Tag: dan warthen

What’s NOT Wrong with Matt Harvey and How To Fix What Is

Mets pitcher Matt Harvey pitching motion at max external rotation

Tonight Matt Harvey faces Stephen Strasburg. Normally that would be an exciting sentence for Mets fans, Nationals fans — heck, baseball fans in general. Instead, it’s a sentence that makes Mets fans cringe.

Why? Because Matt Harvey is a mess (at least, that’s how The New York Post describes it). And the headline is apt — Harvey admits

“I’m just not feeling comfortable throwing a baseball right now, so it’s frustrating.”

So what’s his problem? How can it be fixed?


Blog Roundup: October Baseball

See guys, the Mets ARE playing in October, amirite?

Just two more games to go, and lucky for us, R.A. Dickey is pitching in one of them.  Tonight, Dickey goes for win number 21.  Furthermore, a good performance would cement his case for the Cy Young award.

Let’s see what the Blogs are talking about:

Thanks for reading Mets Today all season long, and keep checking us out for coverage of what will surely be  an interesting offseason.


Ollie: A Year Ago

Oliver Perez’s spring training debut was far from inspiring. According to reports, he never broke 84 MPH, his command was terrible, and he allowed four earned runs in two innings of work.

I had the game on the radio while in the car with my wife and when Ollie’s name was mentioned, Amy said, “why is he still on the team? I can understand giving people a second chance, but not four or five.”

I explained that the Mets gave him a crapload of money, and they were still holding out hope that he could earn some of it in the last year of his contract. Her response: “But if he wasn’t on the team, they’d be better, and if they were better, they might sell more tickets — so how does the money matter?”

I couldn’t argue.

Anyway, when we returned home I was in a nostalgic mood and decided to check out some posts from last February. With Ollie making his first appearance, I thought it fitting to re-hash a post I came across that quoted Sandy Koufax. It was the annual “Koufax PR Day”, when the legendary hurler worked with Mets pitchers in front of the cameras, and the “hope springs eternal” articles ran out as a result. Koufax’s instruction, it was hoped, would somehow turn pitchers such as John Maine and Oliver Perez into capable MLBers. I disagreed with some of Sandy’s statements, and didn’t think Maine or Perez would learn much from him.

As long as we’re being nostalgic, there were two other posts from last spring about Perez: a scathing analysis of one of his appearances in early March, another scathing analysis a few weeks later, and yet another scathing analysis a few days after that. Check those out and compare them to what’s going on with Ollie right now. As they say, “what a non-difference a year makes” … er, or something.

By the way, according to Andy Martino, Dan Warthen is giving Ollie until March 10th to prove he can be a starter. That’s not much time for Mr. Hyde. I’m not sure what exactly that means … if he’s not considered for the rotation, does that mean he’ll be cut, or he’ll get a shot at the bullpen? I guess we’ll find out in about 10 days.


Jenrry Mejia As Reliever?

In case you missed it, on Friday afternoon Adam Rubin of ESPN-NY reported that Dan Warthen envisions Jenrry Mejia’s future in a big-league bullpen — not a starting rotation.

So glad we’re all on the same page, guys. We wouldn’t want to continue to mess with the kid’s head, right?

Personally, I don’t know where Mejia ultimately belongs. The one thing I “see” in his future are a number of DL stints, due to his violent, inefficient pitching mechanics. Mejia began experiencing shoulder problems before he had the chance to legally drink a beer, and assuming he doesn’t change his motion, those issues could become chronic. We’ll see if any adjustments are made this spring, but I’m doubting it, considering that Warthen described Mejia’s delivery as “solid and repeatable” this time last year.

If Mejia will be prone to arm issues going forward, in which role is he more suited — reliever or starter?


Something is Cooking in Metsville

After going 2-9 on their Left Coast trip, the Mets are sinking fast in the standings. They are now 50-49, which may satisfy Omar Minaya’s goal of “being around .500”.

Further, the offense has sputtered and died like a 1974 Ford Pinto, getting shut out an incomprehensible 4 times in 10 days. That would be quite a feat if this were 1979, and the likes of Frank Taveras, Doug Flynn, and Bruce Boisclair were littering the lineup. But to be that anemic in the 21st century is … well, there are no words. Unfortunately for Howard Johnson, someone is going to have to be the scapegoat, and it’s unlikely to be the bullpen coach.

Whether it is HoJo or someone else, heads are guaranteed to roll in the next 24-48 hours. That’s an educated guess based on privately gathered inside information and the following public reports:

From tweets by Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger:

Omar: “When you have a trip like this, you have to sit down and assess how you’re going to get it right . . . We’re not going to sit back.”

Twice asked if staff would survive by Tuesday, Omar Minaya twice demurred from anything definitive.

From Andy Martino of the NY Daily News:

Minaya passed on two chances to say entire coaching staff would be intact Tuesday.

From Adam Rubin of ESPN-NY:

No one will say Howard Johnson’s job is safe

Omar would not directly state staff would remain intact Tuesday.

