Thursday, August 25, 2005

Jinx Me

Mike Jacobs has four HR's in his first four major league games, including two tonight.

He had better be careful.

If he gets too good, he's going to wind up on the cover of Sports Illustrated, much like Jeff Francoeur (right).

Lucky for the Mets, it's Francoeur this week.

So what will be the calamity that befalls Francoeur? Injury? Slump? He gets a nickname like "Muffy" (it isn't much worse than "Chipper", is it?)

But Jacobs (single, double, two homers, four RBI's during Wednesday's 18-4 win), after getting off to that fast start needed to stick in a lineup filled out by veteran-partisan Willie Randolph, is fast becoming that spark that the Mets need to make noise. More amazing than the fast start is the pitches he is hitting...good breaking balls down in the zone. Yeah, it's Russ Ortiz, but that was still a damn good pitch that Jacobs hit...most rookies can't even recognize that pitch let alone hit it 400 feet.

And good for the Mets brass for taking a chance on a AA player who was injured most of the 2004 season. Not every organization would show that kind of patience in a pennant race. Of course, it took an injury to Doug Mientkiepipp, and a severe lack of power from the first base position to force the Mets into making the move...but it seemed as if Willie Randolph was the kind of manager who would sooner eat a cave dwelling spider than take Jose Offerman out of the lineup, even if the rookie in question did hit a HR on his first major league swing. But thankfully, Willie made the move.

***

It was sure disaster for Carlos Beltran as he hit a topper to second base with one out and the bases loaded and a chance to put the hammer down on the Diamondbacks in the second inning. But Craig Counsell got cute and threw the ball to first base...and then the fun began as Kaz Matsui got into a rundown long enough to let two runs score before the third out.

Ted Robinson, as usual, came up with the best way to wrap that play up: "If you're scoring that play at home...don't."

It was reminiscent of a play during Game 3 of the 1986 Series where Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez both occupied third base during a rundown...and somehow, Carter got back to second safely as Hernandez faked going home. It led to two more runs as the Mets used that first inning to get back into the Series.

That rundown just may turn out to be the most heads up play of the year...by of all people, Kaz Mat-boo-i.

***

I'm finally ready to forgive Fluff Castro for the baserunning goof against Pittsburgh. His good has far outweighed his bad.

***

Great camera shot by MSG during Wednesday's game, capturing Pedro Martinez trying to show Victor Zambrano a change-up.

***

With Victor Diaz tagging up from second to third on a fly ball to left center with a 17-0 lead in the 7th inning, it could lead to some sort of retaliation on Thursday, even though Kaz Matsui was plunked in the 8th inning tonight. And with Pedro Martinez pitching on Thursday, it could get very interesting...and very scary, if someone were to nail the Mets meal ticket with a lucky punch.

But even if Diaz was wrong to tag up, and even if Diaz's Met teammates didn't appreciate it, you have to retaliate if the Diamondbacks try any funny business. One of the most sickening things I've seen from the Mets was in Colorado, when the Rockies retaliated not once, not twice, but three times for Timo Perez's celebration after a game winning home run snapping a long losing streak (I think it was 12 games). The Mets let Rockies pitchers plunk John Valentin immediately after the home run, and threw behind Perez twice before David Weathers finally retaliated in the ninth inning.

Now it was common knowledge that Timo was not highly regarded in that clubhouse. But as long as his jersey still read "NEW YORK", you have to take care of your own...and the Mets reluctance to do so exposed a fractured room. The 2005 Mets don't have nearly the fractures on the room as that 2002 room had, so you would think that they would retaliate and protect Diaz. And while you don't want Diaz or Pedro to get hurt, I hope that any retaliation against Diaz will not go unnoticed.

***

From the "isn't it ironic" department: The Mets finally achieve a lead that Danny Graves can't blow.

And he isn't even on the team anymore.

***

OK, time to lay some stats on you (thanks to retrosheet.org):

The last time the Mets scored at least 14 runs in back to back games: you have to go all the way back to 1990 when the Mets won a 19-8 game in Wrigley on June 12th...then followed that up with a 15-10 victory in the first game of a doubleheader against the Cubs on the 13th.

Before that (if you think stats at Wrigley Field are a tad skewed), you have to go back to 1985, when the Mets won back to back games against Atlanta by scores of 16-4 (July 20th), and 15-10 (July 21st) at Shea Stadium.

***

And finally, with the success the Mets have enjoyed so far at the BOB, is there any chance they'll be a pool in the Mets bullpen when they come back home? It doesn't have to be elaborate...one of those inflatable ones will do.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

quick question for anyone out there...im not sure what this PIPP talk is about..i have seen it on other blogs dealing with mienky..but i cant seem to crack the code...if someone could fill me in, that would be great..

Thanks

Metstradamus said...

Wally Pipp was the first baseman who, because of injury, was replaced (at the time, it seemed harmless) by Lou Gehrig...who would abdicate first base 2,130 games later.

So when someone loses his job because of an injury, and a rookie replacement starts out hot, the Wally Pipp jokes are dusted off.

erik love said...

Met$tra, I have to admit man, your blog's the best around. Even better than mine!! Reyes is up to 20 walks now!!! If he get's to 30, Party at my crib. And yes your invited.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Wally Pipp, a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, to be exact! The local SABR chapter is named after him. He still has family in the area.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Metstra...

learn somethin new everyday

Metstradamus said...

No problem.

E-Love, "the best out there"? You must want to borrow money or something ;)

Darth Marc said...

Typical that a Mutt fan wouldn't get a Wally Pip reference...infidels

Anonymous said...

kind of like Rick Aguilara was David Cone's Pipp.

Metstradamus said...

Hey Darth Dick, if you're going to blast a Met fan for not knowing who Wally "I last played in 1928" Pipp was, you can at least spell "Pipp" right.

And just so you know, there are plenty of Yankee fans out there who don't know who the Yankee shortstop was before Derek Jeter, and that was 1995...for the team THEY ROOT FOR! So go back to your Flip Wilson blog and post another riveting Emperor Palpatine reference.

Freak.

Darth Marc said...

The answer to your question is Tony Fernandez...He's also the last Yankee to hit for the cycle in 1995....His leg injury hastened the promotion of Captain America....Randy Velarde also spent some time at short....

You're amusing Mookadamus, that's why I don't kill you....but my patience does have a limit infidel....

Then again, you're a Met fan and that's punishment enough...

Have fun in baseball hell.

Love,
Darth Marc

Metstradamus said...

Oooooooooooh, I'm a-scaaaaaaaaaaared!!!!