Sandy and Matz? Respect 

Final Score: Mets 4, Cubs 3

Before last night’s game even started, the media talked to Sandy Alderson about the state of the team. I respect the hell out of what Sandy said. Sandy basically said there’s no savior coming. He said there’s no Yoenis Cespedes on the horizon. There’s no big trade or trades that will help the Mets salvage this season. Sandy put the onus on the players on the current roster. Sandy essentially said “step the hell up”. Which is what I’ve been preaching for a while. I really respect Sandy doubling down on the roster he built. It may come back to burn him. But in my opinion he’s saying the right thing.

Matz Respect: Before the game, it was being widely reported that Steven Matz was considering surgery to get that bone spur removed from his elbow. Apparently the Mets convinced him to battle through the injury. They gave him the anti-inflammatory injection. Now, it goes without saying that nobody should ever trust the Mets medical advice. He shouldn’t pitch if he’s risking any long term damage. That being said, I respect his decision. I respect that he went out there and gave the Mets a chance to win. He basically abandoned his slider because it puts the most strain on his elbow. I’m not sure if his approach is sustainable, but I respect him for not giving up on us.

Steven Matz went 5.1 innings, gave up 7 hits, 3 runs, walked 3 and struck out 6. He certainly wasn’t at his best. In the first inning, Kris Bryant hit a 2 run jack off of Matz. Matz tried to get a 1-2 pitch down and in, and he left it over the plate. Bad pitch. Great hitter. In the 6th inning, he left another pitch out over the middle and Javier Baez made him pay with a solo blast that made it 3-0 Cubs. Once Matz’s pitch count got over 100, Terry decided to yank him. It worked out because Erik Goeddel gave the Mets 1.2 innings of solid relief.

Yo Bomb: In the bottom of the 6th inning, Yoenis Cespedes did his job as team spark and crushed a moon shot homer off of John Lackey. It went to the upper deck in left. It was over 450 feet. Absolute bomb. The Mets didn’t score anything else that inning, but I think it woke the team up.

Finding Nimmo: So I think the Cespedes homer helped wake the team up, and also the Cubs bullpen was dog crap. Travis d’Arnaud hit a one out single off of Lackey in the 7th inning. D’Arnaud had two hits in the game. He needs to get things going for the Mets to have any chance of competing this summer. Anyway, Cubs reliever Joel Peralta came in and promptly walked Alejandro De Aza. I don’t care that De Aza had a nice AB. Inexcusable walk by the Cubs pen. Then last night’s leadoff hitter Brandon Nimmo came to the plate. Nimmo had a fantastic AB against Peralta. He got the count to 3-2 and managed to rope one up the middle to drive in d’Arnaud and get De Aza to third base. I can’t even remember the last time the Mets had a clutch hit, but this one was as clutch as they come. That made the score 3-2 Cubs. Then Joe Maddon brought in Pedro Strop and the Cubs essentially gave the Mets the lead. With De Aza on third and Nimmo on second, Neil Walker hit a ball to second baseman Javier Baez. Baez threw the ball to third base to try and get Nimmo, and he made a terrible throw that missed Bryant’s glove. De Aza scored and Nimmo scored and that made it 4-3 Mets.

The Bridge: Addison Reed came in for the 8th inning and gave up a single to Willson Contreras. He struck out the next two batters, although he did toss a wild pitch along the way that allowed Contreras to get to second base. Then in the “Battle of the Addisons”, Reed walked Addison Russell and Terry pulled him from the game. Luckily, Jerry Blevins came in, retired Jason Heyward and preserved the lead.

Thank You Jeurys: Jeurys Familia did his 2016 tightrope routine. He walked leadoff man Miguel Montero and gave up a double to Ben Zobrist. Then he struck out Kris Bryant for the first out. He walked Anthony Rizzo intentionally to load the bases. Then Familia got a strikeout followed by a pop out to end the game.

Fire: Steven Matz was ready to charge the mound last night when Lackey almost hit him with a pitch in the fifth inning. Nimmo was jacked up when he won his battle against Joel Peralta and smacked that clutch hit in the 7th inning. Addison Reed was ready to punch a wall when Terry pulled him in the 8th inning. Jerry Blevins was screaming and shouting when he got the last out in the 8th. Familia’s head was about to explode when he closed the game out. I’m sure these guys are jacked up for the Cubs. There’s no doubt about it. But they have to be jacked up to turn this season around too. They knows what’s up. They feel our pain. I hope they keep this fire all weekend.

Today: Jacob deGrom goes tonight. Let’s win two games before Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester take the mound. Right the ship baby. Score runs please.

ElbowSpurGate: It’s All Unraveling 

The game is always secondary with the 2016 Mets. The injury plague has finally spread to the starting rotation. It was announced yesterday that Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard are both pitching with bone spurs in their pitching elbows. Double spur Monday may be the new low point of the 2016 Mets season. There’s no structural damage in their respective elbows. But that doesn’t really matter. They are pitching in pain, and the only way to end the pain is for them to have surgery to remove the spurs. For the record, Thor denied that he had a bone spur when asked by the media. He straight up said it’s a fabricated story. But that’s just something the God of Thunder would say to maintain his image. It’s clear Thor plans to just bathe in cortisone all year, fight through the pain, and get surgery after the season. Matz is apparently in significantly more pain, and the Mets front office braintrust will meet this week to decide if in-season surgery is the right move. Ultimately, Matz and Thor will be fine. Right? After all, Mets head trainer Ray Ramirez has been working with a brain spur for years.

