Jun 12

Today in Mets History: Mets sign Tug McGraw.

One of the most popular players in team history is signed on this day in 1964 when scout Roy Parlee gets the signature of 19-year-old lefthanded pitcher Tug McGraw on a contract.

MCGRAW: An original.

Once a starter, McGraw carved out his niche as a reliever with the Mets. McGraw filled in when Jerry Koosman was injured in May of 1969, but returned to the pen with the latter returned. With a rotation that also included Tom Seaver, Don Cardwell, Jim McAndrew and at times Nolan Ryan, there was no place for McGraw.

McGraw, the last player to play for Casey Stengel, pitched in the NLCS against Atlanta, but did not pitch in the World Series against Baltimore. However, his role now set, McGraw emerged as a premier closer in the early 1970s, and was an emotional leader who coined the “Ya Gotta Believe,’’ slogan for the 1973 pennant-winning Mets.

In December of 1974, the Mets dealt McGraw to Philadelphia in a package deal that saw pitcher Mac Scarce, outfielder Del Unser and catcher John Stearns come to New York.

McGraw continued on as a top reliever and was a central figure during the Phillies’ 1980 World Series season.

When asked what he spent his money on during the World Series, McGraw answered: “Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women and Irish whiskey. The other ten percent I’ll probably waste.’’

McGraw was always a popular visitor to Shea Stadium after his retirement, although he worked for the Phillies as a guest instructor during spring training, when he was hospitalized with a brain tumor in 2003. Less than a year later, he died.

The Mets wore a “Ya Gotta Believe,’’ arm patch in honor of McGraw during the 2004 season, and McGraw’s son Tim, a country music star, recorded the song, “Live Like You Were Dying,’’ later that year.

Tim McGraw spread his father’s ashes on the pitcher’s mound at Citizen’s Bank Park prior to Game 3 of the 2008 World Series.

McGRAW’S CAREER NUMBERS

 

 

Jun 11

Dickey starts as Mets eye .500

Rebuilding teams make progress in small steps, and the Mets could make one tonight, with a victory at Pittsburgh, they could reach .500.

Should they win and Florida lose, they would trail the third-place Marlins by a half-game.

The Mets have been doing it with pitching with surprise Dillon Gee’s gem last night their seventh consecutive quality start. Last year’s surprise starter, R. A. Dickey, will start for the Mets.

After a slow start, Dickey is 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA over his last four games.

Here’s tonight’s lineup at Pittsburgh, which features the return of Jason Bay.

 

Jose Reyes, SS

Ruben Tejada, 2B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Daniel Murphy, 3B

Angel Pagan, CF

Jason Bay, LF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Ronny Paulino, C

R.A. Dickey, RP

Jun 11

Today in Mets History: Mets lose slugfest.

The Mets have hit four homers since May 22, a span of 17 games. On this date in 1967, the Mets and Cubs combined for 11 homers in the second game of a doubleheader, won 18-10 by Chicago. The Mets hit four that afternoon.

BOX SCORE

Bob Johnson, Jerry Buchek, Ron Swoboda and Jerry Grote all went deep for the Mets.

The Cubs broke the game open with seven runs in the third and scored in all but two innings.

 

Jun 10

Gee hopes to continue streak tonight at Pittsburgh.

Every year there is one, that player who comes out of the blue to place his indent on the season. This year for the Mets he is Dillon Gee.

GEE: Carrying Mets.

Gee competed for the fifth starter’s role during spring training, but with remaining options, didn’t stick in favor of Chris Capuano. However, when Chris Young went down, Gee, who pitched well at the end of last season, was brought up from Triple-A Buffalo and takes a 6-0 record into tonight’s game at Pittsburgh.

Gee has anchored the Mets’ rotation which has been surprisingly good recently, going 6-2 with a 2.76 ERA over the past 14 games, including six straight quality starts.

The Mets have won all of Gee’s eight starts, and over his last four games opponents are hitting .161 against him. One of those games was beating Pittsburgh, May 30, at Citi Field, giving up three runs in seven innings.

“He’s proved that he can pitch at this level and have success,’’ manager Terry Collins said. “All he does is give you quality outings.’’

Here’s tonight’s lineup behind Gee:

Jose Reyes, SS

Justin Turner, 3B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Daniel Murphy, 1B

Angel Pagan, CF

Lucas Duda, LF

Josh Thole, C

Ruben Tejada, 2B

Dillon Gee, RP

 

Jun 10

What’s the answer for Bay?

Terry Collins floated the idea several weeks ago, but never followed through with batting Jason Bay second in the order behind Jose Reyes.

Theoretically, Bay would get more fastballs with running threat Reyes on first. Batting second snapped David Wright out of funks before, and perhaps it would do the same for Bay.

BAY: Strike three. You see this a lot.

 

Obviously, dropping him to sixth didn’t work. He’s still chasing breaking balls away. He’s also not turning on the fastball, and his plate presence is terrible.

Bay’s problems are physical and mental, and there’s no quick fix. Afterall, this has been lingering for two years with no signs of coming out of it.

I don’t believe sending Bay to the minor leagues is the answer, because what good does beating up on those pitchers do? Assuming, of course, he does beat up on them.

Bay needs to work himself out of this by playing, so an extended benching isn’t the answer, either. Hitting second might not work, but it hasn’t been attempted.

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