One out away from a Mets home win but they kept Phillies in the race

New York – Before their game with the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday night at Cit Field, New York Mets manager Terry Collins was again discussing how things went right in the first half and what went wrong in the second half of another dismal season in Flushing.

With rookie pitcher Matt Harvey on the mound for his final start, the right hander was a topic. Collins was pleased with the first round 2010 draft pick. Again, Harvey had a superb outing, but did not figure in the decision as the Phillies came from behind and scored two runs in the eighth inning on a Ryan Howard two run homer for a 3-2 win.

Harvey wanted the win and it appeared New York was on their way to getting their first win at home since August 26th against the Houston Astros.

But another rookie out of the pen, Josh Edgin with two outs in the ninth threw what he said was a “meatball,” a- 93-mile fastball that went to the Pepsi Porch in right. The Phillies got their third win when trailing after eight innings and kept pace for one of two wild card spots in the National League.

Edgin  (1-2) filled in for Frank Francisco, who is bothered with shoulder tendinitis and is day-to-day. He walked Chase Utley on a full count, Howard connected, Jonathon Pabelbon got his 36th save, and the Mets extended their home losing streak to eight games, 4-23 in the second half.

The runs charged to Edgin were his first earned in his last 16 appearances. “

“That’s the Howard we are accustomed to,” commented Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels who struck out 10, in six innings. Monday night, Cliff Lee also fanned 10- Mets in the opening game of three in eight innings.

So with eight games remaining at Citi Field, with the Mets concluding their schedule on the road, they hope to not establish a baseball record with the least wins at home in the second half. And they continued to be effortless when it comes to scoring runs at home

New York extended their franchise record by scoring three runs or less in 15 consecutive home games.

David Wright hit his first home run since August 24th off Hamels in the sixth inning, now with two home runs and 12 RBI since July 28th. Daniel Murphy knocked in another run with an RBI tying single to left center in the third that scored Ruben Tejada who got to second on a steal.

Tejada went 3-for-5, including two hits of Hamels and helped Harvey with some more outstanding plays at shortstop with two double plays.

Harvey would allow one hit in seven innings, a leadoff home run to Jimmy Rollins in the first inning, and he became the first Mets pitcher to allow a leadoff home run as his only hit over seven innings.

In ten starts Harvey finished 3-5, with a 2.73 ERA. He had 70 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings with 42 hits and 26 walks.

“There was definitely some excitement,” he said. Collins and the Mets project him to be in the starting rotation next season and he could be an eventual ace of the staff. “I had some tingles. It was kind of a sad moment, I guess, because I knew I was done. It was a good experience.”

He walked three and threw a career high 112 pitches, receiving a standing ovation from the slim Citi Field crowd of 21,741.

Said Harvey,” I left it all out there. Part of the reason I don’t want to stop pitching is because I have so much fun with these guys. Even though we’re struggling right now it’s still a big league ballclub. Being up here for the first time and getting to see how everyone plays the game every day, it’s been the biggest excitement for me. I’m going to miss it. The last two weeks are going to be tough.”

It was tough for Collins also to see his rookie pitcher conclude. He has seen Harvey pitch as a minor league instructor before taking over managerial duties. However, Collins knows the Mets have a future ace and expects big things ahead for the youngster.

“I wish we would have got a win for him,” said Collins. “But Matt Harvey ought to spend the winter feeling pretty good about himself and the way he’s handled everything up here, the way he’s pitched.”

With that, Collins will continue to look at his other youngsters on the pitching staff as the Mets get closer to finishing their fourth straight losing season after a 46-40 first half.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

 

Posted under Baseball Record, Cole Hamels, Dismal Season, Eighth Inning, Fastball, Franchise Rec, Houston Astros, Losing Streak, Meatball, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Right Hander, Rookie Pitcher, Ryan Howard, Shoulder Tendinitis, Starting Pitcher, Top Story

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on September 20, 2012

Tags: , , ,

Mets Sweep Gives Team Hope

New York – A prevailing mood in the New York Mets clubhouse is that they can win and have an impact in the National League East. And after completing a three-game sweep Sunday afternoon at Citi Field over the division rival Atlanta Braves, 7-5, there is every reason to put things in another perspective.

Winning ballgames, and more than the experts predicted has put a different perspective on what is expected to be another dismal season in Flushing. This was the first time in a 50 –year history of the club when a Mets team started the season with a three- game sweep over a division rival.

