Friday, May 30, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Dodgers 9 Mets 5

Momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher and John Maine wasn't very good, allowing 3 runs in the first inning. But the big one to me was the run he gave up in the 4th, right after the Mets came back to tie it.

Taking the 5-4 lead made it seem like the Mets would have another great comeback win, until Aaron Heilman came in.

I think Willie got a little too cute with him after a couple good appearances. But it seems he's a 5th and 6th inning pitcher, not and 8th inning pitcher. Hopefully we'll never see him in a close game again.

Aaron Heilman sucks

Pierre was definitely out which hurt but four straight hits after that...that's bad pitching. Also I think maybe a more experienced rightfielder would have caught Kemp's double, but those are the things the Mets have to overcome right now.

What is up with Luis Castillo's newfound power.

Even though the Mets did score 5 runs, once again they couldn't get the big hit with men on.

Third inning: bases loaded one out, Beltran sac fly, Tatis grounded out.
Fourth inning: bases loaded no outs, Maine fielder's choice out at home, Reyes fielder's choice out at third, Castillo walked and Wright grounded out.
Seventh inning: Bases loaded one out, Castro grounded out, Delgado walked and Evans struck out.

That's three bases loaded situations, and three runs, but they went 0 for 6 with the bases loaded and that's horrible. I love scoring runs on outs but you need to score runs on hits also.

I can see why Clayton Kershaw is such a hot prospect, he has a sick curveball, but he just didn't have his control in this game.

Clayton Kershaw has a bright future in front of him

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Happy Recap: Mets 8 Dodgers 4

Things are really starting to build for the Mets. But the biggest thing is, their luck has turned around. But it's not just luck, you need to capitalize on your luck as well. It's better to be lucky than good but really good teams have to be both.

For example, the Mets got a huge break on the catcher's interference call allowing Vargas to reach, but they still need 2-out hits from Reyes and Castillo to turn it into anything, and then a home run by Wright to turn it into something big.

Jose Reyes claps while scoring on an errant throw

David Wright's 2 homers and 4 RBI gave him 40 RBI on the season, putting him in the top 10 in the majors.

David Wright's second 2-run homer of the night but the capper on a big inning

Horrible job by SNY during that play though. They went to commercial after they thought Vargas made out, then came back after Reyes singled, and never mentioned what happened. It was only after several more plays the Gary Cohen mentioned the catcher's interference.

Why have Mets pitchers been giving up so many home runs at Shea Stadium? It should be a pitcher's park.

Notice how much better Willie Randolph has been using the bullpen since they've started getting people out. Using the bullpen is impossible for a manager when the guys aren't going well, but when everyone you bring in is getting people out, it makes the manager look like a genius.

Another great game by Endy Chavez. He got that broken bat hit where he basically threw his bat, but the even bigger play was nailing Pierre at the plate in the first inning. He caught it in perfect position to throw and made a perfect throw, low and on the bounce. And Schneider did a perfect job blocking the plate. Pierre never got his hand in, he was 100% out.

Remember one thing about this Mets mini-run. They still need to get 3 more wins in a row just to get back to where they were before the losing streak. And even that would mean only going .500 over a 14 game span. There is still a lot of work left to do and what they really need is a stretch where they go 20-10 over 30 games or something like that.

I'm excited to see Clayton Kershaw pitch but a little nervous given the Mets inauspicious track record against pitchers they've never seen before.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 7 Marlins 6

If ever there were a game that could turn around the fortunes of a lifeless team, this is it.

Endy Chavez and Fernando Tatis saved the season.

I think this may be the best part of the fighting for his job Willie. He's willing to take chances to make things happen and do things he wouldn't normally do, like rest Delgado and Schneider for two days in a row.

With all the injuries the Mets have Willie absolutely has to keep Tatis in the lineup. He can play right and left while Church and Alou are out and when they come back he should play everyday at second base. Or at least until his hot hitting ends. The Mets are in desperate need of the kind of clutch hitting Tatis has provided.

Fernando Tatis helped save the season

And as I stated before I think Endy is returning to form as a clutch utility man, not the guy who can play everyday but the guy who can come off the bench and produce big plays. If the Mets turn their season around his homer will have been the impetus.

A happy Endy, thanks to Endy

Oliver Perez just can't seem to get it together. He pitched pretty well but couldn't escape the long ball.

The bullpen was absolutely awesome in this game. Even with the home run Sanchez allowed the Mets relievers pitched 6 innings allowed 1 hit and 1 run, while walking none and striking out 9. Best performance by the bullpen all year.

The Mets got 3 home runs in this game, by Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo and Endy Chavez. How unlikely is that?

Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran and Moises Alou: 417 at bats, 12 home runs
Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo and Endy Chavez: 430 at bats, 10 home runs

That's a lot closer than you'd have thought it would be.

I sure hope this is the start of something big, but if it's not at least it was fun to see the Mets celebrate a come from behind victory.

Bonus picture of Tatis's tumbling catch in the second inning.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 5 Marlins 3

This is how the Mets are supposed to win games.

Jose Reyes leads off the game by getting on base, the big hitters get key hits behind him, Johan pitches 7 good innings, and Sanchez and Wagner bring it home.

The only difference here is that the big hitters were Tatis and Castro. They each had 2 2-out run scoring hits. That's the biggest thing the Mets are lacking this season, hits with 2 outs and runners in scoring position.

Reyes now has a 12 game hitting streak and has reached base in 27 straight games.

Beltran has reached base in 30 straight games, and considering his lack of productivity in RBI situations, if Church and Alou ever come back Willie should consider batting Beltran second, a position in the lineup where he used to excel. But of course Willie never tries anything, he just sits on his hands and hopes things will get better, which is the biggest problem with him.

Reyes led off with a double and Castillo foolishly tried to sacrifice him to third, it worked out but it's a bad move. The Mets need to play for more than one run, especially in the first inning.

Joe West gets a great view of Reyes sliding in safely to third

But what is wrong with Reyes's defense? He made another error on an easy ground ball that led to a Florida run. But the run was earned because the infield was back and Reyes made the play the run would have scored anyway.

Reyes makes an error for the third straight game

Santana was his good old consistent self. Three runs in seven innings is pretty much what we're going to get from him. But if the offense comes around that should be good enough to win a lot of games. Plus this was a must-win game for him and he came through.

I really think Willie Randolph needs to start platooning Schneider and Castro. After a hot start, Schneider has slowed down and the Mets could use offense right now with Alou and Church out. It's too bad Castro can't stay healthy because I would have loved to see him be the everyday catcher. But he was shown a great ability to get the big hit at the right time throughout his four seasons with the Mets. Based on these two hits alone, he deserves to see some more playing time.

Ramon Castro comes through in the clutch

I'd also like to see Fernando Tatis in the lineup a little more often.

Willie Randolph thanks Fernando Tatis for saving his job for one more day

Cody Ross is 7 for his last 29 with 6 home runs.

Dan Uggla was one of the hottest hitters in the majors coming into this game. But Santana got him three times with men on base and 2 outs.

Huge swing game tonight for Oliver Perez. If he can win it the Mets take 2 of 3 from the division leader, if not the calls for Willie's head will continue.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Marlins 7 Mets 3

I'm at my wit's end with this team. I have no idea why there are so bad but I'm quite certain they stink right now.

Every bad play they make haunts them and they can't come through with the big hit when they need one.

I really thought they would come out of it when Jose Reyes did but over this losing streak he's had hits in every game and is batting .306, but he has only 4 runs scored, 2 of them on his own home runs.

He's raised his average 30 points over the last 16 games and the Mets are 5-11.

Jose, I thought you were the sparkplug

Plus he's been playing terribly in the field and on the bases.

Mike Pelfrey absolutely sucks. But it wasn't his fault that Reyes prevented him from getting an easy inning in the first. But it was his fault that he allowed 4 runs in the 4th, though Beltran cost him a run by diving.

Mike Pelfrey has had 2 good games in his career, and sucked the rest of the time

But the Mets missed so many chances it's just ridiculous.

First inning, bases loaded, no outs, 1 run. Now I'm glad Delgado hit a sacrifice fly because the Mets almost never do, but they needed more.

Fourth inning, first and second, one out, Castillo hits into a double play. That's the 7th double play he's hit into this year, more than all of last season. He is so bad. I can't wait for Church and Alou to come back so they can get him out of the 2 hole.

Fifth inning, first and second, no outs, no runs. Delgado, Schneider and Evans all made out without even advancing the runners.

And after that the Mets just quit. Does anyone else find it an indictment of this team's heart that they've only won one game in which they've been trailing at any point in the 6th inning or later?

That's the problem with this team. Well, the first problem is they suck with men on base. The second problem is that they are a lifeless bunch. I had to chalk things up to immeasurables like that but it sure seems that way. Once they get behind, they quit. I guess that goes back to hitting with men on base and relief pitching, but some of it has to be measured by heart and desire.

And if the Mets love Willie Randolph so much how come when his job is on the line they've pretty much laid down and died? It's almost like they want him to get fired.

The Mets aren't playing like they're trying to save Willie Randolph's job

I've never advocated firing Willie, it's not his fault these players suck, but I don't see anyway they are going to improve and if they lose the next two games and fall 8 1/2 back, I don't see anyway they're coming back.

But Aaron Heilman pitched well, which is nice.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Rockies 4 Mets 1

Right now the Mets are a bad team. Bad teams always find ways to lose and the Mets did it again.

I know John Maine did not pitch great and like every other Mets pitcher seemingly does he threw a ton of pitches and therefore couldn't get deep in the game. But he allowed only 3 hits and he should have been out of the 4th inning but Reyes let an easy double play ball go through his legs. The next guy hit a 3-run homer and that was it.

I don't know what the hell is wrong with Reyes. He's hitting and getting on base but his head is not in the game. He was picked off again, and made that crucial error.

There's nothing else to even say about this, they just stink right now. They can't hit, they can't field, and the pitching while not terrible was bad enough to send the Mets to their 6 loss in 7 games.

With the first place Marlins coming in the Mets are in danger of falling 6 1/2 games out if they don't win the series. While it's still early that's a big hole to be in before June starts.

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Happy Recap: Mets 9 Rockies 2

This game was just what the doctor ordered. The Mets got out early, kept pounding and got a good long effort from the starting pitcher.

Now they need to find a way to keep it going.

What a Major League debut for Nick Evans. Mets fans shouldn't get too excited, so many players have come up and gotten off to incredibly hot starts and not been able to continue it, but 3 doubles in 4 at bats is pretty good.

Jose Reyes continued his hit streak and he is the key to the offense. When he gets on in the first inning they have a great chance to score, and when they score in the first inning they have a great chance to win. That's something they did a lot in 2006 and will need to do a lot more in 2008.

