The Mets have been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.
“We didn’t accomplish what we wanted to,” Terry Collins said after Friday’s loss to the Braves. “We certainly came out of spring training with high hopes of putting together a nice run. We just never seemed to get it going. That’s been the biggest disappointing thing, because if you can’t get it going, playoff runs are going to end.”
Nevertheless, Collins expects his team will continue to play hard down the stretch.
“We’ve just got to play the game right,” he said. “I know we’ve only got a few games left, but you know what, we signed up to play 162 and play them hard.”
The Mets must go 6-2 their remaining eight games to keep from finishing with their sixth-consecutive losing season.
Sept. 20, 6:56 am: Juan Lagares did not travel with the Mets for their weekend series with the Braves in Atlanta, nor will he be with the team when it starts a series with the Nationals in DC on Monday, Terry Collins told reporters before Friday’s game.
Lagares left a game earlier this week with an elbow sprain later said he was unsure if he’ll play again this season.
Lagares is expected to be reexamined by team doctors on Sunday, Collins said earlier this week.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer for MetsBlog:
Sept. 18, 10:10 am: This is becoming a slight concern, in that he’s had a lot of random injuries throughout his career – most of which are not chronic, just the result of aggressive play. He shouldn’t change. He’s awesome in the field. But, it reminds me of Carlos Beltran, in how Beltran would often miss 10-20 games a year battling aches and pains suffered from doing such incredible things in the field. Lagares is 25. His body should be stable and ready for the grind, so this may just be how life is going to be for him in center field. It’s no reason to avoid playing him. He has to be out there, he’s too good. But, it may be reason enough to carry Matt den Dekker on next year’s roster.
The Mets continue their series with the Braves in Atlanta on Saturday at 7:10 pm ET.
Jon Niese (8-11, 3.55 ERA) will start against LHP Mike Minor (6-11, 4.74) on WPIX.
There are eight games left in the season, while the Mets are six games under .500.
In case you missed it
Zack Wheeler was dominant, allowing five hits and striking out seven in six scoreless innings as the Mets claimed the series opener of their three-game set in Atlanta, 5-0, on Friday night.
Wally Backman joined the team’s coaching staff will he serve as an extra bench coach through the remainder of the season.
Recap: The Mets claimed the series opener of their three-game set in Atlanta, 5-0, on Friday night.
Need to Know: Zack Wheeler, coming off a rough start against the Nationals, was dominant, allowing five hits and striking out seven in six scoreless innings. Wheeler improved to 11-10.
With the game scoreless, and two out in the sixth, Lucas Duda struck his 28th home run to right that put the Mets ahead for good. The Mets added three more in the top of the ninth off two Atlanta relievers.
Game ball: Wheeler, who grew up just outside of Atlanta, picked up his second win in three career starts at Turner Field.
Links: AP recap | Box
What’s next: The Mets continue their three-game set in Atlanta with Jon Niese (8-11, 3.55) taking the hill on Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. Mike Minor (6-11, 4.74) will take the hill for the Braves.
The Mets and Braves open their three-game series in Atlanta on Friday night.
Mets First Pitch begins at 6:30 p.m. on SNY. The game is scheduled to start at 7:35 p.m.
Zack Wheeler (10-10, 3.61) starts for the Mets, while Julio Teheran (13-12, 2.89) pitches for Atlanta.
|1. Eric Young Jr. – LF
||1. Phil Gosselin – 3B
|2. Daniel Murphy – 3B
||2. Andrelton Simmons – SS
|3. Travis d’Arnaud – C
||3. Freddie Freeman – 1B
|4. Lucas Duda – 1B
||4. Justin Upton – LF
|5. Wilmer Flores – SS
||5. Christian Bethancourt – C
|6. Curtis Granderson – RF
||6. Ryan Doumit – RF
|7. Matt den Dekker – CF
||7. Tommy La Stella – 2B
|8. Dilson Herrera – 2B
||8. B.J. Upton – CF
|9. Zack Wheeler – RHP
||9. Julio Teheran – RHP
The old baseball axiom, “You can’t have too much pitching,” is as true today as it was 100 years ago. Unfortunately, it seems many Mets fans and commentators have forgotten this timeless baseball truth. It is easy to see why…
Brian P. Mangan, MetsBlog Contributor: “We’ve talked about it a little bit,” Terry Collins said Monday, fantasizing about next year’s rotation. “When you see Matt Harvey throw, you see Jacob deGrom throw, we’ve seen the kind of job Zack Wheeler can do, you’re looking at Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard coming, we’ve got some good veteran pitching, there are good arms here. That’s what makes it interesting. This game’s about pitching.”
History shows, a team will need as much pitching as it can get if they plan on contending. The Red Sox proved this in 2009. For a more recent example, look at this year’s Cardinals, who experts agreed were well-positioned in the starting rotation. The Cardinals were eight-deep entering the year, including Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha, just to name a few. However, as it turned it, Wainwright, Lynn, and Miller are the only pitchers to make at least 17 starts. Jaime Garcia went down in June with season-ending surgery. Wacha has been injured and struggled since returning. All in all, nine Cardinal pitchers have made four starts or more for the team. Most of these starts have been disastrous, with John Lackey posting a 5.05 ERA, Lyons a 4.50 ERA, Marco Gonzales a 4.34 ERA and Justin Masterson a 7.53 ERA.
The point is, you need starting pitchers… and a lot of them. Mets history teaches the same lesson.
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Jerry in Florida: As you mentioned the other day, budget dollars for the Mets are still ‘tight.’ I will not be upset if the Mets don’t spend on a shortstop, as long they re-direct that money to the outfield. … I’m no scholar, but isn’t investing into your product the way to put people in the stands, therefore enabling a team to re-invest in their roster? The Mets don’t seem to follow that principle and maybe you can enlighten me as to why…
Matthew Cerrone: There isn’t a direct line between spending on players and attendance because there are many different ways to build a winning team. Yes, one way is to dump boat loads of money on a roster and bet on big-named talent, turning your strategy into high-stakes roulette. The Mets are clearly trying another model, like the Cubs and Astros, which is to build a foundation of young players. The thing is, the only way to know if they’re worth playing is to actually play them — and it just so happens they earn the league minimum.
For instance, I’ve been told by fans and media that I should demand the Mets spend at least $150 million on payroll, “because they should have a New York payroll,” whatever that may mean.
However, according to this wonderful spreadsheet from Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the Mets will pay roughly $15 million to Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud, Daniel Murphy, Wilmer Flores, Juan Lagares, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Vic Black. I don’t know about you, but I want the Mets to keep these 11 players and at least see what they’re about. Meanwhile, David Wright, Curtis Granderson, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon will total around $50 million. Together, that is $65 million for 15 out of 25 players, all of which should probably be on this team in some way, shape or form.
In other words, to get to a $150 million, “New York payroll,” Alderson would need to spend another $85 million on 10 more players. Should he spend that money simply to spend it? Think about it, had he done this at the expense of, say, Duda and signed Kendry Morales to play first base last winter (like some fans demanded), we may never have seen Duda hit 27 home runs.
It’s also worth noting that, assuming the 11 players I mentioned above perform well, stay on the team and the team wins, due to arbitration and raises, they’ll likely end up being paid around $50 million as a group in a few years – up from the $15 million they’ll earn in 2014. That new $50 million plus Wright, Granderson and Niese equals $100 million, and that doesn’t include Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard, among other in-house options who will mature and likely stick around the next few years.
Here’s the reality: They’re going to have to increase payroll at some point soon, like it or not. I think knowing about this inevitability is all the more reason why Alderson is being extra selective when dishing out long-term contracts right now. Handing out a seven-year deal here or a six-year deal there will add up quickly and possibly limit money and roster space when it’s time to pay more to Harvey, Wheeler, Lagares, etc…
Will they increase payroll to afford these guys down the road, when they’re due raises? I don’t know yet. I don’t have a crystal ball. They say they will. I’ve never really seen this ownership group (and front office) have to deal with a situation like this before. The team nearly went through it with Wright and Jose Reyes several years ago, and instead signed them to affordable extensions early on. I’d like to think they’ll do the same with Harvey and company, but this is a different front office in a different financial era and I cannot say with certainty how it will turn out. In this department, I’ll wait and see…
That said, in terms of today, I agree that it would be nice to see Alderson “overspend” on a few one-year deals to help round out the roster, support his young players where possible and make for a more entertaining product. I don’t think he could spend $150 million on a roster next season if he tried. But, I do think a $100 million team would have a better chance of being entertaining and successful than an $80 million team.