Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Posts Tagged ‘Nationals’

An Empty Feeling On A Career Day

Posted by JD on May 20, 2010

That’s what I have tonight. What a weird, unsatisfying game. R.A. Dickey debuted with the Mets and made an outstanding play on a bunt attempt by the lead off hitter, Nyjer Morgan (yeah, that guy). It got better from there: Dickey had a no-hitter going until the bottom of the fourth, and Angel Pagan hit an inside the park* home run in the top of the 4th to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

*Quick question: if you were going to abbreviate that term, how would you do so? I went with ITPHR, but several tweeps went with ISTPHR. Now, inside is one word: I spell-checked it and everything. And even if you were to misconstrue it, couldn’t it stand for “In The Park Home Run”? I just don’t see what the “S” adds to the equation.

The Natinals scored two off of Dickey in the bottom of the fourth, but not before Pagan made an extra-base hit and ITPHR (I’m not giving up on it) saving shoe-top catch. Oh, but it gets better: in the bottom of the fifth with Livan Hernandez on second and Morgan on first, Christian Guzman hit a flair into center field that Pagan snared, inches from the deck. It was clearly an out, but the umpire was slow to call it. Pagan was so close to second, and moving with a good head of steam, that he easily could have doubled-up Hernandez on second. Instead, he decided to initiate the double play by throwing the ball clear over second base. Henry Blanco caught the ball and threw it to Jose Reyes, who fired it over to Ike Davis to complete the Mets’ first triple play since 2002. It was your standard 8-2-6-3 triple play and somehow, ESPN.com rewarded Pagan with a hockey assist on the play. Seems fitting to me.

Please allow me a brief digression. In the span of two innings, Angel Pagan hit an inside-the-park home run, possibly prevented another, and initiated a triple play. As many of my tweeps tweeted and re-tweeted, that was the first time since 1955 that the same player had an ITPHR and started a triple play (the immortal Ted Kazanski, of the Phillies, was the last to achieve the feat). I’m on record defending Pagan’s baserunning so I don’t want to belabor the point, but I am sick and tired of the semi-popular misconception that he has an “inferior Baseball IQ”. The guy can flat out play. Does he make mental mistakes? Of course. But his athleticism and production far outweigh any gaffes he makes on the field. Furthermore, have you never made a mistake while working? Of course you have. But I’d like to think (and I hope this is true for all of you) that any mistakes you make on the job are more than offset by the contributions you make. If your boss can overlook them and recognize your production, shouldn’t we do the same for Pagan? Enough with the nebulous criticisms of his “Baseball IQ”. The guy can play, and we’re lucky to have him in Carlos Beltran’s abscence.

Whew. I had to get that off my chest. Anyway, the Mets rallied to tie the score in the top of the sixth, and Dickey induced a double play to end the inning, preserving the tie. Then, Jerry Manuel happened.

First, he pinch hit for Dickey after Henry Blanco singled to lead-off the inning. In and of itself, that wouldn’t have been a bad move, however, Manuel had Alex Cora bunt Blanco over to second. Dickey couldn’t have done that? Granted, he’d thrown 98 pitches to that point, but the bottom of the order was waiting in the second. It was a waste of a pitcher AND a bench player (no matter how poorly Cora has been hitting this year, he could have been saved for later). Jose Reyes and Luis Castillo made quick work of the rally facing rookie Drew Storen (making his major league debut), but the real fun would start in the bottom of the inning.

In rapid succession, Manuel went to Raul Valdes (who was ineffective), Fernando Nieve (who was only slightly less ineffective) and Oliver Perez (who, by comparison, was startlingly effective). The Nats quickly scored three runs and, despite a Fernando Tatis homer in the top of the ninth, the game was over.

R.A. Dickey had a quality start in his Mets’ debut and Angel Pagan had a career game, the kind of game we all dreamed about when we were in little league. The Mets still blew it. It was exciting, and fun while it lasted, but it was all for naught. Kind of like the Mets’ 2010 season.

