Monday, October 30, 2006

Get Glasses Alice

The title today was/is a favorite saying of my dad. I recall hearing it countless times during Jet games growing up. When I saw the end of the game yesterday, no surprise that it was the first thing to pop into my head. For as long as I can remember, when a guy made a catch inbounds while in the air, and was forced out by an opposing player, it was a catch. I don't know what rulebook the ref's and field judges were looking at yesterday, or what play, but that was a catch, pure and simple.

The phrase actually fits for the Jets as a whole this season. Looking at a 4-3 team before yesterday, you would think they were pretty good. But donning the glasses would allow you to uncover the issues. While this team is better than last year (not really hard to do when you compare Chad to Brooks Bollinger and Vinny), it has a long way to go to be a contender. The defense has holes. They cannot stop the run, a problem for a few years now. They get soft at the end of close games (yesterday they actually toughened up at the end, but that was an anomoly.) They cannot pressure the QB. Problems all around.

On the other side of the ball, Leon Washington had a couple of good games, but was missing yesterday. Chad has not thrown for a lot of yards since week 2, and had an absolute stinker yesterday. For all that has been written about the no-huddle offense of Brian Schottenheimer, they still struggle to put points on the board. This bye week comes at a good time. They need to work on the defense, and give Chad a little rest. Perhaps he is a tad tired coming off the surgery.

But I'm not going to put the blame on the offense or defense of the officials for yesterday. I blame the Browns. Not for playing better, but for throwing the Jets past in their faces. For yesterday, they inducted former Browns linebacker and Jet coach Walt Michaels into the Cleveland Browns Legends. So of course, the Jets reverted to poor offense and defense. The aura of the past infused them, and they reverted. Now, I know Michaels was an assistant in SB III, and head coach when they returned to the AFC Title game in 1982. But if you remember, they lost to AJ Duhe that day, behind a poor offense. Shortly after, he resigned, and left us the present of Joe Walton. So I blame Walt Michaels for yesterday.

Also needing glasses is Murray Chass of the NY Times. Murray had a story on free agnecy yesterday, listing a few guys. Jermaine Dye was one. Now, Murray should realize that the White Sox have an option on Dye, and wouold be monumentally stupid to not exercise it on the heels of an MVP caliber season. Murray also said Torii Hunter is a free agent, despite the Twins having picked up his option a few weeks ago. Go to LensCrafters Murray. They are waiting.

Friday, October 27, 2006

(not so) Deep Thoughts 10/27/06

Well, any hopes the Islanders had of stopping the Sabres were put to bed early, as they lost 3-0. They played OK, but once again, penalties killed them, taking 7 in all. First goal was scored on a 5-3 power play for the Sabres. Rick DP did not play poorly, considering that goal and then the last one which deflected in off of Radek Martinek. However, when the other team scores 3 goals whilst you score none, you are not going to win very often.

I see Gary Sheffield is annoyed that the Yankees might pick up his option. This differs from earlier in the season when Gary was annoyed because they had not picked up his option. Gary flip-flops more than John Kerry.

Sheff has threatened to retire if he is traded to un-named certain teams. Or, if he does report, he will just throw balls away like he did as a Brewer.

Islander Brendan Witt just took another penalty.

Tiki Barber is feuding with various media members for bashing him over his decision to retire. I'm not a Giants fan, but I love Tiki for this, as well as calling the critics "idiots". Among the people bashing Tiki saying he "quit" on the team is Michael Irvin. Irvin claims teammates are not going to listen to Tiki since he is retiring, since he would not have. If I am a Giant player, I am offended that Irvin would compare me to him. This is the same guy who was locked up for drugs how many times? And he says Barber is a distraction?

Jaromir Jagr is having a poor start to the season. Wow, it took a whole year for him to fall back into his old sulking persona.

Kevin Barlow is happy for Leon Washington (thanks Herm!) having the chance to shine. Barlow said that KB will have his chance to shine. At which point, he took out some polish and got to work on Leon's oxfords, like a good back-up should.

SI is supposed to be a serious sports publication. That being the case, why must we be subjected to weekly mails bags (blatant Sports Guy rip-off) from Jenn Sterger (noted for nothing more than a rack a stripper would be proud of). This weeks deep probes included someone asking about Halloween costumes (cause nothing is more sports oriented) and fight songs. Wow, tough topics there for Jenn. Hope she didn't strain herself there.

Stan "The Maven" Fischler has a blog. Earlier this week, he wondered how Alexei Yashin would do against the Florida Panthers last night. He did quite well, beating them on his X-Box. As for on the ice, the Isles played the Sabres. Quoth the Maven, "Oh Shit".

Islander Sean Hill just took another penalty.

Derek Jeter stated earlier this week that all is fine and dandy in the Yankee clubhouse between him and A-Rod. He also refused to confirm that he spoke to The Boss about Torre. Yep, that's leadership by The Captain, refuse to stick up for a teammate or your manager in public.

Braden Looper led "Jose Jose Jose" chants in the Cards locker room after Game 7. When asked about it the other day, he claimed they always do that. Yep, except that was usually after Reyes got a few hits helping out their fantasy baseball teams. I have a couple of words of advise for Mr. Looper. Next time the Cards visit NY, it might be wise to be "ill". If you think the booing was bad in 2005 and during the playoffs, you ain't seen nothing yet.

A few writers have opined that Jim Leyland should remove Todd Jones as closer and replace him with Joel Zumaya. Yep, that would work well.

Dirty Kenny Rogers is slated to pitch Game 6 (if necessary). Tony LaRussa will be overseeing the washing of his hands.

Breaking news, Gary Sheffield is still pissed.

When is someone going to drill David Eckstein?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hot Stove - Lineup

As threatened, here is my Hot Stove report for the lineup. While there will be changes, we should not see the wholesale changes that will impact the pitching staff.

The two obvious places for change are 2nd Base and Left Field. Starting with 2nd Base, 'Stache, you did yeomans work there this year, but the slump at the end of the year could not have happened at a worse time. While his coming back in a backup role is possible, I am not comfortable with him being the everyday 2nd baseman next season. Call me fatalistic, but I kept waiting for him to slump, and he did so, and it hurt the team. So what are the options? Anderson Hernandez? No thanks, he can't hit. Chris Woodward? Um, no. There are a few free agents out there:
Ray Durham - possible. Decent though not great glove. 35 years old. Hit 293 with 26 HR, 93 RBI, 360 OBP and 538 SLG. Struck out 61 times in 498 AB. Made 11 Errors.

Scott Spezio - aw, I'm just messing with you.

Julio Lugo - interesting. Omar has long coveted him. 30 years old. 278 ba, 12 hr, 22 doubles, 341 OBP. The doubles were down from 41 in 2004 and 36 in 2005, so he has some extra-base power, which would be nice to have in the 6, 7 or 8 slot. Maybe even in the #2 slot from time to time, though he did have 76 k's last year. Lugo was quoted earlier in the year as saying NY is intriguing, and he would be willing to play 2nd base here. Made 2 errors in 29 games at 2nd. Will be pricey.

Rich Aurilia - subject to a mutual option with the Reds, he has been mentioned in some reports linking him to the Mets. Also 35. Hit 300 in 122 games, 23 HR, 70 RBI, 349 OBP and 518 SLG. 51 k's in 440 at-bats. Drew 34 walks. Made no errors in 10 games at 2nd. Played 78 games at SS and 3rd, with 5 errors.

To me, Lugo is the best option. I like the bat, and the glove should be OK. He is not going to be cheap, but with other money coming off the books, he can be afforded.

Now, we turn our attention to Left Field, formerly patrolled by Uncle Cliffy. Cliff underwent the achilles surgery yesterday, and will be in a boot for 2 months, followed by 2 months of rehab. It is possible that he could be invited to spring training, and try to make the team from there. He would come quite cheap, and probably wind up in a platoon situation. Now, I love Cliff, I know he is a good clubhouse guy, but frankly, if he is anything more than that, I will not be happy. I would prefer a full-time replacement, or a different platoon. The age and injuries are just too much at this point.

So who can replace him. Endy Chavez? Frankly, he is best suited as a 4th outfielder. Lastings Milledge? I think he needs a tad more seasoning, and in any event, if the right deal for a starting pitcher comes up, he could go.

Free Agents are not that many. Moises Alou brings a nice bat, but is 40. He could be brought in to mentor Milledge it was reported, or even Carlos Gomez (as a late season call-up). Cliff Lee is another option, but he is reported to be going to Houston. That leaves either a trade, or the big name - Alfonso Soriano.

Now Soriano could fill either the left field or 2nd base spots. I would prefer left, as he did a good job there last year, and was never really a great 2nd baseman. We all know about the 46/41/41 (HR/doubles/steals) season. The downside is he stikes out a lot. However, him in the #6 slot behind Wright would be unbelievable. The fear is that a long term deal would lead him to be complacent. Frankly, with the other guys in the locker room, I don't see that happening. He also shares a past with Willie. Now, had you asked me a year ago, I wouldhave said no, but now, I'm saying this is a guy I would like targeted.

Some concerns exist about Carlos Delgado, as he could request a trade after being moved in a the middle of a long term deal. More than likely, he just wants his option picked up. Do it Omar. Remove the distraction.

The bench will see some changes. Chris Woodward could go, coming off labrum surgery. Castro is a FA. Anderson Hernandez could be the infielder on the bench. A 5th outfielder will be needed, and Castro may need to be replaced as well. Omar has his work cut out for him here. I expect him to do as well as he has done the last couple of years.

Feel free to share your thoughts. I'll be taking a break from the Mets for a little while. Time to focus on the Jets and Islanders (big test for them tonight against the 9-0 Sabres), so there will be more posts focused on them in the coming weeks. Once the Hot Stove really starts up, I'll be sure to post some Mets stuff.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pitching Hot Stove

Well, certain writers apparently think that the Mets are one and done. Personally, I hope this guy likes ketchup with his words, when this team makes him eat them next year.

Now, I am not naive enough to believe that it will be easy next year. The other teams will get stronger, and the Mets have pitching issues as we enter the offseason. So, as promised last week here is my take on next steps. I will start my “who should stay, who should go, who should join” series with the pitching staff. Needless to say, Steve Trachsel, need not apply.

Starters – Despite what Wally thinks, no Mets fan is thinking Oliver Perez will be the #1 starter, or should be. However, between Perez and John Maine, we have #3 and #4 starter slots filled. I for one am looking forward to seeing what Perez can do with more quality time with The Jacket. Maine gained valuable experience this year, and did quite well. I see good things from both of them going forward. Needless to say, Perez, who is arbitration eligible, should be brought back.

So, that leaves #1, #2 and #5 open. Starting with #5, we have a choice from among Pelfrey, Humber (who was just shut down for “tired arm” in winter ball), Bannister, Soler, Dave Williams (arb eligible), and perhaps Heilman, depending on how the pen shakes out. These guys are going to get shots to make the team in the spring. As #5, they will have the chance to learn on the fly, with low expectations. Personally, I think Soler should go. I did not like a lot of what I saw last season, and think there are other options. Williams should be back, but he may wind up filling Darren Oliver’s long man role, as Oliver is a FA, and odds are someone is going to offer him a nice fat deal, perhaps to start. Heilman could go in the right deal, but it is going to have to be a good one.

As for #1 and #2, well, Pedro is done until July at the earliest, so let’s not count on him. Glavine could go, though Omar is saying all the right things, and odds are Atlanta is not going to want to pay him $11 million, given their budget issues, and his age. Tom will hopefully be back, leaving #1 as the open item.

Lot’s of names for #1. Zito. Schmidt, Matsuzaka. Lets go over each.

Schmidt is 33, went 11-9 with an ERA over 3.5. He will be looking for a 4 year deal. Given his age, and drop off in the speed of his fastball, I’ll pass. I do not want to be paying him $10 m at age 37.

Matsuzaka is 26, went 17-5 with a 2.13 ERA and 200 strikeouts in Japan. Now, I know all about the Mets history with Japanese players. I do not care. Poster child Kaz Matsui would belived by many in baseball to have great talent. It just did not work. Using him as an excuse to not bid on Matsuzaka is stupid. That being said, my reason for not wanting him is money. It is estimated that in order to be able to talk contract with him, a team is going to have to pay $30 million in the posting process. Then you get to sign him. His agent is Scott Boras, so count on $7 - $10 million a year. For a Major League Rookie. If he gets the low end, you are talking about $58 million over 4 years. Just a tad too high for my liking.

We turn our sights to Barry Zito. Barry is 28. Worked with The Jacket in the past and won the CY Young award. Went 16-10 with a 3.83 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in the AL. Given the recent success of pitcher moving from the AL to the NL, this is the guy I want. He is young. He is a winner. He works well with Peterson. He could easily win 20 games with the Mets next year. Now, he is probably looking at a 4 year deal at $15+ m a year. I say $16 m and 4 years. That is $64 m, only $6 m more than Matsuzaka, and he is no rookie. Get it done Omar. I know a lot of people are down on Barry, but considering the top line alternatives, this is the guy.

As we learned this season, you can never have too many starters. We used 13 this year. So, we should add some depth. Take a look at Mark Mulder, maybe he will sign a cheap 1 year deal in the hope of a WS win and the chance to earn more with a big season coming off surgery. Look into trading for a middle of the rotation guy. If that can be done, then Maine and Perez are now 4 and 5, and the pool of #5 guys gets more seasoning in the pen or the minors. Oh, Dontrelle Willis, ain’t coming. Other teams have more chips to send Fla. way. If Omar can pull that off without giving up the entire farm, I will be stunned, and he will win Exec of the Decade. Wild Card – Victor Zambrano. It will be interesting to see if they offer arb, or non-tender him and resign him cheaper. Part of me would like to see what he can do when healthy, he had spurts where he did well. Maybe the elbow caused him to tire quickly. As for El Duque, I think he will be back, especially if Glavine does not reutrn. He did quite well after coming over from Arizona. I do worry about his age and the # of innings he could give, but he could be a good #3 alternative, or lower, and then slot as the long man in the playoffs.

The bullpen has a few guys who are free or arb eligible. Sanchez, Mota, Oliver, Feliciano, Bradford. Sanchez will be back, so will Bradford more than likely. As noted above, Oliver is probably gone. It is important that Mota be resigned, as well as Feliciano. We could see Henry Owens and Juan Padilla (coming off surgery) get long looks in the spring. We saw how important a strong pen was this year. We need it again next year, with the rotation questions.

Let me know your thoughts. I’m sure other names will pop up as the offseason silliness kicks into high gear once the World Series is over.

Later in the week – fielders and lineup next steps. It does not look good for Uncle Cliffy, sad to say.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Is there Hope in NJ and on LI?

Probably the only good thing about being an Isles fan in addition to a Met fan is that I get to hear Howie Rose during the Winter. The team last year was not good. Period. There was hope, with a few new signings, but they did not work out. Since the start of this season coincided with the Mets in the playoffs, I had not watched much hockey. The couple of times I turned it on, Jiggs MacDonald was calling the games on TV, since Howie was doing the Mets games on WFAN. Jiggs has not lost it, still calls a good game. It was nice to hear his voice, and it took me back 20 years or so, to when the Isles were a good team, year in , year out.

So far this season, things had not looked good, even with a new coach. The west coast swing to start the season bore no resemblance to the Mets west coast swing, as the Isles were awful. Then, Rick DiPietro is injured, thrusting Mike Dunham into the nets. Well, he played well in his first couple of starts, as they rebounded from a 3 game losing streak to start the season, to win against the Ducks (a favorite this season) in OT, then beating Boston at home in the opener. Then, a shootout loss to Nashville and a OT loss to Pitt. Last night, they played the Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes, and won in OT. Rick returned to the lineup, stopping 37 of 40 shots. Alexei Yashin continued his early strong play with 4 assists. Free Agent signing Mike Sillinger scored, as did Tom Poti (the skate off goal). Yashin has 11 points in 8 games, Sillinger has 4 goals, as does Jason Blake. However, penalties continue to plague the team. This is something that Nolan will be sure to focus on, as the kill has been poor to date. This team is continually being outshot, no goalie is going to last long facing 40 shots a night. I am pleased with the fact they have at least 1 point in the last 5 games, but they need to take advantage of home ice, as they are in the midst of a 7 game homestand, with 3 games left (Buffalo, which has yet to lose, Florida and Chicago). I'll be watching a bit more, now that baseball is over. Could this team, that everyone picked to finish last in the conference, gel and contend? Hey, the Rangers did last year, and they were picked last as well.

