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 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.
- 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…
After Pelfrey gave up 3 hits and a run to the Phillies in the Top of the 1st, the Mets came out blazing in the Bottom of the 1st. One-out walk to Castillo leads to a Beltran 2 run shot to left. After Delgado doubled to the right field corner, Wright launched another bomb to dead center, making it 4-1. Reyes hit a solo shot in the 2nd, and Castro doubled in 2 more runs in the 3rd, expanding the Met lead to 7-1. That was it for Moyer. He went 2 1/3, 7 hits, 7 runs, 2 BBs and a K. Mike Pelfrey took over from there, going 4 more innings. He worked out of a jam in the 6th, as well. In all, he went 7 innings, 8 hits, 3 runs, 1 BB, and 0 Ks. This was Pelfrey’s best start of the year. He did give up a few runs, but went the deepest in a game of any Met pitcher, not named Santana. Plus, with the lead he was given, he threw strikes and not too many pitches, resting the bullpen. Pelfrey has now improved to 4-0 and lowering his ERA to 5.46. Not great, but on its way down. Pedro Feliciano pitched the 8th, but surrendered 2 more runs on a 2 run homer by the newest Met-killer, Jayson Werth. K-Rod came in 9th, made it relatively interesting after a 2 out walk to pinch-hitter Matt Stairs, but got Rollins to pop out to Castillo. K-Rod has now pitched in 4 straight games, saving the 9th inning in each, and tying again for the MLB lead in saves with 9.
The Mets announced they were placing Ollie Perez on the DL today. Now, after his last “start” last Saturday, he complained of some pain in his knee. This is an interesting situation. There is great debate in Metsland. Is he really hurt? Is that his/the team’s way of “sending him to the Minors?” What is the best move? Well, I was thinking about it a couple days ago and I was thinking a DL stint might be the best move, regardless. First of all, there is no way Perez is going to start a game in the next couple times through the rotation. Second, out-right sending him down could have an adverse affect on his confidence, something that is essential to any pitcher and especially Perez. This way, while on the DL, he can have as many rehab starts and workouts as he/the Mets would like. And, the Mets can audition a spot in the rotation…Friday night Jonathan Niese will get his shot. He looked OK in his attempts last year but hasn’t done well in Buffalo this year. Some people have said the Mets should cut Perez. These people need to learn a little more about baseball before spouting off. Perez can be a good pitcher. Since we are going to pay him a lot of money, anyway, we might as well have the option of using him. If something is wrong with him, that could be why he is struggling. DL him, send him down, but cutting him isn’t an option, yet.
- The Phillies bullpen looked great today, going 5 2/3 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 1 BB, and 1 K.
- David Wright looks to be coming around. He went 3 for 3 with a HR, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored.
- Ramon Castro also continued his hot hitting going 2 for 4 with 2 RBI.
- The Mets went with their “all-right-handed” lineup against the lefty Moyer: Tatis for Murphy and Sheffield for Church.
- Jayson Werth might be my newest “scary Phillie” as he continues to tear up the Mets. Tonight, 4 for 4, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored…
- The Royals won their 6th in a row and hold a 2.5 game lead in the AL Central. Meanwhile the cross-town Yanks have lost their 5th in a row…
- Manny Ramirez failed a drug test and will be suspended for 50 games. He said it was a personal subscription, not a performance-enhancer. And, he owned up to it and took responsibility for the mishap. I don’t believe he was on steroids…
Friday, 7:10, Citi Field, Karstens vs. Niese…
Well, that was absolutely pathetic. I don’t know who needs to be sent down more, Oliver Perez or Sean Green. Perez, in his do-or-die start, died. He went 2 1/3, allowed 5 hits, 4 runs, and walked 6! 6! That’s almost 2 walks an inning. In the 3rd inning, before being taken out, got 1 out and walked 4, including the bottom 3 in the order and the pitcher to force in a run (this would be a recurring theme for the day). As far as I’m concerned, that’s it. He’s done. Send him to Buffalo. If he can straighten things out as a Bison, great. But, there is no need to keep screwing over the bullpen and losing games up in the Majors. Its really frustrating because we all know how good Ollie can be. When he’s on, he’s literally unhittable. But, he is SO off, right now. And it’s not necessarily his stuff. It’s his control. I mean, as an opposing batter, if you step in the box, take a few pitches. Chances are, you will be ahead 2-1, 3-0, etc. I know we’ve paid him a lot of money and there’s not a clear cut alternative, but this option is not working and something has to be done. A couple weeks ago people said “It’s only April. It will turn around.” Well, it has…sort of. But not in the W/L column. And Oliver Perez has only gotten worse. His ERA is now 9.97…after 5 starts! I’m also not saying banish him to the International League forever…but he has to go for a start or 2 or longer, depending on how replacements do.
Then, it seems that Sean Green feels that Perez will need a friend on the bus back to Western New York. Green started the year off nicely. Looking very solid in his 7th inning role. However, he got trashed in his appearance in the day game in St Louis and hasn’t been the same since. On Tuesday, he was lit up (again because of lack of control) by the Marlins and tagged for 4 runs. Today, he came on in the 10th and walked 2 and hit a batter, including walking in the winning run. In that inning, he also walked Chris Coste (who’s hitting .182) with 2 on and 2 outs…in 5 pitches! I understand not putting the ball on a tee, but you have to throw strikes at some point. Make an under .200 hitter beat you. I am just absolutely sick and tired of losing games because of stupid mistakes. The Phillies are not performing well, either. Their lineup is not hitting for average at all. Their starting pitching is below average. But they are, somehow, still winning games. The Mets are not. And I think Manuel’s trigger finger is getting very itchy and he’s got to do something…now.
- Jose Reyes is ready for a day off. He went 0 for 5 at the plate with 2 K’s, including missing on a sacrifice bunt twice in the 10th inning and then striking out.
- The Mets left multiple people on base in the last 3 innings, scoring 0 in all three innings combined. They left a total of 13 on today…
- The Mets did hit well in the 6th, especially after getting 2 quick outs. Back-to-back HRs by Murphy and Castro tied the game. Cora pinch-hit tripled and, after a Reyes walk, Castillo singled him in, giving the Mets their only -and short-lived- lead, 5-4.
- Pedro Feliciano gave up his 2nd HR to a lefty in 2 days. That is NOT why he is on the team. He is there to get lefties out. He gave up the 6th inning lead…
- Ken Takahashi made his MLB debut, going 2 2/3 innings, 1 hit and 0 runs, AND getting Perez out of a bases loaded one out jam in the third. He may have just made a bid to make a start for Perez, next Thursday.
- It’s time to watch the Bulls/Celtics Game 7…I’ve had enough baseball for today…
Tomorrow, Maine/Blanton at 1:35pm…
Jordan Zimmermann has it going on. He looked like the stud that I’d heard he was, coming into the game on Sunday. He beat the Mets for his 2nd win of the season, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 run, 2 BB’s and striking out 5. Zimm had complete control of at least 2 of his pitches, today. He did, however, throw a lot of pitches (103) for the 5+ innings that he was on the mound. By the time he has left, though, the Mets spirit was broken and he was relatively safe to come out with the win.
Oliver Perez. Sigh. I still remember the beautiful Game 4 he pitched in the 2006 NLCS and then backed it up with a solid Game 7. For the next couple of years, he took us on a roller coaster ride of a lifetime. Sometimes, looking like a Cy Young winner, he took complete control of the Mets biggest rivals. Other times…I don’t want to get into it. Well, today was one of those “other times.” He barely made it into the 5th, giving up 9 hits, 7 runs, 3 BBs and striking out 3. I understand the argument that he is “up and down” and that you have to take the good with the bad. But, this year (I know its only 4 starts, but…) he is pretty much all bad. It was not a good sign, when his last start of the Spring at Citi Field, he did not get out of the1st, giving up 6 runs (I believe), including a Grand Slam. Manuel says that he wants to give his rotation one more look, but something is going to have to be done with Perez. I know we signed him to a 3 year, $36 million dollar deal, last Winter. But, he might be getting to be a sunk cost. I hope he bounces back. I really do. But, if he doesn’t…something is going to have to be done. Maybe, if nothing else, put him on the DL for a couple weeks. I refuse to let him place balls on tees for teams. We are in the business of winning and, right now, Oliver Perez is anything but that!
Things to Take Away:
- Jesus Flores lit up the Mets this weekend, adding a 3 for 4, 3 RBI day today. Omar Minaya claims his biggest mistake as Mets GM was letting him get away. No argument here.
- David Wright has GOT to be hurt, in some way. Three more Ks today give him 23 for the year. I’ve NEVER seen David do this before. He does strike out, but he cannot hit a fastball for the life of him. In years past, fastballs down or in would be in the left-center gap with consistency. This year, they are nothing but missed bats and foul-offs. Somebody please give him a physical…something is very wrong.
- Big ups to Terrance Taylor and Morgan Trent! Both were drafted today by the Colts and Bengals, respectively. After this year, I’m happy you guys made it! Make the most of it in the NFL, boys!! Go Blue!!
Monday night, Citi Field, 7:10, Sanchez vs. Maine…
This might have been the worst game of all time. I really don’t know what to say, anymore. Its getting really hard to watch this team…again. Like, I understand how some fans have trouble watching their team because they just aren’t that good. I mean, that happens. But, people are picking the Mets to make the playoffs, maybe win the division and even have a shot at the World Series. The things that this team is doing this year are almost unheard of. It makes you want to jam an ice-pick into your eye…and then start blinking rapidly.
Well, here we go…The Mets hit the ball all over the place in the first few innings(I believe they had 9 hits through 4, scoring 4 runs). Everybody had hits…Wellemeyer wasn’t fooling anyone. Up 4-0 through 4…and Ollie was cruising. And then, he became Bad Ollie(in his defense, it was Bad Ollie’s turn).The Cards bat around, scoring 3 after Perez walks in a run. Even though there are 2 outs and Perez is 1 out away from being eligible for a win, Manuel takes him out. Ok, but…
He brings in another lefty?
He brings in a pitcher who has not thrown a Major League pitch yet this year (or for the Mets, ever)?
He brings in a Tigers bullpen reject?
Casey Fossum proves me right as he throw 4 consecutive balls to tie the game at 4. Stokes makes a mess of the 6th, but gets out of it. The 7th in uneventful. Now to the 8th. Beltran walks. Church sacrifices him to 2nd. Castro flies to right on which Beltran tags to 3rd and beats the ball. This is where my aneurysm kicks in. The 3rd baseman bobbles the ball and knocks it toward the pitchers mound. Beltran finally realizes this and heads home (smart). 3rd baseman Thurston chases the ball down on the mound and throws home. Beltran beats the ball, BUT DOES NOT SLIDE!!!!!!!! Instead, he steps on Molina’s foot, as he is being tagged out. What? How does that even happen? How do you a) NOT SLIDE or b) NOT step over the foot onto the plate? My blood pressure went up about 60 points at this point. Here is the thing…if Beltran slides, the Mets have a 5-4 lead, we substitute Jeremy Reed into left field, and Putz comes in to for a hold. Beltran did NOT slide, so we have a tie game, Murphy still in left, and everyone wearing black has just thrown up into their mouth.
FIRST PITCH in the bottom of the 8th is lined to left, Murphy comes in a couple steps and falls on his butt, as the ball goes flying over his head and rolls to the wall. Triple for Ryan. A couple batters later, it is 6-4…ballgame. I mean…what do you say to that? How many chances do you need? How many runs to make it safe? How much attention to detail do you need? Sliding practice? This team operates on an emotional roller coaster. I mean, even when they win, you start to think, “Did we win because we made plays or because we just got lucky and didn’t screw up?”
Bottom Line: We have no heart. We blow 3 and 4 runs leads, somewhat consistently so far (which, is not necessarily attributed to the bullpen, btw). We hit in bunches and then go cold for innings at a time. We make silly, silly, believe-only-if-you-see-them type plays. We lose games to teams you should beat AND to teams that you have a choke-hold on. Normally, you can say “Oh, well, its only April.” Or “Oh, these things happen in baseball.” Or “Oh, they are a young team.” But…this team returned EVERY starter from last year. The rotation is almost identical. Only the bullpen really changed…which is a good thing and really only prior weakness. Also, when you lose on the last day of the regular season and miss the playoffs by a game, TWICE in a row…having a start like this is not ok. It’s not even sub-par. This is abysmal. Something needs to change and something needs to change fast. The talent is there (I think). The managing is there (usually). David Wright needs to go up to each and every player in the locker room, grab him by the face, and say “This is MY team and we are NOT going to do this again.” Until someone does (and I think it has to be Wright), it will only be more of the same from the Not-So-Amazin’s…
And the most confusing day of the MLB season comes to an end…at least for the Mets. As every player wore number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day, the Mets beat the Padres 7-2. The game, for the most part, was uneventful. Good Ollie showed up today, going 6 innings, 3 hits, a run, 2 BBs, and 4 K’s. The Bullpen finished up well, other than Green allowing a 9th inning solo shot to Adrian Gonzalez.
A Couple Things:
- Daniel Murphy had a couple more issues in left field. He approached a ball wrong that lead to an extra base. He also made a couple of less than stellar throws. I love the kid. He works hard, hits well, and seems way ahead of where he should be, mentally. Hopefully, just gaining more experience will work out some of these issues.
- Gary Sheffield made his 1st start in Right for the Mets. He went 0 for 2 with a walk and a run scored. Also, grounded into a double play with the bases loaded.
- Delgado continued his hot start with 2 more hits, including a mammoth HR.
- The Mets scored a couple runs in a weird way. 1st and 3rd with 1 out. Reyes steals second on a wild pitch, in which the umpire blocks Headley, the Padre catcher. So, Castillo easily scored from 3rd and because of all of the confusion and chaos around the plate, Reyes scores all the way from 1st. As Josh would say “Now, here’s a goofy play…”
- NHL playoffs also started tonight…I’m interested in how the Flames do…could be a sleeper…
Tomorrow at 7:10, Peavy vs. Maine…