Browsing Archive May, 2010

Mets Fast Facts

The Mets have won 3 of their last 4, which could be termed a “roll”. With the day off today let’s focus on the positive and savor the moment.

Jason Bay is literally carrying the Mets on his back — he’s 10 for his last 15 in these past four games, scoring 8 runs and driving 4 extra-base hits, including his first two homers after a 92-at-bat drought. He had multiple-hit games in all of the wins, and only one hit in the loss (to the Yankees on Friday).

Bay also has a hit in each of his last 7 at-bats and has reached base in 9 consecutive plate appearances, going back to Friday night.

One more Bay fact: he has a hit in 15 consecutive games at home — tied for the longest at-home streak (with Cody Ross).

Last night’s win marked two milestones: the Mets’ first “rubber game” win of 2010 and their first “Subway Series” win over the Yankees since 2008, when they swept the Bombers in the Bronx.

Johan Santana’s win last night was the first by a Mets starter not named Mike Pelfrey since April 30th. Santana has a 1.35 ERA over his last 3 starts.

Wins by Santana and Pelfrey over the weekend marked the first time Mets starters had back-to-back wins since April 28-30, when John Maine beat the Dodgers and Jon Niese beat the Phillies.

The Mets are 9-3 at Citi Field when they hit at least one home run. They are 3-0 when they hit two or more.

The Mets are 18-7 this year when they score first.

Francisco Rodriguez has caused 76 heart attacks in his last three appearances, tying a mark set by Jesse Orosco in 1986.

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Mets Game 45: Win Over Yankees

Mets 6 Yankees 4

Jerry Manuel keeps his job for at least another week, maybe two.

Jason Bay continued his red-hot hitting — he is about as locked in as a batter can be right now — and Johan Santana put forth perhaps his best, most clutch outing of the year as the Mets beat the Yankees and won their first “rubber match” of 2010.

Game Notes

Johan Santana was spectacular through 7 2/3, allowing only 1 earned run on 6 hits and 3 walks, striking out three, relying predominantly on fastballs up and well-placed changeups down. He cruised from his first pitch through his 86th, but quickly lost his command in the eighth as the Yankees loaded the bases on two walks and a single. However, Pedro Feliciano came in and struck out Robinson Cano on three straight sliders — perhaps the sharpest he’s thrown all season.

Meanwhile, Jason Bay continued to carry the Mets on his back, hitting 2 homeruns in as many at-bats, walking once, and getting plunked (unintentionally). He scored two and drove in three. For those who were up in arms about Bay for the first month and a half of the season, you were told he was “streaky”.

Jose Reyes had another two hits and is starting to look a little better at the plate. Remember he sat on a couch for over a month.

Luis Castillo was a late scratch from the lineup and Alex Cora took over the #2 hole. He made all of us eat crow with another clutch 2-out, 2-RBI single, followed by a stolen base. Championship ballplayer, or performing well enough in spots to create that illusion? You decide.

There are rumblings that Castillo will need to go on the DL shortly. If so there’s an outside chance that Cora’s vesting option for 2011 automatically kicks in based on games started (he needs to start 80, he’s started in 17 thus far).

Ryota Igarashi, who was activated from the DL a few hours before game time, came on in the ninth to protect a 6-1 lead. He proceeded to throw the ball all over the place and allow the Yankees to rally, forcing Jerry Manuel to bring in K-Rod. Iggy’s final line was 1/3 inning, 3 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 18 pitches.

Francisco Rodriguez caused everyone a minor heart attack en route to his 8th save. He threw 21 pitches in the process, following up his 5-out, 28-pitch performance on Saturday night. That’s 49 pitches in two days and 63 pitches over the last four. The Mets have an off day on Monday but will that be enough rest before they face the Phillies on Tuesday?

Next Mets Game

As just mentioned, Mets have off on Monday then start a three-game set vs. the first-place Phillies in Flushing on Tuesday at 7:10 PM. R.A. Dickey takes the mound against Jamie Moyer in what promises to be the MLB game with the lowest average MPH per pitch.

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Lima Time is Up

If you haven’t heard already, former Mets pitcher Jose Lima passed away this morning at the age of 37. According to his wife, “Lima Time” died of a sudden heart attack at his home in Los Angeles. He is survived by his wife and five children.

Lima’s MLB career ended after compiling an 0-4 record and 9.84 ERA in 4 starts for the Mets in 2006.

Kind of weird and creepy that two days from now will be the second anniversary of the death of Geremi Gonzalez — who made 3 similarly horrendous spot starts for the Mets that same season. Gonzalez died after being struck by lightning in Venezuela on May 25th, 2008.

Just to creep you out a bit more, the picture to the left is of Gonzalez greeting Lima during spring training in Port St. Lucie in February 2006 (FYI I found the photo on the Mets blog “Can’t Stop the Bleeding“).

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Mets Game 45 Lineup vs. Yankees

One of the benefits of being affiliated with ESPN is that the New York Mets sort of see this blog as a member of the media. As such, the Mets PR department now sends to me the official lineup for each game. Here is tonight’s:

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

Have to admit I’m a little surprised to have received this at 3:40 PM — well before batting practice. I thought Jerry Manuel makes out the lineup card based on what he sees from BP. Maybe that’s no longer the case.

Speaking of ESPN, you can see me — and engage in the conversation — on the Baseball Tonight Live chat on ESPN.com, beginning at 7 PM.

********** UPDATE ****************

Just got word from Mets PR that Castillo has been scratched for Alex Cora. I’m guessing that Castillo’s foot is acting up again.

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Mets Game 44: Win Over Yankees

Mets 5 Yankees 3

Jerry Manuel remains employed for another night.

The Mets went ahead early, carried on the back of Jason Bay and rolling behind the outstanding pitching of Mike Pelfrey. There was a tense moment in the 8th, but Francisco Rodriguez came on with the bases loaded and ended both the threat and the inning.

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey was excellent through 6 frames, allowing only 1 run on 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5. He threw 108 pitches, and if it were me I might’ve let him pitch a seventh inning. But thanks to modern technology and training habits the kids can’t go that far any more.

Jason Bay was on fire, going 4-for-4 with 3 runs scored. He is now officially on a hot streak, and may carry the team and Jerry Manuel’s employment for another week or so.

Gary Matthews Jr. struck out again in his only at-bat. I was gone a week and his batting average jumped to .180. Someone fill me in — he’s closing the gap between himself and Jose Reyes. Yikes.

Reyes, by the way, was a very quiet 2-for-5. He tried to stretch a single into a double to end the 8th, and was out by 15 feet. I guess it’s been a while since he’s run the bases.

Angel Pagan went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI, and a run scored. If Carlos Beltran ever returns, Jeff Francoeur may find himself on the bench.

Francoeur, by the way, was 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts. He’s now hitting .215 with a .274 OBP. But, his presence in RF did keep the Yankees from trying to score at least twice during the game. Still, he’s going to have to get that bat going to stay in the lineup.

Did I miss something while I was away, or is Chris Carter still on the roster? It was strange not to see him make an appearance in this game at some point. Jerry Manuel opted for Alex Cora in a big pinch-hitting situation in the 6th, and Cora rapped a key, two-out, RBI single, but it seemed like a place for The Animal. I guess that’s why Manuel is so smart.

K-Rod recorded a five-out save, coming into the game with the Mets up by 3 and the bases loaded in the 8th. If that doesn’t smell of desperation from Jerry Manuel then I don’t know what does. Yes, I understand that the Mets didn’t have any other relievers to rely on in that situation but, um, that might have something to do with the Game Seven management of the ‘pen from Opening Day through now.

Next Mets Game

The final game of the “Subway Series” will begin at 8:05 PM on Sunday night, televised by ESPN. It will be a matchup of the aces, as Johan Santana faces C.C. Sabathia.

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Gameday Open Thread: May 22 vs. Yankees

The Mets (20-23) take on the Yankees (26-16) tonight at Citi Field…

Mike Pelfrey (5-1, 3.02) takes the mound for the Mets against Phil Hughes (5-0, 2.25)…

First pitch at 7:10pm EDT…

Note: I won’t be around much (if at all) tonight – I’ll be watching the game from various locations that aren’t near a computer. But rumor has it that Joe Janish will be back in the USA at some point today or tonight. So check back and maybe he’ll be holding court in the comments section. And if I’m wrong and he isn’t back today, you’ll have to deal with my nonsense again tomorrow. I feel so sorry for you.

And for your viewing pleasure, I submit a funny video from some random Little League game from several years ago in God Knows Where, USA:

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Game 43: Loss to Yankees

Yankees 2, Mets 1

Did you ever see a movie that you were REALLY excited to see? A movie that was REALLY interesting and totally lived up to its expectations for about 90 minutes, until something totally unbelievable and ridiculous happened that it totally took you out of the movie? You were suddenly aware that you were watching a movie and not just any movie, but a REALLY BAD movie?

Yeah, tonight’s game was like that. And Elmer Dessens was that unbelievable and ridiculous moment.

On a personal note, Dessens destroyed my fantasy team once and I wrote him off as a guy that really had no business on a Major League team since then.

That was in 2003.

Sorry for the tangent, but really, the Mets were lucky to get out of the 7th inning down 2-0. Say what you want about John Maine’s weird exit last night – but Maine deserves a spot on a team that employs Dessens in the bullpen.

Ugh. I digress (again).

Howie Rumberg of the Associated Press summed up this game in a paragraph:

Javier Vazquez pitched one-hit ball for six innings before becoming the latest pinstriped player to leave with an injury and the Yankees took advantage of more inept Mets play to win the opener of the Subway Series 2-1 on Friday night.

The only other thing you need to know is exactly how the scoring occured and Rumber has that covered, concisely:

Kevin Russo got his first hit of the season and first two big league RBIs and Mariano Rivera struggled to earn his first save after two subpar outings, helping the makeshift Yankees win their fourth straight game at Citi Field after sweeping the series last year.

Rivera gave up consecutive two-out doubles to Jason Bay and Ike Davis in the ninth inning, bringing a record Citi Field crowd of 41,382 to life before getting David Wright grounding to second for his eighth save in nine chances.

With both teams struggling – the Yankees because of injuries to several key players, and the Mets because of an anemic offense and a rotation in disarray – Vazquez and spot starter Hisanori Takahashi engaged in a fantastic pitchers’ duel for six innings.

The two big bright spots here are obvious – Takahashi continues to impress and Ike Davis is just… well, let’s not jinx it, although it does appear that second base is made out of kryptonite – or whatever Ike is allergic to.

Next Game

Mike Pelfrey (5-1, 3.02) takes the mound for the Mets on Saturday. Phil Hughes (5-0, 2.25) will start for the Yankees. First pitch at 7:10pm.

Enjoy this video of Opening Day at Shea Stadium, circa 1982. Sorry, I’m on a nostalgia kick:

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