Same Old Mets ? I Don’t Thnk So !

 

WHEW!!!!!  Yesterday’s Mets-Rockies game is like trying to eat a Carnegie Deli sandwich, where do you begin?

I’ll start with Johan Santana who has topped everyone’s expectations so far this season.  Santana relied on fastball/change up combo and I hate using this word, battled. If you want to take Johan to task (I don’t know why you would) his walk rate 4.13 BB/9IP is high but as he progress through the season that should drop.  The main thing that separates Santana from Mark Prior and Chen Ming Wang, the two pitchers who have had the same surgery as Santana, is he is a superior pitcher than either two. Prior was more a thrower than a pitcher and Wang is a back of the rotation guy, Santana is an anchor. Since his 1.1 IP performance in Atlanta on April 17 th, his last two starts have been outstanding, having  pitched 12.2 innings and given up 1 earned run dropping  his season ERA from 3.97 to 2.25. See how easy life is with a solid #1 pitcher.

Well somewhat easy I guess. I have no problem with Terry Collins pulling Santana after 6 innings in a start where Johan had thrown 105 pitches in his last start with an extra day rest.  So far the program the Mets have put together for Santana has been working so why get greedy, besides with the exception of Frank Frisco, the back end of the bullpen has been good. Now would I have gone with Miguel Batista in the 7th inning? No, I’d have gone with Bobby Parnell, but when I thought about why TC would go with Batista in that spot, I thought it would be to show confidence in Batista after that awful start last Monday, putting him a spot to succeed. Collins is the anti-Joe Girardi, he’s more a feel and from the gut kind of manager, he knows when a player needs a confidence boost and when a guy needs a day of reflection from the bench. Binders? Terry Collins doesn’t need no stinkin’ binders. Batista pitched a fine 7th inning and things were moving along nicely until………………

We could scream and yell about home plate ump Paul Emmel squeezing the strike zone on Jon Rauch especially on the Michael Cuddyer at bat (as per pitch f/x, Rauch only hit the strike zone with a pitch once but look at the 4th and 5th pitch of the AB, can we have some consistency please !)But the Carlos Gonzalez at bat was the at bat to look at. Rauch’ first pitch was a strike that was called a ball after that Rauch lost all control of the strike zone. Getting Cargo there would have left Fowler on first with 2 out but instead it’s 1 out runners on first and second with Troy Tulowitzki up. Rauch starts off with two straight strikes and then gets Tulo to hit the next pitch back to him for a 1-3 put out and it looked like Rauch was getting out of this jam until of course the Cuddyer base on balls and out goes an irate Jon Rauch and in comes Tim Byrdak to face Todd Helton with the bases loaded.

Just like that, a slider that was middle in took away a stellar start by Santana, a breakout game for Ike Davis, the continued wonderment of Kirk Nieuwhenhuis, the continued rejuvenation of David Wright and of course a 4 run lead, went for naught as the ball of Helton’s climbed to the upper reaches of right field for a Grand Salami. Heads of Mets fans were hung, obscenities were screamed, scapegoats were being named, jobs had to be terminated, but this Mets team laughs at your lack of faith, you think they packed all those cowboy clothes to wear to Houston for a loss, HELL NO!!! This Mets team does not go quietly.

I guess it’s due to the Mets having had some bad managers the last few years from Art Howe, the Admiral James Stockdale of baseball managers (Who am I ? Why am I here?) The insecure and overmatched Willie Randolph and the “is it payday”?  skipper Jerry Manuel , we are still getting used to the passion of Terry Collins.

TC has learned a hard lesson in baseball, his last three managerial stints ended very badly and he had to go back to baseball purgatory as a minor league coordinator to rebuild his resume. Give the man credit, he could have left baseball, gone to a 9 to 5 job and just be another working stiff, instead he went back to the bushes and rebuilt his reputation as baseball man and worked on what were his short comings.  If it weren’t for the financial fallout from the Madoff mess, Collins wouldn’t have gotten this shot. He got the job because he came cheap and this cheap investment is paying dividends.

