November 2, 2015

Mets Lose The Effing World Series...

Mets fans will have 154 days to lick their wounds before these two teams meet again on Opening Day 2016.  In just five games the Kansas City Royals picked apart our New York Mets in heartbreaking fashion.  As painful as it was to watch the Royals celebrate at Citi Field, it will be the what ifs that will haunt the Mets and their fans for the foreseeable future.  Below are some of my thoughts...

Biggest Losers:
Daniel Murphy - My god what a way to go out.  Murphy has done everything asked of him over the last eight seasons.  From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows seen in just three weeks... After blowing everyone away in both series leading up to it, Murphy struggled all over during the World Series.  His two errors, on seemingly routine plays, will forever overshadow all the good his done in a Mets uniform.  As he moves on and finds a new team this winter, it will be difficult to determine just how much money he cost himself this weekend.

Yoenis Cespedes - Lets face facts... The Mets probably don't find themselves in the postseason without the impressive Cuban outfielder acquired at the deadline via a comedy of failed negotiations.  That said, when the big lights went out, Cespedes was no where to be found.  Whats worse, at least for a fan like myself, is the seemingly nonchalant way he goes about his business.  There is no arguing the power that goes along with his rocket right arm, but can you imaging enduring him not running out certain plays for the next seven years.  A month ago, I would have been furious had the Mets not made a very serious attempt at retaining him, but now I'm honestly not sure if Queens is a viable long-term option.

Glaring Weaknesses:
I you had to pick a the Mets most glaring weakness heading into this series, it would have been their defense.  Sadly enough, costly errors Cespedes, Murphy, Wright, and Duda all but doomed the six months of effort that went into the 2015 season.  And for a Mets offense that went dormant at the wrong time, there was no overcoming such shortcomings.

It didn't stop there, though.  The Royals managed to run roughshod on Travis d'Arnaud turning bloop singles into quick doubles all series, applying immense pressure on the team's pitchers, particularly late in games.  The bullpen, which had received much praise throughout the waning stages of the regular season just couldn't hold on.  If there was a blueprint to beating the 2015 Mets, the Royals followed it to the letter.


We can sit here and argue about what could have been.  Had the Mets been able to close out games this week, its very possible we'd be planning a parade.  Instead we search for answers.  The Mets have the pitching to be right back here next season, should the front office and the team's ownership find ways to fill the holes left by departing players.  The 2015 results, while a year early by most estimations, were not a fluke,  The New York Mets shouldn't find themselves to be the butt of endless jokes anytime soon.  

Although it didn't end with a championship, 2015 was an impressive display of what can happen when a team comes together.  Hopefully you've enjoyed along the way, and don't find that experience completely ruined by the outcome.  There is no telling when we go on this type of wild ride again.  So take a few days to shake off the loss, and remember, You Gotta Believe!

October 30, 2015

Its Now or Never For Your New York Mets

When Noah Syndergaard takes the mound tonight in Flushing, he will do so in the biggest game of his career, with his team on the ropes, and for all intents and purposes.. a realistic shot at the World Series title on the line.  After a tough loss in Game One and an anticlimactic performance in Game Two, the New York Mets find themselves down 0-2 in the best of seven as it returns home.  Unable to earn a split in Kansas City, the Mets now must find a way to beat a Royals team that seems unflappable.

If the Mets are going to get themselves back into the series, Citi Field is the place to be.  The Mets were a full seventeen games over .500 this year in their home ballpark, enjoying a real home field advantage for the first time since the stadium opened.  Their 49 wins was the highest total the team has ever put up at Citi, where a packed house of ravenous fans likely awaits.

After watching their two best pitchers fail to miss bats through the first two games, the Mets trot out Noah Syndergaard's 100 mph heat and devastating hook.  Syndergaard enjoyed his time at Citi Field this year, where he was much better than on the road.  He posted a 7-2 record, with a 2.46 ERA.  He held opposing hitters to a stingy .196 BAA and an equally impressive 0.821 WHIP.  The question however, remains to be if he is capable of shutting down a Royals lineup that has been unphased by the Mets young arms thus far.

