I’m Still Brooding Over The 2016 Season

The 2016 World Series started last night, and a few pitches into the game I realized there is no way I’ll really enjoy it. A friend of mine recently said it was hard for him to get too worked up about the Mets fate in 2016 because their demise at the hands of Madison Bumgarner was so quick and efficient. I agreed at the time but I kind of lied. I just didn’t want to spend five hours ranting about why I’m so bitter.

I’ve heard Mets fans say they’ll enjoy this World Series because it’s free of certain rivals. Sure, it could have been worse. The Nationals could have made a run sparked by our former 2015 playoff hero Daniel Murphy. Or it could have been the even year Giants who disposed of the Mets in the 2016 NL Wild Card Game. Or it could have been stupid David Ortiz and the Red Sox. It’s nice that the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs period. But still, as a jealous Mets fan this series won’t be easy to watch.

On the one hand I can root for the team that was often compared to the 2015 Mets before the season. The talking heads all raved about the Indians elite starting pitching staff. Many experts felt they’d be a big bat short on offense (especially without Michael Brantley) unless they made a move at the deadline. They even had their own failed trade with the Brewers at the deadline like the 2015 Mets. In the end it turned out they had plenty of talent and won 94 games without adding a middle of the order presence. They’ve had a great playoff run despite missing two of their best starting pitchers.

On the other hand, the Cubs had the best record by far in 2016 and no matter what happens in the World Series they are showing they will be a National League powerhouse for the foreseeable future. The Cubs spent a ton of money last offseason and bolstered a team that already had arguably the most talent. They lived up to the hype. Theo Epstein is the man.

Whether the Cubs win or Indians win, one team will break an enormous championship drought. By next week, the number of sad, self-loathing, championship-less fans will diminish in a big way. There will be a mass exodus from Losertown as either the Cubs or Indians faithful pack up and leave. And I’ll remain behind with the rest of the sad sacks. As far as I’m concerned, the Mets have never won a championship. I wasn’t alive for ’86. My team will be 0-28 in my lifetime.

I think it’s hard for me to stay upbeat about the future for the Mets because I’ve never witnessed anything remotely close to competitive stability. Making the playoffs two years in a row is nice. It’s literally the greatest accomplishment I’ve witnessed during my time as a Mets fan. Forgive me if I keep the two year playoff streak celebratory champagne on ice.

And then there’s the fact that Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller are both playing in this World Series. So Yankees fans get to have a World Series talking point and feel like they were instrumental in crowning this year’s champion. It’s just a nice little Yankee cherry on top of this stupid Mets-less World Series. Sure it’s nice that the Yankees voluntarily traded Andrew Miller, arguably the best reliever in the game. But they’ll probably just re-sign Chapman, and then we’ll watch all the prospects they acquired instantly turn into stars. And we’ll still hear Yankees fans talk about the great “rebuild” of 2016. A season where they won 84 games and played better AFTER they traded away their most talented players at the deadline and brought up a once in a generation catching phenom in Gary Sanchez.

Meanwhile the Mets went from a four year rebuild, to a 2015 World Series appearance fueled by elite young pitching, to a 2016 offseason where Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz had their arms surgically rebuilt. Ehh whatever. I’m brooding. I’m bitter. I’ll shake it off eventually, but not until the season is actually over. Until then I’ll be sulking in Losertown, trying not to be sick as I watch some of the longest-tenured residents boxing up their belongings before they move out.

Everything Is Rigged!

Apparently saying “it was rigged” right before you lose whatever you’re competing in is the new hot trend. Trump is going with “it was rigged” for the election. And now Jose Bautista is implying the ALCS has been rigged after the Blue Jays dropped the first two games of the series in Cleveland. 

And what is he basing his claim on? He’s pissed about balls and strikes. Surprise, surprise! The Bautista crybaby sore loser routine is a joke considering the series is far from over. And it’s even more pathetic considering the Jays played in the ALCS last year. How about you act like you’ve been there before Jose? Okay?

He’s also making a stink about the wrong issue.

Wait so the umpires haven’t had a perfect strike zone in the ALCS? Really?!? Talk about the least shocking news of all time. Umps aren’t perfect in the ALCS because they are never perfect. What else is new? I rant and rave about this every season. This isn’t about MLB intentionally fixing a series so the Indians can play in the World Series. There’s no way MLB is dying to have Chief Wahoo plastered all over this year’s World Series memorabilia. If anything, Jose Bautista should be joining me in the crusade for robot umpires. Please fix the horrible officiating MLB! Fix replay!

All that being said, if the sore loser/woe is me routine is en vogue then the majority of Mets fans (myself included) are in luck. I’ll obviously continue to monitor this, but I’m fully prepared to whine and complain about how unlucky the Mets are for the entire offseason and all of the 2017 Mets campaign. Quite frankly, that’s going to happen whether it’s en vogue or not.

As far as the playoffs go, I think the NLCS matchup should be an eye opener for the Mets. The Cubs and Dodgers are the highest spending NL teams, have incredibly deep farm systems, and had arguably the deepest preseason major league rosters. In other words, spend money Wilpons! Keep everyone on the current team and then add a star reliever and another big time hitter. Sign the best free agents! The Cubs won the 2015/16 offseason, and now they have a great chance to win the World Series. The Dodgers lost Zack Greinke, and then they stockpiled starting pitchers to replace him. And what happened? Despite having the most injuries in recorded baseball history, the Dodgers were able to survive, win the NL West, and make a deep playoff run because of their depth. All of the professional sports leagues are copycat leagues. So I hope the Mets copy the Dodgers and Cubs. Please sign stars, continue to build a deep farm system, and explore every conceivable avenue to bolster our already talented roster. And if the Mets fail to do this then I’ll obviously just complain and say the offseason was rigged. With the Wilpons running the team it basically is rigged in favor of their pockets.

Cleveland Rocked: Matz Takes Rubber Game Against Indians

Final Score: Mets 6, Indians 0

This was hands down the biggest win of the season. We needed to take this series after what the Indians did to Matt Harvey yesterday. We needed to win a series period. Well the Mets offense broke out again, and Steven Matz was able to silence the Indian bats. We managed to beat one of Cleveland’s aces Corey Kluber. Unbelievable. Hopefully this win will give us some momentum as we head to Philly.

We all knew the bats were eventually going to break out, but we can’t deny that the offensive surge has coincided with Michael Conforto moving to the 3 hole. He’s crushing it. Curtis Granderson walked and Asdrubal Cabrera singled to start the game. And Conforto smacked a double to drive in Grandy right away. Then Lucas Duda drove in two more with a two out single. We got off to a hot start right away, and Conforto was in the middle of it.

In the second inning, the Lord of Light cast the sun upon the Indians. Grandy got a two out triple when center fielder Rajai Davis lost the ball in the sun. Then Asdrubal drove him in with a bunt to make it 4-0. The bunt was a genius move with two outs. He caught Kluber completely off guard. So much so that Kluber threw the ball away trying to make the play at first which allowed Cabrera to get to second base. Conforto proceeded to drive Cabrera in with a double. After the Conforto RBI, the inning seemed like it was about to end when Yoenis Cespedes drove a routine fly to center field. But once again Rajai Davis just never saw the ball, and it dropped which allowed Conforto to score making it 6-0.

Matz did the rest today pitching 7 shutout innings and striking out 9 Indians. It was without a doubt the biggest start of the season from any of our young aces. What an amazing way to rebound after his opening stinker.

Hansel So Hot Right Now: Hansel Robles blew away the Indians in the 8th inning with two strikeouts. He’s been dominant so far this season which is very promising.

Catch The Fever: Travis d’Arnaud got nailed on the elbow yesterday by a pitch. X-Rays were negative, but he’s supposedly in a lot of pain. He definitely won’t play tomorrow, but hopefully Mr. Glass will be back by mid-week. Today Kevin Plawecki got the start and went 2 for 4. He’s batting .333 for the season. Remember when people said he should start in Triple-A for a little more seasoning? What a joke that was. Johnny Monell would be batting .000 if he was our backup catcher. God I hope d’Arnaud is okay because I don’t want to see the terrible Triple-A catching corps at any point this season.

