Judge Cranks Homers As Harvey’s Arm Muscles Melt

I watched the home run derby, and as a baseball fan I loved it. Who doesn’t like watching sluggers mash homers? As a Mets fan however, the derby has me depressed. Yankees freak slugger Aaron Judge was crowned the winner. There wasn’t a single young Mets slugger involved in the derby (because other than Conforto they don’t exist). Michael Conforto may be an All-Star, but knowing Terry Collins he’ll have him sitting on the bench collecting dust when we kick off the second half.

Meanwhile Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Miguel Sano, Cody Bellinger and the other young sluggers that competed in the derby absolutely tore the cover off these juiced up baseballs. Leave it to the New York Mets to build a franchise around young pitching right before MLB secretly alters the baseballs with the intention of ushering in a new long ball era. MLB is about to launch a reboot of the 90’s steroid era (hopefully without the steroids) and the Mets have a bunch of injury prone pitchers in their mid to late 20s primed to get lit up.

Speaking of injury prone pitchers, Newsday reported that Matt Harvey’s arm muscles are disintegrating.

“Only after Matt Harvey went on the disabled list did doctors discover that the muscles behind his right shoulder were roughly half the size of those on his left.” WHAT?!?!?!?

That sounds like a joke that I would write to exaggerate the incompetence of the Mets medical staff. But that’s not a joke. It’s happening in real life. The muscles in Harvey’s shoulder are literally wasting away and our medical “professionals” didn’t even notice!!! I’m no doctor, but I kind of assumed that the Mets would be extra cautious with Harvey considering he was coming off major surgery. I figured they’d conduct MRIs more frequently or occasionally use their eyes to look at his arm to see if one shoulder is HALF THE SIZE OF THE OTHER.

Oh well. That’s life as a Mets fan. If Harvey is smart he’ll get through next season as quickly as possible and sign a short term deal with some other team. He needs to get his arm the hell away from Ray Ramirez and Jeff Wilpon before it’s an actual puddle of soup on the floor.

Other Stray Pessimistic All-Star/Mets Notes:

  • Watching Aaron Judge makes me miss Noah Syndergaard. I want our enormous star pitcher back. He was the most exciting player in New York. Now the media would probably award that distinction to Judge, but I’d like to see what Thor has to say about that. I want to see Thor and Judge matchup. Based on his lat recovery timeline it doesn’t sound like that’ll happen in 2017. Oh and speaking of Thor, I saw that Dan Warthen said he might consider using Syndergaard out of the bullpen if he returns this season. That’s the least intelligent thought I’ve ever heard. I guess Warthen has atrophy of the brain.
  • I miss the energetic, healthy, and inspired Yoenis Cespedes. I wish he was competing in the home run derby. It’s pretty obvious that he’s slumping right now, and there’s no way his legs are 100% healthy. I’m having a tough time staying motivated as a fan so I can only imagine how difficult it is for Yo and the rest of these guys to stay motivated and focused in the clubhouse. I hope his reoccurring leg injuries are temporary issues and not a case of METS disease starting to take root deep inside him. The media is already starting to print articles questioning Cespedes’ work ethic and motivation.
  • Jay Bruce deserves to be an All-Star. I’m having a hard time imagining a scenario where the Mets re-sign Bruce in the offseason primarily because Conforto needs to play a corner outfield spot everyday and also money (duh). But I’m not having a hard time imagining a scenario where Bruce is traded at the deadline, finishes this season with career highs in all major offensive categories, and then goes on to sign with a rival and put up three straight 40 home run seasons. There have been plenty of articles printed showing that Bruce has embraced the new “fly ball” approach that has contributed to the increase in homers across the sport. It’s the same approach that Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy embraced, and we’ve all seen how they have transformed from mediocre Mets to MVPs. It’s the Kevin Long philosophy. I can easily see Jay Bruce joining the club of former Mets that catapulted their careers to the next level (in a different uniform).
  • I keep reading articles that say the Mets shouldn’t expect to receive a significant return in trades for any of their impending free agents. If the Mets can’t get a good return for Addison Reed, Jay Bruce, and Lucas Duda then the league must be colluding against them. I understand supply and demand, and I understand that the trade market may be flooded with teams looking to sell. But the Mets should be able to score some nice chips for Reed and Bruce. Reed’s been one of the best relievers in the sport over the last two seasons. Teams should be lining up for him. Sandy blew the offseason. He better not screw up the trade deadline sell off. And the cheap ass Wilpons better eat some damn salary so we can score better prospects in the deadline trades.

