Tom Seaver Fan Club

From Tom Seaver to Dwight Gooden to David Wright, A look at the New York Mets past, present and future.

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April 29, 2009

Mets pen and lack of clutch hits spoil Santana gem, Mets lose to Marlins, 4-3

by @ 8:33 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

The New York Mets greatly improved bullpen could not hold a 1 run 8th inning lead, losing to the Florida Marlins,4-3 Wednesday at Citifield. Mets ace Johan Santana pitched a strong game, going 7 innings while allowing 5 hits and 2 first inning runs. He struck out 7 and walked 3, while throwing 109 pitches(71 strikes). Fernando Tatis continued his hot hitting ways, going 3 for 4 with a homer.

The game did not start well for the best pitcher in the game, as Santana allowed 3 hard hit balls among the first 4 Marlin batters. A triple ,sacrifice fly and Jorge Cantu homer made it 2-0 Florida. The Mets answered with a leadoff triple from SS Jose Reyes and sacrifice by Alex Cora to make it 2-1. The game then became about the starting pitchers as as Johan and Florida stud Josh(2-0,2.60) Johnson(6 innings, 9 hits and 3 runs with 3 Ks and a walk) settled down and turn this into a old fashioned pitchers duel. 

The Mets tied the game at 2 in the 4th after C Ramon Castro knocked in Tatis(signle and stolen base to get to 2b) with a rbi single. Tatis brought the house down with a homer to left to lead off the 6th, making it 3-2 NY. However, Mets set-up man J.J. Putz walked the first two batters of the home 8th. After a sacrifice advanced both runners a base, Ross singled in both runners to make it 4-3. 

The Mets made it interesting in both the 8th and 9th innings but in what has become an alarming trend, the team could not get the big hit. The team stranded 14 runners , going 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position. OF Jeremy Reed tripled in the 8th but was stranded by Reyes and Cora. David Wright took a called third strike in the 9th, ending his tough day with 5 runners left on base and 2 Ks. Ex Met prospect Matt Lindstrom then retired pinch hitter Omir Santos on a pop up to end the game and deal NY a frustrating loss.

 

Star of the Game: Ross- Game winning hit for this scrappy, gritty ball player. A complete and total pain in the butt to play against who is a winner, typical, overachieving Marlin!

2nd Guess?: Mets Manager Jerry Manuel made the curious decision to pinch hit Omir Santos(cold as the bullpen catcher) for Casto.(2 hits,rbi)”I thought Santos had a better shot,” Manuel said. “When you have a little shorter swing you have a better chance against a guy throwing in the upper 90s [mph]. His Manager called him from the dugout  and used it as a stall tactic to try to get into Lindstrom’s head. “I thought Santos had a better shot,” Manuel said. “When you have a little shorter swing you have a better chance against a guy throwing in the upper 90s [mph].”

Game Notes: 1b Carlos Delgado and Luis Castillo remain out with injuries , Manuel hopes to have both back for Friday’s contest…This is the 13th game out of 21 that the Mets have played that has been decided by 2 runs or less…Team stole 3 bases…. The team is 6-6 at Citifield totaling 10 triples and 7 home runs with the huge dimensions

Santana stats: How good is this guy? 3-1 with a 1.10 era, 2 runs or less in 11 straight starts. Pen cost him 7 potential wins last season, including 5 9th inning blown saves. 1 loss in 22 starts!!!!

Next Game:

Team is off Thursday, travels to Philadelphia for a 3 game series vs the World Champions at Citizens Bank Park

Fridays pitching matchup

7:10

Mets Mike Pelfrey(2-0,6.32) vs Phillies Chan Ho Park(0-0,7.16)

Saturday game time 3:40 pm

Sunday game time 1:35 pm

Cantu’s 2 homers, 4 run 7th rally Marlins past Mets,7-4

by @ 7:18 am. Filed under 2009 Mets

1b Jorge Cantu broke open a close game with a huge 3 run  shot to left center in the 7th to help the Florida Marlins defeat the NY Mets,7-4 Tuesday night at Citifield in Queens. The homer capped a 4 run inning and spoiled a solid start by veteran Livian Hernandez (5 1/3 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs(2 earned) with 5 Ks and 2 walks). The win helped the Marlins avoid an 8 game losing streak.

The Marlins rallied vs Sean Green(0-1) in the 7th with 2 walks(including the dreaded lead free pass), an infield single and ground out ,setting up Cantu’s bomb. The homer seemed to sap New York’s energy(1 hit over the final 3 frames) and their  leader noticed.“Three runs shouldn’t be something that’s insurmountable,” Mets Manager Manuel said. “It appears when we get in that position, it’s an insurmountable lead. We have to address that.  I think our anxiety takes over at that time and gets in the way of us performing.”

Offensively, the Mets got 2 hits from Alex Cora(starting at 2b) and a two run triple from LF Gary Sheffield. CF Carlos Beltran, having a great season, walked and singled. 3b David Wright made his 3rd error of the season and it was very costly, as the Marlins scored an unearned run on the throw in the 6th.

 

Star of the Game: Cantu(3 for 3, 5 rbi)– A huge, underrated piece of an outstanding Marlins infield. Can hit the ball out to all parts of the park, just ask the Mets!!!

Game Notes: Team honored Sheffield for his 500th homer pregame…. 1b Carlos Delgado and 2b Luis Castillo missed the game with injuries. Manuel plans to rest Delgado in the series finale and proclaimed his hip good to go for Friday. Castillo could be back Wednesday with his back spasm issue… Beltran has hit in 19 of 20 Mets games…OF Daniel Murphy(.323) pinch hit in the 6th, hitting a single

 

Homefield advantage?: You have to start to worry about how Citifield is affecting this team. The Mets have 3 players who are locks to hit 30 homers plus Sheffield playing 2-3 days week. The team has not hit a single homer to a power alley, while collecting 8 triples.(6 homers) Sheffield’s triple was crushed and would have left Yellowstone. Winds have also made pop ups and flyouts an adventure. 


Next Game: 

Wednesday, series finale vs Marlins at Citifield,1:10

Mets Johan Santana(2-0,2.20) vs Marlins Josh Johnson(3-1,0.70) 

April 28, 2009

Battery of Maine and Santos powers Mets over Marlins, 8-1

by @ 7:16 am. Filed under 2009 Mets

C Omir Santos hit the 1st grand slam in the history of Citifield while starting pitcher John Maine provided a lift with 6 strong innings to help the New York Mets defeat the 1st place Florida Marlins, 7-1 Monday night in Queens.Maine and 3 relievers allowed only 2 hits while OF Daniel Murphy and 3b David Wright(2 hits, rbi) had triples for NY.

Santos, who was a Yankees farm hand for over 5 years and first played in the majors last year for the Baltimore Orioles, broke open a 2-1 game with a lined shot to left.  He signed with the Mets this offseason, why? “It’s a winning team, a great city,” he said. “You feel like home, because every corner that you stand, everybody speaks Spanish.” The popular backstop was treated to a shaving cream pie in the face by reliever J.J. Putz during his post game interview.

Maine was a huge part of this victory, winning his 1st game in 4 2009 starts. He was strong over 6, allowing only a single to 1b Jorge Cantu while striking out 4 and walking 3. He lowered his season era to 5.40(7.47 pregame) The promising righty thinks he might have turned the corner, “I think my first few starts I was really rushing myself,” said Maine, who threw live batting practice between starts. “For some reason, I just get a little too excited out there.”

Wright and RF Gary Sheffield added rbi hits for the winners, while the Marlins received a major scare when superstar SS Hanley Ramirez was hit by a pitch in the wrist to open the game. X Rays came back negative. The newly constructed Mets pen trio of Sean Green, Putz and Francisco Rodriquez closed  out the contest with an inning apiece,with K Rod striking out the final batter to post a nice team win for the Mets.

 

Star of the Game:  Santos- While make the skippers catching decision tough when regular starter Brian Schneider returns from the DL. “We want to take a good look at him,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “It will make for a tough decision.”

Perez Update: Manuel has decided that LH SP Oliver Perez next start(Saturday at Philadelphia) will determine his role. “I think it’s important, him being one of my guys, that I give him every benefit of the doubt,” Manuel said. “I’m looking at that Philadelphia outing as a big outing for him.” Perez is 1-2 with a 9.31 era this season with 18 Ks and 15 walks, The good news? He has a great track record vs the Phillies, posting a 0.35 era while allowing 1 run in 26 innings. 

Game Notes: 1b Carlos Delgado was a late scratch with a hip injury and will know more after an MRI Tuesday. The classy veteran experienced discomfort running out a triple Sunday…More Outfield defense misadventures in Citifield, this time  Sheffield dropped an easy out in the 1st. He later received 2 standing ovations for routine catches in the 7th. Manuel thinks the corners might be haunted, “There’s something going on out there. I got to find out. It’s only out there when we’re out there,” he said. “It’s not out there when they’re out there.”… The struggling Wright(1 for 12,6 Ks and no rbi over the weekend) was sporting a crew cut and seemed refreshed. It’s low maintenance. It’s hot outside,” he said. “Hopefully, it has some wins in it.”… 2b Luis Castillo left the game in the 5th with muscle spasms in his back

Next Game:

Game 2 of 3 game set vs the Marlins,7:10 Citifield

Mets Livian Hernandez(1-1,7.31) vs Marlins Ricky  Nolasco(1-2, 6.86)

April 27, 2009

Rookie Zimmermann dazzles for 5+, Perez awful as Nationals punish Mets,8-2

by @ 6:53 am. Filed under 2009 Mets

The Washington Nationals got a great performance from rookie Jordan Zimmermann and hit 2 home runs to help them defeat the New York Mets 8-2 Sunday afternoon at Citifield in Queens. The promising 1st year player had the Mets hitters baffled all day, mixing in offs-speed pitches with his 95 -mph fastball. OF Austin Kearns(420 ft shot by estimate) and ex Met farm hand Jesus Flores(3 rbi) homered for the Nats.

Oliver Perez struggled again for the Mets, putting his season era at 9.31. He was tagged for 7 runs and 9 hits over 4 and a 3rd. The controversial lefty signed a big $36 million dollar deal this offseason and his manager is more than a little worried,“I’m really concerned about him at this point. I don’t know what we do. I’m not going to come out and make a decision right now,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “I haven’t seen stuff yet. I don’t know what it is with Ollie. I’m going to sit down and talk with him and try to figure it out.”

Zimmermann was huge for Washington and gives that franchise a potential #1 starter,he allowed 6 hits while walking 2 over 5 1/3rd innings. The amazing thing is the kid had not pitched beyond Double A before 2009. David Wright’s childhood teammate, 3b Ryan Zimmerman had a hit to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.

Another problem for NY right now sees the franchise,Wright, in a major slump. He has been dropped to the 5th spot in the lineup and struck out 3 times Sunday.After striking out 118 times in 2008(career high), he has K-ed 23 times in 70 games. Asked if he needed a day off, Manager Jerry Manuel replied “I think I need one.” Wright also made a throwing error that produced a run and started to hear boos and catcalls from the 40,000 + fans.


Star of the Game: Zimmermann, a huge bright spot for  a team that is starved for pitching. Very impressive youngster who is a pitcher,not a thrower. 

Game Notes: Club designated LH specialist Casey Fossum for assignment, while purchasing the contract of LHP Ken Takahashi from Triple A Buffalo… No Mets batter had multiple hits… Rookie LF Daniel Murphy botched another fly ball prior to Flores’ homer.. Less than a week after not sliding or taking out the C at home plate, CF Carlos Beltran went in standing up on an attempted steal. “It was a mistake. I know that I should slide right there,” said Beltran, tagged out easily on the play.

Next Series:

3 Gamer series vs the 1st place Florida Marlins, Citifield

Monday, 7:10

Tuesday,7:10

Wednesday,1:10

Monday’s starters:

Mets John Maine (0-2,7.47) vs Marlins Anibal Sanchez(1-1,2.50)

April 26, 2009

Pelfrey and Church led Mets past Nationals,8-2

by @ 10:54 am. Filed under 2009 Mets

A return of #2 starter Mike Pelfrey from injury ignited the New York Mets offense Saturday, helping them defeat the lowly Washington Nationals 8-2 Saturday afternoon at Citifield in Queens. RF Ryan Church drove in 3 runs and the hometeam greatly benefited from 3 costly Nats errors. Pelfrey, making his return to the rotation after missing a turn with a forearm injury, was strong over 5 and 2/3rd innings, allowing 6 hits and 2 runs while walking three and K-ing 1.

The Mets bats jumped on Nationals starter Daniel Cabrera with runs in the first 3 frames, combining timely hitting with shoddy Washington defense. Mets 3b David Wright plated the 1st two runs on a fly out error to center. Church then drove in the Franchise with an rbi single to make it 3-0. NY added a run in the 2nd and 3rd on an infield single and another fielding miscue. A day after NY went 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position, stranding 13 runners, the team went 4 for 11, to raise the season tally to .253. “The last couple games we’ve been terrible — pretty much the whole season,” Church said. “Everybody knows that we’re a good team. I think once it clicks, it’s not going to stop.”

Washington scored single runs in the 4th & 6th  on rbi hits from talented CF Elijah Dukes.(Triple and single) The Mets added insurance runs in the 6th to make the score 8-2. Pelfrey was the key today, and his Manager sounded like a proud papa post game, seeing potential.”I saw good stuff. I didn’t see great stuff,” Jerry Manuel said. “He’s nasty right now, but he’s not filthy.” At one point , Pelfrey had 14 consecutive ground ball outs.

 

Star of the Game: Entire Mets team, competition(or lack there o f ) aside this was probably the best game they have played top to bottom this season. Good hitting , pitching and defense.

 

Game Notes:  CF Carlos Beltran(3 hits) is hitting an NL leading .415…. Mackenzie Brown, a 12 yr old Little Leaguer, threw out the first pitch after she threw a perfect game AGAINST BOYS!!!She met several players and her favorite, Wright, gave her a bat. Mackenzie and her family sat behind homeplate…Nationals are now 0 and 8 on the road and 3-13 on the year… Sean Green, Bobby Parnell and Brian Stokes combined for 3 1/3 innings of scoreless ball after Pelfrey… Tha Nationals have allowed 12 unearned runs in 16 games

Next Game: 

Conclusion of weekend series vs the Nationals at Citifield,1:10

Mets Oliver Perez (1-1,8.35) vs Nationals rookie Jordan Zimmermann(1-0,3.00)

Star of the Game #2: Brown… Sign her, Omar!!!!!

April 25, 2009

Santana’s big night helps Mets end skid, defeat Nationals, 4-3

by @ 8:46 am. Filed under 2009 Mets

Staff ace Johan Santana showed why he is the man Friday  night, helping the New York Mets end a 4 game losing steak, defeating the struggling Washington Nationals, 4-3 Friday night at Citifield in Queens. Santana struck out 10 over his 6 innings, allowing 6 hits and one run while walking one National. The potential CY Young award winner entered the game with a 21 inning scoreless streak in home games and allowed only a solo homer to Nats 1b Nick Johnson in the 6th. That homer was the first he has allowed in 7 starts and ended his personal 26 inning scoreless streak in Mets home games.

As amazing as this stat sounds, Friday’s game marked the 1st time all year the Mets have faced a left handed starting pitcher(Nationals Scott Olsen). Mets skipper Jerry Manuel inserted Gary Sheffield(RF,batting 6th) and Fernando Tatis(LF,7th) into the lineup, Tatis and 2b Luis Castillo paced the Mets attack with 2 hits. CF Carlos Beltran continued his hot hitting ways with a triple and rbi, while Castillo, 1b Carlos Delgado and OF Daniel Murphy added run producing hits.

This game again showed the Mets season theme — they cannot hit with runners on base or in scoring position. The team was 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position and left an incredible 13 runners stranded. A two run homer by ex Met farm hand Jesus Flores off of closer Francisco Rodriquez made it 4-3 in the 9th by K Rod recovered to seal the win and make the Nationals 3 and 12 on the season.

Star of the Game: Santana– He is the best, plain and simple. 3-1 with a 0.70 era this season.

Game Notes:

Mets starters not named Santana are 3-5 with a 7.32 era…Big day for the Mets Saturday and #2 starter Mike Pelfrey returns from his forearm injury to make his start…Team is hitting .288 but only .168 in Johan’s starts…Murphy’s rbi came in a pinch hitting appearance…Sheffield was presented a crystal sculpture pregame by his former club, the Detroit Tigers

Next Game:

Saturday,Game 2 of 3 game series vs the Washington Nationals

1:10 pm

Mets Mike Pelfrey(1-0,8.10) vs Nationals Daniel Cabrera(0-1,4.50)


April 23, 2009

Pujols stars as Cardinals punish Mets 12-8 to sweep 3 game set

by @ 9:32 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

St. Louis Cardinals superstar 1b Albert Pujols homered twice while the club pounded out 18 hits as a team to win 12-8 Thursday, finishing a 3 game sweep of the struggling New York Mets. OF Rick Ankiel hit two doubles and a homer, while 2b Skip Schumaker  added 2 rbi doubles of his own for the victors, who have won 7 in a row at home. The loss ,whichdrops New York to 6-9, was their fourth straight and 9 of 13. 

Do not let the score fool you, this game was over EARLY. The Cardinals scored runs in 5 innings and led 11-3 in the 6th when starter Kyle Lohse(3-0, 5 innings allowing 1 earned run) was forced to leave with a jammed knee. 5 St. Louis relievers followed and rookie P.J. Walters served up  5 runs on 2 home runs(2 run shot from RF Ryan Church in the 7th & CF Carlos Beltran’s drive in the 8th with 2 on)to make the score look good in the paper. THIS WAS BAD!!!

The common theme to this series for the Mets? Bad , ineffective starting pitching. Livian Hernandez was todays culprit, over 4 1/3rd innings he allowed 9 hits and 7 runs while walking 3 and serving up the 3 Cardinals homers.  The 3 Mets starters in this series- Jon Maine, Oliver Perez and Hernandez- posted the following stat line: 16 earned runs over 14 and 2/3 innings(9.82 era). The 3 Amigos retired ONE batter after the 5th inning!

Mets Manager Jerry Manuel is very concerned his starting staff and thinks he will meet with the club’s front office prior to the upcoming 6 game homestand. He is considering adding another arm in the pen but does not want to make a change in the rotation until the next turn. He was not happy post game, “They’re just going to have to pitch better,” Manuel said. “If it doesn’t get any better, then you have to make some adjustments. It’s that simple.”

 

Star of the Game: Pujols- Should be titled star of EVERY game. The Cardinals skipper  is a fan: “Perfect player, in my opinion,” manager Tony La Russa said. “We’re lucky to have him, believe me.”


Just Bad: Worst performance of the season BY FAR and only the late inning runs made it look respectable. It is only April but this team might need a serious jolt. The ghosts of 2006,2007 and 2008 do not help.

Game Notes: Manuel not only flip flopped Wright and Beltran(Carlos batted 3rd, David 5th) but he also inserted Gary Sheffield(LF), Alex Cora(2b) and Omir Santos(C) into the lineup… P Nelson Figueroa declined his assignment back to the minors and become an immediate free agent… Beltran had 3 hits while Wright and Cora each collected 2  

Next Series: 

3 Game weekend set vs the Washington Nationals at Citifield

Friday: 7:10 pm

Saturday: 1:10 pm

Sunday: 1:10 pm

Friday’s starters:

Mets Johan Santana(2-1,0.46) vs Nationals Scott Olsen(0-2,9.00)

April 22, 2009

Mets continue to struggle, Cards win, 5-2

by @ 10:55 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

St. Louis Cardinals superstar 1b Albert Pujols drove in 2 runs while starter Joel Pineiro went 8 strong innings for the victory, helping them defeat the New York Mets, 5-2 Wednesday night at Busch Stadium. The Loss is the third in a row for NY and they have been outscored 15-8 in those contests. After another rough outing by John Maine, The  struggles  of the rotation is a major concern right now , “Our starting pitching has to be something we can depend on and count on,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “Right now, other than Johan [Santana], for the most part it’s been a struggle.”

