Terry Collins said he wanted to get Jeremy Hefner out on a high note and in position to win, when he decided to pull his starting pitcher from the game last night after six innings and up 3-2.
Hefner let up a two-run home run in the first, but then retired 16 of the final 18 batters he faced.
LaTroy Hawkins quickly surrendered a home run to Dan Uggla that tied the game to start the seventh inning.
“I was so excited that he pitched so well after he’s been so down about not winning a game. I said, ‘I’m not going to let this kid lose this game. I’m not going to do that,’” Collins said, acknowledging that Hefner felt good enough to keep pitching. “He needs to move forward with a positive attitude that he pitched very, very well. Even though he did pitch well, had something happened the next inning, he goes home feeling bad about it. And I didn’t want that to happen.”
Ike Davis struck out four times lats night. He has stuck out 18 times in his last 12 games, a span of 45 plate appearances, dropping his average to .143. He has one hit in his last 42 at-bats.
“I know it’s wearing on him,” Terry Collins confessed to reporters last night. “I talk to these guys every day. I know it’s wearing on him.”
Collins said Davis took batting practice when they stopped the game last night.
“When you deal with what he’s going through right now, it’s pretty hard to take it, because you’ve never been there before,” Collins said. “Sometimes you think it’s a growing lesson, but other times it can break you down. That’s why he’s got so many guys supporting him, because we certainly don’t want that to happen.”
Collins said he was not sure how much longer the Mets can live with Ike’s struggles and the level attention it is getting from the media.
“We’ve just got to figure out what’s going to be best for him moving him forward.”
That said, hitting coach Dave Hudgens is among those in the clubhouse who feel Davis should not be demoted, instead allowing himself to turn things around while on the big-league roster.
“I don’t even want to think about it, to be honest with you,” Hudgens told The Post before yesterday’s game. “I really like the idea of him being here, because I know what he can do. I know what he’s capable of and I have full confidence in him. I really do. I just think every time he goes up he’s going to do something and it’s just that one little breakthrough that he needs.”
Tonight’s game between the Mets and Braves has been suspended in the top of the ninth inning with the score tied 5-5.
The game will resume at 6:10 pm on Saturday night, after which the Mets will continue their series against the Braves, with Dillon Gee facing Mike Minor.
The Least You Should Know…
Jeremy Hefner started for the Mets and pitched very well, allowing two runs over six innings – he retired 16 of the final 19 batters he faced tonight.
Marlon Byrd hit a go-ahead, RBI single in the fifth inning, and John Buck hit his first home run since May 3.
However, LaTroy Hawkins allowed a game-tying, solo home run to Dan Uggla in the seventh inning, and Evan Gattis hit a go-ahead, two-run single off of Greg Burke in the eighth inning with two outs – thos were the first two inherited runners to score against Burke this season.
The Mets scored two runs in the eighth innings thanks to an RBI single from Daniel Murphy, and error by BJ Upton to push Ruben Tejada to third, and a wild pitch to score Tejada.
Murphy is now 21-for-his-last-44 at the plate.
Ike Davis took a collar and struck out four times, the third time this season he has fanned four times in a game – Davis is now 1-for-his-last-42 at the plate.
The Mets showed a lot of character tonight – it was nice to see some life and quality play during a period of time when nothing has gone right for them. I don’t expect miracles this season, but it would be nice if they could at least be a little less terrible and a little less boring than they have been for the last month or so. Hopefully, the Mets can pull this one out tomorrow evening and take a first step in a more positive direction.
Hefner did a nice job today after a rough start. He worked quickly, had good downward movement on everything, and actually left with a lead after the sixth inning. But, as was the case in every other one of his starts this year, he was unable to come away with a win. The thing is, it’s a catch-22 for Terry Collins – Hefner was at 94 pitches, the Mets needed to try and get some offense at that point in the game, and Collins trusted the seventh inning to Hawkins, who’s had a nice year so far. It just didn’t workout for Terry or the Mets, but if he had left Hefner in and he’d given up the lead, Terry would’ve been second guessed with that, too.
One of these days Scott Rice is going to throw a ball and his arm is going to go with it. The guy pitches mostly every day, and while he’s been really good in his rookie season, this can’t possibly end well for him or the Mets. I sure hope the Mets can get some production from another lefty in the bullpen soon. As I’ve said before the Mets are basically working with one left-handed reliever, again.
Finally, there’s no more anyone can say about Ike. It’s time for a change, for his sake. This just isn’t working, and there’s nothing more to figure out as to where he is both physically and mentally in the big leagues…
The Mets and Braves play this Sunday on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET with Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, John Kruk and Buster Olney providing commentary.
Earlier today, Olney talked with MetsBlog about the state of the Mets, how they can be better, and how they’re being viewed outside of New York:
Matthew Cerrone:I tend to get tunnel vision obsessing over the Mets. So, talk to me about how other teams, team executives, etc., view the Mets these days?
Buster Olney: It’s ugly. I’m asked about this all of the time by rival executives. They ask, ‘Do you think the Mets are going to spend more money going forward?’ Of course, the perception of the Mets is different once every five days when Matt Harvey pitches. There’s a lot of high expectations for what Zack Wheeler is going to do, and people do laud some of the prospects they have, but there are questions about them as an organization and whether the same group of people will still be in leadership positions when they turn it around.
