May 20

Subway Series Game Preview: Mets @ Yankees

Game 1 Pitching Match-up

RHP R.A. Dickey (2-4, 5.03) vs. RHP Freddy Garcia (2-2, 3.40), 7:05 p.m. ET

Starting Lineup

  1. Jose Reyes, SS
  2. Daniel Murphy, 1B
  3. Carlos Beltran, RF
  4. Jason Bay, LF
  5. Fernando Martinez, DH
  6. Justin Turner, 3B
  7. Josh Thole, C
  8. Jason Pridie, CF
  9. Ruben Tejada, 2B

Subway Series Mets Notes

BEL-TRON: Carlos Beltran is 14-for-31 against Freddy Garcia and has been consistently good against him. He was 7-for-his-first-15 and is since 7-for-his-last-16 against him. Of the 86 pitchers that Beltran has faced at least 20 times, his .452 batting average against Garcia ranks sixth-best (Kyle Lohse tops his favorites list, .541).

METS ON THE MOUND IN MAY: The Mets are 10-6 this month. New York’s pitching staff has the fourth-best ERA in the month of May (2.76). The Mets bullpen is 4-2 and has a 1.12 ERA (six earned runs/48.1 innings) this month, the third-best in the majors. Mets starters are 5-4 this month with a 3.54 ERA (40 earned runs/101.2 innings).

INFIELD: The Mets’ starting infield yesterday of Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada, Jose Reyes and Justin Turner, had the youngest average age for the starting infield for any major league team in any game this season (25.5 years old).

BAY WATCH: Jason Bay is hitting a Ted Williams-esque .406 against the Yankees over the last two seasons. In that span, he rates in the top 3 against the Yankees in batting average (2nd), on-base percentage (.500, 1st), and slugging percentage (.739, 3rd).

FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ: Converted his 14th straight save chance yesterday, his longest such stretch since saving 16 straight to start the 2009 season. Rodriguez, who is tied for second in the majors in saves, also extended his scoreless innings streak to 18.0 innings, the fourth longest active streak in the majors.

APPLE TURNER: Turner has reached base safely in his last 10 games dating back to May 7. During this span, he’s batting .382 (13-34) with six runs, four doubles, one home run and 12 RBI.

SUBWAY BUZZ: Entering tonight, 11 members of the Mets active 25- man roster have played in a Subway Series game (Reyes, Beltran, Bay, Evans, Isringhausen, Martinez, Misch, Murphy, Pelfrey, Tejada and Rodriguez). There have been 111 players to play for both the Mets and Yankees including two to join that list this year (Gustavo Molina and Luis Ayala).

INTERLEAGUE PLAY: The Mets begin their 15th season of Interleague play tonight. The Mets are 118-111 (.515) all-time during Interleague action. The Mets’ .515 winning percentage is the fourth best all-time among NL clubs. The Mets went 13-5 against the American League last year, setting a franchise record for wins in a single season. The Mets won five of their six series vs. AL squads and Jose Reyes led the majors with 19 runs scored during Interleague play in 2010. Francisco Rodriguez was second in the majors with seven Interleague saves in 2010 and ranks sixth all-time with 33 Interleague saves.

Game Preview

It’s that time of year again where the Mets and the Yankees play each other, and the 2011 Subway Series opens up in the Bronx this year. For the Mets, they are coming off of a two game shutout sweep of the Nationals as they look to return to .500 in tonight’s game. Since the game is happening in the Bronx, the Mets will have a DH tonight, and as of last night (when this article was written) the DH was penciled in as Fernando Martinez as he looks to get some much needed AB’s. Tonight Dickey will look to bounce back as he takes on Freddy Gracia.

R.A. Dickey has struggled at points this season, and hopefully he can turn back to his consistent self tonight. This season he is 1-5 with a 5.08 with over 50 innings logged. Things have been rough this month, as he has posted a 7.36 ERA in three starts. The last time Dickey faced the Yankees was in 2009 where he pitched 9.3 innings where had an ERA of 0.93. The Yankees have the following numbers on Robert Allen:

Granderson 3-10, 2 2B
Jeter 1-8
A-Rod 5-8, 2B
Swisher 0-6
Posada 0-3

The Mets will get a look at Freddy Garcia tonight who is 2-3 this season with a 3.22 ERA. This month he has pitched 18.1 innings and has posted an ERA of 4.42. The last time he faced the Mets was back in 2007 where he pitched 4.2 innings allowing 3 ER over 8 hits on his way to a loss. The Mets have posted the following numbers on Freddy:

Beltran 14-31, 2 2B, 3B, 3 HR
Harris 3-12
Bay 0-7
Paulino 3-3, HR
Reyes 1-3

Let’s Go Mets!

Subway Series Game Preview, Courtesy of Mets Merized Online

Note:

John is ill and will resume blogging again in a day or too. He apologizes for not being able to post, but does have a special message for all his readers for the Subway Series; LETS GO METS!

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 07

Something must be done with the umpires.

Enough is enough.

Major League Baseball has long had an umpire problem. There’s never going to be perfection, and missed calls are part of the game and always will be, but it seems they are happening with more regularity.

WEST: He needs to be ejected.

Bad calls are one thing, but couple that with arrogance and it is an untenable situation, such as the one last night at Fenway Park, which figured a meltdown by Red Sox manager Terry Francona clearly initiated by two of the worst umpires in the game, Angel Hernandez and Joe West.

When Francona went out to discuss a balk call against Tim Wakefield, Hernandez ran him within seconds. The rules, ridiculous as they are, dictated an automatic ejection. Francona wanted an explanation of what Wakefield did wrong, but Hernandez never let him get a word in.

That’s a quick trigger. Umpires are supposed to be composed and show some patience, but that obviously goes against the grain with Hernandez. You must give the player or manager the opportunity to make his point.

Had Hernandez shown discretion there might not have been the subsequent meltdown.

That’s when Francona lost it and went after Hernandez, only to be intercepted by West, who has the reputation of being a hothead and wanting to interject himself into the game.

West clearly butted into a situation that didn’t involve him as Francona would say later. All he did was escalate the confrontation. There was contact made – six times according to the replay – but it was instigated by West.

Francona will obviously be fined, perhaps suspended by Commissioner Bud Selig, but West will get a pass because MLB doesn’t want to antagonize the umpires union, which, if angry enough, will take it out on the game and be confrontational all summer.

However, something needs to be done about West, who has consistently been ranked one of the worst umpires in player polls. He has the reputation of being a loose cannon and putting himself in the middle of things.

West, you might recall threw ejected two cameramen from Shea Stadium when they allowed the Mets to view a replay of a play at the plate. He’s also the one who criticized the Yankees and Red Sox for their slow play.

MLB must do something to improve the quality of umpiring. It could begin with expanded instant replay, because the objective is to get it right.

But, what I want is for each umpire to be wired so we can hear what goes on in the argument. We will be able to tell who did the instigating. Many of these arguments occur when the umps have rabbit ears and seek out the confrontation.

Having the umpires wired, and held accountable with fines and suspensions similar to the ones given the players, will help calm the waters.

The umpires are supposedly graded every year, but what is done with those who are at the bottom? Evidently not much as they return to show us their incompetence the next summer.

In the case of Joe West, he’s been a example of what is wrong with umpires. It is time the sport ejects him.

 

Apr 05

Mets face Phils as rivalry renews

METS CHAT: Game #4 at Phillies

Any Mets’ fan will tell you their team’s biggest rival is Philadelphia and not the Yankees. Afterall, it is the Phillies the Mets compete against for the NL East and not the Yankees, who occupy two of their weekends.

When the Mets coughed up the lead in 2007 and 2008, it was the Phillies who were the beneficiaries, including winning the World Series the latter season. But, truth be told, the rivalry has played out more in the papers and fans than on the field, where the Phillies have been the real team to beat.

It will be interesting to see how the Mets stack up to the Phillies this season. They are the odds-on favorite to win the division while the Mets have been picked for the basement in several circles.

If you’re watching tonight, click onto the Mets Chat icon and we can chat about the game.

Jan 14

Updating the mess that is Oliver Perez

PEREZ: Not showing it in Mexico

There are a lot of glaring differences between the Mets and Yankees, but it really stands out when you look at the signing of reliever Rafael Soriano.

The Yankees will $35 million to Soriano to be their set-up reliever. Compare that to the $36 million the Mets are paying Oliver Perez to be a stud in their rotation.

It never happened for Perez, who has one more year on his contract.  Word is Perez is working hard in the Mexican Winter League, but we’ve heard that before.

Perez has issued 29 walks with a 5.18 ERA in 37 2/3 innings, hardly inspiring numbers.

The Mets are hoping Perez will recapture his fastball and be able to make a viable contrition. But, unlike last year, they don’t figure to wait around for him to turn it around. If he doesn’t show anything in spring training they could finally eat his contract.