Tag: gary sheffield

That’s Some Cramp

sheff-crampIt looked bad when Gary Sheffield came out of last Friday’s game against the Braves. Sheff had been running down a rocket off the bat of Yunel Escobar, then pulled up lame. Everyone assumed it was a hamstring pull. But alas, it was merely “a cramp”.

Our collective sigh over that “close one” has now lasted four days, as Sheffield remains out of the lineup with “cramps”. Is this a menstrual thing? Because that I can understand. Maybe Sheff is having a post-steroid-use issue like Jose Canseco, or maybe he’s on the same stuff Manny Ramirez was caught using, and it’s causing him to have “female issues”. Who knows? But it sure seems strange to have a leg cramp that lasts four days.

Or maybe it’s not a “cramp” but actually a hamstring “pull” or “strain”. There are at least two reasons for the Mets to mis-report the injury. First, the potential loss in ticket sales and other stadium revenues (i.e., tacos, Czechvars, spicy tuna rolls, etc.), because people don’t like paying Yankee Stadium prices for a Tidewater Tides show. Second, there is the outside chance (not likely) that another club is looking for a RH bat — and if Sheffield is placed on the DL, he can’t be traded. Or maybe there’s another conspiracy theory I’m missing.

In other injury news, Fernando Nieve will be out for six weeks. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for ticket sales, since most fans are more interested in seeing Jonathan Niese anyway.

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Mets DFA Emil Brown

Before I could get around to announcing Emil Brown’s promotion to the Mets, he’s been designated for assignment.

The move is to make room for Ryan Church, who is 100% and ready to contribute. It is assumed Church will start in right field against Nationals rookie righthander Craig Stammen on Sunday.

Also of note, the demotion of Brown means Fernando Martinez stays around for a while. I’m liking that idea, as F-Mart brings great athleticism and speed to the Mets — two things they need tons of, especially when playing in Citi Field. Martinez will also likely start on Sunday, in left field, as Gary Sheffield was promised a day off.

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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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Stern Words for Sheffield

Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog believes time is running out on Gary Sheffield, and suggests that his presence on the roster could depend on his performance tonight:

“… Sheffield better have a good game, if he hopes to stay with the team beyond May 1.

Personally, I think he is causing confusion on the roster. …

He’s looking better at the plate, but he’s just not getting the results … he must also be making life difficult for Jerry Manuel, who has two outfield corners and four players to fill them, one of which is a rookie, in Murphy, who does nothing but hit and who needs to play every day if he is going to get better on defense, and another in Church, who is the second-best defensive outfielder on the team and who is also hitting .333.

I realize it has only been 15 games, but if he continues to struggle, and Manuel needs the roster spot for a relief pitcher, I say cut him and let Murphy, Church and Tatis find order in their well-earned and necessary roles on the team.

Is Sheffield the crux of the problem with this team? And you’re ready to drop him after 18 at-bats? Really?

I admit to being slightly biased toward Sheffield — I have a thing for righthanded hitters with remarkable bat speed, power, a .310 career average with RISP, and a World Series ring (I also like the fire in his belly, but that’s an overblown factor according to the statheads). It’s true that Sheff might be done, but I think it’s irresponsible to make that decision based on 23 plate appearances — particularly since he’s never been in a bench role before. Further, if Sheffield goes, who takes his place on the roster? Cory Sullivan? Nick Evans (who by the way is hitting .102 after 49 ABs in AAA)?

The answer to the Mets’ pitching problems is not to add more arms to the roster — the team needs quality, not volume. And as mentioned earlier today, the Mets’ best shot at finding that quality might be to trade Ryan Church — in which case Sheffield becomes all the more valuable.

Oh, and I agree wholeheartedly — all Danny Murphy does is hit. He certainly doesn’t field, his fundamentals are shaky, and he’s been sporadic on the bases. If Murphy stops hitting, he has zero value to the team.

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Manuel Concerned But Not Worried

The on-the-job training and resulting mistakes of Danny Murphy in left field did not phase Jerry Manuel a week ago, but Murphy’s latest snafu has the Mets manager “concerned”, though not “worried”.

After Murphy fell flat on his kiester on a routine liner, Manuel expressed this sentiment:

“I guess I’m a little concerned – I have to be honest with you,” Manuel said. “I think he’s a hard worker. He does everything we ask him to do. I think for the most part I’d just like to see him relax out there.”

Further, Manuel made it clear that the Mets would barge ahead and take their lumps while Murphy figures out the position:

“I have to keep putting him out there,” Manuel said. “I have to keep putting him out there until we feel that he’s getting comfortable, and I think he will.”

I wonder what Johan Santana’s thoughts are on that? What are the chances that Murphy is the starting left fielder this Friday against the Marlins, when Santana takes the hill? The Fish send Scott Olsen to the mound, who, conveniently, is a lefty. Odds are 3-2 that Gary Sheffield starts in left field that night.

Which brings up another question: will Manuel ever use Sheffield as a defensive replacement for Murphy in the late innings of a ballgame? Laugh all you want at the concept, but the bottom line is that Sheff is not awful in the field, and has played nearly 1600 MLB games in the outfield — a quarter of those in left.

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Mets Game 13: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 6 Mets 4

Memories of 2008 refuse to fade.

Once again, the Mets scored early, then stopped scoring. Once again, they helped beat themselves with poor fundamentals and inattention to detail. Once again, a certain lefthander remains an enigma.

Oliver Perez shut out the Cardinals through four frames, then fell apart in the fifth, and the Mets never recovered.

Perez was handed a 4-0 lead thanks to RBI hits by Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Danny Murphy, and David Wright, but gave it all back in the fifth inning, allowing four runs on four hits and two walks. Casey Fossum actually walked in the fourth run, which was charged to Perez.

Though they manhandled starter Todd Wellemeyer, the Mets didn’t collect a hit after the sixth against the St. Louis bullpen, and the score remained tied four-all until the bottom of the eighth. Brendan Ryan greeted reliever J.J. Putz with a line drive to left field that was misjudged by Danny Murphy, who fell flat on his back as the ball soared to the wall. Ryan eventually landed on third with a triple (though it probably should have been scored a three-base error), and was chased home on a double by Rick Ankiel. Ankiel took third on a fly ball by Albert Pujols and scored on a sac fly by Ryan Ludwick.

Game Notes

Carlos Beltran nearly scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 8th. Standing on second base with one out, Beltran tagged up and ran for third on a fly ball by Ramon Castro. Third baseman Joe Thurston tried to quickly catch the ball and slap the tag on Beltran, but in the process the ball flew toward the pitcher’s mound. Beltran alertly raced for home, and would have scored had he (a) slid; (b) barreled over Yadier Molina; or (c) not slowed down within the last 5-10 feet of the plate. Unfortunately, Beltran wasted a great head’s up, hustling effort by slowing down and standing up, and in a bang-bang play, Molina tagged him out as Beltran stepped on Molina’s foot instead of the plate.

Iona alum Jason Motte was credited with the win. He threw one pitch that resulted in two outs thanks to Beltran’s aggressive running.

Gary Sheffield ripped what should have been a single up the middle as a pinch-hitter in the ninth, but second baseman Brendan Ryan was positioned directly behind the bag and handled the sizzler easily.

It wasn’t a good night for Murphy, who in addition to the misplayed liner in the fateful 8th, also was picked off first by Yadier Molina and tagged out at home when he (also) failed to slide on a play at the plate.

Ankiel’s mustache is ridiculous. He reminds me of a player (pick one) from the early 80s. Jerry Martin? Mike Vail?

Next Mets Game

Mets try again at 8:15 PM in St. Louis tomorrow night. John Maine goes against Joel Pineiro. The game will be carried on TV by ESPN and also broadcast on WFAN and XM 187.

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Wild Mets Predictions

The National League predictions have been posted, so now it’s time for New York Mets – specific prophecies. You may like some of them, you’ll likely hate a few of them, and nearly all of them are unlikely to occur. But what the heck, let’s go …

The key to the Mets’ success this year will be tied to health and the production of Carlos Delgado.

Jose Reyes will hit 25 triples, 17 of which will come at home in Citi Field.

Johan Santana will win 21 games, and take the Cy Young.

John Maine will struggle so mightily in the first half that he will be sent to the minors to work out issues with his mechanics and command.

Livan Hernandez will be the tortoise and Oliver Perez the hare, and Livan will quietly emerge as the Mets #3 starter by year’s end, posting 13 victories.

Maine and Perez will combine for less than 20 wins.

Darren O’Day and Sean Green will combine for 20 decisions in middle relief.

Mike Pelfrey will take a no-hitter into the 9th inning, but settle for a one-hit shutout.

Tim Redding will throw less than 50 innings all season.

Luis Castillo will receive consideration for the All-Star Game, and finish the year with a .295 AVG., .375 OBP, and 28 SB.

Danny Murphy will have trouble keeping his average above .250 in the first six weeks of the season, and Gary Sheffield will take over as the starting leftfielder.

Sheffield will be a key run producer for the Mets, and finish fourth on the team in RBI.

Very few “Putz” jerseys will be sold by the Mets, for obvious reasons.

Not one “Shawn Green” jersey will be sold to a patron thinking it’s a “Sean Green” jersey.

Jeremy Reed will substitute for a disabled starter at some point in the season and go on a tear, making fans almost forget Endy Chavez.

Reese Havens will rocket through the Mets’ minor league system, and be considered for a September call-up.

Ryan Church will be traded to the Rockies.

Aaron Heilman will struggle against the Mets, but will otherwise succeed in Chicago. He’ll get a few starts when Rich Harden goes down and prompt the Cubs to move Sean Marshall back to the bullpen.

The Mets’ lack of a second LOOGY will be a major point of concern, and trade rumors will swirl around the names Eddie Guardado, Matt Thornton, and Alan Embree. The Mets will wind up with Bobby Seay, against whom lefties hit .303 lifetime.

The Mets will have a strong record aoutside the division, but will be only a few games above .500 against NL East teams.

Jose Valentin will make it back to the 25-man roster before the end of the season.

Bobby Ojeda will start doing commercials for the Hair Club for Men.

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