Friday, August 31, 2007
This Mets team has been in first place the entire year. We have had our lead dwindled to 1.5 games, but were able to build that lead to 7 games before the recent implosion.
We've had more injuries than a chainsaw juggler, and somehow we still are in 1st place. Ricky Ledee, Mike DiFelice, Ben Johnson, David Newhan, and Sandy Alomar Jr. have all been in the starting lineup at some point this year. Our bullpen through the first 117 games only blew 7 leads. But we've never relinquished 1st place.
Our biggest sluggers have been in persistent slumps, but other guys like Castillo, Gomez, Marlon Anderson, and Lastings Milledge have picked up the slack. If you told me in April that Delgado would struggle, Alou would be out for 3 months, Chavez would be out for 3 months, and the bullpen would blow 9 leads in 17 games, I would have told you there's now way we'd be in 1st place on September 1st. But we will be.
This is a team with a history of miracles. The '69 Mets. The '73 Mets. Game 6 of the '86 NLCS. Game 6 of the '86 World Series. The time we scored 8 runs in the bottom of the 8th to beat the Braves. The Todd Pratt home run (you know what I'm talking about). The Robin Ventura grand slam single. The Endy Chavez catch.
Where's our miracle this year? It hasn't come yet, but ya gotta believe that it will.
Let's not lose hope yet. 30+ games left. One win at a time.
Let's go Mets.
The Mets have had a problem all year of long losing streaks. Just think of the months of June & July and you'll know what I'm talking about. The Mets need to stop the bleeding by winning game 1 tonight. By winning game 1 the Mets will be able to shake off the shadow of the Philadelphia series and focus on the games with Atlanta. Another loss would just continue their depression.
We've got John Maine, the 5th starter, and Tom Glavine pitching for us against Tim Hudson, John Smoltz, and some other guy who doesn't really matter. Not quite an even matchup, but that's what will make a win in Atlanta that much more precious.
Turner Field has forever been the Mount Doom of the Mets. If we really want to see what this team is made of, this series will prove it. Can this team come back from being thoroughly beaten by the Phillies? Can Wagner get his act together and still be a big game pitcher? Can this offense give our pitchers a lead to work with? Can Willie Randolph do anything to get this team back on track?
All of these questions will be answered in this series against the Braves. We'll have to wait and see whether or not we like the answers.
I'm over the fact that the same guys continue to beat us even though we know they are Met killers. I'm over the fact that we had a chance to have an 8 or 9 game lead at the beginning of this series, and now it's a measly two game lead.
I'm over the fact that our biggest game pitcher, El Duque, couldn't last 5 innings in the biggest game of the year. I'm over the fact that the Mets got picked off an unreasonable 4 times this series. I'm over the ever shrinking strike zone of these umpires.
I'm over the fact that Willie Randolph never puts the squeeze play on even when you have one of the fastest guys in baseball on 3rd base. I'm over the fact that we didn't get any bullpen help before the trading deadline.
But, I'm not over the fact that we keep losing. I'm hoping the players and Willie Randolph aren't either.
On to Atlanta.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
It got me thinking who the hero will be. It could be Reyes. It could be Alou. I'm pretty sure it won't be Delgado. And I'm absolutely sure that Beltran wants no part of being a hero/leader.
That's why it has to be David Wright. Wright is the leader of this team whether you want to admit it or not. He's been the most consistent bat since May 1 and seems to be the only guy to hit in clutch situation.
In the great Western movie Tombstone, Wyatt Earp is looking for men to step up and fight when Doc Holliday steps in and says, "I'm your huckleberry." The term "huckleberry" in this context actually means the "exact right person for the situation." That's David Wright, and as cheesy as it sounds he's our huckleberry.
I'm calling an opposite field home run for Mr. Wright this afternoon. I think he's ready to take this team on his shoulders. I'm confident Reyes & Castillo will be there to back him up, but I don't think anyone else can carry the load except for David Wright.
This is your team David. Take us home.
Have we been in worse situations this year? Sure, we were only up 1.5 games on Atlanta before Atlanta imploded and we built it back to a 7 game lead.
But here's why I'm concerned, we're going to Turner Field. The Phillies will take a trip to Florida to play the struggling Marlins who can give you a tough game every once in a while. But I fully expect the Phillies to take 2 out of 3 from the Marlins.
Meanwhile I expect the Mets to lose 2 out of 3 to Atlanta. Depending on whether the Mets lose on the same day the Phillies win, we could be heading to Cincinnati in a tie for 1st place with the Phillies.
Sorry, I just felt like I had to throw up.
A win today would give us a 3 game lead and unless we were swept by Atlanta and the Phillies sweep Florida, we would avoid a tie for first by the time Labor Day rolls around. We're still not in good shape, but I'd feel much better if we could grab a win this afternoon.
I'm looking for my Easy button, but all I can find is my Panic button. And I'm ready to use it. Is Willie Randolph?
Here's the email I was sent this morning from my parents who own a home down the shore next to die-hard Phillie fans:
"I just started cutting out the eye-holes on the bag for my head. If nothing else, I may get a free Broom from [our Phillie fan neighbors]."
We all feel your pain, but at least I don't have to face Phillies' fans while on vacation this week.
Let's hope El Duque is what the doctor ordered so we can save face before heading to Atlanta.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Here's the list I've compiled ranked in order of importance focusing specifically on the NL East:
1. Chipper Jones
2. Pat Burrell
3. Hanley Ramirez
4. Jimmy Rollins
5. Ryan Zimmerman
Of course Roger Clemens would be on this list, but it turns out the Mets have actually done pretty well against him. I'm just sick and tired of the same guys beating us when we know it's coming.
Pat Burrell was a foot away from crushing a grand slam against the Mets on Wednesday night and he homered the night before. Does no one else see it coming except me? Hit 'em in the head. Let him take the base and deal with the next guy.
Let us know if you've got some Met killers to add to the list.
2). Carlos Delgado, please stop swinging at pitches that are going to hit you in the thigh.
3). Moises Alou, please pull your bat out of the strike zone when you take a pitch so you don’t foul it off.
4). Willie Randolph, please, for the love of God, stop putting Mota out there for more than one inning. Just thank your lucky stars, count your blessings when he gets through one inning unscathed and Call it a day.
5). Ollie Perez, please pitch a shut out tonight.
In the mid 80’s, while the Mets were evolving into a dominating team, I was maturing as a fan. I started to understand the game more; why getting ahead in the count was important, why you should bunt a runner over, and why you should never make the final out of an inning at 3rd base. It was also during this time that I realized losing didn’t sit well with me. It bothered the heck out of me when the Mets lost. Fortunately, the Mets didn’t loose often back then, although there were some very bitter defeats thanks to Terry Pendleton & Mike Scosia. (If only there had been a Wild Card then).
In the early 90’s, the Mets turned into one of the most pathetic franchises in all of sports; Brett Saberhagen and the bleach incident, Bobby Bonilla and the ear plugs, Vince Coleman and the firecrackers. And who could forget the loveable but flawed Mackey Sasser, who was plagued by a rare disease called the “Can’t throw the ball back to the pitcher” syndrome. It was downright embarrassing to be a Mets fan. Then, the long-awaited hope that was to be Generation K, quickly evaporated when all three kids went down with arm injuries. It wasn’t until the arrival of one, Mike Piazza, that we finally regained credibility; He single-handedly resurrected this organization from the abyss and led us to our first post season in 13 years. I am forever grateful to #31 for making it fun again to be a Mets fan.
And it was fun. Sure there were heartbreaking defeats along the way, there was disappointment, but for some reason, there has never been a season more frustrating than this one. Some have asked “Is losing all those years better than this season?” or “Would you rather be in last place than be in first?” Of course the answer is ‘no.’
When we were terrible, it was disappointing for sure, but you sort of accepted the fact they weren’t going to the playoffs, so your heartbreak was limited. It was so commonplace for them to stink, that my wedding in ‘04 included this vow from my wife: ‘I promise to always root for the Mets, in good times and the bad.’ The point is, there weren’t any expectations so when they did manage to be competitive, like ’98 and ’05, you were just thrilled they were in it. You were happy to watch them play meaningful games in September as Fred Wilpon would say at spring training every year.
So what makes this the most frustrating season in all my years as a Mets fan? They’re supposed to be good! Expectations are high. The NL is weak and we’re not taking advantage of it, instead we’re underachieving. Guys aren’t hitting the way they’re capable. Plus, can anyone remember a season with more heartbreaking losses? How many more of these crushing defeats can we endure?
The frustration is compounded by the fact that we had our best chance since ’86 to win the Series last year and we still came up short. With all of that offense and that lights-out bull pen, we still couldn’t bring home the trophy. Game 7 is still a bitter pill to swallow and so I want it that much more this season. That’s why it’s been the most frustrating season. So if we’re fortunate enough to win the NL East again, it will be the biggest sigh of relief since Orosco’s strikeout of Marty Barrett nearly 21 years ago.
"…every team in the league is having bullpen issues…that, plus knowing how October is a total crapshoot, and i believe the Mets can certainly win a World Series with the bullpen they have…that being said, like most teams, it could use a few improvements, to say the least…"
Wow. That's more confidence than I have in the bullpen. Cerrone goes on to layout his case and some of his points I can agree with. Every team in the NL has bullpen issues. The Braves might be in the best situation, but they just got rid of Wickman and Soriano has been known to blow a game or two. A good bullpen is hard to find and even on WFAN this afternoon they talked about the Mets bullpen being the "least worst" bullpen in the NL.
Is this the same bullpen I'm watching?
I don't think the Mets need to go spend millions on a bullpen guy right now, but something should have been done before the trading deadline. Also, where is Joe Smith? The Mets sent him down because he was struggling a bit? Have they seen Guillermo Mota lately? Joe Smith should be back for September call ups but I think he should have been up sooner.
Sosa has been the lone bright spot, outside of Wagner, and he's earned the job as the 7th/8th inning guy. Outside of him, it depends on what day of the week it is to figure out who's going to pitch well. I've thought about putting Pedro Martinez in the bullpen when he comes back, but with his arm I don't think he can handle pitching every other day even if it's just for a few batters.
I was planning on posting about how the Mets can cut their rotation down to 4 (or even 3) when the playoffs roll around, but I'm nervous talking about the playoffs the way things are going of late.
If the Mets take the next two, and win 2 out of 3 from the Braves, I'll feel a lot better about the postseason.
Joe Smith, Mike Pelfrey and Dave Williams are expected to be among them, but there is suspiciously no word about Phillip Humber joining the club.
Why? Humber has pitched well in the minors and has spent the last two seasons down there. So why haven't we seen him? Is it because the Mets saw the error of their ways in rushing Pelfrey? Does the organization really think Dave Williams or Brian Lawrence are better for the ball club?
I agree that young arms should not be rushed, but I don't think we'd be rushing Humber at this point. It's September call ups and what better time to test out the kid than now? I'm tired of Brian Lawrence and have zero confidence in Dave Williams. Pelfrey? Hmm, verdict is still out.
The fact that there is absolutely no word about Humber joining the Mets in September makes me wonder what is going on. I'm hopefuly it's for good reason, but I'm ready to see the kid in action.
Another bullpen arm lost. Who'll be back first Duaner Sanchez or Ambiorix Burgos?
Your guess is as good as mine.
But I now I have a beef with them. I've yet to see a Mets version of the Actober TV spots.
The Yankees have their own spot. The Indians and Brewers have one (although I'm not sure anybody cares). I vaguely remember one centered on the Red Sox. But where is the Mets' commercial?
The Mets would make a perfect commercial. We have more drama than any team I know. A bullpen that tries to lose games for us. A 5th starter that we select by picking names out of a hat. A first baseman who can't hit an inside fastball. A curse in left field that injures anyone who plays there. The ultimate villain in Scott Schoeneweiss. And of course the ultimate dynamic duo in David Wright & Jose Reyes.
Major League Baseball is free to take any of these talking points and use them in a new commercial starring the Mets. I only ask for a few tickets to be thrown my way and perhaps a David Wright autographed jersey.
