July 28, 2015

Mejia: A Moron

Mejia got busted using PEDs again. 162 game suspension. He's an idiot, it seems. 

May 10, 2015

30 Games Down...

So roughly one fifth of the season has come and gone.  We can take the glass half full or glass half empty approach to the season.  Since we are Mets fans we typically do the latter.  So lets start there.

Injuries have piled up at a somewhat excessive rate, Wright has predictably taken longer than expected.  d'Arnaud had a "freak" injury and so did Blevins.  Flores has underwhelmed.  Cuddyer hasn't really hit that well at all, Duda has found his first funk of the season and Matt Harvey has looked more mortal than super despite five wins and a sub-3 ERA.  Gee is hurt, again, Granderson is less than pedestrian, blah blah blah.

Guess what?  THE TEAM IS 19-11 AND IN FIRST PLACE IDIOTS!!  Despite all the things I just mentioned the team has achieved more than anyone would have given them credit for and at the outset if someone said the Mets will win 19 of their first 30 you would sign on the dotted line in blood.  However, because the team won 11 in a row early and hasn't played well in the last few series fans have to get on their case for something.  Yes, this team has flaws, defensively and offensively, the pitching has been fantastic.  The hitting not so much and the defense up the middle is laughable at times.  Herrera should help that somewhat and if Wright can ever stay healthy that will sure things up as well.

I think it's time for Sandy to get aggressive, start looking for trades to sure up the offense and defense.  Yes Tulo looks pretty good at the outset but he's always a hang nail away from missing 100 games.  You can look at the Cubs for some shortstop help but will fans embrace trading away one of the young arms we have to do it.  Had Gee not just gotten hurt I would have liked to see the team package him and Murphy in some kind of deal to pull back a big bat.  Easier said then done and those two alone will not make it happen.  Let the kids come up and pitch.  Thor is here, for how long is anyone's guess but lets hope he is this years deGrom.  Matz should be here soon too.

The last thing I want to see is the Mets front office take that ambivalent, laissez-faire approach all while quietly and subconsciously pushing for next year.  Grow a set and be a little bold and daring.  It can't hurt all that much seeing as how the opposite approach has gotten them nowhere fast.

The absolute worst thing would be to watch the Nats storm past the Mets in the standings by early June, allowing the lethargy of the dog days to settle in creating the ever present malaise we as fans have come to know.  It's the Mets, what did you expect?

There are only so many chocolate syrup baths I can stomach watching Bryce Harper take before I start reading books again.  If the Mets want to belong act like you belong.  This team talked the talk and so far has walked it pretty well.  There are still fixes to be made but by being aggressive rather than laying back and waiting for a great player to fall in your lap the Mets can make strides this season rather than baby steps.

Happy Mother's Day!

April 26, 2015

14-4...Nobody Picked That

I can guarantee that not one odds maker, pundit or even the most savvy of gamblers remotely thought the Mets would start the season in such a way.  Consider the issues first, Wheeler and Edgin gone before the season starts due to injury.  Wright goes down within the first ten games, d'Arnaud gets plunked after a hot start, Blevins fills a void in the best way possible and breaks his freaking arm!

What's next?  Locusts?!?  The new walls at Citi Field were sure to come down on Granderson and Lagares, injuring them for the rest of the season.  Hell the home run apple might as well become that God awful dolphin mosaic from the Marlins stadium.

Also, we are Mets fans.  We expect the worst, we almost invite it in to our homes, cook it a hot meal, give a bed and then wait with both eyes open for the other shoe to drop or more appropriately the other ulnar collateral ligament to tear.

So much to our surprise or chagrin, the Mets did the opposite of what they always do.  They persevered.  Wait?  Wha... nah.  The Mets met adversity head on, kicked it in the balls and said F-off!  We gonna win now!  11 straight wins, a perfect home stand and with a rubber game victory tonight the Mets will equal the best start in team history as they continue to mirror the 1986 clubs early record.  There's a palpable difference here however, in 86 they were supposed to win, they were supposed to be good and everyone knew it.  This team wasn't supposed to win, everyone thought they had an outside chance at a wild card spot, they might win 83-85 games and take that positive step forward that we have been waiting for but this?

