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

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Looking Good....Feeling Good

The big news in Met-land is Pedro. If you are going to tell me I am a bit late on that one, I would agree with you, but I would be remiss not to discuss the triumphant return of our fearless leader. He started off the game with an 82 mph and gave up two runs in the first inning. It certainly did not seem like a storybook game was going to take place, but Pedro settled down and put forth one encouraging start.

"If I'm sitting in [the Mets'] dugout, I'm more than pleased with what I saw today," Brantley said. "His changeup was around 74-75 mph, but he had six pitches that were 88-89. I can tell you right now, if Pedro can throw 88-89, he's going to be highly competitive for the times that he goes out there."

He then struck out Aaron Harang in the second inning for his 3,000th strikeout and cruised through the rest of the game without command or feel of his curveball. With Pedro limited to 75 pitches, it was going to be difficult for him to win a game in which he was expected to be rusty, but he did. He went five innings and got the win and everyone rightfully has reason to be really excited and Jeff Brantley is 100% on point.

The Mets are fielding an excellent rotation right now when you include The Duque and things are finally settling in. He still has a ways to go as do the Mets, but these are certainly positive signs and certainly something that should energize a Met team that has been all to lethargic at times. In the midst of a season in which the Mets were sometimes too complacent, Pedro could serve as a shining example of why you simply can never get complacent no matter how far in first you are or how much better than the other team you think you are.

"I had to just think about some of the people who never stood a chance, who never had the opportunity [to come back]," Martinez said. "I see my family and all the people who have hope that I'm going to come back and have me as a role model ...

"A lot of people don't understand. The better you are, the bigger your responsibility is."

The Mets are on pace for 91 wins and have the fourth best overall record in the Major Leagues. They are 28-25 within the NL East for a .528 winning %, 17-18 against the NL West for a .486 winning %, 8-7 against the AL for .533 winning % and 25-11 against the NL central for a .694 winning %. Obviously they have been feasting against the Central and thankfully so. Against everyone not in the NL Central, they own a .515 winning # in 103 games.

Is that cause for concern? It probably is since they really failed to excel in what was a weak National League this year. Overall, the Mets have only been firing on all cylinders for a few weeks at a time. Every time they look like they are going to run away with it or are in a commanding position, they seem to fall back down to earth.

Of course they look comfortable right now, but we have been here before haven't we? Twenty three games and five games out is seemingly insurmountable as long as the Mets play above .500 ball, but I am reluctant to declare anything at this point.

* * *

  • Amy K. Nelsom from ESPN wrote a nice piece on Pedro.

  • The Duque is going to miss his start this week and there is certainly no need to push him. Mike Pelfrey earned himself another start for the first time all year and we shall see if he can build off of his extremely encouraging performance. Also, going against Houston in Queens should certainly helps things a bit. But needless to say, if he can build upon that performance he could certainly be a force out of the bullpen for the Mets down the stretch with the ability to locate his fastball better, his improved slider, and the balls to attack hitters.

  • Wright's MVP candacy is gaining momentum daily.

    Jose Reyes seemed to be anointed early as the Mets' designated MVP candidate. But we think Wright has passed his favorite shortstop, with a season that gets better as it rolls along. Sheez, this man has a .477 on-base percentage (best in the big leagues) and .366 batting average since the All-Star break, with 44 runs scored (second only to Jimmy Rollins) and a .593 slugging percentage (better than A-Rod, Magglio or Prince Fielder). Wright also has a shot to be a 30-homer, 30-steal, 100-run, 100-RBI, .300-hitting on-base machine. And Baseball Prospectus ranks him atop every player on an NL contender (and behind only Hanley Ramirez) in VORP. So as much fun as Reyes can be on any given trip around the bases, it's the guy playing next to him who is really the Mets' MVP.

    Utley's name has been the sexy name the last few months despite the time spent on the disabled list, but the same thing that perhaps hampered Beltran last year will play a role in Wright getting it this year. With Howard and Rollins set to get a good number of votes, they could actually steal some from Utley. In fact, Reyes' recent struggles down the stretch after such a great start actually put the focus on Wright as the MVP of this Met team and perhaps the entire league. It sure does not hurt to play in New York City and man the hot corner while batting third as well.

  • From Rob Neyer:

    As David O'Brien notes today, in their last 250 games, the Braves are 122-128. And while they've played pretty well this season, it's worth noting that their best pitcher is 40 and their best hitter is 35. Well, I suppose their best hitter is actually Mark Teixeira, who's only 27. But you look at this team, about to lose their best fielder to free agency, with two starting pitchers better than average, and you wonder how they're going to compete with the Mets over the next few years.

