Mets hoping Matt Harvey can benefit from bullpen stint like Carlos Carrasco, Danny Duffy

Mets hoping Matt Harvey can benefit from bullpen stint like Carlos Carrasco, Danny Duffy

CLOSE

Matt Harvey discusses being sent to the bullpen

ATLANTA — Rooted in the Mets’ decision to send Matt Harvey to the bullpen is a trust in manager Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland.

The two are among the top pitching experts in the sport, and both have used temporary bullpen stints as a way to get a struggling starter back on the track. 

“One of the reasons we brought in Mickey and Dave Eiland is their knowledge and expertise in this area. We have a lot of faith and confidence in what they’re able to do,” Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said Saturday. “We have a lot of confidence we can get Matt back to where he needs to be and this is the first step in that.”

Harvey’s demotion is not a permanent move, but he will have to embrace this new role. The shorter outings will allow him to focus on one batter at a time compared to concerning himself with setting opponents up for future meetings as a starter.

Harvey has made one relief appearance in his career, but it was to replace Noah Syndergaard after the righty pitched one inning to start a game last September.

READ MORE: Mets will skip Matt Harvey’s next start, send him to the bullpen

SATURDAY: Mets blow ninth-inning lead in 4-3 walk-off loss to Atlanta

SUNDAY: Mets-Braves series finale rained out, doubleheader May 28

“What they do in the bullpen is develop this sense of closing every inning, getting an out at a time and making sure they go from there,” Callaway said before a 4-3 loss to Atlanta on Saturday. ‘If you can take that approach in the first inning, close that inning and take it in the second inning that builds momentum and they’re not worried about what is going to happen, five, six innings later, they can concentrate in the moment.”

Callaway used this tactic with Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer when he served as Cleveland’s pitching coach, and Eiland did the same with Danny Duffy while he worked for the Royals. The move particularly helped Duffy and Carrasco.

“This can help Harvey win over his teammates, and the fans,” one Mets source said.

Here’s an examination of how Eiland and Callaway used it with their previous teams:

Carlos Carrasco

Carrasco started the 2013 season 0-4 with a 9.10 ERA before moving to the bullpen, and made just one start the rest of the year.

After opening the 2014 campaign with a 6.95 ERA in four starts, the Indians again opted to send Carrasco to the bullpen. After posting a 2.30 ERA in 26 relief outings, Carrasco returned to the rotation and has not pitched out of the bullpen since.

Carrasco is 46-26 with a 3.37 ERA in 91 games since the start of the 2015 season, and his success story is what the Mets hope Harvey can emulate. 

Danny Salazar

Salazar started last year 3-5 with a 5.50 ERA in 10 starts, and the Indians decided to use the righty as a reliever in hope of getting him on track.

“It allows him to focus more on his catch game every day because he’s available to pitch every day,” Indians manager Terry Francona said at the time. 

Salazar made two relief appearances before landing on the disabled list, and again was used as a reliever after he returned from the disabled list in September.

Since Salazar made only four relief outings due to the injuries, it’s tough to gauge whether the shift to the bullpen helped Salazar. 

Trevor Bauer

Bauer started the 2016 season in the bullpen since he did not win a rotation spot, and did not adjust well to the role, posting a 4.76 ERA.

He moved into the Indians’ rotation in late April, and has been a mainstay ever since, going 29-19 with a 4.10 ERA since returning to the rotation. 

Bauer’s success shows how a pitcher can rebound from a temporary letdown.

“You can be pissed of all you want. That’s great. Funnel it,” Eiland said. “Channel it in the right direction. That can be an advantage to you.”

Danny Duffy

Duffy, a lefty, started the 2014 season in the bullpen before moving to the rotation after just six games. He then posted a 2.55 ERA in 25 starts.

After struggling as a starter during the Royals run to the World Series in 2015, he was demoted to the bullpen, and then opened the 2016 season as a reliever. 

Duffy posted a 3.00 ERA in 16 relief outings, and then returned to rotation, making 26 starts. He has proven to be one of the better lefty starters in the American League, and the Royals rewarded him with a five-year, $65-million extension before the 2017 season.

The paths of Carrasco and Duffy are similar, and represent the biggest success stories of the four. Duffy moved to the bullpen and helped the Royals win a championship, and his time as a reliever did not prevent him from landing a sizeable extension.

“You go back to basics and concentrate. It’s what you should do as a starter but to get guys up and running again you simplify,” Eiland said. “Concentrate on your next pitch. It’s one pitch at a time. Win this at-bat, win this inning and don’t look any further ahead than next pitch. Win this at-bat, win this inning, and then we’ll move on to the next day.”

 

Zack Wheeler misses out on sweet homecoming as Mets may shake up back end of rotation

Zack Wheeler misses out on sweet homecoming as Mets may shake up back end of rotation

And it would have been a sweet homecoming for Wheeler, who is back in the rotation after a rough 2017, spring training and a demotion to the minor leagues. The former first-round draft pick struggled last season after a setback-filled, two-year return from 2015 Tommy John surgery. He started out strong in 2017, pitching so well the Mets scrapped plans to start him in extended spring training, but tired out quickly. He went 3-7 with a 5.21 ERA in 17 starts. His last start of the year was July 22, before he was shut down for a stress reaction in his biceps.

Mets-Braves series finale postponed due to rain

Mets-Braves series finale postponed due to rain

Fans stay dry under a deck in the stands during a rain delay in the start of baseball game against the New York Mets at the Atlanta Braves SunTrust Park Sunday, April 22, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

ATLANTA (AP) — The final game of the four-game series between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves has been postponed because of rain.

Rain began falling at SunTrust Park late Sunday morning and was forecast to continue through the afternoon and night.

The game will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on May 28.

There was no immediate announcement on how the teams’ pitching plans will be affected by the postponement. Zack Wheeler was scheduled to start for the Mets, who are off on Monday before opening a three-game series at St. Louis on Tuesday night.

Mike Foltynewicz was scheduled to start for the Braves, who open a four-game series at Cincinnati on Monday night.

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce not in starting lineup as Mets close series vs. Atlanta

Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce not in starting lineup as Mets close series vs. Atlanta

CLOSE

Mickey Callaway on Jay Bruce and whether Sunday’s game will be played

ATLANTA – Veterans Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce are not in the starting lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Braves. 

Frazier is receiving his first day off after being spiked while applying a tag at third base during Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Braves. Mets manager Mickey Callaway had previously talked with the Toms River native about sitting Sunday to get multiple days off.

The Mets are off Monday.

Frazier entered Sunday hitting .258, and has been one of the team’s steadiest contributors to start the year. Wilmer Flores is starting in his place. 

“After (Saturday’s) game, his toe was throbbing pretty good,” Callaway said. “It made some sense (to not have him in the lineup).”

Pitching: Mets will skip Matt Harvey’s next start, send struggling righty to the bullpen

Relief issue: Mets blow ninth-inning lead in 4-3 walk-off loss to Atlanta

Catching: Tomas Nido becomes first Mets catcher to throw out a base runner

Bruce is slumping, hitting just .194, and recently experienced discomfort from plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He did not start two recent games due to the discomfort.

Callaway again factored the off day into his decision to sit Bruce. The outfielder entered Sunday in a 3-for-31 skid and had only homered once in 67 at-bats.

“He says his foot feels great so I think he’s in a spot right now where he’s trying to think about and that’s never a comfortable spot to be in,” Callaway said. “It leaks into defense and all parts of his game. Jay Bruce is a really good player and he’ll bounce back. He’s been through this before, everybody has and he’ll end up turning that around.”

Article continues after video

Bruce is not the only slumping regular with Yoenis Cespedes also struggling, yet the Mets entered Sunday atop the NL East.

“You look at our record and seeing what those guys have done and the rest of the guys have stepped up and got us to where we need to get,” Callaway said. “Obviously those guys have hit some key grand slams or hits late in the game to win games, but to be tied for the best record and have our guys where we’re at says a lot about our clubhouse.”

Briefs

Jason Vargas (broken right hand) is slated to start Monday for Class AAA Las Vegas, and throw approximately 75 pitches Monday, according to Callaway. It will mark his first rehab start, and he’s lined up to make his season debut Saturday in San Diego.

Mets-Braves series finale rained out, teams to play doubleheader May 28

Mets-Braves series finale rained out, teams to play doubleheader May 28

CLOSE

Mickey Callaway on Jay Bruce and whether Sunday’s game will be played

ATLANTA – Sunday’s series finale between the Mets and Braves was postponed due to rain, and will be made up as part of a day/night doubleheader on May 28.

The teams will play on Memorial Day at 1:10 p.m. and 7:10 p.m.

The Mets will stay on turn in the rotation with Sunday’s planned starter, Zack Wheeler, now starting Tuesday’s series opener in St. Louis.

The team has yet to finalize when Jason Vargas will return to the rotation, but he’s expected to debut Saturday since the team would otherwise have to use a spot starter. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said the team is deciding between Saturday or Sunday.

Vargas (broken right hand) starts Monday for Class AAA Las Vegas, and will throw approximately 75 pitches Monday, according to Callaway. It will mark his first rehab start since he suffered the break after being hit with a line drive toward the end of camp.

Waiting for breakouts

The Mets entered Sunday tied for the best record in the National League despite slow starts from Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce.

“You look at our record and seeing what those guys have done and the rest of the guys have stepped up and got us to where we need to get,” Callaway said. “Obviously those guys have hit some key grand slams or hits late in the game to win games, but to be tied for the best record and have our guys where we’re at says a lot about our clubhouse.”

Bruce is slumping, hitting just .194, and recently experienced discomfort from plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He did not start two recent games due to the discomfort.

The outfielder was not in Sunday’s lineup as he’s in a 3-for-31 skid. 

“He says his foot feels great so I think he’s in a spot right now where he’s trying to think about and that’s never a comfortable spot to be in,” Callaway said. “It leaks into defense and all parts of his game. Jay Bruce is a really good player and he’ll bounce back. He’s been through this before, everybody has and he’ll end up turning that around.”

Pitching: Mets will skip Matt Harvey’s next start, send struggling righty to the bullpen

Relief issue: Mets blow ninth-inning lead in 4-3 walk-off loss to Atlanta

Catching: Tomas Nido becomes first Mets catcher to throw out a base runner

Feeling the effects

Veteran Todd Frazier would not have started Sunday. 

Frazier was scheduled to receive his first day off after being spiked while applying a tag at third base during Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Braves. Callaway had previously talked with the Toms River native about sitting Sunday to get multiple days off..

The third baseman is hitting .258 with three homers and 14 RBIs.

“After (Saturday’s) game, his toe was throbbing pretty good,” Callaway said. “It made some sense (to not have him in the lineup).”

Article continues after video

Not on thin ice

Veteran Jose Reyes, who started the year 0-for-20, is not in jeopardy of losing his job at the moment, according to a source. Reyes went 3-for-4 Saturday to end his skid.

Reyes is one of the team’s faster players, and the Mets like having a veteran behind youngster Amed Rosario. Reyes is also adapting to a new role with infrequent at-bats.

Briefs

Corey Oswalt has replaced Gerson Bautista in the bullpen. He has yet to appear …Callaway said Saturday he has no issue with Yoenis Cespedes golfing as long as it does not affect his preparations. …The Mets will finish their season series with St. Louis when the teams meet Tuesday through Thursday. The Mets won the series at Citi Field.

Mets Demote One-Time Ace Matt Harvey To Bullpen

Mets Demote One-Time Ace Matt Harvey To Bullpen

ATLANTA (CBSNewYork/AP) — The one-time ace of the Mets’ vaunted pitching staff found out he was being demoted to the bullpen, and wasn’t too happy about it.

Matt Harvey did admit his pitching hasn’t been good, and said on Saturday he’s determined to earn his way back into the rotation.

“On a scale of one to 10 being (upset), a 10,” Harvey said before the Mets played Atlanta on Saturday night. “But my performance hasn’t been there and I have to do whatever I have to do to get back into the starting rotation and right now that’s go to the bullpen and work on some things . . . figure it out.”

A starter his whole career, the 29-year-old Harvey lost his spot after repeated problems on the mound.

“He threw a bullpen today, and he’ll be available Tuesday,” first-year Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “I don’t think he is obviously very happy about it. I wouldn’t say he’s discouraged. I think he’s motivated to go out there and show everybody that he can be a starter again at some point.

“He can help us . . . it’s inevitable that he’s going to make more starts for us this year. That’s how baseball goes. Everybody uses tons of starters; 11 was the average last year for every team,” he said.

Matt Harvey

Mets pitcher Matt Harvey. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Since a solid first start, Harvey has struggled, most recently when he allowed six earned runs in the first three innings Thursday night in Atlanta as the Braves beat New York 12-4. That dropped Harvey to 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA. In 26 innings over four starts, he’s allowed 26 hits, four home runs and four walks.

Harvey lobbied to remain in the rotation after the last of his three innings were scoreless.

“Right now, helping the team, the best thing I can do is go to the bullpen and get myself ready . . . and get back to where I can best help this team as a starter,” he said. “I have to suck it up and go out there and do everything I can to get things back in gear.

“I don’t have to agree with it, but I have to go out there and do the best I can to get things going,” he said.

With the return of injured left-handed starter Jason Vargas imminent, the Mets have been considering going to a six-man rotation or moving a current starter to the bullpen.

Instead, lefty Zack Wheeler (1-1, 2.77) will remain in the rotation with Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz. Vargas, recovering from a broken bone on his non-pitching hand, will make a rehabilitation start Monday for Triple-A Las Vegas and then join the rotation.

Harvey has allowed a combined 14 runs in his last three starts. He was 5-7 with a 6.70 ERA in 2017.

The right-hander was an All-Star in 2013, but missed the 2014 season following Tommy John surgery. He helped the Mets reach the World Series in 2015, missed half of the 2016 season following surgery to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and he was out more than two months last season with a right shoulder injury.

Harvey has started 104 major league games and come out of the bullpen just once, doing it last season.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)