Tag: c.c. sabathia

Mets Game 69: Loss to Yankees

Yankees 4 Mets 0

Sorry Dad.

Mark Teixeira chose the Subway Series to get his groove back — much to the chagrin of Mets fans.

Additionally, C.C. Sabathia chose Father’s Day to spin his best outing of the season.

Game Notes

C.C. Sabathia spun 8 innings of shutout ball, holding the Mets to a mere 4 hits and 2 walks.

Johan Santana was not quite as sharp, as he — everyone, together now — didn’t have his best stuff. Santana allowed 8 hits and a walk in 6 innings, expending 114 pitches. The big blow was a four-run homer by Teixeira (which is often referred to as a “grand slam” or “grand salami”). Santana had no command whatsoever of his change-up, often missing high and in to LH / high and away to RH (in fact he plunked Robinson Cano with one, Santana’s first HBP of the year). His fastball velocity hung around 88 MPH, and was located above the belt, usually catching the middle of the plate. Generally speaking, spotting your two main pitches high in the strike zone is a bad thing, particularly in a homer-happy ballpark such as the new Yankee Stadium. In fact, I found it surprising that the Yankees didn’t hit MORE homeruns, considering where Santana was “living” in the strike zone. Ironically, Teixeira’s blast was one of the few pitches Santana placed at the knees — but it was flat and without much mustard.

The closest the Mets came to mounting something resembling a rally was in the 7th inning, when an Ike Davis leadoff single was followed by a Jason Bay walk (it was also the only inning that the Mets had two runners on base). However, Rod Barajas followed with a strikeout and Fernando Tatis hit into — you guessed it — a double play.

Speaking of, why in the world was Fernando Tatis the DH? Just because he is a righthanded hitter and there was a LHP on the mound? I suppose that is the CYA logic used by Jerry Manuel, with the addendum that “it was a chance to get Tatis some at-bats”. Guess what? The whole concept behind the DH is this: it is an opportunity to put the best batter in your lineup who doesn’t have position. The lefty / righty thing does not apply, unless your best hitter not on the field is unusually weak against a like-sided hurler. Armed with that knowledge, who should have been the DH in Sunday’s game? Chris Carter, of course, because he is the best hitter on the 25-man roster who wasn’t on the field.

Oh, and why was it so important to get Tatis at-bats? The argument, of course, is that he hasn’t been getting many opportunities to hit lately. Why is that? Because he’s NOT A VERY GOOD HITTER! The man is hitting .178 with a .259 OBP. Yes, he hasn’t had many chances — but if he was hitting at all, there would’ve been good reason to give him more chances. Carter’s numbers don’t look awe-inspiring, for sure, but they’re much better than Tatis’ (his OPS is over 100 points higher) and Carter has at least been hitting the ball hard recently.

Next Mets Game

The Mets get a day off as they travel back from the Bronx to Flushing (those subway transfers can take a while, you know). On Tuesday they host the Detroit Tigers. Game time is 7:10 PM, with Jon Niese taking the mound against Justin Verlander.


Mets Game 45: Win Over Yankees

Mets 6 Yankees 4

Jerry Manuel keeps his job for at least another week, maybe two.

Jason Bay continued his red-hot hitting — he is about as locked in as a batter can be right now — and Johan Santana put forth perhaps his best, most clutch outing of the year as the Mets beat the Yankees and won their first “rubber match” of 2010.

Game Notes

Johan Santana was spectacular through 7 2/3, allowing only 1 earned run on 6 hits and 3 walks, striking out three, relying predominantly on fastballs up and well-placed changeups down. He cruised from his first pitch through his 86th, but quickly lost his command in the eighth as the Yankees loaded the bases on two walks and a single. However, Pedro Feliciano came in and struck out Robinson Cano on three straight sliders — perhaps the sharpest he’s thrown all season.

Meanwhile, Jason Bay continued to carry the Mets on his back, hitting 2 homeruns in as many at-bats, walking once, and getting plunked (unintentionally). He scored two and drove in three. For those who were up in arms about Bay for the first month and a half of the season, you were told he was “streaky”.

Jose Reyes had another two hits and is starting to look a little better at the plate. Remember he sat on a couch for over a month.

Luis Castillo was a late scratch from the lineup and Alex Cora took over the #2 hole. He made all of us eat crow with another clutch 2-out, 2-RBI single, followed by a stolen base. Championship ballplayer, or performing well enough in spots to create that illusion? You decide.

There are rumblings that Castillo will need to go on the DL shortly. If so there’s an outside chance that Cora’s vesting option for 2011 automatically kicks in based on games started (he needs to start 80, he’s started in 17 thus far).

Ryota Igarashi, who was activated from the DL a few hours before game time, came on in the ninth to protect a 6-1 lead. He proceeded to throw the ball all over the place and allow the Yankees to rally, forcing Jerry Manuel to bring in K-Rod. Iggy’s final line was 1/3 inning, 3 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 18 pitches.

Francisco Rodriguez caused everyone a minor heart attack en route to his 8th save. He threw 21 pitches in the process, following up his 5-out, 28-pitch performance on Saturday night. That’s 49 pitches in two days and 63 pitches over the last four. The Mets have an off day on Monday but will that be enough rest before they face the Phillies on Tuesday?

Next Mets Game

As just mentioned, Mets have off on Monday then start a three-game set vs. the first-place Phillies in Flushing on Tuesday at 7:10 PM. R.A. Dickey takes the mound against Jamie Moyer in what promises to be the MLB game with the lowest average MPH per pitch.


Mets Shopping for Halladay?


The New York Times is reporting that the Mets may go after Roy Halladay, if in fact the Toronto Blue Jays make him available this winter.

As MetsBlog notes, the fact the Mets have little in the way of near-ready prospects in their farm system may not matter, since few teams will be able to handle the financial commitment that is required to keep Halladay away from free agency. In other words, it could be another Johan Santana situation — whereby the Mets acquired the star lefthander more because the deep-pocketed Yankees and Red Sox walked away from the table rather than because the Mets had the best package of players.

If indeed the Mets make a pitch for Halladay, and pull of a Santana-like trade-and-sign deal that totals over a hundred million dollars, it will be another case of the Mets using their same old shortsighted, knee-jerk strategy of “building a winner”.

Getting Halladay would be great, no question (as Jerry Manuel likes to say). But it’s just another band-aid that will send the Mets backward over the long term.

The Mets had the opportunity to obtain one of the top three pitchers in MLB last winter — and would not have had to give up a single player. We discussed right here on MetsToday last November that the Mets should go after C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia wound up signing a 7-year, $161M contract — about the same deal that Halladay is likely to get. The big difference, however, is that Sabathia was only 27 when he began that contract, and Halladay will be 33.

Maybe they would have not have been able to top the Yankees (even though Sabathia preferred the NL), but that’s not the point — the point is that the Mets never even sniffed Sabathia’s way. They were completely satisfied to bring back another young lefthander at a much cheaper cost, and to rest on the laurels of the “big splash” they made in the bullpen (signing K-Rod, trading for Putz).

Last winter the general consensus was that the Mets needed to fix the bullpen. The PR message built was, “address the bullpen problem, and the Mets will go to the World Series”. So once they signed Frankie Fantastik and obtained J.J. Putz, there was every reason to buy season tickets.

In the end, they overspent on K-Rod, overspent on Oliver Perez, and both overspent and over-traded for J.J. Putz — a total expenditure of $96M and 7 players for band-aids to stop the bleeding. By spending all that dough and emptying their farm system, you couldn’t say they weren’t trying — and it’s now easy for them to look back and say “hey, we did what we had to do, we fixed the bullpen”.

Fast-forward one year and the Mets have new wounds opening … with more band-aids on the way.


Mets Game 72: Loss to Yankees

Yankees 9 Mets 1

Not a great evening for Mike Pelfrey, nor the Mets.

Focusing on going the other way, the Yankees pounced on Pelfrey in the second frame, and the defense behind him resembled the Keystone Cops, as four runs — two unearned — crossed the plate in an inning that was one hit away from complete disaster.

Pelfrey allowed four hits and a walk in the frame, while David Wright, Alex Cora, and Nick Evans all made key errors to give the Yankees a lead that would never be threatened.

Pelf did settle down after the second, retiring nine of the last ten batters he faced, but the damage was done. Down by four with C.C. Sabathia on top of his game, the Mets had little chance to mount a comeback.

Sabathia did not allow a hit until the fifth frame, when Gary Sheffield led off with a line drive bullet into the left field stands. By the time he left the mound, Sabathia threw seven stellar innings, allowing only three hits, one run, no walks, and striking out eight.


Although only four runs crossed the plate, the Mets were completely devastated in the second inning. Pelfrey in particular lost his cool, and the team as a whole looked tense, confused, or beaten for the remainder of the game.

During that fateful second inning, Mark Teixeira ripped a rocket of a ground ball right at Nick Evans, which Evans mishandled, allowing Brett Gardner to score and Teixeira to reach first safely. What’s interesting is that even though the ball was hit so hard and directly to Evans, Teixeira nonetheless busted it out of the box. Since the ball only bounced a few feet away from the bag, there’s no way Teixeira would have been safe had he not hustle all the way. So in two straight series, he demonstrated to Mets fans what good can occur when players go all out, all the time.

In the top of the seventh, with Alex Rodriguez on first base, Robbie Cano hit a liner to left field that was stretched into a double when Fernando Tatis did not make a direct throw to second base. The SNY crew couldn’t figure out why Tatis didn’t throw to second base, but had we seen a wider view of the field, we would have seen that cutoff man Alex Cora had positioned himself between Tatis and third base, as A-Rod was going from first to third. So I would guess that Tatis was somewhat confused about where to go with the ball, since he doesn’t play left field very often and in that split second decided to get the ball to the cutoff man.

Elmer Dessens and Sean Green combined to allow 5 runs out of the bullpen.

No one in the NL East won this evening, so the standings remain status quo. Does anyone want to take this division?

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Yankees do it again at 7:10 PM on Saturday night. Tim Redding faces A.J. Burnett. Those outside the NY-Metro area can see the game on the MLB Network or listen on XM 183, while us locals have the choice among WPIX, YES and WFAN.


C.C. Sabathia vs. the Mets

cc-sabathia-indiansTonight, the Yankees send C.C. Sabathia to the mound at Citi Field against the Mets. It’s been a long time since Sabathia started against the Mets, and the last time didn’t go so well for our hometown favorites.

On June 16, 2004, Sabathia threw 8 solid innings of six-hit, one-run ball, as the Indians molested the Mets 9-1 at Shea Stadium in front of a paltry crowd of 29,512.

How long ago was that game? The Mets’ starter was Matt Ginter, Gerald “Ice” Williams was the leadoff hitter, Mike Piazza was the first baseman, Jason Phillips was behind the plate, and Art Howe was the manager.

Here is the entire Mets starting lineup on that ugly night:

Gerald Williams CF
ice-williamsKaz Matsui SS
Mike Piazza 1B
Cliff Floyd LF
Todd Zeile 3B
Ty Wigginton 2B
Jason Phillips C
Mike Cameron CF
Matt Ginter P

Makes one wonder: how much different will tonight’s lineup look five years from now?


Buy Me To the Moon

With the recent signing of Mark Teixeira for $180M over 8 years, the New York Yankees have spent a total of $423.5M on three free agents this winter.

Add in the $248M still owed on Alex Rodriguez’s contract, and the Bronx Bombers have committed over a half-billion dollars ($671.5M to be exact) to three ballplayers over the next eight years.

If that’s not an attempt to buy a World Series Trophy, I don’t know what is.

Based on this winter’s signings, the Steinbrenners clearly did not have any investments with Bernard Madoff (unlike another baseball team father-son ownership based in New York City … though, we’re assured that little financial scandal won’t affect their organization in any way).

The immediate reaction by 99% of people is that this enormous outlay of cash by the Yankees is despicable, unfair, and/or “exactly what’s wrong with baseball”.

Hmm ….

On the one hand, it’s slightly upsetting that Teixeira did not choose to join his hometown Baltimore Orioles, who have some bright young arms, athletic outfielders, and a future superstar catcher on their horizon. Adding a solid All-Star bat like Teixeira might have been the last piece of the puzzle to push them into contention at some point within the next 2-3 years. Already the toughest division in baseball, the AL East would have been even more competitive if the O’s joined the ranks of the elite.

But now, it’s a three-team race among the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays — who have to prove 2008 wasn’t a Cinderella season. No matter how much the Blue Jays and Orioles improve, it’s doubtful they’ll sniff the postseason before 2012. Though, you never know.

Does that make the Yankees a big bully? Is their spending this winter as obnoxious as everyone says — particularly in this difficult economy? Are the Yankees singlehandedly “ruining baseball” ?

No, no, and no. And no to any other such nonsense.

First off, the Yankees had over $80M come off their 2008 budget thanks to the expiring contracts of Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Carl Pavano, and Kyle Farnsworth (yes, I know Farnsworth was traded, but it was nonetheless another $5.5M off the books). With all that coming off, it’s entirely possible that the Yankees’ 2009 budget will be BELOW their 2008 spending even with the additions of Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett. Heck, they may still have room to sign Manny Ramirez. Yes, their payroll is still going to be a good $70M or $80M more than the next-highest spenders, but they’re not going above and beyond what they’ve been doing since 2003. And guess what? Despite spending more than any other team for the last five years, the Yankees have yet to make a World Series appearance. Huh.

Secondly, while every other team in baseball is crying about the economy, claiming they can’t afford to pay for free agents — and in many cases, laying off non-player personnel — the Yankees are HIRING. If the Steinbrenners follow up these big free agent signings with an announcement that they’re cutting their administrative staff or stadium maintenance people, then something stinks. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. In these tough times, I openly applaud business owners like the Steinbrenners, who instead of laying off people for fear what the future might bring, are instead investing in their future and seeking to improve and grow their product.

Obviously, the Yankees can afford to pay all these ridiculous salaries — they must be doing well. Would you prefer that they sat on their money, or hid it somewhere, rather than doling it out? Consider this: with the signings of three All-Stars, how many Teixeira, Sabathia, and Burnett Yankee jerseys and T-shirts will be sold? How many more baseball gloves with those players’ “autographs” on them will leave the shelves? How much money will Teixeira, Sabathia, and Burnett themselves spend, now that they’re ultra-millionaires? My guess is all three will put at least some of their earnings back into the economy, as well as into charitable foundations. Spending money in these tough times shouldn’t be frowned upon — it should be embraced and encouraged. Somehow, it all trickles down, eventually.

Finally, it is not the Yankees “ruining the game” by spending boatloads of money. If anyone is “ruining” baseball, it’s the San Diego Padres, who are dismantling their team piece by piece because their owners are in the midst of a divorce. To me, it is vastly more despicable for a teams like the Padres and Marlins to run “fire sales” in an effort to reduce payroll — and in effect, put a minor league team on the field. I understand that small market teams can’t compete, financially, with the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, etc. But if they can’t figure out a way to generate the minimum $40-60M to cover a Major League payroll, then either find a new management team, sell the club, or go to the minors — in my opinion there are too many MLB teams anyway.

Which brings me to another point that isn’t related to the Yankees, but with MLB in general. We’ve heard that the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays have been “forced” to lay off administrative personnel during this offseason. It’s also been reported that MLB had to cut their staff significantly, specifically in their MLB Advanced Media / website department. Can someone please explain to me how and why there are teams and MLB itself cutting staff when they made more money in the last five years than they ever have in history?

It was widely reported last winter that MLB.com paid out $30M to each club, after it generated nearly $400M in revenues. MLB Advanced Media’s growth has been fast and furious, and I find it VERY hard to believe that revenues were down in 2008 — if they were, they couldn’t be down by much. MLB.com’s user base, paid subscriptions, and traffic all went up. In addition, it was also widely reported that MLB as a whole made over six billion dollars in 2007 — an all-time high — and set attendance records. Following that momentum, several teams during the 2008 season set records again for attendance and ticket sales (including our New York Mets). So for the last two or three years, baseball has been absolutely booming, bringing in money faster than they count it — yet, teams (other than the Yankees) are crying poverty and adding to the unemployment rate. Is it me, or is something rotten in Denmark?

Perhaps I’m in the minority, but the money being thrown around by the Yankees is, to me, refreshing. At least there is one team doing well enough to feel they can put their profits back into the company, with an eye toward improvement and long-term growth.

Happy holidays.


Yankees Make Offer to Sabathia

Buster Olney is reporting on ESPN radio that the Yankees have tendered an official offer to C.C. Sabathia for 6 years and slightly more than $137.5M.

There are no web links to support this, but it is being reported on 1050 ESPN Radio and on XM MLB 175.

If true, the only surprise is that it’s not 7 years / $150M …. though the Yankees may be willing to go that far. While I doubt another team will top that offer, I stand by my feeling that the Mets can and should get in on the bidding.