Archive: May 26th, 2007

Mets Game 48: Win over Marlins

Mets 7 Marlins 2

Mets slugger Carlos Delgado homers against the Florida MarlinsGreat news for Mets fans: Carlos Delgado is back to his old self, and John Maine has his “luck” back as well.

Maine pitched six solid innings, allowing four hits, two runs, striking out 8 and walking four. Yes, he walked too many — again — but otherwise did a fine job of keeping the Marlins bats in check.

Meantime, Carlos Delgado chose his former team to unleash his season’s frustrations, homering twice and driving in five runs. His two-run homer in the third gave the Mets a comfortable 4-1 lead, and his three-run blast in the fifth put the game away for good. With Maine mowin’ ’em down, the Mets up by six, and a hard rain falling, the Marlins were like a fish out of water.


While Delgado went 3-for-5 with 5 RBI, Endy Chavez also went 3-for-5 with a triple, a run, and a stolen base. Chavez was also thrown out stealing to end the top of the fourth. A curious decision, as John Maine stood on third base with Carlos Beltran batting. It’s good to be aggressive, but you don’t want to take the bat out of your top RBI man’s hands with a runner on third and two out.

Paul LoDuca stole his second base in three games, and went 1-for-3.

Jose Reyes is still cool, though he managed one single and stole his 27th base of the year.

David Wright was hitless, but walked three times and scored two runs.

David Newhan started in leftfield and batted eighth, and went 1-for-4.

Next Game

The Mets will go for a sweep on Sunday afternoon, sending Jorge Sosa to the mound against Scott Olsen. It’s a 1:05 PM start.


Mets Memorabilia

Generally speaking, if you are looking to buy anything related to the New York Mets, I’d prefer you visit the Handpicked Mets Store, as a fraction of the sales goes toward the server bills that keeps MetsToday going.

However, I understand that Amazon doesn’t carry everything, and in fact is quite sparse when it comes to really cool stuff, such as Mets collectibles. That said, whenever I find other online stores that offer stuff not available through the Handpicked store, I’ll post it here.

For example, has a vast collection of Mets memorabilia — over 800 items, in fact. There are the usual signed balls and bats, but also some neat black and white photos autographed from the heroes of yesteryear, like Cleon Jones, Yogi Berra, Jerry Koosman, Tom Seaver, and others. One of my favorite unique pieces is a photo of Buddy Harrelson and Pete Rose trading blows in their infamous battle during the 1973 NLCS — signed by both players!

A similar “dual autograph” photo is of Mookie Wilson running up the first base line as his grounder goes through Bill Buckner’s legs. There are plenty of esoteric items as well … for example, where else can you find a game ball from Eric Valent’s cycle, signed by Valent?

If you’re looking for a unique gift for the Mets nut in your life, is worth a perusal.


Inside Look: Florida Marlins

Florida Marlins Manager Fredi Gonzalez argues with the umpireMuch about the Marlins has changed since the last time the Mets faced them. They’re beginning to take on a new character under first-year manager Fredi Gonzalez. We asked Craig Strain from the popular Florida Marlins blog FishStripes to offer some insight on the young, up-and-coming team.

1. What is your opinion of Fredi Gonzalez? How does his style differ from Joe Girardi’s? Do you think Gonzalez is a good fit for the current Marlins players?

I think Fredi is doing a good job but he is still getting his feet wet as a rookie manager. The problem that has happened so far is that the team has had a lot injuries this season. It’s one thing to be first-time manager. It is completely another to be one when the personnel keeps changing. Fredi has handled the situation about as good as can be expected.

Girardi was an introvert and a strict disciplinarian. He was basically a drill sergeant in style. Fredi is an extrovert and his more like everyone’s favorite uncle.

Gonzalez appears to relate well with the players and by all accounts, I have seen, they enjoy playing for him. Also, he gets along real well with the front office which is something Girardi never did.

2. Today, the closer appears to be Kevin Gregg. How long will that last, and who are the other options? Will Byung-Hun Kim be considered, or is he more needed in the rotation?

te>Gregg will be the closer for some time to come. When Owens returns, possibly this weekend, he will be worked in slowly and could regain the closer’s role later in the season. Gregg is very versatile, he has the ability to start, if necessary. If Owens shows he is back to form, then Gregg could end up being more valuable in another role. Other options to close are Lindstrom, Tankersley and maybe Messenger if Gregg falters and Owens is not ready.

Kim will stay in the rotation for now and he wants to be a starter. Eventually, hopefully, some the starters return from the DL and if they are up to speed Kim will be bullpen-bound. No one has mentioned him as a closer candidate, at this point. And assuming the closer at the time is getting the job done, I doubt he will unseat them from the position.

3. Some Mets fans were unhappy to see Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom go to the Marlins during the offseason. Have they impressed you? (I realize Owens is hurt now)

I am very impressed by the two pitchers. Owens was the Marlins closer before going on the DL and he was doing an excellent job before the injury. Lindstrom has promise written all over him and he is really improving as a pitcher. Initially he was just relying solely on his fastball and as you know velocity isn’t enough by itself. But as the season has gone on, he is gaining confidence in his breaking stuff, mixing his pitches, and becoming more effective.

4. Randy Messenger pitched a key inning against the Mets the last time these two teams met. Has he been as dominant since? Who else do you trust out of the bullpen?

Contrary to what the Mets announcers were saying last night and the ninth inning disaster aside, the bullpen has been very effective this season. Although they are seeing way too much work so far, but the starters are getting their act together and going deeper in the games recently. Now that Jorge Julio is gone, I don’t cringe when any of the relievers take the mound.

6. The Marlins are 6 1/2 back at this point, but there is plenty of season left. What will be the key for them to rise to the top of the standings?

Get healthy and stay that way. The Marlins have 60 percent of last year’s rotation presently on the DL. Not to mention they are joined there by the closer, the starting first baseman, two other relievers, the starting and backup center fielder. Last year’s right fielder just recently returned to the club.

It has been the season of the injury thus far. The fact that the Marlins are hovering around .500 is a testament to depth of their bench and the organization in general.

If the team can get all the players back, then they could make a run for the playoffs. But honestly, I’ve seen no signs of this happening.

Thanks again to Craig for his thoughts. Be sure to visit FishStripes to get all the scoop on the Florida Marlins.


Mets Game 47: Win over Marlins

Mets 6 Marlins 2

New York Mets pitcher Orlando El Duque Herandez pitching against the MarlinsThis game was a lot closer than the final score tells. In the end, it was the Mets who were a little less lazy than the Marlins.

For seven innings, there was no score, as Orlando Hernandez and Sergio Mitre traded goose eggs. El Duque, in his first start since April 24th, was magnificent, pitching six shutout innings and allowing only two hits, walking none, and striking out four. After allowing a base hit to Alfredo Amezaga in the first, Hernandez retired the next 17 consecutive batters. Ironically, it was Amezaga again who broke the streak, singling in the sixth. If Reggie Abercrombie started in center, El Duque might have pitched a no-hitter.

Mitre was not nearly as dominating as El Duque, but kept the Mets from scoring. He allowed 8 hits and a walk in 7 2/3 innings, striking out 8. The Mets might have scored at least twice — had they hustled. Maybe it was a combination of getting into Florida at three in the morning and then having to deal with the heat and humidity, but whatever the case, the Mets did not come to the game ready to compete at a high level. They were lackadaisacal, both in the field and at bat. Perhaps the ban on greenies is having a negative effect on the sport?

The most glaring example came in the seventh inning. David Wright led off, and bounced a ball down the first base line. At first, it looked as though it would roll foul, but eventually took a funny hop and found its way into first baseman Aaron Boone’s glove. Wright did not run out of the box, assuming it a foul ball, and was put out easily. The next batter, Carlos Delgado, mashed a ball off the leftfield fence, but because he had not been running hard, was thrown out at second base. Replays showed that Delgado got his hand in, but the fact was, it shouldn’t have been that close; had Delgado run hard out of the box and through first base, he’d have gotten to second standing. Right there the Mets should have been up by one, because even if Wright had not scored on Delgado’s double, the red-hot Paul LoDuca followed with a base hit that might have scored both Wright and Delgado.

As if that weren’t enough, in the bottom of the next inning, Carlos Beltran slipped and fell while tracking down a line drive off the bat of Miguel Olivo. Fine, that happens, but Beltran’s lazy reaction to hunt down the ball allowed Olivo to get to third, and he eventually scored the tying run (at the time) on a sac fly.

Luckily, the Mets woke up in the 9th, scoring five runs, topped off by a Beltran double with the bases loaded that scored two runs. Until then, though, it could have gone either way.

Billy Wagner had a very shaky ninth to finish the game; Aaron Heilman — who allowed the tying run to score in the 8th — stole his fifth win.


Two remarkably nonsensical moves by Willie Randolph: first, he leaves Damion Easley in the game in the ninth inning while Ruben Gotay’s much better glove rests on the bench. As a result, Easley was too slow in charging a ground ball by Olivo, and allowed Olivo to earn an infield hit. Granted, the hit meant nothing, but that’s not the point; why wasn’t Gotay in the game?

Secondly, the decision to allow Wagner to pitch the ninth. Historically, Wagner does not do well with big leads, for whatever reason. Once the Mets jumped ahead by five, Wagner should have sat down and Amby Burgos or Aaron Sele gotten warm. I understand the timing issue, but there would have been enough time to get Burgos ready — he’s a professional, for goodness sakes. Instead, Wagner went out there in a non-save situation, ended up tossing 32 pitches, and likely won’t be available for Saturday night’s game.

Joe Smith pitched a perfect seventh, striking out one.

Carlos Delgado continues to be tepid, going 2-for-3, with both hits smacked to leftfield.

Paul LoDuca is on fire; he had four hits in five at-bats, and is now batting .329. Time to move him back to the second spot?

Jose Reyes continues to struggle; he’s swinging at everything, swinging early in counts, and looks like he’s regressed by two years.

Shawn Green fouled a ball off his foot, cracking a bone, and may be out for the next few games. That will likely buy Carlos Gomez a few more days on the roster — and perhaps a few more starts.

David Newhan was called upon to bunt in the 8th, got a great pitch to handle, and doinked it right back to the pitcher, who easily threw out Damion Easley at second. If Newhan can’t hit for average, can’t bunt, doesn’t steal bases (despite supposedly good speed), and isn’t being used for defensive purposes … well, what is his role on the team?

Next Game

John Maine faces Wes Obermueller in a 7:05 PM start. Time for Maine to get back on the horse and give the Mets a solid six innings. Also time for the bats to get busy.