Throughout the week, the story for the Mets is how they might possibly overcome the challenge of defeating Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke potentially two times a piece in their best of five Division Series, which begins on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
But for the Dodgers, they’re faced with an equally, if not greater task of beating three or maybe even four elite young pitchers in the game themselves.
And Don Mattingly himself feels the Dodgers will have some difficultly against the likes of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz throughout the five-game series. (more…)
Here are the latest odds for all teams to win the World Series, and both the American and National League pennants:
Odds to Win the 2015 World Series
Toronto Blue Jays 3/1
St. Louis Cardinals 5/1
Chicago Cubs 11/2
Los Angeles Dodgers 11/2
Kansas City Royals 11/2
New York Mets 7/1
Houston Astros 17/2
Texas Rangers 12/1
Odds to Win the AL Pennant
Toronto Blue Jays 13/10
Kansas City Royals 2/1
Houston Astros 9/2
Texas Rangers 6/1
Odds to Win the NL Pennant
St. Louis Cardinals 21/10
Chicago Cubs 11/4
Los Angeles Dodgers 11/4
New York Mets 13/4
Here, Matt Waymire and former Met GM and current analyst for MLB.com and SNY Jim Duquette preview the Mets and Dodgers National League Division Series, which begins on Friday night at 9:45 PM ET on TBS:
Matt Harvey’s turbulent season took another odd turn on Tuesday afternoon when the Mets co-ace failed to arrive on-time to a mandatory team workout at Citi Field ahead of their trip to Los Angeles.
At first, it was believed Harvey was stuck in traffic, but Harvey showed up moments after the workout concluded on Tuesday, some two hours later.
“Obviously today was not the greatest. The last thing I ever want to do is not be with my team. There’s no excuse. I screwed up. I just truly screwed up.” he said in a brief statement on Tuesday.
Asked about Harvey’s absence, Mets captain David Wright said, “you’ll have to talk to Matt. I am concerned about the guys who are here. The guys who are here had a great workout.”
Based on the expressions and tone Wright had when responding to the question, he was obviously peeved by Harvey’s absence.
It’s understandable – Harvey was the only player absent from the workout.
Terry Collins was less concerned about the reason why Harvey was a no-show, and more about the fact he simply was a no-show to a team event.
“Why he wasn’t here, I don’t care,” Collins said on Wednesday. “The only thing I care about was he wasn’t here.” (more…)
When the Mets signed Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60 million contract in December, 2013, the front office believes they were adding a left-handed hitting power hitter to the middle of their lineup.
He was coming off a lost season in 2013 in which he dealt with two broken hands thanks to being hit by a pitch once in spring training, and another time mid-way through the 2013 season.
But the Mets felt they were acquiring a veteran who could handle the dimensions at Citi Field, who also knew how to deal with the pressures of playing in New York.
Granderson did post 20 home runs in 2014, but it only amounted to a .388 slugging percentage in 155 games.
But the Mets didn’t lose faith in their investment in Granderson. In fact, they saw something in his stat line and approach at the plate which, while not originally envisioned, could prove to be very valuable in an area the club was deficient in.
Granderson reached base 85 times via the walk or hit-by-pitch in 2014. But while it only amounted to a .326 on-base percentage, he became viewed as a possible candidate to leadoff for the club in spring training.
And Granderson excelled in that role in 2015. (more…)
In an entertaining story for the Wall Street Journal, Mets beat reporter Jared Diamond explores the reasons as to why celebrity comics love the Mets.
“The Mets, with their goofy mascot, kitschy fight song and propensity for spectacular meltdowns, could practically fill a dugout with the A-list comedians who are diehard fans,” Diamond writes.
Diamond spoke with comedian and now partial owner of the Mets Bill Maher, Hank Azaria, Steve Hofstetter, and Jim Breuer about what draws them to the Mets.
“Being a Mets fan goes right in line with that,” Azaria explained. “It’s forever the underdog and forever the outsider, and I think every comedian at their core felt that way when they were a kid.”
Said Maher, “When you’re a comic and you start out, you’re literally a laughingstock. People aren’t laughing with you—they’re laughing at you. All of us new comics are humiliated. That is similar to what the Mets were in 1962.”
To read more quotes from celebrity comics about their love affair with the Mets, check out the Wall Street Journal.
Indeed, the Mets made several acquisitions to retrofit their roster in late July, highlighted by Yoenis Cespedes who single-handedly transformed their lineup.
But the acquisition of Tyler Clippard has arguably been as critical of an acquisition for the Mets as Cespedes was, as he provided instant credibility to the back-end of the bullpen as a reliable bridge to Jeurys Familia in the ninth inning.
Previously, the Mets were excited to have Jenrry Mejia back from his PED suspension, as he could help solidify and and help create a lockdown formula for the seventh and eighth innings. But seemingly a split second after returning, Mejia was banned again for a second PED violation, this time for a full 162 games.
Fortunately and conveniently, the Mets had secured Clippard in a deal with the A’s that sent prospect Casey Meisner to Oakland, and the Mets moved on from Mejia’s suspension easily and seamlessly. (more…)
A month ago, Jon Niese’s immediate future with the club seemed rather uncertain.
Having no place in a four-man rotation, Niese saw himself he might be the odd man out simply by default, aside from the pitching slump he found himself in during the latter part of August and early part of September.
Knowing he had only a small chance to be in the playoff rotation, Niese himself took the initiative to go to Terry Collins and the coaching staff and volunteer himself for relief duties should the club make the postseason.
From the sound of it, Collins and Sandy Alderson were pleased with Niese’s initiative and willingness to shift roles in an effort to contribute to the team in any way possible.
They quickly warmed to the idea of Niese going to the bullpen, and after the Mets clinched, Collins pulled the trigger, removing Niese from the rotation and began a week-long tryout as a reliever against the Phillies and Nationals. (more…)
Dillon Gee’s career with the Mets is officially over.
After an awkward and turbulent year, Gee declared free agency on Monday, according to the Pacific Coast League transaction page.
Gee’s weird season began with trade winds swirling around him throughout the winter and through the early part of spring training. The team dispatched him to the bullpen with hopes he could serve as a reliever.
But when Zack Wheeler required Tommy John Surgery, the Mets moved him back into the rotation. However, a few weeks later Gee found himself competing with Rafael Montero for that rotation spot, with Gee ultimately winning out.
But that wouldn’t last forever. Gee went down with an injury in early May and was replaced by Noah Syndergaard in the rotation. When Gee returned, he served as a spot starter and did not fare well then, either.
He was designated for assignment a short while after, and accepted a minor league assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas while he earned his big league salary. He did not return to the Mets after struggling with Las Vegas to the tune of a 4.58 ERA in 14 starts under Wally Backman.
Gee would have been eligible for arbitration again this winter. As such, it was unlikely the Mets would have tendered Gee a contract and brought him back to spring training next year with no obvious role for him to take.
Gee allowed 55 hits, 11 walks and 26 earned runs in only 39 2/3 innings for the Mets in 2015, a span of eight appearances and seven starts.
He went 40-37 with a 4.03 ERA in 114 appearances and 110 starts in six seasons with the Mets.
He was selected by the Mets in the 21st round of the 2007 first-year player draft. He has spent his entire professional career with the Mets organization.
Steven Matz is scheduled to throw a simulated game at the team’s minor league complex in Port St. Lucie on Thursday.
If he makes it through ok, Matz will join the club and be active on the Division Series roster.
If Matz suffers a setback following his outing on Thursday, he will not be active in the Division Series, Sandy Alderson said on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Sandy Alderson said Sean Gilmartin will replace Matz on the roster if Matz is unable to pitch.
Alderson insists Matz’s role remains up in the air if he is indeed healthy, and all signs are certainly pointing to Matz being ready for his scheduled game four start against the Dodgers at Citi Field. Alderson has said the decision is coming down to either Matz or Colon, but both appear likely to be on the roster if Matz is healthy.
But Terry Collins has specifically said he is not keen on having Matz in the bullpen because of his injury history, especially recently, as well as his overall inexperience as a reliever in his professional career.
Colon, on the other hand, has limited bullpen experience and pitched in relief twice for the Mets this season, most recently on Sunday in their season finale against the Nationals.
Meanwhile, Alderson said the team is sending Carlos Torres to the Instructional League to serve on standby as an injury replacement.
Since the Mets retooled their roster, Terry Collins has mixed and matched his lineup depending upon whether or not the club was opposing a left-handed pitcher.
But when the Division Series starts on Friday against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Collins will feature a lineup which is different than that he has featured against southpaws throughout the second half.
Collins has hinted he would use Curtis Granderson – who had a .558 OPS against left-handed pitching in 2015 – against the Dodger left-handed pitchers, and on Wednesday he confirmed that would be the case.
Collins also said Lucas Duda will also face Kershaw on Friday night along with Daniel Murphy.
Murphy hit .254 with a .633 OPS against left-handers this season with on eof his 13 home runs coming against southpaws.
In addition, as he’s speculated over the last couple of weeks, Collins said Ruben Tejada would start over Wilmer Flores on Friday.
Tejada has reached base eight times (5-for-15 with three walks) against Kershaw in his career.
Meanwhile, Flores is 3-for-8 lifetime against Greinke, so it remains to be seen if he gets the start in game two.
As for Granderson, he has indeed struggled against left-handed pitching this season. But he does provide a leadoff presence the Mets simply do not have if he’s sitting on the bench. At the very least, he can work Kershaw on Friday, try and get into deep or advantageous counts, and either try and get on base via a walk or attack a mistake.
It’s not ideal, but his struggles against left-handed pitching might still be better than Juan Lagares’ overly aggressive approach despite his .771 OPS against left-handers this season.
The Mets continued to hold out hope Juan Uribe’s bruised chest would heal quick enough for him to be on the Division Series roster.
Unfortunately, he will need more time to heal and be a viable member of the Mets roster.
Terry Collins said on Wednesday afternoon Uribe was officially out for the Division Series, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis would take his place on the Division Series roster.
Nieuwenhuis will likely be the sixth outfielder on the roster, joining Juan Lagares on the bench.
Nieuwenhhuis might have made more sense as a replacement than Eric Young Jr., who is in Port St. Lucie on standby in the event he’s needed. Nieuwenhuis is a superior defender, is a notch slower but still has significant speed, and he can also provide some pop from the left side off the bench.
Of course, there’s no option that can replace Uribe and his postseason experience. It’s one of the reasons Sandy Alderson acquired Uribe to begin with, and he’s already shown a knack for the big hit in key situations for the club during the regular year.
In addition, Uribe would have been a very valuable right-handed weapon for Terry Collins against the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Brett Anderson.
Alderson said on Tuesday Uribe would stay back in New York to receive continued treatment. He will presumably join the team on Monday for game three.
Uribe has a .204 lifetime average in the postseason, although he has produced eight RBI in his last 14 playoff games spanning 2012-2014 with the Dodgers.