Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Been a While, I Know

So much time, so much to write about.

Going into the offseason, we knew what the issue was. The media knew it. The pundits knew it. The fans. The opposition. The problem was the bullpen. The question was, did Omar and the Mets ownership know?

Apparently, they did. First, Omar waited out the market and was able to get K-Rod for 3 years and $37 million. In October, the thought was he would want 5 years, $70 million. No one thought the Mets would get him, that the price would be too high. Of course, that made sense. However, there was no market beyond the Mets for K-Rod. No other big market teams needed a closer. So, by remaining patient, Omar got his guy. Kinda like last off-season, no?

Then, Omar showed he knew that the problem was not solely in the 9th inning. We knew the 8th was a problem. Hell, the 7th still is to an extent. The main thing though was "addition by subtraction", which Omar and the Wilpon's had repeated since the end of the season. Well, we got some subtraction on Wednesday, as we said goodbye (happily) to Aaron Heilman, and hello to JJ Putz, former closer now our 8th inning guy. Now, we also had to give up Joe Smith and Endy Chavez from the major league roster (along with Mike Carp and a couple of other minor leaguers who were at least 3 years away folks). I liked Joe, he was a good ROOGY, but he had had little success against lefties, mostly due to his motion, which made him hittable from that side. As for Endy, look, the dude could play a great outfield, but he could not hit enough to play regularly. When you have a chance to get ONE OF THE TOP 6 CLOSERS IN BASEBALL, you have to give up something in return. When you make a trade, the goal is to get the best player in the deal. Can anyone argue that Putz is the best player in the deal? Look, Endy will hold a place in Metslore forever due to "The Catch", but he was not a guy who could pinch-hit late in a game. Did anyone really want him coming up to bat down 2 with runners on 1st and 2nd? No. Heilman had to go. He just had to. The team had to move on. Sean Green and Jeremy Reed will replace Aaron and Endy. I wish the former Mets luck in the future, and welcome Putz and Green and Reed to the family.

As I am writing this, I see that Omar did some more subtraction, shipping Scott Schoenweis to Arizona for righthander Connor Robertson. At first blush, it looks like Robertson will be AAA bound, as Omar said:

"We're happy to acquire Connor Robertson," said Mets General Manager Omar Minaya. "He has a solid minor league track record and he's a good addition to our system."

So, goodbye Scott. Maybe the Diamondbacks will be smart enough to NEVER let you face righties.

At the end of the season, my checklist of guys who needed to go bye-bye went like this:


Two down. We are probably stuck with Castillo. Maybe he will come to camp in shape. Maybe he will bounce back. He fucking better.

So what else has gone on. Let's see, oh, the Yanks have signed Carl Pavano AJ Burnett to a 5 year contract. That'll work out for them. They also signed CC Sabathia. That probably will work out for them. CC is damn good. Of course, they had to give him an opt out after 3 years to sign him, which basically means he's leaving in 3 years.

Ah, I see the Phillies signed Raul Ibanez. Thank you. I wanted no part of him and was worried Omar would sign him. Much appreciated.

In other Philly news, Chase Utley had hip surgery. I wonder if they changed the grease in his hair while they were at it. He could be back by May, but could be out longer.

Oh, and I see WFAN hosts Benigno and Roberts invited Cole Hamels on their show Thursday. Why you ask? Because WFAN loves nothing more than to piss all over the fans of the team they are the flagship station of. Do they really think Mets fans want to listen to Cole Hamels? Then, they made it worse by asking him if the Mets are "choke artists:. Of course, Cole agreed, and went into a discussion about how the Mets choke, and they have no respect for the game, specifically citing Jose Reyes rounding the bases with his finger extended. Now, Cole feels it is OK to celebrate when you win, otherwise, it is bad. Fine. So next season, when J-Roll points to the dugout when he hits a single, or Howard stands at home plate for 5 second when he hits a home run, or Victorino stands on home plate for 8 seconds after scoring a run, will he say something to them? Will he be OK if an opposing pitcher hits one of them for doing so?

I am sick and fucking tired of the double standard when it comes to the Mets. Reyes ONE TIME did that, and it was after he hit a go-ahead home run against the Phillies. It was not in a blowout. I understand about perception, and how it is hard to change an early impression. Yeah, maybe some of the stuff was over the top in the past, but you know what, no one says shit about Manny cadillacing around the bases, or Rollins talking shit before he did anything of note, or countless other players. How about the "Bash Brothers"?

And my fellow Mets fans, enough with the "they hate us, we need to stop the celebrating". Fuck them. Lift up your skirt and show a little sack. Who gives a shit if other teams hate us. At the end of the day, it means squat in terms of who wins. The Marlins did not beat the Mets because they hated them. They won because that Sunday their pitcher dominated our hitters. It is that simple. The Mets did not lose the division because other teams disliked them. They lost it because the bullpen SUCKED. It wasn't hatred that caused Sho to not be able to get out righties, he couldn't do so BEFORE he became a Met.

Quit whining about teams hating the Mets. They should hate them. And the Mets should hate them right back. Everyone hated the 1986 team. That didn't stop them. This team needs a little bad-ass on it. Two years ago our pitchers pitched inside. Last year, nobody did. Time to do it again. Cole Hamels better see some inside heat. Rollins, Utley, Victorino, the whole lot of them better know not to crowd the plate. Especially Utley who hangs over the plate like Sabathia at a buffet table. Back them the fuck up. And if they bitch, they bitch. Jerry talked about being gangsta last year. I rarely saw it. Bring it this year. Have the mentality that no one can beat you.

This team needs to start out strong. Not 15-10 strong, I'm talking 20-5 strong. Send a message early. And then, keep it up. No cruise control. No mercy. You've got Santana as your ace. You've got Putz and K-Rod at the back end. Beltran, Wright, Reyes in your lineup. Enough excuses. Just.Fucking.Win.

This team will be better next year fans. Book it.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year to all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dear Omar

Congratulations on your extension. You'll notice I left out the "well deserved" that you may think is forthcoming. The reason I did so is that I do not think it is well deserved. I understand why the Wilpon's gave it, but disagree.

You see Omar, you're scaring the fanbase right now. You've said some pretty scary stuff. Things like "Damion Easley had a good year". Omar, the dude had an OPS of .692. That is far from a good year. Yeah, I know he had a couple of good games, but the dude is not a starter, and is barely a competent bench player. In 31 PH appearances, his OPS was .515. That is NOT A GOOD YEAR.

You also stated "The Brand is Strong." No, it is not. A strong baseball "brand" is one that makes the damn playoffs. You know who has a good brand? The Phillies. Because they won the damn division 2 years in a row, and are, as I write this, up 3-2 in Game 5 of the World Series, possibly on their way to a trophy. That is a strong brand. Your brand is strong when you make the playoffs back to back, not when you make it once, then blow two leads the following two years. Your brand is strong when you have a good bullpen.

You also stated you think Luis Castillo can bounce back. Let me clue you in on something Omar. He sucks. Sucks at defense, sucks at hitting. Now, I like saber, and I get OBP is an important factor. But Luis' OBP is empty when you factor in the multiple double plays he hits into, and the key groundouts. Not to mention his inability to hit the damn ball out of the infield. His OPS while playing 2nd base? .666. That's a sign Omar. Not to mention the fact that Mets fans, well, hate his ass. Did you not hear the boos? Now, I know, you will say "Well, the booed Delgado too." The difference is that Delgado can hit home runs. Fans dig the longball. Luis cannot hit home runs.

I know you signed him to a 4 year deal, and he has 3 years left. Big deal. The Wilpon's can be persuaded to eat the contract. They paid Mo Vaughn. They are still paying Bobby Bonilla for fuck's sake. If you can't trade him, cut him. We will not care if he comes back to someone else and suddenly finds the fountain of youth. We do not like him.

Now, let's think about who can play 2nd next year. Easley and Castillo are gone. You could use Argenis Reyes, but that would be stupid. Ypu could throw money are Orlando Hudson, which the press will love since he has "attitude" (we'll get to this). Or, you could do the smart thing and LET DANIEL MURPHY PLAY! He has already shown he can hit the snot out of the ball. His line last year, .313/.397/.473. That's a .870 OPS. That's good. He's young, unlike Hudson. He can hit, something Hudson does not do away from Chase Field. And he's under contract and cheap, which means you can spend money where you need to, the BULLPEN.

Yes Omar, you need to spend money on the bullpen. There are NO internal options for closer. Sign Fuentes, or trade for Putz or Soria. Get Dennys Reyes (we need at least 2 Reyes' on the team). Juan Cruz is an intriguing idea. This is where you need to focus your time and effort and money. Not on 2nd base. You need to sing guys who are not ROOGY's or LOOGY's. You need to sign guys who can face both. In reality, not in your world where Scott Schoeneweis is able to. The real world.

Lastly, there has been a lot of talk about attitude on the team. You know where attitude comes form? Winning. Yeah, it helps to have some hard nosed guys who could NOT care less what people think. The key is to make sure they are actually good (in other words, not a PLD type.) If Jose wants to dance, let him. If Keith Hernandez doesn't like it, TFB. Just remember, it does help to have the stats that Jerry commented about. You know, it is hard to drive guys in if they are not on base.

The last thing is to either resign Ollie or get a reasonable replacement. Derek Lowe is nice. Burnett would be nicer. See, I'm a little worried about Pelfrey coming off his innings. And Maine with his surgery. So, no Pedro. You need depth. Get a couple of guys for AAA while you are at it. I'm fine with Niese as #5, so long as the pen is strong.

Forget the brand being strong. Make the TEAM strong. Fix the pen. Find a Leftfielder. Build a better bench. Put Murphy at 2nd.

Just Fucking Win.

Ed in Westchester

Thursday, October 16, 2008

An Open Letter to Mike Francesca

Dear Mike,

On your radio show on WFAN on October 15, 2008, you made two claims:
1. That there are 20 players comparable to David Wright.
2. That David gets a pass from the press.

I would like to ask you to provide the listing of the 20 players, as well as prove that he gets a pass from the press. What’s that you say, you can’t? That’s what I thought.

David took a lot of heat towards the end of the season, both in the local media and the national media. Many blamed him for the losses to the Marlins and Cubs, and said he was not “clutch”. Some fans even bought into this line of thought. Of course, when you look at a single game, you are likely to find fault and be able to point out a failure. This is what you have done. However, when you look at the numbers on an overall basis, the theory holds no water. For instance, here are David’s numbers for the month of September:
.340 Avg
.416 OBP
.577 SLG
.993 OPS

Here are his numbers for the entire season:
.302 Avg
.390 OBP
.534 SLG
.934 OPS

So September was better than his total numbers. In fact, it was better on an OPS basis than any other month save for July when he put up the following stats:
.317 Avg
.431 OBP
.574 SLG
1.005 OPS

Mind you July was when the Mets went 18 – 8, moving back into contention.

As for the 20 players comparable to David, I can only imagine what that list looks like. Let me guess, two of the members on your list are Jeter and A-Rod. Let's look at the stats for 2008 shall we:
Jeter - .300/.363/.408/.771
A-Rod - .302/.392/.573/.965
I'd say David stacks up pretty favorably there wouldn't you?

Now, I do grant that there are some players who are better than David. The name Pujols comes to mind, as do Manny Ramirez and a few others. I’m sure there are some players older than the 25 year old David Wright who have put up better stats over the past few years. But the number is not 20. You may be interested in this little stat - Only 5 players have put up a OPS over .900 in the past 4 seasons. Including David.

Now, I do grant that David had a poor year with RISP. Of course, you would think based on listening to your show that this is his history. You would be wrong of course. His RISP the last 3 seasons: .310 (2007), .365 (2006), .298 (2005). The history shows 2008 to be an outlier.

I know things are tough for you right now. Your beloved Yankees failed to make the post-season. Your partner left you all alone, and your ratings have probably suffered, so you need to stir the pot. Here’s the thing, try to at least get your facts straight. Now, knowing your history and how you have treated people who did not appear on your show, there is the thought that you are singling out David because he refused to go on your show after you claimed he told Carlos Delgado to not take a curtain call earlier this year. Of course, David denies this, yet you refuse to acknowledge your error. Instead, it appears to be a case of “How dare David refuse to appear on my show!” If David did indeed refuse to go on your show because you LIED about him, I commend him. If he refused just becuase he thinks you are a pompous windbag, I commend him again.

You use this team as a punching bag all the time, from attacking how Willie was fired, to lying about David to claiming Ryan Church does not like NY (another lie). I wish the team would change stations, but they won’t do that. I do hope the players tell you to stuff it though.

And I hope Mets fans stop listening to you. I did years ago.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Making a List

Well, after a few weeks of gnashing of teeth and reading all the puke coming out of the PC’s of twits like this guy, it is time for Ed to make “The List”. “The List” of who stays and who goes.

Let’s begin with the Brain trust shall we?

Omar will be back, we all knew this was going to happen. Despite my issues with some of his moves (it’s the bullpen stupid); I do not have a huge problem with his being given an extension. I do have a problem with the length of it, as it is one year too many IMNSHO. My concern is knowing how the Wilpon's operate, if they wind up firing him, and having to eat his salary, they will use that as justification towards not spending on players. Omar’s job right now is to do two things. First, blow up the pen and replace what is left. Second, get Luis Castillo the hell out of here.

Jerry Manuel will be back as well. Now, I liked the job he did. He brought a team that was basically left for dead in the middle of June by most to 1 game out of the Wild Card. The problem is that he seemed to go a little Willie on us when it came to the bullpen. Remember in 2007 how Philip Humber sat and rotted on the bench after being a September call-up while the likes of Mota and others kept blowing games? Remember how we thought Jerry would be different? We thought wrong, as Bobby Parnell became this years Humber. Once again, the manager let a call up rot while the bullpen shat the bed. Now, I don’t totally blame Jerry for not making the playoffs. The team lost its #3 starter in Maine for a month plus, and lost it’s closer in Wagner for nearly 2 months. The fact they finished where they did shows me the team gave it’s all. Now, his comments about stats and grit give pause, but I think we all know managers use stats; they just don’t use them as the sole reason for making a decision. A good manager blends stats and gut. Jerry seems to do this well for the most part.

As for the rest of the coaches, I could NOT care less if any of them are back.

Tony B – I hope you get the job in Seattle.


David Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran have to come back. A trade of any one of these players would be the stupidest move in Mets history. I don’t give a rat’s ass if David had a poor final weekend. The dude had a great month overall. Jose did better than September 2007, and had many games during the season where he was the team’s best player. Beltran is Beltran. The dude just plays, day in, day out, hurt or not. The next person who calls him a pussy is going to get a beating. He’s the best CF in baseball.

Daniel Murphy needs to be back. I don’t expect him to hit like he did last year. I do expect him to be a good ballplayer. Let him play left field if they decide 2nd is not going to work out. He has great plate discipline (though he needs to work on sliders in). Plus, he’s gritty, which everyone tells us this team lacks.
Brian Schneider can come back so long as he promises to be the defensive catcher we were told he was.

Fernando Tatis can come back as a 4th outfielder and bat off the bench. So long as he signs cheap in terms of $ and years.

Ryan Church should be back. I don’t think he will be as good as he was the first half, or as bad as he was towards the end of the season. Hopefully, an off-season of rest will help heal his hip. Now, if someone offers a nice return, I can live with his being dealt, but then Omar would need to find a RF. That will not be easy.

Endy – sorry, this team cannot have your bat on the bench, unless it is as the 5th OF.

Marlon Anderson – make him a coach. Just do not let him have a spot on the roster. Dude is done.

Luis Castillo – GONE. For the love of all that is good and holy, please get rid of him.

Damion Easley – gone. Not good off the bench. Not good as a starter. He could be a good 25th man, but nothing more.

Ramon Castro – gone. Dude cannot stay healthy.

Argenis Reyes – gone. Dude cannot hit.

Nick Evans – AA or AAA. First guy called up in case of injury to an OF.

Carlos Delgado – This is a toughie. I would like him back. I do not think he can hit like he did the 2nd half, but if he puts up similar #’s, that will be sufficient. The problem is that he is probably the most marketable trade chip. Even with only 1 year left, an AL team may take the chance, allowing him to play 1st and DH. The question is what is the return? With nobody in the system ready to take over and replace his production, I think he will be back. Unless they sign Teixeira, which is a longshot.


Johan is going nowhere. Neither is Pelfrey. Same for Maine (and I mean this in terms of staying with the team AND in the rotation. You do not rob Peter to pay Paul. Moving him to closer means you need another starter.

I’d like Ollie to come back. I like his stuff. I think he is a guy who can be a very good #3 starter. The problem will be what he costs, so I am prepared to see him go.

As for the bullpen, I am torn here. Let’s list them out.

Heilman – his value among Mets fans is at an all time low. His value among other teams is the same. For some reason, he got away from his change-up, which hurt him against lefties. I predict he will be back, and if he has a good spring, will make the team. I see him with the Mets until the Trade Deadline at least.

Parnell – keep him in the pen.

Smith – keeper. Had a nice year overall.

Stokes – keep him. Live arm. Potential 8th inning guy.

Pedro Dos – buh-bye.

Sh!tScho – As unpopular as this will make me, I want him back. He has 1 year left on the deal. He is a LOOGY. But I want a collar around Jerry that will zap him if he so much as THINKS Scho should face a righty.

Al Reyes – keeper. 8th inning guy. I like his desire to challenge guys. I just don’t like him as closer.

Figeroa – gone

Brandon Knight – gone

Pedro – Thank you, but no.

NotSoClean Sanchez – Gone. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that a full season under his belt will help. The dude was awful at the end of the year. You would think that if there was going to be improvement with work, we would have seen it in September.

So endeth The List. At some point, I will give my take on potential targets, either through trade or Free Agency. There are some holes to fill. Let’s hope Omar fills them wisely.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Goodbye Shea Stadium, and Thanks

So, we say goodbye to Shea Stadium. No playoffs this year. A season that started with high hopes ended with a last day loss for the second year in a row. I don’t want to talk about the season yet, I will do that another day. Today, I want to talk about what Shea meant to me.

Growing up, Shea meant a chance to spend time with my dad. You see, growing up, things were tough. Dad worked 6 days a week, and there were many years where he worked a night job as well. So time with Dad was at a premium. Once spring came, hope of being able to go to Shea with him, to tailgate and take in a game grew. Now, Ed was a wee lad, so tailgating meant a sandwich, hot pretzel and soda, but all the same, it was fun, because I got Dad for a few hours.

The games all blend together, but what I remember is the feeling when we would get there and walk in. Dad buying a program, and the two of us keeping score. Walking out of the tunnel and seeing the field in front of me, watching batting practice, watching the guys stretch. As a young kid, seeing that field as we walked in was amazing. To this day, I get that same feeling of anticipation. The early years of my going to games were of course not as much fun, as it was the late 70’s, and the Mets, well, they stunk. But as the 70’s turned to the 80’s, hope began to grow.

Keith joined the team. And Gary. Doc and Straw came up. And a couple of times a year, Dad would get tickets from vendors at work and we would make the trek from Eastern Long Island to Shea on a Sunday. Take in the view, and watch our guys mature from perennial losers to winners. All along, Dad would teach me about the game. How pitchers would change things up. How fielders had to watch the ball off the bats, and account for the wind, or just the angle. I recall a time where some guy near us was blasting Straw for a misplay on a hard liner. Dad explained to me, loud enough for the fan to hear, how a ball off the bat of a lefty hit to right field was hard to track because of the pull and angle and so forth. The little things you can see live, but maybe not on TV.

Dad taught me many things, from how to keep score, to how to watch, to how not to boo your team. Even when things were bad we never booed. We saw the lows and the highs (an NLCS game against the Astros in 1986). And we enjoyed every minute.

Time has gone on. Dad and I don’t get to go to games too often. The last time we went was a few years back, me, my younger brother and Dad. This time, my brother and I took him. It was like old times. A little tailgate before (and this time, a beer was allowed). Then, a program, pretzel, hot dogs and watching our Mets play. The next time we go will not be at Shea, and that will be fine with me, since it will be time with Dad again. In a few years, once my kids are a little older, I will take them. And show them what Dad showed me.

Many will recall specific games or sights from Shea. What I will recall is a few hours a couple of times a year with Dad. Time well spent.

Thank you Shea Stadium. Thank you Mets. And thank you Dad.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Too Soon

I'm not quite sure what to say.

I mean, they were 7.5 games back, and left for dead.

They come back and miss the playoffs by 1 game. Again.

Word leaks of an Omar extension.

Too many thoughts going through my head right now. I need to collect them.

I'll have a "Good Bye to Shea" post soon.

Then a season recap once I can put coherant thoughts on paper. I don't want to overreact like some of the twits in the media are (Wright needs a shrink, Jose needs to go, blah blah blah).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Nothing to Fear but the LOLpen itself

This is just getting silly. Dear Jerry, I like you man, but if you even THINK about bringing ShitScho in to face a righty, or Heilman in at all, I'm gonna lose it.

This theory that ShitScho can get out righties has been proven false more often than Ben Affleck has been proven to be a shitty actor. The dud CANNOT get out righties. CAN NOT! Please, for the love of all that is good and holy (and my blood pressure), resist the urge.

As for Aaron, he got a key out Saturday, but was back to crap yesterday. I like Aaron, I think he has talent, but for some reason, be it his knee, his confidence, or perhaps his lack of a contribution to the Notre Dame athletic department (thereby incurring the wrath of Jesus), the dude cannot get outs with regularity. He needs to be chained to the bench. He may only pitch in a game that is completely out of hand, like a 20-1 Mets lead, with 2 outs in the 9th. And even then, I want someone warming up and ready.

The bottom line is that there is no one in the pen who can get batters out from both sides of the plate. They are a bunch of specialists. The only guy who has is Parnell, but he has pitched all of 2 innings. Jerry, use him. Please.

We can go on and on about who would be the 4th starter in the playoffs, considering Pedro is no longer Pedro. But the fact of the matter is that if the LOLpen keeps this up, it won't matter, because the team will not make it.

Now, the simple fact that they are even in the race at this point is unbelievable. The team was 7 games out in June, and has played excellent baseball since then. We have seen Mike Pelfrey mature before our eyes (at what cost though, since he has blown through his innings limit). We have seen Wright continue to be Wright (though he has had some slumps at inopportune times). We've seen Beltran be Beltran. We've seen Delgado reborn.

Considering the litany of injuries the team has faced this year, it is shocking that they are in the mix. Of course, the talking morons at ESPN forget the list. Let's review


And that is just among the regulars. Pagan, Tatis, Easley have all missed time. Let me ask, what team has lost a 15 game winner, a closer, and a pitcher like Pedro for significant time and yet has led the WC with 7 games to go, and was 1 back in the loss column? I know expectations were high coming into the season, but it is like everyone forgets the truly poor first half the team had. Overlooked is how the Phillies failed to put away the Mets.

7 games. Three Teams enter, two teams leave. Mets, Phils and Brewers.

Now is the time for the starters to pitch into the 8th allowing 2 runs. Time for the pen to revert to June form. And for the bats to score 10 runs a game, just to be safe.

We've seen a lot of ups and downs this year. Now is the time for the fans to hold on. Remember what Tug said


We are Mets fans, this is the price we pay. Hang in there. Up the medication. Whatever you gotta do. If you are going to a game this week, SUPPORT the team. No booing. When alive with playoff fever, Shea Stadium is a 10th man. Bring it to life. WILL this team to victory. Do not allow Sunday to be the last game to be played at the ballpark.

Those at home, root for the team. Do not allow the negativity to overwhelm you. Be it on TV, radio, online, support the team. It's not easy. But it never has been.

After last year, good things are due to happen. Let them happen this week.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Looks Like I Picked the Wrong Week to Quit Sniffing Glue...

Better call the doc and get the blood pressure medication upped.

You know, I don't get that annoyed when we lose to the likes of the Marlins or Nationals. I just figure, "well, shit happens". But to lose 2 of 3 to the fucking Braves? To let Larry Jones win his last game at Shea? Sonuvabitch.

Johan goes 7 and pitches well, and the lolpen coughs it up on Saturday. Thankfully, Jonathan Niese showed a lot of improvement from his last start, shutting down the Braves over 8 (Um, Jerry, give the boy another start).

Yesterday, Ollie rebounds from a poor outing against the Nationals to leave with a 4-2 lead. And the lolpen once again craps the bed. I blame myself. I picked up Stokes and Ayala in a misguided attempt to make it to the finals in fantasy baseball. I jinxed them. (And of course, I drop Street for Stokes, the day he gets a Win, which would have tied me in Wins for the week, and I would have won and made the finals. Instead, I tie for the week and lose the tiebreaker, ERA. Dammit).

David tried to win this one himself, two more homers in a 4-5 day. Delgado went 3-5 but was not driven in . The lineup just dropped the damn ball. They had Campillo on the ropes, and let him out.

But I am not going to blame the lineup. They had a 2 run lead. Joe Smith bailed out Shit-Sho in the 8th. Then, Ayala thought he was a National again, giving up hits to Casey Kotchman and Kelly fraking Johnson, followed by a home run by Greg Norton, he of the 261 avg and 805 OPS. The rest was anticlimactic.

Meanwhile, the Brewers continue to choke on a sausage, dropping 4 to the Philth. Ned Yost is toast my friends.

The Philth are off today, and travel to Atlanta for 3 against the Braves, who they have owned this year (10-2 so far, with 6 left). I hope Larry shows up, along with the rest of them. Then the Philth have 3 at Florida, then return home for 3 against the Braves and 3 against the Nationals.

The Mets meanwhile travel to DC for 4 against the Nationals, then to Atlanta for 3. They wrap it up with 4 at Shea against the Cubs and 3 against the Marlins.

The lead is 1 (2 in the loss column). There are 14 games left. The mantra remains the same.


A sweep against the Nationals would be nice though.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How About that Grit?

Bad Ollie returns. The pen, in the form of Figgy and Knight, breaks the recent strong run by the relief corp. The Nats look primed to repeat last September. Except this year, Carlos Delgado doesn't suck.

The boys jumped out to a 2-0 lead, thanks to a 2 run double by Easley in the bottom of the second. Ollie gave it back in the top of the third, allowing Cristian Guzman to go yard.

In the bottom of the third, Church and Delgado (bomb #1) made it 5 - 2 Mets. Ollie gave it back, and Figgy allowed 2 inherited runners to score, and it was 7-5.

Bottom 4, Church drove in a run with a groundout. DW got a hit with RISP, and it was tied.

Top 5, Brandon Knight walked the leadoff guy, Willie Harris, allowed a single to Pete Orr, moving Harris to third, and Anderson (IPOR no more?) Hernandez drove in Harris with a ground out. 8-7 Nats.

Bottom 6, and Dos Carlos' said "Get on my back guys". Church singled. DW popped out. Beltran hit a nice deep shot to left center, and it was 9-8 Mets. Delgado followed with a bomb into the bullpen, and it was 10-8. That would be the final.

Kudos to Joe Smith, who went 1.2, Sho, who finished the 7th, Stokes for a hitless 8th, and Ayala, with a trouble free 9th. The key pen guys got it done. Unlike last year.

This is not 2007 anymore my friends. This team plays hard all 9. Delgado is locked in. Beltran is as well. DW shows signs of stirring. Reyes went 2-4, keeping up his season long strong showing (300 avg, 183 hits, 359 opb, 478 slg is damn good people.) The bit guys, Easley, Tatis, are contributing. Church seems to be good. The starting pitching, save for Ollie last night, has been solid for over a month. And the pen is doing it's job as well.

They came back multiple times last night. They've done it alot of late. Yet all I hear about is the Philth's grit and heart. Methinks the Mets have a ton of grit and heart as well. But we won't hear about it, since the Mets got Santana and were supposed to win. Never mind that Pedro missed time, and Church, and Alou, and now Wagner. That is all conveniently forgotten at ESPN and elsewhere. This team has overcome numerous injuries, slumps and Willie to be 2.5 games up. They were 7.5 games down June 13. That's quite a turnaround. They control their own destiny. How did team grit lose that lead?

Meanwhile, the Marlins hang on in Fla. to beat the Philth. The lead is 2.5, 3 in the loss column over the Philth.

This 12 game stretch for the Mets is key. Nats, Braves, Nats and Braves again before the Cubs come to town. An 8-4 record is a must.

For those watching the scoreboard, the Philth have Marlins, Brewers, Braves and Marlins again over the same stretch. It will be interesting to see how the Brewers do against Moyer and Hamels. They've owned lefties (those not on the Mets at least) this year.

Tonight, Pelfrey vs. Odalis Perez.



Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thanks Manny, Lastings et al

Last year, as we Mets fans know all too well, part of the problem was the Mets inability to beat the Washington Nationals in September. The Mets went 1-5 down the stretch. Meanwhile, the Philth went 4-3. That right there kids was the season.

This year, perhaps the worm has turned. The Nationals just took 2 of 3 from the Philth, while the Mets went to Milwaukee and swept the Wild Card leading Brewers. So the lead, which was 1, is now back to 3. Perhaps Manny is helping the Mets after hurting them last year? Maybe one of his buddies in the front office called and said, "how's about a little something for the effort?"

In any event, we enter the final 3 games of the season series with the Phillies with a chance to stretch the lead. At worst, they will be tied. At best, a 6 game lead with 19 games to play. I'm calling for the Mets to win 2. Sunday Night's game on ESPN should be a good one, Johan vs Hamels. Hamels will be pitching instead of Kyle Kendrick.

The series in Milwaukee was impressive on a number of levels, despite the protestations of Bruce Murray on SNY last night (the Mets are simply playing well now, Delgado could fall apart, blah blah blah. Dude must be angling for an ESPN gig.) The Brewers absolutely DESTROY lefties. They were 31-13 coming into the series against southpaws. The Mets started Johan, Niese and Ollie. Three wins. Johan held them to 2 runs over 6 innings, and one of those scored on a balk. Niese was, well, not good (butterflies in his first start, give him another against a weaker team next time, mmkay?) But the bats responded and won it in 10. Yesterday, they jumped all over Dave Bush in the first, scoring 6 (Welcome Back Ryan Church, and who the hell is it that has taken over Brian Schneider?). Ollie walked 5, but was able to maintain focus and pitch out of jams. The final, 9-2, and it wasn't even that close. As Jerry said, maybe the lefties in the Central aren't quite as good as the lefties in the East.

The team is firing on all cylinders right now. The starters have been great, 11-1 with a 3.25 ERA in the last 20 games. Beltran, Reyes, and Delgado have been amazing. Daniel Murphy is making a name for himself. David Wright is slumping a tad, but perhaps the off day today will jump start him. As for the LOLPEN (hat-tip to a Metsgeek poster for coming up with that one), well, it is unscored upon in the last 15 1/3 innings going back to Saturday. Nice work by the maligned pen. Of course, they need to continue this, as there is much in the way of bad memories among the faithful.

22 games left. The 3 in Philly, then 2 in Washington, 3 vs Atlanta, 4 in Washington, 3 in Atlanta, 4 vs the Cubs and the final 3 vs the Marlins, as we prepare for the final days of games at Shea. After last year, many are loathe to make predictions of a division title. Others are predicting that the Phils will still win it, as shown in this quote from a recent Jayson Stark Rumbling & Grumblings Philles taint licking column:

“One part of it, obviously, is the difference in bullpens,” one scout said. “But the other part of it is heart. I love the Phillies’ grit. And now that [Jimmy] Rollins is hitting again, they’re the team to beat again.”

I guess numerous comebacks in late innings for the Mets are not from grit. And where was that grit against the Nationals? As for bullpens, well, guess who blew the game last night for the Phillies?

Whereas a few months ago, we thought 9/28 would be the last game played there, now we have hope that the game will be the last Regular Season Game, with Playoff Games to follow.



Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Tanned, Rested and Ready

After a week of rest and relaxation at the beach, Ed is back for the stretch drive. A few things to opine on.

1. Jimmy Rollins continues to bitch about the Mets celebrations. Note to Jimmy, worry a tad more about your own team and your travels. And Cody Ross needs to drink a tall glass of STFU as well. Next time Cody, move off the plate you little bitch.

2. Ned Yost and the Brewers bitch about official scoring. Melvin wants 2 writers to work with the official scorers to make calls. Writers who give us great results in MVP and CY Young votes determining hits/errors? That'll work. Little less whining, little more thinking about pulling CC from games where you lead 7-2.

3. ESPN continues to chirp about the Phillies grit. Grit means shit when you lose 7-4 to the Nats.

4. Writers writing about how the Mets played poorly against the Brewers. Of course, the fact that they have come from behind for their last 4 wins means nothing. If the Philth had done that, the raves about the Phillies "grit" would be non-stop.

5. I love the back and forth the NY papers have about the Yankees. Dead one day, alive the next. Guys, they are 7 back and have to pass 2 teams to sniff the WC. Sidney Ponson is a key member of the staff. Can we move on please?

6. Umpires need to move the fuck out of the way on plays at the plate.

7. Philly fans complained about Sheets leaving after 5 yesterday. I didn't hear any Mets fans bitching about Zambrano not starting on Sunday.

