NLCS Game 4 Recap: Mets Win! Mets Win!

It won’t go down in history as one of their better-played games, but the New York Mets outscored the Chicago Cubs 8-3 last night in Wrigley Field to win their fourth consecutive game of the National League Championship Series, securing a highly improbable berth in the 2015 World Series. More on that improbability later.

The Mets committed several cardinal sins last night: base running mistakes,  several squandered opportunities to add tack on runs and relief pitchers falling behind early in the count. Plus, they lost arguably their best (but not their hottest) offensive player for no apparent reason. They did all of this on the road, a combination of circumstances that under normal conditions, usually equates to a loss. Fortunately for the Mets, last night was anything but a normal condition.

Granted, it was through the glare of the my TV screen, but I came away underwhelmed by the so-called Bleacher Creatures that we’ve heard so much about. The atmosphere in that old ballpark struck me as more of a rave than a playoff game . T-shirt? Check. Beer Mug? Check. White Towel? Check. Stand up and cheer? Check. Clap my hands? Check.  I don’t know if I believe in curses,  but the Cubs fans seemingly do, as they where taken out of the series the moment Miguel Montero dropped that third strike the game before. There was a collective “here we go again” resignation from them that would never happen in New York.

There is an deadly earnest seriousness to a playoff game in this city, Boston, or even Philadelphia that seemed lacking in Chicago. The crowd seemed more bystanderish than participants. I think that whoever the Mets face in the World Series next week will really need to brace themselves for what’s coming from the fans.

Back to the game itself, which had a surreal sense to it. I had to remind myself during the middle innings that the Mets where actually winning. Even after David Wright’s incredible snare of Starlin Castro’s liner in the 5th, I couldn’t shake a feeling of dread. I did relax to a point after Daniel (who’s Babe Ruth?) Murphy’s homer, but the suddenly unreliable Tyler Clippard gave those two runs back. Even the indomitable Jeurys Familia struggled just a bit in the ninth before getting a called strike three on Dexter Fowler to end the game and the series. The game lacked the drama of say Game 6 of the 86 NLCS, or the Todd Pratt walkoff,  or Bobby Jones’ gem. But considering how nervous I felt during most of the game, perhaps the lack of drama was a good thing!

Like many long time Mets fans, I tend to compare this season to others, looking for similarities. This team is far from being a complete squad, which is what the 1986 and 2000 teams were. It much more closely resembles the 1973 team, that rode great pitching and timely hitting, rising up from the depths of the division, overcoming heavy favorites in that race and the NLCS, getting to within a manager’s mishandling of the pitching staff (RIP Yogi) to beating the Oakland A’s. This team and the run they put on from August 1 forward reminds me of that team. A lot of recent bad memories, including the Beltran strikeout and the 07 collapse, have been somewhat expunged this year. Here’s hoping that the Mets can now erase an older hurt in this long-time fan’s memory.

I waited 13 years from 1973 to 1986. It took them another 14 years to get back to the World Series again. Now, the wait was 15 years. At this rate, I’ll be 71 the next time the Mets get the World Series and 88, which is how old I am expected to live to, for the subsequent one. What a way to go! The point is, that I am definitely going to savor these next few days and can’t wait for the World Series to begin. My sense is that Murphy, Clippard and Bartolo Colon are goners for sure after the World Series. Yoenis Cespedes is 50/50 at best to come back. But I think Murphy put it best when asked about his contract status: that’s a question for the offseason, we’re still playing.

Play on! Lets Go Mets!


A New Mets Fight Song

OK, it’s not really a “new” Mets fight song — it’s actually a remake of the oldest Mets song — Meet the Mets.

The band is a local one — Mike Ferraro and The Young Republicans. No, it’s not THAT Mike Ferraro, and, sadly, I don’t think they’re registered Republicans. But they are (fairly) young. And they’re awesome. And you should buy their CD if you like their rendition of Meet the Mets, which is kind of brooding and melancholy — in other words, fitting for a Mets fan.

Sing it now. Sing it all day. Sing it tonight. Every little bit helps, right?


All Hands On Deck

As quoted by Adam Rubin on ESPN, Terry Collins said this when questioned about the availability of Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard for game 5 of the NLDS:

“We’re going to be smart about it,” Collins said. “We’re not going to be foolish and go right to Matt Harvey, say, if Jake’s in trouble in the second inning. I think we’ve got to be wise enough to know that this will be the first time he’s ever done something like this, too.”

