting real, when two teams face off each other and half-heartedly try to get each other out while preparing for the regular season. The first television/SNY broadcast will probably be Friday March 6th against the Tigers.
It’s 20 days until the first Mets Spring Training game.
Simple, yet colorful. Blue and Orange.
On January 10th is the second annual Queens Baseball Convention at McFaddens Citi Field. If you talk to anyone that was there last year, you know that it was generally considered a blast, and this year will be even better. It’s basically the Mets fanfest you’ve always wished the Mets would hold, just held by fans–specifically Shannon and Mediagoon of Metspolice, Darren of The7Line and associated friends.
That includes me. I had a blast last time helping out and chatting with everyone about the Met and Baseball on a cold winter day. There were players, autographs, interesting panels and Mr. Met, and this year will be even better. I’ll be on hand wearing a jersey with ‘Ceetar’ on the back, so I’ll be easy to spot. (Last year I wore a Pagan jersey)
There’s plenty going on, as you can see from the website. My favorites are Josh Lewin being on hand to host the awards session. Mookie Wilson and Wally Backman will be there doing a panel and autographs. Ed Charles will accept the Gil Hodges Unforgettable Fire Award.
The calendar will just have turned and the holidays are in the rear view mirror. We’ll all be missing baseball and here’s a great way to get your fix with fellow fans. There’s even a t-shirt option with your ticket! Why not come out to the park and have a good time?