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Monday, May 31, 2010

Game 52: Mets (26-25) @ Padres (30-20)

Here is the line-up that will face RHP K Correia:

J Reyes SS
A Cora 2B
J Bay LF
I Davis 1B
D Wright 3B
A Pagan CF
R Barajas C
J Francoeur RF
H Takahashi P

My prediction: Mets win 4-2, as Takahashi is once again very effective. I can't stand this west coast trip. There is going to be very, very minimal post-game coverage as I don't envision watching more than a couple innings each night.


Good bye Nelson

Figgy got DFA'd by the Phillies today.

good riddance.

Hope you trash the Phillies on the way out also...

Oliver Perez

Not only is he refusing a minor league assignment, but also the New York Post quotes two anonymous Mets players that they want Perez gone.

My take: What else is there to say? He is a selfish player who doesn't have the best interest of the team. His contract at this point is a sunk cost, but it will be very tough to just toss away 20 million dollars. Would a D Willis for Oliver Perez trade work? Not that D-Train is much better, but he's a bad contract and the Tigers just designated him for assignment.

Scouting Report RHP Kevin Correia

The 29-year old Correia was a 4nd round pick by the Giants in the 2002 draft, and was the 1st player from that draft to make it to the major leagues in 2003. The San Diego native, spent the first six years of his career with the Giants, before signing with the Padres and cavernous Petco Park in 2009. He's made 88 career starts, sports a 4.34 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. He was 12-11 last year with the Padres with a 3.91 ERA, as he took advantage of his new home field (3.68 ERA at home), and well as adding a cutter into his repertoire. He faced the Mets twice last year (0-1), threw 11 innings allowing only two earned runs (1.64 ERA), while striking out eight. For his career against the Mets, he's 0-3 (three starts, six relief appearances), but has a 1.63 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.

Correia throws a 90-93 mph fastball with improving command, a solid slider (84 mph), a 84-85 mph cutter, an occasional curve-ball (76 mph) and an improving change-up (81 mph). He made some mechanical changes last year as well that includes staying taller to gain more leverage/torque. This year he is throwing his change-up 14% of the time (career was 6%) and a lot more two-seamers/cutters than 4-seam fastballs. His two best pitches are his fastball and slider.

This year he's started nine games for the Padres, and is 4-4 with 51 innings pitched, with a 4.03 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. He's striking out hitters at a higher clip this year (7.54 K/9, 6.59 for his career). He hasn't thrown more than six innings in any of his starts this year, and has let up two runs or less in four starts, but also has let up four runs in four starts. He's a journeyman 4th/5th starter who has found some comfort pitching in his home town.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Recap

Mets won 10-4. Francoeur had a big day at the plate, and the Mets salvage one game of the series. They travel to San Diego tomorrow for a 10:05 game time, Correia vs Takahashi.

Game 51: Mets @ Brewers

Mets try to avoid being swept and falling below .500 vs LHP Randy Wolf. Here is the stellar line-up that he will face:

J Reyes SS
L Castillo 2B
J Bay LF
D Wright 3B
A Pagan CF
J Francoeur RF
H Blanco C
RA Dickey P

My Prediction: Mets lose 5-1 and Jerry is back on the "Budweiser hot seat."

Scouting Report LHP Randy Wolf

The 33-year old Wolf left the Dodgers this off-season and signed a three-year, 30 million dollar contract with the Brewers. He's in his 12th major league season (3rd major league organization) and is 105-89 for his career, 4.14 ERA, 1.32 WHIP. In his contract year in 2009, he was 11-7 with a 3.23 ERA and 1.10 WHIP for the Dodgers, but he was extremely lucky (.257 BAPIP; career is .294). Over his career he's started against the Mets 30 times, and is 12-5 with a 3.29 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Last year he faced the Mets twice, threw 14 innings, had 17 runners reach base and allowed only four runs.

Wolf has a very efficient delivery and he knows how to pitch. He throws an 86-90 mph fastball that tails and sinks, a short slider (79 mph), a big sweeping curve (66 mph) and a change-up (77 mph) that fades away from righties. Isn't afraid to pitch inside. Last year he had a lot of success with his fastball and curve-ball. His strike out rate has dropped to < 6 K/9 and his walks have increased to 4.09 W/9 (worst in four years). He's a fly-ball pitcher.

After two terrible starts May 14 and May 19th, Wolf turned in his best outing of the year, going seven shutout innings versus the Astros. For the season he's 4-4 with a 4.52 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in his 10 starts. He's gone at least five innings in each start, but he's let up > 4 runs in six of the 10 starts. He can help himself with his bat (.320 batting average this year, .187 for his career).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

And the Road Woes Continue

Poor starting pitching effort from F Nieve and the Mets lose 8-6 and lose another road series. Shocker. Try not to get swept tomorrow, Dickey vs Wolf

Game 50: Mets @ Brewers

Here is the line-up that will face LHP Manny Parra:

J Reyes SS
L Castillo 2B
J Bay LF
I Davis 1B
D Wright 3B
A Pagan CF
R Barajas C
J Francoeur RF
F Nieve P

My Prediction: Mets win 6-4 or 7-5.


Scouting Report LHP Manny Parra

Parra was drafted in the 26th round in 2001 as a draft-and-follow pick, and he signed in 2002 with a bonus of 1.5 million. He underwent shoulder labral surgery in 2005 and also had a shoulder "clean-up" surgery this off-season. On some nights when you see Parra, you see why he used to be a better prospect than Gallardo. He even threw a perfect game in AAA. He had a superb minor league track record, with a 8.6 K/9 with 2.5 W/9. On other nights, he looks like Oliver Perez. The 27-year old lefty still has some time to figure it out, and the Brewers hope this year is where he turns the corner. Last year he started 27 games, but only had 11 quality starts (ew). He had an unsightly 6.36 ERA and 1.83 WHIP. For his career, he's 22-23 with a 5.05 ERA and 1.65 WHIP. He's faced the Mets three times, starting two games, with an 0-1 record and a 4.7 ERA, 1.30 WHIP.

So looking at those numbers, why does he keep getting chances to pitch in the big leagues? 1) He's left-handed. 2) He has low 90s velocity, a quality curve and a sweet change-up/split. His fastball tails away from right handed hitters, but he struggles to come inside on righties. He has a big-breaking curve-ball (77 mph), a change-up he uses early in the count (86 mph) and a split which he uses as a strike-out pitch (85 mph). The last two years his fastball has been hit very hard; this year his fastball is slightly better, but his split and change-up are his two best pitches.

This year, he's only started one game and appeared in 17 games in relief. He's 1-3 with a 3.54 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. He's still a strike out pitcher (8 K/9), but he's still walking too many hitters (3.86 W/9). His one start was May 18th versus the Reds and he lasted only four innings (84 pitches), let up four hits and four walks, but only one earned run. He has a very high BAPIP (.365) this year so he has the potential to significantly lower his ERA and WHIP as the season progresses. Again the Mets need to be patient, let him run up his pitch count, and get to the Brewers bullpen.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Walk-Off Losses are Never Fun

Corey Hart hit a 2-run walk off HR off of birthday boy R Igarashi, and once again Johan throws a great game but can't get the win. Johan went eight shutout innings, but Gallardo was one better (nine innings) and he gets the complete game win. Classic pitcher's duel as expected. The Mets had bases loaded with no outs in the 3rd but couldn't score a single run. Game took less than 2:30 minutes.

Mets fall to 3 games back of the Phillies and only one game over .500. F Nieve versus LHP M Parra tomorrow, 7:10 start.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I hope everyone has a Happy and Safe Memorial Day Weekend, and remember those for whom the holiday is for. 

I won't be posting a ton this weekend, but you can check each morning for the scouting report of the opposing pitcher as usual, and I will try to get as much news/comments on the game as I can, but otherwise I will be out enjoying the beautiful weather and the start of summer (hopefully!).

Let's Go Mets, and as always thanks for reading.

Game 49: Mets @ Brewers

The Mets travel to face the Brew Crew tonight, and here is the line-up that will face RHP Y Gallardo:

J Reyes SS
A Cora 2B
J Bay LF
I Davis 1B
D Wright 3B
A Pagan CF
R Barajas C
J Francoeur RF (hitting .187 versus RHP). Why isn't Chris Carter getting a start??
J Santana P

It has been nice to do these line-ups each day knowing you only need to check/change the 2B in the 2 spot (49th straight game the 2nd baseman has hit in #2 hole).

My prediction: Mets read my scouting report, Gallardo doesn't last more than 6 innings, and the Mets score a few late runs against the Brewers bullpen; Mets win 4-2, running the winning streak to six games. Johan is his typical self, 7 innings, 2 earned runs.


Scouting Report RHP Yovani Gallardo

The 24-year old Gallardo just signed a five year extension in excess of 30 million dollars, so obviously the Brewers love this young pitcher, and rightfully so. He was drafted in the 2nd round in the 2004 draft, and made his major league debut in 2007. He had two knee surgeries in 2008 (Medial Meniscectomy and then later in the year an ACL reconstruction). For his career he has 26-19 record, with a 3.51 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. Last year he was only 13-12 with a 3.73 ERA and 1.31 WHIP, with 204 strikeouts. He faced the Mets twice last year, and in two starts he threw 13 innings and allowed only one run and 19 strikeouts.

Gallardo throws straight over the top and is a strike out pitcher. What makes Gallardo successful? He has four above-average pitches. He showcases his 91-94 mph moving fastball, with a power curve-ball (79 MPH), a tight slider (85 MPH) and an occasional change-up (84 MPH). This year he's striking out > 10 K/9 (career 9.28), but he has also increased his W/9 to 4.88. That combination causes him to run up high pitch counts. He is a future ace (his top comp is former teammate CC Sabathia). He also can help himself with the bat; he has five career HRs in 139 at bats.

