Sep 09

What’s wrong with Wright?

Sorry for getting out of the blocks late today. There was a job lead I needed to follow-up on and several phone calls that needed to me made. I was under consideration to cover Alabama football, but that didn’t pan out. Would have been interesting.

I’m working on several projects, one of which is ghost writing a book on martial arts. Very interesting subject. Once it is done, I’ll post where you can get a copy.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you guys again for last night’s blog. It is what I envisioned when I kept the blog going. It should be like a group of friends getting together at my house or a sports bar (better make it the bar, because I don’t want to pick up) with plenty of lively, challenging conversation. It was clean and civil. Some good-natured pokes, but isn’t that the way it should be when you’re with friends?

Most beat writer blogs are simply glorified message boards and chat rooms. Not much serious give-and-take. Intelligent conversation. Good job.

Thanks again.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.

WRIGHT: We miss that home run stroke.


i did want to talk about David Wright this morning. An absolutely horrible game last night. It’s OK, everybody has them. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays had horrible games, too. There was one error, but should have been two. A DP and a K with RISP. Wright gets a hit in one of those two spots and maybe the Mets win the game.

Wright is second behind Gary Sheffield (10) with eight homers. Daniel Murphy, Fernando Tatis, Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur could all hit more homers than Wright this year. There are other ways to win besides home runs, but the Mets aren’t doing any of them. If they played consistent, fundamental baseball and kept the line moving, advanced runners, and hit when the situation declares it, their lack of power could be tolerated.

But, they don’t, and they make too many mistakes defensively, and walk far too many hitters, that dig them into holes. Power is the great eraser, but the Mets don’t have the power to erase the kind of mistakes they are making on a consistent basis.

Wright has done something with his stance and is just not driving the ball as he used to. I don’t care if he hits .320 as long as there is some run production, but there is not.

There is NOT ONE explanation for what has happened to Wright. The altercation of his stance is a contributing factor, and he obviously doesn’t feel as if he could adjust without getting into a funk. That happens. There is the added pressure of being the only one of the core playing for much of the season, and that has taken a toll. There is also the perception of Citi Field not being a hitter friendly park, but that has changed as the season wore on. Plenty of home runs are being hit, just not by the Mets.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.

WRIGHT: Needs hitting overhaul.


Yes, lack of protection in the batting order plays a part, but then again, Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds, went seasons without serious back-up and look at their numbers. In all fairness, Pujols and Bonds are elite players above Wright’s level.

Wright has run either hot and cold all season. His average is good, but there needs to be more RBI next to it, even without the homers. Some of that could be attributed to those hitting in front of him, but remember, Luis Castillo has had a good season.

Most perplexing to me about Wright has been the strikeouts. He has 115 already and is on a pace for 138 (a little over 24 percent of his at-bats). Conversely, he’s on a pace for 79 walks. He’s also on pace for career lows in homers (10) and RBI (71), yet, his .406 on-base percentage would be the second highest of his career.

Wright’s power out age might have been more acceptable had Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado stayed healthy. Nonetheless, Wright has established himself as a power run-producer. We can write this season off as a bad one, but he’ll get no such slack next season.

Wright is the face of this franchise, like it or not, and his job description is to hit for more power. Whether we blame Wright for being stubborn or hitting coach Howard Johnson is immaterial. Wright needs to make an overhaul of his stance and mechanics this winter and return to being a run producer. That’s his job.

Sep 08

Tonight’s line-up vs. Marlins.

The Mets (62-75) begin a three-game series with the Marlins (72-65) tonight at Citi Field, with Tim Redding taking on Rick VandenHurk.

Tonight’s line-up:

Angel Pagan, LF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Josh Thole, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Tim Redding, RP

NOTES: VandenHurk (2-2, 4.91 ERA) is 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA in three career starts against the Mets. … Redding (2-4, 5.70 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his last three starts.

Sep 03

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #134; Dimensions to stay the same.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Reportedly, the dimensions at Citi Field will remain the same next year, probably to the dismay of National League hitters everywhere, including those in the first base dugout. The Daily News reported GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel recommended the status quo.

And, it shouldn’t, because if you’re going to tailor a stadium, it better be in favor of pitching.

According to hittrackeronline.com, Citi Field averages 1.67 home runs per game, 11th out of the 16 National League stadiums. Shea Stadium averaged 2.15 home runs per game in 2008. A significant explanation has to be the injuries to Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran, and David Wright’s horrendous power slump. The Mets enter today’s game at Colorado last in the major leagues with 77 home runs.

