What an unbelievable game to complete the sweep of the Yankees. The Mets gave up the lead twice and took it back both times on clutch homeruns. All this despite Stanton's best efforts to assist his old team for the second night in a row. The Mets found a way to overcome his extreme lack of skill. Wiggie hit two dingers, one of which was the game winning RBI in the eighth, Hidalgo continues to punish pinchers, and Seo pitched a great game. The Yankees actually doubled the Mets hits with 16 and managed only five runs. A key to the game was the Mets pitching only walking two and the Yankees staff walked seven. Vazquez threw a ton of balls and had 113 pitches in five innings and walked five people himself. He did not have his best stuff and was lucky to only give up four runs. The game had some controversy for the second day in row (the first being the bases loaded looking strikeout from Franco to Posada on Saturday night) when in the eighth inning Posada was hit with a ground ball that ricocheted off Piazza. Torre then disagreed and played the rest of the game under protest. I say screw you Torre, he was out. Deal with it.
Kaz had a good day at the plate reaching base 3 out of 5 times walking twice and getting one hit while adding a stolen base. That was the good part. The bad part was he added another error and showed off his wet noodle arm again. He could not throw out Jason Phillips from the hole between SS and 3B on his best day. He does a good job getting there, but has virtually no chance of actually completing the play. Every time it happens, I think about Reyes' cannon arm making the play. I know nothing will be done this year, but something better get done next year.
Piazza actually made a good play in the field, I was astonished. He turned a DP that he started and finished. He made a nice place to field the ball at first, made a nice throw down to second base and got back to the bag to receive the ball from Kaz. The double plays really saved the Mets today and proved to the difference in my eyes.
Oh yeah, Jeter would not stop touching every person who touched second base. It was so noticeable that even my girlfriend pointed it out to me. You draw you own conclusions from this one.
After the loss today, you kind of new of how the Yankee fans would take it.
Yes, these are things I heard.
"What happened in 2000?"
"These games did not matter"
"We'd rather beat Boston, they are in our division"
"You'll be watching football come October"
There were more, but these were just a few.
Yes, I know the Yankees have officially shut down until October according to their fans, but I do not buy it. No player wants to lose any games, especially ones of this nature. Just by the sheer crowd involvement any player who has any type of competitive edge gets pumped. Obviously the Philly series coming up this week is more important for us, but these are still huge. There is no way the Yankees wanted to get abused by the Mets and have them score 27 runs in three games on their staff. Please, when the Yankees swept the crappy 2003 Mets, they were sounding a bit different than "these games did not matter anyway". If they did not matter, why did so many Yankee fans even show up? Cause they do matter. Besides, this series should teach them a few things. For all the money spent on their team, their pitching is in big trouble, their defense is shoddy, and their cleanup hitter disappears when people are in scoring position and is hitting .213 in such a situations. A-Rod had a forgettable 0-10 series at Shea and Yankee fans are already complaining about him on WFAN. That last thing I need to hear are complaining Yankee fans. They have gotten whatever they wanted wrapped up and given to them. Fact is, they just have trouble admitting that the Mets are a pretty good team this year. The Yankees losing to the Mets cannot possibly have been due to the Mets being good, but the Yankees not playing hard or not caring. The Mets are two games out and have played over 80 games. Everyone keeps waiting for the pitching to start going downhill, but they may be waiting for a while. The Mets are good, and they will be around playing for something in September. This team just has to make you feel good and are better than they get credit for. They may not be the most sexy roster around, but they are proving to be really effective.
Oh, and I know all Yankee fans are not like this, but the bad ones give EVERY Yankee fan a bad name.
Mike Piazza and Tom Glavine will be making an appearance at the All-Star game and both are well deserved. Our two representatives are future hall of famers and it feels good.
The Mets are two games out of first with thirteen games against the Marlins and Phillies coming up. Put or shut up time has come with Glavine, Leiter and Trachs all going in the four game series starting today. I want to see a tie for first place by Wednesday morning.