Every starter except for Vargas got a hit, they hit with men on base, they hit home runs, this was an excellent game. But it only counts for one in the standings they really need to keep it going.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lose the Jacket

All the talk around the Mets centers on firing Willie Randolph but I think the Mets would be more likely to improve if they fired Rick Peterson, and I know the perfect replacement.
But before we get to that, let's look at Peterson. He's done great work with John Maine, yes.
But he has not been able to reach Oliver Perez, whose troubles are 90% mental, and that's supposed to be Peterson's strength.
I don't know how much Johan Santana would listen to any pitching coach but Peterson certainly isn't helping him.

I think the Mets should hire Leo Mazzone. In an AP article, Mazzone said, "What I'm doing is sitting here dying to get back into baseball again."

With the great staffs he built in Atlanta, I don't see why the Mets wouldn't want to go after him and see if he has answer to help the Mets pitchers get deeper in games.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Rockies 6 Mets 5

This is what happens with bad teams on losing streaks, they keep fight new more heartbreaking ways to lose.

You can't really fault Billy Wagner because he's been so good so far this season but it is his pattern to pick the worst possible time to blow a save.

But you can fault Oliver Perez. 8 walks and 6 hits in 5 innings. That's just awful. It's amazing he even had a chance to win that game. But once again his short outing forced Willie to use Aaron Heilman who of course lost the game.

What's amazing to me is that the Mets are losing while Jose Reyes is actually pretty hot. He's been on base 23 games in a row and over an 8-game hitting streak he's batting .343. But for the second time in this recent slump his overaggressive baserunning cost the Mets. He made a great hustle play to turn a single into a double and get himself into scoring position with no outs. But then he got picked off. And for no reason. He's not going to steal there, Castillo is going to bunt him over. Just a terrible, horrible, no good play.

You can't blame Carlos Delgado in this one because he came through with a big home run. It was only the 6th inning but it was starting to get late and the Mets absolutely needed a home run there and he came through.

But you can certainly blame Carlos Beltran and David Wright. Neither one of them is doing anything right now, especially not with men on base. I do have confidence that they will each come around. However, with 4 homers through 46 games, Beltran would have to get blisteringly hot to get to 30 homers again. I hope he doesn't have another season like 2005, 16 homers and a .744 OPS.

With Marlon Anderson out the Mets are now down 4 outfielders (Alou, Church and Pagan). I'd like to see Endy play every day in right until Church is ready then move to left while Alou's out. He should bat second and give this team some life at the top of the order.

The Mets are now counting on Claudio Vargas on 3 days rest to end this losing streak. How confident does that make you feel?

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Braves 4 Mets 2

This game was the disaster. All the losses to the Braves this week were bad, but this one was the nuclear meltdown that is going to get Willie fired, either right now, or very soon.

The problem here is not lack of talent, or even the manager or even players underachieving. The problem is not friction between Latin and American players. The problem here, for whatever reason, the Mets do not make those couple of big plays in every game that are the difference between winning and losing.

They wasted a good (not great) effort by Johan Santana with bad defense and worse offense.

Luis Castillo sucks. He made a great diving stop then for some reason didn't bother throwing to first. For the second day in a row his bad defense got the Braves on the board early. And remember, we signed him for his defense.

It certainly wasn't his great ability as a hitter. When the Mets started to rally getting runners on first and second with one out (the amazing Church emerging from a concussion induced haze to get a hit) and he hits one back to the pitcher for a rally-killing double play.

Let's look at all the bad defensive plays in this game:
Schneider's error in the second inning that put Teixeira on.

Brian Schneider's error helped the Braves get their first run.

Then there was the play by Castillo that could have been the third out.

In the 7th when the Braves took the lead, Beltran misplayed Kelly Johnson's single into a double.

Then David Wright charged on a bunt that Santana fielded, allowing the runner to get to third.

I'm not taking the blame off Santana, he threw a wild pitch and allowed 12 hits, the most he's ever allowed in a game.

I think the Mets did get a diminished Santana, 12 hits and 1 strikeout are very un-Santanalike numbers. I know a lof of them were bloop hits, but that's ridiculous. So many 2 strike counts where he couldn't put guys away. And he's supposed to be a strikeout pitcher.

I know he's supposed to be a second half pitcher, but he wasn't last year and at this point I'm not very hopeful.

Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado hit back to back homers. Big fuckin deal.

In 374 at bats combined, the Carloses and Moises Alou have 10 HR. 17 players have more including Mike Jacobs.

The lone bright spot in this dark storm was Marlon Anderson. He made an incredible catch in the first inning. Even though he went 0 for 3 to drop his average to .173, with major holes and left and right for the time being and major weak spots and first and second, I hope he gets a lot more playing time.

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Unhappy Recap: Braves 11 Mets 4

This series is one game away from being an absolute disaster.

That play by Luis Castillo, who by the way, we have for his great defense, completely screwed up Pelfrey who clearly lacks the mental toughness to overcome plays like that.

And when you toss in the fact that Castillo struck out with second and third and 1 out, it makes me want to kill him.

And the Mets signed him for 4 years and $25 million in the offseason.

At least the Mets got 14 good games out of Moises Alou before he's going back on the DL.

Without him and Church the Mets might not ever score a run.

But Reyes did have two more hits.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Braves 6 Mets 2

This is why Mets fans are going out of their minds. This team can't put together a prolonged streak of anything. After two good games they went back to their old ways.

Bad starting pitching, bad relief pitching and bad hitting. It's amazing the team is above .500 with the way they've played.

.500 is basically what they are, not having won or lost more than 2 games in a row in over a month. In fact, since that 5 game winning streak in mid April, the Mets are 12-15.

Dealing with this particular game, Claudio Vargas wasn't terrible, but he wasn't good enough either.

Matt Wise put the game out of reach as Mets relief pitchers often do.

The big difference here was that the Braves got hits when they had men on base, something the Mets almost never do.

I was pleased to see Reyes get 2 more hits. I firmly believe that if he is going well everyone else will contribute enough to get this team some wins. But they really need him to get hot and stay hot.

And if they lose Church that could be big trouble. He got a concussion on that play in the 9th inning which is worrisome because it's his second concussion of the year (remember his spring training collision with Marlon Anderson?) It's rare for a baseball player to get concussed, especially twice in a couple of months. He'll probably miss a couple games but the Mets need him in the lineup.

Church's concussion

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Braves 6 Mets 1

This game started off very promisingly. Castillo homered (his second as a Met) then Wright, Beltran and Church all reached base (Wright could not have scored on Church's single). Run in, bases loaded no outs then Alou and Delgado stranded the runners. They both hit the ball hard but why can't the Mets ever get a sacrifice fly?

After that the Mets went down 22 straight.

John Maine was bad but he's been so good so far this season that you really can't complain, the occassional bad start is going to happen. Plus he wasn't so bad that the game was out of reach, he just didn't have his best stuff.

Aaron Heilman sucks. But every outing like this (gets ahead 0-2, gets to a full count and allows a home run) means he's less likely to ever pitch in a pressure situation again, and hopefully it's one step closer to him being off the team.

Glavine struck out Delgado in the fourth inning on a high inside fastball that Glavine blew right by him. I don't understand why every team doesn't throw every pitch to Delgado a high inside fastball.

This is why Mets fans weren't overly excited about the sweep of the Yankees. It can all turn around so quickly, especially against the Braves in Turner Field.

If the Mets don't win the nightcap they'll have erased all the good work they did against the Yankees.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 11 Yankees 2

What a difference 2 games makes.

Now the Mets don't have to fire Willie Randolph, which by the way I never endorsed. I had another plan but I will save it until its prudent to consider it again.

Thank god that bad call on the Delgado home run didn't come back to bite the Mets. Evidently there is a little justice in this world even when you are playing the Yankees.

Oliver Perez did a great job other than that one blip he had allowing the 2-run homer to Matsui. I think he was clearly a little rattled from the Delgado incident, and possibly the long layoff. But he bounced back nicely and actually shut the Yankees down after that, and went into the 8th.

I don't have a problem with Willie using Smith and Schoeneweis since Smith hadn't pitched since Wednesday, and Schoeneweis had a week off.

Yankee killer, Oliver Perez

But I don't attribute Perez's great performance to some kind of remarkable turnaround. He was just facing a team full of lefties, bad lefties. Lefties are batting under .100 against Perez this season.

I don't usually believe in carryover effects, especially with how badly the Mets have done historically in Turner Field, but these games should have a psychological impact especially considering the strife that preceded them after the Washington series.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 7 Yankees 4

This was a huge win psychologically for the Mets.

And the way it happened, with Billy Wagner getting a four out save, after the recent controversy, that was good for morale.

The Mets did get very lucky in this one because Andy Pettitte let them off the hook in the fourth inning. After Delgado popped up and Easley struck out with the bases loaded the Mets were able to take the lead on a walk, and a 30 foot hit by Luis Castillo.

I love Johan Santana and he is now 5-2 with a 3.30 ERA but so far he has been good, and the Mets need him to be great. I'm very glad he took the game into the 8th inning, spared all the crappy middle relievers and got the win. But he gave up 3 more home runs, 11 on the year.

Carlos Delgado sucks. He had the 2 for 5 day in baseball history. He left 7 men on base in his first 3 e bats.

The Reyes and Wright home runs were very encouraging. Reyes is the key to this whole team. They need him to get going. I don't think its going to take a smile to fix what's wrong with Reyes. I think his problem is that his timing is off. When he takes a pitch it's a strike, when he swings it's in the dirt.

Damon was definitely out on that play at the plate. It was a great throw by Church but even a better block of home plate by Schneider.

And Jeter was definitely out at second base on that weird play. The umpire never should have called him safe because he never touched the base. And I can't believe Jeter didn't even try to get to the bag.

Oliver Perez pitched great against the Yankees last year, it would be huge if he could do it again.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Nationals 1 Mets 0

Who says a 1-0 game can't be exciting?

This was an encouraging and disconcerting game all at the same time.

Mike Pelfrey was freaking awesome and I was really hopeful that he would pitch the first no-hitter in Mets history. I was actually praying to score a run just in case he kept it going. Wouldn't it be just like the Mets to pitch a no-hitter for 9 innings and lose it in extra innings because they couldn't score.

The big thing that happened in this game is that the Nationals executed and the Mets didn't. Any number of plays could have turned this game, and the Nationals made the ones that did.

First they executed perfectly in the 8th. Double, sac bunt, sac fly. So easy it makes you wonder why the Mets can't do it.

And then there was that incredible catch by Willie Harris.

I don't mind the play by Jose Reyes in theory, it was heads up and he was hustling. But Guzman took off way before he did so he had no real chance of being safe, unless the throw was bad. Once he saw Guzman take off he should have known he couldn't beat him to the bag.

I don't have a problem with Beltran either. I loved that he stole a base, and almost tied the game because of it. And normally I hate the contact play but in that case it was almost a necessity.

The fact is Delgado sucks. He can never get a big hit, and he couldn't even get the big out. All he needed was a fly ball, which he is great at, but he couldn't even do that.

And then Delgado apparently beat it out of the clubhouse without answering any questions provoking Billy Wagner to flip out.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Nationals 5 Mets 3

Aaron Heilman sucks. But we knew that.

We learned in this game that Claudio Vargas may turn out to be a decent 5th starter. And I think he is going to be in the Mets rotation until Pedro gets back, and maybe longer if Pelfrey doesn’t shape up before then.

I think Willie may have given him the hook too early but I understand not wanting to push a guy in his first start for the team. He was nearing 100 pitches but I might have given him another batter or two.

Why did Alou have to go and get himself ejected? The Mets could have used him in the lineup when the tying run was on first in the 8th inning.

We got Sosa out of here, I think Heilman should be next.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 6 Nationals 3

This game was basically won by the only three Mets who are performing above expectations this season.

John Maine was excellent and circumstances conspired to hold him to 6 innings more than his performance did. Easley's error cost him a few extra pitches and the fact that his turn in the order came up in the bottom of the 6th made it the right decision to take him out.

Wins and losses are sometimes dismissed as useful statistical tools in evaluating pitchers, but with Maine the 5 wins are meaningful. There are a lot of ways to get a 2.81 ERA but the fact that Maine has done it with 7 straight starts of 2 runs or fewer, shows that he is keeping his team in the game and giving them the best shot to win.

Ryan Church has got to stay in the number 2 hole. He has been awesome and is constantly getting the big hit with men on base. Also one of my pet peeves is when a pitcher gets a lead and immediately gives it back. Maine did that by allowing the Zimmerman home run, but Church got that run right back in the bottom of the inning.

I hate when the announcers say a player looked like he was trying to prove something to his old team. But in 7 games against the Nationals so far this season Church is hitting .367 with 11 runs, 2 homers and 9 RBI.

Billy Wagner still has not given up an earned run this year. He did blow one save and give up unearned runs in another appearance but his ERA is still 0.00.

The Mets need Duaner Sanchez for that 8th inning, but those two walks could have killed us.

Damion Easley is a huge offensive upgrade over Luis Castillo and he allows Church to bat second, but if he keeps playing defense like that, the Mets will have to come up with another option.

And I have to praise Carlos Delgado for his performance in this game. The bunt single was great. I have been begging him to do that for more than 2 years now. If he does that once every 10 games (and I believe he could do it more often than that) he can add 30 points to his batting average. For math wizards, estimating 33 at bats per 10 games (seems reasonable) 1 extra hit per 33 at bats adds 30 points to your batting average.

He also crushed that ball to centerfield with two men on but Milledge made a great play on it.

But what about that play by Kearns? That was just awful. Did the wind have something to do with that? I can't remember seeing a guy whiff like that, not even Todd Hundley during his outfield experiment.

After the game Maine denied it but I think he hit Felipe Lopez to lead off the game as a response to the "softball girls" controversy from the previous game. First pitch, first inning, off the leg, seems a little suspicious?

The Mets started this game 0 for 8 with men in scoring position before Church's big "double" in the 6th. But over that same span they were 4 for 5 with a man on first.

Before being called up Fernando Tatis has 12 homers in 120 at bats for AAA New Orleans.

Annika Sorenstam threw out the first pitch, just hours after she announced her retirement from golf at the end of the season.
She was given a jersey with #59 on it, a nod to her best ever round. Kudos to the clever Mets staffer who thought of that, even though it likely went over the heads of almost everyone watching.
But why did her jersey say Annika and not Sorenstam on the back?
She gave a very thoughtful interview with Kevin Burkhardt from her seat behind home plate. Burkhardt is an excellent "sideline" reporter, whether he's interviewing dignitaries or relating a story about a particular player, his reports always seem unobstrusive and he always keeps his eye on the game during them.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Nationals 10 Mets 4

I think the Nelson Figueroa experiment is just about over. As good as he was for a couple starts, and as nice a story as he is, he has been getting killed lately.
He's very hittable, he's been walking guys and there's no reason to expect him to turn it around.

On the bright side the offense pounded out double digit hits for the 5th time in the last 6 games. But after they gave Figueroa 3 leads, and he blew them all, the offense went in the tank, stranding a lot of runners.

Carlos Delgado went 0 for 5, stranding 6 runners. He also made a key error in the second inning leading to the Nationals first run. To repeat, he's not going to hit .160 all year, he will have his moments, but overall he's still going to suck.

Why couldn't the Mets get Odalis Perez out?

This was also another game in which the Mets were in it and had a chance to come back, until the bullpen came in.

I don't know what is wrong with Sosa but he sucks even more than Heilman does.

The Mets need to win at least 2 out of the next 3 against Washington to avoid having this homestand become a complete disaster.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 8 Reds 3

Carlos Beltran is officially back. He is on fire, 9 RBI in 3 games against the Reds.