    I don't have to wonder. They have golden boy Jeff Franceour. How can they not compete?

  • Joel Sherman is rather sick of Clemens' act. Anyone else really happy the Yankees plunked down the equivalent of one third Kiribati's GDP to watch Clemens be a Princess?

    Just an aside....the Astros are in big trouble. Any shot that they make another play for Clemens for simply a PR move? Maybe they will let Roger pitch in home games only?

  • By way of Rob Neyer's blog, a must read.

  • Johnny Baseball continues to pitch himself out of the playoff rotation and could just be flat out gassed. His is very close to the most innings he has ever logged and while that is a nice little excuse wrapped up with a swelltastic bow, we are not sure if anything else is going on. Whatever the reason for his second half struggles are, his pitching woes march on.

    With the B-team going, it was tough to really expect a sweep anyway. Willie gave some of the elders a bit of rest since it was a day game after a night game. However, after not playing an entire game on Tuesday, Delgado injured, having an off day anyway following the game, and being on fire over the last week, his exclusion of Alou is curious. Seems like Alou should have enough gas in the tank to play a day game after a night game with a day off following, but I'm not going to complain if it got Milledge a rare start these days.

    Collazo and Humber came in and ate up some innings and did an admirable job not letting the Reds pile on some runs.

  • In Jim Callis' chat he said he'd take Ian Kennedy over Mike Pelfrey. That's Joba, Hughes, and Kennedy over Pelfrey for those of you keeping score at home. Just one man's opinion, but worth noting.

  • It is a good thing I only use my tires as lawn ornaments.

    Chinese-made products have been under scrutiny recently after several high-profile recalls including toys made with lead paint, pet food that contained dangerous additives and tires that could allegedly come apart under use.

  • Notes:

    Triple-A New Orleans clinched a Pacific Coast League playoff spot with a 10-2 win against Round Rock on Sunday night. Kevin Mulvey, the Mets' top pick in the '06 draft, threw six scoreless innings in his Triple-A debut. Joe Smith, who had dealt with biceps tendinitis, made his first relief appearance in two weeks with a scoreless frame. Smith is not expected to be immediately promoted, although he should rejoin the Mets this month. New Orleans opens a best-of-5 series against Nashville tomorrow.

    1) Good for the Zephyrs.
    2) Good for Mulvey.
    3) Good news on Smitty.

  • Joe Sheehan pens a sniffle worthy piece on Pedro.

    I’m kidding, of course. Pedro Martinez’s return to the mound Monday afternoon in Cincinnati was a terrific baseball moment. No matter who your team is, you have to enjoy watching one of the all-time greats on the mound. At his peak, Martinez wasn’t just a fantastic pitcher, he was an entertaining one. He dominated games with power and precision—no member of the 3,000-strikeout club has fewer career walks allowed and just one a better K/BB. He was a showman as well, firing up crowds by wearing his heart on his sleeve, by being openly competitive, and by showing as much love for the game as the people in the seats. Watching Pedro Martinez pitch is a treat in a different way than watching his peers in greatness, Roger Clemens or Greg Maddux, is.

    Go ahead....cry. You know you want to. He also lays some rare love from the media on the Mets rotation.

    What is going to be interesting is seeing how the Mets use him, not so much in September—you can always go to a six-man rotation—but in October. As big a concern as the Mets’ rotation was at the start of the season, it has been an absolute strength in 2007, arguably the reason this team has the best record in the NL, a five-game lead in the NL East and a 98 percent shot at making the playoffs, which is just two percent shy of the random strike zone’s chance of appearing in October.

    I for one feel just fine about the Met starting pitching.
  • Labels: , ,


    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    Everything is right back to normal. The Mets kick ass. And I've had the same feeling towards the team since April, I have not over-reacted or changed. In fact, I'm probably more confident now...

    I actually had class and missed the game, how did Humber look?

    Wow, David Wright as the NL MVP? Who saw that one coming, honestly?

    Well besides the fact that its a "what have you done for me lately business" Chamberlain, Kennedy, and to an extent Hughes, have out produced Pelfrey. For limited professional track record you must go by what they've done in the majors and lately, and I have no problem with anyone thinking those three are better than Pelfrey because I would probably agree with them.

    Yeah I read that about the toys, its fucked up. Thank god I'm not 8 years old anymore, otherwise it would have been a wrap.

