Hey Dan Warthen, Babe Ruth’s Dead

You figured Matt Harvey would have a rough start here or there as he adjusts to life in the big leagues where unlike Triple A mistakes end up over an outfield fence. But Harvey, who is seen as a bit of a pitching savant, should be able to make the adjustments, if the mixed messages he hears don’t make him crazy.

For some strange reason Dan Warthen and Terry Collins love the breaking ball which is ok unless you forget all pitchers are not alike. Bobby Ojeda on the pre-game show on SNY yesterday seemed to send a cryptic message that Warthen’ approach is not the best for Harvey. Ojeda repeated that manta that Harvey is a power pitcher and he should stay working as a power pitcher and not worry about throwing off speed  and breaking pitches so much. Ojeda seemed to hint that the Harvey is a bit of a revelation as a good old fashion hard throwing starting pitcher.

My big concern with Harvey is that Dan Warthen is going to try to make him something he isn’t, a finesse pitcher.  It’s the biggest knock on Warthen, he has made this Mets staff into a bunch of nibblers instead of going with a more aggressive approach. When was the last time a Mets pitcher threw up an in on a hitter?  That approach is fine if you have a stable of Glavine-Maddox-esque pitchers but the Mets have some very hard throwers who should have better results than they do, especially in the bullpen.

Parnell hits 100 mph on the radar gun and sits at a consistent 95 mph. Josh Edgin hits 95 as does Frank Frank and Manny Acosta.sSo with electric arms such as these why is the Mets bullpen so bad? Could it be the approach taught by Dan Warthen? I think so. The Mets bullpen has a 4.26 BB/9IP rate which is only second to worst to the Cubs who have a close to 5 walks per 9IP rate. Why with a pen of hard throwers do Mets relievers have such a high walk rate, I’d have to say it’s the approach set by Warthen of nibble, nibble, nibble instead of attack, attack, attack.

Pitching is deception trying to keep the batter off balance.  I don’t think Warthen’s approach to pitching is effective in doing that. When was the last time we’ve seen a Mets pitcher go up the ladder on a hitter? How many times have you screamed at your TV set when the 7-8-9 batters reach base on a walk on off speed and breaking pitches  that miss the outside of the plate when challenging the batter should be the plan?

Terry Collins has been a loyal supporter of Dan Warthen and his teachings but I know I’m not alone wondering how Warthen was kept on staff after the purge of personnel of the Minaya era. With the ineffectiveness of the bullpen and the very valuable arms coming through the Mets farm system, it is paramount of Sandy Alderson to find a pitching coach who not only can relate and help the growth of these young arms but he also needs a pitching coach to change the mindset of many on this staff to pitch aggressively. The approach that is in play now is not working and needs to be eradicated.

 

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Communication Breakdown…………….

Was yesterday’s blow up between Tim Brydak, Josh Thole and Dan Warthen a shock or surprise to anyone? I didn’t think so. This situation has been simmering for a few weeks  and as the losses pile up the finger pointing stars to sprout and in the words of Dan Reeves, “when you point a finger, remember there are four fingers pointing back at you”. Terry Collins said something similar after the game about guys needing to take on accountability for their actions, which was directed at Tim Brydak, but is Brydak the villain here? Not to me he isn’t.

For most of this collapsible second half, the bullpen has been held as public enemy #1 but there is so much more to the ineffectiveness of the Mets relievers than lack of talent, it’s more of lack of direction.

Most Mets fans were puzzled when Dan Warthen was retained at the end of last season and many are pointing the fickle finger at him for the suckitude of the pen. I would put myself in the group questioning why Warthen was retained, but the one part of the pitching game that has been as much a problem as blown saves and three run late inning jacks is the lack of a veteran backstop.

Let’s face facts, if Josh Thole were in any other organization he’d be the Sunday catcher or the starter at Triple A, what earned him the job was his ability to hit for a decent average and get on base.  His work on defense is not very good and since he’s so green around the grills as a receiver, he’s left to relaying signs given to him by Warthen to the pitcher on the mound and as we witnessed yesterday, Brydak is tired of it.

