Saturday, April 30, 2011

April Showers Bring...More Showers

If April were a movie, right now we'd be at the MPAA logo in the credits. One month of 2011 New York Mets baseball is in the books. Let's take a look at the Bad and the Good from April (and yes, there is some Good).

The Bad Stuff:
  • With today's loss, the Mets end the first month of the year on a three-game losing streak. Their record stands at 11-16, good for last in the NL East, a game and a half behind Atlanta.
  • Supposed star David Wright is struggling at the plate, sitting on a .240 batting average and has more strikeouts (31) than he does hits (25).
  • Last year's team batting leader, Angel Pagan, is doing hitting even worse than Wright (.159) and is still on the DL.
  • Mike Pelfrey, who was supposed to be our ace in Johan Santana's absence, is 1-3 with an ERA over 7 and is averaging just 4 2/3 an outing. No one else has consistantly stepped up in his place.
The Good Stuff:
  • Considering the team was 5-13 with the worst record in all of baseball a week and a half ago, 11-16 looks pretty good.
  • Ike Davis, or "The Franchise" as one ESPN commentator once called him, has been phenominal at the start of his second season: .337, 5 HRs, and a team-leading 20 RBIs. Before today, he had been on a 11-game hitting streak.
  • Carlos Beltran started off slow, but seems to have found his groove, batting .281 with 3 HRs and 11 RBIs. Most significant is that he started every game the last half of April in right field, not needing a day off to rest his legs.
  • Jason Bay's return prompted NY to win 6 straight, and his presense at #5 in the batting order gives the Mets a still-formidable middle four of Wright-Beltran-Bay-Davis.
  • The bullpen has settled down after an inconsistant "Hot Potato" start. Standing out are Pedro Beato, who hasn't allowed an earned run in 14 innings of work, Taylor Buchholz, whose ERA sits at 1.32 in 13 2/3 innings, and Francisco Rodriguez, who's converted 6 of 7 save opportunities (never mind each time is a roller coaster ride) with a 1.82 ERA.
Final Analysis:
A horrible start was followed by a hot streak and then another slump. That's probably going to be the Met way in 2011.

The schedule doesn't get any easier the first week of May: the defending champion San Fransisco Giants come to town on Tuesday, followed by the Dodgers. A chance to recapture the magic of last week comes the 13th through 19th with a trip to Houston followed by a 4-game homestand against the Marlins and Nationals. But the dates that really stick out are the weekends of the 20th and 27th. For the former, the Mets go uptown to the Bronx to face the hated New York Yankees (despite how I feel about Interleague play, that will still be fun). For the latter, another rematch with the archrival Philadelphia Phillies, this time at Citi Field.

April may be over, but the season's just begun, my friends. Buckle up for the ride.


Game #27: Phillies 2, Mets 1

David Wright and rest of the Mets are no match for Roy Halladay. (
The Mets did just about everything they could on this day, but one bad inning sealed their fate.

Roy Halladay was his usual untouchable self and a Philadelphia rally in the 7th inning was all he would need to give the Phillies a 2-1 win over the Mets.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Not much you can do when Halladay's on the hill: the Ace of Aces went the distance for his 60th career complete game, allowing just 1 run on 7 hits, walking a lone batter and striking out 8 more.
  • The Mets' best chance off ol' Roy came in the 4th, but they could only manage that lone score and left two runners on.
  • Ike Davis had the chance to bring a run or two home in the 4th, but chased the first pitch he saw and fouled out to third. His 0-4 day ends an 11-game hitting streak.
The Good Stuff:
  • Jon Niese didn't deserve the loss today; for 6 innings he was phenomenal, scattering just 4 hits. Unfortunately, a hanging curve to John Mayberry, Jr., led to a game-tying solo home run, and eventually the game-winning run came in on a Placido Polanco sac fly. Yes, that's not the best thing to put in the Good Stuff today, but against anyone else on any other day it would be Good Stuff. So there.
  • While they only got one run home in the 4th, New York did just that: they got a run off Roy Halladay. Daniel Murphy and David Wright led off the inning with consecutive singles, and Carlos Beltran brought Murphy home with a single of his own, his 11th RBI of the year.
  • With a 2-4 effort, Beltran is sitting on a .281 batting average, about his career numbers, and certainly better than what he did last year. Also a plus, he played in another day game after a night game. He hasn't had a day off in about two weeks now, a great sign for Mets fans concerned about his knees.
Final Analysis:
If you had told me after last night's thumping that the Mets would lose, I would have believed you. If you had told me they would lose 2-1, I would have groaned in agony of a one-run loss, but accepted it as better than 10-3. Sure, New York lost today, but they lost by the slimmest of margins against the best pitcher in the game. That's respectable.

The Amazin's can walk away with heads held high today, and maybe they'll avoid embarrassing themselves against Cliff Lee on national television tomorrow night. Or maybe they won't. But that's why they play the game.


Game #26: Phillies 10, Mets 3

Mets starter Mike Pelfrey gave up eight hits and four earned runs in four and a third innings against the Phillies on Friday night. (
There isn't much else I can say that the picture of Pelf doesn't say already. But I need to say something, so here we go.

Whether it was Ryan Howard at the plate or Vance Worley on the hill, the Phillies beat up the Mets all night long, taking the series opener by force, 10-3.

The Bad Stuff:
See innings 1-8. Specifically:
  • Ryan Howard (a grand slam and another two-run homer), Vance Worley  (2 hits in 6 innings of work), and Ben Fransisco and Placido Polanco (2 RBIs each) creating a lethal concoction for the Mets.
  • Mike Pelfrey (4 runs on 8 hits in 4 1/3 innings), Dillon Gee (4 runs in 1 2/3 innings), and the New York offense for 89% of the game (2 hits in 8 innings), who drank that lethal concoction and realized too late that this milk was a bad choice.
The Good Stuff:
See inning 9. Specifically:
  • Ike Davis (solo home run off David Herndon, his 5th and 20th RBI, also extending his hit streak to 11 games)
  • Jason Pridie (hit his second home run of the year, a 2-run shot, also off Herndon)
  • Mets pitching (Philadelphia had already won before they got the chance to hit, therefore there was no chance to screw it up and allow even more runs)
Final Analysis:
The train that was moving full steam ahead during that six game winning streak? Two days later and it's end up like this. Whoops. A loss as bad as this is never good. A loss like this to the hated Phillies is never good. But what makes this loss worse than the rest is that the Mets were limited to 2 hits not by any of Philly's four aces; heck, it wasn't even against fifth man Joe Blanton. It was against Vance Worley, who completely shut NY down in his first start of the season and third start of his career. If the Amazin' offense was this anemic against Philadelphia's sixth man, how's it going to fare against Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee?

Get some rest in, Mets fans. This could be a very long weekend.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Game #25: Nationals 4, Mets 3

The Nationals' Danny Espinosa was out at first when the Mets' Ike Davis grabbed a throw from third baseman David Wright. (
The Mets have been so hot that only a former World Series MVP could stop that train. Well, guess what? He found the emergency break.

Livan Hernandez held the Mets' bats down just enough, while Ian Desmond celebrated his new fatherhood with a triple and a round tripper, and the Nationals stopped the Mets' win streak at six, topping New York 4-3.

The Bad Stuff:
  • It wasn't too bad a loss; Hernandez is a proven vet who can still throw a big game once in a while. And he did: 8 innings, 7 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 5 Ks. Clearly, he outdueled Chris Capuano, who only lasted 5 2/3 and gave up 4 runs, picking up the loss.
  • Two other bad incidents highlight The Bad Stuff tonight. In the bottom of the 3rd, Jason Werth hit a ground-rule double, bringing home a run. Carlos Beltran appeared to get a bad jump on the ball, and what seemed like a catchable ball sailed over his partially outstretched glove. As New York lost by one, this mental mistake proved to be the decider. Unfortunate that Beltran had his most awkward moment in right field at this time (ironically, just as the WFAN announcers were talking how he made the transition as seamless as possible).
  • Also standing out in a bad way was the Amazin' top of the fifth. The Mets got a gift when Pudge Rodriguez bobbled a Chris Capuano sac bunt and couldn't get anyone out, loading the bases with one down and Jose Reyes coming up. New York only managed one run on Reyes's sac fly; Daniel Murphy was sat down looking for the final out. The Mets had been so good getting runners home from scoring position during the streak, and without those big hits, couldn't pull it out.
The Good Stuff:
It was only a one-run loss, so there was some Good Stuff to talk about:
  • Ike Davis stretched his hitting-streak to 10 games, going 2-4 and knocking in a run on 6th inning double.
  • While he could only bring one home in the 5th, Reyes did go 2-3 and scored one of the runs.
  • Pedro Beato's ERA is still a spotless 0.00: he went 2 innings in relief and faced only six batters.
Final Analysis:
Well, it was fun while it lasted. The streak stops at six. It's a respectable loss, to Livan Hernandez, but it sure would have helped to go into Philadelphia riding Lucky #7. Hopefully we can get some of that momentum back and use Friday's game to get the train rolling again in time to face Halladay and Lee. All aboard, Mets faithful.


Game #24: Mets 6, Nationals 3

Jose Reyes argued extensively with third base umpire after being called out in the eighth inning, but escaped an ejection. (
Wooo!!! What a way to make it six-for-six!!!

Daniel Murphy came through in the biggest way, as the never-say-die Mets erupted for five runs in the final two innings to steal a win from the Nationals, 6-3.

The Good Stuff:
  • We start with Wednesday's Mr. Clutch. Daniel Murphy wasn't even in the starting lineup tonight, Terry Collins favoring Justin Turner at second base for a matchup advantage. But with 2 out in the top of the 8th, Murphy blasted a pinch hit home run just over the right field fence, tying the game at 2. One inning later with NY up 4-3, Murphy delivered again, sending a laser shot into right field; when the dust settled, Danny Boy was on second and 2 more runs were in.
  • Other offensive props to the starting second baseman, Turner, who picked up his first RBI of the year with a solid single in the 3rd. The other RBIs came from Chin-lung Hu's game-tying sac fly (a defensive replacement who can hit...who knew?) and Josh Thole's go-ahead groundout, both in the 9th.
  • On any other day, R.A. Dickey would have picked up the win: just 2 runs in 6 2/3 innings of work. But the offense gave him no help for 7 innings, so let's leave it at that. Fransisco Rodriguez picked up a solid 4-man save (the day he gets a 3-man save seems far off) to seal the deal.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Count the offense for the first 7 under Bad Stuff today. The Amazin's couldn't get anything going against Washington starter Tom Gorzelanny. Fortunately they were able to get it going in the last 2, so let's leave it at that.
  • Also going under Bad Stuff? A first for Midwestern Met: an umpire. Third base umpire Marvin Hudson, to be specific. In the 8th, Jose Reyes appeared to stretch a double into a triple, but was called out for being tagged on an overslide. Replay clearly showed Reyes was on the bag the whole time, but umpires never change their calls, and an infuriated Reyes (see the above photo) was sent back to the bench. You can find the clip here. Was he on the bag or off it? You decide. Here's a hint: he was on it.
Final Analysis:
Normally bad breaks like that spell doom for the Mets. Not on this night. Not during this winning streak, which now sits at a solid six, making it the longest active streak in the Bigs. New York is 7-3 in their last 10; only Florida, Boston, and Tampa Bay are doing as well.

Tomorrow, we go for another sweep and lucky seven. Can we pull it off? If we can win even when a blown call goes against us, we've got as good a chance as any.


P.S. Found this on the Daily News site. Way to go Ike!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Game #23: Mets 6, Nationals 4

Daniel Murphy led off the third with his fifth double of the season and eventually scored on a double by Carlos Beltran. (
I'm writing this entry and it's difficult to think of a snappy opening. When the Mets win, it's hard to think of something witty because it all sounds cliche. I find it easier, actually, to write this blog when they lose. However, I will gladly take a win and a cliche over a loss any day.

Josh Thole came through in the clutch and the bullpen held off the Nationals for half the game, giving the Mets a 6-4 victory in Washington.

The Good Stuff:
The Amazin's must have injected their bats with caffeine before the game, cause they were alive and hittin': 12 hits through the night, bringing home 6 runs. Josh Thole stands out, driving home 3 runs, including 2 on a double in the 6th (his first hit off a lefty this year) that provided the difference. Other standouts were Ike Davis and Jason Bay (5-8 and 4 runs combined), plus Jason Pridie and Daniel Murphy (2-4, 1 run each).
But the most impressive stat of the night? Only 3 strikeouts. They were patient as well as powerful, and when they made outs, they made them count (half the runs tonight came on infield outs).
Chris Young's return from the DL wasn't anything special (3 runs in 4 2/3), but what saved the game for the Mets was the work of the bullpen. Ryota Igarashi, Taylor Buchholz, Jason Isringhausen, and Fransisco Rodriguez spread 1 run and 4 hits through 4 1/3, with K-Rod picking up his 5th save of the year. True, this was against the hapless Nationals offense, but keeping in mind how this group was performing earlier in the month, this was a big step in the right direction.

The Bad Stuff:
We'll give him a pass for the first start after a DL stint, but Chris Young lands on the Bad Stuff today because of inefficiency: he was tapped to pitch around 85 pitches and went over that threshold before the end of the 5th. And while he only gave up 4 hits, 3 of them were solo home runs, 2 to Wilson Ramos.
The rest of the offense picked up the slack, but David Wright slumped back into his form before the D'backs series, going 0-5. His RBI groundout in the 8th did give NY an insurance run, but considering the bases were loaded, he really should have gotten it out of the infield. And those mere 3 strikeouts the Mets had? Two of them came from Wright. It didn't hurt so much today, but Wright needs to play like he did in the Arizona series for us to get over .500.

Final Analysis:
High Five! Five in a row, that is. The New York Mets, yes those New York Mets, now own the longest active winning streak in the majors. Our win total from before the streak has doubled, and at 10-13, we're only 3 games below .500. Keeping this streak up will be key considering who we face next; if we can go into Philadelphia (for a second time in a month, never mind the quirky scheduling) riding a seven game streak, or even on a 6-1 streak, it will go a long way to bolting us back from mediocre to merely average.

So let's hope Washington continues to serve as a health spa and we can have more of the same tomorrow. Sleep well, Mr. Met.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Game #22: Mets 8, D'backs 4

David Wright belts two home runs as the Mets run their winning streak to four games with an 8-4 win over the Diamondbacks. (
Break out the brooms, Ma! We've got some sweepin' to do!

David Wright had his best game at the plate this year and Jon Niese finally delivered on the hill, giving the Mets an 8-4 victory over the Diamondbacks, their fourth win in a row.

