Last Night The Mets Were Fugly

There are loses, bad loses and I can’t believe it loses which is where I’d file last night’s stunner. To have a 4-0 lead handed to our Ace against a team that has scored the least runs in all of baseball and to do it with a Buffalo flavored lineup, it looked like this would be one the best wins of the season, but then in the 7th with one on, Santana served up an 87 mph meatball fastball to the Pirates version of Mike Nickeas, Mike McKendry, that was deposited over the left center field wall to tie the game at 4-4.

Santana seemed to labor from the 4th inning on as he lost command of his fastball and it seemed ironic that Santana who has had a tough time recording a win when he was out pitching the opposition would be in position to get a win in game where he was ordinary at best.

The Mets had a good shot at taking the lead back in the 8th as Kirk Nieuwenhuis got a pinch hit single to lead off the 8th and made it 3rd on a Ronny Cedeno ground out and a wild pitch, runner on 3rd 1 out all the Mets need is a fly ball but up steps Mike Nickeas who of course strikes out. I wish Terry Collins would give Rob Johnson the bulk of the playing time while Josh Thole recuperates. Nickeas just cannot hit and his defensive prowess quite frankly is overrated.  I’m guessing that Johnson‘sore thumb is still a problem and the reason he’s not behind the plate every day.  After Nickeas failed to get Nieuwenhuis home, it was left to Andres Torres and his icicle of a baseball bat to get the job done and of course he failed as well with his shitty little ground out 4 to 3.

When Nickeas, Torres and Ike Davis are in the same lineup they are 3 automatic outs add in the pitchers spot that 4 outs so multiply that by say 4 times through the order, that  16 of the 27 outs you get in a game that you are giving away. Nickeas shouldn’t start another game, Torres is ready to be regulated to 4th outfield status and Ike it seems is a DL activation away from becoming a Buffalo Bison. When Vinny Rottino gets the nod over you, lefty or no lefty, it’s safe to say you’ll be headed upstate soon.

Now if the top of the 8th didn’t piss you off enough, the Mike Baxter-Kirk Nieuwenhuis mix up of Neil Walker fly ball sure had to. Simple “Fundies” right there, it’s the centerfielder is king of the outfield and to their credit both Baxter and Kirk took responsibility for the screw up for what became the winning run on 3rd base. As bad an offensive team as the Bucs are, they at least were able to get the runner on 3rd home with less than 2 outs.

 

 

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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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SHORT AND SWEET

Outstanding job by Chris Capuano last night with his only flaw the three run home run he gave up to Espinosa in the second inning. 8K’s and 1 BB in 6 innings pitched with a 71/26 spilt of strikes to balls is as good as it gets.

Carlos Beltran just can win with some folks. Instead of celebrating the fact he hit 2 home runs and is looking very comfortable at the plate, there will be critics who will bash him for the off day today and those in the media saying he will be excellent trade bait. I love to see some of the critics wear a knee brace all day and say they feel great.

Ike-Ike Baby, Vanilla Ike, Ike-nstein whatever you want to call him add big time in front of that. So far so good on no sophomore jinx.

Alderson has a big decision to make as it pertains to the bullpen. Izzy is ready and able to go at the big league level, so the Mets need to decide who is cut to make room for Izzy. Tell you the truth, with the way the starting pitching has not giving many innings, I’d demote Lucas Duda, since Collins is in love with Willie Harris and Duda is rotting on the bench and buy some time with an 8 man pen until Jason Bay comes back. By that time Alderson, Collins and Warthen might have a better idea on who to keep.

Chris Young on the mound today so if Mets take this game and series that will be two out of three series the Mets have won. Take that haters.

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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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THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN TONIGHT AT 10PM ET ON BLOG TALK RADIO

Join me tonight for THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN on Blog Talk Radio at 10PM ET. My guest will be Howie Karpin of Mad Dog Radio on Sirius/XM. Howie has a long list of accomplishments as a 30 year sports reporter and as an Official Scorer for MLB in NYC. Howie also authored the book YANKEE ESSENTIAL and worked with Marty Appel on the book 162-0 The Greatest Wins in Yankee History. Check out Howie’ blog “Howie Karpin’s 3 balls 2 strikes.

If you can listen in live you can listen to the podcast right here at Kranepool Society or at the show page at Blog Talk Radio or download the show on iTunes.

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A SHORTSTOP IN THE 3- HOLE IS A TEMPORARY THING

Before we all go off the deep end here about J-Man contemplating batting Jose Reyes in the 3 hole, let’s remember that (a) this is only because Carlos Beltran will be out until May (cross fingers and toes) and (b) when Beltran comes back, Reyes goes back to the lead off spot. The bigger problem with the Mets lineup is too many square pegs and round holes.

I’ve tossed around a few lineups and the problem I have is not who leads off as the Mets have three guys (Reyes, Castillo and Pagan) who are terrific leadoff men. They also have two nice #2 hitters in Castillo who gives you OBP and Daniel Murphy who hits with some pop. I’m intrigued about Reyes in the 3 spot because with Bay and Wright behind him you know he’s going to see strikes.

So if I were the manager I’d put this lineup out as much as I could this spring to see how it works.

Castillo

Murphy

Reyes

Bay

Wright

Francouer

Barajas/Blanco

Pagan

Pitcher

I’m a little concerned with the 7-8 spot. Barajas is feast or famine and Pagan is the square peg in the round hole I spoke about in the beginning. He’s more a 1-2 hitter but as we see without the potent bat of Carlos Beltran, there has to be some improvisation with this Mets lineup.

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BASEBALL LIKE IT OUGHTA BE

A rough morning. Had a 9AM game and one of my big strong arm guys pitching and he couldn’t find home plate with a map, compass and a guide dog. After two innings we are down 8-0 and I’m ready to blow a fucking gasket, walks and errors that’s all I see in my sleep lately. After the 60 th pitch I’d seen enough and I bring in a kid to pitch that while not throwing hard, throws strikes and he holds the fort as we nibble back to 8-4 until he runs out of gas. I go to option three which on this team is the equivalent of Manny Acta going to his pen and lo and behold after seven walks, three errors and leaving about eight runners on base the score after 6 innings is 13-6.

There was another game to be played on the field after ours and the teams were milling around waiting for our game to end. The coach of one of the teams was a guy I’ve known for a few years so I told “Don’t worry Jim we’ll be quick” and we both laughed. What are you gonna do cry? First kid up grounds out. Next kid walks. Next one hits a bloop over short. Next batter drills one to the gap in left center-a bloop and a blast-and it’s 13-8. Next batter walks then another walk and a strike out and a hit batsman. New pitcher and it’s 13-9 with two out. First pitch to the batter a hit down the left field line and holy shit it’s 13-11 with two out and then a infield hit and it’s 13-12 with two out. Now I’d love to say the next batter drove in two more runs but that only happens in the movies. The next kid K’d and we lost 13-12 but from the roar of the crowd and the kids waiting to play you would have thought we won a championship.

When the game ended we took the kids over to the snack stand which was the plan win or lose to buy them lunch. As we come off the field, the people at the complex were clapping and patting the kids on the back which was great because they really deserved to for not giving up and fighting back. But the best part of it was when one of the kids, the pitcher I took out after two innings said “We never give up because the coaches never give up on us”

And that right there is worth all the vacation days I’ve used and all the overtime I’ve given up and all the food, drinks, and baseballs I’ve bought and all the time I’ve put into practicing with these kids. Johan Santana, Alex Rodriguez Carlos Beltran they are all making a ton of money in baseball more than me but I guarantee they are not loving baseball more than I am.

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Tickets

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