Collins holds players accountable, you know Ike Davis was mad to be pinch hit for and I’m sure he was livid to be out the lineup but he wasn’t producing and as TC said I have faith in my players but it’s about the team and it’s about winning. Since that time of his benching and with some work with hitting coach Dave Hudgins, Ike has picked up his hands and maybe using his anger as a positive, has started to look like the Ike we love. Give tons of credit to Ike for his two run single in the top of the 11th that proved to be the game winner but don’t forget the manager for instilling a mindset into this team that they are a good baseball team and to the other 24 players who refuse to give up.

 

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Mike Pelfrey Knows Who Is Friends Are

It’s not a big deal that the Mets discussed giving Mike Pelfrey his release but what is interesting is who his big supporters are.

From the story in the Daily News today, the front office is not enamored with Pelf and threw out the suggestion at an organizational meeting that maybe the $5.6 mil used to pay Pelfrey would be better spent elsewhere.  It seems both Terry Collins and Dan Warthan spoke up in Pelf’s defense and from reading further into the story; Pelf’s teammates have his back as well. He sure paid back that support last night against the Astros with a stellar performance, again it was the Astros.

We all know that David Wright and Big Pelf have a great relationship but from reading R.A. Dickey’s book (I’m half way through and I must say this book is even better than I anticipated) he has taken on the big brother role to Pelfrey.

So the 25 man roster that will line up on the first base side of Citi Field on Thursday looks to be set not many surprises unless you think Mike Baxter getting the 25th spot a surprise.  The bench is still nothing to get excited about and who knows if this is set as the club could wait and see what veterans get cut who could be an upgrade over what the Mets have. Ronny Cedeno has the glove and Justin Turner has the bat it’s just too bad one of them isn’t a left handed hitter. As far as Baxter and Scott Hairston are concerned, I like Baxter and wished he got more playing time in September of last season and Hairston does have so pop in his bat but they are going to have to prove to the front office that they can contribute in a positive way.

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HOW WILL THE METS HONOR JOSE REYES IN HIS FIRST GAME AS AN EX-MET ?

 

Last night watching the Celtics-Thunder game, midway into the game during a break in the action, the Celtics gave tribute to Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, who was a major player in the C’s Championship run back in 2008. Perk wasn’t just a major part of the C’s on court rotation, he was a huge fan favorite for his toughness, hustle and desire and it was Perkins first game in the Garden since he was traded. Perk was clearly touched as his teammates stayed on the bench while he stood at center court thanking the Celtics and fans for a very classy tribute.

It got me to think, what will the Mets do for Jose Reyes when he makes his first appearance as a former Met with the Marlins on April 24th.  They have to have some kind of Reyes career retrospective on the video board unlike the way they club never acknowledge the existence of Reyes during the video presentation at the new uniform unveilings a couple of months ago at Citi Field.

You have to figure, as Reyes comes up to lead off the game, there will be a raucous and long standing ovation so maybe when Reyes goes out to his shortstop position in the bottom of the first, before first pitch the Mets announce for everyone to turn their attention to video board for a tribute to Reyes.

You would think it’s a no brainer that the Mets honor Reyes some way but then again these are the Mets we’re talking about.

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TERRY COLLINS PUTS TEAM ON NOTICE THIS ISN’T THE WESTMINSTER DOG SHOW

I’m a little concerned about Angel Pagan, now that the Mets have sent him for a blood test to see what is causing him to be fatigued during games. What also disturbs me is that Pagan has gone into a shell in the clubhouse. With the thought of Carlos Beltran ready to be dealt away, his own poor play this season and the uncertainty that he will be brought back next year, has to be weighing on his mind. Hopefully there is nothing medically wrong with Pagan.

Most of the talk this morning is about what will happen after Carlos Beltran is traded. From reading the quotes from Terry Collins it seems he understands what we Mets fans have figured out the last couple of years, some of these guys tend to lay down like dogs when they feel the season is over. TC has made it known now that anyone he suspects turning canine the last two months of the season will become ex-Mets. This has always been my main concern about the team that in the past, they have shown no heart in tough situations. Collins made it known to me over the winter that that kind of mindset will not happen under his stewardship and so far this season he has live up to his promise.

If anything this Mets team doesn’t roll over in fact, most non-Mets fans/followers have complimented the way the team plays, hard for 27 outs. That’s why I have faith in TC to keep that mindset going forward. I have to believe if a player doesn’t hustle or takes a play off, his ass will be fastened to the bench.

I have been a Mike Pelfrey fan. I’ve rooted for him to get his act together and become a solid front line starting pitcher. I’ve kept saying “one more year and it will all click for Pelf” but more and more this seasons, my faith in Pelfrey drops after each of his starts. I’m getting to the point where I’ll be surprised if he is a Met in 2012. After reading some of his quotes today about life after Carlos Beltran I’ve become more secure in saying that we may be seeing the last of Mike Pelfrey as a Met:

  ”I understand that if you want to get something back for him you have to trade him (Beltran),” Pelfrey told The Post before the Mets beat the Reds 4-2 last night. “But in the same sense I would think if we ended up getting rid of him, the front office’s view is that we don’t have a chance, because he gives us our best chance to win. If he’s not here, then they felt we can’t rebound from where we’re at.”

Mike, if you pitched better this season, the team would have had a better chance to compete for a post season berth. Don’t worry about what the front office is or has to do. It’s very simple, players play, coach’s coach, manager’s mange and the front office worries about trades and signings. Quite frankly maybe your problem is you worry about shit that has nothing to do with you and you lose focus on what you need to do, which is to pitch better. Hey who knows maybe your career will turn around next year when you’re a Kansas City Royal.

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THE BENCH MOB RULES

 

 

After a week sleeping in a tent in the woods of upstate New York listening to wolves howling in the middle of the night and having nightmares of a bear in a Highlander uniform attacking me in my tent, I can say without a doubt that it’s good to be home.

Not just because I missed my wife and daughter but I missed watching the Mets as well. I haven’t felt that way in a couple of years so yesterday it was nice to hit the couch with a cold drink and a meal without dirt and bugs in it and watch the through ass kicking the Mets administered on the Phuck Phaces.  The offense was explosive with bench mob members Scott Hairston and Nick Evans busting out and the Mighty Celtic Daniel Murphy (.349/.408/.465 RISP .383/.408/.489 RISP w/2 out) continuing his solid season but again it was the pitching of Jon Niese that stood out.  Niese has stepped up as a solid starter for the Mets not just for 2011 but for season beyond.  Niese is not an ace but he will be a good solid 2 or 3 for the Mets for years to come.

I’ll get into more stuff tomorrow as I’m still trying to get my back to straighten up again and get my system reintroduced to edible food. Even with all those drawbacks a week away with my son on a camping trip is worth every mosquito bite and bad meal and sleeping in less than ideal conditions.

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SHORT AND SWEET

Outstanding job by Chris Capuano last night with his only flaw the three run home run he gave up to Espinosa in the second inning. 8K’s and 1 BB in 6 innings pitched with a 71/26 spilt of strikes to balls is as good as it gets.

Carlos Beltran just can win with some folks. Instead of celebrating the fact he hit 2 home runs and is looking very comfortable at the plate, there will be critics who will bash him for the off day today and those in the media saying he will be excellent trade bait. I love to see some of the critics wear a knee brace all day and say they feel great.

Ike-Ike Baby, Vanilla Ike, Ike-nstein whatever you want to call him add big time in front of that. So far so good on no sophomore jinx.

Alderson has a big decision to make as it pertains to the bullpen. Izzy is ready and able to go at the big league level, so the Mets need to decide who is cut to make room for Izzy. Tell you the truth, with the way the starting pitching has not giving many innings, I’d demote Lucas Duda, since Collins is in love with Willie Harris and Duda is rotting on the bench and buy some time with an 8 man pen until Jason Bay comes back. By that time Alderson, Collins and Warthen might have a better idea on who to keep.

Chris Young on the mound today so if Mets take this game and series that will be two out of three series the Mets have won. Take that haters.

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PARDON ME BUT HU YOU?

We are so starved for Mets news that a deal for a backup shortstop for a 27 year old minor leaguer is being critiqued like the David Cone for Ed Hearn deal.

