Browsing Archive May, 2010

Mets Game 25: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 10 Mets 5

So much for momentum.

If it wasn’t for that 9-1 homestand, I might have the feeling that nothing changed with the Mets from the last three years.

Game Notes

Johan Santana was terrible. Absolutely terrible. He allowed 10 earned runs on 8 hits and 2 walks — including 4 homeruns — in 3 2/3 innings. He threw too many pitches up in the zone and over the heart of the plate, and the Phillies didn’t let him get away with it. Though it could be argued that balls regularly fly out of Citizens Bank Park, at least three of those homers would’ve been out of just about any park, and CBP is no excuse for the other four hits — nor the bases-loaded walk to Jamie Moyer that forced in a run. Santana’s velocity was also a little worrisome, as it hovered around 89.

In contrast, Moyer barely broke 78 MPH, but kept the Mets off-balance, “holding” them to “only” 5 runs through 6 innings. The Mets pretty much threw in the towel after Santana left the mound.

Fernando Tatis hit a double, justifying his start over Ike Davis (not).

Gary Matthews, Jr. was 0-for-4 in the leadoff spot. He’s now hitting .139 on the season with a .244 OBP.

Jose Reyes was 1-for-13 with an RBI this weekend against the Phillies hitting in the three-hole.

David Wright hit a 3-run homer to give the Mets a 3-0 lead in the first frame. Santana, however, gave the Phillies two runs back in the bottom of the initial inning.

Rod Barajas went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in the fourth that gave the Mets their second 3-run lead of the game. Santana, however, let that lead get away in the bottom of that inning as well.

Jeff Francoeur stole his second base of the season and threw out Moyer trying to score. He also was hit by another pitch, though he didn’t make any attempt whatsoever to get out of the way of Moyer’s 74-MPH changeup.

Fernando Nieve, who had not appeared in a game all month, finally got some work in, pitching a perfect seventh inning. He is on pace to appear in 97 games this season. No kidding — do the math.

Next Mets Game

The Mets will try to shake off the last two drubbings on Monday in Cincinnati. Oliver Perez faces Reds rookie Mike Leake at 7:10 PM.


Dan Murphy Will Wing It in Buffalo

According to Brian Costa of the Star-Ledger, the Mets will send Daniel Murphy to AAA Buffalo once his knee has completely healed.

Per Costa:

The Mets plan to send Murphy, 24, to Buffalo for two reasons. From an offensive standpoint, they think it would be better for his development to get regular at-bats, which isn’t likely to happen in the majors. And defensively, the Mets want Murphy to play multiple positions, including first base, second base and left field.

Part of the thinking is that greater defensive versatility would increase his trade value, but it would also make him more valuable to the organization if he isn’t traded.

Interesting, isn’t it? We’ve expressed similar thoughts about Murphy right here at MetsToday — that he’d ultimately be most valuable as a “supersub” a la Mark DeRosa (or Don Money, for old farts like me).

So the “golden boy” has fallen from the grace of the Mets management; maybe now we can finally stop comparing him to Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs, Edgardo Alfonzo, etc., and just let him become Daniel Murphy. The idea that Murphy could/would be the starting first baseman was mythical from the beginning, but who’s to say he can’t reinvent himself (again) and turn into a very good, valuable part-time player?

Considering that AAA Buffalo already has lefthanded-hitting Mike Jacobs installed at first base, and the”Monster” Chris Carter splitting time among 1B, OF, and DH, I would guess that Murphy will be getting some reps at both 2B and 3B for the Bisons. Many Mets fans I’m sure would like to see Murphy playing second base exclusively, so that he can supplant Luis Castillo. But I doubt very highly that Daniel has the feet and hands to develop into an everyday MLB second baseman; we’ll see. The one place I’d really like to see Murphy is behind the plate. Again, I doubt he can develop into Johnny Bench back there, but I believe he has enough athleticism, toughness, and the right work ethic to make himself into a capable third-stringer. It’s always nice to have that third / emergency catcher on the 25-man roster — especially one who can be a strong pinch-hitting threat.

There’s one thing about Murphy’s demotion that doesn’t sit right with me, however — the fact that he essentially lost the starting job due to an injury. By all accounts, Murphy was the starting first baseman going into Opening Day — and walked into spring training as the starter, according to Jerry Manuel. While we may not have agreed with that decision, the fact is that Murphy was going to be “the guy” at first base — and possibly batting cleanup (!) — until he injured his knee. Now when he’s healed, he’ll be a backup utilityman in Buffalo. Something just ain’t right with that (kind of like Omir Santos going from starting catcher to AAA backup in a matter of 24 hours).


Mets Game 24: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 10 Mets 0

Well, you can’t win ’em all.

After the Mets won in a laugher on Friday night, the Phillies returned the favor, pounding out 10 runs on 13 hits as Roy “Doc” Halladay surgically removed the New York offense.

Game Notes

Roy Halladay pitched a complete-game, 3-hit shutout, expending 118 pitches — including 88 strikes. That type of pitch count would get John Maine through 5 1/3 innings, I reckon.

Mike Pelfrey, on the other hand, was less than stellar, allowing 8 hits, a walk, and 6 runs in 4 innings, throwing 82 pitches. His ERA more than tripled in the process. Big Pelf had a hard time hitting spots, and when he had to give in, his fastball was a little too high and got too much of the plate. Home plate umpire Ron Kulpa was calling a very low strike zone, but Pelfrey couldn’t take advantage the way Halladay did.

That low zone irked several of the Mets hitters, and David Wright nearly got tossed for arguing with Kulpa in the top of the sixth. From the angle provided by the centerfield camera, several pitches did seem below the knees, but Halladay’s sinker was running down hard so it’s difficult to say whether they were balls as they passed the plate, or merely looked like balls by the time the catcher caught them.

Ike Davis drew the lone walk that Halladay allowed, and the three hits were struck by Wright, Jason Bay, and Henry Blanco. Blanco and Wright hit doubles, while Bay hit a single. Jose Reyes saw more pitches than any other Met with 24.

Although Blanco hit a double, seeing both he and Alex Cora in the lineup against the best pitcher in baseball didn’t exactly boost my hopes when the game began.

Blanco, by the way, is 5-for-11 lifetime against Sunday night starter Jamie Moyer.

Next Mets Game

The rubber match takes place on Sunday night at 8 PM and will be broadcast by ESPN. Johan Santana faces Jamie Moyer. Be sure to visit the ESPN Baseball Tonight Live Chat so you can read my witty comments during the game.


Sean Green and Other Injury Updates

According to, Sean Green’s “strained intercostal muscle” is actually a stress fracture of his rib. Like most Mets fans, I’m in no rush to see Green back on the 25-man roster. But why would it take an entire month before someone ordered an X-ray? Things that make you go hmmmm.

Speaking of that routine test procedure, X-rays on Jeff Francoeur’s elbow were negative. Francoeur was hit in the forearm by a 95-MPH fastball during last night’s game. The injury is labeled as a contusion. Jerry Manuel suggested that he would give Francoeur the day off today.

There is no update on Carlos Beltran. However, there was a report that he was fitted with a knee brace “in the hopes of accelerating his rehabilitation, a team official confirmed…”

That sounds sketchy to me, but we’ll get more into that in a future post.

Similarly, there is no word on Kelvim Escobar. Did you expect any?

Speaking of no word, the Mets are mum on Ryota Igarashi at the moment.

Daniel Murphy, on the other hand, is back on the field, playing in “extended spring training” games. I get the feeling, though, that most Mets fans — and Frank Catalanotto — would prefer he take his time getting back.

Finally, no progress has been made on Oliver Perez’s brain, and MLB refuses to allow the Mets to place him on the DL for “detachment and disconnection between mind and body”. Apparently if an injury doesn’t come up on an X-ray, MRI, or psychiatrist’s report, it doesn’t apply. Oh well.


Warthen and Ojeda See the Same Things About Niese

From yours truly on MetsToday, in the Game 13 post:

It appears as though his arm slot has dropped from straight overhand to more three-quarter, which can be a better angle for getting movement, but takes bite away from his best pitch, the curveball. That angle also was causing him to get “under” the ball, meaning, he was releasing the ball with his fingers at the side of the ball or almost underneath — which causes the ball to move more sideways and up …

The SNY crew kept referring to one of Niese’s pitches as a “cutter”, and maybe that’s how Niese identifies it, but it is a slider. A “cutter” is a “cut fastball”, so called because it is thrown with a fastball arm action but with a grip that is shifted slightly off-center from across the four seams. The result is a fastball that “cuts” slightly — just a few inches at most. However, what Niese is doing is modifying the grip AND turning his wrist slightly counterclockwise — which is a slider. Why does it matter? Because with a slider, the fingers slide to the side of the ball and the thumb turns up toward the sky, which puts pressure on the elbow. Niese already puts a lot of pressure on his elbow with the overhand curve, so there is concern that an injury will be sustained in that area at some point. But staying in the here and now, that slider / wannabe cutter is often flat and doesn’t have much downward movement, which means it will eventually get hit hard.

… Though, Niese did throw at least 6 or 7 sliders with sharp downward bite. He may want to focus on thinking about that pitch as a slider, and calling it a slider, because when it’s not, it’s dangerous.

From Bobby Ojeda during “In the O-Zone” in last night’s postgame on SNY:

Those were pitches he was getting away from (the inside fastball and curveball). He was getting a little lazy with that cutter, which was no longer a cutter but becoming more of a big loopy slider. The cutter was back today but used sparingly … what you saw they weren’t leaning out over, looking for that soft cutter and they weren’t able to make good contact, and then Uncle Charley showed up — and I love seeing it. This kid got one of the best curveballs, probably in the National League, it’s nice to see him use it, he used it for strikes and he used it for chase pitches as well …

Chris Carlin chimes in:

You said on Loudmouths earlier tonight that the cutter had become somewhat more of a slider. Did he pitch in a more mature fashion, knowing that they would be looking for that cutter more?


Absolutely. I think there was a lot of discussion with Dan Warthen on ‘you’re getting a little sloppy with that cutter’ it IS a slider — Dan sees it, I see it … I’d be willing to bet that Barajas caught his bullpen and said ‘look, we’ve gotta get a little more tight, we’ve gotta get tighter with that … that cutter comes from from across the plate, and it’s very easy — it looks big to a hitter …

Also, during the postgame interview with Jerry Manuel, Manuel referred to Niese’s repertoire as including a “ball moving like a slider” and a “slow curveball”.

I provide this just in case there was any question regarding the reliability of the pitching analysis / information you get here on MetsToday.