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

Monday, May 08, 2006

Momma Said There'd Be Days Like This

Paul LoDuca stood up for this team and got thrown out. Apparently LoDuca boiled over after the ump missed four calls on balls and strikes after making the following statement :

Hernandez, according to Lo Duca, told Lima, "I'm going to give you a couple inches off the plate, but I'm not going to give you 4 or 5 inches because you're not John Smoltz." That, Lo Duca said, "I got a little problem with." That, Lima said, "makes me look like I'm a rookie up there."

After that line of crap, he then missed a call on a play at home. LoDuca did his 'touchdown dance' as he called it and spiked the baseball while following that up with some expletives directed towards the ump. With Smoltz on the mound, LoDuca knew that every call would count and he thought there were plenty missed that the Mets simply could not afford. Not a smart play spiking the baseball while the play was still on, but you have to like the guy getting riled up after the ump proved he should not even have a job. Angel Hernandez has been around for a while, and his line of thinking is certainly disconcerting.

As far as the big story of the day, Lima Time!™ had a rough outing and got called for a balk despite the fact he does not believe he balked in thirteen years, including yesterday. He really did not look good, but chalked it up to adrenaline and his first time pitching for a New York team. He vowed he would be ready for his next start and he will get at least two more starts and possibly three. As it stand now, Lima Time!™ will face the Brewers in Milwaukee, the Phillies at Shea Stadium, and possibly the Marlins in Florida and looks like the Mets main backup plan unless someone steps it up.

As for the other starting spot and the in house options the Mets have, Jeremi Gonzalez is the logical choice and he has put up a 2.08 ERA, 8.60 K/9, 2.67 BB/9, and a 8.60 K/9 since his first start of the season. His first start would be against the Brewers should he get the call. Gonzalez has had injury issues over the years and pitched well in the Winter Leagues, the World Baseball Classic, Spring Training, and his stint with Norfolk so maybe he will be able to step up and contribute to this team while they need it the most.

There is also another choice that is readily available in Darren Oliver. He has done a great job so far with his role in the bullpen and really came up big with his work in Saturday's game, but I have concerns about starting him. The fear I have is that if Willie over exposes him, he will start to get roughed up. Out of the bullpen, he has been solid. However, if he faces guys for three or four times in one game, I think he might have a hard time keeping it up. Oliver's best fit may be the role he is currently occupying with other people being better suited for starting and the Mets do not plan to mess with Heilman or Oliver in an effort to not disrupt the bullpen anyway.

Lastly, if the Mets choose to go with some more drastic measures and continue to leave Heilman's name out of the discussion, there is another option. Alay Soler had an impressive first start in Binghamton by throwing 6.2 innings while giving up seven hits, one earned run, and no walks while striking out nine. He is not a young player by prospect standards and with his experience against tough competition, he might be able to handle the big jump and certainly has more upside than Lima Time!™ or Jeremi Gonzalez. In fact, Soler has more upside than Maine and Bannister too in my eyes. If Omar wants to be aggressive, this might be the move and he would certainly be rested for the next time a fifth starter would be needed and facing the Brewers should not be the tallest of orders. He is not a kid as he has pitched for his country and has gotten the chance to log some innings after a large layoff and loosened his arm. The Mets would probably want to give him a few more starts at AA and possibly AAA before they seriously consider him, but he could certainly emerge as a viable option if they ever throw his name in the conversations.

This all goes beyond finding two starters for the next two or three starts. Bannister is still not a 100% given and Maine surely comes with question marks. After Pedro and Glavine, it goes downhill fast and this rotation's sparkling numbers will simply not continue and this offense is not the Yankee offense. They will not out-bash teams to back up bad pitching and hopefully Mike Pelfrey is not called up before he is ready as knee jerk reaction. Outside of the team, Omar is no doubt going to be a busy man on the phone working the trade angle to see if anyone will emerge as a possible trading partner. However, knowing the Mets situation, I wonder if a team will try and rip the Mets off. Omar is certainly in a tough spot when it comes to trying to make a deal and might have to look for a trading partner looking to get rid of someone as desperately as the Mets are trying to find someone.

* * *

  • While other stadiums around the country have a bevy of food choices ranging from pulled pork to sushi, Shea Stadium has been under the tyrannical rule of Aramark since I could remember. Not much going on if you are looking for something outside of a hot dog. The sausage, peppers, and onions sandwich is bizarrely devoid of much flavor, the burgers are lackluster and the places that actually put cheese on them are sporadic, and nothing else really is that interesting...or so I thought. I have the Sunday plan and tickets in the loge section on the third base side. I've been too lazy to mosey on down to the concession stand on the field level in right field so far this year, but with the Mets getting beat up badly, I figured now was a good a time as any to make the trip. My reward for making the trek was a BB Sandwich Bar steak sandwich.

    Gary Thompson, formerly the owner and chef of Sonia Rose, has created an impressive, singular sandwich. The foundation of this carefully constructed specialty is a Kaiser roll; thin slices of beef come next, topped with caramelized onions, a spicy, ketchup-based sauce and white American cheese. The result is well balanced and incredibly flavorful.

    If you went to NYU or spent any time in the area, you may be familiar with their place on West 3rd. If not, you will have to take my word for it that they are tasty sons of a bitch. The ones at Shea are not quite as good as the ones directly from the restaurant, but they are easily the best food item at Shea to shove in your mouth to provide some sustenance.

  • Watching Bobby Cox get thrown out and kick some dirt between second base and first base in an act of futility was hysterical. He missed the point of kicking dirt entirely. The main idea is to kick the dirt onto home plate or anything that would cause the ump to bend over and clean it off. While I like the fact that his heart was in the right place, he needs to execute it a little better next time.

  • And so it begins..

  • This recap certainly is not one you want to read to many times.

    Lima, who was called up from Norfolk before the game, gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings. He also hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and balked.

    Any day you hit a batter, throw a wild pitch, and balk, it is safe to assume you were not at the top of your game.

  • I thought Glavine did not have any options left, but I was wrong.

    "We're going to pick up his option," one Mets decision-maker said Friday.

    One of the smartest moves the Mets made was their quiet, heretofore-ignored agreement with Glavine to restructure his contract in March 2005. That's when they changed his deferred payment schedule and, without notice or fanfare, added an $11-million 2007 option, a distinct bargain for the resurrected Cooperstown-bound pitcher with 279 career victories.

    Had the option not been added, Glavine, 40, would have had his own option to return to the Braves, something we know he's considered before, thanks to Braves GM John Schuerholz's revealing book, "Built to Win."

    Awesome stuff. He surely did not have one when the contract was originally signed, but they added it on the down low. Tom Glavine has looked like the best pitcher in the big leagues so far this season and looks like he is getting stronger. While a lot of us have been critical of Rick Peterson over the years, he deserves a lot of credit for his work with Glavine. He helped a Hall of Famer change his approach and I think it is safe to say it is working.

  • Also from the above link...

    One reason Kaz Matsui will keep playing is he's performing better. The other is he's being showcased for trade possibilities. If the Mets can trade Matsui (Devil Rays? Red Sox?), Anderson Hernandez will be back.

    I'd prefer to keep him being you probably will not get much for him, but the powers that be do not seem to enamored with him no matter what he does.

  • Hmmmm...

    Alfonso Soriano's bosses note his improved attitude but would like to see him take 100 fly balls a day in leftfield, something he won't do. Most baseball people envision him as a leftfielder in the future, but he isn't too sure about that. Soriano, formerly a second baseman, said he still isn't confident in left. "It's not easy," he said. "I hope to get comfortable, but it's not easy. I've only played there a month. It's going to take a little more time."

    ...maybe you should try...you know...taking 100 fly balls a day to help make yourself a bit more comfortable.

  • Pedro sticks up for Victor...

    Martinez said Zambrano has been hurt all year and opted to pitch yesterday "because of the damn pressure you guys put on him."

    "Before you guys really hurt a guy, you need to do a little research," Martinez said. "We're human beings, and we're trying to do a job.

    "I feel terribly sad for him."

    First of all, I think it really is horrible that he pitched through an injury and it came to this and his season ending. However, I'm not sure anyone was pressuring him to pitch. Quite the opposite. Most people felt they saw all they needed to see.

    "I'll be honest with you: I haven't been pitching a very healthy game from the first time I got traded," Zambrano said before the Mets went out and got crushed by Atlanta 13-3 at Shea Stadium.

    "It was hard for me to not have the opportunity to be 100 percent healthy, to prove what I can do. ... I know they put out a big effort, and it was a big trade the Mets did for me. So I thought I could go through all this pain. It only got worse."

    Hopefully he can come back successfully for the 2007 season and pitch in an environment more suitable for him and more conducive for him to succeed. To put this entire debacle to an end, the Mets should wave goodbye and wish him luck, but I fear they still might try and resurrect some usefulness of the trade and bring him back in 2007.

    "I can win 15-20 games," he said. "I never was feeling good to prove what I can do. ... Maybe they can understand a little bit more and have a better relationship."

    He was reported to throw much harder than he did before the Mets acquired him and this could have been why, but he really was not that good prior to the trade when he was healthy. He picked up some wins on a bad team and had a low BAA in 2003 and 2004, but his WHIP was horrible and that has always been his problem. Too many walks, too many base runners, and too much of a fractured relationship with New York.

  • The overstatement of the day goes too....


    "We have some guys from (Class AAA) that we can consider and then wait for some of the guys to come off the DL," Minaya said. "I felt that one of the strengths we had was the numbers in starting pitching that we had, and I still feel that."

  • Steven Henson wonders if the Mets would be interested in Odalis Perez and the $19 million he is owed for 2006 and 2007.

  • Ken Davidoff says that Dontrelle Willis is the answer to the Mets problems.

  • Despite all the hoopla surrounding the Mets starting rotation, it has not affected their performance. Here are the top five rotations by SNLVAR.
    Team                    VORP   SNLVAR
    Houston Astros 40.5 0.155
    New York Mets 66.3 0.147
    San Diego Padres 43.6 0.135
    Los Angeles Dodgers 32.5 0.131
    St. Louis Cardinals 54.9 0.131

    SNLVAR is like SNLVA, but comparing to replacement level, rather than average. Replacement level is now being computed the same way in SNVA and in VORP (using the formulas from Keith Woolner's BP 2002 article).

    Three of the top five teams are pitching in hitters parks and the top team pitches in a bandbox, which is certainly impressive.

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "If the Mets can trade Matsui (Devil Rays? Red Sox?), Anderson Hernandez will be back."

    Really? Maybe you have heard of Jorge Cantu...better player at 1/20 the price...besides, the Rays prefer to take your really good, future All-Stars for some never-will-be, over-rated players (Kazmir-Zambrano)...BTW, thanks for that one.

    11:42 PM

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