Friday, April 29, 2005

Trade Valent?

Eric Valent, who drew interest during the winter, could be dealt to open up the roster spot when Cameron is activated. -NY Post

Brilliant! I had no idea it could be done, but by all means. I would still prefer to see Diaz demoted than collecting dust next to Marlon Anderson, but if they're serious about maybe giving Floyd the occasional day off, or maybe putting Diaz at second (kidding, although he was an IF), he certainly looks like Valent's superior.

Jae Seo takes the mound tonight against Washington, hoping to follow up his outstanding debut with the big club. He might not have to face Nick Johnson, whose hot streak may be interrupted by a minor injury. Surprising? Not even a little bit. He's one of the few remotely scary names in that lineup. There's Wilkerson, Vidro, Jose Guillen... No, I don't give a damn what Vinny Castilla is hitting at the moment. That's about it, though I once kept a candle burning for Terrmel "Sister" Sledge. Jae should make it to the sixth inning in one piece.

The Nationals counter with Livan Hernandez. The festively plump Cuban has had a somewhat erratic career ERA-wise, but except for his abnormally good 2003, his peripherals have been fairly consistent. Strikes out around six per nine, walks about three, and watches at least one clear the fence. Unspectacular, but he delivers those innings in massive quantities, which helps a lot. On a side note, am I the only one who thought he was older than 30 by now? Of course I thought the same about Sidney Ponson last year and he was only 27.

I had kind of gotten used to life above .500, and am ready to see the Nats assume their rightful position as the division's chew toy. Mark my words: Vinny Castilla starts getting exposed tonight!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Time Out

That was not awesome. After losing games two and three to Atlanta, the Mets have a day off today before heading to Washington, for what will hopefully be a more successful three game set.

It looks almost certain that the JRWV (Jose Reyes Walk Vigil) will continue past the 100 AB mark, as he's now strode to the plate 96 times without disrupting the perfect symmetry between his batting average and OBP. I'm thinking a pitcher will have to bean him for a disparity to emerge, or possibly an IBB in a situation where an opposing manager takes his chances with Matsui, who is becoming to extra base hits (2 in 70 AB) what Reyes is to free passes.

Victor Diaz has cooled slightly, but he remains in that 4-digit OPS territory from which it is extremely hard to demote a player. As much as keeping Victor would improve Willie's options off the bench, it really doesn't make sense for a 23 year-old with plenty of things (defense, not grounding into double plays, etc.) that could use everyday work at Norfolk.

Looking at the division, the Marlins and the Braves are back on top, the Mets and Nationals are "hovering" at .500 (two and a half games behind the Dodgers for the wild card!), and the vultures have begun circling the Phillies.

It's hard to understate the importance of these developments. It's no fun losing, at home no less, to the Soggy Bottom Boys, but nobody in the NL East is looking significantly better or worse than was expected of them. The Phillies are 10-12, which is apparently disappointing enough to provoke this lead on the MLB front page at ESPN:

Larry Bowa and Joe Kerrigan aren't around to blame any more yet the Phillies remain an enigma. Jayson Stark wonders if they may have already blown their best shot at a World Series.

C'mon. I can't think of too many things in baseball less enigmatic than a 10-12 start, even though they're lucky to have done that well (pythagorean record: 8-14). Thome has been in a deep sleep, and even short of a vintage Jim Thome year, there's plenty of room for improvement there. Abreu and Rollins haven't come flying out of the gates either, but Abreu rarely does, and it's not yet May 1. If Brett Myers keeps doing anything ressembling what he's doing now, it's just gravy for the citizens of Citizens.

By the way, why do so many columnists love Larry Bowa, or at least like defending him after the fact? He may not have been to blame for the perfomance of his pitching staff last year, but if you're going to act like Bill Parcells with less charm, you'd best get the job done.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Braves 4 - Mets 3

Ninth-inning rallies are beautiful things, even when they fall about 90 feet short.

It began with a false start, as Miguel Cairo reached on an infield single, provoking the loudest of several "We Want Cairo" chants among the remaining fans, only to have our hopes seemingly dashed by Victor Diaz's GIDP.

With the bases empty and 2 outs, Valent and Reyes hit consecutive doubles, bringing the Mets within 2 and the tying run to the plate. Matsui had already sauntered into the box and taken a few practice swings before Beltran, who was on deck, tapped him on the shoulder to tell him that his services were no longer required.

The crowd, at about half its original size, went absolutely bonkers at the sight of number 31 climbing out of the dugout. He didn't disappoint, drilling a grounder through the middle, scoring Reyes from third and prolonging the inning for Beltran. Carlos promptly roped a long single to right center, moving Piazza, representing the tying run, to third.

Pedro's rough first inning, and Smoltz's strong outing, which had made this rally necessary, had both all but faded from memory by now. It felt like the Mets had been down to their final out for a very long time, and in fact they had. Four hits later, it was clear that Braves closer Danny Kolb was throwing 94mph beach balls, and a comeback win was all but certain. Cox had seen enough, and brought in the unknown lefty John Foster to face Cliff Floyd.

Floyd, along with Wright, had carried the offense to that point, and doesn't struggle against lefties, so it was almost shocking to see him pop up Foster's second pitch to end the game. I was disappointed to see them lose, but left Shea completely cured of any fears that the Mets are still the team that could never really keep up with the perennial division champs. They are vastly better, and the Braves might be a little bit worse.


The Bravos got to Glavine in a big way this afternoon, as they always do. He's a spy I swear to God. Plus my boy Heath gave up a solo job to Andruw "Don't Call Me Andrew" Jones. Mets trail 8-3, but it's early yet.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Mets beat Braves... Despite Bizarre Lineup

Well I'll be damned. Another decidedly excellent start from Mr. Heilman.

The offense consisted of a 5-run outburst in the sixth innning, as the Mets chased Horacio Ramirez with a Piazza RBI double, followed by "back to back" 2-run jobs by Floyd and Wright. The 5-1 lead proved to be much needed insurance for Heilman's seven strong, as Roberto Hernandez (suspend your disbelief) nearly spit the bit by surrendering a 2-run homer to renowned slugger Pete Orr.

I confess I am partly happy to see Hernandez give it up in a situation where it doesn't cost the Mets a win. He really isn't good. He hasn't been especially good since 1999, back when he was only 34. To the extent possible, until Fortunato and Moreno get back, I would rather Willie not entrust too many vital innings to Roberto.

Of course, that two run lead shrank to one as the result of a couple of poor plays by David Wright at third. To that I say: BFD. The defense will come. Now can we talk about his being penciled in behind everyone including Chris Woodward in the batting order? I realize Diaz is also inexplicably hitting 8th, but he's on borrowed time despite his shocking, quadruple-espresso cup of coffee, so I'll give Willie a pass there. But Wright, besides being our starting third baseman (and no MLB 3B should be hitting behind Chris Woodward), also has his batting line up to .270/.395/.508.

Mike Piazza is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and he's been great as a Met and I wouldn't want anything to lower his morale... but he's also a 36 year-old catcher, and at this point it's only admitting the obvious to say that his days as a cleanup "type" hitter may be behind him.

What would I do with the order? I'm glad you asked:


I don't see the benefit of hitting Kaz Matsui 2nd in the order. He's not a good hitter (656 OPS), and in the current lineup he will come to bat more often than David Wright (903 OPS). There's no way Matsui's speed (and Wright has some himself) makes up for this obvious inefficiency.

Regardless, the Mets are sitting fairly comfortably at 11-9, a half game behind the JT Marlins and tied with the Braves, who will send Smoltz to the mound tonight against Pedro. It will be my first trip to Shea this season, and perhaps a unique opportunity to see both these guys healthy. I'm just kidding. Pedro's a rock.


Correction: Upon further review, if I'm going to yank one middle infielder from the top of the order on account of his hitting, I can't very well endorse Reyes, whose OBP=BA=.267, for leadoff duties. Let the two of 'em hit 7th and 8th. Neither brings much to the table these days except "excitement".

