Thursday, September 29, 2011

3 Takeaways from the 2011 Mets

The season is over for our beloved New York Mets. I found myself enthralled with pennant chase baseball last night and reveling in the demise of both the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves. I only wish Chipper Jones hit into that game ending double play, but it was still enjoyable nonetheless.

I'm not going to get into the Jose Reyes drama about him not playing the whole game. Please, just stop. If you missed his at bat, shame on you for not being there for the start of the game and if you're angry you only saw him once there were 161 other games that you could have watched him. Don't tarnish an amazing season by the most electric player in New York by whining about only one at bat.

Ok, so I did get into the Reyes drama but now I want to leave you with 3 takeaways from the Mets 2011 campaign.

1. Never believe what people say about the Mets farm system.
How many times have we heard in the last 4 years that the Mets farm system is depleted. That the Mets don't have the chips to make a trade. Or that they need to rebuild the minor leagues? Spare me. The Mets fielded a team of minor leaguers for the better part of 2011. Tejada, Turner, Duda, Evans, and Gee are all examples of guys who can play regularly in the majors. None of them are going to be All Stars tomorrow but there's no denying they are better than what everyone has made them out to be.

2. Pitching is paramount.
I'm tired of talking about this, but pitching is what the Mets need. There will be talk about Prince Fielder, complaining about the horribleness of Jason Bay, and the dimensions of Citi Field but the most important thing the Mets can do this off season is improve their pitching staff. Bullpen and starting rotation. Pelfrey needs to go. Parnell needs therapy and shouldn't take the mound in the 9th inning of a close game for a long time. Offensively, the Mets were actually really good this year. I know it's hard to believe. Their BA is above the NL average. For months they were leading the league in hitting with 2 outs. They're in the top 10 in runs scored and stolen bases. Home runs are obviously an issue but honestly the Mets aren't a bad hitting team. What they are bad at is pitching. How many games did the bullpen blow this year? How many times did we see Niese, Capuano and Pelfrey give up 5+ runs in a single inning that basically blew the game? Missing Santana was obviously a major hurdle to overcome but the lack of a true #2 starter and a somewhat reasonable bullpen is really what killed the Mets...and injuries too.

3. A healthy lineup makes a huge difference.
You want to know something that I would love to see? A healthy Reyes, Wright, Davis and Murphy in the lineup for 150 games. I know injuries are a part of baseball. It's unavoidable, but the Mets haven't even come close to a healthy lineup in the last 3 seasons. Look at what Reyes did running on all cylinders? He missed a few weeks, but he's the batting champ, triples machine that we knew he could become. Pair that with Wright who has his highs & lows but generally produces 30 HRs & 100 RBI and an Ike Davis who could potentially match Wright's production or exceed it. Then add in Murphy who was a top 10 hitter until that dreaded play at second base and you have a very interesting lineup to play with. If Duda continues to grow as a hitter and Jason Bay improves at all and the Mets will have no issues scoring runs. But the key is can they stay healthy? Do you think the Brewers would be in the position they are with Braun out for 2 months? Could the Cards have made the comeback they did without Pujols & Halladay for a stretch in September? Of course not. We have yet to truly see what this Mets team can do if they have a healthy lineup and some help in the rotation.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jose Reyes Is the First Mets Batting Champion

One of the lone bright spots for the 2011 Mets was watching Jose Reyes play. He was on fire for the better part of the last 5 months. Sandy Alderson declared October "Sign Reyes Month." Make it so #1.

Congrats Jose Reyes!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Morning Mets Rant

This post has not structure and probably no intelligent thought in it, but it's a rant kind of day.

Love that the Mets took 2 out of 3 from the Braves and in Atlanta no less! Where the heck was this kind of play about a month ago when the Mets were still in the Wild Card conversation? Can Bobby Parnell pitch an inning without a walking a batter? He's like a crack addict with walks. How does Ronnie Paulino only have one home run? He's the size of a defensive end and you're telling me he can't muscle more than one ball over the outfield wall?

Did Dillon Gee go off steroids? He's Jekyll and Hyde this year. Stop the trade David Wright talk. It's stupid. Finding a reliable, All Star third basemen isn't easy. He's the face of the franchise and if he was healthy this year he'd have a shade 30 homers and 100 he has practically every year.

Is Lucas Duda going to be Mike Jacobs? A surprising inaugural season only to falter the next. Never to be heard from again? I hope not.

When's the last time you though about Daniel Murphy? Do we even care that he's gone or is that just the eliminated from the playoffs yet again talking?

RA Dickey is the charter member of the No Joy No Luck Club. And by the way, why the heck are you pitching to Chipper Jones in that spot? Has the guy not murdered the Mets enough over the years. Hit him in the head, load the bases and deal with whoever is next. Just don't let Chipper do it to you yet again. Get beat by somebody else for a change.

In the time it took me to type that last paragraph, Bobby Parnell just walked 3 more batters.

Where on earth is Fernando Martinez? Oh wait, he's hanging with Lastings Milledge in the Mets Over Hyped Prospects group home.

Ruben Tejada has fouled off more pitches this year than anyone in history.

Angel Pagan is half the man he used to be. Jason Bay is having a renaissance. His best game appears when teams are out of contention.

How much would you hate being Terry Collins right now? That laughter you hear is Willie Randolph, Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Link: 12 Major League Teams Running Out of Fans

...the Mets aren't on the list....this year.
The 12 major league teams running out of fans - Yahoo! Sports:

The End of Losing is Nowhere in Sight

After getting swept by the Nats, the last thing the Mets need is exactly what they're going to get: a road series at Turner Field. The hope of ending a 6 game losing streak will soon turn into the potential for a 9 game skid as the Mets dip further into the pit of losing.

I like Terry Collins. I think he's been put into a tough position, but he's going to get a ton of backlash if the Mets close out the season in last place and on a double digit losing streak. Ironic, that it's a this point in the season when Jason Bay finally starts hitting consistently.

The feel good story of young players and overachieving is now null and void. Shameful is the word to describe this team. There is little pride on display at Citi Field and it translates into its absence in the stands.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bobby Parnell Needs a Robert Downey Jr Comeback

We are all witnesses to the ultimate demise of Bobby Parnell. Right there on your TV or in person at Citi Field you are beholding the public destruction of a human being. Parnell is being trotted out to the mound to act as someone who can perform when ultimately he cannot succeed.

Last night Collins had him on the mound in a tie game in the 7th inning with runners on 1st and 2nd. 2 pitches later to Ryan Zimmerman the Nats took the lead for good. Not a save opportunity for Parnell, but a continuation in the pattern of failure that he has stitched for himself this season.

Hitters are batting over .300 against Parnell. That's just ridiculously bad. Parnell has blown 5 out of 10 save appearances, but instead of placing him in situations where he can succeed and get some confidence, the Mets are using him like he is a reliable arm to use in close games.

Parnell seems to be a quiet guy, but this public humiliation has to be eating at his confidence and can't be of any help to his performance. Very few people can come back from public disgrace. You can rattle them off pretty easily all those that have failed and yet to be redeemed. Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Richard Nixon, Bill Buckner (except for a recent Curb Your Enthusiasm cameo), Lawrence Taylor.  You get the point.

Robert Downey Jr. is one of the few exceptions. Guy was as low as you can get and now we can't get enough of him. From drug and alcohol abuse to being Iron Man. That's quite a leap.

Rick Ankiel is one of the few sports examples I can think of as far as an insurmountable comeback, but he had to switch positions to do it.

I doubt that Parnell can make this type of comeback. I think mentally he's finished. Remember Eddie Kunz? Yeah, me neither, but about 3 years ago he came up from the minors to be the Mets closer while Wagner was injured. One blown save later during a pennant race, you'll never hear from him again.

That's where Parnell is headed. Unless he's got some Iron Man rejuvenation in him somewhere.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mets’ plans to wear first responder caps thwarted by MLB

Sure I could blog about another late inning blown game or the ineffectiveness of the Mets big time players in key moments, but that's not important right now.

What is on my mind is how baffling this move by the MLB was to not allow the Mets to wear the caps of the NYPD, NYFD and PANY. You allowed ESPN to move the Mets/Cubs game to be the featured game in prime time and allow the pre-game 9/11 festivities to be shown on the broadcast, but you won't let the team wear the hats to honor those who served?

Are you kidding me? This is stupid. I'm not buying the line Joe Torre gave as an explanation that all teams were uniform in their honoring of 9/11. You know how much the Mets were involved in the events of 10 years ago. ESPN knows it. Baseball fans know it and to think that they don't deserve to be allowed to show a little extra honor the great men and women of the NYPD, NYFD & PAPD is just idiotic.

Maybe I'm being petty, but this was one of those cases where a rule was imposed without any rule usefulnees to it.

