Feb 26

Thoughts About Today’s Mets Lineup

Jordany Valdespin, 2b

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf

Justin Turner, dh

Mike Baxter, rf

Zach Lutz, 1b

Brian Bixler, 3b

Landon Powell, c

Juan Lagares, lf

Omar Quintanilla, ss

Jenrry Mejia, rhp

LINEUP THOUGHTS: Interesting to see Valdespin leading off and playing second. The Mets are looking at him as a potential Plan B if Daniel Murphy is unable to start the season. If he starts, leadoff is a good spot for him because of his speed. … Also, the Mets want to see Nieuwenhuis at second if he doesn’t win the leadoff spot. There he’ll need to work the count and advance runners which require patience and bat control, two things Nieuwenhuis needs to improve. … Zach Lutz, playing first today, has a chance to make the roster as a bench player. … Quintanilla is also competing for a bench spot. … Regarding Mejia, in his first start they want to get an idea of his arm strength and command. He will work on his secondary pitches later. … There’s a rule the travel squad in an exhibition game must have five major leaguers. The Mets are stretching it a bit.

NOTE: I will have another post or two this afternoon.

Aug 11

Which Johan Santana Shows Up Tonight?

Watching Johan Santana pitch this season has been much like reading the Robert Louis Stevenson classic, The Strange Case of Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde. A twisting tale of the agony and ecstasy in the duality that some say exists in all of us. Although not quite as extreme, the concept is not lost on what has been s strange season for the Mets left-handed ace.

Leading up to and including his date with Mets history and lore on June 1st, Santana was on top of the baseball world as he led the Mets with a 2.38 ERA and subdued any talk that he was on the decline after an 18 month recovery from anterior capsular surgery in his left shoulder. The Mets ace was back and had once again become an intimidating presence on the mound – capped off by tossing his 131-pitch no-hitter, the first in Mets franchise history.

However, that night would become a turning point to the season for Santana and just like that a change set in that transform him and his performance into the antithesis of what we had come to expect.

After June 1, the former Cy Young award winner was suddenly in the throws of a pitching slump – unquestionably the worst stretch of his career. In his next eight starts, Santana pitched to an unsightly 6.54 ERA, The swagger was gone, the confidence at a season low, and the dugout whispers suddenly turned into worries and a deep and abiding concern. The Mets say an ankle injury was the cause and soon the southpaw was placed on the DL which seemed like a good excuse to give his seemingly dead arm some much needed rest. Hey, whatever it takes, right?

That said, Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal offers up an encouraging report on Johan Santana who will take the mound tonight against the rival Atlanta Braves. Fresh off Santana’s three inning rehab start in Brooklyn, pitching coach Dan Warthen spoke with Costa and if he’s right, we may see the crafty lefthander who thrilled us for the first two months of the season:

Pitching coach Dan Warthen said the difference was evident in Santana’s overall demeanor. “There were four or five starts where it just wasn’t Johan,” Warthen said. “He generally lights up a room. He has enough energy to light up this whole city on game day.” After the no-hitter, Warthen said, “He was having the kind of energy that would light up a 20-watt bulb.” The fatigue led to reduced arm speed, Warthen said, which led to lapses in control. Santana initially dismissed the ankle injury. But two more dreadful outings convinced the Mets he needed a breather. Now, they will find out if it was enough.

Santana’s fastball hit 90 miles per hour during a rehab start in Brooklyn last weekend, a benchmark he hadn’t reached in a while. “I think you will see pretty much what you saw early in the season the rest of the year,” Warthen said. “I think we’ll see 87 to 90 miles per hour. I think we’ll see better control. But I think you’re going to see a stronger, probably more consistent high-end velocity guy next year. I don’t think you’re going to see the whole Santana package until next year.”

Maybe this journey in duality will have a much happier ending than the one in Stevenson’s classic did.

NOTE: John had to have emergency surgery on Thursday and will be hospitalized until Sunday. Please wish him a speedy recovery and in the meantime I’ll post here in the interim.

Aug 11

Today in Mets’ History: Carter hits 300th homer

On this day in 1988, Gary Carter hit his 300th career home run in a 9-6 victory at Chicago.

Carter finished that season with 11 homers and just 46 RBI, and was released after the 1989 season.

In five seasons with the Mets, Carter hit 89 homers with 349 RBI.

After leaving the Mets, Carter played single seasons for San Francisco, Los Angeles and retired as an Expo in 1992.

NOTE: Carter’s daughter, Kimmy Bloemers reports his brain tumors have improved, but the condition remains inoperable.

 

Aug 26

Mets Chat Room; gotta get Reyes moving.

If the Mets are to go on this miracle run, they’ll need to get Jose Reyes again, beginning tonight with Florida. The Mets are at their best when he gets on and makes things happen.

Game #127 vs. Marlins

He’s cooled off since his 15-for-31 road trip Houston and Pittsburgh, going 0-for-10 in the first two games of the Marlins’ series.

He was 0-for-5 last night and grounded out with the bases loaded to end the game.

“I tried to get a base hit or walk, something to tie the game or win the game,’’ Reyes said. “He made a quality pitch on me and got me out. I saw it good, but I wasn’t able to put my best swing on that ball.’’

There’s been discussions about picking up Reyes’ option and negotiate an extension. There’s also been talks in the media if the best thing to do would be to trade him for a package of prospects.

Personally, I’d keep Reyes. You’re not going to find anybody that will produce like him.

NOTE: Folks I have to work tonight and won’t be able to monitor the board. I hope you’ll pop in with your comments.