Game Recap:

Final Score: Nationals 11, Mets 4

As far as the game goes, what can I say. We got blown out. I’m kind of surprised the Mets came out flat tonight after that inspiring split against the Braves aka the worst team in the National League. Watching the 2016 Mets is like pitching through a bone spur in the elbow. Always uncomfortable. Often painful. Not gonna end well.

Early Lead: The game started on a positive note when the Mets got out to an early lead. Early lead? Yeah early lead. Don’t get too excited, it didn’t last at all. In the first inning, Curtis Granderson led off with a single and with one out Yoenis Cespedes singled him to third. Then Neil Walker hit a sac fly. Sac fly? Yeah sac fly! Hooray!!!! Then in the second inning, Brandon Nimmo and Travis d’Arnaud hit back to back singles with one out. And with two outs Grandy hit an RBI single. A two out run scoring hit!!! That made it 2-0. In the third inning, Walker singled, James Loney doubled, and Wilmer Flores singled to drive them both in making it 4-0 Mets. With Thor on the mound, it felt like 4-0 would be enough for a guaranteed win. Nope!

Thor: Let’s be clear about the elbow spur problem. I’m sure it is bothering Noah. He denied it was a problem post game, but athletes tend to lie about injuries. It is known. But it sure as hell didn’t stop him from throwing 100 MPH consistently. That being said, he just got smacked around. He went 3 innings, gave up 7 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks, and he allowed 5 stolen bases. He gave up 5 runs in the third inning. Ben Revere led off with a single and stole a base. Bryce Harper hit an RBI single and stole a base. It’s honestly too painful to even recap all the run scoring hits.

The Contingency Plan: Thor was pulled after three innings with the score at 5-4 Nationals. At least the Mets have a great long man in Sean Gilmartin to bail out the starters when they have a rough day. Right? Wrong. Gilmartin gave up 7 hits and 5 runs in two innings. The Nats scored 11 unanswered runs. If this wasn’t the most embarrassing loss of the year it certainly was a nominee for the award.

Stolen Bases: The Nationals ran all over Thor as every team has all season long. He’s allowed 28 stolen bases on the season. That’s double any other guy in the league. Yeesh. Elbow spur aside, what the hell is Noah Syndergaard doing? What are the Mets doing? How are they not prioritizing holding people on as part of practice and as part of every game plan. At this point Rene Rivera has to be Noah’s personal catcher. But it’s not even about the catcher. Thor doesn’t even give his catcher a chance to throw people out.

Don’t Ignore The Wasted Chances: Listen the Nationals took a dump on the Mets last night. They scored 11 runs on 17 hits. But let’s not ignore that the Mets had 14 hits and 4 runs to show for it. They smacked around Nats starter Joe Ross to the tune of 10 hits. But they didn’t capitalize on all the opportunities. That’s just Mets baseball in 2016.

Loney Horrendous: In the fifth inning with runners on first and third and one out, James Loney fielded a ball at first base and made a mistake trying to get the lead runner going home instead of getting the easy out at first. The runner scored on the fielder’s choice. Loney had an ugly night defensively. Whatever. Everyone had an ugly night.

I Turned It Off: I turned the game off when the score reached 11-4. It was my first straight up boycott game turn off of the season. It was just too ugly to keep watching. In my opinion, Terry should have brought in Antonio Bastardo as soon as Thor left the game and made him pitch the rest of the night as punishment for being so crappy this season. Pitch him until his arm falls off. Hell Terry does it with everyone else. Might as well wreck Bastardo for our own good.

Pitching Depth: I wrote about this weeks ago. I said we can’t trade Zack Wheeler because we need all these arms. The only way we survive this season and the seasons to come is with our unrivaled pitching depth. The only guy we have that seemingly can’t be stopped is Bartolo Colon.

It’ll Be Okay (I Think/I Hope): I will say this. Pitchers fight through elbow soreness, bone spurs, bone chips, fatigue, and every other problem under the sun year after year. Remember Jon Niese and his annual elbow/shoulder problems? It was an early summer tradition. I’m not trying to belittle the problem that Thor and Matz have, but I do think it’s possible they can fight through the issue. I also think it’s hilarious that both Matz and Thor came out the gate so strong and before the end of June their arms are barking. They are such young studs. It’s a long season fellas. Rest up and keep those arms strong. The full year grind is intense. Pray.

Gurriel: The Mets watched the new Cuban third baseman Yulieski Gourriel (legally changed to Gurriel) workout yesterday. Sign him. Do it.

Today: Don’t worry, I’m sure Matt Harvey will save the Mets tonight. I never thought I’d type something like that and mean it 100% sarcastically.

Loney Explodes, Matz Implodes, Mets Survive

Final Score: Mets 8, Braves 6

This game went from feel good breakout performance to near disaster. When it was 8-0 Mets in the fifth inning, I felt like the Mets were finally going to have a nice statement win against the NLs worst team. Then the Mets nearly blew it and reminded everyone that they have problems. And by problems I mean this win brings them to within 3 games of the first place Nationals who lost to the Brewers. The Nats suck right now too.

Loney And The Boys Explode: The Mets offense finally pounded the Braves and rookie pitcher Aaron Blair last night. In the second inning Neil Walker singled, James Loney got hit by a pitch, and Wilmer Flores rocked an RBI ground rule double. Travis d’Arnaud added a one out RBI groundout to make it 2-0. In the fourth, the same guys got us going. Neil Walker singled and James Loney doubled. With one out, Michael Conforto was intentionally walked to load the bases for Travis d’Arnaud. I realize Blair wanted to set up the double play but didn’t he read scouting reports? Conforto is an auto-out right now. Anyway d’Arnaud made him pay with a two RBI single to make it 4-0. Steven Matz added a sac fly to make it 5-0. In the fifth inning, Asdrubal Cabrera walked, Neil Walker hit a one out single, and James Loney hit a three run blast to make it 8-0. Neil Walker went 3 for 4, James Loney 2 for 3 with 3 RBI and d’Arnaud had 3 RBI. At that point, the game seemed over.

Matz Implodes: The game seemed over because Steven Matz was untouchable through 4 innings. He had only surrendered 1 hit. In the fifth inning, he completely fell apart. We’ve said this about the young Matz a number of times this season. He faces a little adversity and loses his composure. This meltdown was due to that, and also he was dealing with more elbow discomfort. Oh and also Yoenis Cespedes made an awful fielding blunder. Jeff Francoeur led off with a double, and then Nick Markakis hit a routine fly ball to center field. Cespedes appeared ready to catch it, and then it dropped nowhere near him. He just never saw it. That led to second and third and nobody out. Then the inning fell apart. Adonis Garcia doubled in those runs, Brandon Snyder hit a three run bomb, and Freddie Freeman hit an RBI single to make it 8-6. Matz couldn’t finish the inning. Hansel Robles came in and bailed him out.

Bullpen Fallout: The Mets pen managed to keep the lead intact and seal the victory. Hansel Robles came in and pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless ball. He saved the day multiple times this week. He’s the latest guy to sacrifice his arm in Terry’s pen of death. Pray for Robles. I’m sure Jim Henderson watched as he tweaked on painkillers and soaked his arm in a big bucket of ice. The Mets couldn’t go to Addison Reed or Jerry Blevins because Terry’s overworked the hell out of them. It’s been showing lately in Reed. So he went to Antonio Bastardo in the 8th. When he gave up a two out double to Nick Markakis, Terry went straight to Jeurys Familia for a four out save against the freaking Braves. He got the save though. Pray for Familia. He may set the team’s save record, but God I hope his arm lasts.

Downplayed Injuries: Speaking of injuries, Matz said his elbow is just sore but fine. No biggie!!! We should probably skip his next start or something. I can’t believe they are having him pitch through soreness like that. I realize it’s common for these guys to have sore arms, but he’s a rookie. Handle with care no? And Cespedes rolled his ankle in the 7th inning. I thought it snapped, but he said it was fine. He stayed in. He’s a warrior.

Nimmo/Reyes: Jose Reyes rumors heating up today. Let’s see what happens. The Mets should bring up Brandon Nimmo for Michael Conforto. Nimmo is hitting almost .400 and Conforto ain’t hitting anything.

Today: Jacob deGrom today. Keep winning. Win the series. Anything else sucks. Time to slam the bad teams and be taken seriously. Don’t rely on the Nats playing like crap. Let’s head into that series hot.

Mets Drop Doubleheader; Wheels Are Falling Off

Final Scores (For both pathetic games): Pirates 3, Mets 1

Yesterday, the Mets disproved the popular notion that doubleheaders are fun. They are in fact sad.

Game 1: It was literally the exact same story in both games. Steven Matz battled. In the first inning, he gave up a leadoff triple to Josh Harrison, and Harrison wound up scoring on an RBI single by David Freese. After giving up back to back singles to start the third inning, Matz got a strikeout, and then got Jung Ho Kang to hit into a double play. In the 5th inning, Josh Harrison hit a leadoff single and stole second base. Then Andrew McCutchen drove him in to make it 2-0. But Matz managed to wiggle out of that inning and limited the damage. He admitted he had nothing in this game, but he still went 5 innings and gave up only 2 runs while striking out 8.

Steven’s performance on the mound just didn’t matter. The Mets had no offense to speak of. Jon Niese shut them down over 7 scoreless innings. They loaded the bases with two out in the fourth inning and Michael Conforto struck out. He’s been awful lately. It’s bad. Steven Matz tripled with one out in the 5th inning, and the Mets couldn’t get him home. What a joke. Curtis Granderson hit a solo home run in the 8th inning. I’d like to celebrate it, but Grandy has been terrible. He’s batting .200. It’s a problem.

Game 2: Jacob deGrom experienced the exact same lack of support in game 2. He battled through 6 innings and gave up 3 runs with 9 strikeouts. He gave up a single to Jordy Mercer in the second inning and then a double to Sean Rodriguez. Cole Figueroa followed that with an RBI ground out. Chris Stewart then singled on an infield ground ball that was deflected by Asdrubal Cabrera. That run made it 2-0. The game felt over as soon as the Pirates took the lead. That’s just the way it is with the Mets offense lately. DeGrom gave up a fifth inning RBI double to John Jaso that made it 3-1. Jacob pitched fine. The Mets just can’t score. They had four damn hits. Kevin Plawecki hit an RBI single in the fifth inning. They had no other opportunities. Everyone is either injured or ice cold.