    Jon Niese, took names and kicked ass to give the St. Lucie Mets the win. They won today as well behind Mr. Delois Guerra's pitching and have advanced to the next round. FLIPPIN' SWEET! It might be 2 years in a row for them! Dynasty bitches!
    That Dirk Hayhurst diary entry was pretty intense.

    I fucking hate Accounting with an incredibly strong passion.

    4:39 AM

    Blogger Sidd Finch said...

    Joel Sherman is rather sick of Clemens' act. Anyone else really happy the Yankees plunked down the equivalent of one third Kiribati's GDP to watch Clemens be a Princess?

    I'm happy as hell that they did it, but then again, I hate the Yankers.

    Benny, Accounting is a pain, but it's one of those necessary evils to get through college, but it is appropriate that you hate it with an incredibly strong passion.

    11:49 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I certainly wasn't thinking Wright for MVP after April for sure.

    Good point on Pelfrey. Let's hope he proves everyone wrong. I want to be proven wrong vvveeeerrry badly.

    I was speaking more so on the tires. May explode if used. What else would you do with them?

    Fuck the Yankees! I'm not happy about them making the playoffs at all and they are certainly looking pretty good right now.

    1:08 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Benny - unfortunately, St. Lucie blew that 6-1 lead and did NOT win last night. Rubber game tonight...

    Humber looked... OK. At best. His second inning was definitely better than his first. The first inning, his curve was "slurvy" and hit hard a couple times, his fastball was consistently 90-91 and straight, and he left his change *way* up the three times he threw it. Everything was hit hard. Hernandez even wondered on the air how he won 11 games in AAA.

    Second inning was better, mostly because his curve improved, looking more like a tight slider, and he threw it maybe 50+ percent of the time. Highlight was getting Griffey to K looking on a good backdoor curve.

    Being one of the guys leading the "Humber to the bullpen's rescue" charge back in Aug, I was unfortunately disappointed. Not disappointed as in this kid will never make - I have tons of respect for how far back he's made it, and the solid if unspectactular year he's had. Just disappointed as in I can't see him helping us this year. Now maybe this was one bad outing with a lot of nerves or whatever, but... I think Humber won't contribute much until next year. Couple that with Smith's arm problems in AAA, and I think the third righty out of the pen is either Mota or Pelfrey, and we best figure out how to make do.

    Funny thing is, for the next 45 days, I actually now have more hope for Collazo - which surprises me. His change is good and he's aggressive inside against righties, letting him survive against them. And his sidearm motion and OK slider held lefties to a .579 OPS in AAA. There's a chance, maybe, he's a better option than Schoeneweiss for the third lefty. (Insert joke here). Need to see him again, though.

    As far as China and what's going on there - I deal with them all day for my job, and trust me you don't want to know. Long story short, 90% of the "non-critical" materials called out by US or European companies get swapped out for cheap substitutes (or left out entirely) solely for a cost savings, with no regards to how it effects performance. Trust me, it's bad, and stories like this are only going to continue...


    3:46 PM

    Anonymous DG said...

    Not happy about the Yankees making the playoffs at all. Nor was I happy to have to buy a Yank's cap for a French friend of mine, but I did it all the same. What in the world happened to the Tigers? They were my wild card choice.

    St. Lucie LOST last night. Joe Heitpas blew the win. Still think we'll see in in NY's pen some day. He at least deserves it given the adversity of his career.

    One thing life guarantees is that Anderson Hernandez gets hot once every two to three years and smokes it. He's bringing his trade value up a bit going from the Mendoza line to three hundred in a half season.

    As for Humber, pedestrian first inning followed by an awesome second innings. He could have signalled that he was going to throw a curve to the batters and they wouldn't touch it, not ever. He had more velocity on his FB last year when he got his moment, but I wouldn't trade him for Chad Cordero!

    If Petey keeps to the exercise program, he should hit 93 mph next year, maybe more. Rotator cuff is a two year recovery.

    Johnny Maine will turn it around, but he's tired, both mentally and physically. First full season. I'm now in favor of moving him to relief in the playoffs, reserve the right to change my mind.

    I'd take Pelf over Kennedy, probably not over the other two.

    Keith Law dissed Mulvey in his chat today. Said he had a pedestrian year and was better on the Cape.

    Does Jason Vargas throwing lights out today for SnoozeOreans justify the Owens/Lindstrom to the Fish trade? Bannister deal looks bad right now though Law in chat cited above says that he expects a major reversal of fortune for BB next year. Very smart pitchers with average stuff never get credit for what they can be. But being, that's the hard part.

    3:58 PM

    Anonymous DG said...

    Mota's looked good the last couple of times out for two outs. By end of the month, I suspect he'll be able to make it for a whole inning, but never bring him in in the middle of an innings. I think that's been shown to be a bad idea already. A very bad idea!

    4:01 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Humber's hammer curve is not slurvy? That is not very encouraging being that was his only true + pitch. Hopefully it was an off night.

    DG...I like your brimming with optimism attitude. I am really anxious to see Humber pitch with my own eyes.

    I saw the Mulvey quote. Interesting, but I wonder if he is basing that off of one game or not. His stats certainly look impressive.

    RE: Bannister.....he's not going to be much. Hey, maybe he can keep it up, but it is unlikely. He throws 88 and from doesn't have great secondary stuff. He is a nice story and should be a decent big leaguer, but I do not think he would start on this team in the next few years. I still have not made judgment on this trade, though it looks reeeaaaly bad right now.

    Does anyone have the stats from teh point where Petey gave him a tip?

    5:24 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    A very interesting thing with Mike's today and all these comments...not one word about Delgado being out for up to 10 days. Wow. Really goes to show how much we think about the big man these days. Not a word of worry, nothing. All I hope for is that he possibly gets fresh and healthy with his time off. Gets back and gets his timing straight the last couple weeks of Sept and then just RAKES in the playoffs. I could see it happening.


    5:56 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I was going to comment on him tomorrow, but no. I do not view him in the same light as Beltran, Wright, Reyes, and Alou. Those four drive the offense much more and this lineup is deep enough that a Green/Connine platoon could do well enough in the 7th or 8th spot in this order to help this team win it all.

    However, we don't know that he won't be back and it seems unlikely that he won't be back altogether. Also, after watching his glove work of late, I actually feel better.

    6:46 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    mr. met - I wouldn't worry TOO much about Humber right now, for a couple reasons. First off, his curve was different in inning one (slurvy, no location) than in inning two (sharp, small, slider-type break) yesterday. So there's a bunch of things that could have been going on - coming off TJ surgery, going well past his career max in innings, having essentially never pitched out of the bullpen (sans one 1 inning outing for the Mets last year), there's a lot of factor's for him to be less than sharp.

    However, Humber's curve was *nothing* like Wainright's (a big 12-6 style) which is kind of what I was suspecting. Actually, if anyone, it kind of reminded me of Pedro's (smaller, 10-5 break), without the command.

    With a mix of hindsight and I-told-you-so, I think if the Mets wanted Humber as a possible playoff pen option, he needed to move to the pen for the Zephyr's at the beginning of Aug. That would have given him a month of getting used to the bullpen, plus limited his innings to keep me fresh. The fact that Omar didn't tell New Orleans to do that makes me think they made an organizational decision that Humber couldn't contribute this year.

    Keith Law is a big k/9 ip guy, so the fact that he doesn't like either Mulvey or Bannister is not surprising at all.

    Anthony - I suspect we may miss delgado more than we all know. Delgado 5 and Alou 6 is way more dangerous than Alou 5 and Green/Conine 6. What a lost year for Delgado - 3 times now I felt he was beginning to click, and all three times he gets hurt. I just hope he can be good to go by the playoffs, assuming we hold off the Phils...

    7:08 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sorry, forgot to sign last comment.


    7:09 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    St. Lucie LOST last night. Joe Heitpas blew the win.

    Wow, you would think for a guy who wrote his commen at 4am, he'd ATLEAST make sure of the final score, right? Sheesh. Fucking Joe Hietpas, I guess being a former catcher, he's used to being on his knees and blowing things.

    Well I don't blame Keith Law dissing Mulvey. I mean, I ain't nobody, I'm no scout, I haven't seen him life or anyhthing but... the perception is that he's just Mr. Average and will end up being as average as can be. But you know what? Being average is valuable too, that's fine, I don't think anyone was thinking of Mulvey as an ace anyway. But a guy with 5-6 different pitches who can locate them can be succesful, I'm trying to think of a comp but right now, umm maybe Livan Hernandez? I dunno maybe you guys can help me.

    7:22 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Ube....have you seen his scouting video from college? It was like Wainwrights and Law had mentioned how it just wasn't as good as it used to be which would certainly downgrade his status as prospect since that was his best pitch.

    Actually, check it out and let me know how it looked versus what you saw.

    Being an average start has tons of value. They are worth $10,000,000 these days, but I still like him a bit more and that is based on nothing factual. Just a gut feeling. He has a lot of pitches to work with and nice velocity. I think the Professor can have a big effect on his approach.

    7:50 PM

    Blogger Coop said...

    This Just In: Roger Clemens is a pussy bitch.

    7:55 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    Roger Clemens isn't a pussy! He always takes the ball.
    Carlos beltran on the other hand who has averaged more games than Derek Jeter in his career, HE's a pussy.

    8:24 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    He may not be a pussy, but he DEFINITELY is a princess.

    9:44 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    mr. met - totally different curve, that one DOES remind me of Wainright quite a bit. Also his fastball was flatter and a tick slower yesterday than this video as well. The more I think about it, the more I think he's just got to be exhausted. He had surgery July(?) 2005, so he worked all the way back through July(?) 2006. Each year he threw 70 innings, with no offseason. This year he's almost doubled that - 139 innings.

    I'd look forward to seeing him a couple more innings this year, and then let him compete for a spot on the staff (again, maybe the pen?) next year.

    Is that Law chat you're talking about the one where he said college baseballs had higher seems than pro baseballs? I read that recently, and had never heard that before.

    Thanks for the link, too. Fun to go back and watch. I was also reading Carp, Evans, Maldonado, and Devaney's scouting reports. Kinda made me laugh, seems like the scouts were more interested in describing each player's bodies than their play. What does "square face" or "thin neck" tell me about a guy as a player???


    12:42 AM

    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    It’s amazing how we make excuses for Humber’s recovery from TJ surgery in 2005 while Pedro is coming back from far more serious surgery just 11 months ago. Humber looked better on the video than he did in his mound performance on Wednesday but to be honest the video didn’t blow me away either. You can see why Pelfrey’s projected upside is much higher than Humber’s. The way some of these guys are hyped they make it seem like every one of these prospects has Chamberlain type talent.

    I’m interesting in seeing how BB performs for KC once he’s been around the league once or twice. Pitchers with mediocre talent that possess a few pitches that they can change speed on and have great command can be very successful in the minors and the 1st time around in the majors. But every now and then one of these types develops into a top of the line starter.

    A buddy of mine just started dating this girl he met in college. She’s from mainland China and I wonder if she is defective.

    How about giving some of the credit for DW’s success to HoJo. I think their relationship goes back to the minors.

    2:31 AM

    Anonymous benny said...

    A buddy of mine just started dating this girl he met in college. She’s from mainland China and I wonder if she is defective.

    Besides Mike's funny ass text message form last week, that is one of the funniest thing i've ever read on here. Good job, haha.

    4:25 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Yes...it was Law who said the college seems where higher hence the nastier curves.

    Two-by-four...I beg to differ. That curve in the video was nasty. Very tough to hit and couple that with a solid fastball, change, and splitter, he had the goods.

    Whether he still has it? The jury is out.

    HoJo has been great so far. I cannot prove he has actually done anything, but too many things were going wrong with Down at the helm.

    I cannot comment as to the defectiveness of your buddy's girlfriend specifically, but as Shakespeare once said..

    Frailty, thy name is woman.

    Don't shoot the messenger.

    Also Benny, the girl never returned his calls. I officially blew that up. He's ok with it as it's a funny story and all, but he also said she wasn't that attractive. So maybe I helped him out.

    8:49 AM

    Anonymous DG said...

    Must say that in the video he's throwing two very different curves: one big looping with Wainwright-like break and a sharp tight little fella that dives down and through the zone. The curve he threw in his second inning of work resembled that on and looked mighty fine to me. Humber threw 90-91 the other day, threw 95 last year on his callup relief appearance. He may be tired or whatever, but he's got a location fastball not a movement fastball. If he threw only as he did in the first inning the other night, I would be pretty down on him, but he looked more than solid in his second inning of work. And although this may not be saying much, the Reds were flailing at that curve.

    9:06 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    mr. met - agree totally. That scouting video curve was definitely nasty, as the scouting report agreed. Also, if you watch his fastball it had some late tail and good pop. He looked nasty.

    Also agree on Hojo - he deserves a ton of credit. Not just because their hitting stats have gone up. More because you can tell they have a plan at the plate now. I've been very, very impressed.

    two-by-four - I'm not making excuses for Humber. I'll let his stats this year speak for themselves: Led the PCL in WHIP, 3rd in K's, 8th in ERA. Very solid. But, given his surgery and the amount of innings he's thrown this year, judging him on a handful of mop-up innings now would be a bit rash, IMO.


    1:44 PM

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