Archive: June 16th, 2010

Mets Game 65: Win Over Indians

Mets 8 Indians 4

Tin soldiers and Niese was pitching, we’re finally scoring runs
This summer I hear the drummin’, four runs in O-HI-O.

OK, that was lame. No offense to anyone who found that offensive. But that CSNY song was running through my head.

If you think “CSNY” refers to a William Peterson police investigation TV production, please move on to another Mets blog … don’t make me feel old.

Game Notes

Ohio-born-and-bred Jon Niese pitched masterfully in front of his hometown fans, spinning seven innings and allowing 3 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. Not nearly perfect, but perfectly acceptable nonetheless.

I liked Niese’s pace; he worked quickly and seemed to be pitching with a purpose. I still don’t love his varied arm angles and inconsistent release points, and don’t at all like his early collapse and sideways drive to the plate, which completely negates any advantage he has from his tall 6’4″ frame. Only rarely does he really use his height and get on top of the ball, dropping and driving a la Jerry Koosman — a style that would bring the sharp bite back to his curve and provide more leverage and sink to the fastball. Sometimes I think his learning the cutter was a step back in terms of long-term success, even if it helped create short-term success. Also I fear for the health of his elbow … sorry if I’m harping on that subject.

One of these days I’m going to force a “professional” pitching coach to explain to me why he allows pitchers to step sideways in starting the windup — and thereby going against all of the laws of motion and physics established by Sir Isaac Newton. Eh, they know more than Newton, I guess.

Speaking of “pro” coaches who have changed the game for “the better” … SNY showed a clip of Bob Feller during the 4th inning. If you paid attention, you would have seen that Feller used his arms over his head to initiate the generation of front-back-front momentum to propel the ball toward home plate. Somewhere along the line, pitching “experts” decided that it made more sense to keep “moving parts” to a minimum, and focused the delivery on hip rotation, which is side-to-side — and go against all the laws of motion and physics. The end result? Pitchers who don’t finish games, are limited to 100-pitch counts, have higher ERAs, lower win totals, and need annual surgeries. Go figure.

Offensively, the Mets jumped out to a five-run lead in the third inning and never looked back. Angel Pagan had a big day, going 3-for-5 with 3 RBI, a double, his 14th stolen base, and a run scored. Carlos Beltran can take all the time he wants getting back into shape.

Jeff Francoeur, Jason Bay, and Ike Davis each contributed two hits and an RBI, and David Wright hit a two-run double to round out the scoring.

Travis Hafner is a shell of his former self, and not nearly resembling the scary slugger he was before MLB starting testing for PEDs. Not to suggest that he had any “help”, just pointing out a coincidence. In fairness, Hafner has been struggling to fight injuries over the past four years, and injuries are rarely associated with PEDs.

I may never understand the universal praise for Manny Acta — aka “Connie Macta”, as Michael Kay likes to say. Despite a reputation of “being good with young players, his Nationals teams never took a step forward, were generally lazy, and lacked both fundamentals and discipline. Similarly, his Indians have gone backward. Even though Cleveland’s problems have something to do with injuries, I still felt like I was seeing a team similar to what we’ve seen in Washington the last few years. It’s not fair to judge Acta based on the small sample and the personnel, but there is definitely a familiarity from my view. Anderson Hernandez in the leadoff spot? Hmm ….

This was one of those nice games where the result was never in jeopardy … perhaps partially because Francisco Rodriguez had the night off.

Next Mets Game

The Mets go for the sweep in Cleveland at 7:05 PM on Thursday night. R.A. Dickey goes to the hill against future Met Jake Westbrook. Woops … did I say that out loud?


Wednesday Night Links & Open Thread

Links on the way… Stay tuned.

Long Live Shea Stadium – LLSS has a scouting report on Indians’ starter Mitch Talbot.

Mets Kool Aid – Did you realize the Mets have won 9 out of 10 games since they 86’d Gary Matthews Jr. and Oliver Perez? I didn’t… (Get it? 86’d? Whatever…)

Newark Star-Ledger – Andy McCullough reports that Jerry Manuel would like to see Ike Davis bunting on occasion against the shift.

213 Miles From Shea – A look at some decent recent late-round draft picks.

MetsBlog – Matt Cerrone reports that Arizona may be shopping Kelly Johnson. Interesting news, but Akinori Iwamura will come at a much cheaper price.

Tonight’s Game

Tonight, the Mets (36-28)are taking on the Indians (25-38) in Cleveland. Ohio native Jon Niese (3-2, 3.61) gets the ball for the Mets and he will be faced by Cleveland’s Mitch Talbot (7-4, 3.59).


Brooklyn Cyclones Announce Preliminary Roster


The Brooklyn Cyclones begin their season on Friday night against the Staten Island Yankees. The Cyclones have announced their preliminary roster. Presumably, Cyclones manager Wally Backman will make a few roster moves before the season begins.


#  	Name  		POS  	Bats  	Throws
7	CENTENO, Juan 	C 	L 	R
13	FREEMAN, Taylor C 	L 	R 

Infielders »
# 	Name 			POS 	Bats 	Throws
3	SANDOVAL, Rylan 	SS 	R 	R
12	SCHROEDER, James 	3B 	R 	R
22	BROWN, J.B. 		2B 	L 	R
25	BONFE, Joe 		3B 	R 	R
29	BUTLER, Jet 		SS 	S 	R
32	FLAGG, Jeff 		1B 	R 	R 

Outfielders »
# 	Name 			POS 	Bats 	Throws
10	CECILIANI, Darrell 	OF 	L 	L
11	CHERRY, Will 		OF 	R 	R
17	HOLLIDAY, Cody 		OF 	L 	L
21	HARRIS, R.J. 		OF 	L 	L
27	VAUGHN, Cory 		OF 	R 	R
44	STEINHAUER, Kurt 	OF 	R 	R 

Pitchers »
# 	Name 			POS 	Bats 	Throws
2	WRENN, Wes 		P 	R 	R
5	HILLIARD, Chris 	P 	L 	L
18	CUAN, Angel 		P 	L 	L
20	PINERA, A.J. 		P 	R 	R
23	BENNETT, Hamilton 	P 	R 	L
28	LEDUC, Guillaume 	P 	R 	R
31	NEEDHAM, Brian 		P 	R 	R
33	KOUNTIS, Jonathan 	P 	R 	R
35	CARNEVALE, Hunter 	P 		R
39	SHEPPARD, Chad 		P 	R 	R
43	FRASER, Ryan 		P 	R 	R
45	MARTINEZ, Pedro 	P 	P 	R
46	ALMONTE, Yohan 		P 	R 	R
47	HOUCK, Mitch 		P 	L 	L
49	PEREIRA, Nelson 	P 	L 	L

Akinori Iwamura? Why not?

CBS Sports is reporting the Pirates have designated struggling second baseman Akinori Iwamura for assignment. The move clears room for top prospect Pedro Alvarez at the big league level.

Iwamura, who is making $4.8 million, has been one of the majors’ worst offensive players, batting .182 with two homers and nine RBI while striking out 31 times in 165 at-bats. Coming off major knee surgery last season with Tampa Bay, Iwamura showed minimal range defensively at second base.


Sounds terrible…

But he’s not. And the Mets should take a flyer on the guy. Here’s why:

  1. From 2007-09, he recorded an OPS of .770, .729 and .745. In other words, there is talent in there, somewhere.
  2. He’s 31 years old and coming off knee surgery, so he probably wasn’t worth the risk of a big contract, but that was the Pirates’ mistake. The time is right to buy low. VERY low.
  3. He would provide a veteran left-handed bat off the bench
  4. Iwamura entered May 23 batting .151.  Since then, he has raised his average 30 points to .181, mostly in a backup role. During that same time period, he raised his OPS from .481 to .558.
  5. Although he has primarily played 2B/3B during his time in the majors, Iwamura played outfield in the minor leagues (in Japan) and there were reports that he would play shortstop when he reported to spring training for Tampa Bay in 2007. In other words, he could be a left-handed version of Tatis and Cora, combined… albeit without the leadership qualities.

I’m not a big fan of signing or trading for washed up veterans, but I’m not convinced this guy is washed up. If  Iwamura can be had on the cheap, he could be a versatile role player down the stretch.


Wednesday Morning Mets Links

OnTheBlack – Kerel Cooper tackles the age-old question, “Should the Mets trade for Cliff Lee or sign Pedro?”

BeGoneWithWilpon – BGWW says the Mets are winning despite the Wilpons’ penny pinching. Well there’s that and also there’s the whole, “a bunch of players that Omar and Jerry tried to bury are currently major contributors,” thing. Po-TAY-toe, Po-TOT-toe, so to speak.

Hot Foot Blog – HFB has a slightly creepy photo of a very young David Wright. The creepy part? He looks almost exactly the same. Still, a very cool find.

ESPN New York – Adam Rubin has a complete minor league rundown from last night.

FanHouse – Nando Di Fino has a fascinating story of a barnstorming tour that was planned for 1995 by the MLBPA.

And via ESPN New York, here is video of Jon Niese talking about growing up as an Indians fan: