Category Archives: New York Mets

Dusty Baker puts what Matt Harvey is going through pretty well

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Matt Harvey was really bad again tonight and the Mets lost in Washington. This probably isn’t a 2016 fix at this point. But it doesn’t mean we can’t sit back and enjoy the New York media pressure cooker that ensues after it. It might not reach a higher point.

In part of this good old-fashioned New York evisceration, Dusty Baker gets asked about Harvey’s struggles. Baker has been around the game as long as anyone, so like the writer states; he just knows.

“It’s not my job to straighten Harvey out,” Nats manager Dusty Baker quipped before the game. But he’s also a guy who has been around the sport forever, who has seen and experienced everything. He knows. More than anybody possibly can, he knows how things work.

“But from a player’s perspective, you don’t feel loved. You don’t think you have any friends. It’s a lonely place to be. People walk by you, they hold their head down. They don’t know what to say to you. You don’t look at the newspaper, you don’t look at TV. It’s a very lonely place to be.”

You look at the pitcher who opposed Harvey tonight in DC and struck out 11 hitters – Stephen Strasburg is the name – and you realize there’s still some hope. But again, there’s too much toothpaste out of the tube at this point to be able to keep it in the bathroom.

Thor is finally mine; come to Papa, Thor.

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In my favorite league – the keeper league that I run – I entered the year needing to rebuild. It was time for me to finally pay the piper for so many draft pick trades, too many overpays, too many bad decisions to hold a veteran over adding a youngster off the wire, and too many floundered ideas gone bad.

The first mistake I made was trying to invest in pitching at all. My failed experiments in that league over the past three years just off the top of my head: 2014 Justin Verlander, 2015 Stephen Strasburg (I waited two years on him), and then keeping Michael Pineda, drafting Zach Greinke early, keeping Marcus Stroman, drafting Jake Odorizzi, and trading for Yordano Ventura (who had failed me the previous two seasons after trading to get him).

I can count on one hand the pitchers in the big leagues I like and trust. There are ones you can trust who I don’t even like; but Noah Syndergaard is one of those guys. Since I’m having a bust of a season, I went all in to finally get him in a league:

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I’m likely to regret this on the Urias and Mazara front, but it was worth it to me to get some stock in Syndergaard somewhere. I’ve always felt that his ceiling was the highest of any of the four Mets pitchers, and then it came to fruition this season.

Moving forward, I’ve got broken Matt Harvey, somewhat broken Justin Verlander, lotto chip Rubby De La Rosa, cinderella Rich Hill, and Syndergaard to go along with one of the few others I like and trust in Lance McCullers. That’s about as good as a pitching staff will ever be when I’m in control.

As Fangraphs said, what’s more compelling than watching Syndergaard pitch? Not much. And I wasn’t fully able to enjoy it until now because I didn’t own him anywhere. There’s talk about him being the best pitcher in baseball. I know Kershaw is not human right now, but I don’t know if I take him over Thor if given the choice.

And this is how even in a losing fantasy season you can give yourself a little fun. Just go acquire the guys you like to watch and start from scratch next season with a few of those guys. That’s probably the only New Years resolution I’m still following at the moment, to make more trades this season.

Thor & Cespedes’ Strange High-Five

This followed up Noah Syndergaard’s home run deep into the right center stands off Kenta Maeda at Dodger Stadium tonight, Thor’s second home run of his career. Even Vin Scully gave this a little chuckle. Vin knows about left handed cigarettes.

And I was just thinking tonight about how Syndergaard looks like Mitch from Dazed and Confused with that hair. The shoe fits.

The season has ended, before it did Bryce Harper dealt one more fatal blow to the Mets

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[Box Score]

Saturday was a special day for the Nationals, even if it were in futility. Bryce Harper connected with his 42nd and final home run of 2015, a game winning titanic blast to right field that won the Nationals the game 3-1. He ended the season on 99 RBI, 42 home runs, and a .330 batting average.

Of course, in the nightcap Max Scherzer had one of the most dominating pitching performances ever in getting his second no-hitter of the year.

But for me, the moment of the day was a limping Bryce Harper (he took a Noah Syndergaard 96 mph fastball off the shin earlier in this game) getting off the mat to take an MVP hack and win his team one more ballgame.

Bryce Harper hits homers 35 and 36 on Washington’s Rest in Paradise night

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[Mets 5, Nationals 3]

Alright, so we’re a little late on this one. The Nationals ironically received huge performances from both Stephen Strasburg, and got a Bryce Harper home run to kick off scoring, and to close their scoring; and they were still swept by the team from Queens.

