Tag: tigers

Mets Game 71: Win Over Tigers

Mets 5 Tigers 0

The hometown advantage continues … as does the “R.A. Dickey Story” …

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey tossed 8 shutout innings, allowing only 4 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 4. This Hollywood story is showing no signs of ending anytime soon. He is the first pitcher in history to start his Mets career with 6 straight wins. Thank goodness John Maine, Oliver Perez, and Jon Niese all got injured at the same time and Dillon Gee crapped the bed in Buffalo or this guy would still be toiling in AAA.

Message to MLB: Jose Reyes is back. Jose went 3-for-4, including a leadoff triple and a solo homer, in scoring 3 runs. His defense has also stepped up the last few weeks.

Ike Davis had two singles and drove in two runs.

Ruben Tejada extended his hitting streak to 7 games, and is now hitting .255. No way you can trade away this guy for some rental like Cliff Lee.

Angel Pagan’s 10-game hitting streak came to an end, but more importantly, he left the game with an injury to his midsection / torso. Not good. The exact injury was not disclosed as of 9:45 PM after the game, but let’s hope it’s a minor tweak and not something major involving his back or oblique. In possibly related news, Cory Sullivan has been DFA’d by the Astros.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Tigers meet for the final time at 7:10 PM on Thursday night. Hisanori Takahashi faces Armando Galarraga.

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Inside Look: Detroit Tigers

Generally I like to get these Q&As up before the series starts, but I was negligent in my duties as a blogger and took too much time in getting questions to fellow ESPN SweetSpot blogger Mike McClary of The Daily Fungo. Mike was kind enough to answer them pretty quickly, and you can read his perspective below.

Additionally, you may want to visit The Daily Fungo to listen to me answering questions regarding the Mets on The Detroit Tigers Podcast.

1. The Tigers currently sit in second place, a game and a half behind the Twins and four games ahead of the third-place White Sox. Is this where you expected them to be in the preseason? Why or why not?

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Mets Game 70: Win Over Tigers

Mets 14 Tigers 6

Usually, a “laugher” like this is fun to watch. But when there is a 58-minute rain delay in the middle of it, it can kind of drag on and put a “dampener” on the evening.

Though, I’ll take it!

Game Notes

If anyone can find something to complain about in a 14-6 victory, it’s me. And I’m steamed.

Why? Because Jon Niese was sent out to pitch the fourth inning after not only a 58-minute rain delay but a lengthy offensive rally by the Mets that made the score 10-zip. As a result, Niese sat for a good hour and twenty minutes or so between pitches. Anyone who has even a rudimentary understanding about how the body works (and how it recovers), knows that going back into action after that long a time is not only difficult, it’s downright dangerous. There are some chemical reactions and other things that happen inside the body, with lactic acid, glycogen, carbohydrates, and protein when the body is at rest after intense activity (yes, pitching a baseball repetitively at 90+ MPH is an “intense activity”). I’m not an expert on the subject but I know enough to know that by the time Niese went back to the mound, his body was in “recovery mode”, not “active mode” (if there is an expert out there who can support / deny this with specific details, please comment below). Workout buffs know what I’m talking about, and know the dangers of trying to do something strenuous while the body is in a “shutdown” / recovery period. Muscles are devoid of glycogen, lactic acid is building up, tissue repair is beginning, and the body is thereby vulnerable to injury. The Mets trainers should know all about this, and shame on Jerry Manuel / Dan Warthen for not seeking or heeding their advice.

As it turned out, Niese did not pitch well at all after returning to the mound in the fourth, yet Manuel sent him back out in the fifth. Why? I guess because he wanted Niese to pitch five full innings and thereby earn a win. Sorry, but padding stats is secondary to a) health and b) winning the game. Eventually Niese was removed, but not before allowing 6 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks in 4 2/3 innings. It could’ve been worse, as he left the game with the bases loaded but Fernando Nieve struck out Danny Worth to end the fifth inning.

OK, I’m descending from the soapbox. On to the positives.

Nieve was awarded with the win for his 2 innings of shutout ball.

Angel Pagan went 4-for-6, only a homerun shy of the cycle, driving in 4 runs and scoring thrice.

David Wright was 3-for-3 with two walks, two RBI, two runs scored. His first RBI of the game gave him 615 for his career, passing Ed Kranepool for fourth on the all-time Mets list. Thank goodness … seeing Kranepool anywhere in historical offensive records is an embarrassment.

Ike Davis drove in three runs with three hits. Jose Reyes scored three runs with three hits.

The top three hitters in the lineup — Reyes, Pagan ,and Wright, — combined for 10 hits, nine runs scored and seven RBI. Add in Davis’ 3 RBI and you could say that batters 5 through 9 were slackers!

Bobby Parnell made his first appearance of 2010, needing 21 pitches to get 3 outs in holding an 8-run lead in the 8th inning. He threw a lot of high heat, 95-97 MPH.

Jay Sborz of the Tigers made his MLB debut by hitting the first batter he faced to load the bases, then hit the next batter to force in a run. By the time he left the game, he allowed 5 runs in two-thirds of an inning (67.50 ERA). He looked very sad as he walked back to the dugout — like he was on the brink of tears. But I’m sure a graham cracker sandwich of roasted marshmallow and chocolate would have lifted Sborz’ spirits.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Tigers meet again in Flushing on Wednesday at 7:10 PM. Undefeated R.A. Dickey faces Jeremy Bonderman. The game will be televised by ESPN.

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How About Miguel Cabrera?

miguel-cabrera-2While we wait for Jason Bay to make up his mind about playing in Flushing, we may as well consider other alternatives.

During a “hot stove huddle” a few days ago, a rabid and intelligent Mets fan named “Kevin K” proposed that Omar Minaya make a deal for Miguel Cabrera. The more I think about it, the more it makes a lot of sense.

While many eschew him for his weight issues, sloth-like movements in the field, and questionable effort, there’s one thing about Miguel Cabrera that cannot be dismissed:

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Difference Between Mets and Champions

After 162 Mets games, I forgot how much fun it was to watch good, hard-played, exciting baseball games. Right there, one of the key differences between the Mets of 2007-2009 and championship teams.

Not yet a week into the postseason, and we’ve already seen “championship baseball” at its best. How many times in the past three years have we seen similar passion and tenacity from the Flushing Futiles, as we’ve witnessed from the Twins and Dodgers? Even in losing, the Tigers put out a tremendous effort in what may go down as one of the most exciting one-game playoffs of all-time. Sure, you can say these teams are playing at a notch above because it’s the postseason — but are they “dialing it up” from their usual 9 to 10 or are they usually at 10 and breaking the knob to find 11?

Some other differences noted while watching these championship clubs:

Pitching

john-lackey
John Lackey is the pitcher the Mets keep waiting for John Maine to be — not in terms of style, but in performance / results. In other words, the 7-8 inning pitcher, with occasional spurts of greatness, but otherwise a very solid #2 starter.

The difference between Lackey and Maine: Lackey has very simple, efficient, squared-up mechanics that keep him on a straight line from the rubber toward home plate, which are the foundation to strong command of all pitches. As a result Lackey can hit spots all over the strike zone with all of his pitches. In contrast, Maine’s mechanics cause him to constantly be fighting himself and his “natural”, narrow location of up and in the righthander / up and away from the lefty.

Lackey leads an Angel rotation that has Scott Kazmir and 16-win Joe Saunders rounding out the back end. Compare those two at the end to anyone after Johan Santana on the Mets’ starting staff.

The bullpens of nearly all the postseason teams are equally impressive. Consider that the Red Sox have at least four men in the ‘pen not named Papelbon who would be closing for at least a dozen MLB teams. The Yankees have so much pitching depth that they don’t really need Joba Chamberlain. The Phillies may have an issue with Brad Lidge as a closer but their depth is such that it’s hard to find postseason innings for Pedro Martinez, Joe Blanton, and Brett Myers.

Lineups and Hitting

The Red Sox had JD Drew batting eighth and Alex Gonzalez ninth. The Yankees had Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher in the same spots. The Cardinals had Mark DeRosa 7th and Colby Rasmus 8th. Think about that. Any of those hitters would be batting cleanup for the Mets. That’s the difference between the Mets and a playoff team’s lineup.

Free Agent Signings

Bobby Abreu had some kind of year, huh? A .390 OBP, .293 AVG, 103 RBI, 30 SBs. This is the same guy who was practically begging the Mets for a contract. But the Mets were “set” in the outfield — they had Dan Murphy, Ryan Church, and Fernando Tatis. It was ironic that the Angels had a much deeper surplus of OFs than the Mets (Gary Mathews Jr., Reggie Willits, and Juan Rivera were all presumably fighting for one corner spot), yet they signed Abreu anyway — his bargain price of $5M was too good to pass up (rumor at the time was the Mets could’ve had him for $4M).

Managerial Boldness

Joe Torre has benched All-Star, Gold-Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson in favor of Ronny Belliard — mainly because Belliard is hot and Hudson is not. Can you see a Mets manager pulling a similar move in the playoffs? For example, if Jose Reyes were hitting .200 going into a playoff series, do you think Jerry Manuel would dare sit him in favor of a shortstop who was on a hot streak?

Conclusion

Watching these games a Mets fan, it’s hard not to think about your team and compare / contrast it to the teams still playing. There’s another big difference I’ll detail in a future post.

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Twins Win !

gomez-keppelFor the first time since I can remember, I enjoyed watching a baseball game on TV that included color commentary by Ron Darling.

Congrats to the Twins for winning the AL Central, and thanks to both the Twins and the Tigers for treating America to an event that defined the beauty of baseball.

Mets fans may note that Carlos Gomez scored the winning run — you can see him in the picture to the left, being congratulated by the winning pitcher Bobby Keppel.

How ironic (fitting?) that both players began their careers in the New York Mets organization!

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Tigers Acquire Gerald Laird

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Texas Rangers have traded Gerald Laird to the Detroit Tigers for AA pitcher Guillermo Moscoso.

Per Rosenthal:

“The Detroit Tigers have filled one of their prime offseason needs, acquiring catcher Gerald Laird from the Rangers for Double-A right-hander Guillermo Moscoso and a second prospect, according to a major-league source. . . . The second prospect in the deal is a 17-year-old who spent last season in the Dominican Summer League, the source said.”

Not huge news, but if true this deal removes the Tigers from bidding on free agent catcher Jason Varitek. In addition, it may put the brakes on the Rangers trading Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

For those unfamiliar with Laird, he’s a strong receiver and a so-so hitter. A younger, righthanded-hitting version of Brian Schneider. There were some tepid rumors earlier in the offseason that the Mets were inquiring about Laird but such an acquisition didn’t fit with their desire to add more punch behind the plate.

Moscoso is an intriguing prospect — a 25-year-old Venezuelan originally signed by now-Mets scouting assistant Ramon Pena. He didn’t crack the Tigers’ top 30 prospects this time last year, but was #10 this winter according to Baseball America. His age, injury history (shoulder surgery in 2005, soreness in 2008), and underwhelming stuff (90-91 MPH fastball, so-so curve and change) make him a questionable return for a starting MLB catcher. Perhaps that mystery 17-year-old is another F-Mart?

Let’s wait to see the official word on this … something seems missing.

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