8. I send apologies to Carlos Delgado again. Dude is on fire.

9. Dear David Wright, please start getting more hits with RISP? kthksbye.

10. Dear Jerry Manuel. You have extra arms in the pen now. Please use them.

11. Aaron Heilman - throw fucking strikes.

12. Rest of Mets bullpen - throw fucking strikes.

13. Welcome back Ryan Church. Stay healthy.

14. Thank you Lastings Milledge. Do that today and tomorrow as well.

15. Why do I think if Obama had a 17 yr old daughter who was pregnant we would be hearing from the right about how the fact she is pregnant is due to liberals not believing in God? And that if only abstinence was taught she would not be pregnant?

16. If anyone other than Cliff Lee wins AL Cy Young, the voters need to be smacked. Hard.

Onto the Mets

Nice comeback yesterday. I like how this team is responding late. Two more against the Brewers, then home for 3 against the Philth. Let's take 1 more against the Brewers, then, sweep the Phillies. There is no better way to shut up the talking heads on ESPN than to beat on the Phillies. Last year will be the big story all month until the Mets make it something else. This is the week to start.

On the surface, the schedule after this week looks easy. But we thought the same last year. Of late though, the Mets have done well against the likes of the Nats, Braves and Marlins. Here is what is left

9/2 - 9/3 - @ Brewers (2)
9/4 - off day
9/5 - 9/7 - Philth (3)
9/9 - 9/10 - Nats (2)
9/11 - off day
9/12 - 9/14 - Braves (3)
9/15 - 9/18 - @ Nats (4)
9/19 - 9/21 - @ Braves (3)
9/22 - 9/25 - Cubs (4)
9/26 - 9/28 Marlins (3)

24 games left. Two game lead. 77-61 is the record. A long way from May and June.

Last year at this time the record was 76-60. Interesting no?

Of course, they played very well early last year, and slumped late. This year, so far the reverse has been true. On June 2, the record was 28-28, 4.5 games back. Since then, they have played .598 baseball.

Lets keep up the pace.



Friday, August 22, 2008

Sweeps are Fun

Even moreso when they involve sweeping the Braves. And it gets even better when Larry Jones makes numerous errors and fails in the clutch. Given all of the beatings the Braves administered to the Mets over the years, it is time for things to even up. This week was a start.

Three game sweep. Late inning comebacks in two games. Hits to drive in RISP with 2 outs. Good and great starting pitching. All the elements of a WINNING team were there. Even good work from the pen. Ah, the joy of winning 3, seeing the Phillies lose to the Nationals and the Marlins lose to the Giants. Joy.

Pedro may no be the Pedro of the past, but damn, he still knows how to PITCH. He's not gonna blow the ball by anyone, but he is wicked smart. He knows how to keep guys off balance and how to control the game. He went 7 plus last night, which gave the pen more rest, as Jerry only had to use Pedro Dos and Ayala (who has been good his first two outings). Assuming a playoff birth, Jerry is going to have a tough decision to make when it comes to the rotation (assuming also that everyone continues to pitch as they have lately).

Carlos Delgado went 5-5* last night. Drove in 3 runs, including the winner as Omar Infante fielded Delgado's liner in the 9th like he was having a flashback to the Ayala fastball from Tuesday. Wright, who otherwise was probably going to be doubled off second, scored the winning run. DW went 3-4. So the 3 and 5 guys went 8-9, nice.

Yes, this has been a soft part of the schedule. Yes, they should dominate these teams. But, they had not been doing that this year. They had played poorly against the Braves, lost stupidly to the Pirates and Nationals. They got swept in Houston and San Diego. Finally this team is taking advantage of the week. Now, they need to keep it up as the Astros come to town for 4 this weekend. The Phillies meanwhile play the Dodgers. Houston has been hot since the ASB, so this will not be easy. Hopefully the recent trend of strong outings from the starters, timely hitting and good bullpen work continue for the next week. After Houston, the Mets go to Philly Tuesday and Wednesday. A little more breathing room before then would be nice, don'tchathink?

Ed will be away in Bethany Beach, Delaware starting tomorrow for a week. I will return rested and ready for the stretch drive.



Friday, August 15, 2008

Let the Beating Continue Please

The sweep of the Nationals is complete. The first sweep on the road this year. Ollie gets the "W". Smith, Duaner and Aaron finished it up. The bats actually tacked on insurance runs for a change late in the game. All around, a nice effort.

The first three innings saw no runs scored, as Balestar kept the bats off balance, no hitting them through 3. In the fourth, Argenis Reyes singled, DW doubled and Delgado drove in a run with a grounder, moving DW to third. Beltran followed with a sacrifice fly, and it was 2-0. In the fifth, Tatis walked and Brian Schneider hit a homer to deep left center, his first since May 14, against the same Nationals. In the sixth, Delgado hit a laser to left for another homer, and it was 5-0.

Ollie cruised until the 7th. Kearns led off with a bloop single. Aaron Boone grounded out, then Ollie walked Nieves. Pete Orr, former Brave, hitting all of .197 then triple to right center, and it was 5-2. Bonifacio followed with a bunt that Delgado tried to grab and tag, but wound up missing, and it was 5-3. Joe Smith came in to get Belliard to fly out.

In the eighth, Smith got the first out, then walked the next two hitters, bringing in Duaner, who got Boone to strike out and Nieves to ground out. The ninth was looming. Who would close? Kunz? Heilman? Jerry?

Thankfully, it did not matter as the boys pushed 4 across, thanks to the Nationals playing like, well, the Nationals. Murphy led off with a single. Tatis doubled, Schneider k'd. Easley pinch hit and singled, driving in 2. Jose then singled. Argenis lined out to third. DW then hit a grounder to Belliard, playing shortstop due to Guzman being out with an injury. Belliard booted it, and the bases were loaded. Delgado followed with a grounder past first, but right into the shift, a seemingly easy third out. Except Bonifacio threw it wide of the pitcher going to cover first. Two more scored, and it was 9-3. Heilman proof, as Aaron (booed even in DC) got three outs.

Meanwhile, the Cards beat the Marlins, and the Dodgers swept the Philth, so first place belongs to the Mets again. Let's keep it until the end of the season now, shall we?

On to Pittsburgh for a 4 game set. Alex at Metsgeek has the Pittsburgh pitcher review

To my friends heading to Pittsburgh - Vaya Con Dios mi amigos.



Mike and the Mad Dog

So, despite protests that it was not going to happen, last night, WFAN announced that Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo (aka The Screaming Ninny here at Nice Level Swing) is leaving the "Mike and the Mad Dog Show".


Now, maybe people will wise up, not listen to His Pompous-ass, and he will leave to.

Which will lead to much rejoicing.

Vindication for Neil Best in Newsday who has been all over this for weeks.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Check Up

Let's see. When we last left off, the Mets were 2 games out. Since then, they have moved into a tie for first. How did this happen you may ask?

1. The Mets finally remembered that they are supposed to beat on teams like the Nationals.
2. The Phillies Pen finally realized that it is time to regress to the mean.

The record against Washington coming into this game - 4 wins, 5 losses. Not exactly a stellar showing against the basement dwellers. And how can we forget the end of last season, when they went 1-5 in the last six, including losses of 12-4 and 13-4, blown leads, and a 10-9 loss made to look that close by 6 runs in the 9th. One more win against them and the Mets tie for the division. This is a team that for some reason appears to have the Mets number. Is it Manny Acta trying to show he should be the manager? Is it the Nationals players deciding to show up against the big bad Mets? Or is it the Mets just not getting up for the series, thinking the Nats will lie down?

In any event, Tuesday saw the Mets win 4-3 thatnks to a hit batter with the bases loaded (and yes Manny, the ball did hit Easley, balls don't change direction like that on their own you know.) Johan got the win, giving up 3 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks.

Last night, John Maine returned from the DL, which of course meant we would all be worried about
1. His arm falling off
2. How the bullpen would pitch

Thankfully, Maine's arm was fine, as he went 5 allowing no runs on 1 hit with 4 walks. As for the bullpen, Brian Stokes came in and pitched the final 4, strangely earning a save even though the Mets were up 10-0 when he came in. Weird rule.

The offense showed up against an inferior team. It allowed Jerry to pull Dos Carlos' early, getting them some rest. Jose has 2 hits and 2 runs scored. DW had a hit, 2 walks, 2 runs. Tatis had a HR. And Daniel Murphy went 3-6 with a HR, 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. The only Mets non-pitchers who did not get a hit were Delgado (who walked 3 times) and Schneider (****ing Shocker). Schneider did have 3 walks though, so he had that going for him. Maine got an RBI by walking with the bases loaded. Even Stokes had a hit.

