Sep 22

Moving In The Fences Not Answer, Pitching Is

 

Silly me, I thought the object was to win games, not hit home runs.

Sandy Alderson is talking about altering the dimensions at Citi Field in an effort to boost the Mets’ paltry home run total, which is odd considering his background as a fundamentalist. You know, high on-base percentage, advance the runners and cut down on strikeouts.

When he took over his goal was to rebuild the Mets with pitching, speed and defense. Let’s not get teary eyed about Shea Stadium, either. Afterall, how many World Series have the Mets won in their history? Two, and both those teams were built on pitching.

David Wright is on-board with this because, well, afterall, he hasn’t hit for power in two years, but that’s more a product of the beaning by Matt Cain and a poor approach at the plate, not to mention being injured and missing two months this year.

Overall, the Mets have hit 103 homers and given up 141. They’ve been outhomered 87-58 on the road and 54-45 at Citi Field. Those numbers are about right for a team below .500.

Before Alderson tinkers with the dimensions, he should consider what the Mets’ home run production might have been had Wright not missed two months, Ike Davis not been out for most of the season, Carlos Beltran not been traded and Jason Bay hit up to his contract. Take those four factors and the Mets would have closed the homer gap considerably.

But, are home runs really the issue?

The Mets are fifth in the National League with 686 runs scored, which is good enough to contend, but are 13th in runs given up with 712 (4.21 ERA).

Clearly, pitching is the problem, not a lack of power.

Home runs give a team an psychological jolt in that they know they can come back from a deficit, but the boost is even greater from the knowledge its pitching won’t put it in a hole.

It was funny to hear pitching coach Dan Warthen say moving in the fences would help his staff because it would force them to concentrate more. What a joke. If the Mets’ pitchers give up a lot of runs now, wait until the fences come in. Warthen is simply towing the party line. Have his pitchers walk fewer hitters and have him build a bullpen then he can talk. Until then, concentrate on Mike Pelfrey.

And, it’s not as if moving them in will enable the Mets to close the homer gap. The disparity would be roughly the same because the real disparity is in talent.

If the Mets want to do something, it ought to be to get better players, specifically pitchers. Moving in the fences is a gimmick, and teams don’t win with gimmicks. They win with talent.

Ways to Train:  Baseball Tips

If you’re looking to improve your batting average, slice that ERA in half, or simply enhance your ability to interact with your fellow teammates on the field, you’ll want to make sure you’re practicing the right things so that you don’t waste your time on nonsensical efforts.  Fielding, batting, and pitching all require very specific types of training, and while there is certainly overlap (and most players have to know how perform at least two of those 3 functions at any one time), there are also individual items to focus on for each as well.  Below, we’ll cover each of the three aforementioned areas, and what type of training approach you should take for each.

Batting

Swinging at a baseball flying toward your face at nearly 100 miles per hour seems like a fairly easy feat when you’re watching a Mets game or another team performing at the major league level.  That easiness only appears that way because you’re watching masters of batting at the plate, the peak of players available for the game.  For the typical baseball player, connecting the bat to the ball can be quite difficult to master, at least in a way that produces actual hits consistently over time.  The best way to practice batting is through repetition, so head over to the batting cages if you want to face pitch after pitch until your swinging improves.  Pitching machines come in a variety of speed settings, so you can surely find one that’ll pitch to you at the speed you need.

Pitching

Unfortunately, they haven’t developed a baseball batting machine that works quite as well as the pitching version yet, but catching a pitcher’s ball is easier for the average person that throwing a 95 mph fastball.  In order to practice your pitches, find someone who is competent at using a glove, and throw to that person over and over again.  Remember to also switch up your pitches so that you don’t become dominant using only one type of pitch.

Fielding

This article doesn’t have the space to cover the many different fielding positions individually, but on the whole, there are some simple things to keep in mind when standing in the outfield or around the bases.  Make sure you’re using a glove that’s been broken in, first off, so that you’re comfortable using the glove and don’t feel limited in movement.  Since baseball fields don’t have roof cover and many day games are played, you’ll also want to practice fielding balls in direct sunlight, as often times you’ll have to face straight up in order to catch the ball.  So long as you can run and judge a ball accurately as you are moving towards it, you’ll be in good shape on the field.

Sep 20

No answers from here on out.

With the Mets out of contention awhile ago, it was hoped September would be the month where some 2012 answers could be found. It has not turned out that way.

GEE: Rocky finish to a good year.

