Thursday, August 28, 2008

David Wright: Waiting for September

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick wrote an article this week about the 9 MLB players that really come through in September. Listed at #4 is the Mets very own David Wright.
According to Crasnick's stats David Wright is a career .324 hitter with .549 slugging in the final month of the season. This isn't at all surprising to me as Wright always ups his game when it counts, and he was the only Met producing last year as the team slowly faded away.

Interestingly enough, Pedro Martinez made the list of players who underperform in September. Well he's gotten some practice in underperforming in April-August the last few years too.

I hope the back to school season and the change of the calendar helps Mr. Wright get things together. Even though he notched his 100th RBI already, it seems like he's been struggling of late and getting down on himself when he doesn't produce late in games. His defense has really been stellar though.

If the Mets are to keep their lead atop the NL East, they absolutely have to have David Wright at his best to fend off the Phillies. If history is any indicator, Wright is a few days away from an offensive explosion.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Bounce Back

The Mets have proven to me their ability to bounce back after a bad loss. We've had our full of bad losses this season, but since the All Star break the Mets have showed that they won't let those blown games keep them down, especially against the Phillies.
Tonight's game was tailor made for another disappointing loss. Down 3-1 with Santana on the mound it was scripted to perfection as another blue and orange tragedy. But it was not to be.

Carlos Delgado is making his case for team MVP and man did he ever come through in the clutch with two home runs in the 7th and 8th innings was the difference maker. And how about young Daniel Murphy showing Brad Lidge how much he likes his fastball driving in the game winning run. Lights Out Lidge proved he's no better than Billy Wagner at pitching in the 8th inning. Why on earth Charlie Manuel didn't bring Lidge in to face Delgado is beyond me and I'm sure it will be questioned by every Phillies fan in the morning.

So last night's blown game is all for naught as the Mets leave Philadelphia in the exact same position as when they arrived. . .in first place.

BLOWenweiss Lives

Hated more in Queens than Osama Bin Laden. Ladies and gentleman, Scott BLOWenweiss

Aaron Heilman Tells Me to Shut Up

It's 12:04 on Wednesday morning and Aaron Heilman has me wide awake. I'm pretty confident that the Mets will lose this game against the Phillies, but I have to give credit to Aaron Heilman for pitching 3 scoreless innings.

I thought he'd blow it in his first inning. Then I was absolutely sure he would blow it in his second inning pitched. Then I thought Jerry Manuel took one too many crazy pills when he marched Heilman out for a third inning.

Aaron Heilman's strikeout of Ryan Howard had me jump off my couch at 4 minutes past midnight. That's tough to do. Heilman may have sold his soul for those three innings, but for all the dogging of him that I've done these past few months I had to give him some credit for surprising even his harshest of critics.

Now don't ask me if I expect him to ever do this again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Carlos Delgado: Comeback Player of the Year

As I sat there watching Carlos Delgado round the bases after hitting his second 3-run home run of the night, I turned to my wife dumbfounded to which she replied, "He's on steroids. This turnaround is not natural."

She has a point. Delgado's turnaround is not natural. It's one of those divine things that happen once every so often and make you sit back and enjoy the game of baseball.

The comeback player of the year award is normally reserved for those players that are injured or away from the game, but any Mets Lifer will tell you Delgado would have been better off if he was injured last season. His dismal performance in 2007 and his horrid start to 2008 had Bryan willing to help Delgado flee the country.

I've been caught up with the demise of the BLOWpen and the recent surge of the Phillies that the positive spots in this surprising Mets season often get lost. We saw two of them tonight in Mike Pelfrey and Carlos Delgado. But Delgado may be the bigger of the surprises as its so tough for a veteran to be able to find his stroke again once it appears to have been lost.

Delgado now has 28 home runs and is on pace for close to 100 RBI. Think about where the Mets would be without his comeback performance.

It's great to have you back Delgado. Now just keep it up for one more month.

Solving the Pitching Equation

Move over John Nash, I'm here to rewrite the formula for the Mets pitching.

So Billy Wagner is out. John Maine is questionable. Pedro Feliciano is dead to me. And there's crazy talk about limiting Mike Pelfrey. Last I checked this was the major leagues, not Little League where you could only pitch 6 innings a week.

Here's my not-so-humble opinion on what the Mets need to do with their current pitching situation.

1. Leave Johan Santana, Oliver Perez, and Mike Pelfrey alone.
Don't touch 'em. Don't talk to 'em. Just let them be. Right now all three of these guys are pitching consistently well. They're in a groove and you don't want to screw with that. Who knows what an extra day off will do to Perez's psyche? Extra time to think is the last thing he needs. Pelfrey is at the top of his game and is getting into the flow of pitching every 5th day. Giving him a week off at a time could totally throw off his timing. If it's not broke don't fix it.

2. Bring Me Young Arms
Get on the phone and call New Orleans or Binghamton and bring up some young arms. If John Maine is out I want Jon Niese pitching in the big leagues. If we're going to blow this season let's get the kids some reps so we know what kind of chops he's got. I don't want this year's version of Brian Lawrence or has beens. Let the kids pitch. Also bring back Eddie Kunz. If I have to watch Feliciano, Heilman or Duaner blow another game I might just kidnap them so I don't have to see them again. Let someone else blow games. Kunz wasn't given the opportunity to get into an every day role and he deserves a better chance. Can he possibly be any worse than what we saw against the Astros?

3. One more arm
If the Mets are serious about a run this year, they have to go out and get one more arm. Don't tell me that no one's available. We got Luis Ayala for a song and a dance. There are people to be had, but the Mets aren't taking the risk to get them. I'm not for trading any top prospects for a two-bit reliever, but I think it's fairly evident that this bullpen needs an enema. Give me another arm to change the scenery behind that right field wall. I don't care who it is, but I'll take anyone over Blowenwess at this point.

Wasted Effort

A half game is all that stands between the Mets and the Phillies. The Phillies have another game against the Dodgers tonight so heading into the series with the Phillies on Tuesday the Mets could find themselves tied for first place.
The great run the Mets have been on will turn into wasted effort all because they could not beat the Houston Astros. Do you realize the Mets are 1-5 against the Astros in the last two months? A team that can't get out of the cellar has handed the Mets 5 killer losses.

I know those optimists will talk about how the Mets with this last win streak have put themselves into the position of contention, but as a Mets Lifer I realize that this is all part of the great disappointment that is being a Mets Lifer.

How can anyone knowingly put anyone in our bullpen into a close game and expect positive results? Carlos Beltran finally looked like he was breaking out of his slump only to have his monster home runs become wasted effort. Oliver Perez found a way to struggle through 6 innings to put his team in a position to win only to have Heilman and Feliciano destroy alll hope.

At some point this BLOWpen has got to weigh on the minds of every pitcher and player on the Mets. How can they have any confidence that the hits, runs, and pitches that they serve up during a game won't all be flushed down the toilet because this BLOWpen can't be relied upon?

Nothing is going to change this bullpen over the course of these last 30 games. Goodbye Omar Minaya. Nice knowing you.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One Game Away from the AntiDepressants

Just one Phillies win is all it will take for Mets Lifers to be one game away from the antidepressants. It doesn't matter that the Mets have won 10 of their last 13 games. It doesn't matter that Reyes and Wright are potential MVP candidates. And it doesn't matter that Luis Ayala is slowly turning into an adequate replacement for Billy Wagner.

Why? Because we're the Mets.

This is what we do. We make things exciting when they don't have to be. We sweep our archnemesis the Braves, but lose 2 out of 3 to the last place Astros. We blow leads of 7 games with 17 to play. It's what we do.

So the joy and excitement of last week may quickly turn to despair and anxiety in the matter of 48 hours. If the Phillies win tonight, we'll be one game away from reaching for the Prozac, Zoloft or your drug of choice.

Tell me you didn't see this coming?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Santana Will Lead Us

Every 5th day there is a man that the Mets can follow to victory. His name is Johan Santana.
Santana has earned his paycheck the second half of the season and proved it again last night with a masterful duel against Roy Oswalt. Santana shutout the Astros through 7 innings. He wasn't masterful in some innings, but that's what makes Santana so great. Even when he gets into jams or doesn't have his best stuff, he knows how to get hitters out.

Santana is the piece that was missing last year. Remember the last game of the 2007 season and how Tom Glavine vomitted all over the 1st inning and couldn't even get 3 outs? Now think about what would have happened if Santana was pitching that last, key game? Yeah, the outcome would have been drastically different.

The Mets have themselves the marquee, lockdown pitcher they've desperately needed. Now I'm sure Santana will lose a game or two between now and the end of the season, but I'm confident he'll deliver just when the team needs him most.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Back to Church

It's not Sunday, but the Mets will be looking for Church tonight.

That's right, Ryan Church will be appearing in the Mets lineup tonight and is actually slated to start in right field against the Astros.

This is a moment that the Mets, Mets Lifers, and Ryan Church has been anxiously awaiting since he went on the DL back on July 8th. This should give Fernando Tatis some well deserved rest, but I hope Jerry Manuel looks to keep Tatis' bat fresh.

I'm thinking that Church will only play 5 or 6 innings at a time as the Mets look to ease him back into everyday play. It will be good to see Church in blue and orange again.

Welcome back.

Philly Fans Are Crybabies

Someone just sent this article to me and I figured I'd share it with all of you, since, you know, we take great pleasure in Philadelphia misery.

In it, Gregg Doyle, writer for CBS Sportsline, rips into Philly fans being a bunch of 'babies".

EXCERPT: A reporter in the press box estimated the crowd's reaction to Rollins was split down the middle, half booing and half cheering. Since the crowd was listed at 44,143, that means there were 22,071½ people with skin as soft as a baby's behind.

Hilarious.

The Mets' Killer D's

David, Delgado and defense. Those are the Mets' Killer D's and they were the key to not just last night's victory, but our potential pennant run.

David Wright and Carlos Delgado have decided to carry this team offensively, and I am happy to see them do it. Wright homered for the second straight game, while Delgado was a component of basically every run scoring opportunity the Mets had.

Delgado came through late in the game for the second time this series with a clutch hit in the 9th inning to drive home David Wright. Now while Delgado's hit was pretty clutch, even though I'm not sure what happened to the left fielder on the play, the bigger clutch play was Wright's double just two batters earlier. Wright with a 3-2 count drove the ball into the opposite field gap for a double and basically set the tone for the Mets in the bottom of the 9th. Then Delgado went the opposite way to drive Wright in for the win.

That's the key folks. When Wright and Delgado are going to the opposite field, you know they are in the zone at the plate.

Let's not overlook the Mets defense as well. We got some help from the umpire in the top of the 9th, but throughout the game the Mets D looked fantastic. From Wright bare-handing dribblers, to Castro turning two, to Reyes & Reyes, the Mets defense is a marquee aspect of this club.

Pedro Martinez had a decent performance, but got himself into trouble in the 6th inning. I think Pedro should not be allowed to pitch more than 5 innings. Anything after the 5th is just bonus, but has the potential to turn ugly. The best pitching performance of the night came from Luis Ayala who is proving himself to be the MVP of the bullpen. I'm waiting for the shoe to drop, but until it does Ayala is my go to guy in the bullpen.

If you woke up this morning and felt something different in the air, you'd be correct. It's pennant fever folks, and it's contagious. Bring on the Astros!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Shea Memories: The Chair Debacle

With this being the last season for Shea Stadium a lot of websites and networks are looking for Mets fans' favorite Shea memory. I have quite a few to choose from, but one of the most memorable accounts has to do with an All Star ballot and a chair in the field box seats.

I was probably 12 years old and I went to a Mets game with my parents and a friend of mine. This was back in 1990 when baseball only let people vote for the All Star Game that actually went to a major league ballpark. They had these little ballots and you had to punch a whole next to the player's name that you wanted to vote for. I used to grab a stack of 50 ballots and make my way through them as the game went on.

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon game and we had great seats down the first base line in the field box section. We were probably 20 rows back from the dugout and I was punching holes in my All Star ballots when I dropped the pencil I was using to punch the ballot. Now if you're familiar with stadium seating you know that the seats fold down and when you're seated there's a little gap between the back of the chair and the actual seat. I could see that the pencil rolled underneath my seat and I could clearly see it through that gap between the seat and the back. So, while still seated, I reached down in that gap to grab the pencil. I grabbed it and soon found that my arm was stuck in that gap.

You see I was still sitting down so there was no way I could lift up on my seat to free my arm. I had no idea how I force my arm in that gap to begin with but there I was in the middle of the field box section at Shea Stadium with my arm caught in a stadium chair. As a twelve year old I wanted to avoid potential embarassment so I quickly notified my mom, who was sitting next to me, that my arm was stuck. As all mothers do she alerted my father of the tragic situation in which I found myself.

Now my dad like to listen to the game being called on the radio while at the ballpark. He would put on his headphones and turn on his walkman and listen to Bob Murphy and Gary Cohen call the game. The problem with this was that as my mother was explaining my current plight, dad didn't take his headphones off and had no idea how loud he was talking.

So there I am with my mother trying to tell my father what's going on only to have him unintentionally shouting back instructions because he couldn't hear how loud he was yelling. Meanwhile, I'm stuck with my arm in a Shea Stadium chair thinking that they're going to have to bring in a torch or a buzzsaw to get me out. Thankfully a stranger witnessed this memorable scene, hopped over the row in front of us, lifted me up out of my seat, and folded the chair up to relieve the tension that was keeping my arm caught.

Fortunately, I still have my right arm and was able to avoid eye contact with those seated around for the rest of the game. My friend and family still laugh about this Shea moment, and I can still hear my dad shouting back instructions while still having his headphones on.

While this moment will never make a top Shea moments list, it's one that is burned into my memory for better or worse.

All Grown Up

It's just that time of year. A time for new beginnings. Summer is almost over. It's back to school time. My oldest son is going to Pre-K. And Mike Pelfrey pitches the first complete game of his career.

Ah, Mikey's growing up so fast.

Think of how far Mike Pelfrey has come since April. In April he was that 5th starter that was questionable. Would he stay in the big leagues for the full season or would he be headed back down to the minors? Could he pitch more than 5 innings? Would he ever get a hit?

Now look at him. Mike Pelfrey is arguably the number 2 pitcher in the Mets starting rotation. Last night he gave up 3 hits in 9 innings of work and his best inning was quite possibly the 9th where he made Chipper Jones look utterly foolish to lead off the inning and make quick work of the remaining batters.

Pelfrey is throwing strikes and looks much more comfortable now than he did in April and May. Even when he gets into tight spots, you can see he's still in control where earlier in the year he looked like a nervous ninny. That's right, ninny.

The argument used to who was the better pitcher, Humber or Pelfrey. I have no doubt we kept the right guy. He's got an amazing amount of potential and we're seeing that sooner than I ever thought we would.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

If Two Reyes' Are Good, Three Are Better

The Mets just signed former Tampa Bay Devil Ray (yes, they'll always be Devil Rays to me) closer, Al Reyes. Now that's what I'm talking about.

Reyes is far from being a saviour, but here's a guy who's down on his luck and a new situation might turn him around. Reyes had 26 saves last year for the Rays, but was only 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA this season.

Now I know absolutely nothing about Al Reyes other than his stat line on ESPN.com, but this goes back to my philosophy of anything has to be better than our current bullpen. I've had about 6 or more conversations today with people asking "who should be the closer?" And you know what? I couldn't answer that question with a straight face.

Reyes (not Jose, not Argenis, but Al) will more than likely slide into that closer role to see how he fares. A good move Omar. I guess it's better late than never.

Bring Me Relief

Let's say you're Omar Minaya. How do you feel about your job security right now? That's what I thought. Probably not too secure. You've got a bullpen that can't hold a lead. Your closer is injured. You made zero moves at the trading deadline. And if the Mets don't make the playoffs, you'll need to freshen up your LinkedIn profile.

So what do you do? If you're Omar, you do nothing. But if you're smart you go out and make every possible move that can be made to change this bullpen.

Now I fully understand that Omar can't go out and get a top notch closer, like a Lidge or KRod. I understand it would be tough to get a respectable reliver like a Huston Street or Broxton. I also get that you don't want to give up more prospects like Nick Evans, FMart, or Daniel Murphy.

But that doesn't leave you without options.

There are relievers out there that have cleared waivers or are free agents. Off the top of my head I know that David Weathers, Eric Gagne, and Al Reyes are all available in some form. Now are they the top notch arms we would covet? Absolutely not. Are they any worse than the arms we currently throw out there every day? No.

Omar needs to go get two more arms for this bullpen, one at the very least. I don't care if their ERA is over 4 and they have a losing record. At this point I'm willing to take my chances with pretty much any arm that is not Duaner Sanchez, Joe Smith, or Scott Blowenweiss. Give me Gagne who at least has a history of success. I'll take my chances with Al Reyes who used to be a reliable arm. I'll even give David Weathers a swan song at Shea.

This bullpen has to change. Would you feel confident playing in the playoffs with this group of arms in our current BLOWpen? Did you know that the Mets have been outscored by opponents by more than 50 runs after the 7th inning? Don't you think it's time to roll the dice and see what happens? Could it be any worse than our current situation?

I think any legitimate Mets Lifer knows the answer to these questions. Your job is on the line Omar. You're the king of chances. It paid off with Oliver Perez and John Maine when you signed them. Take a shot Omar, because if you don't I'm pretty sure the Mets pennants chances are shot too.

A Very Unique Blog

I was introduced to Jimmy Scott's High and Tight yesterday, and I have to tell you that it is quite possibly one of the most unique sports blogs I have come across. Jimmy Scott is a fictional New York pitcher nearing the end of his career, and the blog is all about his interviewing ex-MLB players.

The best part is he's not interviewing prominent MLB players. He's got an interview with Mickey Morandini in which the title alone had me laughing.

If you get a chance check out Jimmy Scott's High and Tight. Gotta hand it to you Jimmy. Very unique blog.

Character Tested, Character Approved

I love it when I'm right and things work out. In yesterday's post, I mentioned how this series with the Braves would be a test of the Mets character to see if they can overcome their archnemesis even though the Braves are no longer contenders.

Well, they passed their first test in dramatic fashion last night, coming back to beat the Braves in the bottom of the 8th inning. Carlos Delgado came through with a monster double to drive in the lead runs. I honestly thought Delgado hit a grand slam the way the ball came off the bat. The beautiful thing was that he hit it to the opposite field. Seeing Delgado drive the ball with power to the opposite field is such a great site for Mets Lifers.

After that the flood gates opened and the Mets won 7-3 even with Blowenweiss pitching the 9th inning. After Delgado's double I kept thinking "no lead is safe." Fortunately, Easley and Castro came through with some extra runs to pad the lead.

This was a win the Mets needed especially with the news of Billy Wagner's season potentially being over (hear that Omar, that's the sound of your job being on the line) and that the Phillies came back to beat the Nationals.

It's Pelfrey vs. Jurrjens tonight. Let's please sweep the Braves.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Test of Character

You want to see what the Mets are made of? So do I, and we'll get our chance this week when the Braves come to town.

I really think this is going to be a defining series for the Mets. The Braves are coming in as a team that's well under .500, has basically given up on this season, and has injuries galore. But they are the Braves and all the Mets have to see is that tomahawk on the jersey and they get all weak in the knees.

The Mets should, I repeat, should beat the Braves handedly this week. In fact they should sweep them. For the first time in what feels like a decade the Mets are not facing Tim Hudson nor John Smoltz in a series against the Braves. Instead it's Jo-Jo Reyes, Jair Jurrjens, and, wait for it, Mike Hampton. Yes, he still pitches once every 32 months. Not the formidable staff we're used to from the Braves.

But these are the New York Mets. Bullpen woes, a lack of timely hitting and a long painful history with the Braves makes this series up for grabs. If the Mets can sweep the series with the Braves, I think it will show that this team is serious about a run for the pennant. If they win 2 out of 3 it will be an acceptable outcome, but losing 2 of 3 will do wonders for the Mets psyche.

When your archenemy is down, you finish them off. Let's see if the Mets have the character to beat this Braves team as they should.

Monday, August 18, 2008

More BLOWpen Please

It's rich, chocolaty BLOWpen for all those Pittsburgh Pirates this afternoon. Nothing like sipping from a cup of warm, delicious BLOWpen that the Mets love to serve up on a regular basis.

The Mets BLOWpen now has a stellar record of 18-20 on the season. They botched a great outing from John Maine and this was a game the Mets should have had in the bag. A homer off Brian Stokes and then an outright debacle from the stellar team of Felician and Sanchez gave the Pirates a 5-2 win.

Has there been a more disappointing pitcher than Duaner Sanchez? From 2006 to today is downturn has been enormous. Omar Minaya basically banked the entire success of the bullpen on this guy being healthy and dominant. Sure he's healthy, but he's as dominant as Kenya in Olympic swimming.

Not to be overlooked is the lack of clutch in the Mets lineup today. The Mets put up a huge ZERO when batting with runners in scoring position. There were countless opportunities to blow this game wide open, but the Mets couldn't capitalize on a single one of them. In the first inning it was second and third with no outs and the heart of the order up, and we only score 1 run!

The Mets should be heading back to Shea now with a sweep of the Pirates and confidence in their position atop the NL East. Instead the Phillies, get a cheap half game back on the Mets in the standings as we welcome the Braves to Shea tomorrow night. This isn't going to be a tough stretch for the Mets. They absolutely have to start hitting with runners in scoring position to stay in first place.

And they need to revamp the entire bullpen.

Jose Reyes Is Making a Run for MVP

It's only the middle of August and a lot could happen between now and October 1st, but I'm here to tell you that you should be enjoying the season Jose Reyes is having. For some reason, we're all caught up in the BLOWpen or the resurgance of Carlos Delgado or the surprising young studs to appreciate what Jose Reyes is doing.

Jose Reyes is quietly having an MVP season.

Now it's always hard to consider leadoff hitters in MVP talk because historically the "MVP categories" are home runs, RBI, slugging and the like. But Jose Reyes is putting up offensive numbers that any team would covet. Reyes is currently leading the league in hits, runs, and triples. He's 10th in the league in batting and doubles, and Reyes is second in stolen bases. Plus Reyes is posting higher than career average numbers in batting average, OBP, slugging percentange, and OPS. Reyes is also on track to hit 17-20 home runs and drive in over 70 RBI.

On top of all that he's playing a gold glove shortstop and has more impact on his team's record than arguably any player in baseball. And this guy wasn't considered an All Star?

So be sure to take notice of Jose Reyes and appreciate the performance he's putting on. I pray that he can keep up this offensive production because if he does it puts the Mets in much better position for October.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thank You Pirates

Dear Pittsburgh Pirates,

Thank you so much for being such gracious hosts this weekend as the Mets came to town. You truly rolled out the red carpet for us and don't think it went without notice.

Your errors in the field and lack of hitting at the plate, especially against Aaron Heilman, was very thoughtful of you. I know many people think that Pittsburgh is not very nice, but the way you rolled over for the Mets makes us want to come back again and again. And the fact that you traded away all your top notch players before we arrived was really considerate.

I can't telly you how timely this visit was. The Mets really needed a relaxing vacation. David Wright even got the day off and we still shut you out. I wish there was something we could do to repay you for your hospitality, but in the meantime please know that you'll be in our thoughts as we head back home.

Please know that you're welcome to pitch to us whenever you're in town.

Sincerely,
Mets Lifers

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Anxious Moments

I'm not sure which moment was more anxious: watching Michael Phelps almost lose the 100M butterfly just to win it by a fingernail or seeing Aaron Heilman enter the game in the 9th with a 1 run lead.

Both moments had me reaching for some Rolaids, but both moments worked out in the end.

Jerry Manuel, I assume, was trying to restore confidence in Heilman by allowing him to exorcise the ghosts of Monday when Heilman blew the game against the Pirates in the 9th inning. But don't make too much of Heilman's performance last night. I mean, come on, it's still the Pirates.

3 more games in Pittsburgh this weekend and Monday afternoon. A sweep would be ideal, but even 3 out of 4 is acceptable. If Pedro wins today I have a feeling we'll have a sweep on our hands.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Show Jerry Manuel Some Love

I really, really like Jerry Manuel. When he first replaced Willie Randolph, I wasn't all that crazy about him. I figured he was an available replacement for Randolph and the Mets would let him ride out the season.

Now, I'm ready to remove "interim" from his title.

I think Jerry has done an admirable job with this team. His in-game moves are usually spot-on. I like that he lets the young players get some experience and take their knocks. I like that he's not afraid to go out there and defend his team.

And I absolutely love the way he handles the media. If he thinks a reporter or interviewer has a good point, he doesn't feed them the usual political answer. He'll tell them if he agrees or disagrees, but it's the way he does it that is so entertaining. He's got that low-key demeanor that is really perfect for the New York media circus.

He speaks his mind and gives it to you straight. What else could you expect from a New York manager?

If Manuel somehow finds a way to keep this team on top and make it to October, I'm confident the Mets will offer him some kind of deal. Even if he doesn't, I still would like to see him managing next year.

Sweep Who You Need to Sweep

It's hard to get excited about sweeping the abysmal Washington Nationals. There's really nothing to brag about. The Mets are a superior team and they're supposed to sweep the Nationals like the lowly bottom dwellers that they are. If you're going to win a pennant you're going to have to beat the teams you're supposed to beat.

This has been a major problem of the Mets over the last few seasons. For some reason they have trouble beating the bad teams. A perfect example of this is Oliver Perez's record against teams under .500. He's 7-2 with a 2.80 ERA against teams over .500, but last night was only his second win in seven outings against sub .500 teams where he has an ERA over 4.

The Nationals, the Padres, the Astros and the Pirates are all teams that we have to beat. We should sweep them, but the percentages say that it's probable the Mets will lose a game here and there so I'll accept the fact that one or two losses may be in the future.

This is an extremely important point, especially over the course of the next two weeks. The Mets have 11 games against teams under .500. The Mets will face the Pirates, the Braves and the Astros over the next 11 days and all of them are teams out of contention. I fully expect them to go 9-2, anything less is unacceptable.

Then after those 11 games, it's time to head out to see the Phillies. The Mets, oddly enough, find themselves alone in first place. Who said there's no such thing as miracles? This is the time to get some ground between them and the Phils before we gear up for the September stretch run.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Players I Want Invited Back to Commemorate Shea Stadium

While listening to Boomer & Cartin on WFAN this morning, the discussion was brought up about who to invite back to Shea Stadium the final week of the season now that Mike Piazza and Tom Seaver have been officially invited.

Do you bring back only high profile players? Do you invite everyone who's ever played? The debate is open for discussion, but here's my take on who I'd like to see at Shea Stadium before it's doors are officially closed.
  1. Anyone on the 1986 team - It's the marquee season for Shea Stadium so anyone who was on that championship team is welcomed back. You too, George Foser.
  2. Anyone on the 1969 team - No brainer here as well.
  3. Former Mets All Stars not named Armando Benitez or Bobby Bonilla- If you were an All Star as a Mets player, it's safe to say you were someone we'd like to remember, except for Armando Benitez. He can stay home.
  4. Some select few from the 1999-2001 seasons - This short list would include the likes of Robin Ventura, Todd Zeile, John Olerud, and let's see if we can get Benny Agbayani to fly in from Japan.
I know this list encompasses a lot of players, but this is something that only happens once in a lifetime and I think it'd be a nice homage to Shea Stadium to have this type of crowd show up for the last games at Shea.

A True Mets Lifer

This is crazy, but I love it. Check out this Metsblog.com reader who sent in a photo of his new "Mets car." I gotta hand it to this guy. Very nicely done. You are an official Mets Lifer.

Did You Hear the One About the Mets Being in First Place?

There's this great story I heard this morning. So it starts with this team, who I'll call the Mets, and they've been playing sloppy baseball, making errors, blowing games, not hitting with runners in scoring position among other things. Then one day they wake up, score 12 runs and find themselves magically transported to first place.

And the craziest thing is. . . it's a true story.

Yes folks, this isn't some made for TV movie with Meredith Baxter Birney. I don't know what happened, how it happened, or how long this will last, but the Mets are now tied for first place.

Who thought we'd be in this position after Monday's implosion against the Pirates? I talked with Bryan the other day and predicted that the Mets would be 4 games out by the end of the week. Call me synical, but my Mets experience has molded me into the fan I am today.

Now the Mets have a great opportunity to make a move this week or they could totally crumble. There's one game left with the Nationals this week and then a series against the Pirates in which they should be eagerly seeking revenge. These are teams the Mets have to beat and with the Phillies struggling on the West Coast the timing couldn't be better.

But I'll leave you with this warning. The Mets are a bigger tease than anyone you've ever met so be prepared for some rough waters, but enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Piazza to Return to Shea

The word from Newsday is that Mike Piazza will be making an appearance at Shea Stadium during the final week of the season as part of a goodbye celebration to Shea Stadium.

