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

Thursday, June 22, 2006

You ugly..you ugly...yo mamma says you ugly. (Part Deaux)

"That's what you call a classic giveaway game right there," Willie Randolph said. "A total giveaway."

Yesterday was a forgettable game for Billy Wagner and Xavier Nady. In the fourth inning, with runners at the corners Xavier whiffed looking on an absolute meatball. In the fifth, Nady whiffed with the bases loaded after Jose Valentin was intentionally walked to end the inning with the Mets down 4-2. Nady left five runners on base, but they were all big runs. His lack of production with runners in scoring position is certainly getting weird. He is now batting .152/.259/.239 with RISP compared to .313/.353/.563 with no one on. It just gets gradually worse as he is great with no one on, .258./.324/.677 with a runner on first, and he shrivels up with runners in scoring position. Nady also made a diving catch attempt that was a commendable effort, but ill advised.

As for Wagner, ugly. He came in and got the first two batters out and proceeded to walk Austin Kearns and David Ross, allowed an infield single that was a tough break on a dribbler, and then Brandon Phillips singled to score two. I have to admit, after the first walk, I had a sinking feeling. Billy Wagner while the best closer in Mets history, does not instill the 'game over' confidence that I thought he would have brought and is not in Mariano Rivera's category of closers. Of course, no one is, but I thought he as the Mets answer to Rivera. There is no reason to go crazy over his fourth blown save as he is still pretty dominant, but I am marginally disappointed in Wagner thus far. I think he will hit more of a stride for the Mets, but he has had his issues early on.

That's not to say there was no silver lining in that game. Jose Reyes continues to show why his skill sets are second to none. Every time Reyes comes to the park, he is a cycle waiting to happen and last night it finally happened for him. This kid owns a .283/.347/.472 line and anyone wondering which shortstop really deserves to start for the National League can stop wondering. It is Reyes and he is the best short stop in the NL right now. This kid has shown the desire to improve and he has done exactly that. Jose Valentin pushed his average to over .300 and went deep to center for his sixth homerun of the year. Simply nuts. Finally, Heath Bell looked very sharp. He struck out two in a fourteen pitch inning and he has now allowed twelve hits in his thirteen innings after allowing seven in his first two. It looks like he is settling in and hopefully he can add another reliable arm to an already great bullpen.

* * *

  • For those of you who like the musical stylings of Radiohead, here is a show to download for you. It is their live Madison Square Garden show from June 14th.

  • Give the man a microphone and let him go.

    Angry with a recent column by Mariotti critical of Guillen's handling of recently demoted relief pitcher Sean Tracey and upset with Mariotti over past columns, Guillen said to reporters when referring to Mariotti before Tuesday's game, "What a piece of [expletive] he is, [expletive] fag."

    Guillen did make a reasonable explanation.

    Before writing the column, Couch asked Guillen for an explanation. Guillen defended his use of the term "fag" by saying this about homosexuals and the use of the word in question: "I don't have anything against those people. In my country, you call someone something like that and it is not the same as it is in this country."

    Guillen said that in his native Venezuela, that word is not a reference to a person's sexuality, but to his courage. He said he was saying that Mariotti is "not man enough to meet me and talk about [things before writing]."

    Now, I believe he is smart enough to know that in America it would have been taken exactly how it was, but fine. Not a bad explanation, but would Ozzie be Ozzie if he stopped there?

    Guillen also told Couch that he has gay friends, attends WNBA games, went to a Madonna concert and plans to go to the Gay Games in Chicago.

    WNBA games and a Madonna concert? Very nice touch.

    "If I hurt anybody with what I called him, I apologize, but I wasn't talking about those people," Guillen said. "I was talking strictly about [Mariotti]."

    I don't believe for a second Mariotti is truly deeply offended. I believe he is just trying to keep the trouble brewing and just to get Ozzie in trouble. Should he be fined or penalized in some way? Someone probably has to fine him just because we are so PC as society these days, but really, who cares? No one got hurt and if anyones feelings got hurt because a hot head made some remarks they need to reevaluate themselves. When John Rocker opened his mouth, you knew a train wreck was coming. The guy made himself sound so stupid that whatever he said should have rolled off their backs. The same goes for Ozzie.

  • The Mets lead the majors with 62 first-inning runs.

  • Cliffy is still day to day and it is uncertain if he will return for the Toronto series.

  • Reyes was the ninth Met to hit for a cycle.

  • Pedro is nuts.

    Ever since the Mets returned last week from their hugely successful 10-game road trip, Martinez and his plastic Mets bat have been a fixture in the dugout. That is where he lays in wait for his teammates, hoping they do something to earn a friendly tap with the bat.

