Tag: jody gerut

Citi Field Firsts

It was not the most auspicious start for a new ballpark — at least, not for the home team — but the list of “firsts” has already begun. Print this out and keep it handy for future trivia buff gatherings.

First Pitch: Mike Pelfrey

First Homerun: Jody Gerut (also first hit, first run, and first RBI)

First Mets Homerun: David Wright

First Mets Hit: David Wright (double)

First Mets Run: Brian Schneider

First Mets RBI: Luis Castillo

First Double: David Wright

First Triple: ** still waiting **

First Strikeout: Nick Hundley, by Mike Pelfrey

First Walk: Chase Headley, by Mike Pelfrey

First Pinch-Hitter: Gary Sheffield

First Pinch-Hit: Jeremy Reed

First Balk: Pedro Feliciano

First Wild Pitch: J.J. Putz

First Error: Ryan Church

First Win: Edward Mujica, Padres

First Save: Heath Bell

First Hold: (tie) Edwin Moreno, Duaner Sanchez

First Loss: Brian Stokes, Mets

First Drunken Guest in the Broadcast Booth: Tom Seaver

First Player Booed: Heath Bell

First Player to Receive Standing Ovation: Danny Murphy (for catching a routine fly ball)

First Fall for No Apparent Reason: Mike Pelfrey

First Bleeding Heart Liberal Narcissistic Celebrity Interview by Kevin Burkhardt: Tim Robbins

First Bad Shea Stadium Memory Retold by a Bleeding Heart Liberal Narcissistic Celebrity: Tim Robbins

First animal to set foot on the field: Feline

First Fans to Sit in Bernie Madoff’s Seats: “Kurt” and son “Mike”

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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.

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Last Year’s Scrap Heap

Last winter we regularly combed through the scrap heap in search of possible nuggets for the Mets to consider. Strangely enough, few if any of our recommendations were acted upon by the Mets. Is it possible that Omar Minaya and Tony Bernazard do NOT read this blog? Crazy thought, I know.

Anyway, the recent signing of Jody Gerut to a one-year, $1.775M contract by the Padres reminded me that he was one of players we discussed here prior to the opening of 2008 spring training.

Specifically:

Padres sign OF Jody Gerut to a minor league contract.
This doesn’t really mean much to Mets fans, since Gerut is a lefthanded hitting outfielder — and we already have Endy for that role. But it’s intriguing to me anyway. Gerut finished fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2003, when he hit 33 doubles, 22 homers, drove in 75 runs, and batted .280 in only 127 games for the Indians. Then he fell off the planet due to knee injuries, and hasn’t appeared in an MLB game since 2005. However, he’s tearing up the Venezuelan league this winter, to the tune of .390 with 80 total bases in 40 games. It appears he’s healthy, and motivated to win a job somewhere. The Padres might have a find in this guy.

In that same article from late last January, we also liked Sean Burnett, David Aardsma, Jeremy Affeldt, Octavio Dotel, Franklyn German, and Mike Myers. OK, we missed on Myers, but the other five enjoyed mixed success. Let’s review each of them.

Sean Burnett
What was said in January:

… while researching Gerut, I noticed that former #1 pick Sean Burnett had a 2.45 ERA in Venezuela. Burnett looked promising in a short trial as a 21-year-old in 2004, then succumbed to elbow issues and Tommy John surgery, which eliminated him from competition for all of 2005 and part of ’06. It appears he’s now healthy, and was never a flamethrower — more a control guy with a hard sinker. If his velocity is near the 88-90 range, he has the control and guile to be a solid #4 at the MLB level. He’s still on the Pirates’ 40-man, and it might be interesting to watch his progress. If he cracks the 25-man roster, who knows — he might be trade bait come July.

What happened in 2008:
Burnett did make the Pirates’ 25-man roster and appeared in 58 games, posting a 4.76 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. Not great by any means, but he held LH hitters to a .171 batting average, .238 OBP, and .271 SLG. Add in he’s only 25 years old and still recovering from his elbow issues — and still very cheap — and suddenly he’s a bargain LOOGY with some upside.

