Memorial Day weekend is a great time for baseball.
Families around the northeast will have their first traditional BBQ of the year. I love Memorial Day because (with respect to Gary Keith and Ron), I enjoy sitting outside and listening to the WFAN broadcast while enjoying some delicious BBQ.
This weekend, the San Diego Padres head east to join the Mets for the start of the longest home stand of the season. This weekend will be an eventful one for Mets fans.
On Friday night, the first 25,000 fans will receive a Mets Cap.
On Saturday afternoon, the first 25,000 fans will receive a Rusty Staub bobblehead.
Then on Sunday afternoon, Banner Day returns to Flushing!
Thursday, 7:10pm: Jeremy Hefner v. Eric Stults
When somebody who doesn’t watch either team sees this matchup, I can guarantee you their response will be, “who?”
Hefner looked decent against a tough Toronto lineup last week as he came in to relieve Miguel Batista. Hefner threw 5 innings, allowing 4 hits and 2 earned runs. What I liked most was that he fanned 5 batters, and walked none.
Hefner is one of five Mets who have made their major league debut this year with the club, joining Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Zach Lutz, Jordany Valdespin and Robert Carson.
Hefner has been given a golden opportunity here. With Chris Young needing perhaps a few more rehab starts, the #5 spot could be his for at least 3 more starts. That is, unless the Mets see something they don’t like.
Eric Stults may appear to be some young kid and that’s why you don’t know him. Truth is, he’s 32 years old and was a member of the Chicago White Sox until he was waived recently.
Stults is a lefty who has filled the role of “DL replacement” for Colorado and the Dodgers in his past.
Stults’ last start was against the Indians. He went 6 innings, allowed 4 hits and 2 runs. During that outing he walked 4, and struck out 4.
He goes deep into counts, which fits perfectly for the Mets approach. He is considered to be a groundball pitcher, so he’s relying heavily on the men behind him to get out of trouble.
Friday, 7:10pm: Dillon Gee v. Anthony Bass
Gee is coming off of his 2nd best start of the year in my view. He’s pitched about average so far, but I was really impressed with how he handled the Toronto lineup.
As a side note, I’m very pleased to see that enormous growth has been removed from his chin.
Gee’s control was a bit of an issue on the 20th. That’s not something we’re really used to seeing with Gee, so hopefully it was just a product of the environment and lineup he was facing.
24 year old righty Anthony Bass will take the hill for San Diego. Bass began the season in the bullpen, but later earned a starting spot in the rotation.
Bass’s 2-4 record is deceiving. He’s had 8 starts, and pitched good enough to probably win at least 4 of them. He has strike out stuff. He’s struck out at least 7 batters in 5 out of 8 starts. In one start he walked 5 batters, but generally speaking you can expect 1-3 walks per game from him.
Saturday, 1:10pm: Johan Santana v. Clayton Richard
Santana has to stop getting beat when it looks like he’s in cruise control. He looked like he was en route to get a nice W against Pittsburgh and then boom, HR.
I’d say Santana has pitched well enough to have 7 wins right now, but truth be told, this isn’t the Johan of old that would throw a gem and get no run support. The Mets for the most part are scoring runs for him.
Generally speaking, Richard has done quite well against the Mets. The Mets are 14 for 49 against him with just 1 RBI.
At 28, Richard’s prospect has diminished a bit. He’s having a decent year despite his record, but he’s not the 2010 version that won 14 games.
Richard is a Petco Pitcher. He doesn’t strike batters out too often, just like the two before him in this series. He puts the ball in play, and has been prone to giving up the long ball this year more so than in years past.
Sunday, 1:10pm: R.A. Dickey v. Edinson Volquez
Volquez while with Cincinnati faired very well against the Mets. In fact, he’s been pretty dominating. The Mets players are a combined 4 for 35 against him. That’s a .114 batting average.
Volquez was a key piece to the deal that sent Mat Latos to the Reds, but he hasn’t pitched like the guy the Padres thought they were getting.
He has had some good starts this year, throwing back to back gems against Washington and Milwaukee, but nothing else really.
The Padres hitters actually have had some success against Dickey. They are 20 for 57 (.351) against him.
Dickey had a lot to like in his last outing against Pittsburgh. His 11 K’s were impressive, no dbout about it. For Dickey though, you know he’s gonna have a clunker every so often. This month though, he’s been fairly consistent with his performance. I worry that based on their history against him, that this game may be that clunker.
As a side note regarding Dickey: He will hold an exclusive Q & A session about his book “Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball” on Tuesday, May 29 at Citi Field. Tickets for the event are $100 and include a seat in the Champions Club with complimentary food and non-alcoholic beverages, an autographed copy of the book and admission to the Q&A.
VIEW FROM THEIR WINDOW
This week, we connected with jbox from gaslampball.com for his insight into this weekend’s series.
I was very curious to see how Padres fans view some aspects of this series. These two teams have a lot in common in terms of the men making decisions for them.
You’ll find it very interesting how he reacts toward both Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta.
1) Heading into Memorial Day, Yonder Alonso looks like a solid player, but he’s lacking power. What do you think the reasoning for that is?
I’m sure Yonder Alonso has tithed some of his power to Petco Park just like every other Padres player. Upon coming to San Diego he made it clear that he was a line drive hitter, which is reason why he relies mostly on doubles to get the job done.
2) If there is 1 shining spot for the Padres, it is the bullpen in my view. How comfortable to Padres fans feel if the game is in the 7th and they have a lead?
Getting the lead in the 7th will be the hard part, but with Andrew Cashner throwing 102 mph and Dale Thayer and his mustache closing, we’ll be as comfortable as a bed bug in a New York City hotel room.
3) From a Padres fan perspective, what are your thoughts on Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta?
Sandy Alderson was like your cantankerous, egotistical, know it all boss. He was entertaining from a fan perspective because he loved to mix it up with fans and insult them on his weekly radio appearances, but he is probably better suited as a GM than a club President.
In the end, his manifesto of being “patiently aggressive” at the plate never seemed to provide anything but players striking out while trying to draw walks. He also destroyed the relationship between beloved closer Trevor Hoffman and the Padres for years due to his inability to respectfully communicate and his own stubbornness.
In most cases I felt that he was trying to do the right thing by building from within and creating a “pipeline” of young talent, but he left the club in a worse place than when arrived. Much of that can be blamed on owner John Moores divorce, but Alderson needs to take his share of the responsibility.
We really liked Paul DePodesta while he was here, but he was doomed to failure by the way Alderson set up the Padres organizational chart. He reported directly to Alderson rather than to former GM Kevin Towers, which in turn made the Front Office dysfunctional. After Alderson left, DePodesta’s great baseball knowledge was being used to study beer sales. Really.
4) If you could pluck one Mets player away and put them on the Padres for the next few years, who would it be and why?
I guess we’ll take Ruben Tejada because we are in desperate need of a short stop. Like we’re so desperate we’ll even take Ruben Tejada.
5) If the Padres take 3 out of 4, who will be the player of the series? Also, if they lose 3 out of 4, who do you see getting most of the blame?
It will probably be Yonder Alonso. Though I could see Chase Headley being a contender for MVP of the series. If they lose I could see Everth Cabrera or Joe Thatcher being the scapegoat.
This series is one the Mets have to take 3 of 4 in. They have the matchups they want, and they have a Padres team coming into Citi Field after getting swept by the Cardinals.
Remember the Astros series when I worried the Mets would play down to the level of their opponent? I have that same worry here, but I’m confident they will prove me wrong.
The Mets need to attack the Padres starters. Getting the starter out of the game in this series is not a good thing unless there is a healthy lead attached to it.
The Padres bullpen is filthy right now. Former Met Dale Thayer is having a red hot May right now, and is actually closing games for the Padres. In 9 appearances this month, he has 5 saves, 9K and a 0 earned run average.
I personally do not know why Ike Davis wasn’t sent to Buffalo yet, but I have to imagine it’s just a matter of roster space. When Tejada, Bay or Thole get back, Ike better be on the right side of this slump. He’s on borrowed time here so if he wants to stay in the big city, he has to have a big series against the Padres.
OVER/UNDER RUNS: (8-3 on the season) Big win in Pittsburgh, as I picked the under for the series. Picking the over is usually the easy route to go, therefore I deserve my “self high 5”. Tonight’s game sets the tone for the over/under for the series. You have to assume no game will be higher than tonight’s which is set at 8. Therefore, I’ll set the series at 29.5, and take the…Under.
METS POTS:You know, I’m feeling Francisco is starting to snap out of it. I’m going to say Francisco gets 3 saves in this series.
KEEP YOUR EYES ON:Yonder Alonso is turning into a solid ballplayer. He’s hitting .300 with a .384 on base, but as mentioned above, he’s lacking pop.
I’LL BE DRINKING A:cheap beer. I may have to detox a bit this week, because I am going to a concert on Saturday night. The best concert beer is the cheapest concert beer. I check my snobbyness at the door when it comes to $7-$10 beers.