Hey Jordany, Smarten Up!

Yes it was an ugly loss last night but not ugly enough to throw up your hands just yet Mets fans.  I will say though, it would be a huge boost to the Mets and the fan base if they take the next two from the Fish. Some more about last night:

Hats off to Jeremy Hefner as he continued with the parade of solid starting pitching the Mets have gotten so far this week. Hefner showed nice command of his fastball and slider, keeping the ball down in the zone as well. He threw a lot of pitches in the 2nd and 3rd innings (49 total) but all he gave up was solo home run to Greg Dobbs.

Jordany Valdespin will drive us crazy all year. As good an offensive player as he is JV1 has absolutely no baseball instincts.  The 3rd inning brought it all into perspective. From be too far off the bag at 1st on Daniel Murphy’s soft liner to short that the throw to pick him at first base caught his bicep to then getting picked off at first with David Wright up and before a pitch could be thrown to Wright. MY GOD!

SNY cameras caught a great scene in the dugout after JV1 got picked off. He retreated to the corner of the dugout both to stay out of ear shot of Terry Collins and because is arm was hurting. That didn’t stop John Buck from coming over to him to give some “advice”. The funniest part of the exchange was Buck cornered Valdespin so there was no place for him to go until Buck was done “talking” to him.

I don’t know what you expect from Lucas Duda in left field. He’s not an outfielder; he’s a first baseman/DH and at some point Sandy Alderson is going to have a make a decision on what to do with Duda.

Don’t panic about Ike

As you know I’m not a fan of Ruben Tejada and with the scuttlebutt that it was thisclose as to who went to Vegas him or Omar Ouintanilla, I agree with what Bobby Ojeda said on the post-game show  as much as you can play your way on to a team, you can play your way off a team. The only way Tejada keeps his job is with his bat and his glove and range at short are subpar.

Not a great night for Greg Burke, Scott Rice and LaTroy Hawkins to say the least.  

Got to take the next two from the Fish. Got to

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Please Support the Fund Raiser for Shannon Forde

 

Last week at our monthly Met Bloggers night at Citi Field the friendly face I always look for was right there in the conference room where you see Terry Collins before and after every game. Shannon Forde, the Mets Senior Director of Media Relations came over to give me and the other bloggers a big welcome.

Shannon and Danielle Parilleo the Mets Director of Communications are the Mets bloggers den mothers. They take us into the places we’ve all dreamed about being in, the managers press conference, on the field for batting practice, arranging players for us to interview and assuring Jay Horowitz that we are not bad people. It’s people in the organization like Shannon and Danielle that make me root harder for this team to win because they work so hard they deserve a World Series ring as much as any player.

While watching BP last week at Citi Field myself and Ed Marcus went over to say hi to Shannon and tell her how much we missed her at the last bloggers meet up. Shannon has that personality that just makes you want to hang out with her to the point where she is much more interesting to talk to than any of the players, the same players by the way who seem to have much love and admiration for her since they know firsthand how hard she works at her craft. Her work at Citi Field is just a part of what she does as she is a mom and a wife and handles all those responsibility flawlessly and with her trademark smile.

It was while we were hanging out by the Mets dugout that Shannon told Ed and me that she was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. At that point both of our knees kind of buckled. But leave it to Shannon to stay positive and tell us she’s going to fight this and beat it and with the great support group she has both with the Mets and within her family, I have no doubt that she will beat this insidious disease and continue to be one of the best and most important members of the NY Mets and continue to lead a bunch of nomad bloggers around Citi Field.

To support and give back to Shannon for all she has done for so many, her friends have organized a fund raiser for her at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park NJ on Thursday night November 1st for 7PM to 11PM. Tickets for the dinner are $100 and that includes dinner dancing a cocktail hour and open bar. From 7:30PM to 9:00PM that evening, there will be an autograph session featuring Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, John Franco, Bobby Ojeda, Edgardo Alfonzo, Al Leiter, Ed Charles and Eddie Kranepool. For $250 you get to meet with these members of Mets Royalty and get an autograph as well.

If you cannot make it to the dinner you can still make a donation. All the information is at Hope Shines For Shannon.  

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Devastation

How much ranting and raving can I do? I left a good amount of anger on Twitter last night as the NY Mets added another chapter in this embarrassing season.

