Tagged: Carlos Beltran

Show Me The Apple!

 

CitiApple.jpgThis was just an amazing game.  There was quality pitching, quality hitting, punches and counter-punches, comebacks, lead changes, great plays, and lots of gut-wrenching drama…

First, in the top of the 8th, my MLB.TV DVR stopped and I was help in purgatory-limbo for another hour+…but, I did manage to stay away from all scoreboards and see the end of great Stanley Cup and NBA Finals games…

This might have been the best game Johan Santana has played in as a Met.  Yes, he did give up 4 HRs (3 of the were solo…and to lefties), but he contributed in other ways.  His pitching line was 7+ innings, 8 hits, 5 runs, 1 BB, and 2 Ks.  Yeah, not that great of a pitching night, but for the run support given to him, I’ll take it.  Just seeing his emotion and the way he got out of innings showed his leadership.  You could tell by his expressions that he knew how much this game meant and that his team needed him out there.  After giving up a 3-run lead in the top of the 6th, Santana came through with his bat.  With Santos and Church on 1st and 2nd and one out, Santana could not get the sac bunt down in 2 attempts.  On an 0-2 pitch, Johan lines a ball into the corner to tie the game with his first RBI of the season.  In the top of the 7th, with a runner on 1st and 1 out,  Shane Victorino lined a shot back up the middle that Santana snagged and tossed over to 1st to complete the double play.  When Manuel finally went out to get him after his 4th HR, Santana was not so pleased and tried to stay in.  This was his game and he wanted to finish.  That is what the Mets need to show more of.  Yes, he has been giving up more runs in his last few starts and he did give up 4 HRs on Tuesday, but he used the run support he was given and he hung in the game long enough to get his team to the back end of the bullpen.  The Mets had to have this game and Santana got them to the end.  There are more aspects to leading a team than pitching your best game, statistically and Santana did that.

Major props to Pedro Feliciano and K-Rod for their solid performances in the 8th and 9th.  Pedro threw 4 pitches and got Howard to hit into a double play and Ibanez to ground out, ending the 8th.  K-Rod made his way through the 9th, including 2 Ks of Feliz and Dobbs.

As for the offense, they hit HRs!  That’s plural…and more than 2!!  Woohoo!!!  David Wright hit his 1st HR in 100 ABs in the bottom of the 2nd inning.  Carlos Beltran added a 2 run shot after a Cora double.  To add to the power surge, Ryan Church hit a deep ball in the 7th inning.  To top it off, Church hit the ball INTO the Apple well!  It turned out to just be enough, as the Mets held on, 6-5. 

 

Relief Points:

  • Not to complain, but in the bottom of the 6th, after Tatis doubled and reached 3rd via a bad throw on a pickoff by Ruiz, Church grounded to 1st and Tatis was thrown out at home.  Except that he wasn’t…the replay clearly showed that Tatis was under the tag. 
  • There is still no timetable on Reyes…its better that he not rush back.  We are going to need a healthy Reyes for the last couple months…
  • Every Phillies starter (except Ruiz and Happ) got at least 1 hit and Rollins continued his dominance over the Mets by going 3 for 4 with 2 RBI and a run scored…
  • The Mets, again, showed great team hitting.  Wright and Cora each had a couple hits, but everyone in the starting lineup got a hit (except Castillo)…
  • The Nationals picked Stephen Strasburg with the #1 overall pick in the MLB Draft…it would be tough to turn him down.

 

Wednesday, 7:10, Citi Field, Hamels vs. Pelfrey…

Pitts…blah

After the terrible loss on Monday, the Mets played one of their most un-inspired performances of the year, as Santana didn’t pitch well and was marooned with a 3-1 loss.  Wednesday was washed away due to rains in Western PA.

Thursday, was an afternoon game.  I have always been a fan of afternoon games.  Businessmen take an afternoon off to watch some baseball.  There’s always lots of kids that come out to the game via either a summer camp trip or a field trip from school.  Its kind of an old school type of baseball that can take you away from the stress and frustrations of everyday life.  And, for people like me who try to watch/follow every game, it gives you a free evening.