Déjà Vu Kinda: I cannot believe the 2016 Mets regular season is 2015 Déjà vu all over again. Well it’s kind of Déjà vu. It’s the same in the sense that we are decimated by injuries and the offense is historically incompetent. The difference is last year before the season, I said with confidence “umm hello, we need an impact bat. Why didn’t we get one?” I knew and most fans knew that without that bat we’d be screwed. And of course as soon as we landed one the season took off. This spring training, I said “umm hello, we can’t depend on David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud for anything at all. They are hurt every season. And we have no backup for Lucas Duda so he better not get hurt.” I think those things were fairly obvious before the season started. The problem is the impact bat solution was fairly straightforward and the solution for injury prone regulars is not straightforward at all. As much as depth is important, it’s challenging to build a team through external acquisitions where you carry extremely talented replacements for key regulars. The primary way to account for the injury prone regulars problem is by having a stacked farm system with a bunch of internal solutions. It’s a major luxury and not many teams have it.

We’ve Got Nothing: To further emphasize that point, all you need to do is look at the Cubs. Outfielder Jorge Soler just got hurt for them and they put him on the DL. So what are they going to do? They are dipping into their farm system and calling up Albert Almora another top 100 prospect who plays the outfield. When the Mets dip into their farm system their fingers wind up in an ice cold bowl of Soup. The point is, the only real way to prepare for injuries to regulars you depend on like Wright and d’Arnaud is by having big time minor league talent at Triple-A. The Mets unfortunately lack position players at Triple-A in areas of need. Dilson Herrera is a top second base prospect. The Mets can’t squeeze him in to help. Period. There’s no where to put him. Same goes with Brandon Nimmo. He’s crushing it right now in Vegas. He’s an outfielder. There’s no room at the inn folks. I guess we could bench Granderson considering he’s batting .200. But there’s no chance that happens. The season will be up in flames in late August before the Mets consider benching an outfielder that helped get them to the World Series and makes 15+ million dollars. The Mets may need to find a way to turn Brandon Nimmo or Dilson Herrera into players that fill positions of need. I don’t want to trade them and the front office probably won’t because they don’t live in Panic City like I do. But there’s no room for these guys right now, and we need help.

Let’s Put This To Bed: In April/May when the Mets had that stretch where they led the league in home runs, fans were panicking that the Mets were dependent on the home run. An equal number of fans were calling these fans out for being idiots, and they were regularly reminding everyone that home runs are the best method of scoring in baseball (like that takes a goddamn rocket scientist to figure out). Well now we can see what the Mets real problems are. The Mets offensive struggles are due to injury and the lack of any quality depth. They have nothing to do with a dependence on the home run. That being said, even when the Mets were hitting lots of home runs, they still ranked very low in overall runs scored. In conclusion, you can hit a lot of home runs as a team while simultaneously having a fundamentally flawed offense that lacks quality depth and the ability to consistently score runs. The Mets are living proof of that right now.

Shut Up About Conforto: Michael Conforto is in a slump, and this isn’t about him facing left-handed pitching. The guy is a young player, and he’s slumping. Period. He’ll turn it around. It may take him a while. He’s super young and growing pains were bound to happen. This is baseball.

My Thumb: Juan Lagares said it will probably be a couple more days before he tries to swing. He added that surgery is not a definite plan even after the season. At this point, I’m just going to add a daily reminder to all my posts that playing short handed is dumb.

Bastard: Antonio Bastardo surrendered a solo blast to Jordy Mercer in the bottom of the 6th inning of game 1 of the doubleheader. He now has a 4.13 ERA. I think we’re starting to see why the Pirates didn’t have a tribute video for his return to PNC Park. I think we’re starting to see why he was sitting on the free agent scrap heap late in the offseason. Meanwhile Tyler Clippard is dominating in Arizona. Ehh Eric Campbell, Ty Kelly, Antonio Bastardo. Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, Tyler Clippard. Tomato, Tomahto.

The Pitchers Are Better Again: When Matz hit that triple in game 1, I imagined Eric “Taxi Squad” Campbell watching it from his hotel room and realizing he should probably just stay there for game 2. Remember last season when our pitchers were objectively better hitters than our top backup position players for like two months? Well it’s happening again.

The Plan: What’s the plan? The plan is to batten down the hatches and wait out this offensive funk until fresh supplies arrive. Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Asdrubal Cabrera, and hopefully Curtis Granderson won’t be in funks forever. We have a lot of injuries, but these veterans must perform. They will eventually. Until then, we watch these awful games and survive off of Spam and cans of beans (James Loney and Wilmer Flores). The ship will be righted. I think.

Today: Wow we really can’t beat the Pirates. They swept us last season, it feels like they are going to do the same thing in this series. It’s okay. Let’s take a deep breath. We still hold a wild card spot. We still get to play the NL Least all the time. We’ll just keep beating the bad NL East teams and hopefully at some point we can beat some other teams. Any team other than the Phillies, Marlins, and Braves will do. Noah Syndergaard faces top Pirates pitching prospect Jameson Taillon today. I picked up Taillon in fantasy for next week. I’m expecting the Mets to get shutout as are all residents of Panic City. Poor Thor. Can we get him a run or two?

