Optimistic Notes for the Nationals Series

As I write this, the Nationals are currently locked in a 3-3 tie with the Florida Marlins in the 11th inning. They’ve used four pitchers so far, after using four on Wednesday, so there bullpen will not be that fresh.


The Nationals are not a good team; if they win tonight they’ll be 2-4 going into the Mets series.


The rotation the Mets will face is Zimmerman, Gorzelanny and Marquis.  They miss Lannan and Hernandez.  Zimmerman has promise but has thrown less than 100 innings in his career, to an ERA of above 4.  Gorzelanny had his best year since 2007 last year with the Cubs, but still had an ERA above 4 with nearly a 1.5 WHIP.  Jason Marquis was 2-9 with a 6.6 ERA last season and a startling 1.705 WHIP in thirteen starts.  He doesn’t strike anybody out and is just not very good.


Their bullpen is mostly consisting of retreads and journeyman type guys, and should be even easier to score off of than the starters.


The Nationals are the bottom of the barrel in the NL East, and the Mets need to beat up on them at home to remain competitive in the division.

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Optimistic Notes for the Phillies Series

Cole Hamels is 2-8 in 13 starts against the Mets, with a 1.513 WHIP. David Wright has a .962 OPS against him in 37PA.  In 33 PA, Beltran has an OPS of 1.041 with three home runs.

The Mets get the end of the Phillies rotation, so Wednesday Mike Pelfrey pitches against Joe Blanton.

Shane Victorino hurt his calf on Saturday.  He still came in and played a couple of innings at the end of Sunday’s game, but it’s possible his range will be a tick off in center, or that he’ll be a step slower on the bases.

 Jose Reyes has good career numbers at Citizen’s Bank Park, and against the Phillies.

Chase Utley hasn’t had a magical recovery and second base is still manned mainly by Wilson Valdez.

In 16 innings, Francisco Rodriguez has yet to allow a run against the Phillies.

Carlos Beltran, in 42 AB, has an OPS of .857 against Roy Halladay.  Reyes, in 20 PA, has an OPS of 1.239.

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Letters to the NL East, Part 1, Dear Nats..

Dear Washington Nationals,


You closed Five Guys and are building Shake Shack in Nationals Park? Copy cats!  If you take our Brooklyn beers, I’ll be furious.  Let me guess, it was all Alex Cora’s idea?


Should I be talking about your actual team?  Is there actually anything to talk about?  You’re going to finish last, it’s just a matter of how badly.  Oh, I know, you’ve got a shiny new slugger in right field stolen away from the Phillies.  Kudos on making them a weaker team, that should help us out.  I’m sorry you still have to pay him that much money in 2018.  Don’t worry though, those draft picks you got when Steven Strasburg left for free agency will probably be reaching the majors right around then and won’t be making much money.


At least your team isn’t _completely_ horrible this year.  Maybe you can play spoiler and beat up on the Braves and Phillies a bit in September.  Still, you’ll have to pitch and I’ve seen a better rotation in batting practice.  Livan Hernandez and Jason Marquis should fun to face this year.  The Mets couldn’t have a better Opening Day opponent.


Your Friens Ahead Of You in the Shake Shack line,

Optimistic Mets Fan

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Interesting Article on Optimism in America

Joe Mathews on Zócalo Public Square wrote an interesting article about optimism in baseball, and also in America.


It speaks to the doe-eyed optimism we usually experience on Opening Day, the time when all teams are still tied for first and anything is possible.  And then it tears it down as a sort of “ignorance is bliss” fairy tale.  Mathews suggests we stop holding the game up on a pedestal and instead embrace it and all it’s flaws.  In a way, I think this view has been forced upon us lately, with all the cheating and steroids and looking the other way.  You see some stick their head in the sand and try to forget Andy Pettitte, Barry Bonds, or Alex Rodriguez were, or are, cheating and you see others desperately cling to their innocence and claim their favorite player, whether Piazza or Jeter or someone else, was clean the whole time.  Perhaps it’s better to accept the flaws and the corruption and stop pretending it’s a game played between gentleman and instead a battle of players doing anything they can, against the rules or not, to win.


A point he makes about the Mets that a lot of people don’t seem to be bringing up is that a lot of the Mets actions over the past couple of decades have been funded via Madoff profits.  This is perhaps a simplistic look, as the Mets certainly would’ve invested elsewhere and still signed players and make moves, but it’s not a stretch to say that Tom Glavine’s acquisition was funded by Bernie Madoff.

