Archive: August 8th, 2010

Mets Game 111: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 6 Mets 5

Not even seven homegrown players in the lineup could beat Roy Halladay and the Phillies.

The Mets had seven fruits of the farm in their lineup: Jose Reyes, David Wright, Angel Pagan, Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada, and Fernando Martinez. Yet, all that fruit — some of it very fresh — did not produce a win.

Though, the two individuals who were NOT home-grown — R.A. Dickey and Carlos Beltran — did nothing to help the team win. In fact, the loss was more or less the fault of Dickey. So perhaps if the Mets try this again with Jonathon Niese or Mike Pelfrey on the mound, the result will be different. It may even help to bring back Jesus Feliciano or Nick Evans so that there can be a full nine from the farm in the lineup. Such a setup would have to bring success.

Game Notes

Not a good day for R.A., whose knuckler was pounded pretty hard. He was gone after 3 innings and 6 runs (4 earned), and gave up 8 hits and a walk. Jerry Manuel thought Dickey looked “too strong”, whatever that means. Something about him being in Dire Straits?

Homegrown catcher Josh Thole went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored and threw out Greg Dobbs attempting to steal. What was Dobbs doing trying to steal? Not sure, since he already has his one for the year (he has 9 in 7 seasons in MLB).

Thole’s performance was encouraging. I now think he has a good shot to be at least as good as Jason Phillips. Similarly, Tejada has been impressive in these last two games with his flashy defensive play, leading me to believe he is ALREADY as good as Anderson Hernandez.

The “farm team” did a nice job of fighting back, but it was too little, too late. Roy Halladay didn’t have his best stuff, but somehow gritted his way through 7 innings. Somehow, Brad Lidge managed not to blow it in the 9th. Compare / contrast to Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez in the first half of 2010.

Carlos Beltran went 0-for-4 before being double-switched out of the game when Pedro Feliciano came on in relief. Did anyone ever think THAT would happen, ever?

Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan were a combined 4-for-8 with 3 runs, 2 RBI, and 2 SBs as they set the table all day. Unfortunately, Beltran, David Wright, Ike Davis, and Fernando Martinez were a combined 2-for-16 behind them.

The Mets have not won back-to-back in something like 41 games, going back to late June. Think about that.

The Braves won on Sunday, so the Mets are now 9.5 games out of first place.

Next Mets Game

The Mets get a day off on Monday so they can travel all the way back to Flushing (I assume they are walking, or going by horse and carriage). On Tuesday at 7:10 PM they host the Colorado Rockies, who will be sending Cy Young candidate Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound. The Mets may or may not counter with Mike Pelfrey, who has been working on keeping his arm speed consistent. Why he is working on that, I have no idea, since it has little to do with his recent lack of command.


Why Tejada and Not Turner?

On Saturday the Mets released Alex Cora, demoted Jesus Feliciano, and promoted Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada.

Upon the youngsters’ arrival, manager Jerry Manuel announced that Ruben Tejada would be installed as the everyday second baseman, Luis Castillo would go to the bench, and Fernando Martinez would enter into a platoon with Jeff Francoeur in left field while Jason Bay recovers from a “mild” concussion.


I get the part about F-Mart … sort of. OK, not really. I don’t get the F-Mart promotion at all. He was hitting .250 in Buffalo, and was only hitting that well because he hit a mild hot streak in the past two weeks. It’s not like he’s setting the world afire. Martinez has yet to play more than 90 games in any one season, so I thought the plan was to give the poor kid a full season of continuity somewhere, to see if he could actually develop his skills. Instead, the Mets promote him again, despite him not earning it, and put him into a role where he won’t get the regular playing time he so desperately needs. I guess the thought process is that he might be better, offensively, than Jeff Francoeur and/or Jesus Feliciano.

As for Tejada, it is another example of promoting a kid who doesn’t deserve to be promoted.

Before all the kid-loving fans go ape on me, consider that there is another much worthier second baseman, who is still young: Justin Turner. While Tejada has hit a powerless .280 AVG / .329 OBP / .344 SLG / .673 OPS in 244 plate appearances, Turner has been lighting up the International League with a .323 AVG / .376 OBP / .475 SLG / .851 OPS through 255 plate appearances for Buffalo. And those numbers are no fluke, considering he hit .300 with a .750 OPS last year in AAA, .276 / .786 in A and AA in 2008, .307 / .805 in A ball in 2007, and .338 / .921 in rookie ball in 2006. The kid can flat-out hit, and his defensive skills are about average for a second baseman. No, he won’t be confused with Frank White or Bill Mazeroski, but he’s solid and gets the most from his tool set (some scouts have compared him to David Eckstein in terms of his approach to the game and the way he maximizes his skills).

Additionally, Turner is still “young” — particularly in Mets terms — as he is 25 years old and won’t turn 26 until late November.

So why in the world is Ruben Tejada being prematurely promoted and handed a big league job, when Turner has paid his dues and proven since 2006 to be a superior offensive player?

The only thing that makes sense is that Turner was someone else’s reject, while Tejada is one of Omar Minaya’s handpicked gems. Funny, that’s exactly how Fernando Martinez might be described. The performances of F-Mart and Tejada are directly tied to Minaya’s reputation as a talent evaluator. Interestingly, Minaya is safe from criticism if they both flop, since F-Mart is only 21 and Tejada is 20. But if they can just hold their own at the MLB level — i.e., not embarrass themselves — then Minaya looks like a genius. Who knows, one of them might get hot and earn Omar another 3-year extension.

Considering that the Mets’ season is all but over, Minaya is due for some serious criticism. Though the Wilpons claim his job is safe, he will still have to publicly justify his job as the GM. He couldn’t make a trade, so the next-best thing is touting the “strength” of the farm system — which he can take credit for developing. Promoting two kids who would be better off honing their skills in the minors is a safe gamble that will, in the end, make Minaya look good. To the average fan, it makes the Mets look good, too, because it “proves” that their farm system is “strong” as it can “produce big leaguers”.

What flavor of Kool-Aid do you prefer?