Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Mets 6, Phillies 4 (NYM: 69-62; PHI: 70-62) East: 5 GB Wild Card: 0.5 GB

Those of you who know me well, or read my blog, know how I feel about the Philadelphia Phillies. If the final playoff spot came down to a Mets-Phillies one-game playoff (not that it would ever come to that, because Philly would have choked long ago), I'd book the Mets a flight to Playoffville. No questions asked. (Where is Playoffville?, you ask...and don't the Mets have a traveling secretary to take care of booking their flights? All good questions - for another night.) So when the Phillies jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Jae Seo in the first inning, and then led 4-1 mid-way through, you'd better believe I was not switching off my television set. Nope. I was pretty sure the Mets would either make a game of it, or they'd come back and beat the Phillies outright. Both happened.

It looked like the Mets blew their chance in the seventh. The bases were loaded for Cliff Floyd - and the Mets got to within 4-3 on a wild pitch by Ryan Madson. Then Floyd flailed at a pitch, he looked just awful swinging at it (he was 0-for-4 - bad night for Floyd), striking out and stranding the two runners, with the Phillies up 4-3.

In the eighth, though, the Mets made the move I'd been waiting for all game. Future Hall of Famer David Wright led the inning off with a walk. He stole second during Mike Jacobs' at-bat (he struck out), and barely....I mean, BARELY, made it. Victor Diaz then worked a walk from Ugueth Urbina, before Ramon Castro hit a three-run homer to left. So clutch. Amazin'. It's the type of thing that happens to the Mets in championship seasons. Braden Looper was very good getting the save - 1-2-3.

Actually, the Mets bullpen in its entirety was good on Tuesday night. Aaron Heilman relieved Seo, and was his usual effective self. Then Juan Padilla pitched a good inning of relief. As bad as his first inning was (almost 30 pitches), Seo was able to gut out five innings for Willie Randolph, giving up just the four runs. He gave up homers to Kenny Lofton and Pat Burrell in the first, by the way. But the bullpen has been good in recent days - they keep the Mets in games that they're behind in, allowing the Mets to come back, or else they've been holding leads. It'll be interesting to see what the Mets do if they trade Trachsel, and what they get in return.

Also interesting is the fact that the Mets have no lefties in the bullpen right now. They survived without one Tuesday, and they just have to get to Thursday when the rosters can expand. We'll probably see Dae-Sung Koo again and Royce Ring, probably, too.

The Mets got some help, but not enough, on Tuesday night. They drew a game closer to the Braves in the NL East, but unfortunately that means the Nationals, who were playing the Braves, also won. The Marlins came back after blowing a lead, to beat the Cardinals by a run. And the Astros beat the Reds. But the Mets are still tied with Houston, and the Marlins and Phillies are now tied atop the Wild Card standings, a half-game in front of New York.

ELTRAN*'S: This could be a turning point game for Beltran*. We'll have to watch and see, as September nears. He went 3-for-3, homering in his first at-bat, and looking very good in all at-bats - a rare thing this year. He also walked.

39-for-144 (.271 AVG.) 4 HR, 18 RBI, 27 Runs, 11 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: Wright was 1-for-3 Tuesday night, upping his average to .315, but no doubles.



Monday, August 29, 2005


No Mets game tonight. The Marlins lost, so the Mets will pick up a half-game on them.

But the big news is the stuff I heard Buster Olney talking about on ESPNRadio this evening. The Mets are probably going to deal Steve Trachsel by Wednesday, the deadline for making waiver-wire deals.

Olney says the Mets made a very smart move (and I agree), which is that they started the process of putting Steve Trachsel through waivers before he made his start last week. So Trachsel cleared waivers (no one tried to pick him up), and then he goes out and pitches 8 shutout innings. So now he's valuable, and he's trade-able. So the Mets are (probably - Olney wouldn't say this for sure, but it's speculation) looking to trade Trachsel for a first baseman or a reliever.

Here's my take on the Trachsel situation. He probably ticked off Willie Randolph when he wouldn't go to the bullpen, and acted like the Mets were jerking him around. Randolph is big on "TEAM", and there's no "TEAM" in Trachsel. He's all about me, or at least that's what he's made it sound like while he was waiting for a slot to fit in. So Randolph is probably endorsing using Trachsel as bait for a reliever, because the Mets could use some bullpen help (although this hasn't been a big problem lately - mostly because the starters have been so good).

The other interesting note about the Wild Card chase is the fact that this is the time of year that teams play within their divisions. Unfortunately, this gives the Astros a huge advantage in the hunt for the playoffs. The Astros have just 12 games against contending teams the rest of the way - I assume they play the Cardinals about 6 times, then a couple of East teams. The Mets, Phillies, Marlins, and Nationals play about 28 of their remaining 32 games against contending teams - for the Marlins - their whole remaining schedule is against contenders. The Mets, I know have the Nationals, Marlins, Phillies, and Braves all 6 times, then the Cardinals for four, and then play the Rockies. Now, just because they're playing "contending" teams doesn't mean they're not going to win the games (and non-contenders doesn't mean they'll win - we all know the Rockies will cause them problems that final weekend), and the Phillies don't scare me, and really, the Nationals don't either. So the Braves, Marlins, and Cardinals series are the tough ones. The problem. though, is that the Astros are playing teams like Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. They do have games against the Cubs - hopefully the Cubs are in a spoiling mood - but the Astros can go on a tear here.

One last point before I go to bed: In the two losses to the Giants over the weekend, Armando Benitez got two saves. This is getting ridiculous. I forgot, but last year, the Marlins gave the Mets fits, and Benitez was their closer. Benitez got 11 saves against the Mets last year, when he was with Florida. 11! That's the most saves anyone has ever had against one team in a season. That's ridiculous. And now he's back from the DL, and boom! two saves. What a joke. He's killed us as a Met, and now against the Mets. And the worst part about it is, as much as I cursed him as a Met, he's a really nice guy - and he's very gracious, and although he struggles with English, he grants interviews to the New York media...who have been very tough on him. It's hard to hate him. But he's doing a good job of making me feel that way towards him.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Giants 4, Mets 1 (SF: 57-72; NYM: 68-62) East: 6 GB, Wild Card: 2 GB (pending PHI result)

That five-game winning streak turned into a two-game losing streak real fast. The Phillies are playing Sunday Night Baseball, so it remains to be seen whether or not the Mets will lose ground in the Wild Card chase.

I didn't see any of Sunday's game - it wasn't on the DirecTV package - so I'm not sure what to make of the loss. The only run scored on a wild pitch third strike with a man on third, so the Mets are still having some offensive troubles, coming off the 14-1 and 18-4 wins in Arizona.

Kris Benson came out of the gate strong, with a 0-0 tie going into the fifth inning. But he gave up three runs, and the Mets couldn't come back. The good news is he didn't give up six runs in 2-thirds of an inning. The bad news is he didn't win...which he usually does coming off a poor outing like last Sunday's.

The Mets need to get the bats working again against Philadelphia this week. They start a series against the Phillies at home on Tuesday, their only home games in the middle of these 17 road games. But first of all, the Phillies don't scare me - so the Mets can make up some ground in the Wild Card. Secondly, the Mets jumped out to a 5-2 start on that road stretch - although the Saturday and Sunday losses weren't pretty, in the big picture, the Mets are off to a 5-2 start on the road stretch. September is right around the corner - the Mets could theoretically start September in a playoff spot.

ELTRAN*'S: Carlos Beltran* was 1-for-4, and scored the Mets' lone run. But he needs to get going for the Mets to make a move. For the second half:

36-for-141 (.255 AVG.) 3 HR, 16 RBI, 26 Runs, 11 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: Not many doubles this weekend. He needs to go back to Arizona. Still on a good pace, though.



THE KID'S KIDS: Here's some more bad news for Mets fans, and Gary Carter fans. The Gulf Coast League doesn't waste any time. The one-game playoff was held on Friday, with the Tampa Yankees beating the Gulf Coast Red Sox for the right to play the Mets. After a 3-2 win on Saturday, the Yankees beat the Mets 10-1 on Sunday to win the Gulf Coast League title (I'm pretty sure it's over, at least. Not a lot of fanfare about it.) The Mets' pitcher gave up six runs in the first inning - actually, in a third of an inning. He's got a future as a Kris Benson! Anyway, the final numbers: a 37-16 regular season record for The Kid, with an 0-2 post-season mark.

