Saturday, June 03, 2006

Tom Glavine's Extreme Makeover Continues

The most shocking quote I read today comes from Tom Glavine. Tommy G has volunteered to pitch Wednesday on short rest (short because last night's start was pushed back to tonight). "I would rather come back on short rest than [the team] have to do something to cover for that day," Glavine said. WOW! This is a guy who used to be the biggest whiner in Flushing. God Forbid the rotation had to be tweaked and he didn't pitch on precisely four games rest, and he would be a sulking complaining bastard. Now, he's volunteering? Unreal.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Circus Comes To Town

You think the players were exhausted by all the hoopla surrounding the Subway Series? Well they must be downright ecstatic to have swarms of media dorks ask them all the exact same questions about Bonds over and over and over again.

I really don't know how many angles the collective media thinks can be written about this story. Bonds Is Coming To New York. Oooh. This booing will be worse than other stadiums because New York City is bigger? I hate to agree with Bobby Bonilla, the Fat Overpaid Cow that the mets are STILL PAYING, about anything, but he's quoted in today's Newsday with a true statement.

"It's probably no different than 10 years, or 15, pretty much his big-league career," Bobby Bonilla said Thursday in a telephone interview. "When was the last time they cheered him, except in Pittsburgh and in San Francisco?"

Bonilla is an admirer of Bonds, and it must partially be because of Bonds' ability to drown out the boos, something Bonilla failed miserably at. But Bonilla is right on this one. How is this a story?

I always enjoyed going to Mets games when guys liek Bonds or McGwire or Sosa came into town, because I loved cheering the Mets pitchers' efforts to strike these guys out. This steroids controversy clouds all the fun of that experience.

Metstradamus has an excellent post today with his opinions on Barry Bonds and steroids and asterisks. It's the must-read of the day. Aside from his right-on-the-money viewpoint on steroids, he seems to think the Mets can use the Bonds quandry to exploit the Giants into trading Jason Schmidt. On that, Metstradamus may be on some other "enhancing substance," but it doesn't take away from the stellar post.

Enjoy the circus!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Baseball Like It Oughta Be

Curses to Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen. They totally jinxed last night's game into extra innings. During the seventh inning, they were all giddy about how quickly the game was moving along, and how they'd probably be out of there by 9:30. Well, thanks a lot guys. Thanks to you it was a three-hour, nineteen minute, extra-inning affair.

The Mets came out on top of another marathon teeth clincher, with Endy Chavez driving in Jose Valentin in the bottom of the 13th for the 1-0 walk-off win. Other heroes of the game were the pitchers, who threw 13 shutout innings - Pedro Martinez (8 innings, 8 K's); Billy Wagner (2 IP, 2K's), and Dirty Sanchez (3IP, 2K's). Lastings Milledge didn't get a hit last night, and he dropped a fly ball, but he did a great job auditioning for the Jets quarterback job with a perfect pass to David Wright in the sixth. Craig Counsell was out and the Mets got the first down.

The D-Backs are a damn good club, and they have a tenuous grip on forst place out in the NL West. Billy Wagner suggested (in his own version of the English language) after the game that the Mets and Diamondbacks may be playing each other in October. The Mets should try and trade for Todd Pratt in case that does happen.

Hey, how about Chris Cotter? I've goofed on him before, but he actually displayed journalistic tendencies by snagging a Pedro Martinez interview in the clubhouse mid-game. And he actually asked good questions too! Way to go, Chris. Gary and Keith were impressed and congratulated him on-air as well.

Okay, everyone needs a day off. The Barry Bonds circus comes to town tomorrow. I'd like to see Chris Cotter corner Bonds next.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Lastings Milledge Isn't Darryl Strawberry

I feel a little bad for Lastings Milledge. Sure, he's only played one major-league game, and already he's got a legion of adoring Mets fans to go with a big fat signing bonus, but he's also only played one major league game and has already been unfairly compared to the most accomplished offensive player the Mets have developed from within to date: Darryl Strawberry.

The similarities are there, sure - a highly touted first round draft pick with a ton of potential, brought up at the tender age of 21 to play right field for the New York Mets. But the similarities end somewhere around that point. Lastings is a very different type of player. Just look at Darryl Strawberry's minor league stats: (click to enlarge):

Darryl was an offensive force. even at a young age. An OPS over 1000 and a slugging percentage over .600 in 129 AA at bats. Meanwhile, Milledge's slugging percentage is under .500 and his on base percentage is much lower than Strawberry's as well. This is not a knock on Milledge at all. Milledge has hit for a higher average than Straw did in the minors, and seems to strike out less too. Milledge is also better defensively and even though scouts expect him to develop his power swing, he is much, much more likely become the Mets leadoff hitter at some point, rather than their cleanup hitter.

So let's try and do our best to stop mentioning Milledge and Strawberry in the same breath. To be fair to the kid, a much better comparison is Ty Cobb.

Or maybe Marquis Grisson.

Okay, So When Do We Get To See Mike Pelfrey?

When Lastings Milledge strolled to the plate last night, my wife said he looked like "a punk." When Gary Cohen remarked that Milledge's age, 21 years, 55 days, is the exact same age as Darryl Strawberry was when he made his major league debut, my wife scoffed that Milledge looked like a punk who was headed towards the same end result as Strawberry. I do have to admit, it is quite unusual to see that kind of swagger in a Mets uniform. Ever since the Mets of 1986 started to implode, the Mets have made a habit of shipping out players who had too much "character." But this is a new era, a new "time," if you will. Anyway, you can't judge the character of a man by the way he walks or the way wears his gumby gold - Lastings Milledge might happen to be a very polite, mature and modest gentlemen who lives clean, early to bed and all that. I dunno. I've never met him.

For now, we can just enjoy watching him play. He had his first hit robbed by an outstanding Craig Counsell grab in the second inning, but he laced a double in the seventh for his first major league hit. Milledge got quite an ovation in his debut, and there was a palpable buzz everytime he came to the plate. It was Milledge Time, indeed. Lastings went 1-4, and I'm sure many people in attendance are saving tehir ticket stubs as proof they were there for Future Hall Of Famer Lastings Milledge's Major League Debut.

Oh yeah. By the way, the Mets fell, 7-2, to Miguel Batista and the Diamondbacks last night. Batista threw a complete game, something the Mets staff has been unable to do so far this season. Alay Soler was pretty lousy yesterday, and for me the hero of the game was Darren Oliver. Oliver pitched four shutout innings to save the rest of the bullpen. It's unusual for a pitching staff to give up seven runs in a game and only use two pitchers. The Mets may have to consider Oliver a serious option the next time they need to replace a spot in the rotation.

Tonight's the rubber game, with Pedro Martinez facing Brandon Webb, who's 8-0 this season, but who also has a record of 1-4 in five games against the Mets for his career. Webb is coming off a complete game shutout of Cincinnati on Friday.

Finally, a fellow transplanted Mets fan is transplanting his blog to a new URL. Go visit Lonestar Mets at Don't mess with Texas, and Lets Go Mets!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Roger Clemens Re-signs With Astros

According to Newsday, Roger Clemens has agreed to terms with the Houston Astros, or specifically a one-year deal for about $3.5 million per month, or about $10.5 million for the season, depending on when exactly he returns to action.

Word is that Clemens was set to retire until he realized the Astros still have six games with San Diego left on their schedule, and he just couldn't stand to miss the opportunity to have another media blitz of questions about how he'll pitch to Mike Piazza.

Seriously, the Astros, who are now 7.5 games back really needed to sign Clemens if tehy want to get back in this race. Everyone knows what a fierce competitor Clemens is, which of course is a side effect of his psychopathic tendencies, and you have to like Houston's chances with Clemens on the roster.

As a Mets fan, I can't stand The Rocket. As a baseball fan, I have to admire him. He might go into the Hall Of Fame as the first unanimous inductee. If he ever retires, that is.

Barry Zito to Mets?

Someone over at screwed up and temporarily put Barry Zito's name on the Mets roster. It's got everyone all abuzz with speculation that this was accidentally posted too early, and that a trade may be imminent. I am a whiz with Google and was able to get a cached image of the page. Check it out for yourself!

(click for larger image)

Call Me Soothsayer - It's Milledge Time!

Just yesterday, I suggested that the Mets call up Milledge and sit Nady for a week. The only complication was room on the roster spot. I almost even suggested that the Mets DL Nady for an "injury," but I am too superstitious too ever do that. Well today, we learn from Matt Cerrone:

Mets OF Xavier Nady was forced to have emergency appendectomy surgery and will be out for roughly four weeks… As such, the Mets have promoted OF Lastings Milledge

Oh baby! I can't wait to see what this kid can do with the big club. At AAA Norfolk, Milledge is hitting .291 with sixteen doubles, two triples and four homers. He's also got a .425 On-base percentage. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to run out to go play the North Carolina State Lottery.

No Cheesy Play On Words Necessary - David Wright is Awesome

Aaron Heilman has done a great job filling in for the recently departed Jorge Julio, hasn't he? It's just admirable, really. Why oh why does he get passed over for a rotation spot?

Thankfully, David Superman Wright came through yet again with another walkoff hit and it's all flowers and roses from here on out in this post. I won't even kill Steve Trachsel for his continued excellence in mediocrity. I'll ignore Carlos Delgado's slump in favor of admiring the renaissance of Cliff Floyd and Jose Valentin. These two couldn't buy a hit three weeks ago and last night they hit back to back bombs. Cliffy's got ten hits in his last eight games, and Valentin's swing on his homer last night looked nothing like that of a washed-up benchwarmer. Especially telling was after Valentin's big hit, Kaz Matsui came up to pinch-hit and promptly hit a weak grounder to second. The Estimated Departure Time for Metsui Flight #25 out of LGA is any minute now.

Cousin Paulie LoDuca had four hits last night and now any fan who was annoyed over the offseason that Omar acquired him over Molina or Ramon Hernandez needs to send Mr. Minaya a personal apology. This dude is solid behind the plate, solid at the plate, solid in the clubhouse, and solid in the clutch. Mikey Piazza is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and will have his number retired, accolades that LoDuca will never reach, but there's not a Mets fan out there who isn't glad we've got Dookie on our team in 2006.

Mr. Minaya did a hell of a job constructing this lineup. X-Man and Delgado, along with KazMat are slumping mightiliy, but there's still plenty of offense in this lineup to win games. Same as last month, when Floyd and Anderson Hernandez were automatic outs. Oh, and by the way, Atlanta got hammered by the Dodgers yesterday, and the Mets now lead the NL East by 4.5 games. Only the Cardinals lead their division by a wider margin. Alay Soler goes up against Miguel Batista (4-2, 4.60 ERA) tonight. The last time Batista faced the Mets, in 2003, he allowed three runs on five hits in six and two-thirds innings, and got a no-decision in the Mets 4-3 win. Raul Gonzalez was the star for the Mets in that game. Anyone remember him? Thank you, Mr. Minaya for resurrecting this team!

Lets Go Mets!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Is It Milledge Time Yet?

This would be the perfect time to call up super-prospect Lastings Milledge - when the Mets don't need him. There's even a place for him to play - Xavier Nady was benched for yesterday's game, and Randolph insinuated that Nady may have more days off ahead of him. Nady hit just .217 in May. Why not call up Milledge to play some right field, and find out what the kid can do in the big-leagues? The Mets are winning now, and there wouldn't be a lot of pressure for Nady to produce, as opposed to if he were replacing one of the big guns like Beltran or even Floyd.

Milledge has got a .423 on-base percentage, and a .460 slugging percentage at AAA. Despite those lofty numbers, the Mets want to avoid Milledge being called up as a "savior". There would be no savior tag if he were called up at this juncture in the season, and no shame if he struggled in a one- or two- week stint for the big club.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any room on the roster, especially while the bullpen is called on so frequently. Mets relievers have pitched 170 innings in 48 games, more than any other club except for terrible Kansas City. The Mets are carrying twelve pitchers, and all seven relievers are getting plenty of work.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Gotta Beat The Fish

I'm real glad for El Duque that he got a win in his first start as a Met, but it was another game where the bullpen had to be called on because the starter was only able to go five innings this afternoon. He allowed three runs on five hits, but it took 101 pitches to get through those five, as the Mets beat the Marlins, 7-3. In El Duque's 10 starts this season, he's pitched six or more innings only three times. He's also pitched less than five innings three times.

Fortunately, the Mets may have found another strong arm to help them out in the 'pen, and he's been with the organization all along. Heath Bell pitched 2 and two-thirds scoreless innings, and combined with Feliciano and Bradford to close out Hernandez's start.

Speaking of starts, it looks like Matsui has lost the starting second-base job. It might not be time for a Keppinger or Anderson Hernandez call-up, but Woodward, and incredibly, Valentin will be getting more work as Matsui's average has dropped down to .213. Everyone's real happy with the way he's improved his defense, but his bat just ain't cutting it.

Mets Mets Mets

Yesterday I asked our starting pitchers to go deeper into games, and yesterday Tom Glavine delivered, pitching into the 8th inning of the Mets 7-4 win over the Marlins. It wasn't as close as the score sounds. Glavine recorded his 8th win of the year, and even had a perfect game going there for awhile. Our bullpen was a bit shaky again last night; thankfully they were only needed for four outs. Howver, Billy Wagner did record a save, to preserve a win that Heilman tried to put in jeopardy. Wagner came into the game with one out in the ninth, two runners on, and the tying run on deck. He allowed one of those inherited runners to score.

The Phillies lost, to go five back, but the Braves won, so the Mets maintained their 3.5 game lead. Today teh Mets hand the ball to El Duque, to see what he can contribute. Some people say that Aaron Heilman is the big loser here from the recent trades, but I think it's Brian Bannister, who likely won't return to the rotation once he's healthy. But lets see what El Duque has first. If he does well, maybe Adidas will reprise those commercials where everyone in a club is dancing in a way that mimics El Duques delivery.