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…
Posted in Mets, Something Nice | Tagged: Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras, Mets, Pedro Beato, Something Nice | Leave a Comment »
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: Chin-lung Hu, Daniel Murphy, Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Josh Thole, Mets, Something Nice, Willie Harris, Wilson Ramos | Leave a Comment »
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: Chris Young, Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Isringhausen, Josh Thole, Matt Capps, Ryota Igarashi, Something Nice, Wilson | Leave a Comment »
Posted by JD on April 24, 2011
The Phillies placed Jose Contreras on the disabled list today, further straining a bullpen that’s already lost closer Brad Lidge. I bring this up because Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger retweeted this info with a comment suggesting that the Mets should call the Phillies and propose trading them Francisco Rodriguez. For some reason, I can’t find the original retweet in McCullough’s timeline (most likely operator error). I was able to find this retweet of a response that kind of sums up the negative response generated by McCullough’s comment.
I’m not bringing this exchange up to criticize McCullough. Far from it, actually. While I don’t relish the thought of helping the Phillies patch a weakness, I don’t think it matters as much as the long-term health of the club. K-Rod’s vesting option could seriously limit the Mets’ roster flexibility. While I could make an argument that $11.5 million is too much to pay a closer, I hope I don’t have to actually debate the merits of paying one $14 million (K-Rod will be owed $3.5 million regardless of whether the option kicks in). Moving that contract should be priority number one, ahead of resigning/dealing Jose Reyes* or finding a trade partner for Carlos Beltran.
*Come to think of it, I bet having that extra $14 million available for other uses might go a long way to resigning Reyes. Just another reason to move that contract.
If that means trading said closer to a division rival, even one who has won the division for three consecutive seasons, so be it. But if that’s a hold-up for you, consider this: the Phillies already have a 2012 payroll that exceeds $112 million. For eleven players, all of whom will be 31 or older. Throw Rodriguez into that mix and suddenly the Phillies owe $129 million to less than half their roster. And that doesn’t factor in an extension for Cole Hamels. In terms of sound roster management we should be thrilled if we give Rodriguez to the Phillies, never mind acquiring a useful prospect.
Yes, I’m ignoring the fact that the Mets would be improving the Phillies’ 2011 roster. I get that the emotional baggage of helping a division rival combined with watching Rodriguez torment his former team is an unpleasant thought for many fans. I understand why that would make this deal untenable for you. I won’t beat you over the head with my arguments but I’ll just add this: would you trade K-Rod for Jose Reyes and a prospect? That’s essentially how this deal could break down, and I’d sign up for that in a minute (even if the “prospect” translated into “replacement-level reliever”).
While we’re on the subject of dealing Rodriguez, I’d like to bring up this post by Mets Today’s Joe Janish. In a purely speculative nature, Janish wonders if the White Sox may be interested in trading for K-Rod. I agree with Joe: it is a “match made in heaven”. Kenny Williams has shown a willingness to ignore bad contracts before (see: Rios, Alex). Ozzie Guillen is all over the place, but his players generally like playing for him. Throw in the fact that both he and Rodriguez (and Omar Vizquel) are Venezuelan, and this might be an ideal landing spot for K-Rod. There’s no substance to this speculation, but I (and, I suspect, most all Mets fans) would be happy to see his option vest on the South Side.
Posted in Francisco Rodriguez, Mets | Tagged: Brad Lidge, Carlos Beltran, Cole Hamels, Francisco Rodriguez, Jose Contreras, Jose Reyes, Kenny Williams, Mets, Omar Vizquel, Ozzie Guillen | 16 Comments »
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: Angel Pagan, Jason Pridie, Mets, Scott Hairston, Something Nice, Willie Harris | 2 Comments »