Warthen and Terry Collins put Thole in a bad situation as he’s being told by Warthen on what fingers to throw down only to have Brydak shake him off. Warthen I guess being adamant on what pitch he wants thrown, flashes the sign to Thole again for a fastball , Brydak shakes him off again as he wants to throw a breaking ball which to me his his perogitive since he is, you know, the guy responsible for what happens when that ball leaves his hand, but Brydak gives in an releases a heater and Adam LaRoche turned on it for a home run. After giving Thole a stare down, Brydak comes out of the game is hotter than the Roosevelt Ave asphalt.

What Thole should have done before the pitch to LaRoche was call time, motion to Warthen to come to the mound and then address both the pitching coach and Brydak by saying “can you two fucktards get on the same page”. There’s no way in hell Thole would ever do this but I’m sure Jerry Grote would have punched both of them is the jaw.

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Mets-cellaneous

I just hope a week from Thursday the weather is better than today in NYC. I’ll take the sunshine but this morning at 6AM it was 31 degrees which meant I had to retrieve my winter coat from my basement closet. I hate wearing my winter coat.

Speaking of a week from Thursday, I’m more than ready to get the season started as it will put up and shut up time and we get to talk about games that count.  But before we do there is some Mets Miscellany to discuss.

ITEM: Johan Santana Decreased Velocity

There was a bit of a panic in Metsville yesterday as the beat writers were sending Tweets from the frontline on Johan Santana’s start. It seems all the JUGS guns had Santana with less than Autobahn numbers, along with an ineffective first inning sent the sky is falling Mets fans out in droves.

It would be great if Santana was hitting 90+ but according to the stories from the game his velocity increased as the game went on. He walked 3 in the first inning but then regained his command to settle in and pitch very well:

 “I was struggling locating my fastballs,” Santana said. “I threw two-seamers. And, then, by the time I threw my breaking ball, I wasn’t able to throw strikes. But then I made some adjustments and I started hitting the inside corner and I was better after that. … It was just one of those days where things take a little longer. That’s all it was.”

See what gives you optimism with Santana that he will come back to form is he’s a very smart pitcher and knows exactly how to execute and how to adjust. I didn’t think we’d see Santana until the end of May but now I’ll be disappointed if Santana is not on the Citi Field bump on opening day.

ITEM: David Wright Back In Action

Good to see Wright back in action but let’s see if (when) he can go a couple, three days straight without aggravating his stomach injury. As Wright stated there is getting into physical shape and then there is game shape. Wright will be off today but then I’d like to see him play the rest of the week .

ITEM: Chris Young Signs Minor League Deal

Never have enough arms. Low risk high reward but there are still some Mets fans  that will knock this signing because that what those Mets like to do.

ITEM: Carlos Beltran pays Jon Niese $10K

Someday I’d love to carry that kind a coin around with me to just write a check to a co-worker for cosmetic surgery. I’d have my office look like the waiting area of the Bunny Ranch.

ITEM: Texas Rangers Release Connor Jackson

We are going to see a bunch of these releases as Jackson fits the description of players signed to minor league deals who are guaranteed $100 K if they are still in camp on March 30th. The Rangers are hoping to strike a deal with Jackson to start the season in the minors but it wouldn’t be bad for the Mets to swoop in a sweeten the pot a bit to add Jackson to the 25 man squad as he’s a right handed bat who can play the corner outfield spots and 1st base.

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AHHHHHHHHHHH BASEBALL

Observations from the first game of spring training and how nice it is to talk about on the field issues:

The best part of the game for me were the pitchers who worked yesterday. Collectively, the six pitchers used struck out 9 and walked 3. Of the three walks Jenry Meija walked 1 and Manny Acosta walked 2. In fact , Acosta  was the only pitcher used who had trouble throwing strikes (8/7 BB/K)

Meija  was not only effective with his breaking ball but he looked happy and relaxed.  It’s just one appearance and maybe it’s just my giddiness over seeing baseball for the first time this year but my fear that the past administration may have ruined Mejia has been somewhat relieved.

I had and still have no idea who John Lujan is.

