Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Archive for May, 2010

A Red Storm Rising

Posted by JD on May 31, 2010

With all apologies to Tom Clancy, there’s a Red Storm Rising in Jamaica, Queens. The St. John’s Redmen Red Storm won their sixth Big East Tournament (a conference record), earning an automatic berth in the NCAA baseball regionals. They’ll be the third seed in the Charlottesville (VA) Regional, where they’ll face host Virginia (#1), Mississippi (#2), and Virginia Commonwealth University (#4).

I’m not an alumni (though I did attend summer courses in 1994) and I’m not a hard-core college baseball fan, but I’ll be rooting for the Red Storm when post season play kicks off on Friday. There’s a Mets connection: while this is the same university that brought us major leaguers such as C.J. Nitkowski, Rich Aurilia, Craig Hansen, former Mets Frank Viola and John Franco, also played in Jamaica. Throw in the fact that they were the visiting team in the first game ever played in Citi Field, and it’s clear that any Mets fan without a college affiliation should be rooting for the Storm.

I’m excited to see how this all turns out, and can’t wait until Friday. On a side note: though I may talk a tough game on twitter, I wish @rtjr and his Virginia Cavaliers good luck in the regionals. If the Storm doesn’t win, I hope the Hoos go all the way.

Some background info:

Red Storm Season Statistics and Results

Virginia Cavaliers Season Statistics and Results

Mississippi Bulldogs Season Statistics and Results

VCU Whatevers Rams Season Statistics and Results

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Feliciano, Please

Posted by JD on May 31, 2010

Jesus Feliciano is absolutely tearing it up in Buffalo. Named the International League Player of the Week for May 17-23, Feliciano is has a hit in 13 of his last 19 at-bats and has raised his batting average to .403 (as of May 30th). I know I’m going way out on a limb here, but I think the Mets should give this guy a chance as soon as possible.

Calling up Feliciano isn’t going to vault the Mets into first place: he’s a 31 year-old career minor leaguer who is experience the best three weeks of his career as I write this. But it’s not all smoke and mirrors. Yes, his BABIP this season is .396, which is probably unsustainable. He’s due to cool off as his career BABIP entering the season was .310. But based on his numbers with the Zephyrs/Bisons, for whom he’s compiled a .311 average (and .345 BABIP), I think it’s fair to expect him to be a productive player at the major league level.

He won’t hit .400. Heck, he probably won’t hit .300, but considering that he plays all three outfield spots (and even pitched: he has a career 4.35 ERA in eight appearances), he would be an immediate upgrade over GMJ.

I don’t know what the Mets are doing with GMJ. If it weren’t for Oliver Perez, Matthews would be the least productive player on the roster. The difference between the two is a little more $19 million dollars. The Mets still owe Ollie approximately $21 million (about $9 million this year, $12 million next year) and GMJ $1.5 million (about $600,000 remaining this year and $900,00 next year). He’s appeared in 34 games this season, but only has four at-bats in the past eleven games. I’m not advocating that he get more, but why carry him on the roster if you’re not going to use him?

Sadly, this is a good litmus test for the Oliver Perez situation. The Mets have a farmhand hitting .403 who also represents a defensive improvement, yet management refuses to part ways with GMJ, likely due to the roughly $1.5 they owe him. I think it’s safe to say that if they can’t bring themselves to cut GMJ, they’re going to do everything possible to avoid cutting Oliver Perez. Meaning we’ll be stuck with two roster albatrosses for the forseable future.

I see one scenario that could see Feliciano called up: if he can get a few hits through Wednesday, say 6 for 15 or so, uber-wunderkind Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to start against the Bisons on Thursday. If Feliciano enters the game within a few percentage points of .400 and can get a hit or two off of Strasburg, I can’t imagine management leaving him in Buffalo any longer. Of course, it will probably be Chris Carter that gets sent down…

Posted in Mets, Oliver Perez | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Abstract Linkage

Posted by JD on May 30, 2010

In an effort to expand the scope of this blog, I’ve decided to post a few links that I find interesting. They’re not all related to the Mets and they’re not all that recent, but I think they’re worth documenting. I hope to do this from time to time, but we’ll see. For now, here are five links for your reading pleasure:

  • The heart of baseball is the duel between a pitcher and batter, and the count tells us a lot about who has the advantage on any given pitch. Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post researched pitch counts in an article this week and Joe Posnanski took an even deeper dive in this post from 2009.
  • Can’t Stop the Bleeding details Mike Francesa’s bizarre on-air potshot at Matt Cerrone. I don’t know what Francesa was thinking, but I will say this: a good argument could be made that sports talk radio was as revolutionary in the 1980’s as blogging was in the 2000’s. It’s disappointing (to say the least) that Francesa can’t see the similarities. Disappointing, but not unexpected.
  •’s TMI (The Max Info) blog unveiled their “Superior Start” and “Inferior Start” metrics. (an Insider subscription is required, but I’ll give you this spoiler: there are no Mets on either list).
  • No, Your Team Sucks offers one-stop shopping for all your Philadelphia fan-tasing (fan-tasering?) needs. With videos and still pictures, we can relive the hilarity of seeing a young Philadelphia fan writhing on the field in agony after being tased by an out-of-shape police officer.
  • The Common Man is grading baseball franchise names, and he grades our Metropolitans here. While you’re at it, you should read the entire series.

Posted in Abstract Linkage | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Awesome Fist-Bump

Posted by JD on May 30, 2010

Jose Reyes and Razor Shines execute an Awesome Fist Bump after Reyes drove in a run in the ninth inning today. The screen cap doesn’t do it justice, but this fist bump was probably far too awesome to be properly captured anyway.

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Game Recap: Dickey Delivers

Posted by JD on May 25, 2010

R.A. Dickey brought his knuckleball to the mound, and it was the first time the Phillies faced knuckleballers in consecutive games since 1983, when they saw Joe and Phil Niekro. The Mets took advantage and had a (relatively) easy time of it. Here are a couple of notes from today’s game:

  • R.A. Dickey gave the Mets exactly what they needed tonight, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing. He pitched six scoreless innings and struck out seven Phillies, but he allowed seven hits, walked three, and worked out of three bases-loaded jams in the top of the second and third. With the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the second, Dickey induced Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz into a 1-2-3 double play (I love the 1-2-3 DP: I think it looks awesome on a scorecard). However, he walked Juan Castro to reload the bases before getting Jamie Moyer to strike out to end the inning. Then, in the top of the third, he loaded the bases again before getting Raul Ibanez to line out to Jose Reyes to end that threat. Dickey even survived getting drilled on his left (non-pitching) elbow by a Ryan Howard liner. He played with fire but he didn’t get burned, and the Mets got a quality start from their new knuckleballer.
  • Jamie Moyer also allowed seven hits and only walked two Mets, but he didn’t fare nearly as well as Dickey. Jose Reyes led off the game by grounding one “past a diving Polanco”, advanced to second on a Castillo bunt, stole third, and scored on a hard groundout to short from Jason Bay. It was a classic “Reyes run” and the Mets never looked back (Reyes also had an RBI triple in the top of the ninth).
  • Even though Bay’s streak of reaching base ended at eight consecutive plate appearances, his hard hit grounder was enough to score Reyes. He’s still locked in at the plate and producing.
  • Speaking of producing, Jeff Francoeur had three consecutive productive plate appearances. He missed some very hittable pitches in his first at bat but reached out and pulled an outside change-up to left to knock in the Mets’ second run in the bottom of the second. In the bottom of the fourth, he hit a deep sacrifice fly to center field to score David Wright. He then lead off the bottom of the sixth with a double and scored the Mets’ fifth run on a pinch-hit single from The Animal, Chris Carter. Frenchy is still a below-average hitter, but hopefully tonight’s performance will get him started again.
  • Raul Valdes relieved Dickey in the top of the seventh. He struck out Chase Utley and Ryan Howard and induced Jayson Werth to ground out to Wright. He walked Castro with two outs in the top of the eighth but quickly retired pinch hitter Ben Francisco, then hit a two out, RBI double over Werth’s head in the top of the ninth. He would stay in to finish off the Phightin’s in the top of the ninth, giving the rest of the bullpen an extra day off.
  • The Mets scored three consecutive two-out runs in the bottom of the eighth off of ex-Met Nelson Figueroa, highlighted by Valdes’ double and Reyes’ triple. It was a great relief to see them add to their lead: it’s been awhile since they’ve had nice easy win.

It was a nice, easy win, but tomorrow is another day. Your starters will be Joe Blanton for the Phillies and Hisanori Takahashi for the Mets. Hopefully the Mets will keep the pedal to the medal and pick up some more ground in the NL East. Let’s go Mets!

Posted in Jeff Francoeur, Jose Reyes, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »