Isn’t it nice how a nice walk off win, and Wright’s first walk off homer, can really help erase the pissed off feelings of earlier in the game? Now they’ve won two of three and a series, and they’re looking up again. Can they keep it up, even with the bullpen doing what it’s doing?
I certainly hope so, and with the Phillies and Cole Hamels, the supposed ace, losing again it is increasingly obvious that the other teams don’t matter. If the Mets play well, they make the playoffs, if they don’t..they could still make the playoffs, but it’s less likely.
Schoeneweis, who seems to get underused by Manuel, looked utterly perplexed when that home run left the yard to tie the game. Santana was probably equally perplexed, not getting a decision yet again.
Yesterday, Pedro gave up two home runs, but otherwise looked pretty good. Provided he stays healthy, which is always a question mark with someone his age, I think he’ll be good down the stretch. Keep in mind he hasn’t really pitched regularly to major league batters in two years. Getting back into the mindset and mentality of pitching major league games again, and outsmarting batters will return a bit of the Pedro magic. Adjusting to the minute changes that seem to happen to strike zones year to year will also come into play, and I suspect Pedro will have a terrific September and be a big part of the Mets push to the playoffs.
And the Mets take three out of four from the Phillies in Citizen’s Bank Ballpark. Billy Wagner made it stressful, but when it came down to it, the Phillies offense just wasn’t that good, and they just weren’t clutch enough to get the job done. In fact, the only win they got was in walk-off fashion in the 9th inning of a game in which Johan Santana should’ve been pitching. Instead Jerry Manuel pulls the Mets ace with only 95 pitches thrown and Sanchez gives it up in the 9th.
Pedro pitched well, but in typical Pedro Martinez fashion falters after he reaches the 100 pitch mark.
The Mets finally give former Met Killer Adam Eaton a loss, get Pedro his first win, and now are only two games out in the loss column. Billy Wagner pitched two of his bad games, and the Mets won anyway. The so-called ‘gamer’ Phillies have been bad, especially last year, after facing the Mets. Let’s hope they continue that trend, and the Mets can win in these final six games. They could even be in first by the break.
Of course, the Mets have showed signs before, particularly against average Philadelphia who they are 7-3 against. A winning record over these next six would be a big step up though. Maybe the Mets really do turn it on now, and take the division they deserve.
Whether last year, or now, the Phillies have been incapable of building or holding a division lead. When it comes down to it, they’re just not a first place team. They’re a mediocre team that can pummel some teams and get hot, and can occasionally get up to play the big game against a better team, but usually that averages out in the long run and they finish where they belong, a couple of games above .500 and in second or third.
As harrowing as Tuesday’s game was, last night’s game was pleasant. It was basically against a minor league team, but it still counts. Oliver Perez still pitched well, and the offense still swung the bats well.
One thing it was good to see was runs in the top of the 9th to make it 13 to 0. There was no mailing it in, or signs that anyone thought ‘Hey, maybe we got enough tonight.’ Excepting Casanova, the rest of the bench and bullpen got their first appearances out of the way. Billy Wagner managed to come into a non-save situation and not pitch like me.
The news about Pedro is not good. Four to six weeks plus rehabilitation. The biggest impact this has is on Mike Pelfrey. If Pelfrey can figure out how to be consistent and pitch like he seems to be capable of, Pedro will barely be missed. We’ll see how that goes, against Glavine of all people, on Saturday. Maybe Pelfrey will make his case that it’s him that will replace Glavine’s innings from last year, and that Santana’s are just icing on the cake.
The baseball season is here, and it’s even been christened with it’s first wrinkle. You didn’t really think the entire season was going to be as easy as Monday did you?
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?
Angel Pagan is going to make this team.
Stay tuned for other wagers I’ve been making on baseball, including Over/Unders on the Mets, Rays, Phillies and Yankees. Haven’t seen a wager out there for over/under Pedro strikeouts, but I’m for the over.