That’s not to say it’s not a deal to discuss. By acquiring shortstop Chin-lung Hu from the Dodgers for LHP Mike Antonini it solidifies Sandy Alderson’ statement that Ruben Tejada will be the everyday short stop in Buffalo in 2011 and that’s a good thing.  It also says there will be some competition for bench positions come spring in training camp.

Hu has shown a good bat in Triple A but his minor league offense has not translated well in the big leagues. If anything he’s known for his glove at short and the Mets have not had a true backup at shortstop so this is a positive as well.   

Hu has played some second base but if he makes the team it will be as Jose Reyes understudy.

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DAY ONE AWAY FROM CONCRETE

SO far so good up in the woods.  I took a portable radio with me and and being such a clear night I was able to listen to WFAN before going to sleep. It’s good to see Johan Santana stepping up and Ike  Davis as well (the 20/20 updork said the Ike HR went 440 ft. WOW!) and as bad as the last homestand was, the MEts are still in the thick of things as far as far as gaining a post season berth.

With Carlos Beltran coming back Thursday and Frency moving to the bench as Angel Pagan (who by the way is just as charming as Francouer but he can hit too) the stagnant offense should get a good jolt of energy.

The internet connection up here blows. Plus the computers are relics so posting will sporatic most of the week.

There is a guy in the next camp over from us who thought is was a good idea to being a vuvuleza to the woods and blow into it during the night.  A few of the leaders from our camp paid him a vist this morning to let him know if he keeps up his vuvuzela playing he’ll have to pass gas to make it work and the horn will be shoved up his ass.

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JERRY MANUEL DROVE THE BUS THAT RAN ME OVER

I want to thank Jerry Manuel and David Wright for throwing me under the bus last night. Yesterday I posted on NYB Blogs telling Mets fans to relax and not give up on this team and especially on Wright who I defended big time. So how do they repay me?

Well J-Man had a managerial night that makes you wonder just how long he has as the leader of the Mets. It’s one thing to be hard headed and not see the experiment to bat Jose Reyes third in the lineup is an out and out failure, but then to have him bunt in the 9th inning with Luis Castillo the go ahead run on 2nd base was just stupid baseball. If you put Reyes in that spot in the order, you’re saying you have total faith in him as a hitter as the 3 hitter is usually the teams’ best hitter. So why would you make Reyes bunt in an obvious RBI situation. Reyes barely can bunt for a base hit never mind a sac bunt but also what message are you sending him? I’m batting you 3 but I don’t have faith in you to get a big hit, just move Castillo to third and let someone else get the job done.

Wright didn’t help me either with his two K’s, the biggest one in the 9th inning. Maybe I’m just not seeing or maybe I don’t want to see the decline in David Wright but when I look at his digits they are right there with all the league leaders but it just seems like the big spot is a tough spot for DW. I’m not jumping ship though, I’m still loyal to D-Wright      

Manuel said in his post game presser that he’s thinking of making some lineup changes, gee ya think Jerry? It seems the only one who favors Reyes in the 3 spot is Manuel. As Ralph Kiner said the other day, Reyes belongs as a leadoff man. When Gary Cohen asked who should bat third, Kiner replied “The Mets don’t have a 3 hitter” He’s 100 % right. The Mets 3 hitter is jogging in St Lonesome. They have a leadoff hitter but he bats third. If Manuel doesn’t bat Reyes leadoff tonight and bench Frenchy for The Animal then he’s just telling Mets fans and management he wants to be fired.   

I didn’t watch all of this game as I spent most of my evening watching the Boston Celtics send LeBron James and the Cavs packing (more on that in a minute) but couldn’t Manuel have given Johan Santana another inning of work? I know he batted second in the top of the 8th but he seemed to be pitching his best game of the season and was far from tired (just 98 pitches) and even though Fernando Nieve got a DP to get out the 8th how many days can Manuel go to him or Feliciano or Takahashi? Those three have become everyday players.

I still stand by my the Mets are still in this stance but I’m starting to feel a shake up in the mangers office needs to be made. The Royals, who are going no where, fired Trey Hillman so you would think a team that is in a playoff hunt should be looking around as well. Something is missing here. When the team is 0-6 in rubber games of series and the same stale lineup gets trotted out there every day and the bullpen is getting run into the ground, maybe the Mets have reached that fork in the road and as Yogi said “when you get to the fork in the road, take it” It may be time to stick the fork in Jerry Manuel.

A big tip of my Celtics cap to Bill Simmons who started a Celtics Chant account on Twitter which got that “NEW YORK KNICKS” chant going at the TD Garden was the best fan participation since the days of the C’s fans telling the 76 ers in 1982 Conference Final to “Beat LA”. Get ready Knicks fans the LeBron era is coming.

To all the Celtic haters on Twitter who right after the C’s beat the Cavs were crowing that the Celtics will be buried by the Magic. First you all can kiss my green, white and 17 NBA Champiosnship banner ass. The Celtics have done what we all say can’t be done in sports, they turn the on switch on when the playoffs started and now are in full UBUNTU mode.

Metsradamus has what is now the Post of The Year dealing with that fell off the turnip truck turd, Cholly Manuel who has dragged the Mets into this sign stealing brouhaha with the Colorado Rockies, Metstradamus also reflects on the Skill Sets looking to by the Fishsticks and moved them to the brand new Chop Shop Arena. Not only does Metstradamus invoke the New York Amerks but when was the last time you heard about Newsy Lalonde?

So all of a sudden the Skill Sets are flush with cash that they can talk about buying the Fishsticks and build a new arena in Queens but the can’t release Oliver Perez and eat his deal.

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“OMAR-R-R-R-R-R, COME OUT, COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU AR-R-R-R-R-E”

At the end of the day, you know what I mean, it is what it is, at the end of the day that is”

From the Tao of Omar

If you came here to day for an explanation on the moves made by Jerry Manuel, well, you came to the wrong place. How do you explain taking out David Wright for Fernando Tatis ? By saying Tatis is the emergency 3rd catcher? Well, fine but how do you justify keeping GMJ in the game in left field? How do you justify GMJ being on this team?  

The shame here is the waste of good pitching by the Mets with this anemic offense, The Jose Reyes experiment as the 3 hitter should end right now. I don’t know if it’s a matter of not being comfortable in that spot or if it’s just that Reyes was rushed back, whatever it is something’s not right with Reyes. So put him back on the top of the order. I hate to go after Luis Castillo as he is the only one other than Wright who actually gets on base, but he’s not even a banjo hitter at this point, he’s more ukulele at this point, so drop him to 8th .  Rod Barajas has the hot power bat so keep in the 7 spot. As for Jason Bay, there is no sense in benching him, this is a bad slump for sure but if you did give him a day or two off who do you replace him with ? The Mets bench sucks, except for Hank White.  So what to do, well here would be my lineup for Friday vs the Giants

Reyes

Pagan

Wright

Bay

Davis

Francoeur

Barajas

Castillo

Pelfrey

I know that Manuel likes to spilt up left/right but you don’t have personnel for that set up. By letting Davis hit 5th that’s the best you can do to keep from tipping too much to the right.

The biggest knock I have with management is the lack of creativity. As I stated ,the Mets bench is awful. Mets fans want GMJ gone and I agree but Frank Catalanotto is just as bad and needs to go as well. Daniel Murphy is a long way from getting back to Flushing so he’s not an option right now. But Chris Carter is an option right now. Carter can’t do anymore than he’s doing in Buffalo and with GMJ proving the Angles right in giving him away, it reeks of penny pinching that GMJ is not shown the door and Carter is not given a  shot with the big league team. I have no problem keeping Tatis as he had value as a pinch hitter and can fill in any where on the field.

How about going after Matt Stairs of the Padres ? or Mark Kotsay of the White Sox or Scott Podsednik and Willie Bloomquist of the Royals. Time for Omar and Manuel to stop with all the double talk jive bullshit and shake this offense up. If neither guy is up to the job then get out and let someone in who can. No team is going to run away with the NL east nor the Wild Card, it’s time to get aggressive.

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