April 28: Marlins win 7-4
April 29: Marlins win 4-3
Mets record: 6-9
That was...uh...something : As Johnnymets put it in his previous post, a pretty uninspired performance by the Mets. A sweep against any team - even against a pretty good Cardinals team - is never good. Perhaps a trip home against an awful Nationals team can turn things around.
No Johan = No chance : Johan Santana didn't pitch in this series, and without him the Mets looked pretty awful. We wondered if starting pitching would be a problem on this club, and its pretty obvious now that it is. Check out the ERA's of the starting rotation...
Johan Santana - 0.46
Livan Hernandez - 7.31
John Maine - 7.47
Oliver Perez - 7.80
Mike Pelfrey - 8.10
Four of the five starters have ERA's over SEVEN. Omar Manaya's decision not to address the starting pitching this offseason is looking more and more questionable.
Batting Third... : Carlos Beltran moved up to third in the lineup, and responds with a three run home run. The 6-9 start isn't Beltran's fault - that's for sure. He's now hitting .404 on the season.
Batting First... : Is not the stolen base threat we remember. Jose Reyes has just three SBs this season, putting him on pace for 32 for the year. That's well below the 65 he's averaged in the last four seasons. Does he not have the green light?
Next Up : three games vs Washington Nationals
Other than the two stadiums opening in New York, the biggest deal going on in baseball might be in Kansas City, where they are celebrating their 40th year as a franchise as well as the renovation of Kaufman Stadium. I'll have more on the renovation in a minute. But I also wanted to note that the Astros are wearing a patch celebrating 10 seasons at Minute Maid Park (nee Enron). I absolutely can not believe that park has been around ten years. I feel like all of these new ones were just built. Safeco Field is also celebrating 10 years this year, though it opened after the All Star break. And Pac Bell (now AT&T Park) also opened around the same time....I just feel like there's no way these parks can be 10+ years old. Time flies.
Anway, back to Kaufman Stadium. This park might just be the reason I want to visit all of these out-of-town ballparks. Growing up, I used to think there was nothing cooler than the fountains in Kansas City. (Still haven't been, incidentally.) The park got even more beautiful a few years back when they did away with the turf and put in natural grass. And now they've done a full renovation where the park looks very different - more like the new throwback parks, but it still kept a lot of its own charm.
(That's the way it looked the past few years on the left, renovated on the right. I couldn't find any really good pictures of the newer park...click to enlarge.)
Finally, there is one other significant difference that I have seen these past couple of weeks around the Majors - The Ballpark in Arlington (another new ballpark that is over a decade old) has its own new wrinkle: Its high wall in left field is now fronted by a "collapsable" scoreboard.
(Again, this was the best I could do for pictures.) It's a chain-link type fence, with the scoreboard images projected on there, and it absorbs impact. I think that's different from the one they have at the Rogers Centre in Toronto - I think this one wobbles more - I think the one in Toronto is sturdier.
Anyway, check it out if you get the chance - I love all of these little changes from year to year across the majors.
April 17: Mets win 5-4
April 18: Mets win 1-0
April 19: Brewers win 4-2
Mets record: 6-6
Oh yeah...he's on the team : Its only been two weeks, but here's hoping Gary Sheffield's 500th HR isn't the highlight of the season. Half the fans probably didn't even know who he was.
Simply the best : But everyone knows who Johan Santana is. He once again shows why he's the best in the game with his dominant performance on Saturday. Citi isn't "The House That Johan Built", but its going to be a place he's going to win a lot of games.
1 HR, 4 rbi : That's not David Wright's line for this series. That's his line for the ENTIRE SEASON. Is Citi Field the wrong stuff for Mr. Wright? (ugh...that pun was awful. I'm so sorry).
I'm going to check out the '86 trophy while getting a burrito : Johnnymets wasn't the only one not happy with the exclusion of the Mets Hall of Fame at Citi. Thanks to all the complaints, the Mets will be adding it soon. And where is the only logical place to put it?? The food court, of course.
Next Up : three games at St. Louis Cardinals
April 10: Marlins win 5-4
April 11: Mets win 8-4
April 12: Marlins win 2-1
Mets record: 3-3
Beast of the East? : Don't look now but the Marlins are 5-1 with all the wins coming in the NL East. Jorge Cantu joked they might win 161 games.
So Close : Both Met losses come by just one run. They say good teams win close games. But then again - who is "they" that always says that?
Surely You Can't Be Serious : The Mets lone win this series came because of Livan Hernandez. Yes - THAT Livan Hernandez. I'm serious - and don't call me Shirley. That same Livan Hernandez had an ERA of 6.05 last season for the Twins and Rockies. Put it this way - if the Mets are counting on Livan Hernandez to bail them out, its going to be a long season.
Ace vs Staff : The Marlins might have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball (Braves manager Bobby Cox thinks so), but its clear the Mets have the best pitcher. Johan Santana was awesome on Sunday, but couldn't get the run support. So the question is, would you rather your rotation was one amazing pitcher and four so-so's, or five pretty good's? 2009 could be the year we find out the answer.
I distinctly remember how the blog started. I was sitting with The Wife (then the fiancee - I've been blogging longer than I've been married), surfing the net on her laptop, saying, "I want to write about the Mets. How do I start my own website?" She said, "You can start a blog." So I did. That happened on April 11, 2004. The site has come a long way, I think, since those mini-game recaps.
In 5 years we've seen the rise of David Wright, the closing of Shea and opening of a new stadium, Carlos and Pedro* and Johan, and disappointment after disappointment after disappointment. (Not to mention the Jets' share of disappointments...as well as the birth of two children.)
Hopefully the enthusiasm with which I've started off this year stays with me until late October.
A World Series championship would be a nice way to celebrate the end of our fifth season.
Mets record: 2-1
The More Things Change... : THE BULLPEN HELD A LEAD!!! Omar Manaya probably chewed his fingernails right off as the Mets clinged to a one run lead in the opener. But J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez did what no one could do last season and held on in the 2-1 win. To make things even better - they did it again the next night.
...The More They Stay the Same : But all chances for a sweep were quickly killed by Oliver Perez. His Thursday afternoon line - 4.1ip, 8er, 5bb. Tough to come back when your starter puts you in an 8-4 hole. And the Mets couldn't.
Go, Go Delgado : Carlos Delgado getting the season off to a good start. Hitting .429, 6rbi, and a HR in the three game series.
Back from the Dead : The debate in the preseason was who would win the NL East - The Mets or the Phillies? Despite their bullpen meltdown Wednesday, the Braves served notice that they will be a force in the NL East as well. The Braves outplayed Philadelphia for a game and 6+ innings before a train wreck of an inning cost them a sweep. The NL East could be a three team race.
Next up : three games at Florida Marlins
He's already started to make noise...apparently he was on WFAN in New York about a week ago and said he was upset that the Mets didn't ask him to catch the last pitch at Shea Stadium. Don't think there won't be plenty of noise coming out of Citibank Park (not to be confused with Citi Field) with Carter this close to the New York media.
Still, though, I love the man, and wish him a very happy birthday. And I also want to take this opportunity to remind you that he has had nothing but success as a minor league manager.
The Ducks season starts on April 23rd. We'll definitely be keeping you updated - and there will be a trip this summer as well.