The Good Stuff:
Talk about having the Wright Stuff. David went deep twice today, in the 1st and 3rd innings off Arizona's Armando Galarraga (yes, that Armando Galarraga). The best part? He didn't strike out. Not once!
Also contributing on the offensive end were Jason Pridie, who hit New York's first three-run homer of the year (his first career longball), and Ike Davis, who picked up his 18th RBI of the season (which puts him tied for third in the NL).
Facing the prospect of demotion to the minors, Jon Niese came through for his first win since September, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits in 7 innings, walking 2 and striking out 3. Just the kind of stats you'd expect out of your #2 starter...even from the Mets' #2 starter.

The Bad Stuff:
DJ Carrasco struggled out of the bullpen again, giving up a run in 1/3 of an inning. Fortunately, in the challenge of choosing who to drop from the roster when Chris Young returns, GM Sandy Alderson has decided on the guy who's struggling: Carrasco was optioned to AAA Buffalo after the game. Hopefully a stint upstate will set him on the right path.
You can't argue with 8 runs, but considering the Amazin's went only 2-10 with runners in scoring position, that number should have been higher. It didn't hurt today, but it could against the better teams in the league.

Final Analysis:
Four in a row. What more is there to say? The Mets are on the right track. How long they can stay on track remains to be seen, but for now, life is good for Mets fans.

Tuesday we put that streak on the line in Washington. If we play like we did this weekend against Arizona, we'll come out of there with the streak at seven.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Game #21: Mets 6, D'backs 4

Justin Turner sprinted past Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero with the winning run after Daniel Murphy hit a two-out single in the sixth inning. (
All of a sudden, the Mets have figured out how to win. Go figure.

Jason Bay had his best game in a year and Dillon Gee bent but didn't break on the mound. The result? A 6-4 Mets victory over the Diamondbacks, their third straight.

The Good Stuff:
The offense managed 15 hits, their highest total for the season; everyone in the starting nine, even the pitcher, got at least one hit. Standouts were Jason Bay, who hit his first home run in about 10 months and had 3 RBIs; Ike Davis, who went back-to-back with Bay in the 3rd inning and delivered his third round-tripper in as many days; and Daniel Murphy, whose RBI singles in the 6th and 8th proved to be the day's difference for New York.
Dillon Gee was solid in his 6 innings on the hill: 2 earned runs (2 more unearned) on 5 hits, with just 1 walk and 5 strikeouts. It looks like Terry Collins is gonna have a decision to make: when Chris Young comes back from the DL in a couple days, who's gonna drop from the rotation? Certainly not Gee, who's had two great starts, nor Young, who's done the same. If Jon Niese doesn't have a good outing tomorrow, he may get the hook. If he does, then it's a problem, but it's a good problem to long as Terry makes the right choice.
Even the bullpen came through today, with Pedro Beato, Jason Isringhausen, and Francisco Rodriguez combining for 3 innings of scoreless relief.

The Bad Stuff:
K-Rod did let the tying runs get in scoring position before K-ing the final two batters to end the game. We're used to it by now, but that doesn't make it any less heart-stopping. Watching K-Rod save a game is like getting on a roller coaster: no matter how many times you get on, every time your stomach will wrench. And once that ride's over, whoa. What a feeling. ...I'd still prefer 1-2-3 saves though.

Final Analysis:
In most circumstances, 8-13 would be a disappointing start to a season. It only looks good when it's preceded by a 5-13 record, as it does in this situation. Thus, 8-13 is something Mets fans can smile about.

Tomorrow the Amazin's have a chance at 9-13, which will look even better. Let's hope they bring their brooms out to the ballgame.


Game #20: Mets 4, D'backs 1

Ike Davis bashes a key home run in support of a strong outing from Mike Pelfrey (
In the last two days New York has increased its win total by 40%. Sounds incredible when you put it that way, right?

Mike Pelfrey silenced the Diamondbacks' bats and Ike Davis bounced a 2-run homer over the wall in the 7th, giving the Mets the lead and the win, 4-1.

The Good Stuff:
Pelfrey finally showed us why he was first considered to be the de facto ace in Johan Santana's absence. In 7 innings, Pelf allowed just 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 4 D'back hitters. Added bonus: Pelf was sick and infused with green tea and Pepto throughout. If he's this good while on the pink stuff, imagine how he'll be when fully healthy.
Ike Davis came through again for the Mets' offense, this time smashing what appeared to be a game-tying double off the center field wall, scoring David Wright in the bottom of the 7th; later it was overturned and ruled a home run. Ike's RBI total is now up to 16 through 20 games; at this rate he'll reach 130 by season's end. He probably won't get that many, but it sure as heck looks like he can get to 100. I think it's safe to say we've found Keith Hernandez's proper heir.
Also impressing was Carlos Beltran, who actually swung with the based loaded, driving in a run in the 8th. Jason Isringhausen and Francisco Rodriguez combined for two routine, scoreless innings in relief, K-Rod K-ing the last two D'backs to pick up his 3rd save.

The Bad Stuff:
Despite the win, the offense was silent for 2/3 of the game, managing just 2 hits (6 the whole game) off Arizona starter Joe Saunders, who had an ERA well over 5 before entering this game. And while NY did manage 2 runs in the 8th, they left the bases loaded and probably should have gotten more. It didn't hurt us tonight, but it could another day.

Final Analysis:
In some ways, a come-from-behind victory is more satisfying than a blowout win. This is one of those nights. The Mets got down, stayed in the game, and turned it on late for the comeback. And now they're on a winning streak. Sleep well, Mr. Met.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Game #19: Mets 9, Astros 1

The Citi Field Home Run Apple rises as David Wright rounds third after his home run. (
Cue the collective sigh of relief and a smile. Mets fans have to be smiling after this one.

David Wright broke out of a slump with a home run and 3 RBIs and Chris Capuano shut down the Houston offense, giving New York a much-needed 9-1 victory.

The Good Stuff:
It's been unheard of so far this year, but tonight the Mets actually did everything right.
Chris Capuano showed us why we put him in the rotation: delivering 7 solid innings and giving up just 1 run. What also stands out is that he managed those 7 innings in just 100 pitches. If he had had a shutout going, I'll bet he would've tried for a complete game. More good news: Taylor Buchholz managed not to screw it up, finishing the final 2 innings with just 1 hit against him.
David Wright's 0-20 streak was the longest of his career and was four shy of the cold spell Willie Mays started his career with in 1951. Just like Mays, Wright ended the misery with a deep blast in the 4th inning. The next inning, he brought home 2 more on a double to center. Let's hope this is the beginning of David Wright instead of David Wrong.
Also getting in on the onslaught was backup catcher Mike Nickeas, who earned his first career home run in the third. A nice story, he's a 28-year-old rookie this year who made his major league debut in a throwaway game last September. Good for him. Ike Davis also added two more RBIs (one on a long blast in the 8th) to his team-high 14.
The biggest story of the night, however, was the return of Jason Bay. Last season's big free-agent acquisition made his first appearance since last July, going 1-4 with a double and 2 runs, the last coming on a 4-base error in the 8th. Everyone's been saying this, and I have to agree: Bay's return is really going to open up the offense. Think of this 3-4-5-6: Wright, Carlos Beltran, Bay, Davis. Righty Bay's presence will protect lefty Beltran from intentional walks, and Bay in turn will be protected by lefty Davis. As long as these four stay healthy, the middle of the Mets' order could be one of the better in the National League.

The Bad Stuff:
Speaking of health, time for the one blemish on tonight's result: Angel Pagan left in the middle of the game with an apparent left oblique injury. Looks like he'll be out for a couple days. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise though: Pagan is hitting .159 and shows no sign of getting back on the upswing. Maybe a couple days' rest will do him some good and he can get back on track.

Final Analysis:
In the top of the 1st, Terry Collins was ejected by the home plate umpire for arguing a call that went against his club. Maybe that was the spark this team needed. The Amazin's had their most impressive win since the one in Philly two weeks ago. Collins' energy certainly wore off on NY tonight.

Yes, it's just one game, but perhaps this is the beginning of an upswing. Three more home games against the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks won't hurt. Stay tuned for the weekend.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Game #18: Astros 4, Mets 3

Fans show their supports with paper bags on their heads. (
With this loss, the Mets' 50th season is beginning to resemble their 1st. Need I remind you how that season went.

New York's knack for coming up with ways to lose was on display in the 8th and 9th innings of last night's game against the Astros, and the result was as expected: a 4-3 loss that dropped the team to the worst record in all of baseball.

The Bad Stuff:
R.A. Dickey lasted 8 innings, but gave up 4 runs; since the offense only scored 3, that makes it bad stuff. Three of those runs came in the 2nd, the last in the 8th on Hunter Pence's scorching solo shot to left. Understandable move, the bullpen being so inconsistent, but Terry Collins probably left Dickey in there one inning too long.
Of course, none of that would have mattered had NY done the next half inning what most teams would have with runners on the corners and one out: scored. But would you expect anything more than for Justin Turner to strike out and Angel Pagan to get thrown out at home? Would you expect anything more than Josh Thole popping up a bunt and Jose Reyes getting doubled off at first the very next inning? You would have? Well then you're following the wrong team, bro.

The Good Stuff:
Considering we went on an Indiana Jones-esque expedition to find this loss, there must have been some good stuff. And there was: we did manage 12 hits off the Astros' staff. Carlos Beltran was solid again, going 3-4 with 2 doubles and an RBI. Despite his fatal blunder in the 9th, Reyes went 4-5 and scored a run. And Daniel Murphy capped off a 3 hit night with a 2-run blast in the 7th which tied the game at 3.
While he was left in too long, Dickey did prove durable by lasting 8 innings and only tossing 104 pitches. Jason Isringhausen managed not to screw things up in the 9th.

Final Analysis:
I think the picture above pretty much sums it up. 5-13 overall, 1-9 in our last ten outings, 1-8 at home. Only the '62 and '64 squads had a worse start than this one, and even those truly awful teams managed to win 2 at home in that span. Still, we're only 18 games in. There's 89% of the season left to go. I'm keeping my hopes alive, and despite what someone suggested yesterday, this is my team, for better or worse. Or even Amazin'ly worse. Perhaps Jason Bay's return today will be just the spark we need. The only way to find out is to play the games.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Game #17: Astros 6, Mets 1

I believe it was the Pretenders who sang, "Back on the Chain Gang." Such is the case for those M-E-T-S Mets.

Key fielding mistakes, plus a balk, led to multiple Houston runs and Wandy Rodriguez tied the New York offense up in knots all night long, giving the Astros a 6-1 victory in front of 27,032 Mets faithful.

The Bad Stuff:
Where to even begin?
The previously winless Wandy Rodriguez, whose ERA before this one was 7.31, somehow managed to hold us to 1 run and 3 hits in 7 innings of work. NY managed to get one more in the 9th, but by then it was a cause more lost than Lost. No Mets regulars are batting .300 at this point, and our supposed "star," David Wright, is barely over the Mendoza Line (.239).
This was supposed to be a matchup of the cellar-dwellers of the National League, so how did the score end up so lopsided? Three words: Hot Potato Bullpen. Jon Niese had a halfway-decent outing: 2 runs in 6 innings (the 5 walks were something to be worried about, but it didn't hurt too much). A run came in on a Scott Hariston fielding error in the 7th. Then the certain brown stuff hit the certain rotating device. Ryota Igarashi loaded the bases and then Bobby Parnell balked in a run, with two more coming in on the same at-bat when Angel Sanchez singled.

The Good Stuff:
Carlos Beltran managed a solo home run in the 7th to knock Rodriguez out of the game.
As bad as the offense is, it's probably not gonna be as bad as Seattle's historically inept team from last year.

Final Analysis:
If there was any kind of momentum from Sunday's win in Atlanta, that got sucked out like a vacuum the instant the Astros arrived at Citi Field. Now there's no questioning it: the Mets are the worst team in the National League. They have the record, and now they have an embarrassing performance against a pitcher who even after this outing has an ERA over 5.

It's getting to almost be Casey Stengal time: "Can't anybody here play this game?" Of course, that came from the Amazin's first year, 1962. That team went 40-120, the worst modern day record ever. At least that team had a Hall of Famer (Richie Ashburn). What do we got?


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Game #16: Mets 3, Braves 2

Josh Thole, left, beats the tag of Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann to score on an Ike Davis single in the first inning. (
Remember yesterday when I said this team needed a win? Fast? They got it.

Dillon Gee kept the lid on the Braves offense for almost 6 innings, and starters Chris Caupano and R.A. Dickey delivered in relief to help the Mets hold on for a 3-2 win, snapping their seven-game losing streak dead in its tracks.

The Good Stuff:
He was only with the team because of Chris Young's trip to the DL, but Dillon Gee may be around for quite awhile. Another young gun, who had a solid September last season, impressed in his season debut, lasting only 5 2/3 innings but allowing only 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 4. It's far too soon to tell, but could this be the coming of the team's long-lost ace? Only the next few starts will tell.
Terry Collins must have sensed how urgent a win was to the ball club; with 2 on and 2 out in the 6th, instead of bailing out Gee with a shaky Hot Potato Reliever, Skip sent out a starter, Chris Capuano, who got Jason Hayward to ground out to third for the force and the end of the Atlanta threat. The next inning, he sent out another starter, R.A. Dickey, who gave up a single to Matt Young but otherwise subdued the Braves.
Let's move to the other side of the plate. True, the offense only scored 3 runs, but that's enough when the other guys only score 2. Josh Thole came through big in the 2-spot, going 2-4 and picking up 2 RBIs. Ike Davis got the other one, bringing his season total to a still-great 12. And Jose Reyes did what a leadoff man should do, going 2-4 and scoring 2 runs.
Also worth note is that Carlos Beltran, who usually gets day games off, played in his 3rd game in a 24 hour span. The concern in the first two weeks was the knee, but this is a good sign that things with Carlos, who went 1-3 today, may finally be getting back to normal.

The Bad Stuff:
Of course, this win doesn't erase the problems that still plague the Amazin's. David Wright was ineffective at the plate, going 0-4 and striking out thrice (you're welcome, Coco). Angel Pagan still hasn't found his groove, going 0-3 and bringing his average down to a miserable .169.
The regular bullpen also continues to play Hot Potato with who's going to screw up the late innings. Today, the music stopped on Jason Isringhausen, who gave up an 8th-inning solo shot to Jason Hayward and walked another before getting out of it. And while Fransisco Rodriguez did pick up his second save of the year, he couldn't avoid giving Mets fans heart attacks with every pitch: he let the tying run get to third base before sitting down Brooks Conrad for the final out. K-Rod has always been shaky like this with us; it's something NY fans must accept.

