Browsing Archive September, 2010

Mets Game 159: Loss to Brewers

Brewers 9 Mets 2

I believe the term is “playing out the string”.

Game Notes

Tough game for Dillon Gee, but hey, we couldn’t expect him to continue to pitch as far above expectations as he had done in his previous starts. Gee allowed 4 runs — 2 earned — on 7 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings. He did give the Mets decent length, and only allowed the two earned runs, but it wasn’t a great performance. His command was off and he gave up several hits — though, to be fair, a few didn’t leave the infield.

Still, we should be happy with what we’ve seen of Gee. Here’s the thing, though: what makes him and his September performance any different from what we saw of Nelson Figueroa and Pat Misch of September 2009? Granted, he’s younger than both of those journeymen, but not so young to expect him to improve dramatically. So please, do not get all excited about Gee being some great pitching prospect who will head the rotation next year. He is what he is: a soft-tossing righthander who pitches to contact (which I like) and relies heavily on control. In other words, at best, a decent fourth starter but more likely a fifth starter. He may be as good as Bobby Jones some day, which, to me, is something the Mets need. I’d rather see Dillon Gee at an MLB minimum salary at the end of the rotation in 2011 than Kevin Millwood or some other overpriced, 7-figure veteran.

The game was actually somewhat close until the sloppy, disgusting, embarrassing ninth inning. It came two innings after Gary Cohen lauded the Mets for their excellent team defense in this otherwise disappointing season. Nice.

Next Mets Game

The Mets begin the last series of the season by playing the Nationals in Flushing on Friday night at 7:10 PM. The lefthanded, 2009 version of Dillon Gee (Pat Misch) faces Jordan Zimmerman.


Which Mets to Keep, Which to Trash

ESPN-NY is running a poll that is sadly all-to-fitting: Your New York Mets: Take ‘Em or Trash ‘Em.

For some reason, the names and faces on that page resemble a “most wanted” poster you might see at the post office. And certainly, many of those people have committed symbolic crimes as far as Mets fans are concerned — for example, Oliver Perez’s theft of $36M from the Wilpons. Oh, and then there is that one person who did actually commit a REAL crime. Yeesh.

We thought 2009 was bad, but it doesn’t compare. The funny thing is, we kept discussing here the fact that injuries were NOT to blame for a terrible ’09 — that there were fundamental problems with the franchise and glaring unfilled holes IN ADDITION to the injuries sustained. Anyone who bought into the team’s “oh if not for the injuries” excuse (which was perpetuated by the media), saw what nonsense that was by seeing the 2010 season.

The scary thing is, the team will continue to move backward in 2011, no matter who is fired and hired. The highest-paid players on the team are likely to continue to regress due to age and injuries (Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay) or be completely unavailable (Johan Santana). Further, the much-hyped homegrown youngsters may be fun to watch, but few if any are particularly special — and most of the ones that are supposed to be, are injury-prone. Sure, the kids who managed to stay on the field this year may hold their own and be average to slightly above-average big leaguers, but I wouldn’t build a team around any of them. David Wright and Jose Reyes remain the nucleus of the club, and there are some who think that even those two are no better than complementary players.

Bottom line is this team is in dire straits — in much worse shape than they were in 2004. Who they keep and who they jettison during this offseason will have a significant impact on the team’s success or failure over the next 5-10 years. So make your picks — who to keep, and who to trash.


Mets Game 158: Loss to Brewers

Brewers 3 Mets 1

It can be very tough to win the second game of a doubleheader after losing the first game in the late innings. And the Mets aren’t very tough.

The Brewers rolled with the momentum built from their come-from-behind victory earlier in the evening by beating the Mets a second time. Not much else to say, other than, thank goodness we have only four more games to suffer through.

Game Notes

As usual, R.A. Dickey gave the Mets a chance to win. He allowed one earned run on 6 hits in 7 full innings of work — only to leave the game with a no-decision. Once again, no walks from the knuckleballer; no small feat for throwing a pitch that is controlled by the wind rather than the man.

Carlos Gomez went 3-for-4. Oh wait, he’s not on the Mets any more. I still like watching him run around.

Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan had two hits apiece at the top of the lineup, and Pagan stole his 37th base. So they set the table well. Only problem was, the only other Met with a hit was — you guessed it — R.A. Dickey. Maybe Dickey should get a start in left field in one of these final games.

