Tag: cardinals

Tonight’s Mets Lineup vs. Cardinals

Here is the lineup the Mets will send to the plate against Cardinals pitcher Kyle McClellan:

Jose Reyes – SS
Justin Turner – 2B
Carlos Beltran – RF
Daniel Murphy – 3B
Angel Pagan – CF
Jason Bay – LF
Lucas Duda – 1B
Josh Thole – C
R.A. Dickey – P

I know I keep saying this, but I’m feeling good about Duda. There’s something about seeing him up at the plate, with that big body and long swing, that makes you think he’s going to wallop a few — right? Mets hitters don’t have much of a history against McClellan, which could give the young pitcher an advantage. Carlos Beltran is the only starter who has a base hit against McClellan, and Willie Harris (2-for-4 with a HR) is the only other player on the roster who has hit safely against the righthander.

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Padres Load Up with Ludwick, Cardinals Get Westbrook

Two pennant contenders pulled off a three-team deal involving a last-place club, and in the end, everyone got what they wanted.

The San Diego Padres sent AA pitcher Corey Kluber to Cleveland and A-ball LHP Nick Greenwood to the Cardinals in exchange for slugging outfielder Ryan Ludwick. As part of the deal, the Indians sent veteran starter Jake Westbrook to St. Louis.

The trade comes two days after the Padres traded for infielder Miguel Tejada. San Diego holds a slim 2.5-game lead over the second-place Giants, and are 19 games over .500, mainly thanks to strong pitching and the one-man offense known as Adrian Gonzalez. The additions of Tejada and Ludwick could be the difference in whether the Padres can hold their lead through September and enter the playoffs.

At the same time, the Cardinals — who hold a similarly slim lead over the Reds in the NL Central — get the starter they so sorely need after their rotation was decimated by injuries to Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse. Westbrook may not be spectacular, but he should be a better innings-eater than Blake Hawksworth and Jeff Suppan. Who knows, the Dave Duncan Factor may also push Westbrook to another level.

Meanwhile, the Mets remain status quo. They do not seem concerned about their half-game lead over the fourth-place Marlins.

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Mets Game 102: Win Over Cardinals

Mets 4 Cardinals 0

The mighty Mets continue their domination of the National League.

Due to my “real” job I missed seeing the game live, so thanks to Paul and Mic for helping out with the recap in the comments section.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey flicked floaters for eight-plus frames, holding the Cardinals scoreless on four hits as he cruised to his 7th win of the year. Rather than finish the game, he let Francisco Rodriguez come in and get the final two outs for his 22nd save.

The Mets received all the runs they needed when Ike Davis delivered a monster blast over the centerfield wall to give the home team a 3-0 lead in the third inning.

As Mic noted in the comments section, the Mets beat the Cards without regulars David Wright, Jason Bay, Luis Castillo, and Rod Barajas.

At some point in October, when the Mets are in the middle of sweeping the Padres in the NLCS, we will all look back at the closed door meetings from Monday and this series win over St. Louis as the turning point of the season.

Next Mets Game

The Mets host the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on Thursday night at 7:10 PM. Mike Pelfrey pitches against Ian Kennedy.

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Mets Game 101: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 8 Mets 7

Deja vu all over again.

The last time Johan Santana and Jaime Garcia hooked up, the result was a 20-inning snorefest. Both starters were absolutely spectacular, each leaving after 7 frames of shutout ball.

This time, the matchup was kind of the same, only different. Like the last time, Santana and Garcia had similar outings — except, they were both the opposite of spectacular. OK, that’s not fair — Garcia wasn’t that bad (though Johan was). Santana allowed 7 runs on 13 hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings. Garcia went one more out, finishing a full six, and he gave up “only” 3 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks. Immediately after Garcia left the game, however, flamethrower Mitchell Boggs came in and allowed four scores to make it seven-all. Then, the snorefest began.

There was another difference contrasting this extra-inning game and the one from mid-April: Francisco Rodriguez made an appearance BEFORE tossing 100+ warmups in the bullpen.

Oh, one other difference — the Mets didn’t win. Shame, really, because they tried so damn hard, fighting back and all.

Game Notes

We already posted Johan’s numbers, and he did look pretty awful. His velocity was around 89-91, but he was laying his fastball over the middle of the plate, belt high, during his entire outing. Eventually, Major League hitters will hit a 90-MPH fastball over the middle of the plate — and hard. When he wasn’t serving up meatballs, he was missing the strike zone completely on all pitches. My eyes saw him getting under the ball frequently, particularly on the changeup — meaning, his elbow was lower than normal, and his fingers were underneath or to the side of the ball at release. The result is something that looks like “pushing” the ball, and poor command.

Prior to this start, Santana had allowed only eight runs over his last 44.0 innings dating back to June 26th. The 13 hits he allowed were a career high — his previous high was 12 hits, accomplished twice, most recently on July 24, 2009 with the Mets at Houston.

Mike Hessman is a big dude — like, Troy Glaus big. He’s a monster. He’s so big, Ike Davis looks small standing next to him, and Ike is a pretty big dude himself. Discussing his size with friend and fellow blogger Matthew Artus , Matt put it best by saying: “the Empire State Building looks small next to Hessman”. No argument here.

In the bottom of the 6th, David Wright led off with a rocket off the base of the left field fence, and was thrown out by Matt Holliday trying to stretch a single into a double. Moments later, Carlos Beltran blasted his first homer of the game. Most Mets fans and media likely will point to Wright’s over-aggressiveness as the reason the game was lost, since after all, had he remained on first base, Beltran’s bomb would’ve been a two-run shot and the Mets would’ve eventually scored 8 runs instead of 7 and they would’ve won and the game never would’ve gone to extra innings. However, I am not sure that Beltran would’ve gotten that same exact pitch with Wright standing on second base. Pitchers choose their pitches based on the situation, and oftentimes will go with a “chase” pitch with runners in scoring position. With one out and the bases empty, Garcia tried to sneak a fastball by Beltran, figuring that if he hit it out, it’s only one run. With a runner in scoring position, he may have started Beltran with a breaking pitch, or a fastball in a different location.

The final out of the top of the 13th came when John Jay tried to score from third on a wild pitch. Josh Thole flipped the ball in plenty of time to Raul Valdes, and Jay tried to slide around Valdes. Maybe I’m old school, but if I’m John Jay, I am tearing into Valdes full-force like an offensive guard on a sweep and demolishing him to try to knock the ball loose. As a Met fan, I’m glad Jay didn’t do that, but as a baseball fan, I wonder why players are so soft these days.

With this loss the Mets have dropped three extra-inning games in eight days.

All eight runs scored by the Cardinals came with two outs. The Mets have allowed 170 runs to score with two outs — almost 43% of the total runs they’ve allowed (398). I have no idea if that is a significant stat.

This was the longest game ever at Citi Field, in terms of innings (13).

Next Mets Game

The rubber match occurs on Thursday afternoon at 12:10 PM (huh?). R.A. Dickey will be taking the hill against Blake Hawksworth of the Cardinals.

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Mets Game 100: Win Over Cardinals

Mets 8 Cardinals 2

Clearly, the Mets front office knows EXACTLY what they’re doing.

Because after coming to the decision that Jerry Manuel and his coaching staff were the right people to be in charge, and in particular decided that no one should be a scapegoat for an underperforming offense, the Mets went right out and POUNDED the mighty St. Louis Cardinals. And not only did they beat the Cardinals handily, but they demolished the otherwise outstanding Adam Wainwright — the same Adam Wainwright who had 14 wins and had spun 26 consecutive scoreless innings. The Mets didn’t stop by merely ending his scoreless streak, they stung him to the tune of six runs on six hits and three walks in five innings — no easy feat.

As Jerry Manuel so astutely pointed out in the postgame, the Mets not only won the game, but they “… erased the doubt, coming home …” (please be sure to read that quote as slowly as possible for full effect). I, for one, am completely convinced: the Mets are awesome.

Ironically, the Mets won without their spirited skipper, who was serving a suspension. Hey, wait … many people wanted someone else managing the Mets, someone else did, and the Mets won. Hmmm ….

Leading the offensive charge was none other than Jeff Francoeur. As anyone with a calculator knows, Francoeur is terrible — easily the worst player on the Mets. Yet, it was Francoeur who blasted a three-run homer against the previously invincible Wainwright in the fourth inning to put the Mets ahead for good. If a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and Francoeur is that weak link, then I am afraid to think what the Mets will do to less-talented NL pitchers.

Game Notes

Jonathon Niese was once again spectacular, spinning six innings and allowing only one run on 7 hits and 2 walks, to earn his 7th win of the season. For the first time this year I liked his arm angle — it was more overhand and more consistent, which gave him good bite on his best pitch (curveball) and made it difficult for the Cardinals hitters to know what was coming. Keep that slot, Jon!

Jose Reyes mashed his seventh homer of the year, a bullet into the upper deck of the Pepsi Porch in right field. I think it’s safe to say he is over the oblique thing.

With his three-run dinger, Jeff Francoeur‘s BABOF (Batting Average on Balls Over the Fence) remains a stellar 1.000.

Carlos Beltran broke out of his slump with a 2-for-3 day, ripping an opposite-field double and poking a Texas Leaguer to drive in a run. He batted in the five hole, which is a better spot for him and the team as he gets back in the groove. Whatever happened to taking it slow and having him play only 2-3 times a week at the outset?

During 1050ESPN’s Michael Kay Show on Tuesday afternoon, Don La Greca positively guaranteed a Mets win on this evening. He’s much better at predictions than I.

Next Mets Game

The Mets continue their assault on the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night at 7:10 PM. I’m not clear on who is starting for either team, but several websites are saying it will be Hisanori Takahashi vs. Jaime Garcia. However, we’re also hearing that Johan Santana will pitch instead. Not that it matters — the Mets can set up a tee for St. Louis and they’ll still have a good shot at beating their brains in. The Mets are on a roll, and there is no stopping them!

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Jeff Suppan Signs with Cardinals

Generally speaking, a Mets fan could care less if a nondescript .500 pitcher whose career is hanging on a thread was released and re-signed with a random club in the NL Central.

But it’s Jeff Suppan, and he signed with the Cardinals.

No Mets fan worth his salt can forget that one week in October 2006, when Jeff Suppan walked out of a telephone booth wearing a Cardinal red cape and pitched like he was the reincarnation of Christy Mathewson. His two lights-out, out-of-character performances effectively kept the Mets from reaching the Fall Classic — and were key in his robbery of $42M from the Milwaukee Brewers a few months later.

Let’s get a few things clear. First, even though the Mets are pretty desperate to add an arm to their rotation, Suppan was unlikely to be an upgrade over someone else in the organization. He has been absolutely awful this year — 0-2 with a 7.84 ERA — and was pretty bad last year and the year before. Truth is, he’s never been very good, other than once or twice in a 16-year MLB career. His existence in a big league uniform for that long a time is a feat in itself, comparable to the consistent mediocrity of former Met Steve Trachsel. But I digress …

Point is, the Mets wouldn’t have picked up Suppan because they can’t save him. He’s a project, and Dan Warthen already has his hands full with John Maine, Oliver Perez, Ryota Igarashi, etc.

On the other hand, the Cardinals have Dave Duncan, who unlocked the best in Suppan before, so …

Chances are, Suppan will continue to falter in St. Louis. As Bernie Miklasz states:

… if pitching coach Dave Duncan can fix Suppan this time around, then it’s probably time to send Dunc to the Gulf Coast to see if there’s anything he can do about that oil spill.

And if indeed Duncan does succeed in fixing Suppan, I will be happy to personally purchase a one-way ticket to Louisiana for the Cardinals’ pitching coach … right before slamming a Scott Spiezio bobblehead into my eye socket.

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Mets Game 12: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 5 Mets 3

It was only a matter of time.

The Mets gave John Maine an early 3-0 lead, but even the most optimistic fan was simply waiting for that advantage to disappear. And disappear it did in the fifth, when Colby Rasmus tattooed a BP fastball over the middle of the plate, sending it into the stands for a three-run, game-tying homer.

The game remained tied until the 8th, when Ryan Ludwick blasted a homer of his own, a two-run shot on the first pitch he saw from Ryota Igarashi to take the victory.

At no point in the game did the offense appear to have a chance to score — even the three runs they did in the second were more a function of luck than anything else.

Game Notes

John Maine looked somewhat better compared to his last start, but that’s not saying much. On a night when it was imperative to save the bullpen, Maine threw 115 pitches in five innings, forcing Tobi Stoner into the game. There was much hullabaloo about Maine getting more hitters to hit foul balls — both from Jerry Manuel and the ESPN broadcast team — but is that really a good sign? I remember when Maine was “pretty good”, and we felt that all the foul balls was a BAD thing and an indication that he needed to develop an out pitch.

Meanwhile, Adam Wainwright threw 8 fewer pitches (107) and 5 more strikes (75), but he finished the game. As in, he pitched a 9-inning complete game. As in, he did exactly what the Cardinals needed: their starting pitcher to go the distance, and save the bullpen. Kudos, Mr. Wainwright.

The Mets offense continues to struggle, as they were 2-for-7 with RISP and had only 6 baserunners all night. Though, with Smithtown’s own Frank Catalanotto hitting cleanup, expectations were tempered.

The Mets remain in last place in the NL East with a 4-8 record. However, it’s still early, and as my wife points out, “the Orioles are much worse at 2-11”. Somehow, that doesn’t make me feel better.

Next Mets Game

The Mets begin a four-game series against the Cubs in Chicago on Monday night at 7:10 PM EST. Jon Niese goes to the hill against Randy Wells.

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