Fernando  Martinez had a throwing error and ran into a railing in foul territory chasing a fly ball and looked like he banged his knee and was limping a bit. All I could think of is, will he ever make it in the big leagues and if in order to keep Pedro Beato or Brad Emaus in the organization is via trade then hopefully the Orioles or Blue Jays would take F-Mart. Then Martinez goes and cracks a two run home run to tie the game with the replay showing just a beautiful swing and I totally change my mind about him. This is what is so frustrating about F-Mart. I hope this kid stays healthy all year and gets 450-500 AB’s in Buffalo so we can finally find out if he’s  worth keeping or if he becomes a very valuable trading chip.

It’s spring training for the Mets announcers as well. It was wonderful to turn on the TV at 1PM yesterday and see Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez  and “SNY Celeb” Kevin Burkhardt but Cohen made the first faux pau of the season as he referred to Sandy Alderson as “Sandy Martinez” . Hernandez picked up where he left off last season with his marvelous comments, yesterday’s Mex-isim was calling  Braves catcher Brian McCann “portly.  Can’t wait until he gets a gander at Bartolo Colon.

Mets Twitterverse lit up when Willie Harris belted a 2 run HR to tie the game in the bottom of the 10th inning but the most impressive part of Harris day was when in the middle of being interviewed by Kevin Burkhardt , Harris just stopped as F-Mart hit his home run and started cheering and then went to congratulated him then he went back to the interview.

Nick Evans is not going down without a fight.

Scott Hairston is going to be a guy we talk about this season in a very positive way. Harriston is going to win a few game for the Mets this year. Hairston has pop in his bat and will be a very useful 4th outfielder.

I’ve been killing Evan Roberts of WFAN all week for his non-stop NJ Nets talk and going ga-ga over the Deron Williams deal (I would say the NJ Nets have the smallest fan base of any team in the NY metro area. The NY Red Bulls of the MLS have a bigger fan base than the Nets) but today I have to give him mad props for his interview with Sandy Alderson yesterday.

It was good to see Jason Bay get a base hit in his second and last at bat as he looked awful on his time up in the first inning. After the game he did say he felt rusty but he feels great.

Let’s hope like last year with the Dickey jokes that Mets fans get the Hu Who? Jokes out of their system by the end of spring training. Chen lu Hu looks like the best defensive player on the team. No joke.

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THREE METS WITH SOME EXPLAINING TO DO

First let me say Shana Tova to all of you celebrating Rosh Hashanah at sundown this evening.

Well just when I want to abandon this Mets season along comes Dillon Gee to shed a bit of light on the darkness of another post season-less season in Flushing.

Gee’ start even energized the broadcast booth last night as Ron Darling was as excited as we seen him in a long time as he watched Gee show a nice grasp of the art of pitching. Gee was quite effective using a sharp breaking ball that the TV crew said was a curve but Gee himself told Kevin Burkhardt that it was a slider that he relied on most of the evening as he could not get good command of his curve and that helped him set up his low 90’s fastball to keep the Nationals hitters off balance. That is the definition of pitching ,staying  ahead of batters and keeping them off balance and for one night at least, Gee showed a ton of promise as an arm to look at for 2011.

For all the grief I give the Skill Sets, the one thing I’ve always admired about them was their commitment to our armed forces. If you go to games at Citi Field you know that the club acknowledges wounded vets by giving them much deserved VIP treatment at Mets games. They were the driving force in the caps worn and sold during Memorial Day and 4th of July by players and fans with proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior program and they make sure that the players make a trip to Walter Reed Hospital when the club plays the Nats in D.C., which has a profound effect not only on the heroes who were injured in battle but on the Mets players as well. Guys like David Wright, R.A. Dickey and Angel Pagan are up front about their feeling toward the trip in fact the whole Mets organization steps up big time by going to Walter Reed to lift the solders morale.  Well, almost everyone.

It seems Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and Carlos Beltran were the only member of the team to not make the trip to Walter Reed.  Why these three decided not to go has not been explained. Hopefully those with access to the players will ask them why they blew off this very important trip.  The fact that it was these three who were absent proves out why the vast majority of Mets fans can’t stand the trio.