Um, what?

News flash to Collins, Mets management, Harvey, Scott Boras, and anyone else involved in the decision-making process: this is an ELIMINATION game. That means, literally, win or go home. Which in turn means “all hands on deck.”

Collins’ response had nothing to do with any illogical innings limits boondoggle that may or may not be followed by Harvey or any other pitcher. Rather, Collins is suggesting that Harvey — and Syndergaard, for that matter — might not be brought in to the game because they’ve never before pitched in relief. What? Really?

Guess what? If Noah Syndergaard is needed to pitch in relief, he goes to the mound. If Lucas Duda needs to run to the bullpen to warm up a reliever, he’ll grab a mask and do it. If Jacob deGrom needs to leave the mound and play shortstop, then he’ll go there. Even though they’ve never done these things before. Because it’s potentially the last game of the season. It’s all or nothing. Everyone does whatever they need to do to win the game. This is not a time for “geez, I’d like to put the best guy possible into a spot, but he’s never before done it this way.” No. Every player understands what’s at stake, and will step up to do whatever is necessary. A manager hedging even a little bit is beyond comprehension. Further, if there IS concern about key pitchers never coming out of the bullpen before, then why wasn’t there thought or preparation of that three weeks ago?

Interested to hear your take on this. Fire away.


Mets-O-Meter Final Results


(Editor’s Note: this post should have been published a week ago. Apologies to you and to Steve for the delay.)

McKee McWins!

Well done to McKee. With 90 wins he’s won the inaugural Mets Today “Mets-o-Meter.” Bravo!

McKee… get in touch and I’ll get you some cheap but vitally important Mets’ merchandise that no-one could live without.

How about this tiny Mets helmet? Deflect life-threatening ball bearings with this invaluable piece of Mets’ tat:

The Mets shuffle into the postseason with their offense in torpor but their pitching in a good state. Harvey, Syndergaard and deGrom all looked very good in their outings. And as for the Mets’ offense… well, they had shadows and post-champagne DT’s to deal with. Shake it out, Metsies.


It seems like Ruben Tejada will be starting most of the games. I know he’s one of TC’s favorites but please give me some concrete reason as to why.

Wilmer Flores has WAY more offensive upside and he does a great job against left handers. On defense, Tejada has better foot speed but his accuracy – especially when he dives – is sporadic. Tejada is more likely to throw a ball away trying to make some sort of play.

Flores has a better arm and, since his rough beginnings, he’s tended to focus of makeable plays. Surely Flores must be the better all-around pick and he should also be the Mets’ 2B next year.

Hey-ho, Ruben, hit a homer and prove me wrong. Daniel Murphy does it all the time.

Hopefully Hansel Robles will also prove me wrong by not getting into a scrap with the other team after he leaves another fastball up and center. Or when he plunks someone in the forehead.


Even though Harvey missed a bullpen session, I like the Mets’ starters. Steven Matz SHOULD (according to latest reports) be ok to pitch in Game 4. And I’m looking forward to Bartolo sashaying out of the bullpen.

I won’t bore you with the stats for Greinke and Kershaw in the offseason. Look ‘em up. Yeah… they’re due to finally do well so I expect tight and low-scoring games. I’m very underwhelmed by the Dodgers’ offense and their bullpen – outside of their closer – is weaker than the Mets.

Hmm… The first couple of games will finish some time after 6 a.m. here. But I’m tantalised enough to stay up to watch ‘em.


This series is a 50/50 split. A game of Texas Hold’em where you have King/Queen suited.
The Mets and Dodgers are the two worst of the NL Playoff teams. But – if the flop turns just right – they could take the whole thing.
As for this series? I still think the Mets will win on the river… 3-1.
Deal me in… and what price is there on Yoenis Cespedes catching fire again?


Planning for the Postseason


Thanks again to Joe Petruccio for the image above. Joe sums up our feelings in a joyous image worth a thousand words. Check out Joe’s brilliant daily Mets paintings on his Facebook page and his Instagram is @joey_paints

Thanks also to the New York Mets… They’ve exceeded even my overly optimistic expectations and Daring Dan Capwell stands above 99.9% of experts that thought the Nats would win the division. Bravo, Cappy!

The 2015 season has been marked by a series of right turns that could have gone terribly wrong. It seems each time the Mets faced a challenge, they kicked on harder than before.

Noah Syndergaard and Colon’s fast start filled the void created by Wheeler. Matz gave the Mets a brief jolt in the arm. Uribe socked a few and Wilmer did too. Cespedes socked a bunch and a rally parakeet came to celebrate. Colon came up big in September, and Wright and d’Arnaud came back as good as before. Now Matt Harvey has joined the pack… making his own turn towards pitching full time again. Will it be the right one? It seems so. The crazy 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of a Mets season has fallen into place.

Meanwhile, the Nats have fallen apart. I still look at the Nats’ roster and I’m nonplussed at their failure. They struggled with the mantle of favourites, but why? Did they get lazy? Or arrogant? Forgive some of my schadenfreude at Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon tussling in the pen. Both revelled too much in victory and are struggling with defeat. Harper has at least tried to become gracious while Papelbon has become a powder keg. Ah… just be Mets fans, guys, it’ll toughen you up.

The Mets launch into the week with both their A and B teams shellacking the Reds over this weekend. The Reds looked terrible (at least Uncle Terry’s crews always try until the end) with lazy swings and comedically bad defense from Joey Votto and Ivan De Jesus.

So it’s time for the Mets to plot their postseason course and their series against the Dodgers. I’ve focused on my postseason roster, not the obvious one. Feel free to disagree. Even I’m torn over a few wildcard picks…

Starting Pitching

1. Jacob deGrom
2. Noah Syndergaard
3. Matt Harvey
4. Steven Matz

How does it look?

Half of the postseason teams would still kill for this rotation. I love the power arms and Matz’s upside. There’s even the added bonus that they can all hit.
It makes sense, especially if the Mets get home field advantage, to stick Syndergaard in the second game despite his better run on the road recently. I also remain worried about the possibility of Harvey’s innings limits raising some problem, so this would add a small Linus-sized safety blanket. If the Mets win to 1 in any series, Harvey only pitches once.

Any wildcards?

There’s a possibility that Colon might get the pick over Matz. The option of Niese seems highly unlikely as he’s getting tryouts in the pen over the next week. I’m glad about that.
Matz is a lefty and I have other plans for Bartolo Colon. And they don’t involve putting his feet up with a cigar and a tub of Jolly Ranchers.


RHP Jeurys Familia
RHP Tyler Clippard
RHP Addison Reed
RHP Logan Verrett
RHP Bartolo Colon
LHP Sean Gilmartin
LHP Jonathon Niese

How does it look?

I’m still worried about Robles and his tendency to flip out. So I was torn between Robles and Verrett, who’s a little underrated because he doesn’t gas it as much as Robles.
My theory? Verrett’s best pitch is a nasty circle change/fosh and that will contrast more with the Mets starters. If Verrett pitches, it will be in the fifth or sixth inning off the back of a poor start. The same holds true of Colon, because he can fill long relief and would be stark contrast against the flame-throwing starters. He’s also a cross between Valium and a pitcher, and would be utterly unconcerned by pressure.
I think the Mets need to carry two lefties and I like Gilmartin more than most fans. He’s a good LOOGY and he won’t hurt you much.
By having Niese, Colon and Verrett you’re also pretty safe with only 7 relievers. And I want me a pinch runner to boost the Mets in later innings…

Any wildcards?

It’s pretty easy to make a case for Erik Goeddel and Hansel Robles.
I’d pick Goeddel over Robles if Niese can’t pitch out of the bullpen. Why? Robles flies open under pressure and leaves his fastball high. And without his quick pitch, he’s lost a major weapon — both in winding up the opposition and in getting outs.
Poor Bobby Parnell (still injured) and Eric O’Flaherty (who seems to have forgotten how to pitch) shouldn’t stand a chance.


C Travis d’Arnaud
C Kevin Plawecki
1B Lucas Duda
2B Daniel Murphy
IF Juan Uribe (if fit) IF Ruben Tejada (if Uribe’s injured)
IF/OF Kelly Johnson
SS Wilmer Flores
3B David Wright

How does it look?

Despite d’Arnaud’s recent struggles, that’s a nice selection. I’ve already said I’d start Johnson at 2B against righties and Uribe at 2B against lefties, but I doubt that will happen.
Why have Murph as the lefty off the bench? In a positive way, he likes the big occasion. But, above all, he’s a lousy defender and the Mets opponents won’t whiff and pop-out as much as the Reds, Phillies, Marlins, Braves and the other little league teams the Mets have beaten up on. I’ve also picked a bunch of groundball pitchers in the bullpen.

