Mets Merized Online http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 30 Sep 2014 03:17:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 DeGrom Has Wide Support For ROY, Now Odds-On Favorite http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/degrom-has-wide-support-for-roy-now-odds-on-favorite.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/degrom-has-wide-support-for-roy-now-odds-on-favorite.html/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 03:16:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166899 jacob degrom

At the start of the year, expectations were low for Mets rookie Jacob deGrom. As a 26-year old pitcher at  Triple-A Las Vegas, many believed that he did not have the talent to develop into a top starting pitcher. As it turns out, most pre-season predictions could not have been more wrong, and deGrom dominated with a 9-6 record, 2.64 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 140 innings pitched.

DeGrom’s ERA ranked within the top ten in the National League among pitchers with at least 140 innings. He also ranked 6th in NL in strikeouts per nine innings and he tied the MLB record for most consecutive strikeouts to begin a game with eight whiffs.

Given deGrom’s obscurity in the minors, his excellent performance this season went unnoticed around the league for most of the year. However, deGrom was so good down the stretch that many analysts are now tabbing him for top rookie honors, and some (Ken Rosenthal) even changed their minds as recently as a few days ago.

Jayson Stark, ESPN

“DeGrom has been one of the best starters in the whole NL,” Stark explains, who points out that deGrom has the second-best ERA in the National League during his last 15 starts, topped only by Clayton Kershaw, who will likely win the Cy Young award. “So if a guy is in that kind of company, would YOU have any regrets about handing him a Rookie of the Year trophy? Not me.”

Jon Heyman, CBS Sports

“For whatever reason, the favorite for the NL award seems to be Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton, a very exciting player who has racked up 56 stolen bases and played a very nice center field while batting a solid .259. But while he has had a nice year, his OPS-plus is 87, which is below average.”

Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports

“Mets fans can stop tweeting at me now. I take it back. I TAKE IT ALL BACK! DeGrom kept improving, pitching to a 1.33 ERA, holding opponents to a .457 OPS and producing a 38-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in September. He’s fun to watch. And yes, he’s Rookie of the Year.”

Las Vegas odds-maker Bovada, now has deGrom as the heavy favorite to win the award with 1-to-3 odds, far ahead of Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton who’s now dropped to 2-to-1.

 It is great to see deGrom finally get the recognition he deserves. His emergence this season has been the biggest bright spot of the year, and he should be a lock to win the award as he has clearly outperformed Billy Hamilton. If deGrom somehow loses the vote, it will be because of Hamilton’s greater popularity and not his performance.

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Alfonzo and Abreu Among Candidates To Replace Lamar Johnson http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/former-mets-alfonzo-abreu-among-candidates-to-replace-lamar-johnson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/former-mets-alfonzo-abreu-among-candidates-to-replace-lamar-johnson.html/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 00:41:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166958 bobby abreu

Edgardo Alfonzo and Bobby Abreu have emerged as the leading candidates to replace Lamar Johnson as Mets hitting coach according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Abreu expressed interest in the job after his retirement on Sunday and according to Puma’s sources, Alfonzo was not very interested in the job before the season but would consider it if he was offered the position.

Last week, the Post reported that while the Mets might have interest in moving 3rd base coach Tim Teufel to that role, he is not currently interested.

Alfonzo was an extremely popular player in the ’90s. He hit .292 in 8 seasons in New York. He ranks 5th in Mets franchise history with 1136 hits. Alfonzo is also 9th on the Mets all time list with 120 home runs.

Abreu on the other hand is an all time great hitter. He is 103rd on the all time hits list with 2470, collecting most of those for the Phillies. He also collected 400+ hits for the Yankees and Angels.

Either would be a positive influence on the Mets and could potentially fit Sandy Alderson’s philosophy. Both could preach patience and one will likely become the next Mets hitting coach.

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Mets Management and the Acceptance of Mediocrity http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-management-and-the-acceptance-of-mediocrity.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-management-and-the-acceptance-of-mediocrity.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:27:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166722 Jeff+Wilpon+Sandy+Alderson+New+York+Mets+Introduce+hIi7kWeRE_bl

The Mets entered the 2011 season with a new skipper and a new General Manager. Despite realizing we’d need to rebuild, Fred Wilpon claimed, “In this city, it’s all about winning.” We are now four years removed from that statement and apparently it’s NOT all about winning. After finishing below .500 every year since, ownership recently decided to bring back both Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins for more of the same.

Yes, our farm system is stronger now than it was in 2011. Yes, the Mets are on the cusp of possibly having the most dominant rotation in the league, if not all of Baseball. (Of course, we hold our breath after the disaster that was Generation K twenty years ago). But, if as Wilpon stated, it’s all about winning, why is mediocrity now being rewarded?

Davey Johnson was our most successful manager. In six full-seasons, the Mets always finished over 500. He guided this club to their second and last World Series championship, two division titles and was the skipper of our most successful run ever. His .588 winning percentage is unmatched. Yet, Davey was fired early in 1990 when the Mets were (gasp!) two games under .500. Winning was expected and mediocrity (20-22) would not be tolerated.

willie randolph

The second most successful manager in our history was Willie Randolph with a .544 winning percentage. In three full seasons a Randolph-led Mets team never finished below 500. Yet, in spite of dethroning the Braves atop the NL East in 2006 and keeping his team in the fight until game 162 in 2007, Randolph was dismissed in 2008 when the Mets were (gasp again) one game under .500. Once again, winning was expected and mediocrity (34-35) would not be accepted.

Loved or hated, Bobby Valentine’s .534 winning percentage is 3rd best in Mets history. He’s the only manager to lead the Mets to two consecutive post-seasons, something that Davey or Gil Hodges never accomplished. In his six full seasons, Valentines’ Mets finished over .500 five times. The first time he finished under, 75-86, Valentine was fired.

Yogi Berra is a baseball icon, especially in New York. He was a coach in 1969 and managed the ’73 club that came within one hit of winning the World Series. The Mets finished above .500 in two of Berra’s three seasons at the helm. However, management was unhappy and wanted more. Yogi posted a 497 winning percentage and unlike the aforementioned managers, he was actually OVER 500 (56-53) at the time of his dismissal.

Enter our current skipper. Terry Collins is the only Mets manager in franchise history with four consecutive losing seasons. Under Collins, the Mets have failed to improve, have failed to play one single important game, and have continually gone through the motions of playing out the schedule after the All-Star Break.

One out of every three teams in the NL now makes the post-season. But since 2011, the Mets have not even come remotely close to being in a pennant race. His winning percentage is .467, lower than even Jerry Manuel and Joe Frazier, only slightly above good ol’ Dallas Green and Jeff Torborg. Regardless of Collins’ failures for four straight seasons, it’s evident that mediocrity is not only tolerated now, but actually rewarded.

I found it amusing that within hours of ownership compensating Collins and Alderson for four straight seasons of utter averageness the Braves fired their GM, Frank Wren. After all, Wren’s Braves made the post-season only 3 times in 7 years. In Atlanta, as it used to be in Flushing, mediocrity is not rewarded.

When I pointed out this irony to a friend of mine who’s also a die-hard Mets fan, he stated, “That’s because the Braves are built to win now whereas the Mets are building to win long-term.” I found this amusing also. Think about it. The Braves have made the post-season 14 times in 20 years and they’re built to win now. Meanwhile, the Mets, who’ve made the post-season just 3 times in 20 years are built to win later.

I think it’s safe to say that with 14 trips to the playoffs since 1995, the Braves are in fact built to win now and in the longterm. But if winning longterm really is the Mets goal, does anyone out there truly believe in their heart the Mets will make the playoffs 14 times between next year and 2035?

To further drive home the point about mediocrity being the new normal, on Friday the D-backs fired their skipper. In 2011, Kirk Gibson was Manager of the Year, his first full season. In 2012 and 2013, Arizona finished 81-81. Yet, with his team sitting at the bottom of the division this year, management felt a change was needed. Unlike New York, losing was not accepted, nor rewarded.

Many of you probably disagree with me. The Mets are quite possibly poised for a dynasty—just like we were in 2006 and again in the mid-90’s with Paul Wilson and Bill Pulsipher leading the way. Alderson had to rebuild. He needed to trim salary. We can blame Jason Bay, Bobby Bonilla, Omar Minaya, Bernie Madoff, the dimensions of Citi Field and anything else we choose to. But, as Fred Wilpon said, “It’s all about winning.” One would think, by listening to the ‘company line’ and regurgitating the same talking points our front office spews, that the Mets are the only team who need to turn things around. This is not true.

Chicago White Sox v Kansas City Royals

In 2010, the KC Royals finished last with 67 wins. In 4 years, they’ve improved by more than 20 victories and are returning to the post-season in 2014.

In 2010, the Baltimore Orioles finished last with merely 66 victories. In 2014, they have the 2nd best record in the AL, burying both the Yankees (12 GB) and the defending champion Red Sox (25 GB). It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a good manager.

In 2010, the Angels finished below 500 and in third place. In 2014, they have the best record in Baseball.

In 2010, the Mariners lost more than 100 games. Last year they lost 91. This year, however, they battled for the wild-card all season before just falling short.

In 2010, the Pirates lost 105 times! Now, in 2014, the Bucs will be returning to the post-season for their 2nd straight year.

In 2010, the Nats finished last with a record of 69-93. In 2012, just 2 years later, and again this year, they have the best record in the National League.

In 2010, the Mets finished with 79 wins. Four years later, four years under the Alderson/Collins regime, and where are we? …well, 79 wins.

What separates the other teams from the Mets is they’re actually doing what it takes to win, not just promising fans a brighter tomorrow and spouting lip service. They’re bringing up rookies, signing players, and hiring good managers and talented coaches. They’re not rewarding mediocrity.  These teams I mentioned above are able to turn things around in a matter of four years while in Flushing nothing has changed other than promises of better tomorrows.

frank-cashen-davey-johnson

In 1984, ownership promoted Davey Johnson from AAA. The Mets were rebuilding with youth then also and Johnson was the obvious choice. He knew the players—Doc, Darryl, Mitchell, Dykstra—and they knew him. It seems like history should be repeating itself. But not nowadays. While Wally Backman has guided the Triple-A team to the championship two straight years Collins has yet to reach .500 in four years.

Like Davey 30 years ago, Wally knows these young players and they know him. I don’t know if Wally would be a success or a failure and neither do you. However, based on his record of winning contrasted with Collins’ record of losing, I’ll take my chances with Wally.

The 2014 regular season has concluded and Mets fans will do what we always do lately: watching ten other teams play in October. Oh—and counting down until Opening Day. Surely, 2015 will be better and our future is bright. After all, it’s all about winning, right Fred?

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Increased Flexibility Does Not Equal Increased Payroll http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/increased-flexibility-does-not-equal-increased-payroll.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/increased-flexibility-does-not-equal-increased-payroll.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 20:47:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166925 jeff wilpon

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York takes an educated guess that Mets payroll in 2015 will flirt with $100 million. I’m sorry, but I can’t see that happening after weeks of the general manager himself cautioning it would remain around the same $84 million, and the team’s COO Jeff Wilpon saying we shouldn’t expect a spike.

Yes, they have to address arbitration and contractual raises just to keep payroll from climbing to about $95 million. But a snip here and a snip there and that’s not the problem it appears to be.

In the past four years, if we’ve learned anything it’s that baseball decisions take a backseat to finances and maintaining a minimum payroll still trumps anything else the team does.

Moving Bartolo Colon and his $11 million plus Daniel Murphy and his projected $8-9 million, will bring the Mets back to a more manageable (in the eyes of the Wilpons) $75 million which translates to around $10 million in payroll flexibility. And I haven’t even mentioned that one of Jon Niese or Dillon Gee will go too.

If you examine anything that both Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson have said, it is their abundant use of the term, we’ll have “more flexibility” this offseason to make any necessary moves.

Flexibility does not equal payroll spike.

I’m sure the Mets will do what they can to improve the team, but it will be more akin to trading Player A so that we can clear enough payroll to add Player B. That’s what flexibility means.

Additionally, both of the head honchos have already said not to expect any significant free agent signings.

That doesn’t mean we can’t win without a significant addition, we certainly can. But what it does mean is that there will be no 6-7 year deals doled out for anyone including Cuban power prospect Yasmani Tomas.

My guess is that as long as Michael Cuddyer is willing to sign a a two-year deal, he’s at the apex of what the Mets might be able to afford this Winter.

Sure, you’ll have plenty of shills and wishful thinkers out there dreaming big, espousing all the front office talking points, or waving the owner’s propaganda banner. But the fact of the matter is that for five straight seasons this Mets regime and ownership have slashed payroll and even when they promised spending after 2013, payroll went from $95 million to $84 million.

The trick is to stop listening whenever you see Jeff and Fred’s lips moving. If you do that, you’ll be able to survive the next few months.

Remember, more flexibility does not mean more payroll.

And that’s not just an educated guess, it’s a matter of fact.

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Biggest Takeaways From the 2014 Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/biggest-takeaways-from-the-2014-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/biggest-takeaways-from-the-2014-season.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 20:15:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166688 With the Mets 8-3 win yesterday afternoon over the Astros, they closed out what was a rather hectic 2014 season, one filled with both surprises and disappointments, yet one that brought reasons to be optimistic for next season. They finished 79-83, solidly better than last year, but still leaving room to improve. Here are my five biggest takeaways from this year.

The Bullpen is Legit

jeurys familia

The bullpen has been a huge question mark for the Mets over the past few seasons, but they seem to have solved the problem with a strategy a number of teams are now using: put young pitching in the bullpen.

Sandy Alderson finally gave back-end bullpen jobs to Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia, who have both been nasty. After having among the league’s worst bullpens the past few years, the Mets now have a top ten ‘pen. And unlike many dominant bullpens, it is relatively young.

Instead of opting to stick pitchers like Familia and Mejia in the rotation, the Mets made the right call converting them to relievers. In order to be a starter, you really need three good pitches, with the third preferably being a changeup. Familia and Mejia just weren’t meant to be starters and it’s about time they were put in their rightful places.

Mets Made the Right Choice at First

The choice was finally made this April, when the Mets picked Lucas Duda over Ike Davis in one of the most significant decisions the front office made all season. Duda went on to post a 133 wRC+ and a 3.1 fWAR, while Davis lagged behind with a 109 wRC+ and 0.3 fWAR. Duda ended the year with 30 home runs, while Davis finished with 11. The right choice has obviously been made.

While the Mets will likely have to find a good platoon partner for Duda, they have found themselves a legitimate slugger, one who could hit 30 plus home runs for a few years (Duda is only 28).

Lagares is Baseball’s Best Defender

juan lagares catchJuan Lagares catapulted himself this year from a question mark to a cornerstone player. Lagares put up a solid .281/.321/.382 line, hovering around a league average wRC+. That’s not bad, especially for a center fielder. When you combine Lagares’ incredible defensive numbers, this season was much better than you might think.

Say what you will about defensive metrics, but they were pretty consistent with Lagares this year. Almost every defensive metric, from SABR Defensive Index to UZR, had him around 20 runs above average. That’s astounding, especially when you consider the sample size. Lagares didn’t even qualify for the batting title this year.

On a per-game basis, there is no player slicker with the glove than Lagares. He put up a 3.8 fWAR in just 116 games. If he can play a full season, he is a perennial All-Star caliber player.

Starting Rotation is Loaded

The starting rotation was expected to be a force this season, but it exceeded its expectations. Not only did Jonathon Niese, Bartolo Colon, and Zack Wheeler deliver solid seasons, but the team also saw the emergence of a future ace, Jacob deGrom.

The rotation for next year was already looked loaded, even without deGrom. With Matt Harvey back next season, the Mets could have two 130 ERA+-type pitchers to go along with three or four in the 100 range. How many teams can say that every one of their starters is near or above league average? Not many. The rotation will be, barring a plethora of unforeseen injuries, among baseball’s best.

This Team is Built Right

matt harvey

How many teams can lose their ace for the season, have their best player play injured, and still win five more games than the previous year? Without an influx of new money, it doesn’t happen very much.

As tough as the past few years have been, the Mets are clearly on a brighter path. The record has looked more or less the same over the past few years, but the composition of the roster has changed drastically. Compare the 2011 roster with this year’s.

On the position player side, the Mets are a younger team, with more youth coming. With the way the Mets roster was constructed a few years ago, they had to get younger before they could get better. They are now clearly on the upswing.

* * * * * * * *

When the Mets come back to camp next year, they will have a healthy Matt Harvey and a healthy David Wright. Assuming similar production from the rest of the roster, that immediately makes them borderline playoff contenders. Then you factor in  full years of second half-like production from Travis d’Arnaud and Jacob deGrom, and the Mets are right there. Granted that’s a very optimistic view, but it shows just how close this team is from being a contender. If the Mets can add one or two significant pieces this offseason, they will be a dangerous team next year.

mmo

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3 Up, 3 Down: Hot Hand Luke http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-hot-hand-luke.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-hot-hand-luke.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 17:00:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166894 daniel murphy lucas duda

The New York Mets wrapped up their 2014 campaign at Citi Field yesterday, taking two out of three from the Houston Astros to finish 79-83 on the year. The Amazins’ concluded their final two games with authority as they head into a highly anticipated offseason. Below are the series takeaways in this edition of 3 & 3.

3 Up

1. In front of a crowd of nearly 35,000 fans, which included his parents, Lucas Duda smashed his 30th home run of the season and rounded out one of the most hysterical dugout celebrations I’ve ever seen on television. The two-run jack was his 14th at home this year, the most by any player at Citi Field in a single season and it was a total no-doubter. To witness a player discover his power stroke in Flushing, in a lineup where he is the protection, is just remarkable. For the series, Duda hit (.333), slugged (.917) and totaled an OPS of (1.250) to go with his 6 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.

2. Matt den Dekker turned in one of the best series of his brief Major League career, going 4 for 10 (.400) with an RBI and a run scored. The majority of writers, fans and critics believe the Mets would benefit from another power bat in the lineup and feel that left field is the most logical position for such an acquisition. However, den Dekker put up a strong fight towards the end season to throw his name in the conversation. In the month of September, he hit .328, got on base at a .426 clip and posted an .858 OPS. After being in center for the majority of his amateur and professional career, den Dekker made great adjustments defensively and played a strong left field. An outfield tandem of den Dekker in left and Juan Lagares in center is about as ‘lock-down’ as you can get. I’m probably in the minority here, but barring any overwhelming offers, I’d like to retain the pitching we’d use to trade for an outfielder and watch Matt back them up in left.

bobby abreu3. In the 5th inning of yesterday’s game, Bobby Abreu knocked the 2,470th hit of his 18 year MLB career. Immediately after, Abreu left to a standing ovation as Eric Young Jr. came in to pinch run for the veteran. Citi Field sent the former All-Star off with a warm and joyous applause, but many see this as merely the beginning of Abreu’s career as a Met. The front office believes he had a positive influence on the many young call-ups in search of guidance this season and find his offensive approach to be identical to the organizations hitting philosophy. MLB.com’s Tim Healey summed up the end to Abreu’s storied career nicely, noting that he “was playing against the organization with which he got his professional start (the Astros), playing for the team against which he collected his first big league hit (the Mets), and playing under the same manager as when he was a 22-year-old September callup in 1996 (Collins).” Congratulations Bobby, may all the good fortune that followed you as a ball player continue in the next chapter of your life.

3 Down

1. Jon Niese battled injuries and discomfort all season and ended up leaving Friday’s game early with the return of an accelerated heart rate. Overall, Bartolo Colon was the only Mets pitcher to reach 200+ innings this season. Zack Wheeler came close at 185.1 and despite the fact that he remained healthy all year, he consistently suffered from high pitch counts that forced him to routinely exit games in the 5th or 6th inning. Dillon Gee was also no stranger to the disabled list. Matt Harvey will be coming off of Tommy John Surgery and undoubtedly be under an innings limit and Jacob deGrom, aside from an outstanding rookie campaign, battled shoulder soreness with a stint on the DL. For a team that is grounded in its young starting pitching, there’s a component of durability that’s certainly missing.

2. The Mets did tie for second place, but did so with a losing record for the 6th straight season. The club hasn’t made it to the playoffs in 8 straight seasons now and aside from the “additions” they’ll be getting from the disabled list, it doesn’t appear that much will change heading into 2015. If the team can stay healthy all season, I think we have the pieces to be relevant, at least in the wild card standings, but I hope the front office has a better back up plan than AAA Las Vegas should the youth initiative fall through next year.

3. The season is over with and I’ll still be paying an outrageous cable bill even though I’ll have nothing to watch. Here’s to Spring Training 2015, down in Port St. Lucie.

A special thank you to all those who followed along with 3 & 3 this season, I learned a tremendous amount from all of those who added their input. I also realized that expanding my thoughts on the Mets through MMO is a true passion of mine, so a special thank you to Joe D and all the MMO staff for allowing me to be a part of such a great entity. The writing was as therapeutic as the season was frustrating, but I would not have enjoyed 2014 as much as I did had it not been for Mets Merized Online.

Lets.Go.Mets.

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A Look Back At 2014′s Boldest Mets Predictions http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/a-look-back-at-2014s-boldest-mets-predictions.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/a-look-back-at-2014s-boldest-mets-predictions.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:00:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166892 zack wheelerI love looking back after a season at what people were saying during spring training. Sure Sandy Alderson said that the team could win 90 games but we all knew that wasn’t a realistic goal. Instead, guys like Adam Rubin, Joe Lemire and the fine folks over at Bleacher Report all made predictions for the season. Let’s see how they did.

ESPN’s Adam Rubin speculated about whether .500 was a legitimate goal and if it mattered. Turns out the Mets fell short of that goal. He also correctly alluded to the trading of Ike Davis. He correctly speculated that Chris Young was overrated by Sandy Alderson but thought the same of Bartolo Colon. Colon ended up being a strong point for the Mets.

chris youngOne of the funniest things to look back on were the bullpen projections. Names like Jose Valverde, Kyle Farnsworth and Bobby Parnell were quickly replaced with Jenrry Mejia, Vic Black and Jeurys Familia. In the end, Rubin had the Mets finishing in 4th in the NL East with a 76-86 record. They ended up winning three more games and finishing in 2nd.

Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Sean Cunningham made some of the more amusing predictions. He had Chris Young finishing in the top 10 in home runs in the NL, Travis D’Arnaud becoming a first time All-Star and Daniel Murphy finishing in the top 5 for the batting title. Murphy’s .289 average puts him at #13.

Cunningham did get two things spot on. He predicted that Zack Wheeler would have the team’s worst winning percentage and that Juan Lagares would win a Gold Glove. While Wheeler’s wasn’t quite the worst at .500, it wasn’t good and Lagares could easily take home center field’s top award next month.

Sports Illustrated’s Joe Lemire made a few bold predictions that got away from him. Among them were that the Mets would have a winning season with 82 wins. We know now that this wasn’t the case.

The prediction game is fun but it’s meant more as an exercise than a critique. Predicting sports is near impossible and baseball is probably the trickiest of them all. I’ll be sure to make my predictions for 2015 well known so that one year from now I can see how wrong (or right) I was!

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Was Game 162 The Start Of Something Special For Alderson’s Mets? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/was-game-162-the-start-of-something-special-for-aldersons-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/was-game-162-the-start-of-something-special-for-aldersons-mets.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:15:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166882 lucas duda USATSIIt’s hard to witness the moment that a team finally clicks, especially when that team has been trying to turn things around for half a decade. Yesterday’s 8-3 win over the Houston Astros in the seasons final game felt like it meant something. While the team will still finish below .500, they won more games than last season and a little bit of winning energy was infused into Citi Field.

Energy is a very hard thing to measure for a baseball team. With so much momentum required to win, people have talked all year about the Mets needing to learn-how-to-win in 2014, so that they’re prepared to win in 2015. This season on the whole didn’t feel like them ‘learning to win.’

September was a different story. They finish the month with a 14-10 record, one victory shy of their season high marks in April and July. Still, it felt different. Before the game, Terry Collins seemed to foreshadow that very ideal. “In the past, it’s always been about these guys have collapsed in September. We haven’t done that. We’ve actually played well, and I think at the end, the guys are going to be rewarded in the future” (Zach Schonbrun, NYT).

Sandy Alderson addressed the state of the team Sunday after the game.

“If we’re going to be one of the top five teams we’ve got to be in the top five with run production, we’ve got to be in the top five pitching-wise. Do I think we can get from eight to five with what we have? I think it’s possible but that doesn’t mean we’ll rely on what we have. But I do think we need to get better in that regard, but we don’t have to get a lot better. If we can go from, like I said, middle of the pack – I think we’re eight or something like that – if we can get up to three or four we’ll be in great shape”

New York Mets Sandy Alderson at Citi FieldSo the manager and general manager both seem optimistic about 2015. Alderson seems to feel that adding 10-12 wins will get the job done. The question is, did game 162 feel like the spark?

It was the way in-which they won. They payed homage to Bobby Abreu in his final game while Lucas Duda smacked the ball around the yard. Even Ruben Tejada got in on the home run hitting. There was applause and energy in a stadium that has been filled with empty seats for so much of the summer.

Alderson has led us this far. He’s re-tooled the minor league system, stocked the pitching staff with more arms than a manager could know what to do with and is now just a few moves away from putting a winning team on the field. 2014 might have sucked on the whole but games 161 and 162 showed us that winning baseball is on the horizon in New York and Sandy Alderson is leading us there.

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Wally Backman Will Not Join The Mets In 2015 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/wally-backman-will-not-join-the-mets-in-2015.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/wally-backman-will-not-join-the-mets-in-2015.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:27:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166884 backman

Wally Backman will not join the Mets in 2015. Instead he will return to AAA Las Vegas, where he just won a division title and Manager of the Year in the Pacific Coast League, according to ESPN’s Adam Rubin. Instead, Sandy Alderson, who spoke briefly about the topic on Sunday, will likely make some minor changes to the coaching staff including reassigning Lamar Johnson and Luis Natera.

Without any other changes to the major league coaching roster, it seems there is no fit for Backman in Queens. Side stepping like a pro, Alderson concluded that “I never like to announce changes if there are going to be any at the time the season ends. So anything we do will be deferred (Adam Rubin, ESPN).

Adam Rubin’s source calls the changes the Mets will make “limited” while Andy Martino of The Daily News quoted a source as saying that the previously mentioned coaches would be reassigned and Bob Geren would return.

The most interesting twist in this discussion is the idea of Backman interviewing outside of New York. His history with the Mets front office aside, Backman has done an admirable job with the 51′s and with coaching vacancy’s looming throughout baseball, he could make sense for another club.

Mets fans seem more interested in moving Backman into a position with the major league team than Alderson and the front office. For now it appears he’ll be back in Las Vegas for 2015 unless another team poaches him.

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Alderson Says Mets Will Likely Make Citi Field More Homer Friendly http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/alderson-says-mets-will-likely-make-citi-field-more-homer-friendly.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/alderson-says-mets-will-likely-make-citi-field-more-homer-friendly.html/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 02:55:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166612 david wright

After the Mets handily defeated the Astros by a score of 8-3 on Sunday to close out the season, Sandy Alderson met with the media and fielded questions about the state of the team and shared some early offseason thoughts.

“Offensively, we need to score some more runs and in a couple of places in the batting order and in the field, we probably need to take a look at things,” Alderson said.

One way the Mets will look to boost offensive production will be to bring in the fences.

“I think it is likely. We made changes a couple of years ago,” Alderson said. “Those have been received well and play well. Anything we do will probably be limited to center and right-center areas. But I think they’ll be good for the game, good for the fans. I’m sure that one or two of our players will benefit as well.”

It’s no secret that these dimension changes are geared toward making Citi Field cozier for David Wright and Curtis Granderson

Obviously bringing in the fences will aid the opposition as well, but the Mets seem convinced it will help them more.

In 2014, the Mets hit 58 home runs at Citi Field while their opponents went deep 71 times.

The last time the Mets brought in the fences after the 2011 season the opposition went from 58 home runs to 88 home runs – a difference of 30 more homers.

As for the Mets, they went from 50 home runs to 67 home runs – a difference of 17 more homers.

I think what the Mets fail to realize is that the problem may not be the fences, but the fact we need better hitters.

Interestingly enough, the original concept for Citi Field was to cater to pitching and defense. Now that the Mets have finally gotten to that point with a young and promising rotation, plus one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, they’ve decided to make it more homer friendly because “it’s good for the fans.”

I’d rather do things because it’s good for our chances to get into the postseason, but what do I know.

Check out this pretty good rant about this on Fair and Unbalanced who writes: “So, instead of getting the hitters they need, the Mets will try to enhance the warning track power of the hitters they have by bringing in the fences.”

Yep, exactly…

(Updated 9/28)

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 8, Astros 3 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-recap-mets-8-astros-3.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-recap-mets-8-astros-3.html/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 21:19:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166852 lucas duda hr 30

Capping off his breakout season, Lucas Duda provided the offense with a four-RBI afternoon as the Mets ended 2014 on a high note Sunday, routing the Astros by a final score of 8-3.

Duda reached a pair of individual milestones in the game, most notably his 30th home run, which came in his final at-bat of the year. Duda also reached 92 runs batted in, both figures the most for a given Mets player since 2012 when Ike Davis had 32 home runs and David Wright had 93 RBIs.

Bartolo Colon went six innings allowing three runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out four, earning his 15th win of the season. It is the eighth time in Colon’s career that he has reached 15 wins or more and the 204th victory of his career.

bobby abreu

Bobby Abreu, who announced his retirement Friday, had a base hit in the fifth inning and was replaced with Eric Young Jr. on the basepaths, walking off to a standing ovation from the 34,897 fans in attendance. Abreu retired with 2,470 career hits, 1,475 walks and 574 doubles in 18 seasons for the Mets, Astros, Phillies, Yankees, Angels, and Dodgers.

The Mets end their season 79-83, their highest win total since 2010 but their sixth straight losing season.

Thank you from all of us here at MMO for reading.

Get ready for what we hope will be a lively offseason!

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MMO Game Thread: Astros vs Mets, 1:10 PM (This Is It!) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-thread-astros-vs-mets-110-pm-this-is-it.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-thread-astros-vs-mets-110-pm-this-is-it.html/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 14:02:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166825 bartolo colon

The end is near. This afternoon at Citi Field the New York Mets will play their final game of the season, a rubber match against the Houston Astros. The veteran Bartolo Colon (14-13, 4.08) will close out the 2014 campaign for the Mets and he’ll be opposed by Astros right-hander Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3.78) in a 1:10 PM start.

The Mets (78-83) enter the final day of the season tied with the Atlanta Braves for second place in the NL East, and one game ahead of the fourth place Miami Marlins.

Colon is just 3.2 innings shy of reaching the 200-inning plateau for the Mets. The last time he tossed 200 innings was in 2005, when he went 21-8 and won the American League Cy Young Award for the Los Angeles Angels.

Bobby Abreu is expected to be in the lineup for what will be his final start as a major leaguer. On Friday, the 40-year-old veteran outfielder announced that he would retire after this season. “I feel happy with my career,” he said. “I’m blessed. We all create goals in our lives. And to me, as a baseball player, I created all my goals and I met all those goals.”

After hitting a dramatic walk-off home run on Saturday night, Lucas Duda is just one more longball away from a 30-homer season. He’s also two runs batted in away from a 90 RBI season.

No matter what happens today, the Mets will not have a protected draft pick in 2015. That means they will forfeit their first-round selection next June if they sign a free agent who receives a qualifying offer from his former team.

Starting Lineup

  1. Matt den Dekker – LF
  2. Bobby Abreu – RF
  3. Daniel Murphy – 3B
  4. Lucas Duda – 1B
  5. Curtis Granderson – CF
  6. Wilmer Flores – 2B
  7. Ruben Tejada – SS
  8. Juan Centeno – C
  9. Bartolo Colon – RHP

The Mets and Astros button up the jerseys for one more time this season as they look to turn the lights out on the 2014 season. Last night, the Mets won thanks to a walk-off homer from Lucas Duda, his 29th of the season, and today they look to win 79 games in a season for the first time since 2010. Today Bartolo Colon takes the mound as he squares off against Nick Tropeano.

Bartolo Colon is 14-13 over 30 games this season pitching 196.1 innings with a 4.08 ERA. Colon is going to have to bounce back from a poor start in Washington where he allowed 4 ER over 6.0 innings. Last year he pitched against Houston four times allowing 3 earned over 6, none over 7, 5 over 4 and 1 over 6. The Astros have the following numbers against Colon:

  • Altuve 5-14, 2B
  • Dominguez 2-12, 2B
  • Castro 6-9, HR
  • Carter 1-10, 2B
  • Villar 1-5

Nick Tropeano gets the fourth start of his rookie season. He is coming off of the worst start of his brief career, allowing 4 ER over 6.2 innings. He has not faced the Mets in a major league game and has never faced any current Mets players.

This is my last game preview of the year. It’s been a pleasure writing these for you. I’ll be back again in the Spring when I begin my 8th season with the best group of Mets writers on the web – Metsmerized!

Lets Go Mets!

mmo

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Mets Should Seize The Moment And Rock This Town Next Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-should-seize-the-moment-and-rock-this-town-next-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mets-should-seize-the-moment-and-rock-this-town-next-season.html/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 13:58:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166746 curtis granderson jacob degrom

As we head into the offseason, the city of New York is ripe for the picking. The Yankees are still king while the Mets have been the butt of the joke for years. But an era is ending in the Bronx. The last link to the Yankee Dynasty will be gone. Our crosstown rivals will have missed the playoffs for two straight seasons. Five Octobers will have passed since the last Yankee world series.

An entire generation of young fans have grown up knowing nothing but winning in the Bronx. The Mets on the other hand, have six straight losing seasons and have missed the playoffs the last eight. If becoming a Mets fan wasn’t ingrained into you from a relative that was already a die-hard and your baseball loyalties were up for grabs in the New York area – chances are you’re likely not reading this and you’re likely wearing a No. 2 jersey.

The Mets have a chance to spark some change and grab some of the New York spotlight as soon as the 2015 season… But will they take advantage of this opportunity?

Spearheading a Mets renaissance is a young, dynamic pitching staff being led by young guns Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Jacob deGrom. Their back end of the rotation currently consisting of Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, and Bartolo Colon is solid, although at least one of them will likely be traded before next Opening Day. Not to worry as the Amazins have some strong reinforcements waiting in the wings in Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, and Steven Matz. Additionally, the bullpen, which was a perennial weakness, has suddenly emerged as a major strength.

Does the offense need some work? Yes, it does. The Mets rank 26th in the majors with a .670 OPS, 28th with a .238 batting average, and 22nd in runs scored. Clearly, they need to address this and it may take more than just bringing in the fences. Another bat or two is what it will take to get them into the top third of the league in runs. We squandered far too many solid pitching performances this season – enough to know that great pitching alone won’t get us where we want to be. We have a chance to do something special, but it will take a true commitment to winning and a dedication to securing the right pieces to make it all work.

When you look across town, what do you see? An icon that is gone, an offense that has struggled since their best hitter went to Seattle, and the return of baseball’s biggest freak show – Alex Rodriguez. With an aging roster saddled with too many bloated and underperforming contracts, the Yankees are clearly on their way down.

If the Mets play their cards right and are willing to address the few remaining issues this offseason, they can seize this opportunity and capture the city in a way that hasn’t been seen since the 1980s when the Mets ruled New York. It’s happened before and it could happen again. Even with the impediment of owners who don’t seem to care and are unwilling to increase payroll, we can still overcome their dysfunction and rock this town if we make the right moves this offseason. Let’s do it.

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A Confident Duda Vows To Hit Better Against LHP Next Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/duda-vows-to-hit-better-against-lhp-next-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/duda-vows-to-hit-better-against-lhp-next-season.html/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 10:00:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166797 lucas duda hr

Wow, what a game, what a finish, what a shot by Lucas Duda… Who says meaningless games in September all have to be dull and boring?

What I loved most about Duda’s walk-off home run, besides the clang it made when it struck the foul pole, was that he hit it off lefthander Tony Sipp

If there’s a knock on Lucas Duda, it’s undoubtedly his profound struggles against lefthanded pitching this season. He was batting .173 (19-for-110) against southpaws before his majestic ninth inning blast.

“I haven’t hit left-handers as well this year, obviously,” Duda said afterward. “You know, I’ll get better at it. It’s a work in progress.”

Bursting with confidence, Duda says his goal next season is to become a bigger factor against lefties. If he can get his average against them up to .240 or .250, he becomes a bonafide All Star caliber first baseman for the Mets.

The emergence of Duda this year has been truly remarkable and exciting to see. His success brings many positive implications for the Mets, and chief among them is that he heads into 2015 as the everyday first baseman, giving us one less thing to worry about this offseason.

I’d love to see Duda crush one more homerun on Sunday just so he could reach that magic 30 homer plateau. But whether he does or he doesn’t, I’m just glad we have him and I look forward to bigger and better seasons from him in the future.

Here’s last night’s video for you to enjoy again. It may very well be the last great Mets highlight of the 2014 season, so hit play and soak it all in.  LGM

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MMO Fan Appreciation Giveaways! Lagares, Davey, El Sid, Doctor K!!! http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-fan-appreciation-giveaways-lagares-davey-el-sid-doctor-k.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-fan-appreciation-giveaways-lagares-davey-el-sid-doctor-k.html/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 09:56:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166838 thank-you (1)

Today we close out the greatest season we’ve ever had at Metsmerized and it’s all because of your unwavering support for what we do. You’ve made MMO the largest Mets community on the web with over 100,000 comments per month!

At MMO we are dedicated to bringing you the best and most diverse Mets content out there. We take no shortcuts and our average article is 750 words. We try to convey a fair and balanced stream of opinions that represent the entire Mets fanbase and not just a portion of it. Over 65% of our articles are unique and original content.

Today is about saying thank you to all of our Amazin’ Readers, Contributors, and Writers. A community like ours is only great because it’s comprised of knowledgeable and passionate Mets fans like you. This is our way of giving back to you.

In today’s MMO Game Thread, we’ll be giving away the following items all signed by some of your favorite Mets players. Our first round of giveaways were on Twitter where a dozen lucky Met fans won themselves some fantastic Mets memorabilia. But today, we reward the MMO Diehards – the fans who have grinded out all 162 games with us in our Amazin’ Game Threads!

Here’s a glimpse of what we’ll be dishing out throughout the game beginning at the bottom of the first inning!

I love you guys… Let’s have some fun today and Let’s Go Mets!

juan lagares baseball

Juan Lagares Signed Baseball

davey johnson

Davey Johnson Signed 86 World Series Baseball  

sid fernandez

Sid Fernandez Autographed 8 x 10 Photo

dwight gooden

Dwight Gooden Signed 1986 Street & Smith

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 2, Astros 1 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-recap-mets-2-astros-1.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-recap-mets-2-astros-1.html/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 03:14:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166796 Lucas Duda reacts after hitting a walk-off home run in the 9th inning. Photo credit: Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

The Mets (78-83) beat the Astros (70-91) by a score of 2-1 on Saturday night at Citi Field.

Rafael Montero got the start for the Mets and pitched well, giving up 1 run on 6 hits and 2 walks in 5.1 innings, striking out 6 and throwing 91 pitches. Montero will finish his debut campaign with a 4.06 ERA in 44.1 innings pitched. Rafa will still be eligible for “Rookie Status” in the 2015 season. Also, if he’s good, we’re totally calling him Rafa. ¡Vamos Rafa!

The Mets struggled on offense for most of the game, tallying just 2 hits and a walk through the first 8 innings against Houston starter Samuel Deduno and the Astros’ relievers. New York almost scratched out a run in the bottom of the 2nd, when a 2-out error (which should have been scored a hit for Wilmer Flores) and a walk put a couple men on for Ruben Tejada. Ruben hit one up the middle which was knocked down just past the edge of the infield by a diving Marwin Gonzalez, who had no chance to get Tejada at first. However, with an 0-for-ever Rafael Montero “looming” on deck, Flores decided to push the envelope and break for the plate. Gonzalez popped up and fired home, beating Wilmer to the plate by a mile to end the inning.

Montero worked around a 1-out double in the next half-inning from his counterpart Deduno, which was ironically the Houston starter’s first career hit. Montero again got himself into trouble in the top of the 4th when a hit and a pair of 2-out walks loaded the bases, but the 23 year-old fanned Jake Marisnick to escape the jam.

The Astros finally broke through for the game’s first run in the top of the sixth. After Dexter Fowler‘s slow roller down the third-base line disappointed Daniel Murphy by staying fair, Jason Castro hit a double to the wall in right-field which allowed Fowler— who had been running on the pitch— to practically jog home. The double ended Montero’s outing and season, as Terry Collins brought in Buddy Carlyle to limit the damage to one run. Carlyle gave up a base-hit to Gonzalez, but Castro held up at third, and would be stranded there as Carlyle got Matt Dominguez to line out to Flores before Marisnick once again whiffed to end a scoring threat.

Matt den Dekker doubled with 1-out in the bottom of the sixth against Jake Buchanan and moved to third on a ground-out from Eric Young, prompting Houston skipper Tom Lawless (which would totally be my prison name) to bring in reliever Kevin Chapman to face Daniel Murphy. Murphy hit one towards the right side which seemed destined to tie the game, but a diving Chris Carter snared it and flipped it to first to retire the side and keep the Mets off the board.

After Carlyle got the side in order for an easy top of the 7th, Jeurys Familia worked a perfect inning of his own in the top of the 8th. Jenrry Mejia came in for the top of the 9th and went untouched as well, capping off a solid group effort from the Mets’ bullpen.

Jose Veras did his job and got the ball to Tony Sipp, who was tasked with preserving a 1-run lead in the bottom of the 9th. Sipp got Eric Campbell to fly out, but then surrendered a triple to Young to put the tying run 90 feet away. After Daniel Murphy’s soft floater to left field failed to travel far enough to give Young a chance to come home, Lucas Duda stepped to the plate with the Mets  down to their final out. Duda got ahold of Sipp’s 1-0 fastball and sent a screaming liner off the foul pole in right, giving the Mets a 2-1 victory with his 29th home run of the season.

 rafael montero

Well, it might have been meaningless, but that sure was a fun ending. 1 out away from losing, the Mets got a homer from their biggest slugger and snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat. And maybe it wasn’t so meaningless. The victory keeps the Mets ahead of the Marlins and tied with the Braves (against whom they won the season series) for 2nd place in the NL East and the 7th best record in the National League. We’re technically hurting our draft pick, but we won’t have a protected pick, and we’re not going to be signing a “Qualified” free agent anyway, so that’s not too important. Finishing 2nd would be nice, given that very few have viewed the Mets as being better than the Braves in the last few years.

Montero had a nice ending to what was a decent— albeit slightly disappointing– introduction to the Major Leagues. He’ll still be considered a Rookie next season, so to say he was a “complete bust of a rookie” would be false in more ways than one. Whether he will be groomed as a starter for a bit down in Triple-A, join the Major League bullpen, or be moved in a trade remains to be seen, but Rafael definitely showed some potential, which is all that is fair to ask from a 23 year-old.

Duda got to 29, and he has a chance to make it a round 30 in the season finale tomorrow. I’m really hoping he gets there just for entertainment’s sake, but of course, it’s just one home run either way.

I don’t have a problem with what Flores did. You have the pitcher on deck. You’ve already gotten set to charge home with the expectation that the ball is headed through the hole. Runs have been hard to come by. The shortstop needs to have the presence of mind to make the throw quickly, and the throw needs to be on target. The catcher needs to catch the ball perfectly. Heck, with this new rule about blocking the plate, you might get a run even if everything goes wrong. It was frustrating, but it was a justifiable decision given the context. That being said… boy, Flores and Tejada are SLOW.

lucas duda calebration

This was my last recap in my first full season at MMO. It’s been great writing for you guys this year and I can’t wait to get started with some offseason articles, including—what else?— season recap pieces.

Up Next: The Mets will wrap up their season on Sunday afternoon against Houston. Bartolo Colon (14-13, 4.08 ERA) will take the mound for the Mets, while Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3.78 ERA) will pitch for Houston.

Hopefully we finish strong tomorrow. LGM!

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MMO Game Thread: Astros vs Mets, 7:10 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-thread-astros-vs-mets-710-pm-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/mmo-game-thread-astros-vs-mets-710-pm-2.html/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 19:26:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166736 rafael montero throws

The Mets continue their final series of the year on Sunday against the Astros at Citi Field. Rookie righthander Rafael Montero (1-3, 4.38) will take the mound for the Mets and he’ll oppose Samuel Deduno (2-6, 4.66) for the Astros. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

Montero is making his eighth major league start. He earned his first major league win in his last start on September 10 vs. Colorado when he tossed 5.1 shutout innings, allowed three hits and four walks and notched seven strikeouts. Over his last two starts, Montero has fanned 13 and allowed one run in 12.2 innings.

Travis d’Arnaud will undergo surgery early next week to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. He finished the year with 13 home runs, the most by a rookie catcher in team history and currently the most among NL rookies this season. Only two Mets have led NL rookies in home runs (Darryl Strawberry with 26 in 1983 and Ron Swoboda with 19 in 1965).

The Mets will begin the 2015 regular season on April 6 at Washington. The Home Opener is Monday, April 13 vs. the Phillies. The 2015 schedule also features the Subway Series returning to weekend matchups on April 24-26 at Yankee Stadium and at Citi Field September 18-20. The Boston Red Sox are set to make their first-ever regular season visit to Citi Field for a weekend matchup, August 28-30.

In the first year of Major League Baseball’s instant replay review system, the Mets have challenged 31 calls and have been successful on 14 of them. Overall, the Mets have been involved in 59 plays that have gone to instant replay with 30 of those calls being overturned.

Starting Lineup

  1. Matt den Dekker, cf
  2. Eric Young Jr., lf
  3. Daniel Murphy, 3b
  4. Lucas Duda, 1b
  5. Curtis Granderson, rf
  6. Wilmer Flores, 2b
  7. Anthony Recker, c
  8. Ruben Tejada, SS
  9. Rafael Montero, rhp

The Mets dropped the opener of the last series of the season last night, and they look to bounce back tonight as they play the Astros in game two. Niese left early and the Mets struggled to push runs across the plate as they lost by a score of 3-1, the lone run coming from a Grandy shot. Tonight they look to get back on it with Montero on the mound and Deduno starting for the ‘stros.

Rafael Montero is 1-3 this season over 9 games and 7 starts posting a 4.38 ERA in 39.0 innings of work. He has had a good month of September so far making a start and an appearance totaling to 6.1 innings, no runs, 4 hits, 5 walks and 8 strikeouts. He has never faced the Astros in his major league career and he has never faced anyone on the Astros’ roster.

The Mets draw Sam Deduno who is 2-6 this season over 96.2 innings with a 4.66 ERA. In four games for the Astros this year, in no starts, he is 0-1 over 4.2 innings with a 5.79 ERA. He has never faced the Mets in a major league game before but he has faced one batter on the Mets roster, Curtis Granderson, who is 0-1 against Deduno.

homer the dog

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25 Years Ago: The Co-Captains’ Final Game At Shea Becomes The Undercard http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/25-years-ago-the-co-captains-final-game-at-shea-becomes-the-undercard.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/25-years-ago-the-co-captains-final-game-at-shea-becomes-the-undercard.html/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 17:44:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166765 This was the scene at Shea after the final game played there in 1986.  Three years later, the scene was just a tad different.

This was the scene at Shea after the final game played there in 1986. Three years later, the scene was just a tad different.

On Thursday, the captain of the New York Yankees played his final game in front of his home fans.  He ended the game in memorable fashion, by delivering a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Twenty-five years ago today, the New York Mets were bidding adieu to their co-captains, who were playing their final game at Shea Stadium as members of the team.  The ending to that game was also memorable, but it had nothing to do with the soon-to-be-departed team leaders.

Keith Hernandez (named Mets captain in 1987) and Gary Carter (named Mets co-captain in 1988) were the heart and soul of the 1986 World Champions.  Acquired by general manager Frank Cashen in 1983, Hernandez was the first piece that helped turn the team around from pretenders to contenders.  A year and a half later, Carter became the most important piece added by Cashen.

Together, Hernandez and Carter helped a team that had qualified for the postseason just twice in its first 24 seasons win two division titles in three years.  But by the end of the 1980s, both players were no longer productive and it had become clear that Cashen was not going to bring them back to the team in 1990.  Cashen had already traded away several fan-favorites in 1989, including Wally Backman, Mookie Wilson, Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell, hoping that the future of the team would be molded by younger players like Gregg Jefferies.

Cashen’s breakup of the championship team led to disarray in the clubhouse and the club’s first season with fewer than 90 victories since 1983.  Although the ’89 team had stayed in the hunt for the division crown for most of the season, by September 27, the Mets had been eliminated in the playoff race.  With nothing left to play for going into the final home game of the season, the Shea Stadium finale became all about Hernandez and Carter’s last hurrah at the ballpark they helped electrify for many years.