Final Analysis:
Yes, we've still got some major problems. But today we won. Yes, we're still in last place in the East and tied for worst in the NL. But today we won. Yes, we're still in a cash crunch and it won't go away for quite some time. But today we won. A win is a win. And Lord, did we need this win.

Terry Collins mentioned something recently along the lines of, "Yes, we're on a long losing streak, but you throw in a long winning streak, and you'll forget all about it." If ever there was a time to get that streak, it would be now: a six-game homestand against the last-place Houston Astros and the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks. The season is not quite over yet, my friends.


Games #14 & #15: Braves 4-4, Mets 2-0

Willie Harris was caught in a rundown as he retreated to first on a failed steal attempt in the nightcap. (
Another day, another doubleheader. Same result.

The Mets' offense couldn't figure out Derrick Lowe and DJ Carrasco only lasted into the 4th as Atlanta took Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader, 4-2.

The offense looked even worse against Jair Jurrjens in Game 2 and Mike Pelfrey was ineffective on the mound in five innings, giving the Braves a 4-0 win.

The Bad Stuff:
(see Game 1, Innings 1-9; repeat step for Game 2)

The Good Stuff:

Final Analysis:
New York's 2nd doubleheader in 3 days looked just as bad, if not worse, than the 1st. The offense can't do anything, pitching is pathetic, energy is low. The Amazin's' 7th straight loss knocks them down to the bottom of the entire National League and on even (something resembling) footing with Seattle for worst record in all of baseball. Quite simply, this team needs a win. Fast.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

More Bad News

As if things weren't going bad enough for the last-place Mets, now this: starter Chris Young is going to the DL. Can anything go right for our pitchers this year? At this pace we'll have to pick up this guy:

At least with him, our fortunes would improve. Duh, winning!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Games #12 & #13: Rockies 6-9, Mets 5-4

Mets reliever Bobby Parnell after surrendering a home run to the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki in the seventh inning of Game 1 (
Ah, the double-header. A chance for double the joy or double discomfort. As you might expect, the New York Amazin's went with the latter.

In Game 1, R.A. Dickey collapsed in the 7th inning and a Mets rally fell just short in the 9th, giving the Rockies a 6-5 victory.

In Game 2, Chris Capuano collapsed in the 6th inning and the Rockies cruised to a 9-4 victory. There was not Mets comeback to speak of.

The Bad Stuff:
The starters were doing fine for a while, but the wheels came off just before they each reached 100 pitches. R.A. Dickey gave up 5 runs over 6 1/3 innings and Bobby Parnell picked up the stray 6th run, giving up a solo blast to Troy Tulowitzki in the 7th. Chris Capuano was even worse: 7 runs over 5 2/3 innings, including 5 in the 6th, with Taylor Buchholz giving up one more that inning.
Both games, New York got off to a solid start, taking 2-0 leads in the early innings. After falling behind in the first, the Amazin's seemed destined for a comeback, cashing in in the 9th on Scott Hariston's 2-run blast. But with the bases loaded and two out, fate was unkind as David Wright flew out to the deepest part of right field. Game over. Ouch.
More of the same in the second, except there was no spectacular comeback.

The Good Stuff: got to miss work/school if you went to both games. You got to be outside. You may have gotten to sing "Meet the Mets" if you were's getting harder to find a stretch.

Final Analysis:
Five straight losses. 1-5 on a six game homestand. 4-9 overall after starting 3-1. Oy.

Can we turn our fortunes around in Atlanta this weekend? Maybe a change of scenery will help. Maybe not. Only one way to find out. Good luck boys.


Game #11: Rockies 5, Mets 4

Troy Tulowitzki (2) celebrates with teammate Seth Smith (7) after Tulowitzki hit a three-run home run during the fifth inning. (
Something tells me that day off we got yesterday didn't help so much.

Troy Tulowitzki's 3-run homer off Jon Niese in the 5th turned out to be the difference, propelling Colorado to a 5-4 victory over the Mets.

The Bad Stuff:
Take away that home run, and Niese pitched a decent game: 6 innings, 2 runs on 6 hits, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts. The problem is, he allowed 7 hits...and that 7th hit brought home 3 more runs. Thus making a good outing into a bad one. Sorry, bro. Of course, he allowed a solo shot the next inning to Ryan Spilborghs, which didn't help him out any either.
While the offense wasn't terrible, they failed to come through in the clutch when it mattered: they only managed one run with two on and no out in the 7th, then it was 1-2-3 in the 8th, 1-2-3 in the 9th. The result? Another 1-run loss.
More bad news: Chris Young, the Mets' "big" off season edition who actually looks like the best staffer we've got, may have tendinitis and will miss his next start on Friday. It's precautionary, yes, so we don't actually know if it's anything big, but let's just hope it doesn't turn into something. Starting in his place will be D.J. Carrasco...and what can possibly go wrong with one of the Hot Potato Boys pitching for three or four more innings than they're built to throw?

The Good Stuff:
I shouldn't rag so hard on the bullpen tonight; Buchholz, Beato, and Carrasco combined for three innings of 1-hit relief, so they did their job.
Carlos Beltran had a nice two-hit night, the first one a double that brought home Daniel Murphy as the first run of the game. His average is up to .265 now, about 17 points below his career average. Hopefully he's on still his way up.

Final Analysis:
Maybe it was the fog. Not much else I can say about the Mets' 4-game losing streak that I haven't said already. Hopefully the Amazin's can swell with Ernie Banks' famous energy and respond to "Let's play two!" with some wins on Thursday.

In other news, Blaine Boyer is no longer a Met. Will we miss him? Ask this guy:

See ya. Wouldn't wanna be ya.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rainout Fun

Tonight the weather gods were kind to the Mets, raining out their game against the Rockies and giving them one more day to mentally prepare for their next games (tonight's game will be part of a day-night doubleheader tomorrow Thursday).

In the meantime, enjoy this rain-related fun:
Sleep well, Mets universe.


Game #10: Rockies 7, Mets 6

Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run home run in the 8th inning that proved to be the game winner. (
These Mets are turning into the Cardiac Kids...just not the good kind.

Mike Pelfrey only lasted into the 6th and the Rockies got 3 runs off Bobby Parnell in the 8th innings, giving Colorado a narrow 7-6 victory over New York.

The Bad Stuff:
How Pelfrey did depends on how you look at it: either it's bad stuff because he knew how shaky the bullpen is and couldn't last longer (he went over 100 pitches in 5 frames), or it's good stuff because you compare it to his first two lousy starts. If he turns out to be his old self after this one, you can say it's good. But for now, it's bad stuff.
Bobby Parnell. Enough said.
They say the middle is the best part of a sandwich, and if the Mets' offense tonight were a sandwich, it would be a brilliant roast beef jammed right in the middle of stale sourdough. With 2 on and 1 out in the 1st, the Amazin's could only bring home one. And in the 9th, they went down quietly, 1-2-3 against Rockies' closer Huston Street.

The Good Stuff:
Now on to that roast beef. Ike Davis kept his smoking start going, racking up an 11th RBI (which makes 9/10 games he's driven one in). David Wright went yard for the first time at Citi Field (2nd overall). Willie Harris got on the ball again with a two-run double in the 4th. Normally 6 runs should be enough; get the pitching better and it should be.
Take out Parnell and the bullpen was all right: Ryota Igarashi let one in, but it was charged to Pelfrey; he, Tim Byrdak, Jason Isringhausen (returning to the team after 12 years), and Pedro Beato combined for 2 2/3 scoreless relief.

