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

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Awakening

Has rock bottom been hit? After such a horrific series on Philadelphia, have the Mets woken up out of some funk? Perhaps. You cannot get too knee jerk because the red hot Phillies are within striking distance to say the least, but there have been encouraging signs.

As Keith stated the other day, Delgado had four really good and productive at bats on Friday and he followed that up with another solid game on Saturday. Might they all be coming around? It is certainly worth keeping an eye on Delgado to see if he still utilizes the left part of the ball field it will be a positive.

As for Pelfrey, I did not watch the game for a myriad of reasons, but it's a good thing we are covered.

Emad:

Poor fifth inning. Lost all command from the stretch after hitting Francoeur.

Flashed a plus slider and a decent change. Definitely the most impressive slider i've ever seen Pelfrey throw. Nasty bite, great tilt.

Fastball command was okay. Definitely mediocre. He seems to have the same disease Maine does, only worse. His fastball moves more than Maine's and being that tall only exacerbates the issue.


ube:

I got blacked out today (thanks FOX), but the radio guys were raving about him. Sounded like he lost control once or twice, but went right after guys otherwise. Set down first 11, mostly on broken bat grounders. 7 K's, 3BB's, 1 H in 6 IP is pretty darn good...

DG:

Wow Pelf. We hardly knew ye! Surprising performance as he was aggressive and threw the change even though he knew maybe 30% of them would be strikes. Braves are a strikeout team, but it was still nice to see 7 k's. And best of all, when Francoeur got all hippity about being him, Pelfrey walked towards him like he wasn't going to back down if it came to that. All in all, the most satisfying stuff I've ever seen from him. Not perfect but really workable. Is it a game comparable to Johnny Maine in last year's playoffs or Ollie's sudden appearance in the same? This could realistically change what we may come to expect from Pelf (as it was for the other two mentioned).

Two-by-Four:

I’m not sure of the Fox guns accuracy but Pelfrey touched 97 at times and 95 more than a few times. The movement on the fastball was good and although it makes it tougher to command his pitches I don’t want him to reign in that movement or ease up on the velocity. It caused all the broken bats and ground balls.

I was most impressed with his slider or slurve that he threw in a couple of critical points in the game to left handed hitters in fastball counts that made the Braves hitters look inept.


All good and encouraging stuff and if he can build some sort of consistency, he could be extremely useful out of the pen to say the least with his propensity to get groundballs off of his fastball.

Definitely great to see those two wins after that horrific Philly series with Philly losing one yesterday to drop three back. However, it simply cannot be overlooked how fast things could deteriorate and how just vulnerable the Mets lead could be. And it cannot be stressed enough that the division will be won in the head to head matchups within the division.

I know many just expect the Mets to roll over non-Brave and Philly opponents and think it is irrelevant what happens when they play the Braves or Phillies, but I think it is clear the Mets need to wake up and start playing better and more consistent balls. I have no idea if there is a big complacency issue in the clubhouse, but it sure explains a lot.

If there is, hopefully they have been given a reality check on what they have to do for the rest of the season so the can manage to stay on track.

* * *

  • Rob Neyer has a nice blog on the Clay Buchholz no hitter and it is nice to see him simply silence (for now) Yankee fans who are insistent on comparing him to Chamberlain and Hughes. Let it go....they are all good and just be happy about that.

    I'm sure a lot of the talk of the day centers around Buchholz being the sandwich pick the Red Sox got from the Mets signing Pedro. I do not want anyone to confuse that with that pick really having anything to do with the Mets. They had already picked Pelfrey ninth overall and only gave up their second rounder for signing Pedro.

    Even if it was a pick they did surrender, you have to give up something to get Pedro. Congrats to Clay and congrats to the Red Sox fans for having a young kid with a tremendous curveball, tremendous change-up which already might be one of the best in the bigs, and apparently has a big set of cojones to watch for a long long time. It should be exciting to watch the Red Sox and the Yankees over the next few years with all the homegrown talent doing battle.

  • Maddon had A-Rod's bat confiscated after Torre had Iwamura's bat confiscated.

    "It's just retaliation. There's nothing wrong with Alex Rodriguez. He's a great player. It was tit-for-tat entirely," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I said, 'It's an illegal bat.' I said, 'I can't see inside it, but there might be something inside that bat. I don't have X-ray vision. He's got 45 home runs, it's Sept. 1.' That was my argument."

    Some people think Maddon was being out of line and immature by retaliating that way, but I do not see it that way. It was just a response to a ridiculous move by Torre, who did the immature and ridiculous thing in the first place.

  • The Yankees apparently think Mussina showed up out of shape and just didn't have it. It seems he will get another shot in '08, but the best place for him is on the Cardinals or something if you ask me.

  • Also from the above link:

    Talk about a sign of the times: Former Met Julio Franco, having signed with the Braves and called up by the major league team Saturday, wandered into the visitors' clubhouse to say hello to his ex-teammates.

    Not only did Franco's visit violate the unwritten rule of fraternization among players, it clearly irked some Mets, including Willie Randolph and Tom Glavine.

    The manager said, "That wouldn't go over too well in the clubhouses I grew up in."

    Added Glavine: "You play long enough, I guess you see everything."


    Turns out the great Franco might not be so great after all. Of course it could have been him taking at jab at the Mets outright disrespecting them, but whater it was, I am glad he is not on the Mets.

  • My how quickly things can change.

    Another hit, and who knows, maybe the Braves would've started peeling away layers of Pelfrey's psychological flesh. Maybe they uncover the self-doubting rookie who, until Saturday, had been winless in the big leagues, sporting an embarrassing 0-7 record.

    All that might've unfolded – had Pelfrey actually thrown a fastball. Instead, he delivered the kind of slider that lights up the major leagues' gossip network. It won't be long before scouts are talking about the downward trajectory of Pelfrey's slider, how it handcuffs hitters who already are defending against his 95 mph fastball.

    Johnson? Never had a chance. He swung right over the slider, ending the Braves' rally and all but ending their season, too. The Mets' 5-1 win at Turner Field ensured a series triumph against their toughest opponent this year, putting them 6½ games ahead of the Braves and three games up on the Phillies, who lost to the Marlins in a night game.


    And don't just take Klap's word for it.

    "I don't know if he was well-rested or what, but the ball came out of his hand really well," said Teixeira, the Braves' first baseman. "He got it up to 97 mph, he was sitting at 95. And the way his ball moves, he really didn't give us much to hit over the plate."

    "His ball just bores in on you," said Bobby Cox. "When he throws that breaking ball, it's hard to lay off."


    Hitting Frenchy on top of it and jawing back at him certainly earns tons of bonus points.

  • Pedro is on a 75 pitch limit. They could have given him one more rehab start and used Humber here, but at least the Mets will be deep enough in the bullpen to pick up the slack and I do not put it past him to go five complete innings.

  • Hernandez might have to skip a start and that is fine. Let him rest up, the Mets have kids ready to step in.

  • A dig at Torre?

    Minaya did say Pelfrey might be used in relief this month. But he said, unlike the Joba Rules, there would be no restrictions enforced from above. "I don't believe in locking yourself into rules," Minaya said. "You try to use common sense as far as being careful with things like back-to-back situations."

  • Hmmm....

    There have been rumblings of dissatisfaction for Randolph both in the front office and in the clubhouse. Four different major-league sources said Mets upper management has expressed concerns about Randolph both tactically and in failing to get his team to play with consistent passion this year. Two agents with players on the Mets both said their clients have conveyed the sense of a clubhouse that is more consistently second-guessing managerial strategy.

    Vindication is mine...sort of. How many people defended Willie to the ends of the earth when anyone said anything negative about his lack of skills? A lot. Some here, but not as much as on other pages. Also, from 2005 and on he has showed a lack of ability to get it done tactically and I for one think that playing in the majors and coaching there for 30+ years should have prepared him better and if doesn't know now, what can we reasonably expect from him in the future?

    I'm still pulling for a miracle and that would entail Gary Carter or Ken Oberkfell. Sorry to the Willie lovers, but he is simply to inconsistent for my tastes, but of course, he just got extended. Good times....

    Nevertheless, while voicing displeasure about the inconsistency of both the play and emotion of his team, Jeff Wilpon said, "Not at all," when asked if his manager was in trouble. "There have been no conversations at all about Willie Randolph."

    Omar Minaya said, "With all the injuries we have had, Willie has done a very good job. We are very happy to have Willie Randolph as our manager. That (his removal) has not even been a topic of discussion."


    What else would they say? I do not think he is close to getting fired, but I can see this ending when his contract is up and not in the most pleasant of manners with animosity in the clubhouse in the way there was between the players and Art Howe a few years ago. For me, he is just Art Howe with more of a personality.