However, something funny happened on the way to slightly better than mediocre.  Bartolo Colon turned back the clock, Eric Campbell has made us wonder if we remember who David whats his name is and Wilmer Flores?  He's our starting shortstop of course!  Who else would be?  Familia, best closer in the NL right now.  Not to mention that we have two starters and multiple position players in the minor league system that are seriously making us question some of our roster choices.

All good problems to have, but problems the Mets are not used to having almost ever.  This team seems to have an abundance of riches and its paying off.  Whether you want to credit Omar Minaya or Sandy Alderson, this team is where it needs to be.  Of course a little bad luck here and there and we could be right back where many think we belong.  But for now all cylinders are clicking, confidence is at an all time high and most importantly, we are winning ball games.  Hell, Jon Niese got thrown out of a game he wasn't even playing in.  Last year that would never have happened.  There's are fire and a will.  It could be Harvey's return or it could be the veteran leadership of Cuddyer.  Guess what, I don't care, just win baby!  Beat team AARP tonight and I can go to work tomorrow repping the orange and blue with pride.

There's a long road ahead and good starts do not always mean good finishes (see 2007 and 2008) but for now this team looks for real.  Enjoy it!

April 2, 2015

Rob's Effing Preview of the 2015 Mets

Don't look now folks, but the 2015 New York Mets are without question the best group of players assembled during the Alderson era.  Are they ready to "Take Back New York"?  Will they ultimately "Take The Damn Thing"?  Those are questions that will be answered in due time.  For now, this is how I see the season shaking out.

Players To Keep Your Eye On:
Curtis Granderson - His first season in Queens was just shy of a total loss.  However, with Kevin Long back in his corner and a full season of baseball on the other side of town behind him, I suspect we'll see better results.  At 34 years hold, his best seasons are still well behind him, but a season ending with a .245/30/80 line would be a welcomed bump to a Mets offense looking to support its pitching staff.

Travis d'Arnaud - One of the only Mets who's bat isn't red hot as the team moves north to start the year, Travis 2014 was the tale of two halves.  Will this seasons' version be the guy who hit just .180 before being sent down to AAA, or the one who returned to hit .272 the rest of the way?  If its the former, it will be interesting to see how quickly Kevin Plawecki forces his way into the lineup.  Don't think that won't weigh on his mind if he gets off to a slow start.

Players I'm Worried About:
Jacob deGrom - I hope I'm wrong, because this won't be a popular opinion... I realize he is the reigning Rookie of the Year and is also coming off of a strong Grapefruit League showing, but I'm just not convinced yet that he is an elite pitcher.  Perhaps its the pessimist in me and I'm certainly no scout, but I want to see how the league fairs now that they've got film on him.  Regardless, I'd be semi-surprised to see him replicate his sub-3.00 ERA.

Michael Cuddyer - I was on the record a few times prior to his acquisition that I believed the Cuddyer was the best fit (not the best player available) for the Mets situation.  He hits for a high average, has power, and could be had for a short-term relatively cheap deal.  Even better, he can double at first base.  But history doesn't lie.  Injuries are more likely derail his season than poor performance, and if he misses significant time it impacts both the infield and outfield depth.  With that said, if he stays on the field, he most definitely changes the complexion of the lineup.

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No matter what way you cut it, this is the first time since probably 2008 that the Mets could be deemed a legitimate threat to reach the post season, thanks in-part to the addition of the second Wild Card team. I expect the team's pitching to carry them through the majority of the season, especially considering the depth still residing in Las Vegas should another arm come up lame.  What does that mean?  At a bare minimum, it should mean some interesting September baseball.  Can they get over the hump?  I suppose that will be determined by just how good, or bad, the team's offense ends up being.

Where will they end up?  I honestly believe there is a recipe where the team can approach 90 wins and make the Nationals sweat down the stretch.  That recipe includes a lineup that not only remains healthy, but also exceeds expectations on the offensive front.  Lets not forget though, we're talking about the Mets.  Although they may not be the snake bitten team of a few years ago, its rare that any team escapes the season without a major injury or two.  I also question the organizations ability and/or willingness the make a critical addition at the deadline if they are still in the hunt.

Those reasons cause me to temper my expectations for the upcoming season.  My guess for the 2015 Mets is 85 wins.  Ultimately, that means they'll remain in the mix until the final week of the season leaving fans with little more than disappointment and questions about what could have been.  The Mets are close, but there are still some steps to be taken before they're prepared to make a run at the pennant.  

Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know on Twitter at @RobPatterson83

March 28, 2015

Real of Fake?

A little over a week to go and it seems that the Mets should have all sorts of issues.  Yes, Zack Wheeler is done for the season and so is Josh Edgin, these are injuries and the Mets will not be the only team to deal with such problems.  It's a long season and all teams will miss significant games due to injury.

The way the media is talking you would think the Mets are in utter disarray however.  From the Opening Day starter to the home opener starter to the lineup and what may happen with Matt Harvey 6 years from now Mets fans should be crying themselves to sleep nightly.

Here's how I see it, take it with a grain of salt, it's an opinion and we know what those are like.  I could care less who starts Opening Day or the home opener, I don't care who bats ninth and at the moment I don't care about Matt Harvey circa 2021.  All I care about is winning.  Lots and lots of winning, not whining.  Big difference between the two.

Let's take each situation individually.  If Matt Harvey starts the first game of the home opener does that really change our fortunes for the whole season?  The Mets have the best winning percentage of any MLB team on opening day, how many World Series has it gotten us?  Technically one, the Mets lost Opening Day 11-10 to the Expos in 1969.  So I could care less if the bat boy starts Opening Day, I want Harvey on the hill for Game one of the NLDS, the NLCS and the World Series.  Starting Opening Day does not guarantee that and never will.  If the Mets want to sell some extra tickets to an otherwise dead game so be it, that's their prerogative.  Also, all the people, fans and media members alike (you know who you are Boomer and Carton) that are complaining now would be the same flip-flopping, band wagon jumpers that would complain if Harvey got shut down in late September due to over use.  "Maybe the Mets should have waited a week or two to start Harvey so this didn't happen, blah, blah, blah, dirka, dirka, jihad, jihad".  I want wins, not Opening Day pride.

The lineup is less of a concern, if they guys we have hit it won't matter.  Lagares can hit 12th for all I care, if he's productive it's good for the team.  The Mets do not have a true lead off man so don't get it all twisted that they are trying to be somewhat creative in scoring runs.  I still feel the team needs another big hitter to lengthen the lineup, then you can put Lagares and d'Arnaud wherever the hell you want and it won't matter, I want runs, lots of runs and I don't care how they get scored.

Lastly, everyone is all up in arms about pissing Matt Harvey off because he isn't pitching Opening Day or the home opener.  In 5-6 years when he hits free agency he will leave because of this one moment or that one moment.  He wants the ball, good, he should, he is the ace of the team, no doubt, but they still need to be cautious and keep him reigned in to avoid further injury or some kind of Strasburg drama come late September.  Harvey is going to sign for the most money on the team that can provide the best chance to win, like every other player in baseball with extremely rare exception.  If the Mets keep this pitching together, make a few savvy moves and find sustained success Harvey will stay, cause the team will be profitable and be able to pay him while giving him a team that can win a World Series.

That's it, stop the bitching and whining, enjoy the start of the season and let's see what we have.  Don't get caught up in the rhetoric that drives sports talk radio or the crazy, Randy Quaid style Mets fans who aren't ever happy.  This team will be good, very good, playoffs or not the Mets are on the right track and this year will be different.

March 15, 2015

The "Curse" of Tommy John

Tommy John, two words no pitcher ever wants to hear, it's a career altering surgery that the vast majority of pitchers rebound from but they lose a minimum of a year in the game and spend time in that vast empty void called rehab.

It's not as hard for the fans, depending on the pitcher.  Let's be honest, Matt Harvey having TJ was much more emotionally unnerving than either of Jeremy Hefner's.  Josh Edgin is the latest Met to hear that news and while this one doesn't rank as highly as Harvey's it is more significant than Hefner's.

Putting the impact of an injury on a scale is a cruel and cold move but it's necessary to understand how we think as fans.  Bobby Parnell went down on day 1 last year and no one really blinked an eye.  Not because we think ill of Parnell, but we were all still suffering through the malaise of knowing that Harvey was not on the bump for that Opening Day.  Also, Jenrry Mejia filled the role admirably and the Mets ended up with a fairly decent bullpen once we moved on from old retreads.

The point here is that the Mets are not the only team dealing with this issue, TJ surgery is not confined to Queens, better teams have dealt with bigger losses to this surgery and still fared very well.  The Cardinals lost Adam Wainwright to TJ in 2011 and they won the World Series.  The Braves lost Johnny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty in 2013 and still made the playoffs.

