Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oliver Perez is Insane

So Oliver Perez, during a conversation with Kevin Burkhardt of SNY, recently remarked that he feels he is being treated unfairly by the Mets, basically being a forgotten man and rarely pitching.

My first reaction to hearing this was “Onion headline”. Then I went on with my day.

Then I heard from other sources that this was a true quote. Metsblog.com and Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen during last night’s game both confirmed it. So my second reaction was “WHAT THE &$@#?”

Perez is out of his mind if he seriously thinks this. The Mets gave Perez oppertunity galore and he failed. Then when they wanted him to go down to the minors and work out his issues, he refused. Now the Mets bascially play every game with a 24 man roster since Perez is pretty much usable except in games like yesterday where it’s a blowout and you want to try and save the bullpen a little.

I’m sick and tired of hearing this joker’s name. No matter what they have to eat, the Mets need to cut Perez loose. If they are so worried that he’ll go out and pitch well somewhere else, they really shouldn’t be. The only way I see him having some success is with a team like the Royals or even back with the Pirates where the team will throw him out there every fifth day no matter what and he’ll have games like he did here where he’ll be masterful but the overall body of work will be uneven and full of walks and nightmare innings.

Listen, back when they resigned Perez I thought it wasn;t a bad move. Perez had shown some serious flashes of brilliance and I honestly thought he was a very capable #3 pitcher. I mean at one point the guy was like 9-2 with an ERA under 3.00 against the Braves, Yanks and Phillies in a Mets uniform. However, those days are long gone. The gutsy pitcher from game seven of the 2006 NLDS and the 15 win promising pitcher from 2007 is likely never going to be heard from again. Looking at how much Derek Lowe signed for with the Braves and what was available back then the Mets actually didn;t have a h lot of choices. I don’t think ANYONE could have predicted on how bad overall this would be.

But now, Perez is not just an albatross on the team and isn;t just a basical Pariah from his teammates, but is now also sounding like a crazy idiot by saying he’s being treated unfairly. The Mets are paying him millions, yet he refuses to accept responsiblity for his terrible performances and at least do something to help the franchise by going to the minors and working it out and letting them have a servicible pitcher in his spot. To me, this must be the last straw. The Mets aren.t getting anything for their money anyway… at least get rid of him to clear the spot for someone useful. I don’t care if the orsters go to 40 men in a few days. Enough is enough. The Mets are the punchline to many jokes as it is, at least take control of this.

Monday, August 30, 2010

How Many Years?

During last night’s blogcast radio show, I asked Phil Speranza (from the great Yankees blogsite BehindtheBombers.com) what he saw Derek Jeter getting from the Yankees after the season since his $189 million, ten-year contract will be up. I asked if five years seemed out of the question, as I was speculating that he might want as much as that. Phil thought that five years wasn’t out of the question. Frankie The Sports Guy agreed that five yars was a possible number. I thought about it a lot over night though, and I have to wonder.

I cannot imagine the Yankees allowing Jeter to walk or Jeter really willing to walk away from the Bronx. However, I would suspect that Jeter may expect to get at least a four year deal, if not five years. I would also expect him to be looking for anywhere from $19 – $21 million per year. That would mean that the Yankees would be dishing out anywhere from $76 million to $105 milllion for the Captain’s final contract.

Jeter is 36. He had a fantastic 2009 and the Yankees won the World Series. However his 2010 has not been as productive and he’s heading towards one of the worst (if not THE worst) season of his career. 2008 wasn’t the best of years for him either. While you cannot argue his worth to the franchise, the Yankees have to figure out if they are rewarding Jeter for his past successes (in which he’s already been paid in excess of $205 million, a pretty damn good compensation) or his future performances, which will very likely not be worth $76 million, much less a whopping $105 million if he got a five year deal with a $21 million a year average.

So, do the Yankees low ball Jeter? Say they offer a three year, $48 million offfer? If they did, would he get offended and be vindictive enough to walk? Would there be another team willing to pony up serious money to sign him? (Could you imagine a scenario where Joe Torre stays in LA and the Dodgers tempt Jeter with a five year, $90 million offer? What about the Braves looking to make some serious noise?)

Ok, I highly doubt such a bizarre situation could play out, however it’s something to consider. Phil mentioned last night he thought that Jeter has been the best centerfielder on the Yankees the last few years. Would s larger contract come with a decree from the Yankees for Jeter to move? Would his pride get in the way for such as move?

Listen, no one is going to cry for the Yankees if they wind up having to overpay Jeter in the tune of… say… $85 million for four years where the last few years are grossly overspent. The Yankees can afford it, right?

Maybe. Maybe not. The Yankees are in a tight position here. They have the face of the franchise… the figure that everyone thinks of first when you mention pinstripes. To the younger generation, Jeter is bigger than Ruth, Mantle and Jackson. To the older generation, he’s right in line with those names. No one would win from a divorce between Jeter and the Yanks, and like I said above, I cannot really imagine a scenario where it would happen… however that doesn’t mean the negotiations will be smooth or the end result will be one that is mutually benefitical for both parties.

