Sunday, April 29, 2007
If John Maine keeps going like this, he's going to need to clear some space on his mantle. Maine improved to 4-0, lowering his ERA to 1.35, as the Mets took two out of three from the Nationals in Washington, DC. Right now, he's one of the best pitchers...not just in the National League, but in the majors.
Seriously, I'm not exaggerating. He's fun to watch. He's just mowing batters down. Now, I know the National League is a bit different offensively than the American, but he's pitching very impressively.
All the offense the Mets needed in this game came from Carlos Beltran, who BUNTED in the first inning. It drives me nuts when he bunts. After Jose Reyes singled, stole second, and then David Wright walked (hitting second - more on that and the walk in a bit), Beltran laid down a bunt. The announcer on MASN said he was probably bunting for a base hit, but Beltran was not busting it down the line. So the problem here is twofold - 1) if you're bunting for a base hit, run faster, Carlos, and 2) swing away, for crying out loud! Anyway, Reyes and Wright were stranded, and nothing came of that.
In the sixth, Beltran got a pitch up high, and swatted it out to right. That's what he should be doing every at-bat. The Mets had a 1-0 lead, and held that lead with the help of Aaron Heilman (two-thirds of an inning, but he loaded the bases), Scott Schoeneweis (one-third of an inning, inducing a bases-loaded groundout), and Billy Wagner (recording his fourth save of the season).
This has to be mentioned, but first I should say that Paul Lo Duca rested Sunday, as did Carlos Delgado, so Julio Franco started at first base. In the seventh inning, with runners on first and second, the Nationals laid down a bunt. David Wright stayed back to cover third, and Franco charged from first - he looked like Keith Hernandez. When the ball hit the ground, Franco was right on top of it, picked it up, and fired to third for the out. It was a great play, especially considering it was made by an old man.
Another fact worth noting - David Wright walked twice. He has now walked in ten straight games, thirteen total in that span. So he's not hitting, but he's getting on base. That's good that his slump isn't affecting his plate discipline. I wish I could tell you what's wrong with his hitting right now, though. Maybe his bat will wake up in Arizona.
The Mets host Florida for three games, then go on to Arizona, where the past couple of years they have absolutely caught fire. This should be a good week for the Mets - so good, in fact, that they are my choice for the "New Baseball Pool" this week.
NHL on NBC johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: For the third time this season, John Maine. He went 7 scoreless innings, striking out 8, while giving up 3 hits and walking three. He's just been fantastic all year.
TURNING TWO...HUNDRED: No double plays again on Sunday, so this item is going to be temporarily retired (I'm just not as excited about it after the confusion from mlb.com). It will be replaced with:
WHAT A STEAL!: Jose Reyes had two stolen bases on Sunday, increasing his season total to 16. I expect him to shatter the team record this season, 66, held by Roger Cedeno of those (soon) infamous 1999 Mets.
INJURIES: Jose Valentin left Saturday night's game after feeling/hearing a 'pop' in his leg. He was in New York on Sunday, not with the team, getting that checked out.
Orlando Hernandez also was in New York to have his pitching shoulder checked out. He apparently felt pain there. He was supposed to pitch Monday against Florida, in New York. It remains to be seen whether or not he will make that start.
AROUND THE MAJORS: What happened to Josh Hancock of the St. Louis Cardinals is just horrible. That's going to be tough for the guys on that team.
The Rockies beat the Braves, putting the Mets back in front of the Braves by a half game. In that game, Troy Tulowitzki turned an unassisted triple play (the second triple play of the season - the Phillies also turned one). Tulowitzki is a good defensive player - he impressed me at Shea earlier this week against the Mets. How about this, too - he hit a triple.
Brian Bannister started for the Kansas City Royals on Sunday - and pitched well. The former Met gave up 3 runs in six-and-two-thirds innings, but on just 4 hits. I thought it was his first start of the season, but it wasn't. It looks like he's made at least one other start, maybe another appearance, too.
The Dodgers and Padres are heading to the 17th inning, so that's exciting. But I just saw a hilarious Coors Light commercial in between innings - I won't describe it - just keep an eye out for it. It's about new bottles where the mountains on the label turn blue when the bottle gets cold. The key line in the commercial - "It turned blue!" Really funny.
BEAT THE STREAK: Season high continues - I'm at six games, after A-Rod's hit. I'm going with Vladimir Guerrero against Odalis Perez on Monday.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
It took 12 innings, but the Mets managed to pull out a win against the Nationals on Saturday night. They need to get these wins against Washington, but they're getting tougher and tougher to come by. The Mets still trail the Atlanta Braves by a half-game in the division, and while it's too early to worry about that too much, it is important to note that the Braves are beating the opponents they should be beating - the Mets are not having the easiest time with teams like the Nationls.
The Mets were without a hit for the first five or so innings of this one - and their lack of offense ended up costing Tom Glavine a decision, leaving him at 7 wins shy of 300 in his career. (Jerome Williams gave the Nationals six innings of one-hit ball.) However, the Mets avoided being pinned with a loss with a run in the top of the ninth inning against the Nationals' shaky closer, Chad Cordero. Trailing 2-1, with runners on first and second, pinch-hitter Julio Franco lined a single to right field to tie the game at 2. The Mets might have won the game in the 9th, too, as Jose Reyes ripped one right after that, but Robert Fick made a nice play at first base to end the inning.
The mini-rally came a half-inning after Aaron Heilman stood to lose the game, giving up an RBI double, really, the only big blemish in his one-and-two thirds innings of work.
Glavine kind of got cheated out of this win, by the way. The Nationals' first run came after a bad call at first base - the Mets turned a double play, the runner at first was clearly out by a step, but the umpire called him safe. The first base ump, Tony Randazzo, had a horrible game. This call resulted in an argument that saw Willie Randolph ejected from the game. The runner came around to score on a double, so Glavine really should never have given up that run.
The Mets finally broke through with 4 in the twelfth, and it was nice to see. The first two runs came on a double by Carlos Beltran, who has been quiet lately, but came through in the clutch here. That was followed by an intentionaly walk to Carlos Delgado, and then David Wright, with the bases loaded, hit a 2-run single through the left side - a nice, solid hit. Remember all those times when teams would walk Cliff Floyd to get to Wright, and I always wrote how I think he takes that as an insult? I think it's a good thing they walked Delgado to get to him Saturday night - maybe that woke up whatever has been sleeping inside Wright.
The rally in the twelfth made a winner out of Aaron Sele, who pitched one-and-a-third scoreless innings. I forgot to write this earlier in the week, but Sele got beat up pretty good in the Wednesday afternoon game against Colorado, so it's nice to see him come back and have a good outing.
The Mets wrap up the series with Washington Sunday afternoon - John Maine against Jason Bergmann.
Coca-Cola johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: I realize this flies in the face of my logic of last week, that in order for the Mets to have won their previous extra innings game, they needed to get to extra innings first, therefore the player should be Julio Franco. But it's my decision, and I'm giving it to Carlos Beltran, who got the go-ahead runs home in the twelfth, and I'm comfortable with this decision. Beltran was 2-for-5 on the night, with the two RBI and a run scored.
TURNING TWO...HUNDRED: No double plays on Saturday, so it remains at 28 through 22 games.
MORE STEROIDS TALK: Apparently there is an article in (or coming out soon in) ESPN The Magazine in which Brian McRae says that steroids and amphetamines were rampant in the clubhouse of the 1999 Mets. The news that comes out of these investigations is going to be very, very disappointing to me, I just know it. McRae and Turk Wendell pointed the finger at pitchers in addition to hitters, without naming names. But consider this - Orel Hershiser was a pitcher on that team - so I wonder what he has to say about this too (I'm not insinuating he used anything...I actually doubt that he did. I'm just curious about his two cents, since he's an ESPN guy now, I'm sure they'll ask him about it.).
BEAT THE STREAK: Watch out, world. Freddy Sanchez got me a hit, so I'm at 5 games. I'm going with A-Rod on Sunday.
Friday, April 27, 2007
All in all, Oliver Perez had another good outing on Friday night in Washington. Unfortunately, he had a rough start, and a very bad first inning, and the Nationals made that stand up to beat the Mets, 4-3.
Perez gave up 3 runs in the first, on a 3-run homer by Austin Kearns. He then settled in to go 7 innings, giving up 4 runs after the Nationals tacked on another in the sixth, and striking out 9, while walking none (the best part of his line). Perez threw 120 pitches, 81 of which were strikes. It's just too bad the Mets couldn't get anything going on offense.
The Mets bats were pretty quiet against Matt Chico. Jose Reyes manufactured the Mets' first run, blooping a shot into right field, over the second baseman's head, then legging that into a double. He stole third, and scored on a not-so-deep sacrifice fly by Paul Lo Duca. The Mets are never out of a game because of what Reyes does on the basepaths. In the fourth, the Mets had a chance to do some damage, with the bases loaded and one out, and Jose Valentin grounded one up the middle that could have been a double play, but the pitcher deflected it, slowing it down, and the Mets got a run out of that.
Encouraging news came in David Wright's last at-bat in the 8th inning. Facing another hitless night, and with the Mets needing baserunners to rally, Wright lined one to right field for an opposite-field double, his fourth double of the season. Maybe that will get him going - he went opposite field, it was a solid shot...he also tagged the ball early on, but was robbed by Ryan Zimmerman at third. Wright came around to score, but the Mets didn't have enough to rally in the eighth. They also did nothing in the ninth against Washington closer Chad Cordero, who usually walks a tightrope, but got the Mets 1-2-3.
Saturday night the Mets send Tom Glavine against Jerome Williams - no way they can lose another game in this series to the Nationals.
Southwest Airlines johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: Austin Kearns delivered the big blow, with his 3-run homer in the first inning. It was his only hit on a 1-for-4 night, but those 3 RBI were huge.
TURNING TWO...HUNDRED: No double plays for the Mets on Friday night, so the count remains 28 double plays (through 21 games).
STEROIDS: Not sure about many of the details with this Mets clubhouse worker who pleaded guilty to running steroids. But only bad things can come out of this. The guy worked for the Mets from 1985-1995. Lots of names are going to come out of this...and I'm not going to like what I hear.
BEAT THE STREAK: No hits yet for Andruw Jones on Friday night. I'll be looking for that first thing in the morning. I'm not sure how Freddy Sanchez has been doing so far this year, but he's 5-for-10 in his career against Saturday's Reds starter Matt Belisle, so I'm going with Sanchez.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
**Gary Carter appears in the Mets Historical Records section 5 times:
- September 3, 1985, for hitting 3 homers in a game (tie with 6 others).
- September 3-4, 1985, for hitting 5 homers over two games.
- September, 1985, for hitting 13 homers in a month (tie with Dave Kingman).
- 1986 - most sacrifice flies in a season (tie with Howard Johnson), with 15.
- July 27, 1986, for being part of one of just six back-to-back-to-back home run tandems in Mets history (along with Darryl Strawberry and Kevin Mitchell).
- He also appears in a section on most home runs at Shea Stadium - he's 10th on the list, with 54.
**Willie Stargell hit the first home run at Shea, in 1964, and is tied for the most by a visitor, with 26. Mike Schmidt also has 26.
**Scott Schoeneweis attended Duke University.
**John Maine attended the University of North Carolina....Charlotte.
**Philip Humber was drafted by the Yankees in 2001 but didn't sign with them.
**Moises Alou didn't play organized baseball until attending Canada College in California. How does an Alou not play organized baseball until college!?!PERSONAL NOTE: The blog may suffer in the coming weeks. Report writing season is upon me again, and that is going to occupy a LOT of my time. Good news - the sooner I get those done, the sooner I'll get back to this. When there's a dropoff in my writing here, that means there's an increase in my school writing, and that's actually good news, because then it will be closer to being done.
BEAT THE STREAK: Hello, 3 games! Lance Berkman got me there. I may have had a rule in the past about picking Braves for Beat the Streak, but now that I'm well on my way to 57 games, there's no one I won't pick - Andruw Jones in Colorado for Friday.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
So much for a sweep. The Rockies outhit the Mets 20-12 in an afternoon game at Shea Stadium Wednesday, preventing the Mets from picking up their third win in a row.
This was the second straight bad outing for Mike Pelfrey...and this one was much worse than his last. Pelfrey followed up his 4 runs in five innings against Atlanta with 6 runs in three innings. Both were at home, for whatever that's worth. Pelfrey was quoted after the game as saying something like, "I kept throwing fastballs and they kept hitting them. I guess I'm just stubborn." That doesn't sound like the smartest approach to me.
Overshadowed by the Rockies' 20 hits were the Mets' 12 - a third of which belonged to THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes - he was 4-for-5. Endy Chavez started in left field, and he was 2-for-5. Shawn Green also continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-4 with 3 RBI. David Wright continued his not-hot hitting (and I didn't even pick him for Beat the Streak), going 0-for-3.
The Mets have Thursday off, before opening a three-game weekend series in Washington. I'll try to produce something creative for the blog on Thursday.
Coors Light johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: Can't ignore Willy Taveras's 5-for-6 effort. He only scored twice and had just one RBI, but he had a couple of bunt singles that apparently sparked the team. I couldn't watch this game, by the way - it was an afternoon game, and I was at school. But a 5-hit day most of the time will merit Player of the Game honors.
TURNING TWO...HUNDRED: Still not sure what the Mets are chasing here, but it's worth noting that the Mets turned 2 more double plays on Wednesday, giving them 28 in 20 games.
WEDNESDAY: 2 SEASON TOTAL: 28
NL EAST NEWS: The Braves-Marlins game had an exciting ending Wednesday night. The Braves, and Tim Hudson, took a 3-0 lead into the ninth inning. The Marlins got three straight hits off Hudson (and his 0.60 or thereabouts ERA), and Bob Wickman came in. He gave up 3 runs, and then a passed ball brought home the winning run for the Marlins. All three runs were charged to Hudson, so his ERA went up to 1.22. It was Bob Wickman's first blown save of the year - and his ERA is still just 0.90. I'm glad Tim Hudson got three earned runs - I hold a grudge for him stinking it up last year, and single-handedly destroying my fantasy pitching staff before I finally cut him.
BEAT THE STREAK: Jimmy Rollins hit his (league-leading!) 8th homer of the season, so I have tied my season-best hitting streak at 2 games. I'm going with Lance Berkman on Thursday - he has good career numbers against Tony Armas of the Pirates.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
By this time last year, the Mets had played about a dozen extra-innings games (slight exaggeration). Tuesday night, the Mets played their first extra innings game of 2007, and made staying up later than expected pay off.
In the bottom of the 12th inning, with runners on second and third and two out, Endy Chavez laid down a perfect drag bunt to bring home Shawn Green, and the Mets kept themselves a half-game in front of the Braves in the NL East with a 2-1, 12 inning win.
The dramatic win was set up by some drama in the 10th. After Billy Wagner had given up a run to the Rockies in the top of the 10th, Damion Easley hit a pinch-hit, 2-out, 2-strike home run to tie the game at 1, and force more extras.
The 12 innings (and the tenth inning comeback) nearly made you forget that Orlando Hernandez turned in an outstanding start in this game. El Duque went 7 innings without giving up a run, surrendering just 4 hits, walking two, while striking out 5. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh in one of many early failed Mets rallies. They blew a lot of chances to win this game early. But that's not to take anything away from Rockies starter Aaron Cook, who also went 7 scoreless innings.
The win was the first in the young career of Joe Smith, who gave the Mets two-thirds of an inning, retiring the two batters he faced. Aaron Heilman and Scott Schoeneweis also had scoreless outings in this one.
It should be noted that in the 11th inning, with the winning run at second, David Wright had a great at-bat. He managed to work a walk, but he fouled off a few pitches, and looked the most locked-in I've seen him look all year - sort of like David Wright last year. It made me wonder if there's been something else on Wright's mind all month - because Tuesday night was the first night I really felt he looked like himself. For what that's worth. He finished 2-for-4, with one strikeout.
The Mets and Rockies play an afternoon game on Wednesday, getaway day. Mike Pelfrey against Josh Fogg.
Extra Sugarfree Gum johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: Damion Easley. Easy call here - without Easley, Endy never gets a chance. Can't do much better than one at-bat, one home run...and in a very important spot.
MONDAY NIGHT'S RESULT - Mets 6, Rockies 1
VALENTIN'S DAY - Jose Valentin earned johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game honors with a homer and 4 RBI. He was 1-for-2, scoring just once - he had a sacrifice fly in addition to a 3-run homer, single-handedly lifting the Mets to a 4-0 lead by the 4th inning.
John Maine benefitted from Valentin's outing, as well as Carlos Delgado's first home run of the season, improving to 3-0 on the season, and the Mets jumped back into first place, a half-game ahead of Atlanta.
I was a bit under the weather, sorry I didn't write. I'm feeling better Tuesday night, but I'm told this bug I have could last 7-10 days. Bad headache, coupled with a nauseous feeling. It may or may not include vomiting. It did for me.
TURNING TWO...HUNDRED: I've been thinking about this all season, since the Mets turned four double plays on Opening Night in St. Louis. I finally did the math tonight. I thought the Mets were on pace to set some sort of record for double plays turned in a season. They are, if my calculations are correct. They're on pace to turn more than 200 double plays right now - the team record is 171. So there's a new feature this year, and it's called "Turning Two...Hundred":
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: 2 SEASON TO DATE: 26 TEAM RECORD: 171
**OK, there's a problem here. The Mets' media guide has the team record at 171, done twice - in 1966 and 1983. But mlb.com says the 1999 Mets had 294 double plays - reasonable, since that was a great defensive team. But mlb.com also has every 1999 team as the top 30 in double plays all time. So I think something is wrong there. I need to straighten this out before we take Turning Two...Hundred too far off the ground. I also need to get the all-time record straightened out, too, because I'm having a hard time believing the 1999 Devil Rays turned almost 400 (although they probably allowed a lot of baserunners...)
SNY: I haven't commented on this yet this season, but Lee Mazzilli has been doing pre-and-post-game studio work for the Mets on SNY this season. I can't comment on his performance, because I usually don't watch the pre-and-post-game studio work. The past couple of days, I've caught a bit of the pre-game shows, and for some reason, Dave Gallagher is doing the job. I haven't been too impressed...but I'm more impressed that he has remained visible enough to actually have a high-profile job like this. Dave Gallagher - I hold a grudge against him because I think he was the first Met to wear number 8 after Gary Carter. He was one of the "ordinary guys" I always think of, too, when I think of the early-90's New York Mets...Bill Pecota, Jeff McKnight, Dave Gallagher. I seriously considered naming one of my fantasy teams after him, but went with Jeff McKnight, because I really do hold that number 8 thing against Gallagher, unfair though that may be.
STERLING: God forgive me for the following: So I was listening to a lot of WFAN in New York over the weekend (Thursday through Saturday, truth be told). On Thursday, driving down to New York, I got to hear a little of Joe Benigno's mid-day show - I enjoy listening to him. They were giving John Sterling crap because of his call of the previous day's home run by A-Rod...actually, maybe this was on Friday...I'm getting my days confused. Regardless, they were making fun of the call where Sterling was saying..."An Aaaaaa-Bomb, for Aaaaaa-Rod." Now, I think Sterling is a dope, and can't stand listening to a Yankees game on the radio. But on Saturday, Benigno had Sterling on his show, and was interviewing him, and I'll be darned if it wasn't a great interview. Sterling came across as intelligent and knowledgeable. I can't believe it - it almost made me change my opinion about him. But then I started to dislike him even more, because if he's that coherent in an interview, he should be enjoyable to listen to during a game.
Also on WFAN, on Friday (I confused my days in the above paragraph, I apologize...but I know Sterling was interviewed on Saturday, when Benigno was filling in for Russo, and I know I heard the following on Friday), Mike & the Mad Dog interviewed Theo Epstein heading into the Yankees-Red Sox series. It was a fantastic interview. Epstein was great, and when Chris Russo asked him about the Doug Mirabelli trade (for Cla [Russo actually pronounced it like it is spelled, instead of 'clay', which I thought was hilarious] Meredith and Josh Bard), Epstein was honest, and called it an awful trade for the Red Sox. He went on to say that the Red Sox will never be impatient again. The intelligence and honesty that Epstein showed in this interview made me remember why I liked listening to his press conferences when I was working in TV. And showed why the Red Sox are lucky he came back as general manager.
BEAT THE STREAK: I take personal responsibility for David Wright's 0-for-15 slump. It was all because I kept picking him for Beat the Streak. He finally got a hit Tuesday night, so he's off the hook. I have a one-gamer, and I go with Jimmy Rollins to tie my season high on Wednesday.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Tom Glavine - still 7 wins shy of 300 for his career. The Mets bullpen - worse than it was on Saturday. David Wright - still under the 'johnnymets.blogspot.com Beat the Streak jinx'. Sorry about that.
This was a see-saw game - and the Braves jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the first pitch of the game. Tom Glavine left a pitch up high, and Kelly Johnson jumped all over it to lead off the game with a homer.
In the 5th, Shawn Green tied the game with a solo homer off of John Smoltz. At that point, Green was 11-for-23 in his career against Smoltz. The fifth inning was exciting - after the homer, Jose Valentin had a long flyout to the wall opposite field in left, then Tom Glavine hit a roller down the third base line. Smoltz jumped off the mound, barehanded the ball, and threw a strike to first to get Glavine. It was some play. Jose Reyes reached, then Paul Lo Duca blasted one to the right-center gap, and it bounced over the wall for a ground rule double - it would have scored a run otherwise. So with runners at second and third, Carlos Beltran took a third strike -the strikeout that tied Smoltz with Cy Young on the all-time list.
In the sixth, Jeff Francoeur had a 2-run single, making it 3-1, Atlanta, off Glavine.
In the bottom half, Carlos Delgado singled, then David Wright struck out (0-for-12 since his hitting streak ended). Moises Alou singled, putting runners at first and second. Shawn Green walked controversially, and when Bobby Cox argued, he got ejected from the game (127 career, four from a major league record). With the bases loaded, Jose Valentin made it 3-2, Braves, with a single. Then, after Julio Franco pinch hit for Tom Glavine and flew out, THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED lined a ball down the right field line - 3-run triple, the Mets were ahead, 5-3, and Tom Glavine could win the game. (Paul Lo Duca added an insurance run.)
No way the Mets could lose the game now...they just don't lose games like this. Well, they lost this one. In the 7th, Ambiorix Burgos got two quick outs, then got a fly ball to right field. Shawn Green jumped for it, when he didn't have to (he was on the run, but it was a routine fly ball), and it went off his glove....and it wasn't ruled an error. Scott Schoeneweis came on, gave up a walk, then a 3-run homer to Edgar Renteria. 6-6.
In the 8th, Aaron Heilman served up a 3-run homer to Kelly Johnson, following an error by Jose Valentin. (Valentin has been very sure-handed, so this is the exception, not the rule. Looking dopey in right field has almost come to be expected out of Green.) All of the runs were unearned, but Heilman lost the game.
The Mets mounted a mini-rally, but came up short. With two on in the 8th, Jose Reyes and Paul Lo Duca failed to get a run home. In the 9th, Bob Wickman struck out Carlos Beltran in a 12-pitch at-bat to lead off the inning, walked Carlos Delgado, got David Wright on a fielder's choice, gave up a single to Moises Alou, then got the tying run, Shawn Green, to ground out to short.
The Mets have lost just two series this season, and they've both been to the Braves. That doesn't bode well, if only because it lets the Braves believe they still have some sort of a shot. The Braves have played better than I thought they would to begin this season...but I don't think they'll have staying power.
The Mets are now a half-game back of Atlanta, but they can do some damage this week - they host Colorado, then go to Washington. It's John Maine against Taylor Buchholz Monday night.
Kelly's Roast Beef johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: Kelly Johnson killed the Mets on Sunday. He was 3-for-4 with 2 home runs, 4 RBI, a walk, and three runs scored. Clearly he reads the blog and took offense to me saying earlier in the year that the Braves don't have anyone who can lead off for them.
CITI FIELD UPDATE: The fact that the Mets will have a new stadium soon is quite possibly the most exciting thing for me since 1986 as far as the Mets go. Every time I drive by Shea now as I head to my parents' house in Queens, there is more and more progress on the new stadium.
That was one of the things I was looking forward to in going to the game on Friday night - seeing the construction over the outfield wall. Unfortunately, I couldn't go to Friday's game. However, my sister went to Sunday's game against the Braves, as the Mets held their annual Autism Awareness Day. (My sister does fantastic work with children, day in and day out...many of the children she works with have some form of autism. Last year The Wife and I went to Autism Awareness Day with her, and we saw Tom Glavine versus Dontrelle Willis. But I digress.) My sister took a couple of pictures with her cell phone, forwarded them to my cell phone, and I was able to get them into my e-mail, and now onto the blog (I feel like Jack Bauer). So I present you with the latest visual proof that the Mets are, in fact, building a new stadium.
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As for the Southern Bureau's comments on David Wright's homers...I can't tell you why he's not homering. I'll only say that if he wasn't hitting at all, I'd be worried. When you look at Wright's numbers since last year's All Star break, he has just 6 homers since last July. Now, he has tended to fade late in the seasons, so maybe he's made an adjustment, and is keeping himself fresher for the second half of the season/post-season. Also, Southern Bureau, maybe it just serves you right for drafting him and not allowing me to have him on my team.
BEAT THE STREAK: David Wright has to get a hit eventually, so I'm taking him against Buchholz on Monday. My longest streak so far this season has been 2 games. That's disgusting.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
If Oliver Perez can stay under control this season, I maintain he will be a valuable member of the rotation. Perez bounced back from his 7-walk performance in his last outing to shut down the Braves (again), improving his record to 2-1.
Perez didn't dominate - he gave up 9 hits over 6-and-two-thirds innings, but he only gave up 2 earned runs, and here's the important part - 9 strikeouts, 0 walks. We'll need to watch his control all year long.
Perez also benefitted from a comfortable lead. After being shut down by Tim Hudson on Friday night, the Mets' bats woke up again, pounding out 11 hits (10 against starter Chuck James), and scoring 7 runs. Carlos Beltran was 4-for-5, missing a chance at his first career 5-hit game, and Jose Reyes was 3-for-5. Reyes also stole his 9th base of the year. I just hope we don't ever take Jose Reyes for granted - he is THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED.
David Wright hit 2nd, as Paul Lo Duca is still mending, and was 0-for-4 (guess I still have the magic 'Beat the Streak' touch/jinx, killing people's real-life streaks - the 26-game streak came to an end Friday). Damion Easley started at second base, and homered. Ramon Castro homered again in relief of Lo Duca. Everyone is contributing - and the guys who aren't contributing will very soon. (Neither Carlos Delgado nor David Wright have a home run yet this season. Wright, at least, is hitting, albeit not for power. Delgado is hitting just .209.) (A secondary parenthetical thought - "projected stats" are a little ridiculous. It's funny to see that Alex Rodriguez, based on his stats to this point, is "projected" to hit 122 home runs. But it's silly to see that Delgado is "projected" to hit 0.)
MARRIOTT RESIDENCE INN JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: It could very easily have been an offensive player, but you want Carlos Beltran? Check espn.com. My 'Player of the Game' honor goes to Joe Smith. His line? One-third of an inning, 1 strikeout. Why does that merit an honor? With the Mets up, 7-2, and after Scott Schoeneweis had just walked Chipper Jones to load the bases, Smith was brought in to face Andruw Jones. Smith was described on WFAN as "cool as a cucumber", never changing his expression, and he struck out Jones to end the inning and the threat. Looking at the bigger picture, Smith's ERA is 0.00 in 10 appearances. And Mets relievers have allowed just 4 out of about 30 inherited runners to score. I think Inherited Runners-Scored is just about the most accurate and worthwhile stat to judge relievers by, and the Mets are doing awesome in that category right now.
The Braves beat the Mets on Friday night, 7-3, in a dominant outing by Tim Hudson, who earned johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game honors. Hudson has been great so far this year. Hudson's numbers on Friday night: 8 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 K's, 0 ER. His ERA on the year is 0.62, and he is 3-0 on the season.
The Mets and Braves play the rubber game on Sunday - John Smoltz against Tom Glavine. I get the game on TBS, not on DirecTV. I'd rather a few channels before I watch the Braves broadcast, but watching the Braves broadcast is preferable to no game at all.
OTHER DOMINANT PITCHERS: Cole Hamels of the Phillies is very impressive. Last year he was very good, then had a pop in his elbow, if I remember correctly, and was shut down for a while. He's off to a good start in 2007, and on Saturday against the Reds, he pitched a complete game, striking out 15 in the Phillies win. He's a very good young pitcher who I like watching, even though he plays for the Phillies. I just hope he's able to stay healthy...especially in light of the Mariners' Felix Hernandez leaving with an elbow injury on Thursday night.
OVER THE AIRWAVES: So the rescheduled weekend in New York became a Friday overnight in Connecticut to attend a funeral. The TV in the Marriott Residence Inn had YES, but did not have SNY, so we watched the Red Sox-Yankees, while listening to the Mets-Braves. I had to play with the clock radio for a while, though, before I could tune in the Mets. What I stumbled across before finally finding WFAN:
1. Reds-Phillies (Phillies broadcast...I think)
2. Yankees-Red Sox (on one FM station, and a few AM stations)
3. Blue Jays-Orioles (Baltimore broadcast...I think)
4. Indians-Devil Rays (Cleveland broadcast...I think)
5. Finally, Mets-Braves on WFAN.
I never realized so many stations could come through on a little clock radio in a hotel room. I need to experiment with my radios around here and see if any of those can come through all the way to Massachusetts.
BEAT THE STREAK: My David Wright jinx continues until Sunday.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
(No picture capability again) The Mets continued their hot hitting in Florida on Thursday night, banging out another 16 hits in an 11-3 win, completing a 2-game sweep.
Interestingly, the Mets did not play their cleanest game of the year - committing 2 errors, but it didn't matter. Paul Lo Duca missed the game, since the hand he hurt the other night was acting up. So the Mets shuffled their lineup. Carlos Beltran batted second, and was 4-for-6, hitting his 4th home run (and two doubles). Moises Alou hit third, and was 2-for-4, and Ramon Castro hit in the seventh spot, going 2-for-5 with a homer. Shawn Green also had a good game (2-for-5, 2 doubles). This is one tough lineup, and against a young pitcher in Rick Vanden Hurk of the Marlins, it's almost unfair. The Mets blew this game open with 6 runs in the third inning.
Orlando Hernandez has pitched well in his career against Florida, and on Thursday he went 7 innings, giving up 3 hits, 2 runs (only one earned), 2 walks, and he struck out 10, improving his record to 2-1. He was lights out after the first inning, when he gave up his two runs, not helped by an awful throwing error by David Wright.
The Mets are a half-game ahead of the Braves in the division, entering this weekend's three-game series at Shea. I'll write again either Saturday night (after Saturday night prime-time NASCAR, woo!), or Sunday after the game.
BANK OF AMERICA JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: Just because I don't know how often this will happen this year, the award is going to Ramon Castro for Thursday night. Castro didn't just fill in for Paul Lo Duca, he was a big part of the Mets' offensive attack. Castro was 2-for-5, with 3 RBI, and a run scored.
WRIGHT WATCH: David Wright was 1-for-3, continuing his hitting streak. He still doesn't have a homer on the season, but he is hitting about as consistently as anyone in baseball. It's a 14-game hitting streak on the season, 26 games over two seasons.
BEAT THE STREAK: David Wright got me a hit - I'm going with his hot bat for a couple more days.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
(I'm having trouble with pictures tonight, so imagine a Mets-Marlins image here). The Mets pounded out 17 hits on Wednesday night in Florida, beating the man they had such a hard time beating for so long, Dontrelle Willis. Besides starting pitcher John Maine, the only starter to not get a hit on Wednesday was Paul LoDuca (and I forgot to mention this Tuesday, so it's worth mentioning now, that LoDuca took a foul tip off the throwing hand in Tuesday's game, and was hurt so much that he had to leave the game. Throw in an 0-for-5 on a night where everyone was hitting, and I wonder how much pain LoDuca is in.).
The Mets struck early - scoring 4 runs in the first inning, before an out was even recorded. It was pretty much over there. The Marlins apparently had a late flight out of Houston on Tuesday, and an early arrival home on Wednesday, but boy were they awful. A couple of errors in the first aided the Mets. The only thing that made this game worth watching after the first few innings was the fact that - again - John Maine carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning (although the first batter in the seventh put a stop to the thoughts that the Mets might finally get one). Maine keeps teasing us...perhaps he'll be the first pitcher to toss a no-no for the Mets. In all, Mets pitchers (Aarons Sele and Heilman finished the game) combined to give up just three hits, with Maine giving up a 2-run homer in the seventh for the Marlins only scoring. (It should also be noted that the Marlins entered the game leading the Majors with a .288 batting average.)
Offensive highlights for the Mets, on a night with 17 team hits, included a 4-for-6 night for Jose Reyes (with 2 doubles), 2-for-5, including a 2-run homer for Carlos Beltran, 3-for-5 for Jose Valentin, and a 2-for-5 night for David Wright.
The Mets wrap up the quick 2-game series with the Marlins on Thursday night before coming home for a weekend series with Atlanta. Orlando Hernandez pitches against Rick Vanden Hurk.
Programming note: Not sure if I'll be writing over the next few nights. I'll try to keep track of Players of the Game, and update over the weekend. I might be able to do Thursday night's recap...no way I can do Friday...maybe Saturday I'll be back.
(Imagine a picture of John Maine here) RED LOBSTER JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: A tough night to select one performer out of so many highlights, but I'm going with John Maine - he improved to 2-0, and took a no-hitter deep into the game, and didn't implode once the no-hitter was gone. Final line - 7 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 4 BB, 7 strikeouts. Maine was also aided (because he walked 4) by 2 more double plays behind him. Also, another game with no errors by the Mets. They're off to a very good start to the season defensively.
WRIGHT WATCH (IT'S BACK!): David Wright was 2-for-5, so he has a 13-game hitting streak for the season, 25 overall dating back to last year. Over two seasons, he's still not quite halfway to DiMaggio's 56-game total.
DONTRELLE: Entering Wednesday night's game, Dontrelle Willis was 11-2 in his career against the Mets, with a 2.02 ERA in 16 games. I think the Mets started to figure him out a little last year, too....nope, I just checked, and he dominated them pretty good last year. So this was a good win for the Mets, to get to Willis like that.
ON THE SUBJECT OF NO-HITTERS: I'm aggravated. I spent so much time away from the TV this evening, and then I only had on the Mets, then the Phillies-Nationals game. No one mentioned that there was another no-hitter going on, and I never did my customary channel-switching to see if there were any possible history-making scenarios in any of the other games. Of course, that means there was. I switched on ESPNEWS, and saw that Mark Buehrle had thrown a no-hitter against Texas. I like watching the last few innings of no-hitters...I'm really mad I missed it. Then, to make matters worse, the woman who did the ESPNEWS highlights was AWFUL. So friggin' awful. She debuted on ESPNEWS a couple of weekends ago, and I haven't seen her very much...but she's SOOOOO bad. It's a disgrace that she's on ESPN. While I'm ranting, I switched to ESPNEWS in the first place so I could see Rangers (hockey) highlights - they swept the Thrashers, and not one game was on national television. Not one. Versus showed about three Penguins-Sentaors games, and a couple of Islanders-Sabres. No Rangers. I feel like writing a letter to the NHL, and saying, THIS IS WHY YOU HAVE NO FANS....Versus?!?! Come on, really.
TROUBLE IN PHILLY: Apparently things are unraveling in everyone's favorite NL East city. First of all, after Tuesday night's loss to the Mets, manager Charlie Manuel got into it with a Philadelphia radio host, who wanted Manuel to fire up the team more. Manuel challenged the guy to a fight. Never good. Then, Wednesday night, the Phillies responded by going out and needing extra innings against the Nationals (I was hoping I could write that they lost to the Nats, but I need to go to bed, and it's the 12th inning.) All the more reason why the Phillies don't scare me.
BALTIMORE CLOWN: Kevin Millar is a clown. He's an absolute clown. (And I don't think I'm saying this in a negative way...I actually kind of like his attitude.) We saw it a lot when he was up here in Boston. Now in Baltimore, he's still goofing around. On Opening Day in Baltimore, a couple of weeks ago, when they introduced the Orioles to the crowd, Millar came out and did the dance Ray Lewis always does when he's introduced with the Ravens. Funny stuff. Wednesday, he was "wired" in the dugout on MASN's "Wired Wednesdays". He was DH, so he was on the bench the whole game. They showed a montage of stuff he was doing, one of which was staring down a teammate. He was sitting next to the guy, staring at the back of his head, until the guy turned around. The guy said something like, "You been staring at me this whole time? It was weird, I could almost feel it. Isn't that weird?" It was pretty funny. Keep it up, Millar.
BEAT THE STREAK: Since I'll be away, and unsure if I can pick a new guy each day, I'm going to ride Wright's streak. I have him through Sunday's game. David DeJesus had an 0-fer against the Tigers, so I'm back to 0.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
After consecutive rainouts, the Mets didn't miss a beat in playing their first baseball since Saturday. Actually, the Mets looked much better than the last time they took the field, when they lost to the Washington Nationals at Shea.
Tom Glavine had another rocky start, but the Mets pulled out career win number 293 for him. Glavine walked 5 and gave up 6 hits in six innings - but he only gave up one run. He pitched out of a bases loaded situation in the third inning - after he walked the opposing pitcher to start the inning, and walked Ryan Howard with the bases loaded to give up his only run. He was in and out of trouble the rest of the way - another struggle for Glavine, but he got the win. The way I see it, the way the Mets struggled to get Glavine wins his first couple of years here, when he pitched well (not the first half of his first year, when he stunk - since then) and they couldn't score for him, or the bullpen blew it - the Mets owe him wins like these, where he can battle, but know that he'll get the run support if he slips. Turns out he didn't need the extra runs, but I think you know what I mean.
A word on the opposing pitcher, Freddy Garcia. This was Garcia's first start for the Phillies, since coming over from the White Sox in an off-season trade. Garcia had been hurt, and was on a short leash in this first start of the season. Garcia is one of the main reasons I thought the Phillies would challenge the Mets in the National League East, and now that he's back I think the Phillies are a better team. That said, this outing was not the best one to judge Garcia by, since he wasn't going to go very deep into the game, and the weather was awful (also a reason I think Glavine had to battle - he hasn't pitched in very nice weather yet this season) - but he showed flashes Tuesday night that he can be effective (6 K's in 4 and two-thirds).
The Mets bats woke up late, but early on Moises Alou sparked them. He had two home runs, both to left field, and the wind was apparently blowing in at a pretty good clip. The Mets scored runs in the 5th through 8th innings, putting the game away, but they were aggressive all night long. Jose Reyes had two stolen bases as did Carlos Beltran.
David Wright had a hit in his first at bat, so he now has a 24-game hitting streak - over two seasons. The Mets single-season record for a hitting streak is 24 games, shared by Mike Piazza and Hubie Brooks. Gary Cohen cleared up the distinction Tuesday night, saying that there is a difference between a single-season hitting streak and a streak over two seasons, which makes sense. So Wright has a 24-gamer over two seasons, but a 12-gamer to open this season. Still impressive, and perhaps becoming worthy of a Wright Watch for 2007. We'll see.
The Mets added 3 more double plays to their season total on Tuesday night. Lots of double plays means lots of baserunners by Mets pitchers. They need to cut down on the baserunners. As is, the Mets are probably on a record pace for DP's. The Phillies were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday.
Wednesday night the Mets head to Florida, where the weather is supposed to be much better than what they've had recently. The pitching will be tough, though - they face Dontrelle Willis. John Maine goes for the Mets (who have shuffled their pitching slightly, in order to have Glavine go on Tuesday night).
VERIZON JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: Moises Alou. He got the team going with a BOMB off Garcia in the 2nd inning, giving the Mets a 2-0 lead (the ball was a towering shot into high winds). He added a solo shot in the 6th. Alou has been a pleasant surprise thus far. I knew what he was capable of, but I didn't expect him to live up to his capabilities. Hopefully he can stay healthy. Alou has also been good defensively - and in this game, he made a headfirst diving catch, in the 6th inning, I think, to end the night for Glavine. Final line for Alou: 2-for-3 (2 homers) with a walk, 3 runs scored, and 3 RBI.
SCHEDULE CHANGE: Due to a family situation, I will not be going to the Mets game against the Braves on Friday night. My first game at Shea for the season will have to wait for another weekend. By the way, I don't think I've mentioned this, but since the Mets had a rainout on Sunday, they will have their recognition of Jackie Robinson before the game on Friday night. Willie Randolph will be wearing number 42 that night.
NOTES: Interesting note from the Mets-Phillies game. Gary Cohen mentioned that Jayson Werth (now with the Phillies, formerly with the Blue Jays) is the nephew of former Met Dick Schofield.
Also, it's worth noting that the Philly Phanatic is pretty entertaining. Whenever SNY's cameras catch him in the stands, he's doing something with the fans. And whatever he's doing looks entertaining. He doesn't seem to be too annoying - and the stuff he does is almost funny. He's always on, it seems. That's some good schtick.
ADS: A couple of quality commercials that I need to bring to your attention:
*Another great "This is SportsCenter" commercial. (Ironic that I find the commercials for SportsCenter entertaining, and not the least bit annoying, as much as they're self-celebratory, like the show itself, while I can't stand the show itself for the very same reason. Did I make that clear or confusing? I'll try again: I like the commercials, hate the show.) This one has David Ortiz, Jorge Posada, and a SportsCenter anchor (not even sure which one - he's not important though) in the conference room, and Wally the Green Monster walks by. I'm not going to say any more about it other than it's laugh-out-loud hilarious. Look for it.
*Bud Light also has some quality commercials out now, and I'm not sure if they've been on elsewhere, and I just haven't seen them (like the Super Bowl), or if they're new for the baseball season. One involved a squirrel who watches a beer for some guy, the other involves a self-filling refrigerator. Typical Bud Light fare, but pretty good.
BEAT THE STREAK: A one-game streak!!! No rainouts!! Jose Reyes led me off on Tuesday. On Wednesday I'm going with David DeJesus of the Royals. I was very impressed by DeJesus against the Tigers Tuesday night...so impressed that I picked him up for one of my fantasy leagues, even though I don't need another outfielder. All I ask is for a hit on Wednesday afternoon.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Until I figure out a way to superimpose Mr. Met over that cat, this image I lifted off someone will have to do.
BEAT THE STREAK: The rain, combined with me being awful at this game this year, has me very frustrated. I should have stayed in a dome. I hear the rain in New York stopped. Therefore, it'll be Jose Reyes to try to get me going again - he's my leadoff guy.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
At no point this year will it be OK for the Mets to lose to the Nationals. I know it's going to happen more than this one time, but it shouldn't happen. The Mets need to rack up as many wins as they can get against Washington, because the division will be tighter this year than last, and wins against the Nationals (or more importantly, losses against the Nationals) might make up the difference in the division.
That said, it's not the end of the world that the Mets lost on Saturday, it's just disappointing when the Mets lose a game they should win. The Mets outhit the Nationals 11-8, including a 2-for-4 afternoon by David Wright, whose hitting streak is now at 23 games - one away from the team record (but it's spread out over two seasons).
Also, the Mets were in this game late, despite the score. (I should mention I didn't see any of this game - there's one annoying thing about the DirecTV/Extra Innings Package - Saturday afternoon games are blacked out because of the FOX Game of the Week. I hate that. The games that start at one are almost off the air when Fox goes on - why black it out? So I'm forced to watch Jeanne Zelasko and Kevin Kennedy for 25 minutes? No thanks. I'll just turn on the game after four and miss the top of the first inning...give me back my 1pm start.) Anyway, in the eighth, down 6-2, with two men on and no one out, David Wright apparently drove one to the wall in center, and to my understanding, Ryan Church robbed him of a homer - or at least extra bases (2-for-4 and this for Wright - starting to get hot?). Then there was a double play. So the Mets went down fighting.
Speaking of fighting...the umpires, apparently, thought there was going to be some. After giving up a 2-run homer to Chris Snelling in the 6th, Orlando Hernandez hit the next batter, pitcher Shawn Hill, in the hands. The umps threw him out of the game immediately. The way I understand it, El Duque did not want to hit Hill (though it looked awfully incriminating). El Duque protested to the ump, and then from the dugout told Hill he didn't mean to hit him, and I guess Hill accepted El Duque's apology. The Nationals and Mets have had much bad blood in the past, but I think those days have gone the way of Cliff Floyd and Jose Guillen. So this was basically a non-event, but since Hernandez got thrown out, I had to mention it.
The weather is very threatening Sunday. I give it a 0-10% chance that the Mets will actually play.
SONY PLAYSTATION JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: Shawn Hill gave up a bunch of hits, but managed to pull out the win. His line: 7 innings, 8 hits, but only one walk, 2 earned runs, and 5 strikeouts. Hopefully this is the only time this year this award goes to a Washington player.
MLB 'O7 THE SHOW: I didn't think I'd ever buy another video game. Then a combination of a number of events (tax return, a trip to Best Buy, a week off from school) gave me a hankering for video game baseball. So upon arrival at Best Buy (to buy a video camera to record the things The Baby does that I will be too busy playing video games to notice), I called the Southern Bureau to find out what baseball game I should invest in. He said "MLB The Show" was a good one, but all I saw was 2K7's game. I asked the Southern Bureau if "The Show" was the EA Sports game. He informed me, as though I should have known, that EA does not do a Major League baseball game anymore, they just do NCAA baseball. So I was about to pull the trigger on the 2K7 game, with Derek Jeter on the cover, when the Southern Bureau informed me that "The Show" had David Wright on the cover. Hold the phone. But the game was nowhere to be found. Here's how the conversation goes:
Southern Bureau: "Johnny, you gotta get the game with David Wright on the cover."
Johnnymets: "Yeah, I know. But then I'd have to go to another store. I don't think The Wife will want to do that. I should just get this one."
Southern Bureau: "Go to another store, come on. Didn't The Wife sign a marriage contract or something that says she has to do stuff like that?" (It should be noted that the Southern Bureau is not married.)
Johnnymets: "I think I've pushed that envelope about as far as it goes."
Turns out there was a Toys 'R Us across the parking lot, so I ran over there. They didn't have the game either. I convinced The Wife to allow me one more stop, and they had the game. So I've played it, and I'm already 0-3. I've figured out all of the game play, it's hard, but I'm getting it. The rosters are good (solid Triple A roster - Pelfrey, Humber, Milledge), there are good stats, and even all-time records, which I love. Stupidly, though, I still insist on playing games when I'm on the phone. This has never been a good idea. And as a result, El Duque took a 4-0 lead into the 9th inning in the third game against St. Louis, heading for my first win, and he proceeded to let three guys get on, then a grand slam, then a homer to Pujols to win it. Oops. Never, EVER talk on the phone during a video game. Very frustrating. But it's a good game.
BEAT THE STREAK: I have to wait and see with Piazza later on Saturday, and I'll try to avoid a weather problem on Sunday. Hopefully the weather will be past Pittsburgh, and I'll go with Jason Bay in a doubleheader.
Friday, April 13, 2007
On another cold and un-springlike night at Shea Stadium, the Mets got another decent start by their starting pitcher, and some good work out of the bullpen, to pull out another division win.
Mike Pelfrey wasn't great, but he didn't have to be against Washington. All told, he gave up 2 earned runs in 5-and-two-thirds innings, giving up 6 hits and walking 4. I attribute some of his wildness to the weather - I think we'll get a more accurate read on Pelfrey when it's more seasonable.
Pedro Feliciano, Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis, and Billy Wagner combined to shut down Washington after Pelfrey came out, and Wagner had a 1-2-3 ninth for the save, locking up the Mets' first one-run victory of 2007.
The pitchers were again aided by some stellar defense. The Mets turned three more double plays...none were of the real spectacular variety, but they did come at huge times, like with the bases loaded in the 2nd inning, where a run scored for Washington, but the damage was limited, and in the 5th inning, where, with 1 out, the Mets ended the threat by turning two.
The Mets haven't flashed much power at the plate yet this season, but they have been productive. Friday night, the first Mets run was all Jose Reyes (again). Reyes took a leadoff walk in the first, went to second on a groundout, then took third on a wild pitch, scoring on another groundout to make it 1-0, Mets. He scored the second Mets run after walking, stealing second, and then scoring on a Carlos Delgado shot to the wall in left, on which he was thrown out at second.
David Wright extended his hitting streak to 22 games over two seasons, and scored the winning run after singling to open up the seventh inning. Wright is the first man since 1962 (Curt Flood) to hit in 10 straight games to end one season and begin the next. And the hits he had in this game were of the important variety, unlike others recently.
A good win for the Mets. They all have to be wins against Washington...they'll be awful games if they lose to the Nationals. The Braves lost to Washington on Thursday night, and are losing to the Marlins as of this writing, so the Mets could be back in a first-place tie with Atlanta by the end of the night.
AARP JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: Again, I could have gone with Jose Reyes, like any other night, but this night goes to Julio Franco, who might not get another all season. Franco came up with a 2-out, pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh to score David Wright and give the Mets the 3-2 lead. It was a big hit in a big spot for Franco, something I didn't think we'd see from him this year. Thanks for proving me wrong on this one occasion.
BEAT THE STREAK: Jose Reyes got me a one-gamer with a hit in his first at-bat. I'm going with Mike Piazza against the Yankees on Saturday.
I'm a day late with this one, so I'll make it quick. Other than when he faced Jimmy Rollins, Tom Glavine pitched a very good game in some less-than-ideal conditions.
Glavine gave up two homers to Rollins, accounting for all of the Phillies' runs, and the Mets clawed back to take a 5-3 win at Shea.
In the 4th, Jose Reyes delivered a 2-run single to give the Mets a 4-3 lead. The other offensive notable: David Wright tripled in the 7th inning to extend his hitting streak to 21 games. It's kind of a weak hitting streak, for a couple of reasons. First of all, it spans two seasons, which I never like. And in about the past five or so games, Wright has had one hit, with the hit coming in his last at-bat. He hasn't been getting many meaningful hits lately. For what that's worth.
ENERGIZER JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: This award could go to Jose Reyes most nights, because he does so much to spark the Mets. It goes to him after Thursday night's game because he keyed the Mets win. Reyes was 2-for-4, with 2 RBI, a walk, and a run scored. He also stole his fifth base of the season. He was also involved in all three Mets double plays. A solid game, tame by Reyes' now-high standards, but deserving of his first Player of the Game award of 2007.
I'll be back tonight after Mike Pelfrey's season debut against the Washington Nationals. By the way, Lastings Milledge was sent down so that Pelfrey could be brought up.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
At last check, it was Mets 4, Phillies 3, and Tom Glavine was in line to get win number 292.
I'll be writing after the Friday game. Mike Pelfrey makes his season debut.
BEAT THE STREAK: It's really shaping up to be one of those frustrating 'Beat the Streak' years. Ichiro got rained out. I'm struggling to get anything going. I'll try Jose Reyes at Shea versus Washington for Friday.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Sometimes Oliver Perez is wild. Wednesday night, Oliver Perez was wild. 7 walks. In 2-AND-TWO-THIRDS INNINGS!! He threw 73 pitches, and just 32 were strikes. Wow. He left having only given up 3 runs, and I'm looking at the play-by-play right now, and it's amazing. After getting two outs in the third, Perez went: single, walk, walk, bases-loaded walk, bases-loaded walk, bases-loaded hit by pitch. Then he was lifted, and Aaron Sele got the Mets out of the jam.
The Mets were able to draw to within 3-2, but couldn't get over the hump. Too bad. Perez had such a nice first outing, he needed to build up some consistency. Now his third outing is that much more important.
I didn't see this game, because I was at a school outing where we watched the Red Sox play the Mariners (can't begin a season much better than Felix Hernandez - a one-hitter Wednesday night, with 6 more K's, following up his 12 K opener). I made it home to see the very end of the Mets. The only other notable happening was David Wright singling in the 9th inning (the only baserunner against Tom Gordon) to extend his hitting streak to 20 games.
SOUTHERN BUREAU JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: Aaron Sele. I know it's an odd choice, a Met in a losing effort, but it was a big outing for Sele. He seemed to tire when his pitch count got up near 60, but this was his first necessary work of the season. The Mets lost a lot when they lost Darren Oliver, and Sele showed Wednesday night that the Mets have the type of guy who, when they need to go to the bullpen too early, can keep them in the game and give them a chance to come back and win. Sele's numbers: 4-and-a-third innings pitched, 4 hits, 2 walks, 2 earned runs, 2 K's. It was a good outing.
BEAT THE STREAK: Man, I'm having some trouble getting a streak going. Moises Alou pulled an 0-for-4. Though he struggles against the Red Sox, I'll turn to Ichiro on Thursday (since he's in Boston I can keep a close eye on him, that's the rationale) to get me going.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
them, when I have my own forum for writing it. So, since Tuesday is an off day, here is my "favorite Opening Day memory", followed by some Opening Days I attended that are worth mentioning:
I think this happened in 1996. It was definitely one of my high school years, and I think this was the one. The game was great (more on that later), but I had to get to the game first.
The characters involved are me, my dad, the nun in the dean's office, and the dean, let's call him Mr. G. I went to a Catholic all-boys high school in Flushing, and the dean was the type of guy who, whenever there was a Mets afternoon home game, would patrol the stands at Shea, looking for the guys who cut school to go to the game. I don't know if he did this so he could watch the games himself, or if he was really that anti-truancy. I think a little of both. Regardless, I was a good student, so I didn't think it was a problem that my dad would pull me out of school to go to the game.
Things haven't changed much in the past 11 years. Sure I'm married now, and a dad, and working full-time, but Monday, Opening Day at Shea 2007, and Opening Day at Shea 1996 were similar in my life because only one thing occupies my mind: Mets, Mets, Mets, Mets. In 1996, I watched the clock, knowing that when 12 noon hit, my dad would be pulling me out of Mr. Sullivan's Global Studies class.
At noon, I got the note to go to the dean's office. "Yes!" I thought. I stopped at my locker, packed up my books, put on my Mets hat, and walked to the office. The nun was sitting there.
"Your dad is here to pick you up," she said, not looking up from her papers.
"OK," I said, grinning from ear to ear.
"This wouldn't be to go to the Mets game, would it?" She asked, suddenly staring me down.
"Yes, it would, as a matter of fact," I replied, still smiling.
"Mr. G. is not going to be very happy about this," the nun said.
I didn't know what to say, so I signed out, and walked out of the building, still pretty darn happy. My dad was outside the door, waiting for me. He didn't look as happy as I was.
"Look serious," my dad said.
"Why?" I asked.
"I just told the nun we had a family emergency we had to tend to."
I hope that story translates as funny as it unfolded 11 years ago. (And I know it sounds like a punch line, but I swear it's true.) My dad still feels awful when we tease him about lying to a nun. I didn't get into trouble...I was a nerd. I think Mr. G. realized that. But the 1996 game was one of the better Opening Days I attended.
- 1996 - The Mets were playing the Cardinals and fell behind 6-0. It was a cold and misty-rainy day, and all I wore was a windbreaker (I had a stupid idea that if we were going to a Mets game, I shouldn't be wearing a heavy jacket. When we left that morning, I remember my mom and dad both insisting I wear something heavier, and I told them I was fine. I wish I had worn a heavier jacket. This is always the game I think of when I think, "Am I dressed appropriately for this baseball game?"). So I was pretty miserable. But the game turned out well - the Mets scored 7 unanswered to win the game, 7-6, and this was the game that Rey Ordonez made one of the better plays I've seen - taking a relay from Bernard Gilkey in left field and firing a strike to Todd Hundley to nail a runner at the plate. Ordonez's relay was FROM HIS KNEES - and it happened in front of us (we were not in the bottom section, but we were sitting along the third base line).
- 1993 - I insisted we HAD to go to this game, because it was the first ever for the Colorado Rockies. The game was pretty boring - but Dwight Gooden pitched a shutout and the Mets won 3-0.
- 2001 - I went to this game with Steve from NYC, his fiancee, Lauren from NYC, and The Wife (before she was even The Fiancee). We saw the Mets raise the National League championship banner in front of the Atlanta Braves. It was pretty sweet. The Mets won. I think Mike Piazza had a big game.
I'm sure there were other home openers, but those are the ones that stand out in my mind. The next home opener I plan on attending, no matter what I have to do to get there, is when the Mets open CitiField. I HAVE to be at that game.
BOOF: Boof Bonser is pitching for the Twins on Tuesday night, against the Yankees. He's already given up a homer to A-Rod, and three runs in two innings.
BROADCASTING: I keep forgetting to mention this. I've never been a big fan of the Red Sox radio booth. But I might start listening more. The Sox still have Joe Castiglione calling their games on the radio, but he is now joined most games (and I'm not sure how the rotation works) by Dave O'Brien, formerly of ESPN, who is very good. The guy O'Brien splits time with is one of those guys who has no experience, and it makes me mad that he has the job and I don't. So I'm not going to listen to games he does, unless I'm listening for him to make a mistake. But O'Brien is good, so that's much more tolerable than Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano.
BEAT THE STREAK: I JUST this second logged onto espn.com to check on Andruw Jones, and as I was looking at the scoreboard, Jones homered. Yay. So I have a one-gamer. I'm going with Moises Alou on Wednesday - he has good numbers against Adam Eaton, and has been swinging the bat well.
I won't be watching much of Wednesday's Mets game, but I'll do my best to update after the game.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Jimmy Rollins is right - the Phillies are the team to beat in the National League East - and the Braves, Marlins, and now the Mets have taken them up on the offer. The Phillies are now tied with Washington as the "team to beat" up on.
It's big talk now that the game is over, but the Phillies led this game into the 8th. The Mets had cut it to 5-4 before rallying against Geoff Geary. Moises Alou led off the bottom of the eighth with a single, followed by a Shawn Green single. Jose Valentin's bunt attempt resulted in an out at third, and then pinch hitter Julio Franco walked.
It was then, with the bases loaded and one out, that Jose Reyes grounded to shortstop. Jimmy Rollins drifted to his right, and couldn't field the grounder, allowing a run to score, and the bases to stay loaded. It was 5-5, and then there was a wild pitch, and the Mets led, 6-5. Paul Lo Duca walked. Carlos Beltran hit a sacrifice fly, 7-5 Mets. Carlos Delgado walked. David Wright extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a long double to left, making it 9-5, Mets. (Wright's third double, en route to a record, on a 1-for-5 day.) Alou singled home the final two runs, and the Mets went on to the 11-5 win.
I didn't see any of this game, in fact, I just saw the highlights on ESPN. I tuned into ESPN GameCast for the first time this year after dismissal at school, when the Mets were down 5-3, so it was exciting to see the rally. I like to think the Mets broke the Phillies for the year, but I doubt it. I will say, however, that after one game, the Phillies still don't scare me.
John Maine wasn't great in this game. He pitched 4-and-2-thirds innings, giving up just 2 earned runs, but walked six, and gave up 5 hits. He threw 104 pitches in that short amount of time. I'd say he struggled. Ambiorix Burgos also struggled, giving up a homer to Ryan Howard, and three runs in an inning and a third. Joe Smith, Pedro Feliciano (who got the win), and Billy Wagner combined for three scoreless innings.
On the Phillies' side, Cole Hamels was good - striking out 7 in six innings, giving up 3 runs, only 2 of which were earned. He's a good young pitcher.
The Mets and Phillies have Tuesday off before resuming on Wednesday at Shea. Oliver Perez tries to replicate his first start against Adam Eaton.
naturalbl0g.blogspot.com JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: Carlos Delgado was 3-for-3, with a walk, and 2 runs and 2 RBI. I wasn't watching the whole game, so I don't know for sure, but it seemed to me he was in the middle of all of the Mets' action. He scored the Mets' second run in the 4th inning, with a headfirst slide around the tag of Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz. He hit a sacrifice fly to put the Mets ahead 3-2, and then had an RBI single to bring the Mets to within 5-4 in the 7th. And he scored after a walk in the 8th. Seems like a good day to me.
WEATHER-RELATED STUFF: Forgot to mention this Sunday - I know it was cold in Atlanta, but every wide shot I saw of the stands when the Mets were down there this past weekend showed empty seats. I'm pretty sure this was even the case at Friday's home opener. The Atlanta fans are horrid.
Also, the Cleveland-Seattle series never got off the ground because of snow. The Indians moved their homestand now to Milwaukee, where they'll play the Angels.
ASTROS: Brad Lidge's nightmare continues. He was officially taken out of the closer's role on Monday, replaced by Dan Wheeler (Former Met).
BEAT THE STREAK: After saying I was going to pick Ichiro, I actually forgot to log on and do it. Good thing they were snowed out. So I'm still at 0...I'm going with Andruw Jones to try to get me started against a Washington Nationals pitcher named Matt Chico.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
I'm an optimist, so we begin with the good news: Orlando Hernandez had another very good start for the Mets - 6 innings, 2 hits, 1 earned run, 4 walks, and 6 K's. He definitely put them in a position to win the game. Unfortunately, Aaron Heilman proved to be the weak link in the bullpen on Sunday, giving up 2 eighth inning runs, and the Mets lost their second straight to Atlanta.
It's in my memory that the Mets have struggled against Kyle Davies. That's not something I've looked up...but it sounds familiar to me. Davies gave up back-to-back home runs in the second inning to Shawn Green and Ramon Castro (who hit a bomb), but other than that, he was very good against the Mets. He was also helped by some good defense - that same inning, Andruw Jones robbed David Wright of an extra-base hit with an over-the-shoulder diving catch. Davies struck out 8 Mets in 6-and-2-thirds innings.
Right from the start, though, the Mets wasted opportunities. Jose Reyes led off with a 4-pitch walk, stole second, and got to third on a balk. He was stranded. Wright was robbed later, and the Mets left Reyes on again after he tripled in the fifth (with two outs).
For the Braves, Kelly Johnson led off the game with a homer, giving them the early 1-0 lead. And the Mets had the 2-1 lead into the 8th, when Heilman surrendered the first runs by the bullpen all year (week). Chipper Jones led off the inning with a double, and scored on a double by Brian McCann. Then Jeff Francoeur lined one into right field, which turned into a double, scoring McCann. Just like that, the Braves were ahead.
Bob Wickman made the Mets go quietly in the ninth - a flyout to center by Green, a flyout to left by Castro, and then he struck out pinch hitter David Newhan looking. The loss puts the Braves a game in front of the Mets in the division. That's the first time the Mets have been out of first in about a year (they took over first early last year and stayed there).
The Mets have their home opener on Monday (before another off day Tuesday), against the self-proclaimed "team to beat" in the division, the Phillies (who absolutely don't scare me in 2007). I have a feeling the Braves are going to be hanging around more this year than last. I'm not saying they're going to be a huge threat - but they're going to be the team to worry about in the East. John Maine pitches for the Mets at Shea Monday.
1010 WINS JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: Sunday the award goes to Bob Wickman of the Braves. He picked up his third save of the season, setting the Mets down 1-2-3 in the ninth. A day after things got a bit dicey in the ninth for the Braves, Wickman didn't give the Mets a chance. His line: 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 H, 1 K.
SCHEDULE: The Mets don't play a particular division in interleague play this year - they play the Twins, A's, Tigers, and Yankees twice. The Yankees is because of the rivalry, but the other three, I think, are because the Mets won the division. I feel like the division winner gets a tougher interleague schedule. Am I right on that, or am I confusing it with football? That's a tough go for the Mets this year, though. The Mets also make two trips to Los Angeles this year to face the Dodgers. They have a difficult schedule.
APRIL 8TH - HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HALL OF FAMER GARY CARTER!! (and Dave in Brighton)
BEAT THE STREAK: Snowed out again. I'm going to try one more time with that series - Ichiro on Monday.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
I knew the Mets weren't going to go 162-0, but I still wanted to see just how long they could stretch the season-opening win streak. I guess it was just four games. But the Mets were done in by one of the things that keyed them to their 4 straight wins - their defense.
The Mets looked all set after the top of the first, after jumping out to another 1-0 lead - this one from an unlikely source: a homer by Paul Lo Duca. Tom Glavine gave it right back, though, and you could tell by the way he was working that career win number 292 was not going to come easy - of course, it didn't come at all.
The Braves' first started with an innocent grounder to second, which turned into their first baserunner when Carlos Delgado dropped the throw from Jose Valentin. Kelly Johnson then came around to score on a grounder to short. Matt Diaz homered in the second to give the Braves the 2-1 lead, and the Mets their first deficit of the season.
In the fifth, the Mets did their manufacturing run thing, after a leadoff walk by Jose Reyes. He stole second, went to third on a grounder to second by Lo Duca, and then scored on a single by Carlos Beltran. The Mets knocked around John Smoltz, but he seemed to get the outs when he needed to.
Unfortunately for Glavine, the outs couldn't come because of his defense. After no errors in 4 games, the Mets committed two on Saturday. In the bottom of the sixth, with the bases loaded, Shawn Green dropped a Matt Diaz fly ball that allowed one run to score. The next batter, Woodward, flew out to right off Pedro Feliciano, and Green made a nice running catch, but the ball was deep enough to score a run to make it 4-2. Then Joe Smith came on and got a groundball, but it was too slow for Reyes to make a play, so the Braves took a 5-2 lead. All 5 runs were charged to Glavine, but only two were earned.
The much-improved Braves bullpen held the Mets to one run the rest of the way, though the Mets did threaten Bob Wickman in the ninth. Trailing 5-3, Carlos Delgado walked, and David Wright singled (extending his hitting streak on an otherwise horrid day - 3 strikeouts against Smoltz). With two outs and runners on second and third, Green lined one towards right field, but the ball was snared by Craig Wilson at first. A tough way to end the game, but it showed the Mets still have that ability to come back late in games, and you still get the sense that they're never out of a game.
CHICK-FIL-A JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: No one really stood out in this one, so we'll go with Matt Diaz, who had a homer and lifted the fly ball that Shawn Green dropped. At least he put it in play, and you have to give him some credit for that - chances are the then-go-ahead run would have scored anyway. Diaz finished 1-for-2 with 2 RBI and a run scored.
NOTES ON THE GAME: The Braves have no true leadoff hitter, now that Rafael Furcal is gone. They also have no true second baseman. Kelly Johnson is playing second and leading off, but I also noticed this on Friday night, when Chris Woodward was the starting second baseman and leadoff hitter. That's a step back from Furcal, and Marcus Giles at second.
ALSO THE WAY I FEEL: Tim Kurkjian was guest host on Mike & Mike In The Morning the other day (I think it was Thursday), and the subject of the DirecTV/other cable providers Extra Innings packages came up. (An aside: I find the Mike & Mike show to be much more tolerable when someone like Kurkjian or Buster Olney is on for the entire show rather than the regular Mikes...but that's another story for another day.) Kurkjian said he has DirecTV, and the day he got it, he says, "was, other than the days my kids were born, the greatest day of my life." So, he said, it wouldn't be right for other people to not have the opportunity to get the package. I agree.
SNY 2007: Friday night was my first chance to see a Mets game on SNY. Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, and Keith Hernandez were in the booth, and were very good (for the amount I saw before I fell asleep). A couple of notables:
-Slightly newer, snazzier graphics.
-Good ads - one, a tribute to Ron Darling for being named best New York sports analyst (I think, I was a little fuzzy on the award). The other was hilarious - it was a cartoon of Cohen, Darling, and Hernandez sitting on the couch watching the game, and Hernandez keeps saying, "I sound great. Wow, I'm doing a great job." And Darling and Cohen end up taking off Hernandez's mustache, and the announcer says, "Watch the Mets with Gary, Ron, Keith, and Keith's mustache." Good stuff. I hope there are different commercials like that each week. Hilarious.
-Also, forgot to mention this, so might as well here - Lee Mazzilli is the new studio analyst this year. I haven't seen enough of his work to comment yet.
1986 ROUNDUP: I don't remember seeing him all last year on camera, but Roger McDowell is still the Atlanta Braves' pitching coach. They showed him on Friday night, and either Keith or Ron said, "Roger smiled a lot more as a player." I thought that was funny.
MORE BROADCASTING: Caught the Reds' games over the weekend, and Grande was doing the games. Wonder what kind of a rotation they have going there. I'll have to keep an eye on that.
A WORD ON THE WEATHER: This year is more extreme than most, but I feel like every year there's a hubbub about the season-opening weather, and moving all of the openers to warm weather cities. Now, I don't know that that's a foolproof option - I hear there's a chance of snow in Arlington, Texas, for the Red Sox game Saturday night, which is surprising to me, but I feel like this is always a controversy in April every year, and then it dies down and is forgotten. I do feel, however, that this year has been extreme, as I mentioned above, extreme not only in weather, but also in outcry over the weather. And I think there will be some fallout - especially since Cleveland and Seattle are losing a game because of the weather, and because Victor Martinez got hurt in the bad weather, AND because of the controversy on Friday surrounding the weather and the way the game was called off. I don't know how much fallout, but I feel like the situation won't die away so easily, and maybe there will be some change next year.
BEAT THE STREAK: After no hits Friday by Xavier Nady and on Saturday with Derek Jeter, I'm going with as sure a thing as I can on Sunday, with the Cleveland doubleheader. I'll take Grady Sizemore - all he needs is one hit in two games to get me started.
Just like last year, when these 2007 Mets score first on the road, they're tough to beat. And when Craig Wilson misplayed a foul pop to first by THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes, the Braves might as well have gone home. Shortly after (might have been the next pitch), Reyes delivered a gapper to right-center, which can mean just one thing - triple. He scored on a Paul Lo Duca sac fly, and the Mets led 1-0. In the second, they made it 2-0 after Jose Valentin doubled home Moises Alou, who had doubled.
I didn't make it very far into this game...falling asleep around the third inning. But I did see enough to feel comfortable that the Mets were in good shape. Especially after I woke up at various points when the broadcasters voices got excited, and heard that Jose Reyes had a second triple, and David Wright had two doubles (this is the year he breaks Gilkey's doubles record). Wright also now has a 16-game hitting streak dating back to last season.
The Mets' defense continues to impress. They turned 2 more double plays, and have yet to commit an error. Oliver Perez had an impressive season debut, and also turned in a nice defensive play on a sacrifice bunt attempt in the third (before I dozed). With a runner on first, Mark Redman tried to lay down the bunt, and Perez fielded it, whirled, and got the lead runner at second on a very tough play. Everything's breaking the Mets way right now.
Tom Glavine goes against John Smoltz in the season premiere of FOX Saturday Baseball Saturday afternoon. Should be fun to watch.
LA-Z-BOY JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jose Reyes gets an honorable mention for his 4 RBI on a 3-for-6 night, and any other night he'd get this nod. But the Mets scored 11 runs, and we know what they're capable of at bat. It's Oliver Perez who really impressed last night - 7 IP, 1 ER (a homer by Jeff Francoeur) on 5 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts. The control is a huge issue for Perez. All 4 Mets starters are 1-0, which is fantastic...they've deserved the 'Player of the Game' award being handed down the rotation.
NOTES: Two important things to point out - one of the announcers, I want to say Ron Darling, pointed out that Rick Peterson, when he pitched, was a lefty, with the same arm angle as Oliver Perez. That's information I had never heard before. And that can only be good for Perez.
How about this nugget from the SNY broadcast? Friday night's game between the 3-0 Mets and 3-0 Braves was the first time since 1894 that two undefeated National League teams who had played 3 games or more had matched up. 1894!! And that was NOT a typo.
One more thing - wonder how many times Jose Reyes and David Wright have hit multiple triples and doubles, respectively, in a game. That might have been a first, now that I think about it.