Sunday, July 31, 2005
Carlos Beltran even got in on the fun, with three hits and a game tying RBI against his old team. From scaredy cat to ferocious beast.
In fact, everyone of the starting eight had at lease one hit, and lineup slots 3-8 had at least two hits. A lot of it was taking advantage of the underbelly of the Houston bullpen, but the Mets knocked Roy Oswalt around pretty good too. Frustrating how the Mets make Roy Oswalt look like Ezequiel Astacio...and vice versa, no?
Well, now that Manny Ramirez trade rumors no longer holds the Mets' collective psyche held at gunpoint (not to mention the emotions of Mets fans around the world), it's time to review the moves that the Mets made at the trading deadline...
Lastings Milledge? Check.
Yousmeiro Petit? Check.
Brian Bannister? Check.
Gaby Hernandez? Mike Cameron? Braden Looper?
Check, check, check.
All right, it's not all good news.
Manny would have been great. Maybe not as great as advertised, but great nonetheless, and worth the effort. The good news, obviously, is that the farm is intact.
The bad news for me, is that the Braves and Marlins filled middle relief holes while the Mets did nothing...in effect, the Mets weren't thinking small enough. You don't think the Mets could have used Kyle Farnsworth or Ron Villone for their bullpen? In a way, it speaks to the weakness of the depth of the farm system. The Braves, with all of the rookies they have contributing, are able to spare a Ramon Colon and a Zach Miner to reel in Farnsworth. The Marlins can turn Yorman Bazardo and Mike Flannery into the 35 year old Villone without worry. The Mets farm meanwhile represents the shrinking middle class...top flight prospects, or retreads...no matches to acquire small pieces. It's just more evidence that the Mets should have thought about selling some this deadline time.
What Minaya is banking on (not that he had much choice), is that with the weight of the deadline gone, the players on the roster will right the ship themselves. Yeah, there could be a waiver trade coming, but for the most part, this is it. And these players have been a .500 team all season, so why would Omar expect that to change anytime soon?
Have you seen a worse series of umpiring than what you saw this four game series?
Let's see, Kyle Farnsworth teams up with Leo Mazzone..."Wonder twin powers, ACTIVATE!"
Waaaaaaaaaaaaah! Officer, he said mean things about me!
Great news that Majelique Lewis is OK. Metaphorical that he ran away from Yankee Stadium and showed up in Queens, no? Rumor has it he was found wearing a David Wright jersey.
Just goes to show you that people will go through extreme lengths to jump bandwagons these days.
But I'm going to give the Mets some credit here, not only for going for the gusto, but for setting a limit. Yeah, the Red Sox were getting hosed on the original deal...fine. But it's not up to the Mets to make life fair for everyone...just for themselves. Omar Minaya wants to bring top tier talent to Shea, but while letting everyone know that there is a limit. The Mets organization is using (gasp!) good judgement. Money? They'll front it. Prospects? They're willing to give them up. Not both. And good for them. Whether you want Manny or not, you have to give the Mets a lot of credit for not only being willing to go get him, but willing to walk away with a clear conscience if the deal doesn't work for them.
I wish the Mets lineup had as much guts as the Mets organization.
I wish the Mets lineup had any guts at all.
It's not comforting to know that Mike Cameron is freaked out by a date on a calendar. What will he do when September comes and he faces, in the perspective of baseball, real pressure. Mike's response to trade rumors:
It would be easy to say that Cameron's performance took a sharp downturn with each passing trade rumor...since the original Gary Sheffield rumor, Cammy is hitting .218. But really, there have been trade rumors involving Cameron all year long. The difference is, when the rumors heat up, Cameron wilts. It's just the way he reacted to Beltran. When he thought there was no chance in hades that Beltran was coming here, he offered to move to right field. When Beltran did sign, Cameron waffled a bit. Yeah, he eventually moved, but he proved then that when it comes time to face the music, he reacts differently. Which is fine, but not the kind of intestinal fortitude that it necessarily takes to play in New York.
Unfortunately, the rest of the team is following suit. Do you really think it's a coincidence that the Mets fall south as the trading deadline approaches? Think about it. Jose Reyes, who has no chance of getting dealt, has a 13 game hitting streak. David Wright, who has no chance of getting traded, recently concluded a 15 game hitting streak. Cameron? Four hits in his last 24 at bats. Cliff Floyd? Yeah, he's been traded a bunch near the deadline so you know he's traumatized, but he's four for his last 25.
Then there's Carlos Beltran.
What exactly happened to the player who shone the brightest individually on baseball's grandest stage in 2004? Somehow, he became the same player who went back to Houston as a visiting player in front of an energized Astros crowd against him, and responded by getting one hit.
Adversity? There's Carlos Beltran, cowering in the corner like a scare-dy cat.
I hate the Yankees. Hate 'em long, hate 'em hard. So it pains me to use this as a reference. But do you see how they respond to pressure? Never mind their championship seasons...just look at today. They had a two run deficit against an elite closer. What did they do? Scratch and claw their way back to win the game.
The Mets were down 2-0 against an elite closer tonight as well. What did they do? They went down 1-2-3 in about 90 seconds. They didn't even make it interesting.
What did I expect? They made Ezequiel Astacio look like Christy Mathewson. Wandy Rodriguez mind as well have been Steve Carlton. But hey, the Mets aren't familiar with those, right? Familiarality didn't help them against Andy Pettite tonight, did it? It isn't going to help them against Roy Oswalt, will it? (Unless Oswalt decides to unleash the beast known as Cliff Floyd by drilling him in the chops, forcing him to unleash a can of whoop-ass in front of 50,000 Astros fans on Oswalt...that might be the best thing to happen to the Mets. So Roy Oswalt better ask himself a question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk??)
And therein lies the difference. The Yankees give their fans results. The Mets give their fans excuses. Unacceptable. This is proof that Omar Minaya's job is even tougher than advertised. He's got to find a way to make this club better, and in turn change the culture from a team that finds excuses to lose, to a team that refuses to lose. And he has less than sixteen hours to do it. Bless his heart, he's trying.
But is this 2005 team worth the effort...worth the big acquisition...worth pillaging the farm for?
Sorry, I say no.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
To carry Jose Offerman's equiptment bag?
Because the Mets didn't have enough guys under contract with an arrest record?
The Mets needed another old, slow player with no real position and a sickly bat?
Is there something that I'm missing here? I mean, it's bad enough my head is spinning from all of these Manny rumors...was it all a rouse to distract the Mets community while trying to sneak this past us without notice?
Does this make sense to anyone except maybe Wil Cordero? Does it even make sense to Wil Cordero?
I should come up with some nice little diatribe to wrap this all up (isn't that what a blog is for?) But I'm tired, so this is the best I've got:
Doesn't Shoppach, in this photo, look like Jack Parkman from Major League II?
From Wallball Single:
I thought the MVP of the Red Sox first World Series win since 1918 would have to be found in bed with the proverbial dead girl or live boy to be getting the treatment Manny has gotten from the media this year.
I have no doubt in my mind that if Ted Williams played in this day of free agency - the Boston "knights of the keyboard" would have long ago driven him from town. Has Manny spent time in left field pretending to swing a bat while a ball is being hit at him? Given the home crowd the finger? Yup - no doubt in my mind that Williams would have long bailed out of Boston because of the negative press.
From Joy of Sox:
Boy, you’d think Manny was caught picking up kittens from the humane society and murdering them in his home.
Now, do I wish Manny hustled every moment? Sure. But he doesn’t. At some point in a season, he’s gonna go through a little stretch where the air flows out of him. He’ll blow a couple defensive plays in a row. He’ll jog down the line. But then he’ll lock back in and hit .380 for 3 weeks.
So, Huff and Cameron for Manny, Sanchez and Shoppach?!? You have got to be kidding me. ... "More pieces"? Pedro?From Fenway Nation:
I say, resoundingly, “Don’t do it!"...Does anyone out there in the Nation think that we can get anywhere near equivalent value for Manny? Mike Cameron! Aubrey Huff! Not in this sector of the Milky Way. The only positive result that can come out of a Manny dump is the salary relief—not an inconsequential factor. But, where does that leave the 2005 prospects of your first-place, defending World Champions? Forget it. Throw this entire year out the window. Our slogan could be “Look For The Fix In '06!”
From Red Sox Reality Check:
How much passion is enough? At times, Manny makes dynamic catches, and his twelve outfield assists aren't enough. But you can't put up numbers on the bench, and how can't Terry Francona feel 'torqued off' by Manny. Obviously, Manny is a sensitive guy, and he's good with the younger players, and most of the fans recognize the man can flat out hit. The Sox knew what they were getting when they brought the elephant to the party, hoping their fence would get knocked down. Now they reap what they sow.
L'affaire ROOTS (Royal Order of The Splinter) only answers to 'saving face'. Manny played hookey, and can best extricate himself, Terry Francona, the team, and management with a simple apology. I truly believe that he was tired, and wanted a day off. Hell, I'm tired and want a day off. A true professional works through it, 'sucking it up', but who among us doesn't have some shortcomings. Yeah, we don't make twenty million, but sometimes we forget to show up for an event, or don't pay a bill on time, or don't tell our wife and kids that we love them often enough. It's never enough. Honestly.
Manny doesn't have to kiss anybody's butt here. A simple 'I am truly sorry and will try to do better,' is enough.
Does it piss me off when he doesn't run out a ground ball? Damn right it does. Same with when he misses an easy fly ball, or gets nailed trying to turn a bloop single into a double. And we all have every right to get mad about those things, because they are events that lessen our team's chance of winning.
Where some cross the line, however, is the point where those criticisms become indictments. Somewhere along the line, disappointment starts to look like betrayal. That's the point where we need to step back. The life of a fan is a frustrating one; we don't play the game, or influence the team in any meaningful way on a personal level, yet we care. They are the team, and we want them to care as we do. We want to see fire like we see in ourselves. And when we don't, rooting for them with that level of passion seems hollow. Why do I care so much what Manny does when Manny doesn't seem to?
But that's not Manny's fault; it's ours.
We don't really know Manny Ramirez. None of us do. We think we do, because to us he's an image on a screen, or a line in the box score. He's a baseball player, the epitome of our dreams. But we don't know him. We don't know what he wants, what he thinks, what he feels. We don't know what's going through his mind when he faces down Mariano Rivera, or rounds first after a homer, or stands in left field, or runs to first after a ground ball. In the end, does it matter? For us, baseball is a game, a hobby, a passion, or a way of life. For some baseball players it is too. For others, it is a business, a job, a way of supporting their families. Maybe that matters to us, but should it? When Keith Foulke tells us that the thing he likes most about closing is the paycheck, we get angry, but how many of us haven't said the exact same thing about our jobs? We may put spiritual meaning into baseball, but that doesn't mean the players have to. They get paid to do a job.
Manny's job is to play baseball, and to help the Red Sox win ballgames. He does it extremely well. That should be our only criteria; when we start applying our own motives to theirs, we'll be disappointed every time.
PRO: Manny produces runs. His 28 HR's, 92 RBI's, .571 slg, .941 ops and 51 walks would all lead the Mets.
CON: If Cameron is in the Manny trade, and assuming that the lineup starts with Reyes, Beltran, Floyd, and Manny, Ramirez would be going from batting behind three players with OPS's of .873 (Damon), .738 (Renteria) and .931 (Ortiz), to batting behind three players with OPS's of .691 (Reyes), .753 (Beltran), and .879 (Floyd). So expect the pace that got him to 92 RBI's to go down.
PRO: Manny would give players like Floyd, Beltran, and even David Wright better pitches to hit, and more runners on base, perhaps driving their numbers up.
CON: Shea Stadium is bound to knock Ramirez's numbers down...Manny's power numbers on the road (14 HR, 49 RBI's) are actually similar to those at home (14 HR's, 43 RBI's). But he has had 59 more AB's on the road. A more telling stat is his OPS splits, which show 1.017 at Fenway, but only .896 away from Boston.
PRO: That .896 OPS on the road would still lead the Mets, where David Wright leads the regulars with a .885 OPS.
CON: He's brutal against lefthanders, hitting only .212 this season, with 6 HR's and 19 RBI's.
PRO: Ramirez would be in a somewhat familiar clubhouse, with former teammates Pedro Martinez and Doug Mientkiewicz in the room.
CON: Manny was in a familiar clubhouse in 2003, and still had issues carousing while injured, and also refusing to play a game for Grady Little (sound familiar). And here is something to think about...We all thought Pedro was the diva coming in, and he's been the perfect citizen. I say this with nothing to go on, but could Manny have been the bad influence on Pedro all along? Would Pedro revert to diva-ish ways with the presence of Ramirez in the lockerroom?
Besides, there's no urinal in the left field wall at Shea. He would either have to go all the way to the clubhouse from left field to do his business during a pitching change (and with Shea being a bigger ballpark, that might not be a feasible option), or run to whatever urinal is in the visitors bullpen (same principle).
PRO: If Beltran becomes your number two hitter, it could in turn make him a better hitter, and spark him to make better contact.
CON: If Reyes doesn't get on base more often, it could render Beltran completely useless in the two hole. Is that any way to spend $119 million?
CON: Manny weakens your outfield in two spots...who goes to right field? Floyd or Manny? If you move Manny to right, well does he have the arm for right field? And if you move Floyd to right, you weaken left field, and you take a chance that Floyd doesn't have the arm for right field.
Or is it Cliff Floyd who is the "key player" that the Mets refuse to give up in the deal? In this case, Cameron stays in right field, but you defeat the purpose of giving yourself a potent offense? Because Manny's arrival would be to enhance Floyd, not replace him.
All things to think about as you make YOUR decision on whether you want Manny Ball at Shea.
These were the two games of the series that the Mets were supposed to win. Now that they're lost forever, maybe the Astros should sit Oswalt and Pettite in favor of the two little leaguers pictured here...we all know if the Mets aren't familiar with a pitcher, they're not going to hit him (or her)!
Yeah, Kris Benson was off tonight, but I'll say it again, for as many times as Benson has kept the Mets in the game through anemic offense and all, he deserved better. He did commit the cardinal sin of giving runs back immediately after the Mets scored in the 6th, but to get two runs in that ball park off of Wandy Rodriguez is inexcusable! Their offensive output during the last 5 games has been incomprehensible!!! And if this Manny Ramirez trade goes through, every hitter in this lineup along with hitting coach Rick Down will have the blood of Lastings Milledge and Yousmeiro Petit on their hands, for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays will no longer be the Tampa Bay Devil Rays...they'll be the Binghamton Mets! For if only Beltran and company hit to their ability this road trip, then the Mets wouldn't even think about raping their farm system.
Friday, July 29, 2005
Alfonso Soriano: Line set at 4-1. With the Phil Nevin for Chan Ho Park trade official, the Rangers now absolutely have to get pitching...and this just might be the trade that drives Soriano's price down, because now the Rangers need pitching as much if not more than the Mets need hitting. Zambrano, Petit, and a lower rung pitcher not named Gaby might make this happen.
Daryle Ward/Jose Mesa: Line set at 5-1. I'm setting the line at 4-1 even though people in the know seem to think these players are the most likely scenario...this deal, in my very humble opinion, is the type of trade that would be the next Jason Bay type deal, where a low level prospect turns into the 2006 rookie of the year. With the way the Mets are playing at this very moment, would it be worth it? Benson and Zambrano were a more useful tandem than Ward and Mesa may turn out to be.
Aubrey Huff: Line set at 8-1. Considering that the Red Sox are going after Huff hard, I'm raising this line...
Danys Baez: Line set at 6-1. ...while lowering this one. The only issue now is Chuck Lamar and his outrageous demands. It looks as if Omar is holding strong in terms of not giving up too much.
Jorge Julio: Line set at 15-1. With Mike Cameron slumping, this could be the deal that happens, and it makes sense. (Since Larry Bigbie has been wheeled to Colorado for Eric Byrnes, the line goes up a little bit.)
Sean Casey: Line set at 20-1. Casey is the same type of hitter Mientkiewicz is, and even though logic says that a spray hitter would do well in a bigger ball park, Mientkiewicz killed that theory, so logic also says that Casey isn't coming to Shea. We all know that Logic usually takes a vacation around the end of July.
Eddie Guardado: Line set at 25-1. The Mets are in need of bullpen help, but right now they're more in need of a stick. Guardado, at 34, is a little aged for Minaya's liking, but may have a few years left in them. I think Minaya would bring up Richie Sexson in any Guardado talks, which with Sexson's numbers this season would end the conversation.
J.T. Snow: Line set at 30-1. Snow has been mentioned, but is too old to fit into Omar Minaya's "win now and in the future" policy. Snow, as mentioned in the article, would rather back up Lance Niekro than pick up and move.
Richie Sexson: Line set at 40-1. Sexson, even during a horrid season by the Mariners, is putting up big numbers in a pitchers park. There are a lot of other parts that Seattle is looking to move which would build a future, and hopefully for the M's a near future, built around Sexson. I don't think he'll be moved.
Adam Dunn: Line set at 100-1. If the Reds trade Dunn, they're dumber than we all thought. Many will say they're not that bright to begin with though so anything is possible. They're going to ask for the world. But if any player is worth the world...
Manny Ramirez: Line set at 125-1. Late word lowers the line, and the line drops by the second...but considering the complexity of the deal, it's still the longest shot on the board. The Mets, Red Sox, and Devil Rays have until noon on Saturday to get the trade done. If this deal doesn't go through, these odds will go dramatically down during the off season, when the Mets may very well get him. No longer will I say that there's no way the Red Sox will move him while they are in first place, because obviously they will. But they stand a better chance justifying a Manny trade to their fans in the off season. Besides, there is no place in left field for Manny to get away and get some "relief".
Editors note: Now that the Manny trade has gone past the rumor stage and now in the "deadline stage", the Red Sox basically HAVE to trade him now. Don't be surprised if it is still not until the off season though...there are way too many moving parts.
The Andy Fletcher call on Mike Cameron dropping the fly ball after he caught it and was exchanging it from glove to hand was preposterous. But in another example of guts and soul, Pedro Martinez didn't allow it to get to him, and he got out of the eighth inning without a scratch. There are a couple of Met pitchers who could learn from that performance...I won't mention Kaz Ishii by name.
Sports Illustrated uses a pictorial essay to run down the worst ever deadline deals. Four of them involve the Mets. Three of them involved aren't good.
Jacob Luft of Sports Illustrated is for the Soriano trade. But according to various New York Post scribes, Soriano talks have cooled, Manny Ramirez has been discussed but is unlikely to happen, and Rays closer Danys Baez has become the focus (and Chuck Lamar apparently isn't asking for Jeff Wilpon's first born this time.) Also, Mike Cameron is very tradeable.
Editor's note: Scratch the notion that Chuck Lamar has found his marbles. According to the Daily News, Lamar has asked for either Jose Reyes or David Wright for Baez.
Thank you Jim Duquette and Jeff Wilpon, for creating this monster at the trading deadline last year. Good grief.
The Mets? Their collective mouths run dry.
Of course, they waste that opportunity against a pitcher they're not familiar with (an excuse that is getting older by the game), and the Astros come back and win 3-2 on a walk off double by Brad Ausmus. So let's review...they've scored a total of 8 runs in three games which were started by Jose Acevedo, Jeff Francis, and tonight, Ezequiel Astacio. This Mets lineup is practically holding Omar Minaya at gunpoint...forcing him to trade more of the future for Alfonso Soriano.
Soriano is a good hitter, no doubt about it. But is he the type of hitter that is less prone to slumps than any hitter that's in the Mets lineup right now? Well, Soriano has been consistent, never going more than two games without a hit, which he's done 4 times. Compare that to Cliff Floyd, who has gone four games without a hit once, and that slump was in a stretch where he went eleven out of fourteen games without a hit. Carlos Beltran went three games without a hit, and went two games without a hit four times. He has struck out 79 times in 397 AB's, an average of .19899 K's per at bat, slightly more than Floyd's .18786, and Beltran's .18256 K's per at bat (all slightly less than 1 K per 5 ab's). Comparable numbers, not drop dead head and shoulders above everyone, however.The question now becomes, is he worth the risk for this season? Well, the deal seems to have a lot of questions about the prospects coming back. I think this is only worth Lastings Milledge if Adrian Gonzalez comes back as well. If the deal is expanded to say, Gonzalez and Soriano for Milledge, Heilman/Zambrano (preferably the older Zambrano), and perhaps Yousmeiro Petit, that might be something to consider. Perhaps the Mets are hoping to replace one of the minor leaguers with Mike Cameron, unless Cameron is wheeled to Baltimore for Jorge Julio and Larry Bigbie. Then you have Aubrey Huff's name creeping up as well. It really is enough to make your head spin.
And if the loss to Houston with Pettite and Oswalt on the docket is any indication, the Mets may not be doing themselves any favors by trading away their prospects to go for it this season. I just hope that if Soriano is on his way in, that the farm isn't on it's way out. Tim Hudson went to Atlanta for basically nothing, so there must be better deals out there for a guy like Soriano, who at 29 fits Minaya's creed for help now and in the future, so it seems increasingly likely that this trade is an inevitablity.
To me, Soriano would be an improvement, but not at the expense of the farm. It's just too bad that the current Mets lineup, which should be good enough, is forcing Omar Minaya's hand.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Nineteen years later, this is another series that gives me the willies. When you look at the pitching matchups and go solely on them, this series should be a split.
Thursday: Pedro Martinez (12-3, 2.79 ERA) vs. Ezequiel Astacio (1-4, 8.24 ERA)
Friday: Kris Benson (7-3, 3.14 ERA) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (5-4, 6.18 ERA)
Saturday: Tom Glavine (7-8, 4.69 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (8-7, 2.73 ERA)
Sunday: Kaz Ishii (3-9, 4.96 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt (14-8, 2.33 ERA)
But as you know, starting pitchers can't in themselves predict outcomes. Pedro Martinez faced D.J. Houlton last Saturday in what everyone thought would be a wipeout...yet the Mets needed to get to the Dodgers bullpen to get the victory. Wandy Rodriguez has an inflated ERA, but in his last eight starts he's been better than that 6.18 ERA indicates. So this is a scary series.
The Mets absolutely have to win the first two games against rookies. Why? Very simply: Oswalt, and Pettite. Oswalt is 4-0 with a 1.64 ERA in the month of July. Pettite is also 4-0 with a 1.13 ERA. Combine that with Roger Clemens (who the Mets miss this turn), who is 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA in July, and you have your answer as to why the Astros have come back from their dismal start, and why they are they have the best Astros threesome since Nolan Ryan, Bob Knepper, and the cheater Mike Scott (above).
Yeah, Tom Glavine can win (doubtful), and Kaz Ishii is in line for his "good start" (what, you mean you're not holding your breath either?), but they are going to have to take it up about 10,000 notches to beat this team in the juice box. This Astros team, with Washington dropping like a cheeseburger in Mo Vaughn's stomach, has the inside track on the wild card. They're hot, they're ahead of the Mets in the standings, and they have great starting pitching. The Mets are now asked to hang in with them.
And don't get arrested.
Don't be surprised if the Orioles take another run at Mets center fielder Mike Cameron this weekend, offering reliever Jorge Julio as the bait. Several rival clubs have a higher opinion of outfielder Larry Bigbie than the Orioles do. One executive thinks that Bigbie, a lefthanded hitter, could be a lesser version of Paul O'Neill.Bigbie has struggled this season, at .249/.316/.376 in 65 AB's, and only reached triple digits in games once, in 2004 when Bigbie posted a respectable .280/.341/.427 in 478 AB's. But if scouts see Paul O'Neill, then maybe he's worth taking a chance on. Remember, when Roberto Kelly was traded for O'Neill in 1993, a good portion of Yankee fans thought the Reds got the better end of the deal going away. And if he doesn't become O'Neill, then he would only be the throw in for the deal along with Julio anyway, no?
I still believe the trade was terrible. I'll believe that until the cows, chickens, and rottweilers come home. But you've got to give Victor Zambrano all the credit in the world for facing a sweep in a tough ball park for pitchers, the same park where his shoulder went out last year...and coming up big when the Mets really needed him. And he even jump started the lineup for their big six-run fifth with, of all things, a bunt single! Crazy game this baseball.
As for the hate list, Carlos Beltran, as did the whole lineup, bounced back as they should for tonight's 9-3 win, so he's off the list. And I'll take Cameron off too because he didn't hurt the club tonight (he didn't play...I may hate, but I'm a teddy bear at heart, so Cameron comes off). And besides, his replacement hit his first two home runs of the season! (Well, his first two conventional home runs.) So, huttah (!) to you, Marlon Anderson!
And kudos to you, Ramon Castro, for your home run and three RBI's. I think I'm ready to forgive you for the Pittsburgh debacle.
Now for a set of four in the juice box against the Astros. They'll miss Koby Clemens' lunatic father in the series. Now don't get swept and cause Omar do make any rash decisions, whaddaya say?!?
What was with Marcos Carvajal peeking back at Castro getting set behind the plate? You're a pitcher! Don't peek!!!
How come every time there's a shot of the Rockies bullpen I think Steve Irwin is going to come out with a leopard from beyond those damn trees? Blimey!
Decaf Minky, decaf! It was a strike.
Only Danny Graves, who mopped up the last two innings, can make a seven run lead seem slim.
Lots of interesting former Met tidbits:
Mike Hampton goes back on the DL after he strains his back getting out of the hot tub that he was in to loosen up his back.
