Mets Luck……..Nothing But Mets Luck

 

 

 

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As much as the Mets left too many runners in scoring position (again) and especially leaving the bases loaded in the 9th, the loss yesterday was just another case of Mets luck. You know good luck, bad luck and the dreaded Mets luck.   

I actually felt sorry for Terry Collins yesterday. Most games I get quite agitated when Collins goes all Tony LaRussa/Sparky Anderson and tries to match reliever for hitter in the late innings of close games.  I always imagine hearing  Gary Cohen announce “This call to the Mets bullpen is sponsored by Acme Warehouse, the official warehouse of Wily E. Coyotte and Terry Collins”, because when Collins goes into his super manger genius mode, it usually blows up for the Mets. But yesterday it nearly worked, in fact it should have worked.

Jon Niese was fantastic especially in the 7th inning when he was running on fumes; he found a way to get out of a jam after a lead off walk and a single put him in a dangerous hole. He reached back and found a little “sumthin’ sumthin’” to strikeout Paul Janish and Jordan Schafer to finish his afternoon on an high note.

Tied at 1 after nine innings, the tenth inning was one of those innings we’ve seen too many time with this Mets team. Scott Atchison got two quick outs then he surrendered a little bullshit single to Andrelton Simmons, that was all for Atchison as Collins called for Scott Rice to face the left-handed hitting Freddie Freeman. As we all know the inning should have been over at this at bat but unfortunately it continued. After an argument that for some reason didn’t get Collins thrown out of the game, Collins made another pitching change, his third in the inning, as he called for the freshly recalled Greg Burke to face the leading hitter in the NL Chris Johnson.

At this point I was getting quite perturbed as I felt Collins was over managing again being that Burke was the 5th reliever used leaving just Pedro Feliciano and Friday nights starting pitcher Carlos Torres left in the pen. Then I thought back to Jerry Layne‘s bad call (I was standing on the first base line on the Field Level for the last three innings of the game it has a great view of the field plus there are TV’s over hanging which give you a much better replay than the big video board whose only function it seems is for kiss cam and watching little kids hit wiffleballs)  being the reason that Collins had to make the move from Rice to Burke.  

It was obvious after the Johnson home run that Collins felt the same way. By the way, it’s tough to kill Burke for giving up the 3 run, kick in the balls, home run to Johnson. As you can see here on the Pitch F/X the ball was wayyyyy out of the strike zone. Mets luck strikes again.

I digress, as soon as the ball soared over the left field wall, Collins stormed out of the dugout to go after Jerry Layne again and for some strange reason Collins wasn’t thrown out of the game until a couple of minutes into his second tirade when he threw his hat to the ground at Layne’s feet. I find it hard to believe that Collins didn’t drop one F-bomb in the two confrontations with Layne over the call but a toss of the hat was offensive enough to get bounced.

Anyway just another day of Mets luck, YUCK!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sweet Success of Opening Day

 

So far so good, the New York Mets are undefeated in 2013. Matt Harvey tries to keep the line moving tomorrow night. Here are some observations on yesterday’s opening day win:

I wasn’t in attendance at Citi Field yesterday due to my son coming back from a two week trip to Italy and Switzerland. At 17 years old he’s already been to Europe and hiked the New Mexico desert. When I was 17 I was happy to just spend time going to Coney Island and playing stick ball.

I watched all the festivities on SNY. The pre-game show started at 11:30 AM and right away the chemistry between Bobby Valentine and Bobby Ojeda was a hit. I can guarantee the spread sheet contingent of baseball fans would disagree with everything Valentine and Ojeda have to say about baseball which makes what Valentine and Ojeda say more valid.

Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez and Kevin Burkhardt were in mid-season form yesterday. Hernandez had the line of the day. After KB interviewed the stunning Emily Rossum and threw it back to the booth, Hernandez mentioned that there are times he envies Kevin and the job that he has. Welcome to the dirty old man club Keith.

I still can’t understand why SNY has a 90 minute pre-game show but still has to interrupt game action with pre-recorded interviews?

What did I tell you about Collin Cowgill? As fabulous as his Grand Slam was in the 7th I was more impressed by the hustle double he hit in the 4th that normally would have been a single to center but Cowgill was thinking double right out of the box. Love that!

