It’s A Nationals Nightmare, The Mets Are Coming To Town

 

I am off on a two week vacation so I thought before I head off, I’d put up a post filled with Mets-nutia and more:

I have wrestled with the notion of should the Mets deal Bobby Parnell and Marlon Byrd, I’m sure the Mets front office has had the same dilemma. I’m enjoying this team right now and the fact that all the Mets-haters look like idiots talking shit about our team. No nothings in the media still make the same old stale jokes about the Mets but throughout the baseball industry, there is a ton of respect for what the Mets are building. How can you mock a team that has Matt Harvey and David Wright as its two big stars? How incredibly stupid do you look questioning the direction of this team when the Mets are the envy of baseball with the stockpile of young pitching in their minor league system? I know it’s hard for many of the numb skulls in the media to comprehend that the Mets have shown improvement and are on the right track to being a winning organization. Smarten up !

With that said, I hope the Mets don’t trade Parnell or Byrd. The time has come where to put an emphasis on winning. The Mets , Phillies and Nationals all have 53 losses . The Phillies and Nats are tied for 2nd place in the NL East with the Mets just 2 games back. Think about that, the Mets are 2 games out of 2nd place. If you don’t think that’s a big deal, then you haven’t been a long time Mets fan.

So by the end of this weekend the Mets could be right in back of the Braves for 1st place in the NL East. WOW! Ponder that!

The last team Davey Johnson wanted to see this weekend was the NY Mets. The Nats are 2-8 last 10 and 7-13 in their last 20 and have to face Matt Harvey in tonight’s night cap. Be proud Mets fans be proud!

We have seen the resiliency of this team and the solid camaraderie among the players that has sold me that this team is well worth rooting for. What the off season brings is not for today. It’s nearly August and I’m enjoying watching the NY Mets play baseball, what’s wrong with that?

I hope Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada spend the month of August in Las Vegas. Why bring either player up now? Since both players went down with injury and Eric Young Jr. joined the club, and the bullpen has been solidified,  the team’s been winning. The mantra of the Mets outfield being the worst in baseball has been silenced. In fact, defensively the Mets outfield of EYJ, Juan Lagares and Marlon Byrd is a major plus. No way Lucas Duda ever sees LF again, so it’s either 1B, be traded, or stay in LV until September.  

With Tejada, I can see bringing him up in a platoon with Omar Quintanilla but you gets sent down? Having Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Andrew Brown on the bench gives Terry Collins a nice late inning lefty/righty option late in games. Josh Satin isn’t even in the thought process of going to LV and Justin Turner is Terry Collins’ pet, so what to do? I say stand pat, platoon Ike and Satin at 1B and live with Turner as the backup shortstop for a month.

The Mets will giveaway Jay Horowitz Bobbleheads on August 23rd when the Detroit Tigers come to town. There will also be a post game concert by 3rd Eye Blind and a portion of the tickets sales will go to Hope Shines For Shannon. Instead of 3rd Eye Blind should the Talking Heads be the band to perform on Jay Horowitz Bobble head Night?

The Mets are also hosting a sleepover at Citi Field on August 10th

 
 
LET’S GO METS!!!

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2013 NY Mets Mid-Season Report Card Pitchers Edition

 

A day later than promised, sorry about that, so here is the 2013 NY Mets pitching staff mid-season report card.

Matt Harvey Grade A+

Matt Harvey is sensational, dominating, fearless, overpowering, handsome, intimidating, charismatic, ours.

Dillon Gee Grade C

Was close to going with a B for Gee since he has pitched very well of late but his overall body of work so far had me go with the C. Gee is a solid starting pitcher who in good health will give you 6 to 7 good innings which is fantastic for a #4 starter.

Jeremy Hefner Grade B

Who’d a thunk it? Hefner has been the best pitcher on the Mets not named Matt Harvey. Last year I was ready to say bye-bye to Hefner but now I find myself rooting hard for him to continue his success.  Puts ball in play but home run rate is up. Gave a B because Hefner is developing a strong dose of TWTW.

Jon Niese Grade C

Hope he gets healthy and pitches well in the second half so Mets can trade him and his team friendly contract for an outfield bat.

Shaun Marcum Grade F

Sorry he got injured and needed surgery but I’m not sorry he’ll never pitch for the Mets again

Zack Wheeler Grade Incomplete

Let him learn he’ll be fine if you think otherwise you’re an idiot

Bobby Parnell Grade A

FINALLY!!!! Parnell has emerged as the reliever we all hoped he’d be. Confidence in himself and his ability has fueled Parnell to could have been an All Star status. Still throws hard but isn’t of throwing; he’s pitching this year with pin point command. Sure it’s tempting to trade him but as Sandy Alderson said he’d have to be bowled over to deal him. Make your move Dave Dombrowski

LaTroy Hawkins Grade C

Has pitched much better than I’ve given him credit. Terrific BB/K ratio of 3.78 but he is hittable. His LOB % of 74 % has made Hawkins a go to guy for Terry Collins late in games.

Scott Rice Grade C

Seems like Rice pitches everyday not quite but I’m sure he warms up every game. The career minor leaguer walks way too many batters but he is able to get tons of ground ball outs. A classic LOOGY.  Got to give the guy props for toiling in the bushes for so long to finally make it to The Show. A Collins favorite.   

Brandon Lyon Grade F

F as in Farewell

Josh Edgin Grade D

Still waiting for Edgin to emerge as an effective late inning reliever but he needs better command of his slider to compliment his 90+ fastball. The second half of the season is Edgin’s audition to remain a Met in the future.

Greg Burke Grade D

Burke pitches from the mound down under and isn’t very effective he’s a JAG (just another guy)

David Aardsma Grade C

Was on the fence here with the C or B grade as Aardsma has only gone 17 IP he has looked like a guy who can be a good set up man to Parnell

Scott Atchinson Grade D

Suffered an arm injury that set him back a month and now he’s back and if he can get back what he had with the Red Sox and stay healthy add him to Hawkins, Aardsma and Parnell, that’s a pretty good back of the pen with Rice to get a lefty out.

Carlos Torres Grade Incomplete

Torres has only pitched in 10 games but he’s been very effective. Torres is now going into the starting rotation to replace Marcum hopefully he can stretch his arm out enough to give the innings needed.

 

 

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I Have No Fear Of The Beard

 

So we get word that Sandy Alderson headed to the West Coast to watch former Giants closer, Brian Wilson show that his right elbow is sound after his second Tommy John surgery. So what’s the first thing Mets fans say? Oh his shtick won’t go over well in NY. Are you kidding me? If Wilson can bounce back to his pre-TJ ways he can wear a tutu and Jimmy Choo’s what difference would it make?

To say the Mets bullpen sucked last year would be a compliment. The pen was beyond suck, more like the Mets relief core sucked the life out of the team and the season with late inning collapses and blown saves.  While many wring their hands over the outfield and debate whether the players slated to man the lush lawn of the Citi Field outfield could possibly be the least talented trio in Mets history, there has been a memory lapse that the Mets relief pitchers were a disgrace to pinstriped, snow white, road gray or hideous black uniform.  

Wilson has all the attributes Sandy Alderson likes  in a player, shunned from his former team, coming off injury, and will work for a pay for performance contract. The last one is what Alderson is banking on. Alderson would love to sign Wilson to a minor league deal with a make good bump in pay if he makes the club out of spring training. I doubt Wilson and his agent will accept that.  If Alderson feels that Wilson is close to being ready for opening day and if his velocity has returned to somewhere near the mid-90 mph he was at in 2010, why not make an offer of 1 year +an option for 2014 with a base salary of say, $2.5 mil with incentives to go up to about $4mil (if he makes those incentives it means he’s not only pitched great but the Mets are winning games as well) which would tie into health and performance.  Oh and let’s not worry about Frankie Frisco’s fragile ego because if Wilson is signed he will be the closer and FF goes to set up with Bobby Parnell and Josh Edgin working the lefty/right 7th inning tandem, you’ve jump up your bullpen status from blood suckers to much improved with this move.

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Checkout The Kult of Mets Personalities Podcast from 8-21-12

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Listen to internet radio with Ivie League Prod on Blog Talk Radio

 

 

Last night on Kult of Mets Personalities Podcast, I went on a bit of rant over my distaste for the way the Mets have been playing this second half. Last night’s game may have been mine and Terry Collins breaking point as the phrase “given up” was used in how this team approached last night’s game.

Part of my rant was my opinion that Wally Backman may have to take over as manager of the Mets in 2013. In no way am I going in the Collins Must Go direction as the last two seasons I’ve grown to respect Collins a lot for his work ethic and for taking bullets for his players (sometimes too many bullets) but in my opinion I’d like to see Collins given a position in the player development department, maybe as the head of minor league instruction with an extra year on his current contract and a bump in (combat) pay. I just feel at this point in the organization rebuild, with Sandy Alderson committed to build this team through the minor league system why not bring in the guy that the majority of the young players have dealt with and that’s Wally Backman.  The players who are the future of the Mets have all played under Backman whether it was at Brooklyn or Binghamton or Buffalo so why not have him tutor them at the big league level as well.

Again this is no knock on Terry Collins who has vindicated himself for his past failures as a big league manager but this organization needs a major wake up call. In a perfect world The Skill Sets would sell the team to Mikhail “The Big Man” Prokhorov  who would tell Sandy Alderson here is your checkbook there is $500 million go buy some players, but that’s not happening. Something has got to give here; you cannot bring back the same group that’s here now back next season that goes from coaches and players. Right now on the current roster the only players I’d keep would be Wright, Tejada, Niese, Dickey, Santana, Harvey, Rauch, Parnell and Edgin, everyone else can shipped out, released, bought out eradicated  whatever.

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Hey Dan Warthen, Babe Ruth’s Dead

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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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NY Mets Will Be Buyers This Trade Deadline

 

Trying to get back into blogger mode after a week on Cape Cod and the cold reality that 5AM wakeup call awaits me tomorrow morning so  without much rhyme or reason here are some Mets thoughts:

The next three days with the All Star break should feature a whirlwind of Mets trade rumors in fact some are starting already. This team for all the hustle and flow it’s shown this season needs some big time renovation if they are going to go hard after a post season berth.

The biggest need is in the bullpen which posted its best ERA of the season at 3.77 but still sports the worst team ERA in MLB at 4.99.  It seems Terry Collins is relying on the arms of Tim Byrdak, Bobby Parnell and Miguel Batista in the late innings of games while Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez have the tag of “one or two batters only” attached to their names. Pedro Beato is back up and one would hope he would replace Batista in the late inning order, moving Batista back to the long man role he’s better at. Of course all will change once Frankie Frisco comes back from oblique rehab but where will he fit? Has Bobby Parnell turned a corner in his career where he’s figured out how to get his curve over for strikes and have the confidence to throw it in a tough situation? Seems the Mets brass is not 100 % sold on Parnell and Frisco as they have let the word out they would like to obtain a closer or a pitcher who has had closer experience, that doesn’t mean Parnell and Frisco are a concern but as we’ve seen so far this half of the season a strong back end of the pen is the difference between 4.5 games back of the Nats instead of 4.5 games ahead of the Nats and first place in the NL East.

Lots of talk of the Mets getting involved in dealing for a catcher, which Sandy Alderson has made known is a priority to upgrade in the Mets system, hence the drafting of Kevin Plawecki with a supplemental pick in this year’s draft, and while myself and many Mets fans would be happy if the Mets were to upgrade the position at the trade deadline, I’m not sure if it will happen or should it. As much as Mike Nickeas makes Mets fans groan, when it comes to the pitching staff and Terry Collins and Dan Warthen, Nickeas is a valuable piece to this team. Nickeas is kind of a player/coach on this Mets team and I know there is a segment of Mets fans and bloggers who feel team chemistry is overrated, it’s hard to watch this team day in and day out and not see that the camaraderie in the clubhouse has played a major role in the success of the team in the first half.  You may not believe it but the front office, coaching staff and the players do. I would be a bit surprised if the Mets dealt for a catcher in season, best bet is the team will go hard to upgrade the backstop spot in the winter.

Much has been made about Reggie Jackson dissing the late Gary Carter saying the Kid was not Hall of Fame worthy, if you know anything about Reggie Jackson you know he loves to say things just to get his name mentioned in the papers or TV/sports talk radio. We all know the stories of Reggie’s turbulent Highlander years as a self-promoting blowhard, who always felt he was above everything and anything. I have a Reggie story that was told to me by someone who worked for the Highlanders and is now deceased and it shows the true Reggie

When Jackson retired he was hired by George Steinbrenner to work in the front office with Gene Michael. On his first day as a front office employee, Reggie went into Steinbrenner’s office which doubled as his suite at Highlander Stadium and asked to be served a turkey sandwich and an iced tea.  Jackson was told by the gentleman who ran the suite that since he was now a front office employee of the Highlanders, he could not come into the office/suite whenever he felt like it and he could not eat there either, Reggie was told he had to eat in the cafeteria with the rest of the office staff. Jackson exploded when he heard this and said “Do you know who the fuck I am? Get me that fucking sandwich and drink”. To avoid further confrontation the attendant went and got Jackson his lunch. As Reggie sat and enjoyed his turkey sandwich, Boss George entered the suite. “Who’s that down there”? “Reggie, Boss” was the workers reply. “What the fuck is he doing here”? Asked Steinbrenner. “Eating his lunch” the worker said. “Eating his lunch” doesn’t he know he has to eat in the staff cafeteria”? said Big Stein. “I told him that Boss but he told me he’s Reggie Jackson and basically told me to go fuck myself” relayed the worker.

With that Boss George erupted and starting screaming at Jackson and grabbed the plate the sandwich was on and flung it at the wall, Steinbrenner then asked Jackson if he knew “Who the fuck he was”? Steinbrenner then told Jackson if he pulls a stunt like that again, he’ll fire him but before he made him leave Steinbrenner had two more things for Reggie to do, one, apologize to the suite attendant who Steinbrenner informed him was more valuable to the organization than Jackson and two, get a broom and clean up this mess. Jackson performed both tasks.

 

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The Chickens Come Home To Roost

 

Some quick thoughts on the Mets :

Got to give Jon Ruach a break last night on that home run to Eric Chanvez. He got ahead two strikes and then threw a good waste pitch up and away but Chavez got his hands up and hit the opposite way for the game winning home run. It’s a tired cliché but never the less sometimes you have to give the hitter credit.

How about Tim McFullofshit saying that last year that wouldn’t have been a home run in Citi Field because the foul pole is in a different spot. Add that to his inability to pronounce Kirk Nieuwenhuis name properly  he called him Nieuwen-house, Nieuwen-hurs and Nieuwen-hiss.

I don’t think there is a fan base in all of baseball that enjoys having their team play on a National broadcast. Every fan has that “ah fuck” moment whenever they hear “Hi I’m Joe this is Tim” from the Fox broadcast booth. What’s a bit different this year is Joe Buck has been cured of his vocal cord aliment but now suffers from a chronic case of Can’t Shut The Fuck Up. Oh a great move by bringing in Charlie Sheen and Todd Zelie to the booth. Here’s all you need to know about Charlie Sheen his own father can’t stand him.

While most on Twitter were killing Terry Collins about his bullpen strategy last night, we weren’t privy to the news that El Pollo Loco had hurt himself in warmups, thus leaving the club with 5 relievers and it seems that the combo of Bobby Parnell and Tim Byrdak would share the closing role last night. It also answers why Chris Young stayed in the game after walking Teixeria and Special Ed Swisher but TC pressed his luck with Young facing Ibanez.

So far all season no one has said anything good or bad about the right field play of Lucas Duda but last night he misplayed Swisher’s fly ball into a double the critics come out in full force. Bunch of assholes

Go get ‘em Dickster.

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Bunch of Bull-Pen

Raise your hand if you remember when relievers were escorted to the pitchers mound by the bullpen cart?

 

Loses are never good, and loses that cost you winning a series, which would have been the third straight series the Mets  had taken from the Phuck Phaces ,are awful but when you have a lead and the bullpen blows a win, that is downright  intolerable.

If I weren’t a Mets fan, I’d be doubled over laughing at the fan bases response to games the Mets bullpen blow. Nothing sets this fan base off like a good old fashion late inning bullpen melt down and last night was no different.  The only issue I have with the overreaction by some of the fan base is the back end of the pen that imploded last night hasn’t been that bad of late.  I will say as a whole the bullpen has a problem with inherited runners scoring and with the exception of Bobby Parnell and Frank Francisco, there isn’t a reliever who can come in and get the big strikeout when it’s needed.

I would have like to see Terry Collins leave Dillon Gee in finish the 7th inning. Gee has pitched so well his last three starts and the double he gave up it seems should have been played better by Andres Torres. Collins is going to have to have faith in his starters going deeper into games, especially with R.A. Dickey, who I feel he yanks too early in starts where he’s breezing along.

The Ramon Ramirez 3 run jack to J-Roll was the back breaker but then Chris Schwinden  to finish out the inning but all he did was add to the carnage. What the hell is it with Schwinden ? Talk about the poster boy for the AAAA player?

 

Update: I just wrote a whole addendum to this post and deleted by accident so I’ll abbreviate it. RHP Elvin Ramirez will be on the roster tomorrow to help out the bullpen and Jenry Mejia and Chris Young are not far behind to replace the trio of Schwinden, Heftner (maybe?) and Egbert.

Josh Thole will be activated tomorrow as well which meand the Mets have to chose between Mike Nickeas and Rob Johnson as Tholes understudy. I’ll say they keep Johnson.

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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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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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