More bad minor league news: Danny Graves pitches an inning at Norfolk and gives up 5 earned runs. Maybe he should have retired.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Well I'll be...I found this after posting Thursday's entry. This, from the Gulf Coast League website, about the Gulf Coast League playoffs:

Playoff Format: The division winner with the best record gets a bye. The other two division winners meet in a one-game playoff. The winner advances to face the division winner with the best record in a best-of-three series.

Looks like a bye for The Kid's Kids.
I don't think I'm ever going to stay up past the second inning for a Mets game ever again. They score just enough runs in the first couple to send you to sleep happy, then they add roughly 10-14 more runs while you're sleeping to make an unbelievable final score when you wake up.

Talk about putting it all together. Not only are the Mets getting decent pitching (I guess it's easy to pitch with a 17-0 lead), but their bats are on fire. Mike Jacobs homered 3 times in his first 13 major league at-bats. David Wright and Jose Reyes are just lighting it up. Wright is hitting .314 right now - fifth in the National League. He also doubled last night!! He's tied for third in the NL right now in doubles.

Steve Trachsel looks like he's going to start Friday night in San Francisco. He might take Victor Zambrano's rotation spot. What does Zambrano say to that? He says he'll do whatever the team asks of him, he'll be happy to contribute. Hear that Steve? Victor's a team player!

The Mets sent down Danny Graves when they activated Steve Trachsel the other day. I didn't realize this, but Graves said he would rather retire at the time. (I guess that's like a tree falling in the forest when there's no one around - when Danny Graves threatens to retire, does anyone care?) He's singing a different tune after a couple of days to think about it...he says it might be in his best interests to accept the Minor League assignment. Yes, Danny, it is. You're lucky you're still pitching professionally - and the Mets might be able to fix you and turn you into an effective pitcher again.

One thing in Arizona I want to mention - I've been watching FSN Arizona, so they showed on their telecast that it was a D-Bingo night at Wednesday night's game. It looks cool. Everyone gets a Bingo card, I guess, and as things in the game happen, you can cover them on the bingo card. For example, one had a "4 unassisted" on it, and a 6-4-3 DP. That looks like fun...I bet it starts catching on at other ballparks.

The Mets are 66-60, two games back of the Wild Card. They're still tied with the Nationals (who lost Thursday afternoon) and the Marlins (who won Thursday afternoon) for third in the NL East (also known as last in the NL East....which would still be good enough for a five-game lead in the NL West).

Pedro Martinez* is going for the Mets tonight in Arizona - it should be the culmination of a four-game sweep. I might not be writing again until Sunday - hopefully the Mets get at least two out of three in San Francisco (of course, I don't want to be greedy- but a 7-game winning streak would sure be good). Holy crap, Victor Diaz just hit another homer. 3-0 Mets. Good lead for Pedro* in the second inning.

ELTRAN*'S: A bad night for Beltran* in the 18-4 win. He had just one RBI, without a hit. With the bases loaded and 1 out, he grounded to second base...Kaz Matsui stopped before the second baseman tagged him, so the throw went to first, then the first baseman chased Matsui, creating a rundown which allowed THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, to score from second, before Matsui was tagged out. It was an awful play by the D-Backs, but a great play by Matsui, and I only mention it here because I forgot to put it above, and because Beltran* hit the grounder.

Anyway, the numbers: 33-125 (.264 AVG.) 3 HR, 16 RBI, 25 Runs, 10 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: Another double last night for Wright, and as I mentioned, he's now tied for third in the NL in doubles. The doubles tear I mentioned a couple of nights ago has come to fruition - the record is as good as his. No one's talking about it, though, raising doubts as to whether the Mets are still reading the blog.



THE KID'S KIDS: It looks like another rainout in Florida. Still 37-16. This was supposed to be the last game on the schedule, so stay tuned for whatever playoff scenarios there are.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

While I was sleeping last night, the Mets opened up a can on the Arizona Diamondbacks, winning 14-1. The game featured two doubles by David Wright. Oh yeah.

I promised yesterday I'd talk about Steve Trachsel and September call-ups. Let's get to that before I forget.

Steve Trachsel is off the DL. He had stayed on the DL as long as legally possible without the Mets facing a grievance. He made every rehab start he possibly could at Triple-A while the Mets started Jae Seo. I've said before, the Mets messed around with Kaz Ishii this season way too much - Seo should have been in that spot in the rotation long ago. The problem is, now that Seo is pitching so well, the Mets have no room for Trachsel. The whispers were that if Victor Zambrano pitched poorly again on Tuesday night, he would be skipped and Trachsel would be slotted in his spot. That didn't happen. For now, Trachsel is in the bullpen, but Willie Randolph says he will only use Trachsel out of the bullpen in an extreme emergency. Asked if he thought he should be treated better by the Mets, Trachsel said, "No comment."

I have an issue with Trachsel here. The Mets are playing well. He should be excited about contributing in any fashion - whether it be out of the bullpen or in the rotation. He hasn't done jack this year, and they've done just fine without him. It's not like he's going to be the make-or-break part of the team. Sure, he can help, and I know it's not his fault he got hurt, but he's being a little selfish, in my opinion. I think he pitches out of the bullpen, strengthens that weakness that the Mets have right now, and then fights during the spring next year to win back his spot in the rotation. Don't be difficult and mess with the great chemistry this team has going right now.

I'll almost be glad if Trachsel doesn't find himself pitching in the big games down the stretch here. I've been saying for a couple of years - Trachsel has been a good pitcher, at times he's pitched great, but he's never had the opportunity to pitch in big situations. The times that he has, I think, he hasn't done too well. So we'll see what happens the rest of the year, but he should take what the Mets give him and be happy with it for the rest of the season. The other thing is, he's unhappy with the way the Mets are treating him right now? How about the fact that he got a second chance with them a few years back after pitching absolutely awfully? Remember when they sent you down to Triple-A to get right, and then brought you back to make contributions at the Major League level, Steve? It's not like they released you or let you stink up the mound in the Majors. Don't have such a short memory.

As for the September call-ups, these could be just the kind of reinforcements the Mets could use as they push for the playoffs. A guy like Lastings Milledge will be brought up, and perhaps guys like Tyler Yates. The Yates types could strengthen the bullpen, and the Milledges will supply bats off the bench. The Mets are going to get younger and stronger down the stretch. It's not only going to be exciting to see these guys play, it will be exciting to see them contribute to a possible Division title or Wild Card berth.

The Mets got off to the best start imagineable on this road stretch - 2-0 against Arizona. Jae Seo goes tonight, and Pedro Martinez* pitches on Thursday. They can definitely sweep the D-Backs before going to San Francisco. This might be the stretch that we point to when we look back on the season and say that's where the Mets realized they could win this thing.

An interesting e-mail before I go:


With Gary Carter's success as manager at Port St. Lucie, you speculated he might get to go to the Big Game soon. What happens if he gets a managerial post next year with the Atlanta Braves? Who do you root for?


Your Wife"

First of all, it's "The Show", not the Big Game. It's not Michigan-Ohio State. But good question. I wouldn't think Carter would get the job with the Braves at the Major League level, so I'm not going to worry about that. I would have no problem rooting for Gary Carter to succeed as a manager in the Braves' minor league system. If, hypothetically, he was managing the Atlanta Braves, my time as Gary Carter's number one fan would sadly come to a close.

ELTRAN*'S: Only 1-for-4 in the 14-1 win. 33-122 (.270 AVG.) 3 HR, 15 RBI, 25 Runs, 10 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: 2 doubles on Tuesday night!! Let the doubles tear I mentioned yesterday commence!



THE KID'S KIDS: Still no word on post-season. A 5-1 win on Wednesday puts the Gulf Coast Mets at 37-16.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Mets are about to get underway in Arizona against the Diamondbacks as I write this, but I have some school stuff in the morning, and if I couldn't write after last night's game, there's no chance I'm going to be able to write after tonight's game.

Tom Glavine pitched a great game on Monday night, beating the Diamondbacks, 4-1. And Braden Looper showed no signs of being a shaky closer, pitching a very clean ninth inning, relieving Glavine with a runner on first in the ninth, getting a double play, then retiring the side. Mike Jacobs, the rookie, started at first base. First base has been a disaster for the Mets this year. It's funny - third base, historically, has been the problem for the Mets, but now that they've solved third, with Future Hall of Famer David Wright, first seems to have become a problem.

Also, coming on the heels of Dave from Brighton's e-mail on Monday, ESPNRadio led one of their 20/20 SportsCenter updates by saying the Mets are coming on strong for the Wild Card....I think the people at ESPNRadio must be reading the blog now. Glad, though, that at least the Mets are starting to get some national recognition.

The Braves are playing the Cubs right now, and they're losing, so the Mets could draw closer in the NL East. Don't write the Braves in as division champs just yet - something tells me this isn't going to be their year. Also, the Cardinals will not be representing the National League in the World Series this year. Mark my words. They're a battered team right now, and they will get upended by someone in the playoffs. Last year was an aberration, where they actually survived the playoffs. It's not going to happen again.

Many thanks to Kevin from Wilmington, Southern Beaureau Chief of johnnymets.blogspot.com. He came through with the ESPN.com article on Gary Carter, Manager. (I mistakenly said the article started out talking about George Brett's failure as a manager - it was actually Mike Schmidt.) It's a good article, and it basically says Carter won't sit around toiling in the Gulf Coast League much after this year. He wants a full (or at least longer) season job, and he wants a higher level. And the article says with the success he's had at the Gulf Coast League, he's shown he deserves the shot. I called Port St. Lucie again, and got no answer. The article also didn't answer my question about a Gulf Coast League post-season.

Anyway, thanks to Kevin for sending me the article. He wins the johnnymets.blogspot.com hat. If it existed.

I'm going to bed, but I think tomorrow I need to comment on the Steve Trachsel situation, and the September 1st call-ups. Hopefully I remember to do that.

ELTRAN*'S: (Through games of Monday) 32-118 (.271 AVG.) 2 HR, 15 RBI, 24 Runs, 10 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: No doubles in a while - he's going to need to go on a doubles tear.



THE KID'S KIDS: The Gulf Coast Mets pulled out a 4-3, 10-inning win on Tuesday. Must have been some good managing by The Kid. The Mets are 36-16, 12 games up in their division. I just wish I knew what implications that had.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Mets are in Arizona as I write this, in the middle of a game which started at 9:40pm. Another odd start time on the East Coast (a la Colorado), so I can't write something after the game. But I'll write something now. (I don't want to jinx the game, either, but right now it's looking good - the Mets have a 3-0 lead in the seventh inning, and THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, has a solo homer. No doubles for David Wright yet.)

There are a couple of e-mails, so I'll get to those while we wait to see if the Mets game goes final while I write. The first:

"Hi JohnnyMets-

I have another baseball question for you that's been plaguing me all day.

Let's just suppose that down the stretch, end of season, the Mets, Marlins and Phillies all tie for the Wild Card. How does it play out? You can't have a one-game playoff between three teams. Someone would end up getting screwed having to play two games.

Thanks for your insight.

-Your Wife"

OK. Good question. But first of all, this is impossible, because we all know the Phillies will choke. So let's substitute the Astros for the Phillies just so I can make this question feasible. This is a situation that almost happened in 1998, I think. Then, the Mets were eliminated late in the year in a race that involved the Cubs, Giants, Mets, and Expos for the final Wild Card spot. (In a game that year against the Expos, the Mets lost 1-0, and Jay Payton, then a rookie, making his first Major League contributions after battling injuries his whole Minor League career, made a very bad baserunning blunder that pretty much ruined the Mets' season. I've harbored a slight grudge against him ever since...made worse this year by his selfish antics in Boston.) This year is shaping up much like the 1998 race. Here's what would happen:

Let's say, for argument's sake, the three teams tied for the Wild Card are the Mets, Marlins, and Astros. The teams would be seeded, and a playoff would be held. I think the seedings would be based on the teams' results in games against each other during the regular season. So let's say the Mets and Marlins both split against Houston, but the Mets took the season series against the Marlins, 12-7. The records would be:

Mets: 15-10
Astros: 6-6
Marlins: 10-15

So the Mets would be seeded first, Astros second, and Marlins third. So then the Marlins would visit Houston for a playoff game, and the winner of that one game would visit the Mets for the right to advance in a one-game playoff. I think that's how it works. It's going to happen one day, the way these races are so tight these days, so eventually we'll see it play out and get a better understanding. But good question. And hopefully it doesn't happen this year, because I don't know if I can take a race that close - I'd love for the Mets to close it out late in September.

Another e-mail focusing on the Wild Card (partly):

"Dear JohnnyMets,

It's taken nearly 2 baseball seasons, but I must now reluctantly admit that I'm starting to enjoy John Kruk on Baseball Tonight.

If I can come around on Kruk, do you think there's hope for reconciliation between you and Ted Robinson?

Unrelated, when SportsCenter or Baseball Tonight talks about the NLwild card race, they put the Mets in the graphic, but they rarely mention them in the copy. Does this irk you, or do you prefer for the Mets to fly below the radar before gunning into the playoffs with a 22-7 September?

Signed, Dave in Brighton"

Well, first of all, No. There's no hope for me and Teddy. In comparing the two situations, though, I'd need to know the extent of your disdain for Kruk. The only reconciliation between myself and Robinson will come in a week or two when he's away for a couple of weeks doing U.S. Open Tennis. Then I won't think about him at all for a while.

As for the Wild Card standings, it goes without saying that ESPNEWS and ESPNRadio are also guilty of this. (Of course, on the radio, they mention the Mets are however many games back, but they don't count the Mets in a discussion about which teams have a real shot at winning.) The problem here is that the Mets have to leapfrog not only the Astros, but also the rest of their division in order to move to the second or third spot in the Wild Card standings. The thing I think the ESPN people forget, though, is that they are only one or two games away from doing that. But give it a week or so, and the Mets will start entering into these conversations. To answer your question, Dave, it does irk me a little bit, because it happens all the time - the Mets need to play this way deep into September in order to make the media believe they can do it. It's like the media is making them show they can play in order for them to be mentioned. I think they've already earned the right to be talked about.

I've come to the realization that Arizona and San Francisco are not very good, and the Mets should be able to do well on this seven-game trip out West. I think I mentioned on Sunday that 17 of the Mets' next 20 games are on the road - that's a tough grind. We'll revisit this, if I remember, after the 20-game stretch, but they really need to go 9-8 or better in those games. And the three-game homes series is against Philly - so the Mets need to win that too.

Incidentally, the Braves beat the Cubs on Monday night, and the Phillies and Astros are also out West, with the Mets, so the Mets need help while they try to take care of the D-backs. Here's a disturbing number I saw during the Mets game - Tom Glavine (who's pitching well right now), as we know, is a lefty. Righties are hitting .304 against him....Lefties are hitting .341 against him!!! That's outrageous.

I think that's all I have to say for tonight. No doubles for Wright, I'll update Beltran*'s numbers tomorrow on a one-day delay.

THE KID'S KIDS: A 5-4 win for the Mets. They're now 35-16. I'll try to call Port St. Lucie on Tuesday. There are only 4 games left on the schedule.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Nationals 7, Mets 4 (WAS: 65-59; NYM: 63-60) 6.5 GB NL East, 3 GB W.C.

The optimist might look at this weekend against the Nationals and say, two out of three is a good weekend. The pessimist (or me...note that I'm not usually pessimistic) might focus on Kris Benson's two-thirds of an inning and think of what chances the Mets might have wasted on Sunday.

Benson lasted just two-thirds of an inning, giving up six runs before being lifted for Juan Padilla. Padilla kept the Mets in the game, but they only managed four runs, wasting a lot of scoring opportunities where they could have come all the way back, as the Nationals held on for the 7-4 win.

The only highlight came in a pinch-hit appearance by rookie Mike Jacobs, who homered in his first Major League at-bat, the homer drawing the Mets to within 7-3. At the time, it looked like a comeback was in store...but the Mets couldn't find the clutch hit. Jacobs, for his part, received a curtain call, becoming the fourth Met to homer in his first M.L. at-bat. Future Hall of Famer David Wright struck out in the ninth inning against Chad Cordero representing the tying run.

The Mets play 17 of their next 20 on the road. They could have swept the Nationals...they could have swept the Pirates. A 4-2 homestand isn't bad. The Mets picked up some ground these past few days. If they can keep their head above water this next week in Arizona and San Francisco, starting on Monday, they have a real shot. Arizona (at Arizona) has given the Mets some problems in recent years...let's hope the Mets get off on the right foot. The Padres blew a lead on Sunday Night Baseball, so it looks like the Mets lose a game in the division. But there's still a shot at the East on the line here too - not just the Wild Card.

ELTRAN*'S: Beltran was 0-for-4 on Sunday. For the second half, he's 32-for-116 (.276 AVG.), 3 HR, 15 RBI, 23 Runs, 9 SB.

WRIGHT WATCH: 2-for-5 on Sunday, no doubles...as a matter of fact, no doubles all weekend. Uh-oh.



THE KID'S KIDS: No games, of course, in the Gulf Coast League on Sundays. They lost to the Dodgers on Saturday, 17-5. Yikes. They're now 34-16. Gary Carter got some national attention on espn.com this weekend. There was an ESPN Insider article about his success as a Minor League Manager. Unfortunately, I couldn't read it because I don't have an ESPN Insider subscription. If someone could kindly help me out with the article, I'd appreciate it. It started out talking about George Brett's lack of success as a Minor League manager, and how he hated it because he had to throw batting practice every day. That's all they let me read. Please help. I will also get to the bottom of the Gulf Coast post-season (or lack thereof) this week. I'll call them non-stop.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Pirates 5, Mets 0 (PIT: 52-69; NYM: 61-59) 7.5 GB East, 3 GB Wild Card

There's one thing (and I think just one thing) that Mets fans and Red Sox fans have in common. When they see a rookie pitcher pitching against their respective teams, they just want to run and hide. Enter Zach Duke. The Pittsburgh phenom has been lights-out since his call-up before the All-Star break, and he gave up just two hits to the Mets in 7 innings of work on Thursday as the Pirates beat the Mets, 5-0.

The game was on WB11 in New York, so I was relegated to Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh to watch this game. Awful broadcasting. Just awful - more on that later. Anyway, I don't think those broadcasters deserve to broadcast games involving an impressive youngster like Duke. They were horrible. I actually wasn't too impressed watching Duke. He obviously was good - he shut down the Mets - but he was doing it by mixing speeds and keeping the Mets off balance. Every now and again he'd blow one past a hitter, but he wasn't what I expected...I guess that's the point I'm trying to make.

So Victor Zambrano got the loss - he was streaky. He got into the typical jams, then pitched himself out of them, but he was very wild. He hit Jason Bay twice, and Brad Eldred another time. This is where the horrible announcing comes in. They're both in the booth talking about whether or not Duke should go out the next inning and hit the first batter to send a message. The first batter would have been Zambrano (who, down 4-0 in the sixth, was clearly going to be lifted for a pinch-hitter), and this was after Zambrano hits Bay for the second time, his third hit batter overall. Now, anyone who broadcasts Major League Baseball games should know that Zambrano has control issues. But these guys are debating this point, then one of them says, "Wow. Zambrano hits A LOT of guys!! I guess he's not doing it on purpose." Yeah, bozo, the Mets are trailing, there's no history between the two, and Zambrano is intentionally throwing at Pirates. And Zach Duke should ruin the gem he's pitching to retaliate for nothing, and perhaps spark a brawl that will end up getting him hurt. Idiots.

Speaking of hurt, Carlos Beltran* showed his first tentativeness in center in the second inning. On a fly ball to left-center field, Beltran* circled the ball, which came straight down on the warning track in front of him. I think he was afraid of running into Cliff Floyd, who was heading towards the ball also. That could be a problem down the stretch here. But Beltran* continued his aggressiveness on the basepaths - stealing a base, and legging out an infield hit.

The shame of this loss is that everything that needed to happen for the Mets on Thursday night went their way. The Phillies and the Nationals split their day-night doubleheader, with the Nationals getting two late runs in the second game to come back and win. The Dodgers beat the Braves, so the Mets could have gained ground in the division. And as I write this, it looks like the Brewers will beat the Astros. (The bad news is that the Marlins moved another game in front of the Mets by beating the Padres.)

Here's another impressive thing about Duke - he's now 6-0 (the Pirates have lost a couple of the games he's started, but he has gotten no decisions) and either one or two wins short of the best rookie starts ever by a Pirate. Just FYI.

Pirates piling on: Jason Bay robbed Ramon Castro of a home run in the eighth inning - the ball might have hit the top of the wall, but it was going to go over.

The Nationals, coming off the doubleheader split, come to town for three this weekend beginning Friday night. The Mets, considering the fact they didn't sweep the Pirates, NEED to get at least two out of three, and a sweep would be better.

ELTRAN*'S: Beltran* went 2-for-4, but he's not really killing the ball. He legged out a dribbler down the third base line that didn't roll foul late in the game, and he got the second hit off of Duke (he only allowed the two) on a liner up the middle. He also stole third. Seems like Beltran* is starting to heat up...

30-for-105 (.286 AVG.), 3 HR, 15 RBI, 22 Runs, 8 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: The doubles hunt is slowing. Wright needs to heat up again. He was 0-for-2 with a walk on Thursday.



THE KID'S KIDS: Looks like more rain in Florida. Still 32-15 after another rainout. 9-and-a-half games up. I forgot to call Port St. Lucie today - but I will try on Friday. I was busy cleaning up the lawn and yard.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Mets 5, Pirates 1 (NYM: 61-58; PIT: 51-69) 7.5 GB East, 2.5 GB Wild Card

Two in a row over Pittsburgh. Just what the Mets neeeded. There's no room for celebration yet, though, because the Mets need to sweep this series. After these first two games, there's no reason to think they can't do it....but we're talking about the Mets here, so you never know.

Teams continue to walk Cliff Floyd intentionally to get to David Wright (when he hits behind Floyd). Wright is the first person I've seen in a long time who says he's personally offended when teams do that, and then has the ability to come through consistently when that happens. On Wednesday night, Carlos Beltran* (more on him later) singled, stole second, and then Floyd was walked. After a wild pitch put those runners on second and third, Wright ripped a single, scoring both men, putting the Mets ahead 3-1. Only thing better would have been a double.

Some good news comes out of this game. First and foremost, Beltran* was back. He started and played center field. I didn't see him get many chances out in center, but his first at-bat he walked, and then scored all the way from first on a single into right-center field by Floyd. So that was a good sign. Then he singled, and stole second...and later scored on the Wright hit. He doesn't seem to be bothered psychologically (on offense at least) by the collision. And he played one of his better offensive games of the year. So that's a very good sign of things to come from Beltran*.

Other good news was the game pitched by Tom Glavine. Again, he had a strong outing. One run in seven innings. He gets the win, improving to 9-10. Aaron Heilman got the save, pitching a very strong two innings in relief of Glavine (coming in with two runners on and leaving them both stranded). The RBI by Wright were numbers 74 and 75 on the year - putting him one behind team leader Cliff Floyd, who picked up one RBI on the night. A solid game all around.

There was some bad news, though. First off, Mike Piazza missed the game, and is day-to-day with a small fracture in his left wrist. The team doctors want to wait for the swelling to go down before they decide how much time he will really need to miss. The Mets want to avoid putting Piazza on the disabled list, so for now Piazza won't be in the lineup the next couple of days.

Also bad news is that on Thursday Steve Trachsel will make his (supposedly) last rehab start at Triple-A Norfolk. I say supposedly, because his last rehab start was supposed to be his last. He doesn't seem happy - I think he thinks he's being jerked around by Willie Randolph. Really, though, I can't blame Randolph. Jae Seo's been pitching lights out. The problem here is Seo should have been in the rotation long ago, and the Mets shouldn't have messed around for so long with Kaz Ishii. If the Mets can somehow move Seo to the bullpen a la Aaron Heilman, that might solve a little of the reliever problem, and make Trachsel happy by getting him back into the Major League rotation. I think if Seo goes to the bullpen it would be very similar to the relief role Masato Yoshii played in the 1999-2000 post-season runs - and it would be effective.

