Letters to the NL East, part 4

Letters to the NL East, Part 4 of 5

Dear Jimmy Rollins and the Philadelphia Phillies,

Cole Hamels! That’s your biggest pitcher, a pitcher whose stats matched up well with our third starter, John Maine. I’d be willing to put money on Maine having a better year than Hamels this year, and you just can’t win when another team in your division absolutely dominates you in pitching quality like that. I heard bartenders in Philadelphia did great business the day Johan Santana signed with the Mets, and I expect once the season starts they’ll be there to help your fans drown their sorrows again.

Your biggest hope is that Brett Myers can manage to pitch well in the rotation, and that Brad Lidge figures out how to close again. I wouldn’t hold my breath on either one, especially in that park. Even if both happen, all it means is that you’ll stick around a couple of weeks longer before the Mets put you away. And make no mistake, they will be looking for blood this year.

You’ve opened a can of worms Jimmy Rollins, and helped to start this little rivalry we have going recently. It has the possibility of being an awesome competition, one that could rival even the Red Sox and Yankees, if you can hold up your end of the bargain. I doubt you’re going to have as good a year as last year Jimmy so that means someone else is going to have to step up. This rivalry will quickly become a one night stand by July otherwise.

Your new rival,

Optimistic Mets Fan

Betting on 2008

Pending wagers for the upcoming season.

I like to place a couple of simple wagers every year, and this year is no different.

My first one is the Mets to win the World Series. I made this wager pre-Santana so I have 15-1 odds.

Hanley Ramirez, Under 27.5 Home Runs. I don’t expect Hanley to have as good a year as he had last year, as pitchers will figure him out a bit.

Mariano Rivera, Under 36.5 Saves. 37 is a lot of saves, and I think the Rivera is in decline, plus the Yankees with a shoddy bullpen and inning-limited young pitching are unlikely to give him as many opportunities in years past. I made this bet last year and won.

Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays, Over 75 wins. 76 is a lot of wins, would be a franchise record. I was hoping this number would be lower, but I still think they can do it. I think they’re a better team pitching-wise this year, and the division is worse, if only by a little.

New York Yankees, Under 93.5 wins. From the Yankees perspective I think the division is about the same as last year, Tampa improved, Orioles downgraded, Boston and Toronto remained about the same. I won this bet last year(I think the number was 96) and I would’ve won it with 93.5 last year too. The Yankees didn’t get better, in fact they got worse. (A-Rod and Posada won’t do better, and they didn’t acquire any new talent. Unless the young pitching blows everyone away, they’re in for a tough year)

Philadelphia Phillies, Under 87.5 wins. Did the Phillies get better? I’m not a big fan of Myers anyway, I think Lidge doesn’t give them much of an improvement. Just give the Mets two more wins against them and I’d win this. Philly will probably stick around though May and then fade. They just don’t have any pitching.

New York Mets, over 93.5 wins. Can the Mets fight off their stagger last year, and does Johan add what it takes? I actually think the Mets will annihilate this number, because I think Johan and Pedro will have years that make us drool. I lost this bet last year, when the number was 89.5, which I thought was practically a given.

So there are my bets for this year, I may add others if I see them, I’d love to bet on over strikeouts for Pedro, but I didn’t see one anywhere. Anyone else make any wagers, or think I’m crazy on any of these?

Watching the Game

I’m way more excited about grabbing a beer (homebrew), sitting on the couch in 30 minutes, and watching Johan Santana pitch for the Mets in Spring Training. But it’s a good way to warm up for the same event in a little over a month.

I’m also way too excited about hearing Keith, Ron, and Gary again. I don’t even know if they’re all doing this first game.

How Many Strike-Outs for Mets Pitching This Year?

Tomorrow is the day. At noon tomorrow the moment we’ve all been waiting for since Glavine walked off the mound that Sunday afternoon. His upgrade, Johan Santana, will report to Port St. Lucie and officially start the 2008 baseball season. It’s not quite the regular season games we’re waiting for, but having daily news, even if it isn’t much, to look forward to everyday will be a much needed joy.

David Wright will be showing up this weekend, as ready to get started as we are for him to get started. Wright is the player I think we have the most confidence and faith in. He played his heart out last year, all year. He truly cares, truly wants to win, and plays the game the right way both on and off the field. I would rank the players I have the least questions about going into next year like this. David Wright, Johan Santana, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran. I also have few worried about John Maine, or even Pedro Martinez.

I know most people probably think I’m insane for not worrying about Pedro, but I’m not. As the time came for him to return last year, I thought he’d have a good couple of starts, and that he could really contribute in the playoffs. We never got there, but Pedro did pitch well. Now everyone is saying you can’t count on Pedro, but I don’t think that’s true. His pitching in September proves that the injury he recovered from isn’t going to inhibit him, and he’s only recovered more from it now. He’s still an ace pitcher, he still knows how to pitch, he still has that ability. And he’s healthy. Sure he’s brittle, but he’s always been brittle, whatever that means. It’s possible anyone can get hurt in 2008, but I don’t think Pedro Martinez is more likely, and certainly not a given, to get injured. Plus Pedro is a competitor. I think he’ll truly thrive on this come back of his, plus I think he’ll thrive on the friendly competition he’ll have with Santana. They are going to feed off each other all year. A thriving, strike-out thirsty 1-2 punch of Santana and Martinez is going to have opposing batters at Shea Stadium whiffing so much it’ll change the wind patterns.

However, this team did come off a horrible collapse, and we’re going to need to see something from them to really regain our confidence in them. One thing that comes to mind would be to see a combined 3-22 stat from Jimmy Rollins and Pat Burrell during the opening series. That would really make us feel good, although we can’t forget that Rollins and Burrell had a pathetic showing during the opening series at Shea in 2007 also.

A quick word on the former player Roger Clemens. I listened to some of the hearings today, and I was actually laughing at Clemens. He comes off so badly in my opinion, that I’m absolutely convinced he did steroids. It’s no longer a he said, she said situation, it’s a he said, THEY said situation. From the little I heard, McNamee, Pettite, Pettite’s wife, and Mike Stanton all have said Clemens has taken steroids. Clemens countered most of this with garbage like “I don’t remember that.”, or “Pettite must have misheard”. It doesn’t look good, and I’m done with all the attention this is getting, it’s time to talk about baseball now that spring is finally here.

Those 13 wins

I think Johan Santana can cover those 13 wins from Glavine, don’t you?

And we didn’t have to give up Pelfrey, or F-Mart. It seems to good to be true. Let’s get this contract done and hurry up and get to Spring Training.

This season is going to be sweet..

Over/Under on how long it takes someone with the Phillies to complain about the Mets having the money and advantage, salary cap, buying championships..etc?

It’s a good day to be a bartender in Philadelphia.

What’s up doc?

All quiet on the Mets front. They raised ticket prices, which is no surprise. I hate that so many sports franchises seem to treat it solely like a business and forget the working class little people that love and enjoy the game. My last TOTK.com article was about this.

There are still rumors floating around about Johan, and I doubt there is a prospect I would miss past Santana smacking around the Phillies on opening day. We’ll see what happens. It’s not 2008, 2007 is in the past. The holidays are over, and if your not that big a football fan like me, it’s time to start counting down the days until pitchers and catchers report.

Btw, I still have a fourth seat of my Mets Saturday Pack available, if you happen to be one of those fans that wants to go, but has no one to go with regularly. It comes with a nice 27% price increase over last year!