Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Archive for the ‘Something Nice’ Category

Catching Up: The Week That Was

Posted by JD on May 5, 2011

A lot has happened since I last posted. The Mets dropped two out of three in Philly and then returned home to drop two out of three to San Francisco. Tough stretch, but not without its positives:

  • With the exception of the opener in Philly, the Mets were “in” every game. Citing moral victories is damning with faint praise, but they were facing Cy Young-caliber pitchers in three of those games (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Tim Lincecum).
  • Carlos Beltran has been on fire. His slash line over the past six games? Try .333/.429/.708 (in 28 plate appearances) for a ridiculous 1.137 OPS. Three doubles, two home runs, and four walks will do that for you. And for you trivia buffs, Beltran’s home run today gave him 1,443 total bases in 2,886 at-bats with the Mets. That means his slugging percentage with the team sits at a very neat .500 (good for sixth all time among the franchise’s qualifying batters, narrowly falling short of John Olerud’s .501). That will change the next time he comes to bat, but round numbers are neat.
  • Quality starts. The Mets received them from Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, Chris Young and Chris Capuano during the two series (t0o be fair, Pelfrey had a decidedly non-quality start in the series opener in Philly). The starting rotation has a long way to go before it’s out of the woods, but there were some positive signs this week.
  • Ronny Paulino finally arrived and, as the saying goes “he arrived in ill humor,” going 5 for 7 and driving in the winning run in extra innings on Sunday night. For what it’s worth, 27 other Mets have had as many as five hits in a game but Paulino is the first to do it in his debut with the Mets. So whatever else happens, he’ll always have his place in Mets history.

It may seem silly to you that I chose to focus on these four items when the Mets just lost four of their last six. I get that. They’re 13-18 and in last place, and their roster is still full of holes. There’s no reason to expect them to play all that much better. Yet, I find them to be much more compelling than last year’s group and I remain optimistic that they’ll claw their way back into contention for a Wild Card berth. I’ll be the first to admit that there’s no rational reason for me to believe this. But I can’t help feeling that if they click, if they all perform at their career norms at the same time, they can be relevant in 2011. There’s still time, however fleeting it may be.

Posted in Carlos Beltran, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Something Nice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Something Nice, 4/28/11

Posted by JD on April 29, 2011

As I’m sure you know, all good things…

The Mets didn’t have another comeback in them tonight. It’s a shame, if only because a seven-game winning streak would have been a neatly symmetrical response to the seven-game losing streak they endured earlier this season. Beyond that? Hey, it was fun while it lasted.

Tomorrow, Philadelphia. Tonight? Pedro Beato. Two innings pitched with no runs allowed (and no hits, though he did walk a batter) brings his season total to 14 innings without a run allowed. Seven hits and three walks add up to a 0.714 WHIP. He’s only pitched in 1o games but it’s hard not to get excited about the Rule 5 pick. Not only is he contributing, but he’s contributing in high leverage situations. Fingers crossed that he keeps it up.

As for the Mets, they’re on their way to the city of brotherly love for their second three game series with the Phillies. The Phillies’ starting pitchers are better than the Mets’ (well, at least their top two are), but I think the Mets’ bullpen may actually be a bit better right now due to the injuries to Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras. I think it’s fair to say that the Phillies are the favorites, but I expect the Mets to give them all they can handle. Funny what a six game winning streak will do to your confidence…

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Double Comeback! What Does It Mean! (Something Nice, 4/27/11)

Posted by JD on April 27, 2011

I have to apologize in advance for this post. This series was never meant to be a recap: it was meant to highlight the reasons why watching Mets baseball was enjoyable even when they didn’t walk away with a win. Games like this were not what I had in mind when I came up with this re-occurring bit.

Why am I apologizing? Because the “Something Nice” tonight was the top of the eighth and ninth innings. Is that a cop out? Yes. But it was one thing after the other: Jose Reyes getting jobbed at third, Dan Murphy tying it with a “Blue Collar Blast” (copyright Amazin’ Avenue), Jason Bay reaching on an infield single, Willie Harris benefiting beating out a bunt due to some ugly defense, Chin-lung Hu’s first RBI as a member of the Mets, Josh Thole’s fielders choice RBI, Murphy’s two-run double, and Francisco Rodriguez closing the door. I guess if I had to pick one player I’d go with Murph, but everybody deserves credit for the win (especially the Nationals).

I tried to tweet my feelings about this win immediately after the game ended. I’m not sure I said it right, so I’ll try again here. I fully understand that it’s April and this was a game between two teams that have lost more games than they’ve won. I know this game does not represent a “turning point” in the same way that I know it’s not an indication that the Mets have “figured it out” or that they displayed a willingness to “do whatever it takes to win.” This win symbolizes nothing: it’s just 0.62% of the schedule. I get all that, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that this game was freaking awesome. “Double comeback! What does it mean!”

Not all that much, but boy was it fun to watch. If you watched (or listened) to this game and didn’t get at least a little caught up in it, well, I’m sorry: I’m not sure what to say to you. But if you did? If you cheered wildly when Murph went yard, died a little when Wilson Ramos gave the Nats the lead again, perked up a bit when Hu drove in the tying run, cheered wildly when Thole got the winning “ribeye steak”, and totally lost your shit when Murph doubled in some insurance runs*? Hang on to that. Soak every second of it in. Set your DVR to record the replay and watch it as much as you want: it’s in the books.

Posted in Daniel Murphy, Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Josh Thole, Mets, Something Nice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Something Nice, 4/26/11

Posted by JD on April 26, 2011

There are several qualified candidates for today’s “Something Nice” but I think credit should be given to the team’s weakest link this season: the much-maligned bullpen. Chris Young started the game and was ok, I guess. He was returning from the disabled list so I guess he should get more slack than the typical pitcher who only last four and two-thirds innings, but it wasn’t close to being a quality start. The score was tied at three when young departed (and those three runs came via three solo homers).

Enter the bullpen. Ryota Igarashi entered in the bottom of the fifth with men on second and third and two outs. He needed all of three pitches to strike out Jayson Werth(less…I know it’s a stupid nickname, but it cracks me up). A Josh Thole RBI double put Iggy in line for the win in the top of the sixth. Taylor Buchholz needed all of 15 pitches to shut out the Nats for two innings and earn the bullpen’s first hold of the night. He handed the ball to Jason Isringhausen, who allowed an RBI double to Wilson Ramos* but limited the damage otherwise and picked up the bullpen’s second hold. After David Wright plated an insurance run in the top of the ninth, Francisco Rodriguez shut the door and picked up his fifth save of the season. So, to recap, the bullpen pitched four and two-thirds innings and picked up the win, two holds, and the save. They’ve had some good outings this season, but the fact that the Nationals tied the game and hung around throughout made this one a little more special, especially since it was the first game of a roadtrip. Not bad at all.

*I’d have to think that when they look at tonight’s boxscore the Twins will regret, however temporarily, trading Ramos for Matt Capps. Ramos went 3-4 with a double, two home runs, two runs scored and three batted in. But hey, at least the Twins have an “established closer”. That’s gotta count for something, right?

Posted in Francisco Rodriguez, Mets, Something Nice | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Something Nice, 4/24/11

Posted by JD on April 24, 2011

Man, these posts sure are fun to write during four-game winning streaks. Lots of positives came out of today’s win, but I’m going with Jason Pridie’s first major league home run, a three-run homer that gave the Mets added cushion (which would eventually come in handy). I’m a bit of a sap when it comes to sentimental milestones and I was leaning toward choosing Pridie from the minute the ball cleared the wall. 27 years-old, he appeared in 973 minor league games (and 11 games for the Twins as a September call-up in 2008 & 09) before being called up on Friday. He collect his first major league hit yesterday and topped it today with his first homer*. Mike Mazzeo of ESPN NY caught up with Pridie after the game and did a really nice job describing his reaction.

Pridie’s not likely to be with the club much longer (I can’t see him beating out Willie Harris and Scott Hairston when Angel Pagan returns from the disabled list), so it’s nice to see him make the most of his time here. Hopefully he shows enough to land a job with another team (if he chooses not to return to the Bisons when he’s ultimately designated for assignment) but if not, he’s at least notched some important career milestones and made a few good memories for himself.

*If the useless old stat of “Game Winning RBI” was still official, Pridie would have earned one today.

Posted in Angel Pagan, Mets, Something Nice | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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