Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mets Bats Quiet Against Halladay, Phils

The Mets lost to the Phillies this afternoon 2-1. 

  • Jon Niese went 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on six hits, while striking out three and walking two. He gave up a solo home run to John Mayberry, and a sacrifice fly to Placido Polanco. Niese looked good out there, at one point retiring eleven batters in a row. The offense just wasn't there to back him up.
  • Roy Halladay is just ridiculous. First of all, he threw a complete game. Second, in the first seven innings, he threw 78 pitches, 63 of which were strikes. Halladay is 17-1 against the National League East and 6-0 against the Mets. Unreal.   
  • The Mets' lone run of the game came in the fourth inning on an RBI single off the bat of Carlos Beltran.
Next up: The Mets look to finish this series with a win tomorrow night in Philadelphia. Game time is 8:00 p.m. on ESPN.

Mets Need To Make A Move With Pelfrey

Frankly, I've seen enough of Mike Pelfrey this season.

He was dreadful to watch in his first few starts. Then last week against the Diamondbacks, I thought I saw, for a brief moment, a little progress. He wasn't great, but he wasn't bad either. I was almost hopeful that things were starting to look up for him.

Then last night happened.

Pelfrey, once again, failed to get out of the fifth inning for the third time this year.


It's no secret that he has a horrible record at Citizens Bank Park. He has a 9.55 ERA against the Phillies in their home ball park.

So why did Pelfrey pitch last night in a place where he has been dominated so many times before? According to Bob Klapisch of The Record, Terry Collins told him, "I don’t want people to think I’m afraid to pitch here."

Guess what Big Pelf. I'm afraid for you to pitch there, and anywhere else for that matter.

Where can he go to straighten himself out? At this point, your guess is as good as mine.

I will say that the last place he needs to be is the bullpen. He's having a hard enough time pitching with no men on base, can you imagine if Terry Collins brings him in to a pressure filled situation to relieve with men on base? Good lord, that's not something I want to see.

He has minor league options. Perhaps it's time for Sandy Alderson and Co. to pull the trigger and send him down to Triple-A to work out his issues.

A trade is another possibility, but at this point in his career, he's thrown away any value he may have once had.

So far this season, Alderson has shown that he has a low tolerance for poor performances. So, I ask, how many chances will the team's "ace" get before the team says enough's enough?

It's not as though the team doesn't have any options if he were to be sent down. Dillon Gee has been successful as a starter since being called up a few weeks ago. Gee acknowledged that it would be a big adjustment for him to transition to the bullpen.

Why keep him in a role he's not used to, or comfortable with, and not move him back to the starting role?

What this team will ultimately do about Mike Pelfrey is anybody's guess.

Whatever the brain-trust decides, it needs to be done quickly, for Pelfrey's sake, and for the fans'. 

Mets Send Niese To The Mound To Take On Phils, Halladay

April 30, 2011
1:10 PM ET
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia

Starting Pitcher: Jon Niese (1-3, 5.10 ERA)
Niese is coming off his first win of the season in which he went seven innings, giving up two runs and six hits to the Diamondbacks.  
Starting Pitcher: Roy Halladay (3-1, 2.41 ERA)
Halladay threw 130 pitches in his last start, before being pulled in the ninth inning. Against the Mets, he is 7-2 with a 3.43 ERA. 

Mets Morning News 4-30-11

Terry Collins took full responsibility for last night's loss, saying he should have known better than to all Mike Pelfrey to pitch, and use Dillon Gee in relief.

Ronny Paulino is scheduled to make his first start of the season tomorrow, replacing Josh Thole behind the plate. Despite not catching any of the starting pitcher to this point, Collins says, "He's played long enough and he'll be able to adapt fast."

Chris Young may be the most prepared pitcher on the Mets pitching staff going into games. As Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal describes, Young writes two page summaries of his plan off attack on the mound prior to every start. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mets Get Smacked Around By Phillies

Remember in my Q & A earlier today where I said the Phillies offense was struggling. I take it back.