Matz And Robles Meltdown

Final Score: White Sox 6, Mets 4

Sac Flies and Neil Walkyear: The Mets scored early in this one. Yoenis Cespedes hit a sac fly in the first inning and Curtis Granderson hit a sac fly in the second inning. Neil Walker added a two run home run in the fourth inning to make it 4-0. Walkyear has been really solid all season, but he sure is coming alive lately. He’s smashing at a .391 clip over his last 7 games. Those four runs represented all the scoring for the Mets last night. The way Matz was pitching, it felt like it would be all the scoring the Mets needed.

Matz Cruising: Steven Matz was for the most part cruising during the first five innings of this game. In the second inning, Avisail Garcia reached on an error by new first baseman James Loney. What a way to start things off J-Lone. Matz followed that error by walking Tyler Saladino, but then he struck out Dioner Navarro to squash the situation. He gave up a single in the third inning and two singles in the fourth inning, but he got key outs when he needed them in those spots and escaped. His success lasted until the 6th inning.

Matz Meltdown: In the 6th inning, Matz lost his composure and reminded us that he’s a rookie. He may be a rookie of the year candidate, but there’s still room for maturation and growth. The inning started when Jose Abreu hit a hard ground ball to James Loney at first base that ate him up. It bounced off of him, rolled into foul territory, and Abreu reached. It was called a single, but it was a play you need to make. Matz clearly lost his focus, and he followed that play by serving up a cookie to Todd Frazier who put the ball in the seats to make it 4-2. Matz has been stellar all season, and everyone makes mistake pitches. But it was clear that the Loney misplay was in his head and led to a bad pitch choice to Frazier. Matz then surrendered a single to Melky Cabrera but got Avisail Garcia to hit into a double play. However with two outs he walked Tyler Saladino, and he just didn’t hold him on base. Saladino totally embarrassed Matz by stealing second base and third base. Dioner Navarro then singled to drive Saladino in and make it 4-3. Matz failed to focus on the base runner and the batter. That was the end of the day for Matz, but those three runs and particularly that final run proved to be crucial.

Error City: As I said, James Loney was charged with one error and made one misplay that was ultimately labeled a hit. Asdrubal Cabrera made a fielding error in the seventh inning. The only reason Asdrubal’s error didn’t bite the Mets in the ass was because Thor happened to pitch the seventh inning tonight. Noah Syndergaard is striking out the planet even when he’s throwing the equivalent of an in-game bullpen session. Clean it up on defense man. We all know defense is one of our big weaknesses. I’m just going to pretend it won’t be our downfall.

Robles Meltdown: Jim Henderson and Thor got the Mets through to the 8th inning with the 4-3 lead. Jeurys Familia was unavailable last night so the Mets brought Hansel Robles in for the 8th inning, and he crumbled. He walked the leadoff man like a damn fool. Then he struck out Avisail Garcia before surrendering a two run home run to Tyler Saladino. Yeesh. With two outs he walked pinch hitter Jimmy Rollins. That was all for Hansel. But Jerry Blevins came in and walked Adam Eaton, and Logan Verrett came in gave up a single to Brett Lawrie that scored Rollins. 6-4. That was all she wrote for the Mets. After a hot start, Hansel Robles has been terrible lately. The pen was another one of our preseason weaknesses. Well after a hot start with our team ERA near the top, we are tumbling big time. Once again, I’m just going to pretend it won’t be our downfall.

Hold Men On For Christ’s Sake: Tyler Saladino ran all over Matz in the 6th inning and then Rollins did the same to Blevins. I get that those two guys have speed. But Jesus Christ can we find a way to hold guys on base? I can’t believe we’re going to have to play Rene Rivera, a guy who bats .100, in order to ensure we stop the stolen bases.

Grandyman Can Again: Curtis is heating up. He went to 2 for 4. That was a positive in this poo poo loss.

Soup’s Gone: Speaking of positives, I wrote a post on Monday saying it was time for Soup to go. And boom. Just like that, Soup was dumped to make room for James Loney. Prayers answered.

Wright Should Be DL’d: We’ve been playing with 24 guys since last Friday because the Mets are still waiting to see if Wright can avoid a DL stint for his herniated neck disk. The playing short handed consistently thing is becoming a joke. I wrote about how David Wright should be DL’d yesterday.

Ketchup or Mustard: I was at the game yesterday, but apparently Keith ordered a hot dog with ketchup on it during the broadcast. This obviously sparked the always raging ketchup vs. mustard discussion. I’m a mustard on a hot dog guy. But I really couldn’t care less if you put ketchup on your dog. Why? Because I’m a condiments man first and foremost. I’ll dip things in salsa, mayo, mustard, ketchup, ranch, Russian dressing and whatever else you want to throw my way. Ketchup never wronged me. So I have no reason to get fired up on this debate. If you want to dip you hot dog directly in a bottle of blue cheese dressing, be my guest.

Today: The Mets need to win this game and salvage a .500 road trip. Losing 4 out of 6 at home would be embarrassing for a team that fancies itself a contender.