Any wildcards?

The question here is what happens if Uribe isn’t ready to go.
It’s a little worrying because 5/8 of the starting line-up (Granderson, Murphy, Duda, Conforto, Cespedes) are weaker against lefties… so it feels like you need to plug the hole with a right handed bat. Dilson Herrera is a real option for me, as much as Ruben Tejada.
Why no Tejada on my roster? Look, when is he going to play? What does he offer? It certainly isn’t speed (I’ve got that covered), his defense is ok but he’s simply a backup if Wilmer gets injured. Wilmer is facing THREE left handed starters, and he crushes them. Johnson can backup if Wilmer strains a muscle celebrating a walk-off homer off a lefty.


Curtis Granderson
Michael Conforto
Yoenis Cespedes
Juan Lagares
Michael Cuddyer
Eric Young Jr.

How does it look?

The worry is — of course — how they’ll hit against lefties. Uncle Terry will stick by Grandy against lefties — and I know he hit a home run on Saturday against a LHP — but he’s been dreadful against them in 2015. Lagares could fill the lead-off role for at least one game of the Mets three starts against Dodgers lefties. I know his arm is shot but he still has the leg speed to cover a lot of ground in center, and it gives the Mets the freedom to sub out Michael Cuddyer for defense.
Eric Young Jr. isn’t exactly the primo option when it comes to defense, but he can hold his own. I think he’s a must-have as a pinch runner in late-and-close games to get Cuddyer, d’Arnaud, Murph or Duda off the bases. He can also fill in on the IF in a (very) long game.

Any wildcards?

With this one, it’s more a case of who they might NOT take.
I’m working on the basis that the Mets carry a 7-man bullpen. If they take 8, then it’s bye-bye to Juan Lagares or Eric Young Jr. In both cases I think that would be a crying shame.


The Dodgers are limping somewhat, with both lefties behind Grienke and Kershaw struggling.
The pitching line-ups are practically a wash. The Dodgers have the better 1-2, while the Mets have the better 3-4. But it’s all extremely close.
I like the Mets offense due to its versatility and I like the way they’ve tried to handle the Dodgers staff this year. And the Newest New York Mets lineup more than holds it own against the Dodgers.

Bold Prediction Time

It wouldn’t be a Mets Today post if I didn’t set myself up to look stupid in a few weeks.
But my cold, hard opinion is Mets win it 3-1.
As it looks like CFPunk is walking away with the Mets Win-O-Meter, it’s time for us to prove our worth in the post-season. I also need to recoup some money after losing on my 86-88 win spread bet.
What do you think the Mets postseason roster will be? And what will be the outcome of the Dodgers series?
Don’t forget, it takes Bartolo Colon sized cajones to do that a week before the regular season is even over.


Sustainable Success or a Blip on the Radar?

2015 NL East Champs. Let that sink in for a moment. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Remember, it was called here first.

Little known fact: this is only the second time in their history that the Mets went from below .500 in one year to a division winner the next. You may have heard of the 1969 season, which was the only other  time they did this. In fact, the 3rd place 1972 Mets actually had a better winning percentage (albeit in a strike-shortened 156-game season) than their next year’s division winners did. Only the Mets, folks.

Division titles are a rarity in these parts, five of ’em in the last 45 years to be exact. So the question becomes, do we have to wait another nine years for the next one, or can the Mets actually win back-to-back division titles? More than likely, they will be the 2016 preseason favorites to do so, but these predictions will come from the same sources that figured the Washington Nationals would be the runaway divisional winners this year. So, can the Mets actually repeat this somewhat surprising success of this year? There’s a three-part answer to this question.

The first is obvious: the Mets’ young arms must stay healthy. It was hard to swallow, but the limiting of Matt Harvey’s innings was done with the coming years in mind. Matt is a Met for at least three more seasons and it would be a shame to lose any more of this service time to injury. A fully-healthy and ready for 200 innings Harvey is a key to a long run at the top for the Mets. At some point, the Mets will have to choose between Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz as to who they will invest in and who will be allowed to walk away. Based purely on age, I’d bet they keep the latter two, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Parts two and three of the answer are closely related.

