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

Friday, September 02, 2005

Can They Compete?

The Mets pretty much control their own destiny at this point in the season. They have a winnings record within their division and a winning record against every NL East with the exception of Atlanta and they have seven games left with non-division teams that they have not fared to well against. Realistically, can the Mets make the playoffs? Sure, mathematically it is possible, but given their opponents, can they put together the month needed for the final push?
Team       Games Left  Season Record
Florida 6 8 - 5
Atlanta 6 4 - 9
Washington 6 8 - 5
Philadelphia 3 9 - 6
NL East 21 28 - 25
St Louis 4 1 - 3
Colorado 3 1 - 3
Total 28 30 - 31
Is it really a surprise they are basically .500 which has been the story of the year? The Mets simply cannot repeat their past performances against these teams and need to step it up. The Mets were 8-4 against the Phillies heading into the series and dropped the last two in a must win series. 2.5 games is hardly insurmountable, but it is a problem that has plagued the Mets all season. One step forward, two steps back. For the Mets to make the playoffs, they need to shed whatever it is that plagues them when they get close to making a move.

It seems unrealistic for them to have a revelation now and all of sudden do things more differently than they have all season if nothing changes. Their offense has been way to streaky and Willie needs now more than ever to make the most out of what he has. Fixing the hole in the second spot of the order is of utmost importance to get things going. Their scoring problems are not surprising considering they have a .294 OBP from the leadoff spot (last in the NL) and amazingly the same .294 OBP from the second spot (last in the NL). The Mets batting average in the second spot is also last in the NL with .234 and it is miraculous they are where they are given how important the top two spots in the order are. Without table setters on base at a reasonable clip, how can an offense be expected to function?

It's not too late for the Mets, but if Willie does not shake things up, the Mets will finish out the year with about 83 - 85 wins and win about half of their remaining games and they will not make the playoffs. They can do it, they have played well in the division, but at a time where everyone is playing good, they need to elevate their play and right now, I cannot see that happening. With Piazza back and him being able to be inserted into the five hole and Willie feeling comfortable with him there, the Mets need to slide Beltran, Wright, and Floyd up. The Mets cannot waste anymore games and it needs to start now.

* * *

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk lost to Durham 8-3. Angel Pagan went 1 for 5 with a stolen base and an outfield assist, Anderson Hernandez went 1 for 5, Eric Valent went 3 for 5 with a run scored, an RBI, and an outfield assist, and Chris Basak went 2 for 4 with a triple and an RBI. Eric Junge started the game and took loss. He gave up seven runs in 6.1 innings pitched and gave up eleven hits, one homer, one walk, and struck out six.
    • Binghamton beat New Hampshire 5-3. Wayne Lydon went 2 for 4 with a run scored, Brett Harper went 1 for 4 with his sixteenth homer and two RBIs, and Yunir Garcia went 2 for 3 with a run scored and a double. Bryan Edwards started the game and got the win in a solid 6.2 innings of work in which he gave up two earned runs, seven hits, one walk, and struck out seven. Anderson Garcia went 2.1 innings for the save and gave up one earned run.
    • St. Lucie beat Vero Beach 4-3. Dante Brinkley went 2 for 4 with a run scored, Jamar Hill went 2 for 3, Kevin Rios went 1 for 2 with two runs scored, and Blake Whealy went 2 for 4 with a run scored, a double, his tenth homer, and three RBIs. Greg Belson started the game and went five innings of shut out ball and gave up three hits, no walks, and struck out five. Henry Owens got the save in .2 innings of work and gave up no hits or walks. There was a Felix Heredia sighting and he pitched two scoreless innings and struck out two while giving up no hits and no runs.
    • Hagerstown beat Lakewood 11-4. Carlos Gomez went 2 for 5 with a run scored, a double, his 63rd stolen base, and got caught stealing for the 23rd time, Grant Psomas went 0 for 2 with two runs scored and two walks, and James Burt went 2 for 3 with three runs scored, a double, two RBIs, and a walk. Jonathan Castillo started the game and got the win in five innings of work and gave up two hits, two earned runs, three walks, one homer, and struck out three.
    • Brooklyn beat Staten Island 8-4. Caleb Stewart continues his hot hitting and went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, a double, and his sixth stolen base, Nick Evans went 4 for 4 with three runs scored, a double, a triple, and two RBIs, Jonel Pacheco went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, his sixth homer, and two RBIs, and Drew Butera went 3 for 4 with two RBIs. Ryan Myers started the and got his first win on the year and went five innings and gave up five hits, one earned run, two walks, and struck out one. Kevin Tomasiewicz undeservingly got the save and gave up three runs, seven hits, one walk, and struck out two in three innings of work.
  • What's going on with Phil Humber? Probably not much, but Baseball America tracks some guys coming back from injury who were in the Minor Leagues and some from Tommy John surgery. Scott Kazmir's old high school teammate Clint Everts is back and throwing in the 90's again. He made seven starts in the GCL league and put up a 3.38 ERA in sixteen innings and put a 3.18 ERA pitching in relief in the New-York Penn League. Dustin McGowan is back and made it to the Majors fifteen months after surgery. It may take time, but Phil will come back like new pumping the ball into the mid 90's. Expect him to be in AA in 2007 after some A ball rehab in 2006. The earliest we will see him is 2008 and it is too bad he will be taking up a forty man roster spot for that entire time, but that is the way things go.

  • Willie is in a tough spot.

    "I understand what Trachs brings to the table," Randolph said. "But he's been out all year. It's almost like if I had a crystal ball, and I could guarantee that, in a pennant race, he's going to pitch for us like he did on Friday, then it would be easy. But you go with what got you here, and the fact is my rotation is solid enough.

    "Now if I throw [Zambrano] out, and put Trachs in there, say Trachs doesn't do as well next time? What do you do, change again and go back to Victor? Now you have a guy that's already messed up because you dogged him, and you're going to ask him to do it for you again? That could be devastating."

    I think he is doing the right thing here. Trachs has been a good soldier, but you are not guaranteed a spot when you come back from injury. Rough spot for Trachs, but the Mets are trying to win a playoff berth and cannot please everyone in the process.

  • Mike Jacobs predictably won the Eastern League MVP award.

    "He'll continue to play," Randolph said of Jacobs. "He had some good swings, some good hacks."

    Jacobs does not a agree though.

    "Not really," Jacobs said when asked if he had good swings. "I'm trying to do too much."

    Jacobs has a sweet left handed stroke. He needs to relax if that is the case and just play his game and hopefully add something to the Mets listless offense.

  • Tim Hamulak has a chance to prove he belongs in the bigs.

    For Hamulak, 28, this is his first call-up to the major leagues after 10 years of pro ball.

    "It's pretty amazing," Hamulak said. "I've played 10 years, and it's what I always wanted. I hope I can show them that I deserve to be here."

    Shingo Takatsu is trying to prove he belongs too.

    "He's got an unorthodox delivery and he's from a different league," Randolph said, "So guys aren't used to him."

    The thing I like about him is his ability to make people swing and miss. He had a 10.09 K/9 with the White Sox but has a control problem. The skill is there, he just needs to execute and I agree with Willie. Shingo could actually be pretty impressive for a month.

  • Jon Heyman has some suggestions on how Willie should handle this stretch run.

    1. Move Beltran from third to second.
    2. Insert Marlon Anderson at second base.
    3. Give Steve Trachsel a start next week.
    4. Switch Roberto Hernandez and Looper, making Hernandez the closer.

    1. Yup. Do it and put Wright 3rd and you have a lineup. The two hole is killing our Mets.
    2. This is just a bad situation. Anderson has been used before and has not hit well when he started. Give Woodard a shot or gamble with Anderson Hernandez.
    3. He is starting.
    4. I do not think anyone would disagree with this one.

  • Jose Reyes, who ripped his NL-leading 15th triple in the sixth, led the majors with 13 stolen bases in August. David Wright batted an NL high .378 for the month with 27 RBI.

  • Kris Benson is a good dude. I do not care what all of you say about him.

  • David Wright answers some questions on Mets.com.

    What you think about the new kid, Mike Jacobs?
    -- Steven V., Watsonville, Calif.

    He put on a show in his first week in the big leagues. He's got unlimited offensive potential from watching the way he swings the bat. He's also getting better and better at first base. He's young and has a very high ceiling. He's got to continue to work and improve, but he's got the tools.

    Good stuff. Some questions were good, some were not so good.

    Are you concerned about the seemingly increasing number of bats that are shattering and the danger they may pose to pitchers, infielders and fans? What can be done about it?

    You've made some great catches this season -- including a barehander and one running into the stands. Do you think players are being more aggressive about diving into the stands ever since Derek Jeter did it last season against Boston?

    Way to waste everyone's time.

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