Monkey Off His Back
In some really unbearable times to be a Met fan, Kaz Matsui just may be picking the perfect spot to try and endear himself to us fans. Not only has he been hitting the ball and getting on base, but he is making plays in the field that people would never expect him to make. I know what everyone is saying. It is only a hot streak and he will resume sucking soon enough. However, when a guy like Kaz owns so much talent, the production could be real as opposed to Miguel Cairo who was playing over his head earlier this season.
Second base for next season is pretty much up for grabs. The Mets have not exactly hid their intentions and have not stood behind Kaz and said he is their man and I cannot really argue with them. Matsui has looked like a scared child this year playing in one of the toughest sports towns despite giving hope to Met fan with his second half play last year. Not so much in the field, but he was becoming a doubles machine and looking like a more than capable bat. No Met has underperformed more than Carlos Beltran, but Kaz Matsui was a close second and it has not been for a lack of trying. Watching a guy struggle that much is like watching a train wreck and I think a lot boils down to confidence.
Coming out of Japan he was heralded as one of the top five shortstops in the world and one of the best players in the world. He was a gold glover that was a step faster than Ichiro Suzuki and the Mets got him. A year later, and a guy name Tadahito Iguchi came over with much less fanfare is performing how we would love Matsui to perform. Make no mistake, I think Matsui could still hit around .300, steal 25 bases, hit 40 doubles, knock 10 homers, and drive in 70 or so runs, but the question is can he do it in Queens. He can go a long way to give himself a third chance with a strong September, but I think it is clear he is his own worst enemy.
- Aberdeen beat Brooklyn 5-1. Nick Evans went 1 for 4, Matthew Anderson went 2 for 4 with a run scored, and Jonel Pancecho went 2 for 3. Ryan Meyers had a forgettable start and went 1.2 innings, giving up five hits, five runs, all five of them unearned, walked two, and struck out two. He is now 1-5 with a 4.08 ERA. Eric Brown had a solid relief effort and went 4.1 innings giving up one hit and one walk while striking out two.
- The International League playoffs start tomorrow and Toledo will take on Norfolk as the Tides try and bring something positive to the Met organization since the Mets are reluctant too. If Tides can't do it, the Suns are going to try as they will take on Delmarva in a three game series to see who moves on to the championship round.
- He was saving his homers to help his country.
Lastings Milledge, the Mets' most highly regarded position player prospect, hit two home runs on Tuesday in Team USA's 11-1 victory against Spain in the World Cup competition. The team, managed by former Mets manager Davey Johnson, had won its opening-round game on Sunday, beating Colombia, 12-1. The winning pitcher was Brian Bannister, who split the 2005 season between the Mets' Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Binghamton affiliates. He pitched six innings, allowing one run, three hits and two walks.
Overall, Milledge is batting .308/.357/.846 in his first thirteen Team USA at-bats this time around with three runs scored, two homers, two RBIs, no walks, one HBP, two stolen bases in three chances, and a 1.000 fielding percentage. Brian Bannister is 1-0 in one game started and went six innings, giving up three hits, one earned run, two walks, on homer, .143 BAA, and struck out five.
Victor is out and Trachsel is in. Does it really matter when you score one or two runs a night? Umm, no. Too much has been made of this Zambrano and Trachsel issue when the problem is the Mets inability to give any support to their pitching whatsoever. This is s moot point for me. As for Seo, can we just acknowledge again how good he has been? Despite only starting in nine games, he is only five wins out of the Met lead in wins and three wins out of second despite having started eighteen less games than Pedro Martinez and nineteen less games than Tom Glavine. Seo has more than twice as many wins as Kaz Ishii despite having seven less starts. Is he for real? I guess we'll find out in 2006. I think he has earned a rotation spot despite what happens in Spring Training. It is time this organization rewards young guys who perform.
That leads to the true offensive sinkhole, the number-two spot. After Mike Cameron (and his .367 SOB) was knocked out in the gruesome collision of August 11, Randolph slotted his second basemen into the vacancy behind Reyes and ahead of Carlos Beltran. New York's keystone situation is a complete disaster, between Miguel Cairo, who has no business being a regular, and Kazuo Matsui, who has the skill set of countryman Tsuyoshi Shinjo sans stylish orange wristbands. After showing flashes of effectiveness last season, Matsui has regressed horribly this year instead of taking the step forward his power-hitting namesake did in his second campaign stateside. Matsui and Cairo have combined for a -5.5 VORP, and their out-magnetization has robbed the big guns--Cliff Floyd and David Wright--of precious RBI opportunities.
It's a good piece on the Mets. Read it or I will punch you in the face.
AARON HEILMAN: Internally, the Mets fret that the more pressurized the role, the less quality in Heilman's stuff. Which explains why you have not see him in a lot of eighth innings. A few major September moments can alter that thinking.
But my favorite part...
If the good folks at 60 Minutes are not too busy, they might want to look into this stumper: Why the heck is Danny Graves back on the Mets' major league roster?
I think we would all like to know.
"He's awesome," said Pirates third baseman Ty Wigginton, who played for Howe in New York. "He's a very stand-up manager who lets his players control the clubhouse. All he asks in that you play the game right and play the game hard, and he respects you as a player."
Letting the inmates run the asylum sounds like a great way to approach things.
"Hopefully I'll get the chance [to manage in the big leagues] someday," Oberkfell recently told MLB.com.
"I'm sure the Mets would never stand in the way. I don't think any club would ever stop you if you had a chance to manage somewhere. And I know the Mets wouldn't.
"Don't get me wrong, I enjoy what I'm doing now, and it's a lot of fun. But it's no secret that I want to get to the big leagues again as a manager or coach."
I still think he should have been the guy.