May 16

Today in Mets History: Straw hits the first of many.

When he first broke into the big leagues, they used to say of Darryl Strawberry he had the swing of Ted Williams. However, he never had the plate discipline of Williams, and as great as his numbers were, there was always the belief he could do more.

Strawberry’s career high in homers was 39, accomplished twice. Perhaps the most memorable homer in his career was the 440-foot drive off the scoreboard clock in St. Louis in 1985.

STRAWBERRY: What a sweet swing.

 

That proved to be overstated, but Strawberry was one of those rare players who grabbed and held your attention whenever he came to the plate. How far would this one go? Would he be punched out?

On this date in 1983, Strawberry hit the first of 335 homers in a career marred by drug use and suspension. Strawberry averaged 34 homers and 102 per 162-game stretch.

In a career oddity, Strawberry played for all the teams with New York roots: the Mets, Dodgers, Giants and Yankees.

Strawberry played out the last years of his career with drug problems and will be remembered as a wasted talent. Had he stayed clean, there’s no telling what his numbers might have been.

CAREER NUMBERS

BOX SCORE

 

May 15

Capuano goes against Astros today.

The Mets’ starting pitching was projected to be a concern this season and that has been the case, ranking 14th of 16 with a 4.74 ERA and 11-17 record.

Much of the problem has been with what was supposed to be two of the more consistent pitchers, R.A. Dickey and Mike Pelfrey.

Chris Capuano, a low-risk gamble signing like Chris Young, is 2-4, but has worked into the seventh inning in three of his last four starts.

With a victory this afternoon, the Mets would be 19-21, before returning home for two-game series against Florida and Washington at Citi Field, before interleague play begins Friday at Yankee Stadium.

If you’d like to weigh in during today’s game, click onto the Mets Chat icon to your left. Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

May 14

Will Martinez ever make it?

Fernando Martinez is 22, still young enough in the sport where he’s graded most on potential. However, the past few years have been rough on his body and he’s lost more gams due to injury than anybody his age should have the right to.

MARTINEZ: A glimpse into what was supposed to be.

At one time Martinez was part of a group of three Mets outfielders who were going to race their way to stardom. Lastings Milledge, Carlos Gomez and Martinez were three raw talents blessed with speed, quickness and the potential – there’s that word again – for power.

They represented a bright future for the Mets, young, athletic and talented. They would be something to see, and teams were always rebuffed when they called. Reportedly, the Mets said no to Manny Ramirez for the cost of Milledge.

However, the opportunities given Milledge and Gomez – especially the former – didn’t pan the the Mets relented and Milledge was sent to Washington for Brian Schneider and Ryan Church, and Gomez was part of the package that brought in Johan Santana.

With Santana’s injury, there’s nothing left to show for the trade. Once one of the top prospects in the majors, Martinez isn’t even one of the top five Mets’ prospects. Times have changed.

Martinez, called up Friday night as a patch in the Mets’ outfield, hit a two-run, pinch homer to remind us once again what all the fuss was about. But, did he show us a glimpse into the future or into what was supposed to be?

May 14

Today in Mets History: The Ryan Express nails 14 Reds.

RYAN: Seven no-hitters.

The Mets knew early there was something special about Nolan Ryan, he with the electric arm that threw thunderbolts that sizzled.

On this date in 1968, Ryan established a then club record by striking out 14 Cincinnati Reds. “I threw nothing but fastballs the last two innings,’’ said Ryan, then 21.

Ryan pitched in parts of five seasons with the Mets and compiled a non-descript 29-38 record with a respectable 3.43 ERA.

Ryan’s stay in New York was interrupted with stints in the National Guard, wildness, and blisters that required soaking his fingers in cups of pickle brine.

Above all Ryan never felt comfortable in New York, and the Mets, weighing all this and in need of a third baseman, dealt him to the Angels prior to the 1972 season.

The Mets were to receive All-Star shortstop Jim Fregosi, who was at the end of his career and would be shifting to third base. The trade sounded good in theory at the time, but a 27-year Hall of Fame career said the Mets clearly lost this deal.

However, the Angels let him get away, too, to Houston and then the Texas Rangers. When it was all over, Ryan had thrown seven no-hitters.

CAREER STATS

 

May 13

On where Wright should hit in the order.

Few spots are etched in stone in a major league batting order. David Wright hitting third should not be one of them. So, on the day after Carlos Beltran hit three homers batting third while Wright enjoyed a day off, things are back to normal. Wright will bat third tonight at Houston; Beltran will hit fourth.

Why?

Wright is hitting all of .234 and below .200 over his past seven games. He’s striking out bunches and not hitting for power. Third should be reserved for your best overall hitter, and clearly that’s Beltran over Wright at this time.

Beltran is sizzling well over expectations and the Mets should take advantage of that and hit him third. Without Ike Davis, there’s a gaping hole at four and five. For now, I’d go with Bay and Wright until Davis returns.