Browsing Archive August, 2009

Lost Pinky, Chat Josh Thole, and the Wilpon Downfall

Dave Singer at New York Sports Dog points out that, like their favorite team, Mets bloggers have also been struggling with injuries all season — with several on the DL. However, reports of my pinky’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Will Sommer of MetsFansForever has two interviews from his trip to Binghamton — one with catching prospect Josh Thole and another with manager Mako Oliveras.

Andrew Vazzano posted the below video about the Rise and Fall of the Mets and the Wilpons on TheRopolitans (warning, some of the language is intended for mature audiences):

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Mets Injuries: Not Bad Luck

After having his knee examined, Oliver Perez has been shut down and scheduled for season-ending surgery because of patella tendon tendinosis. No word on whether he will have his head examined.

Johan Santana will have elbow surgery.

J.J. Putz has been shut down for the season, due to new fraying in his elbow near the ulnar collateral ligament and a slight tear in his right forearm. He will NOT have surgery to correct the condition.

No word on Carlos Beltran , Carlos Delgado, John Maine, nor Jose Reyes.

There are others on the DL and/or lost for the season, but I mentioned the above for a specific reason. Can you find the common thread?

If not, I’ll make it plain and simple: in each of the above cases, the player’s original injury was misdiagnosed and/or rehab was mishandled.

In other words, all this talk about the Mets being “unlucky” because of all the major injuries suffered is a bunch of bull. Maybe some of it is luck, but at least half of it is due to incompetence.

Though, I tend not to fault the Mets’ medical staff — I have a hunch they know what they’re doing, and making the proper recommendations. In the end, the doctors and trainers have no control over whether a player goes back on the field or to the disabled list — that decision is made by the front office.

If you’ve been paying attention since spring training, you don’t need me to re-hash each individual case and point out where the team went wrong. And it goes back further than the spring — last year’s handling of Ryan Church and Billy Wagner are the most obvious examples from 2008 (you can put Maine in there as well).

In every case, a player continued to play despite an injury. Now, we know that all athletes have to learn to play with pain, and can often play through injuries without causing further damage. But over the past several years, the Mets have been grossly negligent in the evaluation and assessment of injuries.

We know this because:

– the manager, general manager, and player are rarely ever on the same page in terms of information
– the general manager cannot “remember” serious injuries to vital players
– the manager has admitted to allowing injured players to talk him into letting them on the field
– the team has admitted to hiding injuries and allowing players to continue to play through them
– the team has consistently waited too long to place players on the DL
– cortisone shots have been administered so frequently and easily it has become an industry joke
– more than one player has sought a second opinion from outside doctors, without the team’s recommendation
– Maine, Putz, Reyes, Beltran, Delgado, and Church all experienced failure in the rehab process

The only successful injury rehabilitation in the past year was Billy Wagner’s recovery from Tommy John surgery. Is it any coincidence that Wagner, for the most part, rehabbed on his own, at his home in Virginia?

Yes, there is some luck involved in a player becoming injured, and recovering from injury. But bad luck is not a valid explanation for this level of medical failure. In addition to personnel moves, the Mets need to make sweeping changes in the way they a) prepare and condition their ballplayers; b) evaluate and assess all injuries; and c) make determinations based on the recommendations of their medical staff.

** UPDATE **

David Lennon at Newsday has written a similar, more in-depth piece. Good thing to see the professional journalists are seeing things similarly to the fans and bloggers.

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Mets Game 127: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 5 Mets 3

Late summer depression has set in: the days getting shorter, Mets games growing longer.

Somehow, this 2-hour and 40-minute contest felt more like 4-5 hours of Chinese water torture … don’t ask me why.

Mike Pelfrey squandered an early 2-0 lead, eventually allowing 5 runs on 11 hits and 5 walks in 5 2/3 innings, expending 118 pitches.

Josh Johnson scattered 9 hits over 6 innings to beat the Mets for the seventh time against no losses in his career. Former Met Matt Lindstrom threw another dominating innng in setup relief.

Notes

There was some talk in the postgame suggesting that Luis Castillo’s lack of execution on a few plays didn’t help Pelfrey (strangely, no mention of Dan Murphy not helping Castillo with a routine scoop on a low throw at the back end of a DP relay). Maybe Castillo’s poor night did compound a situation or two, but Pelfrey still allowed 16 baserunners through less than 6 innings.

Jerry Manuel thought Pelfrey “was OK”. Huh. Not the descriptor I would’ve used.

Manuel also suggested that had the Mets executed defensively, they would’ve had a better chance to win. No sh**, Sherlock? News flash to the Master of the Obvious: your team has had a problem executing defensively, and fundamentally, since you took over from Willie Randolph. It’s not a coincidence.

Though Murphy was awful in the field on this particular evening, he did collect two hits, including a double that moved Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen to compare him to Pete Rose and Wade Boggs. Stop. It. Now. This is the exact insanity at the this exact time last year that caused the Mets to pencil in Murphy as the team’s starting leftfielder in February. When Murph gets his average over .270 and his OBP to .320, we can start including him in sentences with everyday MLBers (though, still not HOFers).

Don’t get me wrong, I like Dan Murphy, I really do. But I find it obscenely offensive to compare him to people like Pete Rose and Wade Boggs at this point in his career — it’s an insult to my intelligence, and akin to comparing Omir Santos to Johnny Bench. Let’s see the kid achieve the level of “Major League Average Everyday Ballplayer” (or as the geeks say, “replacement level player“) before comparing him to Hall of Famers, OK?

Fernando Tatis paralleled the weather with a hot night, going 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored — moving Ron Darling to quip in the postgame, “Tatis is not part of the problem, he’s part of the solution”. Dear lord … if a 34-year-old .250 hitter is part of the solution, maybe I’ve misunderstood the problem.

On a positive note, Cory Sullivan made an awesome throw from left field to nail Dan Uggla attempting to stretch a single into a double. He made another impressive throw to home plate later in the game (though there was no play). See, I’m not completely negative.

Next Mets Game

The series finale begins at 1:10 PM on Thursday afternoon. Tim Redding goes against Anibal Sanchez.

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Oliver Perez Update

Yup … Ollie is done for the season. He’ll be undergoing season-ending surgery on his knee.

Suddenly the release of Livan Hernandez isn’t looking so smart. Can Nelson Figueroa start twice in a five-day period?

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Mets May Acquire Dan Murphy Clone

chris-carter

If the Mets had access to stem cell technology, they’d likely have a team of scientists working feverishly in the lab on a Daniel Murphy clone. After all, the businesslike young man has been a fan favorite, is home-grown, and — most importantly — has remained healthy all season.

But of course, there is no stem cell lab at Citi Field, and the Mets’ Latin American scouting syndicate does not extend into Brazil, so cloning is not an option. However, they may have accomplished the next-best thing.

Several reports suggest that one of the two “players to be named later” in the Billy Wagner deal is a lefthanded-hitting outfielder / first baseman named

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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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