Kenny Rogers' appeal is denied...he now has to watch tape of his bases loaded walk to Andruw Jones over and over again for twenty games.
Jason Phillips allows Ryan Freel to steal off of him on Wednesday night...FIVE TIMES! If Pudge Rodriguez has a rifle for an arm, Jason Phillips has a super soaker.
Hideo Nomo is picked up by the Yankees, which means they have two former 1998 Mets in their rotation.
Speaking of which, I know Al Leiter started his career with the Yankees, but this looks weird.
James Baldwin got the save on Wednesday against the team that most recently released him.
Now if Mark Simon had a website named "Ex-Met walkoffs", these two Wednesday items would be for him:
Marco Scutaro walks off again. Tell me again who Marco Scutaro was released in favor of?
Jeromy Burnitz also walks off. He also got a pie in the face for his efforts. Burnitz claims he enjoyed the pie from Ryan Dempster, but if you saw him immediately walk off the field afterwards without finishing the interview, you would have thought differently.
It was Burnitz's second walk off RBI in the last three games.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
"If the rumors are any guide, the Mets want to upgrade at second base before doing anything else. That would be a misplay on the part of GM Omar Minaya. The injury to grossly ineffective second baseman Kaz Matsui was actually a boon to the Mets. It gets Matsui off the field, and the Mets have plenty of internal options to replace him: Miguel Cairo, Marlon Anderson and Chris Woodward on the 25-man roster and Victor Diaz and Anderson Hernandez in the minors. As for first base, the Mets have been making do with the likes of Doug Mienkiewicz and Jose Offerman. Not surprisingly, they haven't provided adequate production by first base standards. Shea is a brutal park for right-handed power hitters, but so is Safeco, where Sexson is slugging .512 on the season. On the road this year, Sexson is hitting a robust .302 AVG/.407 OBP/.581 SLG. From Seattle's perspective, they get a mid-grade prospect or two out of the deal and get out from under the $40 million or so remaining on Sexson's contract."
Didn't it seem like long long ago that Richie Sexson's name was linked to the Mets when he was a free agent? This name has not come up before during these in-season hot stove discussions, but it's interesting. Richie Sexson could be one of those low risk high reward guys that could come rather cheaply in terms of prospects...at least in relation to the Alfonso Soriano rumors. Even his overall numbers (with Safeco stats thrown in) are impressive: 24 HR's, 77 RBI's, .360 OBP and .541 SLG. The question would be: Sexson has about $45 million left on his deal which runs out after the 2008 season. Would the Mets be willing to eat that money? They had better if they don't want to give up grade A prospects for him. I wonder what the Mariners would ask for Sexson...
It would be easy to blame Chris Woodward for tonight's 4-3 loss, and after his two out error on Jose Reyes' throw which led to three Rockie runs, you can. I'm not willing to go ballistic on him that because Woodward has been so clutch for the Mets. But for the MSG announce team to blame the error on the fact that Woodward isn't an experienced first baseman is a tad ridiculous. Reyes' throw wasn't in the dirt, Woodward didn't have to jump for it, and it didn't pull him off the bag. Therefore, the ball should have been caught...and you don't need to have more than, oh I don't know, one game's experience at first base to make that throw. Woodward blew the play, plain and simple. It happens.
But Ted Robinson and, yes even Fran Healy redeemed themselves in their assessment of tonight's starter, Kaz Ishii. Ishii still had every chance to pick up for Woodward and bail him out without a scratch...and he didn't. It's not like Woodward has been a butcher for the Mets at first...for the most part, he's been fine. So when he does blow one, here's an idea: help him out! At a certain point, you have to show some heart and some guts and some mental ability. Giving up an RBI single and a two run dinger when the going gets tough as Ishii did isn't the way you go about that. And there, I agree completely with Robinson and, yes Healy.
As for Cameron, man what an awful night. Four K's, including one in the seventh and one to end the game...both with the tying run on second. It's hard to say what he may or may not be doing to his trade value. But with each empty at-bat in a big spot, he's proving himself more and more expendable, which in turn may lead to the exodus of Lastings Milledge if you believe the rumors. And that may turn out to be Cameron's biggest strikeout.
And as for you Carlos Beltran, one for nine at Coors Field isn't going to do you any favors with the fans. In fact, I'm getting increasing pressure from my readership to place you on the hate list. I don't know how long I'm going to be able to keep the wolves at bay, Carlos. Don't let "New Mets" stand for "New Ways to Lose Mets".
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Rule of thumb: if you're interested in a player, and you notice that not only is the player slightly overweight, slightly inept in the field, and despite being a fairly anonymous major leaguer has a website dedicated to his shortcomings, it's probably not a good idea to pursue him.
Think Mo Vaughn-lite...or maybe Mo Vaughn-less heavy.
And there were even some dogs in the stands too.
When the Mets scored three to take the lead in the fourth, it seemed as if everything was going to be all right...it was the second time through the line up for Jose Acevedo...wait a minute, Jose Ace-WHO? The Mets couldn't muster more than one stinkin' rally off of Jose Acevedo? It was his first start of the season? One rally?
And an "attaboy" for Tom Glavine. When he really needed to, he threw a perfect strike...of course the perfect strike was the paper cup he threw down to the floor in the dugout.
It was the 1998 All-Star game at Coors Field all over again, except that instead of Robby Alomar, Alex Rodriguez, and Cal Ripken doing the damage, Glavine was beaten by the immortal Danny Ardoin and future Hall of Famer Anderson Machado.
Meanwhile, Omar Minaya is waking up John Hart from a deep nap by calling his cell phone to beg for Alfonso Soriano...and after tonight Minaya will offer Hart the entire Binghamton Mets roster, the rights to Mr. Met, and ten Premio Sausage stands. "We need a stick!" he says nervously after the Mets couldn't hit Mike DeJean.
MIKE DEJEAN for the love of God...MIKE DEJEAN!!!!!
Okay, I'm not going to panic yet. Tonight's 5-3 loss aside, there are still two games left with the Rockies. As long as they take the series they'll be all right...
Kaz Ishii pitches tomorrow, doesn't he?
I obviously picked a bad week to stop eating lead based paint.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Speaking of the Rockies, this is a squad has about a million games to make up in the increasingly putrid N.L. West. On top of that, they'll go the rest of the way without their best starter, Jason Jennings, who fell victim to a finger injury. Considering what former Rockies reliever Jay Witasick said recently, the Rockies are a team which should be pummeled this week, and pummeled mightily:
"In Colorado, the rebuilding came at the expense of winning...we were always anticipating a way we'd get beat."
Sounds like this group needs therapy, not a pitching coach.
Now also consider that their fans have a complex, as evidenced by this recent write-up about the prevailing feelings of the fan base.
Hey, at least the Avalanche come back in October. Could Clint Hurdle find some at bats for Peter Forsberg if the Avs buy him out?
Monday: Tom Glavine (7-7, 4.62 ERA) vs. Jose Acevedo (1-0, 3.92 ERA)
Tuesday: Kaz Ishii (3-8, 5.15 ERA) vs. Jeff Francis (8-7, 5.57 ERA)
Wednesday: Victor Zambrano (4-9, 3.86 ERA) vs. Jamey Wright (5-10, 5.30 ERA)
Mets career averages at Coors Field:
Cliff Floyd: .247/.310/.528 in 89 AB's
Mike Piazza: .388/.439/.735 in 170 AB's (A visitor's view of Piazza's Coors Field numbers)
Marlon Anderson: .424/.441/.515 in 33 AB's
Mike Cameron: .333/.467/.611 in 36 AB's
David Wright: .429/.429/.643 in 14 AB's
Carlos Beltran: .385/.467/.846 in 13 AB's
Jose Reyes has zero career ab's at Coors Field, but may be the key with his speed in spacious Coors, so Joker, Joker, and a triple!
Carlos Beltran would like to see the Mets make an acquisition before the deadline.
The Mets have reportedly been talking turkey regarding Alfonso Soriano...but the Rangers are also starting to showcase Adrian Gonzalez, who the Mets might (should?) also be looking at. Prospect for prospect?
St. John's reliever Craig Hansen has signed with the Red Sox. Will he grace the Sox pen before the end of the season?
Sunday, July 24, 2005
So let me get this straight...it makes sense for the Mets to trade a center fielder who is currently playing out of position for an older center fielder to come to New York and play out of position? It makes sense for the Mets to trade for someone who already vetoed a trade to the Mets once before? It makes sense for the Mets to acquire a man whose hamstrings look like that marinated shredded chicken featured in Taco Bell's spicy burrito? In what universe does this make sense...exactly?
Let it be reiterated that I am a big fan of Harold Reynolds. But Metstradamus cannot sanction Mr. Reynolds' line of thinking...especially since Ken Griffey Jr. is a charter member of the Hall of Hate.
Speaking of smoking dope and the Hall of Hate: I put together a 25 man roster of players I hate, not a roster of 25 guys I want to see the Mets trade for! If any Mets official reads this blog, they obviously misunderstood...so stop these trading for Jeff Kent thoughts right now!!! He's OLD! He's a CANCER! Have I mentioned the OLD part? Why don't you torture me more by signing David Cone so you can trade him for Kent? And what is Ryan Thompson doing these days? The Mets don't have quite enough 300 strikeout hitters in their lineup, so he can come back too. Maybe you can get Gene Walter to anchor the middle relief! What's next? Bobby Bonilla III? Al Harazin II? David Wells I?
There's a saying: "Been there, done that, bought the DVD." We've been driven down this road, the car crashed into a brick wall, and the DVD is called "The 1993 Mets highlight video", all of 34 seconds long. Before you go down that same road, stop...breathe, and turn the Volvo around.
STOP THE INSANITY!!!
You really can't make this stuff up.
ESPNEWS' Anthony Amey teased Sunday's Red Sox/White Sox matchup as the "Battle of the Hose".
The Prostitutional Union of Laboring Ladies (P.U.L.L.) is currently picketing the Bristol, CT offices for the slanderous comment.
(This is what's known as a "joke grenade". It's not going to hit you right away, but it will hit you if you think about it. Hint: repeat the line "battle of the hose" out loud.)
That's ace credentials.
After today's 120 pitch masterpiece against Los Angeles, it is apparent that the possibilities are endless when it comes to this pitching staff...if Steve Trachsel gives the Mets anything more than what Kaz Ishii has given, you have a team that could steal a playoff series or two as long as Pedro, Benson, Zambrano, Trachsel and Tom Glavine can keep the Mets in games. This, of course, is providing that the Mets get that far. But Omar Minaya has the right idea in that regard...this is the point of the season where starting pitching can wear down other teams. As long as Zambrano doesn't regress, and Glavine stays somewhat consistent, the Mets will be in it until the end. And if Zambrano and/or Glavine falter, Aaron Heilman is waiting in the wings.
But none of this is possible without Kris Benson. Pedro Martinez is a hall of famer, but he can't do it alone...as long as Benson keeps pitching the way he's been pitching, the days of long losing streaks and slumps are over.
The sanest moment in the Mets game you're watching is Braden Looper pitching the ninth inning.
Saturday's 7-5 win over the Dodgers may have been the strangest game yet. Pedro Martinez not having his best stuff. Carlos Beltran looking like Bernie Williams in the outfield. Miguel Cairo being introduced to the concept of sunglasses. Very strange.
Jose Reyes was the star. He had four hits, including a triple which drove in the tying run in the seventh inning. Reyes prompted this quote from Pedro:
The misplay by Beltran in the first, which cost the Mets two runs, lent credence to Mike Cameron's assertion that Shea is the toughest center field to play in the league. Incredibly, even though the ball went off Beltran's glove, Olmedo Saenz was given credit for a double.
"When I'm finished, I'll get the best seat to see him play...I'll pay whatever price to see him play."
(Mike DeJean argued that David Wright should have gotten an error on that play.)
Beltran also misplayed a Jayson Werth fly ball into a double, looping around to try and bucket catch it, instead of backhanding it. I wonder if part of his problem is that he plays too deep, perhaps wearing out a "Strawberry patch" in center field. I wonder if part of his problem is Shea.
Miguel Cairo also misplayed a pop-fly because he wasn't introduced to Ray-Bans in time. However, Cairo got a force out on the Jeff Kent pop-up. Incredibly, between Beltran and Cairo, the Mets were charged with zero errors today. It's interesting that the Mets were so lackluster in the field today...usually, they look like the kids in the Tom Emanski defensive drills tape when Pedro Martinez on the mound. Today, between their fielding and the latest baserunning disaster (Cairo again, forcing Minky to get thrown out at home in the eighth after Cairo forgot that you can't run to a base that's already occupied) they looked like circus freaks.
But the bats were consistent...the top 5 in the batting order had at least one RBI today for Martinez, who didn't have his best stuff but got his usual support.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
That's what I have the baseball television package for.
After tonight's Diamondback game, I'm sorry I wasted the $159.
They call guys like Brian Bruney "ham and eggers". That's an insult to ham and eggers. Heck, it's an insult to ham and eggs!
Why am I going to bother to watch the rest of the season, of every one of these ham and eggs closers is going to come in against the Richmond Braves and blow four run leads in a single bound? The Diamondbacks had it in the bag tonight...a 5-1 lead against Richmond, and this guy Brian "Breakfast Burrito" Bruney with the 6.31 ERA comes in, and can't get an out against a rookie, an 87 year old man, a shortstop, and another rookie. All of a sudden; POOF! The lead is gone. Let's just hand the Braves their 400th straight division title right now if this is going to be the case!
Now I know Mets closer Braden Looper may give us heart palpitations, but that can be corrected with medicine. This guy Bruney skips the palpitations and goes straight to stab wounds to the heart!
Maybe the Diamondbacks would want Looper!
Umpire Jim Wolf (who looks too much like Opie to be an umpire) was no help, calling two pitches against Kelly Johnson balls which could have been strikes (which set off probably my favorite umpire argument of the year in which Bob Melvin physically illustrated where the strike zone should be...classic!) But come on! Is there any good reason that Breakfast Burrito Bruney can't get three outs there, besides the fact that he's a breakfast burrito?
Diamondbacks TV analyst Mark Grace just said "As soon as you put on that Braves uniform, you're good." Of course! But if Brian Bruney was pitching to me, I could put on a uniform that says Chico's Bail Bonds and I'd knock it out of the park!
My second quote from Grace: "All's well that ends well." Thanks to Alex Cintron's game winner in the 10th inning, that is true. The 6-5 Arizona win means that the Mets bad loss doesn't cost them after all.
No thanks to second rate breakfast food.
Friday, July 22, 2005
You still wouldn't think that Zambrano would need to be told not to groove an 0-2 slider to the only feared hitter in the Dodger lineup. And that was the difference in a 6-5 loss to the Dodgers on Merengue night.
Sometime during the time the Dodgers were taking their 6-0 lead during innings 3, 4, and 5...Mets announcers were a tad incredulous at the fact that Mets fans booed Victor Zambrano at the end of the fourth inning and the Mets down 3-0, after the good streak Zambrano had been on. My only retort to the announcers would be to give us a little more credit than that. I didn't interpret the boos as being directed at Zambrano, per say. That fourth inning ended with two steals by Jayson Werth...not regarded as one of the top speedsters in baseball...including an uncontested steal of third. That was followed by a Jeff Weaver RBI single, where Carlos Beltran fielded it like he had better things to do. Now that's not to say Beltran would have had a play...but he would have had a play had Werth been paid attention to, or even had the Mets pretended to pay attention to him. The fact is, from innings 1-5, the Mets looked like the most disinterested baseball team on earth. I believe most would call their performance "flat". I call it brutal. That's why I would have booed, and that's why I think the boos rained down during the middle of the fourth. But Zambrano, irrespective of all of the good he's done for the Mets (which he still deserves all the credit in the world for), was the reason they lost tonight.
Give the Mets credit for a ferocious comeback after home runs by Minky (who, with two homers in two games may be well on his way to shaving his head) and Beltran to bring the score to 6-5, then couldn't get the timely tying hit after that. But five runs should have been enough tonight. For all of Zambrano's wildness early on in the season, it seems as though he's gone too far the other way. He didn't walk anybody tonight, but you wish that he would move away from the strike zone once in a while, as in the case of Kent's HR. With the Dodgers lineup being what it is (Ricky Ledee as cleanup hitter), there's no excuse to give Kent anything to hit, yet he was a triple away from the cycle. Peterson has torqued Zambrano a little too much, and now, to use a NASCAR term, he's oversteering and he's too loose. It's up to Peterson to tighten him back up and get him back on that racetrack.
Dayn Perry assesses the needs of the N.L. contenders. His definition of contender did not include the Mets, although they now qualify. Mike Cameron is mentioned as a possible target for the Cubs, with power hitting first baseman Brian Dopirak seen as possible bait for Cammy.
Joel Sherman has some good ideas that I endorse.
David Lennon alludes to some unrest, perhaps, in the room.
Dave O'Brien mentioned the Jeff Kent/Barry Bonds fight, and said that even with the lack of popularity of Bonds, there were 23 guys behind him in that clubhouse regarding that fight. That's how unpopular Jeff Kent was. Gee, nice to know I'm not the only one.
