November 20, 2008
With Mike Mussina set to retire this off-season, the New York Yankees’ level of urgency to sign big name front line pitching just went from yellow to red. On the other side of town, the New York Mets find themselves in a similar quandary in which questions and concerns regarding right handed pitcher, Pedro Martinez, are starting to linger.
“I’d be very surprised if he came back to us,” a member of the Mets’ hierarchy has said.
“We’re going to need some arms at the back end of the rotation, so he could be in the mix for that if he wanted to come back. But we’re not even sure he’d want to pitch for the kind of money he’d probably get.”
Upon entering the 2008 season, Martinez was expected to be at or near full recovery from the arm surgery that sidelined him for most of the 2007 season. In his first start of this past season, he tweaked his hamstring and was then placed on the disabled list. Once he returned to the starting rotation, he was forced to perform the remainder of his starts which were compounded with the disheartening loss and emotional strain of his father’s passing.
“He’s definitely coming back,” his agent, Fernando Cuza has said. “He’s got all the baggage behind him. He’s ready to go get it. It’ll be fun to see the old Pedro again.”
The thirty-seven year old Martinez most definitely seems like a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame but in terms of the Mets’ present plans for their rotation his acceptance may not be so certain.
“Pedro was a big piece of the organization getting back on its feet,” general manager Omar Minaya has stated.
When Martinez was brought over to the Mets in 2005, they made sure to roll out the red carpet. But this time around, a bathroom rug may be all that the Mets can afford to offer.
“I think the Mets are a possibility. They know him better than most. They know the condition he’s in. They know about the personal problems that affected him last year. When Pedro’s healthy, he’s one of the best, and he’s healthy,” Cuza added.
October 24, 2008
As we get closer to the end of this month, the unsettling reality for loyal baseball fans and devoted hardball enthusiasts is that when they look inside their respective daily newspapers, they will realize that the words, pitching probables, will not be listed. They will have faced the inevitable conclusion that the 2008 major league baseball season is over and done with.
For the teams that were unable to participate in this year’s post season or for that matter, finish above five hundred, they will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. For when the World Series has come and gone, they will now know that they can relax. Some of them will spend time with their families others will be adjusting to a few months of alone time. The term, retire, may suit best the better of four months that sits between the Fall Classic and the first day of spring training. Ball players will be allowed to hibernate and forge themselves into anonymity without the watchful eye of Joe sports fan criticizing their every move.
As the tabloids will surely tell you, this time of year can be very special for some players. Whether it’s a free agent seeking a more prosperous contract or a young player with hopes of making the big leagues to most of us the off-season is just that, off. There will be no baseball played this off-season. Unless you count the Arizona Fall League, the Dominican Winter League, or in the coming months, the World Baseball Classic, and unless you follow the Rays or the Phillies, your favorite team probably isn’t playing this weekend.
As the conversation turns toward headlines that read each team’s projected roster or a front page story created in regards to inform us of a new ballpark’s construction or deconstruction, the committed have relied heavily on locating these storylines and have been able to stave off the early signs affiliated with baseball withdrawal. Every faithful fan can relate to the feeling of consistently refreshing their favorite team’s homepage in hopes of obtaining some exciting, late-breaking news.
My advice for baseball fans this winter would be to join a fantasy basketball league or spend quality time with their significant other. They say time makes the heart grow fonder. I wonder. I guess we will just have to wait and see. See ya next year.
October 6, 2008
September Swoon All Too Familiar for the New York Mets
The date was September 10, 1985 and the New York Mets possessed an 82-53 record locked into a tie with the St. Louis Cardinals atop the National League East. Both teams were about to embark on a three game series at Shea Stadium and since the start of July they were positioning themselves for a fight to see who could outlast the other.
Leading up to that crucial series at Shea Stadium, the Mets and the Cardinals had played thirteen games, respectively, against each other. In those thirteen games, the Cardinals took eight of them including five of six at Busch Stadium. But this time the Mets were playing at home and so far they had won six out their last seven games for the month of September and had fought their way from two games back to share a claim of first place. Overflowing with confidence from a West Coast road trip in which they won seven of ten games, they felt poised to take over first place from the Cardinals.
The first of three games produced a great pitching match-up between one of the league’s hottest pitchers, Mets’ right-hander Ron Darling, who was going for his fifth victory in a row, and the Cardinals’ Danny Cox, who was posting a 15-8 record. The Mets went on to win that contest, 5-4, and took two of three from St. Louis pushing the Cardinals into second place by just one game.
Unfortunately, after losing two of three games later that weekend against the Montreal Expos, the Mets fell back into second place. They went on to play better than average baseball down the stretch leading up to an all-or-nothing three game series on October 1st at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals, on the other hand, won fifteen of their next eighteen games that produced a three game lead over the second-place Mets. The inability to keep pace with the red-hot Cardinals placed New York up against the wall forcing them into a scenario in which they needed a sweep of St. Louis during the final week of the season just to stay even atop first place in the NL East standings.
Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez would later reveal that these next three games against St. Louis would be part of the most exciting games of his career. New York took the first game of the series, 1-0, on a late-inning Darryl Strawberry homerun. Mets’ right hander Ron Darling pitched the game of his life but left in the ninth inning with a no decision handing the ball over to closer Jesse Orosco who accepted the victory.
The second game provided for an interesting match up between the Mets’ Dwight Gooden and the Cardinals’ Joaquin Andujar. With the Mets’ winning the first game, their manager Davey Johnson now looked like a genius opting to go with Gooden to start the middle game of the series. The Mets went on to win, 5-2, but the Cardinals did not go quietly as they left the bases loaded in the ninth inning with the winning run at the plate. The victory gave Gooden his twenty-fourth on the season as he would go on to win the Cy Young Award that year.
With two wins in the Mets’ favor, they were two-thirds of the way in completing their goal in sweeping the Cardinals. For the final game, St. Louis went with starter Danny Cox whose main concern was to avenge the loss he suffered from the previous series against the Mets at Shea Stadium. He went on to guide the Cardinals to victory and edged out the Mets, 4-3.
With the loss, the Mets fell two games back with just three to play. If the Mets were to finish their season in first place that had to do so by winning the remainder of their games by taking three from the Montreal Expos. As for the Cardinals, they had to lose their last three against the Chicago Cubs. As the story goes, the Mets lost two of three and the Cardinals won two of three. St. Louis went on to play in the post season in which they were defeated in the World Series by the Kansas City Royals in seven games.
Although the Mets’ season ended in disappointment, it also gave them great pride which carried over into the following season.
September 29, 2008
“Our greatest glory consists not in ever falling, but in rising every time we fall”
New York Mets right fielder Ryan Church took one last swing yesterday as the Mets ended their season by experiencing the same repercussions as last year with another disappointing loss. The events that lead into Sunday’s 4-2 defeat in the hands of the Florida Marlins could make any Mets’ fan shake their head in disbelief and think to themselves, “Is this déjà vu all over again?” The only difference this time around was that the Mets were not out of the game right from the get-go.
Most major league teams would love the chance to play for a possible playoff berth and would trade the spoiler role in a second. All, except for the Marlins who now have spent the last two seasons making sure that the Mets fail to make the post season.
With the final day at Shea Stadium “in the books,” some of the players were able to place a positive spin on the situation.
“Experience is priceless,” replied Mets outfielder Nick Evans.
“This is a great group of guys,” an upbeat Carlos Delgado said.
When the topic of Mets’ interim-manager Jerry Manuel was introduced into the conversation, right hander John Maine stated that “we all like Jerry” and Delgado responded by saying that Manuel is “a great communicator.”
The attitude surrounding the ball club this time around is that it’s time to move on. As tough a loss as yesterday was for third baseman David Wright to swallow, he finished by saying that “this off-season would be long and that his team would have to work hard to get better.”
As for their fans, the future most definitely looks promising. With the completion of Citi Field on the horizon and an opportunity to witness another impressive season from their ace, left hander Johan Santana; the New York Mets should be just as competitive next year as they were this year.
“See you on top.”
September 15, 2008
“It seems the tougher the loss, the better we bounce back,” New York Mets All-Star third baseman David Wright said.
The Roberto Clemente Award nominee went four for five yesterday with two homeruns, three RBI, and two runs scored raising his batting average to .301. The two homeruns were spoiled by another disappointing loss in the hands of the Atlanta Braves. With Braves’ manager Bobby Cox and Shea Jones’ father, Chipper a.k.a. Larry refusing to give into the fact that the New York Mets have an opportunity to play into the post-season, they defeated the Mets, 7-4 in their last game and took two out of three in their last ever series at Shea Stadium.
For the last two seasons, it has been the Philadelphia Phillies who have claimed the role of New York’s rival. The Phillies swept the Milwaukee Brewers in a doubleheader yesterday to move into a tie for the NL Wild Card. As things heat up in the NL East, the Braves can at least relish a little payback as they put a hole in the Mets’ plans.
Although the Mets’ performance last night could not deter the inevitable conclusion that the bullpen will no longer be tolerated and Mets’ fans will no longer accept skipper Jerry Manuel’s own version of the Manhattan Project. The Mets’ bullpen situation will not only produce thoughts of doomsday but something much worse will appear: denial. The harsh reality that this bullpen is not going to help the Mets win a championship has revealed itself. But we must think positively and respect the upside of the game of baseball. Wright’s performance gave him thirty-one homeruns for the season along with 114 RBI.
“For us, coming down the stretch, every loss will probably be a reminder of what happened last year,” Jerry Manuel said. “We just have to deal with it, period.”
September 11, 2008
Between the firing of former New York Mets manager Willie Randolph, the constant flashbacks of the 2007 season collapse, and the possible career-ending surgery of their closer Billy Wagner, the New York Mets see themselves three and a half games in first place. Not only are the Mets on top of their game but so is their flagship cable station, SNY. Sports Net New York reached its crescendo on Tuesday, by broadcasting the most dramatic interrogation since Marlon Brando accused Martin Sheen’s character in Apocalypse Now! of being an assasin. Wagner displayed a similar breakdown as he described his son’s reaction upon hearing of the devastating news. Wagner was barely able to contain himself. Eventually, he gained his composure and painfully forced himself to speak.
With the understanding that in twenty-four hours the veteran fireballer will have a ligament taken from his knee to replace a ligament in his arm, he came to and boldly recited his son’s words, “He’s not ready. He’s not ready for it to be over.”
The emotional Wagner, at one minute, called on the Mets’ organization not to be stupid as he gave them his blessing to seek a new closer. During the press conference, the dejected pitcher sat starry-eyed while reminiscing about how wonderful his wife was and addressed some of the obstacles he faced on his way up to the big leagues. Of course, he didn’t forget to remind the media that he is fully aware that they are all out to get him. But in all honesty, the pontific power pitcher always went about his business as a fierce competitor and at the peak of his dominance blew by opposing hitters with an intimidating fastball and a nasty slider.
As Shea Stadium is slated to be laid to rest inside a damp and oily garage near Willets Point Boulevard next season, the opportunity to move forward and solidify the bullpen could be the antidote for what has ailed the New York Mets this season.
September 8, 2008
“That was a scenario that I was not expecting,” New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya said.
The latest news to hit the first place Mets most recently is that perennial closer, Billy Wagner, will be inactive for at least one full year. The left-handed relief pitcher tore his MCL and is now scheduled to have Tommy John surgery to repair his left elbow. Since word broke of the devastating news, Wagner has gone “mum.” The last public statement made by the always out-spoken Wagner was in retaliation for comments made by former Philadelphia Phillies third baseman, Hall of Famer, Mike Schmidt. Upon hearing that Schmidt administered a pep talk via a posted note in the Phillies dugout, Wagner jibed by saying, “Is Gary Carter going to send us one now?”
Wagner, 37, has one year and $10.5 million left on his contract, signed before the 2006 season, and the Mets hold an $8 million option for 2010. Wagner’s 385 career saves — 101 of them with the Mets — rank him sixth in baseball history.
Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado smacked two home runs yesterday and continues his resurgence as an offensive juggernaut. Delgado’s moon shots gave him thirty-three for the year and his four RBI bring his season total to one hundred. In his last ten games, he has gone 11 for 38 (.289 BA) with five homers and ten RBI. But he is not alone. In that span, centerfielder Carlos Beltran is hitting 14 for 38 (.368 BA) with three home runs and twelve RBI. Against lefties, the switch-hitting Beltran is batting .306.
Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana went seven and one-third innings last night and the Mets went on to defeat the second-place Phillies, 6-3. Santana notched his thirteenth win of the season. He struck out six batters raising his season total to 175. The two earned runs he surrendered lowered his ERA to 2.70. Santana is performing just as the Mets had hoped and is considered the ace of their staff. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia’s prime left-hander, got the loss. Hamels lasted only five innings and was responsible for allowing the two homeruns by Delgado. “I hope he’s not going to be a Met next year,” Hamels suggested.
Last night’s contest was the final game between the two rivals. With nineteen games left to play, the Mets have a two game lead over the Phillies.
“We think we’re as good as anybody, Delgado said. “We think we’re the team to beat. We think what happened last year is not going to happen again, and we’re very confident that we can get this done. There’s definitely a different atmosphere here, a different feeling than there was last year.”
July 3, 2008
The last thing any New York Mets’ fan wanted to be subjected to last night was the sight of outfielder Endy Chavez landing at the base of the left field wall without the ball in his hand.
Last night’s homerun by the St.Louis Cardinals’ Troy Glaus with a 3-2 count and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning just cleared the left field wall. His solo shot also, punctuated the Cardinals to a walk-off win against the Mets, 7-6.
“For the most part, they showed that they wanted to compete,” Mets’ interim manager Jerry Manuel said about his ball club. “I really liked that, and I applauded them for that effort they gave tonight.”
Manuel was beside himself during points of his post game interview. He couldn’t keep from cracking up while reminiscing about the catch made by Chavez that took place in the seventh game of the 2006 National League Championship Series against a different group of Cardinals.
“If we keep competing like this on a nightly basis, we’ll be good,” Manuel later added.
Prior to Mets starting pitcher Pedro Martinez returning to the mound at the conclusion of an early-game rain delay, he was alerted by the umpires that rain was in the forecast.
“When they told me that it was going to rain very hard for the next ten minutes, it was like a blessing,” Martinez said.
Evoking similarities to actor Tim Robbins’ character in the movie, The Shawshank Redemption, Martinez stood atop the mound with his head to the sky and let the raindrops fall upon him.
“I feel that I am paying for something or maybe, I am being tested,” he added. “If I quit, than I am a coward.”
In his sixth start since coming back from the DL with a hamstring injury, Martinez lasted five innings. He surrendered seven hits and gave up five more earned runs to raise his E.R.A. to a steep 7.39 for the season. In his past three starts prior to last night’s, he has gone 1-2 yielding twenty-one hits and thirteen earned runs. The upside in those starts is that he averaged a tad more than four strikeouts a game.
“I am a vet, I know my body,” proclaimed the thirty-six year old right hander.
At the conclusion of tonight’s rubber game with the Cardinals, the Mets are preparing themselves for this up-coming July fourth weekend in which they will have four games against the NL East-leading, Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
June 24, 2008
As New York Mets’ GM Omar Minaya made his way up to the podium June 13th, he brushed aside Mets’ manager Willie Randolph with fire in his eyes and smoke in is gut.
Minaya, personally addressed the media and stared out into the coagulated band of reporters who have stood beside him these last few weeks as controversial rumors have surrounded the Mets’ ballclub. The concerns regarding the future of their manager took precedence over the outcome of their games and the presence of the Mets’ general manager for Randolph could be considered that of someone at death’s door. Minaya took a deep breath and gave a look as if he was a presiding over an inferno.
“But we won, Jay” could be overheard in the back ground as Mets’ manager Willie Randolph pleaded excitedly to Mets’ VP of Media Relations, Jay Horowitz.
Minaya then proceeded to sternly acknowledge that the Mets had made a trade.
The announcement was that the Mets would generously exchange money or a player to be named later and in return, they would receive veteran Trot Nixon. Nixon, who has been slowed by injuries, is considered a gamer.
“He’s an on-base guy, who works the count and will give you an honest at-bat,” Minaya began to reveal.
“He’ll give you all those things,” he added, “he is someone we need right now.”
Someone who the Mets also desperately need is centerfielder Carlos Beltran. In his last ten games, Beltran has gone 15 for 40 with a .375 batting average with four homeruns, 10 RBI, and four stolen bases. He has also established some staying power for a team that lives and dies by their shortstop, Jose Reyes.
Mets’ starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey has come into his own. On June 11th, he came very close to recording the first complete game of his young career. Pelfrey, took a shutout into the ninth but was unable to finish it. He, then, handed the ball over to closer Billy Wagner. The game eventually went in extra innings where the Mets won in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the 13th.
While it has been one week since Mets’ fans have heard the voice of NY1’s reporter, Roger Clark, relay to them that the Mets’ organization has decided to release their manager Willie Randolph in the middle of the New York night, makes for the reality that bench coach Jerry Manuel is the Mets’ new manager.
Randolph’s legacy will stand on its own starting with his hiring as Mets’ manager. He was crowned the first African-American to manage a New York baseball team. In his second season, he successfully brought the New York Mets back to the post season. But, the following season, he took full responsibility for the disappointing collapse in which the Mets lost a seven game lead with just seventeen games to play.
As the old adage states, “the show must go on.”
June 10, 2008
“I hear my heart beating in my head.”
That was the last thing New York Mets’ right fielder Ryan Church uttered before he was placed on the DL. Church, as of late, has been experiencing post-concussion symptoms that started after he collided with Atlanta Braves’ shortstop Yunel Escobar on May 20.
If that thumping continues to pulsate, it could produce another disappointing setback for a Mets’ squad that has been sinking below water and gasping for air.
Without Church and Moises Alou in the lineup, the offensive output from the current Mets’ outfield has been downright dormant.
But with the recent feelings resonating inside the Mets’ clubhouse, there is a team who strongly believes it now has the talent and will be able to bounce back even though it has just lost its second four game series of the season by virtue of a sweep.
“It wasn’t, necessarily, a good one,” Mets’ closer Billy Wagner sarcastically replied as he explained the pitch he threw in the bottom of the eighth inning which allowed San Diego Padres’ journey-man, Tony Clark to launch a three-run pinch-hit homerun over the center field wall to put his team ahead, 8-6. The Mets were unable to come back in their top half of the ninth inning and so, the Padres went on to complete the sweep at Petco Park on Sunday.
The Mets are now 30–32 and sit 7 1/2 games back of the Philadelphia Phillies. They now head home to take on the NL West-leading, Arizona Diamondbacks, and have a weekend inter-league series with the Texas Rangers.
“We got to find a way to win,” Mets’ manager Willie Randolph stated after Sunday’s loss.
May 23, 2008
“Other than when I dragged my face on the ground, it wasn’t that bad,” Mets’ right fielder Ryan Church said.
The house of horrors witnessed by New York Mets’ fans over the past three days in the hands of the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field can be summed up with one play or a string of bad plays.
With the conclusion of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader, Church’s attempt to break up the game’s final ensuing double play was deemed unsuccessful.
In desperation, Church decided to slide high on Braves’ shortstop Yunel Escobar. Escobar’s right thigh knocked Church momentarily unconscious and his momentum carried him face first sliding towards second base. Church, then laid motionless, as he was accompanied by his trainer and Mets’ manager Willie Randolph.
Randolph, recently, has had his share of attrition and has endured a rash of self-afflicting wounds that were laid upon him after he claimed that SNY, the Mets’ flagship, cable network, in conjunction with the New York media, were being insincere with their public portrayal of him.
Randolph’s statements also included his thoughts on what could very well be the real reasons why the departure of African-American head coaches in the metropolitan area, recently, have been so imminent.
However, hovering over Church’s lifeless body, Randolph must have felt like he was in the Twilight Zone as his team had just dropped two games in one day.
“We’re going to be ultra-cautious with him, because like I said, when you’re dealing with head injuries, you don’t want to mess with that,” a concerned Mets’ skipper said.
Randolph, has since, issued an apology regarding the accusations that were made.
Church was diagnosed with a mild concussion and must wait to be given a clean bill of health.
“It’s hard to lose a doubleheader,” the Mets’ third baseman David Wright said. “It’s actually hard. Ninety percent are splits. And after losing two and getting embarrassed, you’d expect to come out and fight today.”
Whether the cause for concern stemmed from another inefficient and disappointing outing by right hander Mike Pelfrey, David Wright, the Mets’ most critical team spokesman, is starting to show his frustration by how difficult it has become to beat the Braves on the road.
“I can accept losing,” Wright said. “Not easily, but every team loses here and there. But to go out and give the effort we’re giving, to go out and lose without a fight …”
“I just don’t think we have the fire I would hope we’d have,” he added.
On Wednesday, Pelfrey labored through four innings and was inconsistently unable to find the strike zone which forced him to surrendered eight hits that led to six earned runs. He pushed his E.R.A up to an even five and now has a won-loss record of 2-5. The Mets lost the game, 11-4.
Prior to Pelfrey coming out of the game, on Wednesday, Mets’ outfielder Moises Alou left the field under his own accord and headed straight towards the Mets’ clubhouse. The club announced shortly thereafter that Alou had strained his left calf.
“To tell you the truth, being realistic about it, I’m not very optimistic about it,” Alou said after Wednesday’s game. “It doesn’t feel very good. Last time I had my left calf [injury] I don’t think I went on the DL, but I took a few days off.”
On Thursday, Alou was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
“It’s like my career is now always two outs with an 0-2 count,” Alou said before Wednesday’s game.
On Thursday, the Mets lost their fourth in a row as left hander Johan Santana received his third loss of the season. Santana went seven innings in which he gave up twelve hits and struck out just one. The Mets lost by a score of 4-2.
“It wasn’t just tonight, it was the whole series,” Santana said. “They did a lot of things right. We didn’t. We tried, but they were better. … My job is to give my team a chance to win. I think I did that.”
With this up-coming weekend series in Colorado, the Mets are set to play against last year’s National League Champions, the Rockies. Not only will fans be expecting rising gasoline prices but there will now be a rising sense of urgency for the Mets to start winning.
The Mets’ record presently stands at 22-23 and is under five hundred for the first time this season which has placed them four and half games out of first place.
May 19, 2008
Within our daily lives, we must be held accountable for the decisions that we make. Our performance, whether good or bad, is our responsibility and we must be able to stand by its outcome.
Most recently, Mets’ Carlos Delgado has been subjected to accusations that he has been absent when called upon to explain the reasons why his team’s performance has been somewhat lackluster and his teammates, at times, are not focused. These concerns have become even more magnified with the Mets, this past week, dropping three out of four to the last-place, Washington Nationals.
On Sunday night, at Yankee Stadium, in front of a national audience, Delgado hit an opposite field fly ball that sliced towards the left field foul pole. The ball appeared to have nicked the foul pole but to the naked eye, it wasn’t as clear-cut.
At first, third base umpire Mike Reilly signaled “homerun.”
Soon after, Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter ran over to him with all his charm and grace and convinced him otherwise.
Confused and undecided, the umpires convened and came to the conclusion that the ball was indeed, foul.
When the smoke cleared, Mets’ bench coach Jerry Manuel was ejected and Mets’ manager Willie Randolph was left with an enraged dugout looking to draw blood.
The replay, shown repeatedly during ESPN’s Sunday Night broadcast, proved that Delgado’s fly ball was in fact, a homerun.
Regardless, the umpires’ call stood and Delgado was escorted back to the batter’s box. Further on in the at-bat, he hit a single that plated the Mets’ fourth run and the Mets went on to win the contest, 11-2.
After the game, the umpiring crew, lead by Bob Davidson, stated that the decision on the field was wrong and that he, “f&@#d up.”
Jose Reyes continues to improve. In the abbreviated two-game series, he went 4 for 10 with a double, two homeruns, and four RBI. In his last ten games, Reyes is batting .349.
The Mets offensive, as a whole, scored eighteen runs and produced twenty-two hits against the Yankees. Their thirty-nine total bases included four doubles, a triple, and four homeruns not to mention, four stolen bases.
“This is the way I think we can play … not all the time, but a lot,” Mets’ right fielder Ryan Church said. “It’d been pretty cool if we did.”
In Saturday’s game, Johan Santana pitched his way into the eighth inning and earned his fifth win of the season.
In seven and two-thirds innings, Santana struck out five Yankee batters but gave up three home runs, an Achilles’ heel for him. The left hander has surrendered eleven homers so far this season.
When asked to explain what happened on Saturday, Santana replied, “You got a really good team over there [the Yankees], with a lot of strong guys.”
He also added, “If you make mistakes, the ball is going to leave the park.”
The Mets won, 7-4, and closer Billy Wagner pitched a scoreless ninth for a four-out save, his ninth, marking the first time he’s thrown more than one inning this season.
“I’ve been telling Willie for a while that I can do that,” Wagner said. “We don’t have to wait until the ninth all the time, because a lot of games change in that eighth inning, and I don’t mind doing it.”
The Mets now head to Atlanta for a four game series in three days. On Tuesday, the starting pitcher for the first game of the day-night doubleheader for the Atlanta Braves will be former Mets’ pitcher, Tom Glavine.
“I’m sure it will be similar to when I pitched against the Braves,” Glavine said in an e-mail. “It’s always weird when you face former teammates, let alone your former team. I’m sure facing the Mets will be different than pitching against any other team.”
The rainout on Friday will be made up during the weekend series in June when the Mets play the New York Yankees at Shea Stadium. Most likely, the two games will be split, one will be played at Shea and the other, will be at Yankee Stadium.
May 16, 2008
New York Mets fans have been yearning desperately, this season, for some sort of a spark to ignite their team and to allow for the final season at Shea Stadium to be a season to remember.
The main objective for this year’s team is to suppress any doubt that last year’s collapse had produced any negative residual effects and more importantly, the Mets were hoping to gain the swagger that they inherited two seasons ago.
In 2006, the Mets were able to ride the high road by implementing an aggressive style of play that exuded confidence and created a template for success.
Manager Willie Randolph was instantly recognized as an innovative coach regarding the use of speed which created a sense of intensity and backed up his opponents onto their heels.
With the Mets close to wrapping up the first quarter of their season, the main concern on the mind of every Mets’ fan is if this team has what it takes to continue with that style of play.
Third baseman David Wright will be the first to tell you that his team has not clicked yet.
“So far, we’ve been hot and cold, and hot and cold,” David Wright said. “We have to get hot and stay hot for a little while, to get that winning attitude and that swagger.”
After completing a four game series against the last place Washington Nationals, the Mets walked away with just one win.
On Tuesday night, Mets’ starter John Maine earned his fifth victory of the season and lowered his E.R.A to 2.81.
Right fielder Ryan Church went 2 for 4 with his eighth homerun and a double while producing four RBI.
And closer Billy Wagner, who has yet to yield an earned run, recorded his eighth save. The Mets won, 6-3.
On Wednesday night, Mets’ relief pitcher Aaron Heilman, in the seventh inning, was given the responsibility to hold a tie game in check. He didn’t.
“He was the guy in that spot,” Mets’ manager Willie Randolph said. “He just didn’t make his pitches.”
The Mets lost the game, 5-3
“What can I say?” Heilman said. “I’ve been kind of up and down all year.”
If you look at his last ten games in which he pitched nine and two thirds innings, Heilman has given up seven earned runs on fourteen hits. His E.R.A. is now a bloated 5.82.
The Mets’ organization including Willie Randolph agreed that yesterday’s loss made for more “growing steps” regarding their young right hander, Mike Pelfrey.
“With the last few starts, I tried to do too much which I find myself trying to do a lot,” Pelfrey said.
He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, gave up a run in the top of the eighth and lost his fourth game of the season.
“I thought my stuff was not great,” Pelfrey said. “It was good but not great.”
Perhaps, the performance of his counterpart, Nationals’ pitcher Jason Bergmann would be considered great. Bergmann pitched seven shutout innings in which he struck out nine Mets’ batters and gave up three hits en route to his first victory of the season.
“You have to tip your cap to him,” added Pelfrey.
The Mets had opportunities to score in the eighth and ninth innings but on this beautiful May afternoon; it just wasn’t in the cards. They lost 1-0.
As the Mets now have to brave the Cross Bronx Expressway to take on a New York Yankees’ team that is playing under five hundred and is experiencing the same set backs as their cross town inter-league rivals, the New York Mets.
“We have to play better, all the way around and hopefully, this weekend, starts that,” Randolph stated.
May 12, 2008
“I needed a day like that,” Mets’ clean-up hitter Carlos Beltran said. “As a player, you need that once in a while. Everyone needs to feel good in the batter’s box, and I’m feeling better.”
Hopefully, Beltran’s performance, this past weekend, was enough to silence his critics and prove to the baseball world that good things are sure to come. The Mets’ centerfielder was running out of excuses on why he was struggling at the plate this season.
Mets’ hitting coach Howard Johnson believes that Beltran is “not locked in yet” and that “he’s got some room to get better.”
Since 2005, the Mets’ organization as a whole has been very patient with their Gold Glove-winning slugger. The team is still waiting for that break-out year from Beltran. A year, in which, he will bat over three hundred, hit fifty homeruns, knock in over one hundred and thirty RBI, and steal over thirty bases.
But for now, they will take what they can get. This past weekend, against the lowly Cincinnati Reds, Beltran was finally seeing some of his hard work pay off.
“The things that we tried to work on with Carlos were to slow him down and keep his weight back,” Johnson said.
Beltran went 5 for 11 in the series with a homerun, two doubles and a triple, and produced eight RBI. His batting average went from an unreliable .218 to an acceptable .240. Beltran’s resurgence helped the Mets take two of three from the Reds.
“It’s huge for us,” Mets’ manager Willie Randolph said. “He’s my cleanup hitter. He’s been up and down most of the year. When he clicks, that’s when we really rock and roll.”
The same expectations could hold true regarding another of the Mets’ long-term investments.
Sunday’s starting pitcher Oliver Perez has been personified as the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character on the Mets’ ball club. On any given start, the best course of action while witnessing Perez on the mound is for us Met fans to hold onto our hats and enjoy the ride.
“That’s Ollie,” was the consensus reached by Willie Randolph.
The same, Oliver Perez, who elected to steal a base in the second inning and bunt for a base hit in the fourth, earned his third win of the season.
“He might drive you nuts once in a while,” Randolph added.
On Sunday, the only ones who were driven to hysteria were the Cincinnati Reds’ hitters.
Perez’ six innings of work and eight strikeouts evened his won-lost record at three. The Mets won the game, 8-3.
Since we are on the topic of enigmas, the Mets’ bullpen has filled the void that is left when Perez doesn’t start.
In the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday, right hander Duaner Sanchez took the game out of reach for New York. In the top of the eighth inning, he gave up two runs on four hits which extended Cincinnati’s lead to 4-1.
But the profanity didn’t end there; closer Billy Wagner was unable to finish up his half of the ninth inning when two costly errors, one by third baseman David Wright, his eighth, and one by first baseman Carlos Delgado, led to three unearned runs. The Mets lost that contest, 7-1.
Upon wrapping up the first game of the doubleheader, lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano, in the top of the eighth, gave up two runs on three hits. The Mets won, 12-6.
“Every once in a while, guys are going to experience little blips,” said Mets’ manager Willie Randolph.
The Mets now will play a four-game set against the Washington Nationals. Manager Manny Acta and his team seem to be heading in the wrong direction this year. They sit dead last in the NL East, eight and a half games out of first place.
Mets second baseman Luis Castillo aggravated his left quad in the first inning of Sunday’s match-up with the Cincinnati Reds. He strained it while legging out a triple.
The Mets announced that right hander Matt Wise is due back with the ball club in the coming days.
May 8, 2008
“When you’re facing a team that’s on a roll and they’re having fun, and all the good things seem to be happening to them. That makes it tough,” New York Mets pitcher Nelson Figueroa said.
Figueroa was speaking of the Dodgers who took two of three from the Mets in Los Angeles. The Dodgers have won eight out of their last ten games.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles and their new guardian angel, Buzzi Bavasi, who was considered a major influence within the Dodgers’ organization over the years and who recently past away at the age of ninety-three, pulled the rug out from under our beloved Mets.
In the bottom half of the fifth inning, L.A.’s Blake Dewitt came up with a runner on and two outs. The Mets were still clinging to a 4-3 lead when DeWitt launched a fly ball to deep right field. DeWitt’s ball was hit hard but Mets’ right fielder Ryan Church still had a beat on it. He jumped; the ball hit his glove, smacked the top of the wall, and landed back out onto the field.
“It was just one of those things,” Church said, “where I forgot where I was at.”
Eventually, Church fortified his whereabouts and tossed the ball back into the infield. But, it was much too late as DeWitt had already circled the bases and recorded an inside-the-park-homerun. The Dodgers took the lead and won, 5-4.
Adding insult to injury, Mets third baseman David Wright continued to struggle offensively by going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. In the other two games of the series, he went 1 for 9 with two more strikeouts and lowered his batting average to .262.
“It’s no secret, we need to be swinging the bats better,” said a frustrated Willie Randolph.
The Mets’ manager is starting to wonder when he will see some of his guys start taking advantage of what he calls, “wasted opportunities.”
“We just left too many ducks out there,” he added.
Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran has not only been absent at the plate but was also scratched from the starting lineup on Tuesday with flu-like symptoms. With all due respect to Beltran, he probably could use the day off.
In his last ten games, Beltran has gone 7 for 33 with no homers and two RBI while striking out nine times. Beltran has lowering his batting average to a disappointing, .221.
“My problem,” Beltran said, “is timing.”
Mets’ pitcher Oliver Perez who started the first game of the series continues to be ineffective as well as he picked up his third loss of the season on Monday.
Perez went six innings, gave up five earned runs, and surrendered six hits, three of them homeruns. His E.R.A. now stands at 4.63. The Mets lost the game, 5-1.
The Mets did, however, salvage the road trip, yesterday, with a 12-1 win in what Mets’ starting pitcher John Maine categorized as a “get-away day.”
Maine picked up his fourth win of the season and almost finished the game. He fell short and was unable to close the Dodgers out; failing to become the first Mets’ pitcher to earn a complete game this season. Maine went eight and a third innings giving up one run on four hits. He lowered his E.R.A. to an even 3.00.
“My changeup has been great for me this past month,” Maine said. “I got to keep it up.”
In that game, Ryan Church continued his hot hitting by going 3 for 4 with a homerun, his sixth, which produced his twenty fourth, run batted in. Church is now hitting .328.
Mets outfielder Angel Pagan will undergo an MRI on Thursday to examine the tightness in his left shoulder. Pagan injured the shoulder in Wednesday’s game while tumbling into the stands to catch a fly ball.
The Mets return to Flushing for a seven game home stand in which they will face the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals. Both, the Reds and Nationals, are closer to the bottom than of the top of their respected divisions.
“Believe me, my team is really solid and together as far as how we look at ourselves,” Mets’ manager Willie Randolph confirmed as he was defending his team’s preparation for the rest of the season.
The Mets are presently tied for third place with the Atlanta Braves at 17-15 and are one and a half games behind the NL East-leading Florida Marlins.
May 5, 2008
The New York Mets took the advice of so many others in the past and headed west. The expedition proved fruitful for them as they took two of three from the Arizona Diamondbacks this weekend. Arizona was the best team in the majors and still holds the best record in the league at 21-10.
“You know, they’re a pretty good ball club,” said Mets’ pitcher Johan Santana.
Santana gave a gutsy performance, yesterday, but did not record the win. In his six innings pitched, he gave up one run on six hits lowering his E.R.A to 2.91. He struck out eight batters and raised his league leading total to forty-seven. His record still stands at 3-2 for the season.
The Mets won the game, 5-2, thanks to a great defensive play by right fielder Ryan Church in the bottom of the eighth inning. Arizona’s Chris Burke dropped down a bunt that was played by Mets’ pitcher Pedro Feliciano. Feliciano’s throw went wide of first base allowing Burke to advance to second. Burke then decided to try for third unaware of the right fielder’s prowess. Church came up throwing and Burke was gunned down at third. With that play, the Diamondbacks had one out and nobody on base instead of the go-ahead run on at third and nobody out.
“He’s always had a great throwing arm,” Mets’ catcher Brian Schneider said. “When it’s on line, boy, it’s a great arm. It’s a right fielder’s arm.”
Mets’ leadoff hitter Jose Reyes was also turning some heads this weekend.
“I wanted to put my best swing on the ball,” Reyes said.
On Friday night, he did just that. Reyes went 4 for 5 with two triples, a double, and a single which allowed him to score three runs. His second triple of the night was an attempt at an inside-the-park-homerun which would have given him the most prestigious of all cycles, a “golden” one. Reyes was tagged out at home in the top half of the eighth inning. The Mets went on to win the game, 7-2.
“When I got into the dugout, my teammates were laughing,” said Reyes.
In the series, Reyes raised his stolen base total to nine by stealing a base in each game.
The Mets experienced another emotional boost this weekend when forty-one-year-old outfielder Moises Alou made his return back to the active roster. He was given an opportunity to start in two of the three games in left field. Alou missed the beginning of the season. He was recovering from a hernia operation.
“I know that just my presence is going to help this team a lot,” Alou said.
Another missing piece of the Mets’ puzzle was implemented prematurely into the starting lineup on Sunday. Catcher Brian Schneider was back behind the plate. He was nudged by Mets’ manager Willie Randolph to come back a day earlier.
“I can’t keep sitting here and saying when I come back, it’s not going to hurt,” Schneider said. “I’m going to feel it no matter what until that skin gets healed back.”
Schneider was alluding to the final stages of his recovery from a staph infection which sidelined him for eleven days. He went 0 for 2 on the day.
Mets starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey continued his struggles on the mound. On Saturday, he lasted five innings and gave up five earned runs on nine hits. The Mets lost 10-4.
In his last three starts, including Saturday’s; Pelfrey has a 0-2 record. In fifteen and a third innings, he has surrendered twenty-eight hits, given up fourteen earned runs, and walked ten batters.
“I can’t continue to say that there’s going to be days like this,” Pelfrey said. “It’s happened, the last three times.”
On Friday, the top of the Mets lineup of Jose Reyes, Ryan Church, and David Wright went 9 for 14 with two homeruns, three doubles, two triples, six runs, and five RBI.
The Mets are scheduled to play the L.A. Dodgers these next three days. Willie Randolph will be re-united with his former colleague, Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre. Torre and Randolph, together, are best known for their successful collaboration with the New York Yankess World Series teams of the late 1990s.
While Randolph was discussing that he wants to get as much length out of his starting pitchers as he can, he was then asked if he is looking forward to seeing Torre.
“Always good to see, Joe,” was his reply.
May 1, 2008
Within the duration of a long season, Major League baseball teams can gauge their success by formulating a median which stems from the highest and lowest points.
The athelicism on display at Shea Stadium by the New York Mets, on Wednesday, against the Pittsburgh Pirates could be entered into that equation as a low point.
It was obvious that the game, yesterday, was disappointing. Hopefully, at season’s end, its effect will have diminished and placed at or near the end of the spectrum.
Most of their players and personnel have professed similar sentiments. That this type of game, quite simply, is part of the game.
I guess, it’s easy to forget Mets’ pitcher Oliver Perez’ sub-par performance and blame it on a water main break nearby which delayed the start of the game by almost fifty minutes, part of the game, too.
The Mets were probably exhausted from the night before in which it took almost eleven innings for third baseman David Wright to hit a screaming “single” all the way to the left field wall that scored the winning run and gave the Mets another exciting walk-off win, 5-4.
That was Wright’s only hit of the night. I guess you could say he was due.
He had been due for a while. If you go back ten games, Wright has gone 6 for 35, which amounts to a .171 batting average. In that span, he’s produced zero homeruns to go along with four RBI.
“When you don’t do too many things right, that’s what happens” Wright’s voice, begins to trail off.
“We just got to enjoy the day off, re-group, re-focus, get back to basics, and forget about this one.”
He also added “it’s just one of those days.”
A similar perspective could be heard coming from Mets’ left hander, Johan Santana. When he was asked to explain why he gave up another two homeruns during his last performance, he replied, “It’s part of the game.”
Two more homeruns which were hit by Pittsburgh Pirates’, Nate McLouth and Jason Bay, raised Santana’s total for the season to seven.
“It’s part of the game,” he repeated again.
He then went on to speak about the importance in making the right adjustments and in finding better ways to execute his pitches.
“If you get support, day-in and day-out, and you feel more comfortable, even though, you make mistakes, that’s good.”
Santana went on to say, “The fans, here, are very demanding but they must understand that the goal for us too, is to win.”
He added, “We are trying to find results that will allow us to do something positive.”
Mets manager Willie Randolph called Wednesday’s 13-1 loss, a “stinker.”
Starting pitcher Oliver Perez was pulled after one and two-thirds innings of work. The Mets committed three inexcusable errors that led to the Pirates scoring nine unearned runs and the Mets’ offense, as a team, produced only one run on two hits.
In the top of the second inning, twelve Pirates came to bat. Perez, at one point, in his shortest outing so far this season, walked four out of six batters. Pittsburgh’s outfielder, former Met Xavier Nady, reached base twice in the same inning with a single and a walk. Batting in the ninth’s spot, Perez never even got a chance to bat. His record now stands at 2-2.
Outfielder Ryan Church, again, was the Mets’ only bright spot. He managed to go 1 for 3 for the game with a double that produced the Mets’ lone run. Church is batting .316.
As the month of April comes to a close, the New York Mets (14-12) hope to position themselves with a chance to take over first place in the NL East division race.
“I think we’ve weathered the storm and guys have stepped up,” David Wright said. “We’ve been able to get some things done with key guys out.”
Catcher Brian Schneider, released from the hospital Wednesday after spending six days receiving treatment for a staph infection in his left thumb, said he was feeling better but that he did not know when he could resume playing.
The Mets must also make a decision regarding outfielder Moises Alou. Alou is expected back and is scheduled to play this weekend.
The team, flying to Arizona for a three-game set, is to face a very good Diamondback’s pitching staff. With right hander’s, Micah Owings, Brandon Webb, and Dan Haren on the mound, it should make for an interesting series. The three of them, combined, have a 14-1 record, for the season.
“We’ve played well in Arizona, in the past,” Wright said. “We just have to find a way to win, go out there, and grind it out.”
April 28, 2008
With each passing day, the motivation to wake up and do something productive can begin to wane on a person’s mentality.
New York Mets’ first baseman Carlos Delgado is somebody who has a strong understanding of what that feels like. Before yesterday’s game, Delgado was batting a mere .195 and has produced one homerun to go along with his ten RBI.
We all know that Delgado’s offensive output, at times, can look depressing. Perhaps, it had something to do with the fact that Delgado has played in twenty-four of the Mets’ twenty-five games so far this season.
Mets’ manager Willie Randolph set a good example towards his players when he decided the best course of action for Delgado would be for Carlos to take some time off. Delgado would then be able to re-evaluate his standing on this current Mets’ ball club.
A good example, I might add, of how Willie Randolph has matured as a big league manager and has earned the right to manage his players.
Randolph has always been one of Delgado’s biggest lobbyists and respects the struggling first baseman’s productive career.
“Carlos is hitting the ball hard,” Randolph has said. “He’s making contact.”
The time off seemed to have worked as Delgado found his stroke in Sunday’s win.
He went 2 for 2 by hitting two homeruns which sent a healthy reminder to the Braves’ manager, Bobby Cox and his team of where they stand in this competitive NL East division.
When it came time for Delgado to give the fans a “curtain call” salute, all he gave them in return was a pearly-white smile coming from someone who was not accustomed to hearing their cheers.
“I hit a home run with no one on base in the seventh inning,” a humble Delgado said.
Perhaps he was feeling modest because of the impressive performance by another unlikely hero. Mets’ catcher Raul Casanova went 3 for 4 in that game and is now hitting .333. Casanova also hit a home run, his first as a Met, and recorded two RBI.
“I’m so happy for Carlos. He’s a great guy,” Casanova said.
“He’s been battling the whole year,” he added.
On Friday, it looked like it was going to be a long weekend for the Mets as they struggled at the plate by only managing two hits on the night. The Mets were opposed by Atlanta’s young pitcher, Jair Jurrjens.
In the bottom of the third inning, Jurrjens looked lost and became agitated when he didn’t get a called third strike against Mets’ David Wright. Wright’s walk was one of four walks in a row which led to the Mets scoring three runs.
Jurrjens eventually settled down and the Mets could not stage a comeback for the rest of the night and went on to lose, 6-3.
“We let him off the ropes,” Randolph said.
“After a guy has a 40-pitch inning, you can’t allow him to rebound and go three more [innings],” Wright said. “We didn’t get that done, and because of that we lost.”
On Saturday night, along with a Mets’ win, closer Billy Wagner pitched a flawless ninth inning to earn his fifth save. At the conclusion of that game, Wagner, in nine innings, had surrendered no hits which made for a very unorthodox no-hitter. Starting pitcher John Maine, in five innings, earned his second win and recorded seven strikeouts. The Mets won the game, 4-3.
Wagner’s hitless streak ended the following game but he was still fortunate and picked up his sixth save of the season.
This past series at Shea Stadium proved to be a fruitful one not just for Wagner but for his bullpen mates, as well.
“We still can put together a pretty good effort once in a while,” Billy Wagner said with sarcasm and a smile.
“It feels good to beat a good team and a good pitcher,” Aaron Heilman said.
“I’m just happy to be able to pitch,” Duaner Sanchez said. “It’s fun to be involved.”
The Mets took two of three during the weekend series to move just one game behind the division leading Florida Marlins and are now tied with Philadelphia for second place.
They will conclude their recent homestead with a three-game match up against one of the league’s most perennial bottom-feeders, the Pittsburgh Pirates, before they head out to the West Coast.
Mets’ Stock Update
Up 1B Carlos Delgado
Dn 3B David Wright
New Faces C Gustavo Molina
Get Well C Brian Schneider
April 25, 2008
Upon waking up yesterday morning, New York Mets’ back-up catcher Raul Casanova scampered over to the bathroom, peeked into Mets’ starting catcher Brian Schneider’s room, and realized he wasn’t there. At first, he thought to himself, “have I overslept,” or “maybe Brian was just trying to get an early start to the day.”
In actuality, Schneider was rushed up to a New York hospital and treated for an infection in his left thumb. He will remain hospitalized overnight as doctors try to eliminate the infection using intravenous antibiotics.
Upon hearing the bad news, Casanova calmed himself down and is now looking forward to meeting with recent call-up, backstop Gustavo Molina. Molina, for the most part, will be sitting shiver until Schnieder returns. As for who must go and make room for Molina, some Mets’ fans were hoping it would be right hander Jorge Sosa.
Okay, all kidding aside, outfielder Brady Clark was the unlucky candidate. Clark batted .250 with eight at-bats. He will be sorely missed.
For all the day’s excitement and with Mets’ pitcher Johan Santana’s impressive performance the night before, the Mets were ready to go back out there and finish up the last of their two game set against the Washington Nationals.
On Wednesday night, Santana was outstanding by pitching seven strong innings and allowing just two earned runs but more importantly, no homeruns. He also engaged us with another aspect of his game, swinging the bat. Santana went 2 for 2 with two doubles giving him three for the season and a walk.
“I think he’s doing better than a lot of guys on this team right now,” center fielder Carlos Beltran said. “I don’t know if he’s going to stay like that for the rest of the season, but he did a pretty good job today. We don’t expect him to hit. We expect him to go out and give us an opportunity to win ballgames. He’s a great a pitcher.
Mets outfielder Ryan Church, who has been the most consistent Mets’ hitter so far this season, chimed in by saying, “he’s a streak killer.”
“He’s one of those guys you know going in that you’ve got a good chance of ending a losing streak and starting a winning streak.”
The Mets won that game, 7-2, snapping a three game losing streak. In regards to starting a winning streak, that did not happen. The Mets went on to lose the next game 10-5 which allowed for the Nationals to split the series.
“I think the team is sputtering a little bit,” Mets’ manager Willie Randolph snapped back. “If we don’t put together a total game, this is what happens,” he added.
“As a team, we have to pick each other up.”
Last night’s starting pitcher for the Mets, left hander Oliver Perez was able to stride gracefully up until the fifth inning.
Holding a 3-0 lead, Perez, facing the bottom of the order walked Nationals’ centerfielder Willie Harris who led off the inning.
Two batters later, Perez pitched the bases loaded by giving up a single to Washington’s catcher Wil Nieves and handed out another free pass to pinch hitter Ronnie Belliard. With no out, and Nationals’ second baseman Felipe Lopez due up, there was nowhere to put him. Lopez proceeded and stroked a base hit, scoring Harris and Nieves.
The Nationals tied the score on a ground out by Ryan Zimmerman that plated Belliard. Perez then began to settle down and continued to finish up the inning.
“We’ve just got to concentrate on those games that are close until the end,” Mets’ third baseman David Wright said. “Today was just one of those games where there wasn’t much that went right.”
You can say that again. The ball game suddenly went awry. Mets relief pitcher Aaron Heilman was brought in at the top of the sixth inning to weather the storm caused by Perez. But Heilman, only added more fuel to the fire and gave up a grand slam homerun to the Nationals’ Felipe Lopez. At game’s end, Lopez had six RBI.
“I’ve just got to figure out a way to make better pitches,” Heilman said.
Since returning to the Mets’ roster, right handed reliever Duaner Sanchez, for now, has been extremely efficient during his appearances. In five innings pitched, Sanchez has given up no runs, allowed two hits, and struck out three to go along with a zero E.R.A.
Mets second baseman Luis Castillo went 5 for 10 for the series and raised his batting average to .273. Castillo also had two RBI, two runs scored, and two stolen bases.
2008 R.I.P Roster
RHP Carlos Muniz
OF Brady Clark
April 23, 2008
The New York Mets took a steady glance at their schedule and realized that from April 15th to April 30th they are to play a total of sixteen games without a day off. So the Mets took it upon themselves and decided to pull a Ferris Bueller by calling in sick for the last two days.
When Mets manger Willie Randolph was asked to provide a doctor’s note, his only explanation was that his players were experiencing symptoms caused by “lack-of-focus.”
Randolph also added that his team was experiencing complications due to a “struggling bullpen.”
The Chicago Cubs swept the two game series by scoring a combined fifteen runs and producing twenty-two hits. Cubs’ shortstop Ronny Cedeno went 3 for 9 for the series with a grand slam homerun and seven RBI. Cedeno also recorded a double and scored three runs lifting his batting average to .345. Cedeno’s grand slam off Mets reliever Jorge Sosa, on Tuesday, came in the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs and the Cubs up 4-1.
Sosa was also tagged with a three-run shot, on Monday, which was also in the eighth inning and with two outs. Cubs’ outfielder Felix Pie took one of the right hander’s fast balls well past the ivy in Wrigley Field putting the game out of reach for the Mets.
“They have a good ball club, obviously,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said.
“The Cubs are playing well and swinging the bats well, but if we give them opportunities like that, we end up paying for it, to say the least.”
Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran has disappeared as of late, offensively. Against the Cubs, he went hitless in six at-bats bringing is average to an abysmal .215.
First baseman Carlos Delgado went 2 for 7 for the series building on his batting average which stands at .208.
“Offensively, right now we’re not clicking,” said Mets third baseman David Wright, who went 0-for-6 in the series. “We had a few regulars not in there today, but we can’t get anything going offensively. The few times we do, we can’t get that big hit, and we can’t drive in that big run.”
The Mets got their first look at the Chicago Cubs new Japanese import, outfielder Kosuke Fukudome. Fukudome went 5 for 7 for the series with three runs scored and is now batting .357.
Mets catcher Brian Schneider was in good spirits in the clubhouse, but sat again as Raul Casanova got the start. His right forearm was still visibly bruised after absorbing a foul tip from Chase Utley on April 19 in Philadelphia, but he hopes to return Wednesday in Washington.
“He’s feeling better,” Randolph said. “I told him if he’s sore, back off a little. He’s been feeling pretty good. Hopefully tomorrow he’ll be ready to go.”
In the coming days, the Mets are slated for another two game series against the lowly Washington Nationals.
Against Washington, the Mets are hopeful that their ace Johan Santana can stop some of the bleeding from these last few days and get his team back on track.
The Nationals are presently in last place in the NL East, six and a half games behind the first place Florida Marlins, with a record of 6-15.
The Mets make their return to Shea Stadium this weekend to take on the Atlanta Braves.
April 21, 2008
The New York Mets took their five game winning streak and first place standing atop the NL East to the forefront of the national stage on Sunday night.
They were hosted by the Philadelphia Phillies in a game that was televised for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. The game closed out the first of three meetings in which these two teams will play at Citizen’s Bank Park.
If this were the opening round of the NL playoffs, the Mets would have been up two games to one in the series. As far as the momentum goes, it would had already begun to shift Philadelphia’s way.
Midway through the game, it could have been billed as the “Chase Utley Show.”
Philadelphia’s second baseman Chase Utley was responsible for four of the Phillies’ five scored runs. He belted two homeruns raising his season total to eight.
Utley hit a solo shot in the first inning and then followed it up with a three-run homer in the fifth which landed inside the netting attached to the right field foul pole. On the night, Utley went 3 for 3 with four RBI giving him seventeen for the season and raising his bating average to .351.
With Phillies’ shortstop Jimmy Rollins on the disabled list with a sprained ankle, the only other apparent threat came from starting pitcher Adam Eaton who is 5-0 lifetime against the Mets. For some reason, the Mets were unable to solve the riddle of Eaton as he held them to no runs on two hits through five innings. But then, in came the top of the six when the Mets’ bats came alive. New York went on to produce four runs on five hits to tie the score and knock Eaton out of the ballgame.
As fast as you can say Pedro Feliciano, the Phillies were back in front, 5-4. They took the lead on a pinch hit solo homerun by Pedro Feliz. In the top of the ninth, the Mets saw their chances to go ahead fizzle when Phillies shortstop Eric Brunlett made an outstanding stab on Carlos Beltran’s ball hit up the middle. Beltran stranded runners on second and third and made the last out. The Phillies won and averted being swept on their own home turf.
“I thought the ball was going through when I hit it. What can I say?” Beltran said. “He made a nice play. He was playing me a few steps toward the middle and he made a nice throw. I did my part and he did his part.”
Against the Phillies, Mets third baseman David Wright refused to let up by going 8 for 11 with four doubles, a triple, four RBI, and two runs scored. Wright is now batting .359.
“No one feels sorry for us when we have injuries,” Mets Manager Willie Randolph said before the game. “So I’m definitely not going to feel sorry for him.”
Randolph was speaking about Philadelphia’s Jimmy Rollins but the Mets have a key injury of their own that they must contend with. Catcher Brian Schneider took a foul tip on the forearm in the ninth inning Saturday, prompting post game X-rays, icing and concern. Schneider is expected back in the lineup for this up-coming two game series against the Chicago Cubs.
On Friday’s opener, Mets pitcher Johan Santana gained his second victory and evened out his record by lasting seven solid innings and striking out ten batters. Santana now has twenty-eight strikeouts to match the five homeruns he has given up already.
“Every time I go out there it is ‘my’ time, regardless of what team I’m facing,” Santana has said.
April 18, 2008
As the nation’s capital plays host to Pope Benedict XVI, the Washington Nationals were cordially invited to a three-game set against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. With players on the Mets’ roster named Ryan “Church” and “Angel” Pagan, the world’s most popular spiritual leader would be damn proud.
As New York anxiously awaits the return of the pontiff to the Big Apple, the Mets played their current home stand’s finale with the pending outcome creeping closer and closer towards the “witching hour.”
While our holiness tossed and turned under the D.C. moonlight, Mets “Damion” Easley scampered home on a wild pitch in the bottom half of the fourteenth inning that gave the Mets the winning run.
The Nationals’ manager Manny Acta and his not-so-golden glove defense performed something close to a miracle last night. By allowing Easley practically to walk home, the Mets edged the Nationals 3-2 and completed a three-game sweep. Easley has been seen by the Mets as something of a prodigal son for his quick return to the roster from an injury last year that sidelined him for the rest of last season.
Our hearts go out to those hard working Mets’ fans that stayed to the bitter end and now must wake up at the crack of dawn to catch that train or bus which will shuttle them to their respective obligations. With bloodshot eyes and drowsiness on their faces, it was worth the torture that one experiences by watching an extra-inning game.
“A long, ugly game that turned out pretty,” Mets’ manager Willie Randolph said after the long night.
“A game you have to win,” he added.
As we look back on this series, two interesting stories come to light. The Mets’ catalyst, shortstop Jose Reyes who has been struggling to find himself as of late and the unexpected performance of their new stopper in the rotation, right handed pitcher Mike Pelfrey.
Reyes went back to being the “Reyes of old” by going 8 for 15 in the series with a homerun, a triple, double and a RBI raising his batting average to .296 from .205 just six days ago.
In the opening game, Pelfrey stated that he was “pitching with conviction” and recorded his second victory in as many starts. The young right hander threw seven shutout innings, struck out four batters, and only gave up five hits which lowered his E.R.A. to an impressive 1.50.
“Everyone in here knows [Pelfrey] has that in him,” Mets’ third baseman David Wright said.
In that game, Wright went 3 for 4 with two doubles, a homerun, his fourth, and recorded five RBI.
The next night out, the Mets decided to follow Wright’s lead as outfielders Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church as well as Jose Reyes swung for the fences leading the Mets to a 5-2 win.
Right handed pitcher Duaner Sanchez officially returned to the Mets’ bullpen on Tuesday night. Sanchez pitched two and two-thirds of scoreless innings in relief while striking out two and giving up only two hits.
Outfielder Brady Clark was plugged into the starting lineup on Thursday when center fielder Carlos Beltran was scratch because of a stiff neck. Clark went 0 for 2 striking out twice and was later replaced by Endy Chavez.
Upon finishing their first stretch of games at Shea Stadium, the Mets won six out of nine games to raise their won-loss record to two games over five hundred at 8-6.
The Mets will savor this recent home stand and will arrive in Philadelphia by bus on Friday to take on the defending NL East Champions Phillies at Citizen’s Bank Park.
The Mets and Phillies are scheduled for an eight o’clock p.m. start on Sunday in which the game will be televised on ESPN.
April 14, 2008
It’s not how you start, its how you finish. The New York Mets, on Sunday, scored six runs in their first three innings only to see it slip away for another disappointing loss as the Milwaukee Brewers took two of three at Shea Stadium.
The same rule of thumb can be said for the Mets this season. Currently, the Mets are tied with the Philadelphia Phillies in second place, one and a half games behind the first-place Florida Marlins with a 5-6 won-loss record.
Mets’ fans, we hope, have an understanding that baseball teams play one hundred and sixty-two games and that anything can happen. Most recently, Jose Reyes, the Mets leadoff hitter sat out his last two games with a “mild” hamstring strain.
“I don’t think it was anything serious,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “It probably was the weather and the dampness and everything. Anytime your catalyst gets a little sore, you want to be cautious with it. We thought we’d get him out of there.”
That same sentiment could be said for the Mets team as a whole. Since opening the season, the Mets have shown some inconsistent effort and a lack of intensity.
Sunday’s loss to the Brewers was their second in a row. In that contest, the Mets left ten men on base and fell victim to five double plays.
“It wasn’t good luck,” Mets catcher Brian Schneider said.
Schneider was a victim of deceit as he was called out on one of those double plays even when the replay clearly showed that he was safe.
Regardless of the call, the Mets “wasted too many opportunities” and they “didn’t execute well enough according to Mets manager Willie Randolph.
“Basically, you got to take care of your business,” added Randolph.
After the loss, you could see that the Mets’ manager was visibly upset.
“I call that a giveaway game.”
Randolph’s attitude on Sunday made it seem like he was the last to know that his team was “not getting it done.”
The mood with the ball club has changed overnight. With Fridays’ emotional performance come and gone; they must now concentrate on playing a lot more “crisper” and to keep themselves “in control.”
On Saturday, Mets’ fans witnessed Johan Santana’s first start at Shea Stadium as a Met. The outcome was not to the fans liking.
“If they boo, that’s fine,” Santana said.
“That’s not the first time I’ve seen it happen to a home player. We’re not perfect. I wish we could do everything the way everybody wants, but we are human beings. We’re going to make mistakes sometimes.”
Santana lost for the second time this season by giving up three homeruns and was charged with four earned runs raising his stellar E.R.A. to an expanded 3.05. The one bright spot from Saturday’s performance was his ability to strikeout seven batters giving him a total of eighteen in three starts so far this season.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in this clubhouse that hasn’t gotten booed yet,” Mets third baseman David Wright said. “That’s kind of your rite of passage.”
Second baseman Luis Castillo returned to the Mets starting lineup. Castillo went 2 for 7 in two games with a double, two walks, and a run scored.
Outfielder Angel Pagan took his temporary role as Mets leadoff hitter seriously by going 5 for 16 in three games with a double, RBI, a walk, and a run scored. Pagan is batting .385 and is holding fort until Jose Reyes is ready to get back out there.
Mets’ fans got their first look at back-up catcher Raul Casanova on Friday night. Casanova went 1 for 3 recording his first RBI of the season.
The entire Mets roster will wear No. 42 during baseball’s Jackie Robinson Day on Tuesday, an event that this year will base its ceremonies at Shea Stadium.
“Last year, I was fortunate enough to wear No. 42,” Randolph said. “But [general manager] Omar [Minaya] and I were talking the other day, and this year, we felt it would be tremendous if the entire team could wear the number and feel the same sense of pride that I felt last year.”
The Mets will conclude this current home stand on Thursday with a three game series against the Washington Nationals.
April 11, 2008
The relationship between a pilot and his co-pilot is very similar to the relationship shared by a second baseman and his shortstop. When he finds himself in a sticky situation, he can always count on his wing man to help him out. For Philadelphia Phillies’ second baseman Chase Utley, his wing man is shortstop Jimmy Rollins. So you can imagine how disappointed Utley was when he found out that for the second straight night he would be without his wing man.
Rollins, last year’s National League MVP, predicted last season that his Phillies were the “team to beat.” He backed up his claim by leading them to the post season and capturing the NL East crown.
If Rollins had told Utley during spring training that he would be absent from the first meeting against their current rivals, the New York Mets, then that would have left many scratching their heads.
Rollins was able to participate in the first game of the series in which the Phillies won and extended their winning streak against the Mets to nine games. But once Rollins made the decision to take himself out of the following two games with a sprained ankle; the Phillies saw themselves on a collision course.
The New York Mets took two of three from the Phillies and earned some respect in a division that presently has the Florida Marlins in first place. The Marlins reportedly have a team payroll that equals just one year of the New York Yankess’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez’ recently signed contract. It is mind boggling to say the least.
After Thursday night’s twelfth-inning defeat of the Phillies which ended in dramatic fashion, the Mets are back at five hundred with a record of four wins and four losses.
“Every bit a team win,” Mets reliever Joe Smith said.
The game’s MVP belongs to Mets outfielder Angel Pagan who raised his batting average to .370. Pagan went three for five hitting his fourth double of the season and scoring two of the Mets’ four runs. Topping off a fabulous night, he also produced the game winning hit in the bottom of the twelfth that plated Mets shortstop Jose Reyes as the Mets won 4-3.
“I’ve had three hits, but I never had a walk-off hit,” Pagan said. “Not in the big leagues.”
On Wednesday, the Mets sent Mike Pelfrey to the hill. The six foot, seven inch right hander was a late addition to the opening day starting rotation when veteran right hander Orlando Hernandez’ debut was put on hold. Hernandez was bumped from his starting slot because of a tendon strain in his right foot which forces him to wear a protective boot for approximately the next two weeks. Regarding Pelfrey, his ability to produce quality starts became paramount when right hander Pedro Martinez was placed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.
Pelfrey answered the call by pitching five solid innings in which he gave up five hits, allowed two runs, two walks, and struck out three batters en route to his first win of the season. Last season, it took Pelfrey ten starts to reach that plateau.
“I need to go deeper into games,” Pelfrey said, “and be more efficient.”
The Phillies as well as the Mets young right hander were responsible for putting an end to the Mets losing streak against their inter-state rivals. Philadelphia’s pitching staff produced nine walks and their defense committed four errors.
“When you go up there and have good at-bats, you force those guys to play perfectly.” Mets third-place hitter David Wright said. “They had a few miscues, and we took advantage of them. I think it was a lot of what we did – not what they failed to do or didn’t do.”
“I’m a firm believer that you make your own breaks,” Wright added. “When you put the ball in play, when you put good swings on the ball and hit the ball hard, for the most part, good things are going to happen.”
It wasn’t all roses for the Mets during this all-important series as they lost their last ever opening day game at Shea Stadium. The Mets will be moving into their new ballpark, Citi Field, at the start of the 2009 season.
On Tuesday, Mets starting pitcher Oliver Perez was on the verge of recording his second win of the season by pitching five and two-thirds of shutout baseball. But faster than you can spell Schoeneweis, the Mets bullpen took a 2-0 lead and made it a 5-2 loss in no time in favor of the Phillies.
“It’s an early test, playing the Braves and the Phillies,” Wright said. “We’re getting to see how we measure up against the good teams.”
“We have to prove to ourselves we can beat them…We’re a different team from who we were last year,” Wright added.
Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was hit by a pitch three times in Tuesday’s game. He was also nailed in the back by a throw from Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado who was trying to complete a first to second, back to first double play. The error by Delgado allowed Jimmy Rollins to score which prolonged the inning.
Up 1B Carlos Delgado
Down RHP Aaron Heilman
MVP OF Angel Pagan
New Faces RHP Carlos Muniz
Walking Wounded 2B Luis Castillo
DL RHP Matt Wise
April 7, 2008
This current season for the orange and blue would definitely be moving much smoother if the New York Mets could schedule the Florida Marlins at least three times every week.
After making a statement by taking two of three from the Marlins, the Mets hit a snag. This past weekend, further strides by the Mets to become even more of an offensive juggernaut were extinguished by a torrential rainstorm that ran its course through most of the southeastern United States.
With the postponement of Friday night’s game forcing MLB to re-schedule it for May 20th as a day-night doubleheader at Turner Field, right handed pitcher John Maine, the self-proclaimed king of spring, had to wait another day for his season debut.
The series, down to two games, featured on Sunday the pitching match-up of the Atlanta Braves’ sturdy right hander John Smoltz, and the Mets’ new ace-in-the-hole, southpaw Johan Santana.
Have you ever heard the saying “age before beauty?”
Need I say more?
Smoltz earned the win but Santana gave the Mets another solid performance by pitching seven strong innings allowing only one run and lowering his ERA to an impressive 1.93.
“He hits, he fields, he pitches,” an enthusiastic David Wright said. “He does it all. I’m looking forward to playing with him for a long time.”
The Braves swept the two game series with strong starting pitching and late-inning homeruns served up by the Mets’ relievers.
Set-up man Aaron Heilman, gave up an eighth-inning two-run homerun to the Braves’ clean-up hitter Mark Teixeira, on Sunday, which squashed all hopes of salvaging the shortened series.
Saturday’s mid-afternoon contest, which kicked off the season for FOX baseball’s game of the week, allowed for another possible comeback to spoil in the hands of the Mets’ once promising relief corp.
With the Mets only down 5-3, relief pitcher Jorge Sosa was unable to finish out his half of the seventh. Sosa loaded the bases and gave up a grand slam to Braves’ pinch hitter Kelly Johnson which drove the final nail into the Mets coffin as they went on to lose the game 11-5.
“Every time we answered, they answered us bigger and better,” a disappointed David Wright said. “We couldn’t get a stop defensively.”
First baseman Carlos Delgado seemed more comfortable at the plate as he raised his batting average to .350 producing four hits on eight at-bats with a double and a RBI.
Second baseman Luis Castillo went 0 for 9 in the series dropping his average to .190 while stranding six men on base.
Third baseman David Wright’s twenty game hitting streak was snapped as he went 0 for 6 in the series.
When Mets manager Willie Randolph was asked how he felt about the up-coming final opening day at Shea Stadium, he replied, “Well, I’m looking forward to going home. It’s been a long spring. Hopefully, guys will settle in and have a nice home stand.”
“I’m looking forward to Tuesday,” he added. “It should be a great day. It’s important to get a win so we can get going again.”
The Mets are set to kick off a three game series against last year’s NL East winner, the Philadelphia Phillies.
The second game of the series will feature the season debut of right handed pitcher Mike Pelfrey.
April 3, 2008
The stage has finally been set and the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow which connects two adjacent man-made structures, Shea Stadium and Citi Field, will be forced to beg for attention from the airplanes overhead.
The pot of gold of course being right handed stopper, Johan Santana, who for the next few weeks will be joined by his inherited twin brothers, lefty starter Oliver Perez and right hander John Maine who share in the same expectations.
Unfortunately, the list of Mets ambassadors will now include starter Pedro Martinez. He will be sharing room on the DL with others, such as; outfielder Moises Alou (hernia), pitcher Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez (new windup), and second baseman Jose Valentin (MIA) along with the youngest member, relief pitcher Duaner Sanchez (taxi-cab accident).
With the recent setback that took place with this New York Mets team the past few days, it has made the thought of jumping ship very plausible. But to the Mets’ credit; they have turned the page rather nicely.
The opening day series against the Florida Marlins was highlighted by a thirteen to zero stomping of the Florida Marlins in the final game. If anyone should be worried about starting pitching, it should be the Marlins. But we can leave that argument for another day.
Now, Mets manager Willie Randolph will be looking forward to this weekend against the Atlanta Braves, he left it by saying, “we needed that from him.”
Randolph was speaking about his new, number two starter, left-hander Oliver Perez. He also added, “if only we could bottle that up and put it away.”
Perez recorded eight strikeouts and one-upped the performance of Santana by given up no runs to Santana’s two. Both pitchers earned victories and the Mets won the best of three series against the Marlins.
Thanks to the offense, it should make for even the most unfaithful of Mets’ fans optimistic.
The third place hitter, David Wright, who is already hearing chants of MVP, recorded six hits on thirteen at-bats and is batting .462 with three doubles, a homerun, and six RBI. Wright extended his hitting streak that is being carried over from last season to twenty games.
Along with clean-up hitter Carlos Beltran who finished the series with five doubles was lefty Ryan Church who hit the Mets first homerun of the season.
On the right track was the performance of the sixth-placed hitter Angel Pagan. Pagan, in his Mets debut, had four hits on ten at-bats stroking two doubles and recording four RBI.
The final report on right hander Pedro Martinez is a four to six week stint on the DL with a strained hamstring.
The Atlanta Braves’ record stands at one win and two losses and the Philadelphia Phillies have yet to record a win in two games.
Mets stock update:
Up C Brian Schneider
Down 1B Carlos Delgado
MVP 3B David Wright
Comeback player RH Aaron Heilman
Surprise RH Nelson Figueroa
March 29, 2008
In a matter of days, the New York Mets will be embarking on their forty-sixth major league baseball season. Sadly enough, this season will be the last one for the orange and blue to play their home games at Shea Stadium.
Since 1964, the Mets have called Shea Stadium their home. By the start of the 2009 season, the Mets will be moving into their new ballpark, Citi Field.
As for the future of William A. Shea Stadium, aptly named for a well respected New York attorney who single-handedly brought National League baseball back to the Big Apple, it will be transformed into a parking field to accommodate the legion of fans.
As the Mets are set to position themselves for what should be an exciting season, a World Series ring would be a nice way to close the book at Shea.
With their young stars, third baseman David Wright and shortstop Jose Reyes approaching the prime of their careers, Mets fans should not expect anything less. Switch-hitting second baseman Luis Castillo and the return of first baseman Carlos Delgado will fill out the rest of the infield.
The starting rotation should excel as advertised. With newly acquired left hander Johan Santana, the refurbished Pedro Martinez, strong starters John Maine and Oliver Perez, and the young right hander Mike Pelfrey at the back of the rotation, the Mets should have a good chance of winning night after night.
Along with closer Billy Wagner, the bullpen is made up of Aaron Heilman, Pedro Feliciano, Matt Wise, Scott Schoeneweis, Jorge Sosa, and Joe Smith.
Brian Schneider, the Mets new backstop, will be doing most of the catching. Backing him up is Raul Casanova who had a strong spring and is filling in for the injured Raul Castro.
In the outfield, centerfielder Carlos Beltran will be joined by newcomers Ryan Church and surprise standout Angel Pagan, who is holding the fort until Moises Alou returns.
The bench which is always a top priority with manager Willie Randolph starts with Marlon Anderson. Returning for another year is Endy Chavez and Damion Easley with the new guy on the bench outfielder Brady Clark.
“It’s been a long, long, spring, even though it seemed pretty quick,” manager Willie Randolph said. “It’s too long as it is, so it’s time to get going. We’re looking forward to a nice little workout [Sunday], and then taking the wraps off on Monday. We’re very excited about it.”
March 22, 2008
The themes that have haunted New York Mets fans last season have reared their ugly heads for this up-coming season.
The question on everyone’s mind is who will be selected as the fifth starter to anchor the back of the starting rotation?
As Orlando Hernandez spirals downward while in transition, it looks more and more likely he will be spending more time inside the bullpen. The most viable candidate now appears to be right handed prospect Mike Pelfrey.
Pelfrey has pledged that he has devoted most of his practice time formulating a better work ethic in preparation for this 2008 season. As his main goal is still to become a starting pitcher on the opening day roster, his confidence seems to have faltered a bit in recent days.
”I wanted to come in here and do the best that I can, but I don’t feel I did that well,” a disappointed Pelfrey said as he wonders what lies ahead.
On the upside, right hander John Maine has shown that he is becoming a nice compliment to Cy Young award winners, Johan Santana and Santana’s own personal Mr. Miagi, right hander Pedro Martinez. “That’s Miagi, not Miagee.”
Maine has worked hard with his mentor, Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, and now honestly can “paint the fence,” “sand the floor”, or better yet “wax-on, wax-off.”
The young right hander, in six starts this spring has three wins and one loss with an earned run average of one point seventy-eight. In twenty-five innings pitched, Maine has twenty-eight strikeouts while giving up only five earned runs.
The Mets have been scheduled, prior to the start of the season, for an exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox that will take place in Memphis, Tenn. honoring the Civil Rights movement in baseball.
Mets manager Willie Randolph expressed interest in visiting the Lorraine Motel, a modern-day shrine where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed.
“I want to reminisce and visualize what it must have felt like to be there,” Randolph said. “What must that have been like? This is where it happened, it’s right there. You read about it, you hear about it, but to be right there, with everything around me, is going to be a little emotional.”
March 15, 2008
The countdown continues as the end of spring training is near and opening day is closer than you think.
Presently, the New York Mets’ preseason won-lost record stands at 12 – 7. Mets manager Willie Randolph and company can take that number for what it is worth.
There is an understanding that within these last four weeks the majority of the New York Mets players that expect to make the opening day roster have been occupying their practice time mending injuries brought on by off-season surgery.
The best example of this would have to be switch-hitting second baseman Luis Castillo. Castillo recently made his preseason debut. He has been recovering from knee surgery performed this past off-season.
“He’s okay right know, and I hope and pray that he stays healthy,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “But I don’t know. He got off to a slow start physically, but hopefully it’s the right time for him to get going a little bit. Luis has had a history of being dinged up, but we’ll see if he stays healthy for us all year.”
The latest news regarding the status of the Mets ace in the hole, right hander Pedro Martinez is excellent. Martinez was stellar in his first official start of the spring against an opposing team, that being the Detroit Tigers.
Up until now, Martinez’s preseason resume consisted of simulated outings against his own teammates. Against the Tigers, he struck out four batters and allowed for no runs scored in four innings of work. Martinez, however, did walk a batter and surrendered four hits.
“It’s always good to see him pitch,” fellow Mets starter Johan Santana said. “He’s a great pitcher, a great guy and a great friend. Definitely, I’m looking forward to spending all this time together and watching him pitch.”
In keeping up with concerns regarding the Mets starting rotation, thirty-nine-year-old right handed pitcher Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez has been working extensively this spring re-inventing his patented high-leg kick windup.
The seemingly ageless wonder was asked if he knew it would work, he said, “I left Cuba in a small boat with a fan motor and never thought about that. Why would I think about this?”
The modified windup was recommended to “El Duque” in hopes of relieving some of the pain caused by his normal delivery with a nagging bunion located on his right foot.
Jay Horwitz, the Mets’ Vice President of Media Relations, has reported that Major League Baseball is considering Citi Field as the host of the 2013 All Star Game.
March 8, 2008
The sun will come out tomorrow.
This past week, spectators were a little disappointed in the fact that they had to wait another week before witnessing the second greatest show on earth, New York Mets right handed pitcher Pedro Martinez.
Martinez was forced to miss his spring training debut because of bad weather. In making up for lost time, the Mets decided to have Martinez participate in a simulated game which took place early the following morning. Martinez said he felt “sluggish” because he was not used to pitching so early in the day. Martinez then went on to say that he would “take the ball and pitch whenever they gave it to him,” adding, “I don’t ask questions.”
Outfield specialist Endy Chavez and utility player Damion Easley are slated to make their preseason debuts. Both players were out of action because of injuries. Newly-acquired catcher Brian Schneider, with only one spring at-bat, is also planning his return. Schneider was sidelined with a sore hamstring.
“He does a little bit of everything,” Mets manager Willie Randolph stated when asked about the recent emergence of outfielder Angel Pagan.
Pagan has gained some much needed playing time stemming from other players getting injured. So far this spring, Pagan has produced a .423 BA. He is also leading the team with 26 AB, 11 TB, and 5 RBI.
Pagan, a native of Puerto Rico, was drafted by the New York Mets in the fourth round of the 1999 draft. In 2006, the Chicago Cubs purchased his contract and added him to their starting line-up. Now, the switch-hitting outfielder is fighting for a roster spot with the 2008 New York Mets.
“I’m more experienced. I used to be a slap hitter, not really a complete hitter, and I didn’t know much about the game. Now I know more than I ever thought I would know,” a confident Pagan replied.
Lastly, future Hall of Famer and former Mets pitcher Tom Glavine, who is now playing with his old mates, the Atlanta Braves, reiterated the statements that he made after last year’s crushing loss to the Florida Marlins to end the Mets season.
“I was mad, disappointed, you name it,” Glavine said. “I stand true to what I said,” adding, “I’m not devastated over a baseball game. If some body came to me and said, ‘Your wife is terminally ill,’ that’s devastating. That’s where I was coming from. Devastating or the emotion of devastating, to me, is reserved for far greater things in life, most notably life and death.”
March 1, 2008
As the New York Mets spring training enters its second week, the reality in that these Mets are indeed human has begun to settle in. The laundry list of injuries that plagued the Mets in 2007 has re-surfaced.
Soon to be thirty-six-year old first baseman Carlos Delgado was sent up to New York to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam. The results were negative but the diagnosis was alarming. Delgado was diagnosed with a hip impingement of his right hip.
Delgado missed more than half of last September with a right hip pointer. New York Mets GM Omar Minaya stated that he didn’t expect the injury to Delgado to be extensive.
Adding insult to injury, Delgado’s back-up Marlon Anderson collided with right fielder Ryan Church resulting in both players sidelined for the coming days. Church was later diagnosed with a second-grade concussion. Anderson sustained a bruised sternum.
The only light at the end of the tunnel was the addition of Cuban infielder Michael Abreu. Last season, Abreu was unable to participate because of his inability to obtain his visa. He is expected to report to Class AAA at the beginning of the season. This past week against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Abreu went one for two scoring the winning run.
At the inception of that contest, Mets manager Willie Randolph “touched base” with Los Angeles’ new manager, Joe Torre. Torre acknowledged that he was homesick for New York and missed the many friends he left behind. He also added that he was happy, excited, and comfortable to be coaching on the West coast.
Mets closer Billy Wagner made headlines when he was quoted during an exhibition game against the University of Michigan. Wagner was upfront with the Michigan Wolverine ball players telling them to “play to win against Villanova.” The Mets closer was upset because he had to quickly jump off the mound forcing him to play a bunt that was laid down by one of the amateur players. The play occurred during the ninth inning in an attempt to move the runners over.
February 24, 2008
As the hangover from the ticker tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants has begun to wind down, the Boys of Summer have all begun to apologize to their families, friends, and fans. For what, you ask? For convincing us that the so-called “steroids era” is in the past.
The two thousand and eight New York Mets have officially started to make their presence known.
Up until now, the New York Mets have been reluctant to formally introduce the many new faces that have been fortunately invited to this year’s spring training camp.
The latest reports coming out of Tradition Field have been both negative and positive.
The upstart to this season as always is the strength of right handed pitcher Pedro Martinez. The Dominican-born right hander who was respectfully accompanied by one of the few members of baseball’s immortality, Juan Marichal, is now the hottest sports-related You Tube link to click on since New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury started hallucinating on WNBC’s extended Sunday night sports news program Mike’d Up.
Martinez, who was filmed handling a rooster inside his native Dominican Republic prior to sending him off to battle, has stirred up some controversy with animal rights activist. Cock fighting, in our country, is illegal. But, for Dominicans, it is a way of life. The behavior of Martinez brings to mind the character of Caribbean-born outfielder Pedro Cerrano in the sports comedy Major League.
As it seems these days the best way to get a promotion is to assume a no-show at the afternoon meeting. Left-handed starting pitcher Oliver Perez opened up his e-mail today and saw that he was about four point five million U.S. dollars richer. Even though the somewhat sophomoric Perez was still showing signs of self-doubt late into last year’s season, the New York Mets organization refused to hesitate and opened up of their wallet. At the same time, reinforcing the notion that starting pitching is still hard to come by.
With that thought, right-handed pitcher Orlando Hernandez has stated that he never got around to repairing the nagging bunion on his foot but was successful in shortening up one of his toes, which presently keeps him off balance.
Lastly, center fielder Carlos Beltran has been accused of plagiarism for swiping a line from last year’s National League Most Valuable Player, Philadelphia Phillies’ short shop Jimmy Rollins. Beltran has prophesizing that the Mets are now the team to beat.