Archive: August 25th, 2009

Mets Game 126: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 2 Mess 1

After a whirlwind of news, moves, and another appearance by Mushmouth, the Mets game against the Marlins was something of a denouement. What the Mets needed was a deus ex machina.

(Why all the literary references? Why not? If the Mets can’t provide any entertainment, at least we can provide some education … the kiddies will be on their way back to school shortly, after all.)

Nelson Figueroa did a workmanlike, respectable job in the ace’s hole, allowing one earned run on four hits in five innings. About the best as could be expected, considering that he’d thrown 6 innings in the previous seven days and was sent to the mound on short notice. However, his best wasn’t good enough on this evening, as the Mets offense could muster only one run against the Fish.

Two key moments of the game: Dan Murphy’s two errors on one play in the fourth that led to the Marlins’ tying run, and the Mets’ inability to score any runs in the top of the fifth, despite loading the bases and having Jeff Francoeur at the plate with a 3-0 count. Francoeur eventually popped out, and Fernando Tatis followed with a strikeout to end the inning and the only semblance of a rally for the Mets on the evening.

Notes

Sean Green threw 50 pitches over two innings of scoreless relief; he allowed five baserunners but none crossed the plate.

Francoeur was the only Met to collect more hits than Nelson Figueroa.

Dan Murphy’s ten-game hitting streak came to an end; he was 0-for-4, seeing 10 pitches in his four plate appearances.

Former Met Matt Lindstrom made an appearance, striking out one and looking dominating with a 98-MPH fastball. Good thing the Mets traded that guy.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Marlins do it again at 7:10 PM on Wednesday night. Mike Pelfrey faces Josh Johnson in a battle of giants.

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Mets Forgot About Johan Santana’s Elbow

During the team’s conference call with the press today, Ben Shpigel asked Omar Minaya if Johan Santana’s elbow issue was related in any way to the discomfort he felt back in February. Minaya was stunned by the question — he had not remembered the elbow problem, stating that “spring training was a long time ago”. Later, Minaya said that the “spring training problem” had “more to do with Santana’s knee”.

Wow … and we wonder why the Mets’ medical issues have been such a problem this year. If the team can’t remember their $137.5M investment and ace pitcher had elbow issues, how can they possibly deal with the phyical problems of “lesser” players?

Now we understand why Jose Reyes played on a bad hammy, Carlos Beltran on a bad knee, and J.J. Putz with a bad elbow (among others) — the Mets simply “forgot” those players were injured!

Another strange quote by Minaya … after being asked why Santana wasn’t shut down earlier in the season — since he hasn’t thrown in between starts since June — Minaya’s response was:

“That’s why we’re shutting him down now. … After his last start is when he brought it up.”

Um …. huh?

In any case, Johan Santana was seen by Dr. David Altcheck, and the result of the examination is that Santana has bone chips in his elbow. He will have season-ending surgery to remove the chips.

There has been no confirmation one way or the other as to whether Santana had an MRI — only that he saw Dr. Altcheck. Strange, no?

Minaya also announced that Oliver Perez would be heading back to New York to have his knee examined. No word on whether Perez would also have his head examined, unfortunately.

Further, Minaya confirmed the Billy Wagner trade, and said that both Pat Misch and Nick Evans would be activated.

Finally, J.J. Putz will NOT pitch tonight in Brooklyn as scheduled. The Mets are going to “play it safe” with Putz and have him wait a little longer before throwing in a live game.

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Billy Wagner Agrees to Trade?

TheRopolitans has three sources confirming that Billy Wagner has agreed to a trade to the Boston Red Sox.

So far no official word from the Mets, though it could be coming soon.

No word on who the PTBNL will be, either. But since the Red Sox are taking on all of the rest of Wagner’s contract, and presumably agreeing to the lefthander’s demands regarding his option and arbitration, I get the feeling that the players will not be top-10 prospects.

Strange deal for the Red Sox, considering these caveats:

– Wagner can only pitch once every 3 days
– Wagner insisted that his option for next year NOT be picked up, so he can become a free agent
Wagner also insisted that he not be offered arbitration, so the team who signs him won’t relinquish a draft pick
– The Red Sox are taking on all of the rest of Wagner’s 2009 salary (roughly $2.7M + $1M buyout)

A healthy Wagner who can set up for Jonathan Papelbon 3-4 times a week could be a difference-maker. But a recovering Wagner who can only pitch one or possibly twice a week at most is not likely to have an impact on the stretch run.

Trading Wags means the Mets get his $2.7M off the books plus the $1M buyout that they would have had to pay if they chose not to pick up his $8M option. However, it also means the Mets will need to think long and hard about picking up J.J. Putz’s $8.6M option — if they don’t, then who is the setup man in 2010?

We won’t know how to evaulate this trade until the players coming from Boston are identified; I imagine we won’t hear about them until after the season.

** UPDATE **

Via Twitter, Bart Hubbach of the NY Post suggests that the Mets will receive two AA players, and that the Bosox WILL offer Wags arbitration (and thus get the draft picks when he signs elsewhere). Per Hubbach:

The Mets are getting two AA-level prospects. The Red Sox agreed to decline Wagner’s option but are retaining draft-pick compensation.

The top prospect on the Red Sox AA team (the Portland Sea Dogs) is 22-year-old 1B Lars Anderson, but I doubt they’d give him up for a one-month rental.

** ANOTHER UPDATE **

David Lefort of Boston.com has this to say about the players going to the Mets:

It is not expected that any more than one of the two players the Sox are giving up will come from the 40-man roster, and neither is considered an upper-tier prospect.

Translation: the Mets are likely to receive filler material. I’m betting on RHP Bryce Cox and catcher Juan Apodaca. Time will tell.

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1969 Mets Game 123: Win Over Dodgers

Mets 7 Dodgers 4

The love-hate relationship between Ron Swoboda and the Shea faithful continues.

Swoboda swatted a screwball from the hand of Jim Brewer with the bases juiced in the seventh to send home three runners and give the Mets a 6-4 lead they wouldn’t relinquish — much to the delight of the 48,435 fans at Shea Stadium, who showered him with applause.

Initially the recipient of catcalls and boos, “Rocky” was in the middle of everything in this contest, or so it seemed. He walked with the bases loaded in the first to give the Mets and Gary Gentry a 1-0 lead, and in the sixth, with LA up by one, Swoboda threw out speedster Willie Crawford attempting to go from first to third on a single by Ted Sizemore.

Gentry was hit hard by the suddenly potent Dodgers lineup, and removed after allowing 4 runs on 7 hits in only 4 2/3 innings — an outburst highlighted by Wes Parker’s 13th homer of the year, a towering, 2-run blast in the third. Jack DiLauro put out the fire in the fifth and held the Dodgers scoreless in the sixth before yielding to Cal Koonce, who won his sixth straight game in relief.

Notes

Swoboda — who was 2-for-3 on the day with 4 RBI — started against a righthander (Don Sutton) for the third straight game, and I’m wondering how Gil Hodges comes up with these hunches. Sutton is a curveball specialist — the kind Swoboda has struggled against all year — and Rocky is only hitting .243. At least Hodges isn’t taking at-bats away from Art Shamsky, who started at 1B and went 2-for-5 in the cleanup spot. Though, getting Swoboda and Shamsky in the lineup does mean that Eddie Kranepool rides the bench. Kranepool was starting to get it going last week but went cold again — he’s 0 for his last 9. It’s been that kind of year for the 24-year-old, and one wonders if he’ll ever hit enough to play first base in the big leagues.

Jerry Grote struck three singles, scored twice, and drove in a run — but was victimized by the base thefts of Maury Wills and Willie Davis. Cleon Jones also had three hits.

Davis had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 22 games.

Nolan Ryan is pulling extra duty on his reserve hitch so he can be available for the entire month of September, weekends included. Something tells me the Mets will be happy to have the young fireballer available down the stretch.

The Mets closed a wildly successful homestand with nine wins against one loss, and now head to the West Coast — against whom they are 21-5.

Scoreboard Watching

The Cubs split a doubleheader with the Astros. In the opener, Ernie Banks hit his 492nd and 493rd career homers, tying him for ninth place with Lou Gehrig.

The Cubs are now 79-49, eight wins better than the Mets’ 71-52, but the key number is in the loss column. The Mets can always win more games but the Cubs can’t lose less. It’s only taken a week to see Chicago’s season-high, 9-game lead shrink to 5. If the Mets can keep up this pace they may pull off a miracle comparable to Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon.

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