Category: baseball

The New York Mets work out, July 7, 2020, by Neil Miller, The New York Extra/The

Please visit our photo gallery of todays workout! Our Reporters story will be available tonight


Analyzing The 60 Game Schedule Of The Mets, by Rich Coutinho, The New York Extra/

Major League Baseball announced the 60 game schedule the teams will embark upon in late July and from the looks of it, the Met schedule is a very tough one taking on some of the best teams in the sport.

They will open up at home taking on the Braves at Citifield on Friday July 24th which will be the opener of a 3 game series with the defending NL East champions, Of course, the Braves will be missing 2 big bats in their lineup-Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis.

The CoVID world makes analyzing a schedule very difficult because positive cases could crop up in a hurry and it could decimate a team or diminish the talents of their opponents. After that Brave series, The Mets have a four game home and home series with the Boston Red Sox and then they are off on a 6 game road trip to Atlanta and then to the nation’s capital to take on the World Champion Nationals. Their six games with the Yankees will be on back to back weekends on August 21 through the 23rd at CitiField and then on August 28th through the 30th in the Bronx.

For every team in baseball getting off to a hot start will be imperative to earn a playoff start but for the Mets it is even MORE important. That is because the last 2 weeks of the season’s schedule pits them against the Phils, Braves and Rays followed by a 4 game season ending series in Washington versus the Nationals.

It will be tough to catch teams in the standings with that schedule and should the Mets be in the lead for a playoff spot it could make it difficult to fend off contenders for those spots.

The only crazy thing on this schedule is on 9-11 the Mets play the Jays in Toronto. It hardly seems right that on that day the Mets play out of the country. I would think that could have been handled better than that.

Overall, this is a very tough schedule which seems book ended with the toughest games coming at the beginning and the end of the season. A challenging road to the playoffs but if the Mets make the post-season party it will without a doubt be a well earned effort.

Could This Be A Breakout Year For Steven Matz? Rich Coutinho ,The New York Extra/

Since 2015, The Mets have been patiently waiting for the potential of Steven Matz to blossom. And he has shown flashes of brilliance but 2 things have stepped in the way of that evolution; Durability and that one bad inning that transforms some of his starts into poor performances because he could never stop the bleeding in that one troublesome frame.

07/06/20 Mets Summer camp at Citifield Queens NY #2 Steve Matz pitches this morning Neil Miller The New York Extra/

I think he has cured the durability issue as in the last seasons Matz has pitched full seasons with no health interruptions. However, his overall numbers in those 2 seasons were substandard as he has allowed 4 earned runs or so in every nine innings he has worked in and that one bad inning albatross is the biggest reason why his ERA has inflated to unacceptable levels.

05/25/16 ny mets vs washington nationals at nationals park washington dc New York Mets win 2-0 New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz #32 pitches in the 1st inning Neil Miller The New York extra/ copyright 2020

Midway through last season, I saw a change in that trend as Matz began to limit the damage and really stayed focus on the hill. Today, I watched him pitch in a simulated game at CitiField and his command was outstanding. His pitches had superior late movement and his mound presence gave us a look at what Matz could do.

His performance even caught the eye of Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom who called it “the best I have ever seen him pitch.”

With the loss of Noah Syndergaard many experts are wondering when the #2 starter behind deGrom would appear. Most have said that it would be Marcus Stroman whom I think has excellent stuff but do not rule out Matz. He has arrived on the scene with a purposeful plan. He does not want the word “potential” to remain the way he is described. And he has taken the important first steps in removing that adjective from his resume.

In the NL East, there is so many bats from the left side to contend with and right now Matz is the team’s only southpaw starting pitcher. So, the importance of Steven Matz can not be overstated. And he seems ready to accept the challenge of bringing his career to the next level.

The Risk Now For MLB And Players Are Making Decisions

By Rich Mancuso/

“I wanted to play this year because I thought it would be safe. Honestly, I don’t feel that.” 

Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs made that statement Monday. Atlanta Braves’ Nick Markakis opted to not play, Last week the Dodgers’ David Price.  And more to come.

MLB is beginning to see the implications of their COVID-19 plan and inevitable doom of the 2020 season as they planned to finally release a truncated 60-game schedule Monday evening. Though, more of the concern is the Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, Oakland A’s, and their quick Summer camp suspensions.

MLB baseball has to be concerned.  COVID-19 testing and results are not coming as quick and fast as a heater thrown by many of the star aces on the  mound who could also join the opt out club.

And with an increasing rise of the Coronavirus, which has always been a priority of MLB, what will it take now to shut down the game and move on to a hopeful safe and more secure 2021 season?

Will it take a decimation of rosters due to positive test results and odds against them? Or, the unfortunate severe illness of a player or personnel associated with a team?

This is not the time for Major League Baseball to be the victim of a tragic circumstance due to COVID-19. This writer will not offer that gloom and doom but this has become a concern.

Again, unchartered territory for MLB. As the Yankees and Mets proceed with their Summer camps in the Bronx and Flushing, and with their testing protocols going without a hitch, there is that concern about the other 28 other teams in Major League Baseball.

Kris Bryant is the beginning of more statements and a possible exodus of Major League ballplayers from Summer camps.

During the past few days, reached out to various players, not those affiliated with the New York logo. They are talking. They are not content with the routines set forth by MLB teams and medical protocols. 

Though, MLB did comment that COVID-testing results were delayed due to the holiday weekend, which could be a poor excuse. And that also can’t account for the various comments coming in from players and the teams that shutdown workouts on Monday.

Testing was supposed to be every other day, reliable, and offer rapid results. So, there is a concern.

Players are concerned, and similar to Bryant, about this not being a safe and good time to play baseball. They mention the possibilities of positive COVID-19 cases with teammates, They are concerned about becoming the next victim that would cause a separation from families.

And the players that commented said there was that trap. They have been put in a position to report and play, They went along with the medical protocols.

Then there were those, concerned with safety, also pushed into playing with a one-year contract and the complexion of free agency that could spell the possible end of a career or not earning a guaranteed contract.

And with a surge in positive cases, nationwide, why do players need to be subjected to this unsafe and risky environment?

“Because I have no other option to play,” said another veteran player with a one-year contract with an option for next year. 

Not like you or me,  and with employees offering furloughs, unemployment insurance, baseball players with a union have to follow protocol. Many are not in the income brackets of those like Price, Markakis, Feix Hernandez, who have opted to stay home.

This is about the one-year deal and the possible ending of a career with no other option but to play ball.  This is about the player making a MLB minimum salary and placed in that situation of risk, a trap of having no other alternative to go with the plan as set forth by MLB.

Or will it take Mike Trout, the face of baseball, to leave his Angels teammates and go home with a concern of testing positive and possibly spreading the virus to his pregnant wife?

One player said a majority are waiting to see this outcome. The outcome of another big name like Trout, Bryce Harper, or someone else that MLB needs to depend on for ratings, and the lucrative network television or regional cable contracts that need baseball this time of year,

However, as of Monday the risk of this coronavirus pandemic  is definitely on the increase.  MLB needs to listen and watch. The need to play baseball and the investment and safety of players is more important.

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

This day in sports, July 6, by Neil Miller The New York Extra/

07/06//08 New York Mets Vs. phila.phillies @ citizen bank park mets lead 1-0 in the 8th inning rain delay #15 carlos beltran circle the bases after scoring the only run of the game on a solo homerNeil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020
07/06//08 New York Mets Vs. phila.phillies @ citizen bank park mets lead 1-0 in the 8th inning rain delay #46 oliver perez reacts after getting the phillies out in the 6th inning Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020
7/06/09 Toronto Blue Jays Vs. New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium: Yankees Melky Cabrera can’t field Blue Jays Alex Rios homerun in the third inning. Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020
07/06/11 ny yankees vs cleveland indians at progressive field cleveland ohio tribe leads 2-0 after 2 1/2 innings #2 derek jeter flys out to right field in the 3rd inning Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020
07/06/12 Chicago Cubs vs New York Mets at Citi Field Queens NY New York Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana #57 throws a pitch during tonight’s game. Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020
07/06/13 Baltimore Orioles vs New York Yankees at yankee stadium New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera #42 and New York Yankees catcher Chris Stewart #19 celebrate after the win today Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020
07/06/16 miami marlins vs ny mets at citifield queens ny New York Mets lead 4-1 after 5 innnings New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes #7 slides iknto 3rd base in the 5th inning Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020

