Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Mets 7, Reds 5 (37-38, 3 GB)

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

WRIGHT WATCH: Yes, this morning we begin with the Wright Watch. And not just because he went 1-for-3 last night with a run scored, and an HBP. No, not because his average is at .364. Well, kind of. Last night, just before 2am on WFAN, Joe Benigno says, "The rumor around the station is that Wright is going to be with the Mets on Monday in Philadelphia." I quote because this is some serious stuff, and I want to make sure I give credit where it's due...and because I don't want to be blamed if it's wrong. I'm just throwing it out there. Benigno says they don't want him to be involved in the Yankees series, but that he'll come up for the Philly series.

Now, this opens up a lot of cans of worms. Does that mean the Mets make a trade this weekend to open up a spot for Wright? Will they move Wigginton and start Wright "wright" away? Will Wigginton start for a little while longer to increase his trade value, with Wright coming off the bench at first? Things could be getting a bit interesting this weekend.

As for last night's game, I only saw the last couple of innings. Braden Looper is an interesting sort. I feel the utmost confidence in him when it's a one-run game. But when it's a non-save situation, or a save situation where the Mets are up by 2 or 3 runs, I feel like he's not going full tilt. He's saying he didn't have his best stuff last night, but I just think he doesn't focus so much in those types of save situations. Regardless, after he loaded the bases, Looper managed to get the double play he needed to get out of the jam and close the game.

One other thing I want to touch on that's being written about this morning. The papers are touting Cliff Floyd's big game, even though he almost didn't make it to Cincinnati because he and Mike Cameron were stuck in traffic in New York trying to get to the airport to catch their private charter flight. Then when they boarded the plane, takeoffs were delayed because the Vice President was in town. None of the articles mention why those two were traveling to Cincinnati separate from the rest of the team, though. And I want to know why. Teams travel together in order to prevent the type of situations that Cameron and Floyd encountered last night trying to get to the game. Now, Monday was an off day, and Floyd and Cameron could have been staying behind for some kind of charity event or something. But if you're going to base your whole game story on how Cliff Floyd almost didn't play last night, tell me why he was late...and why he didn't travel with the team. Otherwise I'm going to draw (probably wrong) conclusions that make me think there are divisions on the team. (OK - after writing all that, I just checked Newsday - it appears Floyd and Cameron just wanted to spend the off-day at home. I bet Howe takes that policy off the table after this near-miss.)

Another note - Art Howe in the papers this morning defends his decision to not change the rotation for Tom Glavine to pitch in the Yankees series this weekend (he didn't pitch in the Bronx last weekend either). Howe says he'd rather have Glavine pitch the opener of the series against the Phillies on Monday. I agree. Good for you, Art. (I especially agree if David Wright is also in the lineup on Monday.)

Here's something you shouldn't know, but because I'm psychotic, I do: the Mets, with their win last night, improved to 9-3 on Tuesdays this season. Their best day of the week.

Tonight Tom Glavine goes against Cory Lidle as the Mets try to wrap up June on a winning note.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The Mets were off last night.

The New York Daily News finally printed an article about what I've been preaching here for a while. (Check out the Mets article at if you want.) The Mets are 2 games under .500, but only 3 games out of first. So even though the Mets haven't shown they can crack the .500 mark, they're still very capable of taking the division. Here's the standings:

Philadelphia - 39-35
Florida - 40-36 (Philly is one percentage point in front)
Mets - 36-38 (3 GB)
Atlanta - 36-39 (3.5 GB)

The Mets showed last week they can beat Cincinnati - if they don't beat themselves. And after three games today, tomorrow, and Thursday in Cincy (with Jae Seo versus Todd Van Poppel tonight), there are three games at home vs. the Yankees. Hopefully the Mets can come out of that stretch with a winning record, and maybe even at 40-40 overall.

Then the Mets play seven games that could end with them atop the division. They play four games at Philadelphia, followed by three at Florida before the All-Star Game. (After the break, they play six more against those two teams.)

I'm done making predictions with this team (my June johnnymets Guarantee is not going to come true)...but by the All-Star break, or the few games afterwards, we should know whether the Mets are going to contend through the summer.

WRIGHT WATCH: Last night David Wright was 2-for-3, with a walk and a run scored. He's now hitting .365 at Triple-A. He just might be THE SECOND GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Yankees 11, Mets 5

(bottom of the seventh inning when I posted this, but I have to go to bed - first day of school on Monday)

If only Matt Ginter could have gotten out of that first inning. He fumbled the grounder to him by Bernie Williams leading off the first inning, then hit Derek Jeter with a pitch, then gave up an RBI single to Gary Sheffield. Then Alex Rodriguez hits a little nubber that stays fair, and neither Ginter or Ty Wigginton has a play. Tough luck, pretty much, to this point - not Ginter pitching too poorly. Then Ginter serves up a 3-run bomb to Ruben Sierra - that was poorly pitched. So 6-0 after one. Tough hill to climb for the Mets.

There were two bad things about that 6-run first inning, notwithstanding the fact that it was a six-run first inning. First of all, it didn't have to be six runs - Ginter was clearly rattled, which showed when he couldn't get Williams at first. If he had gotten that out, who knows how big that inning is. Secondly, if he could have stopped the bleeding, and not given up the homer to Sierra, the Mets could have won the game. Their lineup is pretty darn good these days...They almost overcame the 6-0 deficit, it didn't have to be that big a comeback.

Of course, it was good to see Richard Hidalgo hit those two homers. And they weren't cheapies. Those were two bombs - one to center, the other to left. Mike Cameron had cooled down since his heat-up last week...but seems to have busted out again after the big doubleheader on Sunday. His homer made you think the Mets just might have a big comeback in them.

The bullpen performed pretty well. Dan Wheeler did great in the long relief role, keeping the Mets in it, but Jose Parra and Mike Stanton need to step it up. Stanton gave up a grand slam in the first game of the doubleheader to Hideki Matsui, then in the second game gave up a 2-run single to Sierra in relief of Parra. Then he gave up another 2-run single. You know who else is disappointing me is Steve Trachsel. What happened to him? He better turn it around soon - the Mets need him to become a little more automatic than he's been lately.

THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED Jose Reyes did a couple of stupid things Sunday night. First of all, in the bottom of the second, on a foul ball into the stands in short right field, Reyes goes sprinting into the tarp chasing after it. He really didn't let up at all. With his medical history, something like that could kill him. He'd better be more careful. Then later, he dropped a pop fly in fair territory behind first base after sort of running into Eric Valent. His first error at second base. But hey, nobody's perfect.

WRIGHT WATCH: Big developments down at Norfolk. David Wright, as of Friday night, was moved from the number 6 spot in the order to number 3 in the order. He responded well. On Friday, Wright was 1-for-4 with a solo homer. On Saturday, he went 2-for-4 with a double and homer, 2 RBI, and a run scored. Then on Sunday Wright went 1-for-4. The 4-for-12 weekend dropped his average to .347.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Reds 6, Mets 2 (35-36, 3.5 GB)

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Wow, that sucked. I have to confess, I couldn't stay awake for much of yesterday's game. (Unfortunately, I would have been better off sleeping through the whole thing.) I saw the first couple of innings, Mets were down 1-0 in the second. Then next thing I knew, it was 2-1 Mets, and I was excited. So excited that I fell back asleep. Only to wake up and see 2-2, Stanton in with runners on the corners. I forced myself to stay awake to see what would happen. Then I got so mad that I couldn't fall asleep if I had tried.

You probably know what happened. After walking Sean Casey to load the bases, with two outs, Stanton got Ken Griffey, Jr. to fly out to center. But of course, the Mets being the Mets, Mike Cameron loses the ball in the sun and it drops right next to his glove, scoring three runs.

That's a bad loss. A bad, bad, bad, bad loss. Tom Glavine didn't pitch great - but he pitched well enough. And at the very least, he should have gotten a no decision. Instead, he gets an "L". Horrible. Glavine gave up just two earned runs, so his ERA is now 2.11. That leads the majors. And he's just 7-4. Unreal.

Hopefully the Mets will bounce back. But now they have to face the Yankees. People are already saying they'll be happy if the Mets at least keep the games close. Come on, people. The thing going for the Mets here is that the Yankees have been beating up on weak pitching all season. The Mets have the best pitching staff in the game right now (statistically speaking). Good pitching beats good hitting, so they say.

Highlights from yesterday's game included a home run by THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, his first of the season, a 2-run shot, accounting for all of the Mets runs. Also, for the second straight day, Mike Piazza had 3 hits, raising his batting average to .319. Cliff Floyd also had 3 hits. But the Mets lost, so who really cares. Man, that was a horrible loss.

The good news is there won't be anymore Carlos Beltran speculation. Beltran was traded to the Astros last night in a three-team deal involving the Astros, Royals, and A's. Now let the Freddy Garcia speculation begin.

WRIGHT WATCH: David Wright went 1-for-3 last night for Norfolk, with a double and a walk. He also struck out. The 1-for-3 night dropped his average to .351.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Reds 6, Mets 4 (35-35, 3.5 GB)

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

First of all, how about that numerology? Mets are 35-35, 3.5 back. Too bad they didn't lose 5-3 last night.

So, I missed the first five innings of last night's game because of softball (more on that game later), but I saw the last 7. Apparently, I missed a lot more in those first five innings than I saw in the rest of the game.

Kaz Matsui is on very thin ice in NYC. I never saw the replay of where he was thrown out at the plate - but I don't care who you are - there's no way you can get thrown out at the plate on a ball hit to the wall when you're on second base!! I have to see that replay - I can't believe it happened. From what I hear, Jason Phillips could have scored on that play!

But the Mets got plenty of clutch hitting last night through the first 8 innings - they just couldn't get that last hit to get them to two games over .500 in the 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th. Didn't realize there was such a huge difference between .500 and two games over. It's a very sudden drop. The Mets would have been sitting pretty with a win last they need to bounce back.

THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, suffered his first loss of the year in a Mets uniform last night. He's struggling at the plate, but he will come around. In a month, even a week, if the Mets are in the same situation they were in in the 12th last night, down 2 runs, top of the order coming up, they'll win that game. Last night, Matsui singled, then THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED Reyes grounded back to the pitcher for a double play. Very soon, that will be a single or a double, setting Mike Piazza up for a chance to tie or win the game.

The Mets also blew another opportunity to win the game in the ninth. With Todd Zeile on first, Jason Phillips pinch hit and singled to right field. Zeile went all the way to third, but was stranded when Matsui struck out, and "T.G.B.W.E.L." (yeah, I might start abbreviating that) Reyes grounded out. Phillips has kind of been the odd man out lately, since Piazza has been catching, and Eric Valent has been playing first, because the Mets have been winning with that lineup. But maybe that pinch hit will help Phillips heat up a bit. If I were Art Howe, I'd start Phillips today to get him some at-bats. At the very least, Phillips should see plenty of action this weekend, with the Mets playing at the Yankees, and Piazza likely DH-ing.

I don't fault John Franco for the loss. He was just facing a great hitter, and Sean Casey was looking for that pitch. It wasn't a bad pitch - nine times out of ten I think Franco gets a left-handed batter out on that pitch inside. But Casey was looking for it, and yanked it out of the park. Just a good hitter. I wasn't heart-broken when the Mets lost last night's game. It just makes today's game a whole lot more important - thank goodness the stopper is on the hill. Tom Glavine faces Cory Lidle. I know there's no such thing as an automatic win...but Glavine will pitch a great game today. Two out of three from Cincinnati will be good going into a weekend series against the Yankees.

Note: Annoying most of the time, Fran Healy can be a riot sometimes. Last night, Matt Loughlin (for you Boston readers, the "Mets' equivalent of Eric Frede, interviewing fans in the stands") interviewed a couple from Cincinnati who had gotten engaged in Central Park earlier that day. They had a sign that said, "MOM - SHE SAID YES!" Something like that. Anyway, the guy says something to the effect of, "I knew she'd say yes. I wasn't that nervous." So Loughlin tosses it back to the booth, and Fran says, "Confidence is a big thing in a proposal". Like he's talking about Mike Cameron breaking out of his slump or something. I swear, that guy doesn't know what he's talking about half the time.

WRIGHT WATCH: The Tides were off last night.

SOFTBALL UPDATE: Best game of the year last night. Outstanding. After last week's blowout win, which nearly tore the team apart due to the "running up the score controversy" (for those of you who don't know/don't remember, I - and other members of the team - were upset that some members of the team kept hitting the ball to the weak right fielder and circling the bases when we were already up like 30-3 or something like that), we played our most solid game of the year, winning 5-3! A 5-3 softball game, can you believe it?! It was a good one - we played great defense, and got some timely hitting. Although some members of our team were heard saying stuff like, "this game sucks. We scored 30 runs last week, now we can only get 5?!" How about, the other team is actually good this week?

The only other thing that left a bad taste in my mouth was when it was still light out, and the other team wanted to play another inning, a couple of our team members said, 'OK, but we already win the official game'. Come on. What a bunch of wusses. (We proceeded to go on to a 9-3 win, if the extra inning counted.) I can't believe they were scared we were going to lose. Anyway, we're now 4-0. I might miss next week's game - next week's going to be busy. I'll keep you posted, like you care.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Mets 7, Reds 4 (35-34, 2.5 GB)

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Matt Ginter has been mostly unlucky this season. He's had 8 starts, and only two decisions. (He's 1-1.) His one loss came in a game he could have won - his start last week against Cleveland. He's had five other no decisions where he gave up a total of four earned runs. Those could have also been wins.

But when Matt Ginter gets lucky, he gets lucky. He got his first win this year against the Rockies, in a game he should have lost (5 ER in 5 IP). And last night was a no decision he should be very happy with, after giving up 4 ER in 4 IP. John Franco, Mike Stanton, and Braden Looper combined for five scoreless innings of relief as the Mets bailed out Ginter in a great win. (They're all great, aren't they?)

Ginter helped the team out a bit, though. He kept the game from getting way out of hand, working out of jams, and giving up only the four runs that he did. That allowed the Mets to come back. And it's nice that the Mets picked up Ginter for a change, if not getting him a win this time around, at least keeping him from getting tagged with a loss.

Could the offense finally be coming around? It seems like everything's starting to click. Mike Piazza is hitting homers, Cliff Floyd is showing his power, Mike Cameron is no longer stuck in a slump, and new addition Richard Hidalgo even contributed last night. Here's the biggest thing - Kaz Matsui is in a slump right now, and THE GREATEST BASEBALL PLAYER WHO EVER LIVED Jose Reyes has yet to do what he's capable of. So you have to believe this will keep up when those two start setting the table.

The Braves blew a chance for the Mets to move to within a game and a half of first. Atlanta led the Marlins last night 3-1 into the seventh inning, but proceeded to give the game away with a bases loaded walk, and a wild pitch with a runner on third. So the Mets picked up a game on the Phillies, who lost to Montreal, but remain two and a half behind the Marlins.

This is as far as the Mets have been over .500 since the beginning of the month. After they beat Florida to go to 27-26 on June 3, they lost seven of eight. (They've turned around and won seven of eight since.) The Mets just need to keep winning now, and put .500 in the rear view mirror. The farther above .500 they get, the closer to first place they'll get. Tonight it's Jae Seo against Todd Van Poppel. If Seo can keep the ball in the park against the Reds, the Mets should win this game.

WRIGHT WATCH: Last night the Norfolk Tides lost again (Bob Keppel got knocked around this time - the Mets minor league pitchers aren't looking so good), but David Wright continues to shine. Wright went 2-5, with a double, raising his Triple-A average to .353.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Mets had last night off. They are 34-34, 2.5 GB in the NL East. The rest of the division looks like this:

Philadelphia: 36-31
Florida: 37-32
Atlanta: 32-36, 4.5 GB
Montreal: 22-45, 14 GB

Philadelphia and Florida are tied, with the Phillies in front by percentage points.

Let's see if the Mets can break through that .500 barrier again tonight, and stay above it. It seems like whenever they get this close they go in the tank for a few games. To stay in the race, they need to take a couple of these upcoming series.

Tonight begins another crucial stretch for the Mets. The schedule goes like this:
vs. Cincinnati for 3 games, then at the Yankees for 3 games, then at Cincinnati for 3 games, and vs. the Yankees for 3 games. After that, it's a 7-game stretch before the All-Star break, with 4 games at Philadelphia and 3 at Florida.

Just to look at who the Mets are chasing - the Marlins during that span play the Braves (home and away), the Devil Rays (home and away), and Pirates. That Devil Rays series, by the way, isn't looking like a cakewalk anymore.

And the Phillies play Montreal (home and away), at Boston, vs. Baltimore, and vs. Atlanta.

The Mets need to stay at or above .500 by the All Star break. Then they'll need to be taken seriously in the NL East, if they're not already. It's only going to take about 90 wins to win the division. The Mets have as good a shot at doing that as anyone.

As a result of that - another deal is on the way. The Mets WILL trade for a pitcher. And I have a feeling that any deal the Mets make will include Ty Wigginton. He's hitting great right now, and his trade value only increased when he showed his versatility by playing about 20 games at second before Jose Reyes came back. With David Wright lighting the minors on fire, there's no more room for Wigginton. I would be very surprised if he doesn't go in a deal for a pitcher.

WRIGHT WATCH: I did not go to Pawtucket to see David Wright play last night, but I did catch one at-bat on TV. (He walked.) Wright went 1-3 last night with a double and that walk. He's hitting .345. And there'll be a chance for Wright to get some nationwide exposure on Sunday, July 11th in Houston. Wright was named to the All Star Futures Game. The game features a U.S. vs. World format, with players from all teams' minor leagues participating. The Mets also have a pitcher on the World team - Yusmeiro Petit, who pitches for Single-A Capital City. The game will be televised on ESPN2...but I'm not sure exactly when.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Mets 6, Tigers 1 (34-34, 2.5 GB)

Sunday, June 20, 2004

I don't want to make too big a deal out of this, and I don't want to get everyone too excited, and I don't want to exaggerate, but Jose Reyes is the GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED. Seriously. The facts back me up on this. You may remember how well the Mets played last year when he was in the lineup, before he got hurt, and now this year, the Mets are undefeated with Reyes in the lineup, and he has scored a run in every game in which he has played.

OK, OK. It's only been two games. And I didn't even get to watch them. But they've definitely been the most exciting of the season so far. This is the lineup we've been waiting to see. And the bonus is the Mets won the last two games they played before Reyes came back, so now it's a 4-game winning streak, they're back to .500, and they're just two and a half games out of first. (The Phillies and the Marlins are tied atop the NL East, with Philadelphia ahead by percentage points.) Reyes is hitting just .125 after an 0-for-3 yesterday, but he needs some time to get his act together. He's making stuff happen without even hitting - imagine when he starts to get some hits!

I also forgot to mention that the Marlins pretty much handed over the NL East to the Mets in a widely under-reported move last week, by trading for Billy Koch. There is no way this guy is going to make your team better. The reason I remembered to write this today is because this morning Billy Koch is 0-1 as a National Leaguer, with an ERA of 9.00, after taking the loss for Florida yesterday. I just wish I had remembered to mention how bad Billy Koch is last week after the trade had happened, instead of after he already started pitching poorly for Florida. Oh well. Talk about a couple of headcases in Florida - Koch and Benitez. Who's going to bail the other out when one of them loses their mind? That's a tall order. Now if we could just find a headcase for the Phillies to get...wonder where John Rocker is these days?

Mike Cameron is officially out of his slump. From here on out we ignore the batting average and just look at his production. Now we have to worry about Jason Phillips. Let it be noted that Ty Wigginton is now up to .270 in the batting average department - proof that if Phillips gets hot for a few weeks he can pull his BA up too.

WRIGHT WATCH: Catching you up on David Wright's weekend with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides - on Friday and Saturday, Wright went a combined 0-8, striking out three times. And just when you start to think, hmm...maybe they've figured out how to pitch to him, he breaks out a 2-4 performance Sunday against the Pawtucket Red Sox, with a homer, double, and 2 RBI. Wright's hitting .346. Now, it must be noted that the homer came off former Yankee Ramiro Mendoza, who has struggled since the Red Sox acquired him before last year. And as Dave Shaw said, "I can homer off Ramiro Mendoza." If you don't know who Dave Shaw is, that just proves the point.
I didn't realize until this morning that the Tides are in Pawtucket, R.I. today and tomorrow. I wish I had known sooner, having already made plans. But there's an outside chance I will change them to get an in-person look at David Wright and the rest of the Triple-Aers.

Also, FYI, Aaron Heilman finally got a win yesterday for the Tides - his first minor league win in over a year. His last win (in the minors) was May 26, 2003, also against Pawtucket. Anyway, Heilman is now 1-7. Not good.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Mets 6, Indians 2 (31-34, 5.5 GB)

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Lots going on this morning. First of all, great trade. The Mets got Richard Hidalgo from the Astros for David Weathers and Jeremy Griffiths. Hidalgo will play everyday in right field, which automatically makes the Mets better. And as much as I'm sad that Karim Garcia wasn't included in the trade, now he's an extra left-handed bat off the bench. Hidalgo had a great April, but right now he's hitting .256 with just 4 homers and 30 RBI. The Mets only gave up an aging reliever who hasn't done too much for them this year, and is very replaceable, and in Griffiths, a young guy who time will tell whether or not he pans out. I'm not sad to see him go...but I hope he doesn't turn into a star. Hidalgo is probably only going to be here until the end of the year, unless the Mets can work out a more economical deal with him, but they didn't sell the team to get him. So I'm happy overall. Maybe the change of scenery will get his power back. At the very least - even a .256 average would be among the Mets' team leaders right now - so he's bound to boost the offense.

And the Mets won last night. They busted out of the rain delay and won, 6-2, spurred by a homer by the ever-so-slowly-heating-up Mike Cameron. He's getting it back. A bunch of others contributed key hits as the Mets expanded their lead. It was a good overall effort. Jae Seo pitched well again before the rains came - four scoreless innings. I've been impressed by him. I feel like every other start is great...and he's only had a couple of disastrous ones.

Tonight is the big Mike Piazza party. The Mets are honoring Piazza before the game for becoming the all-time leader in homers by a catcher. Among those in attendance will be Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Lance Parrish, I think, and Hall of Famer Gary Carter. The Tigers are in town, so it would be sort of classy for the Mets to include Ivan Rodriguez. The Mets need these games against Detroit, to get back to .500 before 12 straight games against the Reds and Yankees. I'll be happy with two out of three, but I'd be thrilled with a sweep. Tom Glavine, Al Leiter, and Steve Trachsel go this weekend. They need to be in top form.

WRIGHT WATCH: David Wright's first Triple-A game without a hit. He went 0-2 with a walk as Norfolk lost again.

REYES WATCH: Saturday's game is the earliest we'll see Jose Reyes back with the Mets. We'll see...At the very latest, as it stands now, the return will be sometime next week. Let's hope.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Indians 9, Mets 1 (30-34, 5.5 GB)

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

First of all, I need to clarify what I wrote yesterday. I think Don Baylor will be a fine hitting coach...I just think the Mets surge Tuesday night was due more to the fact that they were facing a sucky pitcher than it was the fact that Denny Walling had been fired. The offensive explosion was no more a reflection of the firing than the blackout last night was a reflection of Don Baylor as a hitting coach. The firing of Walling though, will have a direct correlation to the firing of Art Howe, if that happens. I still like Howe, although some of the things he does leave him wide open to criticism. I just wish he'd get the Mets to go on one of those tears his A's teams used to go on...soon.

C.C. Sabathia shut the Mets down last night, but Mike DiMuro also contributed to the Indians win. DiMuro is the same umpire who called two balks on Steve Trachsel Tuesday night. Last night, umpiring first base, DiMuro called CoCo Crisp safe at first on what would have/SHOULD have been an inning-ending double play. Instead, Crisp was called safe when he was out by a half a step, and the Indians' run crossed the plate, making it 2-0 instead of 1-0. Then, in the sixth, DiMuro called Crisp safe again on a little roller. Matt Ginter threw high to Mike Piazza, but Piazza's foot clearly came down on the bag before Crisp did. Art Howe got ejected for arguing. Two close plays, but two blown calls. The final score was 9-1, but those calls changed the texture of the game...both of those happened before the game got out of hand. DiMuro will work the plate tonight...we'll see if he still acts like a pompous ass towards the Mets like he did the previous two nights.

So Sabathia was really good, but he had some pretty good defensive plays behind him. Ginter had no such luck. The Mets committed three errors (one by Ginter), Piazza should have made another play at first base, and this game could have gone the other way. What the Mets needed to do was knock Sabathia out of the game, and get to the Indians bullpen. Maybe tonight. Scott Elarton pitches against Jae Seo. If the Mets don't hit Elarton, Baylor should be fired immediately. By the way - here's an interesting fact. Ginter got the loss last night - his first major league loss. It was his 70th major league appearance...but most of the previous outings (with the White Sox) were out of the bullpen.

Tyler Yates coming out of the bullpen so far is even worse than Tyler Yates the starter. Yates pitched the ninth inning last night, and gave up 4 runs on five hits, ensuring the Mets would not be able to come back. If he doesn't turn it around he'll join a long list of bust pitchers.

Vance Wilson was placed on the 15-day DL, and Tom Wilson was called up from Norfolk. Tom Wilson now wears number 6. He's the third number six this season. Timo Perez wore it in spring training, then Gerald Williams wore it for a day before switching to number 21, I think, and now Tommy Boy. Vance Wilson blames the fact that he had to catch 15 innings last week against Minnesota, then had to start in an emergency for Jason Phillips when he wasn't expecting it as a contributing factor towards the hamstring injury. What's the problem, Vance? You were complaining you weren't playing enough, now it's too much?

WRIGHT WATCH: Either all pitching in the minor leagues sucks, or this guy is the next Ted Williams (or Gregg Jeffries). David Wright went 2-for-4 last night for Norfolk, hitting his first Triple-A home run. He had an RBI and a run, and another double. He's now hitting a fat .583 (7-12) in three games with Norfolk. He's also struck out just twice in 12 at-bats.

****One more thing**** I forgot to mention this yesterday in the note about Armando Benitez' blown save. The save ensured that my wife's jinx on Benitez still exists. She was watching when Frank Thomas and Timo Perez homered for the White Sox.
The jinx started in 2000, when Benitez gave up the game-tying home run to J.T. Snow in the 9th inning of Game 2 of the NLDS Series against the Giants in San Francisco. (She wasn't my wife then...we had been dating about 10 months.) She switched seats before the 9th inning, and I yelled at her, telling her to go back because she jinxed him. She almost dumped me. But we persevered, through many Benitez blown saves...all attributed to her. (A few of which came with her in attendance at Shea Stadium.) Anyway, the jinx held true Tuesday night...I just wish she was watching the Mets-Marlins games in late May more attentively. We'll have to make sure she does the next time the Mets face Florida.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Mets 7, Indians 2 (30-33, 4.5 GB)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

First of all, I don't want to hear how the Mets responded to the firing of hitting coach Denny Walling with an offensive breakout. Last night's game had nothing to do with Walling or interim hitting coach Don Baylor. It had everything to do with Jason Davis. The Indians pitcher has given up 106 hits in 78 and 2/3 innings this season, and has an ERA of 5.72 so far this season. So I'll buy into the hitting coach theory if the Mets score 7 runs on 11 hits against C.C. Sabathia tonight.

Still, last night was a good win. Finally, a good start from Steve Trachsel. It had been a while.

And I mentioned it the other day - it looks like Mike Cameron is getting back to himself at the plate. Last night, in the first inning, the big hit came from Cameron - a 2-run single with the bases loaded. And Ty Wigginton is swinging an unbelievably hot bat right now. He looks great.

Vance Wilson in the first inning ended the threat by striking out looking. At least swing the bat, Vance. And he left the game in the fourth after coming up lame trying to score from second. He was out. Jason Phillips replaced him and immediately threw out a runner trying to steal second. I don't think we'll be seeing Wilson for a while.

A couple of player progress notes: Stop me if you've heard this one - Jose Reyes is making progress. He's in the middle of a three game stop with Double-A Binghamton. After those three games, he'll be re-evaluated.
And ESPN is reporting the Astros have talked to the Mets about trading them Richard Hidalgo. He would fit nicely in right field. And the Astros would take on much of Hidalgo's salary. The price would be a prospect - no word on who that prospect would be.

WRIGHT WATCH (new feature, tracking 3B David Wright at Norfolk): Last night, Wright went 2-4, scoring 3 runs and driving in 2 in Norfolk's 15-8 win. In 2 games in Triple-A, Wright is 5-8 with 2 RBI and 4 runs scored.

In case you missed it: Last night, the Florida Marlins led the Chicago White Sox 4-0 in the top of the 8th inning. With two men on, Jack McKeon calls in Armando Benitez to slam the door. First batter, Frank Thomas - 3 run homer, to make it 4-3, Marlins. Florida gets another run in the bottom half to make it 5-3. Top of the ninth, man on, Timo Perez homers off Benitez to tie the game, the Sox go on to win it in the 11th! I always knew there was a reason I still liked Timo.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Mets are 29-33, 5.5 GB of Florida.
Philadelphia was the only team in the NL East in action last night, beating Cincinnati in a rain-shortened make-up game. They are now 1 GB Florida.
Atlanta is 4.5 GB Florida, at 30-32.

So interleague play now moves to the National League stadiums. If the Mets get back to/over .500 against the Indians and Tigers this week, I'm willing to pretend like last week never happened.

It's 5:20am, and I'm not sure how this happened - but I think Kaz Matsui just made another throwing error.

Big news - David Wright was moved up to Triple-A Monday. He went 3-for-4 in his Tides debut. Wright's going to be in the majors guess would be July. Especially if Jose Reyes doesn't come back. Then the Mets can keep playing Wigginton at second, and put Wright at third.

So this weekend I finally get the Saturday and Sunday Mets games on the Comcast package. It figures this is the first weekend probably since my wedding that I can't watch any baseball. And Friday night, when nothing's going on in my so exciting life, they aren't available. Damn. I wanted to see that Mike Piazza ceremony. Anytime Hall of Famer Gary Carter is in the house, I have to find a way to tune in...but Friday looks unlikely. Incidentally, not that you care, but there's not much going on with the Mets this morning, so I'll continue, I don't get any of the Mets-Yankees games during that first series, which sucks. Unless one of them is the ESPN Sunday nighter.

So another softball game last night - and this one wasn't even fun. It was absolutely embarrassing. My teammates absolutely ran up the score - it was horrid. The final score isn't worth repeating. There was a weak link in right field for the other team, and one guy just kept hitting it at her so he could run around the bases. Here's a hint at how unsportsmanlike that was - we were up by as many as 20 runs at one point. It's pathetic - something's sorely lacking in these guys' lives that they get thrills out of this. I might not play's embarrassing to be a part of it. I must say, though, I think the opposing teams are taking the beatings better than I am - and I'm on the winning team. Oh well. We're 3-0. Maybe I'll give it one more game.

One man's opinion: I don't want the Mets to trade for Carlos Beltran. They don't need him. I think Mike Cameron will start to come around at the plate, and his defense is fine. I have no opinions on who the Mets should go after...yet. Maybe I'll speculate on that the next off day.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Mets 5, Royals 2 (29-33, 5.5 GB)

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Man, I just wrote a whole bunch of stuff on this disastrous weekend, and somehow erased it all. Typical. Fits in with all the other stuff that's gone on.

Well, now I'm up against the clock, so I'll give you the short recap: I'm starting to turn on Vance Wilson - I used to be a fan, but he's pushing it. Here's a guy who complains about playing time, with Mike Piazza playing first and Jason Phillips getting most of the time behind the plate, and he can't back it up when he gets in the games. He blew the game on Saturday by tagging the runner with his glove, while holding the ball in his bare hand, in the bottom of the ninth. That's the game-winning run. And it's not the first time in the past month or so where he's either missed a key tag or not blocked the plate at an important moment in the game.

I also mentioned how Tom Glavine is off suicide watch for the next four days, at least. He finally gets a win after pitching a good game, and is up to 7-3, with a 2.03 ERA. (Al Leiter pitched another great game on Saturday, and he's just 2-2 with a 2.05 ERA in 10 starts this season. 10 starts, 2-2. The Mets have to start backing these guys up.)

My final point is at least the Mets aren't the only ones having a rough time against the American League. Everyone's favorite out-of-nowhere team, the Cincinnati Reds, are 0-6 in interleague play so far, and the Rockies and the Pirates are also 0-6 (but they suck overall, so they don't really count.) The Mets (1-5) have the worst interleague record in the division, but they still haven't lost much ground. They're 5 and a half out, and the Mets know they've been playing poorly. I heard Mike Piazza say something after yesterday's game to the effect of, everyone has their bad stretches over the course of the season. We've played bad the past week...maybe now we've broken out of it. That's Piazza me. I hope the Mets start a winning streak now.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Update: Bad news. The Daily News reports this morning that Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Murphy is suffering from lung cancer. Murphy, of course, retired last year after broadcasting Mets games since their inception in 1962. There's never been anyone better, in my opinion. Everyone here at wishes him nothing but the best.

Twins 3, Mets 2 15 innings (28-31, 5.5 GB)

Thursday, June 10, 2004

You sure do think about a lot of stuff during the course of a 15 inning game.
Things like, When is Mike Cameron going to break out of his slump? When is Jason Phillips going to break out of his slump? Why does Cliff Floyd get hurt so much? Is Jose Reyes trapped in the body of an 87-year-old? Why does Fran Healy always sound so excited about concession stands? John Franco's ERA is over 5?!? How much longer is this game going to go on? Why can't the Mets score with the bases loaded? Is this game going to end before I have to go to work? And just when I think that, it ends. And not in a good way.

Giving the Minnesota Twins the chance to win in their last at-bat this year is like playing with fire. They have that magical win-in-their-last-at-bat vibe going on. Going into extra innings just makes that feeling linger even longer, and makes it more painful when it happens.

The Mets should do some kind of DNA test and make sure they really signed Mike Cameron as a free agent and not his handicapped brother (if indeed Mike Cameron has a handicapped brother, I am very sorry for that previous comment). What's going on here? Yes, the guy strikes out a lot. But he doesn't hit below .200! Why can't he make contact? (And, by the way, it doesn't help that when he does make good contact, and blasts one to right center field, it dies in Torii Hunter's glove.) But the lack of offense would be tolerable if he didn't look lost sometimes in center. He plays well most of the time, but when he plays poorly, he looks like a lost little leaguer. The Mets should have won last night's game (again)! If Cameron throws to a cut-off man, Matthew LeCroy is nailed. He'd be out 60 feet from home plate (home plate is 90 feet from third base, just to explain the exaggeration)! I wonder if his offensive struggles are affecting his defensive play.

The Mets blew a lot of chances in the extra innings too. They left the bases loaded in the 11th inning, and the man who strikes out looking to end the inning is none other than one Karim Garcia. Earlier that inning, after a Shane Spencer walk and steal of second, Kaz Matsui bunts him to third. I love Matsui in clutch situations, and twice last night he bunted when I would have liked to see him swing away.

Another rally died in the fifteenth inning when Torii Hunter made two outstanding catches. First, he makes a running and jumping catch on an absolute BOMB by Jason Phillips. It wouldn't have been a home run, but it would have been a double. And then he ended the inning by chasing down a Todd Zeile fly ball. Those catches were probably the difference in the game. (Hmm...just occurred to me...those both looked good off the bat - maybe they do pump the air conditioning in when the opponent is at bat in the Metrodome.)

Another great start by Matt Ginter was wasted. But he looked great, and the bullpen pitched great, for the most part. Braden Looper got screwed on the missed cut-off man, and Ricky Bottalico ended up with the loss. Tough break for him...I can give or take Bottalico. Not sure what that means, but I think I mean to say, I don't love him, but I don't hate him the way I hate Karim Garcia or Gerald Williams. (I think this is one of the first times in my life where I downright hate some Mets...wait, that's not true. Most of the 1993 Mets...and Armando Benitez towards the end of his tenure. Never mind.)

This was a bad loss. But let's remember this - everytime this team seems dead, they come back strong. There was the 3-game sweep by the Pirates, Cubs, Cardinals, then the Marlins, and now the Twins. Let's see how the Mets bounce back, with games against the Royals, Indians, and Tigers. Dare I say, 7-2?

Oh, one more thing: I really like Keith Hernandez in the booth. He's very honest, and his criticism is good, informative criticism. (Unlike the second-and-first guessing of the likes of Ted Robinson.) But it makes me wonder, how does Hernandez put up with Robinson and Fran Healy? He's so critical of the action on the field, I wish he'd be that critical of his broadcast partners. I would love to hear him just turn to one of them one night and just say, "Will you just shut up? SHUT UP! Just Shut the Hell UP!" That would make my night.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Twins 5, Mets 3 (28-30, 4.5 GB)

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

I should know better, I really should. The games the Mets SHOULD win most of the time turn into the games the Mets DON'T win. And now the Mets are a loss away from being swept in Minnesota. These are the games that kill you in late September.

On a personal note, the Mets are really pissing me off. Don't they know I'm losing valuable sleep waking up for these games!? And that I'm not waking up to see the likes of Gerald Williams starting in left field!? (Though I've learned Williams was 2-for-2 in his career against Twins starter Johan Santana, explaining why he started...and he did hit a home run.) If the Mets don't sweep at least one of these next interleague series' (not counting the Yankees), and take 2 out of 3 of the others, they are in deep trouble.

On the positive side, even in a 5-0 game where it feels like the Mets are getting their butts kicked, they always have a comeback effort in store. During last night's game, the comeback effort again came in a failed bases loaded effort in the seventh inning. With one out, Mike Cameron and the aforementioned Williams both struck out. Even after that one stalled, the Mets again threatened, after a Mike Piazza 2-run double in the eighth. But home plate umpire Joe Brinkman called Karim Garcia out on strikes on what appeared to be a checked swing - he didn't even ask for help. You hate to see a comeback chance taken away from a hitter without even getting a chance to hit. A very frustrating loss.

So the Mets are now hitting in the neighborhood of .115 with the bases loaded. The only thing I can hope is that they're getting it all out of the way now, and they'll succeed more than fail in future bases-loaded situations.

Another good note is that even though the Mets have lost four of their last five games, they're still just 4.5 games out of first place. The Marlins lost to Cleveland last night. The Braves also lost, and the Mets are still hanging right with Atlanta, Philly, and Florida.

Hopefully tomorrow we'll be talking about a Mets win.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Twins 2, Mets 1 (28-29, 4.5 GB)

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

This quote is from the Associated Press story of last night's Mets game:

"Obviously it's upsetting," said Matsui, through an
interpretor, about his 12th error of the season. "That error was
one of the key plays and might have cost us the game."

Might have? MIGHT have!??! It most certainly DID, pal. Up until now I've given Kaz Matsui the benefit of the doubt. But this is getting ridiculous. Something good might come of this, though. Up until now, the bad play has been criticized by some fans, but hasn't really been written/talked about by the media. Even the misplay (should have been an error, but was ruled a hit) in the eighth inning could have slipped by unnoticed when the Mets got out of the inning without it resulting in a run. But Kaz Matsui cost the Mets the game last night, without a doubt...and it's being talked and written about. I don't blame Ty Wigginton, Jason Phillips, or Vance Wilson for the final play of the game - that play should never have happened. Yes, Wigginton maybe should have held the ball, Phillips maybe could have made a better throw, and Wilson maybe could have picked the ball better - but the fact remains Matsui should have turned the double play and ended the inning one batter earlier.

Anyway, Kaz Matsui cost the Mets the game, and he knows it, Art Howe knows it, and the team knows it. They'll either rally around this loss and bounce back, or they'll fall apart. At least we know where we can point the finger.

The Twins are the most dangerous team the Mets are going to play from the AL Central. Brad Radke, last night's starter, was the best starter the Mets will face this series (Johan Santana and Kyle Lohse are next, and they're having awful years). The Mets blew a chance to get the first game of interleague play, and now must bounce back instead of continuing a winning streak. Minnesota is a very good late-innings team - the Mets need to jump out to an early lead and bury them, and win these next two games.

Other things I noticed about last night's game - the Mets bats seemed to be a little off. I hope the off day didn't cool off the players who were hitting well.
Also, in the fifth inning, the Mets ran the bases really, really well. Ty Wigginton started the inning with a single to left-center, which he stretched into a double. Then, after an out, and a Mike Cameron walk, Vance Wilson singled up the middle to score a run - and everyone moved up a base. Of course, if the Mets would have been able to further capitalize that inning, they wouldn't have lost the game, but the aggressive baserunning was good to see.

Another thing that stings about last night's game is that while the Mets were losing a game they should have won, the Marlins won a game they should have lost, putting the Mets 4 and a half games out. The Marlins were down 5-4 in the ninth, when with two out, Miguel Cabrera homered off the foul pole to tie the game. Then after a walk to Jeff Conine, Damion Easley also homered off the foul pole. At least the Marlins did that off the same Indians bullpen the Mets will soon face. But what the hell is going on with Damion Easley?!?! Why is he experiencing a re-birth all of a sudden?!

Finally, lock up your belongings: the Mets called up Gerald Williams yesterday and sent down Danny Garcia. You might remember Gerald Williams from his days with the Yankees, where he started his career back when they sucked, and was shipped out when they started to win championships. He is best known in my mind, however, for two reasons. He brawled with the Red Sox and Pedro Martinez as a member of the Devil Rays when Pedro hit him with a pitch a few years back - and the coup de gras from his second stint with the Yankees, in 2001-02...Gerald Williams was released for stealing items out of teammates' lockers (Derek Jeter, to name one) and selling them to memorabilia stores. Nice to see another quality "character" guy on the Mets' roster.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The Mets begin interleague play today against the Minnesota Twins. The Mets are 28-28, 3.5 GB of Florida. Atlanta is also 28-28, 3.5 GB. Philadelphia is 29-26, 2 GB, and Florida's record is 32-25. See, when you turn the standings upside down, the Mets come first.

Anyway, that's your NL East Update. I know, it's crappy, but I really don't feel like writing about the other teams - besides, I wrote about the Marlins yesterday. Read that again if you want. OK, fine. Here's what I'll do - I'll give you the first interleague opponent of each of the NL East teams, but that's it.
Florida - at Cleveland
Philadelphia - at Chicago White Sox
Atlanta - at Detroit
Montreal - at Kansas City
That's it. Onto other things.

So the draft was yesterday. You probably want me to give you some breakdown of the Mets' draft picks, and predictions of how they'll turn out. What do I look like...some kind of loser? Well, here, I'm just kidding. I have no idea who these guys are. All I know about the Mets draft is that once again, they did not pick me, so I go another year without fulfilling my dream of playing for the New York Mets. I do know that the Mets' first pick (third overall) was Philip Humber, a 6'4'', 210 lbs. pitcher from Rice University. He won the championship game for Rice last season, for whatever that's worth. The only thing I hope about this draft is that the Mets don't go down in history as "one of the teams who passed on Steven Drew" or "one of the teams who passed on Jered Weaver". Those two were supposed to go very high, but fell to 15 and 12, respectively, because teams didn't want to pay the big money that agent Scott Boras would have demanded for them as top 5 picks. Oh well. Hopefully they turn into busts.

I'm sure you're dying to know how the softball game turned out. It wasn't as exciting as the first one, but our team once again prevailed, with an 18-9 win. So we're 2-0 on the year, and we're pretty darn good. But I found out there's no playoffs or anything, so what the heck are we playing for?!?! So that's the softball update. My wife will be writing a game recap for her company later today, if it's good, maybe I'll post that tomorrow.

Here's a little tidbit I had forgotten about but just read in the Daily News. Mike Piazza is a career .365 hitter in interleague play. Nice.
And I'll end with this excerpt from a conversation with my mom last night, who, it turns out, doesn't like Art Howe. Now, mind you, she thinks he's a wonderful person (How does she know that, I wonder...), but she says she just has to question some of the decisions he makes during the games. (If you know my mom at all, this is just hysterical.) Apparently the big joke in my house with my mom is whenever the Mets are in a tight spot and Art Howe comes to the mound, she says, "Uh-oh, time to bring in John Franco." I just thought I'd relay that story. It must be funny around my parent's house during a Mets game. Good thing I'm not there. I'd probably yell at her.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Mets 5, Marlins 2 (28-28, 3.5 GB)

Sunday, June 6, 2004

Not a bad stretch. The Mets wrapped up their twelve straight games against the Phillies and Marlins with a win yesterday, salvaging a 6-6 mark. It looks a little better when you break it down like this:
vs. Philadelphia: 4-1
vs. Florida: 2-5

A little better. Not a lot. But the Mets proved that they can handle the Phillies, and that the team to beat is the Marlins.

Florida is a very good team. Obviously, they have awesome starting pitching, and Benitez has been great (so far). Their middle relief is questionable, but it's been adequate to this point. It always seems like the Marlins get the hits they need at key points. Like in Saturday's game, when the Mets failed to convert in a bases-loaded situation, the Marlins took advantage by getting a run home in the eighth inning. Then they get the clutch insurance run that they needed in the top of the ninth. They play good, winning baseball.

The Marlins have the potential to be the new Atlanta Braves - the new foil to the Mets. Their pitching is strong, just like the Braves in recent years. And so far, they seem to be the only team in the division that might give the Mets problems all season long. Hopefully that doesn't happen, but things have changed in the division. The Mets used to own Florida. Not anymore.

That said, the Mets split the 4-game series with Florida, and considering all the above, that's not so bad. They're back at .500, with the AL Central on the horizon. Those are very winnable games.

Mike Piazza is on a tear right now. Hopefully the day off yesterday coupled with today's off-day help Cliff Floyd get back on track - he's been in a slump. And Al Leiter is pitching great. Again, he didn't go deep into the game, but he didn't allow a run in 5 and 2/3 innings. He only gave up 2 hits (while walking six), and his ERA is now below 2.00!!

The Mets are off tonight, they'll be in Minnesota tomorrow. Tomorrow's posting will feature an NL East update - and a recap of tonight's softball game. It's the second game of the season, and coming off last week's 26-13 win, you'll definitely want to see if the team can keep up that torrid run-scoring pace.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Mets 4, Marlins 1 (27-26, 2.5 GB)

Thursday, June 3, 2004

I really think Jae Seo wasn't trying very hard during spring training. I've written this before, but I'm going to say it again. Whether it's a cultural thing, or a language thing, or whatever, I don't think he ever grasped the fact that he could lose his starting job in spring training.

For those of you who need a refresher, Seo had a very impressive season as a rookie last year (9-12, 3.81 ERA in 32 games). He came into spring training with the understanding that he was Art Howe's number four starter. For whatever reason, Seo did not pitch well during spring training. As a result, he started the season in the minor leagues, and did not get called up until Scott Erickson got hurt in the first week of the season. Seo took the minor league assignment as an insult, and after the call-up, he's only had a couple of bad starts. Last night, he gave up just one run on three hits in six innings pitched, improving to 3-4 on the season. That was his second straight solid start against the Marlins. I really think Seo didn't understand that he wasn't an established veteran, and that spring training for him this year was not just an exhibition season, but also a long tryout. The fact that he feels a little bit of heat as Scott Erickson nears a return to the majors is sort of a contributing factor, but overall, I think Seo is a solid pitcher, and these types of outings will be the norm from him.

Ty Wigginton continues on his torrid pace. He set a Mets record last night by getting an extra-base hit in his eighth straight game. I think that it's kind of funny that Jason Phillips is just about as hot as Wigginton right now, but Wigginton's hits keep finding the gaps, while Phillips keeps hitting it right at people. Once Phillips starts getting a little luckier, the offense should pick up.

Speaking of the offense picking up, isn't it amazing that the Mets are doing all this with minimal contributions from Mike Cameron? I think he's starting to come around, though. He's had a couple of 2-RBI games during this 4-game winning streak, and he's starting to look like he has a clue at the plate again. That was also a nice aggressive steal of third base last night after he doubled.

The versatility of the Mets infield right now (without Jose Reyes) is pretty fun to watch. I love how Wigginton just upped and moved to second base without skipping a beat, allowing Todd Zeile to play everyday. I like Danny Garcia, but a Zeile-Matsui-Wigginton-Piazza infield right now is much better than one with Garcia. It also allows for some creativity when Piazza gets pulled in the late innings, whether it's Joe McEwing, Garcia, or Eric Valent replacing him in the field.

Notes: I was surprised that A.J. Burnett pitched pretty well last night in his first start back. That's a pretty promising thing for Florida. I had forgotten, though, his record against the Mets. After last night, Burnett is now 0-5 against the Mets, winless in 10 career starts...The rest of this series should be great - too bad I can't watch any of it on the Comcast package. I guess I'll have to rely on the ESPNEWS crawl and the internet.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Mets 5, Phillies 3 (26-26, 3.5 GB)

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Wins like last night's really make you start to think something's going on with this team, don't they?

The Mets came from behind (thanks to Todd Zeile) and won in extra innings (thanks to Todd Zeile) for the second night in a row, completing the sweep of the Phillies. That lands the Mets back at .500 in time for this weekend's four-game series with the Florida Marlins at Shea Stadium.

Did you kind of feel like the Mets would come back last night? With two outs in the eighth, Vance Wilson, pinch-hitting, singled over second base. Hmm...they've had two-out rallies before, maybe they can get another one going. Then Kaz Matsui doubles down the line. He might be only hitting .262, but he always seems to come through in the clutch. Then up comes Mr. Clutch lately, Zeile. I was thinking he'd get a single to get the Mets back to within a run. But then he hits that long foul ball. And I'm thinking no way he's hitting a home run off this guy. And then he does. And the tenth inning homer was out of nowhere. I mean, I was hoping he'd get the run home, but another homer!?!? It's great.

And the players look like they're having a blast. They were celebrating in the dugout after both homers. It's like they knew after they came back to tie it in the eighth, there was no way they can lose the game. Just like a winning team. Something special's brewing...

The Marlins are now in town for four games. I think after the Marlins swept the Mets last weekend, we'd have to be happy with a split in this series. The Mets are 3.5 back of Florida, tied with Atlanta, and just a game and a half behind Philadelphia. A split would keep them in that same range, with some very winnable interleague games on tap. Everyone's saying how awesome it would be to see the Mets get to Armando Benitez this weekend (and how awesome it would be to see him get the booing of a lifetime when he enters a game at Shea). I agree on both counts, but even more awesome would be for the Mets to not be in a situation where the Marlins can get a save at all this weekend. We'll see how that works out. There's still plenty of season left (a whole lot of season left), but the most important series of the year so far begins tonight.

FOR THOSE WHO CARE: Last night was the first game of the season for the softball team. (I am playing for the team as an employee's spouse.) We trounced the other team, 26-13, on "the field behind the Barbieri School in Framingham" to start the season 1-0. Everyone contributed to the big win...but here are some notable performances (no one reading this knows who these people are, so I shall refer to them by position):
The Pitcher/Second Basewoman survived slipping in a puddle behind first base to get the win, and a few hits.
The Left Fielder provided the low-light of the day by allowing a line-drive to go over his head, while sipping a beer, and proceeding to chase the ball down, never putting the beer down. The runner scored on an inside-the-park homer, but the left fielder never spilled any of the beer. Way to go!
Jack McKeon complained that we was running up the score, stretching doubles into triples, and kicking the ever-living crud out of the opposing team. Maybe the other team will now go on to win the World Series.
The next game is on Monday night, on the Charles Bank. A recap will appear Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Mets 4, Phillies 1 (25-26, 4.5 GB)

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

It's been a week, and the Mets are pretty much right back where they started the 12-game stretch against the Phillies and Marlins. They're a game under .500 again, and with Tom Glavine pitching tonight, there's a good chance they'll get to 26-26. But let's not jump the gun.

Last night's game was great. Al Leiter looked good, pitching out of a couple of jams in his first start back from the DL. Unfortunately, he only went five innings. David Weathers was decent in relief - but that balk was ridiculous. What was he doing?! If that doesn't happen, the Mets win the game 1-0, without extra innings. The announcers were saying they weren't sure it was a balk...but it sure looked like a balk to me.

Todd Zeile was clutch, saving Weathers with a game-tying homer in the top of the eighth, and then getting Kaz Matsui home with the game-winning run in the tenth. Vance Wilson provided the insurance with a 2-run, pinch-hit homer in the tenth.

One side note - I feel like the Mets taking Mike Piazza out for defensive purposes, like they did last night in the eighth inning, is going to come back to bite them someday. It didn't last night, but I just think taking his bat out of the lineup, especially when you have trouble scoring runs like the Mets do, is like playing with fire.

Notes: The Daily News reports today that Kaz Matsui is going to start wearing glasses in the field. They say coaches feel he can't see the catcher's signs, and therefore is having trouble positioning himself defensively. So he might start wearing Jason Phillips-type goggles at short. If that improves his play, I'm going to be pissed. This guy's been playing blind all this time?! He'd better wear the glasses at the plate too...Dontrelle Willis goes for the Marlins this afternoon against former Met Cory Lidle and the Cincinnati Reds. Those Reds, at 31-21, own the National League's best record. I still say they won't last. But we might as well ride the wave and hope they beat the Marlins one more time.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Mets 5, Phillies 3 (24-26, 5.5 GB)

May 31, 2004

Mother Nature screwed me over yesterday. The Mets were supposed to be on ESPN2 at 1pm. The start of the game was delayed by rain, but it started around 2pm. So I watched the first few innings. Then the rain came again, keeping the game off until after 4pm. By then, ESPN stuck with its regularly scheduled games, and blew off the rest of the Mets-Phillies game. So I didn't watch much of the game, but I did see Matt Ginter's full outing. Nice. It's too bad the rain prevented him from going five and qualifying for a win. Ginter continues to pitch well - remember, last week he went six scoreless against Philadelphia before leaving and seeing his 3-0 lead turn into a loss. Everytime he pitches well is a huge boost to the team.

Jason Phillips homered again, and Kaz Matsui looked good. I read Mike Cameron had a clutch hit. Hopefully the offense develops some consistency. I did notice in the box score, though, that the Mets left five runners in scoring position with two out. Not sure if they left the bases loaded at all (although using some math skills I've retained from high school I think I can detect that they didn't), but that's still a problem that needs fixing.

I forgot to write this yesterday, but I think Mike Piazza is going to love hitting in the new ballpark in Philadelphia. Apparently the ball jumps out of this park, especially out to right-center field. He hits the ball well to that part of the field. He went 1-for-3 yesterday, we'll see how he does over the course of the year, and whether or not this is a stat that's worth following.

A couple of other things. First of all, the Mets finished the month of May 15-12. That's good. That's probably one of their best months in years, sadly enough. Let me put a 15-12 month in perspective for you. There are roughly 6 months in a baseball season. If you play 15-12 ball every month, you go 90-72. That's enough to win the NL East this least in my mind. Now, the Mets went 9-14 in April, so they have some ground to make up. But the 15-12 per month is very manageable. Especially considering a couple of things - first, they finished May very badly, with a 4-game losing streak on the final days of the season. They also had 3 other stretches of back-to-back losses. Another good sign coming up is the Mets play the AL Central in interleague play. A weaker division in baseball is tough to find. The Mets play at Minnesota (27-23) next week, and they've been depleted by injuries. Then they play at Kansas City (17-31) - one of the worst teams in baseball. After that, the Mets host Cleveland (22-26) and Detroit (23-27), two not-so-good teams. The Mets don't even have to play the White Sox, the best team in that division! Of course, the Mets being the Mets, they're not going to dominate these teams like they should. But it's safe to say the Mets should win more games in June than they did in May. That's a johnnymets guarantee.

One last thing. Last night on WFAN, a caller says he was at the Binghamton Mets game. Says he saw scouts there from the Kansas City Royals and the Boston Red Sox, among other teams he couldn't identify. "Hmm", I'm thinking. "This guy sounds intelligent. Could be some good info coming here."
Those teams are there to check out some of the Mets' minor-league talent in the hopes of working out a deal, as the caller states the obvious.
Now, the Mets are in the market for pitching. So those scouts are there, I'm thinking, because if they're giving up pitching, they want to see who the young guys they'd be getting from the Mets are. (Assuming the teams were there to watch the Mets and not the Yankees' double-A team, as this guy said they were.) So anyway, the presence of the scouts assumes the Mets are buyers, not sellers. Because if the Mets turn in to sellers this year, it's not to get rid of minor league talent. Then this clown caller says, "I bet the Red Sox guys are there because the Mets are going to send Al Leiter to Boston."
What an idiot. There is just so much wrong with that statement. Yes, the Red Sox could very well be interested in Al Leiter. But if that's the case, WHY WOULD THE SOX SCOUTS BE WATCHING THE METS' MINOR LEAGUE GUYS?!??! DO THEY WANT TO SEE WHERE THE YOUNG TALENT THEY WOULD NEED TO GIVE UP FOR A GUY LIKE LEITER WILL BE PLAYING NEXT SEASON?!?! I was so disappointed that the host didn't call this guy out. All he said was, "I don't think the Mets are going to get rid of Leiter, especially at this point of the season." That story wasn't really worth telling, I just needed to get it off my chest.

By the way, speaking of Leiter, he comes back from the DL tonight to pitch against the Phillies. Hopefully he's a little more efficient, and doesn't have to come out of the game after just five innings. Glavine will go tomorrow. These next two games are huge, before four more against Florida.