Sunday, April 29, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 1 Nationals 0

There are few things I enjoy more than a 1-0 Mets victory on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

John Maine was spectacular. He started to fatigue in the 7th inning. Maine has given up only 5 runs all season. Two came early in the game against the Phillies, in which the Mets had the huge inning to win the game late. But in his other starts he gave up 1 run in the 6th against the Rockies, and 2 in the 7th against the Marlins, a game the Mets were winning 8-0 at the time. The point is, basically he has been unhittable through 5 innings. Even the bad game against the Phillies he was done in by walks, not hits. If he can give the Mets 7 innings and 2 runs on a consistent basis he is going to have a fantastic year.

Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes are carrying the offense. Wright and Delgado are awful, Beltran and Reyes are great.

So far this Reyes has 16 walks and 16 stolen bases. That puts him on pace for 100 of each. I'd take 75 of each and be very happy.

Aaron Heilman is a ticking time bomb. If he his given the 8th inning of one-run games all year he's going to have 8 - 10 losses. The Mets need to replace him with Sanchez or Mota when they come back. Or give Joe Smith the job.

Billy Wagner got a relatively agita free save.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 6 Nationals 2

This is the problem with writing these recaps during the games...even in the 9th inning. This reads chronologically, not in order of importance.

After a week of pounding the ball the Mets have now gone three straight games without hitting the ball. I'm not counting the 5 runs they got against the Rockies when the score was 11-0.

I know the Nationals first run was bullshit, but the Mets got a gift to tie the game right back.

Willie made a key tactical error in the 8th when Reyes walked to lead off the inning. He has to let Reyes steal, then bunt LoDuca. Even though Beltran has sucked with men on third and fewer than two outs.

Delgado and Wright are killing this team. They may have to move up Alou to split them up, because they are just murdering every rally right now.

Julio Franco came up huge here. But I fear that means we're going to see him make out ten times between every big hit. Darling made a good point that Endy would have been out had the catcher been in position. He stepped in front of the plate to field the ball. But the ball travels faster, he should have been waiting, he took too much time turning around to apply the tag.

First time the Mets touched up Chad Cordero for a blown save.

Finally some key hitting to win the game. A

And David Wright got a couple RBI! I hope this breaks him out of his slump.

This was a big win for the circumstances, the Mets couldn't afford to lose three in a row to Colorado and Washington and they still have a chance to take 2 out of 3 from Washington.

One more thing. I really want Glavine to get his 300th win already so we don't have to hear about it 20 times a game.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Nationals 4 Mets 3

Not a terrible performance by Perez. Sometimes guys give up 3-run homers. He held them without much else for 6 more innings. And no walks. Plus 9 strikeouts. With the Mets offense you'd have to settle for that performance every time.

But the offense just couldn't get the big hit. In a few innings the rally fell into the lap of Oliver Perez. In the last of those cases with the tying run on second in the 8th, Willie brought in Julio Franco. I don't get it. Why not bring in a lefty like Endy Chavez who always seems to get the job done instead of bringing in a righty to face the righty Jon Rauch.

Keeping Franco on the roster at age 74 is not a big deal, but using him when someone else would be better is going to cause problems for this team, especially in the playoffs, if they make it that far.

The Mets must win the next 2 games to avoid splitting a 6 game stretch with two of the worst teams in the majors.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Rockies 11 Mets 5

The only thing to say about this game is that Mike Pelfrey absolutely sucked.
He just got hammered. The Rockies hit everything. 20 hits in all.

Sometimes you have games like this, it's not a big deal. 99% of the teams in baseball history win at least 50 and lose at least 50.

The bigger problem is that Pelfrey doesn't seem to be ready to pitch in the majors. I don't know whether to suggest Sele or Humber, but I really think they should send Pelfrey down. Two or three more horrible starts like this could destroy his confidence.

One the bright side, Reyes had four more hits and Green had 3 RBI. But it was 11-0 at that point.

