So as I’m sure you’re all aware, the Mets all shaved their heads last night.
Well not all, and what’s your excuse Aaron Heilman?
Then they came out and battered Matt Cain quickly, in what seemed like five minutes they scored three runs, and then a fourth. Sure you’d like them to have added some more, but they secured the win, a 3-run handicap was plenty for Glavine who himself secured career win number 294, and I’ve actively started considering being there for 300. Runs in the first inning, a vintage 2006 win. Sometime soon we’re going to see the Reyes single followed by a quick Wright home-run. 2-0 with the other team thinking, “Wait, we started the game already?”
I love that these Mets love to play together, and can get behind some team bonding activities. It’s a friendly activity that keeps everyone friendly and happy. Being part of the team is important, it helps you shake off tough losses, struggle through slumps, and just plain learn from the experiences of the other 24 guys. It’s one of those invaluable traits of the 2007 Mets that few people take into account when making predictions and projections.
The Mets are still looking to “click on all cylinders” and I think this was one of their ways of trying to get in sync. Still, the Mets have a 20-12 record, and are tied for first place. Atlanta’s just barely hanging on, despite beating the Mets four of six. What will happen when the Mets do click? I expect one day we’re going to wake up to find the Mets comfortably in first, and the Brave fans quietly calculating Wild Card standings.
As Mike Pelfrey struggles in the first inning, the return of Roger Clemens is eminent. He announced it during the Yankee game, from George Steinbrenner’s box. Can this guy do anything without drama? In his YES interview shortly after he’s talking about things like how some of the Yankees don’t have World Series rings yet, about the parade after they win, and about how he’s been pushing himself and will push himself hard to return quickly. He says he’s going to try for the end of May, or June 1st as his return date. June 1st just happens to be a Friday night game in Fenway Park.
One of these years the wheels are going to come off, and he’s just not going to be that good. Note that he’s switching back to the American League and this very well could be the year. A lot of the moves George Steinbrenner makes to ‘fix’ the Yankees on his own don’t always work out quite the way a Yankee fan would hope. Could the idea of Roger Clemens being around keep Cashman from signing someone else around the trade deadline that could help them more?
On a clubhouse cohesion note, Clemens will supposedly be afforded the same travel schedule he enjoyed in Houston. There is often talk of the drawbacks of a 24 and 1 clubhouse, but with the Yankees it seems to be a lot of 22 and 1 and 1 and 1. Will him not being present for big road series, or being in Houston for big home games, keep him from really meshing with his teammates? There are a lot of Yankees that weren’t around the last time he was, and what kind of example does it set? Does this motivate any free agents the Yankees try to sign in the off season to not only try to get more money out of the Yankees, but other perks as well? Roger Clemens claims his return is all about his new teammates and winning a World Series, but that’s probably a lot of public relations bullshit.
Only time can truly tell, but I’m going to predict that Roger goes 4-3 with a 4.52 ERA. I will probably be way off, but predicting he’s going to go 8-1 with a 2.3 ERA and win the World Series MVP just isn’t as satisfying, and goes against my Optimistic Mets standpoint.
By now I’m sure everyone knows about how great the Mets play in Arizona. Maybe if they moved their spring training camp, like the Dodgers will do next year, they’d play better in the spring too.
Easley came through again Thursday night, to take back the lead in the top of the 9th. Wins like that are so invigorating. David Wright kept the inning going with a 3-run home run of his own, and Billy Wagner probably didn’t know whether to cheer or cry. I’m sure he wanted that save. He got his 6th last night, giving up a walk but getting a nice double play. For the first time in May Wright didn’t get a hit, and facing the reigning Cy Young award winner Brandon Webb might cool Wright off before he has a chance to really get going. I doubt it though, I expect David’s starting to remember how to really smack the ball, and someone’s gotta keep this streak against the Diamondbacks alive tomorrow, so why not him?
Randy Johnson looked mediocre yesterday, and you wonder when he’ll finally realize he’s no longer the dominant pitcher he once was and retire. Of course he’s young and spry compared to Julio Franco, who had both a stolen base and a home run yesterday. It’s obvious he can still play, but I worry that the long season will wear him down, as it appeared to do last year. Luckily the bench with Chavez, Newhan and Easley as well as Franco seems like it will fare much better this year. Add the possibility of players like Ben Johnson, Ruben Gotay and Lastings Milledge to the mix and they’re looking good.
The Mets don’t play any really bad teams in May, the Giants and Cubs being more dangerous than their record suggests and the Marlins having enough young talent that you never know how they’re going to look. A lot of people think the Braves are going to stick around all year, and it’ll be interesting to see as this month progresses if anyone pulls away a little. The Mets will visit Turner Field after playing the Yankees this month, and that might be the time to start making that move. We know June may just be one of the toughest scheduled months in baseball, which them meeting six of the seven playoff teams from last year. Putting together a streak here in May would go a long way to keeping Atlanta at bay, whether or not they fall of the pace. After losing four of six to the Braves, if it’s still this close on May 22nd, I expect the Mets to reassert who’s the team to beat in the National League (East).
May 03, 2007 12:32 PM
Two days into May, and David Wright has 5 hits with a home run. John Maine and Jose Reyes win April awards, first time both awards have been won by the Mets since 1985. Joe Smith is still pitching good, and Ruben Gotay pitched in with an RBI Wednesday filling in for Valentin.
Sure the injuries to Orlando Hernandez and Jose Valentin aren’t going to be easy to overcome, but Pelfrey finally started pitching well after the first inning Tuesday, and John Maine and Oliver Perez have been terrific. With Wright starting to hit again, and Delgado hopefully on the horizon as he starts to be more selective and get more walks, the loss of Valentin for a bit isn’t a big deal; especially since he was the 8th batter on this team. I saw some of Gotay in spring training, and his defense is good, and Easley should be fine there too. The two biggest issues right now are Aaron Heilman, who just isn’t pitching well, and the errors. This team has been playing a little sloppy as of late, and it needs to stop. I don’t know if Heilman will give over his struggles, or maybe scouting reports have caught up to him. Maybe Joe Smith nipping at his 8th inning job will motivate him.
I was at yesterday’s Mets game, and I think the theme of the game was probably “Past a diving Uggla”. All in all it was a good game, despite the two errors from Wright. They could’ve capitalized with some more key hits, but they got the win, had a three run lead through the last couple of innings, and Wagner got his 5th save without much problems.
Apr 30, 2007 11:19 AM
Teams slump. This is a known fact; the season is 162 games long and no one stays hot for that entire time. Some immortals come close, but as a team it’s hard to always string together hits, always pitch well and always play well. They’re only human after all.
Good teams still win. The Mets are a good team, and despite the lackluster hitting this weekend they won two out of three. Obviously the Washington Nationals aren’t the cream of the crop, but they’re still professionals. They’re still going to win at least 50 times this year. Saturday night, even down 2-1 in the ninth against a closer that has previous been great against them, they managed to scratch out a run to tie it. Even after Moises Alou erased David Wright by grounding into a double play; a rally killer if I ever saw one, and with Cordero only needing one out to seal the deal, the Mets get that run across. Once they pushed it to extra innings, even being on the road you just had the feeling that the Mets weren’t letting this game get away. They didn’t, they put up the best offense of the whole series in that 12th inning to win 6-2, with Billy Wagner closing it out, probably silently wishing they could’ve scored one less so he could have a save.
The Mets helped him out the next day, or more precisely, John Maine helped him out by keeping the Nationals from scoring. A brilliant performance by Maine highlights what just may be the most reassuring part of the Mets this season. Everyone that thinks, or thought the Mets weren’t going as far this year as last cited the starting pitching as the reason. John Maine is putting them to shame with the way he is pitching, and putting Baltimore to shame too, for letting him get away.
The baseball season is a grind, and what makes champions is being able to minimize the damage when you’re down, and capitalize when you’re up. So far this year the Mets seem to be doing that. Despite the minuses from this weekend, namely Jose Valentin, Aaron Heilman and Orlando Hernandez, the Mets showed me plenty to be optimistic about.
Apr 14, 2007 12:19 AM
Sure they’re technically tied for first, but it’s first nonetheless. I have a feeling this might be the closest any team gets for the rest of the season. The Mets are playing all division games for the next week, and I expect them to heat up with the weather. Expect to see some home runs when the Mets visit Philadelphia on Monday. I would not be surprised if the Mets hit seven in the two days, including two by David Wright.
Enough predictions, I’ll be out at Shea for my third game tomorrow, seeing John Maine pitch again. He had a little bit of control problems on Monday, and with the slightly warmer weather tomorrow, 51degrees, I expect him to have a little better grip. I’m thinking 7-2 Mets. Oops, i thought I was done with predictions.
David Wright swiped his third base of the season last night. He stole 20 last year, and right now is on pace for 48. I doubt he’ll reach that, but with Beltran looking to steal more this year too, you’ve got spots one, three and five in the batting order that look to be pesky and distract the pitchers. I’m sure this was one of the considerations Willie was thinking of when he thought about batting Wright second.
I’d love to see both Reyes and Wright one day be 30-30 players. How awesome would that be?
Apr 12, 2007 05:03 PM
The Mets are now 5-3, two games out of first and one day removed from Oliver Perez’s Walk-a-thon. The pessimists are all pointing and saying “See? How are we going to compete with starts like this?”, but I’m not panicking. Perez pitched well in game 7 under pressure, he pitched well in the spring and in his first outing this year. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and blame this on the cold. Maine’s situation was similar, he struggled with his control, but he kept it manageable. This was a lot like how he pitched last year; struggling and then getting out of it. I have confidence that they’ll both improve over the course of the season. It will be interesting to see how Pelfrey does on Friday, but I think he’s ready to make an impact. The Mets bats started out well, but now they seem to have lost that groove, but only fools think that they’re suddenly not going to be able to hit. Atlanta won’t stay this hot, and the Mets are not going to struggle like this for long. If anything can get the Mets hitting going strong, it’s the upcoming series against Washington Nationals pitching.
Apr 09, 2007 12:46 AM
David Wright’s power numbers were down the second half of last season and he’s off to a little bit of a rough start this year. However, one thing I’m tired of hearing about is the Home Run Derby and how it messed up his swing. This is not an exclusive argument to Wright and has been applied to many players. Obviously the biggest detractor from the argument is to look at how the Derby champion, Ryan Howard, did afterwards. His swing certainly didn’t look messed up.
I find it really hard to believe that a professional hitter, which is what all of the participants of the Derby are, can be messed up by a couple of hours of extracurricular fun. Why do those 50 or so swings have a bigger effect then the dozens more a player does between the derby and his next regular season game. At the very least he’s got the All-Star Game and any warm-up associated with that, plus batting practice of the next game after the break. Besides the hours of batting practice Wright and other such players had for the last 80 games or so, there is also a hitting coach and 24 other players (Okay, more like 12 other hitters) on the team that can help out if his swing looks a little off.
So does the Home Run Derby actually affect a player’s power numbers for the second half of the season or is it just another stat anomaly that people read too much into? My bet’s on the latter.