Matz Destroys Washington

Indepedence daY

Final Score: Mets 2, Nationals 0

Young Stud: Steven Matz is reaffirming his young ace status with each and every start this year. The Nationals really didn’t even have an opportunity to score in this game. They got two men on in the second inning, but Matz got out of trouble. In the 7th inning Clint Robinson hit a two out single, Bryce Harper came up as a pinch hitter, and Matz retired him with ease. Matz pitched 8 scoreless innings, gave up just 4 hits and struck out 7. It was just a day of complete and utter domination on the mound.

Captain Solo: David Wright hit a first inning solo home run. After Harvey’s struggles yesterday, it was real nice to see the Captain come through and to see our young ace get us back on track.

Murph’d: In the 7th inning, Neil Walker hit a leadoff single. Then our new Murderers’ Row came up. Matt Reynolds grounded into a force out. Then Eric Campbell hit another double play ball and Daniel Murphy finally Murph’d! He booted the ball and everyone was safe. Rene Rivera took advantage and singled to drive in Reynolds. Murph giveth, Murph taketh away. That’s Murphball baby.

Familia Phew: In the 9th inning, Jeurys Familia gave up two straight singles to Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy. But then he retired, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, and Wilson Ramos. Sheesh. My blood pressure was skyrocketing.

Vintage 2015 B.C. Mets: So this game was classic 2015 B.C. (Before Cespedes) Mets. Starting pitcher needed to throw a complete game shutout. Matz came as close to that as a guy can. I’m looking forward to when we beef up the roster with some late season acquisitions because the bottom line is this Nats team doesn’t look special. Things certainly change over the course of the long ass season. But the May Nationals don’t intimidate me that much. This is our division to win.

Dusty Needs A Mental Health Day: Unless I missed a postgame press release, my understanding was that Dusty Baker benched Bryce Harper in this game to give him a mental health day. Let me repeat that. Dusty Baker benched last year’s MVP against his chief division rival in a rubber game at home to give him a mental health day. What?!? That is completely and utterly bananas. Imagine Terry sat Yoenis Cespedes for this game or during game 3 of the Citi Field Nats series? There would have been riots in the streets of Panic City. I don’t care how much Bryce may or may not be slumping. You give him a break against any team other than the Mets. It might not have mattered with the way Matz pitched. But thanks for the pass Dusty.

Stenosis For All: Asdrubal Cabrera left the game before ever taking the field with…back spasms. Now that’s David Wright, Lucas Duda, Bartolo Colon, and Asdrubal Cabrera with back problems. Do the Wilpons have these guys sleeping on hard plywood boards in rented U-Hauls during road games? What the hell is going on? Can somebody get these guys orthopedic back pillows for the flights? This is insane. They’re all going down like flies. Despite all these injuries, this team keeps chugging along and winning games. Credit goes to Terry. Credit goes to the guys who have stepped up on the 25 man roster.

Spasms Are Cool: In all seriousness, spasms are cool. Spasms, tweaks, cramps, strains, soreness, and fatigue all work for me. Those words don’t derail seasons. Other words derail seasons. Types of injuries that should not be printed in blog posts. Bring on all the spasms and cramps baby. We can handle cramping. Just pray we avoid the bad word injuries.

The Anti-Stopper: One last word on Matt Harvey. He’s starting next turn in the rotation so it’s pointless to really say anything. Here’s my beef. We are winning and having fun doing it despite all these injuries. Matt Harvey’s problems are a source of negativity. Most of all, he hasn’t been giving the team a chance to win. In a way, he’s become the anti-stopper. When he takes the mound, the fans (and probably the team) feel like he’s going to get rocked at any moment. I understand that he wants to work his issues out against big league competition, but let’s not put the team in a bad spot week after week just so Matt can have some kind of moral victory.

Tomorrow: Day off for the Mets on Thursday. This was a big series win for this team. They stepped the hell up on the road and split the first 6 games against the Nats. Now the Dodgers come to town. But I will be savoring this victory for sure. 24 hours of victorious bliss.

Matzy Poo Shuts Down the Brew Crew

Final Score: Mets 3, Brewers 2

Matz Fantastic: Steven Matz obviously gets the game ball. The early rookie of the year candidate pitched 7 dominant innings gave up 2 runs, and struck out 8 Brewers. Ryan Braun didn’t start this game due to injury or something but whatever Matz basically carved up everyone else. Other than a first inning two run homer surrendered to slugger Chris Carter, Matz was efficient and untouchable. The home run ball is great, but this is what I love to see most of all. The dominant starting pitching is the main attraction for our club. Matz was incredible. He had his velocity cranking up to 95 MPH, and he was flawlessly locating his breaking ball. Also, not to continue to dwell on the Dark Knight, but Matz is another positive sign for our boy Matt Harvey. Matzy-poo had TJ surgery back in 2010. Last season was when Matz finally got his velocity and command back. Look at him now. The guy can do it all. The point is Harvey’s post TJ struggles are to be expected and he will overcome.

Daily Soup Reminder: Let me get this out of the way because the Soup apologists came out in force last night. Eric Campbell drew a walk in the bottom of the 6th inning off of the dead tired starter Wily Peralta who was then immediately pulled from the game. Congratulations! He made a stellar play at third base to get the second out in the 9th inning. Diving stop and throw to first base. Hooray! You know what else he did? He struck out twice. In the bottom of the second inning, Neil Walker drew a leadoff walk and Lucas Duda singled. With runners on first and third and nobody out Eric Campbell struck out in pathetic fashion. Luckily Rene Rivera crushed a fantastic RBI groundout to at least give us something to show for the inning. My point? Stop giving our black hole in the lineup pats on the back.

