Friday, August 31, 2007

The Movie Version

It's hard to say whether or not this means anything, but the fact is that the Mets pitiful swoon at the hands of the Philadelphia Philles occurred over the exact days that I spent (finally) reading Jeff Pearlman's The Bad Guys Won, an excellent chronicle of the '86 Mets championship run. Pearlman's angle is to ground the story in the team's atrocious behavior off the field, and as most of you know since you've already read it, he does a great job giving an unblinking view of what assholes all these guys were (except for Ed Hearn and Tim Teufel and maybe a couple others). They were arrogant pricks who knew they were going to win and then won.

What does this have to do with the 2007 Mets? Maybe nothing. It's very easy to say that this year's squad just needs to find some of that heart, that fighting spirit, and the fire will carry them through to a pennant and beyond. I've been telling anyone who'll listen that they need to get pissed off and take it out on the rest of the league. Maybe it's all bullshit. As good, as somehow right, as it sounds to say that all you need is passion to will yourself to victory, maybe it doesn't work that way. I don't know.

But as Crash told Nuke, "You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance." He was making that point to tell Nuke not how to win, but how to deal with losing and then maybe see his way through to the other side. Now the Phillies have put the fear into the Mets. Check that: I hope they have. These cool, pro, veteran Mets need to taste a little of that metallic adrenaline terror, and then they need to get cocky — I'm Carlos Fucking Delgado, goddammit — and they need to do it all on their own. Never mind the manager, never mind the fans, never mind the stupid bloggers.

In the movie version that plays in my brain, Pedro comes back, strikes a guy out, then throws his next pitch right at Mr. Met's gigantic head. Paul LoDuca calls an ump a cocksucker and gets tossed out of a gruelling game on a 90-degree September night. In the movie version I don't even know if they win or not, I just know that whatever they do, they do it like men, with fear and arrogance.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Give Up.


Following the Mets third straight Baffling loss, their fourth in a row in this miserable trip to Philadelphia and their 5th overall, I'm officially at the end of my rope. There comes a point where the overall malaise seems to simply take hold and whatever can go wrong absolutely will go wrong. We saw it on Tuesday with Mota, last night with Marlon Anderson, and in today's latest debacle, just about everyone else on the pitching staff, whether it was El Duque, Sele or Wagner in the end.

I can't fathom how the Mets managed to ramble their way through a sweep in Philadelphia that is both embarrassing and unacceptable. After coming back twice, they basically turned the last inning and a half of today's game into a total mockery. The bitch of it is that Philadelphia basically did everything they could to hand this game over to the Mets and the Mets just couldn't hang on to it. I can't, and I don't know if any Mets fan right now can begin to explain the feelings of frustration and depression that this team just can't close the deal. With the lead now down to two games, with the bullpen in shreds and the rotation in shambles, heading into the #1 House Of Horrors, it's officially Panic time.

I'm through with offering suggestions, or trying to say anything to make myself or anyone else feel any better. Just throw it all out there and whatever happens, happens. We've got to live with the team we got. But I don't know if it's good enough anymore.

I'm out of energy to say anymore. I feel sick.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Throw It Away


I guess you could take everything I wrote in this post back in June and replace Scott Schoeneweis' name with Guillermo Mota.

I don't know who to blame first for the Mets latest atrocity in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. By now, Guillermo Mota is simply beyond blame. He's proven himself barely capable of getting through one inning, and that one inning is enough to put all of us in the Loony bin. One inning, one solid inning out of Mota is enough, thank you, and let's take it, put it in our back pockets and hand the ball to someone else in the last of the 10th, please.

But NOOOOOOOOOOO!

What exactly was Willie thinking trying to squeeze that second inning out of him? That was so monumentally stupid in so many different ways. I mean, come on. Here you are, playing in this Bandbox Ballpark on Steroids, in a tie game, a game that you sorely need to win, and up steps this Monster of a man, the defending NL MVP who could hit a moon rocket with the mere flick of a wrist, a lefty hitter against your righty pitcher.

I would have rather had Scott Schoeneweis on the mound in that spot! That's how awful the decision to leave Mota in there was.

And, of course, Mota hung one, and Howard smoked it. Game over. 3 losses in a row, and in the blink of an eye, the lead is down to 4.

Way to go Willie. Rot Guillermo. I want to slip some steroids into your coffee so that you can get suspended again and be gone from this team. Piazza should have mashed you into meatballs when he had the chance and spared us from this nightmare.

I got a letter from the Mets today regarding the pre-sale of Playoff tickets for Seven-Pack holders. I wonder if I should hang on to it, or if I should just use it as toilet paper.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Guillotine


It's usually good for teams with Playoff aspirations to come out with guns blazing when they embark on a difficult 10-game road trip that features 7 games against their closest Division Rivals.

Unfortunately for the Mets, such an effort eluded them as Brian Lawrence chucked up yet another pathetic effort, that was well out of hand by the time the Bootleg Bullpen Brigade eventually did a fine job of incinerating the game completely.

It seems like we've almost gotten used to seeing these kinds of games from the Mets this season. After 5 months, they've basically been treading water with their tenuous 1st Place lead, and just when it seemed like they were going to finally pull away from the pack, they end up fizzling out with games like Sunday night and Monday night.

The problem had been the offense for such a long time, but now it appears that the shortcomings are falling towards the Pitchers. The Bullpen, shaky all year, seems to be as solid as a bowl of Jell-o, and the Rotation, untested to begin with, is beginning to show signs of fatigue.

It's unacceptable to have Brian Lawrence start any more games this season. That is certainly clear. I think we saw the best we could possibly see out of him earlier this month in Milwaukee, and even then, he wasn't that great. Whether or not this means Pedro will ascend and fill this spot (still one start away, we hear), or someone else from the Minors will come up (Vargas? Pelfrey? I think not. Philip Humber took a no-hitter into the 9th not long ago, I hear) and make the start in what will undoubtedly be a crucial game in Atlanta on Saturday remains to be seen. With Maine obviously entering a dead-arm period, and Glavine and Perez being inconsistent, who can be counted on beyond El Duque? Someone in this bunch needs to step up.

Sometime in the 10th inning on Thursday night, as El Guapo and I watched Aaron Heilman arguably throw or fail to throw Strike 3 past Adrian Gonzalez 3 times, the following exchange occurred.

Guapo: Man, this is depressing.

M2M: What's depressing?

Guapo: That the Mets have to go to War with this Bullshit Bullpen.