With Alou back, and Delgado percolating as well the Mets offense has scored 33 runs in the last 4 games.

Only David Wright has been struggling.

A pretty decent start from Oliver Perez but why can't any of these pitchers go deeper into games?

I'm glad I got the chance to see Johnny Cueto (and glad we didn't have to see Edinson Volquez) because I wanted to evaluate his potential. He seems to have pretty good stuff but he was very hittable yesterday. Most times pitchers are encouraged to work quickly but it seemed like Cueto was working too fast. Sometimes when you're getting hit around it's best to step off the mound and break the rhythm.

In case you didn't see the game there was a very strange play in the bottom of the 9th, the Reds batted out of order.
It all started because Dusty Baker did two double switches.
Paul Bako made the last out of the 5th and Dusty Baker took him out, put the pitcher in his spot and put the new catcher, David Ross in the 9th spot.
Adam Dunn made the last out of the 8th, and Baker brought in Weathers to pitch and bat in the 6th spot, and Patterson to play left and bat 8th.
But Ross came up first in the 8th spot and flew out to right field.
Then Willie came out of the dugout and pointed out the mistake. It was clear what had happened and that Patterson should be out and Ross should be batting again.
And that's what happened eventually, but first there was another long delay because the home plate umpire gave a hand signal indicating there were two outs, but in that situation only the batter whose spot was improperly taken is called out.
Which is why Willie shouldn't have said anything unless one of the batters got a hit. Once Ross was out it was already an out, he gained nothing by pointing it out, he just allowed Ross to bat twice and wasted everyone's time.

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Unhappy Recap: Reds 7 Mets 1

Some teams play 6 inning games because their bullpen is so good that if they're winning after 6 innings they're going to win, but the Mets play 6 inning games because if they're losing after 6 innings they're going to lose.

The hitting was bad in this game, they couldn't touch Bronson Arroyo, but they didn't even get a chance to comeback because of the horrible performance of the bullpen.

Anyone hoping Duaner Sanchez was going to be a savior is probably very disappointed right now.

And it wasn't Billy Wagner's fault that the defense made two errors behind him but he did allow 2 hits and a walk in 1 innings.

I love Ramon Castro and he's my favorite player but his strikeout with the bases loaded was a huge play in this game.

Mike Pelfrey had one of his best starts of the season but it's discouraging to see him give up so many hits. At least with Oliver Perez giving up a lot of walks you think that's easily correctable, but when a guy is hittable how do you fix that?

I still have no idea why Willie used his best lineup in the first game, in support of Santana, against Belisle, and put out a second string lineup behind his worst pitcher, and against Arroyo.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 12 Reds 6

The offensive explosion continues, the second straight game the Mets got 12 runs. Proof that you don't "waste" runs by scoring a lot when you have a big lead.

Willie made a good move by dropping Delgado to 7th. I suppose it's either that or Castillo 8th, and if Delgado is hitting, it's probably better to split up Schneider and Castillo.

I have had my doubts about Delgado, I still think he's going to come in with worse numbers than last year, but I have never given up on Beltran.

I love Beltran and think he's great but was just having a tuogh time in the early going, in part because he was taking a lot of walks. But he broke out big time with 5 RBI including a sac fly (which I deem important) and a bases loaded triple with two outs that really broke the game open.

Before that triple Beltran was 0 for 19 this season with runners in scoring position and 2 outs.

Even though Brian Schneider had gotten off to a decent start, he was batting .308, his OPS was only .703 because his slugging was .308 also. After 21 singles his home run was his first extra base hit of the season.

Another tepid performance from Johan Santana. He really struggled allowing 10 hits in 6 innings. He had runners on in every inning and even though he was able to work out of the most of the trouble (gutty strikeouts of Ross and Patterson in the 6th) he once again threw too many pitches and relied too much on the bullpen.

How bad is the Mets bullpen that even a 10-3 lead doesn't feel safe.

I do disagree with the constant booing but I'm sick and tired of the sob story for Aaron Heilman. You want them to stop booing you, pitch better. He absolutely sucks. Everytime he comes in he gets behind hitters, resulting in either walks or hits. Even Feliciano wasn't any good on this day. When you have such a weak bullpen you hate to have to us 3 guys to nail down a blowout, especially when its the first game of a doubleheader.

I was also kind of surprised that Willie put his best lineup out there for the first game with Santana on the mound. Hopefully the lineup he uses in game 2 (I'm sure Alou won't play) will produce enough runs to cover Pelfrey and earn the sweep.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 12 Dodgers 1

I guess it was an unfortunate piece of timing that the Mets got their best pitched game of the year on the same day their offense finally erupted.

It must be something about Wednesday getaway games. The three times the Mets ended a series on a Wednesday they won 13-0 (third game of the year, against the Marlins), lost 13-1 (last week against the Pirates) and won 12-1.

I wish John Maine would have completed the game. It might be the only chance we get all season for a complete game. I understand why Willie took him out there, but I would have given him a little more rope.

After two horrible performances with men in scoring position it seemed like everyone was contributing. Even Maine and Castillo got run scoring hits. Neither of them pretty, but they were both effective.

Ryan Church is awesome. I still think he should be batting second but I understand why with Alou and Delgado out of the lineup, Willie moved him down.

Awesome catch by Angel Pagan.

But not as good as the catch by the guy holding the baby.

