Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 5 Pirates 4

In every close game, especially one-run games that go to 11 innings, there are several key plays and the team that makes one more of them wins.

The first key play was the error on Freddy Sanchez on what should have been an inning ending double play in the 5th. At first I thought the Mets got a break because usually they at least call the guy out at second and say the ball was dropped on the transfer (even if it wasn't) but that didn't matter because Church struck out with the bases loaded and Delgado left them full.

The next big play, the key play in the whole game perhaps came when Schoeneweis cleaned up Heilman's mess by making a great play to get Bautista on a very close play at home after the ball got away from Casanova. Casanova also made a great throw.

Then things started to work against the Mets, their two best relief pitchers, Sanchez and Wagner gave it up. I thought it was a good idea for Sanchez to walk Nady to face LaRoche because Nady was batting .320 and LaRoche was batting .160. Little did I know Sanchez would walk them both. That was just terrible. Walking in a run is bad enough, walking the worst hitter in the majors with the bases loaded is even worse. Thankfully he got out of it.

Billy Wagner wasn't quite as lucky. But this was not his fault. A nonchalant play by Reyes and a bad throw cost him the run here. Reyes did not charge the ball then had to rush his throw and he bounced it over there. Just a terrible play. And unfortunately for Wagner he gave up another hit (his second all year) and it might have been caught had Beltran been playing a little shallower. So Wagner got his first blown save of the year but it was really Reyes's fault.

Wagner did bounce back to pitch another good inning which was encouraging because he often struggles in his second inning of work.

Then in the bottom of the 11th Endy came through with a hit and moved to second on a balk. The balk becoming another one of those huge plays in this game because everything that came it after it was drastically different. Anderson's sac bunt, instead of becoming a waste of an out became a key strategical advantage. Then they had to walk Reyes to face Castillo who is probably incapable of hitting a ball deep enough to be a sacrifice fly. Somehow Van Benschoten walked him, setting the stage for Wright.

Wright, despite his hot start has had his troubles with men on base but all he needed here was solid contact and he got it to win the game.

Santana gives up entirely too many home runs. Especially at Shea Stadium which is a pitchers' park. Some say the wind has been blowing out, some say the ball will fly even farther once it gets hot, we'll see. He's given up 5 homers in 12 1/3 innings at home and 2 in 28 innings on the road. If he keeps up this pace over 200 innings he'll allow 35 homers, a little more than what he gave up last year.

Carlos Delgado carried the momentum from his huge 2-home run game...and went 0 for 5. There is no momentum, there is no breakthrough, he's a bad player but he's still good enough to have the occassional good game. He did get mildly booed by some idiots before his first at bat, but most people cheered. But as he kept making outs, more boo birds came out.

Jose Reyes was on base 6 times (3 hits, 3 walks) raising his on-base 40 points to .312. If you told me Reyes would be on base 6 times I would say the Mets would win by 11, not in 11. But the guys behind him keep failing to come through.

Except Church, he's been awesome. Although he did strike out with the bases loaded in this game.

Aaron Heilman is digging himself a hole he may never come out of. Sosa pitched well in this game and the Mets other relievers, while they've all blown games, for the most part have been good. Heilman is clearly the worst the Mets have.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 6 Braves 3

This was a huge win because the Mets never beat the Braves and after the way this series started to come back and beat Hudson and Smoltz in succession, and knock them out of the game. Awesome!

Carlos Delgado finally woke up. Two homers including a a shot off Smoltz to left field. He needs to start going to left field more because his bat is no longer quick enough to pull pitches with authority.

But when Delgado hit his first homer of the year I remember hearing Wayne Hagen on the radio say that this would definitely get him jump started. Didn't happen then and I don't think it will happen now. Sure he is not going hit .180 all season (we hope) but he's not going to suddenly snap out of it and hit .280 with 35 homers either.

Delgado finally has something to smile about

It was also nice to see Raul Casanova come through with a couple of big hits including that blast in the second inning. He is 9 for 21 since becoming the de facto starting catcher.

I still like Nelson Figueroa even though this was his second subpar start in a row. I like the way he battles, I like the way he challenges hitters, I like the way his family has their own luxury box when he pitches, and I like the way he only gives up 3 runs per game giving the Mets a chance to win his starts. They are 3-1 when he starts.

Awesome catch by Church in the 7th. I think Beltran may have had a chance at it if Church hadn't been coming on so hard but once he saw Church, Beltran made the right decision to slide and avoid a collision.

Billy Wagner has been awesome this season. I hope we will remember this when he blows a save, because it's going to happen eventually.

Willie did a good job managing the bullpen in this game, getting an inning out of Schoeneweis and giving Feliciano a chance to get a right hander so Sanchez could get the day off.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 4 Braves 3

This was a very satisfying victory because the Mets really needed a good bounceback after a few bad games in a row.

Starting with the negative though, John Maine pitched what has become an all too typical performance for a Mets starter (5 innings, 100 pitches) and even though he only gave up 3 hits and 3 walks his pitch count was so high because he got into a lot of deep counts. Normally the Mets are not going to win too many games where the bullpen has to pitch 4 innings, even with a 2 run lead, but this time Schoeneweis, Feliciano, Sanchez and Wagner shut the door.

Wagner has not allowed a hit in 9 innings this year.

Wright broke his 0 for 19 streak, the longest of his career, with a hit in the crucial 4th inning.

Carlos Delgado however continued his slump with an o for 4. But after Beltran's double and Church's triple in the fourth Delgado made his greatest contribution so far this season. He ran in front of Teixeira to prevent him from throwing out Church at home. That gave the Mets their 4th and deciding run.

I hate the contact play. It is not effective, almost anything you can score on if you are running on contact, you can score on if you are not running. Although this Delgado grounder was an exception, the Mets got Pagan thrown out at home on a weak Reyes grounder in the sixth. It's a much worse play with none out, but even with one out it usually isn't a great play.

Right now the biggest problem with the Mets is not the weak starting pitching, the horrible bullpen or the lack of timely hitting. It's Jose Reyes's prolonged slump. Right now his on-base percentage is less than ,300. They cannot win if he doesn't start getting on base and scoring runs.

The Braves are 0-8 in 1-run games so despite outscoring their opponents by 30 runs, they are only .500.

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Unhappy Recap: Braves 6 Mets 3

What was galling about this game is that for once it was the other pitcher who melted down, lost the strike zone and walked the ballpark. And the Mets still couldn't win.

I was actually impressed with Mike Pelfrey briefly here because he fought through some major trouble in the first then came back with two strong innings.

Then there was that crazy bottom of the third. Jurrjens was right, McClelland was squeezing him on a couple of those calls. And I can see that was very demonstrative in questioning the call but I still think the umpire was way out of line. I think Cox did make a smart move by coming out and getting himself ejected to save his pitcher. And even though the impact wasn't immediate, Jurrjens came back the next inning and started a streak of 10 straight batters retired.

But the Mets gave Pelfrey the lead heading into the 4th inning and he blew it. One of the keys to being a winning pitcher is coming back with good clean quick innings after your team scores. In this case Pelfrey walked the leadoff batter. 5 1/3 innings, 9 hits, 4 walks, 1 strikeout. That's a bad line.

David Wright is now in a 0 for 18 slump.

Carlos Delgado is now in a 3 for 30 slump. It was very surprising that Willie rested him against a right-handed pitcher. But he has been so bad that they need to so something with him because shooting him for the insurance money, as beneficial as it would be isn't really feasible.

Just after the Braves went ahead in the 6th, a series of fights and food-and-beverage throwing altercations took place on two decks on the third-base side. Several fans were forcibly removed by security and one person was arrested for assault, New York Police Department spokesman Det. Kevin Czartoryski said. I heard the announcers mentioning this, plus you could hear the crowd, but they never showed it and never really explained what was going on.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Nationals 10 Mets 5

I blame a lot of this loss on Oliver Perez. A good pitcher has to be able to go more than 6 innings.

In his last four starts he's pitched 5 2/3, 4 1/3, 5 2/3 and 5 2/3. That's not good enough. With the Mets bullpen as bad as it is, he needs to give them 7 innings every time out.

Now Willie Randolph did fuck up by bringing in Heilman when he did. I could have understood the move before Perez got two outs, but removing him with two outs against a pinch hitter was probably a mistake.