Even if Syndergaard duplicates his normal home performance, it won't matter if the Mets can't get the bats going.  Through two games the Mets have just one extra base hit.  They are batting just .165 and have posted an embarrassing on-base percentage of .230.  If such trends continue, it won't matter what they get out of their rookie flamethrower tonight.

Eleven teams in World Series history has been able to rise from the ashes of an 0-2 hole.  No one, has been able to mount a comeback from an 0-3 deficit.  In fact, no team in World Series history has even forced a sixth game after being down 0-3.  So if you choose to believe the trends, this is it for the Mets.  Win tonight, and drag yourself up off the mat.  Lose, and you can start looking towards the long winter that lies ahead.

October 28, 2015

World Series: Fox Sports Should Be Embarrassed

What in the love of all that is holy was that freak show by Fox Sports last night.  They managed to take what could be considered a World Series classic, and turned it into a telecast unworthy of most public broadcast channels.  I think most viewers would agree, the best ten minutes of the night were when the feed went down.  Yes, Game One of the WORLD SERIES and Fox Sports couldn't even stay on the air.

Lets not pretend everything was great when they were on the air either.  I will never understand Fox's insistence on shoehorning Joe Buck into every live sporting event they broadcast.  This is baseball's premier event of the year.  History will be made this week.  Get someone in the booth who does baseball full-time.  Not baseball here and there, football on the weekend, and ruins US Opens in his free time.  And Fox, when you find that guy, make sure he is not Harold Reynolds.  My god...  Here are a few of Harold's gems last night:

"That pitch was so close it burn's your skin." in response an inside heater. Makes me wonder if Reynolds has even taken live BP.
"David Wright throws side-arm to preserve his injured back." in response to David Wright...throwing side arm.  I've never played third base at the major league level, and a professional scientist I will never be, but its pretty much common sense that a third baseman, especially one who has had to move towards second, cannot come over the top with his throw.
"Granderson saved some extra bases by getting up." in response to Granderson getting to his feet on a double hit into the right field corner.  So, you mean to tell me that the runner just would've keep running if Granderson didn't get up/?  This had to be his hot take of the night.

Look, I'm easy.  I understand that the broadcast is going to suffer when it involves national guys versus their regional counterparts.  But this is the World Series.  You can't have guys in the booth who are going to detract from the viewing experience.  That's exactly what happened last night, when the broadcast managed to stay on the air. Tonight is Game Two.  Hopefully they do better, because honestly, they can't do much worse.

World Series: Three Things You Should Take Away From Game One

If you're lucky, you are just rising from a few hours of sleep.  If you're like many others, you're making the schlep to work today following a restless night after staying up to watch the Mets fall to the Royals in fourteen innings by a score of 5-4.  I'm not going to bore you with some postgame recap that you can find on 300 other blogs, but here are three things you should take away from last night's nail biter:

1) This series isn't over.  I very much advise you to unfriend, unfollow, or flat out banish anyone who says so from your life.  While tonight's game may be a theoretical "must-win", the Mets can clearly hang with this Kansas City Royals team.  Yes, they will need Jeurys Familia to bounce back.  They will need better play from David Wright, who struggle just about everywhere last night.  They will need better defense (what on earth happened in the bottom of the first).  But, this team has bounced back and managed to fight through obstacles all year.  There is no reason to think this will be any different.

2) The Royals defense clearly isn't impenetrable.  Don't believe me?  Ask Eric Hosmer, who's eighth inning, Bill Buckneresque, misplay at first gave the Mets a short-lived 4-3 lead.  In fact, they bobbled several balls last night, albeit sharply hit ones.  Furthermore, the Mets managed to hit through the shift several times.  The Mets managed 11 hits, stole a base, and had some decent situational hitting despite going just 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

3) Finally, Jacob deGrom pitches tonight.  All he's done this postseason is pitch to a 3-0 record while posting a stingy 1.80 ERA and averaging 6 and 2/3s IP.  The Mets will need deGrom to go deep into the game tonight after taxing the bullpen so badly in extra innings.  Its unknown whether the likes of Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese, both of whom threw at least two innings last night, will be available.  In fact, only Hansel Robles and Sean Gilmartin didn't appear for the Mets last night, and neither is much of a long relief option.  Its quite possible that any realistic shot of winning this series rests on the shoulders of deGrom this evening.

October 27, 2015

My Effing World Series Prediction

In just twelve short hours the New York Mets will face off against the Kansas City Royals for all the marbles.  For the first time in fifteen years the Mets find themselves in the World Series, in search of their first title in twenty-nine long years.  Across the diamond the Mets will find the Royals, who too will be looking for the first title in three decades.  By all accounts the two teams are evenly matched and primed to do battle in a long, hard fought series.  My prediction though, finds itself in the minority.  Here's why...

The Mets have accomplished a lot this postseason already.  No matter how much you love (or hate) this franchise, you cannot easily dismiss the way the Mets have netted wins against the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Jake Arietta.  Nine games into this postseason, the Mets have faced legitimate Cy Young contenders five times.  They've won three of those games.  That's great, but its not where I see the difference.  The other four games.  The games in which the Mets haven't found themselves up against greatness.  They're an undefeated 4 and 0.  More importantly, they've feasted on mediocre pitching while averaging 7.5 runs/game in those outings.

Sure, you can call it a small sample size.  However, the Royals don't have any "great" pitchers to send the Mets way this week.  Of course the likes of Johnny Cueto and Game One starter Edinson Volquez are capable of dominant outings, but that is not necessarily their norm.  I think the difference in this series isn't the Mets great pitching, its the Royals mediocre pitching, or more importantly how the Mets offense handles it.

The Royals are unlike any team the Mets have faced thus far this postseason.  They're capable of professional at-bats and elite defense.  There won't be many free bases going forward.  However, should the Mets offense remain hot against pitchers not found on the Cy Young ballot this year they could very well run away with this series.  With Daniel Murphy firing on all cylinders..with David Wright and Lucas Duda seemingly finding their stride, this lineup is dangerous and it will be the difference.

The Mets young pitchers got them here.  Of course, they will need to continue with similar dominance, but its the bats that play here.  Keep the Royals offense at bay and let the Mets do what they do against sub-par starters.  The time has come, the World Series is upon us.  Lets play ball!!!

Mets in five!

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.


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.

February 14, 2015

Pre-Season Rankings, Spring Training and Monks

It's cold, it's snowing and I'm constantly shoveling.  Must be February in New York.  The worst sports month of the years (although the Islanders and Rangers have made it bearable) only offering is the constant reminder that the weather is better in Florida and that baseball is almost here.  This off season has been particularly odd in that most of us expected the Mets to be gun slinging and picking off free agents while making all types of trades to better this years roster.

Well, Cuddyer, Mayberry Jr. and...oh yeah, that's it.  As we scratch our head at the evident lack of activity and ponder whether or not Sandy has done enough to improve the team the players have begun to arrive en masse to Port St. Lucie, many of them having been there for weeks already for the strength and conditioning program.

Time to move past the "disappointing" off season, look forward to what we do have in front of us and imagine what can be.  April 6th brings the beginning of 2015 and the Mets jump right into the deep end against the team many people assume is the inevitable NL East champ and World Series contender in the Nationals.  A good start is paramount to this team getting its feet under them and most likely to Terry Collins keeping his job.  5-15 to start the year is almost assuredly a one way ticket from Las Vegas to Queens for Mr. Backman.

However, I want the fans to take a different approach.  We must remind ourselves that this is a marathon and not a sprint.  Rarely do teams go wire to wire without some form of a challenge from a division competitor.  A bad start does not entail a bad season.  Is it harder to rebound from, absolutely, but it's not impossible.

I can see the headlines now, Mets drop 2 of 3 to Nats to open season, the hot seat is on full blast and fans flock to the airwaves to voice their concern.  Reminder, the Mets opened both the 1986 and 1988 seasons at 2-3.  In 1969 they opened at 3-7.  Leading the first mile of the race is much less important than leading at the wire.  Keep pace and don't get lost in the pack.  Wins in April count the same as wins in September so as long as you get them it doesn't matter when, it just matters how many.

Mets fans always speak proudly of the teams success on Opening Day.  Great, we are the best team on day one and rarely the best team on day 162, so who cares?  It's like taking solace in the fact that you beat the Yankees four straight even though you finished with 74 wins.  I don't care if I lose to the Yankees all six times this year.  I care that we get over .500 and steal a wild card spot.

Slow and steady wins the race, especially in baseball.  They play the games for a reason and starting the first week of April we will find out what we have become.  Maybe the monks in Laos will serve us some wins in return for the rice they got from Mr. Harvey.

We know the pitching will be good, how good is a question but with the depth they have and the added experience I can see them being better than last year with ease.  The tell tale sign for me will be the first time the bases are loaded with less than two outs.  Will this offense struggle to plate runs or do we see them turn the corner and become a better situational hitting team.  I feel confident that if that bases loaded moment results in a two run double followed by an RBI single this team will settle in and take off.  If the opposite happens and two guys strike out, followed by a pop up on the infield we may be in for a long summer again.

Only a few more weeks and it begins again, see you in April.

February 5, 2015

Mets Fans Are Putting Too Much Emphasis On Harvey's Return

As spring training nears, fan discussion naturally turns towards expectations of the season ahead.  It should come as no surprise that those expectations vary widely.  There are those among us who believe that the Mets have a legitimate shot to contend for a playoff spot.  When you ask those fans what makes them so confident, you will almost undoubtedly hear about the impending return of staff ace, Matt Harvey.  When he toes the rubber for the first time since August 24, 2013, he will do so with much fanfare and an unreasonable expectation that he's the difference maker.

Make no mistake, Harvey is the real deal.  He has the mindset most fans crave out of their peak performers and at a minimum, had the abilities to back it up.  I hope you caught that.  Had...  Because when Harvey does return for the Mets, he will return having had Tommy John surgery. Although that is no longer the bleak fate for pitchers it once was, it still comes with its own special set of uncertainties.

What fans should expect from Harvey is some control issues.  Come April, Harvey's sabbatical from Major League Baseball will have reached twenty months.  That's plenty of time for any pitcher, even one of Harvey's ilk, to have acquired some rust.  Combined that with what has historically been a decrease in velocity in the first year back from Tommy John surgery and Harvey may be much more hitable than the guy we all remember.  This all assumes he makes it through spring training without a setback, of course.

Let us pretend for a minute that Harvey returns to form and takes the mound at Citi Field in full Dark Knight fashion.  The blistering fastball and the hellacious slider on full display.  What then?  I think a fact that's lost on most Mets fans is that in 2013...the season in which Harvey was considered dominant...the season in which he started the all-star game for the National League, the Mets went just 13-13 in the games he started.  No pitcher, regardless of greatness, can lead his team to glory if it doesn't score any runs for him.

I don't mean to infer that Mets fans shouldn't be excited about the return of the team's ace.  At a minimum, the Mets will be a better team on paper with him, than they were last season with him sidelined.  However, there are multiple factors that are well beyond his control.  Factors which will almost certainly play a roll in his 2015.  Will Harvey be great in 2015?  I don't know, but I don't think it makes or breaks the Mets season either way.  I'm not sure any player who only takes the field every fifth day could.  So be happy he's back, but remember there's only so much the Dark Knight can do.

Like what you read?  Catch me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

No Moncado for the Mets?

I will admit that I have had issues with the Mets lack of interest in the Cuban market(link). And initially with all the hype of Yoan Moncado and his path to becoming a free agent my thoughts didn't change. However, this kid while displaying the tools is going to potentially cost a $30 million contract and on top of that a 100% tax to the team. For all you math challenged folks that's $60 million for a player with not a lot of real elevated playing experience. Essentially a $60 million prospect.

A few years ago the Mets spent their first round draft pick on Gavin Cechinni. And while I have read about some potential character flaws he appears to be progressing through the system as he should. Then you have Amed Rosario who according to Keith Law ( 2.1 via MetsBlog) has crazy potential based on his tools and he was signed a year ago for $2 million.