The Mets roster this year most likely does not stack up against these two teams, but it does show that a team can be successful despite injuries.  As most people say injuries are going to happen and they should not be used as an excuse since all teams deal with them.

This dependence on a LOOGY is something that has only really surfaced as a "role" in the last 10-15 years.  Bullpen specialist is slang for can't get three consecutive outs consistently.  It analogous to calling a secretary an administrative assistant or a janitor an environmental custodian.  We all want to feel good about our jobs but lets be honest, why has it become such a carousel in the bullpen.  You get this one out and then you get that one out, so on and so forth.  Thanks a lot Tony LaRussa, this is pretty much your fault and another reason games are three and half hours long.

I want 6-7 guys in the bullpen who can get outs, lefty, righty, man, woman, child, alien, whatever.  Throw strikes, get outs, strand runners.  I don't think it's too much to ask of major league caliber players to do their jobs.  Just don't get nuts that we no longer have Josh Edgin for the season.  This is a primary reason why the team held on to all of its young pitching, depth.  I have screamed and yelled a few times about trading one or two of them for another bat but reality has once again set in that they need those arms and they aren't the ready commodity we always think they are.  Someone in the front office was proactive enough to say we can't afford to trade these arms away just yet and with good reason.  Two fifths of the starting rotation has had TJ, another may (although unlikely) be in the offing and a few of our top prospects have already had the dreaded surgery as well.

This is just a fact of life.  Like Seinfeld said you are really just cheering for the laundry after all and the name on the front of the jersey is and should be more important than the one on the back.  Having Matt Harvey helps, a lot, but it does not solve all of our ills.  Ask Steve Carlton what it's like to be a good pitcher on a horrendous team.

It's still March, I don't care that the Mets lead baseball in 8 different offensive categories, mostly off guys who'll be bagging groceries in six weeks.  What counts is April 6th and beyond.  Stay healthy, get your reps in, the next man must step up and fill the voids we have.  Beware the Ides of March, that is unless your season doesn't begin until three weeks later.

March 1, 2015

Stop Being a Tool!

So March has begun and the talk has been plentiful surrounding the boys from Queens.  From the overt positivity about making the playoffs to the E:60 The Dark Knight Rises special, the Mets are making some headlines.

Surprisingly (or not, in this writer's mind) many fans have been taken aback by the braggarts in Port St. Lucie.  How can they talk like this, can't we win something first?  This is typical Mets, talk a big game and fail to back it up.  How quickly we forget the tongue lashings being directed towards Sandy Alderson just a few years ago when he "failed" to act like the team would be good.  Sports talk radio was littered with these same "fans" that can't stand the positive talk today bashing the negative talk of yesterday.

Hey guys, do us all a favor, pick a point of view and be man enough to stand by it.  Don't criticize and play devil's advocate so if things go bad you can act like you knew better.  The word fan is derived from and short for fanatic, go look this up in the dictionary.  Or better yet, just google it for the literacy impaired.  In short you'll find out that a fanatic is someone singularly devoted to a cause, good or bad, rain or shine, shit storm or not.  I'm a Mets fan, I call like I see it but I choose to let it play out on the field.  Let them talk big, we always get pissy about them not acting like a big market team financially but when they do it in other ways we jump all over them to stop.

Do yourself a favor, watch the E:60 special about Matt Harvey and get excited for what could be.  Jump on the bandwagon a little bit and get behind these young players.  Give Terry Collins a chance with a decent roster and see what he can do.  You don't need to be Nostradamus to be a fan, you just have to have some character and watch regardless of the ebbs and flows of the season.  Guess what?  The Mets will lose a few games this year, they'll win a few too.  The players recently  have said talk is cheap and while they are confident in what they can accomplish they know nothing is won in February and March, no one mentions that on the airwaves because its rational and even keeled, unlike most Mets fans who are fickle, Randy Quaid like characters who wallow in their misery and for some reason seem to enjoy it more when the team sucks too.

I want to see them win, a lot.  I want a World Series, soon.  Despite that having been a far fetched dream over the last 15 years one thing has never changed, I bleed orange and blue.  Maybe you should try it too.  Stop being a cynical dumb ass, pick up your remote, turn on SNY and get excited if for no other reason than it's time.