    Xavier Nady went 2-for-4 with two home runs in the 9-2 victory over Cincinnati on Tuesday night, and he's lucky the bat is made of plastic.

    "I think he hit me on the head enough times, that I didn't even realize it anymore," Nady said.

  • Matt Lindstrom was picked for the Future's Game.

    Lindstrom, 26, is 1-2 with three saves and a 3.18 ERA in eight B-Mets appearances. He has 14 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings since being called up from Single-A St. Lucie on May 26. At St. Lucie, he went 1-0 with two saves and 16 strikeouts in 18 innings.

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    Mike, I always respect your opinions and I often agree, but if you're only "marginally disappointed" with Wagner at this point, I'm completely flummoxed. This guy is absolutely terrifying me. I am at the point where I have zero confidence in him in big spots. If he's melting down in June games against the Reds, or May games against the Pirates, it should be interesting to see how he handles October baseball in NY.

    10:29 AM

    Anonymous Rick M said...

    I'm just catching up...

    I can't wait until A-Rod whiffs with the bases juiced clinching homefield for the Mets.

    This was a great comment that went unrecognized, Mike. That'll be sweet.

    Yesterday was very tough, it was the kind of game that had they won, we'd be saying, 'Thats a game the Mets lose in 2005.' I found it especially ugly because Wags was throwing some serious gas against the bottom of the lineup and all he had to do was throw a strike. I got a little sick of hearing how Wagner is not in Mariano's class earlier in the year, but it's true.

    11:34 AM

    Anonymous Brian B said...

    The most frustrating thing about Billy Wanger is it seems like he just doesn't want to throw strikes sometimse. He comes in, and he'll try the same pitch 8 times and it'll be a ball all 8 times he throws it. For Gods sake billy you thrown 98 just put it down the pipe for the first pitch. i'll bet you most big leaguers dont really want to see first pitch 99 down the pipe because even if they know it's coming it'll be hard to hit. Best pitch in existance is the first pitch strike. Nothing burns me up more than walks. Make them hit it, let the gloves do some work. I don't even mind the loss so much as billy just frustrates the hell out of me.

    12:30 PM

    Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

    we cant win every game. guys falter sometimes.

    mets fan gotta understand that things like this happen. dont get caught up in it and make a big deal about cus it might make things worse. you gotta remember that he's in a new town and had an injury on his pitching hand this year. he also is struggling with the way willie uses him. he hasnt found his comfort zone yet

    ie beltran last year. we booed and he didnt produce. this year we clap, he's healthy, and he knocking the hell out the ball.

    12:34 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Toasty...the reason why is he is still a great closer. He owns a 1.13 whip, .192 BAA, 2.60 ERA, and a 11+ K/9. I thought he would money in the bank, but he has his bad outings. It is hard to argue with what he has done so far. I'll say that I don't feel 100% certain when he comes into games like I expected, but he is not a bust.

    Rick, he was throwing gas and got the first two. To lose after that is just silly. Really, really dissapointing. I was pessimistic Mike last night and had a really bad feeling after walk #1. Like Heilman last Friday, throw strikes. You just cannot walk people in that situation. Make them swing the bat.

    Agreed Brian. You can accept a loss. In 162 games you will lose some. But top tier MLBers need to throw it over the plate when needed. Off nights? Of course, but Billy has had too many for my tastes.

    Ossy, I see where you are coming from, but do you feel like it's game over when Wags comes in? No... I thought it would be like that when when he was inked.

    12:47 PM

    Anonymous Brian B said...

    Billy is like Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde. Sometimes he comes in throwing filth and people swing and miss and it feels like the game is over in 9 pitches. OTher times he comes in and you can tell hes going to be walking people. I'll give it to you last night started off fairly well, got 2 outs... follow of couse by 2 walks. The most disturbing thing though was the batter AFTER kearns. He threw the same low and inside fastball i think 4 times. 3 of the times it was a ball 1 of the times it was a strike.

    I get annoyed with Billy because one time i was running on my treadmill, it was an afternoon game and billy came in. I declared that i would stop running after billy had closed the game out for the save. Of course Billy ended up blowing that game and it went extra innings into like the 12th inning or something. I ran the whole time, until they lost. Billy Wagner has gone beyond causing me mental anguish, he now has actually caused me physical anguish as well. Damn you Mr. Billy Wagner.

    12:54 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Brian, I like your dedication.

