April 2013

Mets 7, Nationals 1: Three Up, Three Down

“Harvey’s better,” say the fans at Citi Field. At least on this night, he certainly was.

Three Up:
1. RHP Matt Harvey: Geeked up from the start, Harvey hit 98 miles per hour on the stadium radar gun, also mixing in his slider and changeup with ease. There’s no question that through four starts, he has been the most dominant pitcher in baseball.

2. 1B Ike Davis: Davis received a smattering of boos after striking out swinging in each of his first two at-bats. All he did after that was hit two home runs, quite literally turning the boos into cheers.

3. OF Lucas Duda: Not to be outdone by Davis, Duda contributed his own two-homer game, nearly adding a third on his shot to the warning track in the third. Duda ranks second in the Majors with a 1.234 OPS.

Three Down:
1. 2B Daniel Murphy: Murphy’s errant flip on a potential double-play ball in the seventh inning not only caused a minor injury to Ruben Tejada, but also created a bases-loaded, no-outs jam for Harvey. It’s a play that Murphy knows he needs to make.

2. SS Ruben Tejada: Tejada was the only Mets regular who did not reach base against Stephen Strasburg, finishing 0-for-4 and hitting the ball in the air three times. Keeping the ball out of the air was a point of emphasis for him in spring training.

3. OF Jordany Valdespin: This is a tough-luck “Down” for Valdespin, who finished 0-for-4 but did reach on an error and score a run. Valdespin’s outfield routes were not perfect today, but he did not make any egregious mistakes.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+6
C John Buck
+4
RHP Matt Harvey

+3
OF Marlon Byrd, 2B Daniel Murphy
+1
LHP Jon Niese, INF Justin Turner, LHP Scott Rice, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, 3B David Wright
-1
RHP Jeurys Familia, LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Dillon Gee, OF Mike Baxter, OF Lucas Duda
-2
RHP Greg Burke, SS Ruben Tejada, OF Jordany Valdespin
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, 1B Ike Davis
-4
LHP Josh Edgin

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Most strikeouts through first 13 starts to a career

This is an interesting list, dating back to 1921. Check it out:

1. Hideo Nomo, 1995 Dodgers: 119 strikeouts, 1.99 ERA
2. Kerry Wood, 1998 Cubs: 118 strikeouts, 3.40 ERA
3. Herb Score, 1955 Indians: 107 strikeouts, 2.94 ERA
4. Jose DeLeon, 1983 Pirates: 106 strikeouts, 2.53 ERA
5. Gary Nolan, 1967 Reds: 97 strikeouts, 2.79 ERA
T-6. Stephen Strasburg, 2010-11 Nationals: 96 strikeouts, 2.71 ERA
T-6. Mark Prior, 2002 Cubs: 96 strikeouts, 3.65 ERA
T-6. Dwight Gooden, 1984 Mets: 96 strikeouts, 2.61 ERA
9. Matt Harvey, 2012-13 Mets: 95 strikeouts, 2.21 ERA

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Rockies 11, Mets 3: Three Up, Three Down

The Mets just hit a new Rocky Mountain low.

Three Up:
1. 3B David Wright: A nice offensive game for Wright, who redirected two balls up the middle for RBI singles. Wright is — and has always been — at his best when he’s hitting to right and center field.

2. 2B Daniel Murphy: Murphy continues to display a lack of range at second base, but that’s excusable as long as his offensive production is high. It was Thursday, when he singled and doubled in four at-bats, scoring twice.

3. SS Ruben Tejada: Good for Tejada. So maligned for his defense all season long, Tejada made a sensational throw to rob Troy Tulowitzki of a hit in the third inning, proving that his defensive prowess still exists.

Three Down:
1. LHP Josh Edgin: Edgin’s inability to record outs is growing into a legitimate problem. He’s struggling against left-handed and right-handed batters alike.

2. RHP Scott Atchison: When a reliever faces three batters and does not record an out, it’s not a good thing. Atchison had been solid all season until Thursday, so perhaps this is merely a blip.

3. OF Jordany Valdespin: Two hits are nice, but Valdespin’s fielding error directly contributed to the Rockies’ third run, which loomed huge at the time. He needs to improve his outfield reads, because right now he is costing the Mets runs on a near-daily basis.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+6
C John Buck
+4
2B Daniel Murphy

+3
RHP Matt Harvey, OF Marlon Byrd
+1
LHP Jon Niese, INF Justin Turner, LHP Scott Rice, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, 3B David Wright
-1
RHP Jeurys Familia, LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Dillon Gee, OF Mike Baxter, SS Ruben Tejada, OF Jordany Valdespin
-2
RHP Greg Burke, OF Lucas Duda
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis
-4
1B Ike Davis, LHP Josh Edgin

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Rockies 9, Mets 8: Three Up, Three Down

Fourteen hours after arriving at the ballpark, the Mets have themselves a victory.

Three Up:
1. OF Marlon Byrd: Kudos to Byrd, who now has 10 RBI in 39 at-bats. Compare that to all of last season, when Byrd drove in nine runs in 143 at-bats.

2. RHP Scott Atchison: He’s shown some grit this season, pitching in and out of a jam in the seventh inning with the tying and go-ahead runs on base. Discredit Atchison for loading the bases in the first place if you want; I’ll credit him for striking out perennial All-Star Troy Tulowitzki with the game on the line.

3. RHP Bobby Parnell: Sure, he blew a save and let Carlos Gonzalez steal a key base. He also faced four batters, generated a soft ground ball and struck out the side in a tie game in the ninth. It was a dominating performance from the Mets’ closer.

Three Down:
1. LHP Josh Edgin: With starter Aaron Laffey pitching only four innings, the Mets needed some length out of Edgin. Instead, the lefty specialist faced five batters and allowed four of them to reach base. All four later scored.

2. OF Mike Baxter: Coming on as an injury replacement for Lucas Duda, Baxter almost immediately misplayed Carlos Gonzalez’s fly ball into a rally-extending double. He also finished 0-for-1 at the plate.

3. SS Ruben Tejada: Tejada’s throwing error in the ninth inning resulted in a blown save for Parnell and a tie game in the eighth, after the Mets had led by as many as six runs. Tejada now has six errors in 13 games.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+6
C John Buck

+3
RHP Matt Harvey, 2B Daniel Murphy, OF Marlon Byrd
+1
LHP Jon Niese, INF Justin Turner, LHP Scott Rice, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Scott Atchison
-1
RHP Jeurys Familia, LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Dillon Gee, OF Mike Baxter
-2
RHP Greg Burke, OF Lucas Duda, SS Ruben Tejada
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, LHP Josh Edgin
-4
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Rockies 8, Mets 4: Three Up, Three Down

The Mets must regret losing this game, the first half of a day-night doubleheader. They simply let it slip away.

Three Up:
1. 3B David Wright: This was an easy one. Wright’s two home runs (to right and center) were the only reason the Mets had a chance to win until the eighth inning; he now has 10 homers in 30 career games at Coors Field.

2. LHP Scott Rice: Nice job by Rice to induce a double-play ball in a key spot in the sixth. Though Rice later walked two batters, he did the job the Mets asked him to do.

3. RHP LaTroy Hawkins: Similar deal as Rice, striking out the only batter he faced to escape a jam. We give middle relievers plenty of grief when they don’t come through in these spots, so it’s time for a little credit when they do.

Three Down:
1. RHP Dillon Gee: Tough day for Gee, who battled frigid conditions and extra rest on the mound, showcasing an uncharacteristic lack of control. That’s two poor outings in a row for Gee.

2. 2B Daniel Murphy: More distressing than Murphy’s 0-for-3 was the lack of range he displayed at second base, allowing Todd Helton’s critical two-run single in the fifth inning to squirt through to right field.

3. RF Jordany Valdespin: Leading off, Valdespin finished 0-for-5. Playing right field, he gave up extra bases on Chris Nelson’s double in the sixth inning and Eric Young’s RBI triple in the eighth — both of them playable balls.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+6
C John Buck

+3
RHP Matt Harvey, 2B Daniel Murphy
+2
OF Marlon Byrd

+1
LHP Jon Niese, INF Justin Turner, LHP Scott Rice, RHP LaTroy Hawkins
-1
RHP Jeurys Familia, SS Ruben Tejada, LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Bobby Parnell, RHP Dillon Gee
-2
LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Greg Burke, OF Lucas Duda
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis
-4
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Snow day in Denver

Check out these pictures from Coors Field in Denver, where the Mets and Rockies saw their game postponed due to snow:

IMG_2410

IMG_2412

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets 4, Twins 2: Three Up, Three Down

This Harvey kid is really something, ain’t he?

Three Up:
1. RHP Matt Harvey: In merely his 13th career start, Harvey took a no-hitter into the seventh, finishing with eight innings of one-run ball. In short, he was incredible.

2. DH Justin Turner: Give Turner credit: he makes the most of his opportunities. Three times Turner has appeared in the starting lineup this season, and twice he has recorded three hits.

