Browsing Archive June, 2009

Mets Game 72: Loss to Yankees

Yankees 9 Mets 1

Not a great evening for Mike Pelfrey, nor the Mets.

Focusing on going the other way, the Yankees pounced on Pelfrey in the second frame, and the defense behind him resembled the Keystone Cops, as four runs — two unearned — crossed the plate in an inning that was one hit away from complete disaster.

Pelfrey allowed four hits and a walk in the frame, while David Wright, Alex Cora, and Nick Evans all made key errors to give the Yankees a lead that would never be threatened.

Pelf did settle down after the second, retiring nine of the last ten batters he faced, but the damage was done. Down by four with C.C. Sabathia on top of his game, the Mets had little chance to mount a comeback.

Sabathia did not allow a hit until the fifth frame, when Gary Sheffield led off with a line drive bullet into the left field stands. By the time he left the mound, Sabathia threw seven stellar innings, allowing only three hits, one run, no walks, and striking out eight.

Notes

Although only four runs crossed the plate, the Mets were completely devastated in the second inning. Pelfrey in particular lost his cool, and the team as a whole looked tense, confused, or beaten for the remainder of the game.

During that fateful second inning, Mark Teixeira ripped a rocket of a ground ball right at Nick Evans, which Evans mishandled, allowing Brett Gardner to score and Teixeira to reach first safely. What’s interesting is that even though the ball was hit so hard and directly to Evans, Teixeira nonetheless busted it out of the box. Since the ball only bounced a few feet away from the bag, there’s no way Teixeira would have been safe had he not hustle all the way. So in two straight series, he demonstrated to Mets fans what good can occur when players go all out, all the time.

In the top of the seventh, with Alex Rodriguez on first base, Robbie Cano hit a liner to left field that was stretched into a double when Fernando Tatis did not make a direct throw to second base. The SNY crew couldn’t figure out why Tatis didn’t throw to second base, but had we seen a wider view of the field, we would have seen that cutoff man Alex Cora had positioned himself between Tatis and third base, as A-Rod was going from first to third. So I would guess that Tatis was somewhat confused about where to go with the ball, since he doesn’t play left field very often and in that split second decided to get the ball to the cutoff man.

Elmer Dessens and Sean Green combined to allow 5 runs out of the bullpen.

No one in the NL East won this evening, so the standings remain status quo. Does anyone want to take this division?

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Yankees do it again at 7:10 PM on Saturday night. Tim Redding faces A.J. Burnett. Those outside the NY-Metro area can see the game on the MLB Network or listen on XM 183, while us locals have the choice among WPIX, YES and WFAN.

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Series Preview: Mets vs. Yankees Part Deux

yankeeslogoThe crosstown New York Yankees traverse into Flushing to face the Mets for a three-game series this weekend at Citi Field, putting an end to the blasphemy known as “interleague play” for the year. Each team comes in to the series settled in second place in their respective divisions, with the third- and fourth-place followers biting at their coattails. That said, this weekend means more than TV ratings for MLB and ticket revenues to the two teams (or does it? according to reports none of the games are sold out).

Game one: Mike Pelfrey (5-2, 4.74 ERA) vs. C.C. Sabathia (6-4, 3.71 ERA)

Sabathia was pulled out of his last start in the second inning due to bicep tightness, but is reportedly 100% and ready to go against the Mets. He only has one career start against the Mets, a 9-1 win in which he threw 8 innings, but it was so long ago it doesn’t matter. After a solid May, Pelfrey has taken a step backward in June, struggling to pitch to and through the sixth inning. He was ripped by the Rays five days ago, and has been hit hard in three of his last four starts. Mark Teixeira is 4-for-10 lifetime vs. Big Pelf.

Game two: Tim Redding (1-2, 6.08 ERA) vs. A.J. Burnett (5-4, 4.24 ERA)

Burnett has been a huge disappointment for the Yankees, but he found his stuff against the Mets two weekends ago, shutting them out for seven frames. Burnett lost his next start vs. the Marlins, but held the Fish to only one earned run over 6 1/3. Meantime, Redding put together his finest performance and first win as a Met — though, I still don’t trust him nor that possum on his chin. Mark Teixeira is 4-for-9 career against Redding, and all four hits are doubles.

Game three: Livan Hernandez (5-2, 4.05 ERA) vs. Chien-Ming Wang (0-6, 11.20 ERA)

Livan has been pitching well enough to merit consideration as the Mets’ second-best starter, but he didn’t fare too well in his game against the Yankees. After a five-inning, six-run drubbing by the Bronx Bombers, Livan rebounded with back-to-back, nearly identical, 7-inning, 8-hit, 2 ER performances vs. the Orioles and Cardinals (he is obviously a bird lover). Similarly, Wang’s last two starts were just as identical, but not nearly as impressive — 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER — against the Braves and Nationals. The scary thing for Yankees fans is, those two most recent performances by Wang are his best of the year — by far. Considering how well the Yanks lineup handled Hernandez, and Wang’s apparent turning a corner, this game is not as much a slam dunk for the Mets as it might’ve looked two weeks ago.

Oh, and Mark Teixeira is 3-for-6 career vs. Hernandez, including two homeruns. But it doesn’t stop there. Nick Swisher (.357), Alex Rodriguez (.579, 3 HR, 5 doubles), Derek Jeter (.421), Robinson Cano (.444), Melky Cabrera (.400), Jorge Posada (.333), and Hideki Matsui (.429) all enjoy teeing off on Livan Hernandez.

Final Thoughts

Which Mets team will show up this weekend? The one that beats the Cardinals three out of four or the one that lost the four series previous? The one that can’t manage more than two hits off of journeyman Joel Pineiro or the one that pounds St. Louis pitching for 16 hits and 11 runs? The one that loses heartbreakers in the final innings or the one that shows grit and intestinal fortitude when times get tough? It’s anybody’s guess, and they’re going into a series against a team with an ironically similar split personality disorder. Sit back and enjoy (and keep the hard alcohol / meds / happy thoughts nearby, just in case).

Notable milestones: Mariano Rivera’s next save will be #500 for his career. Argenis Reyes’ next walk will be #5 of his MLB lifetime.

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C.C. Sabathia vs. the Mets

cc-sabathia-indiansTonight, the Yankees send C.C. Sabathia to the mound at Citi Field against the Mets. It’s been a long time since Sabathia started against the Mets, and the last time didn’t go so well for our hometown favorites.

On June 16, 2004, Sabathia threw 8 solid innings of six-hit, one-run ball, as the Indians molested the Mets 9-1 at Shea Stadium in front of a paltry crowd of 29,512.

How long ago was that game? The Mets’ starter was Matt Ginter, Gerald “Ice” Williams was the leadoff hitter, Mike Piazza was the first baseman, Jason Phillips was behind the plate, and Art Howe was the manager.

Here is the entire Mets starting lineup on that ugly night:

Gerald Williams CF
ice-williamsKaz Matsui SS
Mike Piazza 1B
Cliff Floyd LF
Todd Zeile 3B
Ty Wigginton 2B
Jason Phillips C
Mike Cameron CF
Matt Ginter P

Makes one wonder: how much different will tonight’s lineup look five years from now?

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Albert Pujols on Steroids?

Bloggers get tarred, feather, beaten, demoralized, and spit upon when they write something without doing their due diligence — particularly in the case of PEDs suspicion. But somehow it’s OK for a professional journalist? See this must-read about an LA Times columnist who wonders if Albert Pujols is using something.

Another absolute “must-read” is this insightful article on TV camera angles and how they affect you, the viewer’s, perception of the strike zone. Loyal MetsToday readers know how much I love “modern” video production of baseball games.

NYSportsDog has some positive vibes and relays a report from Brian Moritz that prospect Jenry Mejia recently hit 102 MPH on the radar gun.

Our favorite source for graphs and charts, The ‘Ropolitans, asks Johan Santana “where have the strikeouts gone?”

And also hat tip to The ‘Ropolitans for finding a reason to acknowledge Michael Jackson’s death (the pop singer, not the former Georgetown point guard). Keep your eyes peeled, and you should see a Mets cap in this video:

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Mets Game 71: Win Over Cardinals

Mets 3 Cardinals 2

Who says the Mets are banged up, beaten down, and in bad shape? And what’s this nonsense about “treading water”?

The New York Mets took three games out of four from the mighty St. Louis Cardinals, culminating in a heart-stopping 3-2 victory over the seemingly unbeatable Chris Carpenter.

Carpenter held the Mets to only five hits, but they helped produce three runs, which were all Johan Santana needed to gain his ninth victory of the season.

The Mets scored all of their runs in the fourth frame, thanks once again to Nick Evans. After Luis Castillo scored on a Castillo-like single by Fernando Tatis, Evans rapped a double into the right field corner to send home Tatis and Ryan Church to give the Mets a lead they’d never relinquish.

Santana struggled but scattered seven St. Louis hits and three walks to limit the Redbirds to one earned run. Pedro Feliciano pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Francisco Rodriguez, as usual, made things interesting before nailing down his 20th save of the season.

Notes

Was this the first time Jerry Manuel ever limited himself to only two pitching changes in a one-run game? Probably not, but it feels that way. In contrast, Tony LaRussa made three changes in the eighth inning alone.

Dan Murphy — who was benched in place of the red-hot Evans — stroked a single for Santana in the bottom of the seventh. He is now hitting .333 as a pinch-hitter this year and .387 lifetime. Is he the next Gates Brown?

The first Redbird run was unearned and came in the initial inning when Skip Schumaker singled, moved to second on a catcher’s interference by Omir Santos, and scored on a single by Yadier Molina.

The Mets are now 5-3 in games without Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, and Jose Reyes.

Next Mets Game

The Mets begin a three-game weekend series against the crosstown New York Yankees on Friday night at 7:10 PM. Mike Pelfrey faces C.C. Sabathia. Plenty of tickets are available if you want to watch the game at Citi Field. Otherwise, you can catch it on SNY, WFAN, or XM 183.

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Fernando Sosa and Other Musings

Ben Shipgel finally caught up to what we suggested last week — that Fernando Nieve is this year’s Jorge Sosa. Though, so far I like Nieve’s confidence in his fastball … if he doesn’t fall in love with the slider the way Sosa did, he might just hang around beyond the All-Star break. Fingers crossed.

The Ropolitans provides us a colorful pie chart displaying Fernando Tatis’ prowess as a double play machine.

MetsPolice strolls down 126th street, and compares it to Wrigleyville.

Eli from Brooklyn nominates Fernando Nieve for an award, and shows us 5 of the worst “first” pitches ever recorded.

Speaking of, in case you missed the President throwing out the first ball in Baracklyn the other night, you can see the replay below:

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Mets Game 70: Win Over Cardinals

Mets 11 Cardinals 0

An unexpected rout of the Redbirds.

The supposedly sickly and flaccid Mets lineup racked up 16 hits — 5 for extra bases — as the New Yorkers pounded Sir Albert and his St. Louis disciples.

David Wright led the way with a 4-for-4 day, but received plenty of help from Ryan Church (3-for-4, two doubles) and recently promoted Nick Evans, who mashed a two-run homer in the fourth frame.

Ace starter Fernando Nieve threw six shutout innings, allowing only 3 hits and striking out 5 to earn his third victory.

Notes

My apologies for the late post … my TV went out prior to the game last night and MLB.com wouldn’t let me watch the game due to blackout restrictions until a few hours ago. Thanks MLB !!!

As it was I didn’t watch the game, so please fill up the comments with richly vivid descriptions of the key points of the contest. Many thanks.

Next Mets Game

The series finale begins at 1:10 PM. Johan Santana goes to the hill against Chris Carpenter. Thankfully the game will be available on WFAN and XM 183. Tweet me if Keith says something silly.

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Mets Game 69: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 3 Mets 0

If you were wondering what happens when a bad hitting team runs into a hot pitcher …

Joel Pineiro was magnificent, spinning a complete game, two-hit shutout, the second he’s thrown this season. Pineiro induced 22 ground balls — 21 for outs — and struck out one in completely paralyzing the Mets bats.

The Mets wasted a very good outing by Livan Hernandez, who hurled seven innings of 8-hit, 3-run (2 earned) ball.

Notes

Joel Pineiro has evolved into something of a Met killer. Super.

Pineiro scored the first run of the game on a throwing error by first baseman Danny Murphy. The other two runs scored on a single by Albert Pujols, who now leads MLB with 70 RBI. Wow … 70 RBI in 71 games played … crazy.

Elmer Dessens pitched the final two innings for the Mets, but I didn’t even notice. He held the Redbirds hitless.

The only Mets who hit safely were Luis Castillo and Jeremy Reed, both singles. Reed’s hit was of the pinch variety, and came with one out in the ninth. So he spoiled the one-hitter. Yee ha.

The game was delayed a few times due to rain. The grounds crew reminded me of the Keystone Cops, rolling the tarp on and off the field as the rain clouds came and went.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Cardinals play game three of four on Wednesday evening at 7:10 PM. Fernando Nieve faces Brad Thompson.

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