This is fantastic news and I'm glad the Mets are starting to learn that they need to keep in touch with their former star players.

I'm hopeful that #31 will be retired when they open up Citi Field. I'm totally biased as I'm one of the biggest fans of Mike Piazza, but I think it'd be hard to argue that it's not deserved.

Either way it'll be great to see Piazza back in New York. Hopefully someday we'll see him involved with the Mets either in the dugout or the broadcast booth.

Can Someone Tell Tri-State Ford Dealers to Get Us a David Wright Commercial?


As anyone who watches the Mets on SNY knows, there are 3 commercials you're guaranteed to see during any Mets game: 1) Ron Darling's Sovereign Bank ads 2) That Heineken Amsterdam commercial that starts with the old dude yelling something incomprehensible 3) Derek Jeter's Ford Edge commercial.

The only way tri-state Ford dealers can air a TV spot this many times during is a season is if they've cut some sort of season long sponsorship deal where they get ad space during every Mets game. So let me get this straight, you just cut a deal to advertise on every Mets game and you're spokesperson is Derek Jeter?

Hmmmm, that's great target marketing.

It's not like the Mets don't have someone who could do a good job. David Wright would be perfect for one of their spots. You could even give Johan Santana a shot. Both are recognizable names with exceptional talent, but instead we've got to watch a Yankee smiling on our TV sets for 162 games a year.

Come on tri-state Ford dealers. Give me my David Wright's got an Edge commercial. Get with the program.

Santana Tries Reverse Psychology

Johan Santana has had enough and I think the bullpen woes are starting to get to him. So what did he do about it on Tuesday night? He tried to blow the game for the bullpen before they got a chance to. I guess you might call it a little reverse psychology.

And crazy enough it worked.

Santana was given a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st, but he quickly found a way to give it right back. The crazy thing was the Nationals were getting serious hits off of Santana. These weren't balls that just found the hole or blooped into the outfield. They were hitting rockets down the lines. Yes, the Nationals. And Langerhans, who had no home runs this year, hit a bomb off Santana. What is with Santana and giving up home runs to no name guys? I haven't seen him give one up to Pujols or Howard or Burrell. But Langerhans?

Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez kept talking about pitch count when the game was 3-3 in the 7th, and I'm think how on earth can anyone in the Mets organization be thinking about pitch count when you have this bullpen. If I'm Jerry Manuel, I'm telling Santana before the game that he's got to give me 9 innings. Period.

But after the Mets finally regained the lead after Damion Easley got plunked in the head to score a run, a miracle happened. The bullpen didn't blow it.

Come on, who didn't think that after Joe Smith gave up a lead off hit that we were headed to another crushing defeat at the hands of the bullpen? I know I did. And when Manuel decided to bring in Pedro Feliciano to pitch the entire 9th, I thought I was going to have a stroke.

But it all worked out. The Mets got a much needed win to put the debacle with the Pirates behind them. Oh wait, we're supposed to beat the Nationals?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Twenty Blown Saves

Yes, that's right. The Mets bullpen has blown 20 games for the Mets this year. 20.

Now I tried to find a stat that showed how many tie games the bullpen has blown after the 7th inning, but I couldn't find it. I also looked for games that the Mets were down by 1 run after the 7th and the bullpen let up subsequent runs, but I couldn't find that either so I'll estimate.

I'm guessing that there are at least 10 additional games that the bullpen has blown by either giving up runs when the game was tied that doesn't count as a blown save.

So let's say the Mets would have won just 4 of those 10 games. Add that to the 20, yes 20, blown saves this year and the Mets should have an extra 24 wins.

Never mind that. Let's say they only win half of those games. They should have an extra 12 wins. That would leave the Mets with 74 wins and the best record in baseball.

Did you read that correctly? 74 wins and potentially the best record in baseball. So what does this mean?

It means the bullpen is the #1 reason this team is struggling this year. I might even go as far to say that it's a bigger reason for the Mets problems than Willie Randolph was. Randolph was fired, but I see no one leaving Queens from the BLOWpen.

Bryan and I have written about maybe this team is mediocre at best and we should just learn to deal with that fact. But the reality is the BLOWpen is well past mediocre and is knee deep in heinous.

Until something is done to change things we can expect more of the same.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Blow Up this BLOWpen!

Stop the insanity! Enough is enough already! I cannot take this BLOW pen anymore. I have never, in all my years watching the Mets, seen such a collection of pitiful pitchers as I have seen this team roll out the last two seasons. And that’s the thing that is really flipping me out; that this current regime is now in its second tour of futility. When does it end?

Dave and I have written 780 posts on this site in little more than a year. I would venture to say that 35% of those posts were cries for help to change the pen. Did Omar Minaya not learn from last year’s colossal demise? That pen, not Jose Reyes, like some idiots in the media think, were the biggest culprits (and Tom Glavine) of that infamous choke job.

Since then, Omar did well by replacing the goat Glavine with Uber-Ace Johan Santana, but he has failed miserably in correcting this team’s most critical need. Rather than take the opportunity to overhaul these proven losers, Minaya did nothing. Zero. Zilcho! And not only did he do nothing to change it, he actually passed up trade opportunities for the two worst scrubs in there, Blowenweis and Heilman. Imagine that! Other teams actually wanted these guys and Omar chose to keep them. That alone should get Omar fired. I would have taken a case of Billy Wagner bobble heads for those two, let alone Marcus Thames, as was rumored. Arthur Rhodes? Taken. Chad Bradford? Too late. How did Minaya not pick up Bradford, who was lights out for us in 2006. I mean, what does he have to lose? Go get David Weathers already. If nothing else, at least I'll be looking at a different face on the mound, and Weathers definitely has a different face.

With 44 games left and 3 games out, there is still a chance to turn it around. But, only if we see different guys out there. Omar Minaya has to do something and he has just about 3 weeks to get it done. I don’t care what he does, who he brings in, but it is time – oh, man is it time – to blow up this BLOW pen. Dave’s post earlier is spot on. Get rid of them all! Whether it gets done via the trade, or from within the system, Omar has to tear it apart. The carnage is still fresh from last year. Mets Lifers everywhere are crying out for a change. If Minaya doesn’t deliver, we will be doomed yet again and there will be no one to blame but Minaya himself.

Blown Again

I've had enough. You've had enough. We've all had enough of this compost pile known as the Mets bullpen.

Aaron Heilman. Take a hike.
Scott Blowenweiss. Go take a long walk off a short pier.
Joe Smith. Here's a one way ticket back to Wichita State.
Carlos Muniz. Get lost in Triple A.
Pedro Feliciano. If he's not left handed I don't want to see you.

Today's loss to the Pirates is possibly the most disgraceful of the year. It's just beyond pitiful. You're up 5-1 to one of the worst teams in baseball and you're bullpen can't shut them down for 3+ innings. You've got to be kidding me.

How many times does this have to happen? We are slowly giving the pennant away. These are games you HAVE to win. No excuses. The Pirates, the Padres, the Nationals are teams you must beat to be in contention.

I just can't comprehend how nothing has been done about this for so long. I mean nothing. At this point I'm ok with watching Eddie Kunz blow games for the rest of the season because at least he's a rookie trying to find his way in the big leagues. These are supposedly veteran arms who are doing nothing for this team.

