Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Game #134: Mets 3, Marlins 2

Jason Bay beat the throw to Florida's Gaby Sanchez for an infield hit in the Mets' 3-2 victory. (
With a new face in the 3-hole, Terry Collins was looking to provide another punch to the streaky Met offense. Consider that punch thrown.

Lucas Duda's 7th inning hit brought home Jose Reyes and gave the Mets a well-earned, come-from-behind victory, 3-2 over the Marlins.

The Good Stuff:
  • Lucas Duda was installed into the third spot in the batting order for the first time, a combination of Collins wanting to put David Wright in cleanup, and his confidence in Duda's abilities. That move paid off immensely in the 7th inning. With the score tied at 2-2, Jose Reyes led off with a single (his second hit of the game, giving him a still-ungodly number of multi-hit games) and was sac-bunted over by Ruben Tejada. After falling behind 0-2 to new pitcher Michael Dunn, Duda fought back to lace a 3-2 fastball into center, scoring Reyes and giving New York a decisive 3-2 lead.
    • With a .286 average following this game, Duda has one of the highest averages on the team. His OPS is .825 for the year, and most impressively, he's only struck out 42 times in 227 at-bats. A big-time hitter who doesn't strike out? We'll take that any day.
  • New York was down 2-0 early, but fought back with runs in the 4th (Nick Evans' 2-out infield single) and 6th (Jason Bay's 2-out deflection single). Bay finished with a 3-4 day, and David Wright hit two doubles-that-could-have-been-homers-with-lower-walls and scored once.
  • After struggling early, Chris Capuano settled down to finish with just the 2 runs against him in 5 innings. Pedro Beato, Manny Acosta, and Jason Isringhausen held the Fish in check in the 6th-8th innings, and while he got into some trouble in the 9th, Bobby Parnell earned the save thanks to some nice defense from Wright and Tejada.
The Bad Stuff:
  • New York hit just 3-13 with RISP and stranded 9 men on base; just a couple more hits in those situations could have made it a much more comfortable outing.
Final Analysis:
The Mets went only 10-16 in August, but winning 5 of their last 6 and getting back Jose Reyes were good ways to close it out. The 2011 season is now entering the home stretch: September. The Mets will start the month by completing a rare 5-game series with the Marlins, then they'll hit the road for series in Washington and Florida (as if we didn't see enough of them already). With a good showing, they still have a shot at reaching .500 or even finishing a winning ballclub. And that, everything else considered, would be quite an accomplishment for the 2011 New York Mets.


P.S. If any of you were curious as to why Pedro Beato has a Dora the Explorer backpack, this article in The New York Times provides an explanation...apparently it's a thing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Game #133: Marlins 6, Mets 0

Mets starter Mike Pelfrey was good against the Marlins... until the seventh inning. (
After almost 5 games worth of great performances, New York finally ran out of gas.

Mike Pelfrey's night was ruined by an awful 7th and the Mets' offense couldn't get anything going, falling to the Marlins 6-0.

The Bad Stuff:
  • After 6 innings of shutout ball, Mike Pelfrey collapsed in the 7th, allowing 4 of the 5 runs Florida got in that inning (Tim Byrdak let the fifth run in). DJ Carrasco let a sixth run cross in the 9th, not that the Fish needed it.
  • The Mets' bats couldn't get off the ground against Javier Vazquez and company; all 6 of their hits were singles, and only got runners past second base in two innings.
The Good Stuff:
  • Not too much Good Stuff to talk about in this one: I guess David Wright and Josh Thole had 2 hits each, and Jose Reyes had a hit and stole a base.
  • Mike Pelfrey's first 6 innings of work should go here too.
Final Analysis:
The Mets had won 4 in a row, but couldn't get it done tonight in the drive for 5. Every team has games like this, though. As long as they keep playing like they have the past few days, this is no big deal.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Game #132: Mets 5, Marlins 1

Jose Reyes argues in the second game of the Mets' doubleheader Monday when his error at the second base bag allows the Marlins' Jose Lopez to reach safely. (
Terry Collins and his boys had so much fun winning this afternoon, they decided to do it again. And this time, a familiar face got in on the action.

Jose Reyes returned to the lineup to help give Dillon Gee the run support to match his strong outing, handing the Mets a 5-1 win and a doubleheader sweep over the Marlins.

The Good Stuff:
  • Making his first start after re-tweaking that hamstring on August 7, Jose Reyes went 1-4 and scored in the 7th on David Wright's double. He missed a catch for an error in the 6th, but shook off the rust in the next inning to make a nice fielding play. At .336, Jose still leads the NL in batting average, but he faces a challenge from Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, who sits only two points behind at .334. If Reyes wants to become the Mets' first ever batting champion, he'll have to get about one or two hits a night in September (which is, of course, his season average, so it's lookin' good).
  • Reyes's return was just one part of an all-around great night for the boys in blue (we'll talk more about that later).
    • The Mets broke through in the 4th: after Ruben Tejada led off with a triple, David Wright brought him home on a groundball.
    • Florida tied it in the 6th and threatened to spoil Dillon Gee's night, but a rally, once again started by Tejada, put New York back on top to stay. Tejada singled and advanced to third on two groundball outs, and he was brought home by Angel Pagan, back in the 5-hole again thanks to Jose. Two batters later, Pagan scored on Willie Harris's RBI single.
    • The Amazin's made it 4 when Wright's double scored Reyes in the 7th, and Mike Nickeas added the one for the thumb in the 8th with a single that scored Nick Evans.
  • The best part of tonight? 4 of the 5 runs came with 2 outs. Clutch hitting=success.
  • Dillon Gee was the Gee of old, delivering 6 strong innings of 1-run, 6 hit ball, walking 2 and sending down 6 by way of the K. Pedro Beato held strong in the 7th, and Manny Acosta struck out the side in the 8th (for the second time in a day). Bobby Parnell came on in the 9th for a non-save situation and got the job done.
The Bad Stuff:
  • When I heard from Adam Rubin that the team was wearing their blue uniforms, I got really excited. When I saw the team take the field in them? Not so much. I was severely disappointed when I saw the black-on-blue jerseys with black caps. What happened to what they wore on "Los Mets" night? Those blue uniforms: orange-on-black jerseys with classic Met caps, were some of the best I had ever seen. I seriously hope that the team uses those as their new blue uniforms instead of the monstrosity we saw tonight.
Final Analysis:
The Mets had not had much luck in doubleheaders this season, but today was a perfect storm (Irene included) of success. A sweep of the those pesky Marlins, spectacular pitching all-around, the return of our spark plug, and a 4th straight win. With 30 games left in the season, New York still has plenty to play for: Reyes's batting title, a winning record, etc. For September, let's hope we see the Mets of June and July, and we'll see a satisfying ending to the 2011 campaign.


Wheeler Watch: Start #5

Zack Wheeler made his 5th start for the PSL Mets Saturday night against Bradenton, and he was fantastic yet again.

Wheeler tossed 5 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits, walking none, and fanning 3. His ERA is now down to a spectacular-looking 2.16, and while he didn't strike out too many Saturday night, the fact that he isn't walking anyone (5 BBs in 25 innings, part of a stellar 1.12 WHIP) is a wonderful sign. Keep it up, young Mr. Wheeler, and you'll be in Citi Field in a year's time!


Game #131: Mets 2, Marlins 1

With two days of relaxation in wake of Irene, the Mets were well-rested enough to be thinking, "Let's play two!" The first game sure showed it.

R.A. Dickey was masterful and the bottom of the order gave him the offensive support he needed, giving the Mets a 2-1 win in today's first game over the Marlins.

The Good Stuff:
  • Anything Chris Capuano can do, R.A. Dickey can do as well. The grizzled knuckleballer earned his first win in a month with 7 innings of scoreless, 7-hit ball, walking one and striking out 6. Dickey's been pitching well his last few starts, and today's scoreless effort was a culmination of that success, finally highlighted by a W.
  • R.A.'s problem since his last win had been run support, which was little and far apart. Not so much today, however; the bats gave just what they needed. Justin Turner drove in the first run in the 2nd on a single that scored Nick Evans. In the 3rd, Josh Thole grounded into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded, scoring a second New York run.
  • Once Dickey left the game, the bullpen did its best to bring it all home. Jason Isringhausen struck out the side in the 8th, and Bobby Parnell picked up his 2nd save, despite allowing a home run.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Gabby Sanchez's solo dinger off Parnell ruined a second consecutive shutout. But even that wasn't such Bad Stuff when you think about it: Sanchez is typically a Met killer, but that was his only hit of the day. And it didn't even matter because there was no way he could have beaten us with one swing. Parnell may have bent, but he certainly didn't break, and the result is a good day in Flushing.
Final Analysis:
After equaling their worst mark of the season at 8 games under .500, the Amazin's have put together three straight Ws, and just in time for the return of the team's sparkplug. That's right: Jose Reyes makes his return to the lineup in the second game tonight. The team may be out of playoff contention and fighting just to make it back to .500, but Reyes gives Met fans one more thing to root for this season: the franchise's first ever batting title. Stay tuned, everybody.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Game #130: Mets 6, Braves 0

Chris Capuano struck out 13 in throwing a two-hit shutout. The Mets postponed their games for Saturday and Sunday. (
The final two games of this series were postponed due to the impending doom of Hurricane Irene, so tonight's game was going to stick with fans for the entire weekend. Oh boy, what a game to take into that break.

Chris Capuano pitched the game of his life and the New York offense provided accordingly, giving the Mets a memorable 6-0 win over the Braves.

The Good Stuff:
  • Tonight it starts and ends, quite literally, with Chris Capuano. Cap tossed a complete-game 2-hit shutout, striking out a mind-boggling 13 and, even more astounding, walking no one in 122 pitches. Tonight's performance was astounding on multiple levels: Chris rarely goes over 6 innings, let alone the full 9, and his ERA in his last 10 outings was standing at a dreadful 5.73. Needless to say, this one will bring that down a notch or two.
  • Normally when Met pitchers turn in great performances (see most of R.A. Dickey's starts) the bats are nowhere to be found. Not so tonight: if Irene was gonna stop the games for a couple days, Terry's boys were gonna give all they got.
    • The scoring started in the 5th: with 2 on and 2 out, Nick Evans grounded a single into left to score Ruben Tejada, and Josh Thole followed with a blooper to center to plate Lucas Duda. 2-0.
    • In the 7th, similar situation: 2 on, 2 out. Justin Turner, so good earlier in the year at delivering in those situations, reminded us why he was Rookie of the Month in May, lashing a double into left to score both runs. 4-0.
    • The way Cap was tossing, 4 runs was more than enough already. But what's a few more runs gonna hurt any? Angel Pagan doubled to lead off the 8th, and after an out and an intentional walk to David Wright, Lucas Duda crushed a double into the right-center wall (probably a homer anywhere else) to score both and make it 6-0 for the win.
  • But the best part of the night? The starting 9 were the final 9 on the field at the end. It's a perfect, clean box score. I love it.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Well, let's try a hurricane for Bad Stuff. Irene makes landfall with the New York area on Sunday morning, and there's a decent chance there could be flooding in Lower Manhattan. That's why there's no games this weekend. Ouch.
Final Analysis:
I don't think anyone saw this coming, but what an amazing surprise it was. I tip my cap to you, Mr. Capuano. You pitched the game of your life and gave us a win over one of our biggest rivals. Bravo. Now that's something good to take with us into the baseball-free weekend.

Saturday & Sunday's games will be made up as a double-header on September 8. It was the right decision; better safe than sorry. Stay safe, guys.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Game #129: Mets 7, Phillies 4

Nick Evans hit a three-run home run in the first inning. (
If anything, the Mets have been consistent in avoiding being swept by Philly.

Nick Evans had his best game as a pro with 4 RBIs, and Mike Pelfrey was able to keep the Phillies' bats under wrap, giving the Mets a 7-4 series-ending win.

The Good Stuff:
  • This one was over by the end of the 1st (in our favor, for once). Angel Pagan led off with a single, Ruben Tejada reached on an error, and David Wright singled to load the bases. Lucas Duda grounded out to score one and Jason Bay struck out, setting up Nick Evans for a home run of the 3-run variety, his second of the year, to make it 4-0 New York before Pelf could even take the mound.
  • Philadelphia got close with 3 runs in the 2nd, but David Wright gave the Mets some more breathing room in the 3rd with an opposite-field solo jack. He drove in one more the next inning on a sac fly to finish the day 3-4 with 2 RBIs.
  • Nick Evans made it Lucky 7 the next frame: after Bay walked, Evans laced a double into the right-center gap to plate another. Evans finished the day 3-4 with 4 RBIs, easily his best game as a pro. Very quietly, he's managed to get his average up to a respectable .265. Evans's development is good for multiple reasons: first, it gives the Mets another semi-regular to put out there for the rest of the year (possibly beyond), and gives Lucas Duda a chance to better learn right field.
  • Aside from a rocky 2nd, Mike Pelfrey was solid as a rock on the mound, going keeping the Phillies to just those 3 runs in 6 innings of work.
  • Bobby Parnell picked up his first save, walking 2 in the 9th but striking out both Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence consecutively, no small feat.
The Bad Stuff:
Final Analysis:
Finally, a win. It feels good. Let it sink in. Let it wipe your mind of the recent struggles, at least for the rest of the day. Today, at least, the Mets were winners. And it feels good.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Game #128: Phillies 9, Mets 4

It wasn't as bad as yesterday's line, but it was more of the same for the Mets in Philly.

Jon Niese got shelled in his 4 innings and New York couldn't solve the puzzle that is Vance Worley; when the Mets finally found their offense, it was too late, and they fell again to the Phillies, 9-4.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Same as yesterday, different names.
The Good Stuff:
  • Same as yesterday, same name: Lucas Duda, who provided half the Mets' offense with a 2-run homer in the 8th.
  • Hitting in the 2-hole for the first time in a while, Ruben Tejada went 1-4. Nick Evans also had 2 hits and 2 runs.
Final Analysis:
Ladies and gentlemen, it's official: at 60-68, the Mets have wiped out all the progress they had made since that horrendous 5-13 start. Eight games under again. And what a shame it is, because they had been doing so well to exceed expectations since April. But a stretch even worse than that start (5-17) has reduced a solid and memorable season into the rubble of last year. It's just sad what has happened this month, and now it will be an uphill battle to even finish .500. I just hope the guys can find it in them to aim for that as a goal.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Game #127: Phillies 10, Mets 0

When a team gets on a long losing stretch, it usually helps to go to a health spa; what I mean by that is face another struggling team, solve your problems against them, and get back on track. The New York Mets do not get to go to the league's health spa to solve their problems. Instead, they are forced into the league's iron maiden.

Dillon Gee struggled with his control and the Mets could not solve the mystery of Cliff Lee, falling to the Phillies 10-0.

The Bad Stuff:
  • We lost 10-0. Saying anything else would just be a waste of infinite Internet space.
The Good Stuff:
  • Of the 5 hits New York got in the whole game (3 off Lee, 2 off David Herndon), Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada combined for 4. Since being called up again in June, Duda's been hitting over .300 with an OPS of about .900. In his past 12 games, Tejada's hitting over .400 with an OPS of over 1.000. The team may be on the downslide, but these two young guys are on the way up.
Final Analysis:
Oy, when it rains, it pours. I mean really pours. Hollywood rain after a volcano pours. Ted & Robin getting together at the end of Season 1 pours. (Sorry, shorted into How I Met Your Mother mode for a second. And now, back to baseball.)

In less than a month, the Mets have gone from 4 games over .500 to 7 games under. One more loss and it's like 5-13 all over again. The worst part? The downpour ain't lettin' up time soon: two more against the Phillies, three against the Braves over the weekend, and four games in three days against the Marlins, who always seem to beat us at home.

Someone call up Noah; we're in the market for an ark.


Wheeler Watch: Start #4

While the major league Mets' season is all but over, down in Port St. Lucie, the Class A Mets have an ace in the making. Zack Wheeler started his fourth game in the Mets organization, and it was a doozy.

The other end of the Carlos Beltran deal pitched 5 innings of 1-run, 4 hit ball, walking 2 and striking out 9 in PSL's 3-1 loss to Bradenton.

Wheeler's ERA stands at a very good 2.70, and he has 23 strikeouts in 20 innings of work. His WHIP is a solid 1.25.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Game #126: Brewers 6, Mets 2

Starting pitcher R.A. Dickey gives up two runs on six hits over seven innings against the Brewers at Citi Field Sunday afternoon. (
It was less extreme than yesterday, but today's game followed the same basic blueprint: fall behind, rally, lose it all the next inning.

Milwaukee got 4 runs in the final 2 innings off the New York bullpen and the Mets fell to the Brewers 6-2, completing an embarrasing 3-game sweep.

The Bad Stuff:
  • After tying the game at 2-2 in the 7th, thing seemed to be looking up for the team. Then, disaster: the ineffectiveness that so hobbled Jason Isringhausen yesterday infected the rest of the bullpen. Manny Acosta gave up a walk and a single to start the 8th and was pulled for Tim Byrdak. A run came in on a throwing error by Justin Turner, and suddenly it went from 2-2 to 3-2 Brew Crew. In came Jason Isringhausen, who got the next two guys out, but then gave up an RBI single to Jerry Hairston to make it 4-2.
  • Troubles continued in the 9th: Izzy gave up a leadoff single and was lifted in favor of Pedro Beato. He didn't fare much better, giving up a single and letting Izzy's runner come in on a sac bunt. Ryan Braun put the exclamation point on the collapse with an RBI double, bringing the final tally to 6-2.
  • The Met offense, so quiet for most of the game, returned to its muted status for the last 2 frames. Francisco Rodriguez, looking infinitely better than he did yesterday, shut New York down 1-2-3 in the 8th, and LaTroy Hawkins matched him in the 9th.
The Good Stuff:
  • As is almost always the case whenever he starts, R.A. Dickey would have benefited immensely from basic run support. The old knuckleballer tossed 7 innings of 2 run, 6 hit ball, walking none and fanning 4. In his past 10 starts Dickey has an ERA of 3.64, pretty good numbers. But he's 1-4 in those 10 starts because the Mets simply cannot score for him. If he was on any other team, his record would probably be closer to 11-5 than 5-11, where it stands now.
  • Lucas Duda gave fans a lone thrill in the 7th, bringing the Apple out of the hat with a game-tying 2-run homer, his 6th of the season. There isn't much left to watch closely this year, but Duda's development is worth noting. He's got the tools to be a staple in the lineup for a long time, whether he's in right and Ike Davis is on first, or vise-versa.
Final Analysis:
The nightmare continues. In addition to being swept by one of the hottest teams in baseball, the Mets drop to 60-66, 5-13 in August, and 5-15 since being 4 games over .500 on July 29th. This truly awful stretch has decimated the progress made since starting 5-13, and now the team stands barely over .500 since that putrid start. There's only so much Terry Collins can do to motivate his team, and I don't know how he's going to do it for the final 36 games of 2011, because, most unfortunately, it appears the negative expectations of March have finally caught up to these New York Mets.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Game #125: Brewers 11, Mets 9

In the span of about 10 minutes, Met fans went from experiencing the highest high to the lowest low. In the end, all that was left was disappointment and exhaustion.

After completing a 6-run comeback and going up 9-7, Jason Isringhausen did his best (worst?) K-Rod impression, allowing 4 runs in the 9th and handing the Mets perhaps their most disheartening loss of the season, 11-9 to the Brewers.

The Bad Stuff:
  • It doesn't get much worse than this: Jason Isringhausen was given a 2-run lead and looking to put the stamp on an improbable Mets victory. By the time he left four batters later, the bases were loaded, none out, and a run in, thanks to Izzy's 3 walks and a base hit. Manny Acosta was called upon to do the near-impossible: retire Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder without surrendering a run. He came close, but Fielder's single tied the game and Casey McGehee's gave Milwakuee the 11-9 lead, a lead which Brewers closer John Axford would protect in the 9th. The worst part of it all? Francisco Rodriguez, who spotted New York their lead in the 8th, walks away from Citi Field with the win.
  • Chris Capuano was even more sub-par than usual in this one, putting the Mets in that 7-run hole in the first place (5 were earned by him). I'll bet this hasn't happened often: at one point Milwaukee's scoreline read 7 runs and 3 hits; the three hits were home runs (Braun, Fielder, Yuniesky Betancourt), all of the multi-run variety because of walks or errors.
The Good Stuff:
  • New York scored a run in the 1st on a Jason Bay RBI single, but were quiet for the next couple hours. Then in the 7th, a fire broke out somewhere in Citi Field. A blaze that seemed to give the Mets' bats new life. Because in that 7th inning, the Amazin's would score 5 runs and cut the deficit to 7-6. Ronny Paulino and Nick Evans singled to lead off, and Ruben Tejada brought one home on an RBI double. Willie Harris's sac fly brought home Evans to make it 7-3. Angel Pagan singled and Justin Turner walked. David Wright grounded into a fielder's choice that brought another home, then a pinch-hitting Lucas Duda hammered a double to left field to score two. 7-6.
  • Then in the 8th, the moment many Met fans had been waiting for: the return of Francisco Rodriguez/, now Milwaukee's set-up man. It was a chance at redemption against New York's inconsistent former closer. This is where that highest of highs comes in, because the Mets' bats gave them that chance at redemption. After K-Rod got the first two men out, Tejada walked. Josh Thole came on to pinch hit and laced a double off Jerry Hairston's glove in center, scoring Ruben and tying the game. Up came Angel Pagan, looking for a big hit. He got it: a monstrous 2-run homer to the Pepsi Porch that sent Citi Field (and Twitter) into a frenzy. The Mets had done it. They'd come back from 6 runs down, and K-Rod was the one who served up the final blow. Now only three outs from an amazing victory...or so we thought.
Final Analysis:
A lot of people are going to be sick tonight. Sick from how the Mets fell behind big, somehow climbed back, and still let it get away in spectacularly awful fashion. Sick from how the ghost of K-Rod still haunts the bullpen (again, he gets the freakin' W). Possibly sick from the smoke of the Citi fire. And most definitely sick from how the 2011 season has gone down in a spectacular crash in the last two weeks. The only question that remains is when and if this nightmare of a stretch will end.


Naming Rights for Sale

This is unrelated to baseball, but it is a sad New York sports story indeed: New Meadowlands Stadium, home of the NFL's Giants and Jets, will be renamed MetLife Stadium for the coming football season.

I know the money's big, but it's unfortunate that every team feels the need to sell stadium naming rights to corporations. This happens across all sports, of course, and it ruins the ambiance of the facility. Just before it was torn down, Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium was renamed "Cinergy Field." Jacobs Field in Cleveland is now "Progressive Field." San Fransisco's Candlestick Park, while now back to its traditional name, was at points called "3Com Park" and "Monster Park," and the Giants' new gem of a park has gone through three names (Pacific Bell, SBC, AT&T) in its first 11 years. And don't even get me started on those places the Marlins and A's play.

They may have the assistance of Satan, but at the very least that team from the Bronx kept the name "Yankee Stadium" on their new ballpark. Washington also has a non-sellout name: Nationals Park. In Texas, they had a traditional name (The Ballpark in Arlington), went the corporate route (Ameriquest Field at Arlington), and eventually came around full circle with Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Now isn't that a much nicer name?

Not all corporate names have to sound bad, however. Some can actually sound good. Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati is one that comes to mind, as is Busch Stadium in St. Louis and Miller Park in Milwaukee. Those parks' names can be said out loud and it isn't immediately clear that a corporation owns the naming rights.

The Mets, while guilty of not christening it "New Shea," lucked out, in a way. While our ballpark is named for banking titan Citigroup, at least "Citi Field" sounds like it could be non-corporate. Just be thankful we didn't suffer the fate of Minute Maid Park in Houston or Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay. Note to all owners: juice companies do not make good stadium names. Let's just hope and pray in our lifetimes we'll never have to visit Apple and Eve Stadium.


Game #124: Brewers 6, Mets 1

Milwaukee's Prince Fielder tags out Mets catcher Josh Thole in the Brewers' 6-1 victory. (
The rain gave its best effort to keep this game from being played, but all it did was delay the inevitable for 2 hours and 46 minutes.

The Brewers broke it open with 5 runs in the span of 2 innings and Shaun Marcum kept New York from doing anything at the plate, as the Mets fell to the red-hot Brewers, 6-1.

The Bad Stuff:
  • There were bad omens as early as the 1st inning. After getting the first two outs, David Wright committed a fielding error, allowing Ryan Braun to get to first and eventually second after a steal. Prince Fielder then followed with an RBI single to make it 1-0.
  • Nothing much happened until the 5th inning, when I'll bet Mike Pelfrey wished he could have slid down into the muddy mound and disappeared from the world. A double, a sac bunt, walk, another Fielder single (giving him 92 RBIs for the year), a single, and a double put 3 more Milwaukee runs on the board and, considering the scoring-challenged Met offense, pretty much put the game away.
  • DJ Carrasco didn't do much better in the 6th, letting 2 more runs cross the plate after a double, intentional walk, single, and wild pitch.
  • The New York bats were no match for Shaun Marcum, who gave up a lone run on 6 hits in 7 innings. Kameron Loe and Frankie de la Cruz came in to slam the door in the 8th and 9th, giving the Mets their 13th loss in 18 games (hmm, 5-13...sound familiar?).
The Good Stuff:
  • Angel Pagan did his best to get the plane off the ground, going 3-4 with 2 doubles. Ruben Tejada had 2 hits as well and Josh Thole drove in the team's only run in the 7th.
  • Tim Byrdak and Ryota Igarashi kept things from getting way ugly, keeping the Brew Crew off the board in the 7th and 8th.
Final Analysis:
When an unstoppable force meets a very movable object, you get what you saw tonight at Citi Field. The Milwaukee Brewers continue their buzzsaw of a run to the playoffs, now winners of 20 of their last 23, while the Mets continue their downward spiral to oblivion. The question for both teams remains when will they hit their respective hard, flat surfaces: in the Brewers' case that would be the ceiling; for the Mets, it's the cold hard floor. For the sake of these 25 guys fighting for next year, one hopes the floor isn't too much further down.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Game #123: Mets 7, Padres 3

David Wright, center, was congratulated by his teammates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning. The homer was Wright's 10th of the season. (
Until this "afternoon" in San Diego, the last time a Met starter allowed fewer than two runs was July 5. Dillon Gee decided the team was overdue for a lights-out start.

Gee breezed through 6 2/3 innings of work and David Wright provided spark with his bat and his glove, giving the Mets the game and the series over the Padres, 7-3. It's the Mets' first ever series win at San Diego's PETCO Park.

The Good Stuff:
  • Dillon Gee reminded everyone why he was an early rookie of the year candidate, back when he started 8-0, allowing 1 run on 5 hits in his 6 2/3 innings of work, walking 4 and striking out 5. It's been a long time since we saw that Gee, but a welcome sight it certainly is. He also started a Gem-worthy double play in the 3rd, reaching behind his back to stab a hard grounder and toss over to second.
  • David Wright, aware of the team's offensive shortcomings last night, tripled that scoreline with one swing in the 3rd, smashing a 2-2 fastball out of PETCO's spacious confines for his 10th home run of the season. Then in the bottom of the 4th, David did his best David Blaine to save a run: with 2 down and Cameron Maybin on second, Wright made a diving stop on a Logan Forsythe groundball and faked the long throw to first, causing Maybin to overrun third, making him a lame duck for David's inning-ending tag.
  • Also making a big contribution was Angel Pagan, who went 2-5 with a run and drove in 3 runs late. Willie Harris had a good night at the plate too, going 2-4 with a walk, run and RBI.
  • Gee got into some trouble in the 7th and was lifted for Tim Byrdak. After issuing a walk to load the bases, Byrdak was relieved in favor of Manny Acosta, who blew a 96 mph fastball by Jason Bartlett for a clutch K to end the inning. Bobby Parnell followed with a 1-2-3 8th.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Ryota Igarashi's tough outing in the 9th spoiled an otherwise great afternoon: Iggy allowed 2 earned runs, raising his ERA to an ugly 5.26.
Final Analysis:
The Mets did exactly what they were supposed to: winning a series against the last-place Padres. A sweep would have been nice, but you never assume the sweep. It's a road series win. No complaints.

The win gives the team some much, much-needed momentum; after tomorrow's day off, the next week and a half is as tough a stretch as you'll find all season: 3 games hosting the red-hot Brewers, 3 in Philly, 3 at home against the Braves. Buckle up, Mets fans.


P.S. Can it be? Actual good news?? Why, yes! Jose Reyes may be ready to come off the 15-day DL on August 23rd, the day he's eligible to return and sooner than previously expected.

Game #122: Padres 6, Mets 1

Look, I know you want to forget that game as soon as possible, so I'm gonna make this post as short and painless as I can.

The Padres got lots of hits and runs, the Mets didn't. End result? Mets lose, 6-1.

The Bad Stuff:
  • See Padre runs 1-6, hits 1-15, in innings 1-9.
  • See Met run, hits 1-4, in those same innings 1-9.
The Good Stuff:
  • one got injured today, right?
Final Analysis:
Maybe it's best to close our eyes and pretend this game never happened. See you tomorrow, Met-a-verse.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Game #121: Mets 5, Padres 4 (10)

Jason Isringhausen pumps his fist after recording his 300th career save in the Mets' 5-4 extra-innings victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday night. (
On a busy night for baseball history, Jason Isringhausen got himself piece.

On the night when Jim Thome hit his 600th career home run and the Milwaukee Brewers turned a triple play, Izzy earned himself his 300th career save, shutting down the Padres in the 10th inning and giving the Mets a much-needed 5-4 victory.

The Good Stuff:
  • After taking the lead in the top of the 10th on Scott Hairston's run-scoring fielder's choice, Isringhausen came on the mound stuck on 299. After striking out the first man he faced, he walked one and allowed a single. In steps Ruben Tejada, who made two pretty nice plays at short to get the last two outs and putting Izzy in elite company as the 23rd member of the 300 Save Club. After making the cut in basically a tryout this March, I'll be few expected Jason to reach 300 saves this year. The safer bet was that Francisco Rodriguez would get there first. But in a strange twist of fate, it was Izzy the Met closer getting it faster than K-Rod, now the Brew Crew's set-up man (and still stuck at 291, closest to the mark after Izzy). Congrats, Izzy! The capstone of a great career.
  • On to the other side of the plate. Lucas Duda led off the 2nd with a solo home run off Aaron Harang (he finished 3-4). Then after Jason Pridie walked, Josh Thole surprised many with a longball of his own, capping a 3-run 2nd.
  • Thole added another run in the 4th with an RBI single to make it 4-1. He finished the day a spotless 3-3 with 2 walks.
  • R.A. Dickey was in line for the win after 6 1/3 innings of 3 run, 7 hit ball, walking 1 and striking out 4.
The Bad Stuff:
  • The reason for Dickey being "in line" for the win instead of "winning?" Bobby Parnell. The young fireballer's struggles continued, as he allowed the tying run in the 8th inning after a walk, a stolen base, and a single. His ERA has risen to 4.31 and he's 0-2 with a 6.75 spot in his past 10 outings.
  • Jason Bay appears to be on another downswing, going 0-4 and striking out once. Let's hope this one doesn't last too long and he's back on a hot streak soon.
Final Analysis:
Oh, we needed this one. That cannot be understated. It snaps a 5-game losing streak, it gives one Met a special milestone, and it gives the team the upper hand on winning their first series at San Diego's PETCO Park. But most importantly, and most basically, it's a W. And a W is always better than an L.


P.S. New York avoids last-minute drama in signing their top draft pick, signing 18-year-old Wyoming native Brandon Nimmo to a $2.1 million contract. Yes, he may not have had a high school team to play on, but he did play on an American Legion team. I served as P.A. announcer for my local Legion team this past year, and the competition is much better than you'd find in high school: the best high school players from around an area playing mostly 9 inning games. Nimmo may be considered a risk, but he has tremendous upside. Plus, we've now created Mets fans in the entire state of Wyoming. Take that, Yankees! How many Wyoming fans do you have?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Game #120: D'backs 5, Mets 3

Phoenix, Arizona lies in the middle of the desert. Things dry up in the desert. Like the Mets' offense.

New York managed one hit in the final three innings and couldn't overcome the bats of the Diamondbacks, who beat the Mets and swept the series, 5-3.

The Bad Stuff:
  • The Mets had the lead in the middle of the 5th inning, but Chris Capuano couldn't hold the lead, giving it back over the 5th and 6th. He finished the day in typical Cap style: 4 runs in 6 innings.
  • Ryota Igarashi gave Arizona another run in the 8th via a hit batsman, a walk, a single, and another walk.
  • After a leadoff double in the 7th, the Amazin's would get one more baserunner the whole game. Even when they got chances, they couldn't convert, hitting 1-8 with RISP and stranding 8.
The Good Stuff:
  • That's not to say everyone had a lousy day. Lucas Duda hammered his fourth home run of the season and added the goahead run on a single in the 5th.
  • Angel Pagan went 3-5 with a run and Justin Turner laced the game-tying RBI double in the 5th.
Final Analysis:
Chase Field has been a house of horrors for the orange and blue. The last time the Mets visited it was in the middle of their crippling 2-9 post-All-Star Game road trip. This time, they leave town after being swept in a 3-game series for the first time since April. With this loss, their fifth in a row, New York falls to four games under .500. And with Jose Reyes still far away from a return, it appears the Dog Days of August are just beginning.

Terry's boys head across the (western) boarder into San Diego. Discovered by the Germans in 1904...well, you know the rest. Even with all their injuries, the Mets are still not a last-place team, and the Padres are. But on the other hand, they couldn't manage a series win against this last place team half a week ago. I guess that's why they play the game.


Wheeler Watch: Start #3

Zack Wheeler picked up the L for Class A Port St. Lucie last night, but much like Met pitchers in Flushing, he certainly didn't deserve it. Wheeler gave up 1 run on 5 hits in 5 innings of work, walking 3 and striking out 3. Much improved from his first start, his last two outings have dropped his ERA down to an even 3.00. His WHIP stands at 1.267 and he's had 14 strikeouts in 15 innings since coming over from the Giants organization.


Game #119: D'backs 6, Mets 4

Explanation for today's late publication? Try a massive thunderstorm that hit Indiana last night that stranded me in a place without Internet (yes, they still have those places). I had to stay the night just outside Muncie and got back home this morning. Fortunately for my blog, I kept track of the game on my phone. Unfortunately, well, read on.

Mike Pelfrey was knocked out of the game by a ball to the elbow and the bullpen couldn't hold the lead, as the Mets fell to the Diamondbacks 6-4.

The Bad Stuff:
  • More injuries? You gotta be kidding. After pitching 4 not-spectacular-but-solid innings, Mike Pelfrey left in the 5th after a Gerardo Parra line drive struck his right elbow. DJ Carrasco was brought in with a 4-2 lead, but put a second runner on with a hit-by-pitch, then gave up a 3-run homer to Ryan Roberts, which put Arizona in the lead for good.
  • Pedro Beato gave up one more run in the 6th, not that D'backs' pitcher Daniel Hudson would need it. Hudson gave up 4 runs on 6 hits in his first 4 innings, then 2 hits total his last 4. The Mets' last hit came in the 6th inning; they would get one more baserunner the rest of the night.
  • New York's 2-5 hitters (Willie Harris, David Wright, Lucas Duda, Jason Bay) combined to do the least, going 0-14 collectively.
The Good Stuff:
  • Things looked good through the 4th inning.
    • After falling behind 2-0 in the 1st, the Mets struck back in the 2nd: Ruben Tejada's 2-out, 2-run double tied the game at 2 (that's a lot of 2s).
    • In the 4th, Ronny Paulino doubled, then was brought home by young Mike Baxter, who hit his first career triple and gave the Mets the lead. He was brought home two batters later by none other than Mike Pelfrey, who helped his own cause with an RBI single.
  • Baxter finished his first career road start 2-4 with 2 runs and the RBI triple.
  • Bobby Parnell looked much better than he had been, pitching a perfect 8th and striking out one.
Final Analysis:
Four losses in a row. Reality may finally be setting in for this beaten and battered ball club. Is this when they bottom out? After everything that's gone right this year, I sure hope not.


P.S. My heart goes out to the victims of the tragedy at the Indiana State Fair. I've been to that stage before and never would have believed it could have been toppled like that. Just unbelievable, just too tragic.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Game #118: D'backs 4, Mets 3

New York Mets' Dillon Gee gets a new ball after giving up a home run to Justin Upton. (
I didn't watch last night's game. It was a long day, the Mets were already down 4-0, so I went to bed and decided to write in the morning. I expected to wake up to a bad result...imagine my disappointment: I was right.

Dillon Gee was hammered early and the Mets' offense provided too little too late in a 4-3 loss to the division-leading Diamondbacks.

The Bad Stuff:
  • This one was lost in the 2nd inning. Dillon Gee allowed 4 runs in the first 2 frames, including 3 straight doubles in the 2nd that plated 3 D'backs. He got it under control and allowed no more in his final 3 innings, but the damage was done.
  • New York managed one more hit than Arizona (8-7), but couldn't convert when the had the chances, stranding 9 and hitting 1-10 with RISP. They had the bases loaded with one out in the 4th, but back-to-back Ks by Ruben Tejada and Gee at the hands of 15-game winner Ian Kennedy killed that rally.
The Good Stuff:
  • The Met bullpen kept the game from getting out of reach: Ryota Igarashi, Tim Byrdak, and Manny Acosta combined for 3 innings of 2-hit ball in relief.
  • Jason Bay had a really good offensive day, going 3-4 with a double, a run, and an RBI. His recent hot streak has brought his batting average up to .254.
  • Angel Pagan was reinstalled in the leadoff spot after missing the finale of the San Diego series and did just what a leadoff man should: he went 2-5 and scored a run.
Final Analysis:
In the middle of their late April six-game winning streak, the Mets swept the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks. Clearly, the tables have turned: the D'backs are not the last place team they were 3 months ago, now in first place in the NL West, just edging the Carlos Beltran-infused San Fransisco Giants. Arizona is full strength and playing for October, while the Mets...well, I don't need to tell you about that situation. All I can say is that this could turn out to be a long, long weekend for the team and NY-faithful.


Ike Davis Update
Ike Davis, still dealing with that leg injury from Colorado in May, will decide on microfracture surgery by Labor Day. The procedure would put him on the shelf for 5 months, so the beginning of next year would even be in doubt. If you had told me in May that 3 months later we still wouldn't know the extent of Ike's injury from a silly collision, Slapsgiving would have come early this year. Then I would have sighed and thought, "Well, this is the Mets we're talking about."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Game #117: Padres 3, Mets 2

This time, it was the other guys' turn to come from behind.

San Diego scored runs in the 6th, 7th, and 8th, and the Mets couldn't find a way to respond, falling to the Padres in the series finale 3-2.

The Bad Stuff:
  • After picking up 15 hits last night, New York could only manage 3 this afternoon, and none after the 5th inning. They still had a fair share of baserunners, but could only convert once out of 10 tries with men in scoring position and stranded 9.
  • When you only get 3 base knocks, it's hard to single out one hitter as particularly bad. But we're gonna try: Scott Hairston went 0-4 in the lead off spot. With Angel Pagan on the bench with a bad back today, who else was gonna hit there anyway? The only name that comes to mind is Willie Harris, but he hasn't performed well there this year, so why not put Hairston there? Hopefully Pagan is well by tomorrow so Terry Collins won't have to manage this kind of rocket science again.
The Good Stuff:
  • Jon Niese picked up the hard-luck loss, lasting 7 2/3 innings and allowing just 3 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits, walking 2 and fanning 7.
  • Lucas Duda had the biggest hit of the afternoon, a 2-run double in the 4th that scored the only two runs New York would score.
  • David Wright went 1-3 with a walk and a run; with a single in the 5th, he became the franchise's all-time leader in total bases, surpassing fan favorite Ed Kranepool's old record of 2047. We're guessing David will get just a few more in his time in Flushing.
Final Analysis:
Not the way we wanted to finish the series. After two brilliant comeback victories on Monday and Tuesday, the Mets lose two they could have won against the last-place Padres. I suppose it's not all that expected, considering all the missing pieces, but you think they could have won a home series against San Diego with anyone out there.

The Mets' home cooking this year continues to taste of bad fish (don't ask): after this 3-6 homestand, the team falls to a lousy 25-32 in their supposed "friendly confines." With a 33-27 record on the road, you'd have to think these guys would still be in contention with a decent home record.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Game #116: Padres 9, Mets 5

Add Angel Pagan to the list of ailing Mets after the centerfielder leaves Wednesday's 9-5 loss to the Padres at Citi Field early with lower back spasms. (
They made it interesting, but lightning would not strike a third time for the Amazin's.

The Mets got plenty of hits but not many runs and poor pitching from R.A. Dickey and Bobby Parnell led to their 9-5 demise against the Padres.

The Bad Stuff:
  • R.A. Dickey, so often at the short end after great efforts, picked up a loss that even good run support wouldn't protect: he gave up 5 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits in 6 innings.
  • Bobby Parnell wasn't much better in his 9th inning: he gave up 3 runs on 4 hits, shooting his ERA up to 4.38.
  • New York managed 15 hits but could only plate 5 runs, hitting a solid-but-not-spectacular 6-19 with RISP and stranding 13 runners, including leaving the bases loaded in the 2nd and 9th. The Mets' 2-5 hitters (Justin Turner, David Wright, Lucas Duda, Jason Bay) combined to hit 2-18.
  • And as if the Mets needed any more injuries, Angel Pagan left after the 4th inning with lower back spasms.
The Good Stuff:
  • The lower half of the lineup, though? Quite solid. Mike Baxter hit 1-3 and walked twice in his first career start. Josh Thole was brilliant, hitting 4-5 with a double and 2 runs. Ruben Tejada went 3-5 with a run scored and had Web Gem at short in the 6th.
Final Analysis:
Well, can't win them all from behind. It was too little too late for the Mets tonight, as they came close, but left with no cigar.

Tomorrow afternoon the Amazin's look for the series win, then hit the road to face the much-better-than-last-time Arizona Diamondbacks.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Game #115: Mets 5, Padres 4

The Mets' Ruben Tejada celebrates driving in the winning run by drawing a walk. (
For the second night in a row, these Quadruple-A Mets showed the resolve of champions and came back for the win.

Down 4-2, Terry's boys scored 3 runs in the 8th, and Jason Isringhausen slammed the door on the Padres to give the Mets the 5-4 win.

The Good Stuff:
  • New York fell behind 2-0 in the 4th, but in the bottom half Lucas Duda and Jason Bay led off with two singles. Scott Hairston, getting the start against the lefty Wade LeBlanc, blasted a long shot to left center that would have been a home run in every other park in America. But the "Great Wall of Flushing," as Gary Cohen calls it, kept it in for an RBI double. Ronny Paulino's sac fly then made it a 2-2 tie.
  • Chris Capuano gave the lead right back in the 5th, and San Diego seemed to be on the way to victory. But Angel Pagan wasn't about to let this one slip away. Pagan led off the 8th with his second solo home run in as many days to make it 4-3. Justin Turner and David Wright followed with back-to-back singles, bringing up Lucas Duda. Duda surprised pitcher Josh Spence, the Padre defense, and everybody remaining in Citi Field, and laid down his first career sac bunt. That's right: the Mets cleanup hitter, the hero of last night's comeback win, bunted runners into scoring position. And it was awesome. After Jason Bay was intentionally walked, Nick Evans lifted one into deep center to tie the game. Paulino drew a walk himself, bringing up Ruben Tejada. Fighting back from a 1-2 count, Tejada drew himself the game-winning walk.
  • Jason Isringhausen then went after his 299th career save, and did it in marvelous fashion: 1-2-3 style. Game over, Mets win again.
  • Manny Acosta and DJ Carrasco combined for 2 additional relief innings, with Carrasco getting out of a jam and picking up his first win of the year.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Chris Capuano had another rough outing, allowing 4 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings.
Final Analysis:
How about these guys? Two games since losing their top two hitters, two late comeback wins. These two games are a testament to the job Terry Collins has done all year. With most other managers, certainly Jerry Manuel from last year, this team would not have a winning record. Take that to the bank. But Collins has his boys fighting in every inning, no matter the circumstances on the field or off. How many other fans can say their team does that? And how many other fans of .500 teams with no playoff chances would keep coming back for more? At least one. And it starts with Terry Collins.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Game #114: Mets 9, Padres 8

Mets players mob Lucas Duda after he hit a walk-off RBI in the ninth inning. (
One day after much of the universe, myself included, marked the end of their season, the Mets gave their fans their biggest thrill of the season.

Lucas Duda's walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th capped a 4-run comeback and the Mets snatched victory from the cliched jaws of defeat, overcoming the Padres 9-8.

The Good Stuff:
  • Let's start in the 8th. New York was down 8-4, and things looked grim. A strikeout, single, and walk later, enter Mike Baxter, called up yesterday after injuries to Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy. On the first pitch he saw in his team debut (against his former team, no less), Queens native Baxter ripped an RBI double to left. Ronny Paulino then brought home another on a sac fly to make it 8-6.
  • So the deficit was halved, but the Mets still had to face one of the top closers in the game: Heath Bell. The Amazin's weren't about to go down quietly, though. Jason Pridie led off with a single, then after Angel Pagan struck out, Justin Turner hit a single. Up came David Wright, not known for his clutch hitting. Image changed: Wright lashed a single up the middle to score Pridie and make it 8-7. Lucas Duda then came up to bat. A rattled Bell then threw a wild pitch, allowing both runners to advance into scoring position. Duda, auditioning for the role of "cleanup," made the most of his chance, grounding a single into right center, scoring both, and setting off a wild celebration for those who remained at Citi Field (not to mention Willie Harris and his whipped cream pie to the face).
  • This game had it all. Believe it or not, there was even a power surge in the early innings. Angel Pagan led off the game with a home run, then Jason Bay led off the 2nd with his 200th career longball. Justin Turner singled in the 3rd, then David Wright blasted one of his own into the stands, giving the Mets 4 runs, all of which they would need.
The Bad Stuff:
  • (Think Church Lady when you read this) Gee, I wonder...what could have let the Padres back into the game and given up a 4-spot in the top of the 8th? Oh, I *just* don't know, could it be...*pitching*??? Why yes: pitching. Mike Pelfrey allowed 4 of those runs, and Pedro Beato & Ryota Igarashi allowed the other 4 in the 8th to one of the worst offensive teams in the league.

