I don’t usually do game recaps, and I don’t usually buy into “they would’ve lost this one last year” arguments trying to compare this team to that one. This game was too much fun not to keep talking about though.
Halladay gave up a hard hit ball to lead off the game that required a great catch to turn into an out, but after that he was pretty steady until the 6th when a tight zone and good patience by Andres Torres with two outs led to a walk. Nieuwenhuis laced a single into left and that brought up our uncrowned Captain. David Wright rocketed one down the line that Mayberry misplayed off the side wall and two runs scored to tie the game. Meanwhile Jon Niese battled some control problems but only allowed those two early runs through five innings.
The Mets would battle and fight through the next couple of innings, having runners on base and not scoring and allowing runners to reach base but not allowing them to score. Josh Thole may have suffered a concussion, which sucks.
If you believe in poetic moments and turning points in seasons there was a huge one in the 7th inning. With two on and one out Hunter Pence grounded to second base where Daniel Murphy flipped to Justin Turner who threw to first. Shane Victorino slid a good three feet wide of the bag to take out Justin Turner and was ruled out for interference. You may recall a similar play in late August of 2007. It was the top of the ninth in Philadelphia with Marlon Anderson on first and Endy Chavez on third with one out and the Phillies leading 3-2. Shawn Green grounded out to shortstop and Anderson went in hard at second, keeping Rollins from turning the double play and allowing Endy Chavez to tie the game. Except Anderson was ruled to have interfered on a play much less clear cut than last nights. Instead the Mets lost that game, got swept in a four game series against the Phillies, and failed to completely bury them in the division. That one game may have been the difference between the playoffs and what ultimately happened in 2007. Who knows how things are different from there. Now the Mets get one of those calls that helps them win a game and go back to three games over .500 and 2.5 games ahead of the last place Philadelphia Phillies. Is it karma? The universe correcting it’s course back to one that features the Mets establishing a dynasty and perennial playoff team? Is it the turning point in a season that the Mets were universally picked to finish last but haven’t been under .500 at any point?
Probably not. It was a great win culminated by Jordany Valdespin collecting his first major league hit in epic fashion with a 3-run home run off one of the game’s best closers. It instantly became a Mets classic, but it’s still just one win in May. The Mets will face so many ups and downs and turning points this season that it’ll be near impossible to pinpoint this game in May when it all started going right. Would the Mets have won this game last year? Well..maybe. After all, many people compared this game to the Omir Santos game winning home run off of Papelbon back in 2009. 2009′s team doesn’t seem like one that you’d describe as resilient, having been the first losing season since 2004.
Still, there’s a lot to like about this game. The Mets hung in there against a tough pitcher. Jon Niese didn’t let the wheels fall off. Except for Torres misplay in the first allowing Jimmy Rollins an extra base, they played pretty crisp defense. They made pitches when they needed to and exploited the Phillies weaknesses. They took a four game losing streak and responded with a three game, and counting, winning streak.
Is this season going to be a gusty team that fights and scraps to stay above .500? A scrappy contender that finds a way to get at least a wild card spot? An overachieving bunch of rookies that show promise but ultimately revert to what they were predicted to be? It’s too early to tell, but no matter where it winds up it’s going to be a fun ride.
It’s Memorial Day, a day many baseball fans traditionally use to take their first real assessment of the team. Now suddenly standings start really meaning something, it’s considered okay to scoreboard watch, and most batting averages and rate statistics have at least a reasonable sample in which to infer some judgement on the player beyond a hot or cold start. (Jose Reyes is batting .335, is the best shortstop in the game and is just plain exciting to watch. Please extend his contract.)
So where are these Mets going? Right now it certainly doesn’t feel like they’re going very far. They faced the Phillies and the lesser two of their aces and their rotation filler and outpitched all three of them but lost the series. The fielding got sloppy in close games and the bullpen picked the worst possible time to struggle. Still, can you proclaim anything as over in May? The Phillies were 1-3 against the Mets, one game over .500 and 7 games back on Memorial Day in 2007. Sure, the Phillies look better than the Mets right now, but you would’ve said the opposite in 2007.
There is no doubt that the Mets need to play better to have any hope at some sort of reverse 2007 season. The latest news on Ike Davis and David Wright doesn’t exactly have them returning immediately, but it won’t be too much longer either. The news on Johan Santana remains good. If the Mets can find ways to win games without them, and that would include hitting better with RISP and fielding the ball cleanly to not force pitchers to have to get 4 or 5 outs too many times, then they can crawl back to .500 and be poised to add two big bats to help them chase the Phillies. They still have nine games against them and won’t face them again for over a month. The Mets play eight of the next 14 games against the Pirates. It is not unreasonable to expect the Mets to slaughter them, and be able to be above .500 after those 14 games. Minimize the losing stretches of baseball and maximize the winning ones. I think two weeks of this losing is enough, it’s time to start another strong run.
This was a rough weekend for the Mets, but it’s one they can look at and realize that maybe if they field the ball cleanly they win two or three of those games. No excuses; fix the problems or find players that will.
One thing that’s starting to concern me is Terry Collins’ bullpen usage. (#1 thing fans nipick about a manager right?) I really like the Mets bullpen, but i do not like their situational guys, and I wish Collins would stop going to them like they’re gold. These pitchers are not Pedro Feliciano and I would leave Capuano or even Pelfrey in those games. A lot hinges on Buccholz and Beato. Both showed a lot of promise and if they can be relied on in those fringe innings between Isringhausen and K-Rod and the starting pitching then Mets will have a lot of chances to win baseball games.
Tags: David Wright, field the ball, francisco rodriguez, ike davis, jason isringhausen, memorial day 2011, Mets, mets fielding, mets phillies rivalry, New York Mets, NL East, pedro beato, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies, taylor buccholz, where are the mets going?
The game itself just sucked. Going from being the best game of the year to the worst in roughly a half hour due mainly to some poor defense and bad breaks and what had been the excellent pitching failing to get out the average offense of the Phillies. So, here’s some random pictures of my day at the ballpark.
Well, maybe every other game?
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.
Tags: Carlos Beltran, chase utley, citizen's bank park, Cole Hamels, David Wright, Joe Blanton, Jose Reyes, Mets, mets numbers against phillies, mets optimism, mets phillies, mets phillies rivalry, New York Mets, ops, optimism, optimistic, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies, phillies big 4, roy halladay, shane victorino
I made a couple more single dollar prop bets yesterday. Nothing real fancy.
Jose Reyes – SB in the 2011 Regular Season
Over 33½ (-125)
Mariano Rivera – Total Saves in the 2011 Regular Season
Under 36 (-115)
Will any of the Big 4 win the NL Cy Young?
Big 4 include Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels
Cole Hamels – Total Wins in the 2011 Regular Season
Under 16½ (-120)
Carlos Beltran – BA in the 2011 Regular Season
Over .273 -115
Andy Pettitte – Will he pitch for the Yankees in the 2011 Regular Season
How many of the Big 4 will win over 20 games or more in the 2011 Regular Season?
Under 1 (-115)
RA Dickey – Total Wins in the 2011 Regular Season
Over 11½ (-115)
Who will win more games in the regular season series between the 2 teams listed. Must play at least 15 games for action.
New York Mets +240
Competitor: Atlanta Braves
Tags: Atlanta Braves, baseball bets, baseball wagers, big 4 cy young, bodog, Cole Hamels, Jose Reyes, Mariano Rivera, Mets, mets bets, mets wagers, mlb bets, mlb prop bets, mlb wagers, New York Mets, New York Yankees, over/unders, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies, phillies pitchers, phillies suck, player prop bets, prop bets
Every year I make a couple of prop bets on baseball before the season starts. I just like to put my money where my mouth is and this year is no different. So here are a couple of MLB Over/Under bets I made on Bodog. The player props aren’t out yet, so this is just the team.
Tampa Bay Rays – Over 84½
I know they lost some guys, but they’ve also picked some up. They can still pitch, and I don’t expect them to drop off as much as this.
Philadelphia Phillies – Under 97
I would like to point out that they lost Jason Werth in an offense that at times last year was non-existent and their best hitters are both a year older, and hurting. Chase Utley still hasn’t played a game this spring. Yes, they’ve got quite the cast of starting pitchers, but Hamels is up one year and down the next, Oswalt has struggled with back issues frequently and neither he nor Cliff Lee had absolutely amazing numbers last year. The offense also has to score for them to win. Halladay is still amazing, but 97 seems high.