If you haven't checked it out yet, go visit Actober.com and you'll find some classic baseball playoff moments as well as some pretty creative user generated content.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Actually, David Wright probably didn't want to play the ninth inning. He'd had enough. He struck out LOOKING 3 times. A couple of those called strikes were questionable, but the last one I thought was too close to take. Wright has walked what feels like 30 times in the last 10 games and I'm wondering if he's becoming satisfied with a walk since Beltran has been on fire behind him.
I like that Wright is walking more. He steals bases and runs the bases well, but I want him to swing the bat more times than not. Delgado? He can take as many pitches as he wants.
According to Adam Rubin at the Daily News, this is only the second time Wright has been ejected from a game. The last time came in 2005 in Atlanta when the umpire ruled that Wright's take out slide was too far outside the base.
I like my Wright with a little fire. It's good to see every once in a while. Use it to fuel your bat for game two tonight.
And go drink some of that XXX Vitamin Water while you're at it. Good stuff.
Sean Green, in all of his flopping and flailing attempts, just can’t get to fly balls, not too mention, he can’t drive the ball with any kind of authority anymore. Lastings Milledge, still young, is looking overmatched way too often now and is a little suspect in the field.
The questions is: Where does Willie bat him? I kind of like him in the 8th spot, especially when Castillo is playing. This way, the pitcher doesn’t have two easy outs back to back, and if he gets on, the pitcher can bunt him over with the speedy Reyes and Castillo, coming up after him. Facing those guys puts all kinds of pressure on the opposing team; a pitcher’s nightmare.
So with a 5 game lead, and 5 weeks to go, Chavez’s return couldn’t come at a better time. Welcome back, Endy! We missed you.
Utley is the new Mets killer, firmly supplanting the still dangerous, but aging, Chipper Jones. I know Pat Burrell has hit a home run in like every game he’s played against the Mets in his career, but that still doesn’t compare to what Utley can do. Every time he comes to the plate, I brace myself for the damage he’s about to cause. I remember two years ago in early September when the Mets were 2 games out of the Wild Card behind Philly, Utley hit 2 home runs off Pedro and the Mets never recovered from that blow.
I am as confident in him to rip the ball as I am in Scott Blowenweis to give up runs. In other words, he’s scares me more than any other player in the National League. And it doesn’t matter who you bring in to face him, righty, lefty, he smacks the ball to all parts of the field, and with power, which is another reason why I hate when he’s hitting. There is really no way to pitch to him. With Burrell, you can at least get him to swing at some bad pitches. His home run last night was a bomb, and the double was no cheapie either. And to think, he just came off a broken hand injury. You’d think it would take a little time to get back into the swing of things. Not Utley, not against the Mets.
For me, he is my most feared hitter. Chase Utley is that good
This week the Braves designated Bob Wickman for assignment. Turns out he didn't like pitching in non-save situations. So the Braves showed him the door and will make either Octavio Dotel or Rafael Soriano their new closer.
And here is why the Mets need to pick up Wickman: revenge.
Hell hath no fury like a women scorned or a player just released by his team. Wickman may not like pitching in non-save situations, but I bet he'd deal with it if he had a chance to get revenge on the Braves.
So Omar Minaya should pick up the phone today and call Wickman's agent. Omar will explain the role that Wickman would play on the Mets and how this is Wickman's chance for a little payback. If Wickman is ok with his new role than the Mets should sign him because we all know that we need bullpen help.
Wickman would be an extra arm in the pen that can throw heat and has experience. If you don't think we need him, I offer Schoeneweiss as exhibit 1. Besides, a fat man in the bullpen is always fun.
I could deal with a game 2 loss, because if you took game 1 it's ok to have a down day after a big road win. But last night's game was just an all-round poor performance. I've never seen David Wright argue with an ump over balls and strikes. On top of that I can't remember the last time David Wright struck out three times in one game. Talk about your off night.
Speaking of off nights, that brings me to Brian Lawrence. I think I've referred to him as Bill Lawrence in previous posts, but that's because the guy is so forgettable. If anyone makes you think that you have a shot at pitching in the big leagues, it's Brian Lawrence (and maybe Scott Schoeneweiss). He has a 78-82 mph fastball at times. Kids in the little league world series throw harder than that.
He's suppose to be a location pitcher, like a poor man's Tom Glavine. Well this guy is definitely on welfare if that's the comparison. Tell me the Mets have no one better in their farm system than Brian Lawrence?
Hopefully last nights loss showed this team that the Phils aren't going quietly. Tom Glavine is on the mound tonight so let's get him some runs to work with.
Monday, August 27, 2007
I'd prefer neither actually. McCarver has been annoying me since I was 8 years old and watching the Mets on WWOR (that's the old channel 9 for those who may not remember). I remember at even 9 or 10 years old thinking that McCarver was really annoying and always seemed to be anti-Mets.
Now that McCarver is with Fox it's almost worse because he's teamed with Joe Buck (who I like in football, not so much baseball) or Kenny Albert (also pronounced "nepotism") who is just plain awful. But I'm not sure if they're any worse than Joe Morgan on ESPN.
Joe Morgan might be the worst color commentator in all of TV baseball. Scratch that, I've listened to Paul O'Neal on YES Network, so Morgan is the second worst. Wait Lou Pinella did the playoffs on Fox last year so he's #2. Morgan is definitely bottom 5 though. He just drones on and on and poor Jon Miller, who is a fantastic play-by-play guy, has to suffer next to him. At least Morgan somewhat likes the Mets so he's not bashing them as much as McCarver likes to.
I'm not sure which is worse, but I expect better from ESPN. As soon as Mike Piazza retires, ESPN needs to hire him as a color analyst. Fox used to have him do the postseason, but for some reason don't use him anymore. Maybe I'm just biased.
So Mets Lifers, appreciate what you have on SNY in one of the best commentators ever in Gary Cohen, and two guys with personality and baseball knowledge in Keith Hernandez & Ron Darling.
Off the top of my head, here's the list of injured players including those injured in Triple A: Alou, Easley, Beltran, Green, Milledge, Smith, Burgos, Sanchez, Valentin, Gomez, Lo Duca, Castro, Perez, El Duque, Delgado, Ben Johnson, and probably a few more I'm forgetting.
I'd go out and get Cal Ripken, Jr. to become the Mets head of training and conditioning. I'm sure Omar Minaya can woo him away from his state department gig. The Iron Man played over 3,000 games without a day off. He's got to know something about staying off the DL.