Tomorrow: Now it’s on to Philly with Noah Syndergaard on the mound. Let’s keep this momentum going and have a big week against the Phillies and Braves.

Mets Lose; What’s The Deal With Harvey?

Final Score: Indians 7, Mets 5

On Saturday, Curtis Granderson led the game off with a home run. In the top of the 8th, Yoenis Cespedes hit a three run bomb. Neil Walker also hit a solo shot in that inning. The home run parade from Friday continued against the Indians on Saturday. With our ace Matt Harvey on the mound, five runs should be plenty to win that game and the series. But it wasn’t because Harvey got smacked up yet again. He’s been following an eerily similar in-game blueprint. He starts strong and tires midway through the game. Harvey was no hitting them into the 5th inning, and then the wheels fell off. The Indians got a couple of runs against Harvey in the 5th and then a few more in the 6th before he was yanked for Rafael Montero. If your starter is giving up five runs, it’s generally loser ball every time. And it certainly isn’t what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing with Harvey on the mound. Also Rafael Montero looked bad in his season debut. He’s gone from top prospect to toilet mop up man.

What’s The Deal With Harvey?: So Harvey’s start to the season is a big problem. Dan Warthen, Terry Collins, and Harvey are all super concerned. Supposedly it’s a mechanical issue from the stretch and Warthen said “Basically, he’s trying to throw hard.” Matt Harvey refuted the notion that he’s suffering from playoff related fatigue. Quite frankly, I don’t buy that. I think Harvey and deGrom have both battled issues that have affected their mechanics, velocity, and performance. And I just refuse to believe that an all time high workload in 2015 has nothing to do with it.

Whatever it is, please keep lighting all your damn candles. Jacob deGrom has the troublesome lat, Zack Wheeler had a “minor” surgery to get some Tommy John stitches removed, and Matt Harvey now has these mechanical “issues”. Meanwhile, Noah Syndergaard is somehow sustaining his 100 MPH fastball and throwing harder than anyone on the planet. We need this rotation intact. We need the Mets pitching universe to remain in a perfect state of equilibrium. Ideally, we could just use stem cells to clone Bartolo Colon and have five 300 pound starters invulnerable to injury. Maybe before he retires, Tolo can put us in touch with one of his friends at the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic and make that happen. But for now, we need our young studs to stay healthy naturally and remain effective. Fingers crossed.

Today: We need to beat their ace Corey Kluber in the rubber game today. It’s as simple as that. We are five games behind the Nationals already in the standings. Sigh.

Pray For What Matters: By the way, take everything I wrote above and toss it in the trash. Jacob deGrom is still in Florida but not because of his lat injury. He’s there because his newborn infant is having medical complications. The team said today that the infant is doing much better, but please pray for Jacob, his wife Stacey and their newborn baby Jaxon.

Uribe vs. Tolo: Mets Win Battle Of The Sexes

Final Score: Mets 6, Indians 5

Jesus Christ we barely pulled that game out in the end. But Big Sexy Bartolo Colon and the Mets take game 1 of this series against Dark Sexy Juan Uribe and the Indians. The offense finally broke out of its early funk. What did I say this week? I said the offense has been unlucky. I said we need to hit more home runs because that’s one of our offensive strengths (genius right?). I said on Wednesday that it looked like the offense was getting quality at bats, and it seemed like we were a couple of big hits away from turning things around. Well tonight the big flies came, and they came in bulk. Terry moved Michael Conforto to the 3 hole in the lineup, and he hit a dinger immediately in the top of the 1st. Boom. Lock him up in that spot forever. In the top of the 5th, Alejandro De Aza hit a home run. He went 3 for 4 in the game. He was a triple shy of the cycle. Boom. Then in the same inning, Conforto singled with two outs and Yoenis Cespedes followed that up with a two run jack. Lucas Duda followed that with a single, and the Indians brought in lefthander Ross Detwiler to pitch. Then Neil Walker, batting righthanded, hit a two run home run to make it 6-1. Ding Dongs all day.

Big Sexy wasn’t at his sexiest but he was sexy enough. He got chased in the 6th inning. His effort wasn’t enough for a quality start, but he got the win. After Antonio Bastardo and Hansel Robles bailed out Sexy, I was all excited to praise the bullpen in my postgame recap. Unfortunately, Addison Reed gave up a two run bomb to Carlos Santana in the 9th inning, and Terry had to summon Jeurys Familia to bail him out. And Familia barely closed the game out. He gave up a 2 out single to Yan Gomes, threw a wild pitch, then a single to Marlon Byrd, and then walked Juan Uribe. But he managed to get Jose Ramirez to fly out. We got the win. Phew.

Terry Puts A Hit On La Familia: Terry should be arrested for attempted murder. He’s trying to kill our arms left and right. He straight up publicly attacked Jim Henderson by bringing him in against the Marlins on Wednesday. And he’s killing Familia. The Mets tweeted out today that since the start of the 2015 season, Familia has four saves of five or more outs. That’s the most in baseball. Umm these pitchers are like cars. They have limited mileage. They are easily burnt out. They have limits. Familia is arguably our most essential and irreplaceable pitcher. Protect him Terry. Actually I’m just going to ask Sandy to force Terry to protect him because that’s our only hope.

Nationals En Fuego: The Nationals are 8-1. They are crushing the NL Least. I thought that was our plan. They aren’t going to stumble this season. We need to start winning to keep up. Two in a row is a good start.

Tomorrow: We need to win this series tomorrow with Matt Harvey on the mound and avoid a rubber game against Kluber on Sunday. Step up Dark Knight. Do it.

Series Preview: From Panic City to Cleveland

After a disgraceful home stand against Philly and Miami where the Mets dropped 4 of 6, we are off to Cleveland for a little interleague action. The Indians are off to a 4-3 start unlike the floundering Mets. But both teams rank in the bottom five for runs scored. The entire weekend might wind up being a scoreless snoozefest. It’ll just blur into one long excruciating game. On offense Cleveland has a bit of an excuse because Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall, two of their starting outfielders, have started the season on the DL. And as far as I can tell, they aren’t due back on the big club for this series against the Mets. The problem with Cleveland is they haven’t pitched well so far either. They have a team ERA well over 4 and rank in the bottom 10. Yuck. But pitching is their strength so it’s really just a few bad games and not indicative of their overall talent.

Pitching Matchups:

We’ve lucked out on this trip to Cleveland since we miss Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, two of their top 3 young studs.

Game 1: Bartolo Colon vs. Cody Anderson

Cody Anderson is one of Cleveland’s young starters, but a slightly less heralded one. He debuted in 2015 and made 15 starts. He went 7-3 with a 3.05 ERA. He throws a low 90s fastball with a slider and a change-up. He’s not a strikeout pitcher. He’s been a very effective middle of the rotation starter for the Indians in his young career. He’s never faced the Mets.

Bartolo is so sexy. But as a warning, Marlon Byrd is 6 for 14 with 2 bombs against him and Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis are 3 for 11. So not only does Cleveland have guys who have faced Sexy, but they have had some success against him. But again, he’s so sexy.

Game 2: Matt Harvey vs. Josh Tomlin

Tomlin was 7-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 10 starts for the Indians in 2015. Very few Mets have faced him. Curtis Granderson is 2 for 7 against him and Alejandro De Aza is 3 for 11 with a home run.

The Mets desperately need a big start from Matt Harvey. He’s kept the team in his two starts thus far, but he’s been nowhere near dominant. It would be nice if he had a big day against an Indians lineup that has struggled.

Game 3: Steven Matz vs. Corey Kluber

Steven Matz draws 2014 Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. He’s the big dog. He’s a popular preseason Cy Young pick in the AL. Over 450 innings pitched in the last two years. He’s 0-2 on the season. On Opening Day he got hit a little bit by the Red Sox, tired in the 6th, and got chased from the game. He gave up 4 earned runs over 5.1 innings pitched and took the loss to David Price. He went much deeper against Tampa Bay in his second start, but in the 8th inning with 2 outs he gave up a two run home run to Logan Forsythe and that was the difference in the game. A number of Mets have faced him. Yoenis Cespedes is 4 for 12 with a home run against him. Asdrubal Cabrera is 1 for 5 and Curtis Granderson is 1 for 3. Alejandro De Aza has seen him a lot but he’s 3 for 23. Yikes.