Only .500 remains, but the Mets must run the table for that to occur, and that would mean nine straight against Cardinals, Phillies and Reds. They couldn’t win nine straight against their own minor league system.

The one slot where it was hoped could be definitive was the closer role, but Bobby Parnell has spit the bit. He’ll get another chance in spring training, that is, unless the Mets sign a qualified, veteran closer, but that would require some spending. That’s not going to happen, either.

Ruben Tejada has played well, but not well enough to see if he will be able to assume Jose Reyes’ role. We might never know that answer.

The only comfort I see has been Lucas Duda in right. So far, he’s fielded the position cleanly, but we need a full year at the plate and in the field to see for sure. And, there are usually hills and valleys in the first year as a starter.

I like how R. A. Dickey is finishing, and Chris Capuano and Dillon Gee pitched well enough this year to warrant a chance in next year’s rotation. Gee, however, is struggling, with his ERA jumping nearly a run a game over his last ten starts.

There’s too many unanswered questions Sandy Alderson must spend the winter trying to answer. There are holes in the rotation that can’t be masked by a thin bullpen. There’s a lack of power from David Wright and Jason Bay. Angel Pagan has regressed. There’s nothing that suggests Johan Santana will make it back.

There’s also no indication the Mets will be a heavy player to retain Reyes.

 

 

 

Aug 30

Greetings …. hope you’re all safe.

Hello all. I hope you and your families are safe after the weekend. Coming to you from an Apple Store, where I can briefly log on to the Internet to post this. Joe D. from Metsmerized will be posting on my blog. I’m in Connecticut and still don’t have power, phone or Internet.

I have to go to my car to power up my phone. Other than that, it is like being on Gilligan’s Island. Only there’s no Ginger or Mary Ann.

It was good to hear the Mets swept a doubleheader. They’ve won four straight, which isn’t hard to imagine considering their starter’s ERA in that span is 1.25. When this team pitches, it wins, which is par for everybody else, too.

However, their pitching remains spotty. Nobody knows from start to start what Mike Pelfrey will do. RA Dickey seems to have righted himself, but Jon Niese hit a slide. Maybe he’s shaken it, but we need to see it three, four times in a row.

I think Chris Capuano has been terrific in spots and is worthy of being brought back, especially since he’s a lefty. Dillon Gee is coming off a good start after a spotty month. Growing pains for him, but overall, I like what he’s done. He deserves a spot in the 2012 rotation.

I’m starting to look ahead to 2012, and I see questions in the rotation, the bullpen, at second, at shortstop assuming Jose Reyes leaves, right field and possibly center and left. I’m betting Angel Pagan and Jason Bay both stay, although unloading Bay’s contract would be an huge coup on Sandy Alderson’s part. Of course, not holding my breath.

In the interim, I would like to see .500 because it is a sign of progress. With three games left this week against Florida, Washington over the weekend and Florida again next week, it is possible. Being .500 can give an energy boost to a team that has struggled the last four seasons such as the Mets.

It is a sign of progress and development. Sure beats the past couple of years.

Have to run because the Apple people are looking at me kind of strange. Until I can log on again, all my best to you. There will be some kind of activity on my blog, so please check in. Best, JD

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 20

Subway Series Game Preview: Mets @ Yankees

Game 1 Pitching Match-up

RHP R.A. Dickey (2-4, 5.03) vs. RHP Freddy Garcia (2-2, 3.40), 7:05 p.m. ET

Starting Lineup

  1. Jose Reyes, SS
  2. Daniel Murphy, 1B
  3. Carlos Beltran, RF
  4. Jason Bay, LF
  5. Fernando Martinez, DH
  6. Justin Turner, 3B
  7. Josh Thole, C
  8. Jason Pridie, CF
  9. Ruben Tejada, 2B

Subway Series Mets Notes

BEL-TRON: Carlos Beltran is 14-for-31 against Freddy Garcia and has been consistently good against him. He was 7-for-his-first-15 and is since 7-for-his-last-16 against him. Of the 86 pitchers that Beltran has faced at least 20 times, his .452 batting average against Garcia ranks sixth-best (Kyle Lohse tops his favorites list, .541).

METS ON THE MOUND IN MAY: The Mets are 10-6 this month. New York’s pitching staff has the fourth-best ERA in the month of May (2.76). The Mets bullpen is 4-2 and has a 1.12 ERA (six earned runs/48.1 innings) this month, the third-best in the majors. Mets starters are 5-4 this month with a 3.54 ERA (40 earned runs/101.2 innings).

INFIELD: The Mets’ starting infield yesterday of Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada, Jose Reyes and Justin Turner, had the youngest average age for the starting infield for any major league team in any game this season (25.5 years old).

BAY WATCH: Jason Bay is hitting a Ted Williams-esque .406 against the Yankees over the last two seasons. In that span, he rates in the top 3 against the Yankees in batting average (2nd), on-base percentage (.500, 1st), and slugging percentage (.739, 3rd).

FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ: Converted his 14th straight save chance yesterday, his longest such stretch since saving 16 straight to start the 2009 season. Rodriguez, who is tied for second in the majors in saves, also extended his scoreless innings streak to 18.0 innings, the fourth longest active streak in the majors.

APPLE TURNER: Turner has reached base safely in his last 10 games dating back to May 7. During this span, he’s batting .382 (13-34) with six runs, four doubles, one home run and 12 RBI.

SUBWAY BUZZ: Entering tonight, 11 members of the Mets active 25- man roster have played in a Subway Series game (Reyes, Beltran, Bay, Evans, Isringhausen, Martinez, Misch, Murphy, Pelfrey, Tejada and Rodriguez). There have been 111 players to play for both the Mets and Yankees including two to join that list this year (Gustavo Molina and Luis Ayala).

INTERLEAGUE PLAY: The Mets begin their 15th season of Interleague play tonight. The Mets are 118-111 (.515) all-time during Interleague action. The Mets’ .515 winning percentage is the fourth best all-time among NL clubs. The Mets went 13-5 against the American League last year, setting a franchise record for wins in a single season. The Mets won five of their six series vs. AL squads and Jose Reyes led the majors with 19 runs scored during Interleague play in 2010. Francisco Rodriguez was second in the majors with seven Interleague saves in 2010 and ranks sixth all-time with 33 Interleague saves.

Game Preview

It’s that time of year again where the Mets and the Yankees play each other, and the 2011 Subway Series opens up in the Bronx this year. For the Mets, they are coming off of a two game shutout sweep of the Nationals as they look to return to .500 in tonight’s game. Since the game is happening in the Bronx, the Mets will have a DH tonight, and as of last night (when this article was written) the DH was penciled in as Fernando Martinez as he looks to get some much needed AB’s. Tonight Dickey will look to bounce back as he takes on Freddy Gracia.

R.A. Dickey has struggled at points this season, and hopefully he can turn back to his consistent self tonight. This season he is 1-5 with a 5.08 with over 50 innings logged. Things have been rough this month, as he has posted a 7.36 ERA in three starts. The last time Dickey faced the Yankees was in 2009 where he pitched 9.3 innings where had an ERA of 0.93. The Yankees have the following numbers on Robert Allen:

Granderson 3-10, 2 2B
Jeter 1-8
A-Rod 5-8, 2B
Swisher 0-6
Posada 0-3

The Mets will get a look at Freddy Garcia tonight who is 2-3 this season with a 3.22 ERA. This month he has pitched 18.1 innings and has posted an ERA of 4.42. The last time he faced the Mets was back in 2007 where he pitched 4.2 innings allowing 3 ER over 8 hits on his way to a loss. The Mets have posted the following numbers on Freddy:

Beltran 14-31, 2 2B, 3B, 3 HR
Harris 3-12
Bay 0-7
Paulino 3-3, HR
Reyes 1-3

Let’s Go Mets!

Subway Series Game Preview, Courtesy of Mets Merized Online

Note:

John is ill and will resume blogging again in a day or too. He apologizes for not being able to post, but does have a special message for all his readers for the Subway Series; LETS GO METS!

May 03

Time to get Dickey some runs.

With a sub-4 ERA, R.A. Dickey has pitched well enough to have better than a 1-3 record.

DICKEY: A little help, please.

The fault lies in large part to the offense, which has given him just eight runs over his last four starts. That pretty much explains it.

The Mets won his last start when they rallied with a four-run ninth inning at Washington, but Dickey didn’t receive a decision as he gave up two runs in 6.2 innings.

The Mets’ offense overall has been in a funk as it has scored just nine runs while going 4-for-34 with runners in scoring position over the past four games following the team’s six-game winning streak.

David Wright is showing some signs of offensive life with five hits in his last three games, but he’s far from having things figured out with 32 strikeouts already this season in 110 at-bats.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to talk during the game, click onto the Mets Chat icon to your left.