Even Tebow Can’t Stop No-Hitter; With Harvey Suspended, Mets down to the W’s

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Sunday, May 7.

These are troubled times for the MLB Mets as well as one of their minor league teams.  The Columbia Fireflies, even with Tim Tebow in the lineup were the victims of a no-hitter last. night.  At the top of the heap, starting pitcher Matt Harvey has gotten a 3-game suspension for breaking team rules.  The Mets’ pitching desperation has a name across the pond.  A British team manager would say “I’m all at sixes and sevens” as opposed to being able to make his first choice.  The Mets, with nobody near the top of the depth chart or the alphabet to pick from chose Adam Wilk to replace Harvey until his suspension is done.

The no-hitter in the South Atlantic League was witnessed by 6600 in Columbia, home of the A-ball Mets. The fact is two of the Lakewood Blue Claws (Phillies) pitchers combined on the no-hitter.  Nick Fanti started and got 26 outs, walking 3 men and striking out 9 (two of them being Tim Tebow.) To Timothy Richard’s credit he’s hitting .236, about 200 points higher than I thought he would hit. But the people expecting the kind of miracles he pulled on the football field at University of Florida more than a decade ago were destined to be disappointed. Since the Blue Claws brought South Atlantic League baseball to New Jersey in 2001, 5 no-hitters have been tossed by their hurlers. All have been either 7-inning or combined no-nos, what I used to call “Dime store no-hitters) when I was at the microphone. Last night’s starter Nick Fanti came ever so close, but with the Blue Claws only ahead 1-0 and two men on in the 9th their  manager summoned Trevor Bettencourt to lock the game down which he did by striking out Michael Paez. Gavin Floyd who later made the majors gave up no hits but lost a game in 2002.  Carlos Carrasco (now with the Indians) was part of a combined Lakewood whitewash in 2006. As for Tebow, he and the Fireflies come to Lakewood on May 13 to start a 4-game series.  While New Jersey is a few hundred miles north of the Mason Dixon line, two of the 4 Tebow games are sold out and the other two only have limited amounts of tickets left according to Lakewood management.  To me this comes as a surprise if not a shock.  5 decades ago it was hard to even locate a country record in this area.  Now, even people here are caught up in wanting to watch Tim Tebow.  I believed few people in Hagerstown, Salisbury (Maryland) or Lakewood would take notice while the 11 other cities in the league would draw more fans to their games when Tebow and the Fireflies came to town.

Meanwhile at the top of the baseball world, nobody is talking about what team rule Matt Harvey might have broken to merit a 3-game suspension.  This isn’t something handed down by Joe Torre from the major league office.  His plate is full because of the series between the Red Sox and Orioles last week.  This is strictly a Mets thing. So desperate are they with injuries and ineffectiveness they can’t even pick a AAA pitcher who’s on their 40-man roster.  They have had to add Adam Wilk, a 29-year-old lefty from California. He’s put in some major league time with the Tigers and Angels going 0-3 with an ERA well north of 6. This year he’s been a starter at Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League where any pitcher is lucky to get out alive.  He’s 2-3 with a 5.91 ERA in that hitting-happy league. To his credit he’s struck out 29 men in 32 innings and doesn’t walk a lot of batters. Harvey pitched Tuesday so his regular turn would have come up today! Bad timing for a wrong move.  Wilk will start today since the Mets’ starters have gotten bruised and battered so often up to now. Considering the awful performance of Rafael  Montero Friday night, he’s not the answer.  Mets’ management are hoping Wilk can at least give them some innings and not embarrass himself or the team.  The Mets also have  a major worry in the infield.  Their shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera injured his left thumb yesterday.  He needs an MRI to know if he tore a ligament in there which would cost him a good chunk of the season.

The Mets and Marlins are involved in today’s earliest start. The visiting Marlins turn to Jose Urena from the bull pen since starter Edinson Volquez had to go on the DL. He faces the newest Met, Adam Wilk. The Blue Jays will start Joe Biagini who has strictly worked from the bull pen the last couple of seasons, as they face the Rays.  The Orioles welcome Chris Tillman to the party for the first time this season.  He had a sore shoulder in the spring and opened the season on rehab with their AAA Norfolk team. The Red Sox start Chris Sale against the surprising Twins.  Sale can count his blessings that he didn’t get suspended for buzzing Manny Machado and (hopefully) putting the fear of God into the Orioles’ slugger. Sale battles Ervin Santana, as good a pitcher as the Twins can offer. As the Indians face the Royals, they send out Mike Clevinger for his first MLB start of 2017 after compiling a 1.50 ERA with the AAA Columbus Clippers. When Texas faces Seattle, the Mariners make a desperate move with 3 of their starters on the DL. They turn to 25-year-old rookie Dillon Overton. He’s done poorly from the bull pen compiling a 6.14 ERA.  Though he still has rookie status he made 5 starts with Oakland in 2016 and put up an ERA over 11. Overton is a native Oklahoman who played college ball for the Oklahoma Sooners. He was a second-round draft choice by Oakland but he underwent Tommy John surgery before throwing a pitch with intent. In spite of his record, a second-round choice will get his chance to make good. The Yankees and Cubs play the Sunday night game, a signal honor which players and announcers both seem to dislike. Luis Severino of the Yankees faces the Cubs’ John Lester in tonight’s matchup. In his Red Sox days he went 13-6 against the Yankees.  The Cubs need a long outing from him after the battering they took last night. The starter Brett Anderson didn’t survive the first inning as the Yankees put up 5 on their way to an 11-6 shellacking of the Cubs.

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