It seems like a long time ago now, but before this past July 31, the Mets pointed to a pipeline of young talent that they touted as being able to keep them at or near the top of the NL East in the coming seasons. Much of it has been stripped away, sacrificed on the altar of a postseason berth this year. And what a payoff: the big “get” has been Yoenis Cespedes, perhaps the greatest in-season acquisition the club has made since getting Keith Hernandez back in 1983, if not ever. In what can only be termed as Amazin’, Cespedes put the Mets on his back and the team zoomed past the hapless Nationals en route to their first NL East crown since 2006. Cespedes is will probably be the runner up NL MVP, but the winner of that award will be on the golf course while Yoenis’ team plays on.

Now for the rub: Cespedes’ surge is incredibly well-timed, as his contract expires at the end of this year. He is due for a big payday and the Mets pre-July 31st history indicates that they have little chance of resigning this dynamic player, as most pundits expect him to earn between a $140M and $170M deal.

Re-signing Cespedes (part two) is directly related to part three, which depends on the Mets still fertile, if somewhat mature, conveyor belt of talent to supply them with enough cheap and serviceable alternatives at other spots to absorb this monster salary.  These alternatives have names: Michael Conforto, Dilson Herrera, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Hansel Robles, Dario Alvarez and Logan Verrett, among others.

The Mets began 2015 with $33M earmarked for Bartolo Colon, Daniel Murphy, Bobby Parnell, Dillon Gee, Jerry Blevins and Jenrry Mejia. All of them can be allowed to walk, as each can replaced by the candidates mentioned in the previous paragraph. Colon and Murph in particular have given the Mets some big moments during this stretch drive, but such is the cruel nature of baseball. The players today have the freedom that their counterparts 40 years ago fought hard for, but this freedom means loyalty has gone out the window. You can only stay if you work for cheap, unless you are a superstar like Cespedes. I’d consider offering Murphy a QO, but only if I felt sure that he would rather explore the market for a long-term deal. They can pocket a draft pick in this scenario. They’ll need to draft smart these next two/three years. Poor drafts where the hidden causes of the collapse of the late 80’s and 90’s playoff teams.

For argument’s sake, let’s say that Cespedes gets $160M for six years. That makes him the team’s $26 Million Dollar Man.  Given the rate of inflation in baseball salaries, that could be a relative bargain sooner than you might think. The money coming off from Colon, Murphy, etc. covers the first year.

Of their other July pickups, I think they can let Tyler Clippard and Juan Uribe walk, but should keep Addison Reed (arbitration) and re-sign the relatively inexpensive Kelly Johnson. Reed gets the 8th inning, while Robles, Alvarez, Sean Gilmartin, Goeddel, Verrett and Josh Edgin jockey for roles in pen. The beauty of this is that all of these arms have big league experience and at least a modicum of success.  KJ can be the left handed bat off the bench as well as Herrera’s caddy. Don’t forget the Mets still have Juan Lagares, the 2014 gold glove centerfielder, signed to a relatively team friendly contract. Plenty of teams looking to get younger, faster and more athletic should be lining up at the door with offers for Lagares that could fill any gaps that open as next season wears on. Any bets on Clippard and Blevins being back in Washington next year?

More of a stretch, but in 2017 Smith replaces Lucas Duda and Rosario replaces Rueben Tejada. Farfetched? Smith was the 2015 FSL MVP, while Rosario  finished this year in Double-A. Jon Niese and Michael Cuddyer and their combined his $21M are gone after next year, while Curtis Granderson and his  $15M is gone after 2017. David Wright’s contract drops his salary to “only” $15M after 2018, so even after the pitcher’s salaries begin to skyrocket at the end of the decade, the Mets have other big money contracts either coming off the books or costing them less money. Smith and Rosario become the low-money guys at the same time that Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores start to hit arbitration. The same trade winds that blew Lagares out of town may end up moving Wilmer as well.

So, yes, the Mets can repeat. The bigger question is what the Wilpons will do. They should brace for at least a  25% payroll increase in the coming years. Is a division championship (at the very least) enough to justify the cost? They claim to love the team and must be reveling in this recent success. Seeing Cespedes walk has been viewed by some as a potential doomsday scenario. I can think of a worse one: the Mets lose Cespedes only to toss mega-millions at one of the lesser outfielder types like Alex Gordon to compensate. Remember the Kevin Appier fiasco?

All of this is getting a bit ahead, don’t you think? Enjoy the victory lap next week and get ready for some Divisional Playoffs! Lets Go Mets!


Mets Game 151: Loss To Braves


Mets 2, Braves 6

This lazy game went south after the Braves scored four against Logan Verrett in the fifth. Verrett pitched well enough but sank after being struck for two home runs. The second followed an intentional walk to the “big threat” of Nick Markakis. Coincidentally Markakis has had two homers ALL YEAR. Hey ho, Uncle T.

Tyler Clippard continued his worrying recent troubles by giving up another couple of runs in the ninth. Clippard will be fine, and it wasn’t a lousy pitch. His change-up still looks decent and that will be his go-to pitch in the offseason.

Offensively, David Wright drove a homer to right center and continues to get on base. He’s a perfectly fine number 2 hitter. Meanwhile, Daniel Murphy had a couple of doubles but I don’t think he’s the answer in the three-hole. The Mets have been laboring to score runs for a week or so. You have to hope the pressure of being so close to the offseason isn’t getting to them.

Hmm… I still think they’ll be fine this year. Out of the remaining games only 3 are against a MLB team. My guess is they’ll go 5-6… and that’ll be comfortably enough to win the NL East.

Of more pressing concern in the Mets line-up for the series with the Dodgers. With a killer righty in Zack Greinke and a killer lefty in Clayton Kershaw coming up, the Mets will need to get their batting order aligned correctly.

Here are my ideal line-ups. Yep, I know Terry won’t follow what I think. For one thing, his favourite son is missing. But feel free to list your own line-ups in the comments section. If we bribe Uncle Terry with enough Werther’s Originals maybe he’ll listen.

Mets Vs. RHP

RF Granderson
3B Wright
CF Cespedes
1B Duda
LF Conforto
2B Johnson
C d’Arnaud
SS Flores
P Some pitcher trying to hit (and usually doing ok)

The big choice here was dumping Daniel Murphy to the bench. Think positively. He’ll LOVE striding out with the game on the line and seeing how many 3-2 balls he can foul away.

Murph could fit at both second or first… if you have more faith in him than I do. Lucas Duda continues to look out of sync – yet another loopy fly to left tonight – but I like his defense more. And when The Dude hits a ball it stays hit.

Will Duda revel in the pressure of the offseason lights? I hope we’ll find out. Murphy has a much-vaunted “clutch” status, partly because he freezes so long after getting a hit that it’s hard to forget it. He’s taken this approach further on the basepaths, staring like a rabbit in the headlights to watch a botched double play before getting thrown out last night. I preferred Murphy’s startled sheep tactic.

Yes, Murph has got a good record with runners in scoring position this year. But his clutch defense ain’t so great. Kelly Johnson is just as good a hitter as Murph with runners in scoring position, Johnson has a little more power, Johnson’s defense is better (it’s not great, but it’s not hard to overtake Murph) and Johnson also doesn’t suffer brain farts. I’m plumping for Johnson to go big, much as it would offend Murph.

Mets Vs. LHP

CF Lagares
3B Wright
RF Cespedes
C d’Arnaud
2B Uribe
SS Flores
1B Cuddyer
LF Conforto
P Some pitcher trying to hit (they’re really not bad… even Colon didn’t clonk himself in the head this year and he’ll be pitching out of the bullpen)

The Mets have tried Lagares out of the leadoff spot before and it does make sense. The problem is that Lagares has struggled in 2015 but – much as it pains me – he’s still a better option than Grandy. Granderson’s corkscrew stance and off-kilter head angle make it incredibly hard to hit lefties. Let’s take a punt with Lagares and pop Corforto in left. At least Conforto’s ability to hit the other way might get more success, and his surprisingly strong defense doesn’t hurt.

I doubt Uncle Terry will take this option, of course. Curtis Granderson has done a fantastic, mature job out of the leadoff role this year… but he’s TERRIBLE against lefties. Terry, please save the Grandyman for later. Think it through and just get him straight back in the game as soon as the LHP starter retires to his ice wrap.

Once again, there’s no Murph. But I have my reasons. Uribe’s uppercut swing has become almost comical, but he’s had plenty of extra base hits and he’s a WAY better second baseman than Murph. Predestination means Murph will sock a key home run coming off the bench anyway.

