Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Brewers 4 Mets 2

This was like 2 different games, the first part was a clean crisp pitching duel with Glavine trying to get his 300th win. The second part was a laborious struggle for either team to get a runner on, over and in.

Glavine pitched very well through six innings, allowing 2 hits, though he did give up 5 walks. He had about 30 friends and family with him including his wife, parents and kids who were interviewed and shown incessantly on SNY. Glavine left with the lead but the bullpen couldn't hold it.

Glavine sat alone in the dugout while the Mets were at bat
awesome photo of Glavine tracking a popup

The managerial chess match and the overuse of the bunt started in the 6th inning. Jose Reyes doubled and Castillo sacrificed him to second (bad move: too early to start playing for one run, especially when Reyes is already at second and the heart of the lineup is coming up). But that worked itself out when Ned Yost brought the infield in (bad move: you can let in the tying run, just not the go ahead run) and David Wright singled through the drawn in infield and later scored on a sac fly by Alou to give the Mets the lead.

The Mets offense struggles started in the 7th when Castillo and Wright left the bases loaded.

Heilman came on to get a huge double play in the 7th inning, but he started the 8th inning and began the Mets' undoing. He allowed a single to Hardy. Then Feliciano (who has been terrible lately) came on to face Fielder and only Fielder...and he hit him in the arm.

Prince Fielder cries like a baby after getting hit by a pitch

Willie then went to Mota to face Bill E. Hall and Hall doubled to tie the game. It could have been worse though as Mota struck out Miller with the bases loaded and one out. Then he got Graffanino.

The Brewers got the leadoff man on in the 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th and 13th innings.

In the 9th, the Brewers loaded the bases in part due to a horrible error by Delgado (who was also thrown out at home plate earlier in the game after jogging around the bases), but Lastings Milledge saved the day with an incredible diving catch.

He'd make another diving catch later in the game but that one was because he originally misjudged the ball.

Wright and Delgado walked to lead off the 10th inning but old, slow Alou swung away (bad move: a bunt would have put the winning run on third with one out), he probably couldn't be trusted to get the bunt down, and instead he hit into a double play.

In the 11th the Brewers got the first two men on but the sacrifice bunt was thwarted when the Mets got the lead runner at third.

After a single by Fielder in the 12th the Brewers got down a successful sacrifice but couldn't get the hit to drive him home.

Similar situation for the Mets in the 13th except Easley failed to get the bunt down but Alou stole second instead, but was left stranded,

In the bottom of the inning, Graffanino doubled to lead off the inning, and the next batter probably should have bunted, but instead Jenkins hit a home run off Aaron Sele to win the game.

Final word on bunting: Sacrifice bunting early in the game is usually bad. Late in the game when one run really does matter sacrificing with a man on first and none out is not a great play because you only have two chances to get one hit, low percentage. But with a man on second and none out you should bunt because the next batter should be able to drive a man from third in with either a hit or an out, about two-thirds of the time.

Willie left Billy Wagner in the bullpen for a save opportunity that never came. I hate that move. Get your best pitcher in early, worry about later later.

He used Jorge Sosa meaning El Duque will probably pitch Thursday and Maine on Friday, thanks to Monday's off day.

The Brewers pulled a similar move using Wendesday's starter Dave Bush in relief, moving up their other starters.

I was not impressed with Luis Castillo in his Mets debut. He made a couple good defensive plays but he looks lost at the plate. He has zero power and can't even pull the ball. It was like watching Julio Franco.

Ramon Castro and Lastings Milledge had a tough game, going a combined 0 for 11. And in the 13th with Alou on second they both made out.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 5 Nationals 0

The second one-hitter of the year by a Mets pitcher. Glavine got the first one, which was also shortened by rain.

Lastings Milledge continues to get clutch hits, driving home Reyes with a single in the first inning. He had bunted foul on the first pitch of the at bat. I hate that strategy, the Mets do it all the time. You should not sacrifice bunt in the first inning. It's too early to play for one run. You need to trust your guys to get hits and start a rally and put up a bigger number. Thankfully Milledge swung away and got the RBI hit.

And the other great Met who has given the team a boost recently is Ramon Castro. He crushed one deep to centerfield for a 2-run homer that really put the game away.

John Maine is now 12-5 with a 2.92 ERA. If he keeps this up he should definitely finish in the top 5 in Cy Young Award voting.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Nationals 6 Mets 5

Mike Pelfrey is a major problem because he just can't seem to pitch a game without that one bad inning, and when that one bad inning comes he can't minimize the damage. This led to a 3-run inning, but other than that Pelfrey pitched pretty well.

But for 5 2/3 innings the Mets couldn't get anything off of Joel Hanrahan but they broke through with hits by Gotay and Wright and then a huge game tying 3-run homer by Carlos Delgado.

But the lead was short lived as the suddenly struggling Pedro Feliciano worked himself into a whole heap of trouble and Heilman allowed a bases loaded double to make it a 3-run lead again.