Perez and Castillo should have been dumped a longggggggggggggggggg time ago but it should not be a shock that these two selfish shitheads would not go to a hospital to visit injured soldiers. Maybe they were embarrassed that as much as they suck at what they do and lack any balls to step up and make a positive contribution to the team ,shamed them from showing up. As for Beltran, he did himself no favor in the eyes of Mets  fansfor not showing up.

As far as I’m concerned Perez, Castillo and Beltran are three no good scumbags for not appearing.  I defended Beltran when he came back from injury and a lot of folks blamed him for the second half demise of the club. I have never been a fan of Beltran even though he is a great player (most long time readers know I was no fan of Mike Piazza’ either as Piazza and Beltran have the same “me” attitude just my opinion) and I think he is sometimes attacked unfairly but after being a no show yesterday, my Beltran defense rests.

If there is a silver lining to this embarrassment, it’s that maybe NOW Jeffy Skill Sets, getting embarrassed by these three, will finally realize that they all need to go no matter what the monetary cost.  I would have a ton more respect for the Skill Sets if they sent both Perez and Castillo home right now and informed Beltran that the club will do all they can to move him to a new team. I just hope that Beltran didn’t blow off this hospital visit because of his discontent with Mets management because if he did then he’s a gutless coward.

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WHAT CAN I SAY THAT HASN’T BEEN SAID ABOUT MEIJA TO THE PEN

 

It’s stupid, idiotic, short-sighted, desperate, mind numbing, ridiculous, insane, moronic, and unconscionable and the sad fact is he might just happen, unless somebody in the front office puts his big boy pants on and stops Gangsta’ Jerry from sacraficing a twenty year old, who most experts project as a top of the line starter, to save his lame duck ass.

From John Sickels Minor League Ball Site:

1) Jenrry Mejia, RHP, Grade B+: He needs to refine his breaking ball and a full year of Double-A/Triple-A is necessary in my view, but he also has number one starter potential. I hope they don’t rush him.

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M.W.A. METS WITH ATTITUDE

The only thing missing at $iti Field last night was heat and humidity as last night’s game had that classic middle of the summer feel to it.  

The Mets showed the fight that we have been clamoring for out this group and the leader of the pack is the Ace Johan Santana. It’s tough for a pitcher to be the team leader but there is no question that Santana is the emotional leader of this team and I believe that his fiery way is rubbing off on Carlos Beltran as well as we’ve seen Beltran be much more vocal than ever in his Mets career.

I agreed with Ron Darling who during last night telecast made mention of J-Man taking Johan out of the game that Santana has to be careful not to show up J-Man when Manuel came to the mound. But as a Mets fan who has been screaming for someone to show a pulse and have some pluck, watching Santana fight to stay in the game was outstanding.

Santana had a weird pitching performance. He was throwing strikes all night but his pitch selection when he was ahead in the count was a bit dicey. In the 4th after the Mets added to their lead to 3-0, Santana got two quick outs and looked to do what you have to when your teams scores and that’s shut down the opposition in their next at bat. He got ahead of Ryan Howard 0-1 but then hung the next pitch (I think it was a change up) belt high middle of the plate and Howard teed off on it. Maybe going outside with a waste pitch would have been better something down and away  that Howard may chase but at least it was a solo shot.  Same with Ibanez up next.  Santana got ahead 0-2 before giving up a HR on a breaking ball that hung up over the middle. Strange pitch selection.

Lance Barksdale blew the call at the plate against Fernando Tatis in the 6th as Tatis was safe at the plate by not only sliding under the glove of Carlos Ruiz but Ruiz never had possession of the ball. But Tatis never argued the call and J-Man said he didn’t come out because he can’t see it from his spot in the dugout and Tatis didn’t fight it either. But SNY showed D-Wright (must have seen the reply) telling Manuel that Tatis was safe.  J-Man should have gone out between innings to let Barksdale know that when the highlights are shown that night that he will be embarrassed.