Steven Matz can’t pitch much worse than he did in his first start of the season. Matz has the composure of a veteran. I’m optimistic he’ll get back out there and give us a quality outing.

Things To Look For:

Baseball’s Sexiest Matchup: Bartolo Colon vs. Juan Uribe may be the sexiest matchup in the game today. Juan Uribe is 4 for 14 in his career against Bartolo. When Tolo delivers his first pitch to the Hog Show it is going to be electric.

Panic City’s Newest Resident: Terry Collins managed the final game of the Marlins series like it was the World Series. He threw Jeurys Familia out there for a 5 out save. That’s bananas in the second week of the season. He said it was a “huge win” and a game “we had to have”. He said he wanted to change the perception that “there’s no energy here”. Well for starters, it’s obvious Terry reads the New York Post and all the other media outlets that pump up the hysteria. He’s such an old man. Just watching Fox News and bugging out on his couch. Screaming to his wife about anything and everything, “I told you!! Didn’t I tell ya?” I can’t believe Terry officially moved to Panic City and the season is eight games old. It’ll be interesting to see if Terry operates in a similar fashion going forward. Clearly he’s already feeling the pressure of great expectations.

Road Dogs (Hopefully): Well we really sucked at home. We sucked big time. Now we embark on a 9 game road trip to Cleveland, Philadelphia and then to play the awful Braves in Atlanta. Cespedes crushed it on the road in 2015 to the tune of a .320 average. Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud also hit much better on the road. Let’s hope a little vacation sparks the bats and maybe some of these batted balls with men on base will start finding holes. Hopefully.

Fingers Crossed for deGrom: Jacob deGrom is supposedly throwing a bullpen session tomorrow. If he feels okay he will probably make his next start. If not he’s going on the DL. Light your candles for the big man. We need him.

My Best Guess: Predicting the 2016 MLB Playoffs and Player Awards


Major League Baseball has such parity. Sure we can probably narrow down the field of competition to around 15 teams before the season even starts. Roughly half the league is actually competing for a championship. But that’s a hell of a lot better than the annual three team dance in the NFL or the one team in the NBA that has a chance to win (I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with Olden Plate Warriors). Jayson Stark from ESPN (and Winterfell) writes a brilliant annual column showing how the parity in MLB compares to that of the NFL. It really gives you an idea of how even the MLB playing field is, and how hard it is to predict the outcome of the season. Honestly, if you want the real crystal ball just look at the Vegas lines. Vegas knows better than me or any of the other baseball writers. That being said, if you want some of my magic insight, here are my playoff and player award predictions for 2016:

The Metssiah’s Player Award Predictions:

AL MVP: Manny Machado. Yeah I didn’t pick Mike Trout. I’m crazy!! Machado had a breakout season last year, he’s young, and he’s part of a beastly lineup. Plus my scouts (google images) say Machado’s head looks enormous this spring. Maybe he’s been getting his swoll on this offseason. I’m no phrenology expert, but big head equals big season.

AL Cy Young: Chris Archer

AL Rookie of the Year: Byron Buxton

NL MVP: Bryce Harper. Again. That being said, Yoenis Cespedes is going off at 25 to 1 in Vegas for MVP. I like that sweet action.

NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer. Yeah I’m betting against my boys, but I’ll say Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard finish 2, 3 and 4 respectively so I feel better about the betrayal.

NL Rookie of the Year: Corey Seager. But Steven Matz will probably be in the conversation.


The Metssiah’s American League Playoff Predictions:

WC Game: Rangers over Blue Jays

ALDS: Royals over Rangers and Astros over Yankees

ALCS: Astros over Royals


The Metssiah’s National League Playoff Predictions

WC Game: Nationals over Pirates

NLDS: Cubs over Nationals and Mets over Giants

NLCS: Mets over Cubs


World Series Prediction: Mets over Astros


Also, for my previously published divisional predictions see these posts:

American League East

American League Central

American League West

National League East

National League Central

National League West

My Best Guess: Predicting the 2016 American League Central

royals ws

(This is one post in a series of posts where I will be predicting the outcome of each MLB division. The final post will include full 2016 MLB postseason predictions.)