Mets must take at least 2 of 3 in Washington.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 2 Rockies 1

Happiest recap of the season so far. This was a great win.

I'll get to Endy in a minute but a couple things first.

El Duque pitched great. Really, really well.

This game wouldn't have been so excited if the Mets hadn't failed AGAIN with a man on third and fewer than 2 outs. Valentin led off the third with a triple and El Duque and Reyes both struck out. Inexcusable that this has happened so many times already this season.

The bullpen pitched well, Heilman and Schoeneweis and our new star, Joe Smith. Billy Wagner cannot pitch two innings. And he can't pitch in tie games.

Endy owes a debt of gratitude to Damion Easley. Endy will get lionized but you can't have one with out the other. Easley now has twice as many homers this season as Delgado and Wright combined.

Now on to Endy. I've always attempted to temper the enthusiasm surrounding a fourth outfielder, but I must say that was a really incredible play. The catch in the NLCS was great but this was a different kind of great. While Carlos Delgado slugs away when teams dare him to take a single, Endy studied the defense and won a game with his brains and his bunt.

Great teams find ways to manufacture runs. A walk, a bunt, a balk and a bunt is about as manufactured as you can get in the bottom of the 12th inning.

Endy is my hero

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Happy Recap: Mets 6 Rockies 1

A perfect game (not literally) on a perfect night.

John Maine was awesome. Right now he is the most consistent of the Mets pitchers. He throws strikes, challenges hitters, really the type of pitcher you love to watch.

Jose Valentin got the Mets started with a 3-run homer and a sacrifice fly. He could have had a fifth RBI but they walked him to get to Maine with Alou and third and one out.

Speaking of Alou, he is second in the NL in batting at .397. The only guy ahead of him Colorado's Matt Holliday who along with Helton had 5 of the Rockies 7 hits.

Mets have 6 games with Colorado and Washington this week. Anything less than four wins would be a disaster, but 5 is what they really should do.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Braves 9 Mets 6

The Mets are 11-6 so I don't want to sound like I'm panicking but the Mets have issues.

This bullpen is not good. Schoeneweis hasn't impressed me and Heilman sucks. I don't know how it happened that he was thought to be a great setup man. I have no confidence in him at all. And I also think Willie doesn't use his relievers properly. That said I don't think he wanted to go to Joe Smith again, because he has been overused. And he thought Schoeneweis could get Renteria.

But that inning never should have happened because Green dropped a fly ball he should have had.

Delgado and Wright are awful. I have no idea how Delgado hit 38 homers last year but he is doing nothing so far. Wright hit in a bunch of games in a row but he isn't being vrey productive. These two guys are really hurting the middle of the order.

But my biggest concern is the Braves. The two years the Mets advanced (2000 & 2006), the Braves were out of the way. The Mets don't seem to be able to beat them head to head. The Braves are much improved this year and if the Mets have to battle them head to head in September, then I fear the best we can hope for is the wild card.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 7 Braves 2

Oliver Perez was really good. He was throwing strikes and striking people out. He tired in the 7th inning giving up three long hits but all in all pitched a great game. Nice comeback from his last performance. Very encouraging but he needs to put a few good starts together.

Carlos Beltran is on fire.

Jose Reyes and Ramon Castro, my two favorite Mets, both homered. I wouldn't mind if Castro were the new everyday catcher instead of LoDuca. But I don't like David Wright in the 2 hole.

The Mets are just on fire offensively right now, at least 7 runs in four of the last 5 games. But if the Mets lose the battle of Hall of Famers Sunday they will be 2-4 against Atlanta this season.

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Unhappy Recap: Braves 7 Mets 3

Just a bad game from the start.

Pelfrey gave up a 2-run homer to Chipper in the first inning. And things just got worse from there.

Feliciano and Burgos sucked as usual.

Tim Hudson has been great this season. Mets couldn't get close to anything off him.

This was my first game of the season. Even though it was the first nice day of the year by game time it was freezing.

Traffic was awful to and from the game, though on the way home it was because of an accident.

We parked on the grass right near where we needed to exit so that wasn't so bad, but it wasn't a parking lot by any means.

We sat right behind home plate so we had a really nice view of the new stadium. A couple pillars of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda have been erected, but beyond that it doesn't look like much of a stadium.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 11 Marlins 3

This game didn't start well. Even though the Mets scored in the first Carlos Delgado and David Wright both struck out with a man on base.

Then the Marlins scored two runs helped by a David Wright throwing error. Is his throwing beginning to be a problem?

In the second, after a Reyes triple (his fourth) Beltran struck out. So far this season Beltran is 1-8 with a man on third and fewer than 2 outs. He has four strikeouts. That's inexcusable. But he still has 17 RBI, he could have 20 or more if he could hit some sacrifice flies.

But Delgado, who has been the Mets worst hitter so far picked up Beltran. Delgado figured out the curveball from his first at bat and fought it off a couple times. His double opened the floodgates for another huge inning which was capped by a home run by the greatest backup catcher of all-time, Ramon Castro.

This lineup was a little weird but with LoDuca hurt I can see why Randolph wanted to try something. I obviously think Castro would be a good #2 hitter, but at least he provides some power further down in the lineup.

El Duque pitched really well after some trouble of Wright's making in the first. Wagner had to come in because he never gets save opportunities. He allowed an unearned run keeping his ERA at 0.00 for the season.

The Mets have won their last 3 games by a score of 28-6. Add to that the first four games of the saeson, which they won 31-3 and that's 59-9. Overall the Mets have a margin of victory of 49 runs, more than 4 teams have scored. And those 4 teams have all played 15 games vs. the Mets 14. The Mets 87 runs scored are more than every team except the Yankees. And the 38 runs allowed are fewer than every team except the Red Sox.

The Mets are 9-1 in weekday games.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 9 Marlins 2

Another great game where offense explodes and pitching comes through.

John Maine pitched great taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning. I wanted to strangle Gary Cohen. He would not stop talking about it. I know it doesn't have any impact on the outcome but I'd like to watch a no-hitter without hearing about it every second. I bet the Chicago White Sox announcers didn't mention no-hitter half as often as Cohen.

Jose Reyes is just amazing. Even when he leaves runners on base he still gets four hits.

Nice of David Wright to wake up. He's got a long hitting streak, and four RBI.

Also pleased to see the Mets rough up Dontrelle who usually pitches pretty well against us.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 8 Phillies 1

Welcome to New York, Moises Alou. The Mets finally got some production from the 4-5-6 spots in the lineup. Alou's first two home runs of the season, plus a great diving catch.

Once again Mets defense bailed them out with some good defense, including three more double plays.

Glavine pitched well though I am concerned about 5 walks.

I still like Joe Smith.

I still hate Ambiorix Burgos.

The Phillies went 0-13 with runners in scoring position.

Tom Glavine now has 293 wins.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Nationals 6 Mets 2

The Mets should have swept all 19 games from the Nationals this season.

El Suque was just horrible. They were killing everything he threw. Even the outs were hit hard.

The bullpen did well, especially Ambiorix Burgos.

Once again the offense was disappointing. Chavez triples to lead off the inning then Beltran strikes out, Delgado and Wright don't even get the ball past the pitcher.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 3 Nationals 2

Not quite the performance I was hoping for from Mike Pelfrey but he did pitch well enough to win.

The bullpen was excellent. It was nice to see Billy Wagner get a 1-2-3 save for a change.

Mets finally got some clutch hitting from Delgado to tie the game, and Julio Franco to win it.

I'm glad Franco did something early in the season because there is a great sentiment among Mets fans that he is past his prime and is only on the roster as a de facto coach.