Home Run #35

Home Run #36

So, first time we’ve had a delay in getting one of these Harper home run posts up. Pardon us, it was a busy several days and the Nats basically being unofficially eliminated from the playoffs was depressing.

Bryce Harper homered all weekend long

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The Nationals didn’t need this home run to win yesterday or anything, but number 34 for Bryce Harper came off Manny Banuelos, and it was impressive because it was a finesse swing off a slider. The Nationals swept the Braves out of town with an 8-4 win, and moved within four games of the Mets in the NL East.

As we were saying, he homered all weekend.

As for the home runs, Harper has three in his past three games, with each one seemingly more impressive than the one before. On Friday, he clubbed a 453-foot shot to dead center off Julio Teheran that was the longest of his career. On Saturday, he got behind 0-2 on righty Shelby Miller, then proceeded to foul off four pitches before going deep to left-center. The at-bat lasted 10 pitches and resulted in Harper’s 500th career hit. Then on Sunday, leading off the third inning, he hit another opposite-field shot, this one coming on an 0-2 slider from southpaw Manny Banuelos. Said Washington manager Matt Williams: “His stroke is under control.”

Bryce Harper is heating up at the right time, and he’s got an outside shot at 40 home runs if he stays this hot. It’s going to be more fun to watch the pennant race in this division though starting with today’s game.

Good Sunday Night Baseball Game this week

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Real good ballgame going on tonight on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.

Noah Syndergaard opposes Jordan Zimmerman down at animalistic Citi Field that is sounding and feeling more like old Shea Stadium by the night this summer. The Mets are going for the sweep, and are just a game back of the Nationals. The first two games have been nail-biters. This should be a great one. Or it could be 7-2. Gut feeling, Bryce Harper hits home run number 30 before leaving the big apple. He likes hitting there.

The Toddfather is at his Zenith

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There just isn’t much to cheer about as a Reds fan right now. The Reds are playing out a string here in late June and in a season that they welcome the All Star Game, the team just seems so ‘blah’.

They dropped two games today, one the completion of a suspended game in 13 innings and the other becoming the first belt notch in Steven Matz’s career in Queens.

But there is Todd Frazier; the beacon of light. The Toddfather just hit his 25th homer of the year in the team’s 74th game. George Foster holds the record with 52 home runs which he hit in his MVP season of 1977. Right now, Frazier is in the hunt for this team record and 40 home runs seems a lock.

I have to admit, I always thought Frazier would have a few Aaron Boone type years where he showed flashes of first-round brilliance at the big league level. But I always saw Frazier as more of a secondary start to the Bruce’s and Votto’s of the world. Frazier at this point is completely leveling any expectation I had of him. Little league swing or not, the guy has a .978 OPS and is going to catch Giancarlo for the National League home run lead shortly.

He’s a good dude who goes about his game quietly, and he’s developed into a hell of a power hitter. That doesn’t go without salute in these parts. Plus, our wife loves him!

Chris Heston no-hits the Mets at Citi Field

[Box Score]

I asked some guy I know who is a Giants fan at the beginning of the year what he thought of Chris Heston – because I thought the guy was more than serviceable.

“I don’t know man. I think he’s pretty much just a guy,” he said to me.

The guy just threw a no-hitter in his 12th career start. It was the fourth no-hitter for the Giants in four years. They have things good. Heston struck out 11 Mets hitters, and didn’t walk anyone. The only thing that separated him from a perfect game was him hitting three batters.

Heston got the final out with a called strike-three to Ruben Tejeda. It was a pretty good pitch. It’s interesting to note that the last time the Mets were no-hit was in September of 1993 by Darryl Kile. I remember that day well.

It’s always good to see the magic a no-hitter brings during baseball season. Even if you hate the Giants, it’s still neat. Baseball will grab center stage on the sports highlights shows tonight. At least, they should.

Happy Noah Syndergaard Day!

