Tag: carlos beltran

Mets Promote Angel Berroa

angel-berroaYou know it’s a slow news day when the headline is Angel Berroa.

The Mets — who signed Berroa on July 11th and assigned him to AAA Buffalo — have added the veteran infielder to the 25-man roster, replacing Argenis Reyes.

I liked the idea of Berroa as far back as late May, and still think it’s a low-risk move that isn’t going to hurt anything.

Berroa is a slick fielder with a cannon of an arm, no plate discipline, but has shown occasional pop in his past history (none of it recent, unfortunately). I doubt he can come in and replace Alex Cora at shortstop, but there’s an outside chance he can be more productive than Argenis Reyes off the bench as a pinch-hitter. Going along with Mets’ train of thought and scouting analysis, I imagine the next paint for the wall would be Wilson Betemit, assuming he can be pried away from the White Sox (maybe they’d take Angel Pagan? I mean if the Braves took Ryan Church for Jeff Francoeur …).

Back in 2003, Berroa was the AL Rookie of the Year Award, hitting .287 with 17 HR and 73 RBI as Kansas City’s starting shortstop. He hit .270 with 11 HRs as recently as 2005, but his career went downhill quickly ever since. I’m sure it’s only a coincidence that steroid testing began around that time. And I’m sure that Dominican birth certificate is legit, and he’s really 31 and not 34 or 35. In any case he’s ours now so woot-woot!

In other news Omar Minaya said Carlos Delgado won’t be ready to come back until August, there is no update on Carlos Beltran, and Jose Reyes “might” be back before the end of this month. For those wondering, the Mets do not play at home until July 27th against the no-draw Rockies. I’m sure the information about Reyes had nothing to do with potential ticket sales — so stop it, all you conspiracy theorists!

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Carlos Beltran to the Disabled List

Just got word that Carlos Beltran’s MRI did not look good, and he’s headed to the DL.

Fernando Martinez reportedly is on the way back up to take his place on the roster.

In addition, Wilson Valdez has been DFA’d and Ken Takahashi demoted to AAA Buffalo. Taking their places will be lefthanded pitcher Pat Misch and and RHP Elmer Dessens.

Adding Misch and Dessens to the bullpen makes sense, since Dessens has been pitching well as a middle reliever in AAA (as loyal MT reader/commenter Micalpalyn has noted on several occasions), and Misch can’t be any worse than Takahashi as a LOOGY. Misch was used as a starter and reliever by the San Francisco Giants prior to being released by that club, and is one of those crafty lefties (meaning, don’t expect him to overpower anyone with a 95+ MPH heater) who relies on pinpoint control. Dessens is a longtime MLB veteran swingman who survives on guile and luck. Both arms are a welcome addition to the bullpen, whose main three men are about to pass out from overuse.

Now what about F-Mart? Does he become the Mets’ starting centerfielder? Or does he play RF while Ryan Church shifts to center? Church has played 114 MLB games in centerfield. Otherwise, it’s Jeremy Reed’s time to shine.

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Mets Game 67: Loss to Rays

Rays 10 Mets 6

Another series lost.

The Rays reached starter Mike Pelfrey for 4 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings, but the bullpen did no better. Neither Bobby Parnell nor Sean Green retired a hitter, and they allowed six runs between them. This game was so far gone, in fact, that Brian Stokes, Ken Takahashi, and Jon Switzer each worked a full inning.

Notes

Pelfrey was using a slide step fairly often with runners on base, and though he was getting rid of the ball quickly, he wasn’t throwing too many strikes with that abbreviated motion. One step at a time, I guess.

Anyone notice that Wilson Valdez was thrown out at third base as the third out in the second inning? Anyone notice Mike Pelfrey not backing up home when Gary Sheffield air-mailed a throw to the plate in the fifth? Little things …

The first three hitters in the Rays’ lineup — B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, and Evan Longoria — combined to go 11 for 16 with 6 runs scored and 7 RBI. If only those three men came down with a stomach bug, the Mets would’ve won easily.

Carlos Beltran went 2-for-4 with a walk and David Wright was 3-for-5 with a double. The rest of the Mets had 5 hits in 26 at-bats and walked 4 times.

Lost in this debacle was Brian Schneider’s second homerun in as many games. As we know, Brian hits homers in bunches. He needs to get a homer in each of the next six games he plays to tie the record for most consecutive games with a homer shared by Dale Long, Don Mattingly, and Ken Griffey. Since he’s the backup catcher, that could take two weeks. Schneider also drove in half of the Mets’ runs.

The Mets’ most productive position is catcher, as Mets catchers have driven in 48 runs this season.

Pedro Feliciano pitched for the sixth consecutive day. According to manager Jerry Manuel, as long as Feliciano pitches to only one batter, he can pitch as many days in a row as he wants. Really? Based on …?

