Tagged: John Maine

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…

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Not in the Cards…

The series with the Cardinals was very similar to that with the Rockies.  The Mets didn’t necessarily play that bad…they just didn’t win a majority of the games.  Which…is not good…but at least the games were watchable.  Actually, the Mets were only losing for 5 of the 38 innings played.

The one very good thing has been the starting pitching (ironically) has been the starting pitching.  Oliver Perez threw a nice outing on Friday night: 6.1 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 3 BBs and 4 Ks.  I will take that from Ollie every single outing.  But…that is not likely.  Bullpen blew his chance for a win, though.  On Saturday…(well, Saturday is a story in and of itself) Santana did a wonderful job starting as well, pitching 7 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 1 BB and 9 Ks.  A nice rebound from has last performance against the Nats, where he gave up a 1st inning grand slam.  And the much awaited 3rd start of John Maine on Sunday did not go terribly.  He gave up a 3 run shot to tie the game in the 5th inning.  That was so disheartening to watch b/c he always seems to get by the one inning.  His pitch count got obscenely high for only 5 innings and not a lot of runs (115). 

We just still can’t hit.  At all.  The Mets did scrap together 9 hits on Friday and did fight back to get a couple runs in the 9th, but still fell a run short.  Saturday…was awful.  They went hitless until the 7th when Pagan blooped a single in.  Despite the game going 20 innings, they could still only manage another 6 hits.  So, the got 7.  In 20 innings.  And the last 3 innings were against non-pitchers.  On Sunday, the Mets got 4 hits…and none of them after the 2nd inning.  That’s just ridiculous.  I mean, I know they faced Carpenter and Wainwright in the series, but still.  That’s 20 hits in 38 innings.  And only 2 of them were extra base hits.  And both were on Friday.  That’s just…not how you win games…regardless of how good your pitching is.  I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but…they just need to hit better.  It also would be more interesting to watch the games if you actually felt like you didn’t need 3 hits in an inning to score a run. 


Points:

  • Jeff Francoeur has cooled off considerably…coming into Monday night, he was 0 for his last 11…
  • Mike Jacobs was FINALLY sent down to Buffalo…in favor of Tobi Stoner, in order to save arms in the bullpen
  • Stoner was then sent back down in favor of much-heralded Ike Davis, who made his MLB debut Monday night…
  • Coming into Monday, the Mets are last in the NL in BA with RISP…still
  • Mike Pelfrey has more saves this year than K-Rod…1
  • Also, Craig Anderson of the Colorado Avalanche, had one of the best goalie performances I have ever seen in the NHL playoffs on Sunday night…saving all 51 shots in a 1-0 OT win over the Sharks…

Next up for the Mets: 4 games against the Cubs at Citi Field…

Ending on a Rocky Mountain High…

Despite going 1-2 this week in Denver, there are still some positives that can be had.  I really like the way Mike Pelfrey has been throwing the ball.  He had a wonderful game today, going 7 innings, allowing 5 hits, 0 runs, 0 BBs, and 6 Ks.  The number that really sticks out to you is the 0 walks.  Mike has had trouble throughout his short career with walking batters.  In his first start, he did have 4 BBs, but stayed ahead of the count very nicely, this afternoon.  He also became the first Mets starter this year to pitch into the 7th inning.  No other starter has looked even half as good as Pelfrey so far, this year.

Jeff Francoeur has continued his blazing start.  In the series against the Rockies, he went 4 for 11.  While Wright has looked solid and Bay has been….well, there, it is Francoeur who has been the consistent threat in the lineup. 

The Mets bullpen has also looked very solid this week, only allowing 4 runs in 11+ innings.  Other than Nieve (who has 1 bad outing in 6 appearances) and Jenrry Mejia (who may be in over his head right now), everyone in the bullpen has been very solid. 

I really, really want to like Jon Niese.  He has looked…ok.  I like a lot of his pitching and the way he handles himself, but he just gets beaten up by that one batter every game and it ruins his outing.  In both of his outings, he’s looked like he was figuring it out and almost making it through his 5 or 6 innings and then just gets caught.  He got bailed out by an offense that finally scrapped together some runs.  Otherwise, he would be 0-2.  Hopefully, he can finish his next start stronger.

John Maine is on his last straw.  He looked awful on Tuesday.  Gave up 1st inning runs, despite getting the first 2 hitters out.  That seems to be a theme with him.  He seems to be almost out of an inning and just can’t close it out.  His fastball isn’t where it used to be and his off-speed pitches don’t have the confidence, yet.  But…after rushing a throw to 1st and allowing more runs to score on his own error…and barely making it through the 3rd…sigh.  He’s got a chance…maybe 2…and then he’s got to be out of the rotation.  It’s that bad.

Are you telling me that the best we can do at 1st base is Mike Jacobs or Fernando Tatis?  That has to be a joke.  Tatis was a nice story 2 years ago…and he was…ok…last year, but the time has come.  Give a kid a chance.  Or someone else.  I am done with Tatis.  And Jacobs…is just terrible.  He is 3 of 18 this year.  Put Cora at 1st…or Angel Pagan (if Beltran ever gets back).  Call up Nick Evans…just not Mike Jacobs. 

My last rant is going to be on scoring runs.  We seem to be the same team as last year (in which we lead the league in BA but were 11th (?) in runs).  We can get guys on base.  We draw walks or get hits (sometimes), but we do stupid things on the base paths.  For example: David Wright came up today with no out and Reyes and Castillo on 2nd and 1st respectively.  Castillo was thrown out on a botched double steal -where Reyes didn’t run but Castillo did.  And then Reyes was thrown out at 3rd, trying to steal.  When Wright stuck out, he was the 3rd out after coming to the plate with 0 outs.  I mean…what?  How does that happen?  And that’s just one example.  We are horrible at getting runners over and using outs productively, not to mention hitting with RISP.  Coming into today, the Mets were something like .175 with RISP.  That would be last in the NL…obviously.  I am starting to think this is on Manuel.  Its almost like Herm Edwards and Time Clock management with the Jets back in 2004.  Some of these principles are very basic in baseball and this team is almost clueless on the base paths and manufacturing runs.  Hopefully, they will figure something out in St Louis, tomorrow…

Friday, 8:15pm, Busch Stadium, Perez vs. Carpenter…

Not Quite…

To start off, I want to say that I watched the first 6 innings and then had to leave to play in a broomball game, so some of my analysis will come from recaps and box scores…

First of all, we began the non-Santana version of our rotation tonight.  John Maine got the nod and did not look very good at all.  He barely went 5 innings, gave up 8 hits, 4 runs, walked 1, and struck out 3.  Surprisingly, he did not throw many fastballs, which has been his calling card since he came into the league.  He has been developing other pitches in Spring Training (and with his arm surgery dropping his mph, he will need them), but hung a few off-speed pitches and got burned.  The first HR to Cantu was one of those.  He was also plagued with a lack of control.  His strike/ball ratio was 53/39 and had 1 quick inning.  We’re going to need more out of Maine, in the future…

The bullpen pitched…eh.  6 relievers combined to pitch 5 innings, but still gave up 3 runs and 9 hits.  Hisanori Takahashi gave up the run in the 10th inning and took the loss.  I really have very little confidence in the bullpen, at all.  K-Rod is fine.  I like Feliciano for the most part and I want to trust Nieve (who actually came in to clean up Takahashi’s mess)…he is very close to gaining my trust.  Other than that…its completely hit or miss. 

I do like that the team fought back to tie it from down 6-1.  That shows some fight and tenacity that seemed to disappear in 2009.  But…we only got 6 hits…in the entire 10 innings.  During the rally, they scored 2 runs on bases loaded walks, 1 on an error, 1 on a sac fly, and 1 on a balk.  While, I will take runs any way we can get them, I would like to see some hits, especially with RISP (0 for 6, tonight). 

Tidbits:

  • The ratio of hits to K’s for Mike Jacobs is 1 to 4…in 9 total ABs…
  • I am not a fan of Japanese relievers. Perhaps there are a few good ones, although I cannot think of 1 (Sasaki for a year?  Maybe Okajima?).  The Mets always seem to start the year with at least one…and they never seem to work out. 
  • Jenrry Mejia made his MLB debut for the Mets, tonight.  Pitched 1 inning, 3 hits, 1 run with a K.  He can throw 4 pitches, all for strikes.  Depending on the progression of the rotation, I would not be at all surprised to see him get a start, this year.  At 20 years old, he is the youngest Mets pitcher to make his debut since…Dwight Gooden.
  • The Marlins pitchers combined for 9 walks…
  • Nolasco has had trouble with the Mets throughout his career; yet, he was in position to win, tonight…ironic, due to Johnson’s consistent dominance of the Mets and they beat him, yesterday…

Thursday, 7:10, Citi Field, Robertson vs. Niese…

All Aboard the Maine Traine…

 

john-maine.jpgJohn Maine takes the Mets through another pitcher’s duel.  Today was probably Maine’s best performance of the year.  He was throwing the ball very nicely, getting a lot of first pitch strikes.  Unfortunately, after warming up for the 7th inning, it looked like he may have strained his side (or something to that affect) and Manuel was not going to take any chances with his blossoming young right-hander.  He yanked him out in favor of Pedro Feliciano.  In all, Maine went 6 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 BBs, 5 Ks.  Maine is probably the Mets pitcher that loves the 16 foot wall in left to left-center the most.  Again, today, he had another ball kept in the yard by a foot or so.  In such a big park, he can be more aggressive with his fastball and not be worried about giving up HRs. 

Feliciano came in to relieve Maine and did another wonderful job.  He is kind of a lost man/unsung hero for the Metsies this year.  Parnell is now established as the 7th inning guy (and today saved Putz in the 8th).  Obviously we know about Putz and K-Rod.  But Feliciano has done very well, lately.  He has given up only 1 hit and 0 runs in his last 8 appearances (6 innings).  Other than the 2 HRs to Utley in early May, he has completely dominated left-handers, striking out 13 in 44 ABs and holding them to a .136 clip.  I know he doesn’t get a lot of press, so here’s to you, Pedro!

JJ Putz, however, stuggled today and was chased in his hold attempt in the 8th, allowing 2 hits and 2 runs in 1/3 an inning.  Parnell came on to relieve Putz, and after allowing a run-scoring single to Han Ram, he K’ed Cantu and got Hermida to fly out to left.  K-Rod came in to slam the door shut in the 9th, notching his 14th save.

There are the kind of games the Mets need to win.  They simply do not have to power or hitting to score 4 or 5+ runs on a consistent basis.  Today, they only got 7 total hits and 4 of the came with RISP.  Unfortunately, that is going to be how it has to be until we get some stars off the DL and everyone is hitting again.  Pagan, F-Mart, and Santos all had RBI doubles today.  Pagan had to leave the game in the middle of the game with a strained groin.  That’s very unfortunate as he was just starting to find his groove.

 

Injury Bugs:

  • Carlos Beltran missed Sunday’s game with a “stomach virus”…
  • The latest report I found was that Maine came out of the game due to a “stomach virus,” as well…who is feeding these people?
  • Han Ram roared back into this series, going 3 for 4 with an RBI single, today…
  • Angel Pagan, who left the game in favor of Jeremy Reed, is also listed as day-to-day…it seems that half of the Mets are day-to-day…
  • Zack Greinke pitched again today.  Maybe his worst outing of the the year (and again, not terrible).  He went 7 innings, 8 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 0 BBs, and 7 Ks.  With the Royals and White Sox tied at 4 in the 8th, Greinke will get a no-decision.  His ERA is now 1.10.
  • I’m not a huge Nadal fan at all, so the French Open has just become a lot more interesting to me…

 

Monday, 7:05, PNC Park, Hernandez vs. Snell…  

Welcome Home!

 

welcomehome.jpgThis is the type of game that the Mets needed…sort of.  After a long road trip, coming home to a nice, over-powering game against a team they should beat.  For the most part, it went according to plan.  John Maine looked very good on the mound.  He was visably frustrated after giving up a 2 out RBI single to Wil Nieves with the pitcher on deck.  That was, however, the only run he would surrender.  He pitched 6 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 3 BBs and 4 Ks.  Other than an extremely long bottom of the 6th, I assume he would have at least started the 7th.  Maine has pitched very well  this year, especially after his 1st 2 starts.  He got his 4th win of the year.  He has also been lowering his ERA steadily over the past month or so.  Two starts ago, the bullpen blew his shot at a win against the Giants and today is almost happened again…

Bobby Parnell was not at all accurate tonight, pitching in the 7th inning.  He allowed a hit and 3 BBs in 1/3 of an inning.  JJ Putz also came in and messed around in the 8th, allowing a hit and another couple of walks.  K-Rod also allowed a couple of base runners before finally setting down the Nats for his MLB-tying 13th save.  Through all of the walks and hits given up by the bullpen, only 1 run came in for Washington.  That was charged to Parnell in the 7th.  It also didn’t help for Washington that they hit 1 for 10 with RISP and stranded 13 runners on base…

The Mets also hit better Monday night.  Castillo, Beltran, and Sheffield each had 2 hits.  Wright went 0 for 1, but drew 3 BBs.  Tatis also finally got a hit.  He was 0 for his last 13…he was also robbed a couple times tonight.  In the 6th, Sheffiled hit a HR to left field.  They has to review it…and it took a while.  But, it was held up as a HR.  The Mets are now 3-0 in replay reviews. 

 

Things to Wonder About:

  • The Mets have now had a HR replay review in the last 3 games…and gone 3-0!!
  • Reyes and Church didn’t play again…there’s rumors that Reyes will play “tomorrow,” but we’ve been hearing that for a week or more.  Everyday, I check the Gameday when it comes out, hoping to see Reyes at short and leading off, but to no avail…there’s still no word on Church, and I’m not holding my breath…
  • The Mets grounded into 3 double plays…in the first 5 innings
  • There were 16 total walks in the game…
  • Ramon Martinez didn’t make any mistakes in the field…and he got an RBI on a Sac Fly
  • The Mets have now hit 30 HRs in 44 games…that’s 29th in the Majors…
  • At one point, Monday night, the Rays took 20 pitches in a row against the Indians.  At one point, the Rays were up 10-0.  The Indians scored 7 runs in the bottom on the 9th and won 11-10.

 

Tuesday, 7:10, Citi Field, Hernandez vs. Stammen…

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…