Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mets 4 Life is back! Today's Recap..

Hey guys, I'm sorry for the long layoff, but I'm back doing this blogging thing again..

Here we go..Today, the Mets played the Nationals @ Shea Stadium. The Mets beat the Nats by a score of 6-0. Here is a rundown of how the individual players fared in todays game..

  • Jose Reyes, in his return from a 3 game absence, went 4-5 and was a homer short of the cycle.
  • David Wright hit two doubles and a homer and ended the game batting 3-4 with 5 RBI's.
  • Carlos Beltran was 1-4 with an RBI single to score David Wright from second.
  • Angel Pagan continued to hit today with a single, he went 1-3.
  • All the other players on the Mets combined to go 0-12 for the game.. so it's safe to say that the middle of the order picked up the slack today, which I am very pleased about.

Overall, today was a very good day for the Mets (and my fantasy team). Pelfrey looked good and is now 2-0 (1.50 ERA) to start the season. But lets not forget that Duaner Sanchez came back and looked strong, pitching a scoreless 9th.

Tomorrow, the Mets continue their series against the Nationals, with John Maine facing Matt Chico, starting at 7:10 pm.

Also, I'm again looking for RELIABLE writers who can post atleast 4 times a week. Contact me if interested!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New Year, Same bullpen

One week into the season and the frustration continues.

The New York Mets biggest weakness last season was the bullpen. This weakness was not addressed in the off-season. It appears it will be our biggest problem this year.

We eliminated Guillermo Mota, who had some terrible second innings. But I believe he would have been better if we limited him to one inning per outing. They were hoping to get Sanchez back, and we are still hoping. Joe Smith is a question mark, he has yet to prove he can continually get batters out. Then we have another side arm pitcher, Aaron Heilman, who is unreliable. One day he is good, the next he is giving up home runs. I think we do teams a favor by sending back to back side armers at them. I am scared anytime Schoenweiss enters the ballgame. I think if he was used to face one or two lefties only, he might have a chance. But he should NEVER pitch a full inning. Feliciano has been great and Wagner needs to be dominant. But this is the same bullpen that failed us last year, and things are not looking good.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2008 Milestones

With the regular season starting just one week from today—when the Red Sox play the A’s in Tokyo—it’s time to take a look at what milestones players could achieve this year and how probable they are.

Most likely to happen...

Ken Griffey Jr.’s 600th home run. Junior has 593 jacks and is a lock for notching No. 600 this year. Plus, he needs 116 more bases to hit 5,000 total bases. He had more than 200 in each of the past three seasons, so unless he suffers a truly hideous injury, he should also surpass this mark easily.
Plus Next season or the year after he may be looking to join Hank Aaron and Willie Mays as the only players to have 600 home runs and 3000 hits, needs another 442 hits for 3000.

Manny Ramirez’s 500th home run. Manny has 490 regular season dingers heading into this year. It’s not a question of whether he’ll hit that 500th round tripper, but when.

Gary Sheffield’s 500th home run. He’s got 480 right now. He’ll knock in No. 500 sometime in August.

Chipper Jones’ 400th home run. He needs just 14 more to hit the mark, and he has never had a season in the bigs with fewer than 20.

Juan Pierre’s 400th stolen base. The man steals an average of 54 per season, and swiped 64 last year. Plus, he’s played 162 games for the last five seasons running.

Francisco Cordero’s 200th save. He needs 23 to get there.

John Smoltz’s 3,000th strikeout. He needs 25. For Smoltz, that’s, like, four mediocre starts.

Greg Maddux’s 5,000th inning. He needs 185 and two-thirds to get there. The man’s a horse. He’ll get ‘er done (and log his 20,000th batter faced in the process). He is also 3 wins shy of reaching 350 on his career.
Tim Wakefield’s 100th wild pitch. He’s just 8 away, he throws a knuckleball, and his personal catcher just got released. Enough said.

Tom Glavine’s 200th loss. He’s at 199 right now. This is as close to a lock as preseason predictions get.
Johan Satana's 100th win. Needs just 7 more. A nice milestone to reach in first year with the Mets. Met fan hope this is the first of many.
Jason Isringhausen's 300th save. Just 19 save will get him there, can he stay off the DL long enough?
Derek Jeter's 2500th hit. There is talk already of when he'll reach the hall of fame bench mark of 3000 hits, need 144 hits this season to be within 500.

Possibly Could Happen...

Randy Johnson’s 300th win. The Big Unit needs just 16 more victories to get there. Yeah, he only had 4 last year. But in the three previous seasons, when he was 40, 41, and 42, he had 16, 17, and 17, respectively.

Andruw Jones’ 400th home run. He needs 32 to get there, and has had five seasons with more than that number. On the other hand, he’s also logged five seasons with fewer. Toss-up.

Vladimir Guerrero’s 400th home run. Vlad needs 35 to get it done, which would be a very good year for him.

Omar Vizquel’s 400th stolen base. Yes, he’s lost a step with age. But the odds are even on him snagging the 20 he needs to reach the milestone.

Eric Gagne’s 200th save. Can he get 23? He hasn’t saved even 20 games since 2004

Tom Glavine’s 700th start. He needs 31, and the last time he had fewer was in 1995.

Randy Johnson’s 100th complete game. He only needs two more.

Not very likely to happen...

Barry Bonds’ 3000th hit. It seems unlikely, at this point, that Barry will find employment this season, forcing him to retire just 65 hits shy of this storied benchmark. He’ll also retire just 14 games short of 3,000 and 4 RBI short of 2,000.

Roger Clemens’ 5,000th inning. It seems that the Rocket has retired for good this time. He’s forever going to be 83 and a third from 5,000.

Johnny Damon’s 100th triple. There’s no “100 triples” club. But Damon, 33, is third on the active list of leaders in triples (after Steve Finley and Kenny Lofton) and needs just 13 three-baggers to break the century mark.

Jeff Kent’s 400th home run. Like Guerrero, he needs 35. However, Kent has only hit that many once his his career. If Kent wants to reach 400, the 40-year old will have to hang around another year.

Jason Giambi’s 400th home run. He needs 36 homers, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility. I just don’t think he’s healthy enough to get there this year.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pelfrey Tipping His Pitches!

Mike Pelfrey is tipping his pitches!

"When he is to throw his fastball, he will keep his tongue in his mouth under the mouth piece. When Pelfrey initiated his delivery of a fastball, his tongue became visible."

"Pelfrey would open his glove wide when he reached in to grasp the ball deep in his right hand for the offspeed pitch."

So any batter with reasonable observation skills knew all three of Pelfrey's pitches; the fastball, slider or changeup and which he intends to deliver to the plate.

So when Pelfrey fanned his glove it meant changeup; visible tongue meant fastball; neither was the unmistakable sign for slider.

I'll admit I've been a little hard on Pelfrey. I think he would benefit greatly from a full year in AAA. But this changes my opinion on Pelfrey. He has shown some improvement this spring but has yet to show the consistence, tipping his pitches would explain that.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Week In Review: Part Duce

Sunday March 9th:

  • John Maine worked four innings of no-hit ball with three K’s, with the only blemish a walk to ex-Met David Newhan in the second.

  • Jose Reyes went deep with a laser shot hit beyond the right-field wall.

  • Jose Valentin was back, and played first base

  • Duaner Sanchez was pleased with how he felt one day after pitching a scoreless inning Saturday.

  • Angel Pagan had his 15th hit of the spring

  • David Wright hit a triple in the first

  • Billy Wagner pitched 1 inning giving up 1 hit while striking out 2

  • Mets 3 Astros 0

Monday March 10th:

  • Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado both played, finished a combined 0-for-5.

  • Santana allowed only two hits, and no runs. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter over 4 IP

  • Mets 1 Red Sox 1

Tuesday March 11th:

  • Angel Pagan belted a two-out triple in the third.

  • Nelson Figueroa gave up five hits and four runs over three innings. He walked two and struck out one.

  • Steven Register allowed two hits and no runs over two innings.

  • Mets 3 Red Sox 4

Wednesday March 12th:

  • Marlon Anderson hasn’t swung a bat since feeling discomfort in the rib-cage area underneath his right arm while facing the Orioles in Fort Lauderdale in what he estimated was too quick a return from a bruised sternum suffered in the collision with Church

  • Adhering to new MLB rules, Mets clubhouse officials were drug tested.