My point is, Cechinni and Rosario can only be viewed as prospects at this point as they are unproven but Moncando really can't be viewed as much else. The other Cuban players that have been signed in recent years all had several years of experience in their respective leagues and were in their mid twenties so those gambles would have made more sense but $60 million is a huge risk. I just wish the Mets would have take a gamble on one of the others.
Follow me @jwil25

February 3, 2015

Why No Cubans Sandy?

Over the past few years there have been some breakout players coming from Cuba and making a splash in the big leagues. Unless you live under a rock you know the names like Puig, Cespedes, and Abreu. Rusney Castillo was signed late last year by the Red Sox, Yasmani Tomas became a D-Back this off season and there is Yoan Moncada waiting for his pay day.

With each of these players the Mets front office has claimed to have scouted and done their due dilligence. However it was never reported that the Mets were really in on any of them. That's a head scratcher when the team has had needs like a power hitting OF, SS, and potentially someone to man first base when when the Ike Davis/Lucas Duda situation existed. The latter a thing of the past.

Over at MetsBlog I found a quote from Sandy regarding them getting in on these international players. "We haven't been in that category, but I expect we will be in that category soon." he said.

Um, when? These players are being signed and having an immediate impact. They are signing fairly healthy contracts however in each case they are younger players and don't cost a draft pick. Yet we Mets fans have to sit here and hear things like "he doesn't fit what we are trying to do here or we don't view him playing at this or that position." I get that it can be a gamble but they are paying off much better than some of the local gambles this team has made over the past few years. What gives, Sandy?

February 2, 2015

Well Well Well...

Now that football season is past us we can put on our collective optimism caps for the upcoming baseball season. Well at least most can. I on the other hand can't seem to find mine.

This and last year were supposed to be the seasons where the Mets were going to turn things around. And while they have improved somewhat I still can't get excited and that sucks. Sandy had holes to fill in the OF, SS, and the bench. He did add Michael Cuddyer in the OF which hopes to be an improvement over Chris Young and whoever else trotted out there last year. Mayberry was signed to help out on the bench and could be interesting. We still have an unknown at SS with rumors swirling about as usual on who they may or may not trade for which in my mind appears to be smoke and mirrors from the front office as other GM's (Rizzo) say they have had no such conversations. But hey, let's make the incumbent player in Wilmer head into spring training with mental doubts about what the front office thinks of him.

They made changes to the field (again), signed someone's best friend. Hired a coach that had success with a current player so not sure how that plays out with the other players. Yes, Grandy thinks highly of him but has anyone else asked any current and former Yankee players their thoughts? Didn't seem to be much outcry when he was fired.

Yes, we have young quality pitching. The farm system is being restocked well but when does this translate into big league wins? I want to be optimistic. I try to be optimistic but this organization is driving me up the wall. Big market team small market payroll yet everyone including MLB itself seems to be on board with this "plan". Other teams appear to be rebuilding at a quicker rate. Mets twitter is crazy and even my favorite bloggers aren't making sense at times. It's tough to follow.

January 31, 2015

Almost there...

The Superbowl is tomorrow and it cannot come and go soon enough.  At least the talk of deflated balls will go by the wayside.  As for our beloved Mets it's time to start dusting off the equipment, move down to Port St. Lucie and see whats what.

The off-season is done, save for a minor trade or two, and while we have all complained, bitched and moaned about not getting a shortstop or another left handed reliever we need to take the roster for what it is and see where we end up.

So here we go, all positions are filled as of now.  There is the glass half-full and half-empty approach to this year.  I think it will be a complete bust or great improvement from the prior few years.

Infield:  Half-full - Duda continues to mash, gives 25 and 85, Murph does what Murph does, hits .300 and doesn't kill us defensively.  The Captain returns to form, hits 20 homers and around 90 RBI.  d'Arnaud continues to grow as a hitter, cuts down on the passed balls and makes Plawecki trade bait.  Flores surprises everyone, plays acceptable defense and hits .260 with 15 homers and 70 RBI.

Half-empty - Duda regresses, barely hits 15 homers and 60 RBI, Murph struggles with injuries, Wright's decline becomes official, d'Aranud can't stay healthy and Flores is what a lot of people think, a quadruple A shortstop.

Outfield:  half-full - Grandy, with Kevin Long's help finds more consistency, Lagares is still the Gold Glover we know, hits .280 and steals a few more bags.  Cuddyer stays healthy, hits 20 homers and drives in 80 RBI.  Mayberry is a solid 4th outfielder and give Cuddyer the rest he needs to stay on the field.

Half-empty - Grandy is still a strike out machine, the fences are the least of his worries and he continues to be wildly inconsistent.  Lagares doesn't progress with the bat and has another 15 day DL stint and Cuddyer is every bit of the 36 years old we feared.  Mayberry is relegated to bench warming or filling in and underwhelming regardless of position.

Pitching: Half-full - Everyone takes the step forward you would expect, Wheeler finds the control he needs, de Grom continues to do what he did last year, Niese stays healthy and Harvey is Harvey despite a strict innings limit.  Colon eats innings (and buffets) and Gee, well he may some place else for that left handed reliever we need.  The bullpen progresses as well, Familia and Mejia continue to hone their skills, Edgin continues his resurgence and Parnell becomes a vital member later in the season.

Half-empty - Wheeler struggles with the zone and is inconsistent, de Grom gets bit by the sophomore slump, Colon eats only buffets, Niese's shoulder is truly a problem and Harvey struggles to reacclimate to pitching as quickly as hoped.  The bullpen struggles to find a solid footing as injury and inconsistency hamper their efforts.

Ok, so these are obvious statements and concerns and as always the truth most likely falls somewhere in between.  All things being equal I see this team riding their pitching to around 84-86 wins, competing for the final wild card spot and finishing second to the Nats in the East (granted Jayson Werth doesn't hurt his beard in a freak drunk shaving accident).

This is not a bad roster, it has its share of question marks and concerns, but what roster doesn't.  Granted teams like the Cubs, Padres and White Sox have won the off season, but there are plenty of years the Mets did the same and there have been no World Series championships to speak of.  It's cliche but you don't win games on paper, you win them between the white lines starting in April.  There will be a surprise team that no one sees coming (see KC last year) and a team that should by all accounts win 95 games but stumbles and barely breaks .500.  That's baseball and that's why it's fun to watch, starting April 6th we see where we stand.

January 1, 2015

It's 2015...What's Next?

With the turn of the calendar page a new year is upon us and like 29 other fan bases who claimed wait til next year we are ready for more!  Pitchers and catchers report in less than two months and we will ring in the Grapefruit league season in no time.

So with a fresh start and a clean slate for the year what do the Mets need next?

Well, the shortstop conversation is still up in the air and unless Sandy has something up his sleeve we are resigning ourselves to Wilmer Flores at the 6.  Tulo is still ever present although I would have to say anything happening around him will wait until at least Spring Training when the Rockies can show he is healthy.  Ben Zobrist is a name that has surfaced since Tampa Bay signed Asdrubal Cabrera.  I would not mind Zobrist in the slightest.

A career .264 hitter with three 20 home run seasons and the ability to play almost anywhere, he would be a welcome addition to the team and would not cost nearly what Tulo would.  Granted Zobrist is 33 and past his peak form but he's a professional hitter and since he can play so many positions he can fill that super utility role while being a steady hand in the lineup.

We have long figured out that a lineup deep with hitters who can work the count and get timely hits super cedes the lineup with one megastar and seven nobodies.

Zobrist was not a guy I or anyone else thought of early in the off-season since he wasn't deemed available, but if he is Sandy should make a play and see if he can pry him away from the Rays.  This would be another move in line with the Cuddyer signing.  A guy who can still play, will not cost a ton and doesn't block up and coming players with a long term deal.

Although the impact bat we all may have hoped for hasn't arrived and may not, a healthy and maturing starting rotation and the addition of Cuddyer and possibly Zobrist could make for a formidable team especially considering the Braves seem to have mailed it in and the Phillies are in total rebuilding mode.  The Nationals are the odds on favorite to repeat as division champs and the Marlins are relying on young talent to carry them.  The Mets are definitely in a good position to jump up this season and surprise everyone.  Time to make it count.