Tag: ike davis

Mets Game 88: Win Over Braves

Mets 3 Braves 0

The Mets avoided a sweep and went into the All-Star break on a high note by shutting out the Braves behind a stellar performance by Johan Santana.

Game Notes

Johan Santana pitched like an ace on this afternoon, throwing 7 shutout innings and allowing only 5 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5. He has won back to back starts for the first time all year, and extended his scoreless innings streak to 16.

Bobby Parnell threw a perfect eighth to bridge the gap to Francisco Rodriguez, who also was perfect. Parnell surprised the heart of the Braves’ order with nasty sliders; if he can continue to mix in quality sliders like that to keep batters from sitting on the heater, he could settle into a setup role. But before we get ahead of ourselves, it was one appearance and three outs — let’s hope he can continue to consistently command the breaking pitch going forward.

Angel Pagan went 3 for 5 with a triple and a run scored. Is there really a possibility that he is put into something other than an everyday job when Carlos Beltran returns? If so, such a decision defies logic.

Ike Davis was hands-down the star of the game (after Santana). He hit a majestic, tape-measure homer over the apple in dead center to lead off the sixth, and he made several sparkling plays in the field.

Josh Thole had ANOTHER pinch-hit RBI single. Can you say, “Gates Brown” ?

Chris Carter started the game in left field and went 2-for-3. It may very well be his last start as a Met, since there is little chance of him getting into the rotation once Beltran returns.

Prior to the game, Jerry Manuel was asked if Carter might see any time at first base going forward. According to Howie Rose, Manuel replied with a chuckle and answered, “that’s a little too close to the ball”. Nothing like showing confidence in your players. With managers like Manuel, who needs enemies? Stay classy, Jerry.

In related news, the NYPD was asked if Jerry Manuel would be managing their charity softball game against the NYFD. “That’s a little too close to the dugout,” the chief of police answered with a chuckle.

OK, I made that last one up.

Next Mets Game

The Mets have a few days off while MLB puts on a spectacle that no one takes seriously but somehow includes a contest that affects the World Series. They return to game play on July 15 in San Francisco. Game time is 10:15 PM EST. Rumor has it that R.A. Dickey will take the ball for the Mets.


Mets Game 75: Win Over Twins

Mets 6 Twins 0

The Mets complete interleague play in dominant fashion.

By shutting out the Twins, the Mets finish the season with a 13-5 record in interleague play. Let’s hope they play one more series against an American League team before the end of 2010.

Game Notes

Jon Niese shut out the Twins through 6 innings, allowing 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5 in a 104-pitch effort. As is usually the case, he had the slider / slurve / cutter working but wasn’t getting the really sharp bite and command of the curve. It’s generally one or the other, rarely both, and that’s because of his arm angle. When he comes more over the top, the curve has the bite and he can keep it in the strike zone, but the cutter / slider stays flat. When he uses more of a three-quarter angle, he gets better bite on the slider but the curve isn’t quite as sharp as usual. The good news is, his curve didn’t look bad — it was just a little lacking in bite. That’s good news because it appears as though he’s getting close to finding an arm angle that will work for both pitches.

David Wright, Jeff Francoeur, and Ike Davis were the stars of the game — each hit a homer and together they combined for 5 RBI and 4 runs scored.

Jesus Feliciano also scored a run and had 3 hits in 5 ABs. No one has missed Angel Pagan while Feliciano has filled in — much like, no one has missed Carlos Beltran while Pagan has filled in.

Ruben Tejada extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He is only 34 games short of the single-season NL record of 44 held by Pete Rose and Wee Willie Keeler.

Next Mets Game

The Mets go back to playing the National League on Monday in Puerto Rico, as R.A. “Mr. Perfect” Dickey faces Ricky “Mr. .500” Nolasco. Game time is 7:10 PM.


Mets Game 58: Win Over Padres

Mets 2 Padres 1

Nine is fine.

For the second time this season, the Mets won their ninth game in a row at home. Clearly, they are more comfortable playing at The Field at Shea Bridge than anywhere else.

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey stepped up and pitched nine full innings — that’s a complete game if there aren’t extra innings — and allowed one measly run on five hits and no walks, striking out six. Granted, it’s the Padres — one of the weakest offensive teams in baseball. But it’s still an MLB club, and Big Pelf was magnificent. He is finally becoming the ace-like stud we envisioned ever since he was drafted in the first round of 2005.

As if from a storybook written for Mets fans who love homegrown talent, Pelfrey’s outstanding moundwork was suppored by the firepower of fellow farmhands Ike Davis and Jose Reyes — each of whom hit a solo homer to provide all the Mets’ runs in the contest. Reyes’ shot tied the game one-all in the seventh, and Ike’s blast in the eleventh frame was his first career walkoff homer.

By facing — and striking out — one batter in the top of the 11th, Elmer Dessens earned his first MLB win since August 26, 2007.

Seems like every day we mention Angel Pagan. He had another two hits in this game and another stolen base (his 11th).

David Wright also had two hits, including a double. Did you know that Wright is 15-for-29 (.517) over his last eight games? That’s not just hot, that’s Francoeur-hot.

Speaking of, Jeff Francoeur had only one hit, but it extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

The Mets (0-8) and Padres (0-9) combined to go 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Padres do it again at 7:10 PM on Wednesday night. Johan Santana faces Mat Latos.


Mets Game 56: Win Over Marlins

Mets 6 Marlins 1

It was a shining afternoon both for the fans due to the sun, and for the Mets front office due to the fact that Mets farmhands led the way toward victory.

Homegrown Jon Niese pitched 7 innings for the win, fellow farmhand Jennry Mejia threw a perfect 8th, #1 draft pick Ike Davis went 4-for-4, supplemental first-round pick David Wright blasted his 10th homer of the year, and international free agent signee Ruben Tejada had an RBI double. Heck, you could even throw in Angel Pagan’s fine day — he did, after all, spend his entire minor league career in the Mets’ system.

Game Notes

Jon Niese shut out the Marlins through six, before finally allowing a run in the 7th. In all, he spun 7 stellar innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 walk, and striking out 6.

As good as Niese was, at least part of his success was due to the over-aggressiveness of the Marlins hitters, who expanded the strike zone both horizontally and vertically. Niese was wild high all afternoon, but the Fish kept swinging through the high pitches, so it worked out great. Additionally, Niese had a good, tight, 11-5 curve working well most of the day, which kept the Marlins from sitting on the fastball. Still, though, his arm action, angle, and release point change when he throws the deuce, so you have to wonder if other teams will pick up on that. Additionally, I don’t like the way Niese tends to drop his arm angle and release with the fingers to the side — instead of on top of — the ball. I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating: when the fingers slide to the side, or under, the ball at release, fastballs tend to flatten and stay high, and it’s difficult if not impossible to get downward sink on pitches (it also puts considerable strain on the elbow). In this game, against the Marlins hitters, it worked to his advantage — and it will likely work against many other teams. However I’d prefer to see him stay more over the top to get more downward movement and protect that elbow, which already gets strained when throwing the curve.

Fernando Nieve pitched a perfect ninth, but to me he didn’t look good at all. You’re probably thinking, “gee, Joe, why so negative? The Mets won after all!”. But the process is as important as the result, and what I saw from Nieve was slightly concerning. First, he threw almost all curveballs — and we know he is essentially a fastball pitcher. Maybe he was working on the curve in the hopes of showing he has enough of an arsenal to be a starter, since he’s made it clear he doesn’t enjoy relief. But he was also opening up his front side very early and short-arming his pitches — I’m not sure if it’s something he has to do in order to get good spin on the curve or if his shoulder is bothering him. The third “yellow” flag for me was his body language, particularly after the last out was recorded. You never would’ve guessed the Mets just won the game — he looked indifferent, bordering on miserable. Was it because of pain? Was he unhappy to be coming out of the ‘pen? Something else?

Ike Davis’ perfect day included two doubles, three runs scored, and an RBI. It’s safe to say he has become a fan favorite in Flushing.

David Wright’s 10th homer was a monster shot off the restaurant glass high in left field. He also had a single and a walk and drove in three, scored twice. He’s now hitting .270 and based on his approach and huge swings, am going to go on a limb and say that he has turned himself into a “go for the downs” slugger in the style of Mark Reynolds. Which is too bad, because although he may help him hit 30 HRs instead of 20-25, he may no longer be a .300 hitter and therefore not a 100-run guy. We’ll see, though, I could be wrong.

Jeff Francoeur had two more hits — though one was a cheap swinging bunt that Jorge Cantu hoped would go foul — and an RBI. When Francoeur is hot, he’s red hot. His hot streak has been a boon to my fantasy team as well.

Next Mets Game

The third and final game of this weekend series takes place at 1:10 PM. Hisanori Takahashi takes the hill against Ricky Nolasco.


Mets Game 17: Win Over Braves

Mets 5 Braves 2

Jerry Manuel is a genius.

Manuel finally followed through with his brilliant plan of batting Jose Reyes in the third spot of the lineup, Reyes had a great day at the plate, and the Mets won.

It’s all smooth sailing from here on in.

Game Notes

Jose Reyes went 2-for-4 with a run scored in his debut as the three hitter, rapping his third double and second triple of the season. He had no RBI and scored once.

Ike Davis smashed his first MLB homerun, a high, deep blast that fell just short of Shea Bridge.

Jason Bay and David Wright continued to break out of their respective slumps, both delivering RBI hits. Bay hit a triple immediately after Reyes’ — the first time this year the Mets hit back-to-back three baggers.

John Maine left the game with spasms and pain in his left elbow. Yes, that’s his non-throwing elbow. From Adam Rubin’s blog:

“I couldn’t bring my arm down,” Maine said. “It’d lock up and get kind of stuck. I was able to throw. I went out there and threw in the fourth inning — I don’t know how effective. Like I said, it’s just one thing after another.”

The left side and the right side work together to throw the ball — the left side pulls down to help drive the right side around, kind of like a wheel. I wonder if Maine’s over-rotation issue — which looked somewhat improved at times during his short stint — puts more of a strain on his left side than other pitchers, and contributed to the spasm? Thinking more along those lines, now I’m thinking that the reason he wasn’t over-rotating as much was because the pain was preventing him from doing so.

In any case, I’m not sure what others were seeing — the people who said and wrote that Maine looked pretty good before leaving the game. His velocity was sitting around 84-86 (other than one 89-MPH strike three fastball to Jason Heyward) and his command was inconsistent as usual. My guess is he started experiencing the pain and/or spasms early on.

Hisanori Takahashi did a good job in relief of Maine, allowing two hits, a walk, and one run in three innings of work and striking out 7. Others used more superfluous adjectives to describe the outing, but I’ll remain grounded and stick with “good”. You can call me negative or responsible, it’s up to you. My concern is that when a Mets pitcher actually DOES display an “outstanding” performance, I will be out of appropriate words to describe it (“these go to 11”).

As usual, K-Rod kept the game interesting in the 9th, bringing the tying run to the plate, but closed things out successfully for his second save of the season.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Braves do it again at 1:10 PM on Saturday afternoon. Jon Niese goes to the hill against Jair Jurrjens.


Mets Game 13: Win Over Cubs

Mets 6 Cubs 1

Lucky 13 for the Metsies.

Jon Niese had a so-so outing, keeping the Mets in the game through almost 6 innings but not hanging around long enough to see the win through. In other words, a spectacular start compared to what we’ve seen from most Mets starters thus far this year. A shame, how low we’ve had to drop our standards.

But let’s not harp on the negative; the Mets won! Jason Bay broke out, Ike Davis went 2-for-4 in his MLB debut, the offense had an explosion in the seventh (off legitimate MLB pitching) and the bullpen held up the lead. What more could you ask?

Game Notes

Ike Davis made his much-heralded debut a success. If he turns out as we hope, ten years from now a great trivia question will be, “what number did Ike Davis wear in his Major League debut”? The trick answer, of course, will be, “42”.

Speaking of Davis, I’m happy to have the opportunity to see him play right now. But please, please, PLEASE STOP with the John Olerud “comparisons”. He doesn’t resemble Olerud in any way, shape, or form other than the fact he hits lefthanded. You know what former MLBer Ike reminds me of? RON Davis. Striking resemblance, I’d say. Otherwise, he’s his own man — let’s sit back and watch him grow into whatever that will be, rather than creating some image to shoehorn him into.

Jason Bay broke out of his slump. This could be the beginning of a hot streak.

Angel Pagan continues to rake, and Gary Matthews Jr. continues to strike out. Pagan hit his first homer of the year and GMJ K’d for the 12th time in as many games.

Jon Niese paid a bit too much attention to John Maine’s last start, because he kept the ball up in the zone (but was getting called strikes up there) and threw far too many pitches (112 through 5 2/3 IP). Though, he did get at least a half-dozen swings and misses. Additionally, he looked a bit different to me in this game. It appears as though his arm slot has dropped from straight overhand to more three-quarter, which can be a better angle for getting movement, but takes bite away from his best pitch, the curveball. That angle also was causing him to get “under” the ball, meaning, he was releasing the ball with his fingers at the side of the ball or almost underneath — which causes the ball to move more sideways and up. Generally speaking, you want to stay “on top” of the ball, meaning, release with the fingers literally on top of the ball, which tends to make the ball sink. What he was doing worked well in this particular game, so it’s hard to argue with the execution. However, it will be interesting to see what happens if/when he runs into an umpire who doesn’t call that high strike.

The SNY crew kept referring to one of Niese’s pitches as a “cutter”, and maybe that’s how Niese identifies it, but it is a slider. A “cutter” is a “cut fastball”, so called because it is thrown with a fastball arm action but with a grip that is shifted slightly off-center from across the four seams. The result is a fastball that “cuts” slightly — just a few inches at most. However, what Niese is doing is modifying the grip AND turning his wrist slightly counterclockwise — which is a slider. Why does it matter? Because with a slider, the fingers slide to the side of the ball and the thumb turns up toward the sky, which puts pressure on the elbow. Niese already puts a lot of pressure on his elbow with the overhand curve, so there is concern that an injury will be sustained in that area at some point. But staying in the here and now, that slider / wannabe cutter is often flat and doesn’t have much downward movement, which means it will eventually get hit hard. Why didn’t the Cubs hit it hard? They might have been caught off-guard, not seeing the pitch from him before.

Though, Niese did throw at least 6 or 7 sliders with sharp downward bite. He may want to focus on thinking about that pitch as a slider, and calling it a slider, because when it’s not, it’s dangerous.

Alfonso Soriano hit a 415-foot bomb to the deepest part of Citi Field in the second inning — a shot that was so long and so high, Rod Barajas would’ve had a standup triple. But Soriano chose to gaze at his prodigious blast from the batter’s box, and break into a homerun trot down the first base line. He started running more than half speed when the ball bounced off the wall, and he wound up with a double. Lou Piniella must be getting soft in his old age, because after a stunt like that, Soriano should’ve been sent to the bench.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Cubs do it again at 7:10 PM in Flushing. It will be a matchup between a pair of undefeated righthanders, as Mike Pelfrey faces Carlos Zambrano. Both pitchers are 2-0.