I thought this was supposed to hard? I thought the Mets were going to struggle to even get out of the first round. They really have been marginally challenged at this point and barely looked like they even broke a sweat so far. Of course, here is where it was supposed to get dicey as the Mets travel into dangerous territory with Steve Trachsel and Oliver Perez (Maine might actually start here too since he only threw 80 pitches in game #1) as their next two starters, but I'm confident the Mets will seal the deal in LA.
Last night, the Mets dominated from start to finish. They played some great baseball and a brand of baseball that most of Met fans love to see. Don't get me wrong, I know we all like to watch huge homers, but watching a team manufacture runs with bunts, sacrifice bunts, productive outs and sacrifice flies is great too. This team can beat you so many ways and having a guy like Endy Chavez able to step into the starting lineup and just add so much to the team is just huge. He can do so many things and I think last night solidified Shawn Green's place on the bench for the remainder of the playoffs. Endy hits better, plays better defense, and can run faster. It should be a no brainer really.
As for the Mets vs. lefties, you can throw that out the window. There were games this year they struggled. More than when they did not struggle, but they also have had some good games against some good lefties. Last night, the Mets got a lot of good at-bats off of Kuo and wore him down a bit and there really is no pitcher this team cannot beat. Are they the more proficient team in the playoffs in regards to hitting lefties? Of course, but they are the second best offensive team in the playoffs who should not be afraid of anyone.
So far, the Mets are 4-0 in October when you include the regular season and I do not see anyone in the National League posing much of problem for the Mets. I don't want to jinx the team and make ridiculous claims, but that is the way it looks right now. The possibility of facing Chris Carpenter three times in a seven game series if they really want to break his back is a bit concerning, but the Cardinals, though they have played a solid series so far against the Padres, are very unimpressive. They will need more than a stellar series by Chris Carpenter to beat the Mets and life is great in Met-land as they are poised to move right along to the National League Championship Series.
General manager Omar Minaya said before the game that the Mets "will explore the free agent market" for potential starters for 2007. He indicated that the Mets intend for Aaron Heilman to remain a reliever, even though Heilman has made it clear he would prefer to be a starter.
"Aaron Heilman has been great in doing what's in the best interests of the team," Minaya said.
Not quite what Aaron wants to hear, but there is no shame in being a tremendous reliever as he just does not fit into the framework of the rotation anymore. I wanted him to get a shot this year, but with Glavine most likely being back in '07, the emergence of John Maine, Oliver Perez, Phil Humber, Mike Pelfrey, Pedro in mid-2007, and the need for an ace via trade or free agency, there is just a big numbers crunch.
"Well, it's nice to know that people want you out there," said Lugo, who will be a free agent at season's end. "I mean, I'm grateful for them to be interested because I was raised here in New York. I was a Met fan for a while."
The Dodgers gave up a lot in Joel Guzman and Sergio Pedroza so it is hard for me to believe they will just roll over and give him up, but for the right price, I would absolutely want Lugo playing second base for the Mets in 2007.
"Everything went well," general manager Omar Minaya said. "What the MRI revealed, that's what it was. There was no additional work done."
Sometimes additional damage is discovered in these types of procedures, which can lead to a more extensive operation, but that wasn't the case with Martinez.
Pedro just might come back from this pitching better than he had in 2004 through 2006. The silver lining here is that Omar will be forced to try and bring in an ace to lead this team in 2007 and in the second half, the Mets could possibly be featuring a rotation of Barry Zito, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, John Maine, and Oliver Perez/Phil Humber/Mike Pelfrey. Is there anyone that would not like to go to battle with a rotation like that? Throw in a nasty bullpen and the same solid offensive and defensive team and you just took the best team in the NL and made them significantly better.
"When I walked [Julio] Lugo, I thought, 'Are they going to bring [Chad] Bradford in?' " Feliciano said. "But I turned around and they left me in. I said, 'OK, I'm going to do it. I'm going to finish it.' "
Why did Willie Randolph start Endy Chavez over Shawn Green in right field for Game 2? Green's numbers against the Dodgers this year have been phenomenal.
-- Adam, Queensbury, N.Y.
Green's numbers against the Dodgers are outstanding all right, but in the bigger picture, Chavez hit left-handed pitchers better than Green. Chavez was 26-for-78 (.333) against lefties during the regular season, while Green was 44-for-165 (.267). Chavez also gives the Mets more speed on the bases, stealing 12 bases compared to four by Green. Therefore, with the Dodgers starting lefty Hong-Chih Kuo, Randolph decided that Chavez, who batted .306 overall this season, was the right guy for right field. Chavez proved that it was a good move as he went 2-for-4 and scored the first run of the game.
In case you have not noticed, Green sucks while Endy is good. In fact, Green shouldn't be start at all until the Mets need him to be a DH. For the record, I still like the Shawn Green deal and it had to be done. Having him come off the bench is still a big boon for this team.
OPPORTUNITY knocked, louder even than Alex Rodriguez gets knocked. With the bases loaded and two outs in the first inning of yesterday's 4-3 loss to the Tigers in Game 2 of the ALDS, he swung and missed at Justin Verlander's 98 mph fastball for strike one, then swung again at a 101 mph 0-1 pitch and fouled it back.
"I had a pretty good swing," said Rodriguez about the second pitch, the one that set him up for failure. That is, unless Jason Giambi, the preceding batter, had not actually done that by taking ball four.
Verlander came back with an 0-2 breaking pitch to Rodriguez. And another A-Rod moment, frozen in time, ended with the bat frozen to his shoulder.
"When he's throwing close to 100, I'm not going to look for a breaking ball," said Rodriguez. "A pretty good pitch by him, you can't really get too upset."
They guy has zero perspective. Zero accountability. Zero common sense.
"It's hard to put the hammer on them in the first inning, but a hit there would have been big," said Rodriguez. "Give them credit, they made their pitches."
First thing a friend of mine who is a Yankee fan IM'd me was that A-Rod will be moved this winter . If the Yankees exit the playoffs early, you have to believe that is exactly what the Yankees will look to do as he has become such a huge distraction for this team.