Jul 04

Mets begin key series tonight in LA

The Mets trying to get by with Jose Reyes down with a strained hamstring, which means everybody must pick up the slack, including Jason Bay, who is hitting .254 with 10 homers and 70 RBI in two seasons with the Mets.

With David Wright and Ike Davis on the disabled list, and Reyes a possibility to join them shortly, the Mets will need all they can get out of Bay.

General manager Sandy Alderson said the Mets would deal with caution regarding Reyes.

“We have to take it one day at a time,’’ Alderson said. “We’re not making any predictions at the moment. We’ll just see how he responds and the symptoms he demonstrates over the next few days. I’m sure he’ll want to play. I’m sure he’ll want to play in the All-Star Game. That’s something we have to look at.’’

Too often in the past the Mets acquiesced to Reyes’ demands to play, but the stakes are higher this time. The direction the Mets will take at the trade deadline is largely dependent on how well the team is playing and Reyes’ health over the next few weeks.

Beginning tonight in Los Angeles, the Mets open a West Coast trip against the Dodgers and Giants, then close out the month against Philadelphia, St. Louis, Florida and Cincinnati.

It is not a stretch to say the remainder of this month will be spent on the edge, that whether this team packs it in as has long been speculated or makes a run at salvaging a season, we’ll know it all in the next few weeks.

We’ll know whether the Mets will still feature Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez and perhaps Reyes, or another group of non-descript players.

Here’s tonight’s lineup in Los Angeles:

The Mets are trying to get by with Jose Reyes down with a strained hamstring, which means everybody must pick up the slack, including Jason Bay, who is hitting .254 with 10 homers and 70 RBI in two seasons with the Mets.

With David Wright and Ike Davis on the disabled list, and Reyes a possibility to join them shortly, the Mets will need all they can get out of Bay.

General manager Sandy Alderson said the Mets would deal with caution regarding Reyes.

“We have to take it one day at a time,’’ Alderson said. “We’re not making any predictions at the moment. We’ll just see how he responds and the symptoms he demonstrates over the next few days. I’m sure he’ll want to play. I’m sure he’ll want to play in the All-Star Game. That’s something we have to look at.’’

Too often in the past the Mets acquiesced to Reyes’ demands to play, but the stakes are higher this time. The direction the Mets will take at the trade deadline is largely dependent on how well the team is playing and Reyes’ health over the next few weeks.

Beginning tonight in Los Angeles, the Mets open a West Coast trip against the Dodgers and Giants, then close out the month against Philadelphia, St. Louis, Florida and Cincinnati.

It is not a stretch to say the remainder of this month will be spent on the edge, that whether this team packs it in as has long been speculated or makes a run at salvaging a season, we’ll know it all in the next few weeks.

We’ll know whether the Mets will still feature Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez and perhaps Reyes, or another group of non-descript players.

Here’s tonight’s order at Los Angeles:

Angel Pagan, CF

Justin Turner, 2B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Daniel Murphy, 1B

Jason Bay, LF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Ronnie Paulino, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

Chris Capuano, LP


 



 

Jun 30

Hot Mets still need David Wright.

I am not saying this hasn’t been fun to watch, but Justin Verlander will start this afternoon for the Detroit Tigers against the Mets.

WRIGHT: Still need his stroke.

The Mets have won four straight games – scoring a franchise record 52 runs in the process – and six of their last seven to climb to two games over .500.

All teams go through stretches like this where they seemingly score at will. They’ve been scarce for the Mets, who should be enjoying it while they can.

However, this is not to say the Mets have turned some kind of offensive turner and evolve into another Lumber Company or Big Red Machine. Amazingly, some suggest David Wright’s return might gum up the works.

Hardly.

Wright started swinging the bat yesterday in a pool and could hit off a tee today. If all goes well he could play rehab games in a week and possibly return after the All-Star break.

Yes, the Mets are hot now and playing with a degree of chemistry, but they are only two games over .500 and five games behind in the wild card. After Detroit, they have the Yankees for three games and a long West Coast trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

There’s a lot of season left, but an even smaller window where the Mets must prove they are players and worthy of not having the plug pulled from their season. A lot rides over the next 31 days, and it would be foolish to suggest the Mets would be better off without Wright in that span.

Jun 21

Today in Mets’ History: Jim Bunning was perfect.

This date wasn’t one of the Mets’ most shining moments in their history, but it was memorable nonetheless when Philadelphia’s Jim Bunning tossed a perfect game at Shea Stadium on Father’s Day, 1964, winning 6-0.

BUNNING: Perfecto vs. Mets in 1964

Tracy Stallard, the pitcher who served up Roger Maris’ 61st homer three years earlier, was the losing pitcher for the Mets.

Pinch-hitter John Stephenson struck out to end the game. It was Bunning’s 10th strikeout.

BOX SCORE

Lost on that day was in the second game of the doubleheader, Rick Wise beat the Mets on a three-hitter, 8-2.

Bunning, a Hall of Famer and nine-time All-Star, also pitched for Detroit, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles.

Bunning also threw a no-hitter for Detroit, July 20, 1958, over Boston. When he retired after the 1971 season following a second stint with the Phillies, he had 2,855 strikeouts, second on the career list at the time behind Walter Johnson.

Bunning is also the answer to a trivia question, as he was the only pitcher to strike out Ted Williams three times in a single game.

After has retirement, Bunning served as a state senator for Kentucky.

If anybody has any memories of that day, please share them.

 


 

Jun 04

Today in Mets History: Big day for Kong.

One of David Einhorn’s childhood heroes, Dave Kingman, has a monster game on this day in 1976.

KINGMAN: All or nothing.

 

The all-or-nothing Kingman hits three homers and drives in eight runs to back Tom Seaver as the Mets rout the Dodgers, 11-0, in Los Angeles.

Once a pitcher at USC, Seaver’s alma-mater, finished with a career .236 batting average, but with 442 homers with seven teams, including two stints with the Mets.

In 16 seasons, Kingman had 1,575 hits (131 a year average) and 1,816 strikeouts (152). The tradeoff was 37 homers and 101 RBI.

BOX SCORE

KINGMAN’S CAREER STATS

 

Kingman is one of those guys who would have severely tested the Baseball Writers Association of America had he hit 500 homers, once considered automatic entry into the Hall of Fame. Kingman certainly had the power, but contributed little else as a player.

Kingman was not considered one of baseball’s greatest citizens. While with Oakland, in protest to women sportswriters, he sent a live rat to Susan Fornoff, a columnist for the Sacramento Bee.

 

 


 

May 24

Today in Mets History: Cone hurls second straight shutout.

David Cone was always one of my favorites. He’s one of the few players who chatted with you on the days he pitched. A lot of guys are basket cases, but not Cone. He was always great to deal with, win, lose or draw.

CONE: Always a straight shooter.

And, if you saw him later in the hotel lobby, he’ll visit with you over a beer. And, funny, too. Glib and smart is a great combination.

Just like his fastball and nasty curve, when mixed with guile made him hard to beat. You wanted him in the clutch. Cone just would not give into hitters with the game on the line, and it wasn’t uncommon for him to get himself in and out of jams. It is why he became a hired gun with Toronto and later the Yankees.

On this date in 1992, Cone was at his unbeatable best, throwing his second straight complete-game shutout, defeating the Giants, 6-0. Five days before, he beat the Padres, 8-0. Cone went 81-51 with a 3.13 ERA and 15 shutouts in his seven years with the Mets, and finished his career at 194-126 with a 3.46 ERA.

CAREER NUMBERS

Cone was traded to the Mets prior to the 1987 season along with Chris Jelic for Ed Hearn, Rick Anderson and Mauro Gozzo. He went 5-6 in 21 appearances (13 starts) that year. He began the next season in the bullpen, but was in the rotation by the first week of May and went 9-2 in the first half to earn his first All-Star appearance.

Cone went on to win 20 games, but what is remembered most about that season about him was the controversy he stirred as a guest columnist for The New York Daily News when, among other things, he called the Dodgers’ Jay Howell, “a high school pitcher.’’

The Mets lost that NLCS to Los Angeles and the dynasty fizzled, although Cone stayed on until 1992 when he represented the Mets in the All-Star Game, but was traded as a mercenary to Toronto.

Cone currently does Yankees games for the YES Network.

 

ON DECK: Looking at Wilpon’s criticism of Beltran.