New York Mets – Over 77
Unless you’re predicting injuries and guys having bad years, it’s hard to imagine the Mets winning this few games. They won more last year, and I think they’re a better team, perhaps the best offense in the National League. They’ve got a manager, they’ve got Reyes healthy. They won’t be playing Jeff Francoeur even if Beltran can’t play 140. I expect 2B, 1B and catcher all to give us more production, and it’d be hard for Jason Bay not to have a bounce back year. I believe in Dickey and Pelfrey and I think Niese gets better in his second year.
Baltimore Orioles – Under 76½
76.5? in the AL East? For a team that won 66 last season? They’ve made some additions this offseason, but I can’t see them reaching 77 wins. This probably goes along with my Rays guess. If I think they’re going to win more games, some of those will be against the Orioles.
Atlanta Braves – Under 87½
The Braves reached 91 games last season, so this one’s tough. I believe they overperformed a bit and I don’t have faith in their pitching depth. They also no longer have Bobby Cox, for whatever that’s worth, and Billy Wagner had a great year for them and retired. I could see them winning 86-87, but I think they fall just under.
New York Mets 35/1 to win the World Series
Obviously a long shot, but I make this bet every year. Personally I think they have a better than 1/35% change
Tags: 2011, 2011 world series, Atlanta Braves, baltimore orioles, Baseball, baseball over/unders, baseball wagers, best offense, best offense in baseball, best offense in the league, best offense in the national league, chase utley, Mets, mets over wins, mlb bets, mlb over/unders, New York Mets, over-unders, over/unders, Phillies, prop bets, Tampa Bay Rays
I believe it’s my job to try to spin Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies as not the end of the world. Start with this Hardball Talk article. Although it’s no secret that Cliff Lee is light years better than Kyle Kendrick or whoever ends up being bumped (Blanton via trade?) from the rotation as a result of the signing.
The article by Matthew Pouliot does a good job breaking down some of the specific concerns with the Phillies, particularly on the offensive side and in the bullpen. World Series, or even division titles, are not won in December. You still have to play the games. Things change drastically from year to year. Players who have been injured don’t stay injured. Players who are healthy don’t stay healthy. Players get older. Players have good years and bad. The Mets underperformed and missed by one game in 2007 and responded by adding the best pitcher in baseball..and somehow didn’t get any better.
The other argument is flexibility. Alderson’s motto so far has been to create flexibility for the Mets to be able to adapt and fix holes as they come. To sign free agents they need when they need them. Overreacting to an acquisition by the opposition and throwing out the philosophy two months in would be silly. The Phillies are now probably the definition of inflexible. Their payroll is so bulging people are reporting that they’re going to have to jettison payroll, probably by trading Joe Blanton. Their pitching depth is poor, so that if anything happens to their starting four, the dropoff is great. Their entire offense is old, neither corner outfield spot projects to come close to being above average, and they’ve lost Jason Werth.
The Mets on the other hand will have the ability, and desire, to add a player by the trading deadline to fix holes. They’ll be getting Johan Santana back. They’ll know if their underperforming core has raised it’s game. It’s entirely likely that the Mets offense will be better than the Phillies. While the Mets have rotational depth issues as well to start the season, Dickey, Niese and Pelfrey look to be very solid contributors. Sandy Alderson has repeatedly stated that he loves to make midseason moves, and he’s confirmed that he’ll have the flexibility to do so. Maybe this is the year the Mets go 40-15 down the stretch and surge into the postseason.
As the next couple of years go by, the Mets will get more and more flexible, while the Phillies will mostly be stuck with aging players making a lot of money. Cliff Lee certainly helps their chances in 2011, but it also helps accelerate their demise as repeat divisional champions.
Tags: Baseball, cliff lee, cliff lee signing, division, flexibility, Mets, New York Mets, offseason champions, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies, phillies sign lee, Rotation, sandy alderson, World Series
Two words that have no place in Mets discussions: “Wild Card”
I’ve heard it a bunch of places, even Ron Darlings. The Wild Card is not a term that needs to be mentioned right now, about a team that’s in first place with 18 games still to play against the biggest challenging team. The Wild Card need not be mentioned until August at the earliest. The Wild Card should never be the goal.
