Oct 14

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

The 1975 World Series between Boston and Cincinnati was one of the most compelling in history. The tone of the series was set in Game 3 on this date when Cincinnati’s Ed Armbrister and Boston’s Carlton Fisk became entangled on the former’s 10th-inning sacrifice bunt.

Interference was not called on Armbrister and the Reds went on to win to take a 2-1 Series lead.

There would have been plenty of dramatics to follow, including Game 6, which is arguably one of best games in World Series history. Had the Red Sox gotten that call then Fisk’s dramatic homer might have ended the World Series in Game 6 and not prolonged it.

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They Said It

They Said It

With poor weather forecast, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, anticipating rainouts is considering going to a three-man rotation. That might be to the Yankees’ advantage as their staff is not that deep.

Said Girardi: “In the 10-day forecast that I looked at, it looks like we have some rain in the forecast, so that can change things. But we are definitely considering possibly going to a three-man rotation in this round, but we’ll have to take a look at it and see how it goes.”

The change isn’t etched in stone, but it’s easy enough to change if Girardi wanted to go with four starters.

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BY THE NUMBERS

6: The Phillies have won six of their last eight road playoff games.

Oct 13

Arizona Fall League begins today ….

Fall League opens for Mets youth

Fall League opens for Mets youth

Much of the prizes in what is known as the Mets’ barren minor league cupboard will start playing in the Arizona Fall League today and runs through Nov. 13.

Those Mets participating include:

RHP Jenrry Mejia: Here’s the Mets’ best pitching prospect, the one teams first ask for when calling the Mets about trades. He can bring it, but the Mets want him to develop his curveball. Like with Mike Pelfrey, developing a secondary pitch is essential.

RHP Scott Moviel: Moviel is going as he missed most of the first half of the season with an injury. At 21, he’s still young enough to fit into the prospect category, but progress needs to be made. He gave up 61 hits and walked 24 in 64 1/3 innings, not a good ratio.

LHP Eric Niesen: Niesen finished his season at Class AA Binghamton by going 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA. Assuming Jon Niese will be either with the Mets or not ready, he should be Class AAA Buffalo’s projected No. 1.

RHP Josh Stinson: This guy can throw, with 35 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings for St. Lucie and 49 punch outs in 42 1/3 innings for Savannah. He’s still years away.

2B Reese Havens: The hope is Havens will be ready to step in at second when Luis Castillo goes in two years.

1B Ike Davis: He’s the Mets’ best hitting prospect, perhaps even better than Fernando Martinez. He definitely is a greater power threat. The assumption is he’ll step in at Class AAA Buffalo and be ready to move in after next season. That’s why there shouldn’t be such a rush to sign a name player to replace Daniel Murphy.

SS Ruben Tejada: He’s the best interior infield prospect in the minor leagues, but not ready for prime time. He’ll land at Class AAA Buffalo. It would be a push to think he’d be ready if Jose Reyes isn’t healthy.

LF Lucas Duda: Duda has power, but a problem against left-handed pitching. He’s also 23, an age where he should be a lot higher on the ladder.

Oct 13

If the Mets want La Russa ….

If the Mets are serious about evaluating all aspects of their operation, then they can’t afford to ignore Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan, the Cardinals’ manager and pitching coach. But, if this is the direction they take, it must be done quickly and decisively.

LA RUSSA: Enticing.

LA RUSSA: Enticing.


As a manager, I’d take La Russa hands down over Bobby Valentine, and Duncan could be one of the best pitching coaches in the business. I’d be willing to say better than the Jerry Manuel-Dan Warthen tandem currently in charge.

La Russa, who has won seven NL Central Titles, two pennants and one World Series, a significantly more impressive resume than that of Manuel. La Russa has been there and won. He’s one of the few who could come in immediately command everybody’s respect.

However, getting La Russa has to be accomplished quickly and neatly. There can’t be a long courtship as the uncertainty could chase away whatever free agents the Mets could be considering. Also, if the Mets come up empty they would have all but pushed Manuel out the door which would severely limit the respect he needs in the clubhouse.

Oct 13

Looking ahead to 2010 ….

Just a blog note: This is the 800th post since I started this blog. Thanks to you for reading and your responses. You don’t always agree with me, and in fact, a lot of you don’t, but I always appreciate the give-and-take.

This blog carried me in a lot of ways as I job search and I’m always grateful for the input of my readers. For as long as I am in the area and have access to the Mets, I will continue the blog. Thanks.

Brand New World Awaits.

Brand New World Awaits.


That being said, let’s take a quick look at 2010. In projecting the Mets’ line-up, unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be much difference from the group that played so well this summer.

The Mets have promised trades and free-agent signings that could make it all better, but if history is an indication, there will be more smoke than fire.

Here’s what I see:

CATCHER: Brian Schneider is gone. They would like to add a veteran presence, preferably one with some offensive capabilities. That unknown would platoon with Omir Santos, who played well then faded down the stretch after Josh Thole was added. I’m projecting Thole to start the season in the minor leagues, but he’ll play during the year. There’s a lot of promise there, but he’s learning the position and now to hit on this level.

MURPHY: Showed enough to get chance at first.

MURPHY: Showed enough to get chance at first.


FIRST BASE: The Mets haven’t said they won’t re-sign Carlos Delgado, but those odds are long, especially since he never came back from the disabled list and was reinjured during his rehab. Daniel Murphy, who was force-fed the position, showed improvement over the past two months where they should be comfortable with him in the position until Ike Davis is ready – assuming, of course, Davis does get ready. Adam LaRoche and Aubrey Huff are available on the free-agent market, but neither will lift the franchise to the next level. LaRoche likely will stay with Atlanta.

SECOND BASE: Who would have thought Luis Castillo would hit .302 this year. The Mets believe they might find a taker, but they are dreaming. There are still two years and $12 million on his contract, and just because he stayed healthy for one season doesn’t mean he will in the future. Castillo’s offense was surprising, but his defense regressed. If the Mets can deal him they should, but that’s so unlikely.

THIRD BASE: David Wright has three years and $39 million remaining on his contract. He’s the face of the franchise and here for the duration. There were noticeable flaws in Wright’s game this season, notably dramatic drop in home runs and alarming spike in strikeouts despite hitting over .300. Wright will work with hitting coach Howard Johnson in an attempt to regain his power stroke. And, the power drop wasn’t just Citi Field because he didn’t go deep on the road, either. This is a big offseason concern, and the hope of Wright hitting for more power will shape the Mets’ offseason thinking.

WRIGHT: Needs to regain power stroke.

WRIGHT: Needs to regain power stroke.


SHORTSTOP: A hamstring injury that will require surgery limited Jose Reyes to 36 games in 2009. They expect him back, but nobody is making any promises as to what they believe they’ll get. No doubt, a quality back up should be added, and that means Alex Cora. For the Mets not to have a healthy Reyes, or an ineffective one in 2010, wouldn’t be a reach.

LEFT FIELD: The free agents are enticing. Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, Bobby Abreu, and yes, even Manny Ramirez. A quick rundown: Bay will stay in Boston; Abreu likes the Angels; Holliday’s price tag will scare the Mets; and everything about Ramirez should frighten the Mets. There might be a middle-of-the-board option, but isn’t that the same thing as saying Angel Pagan? I’d like Holliday, but my gut tells me the Mets won’t spend.

CENTER FIELD: There are two years and $37 million left on Carlos Beltran’s contract, one with a no-trade clause. Beltran wants an extension, but his injury history should give the Mets pause on that option. A healthy Beltran should help fill the power void.

RIGHT FIELD: Jeff Francoeur will be a free agent in two years, and if the Mets are smart, they’ll lock him up before then. He played with a grit the team has long been accused of lacking.

STARTING ROTATION: If the Mets changed nothing, and that wouldn’t be a shock, they’ll have this rotation: Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, John Maine and either Jon Niese or Bobby Parnell. All of them have issues. Santana, Perez, Maine and Niese have injury issues; Pelfrey took a step back and Parnell’s confidence could be shot. The free-agent market isn’t deep, with the Angels’ John Lackey the premier choice, but he’ll be pricey and has an injury background.

BULLPEN: Closer Francisco Rodriguez had breakdown signs this year with most every save opportunity an adventure. Nothing was ever easy for him. J.J. Putz can forget about having his $8.6 million option picked up. Parnell could get the set-up role, and if he does he should be left alone. Count on lefty Pedro Feliciano returning. After that, it’s back to square one in rebuilding the pen.

Oct 13

Lunch break ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

A little slow out of the gate this morning. I’m sure you’ve all had your morning coffee, so let’s call this a lunch break.

The LCS hasn’t started for either league, but on this date in 1960, Pittsburgh Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski ended the World Series with a dramatic home run to lead off the ninth against Ralph Terry and beat the Yankees, 10-9.

Despite the score, which meant a lot of hitters, it was the only World Series game in the 20th Century without a strikeout. One of the most interesting numbers from that game were that the Yankees outscored Pittsburgh, 52 to 27, in losing in seven games.

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They Said It

They Said It

Former Mets reliever Billy Wagner is considering retirement instead of attempting to pitch one more season and pursue 400 saves.

Said Wagner: “I don’t plan on talking to nobody. … I’ve got nothing else to [accomplish].”

In what could be Wagner’s final appearance, he gave up two runs in two-thirds of an inning in Boston’s Game 3 loss to the Angels. Wagner, 38, returned this season from Tommy John surgery. He is 15 saves shy of 400, a milestone he always said he wanted to reach.

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BY THE NUMBERS

224: Homers hit by Philadelphia to lead the National League.