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

Saturday, April 14, 2007

What's That Taste In Your Mouth

If you watched or listened to the game, that taste in your mouth would be a bit of puke.

E Chavez tripled to deep right.
C Beltran struck out swinging.
C Delgado grounded out to pitcher.
D Wright grounded out to pitcher.

When your big guys cannot get a lead off triple home, that pretty much sums it up. It was an ugly game in which the Mets outhit the Nationals eleven to eight and had five extra base hits while managing to get outscored 6-2. The Mets were also a little ugly in the field again and just did not get a good performance from Orlando Hernandez. They pretty much got owned today.

With yet another game down that the Mets have played some ugly baseball, you have to wonder if their heads are in it. Willie had this team tight from game one last year and seemed to have them tight from game one through four this year, but they regressed a bit since they and have been sloppy. They are good enough to play sloppy and win a lot of ballgames, but that's not exactly a good way to go through the season.

I am not sure what needs to be done to get these guys playing like they should be and it is quite possible they are just in a swoon and will work out of it any day now, but it is frustrating to watch a team of this skill level kind of sleep walk through games. They are 7-4 and sitting in a nice place now, but they cannot keep playing this way or else they are really going to give the Braves a shot at this division.

* * *

  • So we had a bit of a fantasy baseball disaster with ESPN's shitty league. They basically reset everything redrafted our teams and put in our opening day lineups and used their stats for our season up to the point they reset the league. Problem is, a lot of us had a few starters on the bench, guys on the DL that didn't even end up playing in the lineup, and were rotating starters that now have had their stats erased.

    I know a lot of people do not want to play, but it is a long season and everyone's teams got affected. Some lower teams got bumped up and some higher teams got knocked down significantly, but I think things will even out in the end. Yes, it sucks, but there are about 150 more games to go. It is possible that it comes back to bite a team if it comes down to the wire, but there is not much we can do and everyone got screwed up with the exception of Benny's team who is now in first.
  • Friday, April 13, 2007

    Better Late Than Never

    If you come to this site for timely reporting of news and up to date debates on hot issues, you have probably been a bit disappointed lately. This was supposed to be Wednesday night's post, but alcohol happened and I'm going to post it anyway despite the fact the word on the street is he is not going anywhere and it's gotten plenty of ink of late.

    Brad Lidge is none too happy with being removed as closer of the Houston Astros. His decline along with Derrik Turnbow's last season are certainly mysteries. Turnbow's decline is a bit more mysterious because he was having another stellar season before falling apart mid-season and never really recovered in '06. I am all to familiar with this situation because he was one of my fantasy baseball closers last season. Lidge was pretty much off all last year and it was primarily due to the fact that he gave up a few more homers and few more unintentional walks than he did in '05. Of course that may be dumbing it down and a bit, but in 2006 he had a .238 BAA with 12.48 K/9. Based on those two numbers alone, you would assume he was dominant. After all, in 2005, he had a 2.29 ERA with a .223 BAA and 13.12 K/9. The big difference is in OBPA and SLGA with Lidge and in '06 he had .332 and .403 respectively which was up significantly from years past.

    This year has started off worse than last year and it is certainly mysterious given his peripherals over the past few seasons, but he certainly still has the ability to be completely dominating again from what it seems. I would love to get him in the hands of Rick Peterson with his old friend Mr. Billy Wagner on the team, but these guys are almost impossible to acquire unless a team is completely fed up with them, which I do not think is the case. At this point, Lidge does not really have much trade value which would mean the Astros would have no incentive to trade him. A team looking to acquire him would be hesitant to acquire him because the team that has him might be asking too much factoring in what he could be. However, Tim Purpura and Omar Minaya were able to almost broker a three team deal last year with some substantial talent involved.

