Friday, September 26, 2008

Strangest team - ever

I don't know what to think or what to say. This team is ... mind-boggling. One day I can't think or work and have to go for a long walk because the loss is so devastating and the next day I can't think or work because the win so exhilarating. Sheesh.

I don't know how Howie holds it together - and there are times when he doesn't - but I'm sure I'd have been uttering only partial words during the 9th innings of each of the past two games. What the heck kind of team is this?


Not only am I rooting for the Cubs to win this weekend, but I'm also keen to see Atlanta win tonight. Why? Because if the Mets & Brewers both lost the first two this weekend then Houston will still be in the Wild Card hunt. And, Chicago has one rainout with Houston to make up after Hurricane Ike. How keen do you think the Cubs will be to have to fly to Houston to play on Monday? Yeah, exactly. So, it will be in Chicago's best interest to LOSE on Sunday to Milwaukee if it comes down to that.

Of course, if the Mets just win then all this is moot. So how about a sweep this weekend?

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's not just Met fans

This is what I read today about the team's ace. Not quite enough of an edge. A little too much stoicism. He's pitched a lot of innings and yet, he seems a little too cautious. That's Cole Hamels according to to yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer.

Nothing to fear, but …

I seem to have less to say now that the Mets are playing well. Isn't that always the way? Loads of criticism, but little praise. I should try.

I suppose I should write about my fears now that things are going well since I have little enough to be angry about. How 'bout Ayala? How long will it be before he reverts to his Nationals' form? Or he simply joins the rest of his bullpen colleagues in mediocrity (or worse)?

What if Wagner can't come back?

What if Delgado cools off? Who'll pick up the slack?

What if Pedro's not going to be able to go again this year?

Oh, I wish I could just enjoy the hot streak. Maybe if they win this weekend's series I'll relax.


I take it El Duque will not be back this year?


Am I the only one who can find anything positive to say about Wayne Hagin? Okay, he's not Bob Murphy, but he's a decent announcer. He's honest, which I like. I was afraid he'd adopt the mantle of a homer who sees no wrong with the home team. When he sees something wrong in the way a Met or the Mets are playing, he lets us know. What else? Well, I think he's got a better baseball eye than Howie has. He seems to have a great understanding of pitching and he has a good sense when a hitter is about to do something special. He also does a good job of assessing the defenders and whether they're in position and whether he thinks their head(s) are in the game.

Don't get me wrong, he still drives me nuts and I still love Howie. It's just that too many Met fans are way too negative about Hagin.


I listened to the San Diego vs Milwaukee game last night. (No Met game.) I know one of the announcers was Bob Uecker, but when the other guy took over I had trouble distinguishing his voice. The two of them sound so alike.

What would drive me nuts if I was a Brewers fan is how much time they spent discussing (fairly) irrelevant issues. It seemed like they talked about the farm system for a couple of innings. I mean, that's fine if your team is out of it, but the Brewers are still likely to make the post-season.

And they have GOT TO LET GO of the CC Sabathia "no-hitter". I saw the play and kind of figure a base hit was not a wacky decision. It was going to be a tough play for Sabathia. He rushed because he knew it was going to be a tight play and he fluffed it. An error or a hit - either would have been fair. The Brewers really should just let it go. What relevance does it have for their playoff run? Wrong focus, methinks.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Two and a half weeks away ...

I was on vacation. In America. I should have been getting a full diet of baseball and loads of Met games, but somehow I didn't see as much of the Mets this time as I usually do. And because the scores are everywhere I couldn't do as I do here and listen to the full broadcast the next morning in ignorance of the result. Too many family commitments on this trip to get my full allocation of Met games.

I did get to two games - Aug 7 against the Padres and Aug 19 against the Braves. Both exciting wins. I saw the ends of quite a few games, but missed too many innings during the Mets' good streak of 9 wins out of 10 games. (I also went to see the Pawtucket Red Sox, which was a great night out while visiting SE Massachusetts.)

I was listening to the game from Philly on Wednesday night and after Delgado hit the second home-run I thought to myself, "Is Delgado the Mets' MVP? Could he be the League MVP? Yes, if this keeps up." Funny to read that Keith H mentioned it during the broadcast and then it was all over the papers the next morning.

