Tag: scott olsen

Mets Game 138: Loss to Nationals

Nationals 13 Mets 3

Apparently, the Mets left their bats in Chicago.

A day after being on the laughing end of a laugher vs. the Cubs, the Mets found themselves on the frowning side in Washington, DC, as they were trounced by the last-place Nationals.

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey was bad. Really bad. Like, July bad.

Pelfrey allowed 6 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in 3 2/3 innings, slogging through 83 pitches.

As mentioned in the last game recap that Pelfrey started, Big Pelf is using different mechanics for each pitch, which means he is very likely tipping off his pitches. Additionally, he is opening up his front side prematurely on his fastball, which is significantly affecting his command of the pitch. If you can’t command your fastball, you can’t pitch in the big leagues (unless you throw a knuckleball). The combination of being unable to hit spots and giving away the velocity of the pitch (i.e., batter knowing whether it’s a fastball or an offspeed pitch) results in outings like this.

In addition to his mechanical problems, Pelfrey’s confidence was nonexistent in this contest. His body language gave away his lack of confidence — and at times he had a look of fearful confusion on his face.

Pelfrey threw about 36 pitches in the fourth inning before being taken out of the ballgame. There was not one visit by pitching coach Dan Warthen during that time.

The most effective Mets pitcher of the afternoon was Pat Misch, who threw one pitch and got one out.

Oliver Perez made an appearance, throwing two innings to finish the game. He gave up an obligatory run on three hits, but he did strike out three. Another positive were his mechanics, which were driving momentum more toward home plate than third base. He had pretty good balance on all pitches and a fairly consistent delivery — to me, his mechanics were similar to what we saw from him in 2007-2008. Unfortunately, his velocity still is nowhere near it needs to be for him to be successful; he topped out at 89 MPH.

It was “Danny Espinosa Day” in the nation’s capital, as the rookie shortstop went 4-for-5 with 6 RBI, including a grand slam off Ryota Igarashi. That makes like, 78 grand slams off the Mets this year, while the Mets have hit none.

The Mets collected a trio of hits in this game. 3. THREE.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Nats do it again on Tuesday night at 7:05 PM. It will be a matchup of rookies making their first Major League starts, with Dillon Gee going for the Mets and Yunesky Maya pitching for the Nationals.


Mets Game 33: Win Over Nationals

Mets 8 Nationals 6

The last time the Mets brought up a lefthanded-hitting slugger from AAA, they went on a 10-1 run.

Tonight, lefthanded-hitting slugger Chris Carter — fresh up from AAA — ripped a double to drive in the go-ahead run and give the Mets a stunning, come-from-behind victory over the Washington Nationals.

And that “other” lefthanded-hitting slugger — Ike Davis — sealed the victory with yet another one of his thrilling dive-into-the-dugout fly ball catches to end the game.

If you didn’t enjoy watching this game, you ain’t a Mets fan.

Game Notes

Jon Niese was awful, channeling his inner Ollie Perez by walking 5 batters and allowing 6 hits in only 4 1/3 innings. He looked like he had more of a clue than Ollie ever does, though. His main problem is the same that occurs at least once out of every three starts: his release point drops ever so slightly, his fingers slide to to the side or under the ball at release, and as a result the ball can only move laterally and remain flat (and fat). Flat, fat pitches get hit hard. Niese’s curveball — his best weapon — is rendered useless if he can’t get his fingers on top of the baseball at release.

Scott Olsen, on the other hand, was pretty good for the Nationals, despite allowing 10 baserunners in 5 1/3 innings. Somehow he wiggled his way out of trouble in every inning, and was inexplicably removed by manager Jim Riggleman after throwing only 82 pitches. Seeing Olsen exit was the best thing that could happen to the Mets, who finally scored their second run when Tyler Walker allowed an inherited runner to score, and then pounded the Washington bullpen for 6 runs in the fateful eighth frame.

Rod Barajas once again delivered in the clutch, hitting a sky-high fly to left that got caught in the wind and carried into the wall for a 2-run double. My new nickname for Barajas is “Lord of the (High) Flies”, for obvious reasons.

Both David Wright and Jason Bay went 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored, but for whatever reason it still feels like they are in slumps. Wright, though, lashed two doubles to right field, which is highly encouraging. If he keeps letting the ball get deep, he’ll be back to the old David Wright we know and love.

Jose Reyes was 0-for-4 and is now hitting .231 in the three-hole. However, he also hit .231 in the leadoff spot — though, that was only in his first 11 games and after not being in a game in almost a year.

Next Mets Game

The rubber match occurs at 1:10 PM on Wednesday afternoon. Mike Pelfrey faces Craig Stammen. The postgame here will come later in the evening as I’ll be on the road for work all afternoon.


Mets Game 16: Win Over Nationals

Mets 4 Nationals 3

How difficult is it to miss a slam dunk? Because the Mets came darn close to pulling it off.

With ace Johan Santana going to the hill against the worst team in baseball, and a fully rested, record-breaking closer at the ready, this game should have been a cakewalk. Instead, it was mildly unnerving through the first seven, before turning into a bonafide nailbiter in the ninth.

Santana was his usual brilliant self, allowing one run on one walk and six hits in six innings, but ran up his pitch count and ran out of gas, thanks in part to 10 strikeouts. Strikeouts, of course, are wonderful, but they’re not democratic, and they generally take more pitches out of an arm. But Santana needed those swings and misses to squeeze out of some tight situations, including one compounded by a missed popup by Ramon Castro.

While Johan was mowing down the Nats, the Mets bats were lukewarm against Washington starter Scott Olsen, who scattered nine hits and two walks in his six innings of work. The Mets did touch him for three runs (two earned), thanks to a Carlos Beltran triple, a Luis Castillo single, and a pinch-hit RBI single by Danny Murphy. They added on another run in the eighth when reliever Kip Wells walked Carlos Delgado with the bases loaded, forcing in Ramon Castro.

Generally speaking, 3-4 runs is enough for a stopper such as Santana, though he gave one back in the top of the sixth when Nick Johnson went deep. Bobby Parnell, Pedro Feliciano, and JJ Putz held the mighty Nats at bay through the 7th and 8th, setting the stage for Francisco “Stop Calling Me K-Rod” Rodriguez.

Rodriguez decided that the game had cruised long enough, and it was time for drama to keep the Citi Field fans in their seats. He started off the ninth by allowing a single to Austin Kearns and a two-run homer to Jesus Flores, cutting the Mets lead to one. But of course, the tightrope is where Rodriguez lives, and he dispatched of the next three batters in order. No small feat, as the Nats sent up a modern-day murderer’s row of Alberto Gonzalez, Alex Cintron, and Anderson Hernandez.

Game Notes

Hard to believe that Cintron is the best the Nats can come up with to pinch-hit in the final inning of a one-run ballgame, but I guess that’s why they’ve won just 20% of their games thus far.

Birthday boy Carlos Beltran kept his hold on the NL batting lead, going 1-for-3 with two walks; he’s hitting a cool .400.

Gary Sheffield went 1-for-3 with a walk — will that buy him another day?

Fernando Tatis, who many forgot was still on the roster, took advantage of his rare start in LF by going 2-for-3, including a walk and a double.

Luis Castillo batted in the two-spot and went 2-for-5.

The Mets’ four runs equaled their total runs scored in Santana’s three previous starts combined — and every one of his starts have been decided by one run. His ERA is 0.70 … if it were any higher, he’d likely be winless right now.

Next Mets Game

The Mets again host the Nationals on Saturday afternoon, with Mike Pelfrey going against the righthanded Ollie Perez: Daniel Cabrera. Game time is 1:10 PM.

This game worries me, because Pelfrey is coming off an elbow issue and Cabrera can, at times, be dominating.


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.


Score Two for Davidoff

Two days ago, Ken Davidoff had this to say:


1. White Sox. They’d love to find a taker for Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko or Jim Thome. Konerko and Thome have no-trade protection.

2. Rockies. In addition to Matt Holliday, Garrett Atkins and Willy Taveras can be had.

3. Marlins. They’re managing payroll again, and they’ll trade Kevin Gregg and Scott Olsen for a decent return.

So far, Davidoff was correct on Holliday and Olsen. Now, these predictions may have been obvious, and certainly don’t make him Nostradamus. But I’m betting that, at the end of the Hot Stove Season, when we look back at all the buzz, Davidoff will lead the league in rumors converted to reality. Over the past few years he’s been one of the journalists you can bank on for buzz. Though he may not always have the most information, the newest scoop, or the wildest rumors, when he writes something, there’s a pretty good chance it’s happening.


Marlins Trade Olsen, Willingham to Nats

According to several reports, the Florida Marlins have traded righthander Scott Olsen and outfielder Josh Willingham to the Washington Nationals in exchange for second baseman Emilio Bonifacio and A-ballers P.J. Dean and Jake Smolinksi.

Strange deal, as you would think the Marlins would get more in return for the 24-year-old Olsen, and how exactly do the Nationals expect to benefit?

The Marlins’ acquisition of Bonifacio means that incumbent iron-handed second baseman Dan Uggla will either be dealt or moved to the outfield. For those who don’t know Bonifacio from a hole in the wall, he projects to be Eric Young with a better glove.

Smolinksi and Dean are both 19-year-olds with some upside but at least 2-3 years away from MLB. Neither is a “sure fire” prospect, with Dean probably slightly ahead after a strong season in the NY-Penn League. Smolinksi is a young version of Daniel Murphy — a kid who can hit for average, showing good patience at the plate and solid strike zone judgment, with questionable power potential, and without a position — playing both the outfield and 2B. A lot of projection here.

Since they’ve already made one deal with an NL East rival, perhaps the Marlins would be open to another one — moving Uggla to the Mets. I’d take his horrendous defense and .514 slugging percentage in a heartbeat.

As for the Nats, they get a sorely needed starting pitcher who can step in and anchor the front end of the rotation for the next five years. Personally I can’t stand Olsen but there aren’t many 24-year-olds with his experience and skillset. He fits right into that “bad boy” (read: spoiled rotten brats) collective under Manny Acta. I’m predicting a fistfight between Olsen and Elijah Dukes during spring training, with Lastings Milledge kicking Olsen in the ribs once Dukes wrestles him down.


Braves in Lead for Peavy, Asking for Olsen, Ludwick

According to Scott Miller at CBSSports.com, the Atlanta Braves are the frontrunners for Padres ace pitcher Jake Peavy.

Word on the street is that the Braves are willing to part with top centerfield prospect Gorkys Hernandez — a Carlos Gomez-type guy whom Atlanta picked up in last year’s Edgar Renteria deal with the Tigers. Imagine if the Braves were able to turn Andy Marte (the man they traded to Boston for Renteria) into Jair Jurrjens and Jake Peavy? Miller claims the Braves are offering shortstop Yunel Escobar as well — something I find hard to believe. Peavy supposedly has a “strong interest” in joining the Braves. Yippee. I’m not liking the idea of an Atlanta rotation beginning with Peavy, Hudson, and Jurrjens. At least John Smoltz is gone through June — though I have a funny feeling he’ll be back with Braves during the second half of ’09.

If the Peavy deal falls through, Miller also reports that the Braves have inquired about Marlins pitcher Scott Olsen. That punk makes me angry; I hope he gets sent to an AL team.

In addition to pitching, the Braves are supposedly after St. Louis outfielder Ryan Ludwick, who is coming off a career year. The Cardinals are looking to sell high, and hoping to get Kelly Johnson in return. This tidbit comes from Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer David O’Brien.