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: Carlos Beltran, Chris Capuano, Chris Young, Cliff Lee, John Olerud, Jon Niese, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Ronny Paulino, Roy Halladay, Something Nice, Tim Lincecum | Leave a Comment »
Posted by JD on April 22, 2011
Where to start? Jason Bay returned from the disabled list and had a nice game, going one for four with two runs scored (one of which was courtesy of a dropped fly ball by Hunter Pence). Terry Collins single-handedly willed the Mets to win by switching up their uniforms and getting tossed in the first inning. Ike Davis picked up two more RBI, one on a home run to center (not exactly the easiest thing to do at Citi Field). Chris Capuano had a quality start, and Taylor Buchholz closed the door in relief. Good candidates all, and certainly worthy of honorable mentions, but not quite it.
Mike Nickeas opened the scoring in the bottom of the third with his first career major league home run, a solo shot to left field. I wish I was there to see it: despite his shortcomings, I can’t help but root for him. Not much of a hitter (he has a .680 OPS in 1,803 career minor league plate appearances), Nickeas is only on the roster until Ronny Paulino returns from injury. I’m glad he got to have a moment that he’ll remember (and likely treasure) for the rest of his life. It’s not every day that you see something like that happen, but as great a moment as it was, there was something more important for Mets fans.
Today’s “Something Nice” goes to David Wright, who snapped a career high 20 at-bat hitless streak with a solo home run. Wright would go on to get another hit and a walk and finished the day 2-for-3 with two runs scored. The Mets’ best player had his best game in a week or so and got himself a completely meaningless stat to boot: his fourth-inning home run was the “game winning RBI”. Only time will tell if Wright is about to go on a hot streak, but for one night it was awesome to see him display the talents that have made him the Mets best position player of all time*.
*Well, not yet. Not technically: Darryl Strawberry still holds that distinction. But Wright is blurring the line and it’s only a matter of time before he takes that title.
Posted in David Wright, Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Terry Collins | Tagged: Chris Capuano, Darryl Strawberry, David Wright, Hunter Pence, Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Mike Nickeas, Ronny Paulino, Something Nice, Taylor Buchholz, Terry Collins | Leave a Comment »
Posted by JD on April 3, 2011
The Mets beat the Marlins 9-2 today to take the first series of the season 2-1. It’s really hard to draw anything substantial out of a three game series, let alone the season-opening series, but it felt like a big win to me.
Maybe it was because they lost the first game in rather unconvincing fashion. I mean, Josh Johnson is a legitimate Cy Young candidate: there’s no shame in losing to one of the best pitchers in the league. But they were pretty much out of it after John Buck’s grand slam in the fourth inning. According to Baseball-Reference’s Win Probability Chart, the Mets never had more than a 10% chance of coming back. Subjectively, I felt it while watching the game. I kept telling myself that it was only one game, but I think it loomed larger in my mind just because it was the first real game of the season.
When the Mets won yesterday, my first thought was of today’s game: they had a chance to win the series. The 2010 Mets didn’t win a series on the road against a National League opponent until August 16 (they did take consecutive series against the Indians and Orioles during inter-league play in June), and the franchise hadn’t won a series in Florida since September 2009. That recent history was weighing on me, even as I was watching them jump all over Javier Vasquez early on. As the game wore on, a funny thing happened: I started feeling confident that they would win.
There were bumps in the road (for one, Chris Capuano’s debut went less smoothly than hoped), but there always are. Winning a series on the road against a division rival doesn’t guarantee a winning season, but it’s a great start. Right now, that’s enough for me.
Next stop, Philadelphia. I can’t wait to see how the Mets handle the Phillies’ vaunted rotation.
Posted in Mets | Tagged: Chris Capuano, Indians, Javier Vasquez, John Buck, Josh Johnson, Marlins, Mets, Orioles, Phillies | Leave a Comment »
Posted by JD on January 4, 2011
As you know, the Mets added Chris Capuano and Taylor Buchholz (for details on the signings, see here, here and here). These are nice, solid moves. Neither pitcher will change the competitive balance in the NL East, but they represent smart gambles. Their injury histories are not insignificant (two Tommy John surgeries for Capuano, one for Buchholz), but as a result, neither are their salaries (roughly $2.1 million combined). They’re not sure things, but there’s a reasonable chance that they can contribute positively and only a minimal financial commitment if they don’t. These are exactly the types of moves a team with budget constraints should be making.
Come to think of it, all of the Mets’ acquisitions have fit this mold. Whether it be solid complimentary pieces (D.J. Carrasco and Ronny Paulino), cheap young talent (Brad Emaus and Pedro Beato), or other reasonable gambles (Chin-lung Hu, Boof Bonser, Dusty Ryan), Sandy Alderson and Co. have maximized their available resources to bolster the existing roster. You can complain about the lack of big names or the long periods of inactivity, but the fact is that the Mets are acting with severe restrictions. They will no longer wantonly toss around their money in pursuit of the next quick fix.
Considering that framework, I think the Mets are doing an excellent job of maximizing their available resources. We don’t know for sure if this group of players will be better than the supporting cast from last season, but we do know that they’re track records indicate they will be (and their price tags limit their downsides if they aren’t). That’s good enough for me.
On a related note, I can’t help but be impressed by Alderson & Co.’s stealthiness. There was minimal warning time before the Carrasco and Paulino signings and no indication that Emaus and Beato were targets in the Rule 5 draft, but the Capuano and Buchholz signings came out of nowhere. I’ll grant that the pursuit of Chris Young has been somewhat more public, but even that has been largely without fanfare. What a breath of fresh air when compared to the near-constant flow of leaks from the previous organization. If nothing else, I think we can all agree that Alderson & Co. have done their best to maintain their bargaining position by controlling the flow of information coming from their own staff. For that, they deserve kudos.
Posted in Mets, Offseason Moves, Sandy Alderson | Tagged: Boof Bonser, Brad Emaus, Chin-lung Hu, Chris Capuano, Chris Young, D.J. Carrasco, Dusty Ryan, Mets, Pedro Beato, Ronny Paulino, Sandy Alderson, Taylor Buchholz, Tommy John | 3 Comments »