If Ripken is too involved in settling the issues in Palestine, than I'll offer a few alternative choices for head of the Mets training:
- Lance Armstrong - anybody who wins the Tour de France and conquers cancer has to know something about staying healthy
- That 59-year old who's playing college football this year - He's crazy, but he's got to be in great shape
- Jack Palance - Is he still alive? Sorry, just Googled him. He's not available.
- John Basedow - Come on, who's not creeped out by the guy on the Fitness Made Simple videos, but if he's still making videos after all these years he's got to be doing something right.
Pedro Martinez while rehabbing in the minors was watching the Mets play and specifically Guillermo Mota pitch. Pedro caught something that he thought was causing Mota to struggle and give away his change up. He said that Mota's stride to the plate was too short causing him to lose momentum on his pitches.
So Pedro called up Guy Conti and told him. According to Conti, Mota has been showing significant improvement. In fact a miracle happened last night, Mota pitched two scoreless innings!
Now am I to believe that simply lengthening Mota's stride will rid me of the angst I experience while watching Mota pitch? Is it really that simple? All those blown games and runs were because Mota shortened his stride?
Maybe. But if so what in the world are we paying Rick Peterson for?
I'm not convince yet that the Mota problem is fixed, but I'm hopeful. At the very least it makes me happy to hear Pedro is keeping up with the Mets and feels invested in this team to make a call to help one of his fellow teammates.
Maybe Pedro can pick up what's wrong with Delgado?
The Mets have a better record on the road this year than they do at Shea Stadium. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. How great is it to be able to go win games on the road? But on the other hand if you can't win at home doesn't that kind of make your road record null? What good is home field advantage? Are we that anxious to move into Citi Field?
The comfort I take is that the next 10 games are away from Shea Stadium. If you thought the West coast trip was long, that's nothing compared to a this one which includes 4 games in Philly, 3 in Atlanta, and 3 in Cincinnati.
This is it folks. The last long road trip of the year. If we finish this road trip by winning 7 of 10, I'll be happy. And it might just put is in prime position for the pennant. But let's not go there yet.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
But with a 7 game set with the Braves and Phillies coming up next week, I'm thinking 10 game lead would be nicer.
Still it's great to see the Mets finally push past the 5 game lead wall they've hit dozens of times this year. The bats still haven't cooled. The starting pitching is holding. And the bullpen. . .well, what can you say about that.
With a win tonight, the Mets have a real chance to bury the Phillies/Braves next week. We know the Mets' bats love Citizens Bank Park, but it's that Turner Field that keeps me up at night.
Let's finish the Dodgers first though. One game at a time, and we'll build that lead.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
And I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. For the better part of three months, I felt like I was hurling through Stanley Kubrick's (one of my favs) space travel sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey. You know that surreal, 20 minute scene where you're not exactly sure what's going on...you're slightly confused, uncertain about where this bizarre trip is going to take you? Well, finally I'm beginning to feel like this wild trip of a regular season is going to stop with a second straight NL East title. And that feels good. I can only hope this post season is not a sequel from last season.
A rematch with St. Louis would be nice. Nothing like a little vengeance to erase the nightmare.
Check out the other cool blogs that Matt mentions as well.
My Summer Family - Just checked it out...very clever, and funny.
Blastings! Thrilledge - We're already fans of this one. Big Ups!
The Metwork - Witty, smart, sharp and they review films, which is a past time of mine. Love a good movie.
Thanks for reading everyone!
Friday, August 24, 2007
It’s also important for the Mets to get back on track as they were on a nice streak, winning 7 out of 8, and suddenly they lose two in a row. If they make it three, that doubt, that inherent pessimism I thought I had vanquished until October will begin to creep back in and devour me.
So, Mr. Oliver Perez, please go out and get that first Mets’ no-hitter.
After much pondering I've had an epiphany. Ruben Gotay is our newest addition to the Mets bullpen.
Think about it. Ok so he's never pitched a day in his life, so he might give up a few hits/home runs/big innings. Is that any different than the three headed monster that is Mota/Schoeneweiss/Selee? I'm sure over time he could be just as good as Mota is when he's not on steroids.
Plus you wouldn't have to pinch hit for him. He could bat for himself and provide you with some solid ABs, good hitting with runners on base, and save your bench.
I think this has potential. How much worse could the bullpen be with Gotay?
Delgado looks scared at the plate. Not his demeanor, but his embodiment shows me he's lost all confidence and is extremely timid. He reminds of that kid in Little League that when he got up you just knew he was up there to hold the bat on his shoulder and pray for a walk. Case in point, last night in the 9th inning with Wright on 3rd and Beltran on 1st I thought it would be the turning point for Delgado. He was going to get up and pound the ball over the right field fence for a walk off home run. He'd be out of his slump and back in the graces of Mets nation.
I have never seen a batter so desperate, yes desperate, to draw a walk than Delgado. Delgado looked like he wanted no part of this situation and appeared frightened. I was happy that he drew a walk, but I was sad to see the Delgado of '06 completely disappear.
Blame it on bat speed, poor pitch selection, or whatever. Delgado has no confidence in himself at the plate. He's lost up there and I have no idea how he's going to turn it around. I'm hoping someone on the Mets does.
Maybe Ruben Gotay can play first base?
When the Mets signed Pedro Martinez after the 2004 season, I was just as shocked as anyone. I vividly remember the day they signed him. A co-worker of mine had some sources in the Mets organization and he received an email that said Pedro was getting his physical ‘as we speak’ – before anyone knew the deal was signed.
At the time, rumors were rampant that Omar was hot on the enigmatic right hander, but I never thought it would happen. I actually didn’t want it to happen either. I didn’t want the Mets to grossly overpay for a guy who was clearly past his prime and was doomed for the DL. Plus, his reputation in Boston was less than stellar. He was aloof, and considered a selfish jerk. Didn’t want him, didn’t need that type of personality on the team.
So when news start to trickle down that the Mets were signing Martinez, my co-worker and I scrambled out of work to listen to WFAN in the car. Sure enough, the deal was done and the greatest right handed pitcher of our generation was on his way to Flushing.
So here we are two and a half years later, and the legendary Pedro Martinez is on the cusp of making his long-awaited return to the rotation. Or is he? One day he’s coming, the next day he has a stiff neck. One day he’s feeling as strong as ever, the next day his feet hurt.
One thing is for sure, I am really looking forward to his first start back with the big club. Pedro brings an energy, an excitement to the game that only Jose Reyes can match. His presence alone instills an undeniable confidence in the players around him. I said I was not in favor of signing him a few years ago. I was wrong. Even if he never pitches again, it was money well spent. Not only has he been the consummate team player (he called Jorge Sosa a few weeks ago after seeing a glitch in his delivery on TV to let him know) and all-around good guy, he brought an identity to this team, gave it a personality, and set the path for others to come here. Omar was spot on when he said this signing (of Martinez) will make other players want to come to Shea…even those undiscovered jewels; the kids in the Dominican, in Puerto Rico, on an on, will want to play for the Mets. That was never the case. They all wanted to go to the Yankees.
I guess the big question is: How will Pedro perform when he does finally return? I really don’t know. I honestly do not have any expectations that he’ll do well. I don’t know how much he can give us…An emotional lift...Absolutely. Am I excited for him to pitch again? No question. But we need to be realistic about this. He’s recovering from a serious injury and it’s difficult to return to form so quickly. Even Pedro himself is unsure how he’ll do. He hasn’t pitched well in Rookie league. Granted, it’s more about how he feels after he pitches, rather than the results right now, but he could easily get hammered in the Bigs.
My hope is that the Great Pedro Martinez returns to my favorite team and reinvents himself just in time to win us a World Series title. If anyone can do, it’s him. Be well, Pedro. Be well.
Who do you choose? By the way death is not an option.
This is my nightmare. Heaven help us if the Mets are put in a situation like that, never mind the World Series, even against the Braves or Phillies this is horrible.
But really, which guy do you go with? Heilman and Mota will give up a home run. Schoenweis is good for at least a base hit. Selee is walk prone. Go ahead pick your poison.
At this point, I'd have to go with Heilman and pray that he's having a good day. He's gotten out of jams like 1st and 3rd with no one out so I guess I'd have to choose Heilman.
But in the back of my mind, Yadier Molina is lurking. So leave a comment, let me know who you'd choose.
"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up for me. Last night's emotional roller coaster of a game saw both highs and lows. From the lows of Tom Glavine's pitching performance to the highs of Marlon Anderson's home run. From the highs of tying the game in the ninth to the lows of Heilman giving up a home run in the tenth.
These comeback rallies feel like October baseball, but what makes me feel uncomfortable is that we're losing these games. And our bullpen is completely unreliable. Even Wagner has stumbled. I think Guillermo Mota has some bad pitching disease that is infectious and is spreading throughout the bullpen. The only remedy is to purge the host! Sorry, I'll calm down.
I love these exciting games, but only when we WIN them. The Padres are a tough team with excellent pitching, but the Mets had too many opportunities to win the past two ball games that I can excuse their performance because of the strength of the competition.
I'm a man torn. My only hope is a win tonight from Oliver Perez.
In July when the Mets picked up Marlon Anderson, I didn't understand the move. In fact I thoroughly trashed the guy, basically questioning his manhood and reason for living, in a post in mid-July.
I'm here to tell you I was dead wrong about Marlon Anderson. Dead wrong.
As Ron Darling put it last night, Marlon Anderson may very well be the best bat off the bench in the National League. Now he doesn't have the best average, or the best power, or the best all-round player, but Anderson knows how to hit in spots. On Tuesday night, he came through in the 9th with a huge hit. Last night he absolutely crushed a 3-run homer into the right field seats. I don't think Delgado has hit a ball as hard and far as Anderson did last night.
The guy knows his role, which you have to appreciate. I do like the fact that he's got some speed in him too. I originally thought Willie Randolph was going to play him every day in left until Alou came back, and that's what mostly made me question his being on the team. But as THE man off the bench, I have come to really love what Marlon Anderson can do for this team.
Move over Lenny Harris, Marlon Anderson is my top pinch hitter.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
As baseball fans, and Mets Lifers, we are all too familiar with these defeats. It is in our DNA. You're a Mets fan, you shall suffer. Whether you endure a Game 7 NLCS loss, or an important regular season contest, we are bound to be heart broken. Which is why I prefer to lose early, rather than late; get blown out, rather than get teased.
Many times I find myself trying to rationalize this game, my passion for this team. 'It's only a game, what's the big deal?'or 'They're just a bunch of overpaid athletes playing baseball, wearing blue and orange uniforms in Queens.' Never works. As much as I try to keep things in perspective, these games have a way of ruining my mood. And while I am doing what I can to mentally prepare myself now for that inevitable, torturous post season defeat, the one that is really going to rip you up, I realize I am no match for my dream of a Mets championship. Somehow, I will fool myself into thinking the bull pen will get hot, that Delgado will actually hit, and that Perez and Maine will surprise us again. Until then, I am mere a mortal. A Mets Lifer, destined for heartbreak.
I love this game.
Last year, a 5 game lead would have made me plenty comfortable. Our bullpen was rock solid. The offensive production was there. I felt confident that every game we took the field we had a shot to win it.
I've gotten that feeling back over the past week, but it's not completely there yet. Right now in my humble estimation it would take an 8 game lead to make me feel comfortable that this team is going to clinch the pennant. This year an 8 game lead is almost insurmountable. During September the Mets, Braves & Phils all play each other for almost two weeks straight. The way these teams beat up on each other it will be difficult for any one team to really overtake an 8 game lead unless they went on an 8 or 10 game win streak.
So the Mets need to get that 8 game lead before September 1 rolls around. It does make me feel better to see the Braves in 3rd place than in 2nd place, but that team still keeps me up at night.
Let's win this series with the Padres and take it from there. One game at a time.
Lastings Milledge has been a great asset to this team in the second half. He's hitting for average, but also getting big hits with men on base and clutch hits as was evident on Tuesday night. He should absolutely start in front of Shawn Green for the rest of the year.