3. OF Marlon Byrd: Props to Byrd, whose leadoff homer in the fourth inning extended the Mets’ home run streak to 11 consecutive games to start the season. Was not expecting that.

Three Down:
1. RHP Bobby Parnell: Finally, a save opportunity! Though Parnell nailed it down with two strikeouts, he also gave up two hits and a run first. Next time, the margin may be slimmer and he’ll need to be sharper.

2. 1B Ike Davis: Moments after his only hit of the afternoon, Davis was gunned down trying to stretch it into a double. It’s been that kind of early season for him.

3. OF Lucas Duda: Though catcher John Buck went 0-for-4, it’s tough to mark him as a “Down” when he also called Harvey’s gem. Instead it goes to Duda, who went 0-for-2 and was again subbed out on defense.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+6
C John Buck
+4
2B Daniel Murphy

+3
RHP Matt Harvey
+2
OF Marlon Byrd

+1
OF Jordany Valdespin, LHP Jon Niese, INF Justin Turner
-1
RHP Jeurys Familia, SS Ruben Tejada, LHP Aaron Laffey, 3B David Wright, RHP Bobby Parnell
-2
LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Greg Burke, OF Lucas Duda
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis
-4
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets 16, Twins 5: Three Up, Three Down

Welp, that one was an absolute rout:

Three Up:
1. C John Buck: A grand slam made it four straight games with a homer for Buck, who now has six long balls in nine games behind the plate. His offensive output has been staggering.

2. 2B Daniel Murphy: This is turning into one of the better offensive stretches of Murphy’s career; four more hits Friday upped his season average to .368.

3. 3B David Wright: That’s the type of offensive output the captain has been looking for. Wright still doesn’t have a home run this season, but he produced everything else in a three-hit, four-RBI attack.

Three Down:
1. LHP Jon Niese: The worst thing a pitcher can do with an eight-run lead? Walk four guys in five innings. We’ll chalk this one up to the wintry conditions at Target Field.

2. OF Lucas Duda: Every Mets starting position player rapped out at least one hit except for Duda, who was 0-for-3 with a walk.

3. OF Mike Baxter: This is a tough “down,” but we’ll give it to Baxter for failing to drive in a runner from third with one out in the second. Baxter finished 1-for-5, going hitless until the ninth.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+6
C John Buck
+4
2B Daniel Murphy

+2
RHP Matt Harvey
+1
OF Marlon Byrd, OF Jordany Valdespin, LHP Jon Niese
-1
RHP Jeurys Familia, SS Ruben Tejada, LHP Aaron Laffey, 3B David Wright, OF Lucas Duda
-2
LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Greg Burke
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, 1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Twin weather reports in the Twin Cities

Twins president Dave St. Peter (@Twinsprez) tweeted out these photos of snowbound Target Field from Thursday and Friday afternoons. Kudos to the grounds crew in Minneapolis for making things playable for the Mets and Twins so quickly:

targetfieldsnowq

targetfieldclean

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Phillies 7, Mets 3: Three Up, Three Down

Remember this game? That’s pretty much what happened at Citizens Bank Park tonight.

Three Up:
1. C John Buck: Buck now has five home runs in eight games this season. Mets catchers combined for five home runs in 162 games last season. They’ll take the offensive boost.

2. CF Jordany Valdespin: Leading off, Valdespin rapped out three hits and saved starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner from further damage with his shoestring catch in the third. But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Valdespin, who also struck out with the bases loaded and was caught stealing for the first time this season.

3. OF Lucas Duda: Both of Duda’s two home runs were rockets, as was his first-inning double. If this is the beginning of a breakout from Duda, the Mets will certainly take it.

Three Down:
1. RHP Jeremy Hefner: The first six batters to face Hefner all reached base. Five of them scored. It’s hard to recover from that.

2. 3B David Wright: Wright is 0-for-8 over his last two games, striking out twice Wednesday (including in the first inning, when his whiff left Valdespin out to dry on the base paths). The Mets did well earlier this season without significant production from Wright, but now they need him to produce.

3. 1B Ike Davis: At what point does this become a significant concern? Another 0-for-4 has Davis batting .129 with one home run. Considering what happened last year, it has to be a worry.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+5
C John Buck
+3
2B Daniel Murphy

+2
LHP Jon Niese, RHP Matt Harvey
+1
OF Mike Baxter, OF Marlon Byrd, OF Jordany Valdespin
-1
RHP Jeurys Familia, SS Ruben Tejada, LHP Aaron Laffey
-2
LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Greg Burke, 3B David Wright
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, 1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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