Tag: david wright

Mets Game 7: Loss to Padres

Padres 6 Mets 5

This one should have been a slam-dunk.

The Mets were facing a Padres team of no-names, including a journeyman 32-year-old rookie pitcher last seen in the lowly Mexican League. It seemed to be a setup, a gift-wrapped easy win to top off their first ever regular season game in Citi Field. But it was not to be.

That journeyman Mexican, Walter Silva, stifled the Mets hitters for four and two-thirds, and the San Diego bullpen held the Flushing Nine scoreless over the remainder of the game to spoil the celebration.

Mike Pelfrey struggled with his footing, his control, and his ability to keep the ball inside the vast confines of Citi Field, and as a result gave the Padres an early four-run lead that they never relinquished.

Pelfrey’s third pitch of the game was drilled over the short right field porch by Jody Gerut, and San Diego scored another three in the second inning immediately after Pelfrey tumbled to the ground in the midst of his delivery (was that foreshadowing?). Adrian Gonzalez blasted the second homerun in Citi Field history to make the score 5-1, but the Mets fought back with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, capped off by a David Wright 3-run homer.

However, the Padres scratched out a run in the sixth, when Pedro Feliciano balked home Luis Rodriguez with two outs. Rodriguez had reached third on a fly ball to right field that was misjudged by Ryan Church and called an error. (Personally, I thought that the official scorer was being tough on Church with that error, but whatever.) Not that it matters, but the hitter at the time of the balk, David Eckstein, eventually ripped a clean single to left field, so the run might have scored anyway.

In an evil twist of irony, former Met Duaner Sanchez pitched a perfect eighth to set up the save for another former Met, Heath Bell.

Game Notes

Bell received a loud, negative response to his pregame introduction. Sanchez received a mixed, but mostly negative response. Uncle Cliffy Floyd was honored with cheers.

When Brian Stokes came in to relieve for Mike Pelfrey in the sixth, I thought, ah, he must be the long man — he should be able to handle two innings here. Two batters, nine pitches, and one run later, he was out of the game.

Frankie Rodriguez (aka “K-Rod”) pitched the top of the ninth. I guess because the Mets have tomorrow off, and his last appearance came on Saturday.

The Mets used six pitchers in the game.

It looked like David Wright might have missed first base on his three-run homer. Can you imagine if he did, and if the first base ump caught it and called him out? That would have been a mighty ugly “first” in Citi Field — and the ump likely would not have made it out of the stadium alive.

Jody Gerut was the MVP of the game, with a homerun, a double, a walk, two runs scored, and a brilliant catch in center field to rob Carlos Beltran of an extra-base hit.

While Pelfrey’s bizarre fall during his delivery was strange enough, but even stranger was the appearance of a cat that came out of nowhere and sprinted down the third base line in the middle of the game. How the heck can a feline afford a field-level seat at Citi Field?

Next Mets Game

The Mets take a day off tomorrow to think about this loss and collect their thoughts, then return to Flushing on Wednesday against the Padres again. Oliver Perez faces his original team at 7:10 PM, while former Giant Kevin Correia takes the hill for San Diego.

Get your taxes in, folks.


Mets Game 6: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 2 Mets 1

Johan Santana and Josh Johnson hooked up in a good old-fashioned pitcher’s duel, and at the end, Johnson was the one left standing.

In a remarkably quick, 2 hour, 4-minute game, Johnson emerged as the victor and owner of MLB’s first complete game, dispatching of the Mets hitters through the use of a 96-MPH fastball and a filthy slider.

Santana, meanwhile, was no slouch, striking out 13 hitters and allowing only three hits and one walk. Unfortunately, he also allowed two runs — both unearned — and that was the difference in the ballgame.

The Marlins’ two runs came with two outs in the bottom of the second, when Danny Murphy dropped a Cody Ross fly ball, allowing Jeremy Hermida to score. Ronny Paulino followed with another single to score Ross.

The Mets’ lone run came in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, when Carlos Beltran singled up the middle to drive in Carlos Delgado, who had doubled. Delgado’s double came after what looked like a called third strike — which would’ve ended the game — but home plate umpire Bob Davidson called it a ball.

Game Notes

Marlins starter Josh Johnson did not allow a hit until Luis Castillo managed a broken-bat blooper in the sixth, and he threw a first-pitch strike to 19 consecutive hitters. His 101st pitch of the ballgame was clocked at 98 MPH. He was downright nasty all day.

It almost looked as if Johan made the decision to take it upon himself to retire the Fish on his own after Murphy’s error. After the error, Santana struck out 8 of the next 13 hitters he faced.

David Wright has collected a base hit in every game this year.

