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July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM

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Posted: 7/17/2014 9:10 AM

July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 






MLB Team Report - New York Mets - INSIDE PITCH

NEW YORK -- Mets general manager Sandy Alderson seemed to be employing GM speak -- and/or just putting off the inevitable -- July 7, when he said New York would wait the end of their 10-game homestand on July 13 to decide what to do at the trade deadline.


"Look, let's see where we are at the end of this week," Alderson said.


Lo and behold, the Mets used the week to completely redefine their standing heading into the All-Star break.

The Mets cruised past the Miami Marlins, 9-1, on July 13 to complete an 8-2 homestand in which New York clicked in every facet of the game.


Right-hander Jacob deGrom's seven innings of one-run ball in the first half finale marked the eighth time a Mets starter pitched into the seventh inning on the homestand and lowered the composite ERA of Mets starters to 3.67.


"This game is always going to be about getting people out," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Where we've hung in there, in all these close games we keep talking about, (is) because our pitching staff doesn't get blown out."


The Mets were doing the blowing out over the last 10 days of the first half -- during which they won five games by three runs or more -- thanks to a long-dormant lineup that busted out for 55 runs and 40 extra-base hits, including 10 homers.


The top half of the Mets' lineup -- right fielder Curtis Granderson, second baseman Daniel Murphy, third baseman David Wright, first baseman Lucas Duda and catcher Travis d'Arnaud -- combined to hit .291 on the 10-game homestand. In addition, the quintet accounted for 20 of the 26 homers the Mets hit in the final 25 games before the All-Star Break.


But it was the Mets' situational hitting and willingness to play small ball that really impressed Collins and has him believing the Mets can continue building momentum once play resumes on July 18.


Of the 55 runs the Mets scored on the homestand, 28 came with two outs.


"It goes back to the situational hitting that we talked about all the first half," Collins said. "It's about guys knowing what to do. It's about execution. And right now we're executing.


"So is it sustainable? Absolutely."


And in the finale on July 13, the Mets scored four runs in the eighth inning via four singles, three walks and two stolen bases.


"I think that for us to be successful, we can't necessarily sit back and rely on home runs," Wright said. "We've got to put ourselves in position to be aggressive and put pressure on the defense."


Armed with a solid pitching staff and a suddenly robust offense, the goal for the Mets in the second half is to put pressure on NL East co-leaders Atlanta and Washington. The Mets (45-50) will begin play July 18 seven games behind the Braves and Nationals -- a sizable gap, to be sure, but one the Mets feel they can make up after gaining three games in the standings during the homestand.


Wright said nearly sweeping a four-game set from the Braves from July 7-10 -- the Mets won the first three games before dropping the finale -- has the Mets believing they can do more than just play spoiler come September.


"I think that Braves series gave us a lot of confidence," Wright said. "We know that they're both very talented teams and teams that have a lot of household names. And we might not be there yet. But we're playing very, very good baseball and we plan on giving them a run for their money."

With 19 games remaining against the Braves and Nationals, the Mets will certainly have the opportunity to make up that ground. They also play the sub-.500 Marlins and Phillies a total of 16 times, as well as 13 other games against the Padres, Cubs, Rockies and Astros, all of whom reached the All-Star Break with losing records.


The Mets have no margin for error in their pursuit of a long-shot playoff berth (they also hit the All-Star Break 6 1/2 games behind in the race for the second wild card). But if they can maintain the level of play they showed in ending the first half, they'll at least have offered signs of tangible progress this season -- at the least.


"My expectations when I came to spring training were pretty good," Collins said. "I knew we could compete. We had to do a lot of things right if we were going to compete, but I knew we could. And what we've shown the last 10 days is yes we can compete. Now, we've got 67 more games. We've got to go out and do it. We can't just talk about it. We've got to go do it.


"If we continue to play like this, September's going to be a fun month."


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MLB Team Report - New York Mets:

NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 45-50

STREAK: Won three


FIRST-HALF MVP: Defensive flaws and a rising price tag mean 2B Daniel Murphy may not be a long-term building block, but an All-Star first-half proved why the Mets need to find more players like Murphy. In addition to bringing intensity, durability and an unyielding work ethic, Murphy is a pure hitter who is unfazed by homer-unfriendly Citi Field. He is on pace to hit at least .285 with 35-plus doubles for a third straight year, and he is likely to rank among the NL's top three in hits for a second consecutive season.


