Thursday, May 31, 2007
After suffering their first shutout of the season on Wednesday night, the Mets bounced back on Wendesday, beating the Giants, 4-2. The Mets have won every series they have played this year against teams that are not in the National League East.
The game did not start out in an ideal way - after three batters, the Giants led 2-0. Orlando Hernandez, though, found a rhythm. After a two-hit first inning, El Duque gave up just a walk (erased on a double play) in his seven innings. He only threw 95 pitches...which doesn't seem possible when you consider how rocky his first inning was.
The Mets answered the Giants right away, too. After the Giants' 2-run first, the Mets put up two. It all started with Jose Reyes - a leadoff walk, stolen base, advance on a groundout, and scored on an infield single. I think I was getting dinner ready at this point, because I missed this play, but I think it was on the infield single that Carlos Beltran bumped knees with Rich Aurilia, and he later left the game with a bruised knee. The bruise wasn't enough to prevent Beltran from scoring from first, though, on a double by David Wright (his 13th of the season), tying the game at 2.
The Mets then scored another 2 in the second - an RBI single by Jose Reyes, and then an RBI bunt single by Endy Chavez. When Beltran left the game, he was replaced by Carlos Gomez, and that gave the Mets a top three in the lineup of Reyes, Chavez, and Gomez - incredible speed.
Ben Johnson got his first start for the Mets - in left field - and was 1-for-2, with a run scored. Joe Smith held the lead for Hernandez (who improved to 3-1), and Billy Wagner converted his 13th save.
I am pleased to report that Barry Bonds leaves New York with the same amount of homers he came with.
The Mets are not far off the pace of their best records ever through so many games. They are at 34-18 through 52...they were 33-17 through 50. In 1986, they were 35-15. Right now they're on a ridiculous pace. The Diamondbacks come to town next. They are playing pretty good baseball, too, but the Mets have their number.
I probably won't be updating over the weekend - going to New York City for a Relay for Life at Astoria Park Saturday overnight into Sunday. Let me know if you're interested in sponsoring with a donation of about 10 bucks. My sister put together some teams...I couldn't make it down last year, glad I can pitch in this year.
Blog Talk Radio johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: I don't think I have much choice here but to give it to El Duque. He was that good after the first inning, and led the Mets to this win. I can't believe that with the lineup this Mets team has, that this honor has gone to a pitcher so many times so far this year.
Wednesday night's player of the game was Pedro Feliz, he had all three Giants RBI - outshining Barry Zito's 7 K's in 7 innings of 6-hit, shutout ball.
WHAT A STEAL: Thursday night, Jose Reyes picked up his 29th stolen base, but was also caught stealing for the 6th time this season.
MONTH OF MAY: Another month is complete. Here's how it stands:
Can't really beat that, as months go.
BEAT THE STREAK: I keep losing track, but I think I'm at 7 games, maybe 8, after Matt Holliday had a single in his first at-bat. I'm taking Carl Crawford on Friday night.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
As it stands, though, I have to turn in, with the Giants leading 3-0. No matter what happens tonight, I will not be updating the site. I do feel the Mets have another comeback in them, but if they do tonight, I'll see it from the bedroom.
Barry Zito was pretty impressive tonight, making the Mets look silly at the plate. Most of his strikeouts were without the Mets even lifting the bats off their shoulders. But he's now out of the game, so there's another reason to expect a comeback.
Tom Glavine right now stands to take another loss. His chase for 300 is almost as long as Gary Carter's chase for 300 home runs. I might have written about this in the past - but Carter took FOR-ever to get his 300th home run. I remember one of my first forays into stat-keeping was marking the events surrounding the milestone...and the accompanying home run draught.
P.S. - That was back when 300 homers was still something of an accomplishment. Especially for a catcher.
A MINUTE ON MOTA: Wednesday night marked the return of Guillermo Mota to the Mets after serving a 50-game suspension for steroids use. It's hard for me to believe that 50 games have already gone by. I was not crazy about the Mets re-signing Mota with this suspension going on...but I guess this is the way things are going to be now.
Having a daughter has definitely helped me put things like pro sports in perspective. I still enjoy watching the games, and writing about them (and soon, talking about them), but a lot of stuff is leaving more and more of a sour taste in my mouth.
Mota was booed by the Shea crowd when he came in to pitch in the 8th. That's good. He actually pitched well, too.
JOHNNYMETS RADIO SHOW: It's coming soon - I'll let you know when. There seems to be a problem with me hosting a show during the prime hours of the evening. I don't want to make it a late night show, because I want listeners to call in, so I'll have to figure something out. I'll keep you posted.
COMMENT ON THE COMMENTS: I can't believe I forgot about the Benitez jinx on Tuesday night. Glad The Wife didn't. She was up in bed, asleep, with the Mets on. I never made it up, because as I was about to go, the game looked to be ending, one way or the other. And I never factored in the jinx. She's lucky I didn't go up there and wake her up.
BEAT THE STREAK: Edgar Renteria had a big day - 4-for-5, I only needed a 1-for-5. And Nick Swisher had a hit late Tuesday. So I'm working on a big 7-gamer here. Matt Holliday is my choice for Thursday.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
There are not many events worth turning the computer back on for - but this win is one of them. Right after I logged off, the Giants scored in the top of the 12th to take a 4-3 lead. Omar Vizquel barely beat a Paul LoDuca tag on a groundout to first base. But you can't ever give up on the Mets, so I stuck around, watched the bottom of the 12th.
First of all, the closer was Armando Benitez. The Mets had gotten to him already this year. Then, he walks Jose Reyes. That's always a recipe for trouble. With Endy Chavez at the plate, Benitez balked. This one was questionable. But Reyes took second, then Chavez bunted him to third, so there was one out, man on third, for Carlos Beltran. Beltran grounded up the middle, but the second baseman was playing in, and fielded it for the out. We needed a fly ball there, Carlos.
But that was forgotten quickly, because Reyes danced down the line, and induced ANOTHER balk by Benitez! There was a clear flinch this time. So the score is tied, 4-4. Benitez is definitely rattled. Then he proceeds to give up a game-winning homer to Carlos Delgado, and the Mets win, 5-4. Pretty outstanding.
The Mets are a tough team to beat...and they don't go down easily.
Tough call on the player of the game - but I think it's got to go to Jose Reyes. The easy award would be Delgado's, for his two homers, and if I gave out co-awards, he'd share it. But this is the Blog Talk Radio johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game award, and it goes to Jose Reyes for the things he did to create this win.
Great win for the Mets.
I have underestimated Omar Vizquel for a long time. Probably because he was never the greatest fantasy player - he hit for a decent average, but had little to no power, and he wasn't worth a draft pick in my eyes. But that interfered with my ability to recognize what he was good at - and he is a solid ballplayer. He is also a great defensive player, something I realize even more the later it gets in his career. He has game-changing defensive abilities, even now. And he showed that off on Tuesday night, saving the game for the Giants in the 9th inning against the Mets.
As I write, the play is a game-saver, because the game is not over, and I'm not going to wait much longer for it. They're tied at 3, heading into the 12th inning. (It figures - this game was flying by, through 9 at 2-and-a-half hours, but of course, here we are an hour later, and it's still tied.) But back to the play - the Mets were in position for a walk-off win. David Wright led off the ninth with a double (his 12th of the year) off the right field wall (he thought it was gone...so did I). With two outs, Wright was at second, Paul LoDuca had been intentionally walked and was at first, and Julio Franco was pinch-hitting. He hit a sharp grounder up the middle, which Vizquel dove to his left to smother, then tossed sort-of-blindly to the second base bag, where Kevin Frandsen stretched and barehanded the ball for the out. Just a great play, and it came at a clutch time.
The Mets got another good start from Oliver Perez in this one - 3 runs on five hits over 7 innings...no walks and 8 strikeouts. The bullpen was just as good - better, considering they haven't given up any runs yet. And maybe we can breathe a sigh of relief about Aaron Heilman - he went an inning-and-a-third and was very good.
Perez was victim to the long ball Tuesday night - he gave up solo homers to Randy Winn and Bengie Molina in the first, then in the 7th, with the Mets up, 3-2, a solo shot to Dan Ortmeier (either Justin or Steve in NYC - any relation to Jed?). The Mets had taken a 3-2 lead after a 2-run homer by Carlos Delgado (he pulled this one - but what's really good to see out of him lately is how much and effectively he's going the other way), and an RBI double by Carlos Beltran.
So here we are, tied at 3, in the 12th inning. I'll say this - whoever puts an end to this game gets Player of the Game honors. I'm off to watch the rest of this in bed.
EXCITING INFORMATION: We're still working out the bugs, but johnnymets.blogspot.com is proud to announce two new ventures. Justin in NYC, Dave in Brighton, the Southern Bureau, and johnnymets are working on a radio show, called "East Coast Bias", starting next Monday at 7pm. You can listen live, and even call in if you'd like to contribute. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/eastcoastbias
Johnnymets.blogspot.com is also working on a post-game Mets wrap-up show that will air daily after the Mets games...probably beginning next week, what with school winding down. Again, there will be a number for you to call to discuss the games. We hope you'll listen, and contribute. www.blogtalkradio.com/johnnymets
BEAT THE STREAK: I'm waiting on Nick Swisher to extend my five-gamer, but I'm going with Edgar Renteria on Wednesday night.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Is this where the Mets really start running away with things? They are now up by 4-and-a-half games on the Braves...and this isn't like last year...the Braves are actually pretty good this year. And when you consider that the Mets are 3-6 against Atlanta this year...that means they're doing pretty well against everyone else.
It's almost been........I hate to even say this.....boring so far this year with the Mets. They go out, take care of business, and quietly move ahead. It's almost like they learned their lesson from last year, and they want to get back to the post-season with as little fanfare as possible, so they can win it all this year. That's not to say they will - although I hope they do. I just think they're making that march right now.
The Mets beat Scott Olsen on Sunday. Why is this significant? Olsen is a lefty. And one of the biggest problems for the Mets in the second half of last season was their performance against lefties. This year, so far, the Mets are hitting .334 against lefties. Jorge Sosa was Sunday's beneficiary, picking up his 4th win against one loss.
The Mets also improved to 18-7 on the road - they have the best road record in the majors. That means they are 14-10 at Shea...something they can improve on as they return home for 9 games beginning on Tuesday.
There were no standout performers on Sunday...the Mets just went out and completed a very quiet three-game whupping of the Marlins (outscoring Florida 19-8...even more if you don't count the ninth inning runs Florida pushed across). There is still reason to worry about Aaron Heilman, but other than that, things are clicking pretty well right now.
The Mets have Monday off (I've complained plenty the past few years about Memorial Day now being an off-day in the majors for a good number of teams - when I was growing up, everyone would play on Memorial Day, it seemed. There's still going to be baseball to watch on Monday - but not the Mets.). I'll try to come up with something entertaining for the off-day.
Stop and Shop johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: Yes, he gave up a run, and yes, he's had tougher and more important saves, but this game was pretty much a team effort, and Billy Wagner put the finishing touches on the win, so I'll give him the honor. Plus, it was his 12th save of the season, 30th straight dating back to last year, extending his own Mets record. So that's worth something. He's been consistent, and as automatic as the Mets have had in a while at the end of the game.
WHAT A STEAL!: Another stolen base for THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED. Jose Reyes got number 28 (stealing third base) on Sunday.
BEAT THE STREAK: Jason Bay got me to 4 games. Ichiro has a 20-game hitting streak - he has decent career numbers against Bartolo Colon (.273), so I like his chances to get to 21, and mine to get to 5.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Among the many things that were missed in my time away from the site was a string of bad starts by John Maine. That string came to an end Saturday night as he held the Marlins to 2 runs over 6 innings, picking up his first win in three weeks, as the Mets beat Florida, 7-2.
Maine got lots of help early, and the Mets coasted in this one. Carlos Delgado led the way, belting two homers, continuing to smoke the ball after showing signs Friday night that he was breaking out of his slump.
The Mets have not been firing on all cylinders yet this year. Delgado and David Wright have slumped most of the year. Now that Wright and Delgado are heating up, Jose Reyes hasn't been hitting. Then there are the injuries.
I owe apologies to guys like Jose Valentin and Moises Alou, who I didn't think would be effective this year. They've been great...but unfortunately, neither has played in a while because they're both on the DL. You expect, with the age of the Mets players, that a considerable number would be spending some time on the DL this year. That's why it's important to have some depth. And now I owe Damion Easley an apology, because he has provided depth at second base, which I didn't think would be the case. And as for Alou, it's allowed more playing time for Endy Chavez, which has been great, so there's no big problems there. But now, Friday night, Shawn Green fouled a ball off his foot, and has a broken bone in his foot. So, while not being placed on the DL, now Green is out indefinitely. And his replacement was injured in the second inning of Saturday's game - Carlos Gomez hurt his foot, it looked like, running out a ground ball. He had to leave the game.
So while none of the injuries have been costly to this point, you hate to keep tempting fate. Lately, with every close call going against the Mets (did they tick off someone in the umpiring office?), and all of these injuries, it seems as though the Mets are a tiny bit snakebit. Of course, it's hard to make that argument when they're playing so well...I guess the important thing is that they haven't lost any key pieces, and I'll continue knocking on wood so that doesn't happen.
See below for the last couple of weeks' worth of "Player of the Game"s.
MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME:
A recap of the Players of the Game from when I was unable to write:
5/12 – Milwaukee beat the Mets, 12-3, just kicking their butt. This is when Mike Pelfrey was sent down. J.J. Hardy (5 RBI), gets the nod.
5/13 – Mets beat the Brewers, 9-1 - Oliver Perez (1 run in 8.1) nearly goes the distance...pulled after giving up the run.
5/14 – Mets beat the Cubs, 5-4, on a walk-off walk to Carlos Delgado with the bases loaded. David Wright (3-4, HR, 2RBI) had a bigger game.
5/15 – No one stands out in the Cubs' 10-1 win over the Mets. Aramis Ramirez, I guess (4 RBI).
5/16 – Mets beat the Cubs, 8-1, behind Jorge Sosa (1 run, 1 hit, 7 innings). Long rain delay in this one.
5/17 – Great game, of which I saw none because it was a day game. The Mets won, 6-5, scoring 5 times in the 9th inning. One of those "turning point of the season" games. Carlos Delgado (1-5, gw 2-run single) gets the Player of the Game honor.
5/18 – The Mets beat the Yankees 3-2. Endy Chavez (2-run HR) was the difference.
5/19 – The Mets built a big lead against the Yanks, then held on to win, 10-7. David Wright (2-2, 2 HR, 4RBI, 3 BB) had a big game.
5/20 – The Mets couldn't complete the sweep, losing to the Yankees, 6-2. Tyler Clippard (6 innings, 6 K, 1 run, 3 hits) shut down the Mets.
5/22 – The Braves beat the Mets, 8-1. Kyle Davies (8 innings, 1 run, also homered) took his turn shutting down the Mets.
5/23 – The Mets bounce back to beat Atlanta, 3-0. Oliver Perez (7 shutout innings, 4 hits, 5 K’s) gets another one.
5/24 – The Braves took two out of three, winning, 2-1, behind John Smoltz (7 shutout innings, 7 hits, 5 K’s).
WHAT A STEAL!: Jose Reyes continues his assault on the Mets' record books - he had a stolen base Saturday night, his 27th of the year.
BEAT THE STREAK: Beltran got me to three games. I'm taking Jason Bay against the awful Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Orlando Hernandez came off the DL on Friday night, and it was like he never left. He went six scoreless innings, trading 0's with Sergio Mitre, keeping the Mets in the game until they blew it open in the 9th.
Meanwhile, I've completed 90% of my school obligations, so I should be back for good. Thanks to the readers who have continued the dialogue in the comments section in my absence. The Southern Bureau needs to re-think his stance on Oliver Perez...I'll leave it at that.
On Friday night, Joe Smith was actually in position to get the win, after the Mets pushed a run across in the 8th inning. Aaron Heilman, though, continued his slow implosion with a disastrous 8th, in which he was lucky to give up just a run, and the Mets were tied heading into the 9th.
That's when the Mets scored 5 times, taking a 6-1 lead, and slamming the door on Florida, winning, 6-1.
