Tag: fernando tatis

Mets Game 114: Win Over Diamondbacks

Mets 6 Diamondbacks 4

For once, the Mets were on the right side of a poorly played baseball game.

The Diamondbacks gave the Mets several runs by way of 3 passed balls, 2 wild pitches, 2 errors, and 4 bases on balls. In addition, Arizona was unable to make the most of prime scoring opportunities, leaving over a dozen runners on base (14 to be exact).

Oliver Perez followed up his best start of the year with a more typical Ollie outing — 5 1/3 IP, 7 K, 6 BB, 6 H. Miraculously, he allowed only one run. Was that the product of good pitching, poor hitting, or dumb luck? You decide. In any case it was far from impressive, as Ollie was in constant trouble.

The Mets offense, though, made the most of every opportunity handed to them. They scored three runs on balls that escaped the catcher, and came through with three clutch hits in RBI situations — and that was the difference in the ballgame.

Pedro Feliciano, in the right place at the right time, scooped up his fourth win of the year despite allowing two hits that scored two runners inherited from Sean Green.

Frankie Fantastic was no more effective than Ollie and Feliciano, but somehow muddled his way to his second save of the second half and 25th of the season.

Notes

K-Rod was a Cory Sullivan misstep away from blowing yet another save. Stephen Drew hit a low liner in the left-center gap that Sullivan speared just before it hit the ground. Had he missed that ball it might’ve gone past him to the wall, and possibly led to more than just one run in the final frame.

David Wright was 3-for-5 with 2 runs scored, though he might have mildly injured himself during the contest. Cory Sullivan was 2-for-4 with two triples, a walk, and an RBI from the leadoff spot. Fernando Tatis went 3-for-4 with a walk, a run, and an RBI — just when you think he’s played his way out of a job, he pulls out a game like this to keep himself in the mix.

Today’s Baseball Lesson

Arizona catcher Chris Snyder had a tough time behind the plate, particularly in the 6th inning, when he committed one passed ball and allowed two wild pitches to give the Mets free bases. The passed ball was tough: Snyder was set up inside for a fastball, and pitcher Jon Garland threw the ball several inches outside. In addition to reaching across his body, David Wright swung at the pitch, which may have distracted Snyder. Fastballs are the toughest to block, because you don’t expect them to go in the dirt and they move the fastest. Snyder experienced a similar issue on one of the other wild pitches — it looked like it was a fastball in the dirt.

There were two things wrong with Snyder’s approach toward the balls in the dirt. First, he tried to catch them with his glove. Bad idea — it’s always best to send the glove directly to the ground, between the knees, and try to absorb the ball with the body. Second, his feet behind him were apart instead of together, so when the ball when “through the wickets”, it continued to roll to the backstop. These techniques can be learned with proper practice, just like any other defensive position.

Next Mets Game

The Mets can’t lose on Thursday as they have a day off. They return to Flushing on Friday to face the Giants. First pitch will be thrown by Bobby Parnell at 7:10 PM. Barry Zito starts for San Francisco.

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Castillo Out, Reyes Out Longer

In case you missed it, Luis Castillo slipped going down the dugout steps and injured his ankle. The Mets are terming it a “mild strain”, and not surprisingly, are listing him as “day to day”.

No, this is not a joke. Castillo really did hurt himself in the dugout, off the field of play. Which begs the question: in this brand new stadium, why are the dugout steps and floor not covered with some kind of porous padding, such as you might find on a running track? I could be completely mistaken, but it looks like the dugouts and steps at Citi Field are bare concrete — which makes cleanup easy but is not the safest platform for metal spikes. Again, I could be wrong — I haven’t been inside the dugouts and am only trusting what I’ve seen on TV and views from the stands. For all I know there is a rubber covering on top of the concrete, or maybe they put down some kind of runner or mat.

But back to Castillo’s injury. With him out, but not on the DL, means Angel Berroa will be getting more playing time, and/or we’ll be seeing Fernando Tatis at 2B. Tatis’ hustle, professionalism, and occasional homerun power are wonderful additions to the lineup temporarily, but if he starts then your top RH bat off the bench is Berroa. Twelve of one and a dozen of the other.

Luckily, this situation is only “day to day” (ha!), which reminds us of another middle infielder whose injury status was once described similarly — Jose Reyes (silly me, I thought he’d be out for the season!). The latest on Reyes is that he’s had a setback, he feels “discomfort” in his leg, and has flown up from Port St. Lucie to be re-examined by the team’s doctors. If nothing else, Jose is racking up the frequent-flyer miles with all these trips back and forth between Florida and NYC.

After Reyes is seen by the Mets’ doctors, one has to wonder — is it time for a second opinion? Further, is it time to forget about this season, shut him down, and make sure he’ll be ready for 2010 and beyond? Surely, the similarly ill-advised returns of Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran will be enough to sell tickets in September — so let’s put the brakes on Reyes and make sure there will be reason to buy tickets next year.

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Mets Game 98: Win Over Rockies

Mets 7 Rockies 3

And for a followup routine, the Mets played a baseball game …

The excitement in Flushing began with the firing of Tony Bernazard, an event that closed with a squabble between Omar Minaya and Adam Rubin. For an encore, the Mets held another press conference to speak about the first (but unfortunately, did not announce a steel cage match between Minaya and Rubin). But the crowd at Citi Field clamored for more, so nine men were dressed up and sent out on the field to engage the Colorado Rockies in a battle royale.

The encore for the evening began as a much more benign affair compared to the day’s earlier activities, but finished with a bang. With the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Rockies reliever Juan Rincon couldn’t find the plate and walked the first two batters he faced, and after a Dan Murphy sac bunt, Jeff Francoeur was intentionally walked to load the bases. With LH hitter Cory Sullivan coming to the plate, Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy called for LOOGY Franklin Morales, and Jerry Manuel countered with Fernando Tatis. Tatis fell behind 0-2, then laced a low changeup into the seats to give the Mets their first lead of the ballgame.

Pedro Feliciano was credited with the victory and K-Rod pitched a perfect ninth in a non-save situation.

Notes

Oliver Perez allowed three runs on four walks and five hits in five innings of work. Remarkably, most people associated with the Mets will look at it as a “positive step”. The rest of us will refer to it for what it is: garbage.

Not to be lost in the excitement was Brian Stokes’ two perfect innings in relief of Ollie to keep the Mets in the ballgame.

Nice to see Tatis tie into one and deliver such a dramatic victory. We know he’s not the guy who hit like Roy Hobbs last July, and his DPs have been maddening, but his approach to the game makes him someone who is easy to root for. After making contact on the grand slam swing, Tatis was sprinting out of the box, taking nothing for granted. Nice to see.

Dan Murphy hit fourth again and went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a sacrifice bunt. How many MLB cleanup hitters are called on to bunt?

Luis Castillo and David Wright combined to go 4-for-4 with 2 walks and 4 runs scored. The red-hot Castillo is now hitting .305.

Jeff Francoeur blasted his third homerun as a Met, a solo shot in the fourth. In seven games, Francoeur has three homeruns; the rest of the Mets combined have seven taters in the entire month (three of them by Tatis).

This win marks the Mets’ third in a row — their longest winning streak since 1986.

Next Mets Game

The rising Mets take on the Rockies again at 7:10 PM on Tuesday night. Mike Pelfrey goes to the mound against Tottenville HS graduate Jason Marquis.

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Can the Mets Make a Deal?

It’s less than a month before spring training, and the Mets still need a frontline, #2 / #3 type starter; middle relief help; starting rotation depth; and a legitimate left fielder (who ideally bats with power from the right side). They also have a question at second base and might have interest in upgrading the catching position — though those issues are not nearly as dire as the others.

If you hear it from Omar Minaya, however, the only question is the starting pitching. Whether he’s lying through his teeth or not is up for debate, but his public opinion is that the middle relief will be handled by one of the rule 5 picks and Sean Green; the starting pitching depth is covered by Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell; and he’s very comfortable with Fernando Tatis and Dan Murphy in left field.

The reality is that, if he truly believes what he says, then the Mets are likely to finish in third … or fourth place. The Phillies, Braves, and Marlins all will be competitive in ’09, and the Mets as currently assembled do not look head and shoulders above any of them. They could tip the scales their way with the acquisition of a big bat and a solid starter, and there’s still time to do so.

However, it appears that neither of those acquisitions will come through free agency. It’s interesting to see the media and fans clamoring for the return of Oliver Perez — only months ago, many of these same people couldn’t see the inconsistent Ollie flee fast enough. That said, the idea that Perez is the “frontline” starter the Mets need is somewhat amusing. But hey, he’s the best left of a sorry lot, and if the Mets can re-sign him, then that one hole is filled.

But if they don’t, what is their recourse? The latest rumor suggests that Ben Sheets is the answer. Sheets does have frontline skills, but would the Mets want to add another health risk to a rotation filled with question marks? The next-best option after Sheets is Jon Garland, who is a nice innings-eater but at best a #4.

Conversely, the big bat the Mets need has been staring them in the face all winter: Manny Ramirez. For whatever reason, though, they continue to resist making an offer to the best righthanded hitter in the universe. After Manny, no options exist; the only other righthanded-hitting outfielders of consequence are Andruw Jones, Jay Payton, Jonny Gomes, and Kevin Millar (though, Moises Alou has not yet officially retired). Like Manny, the Mets have shown no interest in any of these players.

Maybe the Mets sign one of the aforementioned starters. But if they don’t go after Manny — and that appears to be a foregone conclusion — where will they find that righthanded bat for left field? Certainly not from the farm system — the only position player close to MLB ready is Nick Evans, who was overmatched in his short stint last year. A trade would have to be made.

But what do the Mets have available for a trade? Their organization is so low on valuable chips, it took four minor leaguers, three MLBers, and help from the Indians to obtain J.J. Putz. In order to make a trade for an impact bat, the Mets would likely need to orchestrate a similarly complex deal, or create another hole to fill.

Naturally, the Mets won’t be trading Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Mike Pelfrey, nor Johan Santana. You can probably add Carlos Delgado to that mix, and it’s hard to believe they’d swap away John Maine — he’s needed for the rotation and his injury puts his stock at an all-time low. No one wants Luis Castillo, so forget about that idea. Ryan Church might have some value, but because of his headaches, his greatest value may be to the Mets. Pedro Feliciano also might draw interest, but then the Mets are without a steady lefty in the bullpen. At times this winter, there’s been talk of moving Brian Schneider, perhaps to the Red Sox but 1) will he be enough to bring back an offensive force, and 2) if so, where do they find a new starting catcher? Would free agent Ivan Rodriguez be an option? The Mets would need to move fairly quickly to swap Schneider and still have time to sign Pudge.

Looking around MLB, there isn’t an abundance of available outfielders that fit the Mets’ needs. Righthanded hitters with some punch have become a rarity — which is why the Phillies were forced to add LH-hitting Raul Ibanez to their already lefty-heavy lineup. A quick look around turns up the names Eric Byrnes, Austin Kearns, Jose Guillen, Marcus Thames, Xavier Nady, and Gary Matthews, Jr., as players who might be available. Not exactly an awe-inspiring group, and yet most of them are probably unattainable in return for what the Mets have for trading chips. It might make sense to spin a youngster like Evans for a proven hitter stuck in AAA — someone like Matt Murton — or to take a chance on a guy who once showed promise, such as Gomes. But that doesn’t really upgrade the current situation of uncertainty in the outfield — rather, it muddles it further. There are only so many at-bats available in spring training to offer the likes of Tatis, Murphy, Evans, Jeremy Reed, Angel Pagan, Marlon Anderson, and whomever else is invited to ST.

Bottom line — unless their thinking changes in regard to the free agent pool, the Mets are likely to enter spring training with similar personnel as they have today. But of course, anything can happen.

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Why is Casey Blake NOT on the Radar?

According to various sources, the Minnesota Twins are ready to make an offer to Casey Blake, a free-agent infielder / outfielder whom Joe Torre credited on many occasions as being nearly as important to the Dodgers’ entrance into the postseason as Manny Ramirez.

The question is, where are the Mets on Blake and why does it appear they have no interest whatsoever?

Supposedly, the Mets are looking to change / improve their clubhouse, and looking to add more “gamers”. There aren’t too many available, and Blake is one of the few to be had. He is a winner and supposedly a great clubhouse guy with leadership qualities. Further, Blake is a righthanded-hitting slugger who hits well in the clutch (.310 with RISP) and can play a variety of positions — 1B, 3B, and OF. Doesn’t Blake fit the description of exactly what what the Mets needl?