FIRST-HALF GRADE: C -- The Mets are the student who spares himself a failing grade by cramming furiously for and then acing the final exam. The starting pitching was legitimate all season, and the bullpen was bolstered once management gave up on the Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth experiments and went with the kids -- RHPs Vic Black, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia, the latter of whom has 10 saves since transitioning from the rotation. While it remains to be seen if the Mets actually solved their situational hitting woes while ending the first half with an 8-2 homestand, they look like a team that can take a step forward this season, whether by flirting with .500 or making a run at a playoff berth.


PIVOTAL POST-BREAK PLAYER: The Mets are enamored with C Travis d'Arnaud's defense as well as his budding leadership skills. If his first-half offensive finish (.295 with three homers and 10 RBIs since returning from Triple-A Las Vegas on June 24) is a sign of things to come, then the Mets have the homegrown backstop every team wants -- as well as trade bait, given that the best position prospect in the chain is C Kevin Plawecki, who was promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas last month.


BUY OR SELL: RHP Bartolo Colon, 41, could be dealt to a team focusing on winning this year. Otherwise, the Mets don't have many veterans to offer other than 2B Daniel Murphy, who is unlikely to go anywhere during the season. LHP Jonathon Niese and RHP Dillon Gee certainly would have value to contenders, but their injuries this season reminded the Mets how necessary it is to retain rotation depth. For the most part, the Mets likely will stand pat in hopes of making a playoff run without impeding the long-term plan.


INJURY STATUS: LHP Jonathon Niese hopes to return from a left shoulder strain shortly after the All-Star break, which would restore the pitching staff to full strength. The Mets' everyday players largely were healthy except for CF Juan Lagares, whose emergence was hampered by a pair of DL stints, and C Travis d'Arnaud, who missed almost two weeks with a concussion. RHPs Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell are both recovering from Tommy John surgery.


TOP PROSPECT: Most believed RHP Noah Syndergaard would reach the majors in June, but the 21-year-old was slowed at Triple-A Las Vegas by a right elbow injury, a left shoulder injury and the hitter-friendly conditions of the Pacific Coast League. Manager Terry Collins said Syndergaard (7-4, 5.31 ERA) might not even be recalled in September, but his star hasn't dimmed -- he appeared in the Futures Game for the second consecutive year Sunday, when he earned the save. The Mets likely will want him to get his feet wet over the final month in anticipation of beginning next year in the rotation.


QUOTE TO NOTE: "Now what we have to do is go out and play like we did this homestand. You're not going to do it every night. But for the most part, if you play consistent, play smart fundamental baseball, we'll get back in the hunt." -- Mets manager Terry Collins


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MLB Team Report - New York Mets - ROSTER REPORT


MEDICAL WATCH:

--LHP Jonathon Niese (left shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 5. He underwent an MRI exam July 7 that revealed inflammation in his A/C joint. He was prescribed anti-inflammatory medication. He threw July 10, and the Mets hope he can return for the second series following the All-Star break (July 21-23).


--C Taylor Teagarden (left hamstring strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 22. He began on a rehab assignment with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Mets on July 12.


--RHP Matt Harvey (Tommy John surgery in October 2013) went on the 60-day disabled list March 30. He threw from 120 feet May 9. Harvey was supposed to throw off a mound on June 10 but the Mets wanted to slow his rehab a bit. He threw long-toss June 19. He hopes to pitch in September.


--RHP Jeremy Hefner (Tommy John surgery in August 2013) joined the Mets in Miami to do rehab work on May 6. He threw off a mound for the first time since his operation on June 10, when he threw 15 pitches at the Mets' spring training complex. He hopes to rejoin the major league club before the end of the season.


--RHP Bobby Parnell (Tommy John surgery in April 2014) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 1, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 14. He will miss the entire season.

"Use your head.....that's that lump 3 feet above your arse." - Jimmy Dugan

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Posted: 7/17/2014 9:11 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 


Note: Game's not until tomorrow night.

"Use your head.....that's that lump 3 feet above your arse." - Jimmy Dugan

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Posted: 7/17/2014 9:20 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 


Met withdrawal symptoms: they are real
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Posted: 7/17/2014 9:25 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 



FIFAstar79 wrote: Met withdrawal symptoms: they are real
I felt the same way in departing from San Diego a few years back.

Hopefully, the players haven't spent too much time at the beach during the ASB.  Have to figure a bunch of them have been there for almost a week already.

"Use your head.....that's that lump 3 feet above your arse." - Jimmy Dugan

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Posted: 7/17/2014 9:36 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 



Walnutz15 wrote:
FIFAstar79 wrote: Met withdrawal symptoms: they are real
I felt the same way in departing from San Diego a few years back.

Hopefully, the players haven't spent too much time at the beach during the ASB.  Have to figure a bunch of them have been there for almost a week already.
.

That's alright.  Familia's arm has had a chance to rest.  Torres got a much needed respite.  I'm sure there are just as many Padres chillin at the beach.  Two out of three for this series keeps me interested.

Last edited 7/17/2014 9:36 AM by FIFAstar79

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Posted: 7/17/2014 9:39 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 


That's probably the best development for all of them in that bullpen: rest.

Curious to see how Colon works off of 8 days rest, himself. Hopefully, quick and efficient - pitching in that park.

.........was referring more to the lineup, and the hitters who looked like they were starting to catch on.  Hopefully, it sticks.

"Use your head.....that's that lump 3 feet above your arse." - Jimmy Dugan

Last edited 7/17/2014 9:40 AM by Walnutz15

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Posted: 7/17/2014 9:59 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 


Interesting match-up.  The battle of the Showcased pitchers.
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Posted: 7/17/2014 10:02 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 



Walnutz15 wrote: Curious to see how Colon works off of 8 days rest, himself. Hopefully, quick and efficient - pitching in that park.


Well, he has had plenty of time to load up on carbs.
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Posted: 7/17/2014 11:10 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 



omnimetfan wrote: Interesting match-up.  The battle of the Showcased pitchers.

Thinking the same thing.  Gonna be a ton of scouts at this game (those starters, Padres relievers, Murphy).

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Posted: 7/17/2014 11:20 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 


Hopefully no letdowns after the break. These guys need to continue to pick up games. 2 of 3 will work.
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Posted: 7/17/2014 11:57 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 



EddyBarzoon wrote: Hopefully no letdowns after the break. These guys need to continue to pick up games. 2 of 3 will work.
Realistically, we need to finish over .500 on this homestand to have a chance.  6-4 could be dealt with.  7-3 would be ideal.   Anything less and we're pretty much out.

Realistically this next couple weeks is all about making up enough ground for us to be in it before we play our next two series with the Nationals, where a big jump can really be made.

The dreaded sig of doom has chosen future hall of famer Jason Heyward as its target.

May the baseball gods have mercy on your soul!

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Posted: 7/17/2014 11:58 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 



headscalper wrote:
EddyBarzoon wrote: Hopefully no letdowns after the break. These guys need to continue to pick up games. 2 of 3 will work.
Realistically, we need to finish over .500 on this homestand to have a chance.  6-4 could be dealt with.  7-3 would be ideal.   Anything less and we're pretty much out.

Realistically this next couple weeks is all about making up enough ground for us to be in it before we play our next two series with the Nationals, where a big jump can really be made.
Road trip! 5-5 would be fine if WAS and ATL go 2-8! It's all relative. Gotta pick up a game a week, more or less. It doesn't sound like too much when you put it that way.
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Posted: 7/17/2014 12:08 PM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 


Nationals next 10 games are vs teams with an average win% of .550 [counting only those teams road and home games where appropriate].

Mets next 10, .495
Braves next 10, .409

So, if all three teams were perfectly average, you might expect the Nats to go 4-6, Mets 5-5 and Braves 6-4.
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Posted: 7/18/2014 8:41 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 


Mets Start the Second Half Hot

Out of the All-Star Break, the Mets Might Be the Hottest Team in Baseball

 

By Jared Diamond

July 17, 2014 8:30 p.m. ET

With the second half of the season set to begin, the fate of the resurgent Mets likely hinges on the outcome of the next 10 days. They come out of the All-Star break as perhaps the hottest team in the major leagues, having gone 8-2 on their last homestand to propel themselves into third place in the wide-open National League East.

Now the Mets, brimming with confidence, prepare to embark on a grueling road trip that will take them through San Diego, Seattle and Milwaukee. Though general manager Sandy Alderson's 90-win challenge remains an elusive goal considering the team's 45-50 record, the Mets suddenly seem capable of finishing the year with a .500 mark for the first time since 2008.