Just blow up the whole unit. Let's start over.

Meeting Kevin Burkhardt: Priceless

Two tickets: $110
4 beers: $32
2 hot dogs: $11
Meeting Kevin Burkhardt: Priceless

It was in the 7th inning and I had literally just got done telling my wife that I hate going to the game when they lose because you spend a ton of dough and you leave with nothing to show for it. Frankly, in this case, as parents of a 3 year old girl and 7 month old son, $200 was worth some “alone” time, even if that "alone" time was with 50,000 other Mets Lifers, we’ll take it. (The baby sitters were free, thank you Leslie, Harry & Gloria).

So, after venting to my wife about the money and losing, I went to the bathroom. Upon my return, I ran into Kevin Burkart, who was holding a child in one arm, grabbing napkins or putting ketchup on a hot dog (I think), and I said, awkwardly, “Kevin, hey, you do a great job…’ to which he replied, “Oh thank you.”

Now, I’m not a guy who gets all star struck. I’ve met athletes before, actors and politicians, and it's no big deal. But anyone from the Mets' organization is like meeting royalty for me. Burkhardt is like part of the monarchy. And those of you who read this site know what big fans Dave and I are of his. (see here & here). I truly believe he will be in this business a long time.

So I continued, “yeah, the Mets should lock you up to a long term deal” and he was genuinely appreciative. I told him I wrote about it on this site and he asked which one, so of course, I told him. Why did I tell him this? No clue. The guy was totally nice and sincere. I went to shake his hand and like I said he was holding a child in one arm and in his other hand was the channel 11 microphone, so turning a slightly awkward moment into relatively normal exchange, Kevin put his fist out and said “how ‘bout punds?” So we exchanged pounds and as we walked away I think he said he’ll check out the site (or maybe I told him to check it out).

Kevin, if you read this, it was great meeting you. Thanks for softening the blow to my wallet while the Mets got smacked around. It was priceless.

Who Do You Miss the Most?

Go ahead and look at a copy of the original roster for the New York Mets at the start of the season. Now look at the current roster. It's like watching a sequal where all the actors are different from the original.

Which made me ask the question who do you miss the most? Let' see:

Willie Randolph? Nope
Rick Peterson? Not at all. Just ask Oliver Perez.
Moises Alou? Old man Moses. Yup, we'll miss his RBI.
Angel Pagan? Wow, he played for the Mets this year.
Jorge Sosa? I'll miss him like a migraine.
Nelson Figueroa? I think I miss his dad in the luxury box more than him.
Luis Castillo? Wait, he's still on the roster?
Raul Cassanova? I think we need another catcher on the bench.
Matt Wise? Who?

And those are the guys I can name off the top of my head. I'm sure there's more, but the one guy who I miss the most is Ryan Church. This guy started off the season hot, I mean, habenero hot. To have him go down with a head injury may have been the biggest blow to this Mets team.

Church was on track for a 30 homer, 100 RBI season. He was making up the gap that Delgado and Beltran were leaving behind. Now with Delgado on track and Wright starting to get hot again, having that extra power bat in the lineup would make up a world of difference.

Now on the flip side if Church was playing this whole season we might not have seen Fernando Tatis become the ultimate Super Sub. Nick Evan and Dan Murphy might still be playing in the Double. And who knows Willie Randolph might still be manager.

But I can honestly say that if Ryan Church can come back in September and be productive this team will be in a much better than there are now. And we're only 2 games out.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Most Hilarious Title of an Article This Year

So I went to Mets.com over vacation to catch a little of the Mets series against the Marlins on the MLB gameday audio when I came across an article that literally had me laughing out loud.

The title of the article was "Mets Bullpen Slowly Coming Together."

Seriously? Are you kidding me? Was the author's name Ima N. Denial? I would like to live in that fairy tale land.

The article might be the single biggest piece of propaganda that you've seen since the fall of the Iron Curtain. Sure the bullpen had a pretty good series against the Marlins. I'll even give credit to Aaron Heilman for pitching two innings without giving up a home run, but let's not get too excited here folks.

When's the last time you saw Carlo Muniz pitch and not give up a run? Hmmmm, how about never? Blowenweiss continues to live up to his name's sake, and Heilman is one home run away from crawling up into the fetal position. Pedro Feliciano seems to be doing fine as a lefty specialist and Joe Smith as a righty specialist, but please, please, please do not left them pitch to an opposite batter.

It seems like we've been talking about this very issue for months on end. You'd think the Mets would have done something about it by now. I do like that they brought up Eddie Kunz, but he's not the complete solution.

It's becoming more and more evident that the Mets starting rotation can't be relied on to go 7 innings. Pelfrey is struggling. Maine is questionable. Pedro can't throw more than 5 innings. Perez can throw 110 pitches, but outside of him and Santana pretty much every day we need the bullpen to give us some effort.

That's a scary realization with the arms that are currently throwing out there. No lead is safe until something happens.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My First Mets Game

The following commentary is straight from the mouth of a future Mets Lifer who attended his first Mets game ever on Thursday afternoon. This is such a great narrative of baseball games through the eyes of children. He saw a fantastic game, but the best part is to him it didn't matter if the Mets won or lost. He enjoyed the game because of the atmosphere, the snacks, and the fact that he was there with his dad and grandpa.

My name is Matthew Siroty and today (Thursday, 8/7/08) I went to my first Mets game. I went with my dad and grandpa. I wore my David Wright Mets t-shirt with number 5 on the back. I was excited to go and even missed a day of gymnastics camp to go. We took two trains to get to Shea Stadium and the Long Island railroad was very nice.

When we got there I saw two stadiums, Citi Field and Shea Stadium. There were a lot of people and a lot of kids, probably because it was Sesame Street Day and camps came. I gave my Sesame Street coloring book that they gave me to my little brother Michael. I love him and he does whatever I do. He is my only brother but was too little to get to go the game. He wouldn't totally like it because he is only 3.

We got our tickets and they were right behind home plate and I could see the players really close. I thought Shea Stadium was smaller than it really was. I saw Ernie and David Cook. He was the winner of American Idol.

The best part of the game was all of the food I had. I started with pretzels that my mom packed, then a hot pretzel, then Sierra Mist, a hot dog, french fries and then a water. I also had my first peanuts and tried to throw them in my dad's mouth. My favorite part was throwing the shells on the ground. I waited until the bottom of the fourth inning to have my ice cream. When we went to get my ice cream, I got to take my picture with Mr. Met. That was cool.

I watched a little of the game, but most of the time I played brickbreaker on my dad's phone. It was also pretty hot outside. The Mets were winning 3-2 in the ninth inning and we thought they were going to win. I was getting a little bored because the Mets kept changing pitchers. And when the Padres tied the score I thought we were going to have extra inings and we wouldn't be able to go home.

But then in the bottom of the ninth, my favorite player David Wright hit a walk-off homer and the Mets won the game. I didn't see the home run because I was playing brickbreaker and the crowd scared me because they were cheering so loudly.

My dad picked me up so I could see David Wright run the bases and then the Mets were so excited they jumped on David Wright when he got to home plate. I will always remember my favorite player hitting the winning home run. When we were leaving, a man told me I was wearing the right shirt. That was fun. I'm glad I got to see Shea Stadium before they tear it down. I loved my first baseball game!

Welcome Back David Wright

David Wright just brushed off his shoulder all the criticisms thrown his way over the past week by letting his bat do the talking.

On a day when everyone within 100 miles of Shea Stadium was saying that he needed to take the day off (myself included), he tells Jerry Manuel that he wants to play and then goes 3 for 5 with 2 RBI including a walk off homer to clinch it.

It never fails that the day I totally rip into a Mets player they come out and just prove that I know nothing. Everyone except for the Mets bullpen that is.

The sad story of the day is the fact that Johan Santana didn't get the win, yet again. Santana went 7 innings, striking out 7, while giving up 2 earned runs. But Blowenweiss, like the bad cliche that he is, came in to blow out.

It was almost perfectly written for David Wright to be the hero. 2 outs. Bottom of the 9th. The struggling hero tries to overcome adversity. It's poetic.

And it's a win. Let's hope this gets Wright back on track. Bring on the Marlins.

Wrong With Wright

What's wrong with David Wright? Is he burned out? Is he tired? Are the bullpen shennanigans getting to him? They're killing me, but this isn't about me. This is about my beloved third baseman. The face of the franchise.

First of all I think David Wright needs to go ask Fernando Tatis what kind of drugs he's on, what he's eating for lunch and then go get some of his own.

Ok, seriously, why is David Wright in such a funk? He does have a habit of going through these patches in the second half of the season. Do you remember in 2006 when David Wright was pretty much a lock for MVP? Yup, that was until August came and Wright hit a skid that dropped him out of the running.

Honestly, I do think it has something to do with his swing. I'll caveat this by saying I am in no ways a hitting instructor, but it does appear that David Wright is swinging with a slight upper cut. It's like he's trying to hit a home run for the first two strikes.

Wright's approach at the plate now is very different than just a year ago. He doesn't go the opposite way at all which use to be his big strength. How many opposite field homers have we seen from Wright this year compared to the last few seasons? Not nearly as many.

It might be as simple as Wright's trying to do too much. He's frustrated. He hates the losing. He hates being surrounded by losers, I mean, the Mets bullpen. I think a day off would do him so good, but I really think he needs to get back to going the opposite way with the ball.

Two nights ago Gary Cohen remarked that David Wright leads the majors in "productive outs." We don't need productive outs from David Wright. We need hits.

I have a feeling he'll come around in the upcoming series against the Marlins. If he doesn't, this team is in a world of hurt.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Things That Make Me Want To Chuck My Remote Through My Really Nice TV

  1. Losing to the worst offensive team in the NL
  2. Carlos Beltran
  3. Walking the worst hitter in the majors (Edgar Gonzalez) since July 23 who is batting .052 during that stretch, not just once, but twice with runners on base
  4. Errors
  5. The consistent inability of the Mets to hit with runners in scoring position.
  6. The consisten inability of the Mets to hit runners in scoring position and 2 outs
  7. The disease that is the Mets bullpen
  8. Being down 1 run after 1 pitch
  9. Being down 2 runs after 3 pitches
  10. David Wright's slump
  11. Being teased inning after inning with the potential of scoring runs only to fall short
  12. The absence of confidence that this team can win a meaningful game
  13. The disease that is the Mets bullpen

Mets Bullpen Roulette

Mets Bullpen Roulette. It's kind of like Russian roulette without the blood splatter. Go ahead, take a spin, and take your chances. Heilman? Schoenweiss? Joe Smith? Duaner? Pick your poison.

Name me one trustworthy arm in the bullpen. Your best bet is probably Billy Wagner. But guess who's tied for the major league lead in blown saves this year? That's right, our man Billy Wagner.

There's no one you can turn to on any given day and feel confident that they will get someone out. Yet nothing has been done to improve the bullpen over the last 3 seasons. Go ahead and look at the roster. Nothing has really changed in the bullpen. It's possibly the most glaring issue for the Mets in the past 24 months, but no adjustments have been made.

It's lunacy.

I should correct myself on one point. Minaya did go out and get Matt Wise in the offseason. He's worked out really well for us.

I think Mets fans would feel comfortable if they knew the organization was making an effort to do something about this. They promoted Eddie Kunz which is a good start, but there has been very little chatter about a move to improve the bullpen. Give me a rumor, hearsay, something, anything!

If not for me, than for Johan Santana. If anyone is dying to see some more reliable arms in the bullpen it's got to be Santana with all the games they've blown for him.

Is anybody listening?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Return of Clutch and Anti-Clutch

Clutch returned tonight although Tatis was the name on the back of his jersey. Fernando Tatis is possibly the only Mets player you would like to see up at the plate with the game on the line. Think about it. Beltran? You're on crack. Wright? Not lately. Delgado? If it were July, then maybe.

Fernando Tatis yet again won a game for the Mets this season. Actually a hat tip needs to go to Nick Evans for getting that hit in the eighth that ultimately drove in the winning run. But it should have never come to that.

Enter the Anti-Clutch. Some may call him Aaron Heilman.

I will confess that I was touting the resurgence of Heilman based on his pitching performances in late June and early July. But I have never seen a guy crumble so fast in a tight spot. It's like the guy lives to give up home runs to lose games. This wasn't a pressure situation by any stretch. He came into the 9th inning with a 6-2 lead against the worst offensive club in the majors.

But somehow Heilman finds a way to be anti-clutch. The Mets can't trust him as far as they can throw him. At this point I'll give Heilman away for some prospects and take my chances. The crazy part is he had been throwing 95+ fastballs and that killer changeup just a few short weeks ago. It's not his arm that's the problem. It's his head that needs examining.

But a win is a win and at this point we'll take as many as we can get. Congrats to Fernando "Clutch" Tatis for hitting his 100th and 101st homers. Long time coming, Clutch.

Youth Movement

Brad over at Bugs & Cranks has just put together a very intriguing post about the current Mets situation, and is asking Omar Minaya to Roll the Dice with the young stars the Mets have protected over the recent trading deadline.

It's something a lot of Mets fans will argue is dumb to do in the heat of a pennant race, but I think it's because we're fooling ourselves into thinking this team is better than it is.

With injuries galore and lackluster clutch hitting, what makes you think this team will magically put it all together for a run deep into October? On the other hand how rejuvenating would it be to see these young players come up and be given a shot to play for a team in contention?

What's that? You'd rather see Marlon Anderson and Robinson Cancel get more playing time? Or would you rather Omar go out and get some great waiver wire pickups like Freddy Garcia or Rich Aurillia because they would really turn the tide for this team?

I find myself falling into the same trap. I just hope that this team will find their groove and take off. I'm starting to think that's not going to happen. Why not take a shot at Dan Murphy, Jon Niese and Eddie Kunz getting some regular roles? Why not see what FMart has in store for us in the future?

What's the worst that could happen? We lose the pennant? We're already in position to do that now.

Payback

Tonight starts a 3 game series with the bottom feeding Padres. This my friends must be payback time.

Sometimes I think the Mets players don't have as long as memory as the Mets Lifers, but this time I think the Padres sweep in San Diego has to be weighing on the players minds. Those 3 games were some of the most painful losses of the season, and we've had a lot of them.

The Mets are short handed and injured. They're on a losing streak and not hitting well with runners in scoring position. So this is the perfect time for some grudges and vengeance to be unleashed on the lowly Padres.