I get the feeling that in the end, the Yankees will not have the stomach to offer Jeter what he’s worth going forward… which I feel is a two year deal at $14/14.5 million a year with a club option for a third year. The Yankees have paid Jeter well for his past services and don’t need to reward him in that way. Jeter will have a lifetime contact with the Yanks after he retires that will be a nice “reward” for all of his past services (as well as the gobs and gobs of dough he’s already made). My predicti0n? A four year deal worth roughly $14.75 a year or about $60 million. Is it the right move? I can’t answer that. Like I said above though… if anyone could absorb that sort of contact, it’s the Yankees.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Should Parnell Be Closing?

With Francisco Rodriguez’s season over due to his scuffle with his common-law Father-In-Law and lousy right hook, the Mets have been using Hisanori Takahashi as their closer and he’s done a pretty good job. The Mets have actually picked up a game and half in the wildcard standings the last two days and are likely to keep things as they are as they try and see if they can somehow worm their way into playoff contention (as slim a chance it is) over the next two weeks.

However if things do not go the Mets way (and likely it will not, even if the Mets are able to lift their play to the level they were at in May and June) I have to wonder if the Mets would be better served by letting Bobby Parnell have a go at closing.

I think that the idea has some serious merit. I thought I was alone in the thought until I read a post saying the same thing from Matt Cerone over at metsblog.com. Parnell had a small period where he struggled not too long ago, but has been pretty spectaular since and overall has had a good season. The main thing is though, that the guy can bring some serious heat (he hit 101 in a recent game against the Houston Astros and 99 a number of times against the Pittsburg Pirates) and he’s young (only 25, compared to Takahashi’s 34). Looking at the volatile situations concerning closers these days, it would behoove the Mets to see if they have a very inexpensive alternative to close other than K-Rod or even just going forward for life after him.

At this point, it’s kind of obvious the Mets are looking to push forward with the idea of prospects and home grown players being a huge part of this team going into 2011 and beyond. Ike Davis is the 1st baseman. I think Ruben Tejada has the advantage on the 2nd base job for next year if he can show this season he can hit at least a little bit (with Daniel Murphy being more of a threat to him for next year than Luis Castillo is) . Jenrry Mejia is widely expected to be on the roster next year, either in the bullpen or give a shot to start. Kirk Nieuwenuis, Dillon Gee, Fernando Martinez and Pat Misch will all have a serious shot at making the team in 2011. Isn’t it a good idea to get at least a notion if Parnell has the ability to close and bounce back after a bad outing in a pressure situation?

It’s worth investigating the idea. If the Mets really are going to be a more thrifty team going forward and the young movement seems to be on the forefront of business, then they should see if they have an important cog now, and not wait until later. The Mets have a habit of putting themselves in a position to scramble, and it would be a good idea to avoid that.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cano Makes it Hard to Miss A-Rod

The news over the weekend that Alex Rodriguez was going on the DL would worry a number of teams, but for the Yankees it seemed almost like a “Hhhm? What? Oh yeah, ok.” sort of reaction.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the team would much rather have their slugging 3rd Baseman -playing everyday, but in his absence, their 2nd baseman has picked up any slack and continues a spectacular season.

Robinson Cano has put together the type of season the Yankees have envisioned over the last couple of years. Reports of Cano’s lack of focus and maturity issues seemed to dog the young 2nd baseman and a number of people wondered if the trade of Melkey Cabrara was partly to ensure the removal of Cano’s “partner in crime” which would in tourn help him be more consistant and baseball minded.

Perhaps the absence of Cabrara has played a part, perhaps not. In any case, Cano’s numbers have lifted his stature from a solid player in the upper percentage of the league’s Second Basemen, to perhaps the best player at the position in all of Major League Baseball.

His number are sweet: .325 batting average, 25 home runs, 86 rbi, 45 walkss and 58 strike outs in 477 at-bats. Even his errors are down. He’s already tied his 2009 final number in home runs and actually has one more rbi than all of last year. His strike outs are a little above past seasons but not by a lot and his overall production is very elevated to the point that Cano will get some MVP consideration.

The Yankees are known for being a slugging team, with A-Rod and Mark Teixeria being the main names on the big bopper list and Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher being the next ones in line in a lot of fans’ minds. Posada’s age, health and decrease in production and Granderson’s weak season play a factor in a change here, but even if they were putting up numbers like in the past, I think Cano really has to be looked at as one of the most dangerous hitters on the team, perhaps only really behind Teixeria at this point.

It will be interesting to see how Cano handles the role of big bat once the playoff crunch gets here, but so far his season has given the Yankees reason to believe they have a powerhouse in the lineup for years to come.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It Comes Down to This Weekend

I’m going to put this plain and simple for everyone.

If the Mets are going to play truely meaningful games in August and September it HAS to start right here.

Win this weekend series against the Phillies and show the National League that you aren’t going quiet into that good night.

The three game series against Atlanta wasn’t very good. One spirited come from behind victory in a well played game sandwiched between two poor efforts. Not exactly what the Met fans were hoping for.

Well this is it. Philadelphia just came off a sweep of the Marlins (helped by a bad call in last night’s game) and is missing Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley.

The Mets have played terrible on the road. There is little reason to think they’ll suddenly turn it around, but on the horizon is a bunch of games that are more than winnable. You have The Rockies, a team that has actually played worse than the Mets in the second half so far, at Citifield. Then after another three games against the Phillies in Citi, the Mets have a stretch of thirteen straight games aginst teams under .500 in the Astros, Pirates and Marlins.

It starts with tonight. Jon Niese has been excellent despite his lousy last start. Joe Blanton is one of the weaker pitchers the Phillies have. Make your Opening statement tonight. The Mets don’t have to sweep… just win 2 out of 3 and show they can win an important series against a huge rival in the rival’s ballpark. Show the grit and character the Mets showed in the first half. Start to wash off the stink of the incrediblely terrible second half that has been until now. Tonight is a MUST win. You have Johan Santana going against Cole Hamels tomorrow in a game that is winnable is the team is focused and determined enough. Then Sunday R. A. Dickey faces off against Roy Halladay in a game that figures to be low scoring.

This weekend series in Philly is not an easy one, but looking at the state of the Phillies roster right now it’s not out of the question to think the Mets can take two. It’s time to stand up and show if this season is over in the 2nd week of August or the Mets are going to at least make it interesting. A playoff spot is fairly doubtful, but not out of reach. The question is, how bad do they want it?

We’ll pretty much know by Sunday night.

No Second Guess This Time

Let me start off by saying that out of all the things about Jerry Manuel that drive me insane, his handling of the pitching staff is the most frustrating. It seems he rarely has a good grasp of what he’s doing with them .

Having said that, I’ve heard a LOT of Met fans and Media (Steve Phillips for one on WFAN this morning) say that Jerry Manuel blew it last night by allowing R. A. Dickey to pitch in the 9th inning. Dickey was nursing a 2-1 lead (after giving up a run in the 8th) and after getting the first out, gave up a tying homerun to Geoff Blum. Manuel then pulled Dickey and inserted Hisanori Takahasi, who got the final two outs in the inning.

So last night and this morning on sports talk shows, I’m hearing how that was a terrible move and Jerry blew the games, yada, yada, yada.

Which just goes to show how there are people that will second guess and complain no matter what.

Manuel leaving Dickey in the game last night was ABSOLUTELY the right move. This is the same guy who was brought back in the 9th inning of last Friday’s 1-0 win over the Phillies, which everyone seemed in favor of. Dickey is pitching EXTREMELY well. Why WOULDN’T he be left in? The Mets closer, K-Rod, is gone for the season. Dickey had given up only 1 run. There was no reason to pull him. I thought it was the best thing to do and the fact it didn;t work out doesn’t change that fact.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Going Overboard

I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m extremely unhappy with the Mets organization as a whole. The front office is run like it’s a Three Stooges film. The direction of the team seems to flux every other week. The man in charge, Jeff Wilpon, seems to think he’s a baseball guru when in reality his knowledge and decision making is hurting the team.

While reading MetsBlog.com yesterday, I saw a post by Michael Baron that discussed how SI.com columnist Jeff Pearlman seems to have the same thoughts as I do. In his column, Pearls of Wisdom, Jeff makes a number of points simular to ones I, and many others, have made about the state of the franchise.

However, Jeff goes on to basically destroy the team overall. He calls the Mets “the worst franchise in baseball” saying the team is so bad that calling them dreadful is “an insult to dread”. The big quote (which was highlighted by Mike on MetsBlog.com) from Jeff’s column reads:

“No, the 2010 Mets are simply worthless. They are a listless, heartless, wretched baseball team; an entertainment value sans entertainment, playing ugly within the confines of beautiful new Citi Field. When the biggest story of the year is Francisco Rodriguez, your star closer, beating up the grandfather of his kids, well, you’ve for problems.”

The other quote that jumped out at me was:

“Put simply, the Mets’ roster doesn’t work. Jose Reyes is one of the best shortstops in baseball, and David Wright can say the same at third. When healthy, Carlos Beltran is an elite center fielder. Ike Davis looks excellent at first base. Angel Pagan makes a superb fourth outfielder. Johan Santana still throws nasty stuff and, uh…. That’s about it. Save for Wright, the middle of the lineup is a wasteland. Castillo, once an All-Star with the Marlins, might be the least-motivated ballplayer in America. Maine hasn’t contributed anything good in 2 1/2 years. Perez is a head case. Jon Niese reminds one of Joe Price.”