Apparently not, since there hasn’t been an inkling of buzz from Flushing.

Now, I don’t think Blake is worth the 3-year deal he’s seeking, but two years is not out of the question. This is a guy who has hit in the neighborhood of .280 / 20 HR / 80 RBI for the last five years, and can play both corner outfield spots and first base. With Fernando Martinez on the horizon, the Mets aren’t looking for a long-term, full-time outfielder. Blake is an ideal player to keep LF warm for F-Mart, and/or platoon with Ryan Church, Dan Murphy, and Carlos Delgado, while also giving David Wright a breather now and then. In other words, another Fernando Tatis, but with a more reliable track record. As much as I love Tatis, I’m not counting on a repeat performance of 2008. Remove July and Tatis’ 2008 season is fairly unremarkable — and about in line with what Damion Easley produced. I like the idea of Tatis taking Easley’s job as supersub / utilityman, and don’t think he’s going to provide the kind of power and run production needed from left field. Blake, on the other hand, has proven he can be a solid and productive #6 / #7, either as a part-time player or as a regular.

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Hot Stove – First Moves

Wow … didn’t take long for the hot stove to heat up. Let’s quickly rake over the first coals.

Mets Pick Up Option on Carlos Delgado

No surprise here — after his second half, Delgado is a bargain at (gulp) $12M. There’s been speculation that he’d be traded, but I’m not seeing it. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Mets flipped him, and I think it would be the right move, but it’s rare for this organization to sell high. It will be easier to leave him set at first base and spend the winter looking to fix other areas.


Mets Re-Sign Fernando Tatis

Tatis signed with the Mets for a paltry one-year, $1.7M contract. Great move to lock up a fine RH bat with plenty of versatility. While I doubt he’ll ever again hit like he did last July, he nonetheless proved he still has gas in the tank and fire in his belly. He’ll be a top man off the bench — taking the at-bats Damion Easley is likely to leave behind — and provide insurance in the OF corners in the event the Mets don’t find a legitimate slugger this offseason.

Damion Easley Files for Free Agency
Unfortunately, I think there is little chance of my favorite Met returning, particularly with the quick signing of Tatis. Why? Partially due to his age, and partially because I think the Mets are going to bring in a second sacker, one way or the other. That said, his main tool is as a RH bat off the bench, and that will be Tatis’ job. There are enough teams looking for a veteran second baseman this winter for him to find a job, though, so he should land on his feet. He may find himself in Chicago, with the White Sox, the Dodgers, or the Nationals (all of this is pure speculation — I have no inside track).

Oliver Perez Files for Free Agency

No surprise here. Ollie’s going to the highest bidder. If the Mets don’t sign him early, I don’t think they’ll sign him at all. Considering Scott Boras is his agent, an early signing seems unlikely. Bye bye Ollie, it was fun (regards to Mr. Hyde).

Matt Wise Files for Free Agency

Who woke him up and pulled him out of his cave? Wise never stayed healthy for a long enough time to determine his value. Too bad. Watch him move on to the Angels or Diamondbacks and become a decent 7th-inning guy.

Royals Trade Leo Nunez for Mike Jacobs
The semi-annual fire sale is on in Miami! An interesting deal from KC’s point of view, as they flip a middle reliever for a starting first baseman — this deal would suggest that they’ve officially given up on Ryan Shealy. Nunez is only 25, and could step into a setup role for the Fish. Otherwise, it looks like the Royals are selling high, and the Marlins are selling out (yet again).

Chad Cordero is a Free Agent

The Nats cut ties with the reliever, and I can’t believe 24 hours passed without the Mets scheduling a press conference to put a flat-brimmed Mets cap on his head. Is there any other organization where he’ll be as welcome? My bet is on Omar Minaya plunging into the Cordero rehab project, and I like the idea. My guess is he won’t be helpful in 2009, and he may never regain the velocity needed to be a closer, but he has the mentality needed for a reliever and he has age on his side. He may be a valuable middle reliever for the second half.

Ken Macha Hired to be Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers

Ho-hum. The Brew Crew managed to find someone just as boring as Ned Yost. Should be a mildly entertaining puppet show.

65 Players Filed for Free Agency

See the “official” list here. We’ll discuss them here all winter.

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