Blown (Save) Away

Happy 87th Birthday to Yogi Berra, if you haven’t read Harvey Araton’s book Driving Mr. Yogi, you should it’s a terrific read    

 

 

Nothing pisses off a fan base more than a blown save that cost their team a win. As we witnessed in Miami last night, the Met s again unleashed their version of “5 O’clock Lightning” coming from behind again to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead as Mike Baxter has channeled his inner Smokey Burgess to become a potent late inning pinch hitter, drove in two runs with a double while batting for the offensively challenge Mike Nickeas.

I listened to latter part of this game in the car, enjoying the duo of Howie Rose and his partner Josh Lewin, who by the way has become a great listen and has blended in quite nicely with Howie making for such a pleasurable listen that even when I’m home I’ll tune in to hear a few innings, especially today when the game is on FOX, the sound on the TV goes mute and radio is turned up, but I digress.

When Baxter hit that double to score Captain Kirk and Ike to take the lead, the excitement in Howie’s voice was as jubilant a call I’ve heard from the radio booth in a long time. A 5-3 lead with six outs to go and the way the pen has been going it looked like you could start “putting this one in the books” but wait………..

Of all the players in the infield the last guy I’d predict making a crucial late inning error would be Ike Davis, I mean, no matter how awful a batting slump Ike has been in, he never brings that out to the field on defense so his costly error in the 8th that gave the Fish life was a bit of a shocker.

Give hat tips to Bobby Parnell and Tim Brydak who set up the save for Frank Francisco. All Frankie Frisco had to do was get three outs. Instead Greg Dobbs single gave the Fish their 4th walk off win of the year and their 9th win in 10 games.

That’s what makes this Frankie Frisco’ blown save hurt more, the Fish are red hot and here come the “5 O’Clock Lighting” Mets doing their come from behind magic again buoyed by another solid performance by their Ace Johan Santana (after a tough 1st inning Santana was masterful mixing mostly fastballs and slider but not many change ups to keep the Fish in check from innings 2-6 ) and looking to add to their dominant record against the NL East (now 13-6 after last night loss) but instead of killing Francisco maybe we have to credit Dobbs for hitting a pretty good pitch, a 94 mph fastball that was just inside the strike zone.

If we’ve learned anything about the 2012 Mets, this early in the season a loss like last nights doesn’t linger long with them, they’ll turn the page quickly.

I see where Rony Cedeno is at shortstop again today so my question is why is Jordany Valdespin here? If Terry Collins feels Cedeno is his guy until Ruben Tejada gets back that’s fine but if that’s the case maybe keeping Vinny Rottino around would have been the better move and let Valdespin play every day in Buffalo.  Rottino has played catcher so with two weak hitting catchers on the roster a guy like Rottino would be valuable.

 

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Same Old Mets ? I Don’t Thnk So !

 

WHEW!!!!!  Yesterday’s Mets-Rockies game is like trying to eat a Carnegie Deli sandwich, where do you begin?

I’ll start with Johan Santana who has topped everyone’s expectations so far this season.  Santana relied on fastball/change up combo and I hate using this word, battled. If you want to take Johan to task (I don’t know why you would) his walk rate 4.13 BB/9IP is high but as he progress through the season that should drop.  The main thing that separates Santana from Mark Prior and Chen Ming Wang, the two pitchers who have had the same surgery as Santana, is he is a superior pitcher than either two. Prior was more a thrower than a pitcher and Wang is a back of the rotation guy, Santana is an anchor. Since his 1.1 IP performance in Atlanta on April 17 th, his last two starts have been outstanding, having  pitched 12.2 innings and given up 1 earned run dropping  his season ERA from 3.97 to 2.25. See how easy life is with a solid #1 pitcher.

Well somewhat easy I guess. I have no problem with Terry Collins pulling Santana after 6 innings in a start where Johan had thrown 105 pitches in his last start with an extra day rest.  So far the program the Mets have put together for Santana has been working so why get greedy, besides with the exception of Frank Frisco, the back end of the bullpen has been good. Now would I have gone with Miguel Batista in the 7th inning? No, I’d have gone with Bobby Parnell, but when I thought about why TC would go with Batista in that spot, I thought it would be to show confidence in Batista after that awful start last Monday, putting him a spot to succeed. Collins is the anti-Joe Girardi, he’s more a feel and from the gut kind of manager, he knows when a player needs a confidence boost and when a guy needs a day of reflection from the bench. Binders? Terry Collins doesn’t need no stinkin’ binders. Batista pitched a fine 7th inning and things were moving along nicely until………………

We could scream and yell about home plate ump Paul Emmel squeezing the strike zone on Jon Rauch especially on the Michael Cuddyer at bat (as per pitch f/x, Rauch only hit the strike zone with a pitch once but look at the 4th and 5th pitch of the AB, can we have some consistency please !)But the Carlos Gonzalez at bat was the at bat to look at. Rauch’ first pitch was a strike that was called a ball after that Rauch lost all control of the strike zone. Getting Cargo there would have left Fowler on first with 2 out but instead it’s 1 out runners on first and second with Troy Tulowitzki up. Rauch starts off with two straight strikes and then gets Tulo to hit the next pitch back to him for a 1-3 put out and it looked like Rauch was getting out of this jam until of course the Cuddyer base on balls and out goes an irate Jon Rauch and in comes Tim Byrdak to face Todd Helton with the bases loaded.

Just like that, a slider that was middle in took away a stellar start by Santana, a breakout game for Ike Davis, the continued wonderment of Kirk Nieuwhenhuis, the continued rejuvenation of David Wright and of course a 4 run lead, went for naught as the ball of Helton’s climbed to the upper reaches of right field for a Grand Salami. Heads of Mets fans were hung, obscenities were screamed, scapegoats were being named, jobs had to be terminated, but this Mets team laughs at your lack of faith, you think they packed all those cowboy clothes to wear to Houston for a loss, HELL NO!!! This Mets team does not go quietly.

I guess it’s due to the Mets having had some bad managers the last few years from Art Howe, the Admiral James Stockdale of baseball managers (Who am I ? Why am I here?) The insecure and overmatched Willie Randolph and the “is it payday”?  skipper Jerry Manuel , we are still getting used to the passion of Terry Collins.

TC has learned a hard lesson in baseball, his last three managerial stints ended very badly and he had to go back to baseball purgatory as a minor league coordinator to rebuild his resume. Give the man credit, he could have left baseball, gone to a 9 to 5 job and just be another working stiff, instead he went back to the bushes and rebuilt his reputation as baseball man and worked on what were his short comings.  If it weren’t for the financial fallout from the Madoff mess, Collins wouldn’t have gotten this shot. He got the job because he came cheap and this cheap investment is paying dividends.

Collins holds players accountable, you know Ike Davis was mad to be pinch hit for and I’m sure he was livid to be out the lineup but he wasn’t producing and as TC said I have faith in my players but it’s about the team and it’s about winning. Since that time of his benching and with some work with hitting coach Dave Hudgins, Ike has picked up his hands and maybe using his anger as a positive, has started to look like the Ike we love. Give tons of credit to Ike for his two run single in the top of the 11th that proved to be the game winner but don’t forget the manager for instilling a mindset into this team that they are a good baseball team and to the other 24 players who refuse to give up.

 

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NY Mets Had A Good Weekend, But It Could Have Been A Great Weekend

The good news is the Mets are 6-3 and took 2 of 3 from the Phuck Phaces in Filthadelphia. Should they have swept?  It not only would have been very sweet but I would have had a much better vibe about this team than I do this morning if they did. Do not get me wrong, I am very happy with this start and any time you can go to Filthadelphia and win a series is a solid positive but again the Mets allowed a team to get 4 or 5 outs in an inning will be the difference between the club staying in playoff contention or dropping to the second division.  The Mets are just not good enough to make a lot of mistakes.

Mike Pelfrey had another solid start yesterday, sure that WHIP of 1.80 is not good at all and he does leave pitches up in the zones that get smashed but yesterday after the first inning that looked like the beginning of a disastrous start, Pelf made adjustments and relied a lot on his sinker, a 90+MPH sinker I might add, and got ground ball out after ground ball out. Nice job out of Pelf.