Last night I thought would be a good test for Milledge facing a stellar starter in Jake Peavy. Peavy is the type of pitcher that Milledge would face in the playoffs on a regular basis. Milledge struggled mightily last night going 0 for 4 with 4 strikeouts. There wasn't a single at bat where Milledge looked comfortable at the plate.
I can see Milledge struggling come playoff time. There are very few young players who perform well in their first postseason appearance, so we need to keep getting Green some regular at bats because we may need his bat if we reach October.
The same thing can be said about Delgado at this point in time, but after his playoff performance last year I'm holding some hope that if the Mets make the playoffs he'll come through. It's a dream, but it's my dream.
I hope I'm dead wrong. I hope the Mets make the playoffs and Milledge continues his clutch hitting, but I'm cautious at the same time.
Jose Reyes passed Roger Cedeno last night for the Mets' single season record for stolen bases with his 67th stolen base.
My hat's off to you Jose, but I do expect seasons of 90 and possibly 100 stolen bases before his career is over. I also love the fact that when he gets thrown out it doesn't stop him from stealing the next time he's on base.
I'd love to see Reyes grab 85 bases before this year is out. Larceny attitude, my fellow Mets Lifers, gotta love it.
Mota, here are some suggestions:
- Go find the rock that Alay Soler is hiding under and join him
- To be a real asset to the Mets, join the Braves starting pitching staff
- Take a lesson from Rick Ankiel and go try and be a hitter
- Become the Mets version of Trent Tucker and start fights with the other team's superstar
- Go to therapy
- Tell Willie Randolph you've been given a message from Al Gore and you're the only one who can stop global warming in Peru.
- Join the Yankees
- Become part of Balco's marketing efforts to show what happens when you stop using steroids
- Lose your changeup in the men's bathroom at Penn Station
- Visit the home of Anthony Young so you can feel better about your career
Then it happened. I saw walk, then Conine knocks in a run. And then I started to get excited. Could we actually have a rally here? I turned to my wife and said, "They're just teasing with us." Then the Padres second basemen dropped a Texas league pop-up off the bat of David Wright allowing Conine to score.
My wife started to get excited too. I again turned to her and said, "This is what the Mets do. They get you all hyped up and then let you down." But then Beltran's ball dropped into center field and honestly thought Carlos Delgado was going to come up and redeem himself from the awful night he had.
But I forgot my own prophecy, and Delgado looked utterly foolish against Trevor Hoffman. I was right. The Mets were just teasing us.
But I gotta tell you, it was still fun to watch. The fact that they scored that many runs in the bottom of the ninth just goes to show you how devastating our bullpen can be.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Murphy made all Mets Lifers proud as he was wearing his authentic Mets away jersey while at that Giants' game. According to Yahoo, Murphy says he will auction off the ball using Sotheby's as the auction house. Experts expect the ball to earn Murphy at least $500,000.
Good for you Matt. I hope you use some of that cash to get season tickets at Citi Field.
To bid on the ball, go to www.scpauctions.com on August 28th when the bidding opens. Good luck on that by the way.
- The Mets scored 4 runs in the early innings off of Chris Young, baseball's ERA leader.
- Chris Young balked by dropping the ball while in the middle of his delivery to the plate.
- Mike DiFelice was asked to drop down a sac bunt.
- Aaron Heilman was able to get out of an inning that started off with runners on the corners and no one out, while Billy Wagner gave up a go ahead run in the 9th.
- Carlos Beltran got a clutch RBI.
- The Padres scored 6 runs while being one of the lowest scoring teams in the National League.
- The Mets came back to win in the 9th off of the greatest closer in baseball history with Milledge, DiFelice and Marlon Anderson leading off the inning.
- David Wright, who has been so good, looked lost at the plate.
- On 3 separate occasions, Mets' pitchers had an 0-2 count only to give up a hit on the next pitch.
The ace of the staff in the first half of the season has disappeared. Instead John Maine has turned into a young Al Leiter struggling to keep his pitch count down in the early innings. Last night, Maine went to a 3-2 count with the first 3 batters of the game. Tough way to start.
Maine has also been plagued with home runs in his last couple of starts. This usually happens when his fastball doesn't tail up and ends up being a meatball right down the middle of the plate.
It's weird because against some batters he looks stellar or gets to an 0-2 count and then the batter gets a hit. I'm not sure if it's confidence that Maine is lacking or if it's mechanical, but I hope he figures it out. (quickly, please)
Maine's line last night wasn't horrible (5.2 innings, 3 runs, 6 hits) but it's far from stellar. And with the bullpen being the way it is we need John Maine to go deep into games in September.
I never figured Castillo for an emotional guy. He always seemed to be calm and nonchalant with the Marlins, but I guess that's because I didn't watch him every day. The guy's got some fire in his belly and it fits perfectly with this Mets team.
Between Castillo and Reyes the Mets have the most enthusiastic and pumped up top of the order in all of baseball. After a big hit Castillo does what I like to call the "Castillo Clap" which is basically is pounding his hands together like he's one of the Spartans in 300.
It's that kind of adrenaline and excitement that gets me fired up as a fan. I want to feel the energy of the game even though I'm watching it while eating chips and salsa.
It's a fun time to be a Mets Lifer. Let's keep it rolling.
That's Carlos Beltran right now. He's tired of being injured. He's sick of the criticizing. He's ready to get the job done.
Beltran is a man on fire and he's bowling over anyone that stands in his path. His 5 RBI night was unprecedented for him this season. And his clutch hit in the 8th was shocking to me as I often refer to him as "Mr. Anti-Clutch."
On a night when Delgado and Wright couldn't stop popping the ball up, Beltran came through with a home run, a double and a single.
The player of the week looked happy to be home. And as Mets fans there's nothing that makes us happier than Beltran on fire.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Can this actually be true? The Mets with a 5 game lead over the Phillies and Braves have the largest lead in all of baseball. Better than the Red Sox. Better than the Angels. Better than the Tigers/Indians. It's unreal.
I mean wasn't it just yesterday that the Mets were struggling their way through a horrid June and July? Hasn't half our team been on the disabled list? Do you realize that we're actually starting Mike DiFelice? And can you believe we're winning without a solid 5th starter for the past two months?
But let's not celebrate yet. September is packed with games against the NL East and unless we sweep the Braves the next time we see them, they're not going away quietly.