Monday, April 25, 2005

No Sweep

But two out of three ain't bad. The game on Saturday was pretty much stress-free, as the 6-run fifth inning put them up 10-0. Excellent start notwithstanding, it looks to me like the Nationals really are that bad. Unfortunately, so is Victor Zambrano, but the Amazins still took care of business at home.

A tip of the cap to Jae Seo, who apparently was "working on things" at Norfolk, where he had been carrying an 8.something ERA. Saturday's performance was downright Ginter-esque (OK it was much better than should be expected of any emergency starter).

Victor Diaz really needs to cut it out with this Manny Ramirez impression. We get it. They call you "little Manny." It's cute, but there's no need to keep the joke running into May, making everyone resent Mike Cameron for still being on the payroll. Seriously, there's no way this can continue. He's blowing the doors off his 90th percentile PECOTA projection, and it has to stop at some point.

Best case scenario? Cameron comes back, has another 4-HR game, and gets traded to the somewhat CF-needy Phillies for beastly-but-blocked-by-Thome 1B Ryan Howard. Not likely, I suppose, except for the part about Cameron coming back, but a guy can dream.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Over the line!

I can't get over this Pedro Martinez business.

29 innings, 38 strikeouts, 4 walks, 2.17 ERA. Allahu Akbar.

Not that they were relying on him especially heavily last night, as Mientkiewicz hit a grand slam(!), Beltran had a 3-run bomb, and the offense generally beat on Ol' Al Leiter like the proverbial redheaded stepchild.

But still, it looked like his days of fanning 11-plus per nine might have passed. His 11.79 mark at this point in the season is tops in the NL and second only to the One in Minnesota. Just as encouraging, his average start has lasted slightly over 7 innings while not exceeding 100 pitches (100.0 exactly). This is damn exciting stuff.

Of course he knows it, too. What were his thoughts on last night's performance?

"The game is pretty much over the line when they see a pitcher like me with such a big lead," Martinez said. "They're going to try to swing and make something happen. So I made good pitches."

That's right. This is a league game, Smokey.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Gotta love that Citizens Bank Park. Reyes (2), Diaz (2), Wright (1 but it plated 4), Piazza, and even Douggie Fresh helped themselves to the buffet of hittable pitches served up by Vicente Padilla and Gavin Floyd.

Young Diaz is going to make it hard to say goodbye. After last night's performance, he is now sporting a vicious .343/.452/.686 line. It's only 35 AB, but he's already taken more walks (7) than he did in his 51 AB last year (1). So promising, but doomed to be just that for a little while longer as long as Mike Cameron is making that money and practicing his craft in right field.

Victor Zambrano, for his part, was good enough, lowering his ERA despite allowing 8 hits and 3 walks over 6 innings (thank God for the unearned run), and striking out 5. At this point I should point out before Stumped1 does that VZ has a substantially lower ERA than Randy Johnson.

And who was that young man who pitched the ninth inning? Could it be? It was! (How heavily sedated does he look in that picture?) Ask and ye shall receive.


From the Post: Carlos Beltran, who only has one steal in 14 games, says there's a reason he hasn't been running much lately.

"No opportunities. If I see the pitcher's doing 1.1 or 1.2," Beltran said, referring to the amount of time to get the ball to home plate, "I don't want to try and steal a base and run into an out."

I love this guy.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Here's an idea

As a rule of thumb, why don't we put the best players in the organization on the major league team?

Since his much decried demotion, Heath Bell has saved three games for Norfolk in dominating fashion, striking out 11 and not allowing a single baserunner in 6.2 innings. As has been pointed out before, the Mets need to promote him and have him pitch the crucial innings that are now being entrusted to Manny Aybar and Mike Dejean. I would even submit, for your consideration, that the Tides may currently boast a better closer than the Mets.

I'd be more inclined to dismiss Looper's poor start if is his track record before he came to the Mets was especially impressive, but it's really not. His 2004 was far superior to anything he'd done for the Marlins, and will almost certainly go down as his career year.

His strikout rate was a respectable 6.48, a significant outperformance of his lowly 5.79 career mark. But even more dramatic was the improvement in his control, as he walked a Boomer-esque 1.73 batters per nine (his career rate? 3.25 BB/9). He may very well have "figured something out" that had eluded him for his first six full major league seasons. But it's hard to believe that the "old" Braden is gone forever, especially since he's already made a couple of appearances this year.

I'm not claiming that Looper isn't a valuable asset, but Bell looks just as good (far better so far this year), and his edge in strikeout ability may make him the most qualified righty to pitch the ninth.


From a reader to Buster Olney's blog (Insider, for some reason):

Eric (Simon?) from Brookyn:

I wouldn't say I'm a sabermatrician by any means, but I am beginning to look at it very closely, and your comments re: the Dodgers (I'm a Mets fan) struck me as premature. Now, I realize that -- as you clearly indicate -- it's difficult to predict what will happen on the basis of conventional wisdom as opposed to pure statistical data, but has the Dodgers play after their opening day loss effected the initial impression you took away from that loss?

Response from Buster:

Eric: I'm on the record as saying I thought the Dodgers' moves in the offseason were terrible. If they keeping winning, I'll look like a dope, without question.

I really blasted Buster for that article, and am not surprised someone called him out on the Dodgers' early showing (now 9-2). I especially like that Eric reminds Buster that his evangelism of conventional wisdom (as he sees it) was prompted by LA's opening day loss.

I give Buster credit for posting this letter and responding so frankly, but I still want to see him eat some serious crow on this one.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


What an emotional rollercoaster... Actually, that's not quite right. Rollercoasters go up first.

This is more like a slingshot, watching the team being pulled incrementally down to 0-3, 0-4, and finally 0-5, only to have some cosmic Dennis the Menace let go and send them hurtling back to five hundred, and at least one game farther, with more momentum than any 6-5 team should ever have.

How encouraging must it be for Willie and the Rich Boys to have already faced what could, God willing, be their worst losing streak of the season, and then turned right around and leapt within one game of the division lead?

I'm generally skeptical of intangible influences on team performance, but given the horrendous showing of the 2004 team, the "New Mets" (an annoying but accurate moniker) could ill-afford to fall too far back in April. Happily, now there's no particular reason to think they will.

I believe, as ya 'gotta, that the 2005 Mets are good enough to make the postseason. If the distribution of W's and L's falls in such a way as to convince observers and maybe some players of this, then I'm all for it.

Plus, Miguel Cairo aside, they are not cashing in on any improbable Brian Roberts-type power surges. Rather they've been counting on, and receiving, the expected elite performances of Martinez and Beltran, while still waiting for Wright and Piazza to rake a little. I would argue that even during the win streak they have underperfomed offensively, and that bodes well.

I did not have the pleasure of watching Heilman's gem. He couldn't have picked a better time to uncork what was far and away the best performance of his major league career. It could very well be the (authoritative) announcement of his arrival in the previously unfamiliar fraternity of quality major league starters. I'm rooting for him to prove himself as a late bloomer whom the Mets were wise not to give up on, but he's still got some serious proving to do. At the very least, he's earned the right to have his name written without a snide hyperlink... for now.

Meanwhile, Pedro may not be done yet.

** Sunday Game Update **

Marlins lead 2-0. Matsui has looked terrible on two defensive "plays" at second: the first an ungloved grounder and the other a high throw to Mientkiewicz that ruined a tailormade DP. It's getting hard to refute the argument that Kazuo is a liability rather than an asset, in the field and at the plate. Cairo may not be great, but he may deserve the job.

Burnett is dealing. Marlins now lead 3-0, and the streak appears to be in jeopardy. Unless of course they're just waiting for the 8th inning again.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Four in a row

On April 3, I would never have expected that 1) the Mets would be 4-5 at this point, and 2) I'd be ecstatic about it. But such an atrocious start will do strange things to a fan's perspective.

Jose Reyes's performance in the opening weeks has been much better than what I had prepared myself for. Or at least, he's doing about as well as one can when one stubbornly refuses to take a walk. He's batting .333 with an OBP of, you guessed it, .333. He's been at the center of the past two game-winning rallies, and while Phil Garner is right that he's not Babe Ruth, he's at least ressembling the Jose Reyes we'd been hoping for.

Speaking of Garner, he's apparently been studying at the Sour Grapes school of postgame quotes, last night's being "you can't defend a dribbler." I'm sure it's been done.

Hateration aside, the only thing standing between the Mets and a perfectly symmetrical first ten games is one Josh Beckett, who may not realize that the goatee is played out, but does know he can make hitters look even worse.

Thus far he is the top-ranked player per Yahoo fantasy baseball, which will happen when you still haven't allowed a run and rack up more K's than your lefthanded teammate. I'm keenly aware of this because I own him, and will simply have to root for the Mets to win on a couple of unearned runs.

Whatever. 5-5 or bust!

One last thing, I discovered this blog last night*. It's baseball related, but generally hilarious, and even has a daily mp3.

*Courtesy of Aaron Gleeman, by way of MetsGeek.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

TWC-Cablevision Petition

If you haven't already, sign here.

Some of the comments that people have included are worth reading. My personal favorite has to be signatory #1359:

Lisa T - This is a pile of steaming horsesh!#$

Tell it, sister.

A win by any other score...

So I was wrong about the whole "getting to Clemens" thing. A little wishful thinking on my part (no good can come of predictions like that), but the important thing is that they won in the end.

The game ball obviously belongs to Ishii, who went seven strong. Whether he's on or off, he will get his walks in - three last night - but two hits is very few and neither cleared the fence. A few more outings like this will go a long way to making us forget Jason... c'mon... backup catcher... Hey it happened already!

Anyway it was a scrappy (read: there was baserunning involved) team effort, helped along by four scoreless innings from the bullpen. What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, a sweep.

It's not so farfetched. I don't think tonight's game will be much of a pitchers' duel, as walk artist Victor Zambrano takes on home run specialist Brandon "Back Back" Backe, but I'm getting out of the prediction racket. Hopefully they'll make it 4 in a row, and get that serious, David-Wells-on-ice-skates momentum going.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Dontrelle Willis

So hot right now.

The Mets will miss him in the upcoming series, which is fortunate because he's mowing down the Phillies at the moment, including a three pitch humiliation of Jim Thome. We'll still have to face Beckett on Friday, but since Willie's sending Aaron Heilman to the hill to face him, I'm not real optimistic about that one anyway.

As for this evening's pitching matchup, we've got Clemens vs. Ishii.

I have zero love for Roger, and will be rooting especially hard for the Wild Thing to get the better of this one. Clemens has to lose it eventually, doesn't he? And Ishii's Ks can clean up the mess he makes with his BBs.

Would I put a wager on which one gets chased first? No, but as many have observed, the Astro lineup is not what it once was, and God, I just can't stand Clemens. Take your pick of reasons to dislike him: from the bat-throwing, to the child-naming, to the Texan-ness. I can see how people get excited about these things, but I'm not one of them.

As an aside, Phil Garner really needs to let Chris Burke start his career as a second baseman. It's time for Biggio to head to LF on his way to RET. And Willie Taveras? Yikes. I'm looking for Carlos and the boys to put a hurting on them.

Mets win 8-3, getting to Clemens in the 4th. Write it down.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

In defense of John Franco

Apparently Andrew at Chuck 'n Duck, whose stuff I usually enjoy and agree with, has unresolved John Franco issues.

Going beyond a Seinfeld-esque "what's the deal with the adoration of Franco?", he asks rhetorically:

"Am I supposed to forget that this guy blew save after save, game after game, stayed on long after he should have retired, took up roster spots that could have been given to better, younger players for five or six seasons?"

If you're suddenly wondering, as I was reading this, whether Franco's rep as at least a very good reliever was truly deserved, take a look. It was. As I wrote in my comment on C'nD:

As unspectacular as his K/BB numbers were, he was absurdly stingy with the longball. He never pitched more than 65 innings in a season, so I'll agree his impact has probably been overrated in some quarters. But saying he clogged up the roster "long after he should have retired" is ridiculous. Look at his age-38 season for the love of God, and he was no embarassment at 40.
Then there's the off-the-field attack, which is even more vague and impressionistic than the charge that he wasn't all that good. Even assuming his accounts of Franco "giving tickets to the mafia," and "terrorizing" Rick Reed for crossing the picket line have some basis in fact, they're certainly not as well-documented as his rather extensive charity work. At least there's some good secondhand testimony to back these things up:
"And add that to the fact that numerous former members of the organization (Bobby Valentine, Bobby Ojeda, even Nelson Doubleday) spoke out about the way Franco acted after they left the team, and I'm left with the perception that if Franco was born in California he'd be one of the most vilified Mets of all time."

Well apparently Andrew's going to try his best to make him one anyway. Bizarre.

Monday, April 11, 2005

That was fun

Mets win 8-4, powered by their 5-run eighth inning. The offense, as Gary Cohen put it, "was not a thing of beauty," and benefited from some horrendous outfield defense on the part of the Astros. But Glavine looked much better, and they pulled it out in the end.

It's officially a winning streak.

Everything's not lost

That's more like it.

It's unfortunate that we'll probably have to wait a while for the fellas to get back to .500, but they will, because this team is good.

1-5 start? I don't give a damn. Pedro looks like Pedro, Carlos looks like Carlos, and Doug Mientkiewicz is slugging .533 (here's hoping he keeps it up). I'm not going to get too worried at this point in the season. The Braves' magic number is quite large.

** Morgan Ensberg RBI double in 1st. Bummer. **

It does appear, however, that in light of Benson's pec issues, we may miss Matt Ginter more than I thought. I can't say with any certainty that he wouldn't have gotten served by Brian Jordan, but I do think he's a much better pitcher than Heilman.

Watching the broadcast of that game, which is a rare treat in the midst of the ongoing Time Warner-Cablevision spat, Tom Seaver was talking about AH using a new Rick Peterson-approved delivery, and looking more "facially determined" (which is key). But let's be honest about the former Notre Dame standout: he hasn't been good as a professional. Hey, at least we've got Steve Colyer lighting up the radar gun at Norfolk.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Buster Olney vs. DePo

It's kind of refreshing to read a guy who wears his antagonism towards the analytical/stathead community right on his sleeve. Buster is still mad as hell about the Penny-Choi deal with the Marlins last summer.

You'd think that maybe he'd wait for Dodgers second or third loss to string Paul DePodesta up from the nearest tree. But no, he's going to get his shots in early and often.

After stipulating that the conventional wisdom (or CW to Kaus readers) underestimated the Cardinals last year. He says it can be right, too:

"It would be hard to find someone in baseball who understood the changes made by Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta during the offseason." That's funny, because "out" of baseball, among the BP'ers and bloggers, there aren't many who DON'T understand those changes.

"The conventional wisdom is that the Dodgers are a mess... If the Dodgers return to the playoffs, DePodesta deserves all the credit, because he's made a lot of moves that are way outside of the box." A mess, huh? Go on...

"And, by the way, the conventional wisdom within baseball has many wondering how long he'll stick with Hee Seop Choi as his first baseman. Choi opened the season with three hitless at-bats and two strikeouts, batting in the No. 2 hole. The numbers apparently tell us he's an effective player. The Cubs and the Marlins watched him play every day, with his very slow bat speed, and saw something much different than what the numbers say, and both teams unloaded him."

Oh, the scathing skepticism, the unassailable logic of the argument! Please stop, Buster! You're shaking the cult of statistics to its very foundation!

As far as I'm concerned, this guy is a hack. He was when he wrote for the Times, and he will be at ESPN, whether or not the Dodgers make the playoffs.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

(Belated) Preseason Predictions

I really did mean to get these on record before the end of Spring Training, but I never did. So it may be seen as cheating, since I already know the Mets won't go 162-0, but here are my predictions for the 2005 season:

NL East*
New York

NL Central
St. Louis

NL West
Los Angeles
San Diego
San Francisco

AL East
New York
Tampa Bay

AL Central
Kansas City

AL West

NL MVP: Albert Pujols
AL MVP: Manny Ramirez

NL Cy Young: Jason Schmidt
AL Cy Young: Randy Johnson

NL ROY: Gavin Floyd
AL ROY: Dallas McPherson

* as revised Feb. 22. I'm not really down on the boys, but consider this hedging.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Aw jeez

Mets lose 7-6 after Dunn and Randa hit back-to-back 9th inning jacks off Looper.

