Tag: jeff francoeur

Mets Game 62: Win Over Orioles

Mets 3 Orioles 1

Two down, one to go …

The Mets beat Baltimore for the second straight night, behind the brilliant pitching of Hisanori Takahashi and the general lack of interest by the Orioles.

To me, the O’s resemble the Mets of late August 2009 — a team waiting for the season to end. Unfortunately for the Orioles and their fans, there are a hundred games left. That’s a long time to be wallowing.

Game Notes

Hisanori Takahashi hurled 7 frames of one-run, 6-hit ball, walking only one and striking out 2. Before you get all excited that Tak has “re-discovered” his form, temper the enthusiasm and realize that a) the Orioles are a bad offensive team — 29th out of 30 in MLB in runs scored; b) the O’s are completely unmotivated and disinterested; c) the O’s never saw Takahashi before. All three of those factors played significantly into Tak’s success. That doesn’t mean he won’t pitch well again five days from now, but it does mean you shouldn’t be surprised if he gives up 5 runs and 10 hits in a five-inning stint. Sorry to be a downer, but that’s my style.

Jose Reyes led off the game with a homer, the 15th time he’s done that in his career. He also hit a single, sacrificed, and was picked off.

Jeff Francoeur continued his hot hitting, blasting a solo homer to provide an insurance run in the 8th.

Reyes and Francoeur accounted for over half the Mets’ hits — they managed only 5 all told against Brian Matusz, who pitched 8 brilliant innings in a tough loss.

Ruben Tejada scored the Mets’ second run, but really shouldn’t have. He misread an Angel Pagan hit and therefore didn’t score from second base, and eventually scored on a double play that should’ve been off the bat of David Wright — but first-base ump Ron Kulpa blew the call and called Wright safe, thereby giving the Mets a run instead of ending the inning. A small thing, and Frenchy’s homer would’ve been the difference anyway, but it is these small things that eventually catch up to a club. Again, you’re probably wondering why I’m being a Debbie Downer, but I’m a bit miffed that the Mets are only barely beating the worst team MLB has seen in ten years — maybe closer to 50 years, considering that the O’s current record compares to the 1962 Mets over the same number of games.

As predicted, Pedro Feliciano pitched again, tossing 16 pitches in his MLB-leading 37th appearance. Again, I’m a bit miffed that Jerry Manuel felt forced to “go to the well” for his lefty specialist yet again, to make sure the Mets beat the worst team in baseball. What happens in August when the Mets play the Phillies and Braves a dozen times? Will Feliciano’s left arm still be attached to his body?

Next Mets Game

The Mets go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon at 1:35 PM. Mike Pelfrey goes for his 9th win against Kevin Millwood, who has yet to earn a win and has lost seven.


Mets Game 57: Win Over Marlins

Mets 7 Marlins 6


The Mets were down 1-0 in the fourth, then fell behind 5-0 as they came to bat in the sixth. It was looking like one of those lazy Sunday losses. Then, out of nowhere, the Mets offense woke from their slumber and scored seven runs over the final three innings to come back and win the ballgame — and sweep their weekend series against the Marlins.

Game Notes

Sorry for the late postgame. I missed the live broadcast of the game to attend my (not so) little brother’s high school graduation from Seton Hall Prep. Christopher Janish sung the Star-Spangled Banner to start the commencement exercises and sang “The Prep” alma mater to end the ceremonies. Yeah, I’m proud of him — it’s OK to be proud of my younger brother, right, Mr. Francesa?

Ken Hisanori Takahashi zipped through the Marlins lineup once, then struggled afterward, beginning with Dan Uggla’s solo homer in the fourth frame. Tak shook it off but then allowed four more runs in the sixth inning — the highlight being a three-run homer by Cody Ross. His final line was 5 1/3 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR.

We shouldn’t really be surprised that the league is starting to figure out Takahashi after his hot start. After all, he tops out at 90 MPH, but usually is around 87 with his fastball, and as a result can be very hittable if his control isn’t absolutely pinpoint — he doesn’t have much margin for error. I think the mystery of being unknown was partly the reason for his great beginning, and he’s now struggling because NL hitters are more familiar with him and the scouts are building reports on him. We’ll see if he can adjust to the league now that the league has adjusted to him. Though, my guess is the “unknown factor” will work in his favor when the Mets enter interleague play next week.

All of the Marlins runs came off of Japanese imports; their sixth score came off of Ryota Igarashi, who continues to exhibit lackluster body language and questionable command. He’s been a completely different pitcher since returning from the DL, so you must wonder if he’s still hurting.

David Wright was 3-for-5 with a double but scored only once and had no RBI.

Jeff Francoeur was more or less the star of the game for the Mets, hitting a double and a three-run homer that tied the game 6-6.

Chris Carter — remember him? — drove in the Mets’ first run, scoring Wright with a bloop single off Ricky Nolasco in the sixth. He’s now 4-for-13 (.307) as a pinch-hitter.

Remarkably, Nolasco was removed immediately after that lucky bloop, having thrown only 82 pitches. He left the game with the bases loaded, and Tim Wood allowed two of those runners to score (on a laser up the middle by Angel Pagan) — as well as another three of his own when Frenchy went yard. Not sure what Fredi Gonzalez was thinking, because Nolasco was throwing fairly well and Wood has to be one of the worst pitchers on his staff. Thanks Fredi!

Pagan was — you guessed it — 2-for-4, with a stolen base. Where have I seen that before? He’s now hitting .291.

Next Mets Game

The Mets have a day off at home on Monday night, then stay in Flushing to host the Padres (didn’t the Mets just get back from San Diego?). Tuesday night’s game begins at 7:10 PM, and pits Mike Pelfrey vs. Clayton Richard.


Mets Game 51: Win Over Brewers

Mets 10 Brewers 4

The game was a little closer than the final score would indicate.

The Brewers and Mets swapped leads early in the contest, until the Mets pulled ahead 4-2 in the sixth, then extended it to 6-2 in the seventh against Jeff Suppan, then trounced Zach Braddock for another four runs in the top of the ninth to put the game away.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey is starting to make a case to remain in the rotation indefinitely. He tossed 7 full innings, allowing 4 runs on 9 hits and no walks, striking out 3. Not the most brilliant outing ever, but the Mets could use a starter who can provide that kind of length on a consistent basis.

If I told you that a Mets starter would pitch 7 innings and not walk a batter, would you guess it to be a knuckleballer?

Jeff Francoeur had a chat with Jerry Manuel after Saturday night’s game and went 4-for-4 with 2 RBI and 3 runs scored. Cause and effect or coincidence? If the former, then is Jerry to blame for Francoeur’s extended slump? Considering that Frenchy was hitting .400 in the four games previous to his meeting with Manuel, I’m betting on the latter. But I won’t be surprised to hear/see a ton of hype about how Manuel got Francoeur back on track.

Henry Blanco also had a big day, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs, and an RBI. He also threw out Carlos Gomez attempting to steal.

Angel Pagan collected another two hits, including his fourth homer of the season.

Jonathan Lucroy struggled behind the plate for the Brewers, halting the game with incessant mound conferences and unable to get into a rhythm with starter Randy Wolf nor most of the Milwaukee relievers. To be that much of a distraction can negatively affect an entire pitching staff — remember Omir Santos? Don’t be surprised to see the Brew Crew pick up a veteran backstop such as Paul Lo Duca, or deal for someone like Chris Iannetta.

Next Mets Game

The Mets head further west, playing the Padres in San Diego on Monday night. Hisanori Takahashi goes to the mound against Kevin Correia. Game time is 10:05 PM EST. Ugh.


Mets Game 10: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 4 Mets 3

If I told you Oliver Perez pitched into the seventh inning, allowing only one run on four hits, you’d probably think that either I had the wrong information or that the Mets won the game.

Yet, Perez DID put up that performance, and the Mets lost.

Wasting a rare occasion of superbness by Perez, the Mets bullpen finally caved, as Felipe Lopez blasted a grand slam homer in the seventh off 32-year-old rookie Raul Valdes to give the Cardinals all the runs they needed to win the game.

As well as Ollie pitched, Chris Carpenter pitched just as well — maybe a bit better — as he held the Mets offense to 4 hits and 3 walks and struck out 10 in 7 full innings. The Mets rallied for two runs against “closer” Ryan Franklin in the ninth, but it was too little, too late.

Game Notes

The Mets hitters were a woeful 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. They left 8 runners on base.

Jeff Francoeur, buried in the #6 spot, remains red hot, going 2-for-3 with a walk (!) and two runs scored. He’s now hitting .457, and has a hit in every game this year, but it makes more sense to bat Mike Jacobs ahead of him against a righthanded pitcher because, after all, Jacobs hits from the left side.

Frank Catalanotto rapped an RBI single for the Mets second run on the first and only pitch he saw, as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.

Garry Mathews, Jr. scored the Mets’ third and final run but struck out three times.

The Mets’ first run of the game came on a throwing error by Brendan Ryan on a sac bunt by Ollie Perez.

Yes, the bullpen failed. Did you expect them to be perfect through 162 games?

Felipe Lopez hit his first grand slam since April 4, 2008 — he hit that one against the Mets, too, but as a member of the Nationals. For those unaware, Lopez plays both SS and 2B, hits from both sides, and was a free agent this winter. He signed a one-year, $1M contract at the end of February. However, he doesn’t have the clubhouse presence of Alex Cora.

You can get frustrated watching the Mets lose this game, thinking, “jeez, they finally played a good game for nine full innings, and battled, and they still lost”. However, what the Mets need to do is compete and perform like this EVERY game, and eventually the wins will outnumber the losses. You can’t expect a team to win just because they play well — this is the big leagues, and to be a contender you must play well all the time.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Cardinals do it again at 4:10 PM on Saturday in St. Louis. Johan Santana faces Jamie Garcia.


Mets Game 4: Win Over Nationals

Mets 8 Nationals 2

One more win this weekend and the Mets will lose last place.

Mike Pelfrey pitched well, mixing in the new split as a change of pace to the sinker, and the offense exploded for eight runs as the Mets cruised to an 8-2 victory.

