Frustration and friction for the Mets as they conclude winless home stand

A second half collapse has once again left the New York Mets frustrated as they left town for an 11-game road swing to Arizona, San Francisco, and San Diego. Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field, after a series finale loss and three-game sweep to the first place Washington Nationals, manager Terry Collins was trying to find some answers.

Perhaps, like last season, when the Mets also collapsed after the all-star break, hitting the road was the best remedy. But this slide has come earlier as the Mets fail to get the hits, the bullpen gives up the runs, while a patched up starting rotation tries to put in some innings.

This time, Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg (11-4) fanned 11 in seven innings. And for the second straight game, Adam LaRoche hit a home run. His 18th of the season, a two-run shot to right field off Tim Byrdak broke the game open in what became a 5-2 win and series sweep.

Jeremy Hefner (1-4) took the loss striking out a season high and allowed three runs including back-to-back home runs in the second inning from Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa.

And that home run by LaRoche also became an added part of the frustration, a season high sixth straight loss for New York, 12 of their last 13 games, and 1-11 since the all-star break. And for the eighth time in their 50-year history, New York had a winless homestand of six or more games.

Frustration also, because the pitch that Byrdak threw to LaRoche was a fastball down the middle. His catcher, Josh Thole set up for an outside pitch that was reportedly called from the bench by pitching Coach Dan Warthen. ‘

Not the pitch Thole expected, and it led to a dugout confrontation that saw David Wright intervene to defuse the situation. The Mets say it is a part of the frustration and all they need is some wins to restore some order and get back in the race.

However, it is getting more difficult to win because the Mets are not doing anything right like they did in the first half. In a very quiet Mets clubhouse, Wright tried to explain what has been going wrong.

“It’s what happens when two competitors disagree with something,” said Wright about the dugout squabble. “That happens regularly, but when it happens, you don’t want it to be in front of everybody like that. I’d be more upset if they weren’t upset about it, because obviously Thole wanted one pitch and Byrdak wanted a different one.”

Said Byrdak, “We need to go out there and win ballgames. We can’t let our emotions get the best of us. There’s frustration all around the clubhouse. From what he did in the first half to come out in the second half and have this happen…”

He added, “There are a lot of guys that are pissed off. Everybody is pissed off. I made a mistake on the mound and I apologized to Josh about it. It never should’ve happened.”

Byrdak also said it was a pitch that wasn’t executed well, and the bullpen needed to keep the game close in the situation with LaRoche at bat.

Thole also said it was the emotion of frustration that has set in the Mets clubhouse, a totally different reaction that Collins and the team were portraying when they won ballgames in the first half and became a surprise team in baseball.

“It’s one of those things when you are not winning ballgames,” said Thole when asked about the pitch that Byrdak threw. “Emotions get the best of you sometimes. That’s what happens when you give up runs and lose games. Stuff like that happens.”

Thole added, the pitch caught him off guard and there was no elaboration about further dissension with Byrdak or Warthen. But he did say, “I don’t think anything can get any worse than it is right now. We can’t wait to get out of here.”

Before being swept by the Nationals, the Mets dropped three straight to the Los Angeles Dodgers and finished the stand,0-6, now their last seven at home with a loss to the Cubs before the break. New York is four games under .500 at 47-51, and further away from the Nationals in the NL east, 11/1-2 games and seven in the wildcard.

Frustration, yes, and a way to fix what is wrong and do what they did right in the first half is something that Collins and his coaching staff were going to contemplate on the long plane ride to Phoenix.

The Mets start a four- game series with the Diamondbacks Thursday night and Matt Harvey, their first round draft pick of 2010 will get the start.

“We’re gonna get through it and your gonna see a different team in the next two weeks,” said Collins about his team that was 36-29 on July 7th. He held a team meeting this week and would not comment about what happened with Thole and Byrdak in the dugout.

There is no sense of panic, but it is frustration.

“I deal with accountability,” he commented. The manager held a team meeting earlier this week sensing something was wrong.“Standing up and being a man and playing the game right. We’re gonna get back on track,” he said.

And getting back on track, is what Collins alluded to with getting big  hits and making the right pitches, just like his team did a month ago. “We’re better than the way we’re playing and we’re gonna prove it.”

For the Mets they have to prove it the next 11-game or the frustration will get worse.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring 786@aol.com

Posted under David Wright, Fastball, Game Road, Game Sweep, Hitting The Road, Michael Morse, New York Mets, Pitching Coach, Rich Mancuso, Road Swing, Straight Game, Strasburg, Top Story, Washington Nationals, Wednesday Afternoon

Audio: Strasburg Too Much For Mets

The streak was good while it lasted. The New York Mets fell to 4-2 after a 4-0 loss to the Washington Nationals behind the strong effort of Stephen Strasburg. The Mets could take comfort from Johan Santana’s strong 5 1/3 inning effort yielding only one run, but that was not enough with Strasburg on the mound.

Here are audio highlights.

Stephen Strasburg

Terry Collins

Johan Santana

Jason Bay

Mark DeRosa

Ike Davis

Posted under 4 Mp3, Bob Trainor, Jason Bay, Johan Santana, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Santana Mp3, Strasburg, Top Story, Washington Nationals

This post was written by Bob Trainor on April 12, 2012

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Ike Having Time of His Life

New York – Ike Davis ran out of the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium on before the game on Saturday. He was quickly reminded he had a very important task to do.

“Got it done,” he proudly would say afterward.

Davis wasn’t doing anything Met related here, actually he was doing a more important assignment, leaving tickets for his dad Ron who was in for Father’s Day.

“He probably would have gone back to Arizona,” Ike would laugh.

Well, there was no Joe DiMaggio-like incident that day and like everything else Davis has been doing this year, he has doing it well. The freshman first baseman has been a godsend for his club, as he has fit very nicely into the middle of the Met lineup.

In the year of the rookie, where young players like Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heywood, Austin Jackson, and Brennan Boesch have taken all the headlines, Davis has quietly become one of the leading rookies in baseball.

“I don’t think I am under the radar,” Davis said. “I am just here trying to help my club win.”

After starting out sixth in the lineup, manager Jerry Manuel moved Davis to the cleanup position. Although he has tailed off from hot start, the 23 year-old is second in among rookies in home runs with eight while his .268 batting average is fourth in the freshman rankings.

And Davis is doing it in the field as well with tremendous defense at first base, including three over the railing catches into the dugout at Citi Field.

More importantly, Davis was there when the Mets needed him last night, going 3-6 with three RBI and one run scored in the Mets 14-6 win over Jackson, Boesch and the Detroit Tigers.

“We played hard today and found some holes,” Davis said. “We were patient at the plate and we were keying on pitches.”

Davis seems to be having a lot of fun with these Mets. His attitude is contagious, smiling out there, while the club looked for an identity, especially at home.

He has become a fan favorite with chants of “We like Ike” coming down from the Citi Field rafters even when he wasn’t at the plate.

“It’s great to play here,” he said. “It’s good to be able to sleep in our own beds and we are real comfortable playing on this field and seeing this hitting background.”

It’s a comfort his dad had with the Yankees back from 1978 to 1982. But now Ron is a full Met fan as his No. 1 player is staring with the club.

And yes, Dad was able to see the Mets lose to his Yankees this weekend, but more importantly, Davis was able to go fishing off City Island with his father on Monday’s off-day.

“I caught three stripers,” he said.

It’s a good thing he left the tickets.

Posted under Batting Average, Brennan Boesch, Chants, Cleanup Position, Clubhouse, Detroit Tigers, Dugout, First Baseman, Freshman, Godsend, Having Time, Holes, Home Runs, Joe Dimaggio, Joe Mcdonald, Mets, New York Mets, Pitches, Railing, Rbi, Rookies, Strasburg, Top Story, Yankee Stadium

This post was written by Joe McDonald on June 23, 2010