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

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Preach On Brother

Yesterday, I turned on the game a few minutes late and the Mets were still up in the first inning and the score was 4-0. This team has just been on fire lately and have been amazing to watch all season. The big talk of the day is how they now have the best record in the baseball in terms of winning % and as Ben Shpigel pointed out, other than 1986, when the Mets finished with the highest winning percentage in baseball, they have had sole possession of the best record in the majors this late in the season only once, through Aug. 31 and that was in 2000. I typically only like the Baseball Prospectus version of the power rankings because it removes the human element of bias towards the Mets, but CBS Sportsline hit the nail on the head. Not because they ranked the Mets #1 overall because that is certainly debatable, but because of their blurb about the Mets.

It doesn't matter that their rotation is a mess and they play in the weak-sister league. Sure, they haven't been challenged, but they're playing the best baseball, no matter the opponent.

Yes, the Mets have not been playing a high level of competition every series, but they have been annihilating opponents making them look like they do not belong on the same field, which is exactly what they should be doing. Whether or not the Mets are the best team in the bigs is an interesting argument. They certainly belong in the discussion and they may very well have the most well rounded team when you look at the lineup, the rotation, their defense, the bench, and the bullpen. They have a knack for doing everything well and this is the exact type of team Jim Duquette aimed to put together when he took over as GM as the Mets. He just did not get the finish the job, but he had the right idea.

So far, the Mets are 28-11-4 (.651 winning percentage in terms of series) in their series this season. They have lambasted every team around and if this graph is not indicative of the Mets entire season, I do not know what is.

It is almost comical when you look at the Mets ascent compared to a steady mix of crashing and mediocrity from everyone else in the NL East and the NL overall. There were plenty of years in which the Yankees fattened up on the Devil Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles, Royals, Tigers, etc. a few years ago when there was a great divide between the small number of competitive teams and the rest. In the past, the Yankees used to spend the regular season priming themselves for the post season and now the Mets find themselves in a similar situation. Should it be held against them that they are the only legitimate team in the National League? Fuck no. This team is nasty and this team is for real.

* * *

  • Phil Humber was studly in Binghamton's 4-1 win over Portland. Humber picked up his first win at AA and went six innings and gave up four hits, no runs, and two walks while striking out six. He now owns a 3.18 ERA, 9.60 k/9, and a 1.16 WHIP in five games for Binghamton. Carlos Gomez went 1 for 4 with an RBI and Ambiorix Concepcion went 1 for 3.

  • Pavano might be done for the year.

    "I'm not saying he won't pitch for us this year," Cashman said. "I'm not saying he will, either.

    Way to state the obvious.

  • Delmon is making friends already.

    According to Guillen, Young stared into the White Sox' dugout before his last at-bat Tuesday, as if he was trying to send a message to the Sox manager for getting plunked in his first at-bat of the game.

    "I don't play that game," Guillen said. "He looked into the dugout and he looked at me ... and you don't know me. I'm a little upset about it. You don't look at me, you look at Freddy [Garcia] -- he's the one that hit you. He's the one, if you think he had reason to hit you on purpose, to stare at. He was staring at me in the dugout. You've only got two at-bats in the big leagues, kid.

    "I've been here long enough that if I hit somebody, it's somebody who's worth it. This kid hasn't done anything in the big leagues yet."

    Ziiiing! The D-Rays think differently and think it was on purpose. Could it have been a hit by Major League baseball to send Delmon a message?

    "[Bleep] Major League Baseball," Guillen said. "Like we're going to do something like that for them?"

    You have to love Guillen.

  • Ben Shpigel shows some love for the Mets unsung hero this season, their defense.

    The keys behind the Mets’ defensive consistency do not involve Gold Glove winners or any sort of flash or glitz, just steady play spearheaded by their strength up the middle. At catcher, Paul Lo Duca represents a significant upgrade over Mike Piazza. Carlos Beltrán catches everything hit his way and leads major league center fielders with 10 assists. And the double-play combination of shortstop José Reyes and Valentín has revealed a cohesiveness that conceals the limited time they have played together.

  • Victor Diaz is now a Ranger and that is probably a great place for him. He was traded yesterday to the Rangers for minor-league catcher Mike Nickeas.

    "Am I surprised?" Randolph said. "No, not really. He was going up and down focus-wise. I told him every time I sent him out that I wanted him to go down and focus and play hard and hustle and all of those things."

  • The Duque will be be back on Sunday.

    Orlando Hernandez is expected to start Sunday in Houston after making it through yesterday's bullpen session without a problem, and should be followed by Steve Trachsel on Monday when the Mets return to Shea to host the Braves.

  • I'm usually hesitant to proclaim anyone has broken out of slump after a hot game or two, but Wright really appears to be out of his slump.

    David Wright continued his recovery from an August swoon, collecting five hits and eight RBI in the first two games at Coors Field, including a first-inning grand slam Wednesday.

