Posts Tagged ‘Mets Lineup’

By Steven Inman nlds

  • The wait is nearly over. After nine very long years, the Mets will be playing their first postseason game tonight in Los Angeles. Terry Collins and company will hand the ball off to their 1A ace, Jacob deGrom, who was simply spectacular this season and will finish in the top 5 in NL CY Young voting. Despite his accomplishments this season, deGrom and the Mets will still be underdogs in Game 1 facing Clayton Kershaw who has simply been dominant this season. The reigning NL MVP is 7-1, with a 1.37 ERA over his last 11 starts. He is also baseball’s first 300 strikeout pitcher in over a decade. Unfortunately for the Mets, they will likely see Kershaw twice in this best of five series. That being said the Dodgers and Kershaw can be beaten. Here are the Mets keys to the series.

Key 1: Work Long Plate Appearances 

It goes without saying but the Dodgers are obviously a much weaker team when Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke aren’t on the mound. The Mets may not be able to do much damage against the Dodgers two aces but if they can get them out of the game after six innings somehow, they should be in decent shape. The Dodgers bullpen is 7-10 with a 4.24 ERA since July 25th. Hardly the same production that Kershaw and Greinke bring. Kenley Jansen is the only reliever that Dodger fans can trust so if the Mets can force Don Mattingly to go to his other relievers then New York should have the advantage.

Curtis Granderson at the top of the order will be the biggest key for Game 1. Granderson who badly struggles against lefties and is just 1 for 10 against Kershaw needs to draw out long at bats. The quicker the Mets can get into the Dodgers bullpen, the better chance they have to win. Plus getting into the Dodgers bullpen allows Terry Collins to utilize lefty bat Michael Conforto more, who is likely just a pinch hitter vs three of the four Dodgers starters in this series.

Key 2: Get ahead in the count on Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez is the Dodgers best bat but like most of the Dodger hitters not named Corey Seager, he has struggled to date, batting just .176 with zero extra base hits over his last 11 games. If the Mets can keep Gonzalez in check, they should have a very good chance at moving on to the NLCS.  Gonzalez is very good at sitting on one particular pitch and waiting for the pitcher to throw it. He can get in trouble when he waits for a pitch that doesn’t come and gets behind in the count. Gonzalez is hitting just .127 with 4 home runs when behind in the count 0-2 this season. Getting head of Gonzalez will be key for the Mets all week.

Key 3: Regain home field advantage

If the Mets can somehow take one of these two games in LA vs Kershaw and Greinke they will be sitting pretty with Matt Harvey on the mound in Game 3 with something to prove. The crowd will be in it and the Mets will be facing Brett Anderson, a solid pitcher but a major downgrade to what LA used in Games 1 & 2.

Expect these to be low scoring games where the Mets great young starting pitching will be asked to match two of the greatest pitchers in the world. They certainly have the talent to do it. It brings together the most important question of the series, are the Mets young pitchers running out of gas? Or will they outpitch the Dodgers and become household names across the nation. We find out tonight.

By Steven InmanEzopb0DF_400x400

It has happened. After two collapses and six seasons of just pitiful baseball, the Mets are heading back to the postseason. The club has been dominant since Sandy Alderson upgraded the club’s offense back in late July. The Nationals had a golden opportunity to put the Mets away in the first half of the season but never played consistent enough to get on any kind of win streak. Once the Mets added thump to the lineup, they zoomed past the underachieving Nationals. All the Nationals frustration boiled over on Sunday when Jonathon Papelbon attacked Bryce Harper in the Nats dugout during another difficult loss.

The return of David Wright to the New York lineup was pivotal in addition to the acquisitions the Mets made at the trade deadline but it was the Mets starting pitching that was able to give the Mets a huge advantage on most nights. Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey were even better than expected in their first full seasons with the Mets. Veterans Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon were very up and down this season but were able to provide some solid moments for a Met club in the midst of a special season. However one of the biggest reasons the Mets have had a resurgence is the promotions of Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.

Both former top prospects were even more polished than advertised and were key to the Mets going on their second half run. No other club had two top flight pitching prospects that were able to step into a major league rotation and contribute like this right away. Having two rookies contribute in the starting rotation the way Matz and Syndergaard have is extremely rare and should not be taken for granted.

All of these pieces had to fit together for the Mets to win their 5th division title in franchise history. They will face the Dodgers in the NLDS starting Friday October 9th.

BrokeMets will have a full scouting report on what the Mets can expect from the eventual NL West champs next week.

By Steven Inman 

Yoenis Cespedes has been key to the Mets revival

Yoenis Cespedes has been key to the Mets revival

All season the Mets have been thought of as solid team that is two or three bats away from seriously competing. Things changed last week with the promotion of Michael Conforto and Travis d’Arnaud’s return from a lengthy DL stint. The team all of a sudden looked like it could stay competitive against the big bad Nationals but things changed drastically when Sandy Alderson made the big trade that fans have been clamoring for when he traded top prospect Michael Fulmer and prospect Luis Cessa for Yoenis Cespedes.

