Dice-K Makes Mets Brutal To Watch

You have to hand it to the Mets. Never before has a team crushed the souls of a fanbase like this. In three short days, this went from a season of hope for next year to one of apathetic despair.

But I present to you:

Monday: Matt Harvey gets an MRI and has a tear in his UCL. With Tommy John surgery probable, the hope turns to saddness.

Tuesday: General manager Sandy Alderson trades Marlon Byrd and John Buck for a prospect and a player to me named. Sadness becomes apathy.

Wednesday: If there are any Met fans left who care, Dice-K’s brutal performance pretty much killed that with his 4 1/3 inning masterpiece, which left the sparse crowd looking for lighter fluid and matches. Anyone who watched wanted to immolate themselves.

The Mets are proving the Beatles wrong. It can get much worse. Only two players on the Opening Day roster were in the lineup tonight – Ike Davis and Justin Turner – the rest are retreads or graduates of the Backman Baseball School of Nevada.

I am all for seeing what the young guys can give you, but a month of this? There’s no power, the bullpen is shaky at best and sure there are three good starters in the rotation, but Dice-K is unwatchable and the Mets signed Matsuzaka to prevent Carlos Torres from starting.

Maybe the Mets can bring back Stave Trachsel. That could work.

Or how about this: James Blake is retiring from tennis. He’s a New York Mets fan. He’s in shape and used to the pitching motion.

And did I mention he has some time on his hands.

How about the Mets sign Blake to be the No. 5 starter. At least the team would be interesting and you will get some play about an ex-tennis player on the mound.

Heck, you may open up a new market.

It couldn’t get much worse. Right now, Dice-K’s starts are where baseball joy goes to die.

In all seriousness, the Mets need to keep interest over the next month. They can’t have another September spring training, looking at who will make the team in 2014. Terry Collins job depends on it.

Remember, Collins is signed just through season. By almost all indications, he will be back, but if the Mets really are brutal over the next 30 days and he loses the clubhouse, they may look in another direction.

Furthermore, you have to wonder how much damage the Mets will do to some of these young players if they are exposed to the losing environment.

Young prospects should bring hope and energy, but if there’s no one to lead, it may hurt them even more.

Sure the Mets need innings and yes they need to save their young arms. At the same time, the organization needs to promote a winning atmosphere.

Starting Matsuzaka every five days is not going to do that.

It’s actually sad to see Doc Gooden’s 16 donned by two former pitchers this year.

Where have you gone Dr. K? Flushing turns its lonely eyes upon you.

Posted under Baseball School, James Blake, Joe Mcdonald, Lighter Fluid, New York Mets, Retreads, Sandy Alderson, Season Of Hope, Tennis Player, Time On His Hands, Tommy John, Tommy John Surgery, Top Story, Trachsel

Harvey’s Elbow Makes 2014 A Question

This was supposed to be the sign of things to come.

Having Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler in the rotation was supposed to give the Met fans hope that 2014 will be at least a contending year.

And now it all came crashing down.

With the news today that Harvey has a partially torn UCL in his right elbow, the Mets plan is has come crashing down.

Talk about snake bit.

“It was the last thing I expected,” said Harvey, who had an MRI on his right elbow this morning. “I was shocked at the news.”

But signs started on Saturday when he complained of fatigue and discomfort. The Mets took the precaution of an MRI.

“I figure everybody is going to go through a stretch there where you’ve got to battle through some fatigue and some discomfort,” Harvey said after Saturday’s start to reporters. “It’s a long season — 162 games — and you’ve got to push through it. Right now I’m not doing a good job of doing that, and we’ve got to figure something out. The last couple of starts it’s been tough getting out there and getting things going. But, like I said, I’m doing a poor job of pushing through it.

“Everything is a learning process. I’ve never been through this before. So, obviously, paying attention to it and figuring out ways to move past it is all part of learning and growing as a ballplayer.”

Well at least Rex Ryan should be relieved. He’s off the back page.

But what does this do to the Mets plans. Next season was supposed to the year they come back to relevancy. But without Harvey – and if he has Tommy John surgery, he won’t be back until 2015 – the Mets will be searching for the top of the rotation ace that he happily filled this season.

Sure they have pitching depth, but is anyone comfortable with Noah Syndergaard or Rafael Montero filling Harvey’s shoes right away and Wheeler looks like a great 1-A, who needs a Harvey to take the pressure off.

Now, you have to wonder what will happen. Maybe Harvey will be fine and the UCL will heal itself with rest. However, you figure where there’s smoke, there’s fire and Harvey will require some sort of surgery.

And then we may have to punt on 2014.

Such is the life of a Met fan. So close, but so far. You have to wonder if the Mets are paying a penance for Game 6 or that this is the payback for the Wilpons getting away scott-free from the Madoff scandal.

You have to wonder.

Posted under Ace, Joe Mcdonald, New York Mets, News Today, Poor Job, Relevancy, Rex Ryan, Shoes, Snake Bit, Tommy John, Tommy John Surgery, Top Story

Capuano Hurls two-hitter as Mets wait for Irene to pass

Some of the New York Mets coaching staff and players who live in low lying areas of the New York metropolitan area planned to stay at Citi Field the next few days as Hurricane Irene approaches New York City. Hours before the Mets started a scheduled three-game series with the Atlanta Braves, the club announced that afternoon games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday afternoon had been postponed because of the approaching category 1 hurricane. The two games will be rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on September 8.

“I am going to head inland a little bit and head to high ground,” said Chris Capuano moments after he pitched a career best game, shutting out the Atlanta Braves 6-0 in the one game suspended series. New York hopefully will resume play Monday afternoon at Citi Field against the Florida Marlins, a twin-bill from a previous rain out, a four-game series in three days.

As the Mets made plans heading to higher grounds, there was a buzz in the clubhouse. Capuano (10-11) struck out a career high 13 Braves, retired 22 of the first 23 Braves. He threw 122 pitches and did not allow a walk, a two-hit shutout and best pitching effort from a Mets pitcher this season.  It was the Mets first win on a home stand this season, after going 0-10, a big league record.

“A fun game to watch, he certainly deserved it,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. The manager was watching the pitch count. Had Capuano got a man on in the ninth he was ready to remove him. The 33-year old, and All-Star with Milwaukee in 2006 has recovered from two previous Tommy John surgeries, and Collins did not want to do anything to ruin the evening. Capuano did not allow a runner get on base until Dan Uggla got a broken bat single leading off the fifth inning.

He was asked about the pitch count. “I purposely kept not looking,” said Capuano who had great command of his off-speed pitches all night. “It was exhilarating to get that last out,” he said about the last pitch, ending the game that saw Michael Bourn strike out a fourth time. “I wasn’t conscious of the no-hitter,” he said before Uggla got the hit.

New York, as has often been the situation this season with two-outs, scored two runs in the fifth inning on a single from Nick Evans and on two-run doubles by Justin Turner and one from Lucas Duda in the eighth, one of his three hits. “He’s earned it,” commented Collins about Duda and his role in the lineup batting cleanup in right. “The confidence is there. He’s grown into a player we all thought he would be.”

But the talk was about Capuano who faced one batter over the minimum. “He’s been a good pitcher for us,” stated Collins. However, Capuano has been a hard luck pitcher having quality starts in seven of his last 14 outings, is third best in strikeouts per nine innings, and had another no-decision in a Mets 11-0 loss against Milwaukee On August 20th.

“The first two innings he made a statement and he had good rhythm tonight,” said catcher Josh Thole who was packed and ready to ride out the impending storm upstate in upstate Binghamton with his wife. Starter Dillon Gee was also planning to take the ride with him.

Ruben Tejada had three hits, and scored on the Evans single in the fifth that broke a scoreless tie, followed by a Thole RBI single. Tejada was going to wait out Irene at a nearby Holiday Inn by the ballpark with family in town from his country of Panama. The starting shortstop has become a consistent hitter since getting the start when Jose Reyes went down again with an injured hamstring on August 8th.

“Better safe than sorry,” said Capuano regarding the next two games being cancelled because of the storm, “you can’t take any chances.”  The Mets can only hope the high pitch count did not hurt their starter as Collins took a chance.

NOTES: Braves starter Tim Hudson (13-8) lost to the Mets for the third time this season and allowed 11 hits, the most since 2008… Jason Bay sat out the game with a jammed right shoulder and is expected back in the lineup Monday…Reyes is also expected back in the lineup Monday after going 1-for-3 in another rehab start up in Binghamton and Collins said he would rest Reyes often to keep the hamstring healthy for next season…

Before the game New York selected the contract of Right hander Miguel Batista from Buffalo (AAA) and placed outfielder Scott Hairston on the 15-day disabled list. Batista, the 40-year old veteran started the season with St. Louis and is widely remembered as being a major part of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks World Series championship team that defeated the New York Yankees.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Afternoon Games, Atlanta Braves, Category 1 Hurricane, Fifth Inning, Florida Marlins, Fun Game, Game Series, Higher Grounds, New York Mets, Rich Mancuso, Shutout, Tommy John, Top Story, Two Games

Brooklyn Cyclones defeat State College Spikes, 6-2

Brooklyn, NY – The Brooklyn Cyclones (11-9) defeated the State College Spikes (11-9) in New York-Penn  League action on Saturday night at MCU Park by the score of 6-2. Playing a very team orientated style of ball the Cyclones were not only able to get key hits, but also played small ball having two successful sacrifice bunts along with five stolen bases in tonight’s game.

“The small ball is a huge part of our game,” manager Wally Backman said afterward. “We try to force our opponents to make a mistake. It’s another weapon and forces the defense to have to rush, and when you rush you are more likely to make mistakes.”

Catcher Juan Centeno was one of the offensive leaders for Brooklyn going two-for-three with three RBI while lifting his first professional home run over the right field fence in the bottom of the second inning. Another offensive leader was center fielder Darrell Ceciliani who had three base hits with three of the five stolen bases recorded tonight. Also contributing offensively was Jeff Flagg who had a RBI single in the bottom of the third inning. J.B. Brown scorched a triple to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning, which led to the final run for Brooklyn.

“I was looking for a fastball inside and was able to get good contact on it,” Centeno said of his home run. “I didn’t know right away that it was gone but it felt good to be able to get my first one tonight.” The catcher also had another key hit in the bottom of the seventh inning which plated the sixth and final run for the Cyclones. “I had a runner in scoring position and just wanted to make sure that I made good contact to drive the runner in.”

Starting pitcher Mitch Houck (3-0) had another outstanding outing going six and two-thirds innings striking out eight batters, while giving up five hits, two runs and one walk. Houck, who had Tommy John surgery in 2008, looked great tonight showing an electric changeup throughout the game, and had several State College batters off balance.

“Tonight Centeno did a great job of calling the game,” Houck said of his performance. “We did a really good job of changing speeds tonight, mixing pitches and location. He really did a great job behind the plate tonight.”

Backman had this to say of his young pitcher, “He has been great for us every time out. He has been very consistent for us and has been our number one guy.”

When speaking of the success that he has had thus far Houck said, “Most of the credit goes to pitching coach Rick Tomlin, he’s really helped me to develop into the pitcher that I want to be. I want to go out and attack hitters and let my stuff work for me.”

Work it did as Houck had blanked the Spikes until the top of the seventh inning as Matt Skirving plated the first State College run with a single to left field.  Kyle Saukko hit a single to right field before Backman made the call for reliever Ryan Frasier whose only blemish tonight was an RBI single to Gift Ngoepe. Hamilton Bennett had an impressive ninth inning striking out two batters and getting a fly ball out to secure the victory.

Backman has been asking for someone in the bullpen to step it up and had two guys do so tonight. “Frasier is one of the guys that we can consistently count on in the back end of the bullpen; he has had back-to-back good outings and will absolutely one of those guys that will step up for us.”

The two teams will continue the next two days in Brooklyn before the team goes on the road to take on the Lowell Spinners over the weekend.

——————————————————————————————————————————-

Pre-game notes: Mets centerfielder Angel Pagan was honored before tonight’s game. Pagan who played with the team in its inaugural season in 2001 had his number 35 retired before the game, while also throwing out the first pitch. “I am really grateful for the blessings I have had, it is great to come back and an honor to have been recognized like this.”

Posted under B Brown, Brooklyn Cyclones, Brooklyn Ny, Bunts, Centeno, Center Fielder, Changeup, Field Fence, Flagg, Game Manager, Houck, New York Mets, New York Penn League, Offensive Leader, Offensive Leaders, Sixth Inning, Starting Pitcher, State College Spikes, Tommy John, Tommy John Surgery, Wally Backman

This post was written by Stacy Rae Podelski on July 9, 2010