Al Leiter is continuing to dominate. He has won his last two decisions and is 3-0 in his last five decisions. His ERA is now down to 2.12 and is coming off two big wins against the Yankees and the Reds in which he gave up three runs in 13.1 innings. He has not always looked pretty doing it, but he has been getting it done in a major way.
I can officially say that I was wrong about Hidalgo. While I had my reasons and what I thought to be a reasonable argument, I was way off. Whatever is going on, I like it. In around 70% less at-bats with the Mets than he had with the Astros, he has already hit more homeruns, almost double in fact. He has drilled seven over the wall in sixteen games including homeruns in four consecutive games which ties a club record. On top of that, he is hitting a nifty .351.
Ever since the Mets let Denny Walling go, the Mets have found their stroke. In 17 games since Don Baylor getting the job, the Mets have scored six runs or more 14 times. They are 11-6 during that stretch and have reached double digit runs three times after only reaching double digit runs twice in the previous 63 games. On top of that the Mets have hit 20 homeruns in their last seven games. The Mets still hold the league lead in ERA. So, if they can both keep both ends going they should finally put .500 behind them.
Tom Glavine lost his last two decisions after surrendering no more than two earned runs in both games. He is now 7-5 with a 2.16 ERA. The Mets must not like him too much. He just cannot catch a break. Over his last ten starts, he has only surrendered more than two runs, twice and has only three wins to show for it. He has to be frustrated at this point. I'm sure after the recent offensive onslaught he is hoping they saved some for him.
From what I've seen, Jose Reyes is getting under too many balls. He is not hitting as many balls on the ground as he was in 2003. His ratio is close to one to one so far this year (17 ground balls to 15 fly balls). Last year, he was hitting a bit above 1.5 ground balls to 1 fly ball. Until he heats up, he should be trying to hit balls to the left side of the infield but instead he is hitting fly balls or grounders to the right side. Strangely enough, he still has that uncanny ability to hit with runners in scoring position. He is hitting .364 in such situations. I have no doubt he will catch on, and when he does the hits will come in bunches.
Trachsel is 7-2 with a 1.59 ERA at home and is 1-4 with a 7.88 ERA away. He has also surrendered only two homeruns at home and ten home runs on the road. Weird, very weird. I know Shea is a pitcher's park, but c'mon.
The Mets are ranked 28th in the league in fielding percentage, but the Yankees are not far ahead holding tight at 24th in the league in fielding percentage. In addition the Yankees being one of the worst fielding clubs in the majors, they are 18th in the league in ERA. How does a $180,000,000 team have two tremendously large holes? I'm not sure.
Kaz Matui's first five homeruns were all hit in the first inning leading off games. On Friday he managed to hit two in innings other than the first. It was beginning to look like quite a bizarre streak. Oh, he also went 3 for 4 on Saturday and 1 for 3 on Sunday. Hopefully he responds to comments made by Donald Trump who was on ESPN's Budweiser Hot Seat and called Kaz out by name as being a bust. Although, any comment Trump made should be discredited as the said there should be a money cap in baseball and that Steinbrenner and the Yankees are good for baseball in back to back sentences. I know he is buddy, buddy with George, but can you be more contradictive? Maybe that hairspray seeped into his brain. I mean the biggest bust in New York is Georgie's own Jose Contreras and not our very own Kaz.
I have to say, that I am very happy with Duquette so far. He has had a plan, stuck to it and improved the team without doing anything to jeopardize the future. His win now and rebuild philosophy has strangely worked out. His ability to shed dead weight for decent returns last year, his free agent signings that did not cost any draft picks and his strengthening of the team this year without giving anything up has put the Mets in a great position. A chance to compete this year with the farm system to help succeed and sustain success in the future. He will really put his stamp on the team with whatever else deal he works before the trade deadline and the free agency 2005 period. He can really put the Mets in a position to actually steal some limelight away for the Bronx by making some noise.
This tidbit was noted in Friday's game. Shea is actually the fifth oldest stadium in the majors. With Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium, and Dodger Stadium the only older venues. Anyone see a pattern? Three out of the four older stadiums are almost national monuments and Dodger Stadium is actually in very good shape with the renovations that were made over the years.
Note to Bloomberg, screw any plans for a West Side football stadium, and hook the Mets up.
Look, I'm big enough of person to be able to admit when I wrong, which is all to often lately. Here are the last three things I was wrong about:
1) Hidalgo has turned out to be a good acquisition. Whatever it was, change of scenery or Don Baylor's expertise, he is hitting the ball and hitting it far.
2) Don Baylor seems to be working out quite well. I had made the statement that I was unsure hitting coaches have as much as an impact as pitching coaches, but it seems that I was way off on that one.
3) I had said that Abe Simpson had claimed he invented the question mark, but it was indeed Dr. Evil.
In one of the bizarre happenings while I was gone, Scott Erickson had managed to give up no runs in 7.2 innings of work. This can only mean bad things for us Met fans. One more good outing and his address may be 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, NY 11354.
Prentice Redman was moved down to AA again to make room for that hot-prospect Gerald Williams. Just plain ridiculous. I'm not sure how this is positive for the Mets organization in any aspect. I realize he cooled off a bit after his torrid start, but he still deserves to be at AAA and not AA. He is turning 25 this year which is way to old for AA. If he is considered a prospect in any form, he needs to be at AAA at his age.
Matt Peterson pitched well while I was away. He went 5 innings, giving up two earned runs on nine hits, walked only one, and K'd eight against Trenton on Sunday the 28th. He followed that up in his next start this past Friday. He went 7 innings, surrendered three hits, no earned runs, three walks, and K'd five. It was one of his better outings of the year and it is always good to see guys in pitch counts go deep into the game. His ERA is now down to 3.21 and looking good.
Kazmir had a sharp game against Vero Beach. He went six innings, gave up three hits, no runs, walked three, and K'd five. His ERA is now 3.89 and is dropping faster than Matt Ginter's is rising. It is FINALLY looking respectable and has lost that ugly 4, 5, or 6 in front of the last two numbers in his ERA.
Probably some of the best news while I was away was Yusmeiro Freakin' Petit getting called up to St. Lucie. In his first game against Vero Beach, he did not fail to impress. He picked up where he left of and went four innings, giving up NO hits, NO runs, walking three, and striking out nine. This guy needs to be fast tracked with his ex-Cap City teammate Lastings Milledge. He is emerging as the best Mets pitching prospect with all the success he is having. He may not have the best stuff in the system but how can you argue with results?
Here is an interesting look at things by Ed Tsunoda from NYFansites. He speculates that the Mets may bring up Wright as soon as today. He also suggests that Brazell should brought up as well. While I like the idea of bringing Brazell up since he is an unknown quantity, the Mets are two games out and playing some of their best ball of the season. I would agree that he cannot do much worse than Phillips at the plate and would add legitimacy at the 1st base position that we have not had in while, but this is not the time to try something new. Bringing up Wright would certainly be a bold move and is much more plausible than a Brazell promotion. It does make sense that you bring him up after the Yankee series so he is not exposed to that pressure cooker. However, there are crucial series coming up against the Phillies and Marlins for a thirteen game stretch. That is not exactly experiment time unless a trade necessitated the move with spaces to fill at third and first if Wigginton and/or Phillips is/are moved. Unless a trade is made, I cannot see them bringing up two rookies to play vital roles unless a trade is made. Too much is going on and Wiggie is not proving to be a liability at this point. Wright has also cooled down a bit which certainly is not helping his situation. But Wiggie to the Bench and Wright to 3B makes no sense right now. If Wiggie goes cold as ice, I may change my mind later.
Wright and Petit are becoming fixtures on the prospect Hot Sheet. However, if you check out #17 Adrian Gonzalez, he is one of Duquette's worst non-moves. He was offered by the Marlins for Armando Benitez last year, but they wanted to get Jason Stokes instead. Stokes was the higher rated prospect at the time, but more so based on the fact that Gonzalez was injured. Gonzalez actually had the higher ceiling, but instead the Mets got Jason Anderson and Anderson Garcia. WOW!!! The guy we missed out on is hitting .423 with 31 RBIs in his last 20 games and has gold glove caliber talent with the leather. The Mets were scared off by his wrist injury. We all know how the Mets now feel about damaged goods. It's a shame too because the Mets could have had a tremendously young and talented infield for a good decade to come. Hindsight is 20/20, but this move looked like a no brainer at the time. This was a non-moved that aggravated me at the time.
* * * * * *
There was some All-Star madness that went on. Jason Giambi with a .239 average is the starting first baseman. I know the fans vote him in, but really. Let's get real. There is surplus of first baseman in the National League, but an obvious shortage in the American League. David Ortiz and Travis Hafner are much better, and Ortiz may start anyway since Giambi is having severe health issues. It is disappointing to me when the fans vote this ridiculous. There are always controversies, but some are just really lopsided. Jeter is another one. He was waaaaaaaaaaay outplayed by Guillen and Young, and is starting ahead of them. Shit, even Tejada was better and he did not even make the team. It was not like there were no other options, there were plenty. I just wish people would vote on who actually deserves it this given year. Another silly thing is that Tom Gordon has been selected. I just do not think middle relievers/set up men should be on the all-start team unless they are doing something that was never done before. K-Rod and Gordon made it and are both middle relievers. This is just my opinion, others may think I'm wrong, but that is too many middle relievers. To me, I just think starters should take the bulk of the pitching spots and closers the remainder with possibly one set-up man. There were others that had similar if not better numbers than Gordon who did not make the team. I mean Foulke was better and he was closer who was left off all together. Just another silly Torre pick.
The Tigers managed to hit three walk off homeruns in three consecutive games on July 26th, 27th, and 28th. They are five games under .500 and giving the fans in Detroit reason to tune in or go to the park. Actually, Pudge is making it impossible for Detroit fans to not pay attention. He is batting .376, 10 homeruns, and 57 RBIs. Unreal for a catcher who is at that age when they are supposed to slow down. He is 32 and looking as good as ever with the bat and earning his money this year.
There were rumors that Garciaparra may be traded for Matt Clement and end up in Chicago. If the Red Sox are going to compete, they need Nomar. The Red Sox no doubt need pitching too, but a healthy Nomar is what they need more. I know his road numbers are a bit down in the recent years and a bit off his career averages, but he is still a vital part to this team. They are 7.5 games behind the Yankees and are ranked fifth in the league for ERA while the Yankees are ranked eighteenth. If they improve their staff, they better do it without losing Nomar and go for a mid level guy like Aramas, Benson, or Oritz (Russ or Ramon).
According to ESPN, Ordonez signing an extension with Chicago is a not only a possibility, but something that looks like a strong possibility. With the recent trade in which the White Sox gave up outfield prospect Jeremy Reed and catcher Miguel Olivo for Freddy Garcia, it seems that losing Ordonez to free agency is no longer something that the White Sox can afford. With only departure of stud prospect Jeremy Reed, Joe Borchard is the only guy left ready to step into the majors in 2005. The White Sox would most likely not feel great about an outfield with Rowand, Lee, and Borchard with no one to fall back on. Also, I believe the White Sox will make a bid to reatain Freddy Garcia. They offered Colon 10 or 12 millions dollars this past off-season, and I see why they would not put up the money that would keep Garcia intact for 2005.
It is certainly worth noting that beers are 100 to 150 pesos in some bars in Cabo San Lucas, which is less than $1.00 to $1.50 US Dollars. Most other tourist type places that I've been too in Mexico gouge the tourists a bit, but life is good in Cabo.
