Optimism, Thy Name Is Matt Harvey

Yeah, I’m excited when Big Hoss’ takes the mound!

Could it be? Four wins in a row? Hell yeah! What makes the wins even sweeter, the last two were against the Phuck Phaces with Jon Niese on the mound for the sweep, yeah that’s right THE SWEEP!!!  

Back on August 5th Matt Harvey threw a lot of breaking balls in his start against the Padres. I’ll take a wild guess that Dan Warthen ordered him to go with that many breaking balls. Harvey lasted 5 innings and gave up 5 runs in what became a 7-3 Padres win.

Something good came of that loss; Matt Harvey went back to being what he is, a power pitcher. No more following the Warthen Doctrine of nibble the corners and pitch passively. From watching the last 2-3 Harvey starts, there is nothing passive about him and it seems the message has been sent to the Mets pitching coach, leave Harvey alone. Of Harvey’s 98 pitches last night, 63 were fastballs that averaged 95 mph, that’s power pitching.

Is it a coincidence that the Mets have won 4 in a row and the bullpen has been solid? The pen has not allowed a run in its last 13.1 innings pitched, spanning over 5 games and is 7 for 7 in saves for the month of August. The Mets relievers have even improved bit in stranding inherited runners as they are up to 70 % LOB up from the mid 60 % range they have been at most of the season.

There has been lots of talk about the way Terry Collins has used Josh (Everyday) Edgin lately but the fact is Edgin has been a bullpen revelation.  Edgin has stranded 11 of the 14 runners he’s inherited as well as striking out 24 batters in 19.1 innings pitched. I can see the concern about going to the whip to often with Edgin especially getting him up multiple times during a game to warm-up , that’s where the wear and tear takes its toll, so it may be a good idea for Collins to take his foot off the gas a bit the last month of the season with Edgin.

Jon Niese is pitching with an extra days rest today. When Niese has an extra day off he is 6-3 with a 2.29 ERA as this covers 15 starts.

One thing to watch for today at the launching pad known as Citizen Bank Park, Niese has given up the long ball a lot this season, a career high 20 home run so far this season.

Niese has a better day time record than night. He’s 4-1 with a 2.85 ERA in 10 starts in the sunshine and in 15 starts under the lights he’s 6-6 with a 3.98 ERA.

 

 

 

 

 

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Matt Harvey Pitched Like A Man Last Night

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Sing it Godfather, Sing It!!!!!!!!

 

Are we seeing the last of the Dan Warthen influence on Mets pitchers? Matt Harvey pitched last night like the power pitcher he’s been advertised as. Harvey went almost exclusively with his fastball and slider and more importantly he threw inside and challenged hitters. Harvey went away from the Warthen School of Pitching which is nibble, nibble and nibble some more. Harvey pitched a man’s game last night even plunking Ryan Ludwick in the shoulder and of course Ludwick gave the phony tough guy stare down as he went to first base, because he’s a rook, Harvey just let Ludwick have his fake tough guy moment but I’d bet if Harvey had a couple of season under his belt, he’s have told Ludwick to take his ass down to first base.

Justin Turner in the outfield in 2013? You cannot be serious Terry, you just can’t.  I have to think Collins was talking out his ass on this one, as it make absolutely no sense ,hell, Turner back for 2013 doesn’t make much sense.  Don’t the Mets have an overabundance of outfielders without any power?

Heard a rumor that Sandy Alderson sent a link to the video of Jason Bay’s home run last night to Brian Sabean with the message “Com’on Brian you know you want him”

I can get the Mets going to a 6 man pitching rotation being that Johan and Young could benefit from the extra days rest as could Jon Niese, who at some point has to show he strong enough to pitch effectively  in second half of the season and as long as Dickey and Harvey stay on schedule, it’s all good but why does the spot guy have to be Jeremy Hefner? I hope come September 1st the club calls up Collin McHugh and let him take that spot or Jenry Mejia. Seriously, enough of Jeremy Hefner.

Mike Pelfrey is ready to start throwing as his rehab from Tommy John surgery is progressing well. As an arbitration eligible player much speculation is that the Mets will non-tender him come December. That much I agree with but I’d bet the Mets try to work a deal with Big Pelf for the 2013 season. I’m not ready to call Pelfrey an ex-Met yet.

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Hey Dan Warthen, Babe Ruth’s Dead

You figured Matt Harvey would have a rough start here or there as he adjusts to life in the big leagues where unlike Triple A mistakes end up over an outfield fence. But Harvey, who is seen as a bit of a pitching savant, should be able to make the adjustments, if the mixed messages he hears don’t make him crazy.

For some strange reason Dan Warthen and Terry Collins love the breaking ball which is ok unless you forget all pitchers are not alike. Bobby Ojeda on the pre-game show on SNY yesterday seemed to send a cryptic message that Warthen’ approach is not the best for Harvey. Ojeda repeated that manta that Harvey is a power pitcher and he should stay working as a power pitcher and not worry about throwing off speed  and breaking pitches so much. Ojeda seemed to hint that the Harvey is a bit of a revelation as a good old fashion hard throwing starting pitcher.

My big concern with Harvey is that Dan Warthen is going to try to make him something he isn’t, a finesse pitcher.  It’s the biggest knock on Warthen, he has made this Mets staff into a bunch of nibblers instead of going with a more aggressive approach. When was the last time a Mets pitcher threw up an in on a hitter?  That approach is fine if you have a stable of Glavine-Maddox-esque pitchers but the Mets have some very hard throwers who should have better results than they do, especially in the bullpen.

Parnell hits 100 mph on the radar gun and sits at a consistent 95 mph. Josh Edgin hits 95 as does Frank Frank and Manny Acosta.sSo with electric arms such as these why is the Mets bullpen so bad? Could it be the approach taught by Dan Warthen? I think so. The Mets bullpen has a 4.26 BB/9IP rate which is only second to worst to the Cubs who have a close to 5 walks per 9IP rate. Why with a pen of hard throwers do Mets relievers have such a high walk rate, I’d have to say it’s the approach set by Warthen of nibble, nibble, nibble instead of attack, attack, attack.

Pitching is deception trying to keep the batter off balance.  I don’t think Warthen’s approach to pitching is effective in doing that. When was the last time we’ve seen a Mets pitcher go up the ladder on a hitter? How many times have you screamed at your TV set when the 7-8-9 batters reach base on a walk on off speed and breaking pitches  that miss the outside of the plate when challenging the batter should be the plan?

Terry Collins has been a loyal supporter of Dan Warthen and his teachings but I know I’m not alone wondering how Warthen was kept on staff after the purge of personnel of the Minaya era. With the ineffectiveness of the bullpen and the very valuable arms coming through the Mets farm system, it is paramount of Sandy Alderson to find a pitching coach who not only can relate and help the growth of these young arms but he also needs a pitching coach to change the mindset of many on this staff to pitch aggressively. The approach that is in play now is not working and needs to be eradicated.

 

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METS PITCHING STAFF, ADD 2 SUBTRACT 1

The Mets announced this evening that they have signed LHP Chris Capuano and RHP Taylor Buchholz to 1 year contracts, and to make room on the 40 man roster they have released P Ryota Igarashi.

Cutting Igarashi is a surprised but adding Capuano and Buchholz, who both battle arm problems (Capuano is a two-time Tommy John surgery patient)  both fall under the low risk/high reward mantle.

Capuano will most likely compete for the 4/5 spot in the rotation. If (and it’s a big if) Capuano is of sound shoulder and body, he could be this years version of R.A. Dickey. Capuano did show some increase in velocity last season when he joined the Brewers after rehab assignment but he is not a power pitcher. His best pitch is his change and he incorporates a cutter as well.  When he’s on his game, Capuano will induce more ground balls than fly balls.

Buchholz is also a Tommy John-er with his surgery coming in 2009. Buchholz is a fly ball pitcher which fits very nicely in Citi Field.

So with the new year under way two low cost gambles by Sandy Alderson have arrived. I like the Capuano signing alot. Of course everything with Cap hinges on his arm being sound and if it is ,this move could pay off handsomely for Alderson. As for Buchholz, I’ll wait and see .

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