But as I've said before in response to criticism of Willie's handling of the bullpen, there is a good chance that no matter what he did there it would have resulted in runs. Perez was losing and Heilman stinks.

There have been 4 grand slams hit in the National League so far this year. 3 of them were given up by the Mets bullpen.

Home runs allowed:
Mets bullpen: 11 in 64 1/3 innings
Mets starters: 14 in 119 1/3 innings
Mets opponents: 12 in 184 innings (roughly)

At least Carlos Beltran (and Marlon Anderson also) tacked on a meaningless home run. Now at least the Mets as a team have more than Chase Utley.

One other thing I wanted to mention before it became meaningless, the way the Mets manufactured the first run. Casanova singled, Perez sacrificed, Reyes grounded out to the right side and Castillo singled Casanova home. The Reyes out was key because they play Castillo so shallow and Casanova is so slow, he never would have scored from second on that hit. Turned out not to matter but I was pleased at the time.

Ron Darling mentioned (before Beltran's home run) that the Mets had hit 10 home runs in 20 games. He then said they were on pace for 70 homers for the season. Isn't that the easiest math possible? They'd be on pace for 81, exactly 81.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 7 Nationals 2

The Mets finally got some key hits with runners in scoring position. I don't even care that most of them didn't even leave the infield.

Even if he doesn't hit two doubles every start Johan Santana is still going to win a lot of games for the Mets. He was awesome last night but except for against the bottom of the order. Wily Mo Pena, Wil Nieves and Tim Redding got 5 of the 7 hits he allowed, and produced the Nationals only 2 runs.

I'm glad that Willie went with Ryan Church batting 5th. He needs to do something to separate Delgado from Beltran.

I do wish he would have given Santana a chance to go a little deeper. He had only thrown 97 pitches and probably could have gone at least one more inning on about 13 pitches.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Cubs 8 Mets 1

As it turns out this was an exactly replay of the first game against the Cubs. Decent starting pitching, no offense at all and a bullpen that blew the game open.

The Mets have to do something with Carlos Delgado. He is absolutely killing them right now. If I were in charge I would bench him. Permanently. I'm not kidding. I knew at the beginning of the season he would be terrible and he's actually been worse than that. Teams are pitching around Beltran (even with 1st and 2nd) because they know, not think, know, that they can get Delgado out. And it's not going to get any better. He'll improve a little, but not substantially. He's old, washed up and teams know how to get him out. And his defense is horrible too. He made three bad plays in this one including a crucial mistake in the 4th. I have no idea what he was doing on that ball, he had no chance to field it and was out of position to take the throw from Easley.

I love Nelson Figueroa. I loved the way he got out of a bases loaded jam in the second. Bases loaded no outs, yet he didn't get flustered he just got the strikeout and then the double play ball. If some of the other Mets pitchers who have much more talent had as much mental toughness, they could win Cy Young Awards.

He should have gotten out of the 4th with only one run. On a better hitting team Figueroa would be an excellent pitcher because he keeps his team in the game.

Right now the Mets have a major problem because they cannot hit. You might recall that last year the Mets got off to a hot start then played .500 ball for 100 games or so. Well, they are once again a .500 team. Their offense is so bad right now. There is only one player on the team hitting.

The Mets need to bat Church second and Pagan 5th.
The Mets are 5-0 when Church bats second, 3-1 when Pagan does and 2-8 with Castillo in the 2 hole. This was the first game they lost when Castillo didn't bat second. That's not a coincidence. This team is built around Reyes, Wright and Beltran. The bottom of the order sucks, so putting Castillo in the middle of the strong part of the order kills them.

The Mets are 7-0 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 3-9 Saturday through Tuesday.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Cubs 7 Mets 1

This game was a lot closer than the final score indicates.

John Maine pitched pretty well, but I think he allowed the single to Lee to stay in his head when Ramirez came up. That home run came on the first pitch, a pitch right down the middle.

The Mets offense produced absolutely nothing, but there's a reason Carlos Zambrano is one of the best pitchers in the majors.

The turning point of this game was when Reyes grounded into that double play in the 6th. It went from 1st and 3rd and none out to 2 outs bases empty. That was a killer.

As was Reyes's error in the 8th which opened the floodgates for a Heilman meltdown and a Sosa door-slammer.

But if the bullpen has to give up 5 runs in an inning I would rather it be in a game the Mets are losing, instead of one they're winning.

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Unhappy Recap: Phillies 5 Mets 4

You have to be happy with taking 2 out of 3 from the Phillies on the road (and at home), but this game is kind of disappointing because the Mets had chances to win it.

A pretty bad start for Pelfrey but if this is the worst he is I can live with that. Plus it was interesting that he allowed only 2 walks but 10 hits. That's not usually what happens when he gets in trouble.

I loved the way the Mets answered the Phillies 3-run 5th with a a 4-run 6th, but that made it even more disappointing to lose this one. It was also encouraging that Carlos Beltran got a big hit in the inning. But of course Carlos Delgado didn't.

I still love Pedro Feliciano and would take him against any left-handed hitter at any time, but giving up a homer to Pedro Feliz is terrible. Feliz is such a free swinger you can normally try to get him to chase something. I think Felciano wanted to go after him with Utley and Howard coming up next.

Utley is becoming the new Pat Burrell. In fact the Phillies team is full of Met killers, except for Ryan Howard.

That top of the 9th inning was all set up for the Mets to tie the game off Lidge, but once again the Mets couldn't get that big hit. I'm almost always against the sacrifice bunt but this was the perfect situation for it. Two on, none out, bad hitter up, great hitter on deck. But Luis Castillo, his one job, couldn't get the bunt down. I think they should have left the bunt on with 2 strikes. You can say it wouldn't have mattered because Wright ended up hitting a weak foul pop, but that might not have happened had it been 2nd and 3rd instead. And of course Beltran couldn't come through either and the Mets failed to get the sweep.

It's amazing because he's been so hot recently but Wright has missed a lot of chances over this stretch, in addition to the ones he's converted. He could have 30 RBI.

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Happy Recap: Mets 4 Phillies 2

Another interesting start from Oliver Perez. No runs which is good, but 5 walks and 108 pitches, meaning he could only go 5 2/3 innings, with this bullpen usually not good.

But Sanchez bailed him out of a jam and the offense gave him 2 insurance runs, or more appropriately, gave the bullpen 2 insurance runs and the Mets held on.

But generally the Mets are going to have a very bad record (any team would) in games in which the starter pitches fewer than 6 innings.

Wright and Reyes are basically all the Mets offense right now. Wright a 2 run double in the first, and Reyes a 2 run homer in the 7th and nothing else.

Great job out of Heilman striking out two batters with the bases loaded in the 8th.

And great job out of Wagner pitching a 1-2-3 inning in his 4th straight appearance.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 6 Phillies 4

A vintange Johan Santana performance. He gave up a lot of fly balls which can be dangerous, especially against the Phillies in that ballpark but that should benefit him in Shea Stadium. I was also very pleased that he at least tried to go to the 8th inning. I wouldn't have minded giving him one more batter with a 4-run lead (as it turned out he couldn't have done any worse). His final stats don't look as good because of Heilman allowing the two inherited runners to score, but the key is winning the games.

Pedro Feliciano is such a valuable guy against Utley and Howard. If they can put him in situations where he can come in and face them, and only them, I think he can get them out.

A nice easy inning from Billy Wagner is a welcome sight.

David Wright is really locked in right now. He is killing the ball.

Carlos Delgado sucks and he can't get a hit with men on base but he did drive in 2 runs with outs which is encouraging because strikeouts in those situations kill you. I was also pleased that in the 9th he got that insurance run by hitting a fly ball the other way. He has no chance of turning on a Brad Lidge fastball, so he has to go to left field more often.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 3 Nationals 2

The Nationals completely gift-wrapped this game for the Mets, who were so bad offensively, that they almost didn't take it.

Let's examine how the Mets scored their runs:
First inning: Reyes singles then scores on a double by Church. But the double should have been a two base error as Wily Mo Pena dropped a very catchable ball by closing his glove too early.

Jose Reyes scores the Mets first run

Eighth inning: With 2 outs Church reaches on an error by Belliard, a ball that definitely should have been fielded, an absolutely routine play. But this was the one time the Mets actually did something to create their runs because after that error, Wright walked and Delgado came through in the clutch with an RBI single, breaking and 0 for 14 stretch.