Posted in Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran, Jerry Manuel, Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, Mets, Oliver Perez | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Catching Up

Posted by JD on May 12, 2010

Just got back from a business trip which prevented me from seeing a single pitch of the Mets/Nationals series. Here are some tidbits while I try to figure out whether that was a good thing or not:

  • Eric Byrnes signed with the Cyclones…except he didn’t. Damn. I was hoping it was true if only so seat-buddy Steve would stop arguing that the Mets should sign him for their bench. I understand you want to get rid of GMJ: I do too. But Byrnes (12 OPS+) is actually playing worse than Little Sarge (20 OPS+) with little hope of improving. The Mets should bring up Jason Pridie and stay the heck away from Byrnes.
  • Speaking of former major leaguers with dim futures, looks like it might be time to stick a fork in Kiko Calero. From the Short Hops section of this week’s ESPN New York Farm Report (scroll down) comes news that Calero “allowed 13 runs in 1 2/3 innings in a pair of relief appearances last week”. I thought Calero was a great signing in Spring Training and had (foolish) hopes that he might force the Mets into demoting Jenrry Mejia once he regained his form. Now I’m pinning my hopes on Manny Acosta. Hopefully, Acosta performs well enough that his lack of options forces the Mets to keep him after Ryota Igarashi returns, leading to a Mejia demotion. Yeah, that’ll happen.
  • Chris Carter is now on the Mets and Frank Catalanotto is not. I like Catalanotto (and even advocated signing him), but it just wasn’t working out. Even if we’re only talking about the 25th spot on the roster, it’s past time to see what can Carter can do. Ted Berg sums it up his pinch-hitting debut nicely here and provides some kick-ass video (“The Animal roars into second” indeed).
  • Ike Davis continues to fearlessly dive over dugout railings to snag foul balls and he’s not too shabby with the bat, either. Not much more to ad to that statement. Did I include this bullet just so I could link to those plays? You decide.
  • The Nationals are in second place and off to their best start since moving to Washington in 2005. At 18-15, they’re percentage points better than their 18-16 record that season, which they finished at 81-81. Ryan Zimmerman is healthy, Adam Dunn is rounding into shape (he’s just about doubled his slugging percentage in the past two-ish weeks and currently sports a 143 OPS+), Drew Storen is right around the corner and Stephen Strasburg isn’t be far behind (as I write this, he just wrapped up six no-hit innings in AAA Syracuse). It looks like the Natinals might be hanging around for awhile.
  • Apparently the Phillies are stealing signs. I feel as though I’d be remiss in not mentioning it, but it just doesn’t matter that much to me. Stealing signs has been part of the game for a very, very long time. Is it cheating? Yes, especially when it includes non-playing personnel (according to ESPN.com, this particular scenario featured “bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer…peering through binoculars from the bullpen bench at Coors Field”). But it’s nothing to get worked up over, especially now that it’s been publicized. The Mets should change up their signs, keep an extra eye on the bullpen when they play the Phillies, and take it from there.
  • On a related note, Charlie Manuel tried to deflect the controversy by implicating the Mets. According to Manuel, the Mets must be subjected to the same scrutiny because their home record is so much better than their road record. Yeah, that’s the ticket: they were stealing signs! Forget the Cubs’ pitching woes, the Braves’ brain-freezes, the Dodgers’ general incompetence, and the Giants’ total inability to handle a windy Citi Field: the Mets were stealing signs! I’d be offended if I didn’t love rivalries: anything that adds a level of complexity to an already compelling story line is alright by me. Keep talking, Chuck!
  • Last, but not least, the Mets head down to Ft. Lauderdale to face the Florida Marlins. Here’s a series preview from ESPN New York to get you ready. I must admit that I had my doubts when Adam Rubin moved from the Daily News to ESPN New York, but his coverage has only improved since the switch. The series previews are still excellent, and his Minors Reports are, in my mind, the best single reference point for Mets minor league news. Others may cover the individual minor league teams in more detail, but Rubin summarizes it all better than anyone (and now we get daily updates, too).

And on that note, I bid you adieu.

Posted in Ike Davis, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Ollie’s Debut

Posted by JD on April 10, 2010

Of all the luck, I have to miss today’s game. Circumstances may have conspired against me, but trust me: I’ll be there in spirit as Oliver Perez makes his debut against Adam Dunn and the Nationals (and as some guy named Jose returns to the lineup).

Perez followed an up-and-down career with a scattershot Spring Training (Webster’s should seriously consider placing his picture next to the definition of inconsistent) and enters the game with the usual question marks. Will he remain composed? Can he throw strikes? Will he avoid imploding when things inevitably go awry?

As you well know, I’m solidly in his corner. I find him utterly fascinating. The raw underlying talent, the quirky (and at times child-like) personality, the self-destructive tendencies: he’s an irresistible attraction for me. If he can consistently harness his talents, he can still be a force in the Mets’ rotation. Sure, it’s an awfully big if. But, to paraphrase Jim Carey, I’m saying he still has a chance. That’s good enough for me.

It all starts today. A good first start could go a long way for Ollie. Let’s hope he has one today, because in all honesty, that’s all we can do at this point.

Posted in Mets, Oliver Perez | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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