Cruddy over Duda at first is just the lesser of two evils right now. And you can sub in Duda along with Grandy when the relief pitchers kick in. I’m baffled both Duda and Grandy don’t open their stance more against lefties to counteract the change in angle. Have a chat with Keith, guys.

11 games to go. I hope the Mets don’t limp over the line, but a one-legged hop is fine if that’s what it takes. The innings limits, the bone bruises, and the memories of past failures just make me want the regular season to end. Then, hopefully, the fun will begin again.


Mets Game 143: Win Over Braves


Mets 10 Braves 7

It’s possible to get to the stage where you forget how to lose. Somehow that drags you along, as unlikely as it all seems. Donald Trump is making a damn good fist of the same idea.

The Mets’ surge – and yet another comeback win on the road – has rescued their away record to 37-37. How unlikely was that six weeks ago? Thank goodness the Mets instituted the MetsMobile idea I offered up way back in my report on Game 77. Whether the Mets wrestle home field advantage from the Dodgers or not, the MetsMobile will guarantee the sounds and tastes and smells of good ol’ Citi Field. Couple that with the help of Caesar, sorry Cespedes, they’ll be fine.

Now the Mets are 82-61, CFPunk is looking like a genius and the Mets-o-Meter is overtaking more and more folks. Cappy, Dan B, Jack S and Joe are now officially out of it. Argonbunnies and Ernesto are next up. You’d be hard pressed to find a more logical and informed group of baseball fans. But this has been an illogical season and the baffling Mets’ comebacks keep on coming. For my bank account, just please stop at 88. I’m poor, ok?

Today’s game was a drab Sunday afternoon affair with bloop hits, a secondary Mets line-up and lazy defense. Even Curtis Granderson’s shades couldn’t help him from losing a pop-up in the sun. Scored a hit (!!!) it put the Double AAtlanta Braves up 7-4 in the eighth. I guess I’d score it a hit too if Grandy gave me a signed photo. I’m easily bribed. Like I said, I’m just poor… I’m not Pete Rose.

These Braves are adept at losing games and they somehow manufactured another one here. With 2 outs in the ninth, Juan Lagares was on base with a “double” to rightish-center that was only a little less of an error than Grandy’s gaff. Grandy atoned by taking yet another walk to put two on base. I’ll save gushing about how great he’s been hitting leadoff for another post.

Up stepped Daring Daniel Murphy and he plunked a home run off a 0-1 pitch to deep right center. Cue exploding high fives to everyone he could find, complete with sounds effects from Murph.

The Braves continued to implode with walks in the top of the 10th and the lousy game was mercifully over. The sighs of relief in the SNY box were audible.

The Nats have done their own imploding for a while, despite their 5-zip win today against the MiAAmi Marlins, so it’s time to talk about the playoffs. This week, let’s look at the Mets’ starting pitching.

Jonathon Niese has been struggling recently and he didn’t look great today against a team of little leaguers fortified by Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman. Niese’s curve is just looping in, usually in the centre and not low enough. Niese’s fastball (and it’s a bit of stretch to call it that) isn’t cutting as much as when he’s at his best. His WHIP is now 1.41.

I like Niese but I don’t know where he fits on the postseason roster. It’s been made public that the Mets don’t like Niese out of the bullpen. I prefer Sean Gilmartin in the long-man leftie role anyway.

You HAVE to take Bartolo into the playoffs. Not only will he happily distribute candy to the team, but Colon will always throw strikes in a relief role, and – despite his terrible record against good teams – he could spot start in a jam (eg. Harvey’s ligaments fall off) and not let the occasion get to him. Hitters tighten up in the playoffs and Bartolo’s steady stream of strikes will get a bunch of pop-ups. Niese’s reputation is that the big games get to him. Hmm… I’d take Colon’s matador spirit and the young guns over that.

My current playoff rotation is DeGrom – Syndergaard – Harvey – Matz. Is Matz too young for the role? I dunno… you tell me. I just feel Matz is a better bet than Niese, much as Jonathon has been a dutiful servant through the horrible years.

Shoot with your thoughts below. Next week we’ll look at the lineup. Then in a fortnight we’ll tackle the most difficult issue… figuring out the best bullpen for the Mets to continue this wonderful, stupid, amazin’, crazy, fun run.

Baseball Instruction from OnBaseball
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