Ryan Church also has a hit in every game, as he hit yet another double. He now has 6 and is batting .478.

Kevin Burkhardt spoke about Ramon Castro’s offseason running program, which was a daily, intensive routine. Castro ran every single day and dropped a grand total of 15 pounds … I hope that means he gained some muscle weight, because he looks like the kind of guy who could shed more weight than that over four months of training. Burkhardt said he wasn’t sure why Castro decided to partake in such a regimen in this past particular offseason — apparently he’s never worked out hard in the winter months before. Here’s a hint, Kevin: contract year.

Cameron Maybin might strike out 200 times this year. He does look to have a world of talent, though. The Fish might strike out 1500 times as a team before it’s all said and done.

Not much to say about this game, other than the Mets ran into a very hot pitcher. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap, as they say.

Next Mets Game

The Mets play their first-ever regular season game at Citi Field against the San Diego Padres on Monday night at 7:10 PM. Mike Pelfrey takes the ball against 32-year-old Mexican League journeyman Walter Silva. Tom Seaver throws out the ceremonial first pitch to Mike Piazza. Apparently Sandy Koufax and Joe Pignatano were unavailable.


Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is a time-honored adage that applies in many situations.

old_dog_new_tricks.jpgFor example, you wouldn’t expect to be able to teach a 10-year-old dog how to ride a bicycle, if he hasn’t even learned how to sit. It’s just too late — a dog that age is already set in his ways, and did his learning during his formative, puppy years.

Similarly, it’s simply too late in the game to ask a 33-year-old, 14-year MLB veteran to suddenly change his entire offensive approach — such as in the case of Luis Castillo.

Only three times in 14 years has Castillo driven in as many as 40 runs in a season. It’s not what he does. Rather, Castillo is a “table setter”, a guy who finds a way to get on base. He takes a lot of pitches, looks for walks, bunts, and punches little bloops all over the field. His career OBP of .367 would make a Billy Beane disciple drool, and he also has above-average baserunning speed, even at his advanced age. As an added bonus, he plays one of the “skill” positions. In any era, from the 1880s to now, a second baseman with Luis Castillo’s skillset would be a valuable piece of a championship ballclub. His game is not unlike that of Jim “Junior” Gilliam of the great Dodgers teams in the 1960s, Nellie Fox, Johnny Pesky, Willie Randolph, or Chuck Knoblauch. Yes, in the steroid era, his power numbers are feeble, but he’s not supposed to be a star. Used correctly — at the top of the lineup — he’s an ideal complement to a lineup of power hitters. His patience makes a starting pitcher use and show his full arsenal of pitches in the first inning, and his ability to get on base sets the stage for the sluggers.

Or, you could just put him wherever you damn well feel like in the lineup and ask him to completely change his approach and mindset at the plate. Just don’t be stunned or disappointed when he begins the season 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Yet, here we are, after four games, and Luis Castillo’s job is being called into question by pundits, the media, the blogosphere, and possibly even his manager Jerry Manuel — ironically, the man who has put him into position to fail. Castillo, after all, is hitting only .100, and there’s all those LOBs. Surely he’s the reason the Mets have lost two games this year. There are already calls for Alex Cora to take over the second sack. Yes, the same Alex Cora who is a career .245 hitter (.312 OBP), the same man who drove in all of 9 runs last year in 179 ABs, the same Cora who, in his career, has hit .249 with runners in scoring position. Sounds like a great plan.

Hold on, folks. Let’s look at this in perspective — even taking away the fact that Castillo is in the wrong spot of the order. HE HAS ONLY TEN AT-BATS. He’s 1-for-10 thus far. That’s basically two ballgames. Do you know how many times David Wright, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran will get only one hit over ten at-bats at some point this season?

Consider this: David Wright, one of the Mets’ key RBI men, is currently 0-for-4 with RISP. Does that mean Fernando Tatis should be starting at third soon? Danny Murphy is also 0-for-4 with RISP, so should Jeremy Reed (who is hitting 1.000 with RISP) be taking over in left field?

But we’re getting off the point here. The point is, no one should be surprised that Castillo is failing in his current role of #8 hitter. He’s completely misplaced, batting in a position where he frequently appears with runners on base. One of his best skills — bunting — is completely useless batting ahead of the pitcher. It’s a bad fit, and it’s irresponsible to ask him to suddenly be something completely opposite of what’s he’s been for the past 13 years.

I’m not saying you change your entire lineup to make Luis Castillo fit better. Rather, I’m saying you take a look at the skillsets of the players you have, and find a way to make them best work together. Danny Murphy has proven he can hit no matter where he is in the lineup, so how about moving him — a relative puppy — into a position in the order where his potent bat can be better used? Luis Castillo will never be an RBI guy, but Murphy might learn to be. Sure, Murphy might turn out to be a high OBP guy as well, but won’t the lineup be stronger if he’s further down in the lineup, both getting on base AND driving in runs?

