STOP………………..Harvey Time

Tuesday night I Tweeted from Citi Field, the fact that I stood next to Matt Harvey in the Mets dugout during batting practice and just his presences oozed Major Leaguer to me.  He wasn’t one of these rail thin peach fuzz cheeked rookies, nope, he had that thick trunk that the best power pitchers possess and he just carried himself around the dugout, that was boarding on a three ring circus with Mets bloggers, main streamers and models posing by bat racks in tank tops. None of this fazed Harvey. I had my voice recorder in hand and wanted to get at least a five minute interview with Harvey but he was headed to the bullpen to get his work in so all I could muster was a quick “how ya doing” and “good luck”

It was a pleasure watching Harvey pitch last night (you could tell Keith Hernandez in Phoenix doing the game and Ron Darling in the SNY studios in Midtown were enjoying Harvey’s performance as well especially Darling) as I said he, has that thick trunk and uses it to push off the rubber to where he’s not using all arm to pitch. A guy named Seaver used to that way back when and he was pretty good too.  Harvey hit a high of 98 MPH with his fastball and averaged 95 for the night. One thing missing from Harvey’s repertoire was use of his curve ball which according to Brooks Baseball he threw just three times. It was a mix of fastball/slider for Harvey all night and he was at his most effective when he hit corners, especially the outside corner of the plate and work his fastball up the ladder. Bobby Parnell should sit with Harvey and watch tape of this performance because if Parnell could approach pitching like Harvey did last night, the Mets would never have another 10 game losing streak.

It’s hard to harness one’s enthusiasm for Matt Harvey and what’s to come the rest of this season and beyond after last night.  With the awful start to the second half and the infighting amongst some players and the fans looking for a miracle in Sandy Alderson’s second year of stewardship with the Mets, Matt Harvey gave the team and fans the pick me up both needed, lets’ hope it lasts.

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Last Night’s Loss Still Stings

Photo of great catch by Capt. Kirk from the NY Daily News

There are days the Mets fan base annoys and puzzles me and then there are days I can see they get it, today they get. From reading through my Twitter timeline it seems the majority of Mets fans agree, last night’s loss was the toughest of the season to take.

What has made my day is that Mets blogger extraordinaire, Metstradamus wrote a post on last night’s game that is exactly how I feel, so like a hobo hoping on box car for free ride, if you read Metstradamus post twice, you will get his take and mine on last night’s game.

I will add it was nice to see the maturation of Jon Niese on the mound last night. Niese tried to muscle the ball the first three innings going heavily with his fastball and not keeping the ball down. In the 4th he started to get a good feel for his curve ball and cutter and then pitched more effectively.

I really wish Terry Collins would stop talking about Andres Torres getting the centerfield job back when he returns from the DL. Torres is not even a league average player, so TC and the Mets have to stop acting like there are brining Willie Mays back, Torres had one solid year, he’s 33 years old and he’s not the future of the NY Mets, Kirk Nieuwenhuis is.  The young core of this team is what gives me hope that the future is bright for the Mets. I don’t expect Nieuwenhuis to keep hitting at a .371 clip but I’d rather he’d stay up here go through a dry spell at the plate and learn how to battle through in the big leagues.

It’s easy to dump on Jason Bay for striking out in a big spot but as per the Pitch f/x of his 10th inning at bat against Clay Hensley, the real villain of that AB was home plate ump Kerwin Danley.

Don’t forget tonight is the World Premier of Knuckleball! At the Tribeca Film Festival with a free showing of the film at the Tribeca Drive-In  (World Financial Center Plaza, West Street between Vesey and Liberty Streets) the festivities kick off at 6PM with the film showing at 8PM

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JOHN NIESE AND HIS YELLOW HAMMER

Another solid start by Jon Niese  and his ever improving curve ball led the Mets to a series win over the Brewski’s . The same Brewski’s who have the best home record in baseball were a late inning Mets collapse away from being swept at home.

These Mets are perplexing to say the least. As much as the rash of late inning collapses infuriate us, this is not the same old Mets. Lose a four run lead and lose a game you should have won? No problem, come back the next day, forget yesterday and win the next game.  A post season berth this season is pie in the sky I know but the renovation of the mind set of this organization is progressing very nicely. The culture of the “woe is me attitude” had been eradicated, replaced with “keep plugging along”. It’s very refreshing.

Jason Bay seems to be a very nice guy who is working his ass off to get his bat back to where it should be. He knows what’s at stake and he has been a team guy when Terry Collins has approached him to either drop him in the order or to put him on the bench. His team first attitude is great. But this is big league baseball where winning and losing are paramount to what is to be accomplished and if Bay has to sit or be platooned or relegated to rehab in St Lonesome with a “wink-wink” DL stint, then so be it. Sandy Alderson said during the off season that salary will not determine who plays and we’ve seen that with the moves he’s made so far this season. Now comes word that Lucas Duda will be called up from Buffalo and Nick Evans will be DFA. Duda is not here to ride the pine; he will play some LF and 1B. Not sure if TC will go strict platoon with Bay/Duda or give Justin Turner and Ruben Tejada some days off and move Murph to 3rd with Duda playing 1st but what bringing up Duda does is give TC more flexibility and some much needed production from a corner position.

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COME ON NOW, WAIT A SECOND GUESS!

 

The Mets have lost their share of games this season that would have you sit an ponder for a few minutes before you get on with  your life outside being a Mets fans , but last night’s game , some 12 hours later is still bothering me.  I was lucky enough to have Ed Marcus (rusty Jr.) of The Real Dirty Mets on with me last night after the game on my THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN podcast and we disscused the game plus a lot of other Mets news and views, but back to last night’s game.

Last night Terry Collins managed more with his heart than his head, when he left R.A. Dickey in the game in the 8th inning. I’m not going to kill Collins on the move but I won’t argue with fans who feel  he  left Dickey in too long. Where I take Collins to task is, and not to go all Tim McCarver on you, why do you have Izzy warming up in the pen, and then you don’t use him? Sure Collins brought  Izzy in after Neal  Walker’s  two-run single up the middle to break a 1-1 tie, but the formula all season has been Izzy in the 8th and Frankie Rodz in the 9th which has worked great for most of the season, so why re-write the strategy now?  Well, it seems Collins got caught up in the moment as did all the fans at Citi Field.

R.A. Dickey not only showed guts pitching in pain with his plantar fascia injury that has left him unable to run and walking with a bit of a limp but that did not affect his ability to toss a knuckleball that sashayed better than any contestant on Dancing With The Stars. Maybe it was the warm humid night or just that Dickey got his mojo back but he was vintage Dickster last night.

Every time Dickey came up to bat he was greeted with an ovation that was Seaver-Godden-ess and deservedly so.  Problem for R.A. was the lineup that Terry Collins used last night made a journeyman pitcher like James McDonald look like Dock Ellis, minus the hallucinogenics  of course. I will give McDonald props on curve ball that was just a nasty 12 to 6 hook.

It seemed that Collins was ready to let Dickey pitch a complete game hopefully with a shutout added to the back of his baseball card. Dickey had retired 12 in a row until the 8th inning. After a Ronny Cedeno’ leadoff single, Dickey got two quick outs, then hit a batter and let young James Harrison get another hit off him bringing up Neal Walker who hits much better from the left side than right, so maybe bringing  in Brydak or O’Connor would be the move here.  Collins didn’t think so, it was Dickey’s game to win or lose.

Now Dickey got two quick strikes on Walker but a combination of Dickey letting a knuckler float in the middle of the plate and Walker using good hitting technique and shorting up his swing with two strikes, sent the pitch right up the middle for a two run single which was like a swift kick in the nuts.

If Dickey strikes out Walker there, R.A. and Collins are heroes instead it’s become a second guesser’s paradise. That’s baseball Suzyn.

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HOW DID WE EVER SURVIVE THE MINAYA REIGN OF ERROR

 

On this date in Mets historyin 1974, the Mets traded Tug McGraw, Don Hahn and Dave Schneck to the Philadelphia Phillies for Del Unser, John Stearns and the immortal Mac Scarce.

Off season? What off season, there is more baseball news on this 32 degree morning in NYC than any other sports news.  Giants-Redskins? a murmur and some asshole comments. Jets-Pats? For such a big game the main topic is Tom Brady’s hair line. Knicks? Who gives a fuck.  Coach DiAntoni’s view of defense is when the opposition misses a shot.  NY Rangers, second only to the Mets in my fan affection but even with Gaborik’s hat trick and the fact the beat the lowly Fishsticks, not much buzz about the Blueshirts today. The big sports news in NYC, Baseball, Baseball and more Baseball:

The Mets non-tendered went as planned except for the curve ball Sandy Alderson tossed in by releasing Chris Carter.  As much as I like The Animal, and lobbied for more playing time for him last year, this is a very smart move by the Mets. According to Adam Rubin, Carter would have been given a minor league deal and would have been paid $200K but the real reason is Carter has no position on defense in fact you’d be better off signing Jack Cust than Carter.

Looks like the game plan on acquiring pitching will be of the low risk/high reward variety as reports are the Mets are looking to make a deal with injury prone LHP Jeff Francis and former Padre Chris Young. If both can stay healthy (a big IF) they are definitely worth t shot of signing to incentive laden deals.  Young would thrive in Citi Field as he is an extreme fly ball pitcher and to that fact I hope the Mets are looking at RHP Joel Peralta another fly ball pitcher for the bullpen and George Sherrill for the LOOGY spot if Perpetual Pedro proves to expensive.

WOW LMillz may be a LI Duck or a Lancaster Barnstormer  or an Orix Buffalo or maybe a KC Royal ?

Under the prior regime I’d say Joe Janish’s post aboutmoving Francisco Rodriguez to the White Sox would be a pipe dream. Under the Alderson reign, this post makes absolute sense and I could definitely see it happen.

Back in the day, I couldn’t stand Ron Santo especially back in 1969 when Santo would jump up and click his heels after a Cubs victory against the Mets. But I’m still sad to hear of his passing

So when will LeBron and the Heat go to Cleveland? Wait? What? It was last night? Shit. Who knew!

Looks like those cut throats running the Bronx Bastards will let El Capi-Tan save some face and juice up their contract offer today. No matter what happens, for now on Derek Jeter is Randy Levine’s bitch.

Good luck to Hisanori Takahashi on his signing with the Angels. A two-year deal for a 35 year old who can only pitch an inning of relief as the second time through the lineup he gets plastered may work in Anaheim but it sure doesn’t in Flushing .

Happy 62nd Birthday to the Prince of Darkeness. Hope you have bloody good fuckin’ birthday Ozzy!!!!!!!!!   

An Ike Davis Hanukkah, OH……MY…….GOD!!!!!!!

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BLOOMBERG SPORTS HAS YOUR NUMBERS

I had the pleasure last night to attend a presentation at Bloomberg headquarters  by Bloomberg Sports,  updating those of us in attendance, on the new features that have been added to their baseball analytical application and the unveiling of their Fantasy Football application. I came away quite impressed with both products.

Bloomberg Sports is really making a name for itself when it comes to statistical applications dealing with baseball and the football program, which is in pre-production, should be just as compelling to fantasy sports players, fans and media types alike.  

The first presentation of the evening was a detailed look at the analytical program that Bloomberg Sports has made available to all 30 MLB teams. Part of the presentation dealt with the batter/pitcher match up, where every pitch a pitcher has thrown to that batter is broken down to pitch type, pitch location, velocity, and the break of each pitch. There are pie charts that record what pitch type the pitcher has thrown in every conceivable count.   As an added bonus, you can click on each individual at bat in the batter/pitcher confrontation and see video of the at bat. The pitcher/batter used in last night’s demo was a Stephen Strasburg/Lastings Milledge matchup where ahead in the count to LMillz, Strasburg broke off a hellacious curve ball that Milledge’s initial reaction was the pitch was coming up and in or him and as he was bailing, the ball broke right over home plate for strike three. STUNNING!!!!!

