Archive: August 18th, 2009

Mets Game 119: Win Over Braves

Mets 9 Braves 4

At least the Mets have the opportunity to play the role of spoiler.

This game began like a typically bad Ollie outing — early on, they fell behind 4-0 and looked like they wouldn’t do much against Atlanta ace Derek Lowe.

Then in the fourth frame, a line drive ricocheted off Lowe’s glove hand, and it was as if a light switch turned off his effectiveness, because the Mets then exploded for 8 runs on 10 hits to knock Lowe out of the game.

Meanwhile, Oliver Perez managed to “hold” the Braves to “only” those four runs through the fifth, before yielding to Elmer “Glue” Dessens. Dessens, Pedro Feliciano, and Brian Stokes finished it up to preserve the victory.

Notes

The bright side: Ollie earned a victory. The not-bright side: he wasn’t terribly effective. Perez allowed four runs on five hits and a walk, including a three-run homer by Matt Diaz and a solo shot by Adam LaRoche. Jerry Manuel got him out of the game as soon as he could while still pitching long enough to be credited with the win. Two more years and $24M for a pitcher who has evolved into a fifth starter.

The Mets banged out 17 hits on the evening.

Luis Castillo, Gary Sheffield and Jeff Francoeur all went 3-for-5 on the day, with Castillo and Sheff driving in two runs apiece. In any other park, Francoeur might’ve had two homers — he hit two blasts off the Soot Monster.

In the remarkable fourth frame, every Met in the lineup had a hit except for Dan Murphy, who made two outs in the inning.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Braves do it again at 7:10 PM on Wednesday night in Flushing. Bobby Parnell faces Jair Jurrjens.

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Mets Induct Lasorda and Other Oddities

Did you know that the Mets are the keepers of the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame? Me neither, but thanks to Metstradamus I also know that Tommy Lasorda was inducted into it this past Sunday.

Matt Cerrone likes the cream-colored shirts that the Mets were wearing this weekend. I don’t — to me they’re similar to the color of the Padres unis, always looking dirty or somehow “off” — but I would welcome them for no reason other than the Brooklyn Dodgers never wore cream, and anything that can be done to distance the Mets from the Dodgers is to me a step in the right direction.

We finally get an inkling on Jerry Manuel’s true thoughts on Ryan Church (i.e., he doesn’t think he’s very tough). Hat tip to Kranepool Society, which also reminds us that as bad as the Mets are playing, a winter without baseball is worse.

MetsPolice has a gripe about the Mets’ decision to slash ticket prices.

Finally, Josh Alper of NBC New York thinks a decision on Jerry Manuel’s future should be made right now.

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Mets Sign Steven Matz

The Nationals signed their Stephen, and the Mets got their Matz.

In one of the few “feel good” stories of 2009 for the Mets, local pitcher Steven Matz signed a pro contract with the team just minutes before the midnight deadline.

No word yet on whether he’ll be assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones or elsewhere. Since the Cyclones have less than 20 games left on the schedule, I’d imagine Matz will take a trip down to Port St. Lucie and work out there until further notice. Reportedly, Matz was given an $895,000 signing bonus — slightly short of his $1M demand, but still more than $450K over “slot”.

There haven’t been any announcements concerning other previously unsigned Mets draft picks, though we may hear of them in the coming days. (** UPDATE ** – TheRopolitans has an update on other signings made just before the stroke of midnight last night ***)

In other news, the Nationals signed uber-prospect Stephen Strasburg to a record $15.67M bonus. That figure is short of the $20M – $40M figures thrown out by Scott Boras, but it’s a pretty penny nonetheless for a kid who has yet to throw a professional pitch.

Good luck to both Steves … maybe we’ll see them pitching head-to-head on a big-league diamond some day in the near future.

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Wilpon Warms Up in Buffalo

According to The Buffalo News, Jeff Wilpon appeared at Coca-Cola Park in Buffalo to apologize for the Bisons’ awful season.

After all, it was the Mets who inadequately stocked their AAA team with players who would have a hard time competing in the local Babe Ruth League.

Some of the quotes:

“There’s disappointment in the fan base and ownership here as well as ownership in New York with how [the Bisons] have performed. We have to fix that,” Wilpon told The Buffalo News during the Herd’s 9-4 win over Lehigh Valley. “It’s something we want to do better and we will do better for the City of Buffalo and for the Mets.

“It’s good business to do better and it’s also the morally right thing to do because Buffalo has opened its arms to us and we really appreciate that. It’s been terrific to be here. …”

and:

“We want a competitive team for the entire year, not just two-thirds of the year, and we’re going to spend the money on Buffalo,” Wilpon said. “We spend money on the big league club and we spent money here as well. The injuries with the big league club were the biggest issue here. Everybody in our organization knows this is a priority to get this team in a better position. We’d like to be here long term.

“We’re disappointed as well. I can understand the fans’ feeling. We don’t want to lose. The ownership group here doesn’t and I can tell you for certain ownership in New York doesn’t want to be losing here.”

So … was this trip to Buffalo a warmup for the apologies Jeff will be offering to Flushing a few weeks from now?

Regardless, the fans of Buffalo should know — the Wilpons are well known for apologies and empty promises, so get used to it.

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Matt Cain and the Hat Tip

Normally I wouldn’t re-hash something that’s three days old, but this issue is something that needs to be cleared up — there are too many ignorant people blinded by emotion, and holding an unnecessary anger against an opposing ballplayer.

On Saturday afternoon, as you know, Matt Cain drilled David Wright in the head, knocking him out and sending him to the hospital. It was an ugly, frightening incident. It was also an accident and unintentional.

Several innings later, when Cain was removed from the game, the Flushing faithful booed him with a thunderous passion. That’s fine — it’s what happens when one dusts the hometown hero, accidentally or not.

Just prior to stepping into the Giants dugout, Cain tipped his cap — a brief moment that was captured by the FOX cameras and replayed after the commercial break to ensure that no one missed it. The genius in the broadcast booth — Mark Grace — commented that the gesture was not good idea. Since then, there has been a frenzy of fans and who have thrown vile epithets toward Cain on various talk radio shows, Mets blogs, forums and Twitter, describing it as “tasteless”, “classless”, “disgusting”, “evil”, and at least a dozen other descriptors that are not family friendly.

For fans who don’t know any better, the reaction is typical and not surprising — and understood. After all, they saw the hat tipping and connected it directly to the beanball — never mind that there were four innings of baseball in between. David Wright going down was the ONLY thing that happened that day, as far as many people were concerned. Further, many of the angered fans received their information second-hand from someone else who was riled up about the incident and didn’t see the REAL reason Cain tipped his cap.

But when “journalists” feed the frenzy with more misinformation, I have to call them out. After all, we bloggers get lambasted for being “unprofessional” every time we report something that isn’t true. I may not get paid to write this blog, but I do know that a basic tenet of journalism is to get the facts straight.

So here is the factual information about the moment before Matt Cain tipped his cap: behind the visitors’ dugout were somewhere between 300 and 500 diehard GIANTS FANS. Many people who were AT THE GAME and SITTING IN THAT SECTION have corraborated this. In fact, if you watch the replay of Cain tipping his cap — the camera is at his back — you can see very clearly there are dozens of people in San Francisco Giants jerseys directly behind the dugout, standing up and clapping.

Now, while 95% of the people at Kiddie Field were fixated on the beanball, for those Giants fans sitting behind the visitors’ dugout, the moment had passed. They were cheering for “their” player, and Cain acknowledged it with a simple tip of the cap. Nothing flashy, no measured pause and flamboyant bow — just a quick tip.

Maybe Cain should’ve known better than to tip his cap. Somehow, though, I doubt he considered that he’d be ticking off five million New Yorkers with his act. For most players, it’s a reaction — crowd cheers for you, you acknowledge it. It’s good manners. Except in New York, an hour after you’ve sent the favorite son to the hospital.

It’s up to you, the fan, to decide. But please make your decision based on the facts of the situation, rather than relying on hearsay thrown around by irresponsible journalists.

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Mets Game 118: Loss to Giants

Giants 10 Mets 1

Just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get worse …

It wasn’t enough that David Wright was put on the DL with post-concussion syndrome– the last of the “core” to switch from the dugout to the infirmary. And it wasn’t enough that the team lost yet another player for the season — Alex Cora, who had surgery on BOTH of his thumbs. And it wasn’t enough that despite winning three out of their last four, the Mets were moving closer to the cellar-dwelling Nationals than the NL-East leading Phillies.

No, that couldn’t be the end of the gloominess. In addition to all the bad news, the Mets also were spanked by San Francisco, losing a laugher in front of the hometown crowd. It was another ugly outing by Livan Hernandez — one that makes you wonder who will be taking the ball five days from now. So not only are many Mets inactive, but some that were previously reliable are becoming increasingly incompetent. It’s suddenly clear that the last 44 games of this season will be a depressing, hopeless struggle we haven’t seen in Flushing since the Art Howe years — and it could be even worse.

Livan allowed 6 runs on 11 hits and a walk in 5 1/3. The line didn’t look that bad (though not good) until the sixth, when the Giants scored three runs to put the game away. They scored another trio in the eighth off Tim Redding to make it embarrassing, and added another off Nelson Figueroa in the ninth for good measure.

Notes

Dan Murphy had two hits and is 4-for-10 since MetsToday decided he didn’t hit enough to play 1B. No homeruns in that time, though.

Cory Sullivan also had two hits and a walk from the leadoff spot. People are getting really excited about his recent production, which says a lot about where the Mets stand right now. Not to take anything away from Sullivan — it’s great to see — but it also needs to be put in perspective. Let’s not forget how great Angel Pagan was looking over a longer period of time, before falling back to Earth. But right now, Sully is a bright spot on an otherwise dark time of the year.

I suppose Livan Hernandez will get another start. What else are the Mets to do? Give Nelson Figueroa another shot? As much as I’d like to see Figgy get a few starts in a row, how well would he have to do for the Mets consider the 35-year-old as part of their plans for 2010? No one in the minors is ready for an audition, and the Mets probably don’t want to start the arbitration clock nor burn an option on anyone who they may use in 2010/2011, such as Brad Holt or Tobi Stoner.

Next Mets Game

The Mets begin a three-game series against the Braves in Flushing at 7:10 PM on Tuesday night. In a fitting episode of “As the Knife Turns”, Oliver Perez faces Derek Lowe in a matchup of last winter’s top two free agents on the Mets’ shopping list.

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