To get there, they'll have to go 36-31 the rest of the way, which would require sustaining their current level of play for the next 2½ months. It sounds like a daunting task, but statistical evidence indicates that the team could—maybe even should—continue to improve.


The Mets have outscored their opponents by a total of 19 runs this season, same as the 49-47 Toronto Blue Jays, who currently sit just 2½ games out of a wild-card spot in the American League.

But complicated numbers and fancy sabermetrics mean nothing without results on the field. The Mets will never make the playoffs based on their expected winning percentage. Only the actual one matters.


With that in mind, these three questions will help determine where the Mets go from here.


 

Can the bats stay hot?


The Mets' offense has looked dreadful for the most of the season, ranking 12th in the National League in team batting average (.242) and 13th in home runs (74). But they've had a huge July, scoring 60 runs in 12 games so far, the second-most in the National League.


Can it last? That depends on whether their young bats keep developing. Veterans like David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson tend to uphold a certain level of consistency. That principle doesn't apply to a player like first baseman Lucas Duda, who in the first half finally started to live up to his potential as a legitimate middle-of-the-order hitter. He leads the team with an .832 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 14 home runs and 49 RBIs.


The same goes for catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who has hit .295 with three homers since returning from his demotion to the minor leagues on June 24.


Duda and d'Arnaud change the complexion of the Mets' lineup, giving it much-needed depth. If those two regress, so will the Mets. If they continue to improve, the offense could rewrite the script in 2014.


"The lineup is longer—it's tough on opposing pitchers," Murphy said this week. "We're having good at-bats. We're not reading any more into it than that, but we're kind of feeding off each other. When you have success, it's easier to be confident."


 

Will the Mets make a trade?


Around this time of year, fans and reporters like to bunch teams into one of two categories: buyers or sellers—a laughably simplistic approach.


The Mets don't belong in either group. Though they probably won't reach the postseason in 2014, they view themselves as an organization on the verge of contention. As a result, the Mets don't intend to give away major-league talent for low-level prospects who won't help them for years. They realize they can't push back the timetable for rebuilding any further.


At the same time, the Mets also won't part ways with their best assets—their young pitching prospects—in a reckless deal to make a futile push this season. But that doesn't mean they won't swing a trade ahead of the July 31 deadline. It means they will tread lightly.


At this point, pitcher Bartolo Colon looks like the most likely candidate to leave town. At age 41, he plays no role in their long-term plans. Colon leads the Mets with 121.2 innings to go with his serviceable 3.99 ERA, and with another year left on his contract worth $11 million, he'd appear to be an attractive piece for a contender.


Meanwhile, the Mets must also decide how to handle Murphy, their lone All-Star. With Murphy's salary rising and his free-agency coming after the 2016 season, it could make sense to trade him now while his value is presumably at its highest.


 

Will Noah Syndergaard see the major leagues?


Remember Noah Syndergaard? He dazzled in spring training with a 100-mph fastball and a curveball that manager Terry Collins described as a "hook from hell." At that point, it seemed certain that the 21-year-old right-hander would reach the majors sometime this summer—right about now, in fact.


But Syndergaard has struggled at Triple-A Las Vegas, both with his pitching and his health, compiling a 5.31 ERA in 16 starts. As a result, Collins said recently that "there's a possibility you might not see him" in New York in 2014.


If Syndergaard doesn't arrive this season, it may actually bode well for the Mets. Their current rotation continues to impress, and they don't need another starting pitcher right now. If that keeps up, they can afford to keep Syndergaard in Triple-A until 2015.

http://online.wsj.com/articles...-hot-1405643440

"Use your head.....that's that lump 3 feet above your arse." - Jimmy Dugan

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Posted: 7/18/2014 10:02 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 


You guys are setting yourselves up for misery. :) Even if we go 6-4 on the road trip, we would be still be 3 games under .500. And, then what? The Nationals would probably kick our butts and we'd be 5-6 games under again. It's nice to see that we are playing well, but it's better to just enjoy the possibility of getting to 81-81.
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Posted: 7/18/2014 11:15 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 


Complicated numbers and fancy sabermetrics mean nothing without results on the field. The Mets will never make the playoffs based on their expected winning percentage. Only the actual one matters.
--------
I like that line.
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Posted: 7/18/2014 11:27 AM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 


Don't ask me why but I have a GREAT feeling about the 2nd half of this season.


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Posted: 7/18/2014 12:57 PM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 


Mets have room to improve in 2nd half

 

If the Mets are going to make a post All-Star break push, it stands to reason they could use improvements in a number of areas.

Here are a few that seem both noticeable and significant to us.

Zack Wheeler's efficiency


Wheeler closed out the first half with four good starts in his last five outings, but for one thing -- he got through seven innings in just one of them.

Wheeler still seems to be a work in progress in some regards, one of which is controlling his pitch count. In each of his last three starts prior to the break, he threw at least as many pitches (111) as he did in his two-hit shutout, resulting in his being pulled mid-inning by manager Terry Collins.

Wheeler averages 4.14 pitches per plate appearance to opposing hitters, the third-highest among any starter currently qualified for the ERA title. Bringing this number down a little would have benefits both for Wheeler, who would be able to go deeper into games, and for an overused bullpen that would have fewer outs to get.



Travis d'Arnaud's pitch-blocking


Now that d’Arnaud has figured out what was troubling him on the offensive side, he seems in need of fixing on the defensive side.

D'Arnaud currently ranks last among catchers in Defensive Runs Saved, a stat based on his ability to deter basestealers, handle bunts, keep his pitching staff’s ERA low and to catch tough-to-catch pitches.

The latter seems to be a significant concern, based on what the numbers show.

Video tracking has credited d’Arnaud with 207 blocks on pitches in the dirt (or way out of the strike zone) in situations in which there was a man on base. D’Arnaud has been behind the plate for 23 wild pitches and committed six passed balls.

From that you can formulate a “block percentage” stat, which is the number of blocks divided by the number of opportunities (blocks plus wild pitches plus passed balls).

D’Arnaud’s block rate is 87.7 percent, which rates 47th among the 50 players who have caught the most innings this season. By comparison, backup Anthony Recker rates 17th (93.5 percent). The top 10 all are at 94.3 percent or better.



Baserunning


After reading an article about some of the Yankees' baserunning issues this season, I ran a checkup on the Mets, and as it turns out, the Mets have similar woes.

Last season, the Mets ranked first in Fangraphs’ advanced baserunning metric, which measured the ability to take extra bases on hits (go first to third or second to home on singles), basestealing efficiency and avoiding baserunning mistakes, such as getting doubled off or picked off. This season, they rank 24th.

Among the culprits -- a 73 percent stolen-base rate (down from 77 percent a year ago), a 41 percent extra-base advancement rate (down from 46 percent a year ago) and 11 outs made at home plate, the same total they made for all of 2013.



Chris Young's hitting


Young may have played himself out of getting many opportunities other than as a pinch hitter or defensive replacement given his .202 batting average this season.


But in fairness to Young, he probably deserves at least a little better outcome based on what he’s done at the plate.

Young’s rates of chasing bad pitches and missing on his swings are both near his career levels, so it’s not like there’s anything worthy of concern there.

Young is 17-for-33 (.515 batting average) this season when registering what video tracking credits as a hard-hit ball (batted balls are grouped into being hard-hit, soft-hit or medium-hit based on velocity and sweet-spot contact).

That’s both below the major league average (usually around .700) and Young’s established success rate over the previous four seasons (.664). Had Young hit at that rate on his hard-hit balls, he’d be hitting .226 instead of .202, which is not necessarily a great improvement, but it may have saved him from a few boos.

Young may actually be best served to continue doing what he’s doing and hope that some rewards come in the second half. And that may apply to the Mets' offense as a whole. They currently rank last in the sport in batting average when hitting the ball hard.

 

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"Use your head.....that's that lump 3 feet above your arse." - Jimmy Dugan

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Posted: 7/18/2014 1:03 PM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 


Hate that it's a 10pm game here.
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Posted: 7/18/2014 2:15 PM

Re: July 18, 2014: Mets @ Padres (Colon-Kennedy) - 10:10 PM 



dcmets wrote: You guys are setting yourselves up for misery. :) Even if we go 6-4 on the road trip, we would be still be 3 games under .500. And, then what? The Nationals would probably kick our butts and we'd be 5-6 games under again. It's nice to see that we are playing well, but it's better to just enjoy the possibility of getting to 81-81.

They might, but the reality is that we still have 13 games left against the Nationals.  If we are going to make up ground...that's the team to do it against.  We don't see the Braves again till essentially September.

The dreaded sig of doom has chosen future hall of famer Jason Heyward as its target.

May the baseball gods have mercy on your soul!

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