Downright solid-looking Mets can't escape frigid weather

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

I am the Mets' PR guy. Read to find out why. Also, the Rockies are playing baseball against the Mets this week. What are Mets? Is Lucas Duda any good? Is anybody listening to me?

In October of 2009, I attended one of the coldest baseball games in recent memory.

It was Game 3 of the NLDS between the Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia Phillies. I won't talk about how it ended because it makes me sad, but the temperature at the start of the game was 35 degrees. As the game -- all four hours and six minutes of it -- progressed, the temperature dropped into the mid-20s. The three people with whom I attended -- one of which was about three months pregnant -- had the worst time ever, but I wouldn't let them leave. The husband of the aforementioned pregnant woman became ill and would stay that way for two weeks. Think I cared? Nope. Why? Because baseball. That's why.

That is exactly how the New York Mets players must be feeling right now. After spending a weekend full of snow and temps in the high-20s in Minneapolis, David Wright and company probably just want to go home -- or at least spend the duration of their road trip in a hotel room. Instead, like the jerk that Mets' public relations guy Jay Horwitz is making them play in similar weather in Denver.

Why would a guy do something so mean? Well, just as was the case with me in October of 2009, Jay Horwitz has his own agenda. Mine was watching my favorite team play in the postseason for the last time ever because Cheapfartz/O'Dud (right, Denver sports media twits?). Horwitz's is getting hammered off of obscure beverages and buying historical structures. Now he's out there on the world wide web talking about triple-headers? What is this guy's deal?

Anyway, my three companions to that game eventually forgave me. I'm sure the 25 players on the Mets' roster will someday give Horwitz a pass, as well.

Speaking of those 25 players, some of them are off to a tremendous start for the National League's highest-scoring team. John Buck is at the top of that list, leading the NL in runs batted in while sitting in a tie for second with Dexter Fowler in home runs. We know what the 32-year-old backstop is and where he'll likely end up this season, so I won't spotlight him. Instead, there's a much more intriguing guy off to a hot start for New York.


Lucas Duda

#21 / Left Field / New York Mets

6-4

255

L

R

Feb 03, 1986


AVG OBP SLG
2013 - Lucas Duda .258 .452 .613


Duda is coming off a rough 2012 in which he hit just .239/.329/.389. However, he posted a .292/.370/.482 line in 2011, indicating his skill at the MLB level is real. Duda is second in the NL in walks, trailing only the superhuman Joey Votto. Duda's batting average leaves a lot to be desired, but there's plenty of time to correct his .278 BABIP.

Fortunately for the Rockies, they'll miss Matt Harvey, who is taking the baseball world by storm with his 3-0, 0.82 ERA through three starts. Harvey has struck out 25 batters in 22 innings after punching out 70 in 59.1 frames last season.

Colorado will see Jonathan Niese and a bunch of other guys who have middle-of-the-road numbers and stuff. Niese at least has a solid groundball-to-flyball ratio; Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner and Aaron Laffey are flyball pitchers, which probably won't suit them well even if it's 20 degrees at Coors Field during each of their starts.

For more on the Mets, we bring in Steven Schreiber from SB Nation's New York Metropolitans baseball community Amazin' Avenue. Jeff Aberle answered a few questions for their series preview as well, so be sure to check that out.

*****

Bryan Kilpatrick: It's early, but it looks like the Mets are getting the better end of the R.A. Dickey trade. What were your thoughts on the deal at the time and what do you think now?

Steven Schreiber: My deep, undying, semi-crazed love for all things R.A. Dickey aside, I thought the haul that Sandy Alderson was able to pull in from the Blue Jays was phenomenal and that seems to be the prevailing thought of the majority of Mets fans after it happened. Dickey was a cult hero, an all around great guy, and a really outstanding pitcher for three seasons but realizing where the Mets sit on the spectrum of contention, we understood that this kind of return was one that could make a positive difference for many years down the road, assuming at least one of Travis d'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, and even Wuilmer Becerra reach anywhere near their potential.