David Wright has come alive lately (mostly since I haven't been writing), and Carlos Delgado is starting to come around. The Mets nearly got burned in this game, though, with some bad baserunning in the 7th inning, and part of that is attributed to those two guys. In the seventh, David Wright started the inning with a little squibber up the first base line. Now, in defense of Wright, the ball was waaaay foul before it kicked back, but he should have hustled right down the line when he saw it kick back towards fair territory. He didn't, and was tagged out as the ball crossed the foul line. Next batter, Delgado, crushes one to the wall in left field, and off the wall. The throw comes into second, and despite a good slide (he was actually safe), Delgado was tagged out. I never saw a good replay (FoxSports Florida is awful), but I'm pretty sure Delgado wasn't hustling right out of the box. He should have had a double easy.
Other than that, another good game for the Mets. They're really not doing anything spectacular, they're just going out, playing good baseball, and winning games. It's been a good stretch for the Mets....sorry I wasn't available to write about it.
Apple johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: Pretty amazing to see El Duque come back without missing a beat. He goes 6 innings, throwing 88 pitches, giving up just 2 hits. The only negative about his start was that I didn't know it was coming soon enough to start him in my fantasy league.
PLAYING CATCH-UP: Since we've been gone:
- David Wright has been on fire. 0 HR's in April, 8 in May. Nice. (He'll get some retro-active Player of the Game honors when I have a chance to go backwards and award them.)
- The Mets have called up Carlos Gomez, who is a speedy young outfielder, and has been filling in for Moises Alou (on the DL still) and Shawn Green occasionally....and they sent down Mike Pelfrey.
- The Mets lost two out of three to Atlanta, in Atlanta, but still have a game-and-a-half lead in the division. Incidentally, the Mets got jobbed every which way from the umps in Thursday night's game, in which John Smoltz won his 200th career game.
- My school obligations are near complete - and hopefully I'll be able to start staying up for games. I've been falling asleep in the 6th inning or so the past few nights. Gotta get past that.
HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT: This is just tremendous...in the next couple of days, there should be a major announcement featuring johnnymets, Justin in NYC, the Southern Bureau, and Dave in Brighton.
BEAT THE STREAK: This I've been continuing, albeit unsuccessfully. Vladimir Guerrero on Friday night got me up to 2 games, I think. I like Carlos Beltran on Saturday.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
How about Oliver Perez!?!
Friday, May 11, 2007
I keep thinking (and I think I said something to this effect in my season preview) that it doesn't matter who comes out of the NL Central, because none of those teams poses much of a threat to the Mets. I still believe it, but just sitting down to write this, the Brewers could be dangerous in a short series. Especially against the Mets...and mostly because they have Jeff Suppan, who started against the Mets on Friday night.
Now, Suppan has pitched well in his career against the Mets - last October wasn't a fluke. So Friday night was a good look to see how the Mets would play against him...and they played well. Suppan shut them down without a hit for the first three innings, and then the Mets busted out.
David Wright started the fourth inning off with a solo homer, his third of the year (number 70 on his career). This might be the hot streak that gets him going. (He's also been hitting well from the number two spot, and might have a new permanent home in the lineup there.) Carlos Delgado hit a 2-run shot two batters later, and Paul Lo Duca (now seemingly permanent in the number 7 slot) had an RBI single. The Mets led, 4-0, and wouldn't look back, though things got a little too close. Damion Easley's solo shot in the 7th looked like pad, but it proved to be the difference.
Jorge Sosa had his second solid start for the Mets, going 6 and two-thirds, giving up just 2 runs. (I had heard El Duque might be back for Friday's game, I guess that was wrong.) Sosa gave way to Pedro Feliciano for a third of an inning, then Aaron Heilman continued his descent by giving up 2 runs before getting an out in the 8th. He eventually got three outs, and Billy Wagner got the save. Continue worrying about Heilman.
The weekend series with the Brewers continues Saturday afternoon - I suspect I won't be able to see it because of the FOX broadcast rights, even though they don't go on until 4, and the other games are at 1. I don't understand that. Oh well, it will allow my report cards to get written, I suppose.
Dunkin' Donuts johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: I feel like I've been sticking a square peg through a round hole trying to get David Wright a Player of the Game honor. I think it's merited Friday night. He got things going for the Mets, and even his first out he gave a ride to right. On the night, Wright was just 1-for-4 with the homer, but it set the tone for a big inning for the Mets against a nemesis, and was the first run of the night, en route to a win.
COMMENT ON THE COMMENT: The Southern Bureau, coming through with inside information about Aaron Sele, NOT shaving his head. Thanks for that. He needed to have his hair for a family photo. As of Friday night, Sele still hadn't shaved his head. Jose Reyes is quoted as saying he may do it Saturday. Willie Randolph is quoted in the Friday AP game recap as saying the Mets are a close team, the head-shaving thing didn't necessarily bring them closer. He says they just had too much time on their hands. Incidentally, not many of the Mets look good with a shaved head.
APPENDICITIS: Just throwing this out there - is appendicitis a side effect of steroids? I'm not accusing anyone, but Roy Halladay now has appendicits, and will be out 4-to-6 weeks. Remember last year (or was it two years ago now), Xavier Nady had appendicitis? And there were a couple of other major leaguers who did. And a few NFL players missed some time, in training camp, and I think during the season, with the same deal. I wonder if there's a connection. Just seems like a lot of these cases have been popping up lately.
