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

Friday, April 22, 2005

Willie Bending His Own Rules?

Ramon Castro had a beautiful play in the 2nd inning in which he had to run to retrieve a pop fly next to the net behind home plate. Was anyone surprised that Piazza did not start? I certainly did not expect him too.

I know Willie does not favor personal catchers, but right now, I have to assume Pedro and Castro have a little spark working together. Not that Pedro has not dominated with Mike as the catcher because he's mowed down everyone, but with Mike's lack of production and his needing more days off in his advanced age, why not? Since Willie has said he does not like personal catchers and will most likely not bend that rule, I have a suggestion. Let Pedro have a personal catcher in big games and against big name pitchers. He will presumably get some days against lesser talent and there will be days where Piazza makes plenty of sense to be the starting catcher, but Castro gets the nod in big games.

* * *

  • Part of the reason I think this Mets team can be so good is the lineup that they can throw at you and the versatility is has. You lead off with three switch hitters, followed up by Mike Piazza. Then, the next two of three batters are lefties, but both lefties can hit lefties rather well and in Doug's case, just as well as he hits righties. Willie has the luxury of not having to write the lineup by the book and when everyone is firing on all cylinders, he can mail the lineup in for the rest of the year.

    Cliffy Vs LEFTIES
    2002 154 10 24 .247 .304
    2003 122 7 19 .262 .340
    2004 113 1 14 .239 .296
    2005 15 2 6 .400 .438 (through Wednesday's game)
    389 18 57 .249 .313

    2002 152 .257 .361 .408 315 .263 .366 .384
    2003 168 .280 .363 .482 319 .310 .408 .433
    2004 123 .220 .304 .325 268 .246 .336 .362
    2005 15 .333 .389 .600 36 .250 .325 .361 (through Wed)
    443 .255 .346 .413 901 .275 .373 .395

    Besides getting a rest day, the Mets starting lineup is basically immune to match ups. Of course some lefties or righties are absolutely devastating vs. a batter from one side of the plate, but those are few and far between and the true dominators dominate either side of the plate.

  • Roger Clemens take note. When Pedro retrieved Delgado's bat early in game as it made it's way halfway down the first base line, he handed it to him and did not hurl the projectile towards him thinking baseball had somehow melded with dodge ball to become a game dodge bat.

  • As Gary Cohen pointed out, the Mets have given up a first inning run in 12 of 15 games.

  • Jose Reyes went seven pitches in his first at-bat. The entire stadium was collectively on the edge of their seats awaiting the youngsters first walk of the season. Sadly enough, it did not happen.

  • The commentators when Alfonseca come out of the game with an injury:

    Healy: I'm not a doctor, but I he could lose a couple pounds.
    Robinson: I was just going to say that...salad bar..

  • If you are not reading Simply Amazins, your are a shit head. If you are one of those shit heads, you would have missed some classic making fun of Jeter, which is my favorite pastime.

    Does it get better than this?

  • Note to Mets: Harper does not belong in St. Lucie.

  • The B-Mets are trying a bit to hard to be like the big club.

  • Say it ain't Seo. Sorry, I had to. Ishii's start is in doubt and I hope Jae Seo and his ERA north of 8.00 at AAA does not end up at Shea. Who should start? I have no idea, but it shouldn't be him.

  • Jon Heyman has a great read about Pedro Martinez.

  • From Newsday:

    Marlins ace Josh Beckett said he "wasn't pleased" that Victor Diaz was slow getting out of the box Wednesday on what Diaz thought was a home run, which surprised the Mets outfielder. "If he was my teammate," Diaz said, "he'd see that I don't have the speed out of the box like Jose Reyes or Juan Pierre."

    Diaz, who wound up with a triple, did go into his trot a little early, but Randolph was willing to give him a "mulligan" even if Beckett did not.

    "Maybe he's just -- because he hit it so hard," Randolph said.

  • Victor Diaz getting some love is a daily occurrence and today is no different.

    After Diaz's two-homer night Tuesday against the Phillies, Mike Piazza turned to pitching coach Rick Peterson in the dugout and said, "He's got to be one of the best No. 8 hitters in the league right now."

    To which Peterson responded, "Mike, I don't think they're ranked."

    But this is strange:

    Unless the Mets can trade Cameron, which is unlikely at this stage, they see Diaz as a 2006 solution once Floyd's contract expires at the end of this season. That's why the front office wants him to get more at-bats at Norfolk rather than bench time in the big leagues.

    Floyd's contract runs through 2006.

  • Poor, poor Nomar. Two consecutive batting titles to this. Anyone think he wishes he took that four year, $60 million offer from the Red Sox?

  • Pedro has a .112 BAA and a 0.52 WHIP. Nice.
  • Thursday, April 21, 2005

    Patience Young Grasshopper

    What was so utterly baffling about the Mets last game against Al Leiter is that the Mets had a first hand experience of Al's control issues. Al runs high pitch counts and the Mets should know this. With their ace on the mound, they should feel content taking pitches knowing Pedro will do his job and keep the Mets in the game. In a game where you have Josh Beckett or AJ Burnett on the mound pounding the zone in the high 90's, you may choose to not sit back and wait and jump on him early. Against a guy who routinely goes 3-2 on pitchers, patience is a virtue. Even if you cannot hit him, he should be exiting around the fifth inning and the Mets should get into a horrifyingly hittable bullpen. Let him beat himself.

    Last week, Al Leiter threw 104 pitches through seven innings. The word economical and Al Leiter should never be used in the same sentence. If given the chance, Leiter will beat himself. He had a .218 BAA in 2004 and a .206 BAA in 2004 and 2005 so far. If the Mets plan on getting their hacks in on him and not working his pitch count, they will lose again. Leiter has a knack for not being real hittable and has a .244 BAA since 2002 but a .330 OBP since 2002. The Mets were pressing in the last game and today, they need to be the anti-Mets and take some pitches.

    * * *

  • With the entire division at either 9-6 and 7-8, you get the feeling the NL East is going to be a dogfight. 85-88 wins may do it.

  • HoJo likes the 2005 Mets a bit.

    "If you’re not excited about this team, you’re not a Mets fan."

  • Was Aaron Heilman smacked back into reality?

    "He got away from his game plan a little bit," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "He tried to overthrow the ball and didn't mix in his off-speed stuff enough. It looked like everything was pretty much the same speed.

    "Sometimes when you go back-to-back, you try to make adjustments and sometimes there's no need to make adjustments. It's pretty much do what you've been doing."

    I have to say, I thought Heilman would do well. Not necessarily win the game since beating Beckett twice in one week would be a tall order, but do good. He kept the ball up in the zone and got hammered. Facing the same team twice in one week is tough for a Cy Young award winner, but I thought he would do good since he really did not use the off speed again. Little did I know....

  • From the Daily News:

    GOT LEFTIES? The Mets have made overtures to the Pirates about obtaining left handed reliever Mike Gonzalez, so far to no avail, according to an MLB source. The Mets also are believed to have interest in John Grabow, another Pittsburgh southpaw.

    With Felix Heredia on the disabled list, Mike Matthews and Dae-Sung Koo are currently the only lefthanders in the Mets' bullpen.

  • You can't even beg for medical help in the Mets organization.

    "They said it was a nerve or a muscle. They didn't diagnose it properly," Bell said. "In August, one day I would throw 95, the other day I'd be throwing 86, and I couldn't figure it out. I just said, 'My arm doesn't feel right.' I begged and begged and finally got an MRI in August. I mean, I was on the 40-man roster at the beginning of the year but they took me off, so I figured they would give me one right away. And then in August they go, 'Oh, your bone is cracked.' I mean who does a player have to blow around here for an MRI?"

    Disheartening to hear that the Mets handle so many players entirely wrong. Looks like DeJean and Reyes were not the only two with breaks that were missed. It is just really disturbing.

  • Stephen Drew is now playing in the Indy League.

    “We’re still trying to find a vehicle to get the deal done,” he said. “Stephen hasn’t played since last May, so it’s probably a good idea for him to get out and play. It’s important for him to get out and compete and face live pitching, just to knock off some of the rust. But the tools and the ability is still going to be there.”

  • Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet has three Mets on it.

    9. Brian Bannister, rhp, Mets (Double-A Binghamton)
    Another 3-0 pitcher . . . smell a trend? The son of former major leaguer Floyd, Brian has yet to allow an earned run in any of his three starts, with opposing batters going 0-for-11 with five punch outs with runners in scoring position.

    Phil Humber and Brett Harper were honorable mentions.

  • Here is a nice little stat from the ESPN power rankings:

    Opponents are hitting .317 off Yankee starters and .307 off relievers. Mel Stottlemyre might consider early retirement.

    All that and a losing record for $200 million dollars. Early predictions are that this 2005 Yankees team with be the worst team money can buy.
  • Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    I'm not telling him, you tell him

    Omar and Duquette are probably fighting who has the enviable task of sending down Victor Diaz to AAA after Cameron comes back. Well, that's the plan anyway, but anything can obviously happen. Diaz is certainly earning his chops by simply ripping the ball. He is really looking like a mini-Manny right now and absolutely giving the Mets a welcome problem and all that production out of the eight spot? The Mets are looked like a loaded AL team with homers getting hit all over the batting order from leadoff spot to the eighth spot and two RBI triple out of the ninth spot.

    In the first thirteen games, the Mets hit twelve homeruns, forty five RBIs, and no triples. In the first thirteen games they only game up eight homeruns. Last night, they hit seven homeruns and netted sixteen RBIs which is more than 25% of their total runs on the Year. The Mets needed a night like this because they really, really seemed like they were pressing at the plate. Piazza's blast was vintage Piazza and when everyone is hitting, the Mets can have production one through eight. Hell, even on Zambrano's triple, his swing looked good. He kept his head in there with a nice level swing and just drove it. Any night the Mets set a club records for homeruns in one is a good one.

    Lost however, in the offensive barrage might be Zambrano's 96 pitches in six innings while give up only two earned runs. Yes he had a WHIP nearing 2.00 for the game, but he shows flashes of what he could be every game and there is still hope he'll get there.

    * * *

  • Maybe the Mets could hold tryouts for their broadcasting booth for next season?

    For $10, anyone at Citizens Bank Park can broadcast a half-inning of a game and receive a CD of the occasion to play and replay on the way home. Most Philadelphians tired of the ear-splitting novelty in the stadium's first season. Mets fans, however, comprise something of a cult following. Every time the Mets make this trip down the New Jersey Turnpike, their fans come along for some baseball karaoke.

    "We are packed for every Mets game," said Gina DeGiovanni, 24, the studio chief. "We'll have maybe one or two Phillies fans, but the Mets' fans are calling in advance to make reservations or coming up in the first inning to start putting their names on the list. I'm not really sure why it's caught on so much with them."

    Gina, that's because most New Yorkers are shameless and love to hear themselves talk.

  • Bell got an innings last night and still have a 0.00 WHIP for the year.

  • Jae Seo got rocked and now owns an 8.22 ERA in AAA, Ron Calloway is looking like Teddy Ballgame, Coyler managed to not walk anyone in one inning, and Ring is still hot.

  • Petit gets his first loss.

    "Yousmeiro" Petit had his worst outing in three starts this season and failed to get out of the fourth inning as the Binghamton Mets lost, 5-4, to the Portland Sea Dogs Tuesday night.

    Petit, the New York Mets' top-ranked pitching prospect, allowed all five of Portland's runs on four hits and two walks, striking out three. Petit had thrown a total of just seven innings in his first two starts, but had allowed no runs and only five hits in a pair of no decisions.

  • Victor Diaz has reached bases 12 times in his last 24 plate appearances, and he's hitting for power -- three home runs and a double in his last nine at-bats.

  • During Monday's ninth inning, Cliff Floyd crushed an enormous three-run homer on a 3-0 pitch, a bomb that got the Mets to within 5-4 with one out. But the reason Floyd swung at a 3-0 pitch in that situation was because he missed the take sign.

    "I like to give my guys a little free hack every once in awhile, but not in a situation like that," manager Willie Randolph said. "Our signs are a little bit different, so I can understand how he might have missed that one."

    Did Willie fine him?

  • Diaz continues to receive a lot of positive ink.

  • The Mets are ranked #11 according to Baseball Prospectus' Hit List.

    Clawed their way back to .500 in a hurry. Pedro Martinez (2.45 ERA, 12.3 K/9) is looking like the model in the catalog. Note to Willie: get Jose Reyes (.278 OBP, 0 BB) out of the leadoff spot.

  • The Orioles are interested in Todd Helton.

    According to the column, not only would the Orioles be willing to pick up the remaining $114 million on Helton's contract that runs through 2011 - after this season, the deal averages out to $17.01 million the next six years - but Baltimore would throw in a player package of first baseman Jay Gibbons, reliever John Parrish, two prospects and possibly starting pitcher Sidney Ponson.

  • I'm not saying this is the case with the 41 year old Randy Johnson right now, but at some point, he will start going downhill. His peripherals are still solid with a 9.23 k/9, 1.10 WHIP, and .238 BAA so it seems his 5.13 ERA is not 100% indicative of his performance. The five homers he has allowed has killed him and I do expect him to rebound a bit, but I do not think the Yankees are going to get the 2.50 ERA RJ that they thought they were paying all this money for. As much as the Mets were maligned for their four year Pedro deal, this deal will look worse.
  • Tuesday, April 19, 2005

    Juuuustt A Bit Outside

    Felix Heredia very well could have thrown his last pitch as a Met last night. Following his three balls to the backstop and his removal of the game after one batter, the Mets released that Heredia's thumb was weak. First the numbness, now the weakness. We know he is not being overworked, so it is a curious situation. I've never quite heard of such ailments and all Heath Bell has to do is be useful for even the Mets to see no point in letting Heredia back on the team and I think Bell will prove himself more than useful. If he picks up where he left off last year, how could bringing back Heredia be justified?

    If/when Felix does come back, they can designate him for assignment without fear of another team picking him up if they really, really do not want to grant his outright release. Either way, the Mets win.

    * * *

  • Kaz Ishii's horrible game in which he walked six batters in fist five innings, including four in the first 1 2/3 innings, does not bother me. When he came over, we all knew he was wild and inconsistent. He'll turn in a gem and then lay a big crap on the mound and that is why the Dodgers were willing to pay so much to see him go.

  • Shaun Powell has a must read today.

  • Steve Zipay is partially delirious.

    Thinking about new faces, when the new Mets cable network debuts next season, who should be the lead announce team? My vote: Gary Cohen and Tim McCarver.

    Gary Cohen is ready for the big time. Out of all the announcers you hear, he stands out as one the best. He deserves to be in the highest visible position possible. However, Tim McCarver while being a big name, is horrendous. Give me Fran Healy over McCarver. McCarver is a know it all who unlike Keith Hernandez, does not know it all. Tim McCarver is best known for ruining the playoffs on Fox for anyone that watches them and having a hard on for hearing himself talk.

    The Mets have said they'd like to keep Cohen and Rose together on the radio for continuity, but things change. Rose could stay on the radio with another partner, maybe Ed Coleman or someone else.

    I actually like this idea. Ed Coleman and Howie Rose could certainly be a solid tandem and Cohen should be the voice the Mets open up with on their network and have him for at least a decade if not longer. The dude is that good.

  • Victor Diaz has been compared to Manny Ramirez, but maybe he's a bit too much Manny.

  • Ugh.

    First-round pick Philip Humber, who has limited opponents to one run in 10 innings, will miss up to two St. Lucie starts with an abdominal strain.

    Didn't this hound Kazmir for way too long to start the '04 season?

  • From BA's Daily Dish:

    A prospect showdown Sunday in West Virginia featured the Power’s Mark Rogers, the fifth-overall pick in the 2004 draft, against Mets second-rounder Gaby Hernandez and Hagerstown. The Suns right hander won the duel, throwing five hitless, scoreless innings while striking out seven. Hagerstown pitching coach Shawn Barton said that while Rogers was throwing harder, in the mid-90s range, Hernandez had much better command of a 90-92 mph fastball. “His curveball wasn’t as sharp as it can be, but he changed speeds real well and had a good changeup with a little sink and fade,” Barton said.


    Mets first baseman Brett Harper is off to a big start for high Class A St. Lucie in the notoriously power-deprived Florida State League. After hitting a career-high 16 home runs in 2004, Harper has hit a league-leading six long balls in 10 games for the Mets.

    Harper is a bit old for St. Lucie, but he is still a solid hitting prospect. In a perfect world, he'd be at AA, but Mike Jacobs is manning first base for the B-Mets right now.


    Double-A Binghamton right hander Brian Bannister has owned Eastern League hitters. Bannister, a seventh-round pick out of Southern California in 2003, delivered his third start without allowing an earned run on Saturday. In three starts for the Mets, Bannister is 3-0 and only allowed eight hits in 16 1/3 innings. He's struck out 23 and walked only four. Bannister works his fastball in the 90-92 mph range, with a 12-to-6 curveball, average changeup and average slider.

    They just love the Mets right now.

  • After such a bad game, here is something to lighten the mood. Some nice stats on possibly the top five pitchers in the system:


    Hernandez 3 13.1 4 6 6 16 2.70 0.90 10.80 2.67
    Durkin 2 7 0 9 2 9 0.00 1.57 11.57 4.50
    Humber 2 10 1 4 1 10 0.90 0.50 9.00 10.00
    Bannister 3 16.1 0 8 4 23 0.00 0.73 12.67 5.75
    Petit 2 7 0 5 0 9 0.00 0.71 11.57 n/a
    Total 12 53.2 5 32 13 67 0.84 0.84 11.24 5.15
  • I think it is safe to say the Mets system is pitching rich again.

    Monday, April 18, 2005


    AJ Burnett was nasty on Sunday. He hit 98 mph at some points and was hitting 97 mph with regularity. It was hard to tell if the Mets were making him look like Nolan Ryan or if he was really that good. The Mets were three up and three down in six pitches in the first inning. For me, if you see your pitch, I'm ok with you going after it. However, six pitches is just ugly. The Mets need to do better and they need to work the counts better. Outside of David Wright, a battle at the plate was rare. If not for his at-bat with about fifteen pitches, Burnett's pitch count would have been really, really low. Burnett threw less than twelve pitches per inning and Wrights at bat almost upped his pitches per inning by average by two pitches himself and accounted for about 14% of AJ's pitches in that one at bat. The Mets were swinging often and early. In anti-Burnett fashion, Glavine threw 52 strikes in his 96 pitches thrown. The Marlins were not swinging often and not swinging early. Glavine walked four and when he's not on or getting his calls, the Mets will lose. The Defense was not helping out, but the Mets had no shot of winning.

    On the offensive end, the Mets had no spark. Jose Reyes' OBP & AVG have gone from .393 to .364 to .342 to .333 to .326 to .300 to .278 in a matter of seven games. He now has gone 54 at-bats without seeing a walk and while he was batting .342, his lack of walks was not a problem. However, the Mets need him to spark the team and they need him to spark the team more than 28% of the time. It starts with and I'm not sure he can provide that spark at this point. There are other options currently until he develops his batting eye, but how long Willie will hold out is the question.

    The Mets six game winning streak was impressive, but it was more timely hitting than anything. Their pitching kept them in the game, and timely hitting won. Timely hitting will not continue forever and if the Mets are going to continue winning they need to stop playing catch up baseball and put forth some games which they are not battling from behind. So far, their offense looks too much like last year, which is killed by double plays and dependent upon a big hit to win the game. While that is ok sometimes, you simply cannot have every game come down to that or you will find yourself looking up at everyone in the division. I still think the Mets can take the division, but some tinkering is needed.

    * * *

  • The B-Mets are pretty damn good. Oh, and that Bannister kid is certainly moving himself out from under that sleeper tag pretty quickly.

    And that was before Bannister shut down New Hampshire on three hits over 5 1/3 innings Sunday in the Mets' 4-2 win at NYSEG Stadium. Bannister was pulled as he neared the 85-pitch count the parent club has ordered, throwing 54 of his 83 pitches for strikes to fan eight as he improved to 3-0 this season.

  • The bullpen let Gabby Hernandez down. Gabby went five innings, allowing no hits, walked two, and struck out seven. He now has given up six hits in 13.1 innings. The Suns took a 2-0 lead into the ninth, where it evaporated and the Suns lost 3-2.

  • Heath Bell has a 0.00 WHIP and 0.00 ERA. In 6.2 innings he has struck out eleven and Felix Heredia continues to be useless.

  • Victor Diaz hit the fist homerun at Shea Stadium this season in yesterday’s game.