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

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Chicks Dig The Long Ball, Part II

The top six teams in terms of homeruns in the National League this season are Milwaukee, Cincinnati, the Mets, Washington, Philadelphia, and Houston. First off, which two do not belong there? It is certainly interesting that Jose Vidro said RFK Stadium was unfair to hitters and yet the Nationals find themselves fourth in the league in homeruns. Sure only nineteen have come at home compared to forty on the road, but who's counting?

Conversely, the Mets have had no problems whatsoever hitting homeruns at Shea and have hit 32 of their 62 homeruns at Shea this season including multiple homeruns in every game of their current home stand. The only problem is the Mets have had 15% of their hits go for homeruns and only the Brewers and the Reds have had a higher percentage of their hits for homeruns. Out of the twenty four runs they have scored on this home stand, sixteen have come by way of a homerun. That reliance on the long ball translates into the Mets being third in the league in homeruns and eighth in the league in runs scored.

Of course, a low team on base percentage, a low team batting average, and the Mets troubles with runners in scoring position are the major factors for the Mets being eighth in runs scored despite hitting homers at an impressive rate. As a team, the Mets isolated plate discipline ranks eleventh in the National League while their batting average is also sitting at eleventh. In other words, not good. My biggest concern here is not so much the regular season, though the regular season is going to be an issue simply because of their rotation, but the playoffs should they make it there. This team has showed a lot of heart in close games, but when good pitching is thrown out there night after night, how will they fare?

With David Wright, Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, and Cliff Floyd in the middle of the lineup, I figured the Mets would been greatly improved in team BA and team OBP. While they have improved, they only improved by .009 while their batting average has remained the same, which is more distressing. Coming into this season, I thought the Mets had the best offensive club in the National League and that included the Cardinals. I still believe their lineup should be, but they have struggled to find consistency since starting the season on fire. In the first quarter of the season, they have relied heavily on the homerun and they really need to start manufacturing runs and getting on base more if they are going to reach their full potential and help even out a weak back end of the rotation.

What is the genesis of the Mets problem? I think we know where the problems start, but I'm going to go over them anyway and that is for tomorrow's discussion.

* * *

  • The Metropolitans officially likes Endy Chavez despite his curious attempt to drag bunt last night when the Mets just needed a bunt. It ended up not mattering and as bad as he struggled earlier in the year, he has looked great in every chance he has had lately. He is heads up on the bases, he showed a good arm in right last night, and has been putting the bat on the ball. Impressive.

  • Alay Soler gets the start tomorrow and he is excited to be in that spot. However, the Mets need him to not only be excited, but he needs to be productive as well.

    "Maybe he'll throw us a gem and give us a good shot," Mets manager Willie Randolph said.

    As Ron Darling stated during last night's broadcast, there are just too many sentences involving the word 'maybe' and 'hope' when it comes to this starting rotation. Now that Steve Trachsel has showed everyone that he does not look like he is going to step up from back end starter to mid-rotation starter and has officially scared me with his performance so far this season, the Mets desperately need someone in-house to step up or it might start costing prospects.

  • FoxSpots.com has baseballs ten best brawls covered. The Mets appear once on the list and check in at number five.

    5. Reds vs. Mets — October 8, 1973

    These two clubs faced off in the '73 NLCS, and it got particularly tense in the fifth inning of Game 3. With one out in the inning, Pete Rose came up and singled off Jerry Koosman. That brought Joe Morgan up to the plate, and he hit it on the ground to the right side, and the Mets pulled off a 3-6-3 double play. Rose — attempting unsuccessfully to break up that double play — slid hard into second base and knocked Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson to the ground. A tussle ensued, the benches cleared, and 10 minutes of brawling followed. Without question the most memorable image was the one of Reds reliever Pedro Borbon trying to — seriously — eat a Mets cap.

    I need footage of Pedro trying to eat a cap.

    Also from the above link, Mr. March getting a mouthful of leather.

    Laughing at A-Rod seriously never gets old. Curiously, Pedro throwing Don Zimmer into the ground did not crack the list.

  • Baseball America has the low down on Danny Almonte.

    Almonte was off to a strong start as a senior, back at Monroe High. He was 9-0, 0.45 with 76 strikeouts in 47 innings, though again he had gained more notoriety for marrying a 30-year-old woman this spring than for anything he did on a baseball field.

    So just how good is Danny Almonte? While the numbers are stellar, many scouts say he's more hype than prospect. He's 6 feet and left-handed with a frame that has some projection, but scouts say his fastball sits between 83-85 mph, not the 90s rumors around New York suggest.


  • I had the best tasting orange I've every had this morning and kicking that bum on the street on the way to work has never felt so gratifying. However, wins like last night will do that to you.

    "If you're gonna play 16 innings, you better win," said David Wright, who homered for the Mets' first run back in the second inning. "We'll take it. One thing this team has proven is it doesn't matter how long we have to stay out there or how many pitches we have to throw. That's what this team is made of, the kind of character this team has.

