Apr 24

Ike Davis’ Struggles, Jason Bay’s Injury Part Of Mets Ugly Day

I suppose it could have been uglier.

That’s what I took from yesterday’s doubleheader loss to the San Francisco Giants. Sure, they could have lost a marathon game as they once did in a nightcap with the Giants, or get no-hit, as they did another time against San Francisco. However, yesterday was exasperating in its own right.

DAVIS: Tosses bat after another strikeout. (AP)

After a 4-0 start, the Mets lost eight of their next 12 to fall to .500. I’ve been saying .500 would be great for the Mets this season, but it also matters how you get there, and they are now reeling. Big time.

Ike Davis continues to flounder and yesterday stranded 11 runners. And, he didn’t even start the second game. That’s almost hard to do. Davis’ swing is a mess and the most action his bat got was when he threw it after getting rung up late in the second game.

Also on the negative side of the ledger was Jason Bay injuring his ribs when he dove for a ball near the warning track. Bay was in the midst of a hot stretch, so you figured he had to get hurt soon. Don’t count on him tonight.

And, once again the Mets’ starting pitching was torched. The Mets traded for Johan Santana to be a stopper. They need him to come up big tonight against the Marlins. They need him to prevent this from turning into a free fall.

ON DECK: Wright shows real leadership.

Apr 17

Seven Positive Signs For The Mets

Earlier today I posed the question if the Mets were for real. Ten games is not enough of a window to jump on the bandwagon, but it is big enough to sense that there’s something positive going on.

WRIGHT: Off to a good start. (AP)

1) David Wright is stroking the ball with authority. Even after missing several games he’s been consistently on, driving the ball to the opposite field which has always been a benchmark of success for him. He’s been swinging at good pitches and hasn’t been chasing the down-and-away junk. He also has been holding his ground when the pitchers have worked him inside.

2) They are 7-3, with all their wins in the division. They’ve won a series in Philadelphia and won last night in Atlanta, places which haven’t always been kind to them. I took a look at a sportsbook review and the odds on the Mets are getting better everyday. This is as positive a sign as any.

3) Johan Santana, who will work tonight, has given them two strong starts. A strong Santana give the Mets a sense of confidence and credibility. Now, if they’d only score some runs for him.

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Mar 12

Looking at the weekend; Santana sharp again.

Obviously, the most important thing that happened this weekend was Johan Santana’s continued progress.

SANTANA: So far, so good. (AP)

Santana threw 42 pitches Sunday against Miami, but once again reiterated how he responds will tell most of the story.

Santana isn’t concerned with his velocity, and said he threw his change-up and slider more than in his first start. Barring a setback this week, his next start will be Friday against Detroit.

Terry Collins insists on saying Santana will be ready by Opening Day, but for that to happen he’ll need to build himself up to 90 pitches. There’s a long way to go.

Also this weekend:

* Jason Bay got his first hit of the spring after a 0-for-8 slide out of the gate. You’ll get no projections from me on Bay. There are no expectations.

* David Wright (rib cage) and lefty reliever Tim Byrdak (left knee) will go to New York today to be examined at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Both are expected to get cortisone injections. Two things: 1) why wasn’t this more in-dept exam be done earlier, and 2) there’s no doctors in Miami they could go to?

* If Byrdak isn’t ready by Opening Day, Garrett Olson could be a candidate for the lefty slot out of the bullpen.

* Adam Loewen and Mike Baxter are competing for a lefty-hitting reserve outfield role. Both have the ability to play center.

ON DECK: Mets’ conditioning methods must be re-evaluated in wake of upper-body injuries.

 

 

 

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.

 

Jan 11

Jan. 11.10: McGwire comes clean.

McGWIRE: More than milk gave him that body.

McGWIRE: More than milk gave him that body.

Saying he knew this day would eventually come, Mark McGwire released a statement today to the AP admitting his use of steroids. McGwire hit 583 career homers in 16 seasons, and before the steroid era he would have been a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame.

McGwire has been barely a blip of the Hall of Fame radar screen since his retirement. Many writers, myself included, said they wouldn’t vote for McGwire or any other player linked to steroids. His admission will cause for some soul searching from those writers, myself included, as to their stance now.

Honestly, an admission doesn’t alter the fact he cheated, but it’s a way of being honest to the fans and to the game. For that, whatever McGwire’s motivation, deserves some consideration. I’ve always been a believer in second chances so I might be leaning in that direction. So, in that respect, personally I’m glad he did this as it will erase the cloud hovering over him.

In the Never-say-Never Department, McGwire, now a hitting instructor with the Cardinals, could be activated says manager Tony La Russa. Should that happen, the clock would go back and wouldn’t start ticking until he retires for good. It would be interesting to see the reaction McGwire would receive, but it would be more interesting to see if he has anything left for real.

McGWIRE: Whiffs in front of Congress.

McGWIRE: Whiffs in front of Congress.


Some excerpts to his release:

* “I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”

• “I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come. It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected.”

• “I’m sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I didn’t take any, and I had bad years when I didn’t take any. I had good years when I took steroids, and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn’t have done it and for that I’m truly sorry.”

Technically, McGwire never lied to Congress, he just looked weak saying he wasn’t there to talk about the past. Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield and Rafael Palmeiro – all with 500 career homers – have been linked, or suspected of using steriods.

Do you feel better about McGwire now, or didn’t it matter either way?