Neither player was in the starting lineup, as Dave Magadan and Mackey Sasser were starting at first base and catcher, respectively.  But both co-captains did make it into the game in the later innings, as Hernandez appeared as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and Carter replaced Sasser behind the plate in the ninth.  Although just 18,666 fans attended the game, the roars for Hernandez and Carter were loud enough to drown out the airplanes flying into LaGuardia Airport.  But those vocal fans remained on their feet for a different reason once the game ended, and it had nothing to do with an extended ovation for their departing co-captains.

After Gregg Jefferies grounded out to end the game, a 5-3 loss to the Phillies, the Mets’ second baseman made a beeline toward his former teammate, Roger McDowell, who had earned the save in Philadelphia’s victory.  What happened next was not exactly the tribute Mets fans were expecting for Hernandez and Carter.

 

Four years before Nolan Ryan made atomic noogies the cool thing to do when he pounded away on Robin Ventura’s skull, McDowell sent the bratty Jefferies to his room with a few well-placed knuckles to the left side of his noggin.  The incident stemmed from a game earlier in the series, as recalled by manager Davey Johnson.

“It went back to Monday night,” said Johnson.  “Roger screamed something at Gregg after he broke Gregg’s bat.  Obviously there’s bad blood between them.”

Breaking one’s bat does not usually set off a bench-clearing brawl a few nights later, leaving some to doubt Johnson’s reason for the melee.  However, Phillies manager Nick Leyva had what was perhaps the real reason for the unique sendoff to Carter and Hernandez.

“There were 30 guys on our side rooting for Roger and 20 guys on their side rooting for Roger.”

Gregg Jefferies was never liked in the Mets clubhouse and his subpar performance on the field did not endear the supposed wunderkind to Mets fans.  But he did make headlines on a night that should have been remembered for the final appearances of two of his beloved teammates.

A few days ago, the Yankee captain ended his final game in his home park by walking off a hero in victory.  Twenty-five years ago today, the Mets’ co-captains ended their last game at Shea by separating teammates and opponents at the bottom of a pile of testosterone (McDowell) and puberty (Jefferies).

For the 1980s Mets, I suppose it was the only way the decade could end.

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Goodbye and Good Luck, Kevin Burkhardt http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/goodbye-and-good-luck-kevin-burkhardt.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/goodbye-and-good-luck-kevin-burkhardt.html/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 17:15:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166751 kevin burkhardt

“Journey,” is how Kevin Burkhardt described his time with SNY and the Mets. It certainly has been a journey for Burkhardt, who 10 years ago made his primary living as a car salesman in New Jersey. However, once SNY entered the picture, everything changed. High quality reporting as the color man on TV broadcasts and a little faith from the network have caused Burkhardt’s career to take off.  Now as a part of Fox Sports’ number two NFL broadcast team, Burkhardt has spent recent weeks preparing for football games by day and working Mets games by night. (He admits that he’s “sleeping no more than 4 hours a night.)

Moving to Fox full time has let the stark reality set in. Come this offseason, Kevin Burkhardt won’t be anchoring Mets Hot Stove, but instead the NFL game of the week on Fox. (Weird, right?)

kevinburkhardt2However, despite moving on in his career, Burkhardt still remains loyal to his roots in New York. He is incredibly thankful to SNY for the experiences he’s had. From Johan Santana’s no-hitter, which he refers to as “something he’ll never forget as long as he lives” to “just being around the ballpark everyday and watching baseball.” He definitely realizes the profound effect SNY has had on him. The network has helped him become a better broadcaster by giving him valuable TV experience and the opportunity to learn from the SNY booth from some of the game’s finest. Burkhardt is quick to sing the network’s praises.

This humble demeanor makes Burkhardt truly stand out. In a broadcasting industry that is known for egotistical talent, Burkhardt is very down to earth. He insists that becoming famous has not changed him.

“I would like to say I’ve been the same person for the past 40 years. I’ve always tried to treat people respectfully, even when I have a bad day, and I think I do. Hopefully, I haven’t changed.”

For the past eight years, Burkhardt has been one of us. He’s a fan like us, and he clearly wants the team to succeed as much as we do.  He is genuine and relatable, he never hesitates to chat with fans or stop to take a photo with them.

“I think the biggest thing that I can say to you fans is thank you.”

Mets fans of the past decade will always hold a special place in their hearts for KB, and an emotional sendoff on the Shea Bridge last week affirmed just that.  I’ll admit it, I even got a little emotional just watching it. Burkhardt has always been classy and cool, and he will be missed

There is no doubting the profound effect Kevin Burkhardt has had on the Mets community.  He’s brought us closer to the team we love while becoming one of the more well liked figures in Mets history.  Here at MMO, we wish you all the best, Kevin, and please, get some sleep.

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Everything Hinges On Wright Returning To All Star Form http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/everything-hinges-on-wright-returning-to-all-star-form.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/everything-hinges-on-wright-returning-to-all-star-form.html/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 15:07:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=166745 MLB: Washington Nationals at New York Mets

Kevin Kernan of the New York Post conveys that David Wright is stoked about the direction the Mets are heading and knows the front office must acquire a couple of key pieces this offseason to avoid a seventh straight losing season.

Ironically, Kernan argues, the biggest piece the Mets have to acquire is one David Wright. And even Terry Collins admitted as much to the Post on Friday.

“I don’t mean to put the onus on David,’’ manager Collins said. “But when you have a star, your team will go the way the star goes. You look at the teams that are having success, and I’ll go to the Pirates.

“In the middle of their lineup is a kid who has the chance to be the MVP again, Andrew McCutchen. Without him, they’re not the same team. Without David being David, we’re not the same team. We need him back, we need him healthy. He changes our entire team when he is hitting in that three-hole.

“We have to get David to be David. He’s our guy.’’

Collins is right and in an attempt to get Wright going again, the front office is reversing their previous stance and are in fact moving in the fences to facilitate Wright’s power to right and right-center.

Compounding matters is the uncertainty regarding Wright’s injured shoulder. An MRI taken earlier this week revealed some damaged and stretched out ligaments and an unstable socket and rotator cuff that could require surgery if the six weeks of rehab fails to remedy the situation.

“Surgery is only a resort if the rehab doesn’t work,’’ Wright said. “I got to get healthy, that is the most important thing right now. I’ll hopefully get good news in about a month.”

With six years and $110 million remaining on his contract, Wright is coming off the worst season of his career, with just eight home runs and a .698 OPS.

Wright turns 32 in December and is not getting any younger. He’s the one carrying the load and he’s the player Sandy Alderson’s plan is counting on to provide the most thump.

“He knows how important he is to the team,” Collins added. “But because he’s set the bar so high that’s what you look for and when it’s not there, you have to find someone to rise up and give you that and that’s hard to do.’’

As Kernan concludes, the Mets need Wright not only to be healthy, but also to perform at an All-Star level again in 2015 and beyond.

“I plan on playing a full season next year and production wise,’’ Wright said, “we’ll get back to where we need to be next year.’’

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