Said Wright: “I would say it’s probably built the opposite than for me. I think one of my strengths is driving the ball to right field. I sometimes think I have to hit it twice to get it out there. It is what it is. It’s not something I’m going to complain about or anybody else should complain about. It’s the park and we have to adapt.”

Greg Rybarczyk/Hit Tracker

Greg Rybarczyk/Hit Tracker


Shea Stadium was 378 feet in right center; Citi Field ranges from 378 to 415 feet in that area. Left center at Citi Field ranges from 364 to 384 feet, but features a 15-foot wall. Some hitters, such as Jeff Francoeur, thinks a normal sized wall would be fine.

In keeping the dimensions the same, at least for 2010, the Mets aren’t making a panic move based on one season. The injuries along with the unseasonable weather for much of the first half had to contribute to the fall off in power. As the season progressed, power numbers did spike.

In the long run, it is better to have a pitcher friendly part than a hitter friendly site such as Coors Field, where the Mets are playing today. If a franchise builds it team on pitching, defense and speed, it has a better chance of winning than a team built solely on power, such as the old Red Sox and Cubs teams in Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, respectively. As much as a launching pad old Yankee Stadium was, it was deeper in left and center, and those teams were as much pitching as power.

The Mets conclude their series with the Rockies with Pat Misch taking on Jason Marquis.

Here’s today’s line-up:

Angel Pagan, CF
Anderson Hernandez, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Josh Thole, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
Pat Misch. LP

Sep 02

METS NOTEBOOK/LINE-UP: Beltran update.

* Center fielder Carlos Beltran will begin a minor league rehab assignment tonight at Brooklyn. His bone bruise is healing and the team said he could return next week at home against the Marlins or for the weekend series at Philadelphia.

BELTRAN: At Brooklyn tonight.

BELTRAN: At Brooklyn tonight.


A lot of people have written Beltran off for this season, but we’ll see. Things have changed before.

* One person we’ll definitely not see this year is John Maine, who threw in a simulated game yesterday at Port St. Lucie. He’s scheduled to pitch in a minor league rehab game Saturday.

Personally, I’m not counting on anything from Maine anymore. I believe the Mets should go into the off-season thinking he’s not in their plans. If he comes back that’s a bonus, but they should by-pass the opportunity to get somebody else in the hope Maine will return.

* David Wright took a lot of ribbing for his oversized helmet, but said he’ll keep wearing it. Wright returned from the DL Monday. Wright is not in the line-up tonight as manager Jerry Manuel said he wants to rest him to see how he responded to playing again. No qualms with that decision.

Here’s tonight’s line-up vs. Rockies:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Cory Sullivan, LF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Brian Schneider, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
Tim Redding, RP

Sep 01

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #132; Wright returns.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

As for as the good news is concerned, David Wright will return to third base after spending the past two weeks on the disabled with post concussion syndrome.

The plan is for him to play tonight and tomorrow and rest Thursday afternoon before the Mets’ return to Citi Field for a weekend series with the Cubs. After the Ryan Church incident last season, the Mets will play this one very cautiously. They were ripped for not having a plan and rushing Church to play.

WRIGHT: Returns from beaning tonight.

WRIGHT: Returns from beaning tonight.


Wright was placed on the disabled list less than 24 hours have he was struck in the head, Aug. 15, by a Matt Cain fastball.

“I think it will take care of itself,’’ Wright said. “I’m just going to make sure I walk before I run. I don’t expect any trouble getting back in the box. I guess the ultimate test will be if I get another pitch up and in. But I’m not going to worry about it.’’

Wright is having a peculiar season at the plate. He leads the Mets with a .324 average, but after hitting 33 homers last year only has eight this season. His RBI total is also down at 55.

The Mets, who have lost seven of their last nine games will go with the erratic Mike Pelfrey (9-9, 4.80), who has been hot against the Rockies with 20 consecutive innings against them spanning three starts.

Pelfrey is coming of a 5-3 loss at Florida in which he gave up five runs on 11 hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Here’s the Mets order tonight:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Fernando Tatis, 1B
Nick Evans, LF
Fernando Tatis, 3B
Omir Santos, C
Anderson Hernandez, SS
Mike Pelfrey, RP (1-3, 5.40)