Faith and Fear in Flushing is hosting a METSTOCK night at Two Boots restaurant in Manhattan next Thursday night. The evening in which the Mets will be playing the Orioles will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1969 World Championship and the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival.  Click here for all the details and a list of writers who will be on hand.

The Mets Police has more ideas for a better Mets alternate uni.  I would love to see something where they keep the snow whites and instead of METS across the front have an orange NY on the left side and no name on the back. I do like the hat that the Mets po-po suggests but the suggestion of putting QUEENS on the roadie uhhhhhhhhhhh NO WAY! .

Alex Nelson at Mets Geek has an outstanding  in depth scouting report on LHP Steve Matz and SS Robbie Shields.  In the comments section of this post is story that Matz is looking for a $1mil signing bonus or he will go to college instead. If the Mets believe this kid is worth keeping then I’d say give him the mil and get him in the system. The Skill Sets make more than that on the nickel deposits from the beer bottles at $iti Field.

It seems that Larry Jones regrets he was never a Met. The guy has an unhealthy envy problem with the Mets and NYC.

   

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OF COURSE I’M HAPPY, CAN’T YOU TELL?

Obviously I’m extremely happy with the win last night especially with Livan Hernandez pitching like a prehistoric pitcher actually finishing a game, who does he thinks he is Roy Halliday? But we all need to remember that the opponent was one of the worst baseball teams to call it’s self a major league team since the Mets played in the Polo Grounds. I really didn’t want to piss on the parade here as I really enjoyed watching Livan Hernandez pitch as he couldn’t break a pane of glass with his fastball but his breaking ball had so much movement it looked like the ball was made of J-ELLO so it was a real pleasure watching that performance but it was the Nationals.

Hard to rate the first appearance of Fernando Martinez as the kid went from Buffalo to a plane trip to NYC to $iti Field in a matter of hours so you can just imagine the type of out of body experience he was going through but at least we know that he will be stationed in right field for at least the next two weeks so we can gauge him better by then.

From what I ‘ve read about Wilson Valdez he is all glove no stick which is fine as the Mets need to shore up the middle of the infield and all he cost was money. Being that it’s Johan against the Nationals tonight does Valdez get the start over Ramon Martinez tonight? I’d say so.

I better see Daniel Murphy at first base tonight. The kid can’t get out of his slump sitting on the bench.

Ollie Perez did nothing in Buffalo last night that would rush his return back to Flushing. The one thing in OP’s favor is that Tim Redding has been underwhelming to say the least .Interesting that the Mets have not announced the starting pitcher for Sunday game in Florida as with the day off Thursday they could skip Redding and go with Livan.

Great post by Ken Davidoff on his evaluation of Omar Minaya. I don’t want to say Minaya is an enigma but my mood on him changes almost weekly. Omar handling the DL infuriates me. Omar the talent evaluator is a plus in my book. Omar the public speaker makes my ears bleed. Omar the dumpster diver is without peer. When it comes time to seal the big deal, even the most anti Omar detractors will agree he has always closed the deal which brings me back to Daniel Murphy.

I really like Murphy and I want him to show what’s in that bat of his and the fact that he looks so comfortable at first base has me hoping he will break out with some big hits . J-Man and Omar need to sit down and decide to either let Murphy play everyday at first for the next two three weeks and then decide if he stays at the big league level or goes to Buffalo. As I say I like Murphy a lot but this is the big leagues and if it’s a question of the league having caught up to Murphy or the fact that he has been scared by playing left field then the brain trust has to make the determination if Murphy is THE GUY for first base or if he’s not and go out and make a deal for a big bat.

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ALL I GOT A SHEA STADIUM TODAY WAS A LOUSY T-SHIRT AND A LOSS

Just back from Shea and Game 1 of todays day/nighter with a few observation and a rant.

 

Petey is now a major concern for the Mets as he had nothing today after coming off a start where he wasn’t feeling right and working out with his personal trainer and having an extra day off. The extra days rest helped with his velocity but his fastball is as flat as a tortilla and when he can’t get that breaking ball over consistently for a strike it sets up that meatball fastball and whole lot of trouble.

Tonight J-Man has to go with his eight best men, and throw the lefty/righty bullshit out the window. Here is the line up I’d go with for tonights waterboard broadcast on ESPN:

Dirty Jose ss

Dropkick LF

Sugarpants 3b

Carlito’s Way CF

Del-GOD-O 1b

Flushing House of Worship RF

Off the Schined C

Gimp 2b

$19mil dollar man P

The Mets played todays game like there was no sense of urgency I know players are much different from fans as we take every pitch like it’s life or death but my God this Mets team should have come out fired up after losing Friday night instead they played like shit. There was no batting practice and no infield practice so add that to no game yesterday (in fact the only player it seems who was at Shea yesterday was Billy Wags so they all had a full day off) Hard to believe but  this team better play tonight like their hair is on fire.

The Skill Sets own the Mets and they also own the Brooklyn Cyclones, so it’s a head scratcher to me how both places treat their customers so differently. Today at Shea as we entered Gate E, we had got on the bag check line because my wife is not happy until she smuggles in bottle water, cracker jacks and sandwhices. Me, I bring a binder with notes of stats a scorebook and pens, pencils and a radio. Really not much to check. The rent a cop doing the checking at the Gate today must work also at one of the area airports as she was pulling out every item out of people bags. She was wearing batting gloves to sift through fans belongings and opening up bottles of water and sniffing them. I swear I was waiting for her to have fans drop their pants and spread their butt cheeks. Some of the other guards were laughing their ass’s off at this as they waved my family and the family in back of us around before we were subjected to a body search.

How the fuck did all the Philly fans get into Shea this afternoon? I swear to God I’ve been going to Shea Stadium for all forty-four years of it existence and never have I’d seen this many Phillies fans here. I guess they all had tickets to yesterdays rain out but what did they do sleep at homeless shelter in Jamaica? The Upper Deck was sparse in the LF/RF corners and the Field Level and Lodge had spots of empty seats so I guess for a make up game it was ok but I was expecting a full house as this is a pennant race. Hopefully tonight the place is packed with METS FANS!!!!!!!!

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JUST A SONG BEFORE I GO

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh vacation time, it’s wonderful. Before I leave for Cape Cod and a trip to Boston and Fenway Park I will be in attendance at Shea for tonight’s game as the turnaround season rolls on. No post tomorrow as it’s a long travel day but I hope to post Monday my “Fitty’ Birthday” by the way , so before I get some last minute stuff done and head to Shea a few thoughts:

 

Two of the biggest players of this turnaround have been Carlos Delgado and Mike Pelfrey and not surprisingly both players have been helped by the change in manager and pitching coach. Delgado seemed to hate being at the ball park when Willie Randolph was in charge as it seems Randolph’s reign in the clubhouse was a tension convention but for some reason the main streamers give us just bits and pieces of  life in Mets clubhouse under Willie. I guess theiy will let us know when their books come out. Rick Peterson told Mike Pelfrey to never throw a curveball again. Dean of School Dan Werthen worked with Pelfery on his breaking ball to go with his 90+ heater to make him a complete pitcher. No bracelets, no gem stones just good common sense.

 

I can’t figure out Dirty Duaner. He gets ahead of batters and can’t finish them off. Is it bad luck or poor performance?

 

Brandon Knight, the definition of a journeyman, makes his Mets debut tonight as a stand in for Petey. Knight has had a great year in NOLA and was ready to join Davey Johnson and Team USA in Beijing but on the insistence of Dan Werthen he was summoned for this spot start.

 

Looks like the Highlanders stole Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte from the Bucs but I’m not worried about that as with all the rumors and names out there the guy I hope we land is Casey Blake. Blake has descent power and can player OF, 3B, and 1st  his one draw back is striking out a lot but we can live with that as Blake is the righty bat the Mets need.

 

Manny isn’t happy in Boston. The Red Sox front office, owners, players and fans are not happy with Manny.  I think you know where I’m going here, If I’m Omar I have to make a call in fact if Omar wants to give me Theo Epstein’s number and I’ll meet him for lunch when I get  into town.

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