The Mets play their next 7 games against very weak teams, the Reds and the Nationals and they will miss superstar Edinson Volquez. They need to take 5 of 7.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Dodgers 5 Mets 4

This was a hard loss to take because they had so many chances and couldn't convert. It was the typical Mets loss, bad starting pitching, failure with men on base, the only difference this time was that the bullpen didn't blow it.

But it still isn't anywhere near as good as the Dodgers bullpen. The Mets got 11 baserunners off Kiroda in the first 3 1/13 innings. They got 4 baserunners over the next 5 2/3 and struck out for 11 of the 17 outs.

Nelson Figueroa's novelty is over. He is a decent pitcher, but he can only really go 5 innings, and even though this was his worst start of the season, I'm not expecting a major rebound from him. But if the other Mets starters were better and pitching deeper Figueroa's problems wouldn't be as pronounced.

On April 19th the Mets won to improve to 10-6. During that span they were 6-2 when Perez, Pelfrey and Figueroa started. Since then they are 6-9 and 1-8 when those three guys start. I could break it down even more but that's telling enough.

Why wasn't Angel Pagan backing up Church on that inside the park home run?

I can't believe Moises Alou is credited with stealing home.

The big play in this game was the 1-2-3 double play Church hit into in the 2nd. The 1-2-3 is always a killer but this was particularly bad because you knew the Mets were going to need a lot more than 3 runs to win the game.

Overall the Mets were 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position, and the 2 hits came in the first 3 chances. The last 6 chances were all strikeouts.

I know Delgado has been hitting better lately but if you saw him against Kuo you know that any pitcher with a good fastball can beat him inside. I honestly don't know why teams don't use this against him more often. Do they feel like if they overuse it he'll catch on and figure out what's coming. Is it guilt, like using a cheat code in a video game? Or do they not have confidence that they can get the fastballs far enough inside every time and fearing giving up a homer, like the one he hit off Webb that got too much of the plate?

After a good series in Arizona it would be very disappointing to get swept by the Dodgers and fall to .500.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Dodgers 5 Mets 1

It's always something with Oliver Perez. This time it wasn't the walks, he only allowed 2, it was the home runs. He had given up only one so far this season but gave up 3 in this game including one to Rafael Furcal, the first batter, on an 0-2 pitch.

That really set the tone, as did Sandy Alomar's horrible decision to hold Carlos Beltran at third on Delgado's double in the top of the second. He would have scored easily. Plus the Mets have to take chances because the bottom of their order is so bad. I honestly feel things would have been a lot different if they would have gotten at least one run back right then.

If Brian Schneider keeps playing like this he'll remind Mets fans of Mike Piazza. He struck out with a man on third and one out and threw two balls into center field on stolen base attempts.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a bullpen that could come in and pitch 3 perfect innings?

By the way, Alomar also made a mistake sending Beltran home on his triple. Beltran ignored Alomar's waving. Even though he would have been safe it would have been imprudent to gamble there with no outs, down 5 runs.

The Dodgers are holding themselves back with the same wrong-headed thinking the Mets fall victim to. They have so many talented young guys yet they spent money on old veterans like Luis Gonzalez, Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones. I have no idea why they signed Jones rather than give Kemp and Ethier the corner spots with Pierre in center. Now that Jones is literally one of the worst players in the majors this year (194 out of 197 qualifiers in terms of OPS) I'm sure they're regretting that move.

Just for your information, Castillo is 181 on that list.

Since being demoted to the 8th spot Castillo is 0 for 10 (part of an 0 for 17 streak). He's come up 6 times with 2 outs and obviously made the third out all 6 times. So 5 times (one of those at bats ended a game) he couldn't even reach base just to ensure Reyes could lead off the next inning.

The Mets are now 2-5 when Perez starts. In his 7 starts he's given up 5 runs or more 4 times and 0 runs 3 times. This is what I wrote about him in my season preview "he can pitch shutouts and dominate, but he can also get wild and give up home runs" and so far he has been much worse than I expected.

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Happy Recap: Mets 5 Diamondbacks 2

This victory wasn't so much a matter of the Mets taking it, but of the Diamondbacks giving it away, but maybe not as much as you think.

The Mets earned their first two runs, a clutch single by Reyes and a crushed homer by David Wright.

But the end of the game is where the Diamondbacks blew it.

That Chris Burke bunt was such a range of emotions, first I thought Feliciano would throw him out, then I thought he'd be safe at first, then I thought he'd get to second on the wild throw, then I thought he'd be at third with no outs and I thought for sure the Mets were going to lose, then Church made a great play and a great throw and the Mets dodged a bullet.

I actually don't think it was such a bad risk by Burke because as you saw the Mets needed a perfect play to get him. And a runner on 3rd with no outs is almost a guaranteed run. I think that was a calculated gamble that didn't work out, that time.

And the Conor Jackson error on Delgado's grounder did allow Beltran to score, but with 1st and 3rd and one out Schneider hopefully would have gotten the run in, plus they couldn't have been playing for a double play, they would have had to be playing in.

Obviously, both those plays helped the Mets, but it wasn't as much of a gift as it seemed.

Johan Santana pitched well, well enough to win but 10 baserunners in 6 innings is too many, and 116 pitches in 6 innings is way too many. And asking the Mets bullpen to hold a 1 run lead for 3 innings is too much to ask of them.

And three wild pitches? That was strange too.

Jorge Sosa now leads the Mets in wins with 4.

Carlos Delgado might be on a little bit of a hot streak. I was glad to see that after he pulled that homer down the line, he didn't revert to trying to pull everything.

It might be time to jump on Carlos Beltran's back. I have been one of his biggest defenders during his time with the Mets but he has been awful this season. Other than the high walk total, he has done nothing.

Although Beltran is ahead of Delgado in all non-traditional but more important categories, on-base, slugging, Delgado is actually leading Beltran in all 3 triple crown categories.

After a miserable loss to the Pirates it was nice to see the Mets bounceback by taking 2 of 3 from the best team in the majors.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Diamondbacks 10 Mets 4

I think we have enough evidence know that we know Mike Pelfrey is never going to be anything more than a 5th starter in the majors. His stuff is good but he can't throw strikes, he gives up a ton of hits and he gets rattled very easily and melts down.

Pelfrey has made 5 starts this year and the Mets are 2-3 when he takes the mound. And because the bullpen is so bad the Mets can't afford their starters to throw so many pitches that they have to come out of games early.

Here are Pelfrey's 5 starts so far this year:
5 innings, 100 pitches
7 innings, 100 pitches
5 innings, 98 pitches
5 1/3 innings, 99 pitches
5 innings, 102 pitches

And when you do that you have a situation like this game. The Mets were only down 5-4 but if the bullpen has to pitch 3 innings or more they are going to give up runs every time. The only difference here was that Heilman and Sosa survived (barely) without giving up any runs, it was Duaner Sanchez who couldn't get anyone out. So if the Mets, whose lack of timely hitting has killed them this year, were to get a run off the Diamondbacks bullpen (as it turned out, they didn't) it wouldn't have mattered because Sanchez allowed five runs.

Up and down game for Carlos Delgado. First he helps Pelfrey blow an early lead with a piss poor back-handed effort on a ground ball that for some reason was scored a hit. Then he bounced back with what should have been a huge 3-run homer. You can see the plan was to pitch him inside, Webb just got that pitch a little too far out over the plate.

Regardless of how this game turned out I think we are seeing that the Mets need to keep Church in the 2 hole.

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Where We Stand

With 27 games down (exactly 1/6th of the season), the Mets are 15-12 which would translate into a 90-72 record for 162 games. Not bad considering how almost every facet of the team has been disappointing and almost every player has struggled at some point.
Also, it means any kind of improvement at all over the next 135 games should give the Mets enough wins to earn a playoff spot.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 7 Diamondbacks 2

There's just something about going to Arizona that wakes up the Mets bats.

You can talk about anyone you want, Johan Santana, Oliver Perez, Carlos Delgado, Aaron Heilman, but no one matters as much to the Mets' success as Jose Reyes. When he leads off with a triple, and then adds 3 more hits, the Mets are going to win games. He had a bad game in the blowout loss but in the past three games he's been on base 13 times in the last 4 games.

I think the only thing I enjoy more than watching Reyes leg out a triple is watching Reyes leg out inside the park home run (even if he gets thrown out at home). Do you think Reyes and Alomar knew that he needed a homer for the cycle when they elected to try for the inside the parker? I hope so. Do you think its bad sportsmanship to pursue individual goals like that.

Ryan Church is an excellent number 2 hitter and it will turn out to be a huge positive externaility of Alou's return that Church can now bat second. Willie cannot be stubborn and stick Castillo there. The Mets need someone with power in that spot.

David Wright also had a huge night also falling just short of the cycle.

I like the fact that even though he is struggling Beltran continues to draw walks and has a pretty decent on-base percentage. If he can keep this up with Alou back, it could provide Alou some good RBI chances.

I guess it's an accomplishment that John Maine made it through 6 innings but isn't this the type of game in which a starter should be able to pitch 7, 8 or even 9 innings? Why do all the Mets pitchers hit the 100 pitch mark in the 6th inning?

It's disappointing to have to use 3 relievers to protect a 5 run lead. Especially with the way the bullpen has been overused.

I was disappointed we didn't get to see the real Micah Owings on the mound or at the plate. The Mets walked him twice and pounded him because he has a bad ankle. It will not be as easy against Brandon Webb and Dan Haren.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Pirates 13 Mets 1

Mama said there'd be days like this.

In every season, every team has a few games like this. It happens. Generally it's not time to panic but there are a couple of things here worth pointing out.

Oliver Perez is now a major key to the season. If he's lost his control and can't get it back and devolves into the pitcher the Pirates dumped in the Nady trade, then the Mets are in big trouble. But in Perez's second start last season he walked 7 in 2 2/3 innings but rebounded nicely to have a good season.

Perez is also a major part of the team's future. If he has a bad year and is not worth resigning then the Mets enter the offseason with 2, maybe 3 (if Pelfrey comes around) solid starting pitchers.

For a guy who pitched a great game Game 7 I'm surprised at how weak mentally Perez is sometimes. After Castillo blew what should have been an inning-ending double play, Perez's meltdown got even worse and he couldn't even make it through the inning.

I still have no idea why they signed Castillo for 4 years.

For the second time in 5 games the Mets got 2-hit. On the bright side, Delgado got one of the hits.

Aaron Heilman pitched two good innings, confirming that he might be best suited to being a mop-up guy.

The start of the game was delayed 40 minutes because construction workers on CitiField accidentally broke a water main. Shea Stadium had no running water and they almost had to postpone the game rather than bring fans into a stadium with faucets that didn't work and toilets that didn't flush.

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