As for the Jets, again, I have not watched a lot of late. I caught a good portion of the 1st quarter today, and was very impressed with what I saw. After going 21 games without a 1st quarter TD, they put up 2. The running game was on track the first drive, behind Leon Washington (who finished with 129 yards on 20 carries). The second drive highlight was a 44 yard (40 in the air) TD pass from Chad to Justin McCareins. I think we can stop with the "Noodle Arm" Chas shit now. He may not throw the ball long on every drive, but he can do it when the play is called.
Chad did have 2 INT's today, not a great thing (one was near the end of the first half), but they won, and the running game seems to be on track, which is vital.

The concern today was the late scores the defense allowed, which follows the pattern established this season. Thankfully, it did not hurt them this time, but it did against the Colts. They need to tighten up the D late in the game, no matter how big the lead. Keep the foot on the neck.

So the Jets have a chance to be 5-3 at the bye week, as they face the Browns next week. Considering they already have tied last season's win total, that is quite a feat. Part of me is annoyed, as they lose a high draft pick, but the other part of me wants to see them surprise some people. And give the fans a nice ride, after last season's debacle.

I'll have a Mets post up later in the week, discussing who should stay, go, and join.
Feel free to comment with your thoughts.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Not What I Hoped to be Writing Today...

I wasn’t prepared to write this today. Oh, there were fleeting thoughts that they could lose, but I pushed them to the dark recesses of my mind. After seeing the rebound in Game 6, I believed we would win. I knew it. Alas, it was not meant to be.

For all the concern from all corners about the starters for Game 6 and Game 7, both young men acquitted themselves quite well. Oliver Perez was dealing last night. I think we saw the birth of our #4 or #5 starter for next season. He got in trouble, but worked out of it. Big scare in the 6th after Willie visited the mound with a runner on and Scott Rolen at the plate. Rolen, who had been getting killed by Buck and McCarver all night for not being able to turn on a fastball, turned on one, sending it towards the Cardinal Bullpen. A gasp, and then a ray of hope as Endy Chavez lept and made the Best.Catch.Ever., and then proceeded to double up Jim Edmonds. The break we had been looking for had arrived.

Then another, in the bottom of the sixth Rolen threw a ball away. The Mets would load the bases with 1 out. Things looked good. But Suppan, who pitched well again, worked out of it, getting Stache and Endy to work out of trouble.

ChadBrad worked the 7th. Aaron worked the eighth, and came back out for the ninth, Then, Yadier Molina takes Aaron deep, and it is 3-1 Cards. The Mets get runners on in the 9th. Uncle Cliffy would stride to the plate as the tying run. I had stated that he would do something positive this series. Alas, there would be no Kirk Gibson like heroics. Beltran would come up with the bases loaded. He owns Cardinal pitching. The good feeling was still there. Then, he looks at a sick curveball, going down without a swing. Game and Season of such promise, over.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and name individual scapegoats. I’m not going to kill Aaron. I’m not going to kill Billy, or David. This team wins as a team, and loses as a team. The vaunted lineup is what failed them. Allowing Jeff Weaver and Jeff Suppan to dominate you twice each in the same series is not the way to win. They hit Carpenter well, but lose to two guys who are hardly great. A young Cardinal bullpen is battered once. There is no single goat. The lost together. Nobody hit last night, or for most of the series. Guys would have one great game, or two, but there was no consistency. They failed to execute. Coming into the NLDS, few experts thought the team would get past the Dodgers, considering how hot they were coming in, and the state of the Mets rotation. They swept them. Then, the same pitching issues were there for the NLCS, but save for blowing game 2, and a poor start in game 3, the pitching did well. The bats did not come through, that is the fact. None of the big bats came through, but we also lacked an unsung hero. Where was our counter to So Taguchi, or Yadier Molina (a 216 hitter in the regular season)?

This team is set for a number of years. The young guys, Reyes and Wright, have there first playoffs under their belts. We have found two starters for next year in Perez and Maine. Filthy Sanchez will be back (arbitration eligible). Endy is arb eligible as well. Delgado will want to get back to October, Beltran will want to wash it away as well. I have faith that Omar will do what he can to get a top starter, either through Free Agency or a trade. This is not 1986, with a lot of veterans and problem children. This team will be back next year. The problems will be fixed.

I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m left with the Jets and Islanders for the next several months until pitchers and catcher report. (Now I am even sadder thinking about that.)

Next week, I’ll have thoughts on next steps. Who should be back (hint, Steve Trachsel is NOT on that list)? Who should be a trade target, or Free Agency target? For now, I want to thank the team for a great ride. It was bumpy, yes. But it was fun, the first time in 6 years I can say that. I want to thank those of you who read and comment, and those who do not comment but just read. I want to thank other bloggers, Metstradamus, Toasty Joe, the guys at Faith & Fear,, and others for making this season even more enjoyable.

I’ll post Mets thoughts throughout the off-season. I’ll also post Jets and Islanders stuff, so stop by every once in a while. I might not have something every day, but I’ll still be here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


As if there was ever any doubt?

Yeah, it looked scary in the top of the first. Johnny Maine loaded 'em up, but got out of it. Then, the good vibes began.

Lenny Dykstra, er Jose Reyes led off with a Home Run. The place began to rock. Like in Rocky 4 (thanks Danny :) ), Carpenter was shown to be a man, not a machine. He could bleed. Later, Shawn Green would add another run, and PLD would drive in 2 to make the final difference.

Was Maine perfect, no. But he got the job done. Biggest start of his career, and he came through. Made Pujols look silly. Kept Spiezio in check. Kept Eckstein in check. ChadBrad helped him out, getting a DP in the 6th to end a threat. Mota redeemed himself. Aaron pitched well. If not for Billy making things interesting, it would have been a whitewash. (note to Billy and PLD, lets call the slider a little less often, shall we?)

Tonight, the best thing in baseball, a Game 7, with the WS appearance on the line. It ain't going to be easy. Pitching for the Cards is Jeff Suppan, who shut the Mets out on Saturday. Pitching for the Mets - Everyone with a pulse. Oliver Perez, just go three, four at most and keep them close. Darren Oliver, do what you have done all year. Then, Robo, Mota, Aaron, Pedro Dos, ChadBrad, Billy. Everyone.

Bring the bats boys, we're gonna need some runs possibly. Let's put a nice number up in the bottom of the first.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

You Gotta


Who Shows Up Tonight?

This has been a season of highs (a 9-1 road trip, leading the division since game 3) and lows (insert Jose Lima start here). Last night's game was a microcosm of the season. The high came when the Mets went up 2-0 in the fourth behind Delgado, Green and 'Stache. The low started in the bottom of the fourth, as the Cards tied it when Albert Pujols woke up and hit one out, followed by Belliard driving in the tying run. Then in the bottom of the fifth, the Cards took the lead for good. Tommy Glavine just did not have his best stuff last night. He was far from awful, but he was not nearly the pitcher he had been his first two post-season starts.

Many feelings are running through my head. Anger, over the inability to hit Jeff Weaver for the second game. Sadness, that this season of promise could be over tonight. And hope.

Yes, Hope, and no, I am not off my meds. Hope because the boys are coming home. Hope because I know the fans will be behind them, giving all they have to urge the guys to give all they have. Hope because we have seen John Maine dominate at times this season, why could he not be able to do it again? Hope because the Pen is ready. Hope because I know this team is not going to go down without a fight. Hope because I know David Wright cannot continue his slump another day. Hope because I remember 1986, Mets down 3-2 to the Sox, and it did not matter.

John Maine has a chance here to be forever loved. I know, I wrote something similar prior to game 1 of the NLDS, but it holds true again. If he can give his all, and keep this team in the game, the fans will feed off of it, the players will feed off of it. David has a chance to wipe away the first 5 games of futility with a good game. These guys all know that there are no guarantees in baseball, just because they ran away with it this year does not mean it can happen again next year (ask the 87 team, or the 89 team).

Yes, you worry about the pressure getting to the young guys, and even some of the older guys. But there has been pressure for a good part of the season. Too many starting pitchers to count. The sweep in Boston. The loss of Pedro and El Duque. Tonight is a chance for the team to show the pressure means nothing. To show the pundits who are calling them dead that they are not quite dead yet. To show off that AL like lineup against Chris Carpenter. And then to show it to Jeff Suppan tomorrow.

It is OK to be worried this morning fans. But it is OK to have hope. That is the feeling I will be carrying with me today and tonight.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

(not so) Deep Thoughts

With a rainout last night, we fans get to recharge a bit after three hectic days. Lot's of questions as we go into game 5 this evening, covering all sports in NY.

1. Can Glavine pitch as well as he did the last time out, given that the Cards have seen his stuff recently?

2. Can Jeff Weaver do the same?

3. Is David Wright waking up?

4. Why does Scott Spiezio have a "happy trail" on his chin?

5. Will Steve Trachsel even get a contract offer this offseason?

6. Who the hell is Jeff Brantley to call out Trax? A career 43-46 with a 3.39 ERA and 1.3 WHIP. I could care less that he won the Rolaids award. He won it once, and was mediocre the rest of his career.

7. Steve Lyons - idiot.

8. Miami football - awful weekend for both pro teams.

9. Why the hell are St. Louis fans imitating Spiezio's happy trail? Do they really think it looks good?

10. Who will pitch game 7 for the Mets.

11. Whatever happened to "King Henrik"?

12. For that matter, whatever happened to Rick DiPietro? Oh Rick, better heal fast, Dunham is outplaying your ass.

13. Can Curtis Martin come back and make a difference for the Jets?

14. Did the Yankees play yesterday? Golf I mean.

15. Good luck in Chicago Sweet Lou. You'll need it.

16. Has the real Alexei Yashin finally shown up?

17. Seriously, what the hell is that on Spiezio's chin?

18. Why is it the Mets get victimized by the likes of Eckstein, Suppan and Taguchi?

19. Can the Mets get a Kirk Gibson moment from Uncle Cliffy?

20. Who replaces Trax in the rotation if the Mets make the World Series?

21. Let me get this straight, some people got on Met fans for leaving Friday night after Billy gave up 3 runs, but no one says boo about the "Best fans in Baseball" clearing out in the 6th on Sunday?

22. Fun Fact - the spell check on Blogger gives "tragically" as the alternative to Trachsel.

Big game tonight. If the Mets can win, a huge amount of momentum going into Shea tomorrow. The fans, already pumped for the postseason will be in full throat. No silly bats to slam against each other to make noise. We do it with our voices, hands (and the occasional Jet overhead).
As loud as Shea has been in the past, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Oh, and if you happen to be at Game 6, please refrain form booing the boys. It ain't like they are losing on purpose. Yes, Wags blew it, but it happens. All the great ones do it. It was his turn. That being said, no more Billy, OK? Thanks.

Monday, October 16, 2006

That'll Do Ollie, That'll Do...

Facing a 2-1 series deficit, thanks to poor pitching and a day off from the lineup, the Mets threw Ollie Perez last night, in the hopes of getting something resembling a quality start, while praying that the lumber would awaken and do some damage. The hopes and prayers were answered.

Now, Ollie wasn't great, allowing 3 home runs (can someone explain to me why it is that Taguchi, Suppan and Eckstein can go yard?) in 5 2/3. However, he did limit the damage, allowing the bats to wake up and pound on the Cards. Chad Bradford, Pedro Dos and Mota finished it up, allowing no further damage. So the pen should be in good shape for Glavine's start, either tonight or tomorrow (it is already raining in STL, so we may have another rainout today.) After the pen spit the bit on Friday, it was nice to see Darren Oliver do a fantastic job Saturday, and the aforementioned trio get it done last night. Rehab is complete (speaking of rehab, El Duque had a promising side session yesterday. If we can make the WS, perhaps he can go?)

But the story of the night was the bats. After suffering some A-Rod comparisons, The Prince went yard, giving the Mets a 2-1 lead. His home run came one out after Beltran hit the first of 2 for the night (boy, does he own the Cards or what?) Beltran went 3-3 with 2 walks, getting on base all 5 times at bat. 'Stache got into it with a triple, scoring 3, Green had 2 hits. Everybody Hits was the rallying cry it appears.

But the story is the NY corner infielder who actually performs come playoff time. Carlos Delgado (is there anyone left who really wants Mike Jacobs back?) was huge, again. Delgado went 2-4 with 5 RBI. A three run HR, a ground rule double (oh, and both went to left field). Fire seemed to ooze out of him. The man is on a mission to carry this team. Should he keep it up, we could be playing Saturday.

On the other side, Larussa went to the pen early, and it cost him. They had done a great job in the playoffs until last night, when they imploded. The only guy who looked good was Looper, who went 3, giving up only a Beltran blast. Otherwise, the Card pen was treated like rented mules.

Next up, Glavine vs Weaver. Over on cardinalsdiaspora, a commenter noted that Larussa will figure out Glavine. Well, he might, but here is the question, will the Cards lineup? Oh, and do you really think the Mets lineup won't figure out Weaver? Cuts both ways guys. Of course, rain today could cause Larussa to bring Carpenter back tomorrow on short rest. Then again, he is not Mike (Scuffy) Scott.

Best of 3. I'm sticking to my 6 game Met win.

Let's get it on!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I can sum up the last 2 games in 1 word...


The pen shit the bed Friday. Trax and the offense shit it (shat it?) last night.

Tonight, Ollie Perez v Reyes. Let's hope our Reyes stays hot, and that it rubs off on the 3rd baseman.
I want runs galore put up by the Mets. I want a bunch in the first, and no let up. Burn out their pen, so Monday, once we smack Weaver around, there is nothing to replace him.

I'm not gonna sit here and say they are done, unlike those on ESPN and WFAN. There is way too much talent in the lineup. There is way too much hunger. Too many guys who have not been there, and a couple who have yet did not get the ring. Ian O'conner in the Journal News said they look like the Yanks. That insult should be in the locker room today.

Show the testicular fortitude guys. Show up tonight, early. Remind people who the beast's of the NL were this year.

"It ain't over til its over." - Yogi

Kick some ass boys. This series will be back at Shea.

Friday, October 13, 2006

That's 1!

Thanks for the birthday gift guys.

We saw a great game last night. Jeff Weaver tried to pull a Kenny Rogers on the Mets, pitching quite well until the 6th. Two quick outs were followed by PLD singling, bringing up Carlos Uno. A few nice pitches by Weaver, Beltran hanging in. Then, Molina sets up outside, and Weaver decides now is the time to slip back to a few years back, the last time he pitched in NY, and stays inside. Carlos said "Thanks for that" and hit an absolute BOMB off the scoreboard. It was one of those no-doubters, as soon as he hit it, you knew it was gone. The bench went nuts, as you could see Wright jump up as soon as Carlos made contact. It may have been the only highlight of the evening for the offense, but it was all that was needed, thanks to some excellent defense, and one Tom Glavine.

As bad as I feel for Uncle Cliffy, there is no chance he get to the ball in the fifth. Endy is something special to see in the field, and can do some nice things at the plate as well. To think that at the start of the season, many fans wondered why he was here over Tike Redmon, or even Victor Diaz. David Wright made a couple of nice plays as well. Then there is Beltran. Now, we all know Carlos plays deep, and some worry about that. Last night, a fly to shallow center, and Carlos gets on his horse (that quad is apparently healed, thankfully) and makes a nice grab. Pujols was running, and Carlos was able to double him off. All were key plays to help the team. Great defense helps in tight games, and last night was a nailbiter.

I cannot say enough about the job Tom Glavine has done in the postseason so far. In the NLDS, he pitched Game 2, going 6 innings of 4 hit ball, as the Mets overcame the great Kuo (dripping sarcasm). Last night, Game 1, with the team knowing they face probable Cy-Young Winner Chris Carpenter tonight, and Tommy gets it done again, 7 innings, 4 hits, 2 walks, and no damage by Pujols. He kept the Cards off balance all night, including a big strikeout of Pujols in the 1st inning, setting a good tone for the crowd. Going seven allowed Willie to conserve the pen. Mota pitched and uneventful 8th, and Wagner a similar 9th. All seemed to be on, which is key at this point. End result, a 2-0 win, a Mets lead in the series, and happiness amongst the fan base.

Tonight, another 8:19 start. John Maine looks to build on his last outing against Chris Carpenter. Carpenter is good, no doubt, but as Jessica pointed out the other day, he is not exactly dominant against the good teams, and did not face the Mets this season. We shall see. Hopefully the bats will awaken tonight. It is possible, nee, probable that more than 2 runs will be needed tonight. Johnny, you are on the spot again tonight. Let's go up 2-0 as we head to St. Louis.

Oh, and Mookie, despite your switching of allegiance to the Cards due to your son playing for them, I still love ya.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This Date in History

October 12, 1492 - Columbus discovers "America". Actually the West Indies, but big deal, he got here didn't he?

10/12/69 - Mets win Game 2 of the 1969 World Series. Oh, and a boy who would later grow up to be this blogger is born.

10/12/73 - No Met game.

10/12/86 - Met's lose Game 4 of the NLCS 3-1 to Mike (Scuffy) Scott. Your very own Ed in Westchester was there. Sadly.

10/12/99 - Mets lose Game 1 of NLCS to the Braves 4-2.

10/12/00 - Mets win Game 2 of NLCS over the Cards 6-5.

10/12/06 - Mets face Cardinals in Game 1 of NLCS. Result - ????

After last night's rainout, Game 1 of the NLCS will be played tonight. Weather looks to be OK, so that should not get in the way. Glavine vs. Weaver is still the matchup. Larussa is not changing his rotation, so Carpenter will not start until Game 3, Saturday in St. Louis. Home crowd in his corner is seen as a plus. We shall see how that plays out.

I still have my concerns over this series. If the bats are awake for the Mets, they should be able to take it, but in a 7 game series, you never know what can happen. The Cards could get excellent starts from their rotation. Their pen could step up. Their lineup could explode.

It is not easy being a Met fan. Rarely has the team entered the playoffs with a both good offense and pitching, 1986 may be the only exception. In 2000, the starters were good while the lineup had issues. This time around, the roles are reversed. As I wrote yesterday, the pen is the key. If they can dominate as they did during the year, and the starters can give quality starts, the Mets should take this series in 6. I stand by that prediction. I still see Uncle Cliffy having a positive impact. He hit well in the last series. Wright was hitting. PLD and Delgado hit. If we can get Beltran, 'Stache and Green and Reyes going, this will be a fun series for us fans. AM I worried about 5 games without a day off, a little, but it impacts the Cards the same. They have rotation issues after Carpenter as the Mets have after Glavine. Whoever has the other starters step up will win. We have seen Maine pitch well, as well as Trax. Perez has the potential as well. They can do this. I will enjoy the ride.

I'm hoping for a win for my birthday. How about it guys?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sad News

It is being reported that Cory Lidle, most recently of the Yankees, who started his career with the Mets in 1997 died today when his plane crashed into an Upper East Side apartment building.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Lidle family and his friends in this sad time.

NLCS Preview

Before I get to the preview, I'm going to get on my soapbox about something that has annoyed the living shit out of me for a few days now, that being, the Mets place in NYC. No, I'm not talking about the wall to wall coverage of "Will George Fire Joe" in all the papers, or even the ESPN week-long special on "What happened to the Yankees". No, what I am talking about is the perception of this team among fans in the city.

I'm sick and tired of reading stories about how the Mets can now take over the city. I have news for the media, the Mets drew over 3.5 million fans this year. Ratings on SNY are higher than they ever were on MSG/FSNY. Merchandise sales are up. In other words, there already is a good portion of this city that loves our Mets. We have been there all along, and will continue to do so. What I do not want, and what most Met fans do not want are Yankee fans who switch allegiance to the Mets. No true fan of the Yankees would do that, as no true Met fan would root for the Yankees (despite Larry Jones' comments to the contrary a few years ago. How's your golf game Larry?)

Yes, of course there will be the casual baseball fan who has no vested interest in either team for the most part who might now tilt towards the Mets now that they are still playing while the Yankees are not, that is normal. But do not sit there and write stories that the Mets can take over the city. We do not want to. We do not want bandwagon fans. The true fan has suffered through the Art Howe Error. We suffered through Dallas Green. We lived through Joe Torre and George Bamberger. We lived with Buddy Harrelson. We enjoyed Davey and Bobby, and are enjoying Willie. We will be here even if the team loses in this round, and we will not be looking for a new manager, or to trade a Hall of Famer. We are Met fans, and we are Proud of that.

On to the Preview.

Interesting matchup. The Cards slumped coming into the playoffs, barely hanging on and holding off the Reds and Astros. However, once the playoffs began, they resumed playing good ball, beating the Padres (sorry Mike's) 3-1. The keys for the Mets, and obviously, this is not rocket science, will be keeping Eckstein off the bases, and holding Pujols in check. Edmonds is playing hurt, as is Rolen. Both remain dangerous, but their bread is buttered by Eckstein and Pujols.

The Cardinals of course want to neutralize Reyes and Delgado. The problem is that even if they do that, they still have to deal with PLD and Wright. A key for the Mets will be Valentin warming up again. He had a poor NLDS, so a bounce back performance is a must, especially with Uncle Cliffy possibly not being on the roster, and even if he is, available for pinch-hitting duties only for the most part. A wounded Carlos Beltran is still dangerous, as he can still move runners along, and work walks, as he did in the NLDS. So in the end, the lineup favors the Mets.

Pitching will be the deciding factor here. The Cards are throwing Jeff Weaver tonight. Now, before we get all happy about them throwing a guy who was released by the Angels this season, and failed in NY as a Yankee, I'm concerned he may channel Kenny Rogers from last Saturday and try for some NY payback. That is a slight concern though. Jeff Suppan goes tomorrow night, followed by Chris Carpenter. Their pen is missing Izzy, who has been replaced by Wainwright. Looper is still there, not closing however. The Cards do have a couple of lefties in the pen, but none in the starting rotation. Hopefully, leftitis is a thing of the past. The Cards do have Tony Larussa, a self-proclaimed genius, who always seems to overmanage at this time of year. He is a winner, so he could be a deciding factor here.

The Mets will counter with Glavine tonight, hoping he can emulate what he did in Game 2 of the NLDS, followed by Maine and Trax. For Game 4, since Kukla and Fran were not available, we get Ollie. So again, the hope for the Mets is to get 5 or 6 serviceable innings out of the starters, and then bring in the bullpen. This is the recipe used all season long, and it led to 97 regular season wins, and a sweep in the NLDS.

So, a potentially good series awaits us. I have my concerns about the starters, and some parts of the lineup, but I have faith. Mets in 6.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Islanders Preview

Momentary diversion while we await the start of the NLCS. Time for the Isles Season Preview. Yes, it is a week late, but then again, the Isles have forgotten the season started as well, so no big deal.

After an offseason of turmoil, two General Managers, the hiring and resignation of Pat LaFontaine, numerous free agent signings (some of which were good, others, not so much) and the record 15 year deal given to Rick Dipietro, the Isles began play last week. Looked just like the start of last year. Let's take a look at each group, shall we:

Above any other position, this is the one that will determine how high or low this team will go. On the heels of an Olympics starting appearance, and a good 2nd half of last season, Rick DiPietro signed a 15 year $67.5 million contract, making him goalie for life. As we all know, Rick was the #1 overall pick a few years back, replacing Roberto Luongo (who is now on his second team since the trade to the Panthers). Is Rick an elite goalie right now, no. Is he good with the potential to be great, yes. He has the skills, and when he is on, can take over a game, as he did many times in the second half. He outplayed Martin Brodeur several times last year. The problem with Rick is that he is up and down. He claimed at one point last year he loses focus when he plays too many games in a row. Rick, you are the man now, no more excuses, you will be playing 70 games. Time to step up and show Wang that he was right to have faith in you.
Rick is backed up by Mike Dunham. Nothing special there, he will only need to start a handful of times, and come in for Ricky during blowouts.

The Isles have for years had highly rated defensemen come in and proceed to fail to live up to expectations. A few years back, the defense boasted Kenny Jonnson, Adrian Aucoin, Roman Hamrlik among others, and we all felt this was a great group. The problem was that while they were all good, they all played the same game, and there were no hitters in the bunch. All are now gone. Last year Milbury brought in Brent Sopel and Brad Lukowick who both were traded before the end of the season.
This season, Alexei Zhitnik returns, along with Chris Campoli, Joel Bouchard and Radek Martinek. Bruno Gervais is on the team while Campoli nurses an injury. Added to the group were Sean Hill, Tom Poti (?) and Brendan Witt. Witt is a hitter, so this was a good add. Hill has not looked good so far. Poti is awful. I hated this signing when it was announced, and I still hate it.
So the defense no longer boasts big names. They need to keep the pressure off of Rick. Right now, I am not confident they can do so. Hill and Poti are frankly not very good, Campoli is young, as is Gervais. Martinek is OK at best.
It could be a long season for Rick if this group does not gel quickly.

Yashin is still here. He is the guy being counted on to carry this team. To date, he has not shown the ability to make those around him better. When you are paid $7 million a year, you better be able to do that if you are not putting 100 points up on the board a season. This is (hopefully) his last chance. If he fails again, he better be bought out.
Returnees include Trent Hunter (who had a poor sophomore season), Mike York (better 2nd half than 1st), Blake and Bates (both of whom are overhyped), and Satan, who hopefully called his namesake to cut a deal to get this team to improve.
Newcomers include Andy Hilbert, and Richard Park (WTF?), Mike Sillinger (on his 12th team for pete's sake), Victor Kozlov (this years Oleg Kvasha, lots of talent, never lived up to it) Chris Simon (I thought he had retired) and Jeff Tambellini (son of Steve). Tambellini had a nice camp, hopefully he can live up to his first round draft status. Oh, and Aaron Asham is back, whoopee.

Ted Nolan is back in the NHL. A lot was said about how he will be good for this team, as the new NHL is an attacking style. Also, Ted is a disciplinarian. Well, game 1 saw 12 penalties and poor play. Not a good start. I do like the hire though, and expect to see improvement.
Garth Snow is the GM. Very few of the players were brought in by him, so a grade on him will be reserved until his first trade and after next offseason.
Wang is a meshuganah. I love the fact that he bought the team and kept it here and is trying to redo the Coliseum, but he still allows Milbury to hang around. And Yahsin. Need to see some improvement here.

Well, pretty much every publication has the Isles in last place this year. This is either going to be excellent Bulletin Board material (Could you see them with a cut out of Larry Brooks ala Major League), or a prediction out of Nostradamus.
Sadly, I do not see this team in the playoffs. I think the defense is poor, leading to a shelled Rick. The offense will struggle to score (Jason Blake shoots way too much and misses the net more than Reijo Ruotsalainen) again. All this adds up to a last place Atlantic finish, and 13th in the conference (Atlanta and Toronto behind them) I fear. If Rick is able to morph into the best goalie in the NHL, then they might have a shot. I just don't think that is going to happen yet.

Tomorrow - Metsies Metsies Metsies.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Stage 1 Complete

Well, I did not get my trifecta on Saturday. Oh, the Yanks and Mets lived up to their end of the bargain, but my Islanders decided to not score any goals, while Rick DiPietro decided to let in only 2 (bringing his GAA down to 4, hey Rick, that ain't gonna get it done son.)

What can I say about the Mets that hasn't already been said here or elsewhere. They were given little to no chance to win this series once El Duque went down. They did not listen to the experts though, and proceeded to sweep the Brooklyn Dodgers of Los Angeles. Little threw a lefty at them, no problem. We started John Maine in the opener, no problem. Trax pitched game 3 and the pen leaked a bit, no problem. Greg Maddux, a former torturer as a Braves was thrown at us, and he was hit. They got the job done.

Hats off to PLD and Shawn Green. They took out their frustrations of being traded by the Dodger, PLD having a very good series, and Green having a good game 3. Uncle Cliffy did well, until he tweaked his achilles again. If the last play for Cliffy as a Met is him motoring home for a run and hurting himself, that is a nice way to go out, giving your all for your team. David Wright went 4 for 12 with a few RBI. Jose Jose Jose warmed up in game 3 as well. Beltran did not hit much, but got a few key walks. Mota pitched 2 scoreless innings, and Heilman 1. Wags did the job in the last two games with nary a Tums needed.

So it is on to the NLCS. The Cardinals come to town on Wednesday. Interesting match up, as neither team has a great rotation. The Mets have the edge in the pen, but the Cardinals have Pujols. I have a good feeling about this.

Now, I'm not going to gloat over the Yanks (OK, maybe a little bit). They and their fans understimated the Tigers. Yes, they slumped in September, but so did the White Sox last year. The Tigers have an impressive pitching staff, a lot of youth and a lot of speed. They also have Kenny Rogers, who apparently made a deal with the Devil to allow him to beat the Yanks.

Typically, Yankee fans and the media and George are pointing fingers. They are all pointing at Joe Torre. Now, I personally think Joe is a tad overrated, but this is not his fault. He did not trade for the Big Eunuch. He did not sign Jaret Wright. He did not take away the ability to hit from ARod, Sheffield, Giambi et al. He is getting hit for plugging Sheffield in at first (who was supposed to play their, Craig Wilson?) and for taking Melky Cabrera out for Matsui. Now, call me crazy, but how do you not start those bats?

In my book, a lot of the fault lies with one man, who will never see a finger pointed at him, and that is Hitting Coach Don Mattingly. Now, I've ripped Rick Down here, as I feel the hitting coach needs to work with slumping guys. Don should have been working with ARod a lot this year. He shold have worked with Giambalco as well. That is the hitting coaches' job. When the Yanks were dominant, they waited pitchers out, and drew a lot of walks, or tired the starter and got to the pen. They do not do that as much any more. That is the problem.

Cashman and George get some blame as well. Cashman signed Wright. George singed Sheff. George wanted the Big Eunuch. Well, he got them, and they did nothing for the team. The players who have been there, Jeter, Rivera, Posada, were all drafted and groomed by the Yankees. Outside of Wang and Cabrera, who have they brought in in the last 5 - 7 years? No one. Time to groom again, and stop signing big name players. The Rangers tried this after they won the Cup in 1994, and it did not work. It is not working for the Yanks now.

I did not watch the Jets for more than 5 minutes yesterday. Apparently, all I missed was the defense getting shredded and Chad tossing 3 balls to the other team. A shutout? I would not want to be on the practice field this week.

That's all for today. See you tomorrow.

Let's Go Mets!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Yankees Lose!


Best lineup ever


No doubt they are making the World Series


I mean, it's just so perfect


Oh George, no World Series for you. Come back, one year.

1/3 of the trifecta to make today a perfect day is done.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Take 2

So Tommy Glavine comes up big. Memo to Fox and ESPN, yes Kuo is a lefty, and he did shut out the Mets in September, but you all seemed to forget that the guy the Mets were pitching wasn't a chump. He does have 290 career wins after all.

We needed Glavine to do well last night. Had he lost, the good feelings from Wednesday would have dissapated. The jackels on ESPN and Fox would have been circling. His Pompousness and the Hyena would have had a field day. I wonder if Tommy was a might pissed over the lack of respect he was accorded coming into the game. If he was, he showed them all what he was made of. This is the Tom Glavine we wanted when he was signed. This is the one we got, when it was needed.

After using the long ball Wednesday, the boys showed they can play small ball as well. Mike's favorites player, Endy Chavez drops a beautiful bunt and would later score. He also had a nice single later on in the 5th. PLD had a sac fly. Jose Jose Jose had a hit, a walk and 2 RBI. Wright had another hit. Nothing powerful, but they got 4 runs.

I cannot say enough good things about the pen. Pedro Dos pitches one shutout inning. Heilman, despite giving up a HR, looked good as well. Wags was on, no Tums needed last night.

The Dodgers helped of course, with a wild pitch, an error and generally poor fundamentals. Little gambled, starting Kuo, and failing to pull him when the Mets started to rattle him. Hmm, where have we seen that before?

So to all the experts who so quickly jumped off the bandwagon, STAY THE HELL OFF! I do not want to hear any of you trying to revise history. I do not want to hear any of you trying to pump the Mets up. You thought they had no chance, and you were wrong. I'm trying to not get so annoyed about this, and enjoy the WINS. I am enjoying the WINS, and am enjoying seeing all these guys look stupid. So I win both ways.

Tomorrow, Trax vs. Maddux. Of course, given their respective careers, Maddux will be favored. Fine. Be that way. Trax will do what he always does, pitch well enough to keep the team in the game. Maddux is not the same pitcher he was. Remember, he goes 5 or 6, then the Dodger pen comes in. Nothing scary there.

Oh, and George S, after seeing how your team played yesterday, you should be a little more concerned with how they look, as opposed to how the Mets look.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

No Respect

On the heels of being relegated by ESPN to the afternoon slot yesterday, comes the gems of wisdom I saw earlier today prior to the Yankee game, as Eric Byrnes, Peter Gammons and a couple of other guys gave their predictions for tonight. No surprise that 3 of the 4 people said the Dodgers would win.

