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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Apr 05

Very tasteful Opening Day ceremonies

Some teams can overdo their Opening Day ceremonies. Last night, for example, the Marlins went overboard. And, what was that monstrosity in their outfield? Looks like a giant fruit basket with flying fish.

Anyway, today was nothing like that at Citi Field.

They could have gone overboard on Gary Carter, but opted for tasteful. The Kid logo on the outfield, I don’t quite understand. Is it for this year only or forever? If forever, are they going to do that with every player who passes? Seaver, Straw, Doc or Keith? Just wondering.

There’s no doubt Carter was a great player, a Hall of Famer, but most of his numbers were compiled as an Expo, despite how we remember his days with the Mets. That’s one of the reasons why his number wasn’t retired.

Despite the long and uneventful – at least in terms of player acquisitions – I am hopeful for an exciting season.

 

Mar 08

Santana takes next step; Pelfrey rocked.

The Mets received good and bad reviews from two pitchers who might have the highest expectations this season in Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey.

Santana, recovering from shoulder surgery, threw in the bullpen today without discomfort and pronounced himself ready for his next start Sunday, when he’s scheduled to throw three innings against the Marlins.

PELFREY: Rocked in first start.

Santana was anxious to see how his shoulder would respond after Tuesday’s start.

“I was able to throw my bullpen without any problems and with good intensity and work on all my pitches,’’ Santana said.  “I felt pretty good.’’

Santana said every day represents another hurdle, and this week has been all good news. He threw mostly fastballs and change-ups during his 29-pitch outing Tuesday and plans to throw more sliders Sunday.

While we can’t make too much of this to pencil Santana in for the Opening Day rotation, considering what he’s gone through the news is encouraging.

As for Pelfrey, he struggled in his first start of the spring, giving up four runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings.  He had the usual problems with his command, in particular with his sinker.

I didn’t get ahead,’’ Pelfrey said in what was a common refrain last year. “It’s kind of hard to pitch when you’re behind in the count. … I didn’t make pitches. The command wasn’t very good today.’’

Pelfrey gave up a homer to Austin Kearns on a crippled sinker.

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Jan 24

Back again …. on booing Reyes.

With my father’s passing and several health issues, it has been a slow start to 2012. Trying to get it going again. It is hard to believe spring training is only a few weeks away.

REYES: Gazing toward Miami?

There’s more than a few things on my mind these days beginning with a couple of notes, beginning with a few things I read on metsblog.com this morning.

I believe Matt Cerrone does a very good job at what he does and his numbers support it success. But, something on his blog about Jose Reyes bugged me this morning. There was a graphic asking whether you would boo Reyes, and overwhelmingly the response was no.

Such an outcry tells me the majority of the Mets’ fan base didn’t like Reyes leaving or how the team handled the whole thing. But, with the offseason slow and unproductive for the Mets, the graphic was ill-timed. Matt should run it when the Marlins come into town.

Another thing that bugged me a little was the BBWAA voting Reyes the Good Guy Award. There’s no disputing in one-on-ones with the media Reyes was always cordial and pleasant. I enjoyed him immensely.

But, a little perspective here.

Last summer, Reyes continually dodged questions about his pertaining free-agency. But, what bothered me most was pulling himself out of his last game as a Met to protect his batting title. That set so wrong with me and a lot of others. There’s no good-guy there.

Once Reyes went back into that dugout, he moved on from the Mets – and you. It’s about time you did the same.

Reyes was a good player here, but he’s gone. He’ll spend more years with the Marlins, and maybe other teams after that, then he did with the Mets. There were good years here, but also unproductive years sapped by injury.

Will his career be defined by his seasons with the Mets? I don’t know. But, I do know it is time to get over him.

Jan 05

Fish better, but don’t get carried away.

It is almost a given the Miami Marlins will finish ahead of the Mets this season, and that was even before the acquisition of Carlos Zambrano. If Zambrano is in shape, physically, mentally and emotionally, he’ll make the Marlins better. But, I’m not ready to put a Dream Team label on the Marlins. We’ve seen how well that works before.

However, the Marlins have made significant upgrades and you can guess the level of enthusiasm. Even so, there’s room for caution. Here’s why:

* A significant shoulder injury limited Josh Johnson to nine starts last season, and he’s clearly their most pronounced concern. Without Johnson, most everything else could be a moot point.

* Mark Buehrle is coming off his 11th straight season of at least 200 innings. That’s a lot of wear and tear, and one must assume his old team, the Chicago White Sox, know or suspect something.

* Zambrano has proven to be an out-of-control head case. He’s been the dangerous combination of an injured malcontent. Good for the Marlins that the Cubs are picking up nearly his entire salary. Zambrano is a gamble, but if things don’t pan out I wonder how he’ll respond, especially if Johnson is unavailable.

* Yeah, yeah, Jose Reyes can be an issue. Let’s not forget he went 0n the disabled list twice last season and all but shut down his running game during the second half. Reyes put up good numbers in his walk year, but we’ll see how motivated he is knowing he’s set for life. Reyes also has the burden of living living up to a $100-million contract. He’s always been sensitive, and at times moody and let’s his concentration wander. He’ll be under new found pressure. Let’s see how he handles it.

* One would have thought Hanley Ramirez wouldn’t have been an issue, that the Marlins would have ran the Reyes deal by him before writing the check. If Ramirez, who has always had some dog in him, is unhappy who can’t see him pulling a Santoni0 Holmes? It has to be a matter of time before he wants a new deal for himself.

* Ozzie Guillen is in a new home with high expectations, and moving with him is that big mouth of his. Guillen runs hot-and-cold on the likability meter. His act should play well in the beginning, but if the Marlins struggle, and he can’t connect with Ramirez for the greater good, it could get messy in that heat.