Archive: August 3rd, 2008

Mets Game 111: Loss to Astros

Astros 4 Mets 0

The Mets were swept by the Astros for the first time in 15 years, and were shut out to boot.

Oliver Perez pitched adequately — not great, but not awful — but his performance was negligible since the Mets bats ran cold against Randy “Koufax” Wolf

Wolf improved his record against the Mets to 11-5 lifetime, as he threw up zeroes through five innings, striking out seven. Strangely, he allowed 9 baserunners in those five frames — nearly two per inning, but as has been the case all year, the Mets were unable to push the runners home. And you wonder why I was crying about the Mets not picking up a veteran run producer in the days and hours before the trade deadline.


John Maine was placed on the DL (thankfully, in my opinion) and replaced with reliever Eddie Kunz, who made his Major League debut in the seventh and threw a scoreless, though messy, inning.

As if the bullpen weren’t bad enough, Billy Wagner has “tightness in his elbow” and was unavailable for the contest. My many years of being around pitchers tells me that he could be on the verge of an elbow issue — likely some form of tendinitis, such as epicondylitis (a.k.a., tennis elbow). It’s not a major injury, but when you’re a reliever who throws full speed several times a week, it can develop into a chronic issue. Cortisone shot and rest is the usual treatment.

Nick Evans started in left and made two outstanding throws to nail runners trying to stretch singles into doubles. However, he also committed a key miscue and continues to be overmatched at the plate.

Carlos Delgado was 3-for-4 and inching close to .270. I will soon be eating several helpings of humble pie and will be down on my knees begging him for forgiveness for my scathing criticism of a month ago.

Jose Reyes stroked two hits for the fourth consecutive game, and for the seventh time in the last eight games. However, the Mets are 3-5 in those contests, so the theory that “as Jose goes, so go the Mets”, doesn’t exactly hold water.

Carlos Beltran also had two hits, and seems comfortable in the two-hole. He certainly isn’t comfy in clutch RBI situations. But hey, just because he’s making $18.6M this year, doesn’t mean he can’t be a table setter. Ichiro makes that kind of money, right?

Robinson Cancel bunted for a hit in the third, then lost his mind and was caught stealing third for the third out with David Wright at the plate. Apparently he caught “Temporary Delgado Disease”, an illness in which a bulky man suddenly thinks he’s faster and smarter than Rickey Henderson. I really want to believe he missed a sign, but apparently that wasn’t the case. I felt awful for Robby, who otherwise has been an inspiration for his hustle and tenacity.

Next Game

The Mets receive a WELLLLLLLLLLLLLL deserved day off on Monday as they trek back to Shea for a 7-game homestand that begins with three games hosting the San Diego Padres. Mike Pelfrey (6’7″) pitches the opener against Chris Young (6’10”) in what promises to be one of the tallest pitcher vs. pitcher contests of the season (has Young faced Randy Johnson?). Judging the Mets’ inability to drive runners in, and the complete collapse of the bullpen, Big Pelf will need to pitch a 9-inning shutout and hit the game-winning homer to take this game.

At least they have all day to plan for it.


Junk To Jump On

What’s that saying? One man’s junk is another’s treasure?

The Mets are desperate for arms — for both the bullpen and the starting rotation. The relievers are out of gas and ineffective, and the Mets will have to plan for absences by John Maine and Pedro Martinez. I hope I’m wrong, but my gut tells me that Pedro will be back on the DL shortly, and that Maine will have problems with his shoulder for the rest of the season.

So let’s take a look at the scrap heap.

Freddy Garcia
He’s a free agent and scheduled to be auditioning on August 5th. If I’m the Mets, I don’t wait — I roll the dice, sign him today, sight unseen, send him to the minors, and hope for the best. I’d give him two years, in fact, so there’s backup depth for ’09.

Livan Hernandez
Livan was DFA’d by the Twins yesterday after posting a 5.48 ERA. You know what? He’s leaving the Twins with a 10-8 record. How many Mets have 10 wins? Um, none. Yes, he was hit hard in the AL, but he is fine as a #5 in the NL. Pick him up, put him in AAA, and have him ready when Pedro or Maine goes down. At worst, you have someone as a backup in case Jon Niese isn’t the Sandy Koufax the Mets keep telling us that he is.

Matt Clement

The Cardinals finally gave up on Clement, who decided he wasn’t progressing quickly enough. Chances are, he won’t help this year, but you never know. Sign him to a contract through 2009, send him to Port St. Lucie, and tell him to take all the time he needs. If he can’t make it back to MLB this year, you have a possibility for ’09 (see Freddy Garcia). Who knows, he might get back just enough velocity and endurance to be a middle reliever in September.

By the way, the Red Sox just signed Joe Borowski to a minor league deal. I suggested that the Mets pick up the Bayonne Bullet and put him in AAA a month ago, so send that idea to the circular file.

Oh, and don’t get me wrong — the Mets should, and will have to, give the kids a shot now. Jon Niese, Eddie Kunz, Bobby Parnell (a.k.a., “The Untouchables”), and anyone else down on the farm should be promoted, pronto. My suggestion is to promote the youth and pick up these junky veterans to take their places in the minors — this way there’s a backup plan in case the rooks aren’t quite ready. It’s always a good idea to hedge your bets. Plus, I’m of the belief that a big league bullpen, in this day and age, requires a minimum of 10 pitchers who appear in at least 10 games to get through a season (see bullpen articles ONE and TWO. The Mets have only 8 relievers who have appeared in at least 10 games to this point.