A day after trading (I mean donating) their best player to the evil Braves, the Pirates came out swinging…and hitting.  Before anyone knew what happened, the Pirates landed 6 hits and a walk that plated 4 runs in the 1st inning…with only 1 out.  Much like the US in their game against Costa Rica last night, Pelfrey did not even show up against the Bucs.  He only lasted 3 and 2/3 9 hits, 9 runs (8 earned), 4 BBs, and 3 Ks.  Too bad for Pelf.  He pitched his 2 best games of the year in his last 2 outings.  If the Mets had scored an inning earlier in each game, he could be 6-1…well, now 2.  But, they didn’t and he falls to 4-2. 

Also, as I am writing this, JJ Putz is getting shelled.  He has not done well at all, lately.  I’m starting to form the opinion that he should go on the DL (I hear they need a 10th for Bridge).  Not that he is hurt to the point of some of the other Mets, but he might just need some time to work on some things, like his focus/mentality.  The Mets pitching staff (and bullpen especially) have been more than great this year.  So, let Putz work himself out and lean on your strengths for a bit. 

This has just been a rough trip and I think the Mets just need to start over.  They need to get out of Pittsburgh and begin a new series.  It wouldn’t shock me if the Monday night “giveaway” is still longering and maybe a plane ride can help it a little bit. 

The news on Reyes is not great.  He had a minor setback this week and it doesn’t look like he will be back this weekend in DC.  The latest I heard was the best case would be Jose could return on Tuesday before the series against Philly.  Ryan Church, however, is also supposed to come off the DL on Sunday.

 

While waiting for the Plane:

  • On the positive side, Carlos Beltran came back with a bang, today.  He went 2 for 4 with a walk and 2 extra base hits: a double and a HR!!!
  • The Mets hit a HR!  It was their first since last Friday against the Marlins…
  • David Wright seems to be starting to show signs of breaking out of his slump…maybe.  He went 2 for 3 with 2 BBs, an RBI, a stolen base, and 2 runs…he does needs to pick it up.  If the Mets are going to turn it around and make a little run before the All-Star Break that keeps getting closer, Wright is going to have to be the David Wright of old.  He doesn’t need to hit bushels of HRs, but he does need to start getting more doubles and triples…
  • Jerry Manuel has said that the next few games are an audition for Fernando Martinez.  With Church set to come off the DL, Martinez is going to have to start hitting better if he wants to stay in NY.  He did go 2 for 4 today, with an RBI and a run scored.    

 

Friday, 7:05, Nationals Park, Redding vs. Martis…  

Four in a Row…

 

depression.jpgWell, tonight was relatively predictable.  I watched the game with a friend and I made a bet that 2 things would happen. 

1. Every time the Mets were to get an RBI, it would have to be a hit by either Wright or Beltran.

2. Whenever the Mets were to “almost” score, Beltran and Wright were going to be in the middle of it.

I was right…twice.  They are a 2 man team, right now.  When they are not involved, this team will do nothing…at all.  Daniel Murphy started at his first game at 1st.  He played very well…in the field.  At the plate, he had 2 Ks, grounded into a double play, and grounded weakly to first with 1 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd.  We have now scored 6 runs in 4 games. 

Livan Hernandez probably pitched the best game he has pitched this year.  He went 7 innings, 7 hits, 1 run, 1 BB, and 2 Ks.  JJ Putz then came in the 8th and threw lots of balls, gave up a hit and allowed the Dodgers to take the lead…and win the game. 

Orlando Hudson has played a great series against the Mets.  That is ironic, given that he really wanted to play for the Mets.  But they decided to stick with Castillo.  The move looked good through April and into May.  We’ll see how that pans out for the next couple years…

 

Times I’ve Thrown Up in My Mouth:

  • Jose Reyes legged out a single (that he was thrown out by Hudson) and re-injured his calf…that means more Ramon Martinez.  Yay.
  • The Mets are 0 for their last 13 with RISP.  Tonight, they went 0 for 10, leaving 9 on base.
  • Coming into the 8th inning, I heard a stat that the Mets bullpen had not allowed an earned run in 14 1/3 innings…they gave up one tonight.  Apparently, they have the best bullpen in the league, according to ERA.  2.63 or something like that…
  • We haven’t seen Sheffield in a couple games…
  • Jacoby Ellsbury had 12 putouts tonight, setting an MLB record in a 9 inning game…

 

The Mets are off tomorrow…Thank God… 

David, the Giant-killer…

 

DavidGoliath.jpgSo, I had a couple of softball games tonight, which caused me to miss the first 5 innings of the game.  No problem.  I used the DVR function on MLB.TV.  Well, after the 6th inning, it logged me out and wouldn’t let me back in.  Yay.  So, its 2:15am and I am excited and ready for the the last couple innings and I had to miss them and just look at the final score.  It’s a good thing they won…

Well, John Maine pitched very well.  He was rather erratic in the 1st inning, walking 2, throwing 2 wild pitches, giving up 3 hits, and allowing his only 2 runs.  He also threw 30+ pitches, I believe.  After the first 2 runners reached base in the 2nd, he seemed to flip the switch.  Not only did he get out of that inning with no runs, he did not encounter another jam until the 6th.  All in all, he went 6 2/3, 7 hits, 2 runs, 4 BBs, and 4 Ks.  He should have gotten the win, but Bobby Parnell (who will be the set-up man…I presume…until Putz deals with his bone-spurred elbow) couldn’t hold the save.  Luckily for Parnell, the Mets offense responded and tallied 3 in the 9th, allowing K-Rod to get his 10th save of the year. 

Offensively, the Mets looked good all game…despite getting only 4 runs through the first 8 innings.  The Mets heart of the order (Beltran, Sheffield and Wright) went a combined 7 for 12 with 3 RBI.  In the 9th, Beltran doubled with one out and stole 3rd.  After Sheffield walked, Wright singled home Beltran to take the lead.  Both Sheff and Wright would later score on a clutch 2 out single by Ramon Castro, giving the K-Rod the 7-4 lead.

Frustratingly, I was unable to see the exciting conclusion of this game, but all is well that ends well.  After a rough loss on Wednesday afternoon and a long plane ride to the Bay Area, a road-trip-opening win is very satisfying…

 

Five Smooth Stones:

  • David Wright reached base all 5 times today, going 3 for 3 with 2 RBI and 2 BBs…He also had 4 steals…
  • The Mets stole 7 bases in total…wow…that was a team record…
  • The Mets have not won a road trip opener in San Francisco since 1988…
  • Jose Reyes had the day off because of a sore calf muscle…Delgado will not play in this series and JJ Putz is still iffy/day-to-day…
  • The Mets are now back to 4 games over .500, 8-2 in their last 10, and have their largest division lead of the year…2

 

Friday night, AT&T Park, 10:15, Hernandez vs. Lincecum…

Last Chance…

So, I don’t really have a particular way I write after games.  I’ve tried to give my opinion sometimes and do recaps other times.  Sometimes, I do a bit of both.  Well, today I can’t write a recap.  That was just too frustrating…

Losing to the Braves always just burns deep inside me.  Yeah, I love beating the Yankees and Phillies, but I always want to beat the Braves.  So, to start, these are the reasons why Wednesday’s loss was very frustrating:

  1. Last game on a homestand before a 10 day road trip
  2. Faced an opposing Starter who had lost 9 games in a row
  3. Had a lead going into the 7th inning
  4. Had the winning run at 2nd in the 9th and 10th innings
  5. Had the tying run on 3rd with less than 2 outs in the 12th

 

That being said, it was a tough game that was played tightly and the Braves just made one more play.  Over the course of the year, you lose games like this, sometimes.  In fact, the Mets probably “should have” lost the game on Tuesday but stole it away.  Games like Wednesday suck, but they can’t let it turn into a losing streak.  John Maine has been pitching well and hopefully he can come out strong Thursday night. 

One thing I would like to discuss is Jon Niese being taken out.  Not that it would have mattered in the long run (probably), but I would have left him in and see if he could fight his way out.  First of all, it was a scoring fest, so runs were not hard to come by.  Plus, its the 5th inning, give him a chance for the win.  If he doesn’t, oh well.  You have time to come back.  Also, he’s a young kid.  Even though Stokes did get out of the jam, it wouldn’t have benefited Niese at all.  He’d just be thinking that he couldn’t get through the 5th.  I guess its all a moot point.  I just figure give Niese a chance.

Also, I have to harp on this.  In the 12th, Reyes NEEDS to score.  On 3rd with less than 1 out…that is what frustrated me the most.  Beltran is the #3 hitter and he has to at least hit a fly ball.  If they went 1, 2, 3…it happens.  But do the little things right.  Kind of ironic that Beltran swung at the bad pitch and Sheffield took the good one?  Anyway, let’s head West…

 

Plane Points:

  • The Mets grounded into 4 double plays…including one in extras
  • JJ Putz has given up a run 4 of his lst 6 outings…I know he’s the 8th inning guy, but…maybe a give him one opportunity off…
  • Pedro Feliciano had probably his most impressive outing this year.  He’s a lefty specialist and he pitched 1 2/3 innings, including getting out of Sean Green’s jam…
  • Maybe put Stokes back in the “long relief” role…it kind of makes me nervous having a lefty in that role
  • Tatis had a great day at the plate, going 3 for 5 with a HR and 4 RBI and a run scored…with Delgado potentially going on the DL in the next couple days, it seems we may have a bat to replace his
  • Jordan Zimmerman has his 30 game hit streak snapped today…
  • I missed this yesterday: Roy Halladay won again, making him 7-1…

 

Thursday, 10:15, AT&T Park, Maine vs. Sanchez…

A Walk Off Win…literally

 

carlosBeltran.jpgIn keeping with the theme of this series, Pelfrey and Jurrjens gave us another great pitching duel.  Jair Jurrjens (the key component of the Edgar Renteria trade to Detroit) pitched as well as I have seen him pitch.  He started running out of gas in the 8th inning and the Mets got to him.  Up 3-0, he allowed a couple of singles to Reed and Church, before Reyes slammed a ball to the wall in left-center.  Reyes was then thrown out trying to stretch his double into a triple, ending the Mets threat in the 8th.  That wasn’t the only great defensive play by the Braves.  In the 2nd inning, Brian McCann threw out David Wright, attempting to steal 2nd on the back end of a “strike ’em out/throw ’em out” double play.  In the 7th, David Wright was again thrown out, this time at home on an attempted Sac Fly by Fernando Tatis.  The Braves just flat-out made plays on defense.  Mike Pelfrey pitched as well as he had all year.  He ended up going 7 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 1 BB, and 3 Ks.  That’s almost identical to Jurrjens, 7 2/3 innings, 7 hits, 2 runs, 1 BB, 4 Ks.

Despite allowing a leadoff hit, K-Rod got through the top of the 9th.  How do you lead a team?  You hit .370+, lead the team in RBIs, play a sick center field, and get lead off doubles in 9th innings.  Beltran lined a shot down the left field line, crusing into 2nd.  After Wright HRISed and failed to get the him to 3rd, Beltran decided it was up to him to tie the game.  In a ridiculously ballsy moved he stole 3rd and made it by inches.  After Tatis was hit by a pitch, Castillo hit a pinch hit Sac Fly to left to score Beltran and tie the game.  Going to the 10th, K-Rod made it interesting again, but held the Braves scoreless.  In the bottom of the 10th, Jeff Bennett came on and quickly retired the 1st 2 Mets.  This is why Jose Reyes is so dangerous.  He beats out an infield hit and promptly steals 2nd, forcing an intentional walk to Alex Cora.  Bennet unintentionally walks Castro to load the bases.  Running the count full, Bennet then throws a borderline pitch that the umpire called low, to walk in Reyes for the Mets “Walk” off win.  I guess that’s kind of redemption for Sean Green walking in a run in the 10th against the Phillies a week and a half ago.  See, this is why I LOVE Jose Reyes.  Sure, he has his flaws, but with 2 out and no one on, he single-handed changed the entire complexion of the inning.  While on 3rd, he was jumping around, clapping and firing everybody up.  His smile, intensity (when he brings it), and intangibles are what can take the Mets from being good to great.  This is the kind of game that championship teams win, stealing the momentum from an opponent who had them down and out.  With the afternoon game on Wednesday, this is a chance for the Mets to get on another roll before their 10 game road trip.

 

Building Blocks:

  • K-Rod pitched 2 innings tonight.  The last time he went 2 innings in a major league game was 2007.  He also earned his first win as a Met.
  • The Mets are now 1-13 in games they trail after 8 innings.  That is something to work on…
  • The Braves went 2 for 12 with RISP, leaving 10 on base…
  • Beltran, Reyes, and Wright (the Mets 3 best everyday players) each had 2 hits…
  • The Braves had 3 outfield assists on Tuesday…
  • Carlos Delgado missed his 2nd straight game…
  • HRIS is my term for a pop up…Home Run In Silo

 

Wednesday, 1:10, Citi Field, Jo-Jo Reyes vs. Jon Niese… 

Walk the Plank!

 

walkplank.jpgSo, I was out of town for the weekend and my information/visuals of the 3 game sweep of the Bucs was more limited than normal.  I’ve read up on Friday’s game, listened to most of Saturday’s, and watched Sunday’s game.  So, here’s a couple of quick thoughts and hopefully some statistics to ponder…

 

Friday:

I think the main thing to take in from Friday is the 2009 debut of Jon Niese,  I believe he pitched well.  He went 6 innings, allowing 7 hits, 2 runs, 5 Ks, while walking 0.  That’s definitely a positive for this rotation.  He also did very well in the 1st couple innings by really only using his fastball.  He also has a “Barry Zito” curveball…which might be one of the most fun things to watch in sports.  I think my favorite aspect of his outing was the fact that he wasn’t phased by the 2 runs in the 3rd inning.  With 2 outs in the top of the 3rd and a runner on 2nd, McClouth hit a fly ball to right-center that, despite being in position, both Beltran and Church flat out missed.  He could have easily come un-raveled, but remained calm and got the next hitter to ground out.  Unfortunately, that hit cost him the win.  But, he held his own and kept his team in the game.  The offense finally came around during a 5 run 8th inning.  The highlight was a 3 run bomb by Delgado, his 4th of the year.  The Mets held on, 7-3. 

 

Saturday:

Game 2 was all about John Maine and the Offense.  Maine continued his comeback trail, giving another quality start.  He earned his 3rd win by going 6 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 BBs and 3 Ks.  The only thing Maine didn’t do well was give up a HR to opposing starter Paul Maholm…but no one is perfect.  The Mets offense almost looked perfect, though.  They scored 10 runs on 17 hits.   7 Mets starters had at least 2 hits, including Jose Reyes who went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI and a run scored.  Beltran also tacked on his 6th HR of the year.  Jerry Manuel was suspended for this game for contact with an umpire during Thursday’s win over the Phillies.  Apparently, the Mets didn’t need him, as the game was all but over by the end of the 4th, when it was 6-0.

 

Sunday:

Coming into this game, the Mets were 0 for 3 in potential 3-game sweeps (after winning the 1st and 2nd games).  But, Sunday, they were 1 for 1.  The best word to describe Hernandez’s pitching performance is ‘professional.’  In the first couple innings, it was clear he did not have his best stuff.  However, he battled and hung around long enough for the offense to come through with some runs.  He even stuck around to finish the 6th.  After the 3rd, it seemed like getting 5 from him would be a stretch.  The Mets finally wrestled the lead from the scrappy Pirates (and tough pitcher Ian Snell) on Omir Santos’s opposite field base hit, knocking in 2 runs.  They tacked on more runs in the 7th and 8th.  That is a great sign of a championship team.  The Mets are already great at getting out of the gate quick by scoring in the 1st inning.  Now, being able to add to that, should only solidify those chances at wins.  Reyes ripped his 10th bag of the year, taking 3rd.  He got a couple more hits, raising his average to .276.  When he gets going, it will be tough to stop this team.  They really are starting to click on all cylinders and are turning would-be weaknesses (starting rotation, clutch hitting) into strengths.  The winning streak is now at 7, with the hyped “Santana/Lowe” matchup looming Monday night.

 

Weekend Stats:

  • K-Rod got the weekend off…he deserved it after getting 4 saves in 4 days.
  • In the 7 wins in a row, the Mets have had 7 quality starts…coincdence?  I think no…
  • Tying in with the previous stat, the Mets clutch hitting was unreal this weekend.  Going 18 for 33 with RISP…they only left 21 runners on base this weekend.  With pitching and hitting like that…but then, its also against the Pirates.
  • Part of the Mets success also stems from their increased stolen bases.  They swiped 7 more bags this weekend.
  • After struggling lately, Jose Reyes ripped up the Pirates, going 7 for 13 with 4 RBI and 4 runs scored this weekend.  He is such a key to success for the Mets.  When he is on base, stealing bases, and wreaking havoc, the Mets are as dangerous as any other team in the league.
  • David Wright had a nice weekend, offensively and defensively…but also struck out 5 more times…
  • Brain Stokes came out of exile and worked a scoreless inning on Saturday…
  • Zack Greinke finally lost Saturday night, despite throwing ANOTHER complete game, going 8 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 0 BBs and 5 Ks.  With that game, his ERA went UP eleven points.
  • After Sunday, the Mets are in 1st place by at least a game for the 1st time this year…

 

Monday, Citi Field, 7:10, Lowe vs. Santana…