Tidbits from the Tatis-ed

So much to talk about after this game. It was probably the best feeling after a game in a while. That said, there is still a long way to go to restore faith and confidence.

Beltran. Metsblog.com quoted a statistic that Beltran was betting .301 in May. That’s pretty good, so stop killing him. He also got a big big hit tonight, again.

Tatis. Remember when we were screaming about how we thought Tatis was going to make this team over Pagan? Not that I don’t like Pagan, but maybe Omar actually does know what he’s doing.

Is it just me, or is SNY making a point of showing Willie Randolph after good moments more? Also, Willie made some excellent managerial decisions tonight. If he doesn’t put on the hit and run in the 12th, the Mets very well might lose this game.

A lot of us have been down on Endy, which I think reflects our overall feelings on the team. But maybe we should lay off a bit and let Endy be Endy. Maybe Willie was right when he said he just needs to get Chavez going.

Sanchez gained some velocity today which Amezaga was able to turn around on him and hit over the fence, but it’s still nice to see Sanchez building his strength up. It was also terrific to see him run hard on his sacrifice bunt.

Speaking of energy, if it ever was really gone, it’s also definitely still there. Beltran was pissed when he popped up the first pitch late in the game. Sanchez had some drive and energy. Tatis couldn’t have looked more excited as he ran around first. Reyes looked a little more relaxed today. There were signs of life all over the place.

Hanley Ramirez’s lame little pseudo-Reyes home run dance with Amezaga was pathetic. I’m really growing to hate that guy.

And of course, finally a nice come from behind win. Twice.

I’m not going to try to over-analyze this game and claim the Mets have turned a corner. They certainly have turned a corner, but they are still at the beginning of the maze.

Just One Game…but a good one

Barely half a day after the horrible loss Tuesday night in Los Angeles and all the things we were complaining about have been put to rest momentarily, but hopefully for good. Situational hitting, getting hits with two outs, with runners in scoring position, tacking on runs, offense in general..all looked good in this Wednesday afternoon game. On the pitching end, the Mets took another big step, finally reaching the 9th inning with a starter. John Maine struggled a little in the 9th and didn’t get to finish, but that’s alright. John Maine has taken steps to show that he’s going to get better this year, and with Santana and Maine, forget Pedro, at the top of this rotation, it gives me a lot of confidence. It’d have been nice for Maine to get the complete game, but Peterson and Willie gave him a lot more rope than I expected, and I think that says that they agree with me about him being improved over last year. Also, the game isn’t about personal stats and 8.1 is plenty from a starter, even bad bullpens should be able to get those last two outs. The bullpen will pitch .2 innings over two days, getting some much needed rest, hopefully charging them for a strong homestand.

However, it’s just one game, and we’ve seen these flashes in other games, and other stretches. The Mets need to isolate whatever is causing the difference between these last two games, whether that be the approach at the plate, the lineup, the manager, or just plain bad luck, and figure out how to make Wednesday stick. The plane ride home just got a little bit lighter, and hopefully the off day will give them time to figure out what went right on Wednesday afternoon.

A quick note on the leadership that so many people think is absent from the Mets and their clubhouse. It’s becoming _very_ obvious to me that Reyes and Wright have taken an active role, if not a public role, in leading this team. They were the first two, as is often the case, out to the mound to congratulate Maine. When a key error gave them the final game against the Diamondbacks, Reyes and Wright, nowhere near getting up in the inning, were the first two out of the dugout to give Beltran a high five with the go-ahead run. There is so much going on in terms of team chemistry that we just don’t see, or only see through the media’s eyes, who are so obviously just searching for anything to write about. The team is under performing, so they look negative.

Tough Road Trip? Maybe not.

I’ve heard all about this tough seven game road trip the Mets are on. I just don’t agree. Surely it’s tougher than the upcoming home stand of the Pirates and Nationals, but I’m certainly not scared of the Dodgers or the Padres. Right now the Mets are doing something they haven’t quite done lately, tacking on runs late. They are leading 7-0 against the Padres re-evening the all-time series.

One game is not a trend, and they didn’t exactly play great on Monday, but I like what I saw tonight. Tomorrow night Maine should pitch a good bounce back game, and Greg Maddux hasn’t exactly been lights out against the Mets. 35-19 with a 3.40 ERA is pretty well on pace with his career numbers, but it always seems like the Mets manage to get to him. In the Mets last two good seasons he hasn’t pitched well. 2000 finds Maddux with a record of 1-3 against the Mets with a 5.64 ERA, and 2006 finds him 1-2 with a 7.36 ERA. Now the offense hasn’t been playing like 2000 or 2006 lately, but I’ll take my chances on Maine. I’m actually going to place a wager on the Mets for tomorrow night.

The Mets owe the Dodgers a measure of revenge for the last series they played, so I’m not that worried about them either. I said it before the road trip, and I still feel it; the Mets will come back home with a bigger lead in the division than when they left. When it all comes down to it, the Braves just aren’t that good. The Phillies are still reasonably close, but they don’t seem to be better than a .500 team anyway.

There is talk about the Mets needing to fall out of first to be ‘tested’ and get their drive back. I very much disagree with this statement, it’s a statement often made by the fan that wants some sort of justification for his pessimistic outlook on the season. Seeing the Braves get close is a test, finding a way to win any given game is a test, trying to get runs in with key hits is a test. By no means is this division over, like I expected it to be by this point. The Mets will figure out away to get through this tough patch, that has lasted a lot longer than anyone expected. In the end though, you can learn a lot by trying and failing. If the Mets only win 93 games this year, and only win the division by a handful of games, but in the process learn anything they can use in the playoffs, I’ll take it.

After the Shakeup

I don’t know that I’d actually call the actions of the Mets after the All-Star game a shakeup, but they’ve gone 2-1 since then. It’s a very soft 2-1 so far, but I’ll take it. The pre-game Ralph Kiner events were very nice. It was cool to see all those guys come onto the field, guys like Seaver and Koosman and Yogi. It was cool seeing clips of Kiner’s Korner and all of that stuff. I’m only 25, so i barely remember a lot of the old stuff, I don’t even remember ’88 or ’86, and the Mets were bad for a lot of the time after that so my focus was never fully on the Mets growing up.

I was at the last two games, Friday and Saturday. I was witness to, and part of, the growing anger of the Met fan. Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado, particularly on Saturday, were getting booed when they failed. It’s probably part booing the Mets for failing in key situations, as they had six hits and no runs through four innings on Saturday. It’s also part booing what is perceived as Delgado’s and Beltran’s recent struggles. I can refer you to my earlier post about Beltran, where I point out that he’s had some pretty key moments with the Mets. Or I can point out that although it’s primarily taking pitches that fans have a problem with, but Beltran did draw one of the Mets two walks. He also had two of the Mets four walks on Friday. On Friday it was primarily David Wright and Delgado swinging at everything and not taking pitches, but Delgado had a couple of hits. Saturday Delgado hit two long fly balls, and three of his outs were hit the other way, which usually will help Delgado get some hits against the shift.

Alternatively, it’s not any one player that’s struggling, but all of them. The Mets are hitting, the Mets are even on occasion drawing walks, but they’re inconsistent. Saturday Matt Belisle for the Reds has 60 pitches through three innings, but managed to get through seven innings. They were working counts early, but failed in the middle innings. The Mets had 11 hits, they just failed, and have failed to string together hits at the right time. Whether this is because of bad luck, bad approaches at the plate, or just a coincidence is hard to say, but it’s something Howard Johnson and the Mets need to address.

This post has been more negative than I feel, so let’s put together a list of good signs.

-Shawn Green gets a hit with a runner on third and two outs.

-Lastings Milledge got a hit with two outs and a runner on second to score the go-ahead run and the win for Glavine after he’d pitched eight terrific innings.

-Lastings Milledge scores the go-ahead run on Thursday by scoring from first on a hit.

-Saturday the Mets played terrific defense, and when you start doing well at one aspect of the game, it often carries over to others.

-Wagner continues to pitch excellently.

-The Mets are showing signs of being able to work counts and take walks.

-The Mets are accumulating a lot of hits.

-The Mets are still in first place.

-Oliver Perez looks like his back is fine.

-Even John Maine’s bad outing wouldn’t have been horrible without two errors.

-Delgado has hit some long fly balls for outs, suggesting that he’s just missing having his stroke back. He’s slowly raising his average up to miserable from completely miserable. Some of this fly balls have been the other way, suggesting he’s making an attempt to use the whole field.

I’m going to describe this season like I would describe John Maine’s pitching last year. They’re a good team, but they have some mental blocks at key times. I’m still confident in them, and you should be too. Every season can’t be easy, but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, and I don’t think the Braves or Phillies have what it takes to kill our season.

And it begins

Apr 02, 2007 02:06 PM

The Mets played wonderfully last night. There were some blips here and there, and some nice plays to get them out of trouble too. Watching them play like a continuation of 2006 and nothing like this past March just reaffirms how I feel about them taking this division. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them be the first team to clinch a spot in the playoffs again this year.

Willie Randolph is a big part of that. Even when I disagree with his moves, I can see what he’s thinking and understand it. I love that he continues to put Wagner out there in non-save situations, challenging him to be ready always. He won’t be surprised again to come into a four run game and blow it. I also like that he’s open to change, experimenting with David Wright batting second in the spring. I really like Joe Smith, think he could be a big part of the team this year, and it was great to see Willie put him in last night where he could get his feet wet.

The season continues, A-Rod’s already made an error and struck out with runners in scoring position. Hopefully the Mets will continue to make news so that we don’t have to listen to the jibes about A-Rod and if he will opt out of his contract all year.