Friday, August 14, 2009


One of my best friends and fellow Mets fans emailed me the other day, saying he was hoping that former Met Pedro Martinez would pitch well in his Phillies debut, but that he still hated the Phillies and hoped they'd lose.
I wrote my buddy back, saying the opposite, that I hoped Pedro would not only win, but pitch a perfect game if he could.
As it was, Pedro the once-Met -- who could've easily been a Met again this year, if General Manager Omar Minaya reached out and signed him for a relative pittance -- labored through five innings while his team scored 12 runs for him and earned his first victory of the season. I hope it will be the first of many "Ws" for the incomparable right-hander who brought excitement to Shea Stadium every time he took the ball there, from 2005 through last season.
And I couldn't care less if he's racking up wins for the Mets' supposed arch rival.
After all, doesn't a rivalry involve two teams actively competing for top billing? Because right now the Mets so far out of the playoff picture behind the National League East Division-leading Phillies -- and so many other teams ahead of them in both the division and wild card race -- their biggest rivals are the Washington Nationals, who the Mets must stave off to avoid a last-place finish.
A rivalry also involves teams trading wins and losses. This year, the Phillies have beaten the Mets like a drum, winning seven of the last eight meetings. While the Mets won the season series against the Phillies last year, in the end it amounted to nothing with the Mets missing the playoffs and the Phillies winning a World Series. In the Mets' doomed 2007 season, they had seven opportunities to beat the Phillies from mid-August until late September and the Mets failed to win any one of those games.
Pedro knows all about an intra-division rival dominating his own team. Back in September 2004 as a Red Sox ace, he conceded, after a loss to the hated Yankees, "I just tip my hat to them and call the Yankees my daddy."
What else can the Mets do at this point, concerning the Phillies?
Before the 2007 season, Phillies' shortstop Jimmy Rollins called his squad "the team to beat," despite having finished well behind the Mets in the standings the previous year. While the Mets were busy squawking about Rollins's boast and choking away a seven-game lead with 17 games left, Rollins put his team on his back and carried them to a division title, later earning National League Most Valuable Player honors for his efforts.
Before the 2008 season, after ace starter Johan Santana was added to the Mets fold, Carlos Beltran warned the Phillies that the Mets would be the team to beat. Then in September of that year, the Phillies took two of three games from the Mets in a crucial showdown at Shea, en route to a World Series Championship, while the Mets' season crumbled on the season's final day.
Before this season?
Phillies' starter Cole Hamels called the Mets "choke artists" on a radio show.
How can anyone now argue that statement?
For Phillie-hating Mets fans, it only adds insult to injury to now to see Pedro pitching for the enemy. But for the combined dollars Minaya paid disappointing and injured pitchers Tim Redding, Fernando Nieve, Jonathon Niese, Nelson Figueroa and Livan Hernandez this year, he could just as easily have signed Pedro.
Not that Pedro may lift the Phillies back into the World Series. But at least with Pedro as a Met this year, if nothing else, fans could fondly look back to his brief Mets glory days in 2005 and 2006.
And with him as a Phillie now, it's another reminder of who's the parent and who's the child in the ongoing Mets-Phillies relationship.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


If you can't stomach the idea of watching Corey Sullivan as the Mets' new leadoff man, Fernando Tatis in the three hole -- and playing second base -- and the un-Ruthian Daniel Murphy batting cleanup, then tune in to CMT at 9 p.m. tonight for the hilarious 1970s Mel Brooks comedic tour de farce, "Blazing Saddles."
Mets pitchers could surely learn how to get out of jams the way leading man Cleavon Little (above) did, with a gun pointed at him. The way Little disarms the situation is well worth watching. It's likely CMT will clean up all the language, including the nasty racial slurs -- whose inclusion by Brooks was meant to highlight the ignorance and idiocy of racism of the time. Gene Wilder shines as Little's sidekick, "The Cisco Kid," while veteran comic players Harvey Korman and Madeline Kahn are sensational in their roles.
Longtime sports fans will likely recognize former NFL great, Alex Karras, playing the intellectually challenged Mongo, who horses learn not to mess with.