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey allowed only 2 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks in 6 innings. The walk total is mildly concerning, but he was working hard to change speeds and use the split, which looks to have some potential. I liked that he was finishing his pitches for the most part — meaning, he had a good follow-through, ending his delivery with his “nose to toes” and letting his throwing hand breeze past his left ankle. Ron Darling continues to harp on the fact he doesn’t get his back leg up high enough after release, but I don’t believe it is a major issue. Yes, he’d get a little more “giddyup” on the fastball, but the fact he’s getting his head so far down and forward is a sign that he’s using leverage and gravity to his advantage. I agree that eventually his back or “push” leg should kick up high but let’s take baby steps — remember, Pelfrey did not have the advantage of ample development time in the minors. Overall, an encouraging start.

Jeff Francoeur and Rod Barajas both went yard twice, the first time two Mets had double dinger days since the Carloses Delgado and Beltran did the same a few years ago. I’ve stated before that I don’t care about the stats re: Francoeur, because I enjoy watching him play. Tonight was a prime example — he was smiling ear to ear after his bombs and seeing that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Alex Cora made two brilliant plays at second base to prevent runs from scoring and drove in an insurance run with a single in the eighth. If he has another 60-70 games like this one he’ll earn his $2M.

David Wright – SHAME ON YOU!!! Wright hit a bomb in the 7th that looked like it would reach the seats, and David watched it from the batter’s box and broke into a homerun trot. The wind knocked the ball down and it bounced off the left field wall, so Wright made it only to second base instead of third — which he would’ve made easily had he been running from the get-go. He eventually scored on a pinch-hit single by Fernando Tatis, but the ends do not justify the means. This is Wright’s year to establish himself as the team leader, and he needs to set a better example.

Wright also is looking shaky at third base thus far this season. He should’ve been charged with an error on a grounder by Josh Willingham that turned out to be a double, and his throws are both weak and offline. On the bright side, he was 2-for-4 with a walk.

Congrats to Ruben Tejada, who started his first MLB game and collected his first MLB hit.

Fernando “Nightly” Nieve pitched again, the fourth time in four games (a Mets record). He is quickly becoming this years’ Aaron Heilman.

Jennry Mejia pitched a perfect ninth, which was nice, but wouldn’t we rather see him chucking 6-7 innings as a starter in the minors than cleaning up garbage innings at the end of a six-run game? I know, I know — he’s being gently broken in as an MLB reliever, but I have a hunch the Mets will be more desperate for a starting pitcher in both the near and long-term future.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Nats do it again at 1:10 PM on Saturday afternoon. Oliver Perez pitches (?) against John Lannan. Tell me again why Johan Santana is not starting on regular rest?

Oh, and Jose Reyes starts at shortstop.


Good Signs from Game One

Yes, I’m still basking in the glow of first place and undefeated status. It may disappear quickly, so let’s take a look at some positive signs while we still can …

Johan Santana’s Slider

He didn’t have his best stuff, but he had “good enough” stuff and allowed only one run through six. His velocity wasn’t as high as we’d like, but it’s early — he should add a few MPH as the season wears on. More importantly, his slider had great bite, the kind of bite we haven’t seen from him since he one-hit the Mets in 2007. His efficiency was nowhere near what it was in that particular game, which is the only pebble in my shoe concerning Santana — ever since Dan Murphy muffed a fly ball around this time last year, it seems like Johan has been trying to retire hitters with swings and misses rather than rely on the defense.

In any case, after seeing him flat-out dominate during the first few months of 2009 with a weak elbow and a so-so slider, it’s scary to think how good Johan will be this year “fully loaded”. Halladay, Shmalladay.

David Wright’s Big Cuts

Last year, Wright publicly admitted to


Will the Mets Land a Big Fish?

At MetsFansForever, Will Sommer asks several bloggers which “big” free agent will be signed by the Mets

Andrew Vazzano unearths a slice of good news from the winter meetings – that David Wright and Daniel Murphy were working out with Howard Johnson, and Jeff Francoeur may be with HoJo later in the winter.

Ted Berg wrote an uncharacteristically long post poo-poohing the concept of a #2 starter and arguing that the Mets should pass on John Lackey.

Bob Klapisch says the Mets are pretenders

We’re only a day and a half into the winter meetings, but Brooklyn Met Fan is already tired of the rumors.

Kerel Cooper responds to yesterday’s question, “Would You Want Pat Burrell?” :


2009 Analysis: Jeff Francoeur

jeff-francoeur-12When Jeff Francoeur was acquired from the Braves in return for Ryan Church, the immediate reaction was mixed. On the one hand, the Mets were getting a 25-year-old, high-energy outfielder who regressed for two and a half years after being considered a cornerstone player and future All-Star. On the other hand, they were giving up a right fielder who — as the statheads will confirm — was a better all-around player at the time of the trade. In other words, the Mets were giving away a known, steady quantity in return for a possible flash-in-the-pan — and at that, one that might be sitting on a cold stove.

It was a moderate-risk, high-reward gamble on