  • Hmmmm...

    Billy Wagner said he's still trying to figure out how to calculate earned-run average, so he's not about to delve into the world of Sabermetrics. But one number he might want to peruse is the Cy Young Predictor.

    Using a formula devised by numbers guru, Rob Neyer, along with famed numbers junkie Bill James, ESPN has posted a chart that lists the favorites for the Cy Young Award. And the NL leader is Wagner.

    Both the AL and NL have closers in first according to the Cy Young Predictor, but the likelihood of either one winning the Cy Young Award is slim. Johan Santana and Roy Halladay are still the front runners in the AL and Brandon Webb and Carlos Zambrano are still the front runners in the NL.

    Blogger Kenny said...

    Guillen is straight up crazy. While I don't agree with everything he says, I love that guy. He is gold.

    That chart is nice. A copy may be going up in my cubicle to taunt the Braves fan behind me.

    11:56 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Yeah, I really need to start reading Sox stuff just for his quotes. Maybe do the Guillen quote of the day or something. Anna Benson was supposed to be our quote machine, but that never materialized. Eyechart was great for quotes, but no real characters this year to do that.

    Put up the chart Kenny. Maybe frame one for him and extend the Braves line so it actually falls off the graph for good measure.

    11:59 AM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    "He was going up and down focus-wise."

    Translation: He was a fucking head-case.

    12:10 PM

    Anonymous Scott said...

    Papelbon has had an amazing season and he wont win a Cy Young so I dont think Wagner, who has had a very very good season deserves the Cy.

    Traxx = Cy Young certainty.

    The Mets should set up a rehab center in Denver for batters who are slumping. Coors field busts up slumps like Carmen Electra busts up marriages.

    12:33 PM

    Anonymous Scott said...

    After last night I am predicting a Detroit vs Mets World Series.

    Detroit really are playing good baseball and have a much more rounded team than the Yankees. Their starting pitching is soooooooo fucking deep. Every dude has the potential to be an Ace. The bats are young and eager and are consistantly coming back to win games. They just look good.

    Now say almost the opposite of the Skanks.

    12:44 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Diaz was not head case, just a shit head. Guy thought he didn't have to earn things. Just like Delmon. Only difference is that Diaz has 10% of Young's skill.

    Wagner has been so nasty of late and I don't hear anyone complaining much anymore. Good to see him turn it around. Though I still believed in him, I was getting nervous.

    Traxx for Cy Young! I looked for him in the top 10 and he was surprisingly not there. Shocking really.

    Wasn't Coors supposed to be a pitcher's park now?

    I like the Tigers matchup the best personally. I think the Mets have the best shot against them their starting staff be damned.

    12:58 PM

    Anonymous David said...

    I was at the B-Mets game yesterday. Humber looked terrific. He was really using his curveball a lot and the hitters had absolutely no answer for it. Omar Minaya was at the game.. me and my friends couldn't believe it. We followed him during the 7th inning stretch as he went to the bathroom and when he got out we asked him for a couple pictures and he kindly agreed. I wonder what he was doing there? Possibly scouting Humber for a call-up when the rosters expand...?

    1:06 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Humber's curve is as good as Oswalt's.

    Going to see him pitch in Binghmaton is really awesome. Great game to go see and get some eyes on him.

    You should have asked him if you could hold it while he was in the bathroom. Omar shouldn't have to expend any more energy after all the work he has done this year. You should have asked him what he thought about Humber....

    Someone mentioned in the comments yesterday that two B-Mets are going to get call-ups. The thinking was Lindstrom and someone else. Humber is probably the best suited for the bigs right now out of any starting pitcher in the system possibly, so maybe. But Omar was there yesterday watching Mulvey too, so I wouldn't read too much into it. Omar is done working the phones and is just taking a first hand look at his top talent which is something he said he would do when he signed on as the Mets GM.

    1:32 PM

    Anonymous Combustible DG said...

    "Diaz was not a head case just a shit head" A metropolitan classic! (Serve over spaghetti!)

    Wow, I survived dial up and can now post whenever I want again! Prepare for inanities...

    One note from yesterday that I would have written then if I was not flying over the ocean: how do you argue that Zito gets more than Oswalt? Oswalt has better stuff and is a true number one, whereas Zito makes a nice Glavine to a staff ace. I know that Bore Us will try to exploit it but the math ain't there.

    1:48 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Zito gets more because Boras is his agent and now is the most desirable pitcher out there unless Willis is traded with a quite a few teams looking for arms....

    Mets, Dodgers, Phillies, and Yankees to name the four teams I think will be most interested. The Phillies moved a ton of salary this year and can spend a ton, and the rest are the usual suspects with deep pockets. Is Oswalt better? Yeah, but that has little to do with who will ultimately get more money. Zito is getting paid. Period. If he has not many people in it for his services, he could be had for less, but he should have pleny of interested people. Also, he is still under 30. Boras will take a one year deal and go at it again in '08 if he doesn't like what he sees and pull a Kevin Millwood.