And that made something that happened in the 7th, a major mistake by Randolph even more glaring. LoDuca singled, then Milledge singled and LoDuca had to be pulled from the game because he hurt his hamstring going into second base. So with first and second and one out and a left handed pitcher on the mound Willie chose to bring in Marlon Anderson instead of Castro because he rightly assumed that Manny Acta would go to a righty, Jon Rauch. The only problem was, Castro had to come in to catch for LoDuca in the next inning anyway. And with Beltran unavailable, Anderson was the last pinch hitter on the bench. Anderson and Reyes both made out stranding two runners in a tie game.

Then in the next inning the Nationals got 3 runs, but the Mets fired right back in the bottom of the 8th with three straight hits, the third another run scoring hit from Delgado. But the rally was killed when Alou grounded into a double play, although it did score another run. But the Mets did get another chance when Green singled, stole second and went to third on the throwing error. But Castro failed to get him home, he can't do it every time.

Then in the 9th inning Willie had to pinch hit Tom Glavine, instead of having Marlon Anderson on the bench. That decision didn't cost the Mets the game, but it's symptomatic of obvious mistakes that Willie sometimes makes, outsmarting himself with lefty right bullshit.

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Happy Recap: Mets 3 Nationals 1

A great start by El Duque covered up some more anemic offense. His only blip was a home run to Felipe Lopez. But he almost didn't get the win.

Lastings Milledge got an RBI (a familiar refrain) in the fourth inning to give the Mets the lead, but the Mets didn't score again until the 7th inning after El Duque was lifted for a pinch hitter. Reyes doubled, Gotay singled him home then Wright walked and Delgado singled home Gotay to give the Mets their winning margin.

Aaron Heilman and Billy Wagner did the work in relief. Wagner has now saved 24 out of 25 games and lowered his ERA to 1.37.

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Unhappy Recap: Nationals 6 Mets 2

The great Jorge Sosa we once knew is no longer. In the second inning he gave up four doubles leading to three runs. Then each time the Mets got a run to cut the lead to two, Sosa allowed a solo home run.
Sosa has now started 14 games for the Mets, in the first 7 (culminating in his great start against Detroit) he was 6-1 with a 2.64 ERA; and in the second 7 he is 1-6 with a with a 7.00 ERA.

Moises Alou made his return to the lineup with a double and a run scored. He actually started what could have been a big inning in the second after the Nationals had taken a 3-0 lead. After his double LoDuca singled, but with first and third and none out Milledge grounded into a double play.

You have to wonder what will happen to Milledge's playing time with Alou back and once Beltran is healthy. I doubt he'll see much action because Willie will be loyal to Green.

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Unhappy Recap: Pirates 8 Mets 4

This is the second time this year that Perez was good for a few innings and then got lit up in one bad inning thanks to some poor defense. The first time it wasn't his fault, but this time it was his error that opened the floodgates for a 5-run 6th for the Pirates.

In the 7th Schoeneweis put two guys on and Willie went to Joe Smith to get out of the inning. Three hits later the game was over and so was Joe Smith's tenure in the big leagues, at least for now. Smith allowed three straight hits and was sent down after the game.

Joe Smith started the season with a 1.37 ERA, 19 hits, 10 walks and 29 Ks in 26 1/3 innings in 29 games.
Since June 10 in Detroit, he has a 6.57 ERA, 21 hits, 9 walks and 7 Ks in 12 1/3 innings in 17 games.
He was 2-0 with 8 holds in the first 29 games and 0-1 with 2 holds in the next 17.
I'm not sure if the league figured him out or if he got tired or if he just needs more experience, but he certainly wasn't the same picture over the past two months as he was over the first two.

Milledge and Reyes both homered in this one.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 6 Pirates 3

We begin with our Keith Hernandez recap. Tonight, Keith revealed that he changed gloves every three months. He also told viewers they are lucky for the commercial breaks, because that's when the stadium blasts the music too loud. He even stopped talking at one point because the soundbite encouraging people to chant "let's go Mets!" was so loud. But the most revealing nugget is that A-Rod collects gold gloves, actually calling other players and asking for a mitt or two for his collection. Gary Cohen rightly asked if Keith charged him, because, A-Rod can afford it.

Lastings Milledge played center tonight (Beltran has a strained core. What the hell is that?) and continued to hit the ball well. Lo Duca also looks like he's breaking out of it, with 2 clutch doubles. He must be banging a teenager again. For an ace, Gorzelanny looked like crap tonight. Every thing was a meatball over the middle. Finally, he was pulled under pretense of an injury.

But the big story is that the Mets gave Glavine a big lead, and he didn't blow it. He wasn't great, but good enough to get win #299. He'll go for #300 in Milwaukee on Tuesday.

More Keith hilarity. He lost it in the 4th inning recounting Caddyshack lines. We now know that Keith considers it the funniest movie ever. And if Keith says it, it must be true. He also started texting his wife during the game, and revealed that he's too lazy to drive back out to Long Island, so he's staying in the city for the next couple of nights because the Mets are playing day games. That means he will be away from his dog Duncan for a couple of nights, which is bad. He's really starting to achieve a Phil Rizzuto level of nuttiness, which I love.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 8 Pirates 4

Now that is how you start a homestand. The King of Crocs, Keith Hernandez (he has 12 pairs you know) says you need to beat up on these second division teams, and that's just what the Mets did tonight.

This game was all John Maine, who's first extra base hit ever was a big one, crushing a 2-run homer over the left field wall in the 4th inning to put the game out of reach. He also whiffed seven in seven innings, and looked like the John Maine of the first half again.

