Being a Met Fan Sucks

...because Metsblog is for optimistic pu**ies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Game #71 (41-30) - R.A. Dickey = Cy Young????

The return home has gotten the Mets back to their winning ways, as they blew past the Tigers tonight by a score of 5-0.  Robert Allan Dickey won his sixth straight start, and is the first Mets pitcher to win 6 of his first 7 starts with the team.  The Mets are now 15-4 for a .789 winning percentage in June; the last time the Mets won more than 70% of their games in a month was all the way back in June of 1990 when they went 21-7.   The best month in franchise history came in September of 1988 when the Mets went 20-6 for a win percentage of .769 (the '69 Amazins' went 23-7 in their famous September comeback.)  Not many notes tonight, it's been a busy week, hence no update from yesterday.  Without further ado...

  • Poor Execution by the Mets in failing to get Reyes home after his leadoff triple in the bottom of the first.  Wright made up for it with a nice RBI double down the line in the third; the Mets are now 27 (change)-7 in games in which Reyes scores a run... and have won 15 of the last 16 games in which he's scored.  Reyes fell a double short of the cycle after Angel Pagan missed the cycle by a HR last night.  Jose is now hitting .346 in June, and has scored 18 runs and stolen 7 bases in 19 games.  It's safe to say he's starting to get healthy, and it's great to have him back.
  • It's really fun to watch Jeff Francoeur sometimes.  Others, like when he struck out on a slider that was literally 4 feet off the plate and in the dirt in the 2nd inning tonight?  Not so awesome.   Frenchy has been swinging at a whopping 42.8% of pitches outside the zone this year, second in the majors to Vlad Guerrero.  Despite his free-swinging reputation, this is the worst number of his career, as he'd never had a chase percentage over 36.7% coming into this year.   Would be great if HoJo could get in his head and just make a minor tweak there.
  • Why does Manuel continue to make such terrible decisions with the bullpen?  Dickey's thrown 1 complete game shut out in his career, and Manuel takes him out up 5-0 after throwing 97 pitches and easily retiring 13 in a row?  The guys a knuckleballer for crying out loud!!  It's little things like that which are the reason I truly feel that despite the Mets' success this season they do not like Jerry very much.  I understand you just want to get K-Rod some work - but why couldn't he come in last night with a 8 run lead?  Why does he have to "get some work in" at the expense of a special moment in Dickey's career?  You can bet your ass that if Dickey was one of Manuel's "gangstas" he would have been out there for the 9th.
  • Ike Davis has hit safely in 8 of the past 9 games, and has raised his average nearly 20 points in that span.  However, his selectiveness at the plate is becoming a concern - after walking 22 times against 38 K's in April and May, he's now walked only 3 times against 20 K's in the month of June.  Certainly an unsettling trend worth keeping an eye on.
  • Hopefully Angel Pagan will be ok, according to Jerry it was only a minor muscle spasm and he's going to be day to day.  He's become such an integral part of this team I can't imagine having him out for any sustained period of time, at least not til Beltran comes back.
The Mets go for their third sweep in their last 4 series tomorrow at Citi Field as Hisanori Takahashi takes on near-perfect Armando Galarraga at 7:10 PM.  Until then, I'll leave you to come up with your own reasons why being a met fan sucks.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Approaching Trade Deadline