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.
“To me, it’s about quality. It’s not so much getting a guy. We will not be afraid to give our young kids a chance to pitch instead of going out there and paying a lot of money for a guy who gives a lot of innings – but they’re not quality innings. There’s a lot of demand for those guys. I’ve gotten a lot of hits on our young guys.”
This quote from Omar Minaya means a lot to me. Despite some issues I’ve had with him and some of his decisions, I’m actually pretty comfortable with him as a GM. I’m not afraid of starting the season the way the Mets are now. Pedro, El Duque, Maine, Perez, Pelfrey is fine to me. I think Pelfrey continued to grow last season, and his September was good. I think he’s a good player with confidence being one of his bigger issues last year. Maine, in my opinion, is excellent, and I’d actually lean towards him as being the 2nd starter, as little as those designations really mean anything. It’s not even so much talent, as it is that El Duque’s not going to pitch 33 starts next year, he never does. Maine could, so it makes sense to designate more starts to him before the season, as he’s more likely to meet the expectations.
Billy Wagner, among others, questions the replacement of Tom “I wouldn’t call it devasting” Glavine’s win total from last year. Number one, I don’t think Glavine is the one that’s going to match that total anyway, and number two, I think Pedro is capable of that. Even being babied, he showed me a lot last year near the end of the season, and I really feel he has a lot left. If I could put money on Pedro having a better season than Glavine, I would.
So do we need that Livan Hernandez type guy, who would be able to pitch a good amount of innings to relieve our bullpen? I still think so, but I’m not sold on overpaying these guys either. I think it can be done with what we have.
On another note of confidence in Omar Minaya, has anyone noticed how many second-hand pitchers he’s signed? He’s gotten a bunch of guys who have fallen out of favor, for almost nothing. Maybe we find that diamond in the rough with one of them, or maybe one of them really gels with how Peterson teaches. If not, it’s so easy to cut them loose, you may not even remember they were Mets.
Still over two months until spring training…
P.S. Would it kill the Mets to actually market and make John Maine and Oliver Perez Jersey’s? I want a Maine Jersey, but it requires actually getting a custom one made with 33 and Maine on the back, unless someone has seen one somewhere? I certainly haven’t.
David Wright reached the 30 home run and 30 stolen base plateau Sunday with his home run in the 7th inning. He became the third Met to do it, and the first since his hitting coach, Howard Johnson, did it in 1991. This is especially impressive considering he basically did it without the month of April where he didn’t hit a home run and only stole three bases. I thought Wright had a good chance to do this this year, and it turns out I was correct. I also thought the Mets could win the World Series, so we’ll see how that goes. I also think Jose Reyes has a shot to be a 30-30 guy in the future, but only time will tell.
Wright plays a smart game and is a great player; I fully expect this to the first of many 30-30 years he racks up. I don’t think Howard Johnson’s knowledge should be overlooked here either, I like Hojo as a batting coach. In a season that in June looked like the Mets would struggle to have even one player get to 100 RBIs, Wright has managed to put up some impressive numbers as an MVP candidate.
Also performing well after a bad start is Pedro. Pedro didn’t actually have a bad start, he didn’t have a start at all. He’s three starts in and all three have been superb. It looks like he’ll for sure get a start in the playoffs, the only downside is with his still healing rotator cuff, it will be tough for him to go deep into games. I’m interested to see how the bullpen shakes up during the playoffs. Presumably Maine and Perez will both be there in the division series, so hopefully they can get the job done and guys like M*ta and Sele don’t need to make the roster, leaving room for guys like Joe Smith or even Willie Collazo if he can get the job done.
I know Collazo is too much of a rookie for Willie to go to him in the playoffs, but hopefully he finds a suitable substitute that he can use where we don’t have to worry when the starters don’t go 9.
Luckily, I think the Mets committed all the rest of their errors for the season and postseason this weekend, so it should be smooth sailing here on out.