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

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Under .500

Much like the rare and joyous nipple slip, another rare thing happened. Jae Seo struck out Albert Pujols. However, outside of Jae Seo's pitching performance, there was not much to cheer for last night as the Mets dropped their fifth straight game in a row. Sweet. If the season were to end to today, they would be in the top fifteen for picks in the 2006 draft and they would not have to surrender a first pick for a top tier free agent. If you are looking for positives, you just found one.

* * *

  • Minor update:
    • Toledo beat Norfolk 4-2 on Friday. Angel Pagan went 1 for 3 with a run scored, a double, and a walk and that is really the only good that happened offensively. One of their runs scored was actually unearned and they struggled to score runs against Kenny Baugh who went seven innings and gave up only three hits while striking out eight. Jason Scobie started the game for the Mets and went a solid 6.2 innings and gave up eight hits, two earned runs, one walk, and struck out one and got the no decision. Jeremy Hill took the loss in relief and went .2 innings and gave up two hits, two earned runs, and one walk. Norfolk is down 2-1 to Toledo so far in the series.
    • Hagerstown beat Delmarva 7-4 and tied the series at one a piece. Carlos Gomez went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, a triple, and got caught stealing once, Jose Coronado went 3 for 5 with two runs scored, a double, and two RBIs, Ambiorix Concepcion went 1 for 3 with a run scored, two walks, and one stolen base, Grant Psomas went 1 for 2 with an RBI and three walks, Russ Triplett went 2 for 3 with a run scored, a double, and one RBI, and James Burt went 2 for 4 with a triple and two RBIs. Michael Devaney went five innings and gave up five hits, two earned runs, one walk, one homer, and struck out two. Joseph Serfrass picked up the save in three innings of relief and gave up one earned run on two hits and struck out two.
    • Team USA suffered their first loss of the tournament to Nicaragua 14-2 as Nicaragua improved to an impressive 5-0. It was mixed day for Met prospects as Brian Bannister went 3.2 innings and gave up eight hits, six earned runs, and struck out two to earn the loss. Lastings Milledge supplied all of the offense and went 2 for 5 with a homer and two RBIs.

  • UPDATE: Quote of the Day:

    "Whether we're doing good or not, sometimes you keep it quiet in the dugout, a little bit more quiet than normal. You've got to have fun. There's enough reasons to smile," he said. "You know how lucky we are to be losing games here? What about those people in New Orleans? They're not losing games, they're losing lives."

    Friday, September 09, 2005


    In case you missed it....

    John Sickels decided to look into his crystal ball and project Lastings Milledge's career path. Mr. Sickels does not think that highly of Mr. Milledge since he does not even finish with 250 homers. In fact, he only hits over 20 four times and only three times in his seven years a mile above sea level. Just a weird article and I do know it was only to stir up some conversation and Sickels asks some questions as the end, but I was left confused to whether I thought it was utterly useless or interesting. I have not been this confused since I got that forward that was a test to see if I can figure out if a person was a tranny or a real woman.

    However, the funniest thing of all was this comment.

    Personally, I doubt he will K as much as that, especially in Coors. The '09 trade was straight up for Jeff Francis [who was toiling in denvers and getting expensive], who went on to win the Cy Young in '10 after being freed from Coors.

    I still get the feeling Milledge is a bust unless he gets a good nickname. I just can see a guy named Lastings as an all-star. It just doesn't have a good ring to it. [I feel the same way about Eddy M-E]

    Objectively, I think Milledge will improve his SB success rate as he matures, as well as have better [not by a huge margin] plate discipline. IF Beltran is around as a mentor.

    I also don't see him getting 124 AB's in 06, unless Cameron is out of the picture.

    If you read this site or Metsgeek a lot, you will have noticed that Benny has a name test for players. Bad name? You won't be good. Cool name? You have a shot to be something. Apparently Benny is not the only one. I do have to take issue with that statement since I do think Lastings Milledge has that ring to it.

    As for Sickels and his prediction of Lastings career path, he basically does not think very highly of him. Aside from two years of hitting .333 in one year and .368 in another, Lastings has had some rather unaweinspiring years and was nothing special at all. He could be right, but I think his power numbers will be higher and his average will be more consistently in the .300-.310 range and he will never step foot in Colorado. If Lastings makes it through this off-season and is not used to get Manny Ramirez, I see him hanging around for while because I truly think the kid is special. Some scouts do not think his power will really develop and he will steal a ton and others think he will hit a lot of homers and not steal many bases, but the fact is no one obviously knows. It will be fun to see what becomes of him and I think his time on Team USA and in the Arizona Fall League will go a long way in giving us an idea but he looks like a future #3 hitter to me.

    * * *

  • "I'm very anxious to get on the field," he said Wednesday. "All I think about is having my name called, playing left field and seeing that little kid in the field cheering. Those are the visions I see."

