When You Play Not To Lose, You’re A Loser

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Preach it Herm! Preach it!

I guess Terry Collins doesn’t believe that pitchers win/loss records are meaningless. Last night Collins pulled Jeremy Hefner from his start after 6 innings and 94 pitchers with a 3-2 lead because he wanted Hefner “to feel good about himself and not let HIM lose the game”. HIM, Hefner the individual not the TEAM but this one player on the TEAM the manager was worried about. Collins went on to say that Hefner has been down about not getting a win, seriously ?  Is this where we are now, worried about individual feelings of players?   

It’s not just Hefner but how about Ike Davis? On any other team Ike would have been sent to Triple A told to work out his hitting problems and then work on getting back to the big leagues.  Teams do this all the time.  Why Sandy Alderson has become so passive with Ike is baffling to me. But then again it seems the organization has taken a big step back when it comes to accountability.

We all knew this wasn’t a contending team but did we think it would be a non-competitive team? I didn’t but when I hear the manager worry about the psyche of a journeyman pitcher instead of challenging him to get out there and finish the job and then to keep running Ike Davis out there every day to embarrass himself, you have to wonder how lost Terry Collins is right now. What does it say about Hefner that he didn’t demand the ball for the 7th inning? Hefner should have put up a fight to where he would have to be restrained from ripping the bullpen phone out the wall. But like the bulk of this Mets team he lacks passion.  In fact the whole organization lacks passion.  

And talk about killing a players confidence, how do you think Juan Legares and Jordany Valdespin feel  sitting out of the lineup day after day? And  you wonder why JV1 has a piss poor attitude? I don’t blame him.  If I’m Legares and Valdespin I try to figure out whose arm I have to break to get them out the lineup so I can get in.

Its’ one thing to compete and lose but at least you can say I gave it all I have and played to win. The Mets play not to lose and when you have that mindset, you usually lose.

 

   

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Will 2013 Be The Summer of Lucas Duda ?

 
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Lucas Duda is one very large enigma to Mets fans. We see a strapping young man who stands 6’4” 250+ lbs and wonder, when will it all come together for Duda, when will we see 30+ HR’s and 90+ RBI. Well at 27 years old if it doesn’t come this year it mostly likely will never happen for Duda.

27 years of age is a great age to be unless you are an unproven big league baseball player. It’s an age where you are hitting your playing prime, where if you are a quality baseball player, everything comes together, it all starts to click, you have a good read on the opposing pitching staffs, you have a good idea of your hitting zone, you know when to be aggressive and when to lay off the breaking balls you chased as a greenhorn. It’s when the game starts to slow down just a bit for you to manage it effectively.  This is the season for all of this to come to Lucas Duda at the plate, if it doesn’t the Mets are in for a long season and Duda could be one in a long line of young Mets outfielders to be discarded on the side of the road.

I’ve looked a few of the projections for Duda for the coming season and while there seems to be a bit of an uptick in his power numbers by some, is it enough t to keep him as a big league starter?:

PECOTA .251/.333/.430  15 HR 54 RBI

ZiPS  .248/.330/.418  18HR  74 RBI

Bill James  .268/.356/.454   18HR  69 RBI

 

James projects Duda with a better on base and slugging percentage and I kind of agree with that. Duda has improved his eye at the plate, swinging at fewer pitches outside the strike zone (30.1, 29.8 and 35.3 last season) and his base on balls rate has gone up each season as well. But it’s the power numbers that give me pause on Duda as his Isolated Power Average dropped from .189 in 2011 to a pedestrian .150 last season. Being that the Mets lineup is still in flux-I don’t think Terry Collins knows who will be his 1-2 in the lineup yet-where Duda bats will determine how many RBI opportunities he gets, I figure Duda to bat 6th so the opportunity to drive in runs will be there for him.

Hitting just 15-18 home runs will not be acceptable this season from Duda, the Mets have to see an increase to at least mid-twenty’s if the team is going to make any noise this season and again at 27 years old, it’s time for Lucas to bust out.