This year he is 4-2 in his 10 starts, with a 3.2 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. I alluded to his high pitch counts earlier, and he's gone over 100+ pitches in nine of his 10 starts (120 in two starts), while only going > 6 innings twice. He's had three games of 10+ Ks already this year. Mets need to make him throw a lot of pitches, get him out of the game early, and attack the suspect Brewers bullpen.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Broom Broom! Sweeeeeeeep!!! Mets win 3-0

"It's seven minutes to midnight, and THE GOOSE-EGG SWEEP IS COMPLETE!" -Gary Cohen. Well said...

If anyone would've said the Mets win 5 of 6 versus the Yankees and Phillies, I would've said they are out of their mind. Well, I was wrong, and boy am I happy I was wrong. The Mets are 2 games over .500 and are only 2 games out of 1st place.

Pelfrey walked too many guys (five), but benefited from a few double plays (three) and threw 7 shutout innings (105 pitches). Reyes had 3 hits and a crucial 2-run double in the 7th inning to break the game open. Feliciano threw a scoreless 8th, and then K-Rod threw a scoreless 9th to complete a 27-INNING, 3-GAME SHUTOUT/SWEEP.

Mets travel to Milwaukee and Johan faces their ace Y Gallardo tomorrow night, 8:10 PM. 

Another loyal reader section 319. Lets Go Mets!

Play ball at 9:05

Game 48: Mets vs Phillies

The Mets go for a series sweep tonight, while the Phillies are still looking for their first run of the series. Here is the line up LHP Cole Hamels will face:

J Reyes SS
L Castillo 2B
J Bay LF
I Davis 1B
D Wright 3B
A Pagan CF
J Francoeur RF
H Blanco C
M Pelfrey P

Big Pelf is looking for redemption from his worst start of the year versus the Phillies (May 1st, 4 innings, 8 hits, 6 earned runs) @ CBP. Last year at Citi Field Pelfrey faced the Phillies three times, allowing seven ER in 19 innings (3.31 ERA).

My Prediction: It's a classic pitcher's duel between two up and coming aces, and I'll give the edge to the home team. Mets win and sweep the series by a score of 2-1. D Wright hits a HR. Mets win and they are only 2 games out of 1st place. What a difference a week makes.


Roy Oswalt: The Pitcher the Mets need?

Roy Oswalt made the sports talk show hosts around the country smile last week as he said he wanted to traded from the Astros, the only organization he has been a part of. He has since backed off the 'demand', but still said it might be in the team's best interest and he wants to go to a team that has a chance to win.

This year, the 32-year old (33 in August) has made 10 starts and thrown 69 innings, with a 2.35 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, although he has a 3-6 record to show for it (another exhibit on why win-loss record is irrelevant). His strike out rate is 9 K/9 (highest since his rookie year in 2001), and has a very good 2.22 W/9 (career 2.06 W/9).

For his career he's 140-76, with a 3.20 ERA and 1.20 WHIP; outstanding numbers for a 10-year career. He's made 30 starts every year since 2004, but last year only threw 181 innings due to back spasms.

After looking at those numbers, what team in baseball wouldn't want to add this guy to their rotation? He surely is better than the Mets #3-5 pitchers, and maybe even better than Pelfrey. It seems like a no-brainer to trade for Oswalt. Here are the reasons it won't happen:

  1. Oswalt's Contract: He's making 15 million this year, 16 million next year, and has an option for 2012 upwards of 25 million, or a buyout of 2 million. There are some rumors that in order for Oswalt to waive his full no-trade clause he wants that option automatically vested. That is a whole lot of money for a team to add, especially when ticket sales are down, and for a team who won't eat Gary Matthews Jr's 1.5 million dollars owed to him.
  2. Even if the Mets have the payroll ability to add that much money, it also comes down to what the Astros owner Moore (yes Moore is in charge of this trade more than Ed Wade in my opinion) will ask for in terms of prospects. They are expecting top prospects when history has shown when a team has to take on that much payroll, you aren't getting top prospects (Kazmir deal from TB to the Angels is one example). If the Astros would eat some of Oswalt's contract they could get a better prospect, but they have shown no willingness to do so from what I've heard.
  3. Does Oswalt even want to come to the Mets? Houston beat writer Alyson Footer of MLB.com said "he ain't going there folks" when asked about Oswalt to the Mets.
  4. If he was a free agent pitcher this off-season, you are looking at a 33 year old with a history of back problems who has received a couple epidural shots to control that pain. Would he get a one year 18 million dollar deal (the buyout of the ridiculous 25 million dollar option for 2012 included), or a two-year deal worth 40 million? I find that very hard to believe he would. Yet that is what a lot of Mets fans want the Mets to take on, in addition to the contract remaining this year.
Yes, Roy Oswalt would make the team better this year, but the better option would be to try to sign a better (and younger) Cliff Lee this off-season, where it wouldn't cost anything in terms of prospects. Going into this year, the Mets were a 81-84 win team. They have shown us nothing to change our opinion on that, and to add 8 million dollars this year (approximately half his 15 million dollar contract) and still not guarantee a playoff berth is not financially responsible. If the Mets were an 88- win team "on paper", then yes, I would be advocating that this move could push us over the top, but for a team that was in last place yesterday (and still tied for last place today), I can't justify it.

Plus, I DO NOT think Oswalt will be traded this year, as his contract is too much of a hindrance to any deal. So it was fun to talk about for a week, but back to reality and trying to win with the team we have. Plus who needs Oswalt when we have Dickey and Takahashi?

Scouting Report LHP Cole Hamels

The 26-year old Hamels went from a future ace after his stellar post-season in 2008 to a failure in the eyes of Phillies fans after 2009. So which pitcher is Cole? Most likely some where in between, but closer to the future ace. He was drafted in the 1st round of the 2002 draft and made his major league debut in 2006. He had some durability/character issues in the minors (elbow pain, back discomfort, broken arm in a possible fight in high school, and broke a bone in his hand in a bar room fight), but he has a career 53-36 record in the big leagues, with a 3.68 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. Last year he was highly unlucky (.325 BAPIP), while his strikeout and walk rates remained the same from 2008. In his nine career starts versus the Mets, he's struggled. He's 2-4 with a 4.12 and a 1.573 WHIP. Last year the Mets hit him hard in his first two starts at Citi Field (10 innings, 21 hits, 8 runs), but shut down the Mets in September at CBP (6 2/3 innings, 1 ER, 6 Ks).

Hamels has a smooth high 3/4s arm action and is a fly-ball pitcher. He throws his fastball 88-92 mph, and possesses one of the best change-ups in the game (81 mph). He occasionally throws a below average curve-ball, and has added a cutter this off-season, but it hasn't been effective yet this year. His strike out pitch is his change-up, but also has been getting strikeouts/swings and misses on fastballs out of the zone. He's averaging 9.4 K/9 this year (one of the best SP in baseball), but he's also seen his W/9 rise to 3.14 (highest in four years).

So far this year Hamels is 5-2 with a 3.92 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in his nine starts. He has once again been unlucky with a high BAPIP (.330) and been victimized by the long ball (1.57 HR/9, which is the highest of his career; it's a byproduct of a 16.4% HR/FB. His career HR/FB rate is 12%). The Phillies have won his last five starts, and he's gone 6+ innings in six of his last seven starts.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mets Win the Series! Another Happy Recap

Mets shut out the Phillies again, this time 5-0.

  • Jose Reyes hit a HR, and really looks like he's getting hot.
    • He was 2-4, but made hard outs as well

  • Barajas had 3 RBIs
    • He has 27 RBIs for the year, which leads all MLB catchers 
  • The Mets stole 4 bases (Castillo and Pagan 2 each). 
  • But the story was definitely the pitching, as Takahashi threw six solid innings, allowing only five base hits, and struck out six. 
    • Mejia, Igarashi and Nieve each threw a scoreless inning.

Mets go for the SWEEP tomorrow night, Pelfrey versus Hamels, and the Mets are currently only 3 games behind the Phillies. The Mets are playing great at home, 18-9 for the year, and they are fun to watch right now.

Mr. Met is excited for tonight

Game 47: Mets vs Phillies

 (This is a picture from the Caesar Club versus the Dodgers April 30th. Hopefully the stadium will be fuller tonight)

As the Mets look to get back above .500 and within three games of the Phillies, this is the line-up that will face RHP Joe Blanton

J Reyes SS
L Castillo 2B
J Bay LF
I Davis 1B
D Wright 3B
A Pagan CF
R Barajas C
J Francoeur RF
H Takahashi P

My prediction: Mets win in a close game, 4-3, as I Davis hits a big HR, and K-Rod once again gives the fans a "heart attack", but gets the job done.

As always, LET'S GO METS!

Figgy Comments and Oswalt

As I said when the Mets released Nelson Figueroa in the spring, "Good riddance." Now, before the game yesterday, these are the comments that Figgy had to say:

“Being in New York, you’re always going to [have] drama whether it’s on the field or off the field, in the front office or the clubhouse there’s always going to be drama,”
Well it still sounds like you want to be here Figgy, so good job trashing your former employer. And the way you are pitching, you will be looking for a job soon and I'm sure teams will be jumping to sign you.

I have been meaning to give my opinion on the Roy Oswalt situation for a few days, but in short: He's not coming to the Mets, so we don't have to worry. I will make an expanded post tonight or tomorrow about Oswalt I promise.

Scouting Report, RHP Joe Blanton

The 29-year old right-hander was a 1st round pick in 2002, and is in his 8th major league season; he spent five seasons with Oakland and is in his 3rd season with the Phillies. He's 64-56 for his career with a 4.23 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. He has been referred to as a "league-average/innings eater" in the past, but was very reliable for the Phillies last year; From May 26th, he threw 151 innings in 23 starts, and limited the opposition to a .304 OBP and a 3.16 ERA. He's in his final year of arbitration, and he's looking to build on the success he had last year to parley into a nice free agent contract. He's made four starts in his career versus the Mets and is 2-0, with a 1.59 ERA and .953 WHIP. He faced the Mets once last year, and threw 7 1/3 shutout innings.

Blanton throws strikes and has a very compact delievery, releasing from a high 3/4s arm slot. He features a 88-91 mph fastball that he will throw to both sides of the plate, a slider (83 mph), as well as an occasional curve (76 mph) and change-up (81 mph). His two best pitches are his slider and change-up. Last year he saw an increase in swings out of the strike zone which increased his K/9 to 7.51, but this year it's back down to 5.0 (career average is 5.62). He's a fly-ball pitcher who has been prone to the long-ball the last two years.

After missing some time earlier this year with an oblique injury, Blanton has made four starts and is 1-2, with a 5.06 ERA, but only a 1.16 WHIP. He's gone 6+ innings in each of his four starts, but has allowed at least three runs in all of them. He's let up five home runs in 26 innings. He's keeping his walk rate down (1.69 W/9), but has benefited from a low BAPIP (.259) and that's the reason for the low WHIP.

Scouting Report 40-man roster, 2B Justin Turner

Justin Turner

25 years old
5th Professional Season (17 games MLB past two years)
5'11" 200 pounds
Bats R/Throws R

The Good: He has a great attitude and willingness to play any where. Was a 7th round pick out of Cal St Fullerton in 2006 (previously drafted by the Yankees in the 29th round). He's not a power hitter, but he has shown the ability to hit for average (Career .300 hitter in the minors). Has a strong platoon split; he hits LHP well (.372 in 2008).

The Bad: Average defender; doesn't profile as more than an average/replacement level utility player. Comp player: Anderson Hernandez.

Role: Gives the Mets more organization depth at middle infield (R Tejeda, R Havens) and maybe a platoon split with Daniel Murphy if Murph is being groomed for a utility/2B job for next year?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mets claim INF Justin Turner

He was added to the Mets 40-man roster and was then optioned to AAA. I will have a scouting report posted tomorrow. To make room for him, Carlos Beltran was transferred to the 60-day DL, but don't worry, that doesn't mean he had a set back in his rehab; it just means he won't play until the first week in June at the earliest.

Mets Shut out Phillies 8-0 and get back to .500,

Great all around team win, started by six shutout innings from RA Dickey, and three scoreless innings from Raul Valdes.

Mets played small ball, capitalized on mistakes (Victoriano losing a ball in the lights and Wright got a double), three stolen bases (two by Reyes, one by Bay), and a big day from Jeff Francoeur.

Mets are now only 4 games back from the 1st place Phillies.

Try to win the series tomorrow, Blanton vs Takahashi, before the season finale Thursday, Hamels vs Pelfrey.

Game 46: Mets vs Phillies

Here is the line-up that will face LHP Jamie Moyer:

J Reyes SS
L Castillo 2B
J Bay LF
I Davis 1B
D Wright 3B
A Pagan CF
R Barajas C
J Francoeur RF
RA Dickey P

My prediction: Mets win 5-4.


Scouting Report for LHP Jamie Moyer

This is the 2nd time the Mets have faced the crafty lefty this year, so here is the scouting report from May 2nd, and I will update his stats and his starts since then.

24-year veteran Jamie Moyer takes the hill versus the Mets tonight and here is what to expect. He's won 226 games after turning 30 years old, and is on the 2nd year of a two-year, 13 million dollar deal he signed after the 2008 season, where he went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA.

He relies on great command, as his fastball averages 81 mph; he also throws a cutter at 78 mph, a curveball at 69, and a change-up at 74 mph. He peppers the outside corner and tries to get the umpire to expand the zone.

He had a 4.94 ERA last year, and more of the same should be expected this year. He is 5-3 this year, with a 4.30 ERA, and a 1.05 WHIP, but he has been extremely lucky this year, as his BAPIP is .234 (league average is .300, and his career average is .290).  Moyer is still striking out only 5.1 K/9, but minimizes his walks (1.55 W/9, which is a career best). He has gone 6+ innings in every start this season. In his start versus the Mets on May 2, he went six innings and allowed five earned runs.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I Hope Omar isn't as dumb as Steve Phillips

Here is a nice little poster with a quote from Steve Phillips today saying he would trade Strasburg for Oswalt straight up.


My take: 1) Phillips is an idiot. 2) I hope the Nationals listen to him and get Strasburg out of the Mets hair for the next 5-6 years/career.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mets Win the Series! 6-4 win

Mets proved me wrong as they win their second straight game (I thought they were going to lose the series), this time behind a stellar pitching performance by Johan Santana. He threw 7 2/3 innings (105 pitches), but left with the bases loaded; Feliciano came in and left them stranded, getting Robinson Cano to pop out to Ike Davis.
  • Johan was attacking the hitters and throwing strikes, until the 7th inning he started to falter
    • Let up only one run, six hits, three walks
    • His change-up was outstanding tonight
  • Other game ball goes to Jason Bay, who hit two home runs; one to left and one to right center
    • Hopefully this is the hot streak everyone has been waiting for
  • David Wright struck out in his first two at bats, but did get an RBI double in his 3rd at-bat
  • Alex Cora started the offensive outburst, driving in the first two Mets runs in the 2nd inning.
    • Sabathia's final line: 5 innings, 6 runs, 10 hits (!!), 2 walks.
  • Jeff Francoeur took another 0-3 with a strikeout and is now hitting .211
    • He's hitting .132 for the Month of May, with a .173 OBP and a .176 SLUG %
      • His only extra-base hit this month was the HR in Atlanta
    • He's hitting .188 versus righties this year, with a .368 Slug %.
      • Chris Carter's slug % last year versus righties was .502 (yes in AAA).
    • Just sayin'
  • R Igarashi had a very tough outing (one out, three base-runners), forcing the Mets to use K-Rod in back to back games, after getting the five-out save yesterday (28 pitches).
    • K-Rod enters the game and promptly lets up a double to Jeter and an infield single to Teixeira.
      • Threw a 3-2 curve-ball from K-Rod to strike out A-Rod to end the game
      • He wound up throwing 21 pitches today; he will get a much needed day off
Mets have off on Monday before opening up a three-game series vs Philadelphia R.A. Dickey vs Jamie Moyer on Tuesday.  Let's try to build on this series.

    View of Tonight's game from Section 338

    Here is the view from one of the loyal readers who is at the game tonight. Jason Bay's HR landed just in front of him. 

    Thanks for sharing, and hope you enjoyed the game.

    Game 45: Mets vs Yankees

    Mets try to win the series tonight versus LHP CC Sabathia:

    Jose Reyes SS
    Alex Cora 2B (Castillo was a late scratch)
    Jason Bay LF
    Ike Davis 1B
    David Wright 3B
    Angel Pagan CF
    Rod Barajas C
    Jeff Francoeur RF (Where is Chris Carter?)
    Johan Santana P

    My Prediction: Mets win 2-1 and win the series 2-1 also.


    Roster Move

    So much for the Mets doing the smart thing and sending Mejia down; Manny Acosta was sent down to make room for R Igarashi's return from the DL.

    Elmer Dessens is better than Acosta? And so much for the plan of stretching out Mejia. Guess the Mets realized they couldn't make two good moves in a row and needed to remind Mets fans who is still in charge.

    Scouting Report LHP CC Sabathia

    The 29-year old CC Sabathia is in his 10th major league season and was drafted in the 1st round (20th pick) in the 1998 draft. He has been a complete workhorse throughout his career, as he has worked 250+ innings over the past three seasons (post-seasons included). He has been an ace throughout his career; his ERA is 3.61, with a K/9 rate above league average (7.54), and a good 2.81 W/9. Although he is a fly-ball pitcher, he has not allowed many home runs over his career. Sabathia is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in two career starts against the Mets, including a win on June 26 at Citi Field last season. He is no slouch at the plate, with a .261 career average and three home runs in 90+ at bats.

    Sabathia has a balanced and repeatable 3/4 arm action, with a low to mid 90s fastball (average 93 mph) that he will throw to both sides of the plate. He throws a slurve (80 mph) and features a plus change-up (86 mph) that fades from right handed hitters. His fastball and change-up were two of the best pitches in the game last year. He has thrown a 2-seamer more this year than in the past.

    Sabathia has thrown 7+ innings in five of his nine starts this year, and is 4-2 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He has seen a slight decrease in his K/9 (6.4) and an increase in W/9 (2.8), along with an increase in home runs this year (8 HR in 60 innings). His last start versus Boston was impressive, going seven strong innings, allowing one earned run, and only four hits and three walks.

    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    Put it in the books! Mets win 5-3! Try to win the series tomorrow with Johan vs CC.
    Mets line-up that will face Phil Hughes

    J Reyes
    L Castillo
    J Bay
    I Davis
    D Wright
    A Pagan
    R Barajas
    J Francouer
    M Pelfrey

    Prediction: Mets lose 5-2.

    Scouting Report RHP Phil Hughes

    Phil Hughes was drafted with the 23rd pick in the 1st round in of the 2004 draft. The 23 year old made his debut April 26, 2007 against the Toronto Blue Jays, and I went to that game excited to see the phenom (went with Loudaman, Mikey Geah, and Kruk). He disappointed that night (4 1/3 innings, 7 hits and 4 earned runs), as he has done for most of his career up until this year. He worked out of the bullpen last year effectively, as he was 8-3 with a 3.03 ERA and a 10.05 K/9 and sub 3 W/9, with a 1.12 WHIP, but struggled in the post-season (8.53 ERA). Hughes has faced the Mets twice before in relief, tossing a total of 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Current Mets are just 2-for-14 off Hughes collectively.

    Hughes has an overhand delivery with very good arm speed.  He features a 93-96 mph fastball, a sharp 12-6 curve-ball and an occasional change-up. He has added a cutter this year, and is throwing it 28% of the time (88 mph). His fastball and cutter are his two plus pitches so far this year. He is a strike out pitcher (8.33 K/9).

    So far this year he has been outstanding, with a 5-0 record and a 2.25 ERA, .977 WHIP. He has lasted 7+ innings in four of his seven starts. His last start versus Boston was his worst start of the year, as he lasted only five innings and let up five earned runs (2 home runs).

    Game 43 Short Recap: Mets Lose, but only 2-1

    Takahashi threw six shutout innings last night, but Alex Cora committed a costly error that led to two runs in the 7th inning and that was all the Yankees needed. The Mets got an RBI double from Ike Davis (drove in Jason Bay), but that was with 2 outs in the 9th inning.

    There will be limited pre/post-game analysis tonight as well.

    Let's Go Mets!

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    John Maine is placed on the DL with weakness is his shoulder. E Dessens has been called up.

    Game 43. Mets (20-22) vs Yankees (25-16)

    The 13th year of the Subway Series starts tonight, and this is the line-up that will face RHP Javier Vasquez:

    J Reyes SS
    A Cora 2B
    J Bay LF
    I Davis 1B
    D Wright 3B
    A Pagan CF
    R Barajas C
    J Francoeur RF
    H Takahashi P

    My Prediction: Mets get crushed, as Takahashi doesn't throw more than 5 innings, and the bullpen is very thin. Mets lose 10-1.

    Overall for the series, I hope the Mets win one game, but could also see them getting swept. Hope I'm wrong.


    John Maine Soap Opera

    I'm going to limit my discussion on this because it's plain silly. What does a pitching coach have to gain by calling his pitcher a "habitual liar", even when he says it smiling/laughing?

    We will see if he goes/what the doctor says about John Maine today, and what even body part they will look at since he says he's fine.

    I set the over/under of innings Maine throws this year last night, and I took the under 40 innings; I think he may have thrown his last pitch as a member of the Mets. Again this is purely speculation on my part.

    He was obviously pissed off last night in his interview.

    There is always some outside drama involved with the Mets. It's never just about what goes on between the lines, and that's annoying.

    Scouting Report RHP Javier Vasquez

    The 33-year old Javier Vasquez was drafted in the 5th round in the 1994 draft by the Expos, and is in his 13th major league season. He's started 32+ games every year since 2000, and has thrown 200+ innings in nine of the last 10 years (the one year he missed he threw 198 innings). He has a career 4.24 ERA, with an exceptional K/9 rate (8.15) and minimizes walks (2.37 W/9). He has been victimized by the long ball, and his career FIP is 3.86. Last year he was phenomenal with the Braves, and it was the best year of his career. He had a 2.87 ERA (2.77 FIP), with a K/9 rate of 9.77 and 1.81 W/9. He finished in the top 4 of the Cy Young voting. Vazquez is 9-8 with a 3.37 ERA in 23 starts against the Mets lifetime, and was 1-1 with a 4.61 ERA in two starts against them last season.

    Vasquez throws from a 3/4 arm slot and has good command of a running/sinking fastball that he throws between 89-93 mph; he likes to throw it up in the zone with two strikes. He also throws a tight slider(83 mph), a big breaking curve-ball (74 mph) and a plus change-up (80 mph). Vasquez is also an outstanding fielding pitcher. His mental make-up has been questioned, and he definitely fared better last year with low-key Bobby Cox (as well as the weaker league) than the previous year of "in your face" Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox.

    So far this year he has struggled and the Yankee fans have made him hear it. He is 2-4 with an 8.01 ERA and 1.78 WHIP. He did get a one out win this week when he appeared as a reliever versus the Red Sox. He is continuing to strike out hitters at an above average rate (8.31 K/9), but his walk rate is terrible (5.04 W/9). He has also once again fallen victim to the long ball (8 HR in 30 innings). Why such a drastic change? Whether he is injured or not, or if it's his mechanics, his fastball velocity has fallen 2.5 MPH from last year. His average fastball is now 89 MPH. Nothing else has changed (pitches/velocity/usage of his pitches). His only pitch that has been above average this year has been his slider. His last start versus the Tigers was impressive and it may have represented him turning the corner this year. He threw seven innings, allowed only two runs, five hits and two walks, while striking out seven.

    Scouting Report, 40 Man Roster Hisanori Takahashi

    Hisanori Takahashi- #47

    35 years old
    1st major league season (Nine Seasons in Japan)
    5'10" 170 pounds
    Bats L/Throws L

    The Good: In his nine years in Japan, he had a 1.26 WHIP and 2.4 BB/9. Although he averaged only 7 K/9 in Japan, this year he is averaging 11.4 K/9. So far this year he is 3-1, with a 3.12 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. His fastball tops out around 89-90 mph, has a plus change-up/screwball (79 mph), while mixing in a slider 79 mph, and a curve-ball 67 mph. He relies on a lot of deception.

    The Bad: Pitching out of the bullpen this year, his longest outing has been 3 1/3 innings (75 pitches), so he may have trouble going more than five innings (although he was a starter in Japan). He has walked more guys this year than his career average (4.85 W/9 this year). Although this is a small sample size, there have been 14 hitters that have faced him twice in a game, and they are hitting .500. He had a reverse platoon split in Japan (lefties hit him harder than righties), but there hasn't been a split yet this year.

    Role: He has been effective out of the bullpen as a long reliever, and he is making a spot-start for Jon Niese (placed on the DL for his hamstring retroactive to May 17th)

    Jerry Manuel's Son's Blog

    Not sure if you guys saw this yesterday... We Are With You Pops

    Today, as the team sits only 2 games under .500 his job performance, team's performance and job security remain under extreme scrutiny. Playing and managing in NYC is without doubt the toughest place to play in the world... As a manager, his decisions, moves, style and performance are questioned daily in the media's capitol... A few hours before and right after each game he sits with the media... 162 times a year... Hammered with questions and even second guessed by the ball clubs own broadcasters, bloggers, reporters and analysts daily. 

    And this is why I don't ever root/call for anyone to get fired. No man/manager is an island (I learned something in my four years of English at KMHS!), and for people to call for someone to lose his job is not fair to his/her family. I certainly hope I never read on a blog/paper/watch on TV that someone is calling for me to lose my job. I obviously disagree with a lot of Jerry's managerial decisions, but I also understand this is a very difficult job to perform when you don't have "the horses."

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Mets Win and Split the Series

    John Maine lasted one batter, but Raul Valdes threw five solid innings in relief, and the Mets won 10-7. Before the game I said that runs were going to be scored, and I was right. The Mets had 15 hits and only three strike outs.
    • D Wright had four RBIs and hit the ball hard, as did Jose Reyes (2-5)
    • Bay and Davis both had three hits
    • Mejia and Feliciano struggled, but managed to keep the lead, allowing three runs in two innings.
    • Igarashi most likely will need to be activated tomorrow (Maine to the DL?), as Valdes will not be available and with Takahashi on a 85-90 pitch count, the bullpen will definitely be short 
      • R.A. Dickey may have to come to the rescue

    The Mets start a three game series vs the Yankees tomorrow night, J Vasquez vs H Takashashi, 7:10 PM.

    And John Maine's night is DONE

    1 walk and Maine is done. 0 IP, 0 H, 1 W, 0 runs.  Just what the Mets needed on the heels of the Yankees and Phillies coming to down.

    Can't wait to see the post-game reactions of Manuel and Maine because there was definitely some discussions in the dugout.

    The Mets seemed to know something was wrong with Maine, as Raul Valdes was warming up before Maine was removed from the game.

    8:25 PM UPDATE: According to SNY, John Maine was removed from the game as a precaution and that the Mets didn't like his bullpen session, that his mechanics were out of sync, and that he will see the MD tomorrow. 

    Setting up a poll question re: Maine now...

    Game 42: Mets @ Nationals

    The Mets are skating on thin ice, and face an undefeated rookie pitcher, Luis Atilano. Here is the line-up that he will face:

    J Reyes SS
    A Cora 2B
    J Bay LF
    I Davis 1B
    D Wright 3B
    A Pagan CF
    R Barajas C
    J Francoeur RF
    J Maine P

    My prediction: There are going to be a lot of runs scored in this game, the question in my mind is if the Mets can score enough of them. My brain says no, but my gut says yes. Mets win 7-6, split the short series, and Jerry lives to see another day.

    As always, LET'S GO METS!