I know Mike Nickeas is here for his defense but I don’t see how he is this solid defensive receiver.  Throwing out Juan Pierre at third was more on Pierre being an idiot making the third out at third base, than Nickeas being Jerry Grote. I’ll give Nickeas a bit of a hat tip as he seems to call a decent game but his backhanding of balls in the dirt and inability to keep balls in front of him has me turned off a bit.

Teams that have 2-1 leads going into the 7th inning have to get those last 9 outs and the ones that do are the teams that are pennant contenders. So far the bullpen has done a great job (Bobby Parnell, Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco) but yesterday when the frontline relievers weren’t used and the second tier arms came in the game, the results were a disaster. It wasn’t all Ramon Ramirez, Miguel Batista and Manny Acosta’ fault as Ruben Tejada made a bad throwing error and Scott Hairston played left field like he had marbles instead of spike on his shoes but again this team has a super model thin margin of error.

Congrats to Mets Fan Rich for sending in the correct answer to yesterday’s trivia question (R.A. Dickey gave up 6 HR’s in a game tying a modern MLB record) and winning the VIP tickets to the Tribeca Film Festival showing of Knuckleball! On Saturday April 21 at 8PM. This event is open to the public for FREE. So come on down and get a chance to meet R.A. Dickey, Charlie Hough, Tim Wakefield and Jim Bouton.

 

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The Mets Won Last Night, So Why Am I So Angry ?

 

 Jason Bay hit a home run last night. No, seriously Bay hit a home run last night. Yes, Jason Bay of the NY Mets


Oh well, my positive spinning of the Mets was good while it lasted. As great as last night’s win was over the Phuck Phaces and as enjoyable as it was watching The Dickster , Bobby Parnell and Frankie Firsco dominate. I have some issues with Terry Collins and more importantly a couple of players who I am very fond of.

First the manager, TC can spin it as much as he wants that he felt batting Justin Turner third was a the correct move as to not disrupt the rest of the lineup but let’s be real here, Turner is no 3 hole hitter. I understand the premise of not bunching lefty bats against Cliff Lee but Turner replacing Wright in the 3 spot? That’s a Jerry Manuel move. If TC had put Jason Bay in the third spot of the lineup I’d have defended that move. But Justin Turner? Please!

Look I am now and forever a proud member of the #IMWITH28 Club (I have the t-shirt to prove it) but for Christ sake Murph you have to make the routine play and 2nd base. That was the second time this week that a routine ground ball went under Danny Boys glove and it has to be the last.

Speaking of Murphy, TC and Sandy Alderson cannot put Murphy at 3rd base if (when?) David Wright goes on the DL with his fractured pinky (speaking of DW’s pinkie, there were some on Twitter questioning Wright and his threshold of pain for not playing last night and looking at the DL until he recovers. If you are questioning Wright’s toughness or his fight to get back on the field, then you’re an idiot) I agree 100 % with Toby Hyde that Zach Lutz should be promoted from Buffalo and planted at 3rd base until Wright gets back. For better or worse, Murphy is the 2012 2nd baseman and if the TC/Alderson go back on that, it shows real indecisiveness on their part and doesn’t help Murphy with his comfort level at 2nd. DW, if he hits the DL, will most likely be out just the minimum 15 days, so moving Murph makes no sense.

Its plays like Josh Thole made on the bases last night that infuriates the living shit out of me. Since the Mets won last night everyone can chuckle at that bone head base running blunder by Thole, put its plays like that, that this team cannot afford to make. Between Murphy’ ground ball through the legs and Thole getting duped by Jimmy Rollins, (and by the way Jon Niese better put a fast ball under J-Rolls fucking chin in his first at bat just to send him a message) that can sink this team as the Mets are not good enough to fuck up like that.

Just think the Mets won the game last night and are 5-2 after the first seven games and I’m still agitated. Just look at it as some tough love.