He's right. For a while, the best reliever the Mets had was a converted starter. And now Sosa has been hit hard a few times, which is most likely a side effect of being used every damn day for a month because nobody else can get outs consistently. Mota has been the most alarming, to the point where he is close to being shoveled into the Aaron Sele zone where he only pitches once a week, if that. Heilman, Feliciano, Schoeneweis and even Wagner have fallen prey to the demons of inconsistency over the past month, to the point where it is costing the Mets games. Word is that Joe Smith is going to be back soon, but that doesn't mean he will be effective.

With the Mets lead having shrunk by a game last night, and 6 more games to come against the teams chasing them, and the pitching staff in total disarray, the Mets are looking at something very, very scary right now.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Weekend Edition

First off, I'd like to thank Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for resigning effective September 17. That day happens to be El Guapo's birthday, and I can't imagine a much better gift than this. Thanks, Al!

So on to a weekend wrap-up of sorts. I spent Saturday up at the Barclay's golf tournament hopscotching around following different groups. I saw Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson (yes, he's just as fat in person), Retief Goosen, that weenie Zach Johnson who won the Master's, plus my boy Padraig Harrington. My mother, who volunteered at the tourney as a driver, apparently scored me Paddy's autograph on a cap. Thanks, mom!

Westchester C.C. in Harrison, NY.


l-r: Zach Johnson, Padraig Harrington, and Ryan Armour finish up on 18.


Sorry, Veej, maybe next year...

Despite the loss to David Wells and the Dodgers last night, the Mets are still in good shape in the division. The Braves and Phillies never capitalized on their respective windows of opportunity and have fallen back to 6+ games out. The Phils get another big chance starting tonight.

Meanwhile the Mets have personnel decisions to make. Endy Chavez and Paul LoDuca are ready to return. The LoDuca move is easy, only necessitating sending down Sandy Alomar (more likely) or Mike DeFelice (less likely), who've both filled in admirably. Endy presents a more complicated choice. If the team could put Luis Castillo on the DL, they could activate Endy without any playoff roster implications (since a DL player is playoff eligible even if he's not with the team on September 1). But since they don't know the extent of Castillo's injury that's not an easy call. (ESPN's Mets page has Castillo possibly in the lineup tonight.) If they activated Endy and demoted someone else, who would it be? It could hardly be Marlon Anderson or Ruben Gotay, and they just went to the trouble of trading for Jeff Conine for his playoff and pennant race experience (although I think he looked like a butcher at first last night, with one error plus a handful more plays he just didn't get to).

This Phillies series is for four games on the road, so obviously it's a big test. Am I nervous? Yes. Yes I am.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Yes Sir

I was reading FreeDarko this morning, as I always do, which led me to SLAM Online column which contained this phenomenal YouTube clip. It's Stephon Marbury reacting excitedly to the Zach Randolph trade on MSG, with someone yelling over and over in the background "Yes sir! Yes sir! Yes sir!" That guy is off camera, but I like to think it's one of the reporters.



As you may or may not know, I'm a long suffering Knicks fan, and I don't see the Randolph thing with quite the rose-colored glasses Steph does, but I have to say I think I'm reaching the point, as disgusted as I am with Isiah Thomas and the team's ownership, of being able to have the serenity to sit back and enjoy the crazy. I'd still rather have a team I could root for, but if this season turns into a cavalcade of insanity and Steph-rantings, I think I'm okay with that. As the afore-linked Sam Rubenstein's SLAM column put it, it's the good kind of crazy.

Speaking of suffering
Mets2Moon and I hit the Mets-Padres game up last night and as you know, it was a roller coaster, only not the fun kind. Ah, hell, you know what happened. But for a minute there (specifically, the Marlon Anderson "oh shit no he didn't" three-run bomb) it really looked like a resurrection of last year's style. Unbelievable come-from-behind victories, walkoffs, all that. It wasn't meant to be.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today...


It was on this date twenty years ago, August 23rd, 1987, that an eight-year old Mets2Moon attended his first Mets game at Shea Stadium, a relatively nondescript 9-2 Mets victory over the San Diego Padres. Gooden pitched and got the win, Strawberry and Ho-Jo Homered and all was right with the world.

Now, on this night, twenty years later, I will fittingly be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of my first Mets game by attending tonight's Mets game against the same (yet very different) San Diego Padres.

It has been a long, amazing, head-shaking journey to get to this point. I've seen quite a bit. From Ventura's Grand Slam Doubleheader, to Piazza's 9/11 Home Run, to Bobby Valentine's Moustache, to Wright, Delgado, Endy and Beltran delivering walkoffs in 2006, to Armando's Balkoff this year. Over the past 20 seasons, I have attended 243 Mets games at Shea Stadium (not counting a few Subway Series games at The Pit) in the Regular Season, plus another 5 Postseason games, and I thought it proper, on this day of great note, to look inside the numbers and visit the highs and the lows of those 243 games.

So, the highlights of the 243:
Won-Lost record: 144-99 (.593 winning pct)
Season most attended: 1999 (29 games)
Season least attended: 1987 (1 game)
Most victories witnessed, season: 1998 (18 victories)
Most losses witnessed, season: 1999 (12 losses)
First Night Game attended: July 2, 1988 (Mets 7, Astros 2)
First Game attended alone: June 17, 1995 (Astros 7, Mets 3)
First Doubleheader: April 20, 1997 (Mets 8, Cubs 2; Cubs 4, Mets 3)
Longest Game attended, innings: 14 Innings, 3 times (August 6, 1989, June 9, 1999, May 5, 2006)
Longest Game attended, time: 4:55, August 6, 1989
Shortest Game attended, time: 1:58, October 4, 1992
Longest Winning Streak: 8 games, 2 times (July-August 1998, April-June, 2006)
Longest Losing Streak: 4 games (August-September, 2005)
Team Most Seen: Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals, 23 times
Team Least Seen (NL Only): Arizona Diamondbacks, 7 times
Team Least Seen (Non-expansion): Los Angeles Dodgers, 9 times
Most Victories Against: St. Louis Cardinals, 14 victories
Most Losses Against: Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals, 11 losses
Least Victories Against (NL Only): (Tie) Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, 6 victories
Least Losses Against (NL Only): Milwaukee Brewers, 2 losses
Best Win Pct. Against: Colorado Rockies, .750 (9-3)
Worst Win Pct. Against: (Tie) Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, .500 (Cubs 7-7; Pirates 6-6)
Game #100: June 26, 1998 (Yankees 8, Mets 4)
Game #200: May 15, 2005 (Cardinals 4, Mets 2)
Victory #25: September 29, 1991 (Mets 4, Phillies 3)
Victory #50: May 13, 1997 (Mets 4, Astros 3)
Victory #75: June 8, 1999 (Mets 11, Blue Jays 3)
Victory #100: July 17, 2001 (Mets 1, Blue Jays 0)
Victory #125: August 16, 2005 (Mets 6, Pirates 2)
Loss #1: July 23, 1988 (Braves 6, Mets 1)
Loss #25: May 28, 1995 (Giants 5, Mets 1)
Loss #50: June 11, 1999 (Red Sox 3, Mets 2, 12 inn)
Loss #75: August 11, 2004 (Astros 5, Mets 4, 10 inn)

THE TEN BEST (does not include Postseason):
1) September 21, 2001 (Mets 3, Braves 2)
2) June 9, 1999 (Mets 4, Blue Jays 3, 14 inn)
3) May 5, 2006 (Mets 8, Braves 7, 14 inn)
4) August 22, 2006 (Mets 8, Cardinals 7)
5) May 19, 2006 (Mets 7, Yankees 6)
6) July 10, 1999 (Mets 9, Yankees 8)
7) August 1, 1998 (Mets 2, Dodgers 1)
8) May 29, 2007 (Mets 5, Giants 4, 12 inn)
9) April 1, 1996 (Mets 7, Cardinals 6)
9a) August 31, 1990 (Mets 4, Giants 3)
10) August 9, 1990 (Mets 5, Phillies 4)
10a) May 23, 1998 (Mets 3, Brewers 0)

THE FIVE WORST:
1) August 31, 2005 (Phillies 8, Mets 2)
2) August 7, 1999 (Dodgers 7, Mets 6)
3) September 24, 1989 (Expos 6, Mets 5)
4) June 26, 1998 (Yankees 8, Mets 4)
5) May 20, 2005 (Yankees 5, Mets 2)

THE POSTSEASON:
1) October 8, 1988 (Mets 8, Dodgers 4)
2) October 9, 1999 (Mets 4, Diamondbacks 3, 10 inn)
3) October 8, 2000 (Mets 4, Giants 0)
4) October 4, 2006 (Mets 6, Dodgers 5)
5) October 12, 2006 (Mets 2, Cardinals 0)

And so, with game #244 coming this evening, I look forward to writing another chapter in my long and storied history with the Mets. Happy Anniversary to Me and Here's looking forward to another 243 games, with many victories, and then some.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Seriously...

... Who does Keith Hernandez have to blow to get on the all-time Gold Glove team?

C Johnny Bench
1B Wes Parker
2B Joe Morgan
SS Ozzie Smith
3B Brooks Robinson
OF Willie Mays
OF Roberto Clemente
OF Ken Griffey Jr.
P Greg Maddux

I confess, I've never heard of Wes Parker ("You've never heard of Wes Parker? Well, Wes Parker played blahblahblah for the blahblahblah and batted blahblahblahblahblahblah..."). He seems like a nice fellow, and it's fun to see an underdog end up on one of these lists alongside Mays, Morgan, Brooks Robinson, and the other Hall 0f Famers, but I would have thought Keith would be a shoe-in. Maybe I'm biased. In fact, I'm certain I'm biased. Oh well, Keith, at least you won another big honor this year.

Wes Parker surprise addition to all-time Rawlings Gold Glove team [ESPN]

Of What Is and What Has Been Before


Presumably, all of us in Mets Nation are simply happy that the Mets were able to come away with the victory in a game that they seemed to have frittered away via some sloppy fielding and sloppy pitching on a sloppy night at Shea, where I can only imagine the crowd was far less than the 48-some odd-thousand that were announced, on an August evening cleverly disguised as an April evening.

But the events leading up to Luis Castillo's first Heroship in a Mets uniform seemed to take on the feel of a couple of games from years past, games not forgotten, and that produced some signature moments for a couple of great Mets, one whom is still writing his book with the team, and one whose place is cemented as, arguably, The Best.

I speak, specifically of a game played exactly one year ago, similarly on a Tuesday night in late August at Shea Stadium, and another game, played on a similarly chilly April night eight years ago. We are all familiar with the results. The setting remains the same and some of the names do as well.

On April 28th, 1999, the Mets blew a late game lead to the San Diego Padres, and entered the bottom of the 9th trailing 3-2, and, as per usual, into the game comes Trevor Hoffman to presumably close out the game. Instead, John Olerud led off with a single and Mike Piazza followed by ripping a Walkoff HR into the Mets bullpen to give the Mets a 4-3 victory. Because of Piazza's stature and the fact that the image of Piazza raising his fists and dropping his bat was an enduring image from that season (and adorns the cover of the 2000 Mets Yearbook), this is not a Lost Classic. This is just a Classic.

On August 22nd, 2006, the Mets fell behind to the St. Louis Cardinals and A-Poo by a 7-1 score. The victim of this deficit was John Maine. But a Carlos Delgado Grand Slam and a Jose Reyes RBI later, the lead was down to 7-6 going into the Bottom of the 9th, where, against Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen, Carlos Beltran smacked a 2-run HR into the Mets bullpen to give the Mets a steely 8-7 victory. Because this game was constantly re-played on SNY and because of how this game was typical of the kinds of ways the Mets could beat you in 2006, this is not a Lost Classic. This is also just a Classic.

And so, that brings us to Tuesday night. With John Maine on the mound, the Mets raced out to an early lead buoyed by the hot hitting of Carlos Beltran. But Maine tired in the 6th, and the Padres came back and eventually took the lead in the 7th. But the Mets would battle back, not once, but twice. First, it was Beltran once again driving home the tying run in the 8th. But the Mets would falter again as Wagner allowed a run in the 9th. And so the Mets entered the last of the 9th, and just as it was in 1999, there was Trevor Hoffman coming in.

And, just as it was in 1999, Hoffman could not hold the lead. First, it was Milledge coming up with the leadoff hit, then Mike DiFelice laying down the key sacrifice, and then Marlon Anderson, playing a role as key as he did back in yet another one of these wild victories back in 2005, coming up with the tying hit, and then scoring the winning run on Luis Castillo's hit two batters later.

Hoffman. Beltran. Maine. Anderson.

Mets lore is dotted with these names, and once again, they all emerged as key players in Tuesday night's victory. And in a mostly uneven season for the Mets, it's good to see them summon up the magic of a couple of memorable seasons where victories like this were commonplace, and years where, by season's end, every last victory would prove to be crucial. What remains in this season will tell us just how crucial this victory will be.

Regrettably, this was not a Ballclub night at Shea; most of the games we have attended have been on Tuesdays, it seems, however we are slated to be in attendance on Thursday, on what will be another anniversary of another kind that I will discuss tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Conine The Barbarian


As a veteran of several ankle sprains of varying severity, I can empathize with the unfortunate fate suffered by Damion Easley on Saturday night. While watching the game and seeing him come up lame, I could tell right there what had happened. And, knowing from experience what occurs when an ankle is sprained, I could not watch the repeated replays of the injury.

While an ankle sprain may stop hurting especially badly after a short period of time, it can be debilitating for as long as 6 months following the injury, and while one might be able to walk, it's pretty much impossible to run, or to handle the rigors of the final quarter of a Baseball season. So, let's tip our cap to Damion Easley, who's probably done for the season, but who had provided the Mets with some fine play all over the field, and came up with some big hits in some tight spots. Well done, and we'll miss you. Get well soon!

So, with every problem, this one being the lack of a veteran righty bat off the bench, there is a solution. Enter Jeff Conine, who could be considered a Super Veteran, first seen climbing the fence in a Spring Training game in 1991 to rob a forgotten Met of a game winning HR when he was a Royals Minor Leaguer, to an original Marlin, to a 2-time World Champion, and now to the Mets, where he's going to be the guy now, coming off the bench in the late innings, filling in at 1B or the Outfield. True, his best days have long passed him by, and his career is now winding down. So was Easley's. The Mets don't need Conine to light up the scoreboard. They just need him to play smart, play cool and come up with the big hits that go un-noticed. He's made a career of being spectacularly unspectacular, but judging from the regard in which he's held by Marlins fans, he does that pretty damn well. Welcome aboard.

Hmm...Alou, Conine, Castillo...All the Mets need now is to bring back Bobby Bonilla and they'll have officially recreated the 1997 Florida Marlins...

(Sorry. I couldn't resist.)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Thrills and Spills

Nothing like a few wins over a bad team to put a little spring back in your step, no matter how unseemly those wins may be (and man, check out the hops on Reyes there!).

Once again, the Mets seemed to play down to the level of their opponent, yet somehow managed to eke out a few reverse-jinx victories against the Nationals over the weekend in spite of some shoddy play.

It sounds a little strange, so I'll elaborate.

On Thursday night, El Guapo and I convened at Ballclub HQ, East Village bureau to watch the Mets close out what we hoped would be a series sweep over the miserable Pirates. To date, the Mets had not lost a game that we had watched at that location. When I walked in, the Mets had already charged out to a 5-0 lead. When we left, the Mets had pissed away a sure victory, helped by some miserable efforts from the Bullpen and another alarming string of runners left on base, in a game where their 7 could have easily been a 12. We were drunk, annoyed and arguing with each other over, among other things, the grammatical correctness, or lack thereof, used in this Blog, and whether or not it is acceptable considering the respective styles in which we both happen to write.

But I digress.

A loss like that, following Wednesday's game, which the bullpen made their best effort to blow, but couldn't, led me to believe that the Mets were about to charge into Washington and lose 2 of 3, or, worse, get swept and come home with a giant egg on their face.

But that didn't happen. 3 games, none of which were especially pretty, featuring a lot of late rallies to win, a couple of Bullpen-induced Heart Attacks and about 40 different times over the course of the weekend where you thought that this was where the bottom was going to fall out. Jorge Sosa wriggling in and out of a jam on Friday. Oliver Perez gutting his way through 6 hideous innings on Saturday. Jon Rauch's 6' 11" worth of implosion on Sunday. And all of a sudden, here are the Mets sweeping the Nationals. Whoda thunk it?

Funny game, that Baseball. Funny indeed.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lastings Effect

With all the negatives going on with the Mets, many of which I brought up in my post yesterday, I felt it appropriate to offer a solution to some of these problems.

Lastings Milledge needs to play. And Lastings needs to play every day, starting in Right Field instead of Shawn Green.

Milledge isn't going to light the world on fire, and he certainly won't be perfect. We can expect flashes of brilliance and flashes of youth, as we are apt to see from 22-year old Outfielders.

It's a bit shameful that the job isn't Milledge's outright. I know that Green is the established veteran, but right now, Green is hitting .272 with 8 HRs and 32 RBIs, numbers not acceptable from a corner OF position (unless said corner OF is Benny Agbayani). There seems to be this unfounded dislike for Milledge within the Mets system, of course it all goes back to questions of his character when they drafted him, and continued to fester during the "Know your place, Rook!" incident last year, and his Rap record this year, but it's gotten to the point where Willie's criticism of Milledge borders on hypocritical favoritism. It's OK for Delgado and Reyes to do their Home Run dances in front of the dugout. But Milledge? Oh Noooooooo! God forbid we should have a player who reacts with joy and zeal (not Zeile) because he appears to be genuinely excited to simply be in the Major Leagues, let alone providing some sparks to a mostly dead lineup (other than Reyes). Let's use our veteran guys, who either creak around the outfield, or aren't even outfielders to begin with, Willie thinks.

Whether or not it's true, all this negativity focused on Milledge makes me believe that they're more than likely to trade him before long, which it is clear that this would be a) Totally against public opinion, and b) A gigantic Mistake.

Even buried in the 8 hole in the Batting Order, Milledge has been able to affect some change, and his hustling play has led the Mets to victories. Remember that game against Cincinnati, his first game back? How he dashed from first to home on Gotay's bloop hit? You think Green can do that? How about Beltran? Marlon Anderson? Nope, probably not.

Of course, Milledge scored the winning run and got criticized by his Manager for the slide into home plate.

Memo to Willie: It's time to shut up and play this kid. Stop complaining about the "attitude." He's going to be a spark, and what's the point of having him here if you're just going to let him sit on the bench and pinch hit? The fans want him. The fate of the entire season is probably at stake.

Play Lastings Everyday. Starting Now.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

How To Disappear Completely

In the 7th inning of Saturday Night's debacle at Shea, Jose Reyes tagged up from 3rd on a pop out by Wright and attempted to score. In a bang-bang play at the plate where Reyes appeared to be safe, he was called out. Arguments and whining ensued.

It basically looked like the Umpire, Alfonso Marquez, saw the play and had no idea what the hell the call was, so he called Reyes out.

It's the sign between a good team and a bad team. A Good team will get the lucky breaks needed to win games like that. A Bad team doesn't get that call. And right now, the Mets are playing like a bad team, which is pretty ridiculous considering that this is supposed to be a pretty good team.

But given that the Mets had 6 pretty big Divisional games this year, and more or less Shit the Bed in 4 of them, and barely won a 5th, it's clear that this formula that Willie is using right now ain't working.

Each game it appears there have been different, multiple goats per game. Whether it's been the continued failure to hit with runners in scoring position, the continued mounting of runners left on base or the complacent reliability on the "Productive Out," or several failures by the Bullpen at the worst possible moments, the Mets have been playing a lifeless brand of Baseball, and while there have been glimpses of hope and spurts of strong, inspired play, this has gone on for the better part of 3 months now, this general Malaise. The Mets have not won more than 4 games in a row at any time this season, and they haven't even done that since the end of June, when they last played Philadelphia. Since then, inconsistency has been the norm, and it's beginning to cost the Mets more and more as they play poorly against the teams they really need to beat.

Even Wagner, who has been the picture of rock-solid all season long hasn't been immune. His blown save on Friday was not only his second blown save of the season, it was his first loss. And he hasn't exactly been sharp of late, but he'd been able to minimize the damage and get out of jams until Hanley Ramirez burned him on Friday.

What's most alarming about this is that Wagner had, to this point, been the one guy that none of us worried about out of the Bullpen. In fact, he'd been having a standout season even by his own standards. Heilman and Mota both imploded in spectacular fashion on Saturday. Heilman has been up and down all season. Mota has been simply miserable most of the time, Feliciano seems to have hit the wall after his strong start, Sosa is a mystery, and Schoeneweis is Schoeneweis. Too many of these names have been unreliable at the worst possible times this season, and have often created deficits that the Mets offense has not been able to pull themselves out of.

Last year, it seemed like there was no deficit too large to overcome, no lead that couldn't be locked down in the late innings, no break that didn't go the Mets way. And the team played with confidence and arrogance. And now, they come in with what appears to be an false air of supremacy, and then fall flat on their faces and don't get the breaks.

I don't want to say that the Mets are in serious trouble. But to a man, it really looks like they're headed in a really bad direction right now unless some changes are made, both within the Starting Lineup and within the Bullpen. It doesn't help matters much when the Mets are potentially looking at going in to Pittsburgh this week with Mike DiFelice as the Starting Catcher, with Castro ailing and LoDuca on the DL.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Incidents, Redemptions and Allegations


Thanks to Billy Wagner's Houdini act in the 9th inning tonight, the Mets were able to escape, both from a bases loaded, no out jam in that inning, but with a victory in a game that they had trailed most of the way, and looked rather poor in doing so. For about 6 1/2 innings, Wednesday Night's game looked almost like a carbon copy of Tuesday (which I had the poor fortune of attending), where the Mets looked flat and lifeless against a team that they absolutely had to beat more than any other team in the league, playing in conditions more appropriate for The Hound Of The Baskervilles rather than a Major League Baseball game. They scraped across a run in the first against Smoltz and then pretty much shut down, stranding runners and hitting into double plays with alarming frequency. And then Atlanta broke through for 3 against El Duque, and that appeared to be it.

But the Mets are a resilient bunch, and, of course, just when you think they are down and out, they shock you. First, Luis Castillo came through with a 2-run single to tie the game in the 7th. Then, it was Moises Alou, coming off a stretch in which he had hit into 3 rally-killing DPs in the last 2 games, stepping to the plate and ripping a redemption HR to put the Mets ahead and eventually give them a sorely needed victory.

It was a study in contrasts from Tuesday to Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Mets did little right, right from the get-go. Oliver Perez, who had been so successful against Atlanta (and perhaps my primary impetus for attending the game on Tuesday), got into jams he couldn't get out of, gave up a couple of monstrous HRs, and by the time anyone knew what hit them, the Mets were down 6-0, and the Braves fan in the Larry jersey I had the poor fortune of sitting next to in UR14 was whooping it up to the point where I moved seats, else risk strangling the bastard.

It was a miserable game of whatifs and missed opportunities. If Oliver gets the pitcher out in the 2nd. If Milledge isn't called out on a questionable strike 3 or Perez gets the call at first on his nifty bunt in their half of the 2nd. If Alou doesn't hit into 2 deathly DPs to kill a pair of rallies in the 4th and the 6th. It was another one of those games that I was tempted to leave at around the 4th inning, and the text messages to El Guapo indicated as much.

Few good things came out of that game.
  1. Schoeneweis came into a game at home and actually got an out when he needed to get it.
  2. The Chicken Tenders and French Fries at the concession stand now come with 4 tenders instead of 3.
  3. I didn't die from Heat Stroke.
  4. They solved the problems with the Express trains back into Manhattan after the game. I hopped on a train with little wait and no crowd, and I was home in less than an hour after the last pitch.
Alou was the main culprit for the Misery, however (despite his nice catch on a Teixeira liner). But he certainly redeemed himself tonight. All is forgiven, Moises. Now keep hitting like that.

Meanwhile, later on that night...
Some time after the game, and after I had returned to Ballclub HQ, Manhattan, I had gone to a local diner for a bite to eat with M2M, Sr. (Not a Baseball fan, however purports to have been a Brooklyn Dodgers fan back in that era; now roots for the Yankees halfheartedly mainly to maintain family dischord). On the TV at said diner was the Giants/Nationals game. And while we were eating, Barry Bonds did indeed hit his 756th HR, passing Hank Aaron's career mark and taking it for himself. Here's the extent of the exchange:

M2M: Oh my God...

M2M, Sr.: What?

M2M: Bonds did it.

My father peered halfheartedly at the TV, but seemed more interested in the giant scrum going after the ball.

I've made the extent of my remarks on Bonds and the Steroid issue, and the evidence against him is certainly damning enough. Whether people want to feel the record is tainted or not is their own opinion. All I have to say is that Selig turned a blind eye to this issue for so many seasons, never cracking down on the problem because of the excitement generated by the Home Run and the Home Run Chases. Then, when he finally decided to do something, he did a halfhearted job of it. And what he's got now is a Major Record set because someone used, or allegedly used steroids, and a public opinion that will forever question the record as long as it stands (until A-Rod breaks it). Congratulations, Bud. I hope you're happy.

As long as we're on the subject, I have one more comment and a couple of Kudos from the event itself.

Comment:
I believe it was Karl Ravech (it could have been Kruk, I forget) on ESPN last night who had mentioned that Hank Aaron wasn't at the park in person because of his desire to let Bonds have his moment, and not to relive his travails of 1972, 73 and 74, painful and difficult years for him as he pursued Ruth's record. Others seem to think that this is his way of condemning Bonds for allegedly using Steroids. Either way, while his videotaped speech was nice, it was pretty plastic as speeches go. It was probably taped a month ago at the behest of his good buddy Selig, simply as a show of goodwill towards Bonds, and I don't think that it came off as something genuine. They saved it until he broke the record, and then threw it up on the big screen as if it were something spontaneous, and I don't think it was spontaneous.

Kudos:
To Mike Bacsik, former Mets farmhand and victor of a start or two during the forgettable 2002 season (which I think I've mentioned before) for really handling this thing like a pro. It could have been a big, demoralizing thing for a pitcher, but it seems like Bacsik really relished his role in the moment itself. He talked about how his father told him to go after Bonds, and he did, and he gave up the HR, and now he's the answer to a trivia question. And he really seems to be genuinely happy about that. Good for him.

To the guy who caught the ball, Matt Murphy of Queens, NY, for catching the ball, surviving being gang tackled by 300 other lunatics, and being carried out with his Jose Reyes Jersey in full view. Nice way to kick them all in the nuts. My father was thoroughly amused by the sight of him being carried out by 10 SF Police Officers.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Lost Classics: July 14, 2005

With our old friends, the Atlanta Braves, coming into town for an NL East Showdown this week, I thought it good and proper to dig into the History Books for another instance when the Mets and Braves duked it out in a key Midseason series.

I dug deep into the annals of time.

Way back to the year 2005.

For me, 2005 almost seems like the season that time forgot. It was sort of this bizarre in-between year, when the last vestiges of the heroships of the late 90s were fading away, the dregs of the Jim Duquette era were moving on, and the groundwork was being laid for the Mets of today. Willie Randolph was in his first season managing the Mets, and after an alarming 0-5 start, the Mets had rebounded to play well, if a bit uneven, over the first half of the season. They carried a 44-44 record into the All-Star Break, sitting tepidly in last place, trailing the miracle Washington Nationals by 8 games and their opponent on this night, the Atlanta Braves, by 5.5 games. It's a Thursday night, the first game back from the All-Star Break, and the Mets and Braves are opening up a 4-game series. El Guapo and I are on hand, sitting in our regular perch in the fabled "Sack O' Nuts" section, Upper Deck, Section 1 as Kris Benson faces off against Horacio Ramirez.

It's mostly quiet early on, as Benson and Ramirez seem to be settling into a neat pitchers duel. The Braves go down 1-2-3 in the 1st. The Mets will threaten in their half of the first, with Mike Cameron drawing a walk and Carlos Beltran following with a single. It is a study in contrasts for these two. Both players were Center Fielders by trade, arriving via Free Agency. It is Beltran, though, who will be the future of the franchise. Although his 2005 season has and will continue to be marked with injuries and inconsistency and boos, he will prove his worth in a stellar 2006 season. Cameron's Mets career was also injury marred, and he will play his last game with the Mets in August of 2005; his season cut short in a gruesome collision with Beltran, and he will be subsequently dealt to San Diego in the offseason. A year later, Cameron's time with the Mets seems like a mere blip on the radar screen. Hard to believe it was only 2 years ago. The tandem will be stranded on the bases in the 1st.

Benson retires the Braves in order in the 2nd. In the Mets half, they break through against Ramirez. It's David Wright, emerging as the new Face of the Mets, off to a brilliant start to his first full season in the Majors, taking the first pitch from Ramirez and blasting a deep drive to dead center. Andro Jones chases it back to the wall and makes a futile leap, but it's gone. It's Wright's 13th HR of the season, on his way to a very solid 27 and a 1-0 Mets lead that will last until the top of the 4th, when the Braves break through against Benson.

Benson had, to this point, retired the first 10 Braves, when Pete Orr singles to center. One out later, with Andro Jones at the plate (and with Larry on the DL, Andro is the chief target of the jeers tonight), Orr steals second. Andro follows by dinking a single up the middle to score Orr to tie the game 1-1.

This tie will be short lived. In the bottom of the 4th, Wright steps to the plate again and belts another HR, this one a line shot into the bleachers in Left to put the Mets back on top, 2-1. The crowd, a surprisingly hearty 43,319 beckons Wright out for the curtain call. He's the new Darling of New York.

With the lead back, Benson again goes into cruise control. These were the kind of outings that the Mets had expected out of Benson when they dealt for him in 2004. At the time, I was a huge Benson fan, and I believed that he would surely thrive once he was playing on a better team than Pittsburgh, and on a team that would score runs for him. For a time, I was right, as Benson had a strong finish in 2004 and a good start in '05. But after this outing, Benson seemed to fizzle out. No Decisions and Losses began to mount, and consistency eluded him. He became a virtual unknown; identified more because of the antics of his trashy wife, Anna, who was more interested in showcasing her breasts than supporting her husband's efforts on the field. Whether she was the main cause or not, Benson would be dealt to Baltimore following the 2005 season for Jorge Julio and a Minor League throw-in who ended up turning out to be kind of OK for the Mets, while Benson would end up missing the entire 2007 season with Shoulder issues.

But tonight, Benson zips through the 5th and 6th innings with no problems. He's aided by some strong defense as well. In the 5th, a long drive foul by Ryan Langerhans is chased down by Cliff Floyd, who lumbers all the way down into the corner in left to make the catch, and then tumble over the wall into the plantings, in a spectacular scene. Fortunately, Floyd pops up OK, unscathed and with the ball. But Ramirez matches Benson on his side, and the score remains 2-1 Mets going into the 7th. But this is where Benson's luck would run out. With 1 out, Johnny Estrada bounced a grounder to Wright at 3rd. But his throw to first was high and wide and past Chris Woodward at 1st for an error. And Adam LaRoche would make that a costly miscue, lofting a 3-1 pitch from Benson high and deep and out into the Bleachers in left-center, over the 396 mark for a 2-run HR to give the Braves their first lead at 3-2.

But the Mets weren't done.

In their half of the 7th, the Mets would rally back. Wright would lead off by drawing a walk. Chris Woodward would follow by grounding out to second, just far enough over to be able to move Wright to 2nd base (the popular "Productive Out"). Ramirez will then attempt to pick off Wright at second, but his throw is high and into Center Field, and Wright scampers to 3rd. Now, all Miguel Cairo has to do is just get that ball in the air deep enough to bring Wright home.

He can't. Swinging as if he were trying to blast the ball off the Whitestone Bridge, Cairo meekly grounds to short, and Wright can't advance. 2 outs. Pitcher's spot up. We look at the on-deck circle.

"Who's #35?" El Guapo asks me.

"#35? That's Jose Offerman." I reply. Then, I notice that #35 is heading to the plate, bat in hand. I'm incredulous. "Good God! It's Jose Awfulman!" I yell. I'm convinced that Willie had just taken his stupid pill by sending up Offerman, 0 for forever, it seemed.

Of course, Offerman shut me up by pounding a 2-1 pitch through the hole into left field for the game-tying hit.

On to the 8th, where it would be The Past and The Future that would steal the show for the Mets. Roberto Hernandez would come on in the top of the inning, and he got into a quick jam. Hernandez starts by walking Andy Marte, pinch hitting for Ramirez. Rafael Furcal followed with a sacrifice bunt. Pete Orr will hit a slow chopper that Reyes can only knock down, allowing Orr to reach and Marte to go to 3rd. Kelly Johnson is next. As Hernandez begins his motion, Marte begins his mad dash towards home as Johnson squares to bunt. Seeing this, David Wright flies in from third as Johnson makes contact...

...And pops the ball straight up in the air. Wright dives in to make the catch. Marte has already crossed the plate. He's a dead duck. As the crowd roars with delight, Wright pops up and jogs back to third to complete the unassisted DP to end the threat, preserve the tie and end the inning.

And in the bottom of the 8th, the Mets would provide more drama. Cameron leads off by striking out against Jim Brower. Beltran follows by ripping a double off the base of the right field wall, his 4th hit of the game. Cox, as is his habit, immediately goes to his bullpen, calling in lefty John Foster to pitch to the Lefty, Cliff Floyd.

Foster walks Floyd on 4 pitches. Plan does not work. Cox again goes to the mound, bringing in righty Blaine Boyer to pitch to The Man himself, Mike Piazza.

And it will be Piazza, the Greatest Hero in Mets History, with his best days behind him, in his final year with the Mets, coming up with one more huge hit, the kind of hit he has delivered so many times before. Piazza takes an 0-2 pitch from Boyer and rips it, one of his big, inside-out swings that produces a long fly ball that seems to hang in the air forever. We can see Langerhans in right dashing back helplessly, but this ball is too high, too far, and gone, off the side of the Loge and into the Mets Bullpen for a 3-run HR, giving the Mets a 6-3 lead. As Piazza rounds the bases, the crowd is deafening. And as he goes back into the dugout, the crowd continues to roar and chant his name, until he comes out for a curtain call.

And it becomes clear that this is the beginning of Mike's Half-Season long Farewell Party, one that will end with a grand sendoff on the final day of the season, and will be complete upon his retirement, and the posting of his #31 along with the Retired Numbers in Left Field.

The Rest of the game seems academic. Braden Looper comes on for the 9th and, in a rare effort from him, retires the side in order, finishing with a strikeout of LaRoche to finish out the 6-3 victory that will pull the Mets out of last place.

The rest of the season will play itself out rather frustratingly. The Mets will continue to battle and draw themselves close to contention in late August. But just as it seems the Mets are ready to take the leap, the bottom drops out, and the Mets are doomed to another season of obscurity, finishing 83-79, well off the pace. Piazza will leave via Free Agency in the offseason. Players like Offerman, Cairo and Looper will be dismissed. Benson and his wife will be dealt. But the Mets will turn a corner in that offseason, and moves will be made that will make the Mets into a dominant force, one that will run away with the Divison in 2006.

Monday, August 6, 2007

300!

It was a typical effort from Tom Glavine in Chicago on Sunday Night. In his 6 1/3 innings, he allowed 6 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk and 1 strikeout, and he also chipped in with an RBI single in the 2nd inning. His performance earned him his 10th victory of the season.

That 10th victory was the one we've been waiting for all season, and the one he's been waiting for his entire career. #300. And yes, the game was far from perfect. There's plenty to say about how the Mets left baserunners on in bucketloads once again, how the Bullpen (specifically Mota and Feliciano) nearly blew the lead for Glavine once again. But the Mets were not about to give it away on this night. You could sense the anticipation as the milestone drew closer and closer, and the shots of Glavine's overly-tanned wife and his overly-Milquetoast Father increased that in spite of the Mets shortcomings, they were not going to lose, and this night would belong to Tom Glavine.

It was indeed fitting that Glavine's mostly typical effort would earn him this milestone. He's done it his entire career, these impressively effortless performances. True, he can't go 8 or 9 innings anymore, and he was never going to blow anyone away. But he's made his career off of biting the corners, hitting his spots and making his pitches, and he has done that with precision for a long, long time. Always unflappable and always on top of his game at times when it was needed most. And that will define Tom Glavine's career.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Snowball Effect

With two on and two out in the 3rd inning this afternoon, John Maine induced Ryan Theriot to pop a lazy fly ball off foul off the first base side. Damion Easley, Luis Castillo and Carlos Delgado all gave chase, only to have the ball plop harmlessly foul, just out of their reach.

Harmless, yet it seemed to spell instant disaster for Maine and the Mets. Theriot then bounced a grounder to short, and beat Reyes's throw to first, scoring a run. Maine then walked Derrek Lee, walked Aramis Ramirez, hit Cliff Floyd (Why, Cliff, Why???), allowed a 2-run single to Mark DeRosa and another RBI single to Jacque Jones before being pulled after successfully turning a dinky Cubs Rally into a 6-run bloodbath and a lifeless 6-2 Mets loss all because of a foul pop that dropped.

Such are the Vicissitudes of Baseball.

The Mets probably could have been considered the fortunate recipient of such a break on Friday afternoon, when, in the 9th inning of a 2-2 game, David Wright drew a walk on a borderline 3-2 pitch from Ryan Dempster. Dempster barked at the Umpire, and then became unglued in a similar fashion, allowing an RBI double to Carlos Delgado to score DW, then was an out away from getting out of the inning before melting down and incinerating the ballgame for the Cubs, allowing RBI hits to Green, Gotay and Alou, allowing the Mets to walk away with a 6-2 victory of their own.

Again, such are the vicissitudes of Baseball.

It happens, but it becomes increasingly more and more frustrating as time passes, as Reyes flails away at pitches, as Alou comes up and blasts monstrous HRs with nobody on base in front of him, and as Castillo continues to hit the ball hard...and straight up in the air. Fortunate for the Mets that they had been able to ride their recent 3-game win streak into extending their lead over Atlanta and Philadelphia with Fridays' victory, and see that lead shrink back down as Atlanta won on Saturday (Philly still pending).