    Scouting Report RHP Luis Atilano

    The New York Mets will face RHP Luis Atilano tonight, who is making his 6th major league start (2nd against the Mets). The 25 year-old Atilano is linked to the Mets, as he was the compensation pick (#35) for the Atlanta Braves back in 2003, as a result of the Mets signing Tom Glavine. When he was drafted out of Puerto Rico, the Braves saw a skinny pitcher with excellent movement on his fastball and expected that he would continue to progress and increase velocity as he matured. The Braves were hoping he would turn into a 93-94 mph pitcher but that failed to materialize, as he tops out at 88-89 mph. The Braves also loved his mound presence and competitiveness, making him the Braves highest rank Puerto Rican player in the draft that year. However, he suffered an elbow injury in 2006, underwent Tommy John Surgery, and was traded shortly thereafter to the Nationals for Daryle Ward.

    Atilano is a strike-thrower, but hardly a strike out pitcher (4.8 K/9 through eight minor league seasons, and 4.55 K/9 this year). He attacks the hitter, works fast, and keeps the ball down, resulting in a lot of ground balls. He rarely walked hitters in the minors (< 2 W/9 the last two years), but so far in the majors he’s walking too many (5.2 W/9). As I said earlier, he features a 88-89 tailing fastball (ton of movement), an above-average change-up (80 mph), and has added a slider to a below average curveball. The lack of the third pitch was what has prevented him from being a serious prospect in the past. Baseball America has him ranked as the Nationals 20th prospect coming into this year. He took the rotation spot of injured Jason Marquis.

    So far this year, he has started five games, pitched 27 2/3 innings, and is 3-0 with a 3.90 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. When he faced the Mets 10 days ago, he went 5 1/3 innings without allowing a run, let up five hits, walked two and struck out five. In his last start versus the Rockies, he went five innings, let up four hits, walked four, and allowed two home runs resulting in three runs. He is getting lucky so far, as his FIP is 5.23; he needs to cut down on the walks in order to have sustainable success in the big leagues.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Game 41: Another unhappy Recap.

    Despite a great individual effort from Angel Pagan (inside the park HR and a Triple Play), the Mets bullpen blows the game and lose 5-3.

    • The Mets offense struggled again, getting only 5 hits
      • Reyes and Castillo were 0-8 combined at the top of the line-up
        • Nationals 1st two hitters were on base 4 times
    • R.A. Dickey threw 6 innings, allowed 2 runs and struck out 4, while 9 hitters reached base (4 walks)
    • F Nieve got one out, but allowed 2 hits and walked another
      • He has walked > 5.8/9 innings, which is unacceptable for anyone, especially a reliever
        • He simply isn't effective any more. All the work in April may have taken it's toll
    • Oliver Perez walked A Dunn in relief, but then got a soft liner to end the inning
    • F Tatis hit a HR in the top of the 9th
    • Livan Hernandez saw his ERA raise up to 1.62, but still threw 6 1/3 and only allowed 2 runs.
      • The magic show continues
    Mets try to split the series tomorrow John Maine vs Luis Atilano, 7:10 PM. The Mets are 1-6 on this road trip, in last place and 6 games behind the 1st place Phillies...

    Game 41. Mets @ Nationals

    Here is the line-up that will face the ageless RHP Livan Hernandez:

    J Reyes SS
    L Castillo 2B
    J Bay LF
    I Davis 1B
    A Pagan CF
    J Francoeur RF
    F Tatis 3B (has had 1 at-bat in the past 10 days)
    H Blanco C
    R Dickey P

    My Prediction: Mets win 6-3 as the Mets finally hit Livan

    Scouting Report, 40-man roster R.A. Dickey

    R.A. Dickey - #36

    35 years old
    7th major league season
    6'2" 215 pounds
    Bats R/Throws R

    The Good: He's a knuckleballer. He has a 2.23 ERA in AAA this year for Buffalo in over 60 innings. He has a great strike-out to walk rate (4.5 K/BB). Retired 27 hitters in a row one game this year, after allowing a lead-off single. Throws an 84 mph fastball 25% of the time, and his knuckleball is around 74 mph (10+ mph harder than most knuckleballs). He also occasionally throws a change-up. He throws a lot of strikes.

    The Bad: He's a knuckleballer. He turned into primarily a knuckleball pitcher in 2005. His lowest ERA was last year with the Twins where he was mainly a reliever, appearing in 35 games and had a 4.62 ERA. He was born without an Ulnar Collateral Ligament (the ligament replaced in Tommy John Surgery).

    Role: Primarily an insurance policy this spring training, but he has pitched great for Buffalo and is getting a spot start for Oliver Perez, and may stick around depending on his effectiveness/injuries (Niese). Can wind up saving the bullpen if he is effective, as he can throw almost every day (Unlike F Nieve).

    Here is a video I took of him in Spring Training. Sorry for the shakiness. (Also try to view the video as a "pop-out, or view full screen" Some web browsers cut off the right side of the video. I'm trying to find a solution to this problem)

    Scouting Report RHP Livan Hernandez

    I've waited so long to do this scouting report because I widely assume that every single baseball fan knows 35-year old Livan Hernandez, and everyone knows his throws slow, slower and slowest as his pitches these days. I'm not going to highlight his career stats or anything, as he has changed as a pitcher over the past 15 years and the data from his early starts against the Mets are meaningless. His career ERA is 4.39 and it hasn't been under 4.0 since 2005; his WHIP hasn't been lower than 1.5 since 2005 as well.

    So now I present you with his stats for this year: Seven starts, 4-2 record with a 1.46 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Someone explain that to me?

    Looking at his pitch data, the only thing he has changed is that he is throwing more 2-seam fastballs than in the past. His fastball averages about 84 mph, change-up 78 mph, slider 79 mph and curve-ball (eephus) 65 mph.

    Digging deeper into his stats for this year, he has been getting very lucky, as his FIP is 4.90, or in other words, 'typical Livan'. He is striking out a career low 3.1 K/9, and allowing a completely unsustainable BABIP of .197 (average is .300), which is completely fluky. He also has a 98% LOB%, which is also unsustainable, as league average is around 70% (his career is 72%).

    His two losses have come against the Colorado Rockies, against whom he's allowed four home runs in 14 innings. He has faced the Mets once this year on April 11th, and shut them out over seven innings, allowing five hits and walking three, while striking out one.

    Livan Hernandez is due for a serious regression to the mean, and hopefully it starts tonight.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Mets waste a Great Starting Pitching Effort

    Mets lose 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th, after Feliaciano let up a base hit to McCann, Mejia comes in and walks a guy, then lets up a chopper to D Wright that he throws a way and the winning run scores.

    Johan throws seven solid innings, only allowing a two-run home run to Troy Glaus and ended his outing retiring 13 straight hitters. Feliciano threw a solid 8th inning.

    Frenchy and Ike Davis hit solo home runs to tie the game at 2. The Mets only had five hits for the game.

    Mets face Livan Hernandez to start a two-game series in Washington tomorrow night.

    Game 40. Mets @ Braves

    Mets look to sweep the series from the Braves and get back to .500. This is the line-up that will be facing RHP Kris Medlen:

    UPDATED LINE UP: Barajas was scratched with a stomach virus.

    Jose Reyes, SS
    Luis Castillo, 2B
    Chris Carter, LF
    David Wright, 3B
    Ike Davis, 1B
    Angel Pagan, CF
    Jeff Francoeur, RF
    Henry Blanco, C
    Johan Santana, P

    Original Line-up:
    J Reyes SS
    L Castillo 2B (Mets 2nd baseman have hit in the 2-hole every game this year)
    C Carter LF
    D Wright 3B
    I Davis 1B
    R Barajas C
    A Pagan CF (wasn't he the lead-off hitter for 30+ games)
    J Francoeur RF (Jerry, "because that's the spot you can be a free-swinger")
    J Santana P

    Jerry, did you just realize Francoeur is a free-swinger?!? He hasn't changed a single bit since arriving to the Mets last year, but this is the first time you have hit him 8th. Did some one else in the meeting today tell you to do/say that?

    My prediction: Mets win 3-2 again, as Johan goes 7+ innings, and the Mets win the first five games of the year versus the Braves.

    As always, LET'S GO METS!

    Couple Loose Ends from Today

    • It now looks like Mejia will not be sent to the minors until Igarashi is activated, so the Mets will need to make a roster move to bring up RA Dickey tomorrow (Niese to the DL?)
      • Better not send down Chris Carter
    • They are apparently still trying to convince Oliver Perez to go to the minors
      • I like the effort, but would be shocked if he does go (which he would do if he actually cared about the team)
    • Takahashi will try to throw 85-90 pitches on Friday versus the Yankees
      • Against the patient Yankees team, that may only be 4-5 innings, and that it less than ideal
        • Hopefully Dickey will be available in relief on Friday if needed
    • Mets 1st round pick last year, LHP Steve Matz from Long Island underwent Tommy John Surgery today at Hospital for Special Surgery. 
      • Wish the 18-year old a speedy recovery

    J Mejia being demoted on Wednesday??

    Adam Rubin of ESPN New York is reporting that the coinciding roster move to bring up RA Dickey for Wednesday's start will be to demote J Mejia in order to groom him to be a starting pitcher.

    My Take: Wow, the Mets are making another smart decision. This is going to leave the major league bullpen short-handed in the short-term (without Takahashi & Mejia and adding O Perez), but Igarashi will be activated shortly. But this is the best long-term scenerio for both the Mets and for J Mejia. #1 or 2 starters are a lot more valuable than 60 innings of a closer/bullpen arm. I am concerned that the Mets are thinking Mejia will be able to come back and start for the Mets this year. He is going to need a lot more seasoning than that in my opinion, as his secondary pitches have not been effective/utilized as much as he will need as a starter facing the same hitters three times throughout the game. This year he has thrown his fastball > 80% of his pitches.  Mejia will also work on refining his control (4.15 W/9 this year). Another concern is to be wary of a significant increase in the number of innings, as Mejia only threw 94 minor league innings last year, and the 20-year old is not past the injury nexus yet.

