Thursday, May 3, 2007

When Is A Loss Not A Loss? / The Doctor Is In

Game 2: Florida 5, NY Mets 2 AP Recap
Game 3: NY Mets 6, Florida 3 AP Recap

To echo the resounding sentiment throughout the Metsblogosphere, as expounded by such luminaries as Metstradamus and Toasty Joe, if there is such a thing as a good loss, game 2 was certainly that. Sure, we lost the game and the series. But, despite the loss there was an overwhelming amount of positive aspects to that game.

First and foremost, you have to be encouraged by Pelfrey's outing. After a rocky 3-run 1st inning, Pelfrey settled in and pitched his best game of the season. He looked like the dominating ground ball pitcher he is supposed to be. He threw hard, he threw strikes, he went right after guys. The late movement on his fastball was back. He did not surrender another run, although Joe Smith (BTW, I heart Joe Smith) bailed him out with 2 clutch outs in the 7th. But, for Pelfrey even to pitch into the 7th is an accomplishment worth noting. Great outing. Now let's see if he can build on that. His next start will be on regular rest against Met-killer Livian Hernandez in Arizona, and my regular readers already know why I'm concerned.

Willie appears to be one of my regular readers, seeing as he juggled the lineup as I requested (though I was not the only blogger asking for the shakeup). Wright got moved up into the 2-hole, presumably to get a few more slump busting fastball thrown his way behind J-Rey (who was the NL Player of the Month for April, John Maine got the NL Pitcher of the Month honors. J-Rey and J-Ma became the 1st Mets duo to win both honors in the same month since Doc and Kid in September 1985). Despite Jose having a relatively poor night at the plate David responded with a 3 for 4 night, including his 1st long ball of the season and missing his 2nd by a matter of feet. He scored both of the Mets runs. It is sure nice to see the kid smiling again. Lo Duca, whose slump is actually quite a bit worse than DWs, was dropped into the 7-spot, where he had 2 hits. Paulie's average has dropped to .250, and his OBP is .081 lower than Wright's. Even Delgado, who stayed put in cleanup, had 2 hits. How'd we lose this game? We did have 2 runners thrown out at home, drew 0 walks, and had a hard time stringing things together. We had runners on base almost every single inning, we just couldn't get them home. With 11 hits, we ought to be scoring more than 2 runs. And Josh Willingham had a field day for the Fish (who lead the league in runs scored now) with all 5 RBIs on a based-loaded triple and a 2-run jack off Heilman. He could have gone deep 2 more times if he was pulling the ball, he flew out to Beltran on the warning track twice. C'est la vie. To quote the narrator from The Big Lewbowski, "Sometimes you eat the bar, sometimes the bar eats you." On Tuesday, there was a little of both.

Game 3 featured an outstanding performance from the good Dr. Ollie, his 3rd consecutive solid outing. The evil Mr. Perez has now not been sighted since April 11. Ollie went 5.2 innings allowing 1 ER on 3 hits, and 3 walks, while striking out a season high 10 batters. His 3 walks were his first since his meltdown against the Phillies. In between his last walk against the Phils and his first against the Fish, Ollie racked up 23 Ks, the longest streak of his career. He also had 2 rally sparking hits and 2 runs scored.

Endy, Castro, and Gotay all got the start due to the day game after a night game, Gotay getting his first start as a Met, and picking up his first hit and RBI of the season. The offense was semi-clicking all day, every Met had reached base by the end of the 4th inning, and everybody had at least a hit in the game except Delgado. Delgado did draw 3 walks and 0 Ks, so I think he's starting to see the ball better. DW seemed to continue his batting rehabilitation picking up 2 more hits (despite having just as many errors), and going deep into counts when not hitting. I say semi-clicking because the Mets left an absurd number of runners on base. At least 2 men (a total of 12) were stranded in each of the first 5 innings. With 11 hits and 7 walks, we ought to be pushing across more than 6 runs. This, unfortunately, is a rather dispiriting theme of the series. Generally, the Mets are hacking at far too many first pitches leading to easy outs for the opposition, an especially egregious offense against the Marlins who have the highest scoring team in the NL and the worst bullpen, it's likely to come into play in this upcoming series against the D'Backs. Also of concern is our suddenly soft defense. There was a ball hit into shallow center that Gotay wound up catching, but it gave me a fright, and was eerily reminiscent of the crap-storm that sunk Chan Ho in game 1 of this series. That's Beltran's ball, granted Gotay caught it, but it would have been a much easier play for Beltran. Not to mention he's a gold glover with fantastic speed, he just looks lackadaisical in the field at times. Is he afraid due to that horrific collision with Mike Cameron at Petco Park 2 seasons ago? Call that ball and go get it.

Joe Smith had his longest outing of the season going 1.2 innings over a span of 3 innings. He was awesome, as per usual (have I mentioned my man crush on Joe Smith?), but seemed to tire and lose his control a little by the time he came out. I have no idea why he was in the game so long, he had pitched the night before. Willie must be testing his endurance, although why he chose to do so in a relatively close game mystifies me. And where's Feliciano? He hasn't seen any action since that 12 inning affair at RFK on April 28th. A win is a win, and boy did we ever need that one going into this west coast road trip. We narrowly evaded getting swept at home, something which didn't happen at all last season.

The stars seemed aligned for a mega-jinx tonight. Wright and Delgado seem to be coming around and we certainly have our most favorable pitching matchup of the series tonight. Tom Glavine takes the hill for our heroes. Glavine loves the environ at the BOB (I know it's Chase Field now, but it will always be the BOB to me), he is 8-1 with a 1.37 ERA in nine starts. In 14 career starts against the Diamondbacks, he is 10-3 with a 2.27 ERA, his best ERA against any NL team. Tommy's won his last 3 starts against the D'Backs allowing only 2 runs in 21.2 IP. The Mets have won 10 in a row at the BOB, 5 straight and 12 of 13 against the D'Backs. We face 3 all-stars in the other 3 games of this series in the Big Unit, last year's Cy Young winner Brandon Webb, and Met-killer Livian Hernandez. Tonight, however, we get another kid coming off the DL in Micah Owings to pitch the series opener, just like this past series against the Fish. We're 9-3 on the road so far this season, and our 1st west coast swing last year was when we pulled away from the pack going 9-1. Now would be a perfect time to start playing our best ball and get a little momentum behind the juggernaut that we truly can be.

Let's Go Mets!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Oh No Chan Ho! / Mayday!

Florida 9, NY Mets 6 AP Recap

Chan Ho Park made his Mets debut last night starting for the injured El Duque. He retired the first 8 batters he faced and looked like he was taking advantage of his opportunity. He gave up his 1st hit on a 2 out, 0-2 pitch to the opposing pitcher then walked the next 2 on 8 pitches to have to face Miguel Cabrera with the based loaded, a .449 career hitter in that situation. Miggy hit a slow liner off of Easley's glove to plate 2 runs. It was scored a hit not an error, and rightly so, but you have to wonder if Valentin would have made that play. The next batter, ex-Met Mike Jacobs, hit a seeing eye blooper that turned into a double, that probably should have been an error, to plate another run. Followed by another perfectly placed bloop for 2 more. It was basically a perfect storm of crap. Not one ball was really hit hard except for the final out which Beltran chased down on the warning track. It wasn't pretty, but it was a 5 spot. It amazing how often a 2 out hit by a pitcher can start off a big inning. Those 9 straight balls Chan Ho threw might have cost him his next start at this level. That and the 2 HRs he gave up in the following inning to Amezaga (his first HR since August) and Ramirez. Like the Rockies game last week, the Mets scored a bunch of runs after staking the other team to a huge lead, but it was too much to overcome.

Mike and I were chatting before the game about Valentin vs. Easley, deciding that Easley was probably a downgrade in the field, apparently we were right. We always hear about how Willie values defense more than anything at his old position and yet here is Damion Easley starting at 2B over Gotay who is allegedly a superior fielder. And, don't forget we have Anderson Hernandez, a defensive wizard waiting in the wings. Omar said during that crap-storm of a 3rd inning that we brought up Gotay instead of Hernandez because Gotay has some pop in his bat which we could use off the bench. But didn't we have that in Easley? Couldn't we call up the wizard and keep Easley hitting game tying HRs in clutch situations off the bench? Again, you have to wonder if this was a personnel move based on the hitting slumps of Delgado and Wright.

Speaking of Delgado and Wright, something has to be done about the middle of our lineup. It is just getting too painful to watch. Carlos Beltran was 4 for 5 last night and crossed home once, and that was when he knocked himself in with his 5th inning solo shot. In fact, 35% of Beltran's runs scored this season he's knocked himself in. Jose Reyes had 3 hits, including 2 doubles, and only scored once, and that was Lo Duca's RBI. At the end of April, Delgado is hitting .188 with 12 RBIs, while Wright is hitting .244 with only 6 RBIs, and these guys are in the 4 and 5 holes, the spots for the big RBI guys. And they have 18 combined RBIs between the 2 of them!?! 2 of the 3 hitters in front of them in the lineup have an OPS over 1! Jose Reyes has 18 RBIs in the leadoff spot. I know that both of these guys are going to turn it around eventually, they're both too good to hit like this all season, but something has got to be done. We're supposed to have a team that can out-slug people, but despite averaging 5.5 runs per game, we haven't won a game this season in which our opponents have scored more than 5 runs. How's that for a frightening statistic? And why can't we play at Shea? At the end of April, the Mets are a .500 team at home and a .750 team on the road. Although, I suppose at 15-9 I can't be too upset with the start we've gotten off to, it's has been a frustrating strong start though. I look at the statistics and they are gosh wow fantastic, but I watch the team play and I grind my molars with my head in my hands. Maybe they're missing the moxy Mike was talking about on the off-day.

In more bad news, Moises Alou needed 2 stitches after running into the wall in the 9th last night. He is also scheduled for an MRI today on his left shoulder. According to Alou this injury is unrelated to the stitches, it's been bothering him since the Gnats series. It's his glove arm not his throwing arm, but with his age and track record of injuries, I think we can safely expect to see fan favorite Endy Chavez starting in left for a least a few games. Who knows what happens if he has to go to the DL. Lasting Milledge is on the DL already. We're really starting to test the depth of the organization, and its only May day. We're also running out of bats to pick up... ahem... the people who need to be picked up.

Mike Pelfrey gets the start tonight after a poor outing last time out. He's sporting an 0-2 record with a 7.90 ERA. Ricky Nolasco comes off the DL to start for the Fish, in his only appearance this season he got touched up for 3 runs in 1.1 innings against the Phillies. We clobbered him during his rookie campaign last season. In his career against the Mets he is 0-3 in 3 starts (4 appearances), with a 19.73 ERA, a 3.58 WHIP, and a .520 BAA in just 8.2 IP. Hopefully, this means we can score some runs for Pelfrey and get him his first win. I suspect he'll need the run support, every start for Pelfrey has been worse than the one before it, he got lit up by the pitiful offense of the Rockies last time out, and the Fish lead the majors in slugging at a whopping .479. Let's hope that late movement on the fastball is back tonight.

Let's Go Mets!!!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Acta's Edge

Game 1: Washington 4, NY Mets 3 AP Recap
Game 2: NY Mets 6, Washington 2 AP Recap
Game 3: NY Mets 1, Washington 0 AP Recap

Has anybody seen our offense? What a miserable showing from our bats this weekend down at RFK. This wasn't like getting shut down by Tim Hudson or John Smoltz, this was Matt Chico, Jerome Williams, and Jason Bergmann. Really, with how anemic our offense was I suppose we should be happy winning 2 of 3. Time will tell if any of these kids in the Gnats rotation are actually any good, but as of now, they are not good enough to hold our offense to 3 runs in 18.1 innings. In fact, we're 3-2 vs. the Gnats this season and have been struggling more than that against them this season. All five games have been decided by 4 runs or fewer, whereas only 8 of 15 games against other teams have been decided by such a small margin. I suggest that these tight games and the relative effectiveness of the Gnats starters has to do with their manager Manny Acta. Let's call it Acta's Edge. As I'm sure you know, dear reader, Manny was our 3rd base coach last season, and as such, has unparalleled insight into our personnel. Therefore, the Gnats have better and more nuanced scouting reports than any other team. This partially explains our issues with the Gnats. The good news is that Acta's Edge should dissipate as the season continues and we don't see the Gnats again until late July. Also fortunate is that the Gnats are arguably the least talented team in the league and stink like Mo Vaughn's game socks.

Game 1 featured a strong start from Dr. Ollie. Despite allowing the Gnats first 3 1st inning runs of the season on a 3 run blast by Austin Kearns. Ollie settled in nicely, consistently going after hitters and throwing strikes. 81 of 120 pitches were strikes, he only allowed 1 additional run on 8 hits in 7 IP, striking out 9 and, like his previous start, walking 0. If he throws like that he's going to win more than he loses. Unfortunately for him, and for us, he was victimized by our our anemic offense and lack of run support, even though this was our best offensive output of the series. Miraculously, this was the only game we lost.

Game 2 was yet another quality start by Glavine. 6 innings, 1 run, 3 hits. Just like all his starts this season. However, Glavine was denied win #294 by our anemic offense. In fact, the run Glavine did allow, despite being written up as an ER was nothing of the sort. Felipe Lopez was clearly out at first on what would have been an inning ending double play, but was called safe. Willie came out to argue, deservedly so, and got tossed. The inning continued and Lopez came around to score. Meanwhile the Mets made Jerome Williams look like a pitcher who could win 300 games going hitless until Beltran lined a single in the 6th. For the 2nd time in less than a week the Mets were down to their final out when the bench came through to send the game to extras. Green and Easley (in for the injured Valentin) each singled in the top of the 9th with 2 outs. Franco delivered the 3rd consecutive hit off closer Chad Cordero, and Endy Chavez, pinch running for Green, came around to score on a beautiful slide to evade the tag on a bang-bang play at the plate. Again, Endy's Mets legacy continues to grow. The Mets went on to win by 4 in 12 innings on RBI hits from Beltran and Wright. Not a pretty game, but it was an exciting one, and we'll take the W.

Game 3 featured yet another fantastic outing by John Maine. 7 innings of shutout ball allowing only 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 8. We really needed a strong outing from him after a 12 innings affair that used almost every arm in the pen, and we got it. Again, the Gnats starter, Bergmann, was almost as good, allowing only 2 hits and 3 walks in 7 innings. Fortunately for us, one of the two hits was a towering solo shot by Beltran. That HR was incredibly impressive, the pitch was fastball up but on the outside corner, and Beltran pulled it way out of the biggest park in the majors. That was the only run of the game. In the end, we had just enough to take this series.

Now for some bad news, El Duque, who was scheduled to start tonight against the Fish, has been placed on the DL due to right shoulder bursitis. The start tonight goes to Chan Ho Park, who will be making his Mets debut. With the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs this season, Park was 3-1 with a 7.29 ERA. He's allowed 26 hits in 21 innings, including 6 long ball in just 4 starts. Uh-oh. Hopefully, the bats get going tonight Park will likely need the run support against what is statistically the 2nd best hitting team in the NL (I know I have a hard time believing that too). More bad news, Jose Valentin is apparently headed to the DL as well with an ACL injury. While no official announcement has yet been made you can expect to see a lot more of Damion Easley in the coming weeks. Rumor has it that Ruben Gotay is on his way to Shea to be our new utility infielder.

OK, I have more to say, but game time is only 2 hours away and I suppose I should post this just in case anyone out there wants to read it. The Mets snuck back into first place by half a game when the Braves lost to the Rockies last night on the strength of an extremely rare unassisted triple play and walk off HR in the 11th. I'd like to not relinquish 1st, so let's hope the offense awakens tonight against a strong young lefty in Scott Olsen who is apparently coming off his best start of the season. The Braves have the Phillies tonight and unfortunately both teams can't lose, so we're just going to have to keep winning.

Let's Go Mets!!!

***UPDATE*** It's official Valentin went to the DL backdated to yesterday, and Gotay is with the team. And while I'm updating, I can't believe I didn't shout out to Julio Franco! The man is responsible for both wins in this series with his unbelievably clutch game tying hit in game 2 and that incredible play on what I can only describe as a reverse wheel play in game 3 (Anybody seen that play before? Is that some Willie genius)?. How long until Mets fans start clamoring for Franco to be getting the starting job over Delgado... just kidding... but way to be old-timer.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Stat-Fest!!! #2

Off days are nice for the team. It gives everyone a little much needed rest. It also frees up about 3 hours of my life. The inevitable result of which is the 2nd edition of Stat-Fest!

  • The Mets are batting .295 as a team easily leading the majors. Even more impressive is that our numbers include pitchers, the next 3 teams are AL teams. In 2nd, is that other New York team hitting .281. The next NL team is the Fish at .273.
  • 4 starters are hitting over .300, Alou (.377), Reyes (.356), Green (.351), and Beltran (.337). Endy (.412) and El Duque (.308) are also over .300 in limited PAs.
  • The Mets also lead the league in Slugging % (.470), On-Base % (.368), and, obviously, OPS (.838).
  • The Mets lead the majors in Stolen Bases (21), lead by Reyes (12), Beltran (4), and Wright (3).
  • The Mets lead the majors in Team ERA (2.88) and Bullpen ERA (2.27). The pitching staff has allowed the fewest Earned Runs (58) and fewest Hits /9 innings in the majors (7.31).
  • The Mets have the best record / winning % in the NL and are tied with the Red Sox for the best mark in the majors (13-7 / .650).
  • The Mets have committed the 3rd fewest errors (9) and have the 3rd best fielding % (.988) in the majors.
  • Jose Reyes leads the majors in SBs (12) and Triples (5), and leads the NL in Runs Scored (23). Which put him on pace for 97 SBs, 40 Triples, and an astonishing 186 Runs Scored.
  • Green, Reyes, Beltran, Delgado, and Wright have played in all 20 games for the Mets this season.
  • Green leads the Mets in BA against Righties (.414).
  • Beltran leads the Mets in BA against Lefties (.500). Reyes and Lo Duca are tied for 2nd (.429). In fact, as a team the Mets are batting .352 against lefties this season in 182 ABs to lead the majors. One of greatest weaknesses last season has turned into a strength.
  • 2 Mets starters have an OPS over 1. Reyes (1.049) and Beltran (1.027). Easley (1.190), Castro (1.089), and Endy (1.059) are over 1 in limited PAs.
  • The Mets BA is .047 higher on the road than at Shea (.320 vs. .273). Their OPS is .122 higher (.902 vs. .780). The Mets 6-5 at home, while they are 7-2 on the road.
  • Joe Smith and Pedro Feliciano have not allowed an earned run yet this season. Smith has set the record for most consecutive scoreless appearances to begin his career with the Mets. In addition to Smith and Feliciano, Burgos, Schoenweis, Sele, and Wagner have not allowed an ER on the road.
  • Believe it or not, despite leading the Mets in losses (2), Aaron Heilman has the lowest WHIP on the team (.90). He has only walked 1 batter this season.
  • El Duque leads the Mets in Ks (25) and IPs (32.0). As many bases have been stolen against El Duque (5) as the rest of the pitching staff combined.
  • Dr. Ollie leads the team in K/9 (9.37).
  • Our 2 most effective relievers, Smith and Feliciano are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of pitches / IP. Smith is the most efficient on the team (13.45) while Feliciano is the least efficient (22.20).

Let's Go Mets!!!

Rocky Series

Game 2: NY Mets 2, Colorado 1 AP Recap
Game 3: Colorado 11, NY Mets 5 AP Recap

Game 2 of the series against the Rockies proved to be one of the most exciting games of the year. It was the Mets first extra inning affair of the season. It was also the lowest scoring game of the year. Don't get me wrong, I love it when we put up 10-spots, but there's just a different kind of nervous agitation (which leads to more exhilarant exuberation) involved in pitcher's duels, which this game certainly was. El Duque was masterful, throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, for strikes. He left for a pinch hitter after throwing 7 strong, scoreless innings allowing only 4 hits with 5 Ks. I nearly lost it when he got Helton with a 52 MPH Eephus pitch. When El Duque is on, he is as fun to watch as any pitcher out there, and not just because of the ridiculous leg kick, but also because he really will throw any pitch on any count. I suppose I should give some props to the Rockies' sinker baller Aaron Cook, he was sharp throughout inducing DPs when needed, and stranding Valentin after his 3rd inning lead off triple. He also went 7 scoreless innings. Heilman pitched a 1-2-3 8th, and Willie must be reading this blog, because he actually brought in Wagner to pitch the 9th in a tie game at home. Wags pitched in a pressure situation, which I'm defining as a game within 3 runs, for the first time since (no joke) Friday the 13th, or 11 days for those counting. To me he looked nervous. He had serious control issues, walking the first batter he faced, and later bouncing a pitch 5 feet in front of home plate. Maybe he should pop in a bigger dip for these pressure situations. He squeaked through the 9th and, when we failed to score in the bottom half, stayed on for the tenth. He didn't throw a first pitch strike to any of the 8 batters he faced. Wags allowed the 1st run of the game in the 10th on a triple by shortstop phenom Troy Tulowitzki and I had a headline written for this post (I'm saving it for when he does blow one). But that was not to be... Down to their final strike, Damion Easley, the unlikeliest of unlikely heroes, hit one out to the bleachers. That's 2 HRs for Easley this season with only 2 hits this season, but more important it extended the game for some more magic. It was unbelievable. As Mike said via iChat when it happened, "fwof;hacvu09 iotioa34tio u4ui; oa34iuo t4i uo4ti uota343t. FUCKJJFW JKFEWJEFWF J:EWJFEWFJEWFEW" I replied the only way I could, "OUIRGWOIBWIOFYG* ($YF@(*GBE BCEILWYG)*E& GCBEKLJVB!" Schoenweis came in for the 11th and looked sharp, walking none. He split the 12th with my boy Joe Smith, who was typically effective and earned his first major league win when this happened:

A walk-off drag bunt by Endy Chavez! His Mets legacy continues to grow! What a game! That's the kind of game that makes me feel bad for AL fans, they never get to see anything like that. I was so excited I was easily talked into going out to a bar afterwards, and combined with the day game the next day, this post was delinquent. I'm sure you, dear reader, can understand.

Unfortunately, I must also briefly describe game 3 of the series, which from the get go looked as if the Mets had gone out drinking after the exhilarating finish of game 2 as well. It was also Carlos Beltran's 30th birthday. Whatever the reason, the Mets came out and laid an egg, not scoring any of their 5 runs until allowing 11 by the Rockies. The Rockies started 5 players hitting under .200, the Mets started 5 players hitting over .300, we had just crushed their spirits the night before, maybe we thought we would just walk over them. Regrettably, the main story here for Mets fans is young Mike Pelfrey. Coming into the game, Pelfrey led the league in % of full counts amongst starters. This is a very bad thing for a contact pitcher. He's not striking anyone out, but he's walking people and throwing a lot of pitches. He relies on weak contact caused by the late movement on his pitches. He had no late movement on his pitches in this game. His fastball, more accurately a fatball, was flat as a pancake which the Rockies poured syrup on and ate for brunch. They say hitting is contagious, well the Rockies had a hitting outbreak and proceeded to clobber everything and everyone until the game was far out of reach. I think Pelfrey's got a lot of potential, he's going to take his lumps, but I think as long as were still winning, and don't have a clear cut better option for his spot in the rotation, he can take his lumps at this level. It will expedite his development, assuming it doesn't destroy his confidence. If we hit behind Pelfrey the way we hit behind Maine, Pelfrey's got a W or two this season. What really worries me about this start is that it was his first start on regular rest, and his fastball was flat. You can't survive in the majors with a flat fastball, no matter how hard you throw. Especially with only a couple pitches in your arsenal. Maybe he's not strong enough yet, not seasoned enough yet. He's really been rushed up to the bigs. He's got an extra day, thanks to today's off day, before his next start, but the following start will be on normal rest. That will be the real test, if he comes back throwing BP in that start... well, there are a lot of really good restaurants in New Orleans.

The good news is that the evil, despicable, vile Braves blew a 3 run 9th inning lead against the Fish last night, so despite the rout by the Rockies we remain in first place. Hopefully you are enjoying the off day, and the post from new contributor Mike U. Back to work tomorrow with Dr. Ollie vs. the Gnats. We'll see who shows up for that one. Hopefully yesterday's debacle will inspire our team.

Let's Go Mets!!!

The Offday: Episode 1

I must admit - I accepted the invitation to write here knowing full-well I would not have nearly the amount of time I wished I had to scribe my thoughts on the Mets. And while I don't miss a game, either via my seats in 704B, SNY, WFAN, MLB Gameday Audio, or my Slingbox - finding the time to author is a tad bit tricker.

However, I have realized there will some days where I have an extra 3+ hours available to me -- the off-day. And so I commit to you, the 2 or 3 readers of Home Run Apple, to share with you my thoughts on the days where we have nothing else to talk about, in relation to the Mets, except the past.

Thoughts on 4/26/2007:

  • I have yet to see the "moxy" that I saw from last year's team. Tuesday's extra-inning win against the Rockies was a flash, but it still feels like some small bit of that character is missing. Is Floyd a greater loss than we thought?
  • Moving the turnstiles to board the 7-train is a welcome improvement at Shea. It's not perfect, but it's better.
  • Gotta give Pelfrey one more start. C'mon kid, we know you got the stuff. We saw it in the spring.
  • Every time I see Kevin Berkhart on SNY, he looks happier than a kid in a candy store. Think this dude found his dream job? Sure beats giving the 20/20 on WFAN, doesn't it Kevin? I'd guess WFAN isn't the happiest place to be these days, anyhow.
  • I'm curious of everyone's opinions of the SNY in-game interview (recent guests include HoJo, Rick Down, and Tom Nieto). I'm not a fan. I'm not sure Gary is either.
  • I refuse to worry, at this point, about Wright not hitting. If he's still not hitting by the next installment of The Offday, maybe I'll worry a little more.
  • I kinda wonder, when Willie needs a pinch hitter, if he just closes his eyes and points to someone. Whatever works, dude...
  • Dear In-Game Entertainment Team: You realize no one is singing along to Sweet Caroline in the 8th, right? That's because it's embarrassing, and everyone knows it belongs to Fenway Park. For years I fight to rid us of the Wave, I come so close, and now I must go on a new crusade? No rest for the weary...
  • It worries me that I'm most comfortable with Smith and Burgos coming out of the bullpen. I'm glad to see them perform well, but c'mon Arron - stop moping around and get some 1-2-3 innings under your belt.
  • How come everyone can score runs off Bob Wickman except the Mets?
  • I lobbied hard against Green in the spring. Sorry.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Maine Attraction

NY Mets 6, Colorado 1 AP Recap

They say it's better to be lucky than good. However, it's best to be lucky and good. John Maine is just that. He's good alright, last night pitching 7.2 innings and allowing just one run to lower his season ERA to 1.71. But he's also been lucky in that the 6 runs the Mets put up behind him last night was the least run support he's gotten all season. They had been averaging 10 runs in Maine's previous 3 starts, and they would be undefeated in his appearances if Maine had given up 3 times as many runs in any of his starts. Atta Boy John. Keep it up.

Jose Valentin's 4 RBI night should be commented on. He just owns Buchholz. In his career facing him, he's got 2 HRs and 7 RBIs in just 3 career ABs against him. Bizarrely, the last time the Mets faced Buchholz he was with the Astros, and John Maine started against him. Maine shut the Astros bats down (complete game shutout), and the Mets cruised to victory behind HRs from Valentin and Delgado.

Speaking of Delgado, he's finally off the schnide with his 2-run shot in the 7th. It was one of his trademark lasers of the facing of the mezzanine by the Mets bullpen. Very nice to see him striking the ball the way we all know he can. I think he's starting to come around. David Wright, on the other hand, continues to struggle mightily. He now has a 4 game hitless streak following his franchise record 26 game hitting streak. Even worse, he's looked terrible in that span. Honestly, he didn't look great during his hitting streak either. He did line one out to right last night, which was the first ball he's hit hard in about a week, so maybe he's starting to come around. And, I'm just not going to talk about Burgos' near meltdown, I'm in too good a mood right now. The pain in my eye has begun to dissipate.

Jose Reyes had the rare 0 for, but still managed to steal 2 bases bringing his league leading total to 12. He's shooting for 80 this year, and I think he should certainly be able to do it if he keeps his OBP up (currently at .438). It will be nice to erase the name Roger Cedeno from the Mets record books.

Our outfield continues to rake. Green is currently our least productive outfielder hitting a measly .333. Beltran is at .351 (he took home NL player of the week honors last week), while Alou flirts with .400 at .397.

And in other good news, the Fish beat the Braves last night which, coupled with our win, puts us back in first place. And, we've got an opportunity to make some hay this week with 2 more against the Rockies, followed by 3 at RFK, followed by 3 at Shea vs. the Fish, before a long west coast trip. The Mets send El Duque to the mound to face Aaron Cook, who, despite a deceptively low 4.00 ERA, in winless in his last 9 starts. El Duque had his best start of the season last time out with 10 Ks after getting some early run support. So how about some early runs and a blowout tonight. After all, you can't sweep a three game series without winning the first two.

Let's Go Mets!!!