Posted by JD on May 22, 2011
Here’s Ron Burgundy, saying exactly what I was thinking when the seventh inning finally ended. What a terrible way to lose a ballgame, especially in the Bronx. 13 Yankees came to the plate to face four Mets pitchers. There were five singles, a double, one batter reached on an error by Willie Harris, one intentional walk, one unintentional walk, one hit batsman, and one mind-boggling bunt* by Curtis Granderson, the Yankees’ best hitter right now. Everything that could go wrong for the Mets did.
*As @rebeccapbp tweeted earlier: “Just imagine if, that inning, Granderson didn’t bunt”. He has 16 homers (including one in the first inning today) and a .935 OPS (entering the game, anyway). What the heck was he thinking? I mean, I’ll take it, but giving away outs like that makes me cringe.
That’s the thing though: everything did go wrong. Those five singles I mentioned? One was a bleeder by Derek Jeter that went right through Mike Pelfrey’s legs, another barely evaded Jose Reyes, and a third was an A-Rod infield single. Read that last part again: A-Rod had an infield single. And got an RBI out of it. When was the last time you saw that happen?
I don’t think we need to draw any conclusions from what happened today. The Mets have been winning games lately: I feel comfortable predicting that they’ll get back to that in Chicago. This game, no matter how unpleasant it was to watch, is just a speed bump, something to be swept under the rug as soon as possible. Let’s all just agree not to mention it anytime soon, ok?
Posted in Mets | Tagged: Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Dickerson, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Francisco Cervelli, Jose Reyes, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Willie Harris, Yankees | 2 Comments »
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 23, 2011
Man, it’s so tempting to just say “the Mets win!” If the whole point of these posts is to spread positive feelings, I’d guess we really shouldn’t have to get much further than that. And I while I may just drop these posts in the future when the Mets win, there was something about tonight’s win that deserves extra recognition: Mike Pelfrey’s first quality start.
Pelfrey has struggled mightily this season. He started four games (all losses for the Mets) and never recorded more than 16 outs in any of them. He was forced to assume the “Number One Starter/Staff Ace” title with Johan Santana sidelined and, if that wasn’t enough, the media (and plenty of fans) added injury to insult by focusing on the coincidental (and, of course, unfortunate) passing of Harvey Dorfman (a psychologist that Pelfrey frequently consulted), strongly implying that Pelfrey’s mental health was in question. It was a tough stretch for Big Pelf, maybe the toughest he’s faced in his tenure with the Mets.
That’s why tonight’s win was so sweet: Pelfrey fought his way through seven innings, allowing only five hits, two hits, and one run. And, as hard as this may be to believe, I definitely saw him hit 94 and 95 on the Citi Field radar gun in the top of the second. It was a solid showing, and I was happy for Pelfrey that it happened in front of the Citi Field faithful.
Posted in Johan Santana, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Something Nice | Tagged: Harvey Dorfman, Johan Santana, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Something Nice | Leave a Comment »
Posted by JD on November 29, 2010
It’s starting to look like it might (at least to me, anyway). Consider the rotation as it stands today: with Johan Santana recovering from surgery to start the season, Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, and Jon Niese are the only established major league starters on the roster. In some ways, referring to this group as “established” is being kind: they each have questions to answer in 2011). Pelfrey can be solid (if unspectacular), but has been prone to extended streaks where he struggles to be average. Can he be more consistent next year? R.A. Dickey was a revelation this season, but he’s 36 and the 174 innings he pitched last season were a career high. Can he do it again? 2010 was Jon Niese’s first full season, and he’s struggled with injuries the past two season. Can he stay healthy long enough to contribute?
That being said, those three will anchor the rotation next season. John Maine has most likely played his last game with the team: I expect him to be non-tendered this week. Dillon Gee will be given a chance to win a spot in the rotation in Spring Training, as will Misch and probably Tobi Stoner. Misch is easily the most established (there’s that word again, used even more generously here) of the three, which can’t hurt. Add in Sandy Alderson’s (and Terry Collins’) comments about not wanting to rush prospects to the majors and that’s about it for in-house candidates.
There are, of course, outside candidates. Joe Janish of Mets Today put together a list of signable (read: not Cliff Lee) free agent pitchers last week, focusing on the risk/reward aspect of each. Having just returned from a trip to Atlantic City, I find some of these gambles attractive, particularly Chris Young. I wouldn’t be opposed to signing one of them to a one-year deal and hoping for the best, but I don’t know if it’s possible. I’ve read in many places that the Mets’ off-season budget may be limited to $5 million. If that’s the case, these players may not fit in the Mets’ budget (even accounting for the discount generated by their injury histories). I mean, it could happen, but should the Mets really gamble on a pitcher with a history of injuries when their budget is so limited?
The next few days will see a number of pitchers hit free agency as the December 2nd non-tender deadline approaches. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors has put together a list of non-tender candidates. While there are some interesting names for the bullpen, the starting pitchers leave something to be desired. I’ve always liked Brian Bannister and he might benefit from making half his starts at Citi Field, but he’s always struggled with major league hitters and he’s been injury prone recently, too. I wouldn’t have taken a shot at Zach Duke before he was traded to the Diamondbacks, making that moot anyway. Jeff Karstens? Kyle Davies? I guess, at the right price. But it’s debatable whether their better than Misch or not.
Acquiring a starter via a trade is also a possibility. The Mets could possibly trade Jose Reyes or Carlos Beltran (Beltran for Daisuke Matsuzaka might make some sense, I guess). Personally, I remain convinced that the Mets should refrain from trading either of those players until June, at the earliest. Their value is what it once was, but there’s still a reasonable chance that they can recapture most of it: it simply makes no sense to move them now. We’ll see.
In an effort to be fair to every candidate, I have to mention that Oliver Perez currently has a 10-inning scoreless streak over his last two starts in the Mexican Winter League. Whatever.
So, there you have it: based on the known available options (and their costs), Pat Misch will very likely be the fifth (or possibly even the fourth) starter in the rotation next year. Bill James predicts Misch’s 2011 season as: 23 games (12 starts), 75.0 innings pitched, 82 hits, 50 strikeouts and 18 walks (2.78 K/BB ration) for a 4.20 ERA (4.19 FIP). Obviously, the counting numbers would be higher if Misch won the job out of spring training, but a 4.20/4.19 ERA/FIP for less than $1 million isn’t that bad. It’s less than optimal, but budget constraints make it one of the more plausible options available.
Posted in Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Offseason Moves, Oliver Perez, Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins, The Rotation | Tagged: Brian Bannister, Carlos Beltran, Chris Young, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Dillon Gee, Johan Santana, John Maine, Jon Niese, Jose Reyes, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, Pat Misch, R.A. Dickey, Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins, Tobi Stoner | 5 Comments »
Posted by JD on September 26, 2010
I was out of pocket the past few days and missed the drama in Philly, what with Chase Utley’s slide (didn’t see it, so I won’t pass judgment), Carlos Beltran’s reaction (and his homers from both sides of the plate), and the Mets taking a series from the Phillies. Sure, there’s not much drama left in this season for the Mets. But it’s always nice to see them beat the Phillies, even if it doesn’t mean much in the bigger picture.
I did happen to catch Adam Rubin’s post about the dimensions of Citi Field. In the latest installment of what has become a recurring debate, the Mets announced last week that they are not planning to make changes to Citi Field’s outfield walls. Personally, I think that’s for the best.
While I understand the frustration of Mets fans who’ve seen their share of long fly balls die in outfielder’s gloves (or bounce off the wall for a double), the expected pitching staff for 2011 can probably use all the help it can get. Right now we’re looking at Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, and a couple of question marks in the rotation (I can’t bring myself to believe that Johan Santana will be ready for Opening Day, and he’ll need some time to find himself once he returns to health). Add in some degree of change in the bullpen, whether it’s a new closer (they’re going to try to shed Francisco Rodriguez), a new lefty reliever (Pedro Feliciano is not a lock to return), or general turnover, and there will be plenty of uncertainty on the 2011 staff. The deep outfield will be a great help for the staff, and tinkering with it now doesn’t seem to help their chances to succeed.
Home runs are exciting and are a tremendous boost to any offense, but they can just as easily crush a team that surrenders too many. Maybe the increased run production will offset any additional runs allowed, but at this point I don’t think the percentages favor it enough for the Mets to risk making any changes. They have to address plenty of variables as they prepare they’re 2011 roster: there’s no need to add another to the list.
Posted in Citi Field, Mets | Tagged: Carlos Beltran, Chase Utley, Citi Field, Francisco Rodriguez, Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Pedro Feliciano, Philadelphia Phillies, R.A. Dickey | 1 Comment »