  • Mike Pelfrey went 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, while striking out three and walking one. He gave up a monster two-run shot off the bat of Ryan Howard in the fourth inning. 
  • Dillon Gee pitched 1.2 innings of relief, giving up four runs on one hit. Those four runs were courtesy of Howard's grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning.
  • The Mets were held to just two hits until the ninth inning when Ike Davis hit a solo home run, his fifth of the year, and extended his hitting streak to eleven games. After Josh Thole walked, Jason Pridie homered to make it 10-3. 
Next up: Jon Niese takes the mound for the Mets tomorrow as they look to take game two from the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Q & A With Aerys Sports Lead Phillies Writer

With the series against the Phillies beginning tonight, I asked Heather Carnassale a few questions about the team.

KL: What are some of the Phillies strengths and weaknesses coming into this series?

HC: I still feel the Phillies starting rotation is their best strength.  Even when one of the aces has a ‘bad’ outing, it rarely happens back-to-back and for the most part they are all reliable.   But that doesn’t mean they are by any means perfect.  All five starters have struggled at one time or another, the biggest offender is Joe Blanton who as of yesterday, is on the 15-day disabled list, with a medial impingement in his right elbow. 
Cole Hamels’ biggest obstacle has been the lack of hitting from the offense, which unfortunately carried over from last year.  However, he got great run support in his last outing on Wednesday in a 8-4 victory over the Diamondbacks.
No telling when or if Roy Oswalt will be back.  Though, GM Reuben Amaro, Jr. hopes Oswalt will be back before in time for his next scheduled start.
Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are in a league of their own.  Halladay is 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA, while Lee is 2-2 with a 4.18.  But I wouldn't gauge either of them by their earned run averages.  They both are intimidating and can put the fear in any line up facing them.  And like previously said, they rarely have bad outings and if by chance either of them have one, its pretty much a guarantee the their next outing will be an entirely different outcome.  Not boding well for the next team to face either of them.  
The expectations were enormously high before the season even started and yes there have been some bumps in the road, but with this rotation, even an injury or two, never count them out. 
The weakness is definitely the inconsistent offense, which has shown signs of life, but can be anemic at best.

KL: The Phillies have been bitten by the injury bug this season, especially the bullpen. How has the loss of J.C. Romero, Brad Lidge, and most recently, Jose Contreras, effected this team?

HC: The injuries have become contagious. 
Brad Lidge going down in spring training was unexpected but quite predictable when his velocity struggled to get out of the mid to high 80’s.  But to be honest, Jose Contreras had filled in quite nicely, recording five saves.  That of course was until he got injured himself. 
JC Romero is definitely one of the most reliable middle relievers, especially after only giving up two runs in his last seven outings.  So the loss of him, really hurts.
And now Blanton too, it’s like the entire team is becoming infected with the injury bug. 
On the positive side, Ryan Madson has wanted to be the closer and has been vocal about it, so he finally gets his chance to prove what he can do.  Manager Charlie Manuel prefers Madson as the 8th inning set up guy and for good reason. Madson has been great at it. But things happen and with call-ups from Triple-A, the younger guys are getting a chance to show off their stuff as well.  So you never know what can happen.
KL: Despite getting excellent starting pitching, the Phillies offense has been struggling as of late. How much does this team miss Chase Utley's bat in the lineup?

HC: To say the offense has been struggling is putting it mildly. The absence of Chase Utley in the 3rd spot is a huge part of that.  Shortstop Jimmy Rollins is currently batting in that spot and until recently was having a hard time adjusting.  Rollins was used to being in the lead off, so whether it was psychological or something else, it taken Rollins a while to figure it out.  
First baseman Ryan Howard is batting .293, but has a tendency to run hot and cold.  But one thing about Howard, he can strikeout a few times in a single game but come up huge with a big hit when needed. 
Center fielder Shane Victorino is thriving in the lead off position, with a .343 on base percentage.  And no one on the team is hitting better than third baseman Placido Polanco, who has a .389 batting average with 37 hits and currently is on an eight game hitting streak. 
But the void from Utley has been felt in many games where the Phillies have scored four or less runs.  Though outfielder Ben Francisco has played decent in the spot vacated by former Phillie and current Washington National Jayson Werth, left fielder Raul Ibanez is a mess.  He is a whopping 0-26 in his last eight games with an abysmal .169 batting average.  Manuel has started benching Ibanez in favor of John Mayberry, Jr.  Not sure what is going on with Raul, he came into the season supposedly in the best shape of his life, but he is 39 years old so maybe the age is taking its toll.
Outfielder Dominic Brown is rehabbing in Clearwater as we speak, so his return could be soon.  Which would be a nice boost.
But its not just Utley’s bat that is missed, its his leadership and approach to the game.  No one works harder or demands perfection like he does, which usually has a good affect on the other players.  So the quicker he gets back into the lineup the better.  But that is still a couple months away, if not more.

