Browsing Archive May, 2007

And the Winner is …

Congratulations to Paulie K of Staten Island — he’s the winner of the MetsToday ticket giveaway!

Paulie — better known as “Walnutz15” for those who roam the boards — successfully answered all four questions and had the lucky ping-pong ball (strangely, the first three balls all had the NY Knicks logo) that won him the tickets.

Thanks again to all who participated, and be sure to subscribe to the site updates via RSS or email to ensure you are aware of the next time I raffle off Mets tickets.


Contest Closed!

Lola the Italian Greyhound in Mets jersey at SheaThe contest to win two tickets to next Tuesday’s game between the Mets and Giants has closed. The winner has been contacted via email to confirm that he/she will be able to go to the game.

For everyone sitting on the edge of your seat, here are the answers to the questions:

1. Hobie Landrith was the starting catcher in the first game in Mets history. Who was the Mets’ starting catcher in their second game?

Joe Ginsberg

2. Name one item from the “Kitchen Stuff” section of the “Hand-picked MetsToday Store”.

anything from the Kitchen Stuff section was acceptable

3. What is the name of my dog, and what is the breed type?

her name is Lola (she is a show girl …) and she is an Italian Greyhound

4. Who is the “Baby-faced Assassin?”

Danny Graves

Thanks to everyone who participated … it was a lot of fun to read everyone’s “creative” answers. Hopefully we’ll be able to do this again soon.


Will Ruben Gotay Play?

The New York Mets' Damion Easley trots around the bases after hitting a homerunSomeone should introduce Willie Randolph to the skinny kid wearing #6, and let Willie know that the kid plays his old position — second base. Because it’s apparent that Mr. Randolph is unaware that there is someone other than Damion Easley capable of manning the keystone.

Let’s get one thing straight: I’m supportive of Easley, and feel he has a place on this Mets 2007 team. However, I’m certain that his place is NOT as an everyday second sacker.

The last time Easley was an everyday player was in 2001, when he was 31 years old. At that time, his bat started to slow, his already limited range was becoming more glaring, and his previously above-average speed reduced to average. It’s now six years later, and all of those statements continue to ring true. If performance-enhancing drugs were still allowed in MLB, Easley might have a fighting chance. Perhaps, while the Mets play in Florida this weekend, he can try visiting the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine. But the way things stand now, Easley’s bat and legs are slower than they were six years ago, and his fielding is inadequate at best. With his all-around average skills, experience, and occasional pop in the bat, Damion Easley is perfect for the role that he signed on for: super-sub and pinch-hitter.

Yet, Willie Randolph continues to write Easley’s name on the lineup card night after night. Sure, he’s hit 7 homeruns this year — great output for a second baseman — but the bombs do not make up for all of Easley’s shortcomings. Putting him in the lineup because he might hit a homerun is not typical Willie strategy (though it does resemble Joe Torre’s style), which makes this all the more mysterious.

How many more balls need to scoot through the right side of the infield? How many more times does Easley have to botch a routine play? How many more weak ground balls and popups must we witness before Ruben Gotay is given some reps at second base?

It’s understandable that Willie wants to play Easley while he’s swinging a hot bat. But the fact is, his bat isn’t THAT hot. He’s batting .268 in the month of May, with 5 homeruns and 12 RBI. His other ten hits were singles, his OBP is .333, and he’s scored 9 runs. Other than the homers, not much to get excited about. Here’s something else: remove his 3-hit, 4-RBI game against the Brewers — which the Mets won 9-1 — and his batting average plummets to .235, homers go down to 4 and RBI down to 8.

Meanwhile, rotting on the bench is 24-year-old Gotay — he of the slick glove, fast feet, and more than adequate bat. Right now, he’s batting .240 with a .269 OBP — hardly impressive, for sure, but his playing time is limited to pinch-hitting appearances and occasional starts on weekday afternoons. If given the chance, Gotay probably won’t hit a homerun every 11 at-bats the way Easley has, but he has the skills to surpass Easley in every other offensive and defensive category.

Further, it makes sense to play Gotay to thwart the two-sided destruction Carlos Delgado is inflicting on the team lately. First, Delgado on defense looks like a man whose feet are stuck in cement; putting Damion Easley at second merely widens the chasm for grounders to poke through. While Gotay is no Anderson Hernandez, he’s certainly at least two steps better than Easley, and should be able to turn some of those dribblers into outs — this is especially vital when Tom Glavine is on the mound. Secondly, Delgado’s extended slump means the Mets need to make things happen on offense, rather than wait for the homerun. I guess this is part of why Easley’s bat is constantly in the lineup — Willie’s hoping the homers keep coming — but it goes against what Randolph has built over the last two years. Gotay can bunt, hit-and-run, and steal, and has enough speed to avoid hitting into double plays. In other words, he can make things happen, and fits into Willie’s aggressive style of play; think of him as another Endy Chavez.

Again, I have nothing personal against Damion Easley, and in fact think he’s a great piece of the team. However, playing him every day — when there is a skilled and viable option available — makes little sense and is detrimental to long-range success. The more he plays, the more he’s exposed — and the more rusty Ruben Gotay gets on the bench. As long as Easley is popping the ball over the fence, it’s fine to play him 3-4 times a week, at most. He’ll get needed rest to stay fresh but still have his timing, and his inadequecies won’t be so obvious. But believing he’s an everyday player is unfair to him, to Gotay, and the pitching staff — and in the end, all of those players will suffer, as well as the team overall.


Win Mets Tickets: 2 Hours Left!

If you haven’t yet entered the contest to win 2 tickets to the May 29th game between the Mets and Giants at Shea, you have until 4pm today (May 23) to enter.

Once again, it’s a 7:10 PM start at Shea next Tuesday, the two tickets are in the Loge, section 20.

To enter the contest, you must answer the four questions and fill out contact details here: Mets Contest.

All entries with correct answers have a chance to win.

Good Luck !


Giambi Fails Test

Jason Giambi in pinstripesThe most-tested baseball player on the East Coast apparently failed.

Jason Giambi reportedly failed an amphetamines test sometime within the last year.

The Daily News reported that after the failed amphetamines test, Giambi is subjected to six additional tests for one year. We suppose that would explain why Giambi would blurt out that he was “probably tested more than anybody else,” to USA Today.

The Daily News did not cite any sources in its report, and Giambi refused comment.


Mets Game 44: Loss to Braves

Braves 8 Mets 1

Atlanta Braves pitcher Kyle Davies delivers a pitch against the New York MetsKyle Davies must die.

Preferably, the death will be the result of a murder-suicide involving Kelly Johnson.

And speaking of evil deeds, the deal with the devil that Jorge Sosa made finally ran out; apparently he needed a better negotiator.

Maybe it was a matter of returning to Atlanta, and putting too much internal pressure on himself to prove his old team wrong. Or maybe the Braves batters know Sosa better than anyone. In any case, Jorge was awful, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits, 3 walks and one homerun in 4 innings. His highlight was a 1-2-3 first inning, but it was all downhill from there.

Sosa’s bad karma extended to Aaron Sele, who gave up pitcher Kyle Davies’ fifth career hit — which happened to be a 3-run homer that transformed the Braves lead from comfortable to insurmountable.

But it didn’t matter what Sosa (or Sele) did, because the Mets couldn’t hit Kyle Davies. Two days after Tyler Clippard pitched the game of his life, Davies had the greatest game in his (that includes little league, I checked).

Kyle Davies — certainly you’ve heard of him? If you’re in a fantasy league, he wouldn’t be on your team — even in a deep, NL-only league. He had a 5+ ERA coming into this game, and typically has trouble getting past the FOURTH inning (in this contest, he pitched through, ahem, the 8th). The offensive juggernauts known as the Rockies, Nationals, and Marlins have beaten the crap out of Davies — yet against the Mets he’s something akin to a young Jim Palmer. Somebody please ‘splain dis to me?

Davies didn’t look dominating; in fact, the Mets seemed to hit him pretty well. But they couldn’t put anything together with less than two outs, and were often the victims of bad calls or bad bounces.

The sixth inning was particularly painful, and a microcosm of the ballgame. Carlos Beltran led off by hitting a rocket right at Kelly Johnson. Then Carlos Delgado worked himself into what should have been a comfortable 3-1 count, but the home plate umpire screwed ‘los and called a high and outside pitch strike two to make the count 2-2 — he struck out swinging on the next pitch. To top off the inning, David Wright hit a screamer right at Edgar Renteria. In the boxscore, it looks like a simple 1-2-3 inning, and to the sabermetricians, it’s boiled down to BABIP. For those who witnessed it, it’s termed AGITA.


Paul LoDuca and Carlos Beltran combined for five of the Mets’ eight hits. Whoop-dee-doo.

Beltran went the other way for a double to left-center in the 8th — a very good sign, since we haven’t seen him going to left very much this year. Nice to see him going with the outside pitch, rather than trying to pull it.

A bright spot? There was one: Ambiorix Burgos pitched two scoreless innings of mop-up duty. He gave up one hit and struck out one on 22 pitches, with a few clocked north of 95.

Next Game

The pressure is on Oliver Perez to be the stopper once again. He faces Chuck James in another TBS-derived 7:35 PM start. The Mets banged James around for 10 hits and 6 runs in 5.1 innings the last time they faced him; let’s see more of the same.


9 Questions: Atlanta Braves

Inspector Clouseau hunting down the MetsWith two and a half games separating the Mets and Braves at the beginning of another three-game series between the two teams, we’re lucky enough to get some inside information from Kristi Dosh, one of the excellent writers over at Chop-N-Change, a popular Braves blog.

Read on for the top 9 questions regarding the series (why not 10? because we’re different!) …

1. Tough series in Fenway … no doubt the Braves are glad to be going home. How much of the two losses to Boston were due to the mental mind games of playing in Fenway Park? Were there any other significant factors?

Anthony Lerew has now admitted to having elbow pain recently, it came as no surprise that he got beat up on early and had such a short outing on Saturday. I’m sure most Braves fans would agree with me that we’re sick of young pitchers who hide their arm pain. I’m all for sending Lerew back down to give him time to heal and to mature.

Hudson losing, however, was a surprise – at least based on his performances so far this season. Red Sox fans called it though, citing his lifetime 1-4 record and 7.92 ERA at Fenway. Either his pitching isn’t suited to Fenway or he has some serious mental issues about playing a few hundred feet from the Green Monster!

4. This is shaping up to be an exciting race between the Braves and Mets — and the Phillies are starting to come on as well. What will the Braves have to do — other than exile Mark Redman — in order to take the NL East pennant?

Along with exiling Mark Redman, the Braves need to clone Smoltz and Hudson to fill two more spots in the starting rotation. Kidding, of course, but in all seriousness, the Braves have got to have another quality starter in order to make it to the playoffs. My prediction is that we’ll part ways with Jarrod Saltalamacchia in order to score a solid starter.

5. What is going on at first base? Is Thorman/Wilson really the answer?

Wilson is no longer the answer and was released last week. Thorman has been doing fantastic defensively and his offense has really come on as well. I think you might see a few guest appearances at first base by Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the season progresses, but I imagine he’ll end up as trade bait and not as part of a permanent platoon at first base.

6. Bob Wickman, Rafael Soriano, Mike Gonzalez: who do YOU like as the closer?

I’m very torn about this one. At the beginning of the season, I would have said Wickman without pause. However, I’m a big fan of Soriano now. I especially like the one-two punch Gonzalez and Soriano provide when they cover the eighth and ninth. After this season, I imagine Wickman will retire and we’ll rely on the Gonzalez-Soriano pair to finish games. For now, I’m thrilled to have three guys who can close after the year we had last year with no closer.

7. Let’s play GM. What do you want for Jarrod Saltalamacchia? (how about Lastings Milledge?)

Now this is my kind of question! Those who’ve followed me for any amount of time will know that my dream is to be the first female GM in Major League Baseball. Until then, here’s my amateur attempt at my *dream* deal…

I would trade C Jarrod Saltalamacchia and minor league LHP Matt Harrison to San Diego for Jake Peavy. He’s currently signed through the 2008 season with an option for 2009. He’s due $6 million in 2008 (not counting escalators) and the option for 2009 is at $8 million.

San Diego could use Saltalamacchia both offensively and defensively. Their current platoon, Bard and Bowen, have done little offensively. Bard is only batting .239 and Bowen is doing even worse at .200. As a matter of fact, none of their starting lineup is batting .300 (with only a scant few over .275). In addition, Bard and Bowen have combined to allow 51 stolen bases. Saltalamacchia has the skills both offensively and defensively to make a huge difference to the Padres, who are battling against the Dodgers for the NL West.

Obviously, it would take more than just Saltalamacchia to get Peavy. With that in mind, I’d be willing to make minor league LHP Matt Harrison available. He’s probably the top pitching prospect in the Braves farm system and is having a great year at AA Mississippi. He’s currently 4-1 with a .304 ERA and OBA of .247. It won’t be long before he’s ready to come up and he should make a solid #3 starter.

I’m imagining it could take a little more to sway the Padres to let go of Peavy (if they’d even let go of him), so I’d be willing to throw in another minor leaguer, just not sure which one. The deal might best be done as a three-way deal with another team if there’s something specific the Padres need.

While we may need an outfielder like Milledge in the future (if Andruw is gone after this season), I’m not willing to give up Saltalamacchia for anything but an amazing starter right now.

8. Let’s play manager. Two out, bottom of the ninth, you need a base hit to win, and Chipper’s not available. Who do you want to see at the plate against the Mets?

I’m probably the only Braves fan who will say this, but Matt Diaz. Going into this past weekend, his .467 batting average led the National League in pinch hitting situations. He’s batting .352 on the season and was 7 for 12 this past weekend against the Red Sox. For some reason, most Braves fans aren’t big on him, but I always have faith in him in a pinch!

9. Going the inverse route: what Mets batter do you most fear in the same situation?

I think I’d have to say Jose Reyes. Both when leading off and when hitting in a clutch situation, he seems to come through. He’s batting .429 against the Braves at Shea and .333 against the Braves at The Ted, with 4 RBIs at each park this year against the Braves.

Thanks again to Kristi Dosh of Chop-N-Change for providing her insights.