Mets Merized Online » Cliff Lee http://metsmerizedonline.com Sun, 01 Feb 2015 12:00:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 Teams Were Unwilling To Meet Mets’ Asking Price On Colon http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/teams-were-unwilling-to-meet-mets-asking-price-on-colon.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/teams-were-unwilling-to-meet-mets-asking-price-on-colon.html/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:21:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=162181 Colon

The trade deadline is over and Bartolo Colon will make his next scheduled start. Joel Sherman of the New York Post said there were teams that were interested, but not at Sandy Alderson’s asking price. Sherman expects the Mets to try and move Colon in the offseason.

Teams were also reluctant to take on Colon because of his age and the $15 million still due to him though the 2015 season.

He’ll be easier to move this winter when he has just one year and $11 million remaining on his deal, which may seem comparable to other available starting pitchers on the market.

July 31

Here are the latest rumblings from some baseball insiders on Mets starter Bartolo Colon and whether he’ll still be a Met by the end of today’s non-waiver trade deadline at 4:00 PM EST.

The Baltimore Orioles have checked in on Colon according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. However, Heyman hears that the Mets are still undecided on whether to trade him. Heyman says the Giants and Mariners are among other teams that have been mentioned for Colon as possibilities, but that teams are hesitant due to his $11 million salary during his age 42 season in 2015.

Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog says that the Mets have no interest in paying Colon any of the money he has left on his contract and they are waiting to simply place him on waivers August 1 and trade him for nothing to any team that claims him just to shed themselves of his contract.

However, MLB Trade Rumors says that while the Mets aren’t sure whether or not they’ll trade him at this time yet, GM Sandy Alderson isn’t one to simply dump salary in trades.

Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that “there’s no traction between the Royals and the Mets for Colon” and that barring a change, “the Mets don’t seem likely to be active today”. However, Martino adds that he’d be surprised if Colon were with the Mets in 2015, suggesting that any deal for Colon won’t happen until the offseason.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post also hears the same on Mets being likely to stand pat today. Sherman says that a better market will develop for Colon in the offseason, when he’ll have just one year and $11 million remaining on his contract.

Finally, Mike Puma of the New York Post reported that ”nothing has changed” regarding Bartolo Colon. and that the Mets “won’t eat any of the $13 million” he is owed. Team officials told him that they expect the veteran right-hander will still be a Met on 8/1.

July 30

Andy Martino of the New York Daily News is reporting that the Kansas City Royals are interested in New York Met’s starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.  The Royals are looking to add depth to their rotation, but the main question is whether they have the payroll flexibility to take Colon’s remaining contract, which is approximately $14.25 over the next year and remainder of this season.  However, the Mets are supposedly willing to eat around $2 million of that amount in order to facilitate a trade.

As Thursday’s trade deadline gets closer, the pool of available starting pitchers is growing shallow.  The Tampa Bay Rays woke up out of slump and have climbed back into the playoff race, winning 9 out of their last 10 after the All-Star break.  Speculation swirled around a potential trade of ace pitcher David Price, but given their recent success, it’s only makes sense they would retain him.

San Diego had made Ian Kennedy available in talks, but rumors indicate that the Padres are more likely to trade reliever Joaquin Benoit.  This year, Kennedy has a respectable 3.66  ERA and opponents are batting .245 against him, but San Diego hasn’t received any offers that justify moving one of the stronger pieces of their rotation. 

The only other remaining big ticket pitchers being discussed are Philadelphia’s starters, Cliff Lee and A.J. Burnett.  The problem with both players is the timing and size of their contracts.  Both are free agents at the end of 2014 and Lee, in particular, is owed more money over the second half of this season alone (approximately $16.5+ million)  than Colon would be owed over the remainder of his deal.

The Royals have a few position prospects that could complement the Mets growing list of position players on the farm, but it is unknown whether the Mets have evaluated any of Kansas City’s top young talent and who would be the most plausible fit should a trade be executed.  Colon’s most recent performance on Monday night certainly put his veteran talents on display as he breezed through 7.2 innings surrendering 1 earned run and lowering his ERA on the season to 3.88.  It will be interesting to see what happens over the next 24+ hours, but the Mets now appear in a better position to move Bartolo off the books than they did earlier in the week.

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A Breakout Season For Daniel Murphy http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/a-breakout-year-for-murphy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/a-breakout-year-for-murphy.html/#comments Sat, 25 Jan 2014 17:08:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=140718 MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

Earlier in the offseason, there were whispers of Daniel Murphy possibly being moved, which made me think about Murphy’s value, and if it really  is at its peak. If his value is at its peak, should we move him, or should we sign Murphy to an extension and make him part of our future playoff runs?  Let’s breakdown some of Murphy’s numbers, and talk about his intangibles, before we decide on his value.

There have been rumors this offseason that the Mets brass would look to trade Murphy after his “breakout” season.  Looking at Murphy’s numbers, I’m not sure 2013 was even his best season, let alone his breakout season.

There are a couple of reasons why Murphy’s numbers were so good in ’08.  The Mets still called Shea Stadium home, which was a much better park for hitters than Citi, and he platooned in a LF/PH role with RH Nick Evans.  He had a total of 10 Abs vs LHP that season.

The following season Murphy batted in the middle of the lineup against both LH and RH pitching as the Mets roster was decimated with injuries. Pretty tough spot for a young player in his 1st full season.  He still ended up with a .741 OPS and played decent defense after he was moved from LF to 1B.

With a pre valley fever Ike Davis poised to make his debut, the Mets moved Murphy to 2B in 2010, and sent him to AAA to get some reps at the position before being recalled.  As luck, or should I say “Mets luck”, would have it, Murphy tore his ACL 11 games into the season.  He came back strong in 2011, and looked like he might win a future batting title, hitting .320/.362/.448 before “Mets luck” struck yet again.  In July, while turning a double play against the Braves, Murphy suffered yet another knee injury that ended his season for the 2nd year in a row.  Ouch.  I’ll never forget Murphy hopping on one leg toward right center field, in obvious, excruciating, pain, before he finally landed on the on outfield grass.

After knee operations in consecutive seasons, Murphy played a full season at 2B in 2012, and was definitely sub-par defensively, but hit .291/.332/.406 with 40 doubles.  That’s a pretty good season considering he had switched positions from LF to 1B to 2B previously, and still found time to work in a couple of knee surgeries.

Last season Murphy disappointed at times, frustrated at times, and really impressed at times.  According to defensive metrics, he improved his defense at 2B from 2012 to 2013, and while his OBP went from .332 to .319, his SLG% went from .403 to .415, as he set a career high in HRs with 13, and cracked 55 XBH.  The surprising part of Murphy’s season was the SBs.  He swiped 23 bags while getting thrown out a mere 3 times, including 22 straight from early June through the end of the season.  A streak that is still alive.  That’s pretty impressive.  In fact, Murphy is 33 of 38, or 87%, on attempted steals in the last two seasons.  I think his knees are fully healed.

Here’s the thing we forget about Murphy.  He’s been with the Mets for what seems like an eternity, but he’s only 28.  He turns 29 on April 1st, just as the regular season begins. Murphy missed a full season in 2010, a good chunk of 2011, and he was also tasked with learning to play a different position for 3 consecutive seasons.  At 29, and missing significant developmental time, it’s certainly possible that Murphy’s breakout season hasn’t happened yet.  It’s also arguable that Murphy’s 2013 season was better than it actually looks on paper, since David Wright missed most of August and September.  Why is that significant?  When Wright was activated from the DL on September 20th, Murphy hit .359 (14-39) from September 20th through the end of the season with DW5 in the lineup.  With Wright being on the DL for more than a month, Murphy wasn’t getting as many pitches to drive.  He was only walked intentionally twice the entire year, but both times were during Wright’s DL stint.

Another thing to consider if you dig a little deeper into Murphy’s 2013 numbers is that he hit .302/.339/.440 when batting from the #2 slot in the lineup.  Collins tinkered with the lineup quite a bit earlier in the year, and it seemed to really mess with his numbers when he hit lower in the order.

Murphy also played a career high 160 games, with a nearly 700 ABs.  He hit .292/.331/.459 with 12 of his 13 long balls against RHP.  His .790 OPS vs RHP trailed only David Wright (.836), and Lucas Duda (.831).  Seeing that he played far more in 2013 than in seasons past, and fared far better against RHP, it stands to reason he could’ve used an extra day or two of rest vs. a LH starter, as evidenced by his .304 batting average in games after an off day.  Murphy would probably be more effective in the games that he did play with an additional day off per month.  That would still put him at 154 games played.  He had 0-4’s against Hamels in April, Mike Minor in May and June, and Cliff Lee in July & August.  That seems like a pretty good time to give him a day off.

Murphy also put up a 3.0 fWAR last season, which was good for 3rd in the NL among all 2B.  Of the two that finished ahead of Murphy, one (Matt Carpenter) is moving to 3B, and the other Chase Utley is entering his age 35 season, and missed significant playing time in 4 consecutive seasons. Utley will most certainly extend that to 5, given his age.  It is arguable that Murphy will have the highest WAR for his position in the entire National League in 2014.

We also must consider Murphy’s intangibles.  Murphy is a leader.  David Wright is the best player on the team, and a tireless worker that leads by example, but the vocal leader of the New York Mets is, unquestionably, Daniel Murphy.  He also has a tremendous work ethic, and, by all accounts, is a great teammate, and clubhouse presence.  Murphy also provides versatility, as he can play both corner IF positions and 2B.  He can play LF in a pinch, but something would have to go horribly wrong for Murphy to be in the OF…….again.

If Murphy can take at a small step forward defensively, and gets a couple of extra days off against a tough LHP, considering Murphy is entering his prime years with Wright and Granderson hitting behind him, we may be looking at the best 2B in the NL in 2014.  It’s not far fetched to say that Murphy could take a step forward offensively:

.300/.350/.450  100-R  200-H  40-2B  5-3B 15-HR 25-SB.

He can put up those numbers with an additional 12 hits, 8 runs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HRs, & 2 SB.  That’s really just 3 or 4 good games.

Murphy’s value could increase as a player, but decrease in trade value, as he will have only one year left until he hits free agency after this coming season. He will earn about $6mill as an Arb-eligible, and with an average season for Murphy in 2014, he will earn at least $8.5-$9mil for 2015 as he will be eligible for arbitration one last time, next offseason, before he hits the market.  The Mets should sign Murphy to a 4year/$40mil extension and lock him up for his age 30-33 seasons, and what would be his first two years of free agency.  He would still have tremendous trade value at age 31 with a reasonable contract if they stall out in the rebuilding process and move him at that point.  Who’s knows?  He might just be the best 2B in the NL by that time.

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Three Potential Breakout Pitchers for Mets in 2014 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/three-potential-breakout-pitchers-in-2014.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/three-potential-breakout-pitchers-in-2014.html/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 21:30:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=138978 zack wheeler

Zack Wheeler

Wheeler is going to be counted on heavily next season to help pick up the slack in the absence of Matt Harvey.

Something in me wonders if he’ll be able to handle that kind of pressure.  Wheeler’s laid back personality is on the complete opposite spectrum of Harvey’s bulldog mentality and I’m interested to see if that affects how he’ll handle the weight that will be put on his shoulders.

Fans witnessed something incredible last season in Matt Harvey and I think some are expecting more or less the same from Wheeler.  I, however, am more realistic and am tempering my expectations for anything close to that kind of jump in performance.  That does not mean that Wheeler cannot still improve on last seasons numbers.

In 17 starts last season, Wheeler ended up with a 7-5 record and a 3.42 ERA.  However is K:BB ratio (84:46) and WHIP (1.36) were less than impressive.  These somewhat mediocre statistics can be attributed to the poor control he displayed when he was first called up, however, he did show nice improvement in locating his fastball and breaking pitches.  I think those improvements were legitimate and will translate nicely into next season.

I hate to be a pessimist but I don’t think Wheeler will ever be as good as Harvey was last season but hopefully I’m wrong.  I do, however, expect Wheeler to be a great pitcher in his own right next season and beyond.

Jon Niese

I think I have higher expectations for Niese than the average Mets fan.  He reminds me a lot of Cliff Lee, whose success relies heavily on the placement of his pitches.

They both throw cutters with more or less the same velocity (89-92 mph) and both have a nice curveball and changeup as their secondary pitches.  The difference between them is that Cliff Lee has better control and has been able to stay healthy for a string of consecutive seasons.  But remember, Cliff Lee did not put it all together until his age 29 season.

Jon Niese is still just 27 years old and still has time to put it all together like Cliff Lee did.  He may never be as good as Lee but I think he can be comparable.  Interestingly enough, Jon Niese has actually put together better seasons so far in his career than Lee had in the similar years of his career.

It is very important that Niese, who is entering the prime years of his career, shows that his shoulder injury is behind him and he can put together a full season and be as effective as he was in 2012 where he threw 190.1 innings with a 3.40 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP, and a 155:49 K:BB ratio.  That will make Harvey’s injury that much easier to swallow.

I think he has it in him and we see Jon’s best season to date this year.

Jenrry Mejia

I really hope Mejia can overcome his injury issues and throw a sufficient amount of innings next season.  I think I watched every one of his 5 starts last season and was thoroughly impressed.  He looked like he had been a major league pitcher for at least 5 seasons.

In 27.1 innings, he showed solid location of a 92 mph fastball, a slider with more bite to it than a saltwater crocodile, and a nice changeup to boot.  Before he went down, he had a 2.30 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP, and a 27:4 K:BB ratio.

I am very excited to watch him pitch this season, regardless if he ends up in the bullpen or as a starter.  His elbow is a big question mark, however, as he has already underwent Tommy John surgery and an operation to remove a bone spur from his elbow.  The Mets may have been better off just getting the surgery over with when they knew it was necessary but if they hadn’t let him pitch, I wouldn’t have had the privilege of watching him in those 5 games.

Hopefully, the rest he was able to get after being shut down will do him some good going into next season so he’ll be able to wow me and the rest of the Mets fan base again.  He’s a bit of a risky pick for a breakout pitcher next season, but I’m going to play the optimist and take my chances.

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A Closer Look at Mets’ LHP Prospect Steven Matz http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/a-closer-look-at-mets-lhp-prospect-steven-matz.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/a-closer-look-at-mets-lhp-prospect-steven-matz.html/#comments Tue, 31 Dec 2013 16:29:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=137887 steven matz

Matz displaying the changeup grip.

You’ve heard the name before, but 2013 was the first real look at the Mets’ LHP prospect Steven Matz due to him missing significant time recovering from arm injuries.

I recently named him as my Mets’ pitching prospect to watch in 2014, as he seems to be on a path to be named a top-five prospect very soon. When a scout finds a left-handed pitching prospect that bring an electric 95 mph fastball, it’s like a fisherman landing an 800 pound marlin. It’s easy to see why the Mets protected Matz from the Rule 5 Draft, and added him to the 40-man roster—every angler looking to hook an 800 pound marlin would have cast their line into the water.

Not many Mets fans have gotten a chance to see this young man pitch and see why everyone is so excited. Unless you live in the Savannah area, odds are you are limited to the one video that can be found on YouTube that shows Matz throwing about 15 pitches—some better than others.

This is the video from Bullpen Banter that was recorded back in early April, 2013:

It was recorded very early in the season, but I am going to analyze and share for you what I picked up in the video.

Mechanics

Whenever I look at a left-handed pitcher’s mechanics, I hold them up against Cliff Lee. There is some slight cause for concern with Matz’s mechanics, especially coming off significant arm injury in the past. The motion is smooth, but he cuts himself off during the follow-through which causes his arm to recoil back which puts strain on the upper arm. You can see how his arm recoils pretty violently in the video. He does a good job hiding the ball but working on the follow-through will also help him finish his pitches.

Fastball

This is a plus offering for Matz. He kept all the fastballs down in the zone in the video, which is where he will want to live as a pitcher. The command was a little shaky, but as I said earlier, this video was taken very early in the year. With more innings, the command will come. He wasn’t afraid to come inside on the right-handed hitters, and was very aggressive with his fastball which was very nice to see from a guy who brings a mid-90s heater.

Slider

There was only one or two sliders thrown in the video, and they were hung up in the zone. Luckily the batter fouled off one of the hangers, but as Matz pitches against upper-level hitters, they will turn those hangers into screamers. I have heard that Matz has scrapped the slider in favor of a more effective curve ball, but since he did not throw one in the video, I do not have a report on the effectiveness of the pitch.

Changeup

Matz throws a very solid changeup that has plus-potential. He used it very effectively against right-handed hitters in the video, keeping it on the outside of the plate. It has excellent movement—tailing away from the right-handed hitters/in on lefties. He used a nice combination of fastballs on the inside half, and changeups on the outside half to keep the hitters off-balance.

In all, Mets fans should definitely look for great things from Matz in 2014. It’s easy to see why he is creating a buzz and there is a ton of excitement building for the young fireballer again. He struck out over 28% of the batters he faced in 2013 and put up a FIP of 2.63, which is excellent. He will probably start the season in St. Lucie and be a nice replacement as the ace of the staff after Noah Syndergaard set St. Lucie ablaze in 2013.

Bold Prediction: Matz will breeze through St. Lucie and be promoted to Binghamton right around the All-Star break. After spending a month or two in Binghamton, since he is already on the 40-man, he will be a September call-up and pitch out of the bullpen for the Mets in 2014.

 

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How Does Curtis Granderson Fare Against The NL East? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/how-does-curtis-granderson-fare-against-the-nl-east.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/how-does-curtis-granderson-fare-against-the-nl-east.html/#comments Sun, 08 Dec 2013 17:30:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134773 curtis granderson_b2_576

The Mets signed Curtis Granderson Friday to a four year, $60 million deal. One thing is for sure, he can hit. But there’s only one problem with that. Granderson has played his whole career thus far in the American League, revealing uncertainty when it comes to facing the National League. Let’s take a look at how he has fared against the NL East and where his 43 2012 home runs would have landed in opponents’ ballparks.

Philadelphia Phillies

Arguably the Mets biggest rival in the division, Curtis Granderson has hit Phillies pitchers decently. He has compiled a career .258 against current Philadelphia pitchers with three home runs. Granderson has faced Cliff Lee 42 times and hit safely 12 times, with two doubles and a homer. He has matched up with Jonathan Papelbon 18 times and is 4 for 18 with two home runs against him. Granderson has yet to get hits off Mike Adams and Kyle Kendrick, who he has faced collectively four times. In terms of hitting home runs at Citizens Bank Ballpark, only one of Granderson’s 43 long balls would not have been ruled a homer in Philadelphia.

Miami Marlins

Curtis Granderson has hit fairly well in his career against current Marlins pitchers, hitting .387 against them. Granderson is 6 for 16 against Kevin Slowey with a home run, and 3 for 12 against Henderson Alvarez. It will be interesting to see how Granderson will do against the 2013 NL Rookie of the Year, Jose Fernandez, for the first time. As for hitting in the spacious Marlins Ballpark, seven of his 2012 home runs would not have cleared the fence in Miami. This includes six that went over 350 feet.

Washington Nationals

Curtis Granderson hasn’t faced Stephen Strasburg yet, but he has faced Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, and newcomer Doug Fister. Granderson is 2 for 16 against Gonzalez, but that does include a home run and two runs batted in. Similarly, he is 1 for 6 against Fister with one home run. In total, Granderson is 3 for 31 (.097) against Nationals pitchers with 11 strikeouts. Six of his 2012 home runs would not have cleared the Nationals Park fences.

Atlanta Braves

Granderson is hitting .308 in his career against current Braves pitchers. He is 1 for 6 against Mike Minor, but 2 for 2 against tough reliever Jonny Venters. Granderson has not recorded a hit in four at bats against Craig Kimbrel, Kris Medlen, and Jordan Walden, collectively. Of his 2012 home runs, eight would not have been home runs at Turner Field, the majority of these coming in right-center field. Granderson has not faced the Braves much in his career, so we shall see how it plays out.

Playing in the AL, Curtis Granderson has not had much exposure to National League pitching, with the exception of Cliff Lee (Cleveland, Seattle) and Gio Gonzalez (Oakland). The Mets begin 2014 with a series at home against the Nationals, as they also play the Braves and Marlins at home. The Mets will visit Atlanta and Philidelphia during the course of April as well.

(All of the information used in this post was courtesy of espn.com and hittrackeronline.com)

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2014 MLB Draft Profile: Brady Aiken, LHP http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/2014-mlb-draft-profile-brady-aiken-lhp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/2014-mlb-draft-profile-brady-aiken-lhp.html/#comments Thu, 17 Oct 2013 04:15:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131283 Last week we looked at high school catcher Alex Jackson. This week we’ll switch it over to the pitching side, looking at one of the top prep arms in the upcoming draft, Brady Aiken. Most rankings have Aiken in the 7-10 range, which means he is likely a player the Mets are paying close attention to.

brady aiken

Brady Aiken, Cathedral Catholic H.S (CA)

Position: Pitcher

Height: 6’4

Weight: 210

Bats/Throws: Left/Left

Aiken is a lanky, projectable kid with a great pitchers build that scouts think may continue to fill out. He’s coming off of a season that saw him named an Under Armor All-American for the second consecutive year. Brady is currently verbally committed to attend UCLA, but top-ten money will likely change his mind.

Fastball

His fastball currently sits in the 89-91 range, topping out around 93. The pitch shows good arm-side run– moving in on lefties and tailing away from righties. It’s possible that the pitch could tick up in velocity as he fills out, but it’s already missing bats.

Current: 55

Future: 65 

Change Up

Brady works off of his fastball with a good change-up. The pitch comes in 81-83 and flashes great fade and depth. He works the pitch to both corners of the plate and keeps in down in the zone, making it a potential weapon versus both lefty and righty  opponents.

Current: 50

Future: 65

Curveball

Sitting in the low 70′s, his curveball flashes plus potential with sharp break and good rotation when he gets on top of it. He has shown some inconsistency throwing the pitch, which results it in being hit hard.

Current: 45

Future: 60

Command/Control

This is going to be the part of Aiken’s game that separates him from the pack– especially fellow high school draftees. Aiken displays an advanced feel for pitching, and it shows in his ability to throw all three of his pitches not only for strikes, but to specific locations within the strikezone.

Current: 55

Future: 65+

Pre-Draft Video

 

 

Summary

There’s a lot to like about this kid. He’s got an easy, clean delivery he repeats well. His big projectable frame could allow his fastball velocity to tick up, making him an absolute monster. I’ve seen him compared to both Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, which make sense when you look at his repertoire and his advanced feel for pitching. Of the three players I’ve profiled so far Aiken has the best chance of being around at pick 10. However a kid with this kind of upside could skyrocket with a good senior  showing.

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Little Willy Drives Them Silly In Debut http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/little-willy-drives-them-silly-in-debut.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/little-willy-drives-them-silly-in-debut.html/#comments Mon, 23 Sep 2013 12:00:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129827 wilfredo tovar

North side, east side
Little Willy
Willy wears the crown
He’s the best damn shortstop ’round town

Backhand, forehand
Willy drives them silly
He’s a contact bat
an’ a whole bunch more than that

‘Cos little Willy, Willy won’t go home
But you can’t push Willy round, Willy won’t go
Try tellin’ everybody but, oh no
Little Willy, Willy won’t go home

Lyrics adapted from “Little Willy” by The Sweet

I know, I know, don’t get your bowels in an uproar, it was just one game. Oh, but what a game it was. Wilfredo Tovar’s role in the Mets 4-3 victory over the Phillies today was a single game, a sliver of baseball in a baseball game between two teams winding down disappointing baseball campaigns. Even so, Wilfredo Tovar’s debut was proof positive why Binghamton Met baseball fans have come to love the gritty baseball play of their little shortstop.

Tovar is a tough, gritty baseball player. The little Met shortstop showcased his plucky baseball style matching wits with fabled, veteran, Philly pitching ace Cliff Lee in his major league debut. It was Lee who blinked first.

Customarily, it was Tovar’s glove that got NYSEG Stadium buzzing this summer in Binghamton. A fast first step allows Tovar to make eye popping slight of hand defensive plays at shortstop. But, in his ‘coming out’ major league party, it was Tovar’s bat that served notice. Tovar went 2-for-4 with both hits off Lee including the game winning single.

The ‘good field-no hit’ label is sometimes applied to the Venezuelan shortstop. In a recent post I proposed that tab failed to give justice to either Tovar’s play in the field or his gritty at bats. Tovar is a contact hitter, a guy who batted just under .300 after the All-Star game and was a tough man to strike out. Only two batters with 400 at-bats or more in the Eastern League had fewer strikeouts than Wilfredo this summer.

wilfredo tovar slides

And, Tovar, does the little things well. You may have noticed how he worked over Lee on the base paths after his seventh inning single. Tovar stretched his lead to the max, so far in fact, he had me wondering if the huge distance he strayed away from the bag left him game to be picked at first base. Throw after throw to first base didn’t deter Tovar, didn’t move him back even a whisker towards the bag. Before he was done, Tovar added a stolen base to his list of firsts. Note, although he’s quick, not really fast, Tovar has stolen 10+ bases in every year of his professional career.

But, what B-Met fans most appreciated about Tovar this summer was his toughness. Headhunt Wilfredo Tovar after one of his rare home runs, especially on a day he hits a pair, and expect to be charged on the mound. When tempers flare and the benches clear, it might be Wilfredo leading the charge. I’m not saying reactions of this kind are always good policy, especially during an elimination game in the playoffs. I am saying it’s satisfying to watch a gritty little shortstop who doesn’t take the game for granted, who gets his uniform dirty every game and, when the chips are down, is not afraid to take a stand.

I don’t know where Wilfredo Tovar will land in the baseball world. Today was simply a tiny audition. I’m grateful Tovar crossed my baseball path many times in Binghamton this season. Should the Mets fail to land a shortstop from outside the system, I only hope Wilfredo is included in the Met shortstops provided a chance to win that spot next
year.

Thoughts from Joe D.

John, you’ve been raving about Tovar all year and as I watched his impressive debut on Sunday, all I was thinking was how you were probably smiling and busy writing a post about him after the game. He’s everything you said he was – a gritty, hard-nosed player who does all the little things right. Well done…

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Mets vs. Phillies: Torres On Hill As Amazins Look To Complete Sweep At CBP http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-vs-phillies-torres-on-hill-as-amazins-look-to-complete-sweep-at-cbp.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-vs-phillies-torres-on-hill-as-amazins-look-to-complete-sweep-at-cbp.html/#comments Sun, 22 Sep 2013 16:15:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129804 carlos torres

Mets (70-84) at Phillies (71-83) • 1:05 PM

RHP Carlos Torres (3-5, 3.39) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (14-6, 2.95)

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Starting Lineup

  1. Eric Young, Jr. – LF
  2. Wilmer Flores – 3B
  3. Daniel Murphy – 2B
  4. Andrew Brown – RF
  5. Lucas Duda – 1B
  6. Juan Lagares – CF
  7. Anthony Recker – C
  8. Wilfredo Tovar – SS
  9. Carlos Torres – RHP

Game Preview

The Mets look to make it three in a row against the Phillies this afternoon. Yesterday, David Wright slugged another homer to make it two straight games since returning. It’s amazing how much better the lineup is with him in it.

Anyway Carlos Torres gets the start for the Amazin’s today and he is 3-5 with a 3.39 ERA over 74.1 innings this year. In the four games in September he has pitched 19.0 innings with a 5.21 ERA. He has pitched 8.1 innings this year against the Phillies with 2 ER and 7 strikeouts. The Phillies have the following numbers against Carlos:

Ruiz 1-5, 2B
Frandsen 2-4, HR
Brown 2-3
Mayberry 0-3
Rollins 0-2
Ruf 0-2

The Mets bats will try to deal with Cliff Lee tonight who is 14-6 with a 2.95 ERA over 29 starts this season and 207.2 innings. In his last five starts he has pitched 37.0 innings with a 1.95 ERA. Against the Mets he is 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA over 22.0 innings this year. The Mets have the following numbers against Lee:

Murphy 8-29, 4 2B
Wright 8-28, 2B, HR
Duda 6-18, 2B, HR
Turner 1-17
Tejada 6-16, 2 2B
Young 1-4, 2B

Lets Go Mets!

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Mets Edge Phillies 5-4 With Help from Wright & Weather http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-edge-phillies-5-4-with-help-from-wright-weather.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/09/mets-edge-phillies-5-4-with-help-from-wright-weather.html/#comments Sun, 22 Sep 2013 03:35:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=129780 wright murphy

The Mets (70-84) defeated the Phillies (71-83) by a score of 5-4 in a rain-shortened game on Saturday night in Philadelphia.

Dillon Gee got the win, tossing 6+ decent innings (4 runs, 7 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts) before the game was called off in the bottom of the seventh.

The Phillies struck first on a sac fly in the 2nd inning, but the Mets were able to tie it thanks to David Wright‘s 2nd home run in 2 games since returning from a 7-week stint on the disable list.

The Mets got 4 more in the 6th. Daniel Murphy led off with his 12th homer of the year, and Juan Lagares made it 4-1 with a 2-run triple to center. Travis d’Arnaud capped off the big inning with an RBI double off the right field wall.

The Phillies got 3 runs off of Gee in the 6th after Jimmy Rollins drove in 2 with a double and Carlos Ruiz cut the gap to 1 with an RBI groundout, but Mother Nature squashed their momentum, ending the game in the 7th before the Phillies could tie the score.

Another win for the Mets, who have managed to string together a couple victories in a row to move within 1 game of the Phillies for 3rd place. Obviously, this means nothing in the long run (in fact, having a better record hurts us in the draft), but there is something to be said for confidence and bragging rights, and finishing ahead of the Phillies for the first time in 7 years is the least the Mets could do after making us suffer all year.

cbp rain

Fun Fact: Dillon Gee has 3 career complete games, yet he has never thrown 9 innings in a game. He has 2 rain-shortened victories and his other complete game was an 8.1 inning loss earlier this year (remember the Freddie Freeman walkoff?).

Don’t look now, but Travis d’Arnaud is finally starting to put some hits together. Given the fact that our entire future rests on his shoulders, it is a relief to see signs of competence from the promising rookie.

It’s nice to see that David Wright has not let a long layoff prevent him from being the best 3rd baseman in the world. It’s also nice to see Lagares’ bat begin to come around a bit more, because with his fielding and speed, even an average bat would make him a solid Center Fielder.

Overall, it’s important that the Mets continue to get a look at their younger players as they wrap up the season over the next couple weeks. We definitely have some useful pieces on the fold, but the onus is on the front office to turn a nice foundation into a contender with some major moves… soon.

Quick Note: Terry Collins plans to sit Wright on Sunday, play again Monday and Tuesday in Cincinnati and then sit again on Wednesday. Despite homering for a second straight game and having no issues with his right hamstring, Wright said he is not fully back yet.

“I mean, I feel OK. I’ve been lucky getting in some hitters’ counts. But still, defensively, I’m not really reacting the way I want to. It’s going to take more than two games. I feel about how I expected to — a little sore, a little stiff — but for the most part pretty good,” Wright said.

The Mets will look to bring out the brooms tomorrow in Philly. Carlos Torres (3-5, 3.39 ERA) will take on Cliff Lee (14-6, 2.95 ERA) at 1:35 PM.

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Phillies vs Mets: As Harvey News Hits Home, Wheeler Takes The Mound Tonight http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/phillies-vs-mets-as-harvey-news-hits-home-wheeler-takes-the-mound-tonight.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/phillies-vs-mets-as-harvey-news-hits-home-wheeler-takes-the-mound-tonight.html/#comments Mon, 26 Aug 2013 15:51:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127873 wheeler sf

Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets

Citi Field • 7:10 PM

Cliff Lee (10-6, 3.16) vs Zack Wheeler (6-2, 3.49)

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I’m so devastated in a baseball sense by today’s news on Matt Harvey… He was supposed to be the poster boy for the new Mets renaissance… Now I don’t know what to think or how to feel…. That said, there is a game today…

Starting Lineup

  1. Juan Lagares, cf
  2. Daniel Murphy, 2b
  3. Josh Satin, 1b
  4. Marlon Byrd, rf
  5. Andrew Brown, lf
  6. Wilmer Flores, 3b
  7. Travis d’Arnaud, c
  8. Justin Turner, ss
  9. Zack Wheeler, rhp

Game Notes

  • Mets right-hander Matt Harvey learned Monday that he has a partially torn UCL in his right elbow. He is expected to be placed on the disabled list and will likely miss the remainder of the season. Harvey will not undergo Tommy John reconstructive surgery at this time, but it has not been ruled out. Harvey, who had been experiencing forearm tenderness, underwent an MRI at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York on Monday morning. ”This was a surprise to all of us, especially Matt himself,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said at a news conference at Citi Field. “He has not had any elbow pain. Forearm pain can foretell problems with the elbow, but in this particular circumstance there had been no indications of that. Alderson said that there was inflammation in Harvey’s forearm, and possibly in the elbow as well. He said more might be able to be determined once the inflammation subsides. Both Harvey and Alderson said there was no timetable to make a decision regarding surgery.
  • Travis d’Arnaud hit his first major league home run—and collected his first two RBIs—when he hit a two-run shot to left-center field in the fourth inning of the Mets’ 11-3 loss on Sunday afternoon. d’Arnaud was 1-for-16 prior to the homer, which just cleared the fence and gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. The Citi Field crowd of 32,084 roared until d’Arnaud stepped out of the dugout and doffed his cap. d’Arnaud finished 1-for-3 in the game.
  • Zack Wheeler will look to continue his recent run of strong pitching when he takes the mound for the Mets on Monday night in the opener of a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. In his most recent start last Tuesday, Wheeler earned the win by allowing three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out five over 6 2/3 innings in the Mets’ 5-3 victory over the Braves. Wheeler was one out away from throwing seven scoreless innings and all three runs scored after he left the game. Wheeler is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in his last three starts, a stretch in which he’s struck out 21 and walked just four in 19 innings. In his first nine starts as a big leaguer, Wheeler was 4-2 with a 3.91 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 41/28 in 50 2/3 innings. Wheeler will be making his second career start against the Phillies. He didn’t factor into the decision on July 20, when he allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out five over 4 2/3 innings in the Mets’ 5-4 win.
  • Wilmer Flores (sprained right ankle) got the day off Sunday. Flores was injured Aug. 12 and missed three of the Mets’ next four games but had played in seven straight games prior to Sunday. Justin Turner started in his place Sunday. Flores, who was recalled by the Mets on Aug. 6 and is starting at third base with David Wright on the disabled list, is hitting .283 with one homer and 11 RBI in his first 15 major league games. Meanwhile, Wright will travel to Port St. Lucie on Thursday to continue his rehabilitation from his hamstring strain.
  • Dillon Gee labored Sunday, when he took the loss after allowing four runs on 10 hits and two walks while striking out two over six innings in the Mets’ 11-3 loss to the Tigers. While Gee allowed all four runs and seven hits in a pair of innings—the Tigers scored two runs on two hits in the first inning and two runs on five hits in the sixth inning—he didn’t have a single 1-2-3 inning. The 10 hits tied a season high for Gee, who also surrendered 10 hits over three innings against the Phillies on April 9. He allowed at least four runs for just the third time in his last 16 starts.
  • LaTroy Hawkins endured his worst outing of the season Sunday, when he allowed five runs on four hits and one walk in just one-third of an inning in the Mets’ 11-3 loss to the Tigers. Hawkins came on to pitch the ninth with the Mets down 4-3 but allowed four straight singles and a walk after retiring leadoff batter Austin Jackson. Hawkins’ ERA rose from 2.88 to 3.65, the highest it has been since June 18. The five runs allowed were the most surrendered by Hawkins since Aug. 8, 2012, when he gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning for the Angels. Hawkins became the Mets’ closer when Bobby Parnell went on the disabled list Aug. 6 and had recorded five saves in six chances while compiling a 1.86 ERA over his first 9 2/3 innings of the month.
  • Mike Baxter was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday. He was batting .208 with four RBIs in 101 at-bats for the Mets.
  • Lucas Duda was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday. Duda hit .235 with 11 home runs, 23 RBIs and a .353 on-base percentage for the Mets earlier this year. He was batting .306 with no homers and eight RBIs in 18 games at Las Vegas.

Game Preview

The battle for third place is on! Before the weekend the Mets were in the driver seat for third place but the Tigers did what the Tigers do. Yesterday the Tigers jumped out to an early lead against the Mets but the Mets came back to take the lead 3-2. The Tigers then nudged forward making it 4-3 and the score stayed like that for a while until the top of the ninth where the game ballooned into a 11-3 score. Tonight Zack Wheeler gets the nod as he goes up against Cliff Lee.

Zack Wheeler is 6-2 over 12 starts with a 3.49 ERA over 69.2 innings with 62 strikeouts. He’s 2-0 over his last three starts pitching 19.0 innings with a 2.37 ERA, 4 BB and 21 strikeouts. In his one start against the Phillies this year he allowed 2 ER over 4.2 innings. The Phillies have the following numbers against Wheeler:

Brown 0-3
Rollins 2-3, HR
Ruf 0-2
Utley 1-2
Young 0-1
Bernadina 0-2
Mayberry 1-2

Cliff Lee is 10-6 over 24 starts this season pitching 170.2 innings with a 3.16 ERA. He has made 4 starts in the month of August going 0-2 and 26.0 innings with a 3.81 ERA and 26 strikeouts. Lee has had two very different starts against the Mets this season. Back in April he allowed only 2 ER over 8.2 innings of work. In July, he allowed 5 ER over 6.0 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Lee:

Buck 16-55, 3 2B, 4 HR
Byrd 10-28, 3 2B, HR
Murphy 8-26, 4 2B
Duda 6-18, 2B, HR
Lagares 2-3, HR

Lets Go Mets!

bleed orange & blue  button

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D’Arnaud Homers, But Mets Can’t Avoid Sweep After 11-3 Mauling By Tigers http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/darnaud-homers-but-mets-cant-avoid-sweep-after-11-3-mauling-by-tigers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/darnaud-homers-but-mets-cant-avoid-sweep-after-11-3-mauling-by-tigers.html/#comments Mon, 26 Aug 2013 02:27:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127836 tigers

TIGERS LEAVE METS IN TATTERS AFTER 11-3 MAULING

The Mets got pounced on by the Tigers who beat them 11-3 this afternoon at Citi Field to complete a three game sweep and leave them licking their wounds.

Dillon Gee started for the Mets and wasn’t nearly as sharp as we’ve seen from him of late. The right-hander let up four runs and got knocked around for ten hits including home runs to Andy Dirks and Miguel Cabrera, his 42nd homer of the season. Gee walked two and struck out two in his 6.0 innings of work while seeing his ERA rise to 3.69 for the season.

After David Aardsma gave up a single to start off the seventh, Scott Rice came in and got all three outs in the seventh. Carlos Torres followed that up with a scoreless eighth. Then came the ugliest ninth inning of relief I’ve seen this season…. This was brutal to watch…

LaTroy Hawkins came in to pitch the ninth and gives up three straight singles to load the bases with one out. Victor Martinez then stepped up to the plate and ripped another single to drive home Torii Hunter. Things got uglier when Hawkins walked Andy Dirks to force home another run and chase Hawkins out of the game with the Tigers up 6-3.

But the worst was yet to come…

Scott Atchison relieved Hawkins and was immediately greeted by an RBI-single by Omar Infante. He then uncorks a wild pitch that allowed the runner from third to score. Back-to-back singles would plate another pair of runs, and then another wild pitch would bring the runners to get into scoring position. A sacrifice fly would follow and when it was all over, the Tigers were ahead 11-3. Wow…

travis d'arnaud first homer

The only highlight of the game for the Mets, came in the bottom of the fourth inning. Center fielder Juan Lagares singled with two outs to bring up catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who then blasted a 2-run homer to deep left-center to give the Mets a very temporary 3-2 lead. It was his second big league hit since his promotion and his first major-league homer which came on a 90 mph fastball.

d'arnaud hat

After rounding the bases and greeting Lagares at home, D’Arnaud then came out of the dugout for a curtain call and waved his hat to the fans at Citi Field who were still applauding.

“I just put my head down and started running,” d’Arnaud said. “The fans let me know it was gone.” D’Arnaud called it an unbelievable experience. “I was speechless. It was an unbelievable feeling.”

Aside from that, this was a brutal game and the Mets were absolutely annihilated by the Tigers this weekend, who swept the series and left the Mets for dead.

The Mets will try to recover tomorrow when they host the Phillies for the start of a four-game set at Citi Field. Rookie Zack Wheeler will oppose the veteran Cliff Lee at 7:10 PM.

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Why The Mets Shouldn’t Sign Shin-Soo Choo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/why-the-mets-shouldnt-sign-shin-soo-choo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/why-the-mets-shouldnt-sign-shin-soo-choo.html/#comments Wed, 14 Aug 2013 19:04:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=127087 Shin-Soo Choo

I know this probably isn’t going to be a popular opinion around here, so let me preface it by saying this — I think Shin-Soo Choo is pretty good. However, I don’t think he’s the type of player the Mets should be allocating their available funds to. I know Mets fans are clamoring to root for a winner. I don’t, however, think the Mets need to go out and spend money this offseason. Some fans seem to want the Wilpon’s to spend just for the sake of spending. Because for two plus years we’ve been told that this would be the offseason that we took a big step forward. But if you’re looking at the names available objectively, I think you’ll see there isn’t a player worth breaking the bank for.

A quick glance would suggest that Choo is a perfect fit. First, he’s an outfielder– a real need for the Mets. Secondly, he’s an on-base machine with pop and speed. What team couldn’t use that? Let’s examine.

A good place to start would be trying to figure out just how much it would take to sign Choo. Let’s compare Choo over a three year period (2011-2013) to Andre Ethier and B.J. Upton – two players who are of similar age, play the outfield and have recently signed long term contracts:

choo ethier upton

As you can see, each player has his advantages, but overall they’re very close in WAR. Choo is clearly the superior player when it comes to reaching base. Upton is the best defender of the three, and also has the better power/speed combination. Ethier is likely the most consistent player across the board; he doesn’t stand out in any category, but doesn’t kill you in any of them either. Now let’s look at the contracts signed by Ethier and Upton (according to Cot’s Contracts):

In 2012 Andre Ethier signed a 5-year, $85 million dollar contract extension. The contract runs from 2013-2017 and will pay him an average annual salary of $17MM. Ethier is currently 31-years old and his contract will run through his age 35 season. Now onto Upton.

Prior to the 2013 season BJ Upton signed a 5-year, $75.25 million dollar contract. Obviously his contract also runs from 2013-2017. BJ’s annual salary comes to $15.05MM. He will turn 33 towards the end of his contract with the Braves, making him slightly younger than Choo.

I’m feeling generous, so lets say we split the difference (almost) and go with 5-years and $80MM. That’s $16 million dollars per season. I say “generous” because I think there’s a chance Choo tops both deals. My reasons for that are because agents usually look to surpass contracts from previous seasons. Also because Choo has gotten overhyped by many baseball analysts who think that on-base percentage is what “moneyball” is.

So the question is whether Choo is an $80 million dollar player. Many will answer “yes”, since that appears to be the going rate. But go ahead and ask the Dodgers or Braves how many teams are knocking down their doors to take on those contracts. It’s also more than just a question of money. If you dig just a little deeper you’ll see that Choo is not without his flaws.

The first thing that stands out is that Choo is essentially a platoon player. Solid walk-rate aside, his numbers against left-handed pitchers have spiraled downward at an alarming rate. Here’s a look at his numbers over the past three seasons:

Shoo LHP

As you can see, Choo is hitting a meager .175 against southpaws this season. Even more unsettling is that he’s slugged just .204 without a single homerun in 169 plate appearances. To put those numbers in perspective– Choo would rank 6th in batting average and 10th in slugging AMONG NL PITCHERS (min. 50 PA). If this were one outlier season I could overlook it, but it’s been a steady decline that cannot be ignored. Essentially you’d be paying $16MM per season for a player who would hit like a second pitcher in your lineup when there’s a lefty on the mound. In a division that already features lefties like Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Gio Gonzalez and Mike Minor.

Another red flag is his defense. Choo has played center field almost exclusively this year. Problem is– he’s not a center fielder. The only way I can explain that is with two simple words: Dusty Baker. But that’s a whole other blog post. Let’s take a look at Choo’s defense from the sabermetric side:

fielding

In 2011, playing right field exclusively, Choo had the metrics of a league average outfielder. Playing the same position in 2012 in the same ballpark, his numbers dropped dramatically. His UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) fell from 2.1 to -16.7 and his DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) nose-dived from +3 to -12. So far in 2013 the trend has continued. He’s on pace to surpass his lowly UZR from 2012, and his -13 DRS thus far ranks dead last amongst qualified outfielders.

I know the skeptics will say that defensive metrics are a work in progress and often flawed themselves– and they’re right. However I think they’re a reasonably reliable indicator of defensive performance. Certainly a good outfielder isn’t going to put up metrics that terrible. Not for two consecutive seasons. The sample size at this point is large enough.

In summation, I’m going to reiterate what I said to start this — Shin-Soo Choo is a pretty good player. You have to like a guy getting on base at a 40% clip regardless of his aforementioned flaws. I just don’t think he’s the right player for the Mets. He’s a great complimentary player for a team that’s a player away. He’s not a building block for a team looking to find it’s identity. Choo doesn’t posses the impact tools that the Mets need. At least not at that price. What’s a .400 OBP if you don’t have the players behind him to bring him in? I think the money could be better spent on a few players that could help in multiple spots, or even *gasp* saved for another time. There’s a great feeling around this team right now, and I don’t want to rush to sign a player who will cripple us financially in the future. We’ve been through that before. We’re finally about to get out from under that rock. Better days are nearing. Let’s get it right this time.

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Phillies vs Mets: Harvey and Lee In Battle Of All-Stars At Citi Field http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/phillies-vs-mets-harvey-and-lee-in-battle-of-all-stars-at-citi-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/phillies-vs-mets-harvey-and-lee-in-battle-of-all-stars-at-citi-field.html/#comments Sun, 21 Jul 2013 15:47:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125432 matt harvey

Phillies at Mets

Cliff Lee (10-3, 2.86) vs. Matt Harvey (7-2, 2.35)

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Starting Lineup

  1. Eric Young Jr., LF
  2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
  3. David Wright, 3B
  4. Marlon Byrd, RF
  5. Josh Satin, 1B
  6. John Buck, C
  7. Juan Lagares, CF
  8. Omar Quintanilla, SS
  9. Matt Harvey, RHP

ny_GoodenBobblehead_kh_200

It’s Dwight Gooden Bobblehead Day!

Game Notes

Harvey’s first start of the second half will be his 30th major league appearance. Harvey enters with a 2.47 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) in 189 1/3 innings. Terry Collins has said Harvey should get 14 second-half starts. He likely has about 90 innings remaining before reaching his innings cap.

Through the first six starts of his major league career, it’s become common for Zack Wheeler to battle hitters to 3-2 counts, ultimately running his pitch count near 100 in the middle innings. His starts tend to be short. Wheeler tossed 106 pitches over 4 2/3 innings — he couldn’t get his fastball over the plate the way he wanted. On the season, Wheeler is averaging 101 pitches per outing, but averaging less than six innings.

Gonzalez Germen was credited with a win Saturday after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning of the Mets’ 5-4 win over the Phillies. Germen came in after Zack Wheeler departed and struck out Delmon Young to end the frame with the Mets still ahead, 3-2. Germen has inherited the bases loaded twice this year, and he’s stranded the runners both times.

Marlon Byrd had an RBI single last night and now has 55 RBIs on the year, including four in the first two games after the All-Star break. Quietly, Byrd and Wright have turned into a formidable duo in the middle of the Mets’ lineup, combining for 30 homers and 92 RBIs.

Chase Utley has two home runs and six RBIs in the first two games of the series.

Cesar Puello went 3-for-5 with three RBIs as Binghamton beat New Britain, 10-2. Jenrry Mejia, in his second Double-A start since returning from a forearm injury, allowed one run on three hits and two walks while striking out eight in six innings.

Game Preview

Happy Harvey Day!

The Mets and Phillies play the rubber game this afternoon with the Mets looking to build off yesterday’s win. After dropping the first game of the series by 13-8, the Mets were able to squeak by with 5-4 victory. Today Matt Harvey gets the nod for the Amazin’s as he squares off against Cliff Lee.

Matt Harvey is 7-2 this season with a 2.35 ERA over 130.0 innings so far while striking out a league leading 147 batters. He has made two starts against the Phillies this year where he has pitched 13.0 innings allowing one earned run and striking out 15 batters. When you break down the starts, he allowed on run over 7 and in his last start he pitched 6 masterful innings that were interrupted by a rain delay. The Phillies have the following numbers against Harvey:

Rollins 3-11, 2 2B, HR
Utley 3-11, 2B
Brown 0-7
Nix 1-5, 2B
Young 0-6
Mayberry 0-5

Cliff Lee is 10-3 this season with a 2.86 ERA over 19 starts and 138.2 innings while striking out 125 batters. In his two starts before the All-Star Break he allowed 8 earned runs over 13.1 innings while striking out 10. In one start against the Mets this year he allowed 3 runs, 2 earned over 8.2 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Lee:

Buck 16-52, 3 2B, 4 HR
Byrd 8-25, 3 2B
Wright 6-25, 2B
Murphy 8-23, 4 2B
Davis 1-11
Brown 0-3

Lets Go Mets!

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Mets Hang On For 5-4 Win Over Phillies http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mets-hang-on-for-5-4-win-over-phillies.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/mets-hang-on-for-5-4-win-over-phillies.html/#comments Sat, 20 Jul 2013 21:54:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=125424 wheeler rollins

Coming off a three-hit, one-run performance against the San Francisco Giants, Zack Wheeler was greeted by a Jimmy Rollins home run and lasted just 4.2 innings in the Mets 5-4 win over the Phillies.

In was Wheeler’s second start at Citi Field and just like his first one, was unable to complete five innings. The young righthander labored against the Phillies and allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks, but after 106 pitches and loading the bases, Terry Collins pulled him for Gonzalez Germen who struck out Dominic Brown to end the fifth. Wheeler struck out five.

The Mets needed another 4.1 innings from the bullpen a day after being burned for 8.0 innings in the series-opening loss. For the most part they did a great job of holding off the Phillies, but Bobby Parnell made things a bit scary when he was tagged for a two-run homer by Chase Utley in the ninth to bring the Phillies within one. After a double to the next batter, Murphy speared a scorcher for the third out to seal the Mets win.

Marlon Byrd had two hits and got the Mets on the board in a three-run first with an RBI single. David Wright went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Rookie Juan Lagares got a very rare start in center field and went 3-for-4 with an RBI-single, while Daniel Murphy had a pair of hits to go with an RBI and a run scored.

On Sunday, the Mets send Matt Harvey (7-2, 2.35) to the hill opposite Cliff Lee (10-3, 2.86) at 1:10 PM.

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2013 All Star Game: Give Matt Harvey The Damn Ball http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/2013-all-star-game-give-matt-harvey-the-damn-ball.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/06/2013-all-star-game-give-matt-harvey-the-damn-ball.html/#comments Tue, 25 Jun 2013 18:02:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=123044 matt harvey

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York wrote what I felt was one of the strongest arguments in making the case for Matt Harvey starting the All Star Game for the National League.

He first compares Harvey, who he calls the NL’s Justin Verlander, to last season’s NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey:

Through 16 starts, Harvey is 7-1 with a 2.05 ERA, 121 strikeouts, a 0.882 WHIP, 4 homers allowed and a .188 opponent batting average.

Through 16 starts a season ago en route to the NL Cy Young Award, R.A. Dickey was 12-1 with a 2.15 ERA, 116 strikeouts, 0.885 WHIP, 9 homers allowed and a .190 opponent batting average.

So, other than the out-of-his-control win criteria, Harvey is better than last year’s Cy Young winner in every one of those statistical categories at the same point in the season.

Another great point he makes regarding his lack of pitching wins is this:

OK, Harvey is not the NL wins leader. That distinction is shared by Adam WainwrightJordan Zimmermann and Lance Lynn with 10 apiece. And Harvey is not the ERA leader — not yet, anyway. Right now Pittsburgh’s Jeff Locke (2.01) edges Harvey by four-hundredths of a point. (A more reasonable scoring decision at Wrigley Field earlier this season would have tipped that in Harvey’s favor.) Regardless, how about what Harvey means to the Mets? They have a .625 winning percentage in his starts and .357 winning percentage otherwise.

For those of you requiring additional reasons, Harvey leads the NL in opponents’ OPS (.491) and well-hit average (.086), according to ESPN Stats & Information. He also is the league leader in strikeouts (121) and WHIP (0.88).

In terms of WAR, which measures a player’s contribution to winning, Harvey also is at the head of the NL class. He owns a league-leading 4.2 WAR, topping runner-up Cliff Lee (4.1),Clayton Kershaw (4.0), Wainwright (3.8) and any other NL All-Star starter contender.

I knew about most of the statistics Rubin cited, but had no idea his WAR was that high which is pretty amazing to me. He concludes by saying that Bruce Bochy has to give Harvey the damn ball because he represents the host team.

He really does a great job of covering all the bases here… Read the full article

the heat is on

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Moving Forward: Mets’ Arms Surplus and Possible Trade Targets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/moving-forward-mets-arms-surplus-and-possible-trade-targets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/moving-forward-mets-arms-surplus-and-possible-trade-targets.html/#comments Mon, 06 May 2013 13:37:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=117585 noah_syndergaard

By now we are all aware of the tantalizing conga line of pitching prospects dancing their way up the ladder to Flushing. The litany of names is familiar: Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, Luis Mateo, Steven Matz, Michael Fulmer, Hansel Robles, Jacob deGrom, Jack Leathersich, Domingo Tapia, et al. It is only natural to consider how some of this apparent surplus of talent might be spun off in exchange for pieces needed to shore up the more glaring weaknesses of the Mets. Accordingly, I have engaged in a common baseball reverie and imagined a trade or two or three that could help speed the team toward post-season relevance.

I set some standards for the kind of talent I would want the team to target. Older players are acceptable, just not too old. In other words, free-agent-to-be Shin-Soo Choo is a viable option at 31, but 34-year-old Josh Willingham is best left to teams looking to add some frosting to the cake. We’re looking for young players with real potential or players in the prime age range for performance (27-32).

Some assumptions have been made in an effort to keep things realistic. Although every team targets young pitching, much of the Met talent involved is at the AA and A level so possible trade partners have been narrowed a bit to organizations with a longer timeline to contention (i.e. rebuilding), teams with a clear surplus at a position which they would be willing to swap for organizational depth, and teams that have a potential match but would require some major league ready players to complete a deal.  In the latter case, I can foresee the inclusion of players such as Wilmer Flores, Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, or Ike Davis as they represent areas of overlap for the Mets. With these criteria in mind I have imagined a few trades that just might help speed the Mets that much faster toward post-season relevance.

giancarlo - stanton

Giancarlo Stanton:

Well, this is the obvious one. The Marlins have stated that they will not trade him, but what else would you say if you wanted a decent return? You would expect that given a rich enough package, some team will pry him away. For the Mets, I imagine that this would involve at least four or five players including Zack Wheeler and/or Travis D’Arnaud. Before you go nuts, remember that you have to trade prime talent to get prime talent and that Stanton has pretty much proven himself at the major league level, something that can’t be said of Wheeler or D’Arnaud.

Ben Zobrist:

The Rays are a cost-conscious organization that always looks to get younger. At 31, Zobrist should still have several good years ahead, and his defensive versatility paired with his switch-hitting ability makes him a valuable component in a lineup. He’s a good talent but not an elite player so the package to obtain him might include pitching plus a young player with similar skills (Valdespin?).

Nick Markakis:

The most expensive outfielder on the Orioles’ roster, his production has tailed off in the past two seasons and Baltimore might be willing to part with him to gain salary relief. Close to shedding the albatross of Jason Bay’s contract, management may not be enthused about picking up a similar expense with the tab for Markakis but with a career slash line of .295/.363/.453 and in his prime at age 29, it seems a gamble worth taking. He’s signed through 2014 (with a 2015 team option) and would likely try to pick things up a bit in his walk year.

David-Price

David Price:

What? A pitcher? Yes. Dominant lefties in the prime of their career do not become available all that often. Price is arbitration eligible in 2014 and is likely to command a pretty penny indeed. It’s almost a universal assumption at this point that the Rays will deal him rather than shell out for a massive contract. Could this be Johan Santana all over again? Possibly, but there are also the examples of C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee to consider when looking at pitchers in their late twenties.  Perhaps a blockbuster including Zobrist could be engineered.

Ian Kinsler:

This is a case of one team’s surplus filling another team’s need. The Rangers will need to find a spot for wunderkind Jurickson Profar now that Elvis Andrus has been locked up and second base would look to be the spot. Kinsler is only 30 and has produced big-time out of the leadoff spot for most of his career.  His combination of speed and power would add a dynamic force to a Met lineup that could sorely use more consistency.  Naturally this move would turn Daniel Murphy into trade fodder, but his ability to play third makes him a valuable commodity in today’s market.

J.D. Martinez:

This is the type of young player that teams in the position of the woeful Astros generally hang onto, but they obviously need so much that you would have to think that they would listen to reasonable offers. He is still largely potential at this point, but at age 25 is likely to start putting things together soon. His minor league numbers show him to be a high OBP guy like the Mets brass prefer with midline power from the right side. At the very least he would expand outfield options for the Mets without costing too much.

Ultimately, we will likely need to wait for the off-season to see any major moves made by which time trade targets and expectations may well have changed considerably.  Regardless, the Mets’ glut of quality arms in the organization should be considered a potential trigger for what could be some significant changes to the lineup.

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Cowgill Now Batting .130, Valdespin Leads Mets Outfielders With .917 OPS Off Bench http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/cowgill-now-batting-130-valdespin-leads-mets-outfielders-with-917-ops-off-bench.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/cowgill-now-batting-130-valdespin-leads-mets-outfielders-with-917-ops-off-bench.html/#comments Wed, 10 Apr 2013 18:36:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=113925 collin cowgillAside from Marlon Byrd, who is batting .269 on the young season, the rest of the Mets outfielders are all in a big rut at the plate. Worst among them is Oakland A’s import Collin Cowgill who is batting .130 after another 0-for-4 showing last night against left-hander Cliff Lee.

Cowgill, who was initially proclaimed the everyday center fielder before the season began, has now been relegated to a platoon role against southpaws only and a bat off the bench. He is mired in a 1-for-18 slump and is just 3-for-23 on the season. The most alarming stat is that he’s 0-for-12 against LHP and has yet to draw a walk this season.

It’s still early and it’s a small sample size, but there could be a reason why the Mets are his third organization in three years and why he was never seen as an everyday player until the Mets declared him one before Opening Day. That didn’t last very long.

Mike Baxter and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are making the most of their limited playing time and Lucas Duda may be batting just .227, but he’s drawn seven walks and has a .452 OBP and an impressive .861 OPS.

Then of course you have the non-outfielder in the group, who the Mets and SNY like to continually throw under the bus. That would be Jordany Valdespin who I continue to call the best catalyst the team has. He’s leads all Mets outfielders with a .300/.417/.500 slash in just ten at-bats with two stolen bases. This of course after leading the Mets with a torrid spring training that earned him just a spot on the bench while lesser producers came away with so-called everyday jobs.

jordany-valdespinSpin came into the game during a double-switch last night and replaced Duda in left. Then he did what he so often does and single-handedly manufactured one of the Mets runs last night after he tripled and then scored on a passed ball. As usual, Spin was electric and also as usual he showed lots of emotion as he rushed to the plate with his fist raised in the air – this after an emphatic high five after gunning it to third of Cliff Lee. How dare he… That showboating son of a b***h…

Sooner or later the Mets will have to figure out that they probably have just one legitimate everyday outfielder on their active roster – and it’s infielder Jordany Valdespin.

Everyone was so eager to give Cowgill an everyday job because he “never got a full shot”, and yet that same rule was never applied to Valdespin who I say is the closest thing we’ve had to Jose Reyes since… well since Jose Reyes was let go.

When are the Mets going to wake up and see what this kid could do with some regular playing time, and stop casting aspersions on a player who is guilty of being overly enthusiastic and having a real passion for winning?

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Will Ike Davis Still Be At First Base When The Future Finally Arrives? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/will-ike-davis-still-be-at-first-base-when-the-future-finally-arrives.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/will-ike-davis-still-be-at-first-base-when-the-future-finally-arrives.html/#comments Tue, 09 Apr 2013 22:30:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=113902 Ike DavisIf the Mets are to beat Cliff Lee tonight – the second Phillies’ ace in as many nights – they’ll have to do it without Ike Davis.

Davis is struggling out of the gate, hitting .148 with one homer and showing no signs of breaking out. He’s on the way of repeating last spring, which morphed into a miserable first half.

“I don’t know if I can say I am better for going through that,’’ Davis said during spring training. “But, you do learn that eventually you’ll come out of it. That’s what happened to me.’’Davis had a strong second half to finish with 32 homers; that’s what gives him confidence now.

Tonight is as good a night as any to give Davis a break as he is 1-for-11 with four strikeouts in his career against Lee.

It was suggested in my post earlier today that if Terry Collins needed to adjust his lineup he might consider dropping Daniel Murphy to third and David Wright to fourth.

Instead, Collins chose to keep Murphy and Wright in their respective, two-three slots and play Justin Turner at first base and insert hot-hitting catcher John Buck in the cleanup spot.

It is premature to say Davis is evolving into a left-handed hitting Dave Kingman, but there are signs he is not far off, such as 10 strikeouts to only four hits this year in only 27 at-bats this year. For his career, Davis has 320 strikeouts to 154 walks and 299 hits.

“I like to him home runs,’’ Davis said when asked if he considered changing his approach. “I’m going to strike out.’’

Thoughts from Joe D.

I still don’t know what to make of Ike Davis, but his inconsistency is becoming a growing concern. Should we just accept the fact that he’s just a streaky, free-swinging hacker? Or do we keep hoping there’s more to him than that because he’s flashed some glimpses of being a lot more than what we’re seeing now?

I’m wondering what the Mets do at the end of the season when he will command an even bigger payday in arbitration especially if he finishes with 30+ home runs and the same sub-.250 batting average.

After last season ended, I wrote a few times that I don’t think the front office views Ike Davis the way the fans do, and I could see them trading him long before he gets that $7-8 million arbitration award next season.

I like Ike (who doesn’t?), but as I’ve said before, he just doesn’t strike me as a Sandy Alderson cleanup hitter. And for a GM who is always so conscious about money and value, you gotta believe Davis has little to no job security in Flushing.

It’s just a hunch and that’s all it is at this point, but so many of my hunches do come through more often than not.

Ike Davis being a Met in 2014? I say the odds are 50/50 and dropping fast…

We’ll see….

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Mets vs Phillies at 7:05 PM: Preview, Notes, Lineup, Ike Davis Rides The Pine http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mets-vs-phillies-at-710-pm-preview-notes-lineup-ike-davis-rides-the-pine.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mets-vs-phillies-at-710-pm-preview-notes-lineup-ike-davis-rides-the-pine.html/#comments Tue, 09 Apr 2013 20:22:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=113791 Starting Lineup
  1. Collin Cowgill CF
  2. Daniel Murphy 2B
  3. David Wright 3B
  4. John Buck C
  5. Marlon Byrd RF
  6. Lucas Duda LF
  7. Justin Turner 1B
  8. Ruben Tejada SS
  9. Dillon Gee RHP

Game Notes

The Mets have hit at least one home run in each of their first seven games, the longest such stretch to open a season since the 1987 team opened the season with a home run in their first eight contests. This current streak is tied for the second-longest in team history to begin a season. The 1962 Mets had a home run in their first seven contests. This year also marked the first time that the Mets have hit a home run in their first six home games of a season.

The Mets have hit nine home runs in their first seven games this year, the most by the club since 2005 when New York had 10 home runs after its first seven contests. The Colorado Rockies are the only other team in the majors to hit a home run in every game they’ve played this year (seven games).

Aaron Laffey should get several starts in the rotation in place of Shaun Marcum, although the Mets plan to wait until next Tuesday at Colorado for Laffey’s next turn. The Mets are unlikely to pursue Aaron Harang, writes Mike Puma in the Post. Harang was obtained by the Colorado Rockies and then designated for assignment.

Daniel Murphy is hitting .308 a week into the season, despite getting only 10 Grapefruit League at-bats because of an intercostal strain on his right side that sidelined him for several weeks of spring training.

Matt Harvey became the second pitcher in franchise history to open a season with consecutive starts of 7.0 or more innings while allowing three or fewer hits. Nolan Ryan opened the 1970 season with three straight such games.

Harvey has 19 strikeouts in his first two games, tied for the third-most in the majors with the Pirates’ A.J. Burnett. The Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija has 22 and the Rangers’ Yu Darvish has 20. He also became the third pitcher in team history to begin a season with nine or more strikeouts in each of his first two starts of the year. David Cone also accomplished that feat in 1992, notching 20 strikeouts and Pedro Martinez had nine or more strikeouts in each his first three games in 2005 (30 strikeouts over 22.0 innings).

This season, Mets starters have combined to post a 1.87 ERA (nine earned runs/43.1 innings pitched), ranking second in the majors behind Los Angeles-NL (1.32). The staff of Jonathon Niese, Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner and Aaron Laffey has tossed six quality starts in seven games and have combined for 40 strikeouts, the third-most among NL clubs.

Game Preview

The Mets beat the Phillies last night and look to repeat the results tonight. Yesterday Matt Harvey had another excellent start racking up 9 strikeouts while dominating the Phillies line up. On the other side, the Mets batters were able to rough up Halladay and get to the Phillies bullpen to pour 7 runs on the scoreboard. Dillon Gee looks to follow up Matt Harvey’s performance tonight as the Mets bats try to encore against Cliff Lee.

Dillon Gee was the hard luck loser in his last start as he allowed only one run in 6.1 innings of work while allowing only 3 ER, walking 3 and then striking out 4 batters. It was Dillon’s first start after being sidelined for half the year last year, where he went 6-7 over 17 games and 109.2 innings while posting a 4.10 ERA. Last season he allowed 6 ER over 12.1 innings against the Phillies, where the Phillies had 16 hits, only 1 walk and 9 strikeouts. The Phillies have the following numbers against Gee:

Mayberry 2-9, HR
Rollins 6-9
Utley 2-8, 2B
Howard 2-7, 2 HR
Young 2-3, HR

The Mets batters get their first 2013 crack against Cliff Lee who picked up the win in his first start of the season, shutting out the Braves over 8 innings, allowing only 2 hits and striking 8 batters out. Last season he was 6-9 over 211 innings where he posted an ERA of 3.16 (so in other words, don’t let the record foul you). He faced the Mets a lot last year totaling 5 starts and 35.0 innings where he posted an ERA of 3.09, a 2-1 record, 31 hits, 5 walks and 39 strikeouts. The Mets have the following numbers against Cliff:

Buck 14-48, 3 2B, 3 HR
Byrd 7-21, 3 2B
Wright 6-21, 2B
Murphy 6-19, 3 2B
Duda 5-16, 2B, HR
Tejada 6-13, 2 2B
Turner 0-10

Let’s Go Mets!

Check 213 Miles From Shea!

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NL East Report: Stanton Homerless, Halladay Rocked, Upton and Harper Blasting Off http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/nl-east-report-stanton-homerless-halladay-rocked-upton-and-harper-blasting-off.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/nl-east-report-stanton-homerless-halladay-rocked-upton-and-harper-blasting-off.html/#comments Tue, 09 Apr 2013 15:00:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=113312 KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER!

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE AND YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER!

Team News and Notes

Atlanta Braves (6-1)

The Braves currently sit in first place in the NL East, and new addition Justin Upton is a major reason why. The 25-year-old has batted .423/.448/1.192 to start the season, with six bombs and eight RBI. The other half of the Upton brothers, B.J., has struggled to hit himself out of a barn batting just .120 to date. On the mound, the wily veteran Tim Hudson is back to work with a record of 1-0, and a 3.27 ERA to start the year. Paul Maholm hasn’t given up a run in 12 2/3 innings, and Mike Minor was solid in his first start as well, while youngster Julio Teheran struggled.   

Washington Nationals (4-2)

Bryce Harper was the story during the opening week as he belted three home runs, including two on Opening Day. Stephen Strasburg fired seven shutout innings on Opening Day, but got roughed up for six earned runs in his second start. Gio Gonzalez, Ross Detwiler, and Jordan Zimmerman all went six innings in their starts and allowed just one earned run combined. 

Philadelphia Phillies (2-5)

Opening Day starter Cole Hamels got pounded over his first two starts of the season, giving up an astounding 13 earned runs over his 10 innings of work. Conversely, Cliff Lee twirled an eight inning gem, allowing just two hits and striking out eight in his first start. Ryan Howard has started out slow, batting .148 with 10 punch-outs in just 27 at-bats. Chase Utley, on the other hand has burst out of the gate on fire. The second baseman is batting .370/.400/.630, with one home run, seven RBI and two doubles. Lastly, are we seeing the beginning of the end for Roy Halladay? The righty has seen a drop in his velocity, and has an unsightly ERA of 14.73 over his first two starts of 2013. 

Miami Marlins (1-6)

The Marlins have stumbled out of the gate, and did not score a run until the second inning of their third game of the season. Giancarlo Stanton has struggled with little support around him, and is batting .174/.367/.261 with no home runs or RBI, and just one run scored. Jose Fernandez made his debut against the Mets on Sunday, and dazzled for the first five innings, striking out eight, but received a no-decision.

Injury Report

Nationals: Adam LaRoche is currently day-to-day with a stiff back. Reliever Christian Garcia is on the DL with partial tear in his forearm tendon.

Braves: Jonny Venters (elbow) was shut down for four weeks on April 2, and may be out for the first two months. Brandon Beachy (Tommy John surgery) and Brian McCann (offseason shoulder surgery) were placed on the DL on March 29, both retroactive to March 22.  McCann may start a possible rehab assignment by mid-April, and could be activated by late April, while Beachy could return by midseason. Freddie Freeman was placed on the DL with a strained oblique on April 7, and may need 2-3 weeks to recover.

Phillies: Delmon Young (ankle) played the outfield for the first time this spring on April 1, with the hope that he returns sometime in May.

Marlins: Casey Kotchman was placed on the DL, retroactive to April 4, with a strained hamstring. Logan Morrison is currently on the 60-day DL, as he recovers from a torn patella tendon that required surgery last September. Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi are both on the DL with right shoulder inflammation. Alvarez has resumed a throwing program, and could return by early May, while Eovaldi is out indefinitely.

Upcoming Schedules (4/8-4/14) 

Nationals: (CWS, 4/9-4/11), (ATL, 4/12-4/14)

Braves: (@FLA, 4/8-4/10), (@WSH, 4/12-4/14)

Phillies: (NYM, 4/8-4/10), (@MIA, 4/12-4/14)

Marlins: (ATL, 4/8-4-10) (PHI, 4/12-4/14)

Suspensions

Carlos Ruiz: The Phillies backstop will continue to serve his 25-game suspension to start the season.

Is Justin Upton the heir apparent to Chipper "Larry" Jones?

Is Justin Upton the heir apparent to Chipper “Larry” Jones?

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