David Aardsma

What was said in January:

Aardsma was a 2003 #1 pick after becoming Rice U’s all-time career saves leader. He was rushed to the bigs by the Giants, was knocked back down quickly, and bounced to the Cubs and White Sox in the past two years. Personally, I think this kid has great potential, but needs to stay in one place long enough to build his confidence and prove his worth. He just turned 26 years old, and could be one of those guys who could blossom all at once and “come out of nowhere” — a la Cla Meredith or Tony Pena — to become a valuable middle reliever. After Aardsma was DFA’d, a part of me hoped the Mets’ brass was on the case, but the BoSox moved quickly in acquiring him for two non-prospects. I think he could have been a nice addition to the bullpen depth — particularly since he still has options.

What happened in 2008:
Aardsma played a fairly important role eating up innings out of the Bosox bullpen, appearing in 47 games and striking out 49 batters in 48 IP. He walked 35, though, and posted a 5.55 ERA and 1.72 WHIP. Before you scoff at those numbers, however, check out what he did outside of Fenway Park — 23 IP, 15 H, 19 K, 13 BB, 2.25 ERA, 1.21 WHIP. That walk rate is still high, but this is clearly a guy who had troubles pitching with the Green Monster at his back. Away from Boston, Aardsma had numbers comparable to Juan Cruz.

Jeremy Affeldt
What was said in January:

… had he not been offered a spot in the Reds’ rotation, he might have been a nice fit in the old Darren Oliver role.

What happened in 2008:
OK, he wasn’t really a “scrap heap” guy, but his strong 2007 in Colorado only earned him a 1-year deal with the Reds. In Cincinnati he had another strong season, which he parlayed into a 2-year, $8M contract with the Giants.

Octavio Dotel
What was said in January:

Yes, I’ve been advocating the acquisition of Dotel all winter. And I still think, even at two years, he would have been worth it. If the Mets were willing to give flash-in-the-pan LOOGY Scott Schoeneweis a three-year deal, I see no logic in failing to offer a two-year deal to Dotel, who has tons more upside and significant experience in both closer and setup roles. Yes, his fragility is a concern, but that’s why he came as cheap as he did …


What happened in 2008:

72 G | 67 IP | 92 K | 52 H | 29 BB | 1.29 WHIP | 3.76 ERA

Like Affeldt, Dotel was hardly a “scrap heap” guy, but teams were shying away due to concerns about his health. The two-year deal given by the ChiSox seemed risky. Well, as you see he appeared in 72 games and had a crazy amount of strikeouts — just the type of “swing and miss guy” the Mets admitted they needed desperately in their 2008 bullpen. The one negative was susceptibility to the gopher ball — he allowed a dozen dingers. Still, how would the Mets’ season have played out if Dotel was one of the relief options?

Franklyn German

What was said in January:

German is a flamethrower who once rated higher than Joel Guzman in the Tigers’ organization. German stands 6’7″, weighs 270 lbs., and hurls the ball in excess of 100 MPH. Why he hasn’t done much is something of a mystery — his strikeout totals in the minors have been insane (career: 531 Ks in 495 IP) but he hasn’t been able to stay on an ML roster. I’ve seen him pitch both in Detroit and in the Dominican League, and can’t figure it out — in the Dominican, he’s been an intimidating, effective closer. He was a free agent this winter and chose to stick with Texas despite spending all of 2007 playing for their AAA team. I would have liked to seen him as one of cans of paint the Mets throw on the wall this spring — a Jorge Julio type that Rick Peterson could have had fun with. But then, I guess that project slot has been filled by Joselo Diaz.

What happened in 2008
As usual, German had trouble getting out of AAA, mainly due to control issues. He did manage to open the season in the bigs and pitch in 17 games with the Rangers, hurling 22 innings, allowing 18 hits, 13 walks, striking out 15 and posting a 2.08 ERA. After a three-inning outing in late May, he was DFA’d, signed by the Pirates, spent the rest of the year in AAA, and then in August was traded to the White Sox for a player to be named later. I’m not certain, but believe a big league club has already invited him to spring training.

Like last winter, we’ll be sifting through the scrap heap in search of hidden gems between now and the opening of spring training 2009. Hopefully Omar and co. are paying attention this time.

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