N.Y.Mets Summer Camp July 6th , by Neil Miller The New York Extra/

The Mets have their morning work out today. Please view our photo gallery .

Conforto Loves The Fact Cespedes IS Inching Closer And Closer To A Lineup Return by Rich Coutinho The New York Extra/The

When you look back at the 2015 Mets that won a National League pennant there was a trio of factors that put the team in The World Series that year.

Of course, there were the post-season heroics of Daniel Murphy coupled with both the hot hitting of Yeonis Cespedes and Michael Conforto. And that dynamic duo could very well be in lineup together when this truncated season begins in late July. Conforto knows what that means.

05/20/16 milwaukee brewers vs ny mets at citifield queens ny New York Mets lead 3-2 during the 6th innning New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto #30 hits a 2 run homer in the 6th innning photos by NeilMiller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020
07/05/16 miami marlins vs ny mets at citifield queens ny New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes #52 gets a base hit in the 1st inning Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020
File photo Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020

“He looks like a monster right now”, says Conforto , “and I can’t wait to see him every day because he is a great teammate that makes everyone around him better.” Think about it for a minute–this Met team could possess three batters in the middle of their lineup in Pete Alonso, Yoenis Cespedes, and Michael Conforto and all 3 of those hitters can carry a team on their back which has already been proven in their time with the team.

We sometimes forget what a terrific RBI bat Conforto possesses but the numbers do not lie as he has driven in 174 runs in the last 2 seasons and in most of that time, Cespredes was on the injured list. So I can readily understand why Conforto is salivating at the chance to bat in front of Cespedes. He will get a steady diet of fastballs and Michael is a spot on dead fastball hitter.

07/24/15 la dodgers vs ny mets at citifield queens ny Los Angeles Dodgers lead 6-0 during the 3rd innning ny mets mike conforto at his 1st at bat NeilMiller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020

I also asked Conforto if the presence of a DH makes the return of Cespedes more likely and he wholeheartedly agreed with that assessment. Conforto said, “We have a bunch of guys including Cespedes ,like Dominic Smith and JD Davis for instance, that could fill that role as well and with our pitching having that extra RBI bat could make us real dangerous.”

I will go even further than him on that because we all know what a terrific duo they also have in Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo that could consistently set the table for the team’s trio of big RBI bats. Simply put this lineup has a chance to score more runs per game than any squad in team history when you consider I have not even brought up the name of Wilson Ramos yet who had more RBI than any catcher in the league.

But the look in the eyes of Michael Conforto said it all. Cespedes is getting healthier each day and his skills could really put the Mets in a stratosphere few teams in history have reached. This Met lineup could end up being the biggest secret in baseball. Everyone talks about the Met starting pitcher and rightfully so, But don’t sleep on this Met lineup–it could redefine the NL East standings by year’s end.

This day in sports, July 5th , by Neil Miller The New York Extra/

07/05/06 Pittsburgh Pirates Vs. New York Mets @ Shea stadium Mets starting pitcher Orlando Hernandez delivers in the first inning. Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020
07/05/08 Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees@ Yankee Stadium Yankees Brett Gardner hits a SAC fly driving home Wilson Betemit in the 6th inning. Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020
NY Mets vs Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Phillies win 2-0 #57 Johan Santana pitches in the 1st inning. Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020
07/05/11 Derek Jeter smiles during batting practice today Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020
07/05/16 Miami Marlins vs. NY Mets at Citi field Queens NY New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes #52 gets a base hit in the 1st inning Neil Miller The New york extra/ copyright 2020