A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Five Reasons Why The Mets Can Beat The Nationals

I'll be going over the five reasons that the Mets can beat every team in the NL East over the next two weeks. However, I will also be lumping the Mets into the mix too and provide reasons why the Mets are beatable. I'm not narcissistic enough to believe that my team does not have holes, they have big ones...I just wish I had big ones...

Though I feel a list of reasons the Nationals are beatable is unimportant as the Nationals have virtually no shot at finishing ahead of the Mets, or anyone else in that division for that matter, I'm listing them out anyway since I'm going over the entire division. Don't get me wrong, I think Bowden did a decent job putting a team on the field that is not as bad as they could have been. He picked up Jose Guillen to anchor the lineup and has a few nice young players and he solidified the infield defense. However, their pitching is the question mark though they have some solid starters and their team overall just does not have what it takes to play with the upgraded teams in the NL East like the Marlins and Mets.

1) Nationals Rotation: A rotation of Livan Hernandez, Zach Day, Tony Armas Jr., Esteban Loiaza, and Thoma Ohka is not bad. However, not bad is not going to get them out of the cellar. There is some talent there and some guys with high ceilings that have not put it together yet like Armas, but he's yet have a full season with a sub 4.00 ERA and has had injury concerns. Zach Day has the stuff to be a front end pitcher, but his 4.71 K/9 and his 1.24 K/BB ratio is enough to make his own mother cry. Loiaza has officially been pegged as one year wonder. His 2003 season was so out of whack with his other years, it's hard to see him in any other role than good middle/end of the rotation guy at best and I'm not particularly sure he will reach that plateau. While pitching for the Yankees, he made everyone look like Vlad Guerrero with a line of .337/.416/.552. While with the White Sox, he didn't fare well either with batters hitting him at a .283/.335/.471 clip. As for Ohka, I like him, but his 3.40 ERA in 2004 looks a bit lucky. His K/9 was 4.04 and his BAA was .288. He's had a BAA of over .300 twice, over .290 three times, over .288 four times, and was at .263 and .264 in the other years. Hitters do not seem to get fooled by him often. Vargas and Patterson are two more rotation options, but not very impressive ones.

2) Too Young: While being youthful is certainly good trait to have, there is a need for veteran leadership. As of right now, only eight men on the forty man roster are over 30 years old. Small market teams sometimes have to operate this way since younger means cheaper most of the time but experience is not a bad thing to have in rotation. Guys like Leiter, Pedro, Galaraga, Beltran, and Cameron are invaluable to a team when they impart their knowledge to a young player and keep some others in line (cough...Jose Guillen...cough). Hernandez is that type of guy for them, but outside of that, they lack a few true veteran leaders like Pedro and Beltran have been showing lately. There needs to be a happy medium.

3) Thump: They upgraded their offense drastically this off season, but is Jose Guillen ready to step up and be THE primary offensive guy on the team? He's been a guy that rocks the boat wherever he has been and may not take the leader role. Castilla banged 21 homers on the road, but hit .218 away from Coors, which was .103 points lower than his home average. He'll have to improve on that number to say the least. Wilkerson had a power surge last year but a dropped off in average. He'll have to prove that more power does not mean sitting in the .250s as they will need more from him. They are not going to be a pushover team, but their lineup will not be making Pedro, or even Kris Benson for that matter call in sick to work.

4) Lack of an Ace: Livan Hernandez is a great compliment to any team's rotation, but if he is relied upon to be your number one starter, that probably is not a great thing. Armas has #1 stuff, but cannot be relied upon in that role. I'm not going to get into an argument here on how much a #1 really matters if you have depth 1 through 5, but teams do not have a good track record with serviceable rotations and that is a word I'd use on the Nationals rotation until Day and Armas really break out. They have rotation with one front end and four back end guys as it stands now and every other team in the NLEast has a stronger rotation, even the Phillies who I'm not particularly high on in terms of pitching.

5) Unchartered Territory: Over the last few seasons you could hear crickets chirping at their home games. Pieces of concrete would fall and nobody would be around to get hurt. This year I expect the draw to be a tiny bit better. There may be a certain amount of pressure playing in a new home and trying to impress their fans and their critics who opposed shelling out money for a new stadium. There will undoubtedly be distractions and they are a rather young team that could be affected by everything going on. It may seem like a pleasure for them to move into a place that will have an immediate fan base and I do realize these players play in front of crowds on all their away games, but this is different. They will be magnified between the people the opposed the team relocating there, Peter Angelos crying broke, and trying to find them an actually owner besides MLB.

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  • Mobile PC names it's top 100 gadgets of all time.

    Sick of dirtying forks just to make scrambled eggs? Tired of having to clean out your scramblin' bowl? Get the Ronco Inside-the-Shell Egg Scrambler.

    Yeah, that entire cracking the egg into the bowl and using a fork or a whisk is just too much. Instead, let me waste my kitchen space with large, useless machine.

    But seriously, there is one glaring omission helping lonely woman everywhere. No vibrator? The Pulsating Fistobrator with the detachable suction cup should definitely be on there.

  • Some good quotes from this article:

    "I'm trying to learn from Carlos," Wright said. "They do a lot of speed and agility stuff to maintain. Obviously you're not going in there trying to work on your beach muscles. You're trying to stay on the field all year. That's definitely a goal. Working with Carlos, I can learn a lot from him, soak up as much as I can."

    That's the kind of impact Beltran has had. He's not bombastic like Martinez, not flamboyant like Cameron and not sage-like as Tom Glavine is. He simply shows up, goes to work and does it all very well.

    "I'm jealous of him," Piazza joked earlier this week. "No one should be that good. He just flows. The talent comes out of his fingertips. I hate him. He's the perfect player for this city. He's got a great attitude, and with that talent, he's one of the best investments this organization ever made. If he takes them to World Series once or twice, the world will be his oyster.

    "He just doesn't labor. Everything he does is so smooth. You never see him fall off a ball at the plate. And when he goes after the ball, it's Willie Mays-like."

    Good use of the word bombastic Kevin.

  • Jose Reyes arrived in camp last week with a head full of big, bushy locks. He cut them all off, though, before Wednesday's first workout. "I got tired of that," he said, smiling as he rubbed his hand over his head. "He was getting a little frizzy," Randolph joked. "I told him he needed to tighten them up a little bit. He looked cute."

  • Who said Beltran is not a leader? There had been musings that Beltran only leads with his play on the field, but that seem like it could not be further from the truth during the start of spring training.

  • WTF?

    Beckett, who has already nicknamed Leiter, "The Senator,"...

    Very creative nickname, did you come up with that on your own?

  • From Newsday:

    Looper was the most impressive among the group of pitchers who threw live batting practice, with hitters barely making contact. Korean lefthander Dae-Sung Koo kept batters off balance with his sidearm delivery - Cliff Floyd's bat went flying on his first swing ... The Mets estimated yesterday's attendance at more than 1,700 with one official saying it was the biggest crowd he could remember.

  • "Strange, man," he said. "Strange, strange, strange."

    Mike Cameron, pushed out of center field by Carlos Beltran, shagged fly balls in right yesterday, and had one word for the experience on the first day of full-squad workouts: "Strange." How strange? Cameron repeated the word at least a dozen times during a minute span.

    How fucking strange is it? Cameron's whining is starting to be grating. It is not moving from catcher to 2b, from 2b to center, and from center to left like some certain future HoFer that never complained and adjusted accordingly. If you are Gold Glove centerfielder and cannot play rightfield, you have a problem. The ball tails a bit different, but I have a feeling you may be able to get the hang of it. Give it up, really.

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