Oh, by the way, Feliciano pitched a full inning in this game, and threw to more than one batter in 4 of these 6 straight games. Just sayin’.

Classic Keith Hernandez quote:

“When Pelfrey is up he loses the sink”

You think?

Next Mets Game

The St. Louis Cardinals come to town for a four-game series beginning on Monday night at 7:10 PM. The opener pits Tim Redding vs. Todd Wellemeyer.

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Keith: Latin Players Reason for Willie Randolph’s Firing

keith-hernandez
In case you missed it, Keith Hernandez was a guest on the Leonard Lopate Show yesterday afternoon, talking baseball and promoting a book he wrote with Matt Silverman called Shea Good Bye: The Untold Inside Story of the Historic 2008 Season.

The entire interview was enjoyable, and I recommend you give it a listen, as Keith spoke honestly on a variety of subjects. Two of them, specifically, caught my attention …

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Mets Game 53: Win Over Nationals

Mets 3 Nationals 1

Sparked by fearless leader Carlos Beltran, the New York Mets showed tremendous resolve, grittiness, determination, and gumption in beating the Washington Nationals in ten innings.

Beltran led the offense with a booming double in the first frame, but was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple. Sometimes he just can’t contain his exuberance. But, his aggressiveness clearly motivated the rest of the lineup, as the Mets rallied for a run in the very next inning. David Wright — who obviously was watching Beltran and taking notes from the on-deck circle — led off the second with a double himself, and raced to third on a flyout by Dan Murphy. Wright then scored on a grounder that Fernando Tatis pulverized into the infield dirt.

The Mets didn’t score again until the tenth, but in the meantime took things personally and played better than they did in Pittsburgh.

Tim Redding threw six brilliant innings, allowing just six hits, two walks, and a run, and the bullpen combination of Brian Stokes, Bobby Parnell, Sean Green, and Frankie Rodriguez did not embarrass themselves through the last four frames, shutting out the Nats and allowing only one hit.

Captain Beltran sparked the rally in the top of the tenth, walking on four straight pitches to push the winning run, Luis Castillo, to second base. Again inspired by his teammate, David Wright lashed a double to right-center to score both runners.

K-Rod finished off the Nats 1-2-3 to earn his 15th save. He dedicated it to Beltran in an emotional outburst after striking out the final hitter of the game.

Notes

Knowing in their hearts that they were not as good as the Mets, the Nationals desperately tried to give away outs and provide golden opportunities for their opponent to run away with the game, but the Mets refused their advances, preferring instead to win the game on the level. In addition to handing the Mets’ batters seven free passes, on several occasions, they threw balls away, let them drop safely in the outfield, and skip past the catcher, but all to no avail.

Performing in Beltran’s shadow, David Wright went 4-for-5, though two of the hits weren’t exactly line drives. For example, his “double” in the second was actually a routine popup that should’ve been handled easily by shortstop Christian Guzman, but Guzman never ran after it and the ball fell safely in front of a diving Adam Dunn. He’s hitting .338, though it doesn’t seem like it.

Speaking of that Guzman gaffe, Keith Hernandez finally expressed a rare critical assessment of Manny Acta (aka Connie Mackta). He astutely pointed out that Acta routinely makes excuses for his players when they don’t hustle. Interestingly, now that Acta is on the hot seat, he gave Guzman a stern talking-to between the innings after that muffed popup. It may be too little, too late … but, no doubt the Mets will welcome Acta back with open arms if he finds himself unemployed (watch out, Jerry!).

Captain Beltran would have been on third standing up in his first at-bat, had he simply HUSTLED out of the box. Instead, the “leader” watched his long fly ball, and jogged around first, jogged toward second, then decided to “turn it on” after he rounded second base. I don’t know if his legs are hurting, or he was concerned about the muddy basepaths, but he likely wouldn’t have been caught dogging it had he simply stayed on second base. Never mind this is like the umpteenth time Beltran has made either the first or third out at third base in the last three years … it’s hard to stomach all this talk of Beltran’s leadership after watching him take his time on that blast.

While we’re on the subject of running and not running, in the top of the seventh, Fernando Martinez attempted a sacrifice that rolled foul. Ironically, Ron Villone — the pitcher last week when F-Mart chose not to run on an infield popup — was again the pitcher. Catcher Josh Bard alertly allowed the ball to roll, in case it spun into fair territory (it was only about a foot, maybe less, from the baseline), because Martinez never left the batter’s box. I’m not picking on F-Mart here — I can’t, not when the “leader” is making assumptions on long fly balls, and not when his manager doesn’t make hustling a priority. Rather, I’m pointing out that this team continues to run hard only when they feel like it, rather than all the time. And also pointing out that, despite all the “he’ll never do THAT again!” rants, Martinez DID do it again, only this time the ball remained foul and wasn’t nearly as glaring a gaffe as last week’s popup. And why did he do it again? Because he wasn’t disciplined the first time. Again — it’s not F-Mart’s fault, but rather the fault of Mets management and the lazy, loser approach to the game that they’ve cultivated.

(BTW, did you notice I used “gaffe” twice in this post, without mentioning Brent Gaff?)

I still can’t figure out how Redding made it through six innings allowing only one run. It seemed like every inning the Nats were a hit away from breaking the game wide open. My guess is the Nationals hitters were distracted by the possum hanging for dear life from his chin (I’m surprised he hasn’t heard from PETA about that yet). In any case, it was a much-needed outing, both for the depleted Mets and for the veteran’s survival on the roster.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Nationals play again in soggy DC on Saturday night at 7:05 PM. John Maine faces John Lannan.

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Your Leader Drives a Bus

beltran-outI’m not getting all the media hype about Carlos Beltran’s comments yesterday, and how it is Beltran becoming a “leader”.

Anyone who has played a team sport would not be inspired by anything Beltran has ever said publicly. Nearly every time the reclusive Beltran says something, he’s either directly or indirectly throwing his teammates under the bus.

Interestingly, the other perceived “leader” on the Mets — Johan Santana — has a similar method of public flogging. Just ask Danny Murphy, or anyone else who ever made an error behind him.

Sorry, I don’t find it “refreshing” or “motivating” when a player says he’s embarrassed about how the rest of his teammates played in two games while he sat home with a tummy ache. The media’s grasping at straws in an effort to find a story and identify the “leader” that doesn’t exist, and the fans are buying into it because they’re so desperate to find something or someone that suggests this club can get through the current storm.

Keep searching, fellas, and bring an umbrella. More rain is about to fall, to be followed by increasing wind.

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What the Mets Do Next

Much of the Mets’ chances for success this year relied on the bat of Carlos Delgado, who is out until at least mid-July. But, Gary Sheffield stepped up and filled some of the void in the middle of the lineup — though, it wasn’t enough with Carlos Beltran suffering from a stomach bug and Ryan Church on the DL. Still, with Beltran healthy and Church on the way back, it looked as though the Mets could tread water while they waited for Jose Reyes to return to the lineup, which was reportedly “any day now”.

After an MRI revealed a tear in Reyes’ hamstring, that “day” may be in August. To compound matters, J.J. Putz may need elbow surgery — which could knock him out for the rest of the season.

There’s a real possibility we’ll next see Billy Wagner in a Mets uniform before Delgado, Reyes, or Putz.

What will the Mets do next?

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Why the Pirates are Better than the Mets

carlos-beltranCarlos Beltran, after missing the first two games of the series against the Pirates, hit a double and a homerun in third contest, and afterward had these inspiring words:

The reality is, coming here to Pittsburgh and getting swept, for me, I feel embarrassed… We need to find a way to play better and to focus more on what we need to accomplish… I mean, we have to take this personally. It can’t happen… I know the Pirates are a big-league team, but we’re better than them. We’re better than them, and we know we’re better than them. But, we have to do something about it. McLouth wasn’t here and they still came out and scored 11 runs. 11 runs? We have to play better.

Hmm … is Beltran throwing the team under the bus for the first two games? Not exactly inspiring words. Reminds me of Kelly Leak, and I’m not sure why. Anyway, I digress. We move on to the crux of the matter.

The truth is, the depleted Mets squad that took the field in the first two games of this series most certainly is NOT better than the Pirates. Without Carlos Delgado, this team cannot be considered a postseason club. Take away Jose Reyes — and replace him with a AAA shortstop with zero offense — and suddenly the Mets are probably a .500 club. Remove Beltran from the equation, as well as Ryan Church, and the Mets become a sub-.500 team that struggles because it’s either overmatched offensively or beating itself via poor fundamentals.

In other words, a team that will have a tough time beating the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates are short on All-Stars, and their offense doesn’t remind anyone of the old “Pittsburgh Lumber Co.”. But, most of their pitchers do a decent job of putting the ball over the plate, their fielding is above average, they hustle, they put the ball in play, and they have a few athletes who can change a ballgame with their speed. All that adds up to a team that shouldn’t embarrass itself, and should win close to 50% of their games.

Are the Pirates better than the Mets? Right now, maybe. Without Beltran in the lineup, probably. Are the Pirates better than a 100% healthy Mets roster? No way. But the Mets have to play the current hand they’re dealt, and manager Jerry Manuel is holding few face cards — with an ace that only appears once every five days.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the Mets should expect to lose, or to lay down for cellar-dwellers such as the Nationals. But one needs to look around and see reality, rather than admonishing the lucky few who have been able to stay on the field. Right now, it’s a Mets team in shambles, but one that should be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

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