If today's Adam Rubin story in the New York Daily News is accurate -- and based on his reporting throughout the last few years, there's every reason to believe it is -- about Mets General Manager Omar Minaya gradually being edged out of his post and Assistant General Manager John Ricco slowly being ushered in, Mets fans should rejoice.
Ricco already has accomplished the seemingly impossible -- made a positive impact on this year's club.
Ricco, Rubin reports -- not Minaya -- engineered the July swap with the Braves, of underperforming right fielder Ryan Church for Jeff Francouer. Francouer not only represents a considerable upgrade at that position, but also is several years younger than Church, has far more upside and has accomplished considerably more to this point in his career than Church and who, in about only a month with the club has exceeded Church's offensive numbers.
Ricco is the Mets payroll and rules compliance expert and according to Rubin's story, is not a talent evaluating whiz. If Ricco indeed replaces Minaya, his first order of business should be hiring the best Minor League coordinator he can possibly find.
Ricco will need that person to go about accomplishing something crucial Minaya hasn't -- building and maintaining a farm system that is the envy of every other Major League club.
Remember the good old days of the 1980s when then-GM Frank Cashen and has scouts constructed a pipeline and delivered such talented players as Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, Roger McDowell, Lenny Dykstra, Kevin Mitchell, Rick Aguilera to Shea Stadium?
Compare that bumper crop to what's currently on the field for the Mets.
Compare it to the talent of the top-two farm teams -- the AA club in Binghamton and AAA squad in Buffalo, whose poor records have both mired in last place in their respective divisions.
And the fruit has been harvested from the farm system over the last two seasons that Minaya and chest-baring, teeth-gnashing, recently-fired Vice President of Player Development Tony Bernazard have built, has been more rotten than ripe.
Daniel Murphy, who after 131 Major League at-bats last season, both Minaya and Manager Jerry Manuel anointed before Spring Training as the everyday left-fielder, has been a bust in the outfield -- and more importantly, at the plate, with a .252 average. First-baseman/outfielder Nick Evans, after narrowly missing making the big club after Spring Training, was demoted from AAA to AA.
Pitcher Jonathon Niese has been uneven at best before succumbing last week to a season-ending hamstring injury, injury-prone outfielder Fernando Martinez -- himself on the shelf with a leg injury -- hasn't demonstrated an ability to hit Major League pitching and hard-throwing reliever Bobby Parnell hasn't yet developed into a dependable setup reliever.
Even more problematic, the Mets' highest ranking prospects, such as catcher Josh Thole, pitchers Brad Holt and Jennry Mejia, first-baseman Ike Davis and second-baseman Reese Havens are several years away from the show.
If anyone needs more evidence that stocking a farm system with talent is more important to a club's success than splashy free agent signings and blockbuster trades, watch this week's Dodgers-Giants series, in which those two teams are fighting for supremacy in the National League West.
The Dodgers have been bursting with homegrown talent for the last three years and has yielded such impact players as catcher Russell Martin, outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, first baseman James Loney and pitchers Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton and Clayton Kershaw. Martin is a two-time All Star, while Billingsley and Broxton are 2009 All Stars, while Kemp narrowly missed being named as a reserve.
The Giants, meanwhile, boast 2008 Cy Young Award winner and 2009 All Star starting pitcher and current strikeouts and ERA leader Tim Lincecum, third-baseman Pablo Sandoval, whose .331 average is fifth-best in the Majors, solid first-baseman Travis Ishikawa, speedy outfielder Fred Lewis, promising second-baseman Eugenio Velez and pitcher Jonathan Sanchez, who authored this season's first no-hitter.
Given the Mets plunge into medicority this season and poor prospects next year, it's not at all surprising the team lags far behind the Dodgers and Giants in the won-lost record. Even in their own division, the current leaders and defending World Series champion Phillies developed pitcher Cole Hamels, have outfirlder John Mayberry Jr. and in fact are so prospect-rich, they could afford to ship four of their best to Cleveland to snag last year's American League Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee.
Minaya, incidentally, knows Lee quite well. Minaya traded him away in 2004, when he was general manager of the now-defunct Montreal Expos.
That deal didn't work out so well for Minaya, just as his leadership isn't really working out now for the Mets.
But exchanging Ricco for Minaya alone won't improve the Mets fortunes.
That begins where every effective general manager has made a serious investment -- down on the farm.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Looking for an alternative to tonight's Mets-Diamondbacks game -- a playing-out-the-string contest between two non-playoff bound teams?
The prospect of the Mets' Daniel Murphy hitting in the cleanup spot doesn't excite you?
Then tune in tonight at 10 p.m. on MLB Extra Innings or for the first game of a HUGE three-game series in San Francisco as the resurgent Giants do battle with their hated rivals, the National League Western Division-leading Dodgers.
While tonight's pitching match up of the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda against the Giants' Jonathan Sanchez may not be the marquee confrontation of, say, Chad Billingsley vs. Matt Cain, or Clayton Kershaw battling All Star starter, Tim Lincecum, it still promises to be quite the showdown.
San Francisco enters the series 5.5 games behind the Dodgers -- and more importantly, tied with the Colorado Rockies atop the NL Wild Card leader board. So far, the Giants have taken three of four games from the Dodgers and you can bet the San Francisco faithful, always an edgy bunch, will be in full voice. Just hearing the reception for the Dodgers' Manny Ramirez when he steps to the plate for the first time is enough reason to tune in.
And who knows? With all the tension involved in this rivalry, a health care town hall meeting may erupt between the lines!


So why was there no "alternative programming" note for yesterday's Mets-Padres game? Only because it was the lone Met worth watching these days, Johan Santana's turn in the rotation.
The ace, who yesterday improved his record to a league-best 13 wins, against eight losses, stifled the Padres on five hits and one earned run, over eight innings as the Mets won their first game in Petco Park since the ill-fated 2007 season. And in addition to registering those eight strong innings, he chipped in at the plate with a run-scoring single, to up his season's RBI total to four.
Now, ask yourself, if you watched yesterday's game, how did the Mets score their runs. You don't remember, do you? That's because with a team dead last in the Majors in home runs, as the Mets are, there's not a lot of bang and sizzle in their offense. After all, the decisive blow with the Mets at the plate was a dropped line drive by the Padres' second baseman, which resulted in two runs scoring. But from the sound of it, on WPIX-TV, Gary Cohen may as well have been calling Jose Reyes's game-tying single from NLDS Game 3 in the magical year of 2006, with his loud and enthusiastic announcement that the game was now, "Four-to-nothing, New York!"
Well, maybe you can't blame the guy.
It's been a long time since there's been much to get excited about with the Mets at the plate.
But on the mound, at least every fifth day, there's no denying the excitement of watching Santana practice his craft.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Let's face it: the Mets became unwatchable
months ago. So as a duty to long-suffering fans, I'm providing alternative television and cinema options to watching Mets baseball on TV.
Last night's choice for me was a foreign film I rented from the library, "The Bothersome Man."
It's a 2007 Norwegian film that is marketed and distributed by a fantastic company called the Film Movement, which has an extensive catalog of independently-made, smart movies that challenge the imagination and intellect and through beautiful photography and intriguing stories, open a window to the part of the world in which they were filmed.
"The Bothersome Man" is director Jens Lien's mind-bending and award-winning tale of a man who awakens to find himself on an empty bus and dropped off in the middle of a stunning, barren landscape in the middle of nowhere -- in reality, it's Icleand's Sprengisandur National Desert Reserve -- and is then transported by a stranger to a new home, where he is told he has a new job at a well-to-do-firm.
While it's not quite "The Matrix," or even "Dark City" and not quite fully in the sci-fi vein, the film succeeds in seducing you deeper into the mysteries Andreas, the leading character, wrestles with: Why is everyone in the unnamed city where he finds himself so polite? Why does the attractive young woman he begins dating and later moves in with, not express any emotion when he announces to her he's leaving her for someone else? How does he manage to sever his index finger in a gruesome mishap and later shower to find the digit completely repaired without any traceable evidence of the severing? Why does food seem to be tasteless? Why is he suddenly fired from his job the day after he asks his supervisor why there don't seem to be any children in the city?
And, perhaps most mysterious, where are those strains of haunting classical music he hears from a stranger's basement really coming from?
I give this film, which captured Norway's Amanda Awards (equivalent to the American Oscars) for best director, best screenplay and best actor, an 8.5 on a scale of 1 to 10 -- and it sure beats watching the Mets turn a 7th inning 2-0 lead into a a 6-2 loss as they did last night, punctuated by a walkoff grand slam by a Padres' unheralded, slap-hitting rookie off All Star closer, Francisco Rodriguez.


For reasons known only to Mets' General Manager Omar Minaya, the team today announced it has acquired 29-year-old AAA outfielder Jason DuBois -- we know, you've never heard of him, either -- from the Chicago Cubs.
Unless this guy is the second coming of Roy Hobbs, the power-hitting protagonist from the seminal 1980s baseball film, "The Natural," this acquisition is baffling, considering the surplus of spare-part outfielders the Mets have collected since the end of the 2008 season.
DuBois now joins such luminaries as Jeremy Reed, Cory Sullivan, Nick Evans and Emil Brown who all have manned the Mets outfield this season as reserves.
What sizable haul the Mets surrendered to acquire DuBois is at this point unknown.


Recently, many Mets banded together to announce their solidarity in growing beards and keeping them until the team would reach the .500 mark.
But after Thursday night's loss in San Diego, right fielder Jeff Francouer, perhaps sensing that if he kept up the strange male beard bonding until season's end he might end up looking like the fourth member of the '80s cult rockers, ZZ Top (left), saw the light and broke out the razor.
"I might have had it until October," Francouer frankly told the New York Daily News.
Maybe now -- the day after yet another dismaying defeat, courtesy of a walkoff grand slam in San Diego off suddenly beatable closer, Francisco Rodriguez -- and sporting an embarrassing 51-58 record, other Mets will come to their collective senses and break out the shaving cream and electric and straight razors.
Otherwise, with the rate the Mets are plummeting in both the National League Eastern division and wild card standings, by September, they'd likely resemble the barnstorming Christian Israelite House of David teams of the 1920s and 1930s.
Could those teams be any worse than the current Mets?

The ridiculous exercise in communal hair growing underscores the futility of this lost Mets season. It's about as juvenile as that "Beavis and Butt-head" episode of yore, when the two laughable cartoon teenage buffoons cut hair from their heads, then clumsily glued the clumps to their faces in a pathetic attempt to "score" with chicks.
One can only hope Francouer's teammates will follow his example.
The notion that more follicles can get the Mets to the .500 mark -- or any kind of respectability -- this season is pure folly.

Sunday, May 24, 2009



How could it possibly get more exciting and exhilarating than last night?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Why didn't SNY give all of us fair warning last night it would preempt last night's Mets-Dodgers game for a showing of the 1970s classic slapstick Little League baseball comedy, "The Bad News Bears."
You know, that flick where in one scene, the shortstop plays one routine ground ball as if it's a live hand grenade and in another, fields and throws another toward his team's dugout. It's that celluloid classic where a relief pitcher foolishly lobs a fielded bunt somewhere in the vicinity of first base and later the center fielder calls off the left fielder at the last minute, but fails to catch the ball, allowing the winning run to go third base.
But the tragicomic facsimile of baseball reaches its climax with the Little Leaguers up at bat. In this scene, in the top of the 11th inning, the left fielder strokes a clutch, two-out, go-ahead extra base hit. The team joyously erupts in celebration in its dugout -- but wait!
Back on the field, suddenly the third baseman steps on the third base bag, the umpire signals "out" and guess what? The runner, it turns out, failed to touch third base on the way home.
In the bottom of the inning, the in spite of themselves, the Little League pitcher wriggles out of a nearly impossible jam by getting the hitter to bounce into a certain inning-ending double play -- only to have the first baseman field the ball then hurl it toward the opposing dugout, costing the game and completing the circle of complete ineptitude.
This wasn't "The Bad News Bears"?
Nope. It was the New York Mets.
Fresh off a game in San Francisco in which their starting pitcher committed a team-record three balks that directly led to two runs scoring, the Mets last night elevated their level of incompetence in Los Angeles as shortstop Ramon Martinez, pitcher Sean Green, center fielder Carlos Beltran and first baseman Jeremy Reed combined to make five errors (their most in a single game since committing six in a 2007 game against the Phillies) while Ryan Church made the single biggest base running blunder in years, failing to touch third base en route to home plate with what should've been the go-ahead run on an 11th inning triple by Angel Pagan.
Instead, the Mets stumbled and bumbled their way to an utterly humiliating 3-2 loss.
The string of mistakes led legendary Dodgers' play-by-play man Vin Scully to opine, on Fox Prime Ticket: "The way the Mets are playing tonight, they ought to be being managed by Casey Stengel. Shades of Marv Throneberry and the 1962 Mets."
Only the '62 Mets didn't have a $150 million player payroll and never spent a day in first place, where these current Mets -- by some miracle -- reside.
Those Mets were called "lovable losers."
But last night's gaffes were just plain loathsome.
The Mets have had plenty of west coast swings in their history in which they appeared jet-lagged. Last night, they played as if they were hungover, high, or had reverted to pre-pubescence.
The team's appalling and inexcusable ineptitude screams for an apology to the fan base -- some of whom undoubtedly stayed up until 2 a.m. Eastern Time -- which watched what passed for a live "Three Stooges" marathon.
It's especially jarring after the Mets played a week's worth of inspiring baseball.
These Mets are finding new and bizarre ways to lose games -- just as they did in 1962.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Bad news from the Mets' medical front: As anticipated, Carlos Delgado has been out on the 15-day disabled list because of his hip impingement, which may require surgery.
Curiously, it is outfielder Angel Pagan (middle) -- who recently was arrested during a traffic stop for failure to pay 2005 parking offenses -- who was recalled from AAA Buffalo to replace Delgado on the roster and not prized outfield prospect Fernando Martinez (far left).
Martinez is batting .281 and leads the Bisons in home runs (4), RBI (20), hits (36) and doubles (12). Pagan, who got off to a red hot start last season while replacing then-left fielder Moises Alou, totaled his shoulder while running into the stands in Dodger Stadium chasing a foul pop. He was hitting .286 at AAA Buffalo during a rehabilitation assignment.


The question was perfectly timed, asked the moment after Gary Sheffield and David Wright successfully executed a double steal Thursday night, to put themselves in scoring position.
"What's gotten into these Mets?" SNY analyst Keith Hernandez asked.
Indeed, it's what everyone following the Mets wants to know and hopes the team maintains whatever "it" is, after enduring incompetent and uninspired ends to the 2008 and 2007 seasons.
On most west coast trips, the Mets have started out lethargic in the first game. But not Thursday night, when they stole a club record seven bases -- including Wright's record-tying individual tally of four -- and churned out clutch hit after clutch hit to beat the Giants, 7-4. John Maine overcame a miserable start, gutting it out for 6.2 innings before handing the baton to the bullpen, which stymied the Giants the rest of the way.
But that was just a warmup act for last night's 8-6 Giants-slaying, arguably the Mets' inspired win of the young season.
Admit it. Just two weeks ago, when the Mets seemed to wilt whenever behind by two runs or more and couldn't sustain a nine-inning offensive attack, you wouldn't have given them a chance if you were told they'd be down 5-1 on the road after two innings to last year's National League Cy Young Award winner, Tim Lincecum.
But yet there they were, racking up 10 hits off of him despite striking out eight times and driving him from the game with two runs in the sixth inning, then three more in the seventh to tie the game at 6-6, just a half-inning after Lincecum burned lackluster reliever Sean Green for an RBI single.
There was Wright -- replacing the lookalike impostor who's been wearing his No. 5 since last September -- swatting a clutch, three-run double off reliever Merkin Valdez, making a visibly upset Lincecum pout from the Giants' dugout.
And there, too, was Omir Santos.
Twice, Lincecum had made him look utterly foolish while striking him out, yet he got a key run home off of him with a sacrifice fly. And in the ninth inning, there was Santos again, driving in a vital insurance run with another sacrifice fly off Giants' closer, Brian Wilson.
And the last two nights, the Mets have been making their magic without slugging injured first baseman Carlos Delgado and shortstop Jose Reyes.
Save Monday's dreadful 8-3 debacle at Citi Field against the Braves and the Mets have shown a resiliency in every game since, reminiscent of the magical 2006 season.
Tuesday, the Mets overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the Braves 4-3 in 10 innings. Wednesday, the Mets rallied from behind three times and took the Braves to 12 innings before falling, 8-7 while pushing the tying run to third base with one out.
Just two weeks ago, Mets' General Manager Omar Minaya publicly questioned if his club had an "edge."
Now -- thankfully -- the more pertinent question is: How long will the Mets maintain it?

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Long ago, sometime after his complete meltdown in the mid-'80s, I thought beleaguered Mets' reliever Doug Sisk -- he of the uncontrollable sinker and penchant for walks -- retired.
But no.
His spirit -- and his pitches are being channeled by Sean Green, who yesterday not only walked in the game-winning run against the Phillies in a 6-5, 10-inning loss, but also plunked a pinch-hitter with a wayward sinker. The fact that Green, who toiled in obscurity in Seattle and as his last name suggests, is new to this whole Mets-Phillies rivalry thing.
And he emerged from the bullpen wearing a deer-in-the-headlights look.
Green, who entered yesterday's game sporting an 8.41 ERA, largely the result of two straight batterings at Citi Field, needs to be sent on the the next train to Buffalo to work out his kinks in Triple-A.
Anyone wondering now why Seattle was so willing to include him in the deal that sent J.J. Putz to the Mets last winter?
Green's seatmate should be Mets' starter Oliver Perez -- more on him later -- who handed out walks on the mound the way a doctor's office does with lollipops, issuing six in just 2.1 sordid, stressful innings.
Back to Green, briefly.
Like Sisk, whose July 1984 meltdown in a game against the Chicago Cubs in the heat of a pennant race turned a 5-4 lead into an eventual 11-5 loss was that season's turning point, which saw the Mets tailspinning out of a division lead, Green shows little guts -- or command. Even in Green's first appearance, on Opening Day, in relief of Johan Santana with a runner in scoring position , gave up a screaming line drive to the gap which Daniel Murphy ran down.
Groundball pitchers aren't supposed to give up screamers.
Brian Stokes, who has yet to allow an earned run in 11 innings pitched -- let me type that again, in large enough for Mets' Manager Jerry Manuel to see -- BRIAN STOKES, WHO HAS YET TO ALLOW AN EARNED RUN IN 11 INNINGS PITCHED!!! -- would've been the much smarter choice to try and keep the Phillies at bay.
Naturally, he was left to sit idle in the bullpen while Green, predictably, wilted under pressure.
Solution: Send Green to Buffalo, replace him with Nelson Figueroa, who the Mets should never have released in the first place, then signed and assigned to Buffalo.
Of course, the game might not have even been close if not for yet another shoddy start by Oliver Perez, who made a valiant attempt to break Mike Hampton's club record of nine walks issued in a single appearance. But Perez fell just short and was relieved by 40-year-old rookie Ken Takahasi, who in his 2.2 innings of scoreless relief threw half the number of pitches Perez threw and looked completely at ease on the mound facing the Phillies' hitters.
Perez, who is becoming more and more reminiscent of Oliver, the misift kid from "the Brady Bunch" who was somehow foisted on that blended family and soon earned the nickname "Jinx" among the children for the bad luck that seemed to follow him and infect the tribe, seems to not be able to throw a strike if his life depends on it.
Solution: Insert Takahashi in the starting rotation and send Perez to Buffalo, with Green.
OK, so let's say Perez, as his Major League service time dictates, declines his assignment. Then how 'bout another one: an assignment to the Citi Field grounds crew?
How about a gig being Mr. Met's understudy?
Just get Perez and Green off the roster. Immediately.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Nine wins, 12 losses.
If someone had told you before the season started that on the last day of April, with Carlos Beltran hitting close to .400, a rejuvenated Luis Castillo hitting over .300, Carlos Delgado driving in 16 runs, Ryan Church also hitting over .300 and a retooled bullpen featuring not one, but two established closers in Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz, and playing 15 games against non-playoff clubs like the Padres, Nationals, Reds, Cardinals and Marlins, would you believe the Mets record would be so dismal at this point?
Me neither.
But here are the top 10 reasons why the Mets are failing...
*No. 1: Incredibly sloppy defense at the worst possible moments
Whether it's Daniel Murphy twice already muffing routine plays in left field that cost games, Chruch committing a gaffe in right in another game and David Wright committing the same offense once at third base, or Pedro Feliciano balking in a vital go-ahead run in the late innings, the team appears fundamentally flawed. Not even Manager Jerry Manuel's making the team do infield and outfield drills before games has translated into results.
*No. 2: An offense that goes flaccid after the early innings.
If you score at home, notice how fewer pitches Mets hitters seem to see as the game progresses. Swinging early in the count and making outs kills potential rallies. None of the hitters -- at least late in games -- seem to believe in the old baseball adage "a walk is just as good as a hit."
*No.3: An offense that fails to support its ace.
I don't care if you're Cy Young himself, but any pitcher who gets a grand total of seven runs of offensive support in four starts, as Mets' ace Johan Santana has received so far this year, you're not going to be very successful.
*No. 4: Starters that can't last longer than five innings.
With the exception of one start each, both Oliver Perez and John Maine have struggled with control and getting lit up. In every start he's made so far, Livan Hernandez looks like a magician on the mound -- until the third time he goes through an opposition's batting order. Mike Pelfrey, who was in the 200 innings range last year, has yet to log six innings in a start. The short outings are taxing an already overburdened bullpen.
*No. 5: A re-tooled bullpen is struggling.
Both Putz and Sean Green started strong, but both have recently struggled with command and control. Green's ERA is 8.49 and Putz has walked more hitters (six) than he has struck out (four). Before his release, Darren O'Day allowed every runner he inherited to score, while Casey Fossum has already pitched himself off the roster with two ineffective appearances. Why Brian Stokes, who has yet to allow an earned run in 11 innings isn't getting more of an opportunity in crucial spots, is puzzling and Nelson Figueroa, a natural for a long relief role, was designated for assignment after making one of the few quality starts of the season and is now with the Mets' Triple-A Buffalo club.
*No. 6: David Wright looks lost at the plate.
Wright's late-season struggles with men on base last year have spilled over to this season and at his strikeout pace, legendary whiffer Rob Deer is somewhere feeling better about his career. Too often, Wright can't get around on hittable fastballs and takes too many hanging breaking pitches. His at-bats with men in scoring position are becoming predictable.
*No. 7: Absence of the running game and small ball.
Murphy doesn't belong in the No.2 hole, behind speedster Jose Reyes. While he possesses a great eye at the plate, he fouls off too many pitches and doesn't take enough to allow Reyes to run. Castillo, more of a "leadoff 1A" hitter is far better suited for the No. 2 hole, especially given his experience batting second and his impressive start with the bat. At times, Manuel appears to believe he's managing the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers, of the American League, instead of the National League Mets, sitting back and waiting for the three-run bomb instead of stealing, double-stealing, hitting-and-running and sacrificing. Playing in a big ballpark where home runs are infrequent, compels him to adopt more tactics to manufacture runs. At least twice this season in close games, with struggling hitters, Manuel has eschewed the sacrifice in favor of gambling for the ever-elusive extra base hit. Both times the hitters in question, Fernando Tatis and Wright, made unproductive outs.
*No. 8: Bullpen mismanagement.
Manuel's bullpen moves sometimes defy logic.
Tuesday night, for example, with the Mets clinging to a one-run lead and the Marlins sending up their eighth, ninth and leadoff hitters -- two of whom are switch-hitting speedsters and the fifth hitter a lefty -- Manuel opted to bring in the struggling Green, whose control and command have so far been suspect at best, instead of lefty Feliciano. Feliciano's presence would've made the speedsters turn around to bat right-handed, taking away a step or two out of the batter's box, if they decided to lay down bunts and if they got on base, put them at a disadvantage with a lefty on the mound. Green, a supposed ground ball pitcher, walked hitters and gave up a bomb and turned a 4-3 lead into a 7-4 deficit.
*No. 9: Not playing aggressively enough
The Mets have shown timidness on the basepaths by not running often enough, but also by not sliding when the situation called for it (twice, in Beltran's case) and not strongly breaking up potential double plays. On defense, does anyone remember the last time anyone on the Mets attempted to nab the lead runner on a sacrifice attempt?
*No. 10 Not doing the little things right
Stop me if you haven't seen the following: catcher's interference, throwing to the wrong base from the outfield, missing cutoff men on outfield throws, falling off the mound while throwing a pitch, failing to effectively block the plate, issuing leadoff walks, failing two nail the third out after the previous two batters made them and swinging early in counts when the situation calls for prolonging at-bats.
It's a wonder why the Mets aren't a lot worse than 9-12 right now.
If you have any more reasons to add to the list, then by all means, go ahead...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Counting up the fundamental mistakes in last night's 6-4 Mets loss in St. Louis sounds like the list of gifts in "The 12 Days of Christmas."
No matter what your religion, you know the tune. Now go ahead and sing the following words to the tune of that song...A slip-and-fall in left, One man picked off, catcher's interference, not sliding home, a bases loaded walk, missing cutoff men, leaving runners on, leaving the bag too early, too brief at-bats, blowing a big lead...and a partridge in a pear tree, right?
In case you missed it, in the blink of an eye last night, the Mets went from a slide away from going up 5-4 to trailing 5-4, en route to a 6-4 loss in a game they once led, 4-0. 
Not pushing the panic button here, but right now the Mets don't look like a Major League ballclub. Daniel Murphy doesn't look at all like a Major League outfielder. No one besides Johan Santana has looked like a Major League starting pitcher — with the exception of one outing by Livan Hernandez and another by Oliver Perez — failing to turn in a quality start.
The hitters have been equally inept at bringing runners home from scoring position and while they muster good, multi-pitch at-bats in the early stages of the game, they don't replicate it later, often getting themselves out by putting the ball in play early in the count. In last night's disheartening loss, from the fifth inning on, Mets' hitters saw little over 40 pitches, about eight per inning.
The lightning of defeat flashed and stung quickly last night in the top of the 8th inning when Carlos Beltran daringly dashed home from third base on an errant throw — only to fail to slide at the last minute over the catcher's foot blocking his path, thus getting tagged for the third out. In what seemed an instant later, Brendan Ryan hit a routine line drive to left to Murphy, who promptly did his best Chevy Chase "Saturday Night Live" impression by slipping on an invisible banana peel in the grass — even helplessly flailing his glove at the ball for effect — while the ball rolled to the wall and Ryan raced to third base as the soon-to-be go-ahead run.
Murphy had already been picked off first base earlier in the game by Cardinals catcher, Yadier Molina. But he and Beltran aren't alone in committing gaffes. 
Carlos Delgado, for the second time already this young season, came off the first base bag too early on a throw to him from shortstop Jose Reyes on what would've been an inning-ending double play, instead prolonging that inning. 
While we're on the subject of prolonging innings, Ramon Castro, who earlier did a face plant after tripping over Albert Pujols at first base after grounding out, contributed to the cause by allowing his glove to make contact with a Cardinals hitter's bat and getting called for catcher's interference.
And of course all this happened in yet another maddeningly uneven start by Perez, who was solid through four innings and cleverly getting out of tight spots...until allowing a leadoff single to the opposing pitcher and then starting a walk-a-thon. 
His replacement Casey Fossum, fresh from a Triple-A recall, relieved Perez with the bases loaded and subsequently failed to throw a pitch anywhere near the strike zone to the next hitter. Fossum forced in a run and immediately cementing his name for consideration in Mets annals as a candidate for futility in a debut appearance.
Time to push the panic button?
But it's not at all too late to wonder if sloppy April losses will come back to bite the Mets in their collective butts in October.
To paraphrase former Mets Manager Yogi Berra,  "It's getting late early."

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Hmmm...let's get this straight. A guy gets a job, does exactly what the boss tells him, then gets fired after just one day on the job?
Turns out, that's exactly what happened to Mets' Sunday starting pitcher, Nelson Figueroa, who was designated for assignment after Sunday's game, immediately following a strong six-inning performance.
Left-handed pitcher Casey Fossum recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to replace Figueroa. Figueroa was called up Sunday to replace Mike Pelfrey, whose start was skipped due to his forearm tendinitis.
Mets' manager Jerry Manuel told the New York news media he was hoping Figueroa would give the team six good innings and keep the Mets in the ballgame.
Figueroa responded in kind.
The Brooklyn, N.Y. native hurled six complete innings, allowing just three runs on five hits and departed trailing, 3-1. In fact, Figueroa registered what no other Mets pitcher not named Johan Santana has so far this season -- a quality start.
Fossum has impressed so far in two Triple-A starts, striking out 12 in 11 innings pitched and turning in an earned run average of 0.82. But is that worth sacrificing Figueroa, who seems far better suited to an eventual long relief role than injured free-agent signing, Tim Redding?
And speaking of sacrificing...
What was Jerry Manuel thinking not having Luis Castillo bat for Fernando Tatis and lay down a sacrifice bunt in a situation that cried out for it in Sunday's game?
The Mets mounted their best threat, down by a single run in the eighth inning, with runners at first and second base with none out with a tough, ground ball pitcher on the mound in Todd Coffey.
If Manuel went with the hot-hitting Castillo, who also happens to be the Mets' best bunter, it could've set up a golden chance to push the tying run 90 feet away and move the go-ahead run into scoring position. Even with Tatis batting, the Brewers' infield was positioning itself for the bunt and when Tatis swung away, it stunned the Brewers' TV crew, which said the Mets were giving the Brewers a break.
Sure enough, Tatis, who has yet to record a hit this season, whiffed on three pitches, before Omir Santos lined into an inning-ending double play.
A sweep sure would've been some good wind blowing into the Mets' sails, as they head to St. Louis for a three-game series against the Cardinals. It would've given them a 7-5 mark in the first dozen games, instead of a breeak-even mark of 6-6.You can say it's just April and you can't manage every game like it's one in the September pennant race...until you get to October and realize that the one game you wish you could have back, as the Mets have been bemoaning for the last two seasons, could've made the difference between the playoffs and going home for the fall.

Monday, April 13, 2009


The Mets tonight opened their spanking new ballpark with a slapstick performance that included their starting pitcher tripping and falling while delivering a pitch, an outfielder falling down and dropping a fly ball and reliever flinching while on the mound shaking off a sign from the catcher to balk in the deciding run. And that's just scratching the surface of the bizarre events that happened at Citi Field, where the Mets dropped a 6-5 decision to the visiting San Diego Padres.
The oddities began on Mets' starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey's second pitch, a fastball that Padres' leadoff hitter Jody Gerut (above) -- who last year hit three home runs against the Mets -- slugged into the right field stands for the first-ever home run in a regular season game at Citi Field, instantly giving the Padres a 1-0 lead. Gerut, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is the first hitter to lead off a game at a new ballpark with a home run for the first time since at least 1900.
Pelfrey's second inning was equally eerie. After he retired the first two Padres' hitters he tripped in mid-delivery while facing his opposite number, pitcher Walter Silva. Silva then lined Pelfrey's next pitch into right field for his first Major League hit and two batters later, scored on a two-run double by diminutive second baseman and 2006 World Series Most Valuable Player, David Eckstein.
The Padres' Adrian Gonzalez, a longtime Mets nemesis added a solo home run in the fifth inning to extend San Diego's lead to 5-1, but the Mets fought back with a game-tying rally in the bottom of the inning, capped by David Wright's three-run homer. It was Wright's first homer of the season and first by a Met at Citi Field, which prompted the new mechanical Home Run Apple to rise from its black metallic top hat beyond the center field fence.
But a mere half inning later, the Mets handed the lead -- and the game to the Padres. With reliever Brian Stokes on the mound, Luis Rodriguez launched a long fly ball to right field where Ryan Church, the usually dependable fielder, turned the wrong way and had the ball clank off of his glove for a three-base error. Pedro Feliciano was summoned to clean up the mess and he responded by getting the next two hitters out without allowing the go-ahead run to score. But while on the mound between pitches to Eckstein, Feliciano flinched while on the rubber for a balk, which sent Rodriguez home with the go-ahead run.
Then, to add insult to injury, the Mets failed in the last two innings against pitchers they cast off. Duaner Sanchez, whom the Mets released in March, set down New York 1-2-3 in the eight inning before Heath Bell -- an outspoken critic of Mets' management since his trade to San Diego following the 2006 season -- emphatically shut down the Mets in the ninth inning to earn the first save ever recorded at the new ballpark.

Winning pitcher --Mujica (1-1)
Losing pitcher -- Stokes (0-1)
2B -- Wright (2), Gerut (3), Eckstein 2, (4), Castillo (2)
Home Runs -- Gerut (1), A. Gonzalez (2), Wright (1)
RBI -- Gerut (1), Eckstein 2, (4), Giles (4), Castillo (2), A. Gonzalez (7), Murphy (3), Wright 3, (4)
Errors -- Church (1)
Balks -- Feliciano (1)
Wild Pitches -- Putz (1)
Runners left on base -- Mets 5, Padres, 9
Runners left in scoring position -- Mets 4, Padres, 3
Web gems -- Padres: Jody Gerut leaps and snares Carlos Beltran's hard hit drive while up against the center field fence in the bottom of the fourth.
METS NOTES: In what seemed like a flashback to Shea Stadium in August 1969, a stray cat at Citi Field got loose and ran from the third base line and jumped up on the screen behind home plate before scurrying into the first base stands near the Mets dugout. Church has now gone 30 plate appearances without striking out, the longest such streak of his career.