  • Oliver Perez allowed one run and three hits in four innings.

  • Angel Pagan added a pinch-hit, two-run homer

  • Carlos Delgado struck out three times, is batting .091

  • Carlos Beltran went 0-for-3 with a walk

  • Mets 6 Orioles 2

Thursday March 13th:

  • Carlos Beltran played center field for the first time, and singled in a run and walked

  • Lefthander Jason Vargas expects to miss three months with a labrum tear in his left hip that will require surgery

  • first baseman Michel Abreu and relievers Willie Collazo and Carlos Muniz, were cut, and headed to minor-league camp

  • Jose Reyes singled twice and scored both times

  • Endy Chavez had a single and a two-run double

  • Pelfrey lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits. He struck out one and walked two.

  • Pedro Feliciano allowed an unearned run in the seventh

  • Mets 5 Cardinals 6

Friday March 14th:

  • Carlos Beltran made his second straight start in center field and went 2-for-3 with a double

  • John Maine threw five scoreless innings extending his streak of scoreless innings to 10

  • Scott Schoeneweis pitched one inning giving up 1 hit while getting 2 Ks

  • Mets 8 Marlins 2
Saturday March 15th:

  • Carlos Delgado hit his first home run of the spring

  • Angel Pagan singled and scored

  • Santana allowed four runs -- three earned -- in five innings, striking out five and walking one

  • Mets 3 Cardinals 10
Pedro Martinez is scheduled to make his debut for the Mets on Sunday
Mets Spring Training Record 10-7-1

Week In Review

Is Angel Pagan heading North?

It happens every spring. A scrappy young player walks into big league camp as a relative unknown to the general masses. While the veterans greet each other with big smiles, the newcomer has to introduce himself to pretty much everyone. Initially, the sportswriters ignore him and concentrate on the more established players made available by the team’s PR department. But when the preseason games begin, and when the new kid steps into the batter’s box, the attention is his. And he capitalizes.

The next day, he finds his name in the sports sections of numerous newspapers. Do this a few more times and the fan base begins to get excited. He continues to succeed throughout the month of March to the point where he improbably cracks the big league roster. By now, the fans know who he is. He’s the new guy who batted over .400 or had an ERA below 2 throughout the exhibition games. And the first time he comes out of that home dugout for his first appearance of the regular season, he gets an ovation from the crowd that’s usually reserved for the star players.

For the 2008 New York Mets, that guy is Angel Pagan, the 26-year old outfielder who the Mets drafted back in 1999 but had to reacquire in a trade with the Chicago Cubs during the offseason. While not completely anonymous on the big stage thanks to the 318 ABs he’s had as a Cub in ‘06 and ‘07, the average fan probably knew very little about him except that he has perhaps the most oxy moronic name in Major League history.

But in the last three weeks, Pagan has accumulated 45 ABs during which he’s gotten on-base at a .426 clip and slugged .578 with a .400 batting average and a couple stolen bags to boot. This has prompted the beat writers to collectively call for him on the big league roster. His stock became so high that some people actually bought the fake rumor that the Red Sox were going to trade Coco Crisp to the Mets in exchange for Pagan. Really? Isn't that taking things a bit too far?

Due to the not-so-shocking injury to Moises Alou, the starting left-field spot on Opening Day is yet to be determined. Just two or three weeks ago it would have been considered foolish to even suggest that Pagan deserved the gig. And I don't completely understand why we should be thinking any differently now.

It appears on the surface that most people get it. It’s spring training. Hitters are facing AA pitchers and vice versa. Established pitchers are trying out that new cut fastball that they can't quite command just yet and the veteran hitters are trying to get their timing back. There’s no evidences that spring training success bodes well for the regular season. None. Zilch. Nada. I think the majority of the baseball world is in agreement on this one.

Then why doesn't this logic hold true for Pagan? Why should we be impressed by a .426 OBP and a .578 SLG when it’s blatantly obvious that both stats are being held up by an impossibly high .400 AVG? Why should we ignore the fact that so far in his career the man’s line is an unimpressive .255/.306/.415? Because he’s young and has room to grow? Because he wasn't wearing a NY Mets uniform prior to this year? Not buying it.

Far more indicative of his skill set than the 45 ABs he’s gotten this spring is the 2483 ABs he’s accumulated in the minor leagues. Pagan didn't fare amazingly well during this time either, going .280/.338./.373 - numbers that would be fine… if he was a speedy shortstop who excelled defensively. Pagan does run well, but he appears to be cut from the same cloth as Endy Chavez, another backup outfielder for the Mets. They are useful as fifth outfielders who can be called upon as a defensive replacement or pinch runner, but why would you want two of them on your team?

Regardless of what I think, it appears that Pagan will be heading north with the team in a couple of weeks. Unless Minaya can make trade Pagan for Coco Crisp.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Happy Birthday Johan! Hats off to you and welcome to Queens. This season we look forward to you adding to your personal trophy case.

Happy Birthday for winning two Cy Young Awards already, for being 49 games over .500 in just 8 seasons (93-44), for being a 20-game winner, for helping the Twins win four AL Central championships, for being a 3-time All-Star, for leading the AL in K’s 3 times, ERA twice, wins once, for having a Gold Glove and for giving Met fans a reason to look joyfully to the future and to forget the past.

Again Happy Birthday Johan Santana and best wishes on your 29th birthday!

Atlanta Braves: Off-season Report Card.

Reposted for our Brave fans turn Met fans, lol

This is the first of an series on the NL east.

Did Atlanta improve over the off-season? Yes. And no.

Atlanta’s biggest need entering the off season was starting pitching. So GM Frank Wren went back to the future and signed Tom Glavine. Good move? No. Glavine is washed up. But at the very least, he should be an (overpaid) innings eater. Wren also traded all-star SS Edgar Renteria to Detroit for SP Jair Jurrjens. The Jurrjens acquisition could be a real long-term steal. But for 2008, Atlanta’s starting staff will depend on the continued strength of an aging John Smoltz and the hope that Mike Hampton will return to form after multiple arm surgeries. Some things never change.

But enough about pitching. Who needs pitching when you have offense? And the Braves do have offense. Atlanta scored more runs than every NL team but Philly and Colorado, two teams that play in hitter-friendly parks. That’s pretty impressive considering the Braves’ best hitter, Mark Teixeira, didn't get to town until August.The 2008 Braves should benefit from a full season of Teixeira. The team lost power when Andruw Jones signed with the Dodgers, but they gained OBP when they signed Mark Kotsay.

In other Braves news, the Renteria-Jurrjens trade freed up a starting spot for SS Yunel Escobar, who represents a possible defensive upgrade, but a probable offensive step back.

Atlanta’s bullpen will suffer from the loss of Ron Mahay, but should be bolstered by the mid-season return of Mike Gonzalez.

Additions: Brandon Jones, Mark Kotsay (and Jamie Kotsay), Tom Glavine, Jair Jurrjens.

Losses: Edgar Renteria, Andruw Jones, Ron Mahay.

Projected Rotation:

SP - John Smoltz
SP - Tim Hudson
SP - Tom Glavine
SP - Mike Hampton
SP - Chuck James
Alt - Jair Jurrjens

Setup - Peter Moylan
Closer - Rafael Soriano

Projected Lineup:
SS - Yunel Escobar
2B - Kelly Johnson
3B - Chipper Jones
1B - Mark Teixeira
C - Brian McCann
RF - Jeff Francoeur
LF - Matt Diaz/Brandon Jones
CF - Mark Kotsay

Grade: B

Atlanta has some exciting young players (Escobar, Jurrjens, Kelly Johnson) and some others who are entering their prime years (Brian McCann, Jeff Francoeur, Teixeira), but as usual the team’s success will hinge on the contributions of some oft-injured players (Chipper, Hampton) and old timers (Smoltz, Glavine).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why The Rays Are Better Then The Braves!

Argument #1: Mike Hampton.

  1. Tommy John surgery
  2. elbow discomfort that shelved Hampton for another
  3. In March 2007, oblique strain suffered during batting practice
  4. In November 2007, Hampton tweaked a hamstring
  5. On Friday straining a right groin muscle
  • Hampton has made eight trips to the disabled list since he was traded to Atlanta from Florida on Nov. 20, 2002: Three for his left elbow, two for his back, two for his left forearm and one for his right calf.

Argument #2: Bobby Cox.

  • Rays manager Joe Maddon has a World Series ring from this millennium. Bobby Cox does not. Maddon has a nice personality. Bobby Cox does not. Maddon has cool glasses. Bobby Cox does not.

Argument #3: Chuck Jones.

  • Chuck Jones spent last off season working at Lowe’s installing windows and doors. WOW yup it's true!
  • Rays are clearly playing hardball this spring, did you see that that awesome collision in the Rays-Yankees pretend game on last Saturday

Argument #4: Will Ohman.

  • The Braves got Ohman in a trade from the Cubs, Ohman is “sexy like a well-kept low-mileage used Toyota.”
  • Rays meanwhile brought back one of the great left handed relievers in team history, Trever Miller. And he should be better than ever

Argument #5. The Rest Of Atlanta’s Bullpen.

  • Rafael Soriano is supposed to close for the Braves this year. Career numbers: 13 saves, 9 blown saves. It’s a shame the Blue Jays beat y'all to Armando.
  • Rays have a stacked bullpen with new closer Troy Percival, and three more reliable arms: Al Reyes, Dan Wheeler and Gary Glover. Plus a guy who killed a shark with his bare hands in Scott Dohmann.

Argument #6. The Big Bats.

  • Obviously, Chipper Jones should be commended for his leadership in calling an investigation of Alex Rodriguez’s steroid use.
  • But Chipper is no match for the offensive juggernaut of the Rays in Crawford, Upton, Pena, Longoria, Iwamura. Plus If you get in their way, they'll just run you over.

The Rays are better, tougher, and sexier. The Atlanta Braves ain’t garbage compared to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New York Mets: Off-Season Report Card

If you google the words “Mets” and “collapse”, you end up with over 494,000 results. If you google “Mets’ historic collapse”, you get 108,000 more. Needless to say, I was tired of hearing it and reading it. But all winter-long the sportswriters here in New York would not let it die. The team was broken, the scribes wrote. They were demoralized, downtrodden, and despaired. Sometimes you didn’t even know they were writing about a baseball team.

But rationality has to take over at some point. Consider this:

The Mets lost 12 of their last 17 games (.294 winning percentage)
The Phillies won 13 of their last 17 (.765 winning percentage)
Both of the above happened. And the Phillies were still only one game ahead at the end of the season.
At the Major League level, even the best teams have a hard time winning 60% of their games over the course of a full season, and even the worst can’t mess up badly enough to lose that much more than 60%.
So what happened to the New York Mets in the last three weeks of the 2007 regular season was incredibly unlikely, if not improbable, and I never saw this as a team that needed a total overhaul. That’s not to say that they were perfect, of course. They may have been good enough as they were constructed to win a division title in 2008. But if they wanted to go head-to-head with the AL powerhouses, they needed to upgrade.

And upgrade they did. For the last two seasons, this was a team without an ace. Tom Glavine was no longer Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez was healthy enough to only pitch 160 2/3 innings during that time. If it wasn’t for the emergence of John Maine and the reemergence of Oliver Perez, it would’ve been an ugly sight indeed. With Johan Santana replacing Tom Glavine and his 84-mph fastball in the Mets rotation, a weakness turned into a strength.

The other major addition(s) can’t really be called an upgrade. While I still believe that having Ryan Church instead of Lastings Milledge will pay more dividends in 2008, after this year, all bets are off. And Brian Schneider is Brian Schneider. I believe he’s already broken records in the NY media for how many articles have been written about his ability to “handle a pitching staff” because there’s nothing else he can do, the previous record was held by John Sterns. By the way, you know who must be really angry right now? Ramon Castro. The guy goes and slugs .556 in 144 ABs in 2007, only to have the team go out and fail to acquire Yorvit Torrealba, trade for Johnny Estrada, then trade for Brian Schneider. Brutal. But lucky for us, we’ll never know if he’s hanging his head despondently or if it just looks that way because his neck can no longer support his massive dome.

The bullpen remains mainly unchanged, and I’m OK with that. While many pointed to the relievers for the Mets failures, I tend not to get too worked up over it. With the departure of Guillermo Mota, the only Mets arm that frightens me to see him on the mound now is Jorge Sosa. It’s not that I believe in Scott Schoeneweis. It’s more that I believe he’s a better pitcher than he was in 2007. I do have some concerns about Billy Wagner since he’s turning 37 during the season.

The fastball just isn’t what it used to be, and Wagner himself seems to realize this as he’s apparently working a curveball into his repertoire. The Mets will benefit from having Duaner Sanchez back after an injury he sustained in a car accident back in July, 2006, followed by a fracture in his shoulder during Spring Training last year that ended his entire season. If Sanchez can perform as well as he was capable of a couple of years ago, he and Aaron Heilman should be a capable set-up duo.

But the 500lb gorilla in the room is that the injuries are already piling up. First, Carlos Delgado had an MRI on his bothersome hip. Then Marlon Anderson and Ryan Church collided while chasing a ball during a game last week. The next day, Ruben Gotay injured his ankle. Orlando Hernandez is changing his entire pitching mechanics because of pain in his foot (goodbye, leg kick), and now we find out that Jose Valentin actually has a dead guys ligamennt in his knee. As usual these days, Luis Castillo is still running like he’s been shot in his thigh. Moises Alou is out 4-6 weeks with a hernia. Not to mention that Carlos Beltran just played his first game this spring yesterday as he continues to recover from offseason surgery.

This has, fairly or not, been the main criticism of the Mets as they are currently constructed. No one was overly surprised to hear that El Duque, Delgado and Alou were already hurt, and yet, there isn’t anyone around that can replace their production - especially offensively. If Hernandez isn’t ready to go (although as the #5 starter, the team probably won’t need him for the first couple of weeks) for his first turn in the rotation, Mike Pelfrey would most likely step in and probably won’t perform much worse than Duque would have. It won’t be so cut and dried as to who should start in left in Alou’s absence, however. Technically, Endy Chavez is the team’s #4 OFer, but in actuality, he’s best suited to be a late-inning defensive replacement. The other options are Marlon Anderson and Angel Pagan. The latter is a “gritty” and “aggressive” player who probably doesn’t belong on a big league roster, and Anderson is a player who Mets fans probably think is better than he actually is, thanks to the .906 OPS he posted in 69 ABs for New York in 2007. The team has been rumored to be targeting Marcus Thames of the Tigers but he’s an out-making machine. It’s more likely that they stick with what they have and start the year with either Anderson or Chavez in Left.


1. Jose Reyes - SS
2. Luis Castillo - 2B
3. Carlos Beltran - CF
4. David Wright - 3B
5. Carlos Delgado - 1B
6. Moises Alou - LF
7. Ryan Church - RF
8. Brian Schneider - C


1. Johan Santana
2. Pedro Martinez
3. John Maine
4. Oliver Perez
5. Orlando Hernandez

Alt: Mike Pelfrey


CL: Billy Wagner
SU: Aaron Heilman/Duaner Sanchez


Had I written this report one month earlier before all the injuries, I most likely would have given this team a higher grade. But I can’t simply ignore the likelihood that this team’s lineup and rotation will remain in flux for a good portion of the season due to the various ailments facing its players. I really don’t mind having Pelfrey in the rotation, but neither Alou’s nor Delgado’s production can be replaced effectively as it now stands - and that’s saying something because Delgado especially can no longer be relied upon to post above-average numbers for a first baseman.

Despite this, I still see the Mets as the favorites to win the division. I’m not one to think that some voodoo magic has been cast upon the entire roster due to the demoralizing defeats last September. They landed the best pitcher on the planet without giving up top-notch prospects. Brian Schneider may be a black hole offensively, but he’s replacing the nearly as anemic Paul Lo Duca. As long as Jose Reyes produces at the level he’s capable of, the Mets offense should be able to produce as much as they did in 2007. IF health were not a factor, I actually think that this Mets team would be at least several games better than any of their NL East rivals. While it’s unlikely that this injury bug will continue to permeate the clubhouse at this rate, there is a seed of doubt here. But that’s the only thing that could really keep this team out of the playoffs.


Atlanta Braves: Off-Season Report Card
Florida Marlins: Off-Season report Card
Philadelphia Phillies: Off-Season Report Card
Washington Nationals: Off-Season Report Card