Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin was on WTMJ radio today and was asked about the Nyjer Morgan/Albert Pujols business from last night. Summary here, actual broadcast here. Upshot: He’s not happy. He said that manager Ron Roenicke is going to deal with Morgan “internally,” and likely not by giving him a firm handshake and an “‘attaboy.” He was also asked about Morgan’s lame tweets about “Alberta” Pujols after the game:
“The whole tweeting thing in sports is probably something that needs to be addressed,” said Melvin. “But it’s out there and we have to deal with it.”
Just to be clear, for the 100th time, the problem is not with tweeting itself. The problem is with people — especially notable public figures like Morgan — who don’t understand that tweeting something is the same thing as saying something into a the microphone of Chuck Chuckson from Action 9 Sports. Impress that upon the minds of your players and then treat them exactly like you’d treat anyone who said stupid crap to a reporter after the game.
As for Morgan, the thing I wonder the most about is his self-awareness. He’s having a great season, but he’s also capable of having crap seasons too. A variable player who is no doubt playing in some good luck this year. History is littered with people who can get away with anything when they’re successful, but whose act grows tired fast the moment they stop being successful.
You’d think that, in light of that, Morgan would dial it back a bit. I mean, if you’re Albert Pujols or someone super awesome and consistent like that you can afford to be a jerk sometimes. If you’re not, you can’t.
Oh wait. Albert Pujols is never a jerk like that. Maybe there’s a lesson in that too.
Last night the Detroit Lions played the New York Giants. During the game Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford called an audible. The call itself referenced Stafford’s childhood friend and high school baseball teammate, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. From the Freep:
Matthew Stafford stepped to the line of scrimmage late in the third quarter and surveyed the Giants defense.
With five pass rushers across the front and three Giants cornerbacks showing a press-man look, Stafford looked at his two receivers to the left and invoked the name of his childhood friend, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
“Give me Kershaw here, Kershaw,” Stafford said, repeating his friend’s name two more times as he spun around at the line of scrimmage.
The audible did not result in a pick-4 to Aaron Altherr. It called for a run up the middle. And it worked nicely, gaining eight yards.
You may suggest the results of other starting pitcher-themed audibles in the comments. I’ll start: “Harvey! Harvey!” is where the QB fakes a handoff, drops back, looks deep and then his arm falls completely off. Damndest thing.
Matt Harvey‘s season was mostly a loss due to extended time on the disabled list. He’s been given a chance, however, to end the season strong and make a case for himself in the Mets’ future plans. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make that case. He was shelled again last night, and his late season opportunity has been a disaster.
Last night Harvey gave up seven runs on 12 hits and struck out only two batters in four innings against a Marlins team that, until facing him anyway, had been reeling. It was his fourth start since going on the shelf in mid-June and in those four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. His average fastball velocity, while ticking up slightly in each of his past four starts, is still below 95. Back when he was an ace he was consistently above that. His command has been terrible.
Injury is clearly the culprit. He had Tommy John surgery just as he was reaching his maximum level of dominance in 2013. While he came back strong in 2015, he was used pretty heavily for a guy with a brand new ligament. Last year he was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome and this year a stress injury to his shoulder. Any one of those ailments have ended pitchers’ careers and even among those who bounce back from them, many are diminished. To go through all three and remain dominant is practically unheard of.
Yet this is where Matt Harvey is. He’s 28. He’s still arbitration eligible, for a team that is, to put it politely, sensitive to large financial outlays. While his 4-5 start opportunity to end the year may very well have been seen as a chance to shop Harvey to another team, his trade value is at an all-time low. It would not be shocking if, on the basis of his recent ineffectiveness, the Mets considered non-tendering him this offseason, making him a free agent.
Someone would probably take a chance on him because famous names who once showed tremendous promise are often given multiple chances in the big leagues (See, Willis, Dontrelle). But at the moment, there is nothing in Harvey’s game to suggest that he is capable of taking advantage of such a chance. All one can hope is that an offseason of rest and conditioning will allow Harvey to reclaim at least a portion of his old form.