Here are some additional details via Yahoo! Sports.
Mets’ plans to wear first responder caps thwarted by MLB | The Upshot - Yahoo! News:

'via Blog this'

Friday, September 9, 2011

New York Coaches Remember 9/11

great video of some of the New York coaches back in 2001 reflecting on what it was like to be a coach in NYC on 9/11.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mets Fever: Has Nick Evans shown enough

Good post from our friends over at Mets Fever on the enigma of Nick Evans. Is he a AAAA player or someone worthy of a major league roster spot?

Honestly, I don't think he's been given the shot to prove either. Not until he gets a regular shot at playing everyday for more than a month. At the end of this year, let's see where he pans out. Right now I'd start him over Jason Bay or Angel Pagan?

Maybe Evans could catch...
Mets Fever: Has Nick Evans shown enough:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mets Are Too Lenient With Late Inning Walks

From now on when the Mets come back from being 5 runs down, just turn off the game. It's guaranteed to be a disappointment. In the second time in a month, the Mets came back from being way down to take the lead only to blow it in the 9th.

This time it was Parnell on the mound. He's done this before and I'm sure he'll do it again. He gave up a leadoff hit and then committed the ultimate faux paux for any closer: he walked the next batter. It's the ultimate sin, yet Collins and the Mets don't seem to see what it leads to. I guarantee every Mets fan who follows this team knew it was going to end in a loss as soon as Parnell walked the second batter. It's the same thing that Isringhausen did against the Brewers in August. It's what doomed John Franco for all those year. And Benitez. And Looper. And Wagner. Walks by a closer destroy one run games.

There has to be a point when you send a message that you will not stand for walks from your closer. I realize the Mets are not in a pennant race. I get you are trying to mold a closer in the young Parnell, but letting him bury himself out there is worse than teaching what is and isn't acceptable from a closer.

As soon as Parnell gave up that walk he needed to be pulled. I said the same thing of Izzy when he blew it against the Brewers. Izzy gave up 2 walks and was still allowed to continue. In the 9th inning of a one run game there's no acceptance of allowing free base runners. They beat you on a home run so be it. But allowing walks to put the winning run on base is just unacceptable.

If Parnell is to become a closer he learns nothing by blowing a save. Ok, he learns disappointment. If Collins pulls him every time he walks a guy in a one run game with no outs, Parnell will learn pretty quickly that he can't walk anyone or else he'll find himself back in the minors. The same should go for Beato.

With the Mets firmly out of the picture, now is the time to teach these lessons. You obviously wouldn't do this with K-Rod or an established closer (Izzy doesn't count. He's a washed up closer), but you can do this with young guys who need to learn the ropes.

I'm sick of 9th inning walks. It's time Mets relievers learned a lesson.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I Like the Blue Mets Uniforms

The Mets have issues with being obsessed with a thousand different uniform options, but I am digging the blue uniforms with orange type. Kudos to Michael Baron of for posting these great photos...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jason Bay is the new Oliver Perez

Next spring, Jason Bay is likely to be the most disliked Mets player. Chances are he already is, but with this season being a wash his ineptitude is being overlooked as we long for football to start.

Yes, I'm writing a bash Jason Bay post the day after he had a 3 hit game. Here's why. It's the first good thing he's done in about 30 games. Tell me that's worth the check he's getting. To me Jason Bay is the new Oliver Perez. You want to compare him with Luis Castillo? I'm fine with that too, although that's a bit insulting to Castillo who at least was close to hitting .300 on one leg. Bay can only dream about .300 and he's got two healthy knees.

I would argue that Jason Bay doesn't even deserve to be in the starting lineup. Entering last night he was batting .230. That's your highest paid hitter in the lineup. Lucas Duda who's had almost half as many at bats as bay is potentially going to pass him in home run totals for the year. Nick Evans who was batting .180 for most of the season is now 50 points ahead of Bay's average and crushing him in slugging and OPS.

If Ike Davis returns to his old production and Duda continues to grow and Evans shows for the next month that he can be a legit hitter, why would we let Jason Bay take one of their spots in the lineup? Bay's had two years to prove that his slump is just a fluke. 730 days later, Bay still stinks. I'm done. Enough is enough.

Put him in a platoon with Evans if you want to. Don't talk to me about his fielding. We aren't paying him to win a gold glove. The hope was he'd hit some home runs and drive in 100 RBI. He's a good clubhouse guy and he can remain one with his rear firmly planted on the bench.

Money does not equal talent. Salary does not dictate who should play. Performance does. And Bay is the complete opposite of a player who is performing. Sit him down.