The worst outfield in baseball went 4 for 12 with 2 BB 3RS and 6 RBI (4 RBI from Cowgill and 2 from Byrd)

SNY put a camera on Jon Niese after the 6th inning where Terry Collins was coming over to tell him his day was over and a let him know “Job well done” Niese was very animated in making his case to stay in the game. There was a meeting between Collins, Dan Warthen and John Buck along with Niese pleading his case to stay in for the 7th inning. It was decided to let Niese go back out to start the 7th. It seems there was caveats that as soon as Niese was to throw his 100th pitch, he was done for the day. Even though Niese got 2 quick outs, Collins brought Brandon Lyon in the game to get the last out. SNY then aimed their camera at Collins giving an explanation to Niese on why he took him out. When the lecture was over  Niese had a big smile on his face and Collins go this message across.

I’ve mention about meeting Jon Niese and finding him as dull as dish water, yesterday between seeing him interact with John Buck and with Collins and Warthen, it looks like Niese has a new and improved personality which I feel goes hand in hand with the confidence he has that now knows he is a top flight big league pitcher.

Speaking of John Buck, how great is it to see a bon fide big league catcher handling the Mets staff.  You can see that Buck is a future ML manager. SNY showed inning after inning, Buck sitting with Niese and it seemed that they were going over their game plan. After the game, Buck was praising Niese saying he would the ace of any staff he pitched for. Whether you or I believe that, you have to love Buck pumping up his teammate like that.

Got to feel for poor Ike Davis, while everyone in the lineup made a contribution, Ike took the Golden Sombrero.

Got to feel great for Scott Rice and a great gesture by Terry Collins to give the 14 year career minor leaguer the ball in his first ML opening day.

Scott Achinson looks like a guy who just competed in a fantasy camp, he’s the oldest looking 37 year old I’ve ever seen.

No Mets game today but tonight R.A. Dickey will make his Blue Jay debut. I’ll be watching that one and rooting for R.A.

 

 

 

 

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Spring Traning Roster Lag

 

It seems as if we are getting close to hitting the wall of the 2013 spring training marathon. Due to the World Baseball Classic, spring training started earlier than usual and the writers and bloggers covering the training camp are starting to drone on. So I thought maybe this is good time to take a look at how the 25 man roster of the Mets is shaping up:

Pitchers

(Starters)

Jon Niese

Matt Harvey

Dillon Gee

Shaun Marcum

Jeremy Hefner

 

I don’t think anyone is looking at Johan Santana starting the season at Citi Field, which is fine with me. This should be the season we see Jon Niese make the next step as a starter. Niese has improved every year he’s been up in the bigs and he looks to have shed the conditioning and stamina problems he’s had in the past. It also helps when you have two studs like Harvey and Zack Wheeler as teammates as well pushing you to keep pace.

 

Bullpen

Bobby Parnell

Brandon Lyon

Josh Edgin

Scott Atchinson

LaTroy Hawkins

Pedro Felicano

 

Those six barring injury look like they will be lined up on the first base line of Citi Field on April 1st. That would leave one spot left. Will Frank Francisco be ready for opening day? That’s a big question mark. So who would get the last spot in the pen? It could go to Collin McHugh even though he really doesn’t excite anyone when he’s on the mound.  Jeurys Familia would have to step it up in the next few weeks to stick as well. Even with a small sample size it would seem that Greg Burke would grab that last spot in the pen.  

 

Infielders

 

Ike Davis

Daniel Murphy

Ruben Tejada

David Wright

Justin Turner

 

The last infield spot could come down to Brian Bixler, Brandon Hicks, Zack Lutz and Josh Satin. Jordany Valdespin will most likely make the team as a hybrid Inf/Of.  Hicks, Lutz and Satin have shown some power in the minors and all hit from the right side. It will come down to the wire as to who becomes the 25th man on the Mets roster.

 

Outfield

 

Lucas Duda

Collin Cowgill

Marlon Byrd

Mike Baxter

 

Again Valdespin works his way here as the righty caddy for Duda and also as a fill in at 2nd base for Murph. Kirk Nieuwenhuis deep bruise of his knee hurts in more ways than one and Matt Den Dekker is the best defensive outfielder in camp but his bat is still under construction. We’ve beaten this outfield topic to death but a big question is, as bad as this outfield looks now, what happens if one or two of these guys go down with injury??? GULP!!!!!

 

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Random Thoughts Post Season Edition

Mets news? What Mets news? This is what happens during the MLB post season as the Commissioner’s office like for it teams not participating in the post season to lay low on news of their own. Sure it looks like the Cleveland Indians get a pass by hiring Terry Francona as their manger and knowing the kinship the Skill Sets have with The Used Car Salesman they have carte blanch as well. But with the Skill Sets looking to re-finance their massive debt of the team via its 65 % share of SNY we will have to wait a while to see if David Wright will be a Met for at least then next 6 years and if R.A. Dickey will receive his Cy Young Award as a NY Met as well.

So until then here are some random observations:

After listening to Sandy Alderson on with Mike Francesa earlier this week, it safe to say that Alderson is looking to add power, power and more power to his lineup. I would love to see him swing a deal with Toronto to add C J.P. Arencibia and CF Colby Rasmus to the Mets. I bet the price wouldn’t be that prohibitive to get both.  You fill two big holes with both players and I bet it wouldn’t take Jon Niese to get them either. Maybe Mejia, Familia and Duda ?

I’m pretty bummed that the two teams I’ve wanted to make it to the World Series, the Oakland A’s and SF Giants are both in big time trouble in a 2-0 hole in both their series.  Got to tip your Mets cap to the Reds for bouncing back after their Ace Johnny Cueto came out of game one with back spasms after one hitter.  Reliever Sam LeCure stepped up big time with a 1.2 relief stint that allowed Matt Laos to get up and warmed up to go 4 solid innings as to not tax the Reds relief corps. This is what I mean about teams like the Mets who accept failure and teams like the Reds that do what it takes to win.

I can’t believe some folks are still talking about the infield fly rule call in the Braves-Cards knockout game. The Braves are using Sam Holbrook’s bad judgment as a crutch for dropping this game. Did Holbrook make the wrong call? No. Did he stretch the interpretation of the infield fly rule? Yes. The infield fly rule is all about the umpire’s judgment and in Holbrooks judgment as bad as it may have been, Cards shortstop Pete Kozma was able to get in position to make a routine play on the fly ball hit by Anderlin Simons. The rule is in place to protect the runner from deception of a fielder dropping a routine fly ball in an attempt to get a double play, as the rule states batter is out, runners advance at their own risk. In the Braves case the runners Dan Uggla on 2nd and David Ross on 1st both advanced at that risk as the ball dropped between Kozma and LF’er Matt Holliday. So the Cardinals got the worst end of the play, not the Braves.  By the way once the infield fly rule is called it doesn’t matter which fielder makes the catch so again it would have been a more favorable outcome for the Cardinals if Matt Holliday made the catch since he was coming in on the ball which would have prevented Uggla from advancing to 3rd base. I love baseball!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This kills me but I have to give the Highlanders and C.C. Sabathia their due this morning. Sabathia put on a clinic on how to pound the ball low in the strike zone.

 

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MetsCellaneous

While I take a break from Tweeting my outrage over scab referees working NFL games and that disgrace last night at the end of the Packers-Seahawks game (forget the clusterfuck TD call where was the flag on Seahawk WR Golden Tate for his two hand shove of a Packers DB in the end zone? I hate going against the former FIGHTING IRISH receiver but it was blatant offensive pass interference and that should have ended the game in the Packers favor) a few observations from last night’s Mets-Pirates game:

I get the distinct feeling the Mets are fatting up Jenry Mejia like a Christmas goose to put on the market this off season along with Jon Niese , Daniel Murphy and maybe David Wright. I can see a blockbuster deal going down around end of December with multiple teams and the Mets as the main dealer. It won’t be of Dodgers-Red Sox magnitude but more of a Highlanders –Orioles June 15th 1976 variety.

I guess it was around the 3rd or 4th inning, both Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy went after a foul ball heading towards the stands, neither player got to the ball but Murphy made a sliding try and ended up getting his foot caught in the revolving signage. My problem? Ike never gave Murph a hand getting undone from the sign. WTF Ike?

If you ever want to know the attendance at Citi Field just log on to Twitter for 5 mins after first pitch. There must have been 100 pictures sent to Twitter with crowd or in this case non-crowd shots. Seems everyone who was in attendance took a pic and tweeted it.

With that goatee, Daniel Murphy looks like Louis CK

Boy oh boy did the Marlins and Pirates come to Flushing at the right time. After that 16-1 crash and burn and the outrage that followed what better antidote than having two don’t give a shit teams come in to remedy what ails the Mets and too show Mets fans that we do not root for the worst team in baseball.

How is it that Fred Lewis spent all season in Buffalo and Andres Torres spent all season in Flushing?

