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

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Tin Men

Cliff Floyd has some history with Roy Oswalt. Last year he hit a grand slam off him and he subsequently got hit two times after that. Roy Oswalt pitches inside and has made no effort to try and hide the fact he does not appreciate the way Floyd crowds the plate with some armor on his arm. Did he hit him on purpose? It really does not matter as it is not the point. The only thing that is relevant is that Floyd thought he did it on purpose and got mad. He got mad and pumped himself up to stand up to the challenge and beat Roy Oswalt. On Sunday, he took Oswalt deep and just missed a homer in his first at bat by a few feet. Floyd showed heart and desire and proved that he has some guts and the ability to dig down.

Carlos Beltran was the anti-Floyd in that series. Beltran was getting booed unmercifully, but instead of fueling him to wake up out of a funk and help the fans remember why they are so pissed that walked away, he fell on this face. He did not feed off the boos and put up a .091/.167/.091 line in three games that included two starts by rookies with pretty sizeable ERAs. Maybe he just got beat, but him laying that horrible performance out there and letting the fans look like they got the best of him speaks volumes of the type of competitor he is for me. He failed to rise to the occasion. You can point to his playoff performance as rising to the occasion, but he could have just been hitting a hot streak at the right time. Beltran is notably a streaky hitter than can carry a team for while and his fantastic playoff could have been good timing more than him rising to the occasion. Last night, he was up in the ninth inning with two outs and two men in scoring position with the ability to tie the game with a single against the other teams closer. There were four or five guys I would have rather seen up in that situation and Beltran harmlessly swung at the first pitch and grounded out to end the game.

Kaz Matsui has not done anything of note all season. He has not been feeding off the boos in an attempt to turn the fans around and has been given plenty of chances to succeed. He is an unassuming guy and has a quite demeanor, but he looks timid when he takes the field and his body language does anything but exude confidence. When you look at Victor Diaz take the field you see a kid who believes he belongs there. When you look at Kaz Matsui, you see a guy who wishes he was somewhere else. When he returns to the club next week, I hope he gets one more chance to succeed. I hope he takes advantage of a last shot if he is given one and starts to use some of the talent that he has.

At this point, I look at these two players that have all the talent in the world and question their heart of their desire. Most of us have played sports before and there were times when I was more determined to play than other times to try and prove something to someone or whatever else got me motivated at the time. Carlos and Kaz are not outspoken guys and typically do not show emotion when things are good or bad. I am not saying that they are not trying at this point, but I do question their abilities to rise above adversity and put up the numbers expected of them and to become the players they can be and people expect them to be. I see these two players floundering on the biggest stage instead of excelling. Both have shown some sparks and promise of being the players we know they can be, but time is running out, if it has not run out all together already for Matsui and Beltran is going to start drawing more heat. I’m sure these guys are trying hard to succeed. After all, who actually tries to fail? I do however wonder how much heart these two have. When the chances have come up for them stand up for their team, they have not come through time and time again and it is getting old.

* * *

  • Being a Pirate fan is tough, but I'm sure there are a lot of Zach Duke jerseys being sold and he gives them some hope for the future. In six starts, he has only give up six runs for a tidy 0.92 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP and .239 BAA. With Oliver Perez, John Van Benschoten, Matt Peterson, and Ian Snell, the Pirates could be developing a nice, young staff.

  • With the Mets lack of patience and ability to take a walk at every level of their organization, wouldn't Justin Huber look nice? He was voted as the player with the best strike zone judgment in the Texas League.

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk beat Durham 9-5. Victor Diaz and Angel Pagan went 1 for 5 with a double and Diaz also had an RBI. Prentice Redman went 3 for 4 with a double, a walk, and an RBI, Rodney Nye went 2 for 5 with a run scored and three RBIs, and Eric Valent went 1 for 2 with three runs scored, a double, and three walks. Brian Banister had a good game going five innings giving up five hits, one earned run, two walks, and struck out seven. He is now 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA at AAA. BJ Upton went 2 for 4 with his thirteenth homer of the year and had a triple.
    • Harrisburg beat Binghamton 10-2. Single machine Lastings Milledge went 2 for 5 to bring his average up to .326. Mike Jacobs went 2 for 5 with a run scored and a double and Bobby Malek went 2 for 3 with a run scored, a walk, and his third homer of the year. Orlando Roman went 4.2 innings giving up eleven hits, ten runs, nine earned runs, three walks, and struck out five.
    • Dunedin beat St. Lucie 9-4. Jamar Hill went 2 for 4 with a run scored and a double. Aaron Hathaway continues to hit some and went 2 for 3 with a run scored, a double, and an RBI. Tyler Davidson went 1 for 4 with a run scored, a homer, and two RBIs.
    • Hagerstown beat Lake County 5-0. Carlos Gomez went 2 for 3 with an RBI and Ambiorix Concepcion went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and two doubles.
    • Kingsport played Elizabethton in a double header. In game one, Elizabethon won 8-0. Joshua Wyrick got Kingsports only hit. Kingsport came back to win the second game 4-3. Matthew Anderson went 2 for 4 with a homer.
    • The GCL Mets vs. the GCL Nationals was cancelled.
  • 19 year old phenom Felix Hernandez will make his first Major League start today for the Seattle Mariners.

  • Roger Clemens originally retired back in 2003 with 310 wins. He of course came back out of retirement like many expected and has put up another 28 wins. He is sitting at 338 and is on pace to notch another five victories this year, which would leave him at 343. The guy still throws 94 mph when he wants to and is absolutely dominating the league. He currently sits ninth overall for most wins all time. At this point, I cannot see him retiring while he has such a sweet deal in Houston and still competing at such a high level. If he pitches another two seasons after this, he has the potential to take over sole position of second place all time in wins and could pass Christy Mathewson and Pete Alexander who have 373 wins. In our modern day where pitchers get injured so often, Clemens' accomplishments are absolutely astounding. Nolan Ryan pitched until he was 46, but only started thirteen games that year. If Roger has it in him to pitch to pitch that long, he can make a strong run at 400, though it is an extreme long shot. Finally, it should be noted that I still hate him.

  • Billy Wagner is contemplating retirement after this season.

  • Willie Randolph takes months to make moves that needs to be done, but only a few games to make a move that did not need to be made. Piazza was in an unfamiliar spot in the lineup last night and was batting seventh.

    "I'm so far beyond that," he said of worrying about his spot in the batting order. "You don't have to worry about me.... I'm basically just looking at the lineup, and if I'm in there, fine, and if I'm not, then I'll be ready to go whenever I'm called upon.

    "Ramon (Castro) has been playing really well and there's no drop-off when he's back there."

  • The $200 million Yankees could now possibly look towards Aaron Sele after inking Hideo Nomo last week.

  • The Mets failed to take the win home for Pedro Martinez after he looked great for seven innings. Pedro gave up three runs, but he looked like he had shutout stuff and the Brewers were lucky to walk away with that many runs. Roberto gave up a homer to Carlos Lee and Braden Looper continued to not be able to throw a ball by someone when he needs to.

    "I pitch when you give me the ball. I empty my tank and I get out of there. I probably could have gone out there and pitched the last two innings on 10 pitches. That's how I do it sometimes, and sometimes it takes three or four pitches to get one inning in. The way they were swinging, I wouldn't be surprised.

    "But I will never argue a manager's decision, regardless of what it is," Martinez said. "I'm just here to pitch and I do as I'm told and as I'm paid to."

  • From NorthJersey.com:

    Injured second baseman Kaz Matsui (knee) will play a rehab game with Class A Brooklyn today, and then play for Class AA Binghamton over the weekend. If all goes well, he likely will be activated in time for the Mets' road trip, which begins Tuesday at San Diego.

    It is a great idea to activate him on the road trip so he can be spared from the boos and have a chance to hit the ground running.

  • Not Seo fast (sorry, that was real bad).

    Willie Randolph wouldn't confirm a report in yesterday's editions of Newsday which said that Jae Seo would be promoted from Triple-A Norfolk to take Kaz Ishii's scheduled start Saturday against the Chicago Cubs.

    "Right now, Ishii is still pitching. Unless you know something I don't know," Randolph said.

  • Huh?

    On television
    • MIL: No TV
    • NYM: MSG

    On radio
    • MIL: WTMJ 620
    • NYM: WFAN 660

    Is the Milwaukee game really not on TV today?