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CONGRATULATIONS TO JOHN FRANCO BUT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN US

Yesterday the New York Mets announced that John Franco will be indicted into the team’s Hall of Fame this coming season with the pomp and circumstance commencing on June 3rd.

There has been much speculation this winter on who would be selected as the next honoree to the Mets HOF, some folks feel Mike Piazza should have been named and of course he should but it looks like the Mets are waiting for his enshrinement into the Baseball Hall of Fame so they can throw a really big shindig with Mets HOF honors and a number retiring ceremony as well.

Franco gets the honor this season for many reasons, he played 14 seasons with the Mets, holds the record for most saves in franchise history and most importantly he’s a Wilpon loyalist. Franco holds a job with the club sort of like the Mets Ambassador to Public Functions, in which he’s perfectly suited for. Late season, he volunteered his services to mentor Bobby Parnell in finding his way to the craft of closing baseball games, which if I were the pitching coach I would have strongly voiced my opposition to but it seems the front office didn’t have a problem with since it seems the GM really has no use for Parnell as we see with the addition of Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco which relegates to Parnell to fighting for a bullpen job.    

As I say, I really don’t want to piss in the punch here on Franco’s honor of Mets Hall of Famer but in my opinion, this year’s Mets Hall of Fame honoree should have been us, the New York Mets Fan.  How great a ceremony would it be to honor the long suffering Mets fan? The team could have selected the longest tenure season ticket holder to accept the award in our behalf and then commission a plaque with a nice mosaic of Mets fans who may be the most diverse of all sports teams in this town.  What better way to celebrate 50 years of Mets baseball than honoring the folks who really are the heart and soul of the organization, the Mets fan. Without us there is no NY Mets and in this upcoming season of apparent discontent, what better way to show how much we mean to this organization but to honor is with a plaque in the Hall of Fame.

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GO METS! SIS-BOOM-BAH!

As first reported by Mike Silva of NY Baseball Digest, LOOGY Deluxe Tim Byrdak has signed a contract extension with the Mets for next season. Seems Sandy Alderson would like to keep two lefties in the pen and so far Little LOOGY Danny (Give me a LOOGY with Hair, long beautiful Hair, shining, gleaming…..)Herrera is making his bid to be Byrdak’s stablemate.

Between having John Franco babysit Bobby Parnell and now having Terry Collins breakdown of Dillion Gee’s pitch selection and approach, it seems like Dan Warthen is on shaky ground when it comes to his job security for next season, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a return of The Jacket to Flushing.

How much does the stellar play of Ruben Tejeda play into the Mets maybe not going all out to re-sign Jose Reyes?  I’m sure he will never admit it but I’d bet Sandy Alderson is praying that some dumb owner offers Reyes a ridiculous contract that he can’t match so he can use the $18-$20 mil on pitching.

What a schizo team we root for. They lose four games at home to the Nats and look like they packed it in for the year. The manager calls his team out saying they “folded up” and says “the fans are right to be angry”  So they go into Atlanta, usually a house of horrors for the Mets and take 2 of 3 from a Braves team that needed to win these three games to keep the Cardinals and Giants off their heels. Amazing Mets indeed.

This is beyond disturbing!

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BOBBY PARNELL AND NICK EVANS A STUDY IN CONTRASTING PLAYERS

What’s worse than watching a baseball game in September that’s meaningless? How about watching a meaningless baseball game in September being played in “Your Name Here” Stadium in South Florida in front of dozens of fans with an hour plus rain delay? Then when the game resumes your team in this meaningless contest has the lead and the pitcher who is thought to be the closer of the future comes in and blows the save for the fourth time in nine chances, but his ass is saved by a player who you couldn’t give away at least three times this season getting the game winning hit?

So is the tale of Bobby Parnell and Nick Evans. Parnell has been given the opportunity to show he should be the closer for the Mets from now until whenever but he has shown that he does not have the qualities needed to be effective at that position. Parnell has a flamethrower for a right arm but has a ton of trouble locating pitches for strikes. He also has this nasty habit of giving up a hit and then falls apart by falling behind in the count to the next batter who either walks or gets a nice juicy fastball or a flat slider to mash at. It’s not just the pitches that are ineffective; it seems Parnell loses some nerve and confidence when he’s behind the 8 ball.  Small fires become forest fires for him on the mound.

It looks as though the manager who has shown a lot of faith in him is starting to doubt if Parnell can close out games:

“Well, we’re going to talk to Bobby tomorrow,” Collins said. “I mean, there’s a couple things (pitching coach) Dan (Warthen) had talked about with him, a couple of little pitch-location stuff that he’s just got to be able to make. He’s got to make some pitches.

“He’s got a great arm and he’s got really great stuff. But the bases on balls hurt him. Getting behind in the count hurts him. You saw the first hitter, he went right at him with good fastballs, got ahead of him in the count, and throws him a slider and it’s a mismatch. But you’ve got to be able to get ahead.

It has got to be deflating  to the team to have Parnell blow as many saves as he has and Collins made be sensing some frustration in the clubhouse so why not take Parnell out of this roll and let him work on getting his mind as well as his pitches back to where he can be effective. There is too much talent in that right arm to give up on Parnell, but Terry Collins wants to end this season on a winning note as well as evaluating players who have a future with the Mets and who doesn’t.  Using a committee of Manny Acosta, Jason Isringhausen  and the neophyte Josh Stinson looks to be the way to go for these final weeks of the season.

As for Nick Evans, how can you not root for him? He’s been tossed on the scrap heap time and again but never gets discouraged and when he gets opportunities, as he is now playing 1st base on a nightly basis, he is producing with his bat and his glove. From trolling around the team you can tell the players hold Evans in high regard as they know how hard he works to stay in the big leagues and if he can continue to produce like he has, and impress the manager like he has, he will have a spot on the 2012 Mets 25 man roster.

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ANOTHER STEP BACK

Greetings from Kissimmee, Florida where the humidity  is a rude as the European tourists at Disney World.

One of the best features of the condo we’re staying in is it has wi fi which is something the Disney hotels don’t , which always shocked me. Everything Disney’s does is first class you would think adding free wi fi would be a no brainer. Oh well.

The Mets season could be summed up by the just completed Nats series. Just when you get a burst of enthusiasm that this team has couple be a major player down the stretch and maybe have turned that corner to being relevant again, you get games like yesterday that make you think there is much more work to do. Base running errors (seems the manager blames Jon Niese for not tagging and going home on Wright’s fly ball that doubled up Murphy but the Murph-haters out there don’t agree) and the closer in training again not showing a closers mentality to finish out a game.

If Bobby Parnell wants to show the Mets brass that he is THE GUY, to be the closer in 2012, he can blow games like yesterday. A real closer comes in after a go ahead home run in the 9th and closes the game 1-2-3. With a 100MPH fastball, Parnell should have come into the game breathing fire. His makeup as much as his pitching will be on display for the next two months.

Is anyone upset that Sandy Alderson didn’t make any more moves at the trade deadline? Scott Hairston, Willie Harris or Izzy could be moves through waivers but as Terry Collins said there is anyone in Buffalo to bring up in their place.

That’s enough for today, back to my R & R

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CAUTION: CLOSER IN TRAINING

The slider, when thrown properly, is a devastating pitch. As the batter’s hand to eye coordination gets in synched and sees the pitch as coming over the plate and the mind makes that split second decision to swing at it, the ball breaks downward to a point where the batter is fooled and cannot adjust his swing. But when a slider is not executed properly, it hangs up in the hitting zone. If the batter has some power that flat slider usually leaves the ball park screaming like in a cartoon. This is what happened yesterday to Bobby Parnell and his pitch to Logan Morrison that left Whatevertheycallit Stadium like it was shot out of a cannon.

As bad as that pitch was and the outcome, negating the 2 run blast by David Wright to put to Mets ahead 4-3 going into the bottom of the 7th, pisses us me off as a Mets fan, I think we are now at the point of the season where we can chalk this up to closer in training Parnell’s learning experience.

Look, the season is what it is, a fight to finish with between 81-85 wins. If the Mets can do that the season is a positive and if Bobby Parnell and Pedro Beato work on being the future backend of the bullpen then that’s fine with me. Same thing with keeping Izzy around for the rest of the season. What can you get for Izzy? A C level prospect? He is much more valuable to the Mets as a veteran reliever working with Parnell and Beato for the next two months.

I think one thing in the Mets favor of keeping Jose Reyes with the Mets for years to come, is the consensus from the Mets players this season that the Mets clubhouse is a great place to be. Izzy for example, went to Sandy Alderson to tell him he doesn’t want to be traded. Carlos Beltran, understands the reasons why the GM is trying to move him, but Beltran will not be sad if he’s not dealt.  In fact Beltran would love to stay as he has cited this being the best clubhouse he’s been in since he became a Met.   Remember back early this season when Willie Harris caught hell from Mets fans when he spoke of the distance in the Mets clubhouse? Well, I wish those who have access to Harris would ask him if he still feels that way now that we have played more than half a season. I doubt it. For this you have to credit the manager, for keeping that clubhouse positive.

I’m worn out reading about when and where Carlos Beltran will be dealt to.  With all the debate over which team will offer the Mets the best prospect, the best take I’ve read so far on dealing Beltran comes from Paul of Random Baseball Stuff, who left this comment on my post from yesterday:

 I enjoy watching Beltran play, but I’m going to be annoyed if he’s still a Met on Aug. 1st. Sandy has got to move him for the best return he can get – the 2011 Mets aren’t going anywhere, and I don’t think Beltran fits in the 2012 budget.

 Even if he only gets salary relief, it would be better than nothing. The Mets haven’t finished signing all of their high-round draft picks yet.  

When you think about it, if you trade Beltran to a team that would take the rest of his salary for the year, it comes out to about $5-$6 mil. You could use that money to sign Brandon Nimo and RHP Logan Verret, not to mention any free agents in the Latin market as well. It may be worth more for Alderson to do that than any prospect the Giants, Phillies or Braves are willing to give up.

I’m not going to lie to you, I am ecstatic that the NFL lockout is over. I am ready for some football.

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USING TWITTER TO SET PEOPLE STRAIGHT

Last night while watching the Mets-Cards game and enjoying the return of Jose Reyes and short timer Carlos Beltran, I went back to a bad habit that I thought I had overcome, going on Twitter while watching the Mets. I tried breaking this habit because I couldn’t take the fill in the player’s name “You Suck” and then when said player comes through the same Tweeters comeback with fill in the player’s name “I<3 you”. It get tiring. Well last night I guess I’d had enough as Jose Reyes made his second great play at short. Bases loaded 1 out and Albert Pujols  at bat against Bobby Parnell and the Mets holding a 2 run lead. Pujols hits a ground ball at the 2nd base bag Reyes snares hit and touches the bag while trying to avoid getting wiped out by the runner gets a laser beam throw off to Lucas Duda for the double play. An outstanding play if there ever was one.

 

Now the play by play of than call by Gary Cohen was as usual perfect. Well to everyone but 1050 ESPN’s Don LeGreca. When I read that Tweet I was ready to scream, this guy works with arguably the worst play by play man in baseball in Michael Kay (John Sterling sucks as well, I know but at least Sterling is entertaining, Kay makes homicidal thought run through your mind) so I had to take matters into my own fingers and tweet back to Mr. LeGreca. He in turn tweets back that he is a big fan of Gary’s (don’t give that first name basis bullshit you just ripped the guy for an over the top call when in fact it was a great call and you look like a horses ass) and that wasn’t the point of the Tweet. Then what was the point? Saying the DP started by Reyes was routine? That makes you ignorant. Saying that Cohen’ call was “over the top” that just makes you look jealous and petty.

 

I think I’ll Tweet LeGreca back (before he blocks me) about he felt about his boss Kay and the way he not only ruined the Derek Jeter 3,000 hit call with his constant” listen to me try to make the moment mine” diatribe when Jeter homered and then how he went on to felate The Captain the rest of the game.

See that is the glory of Twiter, you say stupid shit and then your set straight. Let’s see who pisses me off tonight.

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