We are now almost at the halfway point in the season, and with the first day of summer, it's time for the trade talk to start heating up.   Let's be realistic here, the Mets simply cannot win a World Series this year as they are currently constructed.  The pitching staff has been incredible for the last month, but a rotation of Santana, Pelfrey, Niese, Takahashi, and Dickey does not a champion make.  Santana is clearly in decline, but still a top 15 pitcher in baseball.  Pelfrey has proven to be a solid #2 thus far, but has struggled in his last two starts, and let's keep in mind that he's only thrown 200 innings in a season once, in 2008 (200.2).  He's currently on pace for 218, and how his arm responds down the stretch will be huge for the Mets.  Keep in mind that in 2008, Pelfrey went 11-2 with a 3.01 ERA over the months of June, July, and August; in September he went 0-3 with a 4.07 ERA as the Mets collapsed for the 2nd season in a row.  Niese, while outstanding of late, is far from a sure thing, and has never thrown more than 178 innings in a season.  We've talked enough about Takahashi and Dickey to get my thoughts across, but, needless to say, neither one is really a guy you'd love to see trot out there in Game 4 of a playoff series.  With that in mind, let's take a look first at the names we're sure to hear the most in trade talks, and a brief overview of their status.
  • Cliff Lee - Lee is unquestionably the biggest name expected to be available at the trade deadline.  He's established himself over the past two plus seasons as a legitimate ace, and gets bonus points for being a lefty.  He's been out of this world this year, posting a 5-3 record for a terrible Mariners club with a 2.55 ERA.  His peripheral stats are where the story is truly told though.  He sports an absolutely ridiculous 1.89 FIP and a 67/4 K/BB rate.  To put that in perspective, in the past 35 seasons, only two pitchers have ever posted an FIP under 2: Pedro Martinez at 1.39 in his 1999 season (considered by almost all advanced statistics to be the greatest pitching season of all time) and Doc Gooden in his 1984 rookie season, when he posted a 1.69 FIP.  The current 16.75 K/BB rate would be the greatest of all time by more than 50% - Bret Saberhagen holds the current record with a 11.0 rate in 1994.    As we saw in last year's playoffs, Lee has proven himself to be a quality pitcher under pressure.  The issue, of course, with Lee is that he is expected to be nothing more than a $5M rental for any team, and the Yankees are currently considered a nearly sure thing destination for him in free agency.  MLB sources are saying the Mariners are seeking major league ready bats.  My question is this; if Beltran is back at the All-Star break and proves himself healthy, what about a package of Angel Pagan, Fernando Martinez, and a toss in for Lee?  I personally don't even think the price would need to be that steep - the breakout year of Pagan, combined with the pending return of Beltran gives the Mets 4 OF's who should be playing every day, and kind of leaves F-Mart's future in slight flux, even though he's just 21.  Lee should be high on the Mets list, as long as the price stays reasonable, as he would give the Mets 2 of the top 5 lefties in baseball at the front of their rotation.
  • Roy Oswalt - Astros' righty Oswalt has had a solid bounce-back campaign with the Astros this year after posting the worst numbers of his career last season.  His ERA stands at 3.12, back in line with his 2002-2007 rate of 3.11.  Most importantly, he's showing a rebirth in his style, throwing his changeup more than twice as much as he had previously in his career, and throwing fastballs only 55% of the time, the lowest rate of his career.  This has resulted in a surge in his strikeouts, and his 8.68 K/9 is the highest he's posted since his 2001 rookie season.  His BABIP is slightly below his .302 career mark at .281, but a deviation that small wouldn't be expected to skew his numbers too significantly.   One of the more interesting tidbits supporting adding Oswalt for a stretch run is his stellar track record of 2nd half success.  A 72-56 career record before the break jumps to a 70-22 ledger in the 2nd half (a gross .761 winning percentage.), and his peripherals all improve significantly.  Oswalt's contract situation is perhaps his biggest drawback, as he'd be owed around $8M for 2010, and is under contract for 2011 and 2012 at $16M per season, although the 2012 year comes with a unique dual clause; the club has a $2M buyout, and Oswalt has the option to opt out on his own for a "reduced" buyout.  Very strange.  It's not yet clear what the Astros are looking for in return for Oswalt, or even if owner Drayton McLane (who's known for clinging tightly to players he personally likes) will make him available.  Like Lee, Oswalt has had playoff success, although his 4-0 record is misleading, as it's accompanied by a 1.44 WHIP and a very pedestrain 1.68 K/BB rate.  He hasn't been to the playoffs since 2005, however, and a return to a contender could truly bring out the best in the fiery Oswalt.  
  • Fausto Carmona - At his blog for ESPN today, Buster Olney reports that the Mets have been kicking the tires on Carmona over the past few weeks.  After I throw up on myself, I decided to take a closer look at Carmona, and what I've found is none too pretty.  The story on Carmona is well known - he posted a massive 2007 season in his 2nd year, finishing 4th in the AL Cy Young voting while going 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA and 1.21 WHIP for an Indians team that won the AL Central.   His 2008 and 2009 seasons were injury-riddled disasters, including a demotion to AAA in 2009 in an effort to help him find his stuff.  Carmona features a heavy sinking fastball, a slider, and a change, and some scouts blame his troubles in 2008/9 on his decision to ditch a split fingered fastball which had given him a great deal of success in 2007.   However, after posting a 5.89 ERA and 1.70 WHIP over the last two seasons, Carmona has had more success in 2010, going 6-5 over his first 14 starts with a 3.31 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.  Most importantly his 3.98 FIP is right in line with his 3.94 FIP of 2007, suggesting that a return to a better team could see a big jump in his victory total.  The principal concern with Carmona, of course, is that he's got a good amount of Ollie Perez in him, though not as severe.  He's liable to go off for 6 walks virtually any time out there and when his control is off, he's virtually guaranteed to take a loss.  Carmona does, however, have a friendly contract; he's due only another $2.6M this year, $6.1M this year, and then he's got team options at $7M for 2012, $9M for 2013, and $12M for 2014.  At the worst, if Carmona did turn out to be Ollie, they could cut him loose and lose only $8.7M on it.  Compared to Ollie's contract, that's chump change.
  • Jake Westbrook - I've said it before, so I'll make this brief.  The problem with Westrbook is that he's really just an average pitcher, and in one of Mark Shapiro's rare bad decisions, he's paid like a very good one.  He's making $10M this year and $11M next, and for a pitcher who's career ERA+ is pretty much the definition of league average at 101, that's just too much money.  He's 32, and in my opinion I'd much rather keep some young players than take a "flier" on Westbrook.  End of the day, he's not really a major improvement over Takahashi, Dickey, or even a healthy Maine, so what's the point in making a move for him?
  • Kevin Millwood - Let's put this simply.  PLEASE OMAR DO NOT TRADE FOR THIS WASHED UP LOSER.  Millwood was once one of the better pitchers in the National League, but that was more than a decade ago.  He posted a 3.67 ERA for Texas last season, which seems superb on the surface, until you look at his 4.80 FIP.  With a BABIP of .279 which was a massive 80 points lower than his 2008 and 2009 combined, and a 78.6% strand rate that ranked 10th in the majors it's pretty easy to see that Millwood is a declining pitcher who was saved by some luck.  The Rangers must have seen this as well, practically giving him away to the Orioles for Chris Ray of the 7.72 ERA and a player to be named later.  Millwood started with a strong April, and had his ERA as low as 3.15 on May 7th.  Since then, however, he has gone 1-5, while his ERA has ballooned to 5.12.  Most importantly, the only outlier in his advanced statistics is his HR rate, which is 16.1, compared to his career 9.8%.  Nothing suggests Millwood would be an improvement for the Mets, and he's surely cost at least a player like Dillon Gee; who, at this point, could be better than Millwood anyway.  
  • Ben Sheets - Sheets is an interesting wild card in the trade deadline derby.  After the A's shocked everyone and inked Sheets to a 1 year $10 million dollar deal coming off major elbow surgery, Sheets has been anywhere from bad to worse thus far, going 2-7 with a 4.95 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, and a 4.94 FIP.  His HR/FB, BABIP, line drive, and GB/FB rates are all roughly in line with his career averages, so it's tough to point to bad luck for his poor performance.  The only reason he could be worth a flier is that he's a free agent next year and the hope that he could revert to his pre-injury form by returning to the NL.  That said, at this point, it's hard to imagine Sheets being a major contributor on a playoff team.
