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.

GAME 3: METS VS. REDS 12:30 P.M.

The Mets hope to break out and use the broom today at Great American Ballpark in the conclusion of their three-game series against the Reds today, as Oliver Perez takes the mound to battle Bronson Arroyo.
Perez is 9-4 lifetime against the Reds, the most career victories he has racked up against any team and Arroyo lifetime is 4-2 against the Mets. Arroyo went 15-11 last year with a 4.77 ERA. Arroyo and Perez actually tied for last year's National League lead in games started (34) and while Arroyo led all NL pitchers in earned runs allowed (106), Perez led all NL pitchers last season in no-decisions (17) and walks (105).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


In the span of two days, the Mets bullpen went from being invincible to merely human.
Just two days removed from a nearly perfect 3.1 innings in Monday's season opener, relievers Pedro Feliciano, Sean Green, J.J. Putz and closer Francisco Rodriguez combined to allow 3 runs, 4 hits and 2 walks in 4 innings, yet the Mets survived a 9th inning threat to defeat the Cincinnati Reds, 9-7 at Great American Ballpark.
Rodriguez, who earned his second save in as many games, followed his flawless inning Monday by leaving the bases loaded and retired the Reds' final hitter, Laynce Nix on a deep fly ball to centerfield. Rodriguez put himself in peril by walking leadoff hitter Brandon Phillips, but looked to have an easy inning when Jay Bruce popped a hanging breaking ball that fell harmlessly into second baseman Luis Castillo's hands. The next hitter, Edwin Encarnacion appeared to make the second out on a routine ground ball to David Wright, but the first base umpire ruled Encarnacion safe at first base because first baseman Carlos Delgado came off the bag early. Phillips scooted to third on the play, then Rodriguez walked Ramon Hernandez to load the bases.
But Rodriguez, who last year set the Major Leagues single-season saves record with 62, rebounded to strike out Alex Gonzalez swinging on a 3-2 fastball, then put away Nix.
It was no easier for Mets' starter, Mike Pelfrey, who lasted five innings and earned a win, despite allowing 4 first inning runs, 3 of them courtesy of a Joey Votto home run. But Delgado, who hit a two-run homer in the Mets' first inning, added RBIs in the fifth and seventh innings, while centerfielder Carlos Beltran struck the key blow, a go-ahead two-run single off Reds' starter and losing pitcher, Edinson Volquez, in the fifth.
Beltran's single was preceded earlier in the inning by a fielding error by Gonzalez and later in the seventh inning, the Mets benefited from Bruce's slipping and failing to field a Brian Schneider bases-loaded base hit, which cleared the bases and put New York up, 9-5.


Winning pitcher -- Pelfrey (1-0)
Losing pitcher -- Volquez (0-1)
Save -- Rodriguez (2)
2B -- Phillips (1), Church (1), Wright (1), Schneider (1)
3B -- Taveras (1)
Home runs -- Delgado (1), Votto (1)
RBI -- Delgado 4, (4); Votto 3, (3), Beltran 2, (2), Schneider 3, (3), Bruce 1, (1), Hernandez 1, (1), Dickerson 1, (1)
Stolen bases -- None
Caught Stealing -- Beltran (1/2nd base, Hernandez/Gonzalez); Votto (1/home, Pelfrey/Castillo/Schneider)
Runners left on base -- Mets 6, Reds, 9
Runners left in scoring position -- Mets 4, Reds, 6
Errors -- Reyes (1, throw); Gonzalez (1, fielding), Delgado (1, fielding)
Balk -- Pelfrey (1)Wild Pitch -- Volquez (1)
Web gems -- Reds: Top 1st, shortstop Alex Gonzalez makes diving catch of Jose Reyes line drive


The Mets continue their three-game series in Cincinnati tonight, with a 7 p.m. start against the Reds, with Mike Pelfrey (13-11, 3.72 ERA in 2008) to take on 2008 All-Star, Edinson Volquez, (17-6, 3.21 ERA). Volquez started one game last year against the Mets and got a no-decision in a 7-5 Mets win. He lasted 5 innings, giving up 4 earned runs on 8 hits, walking 3 and striking out 3. Pelfrey is 2-2 lifetime against the Reds.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Seven times last season, Mets' ace Johan Santana (left) exited a game with a lead, only to have the balky bullpen blow it.
So this afternoon, no one could blame him if he felt his stomach clench and his nerves buckle after being unexpectedly removed in the top of the sixth inning and having to sweat out the next three.
But one momentarily scary line drive and three uneventful innings later, after imported relievers Sean Green, J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez combined to retire 10 of the last 11 opposing hitters, Santana, his teammates and tortured Mets fans could relax. The Mets rode a gutty performance by Santana and a stellar effort by the bullpen to defeat the Cincinnati Reds, 2-1 on a raw, wet Opening Day, despite leaving 12 men on base -- including seven in scoring position. From the start, it seemed some Mets picked up where they left off in 2008.
Jose Reyes, who last year became only the second Met in club history to record more than 200 hits in a season, led off with a single and then stole second base, to add to his franchise-leading total. But in an eerie similarity to so many occasions last season, David Wright failed to bring Reyes home from third base, striking out against Reds' starting pitcher, Aaron Harang, with only one out. The Mets would leave the bases loaded in the fourth inning while Santana kept the Reds scoreless and then broke through in the fifth after left-fielder Daniel Murphy fouled off three 3-and-2 pitches, then drove a solo home run into the right field bleachers.
New York threatened to add to its lead, but Wright was nailed at home on a throw by Reds' right-fielder Jay Bruce on a Carlos Beltran single. It was a tough day on the basepaths for Wright, who, representing a valuable potential insurance run in the top of the ninth inning was picked off first base by pitcher Francisco Cordero.
Murphy drove in the second Mets run in the sixth inning with an RBI groundout before Santana -- who is undefeated since last July -- would be tested and surrender a run. Darnell McDonald lined a broken-bat single to start the inning and advanced to third base on a ground single by Joey Votto which narrowly eluded Santana's glove and an errant throw from Beltran. Brandon Phillips drove home the Reds' only run on a sacrifice fly and Santana exited after getting Jay Bruce on a foul pop to Wright.
That set the stage for Green, making his Mets' debut. A screaming line drive by Edwin Encarnacion at first appeared to be a game-tying extra-base hit to the left-center field gap, but Murphy, who'll never be known for his defense, sprinted over and flagged it down. Green, a sinker-slider pitcher, got three consecutive ground ball outs before giving way to Putz, who hurled a scoreless eighth inning before yielding to Rodriguez, who overpowered Reds' hitters on a weak groundout, a foul pop and a swinging strikeout.
At that moment, Rodriguez characteristically thumped his chest with both hands, then exclaimed while pointing skyward.
Moments later, when he repeated the gesture for good measure, it seemed fitting.
After last season, Santana and his teammates had to feel doubly thankful -- even after just one game.

Winning pitcher -- Johan Santana (1-0)
Losing pitcher -- Aaron Harang (0-1)
Save -- Francisco Rodriguez (1)

Home runs -- Murphy (1)
RBI -- Murphy (2)
Stolen bases -- Reyes (1), Church (1)

Web gems: Ryan Church makes sliding, juggling catch of a Ramon Hernandez line drive, then throws out Edwin Encarnacion scrambling back to first base (bottom second, none out). David Wright makes diving, short-hopped scoop of hard hit drive by Alex Gonzalez, then throws him out (bottom seventh, one out.)


Weather permitting, the Mets take on the Cincinnati Reds from Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. The forecast calls for rain, possibly mixing with snow this afternoon, with a high temperature of 39 degrees. 

The lineups...


Reyes ss
Murphy lf
Wright 3b
Delgado 1b
Beltran cf
Church rf
Schneider c
Castillo 2b
Santana p


Haisrton lf
McDonald cf
Votto 1b
Phillips 2b
Bruce rf
Encarnacion 3b
Hernandez c
Gonzalez ss
Harang p

There will be no live updates here for this game, but check back late night, when we open the floodgates for analysis and commentary.