Tagged: David Wright

Crucial Times…

As I sit here writing this, the Mets are in extras against the Reds.  After what was a phenomenal week, ending the home stand, the Mets have hit a skid.  Granted, I will take a 5-1 week all the time (Sun-Sat).  But the end of the series in Philly has left a horrid taste in my mouth.  After dominating 3 less-than-stellar teams and going 9-1 on a critical home stand, NY has dropped its last 2 against its main rival.  I was not as frustrated about Saturday’s loss (although, I always hate to them…and watching Pelfrey get blitzed).  After winning 8 in a row, losses are to be expected and a lot of times, crushing losses.  That’s just baseball.  -side note: what a play by Davis to get Votto at first…love this kid.  Love his defense- It was more Sunday’s loss that was so disheartening.  Although it is still early in May, this was a big series.   The Mets were hot and had a big test.  Played a great game on Friday to get at least a win and got bombed on Saturday…how would they respond?  Especially in the lion’s den?  Coming right out of the gate and watching DW5 hit that bomb…I was psyched and thought that Saturday was behind us.  Even after Santana gave up the 2 HRs (both were after he had 0-2 counts), he still looked good.  And then Barajas’ huge 2 run shot…it just looked like they were over the hump and going to make a statement.  Especially with Santana on the mound.  And then it happened…the walk to Moyer was the breaker…after that, everything was a blur.  I didn’t even make it through the inning before catching up on my DVRed tv shows.  -side note: I have a feeling that Chuck is ending, unfortunately- 

This brings me to my point…can the Mets respond from such a disheartening weekend?  And what does this team want from this year?  They have showed how much potential they have, pitching the way they have (both starting and relieving).  With no one other than Wright (and not BA-wise) really on track (maybe Francoeur), only good things should be coming from the offensive department, right?  Well, tonight, they start a 3 game series in Cincy…a team they can take 2 of 3 from.  And then back home.  So, this is a time to show that the speed bump was just that…and not a huge pothole.  -game has gone to Top 11, now-  Ollie looked solid, tonight, going 6 innings, only 2 runs.  4 BBs, though.  But, again, I will take that from him. 

So, I might have been wrong about hitting Reyes in the 3 hole…sort of.  They have won 7 of 9 games, entering tonight, with him hitting in that spot.  But, it has not been due to Reyes, whose average is down to .217.  I think that they have to continue as things are…but only because there’s not a lot better option.  Bay finally hit a HR last week…but still waiting for him to break out.

Ok, so, I also want to bring up something else that is going on in sports…the NBA Playoffs.  More specifically, the Spurs/Suns series.  I’ve been a Suns fan for years (don’t ask) and definitely have my feelings about the Spurs.  But this is going to be a tremendous series.  With all of the history between the teams and the Spurs maybe reaching the edge of their dominance and the Suns playing better defense.  This is what the playoffs are all about.  People are finally starting to come around on the Suns and pick them to actually beat San Antonio.  They have home-court.  Amare has been playing out of his mind; Grant Hill has revived his career.  -Game to Bot 11, Acosta in-  I know the Cavs/C’s series is going to be great, as well, but this should be a series that goes at least 6 games. Its tough for me to see either team beat the Lakers, but…to finally vanquish the Spurs might give Amare just enough reasons to stay in the Valley of the Sun.   

Hopefully, the Mets will pull this one out and can go for the series win, tomorrow…and…no…Nix homers off of Acosta for a 3-2 win…3rd loss in a row

Tuesday, 7:10, Great American Ballpark, Maine vs. Arroyo…

 

Advertisements

A Week in Review…

Over the last week, the Mets have been on a tear.  And the key has been the starting pitching.  Oliver Perez had the iffy start on Wednesday against the Cubs that resulted in the Mets only loss, since last Sunday.  I think he did enough to keep the heat off of himself in the rotation.  He went 5 innings and only allowed 3 runs.  That’s…ok, not terrible…and that is what the Mets need (at the minimum) from him and John Maine.  The problem on Wednesday was the bullpen.  Newly-acquired Manny Acosta got wrecked in that game…as did Takahashi.  John Maine got hurt in his start on Friday against the Braves.  He was pitching better than his first few starts, but then he got hurt.  That just seems to be how it goes for Maine, unfortunately.  I’m not entirely sure what needs to be done with him.  It’s really hard for me to see the Mets re-signing him in the off-season.  I would wish him well and enjoy it if he succeeds some place else…but he just has been so inconsistent over the last 2-3 years, whether it be pitching or injury. 

Jon Niese had 2 very nice starts last week.  Not quite what I want to eventually get out of him (5 and 2/3 with 1 run and 5 and 1/3 with 1 run).  But he’s not getting crushed and he is striking out people (7 and 6, respectively).  Unfortunately, a lack of run support has stopped him from getting a win, in either game.  Still, I am liking what I am seeing from him and look forward to his starts, now. 

Johan and Pelfrey are both looking amazing.  Each got a win last week and looked very strong, doing so.  Pelfrey could get another win, tonight, pending the outcome (which is stuck in the 6th due to a rain delay…Mets are up 1-0, though).  Pelf looked good (but not), tonight.  He did not have the control we’ve seen him exhibit this year.  He allowed 10 baserunners in 5 innings, but still managed to get out of it every time, extending his scoreless streak to 24 innings.  If he does win tonight, he will be 4-0 with a .69 ERA…early Cy Young candidate, anyone?

Now…to the hitting.  Sigh.  Still…not good.  Its getting better, as they are getting timelier hits…but, no one is tearing the cover off the ball.  They still only have 50 hits over the last 7 games (including tonight’s that hasn’t been called yet).  Yet, assuming they win tonight, will be 6-1??  That’s just baseball, I guess.  Still waiting for the Jason Bay that we heard about all off-season.  He’s picked it up the last couple games, but still no HRs and 5 RBI, while hitting .269.  David Wright is a little better, but not much 3 HRs, 10 RBI, .222.  Francoeur: 3, 10, .286.  That’s around what I expect from him. 

The Mets have called up Ike Davis.  I was originally against it, but it seems that maybe its what this team has needed.  He has looked right at home, playing 1st base.  He’s also hit very nicely in his 7 games.  1 HR, a couple RBI, and a .318 average.  Granted, its only a week, but he looks like he could be the real deal.  And to have left-handed power is only going to help.  

So, there has been a lot of talk about Jose Reyes hitting in the 3rd spot in the lineup.  It has been thrown around quite a bit over the past couple years.  I’ve thought about it in different circumstances and I finally made a decision as to what I feel about it.  Under ideal circumstances (Beltran being back, Wright and Bay hitting like they are capable, etc), I am supremely against it.  However, given what is going on now, I absolutely love the idea.  And for these reasons:

  • David Wright has not been (W)right.  I still think something is up with him.  Maybe its mental.  Maybe there’s an injury somewhere that no one knows about.  Maybe he’s just trying too hard.  Or maybe (gulp) he’s not as good as we all thought he was??  I hope like everything that its not the last one.  But…whatever the reason…he is not the center-piece of this lineup, right now. 
  • Carlos Beltran is not healthy and it doesn’t look like he will be, anytime soon.  Hopefully before the All-Star Break, but…I’m not holding my breath.  So, we need to move on…at least for a while. 
  • I know his average doesn’t reflect it now (but who on the Mets is sporting a nice BA), but I think that Angel Pagan belongs near the top of the lineup.  He is making strides as a base runner.  He has the speed.  You can hit him in the leadoff spot, followed by Castillo, Reyes, etc..

Monday, 7:10, Citi Field, Kuroda vs. Perez…

The Way It Needs to Be…

If the Mets are to succeed this year, this game will be a prototype.  First of all, Santana is going to need to pitch amazing.  And…they are going to have to win his starts.  In addition, they will need to play solid defense and have timely hitting.  Well, all of those aspects came together on Monday.  Johan pitched very well, going 6 innings, allowing 2 hits, a run, walking 2, and striking out 5.  He got into a little trouble in the 6th which raised his pitch count.  Otherwise, it looked like he would go 7 strong.  The bullpen did a great job finishing off the game, allowing only 2 hits in the final 3 innings.  However, before Santana officially left the game, the Met offense had all but finished the game off.  And did it in great team style.  Four different players contributed RBI in the late innings.  The newcomers -Bay, Matthews, and Barajas) (minus Jacobs) went 6 for 11 with 3 RBI and 4 runs scored.  Nobody had an amazing day, but enough players had solid days, which is something that will need to be the case this year.  The Marlins defense also helped the Mets with 3 key errors. 

So, pitching?  Check.  Defense?  Check.  Timely hitting?  Check.  So far, so good…

Opening Day Figures:

  • After a year of struggling for power, David Wright homered in his 1st AB.  He now has 10% of his total from last year…
  • Fernando Nieve looked great in his 2 innings of relief.  With only K-Rod and Feliciano returning as dependable arms in the bullpen, Nieve is going to be very under-valued this year…
  • One thing that was nice to see was the potential speed of Jason Bay.  Leading off the 6th inning, he turned an easy double into a hustling triple.  He was also thrown out on an infield ground out, but he turned what looked like an easy out into a close play…
  • Josh Johnson had previously never lost to the Mets, including a stellar defeat of Santana last April in an epic 2-1 game…
  • My favorite part of Opening Day is the pitching match-ups.  It is always something to relish because there is never another day throughout the regular season that teams always have their aces on the mound.  Hopefully, throughout the year, we will see these pitchers face off, again…     

Wednesday, 7:10, Citi Field, Nolasco vs. Maine…

Classic, Part 2…

If last night was amazing, tonight was ridiculous.  Don’t get me wrong, when Werth caught the ball in the bottom of the 10th, I sensed something bad would happen.  Parnell coming in to face Utley, Howard, and Ibanez?  In Extras?  *cringe*  Yeah, I had a feeling one of them would go deep…and Utley did.  He has 15 HRs this year and 4 have come against the Mets.  BUT…this game was still great and it would have been worth the price of admission…

Normally, games like this are awesome and sometimes you lose them…but, we should and could have had this one.  Mike Pelfrey pitched well.  I know people have not been throwing him a bone at all this year, but he is selling me every start he makes.  He pitched very well into the 7th inning.  I agree with Keith Hernandez and absolutely love how he stared down Chase Utley twice.  When Utley kept stepping out on him, Pelf stared him down and Utley stared back.  A few pitches later, Utley grounded out and both players passed each other, again staring each other down.  This is what the Mets need.  They need to get emotionally involved and add some fire.  It happened on Tuesday and Pelf replicated it again Wednesday night.  He did give up a couple hits in the 7th and Beltran dropped a ball he would catch 99 out of 100 times.  But all in all, Pelf held his own in a huge game and deserved a better fate.  He went 6+ innings, 6 hits, 4 runs (only 2 earned), 1 BB, and 2 Ks. 

Sean Green came in and could not keep any inherited runner from scoring.  That is something that cannot happen when you consistently enter games in the middle of innings.  Feliciano might be the unsung hero of this team.  He entered in the 8th and got the assignment Parnell would later get and it wasn’t close.  3 up, 3 down against Utley, Howard, and Ibanez.  K-Rod pitched 2 innings and was great, with the help of Tatis’s sick double play in the 10th.

Offensively, the Mets tore the cover off the ball, collecting 16 hits in all.  Pelfrey started the charge, going 2 for 3 with a double, RBI and a run scored.  The Mets shelled Hamels, who barely made it through the 5th, allowing 11 hits, 4 runs, 2 BBs, and a K.  David Wright also a nice night going 3 for 5 with a walk and a run scored.  He has continued to rake.  He hit a sinking liner in the bottom of the 10th, with F-Mart on 1st, that Jayson Werth made a diving grab on.  If Werth misplays that ball at all, it gets by and Martinez walks home to end the game.  That is how the entire game went.  Santos contributed 3 hits, while Castillo and Beltran each had 2.  Santos’s big flub came in the bottome of the 8th when he popped up (on the 1st pitch, no less) with the bases loaded and only one out.  That is what killed the most.  I saw a stat during the game that the Mets lead the NL is batting average with RISP (something like .282).  I suppose it could be true…just sometimes hard to believe, watching this team. 

Could Have Beens:

  • 15 of the Mets 16 hits…were singles.  That’s a 4 hits:1 run ratio.  That’s terrible.  Only Pelfrey got more than a base.
  • The Mets loaded the bases twice and had 2 runners on twice and didn’t score in any of those 4 innings…
  • During the 7th inning, when the Phils got 3 runs, Beltran dropped a catchable ball (but it was a hit) and Wright misplayed a grounded that would have been an easy out at home…defense always does come back to bite them
  • The Mets were 6 for 19 with RISP (not terrible) but had 16 LOB…that’s bad. 
  • If these were the first 2 games, I cannot wait to see Thursday night’s rubber match.  Unfortunately, I do have 2 playoff softball games, so I will be watching the game, after the fact…
  • Also, I watched the Series Premiere of Royal Pains tonight…USA Network is coming out with some awesome shows.  Their summer slate (Burn Notice, Royal Pains, and Psych) might rival CBS during year…

 

Thursday night, 7:10, Citi Field, Moyer vs. Redding…   

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…

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 Losing Streak Ends…Barely

 

sigh.jpgAfter starting June 0-3, the Mets finally put one in the win column.  With another patchwork lineup and get-me-by pitching, the Mets eeked one out in DC against the hapless Nationals.

Tim Redding started and threw his best outing of the year.  Redding, in his first game back in his old stomping grounds, went 6 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, 2 BBs, and 2 Ks.  He did not get the win, but he kept the Mets in the game.  Given the 4 above average starters the Mets have, if Redding can go 5 or more innings and give the Mets a chance, that is as much as the organization can ask. 

The offense, however, must have stayed in Pittsburgh.  Redding was in line to get his first win of the year, when in the top of the 5th, Brian Schneider doubled under the glove of Adam Dunn with Fernando Martinez on 1st.  That led to runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs.  Tim Redding and Alex Cora each grounded out and Luis Castillo flew out to left.  Both runners were left on base.  The Nationals scored in the bottom of the 5th and tied the game.  I blame Redding not getting the win on the lack of offense.  With this lineup, runs need to be scored when hits aren’t necessary.  The Mets have had absolutely no power, so they can’t sit around waiting for a 3-run homer.  Productive outs are essential.  They got away with it today, but until Reyes and Delgado come back, the Mets will need to take advantage of any scoring opportunity they can create.

 

Hits and Misses:

  • David Wright was the offense, tonight.  He went 4 for 5 with 2 RBI and a run scored.  He also had 2 doubles.  Hopefully, he will continue on this “power surge.”  His biggest hit of all was a double into the right-center gap, plating 2 runs to give the Mets a 3-1 lead in the 10th inning.
  • Other than Wright…no one seemed to hit the ball.  If you take away Wright, the Mets had 4 hits.  They went 1 for 11 with RISP and left 10 on base.
  • Cristian Guzman had almost half of the Nats 7 hits, with 3.
  • The Nationals are last in MLB in ERA with a 5.61 mark.  That is .33 higher than the Indians who are in 29th place.
  • The Mets have now evened their Extra Innings record at 3-3…
  • Zack Greinke got wrecked again, Friday.  He only went 5 innings, 9 hits, 7 runs (5 earned), 1 BB, and 3 Ks…the Royals are also not doing so hot.  They have lost 8 in a row, not winning since Greinke’s last win…
  • To top off a great win by the Metsies, the Dodgers put a feather in my cap.  Down 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs, the next 3 Dodgers reached base and Andre Ethier lined a shot into the right field corner scoring 2 to end the Phillies winning streak at 7…

 

Saturday, 7:05, Nationals Park, Maine vs. Lannan…