    12:58 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    Ya know what, you can throw stats at me all day, and I won't be impressed. Sometimes you have to look beyond stats. Just like every other "closer" the Mets have ever had, the bigger the moment, the more likely he is to melt down. Should be a fun October.

    1:11 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I agree. Sometimes you have to look beyond the stats, but Billy is not as bad as you make him out to be. I think he has been pretty good save a few meltdowns. The meltdowns are concerning for sure, but by no means has he been Armando and has closed some big games out.

    Armando always had great stats, but we all know he could not be trusted. I personally am not there with Billy yet....

    1:21 PM

    Blogger BookieD said...

    What's more troubling is the mentality of a guy with 99 MPH heat, ahead with 2 outs in the inning, deciding to nibble the corners against the last two guys. I mean, Kearns is a good hitter and Ross is hot, but come on! Trust your stuff, baby!

    You know that if it had been the Yankees Third Basement who knocked in a key run in the 6th, but GIDP'd with a man on in the 9th, he would not have been so easily forgiven. I was hoping for a repeat of the Reyes/Wright co-Players of the Week.

    1:40 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    Bookie, was "Yankees Third Basement" a Freudian slip?

    1:50 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Bookied, point taken. He called his slider 'loopy' or something last night and did not want to do with it. When you throw that hard, you need to not nibble, throw strikes, and make them hit it. To walk two with two outs is just silly.

    As far as Wright's GDIP, he came up big already in that game with the go ahead run on a homer. A-Rod just seems to shrink in those spots and now that A-Rod has been labled as a choker, it is going to take him doing something really, really to shed that. He better get used to it. Wright is the golden boy and will have to do something really, really, really, really bad to shake that. He's closing in a Jeter-like can do no wrong status in this city.

    2:33 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    Sugar Pants...my GOD...this kid's unreal.

    2:59 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    And the Mets should have what, 17 more years of this kid? Randy Milligan signed him and should be allowed to retire and sit on a beach in Mexico. Really, he does not get enough credit.

    3:35 PM

    Anonymous Brian B said...

    Mike, Remeber though one of our scouts wanted us to sign albert pujols and he was largly ignored. if i remeber the story correctly he quit because they wouldn't sign pujols.'

    on a side note, i believe he was also released from whatever orginzation he was currently working for.

    When Reyes gets hot is there anybody better to lead off a baseball game? I can't get enough of Mr. Jose Reyes.

    3:44 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Pujols? Who needs Pujols?

    I have not heard that story, but I hope it's not true.

    Agreed on Reyes. The kid have MVP talent and if he can hit .280/.290 consistantly and keep his walk rate constant, no one has the power to control the game like he can. NO ONE!

    4:02 PM

    Anonymous scott said...

    I told you this kid has the makings of a Ty Cobb (without the evil streak) the way he grabs a game by the throat and strangles it until he wins it. I hope his speedstays with him for 20 seasons and we enjoy him and Wright for 5 or so WS.

    4:22 PM

    Blogger Count Choculitis said...

    There are stats that are the result of meaningless games against the Cincinnati Reds in June, and there are stats that are the result of high intensity games on which the season may depend and in which a guy sacks up and makes the game his. We cannot compare Wagner to Armando just yet, as Armando (like A-Rod) was/is a proven loser in the big games. We will not find out about Wagner untili September this year, I am afraid, as I don't think the Mets will be involved in a meaningful division race.

    Great "Jose" soccer-style chants last night after he completed the cycle.

    4:42 PM

    Anonymous Scott said...

    Would be nice to see Valentin hitting in the 2 hole while he is hot.

    5:08 PM

    Anonymous Farva said...

    Yeah we need more pop then lo Duca is giving us. Having two guys on base for Beltran, Del, Suga etc would obviously give us more runs and Lo Duca behind Nady would provide him better protection.

    Get Giles.

    5:57 PM

    Blogger ajsmith said...

    2 points -

    Someone on another blog mentioned that Wagner's stats with LoDuca catching are incredible, and with Castro catching are ugly (don't have the stats handy, but they were.) That could be a big factor, but also, Castro generally catches day games - and if memory serves, most of Wags' blown saves have been day games (two for sure.)

    Anyone have day/night stats for Wags?

    Second point:

    Would anyone be surprised if two seasons from now, Reyes' stat line looked something like this:

    .310 avg. .390 obp, 20-25 HR, 140+ runs, 80+ RBI, 85+ SB, 50 2b, 20 3b, and a gold glove?

    How is Wright gonna beat out Pujols for MVP in '08 with Jose-Jose peeling off part of the NY vote? I think we gotta trade him. (-:

    11:42 PM

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