The 2014 Royals lost in the World Series to the Giants, but they brought back roughly the same team in 2015. The robot projection computers have disliked the Royals the last three seasons. They disliked them before their 2014 World Series appearance. They picked against them in the spring of 2015. For some reason, the robots are still picking against them in 2016. Jesse Spector wrote a great article attempting to explain why this is the case. Although the robots are self-aware, they don’t yet know how to love, and they clearly don’t know how to detect the Royals “it factor”. It seems resilience, determination, and experience “Do not compute”. I think despite the skepticism of the robots, most experts predicted they would make the playoffs in 2015 by winning the AL Central. Then of course, we saw that they didn’t just make the playoffs. They got back to the World Series and won it all. Despite all their spending, the Tigers struggled with injuries and bad luck in 2015. The Indians have a young pitching staff that rivals the Mets staff, but they are lacking in the offensive department. The White Sox spent a bunch of money on free agents prior to 2015, but their season turned out to be a mess. The Twins didn’t spend anything per usual and were mediocre. Here’s what I see in 2016:

AL Central: 1) Kansas City Royals (x) 2) Detroit Tigers 3) Cleveland Indians 4) Chicago White Sox 5) Minnesota Twins

You can’t bet against Kansas City. They are young, they just won the World Series, and they have repeat potential. I know they lost Ben Zobrist. I know they lost Johnny Cueto. But Ian Kennedy can eat innings, and they were never wowing anyone with their rotation anyway. They have the same pesky grind it out offense, and an even better pen with Joakim Soria back in the fold. They’ll take the division again. 

Detroit sucked last year. But they had injuries, an awful bullpen, and bad luck. I like what Jordan Zimmerman and Justin Upton do for their rotation and lineup respectively. Cameron Maybin had a career year in 2015. Maybe he figured something out. Francisco Rodriguez can still finish games with the best of them which will help their pen which was dogshit last season. I see them getting more production from Victor Martinez this year. And my boy Michael Fulmer is going to come up and have an impact in their rotation or bullpen. The Mets have been breeding strong arms, and this guy is supposedly the real deal. That being said, the Tigers will be behind the other Wild Card teams and miss the playoffs. 

Cleveland has that deadly rotation with Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, and Carlos Carrasco. A sort of Mets lite rotation. But they didn’t fix their problems on offense in my opinion, and Michael Brantley could be out for a stretch to start the season due to offseason shoulder surgery. I suppose they did add former Mets Juan “Hog Show” Uribe and Marlon “Biogenesis” Byrdman. But they needed a big bat. They pulled a Mets 2014/2015 in the offseason. We added old deteriorating Michael Cuddyer last offseason, when we really needed an actual big bat. Then we got Yoenis Cespedes midseason. Maybe they will do the same thing and have a big second half.

The White Sox are completely out. Sell sell sell! They are going to blow it all up midseason. White Sox Executive Vice President Ken Williams better pick up a copy of Windy Shitty: Theo Epstein’s Guide to Tanking in Chicago. They had a mediocre pitching staff last season and big time problems on offense. And a roll of Todd Frazier duct tape mixed with some Brett Lawrie crazy glue ain’t gonna patch the holes in this sinking ship. Plus DH Adam LaRoche just pulled a Michael Cuddyer by surprise retiring with money still on his contract. No matter how quickly they patch them holes they just keep opening up. Maybe they will spend that extra LaRoche money on another big bat to keep patching their crummy lineup. But I think it’s more likely they are posting a “Chris Sale for Sale” sign at the trade deadline. Book it.

Minnesota was .500 last season. They supposedly had an extremely “lucky” season by all advanced metrics and standards, and it still wasn’t good. They added a first basemen from Korea Byung-ho Park but not much else. I don’t expect much from them.

Other Divisional Predictions:

American League East