Mets Merized Online » Ryan Howard http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 07 Dec 2016 23:45:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 3 Up, 3 Down: Mets Phil Up on Momentum For Miami http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-mets-phil-up-on-momentum-for-miami.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-mets-phil-up-on-momentum-for-miami.html/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 14:21:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164748 dilson herrera jenrry mejia

The Mets went almost entirely with home grown talent this weekend against the Phillies as clubhouse veterans such as Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Curtis Granderson saw their playing diminished for various reasons.  The results?  The Amazins’ added another series W to this year’s resume.  Below are the usual 3 Up/3 Down takeaways.

3 Up

1.  Sunday was an interesting sight as the Mets trotted out three former center field prospects in Matt den Dekker (LF), Juan Lagares (CF) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (RF) to defend the outfield.  As a unit, they also accounted for half of the offensive production yesterday, scoring 3 runs, stealing 3 bases while putting up a slash line of .333/.500/.833.  Defensively, Matt den Dekker played some great defense all series, making a web gem catch in Saturday’s loss to rob Ryan Howard of an extra base hit.  He also put in a great bid to gun down Freddy Galvis at home plate off of a sharp single by Jimmy Rollins, but Anthony Recker was unable to hold on to the one hop toss from Matt, despite on a dime.

2.  Jacob deGrom resumed his campaign for ROTY by having an excellent outing on Friday.  The former Stetson standout went 7 innings, allowing only 4 hits, 1 unearned run and 2 walks while punching out 5.  The 26 year old rookie has some outstanding numbers at home this season, posting a 1.68 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, a 3.06 strikeout to walk ratio, 0.50 home runs per 9 innings while opponents bat a meager .215 against him at Citi Field.

3.  Wilmer Flores had an outstanding series.  The 24 year old Venezuelan turned a great performance at the plate and with the glove.  Flores had a triple slash line of .500/.545/1.145, scored 2 runs, plated an RBI and even swiped a base.  On defense, Wilmer helped turn four separate double plays while also flashing some nice range, robbing Ben Revere of a base hit with a diving snag in yesterday’s win.

4. A bonus “UP” for Dilson Herrera who made his major league debut and earned his first hit, walk and RBI during the three game set. The beginning of what should be a fantastic career for the 20-year old second baseman.

3 Down

1. Curtis Granderson is spiraling downward rapidly since the All-Star break.  The struggling slugger only played two games in the series, getting a day to “clear his head” (a.k.a. benched) on Sunday.  Granderson went 0-8 with 2 strikeouts and despite one spectacular catch on Saturday night, his defense is extremely conservative and overall a liability.  It doesn’t help his cause that Lagares and den Dekker are spectacular within their respective regions, but there were several outfield hits that either of Granderson’s counterparts would have made and these hits ended up being the majority difference in the Amazins’ lone loss from the series.  Terry Collins disregarded the hits as more luck than anything else, but Curtis has lost a step in his speed to the ball and his bat isn’t hot enough to make up for the lack of defense.

2.  Lucas Duda is slumping hard recently and carried this trend into the Phillies series.  The Hulk went 1 for 12 in the series with no extra base hits, walks or RBI’s.  Duda even contributed a rare throwing error in Friday’s win, although his defense has remained solid overall.  The emergence of Duda was sure to come with some downward movement, but the upcoming series against Miami will be a true test for him and his future.  He is batting 0.87 with two singles in his last two series.  If Lucas is able to break out of his woes and get back to laying the barrel on the ball, it will go a long way towards quieting his critics who do not see his 2014 performance as proof that he is a lock at 1st base for the future.

3. Terry Collins continues to look like a lock in 2015, despite Wally Backman putting up tremendous numbers on the farm and garnering the support of nearly the entire fan base.  News broke during this series that there’s no chance the front office will consider the former World Series champ as a candidate to unseat the current manager and Collins’ remaining contract has little to do with it.  Had something to do with Wally thinking on his own, managing winning ball clubs with constantly fluctuating rosters, just winning in general…I don’t know, something along those lines.

*Side Note*- Condolences to Bartolo Colon for the loss of his mother, whom he buried Thursday prior to the start of this series.  Big ‘tolo didn’t have the best outing on Saturday, but it took incredible guts for him to get on the mound after such a devastating experience.  Thoughts and prayers are with Colon and his whole family.

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MMO Game Recap: Phillies 7, Mets 6 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mmo-game-recap-phillies-7-mets-6.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mmo-game-recap-phillies-7-mets-6.html/#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 21:22:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=163061 Houston Astros v Philadelphia Phillies

The Mets (56-62) lost to the Phillies (53-65) by a score of 7-6 in walk-off fashion on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.

The Mets scored 6 runs in the first 5 innings to jump out to a 6-1 lead. David Wright drove in an unearned run with a base-hit in the 1st. In the 2nd, Daniel Murphy drove in a run on a sacrifice fly which became a double-play when Wilmer Flores was caught trying to sneak to 3rd base. Juan Lagares drove in a pair with a triple in the 3rd, before Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud went back-to-back with a couple solo shots in the 5th.

Zack Wheeler did a pretty good job with the Philadelphia lineup, but gave up a solo shot to Chase Utley in the 1st and a 2-run double to Domonic Brown in the 6th. Wheeler finished his outing with 3 runs allowed on 3 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5 and throwing 112 pitches.

Vic Black came in for the 7th and got 2 quick outs, but when Wilmer Flores failed to make a play on a grounder from Ben Revere, the inning was prolonged and the Phillies ended up scoring 2 runs on a Chase Utley triple to cut the Met lead to 6-5. Josh Edgin came in to strike out Ryan Howard with the tying run 90 feet away (despite Howard being given the call on an 0-2 pitch down the middle). Edgin came back out for the 8th and struck out the side, sending the teams to the 9th with the Mets up 6-5.

Jenrry Mejia came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th, looking to close things out for the Mets. Cody Asche led off by hitting a hard shot down the 1st-base line for a double. It was unclear whether the ball was fair or foul, but Terry Collins could not challenge the call with replay because the play was right in front of the umpire (don’t worry, I don’t understand this rule either). Asche came in to score when Marlon Byrd lined a base-hit up the middle, and the game was tied at 6.

"Ball 3"

“Ball 3″

Mejia bounced back and struck out Revere, and Jimmy Rollins‘ hard shot into right field found Granderson’s glove for the 2nd out. With 2 outs and Utley at the plate, Byrd broke for 2nd on Mejia’s 2-2 pitch. The pitch was practically down the middle for strike 3 (see the picture), but d’Arnaud caught the ball and came up throwing in an attempt to nab Byrd, which might have distracted the home-plate umpire from… you know… doing his job. The pitch was ruled a ball, and Byrd made it in to 2nd base safely. With the count full and 1st base now vacant, Terry Collins decided to have Mejia throw an intentional ball to Utley to bring Ryan Howard to the plate. Mejia got ahead of Howard 1-2, but after missing with a couple pitches, served up a hanging slider to Howard, who smacked it into right field for the game-winner.

zack wheeler

Well, that was infuriating. Wheeler did pretty well, although his pitch counts still get too high, too quickly. Black was victimized by Flores’ misplay (which should have been ruled an error), and Mejia just didn’t have it in the 9th (although the game would have gone to extras if not for the umpire). We had no business losing that game.

Mejia has been HORRIBLE lately, and he’s pitching hurt. I will say it again: I do not believe for one second that this is a coincidence. The Mets need to give him a break, and maybe put him on the DL. If he pitches hurt, he’ll change his mechanics, and he’ll be terrible. And he’ll probably injure his arm while trying to compensate for his injured leg, or back, or whatever it is right now.

I don’t like the intentional ball to Utley with a 3-2 count. Even if you don’t want to give him anything to hit, why not just throw him a breaking ball off the plate and hope he chases (no pun intended)?

On the bright side, the offense was pretty good today. d’Arnaud has had a great series, Wright is really getting it together (2 more hits today, 9 game hitting streak), Duda went yard, Lagares got himself a triple, and Granderson reached base 4 times. When the Mets score 6 runs, they’re usually going to win. So it stinks that they didn’t today…

Let’s bounce back and get the series win tomorrow.

Up Next: The Mets will wrap up their 4-game set with the Phillies in a Monday matinee at Citizens Bank Park. Jon Niese (5-8, 3.51 ERA) will face David Buchanan (6-5, 4.39 ERA).

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Despite No Wins To Show For It, deGrom Has Pitched Impressively http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/despite-no-wins-to-show-for-it-degrom-has-pitched-impressively.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/despite-no-wins-to-show-for-it-degrom-has-pitched-impressively.html/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 14:36:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=157461 New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies

On a day that saw one prospect sent packing, another one lived another day.  Jacob deGrom started his fourth career major league game on Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies.  Learning the news that his teammate Rafael Montero was heading back to Las Vegas before the first pitch, deGrom went out and pitched as if his days in the majors depended on it.

DeGrom was overpowering hitters in the early going, not allowing a hit until the fourth inning. Chase Utley broke up the no-no with a two-out single.  Up to that point deGrom had set down every batter he faced in order striking out six through the first 3.2 innings.