    "No matter how many runs we're down, we have that no-die attitude."

    You get the feeling that the Mets are going to start giving Philly and their fans a complex soon. In the first series, the Mets only took one game, but did come back in game one to tie the game only to lose on a Heilman error in the ninth. The repeatedly came back yesterday and have asserted themselves as the team to beat in the National League East with their flair for the dramatic. If the Mets can manage to take one of the next two games, they will have survived this stretch admirably with five wins and will have not only survived it, but will have extended their lead over the Phillies.

  • Breaking News:

    A-Rod had a big hit in a month other than March.

    "I've done a lot of special things in this game," he said. "For none of that to be considered clutch is an injustice."

    Might I remind A-Rod that there is no crying in baseball. Might I also add that him that his three run homer that is being called a big hit came with his team already up 4-1. While it ended up being huge, at the time he was just padding stats which is what A-Rod seems to do best. If the Yankees were down 5-4 at the time, chances are it would have been a harmless pop fly to centerfield.

  • While Reyes' homerun last night was huge, it is still a pitch he should have laid off.

    "I just tried to put the ball in play and get a good piece of the ball," Reyes said. "He threw me curves the whole game so I had to make some adjustments."

    The adjustment being made should be to stop swinging at curveballs in the dirt and not swing at one again. Ultimately, I would have given up the win last night for Reyes to have an epiphany and figure out how to lay off that curveball in the dirt because he got killed with breaking balls last night. That is his Achilles heel and if he can figure that out, he will be an infinitely better player.

  • Cole Hamels has been scratched from this start tonight. In a not so surprising development, he has an ailment yet again. I am a bit disappointed because I have not been so excited to see a pitching match-up in quite a while, but having the Mets face Jon Leiber on short rest is a nice consolation prize.

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    No Cole Hamels = SUCK ME averted.

    I like the list of brawls, but I'm always disappointed when the Ray Knight/Eric Davis brawl doesn't end up on one of these lists.

    I totally agree with you on A-Rod's HR last night - the Daily News had a headline "Mr. Clutch" - bullshit. They were already up 3 runs. The only reason his HR was important is the bullpen got in trouble. Let's see him hit a 3-run shot when his team's down by 2. A-Fraud indeed.

    11:39 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Again, doesn't it have to be a bad rookie pitcher like Michael O'Connor for a SUCK ME alert? Facing a guy like Hamels is just facing a good pitcher, no?

    I actually didn't read the A-Rod article. A Yankee friend IM'd me to congratulate me on the win last night (not that I acutally had anything to do with it)

    him: nice win
    me: same for you, a-rod finally came up big, huh? (because I just read the title of the article and assumed he did)
    him: when? over the weekened?
    me: last night, the big three run homer to win it
    him: please, he hit that with the Yankees up 4-1

    He fools no one.

    11:46 AM

    Anonymous jake said...

    i fell asleep before the drama, and i know reyes plus curveball equals painful to watch. but i did see in his first bat that he laid off two nasty curves that were called strikes and then i think he struck out on the third curve. i'm not sure what my point is. i think i was glad to see him lay off the curves. except they were strikes. so he struck out. hmmmm. it must be tough trying to hit those pitches. reyes is cool though, his defense is sick and when he does get on base it is a disaster for the opposition. hopefully he'll only get more consistent and powerful.

    11:54 AM

    Anonymous Benny said...

    Relying on the Homerun to me is not good but when you think abotu it, the Mets have 4 guys that can hit about 30 homeruns. With Delgado can deffinitly hit more.
    And then there's Nady that can go anywhere.
    So it's not too bad.

    TO think we actually gave a shit when ENDY! was picked over Tike Redman for the bench spot. WHOA!

    That Yankees Orioles fight was just beautiful. It was an instant classic! The phone lines were lit up calling friends and fmaily if they were watching.

    And that Red Sox vs Yankee one from 2004? That shit is TiVo'd!
    I loved Joe Buck "And A-Rod has a few choice words for Varitek"
    *you can cleary read his lips saying FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU!*
    Joe Buck: Now we know what he said... and we're off (as the benches clear).

    AS far as Danny Almonte goes... scratch that. The PSAL baseball league is garbage anyway. We all suck. You never find high school kids from NY get drafted. Unless your Manny Ramirez or Angel Salome...

    And hey... Padding Stats wins games too.

    11:56 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Jake...let's reivew. He looked at two curveball strikes, and swung at countless others out of the zone. In one at-bat, he was facing Madson and took him to a 3-2 count. Good right? Not so much. There was not one pitch in the zone.

    I like Reyes, but that curveball in the dirt just eludes him. He just cannot lay off. Yes, everyone blue moon he will lay off, but 75% to 80% of the time he is hacking at in. Pitcher's intentially bury one in the ground because they know what is going to happen.

    11:57 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Benny, stop sticking up for A-Rod.

    I'm not complaining that they are hitting homers, believe me. Just pointing out that they are becoming a bit to reliant on them.