In typical bullpen (mis)management, Pedro Feliciano appeared in both games of the doubleheader, and allowed 3 runs on one hit and 2 walks on the day, pitching a total of one-third of an inning. However, he did extend his own franchise record by entering his 90th and 91st ballgames. Only submariner Kent Tekulve, kinesiologist Mike Marshall, and Salomon Torres have appeared in more MLB games in one season than Feliciano.

Next Mets Game

The final game of this much-anticipated four-game set takes place at 7:10 PM on Thursday night. Dillon Gee goes against Chris Narveson.


Mets Game 157: Loss to Brewers

Brewers 8 Mets 7

For a while, it appeared that the Mets would pull out another exciting, come-from-behind win. But it was not to be.

The Brewers jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the third against starter Jonathon Niese, and the Mets clawed back with two in the bottom of the frame and then charged ahead with a five-run fourth. The score remained 7-6 in favor of the home team until the 8th, when the Mets bullpen broke down and gave the Brew Crew two runs — one of which was scored by former Met Carlos Gomez.

Game Notes

I think the Mets should shut down Jon Niese. Oh wait, the season will be over by Sunday, so what’s the difference?

He was underneath nearly all of his pitches; meaning, his hand / fingers were on the side of the ball at release and his elbow was dropping below the level of his shoulder. With overhand and three-quarter delivery pitchers, this is generally caused by fatigue — both physical and mental. The arm slows down slightly and can’t keep up with the body’s forward movement, so the arm compensates by trying to take a shortcut to the intended release point. The result is a drop in arm angle and what looks like “pushing” the ball. Why does the the arm angle drop? Because a good overhand delivery occurs on a higher plane, and thus goes against gravity. It takes more effort to keep the hand up and fight gravity over the distance of the desired arm arc, so when the body/arm gets tired it takes the path of least resistance — which is to allow gravity to force the hand and arm downward earlier. A pitcher might be able to stay at the proper height by concentrating on keeping the fingers on top of the ball at release. But physical fatigue often creates mental fatigue, and so the fingers will tend to slide down as a natural reaction to the arm angle dropping — thus, getting “under” the ball. This entire process is exacerbated by pitchers who practice a delivery that relies too much on “side to side” motion — i.e., over-rotation of the hips and shoulders.

When the pitcher is under the ball, all pitches are flat, the ball will tend to be higher in the strike zone, and command disappears. In other words, pitches look like what Jon Niese was unleashing in his 2 2/3 innings against the Brewers.

Beyond the fact that his ERA is hurt, Niese could also be endangering himself physically. Most injuries — in any sport, or any activity — occur when the body is fatigued, because another body part will try to compensate for the tired body part. Additionally, getting under the ball puts considerable strain on the elbow as well as the lower part of the shoulder — a section that usually won’t be used too much during a more overhand delivery and thus is likely weak. I’m not going to say that sending Niese out there for the past 2-3 weeks will result in injuring his arm — you have to push the body in order to strengthen it — but it is something that a team should be monitoring and be cautious about, particularly at the end of a meaningless season.

While we’re on the subject of overhand throwing, what is up with Chris Carter’s throws from the outfield? His first throw was just bad, but his second awful throw looked like it was the result of someone who was nervous about throwing and worried about hitting its target — such as what Chuck Knoblauch, Steve Sax, and Mackey Sasser went through. Carter needs to get over that quick before it becomes a mental issue.

Kind of sad that few people saw the Mets’ roaring comeback of 7 runs within two innings — according to various witnesses, there were only “a few hundred” people in the stands. Ouch.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Brewers are playing the nightcap of a doubleheader, with R.A. Dickey going against Dave Bush.


Mets Game 156: Win Over Brewers

Mets 5 Brewers 4

Sorry for the late post … there will be no recap. My computer crashed during the top of the 8th and since I was watching the game on, I missed the most interesting part of the game. But from what I understand, it was quite a comeback.

Feel free to comment below. Meantime, my laptop is in the shop and so posts / recaps will be lighter than usual until I get it back. Good thing most of you aren’t paying attention to the season anyway.


Off-Topic: Should We Be Curious About Jose Bautista?

Jose Bautista has 52 homeruns (as of this writing). Prior to this year, he has never hit more than 16 in one season in the big leagues (though he did hit 24 in the minors in 2005). Granted, some people are late bloomers, and some benefit from a “change in scenery”.

But 52 homeruns? Shouldn’t we be just a wee bit curious? Like, Brady Anderson curious?

I am not saying that Jose Bautista has done anything wrong. Heck, George Foster once hit 52 homers — after never hitting more than 29. And Roger Maris hit 61 in ’61, despite never before and never again hitting as many as 40. So it’s entirely possible for a baseball player to have one incredible, astonishing season, even if he has never before shown to be much more than average.