Nothing less than a sweep is acceptable. I don't care who's pitching, who's playing left field and who's hurt. These are 3 games we have to win against possibly the second worst team in the National League.

I want payback.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Mental Toughness is the Missing Ingredient

A left fielder. A right handed bat off the bench. Significant bullpen help.

These are all things the Mets need, but I know the biggest thing the Mets are lacking is mental toughness. Tiger Woods has it. Michael Jordan had it. The Phillies are looking like they have it.

I just watched the end of the Philles/Cardinals game on ESPN. Down 2-1 in the 8th, the Phillies score 4 runs in the 8th to take the lead. Then with the score 5-2 in the 9th, Brad Lidge gives up a leadoff home run, gives up another run, and loads the bases with 1 out. But you know what? The Phillies got out of it and won 5-4.

Now let me ask you, what would have happened if that was Billy Wagner on the mound? I think we all know the answer to that. But it's not all Wagner's fault either. The Phillies took advantage of opportunities and made the most of them. How many times did we have the bases loaded on Sunday and didn't score a run? Twice. You can't get 9 or more hits in a game and not score a run without falling asleep mentally.

The Mets are a team without mental toughness. Try and name the most mentally tough player on the team? You can't. Honestly, it's probably Fernando Tatis or Carlos Delgado. But we've all seen Reyes, Beltran and Wright just look lost in tight situations. That won't get you anywhere in a pennant race.

Actually it will get you somewhere. It gets you 3 games back of first place (and counting) when just 5 days before you held sole possession of the top spot.

The Winds of Change are Gusting

The Mets are no longer in first place. Their proclaimed everyday left fielder is no longer playing left field. Their starting rotation now has huge holes. And the oldest team in the NL now has 4 rookies on their roster.

All this happened in the span of a week.

Welcome to life as a Mets Lifer in 2008. John Maine is now headed for the DL leaving an enormous gap in the starting rotation. Pedro is unreliable. The Mets refuse to win for Johan Santana. Mike Pelfrey is having to deal with making adjustments midway through a season. And unbelievably Oliver Perez is the most reliable starter.

You want to know the crazy thing? The starting rotation isn't the biggest problem. As you well know, here at Mets Lifers we've  been preaching about the Mets need for bullpen help since April. So what does Mets management do about it? Nothing. Well, actually today they called up Eddie Kunz from the minors to hopefully invigorate a beleaguered bullpen that can't close a game to save their lives.

Kunz will be the 4th rookie on the roster joining recent call-up Dan Murphy, Nick Evans, and Argenis Reyes.

Why has the team's situation changed so drastically in the last week? Because it's the Mets and this it what they do. Be prepared for a long stretch of games coming our way. We're playing some of the worst teams in the NL over the next two weeks and the Mets desperately need another win streak to right this ship. This team should handedly beat the Padres, Pirates, and Nationals over the next 14 days, but that doesn't mean they will.

The sad part is even with all this change, it's not the change the Mets need. The right type of change is spelled B-U-L-L-P-E-N-H-E-L-P.

Back to Reality

Well, it was nice while it lasted. Everything was going nicely; a 10 game winning streak, 2 out of 3 against the Phillies and a 2 game lead in first. Now, just one week later, the Mets have lost four games to the Phillies in the standings and now find themselves 2 back.

All because of this absolutely dreadful bullpen, which includes all of the same suspects from last year’s humiliating debacle. The more you think about it, the more outrageous it is that the teams’ Achilles heal remained intact. That should have been Omar’s first task after last season: Dump the dead weight. Instead, having done nothing in the off season and at the trade deadline, we continue to be pummeled by this inept core of soft-tossers and a Benitez-esque closer. It’s gotten so predictable now that I find myself laughing when it unravels because it’s the same old story. It happens so frequently that I am almost immune to the pain and heartache it causes. It is what it is.

Accept it, and move on because this team, as it is now, is going nowhere with that abomination of a bullpen. Sure, we're only 2 games out, and there's plenty of ball to be played. Problem is, we've seen this movie before, with the same cast of characters, and it isn't pretty. It just cannot happen with those guys.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dan Murphy, Welcome to the Big Leagues

Adam Rubin of the Daily News is reporting that minor league phenom, Dan Murphy, has been called up to the majors to replace Marlon Anderson who was put on the 15-day DL. Marlon Anderson apparently has a"hamstring injury." If this is the only way to get Marlon Anderson off the Mets, I'll take it.

Some are calling Dan Murphy the Mets best hitting prospect, even better than Fernando Martinez. Apparently Murphy has played a little bit of everywhere in the minors this year including 3B, 2B, 1B and left field.

I love watching the young guys get playing time, but not as much when we're in a losing streak and slowly slipping away. However, I've heard a lot about Dan Murphy that makes me curious to see what this kid has got.

Is he being called up as trade bait? Possibly, but I think it's a little late for that kind of maneuver. If the kid can truly hit he might be that little spark that gets a club going.

Too bad he can't pitch out of the bullpen. Anyone have Eddie Kunz's number?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Some Thoughts on Tonight's Loss

Had these thoughts tonight while watching tonight's loss to the lowly Astros:

Endy Chavez is terrible with men on base. Can't believe he has only 11 RBI in 247 ABs. ELEVEN! Carlos Zambrano has 9 RBI in 60 ABs. 

I knew David Wright would not come through with the bases loaded and 1 out in the 7th. Wright has nice stats, but he's been brutal with runners in scoring position. Difficult to win when your best hitter fails to hit in big spots...he knows it more than anyone too. I actually wished Tatis was up in that spot. 

Mr. Beltran...Tonight, for the first time, I feel completely fed up with this guy's pain-staking inconsistency. I've been patient with him too long - 'he's streaky, he'll get hot again...' Enough! Can he just play better day in day out? How did he not catch that ball tonight? Changed the whole complexion of that inning...

Was wondering if Jerry Manuel had been watching the Mets for the last 4 years? Everyone knows not to pitch Heilman for two straight innings. This bull pen is just terrible and will ultimately be our downfall, much like last year. They're the same guys...does anyone really think they'll turn it around? They are what they are - awful! 

Good thing Philly is an average team.

The most popular thought I had tonight - would have been nice to have Manny in there.

Wait and See

That's the Mets' theme for rest of the season: wait and see. You'll find that the fans, management and players will be doing a lot of that in the coming weeks.

It all starts tonight when Pedro Martinez returns to the mound. We'll have to wait and see if he can pitch effectively and be a reliable arm in the rotation. If he can, then Pedro will be the best #5 starter in baseball. If he can't, we might be in a world of trouble.

No action during the trading deadline hub-bub that was yesterday afternoon. For what the Dodgers gave up to get Manny Ramirez, I can't believe the Mets weren't able to offer something comparable. Sure Manny is a huge headache, but a 35+ home run and 120 RBI season does wonders for headaches.

Not only is there no Manny, but there's no bullpen help. For now, we'll wait and see if anyone is available on the waiver while or we'll wait and see if our current arms can get their act together.

There's going to be a lot of waiting and seeing. We'll wait and see if Fernando Tatis can keep up his hot hitting, if Mike Pelfrey is truly the legit starter that it appears he's becoming, if John Maine will be able to overcome this rotator cuff injury, and more.

I would have rathered that the Mets were proactive about all these situations, especially the bullpen, but we are where we are. So I guess I'll have to wait and see.