Tag: jason bay

Mets Game 76: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 10 Mets 3

Rumor has it that someone used up all of R.A. Dickey’s “hair tonic“.

Those too young to know what I’m talking about, switch the remote to Turner Classic Movies every once in a while.

Hiram Bithorn Stadium was more like Homerun Ball-hit Stadium, as leather-covered spheres flew over the fence in right-center at a rate that rivals The House That Steinbrenner Built.

Unfortunately for the Mets, it was the Fish who took advantage of the jet stream.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey finally proved mortal, allowing 5 runs on 5 hits in 5 innings, blemishing his once-perfect record. Though it was the second time the Marlins saw him, I’m not so sure familiarity was his undoing as much as his lack of command. To me, his release point looked to be inconsistent and slightly different from what I’ve seen from him in previous starts; it appeared that he was opening a hair too early and dragging his arm just a bit — enough to move his release point a few inches higher, earlier, and to the right of where he’s been in the past. As a result — and possibly also due to crosswinds — his knuckler was moving uncharacteristically in toward the RH batters and up. That’s his “hard” knuckler, and the one he’s been using to get strikes. Unable to get ahead with that one, he was unable to properly set up the slower “floater”, which tends to be more unpredictable and generally used as an “out” pitch. Instead, he was aiming the slow one to get more plate — i.e., trying to throw strikes with it — and I *think* that was the one that was getting hit hard.

The Mets bullpen wasn’t much more effective. Fernando Nieve and Ryota “Rocket Man” Igarashi allowed another five runs, including three gopher balls. Igarashi may not be the man they think he is at home in Japan; he’s burning up his fuse out here alone in the western world.

Though the balls flew off the bats of Marlins with ease, Jason Bay was the only Met with homeruns to please. He hit two moon shots, which drove in all three runs. The two homers he hit in this contest were equal to half the amount he hit in the previous 75 games combined. David Wright also had two hits, but they were not of the four-bag variety.

Opposing pitcher Ricky Nolasco not only shut down the Mets’ offense, he also blasted a 400-foot double to the centerfield wall. Nolasco, by the way, is a terrible hitter — but he even he can hit a hanging knuckleball.

Ruben Tejada’s 10-game hitting streak came to an end. Somewhere, the ghost of Wee Willie Keeler expresses a relieved sigh — while Pete Rose collects on a low-risk bet.

The Braves beat the Nats, so the Mets lose a full game in the standings — though, they still have sole possession of second place.

For those wondering, the Mets are now 5-5 in their last 10 games. Somehow, it doesn’t feel that way, does it?

Next Mets Game

The Mets remain in Puerto Rico to play the Marlins again on Tuesday night at 7:10 PM. Hisanori Takahashi faces Nate Robertson.

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Mets Game 45: Win Over Yankees

Mets 6 Yankees 4

Jerry Manuel keeps his job for at least another week, maybe two.

Jason Bay continued his red-hot hitting — he is about as locked in as a batter can be right now — and Johan Santana put forth perhaps his best, most clutch outing of the year as the Mets beat the Yankees and won their first “rubber match” of 2010.

Game Notes

Johan Santana was spectacular through 7 2/3, allowing only 1 earned run on 6 hits and 3 walks, striking out three, relying predominantly on fastballs up and well-placed changeups down. He cruised from his first pitch through his 86th, but quickly lost his command in the eighth as the Yankees loaded the bases on two walks and a single. However, Pedro Feliciano came in and struck out Robinson Cano on three straight sliders — perhaps the sharpest he’s thrown all season.

Meanwhile, Jason Bay continued to carry the Mets on his back, hitting 2 homeruns in as many at-bats, walking once, and getting plunked (unintentionally). He scored two and drove in three. For those who were up in arms about Bay for the first month and a half of the season, you were told he was “streaky”.

Jose Reyes had another two hits and is starting to look a little better at the plate. Remember he sat on a couch for over a month.

Luis Castillo was a late scratch from the lineup and Alex Cora took over the #2 hole. He made all of us eat crow with another clutch 2-out, 2-RBI single, followed by a stolen base. Championship ballplayer, or performing well enough in spots to create that illusion? You decide.

There are rumblings that Castillo will need to go on the DL shortly. If so there’s an outside chance that Cora’s vesting option for 2011 automatically kicks in based on games started (he needs to start 80, he’s started in 17 thus far).

Ryota Igarashi, who was activated from the DL a few hours before game time, came on in the ninth to protect a 6-1 lead. He proceeded to throw the ball all over the place and allow the Yankees to rally, forcing Jerry Manuel to bring in K-Rod. Iggy’s final line was 1/3 inning, 3 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 18 pitches.

Francisco Rodriguez caused everyone a minor heart attack en route to his 8th save. He threw 21 pitches in the process, following up his 5-out, 28-pitch performance on Saturday night. That’s 49 pitches in two days and 63 pitches over the last four. The Mets have an off day on Monday but will that be enough rest before they face the Phillies on Tuesday?

Next Mets Game

As just mentioned, Mets have off on Monday then start a three-game set vs. the first-place Phillies in Flushing on Tuesday at 7:10 PM. R.A. Dickey takes the mound against Jamie Moyer in what promises to be the MLB game with the lowest average MPH per pitch.

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Mets Game 44: Win Over Yankees

Mets 5 Yankees 3

Jerry Manuel remains employed for another night.

The Mets went ahead early, carried on the back of Jason Bay and rolling behind the outstanding pitching of Mike Pelfrey. There was a tense moment in the 8th, but Francisco Rodriguez came on with the bases loaded and ended both the threat and the inning.

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey was excellent through 6 frames, allowing only 1 run on 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5. He threw 108 pitches, and if it were me I might’ve let him pitch a seventh inning. But thanks to modern technology and training habits the kids can’t go that far any more.

Jason Bay was on fire, going 4-for-4 with 3 runs scored. He is now officially on a hot streak, and may carry the team and Jerry Manuel’s employment for another week or so.

Gary Matthews Jr. struck out again in his only at-bat. I was gone a week and his batting average jumped to .180. Someone fill me in — he’s closing the gap between himself and Jose Reyes. Yikes.

Reyes, by the way, was a very quiet 2-for-5. He tried to stretch a single into a double to end the 8th, and was out by 15 feet. I guess it’s been a while since he’s run the bases.

Angel Pagan went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI, and a run scored. If Carlos Beltran ever returns, Jeff Francoeur may find himself on the bench.

Francoeur, by the way, was 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts. He’s now hitting .215 with a .274 OBP. But, his presence in RF did keep the Yankees from trying to score at least twice during the game. Still, he’s going to have to get that bat going to stay in the lineup.

Did I miss something while I was away, or is Chris Carter still on the roster? It was strange not to see him make an appearance in this game at some point. Jerry Manuel opted for Alex Cora in a big pinch-hitting situation in the 6th, and Cora rapped a key, two-out, RBI single, but it seemed like a place for The Animal. I guess that’s why Manuel is so smart.

K-Rod recorded a five-out save, coming into the game with the Mets up by 3 and the bases loaded in the 8th. If that doesn’t smell of desperation from Jerry Manuel then I don’t know what does. Yes, I understand that the Mets didn’t have any other relievers to rely on in that situation but, um, that might have something to do with the Game Seven management of the ‘pen from Opening Day through now.

Next Mets Game

The final game of the “Subway Series” will begin at 8:05 PM on Sunday night, televised by ESPN. It will be a matchup of the aces, as Johan Santana faces C.C. Sabathia.

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Mets Game 20: Win Over Dodgers

Mets 4 Dodgers 0

Johan Santana threw six scoreless innings, Jason Bay hit his first homerun in the orange and blue, and Luis Castillo drove in two runs as the Mets cruised to an easy victory in the front end of a twi-night doubleheader.

Can’t say much beyond that, because I didn’t see the game … there’s this other thing I do during the day that allows me to pay the bills. So please if you have any comments to share, please do so below. Thank you!

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Mets Game 18: Win Over Braves

Mets 3 Braves 1

Suddenly, things are looking up.

The Mets beat the Braves for the second consecutive time and simultaneously won their second straight series on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Flushing.

Game Notes

Jon Niese pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and 5 walks, striking out 6 and expending 116 pitches. Considering that the SNY crew labeled his previous start as “outstanding”, I guess this one would qualify as “spectacular”. If he does any better, I guess we’ll have to call it “legendary”. Maybe I’m getting old and ornery, but in my day, such superlatives were reserved for, well, more superb performances.

Jason Bay is clearly out of his slump — he went 3-for-4 with a double and a sac fly for an RBI. Bay’s 3 hits accounted for more than half of the Mets’ total for the game (5).

Jeff Francoeur lashed an RBI double for the game-winning hit in the 7th, and had a key assist earlier in the game to end an Atlanta rally.

Yunel Escobar was the dunce that allowed Francoeur to get that assist. Standing on third with one out, Escobar did not tag up on a deep fly to right by Troy Glaus. However, the man on second — Martin Prado — did tag, and got caught in a rundown between second and third while Escobar scrambled back to 3B and tried to score. It wasn’t even close.

Bobby Cox will definitely be retiring after this season — maybe before the All-Star Break — if the Braves continue to display such awful fundamentals. I would not be surprised to see Escobar benched on Sunday, though he’s not the only culprit. Overall, the Braves are nowhere near the rock-solid executioners they were in their heyday, which must drive Cox crazy but also severely damage his pride.

Larry Jones was not chipper on his (and Pat Zachry’s) birthday — he struck out looking twice on back-door curveballs from Niese and left the ballgame with a sore hip. Glass Jones’ sporadic availability combined with the Braves’ poor execution will be Atlanta’s downfall in 2010.

Henry Blanco drove in the insurance run in the seventh with a short fly ball to left, but more importantly, he stole a base — his first since little league. OK, I’m exaggerating … Blanco last recorded a stolen base in 2001. Seriously.

Former Brave Manny Acosta threw 1 2/3 innings of nearly perfect relief, striking out 3 and walking one. I’ve decided he’s the 2010 version of Jorge Sosa: a slider machine who can also throw a fairly hard and straight fastball, and will do well over a short span of time. That said, I’m OK with Jerry Manuel running him out there until the hitters figure him out.

Speaking of the Smartest Manager in Baseball, Jerry Manuel won his second consecutive game using the brilliant strategy of Jose Reyes in the 3-hole. You can’t argue with success, so don’t even try. I especially like the idea of batting Alex Cora second, so that Reyes has the opportunity to hit without the distraction of a runner on base — it’s kind of like he’s always leading off.

Jose Reyes, by the way, went 0-for-2 with 2 walks, a run scored, and a stolen base in the three spot.

David Wright looks terrible at the plate. He seems to be using a different stance every time up, and he’s taking huge swings at the ball. Usually when Wright is in a slump, he’s still around .280-.290. He’s currently hovering at .230. Color me concerned.

With this win, the Mets have sent the Braves to the basement and are now tied for third place with the Washington Nationals. If that’s not reason to believe I don’t know what is.

Next Mets Game

The final game of the series — which at this point is moot — will be played at 8:05 PM on Sunday night. Mike Pelfrey faces Tommy Hanson in what could be a very interesting matchup. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

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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

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Hudson to Twins, Kennedy to Nationals

ohudGold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson has signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins, prompting the Nationals to sign Adam Kennedy as their second sacker.

Thus, it appears that Mets fans will endure another year of Luis Castillo at second base.

Yes, there are delusional fans still clinging to the fantasy that the Reds will trade Brandon Phillips for Omir Santos, but I wouldn’t count on it. Castillo is most likely Jose Reyes’ partner at the keystone come Opening Day.

Is it such a terrible thing?

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No Physical for JJ Putz

While being interviewed by Chuck Garfien on Comcast Chicago (hat tip to MetsBlog), J.J. Putz admitted that he had bone spur in his elbow long before his trade from the Mariners to the Mets, the Mets were aware of it, and the Mets didn’t put him through a physical prior to making the deal official.

Skimmed from MetsBlog:

“When the trade went down last year, I never really had a physical with the Mets,” Putz told Garfien. “I had the bone spur (in the right elbow). It was discovered the previous year in Seattle, and it never got checked out by any other doctors until I got to spring training.”

According to Putz, the Mets told him not to discuss the injury with reporters, saying:

“I knew that I wasn’t right. I wasn’t healthy. The toughest part was having to face the media and tell them that you feel fine, even though you know there’s something wrong and they don’t want you telling them that you’re banged up.”

Um …

There are so many things wrong with this I don’t know where to start. Why would the Mets knowingly acquire damaged goods, especially knowing the high salary that came with it? Why would they give up so much talent in return?

The answer is simple: season ticket sales. The Mets latched on to the nonsense propogated by the media that the reason they missed the 2008 postseason was due to a terrible cast of characters in the bullpen (rather than the mismanagement of the bullpen, the lack of an extra slugger, piss-poor fundamentals, below-average defense, occasional lackadaisacal effort, or the fact the rotation was absent of a high-quality starter behind Johan Santana). It was easy to blame all the team’s woes — and in particular their second consecutive late-season collapse — on one scapegoat, the bullpen.

Once everyone bought in to the idea that “the Mets bullpen needs a makeover”, the signing of Francisco Rodriguez combined with the trade for Putz was a seemingly simple solution that would propel the Mets back into the postseason. Therefore, the story the Mets sold to prospective season-ticket buyers was: “we’re bringing back the same team, adding two elite relievers, so we’re a lock to make the playoffs — hurry and buy a ticket package lest you get shut out from the glory and celebration in October”.

It didn’t matter that Putz was damaged, and could possibly miss the bulk of the season. As long as the injury was kept secret, people would believe the Mets would have a fantastic bullpen — perhaps the best in all MLB — and therefore would easily trot to “meaningful games in October”.

Why else would a team send seven players to two different teams for a $7M player? Why else would they completely ignore a documented history of chronic elbow problems?

Further, why would a team allow a high-salaried pitcher with a known injury compete in the World Baseball Classic? Perhaps because if they didn’t, people would wonder why — and the injury could be revealed. Or, maybe the plan was to keep fingers crossed in hopes that Putz could stay healthy enough in short spurts to display his 95 MPH a few times — in turn getting Mets fans jazzed up to buy ticket packages in March.

This time, it’s not a conspiracy theory. This time, the Mets really did know something, and kept it from the public, for the sole purpose of ticket sales.

jason-bay-citiWhich makes one wonder about Jason Bay and the various concerns that caused the Red Sox to pull a 4-year contract off the table. Suddenly, we can’t be so sure to believe Bay’s assertion that he’s completely healthy. After hearing this news from Putz, we need to re-examine the detailed, bizarre story written by Rob Bradford of WEEI regarding what happened with Jason Bay and the Red Sox. Perhaps the Red Sox cautious approach was valid. Maybe there is a good reason that the Mets were the only other publicly known bidders for Bay’s services.

After all, the top “scapegoat” for the Mets’ failures in 2009 — after, of course, the injuries — was the lack of homeruns. The Mets’ “story” for prospective 2010 ticket buyers is this: “When healthy, we have a championship club. And now we just added a big-time slugger to hit some homeruns and really annihilate the competition. So hurry up and buy your ticket package lest you miss the glory and celebration in October!”

Sound familiar?

Of course, it doesn’t matter whether Jason Bay has potential injury issues that may creep up as soon as mid-season. All that matters is you phone in your ticket order — NOW. Leave the worrying about what happens after Opening Day to the Mets.

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