Tagged: Roy Halladay

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… 

A New Leader…?

 

Santana.jpgI think that we can remove the word “arguably” as an adjective from describing Johan Santana.  He is the best pitcher in the National League and in baseball.  Zack Greinke may be the future and Roy Halladay provides a great argument, but I think the title goes to Santana.  Given what has been happening to the Mets over the past week (DL trips, potential DL trips, surgeries, no scoring, errors, etc), this was a game the Mets had to win.  The last time the they chalked up a “W” was when he last pitched.  That is what an ace does.  He is a streak stopper.  He takes command of a sinking ship and just says no.  Now, he can’t control how the next few games go, but he gave it his all and was not going to let his franchise down on his watch.  In the midst of a 4 game slide, this was the best chance the Mets had at winning a game.  And he made the most of it.  Santana went 7 innings, 7 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 1 BB, and 8 Ks.  All of this against as good of a team that there is in baseball.  The last time the Mets were in Boston in 2006, they got swept.  This time, they claimed at least one victory.  On a team that has arguably lacked leadership, maybe they have found one.  In the bottom of the 5th with 2 outs, Santana threw inside to Youkilis (who was all over the plate) and drilled him in the right arm.  Youkilis (who can be very intimidating) didn’t take it very well and yapped at Johan as he walked down the line.  Johan wasn’t going to have any of it and yelled back, motioning for him to shut up and get on 1st.  This is a fight that you don’t see out of this team.  No one seems to take a stand and fight back (David Wright will from time to time…but it’s just not his team, yet).  You need a little cockiness and arrogance to win consistently.  You have to have some fight in you and Santana is showing it.  Not only is he putting up great numbers, but he is throwing this team on his back and dealing with the pressure of having to win, everytime he pitches.  The amount of anticipation and pressure, in such a great spotlight, that is put on Santana is tremendous.  And he is handling it with ease.  Hopefully, some other guys will get fired up and respond and continue to turn things around…

The Mets did a great job of “team hitting” on Friday.  No one was exceptional and no one had more than 1 hit, but they strung a few together and came through in the clutch…something that no one had done in a few games.  They almost matched their run total of the last 5 days, on Friday (scoring 5 compared to the 6 total since last Saturday).  With Reyes still out and not many others getting hot, this lineup is still very fragile.  But, today they got it done.

 

Beans in Beantown:

  • Gary Sheffield hit a HR in the 2nd inning, giving the Mets their 1st HR in 7 games (9 days).  That was their longest stretch since 1983…
  • The Mets have committed 11 of their 35 errors in Santana’s starts…if its not lack of scoring, its lack of fielding?  He seems to be overcoming all of it…
  • Playing a few games in the AL should help the Mets.  They can give Beltran and Wright a couple days off by DHing them.  Carlos took the day off with a sore knee, Friday night.  He played DH.  I look for Wright to DH soon…
  • Reyes was not available for anything tonight…it looks like he is NOT going to the DL, but that remains to be seen…
  • Ryan Church left the game in the 4th inning with an injured leg…his status is “unlikely” for Saturday’s game…
  • I missed this a couple days ago…I want to send a shout-out to Scott Schoenweis and his family…it’s really too bad about his wife.  I know he was ripped on and beared a lot of the bullpen blame, but he was a class guy and I’ve never had anything against him, personally…
  • Zack Greinke and Roy Halladay pitched yesterday and today, respectively…both pitched well and neither figured in the decision of their games.
  • Ramon Martinez FINALLY got a hit and RBI…but then he made 2 errors…why not play Tatis at short?  I know he’s not a natural there, but he can’t be THAT much worse than Martinez and then you would have another bat…I guess I’m just tired of seeing Martinez play…
  • Dice-K made his return to the Red Sox lineup…he went 5 innings and took the loss

 

Saturday, 7:10, Fenway Park, Pelfrey vs. Beckett…

David, the Giant-killer…Parts 3 and 4

So, I spent most of the weekend at a charity event for Mott Children’s Hospital that was put on by key members of the 1997 Michigan National Champion football team ( http://www.mlive.com/wolverines/football/index.ssf/2009/05/michigan_football_charity_week.html ).  It was an unreal experience in many ways that included pictures and conversations with most of the “who’s who” of Michigan Football in the last 15 years.  There aren’t enough words to describe it…but, I still have to say something about the Mets.