The dilemma is for Duda to stay in the lineup he has got to hit and be a run producer as his defense is, and there is no way to sugar coat it,dreadful. The Mets do not need Duda to be Barry Bonds-like in left field but he needs to be able to get a good initial jump on balls and just make the routine play. In Duda’s defense (no pun intended) he is a first baseman by trade who is still learning a new position, so I have to cut him some slack.

The intangible in the whole Lucas Duda equation is his mind set. When Duda first came up to the Mets, it took a while for him to become comfortable in the major league/NYC setting. Terry Collins has mentioned that Duda has to get a grasp of being a big leaguer and now as one of the young vets on this Mets team, he has to be a leader. That doesn’t mean he has to be vocal or a rah-rah type, which is not his nature but Duda has to step up this season and be a difference maker so the club and Mets fans don’t have to suffer through another disappointing season.

Let’s all hope that 2013 becomes The Summer of Duda.      

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Eddie Yost 1926-2012

 

…….and coaching 3rd base for the Mets Eddie Yost………………

From 1968 to 1976 before the Mets would come up for their first at bat of the game, Lindsay Nelson or Bob Murphy would inform Mets fans that Eddie Yost was manning the 3rd base coaching box. Yost to most of us young Mets fans just knew Yost as a coach on the Mets (when I was a kid I never thought of Yogi Berra as a Highlander but as a Met when I got a little older and studied his career boy was I shocked!) and a guy from Queens, but Yost was as a player who lived by the baseball commandment that a walk was as good as a hit.

Yost passed away yesterday at the age of 86. Andrew Schiff and Mathew Silverman have this through biography of Yost on the SABR website that is a definite must read.

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The Eddie Kranepool Society Congratulates David Wright on Becoming the NY Mets All-Time Hits Leader

I’m not going to lie, it was always cool to look at the section of the NY Mets media guide that houses the all-time Mets records and see Ed Kranepool’ name in the top spot as the Mets all-time hits leader. After last night though Steady Eddie has been relegated to the second all-time spot surpassed by David Wright and his squib single in the 3rd inning last night.

Kranepool has been coming to the games of this recent home stand to see Wright take his spot and according to Wright Eddie has been his biggest supporter:

  “Eddie came and saw me before the game, wished me luck, and reiterated the fact that he’s happy for me and excited for me, and that meant a lot to me,” Wright said. “I’m very proud and humbled at the same time.”

 So with that let offer my heartiest congratulations to David Wright on the occasion of earning the title the NY Mets All-Time Hits Leader.

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Maybe A Showtune Would Help The Mets ?

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Nothing has worked for Terry Collins to get his team off the second half schnide, somatbe he should do a little song and dance

 

Lucas Duda is back with the big club and JV1 goes back the Wallyworld. I’m sure Valdespin will be back in September but there are many in the Mets clubhouse who I’m sure wished Valdy a nice trip to Buffalo and don’t let the clubhouse door hit you on the ass on the way out.

Scott Hairston and Anders Torres have been placed on waivers.  I’m sure Hairston will be claimed and hopefully the Mets can deal Hairston for a prospect or two but I doubt anyone is going to claim Torres, you never know but I really doubt it.  If Torres is not claimed I’d rather see the Mets release him and let Matt Den Deker play CF in September.

Seems Ruben Tejada took a shot to the nuts (he wasn’t wearing a cup, I guess he has no thoughts of being a daddy) and that was the excuse explanation for not running out a ground ball yesterday. If he was hurting so much form the shot to the McNuggets than he should have been removed from the game, if you’re in the game you got play hard even if you have swollen scrotum.

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Gotta Clean Up The Slop

 

 

Let’s face it, when Terry Collins rolls out his majority right handed hitting lineup the opposition isn’t exactly quaking in their cleats. So add the righty lineup with sloppy base running and defense (besides bullpen help and a right handed power bat, Sandy Alderson really needs to put getting a defensive catcher high on his things to do over the all star break list, really enough of Mike Nickeas already!) and Clayton Kershaw you get an 8-2 Mets loss but this game was more the Mets losing it than the Dodgers winning it.

A 3-1 Mets lead disintegrated  again by poor defense (I’ve been a supporter of Lucas Duda and the job he’s done in RF but lately he’s been regressing out there and I’m getting a little worried)  which seems to happen every time I think the Mets are ready to run off a big win streak (My daughter and I were in a t-shirt store in Hyannis  yesterday when the clerk saw my Mets cap and t-shirt, he said “wow the Mets are doing really well this year what are they like 5 games out of 1st place”? and in my “no you asshole “voice I told him the Mets were 2.5 games out of 1st  at which point my daughter walk slowly out of the store full of embarrassment) but still the Mets have had three winning months in a row and have not been below .500 all season so with that and the fact they are a mere 3.5 games back of the Nationals for first place in the NL East it’s been a great first half of the season.

And you want to know why I think so highly of Sandy Alderson, the truth hurts doesn’t it Mets fans

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Critics Are Way Off Base On The Strawberry-Seaver Exchange at All Time Mets Presentation

I was at the taping of the All Time Mets team at the 92nd St Y on Sunday but the show ran kind of long and with work the next day (a 5AM wake up) and a ferry to catch on the other side of Manhattan, I left as soon as the All Time team was announced so I missed the Q and A portion of the program.

I finally got a chance to watch it and I’m still trying to figure out all the hubbub over the exchange between Darryl Strawberry and Tom Seaver. It seems a lot of folks, Mets fans included are taking Seaver to task for his comment to Straw. Strawberry was asked the question “who would win in a game where it was Seaver vs. Gooden, a tough, tough question to answer. Darryl tried to be diplomatic and praised both pitchers then like a good politician he side stepped the question and jokingly bantered with Seaver on how he would have loved to bat against him to which Seaver responded “do you have handcuffs on”. It’s that comment that has some folks up in arms and I feel it’s a real over reaction.

I took the comment and I’d bet Strawberry took it as well, as Seaver saying “are you handcuffed? No ? The grab a bat and let’s go”. Some folks are saying the Seaver made an insensitive comment since Strawberry has had many run- ins with the law and has been arrested a few times in his tumultuous life. That is really a reach. Watching that video at no time did it seem that Seaver was being malicious or nasty to Straw in fact as I’ve said a few time since attending the show live, I have never seen Seaver so engaging and jovial in a long, long time. Don’t make this something it isn’t and please stop trying to make Seaver into a villain because that is just ridiculous.

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The Error of Their Met Ways

 

I guess the less said about last night’s game the better but last night I was a guest on the Kult Of Mets Personality podcast with the gang from Kiner’s Korner and as we discussed Johan’s no-no I was gushing about this year’s Mets and how I thought the no hitter might be the ’69 black cat, ’73 Ya Gotta Believe moment for this 2012 Mets team.

So of course as soon as the podcast ended I put on the game just in time to see the Mets shit the bed.  Unreal!

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When Will We See Ruben Tejada Again ?

 

I don’t know maybe I’m reaching here but is there anyone else worrying about Ruben Tejada and the length of time it’s taking him to get back from a strained right quad muscle ? Word today from Terry Collins is that Tejada will not participate in his rehab start as the quad is still tender.

The club felt the injury would take a couple of weeks to heal but here we are about 3 week since he hurt himself running to first base and it seems he not close to coming off the DL. I bring this up because yesterday we say Ronny Cedeno come out the game due to cramping in his calf bringing Justin Turner in to play short.

I would never want to question just how injured a player is but there is a difference in being injured and being hurt. Quite frankly when I hear a player shuts it down due to “tenderness” I have to think it raises eyebrows with the front office especially with how well Tejada was performing before getting hurt and add in how much they need his presences on defense with his bat being a bonus.

I don’t want to question Tejada’s pain threshold or his work ethic; I’m just puzzled how a 22 year old is such a slow healer.

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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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