    Basically, these are two men who genuinely look towards improving their team over ripping someone off and seem to be able to find a common ground that works for everyone. Lopsided deals are not always things GMs gun for and if anyone can try and work something out, Omar seems to be that guy. Now, the obvious thing would be that the Mets would have to overpay in regards to what his true market value is at this point to make it worth Houston's time and Houston cannot act like it is 2004. One thing that I see working in the Mets favor is that they finally seem to have those mid-level guys in the minors. With some recent trades and player development, they seem to have a deeper system than they had even just last year and might have the wherewithal to get something done. This is certainly something that bears looking into and I'm sure many teams have called Houston wondering about his availability. I do not know if he is necessarily available since Houston may never get what they want, but he could certainly answer a lot of questions for the Mets in terms of the 7th and 8th innings.

    * * *

  • What Josh Hamilton did on the other day is nothing short of amazing. 1 for 3 with a homer and two walks in your first big league start after 50 pro at-bats in '03, '04, '05, and '06 with none of them coming above short-season? C'mon. that's just ridiculous even if it was luck. As if that wasn't enough, he homered in his second start and went 1 for 4 with a run scored, two RBIs, and a walk in his third start. In his first three at-bats in his third start, he faced Carlos Zambrano three times and went 1 for 2 with an RBI and a walk. We all read a lot about how patient he is at the plate and he has four walks to compliment his four hits. I hope the Reds push this experiment to see what they really have here. With the history of Rule 5 drafts, Hamilton could easily be the best Rule 5 pick (sorry Dan Uggla) and the Reds could look like geniuses.

    Ed (CT): What are your thoughts on Josh Hamilton? I know many say he will not start, but the guy is a patient hitter and I think Narron wants him to start. Who will sit? Freel or Griffey?

    SportsNation Jayson Stark: I don't think we've reached the stage yet where the Reds are planning to bench either Freel or Griffey so Josh Hamilton can play every day. But this guy is so talented, and having such good at-bats, that I can foresee a situation like the one they had with Austin Kearns -- essentially juggling four "regular" outfielders. In case you hadn't noticed, Josh Hamilton is the best story in baseball. And it's getting better all the time.

    You still have to be tentative at this point, but it's hard to ignore what he is doing.

    Brad, Columbus OH: What should the Reds do with Hamilton?? 2 HR in 2 starts, plus fielder, where do they find a spot for him?

    SportsNation Keith Law: What they should do is work out a deal with Tampa so that they can send him to AA or AAA and let him play every day. I think if they make him a regular in the majors, he's going to struggle big-time. There is really no precedent for a hitter to miss that amount of time and come right back and perform well at a higher level of ball. Look at Jason Kubel - he missed a year, and his first year back was a huge disappointment.

    When Keith says there is no precedent, he is not kidding. It's downright unthinkable for him to simply do what he's been doing over a three game span much less being able to keep it up all season.

  • Pelfrey looked good in his '07 debut. His fastball was overpowering and his slider looked extremely good at times. You have to be happy about his performance. However, he was having control issues and while it's early, you have to be concerned with the manner that the Mets are beating themselves more than the opposition. Early on it seems like they are their biggest obstacle, but I have no reason to believe they will not straighten out.

    Tim (NY): Phil Hughes or Mike Pelfrey in terms of upside?

    SportsNation Keith Law: Pelfrey, easily.

  • ESPN thinks the Mets are #1...the Braves fan do not.

    beachuga (4/13/2007 at 1:30 PM)

    How are the Mets ahead of Atlanta??? The Braves took 2 out of 3 head to head last weekend and showed resiliency by bouncing back after dropping game 1 of the series 11-1. Even the .500 Yankees are ahead of Atlanta. ESPN is not afraid of displaying its New York bias. Yeah, it is early in the year, but you have to base the power rankings on what the teams have done so far this year, not what they are capable of accomplishing. The Mets cannot be #1 right now after losing a series to a division rival.


    joeysprite (4/13/2007 at 2:18 PM)

    U guys aren't getting this. If it's up to u guys, the rankings would just go by record. It's about who's team looks best. The Mets obviously look poised to take the division and prolly the NL this year. That's not bias. That's just the odds. If you don't understand that. Take a look at the vegas odds as of today and they will have the mets as the odds on favorite to win the NL. AKA the best team in the league. THERE IS NO NEW YORK BIAS IN VEGAS YOU IDIOTS. Regardless of the fact that they're a whole """"1"""" game out of first place and lost a staggering 2 out of 3 in Atlanta. Shut up.

    Not a douchebag.

    felicia__nicole (4/13/2007 at 2:36 PM)

    How is it that the team with the best record in baseball is only ranked 6th? Perhaps if they change thier name to the New York Braves.......no respect, ESPN disgusts me.


    Mrollman01 (4/13/2007 at 2:49 PM)

    As stated at the beginning of the article - " little bit of winning percentage here, mixed with a pinch of run differential there...".This is NOT soley about win/loss record. That would be 'standings'. This is Power Rankings which take into account the way a team is playing, along with wins. The Mets are second in the majors in runs scored and runs allowed. How can you argue that they should not be first? Because the Braves have one more win?Please drop this "Ohh no! East coats bias!!!!" Its being used in every single arguement on ESPN, its getting very lame. Notice how they have the Dodgers ahead of the Braves too?

    Braves fans are not exactly the most well versed. This Mets team is really, really good. Not to say the Braves aren't, being ranked sixth is still pretty good in fact. However, you'd be hard pressed to find many people prepared to hand the division to the Braves.

    joheher (4/13/2007 at 3:18 PM)

    People are so stupid. Win-Loss records are meaningless at this point of the season. The Braves have a combined .226 batting average and only won two out of three because of errors committed by the Mets. The Mets rank ahead of Atlanta in runs, hits, triples, total bases, RBI's, batting average, OBP, slugging %, OPS, ERA, and rank #1 in BAA. Unlike you idiots, ESPN actually does its research. If you knew anything about baseball you'd quit your whining about how Atlanta won two out of three and pity the fact that you got shut out by the Nationals last night with Smoltz pitching.

    It should also be noted that the Braves were ranked the highest by ESPN further making these Braves fans look like douchebags for repeatedly complaing about ESPN's blatant East Coast bias.
    Maybe...just maybe...and I know this is a stretch here....they are not as good as the Mets. Silly bitches.

  • As I was watching the Mets game on my DVR, I was also writing this shitty post. In the 7th inning, Wagner walked Valentin to bring up the pitcher's spot at which point they announced Julio Franco was coming up. Just as I was saying "oh shit" to myself, I read this craptastic headline.

    Franco delivers clutch hit as Mets rally to beat Nats

  • I'm sorry for doubting you.

  • Not to beat the Power Ranking issue to death, but BP has the Mets as #1 as well with the Braves and Yankees seventh and eighth respectively.

    The line of the day also came from their rankings...

    How to Recognize a Small Sample Size, Lesson #476: "Royce Clayton" and "torrid" can credibly appear in the same sentence, as the Toronto shortstop is hitting .364/.440/.545 so far.

  • Is this the year Jose Reyes wins his first Gold Glove? Might be hard with the Vizquel getting an automatic write in while he is still playing, but Reyes is going to make it hard for people to not vote him as the best field short stop in the National League.

  • Can we all point and laugh at the Phillies? ...and more specifically Jimmy Rollins?
  • Labels:

    Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    If a million people say a foolish thing, It is still a foolish thing.

    That was Neyer's quote from the end of his latest chat (which by the way featured a Rob Neyer that was on fire). What do I mean? It means that I don't care how many people tell me I'm nuts in regards to my thoughts on Willie and his tactics. I'm going to call it like I see it. Furthermore, let me repeat that I am not particularly taking issue with Burgos-gate from Monday, but Willie in general. However, there were many good points sparked up by yesterday's discussions on both sides.

    burger threw a ton of pitches at that point. so i can see why everyone is pissed.

    but then again, ive seen pat burrell tear us new assholes too many times. i'd rather give up a 3run shot to him than fucking pat burrell.

    pick ur poison if u ask me.

    i'm gonna give willie leeway with letting burgos pitch to howard. howard's been struggling with the bat and pat burrell always finds a way to stick it to the mets.

    until that one mistake to howard, burgos was owning him in that ab. burgos is still a "kid" and will learn from this - at least he better learn from this or his career with the mets will be short and bitter. anyway, i'd rather that mistake come now than in september and it's good to see that randolph will trust his people (i.e. smith in the opener).

    By the way, I didn't realize there were 2 outs to Howard when Willie left Burgos in. I thought there was only one out at the time. Unforgivable decision. You HAVE to walk him there. Leaving Burgos in to face Utley to try and get a strikeout was the right move. But you either have to walk Howard and go after Burrell with Burgos or Joe Smith, or you bring in Feliciano to face Howard. It sucks too because Burgos made a bunch of great pitches but all anyone will remember is the one pitch he hung, and that was a terrible pitch call by LoDuca.

    To me, you can hyper-analyze this one all you want. All you need to know is (1) first base was open; (2) the MVP was at the plate; and (3) a tiring, unproven righty prone to giving up the long ball was on the mound in a one-run game.

    No further analysis needed.

    That said, let me clear up more confusions here. First, Willie has a managing style of his own. It's a style of never losing the sight of the goal to settle for a few cheap wins in hyped-up April or subway games. It's a steady and fearless apporach to the game where cockiness, laziness, unprofessionalism and lack of confidence will not be tolerated. It's a style of rather exposing the weaknesses early and working on them than hiding or ignoring them. It's about trusting all the players not just some of them and constantly testing them to see if they have what it takes to succeed.

    anonymous weenie:
    Amen, Metdynasty. You think after years of horrible managers and horrible teams, we'd all be happy to see the way Willie has brought along Wright, Reyes, Maine, and Perez while getting more out of Chavez, Valentin, and Castro then any other manager has been able to. Maybe, just maybe, he knows what he is doing...

    mr. met:
    I specifically posted about bacon to avoid such controversy!

    the brooklyn bum:

    Tired young right handed fastball pitcher + open base + baseball's premier left handed power hitter = intentional walk.

    That said, let Willie-Critic #1 (uhhh, that'd be me) defend him on that one:

    1. The Amburglar was dealing.

    2. You don't wanna put Howard on and let a pitcher with control problems face a bases juiced situation.

    3. Burrell has been on fire & always kills the Mets anyhow. Howard had been cold through 6 games.

    4. Schoeneweis is horrible. Fuck him and never let me see his ass on the hill again.

    5. Pedro Dos isn't that good against lefties: .231 avg in 2006.

    6. Last year Howard hit .279 vs. lefties with 16 HRs in less than 200 ABs.

    Opening Day is not the time for a baptism-by-fire for your shakiest reliever running on fumes. I think Willie has a thing for hard throwing relief pitchers. Maybe he's hoping the Amburglar can keep him warm while he waits for Mota to return.

    Doesn't anyone see what Willie was trying to do? He wanted to challenge Burgos a bit. I hate to tell you this, but at some point this year Burgos is going to have to get a good lefty out in a tight spot. This is game 6 of 162, not Game 6. I know we all wanted a win but, jeez, calm down.

    The Met coaches:
    "I felt like it was a good outing," Burgos said. "The guy hit a good pitch."

    "Willie wants to instill confidence in these guys," Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson said. "Even though the outcome wasn't there, you gave somebody confidence. You trust a guy to get a job done."

    "I'm not going to play every game like it's the World Series," Randolph said, which is of course the right approach. Perhaps, down the line, Burgos will reward him for such loyalty. Then again, maybe he won't.

    I'd just like to say I wasn't solely using Monday's game as a barometer for what Willie wold in fact do in the playoffs, but it was just a microcosm of what I've seen from him in 2+ years as a manager of this club. Basically I see a disturbing trend and that did get lost in a lot of what I said since I did write about 1,000,000 words between Toasty's site and mine.

    Count (aka David):

    He said, if I remember correctly, that he had no problem bringing Burgos into a pressure-packed situation, because that is why he is on the team and he needs to know what he is capable of. He doesn't want guys who are scared or guys who don't come up big in big spots on his squad. I can appreciate that. The implication was that the game was important, but so was the season, and he needs to know what these guys can do.

    That being said, and I "watched" yesterday's game on my Yahoo game channel only, but pitching to Howard there is a huge gaffe.

    Anyways...good stuff and all good points. Now I hope the Mets get back to clean baseball free of controversy as the 1-0 Oliver Perez with a 1.29 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP takes on 0-1 Adam Eaton with a 13.50 ERA and and a 2.36 WHIP. While some people think this is a meaningless April series, I want to bury the Phillies and think that is important. After an off-season of this team talking shit, the Phillies get swept by the Braves and a sweep by the Mets would put them 6.5 games back behind the Mets before mid April. There are already articles about Charlie Manuel being on the hot seat and the Mets should go for the jugular and help send this team into a tailspin.

    The interesting thing is how they thought getting rid of Abreu was a boost for this club, but getting rid of guy who can do it all is definitely a negative. Last season's late success was due more so to an insane hot streak by Howard and the Phils more than the lack of Bobby on the team. I think this season is going to show just how much they miss him during the long haul and though it is early, it certainly looks like people overestimated that team.

    * * *

  • Duaner has a successful surgery.

    Mets reliever Duaner Sanchez had a hairline fracture in his right shoulder repaired today in an operation done at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Sanchez must wait 6-8 weeks before he can even start rehabilitation. He could be out for at least four months or even for the entire season.

  • Pete Becker thinks Reyes might be the most valuable fantasy baseball player.

    If you had the first pick in your fantasy baseball draft, odds are, you took Albert Pujols. Great. That was the right call; Albert Pujols is perceived as the most valuable player in fantasy and, as such, should be taken first. But will he remain No. 1?

    If I'd had the first pick in my fantasy draft, I'd have taken Pujols, too. Immediately afterwards, I'd have traded him for Jose Reyes plus whatever else my trading partner would feel necessary to compensate me for the perceived value gap. I would do this not because I believe he can't put up Pujolsian numbers again this year, but because I believe Reyes' numbers will prove to be more valuable. In fantasy, that's the only reality that matters.

    I'm not as smart as Pete and would have drafted Reyes #1 overall without thinking of the Pujols trade scenario, but it would have been hard to pry Reyes from anyone in an all Mets fan league. Of course this is fantasy baseball, but Reyes is still pretty valuable in real life.

  • Six homers and seventeen RBIs? After all the ripping on this guy and how much the Yankee fans and everyone has laid into him, I'm guessing a lot of people are quietly rooting for him. Even people that have made fun of him relentlessly (hint...that might include me). Of course him doing well is tied to the Yankees winning, so you can count me in as rooting for him extremely quietly.

  • Carlos Gomez continues to open up the season on fire and seemingly likes to hit in the PCL and Fernando Martinez opens the season with a 3 for 4 game.

  • Fernando kept it up with a 2 for 4 game with a homer, two runs scored, and walk in Binghamton's 4-2 victory yesterday.

  • Phil Humber had a bit of a rough start in Memphis' shellacking of New Orleans. He gave up four hits, four runs, one walk, and one homer in three innings while striking out six. Carlos Gomez went one for three and stole his fifth base of the season.


  • Monday, April 09, 2007

    The Secret of Perfect Bacon?

    Yes, I know there was a game today, but I have a hard time concentrating on baseball when the most groundbreaking formula since E=mc² has been found.

    SCIENTISTS believe they have come up with a formula to create the perfect bacon buttie.

    The two most important aspects are crispiness and crunchiness, according to a new study.

    It revealed the crunching sound while eating rashers should ideally measure 0.5 decibels.

    They should also break when 0.4 Newtons of force is applied through chewing, the researchers said.

    Who needs to work on curing cancer when you can make mouthwatering bacon even better than it already is? (as impossible as that sounds)

    The Formula

    N = C + {fb(cm) . fb(tc)} + fb(Ts) + fc . ta

    N = force in Newtons required to break the cooked bacon.
    fb = function of the bacon type.
    fc = function of the condiment/filling effect.
    Ts = serving temperature.
    tc = cooking time.
    ta = time or duration of application of condiment/filling.
    cm = cooking method.
    C = Newtons required to break uncooked bacon.

    The secret of life has been revealed. With such knowledge comes great responsibility and you must use it solely for good. In the wrong hands such knowledge could be devastating.

    * * *

  • Ok, there was a game yesterday and as a Met fan, you probably experienced every thinkable emotion during that game. It was certainly a wild one and though the Mets won, The Coop and Toasty had plenty of concerns about the way the game was managed. First, Toasty's post was one of those that was an instant classics. It's a must read. Second, both make valid points and since I'm trying to back off Willie, I'll just let them do the dirty work. Of course Heilman's unavailability factored into Willie's moves, but everyone's concerns should go beyond today's game.

    I'm not necessarily going to agree or disagree with them at this point, but I will just state why Willie's little gaffes scare me. Let's just say I agree with Toasty (and I'm not saying I do since I'm trying to be nicer to Willie), a team with an airtight bullpen (usually found in the playoffs) would probably win today's game. But many of you are saying, "why the fuck do you care, the Mets won." Yes, they won today, but like I said, a better team wins when you give them that break.

    The Mets are good enough to roll through the regular season. In the small percentage of their games that they do get challenged, Willie seems to make mistakes too often during those games. The Mets are good enough to play through them against lesser opponents like the Phillies, Nationals, Cardinals, etc., but what happens against better teams? The quick answer is they most likely lose. In a short series in the playoffs, there will be closer games against better teams and Willie's moves get magnified and will be more meaningful. His moves become more important and when he screws up on things that should easy for good managers during the regular season whether the Mets win or lose, it scares me. So while everyone can say, but the Mets won, it is hard to not look towards the future and wonder what happens against better competition with better coaching.

  • Rob Neyer's assault on Derek Jeter's defense leaves me at a loss for words. He is a true champion of justice and is fighting the good fight. Some people think it is obsessive, but I see a guy trying to make the Gold Glove respectful. Derek Jeter winning one Gold Glove much less multiple ones is a travesty. The sad part is, I do not think his '06 Gold Glove will be his last one and Neyer is actually using his column to change what is clearly a joke. My Yankee hatred aside, it is refreshing to see a writer actually try and do something positive.

  • The Phillies are 1-6 and already 4.5 games out seven games into the season.

  • You have to love it.

    Smith made his maiden voyage to Shea Stadium on Monday morning, following John Maine in his truck from Long Island City. At one point, Maine turned right, and Smith was about to, but a woman turning right on to the street he was on was tentative to complete her turn. So she did what any New Yorker would do. She leaned on the horn.

    "It's 8:20 in the morning, and an old lady is blowing her horn at me," he said smiling and understanding just how far New York is from his Ohio.

  • John Donovan loves the NL....four of his top six teams are from the National League, which is by most accounts nutty. Donovan seems to be putting a lot of stock in the early goings of baseball, which is fine, but things change quickly. You cannot ignore the talent on a team like the Tigers and rank them so low after a weak start, but it is nice to see someone not regurgitate what the majority believes.

  • In case you missed one of the daily articles on the topic, Reyes is good.

  • Let's not set the bar too high...

    About three weeks after his surgery, during his birthday party in the Dominican Republic, Martinez reached into a friend's baby carriage and raised the baby high over his head, stunning several Mets in attendance.

    Now it appears that Martinez might throw off a mound as soon as May 1 and rejoin the Mets' rotation shortly after the All-Star break.

    "I saw him the last week before I left Florida and I couldn't believe it," says Martinez's good friend, Mets bullpen coach Guy Conti.

    I don't want to get my hopes up. I'm still banking on him not being apart the '07 Mets.

  • Anthony Rieber is second guessing Randolph already as well.

    Second thoughts

    With Paul Lo Duca getting the day off, Randolph had an opportunity to use David Wright in the No. 2 spot, as he did nine times during the last two weeks of spring training. But Randolph said he didn't consider it.

    Instead, he left Wright in the fifth spot and used Jose Valentin second.

    "It's just one day," Randolph said. "Jose can handle that spot. He's a patient hitter, and all the things you'd like a No. 2 hitter to do, he can do. Just one day."

  • I missed this one, but Jimmy Rollins is trying to get everyone in on it.

    "I don't care. They already boo me," he said. "I like getting booed. Our fans definitely don't like their fans, and our fans definitely don't like their fans.

    "We're going to get out of this (slump), but we have to adjust really soon and get on the good side of it."


  • Sunday, April 08, 2007

    Pointless Excerise: '07 Predictions

    Of course most people like to do these things before the season starts, but it kind of didn't cross my mind until DG just reminded me. Here are his picks:

    NL: Mets; Brewers; San Diego

    AL: Boston; Cleveland; Angels

    Wild Card: Diamondbacks (Braves may well be my second choice, arghh!!)
    Detroit (AL is hard as Blue Jays & Yankees are both potentially there as well
    - Detroit & Cleveland may flip-flop, but I’m pretty up on the Indians this year.

    I don't think there is much to particularly argue against with his predictions as there are so many toss ups with few givens. There are only two teams I would feel comfortable guaranteeing a playoff spot to, but the rest is pretty much a crapshoot. In some instances it's a crapshoot because of a lack of talent and some instances simply have too much talent.

    NL: Mets; Brewers; Diamondbacks
    Wild Card: Braves

    AL: Boston; Detroit; Angels
    Wild Card: Cleveland

    Yes, yes...I picked the Yankees to miss the playoffs for the 100th year in a row and one day I'll be right and it's going to be a day to remember. I just think Boston's rotation is going to lead them to an AL East crown and I think the division is a lot better top to bottom than people give credit for. The Devil Rays and the Orioles are going to be tougher opponents than people originally thought and there will be some beating up of each other to a certain extent.

    As for the AL Wild Card and AL Central division winner, I see the Royals being a pushover for the most part with a large disparity between the cream of the crop in the division and them and I just think the White Sox and the Twins are not going to be all that good. I see two 90+ win teams in this division with the Tigers edging out the Indians, but I certainly would not complain if you flopped them around.

    The AL West is the easiest for me to pick. The A's are a .500 team for me and I think the Angels rotation and bullpen are better than the A's, though the A's have the two best starters out of both teams. Add in Kendrick and a healthy Kotchman and I do not see anyone strong enough to take the Angels out.

    In the NL, the Mets are far and away the best overall. I'm not going to get into the reasons why I think that because I think we sufficiently go over the topic on a daily basis. As for my Wild Card pick, I think the NL East is pretty weak. I think the Nationals are horrible, the Marlins are marginal, and the Phillies are vastly overrated. Their lineup is not very awe inspiring outside of their fearsome duo, their bullpen is horrendous, and their rotation is getting much more hype than they deserve. I truly think there will be a substantial amount of beating up on the lesser teams by the Braves and the Mets while they pile up wins whereas there are more closely grouped teams in the other two NL divisions.

    The NL Central is perhaps the weakest division in baseball and the Cardinals are the defacto favorites, but I like the depth of the Brewer bullpen better, their rotation better, and their offense better. The Astros just do not have the firepower or rotation and everyone else might have their streaks, but will ultimately fall short. The Brewers are the sexy not-so under the radar pick, but I'm taking them too.

    As for the NL West, the Diamondbacks have the most talent and the most upside. They have a young team on the offensive end of things that should be ready to make a big impact this year. Then you look at their rotation and bullpen and you can envision them being one of the top three teams in the league when all is said and done. The Padres and Dodgers are solid, but their offense is just not up to snuff for me and they are just not as well rounded as Arizona. In '08, I'm taking the Dodgers, but '07 belongs to the Diamondbacks.

    Soooo....that's what I got. Let's see what everyone else's picks are for bragging rights at the end of the year.

    * * *

  • The bright side of this weekend's two losses is that the Mets are still 4-2 and they pretty much lost on their own accord more so than getting flat out beat. Of course you do not want to take anything away from the Braves who still had to execute, but it is not hard to envision the Mets sweeping had they played a bit tighter defensively as they did in St. Louis and the first game with the Braves and someone came up with one big hit.

  • Just when Shawn Green was starting to build some much needed good will with fans, he managed to knock it all down. As long as Lastings is around, controversy is going to follow Green around.

  • 34-year old Mike Hampton is having setbacks. With his age and injury history, it is hard to envision him doing much of anything anymore.

  • Ponderous....

    Randolph made his first lineup change of the season Sunday against the Braves, giving catcher Paul Lo Duca a rest and moving second baseman Jose Valentin up in the lineup.

    Despite his .158 batting average, Valentin filled Lo Duca's No. 2 spot in the order, and backup catcher Ramon Castro hit in the No. 8 position.

    Willie just cannot make a lineup when his starters are out. Amazing.

  • Minor action:
    For complete recaps, go to Metsgeek.com.


  • Easter Fun

    Rob Neyer drops this little gem on us yesterday...

    So I'm watching the Yankees last night, because they're the Yankees. In the second inning, with Baltimore's Kevin Millar on first base, Corey Patterson bunted. Broadcasters Michael Kay and Ken Singleton, take it away ...
      Kay: A push-bunt toward third, A-Rod fields, there was nobody covering second, so A-Rod will take the out at first. Sacrifice successful, 5-3, and heads-up by Jeter: third base was not covered when A-Rod fielded the ball, and Jeter darted over to cover the bag.

      Singleton: Now I don't know if there's supposed to be somebody at second or not, but when this ball is fielded by Alex Rodriguez, they had plenty of time to get Kevin Millar. He's not the fastest runner. The ball is bunted fairly hard. I mean, a couple hops, and you can see there's a play at second base if somebody's there to cover.

      Kay: Robinson Cano never made a move toward covering second. His initial step was to first, because he was backing up the throw, I guess, to first base.

      Singleton: No, he is supposed to go over there on a bunt play. If the first baseman charges, he's the one that's supposed to cover first. My question more would be with Derek Jeter, who alertly -- as you said -- went over to third to cover up in case Millar went there. But at first, if he moves over to second, there's a chance for a force play there.

      Kay: But Phelps never charged, that's why it seemed strange that Cano didn't move to second.

      Singleton: That's my point. When a bunt is laid down, the second baseman, his job is to get to first base and cover. If the first baseman doesn't charge, he lets the first baseman take it.
    If you weren't paying attention, it would slip right past you, but Singleton was suggesting, ever so gently, that perhaps Jeter should have covered second base. Singleton also, and again ever so gently, made it terribly obvious that even after all the years Kay's been in the broadcast booth, he doesn't seem to know that the second baseman automatically breaks for first base when the batter squares around to bunt.

    I love it.