    But again, this is a big step in the right direction.  The brain trust meeting in Atlanta yesterday so far has produced positive results if this source is indeed true.

    Scouting Report, RHP Kris Medlen

    The 24-year old Kris Medlen made his major league debut last year in May, after going 5-0 with a sub 1 ERA in AAA (he got the promotion before T Hanson). The converted college shortstop (drafted in the 10th round in 2006) worked exclusively out of the bullpen his first two years, but excelled in the Arizona Fall League and the Braves moved him to the starting rotation last year. He appeared in 37 games for the Braves last year, starting four games, and had a 4.26 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. He pitched versus the Mets three times in relief last year, throwing 5 1/3 shutout innings, allowing five hits and one walk, striking out five.

    The 5'11" Medlen throws 90-94, but usually settles into 90-91 when he's starting. He features a plus change-up (81 mph), and also mixes in an average curve-ball (80 mph). His fastball and change-up have been very successful in the big leagues. His strikeout rates have been outstanding in the minors (10 K/9), and is 9.2 K/9 in the majors, while having decent walk rates (4.0 W/9 last year, but 1.2 W/9 this year). He has fly ball tendencies, and the scouts are worried that his diminutive frame will not be able to withstand the stresses of being a starting pitcher full-time. He has the upside of a #3/4 starter.

    So far this year, he's made 13 relief appearances, and one start vs the Phillies. He's thrown 23 innings, allowed 25 hits and only three walks (outstanding) with 20 strike outs. His ERA is 2.35 and a 1.217 WHIP. Versus the Phillies he lasted 4 1/3 and allowed nine hits and one run, throwing 88 pitches.

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Game 39. Mets get a Huge Game from Big Pelf

    Put it in the books! For the 2nd time in four days I predicted the correct score. Maybe I should go to Vegas...

    The Mets snap their 5-game losing streak, as they win 3-2 behind a brilliant game from Pelfrey. He went 7 2/3 innings, gave up seven hits and two walks, but only two runs. He benefited from three double plays.
    • Feliciano came in in the 8th inning to face the heart of the line-up, and J Heyward got an infield single, Chipper Jones walked on four pitches, but McCann strike out after trying to get hit by the previous pitch
    • K-Rod made it interesting in the ninth by walking Escobar, but he got the save
    • R Barajas hit a two-run double in the 2nd inning and C Carter got the other RBI in the 6th inning
      • After which Chris Carter was taking out for a defensive replacement. IN THE 6TH INNING
        • You can't hit Carter 4th if you are going to take him out for a defensive replacement
        • Francoeur came up in a huge spot in the 8th inning and of course didn't come through

    Needed to get this win and try to sweep the short series tomorrow with the ace Johan tomorrow night vs K Medlen. Mets could start the year beating the Braves in all five games thus far.

    RA Dickey has been added to the Roster

    According to Kevin Burkhardt, RA Dickey is joining the team in Atlanta and has not officially been named the starter for Wednesday yet; no word on who is going to be demoted.

    More to come...

    Game 39: Starting Line-up, Mets @ Braves

    Here is the line-up that will face RHP Derek Lowe, as the Mets try to climb out of last place:

    J Reyes SS
    L Castillo 2B
    J Bay LF
    C Carter RF
    D Wright 3B
    I Davis 1B
    R Barajas C
    G Matthews Jr. CF
    M Pelfrey P

    My Prediction: I was all set to pick the Mets to win until I saw the bottom three of the line-up. I still think they will win, but it will be 3-2, as Pelfrey throws a good game to stop the bleeding.

    Scouting Report, RHP Derek Lowe

    The 36-year old RHP was a highly sought-after free agent last year, and wound up getting a four-year, $60 million contract. The Mets hesitated on giving an aging veteran such as Lowe a four-year contract, and if last year was an indication (which I do agree with), the Mets made the right decision. Although he went 15-10 in 34 starts last year, he gave up 232 hits in 194 innings and had a .301 batting average against. He had a 4.67 ERA and 1.52 WHIP, while also seeing his GB rate decrease to 66% (75% in 2007). For his career against the Mets, he has started seven times, and has 7.61 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP. He started five of those games last year with the Braves, and had a 6.94 ERA and 1.67 WHIP, with 10 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings.

    The 6’6” Lowe throws from a ¾ to low ¾ arm slot, and features a sinking 87-88 mph and a late-breaking slider (80 mph). He throws his fastball 75% of the time, his slider 15% of the time, and will throw an 84 mph change-up a few times a game. He rarely throws inside/backs hitters off the plate. He was never a strike out pitcher, but last year his rates decreased even further (5.1 K/9), and his walk rate increased from 1.9 W/9 to 2.9. As noted earlier, Lowe is a groundball pitcher but he started to leave the ball up in the zone more last year, and the hitters have taken advantage.

    This year, he has made eight starts and is 5-3, with a 5.73 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 44 innings (5.5 per start). His strikeout rate is the same as last year (5.1 K/9), but has seen an increase in walks (4.3 W/9), the highest in his 14-year career. He has allowed 4+ runs in four of his eight starts this year, and has only pitched six innings three times this year.

    Starting Pitcher for Wednesday?

    Who do you think should start on Wednesday for the Mets versus the Nationals?

    My original vote was for Takahashi, but since he needed to throw three innings yesterday in relief of injured Jon Niese, I don't think he will be ready.

    If you vote for other, please post your pick in the comment section. And no, Bobby Ojeda nor Ron Darling are available for this poll.

    Buster Olney and the Mets bullpen use

    This was from Buster's column today (Insider only), in which he highlights that the Mets bullpen has pitched the most innings in the majors, and the troubling signs that it signals.

    For the Mets, they are devastating, a sign of real trouble ahead; the Mets' bullpen has done terrific work overall, generating a 2.84 ERA. But Fernando Nieve is currently on track to throw in 98 games, which is like a marathoner sprinting full-speed in the first two miles of the 26.2-mile course; the signs of erosion in his performance already have been there. Similarly, Pedro Feliciano is on track to pitch in 90 games. And for the Mets, there are no signs that this ugly situation is going to get better, because Oliver Perez -- whose inability to pitch even halfway into games was killing the bullpen -- has been demoted to the bullpen, John Maine has been a complete enigma, and Jon Niese just got hurt.

    My Take: This is what everyone has been saying for two+ weeks, but it's always that much better when the national media finally realizes it. Just another reason why Jerry is on the hot seat and these next 10 games are critical.

    Niese Injures Hamstring

    The Mets starting rotation, and potentially the season, is in a state of flux/emergency, after Jon Niese hurt his right hamstring and had to leave the game yesterday. It is the same hamstring/spot where he had the surgery last year. He is in New York undergoing tests (MRI) and getting evaluated today to see if it the repair failed or if it was scar tissue that broke up and caused the pain. If it's only scar tissue, this is a non-issue and he may not even miss a start. If the repair failed, he may be done for the year; there is very little research data with a proximal hamstring repair on pitchers, and I doubt there is any data of the success rate if the surgery needs to be revised.

    With Perez moving to the bullpen (and refusing to go to the minors), Maine with a terrible start on Saturday and now this, the Mets are in dire need of some good news/good starting pitchers.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010

    Game 38 Brief Recap. Another Loss

    And the Mets got swept in a four game series. Mets lose 10-8. Start a two game series @ the Braves tomorrow. Pelfrey vs D Lowe.

    Game 38 Lineups: Mets @ Marlins

    Here is todays line-up who will face RHP R Nolasco.

    Pagan (how does he go from a #3 hitter to the 7 hitter in less than 24 hours?)

    Prediction: Nolasco dominates, mets lose 3-0

    Scouting Report RHP Ricky Nolasco

    The 27 year-old RHP Ricky Nolasco was drafted in the fourth round by the Cubs in 2001, and was traded by the Cubs in 2005 along with Sergio Mitre and Renyel Pinto for Juan Pierre. Think about that for a minute. Wow. He's in his fifth major league season with the Marlins, and has started 30+ games the past two years. He got sent down early last year, and since then he has been almost un-hittable. He was one of the best pitchers in the national league in the 2nd half of last year, with a FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching - a measure that runs on a similar scale to ERA but strips out factors such as defense, run and bullpen support) of 2.34 after June 7th. In 2008, he had a 3.52 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, which is what the Marlins are expecting in the future from Nolasco. He has had minor elbow and shoulder pain in the past (went on the DL in 2007), but no surgical history. He has swing-and-miss stuff (7.8 K/9 for his career, 9.5 K/9 last year), and minimizes walks (2.1 W/9 for his career). He's started 14 games against the Mets, and is 3-6 with a 5.82 ERA and 1.47 WHIP.

    Nolasco throws from a 3/4 arm slot and is a four-pitch pitcher, with a low 90s fastball (88-93 both a two and four seam) and a plus 85-mph slider with sharp & late break, as well as a 75-mph curveball and 85-mph split-finger fastball that he throws from the same release point as his fastball. His slider is one of the best in the majors, and he throws it 25% of the time. He had success with his split last year, but is struggling with it so far this year.

    So far this year, Nolasco is 3-2 in seven starts, with a 3.66 ERA and 1.09 WHIP (he's decreased his amount of walks to 1.74 W/9). He's gone 6+ innings in six of his seven starts, and has allowed three or less runs in five of those games. In his first start of the year versus the Mets, he threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and only six base runners.

    Saturday, May 15, 2010

    Mets lose 7-5. 4th straight loss, and fall to 4th place

    John Maine walked four guys in the 1st inning (including 12 straight balls to start the game), throwing 40 pitches in the process, and allowed three runs to score. Mets battled back to tie the game, including a monster home run by D Wright, but Maine gave the lead back and allowed six runs to score in his five innings pitched. He allowed seven hits and five walks, while needing 113 pitches to get 15 outs; another poor starting pitching performance. The one positive is that he hit 92 mph, so his velocity has started to return.

    • J Mejia was hit hard; he allowed three hits and one run in his one inning of work, while also striking out two in the 6th inning of a 6-3 game.
    • J Francouer was 0-4 (two k's), and his average dropped to .215. He needs a day/week/year off.
    • J Reyes got a bunt base hit; his first infield hit this year.
    • D Wright was 2-3, with another K.
    • R Barajas made an inexcusable base-running mistake in the 9th inning trying to stretch a single into a double down THREE runs, with NO outs. 
      • This has happened way too often this year
        • Jerry going to say he's happy as long as it's an "aggressive" play??
    Mets will try to salvage a game of this four-game series tomorrow afternoon, but they face an uphill battle, as Jon Niese faces Ricky Nolasco at 1:10 PM. The Mets now have lost all five of their road series this year.

    Game 37. Mets @ Marlins

    Mets shake up their line-up tonight, as they face LHP Nate Robertson.

    Jose Reyes, SS (returns "home")
    Luis Castillo, 2B
    Angel Pagan, CF
    Jason Bay, LF
    David Wright, 3B
    Ike Davis, 1B
    Jeff Francoeur, RF
    Rod Barajas, C
    John Maine, RHP

    My prediction: This is another game like game 1 of this series (toss up game), and I unfortunately think it will be the same result: another Mets loss. Mets offense scores some runs, but not enough, as they lose 6-4.


    Roster moves, GMJ?

    No, Gary Matthews Jr. has not been designated for assignment yet, sorry to get your hopes up with that title. But I know a lot of Mets fans are clamoring for a change and want GMJ off this team. The main reason he is on the team still is because he has the ability to play center field, something that no one else outside of Angel Pagan can do in Beltran's absence. So do the Mets have anyone in AAA that can play CF? They determined last year that Fernando Martinez was no longer capable of playing CF and moved him to a RF. But he isn't even an option, as he is once again on the DL with a hamstring injury. The Buffalo CF is currently Jason Pridie, and there has been some people want him brought up. Since he is on the 40-man roster, I did a scouting report on him in Spring Training. Here is the scouting report from late March, and let's look at his stats to see if anything has changed.

    Jason Pridie- #92

    26 years old
    3rd major league season (11 games)
    6'1" 205 pounds
    Bats L/Throws R

    The Good: He is fast, and stole 25 bases last year (100+ SB over the past 4 years), and can play all three outfield positions well (Totalzone, which is the main fielding metric for the minor leagues, has him at +63 over the past 4 years). Has gap power and hit 16 triples in 2008 (5 in 121 games in 2009).

    The Bad: Walks too little, strikes out too much (85 k's, 19 walks last year, 152 ks and 30 walks in 2008). Was originally a Devils Ray pick, released after 2 years, picked up by the Twins and was released after 2 years. Doesn't have the plate discipline to succeed as of now.

    Role: Another 4th or 5th outfielder in the Jeremy Reed mold; will spend most/all of the year in AAA waiting for an injury/seeing if he can stop striking out so much.

    2010 Season: .281/.331/.377, but has 34 strikeouts in 146 at bats versus 11 walks. He is hitting .162 versus LHP and has only one extra base hit in 37 at bats. He has nine stolen bases versus three caught stealing

    Obviously I haven't been able to watch Jason Pridie play in Buffalo this year, but judging on his stats, he has not changed much from my scouting report in Spring Training.

    Why Ollie Lost? Let me count the ways..

    Here is a terse recap from ESPN TMI Blog (insider only) with some interesting numbers from last night

    Why Mets starter Oliver Perez lost:
    - Couldn't finish off hitters. Florida batters got two hits and drew three walks when Perez already had two strikes on them. Previous opponents hit only .125 in two-strike counts.
    - Left too many pitches in the strike zone. On Friday, 53.4 pct hit the zone, and Florida hitters went 9-for-17 against them.
    - Left the ball up in the zone. More than a third of his pitches were high, and the Marlins went 5-for-9 including two homers against those.

    We will see what the Mets choose to do with Oliver Perez today, if he will accept a minor league assignment (he can refuse), if they make up an injury (but that will be difficult because after the game he proclaimed he is fully healthy), or if they try to skip his turn in the rotation and hide him in the bullpen (which will just tax the other arms even more).

    Takahashi has earned the spot start IF he has the ability to throw five + innings, but his longest outing was April 27th and that was 3 1/3. More recently he had worked in four games in five days (May 8, 10, 11 and 12th).

    RA Dickey could be called up as an insurance policy to eat innings in case Takahashi tires quickly. Don't expect miracles out of Dickey even though his AAA stats are great; his major league career ERA is upwards of 5.5. Even though he isn't on the 40-man roster currently, the Mets have one or two open spots (assuming they transfer K Escobar to the 60-day DL).

    Scouting Report, LHP Nate Robertson

    The Marlins acquired the 32 year-old LHP from the Tigers at the end of spring training, and the Tigers are paying 9.6 of his 10 million dollar salary. He was drafted by the Marlins back in 1999 in the 5th round and was traded to the Tigers in 2003. For his career, he has a 5.17 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. He's only struck out 6 per 9, and walks 3 per 9. He's been a below average pitcher over the course of his career. He has had a myriad of injuries (he was on the DL twice last year, with a lower back strain in May and elbow surgery in July), and also had off-season groin surgery. Last year he had a 5.44 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in only 49 innings, but had a 3.77 ERA in his 29 innings after his July surgery. He's faced the Mets twice, and has a 2.13 ERA and 0.87 WHIP.

    Robertson is mainly a three-pitch pitcher, featuring an 88-mph fastball, a slider and a change-up. His 81-mph change-up was his best pitch last year, but none of his pitches have been plus this year. He occasionally throws a curve-ball.

    So far this year, he's 3-3 in his 7 starts, throwing 35 2/3 innings, with a 4.54 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. He's only gone 6+ innings twice in his seven starts. In his first start versus the Mets this year, he went five innings, allowed one run on six hits and no walks, striking out four. He's walking > 4.5 W/9 this year, which is very high for someone who doesn't strike people out (5.8 K/9 this year)

    He will be opposed tonight by John Maine, 7:10 start on WPIX.

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Mets lose again, back to .500

    Mets lost tonight to fall to 18-18. I hate when I'm right, but I predicted this afternoon the Mets would lose 7-2. It's very rare that I hit it right on the head, so I like to point it out when I do.

    In case you missed the game, all you need to know is that Oliver Perez got 10 outs, but allowed SEVEN runs, including FOUR home runs (9 hits, 3 walks). The game was essentially over after that, but the Mets bullpen held down the fort over the next 4 1/3 innings.

    Pagan was 1-4 and drove in the only two Mets runs.
    Reyes 0-4
    D Wright 0-3 with 2 strike outs
    J Francoeur 0-4. Now batting .222

    I really enjoyed seeing our best prospect (Mejia) in the 8th inning of a 7-2 game Jerry. That was an important inning for his development. Unreal.

    Mets-Marlins resume their series and the Mets try to win a game in this four game series tomorrow night, 7:10 PM. John Maine vs Nate Robertson is the pitching match-up
    Ollie P 3 1/3 innings, 7 runs. thanks for playing and stealing a paycheck from the Mets every two weeks.

    Game 36. Mets @ Marlins

    Here is the line-up that will face RHP Anibal Sanchez:

    Angel Pagan, CF
    Luis Castillo, 2B
    Jose Reyes, SS
    Jason Bay, LF
    David Wright, 3B
    Ike Davis, 1B
    Jeff Francoeur, RF
    Rod Barajas, C
    Oliver Perez, LHP

    So the line-up did not change tonight.

    My prediction: My feelings haven't changed from last night, and the Mets will lose 7-2 and extend their losing streak to three games.

    Here was a great stat I saw from Eric Simon of ESPN New York.
    Through the 20-inning game:

    .381 BA, .714 Slug pct, 1.165 OPS, 4 K, 7 BB

    Since Then

    .150 BA, .225 Slug Pct, .430 OPS, 19 K, 3 BB

    That's worrisome stuff right now, and what's worse is this: Since that 20-inning game, Francoeur has more strikeouts (19) than total bases (18).

    FYI, that game versus the Cardinals was April 17th, or four weeks from tomorrow. And the Mets continually trot a guy out there who has hit worse than most pitchers over the past month.

    Couple Thoughts for the Day

    1) I know every one is up in arms about Reyes failure to get the bunt down last night, and rightfully so. It's inexcusable for a major league all-star not to be able to put a bunt down on four attempts in the past few days. So don't view this as me defending Jose Reyes. BUT, why on Earth is our "#3 hitter" being asked to bunt with a runner on 2nd base and 0 outs? In that situation you have to play to score multiple runs, not try to settle for one run, especially when your 4 and 5 hitters strike out like it's their job and there is no guarantee they can hit a sacrifice fly. There's no other team in baseball that asks their #3 hitter (which is where the best hitter hits in an ideal line-up) to lay down a bunt in that situation. And if Reyes isn't our best hitter, then it still is on Jerry Manuel for not constructing the line-up correctly.

    2) Jeff Francoeur's OBP is .295, which is disgusting, but what's even worse is that two Mets regulars have an even worse OBP. Reyes .275, and Barajas .274. It's very tough to construct an effective line-up when you have 4 guys (including the pitcher) that doesn't get on base even 30% of the time. As a comparison, the only Phillies regular under .300 OBP is Victoriano (his career is OBP is .343).

    3) F Nieve not only is throwing every day, but now is expected to go multiple innings Jerry? I've never seen anyone outside of Joe Torre mismanage/ruin bullpens like this.

    That's all I have for today, I could go on forever, but I don't want to beat the dead horse any more.

    Scouting Report, RHP Anibal Sanchez

    The 26-year old Sanchez is in his 5th major league season with the Marlins. He was signed by the Red Sox in 2001 as an amateur free agent in Venezuela, and was traded in 2005 in the Hanley Rameriz and Josh Beckett deal. In 2006 he took the league by storm, going 10-3, with a 2.83 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 114 innings, including a no-hitter. Since that year, he has totaled 203 innings in the last 3+ years. He has a checkered medical history, as he had Tommy John Surgery in 2003, and two shoulder surgeries, along with two DL stints last year for a shoulder sprain. He proclaims this year that he is completely healthy. After returning from the DL last year in August, he was very good, holding batters to a .212 batting average against, and a 2.68 ERA in 50 innings. For his career, he has a 3.89 ERA and 1.46 WHIP, with average strikeout rates, but high walk rates (4.25 W/9).  Against the Mets, he is 2-3, with a 4.22 ERA and 1.625 WHIP in six starts.

    Sanchez has a fluid delivery and throws from a 3/4 arm slot. He is a four-pitch pitcher, featuring a low 90s fastball (he will add and subtract on his fastball, and throw it up and down in the zone), a plus slider (83 mph), as well as a curve-ball and an excellent change-up. He throws his fastball 50% of the time, slider 25%, while mixing in his curve and change equally (11-12%). His two best pitches are his slider and change-up.

    So far this year, he's 1-2, with a 4.08 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. He isn't striking many hitters out this year (5.3 K/9), but has suffered some bad luck (.343 BAPIP). He's gone 6+ innings in five of his six starts this year and allowed only one home run thus far.

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    Mets lose yet again, 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th.

    Johan throws a great game (7 innings 0 earned runs), but the Mets lose as Jerry Manuel doesn't use his best reliever (K-Rod) in a high leverage situation because it wasn't a save situation.  Manuel's decision making skills are terrible. That's all I have to say about this game.

    Mets throw Oliver Perez vs RHP Anibal Sanchez tomorrow, 7:10 PM start. You can count on another loss tomorrow, and the losing streak will hit three.

    Game 35- Mets @ Marlins

    Here is the line-up that will face RHP Josh Johnson (be sure to check out his scouting report from earlier today).

    A Pagan CF
    L Castillo 2B
    J Reyes SS
    J Bay LF
    D Wright 3B
    I Davis 1B
    J Francoeur RF
    R Barajas C
    J Santana P

    My prediction: This is going to be a classic pitcher's duel, and I'm not sure who is going to come out on top. So if it's a 50/50 game, I will go with the home team, as Marlins beat the Mets 3-2.

    Let's Go Mets! (please prove me wrong)

    My tardy recap of Target Field

    That sums up my Target Field experience.  The Minnesota Twins fans are awesome and truly love their team. I've been to 20+ major league stadiums/cities, and I believe the Twins are in the top 3 of the best fans in baseball if they aren't the best.

    I went to the Saturday night game of a day/night double header versus the Orioles. The pitching match-up was Scott Baker vs Kevin Millwood. I was hoping to see Liriano work, but he threw the day game and Scott Baker threw very well so I can't complain. (FYI, click on any of the pictures to make them bigger)

    The Good:
    • Again, the fans were terrific. They applauded the "little things" and made them "big things." 
      • The standing ovation for Mauer's pinch hitting appearance was one of the coolest things I've seen live at a ball game
        • Even after he struck out, there were many cheers as he walked back into the dugout
      • The only time anyone booed all game was when a person in a Green Bay Packers sweatshirt was on the scoreboard
    • Target Field is very clean and the wide concourses make it easy to navigate around the stadium.
      • I love the positioning of the bullpens and how you can watch the pitchers warm up from a "bird's eye view"
    • All the Twins employees were friendly and really wanted to make it a positive experience.
    • Scott Baker had no-hit stuff early, but lost it due to poor communication between Span and the RF
      • Luke Scott hit an absolute bomb later in the game to get rid of the "what-ifs"
    • Sat in section 112, row 26. It was close enough to the heaters that even though it was mid-40s temperature, I didn't feel cold with just a sweatshirt.
      • The TVs in the sections really aided to the ballpark experience, especially being able to see replays of close pitches/plays. 
      • Here is a view from the seats

    The Bad:
    • I understand the Twins felt the need to tidy up the ball park after the first game, but they didn't open the gates until 6PM for a 7:00 start, and the lines to get in were long at every gate.
      • Being my first and probably only time going to the new stadium, I wanted as much time as I could to examine each of the features of the park
    • The concession lines were very slow, as I missed an inning plus of the game to get a Murray Steak Sandwich 
      • For those who plan on going to Target Field, you can skip the Murray Steak Sandwich. It's overpriced and didn't even taste good. Disappointing
    • Something needs to be done about exiting on the light rail after the game
      • It's great that it's so convenient and literally 100 feet from the stadium, but it was quicker to walk a mile and get the train at the next stop or two then to wait on the line just to get on the rail.
    Overall, it was a very positive experience and the Twins and the city did a nice job with the ballpark, especially placing it near plenty of restaurants downtown. It is not my #1 ballpark as some analysts have said over the past few weeks, but it is an enjoyable place to watch a game.

    Here are a couple other pics from the game, enjoy!

    Scouting Report, RHP Josh Johnson

    The 26-year old RHP is in his 6th major league season, and last year took a big step to realizing his potential and becoming an ace of the staff, and one of the best pitchers in baseball. He was a 4th round pick out of high school in 2002. His career has been slowed by injuries (Tommy John surgery cut short his 2007 and 2008 season), and he has only started 20+ games twice in his career (2006 and 2009). Last year he was 15-5, with a 3.23 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, and 22-6 since returning from Tommy John Surgery. He has averaged > 8 k/9 and < 3.3 W/9 for his career, while also posting an impressive ground ball %. For his career versus the Mets, he is 7-1 in 10 starts, with a 2.69 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.

    Josh Johnson is 6'7" and throws straight over the top, almost throwing straight down to the hitter. He is a three pitch pitcher, throwing a 93-97 mph fastball, an 88 mph slider with sharp and late bite (28% of pitches), and an occassional 86 mph change-up that sinks away from left-handers. He has increased his use of the slider over the past few years, and his velocity increased after coming back from Tommy John Surgery (pre-surgery he was throwing 92 mph).

    This year Johnson has continued to throw well, as he is 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 47 strike outs in 43 innings. He has pitched 6+ innings in his last five starts. When he faced the Mets on Opening Day, he was battling the after-effects of the flu and didn't pitch effectively (5 innings, 4 runs, 5 hits, 4 walks, 3 ks), and took his first loss versus the Mets in his career. He has also hit .267 at the plate this year, including 4 RBIs.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Daniel Murphy Update

    According to rotoworld, D Murphy played 1B in an extended spring training game today, but needed a pinch runner any time he reached base.

    My take: It was 6 weeks from yesterday that he originally hurt his knee in a run down. It was diagnosed as a grade 1 MCL, with a time-frame of 2-6 weeks.

    Just sayin'...

    Jerry Manuel Post-Game re: Pelfrey

    Mike Pelfrey threw the ball well, ‘he gave us a chance to win.’

    5 2/3 innings (119 pitches), four runs, 10 base runners, and requiring the bullpen to get 10 outs (use four relief pitchers) is throwing the ball well??

    You have some high standards Jerry...

    And the Mets lose 2 of 3 to the Nats

    Mets lose a very tough game, 6-4, as they are still winless in the rubber game of the series this year.

    Big Pelf was terrible (5 2/3 innings, four runs, 10 base-runners) , and K-Rod let up a 2-run HR to R. Bernadina in the 9th inning (his 2nd HR of the game). In 110+ major league at bats prior to this game, he had zero career home runs. In fact, he had only 47 home runs in 2667 at bats in the minor leagues (one every 56.7 HR/at bat in case you were wondering). He was the Nationals #22 prospect according to Baseball America and he was a "Nyjer Morgan type player", with plus-plus speed and a good defensive player.

    This loss practically negates the big come from behind win last night.

    The 3rd place Mets (18-16) fly to Florida tonight and start a four game series versus the Marlins tomorrow night.

    Scouting Report, RHP Craig Stammen

    26-year old Craig Stammen made his major league debut last year, and started 19 games. He is in his 4th professional season and in his own words, started to "pitch instead of throw" in 2008. He doesn't strike anyone out (4.4 K/9), but also doesn't walk anyone either ( < 2 W/9). He is a ground-ball machine(> 65% the past two years), and his greatest comp is teammate Chien-Ming Wang. He had a 5.11 ERA last year, with a 1.29 WHIP. He faced the Mets three times last year, with a 1-2 record, with 17 innings pitched and a 4.67 ERA, 1.33 WHIP.

    His repertoire features a 90 mph fastball, 85 mph slider, along with a curve-ball (79 mph) and change-up (84 mph). He is also throwing his fastball less this year (53% vs 70% last year), and increased the usage of his slider (26% vs 2%).

    He has made six starts this year and has a 1-1 record, with a 5.63 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He's only pitched more than five innings in three of those starts.