May 05

Mets Bullpen An Issue

This is why you don’t make declarations during the first week of the season, or for all of April for that matter. The season opened with four straight victories and four strong performances from the bullpen.

After Opening Day, the talking heads as SNY – and that’s not the game broadcasting crew – started pontificating about how the bullpen would be a team strength this season.

Four weeks later, you don’t hear talk like that anymore.

Last night they threw away a strong effort from Dillon Gee. Once again, the focus in on control, as a walk from Tim Byrdak with a man on lead to Arizona’s three-run rally in the eighth inning. Yes, the walk was important, but it was also one batter.

“That’s the thing that sticks out the most,” Collins said. “The base on balls out of the pen have certainly come back to really bite us.”

The bottom is two-fold. One, walks kill and they always have. And two, these guys are major league pitchers and can’t fall apart after one bad at-bat. That’s been a problem with Mike Pelfrey, and it also applies to the bullpen.

Where the pen attacked hitters early, lately they’ve been working deep into counts and losing the at-bat. The pen has been worked hard in recent weeks with the starters not going more than six for the most part and the loss of Pelfrey.

Jon Rauch blew the save and took the loss last night, but wouldn’t blame it on an increased workload. He said it was poor pitching.

“You can’t come in and throw balls and expect to get everybody out after that,” Rauch said. “So we’ve gotta do a better job. I know personally I need to do a better job, especially coming in with guys on base and not letting inherited runners scored.”

Glad to hear there were no excuses, but it would be even better to see improved execution.

Once four games over .500 and sensing optimism about the season, the Mets have lost four straight and are counting on Johan Santana – the pitcher they seemingly refuse to score for- to stop the slide.

Regardless of what happens today, success this season largely depends on the bullpen holding up its end. And, that’s not a premature pronouncement, but a statement of fact that can be made any time of the year.

 

Apr 06

About yesterday

There was a crispness to the day. Both in the weather and the way the Mets played. It was a delightful day, one that gave us a glimpse of what could be when they put it all together. Hopefully, Mike Pelfrey was taking notes on Johan Santana and pitching out of trouble as he did in the fifth.

The talking heads on SNY – and I’m not talking the play-by-play team – were in their bombastic best yesterday, saying this is how it is going to be all year with Santana and the bullpen.

Really?

How do they know that?

It would be great if that were the case, but remember, Santana is coming off a complicated surgery and the bullpen is a patchwork group. Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco were good yesterday, but if they were that good Toronto would have kept them.

Tim Byrdak was key, but how much of that was adrenalin?

I hope what they are saying happens. Damn, I want this to be a good year for the Mets. I don’t want to rain on the parade, but I guess that’s what I am here for – to put some objectivity to the picture.

Yesterday was fun. It was memorable. But, tomorrow is the real opening day.

 

 

Mar 02

Mets need to hit the streets hawking tickets.

Over the last few days I was on the ESPN.com website and noticed ads for Yankees tickets. Even on the Mets site. I don’t see the Mets on the ESPN site advertising for tickets.

Actually, I don’t t see any ads by the Mets for tickets anywhere.

The Yankees will outdraw the Mets this year even without the ads, but they are still in there pitching for business while the team from Flushing does nothing.

Now is the time, when there’s the spring interest in baseball to promote, but I’m not seeing much of that – just more from the Yankees. The Mets need to be all over the newspapers, the Internet, radio and TV hawking their tickets.

You will undoubtedly see commercials for Mets tickets on SNY, but want to guess how much they’ll pay for them?

I know a lot of fans complain about ticket prices even though the Mets have dropped their rates. There is such a thing as supply and demand, and when the supply is high and demand is low, something must be done to get the buyer to act. That something is lower the prices again until the customer will act.

It is quite simple really, that in absence of a winning product on the field, the Mets must do something to generate interest in purchasing tickets.

I know what they are thinking: “If we lower the ticket price from $50 to $40 we are losing $10.’’ That’s not true, because if nobody is buying the ticket at $50 they are losing a chance at $50.

It is better to lower the price than to have the seat go empty. Of course, it is still better to put a competitive team on the field.

 

Feb 05

Idle thoughts while waiting for kickoff.

Watching the Super Bowl with the mute button, which might be the best way, and planning my week ahead and what I might write about the Mets.

Spring training is two weeks ago, and in seems it was only yesterday that it was only two months away. Time does creep up on you.

There are several things running through my mind pertaining to the Mets:

The Mets will get an influx of money from SNY and with another minor investor. Possibly up to $100 million. On the surface, the Mets have the money to make some significant moves, certainly more than what they did this winter. Even so, the money is earmarked for their expenses, including a potential hit in their court case pertaining to the Ponzi scandal. In short, the money is to go to the mortgage and not a new flat screen TV.

Only twice in seven years has Andres Torres played in over 100 games.  And, since he’s never been on the disabled list, it has to be talent related. The Mets have him penciled in as their center fielder, with Scott Hairston as the back-up. For a team with a spacious outfield and supposedly wants to build on pitching and defense, this is a dangerous sign. I still believe Rick Ankiel could benefit the Mets as a lefty bat and defensive presence.

Brad Penny was a .500 pitcher last season – 11-11 – and recently signed with Japan. I can’t believe there wasn’t any interest here. Surely, he could’ve helped the Mets’ rotation.

I don’t think the Mets will retire Gary Carter’s number, but I hope they honor him in some capacity this season – when he can still appreciate it.

The Mets once made annual winter caravans to drum up interest heading into spring training, with the players and coaches going from town to town. Lots of teams have FanFests in their cities, where the public can meet players and get in the baseball mood. Would be nice to see that again.

 

Dec 05

Alderson frank about future.

General manager Sandy Alderson, on WFAN today, equated the Jose Reyes departure to that “of losing somebody after a long illness … you can prepare for it, but when it happens it is a hard thing to accept.’’

ALDERSON: Tough times ahead.

With Alderson forecasting a $100-million payroll for 2012, Reyes would have been an injury risk they couldn’t afford, no matter how popular he was with the dwindling fan base.

It is team sport sure, but it can’t be forgotten the Mets only reached the playoffs one time in Reyes’ nine seasons with the team.

“I’ve been saying from the first day that the payroll was too high to sustain at the current levels of revenue,’’ Alderson said.

Signing Reyes for the $17.7 million he’ll get from the Marlins, plus the $24 million due Johan Santana, plus the $16 million for Jason Bay and $15 million for David Wright would have added up to $72.7 tied up for four players. As it is, the Mets will pay $55 million for three players, one of which – Santana – they don’t know what they’ll get.

With the Mets losing $70 million last season – that’s what they say, but they haven’t opened their books – and their debt on Citi Field and from loans taken against the team and SNY which total over $1.4 billion, it was clear keeping Reyes would have been a pipedream.

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