Byrnes takes the cake. He said if not for the DP at the plate, the Dodgers would have won 7-6. Um, Eric, do you really think that if the Mets were down a couple in the 6th that Willie STILL would have had Mota hit with the bases loaded? You may be a good ball player, but not a very good analyst.

Gammons said he likes Kuo's stuff. Byrnes said he did not think the Shea crowd would get to Kuo. First Gammons, Peter, what about Glavine, the 40 year old 290 game winner? You think he is going to be outpitched by some rookie? Eric, you think a rookie is not going to be affected by 57,000 screaming mad lunatic Met fans? You wanna rethink that there buddy?

So, once again, we are the underdog. There is no respect for the lineup. There is no respect for Glavine. Stick it to them boys. Hard.

Next, we get to my old friend, Wally Matthews. Wally decided to take on Willie today. The column was titled "Manage to win despite Randolph". He started by saying it took WIllie 12 years to manage his first playoff game. Wally, since he has only been a manager for 2 years, you mighht want to rethink your math. Then, he said it took Willie two hours to nearly manage his team out of it. Then he bashed to decision to pull Maine in the 5th, citing the fact he had only thrown 80 pitches. Wally, in the game I watched, Maine was in trouble. He also cited the fact Mota was allowed to hit, tying it to the decision to pull Maine early.

Now, this is not as bad as the other hit jobs Wally has put out there, but it still stinks. The day after the Mets, despite all the experts saying they would lose game 1, win the damn game, this guy has to write a column saying Willie almost lost it for them. No Wally, they did not almost lose, they WON. Almost doesn't count, except in horseshoes and hand grenades. Had they lost, yeah, Willie would have looked bad batting Mota, but they did not. The choice worked. Yet he still gets hit. Had he not pulled Maine, and he gave up a run or runs, Willie would have been blmaed for that. They won because Willie wrote out the lineup, putting in Floyd, despite his struggles, going to Maine to start, and relying on his pen to get the Win.

Of course, tomorrow Wally will write a fluff piece on the Mets, since that is what he usually does after bashing them or a single player. Fans of the team are going to start taking all of his columns with a grain of salt.

Show Wally how wrong he is too guys. Let's hang another W on the board tonight.

We're Not Quite Dead Yet...

You know, I've sort of taken pains to not use the "we" when discussing the Mets, not wanting to sound like a Yankee fan. But after reading this excellent post by the guys at Faith & Fear, pains now more.

So, to quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail (classic movie, a must see)

"We're Not Quite Dead Yet".

Yes, there is concern now that Duque joined Pedro on the DL. But as I wrote the other day, this team was built around an enhanced bullpen. Get the starters to go 5 or 6, then hand the ball over.

Thanks to ESPN, the game started at 4:09. Thanks to the wonders of DVR, I was able to record the game and watch it when I got home. By the way, ESPN Gamecast - sucks. Froze so many times yesterday, I missed the double play and action in the ninth. They have to fix this and quick. No excuse for screwing up in the playoffs guys.

Willie sent Maine out against the Dodgers, the team that all the experts predicted would treat the Mets like trash. Maine wasn't great, but he got the job done, 4 1/3, giving up 1 run. Nice first inning, you could see him exhale after striking out Lofton, like he was saying to himself "I can do this". Ran into a little trouble in the 5th, but the pen did its job, Pedro Dos got Lofton swinging with 2 on, then Chad Bradford got Nomar.

The highlights of the game were many. First, the double play at home. For all the talk of the ghosts at Yankee Stadium, it looks like the ghost of Timo Perez possessed Jeff Kent there. Why else would he hold up? Valentin made a perfect relay, PLD made a great tag, and then noticed by looking at the ump that something was going on, turns around, and tags out JD Drew. Let's not overlook the play Shawn Green made. He played the bounce perfectly, and made a great throw to Valentin.

Do you think Carlos Delgado enjoyed his first Playoff game yesterday? Four for Five, with a long ass homerun, hitting the top of the camera stanchion in Center. Methinks he is hot. David Wright did his part, driving in 3, including the difference maker. And what can I say about Uncle Cliffy. Did I not write he would have an impact? I did, and he did. How sweet was it for him to drive that ball?

Willie acquitted himself quite well in his first playoff game as manager as well. Taking out Maine was the right move. Leaving in Mota was as well, even though he gave up 3 runs. I would rather he go 2 than Aaron Heilman, especially with Glavine going today. This is going to be a series decided by the pen. Wags made things interesting, but in the end, they got the Win, that is the bottom line.

Comments on the broadcast -

Why on earth was Tim Robbins in the booth?

Why on Earth was Steve Phillips assigned to the game? We know you were the GM in 2000 Steve, we also know you sucked at your job, hence your new one.

Joe Morgan was going to cover both the Met and Yankee games. Big deal. He still sucks.

Speaking of propaganda, we got lots of Dodgers info between the top and bottom of the first instead of commercials. However, instead of the pre-game introductions, we got 5 minutes of commercials. I remember the days when the intro's were broadcast. Lets go back to that TV guys, OK?

Speaking of commercials, the Bud Light ad with the 6 pack rigged with a dye pack - very funny.
The Derek Jeter Spike Lee Ford Commercial - not so much.
The Derek Jeter Movado ad "Humanitarian, Leader, Athlete" has ensured that I will not by a Movado watch.

Thorne raving about Furcal having an MVP type season. No similar plaudit for Reyes, who had better numbers in EVERY CATEGORY. Gary, you used to cover the Mets, but you have been infected by ESPN (Extremely Sucky Programming Network). You are done.

Note to fans, if a Met is going after a foul ball in the stands, MOVE OUT OF THE F'IN WAY. Delgado went for a pop foul, and people tried to get the ball. Do you not remember Bartman in Chicago? MOVE you numbskulls. If it is an opponent, go for it, but for a Met, MOVE!

Normally I would be annoyed over seeing a Yankee replay, but the use of the Dale Berra Bobby Meacham replay of their similar DP at home gave me a warm fuzzy.


Game 2 tonight. Kuo vs. Glavine. Kuo is a lefty S.U.C.K.M.E., who shut the Mets down last month at Shea. Methinks the boys will be looking for some revenge. David is hot right now. Delgado is as well. Endy will probably start over Uncle Cliffy, especially since we got some rain last night, so the field may be a little wet (not sure on this factor, but it might have an impact).

This is the game the Mets signed Glavine for. Game 2 of a playoff series. A chance to put the other team in a 2-0 hole. Tom, get out there, and show all these experts who do not like your stuff in the playoffs that you can get the job done. You have been "on" since the clot scare. Keep it up.

We have a chance to put the Dodger down 2. Let's get it done.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Maine is the Man

The Mets announced that John Maine will start today.

El Duque is out for this series, and possibly the playoffs with a torn calf.

John, it's your time now. Show us what you got.
Show Anna Benson that her husband could not carry your jock.
Show ESPN and the rest of the media that you have what it takes.
Show the skills that Omar saw when he insisted on you in the Benson trade.
Make us proud.

Who's the Man?

Who is the man today? Who will rise to the occasion and pitch the Mets to victory in game 1. Since news broke yesterday of El Duque's injury, Met fans have been even more nervous than usual. The media of course now has more reason to write this team off. Bulletin board material boys. A lot better than asinine signs hung on rookie's lockers.

Willie has a tough decision today. Word is that Oliver Perez was added to the roster, so he may be the game 4 starter, or a long man out of the pen. No chance he starts today, as he went Sunday. The easy answer of course is John Maine. He is on his scheduled rest. He has done well this season on short notice starts (a shutout). He is prone to the long ball, but Shea in October is a little more forgiving than Shea in August. Plus, the Dodgers do not have a lot of power hitters.

This morning, I see on the back page of Newsday that El Duque says he can go. Will Duque be the Mets Willis Reed? Their Kirk Gibson? Will he walk the walk from the pen and go 5 or 6, holding the Dodgers in check? The injury is to his push off leg, so there is concern that it could go on any pitch. However, it's not like he is a hard thrower, so he does not need that much power from his legs. We shall see. Darren Oliver could come in if he falters, and he has done that job well many times this season.

It is a tough choice. No matter who goes, one thing is certain, the bats must get to Lowe early and often. If they can picture that Trax is pitching, and it is July, they can get it done.

I'm back from the ledge. I am worried, but not overly so. Whatever happens, happens. Will I regret it if they do not make the series, sure. But if they do make it, it will be that much sweeter in face of the odds.

Win for the Gimpies!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more...

This is starting to get silly.

Now El Duque is down. Apparently, he pulled his calf. Willie tried to put a good face on it, saying it might be a cramp, but Duque told Newsday he pulled it while running.

Note to Omar - get a new training staff. Way too many leg injuries this year. These guys are not stretching well. Pedro, Duque, Beltran, Bannister all had leg issues.

So where does that leave the Mets? Trax is apparently still attending to family business, so he is not an option for game 1. Glavine hates short rest, so he is not an option. John Maine, come on down!

Considering Pedro as the example, I would not look for Duque in the first round, if at all. So that leaves the question, who is the other starter. Glavine and Trax and Maine and pray for Rain? Is it Oliver Perez? Is it Brian Bannister? We know it will not be Lima Time! At least we have that going for us.

Memo to Trax. Steve, I don't know what is going on with your personal business, but I hope you take care of it fast and get back to NY in the right frame of mind to pitch. Your team and its fans need you.

To quote a great Pixar movie:
It is my considered opinion that now is the time to PANIC!!!!
(monsters inc., remember, I have young kids)

Pedro I sort of expected in the back of my mind that he would not make it.
Duque worries me because this is now 2 starters out. And he was a vital cog.
What did we do to piss off the baseball gods so much?

Who will be the Mets Mr. October?

The regular season is now over. All that was accomplished, as a team and as individuals is wiped clean. All the playoff teams are in the same place, they are 0-0 and all have pluses and minuses as we start the most important time of the year, the playoffs. The Dodgers come in extremely hot, winning their last 7. The Mets, after floundering for a couple of weeks, finished up winning 4 in a row. The last time these two teams squared off in the playoffs, 1988, saw the Mets come in as the dominant team, and having destroyed the Dodgers in the regular season, only to have the Dodgers win the series. All that is in the past, what matters now is the present (though it would be nice to wipe that loss from the collective Mets fan memory bank). So how can they do it? How can the Mets defy the expectations of most pundits and actually win this series? I mean, they have been all but left for dead after the news about Pedro not being available hit the airwaves.

Remember fans (and pundits), this team was without Pedro for most of the season. This team was built around something that harmed them in the 2005 season, the bullpen. Out with Looper, in with Wagner. Out with Roberto Hernandez, in with Duaner Sanchez. Jorge Julio traded, in comes Guillermo Mota. Aaron Heilman, MIA for the 1st half, found himself in the second half. Mets starters rarely went deep, it was up to the pen, the aforementioned parts, as well as Darren Oliver, Pedro Feliciano, Chad Bradford to hold the fort. Look at the starters, Bannister gets a nod, he goes down. Victor Zambrano is still around, he gets hurt. Jose Lima makes a few starts. Pedro misses significant time. Glavine misses time. Filthy gets hurt. It went on and on. So what happened? The Mets won 97 games, a fact conveniently forgotten by those who (do not) know. I'll put this bullpen up against any out there.

Yes, the starters are not dominant. Glavine and Duque are old, and I have concerns about Duque on short rest. At the end of the day, these guys live for the big game. Trax, high on the Tums meter, was the guy who won the clincher. He was the guy, who when Pedro and Glavine were ailing or not winning, continued to win. It wasn't pretty, but he got the job done. John Maine is the key. The fireballer needs to pitch well, for his own sake, as well as those of the fans. He is pitching for a spot next year, and more importantly, for the team's playoff hopes. Who among this group will be the Bobby Ojeda of the staff? (yes, I know I wrote this last week, but it still fits). Who is going to step up and get the job done. With all that has been written about Duque's age and Glavine's and Trax's WHIP and Maine's youth, and the loss of Pedro, I expect these guys will be looking to prove people wrong.

For the offense, we have seen what Beltran can do when he gets hot, this year and in 2004 while in Houston. Is there someone else here who wants to do the same? Will Wright step up and announce his presence as he did at the All-Star Game? Will Reyes' speed scare someone into pulling a Buckner? Can Delgado go the other way against the shift? Who will be Ray Knight, the unheralded guy who comes up with the key hit? Valentin? PLD? Or maybe Uncle Cliff can make us remember when he was not hobbling around and come up with some key hits.

As for the Dodgers, this is a dangerous team. The lineup, while not powerful, is good, hitting well, and doing the little things. Their bullpen is OK, and Saito stepped in well for Gagne. I ask, where is the wonder about how he will fare in the playoffs? This is his first time after all. We've all read about how this is the first time for many Mets, shouldn't the same be true for the Dodgers? Maddux is good, no doubt, but the Mets have had success against him the past couple of years. Penny is injured. Lowe is good, no doubt, but not scary good. Of course, Little threw Kuo, a lefty, out there for game 2. Here's hoping this works out as well as his decision to leave Pedro in a few years back.

Who will be Mr. October? For my part, on the pitching side, I say Trax. Game 3 will be key, no matter what. I think he will step up in a big way. It has happened before to back-end rotation guys.

From the offense, I see Wright, as well as Floyd. David will do his normal quiet assassin work, while Cliff, who knows this may be his last stretch in NY, if not as an active player, will want to go out on a high. He will have a key hit at some point, and I feel a key play in the field from him as well. He's seen the stories about how he should not start.

Part of me wants this series to go 5, as I have a ticket thanks to a longtime friend. However, fear that my heart could not take it, and my feeling that this team is poised to send a message leads me to think the Mets take this in 4.

Monday, October 02, 2006

What a Weekend

JETS Quick Hits

Mike said...
Ed-How bad did that one hurt yesterday?

About as bad as a kick in the testes. I'm sitting there watching the Jets, happy that they are hanging with the Colts (you do this when expectations are low) and feel the first kick to the jimmy when Chad throws his first interception in the red zone in 120 plays. I will not castigate Mangini for the call, it was the right one, Peyton is too good to pass up the opportunity to put 7 on the board. Nonetheless, it hurt.

The next kick came on the "pass interference" call against Justin Miller. Now, I usually do not blame the refs, but in this case, the call was AWFUL. You can see Wayne pushing off of Miller first. I saw it, 80k fans in the stadium saw it, the TV audience saw it. At the least, it should have been offsetting calls.

Now, I'm not gonna say I can see the future like this guy, but right after the Colts scored, I said to myself, OK Justin, run the goddamn kick back. And he did. The place goes nuts, you cannot even hear the announcers on TV it was so damn loud.

Then the final kick, Peyton leads the Colts for another score. Prevent defense prevents them from winning. Where was the blitz? Where was the pressure?

All in all, the Jets played well. Not great, but they are a heck of a lot better than anyone thought they would be. Give them a little more time. This was not up there with the Marino fake spike, but it still hurt.

METS Quick Hits

So The Brooklyn Dodgers of Los Angeles come to town Wednesday. Can someone explain to me why the first game of the Met series is relegated to a 4:07 start while Game 2 of the Yankee series is at 8? Met fans now have the choice of skipping out of work early or missing most of the game. Bad call by Fox.

Couple of more Mets notes. One, to the team. Guys, you don't like Milledge, fine. Tell him in person. Have one of the leaders sit down with him, or go to Willie. You think publicly embarrassing him with a sign, that Willie rips down is the way to go? If he has a bad attitude, you think this is going to help? All you did was upset him more, and reduce his trade value. Smart move.

Pedro is out for next season. I do not expect him back at all. If it happens, good, but I will not expect it. I am not going to bitch about his contract, no need. He did what he could, and things happen. What better not happen is Wilpon not signing or trading for an ace in the offseason because they have too high a payroll. They need to replace him, otherwise we are looking at a 1 season playoff run.

Wow, Roger Clemens accused of using performance enhancers. You think that might be why he threw a bat a Piazza? And gained speed on his fastball after age 36? But the Yanks knew nothing about it. I see him and Pettitte both retiring now. Why come back and answer the questions?

I'll have a Mets Playoff preview Wednesday.

Isles Notes

Finished up the preseason 3-2, after dropping the first 2 games. DiPietro improved as the preseason went on. Alexei Yashin scored a couple of goals the last couple of games. Yashin made some comments about how the fans treat him. Note to Alexei, you have come nowhere near living up to the hype that surrounded you when you were drafted. People will boo you until you produce. The boos you hear are nowhere hear as bad as others in NY have heard. You can turn them to cheers very easily. Just produce and play hard.

I'll have a preview for the Isles up sometime this week.