Things would change a bit in the bottom of the fifth, when deGrom appeared to have possibly injured himself after a pitch.  The cavalry came out to check on him and deemed him good enough to continue and a collective sigh was heard throughout New York.

In the seventh inning, with a one-hitter still in hand, a weary deGrom got himself into trouble which ultimately led to his exit.  A lead-off single by Jimmy Rollins and a walk to Chase Utley, allowed Ryan Howard to do what Ryan Howard so often does. With the Mets up 4-0, Howard took the deGrom offering and sent it into the stands to pull the Phillies within one.  DeGrom was allowed one more batter after that which brought him to 101 pitches and into the clubhouse.

Still, this was another solid effort by deGrom and perhaps a sign of even better things to come for the young righty. He now has a 2.42 ERA and 1.077 WHIP through his first four starts all averaging more than six innings..

Jacob deGrom’s final line for Saturday: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 11 K

His next scheduled start is on Thursday, June 5th against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

MMO

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 5, Phillies 4 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-recap-mets-5-phillies-4.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-recap-mets-5-phillies-4.html/#comments Sun, 11 May 2014 22:18:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=155364 ruben tejada walkoff

The Mets (17-19) beat the Phillies (17-19) by a score of 5-4 in 11 innings on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field, snapping a 5-game losing streak and salvaging the final game of their 3-game series with Philadelphia.

Jon Niese got the start for the Mets and pitched well, going 6 innings and striking out 6 Phillies, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits and a walk. Niese was better than the numbers indicated, but would be victimized by some bad luck and some bad defense (more on that in a bit).

The Mets jumped out to a lead in the 1st inning against Cole Hamels. Eric Young led off with a single, stole 2nd, and advanced to 3rd on a bad throw. After Daniel Murphy walked, David Wright singld to left to score EY and put runners on the corners with no outs. However, the Mets would fail to capitalize further on this opportunity. Chris Young struck out, Eric Campbell grounded out to the pitcher, and Juan Lagares whiffed to end the inning.

After the Mets let them off the hook in the bottom of the 1st, the Phillies quickly struck back in the top of the 2nd. Will Nieves and Cody Asche each hit 2-out doubles to tie it up at 1-1.

Niese struck out the side in the top of the 3rd, but the Mets wasted another chance to score in the bottom of the frame. Daniel Murphy doubled down the line in left, but Wright flew out and Chris Young struck out to get Hamels out of the inning.

jon niese

Niese ran into some tough luck in the top of the fourth. Ryan Howard hit a weak grounder to short, which would have been a routine play if the Mets had not had the shift on against the big lefty. Marlon Byrd followed him up with a double to the wall in center, bringing Dominic Brown to the plate with runners on 2nd and 3rd and none out. Brown hit an easy grounder to 1st, and Campbell, after a brief hesitation, decided to gun for the slow-footed Howard at the plate. The throw was well on time, but off line. Anthony Recker caught the ball, but was in bad position, and was unable to put the tag on an inexplicably evasive Ryan Howard, who scored to make it 2-1. Will Nieves hit a soft grounder to short to bring home Byrd and make it 3-1 Phillies, but Niese was able to escape the inning before things got truly out of hand.

The Mets “Mets-d” (is that a verb yet?) away another chance to score in the bottom of the 4th. Eric Campbell led off with a single (his first major league hit) and Lagares singled through the hole at short to put runners on 1st and 2nd with 0 outs. Anthony Recker got ahead on Hamels 3-0, and, with the green light, hit a deep fly ball to left field. However, the ball died just before it got to the wall, in typically agonizing fashion. After Ruben Tejada worked a walk, Jon Niese struck out and Eric Young grounded out to end the inning.

Niese worked in and out of trouble in the 6th to end his afternoon, and the Mets had a chance to get him off the hook in the bottom half. Soup (I may refer to Campbell as Soup once in awhile, so be on your toes) led the inning off with a walk, and with 2 outs, Ruben Tejada doubled into the gap to put runners at 2nd and third. Curtis Granderson pinch-hit for Niese and fulfilled his daily strikeout quota to end the inning.

Daisuke Matsuzaka came in to replace Niese in the top of the 7th and cruised through the inning with a Jimmy Rollins walk as the lone blemish. Eric Young led off the bottom of the 7th with a routine grounder to 3rd, but after Cody Asche took his time (for some reason) it turned into a bang-bang play at the bag with EY flying down the line. Young was called out, but Terry Collins immediately ran out of the dugout to challenge the call. After a lengthy review in which replays showed that Young appeared to be safe, the umps upheld the original call, presumably on the grounds that there was not sufficient evidence to reverse the ruling. The next hitter, Daniel Murphy, hit a ball into the gap in right field which would have probably scored EY, but alas, the Mets would once again come away without a run as Wright struck out and Young flied out to center.

After Matsuzaka worked another hitless inning in the top of the 8th, the Mets threatened again in the bottom of the inning when Recker singled and Tejada walked with 2 outs against Mario Hollands. Terry brought in Travis d’Arnaud (a day after pulling him in a huge spot), who took a called strike three down the middle to send it to the 9th with the Phillies up 3-1.

Jose Valverde came in for the top of the 9th and got 2 quick outs, but then allowed a walk to Jimmy Rollins and a triple to Chase Utley to give Philadelphia a huge insurance run.

daniel murphy eric young

The Mets would make that insurance run one of great significance by rallying in the bottom of the 9th. Eric Young led off against Antonio Bastardo with a double down the left-field line and Daniel Murphy killed the rally made it a 1-run game by hitting a bomb over the wall in right. After Wright struck out, Chris Young snapped an 0-for-18 skid by doubling off the wall in left. Roberto Hernandez (Fausto Carmona), who had started game 1 of the series, came in to face pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu, who lined one to the hole on the right side. A diving Utley put a glove on it, holding CY at 3rd, but was unable to reel it in, and Abreu reached with a single. The next hitter, Lagares, tied it up by hitting a grounder to short which was too slow for the Phillies to turn 2. With the winning run on 2nd, Recker struck out to send the game to extras.

Jeurys Familia worked a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 10th, and the Mets almost won it in the bottom half. Eric Young hit a 2-out single against Jeff Manship and promptly swiped his 2nd bag of the ballgame. After Manship walked Murphy to get to Wright, Manship got the captain to roll one over to short to end the inning.

Familia got 2 quick outs in the top of the 11th, but was pulled after walking Rollins. Scott Rice came in and hit Utley before retiring Reid Brignac to send it to the bottom of the 11th.

Chris Young got the Mets’ turn at-bat started with a single and moved to 2nd on a pinch-hit sac-bunt by Zack Wheeler. Manship walked Lagares to get to Recker, who hit one towards the hole on the left side which seemed destined for the outfield. A diving Brignac pounced on the ball to keep CY from scoring, but was unable to make the play on Recker. With the bases loaded and 1 out, Ruben Tejada lined one into left field to send the Mets home with a win.

ruben tejada

The Mets really needed this win, and they got it, but they made it as hard on themselves as they possibly could. The Mets can’t afford to keep leaving so many guys on base. The Mets have been the victims of some bad luck and bad officiating lately, but their planning and execution have been poor as well. Hopefully the Mets can ride the emotional wave of this victory into the Bronx tomorrow night.

David Wright had an RBI today, but came up empty in some big spots. Still, he has been hitting the ball pretty well recently, and he made a great play in the field in extras to help out Familia, so overall, I’m not worried about our franchise player.

Chris Young struggled early in the game, but he redeemed himself with big hits in the 9th and in the 11th. He also ran into some tough luck in the middle innings when a rocket off of his bat ended up in Dominic Brown’s glove. It was good to see CY snap his skid today; let’s hope he can get some more big hits against the Yankees.

Ruben Tejada had a nice game, especially at the plate. I can’t believe I just wrote that. But anyway, Ruben hit a couple balls hard, had some long at-bats, and, of course, had the game-winner in the 11th. Maybe he felt the heat from Wilmer Flores

Niese has been great this season, and he was solid once again today, despite the fact that his line in the box score will only look decent in the papers tomorrow (if anybody still reads the papers instead of MMO). With the bullpen and offense both performing inconsistently, the Mets need their starting pitching to be as steady as possible.

Familia has looked solid lately, and it looks like getting regular work is working wonders for the hard-throwing righty. Hopefully Terry keeps getting him action, but avoids running him into the ground…

The Mets wasted opportunities all game long, but got the big hits when their backs were against the wall. A win is a win, and we were in desperate need of one, so in the end, the Mets made it a Happy Mother’s Day for all of us.

Up next: The Mets will head to Yankee Stadium to kick off the Subway Series tomorrow night. Bartolo Colon (2-5, 5.36 ERA) will face off against Hiroki Kuroda (2-3, 4.43 ERA). Gametime is 7:05 PM.

I heart mets button

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David Wright Nominated For Hank Aaron Award http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/david-wright-nominated-for-hank-aaron-award.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/10/david-wright-nominated-for-hank-aaron-award.html/#comments Mon, 07 Oct 2013 17:52:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=130829 david wright

The New York Mets, Major League Baseball and MLB Advanced Media today announced that David Wright was named the club’s nominee for the 2013 Hank Aaron Award.  Fans can vote exclusively online at Mets.com and MLB.com.

Wright, who was named to his seventh All-Star team (fifth as starter), led the Mets with a .307 batting average.  The third baseman hit 18 home runs with 58 runs batted in, despite missing six weeks with a right hamstring injury.  Wright homered in three straight games twice, and also passed Mike Piazza to move in to second on the Mets all-time home run list with 222. On June 23rd, Wright collected four extra base hits (two doubles, one triple and one home run) to tie the franchise record. Wright was named the fourth captain in club history by his teammates in March.

For the fourth straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron will join fans in voting for the award, which is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and has recognized the most outstanding offensive performer in each League since it was established in 1999.

The Hall of Fame panel led by Aaron includes some of the greatest offensive players of all-time –Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray and Robin Yount.  These Hall of Famers – who combined for 15,581 hits, 6,902 RBI and 1,334 home runs – have all been personally selected by Hank Aaron to lend their expertise to select the best offensive performer in each League.

Through October 10, fans will have the opportunity to select one American League and one National League winner from a list comprising of one finalist per Club. The winners of the 2013 Hank Aaron Award will be announced during the 2013 World Series.

“It is a great honor that Major League Baseball recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each League with an award in my name,” said Hank Aaron. “The game is full of so many talented players today that I am thankful my fellow Hall of Famers and the fans assist in selecting the much deserving winners.”

Past winners of the Hank Aaron Award include: Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey (2012), Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp (2011), Bautista and Joey Votto (2010); Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (2009); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis (2008); Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder (2007); Jeter and Ryan Howard (2006); David Ortiz and Andruw Jones (2005); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds (2004); Rodriguez and Pujols (2003); Rodriguez and Bonds (2001-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (2000) and Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).

The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, and, at that time, was the first major award introduced by Major League Baseball in more than 25 years.

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2013 Comeback Player of the Year Candidate – Marlon Byrd http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/2013-comeback-player-of-the-year-candidate-marlon-byrd.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/07/2013-comeback-player-of-the-year-candidate-marlon-byrd.html/#comments Fri, 12 Jul 2013 16:14:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=124536 byrd  hr 2

Andy Martino of the Daily News, spoke to a person with direct knowledge of the team’s thinking who said that the Mets are more likely to keep Marlon Byrd this summer, rather than trade him before the Trade Deadline on July 31.

We can debate the pros and cons of that, but I want to discuss Byrd in a different context for now.

When you think about a player that deserves to be MLB Comeback Player of the year, you think about an athlete that was once touted as the next big thing, or has had a string of good years and then something happened, either he just lost it, it was mental or just his mechanics.  This player can’t find what it is that caused his sudden decline,  so he struggles for a season or maybe even two, or maybe it is so bad that he never recovers and his career is never the same.

In my knowledge only one player has fit that bill and I can remember Phillies Closer Mitch Williams being greatly affected by the 1993 Series-clinching three-run home run that he gave up to Blue Jays outfielder Joe Carter that propelled the Jays to World Champs.  After that game Mitch was never the same and his career spiraled in the wrong direction. In 1993, Williams saved 43 games but the years to follow he never recovered from that home run and he would never find his dominance again. If Williams would have come back even in 1995 and been somewhat as dominant as he was in 1993, he definitely would have won the award.

Experts and critics always look at what propelled a player not to be able perform at a level he had been accustomed to. Bleacher Report ran an article by MLB Lead Writer Jason Martinez on March 20, 2013 that listed the Top Candidates for the 2013 MLB Comeback Player of the year. Lance Berkman, Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Howard, Ubaldo Jimenez, Tim Lincecum, Victor Martinez and Troy Tulowitzki all made the cut.

All these players are certainly worthy candidates heading into this season. The one who stands out to me is Red Sox outfielder Jacob Ellsbury who in 2012 and only 74 games,  batted .271 with 4 home runs, 26 RBI’s and 14 stolen bases. The sudden decline from his 2011 stats when he posted a .321 batting average, with 32 home runs, 105 runs batted in, and 36 stolen bases, was because of shoulder issues that forced him to the disabled list.  Now in the first half of 2013, he is batting .306, 7 triples, 36 stolen bases and 57 runs scored. He has helped propel the Red Sox into first place in the American League East.  If he continues this trend, he can be a viable consideration for Comeback Player of the Year.

marlon byrd

One player that no one seemed to have on their radar is our very own, Marlon Byrd. Yes, even in the first month or so of this season, Mets fans were not impressed with his production and were basically calling for him to be traded or even waived.  He wasn’t the power hitter that the fans hoped the organization would have picked up in the off-season.  Byrd’s best year was in 2009 while playing for the Texas Rangers when he batted .283 with 20 home runs and 89 RBI’s.  Since then he has not come any where near those numbers and even served a 50 game suspension in 2012 for testing positive for Tamoxifen, which is a medicine that blocks the effects of the estrogen hormone in the body.

As reported on ESPN.com on June 25, 2012, Byrd issued a statement through the MLB Players association when he stated:

“I am mortified by my carelessness and I apologize to everyone who loves this game as I do. I will serve my suspension, continue to work hard and hope that I am given an opportunity to help a club win later this season.”

Well Byrd was given that chance but it came with the 2013 Mets and if his play of late is any indication that he is ready to make a comeback, it is with a team that desperately needs this type of player.  Byrd is batting .268, with 15 home runs, 49 RBI’s and 14 doubles.  He leads the Mets in home runs and RBI’s and as of late has become the go to guy when a big hit is needed.  Byrd is the sudden surprise to a team that only a month ago was looking for answers as to who can they put in the outfield that can stay and make a difference, well Byrd has stepped up and assumed that role.  He is on pace to smash his 2009 stats with the Rangers and hopefully help the Mets to save a lost season.

I chose Byrd as my candidate for MLB Comeback Player of the Year, because of where his career had been heading and how it all came crashing down after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.  But he worked hard to build up his reputation in the game and especially with the fans.

People will never forget what he did and he will never live down what he did, but because he loves this game, he put the work in that was needed to save his career, even if it is just for one season.

Byrd is what the Mets might have hoped he would be and even better.  If he finishes as strong as he is ending the first half of 2013, then he should be given the award. Baseball awards are not handed out based on half-seasons, but from what we have seen so far, Marlon Byrd is a great candidate for the award.

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LoDuca Is Game If Wright Wants Him To Pitch In Home Run Derby http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/loduca-is-game-if-wright-wants-him-to-pitch-in-home-run-derby.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/loduca-is-game-if-wright-wants-him-to-pitch-in-home-run-derby.html/#comments Sun, 26 May 2013 14:00:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=119499 spacegallery_wrightgallery_loduca

Former Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca didn’t hesitate when asked if he’d be willing to pitch again to David Wright in the 2013 Home Run Derby.

“Ok everyone is asking me,” Lo Duca said on Twitter. “If David wants me to throw the HR Derby I’m in. If not…no biggie. We did it last time for fun. Hope he wins.”

The fiery catcher pitched to Wright during the 2006 Home Run Derby and helped him finish second to Ryan Howard who jacked 23 home runs to Wright’s 22.

“It’s alright  It’s a little disappointing,” Wright would later say. “Ryan Howard can have the Home Run Derby if the Mets can have the National League East.”

Wright had 20 home runs going into the All Star break that season, but would only hit six more in the second half. Many blamed it on his pronounced uppercut after his Derby performance.

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The Terry Collins Watch Keeps Ticking http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/the-terry-collins-watch-keeps-ticking.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/05/the-terry-collins-watch-keeps-ticking.html/#comments Wed, 01 May 2013 12:01:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=116700 Updated on 5/1

Bob Klapisch of The Record, mirrors my post from Monday that the Terry Collins watch has begun:

The countdown on Terry Collins began on the first day of pitchers and catchers and nothing so far has made it any easier to believe he’ll be back with the Mets in 2014. Of course, Collins has handled his lame-duck status with grace and maturity — he’s an honest guy, good with people — but that hasn’t stopped Sandy Alderson from letting his manager continue to drift away from the mother ship.

Collins, no dummy, knows he would’ve already received a vote of confidence, even in private, if Alderson and Jeff Wilpon were entirely sold on his body of work. Both men know what job security — or its absence — does to a manager’s standing in the clubhouse. Without a commitment from ownership, Collins looks like a short-timer on a bad team, a latter-day George Bamberger. The current six-game losing streak, including embarrassing back-to-back losses to the Marlins, doesn’t help his cause, either.

Collins seems to be making one bad decision after another during this current losing streak. It’s hard to ignore his bad calls and the become more glaring especially with the team losing 10 of their last 13 games.

Last night, in a critical save situation – in a game the Mets needed so desperately to win – he called upon Brandon Lyon while his regular closer Bobby Parnell was armed and ready to go.

Lets just say that it didn’t work out too well for the Mets…

Reportedly, Parnell was pissed off after the game and was angry that he didn’t get the chance to preserve the win for Jeremy Hefner who pitched the game of his life and deserved a better fate.

Tick, tick, tick, tick….

Original Post 4/29

terry collins shut yo mouth

After getting off to a 7-4 start to the season, the Mets have now lost nine of their last 12 games and aside from when Matt Harvey and Jon Niese are on the hill, you don’t get the sense that the Mets will win that day.

Part of the problem was a middle to back end of the rotation that was ill-conceived from the beginning. The ever so reliable R.A. Dickey was replaced with Shaun Marcum who has already missed nearly a month of the season. Not surprising coming off an injury plagued season in 2012.

The bullpen, which has been among league’s worst for two years in a row, is in familiar territory once again and sporting the highest ERA in the league and the second worst mark in baseball. While Bobby Parnell has made advances in the closer role, the league is batting .324 against LaTroy Hawkins, Josh Edgin and Glen Burke have already been cut, and Scott Atchison, Brandon Lyon and Robert Carson each have ERAs over 4.00.

The outfield, which many thought would be better than last year’s version, is producing at the bottom of the MLB barrel again. Collin Cowgill is batting a gritty .169, and Marlon Byrd is providing a veteran presence to go with his .235 average. Those two were announced as everyday outfielders on Opening Day and experiment that lasted all of three games. Adding to the folly is the scrappy Mike Baxter and his .229 average. After a solid start, Lucas Duda has been mired in a slump and is batting .233 in his last ten games. Jordany Valdespin is probably the Mets’ best option, but is still relegated to bench and spot duty. He didn’t even merit a start a day after a game winning grand slam.

You have a mixed bag in the infield with David Wright holding up his end of the bargain with a .309 average and a .506 slugging, and Daniel Murphy continues to defy his skeptics offensively and defensively. Ike Davis has been a sore spot all season long and as I said two weeks ago it’s time to bring up Josh Satin who leads the organization with a 1.10 OPS and platoon him at first. Ruben Tejada hasn’t cut it defensively or offensively and yet somehow he frequently finds himself batting leadoff.

This team has gaping holes everywhere. Today on MetsBlog, Matt Cerrone provided a glimmer of hope:

“A Zack Wheeler and a Travis d’Arnaud there, an Ike Davis hot streak there, and things can turn around quick.”

I don’t see that changing the climate in Flushing. The Mets were at their worst last season when Davis got hot, Wheeler can’t seem to find the strike zone in Vegas, and D’Arnaud has missed nearly the first month of the season on the DL.

Yesterday on Twitter, I posted this message:

I put much of the blame on yesterday’s loss on Terry Collins. His decision to remove Niese when he did was a terrible one, and the worst part was what he said afterward:

“I knew they were going to put Howard in,” Collins said. “Scott Atchison‘s breaking ball is really difficult to hit. I don’t care who it is.”

He knew Mets killer Ryan Howard would come in and yet he proceeded as Scott Atchison is the second coming of Dennis Eckersley.

He also replaced Juan Lagares with Collin Cowgill and as one reader pointed out, that Howard two-run double probably would have been caught with the speedier and more agile rookie who Collins himself said was better than Matt den Dekker defensively.

Is it too early to call for Collins’ head?

Probably, but while we can fix the bullpen, the outfield, the infield or the backend of the rotation, you can’t fix stupid. As I said, the Mets won’t do anything now with the All Star game closing in at Citi Field, but there’s a reason why Sandy Alderson opted to let Terry Collins go into this season without an extension and as a lame duck manager.

Is it time for some Wally Ball at Citi Field?

Is it time for some Wally Ball at Citi Field?

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Wright Questionable For Tonight, But Not As Questionable As Collins’ Recent Moves http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/wright-questionable-for-tonight-but-not-as-questionable-as-collins-recent-moves.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/wright-questionable-for-tonight-but-not-as-questionable-as-collins-recent-moves.html/#comments Tue, 30 Apr 2013 19:14:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=116936 wrightThe bad news about the Mets keeps getting worse. David Wright, who was supposed to rest his stiff neck last night, was used as a pinch-hitter and now he’s questionable for tonight’s game at Miami,

While it is conjecture Wright might have done something to aggravate his condition, the question can’t help be asked. Seriously, is winning a game in April worth losing Wright for a period of time? That’s the perception today and considering the Mets’ history in handling injuries, it is warranted.

The Mets played fast and loose with injuries to Carlos BeltranRyan ChurchPedro MartinezJohan Santana and Wright in the past several times only to have it come back to bite them. Perhaps I am being an alarmist, but following the Mets does that to a person.

“I would say it’s better now than it was when I woke up this morning, which is a good thing,’’ Wright told reporters in Miami after the Mets’ 15-inning loss to the Marlins. “So I think the treatment that I got on it during the day helped and was beneficial. I’ll wake up tomorrow and see how it feels. I’d like to play as soon as possible, so we’ll see.’’

That the Mets used Wright when they didn’t have to only indicates the panic mode the team – and manager Terry Collins? – must be in with their losing streak now at five.

The Mets’ heretofore lousy bullpen blew two leads last night. Sure, it is semantics to say Shaun Marcum is a reliever, but he was used in that role. First Bobby Parnell, who had been the Mets’ only reliable reliever, and then Marcum.

Blame the pen if you want, but the Mets went 1-for-18 with runners in scoring position and stranded 26 runners.

Compounding matters, the Mets not only wasted numerous opportunities to win the game, but squandered a Matt Harvey outing, one in which he threw 121 pitches to boot.

The Mets can’t afford to waste games pitched by Harvey and Jon Niese, but that’s what they’ve done the last two times through the rotation with them, winning only Harvey’s no-decision last Wednesday against the Dodgers.

While not as bad as it was for a month stretch last summer, the Mets’ offense is in tatters.

Ike Davis struck out three more times last night and is on pace to fan 196 times this season. That’s more than once a game. He has more strikeouts (29) than walks (12) and hits (13) combined, and there are no signs of him breaking out of his funk.

* Speaking of funks, after hitting over .300 for most of April, Daniel Murphy is on a 5-for-31 slide (.161 average with only one walk in that span).

* Wright’s on-base percentage is up, but needs to produce more than two homers and 19 RBI.

* Overall, the Mets have scored just ten runs in their last five games, and on the season have scored four or fewer runs in 13 of 25 games. They are averaging 8.5 strikeouts per game.

Thoughts from Joe D.

I guess a five game losing streak is a great time to clear the air. If not now, then when? Is it too early? Sure it’s early. but what does that have to do with some of the bad decisions we’ve been getting recently from Terry Collins? Is there a stat that shows Collins is a better strategist in July than he is in April? Do managers have slumps like players? Or are they just good or God Awful? Excuse me for going with the latter in Terry’s case. Sorry, Skip…

To begin, I think the concept of of bringing in a defensive replacement is lost on him. He substituted Collin Cowgill for Juan Lagares on Sunday and then got burned when Cowgill got a late break, a bad read, and watched a Ryan Howard shot sail over his head for a two-run double. He went with Cowgill again last night against the Marlins and left the better defender Lagares on the bench. On cue, Cowgill misplayed another flyball that translated into a Marlins win come-from-behind win.

And what’s the fascination with career utility outfielder Mike Baxter who has now made defensive miscues in three consecutive games?

Does he know that that the goal of a defensive replacement is to put in the player best equipped to bump your defense and not one who does the complete opposite?

Is someone telling him he HAS to play Cowgill and Baxter? Is it a clause written into their contracts? Because I don’t quite get the fascination – especially for Cowgill. He should be the next outfielder the team cuts and has no use to this team at all - offensively and defensively.

Yesterday, I blasted Collins for how he mishandles the bullpen, is too quick with the hook on starting pitching and then has the nerve to complain about them not going deep during his press conference. Both Jon Niese and Shaun Marcum admitted they wanted to stay in the game and had plenty left in the tank.

This is what happens when you’re a lame duck manager. It’s like trying to get work done while your boss looks over your shoulder. You make more mistakes, you slip up in areas you were once good at, you lose focus. Collins used to have a defender in me, but he looks like a dead man walking to me now.

terry collins 2

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Mets Lose Fourth Straight After 5-1 Loss To Phillies http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mets-lose-fourth-straight-after-5-1-loss-to-phillies.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mets-lose-fourth-straight-after-5-1-loss-to-phillies.html/#comments Mon, 29 Apr 2013 12:28:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=116633 Boy, I’ll tell ya… Karma? It’s a bitch…

The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Mets 5-1 this afternoon at Citi Field to complete the sweep and send the Mets reeling to their fourth loss in a row.

jon niese 2Jon Niese was the hard luck loser despite a solid performance from the Mets’ southpaw. He gave the the team more than they could have hoped for, but was let down by defensive miscues, a terrible decision by Terry Collins, and a forgettable outing by reliever Scott Atchison.

Niese was cruising through 6.2 innings and locked in a 1-1 pitching duel with Phillies starter Cole Hamels. After getting two quick outs in the seventh, Laynce Nix hit a foul popup that should have been the third out. But catcher John Buck dropped it for an error and Nix responded a single to ignite a rally.

After another single, Collins decides to bring the right-hander Atchison in. That prompted the dangerous Ryan Howard to come out as pinch-hitter and he immediately drove a two-run double to the wall to put the Phillies up 3-1. Chase Utley followed with another single to score Howard and that pretty much sealed the deal for a Philadelphia win.

It was an awful decision by Collins who should have known that Charlie Manuel would send up Ryan Howard to pinch-hit with a right-hander on the mound. Niese deserved a better fate and should have been allowed to get out of the inning himself after a hard-fought, well-pitched game to that point. Brandon Lyon allowed the fifth Phillies run to score in the eighth.

Offensively, the Mets fired blanks aside from Ruben Tejada who doubled twice and had two of the Mets’ three hits on the day. Ike Davis went 0-for-3 and is now batting .169. Lucas Duda continues to slump and after another hitless game his average is now down to .250. Marlon Byrd also took the collar and saw his average fall to .235 for the season.

In addition to the Buck error, the Mets committed two other errors in the first inning, including one by David Wright who saw his record errorless streak for third baseman come to an end at 77 games.

The Mets hit the road and open a three-game series with the Miami Marlins tomorrow night at 7:10 PM. Matt Harvey will face off against rookie phenom Jose Fernandez. It should be a good one. Maybe not. Oh hell, I don’t know… Harvey’s pitching, just watch!

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Mets Blanked By Phillies 4-0, Fall Under .500 For First Time This Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mets-blanked-by-phillies-4-0-fall-under-500-for-first-time-this-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mets-blanked-by-phillies-4-0-fall-under-500-for-first-time-this-season.html/#comments Sat, 27 Apr 2013 02:05:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=116452 ryan howard

The New York Mets were shutout by the Philadelphia Phillies 4-0 tonight at Citi Field. Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick hurled a complete game gem, limiting the revamped Mets lineup to just three hits and a walk.

For the Mets, Dillon Gee was matching zeroes with Kendrick for five innings and actually did a nice job of keeping the Phillies off the board until the dreaded sixth inning when it all fell apart for him. Gee was torched for four runs with the big blast coming off the bat of Ryan Howard who rocketed a three-run homer into the night. Howard owns Gee who now falls to 1-4 on the season with a 5.96 ERA.

The bullpen delivered three scoreless innings, two from Jeurys Familia and a surprisingly clean 1-2-3- ninth from Josh Edgin which was very good to see.

Offensively for the Mets? There was none. Ironically, Terry Collins juggled the lineup before the game and batted David Wright clean-up believing it would lead to more runs. (Hey Terry, your team is already ranked number one in the NL in runs per game.)

But there was no beating Kendrick on this night. The Mets flailed at his pitches and were completely powerless against him.

The Mets (10-11) now fall one game under .500 for the first time this season. Tomorrow, Shaun Marcum will be activated from the DL and make his Mets debut.

Have at it…

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MMO Fan Shot: How Good Can Matt Harvey Be? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mmo-fan-shot-how-good-can-matt-harvey-be.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/mmo-fan-shot-how-good-can-matt-harvey-be.html/#comments Fri, 19 Apr 2013 17:46:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=115371 The following comes to us from the folks at the GrandstandGazette.com and penned by Christian Fazzini.

matt-harvey

At the start of the season, the Mets were desperate for starting pitching. R.A. Dickey was traded, which turned out good for the Mets since he is getting rocked in the American League. Johan Santana is out for the season with another injury. What else is new? So what would the Mets do now? Would the ace of their staff really be Jon Niese, who has won 37 big league games in his career or would somebody else step up?

Cue Matt Harvey.

At first, all the hype was unbearable. Tuning into WFAN 660 AM, the Mets fans were in their glory after his first start. “He’s the next Tom Seaver!” and “ By the end of the year, he will be the best pitcher in New York!” and “Cy Young contender!”

Really? After one start, come on. The media, along with the fans were building this kid up, so I had to check him out for myself.

I tuned into the game when he started against the Phillies. I figured against a good lineup, and pitching in a hitters ballpark like Citizens Bank Park, we will see what this kid is really made of. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this kid is legitimate.

With an impressive four pitch repertoire of a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup, he mowed down the Phillies hitters one by one. Recording an impressive nine strikeouts in seven innings while only surrendering three hits and one run, Harvey dominated the Phillies.

One particular pitch that opened my eyes to Harvey’s outstanding ability was a pitch he struck out Ryan Howard on. High heat. Even though Ryan Howard is a proven power hitter, Harvey was not afraid to challenge him with his fastball. In a full count, Harvey blew a 98 mph fastball straight by Howard towards the end of the game.

As Harvey was coming off the mound, it looked like he was saying something in his head, something like, “Yeah, get used to that because I’m here to stay.”

At 24 years of age, Matt Harvey, in his first three starts, has put together Cy Young numbers:

22.0 Innings, six hits, two earned runs, six walks, 25 strikeouts, 0.82 ERA, 0.55 WHIP

I don’t care if you’re a 10 year veteran or a rookie, those numbers are impressive.

But can he sustain this success throughout the season? From watching him pitch, I see no reason why he cannot continue to pitch at this level for this season and seasons to come. Barring his health of course; sorry for jinxing it Mets fans.

His mechanics are impeccable, he is not afraid to challenge hitters, his command is flawless and he certainly has the pitches to compliment all of his other intangibles. The mid 80s to low 90s tight slider, the 12-6 curve that drops off the table in an instant, the low 80s changeup that moves away from hitters and a ridiculous high 90s fastball that cuts in on and away from hitters puts this Harvey ahead of his class.

For now, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the Mets’ future. Harvey, with his Cy Young type stuff, could easily be an ace for this organization for a very long time. Let’s just hope he does not fall into the Mets jinx like Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana and many other Mets before him.

Go visit the GrandstandGazette.com for more great sports content.

This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader, Christian Fazzini. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 12 thousand Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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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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Series Preview: Mets Head To Philly After Solid Homestand http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/series-preview-mets-head-to-philadelphia-after-promising-homestand.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/04/series-preview-mets-head-to-philadelphia-after-promising-homestand.html/#comments Mon, 08 Apr 2013 12:00:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=113584

Ryan Howard is not the player he used to be.

The Mets begin a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies tonight at Citizens Bank Park, their first road series of the year and their first against a decent team.

Tha Phillies are currently at a crossroads. Where health and age meet talent. The Phillies are getting older, and this may be their last year to make a run at the World Series, although it’s very unlikely. The Phillies went 81-81 last season, spending half the year without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. They have both back this year, but neither is the same player they used to be. Howard struck out in a career-high 33.9% of his plate appearances, while batting just .219. 57.1% of the balls he hit last year were ground balls. That’s significantly higher than his 39.4% career average, and a bad sign for a slugger. Utley has been slowly losing his power. His Isolated Slugging Percentage (ISO) was just .173 last season, compared to a .213 career average. A healthy spring training does not necessarily mean a better year for those two either, as they are both another year older and another year slower.

The pitching staff isn’t looking much better, either. After losing Joe Blanton and Vance Worley, the Phillies’ once-great rotation is lacking depth. And although it appears Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are as good as ever, Roy Halladay is showing signs of age. He had a 4.49 ERA in 25 starts last year, and hasn’t looked much better this year.

While there is an outside chance the Phillies make the playoffs, it’s unlikely. They are only a shell of the group that dominated the division a few years ago, and they will only be getting worse from here as their expensive assets become less tradeable with age. Nonetheless, they are probably about on-par with the Mets right now, which will make this series a fun one to watch.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Matt Harvey (2012: 59.1 IP, 141 ERA+, 2.69 K/BB) vs. Roy Halladay (2012: 156.1 IP, 89 ERA+, 3.67 K/BB)

Halladay hasn’t been himself lately, struggling this spring and in his first start, in which he went 3.1 innings, allowing five runs and two home runs. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com talked to a scout about Hallday. Here is some of what he said:

“If you didn’t know it was Roy Halladay out there,” he said, “you would say, ‘This guy looks like a journeyman.’”

A journeyman. For more than a decade, that would have been the last word anyone ever would have attached to a description of Roy Halladay. But now he finds himself a few weeks from his 36th birthday with more than 33,000 pitches on the odometer. And all of a sudden, the same scout said, “he looks like a guy who doesn’t have a whole lot left in his tank.”

“I didn’t see anything alarming,” the scout went on. “Nothing where you’d say he’s doing this or doing that, and that’s what was wrong. I just think he’s thrown a lot of pitches over the years. He’s always kept himself in great shape, so it isn’t that. But you’ve only got so many throws in that arm.”

He may be right: this may be the end for Halladay

Game 2: Dillon Gee (2012: 109.2 IP, 94 ERA+,3.34 K/BB) vs. Cliff Lee (2012: 211 IP, 127 ERA+, 7.39 K/BB)

Lee was horribly unlucky last season. Despite posting a 3.16 ERA and 3.06 xFIP (first in baseball), the Phillies lost most of the games Lee started. His win-loss record from last year is completely misleading. He is still one of the best in the game, walking only 1.219 batters per nine while striking out 8.8. In his last outing, Lee tossed eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out eight.