It starts tonight (if the rain ever stops). Let's build this lead.
Pedro Martinez has become such an afterthought to me at this point in the season that when I hear people talk about him or read an article about his rehab I say to myself, "That's right. We might get Pedro back soon."
And I think that's the right attitude to have. The Mets aren't relying on Pedro to come back. If he didn't pitch this year, we know what tools we have and we'll work with them. But if Pedro does come back and do well, then we have the greatest September call up in all of baseball.
Even if Pedro comes back at 70% of what he used to be, he's a better 5th starter than any other NL East team has.
That's the type of attitude I like to see/hear especially as we head into the NL East pennant race. If we play tonight, I'd like to see Conine pinch hit so we can give him a Big Apple welcome.
“I can't think of a better way to go out than to do it in the playoffs in New York…I kind of made up my mind it's time to call it quits. You always want to go out on a winning note. Fortunately, I'm going into a winning situation…
“This is the third time (I have been traded) into a pennant race. The first time was a World Series victory…It would be nice to repeat that.”
That got me thinking. I wonder what Delgado's numbers are like with both Beltran and Alou in the lineup. Or what they're like with them batting in front of and behind him. I've yet to see those stats, but I guarantee that Delgado's numbers are vastly improved when he's batting in between Beltran and Alou.
The last few games before he got hurt, Delgado looked comfortable at the plate. He was hitting the ball with power to right, but also sending it the opposite way. If Delgado can continue to hit balls to left field with consistency that will open up a ton of run scoring opportunities.
To me Delgado is the key for the rest of the season. David Wright is our rock and he'll be solid the rest of the way. I'm not worried about Reyes or Castillo. Alou is back to his old form. Beltran has found some pop in his bat. Delgado is the remaining question mark.
When he returns to the lineup this week it will be interesting to see if he can carry his success at the plate for the last few weeks into September and hopefully the playoffs. My greatest memory from last year's playoffs is how Delgado was swinging the bat.
I want that Carlos Delgado back.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Hmm. We got Luis Castillo for a few minor leaguers and now possibly Jeff Conine. Twins got hosed.
I guess Conine is a nice addition. He can fill in at first or in the outfield.
Does anybody else have an issue with Conine since he was a Marlin back in the day? I've never like him because I remember him getting some key hits for the Marlins against the Mets. I guess I'll get over it if he comes to the Mets.
At least they didn't resign Julio Franco. (again)
But have the Mets turned the corner? They're averaging over 7 runs per game for the last week. They are hitting with runners in scoring position, and have hit a home run in each of the last 4 games.
So can the Mets build on their 5 game lead? Well today is an off day, but tomorrow we'll see. The Mets have a better record on the road than they do at home, which is inexcusable. Against a tough NL opponent like the Padres, we'll get a look at what the Mets are really made of. Will they separate themselves from the pack or fall back into the rut that has plagued them this season.
The amazing thing is this offensive burst has come with an injured and depleted lineup. It's come with DiFelice in the starting lineup and Delgado on the bench. More injuries? Doesn't matter.
I'm looking forward to this 6 game home stand because I think we'll see if this is just the Mets beating up on bad teams or if we've got what it takes to make a run this postseason.
That sounds a lot like Mike Piazza.
My crusade continues to bring Piazza back to the Mets and with Easley going down it's just another sign that Omar needs to go get Piazza. With Easley out the Mets have zero right handed bats off the bench. Gotay can switch hit, but we all know he's a better lefty.
On top of all that Lo Duca is out. Castro is out. And we're stuck with the 40+ year old Sandy Alomar Jr. and Mike DiFelice lumbering around the bases in the mean time. You know Minaya is looking at the waiver wire. There's no way they stick with Anderson Hernandez down the stretch. The last thing we need right now is another second basemen, especially one who can't hit.
Jermaine Dye has signed an extension so he's going nowhere. Bring Piazza back to the Big Apple.
Is it really too much to ask? Actually the away games that are on SNY HD are broadcast on an HD signal, but they're not full HD like the home games. That's why it's viewed in the 4:3 format as opposed to the widescreen format which you see for all home games.
I don't get this. Is it really too much to carry the HD cameras on road trips? You can't tap into the HD signal that the home team is broadcasting in? It's really inexcusable. There's no reason we as Mets Lifers shouldn't be able to enjoy our Mets all season long in glorious 1080i HD (or 1080p in the not too distant future).
I really like SNY and the job they do in broadcasting the Mets games, except for this one issue. I know that YES Network does the same thing for Yankee away games, but shouldn't we be a step above?
I challenge you SNY to be the first to broadcast away games in HD.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
It seemed like the Mets were firing on all cylinders. Even Pedro Feliciano came in the 9th inning to get the finals outs of a 6-2 victory. The most encouraging thing to me was the way Tom Glavine pitched and the fact that Willie Randolph let him pitch for 7 innings. Glavine allowed only one run and seemed to be hitting his spots. That is a great sign for the stretch run because if Glavine continues to pitch well, I think it helps boost the young pitchers, like Maine & Perez, because they don't feel the pressure of a must-win the next time they pitch.
Let me reiterate how much I love Reyes, Castillo and Wright at the top of the order. They each know their role and play it to perfection. Reyes job is to get on. Castillo's job is to get Reyes over. And Wright's job is to get Reyes in. At this point I wouldn't mind seeing the Mets sign Castillo after the season, although it would put a damper on my man-crush for Ruben Gotay. But it is hard to beat the Castillo/Reyes double play combo.
I want a sweep of the Nationals and when you look at the pitching matchups there's no reason we shouldn't. But this is the 2007 Mets.
Friday, August 17, 2007
I think it's a valid question. Luis Castillo is a huge addition and I love what he's brought to the ballclub. But how many games are we going to win or lose because of Luis Castillo? I know he's had one game where he tied up the game with a hit in the ninth, and you can't measure some of the intangibles he brings to the team. But if Ruben Gotay were in his place would it have made that huge a difference? Would the Mets have lost some of the games they won because Ruben Gotay was in instead of Castillo?