    Good luck with all of that. I hope that little kid is your son because I'm not sure you will have many fans on your side after the fiasco that has been your season and I'm not just talking about steroids. Your updates from your website and no one really knowing what Barry was doing was a diva act that fans are starting to get sick of.

  • I officially dub Kris Benson "warning track".

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk came back to even the series against Toledo yesterday by winning 7-3. It was a battle of super studs as Yusmeiro Petit went up against Joel Zumaya and Petit came out on top with a ridiculous game. Petit went eight innings of three run ball and gave up four hits, one homer, one walk, and struck out fourteen. Petit struggled since moving up to AAA and picked a great spot to have his best game at AAA. Mr. Koo made an appearance and gave up one hit and one walk in .1 innings and Manny Aybar came in and saved the game. "Mr. September" Marcus Thames homered in two straight games for Toledo and is 2 for 7 with two homers and five RBIs in the first two games. He is going to start getting the Barry Bonds treatment soon. Angel Pagan did not pick up a hit after having three in the first game, but did manage to walk three times and score a run. Anderson Hernandez went 2 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI, Prentice Redman went 1 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs, Brian Daubach went 1 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI, Chase Lambin went 0 for 2 with two walks and a run scored, Eric Valent went 1 for 3 with a walk, and Rodney Nye went 2 for 4 with a run scored.
    • New Jersey beat Brooklyn 5-2. Caleb Stewart went 1 for 2 with a double, an RBI, and two walks, Nick Evans went 1 for 4 with a run scored, and Leivi Ventura went 1 for 3 with an RBI. Joe D'Alessandro picked up the loss and went 1.1 innings in relief and gave up four hits, five runs, three earned runs, one walk, and struck out two.
    • In non Met-related news, Kannapolis beat Charleston 4-3 in a ridiculous in twenty-one innings on Wednesday. What is even more impressive to me is that each team only used five pitchers and did not use every pitcher which would usually happen in these types of game. Charleston's starter went eight innings and the next four pitchers went at least three innings. Kannapolis' starter went 7.2 innings and the next pitcher went 2.1 innings with the three pitchers covering the next eleven innings. To top it all off Kannapolis made four errors in a seemingly very undeserving win.
  • Checking in with one of the comments of the year..

    And for the good news today...only the Marlins and Nationals played.

    If we can keep the current pace, we should be able to pass Milwaukee and Chicago, perhaps the Reds as well.

    SF, LA and Arizona will take a lot of work...but I think if we lose 10-12 more straight, we can do it. Only the Rockies and Pirates are a long shot. If we position well...we can lose the last 4 to the Rockies and finish with the second worst record in the NL and perhaps 5th overall (KC, TB, Seattle, Pittsburgh ahead)

    Not bad for some picks.

    Way to spin this into a positive somehow.

  • Johnny Damon is doing his thing working for a contract in '06.

    "Anaheim's right behind Boston as far as teams on the list," Damon said. "I love Southern California. The weather is awesome, I like the team, I love (Manager) Mike Scioscia, I love their pitching staff, I love Orlando Cabrera. A lot of things about it make sense."

    Also from the above article:

    Vladimir Guerrero and David Ortiz got together and decided to donate $50,000 each to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Ortiz said the two players were watching TV at Ortiz's house when they were moved to contribute.

    "We're going to challenge all the baseball players to come and do the same thing, especially players from the Dominican Republic," Ortiz said. "We have received a lot of help from this country when our country struggled."

    Guerrero was 3 years old in 1979 when Hurricane David devastated much of the southwest coast of the Dominican, where Guerrero grew up and still lives.

    "I remember my family talking about all the destruction they had there," Guerrero said. "One thing I feel very happy about is helping people, because my family struggled before and other people helped out."

    In addition to Guerrero's donation, Angels' players wives raised $34,000 in a memorabilia auction. Angels owner Arte Moreno will match that donation, raising the team's contribution to roughly $120,000.

    Good stuff.

  • Ben Shpigel goes over some heartbreaking performances by Looper this year in his new aricle.

    Looper has a $5 million option for next season with a $250,000 buyout clause and said he would love to come back next season. But asked if he would consider a reduced role if the Mets coveted Wagner, the top free-agent closer available, Looper hesitated.

    "It would be hard to say no, but it's definitely not what I prefer," Looper said.

    It would be hard to say no because you would be hard pressed to get $5 million elsewhere.

  • Willie lays down the law.

    Willie Randolph met with Carlos Beltran before Thursday's game to express his displeasure that Beltran chose to bunt with no outs and two runners on base in the first inning Wednesday. Beltran moved José Reyes and Kazuo Matsui over, and they eventually scored, but the No. 3 hitter in the lineup is usually expected to drive in runs, not sacrifice.

    "I told him that I'd prefer him not to do that," Randolph said. "He felt he could maybe get a bunt base hit and, like I said earlier, if he makes it, then we're O.K. But even if he makes it, it still might not be the right play. But he feels that's part of his game in his mind. But personally, no, I'd rather him swing the bat."

  • This sounds interesting:

    In the hours that surrounded that agreement, however, Hochevar changed agents, changed back, aborted the deal and publicly accused the Dodgers of unfair tactics, smearing an already trouble-laden process.
  • Thursday, September 08, 2005

    Fruit Loops

    Looper has that rare ability to make every appearance in a game an interesting one. He keeps fans on their seats and giving them the most for their dollar routinely. He has a live arm and good stuff, and while he gets the job done and has put up solid stats in his Met career, he his far from a dominator. Not being a dominator is OK though. In reality, there are only a few closers that I would classify as a dominator and they are not easy to come by. As for Looper, he falls into the category right below them will be a desirable commodity should his option not be picked up by the Mets a reliable and rather cost effective closer.

    As far as closers go, there has been much debate as to whether they are overrated and what is the best way to use them. I personally think closers are not overrated and are an invaluable part of the bullpen. However, they are just as invaluable as a solid middle reliever. High leverage situations happen in every inning and as far as the bullpen goes, the Mets two, maybe three best relievers are middle relievers so they can work the tough situations and let Looper have the saves which are generally easier spots which are coming into the game with no one on, a lead, and only needing to get three outs.

    When Looper is handed that lead with three outs, you know he is going to step up despite making it interesting and unless the Mets can get a Wagner or BJ Ryan, I see no issues with bringing him back in '06. Anyone buying this? I'm not. The fact is, I officially hate Looper. I would never fathom ripping Randolph for using Looper because right now, he is their closer and has not pitched bad enough to be removed in reality. I may not agree with all of his bullpen usage, but let's face it, it is either Looper in the 7th, 8th, or 9th. Give me the skill when we need to get batters out and bail the starters out of jams and let Looper have the none on situations.

    However, it is clear that even that is not good enough if the Mets want to move to the next level. Looper needs two runs minimum for anyone to not want to rip their eyes out watching the game. The Mets were in dire need of win and he was handed the lead not once, but twice! He managed to evaporate that lead in both the 9th and 10th innings and Shingo Takatsu did his best to get out of a no out, bases loaded jam. Looper has lefties batting .327 against him with righties hitting .203 against him. His spots should be chosen from here on out because with thin leads and lefties owning a .979 OPS against him, that is recipe for disaster. Finally, can he please strike someone out? Strikeouts do not make a great closer, but it sure does not hurt. For a guy who throws that hard, he is entirely too hittable. Looper has a K/BB of 1.30 and he drove me to edge last night in a deflating loss. His numbers do not look that bad, but you have to look beyond the numbers if Mets plan to compete, they need to upgrade their closer amongst adding offense.

    * * *

  • Minor update:
    • Toledo has taken game one against the Tides 6-5 behind AAAA player extraordinaire Marcus Thames and his homerun and three RBIs. Angel Pagan had a big game one for the Tides and went 3 for 4 with a run scored, a double, an RBI, and a walk. Anderson Hernandez went 1 for 3, Eric Valent went 1 for 4 with an RBI and a walk, Chris Basak went 2 for 3 with a run scored and a walk, and Joe Hieptas went 1 for 4 with a run scored, a double, and two RBIs. Eric Junge started the game and went 6.1 innings giving up nine hits, four earned runs, one walk, one homer, and struck out seven. Royce Ring threw two shut out innings in relief allowing one hit and striking out two.
    • Delmarva beat up on Hagerstown 13-3. Jose Coronado went 2 for 3, Jesus Flores went 1 for 3 with a run scored and a walk, and Russ Triplett went 1 for 3 with a run scored, a triple, and an RBI. Jose Sanchez started the game and went two innings giving up six hits, five runs, two earned runs, and two walks and took the loss. Matt Durkin came in to pitch the next two innings and the good news he only walked one. The bad news is that he gave up five runs, four earned runs, and four hits and the Suns gave up six unearned runs in total.
    • New Jersey beat Brooklyn 4-2. Matthew Anderson went 2 for 4 with a double, Daniel Cummins went 2 for 4, and Caleb Stewart went 0 for 2 with a run scored, an RBI, and two walks. Robert Parnell started the game and got the no decision while pitching yet another good game. He went five innings giving up one hit, no earned runs, two walks, and struck out three. Kevin Tomasiewicz took the loss and gave up three earned runs, four hits, one walk, and one homer in one inning pitched.
    • Team USA keeps on rolling and beat Puerto Rico 12-6. Lastings Milledge went 2 for 6 with two runs scored, two strikeouts, and his second double on the season. USA improved to 4-0.

      Lastings sporting some dreads for Team USA.
  • Since there is no actual baseball worth watching lately, Doug Mientkiewicz and David Wright are providing some entertainment for everyone. True to his word that he would shave his head if he reached the .250 mark, Mientkiewicz let Wright take whatever hair he had left off.

    Mientkiewicz looked, in Wright's words, "OK, but he's really not a very good looking man."

    "He's just not a very good looking person," Wright said. "It can only turn out so great. It doesn't matter what kind of hair cut he has. It isn't going to make him look any better."

  • Q&A with Aaron Heilman.

  • Poor, poor Tom Glavine. He pitched well enough to make me think about actually breaking out my Tom Glavine jersey, but the Met bullpen and offense failed him yet again. He has 272 career wins and should have over 280 but the Mets are hell bent on making sure he never reaches that 300 win plateau. His season ERA has been lowered to 3.89 which is impressive considering how the season started.
    SPLIT          ERA  W  L   IP   H  ER  HR  BB  SO   BAA
    April 5.67 1 3 27 33 17 3 16 17 .308
    May 4.58 2 2 35.1 45 18 2 13 14 .317
    June 4.66 2 2 29 41 15 2 7 12 .333
    July 3.44 2 2 36.2 43 14 1 11 13 .303
    August 2.50 3 2 36 37 10 3 2 15 .266
    September 2.57 0 1 7 3 2 0 4 6 .130
    Pre-All Star 4.94 6 7 102 137 56 7 41 46 .325
    Post-All Star 2.61 4 5 69 65 20 4 12 31 .255
    What is more remarkable about this turnaround to his season is that he has been a notoriously bad finisher the last few years and he has looked great lately and finally brought down his BAA in August to something respectable.

  • The Mariners may not lead the league in much, but they lead the league in steroid users.

  • Willie on Kaz:

    "He's a guy, overall, that gives us more assets in that spot," manager Willie Randolph said before last night's game. "Miguel played well for us early in the year, and he can always go out there and grind and claw and do certain things. But he did come here to be backup guy. If Kaz can finish up strong, the way he's swinging right now, it would be nice for us."

  • Scott Lauber goes over the highs and lows of B-Mets season and has some high marks for Lastings Milledge.
  • Wednesday, September 07, 2005

    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.

    * * *

  • This is the most minor of minor updates, but here you go....
    • 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," said Randolph, "can be somewhat erratic."

    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.

  • It appears Scott Kazmir is doing just fine for 21 year old in the bigs. He is 8-9 with a 4.02 ERA in 161.1 innings pitched, 8.31 K/9, and a .253 BAA. I hope the Mets learn something here and it is more giving young guys a chance than not trading them. Acquiring Victor Zambrano was supposed to be because he was closer to helping them win and he has a higher ERA, less innings pitched, lower K/9, and a higher BAA despite pitching in the NL. That is all very disturbing.

  • Even though I still hold a grudge for Baseball Prospectus throwing Omar Minaya under the bus for his comments after signing Pedro Martinez, to say they hit the Mets problem on the head is an understatement.

    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.

  • Joel Sherman names sixteen Mets in a "shit or get off the spot" position with the Mets.

    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.

  • Who'll replace Lloyd McClendon and why does anyone care? For starters Art Howe and Ken Oberkfell could be candidates.

    "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.

  • The Braves did not score any of their runs on hits and the Mets have lost eight of their last ten.
  • Tuesday, September 06, 2005


    At such an important stretch of the year, the Mets decided to get two wins out of their last nine games and pitchers cannot give up more than two runs if they expect to win a game. In response to that, The Metropolitans is going to ignore that underperforming group and their forgettable game for some pictures that Benny pointed out that were posted on the NYFansites messageboards. See what bored Mets fans and Photoshop can churn out?

    * * *

  • "This place is like Death Valley for us." -- Mike Piazza, in September 1999, describing the Mets' play in Turner Field

    As pointed out from yesterday's broadcast, the Mets only have four wins in September and October against the Braves at Turners Field. Ugly.

    The Braves are 49-20 against the Mets at Turner Field, including 20-4 in September and October.

  • The Mets' .593 winning percentage in August was tied for second in the National League. The Cardinals' .632 mark led the league

  • So many wasted chances in yesterday's game, but else is new? Is it just me, or does Willie seems to guess wrong more times than he guesses right?

  • Minor update:
    • Richmond beat Norfolk 3-2. Angel Pagan went 1 for 4 with an RBI, Eric Valent went 2 for 3 with a run scored and a walk, and Chase Lambin went 2 for 3 with a run scored, a double, and an RBI. Jose Santiago got the start and went six innings allowing seven hits, two earned runs, one walk, and he struck out four.
    • Binghamton beat New Britain 5-0. David Bacani went 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI, Aarom Baldiris went 1 for 2 with a run scored, a double, and two walks, Bobby Malek went 2 for 4 with a run scored and a double, Corey Ragsdale went 1 for 2 with a run scored, a walk, and his ninth homer in AA, which was his nineteenth homer overall, and Yunir Garcia went 1 for 3 with a walk and two RBIs. Timothy McNab got the start and went six innings giving up two hits, no earned runs, a walk, and struck out four en route to his second win on the year.
    • Hagerstown beat Lexington 7-2. Carlos Gomez went 1 for 2 with a run scored and a walk, Ambiorix Concepcion went 3 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI, Grant Psomas went 1 for 2, Matt Bacon went 1 for 4 with a run scored and two RBIs, and Matthew Fisher went 1 for 2 with two runs scored, a triple, two walks, and an RBI.
    • Brooklyn beat Aberdeen 7-2. Caleb Stewart started off on fire for the Cyclones after getting demoted from St. Lucie where he was holding his own only to go into a long slump until recently. Recently, Stewart has been on fire and yesterday's game was no different as he went 2 for 5 with a run scored, a double, and two RBIs. Gregory Gonzalez went 1 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI, Joseph Holden went 1 for 4 with a run scored and a walk, Nick Evans went 1 for 4 with a run scored and a walk, Jonel Pacheco went 2 for 4 with a runs scored, an RBI, and a walk, and Drew Butera went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs. Salvador Aguilar got the start and upped his record to 5-0 by going five innings, giving up three hits, no earned runs, two walks, and struck out seven.
  • Ah, this explains it.