When asked if his team has quit, Terry Collins refused to let his inner thoughts public. After a pause, he told Kevin Burkhardt to go ask the players that question. Of course that statement alone says that Collins believes there are some on the team that have thrown in the towel. He even mentioned something about conduct in the dugout and then held up Juan Pierre as the guy who should be the Mets players role model as a guy “who plays the game the right way”.

The 2012 NY Mets do not play the game the right way, they are not a motivated bunch who maybe in their hearts want to win but their actions on the field say they don’t  or maybe a better way of saying it is, they can’t. You could be the biggest rah-rah, run through a brick wall player but if you lack major league talent all the hustle and heart doesn’t mean a damn thing and this Mets team suffers from a serious deficiency in talent.

I don’t know how Terry Collins and this coaching staff escape this disaster without termination or re-assignment.  I’m starting to think my prediction of Collins getting re-assigned to a job in the front office in the minor league or scouting department will come to fruition.  Collins has tried to protect his players and in my opinion to a fault, where I start to question his credibility. I’m a Terry Collins fan and I feel any organization that has him in their baseball ops is a plus but he just could not get this team to play motivated or fundamental baseball. It’s a shame but there really is no way to justify brining Collins and this staff back in 2013.

Same for David Wright, it’s time for the Mets and Wright to go their separate ways. It’s not Wright’s fault he has gone above and beyond what any player in the history of the Mets has done for this organization. He is a gentleman and a fine baseball player but the best thing for him career wise and the Mets organizational wise is to move on. Sure the fangirls will weep and the lunatic fringe will go ape shit stupid but it makes baseball and business sense to trade Wright and allow him to pursue that World Series ring he craves. It won’t happen here in NY. I would have no problem with Wright getting dealt to our arch rivals Braves or Phillies but would rather see him go to either the Dodgers, Angels or Blue Jays because this organization is so devoid of immediate talent that you have to have to throw emotion out the window and make the best deal possible with the highest percentage of return. Sandy Alderson and his front office have a huge job in front of them this winter to not just make the 2013 Mets competitive but he has to fortify the upper levels of the minor league system so injuries or ineffective play is not a death knell as it was this season.

In a perfect world the Wilpon’s would sell the team and live happily ever after in a beach cabana at Del Boca Vista Phase II but the sad part of their reign as owners, they  have made myself and the majority of Mets fans root for them to fail financially.  As much as I detest their stewardship of the team I love, I hate that they put me in a position where I want them to go broke to force a sale of the team.  Since Nelson Doubleday was bought out of his share of the club, the Wilpon/Sterling Equities leadership has been an unmitigated disaster. If the Mets were a publicly held company, the shareholders would have run Fred, Jeff and Saul out of town on a rail. Bottom line, if Fred Wilpon really loves the Mets, he’d sell them to an ownership group that has the capital and vision to make the Mets the first class organization this fan base deserves.

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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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Ike Davis Gets A Vote of Confidence From Terry Collins

 

I’m trying to process the words of Terry Collins earlier today as he has declared Ike Davis will stay a big leaguer for the time being. Is this the best thing for the Mets? Is this the best thing for Ike?

Yesterday during our Mets bloggers conference call with Rusty Staub, Staub thought that Ike would benefit from a trip to Triple A and not look at it as a demotion but a way to get his game right (big time tip of the Mets cap to Mathew Artus of Amazin’ Avenue for putting together the transcript of the Staub conference call) :

Mike Branda (Mets Merized Online): My question is actually currently in regards to what we’ve seen with Ike Davis lately. Every hitter is obviously going to see a tough time at the plate. There’s going to be maybe a month where you’re just not going to see the ball right. You’re just not getting the hits, the swing, anything. What are things that a hitting coach or has done to just help you through a tough time at the plate?

 

Rusty Staub: Well, the most important thing you have to understand is yourself, okay? I don’t know what’s happening; I’m not privy to anything that’s being said down in that dugout. I don’t have an idea what the hitting instructor is talking to Ike Davis about. But, Ike Davis came up as a very good young prospect as a hitter and he had very good talent. And right now he’s so messed up in his head, it’s beyond comprehension.

 I’ve watched the Mets on TV quite a bit and I mean he’s had the bat in different positions. He’s pumping that thing up and down. I don’t think he’s giving himself much of a chance. I think he’s got to slow it down and be quieter and not have so much… especially if your hands start moving down when that ball is coming, you’re not getting there. He does that a lot.

He’s going to get out of this thing. Whether he’s got to go to the minors and get himself together… I had to do that once myself in my career. What Ike has to start doing is starting himself in knowing why he’s doing well what he’s doing well and have an idea. Every pitcher has a strength and a weakness. Some of them don’t have as many weaknesses as others, but you can’t go up there hoping. You have to go up there with an idea of what you want to do against that pitcher and you try to execute that. Right now, I think he’s so confused. I’m not too sure getting a little time to get his act together wouldn’t be the best thing in the world for the young man, as terrible as that sounds. Ike will be back. It’s just not easy to hit the type of long-term injury he had in the previous year and come back automatically swinging the bat great.

 

With the season ending injury last year and the bout of Valley Fever this year, you’d figure that Davis would take a little time to get his offensive game on track but no one thought he’d struggle like he has so far. Maybe it’s effecting his defense as he has not been as crisp at 1st base as we are used to seeing. Rusty mentions Ike’s hands as Keith Hernandez has as well on Mets telecasts, it seems Ike has developed this bad habit of dropping his hands and brings them back up then down again when he’s ready to turn on a ball; this seems like a habit he can’t break.

On the other hand, Ike seems genuinely touched that Terry Collins is showing faith in him to get back on track and I understand Collins making the statement he did today as he hopes it stops all the is Ike going to Buffalo talk for a while but with news that Jason Bay is ready to start playing DH in rehab games in extended spring training, if Ike is still on the Interstate when Bay is ready to rejoin the team, the Mets will have no choice but to send him to Buffalo.

So all Collins vote of confidence does is but Ike some time to get right on offense and maybe stop all the third degree from the media about his inevitable re-assignment.

It’s now up to Ike to back up his managers words.

 

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So Listen Mr. D.J., Pack Your Bags

It was a bad night all around for the Mets, in particular Johan Santana, who pitched another gem and left without a win, the Mets bullpen which imploded once again, for D.J. Carrasco who had to confess his sins to Terry Collins and David Wright before the game and asked to be used in pressure situation in late innings got his wish and pitched like shit and mercifully Sandy Alderson did a mea culpa and cut his ass after the game.

Collins did not have a great game either when it came to bullpen management. Heads were on swivel at Citi Field last night when Bobby Parnell did not come out to pitch the 8th inning after a just a 5 pitch one batter K in the 7th. I was waiting to see Parnell come out the dugout but instead Jon Rauch ran in from the bullpen. I know Collins is trying to keep everyone in their role but so far this bullpen has been dreadful with only Parnell and Tim Brydak pitching effectively so why not let Parnell start the 8th and have Rauch up just in case ? I love all the positive spin that comes from the Mets clubhouse but its games like last night that has many in the fan base unconvinced that this positive first two months is real.

With Jason Bay getting back to baseball activity, the speculation is on as to who will be chucked once Bay comes back to the big league team.  The club is making it known that Ike Davis will not be shipped upstate so he’s safe. Mike Baxter is more than safe with his uncanny ability to get a hit off the bench to match his speed and defensive ability he has become a very valuable piece to the 2012 Mets. That leaves Scott Hairston and Kirk Nieuwenhuis as the last options to be re-assigned.

Nieuwenhuis’ bat has cooled as he has gone 8 for his last 33 (.242) but no one expected him to hit at the pace he has and even though his strikeout rate is high he still gets on base at a decent .367 clip. Kirk also plays terrific defense and can play all three outfield positions and he has added toughness to the team that has been sorely needed.

Hairston biggest plus is he’s a right handed hitter with some pop and that is in short supply on this team. The other RH on the bench right now are Rony Cedeno and Justin Turner but if Hairston was traded to make room for Bay’s return you could platoon Bay and Nieuwenhuis in LF so on days a right-hander pitches you’d still  Bay and his righty bat ready off the bench.

I guess it comes down to do the Mets feel it’s better to have Nieuwenhuis play every day in Buffalo  and have him ready if another outfielder goes down or leave him here in a platoon in LF and to spell Andres Torres in centerfield. I’d go with the Bay/Kirk platoon myself and make Hairston expendable. Stay tuned!

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A Fired Up David Wright, What’s Not To Like ?

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So much has been made of the DJ Carrasco-Ryan Braun-Terry Collins-David Wright spectacle from last night, it taken the focus off of Dillion Gee and the second straight start that he was a very hittable pitcher. Gee has had a problem this year making fat pitches to batters, he’s throwing strikes but they are very hittable strikes as his .346 BAP will attest to.  Gee’s ground ball to fly ball rate has jumped to 2.14,much higher than any time in his three year big league career so you could say with the lack of range in the middle infield with Rony Cedeno and Daniel Murphy has hurt him in his last two starts.

When was the last time we saw David Wright get all worked up like he was last night after Terry Collins lifted him in the 7th inning ? I was happy to see that from Wright and I was glad that after he blew up, he came back to the dugout and went over to Terry Collins to explain his side of being pulled. What we are seeing is Wright not only showing leadership with this club but finally being comfortable in that role. I also like that Collins made his decision to take both Wright and Murphy (who also was pissed to be lifted) and let both guys vent and then explained why he made the move he did.

I agreed with Gary Cohen’ take on Carrasco hitting Braun , no one knows what was in his heart if he was throwing at him on purpose or if the pitch just got away from him but to think that Carrasco, a guy whose job is on shaky ground, would just  throw at player and get kicked out of a game in which he needed to show that he can pitch effectively, makes no sense. I’m sure Collins will talk to Carrasco today and let him know that if he was throwing at Braun on purpose it was a stupid move. I’m sure David Wright will let Carrasco know it as well.

So something we knew would happen was officially announced today that the NY Mets will host the 2013 All Star Game at Citi Field in 2013. I am looking forward to this event and all the festivities that surround the Game. I’ve been to one All Star game in my life, in 1977 at Highlander Stadium and I missed the 2008 one as I was on a camping trip, I’m more excited for the Fan Fest at the Javits Center and all the pomp and circumstance that will surround the city than I am for the actual game.

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Brad Mills Left The Bullpen Gate Open

Never in a millon years did I think I’d miss Giusspepe Franco on a continous loop on SNY. Between this commercial and the Jeter trying to sell me a car that he wouldn’t be caught dead in, I hope SNY makes enough money on them to give Bobby Ojeda a big raise.  

I’m still trying to figure out the thinking of Brad Mills last night with his Salute to Tony La Russa in the 7th and 8th inning last night. It isn’t like Mills is rolling out a bullpen like the Cincinnati Reds Nasty Boys of 1990, but then again with the Astros leaving the Senior Circuit for that other league in 2013, then again it could be Mills’ form of protest to the switching of leagues with an Occupy Bullpen movement.

For all those who feel I’ve been shilling for Sandy Alderson, let me put this out there. The signing of Frank Francisco looks to be a big time blunder. Last night Francisco was not available due to a hamstring  (dehydration ?) issue, earlier he had trouble with his knee then add in that he’s has been totally ineffective as a closer, it adds up so far to one in the minus column for Alderson.

Speaking of the bullpen, there could be a shakeup soon as Mets relievers are starting to show signs of wear, ranking third in innings pitched (71.2, the Brewers lead the league at 75.1 IP) and dead last in the NL in ERA at 5.02 add in the Mets penchant for playing close games, unless Manny Acosta and Miguel Batista have a pitching epiphany they could be replaced by the rehabbing DJ Carrasco and maybe an eye opening Josh Edgin. You also have Jenry Mejia coming back from TJ surgery and Armando Rodriguez pitching very effectively in Bingo. So there are options within the organization which makes the Francisco signing look worse.

I don’t know if it’s just the mindset of the fan base or the years of incompetent management that has Mets fan fearing Kirk Nieuwenhuis going to the bench or back to Buffalo when Jason Bay gets back. First forget Buffalo that’s not happening and as for grabbing some pine, that should be where Andres Torres winds up. When you carry around a .243/.318/.402 lifetime batting line after 8 years of major league employment, you should be happy you have a seat in a big league dugout.

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HEADIN’ TO CITI

I’m looking forward to getting out to Citi Field this evening to watch R.A Dickey battle Aaron Harang and the Pads as it’s been awhile since I’ve been out there. Between work, vacations and baseball coaching obligations (our season ended by the way with my team losing in the Championship Series 2 games to 1, we finished in 1st place but giving up 4 and 5 out innings in the final round killed us) and the team on a long road trip, a trip to Flushing has been long overdue, I’m pumped up to get  out there tonight.