The greatest thing that few saw coming out of this deal was the hot start that John Buck, the "throw-in", would get off to. Outside of two scorching months from Rod Barajas in 2009, Mets' catchers have basically been a giant offensive black hole since Paul Lo Duca in 2006. Now, there's almost no way Buck continues hitting like this all season but at the least he's somehow hit more homers than Mets' catchers did all of last season in 11 games. Maybe he helps d'Arnaud assimilate to the majors when he gets called up and then becomes trade bait at the deadline, bringing back a useful piece from a catching hungry playoff team. That'd be a nice little bonus in what already looked like a great trade.

BK: Matt Harvey is taking the baseball world by storm. How did he get here, and what are some realistic expectations for him this year and in the future?

SS: With how great he's been through his first 13 big league starts, it's hard to have realistic expectations but I think as long as he doesn't get hurt, Matt Harvey has a chance to be one of the premier pitchers in baseball for a very long time. His stuff is dynamic, whether it's the mid to upper-90's fastball that jumps towards the hitter or the slider that Keith Law called a "70 slider" in his debut last year, or his developing curve and changeup. But with Harvey, his stuff is only half the story. It's his makeup which is the most incredible part. He just doesn't accept mediocrity from himself and he expects to be the best every outing. He's such a great competitor, which makes him so much fun to watch.

As the 7th overall pick by the Mets in the 2010 draft, he was expected to be good but nobody thought he'd be this good, probably because we're just conditioned that there's no such thing as a pitching prospect.

BK: What's it like to finally be rid of Jason Bay? (In all fairness to Jason, I know he's a nice guy, but humor me.)

SS: Let's see – have you ever seen a rainbow and a blue sky after a really bad thunderstorm? That's pretty much what it's like. No offense to Jason Bay because as you said, he's a really good guy and I feel awful about everything that happened to him in New York. But frankly, for where the Mets were in 2010, it was a foolish contract from the time it was signed and he was so awful and only continued to get worse. I mean Jon Niese is a decent hitter for a pitcher but even he had more offensive value than Jason Bay last season. I wish him the best going forward but it's really nice to not have to hear all of the questions about "when will Jason Bay get it going?".

BK: Is this a make-or-break year for Ike Davis in terms of being the Mets' long-term option at first base?

SS: It likely is. He's starting to get more expensive in arbitration thanks to Super Two status but more importantly, the issues that plagued him a year ago (namely Valley Fever and the after effects of the ankle injury he suffered in Coors Field in 2011) are all gone. People were willing to give him a pass for his first two months of 2012, especially with how he hit the rest of the season, but this slow start is certainly not going to gain him any positive will. Ike has been very streaky since coming up to the majors, so I think he'll be okay. He'll probably get hot at some point and prove to be the team's long term option at first. But if he doesn't, the Mets have the currently positionless Wilmer Flores waiting at Las Vegas and while his defense at first isn't a known, his bat is considered to be nearly big league ready.

BK: The Rockies have had the Mets' number over the past few seasons. In your mind, is it statistical noise, or is there something in particular that the Rockies do that gives the Mets trouble?

SS: Troy Tulowitzki. Troy Bleeping Tulowitzki. He's been a one-man wrecking crew against the Mets in the past (I think it was 2011, especially), so he'll be the guy for the Mets to try to stop. Beyond that, I'm not really sure why the Rockies have gotten the better of the Mets. I recall that one game last year where Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler hit long home runs and the Rockies beat up on Chris Schwinden and Manny Acosta but Schwinden's been long since banished to Las Vegas and Acosta's in Japan now, so "Operation: not using Chris Schwinden or Manny Acosta in Coors Field" will be a good thing.