Oh and hey, for those not paying attention — Castillo played in only one of the Mets’ losses this year. Alex Cora was the second baseman in the Mets’ loss to the Reds on Thursday afternoon.


Mets Spring Training Game 3

I’m not counting the game against the Italians, so game three is the one the Mets played against the Cardinals.

The final score was Cardinals 9, Mets 8, but we’re not concerned with the score prior to April. Once again, we’ll focus on specific players and other errata.

Livan Hernandez

I must admit I’m personally pulling hard for “Not-Duque” to make this club, so my analysis may be rose-colored. I liked the way his fastball was sinking and was inducing ground balls. His slow curve was a little scary, though, hanging up there like a balloon. Can he get a way with it? We’ll see. He had some command issues when he got lazy with his follow-through, but otherwise was hitting his spots — something he must do to be successful.

Freddy Garcia

Can I pull for two starters to take one rotation spot? Unfortunately for Freddy, he didn’t look so hot. His fastball was flat, at a very hittable velocity, and was all over the place. His curve — important to his success — had little bite and also was hard for him to spot. To me he looks like he’s not yet as strong as he needs to be — and a 100% healthy and strong shoulder is vitally important since he doesn’t use his legs or momentum at all to power the ball. Still, I like the Mets rolling the dice on him, provided he will accept a AAA demotion to build himself back up.

Carlos Delgado

Carlos is looking great at the plate, waiting long on pitches, and keeping the hands back the way he did when he was in Toronto. He does this nearly every spring, though … will he keep this approach once April arrives? I said it last year, and I’ll say it again: Delgado is key to the Mets’ success.

David Wright

The only reason David made an error was because Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez made a point to talk about his defense and Gold Gloves. Jinxed!

Reese Havens

He didn’t play, but we were able to see him do an interview with Kevin Burkhardt. I’m very high on this kid, and think he can climb the ladder quickly if he can stay healthy. He’s an all-around ballplayer, and appears as though he’s already comfortable in front of the camera — a key to succeeding in NYC. The “step program”, though, didn’t sound particularly intriguing. Not that it needs to be.

Casey Fossum

The little lefty was effective, pitching a 1-2-3 inning in his first frame and allowing no runs and one hit over two innings. However his stuff looked ordinary and his fastball didn’t have much movement. His curveballs — he throws them at several speeds and angles — were always his forte, and I only saw him throw a handful, which were mostly the flat, low-80s, sideways, sweeping breaker (though, he did mix in one super-slow roundhouse that conjured memories of Ross Baumgartner). Hard to make an analysis on him just yet. I do like the way he uses momentum to power the baseball — very old school.

Connor Robertson

Robertson, like Fossum, was effective in the boxscore but didn’t throw enough to help make much of an evaluation. He reminded me of Jon Adkins — a below-average, straight fastball, average breaking ball. But his 1-2-3 inning consisted of about five pitches, so it’s impossible to make a judgment.

Adam Bostick

You can see why scouts have salivated over Bostick for years despite his persistently underwhelming performances. He’s big, tall, lefty, and comes from a low 3/4 angle with decent velocity, reminiscent of John Candelaria or even Ollie Perez. But his command is below average and his fastball looks like it stays on one plane (no downward movement). He’ll need to do two things to make the big leagues: concentrate on placing the fastball in one specific spot consistently and mixing it up with an average slider. Even then, his ceiling is as a LOOGY.

Albert Pujols

Keith Hernandez mentioned that “El Hombre” looked like he might have dropped a few pounds, and looked a little thinner in the face. I thought the same thing. Maybe he’s no longer taking those “B12” shots. Hmm.

Jason Motte

The Cardinals righty reminds me of a combination of Eric Gagne, Derrick Turnbow, and Keith Foulke. He throws pretty hard, and looks scary. But he only throws one pitch, so nothing to be concerned about. If he ever develops a split-fingered fastball, the Cards may have something.

Mike Shannon

Nice to hear that the Cardinals broadcaster has a fine restaurant with a great wine list. He certainly is among the worst baseball broadcasters in history — Tim McCarver and Joe Buck included (funny, all the awful announcers come from St. Louis).

Royce Ring’s Beard

Hmm … hard to figure how much his beard truly affects his performance. He’s had it now for at least two years, and he’s still not come close to the early comparisons to Randy Myers.

The Mets travel to Lakeland, Florida, to play the Tigers on Saturday at 1:10 pm. However it does not appear that the game will be televised, so instead, get your fill by posting your comments below.