To read more about the Phillies, be sure to check out Carnassale's site: View From Section 116.

Mets Begin Weekend Series Against Phillies

April 29, 2011
7:05 PM ET
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia

Starting Pitcher: Mike Pelfrey (1-2, 7.23 ERA)
Pelfrey is coming off of his strongest outing of the year, going seven innings, and giving up just one run. He has been battling the flu, however, so we will have to wait and see what effect, if any, it will have on him in tonight's start.  

Starting Pitcher: Vance Worley (0-0, -.-- ERA)
Worley gets the start after the Phillies announced that Joe Blanton has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Well, it was bound to happen eventually. The Mets lost to the Nationals tonight in Washington by a score of 4-3.

  • Chris Capuano went 5.2 innings, giving up four runs on ten hits, while striking out two.
  • Jose Reyes, David Wright, and Ike Davis all had an RBI. Davis went 2-4 and extended his hitting streak to ten games.
  • Pedro Beato was successful out of the bullpen again tonight. He did not allow a hit in two innings of relief.
Next up: The Mets head to Philadelphia to begin a weekend series. Mike Pelfrey take the mound tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m.

Mets Go For The Sweep In Washington

April 28, 2011
7:05 PM ET
Nationals Park, Washington

Starting Pitcher: Chris Capuano (2-1, 5.95 ERA)
Capuano gave up just one run in seven innings of work his last time out. Lifetime against the Nationals, Capuano is 2-2 with a 4.01 ERA.
Starting Pitcher: Livan Hernandez (2-2, 3.48 ERA)
Hernandez, the former Met, struggled in his last outing against Pittsburgh. In six innings, he allowed seven runs on nine hits, while striking out two and walking four.

Mets Morning News 4-28-11

With last night's 6-3 win over Washington, the Mets have climbed out of the National League East basement, and are now two games from .500.

Soembody get this team some Purell please. It appears half the team has the flu, including Mike Pelfrey who says he has lost 11 pounds because of it. If Pelfrey is unable to make his start on Friday, Terry Collins plans to use Dillon Gee instead.

Jose Reyes admits he, "Went a little crazy," after being called out at third base by Marvin Hudson. Who could blame him.It was just the spark this team needed last night.

The Mets are 6-0 since the return of Jason Bay to the lineup.

According to reports, the Mets are up to $625 million in debt. At least $100 million of that is due to "contingent liabilities," or money that is still owed to former players. Bobby Bonilla has $1.2 million coming his way for the next 25 years, while Bret Saberhagen will receive $250,000 a year through 2029.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Movin' On Up! Mets No Longer In Last Place

The Mets beat the Nationals 6-3 to make it six wins in a row, and move up in the standings.

  •  R.A. Dickey went 6.2 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits, while striking out three and walking one.
  • The Mets played some small ball late in the game. Chin-lung Hu came up with a big hit off the bench in the ninth to tie the game. The Mets then took the lead in the next at-bat as Josh Thole hit into a fielder's choice.
  • Daniel Murphy. Where do I begin? Murphy homered in the eighth inning to tie up the game. He then went out in the ninth and doubled down the right field line to score two more runs. The guy can hit. Fielding is iffy, but if he continues to dominate at the plate, I'll learn to live with his defensive miscues.
  • Pedro Beato got his first career win, going one inning of relief, and Francisco Rodriguez recorded his sixth save of the season.
  • Ike Davis extended his career-high hitting streak to nine games.
  • There was a horrid call in the eighth inning by third base umpire Marvin Hudson. Jose Reyes was called out at third base by Hudson, who claimed Reyes' hand came off the base. Replays showed that his hand never left the bag. It seems as though Hudson knew he was wrong too, due to the fact that Reyes and Terry Collins didn't get tossed after arguing the call.