    "When I left it was with the understanding, go down and get some work, work I wasn't getting here," he said. "My numbers were terrible. Against minor league guys I always get hammered. I fixed a couple mechanical flaws."

    Of course, why didn't we think of this before. He sucked in the minor leagues because he always gets hit hard by the young guys and he fixed some flaws that caused him to get hammered by the big guys too. He should now be able to help the Mets in their final playoff push.

  • I feel for you Cammy...

    "As soon as they tell me I can eat, I'm going to get an extra-large pizza," said Cameron, who has been limited to a diet of soft foods. "The doctors told me I could put it in a blender, but I didn't want that. I want a pizza and a six-pack of beer."

  • This is funny coming from a guy dubbed Windmill Willie.

    Manager Willie Randolph was asked about the decision to send Diaz, and he didn't exactly defend his third-base coach.

    "I've coached third base for 10 years and I don't second-guess my third-base coach," Randolph said. "It was a tough decision. I didn't tell him to tell him to go. You have to ask the guy that sent him."

  • Right fielder Bobby Malek said he's starting an off-season weight-training program to increase his power, particularly on inside pitches. Malek, a left-handed hitter, finished with 23 doubles and only four homers in 394 at-bats.

  • Pass it on.

  • Uggie will not set up for Wagner in '06.

    "I'd only do that for a few closers - Mariano Rivera, Billy, [Eric] Gagne and [Trevor] Hoffman," Urbina said. "Those four guys. No more. But it's just for this year. I miss closing."

    No Looper on that list?

  • Miguel Olivo has pretty much helped the Padres decide not to pursue Ramon Hernandez this upcoming off-season.

  • Barry Bonds is probably going to return to action today.

    "I did pretty well today," Bonds said. "When I get back on the field, I want to be playing where I left off."

  • Felix Hernandez is nasty. After throwing seven shutout innings and giving up only four hits, one walk, and struck out five, he is now 3-2 with a 1.59 ERA. Amazing.
  • Monday, September 05, 2005

    The Metropolitans Thinks David Wright Is Good

    Amazingly, the Mets are only 2.5 games out after yesterday's victory. Can anyone else think of the last time a last place team was only 2.5 games out of anything come September 5th? The Mets hanging around this late in the season has been a direct result of David Wright carrying this offense in the second half of the season. In case you missed this article that was pointed out to me by Benny, Jayson Stark thinks that David Wright should get some serious MVP considerations if the Mets make the playoffs.

    DAVID WRIGHT: In case you hadn't noticed, no player in the National League has had a better second half than Wright -- who is first since the break in average, OPS, hits and RBI. Now consider that Mets team he plays for. They didn't even get to five games over .500 until Aug. 23. But suddenly, they look as if they might steal the wild card. If that happens, voters will be looking for reasons this team suddenly got hot. And those reasons start with David Wright. Period.

    Let's take a look at David Wright's second half compared to everyone Jayson Stark names as candidates.
                   2b  HR RBI  BB  SO  AVG  OBP  SLG   OPS
    David Wright 14 10 42 22 30 .371 .436 .618 1.054
    Morgan Ensberg 8 11 30 30 38 .256 .374 .511 .885
    Albert Pujols 14 13 31 33 22 .331 .440 .663 1.103
    Derrk Lee 16 12 23 29 25 .284 .380 .568 .948
    Andruw Jones 7 17 44 22 32 .269 .361 .611 .972
    Miguel Cabrera 15 11 35 22 41 .317 .386 .575 .961
    Bobby Abreu 11 4 28 29 44 .271 .372 .412 .784
    Carlos Delgado 8 9 31 16 33 .298 .394 .620 1.014
    Brian Giles 8 5 24 27 12 .310 .402 .468 .870
    Chad Cordero - Yeah he's been ridiculous, but should
    closers win the MVP?
    It is just great to see David Wright earn that kind of press and with a huge September to get the Mets into the playoffs, I think he would epitomize the meaning of MVP and that is the most valuable player to their respective team. You take Wright out of the equation, and the Mets have no shot at the playoffs and is keeping their weakest aspect of the team afloat and that is offense. Throw on top of that some highlight reel catches and improved second half defense and you have what could possibly be the biggest second half for any player in the NL and what it meant to their team. If David Wright gets more RBI opportunities and gets moved to the three hole, he could do his best Carlos Beltran playoff impression and push this team into what most baseball experts would call an improbable run to the post season.

