Jul 09

La Russa Snubs Dickey For All-Star Start

Tony La Russa has always been noted for over thinking, and his reasoning for not starting the Mets’ R. A. Dickey probably falls into that category, too.

Word out of Kansas City is Matt Cain will go against Justin Verlander in tomorrow’s All-Star Game. All along the reports are an apprehension for using the knuckleballer with Buster Posey.

“Look, I want to start the game. Of course I do,” Dickey said Sunday. “I think any competitor would like to.”

La Russa’s thinking is faulty if he’s concerned about passed balls and wild pitches. They are potentially far more costly later in the game when your offense has less time to make up a run.

Cain and Posey are teammates, so that makes sense. If Dickey follows a power pitcher such as Cain to throw off the AL hitters, that also makes sense. But, if La Russa’s reasoning in fear, that makes no sense.

The official announcement is expected at a 1:30 p.m. ET news conference.
Jul 09

Mets Close Exciting First Half With Concern

After a plus first half, the Mets limp into the All-Star break on the skids – definitely not the team that captivated our imagination for the better part of three months.

We all knew they had questions and issues, but played through them. Just not to the point where we can think they’ve disappeared.

Over the past few weeks, the Mets bullpen continued to implode. That wasted Chris Young start comes immediately to mind. More alarming is that both R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana have twice been roughed up. The defense has been erratic, and the overall lack of power and speed have both come into play.

Losing two series to the Chicago Cubs is just not an encouraging sign.

The Mets finished the first half with a winning record, and maybe this is just a glitch. A warming to Sandy Alderson more parts are needed.

During the break, I’ll look at what went right and wrong, what is needed, and grade the players. I’ll be back around noon.

Jul 08

Reggie Jackson Should Shut Up; Wally Backman Defends Gary Carter

It must have been frustrating for Reggie Jackson when he questioned the validity of several Hall of Famers, including Gary Carter. I mean, nobody had been talking to him lately and he was out of the limelight.

Several of Carter’s teammates, including Wally Backman, came to his defense.

“Who is he to question?” Backman told the Bergen Record. “At least Gary was a complete player. It’s unbelievable Reggie would criticize a great guy and great player who’s passed away. Show some respect.”

Respect?

When it comes to respect to others, Jackson has no clue. He’s for himself first, second and to hell with everybody else.

Backman is right in that Carter was a more complete – and team player – than Jackson ever was. Some players tend to rub people the wrong way and what I’ll remember first about Jackson is not the three homers in the World Series game against the Dodgers, but for his derogatory comments about Thurman Munson, him ignoring Billy Martin’s signs and for scuffling with Martin in the dugout at Fenway.

Among his other comments in Sports Illustrated, Jackson said: “I didn’t see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Gary Carter as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Don Sutton as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Phil Niekro as a Hall of Famer. As much as I like Jim Rice,  I’m not so sure he’s a Hall of Famer.”

Honestly, Puckett (3,000 hits), Sutton and Niekro (300 wins) are milestone stats that have meant automatic entry into the Hall of Fame. It’s the same way with 500 homers. Had Jackson hit 450 homers, would he be a Hall of Famer? I’m not so sure.

And, speaking of landmark honors, what about the Yankees’ retiring his number? Take away that World Series game and Jackson’s penchant for beating his own drum, it’s a reach to call him one of the great Yankees worthy of that honor.

 

 

 

Jul 08

Mets’ Chemistry Will Keep Bobby Parnell Out Of Closer Role — For Now

The Mets spent a good bit of time speaking of team chemistry as for a primary reason why they have played so well in the first half. You’ll hear more about that today, and deservedly so.

PARNELL: Has been terrific.

It is for that reason why Bobby Parnell – who has been pitching lights out lately – will relinquish the closer role once Frank Francisco is able to come off the disabled list. For the same reason why Jason Bay went back to left when he last came off the DL, is the same reason why Parnell will stop working the ninth – chemistry.

The Mets have been a tranquil bunch the first three months – with their aggressiveness limited to the field – and Terry Collins won’t mess with that state. The Mets signed Francisco to be their closer, and as long as he’s physically able, Collins is apt to keep it that way.

The thing that could alter that is Francisco’s injury lingering, but reports have him coming back shortly after the break.

Parnell has pitched well in the role, well enough to stay there and well enough to prove he can do the job, but chemistry is a fragile thing and Collins won’t tamper with it now.

Jul 07

Mets Matters: Dillon Gee Tries To Reignite Club

Teams cannot live by late inning rallies alone. Last night’s ninth was compelling, but the truth is the Mets would have preferred a strong game from Johan Santana and forego the drama. Maybe Dillon Gee will give them a strong outing, something he hasn’t done often this season.

Gee (5-7, 4.34 ERA) will go against Jeff Samarrdzja  (6-7, 4.77) at 4:10 p.m. In his last start,  Gee lasted a season-low five innings, giving up four earned runs on nine hits and two walks in Chicago, June 26.

More Mets Matters:

 * Santana gave up a career-high 13 hits last night. Lately, he’s been beaten by a big inning. Santana used to pitch his way out of trouble and minimize the damage, but that wasn’t the case last night. Worry level on Santana? He’ll have extended rest because of the break, so wait until one or two starts before you start to worry. Santana insisted his problems weren’t related to a play at first when he twisted his ankle.
* The Post is reporting lefty reliever Josh Edgin will be promoted from Triple-A Buffalo shortly after the break. early in the second half. Edgin threw 10.1 scoreless innings in spring training.
* It is believed both Jason Bay and Frank Francisco will be activated from the disabled list after the break. Both will play minor league rehab games first. Of the two, there’s more a need for Francisco.
* Andres Torres is still out with back spasms, but will avoid going on the DL>