Final Analysis:
It seems the bullpen is playing Hot Potato: whoever it stops on has to go out and screw things up. Tonight it was Bobby Parnell. Tomorrow night it could be Carrasco, or Beato, or K-Rod. Either way, the biggest problem facing this team 1/16 of the way through the season is relief pitching. Otherwise, things aren't horrible in Flushing: the offense shows flashes of greatness and Pelfrey kept us in it. Overall, it comes down to one glaring fact: averaging 6 runs a night is great, but it doesn't mean anything if the other guys average 7.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Game #9: Nationals 7, Mets 3 (11)

The Nationals' Laynce Nix hit a three-run homer to help put the game out of reach in the 11th inning, wasting a strong performance from Mets starter Chris Young. (
And just when you thought the Mets were past embarrassing remember that it's still the Mets we're talking about.

Chris Young dominated for 7 innings, but Nationals bats came to life in the 8th and 11th, giving Washington the game and the series over the Mets, 7-3.

Normally this would be the part where I'd talk about the good stuff and the bad stuff, but that divide seems to come exactly between the 7th and 8th innings. So I'm going to talk First Seven and Last Four.

The First Seven (The Good):
Starter Chris Young made his case for the ace position, pitching a gem of a game: 1 run on 1 hit and 2 walks in 7 innings. He also struck out 5. Yes, I know he had tossed 108 pitches, but why not leave him in the game? If he's cookin', let him cook. Terry Collins took him out of the kitchen, but he should have stayed in to finish dinner (though I doubt he would've had enough for all 35,157 attendees).
The offense started off hot: 2 runs in the first on singles from David Wright and Angel Pagan. Ike Davis sent home one more in the 5th off a broken-bat blooper, his 10th RBI in 9 games. So it wasn't spectacular offense, but it was enough, or at least appeared to be when Young was on the mound.

The Last Four (The Bad):
Then, much like with a used car on a rural Texas highway, the wheels came off.
The biggest boost in offense the Nationals needed didn't come from any of their hitters, but from New York reliever DJ Carrasco in the 8th. In his 2/3 innings of work he allowed Washington the two runs that so eluded them when Young was pitching, tying the game at 3. Then in the 11th, reliever Blaine Boyer must have figured, "Eh, the wheels are already off, let's torch this sumbitch and call it a day." A Pudge Rodriguez RBI single and Laynce Nix three-run homer later, the sumbitch was torched.
Of course, all this could have been avoided if the Amazin's had decided not to send their bats to the wood chipper after the 7th inning. The Mets got one hit in the last four innings. Even so, they had Jose Reyes on third with two outs in the 10th. But Pagan couldn't bring him home, and New York went down quietly in the next frame to give the Nats game. The home team compiled 17 strikeouts on Sunday, including 4 from Willie Harris, who has cooled off from his lightning-fast start.

Final Analysis:
Why is it we always lose to the Nationals in extra innings at home? The same thing happened on the final day of the season last year...need I remind you how THAT one ended... There isn't much else I can say about this one: we blew it. We lost when we should have won. But what else can I say? It's the Mets. I'm used to it.

Here's hoping Pelf and the rest of the team can get the wheels back on against Colorado over the next three days.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Game #8: Mets 8, Nationals 4

First baseman Ike Davis (29) drove in David Wright and Carlos Beltran with a triple to right-center field in the sixth to give the Mets a 5-4 lead Saturday. Davis scored when the next batter, pinch hitter Daniel Murphy, singled to left. (
By far, this was the most satisfying win of the young season.

Carlos Beltran broke out for 2 home runs and Ike Davis put the orange and blue up for good in the sixth, delivering the Mets their first home win of the season: an 8-4 triumph over Washington in front of 31,696 NY faithful.

The Good Stuff:
It's a rarity, but just about everything that could go right did go right for the Mets today. Here's the highlights:
Beltran had his first great game of 2011, going 2-4 with 2 round-trippers: a 2-run bomb in the 1st and a solo shot in the 4th, both right-handed. Carlos finally showed flashes of why we gave him $119 million back in 2005. The incredible 2006 Beltran is probably no more, but if we can get '07 or '08 Beltran, it'll go a long way to contending for the Wild Card.
Ike Davis got back on a role, coming through in the clutch with a beautifully-sliced 2-run triple in the 6th, which finally got the best of Nationals' starter Tom Gorzelanny. Jose Reyes then put it away with a 2-run double in the 8th.
The bullpen did its job in a fine way: 3 innings of relief from Taylor Buchholz, Bobby Parnell, and Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod walked a couple Nats, but managed to keep it together to pick up his first save of the year.

The Bad Stuff:
Starter Chris Capuano got the win, but he had a hard time of it: 4 runs in 6 innings. Not necessarily bad, just not stellar. I guess that's what to expect from the 5th man in the rotation.
While the rest of the offense was on, David Wright struggled to find his rhythm: 0-3 with 2 strikeouts. I know he's going to be a big strikeout guy, but you think he could fare better against the one team that will certainly finish below us in the NL East.

Final Analysis:
This game had it all: great offense and a comeback all rolled into home victory number one. The Amazin's three game losing streak seems a distant memory. Okay, we're only 4-4 and still two games behind the Phillies and one behind the Marlins. But 4-4 is better than 3-5, right? See what I'm doing here, I'm going for optimism. The great thing about baseball: even if a team wins only 75 games, their fans still experience the thrill of victory about 7 times as often as a good football team's fans do. If you take it one game at a time, as I intend to, there can still be a lot of enjoyment in these difficult times. Tonight, we won. Life is good. Sleep well, Mets nation.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Game #7: Nationals 6, Mets 2

After stepping on second to force Michael Morse, Jose Reyes threw to first to complete a double play on a ball hit by Rick Ankiel. (
It was a cold day in Queens, but 41,000+ Mets faithful came out to Citi Field to get their first look at their 2011 squad. Those fans left in a mood much like the weather: gloomy.

Jordan Zimmerman got a two-run single off R.A. Dickey in the 2nd inning and Ivan Rodriguez put it away in the 8th, as the Nationals spoiled New York's home opener, 6-2.

The Bad Stuff:
The offense again struggled to find their rhythm. The Amazin's managed 2 runs and 6 hits off starter Zimmerman over 5 1/3, but could only get 1 hit out of the Nationals' bullpen. Best chance we got was in the 7th, getting runners on second and third with one out, but Jose Reyes struck out and Angel Pagan tapped a pitiful dribbler back to the mound for the third out.
New York was still only down 3-2 it till the 8th; Tim Byrdak took care of that. The reliever gave up that two-run single to Pudge-Rod, dragging his ERA up to 10.80; Bobby Parnell finished up the inning and gave up one more. And we cut Ollie for these guys? Ready the crates, Joe.

The Good Stuff:
R.A. Dickey didn't earn the loss, even though he's credited it in the box score. The fan favorite gave up 3 runs over 5 innings, but didn't let things get out of hand. The knuckleball was a little wild, Dickey allowed 5 walks, but you can point to a split nail on his right index finger as the culprit behind that.
No one particularly shined on offense today, but Josh Thole managed to go 2-3 and scored a run.

