Jun 10

Today in Mets History: Keith hammers Cubs.

Keith Hernandez wasn’t much of a home run hitter, but on this date in 1987, he went deep twice as the Mets pummeled the Chicago Cubs, 13-2, at Wrigley Field.

HERNANDEZ: So smooooth.

The game also featured four hits each from Gary Carter and Kevin McReynolds. Hernandez, Tim Teufel and Rafael Santana drove in three runs apiece, and Dwight Gooden pitched eight innings to earn the victory.

I always liked watching Hernandez play. Whenever I watched the Met from that era, Hernandez was always the guys I’d want at the plate when a clutch hit was needed. Darryl Strawberry was always feared for his power, but Hernandez was the one with the game on the line.

One question I’ll ask Hernandez when I see him next is whether he could have been a home run hitter if he tried to hit for more power. Wade Boggs always said he would hit more homers if that was his mindset, and I believe the same the same would have applied with Hernandez.

Defensively, he was superb, and along with Don Mattingly, New York was blessed to have two premier first basemen during the 1980s.

Hernandez was so smooth at the 3-6-3 double play, and, of course, making the throw to third off a bunt. Nobody made that play better than Hernandez.

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Jun 09

Bullpen a major concern; Bay benched tonight.

I recently wrote where the Mets have played exceedingly well despite a myriad of issues and stand by those words.

Not much was expected from these Mets coming out of spring training, but for the most part have played inspired, scrappy, ball. But, just when you thought it was safe to root for the Mets, along comes something like last night.

There they were, on the cusp of their fourth straight victory, the bullpen collapsed again to give up four runs in the eighth inning and one more in the ninth to watch it all slip away.

So, instead of playing for .500 tonight, the Mets are again three games under.

Also slipping away was a strong performance from Mike Pelfrey, which we haven’t had an abundance of this spring. Another good game from Jose Reyes was also wasted.

The bullpen, after a brief strong stretch, has been awful over the last 16 games with a 12.36 ERA in the seventh inning or later, with the opposition outscoring the Mets, 56-23.

Amidst the rubble of the collapsed pen has been Pedro Beato’s slide.  Hoping for Beato to recapture his early season form forced Terry Collins to, 1) stay with him too long and watch him give up three runs in a third of an inning, and 2) go to Jason Isringhausen when he wanted to rest him last night.

Collins relied on Isringhausen because he doesn’t have much faith in anybody else in the pen, especially with Francisco Rodriguez gassed lately.

There are no viable options on either the major league or minor league options, and until the bullpen rights itself the Mets improve much beyond where they are right now.

All this is a reminder what a disappointment Bobby Parnell has been. Even before his injury, he failed to perform as the set-up reliever and this has been one of the most important issues of the season.

Another key issue is Jason Bay, who is benched tonight amidst a 0-for-27 freefall. Bay, who hit 36 homers two years ago in Boston, is down to .207 with two homers and ten RBI.

I suppose it can get worse, but seeing if it does is like watching a car wreck on the highway. You watch out of morbid curiosity.

Jason Pridie replaces Bay in left tonight.

Here’s the lineup at Milwaukee:

Jose Reyes, SS

Justin Turner, 3B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Daniel Murphy, 1B

Angel Pagan, CF

Jason Pridie, LF

Josh Thole, C

Ruben Tejada, 2B

Jonathan Niese, LP

 

Jun 08

Capuano good pick-up, but how long will he stay?

Yesterday, I wrote how the Mets were playing well considering a mountain of adversity and last night they received a strong pitching performance from Chris Capuano to win at Milwaukee, 2-1.

CAPUANO: A trade piece? (AP)

The Mets are two games below .500 and 4.5 games behind the Brewers in the wild card race. Too soon to be thinking of such things, but not too soon to recognize things aren’t totally in the toilet as had been projected.

Last night was the first game of 10-game road trip, and who knows where they will be when they return from Milwaukee-Pittsburgh-Atlanta? A lot of things can happen in two weeks. If the Mets continue to receive the strong starting pitching they’ve gotten the past ten days, including last night from Capuano, they could put an interesting, and unexpected, spin on this season.

Capuano was a bargain basement purchase that so far as pitched well considering a lack of offensive support. He gave up a run in six innings last night to go 4-6. He has pitched better than his record.

Unfortunately, every bit of success Capuano enjoys brings about the harsh reminder the Mets figure to be sellers at the deadline, and a lefthander who can provide innings is a commodity. What the Mets might get from Capuano is uncertain, but when you’re in a rebuilding mode you tend to collect prospects.

I’d like to see the Mets attempt to compete this year and go for the wild-card, but that means adding instead of subtracting. However, all indications point toward further rebuilding, which includes the possibility of a purge.

Not that the Mets will build around a guy like Capuano, but he can be a valuable part to the right team. And, it would be nice if the Mets were that team.

NOTEBOOK: Gary Carter underwent his first radiation treatment yesterday. … Carlos Beltran played despite a bruised right shin. He went 0-for-4 and didn’t look comfortable running.

 

Jun 08

Today in Mets History: Hook stops slide.

Of course you remember Jay Hook, the winning pitcher in the Mets’ first victory in 1962.

HOOK: Stopped the slide.

Once a bonus baby for the Cincinnati Reds, Hook pitched eight seasons in the major leagues and compiled a 29-62 record.

Hook didn’t crack the Reds’ rotation until 1960 and after two ineffective seasons was acquired by the Mets in the expansion draft, joining a group that included Roger Craig, Gil Hodges and Don Zimmer.

Hook went 8-19 in 1962, and led the team in starts with 34 and complete games with 13. One of those victories occurred on this date when he beat the Chicago Cubs in the first game of a doubleheader to snap a 17-game losing streak.

Hook retired at 28 in 1964 to take a job with Chrysler and currently lives in Michigan.

HOOK’S CAREER NUMBERS

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