Spoiler Alert, We Scored On A Home Run: In the bottom of the 6th, Michael Conforto launched an opposite field two run homer after an Asdrubal Cabrera leadoff single. We really only score on the home run. It’s not an exaggeration at all. We left men on base in the second, sixth, seventh, and eighth inning. A lot of Mets fans are genuinely worried about the fact that we only score on the home run. An equal number of sarcastic Mets fans mock the “chicken little” fans when the team hits a home run by saying things like “we should have went for a single there” and stupid crap like that. Ummm the Mets are 24th in baseball in runs scored. Who cares how many home runs we hit when we are objectively scoring a small number of runs relative to the rest of the league? Our inability to score consistently without hitting the long ball is a real issue. That’s the bottom line.

Summer Is For Hitting: So maybe the offense will pick up when the weather gets nicer? Offense in general picks up during the summer. But let’s be real here, the offense picked up last year in August when we dumped our black holes on the roster and started playing with a real 25 man group. Everyone talks about Yoenis Cespedes in 2015, and he deserves the praise. He crushed it. But remember in the offseason before we re-signed him, all we heard about was how big of a boost Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson were for the bench down the stretch. The Mets preached depth as the key to winning and consistency on offense. Well Soup and Rivera are not depth. The rest of the lineup is struggling too so we can’t blame Soup all day. That’s just unfair. But it’s worth talking about because eventually Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera are going to need a damn breather. Look at David Wright. He’s dying after a quarter of the season.

Here’s Why Soup Is Here: So I’m going to put financial reasons aside. It’s possible the Mets didn’t want to invest more in the bench because of penny pinching but the Cespedes signing sort of put that idea to bed temporarily. Soup is here because Sandy wants to be able to observe the roster for half the season and then make an assessment of our true needs. He wants to decide on July 10th whether he needs to trade for a reliever, bench bat or perhaps a starting pitcher/starting position player due to unexpected injury. I get the strategy, but I just hope we have the depth needed to stay competitive now. It worked last year so I can see why Sandy and his team are doubling down.

Today: As I said in the series preview, we have three of our aces going. Jacob deGrom toes the rubber today. The Brewers have poop pitching. Let’s win all these games. We really need a big rebound after our recent horrendous slump.

Mets Take Opener From Dodgers; Matz Beats Old Matz (Kazmir)

Final Score: Mets 4, Dodgers 2

The Mets had some base running blunders in this game and some mistakes in the field. But as far as pitching and hitting goes, this game represented the near ideal Mets blueprint. Stellar starting pitching, a couple of dingers, and shutdown late inning relief. Who am I kidding, that’s every team’s ideal blueprint.

Matz Beats Old Matz: Steven Matz has been absolutely stellar since that first crappy start against the Marlins. He went six innings tonight and made one mistake when he left a fastball up with two outs to Trayce Thompson who hit a two run homer. It was a BS Dodger Stadium home run down the line though. He outdueled former Mets lefty stud prospect Scott Kazmir, the original Steven Matz. Or is Matz future Kazmir? Either way, Matz got big strikeouts when he needed them. He got two Ks with a man on base in the third inning to end a threat. He struck out Kazmir with men on in the fourth inning. And he got two more big strikeouts in the sixth inning.

Our Ding-A-Lings: Curtis Granderson led off the game with a first pitch home run and Kevin Plawecki added a solo home run in the second inning to make it 2-0.

Bonehead Base Running: In the third inning, Curtis Granderson hit a leadoff single and got thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. He was testing the arm of Kike Hernandez in the outfield since it isn’t his natural position, but it was an overly aggressive move. That being said, on the replay it actually didn’t look like Grandy was ever tagged at second base, but nobody seemed to care at all. That blunder preceded what could have been a nice rally. Asdrubal Cabrera was hit by a pitch, David Wright walked, and Yoenis Cespedes singled in Cabrera to make it 3-0. Then Scott Kazmir walked Lucas Duda to load the bases with one out for Juan Lagares. Juan Lagares hit a fly ball to Kike Hernandez, but when he caught it for the second out, he was able to double up Cespedes who was sleeping at second base. He didn’t slide back to the bag. It was a pathetic sloppy inning from the Mets.

Howie Muff-Del: In the top of the 6th inning, Wilmer Flores walked with two outs and then Howie Kendrick muffed a routine ground ball at second base off the bat of Kevin Plawecki. Steven Matz promptly made him pay with an RBI double down the left field line. Whoops! Thanks Howie.

The Jerry Manuel Managing Excellence Award: In the top of the 7th, Asdrubal Cabrera doubled, advanced to third base on a ground out and with two outs the Dodgers intentionally walked Lucas Duda. Terry Collins left Juan Lagares in to hit instead of pinch hitting Michael Conforto. It’s a no brainer pinch hitting decision in a close game against another first place team. Juan struck out in pathetic fashion.