Anyway, it’s an interesting read and it’s not that long. Check it out.



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Debunking Pessimism

I stumbled across this extremely negative post on the Mets through some Google alerts.  At first I thought it would end up being a Philly blog, but nope. So here’s his five reasons why the Mets will suck post is way off the mark.

Spring training games began over the weekend, reminding us all how terrible the Mets will be this year.  Fittingly, Luis Castillo booted a ball at second base yesterday. Way to set the tone for the new season, Luis.


Here are my top 5 reasons why the Mets will be terrible this year.

Yes, I’m sure Castillo booting a ball in practice just doomed the Mets all season. Real players never actually make mistakes in Spring Training. Nevermind that Scott Hairston hit two home runs. This is just an excuse to pick on Castillo, who might not even make the team.

5- Ownership: Between borrowing $25 million from Major League Baseball, looking for minority ownership, and facing a multi-million dollar law suit, it will be a distraction all season. If the Wilpons sell the team, maybe it will make them less terrible, but still not good.

I can’t tell you that the Madoff stuff is a positive in any way, but it’s hardly going to be a distraction that causes the Mets to fail.  Wright’s not going to be worrying about the state of the lawsuit while he’s standing out at third base or at the plate.  They won’t even have to talk about it with the press, they’ve all said what they can say and their business is not finance, it’s baseball.  The state of the finances is not going to have much of an effect on the play on the field.  The only real thing it might do is prevent Alderson from adding pieces around the trade deadline, but so far there is no word that it will.  

4- Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez: It’s March 1, and for some reason they are still on the team. Perez got bombed in his first spring training game and Castillo is abysmal. Sadly he could actually win the starting second base position. It is unbelievable the Mets do not have anyone better than Castillo. Please cut your losses. I would rather have Ike Davis play first and second at the same time.

They’re on the team because they can’t lose the Mets games in March.  Whether or not they make the team will solely be based on merit, and it’s not looking good for either of them.  The players that help the Mets win will make the team, and therefore these two players will not be why they suck.  Reyes and Davis do have pretty good range, but I don’t think it’s enough to cover second base too. Plus, the rules don’t allow for only eight players in the lineup.  

3- Carlos Beltran playing right field: How long until he complains about it? I give it a month. Just imagine if he gets off to a bad start on offense. I know what the excuse will be.

#blamebeltran.  This pretty much debunks the whole post right here doesn’t it?  Never mind that he voluntarily moved there or that he’s not a complainer or an excuse maker.  A more valid question is how much regular rest is he going to need, and how well do those knees hold up?  Still, he’s been taking batting practice, and he should be ready to go as a hitter.  This should help prevent a slow start offensively at least.  Carlos Beltran continues to be underappreciated.

2- The NL East: The Phillies are probably the best team in baseball, which is not even fair, but the Braves and Marlins are better than last year too. The Mets are closer to the Nationals.

Just stating it doesn’t make it so. Probably? What if they’re not?  What if someone gets hurt? Their offense no longer looks formidable, Utley hasn’t even played yet and it’s looking more and more likely that Wilson Valdez may be starting for them, and they don’t even know what scrub or under-prepared prospect they’re going to throw out there in right field.  What if they don’t score runs when they pitch these great games, and what if age catches up with them?   The Marlins are not very good.  They’ve got some pitching, but it’s hardly amazing and they’re fielding a AAA offense outside of a couple of guys.  The Mets are capable of being in the thick of things just with their offense and with Pelfrey, Dickey and Niese doing what they did last year.

1- The Pitching Staff:  With Johan out until God knows when, Mike Pelfrey is the ace of the staff. Enough said. The Mets are depending on RA Dickey to repeat what he did last season, which is insane. I can’t even tell you who the 4th and 5th starters are: Chris Young?, Chris Capuano?, Dilon Gee? Oliver Perez??? Who the hell knows. As for the bullpen, talk about a disaster. Hopefully K-Rod won’t get arrested again or injure himself while beating up an old man. I honestly can’t even tell you who else is in the bullpen, so I have no further comments.

Enough said?  Sure, I could agree with that.  Mike Pelfrey was basically the best pitcher in baseball last April.  He had a horrible July, and it’s important that he minimizes that this year, but to dismiss him as crap is silly.  Why is it insane to expect Dickey to be as good as last year?  Did you really watch him all last year, and listen to him talk about pitching, and deduce that it was a fluke? It wasn’t.  He’s learned and adapted, and crafted his knuckleball to be a dangerous weapon.  It’s certainly possible he’s not as good, but the dropoff won’t be that extreme.  The ignorance in the rest of this ‘reason’ is too large to argue with, but I do have faith that some combination of Young and Capuano can give us some quality innings and keep the Mets in the game.  Losing Santana is rough, but given how many of his great games they let turn into losses last year, I’m confident with a little hitting the Mets can win more games that a lesser pitcher starts than they did last year with Santana on the mound.


I do have something good for Mets fans to look forward to. On Tuesday night (After the Knicks game) MSG will have a 4 part series on the ’86 Mets. Bar fights, sex, drugs, alcohol and more sex, drugs and alcohol- the good old days. Should be interesting. I guarantee it will be better than anything the Mets do on the field.

I’ll grant a pass on this statement since it was written before hand, but most accounts I’ve seen of the show have been pretty negative.  You can take your ‘guarantee’ and shove it, the Mets are going to be interesting this year.  Optimism is not a sin.

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Blogger Conference Call with Sandy Alderson

This evening Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson took the time to have a conference call with many of our favorite Mets blogs, including this one.  Everyone asked great questions, and Alderson’s answers were very enlightening and thought out.  Michael Baron wrote up a lot of it here. The Mets tweeted some of the conversation as well.

(You can follow me on Twitter too!) Sandy is doing a live webcast on Monday, so if there is still a question you’d like to see answered, go ask it!

As a representative of the optimistic fan base, or what still exists of it, I asked a suitably optimistic question of Sandy:  “You’ve mentioned being somewhat restricted in what you can spend this offseason, but if things go well and the Mets are in contention around the All-Star Break, what type of flexibility do you have to add a player or two to improve the club and keep them there?”

His response was positive.  He didn’t laugh at the idea of the Mets being in contention or talk about focusing on the future.  He said that that is the position they want to be in, and he would have to ability to add the pieces they need. He also suggested that if the Mets were in that position he would expect the attendance to reflect that.

In essence, he’s going to do the best he can to put the best team on the field and he hopes we’ll be prompted to go out and enjoy the games.  He ended the call saying we should do this again, and the entire experience left me feeling good about the Mets, and anxious for the season.

I’ll try to update this post with links to other write-ups as I see them, although you should know where to look by now. Mets Merized Online wins the award for speed, at least of what I’ve seen.

On the Black

The Eddie Kranepool Society

Mets Police

Very good transcript at Amazin’ Avenue

Matthew Artus
Faith and Fear in Flushing

Mets Today

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Upcoming Expections For The Mets

I understand the season has been hurtful so far.  I also understand that even the worst teams in baseball don’t play this badly, and that they will win more games.  So how do we shake this feeling of doom?


I’m pretty confident in Pelfrey throwing a good game tonight.  I think what he worked on this Spring is going to help a lot, he’s getting less distracted on the mound, and has that cocky confidence that this team needs. 

You never know with Perez, and I worry that the stupid tinkering that Warthen did with Maine was also a failure for Perez, but I think the Mets will have a chance to win the game tomorrow when he pitches. 

Santana is due to bounce back and win one on Saturday.  He’s Johan Santana after all.

Then Maine, who I think gets a huge boost being out from under Warthen’s shackles.  Doesn’t mean he’ll be successful though, especially the first time going back to what’s worked for him, but the numbers are there if you choose to believe. (those numbers being a 4-1 2.75 ERA May last year before surgery in June.  Those numbers being that he was hitting 93 last year, and was 91-92 in the return from surgery in September)  I’m hoping being able to be comfortable will be like a weight off his shoulder and he’ll do just fine.  I’m certainly not ready to believe Maine’s career is over.

Maybe they drop one of those, which would put them at 5-7.  Then they go home for a 10 game home stand where if they go 6-4 they’re back at .500 and go to Philadelphia, a park the Mets love to hit in with hopefully the offense finally clicking, and knock the ball, and 2009, out of the park.

That’s the formula to shake these bad feelings away.  If the Mets can get to Philadelphia near .500 and play well there against an injured Phillies team and assert, even if it’s just for one series, that they’re the better team it will go a long way to returning the confidence to this team, and to it’s fans.

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Optimism After Six Games

The Mets have played six games against the bottom of the division and lost the four games I didn’t attend.

There are still some good things to take from the season so far though, and you can read about them in detail in my post for The Real Dirty Mets Blog.

The fans at the park so far have been pretty pathetic, in terms of their booing Santana and failure to really get into any of the games and actually cheer like Mets fans used to.  Greg over at Faith and Fear in Flushing recaps this issue rather nicely.

Patrick Flood wrote a nice piece that really drives home how much we’ve missed Reyes.   This piece represents another reason why I think it was despicable of Jerry Manuel to bunt Reyes over on Saturday.

It seems even the beat writers are stirring about it being time to fire Jerry Manuel, something I’ve long felt was necessary.  For better or worse I don’t believe the Mets will do anything before May 3rd after the first series agains the Phillies.

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Excited for Spring, Rooting for The Mets

From Mets

20 Days until Pitchers and Catchers and Injured Players report to Port St. Lucie.   I’m excited.  To me, it’s hard not to be. It’s still Mets baseball, and no matter how you feel about the Wilpons, the front office, or the team, there are still fun games to be played this season, and fun players to watch.

Johan Santana’s due to make 33 or so starts, and every one of those games is worth watching.

Jose Reyes is reportedly healthy and is always a joy to watch play the game. He’s due to be out there on the field at least 155 games or so.

David Wright, Jeff Francoeur, and Daniel Murphy may have varied amounts of upside or talent, but all three of them play their hearts out.  You can’t ask for more out of a baseball player.  You can truly believe that these guys want to win at least as much as you want them to.

From Mets

Exciting rookies like Josh Thole, Jonathan Niese, Fernando Martinez, and maybe even Ike Davis are candidates to make appearances this year.  It’s always fun to watch homegrown guys try to break out and become major leaguers.

You may be down on Mike Pelfrey a little, but he’s going to work out to do better this year.  He’s still a young, talented, homegrown pitcher who will hopefully have a bounceback type season, and there is a good chance we see Niese come up and pitch this year.

The 2010 season won’t be won in January, it won’t be won on paper, and when April 5th comes and the Mets take the field, they’ll do so tied for first place.  This is small consolation right now, but anything can happen.  There is still time for a trade to happen for another pitcher.  It’s entirely possible that one of the Mets starters has an excellent season and pitches great to compliment Santana.  The offense isn’t bad, and it’s entirely possibly Beltran is back and healthy by May and Francoeur continues his resurgence and everyone plays well.  If some of these things happen, the Mets will be extremely competitive and rather than berate the players I think will fail I’m going to focus on rooting for them to succeed.  Isn’t that the point of being a fan?

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They Are That Good

Just because we’re losing, or have lost, doesn’t mean that we aren’t that good.

When you encounter someone that tells you the Mets aren’t that good, give them a pat on the back. Their response is a defense mechanism against the hurt they’re feeling with the way this team is managed and playing.

No matter how you look at it, this team is pretty good and should win the division.

They’re better than last year. The bullpen has gone from bottom five to top five. That’s a huge improvement. The starters seem at least as good as last year. Both corner outfield spots look to be better than last year, as does second base.

The Phillies are worse. Being that they had a ton of pitchers have career years last year, it was obvious they wouldn’t repeat that performance. They weren’t even the best team last year, except as far as ultimate results go. They have been getting by on their offense so far, but their offense, while good, can’t carry them all year. Offense slumps, and that could lead to disastrous stretches of games if their pitchers continue to be mediocre. They certainly didn’t look like a great team in any of the four games they played the Mets.

Even if you go position by position, the Mets are a good team. They’re getting top of the line performance out of 3B and CF. The corner outfielders are around league average or better, and under-performing. Catcher is right around average, while SS and 2B are above it. Pelfrey and Maine are both above league average, which means that we have a favorable pitching match up more times than not.

I know it’s tough sometimes, when they find ways to lose; the manager throws the game away, the 1B of the inning throws the game away, someone makes a key error, or a reliever doesn’t have it. It’s not cause to give up. (Of course, if you’ve truly given up I don’t know what you’re doing watching games or reading blogs) It’s not often teams run away with the division in May. Even great teams. Even championship teams. There is a lot of good, and fun baseball coming. Don’t let a couple of bad games get you down.

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