Tag: angel pagan

Mets Game 57: Win Over Marlins

Mets 7 Marlins 6

DO YOU BELIEVE IN COMEBACKS ????!!!!!!!!!

The Mets were down 1-0 in the fourth, then fell behind 5-0 as they came to bat in the sixth. It was looking like one of those lazy Sunday losses. Then, out of nowhere, the Mets offense woke from their slumber and scored seven runs over the final three innings to come back and win the ballgame — and sweep their weekend series against the Marlins.

Game Notes

Sorry for the late postgame. I missed the live broadcast of the game to attend my (not so) little brother’s high school graduation from Seton Hall Prep. Christopher Janish sung the Star-Spangled Banner to start the commencement exercises and sang “The Prep” alma mater to end the ceremonies. Yeah, I’m proud of him — it’s OK to be proud of my younger brother, right, Mr. Francesa?

Ken Hisanori Takahashi zipped through the Marlins lineup once, then struggled afterward, beginning with Dan Uggla’s solo homer in the fourth frame. Tak shook it off but then allowed four more runs in the sixth inning — the highlight being a three-run homer by Cody Ross. His final line was 5 1/3 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR.

We shouldn’t really be surprised that the league is starting to figure out Takahashi after his hot start. After all, he tops out at 90 MPH, but usually is around 87 with his fastball, and as a result can be very hittable if his control isn’t absolutely pinpoint — he doesn’t have much margin for error. I think the mystery of being unknown was partly the reason for his great beginning, and he’s now struggling because NL hitters are more familiar with him and the scouts are building reports on him. We’ll see if he can adjust to the league now that the league has adjusted to him. Though, my guess is the “unknown factor” will work in his favor when the Mets enter interleague play next week.

All of the Marlins runs came off of Japanese imports; their sixth score came off of Ryota Igarashi, who continues to exhibit lackluster body language and questionable command. He’s been a completely different pitcher since returning from the DL, so you must wonder if he’s still hurting.

David Wright was 3-for-5 with a double but scored only once and had no RBI.

Jeff Francoeur was more or less the star of the game for the Mets, hitting a double and a three-run homer that tied the game 6-6.

Chris Carter — remember him? — drove in the Mets’ first run, scoring Wright with a bloop single off Ricky Nolasco in the sixth. He’s now 4-for-13 (.307) as a pinch-hitter.

Remarkably, Nolasco was removed immediately after that lucky bloop, having thrown only 82 pitches. He left the game with the bases loaded, and Tim Wood allowed two of those runners to score (on a laser up the middle by Angel Pagan) — as well as another three of his own when Frenchy went yard. Not sure what Fredi Gonzalez was thinking, because Nolasco was throwing fairly well and Wood has to be one of the worst pitchers on his staff. Thanks Fredi!

Pagan was — you guessed it — 2-for-4, with a stolen base. Where have I seen that before? He’s now hitting .291.

Next Mets Game

The Mets have a day off at home on Monday night, then stay in Flushing to host the Padres (didn’t the Mets just get back from San Diego?). Tuesday night’s game begins at 7:10 PM, and pits Mike Pelfrey vs. Clayton Richard.

READ MORE +

Mets Game 44: Win Over Yankees

Mets 5 Yankees 3

Jerry Manuel remains employed for another night.

The Mets went ahead early, carried on the back of Jason Bay and rolling behind the outstanding pitching of Mike Pelfrey. There was a tense moment in the 8th, but Francisco Rodriguez came on with the bases loaded and ended both the threat and the inning.

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey was excellent through 6 frames, allowing only 1 run on 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5. He threw 108 pitches, and if it were me I might’ve let him pitch a seventh inning. But thanks to modern technology and training habits the kids can’t go that far any more.

Jason Bay was on fire, going 4-for-4 with 3 runs scored. He is now officially on a hot streak, and may carry the team and Jerry Manuel’s employment for another week or so.

Gary Matthews Jr. struck out again in his only at-bat. I was gone a week and his batting average jumped to .180. Someone fill me in — he’s closing the gap between himself and Jose Reyes. Yikes.

Reyes, by the way, was a very quiet 2-for-5. He tried to stretch a single into a double to end the 8th, and was out by 15 feet. I guess it’s been a while since he’s run the bases.

Angel Pagan went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI, and a run scored. If Carlos Beltran ever returns, Jeff Francoeur may find himself on the bench.

Francoeur, by the way, was 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts. He’s now hitting .215 with a .274 OBP. But, his presence in RF did keep the Yankees from trying to score at least twice during the game. Still, he’s going to have to get that bat going to stay in the lineup.

Did I miss something while I was away, or is Chris Carter still on the roster? It was strange not to see him make an appearance in this game at some point. Jerry Manuel opted for Alex Cora in a big pinch-hitting situation in the 6th, and Cora rapped a key, two-out, RBI single, but it seemed like a place for The Animal. I guess that’s why Manuel is so smart.

K-Rod recorded a five-out save, coming into the game with the Mets up by 3 and the bases loaded in the 8th. If that doesn’t smell of desperation from Jerry Manuel then I don’t know what does. Yes, I understand that the Mets didn’t have any other relievers to rely on in that situation but, um, that might have something to do with the Game Seven management of the ‘pen from Opening Day through now.

Next Mets Game

The final game of the “Subway Series” will begin at 8:05 PM on Sunday night, televised by ESPN. It will be a matchup of the aces, as Johan Santana faces C.C. Sabathia.

READ MORE +

Game 41: Loss to the Nationals

Nationals 5, Mets 3

Angel Pagan and R.A. Dickey are the kind of players who you could root for, no matter what team they play for. Tonight, they both wore Mets uniforms and they both played (and pitched) their asses off. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to beat the Nationals.

Dickey was solid, allowing two runs in six innings of work. He made a great diving catch on a bunt pop up in the first inning – in the grand scheme of things, it was a small play, but it was clear that Dickey was willing to make the extra effort and earn a spot with the Mets. In the wake of Hanley Ramirez’s recent lollygagging in Florida, Dickey’s effort was nice to see.

Pagan’s night was a bit more historic – he was became the first player in 55 years to take part in an 8-2-6-3 triple play (as a fielder) and hit an inside-the-park home run in the same game. The triple play was the tenth in Mets history.

Dickey was matched by former Met Livan Hernandez, who scattered four hits and allowed two runs over 6 1/3 innings.

After Dickey exited the game, the Mets bullpen blew the lead, thanks to losing pitcher Raul Valdes and Fernando Nieve. Valdes and Nieve allowed three earned runs over 2/3 of an inning. It never got ugly or out of control, but while the Mets bullpen was leaking, the Nationals pen was airtight – Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps allowed one hit and walked none in 2 2/3 innings of work.

Notes: This game was much more exciting than the past two snore-fests, but the Mets offense has mustered only 7 runs this week… David Wright was given the night off tonight, in favor of Fernando Tatis… Tatis hit a solo home run off Matt Capps in the 9th inning – his first hit off right-handed pitching all season… Ollie “All Over” Perez made his first appearance out of the bullpen and was his typically wild self, walking one batter in 1/3 inning of work… The last player to take part in a triple play and hit an inside-the-park home run in the same game was Philadelphia’s Ted Kazanski on September 25, 1955.

Next Mets Game

The Mets take on Washington again tomorrow night at 7:05pm EDT.

Enjoy this video from Opening Day at Shea in 1972:

READ MORE +

Centerfield Options

As we all know, Carlos Beltran has underwent knee surgery and is expected to be out for 12 weeks. No one is sure if “12 weeks” refers to the time before he can walk, run, or play ball. No one has made clear that it is “at least 12 weeks” or “a minimum of 12 weeks”. The recent history of communications from the Mets in regard to player injuries, though, tells us that the “12 weeks” means little or nothing.

That said, we’ll pretend that Carlos Beltran will NOT be in uniform, in centerfield, in April, and possibly not until May (which, in Metspeak, means, he most likely will be back in the lineup sometime in August).

Who will play centerfield for the Mets while we wait for Beltran’s return? Here are some of the possibilities.

Free Agents

Rick Ankiel
The best free-agent centerfielder still available on the open market. He has no desire to play in NYC, and is coming off an injury-riddled season in which he hit .231.

Alfredo Amezaga
The second-best free-agent centerfielder still available. Hits from both sides of the plate, has good speed, and can play every position on the diamond except catcher. He hit .217 last year and turned 32 a few days ago. In his prime years (27-29) he was a semi-regular super utlityman who hit in the .260s with no power.

Endy Chavez
Endy is coming off major knee surgery that ended his 2009 season. He turns 32 in a few weeks. His age and his surgery likely will affect his once excellent range. Neither issue should affect the fact he has no power, no plate discipline, and is a streak hitter.

Johnny Damon
There was a time that Damon was adequate in centerfield. That time has long past. Comically enough, there have been some pundits who suggest signing Damon for left field and shifting Jason Bay to center — many of the same pundits who previously insisted that Jason Bay’s defensive skills in left field would nullify his offensive production and ultimately doom the Mets.

Cory Sullivan / Jeremy Reed
Either of these choices would provide stellar defense, solid fundamentals, hustle, and good baserunning but only limited offensive production. The cost would be very affordable — likely under $1M.

Reed Johnson
This name is being bandied about more than Sullivan/Reed and I don’t understand why — Reed Johnson is essentially the righthanded, more expensive version of those two. I guess it’s a matter of people preferring change for the sake of change.

Rocco Baldelli
Is he healthy? Can he play every day? Does he want to play in NYC? If the answer is “yes” to all three it’s a no-brainer. But we don’t know the answers.

Randy Winn
Winn has been coveted by the Mets for several years, as his name comes up in rumors every July. He hasn’t been an everyday centerfielder since 2004 because his range is limited. He might be an OK stopgap, providing solid if unspectacular all-around performance. Certainly he is a well-rounded, fundamentally sound ballplayer with extensive experience and has a good rep off the field / in the clubhouse.

Jerry Hairston, Jr.
This name has been suggested by various sources recently. Why, I have no idea. Hairston is essentially an older, more versatile, but otherwise less-talented version of Reed Johnson. His main value is the ability to stand in several different positions on the diamond, but, at none is he particularly stellar — centerfield included. In any case, it appears he’s about to sign with the Padres.

Eric Byrnes

The price tag should be cheap, and if he’s healthy, he might be an OK option — if he’ll sign an MLB-minimum contract. The Crashtest Dummy last played CF regularly in 2006, and no one knows for sure if he’s healthy enough to walk out to center, much less play it.

Gerald “Ice” Williams
I’m kidding.

Trade Candidates

Gary Matthews, Jr.
The Angels are dying to rid themselves of Matthews and his contract — and will probably pay some or all of his salary to make him go away. He hasn’t performed anywhere close to his “enhanced” career year with the Rangers in 2006, and is now 35 years old.

Ryan Spilborghs

The rumor mill was rife with Spilborghs’ name earlier in the winter, and he remains an extra outfielder on the Rockies’ depth chart. The Beaneheads love him for his OBP, and he can cover centerfield adequately enough to be a worthwhile stopgap. But at what cost, and is he any better than Angel Pagan?

In-house Possibilities

Angel Pagan
The most likely and most sensible solution is Angel Pagan. He has the physical (if not mental) skills to handle center field more than adequately, and showed in 2009 that he can be an offensive force in spurts.

Fernando Martinez

Do we really want to watch him be overmatched in MLB when he should be further developing his skills, confidence, and ability to stay on the field in the minors?

Jason Bay / Jeff Francoeur
Even if either of these players was capable of handling centerfield for more than a week, it would still create a hole in one of the corners. Not plausible.

Conclusion

I think we know the way the Mets will go — they’ll plug in Angel Pagan and hope for the best. And looking at the alternatives, it’s not a bad plan. Though, I’d prefer they also back him up with a solid, cheap defender such as Jeremy Reed or Cory Sullivan, AND have a “Plan B” in place — Randy Winn would appear to be the most logical choice in terms of availability and cost. Winn can fill in as a late-inning defender in center and left, and be a veteran bat off the bench — he can just as easily play every day, and/or split time in a platoon situation. Maybe if Ankiel were more interested in playing in New York I’d think differently, but that plus his history suggests he isn’t “built” to play in a big market.

What do you think?

READ MORE +

2009 Analysis: Angel Pagan

angel-paganFlashy leadoff man or flash in the pan?

That is the $64,000 question when it comes to Angel Pagan.

At times, Angel Pagan displayed a marvelous skill set, lashing line drives to all fields, running the bases like a madman, and covering outfield ground with the ease and finesse of a veteran Gold Glover. At other times, he looked overmatched at the plate, confused in the field, and a bonehead on the bases.

No one questions Pagan’s raw talent — he has good speed, a strong arm, and a fast bat. What comes into question is everything above Angel’s neck. At age 28, and after 10 years and 900 games as a pro, one has to wonder if he’ll ever “figure it out”.

READ MORE +

2009 Analysis: Carlos Beltran

carlos-beltran-1How do you evaluate a half-season of performance that was riddled with nagging injuries?

Carlos Beltran played in 81 ballgames — exactly one-half of a 162-game season. A good number of those games where played on an injured knee, so there’s some reason to believe that his numbers could have been even better.

Those numbers were pretty impressive by the way. He posted a .325 AVG, 22 doubles, 10 HR, 48 RBI, 11 SB, 47 BB, and 43 K, with a .415 OBP and .915 OPS. Had he been healthy, Beltran likely would have been among the top 10 NL hitters in most offensive categories and won another Gold Glove. But it was not to be.

Instead, the day Beltran was placed on the disabled list

READ MORE +

Will Holliday or Bay Affect Francoeur?

francoeur-nohatThe Matt Holliday / Jason Bay buzz is heating up, with the latest news that the Red Sox will not attempt to re-sign Bay but may go after Adrian Gonzalez instead. Further, word from San Francisco is that the Giants don’t have the ducats to pursue either of the free-agent outfielders — which if true narrows the market. Add in the fact that Jon Heyman tweeted that the Mets will pursue a “big-ticket LF” and it would seem that Omar Minaya and co. will be part of the bidding for one or both of Jason Bay and Matt Holliday.

But how will such pursuit affect Jeff Francoeur?

READ MORE +

Mets Game 139: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 6 Mets 3

The carriage that transported Pat Misch from Buffalo to Flushing turned into a pumpkin.

Misch allowed four runs in the first frame, and five runs total in six innings, to trounce the sugar-plum dreams of Mets fans who thought he might be the next Jamie Moyer. Though, he does resemble this season’s, 46-year-old, underperforming version of Moyer.

With that quick deficit, it was hard to get anything going against Ricky Nolasco, who mowed down the Mets for a full six innings before finally cracking in the seventh. Though the home team plated three, it was too little, too late, as Nolasco earned his eleventh win of the year.

Notes

The Mets collected a grand total of four hits in the ballgame, and leadoff batter Angel Pagan had half of them.

This game was the Gary Cohenless broadcast — Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez called the game sans the regular play-by-play man. Personally, I thought it went fine, though I’m the type who prefers less noise. As long as the camera is following the ball, the play-by-play description is less vital. I did, however, get this vague feeling that something was missing — and I generally do enjoy Gary Cohen’s input.

Josh Thole caught another solid game behind the plate, save for a few feeble attempts at framing pitches that were nowhere near the strike zone. Stick to sticking it, Josh! The main thing to take away is that he looks comfortable back there — no jerking or jabbing the glove to get to balls, no getting handcuffed or fooled on pitches. He does look a little mechanical, but so did Gary Carter, so who cares? Of course, it was Thole’s second game with Misch, so there was the familiarity factor. I like that the Mets are easing him into the bigs this way — gaining confidence is key to success.

The first Mets run came on a double by Dan Murphy, who hit a poorly located change-up (which was also a poor pitch selection for that moment). This is the main difference between Murphy and a slugger — Murphy hits mistakes for bleeders, bloops, and occasional doubles, while a slugger hits mistakes over the fence. Not a problem, as long as Murphy whacks enough mistakes to drive in 75-80 runs and hit in the .300-.310 area over the course of 550 – 600 at-bats.

Next Mets Game

The series finale occurs on Thursday at 7:10 PM. Bobby Parnell faces Sean West. West stymied the Mets in his start against them on August 25th (1 run in 6 IP) but was blasted for 5 runs on 7 hits on September 4th against the Nationals.

READ MORE +