Seems the MSM is as usual a little late in picking up the fact that Mets fans really like this team. Better late than never I guess. One quote in this piece by Larry Brooks in the Post today made me smile when I read it, it comes from Ginger Turner:

“I don’t know why anyone would have thought our team would throw in the towel or give up,” Justin Turner told The Post. “That’s kind of a slap in the face to the guys who are here.

“Players get traded and players get hurt. That’s part of baseball. We’ve got 25 guys in here busting their butts to try to win games and who believe in ourselves and our team.”

Can’t you tell that Turner is new around here? Maybe it because the last two season the team has laid down and played dead but thankfully those days are gone. Did you see Terry Collins jumping up and down in the dugout the other night after Lucas Duda’ game winning single? That is passion.

Good news on Johan Santana as it “only” fatigue in the shoulder not anything structural that’s derailed is rehab from shoulder surgery.

Great story in the Times today (guess they had to make up for Jim Luttrells’ hack piece the other day) on Mike Baxter who will get a start in the outfield today. I love the part about Baxter organizing the purchase of championships rings for his Archbishop Molloy team and that legendary coach, Tom Curran still wears his every day. That is impressive.

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METS BLOGGERS Q & A WITH METS VP OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT/AMATEUR SCOUTING, PAUL DE PODESTA

Last night I had the privilege to be invited to a Mets bloggers conference call with New York Mets V.P. of Player Development and Amateur Scouting, Paul DePodesta. The conference call was to start at 6:30PM and the problem I had was I had a game at that time with my Babe Ruth League team. Thankfully I have a great bench coach to run the dugout and make moves and one of the parents who is a coach as well helped out while I headed to the car to call in on the conference call, by the way, we won 5-4 to keep our first place lead at two games.  

When I do one of these calls I always like to write down about 5 or 6 questions just in case someone asks a similar question. For this call I had 8 questions for DePodesta, but when it came to my turn I decided to go with this:

“Looking at the recent draft, the breakdown of picks was nearly even between pitchers and position players. Was that the plan going into the draft? Looking at the complete draft, it seemed like there were clusters of picks that went especially towards pitching. Was this done because they were the best pick available at that time, or was this something that was planned ahead — targeting pitching especially towards the middle and late rounds of the draft?”

DePo’s response was:

“To answer the first question about the 50/50 split — to be honest I didn’t even know that, so that wasn’t necessarily our plan going in. I think that’s generally how it falls, even with our rosters. Most of our minor league clubs are going to be about 50/50 between pitchers and position players. In terms of clustering some of the picks around a certain position or around pitching, that certainly was planned. We felt there was a particular depth – an unusual depth – of pitching in this year’s draft. There were some moments where we wanted to take position players, where we felt like if we were going to get the position player we wanted we needed to take them now. And after that we felt there was going to be a pool of pitching to choose from. We attacked that pool aggressively and when that pool was exhausted we re-evaluated where we were and went back to some position players. One of the things you’ll probably see is that rounds two through five were all college pitching. Once we got to round ten it was mainly high school pitching. That was certainly a calculated decision made before the draft.”

The one thing you read about this past entry draft was it that it was deep in pitching and the Mets took advantage of that depth.

I was going to ask about how the negotiations were going with Brandon Nimmo and if we will see Michael Fulmer, Cory Mazzoni or Jack Leathersich on the MCU Park mound this summer. I really wanted to ask if the team has thought about hiring Rick Peterson as a system wide pitching czar using Peterson’s expertise in the physics of pitching and his working relationship with Dr. Glenn Fleisig of American Sports Medicine Institute. To me this is a perfect match since Peterson, Sandy Alderson and DePodesta all have a working relationship going back to their Oakland days.

I’m pretty sure I can speak for all the Mets bloggers who have been invited to these conference calls and to the events at Citi Field that we have gotten more insight into how this organization operates and are thank full for the opportunities the Mets have given us. The new front office has a great deal of respect for us and for the Mets fans and they seem to enjoy these conference calls as much as we do.

A big thank you to Shannon Forde and Danielle Parillo of the Mets for arranging the calls and events at Citi Field.

Thanks also to Michael Baron of Mets Blog and James Kannengieser and Alex Nelson of Amazin’ Avenue for putting together transcripts of the conference call.

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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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