Jose Reyes is awesome. There is no longer any debate about whether he is better than David Wright or Derek Jeter. Everything this team does starts with him. If the Mets didn't have so many other good players he would be a shoo-in for MVP.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 5 Phillies 3

The lack of clutch hitting is killing this team.

First inning, first and second none out, Delgado strikes out and Wright grounds into a double play. At least Beltran got a hit to drive in a run.

Second inning, second and third one out, Reyes pops up too shallow to score a run and LoDuca strikes out.

Keith Hernandez got into a car accident and missed tonight's game.

Beltran strikes out with the bases loaded. Reyes is the only guy who seems capable of getting a hit in a key situation.

Glavine actually didn't pitch too badly other than the two home runs by Rollins.

The bullpen worked, and we didn't even have to risk bringing in Heilman. Glad to get this series win over the Phillies. Hopefully they can sweep the Nationals like the Braves failed to do.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Phillies 5 Mets 2

Timely hitting is the key to any baseball team. The Mets keep getting guys on and failing to get them in. Everytime Reyes is on third with less than two outs Beltran and Delgado need to get him in.

This game is showing why Oliver Perez is not a consistent major league pitcher. He loaded the bases on walks in the second, but got out of it. In the third he gave up a single, then walked four straight, giving up two runs. 7 walks in three innings. You can't have that. If they can't fix this problem Perez is never going to be a good major league pitcher.

Bases loaded and no outs and Alou hits into a double play. You need to get a hit there, or a sacrifice fly. You can't come back from a 3 run lead without getting hits with men on base.

Those were the two key situations of the game, Perez walking 7, and Alou hitting into a double play with no outs. After that Sele pitched ok but the offense did nothing.

The next game is very important now as the Mets could lose series to both the Braves and Phillies, and they'd be 1-4 after a 4-0 start.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 11 Phillies 5

Rough start for John Maine. He had no control. For him, 5 walks is way too many, especially in 4 2/3 innings.

Willie made a huge mistake with Ambiorix Burgos. He should have been satisfied to take him out after he got out of Maine's jam in the 5th. I can't trust him because he has no control and he gives up too many home runs. He's like Benitez and Julio and Mel Rojas. Willie should have brought in Feliciano to face the lefties though. I guess he didn't want to use Heilman today so he wanted to stretch out Burgos.

If I were a Phillies fan I'd be going nuts about the 8th inning. There was a bloop by Alou, a broken bat hit by Green, a 4 pitch walk to Franco and an error by Reyes. Then a wild pitch way over the catcher's head. Why did Manuel leave Geary in so long? Horrible by the Phillies.

The Mets really capitalized on all those mistakes and it was nice to see David Wright crush one. He hasn't gotten off to a very good start and he was robbed of a hit in the 8th inning, though the umpire got the call correct.

The umpire also got a controversial call correct earlier in the game when Delgado slid in safely to home, he got his hand just around the tag.

It was nice to see the Mets really pound them for their mistakes.

It was also nice to see Billy Wagner come in when it was not a save situation and not fuck it up.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Braves 3 Mets 2

Terrible start to this game. Reyes gets to third with none out and Valentin grounds out to first and both the Carloses strike out.

Then El Duque gives up a homer to the first batter.

Amazing catch by Andruw Jones on Wright's drive to begin the second inning.

Home run Shawn Green to tie the game. Don't know what has gotten into him but he seems to be motivated by the possibility of his losing his job. This proves that spring training, even for individual players is meaningless, as far as predicting regular season performance. Green has turned it on like a light switch starting on Opening Day.

I love Ramon Castro. My father and brother in law still think they are making fun of me for saying that Castro was better than Piazza in 2005, but I firmly believe that.

Keith Hernandez just said Reyes is on the verge of becoming the best player in baseball. On cue, Reyes hits his third triple of the season. But once again the Mets don't get him in.

Lack of timely hitting really cost the Mets today. They kept getting runners on base but couldn't get them in. The most costly one was in the first inning because Reyes was on and the big hitters were up.

I have never been in love with Heilman and I don't think we can rely on him to be the 8th inning shut down guy. If Sanchez doesn't come back to form I think we will see a lot more games like this.

I'm not going to panic yet because I think the team is doing well and the starting pitching has been great. But they're out of first place and I was really hoping 2007 could be a wire to wire year.

The home opener is tomorrow and maybe that will put the Mets back on the winning track.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Braves 5 Mets 3

First unhappy recap of the season.

Defense was terrible, that's what killed them. They only got charged with two errors, but there could have been more.

The first one led to the first runs, and the second one, the dropped flyball by Green led to a 3-run inning that put the game out of reach.

Green almost redeemed himself by driving in the third run, then hitting a line drive with second and third and two outs in the 9th, but the first baseman snared it.

It's too early to get on Green though. He has been hitting well and although I want Milledge to play against lefties I don't want to throw Green under the bus just yet.

My problem with Glavine was evinced today. I think teams have an easy way to beat him. Don't swing. He won't throw strikes, no matter the situation. He only walked 3 but he threw 57 balls and only 56 strikes.

It's a little too early for big games but if the Mets lose tomorrow they won't be in first place.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 11 Braves 1

There are few things in baseball more fun than watching Jose Reyes leg out a triple. Especially in the first inning of a game against the Braves.

It took Oliver Perez one batter to show why he has so much potential. He threw a nasty slider to strike out our old friend Chris Woodward.

I like the decision not to bunt with Perez up, Valentin on second and one out. The chances of Perez getting a hit are better than Reyes doing something that would allow Valentin to score from third, but not from second.

Amazing stat. This is the first time two NL teams with at least 3 wins and zero losses played against each other since 1894. I guess it's because teams play series. So if you don't have two teams that both swept their first series, it probably wouldn't happen.

I have a feeling that Jeff Francouer is going to be a thorn in the Mets side for the next 15 years.

Key hit for Shawn Green to get David Wright home in the bottom of the 6th. Big insurance run, but more importantly had he failed in that spot the fans would have been all over him.

Reyes triples are also a lot of fun to watch when there are two men on base. Nice to see Perez hustling around the bases, he was the only impediment to Reyes going three on that one.

Reyes is a really clutch RBI man. On any other team he might be batting second or third because he drives in so many runs. 7 RBI this season already.

If the Mets keep winning by these blowouts I'm going to get very sick of the inane banter from Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez.

Four games, four wins, Mets 31 opponents 3.
So far so good.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 10 Cardinals 0

Nice to see Beltran breaking out early. His second homer was a beautiful shot.

Good to see Reyes homer too, and it doesn't seem like he is swinging for the fencs which was a preseason worry. His homer was a golfed shot that barely made it over in the corner.

Braden Looper actually pitched pretty decent. I would have liked to really nail his ass but they did get three runs off him in 6 innings.

I'd rather see a dropped popup than see Wright and Reyes collide.

Keith Hernandez is wearing a fur coat. I hope you saw this. A picture was worth a million words.

He also said something that I missed the beginning of but I think he was wearing tights or pantyhose to stay warm. He said he bought them at Macy's and told the clerk they were for his wife.

Horrible play by Preston Wilson on the Julio Franco ball that really broke the game open.

Can't judge Ambiorix Burgos by what he does in a 10-0 game but I'm glad he pitched a good inning to keep the Mets fans off his back when he comes home...assuming he doesn't pitch badly in Atlanta.

John Maine pitched great. He was on target with every pitch, fastballs for strikes. That's the formula for success for him, he doesn't have great stuff but he needs to throw strikes.

This was about as perfect a start to the season as a team is ever going to have.

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Happy Recap: Mets 4 Cardinals 1

Second straight strong start from an over 40 pitchers. If they can keep this up all year the Mets are going to do very well.