Talk about enjoyable? I listened to last night's Phillies and Cubs game on WPHT and the Phillies blew the game in the 8th. Again. Two tough losses in a row. This one really hurt because Hamels pitched a great game for 7 innings.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Off to Shea

An annual pilgrimage ever since I relocated to the far side of the Atlantic. I love getting to Shea every year, but I can't believe this will be my last trip. I wonder if I'll be less interested in the result than in just absorbing as much as I can of my Flushing home. I'll try to keep my sentimentality to a minimum here.

What of the team on the field? Uggh. After all that July excitement it takes a week for them to return to third, 3 games back. I hope they start getting it back on track tonight. It's pretty clear that the Mets are still too light in the bullpen and that the line-up is no where near what it might have been (with Alou & Church).

I'm also disappointed in Santana, who needs to start going more than 7 regularly for me to believe he's not just way over-hyped. I'm almost wondering if he's better than Aaron Cook, who makes pitching deep in games a habit.

It's time for Beltran to take a leaf out of Delgado's book and figure out what the heck is wrong. Time for him step it up. Maybe hitting 2nd is the key.

Monday, July 28, 2008

4 out of 6 - not bad

Sure more would have been better, but I'm somewhat heartened by the way the Mets played after losing on Tuesday & Saturday nights. Two tough losses - especially Tuesday night against Philadelphia - and they responded very well. That's new and another reason to believe. It's one thing to run off 10 straight, but it's another to win 2 and take the series after a stomach punch like the one the Mets took on Tuesday night.

I'm still not sure they have the horses to win, but at least they seem to have the character, which was really the bigger question.


Great listening to Howie reminisce about the Jethro Tull concert back in the mid 70s this week. He cracks me up.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Here come the Phils

I should be looking forward to these three games, right? I sort of am. I guess I'm still waiting to be convinced that the run before the All Star Game is real and wasn't just a function of playing San Francisco & Colorado.

Tonight's the real test. Whatever about the Mets beating Philadelphia, this is a real test for Johan Santana. He's supposed to be the ace so how 'bout pitching like one. He's been mostly good, but he's been nowhere near what I think Met fans hoped he'd be. I was skeptical before the trade because I was unimpressed with him last year when he took himself out of a game after 8 innings despite the face he had a shutout going and had 17 K's. What big time starter doesn't want to finish that one? To try for the record 20 K's?

The Phillies haven't been hitting lately. They had a tough weekend in Miami. The Mets had a mixed weekend in Cincy. I'd have been happier if they'd won a game without so much sweat and lost one after making it tough on the Reds, but didn't happen.

We all want 2 of 3, but more than that I want to see the Ace pitch like an Ace or I'll begin to believe the Mets will be a long time recovering from the Santana contract.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Nothing but 0s

What a week for the pitching staff. Pelfrey - again - outstanding. It's not as sudden as some would have us believe, but his consistency has been amazing. He's shown occasional glimpses of what he was capable of, but now I'm so confident when he's on the mound. I knew - KNEW - the game was over the second the ball left Beltran's bat. I never really doubted again.

If Pedro had gone 7 on Saturday I'd have nothing to worry about. However, his short outing is a concern. I'm not sure he can be relied on to remain healthy the rest of the season. And, if he goes down, we'll see ... El Duque? Maybe otherwise we'll see ...? Armas is out injured. Is Claudio Vargas still hanging around New Orleans? I don't even know.

Reyes should be on the All Star Team. No question. The NL Players are worse than the fans as choosing Ramirez was not outrageous, but Tejada and Guzman? Give me a break.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"As long as he's not a Met fan"

I'm listening to the Giants & Cubs from Wrigley on WGN. Only half paying attention because it's 7-0 in the 6th. Harden was tremendous.

Anyway, I pricked up my ears when I heard Ron Santo say that he didn't mind if a fan was a Cardinals fan. Pat Hughes asked him about it and Santo responded that (from memory) "No, Cardinals fan is okay. As long as he's not a Mets fan".

I didn't know that Santo hated us. I say he should be booed next time he shows his mug at Shea.

Good OIlie

Wow! Three straight good starts by Oliver Perez. I'm reconsidering my view that he should be dealt. I half expected the performances against the Yankees & Phillies (both lefty dominated), but last night he did well against a righty-stacked line-up.

This is the kind of roll I really like. I love good pitching. Hitting is streaky and a 7 game winning streak can become a 7 game losing streak. Pitching is less streaky. I'm feeling better about the team's future.

I just want to update on Wayne Hagin: he's getting more comfortable and more forceful in his opinions. He's growing on me.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tatis & the staff

I know the Giants can't hit, but still that was as good a pitching display over three games as we've seen by the Mets in a while. Other than Maine's roughish outing - 3ER in 4 2/3 isn't horrendous - the staff really came through. That's what I anticipated at the start of the year: only I thought it would be Martinez who'd be giving Santana a run for his money as 'ace' and not Pelfrey.

You know when Milwaukee was in New York and Gabe Kapler was beating up the Mets I 'wondered' about what he'd been up to while he was out of baseball. He seemed like superman reborn. Well, Tatis has been every bit as good as Kapler.

Great moment on Wednesday night when Howie described the moment Seaver came to bat in the 8th inning on July 8, 1969. Howie said it was possibly the moment he'd remember best about Shea. He set it up well with the background about life in NY in the late 60s and the Mets franchise up to that summer. Howie said it was the loudest he ever heard Shea and that was a reflection of what was going on in the game, but also how much everyone in the stadium realized that the Mets were for real. The team had come of age. And here, coming to the plate, was the Mets' answer to Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Ted Williams. The Mets own superstar, Tom Seaver.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


You wanna feel good about the three wins over the weekend, but last night was way too shaky. They coasted after getting the big lead and it nearly cost them. Imagine

I remember a while back when the Mets reached .500 after a long phase below that Willie Randolph talked as if that was the last we'd see of a sub-.500 club this year. Then the Mets went on another tailspin getting swept in San Diego and, well, that's where we've been ever since. Now they've won 5 or 8 on a road trip to St. Louis & Philadelphia. They're back above .500 and they're within striking distance of the Phillies. Is this just another tease?

I would have preferred it if they had won more easily last night. I didn't like sweating the 7th-9th innings. I know Howard's HR should have been a double. But, of course, Charlie Manuel helped out by subbing Bruntlett for Utley in the 6th inning.

How 'bout Oliver Perez? I'd written him off, but maybe all he needed was a change of manager and pitching coach? Maybe? We'll see how this develops, but he's been good since Rick Peterson "went for his tea" (as they say on this side).

Last night on the tag play at home where Easley was thrown out trying to score on Martinez's 6th inning single Wayne Hagin described the decoying Chris Coste as standing there like "a street-walker". Don't think he meant that.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Good enough?

Four games in St. Louis and two wins. You didn't expect more than that, did you? So it wasn't a lost series, but that Wednesday night game just irks, doesn't it? If it weren't for all the other games "like this" you'd just chalk it up saying "every team is going to have its games like this".

So, at least last night was an easy win. I thought Howie made a good point in the 5th when he wondered if Jerry Manuel would remove Ryan Church, who was slated to rest tonight. Manuel didn't make the move, but gave Wright half a game off.

How long will the Mets give Pedro to get it together? The velocity is there, but he can't command his pitches. Did he come back too soon? Would he go to New Orleans to work on his command? At the moment I'd rather the Mets stick with Armas for a few weeks and give Pedro time off (or in the minors) to work on his issues. There's even a chance Hernandez - remember him? - will be back to pitch and free up Pedro even more.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Is that it? The end of all hope? I doubt it, actually, but there was something eerily final about last night's performance. It was as if the last shred of doubt about this team were finally eradicated. We've now seen incontrovertible evidence that the problems with this teams were not just Willie Randolph.

Perez - a bad outing. As Howie noted (again) there are two Oliver Perezes: Good Ollie and Bad Ollie. And not a lot in between. Last night we saw Bad Ollie, who has been more and more frequently seen this season. This followed another disappointing outing from Santana (& don't talk to me about Wright's error - that was only one base-runner of the 5 he allowed). The staff is, at best, mediocre.

