Oct 10

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Dodgers stymie Pujols; go for sweep.

The Cardinals were a pick of mine to advance. I thought the Dodgers’ pitching was suspect and Albert Pujols could take over a series. So far, I have been wrong. The Dodgers have limited the Cardinals to five runs in the two games and go for the sweep today in St. Louis.

Of course, if Matt Holliday could catch a line drive the NLDS would be tied at a game apiece. He couldn’t and it is not.

PUJOLS: Cardinals need his bat.

PUJOLS: Cardinals need his bat.

That play was a major storyline. So is the Dodgers’ unwillingness to pitch to Pujols. Like Barry Bonds a few years ago, Pujols is to be avoided.

Pujols, the NL MVP favorite, hit .327 with a major league-leading 47 homers and 135 RBI. He as also intentionally walked 44 times, most in the majors. In the first two games of this series the Dodgers have limited him to a single in six at-bats. They’ve walked him intentionally the three times he came to the plate with runners in scoring position.

“To me, Albert is just out there in a class by himself,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Friday. “It may cost me, you know, a three-run homer instead of a two-run homer. But I’m still going to make somebody else beat me.”

The Cardinals have the power to complement Pujols, but Los Angeles’ pitching has been too good.

“One of the reasons we were a lot better in the last half of the year is we have protection behind him,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “If Albert keeps getting on base, we’ll pick him up.”

For the Cardinals, who stranded 14 runners in Game 1, it has to happen soon.

Oct 07

Talkin’ Baseball …. The playoffs begin.

The playoffs begin this afternoon in Philadelphia with the Phillies against the Colorado Rockies. The Mets should pay close attention because the Phillies play the game the right way. There’s a grit and toughness about them.

The other National League series has St. Louis going against the Dodgers against the Cardinals, the team I think will get to the World Series.

In the American League, I’m not sold on the Yankees because of their pitching. On paper, they are deeper and more talented than Minnesota, but we know how many series have been played on paper. The Yankees chose to start today instead of tomorrow. It was gamesmanship on their part, but this is a case where MLB should have stepped in for the good of the sport.

The other American League series has the Angels and Red Sox, with Los Angeles holding the home field. The Red Sox, however, have the Angels’ number, just like the Angels have something over the Yankees.

I’ll be watching, but I won’t get to the Phillies game right away. I’ll open the Chat Room for you and hope you’ll pick up the slack.

Enjoy.

Oct 04

Something with your morning coffee ….

I am always thinking about ways to enhance and improve the blog. I like the little snippets This Day in Baseball History and They Said It … I am thinking of combining the two and adding some other trinkets in one larger post. This could work. Tell me what you think. Several small posts or one big post?

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

The Mets were filled with hope on this day in 2006, even after knowing Orlando Hernandez wouldn’t be available for the playoffs. Hernandez pulled a muscle running and would be scratched from the rotation.

The Mets opened their National League Division Series with a 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Shea Stadium. Carlos Delgado had four hits, including a homer, and Cliff Floyd also homered to power the Mets. David Wright added three RBI.

DELGADO: Big day vs. Dodgers

DELGADO: Big day vs. Dodgers

Guillermo Mota would get the victory in relief.

The game will always be remembered for the relay from Shawn Green to Jose Valentin to Paul Lo Duca that nailed two Dodgers at the plate.

The Mets would go on to sweep Los Angeles, but lose in the NLCS to the St. Louis Cardinals, with Game 7 ending when Carlos Beltran took a third strike on a nasty curveball from Adam Wainwright.

The Mets were filled with such promise then and entered the following season as heavy favorites to reach the World Series. However, the Mets blew a seven-game lead with 17 remaining and their playoff window further slammed shut with another collapse in 2008.

They are a reeling franchise today.

They Said It

They Said It

As this miserably disappointing season draws to a close, there has been wonder of what torturous way the Baseball Gods would end this mess known as 2009.

Said David Wright: “We already had a game-ending triple play. I’m excited to get it over with.”

While it is a season the Mets would love to forget, it will always be one they’ll forever remember.

In addition to that game-ending triple play, there were other memorable moments, such as Luis Castillo’s dropped pop-up at Yankee Stadium; Daniel Murphy’s dropped fly ball that let in the winning runs in a game at Florida; Ryan Church’s failure to touch third base in Los Angeles; a wild-pitch by Sean Green to lose a game in Philadelphia; blowing a five-run lead in a loss to the Pirates; losing two games in one week on grand slams; Francisco Rodriguez’s meltdown in Washington; and Mike Pelfrey’s three-balk game in San Francisco.

BY THE NUMBERS

95: Homers hit by the Mets this season. They are the only team in the majors to hit less than 100 home runs. In contrast, the Yankees lead the majors with 242 homers.

A QUICK GLANCE AT TODAY’S GAME.
Nelson Figueroa has the honor of starting the final game of the Citi Field’s first season today against Houston. Figueroa, a member of the Mets’ patchwork rotation in September, lost five games for the month.

ELSEWHERE IN SPORTS
The Twins and Tigers enter the final day of the season tied. Should there be a one-game playoff, it would be Tuesday in the Metrodome, as the stadium is reserved for the Vikings-Packers on Monday night. … In an odd bit of scheduling, both the Giants and Jets are out of town today. The Giants are in Kansas City, while the Jets are in New Orleans to face the undefeated Saints.

Jun 22

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #68; Beltran to DL edition?

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

When a player says he’s hurting and worried you can pretty much count on a trip to the DL. Such is the case with Carlos Beltran, who had a MRI today on his barking knee. The news isn’t good and word is Beltran will go on the DL and Fernando Martinez will be recalled.
Ailing Beltran sidelined.

Ailing Beltran sidelined.


Beltran had been playing through the pain, but after Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay, said: “I don’t feel I can play a lot of games the way it felt today. I’m a little bit worried, to be honest, because the way it was today, it was painful.”

Don’t forget, this is a guy who played with a fractured face. He’s played through pain before.

Beltran was initially injured his right knee in Los Angeles in mid-May. He served as the DH in the Boston series at Fenway, but missed two games against Washington, May 26-27. Beltran was diagnosed with a bone bruise and a cortisone injection seemed to work until now.

The Mets optioned Ken Takahashi to Triple-A Buffalo and will recall lefty Pat Misch.

Here’s tonight’s line-up for the game against the Cardinals, again, weather permitting:

Alex Cora, SS
Daniel Murphy, 1B
David Wright, 3B
Fernando Tatis, LF
Ryan Church, RF
Omir Santos, C
Jeremy Reed, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Tim Redding, RP

Only Murphy, Wright and Church were in the Opening Day line-up. That Tatis, who hasn’t been hitting lately is at clean-up is a sobering thought. Albert Pujols has more homers than the entire Mets’ batting order. Hell, even if Beltran were in there Pujols would probably have more.

Jun 09

METS CHAT ROOM: Game #56; Santana vs. Phils.

CHAT ROOM

CHAT ROOM

Great pitching match-up tonight – should they play – between lefties Johan Santana (7-2, 2.00) and J.A. Happ (4-0, 2.48 ERA). Santana gave up three runs in six innings in his last start, a loss at Pittsburgh. Santana beat the Phillies, May 6, in a sterling 10-strikeout performance in seven innings.

Not surprisingly, Daniel Murphy is not in the starting line-up against Happ, replaced by Fernando Tatis.

Tonight starts the Mets’ most difficult stretch of the season with two series each against Philadelphia and the Yankees, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Tonight’s line-up:
Luis Castillo, 2B
Alex Cora, SS
Carlos Beltran, CF
Gary Sheffield, LF
David Wright, 3B
Fernando Tatis, 1B
Ryan Church, RF
Omir Santos, C
Johan Santana, LP