  • Edwin Jackson - With the Diamondbacks floundering in last place, they seem like locks to make some moves at the deadline.   While younger starters like Ian Kennedy are likely to stay in place, the D-Backs would likely move veterans like Jackson and (gasp) Dan Haren.  Jackson is sure to be the cheaper piece, so let's take a look at him first.  Once the top pitching prospect in baseball while a Dodger, Jackson floundered in brief stints at the major league level for them, before being traded before the 2006 season to Tampa for Danys Baez and Lance Carter.  He struggled there as well until seeming to break through in the 2008 season, going 14-11 with a 4.42 ERA.  Thanks to the Rays' abundance of pitching, Jackson was moved to the Tigers for the 2009 season, where he was again successful, going 13-9 with a career low 3.62 ERA.  Traded to the D-Backs in the offseason as part of the 3-team deal centering on Curtis Granderson, Jackson has appeared to struggle on a bad team, going 4-6 with a 5.05 ERA.  However, Jackson is actually performing at the highest level of his career; his 4.07 FIP is the lowest of his career, his 7.62 K/9 is the highest he's posted, and his HR/9 is at a career low despite his HR/FB% being right in line with his career numbers.  This is one case where poor results seem to be based on being on a poor defensive team, and a change of scenery could be exactly what Jackson needs to follow through on his career best peripherals.  He's still only 26, and is under team control next year as an arbitration eligible case - in short, he's exactly the type of young player that would be worth a flier on.
  • Dan Haren - It's likely that any team looking to acquire Haren will have to dump their entire farm system in order to get him, as he's only 29 and under contract from 2011-13 for $41M.  Haren is commonly viewed as an ace, although it's tough to find a justification for that in his overall numbers.  He's always been an elite pitcher in the first half of seasons, but for some inexplicable reason, a 2nd half collapse from Haren has become a standard of every year.   In 2009 his ERA and WHIP jumped from first half marks of 2.01 and 0.81 to 4.62 and 1.26; in 2008 it was 2.72 and 0.95 to 4.18 and 1.37; 2007 was 2.30 and 1.00 to 4.15 and 1.50; and lastly, in 2006 he went from 3.52 and 1.13 to 4.91 and 1.31.   Swings like that are tough to ignore, at least on a contender; it's tough to call a player an "ace" when he posts league-average numbers in the 2nd half every year.   Haren's splits also show his worst FIP, WHIP, BAA, and won-loss record come in September - so you have to ask yourself if at the price that it would take to acquire Haren, is he even worth it?  You decide.
For me, the players I'd most like to see the Mets key on are Lee, Oswalt, and Jackson.  As I mentioned before, the breakout of Pagan could end up offer the Mets some flexibility in trading, especially for Lee and Oswalt.  I'm also firmly in the camp of trading Fernando Martinez now while his stock is still even remotely high.  Martinez may only be 21, but he continues to be injury prone, and to be honest, his performance does not live up to his hype.  Optimists can say what they want about how he's been so young at every level, but at some point you need to see results, and after almost 1200 minor league at bats, F-Mart's OPS is a meager .781.  With players like Stanton and Heyward coming up even younger than Martinez is, it gets harder to be patient with him.  Given the track record of the Mets with Alex Escobar, Alex Ochoa, and Lastings Milledge before Martinez, if he's to be the piece that can acquire a true frontline starter and give them a real chance to win this year, I say it's 100 percent a move you have to make.  For players like Millwood and Westbrook, they don't seem to be worth even the lower tier prospects in the system, and I'd love to see the Mets avoid them at all costs.  Ruben Tejada is a player I wouldn't like to see the Mets move unless it was for one of the aces, and I feel the same about Brad Holt and Dillon Gee.  Obviously, Ike Davis is at this point untouchable, and unfortunately I doubt Daniel "overhyped with no talent" Murphy has any real value out there.  It would seem to me that it's going to take a player like Martinez or Pagan to acquire the type of pitcher essential to helping the Mets win this year.  

Speaking of untradeable prospects, the Mets have finally decided to move Mejia back to AA Binghamton to continue his growth as a starter, and called Bobby Parnell back to the bullpen to move into Mejia's undefined role.  About time huh?

Would be great to hear what some of you think about the Mets' trade prospects, so please give some comments and let's get a little dialogue going!  We all know that at the end of the day, the Mets won't do anything exciting, one of the endless reasons why being a Met fan sucks.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Games #67-69 (39-30) - A Rough Patch in the Bronx

The Mets hot streak hit a bump this weekend, losing the last 2 of the 3 game set in the Bronx.  Here's some notes from all the weekend's play.

  • Santana has now given up 3 grand slams this year - before this year he had given up 2 in his career.  Wow.  With each start it becomes more and more clear that Johan is no longer an elite pitcher, but merely a very good one.   That's not a bad thing, except he's owed $97 million over the 2011-2014 season (although the Mets do hold a $5.5M buyout option on 2014).  At this point, I'm pretty firm in my belief that the Mets will need to add a Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt at the deadline to win a playoff series - more on that tomorrow.  Santana/Pelfrey is just not a strong enough 1/2 punch right now.
  • Interesting note - the Mets have gone 13-4 in the month of June, and their starting pitchers have only 3 losses this month.  Santana has 2 of those losses, and Pelfrey has the other.
  • With a 3-3 split, the Mets and Yankees have now split 6 of the 14 interleague series.  The Yankees have also won 6, and the Mets have won twice.  Of course, the only series that really mattered, in 2000, was an easy Yankees win.
  • No idea what to do with Tatis - he is clearly floundering at the plate right now.  Minaya has done yet again a terrible job of providing this team with depth.  Their bench is among the weakest in major league baseball, and there isn't really anyone on the bench who strikes opposing teams as a threat right now.   Carter can only hit righties (and mediocre at that at best), Tatis can't hit, period, the Other Feliciano does not belong in the major leagues, and well, Alex Cora is arguably the worst offensive player in the major leagues.  Is it time to call Jermaine Dye and see if he'd be willing to play once a week for the Mets?  I'm sure he could learn to play a little 1B and spell Ike as well.  What about Joe Crede to be a pinch hitter/OF/3B/1B backup?  Those guys CAN'T be worse than what Omar has provided Jerry with.
  • Jose Reyes hit 2 HR on Sunday, and he's now hitting .322 for the month with 4 HR and 7 RBI while posting a .950 OPS.  However, underlying those standard numbers is an extremely low 10.2% line drive rate, and number which needs to prop back up for Jose to continue this success.   His HR/FB rate has jumped to 18.2% this month (vs. his career 6.2% rate), and his pop up rate has shrunk to a miniscule 4.5%, compared to his career 11.7% rate.  Tough to credit all of his June success to luck, but the outliers suggest his been more lucky than good this month.  Would be nice to see that line drive number get closer to normal in July.
  • Jason Bay, David Wright, and Ike Davis combined for 5 hits over the 3 games.  There's just no chance the Mets are going to beat teams of high quality like the Yankees with that production from the 3-4-5 positions.  I'll give Davis and Wright a break here, but Bay is just terrible at the plate right now.  He's been sneaking in a few more hits of late, but I don't think he ever feels confident at the plate, and I doubt the opposing teams fear him right now.  Certainly not playing up to his contract, as we've constantly discussed here.  
  • Very little question anymore about who the best pitcher in New York is.  The real question now is if Phil Hughes is #2, and if he's not, is Pelfrey, or is Johan.  I'm not even gonna go there.
Tomorrow we'll take a look at the Mets approach to the trade market, and especially pitching, in the next month or so.  The Mets will return home to Citi Field on Tuesday to host the Detroit Tigers, with the red-hot Jon Niese taking on Tigers ace Justin Verlander.  The way the Mets respond from this weekend's thumping against the Yanks will go a long way towards telling how the rest of this season will play out;  will it give us reasons to celebrate, or reasons to lament that being a Met fan sucks?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Game #66 (38-28) - Bring on the Bombers

Wow.  Not much else to say after the Mets completed their second straight road sweep against the Indians in Cleveland by a score of 6-4.   That's 11 of 12 for the Metropolitans heading into this weekend's showdown with the (ughhhhhhh) defending champion Yankees.   Hisanori Takahashi will take the hill for the Mets, luckily it's against the Yankees worst starter, Javy Vazquez, though Vazquez has pitched well in 4 of his last 5 starts.  Let's hope the Metties can keep it going against their Bronx neighbors.  Not a lot to say about tonight, hard to pay attention when I'm watching in PIP with the NBA Finals.
  • Mets are now 24-6 in games in which Jose Reyes scores a run.  Pretty safe to say that Jose's uptick in OBP over the last 2 weeks has played nicely into this hot streak.  3 for 5 tonight for Jose.  
  • Jake Westbrook has also been mentioned as a candidate for a deadline acquisition for the Mets.  Please, don't let this happen.   You could make the same "struggling because he's playing for a losing team" excuse one might make for Kevin Millwood, but I really don't see how Westbrook could help this team, especially not with Maine coming back (and Jerry saying he sees Maine as a starter).  Even more than that, I find it hard to believe that a young guy like Dillon Gee in AAA could be less successful in the majors than Westrbook or Millwood.  At the very least, I'd like to see what a young guy could do before trading prospects for has beens like this.
  • Pretty shocking to see Angel Pagan intentionally walked with runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out to get to David Wright.  Wright was able to avoid the double play by hitting a slow enough grounder to avoid the double play and score a run, and Ike followed with a single to add another run.  I just can't remember seeing a guy get walked to get to the opposing team's best hitter in the 4th inning of a June game before - very odd.  Wright now has RBI's in 7 straight games since being moved back to the 3 hole, and has 14 RBI in that span. 

Elsewhere, have to tip your cap to Ubaldo Jimenez.  With a win today, Ubaldo is now just the 4th pitcher ever to win 13 of his 14 starts, joining Roger Clemens (13-0 in 1986), Lefty Gomez (13-1 in 1932) and Lefty Grove (13-1 in 1931).  Ubaldo lowered his ERA to 1.15, the 2nd lowest after 14 starts in MLB history.  Unreal what this kid is putting together this year.  If he can keep this pace and get to 20 by August 1, we could be watching something truly special.  The only pitcher since 1980 to win more than 24 games in a season has been Bob Welch, who won 27 en route to winning the 1990 AL Cy Young Award for the Oakland A's.   Considering the Mets haven't had a 20 game winner since Frank Viola went 20-12 in 1990, let's add that to the list of reasons why being a met fan sucks!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Game #65 (37-28) - 10 of 11!

The unbelieveable hot streak continued tonight, as the Mets beat the Indians by a final of 8-4 to win their 6th in a row, and their 10th in their last 11.  The Mets are now 7-1 vs the American League, their best start vs. the Junior Circuit since the start of interleague play in 1997.  Most importantly, they are beating the terrible teams on the road that they should be beating, which to me is really separating this Mets team with the teams of the last 3 years.  They've been showing an unwillingness to play down to their competition that we haven't seen since 2006, and yet again, I'm starting to get my hopes up.  Kill me now.  Anywho, here's some notes on last night's performance.

  • The 7 doubles for the Mets tonight tied their season high, but it was a great way of highlighting the ability of this Mets team to score runs different ways.  7 extra base hits last night produced 8 runs, while only one extra base hit on Tuesday produced 7 runs.  The Mets are finding a way to get it done in multiple ways, which is what happens when you have a young team with speed and gap power.
  • Niese wasn't as good as his last two starts, but battled some bad location with his curveball and trouble with the mound to give 7 innings for the 3rd straight outing, putting his career high winning streak to three.  His peripherals are actually worse this year than last, with his FIP up to 3.76 from 3.25, and his HR/9 has doubled.  However, the increase in mixing his pitches has really padded his results, specifically that cutter that he began developing in 2008.  The cutter, which is much easier to control, is now being thrown 26.7% of the time, most at the expense of his curveball, which is obviously much harder to throw for a strike.  In Niese's first cup of coffee in 2008, Niese threw the curve 24.7% of the time; this year that number is 12.4% of the time.  Using the cutter so often has also given him a 4th velocity level, as he's throwing it at an average speed of 85.9, to go with his average 90.0 fastball, 81.6 MPH changeup, and 74.8 MPH curve.  Hitters are much more confused by Niese's approach this season, and he seems to be building a solid foundation for success going forward.  It's been a while since the Mets had 2 homegrown young pitchers with such strong foundations for continued success.
  • Wright now has 13 RBI in 6 games since moving back to #3 hole.  His season average has moved up to .291, and he's "only" struck out 8 times in his last 10 games, after 69 in his first 54.  He's improved his approach greatly against right handed pitching, and it's really showing in his performance.
  • Again, it's going to be very interesting to see what happens with Angel Pagan should Beltran come back in the 2nd half.  I don't really see how you can't sit him, but Francoeur has been playing too well to sit the bench, and Bay's just getting paid too much.  I'd really hate to be Jerry if/when this happens.  It's very tough to find a solution to this situation, because someone hot is going to have to sit down.  Dare I say that Pagan becomes a very interesting centerpiece to a Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt deal?  It would be a massive risk given Beltran's injury history and Francoeur's streakiness, but I have to ask you guys, do you think it would be worth it to move Pagan for an ace quality starter, one who would give the Mets a really strong shot to win the NL East this year?
  • What is going on with the mound in Cleveland?  We saw it drive Stephen Strasburg nuts on Sunday, and it certainly seemed to bother Niese a great deal tonight.  It wasn't as persistent a problem as it was on Sunday, and it didn't seem to bother Santana last night, but it definitely seems like something is a little off at Progressive Field.
  • Jason Bay should be ok after a pretty intense collision with Indians 1B Andy Marte in the first inning of last night's game.  He definitely gets toughness points in my book for staying in the game, as he wasn't pulled by Jerry until the 6th inning for "precautionary reasons."  He's listed as day to day, so keep an out for his status when the lineup is announced this afternoon.  As much as I've been riding Bay, I'm completely terrified of having to watch Jesus Feliciano with a bat in his hand 4 times.  It was a nice story and all to call him up, but can he go away now?  He's terrible.
The Mets go for their second straight road sweep (I can't believe I just typed that) against the Indians tonight at 7:05, with Robert Allan Dickey looking to win his 5th straight start against potential future Met Jake Westbrook.  Enjoy tonight's game, because Friday the Mets travel to the Bronx to take on the big boys, who are sure to give us some reminders of why being a met fan sucks.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Game #64 (36-28) - Am I a Rabbit's Foot?

Well, K-Rod did his best to make it interesting, but the Mets were able to hang on and beat Cleveland tonight to move to 36-28 on the year, their 9th win in their last 10.  The Mets are now 8 games over .500 for the first time since the last day of the 2008 season.  That's right, the Mets are now 9-1 since this blog started.  Just an example of my favorite team make me look like a horse's ass, as usual!  They'll look for 10 out of 11 tomorrow at 7:05 as Jon Niese looks to build on last Thursday's complete game one hitter against Cleveland "ace" Mitch Talbot.  And on to tonight's notes and observations...

  • Reyes has been on base to start the game 6 times in a row.  Newsflash, that goes a long way to making the Mets a winning team
  • SMALL SAMPLE SIZE ALERT!!!  Since moving back to the 3 hole 5 games ago (a move actively campaigned for on this blog), Wright is hitting 9-22, with 2 HR and 11 RBI.  He's driven in at least one run in each game.  I know the competition has been less than superb, but it's not as if Wright wasn't struggling against bad teams earlier in the year.  He sure seems to be more comfortable in the spot where he's always belonged. 
  • Santana's location and velocity looked much better in the first inning tonight, then disappeared in the 2nd inning.  He was back on point after rocky 2nd and 4th innings, giving up only 1 hit over his last 3 frames.  Most troubling was that for the second start in a row, Santana had more walks than strikeouts, having only 1K in each start.  Tonight was the third time in his last 9 starts that Santana managed only a single strikeout - prior to that, Santana had only done that 3 times in his first 239 starts.  It's certainly a troubling trend, and while Johan has battled well, the signs of his decline are everywhere, most significantly on his fastball, the average velocity of which has decreased for the sixth season in a row.  To read more about the trouble trend in Santana's peripherals, read a great piece here, courtesy of the fantastic Fangraphs.
  • Nice to see Ike hit that homer that just kept going against Masterson  What wasn't nice about that at bat was watching the cleanup hitter trying to bunt against the shift.  Look, I get that it's a free base hit if it stays fair.  However, in a tie game with my #5 hitter being pretty much useless save for one game this month, Ike's gotta be swinging away there.  How many times have we seen Beltran chastized for bunting in those situations?  
  • Speaking of my #5 hitter, Jason Bay is really scuffling, Sunday's performance against the Orioles included.  Another 0-5 tonight, but it's his approach that is really troubling.  He's pressing early in counts, and swinging at more pitches out of the zone, and right now he just doesn't seem to have any confidence at all in what he's doing up there.  
  • The Indians apparently are a completely terrible defensive team.  Carlos Santana has potential to be a star, Shin Soo Choo is one of the best and most underrated all around players in the game, and Hafner has been showing occassional bursts of the power that made him one of the most feared hitters in the game from 2005-2007.   Other than that, this team is just not good, and they should actually be applauded for being only 13 games under .500 this far into the season.  Let me just say that if the Mets can't find a away to sweep this team, it will be extremely disappointing.  
  • K-Rod looked great as always tonight, and I'm not really sure how much longer I'm going to be able to watch him without a vomit bag.  God forbid the Mets stay in the hunt (as of this writing, the Braves are down 5-1, and the Mets may find themselves just a half game behind tomorrow), and we have to watch him in pressure situations in a pennant race.  I'm going to die.
Today was the last day of Gary Matthews Jr.'s prolific Met career, as he was released after a spectactular 11 hits on a .190 average and a whopping 1 RBI.  Yeah another solid role player added by master talent evaluator Omar Minaya.  I think my favorite thing about the Mets season so far hasn't been the winning, it's been Minaya not being allowed to speak in public.  Every time he opens his mouth, it gives me another reason to say being a Met fan sucks.

Quick Change of Pace - the Revis Situation

Despite it's title, this blog was never intended to be solely about the Mets, especially when there would be Jets or Rangers business to discuss.  So let me just say that the Darrelle Revis situation makes me sick.  Revis is unquestionably an outstanding player, and hands down the most valuable player on the Jets.  However, his actions and his demands are flat out ridiculous, and if this is the person he is, let him go.

The heart of this problem is really the 3 year, $45.3 million deal the Raiders signed Nnamdi Asomugha to prior to the 2009 season.   Revis claimed today “It could be 50 cents more. Give me 50 cents more, and we’ll be OK," in response to a reporter's question of whether he'd be happy with a deal worth 1 dollar more than Asomugha's.  The issue Revis is clearly ignoring here is that Asomugha's deal absolutely crippled the Raiders cap-wise, and so he sits on a team that considered it a moral victory to get to 5-11 this year.  Based on statements Revis has made about Mangold, Ferguson, and Harris - who are also seeking new deals - it would seem that either he has no idea how the salary cap works, or he's just contradicting himself.  “It’s not just me. It’s a lot of guys,” Revis said. “They tell us we’re the core guys of this team, so why are you not treating us as one of the core guys?”  It seems Revis doesn't have the basic understanding that if the Jets are to pay him more than $15.3M a year, they won't have the money to surround him with other Pro-Bowl caliber veterans like Mangold, Ferguson, and Harris.  On top of that, what happens if all our dreams come true, and Shonn Greene carries his postseason momentum into a 1500 yard season this year?  You think he won't be asking for a new deal next spring?  It would appear Revis doesn't understand how a winning football team is constructed in a salary cap era, or worse, he doesn't care, and just wants to get paid.

For right now, we can all hope that Rex will work his magic on Revis, and convince him that the team is more important than his ego and desire to be the highest paid CB in the league.  Unfortunately, all signs are pointing away from this direction, and at that point, I say let him go, and get back what you can.  As great as Revis is, a successful defense is a unit, and I trust that Rex will adjust.  He took Chris McAlister and made him into an All-Pro, and he can do the same with Lowery, Cromartie, or a player yet to be drafted.  No player is more important than the team, and if Revis can't learn that lesson, let him follow in the footsteps of TO, DeAngelo Hall, and the rest; players who had the chance to be more than solo artists but wouldn't allow their egos and wallets to sacrifice for the good of the team.   I just hope it doesn't have to come to that.