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

Monday, September 25, 2006

What, me worry?

The answer is yes, I worry.

"For the most part, we're just getting ready for the big dance," manager Willie Randolph said.

Winning would be nice to help get ready. I wasn't too concerned with the Mets huge lead and how it would affect them previously because they were still just showing up and killing teams. Now? Not so much. Yes, they have had their B team in most of the time with their starters getting a lot of rest, but their starting pitching has not been overly sharp lately and they have just looked flat. In the last twelve games, they have only scored over four runs once and scored four or more only twice.

Today
Mets      93   62   .600
Phillies 82 73 .529
Padres 83 72 .535
Dodgers 82 74 .526
St. Louis 80 74 .519
Since Sept. 15th
Mets      3     6   .333
Phillies 7 1 .875
Padres 7 2 .778
Dodgers 4 5 .444
St. Louis 2 6 .250
Since Sept. 1st
Mets      10   12   .455
Phillies 15 7 .682
Padres 15 6 .714
Dodgers 10 12 .455
St. Louis 8 13 .381
If the season ended today, the Cardinals would be the Mets opponent in the first round. That is a good thing. They are the only team in the playoff picture that has been colder than the Mets. The Dodgers have been struggling, but I think they will ultimately miss out on the playoffs. However, if the Cardinals put a streak together at the end and finish above the Padres, the Mets could be facing one of the hottest teams in the league in round one.

After that, the Mets could quite possibly have to play the hottest team of late in the Phillies. The benefits of finishing so far ahead are numerous. However, I'm not sold that they outweigh the benefit of staying sharp and having something to play for. The teams that were in a sprint to the finish and are firing on all cylinders might have a clear advantage over a team that might show up rather complacent. The first round is a best of five series and a team that is far and away the best team in the league could get their doors blown off by a hot team with hot pitching.

"We're a little bit in that honeymoon phase," Wright explained. "We're giving some guys a rest now to get them 100 percent healthy, but we're going to need to step this thing up and get rolling. To me, this is the first step of the playoffs, you need to get clicking to give you that momentum you need to have in the playoffs."

There are seven games left. The Mets need to be fully staffed and have their starters in for just about all of those games so they can get back into a groove. As of now the Mets are flat and boring. A hot streak at the end to send the team off to the playoffs is vital in my opinion. I would not want the Mets to roll in the playoffs playing they way they are now. They need to end the season on a high note and they need to get going.

* * *

  • Phil Humber's 1st inning in the bigs was a success.

    "I could barely feel the ball in my hand (I was so nervous)," Humber said. "It was a surprise. I'm just thankful. They didn't have to give me a shot. Just being up here was cool, but being able to get my feet wet was pretty special."

  • Tracshel's vision seems to be a bit clouded.

    "Tryouts were in spring training," Trachsel said. "I've got 15 wins. If 15 wins is not enough then I don't know what else to tell you."

    Well, 15 wins might be enough and it might not. Trachsel doesn't want to hear the question and Willie Randolph, who ultimately holds the answer, isn't saying either.


    Problem #1 with Steve's argument: John Maine, his main competition, has only fourteen starts to his thirty. Give them both thirty starts and I think things are not as cut and dry as he thinks in terms of the all important win.

    Problem #2 with Steve's argument: His fifteen wins might have something to do with a his 6.61 runs of offensive support in his starts. Call me crazy, but I think that plays a large part.

    Problem #3 with Steve's argument: Wins are nice, but his 1.01 K/BB, 4.32 K/9, 1.60 WHIP, and .288 BAA are puke worthy and should not sniff a post season start.

    I have zero faith in his incapable arm and I don't even want to mention his OPS against because it is early in the day and everyone might throw up.

  • Carlos Beltran should be in the lineup tonight and needs only one homerun to tie the Mets club record and ten RBIs to tie the Mets club record. If he plays the rest of the season I see no reason why he will not beat the homerun record, but the RBI record is looking pretty safe.

  • Mr. Billy Wagner is good.


  • Mike Carp earns some hardware.

    The New York Mets announced today that first baseman Mike Carp was named the Sterling Minor League Organizational Player-of-the-Year, while righthanded pitcher Mike Devaney earned Sterling Pitcher-of-the-Year honors.

  • The Tigers have clinched a trip to the playoffs for the first time in nineteen years.
  • 20 Comments:

    Anonymous DG said...

    Agree that they look listless and the eternal questions remain (I'm leaving God out of this one for the time being). I hate to sound like Doris Day so will take the Sly & the Family Stone tack to the same song and say that what will be here is what's going to be. I agree the team should ideally go into the playoffs with the engines churning, and the one disadvantage of clinching as early as the Mets did is ultimately the question of momentum. As the pitching is not an issue that will become better or worse until we see it in (post season) action, I'd say the real key to this week is Beltran playing five or six of the last seven games. I had hoped the Mets would win 100 though 97 was always the more tangible number. I still think they'll pull it together in the playoffs, but I've never been convinced that they are going to go all the way. I'm going to enjoy every minute, however....

    11:34 AM

     
    Blogger Kenny said...

    Looper is the new closer for the Cardinals. That is fucking swell.

    11:38 AM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    True dat DG. However, I feel like it's been a bit too much laid back with these horrible lineups. Yesterday's actually was Ok since it was just about everyone but Beltran and LoDuca, but this team needs to get it together and there ain't much time.

    100 wins would have been nice, but it sucks that they won't get there.

    They should go all the way if they actually play like they have all season with the exception of the last two weeks. When the Mets are on, no one is better and I cannot say that about the other teams.

    Is anyone else scared at the potential of playing any games in Philly? The Mets don't seem to like to play there.

    Looper closing for the Cardinals? My, my how they have fallen. Ugly stuff going on in St. Louis. At least they have a nice ballpark!

    11:43 AM

     
    Anonymous The Brooklyn Bum said...

    My biggest concern is how Willie is handling this team right now.

    My guess, and I have no proof of this, is that he's taking the Joe Torre/Yankee attitude that the team will 'turn it on' come playoffs. But this team is so lacking in post season experience I'm not sure they can turn it back on. They haven't looked sharp in weeks, the offense has been nonexistent, and when faced with 3 'must win' games in Pittsburgh the team crumbled under the pressure.

    I'm cautiously pessimistic about our chances in the post season, especially the first round.

    12:11 PM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I agree on the dangers of clinching early. There is a reason why Wild Card teams do so well historically in the post-season. They are still playing for something until the last weekend of the season. Even last year, I feel the White Sox were helped by the Twins end of season charge. All of a sudden in mid-September, the White Sox had to get serious an they were ready for the post-season.

    The Phils are the only NL team that scares me right now. I am praying the Cards keep sliding and the Phils get in. That team is much less fearsome in a 5 game series. I fear in a 7 game series, they'd pull a Mike Scott and throw Carpenter at us 3 times.

    Willie needs to start playing all of the starters now. They got a week off. Now they need to get it in gear.

    Adam

    12:37 PM

     
    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    I dunno if this team will forget how to win--the series with Atlanta will hopefully be perfect timing to get the team excited and ready to go. If they can't get up for that than i will start to give in to my panic.
    The thing that is probably more important is injuries, nagging and otherwise. That's what keeps me up at night.

    12:46 PM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    I'm always concerned with the way Willie handles this team.

    I'm not sold on this team turning it on. Why should any of us be?

    Adam, great point on the Cards. We could see Carpenter three times in seven. The first round would be as good as a time as any to see them.

    12:48 PM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    Well, they do have a lot of nagging injuries, but I think Beltran would of/could of played if he really needed to. LoDuca and him needed some rest and they got it.

    Now about Pedro, it's up in the air. I think he'll be there. I'm not so concerned about injuries being this team has depth. I just don't want to see a flat Mets team lose in four games to start off the playoffs.

    12:50 PM

     
    Anonymous DG said...

    Still rather see Carpenter three times as opposed to the Phillies three lefties as the Mets just don't have the same pop without Nady. Very likely they would - or should - use Milledge over Floyd in that sort of circumstance, though I'm sure Willie will go with EndyBendy.

    1:38 PM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Haven't read the other comments, as there isn't time, but going into the playoffs hot or cold means nothing. NOTHING. History tells us this. The playoffs are the ultimate crapshoot, and, frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if they lost in the ALDS. The best team doesn't always win and if you don't prepare yourself for the possibility of an upset, losing will hurt far more when it happens.

    Worrying about winning in the playoffs is about as pointless as it gets. Just get a bottle of Jack and relax.

    Cheers
    Emad

    2:42 PM

     
    Anonymous Dandy DG McGee said...

    And as for Humber:

    How great is it to see some guy effortlessly throwing 94 mph on the mounf for the Mets? He didn't have his best curve yesterday, but he looked good. In fact I wonder if he has passed Pelfrey on the depth chart.

    www.mlbtraderumors.com has a breakdown of the Mets salary committment next year, which is worth looking at. They list VZ as on the hook for $3million and DWilliams on the hook for $1.5million, but the first I cannot see even having a Met contract next year (arbitrarion eligible) and Williams likely gets a split deal minors/majors if the Mets even bring him back.

    All arguments aside, Trachs is geting one start. If he puts up, he'll probably throw again; if not, I wonder if Willie doesn't turn to Maine. With five inning Pedro, Glavine & Le Duc (El Duque), I'm not worried about it. I suppose this is akin to Lieber's situation with the Phillies specifically in a series against the Mets. He'll throw even though they could conceivably throw lefties in every game. I'm not going to lose sleep over it. Trachsell has turned it up in bigger games before, and he's stunk to high heaven. So why worry? It depends on the day.

    Mike Carp better not get steamed in a Chinese restaurant because I think he's gonna be a decent major leaguer, maybe even ready by the time that Delgado is finished with his contract.

    3:01 PM

     
    Anonymous The Brooklyn Bum said...

    Some random thoughts:

    First, if and when Bert is left off the post season roster, I don't want to hear people bitching about the Nady trade (not directed at anyone here, just in general). I would have done Nady straight up for Perez. For me Bert was a thrown in. Our performance in October is not going to hinge on Nady vs Green in right field. It's going to hinge on 3 players being hot: Reyes, Beltran, and Wright. If those guys are struggling we're done.

    Second, I heard an interesting discussion at Shea on Sunday. Right now Pedro's arm strength allows him to go 4 innings tops. Why not bring him out of the pen for the NLDS? If one of the starters is struggling (I'm looking at you Trachsel), we bring in Bradford or Feliciano to stop the bleeding and warm Pedro up to go 3+ innings. I know it's an ego thing with Pedro, but if he can only go 4 innings in game 1, we've really taxed our pen for the rest of the series. And if another starter struggles, we could be relying on tired arms in big games.

    Third, this is the real test of how much Willie has grown as a manager. I know the players play hard for him, but in that crucial situation with the game on the line, does anyone trust him to make the right move?

    Taking the most talented team in the NL to the playoffs is a good thing. I know the pressure he was under to deliver with the team that Omar put together. But maybe there is a reason that he went in for 11 interviews and didn't get a single job? I have nightmares about Willie pulling a Grady Little in some big spot and being talked into/out of a move that will cost us a game if not the series.

    Fourth, it was fucking swell to see Humber make his MLB debut. I made a point of seeing Milledge and Pelfry's debuts (as I did Wright and Reyes'), but I was very surprised when they announced Humber.

    We have an old and worn out starting rotation this year, but next year we could be throwing out 3 or 4 very young promising pitchers:
    Pelfry
    Perez
    Humber
    Bannister

    Pick up a free agent like Zito and we could have a dominating rotation for 5 years. I know that's not saying anything new, but it's something that the Mets haven't had in 5 (some might argue 20) years.

    Emad,

    As for being hot or cold, you only need to look at recent history to see that being hot is important. In the last 5 years only 1 NL team that won its division made the WS and that team (the 2004 Cards) got swept. Going back to the beginning of the wild card, only 5 NL division winners made the WS and 3 of those appearances were the Braves. Of those 5 only two actually won the WS (1996 Braves & 20001 Diamondbacks).

    Being hot at the end of the season is a huge advantage.

    3:48 PM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    DG, the lefties in the Phillies lineup are scary, but it's more than that that scares me with them. I just hate playing there. It just sucks playing in a band box like that.

    emad, if you take a flat Mets team and put them against a hot Padre team that can throw Peavy and Young to start off a series it could get late early. The Mets need to be in tip top shape. A seven game series is a bit tougher to pull out a cheap series win, but with a five game series? Not sure about how confident I'd be.

    DG again...as for Humber? I think he passed Pelfrey a bit ago.

    Carp is on track to take over Delgado's spot. I like the kid and the Mets have staggered their young talent nicely so they don't get hit with like ten in one year.

    bum...agreed on the Nady deal. It had to be done. Mota was unforseen. Perez is nothing to sneeze at since he'll be starting for the Mets next year.

    Not on board with Pedro. Let him start and try to get five sparkling out of him. The bullpen is deep enough and with Maine in the fold, the Mets have so playing room. They'll still have seven relievers.

    Don't forget to lump Maine in your group of starters. He'll be there barring a big problem.

    4:10 PM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "In the last 5 years only 1 NL team that won its division made the WS"

    Your assertion is that teams that win divisions aren't "hot" entering the playoffs, all because they've shut it down before the playoffs. It's a rather dangerous assumption, especially in a case like this, where the team we're talking about isn't merely better than their competition, but vastly superior.

    At this moment, i'm looking forward to playing the Phillies. I want them ever so badly, just to prove how lousy they are.

    Bottom line, the team with the better pitching usually wins these things. It's got nothing to do with hot or not. The teams that lose in the first round lose usually because their pitching sucks, not because they are cold.

    If we did science the way we discuss baseball, a bad diet would be the primary cause of lung cancer.

    *emad, if you take a flat Mets team and put them against a hot Padre team that can throw Peavy and Young to start off a series it could get late early. The Mets need to be in tip top shape.*

    Rubbish. I understand you need things to discuss and cause consternation. You're a Met fan.

    Peavy has been very up and down and nobody else on that staff scares me. Chris Young? We'd eat him alive in a big game... same with Williams and Hensley.

    Hoffman is good, but he's never got it done in a big spot.

    You guys are all guilty of pumping these other teams up. They've got flaws, boy. Big ones. This time of year, these flaws are usually hidden because the teams they play are zombie-like. Beating up on the Marlins, Astros, and other marginal contenders doesn't impress me... just like how I don't see what beating the Nats now has to do with beating Peavy in a big game.

    Oh, that's right, nothing.

    Cheerfully Yours
    Emad Addly A. Mekhaeil

    5:00 PM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Emad-

    You can't turn it on and off like a faucet and historically it is proven.

    Look at the records September and October regular season records of the WS champs in the Wild Card Era. Only 2 tems the 1997 Marlins and 2000 Yankees had losing records.

    Some of these are division winners like the White Sox and some are Wild Cards.

    Right now Mets are 11-12 in Sept. A strong week would make me feel much better.

    5:23 PM

     
    Blogger BookieD said...

    Don't assume that every successful Wild Card team finished its season in a heated penant race. For example, the 2004 Red Sox, World Champions, finished 7 games in front of Oakland for the AL Wild Card (and 3 games behind the Yankees for the AL East crown). The 2003 Marlins, also World Series Champs, finished 4 games up on the Astros for the NL Wild Card (and 10 back of Atlanta in the NL East). The 2002 Angels had won the wild card by 4 games. And when our Mets won the 2000 Wild Card and NL Pennant, they finished 8 games in front of the Dodgers, and, if you'll recall, had no shot at Atlanta, so they took time time to work out kinks and set up the rotation.

    I am just as concerned about the recent poor play by the team, but I do take some solace in the fact that most of the recent Series champs finished with a comfortable lead. Now, they had better win tonight, or else...

    6:23 PM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    Bottom line, the team with the better pitching usually wins these things. It's got nothing to do with hot or not. The teams that lose in the first round lose usually because their pitching sucks, not because they are cold.

    The Mets rotation while good, is not vastly superior to anyone's. In fact, the Phillies starters have been pretty good of late and that include's Jon Leiber.

    I would just push Young aside like he's chopped liver. Dude has been solid all year and is a very good and hard throwing pitcher. I for one would not be looking forward to him. My point is, that if you come out flat against two good pitchers, it could be a bad scene. That being said, if every team is firing on all cylinders, I take the Mets. But at this point, we don't know how many will be firing when it comes playoff time. Like you said, every team has flaws, which is why a hot team can take it.

    Bookied, I hear you. I was not a worrying about this until the game became practically unwatchable. I'd like to see some life in a team that is about to head into the playoffs in SEVEN games.

    6:56 PM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Aw, COME ON, WOULD YOU PLEASE? Can the Phillies get in the playoffs and past the NLDS first? Can we lose a game before the sky begins to fall? If the Mets destroy the Nationals the last series of the season, it'll give you more confidence going against the Padres? Okay. Fine. But I'm going to have a drink with my attractive-yet-somehow-single neighbor to purge this asinine discussion from my consciousness.

    E

    7:24 PM

     
    Blogger mr. met said...

    Yes, it would give me more confidence if the Mets destroyed their opponent in the last six games of the season. The best team doesn't always win man. The Mets are the most talented, but that'll mean nothing if they decide the shit the bed.

    7:52 PM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    'The Mets are the most talented, but that'll mean nothing if they decide the shit the bed.'
    Can they at least show a case of diarrhea first? The A+ lineup still hasn't played since they clinched.

    E

    8:51 PM

     

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