Lastings Milledge had a strong game, going 3-3 with a 2-run homer... and Ruben Gotay continues to contribute. Willie basically said during the game that Gotay is the man, so I am curious to see if he can keep up this offensive pace. He is also working hard on defense, so that he doesn't get pulled at the end of games.

Milledge, though, irritated Keith when he clearly leaned into a fastball while wearing the arm guard. I agree, it is ridiculous. He made no attempt to get out of the way, and took it off the protective padding. I thought that stuff was going to be banned?

Ex-Met Xavier Nady has to be the most unlucky guy on earth. A freak injury to Duaner Sanchez gets him traded in a rush last year, going from the best team to the worst, now he's being forced to play centerfield for an awful team, and not doing a very good job of it.

Also of note, Gary Cohen's wife texted him in the booth to make fun of Keith Hernandez's fuzzy math. Ron Darling also went on the record as saying Keith will not be able to make it through Saturday's day-night doubleheader against the Nationals. He said he'd be fine, as long as the producers let him wear bermuda shorts and his crocs. We shall see.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 5, Dodgers 4

SCZA checking in with the Recap, and I must start with a disclaimer. For whatever reason, MLB Extra Innings did not offer this game, so I can only go by highlights and recaps, thus the brevity.

El Duque did not have his best stuff, but the team bailed him out, once again making a comeback against ex-Met Roberto Hernandez in the 8th. It's nice to see Carlos Beltran continue to get key hits instead of striking out all the time.

The Dodgers are awful defensively, and it showed big time in the 9th inning. Matt Kemp, who had already made a couple of bad plays in this series, dropped a weak fly ball from Green to allow A-Hern to score the tying run.

More curious defense from the Dodgers in the 10th.

With the score tied at 4, Milledge singled with one out off D.J. Houlton. Beltran singled, and Wright grounded sharply to third, just beating the throw to avoid a double play. Then the immortal Chip Ambres made his Mets debut, hitting a grounder to third.

It really didn't look that impressive off the bat. But for some reason, Nomar was playing in on the grass with 2 outs, and couldn't get to it in time. The ball squirted through, and Milledge scored the go-ahead run.

Billy Wagner had some issues with Shawn Green (playing 1st) and Juan Pierre in the bottom of the inning, but he got Nomar looking for the save.

Next up, Pittsburgh.

Notes: Alou is scheduled to be back in the lineup Tuesday against the Pirates. I would suspect Chip Ambres will be sent back down. It will be interesting to see how much PT Milledge takes from Alou and Green. I would rotate the three to reduce the risk of injury. Also, Damion Easley's father Raymond passed away. It's not known when Easley will return to the team.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Dodgers 8 Mets 6

The Mets offense stayed hot which is encouraging, but it was a rough start for Jorge Sosa, the second time in three games a Mets pitcher blew a big lead...this time the Mets couldn't come back.

They got on the board with RBI from their best clutch hitters and guys who should definitely be in the lineup more often, Castro and Milledge.

Wright added a 2-run homer to make it a 4-0 lead.

Then Sosa ran into trouble. In the fourth inning he gave up 6 hits to 7 batters, including a 3-run homer by Matt Kemp.

That was too much to come back from. But the Mets might have had a chance were it not for one bad play in the 6th inning. I am looking forward to more playing time for Ruben Gotay but I am a little concerned about his defense. With the bases loaded and one out Joe Smith got the ground ball he needed, but Gotay threw the relay way past Delgado allowing two runs to score, instead of getting out of the inning.

Beltran did add a homer to give the Mets 6 runs, but who knows if that would have happened had the score still been 6-4.

A tough loss because they had a big lead, but the emergence of the offense has to be encouraging.

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Happy Recap: Mets 4 Dodgers 1

A good pitching performance from Perez and some clutch hitting, sort of, from Beltran kept things going for the Mets.

Let's start with Oliver Perez who really has been awesome all season for the Mets. He really pitched well, allowing only one run on a home run to Nomar.

The Mets got their run in the first inning thanks to some bad defense by the Dodgers outfield. Anderson reached second and Wright got a two out single to drive him home.

But that was it. Nothing for the next six innings. It wasn't until the 8th that the Mets offense woke up. Reyes doubled then scored on an error (bad defense again) on the sac bunt by Anderson. Then Carlos Beltran got his first big hit in what seems like weeks (maybe since the Philly series) and put the game out of reach.

A little bit of trouble in the 8th after Perez and Smith gave up hits but this time Willie didn't hesitate to go to Feliciano and he got two outs to end the inning.

Wagner pitched a perfect inning for the save.

Now one other thing of major import happened in this game; Jose Valentin broke his leg when he fouled a ball off it in the fourth. It was the same leg that has the injured knee.

He will be out until at least September (6 weeks) probably a little longer. I don't wish for people to get hurt but this injury should improve the team because Gotay is hitting so much better. I don't expect Gotay to continue to hit .350 in a larger sample size but Valentin has been so awful, this definitely has to be an improvement.

The other fortunate part for the Mets is that Valentin put off surgery on his knee so that he could reach 400 plate appearances and get the automatic club option for next year at $4.3 million. There's no way he can reach that total now.

I also hope this injury will allow the Mets to keep Alomar on the roster so that Castro can play and pinch hit more.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 13 Dodgers 9

The Mets started this game like the team we saw last year, pounding pitchers in the first inning. Reyes singled, Marlon Anderson singled, and they both scored on a double to right that Matt Kemp misplayed off the wall (a weird play Reyes thought it was going to be caught, he crossed third, went back, then retouched the bag and scored). Then Delgado walked and Castro (who continues to be so much better than LoDuca) singled up the middle. They both scored when Green singled to right field and it went right under the glove of Matt Kemp, no RBI for Green, a 2 base error. Gotay's single gave the Mets a 6-0 lead.

But of course Tom Glavine had to give the runs back in the bottom of the first. He loaded the bases with one out then gave up a single to Gonzalez to score two runs. It could have been a lot worse but Green made a great throw to nail Jeff Kent at third base.

But Glavine wouldn't let that stop him. He gave up a two run homer to Kemp in the second to allow a game that should have been a laugher to become a close game again.

The Mets got three more in the second on hits by Green and Gotay, Glavine walked and Reyes grounded in a run and Marlon Anderson drove home two runs to make it 9-4.

Welcome Back Marlon Anderson

But Glavine once again can't stand prosperity, giving up four straight hits before being pulled for a relief pitcher.

Glavine got 9 runs of support and still couldn't get his 299th win.

Sele did a pretty decent job of shutting the Dodgers down and it not for an error by Wright he probably would have.

Carlos Delgado and Ramon Castro hit back to back homers in the 6th to put the game away.

Castro is now 15 for his last 32 with 3 homers and 9 RBI. I'm sick of Willie's loyalty to his veterans costing this team games. LoDuca is an unproductive hitter and should be benched, at least for the short term.

Hopefully the offensive explosion that began with Wright's 3-run homer against the Padres will continue and the starting pitching will settle down.

If you don't start playing Castro I'll put your other arm in a sling

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Unhappy Recap: Padres 5 Mets 4

A tough loss for the Mets because they had a chance to win, but there was a bright spot...because they had a chance to win.

I'll quickly fast forward through the action so I can get to my point.

John Maine had another rough start, he gave up 2 runs in the first inning after allowing 4 in the first in his last start. Later he allowed two solo home runs to make it a 4-0 deficit.

The Mets couldn't get anything off Greg Maddux who struck out the side in the first inning, but for some reason only pitched 5 innings and 65 pitches. He told Bud Black that he was tired and he felt something in his left hamstring.

Delgado got one run back in the 7th inning with a home run. Mike Cameron jumped so high, almost grabbed it, it glanced off his glove and over the fence.

Then in the 8th inning it seemed like another listless performance by the Mets offense. Gary Cohen and Ron Darling were discussing how last year a 3 run lead late seemed easy to overcome. Now once the Mets get behind by even one run it seems insurmountable. And I felt the same way, it's like the team knows they can't win. But as soon as Ron Darling said "you never feel like it's going to happen until it does," Linebrink walked two guys and gave up the game tying home run to Wright on the first pitch.

In typical Mets fashion the huge moment was negated by Joe Smith who had no control and promptly gave the Padres back the lead and the win in the next inning.

But I think there might be a silver lining here. Even though this was a tough loss and a little hard to take, I think this result is better than losing 4-1. At least the Mets showed some life and some fire by getting back into the game. And David Wright has been hitting very well lately, if just one more guy could start hitting I think the offense could turn this around.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 7 Padres 0

This could prove to be a big win for the Mets because in a game they weren't expected to win, against the best pitcher in the league, they exploded for 7 runs and got a lot of key hits from guys who had been struggling, especially with runners in scoring position.

The clutch hitting started in the fourth inning when LoDuca singled to center to drive in Beltran who walked.

LoDuca connects with an RBI single

Proving the little things win ball games El Duque singled to lead off the 5th, then he stole second. He wasn't being held and got a huge jump. It was his second stolen base in his last two starts, and the third of his career. El Duque scored on a single by Valentin with help from a bobble by Bocachica (Mouthgirl) in center. Then Beltran doubled home Valentin to make it 3-0.

The last pitcher to steal bases in consecutive starts was Tom Seaver in 1967.

It stayed that way until the 8th when Lastings Milledge drove in an insurance run with a sac fly.

Then the Mets broke it open in the 9th off our old friend Royce Ring. And this time it was Delgado who broke free with a 2-run single.

In case you are keeping track, that means RBI hits for LoDuca, Valentin, Beltran and Delgado, all in the same game.

Rickey likes the offensive explosion

But we shouldn't ignore El Duque. He came up big once again matching Peavy early on, and pitching better. And once the Mets got him some support he stayed strong and turned in a gem. He allowed only 2 hits and threw only 95 pitches in 7 innings and probably could have pitched more.

Hopefully this game will be a jumping off point, but we've seen games like this before and none of them gave the Mets enough impetus to shake off their summer slumber.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Padres 5 Mets 1

Another game full of missed opportunities for the Mets. I am really beginning to worry that they are just an old team that can't do the little things to produce runs, prevent runs and it's clear that they cannot hit with men on base. For the last month and a half the Mets have been a .400 team while getting pretty good pitching. I don't see any signs that this is going to end.

The first blown chance came in the second inning. With Sosa on second Reyes beat out an infield hit (watching him race Wells to the bag was hysterical). But Milledge, who has gotten enough key hits to warrant batting second, hit one hard down the line to third, but it was fielded for the third out.

In the fourth the Mets got their run on singles by Wright, Delgado and LoDuca but Green grounded into a double play to end the inning. Another symptom of a slow old team, rally killing double plays.

In the fifth a walk and a single were wasted when Milledge and Beltran left the runners stranded.

The Mets had one more chance in the 7th, Gotay reached base, and Reyes had a 3-0 count against Heath Bell, he took two pitches in a row and on the 3-1 count Gotay got nailed trying to steal, killing a potential rally.

In the bottom of the inning the bullpen blew up. Joe Smith allowed two singles, then Feliciano came in and tried to get the runner at third on a sacrifice bunt. His throw was horrible and luckily it hit the runner to keep it in the infield. They got one force at home, but Reyes couldn't try on the second ground ball, but they did get out of the inning with only one run.

But that was too much against the Padres bullpen. Linebrink and Hoffman shut the Mets down and the Padres added two runs in the bottom of the 8th including a home run by Mike Cameron.

Sosa pitched pretty well coming off the DL, but like so many Mets pitchers recently a good effort was wasted by an absolutely atrocious offense.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 5 Reds 2

Oliver Perez came back and pitched another good game though he seemed to tire in the 6th inning. He gave up 3 straight singles to start the inning, but he was able to avoid a meltdown like he sometimes has and bounced back to get the next three batters and hold the Reds to only one run.

The other run Perez gave up was a monster shot by Adam Dunn that broke some lights on the scoreboard.

The Mets got their runs early thanks to my two favorite players on the team right now, the only guys getting hits with men on base, Ramon Castro and Lastings Milledge.

In the second inning, Wright and Delgado were on and Castro ripped a ground rule double to center field, scoring one run. He almost got picked off on a line drive by Newhan. Then Milledge doubled both runners home to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.

Lastings Milledge doubles in two runs

Milledge is batting only 4 for 15 in these four games (one hit in each game) since his return after the All-Star Break, but the Mets have lacked timely hitting and look at his hits. On Thursday a single in a tie game (a mad dash around the bases for the winning run), on Friday a home run and an RBI groundout (both irrelevant), Saturday he had the game winning hit (in the bottom of the 8th) and then on Sunday a big double which gave the Mets their eventual margin of victory.

He still does have his problems in the field, (you can see him here botching a fly ball before making the recovery) but his energy and timely hitting mean he should be playing every day in left or right, even when Alou comes back.

Lastings Milledge almost fucks up a flyball but makes the catch

Jose Reyes added a 2-run homer his second of the series.

The Mets once again got good relief pitching, one inning each from Feliciano and Heilman and another easy save for Billy Wagner. His 10th (out of the last 11) that he has had 20 saves.

The Mets drew a franchise record 203,515 fans for the four-game series against the Reds. The previous record was 199,547 fans against Pittsburgh from July 29 to Aug. 1, 1988.

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Happy Recap: Mets 2 Reds 1

Tom Glavine won his 298th game in fine fashion. He allowed two hits in 8 innings, and no walks. The Reds are a free swinging team and they don't wait for Glavine to throw them something to hit, they swing at his pitches 6 inches off the corner. The problem for Glavine was that the first hit he gave up was a home run to Brandon Phillips.

His second problem was that the Mets cannot hit with men on base:

Two men on in the first, Wright struck out, Delgado flied deep to center.

In the third Reyes singled and was caught stealing. After Gotay struck out, Beltran and Wright singled. This time Delgado hit it deep to left. But another out.

Finally the Mets broke through in the 6th when Green drove in Wright who had singled and stolen second (20th steal, 1 caught stealing) to tie the game.

The Mets blow another chance with two on in the 7th when Beltran and Wright strike out. That's 6 men left on by Beltran, Wright and Delgado.

Because the big guys can't do it the Mets got the winning run from their 7th and 8th hitters. Shawn Green doubled, and Milledge singled him home.

I know it's only 3 games but Milledge is playing great. He is providing a much needed spark - contributing to the winning runs in both one runs victories so far. I would love to see the Mets give him an honest chance this year and not try to trade him for another aging veteran.

Wagner pitched a 1-2-3 9th for the save.

The loss went to our old friend Mike Stanton.

Game time was only 2 hours and 17 minutes. The Mets have played some very fast games recently.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Reds 8 Mets 4

John Maine got off to a terrible start. Freel ripped one past Wright who was playing in. Then Hopper bunted for a single. He walked Griffey and Phillips hit a grand slam.

The Mets once again failing with runners in scoring position. With first and second and none out in the third, with one run in, Wright struck out, Delgado singled, but Gotay couldn't score, then LoDuca hit into a double play.

In the fourth, Harang and Maine both struck out the side in order. Six batters, six strikeouts.

Gotay's bad defense cost the Mets in the fifth. First he bobbled a ball hit by Freel. Then he gave Reyes a bad toss on what should have been a force out, almost getting Reyes killed by the sliding Freel.