The National League is becoming more and more of a joke, as these teams that seem to constantly be barely hanging on by a thread somehow can ride small hot streaks to the top of their divisions. I mean, who are the Cubs? Who is Ted Lilly? I know these are decent teams with decent players, but each team seems to be falling into these shell games with each other. Games of chance, rather than games won on pure skill and offensive firepower. And the Mets are no different. They've won games on this road trip based on a freak Inside-The Park HR and a characteristic temper tantrum by a headcase pitcher. The bitch of it is, we all know that the Mets are better than that. We've seen and written about the failures of this team to pick each other up and bash in the heads of the lesser teams all season long. And yet, somehow, the rest of the league has failed to capitalize because they've been just as inept, or unlucky. It's a joke how easily the Mets could be running away with the division like last season if they'd only be able to drive in HALF the runners they leave on base.

But, such are the vicissitudes of Baseball. It's not always about skill or firepower. Sometimes, you just need a little bit of luck. Sometimes, it eludes you at the worst possible time and blows up in your face.

Well, hopefully that luck will turn back the Mets way on Sunday Night, on the overblown ESPN Spectacle, where I hear some pitcher is going for his 300th victory or some such nonsense. Has that been mentioned on ESPN at all? I'm not quite sure.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Give 'Em A Spankin' Sticky


Well, I'm just dumbfounded.

After I thought the Mets were basically handing Thursday's game to Milwaukee by throwing the journeyman Brian Lawrence out there yesterday, the Mets shut me up. First, Lawrence held the line, allowing 3 runs in 5 innings. Then, the Mets bats throughly beat the Brewers into submission, pounding out a season's high 18 hits in a 12-4 drubbing in the rubber game of a 3-game series the Mets really needed to take.

It's not so much that Lawrence was overpowering, because he wasn't. His fastball barely touched 90, and he lived with his 80 MPH breaking balls that somehow managed to keep the Brewers off balance, save for some poor fielding behind him in the second inning.

A note on that—On WFAN, Howie Rose was busy recapping the history of how the Mets have been spoiled by slick fielding 1Bmen since the days of Keith, recounting such names as Magadan, Segui, Brogna, Olerud, et al, and he mentioned that Mo Vaughn had better range at 1B than Delgado seems to have now.

If I were Delgado, I would have walked upstairs and whacked Howie Rose in the Puss. But that's just me.

Wright's 5th inning HR started the slow, painful death for the Brews, who, by the end of the game were too busy bickering with each other than being concerned with saving face. The Mets basically hammered Milwaukee off the field on Thursday. Even my infamous colleague was impressed.

"How the hell did they manage to score 12 runs?" was his quote. This after about an hour of being berated about why the hell I write a blog about this team.

But somehow, someway, the Mets managed to find a way to make me look foolish once again for expecting imminent doom, and came away with a resounding victory as they head into Chicago, where the Cubs have had a string of success that was just about as unprecedented as the Mets have been over the last couple of days, to the point where the Cubs have taken over 1st Place in the schizophrenic NL Central. Go figure. This afternoon, we have to go up against Carlos Zambrano, who thoroughly shoved the bats up the Mets asses back in May. No easy task.

But then, what the hell makes any sort of sense with this team anymore?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Some Velvet Morning...

I wonder what my colleague will have to say about last night's game. After spotting the Brewers leads of 3-0 and 5-4 in the first two innings, the Mets bats took over and Oliver Perez settled down and the Mets coasted the rest of the way in what appeared to be a rather slushy 8-5 victory. The Mets managed their runs mostly via the longball, something mostly missing from their game of late. And these longballs came from rather unlikely sources. Castro's HR in the second, his 8th, gives him 3 more than LoDuca in about a third as many ABs. Marlon Anderson hit his first of the season while starting in Center Field of all places, spelling Milledge. Shawn Green hit his first HR in over a Month, earning himself a hearty Mazel Tov for putting the game away in the 6th.

A win is a win, and it certainly helps the Mets keep pace in front of the Braves and Phillies who keep leapfrogging each other in second place. One of them is 3 and 1/2 back, I know that.

But how long can you feel good about it? Right now, you just have to be happy with every win you can find at this point, because right now, a consistent streak of 5 or 6 wins in a row seems to be beyond this team's realm. Jorge Sosa has been removed from the starting rotation, and in his place, the Mets have called up Brian Lawrence to make the start on Thursday Afternoon.

Let me repeat that in case you think you may have misread something.

The Mets have called up Brian Lawrence to make the start on Thursday Afternoon.

Brian Lawrence.

Brian Freakin' Lawrence???

This is the best we can muster at this point? Lawrence hasn't appeared in a Major League game since 2005, and he was barely passable before that point!

This looks to be about as promising as the day Brett Hinchcliffe took the mound for the Mets in Milwaukee back in 2001.

Way to permeate the good vibes, guys. I wish you the best.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Double Play Brigade


After another sterling effort by the Mets last night in which they not only managed to squander a slim lead in the 8th inning, thereby costing Tom Glavine his 300th victory, the Mets also managed to strand about 26 runners on base over the course of a mostly miserable 13 inning loss in Milwaukee.

Luis Castillo didn't light anything up in his Mets debut, and the area that the Mets probably needed to address most, the Bullpen, went untouched, and, oddly enough, the Bullpen frittered away the lead in the 8th, thanks to Feliciano plunking Lil' Cecil and Mota allowing a screamer to Hall that took a fortuitous bounce over the wall for a Ground Rule Double, thereby only tying the game instead of giving the Brewers the lead, and prolonging our misery for 5 more innings until Brett Favre's HR in the 13th won it.

How bad was it? Here's a selection from what a colleague of mine had to say this morning:

"Let me ask you a question. The Mets have the bases loaded and one out. Who would you rather have up? Luis Castillo or Moises Alou?"

I answer with Victor Diaz.

"Well, I'd rather have Castillo. At least Castillo will hit the ball and not hit into a double play. Alou hit into a double play. Worse than Zeile! He's a double play machine!"

He follows that up with this:

"How many games will the Mets lose on this road trip? 4 of 6? 6 of 6? Who would they beat? Mark my words, once the Mets fall into second place, and they will fall into second place, that's the last time they're going to sniff first place this year. You can put that in your Blog."

With the efforts the Mets have put forth over the last week, I have a hard time arguing with him. It kind of makes me glad I haven't been able to see any of these games.