Jose Reyes displayed his MVP credentials creating runs with his legs.

Schoeinweis had a rough Mets debut. You don't want to face Albert Pooh Holes as the tying run late in the game.

Nice to see Billy Wagner start his season off with a save.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 6 Cardinals 1

Tom Glavine was effective and efficient. He gave up 1 run and 6 hits in 6 innings. Exactly the same stats (in those categories) as Opening Day last year.

Hopefully LoDuca put to rest the talk of him moving down in the lineup with 3 RBI.

Bullpen was spotty but didn't allow any runs.

Defense was awesome, turning 4 double plays including that great stop by Valentin that ended a Cardinals rally.

Every starter got a hit, including Shawn Green.

1 down, 161 to go.

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2007 Season Preview - Burning Questions

1) Should David Wright bat second?

If it ain't broke don't fix it. David Wright would be a better #2 hitter than Paul LoDuca but he is a much better 5th place hitter. This theory comes from the old days of baseball when 3 - 4 runs were enough to win. That is not the case anymore. Lineups have to be constructed to have more strong spots to generate more runs. Shawn Green stinks and Moises Alou is injury prone, relying on them to bat 5th and 6th is a bad idea and a good way to have Beltran and Delgado stranded on base a lot, and to assure Delgado never sees fastballs. Plus LoDuca has no value in the bottom of the order where he does provide some valuable tools in the second hole (ie patience, hitting to right). If Willie goes with Wright at second it would be a monumental mistake that would eventually need to be corrected, probably the first time Alou gets hurt. That said, I still think LoDuca will see a significant falloff in production compared to last year.

2) Is the starting pitching strong enough?

The starting pitching of Glavine, El Duque, Maine, Perez and Pelfrey is good enough under ideal conditions. If there is a major injury (el Duque?), or a decline in performance (Perez), that could mean big trouble. I think Glavine and El Duque should be solid and I expect Maine to perform within a narrow band of 11-14 wins and an ERA between 4.00 and 5.00. Oliver Perez is the wild card. His ERA can be anywhere between 3 and 6. Without a good season from him the Mets will struggle to find wins. I don't think Pelfrey is ready to be a star this year, but he can definitely contribute 10 wins.

3) Will the Mets give Milledge a shot, or trade him?

I believe the Mets will end up trading Milledge for pitching help (starting or relief) at the deadline. I also think if Green gets off to a good start Milledge will be sent down to play everyday and be showcased for a trade. The only way he remains a Met for the long term is if there is a major injury to Alou or a horrible start by Green. I think he pissed off too many people last season. Also he didn't exactly set the world on fire...remember his series in Fenway? Amazingly, the injury to Sanchez last year may have doomed him. Had they kept Nady, Milledge might have had a chance to win the job this season.

4) Can we expect any deadline deals?

The Mets are very likely to be a player at the deadline. They will get back three players during the course of the year (Mota, Pedro and Sanchez) but if there is a good starter, or a strong reliever available, you can expect the Mets to package Milledge and Heilman. Because Glavine, El Duque and Pedro are so old I would like to see them hold on to Pelfrey and Humber but I am not confident that they will.

5) Will tougher competition in the NL East this year hurt the Mets?

The Phillies should be improved because they picked up some pitching and they have a great infield. Howard, Utley and Rollins is a great trio on the level of Reyes, Wright and Delgado. The Braves should also be improved becuase they fixed their bullpen but I don't see them as a major threat.

6) What is your prediction?

I see the Mets winning fewer games than last year but still more than 90, enough to win the division but the playoffs are anybody's guess. I worry that because they are constructed as an offensive team that their pitching will not hold up as happened last year in a short series. I think the Mets are likely headed for another season like 2006, a great fun year that falls just short.

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The Recap is Back!

Welcome to the 2007 season!
Maybe this year will be better than the last.
You won't find thorough recaps of every game this year but you will find more observations, and in-game breakdowns and live blogs.