Archive: June 15th, 2010

Mets Game 64: Win Over Indians

Mets 7 Indians 6

The Mets continue their absolute dominance over American League opponents, and this time they did it in come-from-behind fashion.

After falling behind 4-1, the Mets stampeded back with five runs in the fifth to take a lead they never lost, en route to their 36th victory of the season.

Game Notes

Johan Santana didn’t have his best stuff … blah blah blah. You’ve heard that story before. This time, though, the Mets gave him run support, and in this case it was much-needed.

As usual, Santana struggled to break 90 MPH, didn’t have great command of the changeup, and was inconsistent with a sparingly-used slider. He allowed 4 earned runs on 7 hits and 2 walks to a lineup that is made up mostly of AAA and AA players. But as Bobby Ojeda might say, “he did what winners do”. Yes, he did, but I’m still concerned.

Ike Davis once again was the difference maker, as his two-run homer broke a 4-4 tie and gave the Mets the lead they never relinquished.

David Wright was 3-for-5, driving in three runs on two infield singles (with a little help from the speedy Jose Reyes). Wright now has 50 RBI, leading the National League. Not bad for a guy who was having a “terrible” year until recently.

Jose Reyes had only one hit but scored twice and stole his 17th base. Angel Pagan also swiped a bag, his 13th of the season.

Jeff Francoeur and Alex Cora combined to go 4-for-8 with two runs scored in the bottom two spots of the lineup.

Pedro Feliciano pitched the entire 8th inning in his new role as setup man and in his NL-leading 39th appearance. Though he didn’t allow a run, he looked dull — meaning, the opposite of sharp. Could it be the result of overuse? Nah.

Francisco Rodriguez made things interesting in the 9th, allowing a pinch-hit two-run homer to the ugliest man in baseball, Shelly Duncan.

If nothing else, the two bookend pitchers from this game are consistent in that Johan Santana never has his best stuff, and K-Rod always makes things interesting.

Justin Masterson pitched through the end of the seventh inning, despite allowing 7 runs on 10 hits and 2 walks. How often do you see that these days?

Seven of the Mets’ twelve hits were infield hits. Another rare feat.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Indians do it again at 7:05 PM on Wednesday night in Cleveland. Jon Niese faces Mitch Talbot.


Tuesday Night Mets Links & Open Thread

Links are on the way… Links are here!

Cleveland Plain Dealer – Paul Hoynes has the lowdown on Johan Santana’s dominance of Jhonny Peralta and Travis Hafner.

MetsToday – Joe Janish has an in-depth preview of the upcoming currently underway series in Cleveland.

FanHouse – The Wilpons are apparently discussing the possibility of bringing the New York Islanders to play in a yet-to-be-built arena next to Citi Field.

MLB Trade Rumors – The Mets have officially released Gary Matthews Jr.

The Daily Stache – Video of Wally Backman’s epic ejection continues to make its way around the internet.

The Daily Stache – Frank Gray thinks Chicago might be close to trading away some veterans.


The Mets (35-28) take on the Cleveland Indians (25-37) in Cleveland. Johan Santana (4-3, 2.96) gets the ball for the Mets and will be taking on Justin Masterson (2-5, 4.74).

And for all these things and so much more, feel free to…



Fantasy Baseball, Pedro Feliciano and Jerry Being Jerry


It sounds like Pedro Feliciano might be the new setup man for the Mets, at least according to Rotoworld. The fantasy baseball site is basing their information on an article by Andy McCullough in the Newark Star-Ledger.

I can’t find anything in the Star-Ledger article to back this up. Here’s the best I can come up with:

But with Mets manager Jerry Manuel rummaging through the bullpen for an eighth-inning answer, Feliciano has faced more righties than lefties this year. Both Fernando Nieve and Ryota Igarashi flamed out. So Manuel says Feliciano leads the team’s set-up committee alongside 39-year-old journeyman Elmer Dessens.

So will Feliciano retain his niche as the team’s left-handed specialist? Or does the team need him to set the table for closer Francisco Rodriguez?

“I know he wants it,” Rodriguez said. “He wants that job. He’s working so hard to establish himself in the set-up role.”

Feliciano led all of baseball in appearances these past two seasons – 88 in 2009 and 86 in 2008. After a clean eighth inning on Saturday, he notched his 37th appearance and extended his lead for this year’s title.

“There’s a ton of value,” assistant general manager John Ricco said, “for a guy like that – especially the way he can get lefties out – in our division.”

When I read that article, it seems like the Mets haven’t yet found an 8th-inning guy. In other words, it is still bullpen-by-committee. That’s fine, the committee has been working and Feliciano is a big part of that. But let’s not assume the Mets have figured out their bullpen situation for the long term.

Don’t discount RotoWorld because it is a fantasy baseball site. It is usually a great place to find out what’s really going on with injuries, bullpen roles and playing time controversies – they have a way of cutting through the media reports and PR spin from MLB teams. But in this case, I think they’ve fallen victim to Jerry being Jerry. To think the Mets have a hard and fast plan that they can stick to in the 8th inning is a bit presumptuous, until it is demonstrated in game situations, over a period of time.

If we believe every idea floated by Jerry Manuel, then Carlos Beltran will be the DH this weekend…

Read the article yourself and share your conclusions in the comments section.


Tuesday Morning Mets Links

The Mets are back in action tonight against the Indians… Here’s what’s going on in the Mets-o-sphere:

Amazin’ Avenue – Eric Simon has a Mets trivia question – name all the Mets players who hit three doubles in a game.

Studious Metsimus – Today is a high holy day in Mets history. His name is Keith Hernandez.

Long Live Shea Stadium – A scouting report on the pitcher the Mets will face tonight – Cleveland’s Justin Masterson.

FanHouse – Four of the top five teams in the latest MLB Power Rankings are from Los Angeles or New York. Weird.

OnTheBlack – Kerel Cooper thinks Jose Reyes is back to being the player Mets fans know and love.

BrooklynMetFan – Apparently, Heath Bell wants to come back to New York when his contract is up? Weird.

Read The Apple – The Mets have banned World Cup games from the clubhouse. Not really.

And here is video of Wally Backman’s old team killing time in the dugout during a rain delay, by dropping sunflower seed shells into a teammates’ hair. Some of the video is not safe for work (NSFW), but it is far tamer than the video of the Wally Backman ejection that has been making its way around the internet this week:


Inside Look: Indians

Tonight the Mets begin a 3-game series with the Indians in Cleveland. The Injuns had high hopes in the preseason, but those hopes dashed quickly after the season-ending injury to superstar Grady Sizemore and widespread underperformance by the able-bodied players on the roster.

To get a clue on what’s happening in Cleveland, we turn to fellow SweetSpot blogger Steve Buffum of “The B-List Indians Blog” for the scoop.

1. After a tough seven-game ALCS loss in 2007, the Indians have had some tough times. Were you expecting a step forward or backward in 2010?

I really expected this team to take a step forward in 2010. I wrote a pre-season series about how it was reasonable to expect significant (as defined by “a reasonable expectation for double-digit VORP improvement”) improvement from 8 different players: a couple have been able to do this (Fausto Carmona, Jhonny Peralta), but most have not (Masterson, Huff, LaPorta, Sizemore, Rafael Perez, Andy Marte).

The three most important players were Sizemore, who was pitiful before he got hurt anyway (the two may be related, it isn’t clear), Carmona, who has done quite well, and Perez, who has been awful and joined by Tony Sipp in providing the kind of bullpen support normally provided by large, flaming barrels of kerosene rags.

2. What is your opinion thus far of new manager Manny Acta?

It’s too early to tell. I like that Acta addresses issues openly and honestly, and he appears to learn more quickly from tactical errors than his predecessor, Eric Wedge. His team is pretty bad, though. The first season is far too early to judge the guy.

3. Do you think the Indians are on a path toward eventual success? Are there more hard times ahead before they take a step forward?

Well, yes and no. A significant part of the problem was a series of atrocious drafts, and they’ve been much improved over the past three or so. That sort of thing takes time to bear fruit, but players like Alex White, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jason Kipnis, Cord Phelps, and Drew Pomeranz have major-league potential. I like some of the players we’ve acquired through trades, like Carlos Santana, Chris Perez, Jess Todd, Mitch Talbot, Nick Hagadone, Scott Barnes, Jason Donald, and Jason Knapp, not to mention the major-league contributors Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera.

But the Indians have a HUGE cashflow problem, which is exacerbated by the low attendance figures to date. From what I’ve read, they budgeted for a certain draw and aren’t getting it. They already traded C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee for financial reasons: there’s no reason to think that players like Kerry Wood or Jake Westbrook are going to be Indians next season. They’ll have to live and die with the yoots, and frankly, while there are good signs, the actual performance of players like Donald, Tofu Lou Marson, Mike Brantley, and Trevor Crowe show that … well … these young players are bad compared to full-time major-league players.

4. Austin Kearns is one of the Indians’ best offensive players — yet, his job is in jeopardy if Matt LaPorta is brought back to the big club. First, please explain how Kearns found his way to being a top producer on an AL club, and second, tell us why he’s not guaranteed to be a regular in the second half.

It’s probably simplistic to say, “Health,” but I think that’s a huge factor. The poor guy has just been so battered and snakebit over his career. This having been said, I also think he’s playing a bit over his true baseline, and I think he should be traded. By the time the Indians are ready to compete for a playoff spot, Kearns is likely to be on the downslope (he’s already 30): that is exactly the player the Indians need FEWER of, not MORE.

5. Is Andy Marte ever going to amount to anything?

No. He is a fungus.

6. Over the long run, do you believe the players obtained in the Sabathia, Lee, and Martinez deals will provide the foundation to a champhionship-caliber club in Cleveland?

They will contribute, but they’re not the foundation by themselves, no. Shoot, the best prospect we’ve received came in the Casey Blake deal (Carlos Santana). But I think that Masterson, Hagadone, Donald, Knapp, LaPorta, and Rob Bryson are all legitimate contributors … although there are no guarantees. LaPorta looked horribibble in Cleveland, then went to Columbus and hit 4 homers in 3 games. Maybe he’s actually good. Maybe he’s actually Jeff Manto. I can’t tell.

7. Give Mets fans the scoop on Justin Masterson and Mitch Talbot, two of the starters in this series.

Masterson’s last two starts have been fundamentally different from his previous ones, and the difference is reportedly that he is “getting on top” of his sinker rather than spinning “around” it. Without that bite, Masterson is INCREDIBLY susceptible to left-handed hitters, posting an enormous platoon split. He still has terrific strikeout stuff, though, averaging over 8 per 9 IP. He is terribly inefficient at times, getting up to 90 pitches by the 5th inning, but as I said: his past two starts have been great.

Mitch Talbot has been a huge surprise to me. I can see why he didn’t fit in Tampa, which has dominant stuff coming out of every orifice, but he’s a quality starter. Still, his incredibly lousy K:BB ratio and low K rate suggest a certain degree of smoke and mirrors at work. Unlike Masterson, Talbot sports a REVERSE platoon split, suggesting his normal stuff fades away from lefties and in to righties: while left-handers hit him more often, right-handers hit him a lot harder. He’s been BABIP-lucky this season, but hey, the man is 7-4 for a crummy team.

8. Do you expect Jake Westbrook to end 2010 as an Indian? Are there any other Indians you think may be moved at the trade deadline?

No chance. We will take a dead body for Westbrook if that’s what it takes. He’ll be traded in one of those “the more money we chip in, the better the prospect we get” deals. He’d be a great fit in St. Louis, Los Angeles (Dodgers), or, I should say, the Mets.

Kerry Wood will go on the same sort of deal, except I’m expecting the dead body in return.

Russ Branyan should be bait. I advocate trading Kearns. Jhonny Peralta has a team option next year for more than he’s worth, so I expect him to be offered, although he’s not actually very valuable and may not get moved. The Blue Jays were sniffing around Carmona, who has expensive team options coming soon, but I expect him to stay. SOMEONE has to pitch. Mike Redmond might get a Viking Funeral trade like Jamey Carroll did last year.

9. Tell us about any Indians we may not have heard about, who could have an impact on this series.

We have two hitters who could start for most teams: Kearns and Choo. Choo is faster than you might think, with a 10:2 SB:CS ratio (the 10 steals leads the team). Carlos Santana has been called up, and he is essentially Victor Martinez. (His stance is actually quite similar: Santana apparently idolized Martinez as a youth.) He hit a homer and a double this weekend against Washington. The outfielders (Kearns, Crowe, Choo) cover a lot of ground, and Choo has a fantabulous arm (once used to throw 95 off the mound). Our infield defense is comically bad. Chris Perez, Jensen Lewis, and Frank Herrmann are capable right-handed relievers: we have no left-handed reliever I would trust with any hitter more dangerous than Abe Vigoda.

10. Bottom of the ninth, two out, tie game, winning run on third base. What Indian do you want to see at the plate?

Choo. This may be Santana in time, but for now it’s Choo. (Oddly enough, in the small-sample “RISP, two outs”, Trevor Crowe actually has a higher AVG (.333) than Choo (.308) … but … yeah, I still want Choo.)

Many thanks to Steve Buffum for giving us his insight on the Indians. For more in-depth coverage of the Cleveland nine, be sure to check out Steve’s site “The B-List Indians Blog“.