Murphy is continuing to impress. The guy seems to have 7 pitch at-bats every time up. He works a pitcher, something the other guys do not do enough of. He fights until he gets his pitch. The youngster does not look overmatched. He continues to show impressive power to the opposite field, as his home run last night went to left center, about 380 ft to the fence in Nationals Park. And the ball cleared the fence by a nice margin. He'll continue to "platoon" with Nick Evans, but he is making it hard for Jerry to do that. Jerry said that since he is an RBI guy, he will bat low in the order when Argenis Reyes is in the lineup, but should bat 2nd when Ryan Church comes back. That will be nice, seeing him feast on fastballs behind Jose.

Stokes looked good. Granted, the Nats, well, suck, but he still looked sharp. The fastball was popping, and his control was good. He gave the rest of the pen a night off, which is nice. A long man not named Carlos Muniz is what this team has needed. Hopefully Stokes can keep it up.

Tonight, Ollie vs. Balester. The Philth remain in LA. Let's get another W tonight, shall we?



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Shit-Scho and the Craptastic Pen

It's all the rage to bash Aaron Heilman for yesterday's debacle. I do not come here to do that. The entire pen is to blame here, with the exception of Duaner. Joe Smith has been the suck of late. Pedro Dos, ditto. Scott (Shit-Scho) Schoeneweis sucks as well. And all 12 of you who read this know how I feel about Carlos Muniz and Eddie Kunz.

The problem my friends is that this pen has too many specialists. I do not mean they all specialize in sucking. I mean we have too many guys who are only ROOGY's or LOOGY's. Smith is only effective against righties. Aaron is better against righties this year as well (odd, since he used to do well against lefties as well). Dos and Shit-Scho against lefties. That leaves Duaner (when he can pitch) and Billy as effective against both sides. This leads Jerry to have to play match game, with disastrous results.

If we remember last year, the pen had similar issues, which were exacerbated by starters who could only go 5 innings. Little changed, with the exception of Mota being gone and Duaner being here. The same guys are doing the same things this year. The issue for the next couple of weeks is what to do until Billy comes back?

Simple, name Kunz the damn closer. Will it work? Who knows, but nothing else is with any consistency. Aaron did well Friday and Saturday, but crapped the bed yesterday. Shit-Scho should NEVER FACE RIGHTIES JERRY (did you not sit next to Willie last year and learn this lesson? WTF?) Smith looks dead. Sanchez is inconsistent with his velocity. Pedro Dos is a LOOGY right now. That leaves Kunz.

Now, the idea has been floated of moving Maine or Perez to the pen. This is a bad idea on so many levels it makes me question the intelligence of the local media for writing it, or, if they got it based on conversations with Mets officials, makes me question their smarts. I'll start with Ollie, who has only been the best pitcher of late. So move him to the pen, and who starts? Stokes? Please. Nice story the other night, but let's be real here. As for Maine, the guy has a bad shoulder, so let's make him pitch multiple times a week, oh, and have a shorter window in which to warm up. Yeah, that'll work real well.

If they want to change something, send Muniz down and call up Niese or Parnell. Oh, that's right, they don't want to start Niese's arbitration clock. Bullshit. This team prints fucking money. They spend it on shit like Show, Mota, Castillo, but are worried about having to spend it on Niese? Please. I am so sick and fucking tired of the money argument from this team.

Omar I am sure tried to make a trade, but he refused t0 give up young arms and/or bats to do so. Good. He gets killed (rightly in some cases) for trading away Bell, Lindstrom et al, but now he should trade Niese or Fernando! for a bullpen arm? We rue the day Kazmir was traded for Zambrano, yet want Omar to make a similar mistake? (Yes, I know Niese is not as highy touted, but the analogy still fits, it is all about the future. Remember, Pedro and Ollie are FA at season's end.)

So, here is Ed's plan.

Kunz - Closer
Niese/Parnell - set up
Sanchez - set up
Heilman - set up
Smith - ROOGY/mop up
Dos/Shit-Scho - LOOGY
Stokes - long man/set up
Muniz - gone

This team is adverse to using youngsters until their hand is forced (see Gomez, Carlos; Murphy, Daniel; Evans, Nick). In most cases, those worked out. Why not try it with a young arm. Last year in September, Humber sat on his ass for most of the month while the pen imploded. Then, he started, but could last only 4 innings since he was so out of a rhythm. Do not fall into the same trap.

These next 7 games are a chance to feast. Washington for 3, Pitt for 4. The Philth and Marlins have tougher weeks. We can take over first. If the pen is fixed.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.



Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Get Ready for Your Close-Up Eddie...

So, the Aaron Heilman Experiment lasted all of one game. We hope. Given the state of the rest of the pen, it is time for Jerry to stop the Willie-like aversion to using youth out of the bullpen, and let Eddie Kunz close.

I like Aaron. I've supported him over the years. He's blown games, and also come into sticky situations and gotten the job done. But somewhere between the spring, when Billy said Aaron had the stuff and mentality to close and, oh, say April, something went wrong. The change-up that used to beffuddle lefties disappeared. He started to right the ship shortly after The Jacket was fired, even throwing some effective sliders (a pitch Rick had him eschew). However, that did not last long and Aaron of late has fallen back to his pre-June funk. If Jerry so much as looks at Aaron in a tight game in the late innings, he could join Aaron as a target in the eyes of the fans.

One thing though. When Aaron came into the game last night, he was booed. Now, I know Aaron has done poorly, but sweet jeebus people, the dude is being called on to close out a game. How about a little fucking support? How about instead of booing him before he throws a damn pitch, you clap for him, get behind him. You know, build up his confidence? As savvy as NY fans are supposed to be, we get this wrong too often. I'm not saying you should not boo if he sucks, but at least give him a chance. Who knows, maybe a show of support from the fans may have helped. (well, that and some help from the defense.)

I'm off the soapbox now.

Basically the pen looks like this

LOOGY - Show, Pedro Dos
ROOGY - Smith
UBERCRAPPY - Muniz, Heilman
Unknown - Kunz

Smith is having a hard time against lefties. Pedro Dos (before last night) was having trouble keeping inherited runners from scoring. Show should not face a righty unless there is a 10 run lead.
Muniz sucks. Lugo is not much better. These guys are mop-up guys, nothing more. Lugo will be the long man per Jerry.

That leaves Kunz. Now, I'm not saying the guy is gonna come out and be dominant. He may blow up. But you know what? The dude has closed, in college (where he led his team to the College World Series), in AA and AAA this year. He knows what is needed. Is he untested at the ML level? Sure. But guess what? He's the best option at this point.

There is no time to mess around here. The deficit is 2 games. Billy is out for 2 weeks. We cannot continue blowing games late, or using 3 guys to pitch the ninth. Give Eddie the damn ball and see what he can do. He's got a good sinker, something that will work in his favor. He throws hard. He misses bats. He's not gonna come in and strike out the side, but who cares? The job is to get 3 outs without allowing the other team to erase the lead. That's it. The rest of the guys have not shown the ability to do so.

Let Eddie try.


Onto last nights game. The hitting star was Fernando Tatis, who erased two Padre leads, first with a solo shot to the picnic area, and later with a 3-run shot that he waved fair in the leftfield loge. (The morons at Baseball Tonight killed him for his celebration. Note to morons, please review tape of Fisk, Carlton in 1975 WS. or any home run by Sammy Sosa. In other words, have a tall glass of STFU.) Supporting roles were played by Daniel (don’t call him Dan) Murphy, who had an RBI and went 1 for 2 with 2 walks, Delgado who had 2 walks and 2 runs scored, Beltran who went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored, including the 6th run, scoring on a double by Nick Evans and a mistake prone relay by the Padres.

On the mound, Pelfrey went 6 2/3, allowing 9 hits, 2 runs on 2 homers, a walk and 3 k’s. He did well, and got himself out of trouble. Pedro Dos pitched 1 1/3 scoreless, stranding an inherited runner in the 7th. We’ll skip over Heilman and talk about Smith who retired the only batter he faced, and Show, who did likewise, though the out was hard hit to center.

I’m liking what I see from Murphy. He has a real good eye, and his hit was a great piece of hitting, driving a low pitch to deep left center for a double driving in Argenis Reyes. He might not be a true left fielder, but his bat should keep him in the lineup. See, youth can work from time to time.