ESPN and other major news outlets are reporting that legendary and longtime Phillies TV and play-by-play voice Harry Kalas is dead at 73. 
Kalas was found passed out this afternoon in the Phillies' broadcast booth at Nationals Park in Washington as he was preparing to cover this afternoon's Phillies-Nationals game.
Kalas, most famous for his "outta here" home run calls, also became a household voice narrating highlights for NFL Films and also voiced many TV spots, most recently for Campbell's Chunky Soup, which featured such NFL stars as Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb and Chargers' running back LaDanian Tomlinson. 
Kalas, who was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award for contributions to baseball, also was a radio play-by-play voice for Westwood One's NFL broadcasts. Kalas's son, Todd was briefly the host of Mets Extra on WFAN-AM, shortly after its 1987 debut.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Mets' manager Jerry Manuel was dead-set against starting Gary Sheffield in right field today at Dolphin Stadium because he said he wanted his ace, Johan Santana to have the best defense behind him.
But it was Daniel Murphy's defense in left field that betrayed Santana in the bottom of the second inning that sealed the Mets' fate in an agonizing 2-1 loss that saw Santana's 13-strikeout performance squandered and his absorbing a loss since June 28, 2008.
With two outs and John Baker on first base, the Marlins' Cody Ross lofted a routine fly ball to Murphy in left. It appeared to all the world, except to Baker and Ross, who hustled all the way, that it would be the third out. But the ball clanked off the heel of Murphy's glove as he tried to squeeze it and rolled forward. Baker easily scored and Ross raced to second base to get in scoring position. Ross would soon be off and racing again, this time for home, as Ronny Paulino lined a single to drive him home.
Two runs would be all Marlins' ace Josh Johnson would need.
The right-hander economized his pitches and pumped in a strong, mid-90s fastball through his complete game performance. Johnson took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing a broken-bat bloop single to Luis Castillo.
One inning later, the Mets mounted the most serious threat to that point against Johnson, getting runners to first and second base with one out, via a David Wright single and error by third baseman Emilio Bonifacio. But Carlos Beltran bounced a 1-2 pitch to Johnson, who started an easy double play to escape trouble.
In the seventh inning, Johnson allowed a leadoff double to Ryan Church, whose six on the young season lead the Major Leagues, but then struck out Ramon Castro. In a curious and ultimately unsuccessful move, Castillo sacrificed Church to third and Johnson issued his only walk, to Jeremy Reed, who was pinch-hitting for Santana. But Jose Reyes, who failed to get the ball out of the infield in four at-bats, grounded out to Johnson to end the inning.
But Johnson fought his way out of his biggest jam in the top of the ninth inning to earn his complete game win.
After retiring the first two hitters, Carlos Delgado roped a double off the center field wall and Beltran promptly singled him home to draw the Mets within 2-1. That brought up Church, who lined a 3-1 pitch to left field, which Marlins' left-fielder Brett Carroll -- installed in the eight inning as, you guessed it, a defensive replacement, caught off of his shoe-tops to end the game.
Winning pitcher -- Johnson (2-0)
Losing pitcher -- Santana (1-1)
2B -- Hermida (1), Church (6)
RBI -- Paulino (2), Beltran (6)
Sacrifice bunts -- Santana (1), Castillo (2)
Caught Stealing -- Reyes (2, second base, Johnson/Paulino)
Double plays -- Marlins, 2
Errors -- Helms (1, missed catch), Murphy (1, catch), Castillo (2, fielding), Bonifacio (2, fielding)
Runners left on base -- Mets 5, Marlins, 3
Runners left in scoring position -- Mets 3, Marlins, 2
Web gems -- Marlins: Top ninth, one out, none on, Ramirez goes deep in the hole at shortstop to field Wright's grounder, then throws him out at first base by a step.
METS NOTES: Though he established a new high as a Met for strikeouts in a game with 13, Santana was defeated for the first time in a regular season game since June 28, 2008 in a loss to the New York Yankees. Both runs off Santana were unearned, lowering his ERA to 0.71. Johnson, though, lowered his ERA to 0.57.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Livan Hernandez returned last night to Miami, the scene of his greatest on-field successes in his 13-year Major League career. In 1997, Hernandez -- a Cuban defector -- was a 21-year-old rookie who captured both the National League Championship and World Series Most Valuable Player awards as a Florida Marlin.
These days, he's a 34-year-old New York Mets fifth starter, trying to recapture the old form after the last three seasons' worth of knee problems. In his Mets' debut, the fifth starter turned in a first-rate debut, hurling 6.2 innings and allowing just two runs on six hits, in helping the Mets to an 8-4 victory over the Marlins.
Hernandez was buoyed by the Mets' 15 hits -- four of which were delivered by second baseman Luis Castillo who was just 1-for-10 on the young season entering last night's game. Castillo, David Wright and Jose Reyes all recorded their first RBIs of the season, as Reyes knocked in three with a two-run homer and an RBI double. Carlos Delgado added two more RBIs to his team-leading total of eight, while Ryan Church continued his torrid hitting with two doubles, giving him five on the young season.
Hernandez showed a wily veteran presence on the mound, changing speeds with fastballs, sliders and curve balls to escape a first-and-third, none out jam in the second inning by coaxing a shallow outfield fly ball and two straight strikeouts. Hernandez also contributed at the plate, tying a single-game Mets franchise record with three sacrifice bunts.

Winning pitcher -- Hernandez (1-0)
Losing pitcher -- Nolasco (1-1)
2B -- Reyes (1), Church 2, (5), Delgado (1), Beltran (1)
3B -- None
Home runs -- Reyes (1)
RBI -- Reyes 3, (3), Delgado 2, (8), Castillo (1), Helms (1), Bonifacio (5), Cora (2), Wright (1), Gload (1), Ramirez (9)
Sacrifice bunts -- Hernandez 3, (3), Castillo (1)
Sacrifice Flies -- Gload (1)
Stolen bases -- Hermida (1)
Caught Stealing -- None
Errors -- Cantu (1, throw), Bonifacio (1, throw), Wright (1, throw)
Runners left on base -- Mets 10, Marlins, 9
Runners left in scoring position -- Mets 7, Marlins, 4
Web gems -- Mets: Top third, Wright spears line drive by Ramirez, dives to tag Bonifacio for double play
METS NOTES: Before the game, the Mets designated for assignment utilityman and pinch-hitting specialist Marlon Anderson to make room for Hernandez on the 25-man roster. New York has 10 days to trade or release Anderson. If no team claims Anderson on waivers, he becomes a free agent and the Mets would be able to negotiate a Minor League contract and assignment with him. Anderson is due to make $1.15 million this season and strongly contributed to the Mets 2007 effort to reach the post-season with several clutch hits, but since then appeared unable to recapture that form. Anderson was 0-for-3 this season in pinch-hitting appearances.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Jorge Cantu can do.
His two-out, walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth inning off Mets' reliever Darren O'Day brought home Emilio Bonifacio from second base to give the Marlins a 5-4 victory over New York.
The Mets rallied to draw even in the top of the ninth on a two-out, pinch-hit RBI single by Jeremy Reed, but Bonifacio set the stage with an infield hit. With him on first and two outs, O'Day pitched carefully to dangerous Marlins' shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who had already homered and smacked two singles and walked him on a 3-1 pitch to move Bonifacio into scoring position. Cantu then ripped an 0-1 pitch into left field scoring a sliding Bonifacio ahead of left fielder Daniel Murphy's throw.
John Maine started the game for the Mets and pitched five strong innings, overcoming giving up solo homers to Ramirez and Dan Uggla. Marlins' starter Anibal Sanchez was even stronger, shutting out the Mets on four hits through five innings, with five strikeouts.
At the plate, Carlos Beltran swatted his first homer of the season and added two singles and a run-scoring fielder's choice, while Ryan Church delivered three hits.
O'Day has now allowed all runners he has inherited in two appearances, to score.


Winning pitcher -- Lindstrom (1-0)
Losing pitcher -- Feliciano (0-1)
Blown Save -- Lindstrom
2B -- Murphy (1)
3B -- None
Home runs -- Ramirez (2), Uggla (2), Beltran (1)
RBI -- Ramirez (7), Uggla (6), Beltran 2, (5), Cantu (6), Tatis (1), Reed (1)
Sacrifice Flies -- Tatis (1)
Stolen bases -- None
Caught Stealing -- None
Runners left on base -- Mets 13, Marlins, 7
Runners left in scoring position -- Mets 6, Marlins, 5
Wild Pitch -- Maine (1)
Hit batsmen -- Calero (Delgado)
Balk -- Green (1)
Errors -- None
Web gems -- None


The Mets are in South Florida tonight for a three-game series against the very same Marlins that for the last two seasons have dashed the Mets' playoff hopes by defeating them on the last day of the season, in New York. 
Tonight John Maine (10-8, 4.18 ERA in '08) takes on Anibal Sanchez. Maine is 3-1 lifetime vs. Florida, with a 2.75 ERA in 36 innings pitched. Sanchez (2-5, 5.57 ERA in '08), a Venezuelan native originally signed by the Boston Red Sox, hasn't equalled his 2006 freshman season, when he went 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA and finished ninth in that year's National League Rookie of the Year balloting. Sanchez has a 2-1 lifetime mark against the Mets, with a 3.63 ERA.


Since his July 31, 2006 acquisition, the Mets have truly never known which Oliver Perez will take the mound when he starts a game.
Will it be Dominant Ollie, the pitcher who rises to the occasion on the big stage, such as he did in National League Championship Series Game 7 of 2006, when he handcuffed the Cardinals on one scratched out earned run over six innings?
Or will it be Wild Ollie, who the next season in a must-win late September game against the Florida Marlins plunked three batters in a single inning en route to a crushing loss?
Yesterday at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Dominant Ollie pitched the first two innings, striking out four, but Wild Ollie relieved him for the next 2.1, walking five, as the Reds put together two two-run rallies in the third and fifth innings to wallop the Mets, 8-6.
The Mets rewarded Perez with a comfortable three-run lead in the top of the third inning on an RBI single by Carlos Beltran an a two-run double by Ryan Church, off Reds' starter Bronson Arroyo.
But in the bottom of the frame, Perez gave the runs back, starting it by walking Reds' catcher, Ryan Hanigan. Reds' first-baseman Joey Votto slugged a three-run homer to cap that inning's scoring. Again, the Mets took the lead in the top of the fifth inning on a fielder's choice groundout, but in the bottom, the Reds knocked Perez out with four more runs, aided by two more walks. The biggest blow in that inning was a two-out, two-run single by Reds' shosrtstop Paul Janish, off Mets' reliever Darren O'Day. The Mets would score single runs in the sixth and seveth innings on sacrifice flies, but whatever hopes the Mets had of tying the game in the ninth were quickly extinguished by Reds' closer Francisco Cordero, who struck out the side.

Winning pitcher -- Arroyo (1-0)
Losing pitcher -- Perez (0-1)
Save -- Cordero (1)
2B -- Church 2, (3)
Home runs -- Votto (2)
RBI -- Beltran (3), Church 2, (2); Votto 4, (7), Delgado 2, (6), Phillips (1), Janish 2, (2)
Stolen bases -- Encarnacion (1)
Caught Stealing -- Reyes (1, 2nd base, Hanigan/Janish)
Runners left on base -- Mets 5, Reds, 5
Runners left in scoring position -- Mets 3, Reds, 3
Errors -- Phillips (1, catch)
Hit batsmen -- O'Day (1, Encarnacion)
Web gems -- None

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Major League Baseball today is mourning the death of 22-year-old Los Angeles Angels right handed pitcher Nick Adenhart who was killed last night in a fatal car crash just hours of pitching six scoreless innings in his 2009 debut, the Los Angeles Times reports. The newspaper reports that Adenhart's car was struck by a minivan which ran a red light and the accident is being treated as a hit-and-run accident.
Adenhart was considered a hot prospect and was being counted on to pick up slack in the Angels' rotation because of injuries to starters John Lackey and Ervin Santana. Adenhart was a teammate last year of current Mets' pitchers, Francisco Rodriguez and Darren O'Day.