This teams playing like they've got something to prove, and it's fun to watch.

Next up: The Mets go for the sweep of the Nationals tomorrow in Washington at 7:05 p.m.

All-Star Game: This Isn't A Popularity Contest is. But it shouldn't be.

Major League Baseball announced that fans may begin casting their vote for their favorite MLBer, sending them to Phoenix for the 2011 All-Star Game.

Let me guess, the players voted in will include Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, etc.

I'm bored already.

Maybe Chase Utley will make the team too, despite not playing a single game this season. He's on the ballot. Leave these things up to the fans and anything's possible.

I find the All-Star Game to be one big fan fest, rather than a place for MLB to showcase their best talent.

Let's get some fresh faces in there.

I for one, would like to see Ike Davis make the All-Star team.

Davis is hitting .316, fourth best in the National League, third in RBIs behind Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard, and tied for second in home runs behind Pujols. 

While he may not be at the top of the chart when it comes to fielding statistics, if you've watched Davis play first base, you know he's got the potential to be a future Gold Glove winner.

He has good range at first base and has got a canon for an arm.

At the end of the day, is he the best first baseman in the league? No.

But neither are half of the other "big names" who the fans vote to make the All-Star team year in and year out.

Go Ahead, Make It Six In A Row

April 27, 2011
7:05 PM ET
Nationals Park, Washington

Starting Pitcher: R.A. Dickey (1-3, 4.10 ERA)
In his last outing against the Nationals, Dickey went five innings, allowing three runs on six hits and walking five.
Starting Pitcher: Tom Gorzelanny (0-2, 4.96 ERA)
Gorzelanny will try to keep Washington's streak of starting pitching alive. The Nationals are the only team in which every starter has gone at least five inning in every game.

Mets Morning News 4-27-11

Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger says Josh Thole is finding his approach at the plate that, "helped him become the team’s everyday catcher last season." Thole finally broke out of his slump in the Mets 6-4 victory over the Nationals last night.

According to Adam Rubin, the Mets announced that Ronny Paulino will be activated from the disabled list on Friday, in time for the series opener in Philadelphia.

Rubin also reports that Johan Santana is getting close to throwing from a mound. Santana will be allowed to throw from a mound once he is throwing from 150 feet.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mets Make It Five In A Row

This is the first time the Mets have won five straight since June of last year.

  • Chris Young went 4.2 innings, giving up three runs on four hits, while striking out three and walking two. All three of the runs allowed by Young were solo home runs, two of which belonged to Wilson Ramos. Young was successful early on, but once the home runs started flyin', it went down hill. He struggled throughout the rest of his start.
  • Ike Davis went 3-4. Besides the bat, what has impressed me the most about Davis so far this season is his hustle on the base paths. He has had at least two infield hits this season, and tonight he went home on a sacrifice bunt by Young and made it. 
  • Josh Thole went 1-4 with a double and three RBIs. 
  • The bullpen was impressive. Ryota Igarashi, Taylor Buchholz, Jason Isringhausen and Francisco Rodriguez pitched a combined 4.2 innings of relief and held the Nationals to just one additional run.  

Next up: The Mets look to make it six in a row as they continue their series against the Nationals in Washington at 7:05 p.m.

Mets Look To Keep Win Streak Alive As They Head To Washington

April 26, 2011
7:05 PM ET
Nationals Park, Washington

Starting Pitcher: Chris Young (1-0, 1.46 ERA)
 Young makes his first start since returning from the Disabled List with bicep tendinitis. His last start came against the Nationals on April 10, where he went seven innings, giving up one run on one hit, while striking out five and walking two. 

Starting Pitcher: Jordan Zimmermann (1-3, 3.70 ERA)
Zimmermann struggled in his last outing against St. Louis, going six innings and giving up five runs on eight hits. In his last start against the Mets in early April, he went 5.1 innings, allowing just two runs on six hits, for the win. 

Mets Morning News 4-26-11

Chris Young makes his return to the Mets tonight against Washington after battling bicep tendinitis in his pitching arm. Young claims, "Now it feels back to normal and maybe even better than it did before the end of spring."

Despite being able to come off the Disabled List today, Ronny Paulino is scheduled to make one more start with Triple-A Buffalo. He needs the extra day to test his left oblique which he injured during a rehab assignment.  

According to Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger, David Wright is not worried about his future with the team. He compares Wright with Mark Teixeira's situation with the Rangers a few years back. Wright has the most trade value of anyone on the Mets and could bring in a ton of prospects with which the team could build their farm system around.

Monday, April 25, 2011

R.A. Dickey Is A Real Character

R.A. Dickey, in case you haven't heard, entered the Mets clubhouse the other day in a full Darth Vader costume.

Why would he do this, you ask? Well, according to Tyler Kepner who originally reported this event, Dickey said, “It’s just so hilarious to hear Darth Vader say something like, ‘I would like a turkey sandwich.’”

What a character.

Forgive my sloppy paint skills. A graphic designer, I am not.

Mets Morning News 4-25-11

Don't forget, the Mets have today off. They begin a three game series tomorrow night in Washington.

In case you  missed it, Dillon Gee will stay with the Mets, while D.J. Carrasco has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. It's unclear whether Gee will be in the bullpen or rotation, but Sandy Alderson said his role will change slightly.

According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, Jon Niese was in line to be sent to the bullpen before his success on the mound yesterday.

The Mets plan on visiting Walter Reed Army Medical Center during their trip to Washington this week. Carlos Beltran plans on attending.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Gee Stays, Carrasco Gets The Boot

The Mets made some roster moves after today's game. Dillon Gee will stay, while D.J. Carrasco will be optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.

What Gee's role will be, has yet to be determined. A decision is expected by Terry Collins in the next few days.

According to Sandy Alderson, Carrasco will get some starts while in Buffalo and get back on track. Carrasco hasn't been terribly impressive out of the bullpen for the Mets so far this season.

Gee needs to be kept in the starter role. He's been successful, both in AAA and with the Mets. The problem, however, is who would Alderson and Co. move to the bullpen to make room for Gee? As of late, everyone in the starting rotation has done well.

At this point, it's a good problem to have.

Mets Go Streaking, Win Four In A Row

The Mets swept the Diamondbacks this afternoon, winning 8-4.

  • Jon Niese (1-3, 5.10 ERA) pitched seven innings to get his first win of the season, giving up three runs on six hits, while striking out three and walking two. Niese was impressive this afternoon, getting out of trouble multiple times.
  • David Wright went 2-4 with two home runs and three RBIs. The first was a two-run shot in the bottom of the first inning, the second was a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth inning.
  • Jason Pridie hit his first Major League home run in the third inning, a three-run shot to right-center field. 
It's amazing what a team can do when you get good starting pitching that goes deep into the game. In the last four games, Mets starting pitchers have gone seven innings, with the exception of Dillon Gee who went a respectable six. As Bobby Ojeda pointed out, with starting pitchers going farther in the game, roles are starting to be developed in the bullpen. The Mets pitching staff is finally getting some structure, and so far it's paid off. 

Next up: The Mets have the day off tomorrow, and begin a three game series in Washington Tuesday night.

Easter Game Preview

April 24, 2011
1:10 PM ET
Citi Field

Starting Pitcher: Jon Niese (0-3, 5.87 ERA)
Starting Pitcher: Armondo Galarraga (3-0, 6.00 ERA)

Mets Morning News 4-24-11

With Chris Young's return, Dillon Gee is most likely going to be sent to Triple-A Buffalo, but it won't be an easy decision for Terry Collins.

Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger, explains how Jon Niese has been working on a changeup to add to his arsenal of pitches. 

The feel good stories just keep coming with the Mets this season. Yesterday's the team welcomed the family of a slain police officer from Poughkeepsie. Give them heat about their play on the field, but off the field, they're doing all right.