On the injury front, we all know Billy is on the DL now. Hopefully the rest will heal his forearm, and he will be able to close once he comes back without making everyone reach for the Tums.

Maine is progressing well. He is due to throw a simulated game Friday and is on track to return from the DL next week. (My fantasy team is thankful for this).

Luis Castillo is playing rehab games. :shudder:

Ryan Church took BP yesterday after not having done so for a couple of games. Not a lot of details on what is happening. Some days he feels 100%, others, only 90% or so per reports. I’m not counting on having him back anytime soon.

Tonight, Pedro vs. Cha Seung Baek, who faced the Mets in June in a game they lost 2-1. He went 6, allowing 7 hits and 1 run, 2 BB and 2 K. He got 11 ground ball outs. Hopefully, the Mets fare better against him this time. As for Pedro, hopefully he can give the team some length, like 7 full innings. And hopefully the bats score enough to make the question of who will close moot.



Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Name the Players

A lot has been made about the Mets organizational depth (or lack thereof). Many complained that the Mets have depleted their farm. Others complained that they should have depleted it more at the recent Non-Waiver trade deadline. The feeling is that the Mets have traded away too much lately, and that had they not, they would be in a better place, since they would have depth. Such depth would have been used to fill in some holes on the team this year according to that theory.

So lets play a game. See if you can name the 4 players below:

Player 1 (ML) - .256 AVG, .288 OBP, .351 SLG%, 639 OPS 21 steals, 10 caught stealing

Player 2 (AAA) - 6-7 5.38 ERA 1.59 WHIP 4.04 BB/9 6.73 K/9

Player 3 (AAA) - 4-8 3.87 ERA 1.35 WHIP 2.92 BB/9 7.22 K/9

Player 4 (FSL) - 10-5 4.56 ERA 1.42 WHIP 4.04 BB9 4.82 K/9

Would you want any of those players playing for the Mets right now? Or would you rather have someone like this

Player 5 - 9-7 2.93 ERA 1.19 WHIP 2.38 BB/9 7.62 K/9

Did you guess yet?

Player 5 is Johan. Players 1 - 4 are Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra. Now, tell me something, would you want Gomez playing the outfield on the Mets right now? Or Humber or Mulvey in the rotation or pen? Guerra is obviously some ways away from being ML ready.

It makes me laugh when people first bemoan the lack of depth and say that the Santana trade was a mistake. How exactly is that possible? Santana may not be the Best Pitcher in Baseball, but he gives the team a chance to win every time out. So you think Humber or Mulvey could do that? When Gomez got off to a hot start, people raved. Now however, people see what many Mets fans saw last year, a guy who is not ready for Prime Time. The Twins rushed him, possibly to justify the Santana trade, but rushed him nonetheless. Humber and Mulvey are not lighting it up in AAA either.

Many laughed at the Twins, saying the package was bad. They point to the package the Yankees had allegedly offered as better. Really? Kennedy has done nothing and got hurt. Hughes has been hurt all year. Melky Cabrera sports a 654 OPS. Is that package really all that much better?
The media likes to say that Omar was able to do this trade because the Yankees would not give in. Well, maybe the Twins thought the Mets package was better? Or maybe Omar was smart, putting out his highly rated guys and staying in the mix. In any event, he turned 4 guys who would not be able to help the Mets this year into a guy who will now and for years to come.

As for the present farm, there are some bright spots. Fernando! has looked good (when not hurt of course, what is it with Mets OF's getting hurt anyway?) Daniel Murphy has raked this year, earning a call up. Nick Evans did well in AA, Mike Carp has bounced back. Wilmer Flores, all of 17, has been hitting everything in sight, playing with guys 2 or more years older than he.

Yes, the Mets have erred in not going over slot. The early returns on Ike Davis are not promising (I'm not gonna worry yet. Let's give him some time shall we?) Brad Holt on the other hand is throwing nicely. Let's give the low level guys some time to grow. In a couple of years, they may surprise us.

In the meantime, the big club needs to start a winning streak tonight. Go Big Pelf!



Monday, August 04, 2008

Um, What Happened to the Bats?

Swept by the Astros? Swept?


A 7-3 loss Friday night, when the offense left 7 on base. Pedro pitched well for his first start after his latest long layoff. Yes, Heilman gave up the grand slam to break the 3-3 tie, but really, when you pound out 10 hits and get 2 walks, you should score more than 3 runs. They loaded the bases in the 7th with no outs, and came away with NOTHING. Endy struck out, DW grounded out, and Delgado flew out. That's what cost them the game.

Saturday, a 5-4 loss in 10, Heilman got the loss again (note, I dropped him from my fantasy team that morning, so I can't be blamed). Mets got 8 hits, Houston made 2 errors, and they left 8 runners on base. Danny Murphy made his debut, singled his first time up and scored. He also made a nice catch and throw double play later in the game. Nice debut, he did not look overmatched at all. Very smooth swing. You might even say Nice and Level. The pen choked this one away as well, as BMBB blew a 2 run lead in the 9th. Billy apparently was fighting some forearm stiffness, and will go for an MRI tomorrow (he cannot go today due to family obligations). I don't wanna sound the alarm here, but Billy had forearm issues 8 yrs ago that required tendon surgery. He claims the pain is different, but given the luck this team has had with injuries this year, I'm not buying it yet. Aaron took the loss as noted, allowing a walk and a hit, and Pedro Dos allowed the inherited runner to score. Ramon Castro was hurt on a play at the plate as the Astros scored 2 runs on the same play at the plate, shades of the NLDS from 2006 against the Dodgers.

Yesterday, no runs. Nada, zip, zilch, against Randy Wolf. Eleven left on base yesterday, 9 hits and 4 walks. Wright had a poor trip, going 3-22. Beltran was moved up to the #2 spot, and went 2-5. Delgado went 3-4. Beltran and Cancel were thrown out trying to steal 3rd. Nick Evans went 0-4, but feeling the heat in the field from Murphy's fine play Saturday, threw out two runners at second who were trying to stretch singles to doubles.

Now, I know July was incredibly hot, but the bats need to step it up, given the issues with the pen and the rotation. Maine is now on the DL. Wagner could be heading there. Sanchez has no zip. Heilman, well, he's just flat out struggling right now. Pedro is still a worry with his control issues. Eddie Kunz was called up, and he could be the closer while BMBB is out. I like guys named Eddie :)

Beltran needs to get going. I know his overall numbers are there, but we need him to go on one of his 2 week long tears where he OPS' 1.123. DW needs to get right. Reyes needs to wreak havoc on the bases. With the bottom of the lineup being a mish-mosh of Murphy, Evan, Schneider and Cancel, the top 6 need to get the job done.

The August Schedule has opportunities
3 vs Padres
3 vs Marlins
1 vs Pirates (make-up)
3 @ Nationals
4 @ Pirates
3 vs Braves
4 vs Astros
2 @ Philth
3 @ Marlins

Dregs and divisional opponents.
26 games left in the month. They are 0-3 so far. A final record for August of 19-10 should allow the team to keep up with Philly and the Marlins before September starts. September will not be easy.

3 @ Brewers
3 vs Philth
2 vs Nationals
3 vs Braves
4 @ Nationals
3 @ Braves
4 vs Cubs
3 vs Marlins.

A lot of games against playoff teams, or at least teams fighting for the playoffs. The Braves are a nemesis. The Nats always play the Mets tough. No walks in the park there.

The time to take, yet another, stand is now. 19-7 for the rest of the month is not easy, but needed.

Just.Win.Series. (a couple of sweeps would be nice though)


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bring Me the Shoe of Carlos Muniz

So I can Milbury him.

(For those who don't get this reference, Mike Milbury, while a player for the Bruins, was involved in an altercation in the stands at MSG. He beat a patron over the head with the dude's own shoe).

I want this guy off the team. Now. I know, he didn't cost them the game (Brian Schneider is apparently allergic to baseballs), but he is of no help to this team if he can't get through an inning. He is supposed to be the "long" man. Well, he ain't. He stinks. His run at the start of the year looked nice, but he is very hittable.

I would have preferred Willie Collazo last night. You know, the guy they called up because the pen was spent Saturday. Well, poor Willie is sitting on his ass out there. It's like last year, when Randolph wouldn't use him (or other young guys). If they don't think he can help, then why the hell is he here?

Of more immediate concern is John Maine's shoulder. He felt tightness prior to last night, which explains why Jerry was so quick to pull him in the 5th. One pitch too late alas (not blaming Jerry, just saying). Keep your fingers crossed that this is a minor thing. He will have an MRI in NY today.

