Browsing Archive May, 2010

Links, Links and Links (Thursday Edition)

Now, I know some of you don’t like link dumps. I understand – I was like you once. But it takes a long time for Joe to write his posts and what are you gonna do until the next post? Well, you can do what you want, but here are some links for your viewing pleasure… if you’re into this sort of thing:

Mets Police – Shannon Stark has photos of some weird Mets jerseys that are for sale at the Mets store on 42nd street.

OnTheBlack – Kerel Cooper says the NL East is the most competitive division in baseball. He obviously hasn’t been following the Pelham Bay Little League.

Amazin Avenue – In the daily farm system report, AA reports that Nick Evans went 0-for-5 and somehow had an RBI and 2 runs scored. Strange.

Baseball Digest – Remember Rusty Staub? Time for a walk down memory lane.

Read the Apple – Oliver Perez arrested for stealing signs? No, not really. But really funny.


Mets Game 47: Win Over Phillies

Mets 5 Phillies 0

Who are these Mets? Who are those Phillies?

The Mets won their fourth in a row — beating the Yankees and Phillies — and their fifth of their last six. They’ve shut out the Phillies in back-to-back games using fill-in starters. Is it because they’re that good? Is it because Jerry Manuel knows exactly what buttons to press, and when? Now that they’ve crawled out of the cellar, should we expect the Mets to start mashing their way to the top of the division?

Time will tell.

Game Notes

Hisanori “Don’t Call Me Ken” Takahashi spun another brilliant start, stupefying the Phillies through six innings of shutout ball. He allowed 5 hits, walked none, and struck out 6. The Phillies truly looked befuddled against him — I guess that’s what happens when they aren’t told what’s coming.

Takahashi is now tied with Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey for the team lead in wins (4). He’s posted a 0.81 ERA over his last 8 appearances, going back to Cinco de Mayo.

Is it a coincidence that Takahashi, Raul Valdes, Jennry Mejia, and R.A. Dickey have been the biggest surprises on the staff, and none were exposed to Dan Warthen until very recently? Probably.

Jose Reyes blasted his first homer of the year, a 400-foot laser over the right field wall. He’s just getting warmed up, folks.

Rod Barajas — a.k.a., “Lord of the (High) Flies” — drove in 3 more runs with a double and a long fly. He’s hitting .533 with 8 RBI in 4 games vs. the Phillies this year. Clearly, NL teams do not archive their scouting reports, or Hot Rod would not continually get pitches low and in — pretty much the only spot his bat swings through. Let’s hope no one catches on.

Similarly, I hope the Mets continue to throw pitches — of any variety — down and away to Ryan Howard. Change-ups, fastballs, breaking pitches — it doesn’t matter what — if the pitch is below his knees, and off the outside corner, he’s swinging and missing. Those breezes must have been welcome in the 95+ degree heat during the game.

Angel Pagan was 2-for-4 with two stolen bases and a run scored, and his push bunt in the sixth helped ignite a three-run rally. He’s quietly turning into a solid offensive force at the bottom half of the lineup. Carlos Who?

Speaking of steals, the Mets are 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts in this series, and are second in the NL in both total steals (43) and SB percentage (83%).

Fernando Nieve did make an appearance, tossing 14 pitches in a perfect ninth. But this outing was PLANNED, as he was “getting his work in” in preparation for a spot start this coming weekend. Really? He needs to get work in? It will take a minor miracle to keep his right arm from detaching from his body before the end of the season.

The Mets are now 18-9 at home, and beginning to resemble the 1987 Twins, minus the dome.

The Phillies have scored a scant 15 runs in their past 8 games. The’ve scored 4 runs in their last 45 innings. The pitchers on the end of the Mets depth chart have shut them out through 18 consecutive innings. WTF?

This was the first time the Mets shut out the Phillies in back-to-back games since July 17-18, 1998, when Al Leiter and Hideo Nomo pulled the trick (back then pitchers still occasionally finished what they started).

The Phillies, by the way, have been shut out four times this year — three of those times in their last three games.

Next Mets Game

The Mets go for the sweep on Thursday night, sending Mike Pelfrey to the mound against Cole Hamels. Game time is 7:10 PM.


Mets Game 47 vs. Phillies: Lineup

Here is the Mets lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Phillies:

Jose Reyes – SS
Luis Castillo – 2B
Jason Bay – LF
Ike Davis – 1B
David Wright – 3B
Angel Pagan – CF
Rod Barajas – C
Jeff Francoeur – RF
Hisanori Takahashi – LHP

Looks pretty deep, all of a sudden, especially now that Bay is red-hot and Francoeur might be waking from his month-long slumber with the lumber. Takahashi’s soft stuff might keep the Phillies’ bats quiet, considering their problems with the knuckleballers lately.


Darryl Strawberry to Open Restaurant

Never mind the hullabaloo stirred up by the Straw Man the other day in the Mets’ clubhouse — Darryl Strawberry has much more interesting news to convey: his own restaurant.

According to Grub Street, Darryl Strawberry will be opening a restaurant in Douglaston, Queens called “Strawberry’s Sports Grill”.

If you are interested in working for Darryl, head over to CraigsList and see the ad for “GM Needed for Darryl Strawberry’s New Sports Grill“. Three years experience required at minimum.

And if you get the job, don’t slack off or overcook a burger ordered medium-rare — lest Darryl come into the kitchen and let you know you could be doing better.


Mets Game 46: Win Over Phillies

Mets 8 Phillies 0

Maybe the Mets were stealing the Phillies’ signs.

The suddenly high-powered Mets offense pounded Jamie Moyer for four runs in five innings, and added another four against the Philadelphia bullpen, to propel the team to their third straight win and fourth in their last five games.

Meantime, the Phillies were phlummoxed by phloaters phlipped phrom the phingers oph R.A. Dickey. Dickey’s knuckleball shut them down cold as he recorded his first MLB win since April 10, 2009.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey fluttered his way through 6 strong innings, shutting out the mighty Phillies while spreading around 7 hits and 3 walks, striking out 7. He was drilled in the left (non-pitching) elbow by a line drive off the bat of Ryan Howard early in the game, but toughed it out. His elbow swelled significantly and was x-rayed in the clubhouse between innings but no broken bones were found.

While they had the x-ray machine warmed up, Oliver Perez‘s head was scanned. Nothing was found.

Rod Barajas was using an oversized, pancake-shaped catcher’s glove owned by Dickey to aid his attempt at stopping the knuckleball. To me it looks like a softball catcher’s glove, which is kind of like a cross between a catcher’s and first baseman’s glove.

When I caught Jim Bouton’s knuckler (back in the 1990s), he had an oversized catcher’s glove as well, but it was old-school — thick and more like a big pillow than the pancake-shaped one Dickey has. Personally, I didn’t like using the big mitt because it was heavy — and with the last-moment, unpredictable break of the knuckler, I found it more effective to use my own mitt, or one that was lighter and smaller, so I could move my hands quickly. I have no idea if Dickey’s “pancake” glove is lighter in weight, but Barajas seemed to do OK with it, despite a few pitches deflecting off here and there — believe me, it ain’t easy.

Jamie Moyer and R.A. Dickey combined to throw 144 pitches clocked under 80 MPH. Moyer’s fastball was clocked as slow as 77 MPH — and a few of Dickey’s knucklers reached 78 MPH.

Raul Valdez spun a three-inning save (his first as a Major Leaguer) and blasted an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth. I still can’t figure out how the heck he’s doing it.

Jeff Francoeur busted out of his slump, with a single, a double, 2 RBI, and a run scored. Even his two outs were hard-hit.

The Mets have reached Omar Minaya’s goal of .500, but remain in last place. Though, they’re only 4 games out of first.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Phillies do it again on Wednesday night at 7:10 PM. Hisanori Takahashi goes to the mound against Joe Blanton.


Inside Look: Phillies

Fresh off a series win over their crosstown rival Yankees and on a “roll” of winning 3 out of their last 4, the Mets now host the NL East’s first-place Phillies, with a chance to cut their distance from the top of the standings in half.

Whether they can do it is up for debate, but while we ponder that thought, we can also get some of the inside scoop on the Phillies from fellow ESPN SweetSpot blogger Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley — where, by the way, you will be able to read a similar Q&A, only with yours truly providing feedback on the Mets.


Can’t Have it Both Ways

Depending on who you talk to, the Mets are either underachieving or overachieving, and accomplishing one or the other because of Jerry Manuel or not because of Jerry Manuel.

It’s a fascinating dichotomy. When the Mets are doing poorly, many point to the weaknesses on the roster — and in particular the starting pitching. Yet, when the Mets went on their 10-1 streak, they looked to have enough talent to contend — to be world-beaters, in fact. On paper, their starting pitching and bullpen both appeared outstanding, and if the offensive ever started clicking … look out!

When that same assembly of pitchers and batters went 5-13 in the first 18 days of May


Your Feedback Counts

Over the past week or so we’ve been experimenting with some things here at MetsToday and I’d appreciate your feedback.


1. How do you like the new comment system? What in particular do you like / not like?

2. Did you appreciate the inclusion of videos in the posts last week? Would you like to see more videos included now and then (or on a daily basis), in the future?

3. There have been “game day open threads” posted for the past several days — an opportunity to converse with MetsToday readers during the game. Is this something that should be continued, and if so will you participate on occasion?

4. Do you find value in the “link dumps”? Would you like to see them on a regular basis?

5. Do you have any other requests or ideas on how I can improve your MetsToday experience?

Please post answers to any/all of the above in the comments section. I could’ve used an external survey site but that seemed too formal and complicated. Many thanks!