For those of us who are disheartened by seemingly being second class citizens in their own city when it comes to baseball, consider the case of the Dodgers, once the undisputed kings of baseball in Southern California (and kings for the better parts of 40 seasons). Now consider the inroads that the Angels have made, and remember what times were like in the 80's when the Mets were the kings of the city. Times may look bleak now in terms of the press and exposure the Yankees get in comparison to the Mets, but look towards the Angels as inspiration.
Then, take a cold shower and get a hold of yourself.
Friday: Jeff Weaver (7-8, 4.26 ERA) vs. Victor Zambrano (4-8, 3.51 ERA)
Saturday: D.J. Houlton (4-3, 5.64 ERA) vs. Pedro Martinez (11-3, 2.60 ERA)
Sunday: Brad Penny (5-5, 3.40 ERA) vs. Kris Benson (6-3, 3.40 ERA)
Jeff Weaver is apparently on the block. Looks like he's a fallback option for teams that lose out on A.J. Burnett.
Speaking of Dodgers on the block, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN says on SportsCenter that the Mets had a scout in Philly to watch Odalis Perez. Perez almost became a Met this past off season when he was a free agent. The Nationals also had a scout too see Perez toss a no-hitter through six innings and beat the Phillies 1-0.
Derek Lowe may also be on the block, according to Kurkjian.
Jeff Kent has 4 career hits in 25 AB's (.160) vs. Pedro Martinez, and has 5 hits in 23 career AB's (.217) vs. Kris Benson.
D.J. Houlton has a 7.16 ERA on the road.
Brad Penny is expected to appeal his suspension that he earned by going loony in a game against the Giants last week, which means he'll make his Sunday start. When he does serve his suspension, rumor has it he may very well have Alyssa Milano's shoulder to cry on. According to the link, Milano has been linked to mulitple pitchers, including Penny's former teammate Carl Pavano, and Barry Zito. Newsworthy? Maybe. An excuse to post a picture of Alyssa? You bet.
Take a cold shower and get a hold of yourself.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
He's Jason Voorhees.
Every time you think this series of movies is over...every time you think the ingenue has finally killed him off for good, here comes the sequel. He comes out of the swamp (or the junkyard beyond the outfield wall) and starts slaying Padres. Here comes the 1-5-3 double play as Padres are killed in the cabin (Ishii 3D). Eric Young gets caught stealing and is offed in the city (Ishii takes Manhattan). Phil Nevin strikes out and is chased down in the woods (Ishii, The New Blood). Khalil Greene strikes out and gets dragged out of the boat (Ishii X).
It's amazing how many times Kaz Ishii is thisclose to being banished from the rotation, if not the team, forever! And he always comes up with a day like this...which wasn't that great statistically (5 walks and 4 hits in 6 innings). But there's Ishii, throwing six shutout innings and getting out of trouble at every turn.
So rather than Ishii: The Final Chapter, we may have Ishii: A New Beginning. He's earned himself another sequel.
And how in the world did an inconsistant lineup like this get 7 runs off of Jake Peavy? Give Michael Oliver credit..he knew Peavy could be had. But this lineup? A seven spot off an all star? Then 5 more after that??!??? The Mets have beaten top tier pitchers such as Peavy, Dontrelle Willis, and John Smoltz (victories against such pitchers were rare last season...the best pitcher record-wise to take a loss in 2004 against the Mets was Shawn Estes at 13-4 in Colorado). From that you know this is a different team than last year, not prone to the 27-50 collapse they suffered last season. But never in my wildest dreams did I envision a 12-0 Met victory today...Ishii vs. Peavy. Not even Dae Sung Sisk could have blown that lead.
So it's set up now...3 straight against San Diego, now the Dodgers and Rockies are on the docket. They want to get away from the dock? Now's their chance.
Nady's blatent misplay in the outfield for the Padres turned what could have been a close game into a comfortable one as the Mets beat San Diego 7-3 on Wednesday night. Mike Cameron hit what should have been an easy fly ball out in the 5th inning, but Nady completely lost it in the lights to turn it into a triple, and to me, it was the play of the game. It was not only huge because Cameron later scored on a Cliff Floyd single, which set up Mike Piazza's two run bomb with two men out, but it allowed the Mets to rest key members of their bullpen in the 8th and 9th while going with Aaron Heilman (who looked good but just got dinked and dunked to death in the 8th) and, of all people, Juan Padilla to get the save by pitching out of Heilman's two out bases loaded jam in the 8th. Roberto Hernandez is 40 years old, and in this muggy weather, didn't need to pitch two nights in a row. And now Hernandez should be set to go tomorrow afternoon (although with Ishii going for the Mets, there may not be an opportunity for him to pitch a close game anyway). But Mets pitchers (starters and relievers alike) needed, and deserved, a laugher. And even though the tying run came to the plate in the 8th, that's exactly what they got.
Jose Reyes was spectacular in the first two innings, reaching twice, scoring once (almost scored twice, but a balk call which would have scored him was correctly reversed), and driving in a run. Unfortunately, I stood on line for tickets outside of Shea's gate E for the first two innings so I missed the fun. While on line, a guy tapped my shoulder and asked me "are you on line"?
No sir, I'm making sandwiches...for everybody!
So I missed Reyes' adventures, along with Carlos Beltran's two run dinger in the first inning. But that didn't stop Metstradamus' Shea record from going to 4-0 in 2005.
See Mike, hitting sixth isn't so bad now is it?
Piazza's HR (which tied Johnny Bench on the all time list with 389), and the ensuing curtain call, felt very 1986-ish in the stands tonight. I can't remember the last time I felt that during a regular season game at Shea. It's a testament to the love that Mike Piazza has earned at Shea Stadium...and maybe a realization by the fans that his time at Shea is winding down, and that any chance to thank him must be taken advantage of.
Doesn't Juan Padilla look like a big nasty yellow headed fly with those funky goggles?
Juan "The Fly" Padilla
The Daily News' Lisa Olson acknowledges the existance of our blogosphere.
I kind of felt bad sitting in the Mezzanine tonight wondering who #52 was on the Padres. Now I know I shouldn't have...it was rookie Clay Hensley, making his major league debut in the seventh and shutting the Mets down for two innings.
Livan Hernandez is ending his season? Wow, he might elect right knee surgery and basically abandon his team because he's "mad at something"? Mad at what, losing to the Rockies? Mad at...being lifted in the seventh? Mad at...the D.C. traffic? Mad at...the republicans for their foreign policy? Mad at...Mike Stanton for stealing your dessert? Come on Livan, don't wait until the end of the season...tell us now! The suspense is killing me!!!
As if the Braves need more help!
The Mets can use it though, at only 5 and 1/2 back now.
And finally, it was nice to attend tonight's game with one of the legends of baseball, Tony Gwynn...
Oh wait, that's not Tony. Had you fooled though, no? Here's Tony:
The first guy was actually one of my disgruntled Yankee fan friends, who thought he was going to be able to ride Metstradamus after being present at a Mets loss with me. Well, he's 0 for 2 in that regard this season. And to twist the knife a little further, he had the chance to go to A-Rod's 10 RBI game...for free! And he turned it down. Since then, he's tried to pass on his curse to me, to no avail (although I do owe him a couple of trips to Yankee Stadium). Here is how he looked by the end of the night...
He's about as mad as Livan Hernandez!
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Chris Woodward said after Tuesday night's victory that it was the first time ever he hit a walkoff HR in his baseball life. Lenny Dykstra's walkoff HR in game 3 of the NLCS was Dykstra's first walkoff HR since Strat-O-Matic. Now there's gotta be someone back in the annals that was around for a long time and then hit his first ever walk-off HR with the Mets. Mark Simon comes up with some great stuff for his Met Walk-off blog, so I fully expect him to tie tonight's HR in with something super cool from the Mets distant past. I know he can do it (if he hasn't already), so don't forget to check Mark Simon's blog often!
OK, on to business at hand, observations from tonight's dramatic 3-1 11 inning victory over the Padres...
Was that really Mike Piazza batting sixth tonight behind David Wright? I did one of those cartoon double takes where I shake my head so violently that my brain hit my skull. I'll give it to Willie, what ever you may think of his X's and O's, Willie Randolph will eventually turn wrong to right. It took a while, but he finally got it done. The only question is: was this Randolph's decision, or was it Piazza who went to Randolph to take the pressure off him and request the change? My guess would be that it was Piazza, but we'll find out. And while the move didn't result in a lot of runs tonight, in the long run, it will make a difference if the Mets go on a big run. And what better time to do it than now...after San Diego, you have three with the mediocre Dodgers, and three in Denver against the putrid Rockies.
It was the first time since May 12th, 1993, Piazza's rookie season, that he's batted that low in the order. And here's why tonight's lineup change was for the best: There have been 55 at bats this season where Piazza has ended an inning with a runner on base...that does not count the 5 outs that Piazza made to end the game, and the two outs Piazza made before walkoffs. In those 55 at bats, batters that led off the following inning has an on base percentage of .400 (22 for 55) with two HR's. Most of those hits came courtesy of Cliff Floyd, and most of the outs came courtesy of Doug Mientkiewicz and Marlon Anderson. David Wright was starting to have success in that category before tonight's move.
Meanwhile, going back to Willie Randolph correcting mistakes, tonight we learned that "Dae Sung Koo" is Korean for "Doug Sisk". With all of the lefty batters you are going to face with San Diego, Los Angeles, and Colorado, would you leave yourself with Dae Sung Sisk as your only lefty in the pen? Braden Looper had to face 5 lefties in 6 batters tonight, which could have been a disaster, but to Looper's credit, he was very low maintenance tonight en route to the win. Koo faced three lefties tonight, got none of them out.
There seems to have been very specific moments that Willie Randolph has lost patience with people. Felix Heredia had his early on. Hitaway DeJean had his moment against Seattle. Danny Graves might have had two, against Pittsburgh (the Jack Wilson grannie) and against Atlanta (giving up a run in three batters and 75 seconds). Tonight may have been Koo's moment.
And in an observation which may not be totally unrelated to Koo, I get the feeling that Kaz Ishii has pitched his last game as a Met. The evidence is mounting...first, Ishii's turn is skipped because of the off-day yesterday. Then, the Mets don't announce their starters for the Dodger game. Finally, Aaron Heilman warms up during the seventh inning tonight. But after Looper's stint, where it would have made sense to warm up Heilman again in case the game goes long, Juan Padilla warms up, and was ready to start the non-existant 12th inning. Why else would Aaron Heilman not be made to come into the game, except that he's starting on Friday, and the warm up tosses in the seventh was part of his off day throwing schedule in anticipation of returning to starting?
With players getting DFA'd left and right such as Alan Embree of the Red Sox, Heilman perhaps getting ready to start, and Steve Trachsel getting ready to return, do the Mets really have a choice but to release Ishii? He's not a long reliever...he's not a short reliever...and he's proven that he's not much of a starter right now. The tea leaves are coming together for Ishii, and the leaves are spelling out "D.F.A." And if I was Mr. Koo, I wouldn't look into New York real estate right now either.
And if I were Royce Ring, I wouldn't get too comfortable in Norfolk.
(Editor's note: Of course, after I go on and on about Ishii being gone and Heilman returning to the rotation, it looks like Ishii is going to pitch Thursday against Jake Peavy. Ishii has outdueled Dontrelle Willis this season, but I get the feeling that the Mets are almost conceding this game, and would be looking towards the Dodger series with Victor Zambrano, who originally was pitching against Peavy, going against Jeff Weaver on Friday, and Pedro pitching the Saturday game. I'm still going to say that Ishii will not make the 2005 finish line as a Met, but he has at least another start in him. And I still say Dae Sung Sisk is in trouble.)
Barry Larkin making a comeback?
A more likely scenario to replace the anemic Cristian Guzman includes Tampa Bay's Julio Lugo. Rafael Furcal would be intriguing, but the Nats and Braves would never trade now. Would the Nats get Furcal for 2006? That would seem entirely possible.
The A.J. Burnett deal to Baltimore seemingly hit a snag.
Billy Wagner is a better fit for the "win now" Red Sox than for the "win now but keep an eye on the future" Mets.
And finally, I agree with how you've voted in the poll so far, and I'm ready to officially agree with Andrew. If the Mets were to trade the farm, let it be for the 25-year-old Adam Dunn, and not the 31-year-old Mike Sweeney. Power hitters in Shea scare me, especially those who strike out a lot like Dunn...but if you can move either him or Floyd to first base without there being a federal investigation, then it would be worth it.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Which brings me to the only baseball game that I ever attended with my mom...it was on August 23rd, 1987 against the San Diego Padres. Mom takes me along with a cousin and a friend of mine, and Eric Nolte was the Padres starter and loser as the Mets took a 9-2 decision. Mom's motives aren't exactly altruistic, as she had developed a crush on Tim Teufel and his booty shaking batting stance, which turned him from a .247 hitter in '86 to a .308 hitter in '87. Teufel wowed my mom with two hits out of four in the Mets win.
The game was also notable because it was one of the only times that I hung out after the games waiting for autographs. I didn't get any, but got lots of pictures of the team leaving in their cars, and pictures of Nolte signing autographs for fans, and Darryl Strawberry walking out of the press gate. Sid Fernandez, who was described in Jeff Pearlman's "The Bad Guys Won" as not the sharpest tool in the box, proved it on this day as his Corvette was sitting in the parking lot...and on the seat was Fernandez's mail and personal papers with his mailing address and his credit card number exposed for the fans to see and copy down on pieces of scrap paper. I copied his address but not his credit card number, and almost sent him a letter to tell him what a mook he was for letting drunken Met fans copy his credit card number down.
Again, it was the Padres that the Mets played that day, hence my lame lead-in to this upcoming series:
Tuesday: Brian Lawrence (5-9, 4.27) vs. Kris Benson (6-3, 3.57)
Wednesday: Woody Williams (5-5, 4.15) vs. Tom Glavine (6-7, 4.71)
Thursday: Jake Peavy (8-3, 3.03) vs. Victor Zambrano (4-8, 3.51)
The division leading Padres will improve themselves just in time for the Mets series, activating Mark Loretta and Phil Nevin in time for Tuesday's game. Lorreta is batting .316 lifetime at Shea, while Nevin is a lifetime .375 at Shea.
Lawrence is 0-3 in the month of July, but his ERA has gone down by 0.01 in that time from 4.28. Has a 5.23 ERA on the road, but Shea is a big park like Petco so Lawrence may pitch more along the lines of his home ERA, which is 3.28. Lawrence did hit three Diamondback batters on Thursday in the first two innings.
Woody Williams also has a similar home/road split (as I'm sure most Pods starters have, except for one notable exception). Williams is at 3.38 at Petco, 5.65 on the road. His batting average against is 61 points higher on the road.
Jake Peavy is the exception...he has a better ERA on the road (2.81) than at Petco (3.18). The kid is a monster, plain and simple.
The Padres may have collectively, the best bullpen in the N.L. They're second in wins (19), 2nd in ERA (3.54), second in K/BB ratio (2.51), third in K/9 (8.42), and third in WHIP (1.34). Once a game gets to Akinori Otsuka and Scott Linebrink, it's as good as lights out.
The Padres are 6-0 vs. the N.L. East this season, sweeping Florida and Atlanta back to back at home in May.
Monday, July 18, 2005
You love the hate list.
First off, let's give credit where credit is due. The hate list is a subconscious derivative of the "a-hole of the moment" feature from the Dodger Blues website. For those of you who think I'm funny, trust me; I don't hold a candle to these guys. Check 'em out.
Your adoration for the hate list got me thinking...if I really applied myself, I could put together a whole 25 man roster just of players that I hate (25 years of angst can't be narrowed down to just one player). And what can be better than that? I mean, people love to hate, right? ESPN dedicated a whole article on hate.
I live by the axiom: "Give the people what they want." So on this off day, I'm giving you what you want: HATE, and lots of it. Here now, my 25 man roster for the Metstradamus Hall of Hate:
Catcher: Mike Scioscia/Dodgers Catcher is a tough position to call...I have tremendous respect for catchers. And there aren't a lot of catchers that are societal freaks and curmudgeons. So it came down to one thing to get Scioscia on this list. Game 4, 1988 NLCS. It was cold...bitter cold. And Scioscia's HR ensured that I would sit in the upper deck for three more innings and watch the Mets lose.
First Base: Jeff Kent/Many Teams Kent has played some first base so he goes here to make room for my hall of fame second baseman. It didn't help that Kent came in the David Cone deal (another great Mets trade). His refusal to wear the clown outfit for rookie initiation exposed him as a sociopath. Then started his assault on hall of fame numbers after he leaves. And his fake Texas accent ticks me off. The man with the porn star mustache is from California for heaven's sake! The only time I ever rooted for Barry Bonds was in his dugout fight with Kent.
Second Base: Robby Alomar/Mets From day one, was not excited about being a Met...complaining about Mark Shapiro and how Cleveland mistreated him, then near the end complained that he didn't have a reason to come to the ballpark. Boo hoo. I'll forever love Roger Cedeno for teasing Alomar about his baseball card and causing Alomar to expose himself as a thin-skinned crybaby.
Shortstop: Rey Ordonez/Mets Another tough position to call, but when you call Met fans "too stupid", you zoom to the top of the list...especially when it's the only time in seven years that you decided to speak english to reporters. (Derek Jeter should get a special mention here, but I hate more what he represents and the elevated status he gets from the New York press at the expense at the rest of the Yankees roster, than the man himself. I won't even mention how Jeter's whole legacy started on a home run that should have been an out.)
Third Base: Larry Jones/Braves He could be the utility man of the group, since he can play short and left field as well. But I have lots of outfielders for this team and not really anyone else at third. Larry, who said that Met fans would go home and put on their Yankee gear, and named his child Shea for crying out loud, is the clear cut winner at third.
Left Field: Vince Coleman/Cardinals and Mets For those who are only old enough to remember Brave hate, in the mid 80's there was Cardinals hate...now that was hate. Coleman was one of the pesky punch and judy slap hitters that drove the Mets nuts...then came to the Mets and was useless. On top of that, he threw firecrackers at children, thought that playing on grass would keep him out of the hall of fame, and didn't know who Jackie Robinson was! What a role model.
Center Field: Ken Griffey Jr./Reds Turns down a trade to the Mets in 2000 so he can go home to Cincinnati. After that, can't stay healthy, and misses out on the Subway Series that he could have been the difference for. Karma's a bitch, aint it Junior?
Right Field: Bobby Bonilla/Mets Do you realize that from 2011 to 2035, Bobby Bonilla will be receiving checks from the Mets to finish the big contract he signed? And for what? For being the centerpiece of the worst team in history? For daring reporters to knock the smile off his face? For threatening to show a reporter the Bronx? For playing cards with Rickey Henderson during Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS?
Righty Ace: Roger Clemens/Yankees "I thought it was the ball." Jackass!
Lefty Ace: Mike Hampton/Rockies The inspiration for this article. (Editor's note: Great catch as usual by Matt Cerrone where the compensatory pick from Hampton's departure turned into David Wright. That's some silver lining. However, I will continue to enjoy the Mets bashing his brains in at every opportunity).
Third Starter: Mike Scott/Astros While a Met, was dubbed "The Human White Flag". Then waits until he leaves to learn to cheat. Was the MVP of the 1986 NLCS for cheating in games 1 and 4.
Fourth Starter: John Tudor/Cardinals One of the best lines I ever read about a pitcher, and I can't remember where it was from, was that "John Tudor always looks like he's pitching right after a root canal surgery". Priceless.
Fifth Starter: David Wells/Yankees It takes a lot to make this team without having any direct connections with the Mets, but Wells does it. But he makes the list because he says stupid things like "If I were Kenny Rogers, I would have done the same thing", then proceeds to know why the cameraman was winking. I could sit here and say that Wells is really brave when it comes to talking to the media about such things, and that I bet he wouldn't have the guts to go up to the cameraman and tell him what he thinks...and that Wells is one of those guys who purposely takes the controversial side so he can be "hip and edgy" so he can have a permanent place on the panel of "The Best Damn Sports Show, Period" when he retires. But I don't know Wells personally, so I would never say such things. And until Wells gets to know this cameraman personally, the fat drunk should butt out!
Righty Closer: Armando Benitez/Mets Has the intestinal fortitude of a marshmallow. Can't win a big game, whines that the media only talks to him when he loses, and only throws at a hitter because he hits him well (a la Clemens).
Lefty Closer: John Rocker/Braves You know why. I'm not going to insult your intelligence by expounding any further.
Middle Relief: Donne Wall/Mets Gives up a home run to Jason Jennings in Jennings' first ever game. I spent the next half inning heckling him mercilessly. There's a good story that goes with this, but I have to save some stuff for posting in the off-season when it's slow.
Middle Relief: Mike Stanton/Yankees and Mets Those of you who read regularly know that I can't stand Mike Stanton. It's not only the fact that Stanton was an important cog on the great Yankee teams and gave up three run HR's to the likes of Endy Chavez as a Met, but during the post game celebration after the 2000 World Series, Stanton actually bothered to spray champagne at the TV screen in the clubhouse when Bobby Valentine was doing a post game interview. I wanted no part of him after that. And not only that, Stanton was the guy who whined and bitched that the Mets were too public with their 9/11 charity work (thank you darth marc for reminding me of that). Only Mike Stanton could take a horrible tragedy and use it as a point for Yankee/Met propaganda. Good job, you're a class act. Now go have a another McRib.
Middle Relief: Mike DeJean/Mets An awful, awful pitcher. But that alone usually doesn't get you on this team...Mike DeJean pulled a Bobby Bonilla and complained to the official scorer about charging David Wright with an error so his ERA would go down from 800 to 799.90. David Wright is the future of the franchise and Mike DeJean is a washed up reliever who once argued with his manager on the mound for all to see. But DeJean felt it necessary to throw Wright under a bus. Nice.
Bench: Brian Jordan/Braves When he was traded away from Atlanta for Gary Sheffield, I thought the Mets got the best end of the deal...they wouldn't see Brian Jordan 19 times a year.
Bench: Eddie Perez/Braves This team needs a catcher, and Eddie Perez is one of those guys that chirps when a pitcher throws a ball one inch inside.
Bench: Pat Burrell/Phillies Why he turns into a monster at Shea is beyond me.
Bench: Terry Pendleton/Cardinals September 11th, 1987 may be the most heartbreaking game I've ever been to at Shea. Two outs, two strikes, ninth inning, Mets up by two runs with Roger McDowell on the mound and one strike away from cutting the Cardinals' lead in the division to a mere half game...Terry Pendleton moves up in the box to jack a sinker out to center field to tie the game. Then after getting two runners on for Keith Hernandez in the bottom of the inning, he grounded out to first and the Cards won it in the 10th. It's generally regarded as the game which cemented the pennant for the Cardinals. Once again, there's a great story that accompanies this game, but I'm not emptying my chamber at this point. Let's just say that Pendleton home run caused many a fan to go home with sore bones for years after.
Bench: Pedro Guerrero/Dodgers You may think Pedro makes the list solely for throwing his bat at David Cone after being hit with a curveball, but before a 1988 game at Shea Stadium, Pedro Guerrero made an effort to sign every program down the third base line...and skipped me! Yeah, this one's a little personal but, my team...my rules.
Bench: Jose Vizcaino/Yankees Remember that game winning hit in game one of the World Series that the traitor was responsible for? Well Vizcaino received the ball from either a fan or a stadium type, but Vizcaino lost the ball in the glove compartment of a rented car. It's a small victory, but I still hate him.
Bench: Juan Gonzalez/Rangers "I want to be a Met" he says before he decides to sign with the Rangers. He's played 186 games in the three and 1/2 seasons since his last minute change of heart. See: "Ken Griffey Jr."
Manager: Whitey Herzog/Cardinals As I have said before, before Braves hate, there was Cardinals hate. And the personification of Cardinals hate was their manager, Whitey Herzog. His nickname, "The White Rat" was fitting. I can't think of any more fitting punishment for him than to manage this bunch.
Bench Coach: Art Howe/Mets Here is all you need to know about Art Howe: August 29th, 2004, after basically being asleep the entire season, wakes up in time to pull off his greatest managerial feat in his Met career...he plays the infield in with a runner on third base with the score 8-1 Dodgers. As you know, a 7 run lead with one out in the eighth is fine, but an eight run lead in the eighth is insurmountable. (Otherwise known as "WHY?") Steve Finley singled to center to drive in the run, and put the game away.
Bench Coach: Dallas Green/Mets There are many others you can make a case for here, Buddy Harrelson and Jeff Torborg come to mind. And while I see the arguments I go with Dallas Green for basically throwing away Jeromy Burnitz and ruining Generation K by pitching them into the ground.
General Manager: Al Harazin/Mets Oh lord Harazin was beyond bad...he wasn't even a baseball guy, he was a lawyer posing as a baseball man. I think he's actually teaching a law class now. This was the man that not only wheeled David Cone, but put together that awful 1993 team. Frank Tanana? Tony Fernandez? Butch Huskey? Harazin wins...hands down!
Uniforms: 1993 Mets home uniforms The official wardrobe of failure.
Close runner up: The 1988-1992 Mets road unis. When the Mets went to a script "New York" for the roadies during the 1987 season, Wally Backman had mentioned that the best part about the new unis was that the letters weren't in block form to look like the Yankees. So what do the Mets do in 1988? They go with the Yankee style block letters. Thanks for listening.