WOW! What has gotten into Gary Cohen lately? Last night he tore into Heath Bell for throwing Ozzie Guillen under the bus for Bell’s statement that there is no communication between the Fish manager and players. GC said that Bell should shut up and pitch and then added that it would be hard to throw Bell under a bus as he wouldn’t fit. Bada Bing!!!!

I’d love to see if Mets could make a deal with Brewers to get Corey Hart and Carlos Gomez. Two-thirds of your outfield problems solved right there.

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Optimism, Thy Name Is Matt Harvey

Yeah, I’m excited when Big Hoss’ takes the mound!

Could it be? Four wins in a row? Hell yeah! What makes the wins even sweeter, the last two were against the Phuck Phaces with Jon Niese on the mound for the sweep, yeah that’s right THE SWEEP!!!  

Back on August 5th Matt Harvey threw a lot of breaking balls in his start against the Padres. I’ll take a wild guess that Dan Warthen ordered him to go with that many breaking balls. Harvey lasted 5 innings and gave up 5 runs in what became a 7-3 Padres win.

Something good came of that loss; Matt Harvey went back to being what he is, a power pitcher. No more following the Warthen Doctrine of nibble the corners and pitch passively. From watching the last 2-3 Harvey starts, there is nothing passive about him and it seems the message has been sent to the Mets pitching coach, leave Harvey alone. Of Harvey’s 98 pitches last night, 63 were fastballs that averaged 95 mph, that’s power pitching.

Is it a coincidence that the Mets have won 4 in a row and the bullpen has been solid? The pen has not allowed a run in its last 13.1 innings pitched, spanning over 5 games and is 7 for 7 in saves for the month of August. The Mets relievers have even improved bit in stranding inherited runners as they are up to 70 % LOB up from the mid 60 % range they have been at most of the season.

There has been lots of talk about the way Terry Collins has used Josh (Everyday) Edgin lately but the fact is Edgin has been a bullpen revelation.  Edgin has stranded 11 of the 14 runners he’s inherited as well as striking out 24 batters in 19.1 innings pitched. I can see the concern about going to the whip to often with Edgin especially getting him up multiple times during a game to warm-up , that’s where the wear and tear takes its toll, so it may be a good idea for Collins to take his foot off the gas a bit the last month of the season with Edgin.

Jon Niese is pitching with an extra days rest today. When Niese has an extra day off he is 6-3 with a 2.29 ERA as this covers 15 starts.

One thing to watch for today at the launching pad known as Citizen Bank Park, Niese has given up the long ball a lot this season, a career high 20 home run so far this season.

Niese has a better day time record than night. He’s 4-1 with a 2.85 ERA in 10 starts in the sunshine and in 15 starts under the lights he’s 6-6 with a 3.98 ERA.

 

 

 

 

 

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Matt Harvey Pitched Like A Man Last Night

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Sing it Godfather, Sing It!!!!!!!!

 

Are we seeing the last of the Dan Warthen influence on Mets pitchers? Matt Harvey pitched last night like the power pitcher he’s been advertised as. Harvey went almost exclusively with his fastball and slider and more importantly he threw inside and challenged hitters. Harvey went away from the Warthen School of Pitching which is nibble, nibble and nibble some more. Harvey pitched a man’s game last night even plunking Ryan Ludwick in the shoulder and of course Ludwick gave the phony tough guy stare down as he went to first base, because he’s a rook, Harvey just let Ludwick have his fake tough guy moment but I’d bet if Harvey had a couple of season under his belt, he’s have told Ludwick to take his ass down to first base.

Justin Turner in the outfield in 2013? You cannot be serious Terry, you just can’t.  I have to think Collins was talking out his ass on this one, as it make absolutely no sense ,hell, Turner back for 2013 doesn’t make much sense.  Don’t the Mets have an overabundance of outfielders without any power?

Heard a rumor that Sandy Alderson sent a link to the video of Jason Bay’s home run last night to Brian Sabean with the message “Com’on Brian you know you want him”

I can get the Mets going to a 6 man pitching rotation being that Johan and Young could benefit from the extra days rest as could Jon Niese, who at some point has to show he strong enough to pitch effectively  in second half of the season and as long as Dickey and Harvey stay on schedule, it’s all good but why does the spot guy have to be Jeremy Hefner? I hope come September 1st the club calls up Collin McHugh and let him take that spot or Jenry Mejia. Seriously, enough of Jeremy Hefner.

Mike Pelfrey is ready to start throwing as his rehab from Tommy John surgery is progressing well. As an arbitration eligible player much speculation is that the Mets will non-tender him come December. That much I agree with but I’d bet the Mets try to work a deal with Big Pelf for the 2013 season. I’m not ready to call Pelfrey an ex-Met yet.

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Hot Time in the Citi

 

Another game, another great pitching performance by out starting pitcher and as of last night the Mets, Nats and Fish are tied for first place in the NL East. Let that sink in while you drink your morning coffee.  

Last night Jon Niese kept the line moving with a 10K performance that was cut short due to Niese experiencing   a rapid heartbeat.  Niese suffered a bout of this last year and was checked to be fine and doesn’t seem to concerned about this time either. Maybe Niese should start taking a baby aspirin every morning, it works for me.

I was at Citi Field last night as it was that annual extravaganza called Gary, Keith and Ron Day Night in support for the charity Pitch In For a Good Cause. As always it was a wonderful event with all the raffles and auctions and getting to hang out and kibitz with Gary Cohen and Ron Darling. After discussing the Johan No hitter with Gary I was able to spend time talking to Darling who is a resident of Brooklyn NY (Keith Hernandez never attends this event as much as Mets fans love Keith it’s a one way street) about the good old days of growing up in the Boro of Churches in the 1970’s when it was far from the hipster paradise it is now.  If that wasn’t enough of a treat, the real star of the event were the Shake Shack cheeseburgers served buffet style and NO LINE!!!!!!

Not only was it GKR Night but it was also the night that John Franco was to be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. It was a nice ceremony complete with the Department of Sanitation Pipe Band. Edgardo Alfonzo was in attendance for the night’s festivities and I still feel that this should have been his night but I don’t want piss in the punch as Franco gave a terrific speech and everyone in attendance got a bit misty as Franco talked about his mom and dad. I understood exactly were Franco was coming from. I guess the Mets gave Franco free reign on who could be invited to his special night as his co-GM Al Leiter and David Cone, who both looked like they would rather be someplace else than sitting in Citi Field and from the reaction of the fans in the stands the feeling was mutual, were given permission from the Highlanders to travel to Flushing.  The topper of the ceremony though was when Jeff Innis and Brett Saberhagen were introduced to the crowd, that was my “Ok wrap this shit up start the game, I got work tomorrow” moment. Brett Saberhagen? Are you fucking kidding me? Oh by the way, let that be the last we see of the black jersey’s PLEASE and why did the jersey have both the regular Mets skyline logo and the 50th Anniversary logo in the sleeves with the KID 8 patch moved to the front of the jersey?    

Saw this in the team store last night I had to buy it even though it’s over priced but I’m still caught up in NO-HAN Mania.

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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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Signs of Progress Within The New York Mets

Very interesting news coming from the Mets yesterday and today. First the team seems to be on the verge of locking up Jon Niese for the next 5 years, that will reward the lefty pitcher during his arbitration eligible years and buy back a year of his free agency eligibility.  This quite a progressive and proactive move by the Mets front office, something not seen in these parts in many ,many years.

Some reports have the deal at 5 years and $28mil, the 5 years is a big commitment to a pitcher who has suffered from fatigue and injury issues in his brief major league career but it speaks to the high esteem the front office holds Neise in.

During the winter there were rumbles that the Mets put Niese’ name out on the trade market (at the same time Billy Beane made it known that Gio Gonzalez was available in trade and of course the deal was made with the Nationals) that wasn’t an indication that the Mets were looking to rid themselves of the young lefty as some Mets fans jumped to that conclusion, it was more to see what was out there in trade for his valuable services as the Mets front office is trying very hard to add depth to the farm system.

Tying up Niese seems like a smart move by Sandy Alderson. As we see in this column by Mark Simon of ESPN, Niese put up some very impressive numbers involving K/9IP, BB/9IP and HR/9IP, add to that he is 25 years old and left-handed,  it’s hard for even the most jaded Mets fan to go against the front office in this move.   

Seems like the verbal kick in the ass that Mike Peflrey received last week when it was reported the club discussed however informally about giving Big Pelf his release,  has now made its way to Jason Bay as Mike Puma reports there has been some talk about Bay becoming a platoon player if he continues to struggle at the plate.  This should show Mets fans that last year’s getting to know segment of Sandy Alderson’ reign as Mets baseball boss is over and now we are entering the “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” phase of rebuilding the Mets.

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Tickets

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