For fans, Bloomberg uses the technology to help you win your fantasy league, in fact when you subscribe to the Bloomberg Sports application, you can sync your team into the app and have Bloomberg’s extensive stats and analysis show you the pluses and minuses of your team.

The Fantasy Football package will work the same but right now if you play Fantasy Football on NFL.com, the Bloomberg stat package will be included in the price of the game. If you wish to purchase the app separately (if you play on Yahoo or ESPN) it will cost you a very reasonable $7.95.

Both application are well worth it for fantasy players and non-fantasy players alike.

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THIS IS NOT HOW THE METS PLANNED TO SELL TICKETS

When the Mets unveiled the model of $iti Field not only did the envision a state of the art ball park but they also were of the belief that there would be so much money flowing through it’s coffers Freddie Skill Set could afford to buy Jeffey a personality but lo and behold the economy tanked and Bernie Madoff ripped off the Skill Sets fortune leaving the club not exactly swimming in currency. As opening day approches what we thought was a tough ticket, the first game at $iti Field, are as plentiful as the AM/NY give away newspapers at a Subway station. So what’s a team to do?

Well, first you try and bribe the fan base by offering a ticket to game 1 of the $iti Field era for the purchase of 5 more games. This is head spinning because the Mets wanted to be rid of us Seven-Pack ticket buyers as we were a nussience as it wasn’t worth the time and trouble to keep us on because the ticket demand at $iti would be off the charts. Well for the cheaper seats they were but the high rollers who wouldn’t know a curve ball from a High Ball are now hurtin’ for certain in this weak economy.

So becasue of that the Mets are now auctioning off opening day tickets in the exclusive Stuff Shirt section of the ball park so if you have an extra $525 laying around the couch cushions log on and put your bid in or better yet keep that cushion cash, order a pizza and watch the game on TV.

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SOME DAYS YOUR THE PEACOCK, SOMEDAYS YOUR THE FEATHER DUSTER

Tough to get too upset over last nights loss as Big Pelf was again stellar but The Wife Beater was a bit better. The Mets hitters were baffled by the Wife Beaters curve ball that was filthy and again the one area that has crept into this hot second half, the inability of the offense to get a big hit in a big spot (that means you D-Wright) was on display last night.

 

As I write this post it’s 10:27 AM and every reoprt on TV says that Hurricane Hannah will hit the area by 2 PM so why haven’t the Mets called off today’s game and announced a day/nighter for tomorrow? Why make the fans risk a trip to Shea espically on a Staurday when a lot of LI and Connecticut fans go to the game? For one once close the ledger book and do right by your supporters Skill Sets.

I can’t get too mad at Michael Jack Schmidt for sending an e mail to his former team as a little pick me up in fact I’m jealous that no former Met would do the same. No team treats it’s former players in this town like shit the way the Mets do. No wonder I’m not asked to go on Mets Weekly anymore LOL

Warlord Jerry has laid the law down to Billy Wags welcome back but prove you can still do the job before you get it back. When you look over the numbers and the performances and listen to J-Man the team really didn’t miss Wags all that much.

 

J-Man, Gimp Castillo in the 7 hole? What were you thinking?

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NIESE NOT SO NICE

Very inconsistent pitching by Jon Niese in his ML debut. All of his three innings were a chore as he had base runners and deep counts each of the innings. 73 pitches (39K/34B) in three innings is the definition of laboring. The first inning Niese was clearly nervous as he gave up a HR to Rickie Weeks on the second  pitch of the game. It wasn’t a total loss for Niese as he showed a real good curve ball that had a great break and he was able to change speeds as well, hitting 90 mph on the fastball and then coming in with a curve and change in the mid 70’s. 

Niese’ biggest problem on the night was location early, then fatigue from throwing so many pitches early as the Brewers just were teeing off on him in the 3rd. Hopefully Niese will have gotten over his bad case of big league-itis before his next start if there is a next start as J-Man has let it be known that this no time for auditions as we are in a pennant race.

Nelly Figs has come on and pitched well as it’s 5-5 in the top of the 6th so it will be up to the bullpen to keep the Brewskis off the board. Secure that pair of Depends folks it could be a rough night.

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Tickets

The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

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