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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RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY IT’S CHRIS SCHWINDEN’S PITCHING DAY

I hope it will stop raining today for a couple of reason, I’d like to harvest the robust crop that has blossomed in the rice paddy that used to be my back yard lawn and I want to see Chris Schwinden pitch in game 1 of today’s Mets-Braves double header.

Schwinden is another of these out of nowhere Mets stories that have been making the team interesting to watch. Schwinden, drafted in 2008, has never been considered a prospect by those who follow and report on the Mets minor leaguers. Even though Schwinden has been a pitcher who throws strikes and rarely walks a batter, although this season with the Bison, his walks are up more than they have in his three year Minor League career (3 per 9IP from 2 per 9IP) but his hits to innings pitched was less for the first time in his career.

Schwinden has been compared closely to Dillion Gee as both have a pretty good grasp on how to pitch by staying ahead in counts and moving their pitches to different areas of the strike zone. Neither has a real out pitch but again Schwinden like Gee, seems to have a good head on his shoulder and a game plan going into each start.

Again it’s a great move by the front office promoting Schwinden and rewarding his outstanding season in Buffalo with a major league start. Knock ‘en dead Chris!      

 

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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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ANGEL PAGAN GOES EL KABONG

It was quite a night at Citi Field last night. The SNY crew set up shop in the Pepsi Porch and I don’t know who enjoyed it more, Gary, Keith and Ron or us fans watching on TV. Between Ron wearing a glove like a Little Leaguer hoping to catch a ball or Keith buying hot dogs for him and his mates, it was one of the more enjoyable Mets games I’ve watched in awhile.   

There was a little bit of everything last night. R.A. Dickey showing all those of little faith that he is a legit big league pitcher and one I hope is around here for some time. After falling behind 4-0, Dickey got himself back on track and as much as I love to watch a pitcher dominant a lineup, when you see a guy start out shaky but refuse to panic and think out what pitches are working and which one isn’t and then have the ability to make adjustments on the fly is just as great to watch. If Mike Pelfrey could just have a sliver of R.A. Dickey’s guile and pitching smarts we would be talking about locking him up to a multi year deal instead of hoping he gets non-tendered in the off season.

Angel (El Kabong) Pagan has not been very good this season in the field and at bat. Pagan is another player that I’m sure will be part of a big discussion in the Mets front office meetings as to whether he’s worth bringing back next season or not. Pagan, like the rest of this team is an easy guy to root for. He’s worked his way back from oblivion of the bushes to be a bonafide big leaguer. In Pagan’s defense he is not a leadoff hitter and is not comfortable in the 1 or 2 spot of the lineup. This season his best offensive production as come when he is slotted in the 5 or hole. So last night was the right spot for Pagan in the bottom of the 10th when he drilled his walk off home run. Good for Angel and good for the Mets. This is a day to reflect on the goodness of Pagan, we’ll have all winter to debate is fate as a Met going forward.

The stories today are all about Carlos Beltran and what is most likely his farewell game at home as a Met. If anything last night was his going away party. The crowd seemed to feel the same way. I was hoping that after Beltran launched his 2 run homer in the 5th to tie the game that the fans at Citi Field would prolong their enthusiasm to the point that Carlos would come out for a curtain call. When was the last time a Mets player came out for bow after a home run? With today being a day game and the temperature climbing toward 100 degrees I wonder how many folks will show up for the game today (besides the day camp kids for whom the 12 noon start was scheduled for) but it would be nice if the fans gave Beltran a standing O in his first at bat to the point where he steps out of the box and doffs his helmet. We’re going to miss him.

Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Josh Thole on the birth of their son Cameron and how about Daddy Josh hitting RBI single in the 8th to tie the game at 5. I hope someone saved the ball to give to Thole as it would be a great conversation piece between him and his son when he gets older to relive the night after his birth daddy got a big clutch hit for the Mets.

Jason Pridie will start in LF for the Mets today for Jason Bay who is nursing a sore hammy. Bay claims his hip and leg have been bothering him for a few days and this doesn’t seem too serious. I know we’d all love to see Bay take a seat on the bench but we shouldn’t revel in an injury that puts him there. Mike Francesa had one of the few good points he makes every now and then about calling the Pirates about taking Jason Bay off the Mets hands for 50 cents on the dollar. Bay is owed $35 mil over the next three seasons so if the Mets offer Bay to the Pirates along with $17-$18 mil they would save $17-$18 mil. I doubt the Bucs would do this but Bay did have a great six years in Pittsburgh so maybe he Bucs need a love re-connection. Can’t hurt to ask.

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EVEN IN DEFEAT THERE ARE SOME POSSITIVES FOR METS

Well, if anything comes as a positive out of breaking the winning streak last night, it’s that we won’t see the black uni tops hopefully for a while. I’d say it’s a safe bet the all grays will be in play tonight.

Strange line on Chris Capuano last night.  Cap had no problem throwing strikes (67/27 K/BB ratio) and he was ahead in the count from the start with 21 first pitches to the 28 batters he faced were strikes. The Nats did knock him around for 10 hits but no walks but only 2 K’s. Weird.

The 4th inning did Cap in as the Nats started teeing off but it was a bizarre sac/fielder’s choice thingy with fat ass Livan Hernandez getting in Josh Thole’ way as he couldn’t get around El Gordo. But when the smoke cleared is just a one run Nationals lead. The pitch that Cap regretted the most was the one he threw to Ian Desmond in the 5th , that went  over the right field fence to give DC a two run lead.  That home run hurt more as the Mets came back in the 6th when Ike Davis (of course!) doubled home Carlos Beltran to make it a one run game again.

Okay, I’ve seen enough of Willie Harris for a while, time to put Harris on the shelf . A little bit of Willie Harris in our lives is good, a lot of Willie Harris? No good.

Either play Jason Pridie every day until Angel Pagan comes back or bring up Captain Kirk for a taste of the big leagues but really enough Willie Harris, he’s not an ever day player.

I’m sure Big Pelf will be on a short leash tonight between battling the flu and not having a great track record against the Phuck Phaces, if he starts getting knocked around in the first or second inning, I’m sure Terry Collins will go right to Dillion Gee as this management cares about wins not hurting players feeling.

I’m so anxious for Ronnie Paulino to be activated and joining the big league team for the simple fact, I’m not convinced Ronnie Paulino actually exists.

It’s nice when there is competition of a roster spot, as it lit a fire under Josh Thole to get that bat going to stay in the bigs. That was one of the biggest problems in the past for the Mets, a sense of entitlement of a job, that is no more.

I want all of you to go over to the Real Dirty Mets site and wish Ed Marcus a/k/a Rusty Jr. a very happy birthday.

So now the Skill Sets are ready to give some juice to whoever buys into a minority share of the club. According to the NY Post (line up for your grain of salt) the Skill Sets will grant veto power to the new investor as it pertains to team payroll and player contracts. If all this is true and comes to fruition (again it’s in the Murdoch fish wrap) this could a huge boost for the Mets organization. What the organization needs is injection of fresh money and fresh ideas and most of all someone who doesn’t have a Skill Sets bloodline sitting in the boardroom. Everyone who is a decision maker except for the Baseball Ops division is related in some way or the other. It reminds me of when I worked for Century 21 department store; every department manager of the store was a member of the Gindi family. It didn’t matter if they were competent as long as they were a Gindi. Now we just have to hope the new partner is a Stu Sternberg clone.

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WINNING!!!!!!!!

Com’on you didn’t think the Mets would lose every game this season did you?  And what a game it was, give credit to Terry Collins for going radical by using Chris Capuano and R.A. Dickey on their throw days in relief. Why waste those pitches in the pen.  Collins checked the data available to him that revealed Larry Jones going 1-7 against Capuano which I guess was foreign to Freddi Gonzalez who batter Larry for Freddie Freeman (whenever I hear the name Freddie Freeman I think of Freddy Cannon and the song Palisades Park) then having R.A. Dickey come in for quick inning in the 7th followed by Izzy and K-Rod.  I’m sure Tony LaRussa is distraught over not coming up with this strategy when he invented baseball.

Dillon Gee showed up at the Ted like a homeless man with no glove, no spikes but was ready for service. Gee’s bags were lost between Providence R.I. and Philadelphia and to make things worse Gee did not arrive in the ATL until 1AM. So with Bobby Parnell’s glove and Josh Thole’s spikes and a spare suit of Mike Nickeas (who will need that suit for the next profession he has because he ain’t cut out for big league baseball)  in his locker, but forth one of the better starts by a Mets starter this season. Gee will get at least one more start as a fill in for Chris Young and Collins has said that Gee will most likely go back to Buffalo so he can continue to pitch on a regular basis but if he has another strong outing like yesterday, with the shape this pitching staff is in, how do you send him back to Triple A ?

Matt Harvey had another strong outing for St Lonesome yesterday going 5 innings in the Baby Mets 4-1 win over Ft. Myers. In 16 innings pitched so far this season Harvey has not given up an earned run while striking out 20 and walking just 6. It will quite interesting to see how the front office handles the 24 year old first round pick in the 2009 entry draft.  A couple of more of these solid starts and Harvey could see himself fast tracked to Binghamton by late May.

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R.I.P. BOBBY THOMSON

Just heard the sad news that former NY Giant,and the man who hit the most famous home run in baseball history, Bobby Thomson has passed away.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Thomson and if you didn’t better, you’d never know he was not just an ex-baseball player but a player who hit the Shot Heard Around The World. He was very soft spoken and awfully polite when I met hm at an event to commemorate the 1951 season (my dad was a die-hard Giants fan and Thomson and Carl Hubbell were his two favorite Giants of all time)  but when the name of Sal Yvars was brought up, it brought out the Scottsman’ temper. Yvars was the player who claimed he gave Thomson and other Giants tip offs on what pitches were coming by stealing the opposing catchers signs using a telescope while Yvars was perched by a window in centerfield of the Polo Grounds.

Condolences to the Thomson family

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…….AND BEHIND THE PLATE TONIGHT, EARL HEBNER

Somewhere in the city of Detroit, Armando Galarraga is wondering, why couldn’t Jim Joyce been part of Dale Scott’s umpire crew?

So now the precedent has been set, any call can now be over turned. So if there is a close pick off play at any base, the team can now ask the umpires to caucus to get a consensus on whether the runner was safe or out. Same now with ban-bang plays at first base, or close plays at the plate or on the other bases.

Let’s get one thing straight, the ball never hit Scott Rolen, so for Crew Chief Dale Scott to proclaim, it was all about getting the play right, well they failed. If anything it should have been called a ball and the count on Rolen 3 and 2. Scott should also be ashamed as should home plate ump Jerry Meals for allowing second base umpire, Dan Iassogna to be the guy to change that call, since Iassogna was 120 ft away and Meals right on top of the point of inpact. Scott threw his home plate man under the bus and Meals by not telling Iassogna to shut the fuck up loses his credibility as well.

With all that, Big Pelf was not very good last night and the reversed call and having his strike zone squeezed tighter than a fly’s ass didn’t help him either. Pelf had no command of his pitches last night as he kept falling behind in the count and if there is one team you don’t want to be at 2-0, 2-1 it’s the Reds.  It’s good thing Pelf didn’t make the All-Star team as he needs the days off to regroup and not let’s this recent slide of his turn him back into 2009 Mike Pelfrey

Patrick Flood looks at the high wire act that is Frankie Rodriguez. The fact that Flood points out that Rodriguez has converted 83 % of his saves as Mets closer is the same rate that Armando Benitez had as a Met made my acid reflux flow like a BP oil rig.

Kevin Millar nearly missed doing the Mets-Nats game on Saturday as he was delayed getting out of Texas where he makes his home due to Hurricane Alex. As a precaution, FOX asked SNY for permission to hire Ron Darling for the day as the game analyst. SNY refused saying that Darling’s contract calls for him to only work outside SNY for TBS. SNY did the same thing to Kevin Burkhart when FOX ask permission to have Burkhart do play by play on a FOX Saturday game.  Is SNY paranoid? What were they afraid of by letting Darling or Burkhart do games for FOX? I guarantee no one is calling about grabbing Gary Apple or Kirk Gimenez. In fact the only SNY personalities with any personality are the guys doing Mets games, the rest of the day on SNY they’d be better off running infomercials. If you’re ever suffering from lack of sleep just turn on SNY Sportsnite no matter whom the anchor is they’ll lull you into a coma.

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SUMMER FUN WITH THE METS

Some observations from last night:

The first couple of innings were rough to watch as Big Pelf was throwing and throwing and the Twins were fouling off and fouling off pitch after pitch. Pelf said after the game that it was a tough game from him as he threw 77 of his 117 pitches for strikes but the twins must have fouled off 50 of them as he has done all season, the Season of Big Pelf.

Uhh anyone still want to deal off Daivd Wright and Jose Reyes?  Anyone? Com’on you haters show your faces.

Let’s also end the hate for Carlos Beltran. If he is ready and can play center field then that’s where he’ll play. It is much easier for Angel Pagan to shift over to right field and he and Frenchy can form a nice little twosome there, plus Beltran, when he does make it back, will need maybe two days off a week to help with that knee so don’t worry all you Pagan fans, Angel will get playing time. Don’t over think this folks just enjoy the fresh bat in the lineup.

I can’t figure out Jerry Manuel. When the Mets lose his post game presser is like a night at the Laugh Factory, when they win it’s like he’s planning a wake. Strange.

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J-MAN AND OLD SCHOOL WARTHEN GOING DOWN SWINGING

The big story coming out of last nights Mets game is what is the reaction of the other 24 players to the the handling of John Maine. After getting lifted last night after 5 pitches Maine looked like a guy praying for a life line. When the cavalry came to the rescue in the persons of Jerry Manuel and Old School Warthen, instead of being thankful for saving him, Maine gets all pissy with the manager.

After the game and let me say SNY you suck! Why can’t we see Jerry Manuel’s post game presser live? Why do I have to wait through the insufferable Garry Apple to hear the John Maine pitty party that you promoed as must see, if it’s must see then let me fucking see it! I’ll say this, it was worth my wait but I shouldn’t have to wait and after I see and hear Maine’ melt down,  I want to hear Bobby O break it down not Gary Fucking Apple!

Back to Maine, finally J-Man and Old School are starting to take no prisoners with this team and the pitching staff. If J-Man is going to get the boot he’s not going down without a fight. You, David Wright take the day off. What, you don’t agree with that? Too fucking bad, grab some pine.  John Maine, there is either something wrong with your arm or your head and since you couldn’t break a pane of glass in any of your last starts and your delivery was in slow motion so badly that  Old School Warthen asked you if your ok and  you say yeah even though your mechanics and body language say different. In other words John Maine your are a selfish prick. Your whole post game rant was me-me-me-me and that has been a problem around here for too long. Even the golden boy David Wright acted a like a me-me guy when Manuel told him he needed a day off. I think we can all thank Fredi Gonzalez for mangers finally standing up to players and setting them straight.

I also think that closed door meeting with the Mets brass had something to do with this as well. Maybe J-Man told Jeffey and Omar “look if I’m going down then I’m going down with a fight and I’ll do it by any means necessary”

First Manuel pulled Ollie Perez from the rotation then sat Wright down now he’s called out Maine and how about Old School with his quote on Maine being a “habitual liar” when it comes to his health? The gloves are off Mets fans, if J-Man and Warthen are going down then they going down fighting with bare knuckles. It’s about time.

Manuel and Old School know the next six games will decided their fate. 0-6 and it’s over, 4-2 their safe, 3-3 a toss up, 6-0 then we may look back at that meeting in Atlanta might as the turning point of the season .

Tonight the Mets will honor the 2000 NL Champs.  There will be a pre game ceremony attended by Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo, Turk Wendell, John Franco and Rick Reed. One other player will make an appearance, Mike Hampton. I’m just hoping the fans attending tonight’s game don’t embarrass themselves and the fan base by booing Hampton. I wasn’t happy when he decided to leave after one year as a Met but he was the MVP of the 2000 NLCS and by leaving the draft pick the Mets received was used to draft David Wright, so just for those two contributions he should get applause.  

How Bobby Valentine is not invited to tonight’s game is a disgrace and shows the short sightedness and pettiness of the Mets ownership. What are they afraid of Mets fans actually cheering at $iti Field?

Castillo to the Rox? Does that mean Daniel Murphy to second base? HELL YEAH!!!!

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Tickets

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