  • Glavine is still undecided on playing in '08. I do think the Mets should walk away from him either way, but I would not mind see him giving a go at it for someone else to pile up some wins.

  • Huh?

    MLB.com reported that the contract of Rudy Jaramillo, the Rangers' highly regarded hitting coach, expires on the last day of Texas' season. That is unusual, as coaches' contracts more often run until November or December.

    The Rangers are working to re-sign Jaramillo, but if they can't agree to terms, he figures to be in demand. Mets general manager Omar Minaya has such a good relationship with Jaramillo that he interviewed him as a managerial candidate in 2004.


    Just how would he fit on the Mets? With HoJo as the hitting coach, jerry manual on the bench coach, Willie as the manager...I'm not seeing it. Not that I would mind, but I'm not seeing it.

  • Peavy was insanely good again yesterday and he is easily the Cy Young for me right now. 2.10 ERA, 1.03 WHP, 1st in the NL in wins, 1st in K's, 1st, in WHIP, 5th in IP, 1st in ERA, 1st in ass kicking.
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    16 Comments:

    Anonymous benny said...

    It's a good thing Delgado has heated it up. Better late in the season than never.
    We can't forget the Mets play the Phillies and Braves one more time but atleast its during a homestand.
    I'd rather have Pedro with the way he is now and with all the things he's given us, than the 21 year old Bucholz, that's just the way it is.

    There was nothing wrong with what Joe Maddon did...

    The players not being happy with Franco coming into the clubhouse says ALOT. You know why? Because last year when the Mets won the division, they allowed Xavier Nady to hang out with them, before and after the game.
    Sometimes you just wear out your welcome...

    Pelfrey was impressive, I will admit that... The breaking and off-speed stuff was I don't know how to explain it, mind-boggling I guess? Mind-boggling in the sense that it looks good and bad at the same time, does that make sense?
    It was like the entire Braves team was taking the swings Delgado's been having all year.

    I understand there's a different type of stress between the St. Lucie Mets and the New York Mets but... he was throwing about 100 pitches in the minors. WHatever, no biggie, the important thing is that Pedro is FUCKING BACK!

    Omar Minaya said Joe Torre lacks common sense. I agree with him.

    Remember the Jaramillo vs Willie debate we had on here a couple of years ago? Well it wasn't much of a debate as most of us preferred Jaramillo.

    It's only the first inning but the Mets are making alot of contact against Smoltz. They're not turning into hits but alot of foul balls...

    1:14 PM

     
    Anonymous DG said...

    I don't think that Jerry Manuel and Sandy Alomar are givens to return next year, so you could see HoJo sliding to third or bench coach. I suppose you still have to see if Ricky will continue to be interested in coaching. He looks disturbed half the time but then that is Ricky being Ricky, no?

    Chills when I saw that Glavine in '08 article. You gotta hope they turn away, but that's no given and the Wilpon's will direct his return. Retire!... please!

    And that's universal vindication baby!

    1:24 PM

     
    Anonymous Darn Guppy said...

    Surprise! Surprise!

    Glavine's taken his curveball out of the vault for this game.

    Is this vindication day? I'm beginning to think so.

    2:19 PM

     
    Anonymous ossy said...

    david wright is looking like the mvp if ya ask me. he is a grey ink monster this year.

    i thought of you mike, when i came accross the second guessing of willie article.

    pelfrey did suprise me. baseball is a funny thing. on monday morning i didnt fear the phillies. thursday i feared the braves. i shouldve stay true to my beliefs and felt that the mets had nothing to worry about. this division is ours.

    goin into the last month...peavy and santana have the cy young. wright and arod the mvp.

    how is carlos pena hitting so many hr's? remember when his johnson was in peter gammons mouth? late bloomer or fluke?

    10:41 PM

     
    Anonymous benny said...

    Word in regards to Carlos Pena. But what I think it is, is that he's in an environment to succeed.
    And what I mean by that, is that, this is going to sound wierd/odd but at one game about 3 or 4 years ago, at Yankee Stadium, I was talking to a family member of Carlos Pena's, and at another game at Yankee Stadium that same year I got to speak to somebody that had SOMETHING to do with the A's clubhouse.
    VERY coincidential, I know, but, what they both told me is that the A's management was very down on him, hurt his feelings, made him feel like shit, always criticized him, and were constantly on his case, and I guess that affected him.
    I mean this probably has nothing to do with anything and it's probably irrelevant but... I dunno, maybe the D-Rays management just let him play his game and let him be. THe coaching adapted to him, rather than Pena adapting to the A's coaching. And we also have to remember that he was a product of the Rangers not the A's so maybe the whole "take pitches" thing was too intense for him and messed him up.

    12:22 AM

     
    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    The best way I can describe this season would be to say that if you use your gut, conventional stats or sabermetrics, etc. to prognosticate a teams performance in a given series and arrive at an intelligent and logical conclusion make not mistake about it you will be wrong.

    Willie managed what seemed to my untrained eyes as a good game today. I try not to use W’s and L’s to gauge the competency of a manager since the A’s won 206 games from 2000 to 2002 and their manager was none other than Art Howe. I noticed that Willie used each of his relief pitchers for one inning. Perhaps he heard the comments. Heilman gave up two well hit ground balls down the 3rd base line that normally would have been doubles but late in the game Wright was playing the line and made the play on both balls.

    I can see Mussina having success against the Mets because of his knuckle curve.

    3:10 AM

     
    Anonymous DG said...

    Anyone see the end of the Phillies/Fish game yesterday? I switched over on MLB.com after the Mets won. God, talk about a dispeptic win for the Marlins; you could end up with an ulcer with too many closes like that. Funny, because Gregg has been lights out against the Mets. Maybe the Phillies bravado/desperation had something to do with that, but we're seriously lucky the Phils have no pitching. That offense is awe inspiring.

    Pedro Time in two and a half hours!

    10:37 AM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    dg - yup, I was watching the end of the Phils/Fish game. And you're absolutely right. All I could think when watching it was "wow, Gregg's giving me more of an ulcer than Wagner". Keep in mind though, that was the second day of multiple inning saves from Gregg, so he may have been pretty gassed.

    You know what I found interesting. Ninth inning, two out, couiple guys on, and the Marlins' manager Fredi Gonzalez went to take a leak. Really? Couldn't hold that a couple more minutes?

    As far as Pelfrey, I watched his start on the archived mlb.tv last night. I was more impressed than I even thought I would be. I'd like to see him get a couple more starts if possible. Maybe, if we can keep the lead up around 4-5 games, skip Maine and skip Perez once each?? Get them some rest before the playoffs, get Pelf a couple more starts? Just gotta make sure the lead is high enough to do it...

    -ube

    2:03 PM

     
    Anonymous dg said...

    I'd go to a six man before I skipped Maine or Perez, but really do you expect El Duque to pitch this weekend? He's the guy who generally benefits from rest.

    Pedro has been pretty much like he was at the start of last season, excepting the velocity. He's maxxed out at 83 by my count. I mean, last year in the early part of season he could at least touch 85.

    Had no idea he was 2 k's away from 3,000. Makes you almost wish he did it at NYC, but hey, I'm sure I'm not the only person happy to see him pitching today ... by lots!

    Oh and Paulie LoDucey actually hit a sac fly, giving him something like 10 ribbies for the season!

    2:17 PM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    dg - Good point about El Duque, I just heard he's missing his next start so looks like Pelfrey gets another start. I'd still like to get Maine and Perez a bit of a breather before the playoffs, if we can afford it.

    Also, watching the game on FSN with Cincy's broadcast, and they have Pedro topping out around 87-89. Even hit 90 once in the 5th. Lots of cutters at 80-82. His curve has been spotty, while his change has been very good. But I do think he was hit harder than the boxscore would read.

    Also, great stat on FSN. Pedro's the 15th pitcher with 3000 K's - but only 3 of the pitchers have more K's than IP's. Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, and yup, Pedro.

    In any case, 5 innings and 3 runs had to feel good for him. Just hope the good guys can hang on to get him a win...

    -ube

    2:59 PM

     
    Anonymous DG said...

    Now that Ruben Gotay has knocked in the Mets' sixth run while pinch hitting for Petey, let's review:

    Basically he looked good, even hitting 90 on the radar gun though, as he did last season, he did not rely on his fastball but pitch combinations. He had average, above average command, and he was lucky that a lot of the balls that were hardhit were either to someone or just slightly off the sweet spot. Petey knew that he shouldn't give Griffey another look and walked him in the fifth on what I'd call a non-intentional intentional walk. If Grif was going to dig his own hole so be it, but he was not.