Sad Harvey Still Pitching Like Crap

Final Score: Brewers 7, Mets 4

Matt Harvey pitched like crap. The Mets never really had a shot last night. I don’t know if Harvey is struggling because he’s still recovering from the thoracic outlet surgery or if he’s just dunzo but he hasn’t looked like dominant Harvey in years. He gave up 5 runs, 3 home runs, and 5 walks last night over 5 innings. 5.63 ERA? Good lord. Lately with this rotation I feel like it’s a throw back to 2010/11 when the Mets were starting mooks like Pat Misch.

Long Bomb: Neil Walker had three hits and smoked a long solo blast to right field in the 4th inning.

How Long Before Terry Blows It?: Lucas Duda came off the DL yesterday and Terry Collins actually made the right call by keeping T.J. Rivera in the lineup. T.J. had one hit last night. How long before Terry banishes him to the bench again and plays Jose Reyes? It’s going to happen right? No way Terry makes the right lineup decision. The bigger question is around Michael Conforto when (if) Yoenis Cespedes returns. Obviously the answer is Conforto plays center field everyday, and there’s no discussion. Grandy goes right to the bench. But I still feel Terry will find a way to screw that up.

Today: Robert Gsellman and his 6.54 ERA takes the mound. Last time I checked the Mets had the 28th ranked team ERA and their starting pitcher ERA was 5.00 ranked 29th. Expect another blowout today.

Conforto and T.J. Equal Fun

There have been many contributors during the recent hot stretch of Mets baseball. The bullpen has looked strong lately and the bats are collectively on fire. But Michael Conforto and T.J. Rivera have been key difference makers in my mind. Conforto had two hits in the leadoff spot last night and T.J. had three hits in the two hole. They’ve made this recent stretch of baseball so fun. When men are on base for Conforto or T.J. I always feel confident they will come through with a clutch hit.

Conforto has arguably had the biggest impact on the club this year. He’s breaking out and helping carry the team without Yoenis Cespedes. We needed a hero, and he’s been just that. Rivera on the other hand needs to stay in the lineup. When Lucas Duda returns the Mets need to either put Rivera at third base or second. They need to reconfigure things to ensure he gets playing time.

Everyone’s Hot: It’s certainly not just T.J. and Conforto carrying this team. Lately it’s been a new hero every night. On Monday when the Mets beat the Giants 4-3, Neil Walker had an RBI ground rule double in the first inning and a walk off RBI single in the ninth inning. Rene Rivera also had two hits in Monday’s game. He’s hitting .321. No way that lasts, but I’ll enjoy it for now.

Yesterday’s Heroes: Last night the Mets beat the Giants 6-1. The Mets put up a four spot in the first inning. Neil Walker hit a two RBI triple and then Jose Reyes and Rene Rivera added an RBI single and double respectively. T.J. Rivera hit an RBI double in the fifth inning and Conforto hit a solo blast late in the game. The team has pulled back to .500. Life is good.

Mighty Pen: The bullpen has been rock solid this week pitching 6 scoreless innings in the two victories against the Giants. Jerry Blevins has been clutch all season. Jeurys Familia has looked good in the ninth. People are saying that Terry’s decision to pull Familia in that game a few weeks back and bring in Josh Edgin kind of woke him up. I’m pretty sure he just needed some time to shake off the suspension rust but whatever. Believe what you want.

Quality Starts: Jacob deGrom certainly wasn’t efficient in terms of pitch count on Monday, but he’s been like that all season. He struck out 11 over 6 innings and gave up 3 runs. Zack Wheeler (Mr. Inefficiency) pitched 6 innings and gave up 1 run on 2 hits and 4 walks last night. The importance of Wheeler’s presence this year cannot be overstated. Even with all the walks and short outings he’s been one of the few reliable starting arms.

Bum Wrist: On Monday the Mets decided to fly Gavin Cecchini from Vegas to New York for a promotion, and then they decided they would rather keep injured Asdrubal Cabrera on the roster. They are truly insane. I’m hoping they plan to put Cabrera on the DL when Lucas Duda is available to return because he clearly needs 10 days off. That would also take care of the “where do we play T.J. Rivera” question.

The Tearful Apology: Yesterday the Mets held a press conference where Matt Harvey apologized to his teammates and the fans for going out drinking on Cinco De Mayo and then missing Saturday’s game due to a hangover. Harvey was seemingly on the verge of tears, Terry Collins was getting choked up, and the players all said they are ready to move forward. Even Bartolo Colon texted Harvey to offer words of support.

In my opinion, this was all totally unnecessary. I’m in the minority on this one. Most fans feel Harvey’s behavior was outrageous and appalling, and that he owed everyone this apology. People were calling for the Mets to trade him or demote him and on and on.

I think this entire Harvey situation was ridiculous, avoidable, and created by the Mets. Harvey went out late, got drunk, and blew off work. Generally speaking that’s unacceptable behavior when it comes to work. It’s definitely doesn’t fly for a professional athlete. But the Mets could have quietly fined Harvey, had him apologize privately to his teammates, and then moved on. That’s what “keeping it in-house” actually means.

Instead the team told the media everything that was going on and had a ridiculous emotional press conference. The Mets and some members of the media have now given the fans and general public the impression that Matt Harvey has a drinking problem, is depressed, and that he’s on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Is that true? I don’t know. I’m not one to joke about substance abuse, depression, or any psychological issues. But I think it was wrong of the Mets to make this a big public spectacle. I realize that Harvey partially brought this on himself by being out in public partying and cutting off contact with the team. He is partially to blame. But I think as usual the team made a mountain out of a molehill. Either way I’m happy it’s over.

The Dark Knight And The Case Of The Mysterious Dildo

darkknightThe offense has been hot. The Mets had won three series in a row against division foes. They came back to win against the Marlins on Friday and then after the game the Mets official Twitter account tweeted a picture of a crowned T.J. Rivera standing in front of Kevin Plawecki’s locker. The locker happened to have a giant dildo inside. The fans thought the prank was hilarious. Even though Kevin Plawecki issued a dildo-related apology, I’m pretty sure he thought it was hilarious as well.

Then on Saturday thanks to the luck o’ the dildo, the Mets continued to roll and crushed the Marlins 11-3. Robert Gsellman didn’t pitch great, Asdrubal Cabrera left with a thumb injury, and the Marlins helped the Mets win with a bunch of errors, but the bottom line is the team was looking hot on Saturday and the mysterious black dildo only added additional intrigue to the recent streak of luck.

But… as a Mets fan we all knew some distraction was just around the corner. That distraction came out Sunday morning when the team suspended Matt Harvey for three games and didn’t really provide an explanation as to why he was being suspended. They replaced Harvey with minor league mook Adam Wilk, and he was demolished in the start. For the second straight Sunday the Mets had a crushing loss directly caused by decisions made by this incompetent organization (Thor injury/Harvey suspension). The two straight crushing Sunday losses detracted from what were pretty positive stretches of baseball for this team.

Now, Matt Harvey is getting absolutely crushed by the mainstream local media, national media, and even the fans for his behavior. I actually saw reporters quoting perfect angel Jose Reyes regarding his opinion on Matt Harvey breaking team rules. Are you kidding me? Reporters are asking wife beater Jose Reyes what he thinks about Matt Harvey breaking a minor rule?!?

I’m not seeing fans or media outlets wondering if perhaps the incompetent Mets franchise might be at fault. Here is the information that has been revealed thus far:

  • Matt Harvey was suspended for three games due to a violation of team rules.
  • Harvey supposedly golfed on Saturday, had migraines, blew off the team all day, and only contacted the front office to explain his absence late in the day.
  • As a result of that behavior (which apparently has been a reoccurring problem) Harvey was suspended.
  • Harvey is filing a grievance and claiming he did not violate team rules.
  • Also, Harvey’s suspension had nothing to do with the giant dildo.
  • The dildo may or may not be lucky (I think it’s lucky).
  • The dildo may or may not replace Mr. Met as the official team mascot.

I also think it’s worth noting that the Mets said they were going to keep this “in-house” and since that statement all of the above details have been leaked. I honestly can’t believe people are destroying Harvey for this and saying things like “Harvey owes the Mets an apology.” Apologize to the Mets?!?

I don’t fault Matt Harvey for supposedly missing practice and Saturday’s game due to a migraine/hangover/whatever the hell happened. He’s a diva, and we already know this. He shows up late to team events after partying in the city all night, and we know this. Why is this old news becoming an issue now? It’s becoming an issue because Harvey is watching this organization physically destroy all of his friends and teammates (Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Yoenis Cespedes etc.) and he’s probably lost all respect for the front office. Wouldn’t you?

The other reason this is popping up now is because the Mets front office didn’t like some recent comments Harvey made to the media. When the Mets scratched Thor from his start on Thursday, April 27th and started Harvey on short notice, Matt took the mound and gave it his best shot. After he got smacked around, he told the media that he worked out the day before and really wasn’t prepared to start. I have no doubt that those comments infuriated Terry, Sandy, and ownership. And I think it’s pretty obvious that the team has decided to punish and embarrass Harvey. The behavior of our front office is disgraceful.

I don’t blame Harvey for complaining about that surprise spot start one bit. He’s coming off major surgery, and the organization put him in an absurd position. Instead of signing starting pitching depth in the offseason and trying to take some of the pressure off Harvey, the team didn’t bring in a single viable Triple-A depth option. That wasn’t fair to Matt.

When you combine that with the fact that Harvey has watched this franchise mishandle one player after another is it really any surprise that he’s had enough with abiding by the rules of this front office? He’s had it. I’ve had it too. The Mets don’t get the benefit of the doubt. The Mets don’t deserve apologies.

I don’t attribute Sunday’s loss to Matt. Nope. In my mind this L gets pegged on Sandy and ownership for once again mishandling a player, and ultimately driving talent away from Flushing. Harvey may continue to struggle over the next two seasons before he hits free agency or he may turn things around and string together 45-60 spectacular starts. I don’t know what the future holds regarding his performance, but I do know that Harvey will continue to be a diva and that his future won’t be in Queens beyond the 2018 season. The Wilpons already know this too, and just like they always do, they will take every opportunity to destroy Matt’s arm and reputation before he walks (likely limps) out the door.

Cross Your Fingers And Hope For The Home Run

Final Score (in 11 innings): Nationals 4, Mets 3

As last night’s game entered the bottom of the 10th inning I was reminded that almost nothing has changed with this team since last season. The Mets still have the exact same feast or famine home run dependent offense. Michael Conforto gave the Mets their first run last night with an opposite field solo blast in the first inning. Curtis Granderson tied the game at 3 in the 6th inning with a solo bomb to right field.

Other than an RBI single in the fourth inning by Grandy, the Mets consistently failed to get the key hit with men on base. Juan Lagares failed to get a hit with two men on and two outs in the 5th inning. In the 7th inning Zack Wheeler hit a two out pinch hit double and the Nationals ended up loading the bases. Then Oliver Perez came in and got Jay Bruce to line out to right field. The Mets had two men on with one out in the bottom of the 9th inning and Conforto/Lagares failed to knock in the game winning run.

By the time the 10th inning rolled around, I knew I was essentially crossing my fingers and hoping that Jay Bruce, Neil Walker, or Curtis Granderson would sock a game winning homer. And that’s basically what they all tried to do. Jay Bruce came the closest to giving the Mets the win with a deep flyout that died in front of the right field fence.

It’s really going to be tough to watch this home run dependent roster compete day in and day out for 162 games.

The Living: Matt Harvey pitched instead of Jacob deGrom who was scratched with a stiff neck, and Harvey gave the Mets a quality start. He went 7 innings, gave up 3 runs on 4 hits (2 home runs). He didn’t have overpowering strikeout stuff, but as long as he’s giving the team innings and churning out quality starts I can’t complain. Michael Conforto continues to look incredible at the plate and in the field. He’s been making highlight reel catches in left field and center field.

The Rusty: Terry is a moron for letting Jeurys Familia throw 30 pitches against the Phillies in his first game back from suspension and then bringing him back out there last night in a big spot. Terry called on him with two men on and one out in the 11th, and he had absolutely nothing. He walked the bases loaded and then walked in the winning run.

The Dead: Lucas Duda went on the DL with his hyperextended elbow and Wilmer Flores hit the DL with his mysterious knee infection. Travis d’Arnaud still has a sore wrist, Jacob deGrom had a stiff neck, Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes both have sore hamstrings. Cabrera was able to pinch hit last night, but they said Yo was still in pain.

No Yo DL?: Do I think Yo will wind up on the DL? Nope. How do I know? Because we’re going to do the same thing we did last year. In 2016 Cespedes tweaked his quad, the Mets had him play injured, and the injury lingered all season. In 2017 Cespedes tweaks his hamstring. What do you think will happen next?

Today: Jacob “Stiff Neck” deGrom will pitch today. Spoiler alert: He’s getting a no decision.

April Sucking Brings May Sucking 

Final Score: Marlins 4, Mets 2

I can’t believe that positive “glass half full” Mets fans exist. I checked Twitter after the game, and obviously there is a large contingent of fans losing their minds over the awful series in Miami. But there are still these fans trying to put a positive spin on a 4-3 road trip and fans talking about how we could have easily won 3 out of 4 against the Marlins if a few things went our way. Ummmmm we beat the pathetic NL East punching bag Phillies, and we were embarrassed by the Marlins losing 3 of 4 in Miami. There is no positive spin. If Travis “Dead Legs” d’Arnaud doesn’t somehow sock that 16th inning home run, we probably lose all four games to the Marlins. Getting beat by divisional opponents at any point in the season is a disaster. Wake up people.

Metsanity: The Metssiah wrote about this in the season preview. Sandy is using the same roster again and expecting different results. Well in this series the Mets for the most part did what they’ve consistently done over the last few seasons. The offense sucked (i.e. failed to hit the long ball enough) in the three losses, and we squandered three fantastic starting pitching performances by Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Matt Harvey. Same team, same story.

April Sucking Brings May Sucking: Last season this team had a strong April and then basically played mediocre baseball until a late August/September surge. Is it too much to ask this team to perform at an above average level for a long stretch this season? I really hope April sucking doesn’t bring more sucking in May.

Dark Knight: Harvey gave up 2 runs (1 ER) on 6 hits over 6 innings. Our crappy defense helped the Marlins score their first run. Harvey should be disgusted with the team’s performance.

No Hitter Watch: Marlins pitcher Dan Straily walked 5 Mets over 5.1 innings but did not surrender one hit. The Mets didn’t get a goddamn hit until the 8th inning. With two outs and two men on in the 9th inning Asdrubal Cabrera managed to drive in two runs with an RBI single and tie the game. His late game heroics just delayed the inevitable meltdown by our bullpen.

So Mets: In the bottom of the 9th inning Addison Reed gave up a leadoff single and then with one out he gave up a double to Miguel Rojas to left field. Yoenis Cespedes fired a bullet to Asdrubal Cabrera who then fired a perfect throw to Travis d’Arnaud to nail the runner at the plate for the second out. Annnnnd then J.T. Riddle followed that with a game winning two run homer. Lol Mets.

Short Arms: It’s almost as if the Mets bullpen is lacking a couple of dependable relievers, and as a result we’ve been forced to overwork the quality arms so much that they are no longer effective. But it’s not like the Mets could have predicted this would happen in 2017. I mean sure it happened last season, and I also wrote fifty offseason blog posts saying the Mets need to bolster their bullpen. But other than that there was no way of seeing this coming. We seriously need Jeurys Familia back ASAP.

Stop The Madness: Curtis Granderson is hitting .174, Jose Reyes is hitting .087, and Terry continues to flip flop them in the leadoff spot. Ummm Curtis is old and Reyes looks washed up. Start Michael Conforto and lead him off tomorrow. Enough is enough. When the offense struggles you shake things up. There’s no reason to keep running these two veterans out there when you have viable alternatives.

Scapegoat Time: Speaking of Reyes’ horrendous play, how is it possible that the fan base hasn’t turned on this guy yet? He allegedly threw his wife into a glass door, he reportedly has two families and doesn’t support one of them, and now he’s playing like crap. Fans are always desperate for a scapegoat, yet I hear nothing negative being tossed Jose’s way. Yoenis Cespedes had one game where he failed to slide in a key spot and some asshole fans start questioning his work ethic and dedication. Where’s the Jose outrage? Where are the Jose Reyes boos? I have a feeling the anti-Jose/pro-Amed Rosario noise will pick up if Jose’s awful play drags into May.

Next Game: Okay I’m done ranting. Now we get to play Philly again on Tuesday. Praise Jesus.