The Braves won Wednesday night, so the Mets couldn't gain ground in the division (everyone in the East actually won, except for Washington, losers to Philly). The Phillies, with the win over Washington, moved into a tie for the wild card with Houston. This is good news, because, all together now: PHILLY DOESN'T SCARE ME. The Nationals play a doubleheader with the Phillies tomorrow, so that could be good - either one team gets swept, and the Mets pick up some ground no matter what (granted, a Mets win over the Pirates is essential), or the teams split, and it's essentially no harm no foul. But the better news is that then Washington has to play the Mets - so hopefully it's a taxing doubleheader.

Now is the time for the Mets to make a move. A big weekend against the Nationals could put them within a game of the Wild Card. I've been saying it all week - these six games at Shea are huge, before the Mets head West again. So far, the Mets have taken advantage of a bad Pittsburgh team. We'll see how they do Thursday against Pittsburgh phenom Zach Duke, who I've mentioned here before. He's having a fabulous rookie season. He was called up on July 7, the day before the Mets went to Pittsburgh before the All-Star break, so he didn't face them then, but he's been shutting everyone down since his call-up. I have a feeling he's going to get a little bit roughed up before the season ends (all rookies do), so I hope the Mets start that trend, before he goes on to a great career.

ELTRAN*'S: In his return, Beltran* was 1-for-2 with 2 walks. He scores a lot when he gets on base - that just shows how important he is to this offense. Much like Jose Reyes. So, for the second half: 28-for-101 (.277 AVG.) 3 HR, 15 RBI, 22 Runs, 7 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: The aforementioned RBI single for Wright, in a 1-for-2 night, lifts his average to .304, but no doubles.



THE KID'S KIDS: Ho-hum. Another day, another win for the Mets. 9-3 over the Nationals. 32-15 on the season, 10 games ahead. Still no word from Port St. Lucie on a post-season. I'll try calling again tomorrow.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: It has just come to my attention that the Jets-Vikings preseason game will be televised on Friday night nationally on CBS. Chad Pennington will be starting for the Jets. Seems like this weekend will be a good time to start up johnnyjets.blogspot.com. Stay tuned, please.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Mets 6, Pirates 2 (NYM: 60-58; PIT: 51-68) 7.5 GB East, 3.5 GB Wild Card

The Mets need to sweep the Pirates. Personally, I think they need to go 6-0 on this homestand, to put themselves back into some great shape in both the wild card and division chases. Especially considering another West Coast Swing is on the horizon.

But they got off to a good start. Kris Benson put in another great outing, coming off his superb performance last week in San Diego. The Mets put together one big rally, and Cliff Floyd hit a 2-run homer in the ninth inning to ice it, taking away a Braden Looper save opportunity, but making the ninth inning more watchable for Mets fans.

The Mets got help from the Dodgers, who came back with 3 runs in the ninth inning to erase a 4-3 deficit and beat the Braves, 6-4, and the Cubs, who beat Andy Pettitte and the Astros. The Mets have a big hill to climb to make the post-season, but they've got to make the move now.

This series should be important to the Mets. The Pirates beat the Mets in Pittsburgh two out of three just before the All-Star break, and the Mets should still be mad about that. I am. The Nationals come to town next, and they're playing much better ball lately. But the Mets started them on the slide that dropped them out of first, so hopefully they feel they can beat Washington. So this six-game homestand is very, very important. The Mets can't worry about the Astros, Marlins, Phillies, or Braves. If they keep winning, things will fall into place for them.

Carlos Beltran* has opted not to have surgery on his face (I think it's his cheekbone that's slightly fractured). He could be back in the lineup as soon as Wednesday. It was reported during the game that he's working with the Mets' trainers on a possible mask to protect his face. I'm thinking something like what NBA players wear to protect broken noses and the like. I just hope Beltran* isn't affected psychologically, and that he can be somewhat effective down the stretch.

WRIGHT WATCH: An 0-for-3 night for Wright - he did walk and score on Floyd's 9th inning homer. He's hitting .303, by the way - .305 heading into the game, which had him 9th in the NL. Doubly speaking:



THE KID'S KIDS: The Gulf Coast Mets registered a rare loss to the Marlins Tuesday afternoon. They're 31-15. I have a call in to Port St. Lucie to find out about the playoffs - we'll see if they call me back.

In other Minor League Baseball news - a Pacific Coast League player named Rick Short is hitting .400 with 24 games left in the season. That hasn't been done in the PCL in 72 years. He plays for New Orleans (Pacific Coast?!?!), and went 1-for-2 in a call-up earlier this season for the Nationals. He's 32...so we're not talking a hot prospect here.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Mets were off on Monday, preparing for a homestand against the Pirates and Nationals. So I will clear up a few things. First of all, I said in my last post that the Mets were three back of the wild card - it was actually four, and now it is four-and-a-half because the Astros beat the Cubs on Monday.

I forgot to mention a quote I read from Doug Mientkiewicz. He reacted to David Wright's great bare-handed diving catch last week in San Diego by saying it was the "play of the year. [Wright] better not get a girlfriend before February, because I want to go with him to the ESPY'S."

The Mets are really keeping the information on Carlos Beltran* very close to the vest. It's making me worried. Mike Cameron will most likely be out the rest of the season. But Beltran*, they first made it sound like he wasn't hurt at all. Then it turned out he spent the night in the hospital, and now Beltran* may undergo some facial surgery. It's not only affecting the Mets' lineup, but it's affecting my fantasy lineup. I just wish they'd make a declaration about him.

It doesn't have anything to do with the Mets, but Randy Winn hit for the cycle in his first four at-bats on Monday. He has found new life since his trade to San Francisco. And in other baseball news - Curt Schilling is the worst closer ever. Monday he blew a win for Bronson Arroyo in Detroit. Last week he gave up about ten homers in the weekend series to the White Sox. (Have you noticed yet that when I'm not sure about the exact number of some stat I make up some outrageous number to cover up for that fact? Man, I do that a lot. Maybe I should start looking stuff up.)

There is an e-mail to check, so I'll do that:


Quick baseball question for you: in yesterday's Sox game that was rained out, do the stats count? This has been weighing on my mind all morning.

Thank you.

-Your Wife"

Hi, Wife. No, the stats do not count. This is unfortunate for White Sox fans, who may have cared that their players' RBI's or Runs scored don't count. But for Matt Clement, who gave up five runs, it's a great feeling. If it were a Mets game, and David Wright had a double erased by the rain, I'd be mad.

Sometimes, if it rains torrentially in the 7th inning and the game is tied, but it's an official game, the stats will count, but the game will be started over when it is made up. That's about the only time stats from a rained out game will count.

WRIGHT WATCH: Wright is now tied for fifth in the National League with 32 doubles.


Seems pretty do-able, doesn't it?

THE KID'S KIDS: A 9-0 win for the Gulf Coast Mets. Now 31-14, 11 games up in their division. 10 games left. They've clinched something, but I have to call down there and figure out if that means anything.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Dodgers 2, Mets 1 (LA: 53-64; NYM: 59-58)

Newsflash: The Mets have still never thrown a no-hitter in their 43-year-history. Pedro Martinez* still hasn't thrown a no-hitter in his career. It's a little bit funny (and seriously, it's only a little bit funny....a very, very little bit) that Pedro* is now with the Mets. He's like a microcosm of the team's history. Great pitcher, never threw a no-hitter. The Mets have had some great pitchers in their history, and have never had a no-hitter.

The worst part of the no no-no by Pedro* is that he lost the game. First of all, Gerald Williams could have caught the ball that went off the wall. It's actually a miracle that Pedro* went seven and a third no-hit innings with Gerald Williams in center (for Carlos Beltran*), Victor Diaz in right (for Mike Cameron), and Marlon Anderson at first (for Doug Mientkiewicz). Diaz isn't great shakes on defense, Williams cost Pedro* the no-no, and Anderson still doesn't know which foot to put on the bag to get the best possible stretch for throws. It's like watching someone play first base backwards when he's out there.

So Pedro* gives up the one-out triple to Antonio Perez which should have been a long fly ball out, and then a 2-run homer to Jayson Werth. And the shutout is gone, the 1-0 lead is now a 2-1 Dodgers lead.