    Further, nice job by Sean of the Dead to take a Harang change up, stay back and poke it up the third base line for a run scoring double. Nice piece of veteran hitting.

    Reyes however is hitting everything in the air. Not a good sign.

    And Gotay does what he does and shows why he should be on a postseason roster.

    Yankls losing to Seattle, and Braves, my new buddies, are beating the Phils.

    3:09 PM

     
    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    Pdero claimed that the relatively dry day (for Cincinnati this time of year) made it difficult for him to grip and spin his “A” curveball.

    Right now I am more concerned with how his arm responds rather than the quality of his outing. If all goes well his starts will be lot more Pedro like next season. Whatever the Mets get now is a bonus but should not be done and will not be done at the expense of re-injuring Pedro.

    Did anybody else notice that this was the second game in a row that Willie limited each reliever to one inning each?

    It would have been nice to see Humber or Collazo in the 8th or 9th.

    The Mets hit a good off speed and breaking ball pitcher today. Perhaps they are adjusting.

    11:23 PM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    two-by-four - I think you're right on the money with Pedro. We should be expecting a fifth starter this year, *maybe* a guy out of the bullpen in the playoffs, but hopefully a #2 or 3 starter come next year. I'd sign up for that right now.

    I've always been of the belief that Willie was sending relievers out for multiple innings this year as a necessity because of shorter starts / worse relief outings. I don't remember a lot of two inning stints last year. So, I think, with more arms in the pen now, you'll see a lot more 1 inning outings.

    And for better or worse, I think the order in the pen now is Wagner, Heilman, Feliciano, Sosa, Mota, Schoeneweiss - then Humber & Collazo. Meaning we won't see them in a game we are leading. Our best chance to add an impact arm is either Smith, if he's healthy, or Pelf, if he has another good start or two. Otherwise, this is our pen, I think.

    dg - I'm thinking Gotay is a lock for the postseason roster, as he's the only backup infielder on the team. Unless you count Newhan or AHern, which I just can't see. Right?

    -ube

    4:39 AM

     
    Anonymous Danny said...

    The starters are averaging more innings per start this year (5.92) than they did last year (5.67), which is a rather significant amount over 162 games (more than 40 innings). I have no idea why Willie is using relievers for more than one inning so often this year (other than his gut telling him so).

    Willie wanted to keep Sele sharp for golf in October by giving him the 9th inning I guess. Sele was lucky to only allow 1 run, they were smoking the ball all over the place off of him. Can we stop giving him innings please? He's not going to be on the postseason roster. Or at least he shouldn't be.

    9:19 AM

     
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    danny - that's actually exactly what I would expect for innings/start. I think we forget how many horrible starts we got last year (thanks Lima, Jeremi, Soler, etc.) Even Pedro had a couple short ones after the injury. Seemed like once a week Oliver was in by the third or fourth inning. And it also seemed like everytime, he gave us 3-4 innings.

    This year, though, I can only remember 2 starts where we didn't get at least 4/5 innings - one by Perez against the Phils and one by Maine against the Cubs. I'm sure there are a few more that aren't coming to mind.

    A quick check on espn's game log backs this up - Oliver had 5 outings 4+ innings and another 5 3+ inning outings last year. This year, Sele has only had 1 4+ inning outing and just 2 other 3+ outings. The difference in their innings pitched is over 40.

    Combine this with the Mets habit of scoring more runs and getting bigger leads last year, plus their huge division lead after May, and I just think while the total "bullpen" innings this year aren't that much more, the "high leverage" innings are way, way more. Plus, they've been way less effective, which puts an even bigger strain on the rest of the pen.

    At least, that's what it feels like to me, and it seems the stats at least somewhat back this up...

    -ube

    3:39 PM

     
    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    PLD drove in 7 runs tonight to raise his total to 41 for the season. He hit 2 hrs to give him a total of 7 for the season. Unbelievable, approximately 1/6th of his rbi total and approximately 1/3 of his hr total in one night.

    This was the third game in a row that Willie limited each reliever to one inning?

    Once again it would have been nice to see Humber or Collazo in the 8th or 9th.

    Ollie was throwing his fastball at 88 mph and relied more on his breaking pitches and changing speeds. Ollie may have to work on his arm strength and endurance over the off-season or this could become a common occurrence for him each year.

    1:51 AM

     

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