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

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Baseball Is Alive and Well

I have to say, I derived a lot of enjoyment from Wednesday's games. Watching Big Z. take on Brandon Webb was really fun to see. It was especially nice to watch games in which had Ted Robinson and Ron Darling doing commentary because it definitely made things more familiar. Of course it would have been amazing to see the Mets on the big stage, but it is what it is and I'm still going to enjoy as much baseball as I can before the darkness is upon us.

In the first game, the Phillies lost with Cole Hamels on the mound. They lost with their true ace on the mound and you would have to think the Rockies have a serious advantage here. Though their starters are nothing great, it certainly not a scenario that any Phillies are to enthused about. And yes, I know no one wants to lose game one, but you especially do not when you have the best pitcher of the series from either side on the mound.

Beckett just continued to add to his postseason lore and just annihilated the Angels with a complete game shut out. He dropped eight strikeouts and allowed four hits while throwing only 108 pitches. Has any trade worked out as well as the Beckett deal did for both sides? Two teams got exactly what they were looking for and you can safely say neither side would want a do over.

Brandon Webb is just one of my favorite pitchers to watch. When all is said and done, he is going to be one special player. It is easy to forget that Webb is not just a one trick pony and he has a nasty curveball and a pretty fucking good change-up. He will not get the CY Young award this year, but actually fared better than last year in many categories.

As for today's games, one question stands out in my mind. How much does a manager get caught up in numbers? Wang's home and away splits might not be of Ervin Santana proportions, but his 2.75 ERA at home and .235 BAA versus his 4.91 ERA on the road with a .300 BAA are big enough to open some eyes. In fact, you can see a pretty large disparity between his home and away numbers in 2005 and 2006 as well.

Would Joe be better off holding him back until the Yankees third game and try and hope for at least one win or do you just go with your best pitcher no matter what the numbers suggest? I would tend to throw numbers out the window in a case like this when you have a clear cut ace of the staff and shortage of quality starters, but it bears noting because you know the media will be all over this one if the Yankees go down.

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  • The Mets and Glavine's relationship has seemingly come to an end.

    Tom Glavine is likely to decline his $13 million option with the New York Mets by Friday's deadline, giving the pitcher time to think about his future.

    Glavine's contract said he must make a decision on the option by the fifth day after the Mets concluded their season.

    "Tom and I have been having discussions since Sunday. As he has indicated on prior occasions, he's going to take time with his wife and his family and consider all of his options and then make his decision," Glavine's agent, Gregg Clifton, said Wednesday. "It is doubtful he'll be able to conclude that process prior to Friday."

    I would have to believe that if the Mets wanted him back, he would be back. I am sure this was all contingent upon some gentleman's agreement that it had to be mutual, but I am certainly glad the Mets are moving on. I hold no ill will towards him, but I will be torching my Glavine jersey and filming the goodness that will ensue.

  • Also from the above link:

    In other news, All-Star center fielder Carlos Beltran had arthroscopic surgery on both knees Wednesday, and an MRI exam on pitcher John Maine's left hip revealed he doesn't have a sports hernia.

    Left-hander Jason Vargas also had a bone spur removed from his pitching elbow. Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek performed the operations on Beltran and Vargas at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

    Yikes. Who knew Carlos was going under the knife?

  • Zach (Orlando, FL): You say Hughes and Kennedy over Clemens and Moose. I agree with you from where I am sitting, but is there a manager in baseball who would go that route?

    SportsNation Jim Callis: Probably not. Too difficult to defend the moves if they don't work out. Though why anyone would expect Mussina to do anything is beyond me.

    And there it is. The veteran vs. rookie problem. You would rather get burned with the vet because of media pressure. Wouldn't it be nice if Torre stepped up and made the correct decision? Of course now that I say this, they will probably throw back to back no-no's.
  • Labels:

    Wednesday, October 03, 2007

    Meltown? Or Right In Line With Expectations?

    By way of Rob Neyer's blog, MGL from The Baseball Think Factory shares his thoughts.

    The Mets were expected to have 84 wins given the personnel they put on the field and their actual playing time this year, based on each player's pre-season projection and their schedule. Their pythag wins were 86, which means that they overperformed a little as compared to what they "should" have done (again, given each player's per-season projection). The actually won 88 games, so they outperformed their pythag and their underlying performance projection.

    Th ere is nothing "wrong" with the team. They were never as good as many people thought and they actually outperformed a little this year. Teams (and fans) are really dumb when it comes to evaluating themselves. If they do nothing, they are expected to win around 85 games next year, barring major injuries. If they upgrade they will be expected to win more. If the D-Backs do nothing and don't have any major injuries or transactions, they will be expected to win 81 games or so (I doubt they think that way). That's the way it works. The concept that the Mets (or Pads) did "something wrong" is ridiculous. Sometimes you win or lose more than your share at the beginning of the season, sometimes in the middle, and sometimes in the end. Sometimes you win or lose lots of games in a row. That can occur at any time as well. If the losing happens at the end of the season, we call it a "choke." If the winning happens at the end of the season, we call it destiny, heart, character, chemistry, or momentum. It is all B.S.

    While the Mets were not all that far off of their expected win total, it is hard to argue their last two weeks were not horrific. No first place team should have one stretch of that ilk much less two, which might actually prove MGL's theory that the Mets were not all that better (if any better at all) than any other of the 'top' NL teams. The thing that will stand out the most for me about this 2007 season will inconsistency. Everyone has their ups and downs, but this team in every facet had major ups and downs.

    With that said, there is some negative sentiment towards the Phillies with Met fans not wanting to root for them. Me? I am rooting for the Phillies just as much as I am rooting for the Rockies. The Phillies did their part to get into the playoffs and came to play everyday and backed up what they said which was in stark contrast to the Mets. There are no ill feelings between the Mets and the Phillies and I see no reason why any Met fan would want to root against them because their team could not finish things off. Now as for the fans, that is a completely different story. They embody what is is to be a douchebag, but that has little to do with the actual team.

    My prediction for the World Series is the Indians against the Rockies. The Rockies are too much of a feel good story to not root for and I have family out there and absolutely love going there. As for the Indians, I like the fact they have a legit one two punch, Hafner has woken up, and their best two relievers are not closing games and free to come in for high leverage situations leaving hopefully less critical innings to Borowski.

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  • Boo-hoo...

    It is astonishing that the Mets' front office has left manager Willie Randolph hanging out on a limb even for a day in the wake of their collapse. Even if general manager Omar Minaya announces today that Randolph will be back in 2008, the delay has served to shift blame in Randolph's direction. For a day, or maybe longer, Randolph has already become the handy-dandy scapegoat for a breakdown that extended from the top of the lineup, in Jose Reyes, to the manager to the general manager. "What, was that one game [on Sunday] going to make a difference in whether they keep him?" asked a rival executive, incredulously. "So if they had won Sunday, they would've kept him? What a joke."

    Minaya and the Mets' ownership should've had a conversation about Randolph's situation before Sunday's game. To leave him twisting in the wake of the brutal finish is unfair and cruel. The Mets must decide whether Randolph is the manager best-suited to lead the team going forward, writes Mike Vaccaro.

    The Mets' season got away from them long before Sunday's debacle, writes John Harper. Jose Reyes was booed off the field repeatedly on Sunday. Paul Lo Duca may have played his final game with the Mets.

    Randolph is on notice. Tell him to jot that down and start actually....you know...making sound in game decisions. Also, let us not confuse the situation. The Mets losing is not a reflection on Willie's desire to win....

    "My passion, my will to win, you guys have no idea what's inside of me and where I come from," Randolph said. "I'm a New Yorker. I'm passionate. I feel what these people feel and I live and die for this team, every day."

    ...I believe he wants to win, but I fully do not think he is the right manager for this team.

  • I'm sure everyone has seen this... and this....

  • ESPN muses about Glavine possibly going to the Nationals.

    National interest?
    Oct 1 - It remains to be seen if Tom Glavine will play another season. But one person close to Glavine told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that the pitcher's poor performance against Florida on Sunday makes it more likely that he'll pitch again in 2008, because he doesn't want to go out on such a bad note.

    The question is, where? Glavine has a $13 million player option with the Mets, and could decline to exercise it to either retire or become a free agent.

    One potential suitor is the Nationals. Team president Stan Kasten is close to Glavine from their days together in Atlanta. And the Nationals could use a veteran starter to anchor their young staff as the team moves into a new ballpark. Glavine is also likely to require only a one-year commitment, which could make him more appealing to Washington ownership.

    Glavine's former Atlanta teammate, John Smoltz, recently lobbied for him to return to the Braves.

    "He can still pitch,'' Smoltz told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He can still win baseball games. And, this is where he belongs."

    Chances of that happening? Zero. Also, he better not be on the Mets. He did some good things for the Mets, but really, I had enough. And if he thinks going out on that note would be bad, I can say without fear of contradiction, it could end up worse in 2008 with him getting smacked around the entire year for a bottom feeding team.

  • LoDuca wants to come back to Shea in '08 and I say that is fine if he agrees to play in about 60 to 80 games. If he is OK with that and will not make any waves, great. I want some insurance in case Castro cannot hack a full season, but at this point, I want Castro to get a chance to show something.

  • Some people are thinking irrationally when it comes to Andruw. If it is for a one year deal to prove he can play, sure. But for a long term Boras contract? Me thinks that might a Zito-like mistake.

  • Ridiculous item of the day? Buster proposes a Santana trade that includes Bartlett and Santana heading to the Mets and Reyes, Pelfrey, and Gomez to the Twins. While many might not see that as very uneven, it would be tough to give up Reyes and more talent in any deal. At some point you are giving too much for anything to make sense and that is one of those deals. The Mets need pitching, but that is at too much of a cost to pay creating more potential holes.
  • Labels: ,

    Monday, October 01, 2007

    Message From the Mets

    New York Mets Dear Mets Fan:

    All of us at the Mets are bitterly disappointed in failing to achieve our collective goal of building upon last year's success. We did not meet our organization's expectations -- or yours. Everyone at Shea feels the same range of emotions as you -- our loyal fans -- and we know we have let you down. We wanted to thank you for your record-breaking support of our team this year.

    Equally important, Ownership will continue its commitment in providing the resources necessary to field a championship team. Omar will be meeting with Ownership shortly to present his plan on addressing our shortcomings so that we can achieve our goal of winning championships in 2008 and beyond.

    You deserve better results.

    Many thanks again for your record-breaking support.

    What a nice little gift from the Mets. I certainly hope this team entertains getting a new manager in here. Please do not get me wrong. Everyone is on notice and it truly took an organizational effort to do something this colossally bad, but this Met team does not need to overhaul things. They do need to tweak things though. Really, they have a guy at the helm is not respected enough to make one decision in regards to his coaching staff. Is there any other team who has a manager with so little control? To me, that speaks volumes to how much they actually trust and respect the guy.

    Also, the players lackadaisical play down the stretch is a direct reflection of Willie and the way he runs his team. His calming demeanor that everyone loved backfired if you ask me. This team needed someone with fire to get them motivated because they clearly needed help in that department. They needed someone to light a fire under their asses because all we have been hearing about is how lately is this team had taken everything for granted. They need someone like Valentine who knows the X's and O's of the game and had some fire, but someone not quite as grating. Too many people were rubbed the wrong way by him which was his problem.

    On top of that, this team needs someone that is more trusting of young guys like Valentine did who seemingly got the best from young players. The Mets need to get younger and simply cannot get younger with people in this organization that shuns youth. Willie likes his vets that 'know how to play the game'. That is all well and fine, but he can go somewhere else and do that. I would also bet that if he gets fired, we will not see him managing for a long time. If you want to look at wins alone, you can certainly say he was successful. However, if you watch the games, the only thing you can do is speak well about his demeanor because it certainly will not be because of his strategy and I think we can all agree that strategy is a major part of managing.

    I received a lot of complaints for getting on Willie about seemingly innocuous moves. However, the old axiom that every game counts could not be ringing truer. Whether it is wasted starts on Brian Lawrence, too many times going to Mota, inexplicably leaving Burgos in to face Howard earlier in the year, not using Gotay enough off the bench, calling Franco's number one too many times, leaving Green in the starting lineup for way too long, not having a handle on when you starting pitchers are done, putting in Paulie Ballgame to pinch hit with the bases loaded when the Mets direly needed an extra base hit, not using important September games more to explore your organization for pieces that might be able to chip in, etc.....

    He is a good guy, but he is not right for this club. I have been saying that from day one and I am still saying it now. Not everyone can manage a big league ballclub and simply playing for twenty years does not qualify you to do so. The Mets took a flyer on a guy who has never managed before and it honestly has not worked out. You look at this team and the talent and you have to have an overall sense of disappointment. He lost control of this team and does not have a good handle on how to navigate through a game strategy wise. Add that up and the answer is obvious. By no means am I suggesting he is the only problem here, but he is a large part of the equation and one that is rather easily fixed. Yes, they have to eat some salary, but they can more than make up for it with a strong rebound in 2008.