Sep 17

This Day in Baseball History

Looking Back

Looking Back

When things are as bad as they have been with the Mets, one might as well look back at a good time. Last night’s loss was typical of how this season has gone, from poor managing to inept playing.

However, on this date in 1986, the Mets clinched the NL East with a 4-2 win over Chicago at Shea Stadium on a Dwight Gooden 6-hitter. The Mets went on to win 108 games that season, the most in the league since the 1975 Reds.

The Mets survived the NLCS with a dramatic Game Six victory over Houston, and used Game Six in the World Series to stay alive – “and the ball gets by Buckner” – to beat Boston.

Two years earlier on this date, Gooden struck out 16 batters for the second straight start, but balked home the winning run in the 8th inning in a 2-1 loss to the Phillies. It marked the fifth straight start in which Gooden struck out at least 10.

I saw Gooden pitch several times and there was such an electricity at Shea whenever he took the ball. Every start you wondered if this would be the one where he’d throw a no-hitter. He never did for the Mets, but did for the Yankees.

If you have a favorite Gooden moment, or memory of the 1986 team, let’s hear them.

Apr 21

Not buying St. Louis link ….

OK, maybe in 2007 it was plausible, that the collapse at the end of the regular season can be traced to the loss in the NLCS to St. Louis. Sure, I can see where there could be a carry over.

But not now.

If the Mets don’t have a killer instinct now it’s because their players lack it, not because they lost with Aaron Heilman’s pitch in Game 7. We’re a dozen games into the season, way too soon to spot any definable personality for this team.

However, it isn’t too soon to spot some definite trends.

The bullpen is much better than it has been in the last two seasons, BUT because of the starters’ inability to go deeper into games there will be an eventual breakdown due to stress.

Johan Santana has been terrific, but the rest of the rotation has been a pocket full of change, which is to say a bunch of Coin Flips. I have no inkling as to what kind of start we’ll see tonight from Oliver Perez. None. Good last time, but bad before that …. bad several times. John Maine has started quickly and faded. Livan Hernandez has had a good and bad outing. Eventually, three-plus innings a night for the pen will carry a toll.

Another inconsistency has been their inability to hit with RISP. Jerry Manuel keeps saying they should score more runs, but putting the pressure on is more than baserunners.

Pressure is defined as scoring. That’s one of the reasons why I want Daniel Murphy down in the order where he’ll get more RBI opportunities. For that matter, I’d like to see Ryan Church back in the line-up, too. They are leaving RISP at an alarming rate that only serves to put pressure on both facets of the pitching and the offense collectively.

The Mets are in St. Louis tonight which reminded me of the NLCS. I don’t think that loss is in their heads. What should be in their heads is how erratic they’ve played this season.

The Mets are a .500 club not because of bad luck or injuries. They are a .500 club because what they deserve to be.

Jan 26

Heilman: Takes high road when asked about NY.

HEILMAN: Change of scenery.

HEILMAN: Change of scenery.

Aaron Heilman could have ripped the Mets, but took the high road when asked about his time in New York when questioned by The Seattle Times.

“Playing in New York is the only existence I’ve known and I think you get used to it,” Heilman said. “You learn to accept the fact that you are dealing with a very passionate, very knowledgeable fan base. … New York’s one of those markets where unless you win the World Series, it’s not a good year.”

Clearly, Heilman wanted to start, but the Mets valued him in the bullpen. It was always presumed he would have left when he became a free agent. However, the Mets beat him to the punch and included him in the J.J. Putz trade.

“I certainly didn’t look at it as I really wanted to get out of New York,” Heilman told the paper. “I was kind of looking forward to going back and showing that last season was an aberration and to get back to what I normally can do.”

When he’s on his game, and he wasn’t for much of last season, he’s capable of getting hitters out from either side of the plate.

Heilman had productive stretches both in 2007 and last season, but didn’t come close to his 2006 effectiveness. Especially, when it came to keeping the ball in the park.

More than a few times he denied he was scarred by giving up the Game 7 homer in the NLCS.

Oct 14

Talkin’ Baseball: Rays at Red Sox

Talkin' baseball tonight. Let me know what you're thinking.

Talkin' baseball tonight. Let me know what you're thinking.

One of the great stories of the year continues tonight at Fenway when the Rays have a chance to take a commanding 3-to-1 edge over the Red Sox. Should Tampa Bay run the table it could be as stunning an upset as the 69 Mets.

The NLCS turned sour last night. The Dodgers’ bullpen collapsed and they squandered numerous opportunities. They are down 3-to-1 and the lights could go out on their season tomorrow night.

You want to talk about the playoffs or Mets or anything else baseball, we can do that tonight.