It's probably a good thing that the site went down after the 7th inning (probably due to all the baseball blogging). That ninth inning would have induced something profane and poorly typed.

On the bright side, after Dunn's first, Pedro looked a whole lot like the 1999 model (mileage may vary), Beltran had a big day, and Matsui went deep.

But the 9th hurt like all hell. What's especially painful about this loss is that it appears to fit the prepackaged Mets storyline (see here), meaning we're going to be hearing about the shaky bullpen at least until May.

Except it really doesn't fit, because the lead was blown by our Closer, who was coming off an excellent season. The middle innings weren't the problem. Aybar gave up a run, but Koo looked outstanding in the eighth, striking out Griffey on a called strike three that Piazza couldn't handle.

I'm not really worried about Looper. He wasn't the first, and certainly won't be the last, to give one up to Adam Dunn. Said Looper after the game, "I've definitely given up my share of whatever you want to call it."

Well, Braden, I'd call Dunn's shot a "badonkadonk," but that's just me. Try not to serve up any more.

Once again it's on

**3:35 ET**

Pedro just struck out his 10th batter (LaRue), having been more or less untouchable since the mistake to Dunn. He's already at 82 pitches, tho, and not out of the 5th yet. I'd really like to see the offense get him a W. Actually, make it a dozen for Pedro. Oh what I'd give for 175 innings like this.

Cameron and Mientkiewicz both singled to set the table for David Wright. Back to the compucast...

**2:38 ET**

Mets trail 3-1. Adam Dunn is a beast, and it looks like he's starting to think so himself, doing a little "Cadillacing" after his absolutely-no-doubt three run blast. Pedro has settled in the 2nd and struck out three straight, though.

**1:40 ET**

Jeremy Bonderman looks nasty, even on the small, pixellated screen. He's struck out 5 through two innings, walking 1.

Oliver Perez is just getting started against the Brewers... just got his first of what will probably be over 200 Ks in 2005.


It's Opening Day, and the Mets are throwing Pedro Martinez against Paul Wilson. I'm a happy man.

Of course, if Pedro should run into trouble against the Reds lineup, which will be formidable until the injuries hit, there will only be eight relievers to call on. Yes, despite his rocky finish to the exhibition season, Fortunato has deservedly made the squad, bringing the number of pitchers to thirteen. And they said the bullpen wasn't deep.

The Yankees-Red Sox game last night was an exhibition of the truly awesome collection of baseball talent in the Boogie-Down. I found myself more than impressed, almost intimidated, by the sight of Randy Johnson sulking out to the mound, in what must be the longest pinstripes ever tailored, in front of a screaming capacity crowd of die-hards and celebrities. His control was actually a little off, as evidenced by the two walks and the hit given up to Jay Payton on a 1-2 count, but he still did his thing.

Between the hitting and Damon's struggles in center, there was nothing to indicate that the Sox are even better. Those two are really a division unto themselves, and it just plain sucks for the fans of their three little sisters in the AL East, and whoever wants to beat one of them for the title.

More to follow throughout the day...

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Ginter gone

In a two team blockbuster, Matt Ginter has been traded to the Tigers in exchange for 26 year-old reliever Steve Colyer, shifting the balance of power in the NL East arms race.

I keed, of course. With the acquisition of Ishii and the eventual return of Trachsel, Ginter wasn't going to be getting the call very often for the Mets, so I can't imagine he'll be sorely missed.

But it's becoming evident that it is now official club policy to acquire only pitchers with atrocious control. Zambrano, Ishii, Colyer... It makes me wonder whether Dae-Sung Koo (or Mr. Koo, as he's become known) walked 5 per nine in Japan but, like so many other imports, hasn't yet been able to duplicate those numbers here. If Rick Peterson really is a shaman of some sort, why didn't Oakland go after such guys, who could charitably be called "buckwild"?

Again, it's not a big deal, but the bullpen is not so bad that Omar needs to ship off a serviceable 5th/spot starter to add this kind of "depth".