I don't think so, but the Mets are losing plenty of games because of the bullpen. Mota is just. . .I don't know what Mota is. Feliciano has some kryptonite in his glove. Heilman is up one day down the next. Blowenweiss is as his name suggests. Sosa has been pretty good, but likes to give up some hits before he gets to work.
It's not like the bullpen has gotten worse since the trading deadline. They've just been doing the same thing all year. At this point I'm ready to bring up Joe Smith and give the kid another shot. He was lights out early and they sent him down because he struggled for a few games. It's not like his replacements are light years ahead of him.
I keep thinking of Cordero, Dotel and Gagne. If they were a Met I'm almost certain that there'd be at least 3 games we lost that we would have won. I know the price tag for these guys was probably too great, but something/anything needed to be done to improve this bullpen.
Is it too late? Might be. Willie is going to have to start letting his pitchers go deeper into games because the revolving door of Mota/Heilman/Blowenweiss/Feliciano is not working.
By the way, where are you Duaner Sanchez?
Thursday, August 16, 2007
This bull pen, or I should say, blow pen, is horrible. With the exception of Billy Wagner, you have to cross your fingers every time someone is out there. And can someone please tell me why Randolph burned through these guys in the 7th inning? He brings in Mota, who quickly walks the first guy and Willie immediately yanks him. Then he brings in Pedro "Where Have You Been" Feliciano to face the lefty. He lets up a hit, Willie pulls him and brings in Heilman. I mean, what was he doing out there. I was yelling at my TV. Here Randolph is, a guy who always tells the media "I like to go with my gut" yet he's mixing and matching pitchers when there are still three innings left and you have nothing left in the pen to bring out...essentially. It's not like you're bringing in Mariano Rivera to close out the inning. You have to just go with what you have because what you're bringing in is not that much better than what you're taking out. So don't waste them, even if they do stink.
I'm sick about this game. Just when you start to feel like this team is turning the corner, they punch you in the gut. Time and time again they disappoint. How many more of these bad losses can we take? Gary Cohn remarked this would be a devastating loss, and I agreed with Keith when he said it's not devastating, but just one of those games you can't, shouldn't lose to this type of team at this stage of the season.
The Phillies and Braves are coming...
The Mets blew the game open in the ninth scoring 5 runs in an offensive explosion. Moises Alou is really swinging the bat well and that power bat is what the Mets have desperately been missing this season. Delgado is also starting to come around, but I have to tell myself that it is Pirates' pitching they are up against.
So with a 10-4 lead I actually started up my Xbox 360 to play a little Madden '08. But as it was starting I saw Aaron Sele come in and give up one run, then 2 runs. I turned off my Xbox in shock and watched as Wagner came in and gave up another run to bring the tying run to the plate.
Man, was it exciting. (sarcasm)
In the end, Wagner got the save. The Mets won. We move on to another day, but where is the comfortable wins we so enjoyed last year. I guess I shouldn't complain. The Mets are on a 3 game win streak and could sweep the Pirates tonight. But this bullpen could cause some issues when September rolls around.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Wow. In the age of Barry Bonds, trade demands, and Gary Sheffield, it's refreshing to see a team player. We all know that Milledge is the future and a better glove in right field (except for that 8th inning catch last night), but Shawn Green will play a role on this team in the playoffs.
Milledge deserves to and needs to play out the rest of this season, but I can see Milledge struggling come the playoffs. He likes to over swing and do too much at the plate. Green on the other hand is an accomplished hitter and will probably handle the pressure of the playoffs (if we get there) better than Milledge.
That's not to say Milledge won't play in the postseason. I think we'll need him in the lineup, but I'm confident that Green can step in and play up to par even though he will not be a regular in the lineup.
Thank you Shawn Green for being a team player. It's appreciated and I hope your swing improves as the season goes on. We'll need you come October.
You kids out there should never, ever, never, ever, never use steroids. No one should.
Except for Guillermo Mota.
I know what you're thinking, and this is probably the most reprehensible post I've ever written but hear me out. Guillermo Mota was stellar last year coming out of the bullpen. Sure he gave up some home runs, but for the most part he was a vital part of the bullpen when Duaner Sanchez got hurt. (By the way is it just me or is Duaner Sanchez becoming the Mets' version of Kerry Wood?)
Then when the playoffs came along we found out that Mota was using steroids to get a little more giddyup on his fastball, which in turn made his changeup more effective. So Mota serves his suspension and lo and behold he now can't pitch like he once did.
So here's why he needs to go back on the steroids. Really it's a win-win situation for the Mets. If he goes back on the 'roids he's going to get some more power behind his fastball. With more power comes greater confidence, which will stop him from throwing 5 changeups every at bat. His slider will in turn be introduced more and we'll start seeing the Mota of 2006.
But you ask, "What happens if he gets caught?" Well here's the other side of the win-win. If he gets caught, the Mets will have an open roster spot as Mota will be gone and we don't have to worry about seeing the unpowerful Mota that takes the mound lately.
For some reason Mota is one of Willie Randolph's "guys" so if he's kicked out of baseball Willie can't use him anymore and Mets fans everywhere will save money on antacids.
In all seriousness, Mota probably shouldn't use steroids because of the whole cheating/moral dilemma issues, but Randolph has got to realize this isn't the same guy from last year. Jorge Sosa has proven himself to be effective out of the pen and has earned the spot as the 7th inning guy.
Sit Mota down next to Aaron Selee. Let them get comfortable.
The Mets were down 2-0 and then 3-2 before coming back to beat the Pirates 5-4. I was most impressed with Moises Alou, and not just last night but for the last week. He's showing some power and the ability to hit in the clutch, something that has been seriously lacking this year.
Beltran also swung the bat well. He didn't get a hit every time up, but his swing from the left side of the plate looks very smooth and of course any time he hits a home run is a plus. I would comment on David Wright, but the kid is just plain solid and needs no commentary.
I also have come to think that I wield more power than I know what to do with. For the past week I've been thoroughly trashing Mike DiFelice. So what does he do? He goes 2-4 with an RBI. The same type of thing has happened when I scolded Marlon Anderson and Shawn Green so prepare for many more hideous remarks.
Also I almost passed out last night when I saw Lastings Milledge in the lineup against a right-handed pitcher. Did pigs learn how to fly or is Willie coming around?