David Gogel is a lifelong Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @troonooyawker.
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Mets vs. Cubs Series Preview

Mets vs Cubs: Snakebitten Edition

I don’t want to be cliche and use the “this is a trap series” but this is a trap series. When playing well, the Mets have a bad habit of playing down to their competition. This is a young team and I expect lapses such as this, but I am hoping they go out and put the foot to them. Because folks, the Cubs are not very good. The team might be tough to watch, but here are some players worth keeping an eye out for:


Mets vs Orioles Preview: The Wire Edition

“Game’s the same, just got more fierce” – Slim Charles

Once again, the Mets will take on a team from the American League (B)East. Trips to the Bronx and Toronto did not fare so well, but amazingly the offense teed off in Tampa. This is a tough stretch for the Mets pitching staff (the Rays really had nothing, especially with Longoria hurt) as they face the Orioles and Yankees again. As good as the Mets starters have been, they have been susceptible to teams that can go yard — except for R.A. Dickey; only kryptonite can stop him. For those unfamiliar with the birds from Baltimore, let’s see who to watch out for:


Who’s On Second?

As I write this, the Rays and Rangers are locked in a game in the bottom of the 9th, and the hated Yanks have gotten the jump on Justin Verlander in the first inning. More pressing concerns are afoot however (Ok, not really) in the form of the Mets’ second base competition. No matter who Terry Collins awards the job, at least we know there is no Luis Castillo to worry about … unless Collins decides to award Luis Hernandez another shot … and he wouldn’t do that, right?! Enough with the snark, time to take a look at the Metropolitans’ options at second as of right now.


Mets Birthdays: The Francos

Happy Birthday John Franco!

Today is the 51st birthday of one of the most beloved Mets, Brooklyn-born John Franco. He wore the Mets uniform for a staggering 14 years. 14 years! During his tenure in Queens, he tallied 48 wins, 56 losses, a nice 3.10 ERA to go along with an impressive 276 saves and All-Star appearances. What made for an impressive career as a closer, was that he lacked the typical closer repertoire. Not a flamethrower, Franco was one of those crafty lefties you hear so much about. Being one of the few screwball pitchers around, hitters were not be able to figure him out. His saves were of the cardiac variety, but Franco got the job done.

However, John Franco provided much more then stats over the years. He eventually became the leader of not only the bullpen but of the entire team. Franco was named team captain in 2001, and served as such thru 2004. As one of the rare players to be embraced by teammates, the media, and fans John Franco will always remain a favorite in Flushing.

As it is a busy day for celebrations today, We should also send a birthday shout out to another Franco, the immortal Julio Franco. Who, shockingly is not on anyone’s roster. Perhaps at 52 he can still contribute? No? As a Met, he pinch ran for Carlos Delgado, becoming the oldest player to do so. He still plays a part in helping out the Mets these days as well, Julio Franco is the manager of the Mets’ Gulf Coast League rookie squad. A fine role model for young Brandon Nimmo to learn from.

Also celebrating birthdays today: Ed Hearn (51), Pat Strange (31), and Prentice Redman (32)


What To Do With Angel Pagan?

It’s Angel Pagan Day at MetsToday; this is a post by Dave Gogel, so please direct your feedback to him. — Joe

2010 was a banner year for Angel Pagan. He was finally healthy and getting an opportunity to play, and Pagan took full advantage. He produced a sexy slash line of .290/.340/.425 to go with 11 bombs, 69 RBI, and 37 stolen bases. Pagan also played a golden quality center field, making the cavern seem a bit smaller. His production had many a Met fan giddy and gave the anti-Beltran clan more ammo. Not only was he finally healthy, but his penchant for terrible baseball decisions in the field on the base paths were no longer apparent. So did the Mets have a late bloomer on their hands, and someone to hold the fort in center while some of the kids developed?


Happy Birthday Guillermo Mota and Billy Wagner

The Baseball Gods have given us Met fans a fun treat today. Two relievers whom evoke completely differently emotional responses share the same birthday. Since he used to set up for Wagner, it is only appropriate that we start with Guillermo Mota. Omar Minaya decided to trade for his services in 2006 after being designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians. He pitched well enough after being acquired, posting a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings, helping solidify the 8th inning. In the offseason, Mota got hit with a 50-game suspension for testing position for performance-enhancing drugs. Minaya decided to sign him to a 2-year deal despite this (apparently not putting together the reasoning behind his success). To no one’s surprise, he was terrible and was hated almost as soon as he stepped on the mound.

In 59.1 innings with the Mets, Mota posted an ugly 5.76 ERA and gave up 8 gopher balls. In November of 2007, Minaya parted ways with his investment and shipped him to the Brewers for Johnny Estrada. Thanks for PED-assisted 2006 Mota, and Happy 38th Birthday!

The Sandman (Flushing version) enters now as the birthday boy. Only in New York can the tabloids make a controversy out of music that closers choose. On November 29 of 2005, Billy Wagner was plucked off the free agent market to shore up our closer situation. Despite having a tendency to blow saves in important games (much like Trevor Hoffman), Wagner had a nice run with the Metropolitans. He had save totals of 40, 34, and 27 and his ERA never rose above 2.63. Happy Birthday Billy “The Kid” Wagner!