Final Analysis:
When the weather gets dark and cloudy, it tends to bring me down. I get a little lethargic, maybe move a little slower, my mood becomes less-than-cheery. Think Pearl Jam's Black. Perhaps the same was true for the Mets today at Citi Field. The difference is I'm a college student; I can afford to phone it in for a day. If professional baseball players get sad when the weather's bad, so do 40,000 other people. When they get sad, they need to stop being sad and be awesome instead (thanks Barney). What needs to happen in the next game is a sunny, cheery Mets team takes advantage of a home series against a team we should beat every time. Terry's boys need to show the resolve they showed coming back from down a touchdown on Wednesday in Philadelphia. I know they've got it in them.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Game #6: Phillies 11, Mets 0

So much went wrong was so bad that all pictures from the game were confiscated by the authorities as obscene material.

Okay, that didn't happen. But you could make the case for it.

Roy Halladay pitched like the Cy Young winner he is, thoroughly and completely dominating the Mets for 7 innings to give the Phillies the win and the series, 11-0.

The Bad Stuff:
Can I make it easier and say all of it? No? Fine, here's some specifics:
I think we all expected Halladay to do well, but Jon Niese's pitiful performance for the on the Met mound came as a shock. 6 runs on 8 hits in 4 innings. He got rocked so hard by Placido Polanco and the Philly offense he could have been at a Mötley Crüe concert. It was like watching last night's Pelfrey disaster, only with better lighting.
Of course, the difference between last night and today was that today the Mets' bats bared eerie resemblance to my dad's socks: full of holes. The offense couldn't get anything off of Halladay. They had a chance in the 3rd, but both David Wright and Ike Davis couldn't convert with the bases loaded, and after a total of 19 men left on base, the Amazin's had to settle for a big old Easter egg.

The Good Stuff:
Uhhh...I guess the weather in Philadelphia was pretty good today?

Final Analysis:
With Pelfrey ineffective and Niese coming off this nonsense, the Mets are still in search of an ace. Perhaps R.A. Dickey can step it up tomorrow against Washington. As for today, this is one to put behind us. Maybe keep it as extra motivation the next time we face Roy Halladay, but otherwise it's best to just get the heck out of Dodge and move on. Terry's got to get his boys ready to impress for his Citi Field debut.

In the mean time, we need to remember that things could be worse. We could be 0-6, like Boston. And at least we're all big enough to be governor of New Jersey:

Even worse, we could actually be the governor of New Jersey.
You're welcome.


Game #5: Phillies 10, Mets 7

Mike Pelfrey, who gave up six earned runs before being pulled from the game, watching Ryan Howard's home run trot. (
Amazing what a difference one night can make. Last time, the Mets' 7 runs were enough to win the game and then some. This time...not so much.

Philadelphia's offense got the best of Mike Pelfrey, and after withstanding a furious New York rally, the Phillies were able to put it away in the later innings, downing the Mets 10-7.

The Bad Stuff:
Pelfrey got rocked in his first start against the Marlins and didn't look any better in his second: he lasted just two innings against those Phightin' Phils and plunged the Mets into a pit of quicksand, giving up 7 runs (6 earned) on 8 hits. New York's de facto ace's ERA now stands at a whopping 15.63. "Stands" probably isn't the right word...more like it's being propped up like a scarecrow in a cornfield. It certainly looks the part: who doesn't lose their appetite at the sight of a 15.63 ERA?
Yet even with that awful statline, the "L" on the scoresheet goes not to Pelf but to Blaine Boyer. The reliever didn't fare much better, giving up the 3 runs over 2 innings that proved to be the game's final margin.

The Good Stuff:
The offense did their job: they got the Amazin's back in the game. Angel Pagan got it going with a two-run blast in the 4th inning, and the rest of the team picked up the pace and knocked starter Joe Blanton out of the game the next inning. All-in-all, New York managed 7 runs on 10 hits against the Pete Best of the Phillies' staff.
Carlos Beltran gets a passing grade with an RBI, as does David Wright, despite the latter's 3 strikeouts. Ike Davis continued to impress, sending home 2 more runs and bringing his five-game total to 6.
Like any sandwich or an Oreo cookie, the Mets' best stuff on the mound came in the middle: Taylor Buchholz came in to stop the bleeding and held it together for two innings, striking out 5 of the 6 batters he faced. Would have liked to see him stay in for longer, but he had to be pinch-hit for in that big 5th.

Final Analysis:
In baseball, it's three strikes and you're out. Mike Pelfrey has two strikes against him in his fight for ace status; one more and it will likely go to Jon Niese or R.A. Dickey. But aside from that, I see more good coming from this game than bad: down a touchdown, Terry Collins' team didn't quit. They stalled after the fifth, but you can't complain about 7 runs.

New York got a good draw in the first two games by facing the back end of Philly's rotation, but the real test comes tomorrow in the form of the crown jewel: two-time Cy Young-winner Roy Halladay. Let's hope that if we can somehow manage 7 runs tomorrow, starter Jon Niese can make sure that it's enough for the "W".


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Game #4: Mets 7, Phillies 1

David Wright hit a 2 run single in top of third inning on Tuesday night. (
Pitcher Chris Young went big on the mound and at the plate as the Mets continued their mastery of Cole Hamels, throttling the Phillies 7-1.

Young became the first Met pitcher ever to get two hits in one inning, leading off with a single and driving home the final score of a six run 3rd inning. His pitching wasn't half bad either: 5 1/3 innings, 1 run on 5 hits & 4 walks with 7 strikeouts, including 2 against Philly slugger Ryan Howard.

The Good Stuff:
David Wright continued his hot start, going 4-5 and driving in the first 2 runs in the 3rd. Through four games, he's hitting like the all-star starter he was in the first half last season: batting .412, a home run, 4 RBIs, 1.121 OPS. Here's hoping he keeps it up, cause he's going to have to be a .310 hitter for us to contend.
Ike Davis' only hit of the night kept the ball rolling in the 3rd and gave him his 4th RBI in four games. I'll say it again: keep an eye this guy, he's going to be something.
New York continued to own Philadelphia pitcher Cole Hamels. Before this game, his record against the Amazin's was far from impressive: 2-8 in 13 starts, with Mets batters hitting .306 against him. It didn't get any better tonight: Hamels was knocked out in the 3rd inning after giving up 6 runs on 7 hits. Don't you wish we could face this guy every night?

The Bad Stuff:
Carlos Beltran went 0-4 and struck out twice, leaving 6 runners on base and bringing his average down to .143. Fans will remember when he came back after the All Star Break last year he struggled the same way. Thank God that unlike then, we're not on the West Coast for two weeks. Maybe he'll get it back together at home over the weekend; even then, I'm not sure how worried we should be. I mean, we were in second place last year before Beltran came back.
From the "Of Course" files: Jason Bay still can't swing a bat and will be out longer than till Saturday. Bay, of course, hasn't played a game since late July after suffering a concussion on the West Coast. He's been out for a longer span than Beltran was last year, so it will probably take a while for him to get back up to the level we hoped he would be when we gave him $74 million over five years in 2010.

Final Analysis:
Guess who's in first place?!? Enjoy it while it lasts, Mets faithful. Our reign should continue Wednesday: just our luck, we're facing Joe Blanton, the "other guy" in the Phillies' rotation, whose ERA against New York is a less-than-stellar 4.19 in 3 starts. If Mike Pelfrey can get into some good vibrations, all signs are pointing to another day in the penthouse.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Game #3: Mets 9, Marlins 2

R. A. Dickey helped the Mets, who last year did not win their first road series until June, capture their first of the season. (
R.A. Dickey picked up right where he left off last year, and the Mets offense took advantage of many Florida gifts, winning the rubber match of the series over the Marlins, 9-2.

In his first outing as the team's reigning ERA leader, Dickey, the 36-year-old knuckleballer who won over Flushing fans last season, struck out seven and gave up just one unearned run, five hits, and three walks in six innings of work. Unlike in many of his starts last year, however, the Mets' bats managed to come alive to guarantee R.A.D. would walk away with the "W".

Willie Harris continued to make his case for a full-time starting spot, blasting a two-run home run in the top of the 1st. Ike Davis built on his hot start in the 3rd with his first round-tripper of the new year. All-in-all, New York made hell for Florida's Javier Vazquez, who was pulled from his first start as a Marlin in the 3rd after allowing seven runs. Vazquez's team didn't make life any easier for him either, committing two errors (3 total) that lead to three Mets runs.

NY's bullpen came in after Dickey's six for mop-up duty. Save for a rocky outing from Chris Capuano, the game was effectively sewn up by relievers D.J. Carrasco, Tim Byrdak, and Taylor Buchholz.

Final Analysis:
In 2010, the Mets had to wait till June to win their first road series, and till August to win their first NL road series. In 2011, they didn't wait at all. I'd say that's a great start to the Terry Collins era. Dickey seems on his way to proving that last year's success wasn't one-and-done. Also impressive is how Willie Harris has started out his career in orange and blue: in three games, he's four of ten with three extra-base hits and four RBIs. If he keeps this up, New York could again be faced with a crowded outfield once Jason Bay comes back.

The team has off on Monday, but Tuesday brings a real test: a three game series in Philadelphia against the four-time defending division champions. That series will prove what Terry's boys are really made of, but for one weekend at least, Mets fans can go to bed with the satisfaction of a job well-done.

Sleep well, Mr. Met.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Game #2: Mets 6, Marlins 4 (10)

David Wright's third hit of the game scored Jose Reyes with the go-ahead run in the 10th inning. (

David Wright hit his first home run of the new campaign and drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning as the Mets picked up their first win of the season, beating the Florida Marlins 6-4.

A Josh Thole RBI single in the top of the 9th initially put New York up 3-2, but closer Francisco Rodriguez blew his first save opportunity since last summer's incident with his girlfriend's father, giving up three singles and a walk, including the tying hit to pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs.

If had this been last year, the Mets may have simply curled up and died. Not this time: Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, and David Wright started off the extra frame with three straight singles, with Wright's bringing home Reyes. Three batters later, Willie Harris provided a perfect insurance plan: a double to right field which brought home both runners for a 6-3 lead. He gave up a run in the bottom of the 10th, but Blaine Boyer buckled down and picked up his first save.

Despite a rocky two-run first inning, Amazin's starter Jon Niese was able to keep the lid on the Marlins through seven innings, allowing just that pair of runs on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Bobby Parnell came in to provide a scoreless eighth, striking out two of the three Marlins he faced, including shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

Wright got the offense rolling in the fourth with an opposite-field solo home run off Florida starter Ricky Nolasco. The slugging third baseman is on the right start to match his 29 dingers last season. In the sixth, Ike Davis brought home Carlos Beltran on a game-tying double. The Mets finished with a whopping 13 hits, including three each from Wright and Josh Thole.

Final Anaylsis:
Smile, Terry! I doubt we would have seen the Mets come back to win this game last year. Collins seems to have injected life into this once lethargic group of 25. Not a good sign for K-Rod; let's hope he can finally live up to his contract and regain the form he had in Anaheim. Encouraging to see Wright doing what a #3 man should do: getting clutch hits and not striking out. Davis continues to impress; I'll say it again: keep an eye on him. I don't know how many games we'll win this year, but one thing is for sure: Terry Collins won't let his team quit. And if only for his sake, I don't think they will quit.

On a completely different note, Go Butler! Good luck in Monday's championship game.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Game #1: Marlins 6, Mets 2

The Mets' Carlos Beltran after the Florida Marlins' John Buck hit a grand slam in the fourth inning of their opening night in Miami. (

New York bats were kept largely silent by Florida ace Josh Johnson and pitcher Mike Pelfrey served  up a grand slam to catcher John Buck as the Marlins took a 6-2 win over the Mets on opening day.

Johnson, the National League's defending ERA champion, kept the Mets (0-1) without a hit through six innings. His bid to toss the second no-hitter ever thrown on Opening Day (Bob Feller, 1940) was broken up by a Willie Harris double in the 7th inning. Carlos Beltran brought him home two batters later with a double, and he was in turn brought in on an RBI ground out by Ike Davis. That was all the O the Amazin's would get, however, as reliever Michael Dunn came in with two runners on to strike out Scott Hariston and end the rally.

With Johan Santana on the back burner till July, starter Mike Pelfrey struggled in his first outing as the Mets' de facto ace. He lasted just 4 1/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on four hits and four walks. Relievers Blaine Boyer and Pedro Beato combined four 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief, but Marlins left fielder Logan Morrison got the best of Taylor Buchholz in the eighth inning, going yard and pushing Florida (1-0)'s lead to four.

While they were facing one of the top 5 starters in the National League, New York's offense mirrored its anemic tenancies that emerged last year. Leadoff man Jose Reyes went 0-4 at the plate. So did David Wright, striking out twice in the process (the increasingly K-prone third baseman is on pace for 324...). There were a couple bright spots: Willie Harris (Jason Bay's temporary replacement in left field) got two big hits and Beltran said his knee felt relaxed and he felt good in his new right field home.

Final Analysis:
While it's impossible to judge a team on its first game, there are certainly things the Mets and new manager Terry Collins need to make sure don't become the norm. Baseball's a long season, the longest of any sport. There will be plenty of chances to fix it, but sooner, clearly, would be better than later.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Official Season Preview

The 2011 season is finally upon us. About three hours remain till the Amazin's take the field at Sun Life Stadium to face the Florida Marlins in the first of what's sure to be a 162 game roller coaster ride.

My plan was to use this post as a preview of the players and the season, but unfortunately manager Terry Collins already beat me to it. Unfortunate's probably not the best word; it's good the manager is invested enough to write a letter like that...let's say "fortunately inconvenient."

Instead, let's talk best/worst case scenarios.

Best case:
The team does exactly what Collins implies they'll do in his letter. The Phillies have four aces but no offense and struggle to win consistently. Johan Santana comes back in July at his old form. Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay stay healthy and productive. Ike Davis and Josh Thole turn out to be the second coming of Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter. David Wright only strikes out 100 times as opposed to 150 and bats .300 again. The Mets win a relatively weak NL East on the final weekend of the season. The playoffs are a crap shoot so anything is possible.

Worst case:
Collins was forced by the Wilpons to write that letter and actually knows that this season will be a venerable hell. The Phillies don't need offense because their four aces hold teams under 2 runs every game. Johan succumbs to further injury and is lost for the whole season. Bay sneezes and breaks another rib; his production mirrors that of last year. Beltran steps in a hidden drain pipe in Citi Field and is lost for the season. Davis & Thole turn out to play like fifty-something-year-olds Hernandez and Carter would today. David Wright breaks 180 strikeouts and bats .270. K-Rod assaults a NY cop and is released from the team...we resign Ollie in order to fill the closer's spot. The Mets lose 90 games and finish last, behind even the Nationals, in a strong NL East.

My prediction:
Somewhere in the middle. Winning record, third in the division behind Philly & Atlanta, with a solid foundation for next season.

I leave you with a little reminder of how good it can get...
Have a great season guys.