    * * *

  • There are still some kicks in this dying mule. 35 year old Ken Griffey Jr. tied Mickey Mantle for 12th on the all time list for homeruns with 536. With all the injuries over the years, it is easy to forget that he was the best player in the universe through basically the year 2000. .

  • Sammy Sosa may just end up playing in Japan next season.

    Keep your ears open around baseball, and you can hear some people speculating that former Cubs star Sammy Sosa will be lucky to get minor-league contract offers in the offseason after the poor season he has had in Baltimore. Any club offering him even $1 million to $2 million for 2006 seems a stretch.

    So what will Sosa do? Some believe he will sign a contract to play next year in Japan, where he is still a bona fide celebrity.

    As far as money is concerned, it appears Japan would be more lucrative for Sosa than any deal he might muster up in the majors. It could be sayonara to Sosa in the big leagues.

    I guess he can take his Béisbol has been berry berry good to me routine overseas because people are sick of it over here. Also, with the lower level of competition in Japan and the lack of interest in over the hill guys like Sosa becoming an increasing trend, maybe Japan becomes the place the go to put up some decent numbers and make some more money after you have gassed out in the states.

  • Deion Sanders may be an annoying loudmouth, but he did dump a bucket ice water on Tim McCarver's head and he is trying to get athletes to donate money to the hurricane relief efforts and challenged them to help reach his goal of $1.5 to $3 million. Word on the street (by on the street I mean Kevin Millar) is Manny Ramirez is the cheapest guy on the Red Sox despite owning the second highest salary in Major League baseball. Maybe Deion can get him to chip in some cash since he is overdue on spending it on something.

  • ESPN.com names Anderson Hernandez as a potential call-up that could make an impact and the Mets look like their are poised to do so.

    "I don't believe in having a lot of guys around if they're not going to be used," Randolph said.

    He added that he would like to take a look at Anderson Hernandez, who is hitting .312 at Norfolk. He was moved from shortstop to second base this season. The team also might bring up an outfielder.

    Of course that would be after the AAA playoffs of course. Today is the final regular season game and I'm not sure how long the playoffs are for AAA, but it is good to see they have their priorities straight.

  • Kaz Matsui had the best inning of his life in yesterday's game. He had a triple in his first at-bat and scored the games first run and followed that up with two excellent plays in the field in the bottom half of the inning. Overall, he went 3 for 5 with three runs scored.

    "Kaz is looking much better," manager Willie Randolph said. "It might be the right time for him to get going. So that's good."

    Insightful. I guess it's time to get Cairo in the lineup to get him his at-bats and keep him fresh.

  • "He's coming," Cliff Floyd said of Beltran after the No. 3 hitter came up with two hits, a run scored and two RBIs yesterday.

    "I'm telling you," added Floyd, who got the Mets offense going when he lined a two-run homer to center, simply a wicked shot, in the third off A.J. Burnett. "Once that goes to the next level, I don't think it stops."

