We Have Reached DEFCON 1
Wednesday, August 31st: DEFCON 4 - Normal, increased intelligence and strengthened security measures : The Mets were riding high after closing in on the Wild Card lead after a tremendous comeback win and were only out .5 games and had to be feeling pretty good with their position in the race.
Thursday, September 1st: DEFCON 3 - Increase in force readiness above normal readiness: The Mets had lost with their ace on the mound, but they were still only 1.5 games out and could close back to within a .5 games out with a win in the finale. It was a big loss, but they could erase that with a win on Thursday.
Friday, September 2nd: DEFCON 2 Further Increase in force readiness, but less than maximum readiness: The Mets had dropped the final two games of perhaps their biggest series of the year after winning feel good opener and the Mets pretty much were backed in the corner and needed to respond to keep pace with the other streaking teams in the Wild Card race.
Saturday, September 3rd: DEFCON 1 - Maximum force readiness: After dropping yet another huge divisional game you have to wonder how many lives the Mets have. With 23 games left after today and in danger of falling 4.5 games out with another loss, the Mets have to have someone step up today and take a game back.
When I feel there are big games, I tend to get a little trigger happy when it comes to the bullpen. Victor Zambrano looked really bad from the first pitch he had thrown. With Dontrelle Willis on the mound and the Mets supreme inability to hit him, the Mets had little room for error and could not fall behind by very much if they were to have a shot at winning. With the expanded rosters and the increased number of arms in the bullpen, I was for pulling Zambrano way earlier than Willie did. I'm not Monday morning quarterbacking this situation because I truly felt that way at the time.
The bad part of the equation is that Zambrano had a quiet 4th and 5th innings to prolong his outing into the sixth when the critical runs crossed the plate. With such a huge game and Zambrano looking like he did, I was for pulling him after the 3rd after the threw 72 pitches. It is not really realistic I guess, but the way the Mets are scoring runs, you got the feeling he was going to bury the game and make it so the Mets had no shot. With no off day until the Monday after next, you would rather not stretch your pen, but what is the use of looking ahead if you fail to win that day? There simply are not enough games left to screw around.
My common sense tells me you do not pull your starter after three with only two runs across the plate, but as soon as the Mets had their six pitch 2nd inning against Willis, you knew it would be an uphill battle. That 2nd inning infuriated me more than anything since the Mets continue to have an inability to try and work the count when they are struggling to make something happen. Instead, they are hacking, hacking, hacking. Right now, there is no margin of error for the Mets and Willie needs to play that way. He was gambling with Zambrano sending him out there every inning when it was clear he did not have it. Call up every pitcher in AAA if you need to, but if a starter is dying on the mound like Zambrano was, he needs to be pulled. Let's see if the Mets can pull out a win and have the Phillies lose to try and make up that game last night and make one last run at things. 4.5 games out with 23 games left is going to be a mighty tough when you have to leapfrog three or four teams and the Mets simply cannot fall that far out.
Dissatisfied with the results of recent drafts, the Mets began a shakeup of their scouting department Friday. Gary LaRocque, the vice president of player development and scouting for the last two years, will be reassigned to yet-to-be-determined role in the organization. The team also either fired or reassigned a number of amateur scouts.
Sorry Gary. I have no idea if it was your fault or some higher level of ineptness, but the Mets need to get deeper in the Minor Leagues.
"Victor, he's been like that off and on during the season," Randolph said. "It wasn't like I was really surprised or anything like that. When he's throwing strikes he's more efficient, obviously. He just didn't seem to be able to locate his pitches. But you've been here all year. It's not anything really new."
That certainly does not sound like a vote of confidence though.
The Mets have their work cut out for themselves.
- Yusmerio Petit continues to struggle at AAA and the Tides lost to Durham 11-4. In four innings, Petit gave up six hits, two homers, two walks, seven earned runs, and struck out five. In relief, Danny Graves gave up four earned runs to bring his AAA ERA to 21.60. Angel Pagan went 1 for 3 with a run scored and two walks, Anderson Hernandez went 1 for 5, and Joe Heiptas went 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI. For anyone worried about Yusmeiro, we cannot forget he is 20 years old. Even if he stays at AAA for two seasons full season in 2006 and 2007 and makes his Major League debut at 23, he'd still be a young, top prospect. He just needs time to adjust and he will be fine.
- New Britain beat Binghamton 2-0. Vincent Cordova started and pitched and impressive seven innings and gave up four hits, two earned runs, two walks, and struck out seven. Corey Ragsdale and Bobby Malek both went 1 for 3 with a double.
- St. Lucie beat Vero Beach 7-0. Wilson Batista went 2 for 5 with a run scored, Dante Brinkley went 3 for 5 with three runs scored, his sixteenth homer on the year, a triple, two RBIs, and his twenty-ninth stolen base on the year, and Blake Whealy went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI.
- Hagerstown beat Lexington 8-7. Carlos Gomez went 2 for 5 with two runs scored, a triple, and his sixty-fourth stolen base on the year, Jose Coronado went 3 for 4 with a run scored, a double, and a triple, Ambiorix Concepcion went 1 for 4 with his fifteenth homer and two RBIs, Grant Psomas went 2 for 4 with a run scored, two doubles, and an RBI, Kyle Brown, went 2 for 4 with a run scored and a triple, and Matthew Fisher went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, his second homer, and two RBIs. Jose Sanchez got the start and went six innings and gave up six hits, five earned runs, one homer, and struck out four to walk away with the no decision. Matt Durkin got the win in three innings of relief and gave up no earned runs, walked four, and struck out four. Matt Durkin has now given up as many walks as he he has given up hits at fifty-four. Rafael Cova picked up his first save in one inning of relief.
- Brooklyn beat Staten Island 3-0. Brooklyn can put a pretty formidable outfield out there with Gregory Gonzalez, Joseph Holden, and Caleb Stewart and they have all been hitting well of late. Gregory Gonzalez went 3 for 4 with a run scored, Joseph Holden went 1 for 3 with a run scored, a walk, and his twenty-first stolen base on the year, and Caleb Stewart went 1 for 4 with a run scored, a double and two RBIs. Bobby Parnell had yet another solid start and went 6.2 innings and gave up three hits, no earned runs, two walks, and struck out four but walked away with the no decision. Robert Paulk picked up the win in relief and went 2.1 innings giving up no hits, one walk, and struck out two.