The division is not out of the question for the Mets. There is no doubt in my mind that the Phillies will not run away with anything. They are a team that won 93 games last year, and the Mets are at the very least 10 games better, and the Nationals are better. The Phillies play almost 25% of their games against those two teams, so it’s likely that the increased talent would shave a couple of games off the Phillies win total. The Phillies have a couple of guys injured, and aren’t all that improved over last year anyway. They had guys have career years last year, and career years often don’t get repeated. They’re even picking up guys off our scrap heap, which doesn’t say a lot for their pitching or infield depth. The Mets were criticized for having no depth and having to go with Wilson Valdez and Nelson Figueroa last year, yet the Phillies are doing the very same thing this year.
Anything can happen in a baseball season. Nothing is decided in the offseason, or in April. However, it’s going into May soon and the Mets are standing in first place. I said earlier last week that the goal I would like of the Mets is to get through this home stand with a chance to play the Phillies for first place this coming weekend. After some excellent baseball games it’s looking like it could be the Mets playing the Phillies to help lengthen their division lead.
Ron Darling had a great comment during a replay of David Wright’s bases clearing triple. As he was rounding second, Ron said “And right around here is where the monkey jumped off his back.” It’s a good start along those lines, and if the Mets could beat the Phillies, play the Reds and return home solidly in first place it’d go a long way towards erasing 2009. A lot has been made of the attendance figures at Citi Field so far, but I think a lot more of us would start making the trip to the stadium if they returned home conquering heroes and reclaiming their rightful place atop the National League East.
There are eight teams remaining in Major League Baseball that played in the National League in the 19th century through to today: The Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds, the San Francisco Giants, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Even though I’m not a basketball fan, I find myself routing for the New Jersey Nets. They’re on pace to break the record for worst NBA season this year, surpassing the 1972-1973 Philadelphia 76ers. It’s my feeling that I want to keep the city of Philadelphia associated with failure. Prior to the Phillies winning in 2008, the city had gone 25 years without a championship in any major sport. The Phillies are the only professional sports team to have lost 10,000 games: an unprecedented level of failure.
This got me thinking about the other older teams that have been around as long as the Phillies. How are those teams doing?
The Braves will be the next team to lose 10,000 games. They have a record of 9854-9883. That’s good for a .499 winning percentage, which is pretty decent. They actually have a shot at reaching 10,000 wins first. They need to win 96 games next season to get above .500 for their history.
The Giants were the first team to 10,000 wins and the Dodgers, Cubs, and Cardinals have joined them.
The Pirates and the Reds both have winning records. The Reds have 9824 wins to 9548 losses, and the Pirates, even after being a joke for the last two decades, have a record of 9753-9579.
The other old team, the Philadelphia Phillies, are in another class altogether. They hold a record of 9038-10,167. That’s good for a .471 winning percentage which is 26th of active franchises. Only the Padres, the Rangers, and the expansion Rays have a worse winning percentage. If the Phillies went 96-66 every season it would take them 38 years to get over the historical .500 mark.
The Mets aren’t exactly in great shape either, although they’ve won as many championships as the Phillies in roughly a third of the time. They only have a .479 winning percentage and a 3655-3981 record. They have a losing record in all three stadiums they’ve played in, but hopefully they can fix that this year.
Read and comment on this post at The Real Dirty Mets Blog.
As everyone has made light of, this World Series sucks for a Mets fan.
Mets fans are pretty split on which side they’re rooting for, if you can even call it rooting. Funny thing is, you see plenty of Yankees fans saying that we should be rooting for them, but I don’t hear any Phillies fans making that same argument.
Personally, I’m rooting for the Yankees to lose. I don’t get any joy or any more grief no matter what the Phillies do, but the Yankees winning would really irk me. It’d blow my theory of them being cursed for knocking down the house that Ruth built, it’d give even more fuel to the “Jeter’s the best player ever” arguments you hear, as well as the constant reminder about how much they’ve won. Their eight rings to the Mets two would start to get a little insurmountable, whereas three for the Phillies wouldn’t be as rough.
Some say that the cracks in Yankee Stadium will open up and swallow both teams into Hell.
Some compare it to 1999 although despite how much it sucked losing the Braves, the Braves fans were never in the equation as hated rivals. Others suggest we ask who the Yankees were rooting for in 1986 and root accordingly.
Personally, I’m just not watching. I get no joy out of watching either team, and if you factor in all the game-delay tactics, the 50 million pitching changes, and the pop-fly home runs, I’m just not sure it’s going to be fun to watch anyway.
I’ll be watching the Islanders at the Rangers Wednesday night.