Saturday:

Santana pitched and finally proved himself to be human.  He actually allowed runs.  He did, however, still give innings, which gave him the win.  He went 7 innings, 11 hits, 6 runs (4 earned), 0 BBs, and 7 Ks.  Not a terrible performance by any means…but not a “Santana” performance.  Thank God we scored runs…a lot.  The 1st inning started with a bang and before anyone blinked, we were up 3-0.  The Giants battled back twice.  Making it 3-3 and 7-6 (after another Mets run that put them up 7-3).  But the Giants bullpen was out done by the Met offense tacked on 2 more in the 9th.  JJ Putz made his 1st appearance of the series, collecting his 1st save as a Met.  9-6, Final.

 

Sunday:

It seemed that everything the Mets did was either wrong or played perfectly into the Giants hand.  The Mets did not hit a ball hard until the 7th inning and Fernando Tatis’s line drive was caught by the young stud at 3rd, Pablo Sandoval.  Two times, also, the Mets had easy RBI situations (bases loaded, no out in the 2nd and 2nd and 3rd, no out in the 8th).  Both times, the Mets could not find a productive out and scored in neither inning.  Double plays were key in both.  2-0, Final.  He pitched fine…other than his 3 balks.  He really did not look comfortable on the mound, at all.  But, he did give 6 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 2 BBs, and 2 Ks.  Overall, he gave the Mets a chance to win and lowered his ERA again.  I feel very comfortable with him on the mound.  It was a tough-luck loss.  Matt Cain pitched well, too…when he could find the strike zone.  Cain surrendered 3 hits in 5 innings, walking 5, but striking out 2.  He improved to 4-1, while Pelfrey fell to 4-1.  The Mets took the first 3 in the series, and you’re going to have games like this.  I am fine with going 3-1 in San Francisco. 

 

Sensible Notations (hopefully):

  • I am very, very tired, so I hope some of this makes sense…
  • Jose Reyes missed the entire series with a calf issue…I am now beginning to worry a little bit…
  • Alex Cora got hurt on his game-leadoff double…Fernando Tatis had to play short…we are now out of short-stops…
  • The Mets were shut out for the 1st time this year, on Sunday…
  • The last time a pitcher balked 3 times in an MLB game was when Al Leiter did in 1994 with the Toronto Blue Jays…
  • David Wright is truly a Giant-killer…in the series, he went 10 for 15 with 7 RBI and 4 BBs
  • Roy Halladay won again today, making him 8-1…also, there was an interesting situation in the Rays/Indians game, where Joe Maddon accidentally put down 2 third basemen in his lineup and ended up having to use starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine in the 3 hole and not have Evan Longoria in the lineup…he went 1 for 3 with an RBI and got the win…I love baseball…

 

Monday, 10:10, Dodger Stadium, Tim Redding vs. Randy Wolf…

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…

Top 5…

 

Top5.jpgSo, everytime I get on facebook, someone has taken about 3 more quizzes about the Top 5 favorite…somethings.  I’m almost completely against applications, so I never do it.  But, they do look fun.  And since this is a baseball-related blog(most of the time), I thought it would be fun to play along.  Since most people are very biased (including myself…at least from time to time), I thought it would be fun to take as much bias out of the game as possible.  So, without further ado…here are my Top 5 Non-Mets current MLB players:

 

5. David Eckstein

So, I mentioned in a post about a week ago of my love for Eckstein.  He’s one of those “tough outs” that you don’t want to face late in the game, especially with the game on the line.    He has won 2 world series with 2 different teams, including being the 2006 WS MVP.  This coming from a 5-7 (yeah, right), 185 pound short-stop turned 2nd baseman.  He has no arm, but plays as hard as anyone in the game.  Talent-wise, he’s near the bottom of the league, but the heart he shows just makes you want to stand up and yell.  I’ve heard him characterized many times as “a guy who never has a clean uniform.”  But the main reason that I like him so much, is that he most resembles who I would be, if I would be playing baseball.  A choke up-on-the-bat hitter, who doesn’t have a lot of power, but will drive the ball all over the field.  He has good range, but not a great arm.  All hustle, never-give-up type of guy who just loves to play baseball.  In my opinion, one of the best role-players in baseball history.  These are the guys that do the little things that win championships.

 

4. Yadier Molina

Ok, this is where Met fans cringe.  I know, I know…I watched him drive a stake through my heart with the rest of you, back in October of 06, but…isn’t that also why we hate Aaron Heilman?  You can’t blame everyone.  Anyway, in the late Summer of 2002, I went to a Cedar Rapids Kernels playoff game (Single A Midwest League).  They played the Peoria Chiefs (with the Cards).  I heard of the “3rd Molina” brother who was supposed to be better than the previous 2.  And…he was.  He must have thrown out 4 base-stealers in that game.  I was wow-ed.  The Kernels had run on everyone all summer.  Not against Molina.  He changed the game…and the series and the Chiefs swept my Kernels.  I never forgot him.  Also, is there a better all-around catcher in baseball.  For his first couple years, he couldn’t hit.  Well, I think we all know that’s not true, anymore.  He is like Pudge in his prime, gunning down stealers and picking them off 1st, 3rd…can pick a guy out of the batter’s box?  I’m sure he will find a way.  Also, I’ve heard many times about what great games he calls.  There aren’t many better cornerstones for good teams, than a great defenseive catcher…who can hit.

 

3. Roy Halladay

The most underrated pitcher in baseball?  If the Mets aren’t on and Halladay is pitching, I will be MLB.TV-ing the game.  This guy has arguably been the best pitcher in baseball for the last 7 years.  Including 2002…he has won double-digit game 6 times (other time pitched half a season due to injury), won 16 or more 5 times, won 20 or more 2 times, and other than his half-injured year of 2004, his highest ERA was last year…3.72.  He has also crushed the 200 innings barrier 5 times.  His K’s to BB’s ratio for his career is obscene…3.1 to 1.  If you take out his first three years (previous to 2002), it is 3.9 to 1.  Also, in his last 7 seasons, he has 37 complete games!  That’s unreal!!  He’s about the last pitcher left in baseball to have more than a couple complete games every year.  The last 4 years his complete games have been 5, 4, 7, 9, respectively.   Only once has he given up more than 20 HRs in a season.  To top all of that off, he has done all this with the Toronto Blue Jays…a team that hasn’t had a decent shot of contention since the Joe Carter days.  Roy, I just love watching you pitch…

 

2.  Albert Pujols

No-brainer.  Who doesn’t love this guy?  He is the unquestioned best player in baseball.  A-Rod?  Maybe, but he whines and gets hurt and can be an incompetent fielder from time to time.  Plus, he’s a drama queen.  Find me one negative thing about Albert Pujols.  He’s the Kurt Warner/Tim Tebow of baseball.  Except, he’s better.  He’s the first guy ever (EVER?) to start his career with 8 straight .300+, 30+ HR, 100 RBI+ seasons…and I think it was true a few years ago!  (Side note, David Wright has done it for 4 years, now…they are the only 2 at 4 years).  He has 4 Silver Sluggers, 3 Gold Gloves, 2 MVPs, and 1 World Series…through 8 years.  He plays in the town with the best fans, has won the Roberto Clemente Award…if I say anymore, he would have to be my Number 1.

 

1.  Derek Jeter

You don’t need statistics to talk about this man…

  • October 14, 2001…throws out Giambi…best play EVER? 
  • Face-plants a seat to make a catch against the Red Sox in the 12th inning…
  • Captained the Yankees since 2003…
  • Won 4 World Series
  • Patented his own throw!!!
  • Wanted to comeback and play for the US in the 2009 WBC because he was embarrased by the performace in 2006…
  • Accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Michigan…
  • He has done ALL of this in New York City…

 

Honorable Mention:

Carl Crawford, Chase Utley, Chone Figgins… 

 

 

Some of my friends’ Top 5’s (in the order they sent them to me):

Mike (Tigers): Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Grady Seizmore, Luke Scott, and Craig Monroe.

Blaine (Tigers): Carlos Quentin, Ichiro Suzuki, Vladimir Guerrero, Alfonso Soriano, and Manny Ramirez

Sass (Mets): Manny Ramirez, El Duque, Kevin Millar, Melvin Mora, and Dmitri Young

Josh (Braves): Jason Varitek, Nate McClouth, Tim Lincecum, Josh Hamilton, and John Smoltz

Vince (Cubs): Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr, Tim Lincecum, Jim Thome, Pudge Rodriguez

Teddy (Tigers): Ken Griffey Jr, Vladimir Guerrero, Torii Hunter, Evan Longoria, Dmitri Young

Frank (Yankees): Roy Halladay, Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina, Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford