Monday, May 25, 2009
A full slate of games, both afternoon and evening, on Memorial Day.
I've been commenting on this for years (see bottom paragraph).
Thank you, baseball.
UPDATE: I'm kind of liking these red Memorial Day hats around baseball today, especially on teams for whom red is not a primary uniform color. I'm looking forward to seeing what the Mets' logo looks like on the red. If it looks good, I might buy it. (Thanks to Phil Hughes for modeling the look.)
Sunday, May 24, 2009
No less disappointing...but almost as though, in retrospect, you could see 'it' coming.
The 'it', though, would have been a loss to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, rather than an NLCS Game 7 loss to the Cardinals.
And the 'it' was the fact that the Mets were beatable...nowhere more on display than during their interleague series with the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
That was the last time the Mets were at Fenway, and of course, all things considered, the season was pretty successful after the Mets were swept in an ugly three-game series in Boston. (Relatively, successful, when compared with 2007 and 2008, I guess.)
The Mets' struggles were personified in that series by Lastings Milledge, who looked lost in left field, clueless as to how to play the Green Monster.
I was at the first of those three games, and looking back, I had forgotten that it was started by Alay Soler. So the Mets' starting pitching is somewhat comparable to those days...although, I guess Livan Hernandez is a better bet than Soler.
But the point is that the past two days have been encouraging. It shows that the Mets can hang with the big boys...and the fact that they're doing it undermanned is even more encouraging.
The Mets won with Johan Santana on the mound Friday night...you hope that happens each time he takes the mound. Mike Pelfrey was in his top form on Saturday, and you hope he looks like that if the Mets are fortunate to make it into October...I'll take 2 first inning runs if he settles down like he did on Saturday - that's how he was when he was at his best beginning last July and lasting for the rest of the season. But all of what has happened so far has been without Jose Reyes or Carlos Delgado in the lineup, without Carlos Beltran in center field (he's been DH), and with the likes of Omir Santos making huge contributions.
And today features Tim Redding against Tim Wakefield. Wakefield has been strong so far this season, but the knuckleball is always dicey, so he could be hittable, and anything positive the Mets get out of Redding is huge.
But even more huge would be a sweep in Boston. It'll wipe the struggles in Los Angeles right from the slate...and give these Mets something that the 2006 team didn't have - the confidence they can hang with the best.
RANDOM STAT: I've been holding onto this one, hoping it continues...but running my baseball pool allows me to keep track of random things - like the fact that until yesterday, Detroit hadn't lost on a Saturday or Sunday all season. I'm sad that ended yesterday....but they're still 12-1 on Saturdays and Sundays.
CHECKING IN WITH THE DUCKS
It's been a while since we checked in with Hall of Famer Gary Carter's Long Island Ducks:
The Ducks have lost 7 of their last 10, and stand at 14-13, 2-and-a-half games behind Southern Maryland, in third place in their division. Some guy named Ray Navarrette, who plays third base, leads the team with 6 homers and 19 RBI. He also leads the team with 7 errors, but I guess with how he's been hitting, you keep him in the lineup.
We'll keep you posted.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
This series: 0 saves
Season total: 11
Monday, May 18, 2009
May 15: Mets win 8-6
May 16: Mets win 9-6
May 17: Giants win 2-0
Mets record: 21-16
We're only as good as he is : David Wright got the series off to a great start with four stolen bases on Thursday, and didn't slow down for the weekend. He finishes the four game series 10-15 with 9 rbi. Its no coincidence that as Wright has gotten hot in May (.450 avg, 19rbi), so have the Mets (12-4).
He's human! : Johan Santana finally has a stinker - giving up six runs on Saturday - but the offense picks him up battering Randy Johnson.
Obvious "Cain is Able" joke : The Mets learned what not many people know on Sunday, and that's how Matt Cain may be the most underrated pitcher in baseball. His performance on Sunday kept the Mets from the sweep, but taking three of four is still a pretty good weekend of work.
K-Rod Kount-down : The season is only a month and a half old, and we've already got a new segment for the series recap. We're going to follow Francisco Rodriguez as he tries to break the Mets single season save record.
This series: two saves.
Season total: 11
Current pace: 47
Mets record: 43
Next Up : three games at LA Dodgers
Saturday, May 16, 2009
That's a lame excuse, I know. But it's really all about the time of year right now. Read: It's not September.
It's hard for me to get swept up in the Mets right now. They've won ten of their last twelve. They have the best record in the majors in May. But that's the problem. It's only May.
And if 2007 and 2008 have taught me anything, it's that it doesn't quite matter where the Mets end May. It matters where they end up in September.
It's the ol', fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me thing. I was fooled twice. If it happens a third time, I don't know that I can handle the shame.
So I'm not getting caught up in all of this. Which is a shame, really. Because the Mets have been playing some exciting ball. A couple of late-inning rallies on the west coast. David Wright has 9 doubles! They're doing it without Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes.
But I haven't been staying up for the west coast wins. On a Friday night I didn't make it past the game-tying double in the seventh. I went to bed thinking the Mets would probably still lose the game. That's just not something I would have done in the past.
Maybe something will change when summer vacation hits, and I have the time to relax and watch the games. Maybe someone will drop a ticket in my lap to next weekend's series at Fenway Park and I'll get caught up in the excitement again.
But maybe I won't believe these Mets when they cry wolf until I actually see the wolf...in October.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
May 12: Mets win 4-3
May 13: Braves win 8-7
Mets record: 18-15
Not again : For the second time this season, Johan Santana allowed no earned runs - and lost. Its games like this that they look back on at the end of the season when its tied on the last day.
You messed up : Derek Lowe is 5-1 with an ERA of 3.80. Oliver Perez is 1-2 with an ERA of 9.97. Omar, you messed up.
Not over 'til its over : Down by three in the eighth inning, the Mets come back and win Tuesday's game in extra innings. Carlos Beltran draws the game winning walk, and he's quickly becoming the star of this team. His numbers this year are amazing.
First one to 81 wins : The NL East was supposed to be one of the best divisions in baseball, but only one team (The Mets) is over 500. The parity has led to a close division though.
NY Mets -
If one team gets hot, they could run away with the NL East in a hurry.
Next Up : four games at San Francisco Giants
Monday, May 11, 2009
Thanks to Omar Manaya's decision to go with Oliver Perez over Derek Lowe - here we are. Wouldn't Lowe be a nice #2 pitcher on this Mets team? Eh...I guess that's the next post.
Off to an abbreviated version of what we missed...
May 4: Mets win 6-4
May 5: Mets win 4-3
Mets record: 12-13
MR. MAY : David Wright starts to wake up in this series going 4-9 with 3rbi including a home run. And - perhaps most importantly to Johnnymets - he doubles twice.
Del-don't-got-it : Wasn't that Chris Berman's HR call for Delgado? "Del-got-it". Maybe I'm making it up. Anyways - Delgado's error on Tuesday almost cost the Mets the game. A little suspect over there.
May 6: Mets win 1-0
May 7: Mets win 7-5
Mets record: 14-13
Save me! : Four straight wins, four straight saves for Francisco Rodriguez. The Mets single season save record is 43 by Armando Benitez in 2001. Rodriguez is on pace for 47 saves.
See ya : The Mets hadn't shown much life (before this week), but at least the manager still has the blood pumping. Jerry Manuel tossed from Thursday's game when he made contact with an umpire.
This is not news : Johan Santana was awesome. Yawn.
May 8: Mets win 7-3
May 9: Mets win 10-1
May 10: Mets win 8-4
Mets record: 17-13
Yeah that's great but... : A sweep is huge, but a sweep over the Pirates shouldn't be. Good teams shouldn't lose to bad teams. Maybe the Mets are starting to show signs of a good team.
Who needs Derek Lowe? : Not the Mets when they're playing the Pirates. Three games and they give up just eight runs. And none of the pitchers were Johan Santana!
Seven straight is great : The seven game winning streak gets the Mets back over 500 on the season and puts them right back in the thick of things. For a team that was fading quickly, it could not have come at a better time.
Next Up : three games vs Atlanta Braves. SPOILER ALERT: The Mets lose the first game.
Monday, May 04, 2009
May 2: Phillies win 6-5
May 3: rained out
Mets record: 10-13
Worth every penny : Hasn't always been pretty, but Francisco Rodriguez is a perfect five for five in save opportunities this season after Friday night's game ender.
At least one of them is good : Two games, two home runs for Daniel Murphy. He's now hitting .320 on the season with an on base percentage of .376. His play as of late has been one of the few bright spots for a team that has lost eight of eleven.
"I feel embarrassed." : Say what you want about Oliver Perez (and I have - many times) at least he knows he stinks. Saying he felt embarrassed after his Saturday outing is a start. Four runs, six walks in 2.1 innings and the question is - now what? Bullpen? Minors? DL? While that decision is still to be made, one thing is clear - he's out of the rotation.
Yeah, about that...never mind : The problem with the internet is, when you write a bold prediction, you'd better hope its right because it usually stays online forever and everyone knows what an epic failure you were. This guy know exactly what I'm talking about. Give him credit for going out on a limb though.
Next Up : two games at Atlanta Braves.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
It's not just Oliver Perez, though his performance to this point hasn't helped.
It's not the fact that they walked in the winning run in the tenth inning against the Phillies on Saturday, though that makes my blood boil.
It's not that they seem to lack fire...though that's taking away from my enthusiasm.
It's a combination of all of those things, certainly, but mostly it's the fact that the Mets just aren't good enough right now to do anything this year.
I said it on Opening Night at Citi Field, when the Mets were cheered by the crowd that night...I said, "If it wasn't for the new ballpark, I bet this same group would be getting booed right now." Because while optimism usually reins during the home opener celebration, I think the fans are starting at the setting "fed up", instead of working their way in that direction. I'm as optimistic as they come, and I feel like there's a dark cloud (baseball-related, that is - which I'm starting to learn to ignore...more on that another day) following me around.
Maybe the Mets will turn out to be the best of what has so far been an unimpressive National League East...but that's not saying much. If the Mets are going to do anything in October, they need to make a change...and it has to come before the trade deadline in July.
I think Omar Minaya did a great job with the bullpen this offseason. But I don't know anyone who cares about the Mets who wasn't thinking that the rotation needed work. I never wanted Derek Lowe, but he was available, and so was a player like Brad Penny who was worth a flyer, among others. I wanted to believe that Oliver Perez would show up come the big games...but it doesn't get any bigger than a Saturday in early May when the manager says you have to prove yourself. And he flopped in that game. So Minaya failed the team there...and perhaps his hands were tied financially - but the money that went to Perez could have gone elsewhere.
And now the good work that went into building up the bullpen might have to be turned around to deal for the types of starting pitchers that could have been had in free agency. So a strength could be turned into a weakness in order to turn a weakness into a strength.
And it didn't have to be that way.
But if it doesn't happen....2009 is looking like a disappointment.