Final Analysis:
In his address to the Dartmouth Class of 2011 this spring, Conan O'Brien said that "few things are more liberating than having your worst fears realized." Yesterday, the New York Mets had their worst fears realized: they lost their two leading hitters, their game, their series, and their playoff chances. And yet, the season was not over: Terry Collins and his team still had 49 games left to play in 2011. They couldn't just curl up in a corner and die. They needed to play on. So, with nothing left to lose, the Mets played on. And tonight, they won. Thrillingly.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Game #113: Braves 6, Mets 5

Daniel Murphy requires some attention after colliding with Jose Constanza in the seventh inning. (
Of course: the game, the series, possibly the season, would come down to that guy.

Chipper Jones once again affirmed his stance as the ultimate Met killer, delivering the game-winning run in the top of the 9th and dealing the Mets the game and series loss, 6-5.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Before we even get to the man who I'm convinced hides devil horns below that cap, there is a more pressing matter at hand. Jose Reyes left the game in the 2nd inning with what's being described as a "stiff left hamstring." This was the same hamstring that gave him trouble in July, that forced him on the DL for a couple weeks. On paper, it doesn't sound too bad, a "stiff left hamstring." But Ike Davis' injury didn't seem bad on paper either. Or David Wright's. Or Reyes' first hamstring problem. Shall we leave it at that?
  • Now back to our regularly scheduled loss. And once again, it was same-ol', same-ol' when Atlanta comes to town: New York gets buried by a man named Larry. Jones entered the game in the 7th, and got the last laugh in the 9th, grounding a single to right off Bobby Parnell that scored Alex Gonzales.
  • As unlikely as it seems, we may have witnessed the birth of a new Met killer this weekend: one Jose Constanza. George's brother? Not quite, Kramer. Cousin? Shut up. A career minor leaguer, 27-year-old Constanza was called up in late July. In this 3-game series, Constanza went 5-11, scored thrice, drove in a run every game, and this afternoon hit his first career home run off Dillon Gee.
    • Oh, and get this: Constanza may have actually killed a Met: he slid hard into Daniel Murphy at second in the 7th, and Murph went down with injury.
  • Speaking of Gee, his numbers were far from crisp this afternoon: 5 innings, 6 hits, 5 runs, including 3 home runs.
The Good Stuff:
  • Willie Harris unexpectedly did a fine job in Reyes' spot in the order, going 2-3 with a pair of RBI singles. Jason Bay also had a fine offensive day, reaching base 5 times (3-3, 2 walks) and crossing the plate 3 times.
  • Nick Evans made his presence felt at the plate as well: despite making the final out (grounder to that Larry person), he went 2-5, scored a pair of runs, and became the 142nd third baseman in Mets history (you can count them all here).
  • The bullpen was solid until the 9th: DJ Carrasco, Manny Acosta, Tim Byrdak, and Bobby Parnell kept the Braves off the board in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings (never mind Parnell's performance in the 9th).
Final Analysis:
Reyes injures, Chipper kills. What more is there to say?

Thankfully, New York will welcome one of the NL's universal health spas, the San Diego Padres, into Citi Field for the next four days. Perhaps they can provide some relief, and maybe even a sweep. But if the Mets can't manage a series win against the hapless Friars, the season is likely lost.


Wheeler Watch
Zack Wheeler will make his second start in the Mets' organization tonight at 5:30, when the Port St. Lucie Mets take on the Rays-affiliated Charlotte Stone Crabs (don't you love minor league nicknames?).

**Update: 6:00 p.m.**
Now it looks like Daniel Murphy, one of the NL's top hitters this year, will "almost certainly" go on the DL. Well, that's it. Game #113, I'm calling it. Season over. All you can say is "Wait till next year." Maybe next year we'll all be healthy again.

Wheeler Watch Update: 8:10 p.m.
Zack Wheeler's second start for Class A Port St. Lucie was infinitely better than the first: no runs on 4 hits in 6 innings, 7 strikeouts, no walks. That's the way you do it.

Wheeler Watch Update: 8:25 p.m.
PSL Mets beat Charlotte 5-2, Zack Wheeler picks up his first win with the Mets' organization. 

Game #112: Mets 11, Braves 7

Justin Turner after his first home run against Atlanta on Saturday. (
With their backs against the wall, the Mets turned to something I'm sure the 33,556 at Citi Field least expected: a power surge.

Justin Turner hit two home runs and the Mets got one each from Jason Bay and Josh Thole, giving them the offensive spark needed to beat the Braves, 11-7.

The Good Stuff:
  • Oh hey, bats, welcome back!
    • The offense got going right from the beginning: Justin Turner made it 1-0 in the 1st with a home run to the deepest part of right center, and David Wright tacked on another with a double that scored Daniel Murphy.
    • After falling behind 5-2, Jason Bay brought the Mets back closer in the 3rd with a towering 2-run homer to left.
    • After throwing out the NL's leading base-stealer in Michael Bourn in the top half of the 4th, Josh Thole tied the score with a home run to right center, just his 2nd of the year. Then after Jose Reyes walked and stole his way to third, Justin Turner cracked his second home run of the day, a shot to left, that put New York up 7-5, giving them a lead they would not relinquish. Before this game, Justin Turner had had two home runs this whole season, the only two in his career...he doubled that before the game was half-over tonight. Gotta love the quirks of baseball.
    • Even with 7 runs across the plate already, in the back of your mind you always thought, "We're gonna need more. They've got Chipper Jones. We're gonna need more." And more they got. Angel Pagan led off with a double in the 7th. With one out, Scott Hairston pinch hit for Lucas Duda and blooped a liner just out of reach of first baseman Freddie Freeman to score Pagan. 8-6. Josh Thole singled and pinch-hitter Nick Evans walked, bringing up Reyes. Jose laced a single into left-center to score one. 9-6. Justin Turner came up looking for homer #3, but instead hit a perfectly soft grounder that prevented Freeman from getting the out at home. 10-6. Game pretty much over.
    • Even the rain wasn't enough to stop the bats: David Wright led off the 8th with a walk and Pagan singled. Bay then hit a soft line drive single to left center, deep enough to score Wright and make it a good 11 runs on the night.
  • Long story, yes, I know. If you want it simple, here's the best box score stats on the day:
    • Jose Reyes: 2-4, RBI, R, 2 SB
    • Justin Turner 2-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI
    • Angel Pagan: 3-5, 2 R, 2 SB
    • Jason Bay: 2-5, HR, 3 RBI
    • Josh Thole: 3-4, HR, RBI, 2 R
  • The bullpen did its job for the most part too, giving up 2 runs in 4 combined innings. Bobby Parnell struck out the last guy he faced in the 8th, four times hitting the century mark on the speedometer in the inning.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Jon Niese picked up his 11th win of the year, but looked ugly doing it, allowing 5 runs (all in the 3rd) on 10 hits, walking 2 and striking out 5. Thing is, no one needs to pitch that well if your offense puts up 11 runs a game. Can you imagine what kind of record R.A. Dickey would have if we gave him this kind of run support every time he made a start? He'd be 10-5 instead of 5-10.
Final Analysis:
Baseball's a funny game. During their 5 game losing streak, the Mets managed a total of 9 runs. Tonight, they equaled that and then some. The result? What you'd normally expect from a team that scores 11 runs: a W.

With that W, New York stays alive in its highly unlikely push for the playoffs. A series win tomorrow would be all the more help, but at the very least, the Mets will not end this week with a double-digit Wild Card deficit. 9 games back, certainly 7 games back, while not encouraging, look a heck of a lot better than 11 games back.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Game #111: Braves 4, Mets 1

New York had two whole days to prepare for their biggest series of the year. It looks like not even a week would have been enough.

R.A. Dickey once again received no run support and clutch hitting from the Braves' Jose Costanza (who?) and Dan Uggla (ugh) spelled doom for the Mets, who dropped their 5th straight game 4-1.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Tim Hudson baffled the Mets' bats for 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 2 hits in the 1st inning and one more hit the next 6. Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel did the rest.
  • Jose Reyes' mini-slump continues, as he went 0-4, dropping his league-leading batting average down to .336.
  • Ryota Igarashi allowed a 2-out 2-run single to Dan Uggla, who extended his hitting streak to 26 games, in the 8th inning, effectively putting the game out of reach.
The Good Stuff:
  • R.A. Dickey continues to pick up hard-luck loss after hard-luck loss, allowing just 2 runs on 5 hits in 7 innings, walking none (yes, none) and striking out 5. It's hard to believe that Dickey's record this year is 5-10, because he sure ain't pitching like a 5-10 starter most of the time.
  • David Wright kept the Mets from being shut out in the 1st, hitting an RBI double off the wall in left-center that plated Daniel Murphy.
  • I'd just like to add how much I loved tonight's uniforms. The "Los Mets" were all right, but the color scheme of the jerseys was just phenominal: Met blue with orange trim. That's what the Mets should be wearing as alternate jerseys, not the black stuff. Hope we see more of the blue uniforms.
Final Analysis:
It's hard to believe that just one week ago, these Mets were riding a 5-game winning streak and looked like they would get back into the Wild Card picture. But this past week wipes all that out, and now New York drops to 9 games back of these Atlanta Braves.

As if they weren't already must-win, these next two games become season-breaking: if the Mets can win both, they have a series win and will be 7 back of Atlanta, tough to catch but still not impossible. If they are swept by the Braves, they'll be 11 back and it's pretty much over. Needless to say, Terry Collins won't have to motivate his boys any further for this weekend.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Game #110: Marlins 4, Mets 3

Justin Turner's error in the ninth inning allowed the Marlins to score two runs, handing the Mets their fourth loss in a row. (
Oh, I really don't want to write about's an all-too familiar story.

Justin Turner's throwing error in the 9th inning gave away the game, and the Mets fell in excruciating fashion to the Marlins, 4-3.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Everything was going so well...until that blasted 9th inning. Jason Isringhausen, I would guess still tired from last night's grand collapse, ran into trouble again tonight. He walked the leadoff man, got a popup out, allowed a single, hit a guy, then got Bryan Petersen to hit a groundball to Justin Turner. The tying run would have scored, but Turner wasn't able to wait for slow-running John Buck to cross his path, so tried to fire over to first. His throw sailed way wide and allowed the goahead run to cross the plate.
  • New York got some momentum back in the 9th when Ronny Paulino led off with a walk, but Daniel Murphy, pinch-hitting after a scheduled day off, hit one right back to Leo Nunez, who turned the rally-killing 1-6-3 double play. Game over, Mets lose again.
The Good Stuff:
  • And it's really a shame, because there's so much Good Stuff to talk about tonight:
  • Chris Capuano pitched 6 solid innings, allowing just 2 solo home runs by Omar Infante (yes, you read that sentence correctly) and 2 more hits, walking 2 and K-ing 5.
  • Many Acosta had another solid outing in the bullpen in the 7th, and Bobby Parnell regained his form to strike out 2 in the 8th, the first on a blistering 101 mph fastball.
  • New York scored their second run in the 5th on a David Wright groundout, then again in the 6th on a Lucas Duda sac fly.
  • But the highlight of the night without a doubt came in the 3rd inning. Joining Gary, Ron, and Keith in the SNY booth was 11-year-old Jacob Resnick, winner of the SNY Kidcaster contest. Resnick was given the call when Jose Reyes stepped up to bat, and as if by divine providence, Jose crushed a line drive off a hanging curveball into the leftfield stands. Young Jacob delivered his call with such enthusiasm, he couldn't help but bring a smile to your face. And he sounded like a pro up there, even at 11 years old. Perhaps years from now we'll be hearing from Jacob Resnick behind the mic, maybe even calling the Mets on a nightly basis (looks like I've got some competition for that job).
Final Analysis:
I hate losing to the Florida Marlins. They've got hardly any fans, no one goes to their games, but they still have as many World Series as the Mets. And somehow they always find ways to beat us. It ain't fair, I tell ya. It's a 4th straight loss for New York, a 3rd loss in 4 series, and yet another failed chance to gain ground on the Atlanta Braves, who also lost tonight.

I know you want to put this game behind you as quickly as possible, I do too, but let me leave you with one final thought: the loss drops the Mets to 22-28 at home in 2011. A 33-27 record away from Citi Field gives them the most road wins in the NL. If the Mets were anywhere near as good in front of their own fans as they were in front of the other guys', they would be right in the middle of the Wild Card race, instead of just on the cusp and falling fast.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Game #109: Marlins 7, Mets 3 (10)

Jason Isringhausen can only watch as the Marlins load the bases and Mike Stanton belts a 10th-inning grand slam to counter Lucas Duda's game-tying, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. (
The script was just the same as yesterday, only ten times worse.

Mike Stanton's 10th inning grand slam wiped out Lucas Duda's late heroics of an inning earlier, dealing the Mets a shattering 7-3 loss to the Marlins.

The Bad Stuff:
  • For the second day in a row, New York tied the game on a last-moment home run, only to lose it in the next half inning. Lucas Duda sent it into extras, putting the ball in Jason Isringhausen's usually capable hands. But after getting the first Fish out, back-to-back-to-back singles loaded the bases. The Mets appeared to get a break when Dewayne Wise overran first base, thinking he was going to move up on the throw home. Just like Daniel Murphy yesterday. And just when you think there's no possible way to screw this one up, Murph put on his "Challenge Accepted" face and did just that. Instead of tossing the ball right to Justin Turner at first, Daniel made sure the man on third wouldn't try to break for home, allowing Wise to scamper back under the tag. That kept the bases loaded and, more importantly, force Izzy to pitch to Mike Stanton. Stanton made him pay on a 3-2 cutter, making spacious Citi Field seem like a Little League park and giving Florida an insurmountable lead.
    • Daniel Murphy's bat is phenomenal, he is 3rd in the NL in batting this year, but his fielding skills are quite sub-par. Keith and Ron on SNY were talking during the game about his apparent lack of baseball instincts. Tonight's latest flub all but proves the point. The old saying is "if you can hit, we'll find a spot for you." So where to put him? How about left field, where he can do the least amount of damage? You could move Jason Bay over to right field (his glove has been a big upside), and put Lucas Duda back at first base. Makes sense, and might prevent another repeat of tonight's fiasco. Why not?
  • The offense continues to sputter, once again getting all of the team's runs on longballs. What has defined this team is its hitting ability without putting balls in the seats, this is far from a good development.
The Good Stuff:
  • On the bright side, we had some power in this game. Jason Bay launched his 7th home run of the year just over the fence in right center to put NY on the board, then of course, Lucas Duda's 2-run homer with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th that sent it into extras. It was Duda's 3rd of the campaign and second off Florida closer Leo Nunez.
    • Just before Duda's heroics, Angel Pagan took a huge risk that ended up paying off in a big way. Pagan lashed a single into right, saw Mike Stanton lay back for an instant, then broke for second, just getting into second for a double. Seeing hustle like that is exhilarating...definitely too exhilarating. Even Gary & company at SNY were talking about how risky a move that was...
    • On the very next pitch, it paid off. Bay hit a hard groundball to third base that would have been a double play, had Pagan not stretched it into a double.
  • Mike Pelfrey pitched a decent game, going 6 innings and allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits, walking 3 (kinda high for Pelf) and striking out 3. Ryota Igarashi and Manny Acosta combined for 3 scoreless innings after Pelfrey's exit to get New York to extras.
Final Analysis:
Dad saw enough hard-luck Met games growing up to come up with this phrase: teams keep finding ways to give away the game, and the Mets keep saying, "Eh, no thanks." Tonight, for your consideration, another instance of just that. Ouch.


Wheeler Watch
Zack Wheeler's first start with the Port St. Lucie Mets didn't go as planned...New York's end of the Carlos Beltran deal pitched 4 innings and gave up 4 runs on 7 hits, walking none and striking out 4.