    2:19 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da SCHOOL said...

    DG, as far as Zito makin more money... well Zito is more durable and everybody knows it. And whether he deserved it or not, he STILL has a Cy Young to his name. You can't take that away from him.
    Zito will make more money that Oswalt.

    2:20 PM

    Anonymous DGerific said...

    Perhaps he will, but I'd still put my money on Oswalt - not that I think we'll see him in these parts.

    Still, we must/should consider the possibility that the Mets do not need to sign a free agent pitcher this winter in order to remain competitive. A rotation to the tune of Pedro, TG, Maine, Pelfrey & Oliver Perez could actually be pretty soid, especially as OP seems to be regaining velocity and will benefit from the Mets very solid coaches (esp, pitching & bullpen). Course, Bannister looms as a legit option as well.

    That is not a bad rotation for the offense that graces us. Plus it's young and will only get better.

    2:34 PM

    Anonymous seattle steve said...

    Omar deserves kudos for what he has done with the pitching staff, the depth of starters that we have is truly amazing, in a pinch we have williams, perez, bannister, pelfrey, we are able to trade a maclane & julio for a s. green & el duque, and we have humber and devaney in the wings, true not all the names posted are #! or 2 pitchers at this time but we have been able to have guys keep us in the game.

    2:40 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    A rotation to the tune of Pedro, TG, Maine, Pelfrey & Oliver Perez could actually be pretty soid, especially as OP seems to be regaining velocity and will benefit from the Mets very solid coaches (esp, pitching & bullpen). Course, Bannister looms as a legit option as well.

    Can you really trust that? You always want to take step forward. Even if they win the WS, they can step forward.

    Pedro has spend a lot of time on the shelf. Need another nice front-end guy.
    Glavine has his looooong swoon and is better now, but can you implicitly trust him?
    Pelfrey looked a bit further away than I thought he would be, but just replacing Traxx's line is not too hard with the exception of wins, which the offense helped him on.
    Maine...well, I like this guy alot. I think he'll be really solid.
    Oliver Perez is a live arm, but he can he be depended upon with any certainty?

    Get Zito. He's a legit front end guy and as Benny said, very durable. That counts for something. I say the rotation should be Pedro/Glavine/Maine/Zito and have Humber/Pelfrey/Perez fight it out.

    Let's say Oliver wins out then Pelfrey and Humber fight it out for '08 or head to the pen. Life is tough, but you cannot count on every young guy to pan out and need an over abundance. If they all pan out, then in '09 whomever lost out in '08 gets a roation spot after a year in the pend or something.

    Ideally, I see Pedro/Glavine/Maine/Zito/Perez in '07 (three lefties!)
    Pedro/Maine/Zito/Perez/Humber in '08 (Pelfrey in the pen)
    Zito/Maine/Perez/Humber/Pelfrey in '09

    That's my plan barring injury.

    But the good thing is DG as you pointed out, there is depth without Zito. Zito makes the Mets better, but it is not a 100% needed move. It's ten cherries on top of a tasty Sunday which will help in negotiations. The Mets cannot get bent over.

    Seattle Steve...I keep thinking Scuba Steve when I see your name.

    I think we all agree, Omar is the man.

    3:09 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Honestly though, I'd rather see Glavine walk and bring in Zito to replace him with DG's said rotation, but He'll be 10 or 11 wins away from 300. Fred will bring him back since they are tight and he wants to see history happen with the Mets. His $9 mill ($12 million salary or $3 buyout leaves $9 back in the Mets pocket) could be better spent. He's been great for the team, but kind of handcuffs the Mets in a deep area of theirs system wise that they need to upgrade.

    3:12 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da Univsersity said...

    Depends how long the commitment to Glavine is.
    2 years in my opinion would already be too much.
    1 year would be perfect and would not hurt at all.
    Then you replace him with your choice of Pelfrey/Humber/whoever else crops up.

    Although, 1 of Pelfrey or Humber should already be replacing Traschel.

    5:11 PM

    Anonymous Scott said...

    Zito is the perfect replacement for Cy Trax. Humber, Williams and Pelfrey will get plenty of use when Glavine and Pedro go down AGAIN. The longer the young guys spend in AAA the better. Pelfrey looked undercooked when he came up.

    7:23 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Scott, right after I posted, I was a bit annoyed I left the injury thing out. There will be PLENTY of chances over the course of a year for guys to step in, so Zito fits even more. The more pitchers than merrier and then we have two studs down the line in Niese and Guerra. Life is good.

    Glavine would only be for one year. Get 300 and don't let the door hit you in the ass.

    Although, 1 of Pelfrey or Humber should already be replacing Traschel.

    True, but I think Oliver might beat them both out for the fifth spot.

    8:14 PM


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