Tagged: Zack Greinke

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… 

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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…  

Livan, F-Mart, and the DL…

 

Greinke.jpgWell, quite a few things to talk about…

First, how about Livan Hernandez?  Being the 5th starter in the rotation, he was expected to be around .500 and keep his team in the game, giving them a chance to win.  Well, he has been more than that.  He’s probably been the 3rd most consitent starter the Mets have had (just ahead of Maine).  His last two starts have been his best of the year.  Tonight, he threw the Mets first complete game of the year: 9 innings, 9 hits, 1 run, 1 BB, and 6 Ks.  The Mets now have 4 starters who have 4 wins, already…a feat that only the Cardinals have matched.

Fernando Martinez was called up today and made his major league debut.  He went 0 for 3 at the plate, but got his first RBI of his career.  He also played a solid right field with 2 putouts.  As long as he’s up with the Mets, we should see him playing every day.  Some people have said that without his injuries, he’d already be with the Mets.  Ironically, with all of the injuries to the Mets, he now gets his shot.

The offense was again present for the Mets, Tuesday night.  Pagan, Wright, and Sheffield each had 2 hits, contributing to the Mets total of 10.  Sheffield had the biggest shot of the night with a 3 run bomb in the 6th.  His HR blew the game wide open, making it 6-1.  The Mets have needed some power pretty bad.  They only have 31 HRs in 44 games.  With Delgado on the DL and Wright having 3 and Beltran 6, somebody needs to step up and supply the power.  It seems that Sheffield is doing that.  He has 5 HRs in 21 games.

The Mets announced that Reyes and Church are finally headed to the DL.  The good news is that Alex Cora threw a ball today and is slated to come off the DL next Wednesday.  The Mets made a deal for Wilson Valdez from the Cleveland Indians to back up Ramon Martinez, for the time being. 

 

Breaths Held:

  • Carlos Beltran missed Tuesday’s game after receiving an MRI on his leg.  It was revealed that he had a bone bruise on his knee.  He will not be available for Wednesday.  Manuel also mentioned that Beltran may play Friday, as the Mets open a series against the Marlins.
  • Ramon Martinez had an RBI double in the bottom of the 2nd…
  • Livan Hernandez induced 3 double plays Tuesday night…
  • David Wright stole his 11th base of the year…he is tied for 9th overall…On a side note, the Rays have 80 stolen bases and Carl Crawford has 30 of them…the Mets lead the NL with 49…
  • Much to my Tigers friends’ chagrin, Zack Greinke owns the Tigers.  He pitched again Tuesday, going 9 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, 0 BBs, and 8 Ks in only 116 pitches.  This year, he has pitched 2 games against them, going 18 innings, 9 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 BB, and 18 Ks and 2 complete games.  He now is up to 5 complete games!  That is tied with the Rangers for most in the MLB!!  He has more complete games than 28 teams…after today’s game, his ERA went up from .82 to .84

 

Wednesday, 7:10, Citi Field, Zimmermann vs. Santana…

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…Part 2

 

Wright.jpgThrough the first 5 weeks or so of the the season, the Mets hadn’t been overly impressive in games in which they didn’t get control of the game, early.  However, lately, they seem to be relishing that role.  Last night was no exception…

Livan Hernandez retired the 1st batter he faced and did little in the 1st inning after that.  5 of the next 6 hitter got hits, including a 2 out, 2 run single by Rich Aurilia, giving the Giants an early 4-1 lead.  That’s the second game in a row that the Mets scratched together a run in the Top of the 1st, only to have their starter give the lead away in the bottom of the inning.  Fred Lewis homered in the 2nd inning off of Hernandez to make it 5-1.  Now, there’s a couple ways to look at this…but I believe I called one of Livan’s starts “professional” a week or so ago, and that adjective applied here, again.  Granted, the game is looking out of reach because of the opposing pitcher (Lincecum), but he needed to be in this game…and for a few innings.  Its the 2nd game of a long road trip, the bullpen has been taxed lately…and Livan buckled down.  He sucked it up for the next 3 innings and kept the Giants scoreless, giving the Mets a chance to comeback.  

Despite blowing chances in the 3rd and 4th, comeback they did.  In the 6th, a leadoff double by Sheff, a one out single by Church, and a Sac Fly by Santos got the Mets a 2nd run.  After Reed singled, Murph came through with a pinch-hit RBI single to make it 5-3. 

In the bottom of the 6th, the Giants got a 2 out RBI single from Lincecum, himself, increasing the Giant lead to 6-3.  It was then that the Giant-killer would add to his reputation…

After a single and a couple walks in the 7th and Lincecum out, David Wright stepped up and ruined Lincecum’s effort all together.  He slashed a double down the left-field line, emptying the bases.  Unfortunately, after he stole 3rd, the Mets would strike out 3 times, failing to get the lead.  After 2 nice innings by Feliciano and Stokes, the Mets would strike again in the 9th.  A couple singles by Sheff and Wright, lead to a throwing error by Giant closer Brian Wilson on Church’s sacrifice attempt…that would score Sheff.  With Wright standing at 3rd, Omir Santos would deliver another Sac Fly to give the Mets a 2 run lead and hand the ball to K-Rod.  He would notch his 11th save. Santana to the hill with a chance to start the road trip 3-0…

 

Comebacks:

  • Jose Reyes pinch-hit…but struck out…
  • David Wright is absolutely ablaze…he went 3 for 5 with 4 RBI and a run scored.  This makes him 6 for 8 with 2 BBs with 4 RBI and 2 runs scored in this series…
  • Carlos Delgado is now on the DL retroactive to May 11th…Angel Pagan (the man with the most contradicting name) has been called up from Buffalo…
  • Tim Lincecum looked ok…he did have 8 Ks…but could not get the outs when he needed to…
  • Omir Santos is now tied for 5th on the team in RBI, despite playing in only 20 games…he has a knack for getting people in, especially by the Sac Fly…
  • The Mets have roughed up Brian Wilson, handing him his only 2 losses in the past 2 days…
  • Zack Greinke wins again…he went 7 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, 2 BBs, and 6 Ks.  He gives up 1 run again and his ERA shot up to 0.60…He is now 7-1…

 

Saturday, 4:10, AT&T Park, Santana vs. Johnson…  

Home Runs!!

 

beltran.jpg

Boy, it sure feels good to beat the Braves!  I know they aren’t one of the best teams in the league and they certainly aren’t what they were, years ago.  But, there really isn’t a feeling like getting a victory at The Ted. 

Entering the game today, the Mets had hit 16 HRs this year, which included 2 in their previous game against the Phillies.  After not doing much at all in the first 5 innings, the scoring barage began.  Murphy led off with a sharp single to center.  Beltran then worked th count to 3-1 before launching the next pitch to straight away center to make the game, 3-2.  Dlgado blooped single to left and Wright jacked another 2 run homer to center to give the Mets the lead.  Beltran would add another 2 run shot in the 7th, making it 6-4.  He now has the club lead in HRs with 4.  Now, I’m sure the spacious Citi Field has something to do with the Mets lack of power this year, but I can’t imagine it is the entire reason.  Either way, balls are just not leaving the yard for the Amaizin’s so far.  Although, maybe the way the last few games have gone, maybe we should stay on the road (6 HRs in the last 3 games). 

All this was done in support of a, perhaps, rejuvenated John Maine.  He won his scond start in a row, going 6 innings, allowing 3 hits, 3 runs, 6 BBs, and 7 K’s.  He has a great fastball tonight, a key ingredient in his 7 Ks.  He, like all Mets pitchers, had trouble with command.  He didn’t get burned as bad as Ollie did on Saturday, but his walks definitely need to decrease.  However, like Pelfrey, he looks like he is turning the corner and I am feeling a lot more comfortable with him on the mound.  The bullpen did a great job in the last 3 innings.  Bobby Parnell now has Green’s old job in the 7th.  Putz did give up a HR to Chipper, but other than that, looked great.  K-Rod had a shut-down 9th, earning his 6th save.

 

This and That:

  • Jose Reyes finally broke out of a slump, getting a hit, finally.  He also had a run scored and 2 SBs.
  • Alex Cora had another pinch hit.
  • Carlos Beltran, with his 2 hit game, continues to lead the NL in batting at .400.
  • Zack Greinke continues to astound me, as he complete-game, 6 hits the White Sox.  He had 0 BBs and 10 more Ks.  He only threw 104 pitches.  

 

Tuesday, 7:00pm, Livan Hernandez vs. Kenshin Kawakami…  

Johan to the Rescue!

 

 

johan.jpg

He is just so much fun to watch.  I remember him from his Twin days and I would always try to catch his games whenever possible.  Now, I am unbelievably thankful that he is a Met.  Johan Santana had another dazzling game tonight.  He started the game with 6 consecutive Ks!  I don’t think anyone has done that since Dwight Gooden!  He gave up 1 run in 6 innings and his ERA actually went up!  Johan ended the day with 10 Ks.  The bullpen also pitched well.  Parnell, Feliciano, and Putz all came in and did their respective jobs.  K-Rod came in and gave up a 2 run shot (his first runs of the year) to make it a one-run game, before getting the next 3 hitters to get his 4th save of the year, 4-3. 

The Mets offense was again rather spotty.  We got some hits (11 to be exact), but didn’t really drive in runs.  Two of the Mets runs were courtesy of iffy Natinals outfield defense.  Two times, Natinals outfielders came running in to catch the ball and missed it, allowing it to roll to the wall.  We were 2 of 18 with RISP, including leaving 13 runners on base.  I mean, no wonder we have been losing games, lately.  You can’t hit .111 w/ RISP and leave more than an entire pitching staff on base!!  We got away with it against the Natinals, but…one way or another than needs to change.  Another very frustrating habit that the Mets have seemed to acquire is their lack of getting runners in from 3rd base with less than 2 outs.  That happened 3 times tonight!  And these aren’t big hit situations…these are fly ball situations.  Good teams move runners up and score runs without getting a string of hits.  It’s to the point where hitters just need to get back to basics with hitting, moving runners along, and using productive outs.  Pelfrey takes the mound Saturday afternoon, after missing his last start.  Time for him to turn things around.

 

A Few Other Points:

  • Other than tonight, it doesn’t seem like the Mets get a lot of extra-base hits.  I will have to look into this and see what the actual statistics are, but singles seem to be abounding for the Mets.
  • Murphy had a pinch-hit RBI (7)…he’s still hitting .321
  • One of my new favorite young players is Zack Greinke.  He had his 2nd CG in a row on Friday night, allowing just 3 hits and a BB while striking out 10.  He’s also 4-0 for the season.   Definitely someone to keep your eye on…
  • After another amazing performance by Josh Johnson, the Marlins bullpen lets him down, giving up 7 runs in the 9, losing to the Phillies, 7-3…
  • The Yanks and Red Sox re-newed their rivalry at Fenway on Friday.  Rivera blew a save in the 9th inning, allowing a game tying 2 run shot to Jason Bay…Youkilis hit a walk-off in the 11th off of Demaso Marte.
  • Happy Birthday, Carlos Beltran!
  • NFL Draft Saturday at 4pm…any thoughts, anyone?  Should be interesting to see what the Jets win do…their fans will most likely boo, anyway!

 

Tomorrow, Daniel Cabrera against Mike Pelfrey at 1:10 at Citi Field…