Just over one week ago, the Mets were coming off of a 25-5 loss at the hands of their division rivals, the Washington Nationals. That was one week ago, when the Mets were last in the NL East, having won 3 of the last 13 games. This was a Mets team at rock bottom, just barely alive, both literally and figuratively.
The Mets team that has come out of that crushing defeat has been a resilient one. In the week that followed the Mets went 6-2, outscoring their opponents 59 to 34. Also of note, the Mets have scored 1 or more runs in the first inning of 7 of their last 8 games.
I said it last week and I’ll say it again, this team cannot play from behind. This is the kind of team that gets out early, puts some runs on the board and maintains a lead. That’s what they do well, they cannot play from behind. Especially since this pitching staff needs a lot of run support to stay in the game.
This Mets team is completely different than the one from a week ago and that should be a comforting thing, you guys. This is a team that has turned itself around in a short amount of time. But here’s my big thing, you guys:
YA GOTTA CHILL OUT.
We all laughed at @Mets_Maniac, took on the LOLMets comments from /r/baseball, and even thought about volunteering at the hospital that’s under Citi Field where all of our injured starters are. HOWEVER, we all need to chill out. We’re all acting like someone spit in our faces when this team loses. Like this is all to spite us, as if Yoenis Cespedes pulled his hamstring because he wants Nick from Patchogue to have a shitty week. COME ON, Y’ALL. We’re better than that. I hope. So let’s talk about a few things and let’s not have a spasm as if I told your mother she’s an idiot.
These Pitchers LOVE Walks
In 2016, the New York Mets pitching staff handed out the fewest free passes in the entire league, walking 493 batters. In 2015, they gave up 10 fewer with 483 BBs. However, in 2017 the Mets are 15th, posting the league average for walks this season. The Mets in 2017 have a 3.4 BB/9, which stands for the number of walks issued per 9 innings. In 2016, deGrom and Harvey both have numbers below 2.5, Harvey holding firm with 2.4 before his season was over, and deGrom posted 2.2 BB/9. Now one of the reasons the Mets had a lower number throughout the 2015 and 2015 season is because of a little guy by the name of Bartolo Colon, who walked NO ONE. So there’s also that to think about, but one guy shouldn’t affect everyone’s personal numbers.
The fact of the matter is that these pitchers, mainly the Starters have some serious control issues. In his last four starts, deGrom has walked 15 batters. It should also be mentioned that deGrom has FOUR double-digit strikeout games this year, something he also did four times in 2015, but only managed to do once in 2016. So that’s gotta be encouraging, right? Yes. Of course, it is. My worry is that this is becoming more of a habit than a fluke. I’m willing to live and die by the strikeout, but I cannot and will not live and die by the walk. That’s not something this team can adopt.
Our Players Heads Are Falling Off
Everyone is dead, you guys. Everyone. Thor’s arm fell off, Cespedes has Oscar Pistorius’ legs and d’Arnaud’s wrist is no longer a wrist. This should be the most aggravating thing to happen this season. The fact the Mets cannot handle the general wear and tear of the day-to-day baseball activities is heinous. HEINOUS. Now, I know what you’re saying, “Justin, your body couldn’t handle the amount of strain and torque and fatigue that a professional baseball player puts his body through.” You’re right. You are absolutely right, but it’s not my job to be ready to play the day after. Your job is to play hard and then do the necessary things to show up the next day ready to go again, it’s called resiliency and it’s called recovery.
That’s my issue here. If Michael Conforto is going to sit out of a game because he’s got some hamstring tightness, be my guest. I am all for preventative measures, but I am not about this “oh no, we’ve got an injury that has come out of nowhere.” Syndergaard’s scratched start bothered me, not because it was a scratch, but because it was a last minute thing that the Mets were hoping would fix itself. Scratching Noah was a preventative measure, for sure. However, throwing him out onto the mound four days later was not. Injuries are a persistent issue for the Mets, much like the plague in the Dark Ages, but rather than let everyone die because we don’t know what’s happening, the culture of “Wait and See” in the Mets clubhouse needs to end.
And now we can add Familia to the list, as he’s out with an arterial clot in his right shoulder, which could require surgery to fix. This news coming after Familia blew a save to close out the sweep of the Giants, the third consecutive game he pitched in. That’s not normal, and Terry’s bullpen usage has gotten better, but still… Familia looked tired. However, an arterial blood clot is not fixed by rest, surgery makes this serious. A quick google search of “arterial blood clot” will bring up stories on Familia, but a further search into the symptoms can feel like deja vu.
SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE:
Cold arm or leg
Decreased or no pulse in an arm or leg
Fingers or hands feel cool
Lack of movement in the arm or leg
Muscle pain in the affected area
Muscle spasm in the affected area
Numbness and tingling in the arm or leg
Pale color of the arm or leg (pallor)
Weakness of an arm or leg
Those are some of the same symptoms that Harvey felt before he was out for the year to recover from the surgery to fix his Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. This issue with Familia is not a short little DL stint. This one’s gonna be long. Thus continues the Mets bullpen saga.
Matt Harvey. Am I Right?
So the news broke last Sunday that Matt Harvey was suspended by the team for three games due to breaking club policy. This isn’t funny, but what IS funny is that everyone thought it was because Harvey planted the big black dildo in Kevin Plawecki’s locker. This was the first reason presented for the suspension, and honestly, I was pissed about it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about here’s a brief summary. The Mets give the player of the game a crown to wear during their post game interviews. Last year, the Mets gave out a Championship belt, and it’s become a thing. However, the Mets Twitter account posted this photo of T.J. Rivera wearing the crown but made one big omission. Take a look:
HELL YEAH, THAT’S A DILDO IN PLAWECKI’S LOCKER. HELL YEAH, THAT’S SOME FUNNY STUFF, YOU GUYS. HOWEVER. Is THIS really the kind of thing you suspend a guy for? Because if this was the reason you suspend a guy, then maybe you check with the Social Media Director first and be like, “you see any dildos in this pic? Yea? That’s your fault.” But our story doesn’t end here.
Matt Harvey was suspended for 3 games for violating club policy by not showing up to the stadium last Saturday. After staying out past curfew and playing golf that morning, Harvey failed to use the proper channels to let the Mets know he wouldn’t be coming to the stadium, due to a migraine. The Mets then sent team personnel to Harvey’s apartment to check in on him, since they weren’t aware of his inability to show up at the park. All of his lead up to Matt Harvey being suspended for three games.
Harvey’s suspension is now over and he is slated to pitch today against the Milwaukee Brewers. That’s a move that was done on purpose. 1) It gave Tommy Milone the chance to start against the struggling Giants rather than the hot and heavily offensive Brewers, 2) it saves Harvey from the highly hostile Citi Field crowd that no doubt would have shown up, and 3) it allows Terry Collins to show Matt Harvey that he’s on a team of 24, not just one.
Before the season began, I wrote about every MLB team, previewing their 2017 and recapping their 2016. The 30 in 30 series was meant to give us a look into teams we wouldn’t normally follow, to give us a baseline. Here’s what I wrote about Matt Harvey:
“Matt Harvey’s 9th inning entrance in Game 5 of the World Series will forever be my favorite Mets moment. You could feel every Mets fan jump out of their seat and say, “That’s what I want! Gimme the Dark Knight.” Matt Harvey is the New York Mets to me. He’s gritty, he’s tough, he fights, he’s Queens. He’s bleeding on the mound, he’s throwing at Chase Utley, and he’s the guy who experienced first hand how rough it is to drop city’s hopes of a World Series.
Matt Harvey’s follow up to his great 2015 campaign was a let down in the biggest way possible. We all wanted to get back to October, but Harvey could barely get back to the mound after the 4th inning. I was at the Game against Washington where he gave up 6 earned runs in 2.2 innings. I was there when he was booed off the mound. A lot of people were very critical of Mets fans for doing that, but to that, I say this: “Shut up.” Terry Collins should’ve pulled Harvey after Wilson Ramos’ 2-run single. Harvey didn’t need to fight his way out of that game, he needed his manager to be watching out for him. Terry Collins should have known better.
Anyway, Harvey ended his season early in order to have surgery to fix his Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which was causing him to experience numbness in his throwing hand. The other important thing to note here is that Harvey was reportedly “forced to shut down for the season.” Matt Harvey was struggling to pitch games and was waking up the next day without feeling in his right hand but still wanted to pitch in 5 days. That’s the Matt Harvey who’s coming back in 2017. That’s the Matt Harvey who hit 97MPH multiple times this week in Spring Training. That’s the Matt Harvey who came out of the dugout in Game 5. That’s OUR Matt Harvey.”
I understand that everyone is mad. You’re allowed to be mad. I’m mad. I’m pissed. But I’m not mad that Matt Harvey was out late, or went golfing, not at all. I’m mad that Matt Harvey doesn’t want to be the captain of this team. David Wright will always be the Captain, but this team needs a leader. It needs that Harvey that was one the mound in the 8th inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series. I see no reason why that shouldn’t be Matt Harvey. Matt Harvey starts the All Star Game in 2013, he’s got his own DAY, he’s the DARK KNIGHT. He’s the OG Mets FlameThrower. HE’S THE GUY. Harvey’s status to Mets fans was similar to that of Felix Hernandez in Seattle, Scherzer in Washington, Kershaw in LA, and Keuchel in Houston. He was the Ace of this staff, and there’s no reason he can’t be again.
The second game I worked for the Mets was Matt Harvey’s first start at Citi Field after his Tommy John surgery. In training sessions and lunch discussions, everyone talked about how crowded it would be on Opening Day, about how many tickets were sold. The buzz was high on deGrom, this being the season after he won the Rookie of the Year, and hopes were high. Everyone was excited, but there was something crazy about Harvey’s first start. The energy was frenetic, everyone was jacked up and ready to go. Harvey mows down 8, throws at Chase Utley, and gets the W. It was a direct warning to everybody: “The Dark Knight is back.”
I don’t think we’re mad at Harvey. I think we’re disappointed, and that’s the worst. We all know what Harvey means to all of us, we just wish he could actually be that guy again. He gets the ball tonight against the Brewers and from here on out it’s a zero-zero ballgame. Terry Collins wants to see that Matt Harvey again saying, “I told him he needs to make baseball No. 1. When he did that, he was on top of the world.” He’s got a long way to go, but I’m pulling for him to get back on top.