*****

Probable pitchers

Game 1: Monday, April 15 at 6:40 p.m. MT (ROOT Sports)

Dillon Gee (0-2, 7.71 ERA) vs. Juan Nicasio (1-0, 4.91 ERA)

Game 2: Tuesday, April 16 at 6:40 p.m. MT (ROOT Sports)

Aaron Laffey (0-0, 5.06) vs. Jeff Francis (1-1, 5.87)

Game 3: Wednesday, April 17 at 6:40 p.m. MT (ROOT Sports)

Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 6.00) vs. Jon Garland (1-0, 3.75)

Game 4: Thursday, April 18 at 1:10 p.m. MT (no TV)

Jonathan Niese (2-0, 3.57) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (2-0, 1.96)

*****


Batting

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Jon Niese 3 4 1 2 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 .500 .600 .500
Justin Turner 6 15 1 7 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .467 .467 .600
Daniel Murphy 11 42 10 16 5 1 2 11 3 5 0 0 .381 .413 .690
Jordany Valdespin 9 21 6 8 0 1 0 1 2 4 2 1 .381 .458 .476
John Buck 11 41 9 13 1 0 6 19 1 5 0 0 .317 .318 .780
Mike Baxter 9 17 5 5 1 0 0 0 5 3 1 0 .294 .455 .353
David Wright 11 41 8 12 3 1 0 9 8 10 3 0 .293 .408 .415
Marlon Byrd 10 37 5 10 1 1 1 7 2 10 0 0 .270 .325 .432
Lucas Duda 11 31 6 8 2 0 3 6 9 10 0 0 .258 .452 .613
Ruben Tejada 11 39 6 10 4 0 0 3 5 5 1 0 .256 .356 .359
Anthony Recker 3 5 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 4 0 0 .200 .200 .400
Kirk Nieuwenhuis 7 11 2 2 1 0 0 1 0 4 0 0 .182 .182 .273
Matt Harvey 3 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .167 .167 .167
Collin Cowgill 8 27 4 4 1 0 2 6 0 6 0 0 .148 .148 .407
Ike Davis 10 39 6 5 0 0 1 2 6 12 0 0 .128 .244 .205
Dillon Gee 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Jeremy Hefner 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Aaron Laffey 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Jeurys Familia 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
LaTroy Hawkins 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Josh Edgin 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Greg Burke 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Bobby Parnell 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Scott Rice 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Brandon Lyon 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Scott Atchison 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000

Pitching

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Brandon Lyon 1-0 4 0 0 0 0 0 3.1 1 0 0 0 0 4 0.00 .30
Matt Harvey 3-0 3 3 0 0 0 0 22.0 6 2 2 1 6 25 0.82 .55
Josh Edgin 0-0 6 0 0 0 0 1 5.2 4 1 1 0 2 5 1.59 1.06
Scott Rice 1-0 6 0 0 0 0 0 5.2 4 1 1 0 3 4 1.59 1.24
Scott Atchison 0-0 5 0 0 0 0 0 5.1 2 1 1 0 0 1 1.69 .38
Bobby Parnell 0-0 4 0 0 0 1 0 3.1 2 1 1 0 0 5 2.70 .60
Jon Niese 2-0 3 3 0 0 0 0 17.2 17 9 7 1 8 10 3.57 1.42
Greg Burke 0-0 5 0 0 0 0 0 5.2 5 6 3 0 2 7 4.76 1.24
Aaron Laffey 0-0 2 1 0 0 0 0 5.1 10 3 3 0 1 6 5.06 2.06
Jeremy Hefner 0-2 2 2 0 0 0 0 9.0 11 6 6 3 5 5 6.00 1.78
Dillon Gee 0-2 2 2 0 0 0 0 9.1 13 8 8 3 3 6 7.71 1.71
LaTroy Hawkins 0-0 5 0 0 0 0 0 4.1 10 6 4 1 0 3 8.31 2.31
Jeurys Familia 0-0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 1 1 1 0 1 0 27.00 6.00


New York Mets Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Jenrry Mejia elbow 03/22/2013

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Johan Santana shoulder 03/22/2013

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