Tag Archive for Matt Harvey

Here Come the SHaMs!

That’s the Second-Half Mets, who are going to need to be considerably better than their first-half counterparts if they want to turn this year into something.

I’m not saying they can’t do that, and I’m definitely not saying I’m not rooting for it, but based on what we saw in the first half, I have my doubts.

21I’d have felt better had the team managed to pierce the 10-games-over-.500 barrier but we only approached it several times before settling back into that 80-something win pace. Nobody seems to be acknowledging the biggest loss for the club was big Lucas Duda, who allowed guys like Neil Walker to bat 6th or 7th instead of 4th or 5th. Duda is a mysterious creature. Do we even know how he broke his back? Is his return even a possibility? I’m skeptical of a strong back half without him or someone as terrifying.

20I like Walker enough, but he’s not a middle-of-the-order guy and he hasn’t been much of a force since April. The Mets have Flores, Hererra, Reyes, Reynolds and Cecchini as potential middle infielders. The Mets have no doubt gotten the better of the Niese-Walker swap so far but you wonder, with the Pirates potentially losing an infielder (Kang) and the Mets a starting pitcher, whether they’d shake hands, swap apartments again and pretend it never happened. Niese has been awful, but throw in a prospect, Pittsburgh, and maybe you have a deal. While you’re at it, would you be interested in a reunion with Antonio Bastardo?

Michael Conforto plummeted even more dramatically than Walker but appears to be regaining his stroke in AAA. His return to form would be a considerable boost. Jose Reyes’ return seems to have interrupted Brandon Nimmo’s shot at becoming the leadoff hitter we were looking for anyway. Referring to my recent failed campaign to outfit Travis d’Arnaud in a new number an MBTN reader made a clever suggestion that I might support in helping Conforto to a better second half:

 

I’m all for it, Eric.

33They say it’ll all come down to pitching in the end and I agree. Matt Harvey’s loss, while disappointing, isn’t a setback for the club inasmuch as he wasn’t doing nearly enough to help them win when he was out there. Do they trade for a reliable 5th starter type (Niese again!) or trust things to Sean Gilmartin, and Seth Lugo and Logan Verrett? Maybe they aim a little higher and come away with a Jorge De La Rosa or Rich Hill. Maybe the injury to Snydergaard is worse than expected and they unload. I guess we have to wait and see.

Finally, my friend Conor captured this video from the National broadcast over the weekend! Go us!

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Memorial Day Weakened

32For a team that lost a mighty middle-of-the-order slugger to a broken back, had a once-unstoppable pitcher deliver two of the worst outings of his career, had two guys in the lineup looking for their first major-league hits, has a leadoff hitter struggling to hit above .200, saw starters at shortstop and third base need time off for their own aching backs, had its top bench player and starting catcher on the disabled list, and played the first-place team in their division six times, the Mets didn’t do all that bad this week.

Key to that were terrific starting performances from Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, a bullpen that got-er-done when needed, a bounceback from Bartolo Colon (also dealing with back stiffness) and just enough good luck to make it all sitck, recording an underwhelming sweep of Milwaukee and a series win in Washington this week following a harrowing series loss at home the week before — its fourth straight series loss.

Along the way we were were re-introduced Classic Daniel Murphy, whose iron glove in Wednesday’s game loomed very large when it was all over.

5And so the 2016 Mets head into Memorial Day weekend with a wobbly kind of momentum. Regardless of how underwhelming Los Angeles looked the last time we saw them — how could a team with that kind of financial power wind up relying so heavily on clowns like Kike Hernadez and Justin Turner? — the Mets are going to need to continue to do everything they possibly can right until they unravel what’s ailing Granderson, and d’Arnaud and Duda heal, Conforto and Plawecki’s slump ease, and Harvey stops being such a momentum killer.

What can you say about David Wright? He’s quite obviously not David Wright anymore, his strikeouts, especially looking, are way up, but the guy is winning us some games.

Let’s hope we see Flores return to active duty — and first base — on Friday as the ’86ers return to town.

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Harvey Hi33tory

33Congrats are in order for Matt Harvey, whose fifth strikeout last night helped him surpass John Maine to become the Mets’ all-time leader in strikeouts by guys who wore 33.

Harvey raced to his current career total of 470 whiffs in just 455.1 innings pitched, a pretty impressive feat for a guy I love to hate.

In other races we’re watching this year, keep an eye on Jacob deGrom as he mounts an assault on Aaron Heilman’s all-time mark of 395 strikeouts by a 48: At his rate, that’ll be sometime in June.

34Harvey, deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz in the meantime have quite the battle on their hands for strikeout supremacy, between themselves and their extended numerical families. Matz ‘ Team 32 has the current lead among them at 2,034 career K’s, with Syndergaard’s 34s currently at 1,946; Harvey’s 33s at 1,934 and deGrom’s 48s at 1,909.

It’s possible that all four of these jerseys surpass 16 to move into the top five of all time before the season is over. Not that we need reminding, but these are the good old days.

 

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Without 28

28I’m not going to lie and say Daniel Murphy was ever my favorite Met, but there’s no denying his Met-ness.

Now that it looks like his career with the Mets has come to an end Murphy departs having accounted for more than one-fourth of all games ever played by a guy wearing No. 28 — nearly 40% among position players. His lead over the next most active 28, John Milner, is exactly 162 games and almost 1,000 at-bats.

No Met 28 had any more hits, runs scored, doubles, triples, RBI and stolen bases than Murphy (Milner had more home runs); none were a bigger force in the postseason; no player made you crazier behind brilliant and brilliantly awful plays than Murphy.

52Now that Murphy has officially declined a “qualifying offer,” and it appears as though Yoenis Cespedes is going away too (thanks, and, uh, see ya around, Yo), remaking the interior of the Mets is a priority for the offseason. I don’t think it’s a radical of me to suggest the Mets look to do so with an eye on preventing the kind of up-the-middle sloppiness that doomed them to a deserving humiliation in the World Series (a friend described the Mets’ play against Kansas City as a “dog’s breakfast.”)

My opinion on the best way of going about things could change still but how about we move Wilmer Flores to second base, sign free agent Denard Span, and trade with the Red Sox for shortstop Xander Bogaerts? If and when Dilson Hererra forces his way up, Flores becomes the New Muprhy: Filling in at second, third and (if necessary) short.

Span — at least when healthy — is a nice player who can complement Lagares (he bats left, reaches base exceptionally well, steals bases).

2The Bogaerts part of my plan I admit is a bit of a reach, and might mean parting with Matt Harvey, but 22 year old shortstops like him don’t grow on trees. And it might be more realistic than the Matt-Harvey-for-Mookie-Betts talk out there, as much sense as that makes if only to acquire a Mookie.

Conflict in the making: Both Bogaerts and Span wear No. 2.

Ian Desmond, who could replace Murphy’s offense easily and improve the defense at short, is another possibility if you can’t part with the cost of acquiring a guy by trade.

46I warned you guys about Tyler Clippard, who wound up pretty much like all 46s do, but all the same bullpen upgrades should hardly ever be a priority. I suppose there’s an opportunity to add a few arms to the mix, but there almost always is.

10Congrats to Terry Collins on the new deal, I’m shocked he ever made it this far but he’s grown on me: Complaints about bullpen management come with every guy, but in general I haven’t felt like Terry gives up anything strategically to the other team’s manager, and in the case of the Nationals he beat them badly. As noted above I’d like to see his teams get a little better at the little things, and hope he’ll be held accountable when they don’t.

Your thoughts on the offseason?

 

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Prospecting

72Some discussion in the post below raised the practice of dressing young prospects at camp. I was certainly expecting to see Zack Wheeler wearing his preferred 45 but was pleased to see the Mets haven’t granted him that priviledge quite yet. As Gogred points out, Dwight Gooden wore 64 as a spring training invite in 1984 (and again many springs later in an atempt to recapture the feeling. At this time in 2004, David Wright was rocking No. 72 — although Jose Reyes wore 7 during 2003’s spring training. Last year, Matt Harvey was 70 and Kirk Nieuwenhuis was 72. It’s believed that Travis D’Arnaud could be assigned his preferred 15 (I incorrectly said 16, below) but there’s something to be said for reminding the youngsters to have some humility.

We should have the first sightings of unis and/or rosters real soon. Keep an eye out.

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We are the Future

33I didn’t have the courage to stay up past the seventh inning of last night’s game in Arizona but gathered from the box score that it turned out alright if you can forgive the shakiness of the 8th and 9th and while overlooking that Mets managed only two baserunners against the entire Diamondback bullpen amid David Wright’s growing slump.

I’d be more optimistic today if I knew there were an offensive version of Matt Harvey down there at AAA ready to make the next step, but I don’t see one. And looking realistically at the organization, you’d figure there’s a need to replace as many as three outfielders; get a catcher who can hit; and probably, a better second baseman before they’re ready to adequately support guys like Harvey, Wheeler and whatever else the more developed pitching pipeline produces. What I’m saying is, maybe the club will make a trade or two before the clock strikes midnight Tuesday. And if so, let’s hope they produce hitters that can help tomorrow and not relief pitchers for tonight.

Have we seen the last of Lucas Duda? The big lefty looked promising for a while, but hasn’t hit with enough power this year to forgive his poor glove and this week was banished to AAA Buffalo. If the Mets think Ike Davis has put his nightmares behind him and is the better bet at first base, Duda could go in one of the trades. Anyway, he’s down, Manny Acosta is back up, Mike Nickeas is down, Rob Johnson is back up, Pedro Beato is down, and Matt Harvey looks awfully good in No. 33.

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Ready or Not

36I can understand the Mets being patient and trying to manage expectations with regards to pitching prospect Matt Harvey, who appears to be making his first major league start later this week in Arizona. But geez, did they have to go Miguel Batista one more time? His ouster in Saturday’s debacle with Los Angeles was about the least surprising of the many bad things to have happened to the Mets since the All-Star break. That performance  got Batista designated for assignment. Combined with Johan Santana’s deserved trip to the disabled list, it paves the way for Harvey’s ascendancy ready or not.

Recent trends notwithstanding, I can’t see the Mets continuing to climb the ladder for pitcher numbers and issue Harvey something in the 60s or 70s. I’d expect something like 36, although 33 and 22 are available as well.

In other news, Elvin Ramirez, wearing 62, is back again.

The Mets look like a team nearly wiped out from a lack of confidence that’s swept like a virus, infecting the bullpen first and now spreading throughout the lineup. I’m not putting it past the Mets to get healthy again but the offense in general requires more fixes than just that, and sadly, there’s few Matt Harveys waiting in Buffalo for their chance to hit their way onto this team.

What uni do you think Harvey shows up in?

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Luis, Luis

As dubbed by commenter Gordon in the below post the Mets could run out the “Luis Luis” keystone combination with the recall of infielder Luis Hernandez from the minor leagues. Hernandez, whom I’m already confusing with that Ramon Martinez guy we played at second base near the end of the ’08 season, will wear No. 3 and presumably stick around only until Jose Reyes feels better. Jesus Feliciano was again returned to Buffalo to make room.

The Mets before the game introduced Matt Harvey, their top selection from the draft this June, and presented him with a No. 35 jersey. I’m heading off on vacation and might be tardy with updates over the next week: Expect the usual suspects to be recalled (Feliciano, Nick Evans, maybe even Sean Green) and hopefully a few new faces (Lucas Duda, who couldn’t possibly be a worse candidate to get outfield starts than Jeff Francoeur) but those may not come immediately as Buffalo fights for a playoff spot.

As always you can stay in touch here. Mets by the way keep extending that contiguous-points-at-.500 streak: At 64-64 they are now at 12 straight. They are very average.

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Welcome Rookies

Congratulations to Matt Harvey, the Mets’ first pick and seventh overall, in this year’s amateur draft. Photos from his University of North Carolina career show Harvey wearing No. 43.

It will be some time before Harvey arrives, but hopefully not as much as Jesus Feliciano has waited. The Buffalo outfielder, who just turned 31 and has logged some 1,300 minor league games and nearly 5,000 plate appearances, was recalled to take the slot temporarily occupied by Omir Santos. No word yet on his uni number, although reader Dave Mackey points out Feliciano was wearing 23 in Buffalo (currently Chris Carter‘s uni here). Dave points out that 27 is free but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mets briskly re-issue the 19 last belonging to Gary Matthews Jr. as a means of instant palate-cleansing. We will update!
The accompanying photo is a wire photo of Jack Fisher, beneficiary of the 19 runs the Mets scored in May of 1964 to beat the Cubs, referred to below in the first Meet the Dicks post. A copy was sent along by reader Paul C. The caption, difficult to read in this shrunken size reads as follows:

CHICAGO — With the New York Mets hitting like champions here 5/26 against the Cubs, and setting a new team record for hits and runs, Jack Fisher, shown here in dressing room, coasted and finished the game for the first time in 17 starts, eight of them this year, with his second win against three defeats. The last place Mets blasted 23 hits off six Cub hurlers for a 19-1 triumph.

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