The offense couldn't be more streaky. I can't understand why a team with so much speed is so streaky. Speed doesn't slump, right? Anyway, this team can't hit for power and doesn't run enough to make up for that. Yes, I know Wright sat it out, but how much of a difference would he have made? Anyway, the offense is mediocre too.

A mediocre pitching staff and a mediocre offense adds up to ... yup, a mediocre ball club.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's not that they lost last night's game, but one play in particular that's annoying me today. Until last night's game I'd been feeling good about the direction of the team. It was the 4th when Jiminez had walked Castillo and Wright to start the inning and the Mets were leading 1-0. Beltran stepped to the plate and just like Howie I had visions of a big hit that would provide the Mets with a cushion. And, what happens? Beltran bunts the first pitch foul.

He bunted. What was he thinking? This is the same kind of stupidity that I was hoping that they'd left behind them last week (not that Willie ever wanted Beltran to bunt). That dumb play helped Jiminez settle and he got Beltran to ground into a force play and Delgado followed that up with a ground ball double play.

By the way, great exchange between Howie & Wayne on Howie's Manhattan driving during Friday night's game. Again, there are times when I really enjoy Wayne.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I was going to abandon this, but won't for now

It's got nothing to do with Willie being fired. I just find I don't have the time I used to have to write here. I'm still listening to the games, although - believe it or not - I ran out of time for last night's game during the bottom of the 9th. I found out the score from the NYTimes web site.

I was not happy with the way the Mets handled the Willie firing, but it was hardly unexpected. Reading Randolph's comments yesterday in the NY Times has me wondering if he was just feeling too sorry for himself to get this team in gear. We'll see.

By the way, didn't the Angels do a TERRIBLE job of running the bases in this series?

And for all you doubters out there, I'll say it again. Wayne's not that bad. He knows the game. His tone and manner can get on my nerves at times, but I have to admit that I'm beginning to like listening to him and Howie together. They're both critically supportive, which is how I like my announcers.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Well the buzz we got from Beltran's 13th inning 'heroics' on Wedensday lasted a long time, huh? I'm not in a good mood today.

I found out early yesterday that the Met game was on live here. Midweek, prime-time Met games on t.v. are not a daily occurrence here in W. Europe. Unfortunately, I couldn't watch the game live because the rest of the family wanted to watch soccer. {And, truth be told, I didn't want to miss either of the games either. Croatia vs Germany was great stuff and I enjoyed the 1-1 game between Austria & Poland.}

So I set the VCR. It was about 10:30 or so when I started watching. And it was enjoyable. No? I mean Santana was pitching the way we all expected him too. Even those of us who weren't keen on the deal (I think that's pretty much me on my own) expected him to be this good on a fairly regular basis.

After he got through the 7th, I figured he'd be out for the 8th. Yes, 116 pitches and all that, but he's a big boy and even a tiring Santana is better than, well, pretty much anybody in the bullpen. But, no. Santana didn't. Willie hit for him in the 7th with Chris Aguila. I'm not even sure Aguila is a better hitter than Santana, but whatever.

Look, I know baseball has changed, but still. I doubt any manager ever hit for Seaver when he had a 2-0 lead. Definitely not when Seaver was in his prime as Santana is now. I don't care about pitch counts. Santana is supposed to be the team's stopper, their ace. He MUST pitch that 8th inning after a long game the night before. He MUST. So my sympathy for him losing the W is minimal. (I love the fact that Ralph was making the point about starters and their short outings earlier in the game.)

Wright popping out with one out and the bases loaded in the 7th was huge. I could handle the lack of offense against Haren, but the 7th was the time for the Mets to put the game away. Wagner should have had the day off.

As for Wagner. I never much liked him. I remember when he was with Philadelphia he was never one of those 9th inning guys who I felt meant "Game over" for the Mets when I saw him coming in. Now he's finally developing into that pitcher, only he's no longer with Philadelphia. Yeah, it's a slump. He'll come out of it. we hope.