Assuming Bautista’s performance this year is on the up-and-up, it couldn’t happen to a better guy. By all accounts he seems to be a good guy, hard worker, and team player. He’s always been a hustler and never seemed to be entirely appreciated in Pittsburgh, for whatever reason. As a third baseman, he had some pop but only a so-so glove; as an outfielder, his defense was slightly more tolerable but he didn’t have enough pop to justify a corner spot. He showed a decent bat in the minors (.842 OPS) and was fairly disciplined as a big leaguer (68 walks in 142 games in ’07).

Oh and yeah, he once was a Met — he, Ty Wigginton, and Matt Peterson were traded to Pittsburgh for Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger at the deadline in 2004. But fans shouldn’t get on the team for that deal, because again, Bautista never displayed anything to suggest he’d be a 50-homer guy. It’s kind of like getting upset at the team for trading Jason Bay way back when; it seemed like a safe thing to do at the time.

Which is why I bring up this point for discussion: should we be curious about Jose Bautista, and how he went from a bench player with marginal power into a homerun slugger who makes opposing pitchers shake in their boots? Again — I’m not saying he’s done anything wrong. More to the point, whatever he has done to transform himself so dramatically, and so late in his career, could possibly be replicated by others — and therefore bears investigation. Wouldn’t it be awesome, for example, if Angel Pagan hit 50 homers next year?


Bark In The Park Tonight

Your dog probably has no idea how bad the Mets are this year, and unlike most fans would therefore be overjoyed to go to the ballgame tonight vs. the Brewers. So why not take your pup, since tonight is “Bark In The Park”. (Funny how Mets fans and dogs have one thing in common: undying, unconditional loyalty.)

Tickets for humans are $32 and tickets for canines are $10. All of the proceeds of the dog tickets plus a portion of the human tickets will go to the North Shore Animal League, which is the largest no-kill shelter in the world.

All dogs will be welcome in the Pepsi Porch, and they are allowed to bring their masters (leashed, of course — we can’t have people running all over the field) on a parade around the perimeter of the ballfield at 6:00 PM. More details and tickets can be found at

If you are unable to bring your dog to the “Bark In The Park”, you can still visit the North Shore Animal League and either make a donation or adopt a pet.


Mets Game 155: Win Over Phillies

Mets 7 Phillies 3

Too bad Chase Utley couldn’t slide into a Mets infielder back in April.

Game Notes

As manager Jerry Manuel astutely pointed out in the postgame interview, Carlos Beltran is finally hitting his stride. Beltran was spectacular on both sides of the ball, enjoying his best performance of the year. Beltran hit two homers — one from each side — drove in 3 runs, scored twice, and made a spectacular diving grab in centerfield to rob Ross Gload of an extra-base hit and save at least one run from scoring. The Mets will be sure to send a videotape of this game to other teams when they shop him this winter for prospects.

Beltran gets the game ball, but Nick Evans also had a nice day. Like Beltran, Evans also made a sliding catch in the outfield, and also went 3-for-5. He drove in two and scored once, lashing a double.

David Wright hit his 26th homerun of the season. Seemed like only a week ago he was stuck around 18 … time flies I guess.

Pat Misch had a rough start, allowing 8 baserunners and 3 runs in 4 2/3 innings. However, the remainder of the the Mets moundsmen shut out the Phillies from there, with Manny Acosta picking up his third victory of the season.

The Mets offense beat up on Cole Hamels, which was surprising considering that Hamels has looked like Sandy Koufax of late. Hamels left the ballgame after allowing 5 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks in four frames.

Seriously, where was this all-out effort 4-5 months ago? A year ago? Two years ago? Maybe the Mets finally are getting on board with Jerry Manuel’s philosophy of playing hard every time out, in which case I recommend they pick up Manuel’s option and extend his contract another three years.

Yeah right.

By winning, the Mets kept the Phillies from clinching the NL East crown. However, the Braves lost to the Nationals, so the Phillies are guaranteed of at least a tie for first place.

Off topic: The Phillies sold out all 81 games at CBP in 2010, and have sold out 123 consecutive games. They set a franchise record this year with a total attendance of 3,647,249.

Next Mets Game

The Mets return to The Field at Shea Bridge to host the Brewers in Flushing at 7:10 PM on Monday night. Mike Pelfrey faces Dave Bush. More importantly, the Mets will also host their canine friends, as it is “Bark in the Park“. Tickets for barkers can be purchased by visiting