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Today, Noah Syndergaard makes his big league debut at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. What a magical occasion that’s going to be. As we like to do with all heralded prospects coming out of the minors on their debut-day, we provide you with the scouting report from Baseball Prospectus on Syndergaard:

Syndergaard’s best pitch is his fastball, a mid-90s offering that will get up to 98 with some life. He’s not just a hard thrower, as the young Texan has two above-average offerings to keep hitters off his plus-plus heater. The best of these is his change; it’s a pitch that offers excellent deception from both a velocity difference (typically in the high 70s as compared to the 94-96 mph fastball) and his ability to keep that difference without losing much arm speed. His curveball—a well below-average offering when Syndergaard first entered the big leagues—now flashes plus with hard spin and some depth, and he can either bury the pitch out of the zone or throw it for strikes. It’s the least consistent of the three offerings, and there are times when he’ll “overthrow” the pitch and it will end up in the middle of the zone.

And while the stuff alone makes Syndergaard an upper-echelon pitching prospect, what makes him one of the best in baseball is his ability to throw all three of his pitches for strikes. There isn’t much effort to his delivery, which allows him to repeat it on a consistent basis, and though the command isn’t Pedro-esque by any stretch of the imagination, he’s generally within the margin of error and does a good job keeping the ball below the belt.

You hope Syndergaard can avoid the arm troubles that seemingly all young pitchers encounter in present day baseball. Hopefully he has a couple years where he’s successful, exciting to watch, and just stays healthy. We’re excited to see what he can do at Wrigley and for the rest of the season.

The Nationals sent the Mets a message over the weekend

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I caught a lot of the last two Nationals/Mets tilts in Queens the past two days, a pair of 1-0 wins by the Nationals where their four and five starters showed phenomenal stuff, enough stuff to shut out the team with the best record in the division.

To me, that is very telling. Gio Gonzalez was phenomenal last night (made papa some money) and Doug Fister threw 6 and 1/3 scoreless without walking anyone to get the win today.

The Nationals won these two games on an infield RBI single by Michael Taylor and a bloop single today by Ryan Zimmerman.

It was the type of series that reminds you of the way things are really going to be by season’s end, that the Mets are a simple small sample size anomaly that worked without completely breaking down for 25 or so games.

No matter how many times Terry Collins came out of the dugout to get in the umpire’s ass this weekend, it just didn’t matter. The Nationals were the better team with the worse record and took three of four at Citi Field.

When (and if) the Nationals ever get the health of their full roster restored, they’ll probably go on some type of run that turns everyone’s heads. They really aren’t even playing that well right now, just grinding.

The Miami Marlins are in deep trouble

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Giancarlo Stanton said it best – and we were waiting for some quote like this to leak out of the Miami clubhouse:

“We’re not really giving ourselves a chance, it feels like,” the All-Star slugger said after the loss. “We’ve got a positive vibe, but [something] is just not there.

“The fire is not there, it seems like. You always want to have it. But when you’re out there and it’s game time, it’s just nothing there.”

Things didn’t get much better on Saturday night in a 5-4 loss at Citi Field. Despite an okay five innings from Mat Latos, and five hits from Dee Gordon; Jacob deGrom threw seven scoreless innings striking out eight and walking nobody. Stanton went hitless (down to .220) and Christian Yelich went 1 for 5 (down to .225).

You could make the case that this is baseball’s most disappointing team; a label they have tried desperately to avoid with all the offseason moves and roster makeover.

Perhaps this was the test that was meant to happen all along. If they’re one of baseball’s worst teams in the first half of the season will Jeffrey Loria stick to his promise to continue trying to build a championship team or will they deal a few veterans for prospects?

This just wasn’t the way it was supposed to go down in Miami. Our call is that they continue to struggle, only to become one of baseball’s hottest teams when they get back Jose Fernandez, falling just short of a Wildcard berth by season’s end because they couldn’t break out of their slumber soon enough.

If you’re wondering on an update for Fernandez, he’s been throwing off a mound for the last month and he’s expected back in June.

If you’re wondering about the Marlins salvaging something on Sunday in Queens, they’re staring down the barrel of Matt Harvey; as always a team seems to when they’re struggling most.

Giancarlo Stanton is on the board

With this home run, Giancarlo Stanton passes Dan Uggla as the Marlins all-time leader in home runs. That’s pretty sad that Dan Uggla – when you think of the type of player he’s been reduced to – was at one time a tenured, all-time leader in home runs of a franchise. This in and of itself has the Marlins headed towards a more respectable future with this guy atop their archives in the sexiest category.

It was a true rapier shot to right-center. The Marlins lost the damn game 7-5 and continue to generally underachieve (especially when we bet money on them, they’re 0-4 now).

Miami wasted a pinch-hit triple and subsequent unbelievable play at home plate by the little old man Ichiro.

We still would like to see Giancarlo ditch that facemask for good, which he seems to be considering.