The Mets mount a mini-threat in the top of the ninth. David Wright struck out, then Anderson doubled. He stole third with Victor Diaz up, then on 3-2, Diaz hit a check swing grounder to second base. Anderson was off on contact, but I didn't see the play, because a huge blast of thunder and lightning knocked out my satellite picture. I swear if this happens during football season I am going to be so disappointed in DirecTV, and might pull the naming rights to my house. But Anderson was out, I saw later on ESPNEWS, and Kaz Matsui then struck out to end the game.

A very disappointing end to a disappointing and costly road trip. A win would actually have salvaged the trip at 3-3, but 2-4 is much worse. I don't know that Carlos Beltran* will be back when the Mets open up their 6-game homestand on Tuesday - I suspect we'll find out on Monday about that.

The Mets also missed a chance to capitalize on a loss by the Astros, and fell to 8-and-a-half behind the Braves. The season may just have come to an end on the West Coast....although the wild card deficit is just three games...and the Nationals are coming to town at the end of the week.

Interesting note: I switched quickly to the Red Sox rain delay after the eighth inning (and the no-hit bid was lost) and Eric Frede said someone on the staff pointed out the history between Gerald Williams and Pedro Martinez* as a possible reason why Williams didn't lay out for the fly ball to prevent the no-hitter. The history is that Pedro* and Williams had run-ins when Williams was on the Devil Rays and Pedro* was with the Sox, and Pedro* on occasion pitched Williams very far inside. One instance, I think, featured Pedro* hitting Williams to lead off the game, and then retiring something like 20 D-Rays in a row, losing a no-hit bid late in the game. Something like that. But the comment was made jokingly - and I just think it's funny that these two are playing on the same team now. And I hope they've made up.

WRIGHT WATCH: A 2-for-4 day for Wright lifted the average to .305, but no doubles.


THE KID'S KIDS: No games on Sunday in the Gulf Coast League. The Mets beat the Dodgers on Saturday, so the record is at 30-14. I will call down there this week and see about the post-season.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


I stayed up for another at-bat, and he doubled in two runs. So add one to all the numbers below (he now has 32 on the season - 12 from the record!)

Friday, August 12, 2005


In his first at-bat late Friday night against Los Angeles, David Wright doubled. He walked in his second at-bat. Then I went to sleep.



THE KID'S KIDS: Ouch. A 12-3 loss to the Gulf Coast Dodgers. Hopefully the Major League Mets fare better against the Major League Dodgers. Still, the Gulf Coast Mets are 29-14, 9 games up.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Padres 2, Mets 1 (SD: 58-56; NYM: 58-56)

The game is almost an afterthought after something like the collision between Mike Cameron and Carlos Beltran* in San Diego. That was ugly. If you didn't see it, you will - it will probably be played ad nauseum this weekend. In the bottom of the seventh inning, David Ross hit a blooper into shallow right center field. Both Cameron and Beltran* ran full speed after the ball, and both players dove (dived?) head-first in an attempt to catch it. Neither one did. They collided head first. Cameron is already on the DL, suffering a broken nose and multiple fractures in his cheeks. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and is being held at the hospital overnight. Beltran* walked away from the collision, but looked like he was having trouble lifting his left arm, holding his shoulder, and he suffered a mild concussion. He was said to be OK, but I don't expect him to play much this weekend.

The runner ended up on third, and ended up scoring on a single two batters later. It was a rotten way to end the three-game series in San Diego, because the Mets looked really good on Wednesday night bouncing back from the bad loss Tuesday. Tom Glavine pitched a very good game, and the Mets couldn't come back in the top of the eighth to get him off the hook.

The Mets made wholesale changes after the collision, so Jose Reyes, scheduled to have a day off, led off the eighth, and walked. After Jose Offerman (in Beltran*'s spot in the lineup) struck out (an at-bat during which Reyes stole second - he started the steal slowly, because it was supposed to be a hit-and-run, and then when Offerman swung and missed he turned on the speed, and still beat the throw - it was something to see), Cliff Floyd was hit by a fastball in his knee. He went down in a heap, and it looked like the Mets lost their entire outfield in the span of an inning. But he managed to get up and go to first, only to have David Wright hit into a double play to end the threat.

I was listening to Steve Somers on WFAN Thursday night, and he probably put it best. He said we could have seen the Mets' summer end out in San Diego with that play, but it all depends on how the Mets respond. They could stew over the collision and let it affect the rest of their games, and just pack it in for the season, or they can battle through it and inspire themselves to play better ball. We'll find out when the road trip continues in Los Angeles Friday night.

The instant Cameron and Beltran* collided I thought of a game back in 1986 or 1987 at Shea Stadium. I don't remember who the Mets were playing, but I know Lenny Dykstra was in center and Mookie Wilson was in left. I remember I went with my friend Steven, and the big draw was that the Mets were giving out Spider-Man comic books, and before the game there was a big ceremony - Spider-Man married Mary Jane on the field. It was thrilling. But during the game, on a fly ball into the left-center field gap, Dykstra and Wilson collided. It was the ugliest collision I had ever seen (probably still is, even after Thursday, because there was lots of blood visible - Thursday's blood wasn't visible to me). Wilson and Dykstra banged faces, and Dykstra's mouth was open, and Wilson's nose got hit with Dykstra's teeth. They were both OK - I think Wilson needed some stitches, but that was a bad one. I expect we might see some replays of that one this weekend too. Just remember- I was there. I wonder if I'll find that scorecard. I think I drew a picture of the collision on the scorecard. It was probably good therapy.

I forgot to mention David Wright's catch Tuesday night against the Padres. If you haven't seen this yet, you haven't been watching sports channels. Wright dove out towards shallow left field, and caught a pop-up with his bare hand. It was a great catch. I don't know that it ranks as one of the all-time great catches, though. MSG replayed the great highlight of Ozzie Smith back when he was with the Padres, one of the only great plays we ever see of him when he was with San Diego, where he dives for a ground ball up the middle, but the ball hits something and bounces back towards Smith's right. He grabs the ball bare-handed, still diving up the middle, and then makes the throw to first to get the out. I think that's the greatest play I've ever seen - at least by an infielder.

The play did draw some national attention to Wright, though. Ironically, it was for something defensive when he's been struggling defensively, and lighting it up offensively. But it won't be the last we hear of that kid, I'll tell you that.

A couple of e-mails in the inbox:

"You miss a Boston University hockey game for Lion King. Now you miss a Mets game for Momma Mia.

Johnny….what’s happened to you??

JMDBSDC Southern Bureau"

Kevin - first of all, it's Mamma Mia. Not Momma. Secondly, it's all the wife's fault. Speaking of which, Happy Birthday, wife. Also, speaking of which:

"Dear JohnnyMets-

Doing some catching up on my blog reading... I noticed a while back you lamented the fact that I call TV ads "ads". As you know, "ads" is short for "advertisements". I consulted Merriam-Webster and found the following entry for "advertisement":

Main Entry: ad·ver·tise·ment Pronunciation: "ad-v&r-'tIz-m&nt; &d-'v&r-t&z-m&nt, -t&-sm&ntFunction: noun1 : the act or process of advertising 2 : a public notice; especially : one published in the press or broadcast over the air

Note the "broadcast over the air" part of that ... I believe you owe me a public apology?

Your Wife"

You owe me a public apology for not reading that entry until yesterday. That's from 10 days ago!! Geez. Also, yes, all COMMERCIALS are advertisements. But not all advertisements are COMMERCIALS. The public notices broadcast over the air have another name - they're called COMMERCIALS!!!! Think about that for a bit. No public apology from me. And again, happy birthday.

ELTRAN*'S: This might be the last Eltran*'s for a little while. He's talking like he's coming right back, but I find it hard to believe he'll be playing Friday, at the least. Before leaving the game, Beltran* again showed some signs of life, despite an 0-for-2. He scored a run and stole another base.

27-for-99 (.273 AVG.) 3 HR, 15 RBI, 20 Runs, 6 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: 0-for-4 on Thursday, but Wright did ground into a double play. Thanks to Dave in Brighton for pointing out that double plays sounds sort of like doubles!



THE KID'S KIDS: Wow. A 10-4 victory for the Gulf Coast Mets over the Nationals. They're 29-13, with a 10-game lead. There are just 13 games left, so they have to be close to clinching something. I might call down to Port St. Lucie to get the scoop on the Gulf Coast League post-season.

Mets 9, Padres 1

I'm a little more tired after the West Coast game than I thought I'd be, so I'll make this quick. First of all, I'm back from NYC, so the postings should be more consistent...and Thursday is a day game, so I'll have a full recap.

The Mets bounced back huge from Tuesday night's disappointing loss - Pedro*'s awful start. Kris Benson went eight-and-a-third innings, taking a one-hitter into the ninth inning, and the Mets beat up on San Diego, 9-1.

Future Hall of Famer David Wright had four hits, finishing a triple shy of the cycle, and he tied a career high with 6 RBI. Wright hit career homer number 31 (17 on the season), and added a double (more on that in the Wright Watch).

Carlos Beltran* is slowly showing signs of life - he stole home on a double steal.

This was a good win, coming off a very bad loss. Hopefully the road trip yields more of the former than the latter.

ELTRAN*'S: 27-for-97 (.278 AVG.), 3 HR, 15 RBI, 19 Runs, 5 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: Big double on Wednesday.



THE KID'S KIDS: The Gulf Coast Mets beat the Nationals 6-5 in 11 innings. They are now 9 games ahead (!) in the division, at 28-13. They have the best record in the Gulf Coast League.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Mets 6, Cubs 1 (NYM: 57-54, 6.5 GB [3 GB W.C.]; CHI: 54-57)

I suspect loyal followers of johnnymets.blogspot.com took advantage of the national exposure the Mets received this weekend (FOX on Saturday, ESPN on Sunday) and watched the Mets, not needing my daily blog updates. If not, here's a quick recap.

Sort of last-minute, I attended Friday night's game between the Mets and Cubs - which featured the return of Nomar Garciaparra and Kerry Wood from the disabled list for the Cubs. The wife and in-laws were treated to a 9-5 Mets win. The most important part of that game was the fact that Tom Glavine gave the Mets 8 innings, providing rest to a much-overworked bullpen after the disastrous Milwaukee series.

Saturday, the Mets sent down Kaz Ishii and called up Jae Seo, and Seo again dazzled (as he always does in his start after a call-up). The Mets beat Greg Maddux, 2-0, and David Wright doubled. The bullpen pitched particularly well - Roberto Hernandez struck out Triple Crown candidate Derrek Lee on three pitches, and Braden Looper pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save. I missed this game due to a matinee showing of Mamma Mia with the wife and the in-laws.

Sunday Night Baseball. Mets-Cubs. The Mets finish off the sweep with a 6-1 win. Another strong outing by the starter - Victor Zambrano goes eight innings, giving up just the one run. He bounces back nice from his disaster against the Brewers where he gave up about seventeen homers in two innings of work. The Mets again got to double digits in hits - ten in all. Three of the hits belonged to Cliff Floyd, who homered, and Future Hall of Famer David Wright had three RBI. THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, continued his quest to best DiMaggio, extending his hitting streak to 20 games. And, dare I say it, Carlos Beltran* may be coming around. Beltran* was just 1-for-3, but he made things happen when he got on base. He reached on an error by third baseman Aramis Ramirez in the first inning, an error caused by Beltran* busting it down the line on the routine grounder. He came around to score from first base on a single by Floyd. Good stuff. His next at-bat he walked, and scored on a Wright sacrifice fly. Then he singled to right, and scored on a Wright fielders' choice. Of course, in his final at-bat, Beltran* grounded into a double play, and was booed by the crowd.

A big sweep by the Mets. We're really going to see what the Mets are made of coming up. After an off-day on Monday, the Mets go to San Diego. This is the beggining of two West Coast road trips in three weeks. The Mets exposed the Cubs these past three games - the Cubs made a run to get to .500 coming into the series, and the Mets swept them. The Cubs are done. The Mets now have to avoid any big losses, and show they're for real by winning out West. The Padres and Dodgers are two beatable teams. Then the Mets come home to face the Pirates and Nationals before going West again to play Arizona and San Francisco. All very winnable. It's put up or shut up time for the Mets. And there's no better way to get that all started than with Pedro Martinez* on the mound Tuesday night.

A couple of comments about the Shea experience. First of all, Sunday night was Pedro* bobblehead night, and I didn't get a bobblehead. The Mets are the only team that holds a bobblehead night and gives them only to the kids in attendance. Tonight I think I realized why - they give them to the kids, and then have a ton left over for all the employees. And I get screwed. One of the few things the Mets do that really ticks me off.

Also, I can't stand how baseball crowds are so dependent on "scoreboard noise" to make noise at ballgames. I'm guilty of it sometimes too - you just don't make noise sometimes at the game unless the scoreboard is telling you to "GET LOUD" at certain points in the game. Of course, at certain points in the game the crowd is getting loud anyway, because there are two strikes on a batter or whatever, but too often the crowd will be sitting quiet, then the scoreboard flashes the sign when the pitcher is looking in for the catcher's sign, and then the crowd roars, and then it dies down all before the pitch is even delivered. At least if the crowd is going to respond to "scoreboard noise", sustain it through the pitch to rattle the pitcher. I get bothered by that - I long for the good old days when the crowd decided when to "GET LOUD".

Also, Mets "fans" are now trying to chant players' names during at-bats. For instance, "Mike Pee-ahh-zaaa". Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap. "Mike Pee-ahh-zaa." Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap. It's a blatant rip-off of when the Yankees fans do their stupid little roll call in the outfield. I hate that and I hate the people in the stands at Shea who are trying to do it with the Mets. Get your own ideas.

ELTRAN*'S: 26-91 (.286 AVG.), 3 HR, 16 Runs, 15 RBI, 4 SB

WRIGHT WATCH: No doubles Sunday night, but one on Saturday.


THE KID'S KIDS: No games on Sunday in the Gulf Coast League. As the season draws near an end, the Gulf Coast Mets are 6 games in front, at 25-13. August 25 is the last day on the schedule. I will keep you posted on wheter there is a post-season.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Brewers 6, Mets 4 (MIL: 53-55; NYM: 54-53, 7.5 GB)

Carlos Beltran* and Jose Reyes need to switch salaries this second. At the very least Beltran* should give back this season's salary to the team. They got him to produce like he did last October - maybe not as much as he did last October, with a homer every at-bat, or so it seemed - but at least to be the guy, with the game on the line, who gets the big hit.

Beltran* had that opportunity Wednesday night. And he blew it. Just like he did in Colorado. And in Houston. And on Tuesday night. Jose Reyes, THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, came through in the clutch - he always comes through in the clutch. Let's go back and set the scene.

First of all, the Mets wasted a decent start by Pedro Martinez*. He didn't have his greatest game, but he was effective, striking out 8 in 7 innings of work, giving up 3 runs. (Pedro* didn't get his first strikeout until the fourth inning - and he finished with 8. Not bad.) Roberto Hernandez relieved Pedro*, and gave up the game-tying homer in the eighth. This is after the Mets had a chance to blow the game open in the fifth inning, but stranded runners on second and third. So the game was 4-4, and Braden Looper gave up two runs with two outs in the top of the ninth. You can hardly blame him - after getting two out, he gave up a weak infield hit. Actually, you can blame him, because he walked Rickie Weeks, before giving up the RBI single to Lyle Overbay.

So the Mets have their chance in the bottom of the ninth. Doug Mientkiewicz leads off with a single. Then pinch-hitter extraordinaire Marlon Anderson grounds the ball to second. The second baseman goes to tag Mientkiewicz, but Mientkiewicz drops to the ground and takes out the second baseman, so they can't turn two. Anderson safe at first. Jose Reyes, 0-for-4 to this point, lines a shot over the shortstop's head for a base hit - Marlon Anderson to third. Miguel Cairo then takes a stolen base away from Reyes by swinging at a pitch (he should have taken it - it would have been a ball), then hits a weak grounder that gets Reyes to second, and Anderson stays at third, but Cairo is out at first. Tying run at second for Carlos Beltran*. He swings at the first pitch and tops it to first base. Beltran* had a hit earlier in the game. It's news that he had a hit...they've been so few and far between.

The Mets also wasted a great game by Mike Piazza - who hit a bomb of a home run out of the stadium earlier in the game, and Cliff Floyd also hit a bomb to the apple in right-center field. Piazza also caught pinch-runner Ty Durrington stealing in the top of the ninth for the second out before the Brewers rallied. Piazza's throwing is getting better. I think he's enjoying himself more knowing that everyone knows he's playing his final games in New York.

This is as bad a loss for the Mets as Tuesday night's was a good win. The Braves had lost to the Reds, so the Mets stood to pick up some ground. I'm going to New York Thursday - when the Mets play the Brewers at noon. I'll try to write over the weekend. I will be at Sunday night's game - hopefully I'll leave with a Pedro Martinez bobblehead.

WRIGHT WATCH: 1-for-4 with 2 RBI, no doubles. (He didn't double Tuesday night either.)



ELTRAN*'S: The 1-for-4 Wednesday means for the second half:

19-for-76 (.250 AVG.), 2 HR, 12 RBI, 9 Runs, 3 SB

THE KID'S KIDS: 23-11. Guess what? Must be more rain. Incidentally, in the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader, Hall of Famer Gary Carter managed Kaz Matsui on his rehab assignment. Matsui went 2-for-4 and struck out twice. He could be back with the Mets in a couple of weeks. The Major League Mets, that is.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


The Mets game is still going on as I write this, but I need to go to bed, and I wanted to weigh in on some things.

First of all, Victor Zambrano was awful Tuesday night. He gave up 4 homers to the first eight batters, and couldn't make it through the second inning. Aaron Heilman, Jose Padilla, Jose Santiago, and Roberto Hernandez were awesome in relief, giving the Mets a chance to get back in the ballgame.

Ramon Castro played great - he got the Mets to within 7-6 in the 7th (following David Wright's 30th career homer) and then Marlon Anderson got his 1,000th pinch hit of the season, tying the game at 7. The Mets just battled and battled in this game - it definitely has the potential to be a turning-point type of game.

Hernandez gave up the go-ahead homer to Geoff Jenkins (his second of the game) in the top of the ninth, and then after Wright struck out against Derrick Turnbow, the least clutch hitter of all-time shed his moniker. Mike Cameron is a brand-new ballplayer. I think he's been bothered by trade rumors for a very long time. He's happy to still be in New York, and it's showing on the field. He needs to stay as hot as he is right now, and play like he played when he came of the DL at the beginning of the year - and he needs to play at that level for the rest of the year. Incidentally, that was the first run Turnbow had given up since June 23.

I may overuse the preface, THE GREATEST PLAYER WHO EVER LIVED in referring to Jose Reyes. But let's revisit why he is THE GREATEST PLAYER WHO EVER LIVED. Reyes causes things to happen. He sparked the Mets when he first came up, and last year when he came back from his injury. This year, he's gotten better as the year has gone on. He's fifth in the National League in hits. Whenever he gets on base, he scores, and he's always in the middle of Mets' rallies. The offense revolves around him. He's also very clutch. His speed causes pitchers to balk. Sure, he doesn't walk a whole lot - but he gets a lot of hits. He's got the greatest arm in the history of the game (OK, that might be an exaggeration, but he's got a great throwing arm). The Mets need to make the playoffs so the entire country can get an extended look at THE GREATEST PLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes.

The game's going to extra innings, so I'm going to go. ELTRAN*'S and WRIGHT WATCH will return tomorrow, but you only need to know Wright homered instead of doubled, and Beltran* blew a bunch of opportunities to drive in runs early in the game...he hit the ball hard, but he's 0-for-4 right now.

THE KID'S KIDS: Mets split a doubleheader with the Marlins, losing 4-1 and winning, 5-2. The Mets are 23-11, 6 games up.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Good news. The Mets picked up a half-game on Atlanta, shut down by Zach Duke and the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday afternoon. The Mets, of course, didn't play.

The Mets, I was surprised to read in the New York papers Monday, are happy that Mike Cameron wasn't traded. I guess he's a really good guy in the clubhouse. Cliff Floyd especially was thrilled that his friend was staying. I don't think the players realize that Cameron is KILLING the rest of the team. Oh well. Maybe this all being behind them will lead to a big run in August.

I'm going to the game Sunday night. According to my calculations, I will not be seeing Pedro Martinez* pitch. I'll know better later in the week, but I think Randolph is giving him the extra day of rest, so Pedro will probably be going Wednesday-Tuesday.

When I do go to the Mets-Cubs game, you may hear me yelling on ESPN. I will be the only one screaming for a double when David Wright comes to the plate.

This is an off-day, but since there is some e-mail to get to, I'll forego a trip down memory lane, and put aside the old scorebooks. Maybe I'll do that next week.

Dave checks in with this e-mail:

"Dear Johnnymets,

Off day commercial fodder.

I saw the Southwest commercial you wrote about a few weeks back, where the guy and girl have an awkward moment on the couch then he runs over to his computer. I figured out why it's so awkward: the woman in the commercial was just recently married -- in a State Farm auto insurance commercial, in which she makes her husband throw out a bunch of his
stuff, but they keep his insurance company because "she had the Gecko." And she's cheating on him already. No wonder there was a strained moment on the couch in the Southwest ad.

Along this same vein, David Spade's trainee/coworker from the Capital
One ads is making extra money working at a grocery store, where he
offers Pringles to shoppers.

Dave in Brighton"

Dave, of course, is referring to my article over the All-Star break on some of the best commercials that air during all of the baseball games I watch. Dave, it turns out, likes to create stories about the lives of the people who appear in numerous commercials that air at the same time. I have yet to notice that the woman in the Southwest commercial is the same as the woman in the State Farm one. But I'll take Dave's word for it - the woman sounds like a tramp.

As for the David Spade trainee, he's appearing in a bunch of commercials these days. And I have to say, I am very happy with Dave's repeated use of the word "commercial". I have a strong feeling that ads on TV should be called "commercials". My wife calls them "ads". I think "ads" are the ads in newspapers and magazines. It's tearing us apart.

Here's another e-mail, shifting the focus back to baseball:


I love the Wright Watch....such a captivating part of the column....I'm surprised the NY Post hasn't stolen the idea yet.

Anyways - do you feel like the Mets did an injustice to their fans by even getting in the Manny Ramirez talks?? They get the whole city hyped up about getting Manny - then they don't get him - and end up with nothing. It seems like they're just putting their fans through a roller coaster of emotions.

JMDBSDC Southern Bureau"

Kevin - thanks for the kind words on the Wright Watch. Johnnymets.blogspot.com loves its Southern Bureau. Remember - 16 doubles in 57 games. Quite do-able.

I do think the Mets were sort of used by the Red Sox. As I mentioned on Sunday, it's my theory that the Red Sox floated out this trade proposal to make Red Sox fans realize that they didn't really want Manny to go. So in essence, they used the Mets, because they were never going to trade him....now, anyway. The off-season is a different story. But I don't think that ended up putting Mets fans through a roller coaster of emotions, because people in New York tell me there was a bit of an uproar over the Mets getting Manny. I don't think people wanted him...which is hard for me to believe.

However, I do think the Manny thing took some of the Mets' focus away from the Alfonso Soriano trade talks, and I think Mets fans would have been very happy with a deal for Soriano. So the fact that they didn't end up with Soriano might have made some Mets fans mad (myself included - I forgot to mention that the other day) - and that can be blamed indirectly on Manny.

I should probably weigh in on this whole Rafael Palmeiro mess. How can you unknowingly take steroids? That's what I want to know. I feel like the past 15 years need to be wiped from the books. Everyone's a liar, everyone's been cheating. It's very disheartening, disappointing. Palmeiro's credibility is shot. He lied to Congress....who's to say anyone has been telling the truth. It's just bad. I don't know who to believe - I can't believe these guys have the gall to be doing this now, anyway, faced with this drug plan. I think it lends a ton of credence to my dad's theory that Jason Giambi has been having a great month because he's back on the juice. I wish stuff like this wasn't happening...but maybe the fact that a big name is outed now, in Palmeiro, it will either scare others straight, or lead to other big names and other suspensions.

ELTRAN*'S AND WRIGHT WATCH will return on Tuesday.

THE KID'S KIDS: There's either a night game happening (a rare thing in the Gulf Coast League), or there's been another rain out. The Mets are 22-10, six-and-a-half games up.