Matthew Cerrone:I assume you’re talking about Sandy Alderson, or guys in his front office. That’ll be interesting. The thing I keep coming back to, regardless of who is deciding what players to sign or trade, is what will the market be like for them?It’s great that they have money coming off the books, but the free agent market is a difficult place to build a team these days. At the same time, while they want to wait on these prospects, apathy among this fanbase is growing more and more every day.
Buster Olney: I think we can look at what the Seattle Mariners are going through, because I think they’re the closest comparison to what the Mets are going through right now. They have a star pitcher who can go out there every five days and dominate any team [in Felix Hernandez], but a real lack of depth among the position players. And how do you convince great players to go there at a time when the team is struggling?
For example, take Shin-Soo Choo, who is a free agent this fall. I think the Mets will have to do what the Mariners had had to do, in recent years with position players, and overpay Choo. He’s a terrific player, but they’ll be competing against other teams that are in a better position to win than the Mets. And the way you overcome that, if you’re the Mets, is to spend a lot of money. Is that the right thing to do? I don’t think you want to just spend a lot of money on a lot of different players and not know if it fits, just look at the Dodgers. But, at some point, you do have to have that foundation in place so that you can lure other players, veterans, to want to play for your team. And that’s going to be an important step for the Mets.
Matthew Cerrone:With that said, do you think Sandy Alderson is going about it the right way?
Buster Olney: He is, for the moment. Now, I do think that what they should do is what they didn’t do in the winter. If you look at what the Red Sox did, and to a lesser degree what the Cubs did, would be the way to go for the Mets in the off season. In other words, don’t necessarily get involved with the nine-figure bidding wars for the top of the free-agent class, but be aggressive on the second- and third-tier guys.
Go out and get three or four guys like Scott Feldman. It may be that two guys don’t work out, but you might hit it big. You know, sign a guy like Nate Schierholtz, sign a guy like a David DeJesus, and win at that market. That, to me, is the level to go. And, you saw the Red Sox do it this winter — they targeted a bunch of guys: Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, and in some cases it looks like it may not work out with a player like Jonny Gomes — but it is going to pan out with some of the other guys. I think if you’re leery of going after a Carlos Gonzalez in the trade market, or even a Robinson Cano as a free agent, you can be aggressive with those second- and third-tier guys with the Mets type of payroll flexibility.
I think if they did that, to compliment Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, David Wright, Jon Niese, you could climb up — especially at a time when the Phillies are coming down, the Marlins are a long ways away, and maybe the Nationals have more issues than anyone envisioned.
“You can put Daniel Murphy over there at first and let Jordany Valdespin have a chance at second, but I don’t have any idea yet,” Terry Collins told the New York Post, in regards to how he might handle things without Ike Davis. “You can put Lucas Duda over there, but if that’s the case who plays left field? You can put Justin Turner at first and see how he does, but until [Davis’ situation] is decided, I really haven’t gotten anything etched in stone yet.”
Andrew Wharton, Contributor
This is an easy one: Zach Lutz. This guy has done nothing but hit in the minors and really has nothing left to prove in Triple-A. He’s been quite unfortunate between the injuries and being blocked at the big league level, but he’s talented and deserves a shot over anyone else on the organization. I’m not saying he’s guaranteed to succeed in New York, but I’d be shocked if he doesn’t provide more production than Davis right now. I mean, that’s the idea right? Promote Lutz and give the guy the shot he’s deserved for a couple years now. This is the perfect opportunity for him.
Maggie Wiggin, Contributor
I agree with Andrew – Lutz is an ideal call-up, especially since he’s on the 40-man roster. I would bring him up and let him play every day for an extended period to see if his minor league success can keep up with major league pitching. That said, if a month or so passes and Lutz is struggling and Ike shows no signs of improvement in AAA, I wouldn’t waste much time in moving Duda over to assess whether or not it’s the position for him going forward.
Michael Baron, Contributor
I’m not sure it’s so simple. Lutz has played four games at first base this season, and 42 games there in total since 2007. Having someone there who knows the position, has an ability to scoop low throws, stretch and properly handle cutoffs is essential, but that comes with familiarity and experience. Lutz doesn’t really have that. The Mets do need a productive stick in the lineup, but if that player is going to neutralize his offense with inconsistent defense, they should look elsewhere to fill the need.
By the way, it doesn’t sound like Wilmer Flores is a candidate. I’ve heard they’re committed to him at second base and it doesn’t appear they’re considering promoting him until August anyway.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
I like the idea of Lutz, especially since he’s on the 40-man roster already, but Satin is probably the more realistic fit for the short-term. He’s been in the big leagues before and he has more experience playing first base. I bet the team promotes him, but still uses some combination of him, Turner, a little John Buck, etc., to make it work until Davis is ready to return. Also, I agree with Baron, Flores is not at option. He just started playing first base in Triple-A, and I don’t see any way this team exposes him to big-league pitching before the trade deadline. I’m for Lutz, let’s see what he’s about.
Maggie Wiggin, Contributor
Given how Davis has been bringing his troubles out on the field, I’m not sure the defensive downgrade will be all that bad. It would definitely be preferable if Lutz had more experience, but in a season focused on evaluation and experimentation, I’m fine with giving him the sink-or-swim chance he hasn’t really had yet.
Lutz is batting .271 with a .354 OBP, 4 HR, 25 RBI and 42 strike outs in 140 at bats for Triple-A Las Vegas this season. Meanwhile, Satin is hitting .299 with a .410 OBP, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 37 strike outs and 195 at bats, while playing 26 games at first base.
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