From David Lennon of NY Newsday:

Asked twice, Minaya would not say definitively that staff will remain intact on Tuesday when #Mets return to action.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize something is up, and that changes of some sort are coming soon — or sooner. Heck, even a two-bit blogger such as myself can figure that out.

What exactly will happen, no one is sure. HoJo’s job is unteneble right now, and though the pitching has been mostly strong lately, Dan Warthen could be blamed for Mike Pelfrey’s sudden slide. Dave Jauss could be in jeopardy for no other reason than the fact he’s Jerry Manuel’s pal (remember when Willie Randolph’s buddy Rick Down was fired?). Whether Manuel himself is spared the hatchet remains to be seen; Omar Minaya could have a tough time ‘splainin why he chose the wrong manager twice in five years. Indeed, one has to wonder if Minaya himself is on the chopping block.

We don’t know for sure what will occur in the next two days, but we can be sure that SOMETHING will happen.

Fasten your seatbelts …


Tracking the John Maine Not-So-Magical Mystery Tour

It’s been quite a whirlwind of comments swirling around John Maine — from various sources.

Originally — meaning, back in March — he claimed he was “fine”, despite poor performance and an inability to break 88 MPH. There was a point where Jerry Manuel suggested — to the media — that Maine’s spot in the rotation was in jeopardy. After a meeting between the two, Maine claimed that throwing secondary pitches ruined his velocity, and would make a mechanical tweak and go back to his style of throwing almost all fastballs.

After a few bad games, it was discovered that his LEFT arm was bothering him — as opposed to the right one, which underwent surgery and was the limb responsible for the 10 MPH drop in velocity.

A few more bad starts later, Jerry Manuel removed Maine from a game after walking the leadoff batter. The two then exchanged heated words in the dugout. Afterward, pitching coach Dan Warthen called Maine a “habitual liar”.

Maine was placed on the DL, and recently rehabbed in the minors. Despite more poor performances, Maine again claimed himself fit, and there was some buzz that he wouldn’t be interested in returning to the club as a reliever — though, he publicly stated he’d be OK with pitching out of the bullpen.

This is where things start to get weird


Warthen and Ojeda See the Same Things About Niese

From yours truly on MetsToday, in the Game 13 post:

It appears as though his arm slot has dropped from straight overhand to more three-quarter, which can be a better angle for getting movement, but takes bite away from his best pitch, the curveball. That angle also was causing him to get “under” the ball, meaning, he was releasing the ball with his fingers at the side of the ball or almost underneath — which causes the ball to move more sideways and up …

The SNY crew kept referring to one of Niese’s pitches as a “cutter”, and maybe that’s how Niese identifies it, but it is a slider. A “cutter” is a “cut fastball”, so called because it is thrown with a fastball arm action but with a grip that is shifted slightly off-center from across the four seams. The result is a fastball that “cuts” slightly — just a few inches at most. However, what Niese is doing is modifying the grip AND turning his wrist slightly counterclockwise — which is a slider. Why does it matter? Because with a slider, the fingers slide to the side of the ball and the thumb turns up toward the sky, which puts pressure on the elbow. Niese already puts a lot of pressure on his elbow with the overhand curve, so there is concern that an injury will be sustained in that area at some point. But staying in the here and now, that slider / wannabe cutter is often flat and doesn’t have much downward movement, which means it will eventually get hit hard.

… Though, Niese did throw at least 6 or 7 sliders with sharp downward bite. He may want to focus on thinking about that pitch as a slider, and calling it a slider, because when it’s not, it’s dangerous.

From Bobby Ojeda during “In the O-Zone” in last night’s postgame on SNY:

Those were pitches he was getting away from (the inside fastball and curveball). He was getting a little lazy with that cutter, which was no longer a cutter but becoming more of a big loopy slider. The cutter was back today but used sparingly … what you saw they weren’t leaning out over, looking for that soft cutter and they weren’t able to make good contact, and then Uncle Charley showed up — and I love seeing it. This kid got one of the best curveballs, probably in the National League, it’s nice to see him use it, he used it for strikes and he used it for chase pitches as well …

Chris Carlin chimes in:

You said on Loudmouths earlier tonight that the cutter had become somewhat more of a slider. Did he pitch in a more mature fashion, knowing that they would be looking for that cutter more?


Absolutely. I think there was a lot of discussion with Dan Warthen on ‘you’re getting a little sloppy with that cutter’ it IS a slider — Dan sees it, I see it … I’d be willing to bet that Barajas caught his bullpen and said ‘look, we’ve gotta get a little more tight, we’ve gotta get tighter with that … that cutter comes from from across the plate, and it’s very easy — it looks big to a hitter …

Also, during the postgame interview with Jerry Manuel, Manuel referred to Niese’s repertoire as including a “ball moving like a slider” and a “slow curveball”.

I provide this just in case there was any question regarding the reliability of the pitching analysis / information you get here on MetsToday.