The offense was dead last night. Jose did nothing, DW ditto. Tatis and Easley were the only guys who hit Nolasco, and nobody hit the Marlins pen. Everyone on the Marlins hit the Mets pen though. Joe Smith gave up a hard hit double to left, then a flipping baltimore chop up the middle driving in the tying run. It got worse from there, as Joe was removed for Sho, who showed again that he can't pitch to multiple righties. Looks like Jerry was reading from the book of Willie in the 8th.

It is one game, and the hope is that the boys follow the pattern and bounce back to win the next two. I think they will. I just hope the pen isn't overworked the next two games.

Friday, Pedro comes back, but will be limited to 80 pitches. Which means the pen is going to have to go long. Aaron, I hope you are ready baby. Methinks you might be the first arm out, so long as Jerry doesn't need you to do so today or tomorrow. Ollie tonight and Big Pelf tomorrow. Let's hope they continue their excellent runs. Even with the off day Thursday, I worry about the pen Friday with Pedro being so limited.



Monday, July 28, 2008

Isn't This a Lot More Fun?

Another series, another win. This time, the Cardinals were the victims. Another excellent outing by Pelfrey on Friday, a good comeback on Saturday (though a loss notnetheless) and a, should I say DOMINANT outing by Johan yesterday.

Let's start with Friday. Mike Pelfrey has been amazing. The turnaround from early this year, much less last season has been outstanding. The interesting thing to read was the response to a question about why he had stopped throwing his curveball, which was supposed to be an OK pitch when he was drafted. Peterson apparently told Big Pelf to stop throwing it after a side session where he threw 20 curves, and only hit the strike zone with one. So instead of working on it, he had Pelf scrap it for a slider, which he also had trouble with. I loved Petersen, but this is one of those things that makes Ed go hmmm. In any event, Warthen has him throwing it, as well as the slider, and it has enabled Pelf to mature before our very eyes. Another strong outing, 7 innings, 7 hits, 1 run and 5 k's. Nice. The bats supported him , beating up on Mitchell Boggs for the second time this year, though this time he only gave up 6 runs, not 10, so he's got that going for him at least. Delgado went yard, and Argenis Reyes hit his first major league home run. Only Beltran failed to get a hit.

Saturday, Brandon Knight got the call in place of Pedro (my condolences to the Martinez family on the passing of Pedro's dad). The first inning went poorly, as he got smacked around for 4 runs. But the boys came back, and even took a 5-4 lead on a Jose HR (no finger in the air this time, then again, this wasn't the Phillies). Alas, the pen leaked in the 6th, as Muniz (who I do not like), Pedro Dos (who is scaring me a bit) and Smith allowed the Cards to score 4 runs. Jerry over managed a tad to me, but what was done was done. In the bottom of the sixth, former Yankee Ron Villone came in for the Cards, allowed a walk to DW and then a bomb to Delgado, his second of the game. It stayed 8-7 until the bottom of the ninth, when Fernando Tatis hit a homer just over the glove of Rick Ankiel. The good vibes were flowing. The bats stayed silent after that though, as they blew several chances against the Card pen, who liked to walk guys with frequency. The pen was depleted, and Aaron Heilman was needed to go 3 innings, which led to an Albert Pujols bomb in the top of the 14th. Aaron had done well until then, so I can't kill him. He is not stretched out (to all who call for him to start, this is an example of why it cannot happen right away). So, resiliancy, but no win.

Yesterday, Johan was the man. Complete game, 1 run on 6 hits 1 walk and 6 k's. He saved the pen, which is good with the trip to Florida for 3 starting tonight. The bats kept the beat going, as Wright, Tatis and Castro hit homers. Tatis and Jose each had 2 doubles as well. Everybody had a hit, including Johan (who had 2).

There are a number of things that have led to the improved play. The starting pitching has been stellar. The pen for the most part has been good, but the resurgence of Carlos Delgado is the key IMNSHO. This guy was being killed by EVERYONE, including me. I say mea culpa, and I know many other bloggers and fans feel the same way. Though I am sure there are some who continue to think this is a fluke, and that he will come back to earth. He now has 67 RBI with 22 hr and an OPS of 840. His July 3's are flat out sick

386 avg, 480 obp, 771 slg, 1.251 OPS. 8 home runs, 21 rbi.

July still has 4 days left. Now, his July and September last year were good, but not close to this. August 2006 was the last time he hit like this. If he keeps it up, man, things are gonna continue to be fun in Queens.

The schedule over the next couple of weeks looks like this

7/28 - 7/30 - @ Marlins
8/1 - 8/3 - @ Astros
8/5 - 8/7 - Padres
8/8 - 8/10 - Marlins
8/11 - Pittsburgh (make up)
8/12 - 8/14 - @ Washington
8/15 - 8/18 - @ Pittsburgh
8/19 - 8/21 - Atlanta

This is a prime chance to put some distance between the Mets and Marlins. As for the Philth, well, let's not worry about them (though they do have the Marlins Cards, Pirates, Dodgers, Padres and Nats on the schedule). Take care of ourselves.



Thursday, July 24, 2008

Which Team Has Heart?

I'm sitting here watching this afternoon's game on the SNY Encore. I just saw Jayson Werth go yard. A month ago, I, and every other Met fan would have gone into panic mode, awaiting the inevitable Ollie implosion. Today, that did not happen. THAT, my friends, is a sign of a good team. That is the sign of a team that has basically said "Screw it, we're gonna win" before and during every game.

Oh, the Philth had their fun on Tuesday, smacking the bullpen around. The media had their fun questioning the Mets leadership, and talking about how the Philth just don't quit, and how they have such great leaders in Jimmy Rollins. The Philth had fun showboating at second base after a double (Rollins), and standing on home plate for 3 seconds after scoring (Victorino). The media, Philth and their phucking philth phans expected the Mets to roll over after that.

They were wrong.

Last night, Maine pitched well, and the Mets got a timely go-ahead 3 run homer from Jose, who trotted quickly around the bases, while raising his index finger in the air. Now, this act offended the Philth Phans, and their broadcasters, even Skip Bayless from ESPN (well, to be fair, Skip is kind of a moron). How dare Jose celebrate hitting a 3 run homer that broke a 3-3 tie. He should be classy like Rollins and Victorino. Oh, wait.

Let me tell you something. I am sick and damn tired of the media and opposing teams bitching about Jose, but overlooking, or even celebrating, the antics of other players. No one says boo about Victorino, who couldn't hold Jose's fucking jock, or Rollins, or Manny hi-fiving a fan DURING A PLAY for pete's sake. But Jose holds up a finger and it is like he murdered someone. STFU Skip Bayless, and the rest of the ESPN assholes, and Tom McCarthy and other out of town announcers.

As for the Phillies, don't some into our house and stand on home plate and mock Jose and the other Latin players and then turn around and bitch about Jose's trot. Oh, and Jimmy, next time, try to show up on time for the game. I think it is lovely how you drive yourself to the game while the rest off your teammates take the bus. I hope ESPN mentions this just once. That will probably be more than it will actually happen. Now, if a Met did that, it would be on "the crawl" for the next week, and would be the top story for every edition of SportsCenter. But since it is Jimmy, who ESPN loves nearly as much as Derek Jeter, nothing will be said. (side note, do you think ESPN suits would just cream themselves if Rollins was to somehow become a Yankee? Of course, he would have to play 2nd, since Jeter would not move for him.) The reigning MVP was benched today because he was late. Again, imagine if that was anyone on the Mets.

Today, Ollie pitched his ass off. Twelve k's, including Utley and Howard multiple times each. He went 7 2/3. He left with the Bases Loaded with Philth, and in came Aaron. I liked this move. Jerry showed Aaron he had faith in him in a tough spot against the Phils, a team that, well, Aaron doesn't exactly have a good track record against. Aaron got the last out. Mission Completed. Wags pitched a strong 9th, which was nice, especially given the quick turn around from last nights game.

The offensive hero today was Carlos Delgado, who drove in the winning run in the 8th with an 3 run opposite field double. I admit, I was down on Carlos, but the man has been on fire since June, and even hotter in July. So hot that he was moved back to cleanup last night and today. The bats overall were quiet against 85 year old Jamie Moyer, but at the end of the day, they won, and are in first alone by 1 game.

A team that had it's heart questioned showed it is strong.

The team that is supposed to be all heart has its leader show up late to the game today and get benched.

Has the tide turned? It's early still, but the signs are promising.