I think it is safe to assume that both the A's and the Astros are happy thus far with their recent trade. After Dotel's first outing in which he gave up four runs, he has gone four innings, with seven K's, two three surrendered, one walk, and no runs given up. He will certainly give them some stability in the late innings, which is what they were direly searching for. Carlos Beltran is batting .286, with four homeruns, and seven RBIs in eight games.
I have a feeling that Dotel will have more of an impact to the A's outcome than Beltran will to the Astros outcome though.
The jury is still out for the Royals package of Teahan, Buck and Wood. Oddly enough, Freddy Garcia brought back a better package of players than Beltran did. This is the exact reason that Baird made a mistake for tying his hands and looking for two specific positions instead of taking the best available. That sure may come back to look like a dumb move.
ESPN is all about praising the job Tony Clark has done with the Yankees. Comments like "what a great job he has done this year..." blah, blah, blah. Look, TC also did a good job for the Mets last year as well, but no one heard a peep about that. Just because he puts on pinstripes, he is automatically better in ESPN's eyes. The guy actually hit homers at a greater pace last year and basically has an identical average thus far this year. I understand the baseball world revolves around the Yankees in terms of media coverage, but I do not have to like it.
The Rumor mill has gone wild since I was away.
- The Cubs are interested in Uggie Urbina.
- The Rangers are interested in Danny Bautista.
- The Rangers, Yankees, Padres, Red Sox, and Cubs are all interested in Steve Finley.
- The Yankees are interested in Randy Johnson, but to bad their two best trading chips, who are Cano and Navarro, are second rate prospects. They are not fooling anyone and Johnson is not going anywhere. Suck an egg Yankees.
- The Yankees and White Sox are interested in Andruw Jones. But once again, the Yankees have no juice to get this deal done and I cannot believe the Braves are willing to part with Jones for anything short of a huge return in talent.
- The Mets, Orioles, and WhiteSox are interested in Ramon Ortiz. However, the Mets indicated that they will not give up too much to get him and the Angels may be looking for a lot in return. A match does not look likely for the Mets.
- They have Wigginton on the block going to the Pirates or Reds possibly. They have pitching they may part with and holes at 3b. Dan O'Brien from the Reds said no talk has taken place, but there have been rumors about the Pirates and the Mets making a deal although it looks as though Wiggie will not be enough.
- The Red Sox and Yankees are interested in Ben Sheets. This one is the most laughable one. They Yankees do not have jack shit to get a talent as good and as young as Sheets. You have a better chance of seeing me on a dance floor than to see Sheets in a Yankee uniform this year. Besides, Melvin quickly shot down those rumors saying he is a big part of the future.
- The Mets, Yankees, and Phillies are interested in Kris Benson. The Phillies are intriguing because they have some solid talent in the minors and might overpay to keep him out of the Mets hands. Benson will certainly be moved, it just boils down to who will overpay the most for him. I do not think the Mets will, so it may be down to the Yankees and Phillies on this one.
- The Rockies may be interested in a salary dump to get rid of Preston Wilson's $12,000,000 salary in 2005 for Kenny Lofton who is only due $3,100,000. The talent is not equal in the trade, but the Rockies have been trying to dump Wilson for years and not many teams would be willing to take on the entire chunk outside of the Yankees.
- The Red Sox and Cardinals are interested in Frank Catalanatto.
- The Red Sox and Yankees are interested in Jamie Moyer. Could Moyer be reunited with the Red Sox? Most likely not. Bavasi says he is staying, and since Moyer is a 10-5 guy he only goes where he wants. Oh, did I mention? The Yankees have nothing of value to give up.
- The Rockies are dangling Jeromy Burnitz in front of the Rockies. His low salary and high output make him a nice target. However, he comes with a huge buyer beware tag as the Coors effect comes into play heavily in his numbers. His hitting over .100 points higher at home and has ten homers at home compared to six on the road.
- The Red Sox are interested in John Olerud.