    11:59 AM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    As the creator of SUCK ME, I do agree that it usually applies to mediocre unknown pitchers. When touted rookies mow them down, I guess it's a close cousin of SUCK ME, since it's a guy they've never faced before. Let's call it DICK ME (Decent Impressive Chuckers Kill the Mets Everytime).

    11:59 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    DICK ME works. DICK ME surely does not sound like something that I would want to happen to me.

    12:09 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    Oh and i forgot to give props to Ryan Madson.
    Holy shit balls. Ryan Madson was fuckin' NASSSSSSTY.

    12:33 PM

    Blogger Condor Schmitt said...

    Want to know how good a .262 hitter can be???? Yesterday Mike said he was hitting pretty well, damn right he is! He is the 7th best hitter in the MLB!


    But he is only 2/3 as good as Pujols.

    Mike, I really prefer it if you would call Mr.March by his proper name. I dont think it is right not to use Mr. Slappy McSlappy as you have previously!
    Love that picture btw.

    1:35 PM

    Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

    its gonna be hard to be a run manufacturing team with that idiot willie managing like an this is the AL.

    i miss bobby v because of of howe and randolph. he was an idiot and ahole but he could manage his ass off. i loved how he held runners and kept the 1b in position to make defensive stops.

    4:40 PM

    Anonymous Benny said...

    Yo... word out on the street is, El Duque got traded to the Mets.
    For who you ask?
    For Jorge Julio.

    5:55 PM

    Blogger BookieD said...

    BREAKING TRADE NEWS....Just heard from Ed Coleman on the FAN that the Mets have traded Jorge Julio to Arizona for Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. I haven't processed this, but Mike and the Dog approve, so I'm already skeptical.

    5:56 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    How can you be skeptical. This is the trade of the year. Losing Julio is addition by subtraction. But to get a guy with NY experience for him? Bravo, bravo.

    6:01 PM

    Blogger BookieD said...

    I'm not saying I don't like the deal, I am just ripping on Mike & the Dog because their approval obviously stems from El Duque's Yankee lore.

    I'll leave the real number crunching to Mike, besides the fact that I've become a believer in Julio, here are El Duque's 2006 numbers:
    45.7 IP, 2-4 W-L, 52 K, 6.109 ERA, 1.577 WHIP.

    6:05 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    Yes, his numbers are not good, but he pitches in a band-box over there. And Mike's right, hand him the ball in Sept and Oct and he's ready to go. He's proven it time and time again.

    6:06 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    Not pitching in 100 degree weather and in a big ball park can only help El Duque...

    6:07 PM

    Anonymous Mike from Brooklyn said...

    If you have to pick beween Lima and El Duque, well, there's no choice. I just wonder how much gas is left in ED's tank - does anyone really know how old he is?

    Will be strange to see him in blue & orange; also, huge screw to Heilman...

    6:21 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    I would still like Heilman in the rotation. Remember, we were short TWO starters. How about this rotation: Pedro, Glavine, Trax, Duque, Heilman. To quote George Costanza, "NOW you got a TEAM!" (sorry Bookie D).

    6:25 PM

    Anonymous DG said...

    Actually I'm pretty optimistic that Soler is going to slot into the rotation. Bannister's gone for now, and no pressure on Pelfrey, which is a very good idea frankly.

    What I don't see this as is "a big screw to Heilman." While I'm a big fan of putting him in the rotation, he's just too damned good sharing the set up work with Sanchez. It sucks for him, but that might not be the case for the Mets in their current conception.

    Now, does Heath Bell get freed?

    6:37 PM

    Blogger Anthony said...

    Nice pickup considering the desperate shape our rotation is in. This is definitely better then Lima, Gonzo and probably just as good as Trachsel the way he's going. Plus, Julio could never truly be trusted. He will always implode when it counts. Not a bad trade. We need help to stop the bleeding at the back end and this should help.

    6:43 PM

    Blogger BookieD said...

    Does anyone know if El Duque is under contract beyond this year? BTW, I love how ESPN says Hernandez "is listed" as 36 years old. I had thought he was 40 (and I may be right). Anyway, if Solar works out (I am optomistic about him), then we should be okay to go to war with the 5 we've got (barring further injury, of course).

    6:49 PM

    Blogger SonnyD said...

    So essentially, we traded Benson and Anna for Maine and ED. I think at this point, I'd still rather have just Benson.

    6:55 PM

    Anonymous DG said...

    Heath Bell has been freed. He's not at the ballpark yet, but he'll be available to pitch tonight.

    Interesting: Soler is pitching to Castro.

    7:18 PM

    Anonymous Benny said...

    Fuck Benson...

    7:32 PM


    Forgetting the first inning nerves, Soler actually looks like he has pretty good stuff.

    8:09 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    dg - No conspiracy theory there. Lo Duca caught all 16 innings last nite.

    8:50 PM

    Blogger Condor Schmitt said...

    Soler is a keeper. Hope El Duque is too.

    1:18 AM

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