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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TERRY COLLINS PUTS TEAM ON NOTICE THIS ISN’T THE WESTMINSTER DOG SHOW

I’m a little concerned about Angel Pagan, now that the Mets have sent him for a blood test to see what is causing him to be fatigued during games. What also disturbs me is that Pagan has gone into a shell in the clubhouse. With the thought of Carlos Beltran ready to be dealt away, his own poor play this season and the uncertainty that he will be brought back next year, has to be weighing on his mind. Hopefully there is nothing medically wrong with Pagan.

Most of the talk this morning is about what will happen after Carlos Beltran is traded. From reading the quotes from Terry Collins it seems he understands what we Mets fans have figured out the last couple of years, some of these guys tend to lay down like dogs when they feel the season is over. TC has made it known now that anyone he suspects turning canine the last two months of the season will become ex-Mets. This has always been my main concern about the team that in the past, they have shown no heart in tough situations. Collins made it known to me over the winter that that kind of mindset will not happen under his stewardship and so far this season he has live up to his promise.

If anything this Mets team doesn’t roll over in fact, most non-Mets fans/followers have complimented the way the team plays, hard for 27 outs. That’s why I have faith in TC to keep that mindset going forward. I have to believe if a player doesn’t hustle or takes a play off, his ass will be fastened to the bench.

I have been a Mike Pelfrey fan. I’ve rooted for him to get his act together and become a solid front line starting pitcher. I’ve kept saying “one more year and it will all click for Pelf” but more and more this seasons, my faith in Pelfrey drops after each of his starts. I’m getting to the point where I’ll be surprised if he is a Met in 2012. After reading some of his quotes today about life after Carlos Beltran I’ve become more secure in saying that we may be seeing the last of Mike Pelfrey as a Met:

  “I understand that if you want to get something back for him you have to trade him (Beltran),” Pelfrey told The Post before the Mets beat the Reds 4-2 last night. “But in the same sense I would think if we ended up getting rid of him, the front office’s view is that we don’t have a chance, because he gives us our best chance to win. If he’s not here, then they felt we can’t rebound from where we’re at.”

Mike, if you pitched better this season, the team would have had a better chance to compete for a post season berth. Don’t worry about what the front office is or has to do. It’s very simple, players play, coach’s coach, manager’s mange and the front office worries about trades and signings. Quite frankly maybe your problem is you worry about shit that has nothing to do with you and you lose focus on what you need to do, which is to pitch better. Hey who knows maybe your career will turn around next year when you’re a Kansas City Royal.

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GOING ON A COVERT MISSION

Since I had no plans for today myself and the heir to the Kranepool Society mis-fortune decided totake a trip up to the Boogie Down to see the Highlanders-Indians  game this afternoon.  Amazingly, this will be our first trip to the new Stadium. My second new stadium experience in three days as Friday night we ventured to Harrison NJ to see the NY Red Bulls with my daughter’s soccer team.  Tomorrow I will have a whole lot more on my experiences in both places.

Ah Murph!!!!!!! You make that play inning over and maybe the game and back to the magic .500 level of mediocrity but in order to get offense into the lineup, TC has to make these type of moves.

D.J. Carrasco has been pitching very well for Buffalo so he gets the call back to the big club and Dale Thayer goes back to doing whatever it is Dale Thayer does.

HoJo, really Hojo, stop with your critique of TC and the Mets handling of Jason Bay. You look very small and petty when you do this; you don’t hear Collins ripping you for ruining David Wright do you? Maybe you’re the one that screwed up Jason Bay beyond repair. There’s a reason you are no longer a member of the organization you know.

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FOR WHOM THE PEN TOLLS, IT TOLLS FOR THE METS

These late inning collapses are wearing me out, and I’m sure the manager and players feel the same way. So how do the Mets stop this rash of late inning chokes? Beat’s the shit out of me.  Is Pedro Beato feeling the effects of the tendonitis in his right bicep that landed him on the DL? Is Izzy feeling the fatigue from back to back appearances? Is Dale Thayer feeling the effects of being Dale Thayer? What’s a manager to do? Maybe TC can go with Bobby Parnell and Manny Acosta a bit more but really so far this season it doesn’t matter who is in that bullpen, after a solid start the back end of the pen has become a problem and moving the pieces around isn’t solving anything.   

Jason Bay sounds like a guy who has given up. After reading these quotes it seems he asking Terry Collins to take him out of the everyday lineup:

 The underachieving Mets left fielder has been around long enough to realize every manager has a breaking point. Bay knows he needs to start hitting — or prepare for the possibility he will relinquish his everyday spot in the Mets’ lineup.

“That’s the reality of the situation we’re in,” Bay told The Post. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you that is not an option. I’m pretty aware of what’s going on.”

“It’s a results business, and this is a place where team-wise you need to win and you need to perform,” Bay said. “Regardless of who you are, you get enough chances and it’s like ‘OK, let’s go [in a different direction].’ That’s out of my control.”

Watching Bay’s AB’s last night you can see he has absolutely no confidence in himself as a hitter. In the 4th inning he was HBP in his knee and never made an attempt to get out of the balls way. I guess he felt taking one for the team was the least he could do. In the 6th, after getting ahead 2-0, Bay missed on two fastballs, fouling them off. He then took another ball to get the count to 3-2. He fouled off another pitch he was late on and then took a called third strike. As the ump called strike three, Bay just looked at him calmly and asked where it was, the ump told him and Bay just shrugged his shoulders, got his glove and went to LF. It’s time for an intervention, either platoon Bay or talk to him and his agent about going to Buffalo or St Lonesome to work out his problems at the plate. He will not be released and he has zero trade value so this would be the best thing for the team and for Bay. Lucas Duda is ripping up Triple A pitching, he deserves a shot at the LF job.

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WE’RE CLOSE REEEEAAAALLLL CLOSE TO REAL BASEBALL

I had the honor of being invited to a bloggers conference call with Mets manager Terry Collins last night. Collins is upbeat , excited and quite confident about his team. I posed the question to Collins on how will he keep this club together when adversity hits, as it always does in a 162 game baseball season. Thanks to Michael Baron, here is my question and a full transcript of the conference call. I tip my Mets cap to Michael for doing this transcript under adverse conditions as there was a load of background noise during the call:

Steve Keane: This Spring, camp has been upbeat, although there have been a few bumps in the road. It seems the players have fed off your enthusiasm. Over the course of the season, there will be losing streaks, and in the past, those spread and festered. The Mets, over the past few years, haven’t been known to be mentally and physically tough. How do you combat that?

Terry Collins:   Not everyone has the answer. People think there is a process we go through to get through it. In a losing streak, a lot of guys get concerned with individual stats, and we need to combat that. Its all about communication, and making sure they continue to believe in themselves. Not sitting back, and waiting for things to happen.

The toughest part of managing or coaching is getting your players to buy in to what preaching, getting them to put team ahead of self and so far this spring from the quotes and stories from Mets players, they seem to be buying what TC is selling.

Caryn (Metsgrrl) Rose had a great question for Collins about him being a players manager and I think this was a real honest and revealing answer from TC:

I think it means a lot – in the past, I was probably not a players manager. Through the years, I have realized the importance of constant communication, and never taking anything for granted. That is done with experience – from my first few years, I was worried about only managing the game, and thinking everyone was on board with it. I look at it as a compliment.

Keeping the lines of communication open is KEY for a manager. When the players have to guess what you’re thinking or feel you’re playing head games, you are destine to lose that player and your team.  I would say TC learned that lesson in Anaheim and will not make that mistake again.

Izzy has agreed to stay in extended spring training for two weeks as the Mets try to fit this bullpen. It worked out as well as Sandy Alderson could have hoped as he gets to keep two or the three relievers he had to decide on.

The more these stories keep coming out about the Skill Sets shaky financial status, it seems the only conclusion I can see is the Skill Sets selling the team.  Freddy Skill Sets has his heart set on keeping the team in the family for generations to come but I doubt if his wish will come true.

As I was typing up this post, word came down that Luis Castillo has been cut by the Phuck Phaces. Andy Martino is getting ready to file a discrimination lawsuit against the Phuck Phaces on behalf of Castillo.

GET METS-MERIZED! GET METS-MERIZED! Cheesy? you bet Sharp Cheddar Baby!

The everyday menu at Foley’s NY is always first rate but with the start of the 2011 Baseball Season, they have added a bunch of specials to commemorate the season openers:

Appetizers

Francona’s Terry-Yaki Steak Skewers: $5.00

Thai (Cobb) Chicken Skewers: $5.00

Dustin Pedroia’s Buffalo Shrimp: $5.50

Miguel Cabrera’s Loaded Fries: $5.00

Welkes’ Wings (Bucket = three orders): $12.50

Entrees

Cliff’s Phil-Lee Cheesesteak Sandwich: $5.95

Justin Morneau’s French Dip $5.95

Sean Casey’s Irish Burger $6.50

Coursi’s Chicken Club Wrap $5.50

Additionally, Foley’s has named a menu item for every team in the major leagues:

NL

Mets: David Wright Sandwich

Phillies: Philly Cheesesteak Wrap

Braves: Fried Chicken Dinner

Marlins: Fried Fish Sandwich

Nats: Washington Apple Pie

Brewers: Bratwurst

Cardinals: Toasted Ravioli

Pirates: Pittsburgh Steak Salad

Cubs: Chicago Dog

Astros: Texas Sirloin Steak

Reds: “Reds Hot” Chili

Dodgers: LA Pizza

Padres: Fish Tacos

Rockies: Beer Battered Onion Rings

Arizona: Chicken Southwest

Giants: French Dip

AL

Yankees: “Swish” & Chips

Red Sox: Shrimp & Scallops

Toronto: Poutine (French fries topped by cheese curds and gravy)

Orioles: Maryland Crab Cake Sliders

Rays: Cuban Sandwich

Tigers: Mini Chili Dogs

White Sox: Chicago Dog

Twins: “Juicy Lucy” Burger

Royals: KC Burger

Indians: Cleveland Carrot Cake

Rangers: Texas T Bone

Angels: Artie’s Nachos

Mariners: Chicken Eggrolls

A’s:  Garlic Wings

Looks like tomorrow or Friday will be a long lunch day for me to sneak over to Foley’s

Don’t forget to check out the THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN Podcast from last night with my guest Matthew Silverman author of 50 AMAZIN’ SEASON . You can listen here at Kranepool Society (lower right side bar) or at the show page or as a download on iTunes.

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Shhhhhhhhh……….. I”M SUPPOSED TO BE GETTING READY FOR CHRISTAMS

Happy Christmas Eve y’all I got so much shit to do but I hate doing it so while everyone thinks I’m busy doing stuff to get ready for tonight and tomorrow I’m sitting here typing out this post, and why not no one gets yelled at on Christmas right?

Rob Castelano of Amazin’ Avenue was on a conference call with the new and improved Mets coaching staff and posted the entire transcript of the call. Looks like TC and Co. will hit the ground running at St Lonesome in Feburay. I’d advise the Mets players to leave the golf clubs at home.

I cannot believe that  Charles Wang has not reached out to Mikhail Prokhorov about adding the Islanders as  a tenant to the Barclay Center in Brooklyn. Forget about building an arena in Queens, Brooklyn is the place for the Isles.

As with Thanksgiving, it’s not the official holiday with hearing Alice’s Restaurant on Christmas no gifts can be open until I play the only Christmas song I like.

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
Couldn’t miss this one this year!
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
Couldn’t miss this one this year!

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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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