Yo Shows It’s Gonna Be A Good Summer

good summer

Final Score: Mets 14, Phillies 4

The Mets’ offense was off to a slow start to the 2017 season. All it took was a few games where the lineup was lifeless to make a seasoned fan like me start to worry about player cold streaks and team strikeouts. Then booooooom. The offense finally broke out led by Yoenis Cespedes and his three home runs. It took one big night from Yo and this slugging squad to remind us that it’s gonna be a good summer.

Also, as a lazy blogging Mets fan looking to relax after a long work day, there’s no better game for me to watch than a 14 run, 20 hit, 7 homer blowout where my team triumphs. As a fan I was just watching the ding dongs fly out and loving every second of it. As a blogger I simply write that the Phillies suck, list all of the Mets ding dongs, and then hit “post.” There’s really nothing else to it.

Phillies Suck: Did I mention the Phillies suck? I never want to go back to a time where Philly isn’t the Mets annual divisional punching bag. I’ll take lopsided Mets’ victories against this Philly squad full of developing fringe major league players any day of the week. And we should also consider playing our home games at Citizens Bank Park. What a bandbox.

The Worst Pitcher In Baseball: It also helped last night that Clay Buchholz is one of the worst pitchers in the sport. The Red Sox were dying to dump him. Somehow the Phillies were duped into adding his useless body to their roster. Last night he gave up 6 runs on 8 hits over 2.1 innings before being yanked due to injury. Pathetic. Then Adam Morgan took over the role of worst pitcher on earth and gave up 4 runs on 7 hits over 3.2 innings including 4 home runs. He was demoted to the minors after the game. LOL.

Mets Ding Dong Recap

1st Inning: Yoenis Cespedes 3-run homer.

4th Inning: Asdrubal Cabrera and Yo (bomb 2.0) with solo blasts.

5th Inning: Yo 3.0- solo blast.

6th Inning: Lucas Duda 450 foot solo monster shot.

8th Inning: Travis d’Arnaud with a 2-run opposite field homer (not a typo).

9th Inning: Solo Duda Dong to close it out.

It wasn’t all home runs either. Jay Bruce hit a 2 RBI single in the second inning. Clay Buchholz managed to revive two struggling Mets hitters in the third inning. Jose Reyes hit a double off Clay to raise his average to like .040. Then Clay exited with an injury and d’Arnaud drove Reyes in with an RBI single. Asdrubal Cabrera also added to his near cycle 4-hit night with an RBI single in the 8th inning. Four hits for Duda and Yo, two hits for Neil Walker, and three for d’Arnaud. It was an absolute hit parade.

Everything Was Great And Nothing Bad Happened Right?: Matt Harvey looked good against the mediocre Phillies lineup. He gave up 2 runs on 5 hits over 5.2 innings. He struck out 6 and only walked 1. And of course he left the game with a tight hamstring because God can’t even give us one night to breathe easy. I’m sure he’ll be fine. Right?

The Boot: Michael Conforto is going to get the roster boot when Juan Lagares is ready to come off the DL this week. I feel bad for Conforto. Terry and Sandy just aren’t giving him a legitimate chance. They haven’t even attempted to rotate him into the lineup. I know he’s a professional baseball player who is paid to be resilient, and I’m just a mook blogger who can barely overcome a damaged cuticle, but I’d have a tough time going back to Vegas this year. He just doesn’t belong there. I still think the Mets will pull the trigger on a Jay Bruce trade if they can get a good late inning reliever, a back-end starter that can eat innings, or a versatile position player that fits better on the roster. I’m not saying they should pull that trigger. I’m just saying I think they will do it if they have the chance. But in reality we all know injuries will take care of the outfield “logjam” in no time at all.

Today: Zack Wheeler vs. Vince Velasquez. Let’s hope Zack has better command of the strike zone tonight. Let’s also hope the slugging continues so it will distract us from the horrendous team defense.

Harvey And Hitting: A Winning Formula 

Final Score: Mets 6, Braves 2

Through the first four innings I thought the Mets’ offense might be taking the night off again. But once the fifth inning rolled around, the Mets’ offense was able to get to Jaime Garcia and Matt Harvey/the bullpen did the rest.

Overall it was an encouraging game. The Mets were resilient and won the series after that tough extra innings marathon loss. Harvey showed fans that he’s still alive. The offense put together a bunch of hits (8) and scored some runs (6) and it wasn’t all due to the long ball. The back end of the pen continued to look strong. It was a nice opening series win at home.

Dark Knight Looked Great: Matt Harvey pitched 6.2 innings and gave up just 3 hits. Unfortunately both of those hits were solo homers by new Met Killer Matt Kemp (solo homers in 5th inning and 7th inning). Terry yanked Harvey after the 7th inning Kemp jack. Obviously he wanted him leaving feeling good about the start. And he had a lot to feel good about. He was sitting in the mid- 90s with the fastball, and he didn’t walk anybody. The Braves don’t have the best lineup in baseball, and Harvey certainly didn’t strike out the park. But he looked good considering he’s coming back from this crazy surgery. I’ll take it.

Offense Responds: Harvey gave up that solo shot to Kemp in the 5th inning, but the Mets picked him right up and responded with two runs. Neil Walker singled, Jay Bruce walked, and then Travis d’Arnaud launched a 2-RBI double in the left center field gap. Nice to see Travis getting in on the action. The Mets need him to be present on offense. He doesn’t need to be a force, but he sure as hell cant be the black hole that he was in 2016.

Wilmer The Lefty Masher: Terry hit Wilmer Flores fourth in the batting order right behind Yo last night, and it was totally warranted because he continued his dominant streak against southpaws. Jaime Garcia walked Yoenis Cespedes with one out in the 6th inning and put a man on base for Flores. Wilmer promptly made him pay by crushing a hanging breaking ball just inside the left field foul pole for a two run shot to make it 4-1. Teams walking Yo is going to be a theme this season, so it’s nice to see the guy behind him making the other team pay.

Hits! Hits! Hits!: Kemp added that solo shot in the top of the 7th but in the bottom of the 7th the Mets responded again. Michael Conforto was hit by a pitch with one out. Then Jose Reyes singled and Asdrubal Cabrera followed with an RBI single between third base and short taking advantage of the shift. Then Yoenis Cespedes hit a double play ball to the right side of the infield but shortstop Dansby Swanson made a throwing error to first base that allowed Reyes to score to make it 6-2.

Salad And Reed Lockdown: Fernando Salas looked good in the 8th inning and was able to pitch around some defensive blunders (including one by Salas himself). Addison Reed dominated the heart of the Braves order in the 9th to close the game out.

Today: Zack Wheeler makes his return to the mound after a two year Tommy John recovery absence. I’m excited. I remember how electric his stuff was a couple of years ago. And we honestly need him to contribute now. With Steven Matz going down Wheeler is no longer luxury depth. He’s a key contributor. Marlins come to town and send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound. Another lefty. Let’s go Wilmer! Let’s go Mets!

Matz Tender, Harvey Looks Better

The baseball gods giveth, and the baseball gods taketh away.

This morning we hear that the curse of Team Tender strikes again. Steven Matz has been sidelined with a tender elbow. What else is new? This is just a reminder that Steven Matz’s endless battle with arm tenderness will continue to be a thing this season.

The Mets say he’ll miss a start, and then they will re-evaluate the situation.

Translation: The Mets will force him to pitch through pain just like they did last season. Pray for Matz.

Then during today’s Grapefruit League game we see Matt Harvey step on the mound and pitch a nice game. His fastball had some life, he was able to locate his slider, and he was efficient over 6 innings. Sure he only faced a few of the Braves’ regular players, but it was nice to see a solid outing from Harvey especially considering the Matz news.

The Mets pitching situation is really precarious in my opinion. On the surface it looks like they have depth. The “experts” all talk about how the Mets rotation is stacked with Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, and Seth Lugo. Seven pitchers for five spots! Wow. But in reality the Mets could wind up short-handed in no time at all. First of all, teams normally use seven or more starting pitchers during the season. Realistically teams use more like 10 starters over the course of the year.

If the Mets are able to get close to 200 innings from at least three of these starting pitchers the team should be in great shape. But is that realistic? None of the seven pitchers I mentioned above have ever tossed 200 innings. Not one of them. They’ve all had serious arm injuries. Most of them have had arm surgeries. Right now I’m penciling in Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom as our horses. And they aren’t guaranteed locks to be healthy. I’m afraid to rely on Matt Harvey for anything. His thoracic outlet surgery was a serious, career threatening procedure, and it’s not really fair to expect him to return to his 2015 form this season or in the future.