Wow. And you guys thought *I* was harsh.

There’s a huge flaw in Jeff’s column here. He’s right about the way the Mets have played the last month and he’s right about the front office’s apparent inability to do anything about the albatross that is Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. However, Jeff is so off-base about many other things that it’s almost like he was going over the top on purpose to spark debate and outrage.

First off, Jeff says “When the biggest story of the year is Francisco Rodriguez your star closer, beating up the grandfather of his kids, well, you’ve for problems.”

Really. THAT is the Mets biggest story of the year?

- Not Ike Davis and how well he’s performed as a rookie thrust into the limelight? Something that Jeff HIMSELF states in his column?
- Not R. A. Dickey and a long career finally met with success?
- Not Jon Niese putting together a solid season and showing he belongs? Oh wait… Jeff states he’s Joe Price.
- Not Angel Pagan’s rise from bench player to honest to goodness starter? Oh wait, that’s right… Jeff calls him a good “4th outfielder”.
Jeff ignores any of the above because ignoring those little tib-bits is needed for the sake of his article. He can’t talk about any of that, because he needs to show the train wreck only so his point is driven home.
Jeff goes on to say the Mets have no talent other than Wright, Reyes, Beltran and Santana. He says their roster “doesn’t work”.

Well, he IS right in that it’s not working right now, but a lineup starting with Reyes, Pagan, Wright, Beltran, Bay and Davis (as long as all are healthy) is a pretty good one. Betran’s still rusty after missing so much time the last year (although he’s showing serious signs of coming out of it), and Bay’s on the DL (and is having a terrible year regardless) but that lineup SHOULD work and it can.

Where Jeff really loses me in comment like Jon Niese is Joe Price. It was very nice of him to go digging into the baseball archives to find a below .500 pitcher who really no one else in Amercia would ever use as a description to Niese. I kind of fail to see the comparison. I’m sure Joe Price is glad to see his name in print… likely for the first time in a long time. I’m curious to know how he even came up with that comparison though. Admit it Jeff, you’ve been holding on to that name for a awhile… just itching to use it somewhere… right?
For those of you who do not know, Joe Price was a pitcher for the Reds, Giants, Red Sox and Orioles over a ten year career. He fluxuated between being a starter and a relief pitcher earlier in his career before become a spot starter but mostly a bullpen arm. He stared off with some sucess, going 7-3 with a 3.56 ERA for the Reds in 1980, faired well is a reliver in 1981 with a 6-1 record, 2.52 ERA and 4 saves, and then kind of settled into an average, non-descript career from that point on finishsing with a career record of 45-49 with a 3.65 ERA. He retired after the 1990 season. The only real comparison I can make between him and Niese is that they are both lefthanded.

Yes, the Mets overpaid for Jason Bay… pretty much like most teams have overpaid for larger name (and even lower name) free agents. There is no reason to think that Bay cannot bounce back from a horrible first season in Queens. Many players struggle in their first years in New York. His past makes me willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He came onto the team with his frist real huge contract, which I’m sure he was compelled to live up to. There was no Carlos Beltran in the lineup. He’s hitting in Citifield which messes up some players (see David Wright in 2009). I think Bay will bounce back the way Wright bounced back this year.

Of course there’s been bad moves. Yeah, Castillo’s contact was two years too much and Perez was a mistake overall. I won’t argue there. They were mistakes the Mets should be willing to eat and get rid of, and they haven’t. Jeff is 100% correct there.

But Jeff would have to admit the Mets, as “dreadful” as they have been in the 2nd half, were pretty exciting and were anything but “listless” until the All-Star break. His description fits for their 2nd half play so far, but not the first. the 2010 Mets aren’t worthless. The Mets of the last month are. Maybe we should wait to see how they finish before the 2010 season is declared with that classification.

The problem with Jeff’s article is that he has some great and true points… but it’s hard to accept any of his logic when he overdoes it on such an extrame scale and says things that just aren’t really correct. It’s like he felt the need to “pad” his point with “facts” that really just don’t pan out.

To ignore some of the things I brought up above for the sake of making his column look right that the Mets are “the worst franchise in baseball” is pretty self serving and lazy. I think clubs like the Orioles, Pirates, Cubs, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, A’s, Royals and Nationals might fall into that conversation also.

Heck, the Yankees have made as many bad moves as the Mets have, but are willing to just WAY overspend to fix their mistakes. Something I agree the Mets should also be willing to do.

The Mets are run badly. I agree. Ownership needs someone to open their eyes and get little Jeffy Wilpon out of the driver’s seat. The organization needs a total change of ideology. Jeff’s column is right on the money when it comes to that, but he didn’t stop there. He had to go way too far and frankly, I feel it’s kind of embarrassing. Did Jeff even WATCH this team before July 14th?

The last month HAS been terrible from an offense standpoint, however the starting pitching has been stellar. That alone keeps them from being “worthless”. There are changes needed, and hopefully those changes will come… but this isn’t a terrible team and there is a lot of talent on it. It’s just run wrong. I think Jeff may be too biased or maybe too shortsighted to see that… I don’t know if that’s so, but it’s true.
Now Jeff might argue that his article clearly states that he compared the Mets to a big summer blockbuster movie. He used the films “Godzilla” and “A.I.” as his examples. He said:
“Nine years after A.I. rotted the brains of millions of Americans, the film has finally found its baseball brethren. Throughout the majors, there will always be Godzillas — teams like the Royals and Pirates and Nationals that offer customers low expectations and a product to match.”

Ok, the problem with that is that almost EVERYONE gave the Mets no chance to contend this year. No one did. Heck, the average position the team was picked to finish in was 4th. The fact the team was totally in the thick of it until basically August (and still technically are) was a total surprise to the baseball world. If Jeff claims otherwise, I’d like to see the column where he said in the preseason or in the first few weeks of the season where he thought they would contend. I can. I predicted the Mets would contend and the main reason *I’m* mad about the last month so much is because the Mets are basically a MUCH better team then how they’ve played the last month and I expect more from them.
So in the end, don’t insult my intelligence for the sake of looking like some heavy handed master mind of baseball. The entire column’s message is undermined by the fact that Jeff talks down to us like we can’t tell the difference between what is reality and what is just going way over the line. The problem with it is, that Jeff is guilty of the same thing he accuses the Mets off… not acknowledging the issue on their front doorstep. It’s one thing to point of the shortcomings of an organization. It’s quite another thing to ignore ANY positives so you can paint the picture of total bleakness just so you look justified in being 100% negative. I expect better from an SL.com columnist. Hopefully next time I’ll get it.

To read Jeff’s column in full, go to: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/jeff_pearlman/08/16/pearlman.mets/index.html?eref=sihp

Monday, August 16, 2010

K-Rod Ko’d

Well it seems that Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez has more concerns than legal from his punch to his Father In Law’s face. It was revealed via MRI today that the closer has a torn ligament from that altercation.

THere is already rumors that the Mets are looking into possibily voiding his contract since he injured himself off the field in a situation that lead to his arrest.

Frankly, it’s just another backpage the Mets will be on that has nothing to do with baseball. This has entered tedious territory.

What really hurts is that overall, K-Rod has had a good season and has been particularly good as of late.

None of that matter now though, as it is likely he’s gone for the season.

It’s Not the Starting Pitching

The Mets finished their current homestand last night with a listless 3-1 loss to the Phillies. They went 3-3 on this homestand. The way the starting pitchers pitched however, they should have gone 5-1, if not 6-0. The way the offense has hit, they were lucky to win 3 games.

The ERA for the starters in that six game series was an even 1.00. They got three shutouts in that span, and a game where the starter left after 7 inning with a 2-1 lead only to see the bullpen give it away. On Saturday, rookie Pat Misch went 6 innings giving up only 1 earned run. Last night, Mike Pelfrey pitched well, giving up 3 runs over 7 innings including one run scored when Carlos Beltran didn’t seem to get to a ball hit by Shane Victorino that might have been catchable.

The defense, so strong in the first half has been shakey at best and at times downright bad. The offense doesn’t even seem to exist. They scored more than two runs only once on this homestand (in Santana’s 4-0 complete game shutout on thursday) and actually won two games by a score of 1-0 (beating Cole Hamels both times with fantatic games from Santana and R. A. Dickey). They scored 1 run or less four times in the six games. They batted .184 over the homestand and have batted .213 as a team since the all-star break.

The Mets also managed to have a runner at third five times betwen Saturday and Sunday and didn’t get that runner in once.

David Wright is in an abysmal slump where he is batting just 4 for 40 with just three walks and 12 strikeouts in the month of August. Since the All-Star break, Wright has hit just .199 with 3 home runs and 12 RBI and has struck out 28 times in 99 at bats. Jose Reyes’ numbers are down from his torrid stretch and he’s batted .260 over the last two weeks. No one playing 2nd base has hit at all be it Luis Castillo or Rubin Tejada. Carlos Beltran seemed to be shaking off the rust but is still 19 for his last 88 with 1 homerun, 9 RBI and 19 strike outs.

At this point the team seems listless and uninspired. They get a few runs down and it seems almost like they give up because they don’t think they can rally. Last night, Kayle Kendrick was looking like Roy Halladay because the Met hitters seem to have no plate disipline and were looking badly fooled on pitches they should have smacked around.

As bad as the Mets have been, the pitching has been stellar. If it wasn’t for the starters things would be even worse than they are. The Mets have to hit and they’re headed for some serious embarrassment if the bats don’t wake up in Houston.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Crazy Friday Night and Team Updates

Between a rain delay that actually lasted one minute longer than the entire Mets/Phillies game, and a near no-hitter broken up by the opposing pitcher, the New York teams had themselves quite a night last night.

Dustin Moseley gave up a tie breaking solo homerun to Billy Butler just a minute or so before the rain came, for the second rain delay of the night. The Yanks had overcome a 3-0 deficet by scoring 3 times in the 3rd, but Butler’s shot was the end of the scoring for the night as the bullpens for both teams pitched well after the game resumed. The Yanks had a chance to tie it in the 9th with runners at 1st and 3rd, but Royals closer Joakim Soria was able to get out of the jam for the save.

Over in Queens, R.A. Dickey threw a gem of a game, giving up only one hit to opposing pitcher Cole Hamels in a 1-0 win. It was the 2nd straight complete game shut out for the Mets, who lead the Lajor Leagues with 18 shutouts on the season. The Phillies haven’t scored a run in Citifield this year as of yet and are 0-4 in Queens. The lack of offense continued with only back to back doubles from David Wright and Carlos Beltran accounting for the only run of the game. The Mets string of bad luck continued as an apparent home run by 1st baseman Mike Hessman was overruled as fan interferance after a lengthy video review delay. After viewing the replay a number of times myself, it’s hard to see if the fan touched the ball, but the ball really would have been a home run anyway. However, the umpires overturned the homerun and granted Hessman a triple. He would eventually be stranded there.

So the Mets have won two games in a row for the first time since June 23rd. It seems they’ve stumbled on a wnning formula: just keep the starter in the game.

In the last four games, the Mets starting pitchers have been brilliant. Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey have thrown wonderfully. The only belemish in those games what the bullpen blowing Neise’s 7 innings of one run ball on Wednesday.

The Yankees have had a little patch where they’ve stumbled a bit, but a huge comeback win against Texas the other night, and the Tampa Bay Rays inability to hit lately and take advantage of the Yanks mini struggles keep the Bronx Bombers two games ahead in the AL East.

Andy Pettite suffered a setback while pitching in a simulated game in Tampa and it seems that the veteran is nowhere near ready to return to the mound for the first time since July 19. Before suffering a left groin strain in the third inning of a start against the Rays last month at Yankee Stadium, Pettitte was have the best start of an impressive career with an 11-2 record and an ERA of 2.88. He was selected (rightfully so despite my problems with Yankee Skipper Joe Giradi’s Yankee bias in All-Star Team selections) for the all-star team this year and the Yanks will certainly need him if them make (which is pretty much expected, if not a given a this point in the season) the postseason.

Today, The Mets will try and continue their dominance of Philadelphia at Citifield, but it’s going to be a tall order as Rookie Pat Misch will face off against Phillie’s ace Roy Halladay with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM. The Yankees will look for revenge in Kansas City tonight when they send Phil Hughes to face off against RHP Sean O’Sullivan for a 7:10 start also.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Once again, the Mets are spiraling in a direction that could be best described as “Embarrassingly Chaotic”. It’s almost like this team is trying as hard as possible to make sure they are on the back pages all the time… for very last possible wrong reason.

First the manager makes another set of bizarrely bad decisions and helps a 2-1 lead becomes a 6-2 loss. After seven fantastic innings of one run ball from Jon Niese, Manuel brought in Hisanori Takahashi in the 8th. Takahashi got the first two outs and then gave up a hit and walked a batter and then Manuel TAKES HIM OUT. Manuel had made such a big deal about praising Takahashi’s work in the bullpen and said he was his “eighth-inning guy.” and ALREADY he’s pulling him with two on and two out in the inning. Instead he brings in Manny Acosta instead of bringing in Francisco Rodriguez for a four out save. Acosta uncorks a wild pitch and then intentionally walks Troy Tulowitzki and then with the bases loaded, again, Manuel Leaves Acosta in instead of bringing in Rodriguez, and he promptly gives up a grand slam to Melvin Mora.

The Mets, who scored 2 runs in the 1st inning and then didn’t sniff a run again in the game, actually at one point struck out seven straight times between the 6th and 8th inning. They couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat right now.

And of course, after the game, Rodriguez was charged with third-degree assault after an altercation with his father-in-law in which at least one punch was thrown and is currently in Police Custody. He had a court appearance set for today at 11:30 am and the Mets have placed him on the restricted list, without pay, and promoted Ryota Igarashi from their Triple-A team in Buffalo.

This is insane. The Mets organization is beyond a joke at this point. The inmates are not only running the asylum, but they’re as public about it as possible. How bad does this have to get before something is done? How low does this team have to sink? For pete’s sake, after the collapses, the midnight firing and terrible handling of of Willie Randolph, the concussions, the horrible Tony Bernazard situation and the embarrasing display Omar Minaya put on afterwards with the press confrence accusations towards NY Daily News reporter Adam Rubin, the insane back and forth over Carlos Beltran’s knee surgery, the horrible decisions made by the manager and his waffling, the total inability to score runs since the all-star break, and the impression the whole baseball world has that the Mets cannot spend ANY money… plus adding in the huge drop in attendence at Citifield… just what in God’s name are the Wilpon’s waiting for to change the face and the way this franchise is run?

The Wilpon’s need to fire the entire management staff from the GM, Assistant GM, The Manager and the entire P.R. Department and then need to hire someone to take over the everyday Baseball operations from Jeff Wilpon. If there is going to be any hope for this organization, it’s going to be bringing in a solid baseball mind to take over and clean house and set things on the right path. It’s not just a manager or GM change that is needed… a total change in philosphy and ideology is paramount for this team.

Things are bleak right now. After the last few years the last thing the Mets could afford was to have this sort of second half… it’s a nightmare of obscene proportions and if things don’t change, and soon, it’s going to get worse. Mark my words.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What Now?

Ok, so the Mets are techically still in the playoff hunt. They’re on the fringe, but still in it.

But not really.

The Mets are 8 1/2 games behind the Braves for the NL East lead and 7 1/2 games back in the wild card from the Giants (maybe soon to be 7 games back since the Giants are training the Cubs inthe 5th). There are four teams betwen them and the Giants for the Wild Card . It’s not going to be an easy task and it’s one the Mets look ill equiped to handle they way they’ve played since the all-star break.

They’ve made a few moves including releasing Alex Cora and bringing up youngsters Fernando Martienez and Ruben Tejada. What does that mean? Likely they want to see if these guys can play at this level because I get the feeling they both are auditioning for roles with the club in 2011.

Fred Wilpon seemingly gave GM Omar Minaya a vote of confidence for 2011 which shows once again the orgainzation doesn’t have it’s thumb on the pulse of reality.

Everyone and his brother is saying the Mets have no money to spend and will not be players in this offseason’s free agent market. If this is true, you are going to see a very young team next year.

Let’s assume that the Mets part ways with Jeff Francour, John Maine and Sean Green. Let’s also say they finally wake up and let go of Oliver Perez since there is no way he’ll ever be able to throw a meaningful pitch for the Mets ever again.

So right off the bat, seeing who are pretty much no doubts… the roster looks like this:

Jose Reyes
Luis Castillo
Ike Davis
David Wright
Josh Thole

Angel Pagan
Carlos Beltran
Jason Bay

Johan Santana
Mike Pelfrey
Jon Neise
R. A. Dickey

Francisco Rodriguez
Hisanori Takahashi
Bobby Parnell

That’s 15 players.

Pedro Feliciano is a free agent. I think the Mets resign him since he’s been pretty much invaluble. So add him. Now, with only one year left on Castillo’s contract… can the Mets move him? Owed $6 million, if the Mets eat say… $4 million I’m sure a team might chance $2 million on a veteran 2nd baseman, but who knows. For now he stays on the roster. I can see the Mets keeping Tejada on the roster either in a platoon or as the starting second baseman if he performs well enough the rest of 2010.

With Feliciano and Tejada, that makes 17 on the roster now.

You need another catcher to likely platoon with Thole. Either Henry Blanco or Rob Barajas will likely be back. Let’s say it’s the better hitting and younger Barajas. Rounding out the bench you will likely see Chris Carter and Daniel Murphy playing utility/pinch hitter roles.

That’s 20 players.

You still need another starter, and three more bullpen arms or two more arms and one more hitter.

Odds are, Manny Acosta or Jenrry Mejia will be on the team in the bullpen. Let’s say it’s Acosta.

Three more spots now.

You may have names like Raul Valdes and Ryota Igarashi in the mix. Let’s say Valdes makes it.

Two spots.

Here is where the Mets will likely spend free agent money on.

Now if you told me those two spots would be Cliff Lee and say… Jason Werth… well… Then I would say the Mets are contenders next year.

They won’t be.

Hell, Cliff Lee alone would be a solid move and at least give he fans some hope.

I doubt we’ll see him even rumored.

I think there might be a chance for a Bronson Arroyo, a Ted Lilly or a Javy Vazquez. Let’s say it’s Arroyo for argument’s sake.

You’d have a club of:

Jose Reyes
Luis Castillo
Ike Davis
David Wright
Josh Thole
Rob Barajas
Ruben Tejada
Daniel Murphy

Angel Pagan
Carlos Beltran
Jason Bay
Chris Carter

Johan Santana
Mike Pelfrey
Jon Neise
R. A. Dickey
Bronson Arroyo

Francisco Rodriguez
Pedro Feliciano
Hisanori Takahashi
Bobby Parnell
Raul Valdes
Manny Acosta

You’d have one spot left for either another outfielder or another bullpen arm. Fernando Martienez perhaps? A Vetern like an Austin Kerns?

Could that team compete?

If you knew you could count on Bay returning to form and Beltran having a great season in his walk year maybe it could.

I don’t know right now.

All I know is the Mets better pick a plan and stick with it. The management once again looks like a pack of unorganized fools.

What do you think? Could that team I listed above be contenders?

Monday, August 9, 2010

True Colors

The Mets have just finished the most important road trip of their season. It was a road trip they really needed to go 4-2 or better in, but could have gotten away with a 3-3 record.

However, true to form… they couldn’t even pull that off. They finished this roadtrip of missed oppertunities with a 2-4 record, continuing a nasty streak that has not seen them win a road series this year against a National League team.

As was on Friday night, almost all the runs the Phillies scored was in one inning. The Mets managed to get to Phillies staff ace Roy Halladay but it wasn’t enough and they dropped a 6-5 game in which once again the Mets looked just good enough to lose.

And that really seems to be the problem with this ballclub. They are just good enough to make you THINK they can win, but in the end, they can’t pull it off.

Once again the Mets put a talented team on the field that SHOULD be able to win it’s fair share of games, but always seems to not be able to come through in the really big spots. I’m fairly certain this team has a mini run in it… we’ll see them rattle off an 11-3 stretch before the season is done to get themselves over .500 and even pick a few games up in the standings… but for all intensive purposes, this team had it’s chance in the last six games to make a statement… unfortuntely that statement was “We aren’t as good as we should be.”

In the next week we’ll look at what the Mets need to do in the future to shake that stigmata off them, because 2010 is done for them. Time to start figuring what to do with 2011 and beyond.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Not What Anyone Had In Mind

The Mets needed a win last night, and getting a strong performance from their pitching staff was important. Well, Jon Niese did his part last night. Seven innings of 1 run ball was just what the Mets needed. Of course the 8th inning was a disaster, as the bullpen (most notably Bobby Parnell) allowed the first 7 batters of the inning reach base. Six would score. A 2-1 lead became a 7-2 deficit.

The Mets continue to find new and frustrating ways to lose. Time is running out very quickly. As I stated yesterday, there is no reason the Mets should not be able to beat a team with it’s starting all star 2nd baseman and 1st baseman on the DL, as well as their starting Centerfielder.

Of course, the Mets total inability to score runs is killing them. The team is hitting a combined .251 (24th in the Majors) and have scored 444 runs this season, which is 7th worst in the MLB.

Today’s match-up is Johan Santana (8-6, 3.20 ERA) and Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.56 ERA) . In all honesty… the Mets should have the advantage here… just like they had it last night.

At this point, I’d go into today’s game allowing Santana at least 125 pitches and lok to see if he can throw a complete game. The Mets need this in the worst way. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t jeopardize his health for it, but the man doesn’t need to be brought out at 100 pitches like Jerry Manuel seems to think every pitcher does.

David Wright needs to break out of the slump he’s in. After going 8 for 14 with 2 home runs and 8 RBI, Wright is just 1 for 19 with 3 strike outs, no RBI and no walks. The Mets are 1-4 with just 13 runs scored during this slump. It’s also time for Reyes to wake up and Beltran to find his stroke. Without them, this team is not going to score runs and will not win.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Will Anyone Ever REALLY Accept A-Rod?

So yesterday Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th career home run to a bit less fanfare than you might have expected.

The crowd cheered loudly and all, but you could almost tell there was a restraint to it all.

There’s a possible number of reasons for this… the lessening of importance that 600 has on history… the history of A-Rod’s grating personality… or the obvious elephant in the room.

Yeah we’re talking about the steroids admission.

I’m not about to get to rehashing that here… but the fcat remains that A-Rod is going to be more heaped with the names such as Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa than he will with Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays.

It’s not just the steriods thing though (and much as it is a huge part of it). A-Rod has managed to place himself in a weird position where so few people seem to embrace him in the way they do players such as Derek Jeter or Mark Teixeria. For whatever reason people feel the need to demonize him, even with the great clutch postseason he had last year.

I’m not a big fan of Rodriguez, but I do think he is unfairly maligned by the average Yankee fan. However, his steriods admission should play a huge part in how we view his acomplishments. For whatever reason it is, a great player is not loved in the way he expects to be loved and going forward we have to wonder if he’ll ever really be embraced at all.

The pursuit of homerun 763 will be the main focus of the last third of A-Rod’s career and you know the Yankee hype machine will want to overwhelm the baseball fan’s senses with the march towards the largest of sports records… but the question remains if in the end it’ll be the specticle A-Rod and the Yankees imagined when they signed that new contract through 2017.

Just take a look at the backpage to today’s New York Daily News which has A-Rod in his homerun trot with the words “CONGRATS*” Notice that asterik? Well underneath the congrats are the words “To your tainted milestone”

Barring serious injury, you would expect he’ll get there. If he averages about 22 home runs a year between now and 2017 (depending on how many he hits the rest of this season). How important it really is to anyone but A-Rod and the Yankee brass at that point though is questionable.