Fourteenth inning: Easley singled, reached second on a pitch dropped by the catcher (technically a stolen base), went to third on a throwing error (botched pickoff attempt) and scored on a wild pitch.

Here comes the winning run

Obviously the Mets didn't earn any of those runs.

Now let's look at their missed chances:

First of all, after Church's "double" 16 Mets were retired in a row (10 strikeouts) by John Lannan, proving the old SUCKME (Some Unknown Chucker Kills Mets Everytime) accurate once again.

7th inning: Delgado walked, Pagan singled, Clark sacrificed, Casanova blooped out to third base and Castillo grounded out.

9th inning: Castillo singles and steals second but Beltran struck out. Not one of the more egregious offenses committed by the Mets in this game. You can't expect a 2-out hit every time.

10th inning: Church walked, Wright flied out, Delgado walked, Pagan lined out.

12th inning: Easley singled, Reyes got a bunt base hit on a horrible play by Ray King, so bad they really scored it an error, but it should have been a hit. Then Church made the biggest fuckup of the game. He bunted too hard, and right at the pitcher. You have to make the third baseman field that one. Yes, it was a bad call, Easley was safe at third but the play was very close and it should never have come down to that. Then Wright grounded into a double play to compound the problem.

13th inning: Sosa walked, Chavez walked, Casanova struck out, Castillo lined out.

But as bad as the hitting was, the pitching was awesome. Another great start for Nelson Figueroa who was damn near perfect other than that 2-run homer.

And even more impressive than Figueroa's 7 innings were the 7 innings turned in by the bullpen. 3 hits, 3 walks and no runs by 6 different pitchers.

The teams sacrificed (or tried to) 5 times in this game, and none of them helped produce a run. The sacrifice is usually a bad play. Trading a base for an out is a bad idea. The only time it should be used is when you have a man on second and none out late in a close game and a good hitter coming up next. Or when a pitcher is up. Most of the other times it just hurts you. For instance, in the 7th, the sacrifice was a bad move because Casanova and Castillo were up after Clark and Clark probably had the best chance of the three of them of getting a hit.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 5 Nationals 2

Nice to see the Mets hitting with some power.

I don't know if the wind at Shea, or the construction of CitiField had anything to do with it but the Mets early season power outage (other than Wright) was a bit troubling.

I still think Beltran will be good for 30 to 40 homers this year.

A good performance by John Maine but he absolutely has to keep his walks down. Whenever he gets into trouble it's because he walks guys. That almost happened in the 7th inning but luckily Joe Smith bailed him out, or as Maine himself put it, "he saved my butt."

Does anyone think that Jose Reyes's two-game surge has anything to do with Beltran and Delgado encouraging him to act like his old self again? And was his early season slump related to the fact that he had toned down his act after last season?

First of all, talk that the Mets lost last season because the Marlins were pissed at their showboating and had extra motivation is absolute nonsense. There is no reason for a team or player to do something (or not do something) to avoid pissing off the other teams.

Second of all, while the timing is curious I refuse to believe that Reyes didn't get any hits at the beginning of the season just because he wasn't smiling and doing his stupid handshakes. It just doesn't make any sense.

Reyes found his smile again

But I hope he keeps hitting like this, I hope he keeps smiling, laughing, dancing and doing his handshakes. And I hope he brings back the Professor Reyes skit.

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Happy Recap: Mets 6 Nationals 0

My favorite part about this game is that the Mets got it done with their young players. Wright, Reyes and Pelfrey won this game by themselves, and they're all 25 or younger.

Pelfrey was great, avoiding the mental breakdowns that often lead to big innings. The third inning was the inning where he usually blows it, 2 hits, then a walk (he always walks guys when he's already in trouble) but he bounced back to get Zimmerman and Johnson. After that he cruised.

It was nice to see Duaner Sanchez on the mound again.

David Wright had 5 RBI, but twice he came up with Reyes on third and fewer than 2 outs and didn't get the run home. Once he walked, and once he struck out. If he had gotten those 2 RBI he would have been only one short of the team record.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Brewers 9 Mets 7

Everything that's wrong with the Mets was on display in this game. The starting pitching is inconsistent, the bullpen sucks, the team is old and slow and they can't hit with runners in scoring position.

This is the problem with Oliver Perez. You get two very good starts then a third one in which he gives you almost no chance to win. It seemed like he was trying too hard to pitch with a lead, and all his pitches were right down the middle.

The Mets will probably not win a game all year when the starter goes less than 5 innings. The bullpen just isn't good enough for four pitchers (or 5) can come in and not allow a bunch of runs.

5 double plays? 5 double plays! The two most harmful ones were the two hit right at Fielder, so there was an element of bad luck there, but 5 double plays is just too many. That cost the Mets the game.

Carlos Beltran is 0 for 5 in close and late situations. Carlos Delgado is 1 for 9.

The Mets are 2-0 when Mike Pelfrey and Nelson Figueroa start, but they are 2-4 when Johan Santana and Oliver Perez start.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Brewers 5 Mets 3

The big question when the Mets got Santana was were they getting the Santana from 2004 to 2006 or the beatable Santana who went only 15-13 last year and allowed 33 homers. You can't make a judgment based on only 3 games but he is 1-2 so far and allowed 3 homers in this game, in Shea Stadium, one of the best pitchers parks in the NL.

Last year with the Twins Santana was consistent, allowing more than 4 earned runs only twice, but he allowed 3 or 4 runs 13 times. If he does that for the Mets he is going to lose a lot of games. As good as we think the offense is, it really isn't. This team does not score a lot of runs, and Santana is going to lose a lot of games like his last start (1-0 when he left) and almost every game like this time (5 runs allowed).

David Wright is becoming a butcher at third base. I have no idea how he won the Gold Glove last year (name recognition?) but his throwing is becoming a major problem. He had 2 errors in this game and 2 more bad throws that Delgado prevented from being errors. Plus he is having trouble on bunts. He and Schneider screwed one up the other day and him and Santana (mostly Santana) screwed up one up in this game that allowed Hart to score the first run. Wright should have back pedaled when Santana fielded it, and called for him to look Hart back to the bag.

If Reyes is out any length of time it should be Castillo first and Pagan second.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 4 Brewers 2

An excellent performance by Nelson Figueroa, 2 hits, 2 runs, 6 innings is probably the upper limits of his potential. So I don't think we should expect anything like this the next time he takes the mound. Also, he did get some favorable calls on strikes that the overhead camera revealed to be just off the plate.

I know it sounds like I'm really picking on Delgado but his RBI single should have been scored an error on Fielder. It was supposed to be a double play. But the Mets got good situational hitting from Easley (I will never complain about a sacrifice fly) and Raul Casanova.

And of course the red hot Angel Pagan got another key hit with men on base to bring home a very crucial insurance run.

But there is no situational hitting from Carlos Beltran. For the second day in a row he left a man on third with fewer than 2 outs. This time he did hit the ball hard, but it was right at the pitcher for an easy inning-ending double play.

I think Willie made the right move by trotting Heilman out there again. Now he can rest tomorrow and not have to think about all his bad performances.

It was nice to see Billy Wagner get a 1-2-3 save especially against Fielder, Braun and Hall.

But any game that includes Jose Reyes leaving early with an injury is worrisome. But I had a feeling something was wrong when he grounded into a double play.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 4 Phillies 3

This was a key game for the Mets because they were just a couple plays away from another one of their patented meltdowns against the Phillies.

Right now there isn't another hitter in the lineup whom I'd rather have up in a key spot than Angel Pagan. And I said that right before he got up, and I didn't even jinx him. I'd love to see him stay in the #2 hole when Castillo comes back, but a 7-8-9 of Schneider, Castillo and the pitcher is too weak. Also, to maximize run production its best to try to hide your weakest hitters in between strong hitters, instead of bunching them together. But needless to say, Angel has been heaven sent.

I do think Reyes was safe on that play, I think he got his hand in there just before the tag, because he was leaning forward, Coste had further to go with the swipe to reach Reyes. But Coste was clearly blocking the plate without the ball, so Reyes really had to run him over so that he couldn't catch the ball. I wouldn't want him to risk injury but that's really the most effective way to score on a play like that.

It's inexcusable for Carlos Beltran to strike out twice with the game on the line, especially because the first time any contact pretty much would have given the Mets the lead (and probably won the game).

Also inexcusable thus far is the performance of Aaron Heilman. Every time he comes in he allows 2 runs. This cannot be tolerated. He's going to have to be demoted to a mop-up role.

Everyone else in the bullpen was awesome though. Pedro Feliciano struck out the side, and Scott Schoeneweis saved the day by getting Utley to hit into a double play. And he stuck around for the next inning. He can be effective if Willie uses him situationally.

Joe Smith, Billy Wagner and Jorge Sosa also contributed.

But the Mets bullpen has pitched 13 and 1/3 innings in the past 3 games. That's way too much. And it's not the fault of Willie Randolph (though he could have left Pelfrey in a little longer). The blame goes to Oliver Perez and John Maine both of whom lost their control and had to be taken out too early. And Maine was cruising with 64 pitches through 5 innings before he allowed 3 walks in the 6th.

Hopefully the Mets will get a big emotional lift from this game because they overcame bad relief (Heilman), bad situational hitting (Beltran) and bad fielding (Wright and Schneider fucking up a bunt) to come back and win the game and take 2 of 3 from the Phillies.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 8 Phillies 2

After 2 innings of this one I thought for sure this was going to be another disaster.

The Mets had 6 walks, 1 run and 0 hits.

And an easy ground ball that should have been an inning ending double play became what I thought was the start of another meltdown. But after giving up a hit to tie the game Pelfrey settled down.

And then came the bottom of the third. Two huge errors by Eric Bruntlett and finally some timely hitting led to the Mets' third 5+ run inning of the season.

Angel Pagan has been awesome this season. He seems to get a hit every time he gets up with men on base. It's really only half the time. If he can keep this up we won't miss Alou.

I think Willie did the right thing by taking Pelfrey out after 5 innings, even though he had a 6 run lead. He had thrown 100 pitches and it was his first start of the season. Plus Pelfrey is still struggling with his confidence and taking him out there rather than risking sending him out for another inning when he could have given up a run or two, was probably the right decision.

Thanks to the excellent pitching of Jorge Sosa, the bullpen should still be well rested enough for tomorrow's game.

The Mets really need to John Maine to pitch like he did in spring training so they can take this series from the Phillies.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Phillies 5 Mets 2

This was a baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad game.

The Mets can't beat the Braves, they can't beat the Phillies, they can't score runs and the bullpen is absolutely terrible.

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

At least the Mets have gotten good starting pitching in four of the six games but that's going to change when people other than Perez and Santana have to start.

As usual it's easy to question Willie's handling of the bullpen.
I don't blame him for taking Perez out when he did. He was clearly fading and given his tendency to implode it's unlikely that he would have been able to work out of that jam in the 6th.
But he should have left Smith in to start the 7th. Without Feliciano he should have saved Schoeneweis to face only Utley and Howard. He's a situational reliever, not a one inning guy.
I know this would never happen but this game is a perfect example of why it's foolish to save your closer for the 9th inning. They could have used Wagner in the 7th against Utley and Howard.
Aaron Heilman sucks too, but Willie really had no choice.

And I'm going to go easy on Delgado here, that play at second base wasn't really his fault. He had to try for the double play but Utley made it tough by running in his way and not sliding, and Reyes made it tough by not presenting a wider target.

Delgado also accounted for almost all the offense. He owns Moyer, 30 for 68 lifetime against him with 8 homers. Surprising numbers against a lefty.

The Mets also displayed warning track power in this game. At least 5 balls were tracked down by Shane Victorino. The big dimensions at Shea help the pitchers but the Mets batters can't seem to jack one out.

Governor Paterson was at the game and Kevin Burkhardt interviewed him. He seemed like a really nice guy and a longtime Mets fan. He told a story about the night before Shea Stadium opened in 1964 his father took him to the Stadium and asked the grounds crew to let him walk on the field, and they did. He also shared some memories of the 60s and said he watched Jim Bunning's perfect game against the Mets in 1964. When Kevin Burkhardt asked him the biggest surprise since becoming governor, he said "the biggest surprise is that I am governor."

Keith Hernandez confused So Taguchi and Tad Iguchi. When Taguchi came up Hernandez explained that the Phillies acquired him last year when Utley got hurt. After a couple minutes of no one else correcting him, Hernandez corrected himself (maybe a producer told him) and called himself a "dunderhead."

The Mets have now lost 9 in a row to the Phillies and in 7 of the 13 losses over the past 2 years, the Mets blew leads of 2 runs or more

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Braves 3 Mets 1

Johan Santana got his first introduction to being a Met in this game. You pitch great, you get no run support and the bullpen sucks.

And even when you double to get yourself on third with one out the weak hitting second baseman can't hit the ball deep enough to drive you in. It is sickening that the Mets cannot get runners in. And that was the main difference in this game. The Mets got Santana to third with one out but couldn't get him in but the Braves got Kotsay to third with one and Escobar drove him home.

The Mets did start 2-3 in 1986 so I don't think it's time to panic yet, but Pedro is out, the bullpen is terrible and I hate Carlos Delgado.

Delgado is 5 for 10 with the bases empty and 2 for 10 with runners on. All four of his strikeouts came with men on base. And how did he get doubled off first on a ball that was obviously going to be caught?

And once again the Mets get swept in Turner Field.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Braves 11 Mets 5

Too bad spring training doesn't count because John Maine looked like a completely different pitcher. I don't buy that he was too fresh, and throwing too hard. He was just bad.

And speaking of just bad there was Jorge Sosa who couldn't throw strikes and eventually allowed the grand slam that but this game out of reach and turned it into a blowout.

As hot as the Mets hitters have been so far this season to get off to only a 2-2 start is a little disappointing.

I have never seen a play before like the one with Reyes up and the bases loaded. It was a horrible call by the umpire to rule it a catch, but it was a horrible play by Pagan to run past Church on the bases. But I think Church would have been running home if he hadn't seen the umpire rule it a catch. I'm glad they went back and fixed the play but I don't think I've evern seen them do that before, especially not on a play with so many variables.

But at least I'm not writing this recap and pointing to that play that cost us the game.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 13 Marlins 0

Few things in life are more enjoyable than a 13-0 blowout.

Oliver Perez was great. If he can keep his walks down (he had 1) he can really be sensational. But the one thing we see about Perez as compared to other pitchers is that while some pitchers give up 3 runs per start, Perez is more likely to give up zero and then 6 the next time out. He has to work on his consistency from start to start if he wants to earn a big contract when he becomes a free agent in the offseason.

Beltran and Wright are absolutely on fire right now.

Beltran is on pace for 270 doubles.

I'm really liking Pagan and Church as corner outfielders.

I think Willie managed the bullpen well here, I'm glad he got Oliver out of there (though later in the season I'd want him to work deeper), then used Figueroa (to get his feet wet), followed by Feliciano and Wagner. He needed to get Wagner some work because of the offday. If he hadn't used him here he might have felt compelled to do so on Friday regardless of the situation.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Marlins 5 Mets 4

I'm not going to freak out about 1 loss, especially this early in the season, but this one was about as bad as it gets.

The most important problem is obviously Pedro's injury. But Mets fans can't blame this on bad luck. The team is full of old broken down guys who can't stay healthy. This is part of the deal. In fact when the Mets signed Pedro after the 2004 season I said it was a bad move because by the time the team was good enough, he'd be too old, and too injured to help. He had a great first year on a mediocre team, he missed the second half of the second year, and pitched 5 games the third year. It looks like the Mets may have given $56 million to a cheerleader and recruiter.

Hopefully that's not the case, but this doesn't look good.

And is it more or less discouraging that Pedro was in the midst of getting bombed when he got injured?

I'm not too pissed about Matt Wise allowing the game winning homer because that's what happens when your bullpen is called on early and your 5th best guy is pitching in extra innings. But every team in the majors has a weak link in the back of their bullpen. Hopefully over the course of the season the Mets will win more games against other teams' bad relievers than other teams do against Wise, etc.

Carlos Delgado struck out with two men on, then popped out weakly with Wright on first.

Angel Pagan looks awesome and could be a good fillin for the 80 to 100 games that Alou is going to miss.

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