Archive: April 2nd, 2008

Mets Game 3: Win Over Marlins

Mets 13 Marlins 0

Where was all that offense on Tuesday? Never mind the idea that Matt Wise threw a hanging changeup in the tenth inning of game two — it wasn’t he who lost the game, but rather the ineptness of the Mets’ offense against one of the worst pitching staffs in MLB that caused the loss.

But I digress … back to game three, which was an old-fashioned blowout.

Oliver Perez was spectacular, spinning six shutout innings of five-hit ball, walking one and striking out eight, expending 93 pitches in the process. Newest addition Nelson Figueroa came on to pitch a perfect seventh, and Pedro Feliciano pitched a scoreless eighth. Billy Wagner summoned an unusual amount of courage to close out the game. Collectively, Mets pitchers allowed no runs on six hits and one walk, striking out 10 in a 126-pitch performance.

While Ollie’s outing was outstanding, the big story was the bats. The Mets pummeled Andrew Miller for five runs in four innings, then bashed reliever Lee Gardner for another five in the sixth inning. Leading the way was David Wright, who continued his MVP argument with three hits, two runs scored, and three RBI, finishing one triple away from hitting for the cycle. Carlos Beltran added three hits of his own, scoring two runs and driving in another. Every Met in the starting lineup had at least one hit except for Perez, with five of the starters collecting two hits or more.


Notes

Ryan Church — who drove in three — is hitting .385 this season, but that’s 15 points less than fellow former Nationals teammate Brian Schneider (2 RBI), who is at .400. Imagine if those two — combined with Angel Pagan’s .400 hitting — can keep up that pace at the bottom of the lineup? Not likely, but hey, we can dream.

Lastings Milledge, BTW, is hitting .182.

Marlins closer Kevin Gregg is the highest-paid Fish, with a $2.5M contract.

Next Game

Day off on Thursday, then the Mets travel north to Atlanta to face the Braves for a three-game weekend series. John Maine faces Tim Hudson in the opener on Friday night at 7:35 PM.

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He Told You So

Nelson Figueroa of the New York MetsIt looks like Pedro Martinez may be placed on the 15-day DL any minute now, though it may not be as bad as we feared.

So now we’ll assume the Mets will promote Nelson Figueroa to fill the fifth starter role — which is fine with me.

At this time I feel it absolutely necessary to regurgitate a sentence written by me at the start of spring training (I thought was kind of witty at the time):

“No one has any idea why Cazavos, Figueroa, and Field are in camp, but I suspect they really weren’t invited but rather were inspired by the movie Wedding Crashers.”

Well, MetsToday reader hdarvick — who I suspect could possibly be Nelson Figueroa himself — set my a$$ straight with this retort:

# hdarvick Says:
February 20th, 2008 at 12:12 pm e

NELSON FIGUEROA, drafted by the Mets out of Brandeis University in 1995, was invited because he pitched 10 complete games for Chihuahua, 8-6, 3.87 ERA, (24.5 games out of first) in the 2007 Mexican Triple A League, then went to Taiwan where he went 4-0 and then won games 1, 4, and 7 in the 2007 China World Series in October and was voted MVP. He pitched the only game Taiwan won in the 4-game Konami Cup Asia Series in the Tokyo Dome in November. In the Dominican Winter League, he won two games in the playoffs, including the championship game for Aguilas Cibaenas on January 25, 2008, compiling a 4-0 record in the series (4 starts) with a 1.45 ERA, 31 innings pitched, 24 hits, 33 strikeouts, 7 walks. 1.00 WHIP. He pitched the only complete game in the Dominican “Round-Robin” championship series. He had to pitch for Yaquis of Mexico in the Caribe World Series earlier this month (February 2008), not for Aguilas, because he had pitched in the regular season for Mexico. His record was 1-0, 11 innings pitched (9.1 in one game, 1.2 in relief in the other), 0.83 ERA, and was voted the Caribe Series MVP over players like Miguel Tejada, Tony Pena Jr. and Nelson Cruz. THAT’S WHY HE WAS INVITED and why he’ll be at Shea in 2008.

Kudos to hdarvick — whoever you are — for your foresight. I am happy to eat a large piece of humble pie, while rooting for Figgy to finally make his mark in the Majors.

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Pedro Panic

Assuming the worst — that Pedro Martinez will be out for a significant period of time — what are the Mets options for the starting rotation?

Orlando Hernandez is already down until mid-April, and no one’s convinced he’ll be healthy or effective when (if?) he returns. Mike Pelfrey still hasn’t shown a second Major League pitch — and there’s some dispute that he has one.

When pressed for an alternative to Pedro, manager Willie Randolph spat out the name Figueroa first. We’re assuming he means Nelson Figueroa as opposed to his ex-teammate Ed Figueroa — though right now I’d take either.

We’ve been addressing the starting pitching depth all spring … and winter … and yet the best the Mets can come up with is Nelson Figueroa — with Brian Stokes next in line. Yikes!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Figgy and hope he can surprise some folks. But an overachieving Nelson Figueroa is not enough to get the Mets through a full season.

Here’s what’s left after Figueroa:

1. Brian Stokes (?)
2. Adam Bostick
3. Jonathan Niese
4. Bobby Parnell ?
5. um?

Jorge Sosa might be a consideration, had he and not Pelfrey been given the temporary #5 slot in the rotation and Steven Register kept in the bullpen (rather than returned to the Rockies). I suppose Sosa could still be a starter, with Ricardo Rincon or Stokes or Figgy brought up for bullpen depth — but it’s still a shell game, in that you slide one strength over by weakening another.

It’s time to sign someone — anyone. Jeff Weaver? Horacio Ramirez? Robinson Tejeda (for you, Mic)? Heck, let’s get the national anthem auditioners on the mound and see what they can do.

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Pedro – Blame Me

Pedro’s pulled hamstring is all my fault.

You see, I picked Pedro for my fantasy baseball team — and any Met on my fantasy team is doomed. I thought it was a silly coincidence that Carlos Delgado was terrible last year, that Cliff Floyd was the one Met who put up poor numbers in 2006, that Carlos Beltran and Mike Piazza were both terrible in 2005, that Jeromy Burnitz was a bust in 2002, and all those guys just happened to be on my fantasy team during those times.

Lesson learned: don’t mess with the baseball gods.

Maybe if I drop Pedro now, the news of his injury will be better than we expect? If it turns out that way, I’ll have to figure out how to use this power for something more useful … like creating peace in the Middle East.

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Politics of Opening Day

Normally I don’t like to mix politics with this blog, and the few times I do, at least a few of you give me virtual slaps for doing so (and that’s both expected and accepted!).

But I have to point out something that no other media outlet seems to have noticed or reported on.

The single, biggest change in the US financial system in the last 70 years was announced on baseball’s Opening Day, March 31st.

Yes, I know it wasn’t “officially” opening day because of the Nats game and the A’s-Bosox game in Japan. However, March 31 was effectively the first day that every MLB team had a game — and ironically, that was the day that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson chose to unveil his massive overhaul plans.

Coincidence or careful planning?

I am not going to open up the can of worms of whether the financial plan is good or bad — this isn’t the place. I only wish to throw out there the possibility that this incredibly crucial announcement was purposely made at the same time a huge bulk of the population wouldn’t pay much attention to the news because their focus was on their favorite baseball team’s first game.

Call me a conspiracy theorist …

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