  • Minor update:
    • The Norfolk Tides beat the Richmond Braves 2-0 behind an Angel Pagan solo homer, a Prentice Redman solo homer, and a Jason Scobie's sharp pitching performance. Angel Pagan went 2 for 3 with a homer and a walk, Prentice Redman went 3 for 4 with a double and a homer, and Jason Scobie went 2 for 2 and those three account for all of the Tides hits. Anderson Hernandez who is expected to be called up shortly to the Mets squad went 0 for 4. Dae Sung Koo started the game to get some work in and went three scoreless innings and Jason Scobie picked up the win in five innings of relief in which he allowed only one hits, no walks, and did not strike out a batter. Manny Aybar picked up his fourth save of the year and went one scoreless inning.
    • Binghamton beat New Britain 4-1. Wayne Lydon went 2 for 4 with a double, Russ Triplett went 2 for 4 with two doubles, Bobby Malek went 1 for 3 with his fourth homer of the year, and Cory Ragsdale went 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs. Evan MacLane got the start and went 7.2 innings and gave up seven hits, no earned runs, one walk, and struck out eight. Anderson Garcia picked up his fifth save and pitched on inning of scoreless baseball.
    • Vero Beach beat St. Lucie 12-6. Dante Brinkley went 2 for 5, Aaron Hathaway went 1 for 5 with a run scored, a double, and three RBIs, Jamar Hill went 3 for 5 with his fifteenth homer of the year, Derran Watts went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, a double, a walk, and an RBI, and Kevin Rios went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Blake Whealy had a rough day at the plate and went 0 for 5 with four strikeouts. Chuck Smith started the game and went six innings giving up four this, five earned runs, three hits, one homer, and struck out four and got a no decision. Felix Heredia picked up the loss in relief and went 0.0 innings and gave up three hits and four earned runs. Heredia appears to be poised for a call up and after all, he does have post season experience.
    • Hagerstown beat Lexington 4-3. Ambiorix Concepcion went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, one double, a walk, and his thirty-fifth stolen base on the year and Jesus Flores went 2 for 5 with a run scored, a double, and two RBIs. Blake Eager started the game and went 6.1 innings and gave up five hits, two earned runs, one homer, and six strikeouts and picked up the no decision. Marcelo Perez picked up the win in relief and went 1.1 inning of no run baseball and did not allow a hit, struck out two, and walked one.
    • Hudson Valley beat Brooklyn 3-0. Caleb Stewart went 1 for 3 with a walk and Drew Butera went 1 for 3. Waner Mateo got the start and went four innings, allowed one hit, no earned runs, and struck out four and got the no decision. Kyle Risenger picked up the loss in 3.1 innings of relief and allowed five hits, one earned run, no walks, and struck out two.
  • Aaron Heilman made up some ground after finding a role as a reliever and has the third highest inning total out of the bullpen and is only 7.2 innings behind Roberto Hernandez and only 4.1 innings behind Braden Looper. He has a 2-0 record out of the pen with a 2.72 ERA, 10.15 K/9, 1.15 WHIP, and a 4 K/BB ratio. On the other hand, Heath Bell and his 4.67 ERA has been a disappointment to say the least and looks like a thrower and not a pitcher so far. I hate that saying, but it really looks like it applies to Heath. He has some work ahead of him in the off-season

  • Huh?

    Reliever Danny Graves, who was designated for assignment on Aug. 23 and cleared waivers on Friday, will be eligible to rejoin the Mets on Monday, and he is expected to be called up from Triple-A Norfolk.

    "He'll be here in a couple days -- it might even be tomorrow," Randolph said. "There's nothing in his contract about it. We just told him we wanted him back. We want him to come back and help us."

    Help you what? Not make the playoffs?

  • Mike Piazza still aims to make his return back to the Mets this season.
  • Sunday, September 04, 2005


    Now that the Mets season is officially on life support, they are 3.5 games back with 23 games left to play. Being 3.5 games out is not the problem with 23 games left to play, but having to leapfrog four teams in the process is the hard part. An article said yesterday that the Mets biggest problem is not so much the lack of talent in their minor league system, but their lack of trust in their young players. The Mets are notorious for not trusting young guys in the stretch or really at any point of the season and that was before Willie. Now is the time to start busting down those reservations and using the rare guy in the Mets system that could possibly contribute.

    Miguel Cairo came up to bat with two outs and men on second and third. He strikes out and Beltran starts the next inning by getting on base and Cliff Floyd knocks in him with a homer. Does it all mean that Beltran and Floyd would have still produced the same way if they were behing Reyes? No, but as Gary Cohen points out, they are basically only getting production from four players. Therefore, the Mets best hope for scoring runs is bunching your best hitters together to try and put yourself in a position to get some runs. Cairo's ninth inning hit notwithstanding, the guy has been killing the Mets and killing any sort of rallies the Mets try to start. The Mets only other option for productivity is a guy at AAA or Kaz Matsui figuring out that he is not this bad.

    Regardless, the Mets lost the game in a few spots and none bigger than Victor Diaz's miscue that killed the no hitter and eventually the shut out so it is hard to simply blame Cairo's lack of clutch hitting or the bullpen not being able to hold the lead because the Mets had plenty of chances to help themselves and did not do it. They did not look like a playoff team and simply look like a lost team right now. They have been a streaky team all season and I'm guessing they will hit a bit of hot streak soon inevitably to be followed by a cold streak, but the Mets need to start trusting young guys a bit more and not only as a last resort when an injury leaves them no other choice. Jacobs has been slumping, but he needs to get a few more shots and Anderson Hernandez needs to be given a shot. It's clear what Willie has been doing is not working, but instead of trying something new, he keeps making the same dead end decisions and trusting some young guys simply cannot hurt. If Bobby Cox and the Braves can trust young guys, I think Willie and the Mets can. After all, a few young guys are the reason the Mets are where they are right now.

    * * *

  • I like this AL Executive.

    The Mets properly held on to Steve Trachsel in late August. If they must trade him, the off-season is the time, when the potential return is not just players who have passed through waivers and, when his $2.5 million 2006 base salary will look particularly enticing in a down free-agent market.

    "If they want to trade him, they should get something pretty good in return in the off-season," an AL executive said. "Assuming first base, bullpen and second base are their needs, they should be able to address one. Maybe they add something to Trachsel and they can play for [Arizona first basemen] Connor Jackson or Chad Tracy or [Philadelphia's] Ryan Howard."

    But the Mets should also consider if trading Trachsel is the best alternative. He has proven he can thrive in New York. Has Victor Zambrano?

    I'll take Jackson or Ryan Howard, but for Steve Trachsel? That is too much to get in return the guy, but hey, I leave that to the experts.

    More Trachsel stuff:

    Just to set the record straight, the Red Sox never offered Kevin Youkilis to the New York Mets for Steve Trachsel.

    The Mets were reportedly looking for bullpen help and/or a major league player, which pretty much eliminated any chance at a deal.

    It looks like there really was nothing going on at all.

  • Willie on Doug's pennant race experience.

    "It's important to have that," Willie Randolph said. "It can't hurt. He's been there before. Bottom line is hopefully he can produce and help us win some games. When you factor in a lot of the things that go into this type of situation, it helps to have a little experience. But you still have to get the job done. We want to see how he can help us. Like anything else, you don't know unless you give the guy a shot."

    I'd rather have skill and production, but I'm not managing.

  • Willie also rips some players.

    "Not only is he slow," Randolph said. "But, frankly, he's one of my worst base runners. That's a double-whammy. It just makes me crazy. In a situation like that, I've got to get a guy to second base or third, I'm like, 'Oh my God, how are we going to do this?"

    "That's because he can't throw," Randolph said. "[Castro] would have been dead with anybody else. That's Pierre - he can't throw. He looked like Bernie Williams out there."

  • Bob Klapisch has a good article on Willie and the Mets.

    Randolph passed over Roberto Hernandez, Aaron Heilman and Heath Bell, all harder throwers with livelier stuff. There was actually good reason for Randolph to seek other options, since none of the Mets' front-line relievers had much success with Cabrera.

    The Marlins' slugger was batting .583 (7-for-12) against Hernandez. He was hitting .333 (5-for-15) against Heilman. And he was 3-for-5 against Bell. Randolph insisted he wasn't aware of any of those numbers, however, choosing Takatsu because, "I thought he'd throw that curveball."

    I was not against this move. He went with guys on the roster who he thought could do it and Takatsu has a funky delivery that could have easily thrown someone off, but it just did not happen.

  • Mark Healy has his twist on this Gary LaRoque situation and it is a disturbing one.

  • What's wrong with this team? Look no further than this.

    Danny Graves is expected to rejoin the Mets tomorrow in Atlanta. He has allowed 12 earned runs and 15 hits in six innings at Triple-A Norfolk.

    This is a perfect example of why the Mets are where they are.

  • Dan Graziano thinks Willie is doing a good job, I think he is doing a horrible one.

    "We live in this hip-hop culture now, where players -- even white players -- are caught up in the whole 'respect' and 'dissing' and stuff like that," Randolph said last week. "To be able to speak that language is important. I'm not saying Grady Little or Jimmy Williams can't do it, but I think it helps if you understand the culture."

    Just write up the damn lineup card like a rational human being and run the team right.

  • Minor update:
    • Norfolk beat Richmond 2-1. Chris Basak and Anderson Hernandez drove in the Mets lone runs and Eric Valent, Chase Lambin, and Joe Heiptas were the only Tides to actually get a hit. The Tides walked seven times to their three hits and that was their key to winning the game. Neal Musser got the start and pitched a great game giving up five hits, one walk, and struck out six for the no decision. Danny Graves actually pitched a scoreless inning in AAA, Manny Aybar picked up his third win in one inning of relief and gave up two hits, one earned run, a walk, and struck out two, and Royce Ring picked up his second save of the year in one scoreless inning of relief.
    • New Britain beat Binghamton 7-4. David Bacani went 3 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI, Wayne Lydon went 1 for 4 with a triple and two RBIs, and Bobby Malek went 2 for 4 with a run scored, a double, and an outfield assist. Rafael Lopez started the game and went four innings, giving up nine hits, four earned runs, two walks, and struck out three and picked up his tenth loss of the season and is now 2-10.
    • Vero Beach beat St. Lucie 6-3. Aaron Hathaway was in the third slot in the batting order and went 2 for 5 with a run scored and Blake Whealy went 2 for 3 with a double, two RBIs, and a walk. Gaby Hernandez started the game and went three shutout innings and gave up three his while striking out two. Greg Ramirez took the loss and went 2.1 innings giving up four hits, three earned runs, three walks, one homer, and struck out three. Felix Heredia went .2 innings of shutout ball and walked one and gave up one hit.
    • Lexington beat Hagerstown 9-2. Carlos Gomez went 1 for 3 with his 31st walk on the year, Ambiorix Concepcion went 1 for 4 with a double and a walk, Grant Psomas went 1 for 4 with a run scored and a double, and Jesus Flores went 1 for 4. Orlando Rengel got the start and also took the loss in his 5.1 innings of work and he gave up eight hits, three earned runs, two walks, and struck out five.
    • Brooklyn beat Hudson Valley 2-1. Gregory Gonzalez went 0 for 3 with run scored and two walks, Caleb Stewart went 1 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI, and Jonel Pacheco went 1 for 4 with an RBI.