At 3-0, and with the cross- town Yankees off to a 0-3 start, this is something the organization is hoping will regenerate some interest. More so, if the wins can continue in the next three games at home with the Washington Nationals, getting a good start out of the gate is what will convince fans that this may not be dismal as was expected.

“This means everything,” said Manager Terry Collins when asked about the three games against Atlanta that saw his team pitch effectively, use the long ball, and also get the timely hit. “We’ve done a lot of talk in spring training about getting ready to compete. I told those guys in the first meeting ‘you’re professional baseball players and there are expectations in this town and in this clubhouse.’”

Numerous times last season, his first, Collins reiterated about expectation but the message did not carry into wins. A second half finish saw New York finish fourth in the division with 77 wins, and then losing Jose Reyes to free agency, now with the Miami Marlins, made the outlook look more dismal for 2012.

However, Reyes, for the moment has quickly not been a topic at Citi Field. His replacement, 22-year old shortstop Ruben Tejada, had a career day Sunday with a career high four hits with two doubles, driving in two runs.

“We have to keep working hard every day,” commented Tejada. “We play hard and together as a team,” he said.

And that was a prevailing attitude of this Mets team after the season opening series sweep Sunday afternoon. They believe in themselves as a team and despite what the prognosticators say, they have no intention of making this a dismal season.

And if the Mets get good starting pitching, as they did Sunday from Jonathon Niese, Saturday from R.A. Dickey, and in the opener Thursday, five strong innings from Johan Santana, well this could become a special season. But will the pitching stay consistent? Can Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee, who start the first two games with the Nationals Monday and Tuesday, be just as good?

“You can’t ask for better than that,” said Collins about the starts that have put the Mets at 3-0 for the first time since 2007 when they won their first four. “We saw that in spring training even though our starters did not go deep. We like our rotation,” he said also referring to Gee and Pelfrey.

Niese, in particular, who signed a long term contract Saturday, struggled often last year.  At times there were doubts he could be a quality starting pitcher. The return of Santana has inspired the pitching staff, and according to guys in the clubhouse the entire roster.

“They want to compete and do what he does,” said Collins. “He creates a great atmosphere. It spreads.

Niese flirted with a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Freddie Freeman singled to right field with no outs.  He would allow four runs, two earned, seven strikeouts and two walks. He lasted two more batters after the hit by Freeman. Atlanta scored four runs in the seventh. Lucas Duda lost a ball in the sun, and Jason Howard had a two-run double.

“It would have been hard to take me out,” said Niese who had a 93 mile fastball and control that was rare last season. The Mets after 7,911 games still remain one of four teams in baseball that have never had a no-hitter pitched. “We have a staff that likes to compete with each other and that is a good thing,” said Niese.

And this start has also been attributed to a revamped bullpen. Frank Francisco closed his third consecutive game becoming the first player in franchise history to save his first three games. Prior to a Brian McCann home run in the eighth inning it was the first Mets run surrendered by the pen. In three games the pen has allowed  one earned run in 10.0 innings.

“We have to pitch,” said Collins. “We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have a long way to go.  All we want to do is stay competitive.”

They have come out of the gate with this good start. That is what every Mets fan needed to see, and this team believes it will continue. David Wright is hitting with authority and showing signs of his old self. Daniel Murphy picked up a couple of hits and two RBI, including a two-run double in the three-run Mets sixth.

Now they need Ike Davis to get it going as well as Jason Bay, two silent bats in the first three games. But they feel like everyone else in the Mets clubhouse. It will come.

“I’m just a little off right now, I’m not worried,” said Davis. His feeling is the hits will come and go five for his next ten, and there will be no reason for concern. “It’s only three games,” he says about going hitless in his first eleven times at the plate.

Last season that would have been a concern. But for now, with the three- game sweep coming out of the gate, there is not one player in that Mets clubhouse who will think otherwise. Winning and a different perspective of what they are capable of doing is here to stay,

Jose Thole the rookie catcher said in that clubhouse Sunday, “We have a team that can win and we will continue to do it.”  And for the first three games the Mets have certainly proved they can be competitive.

E-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Atlanta Braves, Career Day, Cross Town, Different Perspective, Dismal Season, Division Rival, Game Sweep, Hope New York, Jose Reyes, Mets Clubhouse, Mets Team, National League East, New York Mets, Professional Baseball Players, Rich Mancuso, Shortstop, Spring Training, Team Hope, Three Games, Top Story, Washington Nationals

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on April 9, 2012

Tags: