Tagged: Daniel Murphy

Coming Through…

 

Livan.jpgThat was a must-win.  And, honestly, who has been better in the last few starts than Livan Hernandez?  He pitched well in Pittsburgh, last Monday, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.  From a guy who entered Spring Training fighting for the last spot in the rotation, Livan might be the #2 starter, if the Mets were in the playoffs today.  His ERA has dropped steadily since his only loss on April 23rd (7.31 to 3.88 after today).  He’s only given up 5 runs in his last 28 2/3 innings.  Today, he only added to his great numbers, going 7 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 4 BBs, and 4 Ks.  He is not scheduled to pitch against the Phillies (obviously) but should take the mound next Friday against the rival Yankees in the Mets first trip to the New Stadium.

The Mets jumped on Stammen early and often.  That is exactly what needed to happen after last night…and against a good, young starter.  5 of the first 6 Mets reached base and all ended up scoring…2 by wild pitch.  After the 1st inning, though, the Mets didn’t do much until the late innings.  Fortunately, Hernandez took care of that.  To me, though, it was important that more runs scored, especially via hits and not on gifts.  In the 7th, Cora singled, stole 2nd, and scored and Wright’s RBI single.  And in the 9th, Martinez reached on an error, but Beltran lined a shot into the right-center gap, gathering an RBI.  On a day when Wright and Beltran each only had an RBI, the Mets still scored 7 runs.  Sure, a couple came on on wild pitches, but Fernando Martinez, Murphy, and Schneider all drove in runs.  Everybody is going to have to get clutch hits until Reyes and Delgado are back.

 

Positives Ending a Negative Road Trip:

  • Ryan Church had a successful return to the lineup.  He has said that he needs to be an everyday player and he backed it up today.  Church went 2 for 5 with a run scored and he hit the ball hard 3 times.  He also played strong in the field, making a couple of nice catches.  It should be interesting how much he plays against the Phillies, as the Mets will be facing 3 lefties…
  • Daniel Murphy also looked solid again, today.  Murph hit well (2 for 4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored) and looked right at home at 1st base.  He fielded a hard hit ball and started a double play, including getting back to the bag from a reasonable distance away.  These are the type of plays that good first basemen make, routinely…and Murph is getting there.
  • Gary Sheffield got to rest his aging body another day.  This is going to be key, as I expect him to start the next 3 games against the Philly lefties.
  • David Wright is quietly getting hot again.  Today, he went 2 for 3 with an RBI, a run scored, and 2 BBs.  On his last 4 games, he went 9 for 13 with 4 RBI, 4 doubles, 5 runs scored, 2 stolen bases, 5 BBs, and NO Ks!!! 
  • Roy Halladay won again today.  He threw his 2nd complete game, allowing 7 hits, 0 runs, 0 BBs, and 6 Ks.  His ERA is not Greinke or Santana-esque, but 2.52 is nothing to fret over.  It is Top 5 in the AL.  Halladay got his 10th win…can he give 30 a run?

 

The Mets are off again tomorrow, so…

Tuesday, 7:10, Citi Field, Happ vs. Santana…

The Murph…and a review

 

murphy.jpgThis might have been Santana’s worst start of the year…and it wasn’t really that bad.  In some ways, he was in complete control (11 Ks).  And in others he was definitely not (6 BBs…including walking the pitcher and then Guzman to follow, forcing in a run).  But, like a true ace, he gutted his way through the 6th inning, still giving himself a chance for the win.  All in all, he went 6 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs, 6 BBs, and 11 Ks.  His ERA did climb to 1.77.  However, on the day that he might have needed it the most, the Mets offense responded, scoring 7 runs.  K-Rod did allow a run in the 9th, but other than that, the bullpen did their job, holding Santana’s win, 7-4.

Again, the offense played very well.  Pagan and Castillo each had a couple hits; Murphy chipped in with 3, as well.  Murphy, however, was the beneficiary of the Pagan and Castillo hits as he collected 5 RBI, tying a career high.  Sheffield got the offense going with a 2 run double in the 1st.  He is now starting to command the attention the way he did for years, in his prime.  And, without Delgado, that is exactly what the Mets need.  With Wright and Beltran both on fire (but neither with a lot of power), Sheffield can be the cornerstone of threat in the Mets lineup.  He drew 2 more BBs tonight, as well.  Murphy had the biggest hit of the night, though.  He hit a deep fly to right, that was initially called a double.  But, after Manuel complained, the umpires went to the replay booth (for the 4th time in 5 games, for the Mets).  It was then ruled a HR.  Now, I saw the replay a handful of times, and I don’t believe the ball ever left the yard…but I will take it.  And so will Murphy…and Johan.  Murphy would then add a 2 RBI insurance double in the 7th, all but securing the win. 

 

Interesting Facts:

  • Fernando Martinez should have been pulled out of this game.  In the 6th inning, he popped a ball up right in front of the mound.  Catcher Wil Nieves dropped the ball.  But instead of rounding 1st, Martinez was standing in the batter’s box.  Now, I don’t think Martinez is a lazy player and Manuel probably didn’t want to embarrass him, but that kind of effort will not stand…this is the Major Leagues.  We run everything out, Fernando…It also didn’t help that he went 0 for 4.
  • Ramon Martinez had his 2nd double in as many days…
  • Wilson Valdez got into his first game as a pinch hitter…he grounded to 2nd with the bases loaded…
  • The Mets are now 5 for 5 in replay reviews…they have had part in 5 of the 12 total reviews, the most in MLB…
  • Nick Johnson had a nice night, going 3 for 5 with an RBI…will he be a Met before July 31st?
  • Roy Halladay has his 9th win spoiled as the Blue Jay bullpen blew his 5 run lead…
  • My favorite play of the day was Jason LaRue coming out of the dugout in Milwaukee and almost getting stampeded by the Milwaukee Sausage Race…http://www.faniq.com/blog/Video-Jason-LaRue-Almost-Gets-Run-Over-By-Racing-Sausages-Blog-24546

 

The Mets are off tomorrow…but Friday, 7:10, Citi Field, West vs. Pelfrey… 

Rough Day at Fenway…

This game had 2 halves…literally.  Before the middle of the 5th and after the middle of the 5th.  Well, obviously, that is how all games go.  But today, the Mets seemed like 2 different team…one in each half.  The took a 5-3 lead in the 5th inning.  Everyone, up and down the lineup, was hitting.  Nobody was hitting overly well.  But, everyone was contributing.  Even Tim Redding was looking strong.  He made one bad pitch to Mike Lowell that was hit over the Green Monster.  He also walked a few batters, but he was controlling the Red Sox lineup, for the most part.  After David Wright flew out to deep center and Carlos Beltran tagged from 2nd and went to 3rd, the game changed. 

The Mets had a 5-3 lead and runners on 1st and 3rd with only one out.  This is where the game hangs in the balance and a team can take complete control or they can allow the other team to hang around.  Reed struck out and Castro popped out, ending the threat.  Redding got through the first 2 hitters quickly before the trouble started.  Four consecutive hits for the Red Sox with 2 outs plated 3 runs and it was 6-5.  From there, it just snowballed.  The Sox threw up 6 more runs in the next 2 innings and it was done.  12-5, final.  After that Wright Sac Fly, the Mets got one more hit (a Castro double in the 8th).

 

Bottom Line(s):

  • The Mets are still over-matched in most cases.  With Jose Reyes out of the lineup and Ramon Martinez in the field, it is almost like they are down 2 guys.  While they have gone 5-5 w/o Jose, they need him back in order to continue making progress.  Losing Alex Cora has hurt more than anyone would have thought a couple of months ago…If Murphy can hit between .270 and .290 (he’s currently at .248), he will be a viable option at 1st.  He’s looking more and more comfortable there.  I think he needs to be in the infield. As an infielder who has had to play outfield, I know the feeling…
  • This game was coming.  The Mets have been in every game on this road trip and even stole a couple…maybe even games they should have been blown out of.  But, against this quality of an opponent, they were going to get trashed at some point.  Take your lumps and be ready again, tomorrow. 
  • Ken Takahashi had one of the weirdest plays I have ever seen.  In the middle of his wind up, he dropped the ball.  So…he followed through with no ball.  The ball, apparently, started rolling towards 3rd.  That would be a balk (a runner was on 1st).  That’s 4 balks on this road trip.  Is that a record?  Should be…
  • K-Rod ran out to the bullpen today in the middle of the game…that is a great sign because A) He ran B) He might have been able to pitch…
  • All things considered: Church, Reyes, Sheffield, K-Rod getting injured; 4 balks; 6 runs in the middle 4 games, Fernando Tatis playing short for the 1st time since the 1900’s, going Coast-to-Coast against 3 +.500 teams…I think a 5-5 record is something to be positive about…

 

Monday, 7:10, Citi Field, Lannan vs. Maine…

Heroics, Redemption, and Defense…

 

Santos.jpgPerhaps I am a little biased, but this might have been one of the best regular season games I have seen in a while.  The starting pitching was absolutely phenomenal.  Mike Pelfrey threw 7 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 1 BB, and 6 Ks.  He did get roughed up a little in the 1st, but settled down and kept his team in the game.  Josh Beckett, on the other side, one-uped Pelfrey going 8 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 0 BBs, and 5 Ks. 

The Defense was also amazing.  Boston made at least 4 or 5 nice running plays on line drives by the Mets.  They could have had several more hits, had it not been for the nice work of the Red Sox fielders.  In the 9th inning, the Mets defense saved the game for them.  With a runner on 1st and no out, Jason Bay hit a screamer down the line that Wright stabbed and threw to 2nd to get the lead runner.  The throw was off the mark, but Castillo made the stretch and stayed on the bag.  With 2 outs, Mike Lowell hit a ball deep in the hole between short and 3rd and Ramon Martinez dove and got it, rose to his feet and threw him out at 1st to end the game (Martinez also went 1 for 4 at the plate, gathering another hit).  Ramon, I know I have been tough on you, but you made some plays tonight.  Props to you.  Keep it up!

While all of this was great baseball, the highlight came in the top of the 9th.  Facing the most intimidating closer in baseball, Jonathan Papelbon, Gary Sheffield drew a leadoff walk.  Papelbon then absolutely over-powered Wright and Reed for 2 quick outs.  Omir Santos stepped in, looked 1st pitch fastball and launched a shot into deep left-center to give the Mets a 3-2 lead!  The play was reviewed, but it was clearly a HR.  So, the Mets, down 2-1 for almost 8 complete innings, steal a game with one swing of the bat by the backup catcher.  JJ Putz stepped in and closed the deal in the 9th for his 2nd save. 

Those of you who have read my blog consistently know that every game that I feel the Mets let get away (there are 5 or 6 to date, I believe), I tag “One Game.”  This game is the exact opposite of that.  Given all of the ridiculous circumstances and injuries and fatigue, etc that this team is going through, this could be a season-turning game.  Maybe not.  It could be just another win.  But after seeing some of the emotion from some of the players and how this win came from out of thin air, I would not be surprised to see this team rattle off a nice little 5 out of 7 or 8 out of 9 streak.   One more game to this road trip, tomorrow.  The Mets have cemented at least a .500 record.  Even if they lose Sunday, I think the team should be relatively high and positive about this trip and what they have come through…

 

We Want Chow-dah:

  • K-Rod had some serious back spasms on Saturday and was taken to the hospital.  He was not available Saturday night and most likely will not be on Sunday…who else is going to get hurt?
  • Ryan Church announced that he has had a hamstring problem since Spring Training, but wanted to play…well, that seems to have caught up with him.  Hopefully, he will get it worked out and be back soon…
  • Jose Reyes says he felt better today, but probably won’t play for another couple/3 days…
  • There were only 7 official ABs with RISP tonight for both teams combined.  The Mets went 1 for 4 and the BoSox 1 for 3.  There were 10 combined LOB, each team leaving 5…
  • Papelbon blew his 1st save of the year and 1st in his last 17 chances…I love how competitive he is, but I love beating him even more…
  • Daniel Murphy looked solid again in the field at 1st.  Here is a thought: Why not have him be the everyday 1st baseman for years to come?  Given age and injury, I assume the Mets will not re-sign Delgado after the year is done.  If Murph keeps this up (and he has looked as comfortable as he ever has defensively), maybe that is where he plays permanently.  Just a thought…

 

Sunday, 1:35, Fenway Park, Redding vs. Wakefield… 

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… 

Just Too Much…

What started as a promising road trip has now fallen straight on its face.  The Mets seemingly have left their bats in San Francisco.  John Maine gave it his all today, but got dinged for a 3 run homer in the 6th that all but sealed the team’s fate.  He ended up throwing 5 1/3 innings, 8 hits, 5 runs, 3 BBs and 3 Ks.  Just not good enough tonight.  Chad Billingsley lived up to his hype, pitching 6 1/3 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 5 BBs and 7 Ks.  Ramon Martinez has now become completely useless as he has gone 0 for his stint in the big leagues, this year.  He struck out 3 more times today and grounded into a crucial double play with 2 on in the 8th.  I think the Mets are just overwhelmed right now.  Reyes did come back and played tonight, but he has been out of the lineup.  Delgado has surgery and is now out 10 weeks.  Ryan Church is in a 2 month slump.  Luis Castillo has cooled off.  Neither catcher is doing anything special.  Fernando Tatis is also slowing down.  David Wright and Carlos Beltran are both still hot, but unless both of them get several RBI a game, its just not going to happen.  Also, that puts a lot of pressure on the pitching staff (which has performed admirably), but only Santana is going to win 2-1 or 3-2 games.  They way things are looking, both with the Mets and the opponents they are going to have to play, I think the Mets will be lucky to win 1 more game on this road trip.  If it can go against the Mets right now, the ball will find the way to do so.  That’s just how it goes.  Something is going to have to change.  Reyes is going to have to get hot or a new player is going to have to jump start some life back into this team.  If that doesn’t happen, its going to be a while waiting for people to start getting healthy…

 

Things I’m Getting Sick Of:

  • The Mets haven’t hit a HR since the Tatis Slam last Wednesday.  That’s 5 games.  You can’t win consistently getting a HR once a week…
  • The Mets go 2 for 8 with RISP and leave 6 more on…John Maine had 1 of those hits and 2 of the team’s 3 RBI…
  • We only had 6 hits tonight…scored 5 runs in the last 3 games
  • Daniel Murphy dropped another fly ball in left.  It even hit him in the glove…
  • He also started stealing 2nd before the pitcher made any move…he was out.

 

Wednesday, 10:10, Dodger Stadium, Hernandez vs. Stults…

Sweep!

 

broom.jpgSo, I almost had to re-do my entire entry for tonight.  Like any writer, I was putting my thoughts together and organizing how I was going to write everything down, when the bottom of the 9th happened.  My TV’s life was extended after Ryan Church caught Chipper’s attempt to win the game for the Braves.  With a 4-1 lead and 2 down in the bottom of the 9th, K-Rod gives up a hit and a walk, when Omar Infante pops up a bloop right to Delgado.  I was about to walk into my kitchen, but thought that nothing is a sure thing (especially with the Mets) and stayed to watch Carlos flat out DROP the ball.  Funny thing is, if everyone runs it out, the runner on 1st is at least on 3rd and Infante is easily on 2nd, instead of 1st.  He would then have scored on Escobar’s single, tying the game.  Thankfully, Omar loafed it, made it to 3rd on the single, and was stranded on Chipper’s flyout. 

Up until the 2 out roller coaster ride, the pitching for the Mets was amazing.  Livan went 6 1/3, 7 hits, 1 run, 2 BBs and 2 Ks, only throwing 75 pitches (discounting the Ollie start, it was the Mets 4th straight quality start).  He totally could have gone at least another inning, but got into a bit of a jam, and Manuel decided not to push his luck (not a bad decision at all).  Parnell, Putz, and K-Rod did their respective jobs.  K-Rod’s would have been smoother, if not for Delgado’s error.  In keeping with the theme of not allowing runs, the Mets defense (in the 1st 7 innings) was great.  They turned 3 double-plays.  And on Prado’s run-scoring double, Murphy made a great play, cutting the ball off, otherwise, Schafer probably scores and ties the game at 2.  Then, the defense went downhill, as Castillo and Delgado made routine-play errors.

Offensively, the effort was mixed.  They got 11 hits: good.  Only 4 runs (including leaving 2 on in the 9th…2nd and 3rd with no out and neither scored): bad.  4 players wth multiple hits, including Castro with 3: good.  Leaving 12 on base and goin 3 for 13 with RISP: bad.  Luckily, the pitching out-weighed the hitting and the Mets got away with a sweep in the ATL…  

 

Points for your morning coffee:

  • Daniel Murphy had a nice game.  He went 1 fo 4 with a run scored.  Also, he saved a run with a nice defensive play in the 7th.  And, after a botched throw by Chipper in the 9th, moved up to an un-occupied 2nd base.  That forced the Braves to walk Beltran, creating a big opportunity for Delgado.  As defensively challeneged as he was to start the year, I’m enjoying watching his progress, not only as a fielder, but as a baseball player.
  • Despite his almost biffing the game away, Delgado did have a huge hit in the 9th with the bases loaded, plating the soon-needed 2 runs.  Give and Take, I guess…
  • The Mets have swept a series -albeit a mini 2 game series- in Atlanta for the first time in 2 years…winning there will never get old for me.
  • Yunel Escobar is just adding to the log-jam of great short-stops in the NL East…he went 3 for 5 with an RBI tonight…
  • Johan Santana has given up 4 earned runs this year.  That is fewer than 3 Mets relievers (Putz, 6; Feliciano, 5; Green, 12 -yikes)…
  • Is anyone else excited about the Royals?  The epitome of a small market team and they are leading their division by 1.5 games (I know its early May, but let’s enjoy it while we can).  Greinke has 37.5% of their wins…
  • This is fun: the Nats and Astros had their 10-10 game called in the 11th inning today because of rain.  The game was played in DC.  But they don’t play again until July 9th (in Houston).  That will be the date that this game will be continued.  So, the home team will wear gray in the1st game?  And, given the probable lack of success of both teams (sorry, Nats and Astros fans *Cassie*) and it being near the trade deadline, how will they handle players who won’t be on the roster then and players who weren’t today but will be on the roster then?  Yay for tight schedules and short series…
  • Also, tough loss for the Wings to the Ducks tonight…sometimes, life just isn’t fair…not much else you can say about that game…

 

 

Quote of the Night:

“Keith, its your favorite song.”  “[Its] all around major league baseball.  You just can’t get away from it.”  -Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez, upon hearing the sound bite “Everybody Clap Your Hands.” 

Wednesday, 7pm, Park/Santana…