Bullpen Bailout: Our bullpen has been elite. We have the top pen ERA in the NL. They bailed us out on Sunday in San Diego. And tonight Hansel Robles was lights out in the 7th and Antonio Bastardo looked fine in the 8th until Juan Lagares dropped a fairly routine fly ball in center field. Jim Henderson came in with two men on base and struck out Yasiel Puig and got a foul pop out from Trayce Thompson. He bailed us out. Jeurys Familia obviously dominated in the 9th inning. The pen keeps bailing us out particularly when our fielders make mistakes. That won’t last forever. We need to clean that crap up.

Pitchers Hitting Now: Bartolo Colon hit his ding dong over the weekend, Matt Harvey crushed a double as well and tonight Matz hit a double. Remember when our pitchers were our best hitters for like half of 2015? That was terrible.

He’s Down With PRP: Travis d’Arnaud is doing okay. He just got a nice platelet-rich-plasma injection in his shoulder and he’s shut down indefinitely. No timetable for his return whatsoever. See you next season!

Mets vs. Utley Round 1: Hansel Robles faced Chase Utley in the 7th inning and got him to groundout. No hit by pitch. If we really want to get back at Utley we should just sprinkle some laxatives in his Gatorade or something. Do it real classy like.

Also here’s a picture of Utley pledging his soul to Satan for one hit in this series.

Booth Snooze: I love Gary Cohen and Ron Darling, but when Keith is missing in action, SNY should get a Keith doll for the booth that says 10 different Keithisms on repeat throughout the game. Gary spent 5 minutes talking about how he was upset by the fact that the Dodgers scoreboard had both the time and date on it, and the conversation was so boring I wanted to waterboard myself in my bathroom.

Wilmer’s Hickey: A lot of people pointed out during the game that Wilmer Flores was rocking a hickey on his neck. That’s not a hickey. It’s just a mark from one of Ray Ramirez’s signature leeching treatments. As he says, “You need to drain the toxins out”.

Strasburg Extension: Before the game tonight the Nationals announced they’ve signed Stephen Strasburg to a 7 year 175 million dollar extension. I’m happy they screwed the Yankees a bit by taking away another option in free agency although it probably makes it more likely Matt Harvey heads across town eventually. But at a minimum, this Strasburg extension reminds us that it will be nearly impossible to keep our staff together forever. We really need to capitalize now.

Tomorrow: Jacob deGrom goes tomorrow night baby. What if this series is the first time all season where our studs string together four straight elite starts? Let’s do it!

Local “Scout” Calls For Steven Matz Demotion

“Send him down to Triple-A,” said Queens native and alleged former major league scout Bill Johnson of Steven Matz. As he put back his eighth beer at the Citi Field McFadden’s after the game, Bill went on to say, “Matz got crushed tonight, and he’s just too green!! He looks like a boy. How can a 24 year old bum who lives with his parents expect to make it in the major leagues?”

When asked how we could possibly justify demoting Matz after one bad start considering his exceptional playoff performances, Mr. Johnson dismissively waved his hand and said “Ehhhhh.” He then proceeded to go on a rant about how pitchers in his day used to “go the whole 9” and “never had no damn surgeries.” When Mr. Johnson was pressed by a nearby woman to reveal what MLB team he used to scout for, he leaned in close to her and said, “any team you want sweet heart,” before tilting his head back and laughing maniacally. Bill then stumbled away from the bar to the men’s room and engaged in a conversation at the urinal with another man about how “hopeless” this generation of young people is.

Steven Matz Struggling; DiMaggio “Good Looks” Won’t Save Him

DiMaggio Matz

So Opening Day is less than two weeks away, and Steven Matz has been getting rocked all spring. Now I’ve covered this to death, but Spring Training generally doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. When the Soupmaster General Eric Campbell and Travis Taijeron are leading in every offensive category for your team, it either means your team is the Long Island Ducks or it’s Spring Training. That being said, spring means a little more for some players and a little less for others. Bartolo Colon? Spring is meaningless. He’s a seasoned veteran. He pitched like crap last spring and won 8 games between April and May. Jacob deGrom? It means a little more than nothing, but he’s already put together two full major league seasons. He’s been through the 162 game grind twice. He knows how to efficiently prepare for a full season.

Rookie Steven Matz? It actually means something. Let’s be real, if Matz hadn’t debuted in the fashion he did last season, and he came into 2016 camp battling for a spot in this rotation, his 8.31 ERA would have had him reassigned to the minor leagues over a week ago. I believe that he will get things going. I trust that it’s rust. But I’m guilty of getting overexcited and ramping up my expectations for this dude to the highest level. I’m just imagining Rookie of the Year ceremonies, Cy Young awards, and pretending he’s Clayton Kershaw. He’s got a lot to prove. Heck he’s got everything to prove. All we’ve seen so far is Steven Matz has amazing stuff and has made some real solid pressure filled playoff starts to kick off his career. Now he needs to put it all together over a full season. He needs to show he can stay healthy. He needs to show he can execute pitches consistently at the major league level. I’m sure Steven will get himself together and start off on the right foot. All I’m saying is, he’s a rookie so growing pains are inevitable and should be expected. And if all else fails he can go back to his promising career as a Joe DiMaggio impersonator living on Long Island with his parents. Who knows, maybe he’ll score the lead role in The Sandlot 4: DiMaggio’s Return. Perhaps he’ll spurn children’s films for the adult genre. He could be Joe DiMaggio in a late night Cinemax movie called 69: The Forgotten Streak. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. He’ll focus on baseball first, and then he can work on the DiMaggio related endorsements.