Game 3: Jeremy Hefner (2012: 93.2 IP, 76 ERA+, 3.44 K/BB) vs. Kyle Kendrick (2012: 159.1 IP, 103 ERA+, 2.37 K/BB)

Kendrick has proven himself to be a solid option at the back of the rotation with an occasional stint as a long man. With a career 4.7 K/9 rate, he doesn’t dominate, but he doesn’t walk too many hitters either, with a 2.61 BB/9 ratio. Kendrick allowed five runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings in his last start against Kansas City.

Series News & Notes

  • Carlos Ruiz, who batted .325 with a career-high of 16 home runs is still serving a 25-game suspension for violation of Major League Baseball’s drug policy.
  • The Mets have hit at least one home run in each of their first six games, the longest such stretch to open a season since New York hit a home run in six straight games to begin the 1987 campaign. That team went on to hit home runs in their first eight games.
  • David Wright played his 61st consecutive game without an error yesterday, extending the franchise record for third basemen. Lenny Randle is second on the list with 54 consecutive errorless games.
  • In his final start in 2012, Harvey allowed a leadoff home run to Jimmy Rollins on September 19…That was the only hit and run allowed by Harvey over seven innings as he racked up seven strikeouts in a no-decision…the Mets lost, 3-2.
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2013 Mets May Be Better Than You Think http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/2013-mets-may-be-better-than-you-think.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/03/2013-mets-may-be-better-than-you-think.html/#comments Mon, 01 Apr 2013 03:59:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=112360 The biggest hurdle preventing the Mets from finishing in third place are these guys.

The biggest hurdle preventing the Mets from finishing in third place are these guys.

The Major League Baseball season is almost under way, and you know what that means: prediction time! Alas, for Mets fans it seems like most predictions are not so favorable for our loveable Amazin’s, but pay no mind to those Negative Nancy’s. I’m here to give you some good news: the Mets are a decent team. Am I being subjective? Maybe a little, but that doesn’t mean I am wrong. I can very confidently say the Mets will not finish in last place, thanks to the always dependable Miami Marlins. However, I’m not going to stop there and say the Mets are destined for a fourth place finish. In fact, I think that by the time October rolls around and the season is over, the final standings showing will show the words “New York” next to the number 3 in the National League East. Not only that, but I think we will see their record being closer to the .500 mark than many are expecting. Here are a few reasons why:

1. The Phillies are old and declining

Everybody in the baseball world seems to have made it a foregone conclusion that the Phillies will finish in third place, being closer to the Braves and the Nationals than the Mets and the Marlins. I really don’t see it. I will acknowledge that Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are two of the best pitchers in baseball, and Roy Halladay is one of the best pitchers of this era. However, Halladay is up there in age (he’ll be 36 in May) and dealt with injuries last year. Even when he was pitching, he wasn’t too impressive. His velocity has dropped significantly this spring and it makes me wonder if he may not be that great anymore. Behind him, the Phillies have Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan. I’m pretty sure that combination is not going to produce many W’s.

On the flip side, let’s look at the Phillies biggest offensive threats:

Chase Utley – 34 years old, 83 games played in 2012.

Ryan Howard – 33 years old, 71 games played in 2012 producing a -1 WAR. (Fangraphs)

Jimmy Rollins – 34 years old, OPS the last three years: .694 (2010), .736 (2011), .743 (2012).

Then we get into the bats surrounding them and you realize there’s not much there either. For all the talk of how horrendous the Mets outfield is, the Phillies doesn’t look much better. Dominic Brown may have potential, and he had a great spring, but until he proves he can do it throughout 162 meaningful games, he’s still a question mark. Ben Revere can catch the ball and run like the wind, but he has 0 career home runs in over 1,000 at bats. Even Rey Ordonez thinks that’s pathetic. Laugh all you want about Lucas Duda, Colin Cowgill, and Marlon Byrd, but you cannot look at both outfields and tell me one has a significant advantage over the other.

2. Matt Harvey and Jon Niese

I am very appreciative of Johan Santana and everything he did for the Mets when he was healthy. News of his latest injury was very disappointing. That being said, I was not surprised at all by the news, and I don’t think it will have as much of an impact on the team as others do. I was completely prepared to have a rotation without Santana even before the news broke last night. Even if he was going to pitch this year, he is no longer the Johan Santana of old. This team has two new pitchers that are ready to anchor the rotation in Niese and Harvey. Let’s play the always popular comparison game. Here are some 2012 stats from two pitchers:

Pitcher A: 30 starts, 188 innings pitched, 6.77 K/9, 3.75 FIP, 4.18 xFIP, 2.9 WAR (Fangraphs)

Pitcher B: 30 starts, 190.1 innings pitched, 7.33 K/9, 3.80 FIP, 3.64 xFIP, 2.3 WAR (Fangraphs)

“Pitcher A” is Jered Weaver, who finished third in the AL Cy Young vote. “Pitcher B” is Jon Niese.

As we enter 2013, ZiPS projects Niese to improve on last year and finish with a WAR of 3.1, while it has Harvey finishing his first full season with a WAR of 2.5. That sounds like a pretty good 1-2 combination to me.

3. Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud

I will never understand why people will harp on an Opening Day roster as if it is the definitive way to define how your team is going to look throughout the season. At some point this year, barring any injuries, you are going to see Wheeler and d’Arnaud playing for this team. Both will make the team immediately better based on the talent they have. I don’t think it’s fair to expect them to have a Mike Trout-like impact, but with the way the Mets are handling them it’s assured that neither will come up until they are ready for the big leagues.

It’s also worth noting that, currently, the Mets are significantly better at the catching position this year. According to Fangraphs, the Josh Thole-Mike Nickeas combo produced a -0.8 WAR last season and both of them are starting 2013 in AAA. That alone makes John Buck’s measly 1.0 WAR look enticing.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you the Mets are going to win the National League East, but let’s look at two facts: the Marlins are awful and the Phillies have more bad omens than good. For those reasons, among the others I just mentioned, I think it is very feasible that the Mets will finish in third place this season. That may not be the loftiest of goals, but since the advent of two wild card teams it should be enough to keep things interesting for most of the season, since shooting for third place no longer means no chance at the playoffs.

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Phoreshadowing The Phillies’ Phuture http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/10/phoreshadowing-the-phillies-phuture.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/10/phoreshadowing-the-phillies-phuture.html/#comments Sat, 08 Oct 2011 20:58:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=62541

In making the final out of the Phillies’ season for the second straight year, Ryan Howard suffered an apparent Achilles injury, falling to the ground and writhing in pain as the Cardinals celebrated their unlikely division series victory.  In a worst-case scenario (torn ACL), Howard would miss nine months or more while recovering from surgery to repair the tear.  In other words, Howard’s 2012 season would be kaput.

Although Ryan Howard batted only .253 for the Phillies in 2011, he was their main power source, providing 33 HR and 116 RBI in 152 games.  For a team that plays half of its games in a hitter-friendly ballpark, Howard was the only player to hit over 20 HR.  Free-agent-to-be Raul Ibañez was second on the team with exactly 20 HR and 84 RBI.  Take out Howard and the soon-to-be 40-year-old Ibañez, and no Phillie hit more than 17 HR (Shane Victorino, of all people, hit 17 bombs) or picked up more than 63 RBI (accomplished by Jimmy Rollins, another free-agent-to-be who has already gone on the record as saying he won’t accept a hometown discount to re-sign with the Phillies).

So if Howard doesn’t play in 2012 and Ibañez leaves via free agency, the Phillies’ lineup will look an awful lot like the Mets.  Even with those two players in the everyday lineup for Philadelphia in 2011, the Mets still scored more runs (718) than the Phillies (713), produced more doubles (309 to 258), triples (39 to 38), hits (1,477 to 1,409), stolen bases (130 to 96) and even led them in walks (571 to 539).  That’s right.  The Mets, who used Daniel Murphy as their cleanup hitter for 33 games, were walked 32 more times than the Phillies, who supposedly have a more fearsome lineup.

Now take Howard and Ibañez out of that lineup and what do you have left?  A declining and oft-injured second baseman in Chase Utley, an as-yet unsigned shortstop who will be 33 in November and who has a career OBP of .329 primarily out of the leadoff spot in the batting order, and a 36-year-old third baseman who produced a .277, 5 HR, 50 RBI season in 122 games played (numbers eerily similar to Justin Turner’s 2011 season). Basically, the Phillies offense will be led by Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence.  I mean, catcher Carlos Ruiz led all Phillies’ starters (minimum 100 games played as a Phillie) in batting average with a .283 mark.  When your most consistent hitter over a full season is Carlos Ruiz, that says a lot about your offense.

Does anyone really think Chase Utley is going to return to his All-Star caliber form?  Utley played in 103 games in 2011 and hit .259 with 11 HR and 44 RBI.  Think about that.  Batting in the middle of that lineup and playing in that bandbox of a ballpark, Utley managed only 44 RBI in 454 plate appearances.  To put that into perspective, Daniel Murphy drove in five more runs (49) than Utley did in 31 fewer plate appearances (423).  Even Josh Thole (40 RBI) drove in more runs per plate appearance (386 PA) than Utley did in 2011.  Since 2007, when Utley hit .332, his batting average has gone down every year.  He hit .292 in 2008, .282 in 2009, .275 in 2010 and bottomed out at .259 in 2011.  The Phillies will have to deal with his declining production for the remaining two years and $30 million of his contract.

Like the rest of his teammates, Chase Utley is literally down and out.

If Jimmy Rollins doesn’t return, who will be the Phillies’ starting shortstop?  (It better not be Jose Reyes.)  Surely, they can’t entrust the position to Wilson Valdez, he of the .294 OBP in 2011?  But maybe his defense is better than Rollins.  Uh, actually it’s not.  Rollins played in 142 games and made only seven errors, while Valdez played in 99 games and committed nine errors.

Ever since Scott Rolen showed his brotherly love for Philadelphia by leaving the city in a trade in 2002, the Phillies have been searching for his replacement.  They tried David Bell from 2003-2006 and got nothing.  They employed a trio of third sackers in 2007 (Greg Dobbs, Wes Helms, Abraham Nuñez), all of whom started at least 50 games at the hot corner.  They tried Pete Happy (Pedro Feliz) for two seasons in 2008 and 2009, before finally settling on Placido Polanco in 2010.  This is the same Placido Polanco who was acquired in the Scott Rolen trade in 2002 and replaced him at third base for the remainder of that season before moving over to second base in 2003 and 2004 to accommodate David Bell.  Once Chase Utley was called up to the team, Polanco was out of a job and was traded to Detroit in 2005, where he blossomed, hitting .311 in four seasons with the Tigers.  So of course, the Phillies re-signed him prior to the 2010 season and have seen his numbers wilt.

As of right now, Hunter Pence is the only regular position player on the Phillies who isn’t north of age 30.  The pitching staff of Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Oswalt might be truncated by one in 2012, as Roy Oswalt has a $16 mutual option for the 2012 season.  However, Oswalt went 9-10 for a team that won 102 games, finished the year with his second-highest ERA over a full season in his 11-year career, and spent almost two months on the disabled list.  If the Phillies think that’s worth $16 million, who am I to stop them?

Vance Worley might be able to replace Oswalt in the rotation, but is he for real?  In parts of two seasons with the Phillies, Worley is 12-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 23 starts.  But this great start wasn’t something that could have been predicted after looking at his numbers in the minor leagues.  Worley started 76 games over parts of four seasons in the minors.  In those starts, he was barely above .500, going 25-23.  His ERA was unimpressive (3.80) and his WHIP (1.25) wasn’t exactly among the league leaders.  He also wasn’t a strikeout pitcher in the minors, averaging 6.9 strikeouts per nine innings.  Then he comes to the major leagues, where hitters aren’t familiar with him and he lowers his ERA by a full run, while upping his strikeout rate to 8.1 K/9 IP.  At least Cole Hamels’ major league success followed an impressive minor league career, one in which he went 14-4 with a 1.43 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and registered 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

You didn’t think I’d mention Cole Hamels and not show his photo, did you?

There are too many question marks surrounding the Phillies in 2012.  Their position players are getting older and piling up more injuries.  Their main source for power might miss the entire 2012 season, a season in which his new five-year, $125 million contract kicks in.  Their left side of the infield might consist of Placido Polanco and Wilson Valdez, two players in their mid-30s, who combined for six home runs and 80 RBI in 2011.  If John Mayberry (15 HR, 49 RBI in 104 games) becomes the Phillies’ main power source in 2012, their lineup won’t look very scary at all.

Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee might continue to be All-Star-caliber pitchers for years to come.  Or maybe they’ll both realize that they’re entering their mid-30s and will suffer the same setbacks the other thirty-somethings on the Phillies are.  The Phillies are in more trouble than people think.  Their seasons are ending earlier year after year (World Series losers in 2009, NLCS losers in 2010, NLDS losers in 2011), and that may be a sign of things to come.

For a team like the Mets, the gap between them and the Phillies might be as wide as it’s going to get.  The Mets might not have to shorten that gap on their own.  The Phillies might be helping them do it with their multiple albatross contracts and their inevitable meeting with Father Time.  And it all began last night, when Ryan Howard’s Achilles decided to go kaplooey.  Because of it, the Phillies’ dominance in the National League might soon be going kaplooey as well.

 

 

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Pelfrey & The Pen Fail, Mets Lose 10-3 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/04/pelfrey-the-pen-fail-mets-lose-10-3.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/04/pelfrey-the-pen-fail-mets-lose-10-3.html/#comments Sat, 30 Apr 2011 03:24:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=49367 Mike Pelfrey was atrocious today, and the bullpen wasn’t much better in the 10-3 loss to the Phillies.

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey went out today, and looked good to decent for the first three innings, then completely fell apart in the fifth. Pelfrey went four and one-third innings giving up four runs on eight hits striking out three and walking one.Pelfrey didn’t have his best control or stuff, and lost his composure easily. The Phillies were taking bases on him with impunity and his nerves were done by the fifth.

The bullpen returned to early-season form, walking the world and giving up hit after hit. Dillon Gee went one and two-third innings in his first relief appearance of the season, and gave up one hit while walking two and striking out one. Its a shame that one hit was a grand slam to Ryan Howard, his second home run of the game. Dillon would allow those four runs. Igarashi came out, and decided to walk the world, walking three in two-thirds of an inning, allowing two runs on one hit striking out one. Tim Byrdak would come out and finish the game, going one and one-third innings striking out two and walking one.

The pitching today was atrocious, overall. Thats all there is to say. Walking batters always equals losing.

The offense did absolutely nothing until the ninth inning, and by then it was too late for a comeback. In the ninth, Ike Davis hit a solo shot and Jason Pridie hit a two run home run.

The Mets managed four hits all day, and two of them came in the ninth. Pathetic.

Turning Point

Ryan Howard’s grand slam.

Game Ball

Nobody gets a game ball today, because this is one of the poorest efforts the Mets have shown all season

On Deck

The Mets will send Jon Niese to the mound to face Roy Halladay and the Phillies tomorrow. Game Time is 7:10 p.m.

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See Ya Ollie, It’s Only A Matter Of Time Now http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/03/see-ya-ollie-its-only-a-matter-of-time-now.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2011/03/see-ya-ollie-its-only-a-matter-of-time-now.html/#comments Sat, 19 Mar 2011 21:49:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=46558 “I did a bad job.” Those words uttered by Oliver Perez after a disastrous outing today could be the understatement of the year.

Oliver Perez may have thrown is last pitch for the New York Mets today, it was an 86 MPH fastball that capped off an inning that saw him give up four runs on back-to-back homers to right-handed hitters, and then when he finally got to face a left-handed hitter, he walked him on four pitches. That was all she wrote. Terry Collins had seen enough and pulled him out of the game. He left to a chorus of boos and jeers.

The home runs came from Jeff Frazier (a 3-run shot), and Brian Bixler (a towering blast), and they were the first two batters he faced. What a rude awakening that must have been for Perez.

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, recounts the situation and quotes Collins,

Actually, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman did Perez no favors. Terry Collins initially had summoned Perez to face lefty-hitting Matt Stairs, but Riggleman played the matchup game — even in Grapefruit League play — and replaced Stairs with the righty-hitting Frazier.

Still, Collins noted, it’s not like Perez could be shielded from lefty-righty matchups in the regular season. Riggleman did exactly what an opposing manager would do if Perez were the lefty specialist and the games counted.

“That’s what’s going to happen in the big leagues,” Collins said. “They’re going to take that guy out sometimes. Obviously they’re not going to take Ryan Howard out. Somebody else, they might take him out and pinch-hit. He’s got to have something to get those righties. He can’t be hanging sliders.”

Collins hits the nail on the head. On many occasions you will bring in your LOOGY to face a left-handed hitter, and he ends up facing a right-handed pinch hitter instead who was announced after he was summoned from the pen.

Anyway, it’s only a matter of days now – hours even.

Farewell Ollie.

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Mets Fans Seeing Red On Their All-Star Ballots http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/06/mets-fans-seeing-red-on-their-all-star-ballots.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2010/06/mets-fans-seeing-red-on-their-all-star-ballots.html/#comments Fri, 18 Jun 2010 03:22:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=29155 Have you seen the updated vote totals for the National League All-Stars?  Apparently, Phillies fans have been stuffing the ballot boxes en masse.  According to mlb.com, as of June 15, seven of their eight starters rank in the top five in receiving votes at their respective positions.  Only Raul Ibanez (who was hitting .250 with 4 HR and 28 RBI entering last night’s game) failed to rank in the top five, coming in at #8 among National League outfielders.

Here is where each Phillies’ position player ranks among his peers in the voting for the 2010 All-Star Game, along with each player’s vote tally and stats through Tuesday night’s games:

First base:

1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals (2,093,649 votes)
2. Ryan Howard, Phillies (941,134 votes)
3. Prince Fielder, Brewers (614,703 votes)
4. Troy Glaus, Braves (559,290 votes)

Second base:

1. Chase Utley, Phillies (1,992,180 votes)
2. Martin Prado, Braves (895,458 votes)
3. Dan Uggla, Marlins (603,822 votes)
4. Rickie Weeks, Brewers (507,187 votes)

Third base:

1. Placido Polanco, Phillies (933,229 votes)
2. David Wright, Mets (754,455 votes)
3. Chipper Jones, Braves (702,702 votes)
4. Casey McGehee, Brewers (657,982 votes)

Shortstop:

1. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins (1,190,685 votes)
2. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies (992,887 votes)
3. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies (702,165 votes)
4. Jose Reyes, Mets (493,913 votes)

Catcher:

1. Yadier Molina, Cardinals (1,047,411 votes)
2. Brian McCann, Braves (959,033 votes)
3. Ivan Rodriguez, Nationals (805,089 votes)
4. Carlos Ruiz, Phillies (745,844 votes)

Outfield:

1. Ryan Braun, Brewers (1,422,598 votes)
2. Jason Heyward, Braves (1,419,753 votes)
3. Andre Ethier, Dodgers (1,348,662 votes)
4. Jayson Werth, Phillies (1,124,831 votes)
5. Shane Victorino, Phillies (1,029,700 votes)
6. Matt Holliday, Cardinals (955,411 votes)
7. Matt Kemp, Dodgers (770,145 votes)
8. Raul Ibanez, Phillies (694,911 votes)

There are 14 players in the National League who have received at least 900,000 votes.  Six of them are Phillies.

Chase Utley deserves his spot at second base and Ryan Howard deserves to be second behind Albert Pujols.  But how can you explain Jimmy Rollins being second in the shortstop voting with almost one million votes when he has only played in 12 games this season?  Are the fans related to the voters who gave Rafael Palmeiro the 1999 Gold Glove Award at first base despite the fact that he was the Rangers’ designated hitter for all but 28 games that year?  Troy Tulowitzki (.305, 17 doubles, 9 HR, 33 RBI, leads all major league shortstops with 45 runs scored) is a far more deserving candidate at shotstop than Rollins.

Mets fans should be up in arms at the vote leader for third basemen.  Apparently, baseball fans believe Placido Polanco is having more of an All-Star season than David Wright.  This is the same Placido Polanco that is hitting .311, with 5 HR, 23 RBI and three stolen bases.  David Wright is hitting .291, with 12 HR and an NL-leading 52 RBI.  He also leads all NL third basemen in stolen bases with 11.  No other National League third baseman has more than five.

Also, how does Carlos Ruiz have more votes at the catcher position than Rod Barajas?  These are Ruiz’s numbers (.267, six doubles, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 14 runs scored) compared to Barajas’ numbers (.257, 10 doubles, 11 HR, 30 RBI, 26 runs scored).  Barajas leads all National League catchers in homers and RBI and is in the top five in doubles and runs scored.  Ruiz isn’t even in the top ten in homers, RBI, doubles and runs scored.

Here’s one final argument for Barajas that should open some eyes among voters.  As noted above, Ruiz’s stats for the entire season, regardless of opponent are as follows: (.267, six doubles, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 14 runs scored).  These are Barajas’ numbers against ONLY divisional rivals: (.341, nine doubles, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 17 runs scored).  Barajas’ cumulative numbers against the teams in his own division are better than Ruiz’s numbers against EVERY TEAM on the Phillies’ schedule.  Yet somehow, Ruiz appears to be the more worthy candidate if you look solely at the All-Star voting.

The way fans have stuffed the ballot boxes and online voting is reminiscent of something that happened more than half a century ago.

In 1957, fans of the Cincinnati Reds went on an All-Star voting frenzy.  Seven of the eight position players voted by fans to start the All-Star Game were members of the Reds.  Major League Baseball conducted an investigation of where the votes were being cast and found out that more than half the votes came from Cincinnati.

Commissioner Ford Frick decided to replace two of Cincinnati’s players who were voted to start the All-Star Game with the more worthy Willie Mays and Henry Aaron.  In addition to replacing Cincinnati’s players, Frick decided that fans were no longer going to vote for who they wanted to start in the Midsummer Classic.  That privilege was given to managers, coaches and players.  This rule stayed in effect until voting privileges were given back to the fans in 1970.

Should Bud Selig step in whenever fans of one particular team stuff the ballot boxes and online voting?  I’m not sure that should happen.  But something must be done to prevent scenarios that would send players to the All-Star Game who have spent the majority of the season on the DL (see Jimmy Rollins) or players who are barely registering on the radar (see Carlos Ruiz).

The Midsummer Classic should be about the best players in baseball, not whose fans can click on their mouse the fastest.  Let’s send the right players to the All-Star Game!

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Random Stats and Thoughts http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/07/random-stats-and-thoughts.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/07/random-stats-and-thoughts.html/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2009 16:12:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=9004 We can beat a dead horse all day long about how bad and disappointing the 2009 Mets have become, and how we’re going to have to endure a few months of meaningless baseball now that all hope for the playoffs is basically lost.  So instead of beating the horse, I’m just going to point out a few things I noticed when perusing stats last night (through Sunday’s games)…..

The Mets have 53 home runs, worst in the majors.  The Phillies have 126 and the Yankees 136.  Gary Sheffield leads the team with 10 homers, and David Wright still only has 5.  FIVE. 

Speaking of Wright, while he’s batting a respectable .322, his 5 homers and 44 RBI puts him in the company of guys like Jacoby Ellsbury (5, 29), Freddy Sanchez (6, 34) or Pat Burrell (5, 32).  Those are decent players, but Wright is supposed to be more in the company of guys like Ryan Braun (16, 58) or Albert Pujols (34, 90).  In fact, Wright has similar power numbers to teammate Daniel Murphy (5, 29).  What the hell is that?

The Mets have 814 hits and 362 RBI.  The Phillies have 804 hits and 457 RBI.  Think about that….less hits, but almost 100 more runs batted in? 

The Mets have one complete game, and it’s not by Johan…it’s by Livan.  The Giants and Royals each have 8 complete games to lead the majors.  The GIANTS and ROYALS.

Mets’ pitchers have given up 361 walks, trailing only Washington (365) for worst in the majors.  And of course, their 10 balks leads the majors by far, thanks mostly to Pelfrey’s “yips.” 

The Mets could have had Raul Ibanez, who has 24 homers, 65 RBI and is batting .316 for you-know-who.  

The Phillies’ notable rookie this year is pitcher JA Happ, who is 7-0 with a 2.68 ERA and 65 strikeouts.  The Mets’ notable rookie is F-Mart, who is batting .176 with one homer and 8 RBI. 

Amazingly, the Mets’ hitters have only struck out 501 times, which is best in the majors.  But I guess power hitters strike out more, and the Mets have almost no power, so in that context it makes sense. 

The Phillies’ top home run hitters are Ibanez (24), Ryan Howard (23), Chase Utley (21) and Jayson Werth (20).  The Mets’ top home run hitters are Sheffield (10), Carlos Beltran (8), and Wright (5).  Oh, and Jeff Francoeur also has 5, but he hit most of those with the Braves. 

I probably just made you all sick, and I’m right there with you.  I can’t wait for this season to be over so we can move on!

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Starting Off a Critical Stretch the Right Way http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/06/starting-off-a-critical-stretch-the-right-way.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2009/06/starting-off-a-critical-stretch-the-right-way.html/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2009 17:48:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=6578 Okay, I wasn’t at Citi Field last night, but I could feel the energy in the park all the way from New York to Nashville.  It was a playoff game in June, and the Mets continued their dominance of Philly when they absolutely had to have a win against them.  It also kick-started a stretch of tough games against the Phillies, Yankees, Orioles, Rays, Cards, Yankees again, Brewers, Phillies, Dodgers and Reds before the all-star break. 

 

Quite frankly, the next month of games is going to make or break this Mets’ team, and show us all what they are made of.  I like how it started last night, with Johan absolutely fierce despite not having his best stuff.  Wright, Beltran and Church delivered homers when there had been a power drought.  And as for Johan, he ignored a bunt sign and drove in the tying run with a double down the right field line, and he also made a stunning catch of a wicked liner off the bat of Shane Victorino, doubling Eric Bruntlett off first to end the Phillies’ half of the 7th.  He was pissed when Jerry Manuel yanked him in the 8th—he was saying “I’m a Man!” and I could also make this out: “I’ll give you the ball, but I don’t agree with you.”  Good for him….who would want our ace to have any other attitude?

 

There was also a horrible call in the bottom of the sixth when Ryan Church hit a rocket that was fielded by Ryan Howard as Fernando Tatis broke for the plate (with no outs, mind you) and Howard threw him out at the plate.  But wait…..umpire Lance Barksdale blew that call about as bad as you can blow a call.  Tatis slid under the tag of catcher Carlos Ruiz, but not only that, Ruiz was bobbling the ball!  I have no idea why Tatis, nor Jerry Manuel, didn’t get in Barksdale’s face.  Even David Wright could be seen in the dugout trying to convince Manuel to do that.  Luckily, that was the same inning Santana doubled home the tying run, so it didn’t decide the game.  But still…..I’m pissed about that call, and the Mets and their fans should be too.

 

So Game 1 goes to the Mets, and it brought them to within two games of the Phillies.  We need at least one more win in the series to make a statement, but wouldn’t a sweep really be nice?  I won’t get greedy, and I’m just excited for more playoff-style baseball for the next month.  Let’s go Mets!

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