Tagged: Jon Niese

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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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…

In Other News…

I had a varied interest in the sporting world tonight.  So, I’ll see what I can do about covering it all…

First, I got a free ticket to the Frozen Four in Detroit.  After being in Fort Wayne until past midnight a week and a half ago, as my Wolverines were screwed out of a berth in Detroit, I am a little surprised I took the ticket.  I decided to go with a couple friends, but only stayed for the 1st game.  I wanted to root on my hometown RIT Tigers.  It did not help.  At all.  They lost 8-1.  At least they scored…and they brought their fans!  Props to Rochester, NY for coming out to Detroit to support your team.  This was their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament and they made the Frozen Four.  As the game ended, the arena was chanting “R-I-T!” 

Second, I skipped the second game to come home and watch some of the Mets game, but also see the Masters on my DVR.  It was great to watch Tiger, again.  You would have never known he hadn’t played in 140+ days by watching him.  He shot -4 and it easily could have been -6 or -7.  It was his lowest round on the opening day of the Masters (68) and he scored 2 eagles for the 1st time in a Masters round in his career.  Also, his 2nd shot on the 9th hole was absolutely magnificent…

Oh, yes.  And the Mets.  Well, we’re not to Santana, yet.  So, another interesting day in Queens.  I only saw the last 4 innings.  But, from what I looked at, Niese looked all right.  He went 6 innings, 8 hits (probably a few too many), 3 runs, 2 BBs, and 3 Ks.  That’s fine.  I will take that from him, at this point.  The bullpen did a great job, finishing the last 3 innings.  Of course, after I write about my lack of faith in our 2 Japanese relievers, both come through with nice innings, giving up nothing. 

More so, I’m just disappointed with the offense.  Granted, we got 5 runs to rally to tie last night, but we did so without a hit for an RBI.  Again, today, only 7 hits and 1 run.  Pagan and Francoeur each got a couple more hits.  But, we couldn’t string any together and the Marlins didn’t walk anyone.  That will lead to a lack of base runners and, ultimately, runs.  We’ve had 13 hits in the last 18 innings.  Still only 1 HR, this year…

Game Points:

  • Ruben Tejada made his Mets MLB debut, tonight, at SS…he went 0 for 3 at the plate, but looked fine in the field…
  • Burke Badenhop pitched great in relief for the Marlins, tonight, going 3 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 BBs, and 2 K’s.
  • The Mets opted to go with an entire right-hand hitting lineup against the lefty Nate Robertson…
  • There’s a rumor that Jose Reyes may be back on Saturday night.  We could sure use him.  Not necessarily in the field (although, I’m not turning that down), but in the lineup.  There’s just a spark that he provides that has been obviously missing since last May…
  • Also, as a Suns fan, on a night that I actually have to root for the Lakers, Kobe wants a night off…

Friday, 7:10, Citi Field, Mock vs. Pelfrey…

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…

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…