Cespedes has been great early on as a Met. The slugger has 5 RBI in 6 games since arriving in New York. He has been a great baserunner and has looked solid in both left field and centerfield. Perhaps most importantly pitchers now are being forced to throw fastballs to Lucas Duda who has torn the cover off the ball since the new lineup addition. The Mets are 6-0 since Cespedes joined the lineup.

Cespedes, 29, will be a free agent this offseason and many have speculated that he could be looking for a contract around what Shin-Soo Choo got from the Rangers a few winters ago, 7 years, $130 million. Many have speculated that with a strong finish that Cespedes can prove that he is a franchise player, capable of carrying a team to the playoffs. If that happens expect the Cuban outfielder to get even more than the $130M.

Even if the Mets were willing to pay that contract Cespedes has a unique clause in his contract that states he must be released from his contract 5 days after the World Series. When you release a player you cannot bring him back to the franchise until past May 15th. So in other words, if Cespedes can’t agree to a contract extension with the Mets by the end of October he will be elsewhere next season. Even if the Mets wanted to commit to Cespedes long-term they likely would have to severely overpay to prevent him from hitting the free agent market.

With all that it is highly unlikely that Cespedes is a Met next season. Perhaps with the Mets playing better and getting more fans at Citi Field it will help add needed revenue needed to replace Cespedes in the lineup next season. The front office clearly understands that the club needs a big bat preferably right-handed behind Duda so even if Yoenis isn’t a Met next season expect them to bring in somebody who can drive in runs.

That being said, on this website and many others like it we no longer need to talk about the future. The Mets are in win-now mode and a very entertaining division chase with the Washington Nationals. The Mets own one of the better pitching staffs in franchise history and are armed with a lineup that is finally component enough not to drag the arms down. The 9-year playoff drought has a legit chance of ending this season. So enjoy it Met fans, I know I will.

By Steven InmanSpring 2013 014

The Mets continue to labor to simply score more than a run or two a night. David Wright is still out indefinitely and payroll restraints will prevent this club from adding a significant player at the MLB trade deadline next month. Their best option may actually be their only option as Michael Conforto has been raking in Binghamton (AA) and could be ready to make his MLB debut soon.

Conforto, 22, is hitting .377 with a .482 OBP in 19 games since being called up from St. Lucie (A+).  He has hit 9 homers and drove in 40 in 253 at bats across two levels of the minors this season.

It makes too much sense. The Mets can platoon Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson in one corner with Cuddyer playing against lefties and Granderson against right handers. Both are older players that could probably use more days off. Conforto could infuse a power bat into a lineup that has scored just six runs in their last four games, all losses. Between Cuddyer and Granderson whoever produces more will stay in the lineup.

The former Oregon State standout has only played in 19 games in Double (AA) but he is the most advanced hitter to come through the Mets system in at least five years in terms of how fast he is approaching the big leagues. If he struggles they can simply send him back down.

The Mets are headed down a very dark path as they continue to lose very winnable games. Their defense is horrendous, they don’t hit and the bullpen has lost most of its depth. If things continue Terry Collins is going to undeservingly lose his job. The team must do something to shake things up and if they are unwilling to pay the price to get better in terms of taking on salary or trading away prospects then they should give Conforto a shot.

By Steven Inman

Michael Cuddyer and the Mets have had trouble putting the ball in play on most nights

Michael Cuddyer and the Mets have had trouble putting the ball in play on most nights

With the Mets hanging around the Nationals for first place in the N.L. East there is plenty to be happy about in Metland. However the team has obvious holes up and down the lineup and all of the talk from media and fans has been about what the club should do to fix these offensive problems. While adding a big bat to bolster the lineup couldn’t hurt it isn’t something the club is likely to do so we should simply stop talking about it.

After being no-hit in ugly fashion by Chris Heston, the trade talk around the club will only get louder.

This Met club is at the absolute max their payroll is going to be at for awhile so talking about adding payroll is just a waste of breathe. The team also isn’t going to give up a Steven Matz or a Noah Syndergaard to get that big bat so we really are just wasting our time talking about outside additions.

The Mets will be getting reinforcements when Dilson Herrera and Travis d’Arnaud are activated off the DL this week. If Travis can get into a rhythm and get back to the way he was hitting pre-injury, then that is a huge bat to help a struggling Met offense. It isn’t known if Herrera will be back with the big league club immediately or if he will be optioned to Las Vegas (AAA) for a little while.

Ideally the Mets will get Daniel Murphy back too in the next couple of weeks but the lineup is going to be an issue for the club all year. They aren’t trading Jon Niese or Dillon Gee to acquire the offense they are going to need. That is just a pipe dream as those two pitchers don’t have any value. Any trade involving either pitcher is just to dump salary. If the Mets make anymore offensive changes, expect them to be internal. Maybe things change as we get closer to the trade deadline on July 31st but that is what to expect from the Mets at the moment.

The talk around this team should be about what they do have, and what they are getting back not what they don’t have or what they can’t afford. The Mets have an elite pitching staff and if the club is able to scratch out just four runs that should be enough to win on a majority of nights. It is not ideal but the Giants won multiple championships with great pitching and that ability to scratch out runs, there is no reason the Mets can’t do the same when healthy.

By Steven Inmanima

When the Mets offense was going well the first couple weeks Daniel Murphy was the lone Met not hitting. Murph hit .198 with a .258 OBP in April. May has been an entirely different story for both Murphy and the Mets. Murphy has gotten red hot and is hitting .329 with a .376 OBP in May but has been the only Met player to hit this month. Murphy leads the Mets in RBI with 24. Remember Murphy was battling a hamstring injury all March and never really had a Spring Training.

It is no secret if you read this blog that Danny Murphy will not be a Met for much longer. The Mets believe they have his heir apparent currently on the DL in Dilson Herrera. While Murphy in 2015 is clearly the better hitter, the Mets would save $7.5 million by letting go of Murph and would improve defensively.

The question is not if but when Murphy will be elsewhere. The Mets will move Murphy at the trade deadline if they are out of the race. If they are near a playoff spot they can’t justify to the fan base moving one of their better hitters in a pennant race so they will just let him depart in free agency this winter.

Murphy has been a loyal player for the Mets now for eight seasons. A natural third basemen, Murphy has moved from left field, then first base, to second base, back to third and then back to second. The point is despite his defensive shortcomings, Murphy has never been afraid to move to an unfamiliar position if the Mets felt it was in the clubs best interest. That is not something that can be said for a lot of players who have established themselves offensively.

Murphy is one of those rare players that wants to win as bad as David Wright does. The two of them are the “gym rats” on the team so it is really a shame that Murphy’s only winning season to date came in 2008, his rookie season when the ball club failed to make the postseason by a single game.

Murphy’s future is entirely based on the Mets other hitters. If the club continues to not put up a competitive offense, then Murphy will be traded to a contender near the deadline. If Met hitters like Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer can get it going, then the Mets will be contenders and they will need Murphy’s bat here. In that scenario Murphy and Met fans will get the pennant push that they desperately crave.

The Mets being contenders in 2015 has become as simple as this, if they can score runs they will win games. The Mets have the third best record in baseball when scoring 4 runs or more.

By Steven Inman 

If things go well for the Mets in '15, expect Collins to be one of the favorites for NL Manager of the Year Photo by CBS NY

If things go well for the Mets in ’15, expect Collins to be one of the favorites for NL Manager of the Year
Photo by CBS NY

The 2015 Mets are chomping at the bit to get the regular season started. They are confident and aren’t prepared to just concede the N.L. East title to the Washington Nationals like most “experts”. On paper, thanks to this pitching staff and a rejuvenated David Wright, this could be the best Met team since 2008, which happens to be the franchise’s last winning season,
The depth on this team is truly the difference maker. If a key player goes down to injury the team now has a young player with upside able to fill in at many positions instead of having to dip down in Vegas to find a 30-year old “quadruple-A” player like in previous seasons.
The starting rotation will be this clubs strength but it will be very intriguing to see how Terry Collins handles it. The entire coaching staff will have to be ultra creative in stretching Matt Harvey’s 150-160 innings across the entire season. The team originally planned on Harvey skipping the first week and starting the home opener, but that plan has been scrapped.
Zack Wheeler remains a work in progress and can come undone quickly so the coaching staff will have their work cut out for them. This young right-hander must learn how to get batters out on fewer pitches or he isn’t going to be able to go deep in games often. Along with that the team will have to decide if Dillon Gee should enter the rotation should Bartolo Colon struggle early in April.
The growth of these young pitchers will be how I judge Terry Collins and Dan Warthen in 2015.
The Mets lineup is pretty set except for the fact that the team plans on using Lucas Duda everyday, even against lefties. That would be a huge mistake as Duda hit .180 in 125 plate appearances in 2014 vs. LHP and is a .212 career hitter against southpaws in five big league seasons. Duda would be much more effective strictly against RHP. Plus the Mets have a huge weapon on their bench against left-handers in John Mayberry Jr., who has crushed lefties throughout his career before last year, when he struggled against all pitchers. How Collins handles Mayberry Jr. will be one of the more underrated elements to this Met season.
Lastly this Met bullpen will be the best Terry Collins has had in New York as he enters his fifth season as Met manager. The one concern he may have is that he only has one left-hander in his ‘pen. If Josh Edgin struggles this bullpen could become a problem. The key for Edgin is keeping his velocity up. Edgin averages 93 mph on his fastball and he doesn’t have the stuff to get left-handed bats out should that drop even a tick like it did last spring.

Whether you like it or not, Josh Edgin enters camp as arguably the most important Met reliever in 2015

Whether you like it or not, Josh Edgin enters camp as arguably the most important Met reliever in 2015

This team clearly has more talent than in years past. While Alderson didn’t do much over the winter (or any winter as Mets GM), sometimes the best move is the one you don’t make. Alderson and his staff look very wise to have hung on to all of their young pitching over the last few seasons although it would have been nice if he added another left-handed reliever.
To me, this team looks like a playoff contender that will likely fall short of the postseason in the end thanks to a poor defense and an inability to add that one key bat they likely will need at the trade deadline. This team will finish with 84 wins and will play meaningful games down the stretch. The Mets have a very bright future.
How many wins will the Mets have in 2015?