Browsing Archive October, 2015

World Series Games 1 and 2 Discussion

Per the suggestion of Argonbunnies, let’s have some discussion about the first two games.

I’ll open with a few conversation starters …

Game 1:

– We’ve discussed here time and again that defense and fundamentals — i.e., “the little things” — are just as important as hitting for a championship club. That said, when Yoenis Cespedes blows the first ball hit to him, and doesn’t make up for it with his bat, well …

– Speaking of that first pitch of the initial inning, what was most surprising and/or detrimental: a) the fact Matt Harvey threw a fastball over the heart of the plate to a batter who swings at the first pitch of every at-bat; b) the fact that a fairly routine fly ball was misplayed into an inside-the-park homerun; c) the fact that the play was scored as a homer instead of a four-base error?

Kelly Johnson is the best DH option?

– Why wasn’t Jonathon Niese brought out for a third inning of relief?

Game 2:

– If Jacob deGrom nor Harvey can stop the KC offense, who can?

Overall / In General:

– Why hasn’t Steven Matz been given the ball yet? What are the Mets waiting for?

– What’s up with Daniel Murphy‘s visible complaints about the strike zone? Does he have a legitimate beef, or is he not seeing the ball as well as he did previously in the postseason and is that why he’s suddenly cold?

– Can the Mets win if Cespedes doesn’t hit?

Again, these are merely conversation starters. Feel free to respond or start your own topic.


Mets Will Win The World Series If…

…Daniel Murphy and Wilmer Flores play league-average defense.

Y’know, if you had told me at the beginning of Spring Training that Sandy Alderson’s failure to land a bona-fide major league shortstop wouldn’t be an issue until the World Series, I probably would have been thrilled. Now, with the start of the Game One less than 36 hours away, I am somewhat less thrilled. I admit I have paid zero attention to the Kansas City Royals until Saturday morning, but from all accounts I’ve heard since, they are a contact-oriented offense, far less prone to the strikeout than any of the Mets other opponents so far this post-season.

If that is indeed the case, then the Mets’ most potent weapon, those power arms, is at least partially neutralized, as the big strikeout in a key situation will less likely than it was during the regular season and the playoffs. There could be a lot of balls put in play. While the Mets corner infielders and the outfield are certainly competent enough, the up-the-middle infield duo of Murphy and Flores does give one pause. And thanks to Chase Utley, the Mets have no real alternatives here, especially at shortstop, unless you really believe that Matt Reynolds could actually make his major league debut during a World Series game.

This season has certainly had more than its share of twists and turns for the Mets. Flores and  Murphy have been major stories, Flores’ July tears and Murphy’s NLCS tear (see what I did here) figuring prominently in the narrative. Right before our very eyes, Alderson morphed from a smirking jackass to a baseball genius. Winning covers a multitude of sins. A couple of big errors by Wilmer will certainly take some of the shine off the season and will no doubt return us to the narrative of why Sandy couldn’t find a big-league glove at short.

I believe that the key to the Royals’ success in this series is to get men on and then move them over, disrupting the rhythm that the Mets young arms got into these last two series. Balls put in play will have to be played or they will be able to implement this strategy, causing the Mets pitchers to throw over and pitch out more, or worse, attempt to be too fine and put a meatball or two over the plate.

Unlike the Cubs, I expect Kansas City to be partially successful here. If the Mets can limit KC’s opportunities by not providing them with extra outs, I believe the Mets can win this series in six. If not, its Royals in five.

Your turn in this World Series Edition of Mets Today: What’s your prediction for the series? Does the clock strike twelve on one of this pair of Met Cinderellas? Is there another unlikely hero waiting in the wings? How much fun is this?



Daniel Murphy Hits For Ireland


How hot is Daniel Murphy right now? How many hits do you think he’ll get in the World Series? Five? Seven? Ten? More?

Maybe you’d bet on six — would you put your money where your mouth is? Would you put that money toward something awesome? Like making a difference in the lives of youngsters? Here’s your chance.




Thanks again to Joe Petruccio for the artwork above, and please check out his fantastic work on his Facebook page and Instagram.

Watching Jeurys Familia drop to his knees after sealing the sweep almost made me do the same. As a very long suffering Mets’ fan it felt more likely that Familia would get beamed up by aliens and replaced by a turnip who’d give up the lead run. I thought the Mets would beat the Dodgers… but the Cubs? And to never trail for a single inning? This time we’ve really entered The Twilight Zone.

The Invasion of the Body Snatchers pod replica of Daniel Murphy did everything right AND managed to come across as humanoid in interviews. TBS Back to the Future’d to my June 29th post and finally said that Steven Matz looks like Rory McIlroy. Lucas Duda went from Wall-E to The Terminator with his 5 RBIs. And TC finally morphed from Ol’ Potato Head into an adorable version of E.T.

I watching both series with my mouth open as I marked my Film students’ screenplays into the wee hours. The kids who struggled with names now have Murphy, Wright, Wilmer, Curtis and others as their characters. A guy named Familia now captures a serial killer. Thank you, Jeurys.

Let’s try to break down the insanity of the Mets success:


We knew the Mets’ pitching would be good and they’ve met those expectations. If you take Tyler Clippard out of the equation, the Metsies have been kinda great. Sure, they’ve had to grind it out at times – deGrom’s win in the LA decider, Familia with a couple of runners on base – but the power pitching of the Mets has proved as suited to the playoffs as we had hoped.

I’ve been trying to figure out some sort of different angle as to why power pitching works in the playoffs. So here goes…

The Mets power pitching plays in all conditions… but it’s ideally suited to cold weather ball. From the jarring foul balls and broken bats that make your hands sting for 10 minutes, a power pitcher has an advantage over a shivering hitter.

You can also see another effect by comparing R.A. Dickey to these guys. Dickey’s knuckleball is ineffective at the start of the season and – seemingly – indoors. He needs the baseball seams to “bite” the air to create movement. I played cricket and a cricket ball also “bites” more when the weather is humid. The heavier the atmosphere, the more swing you get (Argonbunnies, insert your choice of innuendo here).

The Mets threw some excellent breaking stuff, but they also knew they could rear back and throw the fast stuff at will. Meanwhile Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester didn’t quite have the gun speed. Arrieta actually looked a little ill, too.

Familia has been staggering. No wonder he caught that serial killer. He seems utterly fearless, which is easier to do when you have a 94mph split finger to fall back on. Never mind swinging at the pitch, I’d just run away.

And wasn’t it great to see Bartolo Colon trundle out of the bullpen? I don’t care whether it’s ice or cholesterol in his veins. He saunters in and out-chickens the opponent. What made Kris Bryant swing on that three and two pitch sinking way down? Because Colon spent the whole season throwing strikes. Big Bart will double up with The World Series of Baseball and Poker.


The Mets offense – bar a couple of breakout games – did just enough. Travis d’Arnaud and Yoenis Cespedes haven’t exactly caught fire, but they’ve popped a few homers. It was nice to see all of the lineup (including the pitchers) working at bats… and that started with the excellent Grandyman.

Curtis Granderson keeps grinding out two-strike at bats and he’s reined in his home run swing. He’s opened up his stance a little bit against lefties, and is fiddling around with some bunts too. The key is he’s making contact… striking out only five times in nine games. And for all of David Wright’s struggles, he still knows how to take a walk. Which was lucky given who’s batting behind him… SuperMurphy.

Daniel Murphy – The Metsiah – is aiming to match his usual 162 game homer total in the postseason alone. These are not cheap home runs either. Most of the shots have traveled over 400ft. What did they do with the real Murph? He’s been nicely humble in interviews and doesn’t really know what’s going on either. Kevin Long has apparently been helping him “get his foot down earlier” but, right now, Murph would probably hit a homer while bouncing on a pogo stick.


While the Mets defense hasn’t been infallible, it’s failed a lot less than in the regular season. And its effectiveness starkly contrasted with the Keystone Cubs outfield in the last series. Kyle Schwarber might be the next Babe with the bat, but he was channelling The Dude in the OF with his glove.

SuperMurphy has excelled here too – of course – with some nice diving grabs. But credit also to Duda at his natural first base position. He’s done a sweet job picking up tough hops and skidding throws to first base, and he’s justified his inclusion over the increasingly ossifying Michael Cuddyer.


The Mets baserunning might be the greatest deke of all time.

The Mets spent the regular season being mostly inactive on the bases. They were last in stolen bases. They left their best basestealer (Eric Young, Jr.’s speed is his one lonely tool) off the postseason roster. They also made comical gaffs on the basepaths, led by Lieutenant Dan “No Legs” Murphy.

It was all a clever ploy. SuperMurphy was setting up the NL. My most indelible memory of the post-season so far was watching – mouth wide open again – as Murphy nicked third base on Duda’s walk. That stolen base played a huge role in beating the Dodgers. And it took my breath away.

Murphy was seemingly in standard mode… a cross between a nervous squirrel and a hyperactive meerkat. He desperately looks around him as he takes a little lead. His head is spinning everywhere and he sees threats in all directions. Uncle Terry – as if warning his great-nephew to behave at a swimming pool – has rightly told Murph: “If you run, only bad things will happen.”

And yet Murphy went. And I cursed at the screen. And Murphy made the right decision. And SuperMurphy had proved me wrong. Again. At the start of the postseason, I wanted Kelly Johnson in the lineup instead of him… (Gulp).

Winning the World Series

On a personal level, I’m having a blast. The games finish between 4-6am here but I’m there for every minute. Dayjob be damned. I’m a diehard (and we are hard to kill) Mets fan but also one who appreciates this set of players. Most of the team is developed from the Mets system and the vets like Grandy, Wright and Cuddyer are very affable. Even SuperMurphy has only played the pious card once and he’s been charming and funny in interviews.

The other twist is that I like the Royals too, primarily because they play the best defense in either league. The Royals pitching is fun too… either terribly good or flat-out terrible.

I desperately want to Mets to win, of course, but the thought of this pitching strong team of destiny facing off against a superb AL team is a doozy in itself.

The Greatest Show On Earth? It’s up next…


NLCS Game 4 Recap: Mets Win! Mets Win!

It won’t go down in history as one of their better-played games, but the New York Mets outscored the Chicago Cubs 8-3 last night in Wrigley Field to win their fourth consecutive game of the National League Championship Series, securing a highly improbable berth in the 2015 World Series. More on that improbability later.

The Mets committed several cardinal sins last night: base running mistakes,  several squandered opportunities to add tack on runs and relief pitchers falling behind early in the count. Plus, they lost arguably their best (but not their hottest) offensive player for no apparent reason. They did all of this on the road, a combination of circumstances that under normal conditions, usually equates to a loss. Fortunately for the Mets, last night was anything but a normal condition.

Granted, it was through the glare of the my TV screen, but I came away underwhelmed by the so-called Bleacher Creatures that we’ve heard so much about. The atmosphere in that old ballpark struck me as more of a rave than a playoff game . T-shirt? Check. Beer Mug? Check. White Towel? Check. Stand up and cheer? Check. Clap my hands? Check.  I don’t know if I believe in curses,  but the Cubs fans seemingly do, as they where taken out of the series the moment Miguel Montero dropped that third strike the game before. There was a collective “here we go again” resignation from them that would never happen in New York.

There is an deadly earnest seriousness to a playoff game in this city, Boston, or even Philadelphia that seemed lacking in Chicago. The crowd seemed more bystanderish than participants. I think that whoever the Mets face in the World Series next week will really need to brace themselves for what’s coming from the fans.

Back to the game itself, which had a surreal sense to it. I had to remind myself during the middle innings that the Mets where actually winning. Even after David Wright’s incredible snare of Starlin Castro’s liner in the 5th, I couldn’t shake a feeling of dread. I did relax to a point after Daniel (who’s Babe Ruth?) Murphy’s homer, but the suddenly unreliable Tyler Clippard gave those two runs back. Even the indomitable Jeurys Familia struggled just a bit in the ninth before getting a called strike three on Dexter Fowler to end the game and the series. The game lacked the drama of say Game 6 of the 86 NLCS, or the Todd Pratt walkoff,  or Bobby Jones’ gem. But considering how nervous I felt during most of the game, perhaps the lack of drama was a good thing!

Like many long time Mets fans, I tend to compare this season to others, looking for similarities. This team is far from being a complete squad, which is what the 1986 and 2000 teams were. It much more closely resembles the 1973 team, that rode great pitching and timely hitting, rising up from the depths of the division, overcoming heavy favorites in that race and the NLCS, getting to within a manager’s mishandling of the pitching staff (RIP Yogi) to beating the Oakland A’s. This team and the run they put on from August 1 forward reminds me of that team. A lot of recent bad memories, including the Beltran strikeout and the 07 collapse, have been somewhat expunged this year. Here’s hoping that the Mets can now erase an older hurt in this long-time fan’s memory.

I waited 13 years from 1973 to 1986. It took them another 14 years to get back to the World Series again. Now, the wait was 15 years. At this rate, I’ll be 71 the next time the Mets get the World Series and 88, which is how old I am expected to live to, for the subsequent one. What a way to go! The point is, that I am definitely going to savor these next few days and can’t wait for the World Series to begin. My sense is that Murphy, Clippard and Bartolo Colon are goners for sure after the World Series. Yoenis Cespedes is 50/50 at best to come back. But I think Murphy put it best when asked about his contract status: that’s a question for the offseason, we’re still playing.

Play on! Lets Go Mets!


A New Mets Fight Song

OK, it’s not really a “new” Mets fight song — it’s actually a remake of the oldest Mets song — Meet the Mets.

The band is a local one — Mike Ferraro and The Young Republicans. No, it’s not THAT Mike Ferraro, and, sadly, I don’t think they’re registered Republicans. But they are (fairly) young. And they’re awesome. And you should buy their CD if you like their rendition of Meet the Mets, which is kind of brooding and melancholy — in other words, fitting for a Mets fan.

Sing it now. Sing it all day. Sing it tonight. Every little bit helps, right?


All Hands On Deck

As quoted by Adam Rubin on ESPN, Terry Collins said this when questioned about the availability of Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard for game 5 of the NLDS:

“We’re going to be smart about it,” Collins said. “We’re not going to be foolish and go right to Matt Harvey, say, if Jake’s in trouble in the second inning. I think we’ve got to be wise enough to know that this will be the first time he’s ever done something like this, too.”

Um, what?

News flash to Collins, Mets management, Harvey, Scott Boras, and anyone else involved in the decision-making process: this is an ELIMINATION game. That means, literally, win or go home. Which in turn means “all hands on deck.”

Collins’ response had nothing to do with any illogical innings limits boondoggle that may or may not be followed by Harvey or any other pitcher. Rather, Collins is suggesting that Harvey — and Syndergaard, for that matter — might not be brought in to the game because they’ve never before pitched in relief. What? Really?

Guess what? If Noah Syndergaard is needed to pitch in relief, he goes to the mound. If Lucas Duda needs to run to the bullpen to warm up a reliever, he’ll grab a mask and do it. If Jacob deGrom needs to leave the mound and play shortstop, then he’ll go there. Even though they’ve never done these things before. Because it’s potentially the last game of the season. It’s all or nothing. Everyone does whatever they need to do to win the game. This is not a time for “geez, I’d like to put the best guy possible into a spot, but he’s never before done it this way.” No. Every player understands what’s at stake, and will step up to do whatever is necessary. A manager hedging even a little bit is beyond comprehension. Further, if there IS concern about key pitchers never coming out of the bullpen before, then why wasn’t there thought or preparation of that three weeks ago?

Interested to hear your take on this. Fire away.


Mets-O-Meter Final Results


(Editor’s Note: this post should have been published a week ago. Apologies to you and to Steve for the delay.)

McKee McWins!

Well done to McKee. With 90 wins he’s won the inaugural Mets Today “Mets-o-Meter.” Bravo!

McKee… get in touch and I’ll get you some cheap but vitally important Mets’ merchandise that no-one could live without.

How about this tiny Mets helmet? Deflect life-threatening ball bearings with this invaluable piece of Mets’ tat:

The Mets shuffle into the postseason with their offense in torpor but their pitching in a good state. Harvey, Syndergaard and deGrom all looked very good in their outings. And as for the Mets’ offense… well, they had shadows and post-champagne DT’s to deal with. Shake it out, Metsies.


It seems like Ruben Tejada will be starting most of the games. I know he’s one of TC’s favorites but please give me some concrete reason as to why.

Wilmer Flores has WAY more offensive upside and he does a great job against left handers. On defense, Tejada has better foot speed but his accuracy – especially when he dives – is sporadic. Tejada is more likely to throw a ball away trying to make some sort of play.

Flores has a better arm and, since his rough beginnings, he’s tended to focus of makeable plays. Surely Flores must be the better all-around pick and he should also be the Mets’ 2B next year.

Hey-ho, Ruben, hit a homer and prove me wrong. Daniel Murphy does it all the time.

Hopefully Hansel Robles will also prove me wrong by not getting into a scrap with the other team after he leaves another fastball up and center. Or when he plunks someone in the forehead.


Even though Harvey missed a bullpen session, I like the Mets’ starters. Steven Matz SHOULD (according to latest reports) be ok to pitch in Game 4. And I’m looking forward to Bartolo sashaying out of the bullpen.

I won’t bore you with the stats for Greinke and Kershaw in the offseason. Look ‘em up. Yeah… they’re due to finally do well so I expect tight and low-scoring games. I’m very underwhelmed by the Dodgers’ offense and their bullpen – outside of their closer – is weaker than the Mets.

Hmm… The first couple of games will finish some time after 6 a.m. here. But I’m tantalised enough to stay up to watch ‘em.


This series is a 50/50 split. A game of Texas Hold’em where you have King/Queen suited.
The Mets and Dodgers are the two worst of the NL Playoff teams. But – if the flop turns just right – they could take the whole thing.
As for this series? I still think the Mets will win on the river… 3-1.
Deal me in… and what price is there on Yoenis Cespedes catching fire again?