Have you noticed that the Mets are really hyping up Rafael Montero this spring? They love what they are seeing from him. I think in reality the organization is starting to realize what could happen if Team Tender turns into Team DL, and we’re left with Rafael Montero making meaningful starts during the season. They’re preemptively giving Montero a vote of confidence because they can see how close he is to cracking the rotation depth chart.

Just cross your fingers and light your candles for Thor and deGrom. If they can stay healthy we should be able to piece together the rest of the innings from the other starting pitchers. If we are fortunate enough to get a solid full season from one of the other guys (Harvey, Matz, Wheeler, Gsellman, or Lugo) the rotation should be in great shape.

If not, Sandy will likely be left frantically searching for a contingency plan like Montero or worse…Jon Niese.

Cold Stove Update: Mets Ask Santa For Cash

If you’re looking for an update on the Mets’ offseason since they paid Yoenis Cespedes, don’t get too excited. In fact, don’t get excited at all. Nothing has happened. Sandy Alderson basically went to the Winter Meetings last week, ate the hotel continental breakfast for a few days, and then flew right back to New York. Sandy said the Mets can’t make any moves until they find a team willing to take the 13 million dollar Jay Bruce salary off our hands. Clearly the days of worrying about our mid-market payroll are behind us.

Cold Stove Quick Hits:

Christmas Party: The Mets held their annual Christmas Party this week and decided to anoint Noah Syndergaard as the next cursed Santa Claus. Sandy Alderson was seen at the event trying to dump Jay Bruce in a Toys for Tots bin.

Pray and Wish: At the Mets Christmas Party, Thor said all he wants for Christmas is a World Series. It’s a good thing that he’s motivated because Sandy and Co. are clearly showing that their strategy for 2017 is to pray that all of our young pitchers will be healthy. In other words, rather than actually improving the team this offseason, the Mets are asking Jesus and Santa Claus for help.

MLB Anti-Hazing Policy: This week, MLB unveiled a new policy banning “offensive” hazing practices specifically those that involve dressing teammates as women. No word from Donald Trump yet on the decision but expect to see tweets about “soft Manfred” and “the failing MLB” any day now.

David Wright’s Road To Retirement: David Wright is reportedly simulating baseball activities but has not swung a bat yet. He’s been “getting in a crouch” and “moving laterally”. Basically he gingerly slides from one end of the couch to the other and occasionally bends over to pick up a chip if he drops one on the floor. I’d like to think that if David Wright retired tomorrow the Mets would spend his salary on roster upgrades. But who am I kidding. The Wilpons are already banking on spending the Wright insurance money on Yo’s salary.

World Baseball Classic: Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto are reportedly on the preliminary roster for Team Italy, Asdrubal Cabrera is planning to play for Venezuela and Jeurys Familia wants to pitch for the Dominican Republic. You’ve got to love the idea of Ol’ Bum Knee Cabrera playing extremely competitive games in March when he limped through a third of the regular season last year. Conforto better hope Jay Bruce doesn’t have an Italian Great Grandfather otherwise he might wind up benched for the World Baseball Classic too.

Juanny Bum Shoulder: Juan Lagares strained his shoulder diving for a ball in the Dominican Winter League. Apparently he’s fine. Juanny better have a big 2017. He hasn’t done a damn thing since his breakout year in 2014 other than hurt his elbow and his thumb and now his shoulder. If he has another injury filled season, that extension we gave him will wind up looking horrible.

Nationals Striking Out Non-Stop: Other than the Mets signing Yo, the best news of the offseason has been that the Nationals have failed in almost every single one of their attempts to land players. They failed to land Cespedes, Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon. The list goes on and on.

Mr. Tingles: Matt Harvey said his arm is no longer tingling and he’s feeling strong as he recovers from his surgery. If Matt Harvey wins comeback player of the year and Noah Syndergaard continues to be a pitching machine then the 2017 Mets really will be in great shape. Pray.

Charges Dropped: The domestic violence charges against Jeurys Familia were officially dropped because as I’ve said many times on this site, the charges always get dropped or settled out of court. If you want to know what will happen next, just check out my post that I wrote the day this story broke. It’s the same exact cycle every single time. Familia will get a slap on the wrist suspension for allegedly assaulting his wife. Meanwhile Jenrry Mejia is locked up in a cell in the dungeons at MLB headquarters for taking a little testosterone.