The error was given to Reyes but then changed to Gotay.

The one bright spot was Lastings Milledge who homered late in the game.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 3 Reds 2

The Mets started the second half of the season in fine form with back to back homers to start the game by Reyes and Gotay. It's the first time the Mets ever had back to back homers to start the game.

The euphoria didn't last long though as another Mets pitcher blew an early lead. This time El Duque walked Dunn, gave up a single, walked the pitcher and was victimized for two runs as a bloop landed in front of the plodding Shawn Green.

Lastings Milledge ripped a line drive in his first at bat but the third baseman snared it. In his next at bat Milledge singled then scored from first on a single by Gotay. Milledge was busting it all the way around the bases and the ball blooped in front of Freel who dicked around while the ball rolled under and past him. The throw took four bounces and Milledge slid past the plate and reached back with his hand, a great slide, to give the Mets back the lead.

Lastings Milledge scores from first on a single
Lastings Milledge scores from first on a single
Lastings Milledge scores from first on a single

The Mets had a chance for insurance runs in the 8th after Mike Stanton walked Beltran and Wright to start the inning, but Delgado hit a short fly ball and LoDuca hit a weak grounder. After Green was walked intentionally to load the bases (after a double steal), Milledge grounded out to end the inning.

Wagner came on in the 9th and allowed a leadoff hit to Phillips. Dunn advanced him to second with a grounder. Then Phillips started fucking around. He was dancing off second base, trying to get Wagner to balk I think. But then he ran on a ground ball to Reyes and Reyes threw to third and Wright tagged Phillips for the second out.

Then Wagner got the final out for the save and the Mets started the second half with a win.

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Lastings's Last Chance?

The Mets are probably going to call up Lastings Milledge to start the second half as the regular left fielder.
This could be his last chance to prove to the Mets that he can be a valuable young outfielder.
He has about two weeks to do it as one or both of Endy Chavez and Mosies Alou should be back by the beginning of August.
I'd like to see the Mets allow Green and Alou to walk after the season and install Gomez and Milledge at the corners to start the 2008 season.
With all the ups (the throw, the game tying homer) and the downs (the Boston fly balls, the slump last season, the foot injury) and the absurd (the high fives, the rap album, the know your role sign in his locker), I'd love to see this kid get a fair chance to prove himself as a future star for the Mets.
Remember, he is only 22 years old.


Rickey Likes the Mets New Hitting Coach

The Mets have fired batting instructor Rick Down and replaced him with Rickey Henderson. Or at least that was the initial report. Now it seems like HoJo is going to be the hitting coach and Rickey will be the first base coach.

I just don't understand what the Mets expect Rickey to add.
Can he teach Jose Reyes to run hard?

Rickey: "When Willie takes you out of a game for not running, just tell him "Rickey ain't in the running mood."
Jose: "Pero me llamo Jose."
Rickey: "I don't speak French."

Rickey is the greatest of all-time


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mets At the All-Star Game

Four Mets competed in the All-Star Game.

David Wright had a single in 3 at bats, and broke his bat in the 6th inning.

Carlos Beltran tripled in 3 at bats, but wasn't hustling out of the box. He scored on a sac fly to give the NL it's second run.

Jose Reyes had 3 hits in 4 at bats. In the first he singled and stole second and even though Bonds didn't advance him he scored on a single by Griffey.

In the third inning Reyes hit a fluke double that skipped past A-Rod when it hit the lip of the grass by third base.

Billy Wagner pitched the 8th inning and allowed a 2-run homer that proved to be crucial for the American League.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Astros 8 Mets 3

Momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher.

The Mets had no chance with Dave Williams on the mound against Roy Oswalt.

Their best chance against Oswalt came in the first inning when Reyes singled, stole second and went to third on a hit by Newhan. But Beltran struck out, Wright flied out and Valentin struck out (after a Delgado walk).

Then Williams went to work, or the Astros went to work on him. He gave up three in the first, two in the second and two in the fourth before Willie had to pull him, even though he wanted to stretch Williams to save a tired bullpen.

Beltran did hit a home run to tie him with Wright for the first half lead at 16.

But that was about it.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 5 Astros 3

This game will be remembered for Carlos Beltran. He had the game winning hit and an unbelievable game saving catch in the 14th. With a man on third Beltran ran up the hill in centerfield and made a basket catch just shy of the warning track, about 430 feet from home plate. An incredible catch. Made even better by the fact that he later drove in the winning run. His experience in center field from his time playing with the Astros may have helped him with this one.

But it never would have gotten that far were it not for the bullpen. The bullpen was great pitching 10 shutout innings, allowing only 5 hits:
Pedro Feliciano did a great job in the bottom of the 9th to strike out Berkman on three pitches with two men on. But Willie didn't double switch him into the game so he only got that one batter out of him.

In the 12th Schoeneweis got in trouble by falling asleep and letting a runner steal third with one out. Then he walked a man (irrelevant!) so Willie went to Joe Smith. Smith has had trouble with first batters and he hit Biggio (grazed) to load the bases, but Smith nutted up and struck out Hunter Pence.

Then in the 14th Beltran saved the day. Smith hit another batter, than a sacrifice and a groundout but the runner on third with two outs. After a walk, Luke Scott hit one deep to center field and Beltran made the catch.

Aaron Sele pitched two good innings.

Billy Wagner spent the whole game in the bullpen, the last two innings by himself, and at the time I didn't think Willie should save him, but he did, and it worked out as Wagner got the save.

Wagner thanks God the game is over

The Mets did miss a lot of chances:
In the 8th Beltran struck out with two men on and two outs. He is batting .125 with runners in scoring position and two outs this season.

In the 9th the Mets had another chance but LoDuca got thrown out trying to go to third on a single to center by Green. He shouldn't have been trying to make it. With two outs late in the game you probably need another hit anyway, so you might as well play station to station, hoping you can score from second on a single by the next guy, or a home run better still.

Top 12th the much maligned Julio Franco singled with Green on second, Green rightly stopped (he would have been nailed at home) but Reyes couldn't get the run home with an out, then Gotay made out also.

And here's what I wrote while watching the first 8 innings of the game, seems irrelevant now but this is what you would have read if this game had ended in 9 innings:

Tom Glavine doing what he always does. With Hunter Pence on first he walked Carlos Lee (almost on purpose) to get to Morgan Ensberg. Then he got Ensberg in the hole and on 2-2 threw one off the plate, then bitched about the call. On 3-2 his sinker got too much of the plate and Ensberg crushed it for a double. Then Burke hit one past the ancient Green to make it 3-0.

But the Mets got two of those runs back in the next inning on a home run by Delgado.

And Glavine did what Williams could not, he got a quick inning right after the Mets scored those two runs for him. And that was all Glavine gave up, he really settled down after that one bad inning.

The Mets tied the game on a home run by Wright but couldn't push another run across until the 17th inning. And it's worth mentioning that the game-winning rally was started with a walk by Reyes, something that has become too rare recently.

Reyes scores the winning run after reaching on a walk

But this was an absolutely huge win for the Mets. This is the type of game great teams win. Teams that win championships look back on games like this and remember them as turning points or launching pads.

Side note: My DVR which I normally set for an inordinate length of time cut out after the top of the 15th. Thankfully I got to see Beltran's catch.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Astros 4 Mets 0

The Astros got a lucky run in the third inning. Ausmus hit a dribbler to Wright, he couldn't bare hand it. Then he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Then he stole third but actually slid a foot short of the base and Wright's swipe tag missed him, then Ausmus got up and stepped on third. Castro is now 0-18 throwing out runners this year. But it didn't really matter as Pelfrey then gave up hits to Biggio and Pence. But then Pelfrey settled down and retired Berkman and Lee to escape further trouble.

But the next time through the lineup Pelfrey did what has been doing in every start so far. He got in a little trouble and lost his composure. After a double by Pence drove in a run Pelfrey allowed a 2-run homer to Berkman.

Pelfrey gave up 4 runs in 6 innings (pretty consistent with his 6 ERA) and lost his 7th straight start.

But it wouldn't have mattered if he'd only allowed one run.

The Mets offense was shut out by Wandy Rodriguez, getting 4 hits.

In the top of the 8th inning Reyes hit a little dribbler down the third base line and didn't run to first base. It looked like it might go foul but it stayed fair and Reyes stopped dead about 5 feet from home plate. To make matters worse Lamb who was playing third ran across the field with the ball, embarrassing Reyes even more. Randolph pulled Reyes from the game.

This is the second time this week Reyes was yanked after not running out a ball. Willie said the first time he didn't yank him because of it, that he was giving him an inning off. That wasn't the case this time.

Game time was 2 hours and 18 minutes.

I have no idea why this team can't score runs, but it's going on six weeks of pretty consistent shitty hitting, and this could become a huge problem if it doesn't improve soon.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 6 Astros 2

Once again the Mets put up another big first inning, scoring two runs on a Reyes triple to that big hill in centerfield. Then Ledee hit one off the first base bag for a single and Delgado drove him home to give the Mets another 2-0 lead.

Reyes's triple lands just out of the reach of Hunter Pence and up Tal's hill

In the second inning Carlos Delgado crushed one to the deepest part of centerfield, 436 feet, a sure home run in any other stadium, but in Houston it was a double. He scored on a double by the best backup catcher in baseball, Ramon Castro.

John Maine was just what the doctor ordered for the Mets tonight. He was dominating from the first inning when he struck out the side. Then in the fifth Biggio got a hit and Ledee completely fucked up a fly ball by Pence to make it first and second with none out. Maine then struck out Berkman and Lee for a new career high in strikeouts with 9.

John Maine dominates the Astros to end the Mets losing streak

Keith Hernandez but his bare feet up on the counter. Then Gary Cohen said he actually wears shoes and it came out that Keith Hernandez wears Crocs, in every color. That's all he wears. Says it's good for his back.

Maine lost his shutout in the 8th allowing doubles to Biggio and Lee. Then Joe Smith came in and allowed the inherited runner to score, meaning Maine allowed 2 runs in 7 2/3 innings, which is good, but not as good to his ERA has 0 runs in 7 innings (would have been 2.56 instead of 2.71), which he would have pitched had the bullpen not been so overworked for the last two nights in Colorado.

Carlos Beltran tacked on a home run in the 9th to avoid an 0-5 night.

Carlos Delgado went 4 for 4.

John Maine is now 10-4 with a 2.71 ERA and he will not be going to the All-Star game.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Rockies 17 Mets 7

It's amazing how all these games are exactly alike. Mets take an early lead, starting pitcher blows it, bullpen makes it a blowout and Mets stop hitting.

David Wright started this game off with a 3-run homer in the first inning.

Then in the second, El Duque gave up a single and a home run, but got the next three guys out. But starting in the third, he did his best Tom Glavine impression. He couldn't get anyone out, he refused to throw strikes and he got his brains beat in. Like Glavine he gave up six runs. El Duque walked six in four innings. He even walked Todd Helton with the bases loaded on an eephus pitch. Helton actually walked with the bases loaded twice and once the game before. Three bases loaded walks in two games, that's got to be a record.

Gulliermo Mota came on in the 5th and he was awful. He allowed 6 runs including two homers and a very deep double. By that time the game was out of reach, 12-4.

El Duque threw 109 pitches in 4 innings, Mota threw 43 in 2/3 of an inning.

Todd Helton walked three times with the bases loaded in this series, the Mets walked three times.

The Rockies swept the Mets and Yankees in Colorado this year.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Rockies 11 Mets 3

This game was like a lot of the losses from June. The Mets got an early lead, the starter blew it, the bullpen made it impossible to come back, and the offense stopped hitting.

The Mets got some luck to get to that early lead, Reyes bunted for a hit, stole second, and scored on a bad throw by the pitcher on a comebacker by Gotay. Reyes should have been nailed at third base, but Atkins didn't make a good effort to catch the throw. Then the Mets got another run when Wright got a single over a drawn in infield (it would have been an easy out with the infield back).

Then Jason Vargas went to work. He absolutely sucked. He got killed. There were several lucky hits and bloops, but there were also home runs by Atkins and Torrealba and a bases loaded walk to Helton.

Speaking of bases loaded, after Vargas loaded the bases in the 4th Willie had seen enough so he called on Joe Smith to face Ryan Spilborghs. Smith immediately gave up a grand slam making the score 10-2. This season batters are 7 for 13 against Smith with the bases loaded, and 5 for 41 against all the other Mets pitchers.

The only bright spot was Ramon Castro who homered for the Mets third run.

Kaz Matsui went 5 for 5 and now is batting .316 on the season.

Jason Vargas will probably get another start on Sunday.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Rockies 6 Mets 2

Everything I hate about Tom Glavine was evidenced in the third inning of this game. With one out he gave up a couple of hits (to Tavarez and Carroll) which was a problem with Matt Holliday up. Glavine started him in an 0-2 hole then he does what he always does. Instead of throwing a pitch that he might swing at (and maybe hit), to try to get a double play, or a popup, Glavine threw three pitches that were nowhere close to the strike zone. On a 3-2 count Glavine threw one right down the middle and Holliday crushed it for a 3-run homer.

He also gave up 3 more runs in that inning, the last 2 on a single down the line by the pitcher. Just once I want to see Delgado dive for a ball. I know he probably wouldn't have gotten to this one, but it was the pitcher, it was hit slowly and I just want to see the guy make an effort, even if it's in vain.

After that nothing else really mattered because the Mets couldn't get a hit off Jason Hirsh. The only chance they had was when Hirsh hurt his ankle getting back to the third base bag in the 6th inning.

In the 8th the Rockies brought in Jorge Julio and the Mets got him for two runs, but the rally ended when Delgado tapped out weakly to the right side.

Jason Vargas pitches for the Mets on Tuesday to replace Oliver Perez who was placed on the DL.

Carlos Gomez bunts for a base hit

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Phillies 5 Mets 3

For some reason the Mets cannot win when Pelfrey pitches. Only once in his 7 starts did he give up more than 4 runs. You'd think the Mets would have been able to score 5+ for him in at least one of the other 6 (they did win his first start of the year, but he got a no decision). If Sosa is out for an extended period of time, I'd like to see Pelfrey get a few more starts. He improved somewhat when he was sent down to Triple A and I'd like to give him the chance to see the fruits of those labor, if those adjustments did actually help.

He actually didn't pitch that badly, he just walk Burrell with two out in the second, then got unlucky when Wright made an error right before he allowed a home to Rollins.

But the Mets offense which had been red hot gave him only a Reyes run in the first and Delgado homer in the fourth. The Mets hit into double plays with nobody out in the 1st, 3rd and 5th innings. And in the second, Green failed to bring Delgado home from third with one out.

And of course any chance the Mets had for a comeback was blown by Aaron Heilman who allowed two runs in the 7th inning to put the game out of reach.

The Mets had a chance to kill the Phillies with a 4 game sweep this weekend, but couldn't finish the job. Instead of 7 games out, Phillies are 5 back.

The Mets play 14 of the next 18 games on the road, including these four it was 18 of 22. But the Mets have actually been a better team on the road this season, with four fewer losses, and an equal amount of wins (23).

Also in July the Mets play series against the NL's four worst teams (Houston, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Washington). The Mets got out of June with a 12-15 record, by winning 8 of their last 9, hopefully July will be a better month, despite this loss.

This was the 6th time this year the Mets failed to extend a 4-game winning streak.

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