BEAT THE STREAK: It's a Vladimir Guerrero weekend, against the Rangers. Unfortunately, I'm back at 0, since he was 0-for-2 with 2 walks Friday night. I'm pretty sure that's just the second time he's ever not gotten a hit against Texas. I've had him in 'Beat the Streak' both times. I have him up to and including Sunday.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
The Wife's jinx on Armando Benitez is alive and well. For those of you unfamiliar with the jinx: Back in the early stages of The Relationship, I took The Wife and my brother to a Mets game. Armando Benitez came in. It was against the Reds. I told The (future) wife, this guy throws hard. He threw hard, and Ken Griffey, Jr. hit it hard - the Mets lost, 2-1. (I think Benitez entered a tie game that day.) From that day forward, Armando Benitez was a wreck to watch, especially in the playoffs, and the commond denominator seemed to be The Wife. She was a jinx on him. Whenever she was in the room, he blew a save...so she learned to leave when he entered games.
The jinx seemed to reverse itself when Benitez was on the Marlins, and had incredible success against the Mets...but it's back.
The Wife, The Baby, and I went for a walk when the Mets and Giants were in the bottom of the 8th inning. We went for a shorter walk, me thinking we'd be back in time for extra innings. But we were back in the top of the 9th - bases loaded, one out, David Wright at the plate. Benitez went to 3-1, and then Wright, sitting fastball, ripped a 2-run double to left. Beautiful, and the Benitez jinx still works. It was great to see Wright come through in a clutch situation. He had a good series - hitting .384, with 3 doubles - maybe he's starting to come around.
Delgado has also been struggling, and he came through in a clutch situation. Delgado hit a solo homer into the water early in the game (4th inning), and he tied the game late with an RBI double. Ruben Gotay also hit a solo homer, in the third.
John Maine had a rocky start - 3 runs, 6 walks, in 6 innings. When I was listening on the radio on the way home, Howie Rose was saying Maine had a lot of trouble locating the ball. But he avoided the loss, so he's still 1-0. Scott Schoeneweis, Aaron Heilman (who got the win), and Billy Wagner (8th save) shut down the Giants the rest of the way.
After losing the two out of three to the Marlins early last week, the Mets had a nice road trip. They went 5-2 in Arizona and San Francisco. They have Thursday off before hosting Milwaukee this weekend. Orlando Hernandez might be back Friday night. I heard that about a week ago, I think.
AT&T johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: I wanted to give this to David Wright for driving in the go-ahead runs, but Carlos Delgado put the Mets where they needed to be. Delgado was 2-for-5, with a solo homer and an RBI double, 2 RBI total, scoring once.
Monster.com johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: Tempted as I was to give it to David Wright (again) - 2 doubles and an RBI - I have to give it to Tom Glavine, who gave up just one run (a Barry Bonds homer) in 7 innings, striking out five, giving up 7 hits and a walk, and picking up career win number 294. I saw none of this game, so I really have nothing further to comment on.
PacBell johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: Bengie Molina had 2 home runs and 5 RBI in a 9-run fifth inning against the Mets in the series opener. Oliver Perez gave up 8 of the 9 runs, but only two were earned - he was hurt by a couple of errors. Molina's line - 2-for-3 with a walk, 5 RBI, 2 HR, and 2 runs scored. (Those Molina brothers have caused the Mets a lot of problems in the past six months or so.
HAIRCUTS: The Mets apparently bonded on Tuesday by shaving their heads before the game, with Tom Glavine shaving his head after the game. As far as I know, the only person who didn't do it was Jose Reyes (who has a 14-game hitting streak, by the way). On the radio, Howie Rose was talking about Jay Horwitz's newly-shorn head, so I can only assume some front office folk also were involved in the fun.
BEAT THE STREAK: Albert Pujols screwed me over on Monday, but Ivan Rodriguez and Jose Reyes have me back at two games. No worse feeling than coming back from 1 game after building a 12-gamer. I have Miguel Tejada on Thursday.
Monday, May 07, 2007
We are in that rough stretch of the season, where the Mets take a West coast swing during the school year. It's a tough trip for the Mets, no doubt, because of all the miles, but it really wreaks havoc on my routine.
Anyway, since I won't be writing about the game, I thought I'd give my two cents on the Roger Clemens thing. First of all, I confess to letting my thoughts wander today to the idea, and the way the announcement was made. That was pretty cool. I did imagine a little bit what it would be like to be at a ho-hum Mets game, and then suddenly have an announcement of that caliber. Not that Roger Clemens was becoming a Met, mind you, but something that newsworthy being announced during a 7th inning stretch. It would be pretty amazing. Glad Yankees fans had a chance to enjoy something like that. It's only been 7 whole years since they had a world championship or something big to celebrate.
The other thing that I noticed about the Roger Clemens thing is that it was kind of surreal. I have a lot of schoolwork to do (should be doing it now), so I couldn't focus on the games much on Sunday. But I was switching around right before the Mets started, and I saw the Roger Clemens press conference:
This wasn't the angle I was watching it from, but I needed an illustration. It didn't seem real...it seemed surreal. I wasn't sure it was really happening, but I saw the "live" bug in the corner of the screen, and said, it must be true...they can't joke about something like this. But I was thinking the whole time I was looking at the press conference that it might be fake - I half-expected Buster Olney to pop out and ask fake questions, a la Steve Phillips:
Anyway, I hope Clemens fails hugely. But I needed to get that out there.
OTHER THOUGHTS: It's very upsetting to me that I barely mention David Wright in good terms anymore. He is having an awful start to the year, but it's magnified because that means his awful numbers are his actual stats. Here's what I mean - in the past, Wright's slumps have been disguised at the end of the year, so when he hit .239, his average dropped from .300 to .280, still good. But this year, when he's hit .239, his average is .239. And in the past, when he hit 2 homers in 30 games, that means he only had 26 for the season, instead of more. Now, he just has 2 homers, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. I still firmly believe that Wright will bounce back...he's just digging himself a deeper hole to have to come out of. What also upsets me is that the Southern Bureau is quickly losing all faith in Wright's ability to come back...and there's nothing I can do or say to get that faith back. The only way it will happen is for Wright to start hitting.
BEAT THE STREAK: Speaking of hitting, I'm still at 12 games after Manny's day off (back-to-back with an off-day, gotta love it). Albert Pujols and the Cardinals are just getting underway. Hopefully I'll have a 13-gamer on Tuesday, when it's Ivan Rodriguez against good ol' Horacio Ramirez (now with Seattle).
Sunday, May 06, 2007
For the first time since my honeymoon (three years ago), the Mets have lost to the Diamondbacks in Arizona. For those of you who don't know (before I get into Sunday's game), The Wife and I went to Hawaii after we were married, May 8, 2004. The Wife decided, though, that on the way out, we could see a ballpark, at Arizona, and see the Mets there at the same time. Long story short, I loved Arizona, the ballpark was just OK, but the Mets lost, 12-8. They lost the next night, too. Then they won the third game of the series....and hadn't lost in Arizona since...until Sunday.
The Mets played well, especially when you consider it was a step up from spring training for them - Endy Chavez in center, David Newhan in left, Ruben Gotay at second, and Ramon Castro behind the plate (various players resting, and Moises Alou still out with a bad knee). Poor Mike Pelfrey, he must have been cursing Willie Randolph that so many starters were sitting on a night he was trying to build on a good outing his last start.
Again, Pelfrey put himself in a hole early. He gave up a run in the first, and after the Mets tied it in the 4th, he gave that run right back. He also gave up the third run, giving up the three over five-and-a-third, and getting bullpen help to only give up the three. A decent outing, but he could have been better. Pelfrey took the loss, he's now 0-4 - I'd still rather have him out there, though, than a Chan Ho Park. (Jorge Sosa I'm not sure about, after his great start on Saturday.)
The Mets are still not getting the offense from the guys they need to hit. David Wright's average is down to .239. I thought he'd heat up in Arizona, but it seems he's cooled down even more. You can't blame anything on Jose Reyes, he's been on fire all year. Carlos Delgado has shown signs lately that he's breaking out...but not much power from him. The Mets need to start hitting, because I don't think Shawn Green will keep this up all year, and Moises Alou is not going to be able to play every day.
The Mets move to San Francisco next, where Oliver Perez gets the series started against Barry Zito on Monday night. You thought 9:40 starts were bad, I might take the next few nights off for schoolwork, and not write after the 10pm games.
Radisson Hotels Johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: He wasn't dominant, but he was effective, and he got the outs when he needed them. Livan Hernandez held the Mets to just one run on six hits in 7 innings, walking three and striking out three. This makes Livan and El Duque the first half-brother combo to be named johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game.
WHAT A STEAL!: Jose Reyes stole his 19th base on Sunday.
The Mets extended their winning streak in Arizona to 13 games with a 6-2 win. Shawn Green is the johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game for his 2-for-4 night. He homered (his fourth), had 3 RBI, and scored twice, pacing the offense.
BEAT THE STREAK: I picked Manny Ramirez for Sunday, a rare pick - I'm not sure I've picked him in a full year. Anyway, he didn't play. So I think my streak stalls at 12, and picks up again tomorrow. I like Albert Pujols against Jeff Francis.
Friday, May 04, 2007
I'm not going to make it until the end of this one. John Maine is headed for yet another Player of the Game nod, and Julio Franco and Paul Lo Duca have homered off of Randy Johnson.
This was very reminiscent of the Mets' success in Arizona last year, which jump-started them on one of their hottest runs of the season. Before Maine even took the mound, he had a lead, and it got bigger quickly as the Mets added on.
It's now the bottom of the eighth, and Ambiorix Burgos just gave up a 2-run homer. Endy Chavez might have hurt himself trying to bring the homer back, jumping at the wall. A double dose of bad news. It's now 5-3, Mets.
It's especially important that the Mets hold on and win this one, because it looks like Jorge Sosa will be getting Saturday's start against Brandon Webb. The Mets designated Chan Ho Park for assignment, by the way. Yay.
Chili's Johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: I'm just going to go ahead and give this to Maine right now - he can't lose the game, and he did it again for the Mets. 6 innings, 6 hits, 1 walk, 1 run, and 7 K's. His ERA - 1.37.
WHAT A STEAL!: Jose Reyes stole his 18th base. He was also caught stealing Friday night for the 5th time.
TGIFriday's Johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: I can't believe Damion Easley has two before David Wright has one, but he's been clutch. With one out in the ninth, Mets trailing 4-3, Diamonbacks closer on, two Mets on base, Easley hit a homer to centerfield, giving the Mets a 6-4 lead. David Wright added career homer 69 (second of the season) later in the inning (another three run shot) and the Mets won, 9-4 (it must be Arizona). After I wrote on Thursday night, the 7th and 8th innings just blew by, so I stayed up for the 9th. Glad I did. I went to sleep before Wright's homer, though.
BEAT THE STREAK: Vladimir Guerrero has me at 11 games. Either it's time for me to shake my jinx, or Dave in Brighton's wish will come true. I'm taking Derek Jeter on Saturday - with the offense that was flashed in the Bronx Friday night, I need a piece of that action against Jeff Weaver on Saturday (Jeter was 0-for-6 - that means he'll bounce back, right?).
Thursday, May 03, 2007
This is sort of an experiment. I have lots of schoolwork as we head down the stretch towards summer vacation, and the Mets are playing late. So the choices, as I see them, are thus: go to bed early, miss the game, and get sleep, or stay up, watch the game, and try to get work done with the extra time I'm staying up. I chose option two, decided to mix in a blog, and believe it or not, some schoolwork is actually getting done.
Unfortunately, this experiment is coming to an end...as they get up for the seventh inning stretch in Arizona, I'm stretching my way right into bed, at about 11:35pm eastern time. I figured out what's worse than the 9:05pm starts - 9:40pm starts. Ouch.
The Mets trail 4-3, and Tom Glavine was just lifted for a pinch-hitter, so he can only lose this game - he can't win, so he'll stay at 293 career wins. The highlight of this game so far for the Mets was a BOMB by Carlos Beltran way out to center field. Not much else going on, to be honest with you.
The Mets have late starts Friday and Saturday. I have a function on Saturday night, so maybe the 9:40pm Saturday night start will actually work to my benefit then - I bet I'm home before the game ends...or at least I'll be able to listen on the radio in the car on the way home.
AWARDS: I just mentioned that John Maine should clear some mantle space if he keeps pitching like he has...I meant the end of the year, but he's already won an award for 2007. Maine was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April. The National League Player of the Month was (my pick for NL MVP) Jose Reyes. If I heard correctly, it's the first time the Mets have swept a month since 1985, when Dwight Gooden and Hall of Famer Gary Carter did the honors.
EDITORIAL ON THE SHIFT: I am not a fan of the shift. There's a couple of reasons for my feelings. One is that I don't like the idea of leaving a whole side of the field open for someone. I understand that the shift is usually only employed against big power guys who always pull the ball, but they're also Major League hitters, and should be able to go opposite field once in a while, and should do it more often when everyone and their brother is playing you to pull. So I'm not a fan of the people who employ the shift, nor am I a fan of the hitters who can't exploit it.
Therefore, I like what happened on Wednesday night in Cleveland. Tie game, bottom half of the last inning, and the shift is on against Travis Hafner. Hafner shot it down the line the opposite way, and the Indians won the game. I don't like the shift, and I love that Hafner exploited it this way.
Also, on a somewhat related note - the other day, Tuesday, it must have been, Carlos Delgado got two hits by going the other way against the shift. Should have been ground balls to short, but no one was there. I know I'm not a manager, or a coach, or anything close to anyone with a job in baseball, and I realize the numbers must show it works, or so many people wouldn't be doing it, dating back decades, but I don't think that's how the game should be played.
BEAT THE STREAK: 10 games!! Ray Durham got a hit late Wednesday night, A-Rod got a hit in game 2 of the Yankees-Rangers doubleheader on Thursday. I'm taking Vladimir Guerrero on Friday against Chicago.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
The Mets capped off a tough series against Florida with a win, and Oliver Perez was once again impressive.
Perez struck out 10, improving his record to 3-2, as the Mets beat the Marlins, 6-3. (I didn't see any of this game - it was a day game, and I was at school.) Every Mets starter except Carlos Delgado had a hit - David Wright continues to break out of his slump - he was 2-for-5, this time hitting from the 5 spot (he had been in the two spot the past couple of nights, I forget if I mentioned that). Endy Chavez started in left, and had a hit and 2 RBI, and Shawn Green had two more hits. Ruben Gotay started at second base.
Joe Smith entered the game in the sixth with runners on, got out of a jam, and pitched another scoreless innings (one-and-two-thirds overall), Scott Schoeneweis had a scoreless inning getting the game to Billy Wagner, and Wagner slammed the door for the save.
About the only negative I can see is that two of the runs allowed by Perez were unearned, and David Wright had two errors. Other than that, this was a big win, heading out to Arizona.
I can't give a full verdict on Oliver Perez yet...but he's had one bad start. Other than that, he's been about everything Mets fans have hoped for. And on Wednesday afternoon, he was a stopper - that is huge.
The Mets open up a series in Arizona on Thursday - nine o'clock starts, ugh. You might not hear from me until Friday night - I'm warning you now. Tom Glavine starts on Thursday against Micah Ownings. I hope the Mets bats are as alive in Arizona as they've been there the past couple of years.
JetBlue johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: Oliver Perez. Not only did he put a stop to the two-game losing streak with a great outing on the mound, but he was 2-for-2 at the plate, scoring two important runs. Perez's line - 5-and-2-thirds innings, 3 runs (one earned), 3 hits, 3 walks, and 10 K's. His ERA on the season is 3.41.
WHAT A STEAL!: No stolen bases on Wednesday for Jose Reyes.
DOUBLES: Shawn Green had his 9th double of the season on Wednesday, Jose Reyes his 10th. The Mets' single-season doubles record WILL fall this season - it's just a matter of which Met finishes with the most this year.
COMMENT ON THE COMMENTS: The Southern Bureau is a very respectable sports journalist. But when it comes to Oliver Perez, the JMDBSDC has a very strong negative and inaccurate bias, the opposite of the blind-fantasy-baseball-induced love of Oliver Perez possessed by Dave in Brighton. I think the Southern Bureau was once burned by Perez and is finding it hard to forgive. Clearly, Southern Bureau, it is time to forgive, and re-sign, and move forward.
As for Davd in Brighton, he mentioned Chan Ho Park's career earnings - that's all thanks to the Texas Rangers.
BEAT THE STREAK: At press time, the Giants hadn't even played, so we have no idea about Ray Durham. Hopefully we'll all wake up and the streak will be at 9 games. Until then, I'll go with A-Rod on Thursday. Also, mlb.com has FINALLY started their 'Survivor' game.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
This is the moment you've been expecting if you are a Mets fan...but there's encouraging news. The pitching staff has been hit by injuries, and Mike Pelfrey needs to step up after a tough loss and get you a win. He didn't come through, but there's good news out of the Mets' second loss in a row.
Pelfrey got off to a bad start - walking (and hitting a batter) the bases loaded, and then giving up a 3-run triple to Josh Willingham. After that, though, he managed to hold the Marlins to a 3-0 lead for the duration of his outing...and he settled in very nicely.
Unfortunately, the Mets were never able to overcome that 3-run deficit, and they left a few runs out on the field. Two runners were tagged out at the plate (Jose Reyes on an attempted steal of home [see below] and Carlos Delgado on a play where he could have hustled a bit more), and a couple of rallies never got as big as they should have.
The other good news (I almost don't feel as though the Mets lost, there was so much good coming out of this game) is that David Wright and Carlos Delgado showed signs of life - finally. Delgado was 2-for-4, and both hits went to left field against the shift. Unfortunately, Delgado was nailed at the plate, on an off-line throw up the third base line, where the catcher was able to tag Delgado easily without being run into - Delgado went out of his way to avoid the catcher, rather than run through him in the baseline.
Wright had a night - 3-for-4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored (both Mets runs, incidentally). Wright hit an opposite field homer (#68 career - I actually had to look that up, it's been so long), and had his fifth double of the year - a rocket off the left field wall. Finally, signs of the old David Wright.
The Mets cut it to 3-2, before Aaron Heilman gave up a 2-run homer to Willingham which took the Mets out of the game officially. I think it's time to sound the alarm and get a little bit worried about Heilman. Wright will be OK, so now let's shift our focus to Heilman and see if we can't figure out why he's not as clutch this year.
Bottom line - Pelfrey gave the Mets what they needed on Tuesday. I think he'll be even better in his next start, because I don't think he'll get off to as bad a start as he did in this one. The Mets need to find a number five (while El Duque is out) better than Park, and I think they'll be fine. But I'll feel a lot better about that statement if they go out and get a win on Wednesday.
The Mets play a day game against the Marlins Wednesday before heading out to Arizona. This week hasn't started as I had hoped - I'd really like for the Mets to go on a five-game winning streak right now. (I won't be able to watch Wednesday's game, but I'll try to write about it at night.)
Citi johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: Josh Willingham owns the Mets, and he certainly owned them Wednesday night. Willingham was 2-for-4, driving in all 5 Marlins runs, while scoring once. He's hitting over .300 against the Mets in his career.
You should know that there's a small "Heroes" addiction going on at the House Sponsored by DirecTV, and Monday night sports viewing suffers as a result (as does blog writing). So a day late and a dollar short, a quick Monday recap. Chan Ho Park started (aaaaaaahhhh!) and made us think he would pitch well with 2-and-2-thirds very good innings, then giving up a 5-spot in the third (the defense didn't help him - so he's not 100% at fault - although he's at fault for not being very good). The Mets lost to Florida, 9-6.
DirecTV johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: I am going with what I heard Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez say at the end of the game - that Randy Messenger deserved a Player of the Game nod because he shut down the Mets after they attempted several rallies. So I'll give him that nod, because I don't have anyone better. Messenger pitched one inning, throwing just 6 pitches, and I guess he was the most effective pitcher of an ineffective evening for pitchers.
WHAT A STEAL!: Only a caught stealing by Jose Reyes on Tuesday (he did get his 17th stolen base on Monday night). The caught stealing (his 4th on the year) is worth explaining, though. Reyes was on third, Wright stole second, and Reyes tried to steal home. He was thrown out at the plate. This happened in the first inning of Tuesday's game, ending a Mets threat.
MONTHLY COUNT: April came to an end with the Mets at 15-9. Not bad, but considering the way the Mets lost a few of those, and the fact that a couple came at the hands of Washington, it could have been a much better month.
INJURIES: When last I wrote, I mentioned both Jose Valentin and Orlando Hernandez were being checked out in New York due to injuries. Well, both were placed on the DL Monday. Hernandez was replaced by Chan Ho Park for Monday's start, and Ruben Gotay took Valentin's roster spot. We have yet to see Gotay - Park can head back to New Orleans and stay there, as far as I'm concerned.
The Braves are also hurting, though - they had to place Bob Wickman on the DL.
AROUND THE MAJORS: The Cleveland Indians sent pitcher Fausto Carmona down to Triple-A, and I'm not sure why (I could read an article on it, but then I could no longer speculate). Carmona struggled the past year or so as a closer, and was absolutely awful in that role. This year, I've seen him start a couple of games. He shut down the Yankees at Yankee Stadium the day that they came all the way back down 6 with 2 outs in the ninth (not against Carmona), and most recently beat Baltimore on Sunday. Now that I look at his numbers, they're not bad, but they improved significantly after his last three very good outings...still, not sure why he was demoted. Maybe we'll keep an eye on that.
BEAT THE STREAK: Jose Reyes extended my season-long streak on Tuesday night to 8 games. I'm putting it on the line Wednesday in Colorado with Ray Durham - hitting more than .400 career against Rockies starter Jeff Francis.