Pineiro was key and went 8 strong to give the Cardinals another strong effort, the team has won 9 0f 12 and 6 in a row at home. His stat sheet over 8, 6 hits , 2 runs allowed with no Ks and 2 walks. At one point, Pineiro retired for the  13 Mets on 35 pitches. The red hot St Louis offense plated 5 runs or more for the 7th straight game.

 Maine continues to have a rough start after coming back from last seasons late season arm injury.(0-2,7.47 era, 9 walks in 15 2/3 innings). He was removed with the Mets down 5-1 in the 6th. Over 5 2/3rd innings, the righty allowed 7 hits and 5 runs, while walking 5 and striking out 2. Maine tried to stay positive post game,”I know I’m a better pitcher than this,” Maine said. “I’m working hard between starts and I’m just not getting the results right now.A lot of times I’m making the pitches I want to make, I’m just a hair off.”

Offensively, The Cardinals got 2 hits apiece from RF Colby Rasmus and Pujols. LF Chris Duncan, INF Joe Thurston and 2b Skip Schumaker added rbis for St. Louis. Mets CF Carlos Beltran led the Mets with 3 hits and added an rbi. LF Daniel Murphy recovered from a rough Tuesday night with a solid at bat that produced an rbi single. 3b David Wright had a double for the Mets as well.

 

Star of the Game: Pineiro- Winner of 4 straight and is 8-2 at Busch Stadium.  Solid, underrated veteran who knows what he is and does not try to be Nolan Ryan.

 

Game Notes: Maine is now 0-3 in his last 5 starts…LH Casey Fossum and RH Brian Stokes did not allowed in runs in 2 1/3rd innings… Manuel plans to switch the lineup spots of Beltan(3rd from 5th) and Wright(5th to 3rd) in an attempt to jumpstart the offense 

Next Game: 

Thursday,Series finale at St. Louis, 1:40 pm

Mets Livian Hernandez(1-0,4.63) vs. Cardinals Kyle Lohse(2-0,2.57)


April 21, 2009

New York blows 4-0 lead, Outfield play again hurts Mets, Cardinals win, 6-4

by @ 10:02 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

The New York Mets slated to an early 4-0 lead, could not sustain the early momentum, allowing the St. Louis Cardinals to rally to a 6-4 Victory at the new Busch Stadium in Missouri Tuesday night. OF Rick Ankiel had the go ahead double, while superstar 1b Albert Pujols had 2 rbi. The St. Louis bullpen was key, going 4 scoreless innings, led by rookie flamethrower Jason Motte(first ML win with a scoreless 2/3rds of an inning in the 8th) and new closer Ryan Franklin.(3 saves in 3 chances)

The Mets jumped on Cardinals starter Todd Wellemeyer, scoring 4 times in the first 4 innings. CF Carlos Beltran, SS Jose Reyes, LF Daniel Murphy and 3b David Wright posted rbi, while 2b Luis Castillo continued his torrid streak with 2 hits in 4 at bats.(15 hits in last 30 at bats)

Maddening Mets LH Oliver Perez(DEREK LOWE, anyone?) was strong until he gave up a leadoff single to Wellemeyer!!(The Cardinal sin, no pun intended). After an out and single, Pujols doubled in 2. A walk, infield single and bases loaded walk(By new Mets reliever Casey Fossum) ended Perez’ sheet and tied the score at 4-4. His stat line: 4 2/3 rd innings, 6 hits and 4 runs with 4 Ks and 5 walks.

The Mets blew a chance to go ahead in the 8th, after a leadoff walk to Beltran and sacrifice put him at 2nd. Carlos tried to score from 2nd  when a errant relay throw rolled in from 3rd to pitcher. Mets killer, C Yadier Molina, apllied the tag for a huge out. Beltran, who is battling leg issues, did not slide and Molina, an excellent defensive player, did a great job blocking the plate.

J.J. Putz was the victim of misplayed triple in the 8th. Ankiel followed with a double to make it 5-4. Putz settled down and retired Pujols. However, OF Ryan Ludwick’s sacrifice fly scored Ankiel for the games final run. Franklin retired the Mets in order for the save.

Unfortunately for a promising rookie, this might have been the worst game of the season for LF Daniel Murphy. He was picked off first by the catcher, thrown out at the plate and made two huge fielding mistakes: throwing to the wrong base on a relay and his misplay of Ryan’s liner. “I guess I’m a little concerned,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “I have to be honest with you. He’s a hard worker. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. I think for the most part, I’d just like to see him relax.”

UGH: Without question, the worst loss of the season, mental errors and if this team made any of 4-5 plays specifically correctly, they win. “We had a four-run lead and we didn’t hold on to it,” Manuel said. “We have enough offense. We should add a run here or there and we didn’t do that.”

Hats Off: To Mets stand up set-up guy, Putz ,postgame. He defended the kid LF (It was crushed,” Putz said. “Those balls, line drives right at the outfielders, are probably the hardest ones to get a read on. It was unfortunate that he just lost his footing and the ball got behind him.”) about 9 days after staff ace threw him under the bus.(Murphy’s error on April 12th allowed a run to score)

Star of the Game: St. Louis pen, kept the Mets at bay and allowed the comeback(or implosion, depending on which team you support)

Game Notes: Mets #2 starter Mike Pelfrey threw live batting practice today and has no issues with his injured forearm. He will throw one more time but is on schedule to start Saturday vs the Nationals…Fossum gives the Mets another lefthanded option with Pedro Feliciano…Reyes,Wright,Beltran and Castillo all had 2 hits to pace the club… The loss is the Mets 3rd of the season while holding a 3 run lead, last season NY tied the Detroit Tigers with 14 such losses… NY is 6-7 yet has allowed the fewest runs in the NL. 11 of their 13 games have been decided by 2 runs or fewer

April 19, 2009

Brewers pitching combo of Suppan and Coffey to avoid sweep, Beat Mets,4-2

by @ 5:33 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

The NY Mets wasted a strong spot start by ex Brewer Nelson Figueroa, as Jeff Suppan and 3 relievers helped the Milwaukee Brewers win 4-2 Sunday at Citifield, salvaging the series finale of the 3 game weekend set. Figueroa, subbing for Mike Pelfrey(right forearm tendinitis), battled hard for 6 innings, allowing 5 hits and 3 runs with 3 Ks and 2 walks. His teammates felt for the veteran, “He did a tremendous job,” 3b David Wright said. “Feel bad offensively not being able to go back that kind of performance up.”

The Mets jumped out to a 1-0 lead after 1b Carlos Delgado doubled home LF Daniel Murphy, for his team leading 14th rbi. The Brewers scored single runs vs Figueroa on outs.(3rd inning ground out & sac fly in the 5th) Ex Met Mike Cameron hit a tremendous homer to left center in the 6th, giving Suppan the lead and runs to work with. The grizzled veteran,who helped defeat the Mets in the 2006 NLCS, spread out 8 hits over 6 innings, with 4 Ks and 1 walk. He was chased by a Omir Santos triple in the 7th. Reliever Mitch Stetter allowed Santos to come home after SS Jose Reyes beat out an infield single to make it 3-2.

The Brewers scratched out a huge insurance run in the 9th with veteran C Jason Kendall plating 2b Rickie Weeks vs Bobby Parnell. Brewers veteran RH Todd Coffey earned his 1st save in 2009 with 8 tough outs including Murphy and Wright to seal the win for Milwaukee.

Star of the Game: Suppan-Steady veteran who punches in the clock and gives an honest days work

Game Notes:Reyes hit the 1st triple in Citifield history in the 5th…Manager Jerry Manuel went with offense today, as Fernando Tatis(0 for 4) played 2b for Luis Castillo & Gary Sheffield gave RF Ryan Church a day off. This was Tatis’ first ML start at 2nd…Reyes and RF Daniel Murphy had 3 hits apiece….Wright went hitless for the 2nd consecutive day after getting hits in the first 10 contests

Something to store away: Team gets plenty of runners on base but has not strung hits together, going .236 with runners in scoring position thru 12 games.”We just haven’t clicked yet with runners in scoring position — and we will. We have too many good hitters,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “I can’t say that at this point this early in the season that I’m upset with anybody’s approach. I think it’s more into anxiety than anything. It’s wanting to get it done. And that’s not a bad thing.”

Who says life is fair?: Figueroa was designated for assignment post game while the team purchased the contract of LH Casey Fossum from Triple-A Buffalo to take his spot


Next Game: Team is off Monday, Before traveling to St. Louis for a 3 game series Tuesday thru Thursday, games 1 & 2 at 8:15 pm, Finale at 1:40 pm

Santana outdeals Gallardo, Mets down Brewers,1-0

by @ 5:02 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

Mets ace lefty Johan Santana pitched 8 superb innings and made one run stand up, helping New York defeat the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday afternoon 1-0 at Citifield. Johan seemed at home at the Mets new stadium, allowing only 5 hits and walking none over 7 innings.Facing one of the better lineups in baseball,  He never allowed a base runner past first and K-ed 7 Milwaukee hitters.

Santana’s mound counterpart Yovani Gallardo, one of the top young pitchers in the NL, was also outstanding. He went 6 inningsm allowed only 5 hits with 7 strikeouts and 2 walks. Pulled after 103 pitches,(64 strikes) he was replaced by RH Carlos Villanueva in the 7th. C Ramon Castro walked and was sacrificied to 2nd but an error by 2b Richie Weeks advanced the runner.( Omir Santos taking over behind the plate and running for Castro) SS Jose Reyes plated the games only run with a fielders choice to the pitcher.

The Mets new bullpen acquisitions J.J. Putz and Felix Rodriquez took over for the staff ace and made him smile. Putz was his dominant self in the 8th with 2 Ks on 8 pitches!!!! K Rod followed with a similiar performance but allowed 1 hit while striking out 2, including SS JJ Hardy to end the game.

Star of the Game: Santana-DAAAAAAAAAAAA

Game Notes: The Mets called up RH Nelson Figueroa from Triple A Buffalo to take Mike Pelfrey’s rotation turn, RHP Darren O’Day was designated for assignment to open a roster spot… 3b David Wright went hitless for the 1st time this season(10 games)… Reyes and 2b Luis Castillo both had 2 hits to pace the Mets attack.. Santos combined with Rodriquez for a key caught stealing in the 9th,as he threw out Brewers star RF Ryan Braun in the 9th at 2nd

Next Game:

Sunday 1:10 pm, series conclusion vs Milwaukee at Citifield

Mets Nelson Figueroa vs Brewers Jeff Suppan

April 18, 2009

Pelfrey to miss Sunday start

by @ 10:27 am. Filed under 2009 Mets

Mets #2 starter Mike Pelfrey, battling right forearm tendinitis, will miss his Sunday start, as expected, Mets Manager Jerry Manuel confirmed Saturday. The club did not announce who will take his start but with the Brewers being a predominantly right handed hitting club, look for Nelson Figueroa to be recalled from Triple A Buffalo post game Saturday. Manuel, who is cautious by nature, does not view this as a serious problem or long term issue. “If this was September he would pitch, no question about it,” Manuel said on Saturday.

Mets ride Sheffield’s 500th and Castillo’s clutch infield hit to defeat Brewers,5-4

by @ 10:15 am. Filed under 2009 Mets

In the most exciting game of the season so far, the New York Mets rallied to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 on a historic Friday night at in Queens. Recent free agent signee Gary Sheffield hit his 500th homer in the 7th inning to send Citifield into a frenzy. The crowd cheered again in the 9th when 2b Luis Castillo beat out an infield hit to shortstop, allowing 1b Carlos Delgado to score the winning run. J.J Putz pitched a strong 9th to keep the score tied and earned the win.

Mets starter Livian Hernandez had another strong start but made one big mistake to the wrong hitter to skew his stats.Thru 5 he allowed only a sacrifice fly but he hung a pitch to Brewers star LF Ryan Braun who hit a line drive 3 run shot to left. That was his last pitch, over 5 he allowed 7 hits and 4 runs with 3 Ks and no walks. LH Pedro Feliciano retired a batter while Sean Green and Bobby Parnell got the game to the 9th with an 1 2/3rds and 1 inning of shutout ball respectfully.

The Mets offense jumped on starter David Bush for 3 runs in the opening inning. The first 3(SS Jose Reyes, LF Daniel Murphy and 3b David Wright) batters all singled while a Delgado sacrifice fly and Ramon Castro bases loaded walk made it 2-0. Castillo plated the 3rd run with an infield hit.

With the Brewers now leading 4-3, Sheffield pinch hit and battled for nine pitches, taking and fouling off some tricky throws from LH Mitch Stetter. He then launched a laser shot to left around the foul pole, bringing the fans out of their seats. The homer traveled an estimated 385 feet and helped him join the other 25 members of the 500 homer club.”Just to join that 500 club, you know. Now I can say I’m in the club and, you know, it’s like getting your degree. Nobody can never take that away from you,” Sheffield said.

Delgado doubled to lead off the 9th, after two outs and an intentional walk, Castillo hustled to beat out a tough play grounder to shortstop.His manager beamed like a proud papa post game,”It was huge for him,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “He really has shown a lot of energy, you know, a lot of fight, and I kind of had the feeling that he wanted to be in that situation tonight, and that’s a good thing.”

Star of the Game: Castillo(.387)- a guy Jerry Manuel has supported from day 1 and has been key, offering quality at bats at the bottom of the order. He came into camp with a great attitude and in good health for the 1st time in years.

Something to think about: This team appears to be really together and they genuinely pull for each other. Whole roster came out to great Gary at home after his homer and Castillo is still being hugged and hammered at 1b. The leader in both celebrations? 3b David Wright. Even a grizzled vet noticed,“I was so excited that, you know, when I looked over to the dugout, those were the guys,” said Sheffield, who signed with New York on April 4 after being released by Detroit four days earlier. “I appreciate every one of those guys. They’ve been very special to me.”

Game Notes: C Brian Schneider was put on the DL with a back muscle problem. Triple A C Omir Santos was called up to take his roster spot. Look for Ramon Castro to get most of the work however behind the plateReyes had 3 hits to pace the Mets, Wright, C Ramon Castro and Castillo all had 2 hits…RF Ryan Church and Wright had 2 walks

Next Game:

Saturday, Game 2 of 3 vs the Milwaukee Brewers at Citifield

1:10 pm

Mets Johan Santana(1-1,0.56) vs Brewers Yovani Gallardo(1-1,5.52)

April 16, 2009

Mets jump out 3-0 but Maine cannot hold, Padres win 6-5

by @ 10:02 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

NY Mets 1b Carlos Delgado’s titanic 3 run shot in the 1st inning gave the hometeam early momentum but starting pitcher John Maine could not sustain it, helping the San Diego Padres pull out a 6-5 victory Thursday night at Citifield in Queens. The win also allowed the surprising Padres(7-3) to take the 3 game series(2-1) while San Diego ace Jake Peavy, the 2007 NL CY Young winner, was tough after his 1st inning hiccup.

After SS Jose Reyes and LF Daniel Murphy both reached base, Delgado crushed a pitch from Peavy to right, the ball traveling almost 450 feet. That was all the young veteran allowed over 5 innings, although he was touched for 6 hits and 3 walks.( He struck out 5) He constantly battled out of trouble(left runners on 2nd and 3rd in the 3rd and 4th innings) and struck out Mets superstar 3b David  Wright to end the 4th.”We continue to put ourselves in good position to win but we haven’t been able to finish,” Mets  manager Jerry Manuel said.

Maine was cruising along until the 3rd inning, when he was touched for 5 runs, on 2 walks, a sacrifice and 4 singles. LF Chase Headley had the big blow with a 2 run single. CF Jody Gerut, 2b David Eckstein and 3b Kevin Kouzmanoff all had rbi singles. Headley added another run with a rbi double in the 5th. Maine ended with the following line over 5 innings: 7 hits and 6 runs with 4 Ks and 3 walks.

Offensively, 2b Luis Castillo and RF Ryan Church both had 2 hits while CF Carlos Beltran walked twice. C Ramon Castro homered in the 8th with a runner on to cut the lead to 6-5. Ex-Met and new Padres closer Heath Bell earned his 2nd save of the series and 5th of the 2009 season retiring Murphy and Wright before getting a called third strike on Delgado to close out the Padres victory.

Star of the Game: Peavy, did not have his A + stuff but showed why he is an ace. CLUTCH!!!!!He made great pitches in big spots, boy, would he look good in a Mets uniform!

Game Notes: Mets starter Mike Pelfrey(forearm tendinitis) played catch pregame and maintains that he wants to pitch in his next scheduled start Sunday vs Milwaukee. However, Manuel is being cautious and wants to see how the injury responds to medication. If he cannot go, look for the club to call up Nelson Figeuroa to make the spot start….. C Brian Schneider(tight back) had a night off… The Padres got a treat at  Citifield postgame, no hot water in the visiting club house!… New closer Francisco Rodriquez struck out the side in the 9th and had the Citifield crowd going crazy

Next Series: 3 Games Friday thru Sunday vs the Milwaukee Brewers

Friday matchup, 7:10 at Citifield

Mets Livian Hernandez(1-0,2.70) vs Brewers David Bush(0-0,6.14)


Saturday and Sunday, 1:10 starts

April 15, 2009

Mets use strong start by Perez and big inning to get first win at CitiField, beat Padres 7-2

by @ 8:15 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

The New York Mets got a strong performance by erratic starter Oliver Perez and scored 4 runs in a strange 7th inning, to help them defeat the San Diego Padres 7-2 Wednesday night in Citifield. Perez, who struggled in both the World Baseball Classic(pitched for Mexico) and his first start( 8 runs vs the Reds in the less than 5), was on and focused, going 6 innings for the win. He allowed 3 hits(2 to SS Luis Rodriquez) while striking out 4 with 2 walks.  CF Carlos Beltran, LF Daniel Murphy and 1b Carlos Delgado all had rbi to help the Mets claim their first victory at their new 800 million dollar home, Citifield.

The Mets scored 2 runs in the 4th vs San Diego starter Kevin Correia, he allowed singles to Murphy and 3b David Wright, Delgado then followed with a walk to load the bases. Beltran singled in the games first run with a single to right.  RF Gary Sheffield grounded into a double play that scored a 2nd run to make it 2-0. The Padres scored a run in the 5th on an rbi single by Scott Hairston that was mishandled by the Mets on the relay to the infield.(Should have been out at the plate)

New York broke it open in the 7th when Padres reliever Luke Gregerson threw 10 straight balls. 2b Luis Castillo dropped a nice bunt intended to sacrifice the runners over but the ball found a hole to load the bases. Sheffield scored on a wild pitch and Murphy put together a nice at bat to score the 4th run with a sacrifice fly. A wild pitch allowed both Castillo and SS Jose Reyes(stealing on the play) to score.

San Diego rookie Luis Perdomo was welcomed to the majors by Delgado in the 8th, who sent his pitch into the 2nd deck in right field, only the seats stopped the ball from going to the Bronx! Just a tremendous moon shot. Great site to see Carlos playing this well this early in the season(25 total rbi in April and May 2008). Padres 1b Adrian Gonzalez matched his Mets counterpart with his own solo shot to right in the 9th vs Mets reliever Sean Green. Green settled down and  ended up striking out 2 batters in the 9th to close out a nice 7-2 victory.

Star of the Game: HUGE game by Olie and much needed with the bad news on Mike Pelfrey.  The kid has talent, just needs to be more consistent and the results will follow. Great sign that he pitched great vs a team that is bad. His track record is success vs strong clubs and failure vs lesser thans.

WOW: The pure speed that it requires for Reyes to score on that wild pitch play in the 7th, that man can run!

Game Notes: Mets starter Mike Pelfrey was diagnosed with right forearm tendinitis after undergoing an MRI. He is scheduled to start again Sunday but Manager Jerry Manuel is using a cautious approach and might put the promising righthander on the DL or have a spot startet pitch in his slot.”It’s something that we are trying to handle and deal with, and we have to be somewhat cautious because of what he obviously means to this rotation,” Manuel said. “We consider him the No. 2 guy. So we have to make sure we take care of this and take care of him.”…. Sheffield, who started 6 games in left for the Tigers last season, had not started in right since July 21,2007. The veteran, who is one homer shy  of 499, went 0 for 2 with a walk and run…. Ace Johan Santana and his wife had their 3rd child Tuesday, Johan Jr

Next Game:

Thursday, Series finale vs the Padres, Citifield

7:10

Mets John Maine(0-0,3.60) vs Padres Jake Peavy(1-1,3.52)

April 13, 2009

Mets rally but lose Citifield opener to Padres, 6-5

by @ 9:15 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

The San Diego Padres continue to play good team ball and used that to defeat the New York Mets Monday night, 6-5 in the opener of the new Citifield. Padres CF Jody Gerut homered to start the game and 4 San Diego relievers threw 4 1/3 innings of shut out ball to pace the visitors.  Edward Mujica(1-1) earned the win with a single out in the 5th.

Mets starter Mike Pelfrey struggled all night but went 5. After Gerut’s homer, he allowed 3 more runs in the 2nd, hi-lighted by rbi hits from 2b David Eckstein(2 run double) and RF Brian Giles(single). Padres star 1b Adrian Gonzalez capped Pelfrey’s night with a homer in the 5th. Pelfrey’s stat line over 5 innings: 8 hits, 5 runs with 3 Ks and 2 walks.

Offensively, it was the David Wright show. The Mets homegrown superstar 3b doubled in the 1st to post the first hit by a NY player at Citifield. 2b Luis Castillo drove in the 1st run in the 2nd with a double scoring C Brian Schneider. Rookie RF Daniel Murphy singled in another run in the 5th to make it 5-2. Wright then came to the plate with 2 on and put together a great at bat. On a 3-2 pitch, he homered to left to send the sell out crowd into a frenzy, tying the game as well.The blow chased Padres camp spring training success story Walter Silva, who was in line for his 1st ML win at the age of 32.

Unfortunately, for the 2nd consecutive game, an error by a Mets corner OF cost them dearly. Luis Rodriquez hit a deep drive to  Ryan Church that glanced off the Mets rightfielder’s glove. The error got him to third and he was then balked home by LH Pedro Feliciano for the final run of the game. Ex Met and new Padres closer Heath Bell closed out the 9th for his ML leading 4th save.

Star of the Game: Jody Gerut, got the Padres going with the leadoff shot , added a double and gunned down Mets SS Jose Reyes attempting to stretch out a single into a double.

Quote of the Night:“Right now it just seems like we’re a little off. We’re not playing a complete game,” Wright said.

Oh No!: Mets Manager Jerry Manuel expressed concerns about Pelfrey’s health post game:”We just haven’t seen the life in those pitches,” Manuel said. “We’ll have to really sit down and see if there’s anything wrong with him.”

Game Notes:  Mets legends Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza entered the field from center and threw out a ceremonal 1st pitch…. The club released PH Marlon Anderson over the weekend to open a roster spot for 5th starter Livan Hernandez…Mets ace Johan Santana was not with the team as his wife is about to have the couples third child… OF Gary Sheffield will start in RF Wednesday….Key offseason bullpen acquisitions J. J. Putz and Francisco Rodriquez made their home debuts with scoreless slates in the 8th & 9th… Team is off Tuesday

Next Game:

Wednesday,7:10, Game 2 of 3 game series vs San Diego

Mets LH Oliver Perez(0-1,16.62) vs Padres RH Kevin Correia(0-0,4.500

RIP Harry Kalas

by @ 12:23 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

Another huge blow to fans of baseball as legendary Philadelphia Phillies play by play announcer Harry Kalas collapsed and died earlier today. The 73 year old Hall of Fame broadcaster served the Phillies for 38 years, was found unconscious in the team’s broadcast booth around 12:30 pm  in Washington. This is the 2nd major tragedy to hit MLB in less than a week after the Nick Adenhart- Angels tragedy last week.

April 12, 2009

Santana’s 13 Ks not enough as Johnson and error beat Mets, 2-1

by @ 3:37 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

Mets ace Johan Santana’s 13 Ks were not enough to overcome an unfortunate error and a great performance by Marlins starter Josh Johnson, as the  Florida Marlins defeated the New York Mets, 2-1 Sunday at Dolpins Stadium in Miami. Johnson, who lost a no hitter in the 6th, pitched a complete game , allowing 5 hits and walking one with 7 Ks on 113 pitches. “That’s probably the best stuff we’ve seen against us in a long time,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said.

The 2nd inning featured the play of the game as rookie Mets LF Daniel Murphy appeared to lose sight of a fly ball in the sun and dropped it, allowing the first run of the game to score. C Ronny Paulino followed with an rbi hit to make it 2-0. Murphy offered no excuses post game: “It was lazy to the ball, and I was exposed for it,” Murphy said. “I didn’t get back, and it cost us two. It really put us in a hole. Inexcusable, and it can’t happen. Johan threw the ball really well, and he deserved a lot better than that.”

Santana was equally dominant, allowing 3 hits and walking 1 over 7. Bobby Parnell pitched a scoreless 8th to keep the score at 2-0. Johan’s loss was his first in 18 starts , winning 10 consecutive decisions. He was diplomatic after the game, “It’s just one mistake that he made that cost us the whole ballgame,” Santana said. “It was a fun game. Johnson did a great job, I was trying to do mine, and at the end he won.”

The Mets made things interesting in the 9th, after two routine plays to start the frame, 1b Carlos Delgado doubled to deep center. CF Carlos Beltran then plated the run with a single also to center. However, Johnson bared down and retired RF Ryan Church on a liner to left, ending the contest.

Star of the Game: Johnson, our easiest award of the season.  His 2nd complete game in 45 career starts was a gem. 

Game Notes: Mets stars-3b David Wright, Delgado and  Beltran- are now 5 for 45 vs Johnson, that is a .111 clip from your 3-4-5 hitters… Formers Mets ace Dwight Gooden was in the crowd… Johnson is now 5-0 with a 1.59 era in 6 starts vs New York..  Church hit his 6th double of the season… 2b Luis Castillo ended the no hit bid in the 6th with a broken bat single

Store this away: Murphy will become a star. How he handled failure today shows a lot and we have seen 100s of ML players who can never own up to mistakes.(Raise your hand, Mr. Clemens!!!) Its excuses, its his fault,etc… This kid owned it and has the right mental makeup to succeed in NY. Looks like David Wright is rubbing off on the rookie!

Next Game: 

Monday, 7:10 pm, 1st game ever at CitiField

Mets RH Mike Pelfrey(1-0,7.20) vs Padres Walter Silva90-0,3.60)


Hernandez curves, Reyes bat help Mets deal Marlins 1st loss of 2009,8-4

by @ 11:50 am. Filed under 2009 Mets

Veteran free agent signee Livian Hernandez baffled the talented Florida Marlins lineup with slow curves, while superstar SS Jose Reyes homered and drove in 3 runs, leading the NY Mets to a 8-4 victory Saturday night in Miami. Hernandez, who entered spring training without a guaranteed roster spot, was outstanding. He pitched into the 7th(6 2/3rds) allowing 6 hits and 2 runs while K-ing 4 and walking 3. Reyes led the attack with a homer and rbi double, scoring 2b Luis Castillo(4 for 4) both times. The loss was the Marlins first in 2009. (4-1)

Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco, one of the better young starters in all of MLB, continued his struggles vs the powerful Mets hitters. ( Career wise, he is 2-6 with a 6.36 era in 12 starts vs NY) Over 5 innings, he was touched for 4 runs on 7 hits, while walking 2 and striking out the same number. The Mets added 3 insurance runs in the 8th after back to back errors, a ground out and 2 rbi singles plated runners.

Star of the Game: Hernandez, another signing by Mets GM Omar Minaya, was huge.  If he pitches anything like this all season, he will win a lot of games. Just outstanding.

Game Notes: 1b Carlos Delgado had 3 hits and 2 rbi, he now has 8 rbi on the year….Team turned 2 double plays…. 3b David Wright’s 1st error of the season led to 2 unearned runs in the 9th

Next Game:

Sunday, 1 pm

Mets Johan Santana(1-0) vs Marlins Josh Johnson(1-0)

April 11, 2009

Mix of power and speed helps Marlins rally past Mets, 5-4

by @ 11:49 am. Filed under 2009 Mets

The Florida Marlins used the lethal combination of power(2 homers) and speed(pressure on the defense and bothering pitchers) to defeat the NY Mets, 5-4 Friday night in Miami. Marlins star infielders, SS Hanley Ramirez and 2nd baseman Dan Uggla, both hit solo shots off of Mets starter John Maine, while the team beat out several infield hits and took extra bases all game.  3b Emilio Bonifacio had 3 hits and 3 runs, scoring the walk off winner on a single by Jorge Cantu in the 9th.

The Mets had plenty of chances in this contest, leaving 14 men on base, stranding at least one runner an inning.”A couple of hits here and there, and we could have broken it open,” manager Jerry Manuel said.  All 3 NY outfielders- LF Daniel Murphy, CF Carlos Beltran(solo homer) and RF Ryan Church- had 3 hits to pace the attack. Unfortunately, the club stranded 2 runners in 5 of the final 6 innings.  Backup OF Jeremy Reed tied the game in the 9th with a great at bat leading to a pinch hit rbi single with 2 outs vs Marlins closer Matt Lindstrom.

Pitching wise, Mets starter John Maine threw a good ball game and showed enough to give NY fans hope for the 2009 campaign, after missing the last 6 weeks of ’08 with arm issues. He went 5 strong allowing only 2 hits(the solo shots to Uggla and Ramirez) while walking 1 and striking out 5.  Sean Green and Bobby Parnell got small balled to death, to give up a run each in an inning. J.J. Putz calmed things down in the 8th but an infield hit by Bonifacio followed by a walk set up Cantu’s big hit to left vs new comer Darren O’Day, making LH Pedro Feliciano the tough luck loser.

Star of the Game: Bonifacio, who is red hot, was a pain all night. A big reason the Marlins are 4-0, his 3 for 5 now puts him at .579(11-19) on the year. He has also scored 9 runs.

Mets Notes: Mets OF Gary Sheffield has 68 home runs in Dolphin Stadium, the most of any ball park…Beltran scored 2 runs… SS Jose Reyes walked twice… 2b Luis Castillo went 0 for 4 and is now hitting .100 on the year

Next Game:

Game 2 of 3 game set in Miami,Saturday, 6:25 pm

Mets RH Livian Hernandez vs Marlins RH Ricky Nolasco(1-0,7.50)

April 9, 2009

Perez done in by wildness and Votto, Mets lose 8-6 to Reds

by @ 9:02 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

Mets LH Oliver Perez was his own worst enemy Thursday afternoon as Reds 1b Joey Votto made him pay with 4 rbi, helping Cincinnati salvage the series finale, 8-6.  Perez lasted into the 5th but battled control issues all game,(55 strikes out of 100 pitches) Votto touched him for a 3 run homer in the third and added an rbi single in the 5th. Mets RF Ryan Church and 1b Carlos Delgado had 2 rbi apiece to pace the Mets attack. 

Perez, who was a controversial free agent resign by Mets GM Omar Minaya, has struggled in camp and that carried into the game today. His stat line: 4 1/3 innings, 5 hits, 8 runs with 5 walks and 7 Ks. His Manager Jerrry Manuel does not seem concerned however. “I was happy that we saw some glimpses of the old Ollie,” manager Jerry Manuel said, referring to his seven strikeouts. “I think he’ll be fine. There was enough there to say we should be OK.”  In Perez’ defense, the World Baseball classic was not ideal for preparing him for the regular season, he pitched twice in 19 days and is probably 2-3 weeks behind most starters schedule wise. 

Votto led the Reds attack and was the only regular to post double figure hits. Veteran starter Bronson Arroyo earned the win with 6 strong innings of 8 hit ball with 5 runs allowed. He struck out 4 and walked two, he kept the ball down getting 10 ground ball outs of his 13 total. The Reds strong pen followed and allowed only 2 hits and 1 run over the final 3 frames. Closer Francisco Cordero was dominant in the 9th, K-ing all 3 Mets batters. 

Star of the Game:

Votto-Best Player on the Reds in this series and he is one of several young Cincy players who show promise. Was excellent for Canada in the WBC and could hit 40 bombs.

Game Notes: Free agent signing OF Gary Sheffield made his first plate appearance leading off the 9th and took a 3rd strike… LF Daniel Murphy, 3b David Wright, SS Jose Reyes and Church all had 2 hits to pace the Mets attack…. Another strong game by the Mets pen, as 4 relievers combined to allow only 4 hits over 3 2/3 rd innings(no walks) with 5 strike outs mixed in… Alex Cora started at 2b,batting 8th,he went 0 for 3 and had a sacrifice fly in the 6th 

 

Marlins Series Preview:

All Games in Miami

Friday,7:10: Mets John Maine vs Marlins Anibal Sanchez

Saturday,6:10: Mets Livian Hernandez vs Marlins Ricky Nolasco(1-0)

Sunday,1:10: Mets Johan Santana(1-0) vs Marlins Josh Johnson(1-0)

Adenhart tragedy

by @ 8:30 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

Obviously a tough day for everyone who covers MLB with the tragic death of Los Angeles Angels SP Nick Adenhart. The amazing thing about this story is I actually watched about 3 innings of his start Wednesday. Life can be very strange. One thing I cannot emphasize enough is how bad drunk driving is. We have two examples in the last week or so with the NFL/Donte Stallworth situation and now this. If you want to have a drink, that is fine but please have either a designated driver or call a cab. You take your life and the lives of others in your hands when you get behind the wheel drunk.

April 8, 2009

Mets win #2, Wild in so many ways, defeat Reds,9-7

by @ 9:11 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

Game #2

The New York Mets won game 2, 9-7 defeating  the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday night at Great American Ballpark in Ohio. Carlos Delgado led the NY bats with 4 rbi(2 run homer in the 1st), while C Brian Schneider added a 3 run double. Mike Pelfrey earned the win over 5 after a 44 pitch first inning, where he allowed 4 runs and 6 men to reach base.(3 hits,3 walks)

Neither team seemed up early and this looked, at times, like a 2nd game of 162. The Mets jumped on 2008 All Star Edinson Volquez for a 2-0 lead as 1b Carlos Delgado launched a homer to right with David Wright aboard to make it 2-0.  Pelfrey was rocked for 3 runs immediately(1st three Reds all reached) as Joey Votto crushed a ball to left center to make it 3-2 Reds. A fielders choice netted another run and it was 4-2 Cincy in the 1st. Pelfrey settled down(2 hits and 1 walk over the final 4 innings),kepping the margin workable for the Mets bats.

Volquez did not have his “A” game stuff, as he struggled into the 5th, allowing 6 hits and 5 runs(4 earned) with 4 walks and 4 Ks. He was worked hard by the patient NY attack and labored thru 107 pitches.(60 strikes) NY plated the decisive runs in the 7th vs the Reds pen, punctuated by Schneider’s huge bases clearing hit. 

The Reds did not die easy and managed to score 3 runs in the 7-8th innings vs new comers Sean Green and J.J. Putz. New closer Francisco Rodriquez made a few hearts skip as his control problems( 2 walks, only 12 of 30 pitches strikes) had fans thinking of 2008.(Mets blew an NL high 16 saves after the All Star break) A shaky call by the umpires robbed the Mets off an out but with the bases loaded, K Rod showed why got that big contract. He struck out SS Alex Gonzalez with a high fast ball and then got Lance Nix to fly out to CF Carlos Beltran to end the game and give the New Yorkers their 2nd win in as many games.

 

Star of the Game:

Schneider, who is dealing with several newcomers among in the battery, delivered a key hit. Underrated player who can hit .250 and help this team win a lot of games.

Game Notes: 

Wright scored 3 runs… Gary Sheffield worked out extensively in the outfield pre-game and Manager Jerry Manuel said he could start Sunday…. Reds strained 11 runners, including the end of the game fly out with the bases full…. Injured Mets ex-closer Billy Wagner, 7th months removed from major arm surgery, will throw off a mound Tuesday and hopes to contribute this season. 

Next Game:

Thursday, Series finale vs the Reds

Mets LH Oliver Perez vs Reds RH Bronson Arroyo

Derek Zike

by @ 1:28 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

I would like to ask all of my readers to check out my good buddy Derek Zike’s website— derekzike.com. Derek is a 17 yr old hockey player who was injured in a game at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube earlier this winter. He suffered a serious spinal chord injury but has made great progress, returning to his home state of Illinois today. What he needs right now is your help and support, so please help him and his great family in anyway you can. 

THANKS!!!!

J

April 6, 2009

2009 Season Dedication

by @ 7:50 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

I would like to dedicate this season’s posts to my Aunt Theresa Connolly, who passed away last November. You could talk to her about anything and everything, she was a big supporter of my love of sports and I would not be doing this type of thing without her encouragemnet. I hopefully bring her sense of humor and perspective to this site.  She was a huge personality and great Mother who is missed by everyone. I love  and miss you, Aunt Theresa!

Murphy’s bat helps Johan and the “new” pen lead Mets over Reds 2-1 in season opener

by @ 7:42 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

Rookie LF Daniel Murphy homered and drove in both runs to provide the offense while 4 Mets pitchers combined to allow 3 hits, helping them defeat the Cincinnati Reds, 2-1 at Great American Ball Park in Ohio. Ace Lefty Johan Santana pitched great for 5 2/3 and 3 relievers followed with hitless ball.

After a great at bat, Murphy crushed a ball to right off of Aaron Harang(5 IP, 7 hits, 1 run, 3 walks and 2 Ks) to put the New Yorkers up 1-0 in the 5th. Murphy then drove in the Luis Castillo(double) with a ground out in the 6th vs the Reds Pen. The Mets had 9 hits, paced by 2 apiece from 1b Carlos Delgado and RF Ryan Church. The also drew 7 walks, led by David Wright’s 2.

Santana was Santana and looking to be in midseason form vs a tough lineup in a hitters park. He threw 99 pitches(62 strikes) allowing 3 hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out 7 and walked 4, allowing only a sacrifice fly 2b Brandon Phillips. The Mets then saw upclose and personal the offseason bullpen acquisitions as Sean Green(1 1/3), J. J. Putz(1 inning,1 K) and new closer Francisco Rodriquez (1 inning) followed and did not allow a single hit. K Rod put a cherry on the sundae striking out C Ramon Hernandez swinging to end the contest to earn his 1st NL save.

Star of the Game: Manager Jerry Manuel and GM Omar Minaya, both deserve a lot of credit for the offseason moves that helped this team win today. Minaya traded for Green and Putz and signed K Rod as well. He also stuck to his guns and kept  Castillo at 2b, who had a quietly effective game(Robbed of a bunt hit on a great fielding play by Reds 3b Edwin Encarnacion). Manuel ran a great camp and named Murphy his left fielder early in Spring Training to boost the youngsters confidence.

Game Notes: Santana has gone 18 starts without a loss(10-0 in that streak)….Mets are now 31-17 on opening day, the best record in MLB…Team left 12 on base…Wright and Church both had great defensive plays. Wright made a liner stop and throw while Church had a great diving catch and doubled off a runner at 1st… Team is off Tuesday

Next Game

Wednesday, 7:10 pm

Mets Mike Pelfrey vs Reds Edinson Volquez

April 5, 2009

2009 MLB Preview: National League Preview

by @ 10:13 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

 

NL Awards

NL MVP: 3b David Wright, NY Mets- Was a quiet leader on  Team USA in the WBC and will carry that into the season. Would have won the award in 2007 but the last week of the season happened. Something to think about: His call to Gary Sheffield sealed the deal and got the veteran to sign. 

Darkhorse: LF Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers- I feel this team will be better than most and love this talent. Was a hidden star in the WBC as well.

CY Young: Johan Santana, NY MetsWas robbed of this award by his pen and idiots in the media who voted for a kid who pitched for a team that was eliminated on Memorial Day(ZERO MEANINGFUL GAMES). Could win 25 games with this relief corps. 

Darkhorse: Ricky Nolasco, Florida Marlins- Among the top 10 pitchers in the NL last season and posted great stats(15-8,3.52 with 192 ks). Great arm and stuff on an underrated team.

Rookie of the Year: 3b Pablo Sandoval, SF GiantsAmazing batting record(AA, AAA and ML batting averages of .337,.359,.345) on a team that needs several kids to contribute this season. Could make the all star team.

Darkhorse: RP Jason Motte, St. Louis Cardinals- Has won the closer’s job and has a power arm(110 Ks in 66 2/3 innings in Triple A as well as 16 in 11 ML innings) that could help him save 30 plus games.

 

Division Predictions:

NL East:

1- New York Mets(World Series Champion)

Strengths: Top starting pitcher in NL in Johan Santana…. 3 of the top 20 players in the NL in 3b David Wright, CF Carlos Beltran and SS Jose Reyes… Good team speed and athleticism…. Bullpen was  a mess after Billy Wagner blew out his arm and the club added 2 elite closers in J.J.  Putz and Francisco Rodriquez… 1st full season with popular players type manager in Jerry Manuel

Weaknesses: Two awful collapses of 2007 and 2008 puts a tremendous amount of pressure on this club… Rotation spots 2-4 good, not great…. Right side of the infield defense is very average and lacks range… 5th starter Livan Hernandez is actually 150 years old…. Could face growing pains with new CitiField

FEARLESS PREDICTION: Rookie LF Daniel Murphy hits 40 doubles and becomes a quick fan favorite. Team is short in starting pitching and trades for San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy mid-season.


2- Philadephia Phillies

Strengths: Defending champions… Deep and talented bullpen, led by perfect closer Brad Lidge(ZERO blown saves in 2008)… Elite leadoff man in SS Jimmy Rollins…. Good rotation 1-5… Best right side of the INF in the NL in Ryan Howard and Chase Utley… Added an underrated RBI and clubhouse man in LF Raul Ibanez(also get him cheap!!!!)

Weaknesses: Health issues with ace Cole Hamels(elbow) and star 2b Utley(hip surgery)… Lineup is a bit too lefthanded without Mets killer Pat Burrell… Top set up man JC Romero is suspended for the 1st 50 games after a drug suspension…. Ballpark is a lanching pad and not ideal for young pitching

 

3-Florida Marlins

Strengths: Great Young pitching, led by Nolasco and Josh Johnson….Amazing talent in SS Hanley Ramirez… Team has both power and speed…. Excellent farm system…. Could top 100 home runs from the infield alone

Weaknesses: Bad defensive team… Uncertain closer situation with Matt Lindstrom battling arm issues… Team strikes out a lot…. Could use a veteran starting pitcher

 

4- Atlanta Braves

Strengths: Everday lineup has a good blend of veterans and kids…Elite C in Brian McCann… Added 3 solid starters to the rotation in veterans Derek Lowe and Javier Vasquez and asian star Kenshin Kawakami… Great young players on the roster, including starting CF Jordan Schafer… Outstanding veteran manager in Bobby Cox

Weaknesses: Unsettled relief unit with new closer Mike Gonzalez in his 1st full season after major arm surgery… Not much team power… Loss of key veteran leader John Smoltz… Very tough division

 

5- Washington Nationals

Strengths: 3b Ryan Zimmerman…. Potential rookie of the year in OF Lastings Milledge… Talented corner OFs in FA signing Adam Dunn and young veteran Elijah Dukes… Good young closer in Joel Hanrahan… Good farm system

Weaknesses: Awful starting pitching… Not much in the pen….Retreads and 4 A players at some everyday positions… Money issues

 

NL Central

1- Chicago Cubs

Strengths: Good, balanced everyday lineup with power, speed and defense…. Talented rotation with variety of approaches… Power armed pen…. Veteran manager in Lou Piniella… Good farm system will allow them to make trades as needed 

Weaknesses: Stigma of losing!!! If you watched any Cubs playoff games, you know what I am talking about…..Health issues of star 1b Derek Lee(hip)…. CF Kosuke Fukodome is no Ichiro, way overhyped!… RP Carlos Marmol opened camp as the closer and was poor in the WBC. He then lost his job to veteran Kevin Gregg, who was outstanding in spring

 

2- Cincinnati Reds

Strengths: Team has a nice blend of kids and veterans with power and speed…. Underrated talent in 2b Brandon Phillips….Great kid power bats in 1b Joey Votto and RF Jay Bruce… Added a solid offensive catcher in Ramon Hernandez via trade…. 3 excellent young starting pitchers, led by all star Edinson Volquez… Good pen led by closer Francisco Cordero… Players love to play for Dusty Baker

Weaknesses: Top 2 starters, RH Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo both had tough 2008 seasons…. Infield defense is erratic… Team struggles away from home(64-98 compared to 82-80).. Leadoff man CF Willy Tavarez does not get on base(.308 OBA)

 

3- Milwaukee Brewers

Strengths: Very good everyday lineup, hilighted by Braun, 1b Prince Fielder and SS J.J. Hardy…. Potential ace in Yovani Gallardo… Team will score runs with strong mix of power and speed…Better rotation than you think with veterans Jeff Suppan, Braden Looper joining kids Dave Bush and LH Manny Parra… Added veteran career saves leader Trevor Hoffman

Weaknesses: Lost #1 and #2 starters in CC Sabathia and long time Brewer Ben Sheets…. Hoffman has a muscle strain in his side and could miss 2-3 weeks… Bullpen is not great… Defense can be an issue outside of gold glove calibre CF Mike Cameron

 

4- St. Louis Cardinals

Strengths: Best Player in the game in 1b Albert Pujols…. Solid rotation that is always better than u think thanks to brilliant pitching coach Dave Duncan… Good team power with OFs Ryan Ludwick and Rick Ankiel leading the way… Potential of SS Khalil Greene… Leadership of Manager Tony Larussa

Weaknesses: Health issues of ace Chris Carpenter and 3b Troy Glaus…. Bullpen was a disaster last season and now turns to a rookie to be the answer….. Converted OF Skip Schumaker is attempting to play 2b

 

5-Houston Astros 

Strengths: Good Power corner OFs in Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee…. Stud ace in Roy Oswalt… Power armed closer Jose Valverde…. Great 1b in Lance Berkman… I like Manager Cecil Cooper

Weaknesses: Questions about 2-5 spots of the rotation… Do not get much out of CF and 3b… 2b Kaz Matsui usually misses a lot of games with injuries… Team does not have much cash

 

6- Pittsburgh Pirates

Strengths: Better everyday lineup than you think, led by stud CF Nate McLouth and C Ryan Doumit…. Good middle infield defense in SS Jack Wilson and 2b Freddy Sanchez…. #1 starter Paul Maholm is excellent…. Good 8th -9th inning relied tandem in John Grabow and closer Matt Capps

Weaknesses: Very poor 2-5 rotation spots with some kids who have completely regressed…. Team does not spend… Not much power or speed… Losing culture without a winning record since 1992

STORE THIS AWAY: This team has some young talent not far away, OFs Nyjer Morgan and Andrew McCutchen have speed and power while 1st overall pick 3b Pedro Alvarez has amazing potential. Their is hope, Pirates fans!!!

 

NL West

1- Arizona Diamondbacks

Strengths: Outstanding rotation led by ace Brandon Webb and Dan Haren…. Several everyday position players with upside including SS Stephen Drew, CF Chris Young and RF Justin Upton…Good pen with veteran Chad Qualls closing… Solid Manager in Bob Melvin

Weaknesses: Team strikes out a ton and does not manufacture runs…Young kids make errors(4th most errors) and in key spots…. Could use a veteran bat…. Key veteran reliever Tom Gordon has a history of elbow issues

 

2- Los Angeles Dodgers(Wild Card Team)

Strengths:  Manny Ramirez for a full season…. 3 kids with tremendous talent, 1b James Loney, CF Matt Kemp and RF Andre Ether…. Power arm closer Jonathan Broxton…. Stud C Russell Martin… Good vets at 2b(Orlando Hudson) and 3b(Casey Blake)

Weaknesses: Manny Ramirez for a full season!!!! Remember, he quit 2 of the past 3 years…. Lost a lot in the rotation this offseason with veterans Derek Lowe and Brad Penny signing with other teams… SS Rafael Furcal has battled health issues and is a key contributor

 

3- San Francisco Giants

Strengths: Excellent pitching staff, led by CY Young Tim Lincecum. Matt Cain and newcomer HOF LH Randy Johnson…. Bullpen added vets Jeremy Affeldt and Bobby Howry to the 2nd worse pen in the NL ERA wise… Good young talent entering the lineup, particularily in the INF(2b Emanuel Burriss, 1b Travis Ishikawa, 3b Pablo Sandoval)…. Excellent C in Bengie Molina

Weaknesses: This is a bad offense, do not score runs … Not much power or speed(Kids might help with both)…. 2 of the worst contracts((SP Barry Zito and SS Edgar Renteria) in the game after 2 consecutive AWFUL offseason signings… Cannot sustain injuries 

FEARLESS PREDICTION:This team will be in contention into September but the lack of offense will kill this team. Anyone have Barry Bonds number?

 

4- San Diego Padres

Strengths:  1b Adrian Gonzalez….. LF Chase Headley can hit…. Top 2 starters, veterans Jake  Peavy and Chris Young, are among the best in the game…. 1st year closer Heath Bell has talent…. Good team speed and power 

Weaknesses: Pitching could be awful, with awful spring stats(7.28 era going into the final week)…. OF does not excite me….No 5th starter… Big PR hit with the mishandling of HOF closer Trevor Hoffman

 

FEARLESS PREDICTION: This team posts the worst record in the sport and tops 100 losses.

 



Mets News: Sheffield signed, Final roster, Opening Day Lineup

by @ 8:17 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

Busy week for the New Yorkers as they closed camp , opened the new CitiField for some final tuneups while signing a potential hall of famer to finalize their roster. The club shockingly signed OF Gary Sheffield Friday, a couple of days after he was released from the Detroit Tigers earlier in the week. The 40 year old controversial slugger has 499 career homers but has battled injuries for the last 3 years. He will play some RF according to Manager Jerry Manuel. 

In order to make room for Sheffield, the teams sent INF-OF Nick Evans to Triple A Buffalo Sunday. The current roster carries only 4 starting pitchers and will need to open a roster spot when 5th starter Livan Hernandez turn comes up. PH-INF Marlon Anderson appears to be the odd man out. The club placed 3 veterans on the 15 day DL: OF Angel Pagan, RP Billy Wagner and SP Tim Redding.

New York Mets 2009 Opening Day Roster

Pitchers(11):

Johan Santana

John Maine

Oliver Perez

Mike Pelfrey

Francisco Rodriquez

J. J. Putz

Sean Green

Pedro Feliciano

Bobby Parnell

Brian Stokes

Darren O’Day

 

Catchers(2):

Ramon Castro

Brian Schneider

 

Infielders(5):

Luis Castillo

Alex Cora

Carlos Delgado

Jose Reyes

David Wright

 

Outfielders(6):

Marlon Anderson

Carlos Beltran

Ryan Church

Daniel Murphy

Jeremy Reed

Gary Sheffield

Fernando Tatis

 

Reds series notes: Monday(Weather permitting) LHP Johan Santana(16-7,2.53) vs  Reds RHP Aaron Harang(6-17,4.78) …. Tuesday off… Wednesday RHP Mike Pelfrey(13-11, 3.72) vs Reds  RHP Edinson Volquez(17-6,3.21)…. Thursday LH Oliver Perez(10-7,4.22) vs RH Bronson Arroyo(15-11,4,77)

 

OPENING DAY LINEUP

1- SS Jose Reyes

2- LF Daniel Murphy

3- 3b David Wright

4- 1b Carlos Delgado

5- CF Carlos Beltran

6- RF Ryan Church

7- C Brian Schneider

8- 2b Luis Castillo

9- SP Johan Santana 



April 2, 2009

2009 MLB Preview: American League

by @ 8:14 pm. Filed under 2009 Mets

AL Awards

MVP: Jason Bay, Boston Red SoxI covered this guy in Pittsburgh and he is a tremendous player. Can post 140 RbI on that team.

Darkhorse:Josh Hamilton, TexasThey get any pitching at all, that team can be a division winner. 150 RBI possible for this amazing talent

CY Young: Francisco Liriano,Minnesota TwinsFully back from arm surgery and has a great support unit in the pen…..

Darkhorse:Zach Greinke, Kansas City RoyalsStarted to put it together in the 2nd half and has a vastly improved team behind him

Rookie of the Year: C Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles-Sent down ala Evan Longoria but will be up and hit around .280-20-80

Division Predictions:

AL East:

1- Boston Red Sox (AL Champion)

Strengths: Deep Pitching in both rotation and bullpen plus a good mix of veterans and kids…. Excellent defense…. Solid,balanced lineup…Great management and bench staff led by Tito Francona …No Manny Ramirez distractions

Weaknesses: Not a great power, homer team…. Injury comebacks to key bats and leaders in DH David Ortiz and 3b Mike Lowell…Injury concerns with RF JD Drew… Weak bench/depth of ML position players  on roster

2- Tampa Rays

Strengths: Excellent top 3 of the rotation…. Athletic team on both the bases and in the field…. Very deep and talented bullpen until the 9th inning….Won AL last season without an everyday player having a “career” season… Deep talented farm system… Added a solid veteran power bat in Pat Burrell… Great manager in Joe Maddon

Weaknesses: U tell me who doesnt belong: Jonathan Papelbon, Mariano Rivera, BJ Ryan and 85 yr old Troy Percival. In a word, CLOSER!!!… Average power…Health of LH SP Scott Kazmir is always an issue…. Expectations!!! They will not sneak up on anyone this season

3- NY Yankees

Strengths: $$$$$$$$$, Have far and away the largest payroll in the game and with the nation in economic straits, they can shop at bargain basement prices when teams sell this trade deadline…Potentially dominant top 5 rotation…. HOF closer in Mo Rivera… Solid lineup… 1b Mark Teixeira is an elite talent and shores up a leaky infield D

Weaknesses: A Rod, no further explanation needed…. Older veteran team that is slow and unathletic… Middle infield defensive range… Unsure and unsettled 7th and 8th inning relief corps…Not sold on  Manager Joe Girardi,whose thin skin does not fit in NYC… Major questions with every starting pitcher: Can Sabathia pitch that well in the AL? Can Burnett stay healthy?(10 DL stints in 10 seasons)? Can Wang come back from a major injury? When will the NYY realize Joba Chamberlain helps this team more in 80 games than 25? Can Andy Pettitte hold up for 32 starts?

FEARLESS PREDICTION: Girardi joins the millions of unemployed Americans by June(Willie Randolph brought back?)

4th-Toronto Blue Jays

Strengths: Top Pitcher in MLB in ace Roy Halladay… Very good and deep bullpen hi-lighted by Ryan…. Good young players in DH Adam Lind and OF Travis Sinder… Good team Defense

Weaknesses: Lost a lot of starting pitching to both free agency(AJ Burnett) and injuries(Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan) in the offseason, the club is now unsettled 2-5 rotation wise…. Not a very good offensive team that will struggle to score runs

5- Baltimore Orioles

Strengths: Good #1 starter in RHP Jeremy Guthrie…. Very good bullpen with power arms and options… Great team speed, led by 2b Brian Roberts and CF Adam Jones…Solid, better than u think lineup with power and a good blend of vets and kids…. Improved OF defense with Felix Pie

Weaknesses: Awful starting pitching with 2-5 spots a combination of retreads and kids…. Ballpark is a launching pad and not a good place to groom kid pitchers….Division is brutal

AL Central:

1- Minnesota Twins

Strengths: Excellent homegrown team and talent from top to bottom… Team has both great speed and athleticism…Young, deep rotation…. Top bullpen, headed by elite closer in Joe Nathan…. Outstanding veteran no BS manager in Ron Gardenhire… Premier power bat in 1b Justin Morneau… Best homefield advantage in MLB with that arena football type park

Weaknesses: Not much power… No veteran starting pitchers… Injury issues with star C and AL batting champion Joe Mauer… Ownership does not spend money

2- Kansas City Royals(Wild Card Winner)

Strengths: My darkhorse team in the AL… Excellent young rotation and elite closer in Joakim Soria… Added a power 1b Mike Jacobs to a power starved club…. Underrated lineup with both upside and athletes… Coco Crisp greatly improves OF defense and allows David DeJesus to play LF

Weaknesses: No 35-40 homer bat…. Culture of losing… Little or no depth…. 7-8th inning relief corps has been rebuilt with Juan Cruz(NL pitcher) and career coward Kyle Farnsworth

FEARLESS PREDICTION: 3B Alex Gordon has a break-thru season and tops 100 rbi, finishing in top 5 among MVP candidates

3- Chicago White Sox

Strengths: Strong power club that fits their launching pad ballpark…Underrated young players at 4 positons(2b Chris Getz, SS Alexi Ramirez, 3b Josh Fields, CF Dewayne Wise)… Solid 3 top of rotation with Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd and John Danks…. Outstanding bullpen led by hulking closer Bobby Jenks…Excellent management-coaching tandem in Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen

Weaknesses: 4th/5th spots in rotation unsettled…. Not much team speed, particularily in the corner OF positions…. Manager can be a bit of a time bomb and loose cannon

4- Cleveland Indians

Strengths: Excellent team up the middle with talent at C, SS and CF… Good team athleticism…. Very good top of the rotation in CY Young winner LHP Cliff Lee and RHP Fausto Carmano….Best player in the division in CF Grady Sizemore…. Deep, talented farm system…. Solid pen added closer Kerry Wood…Good manager in Eric Wedge and top flight GM in Mark Shapiro

Weaknesses: Health issues with star bats C Victor Martinez and DH Travis Hafner… Rotation spots 3-4-5 scare me… Team is cash poor… Could use another power bat

FEARLESS PREDICTION: Cleveland fans will fall in love with scrappy 3b Mark DeRosa, who was great in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA. RF Shin-Soo Choo has a big season and challenges for an all star spot.

5- Detroit Tigers

Strengths: Good 1-6 batting order… Potentially solid top 3 of the rotation in Justin Verlander, Armando Galarraga and Edwin Jackson… Improved team D with additions of SS Adam Everett and OF Josh Anderson plus Brandon Inge playing everday somewhere… Team ridded itself of a potential clubhouse cancer in DH Gary Sheffield… Whoever the closer is, his name is not Todd Jones!

Weaknesses: Almost 90 million in bad contracts(Sheffield, SPs Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman & Nate Robertson and Inge(Good player without a home)… No starting pitching depth or established 4–5th starters…Headcase end of a  pen in often injured Joel Zumaya and opening day closer Fernando Rodney… Awful bottom of the batting order

FEARLESS PREDICTION: This team will have a major fire sale with the Tigers  being potentially awful and Michigan in horrible financial times. Look for Any and everyone to be available including fan favorite RF Magglio Ordonez. One bright spot for Tigers fans? Kid Pitchers, SP Rick Porcello and RP Ryan Perry, made the club & have been among the top pitchers in all of MLB during spring training.

AL West:

1- Oakland As

Strengths: Greatly improved team with great signings(SS Orlando Cabrera,1b Jason Giambi) and trades(LF Matt Holliday)…. Deep Lineup that draws walks and hits homers…. Great young rotation with talent and ability… Deep, versatile bullpen that attacks with different arms and approaches… Best GM in the game in Billy Beane

Weaknesses: Litte or no money…. Could use another veteran starting pitcher…Health issues with closer candidate Joey Devine…. Could trade Holliday at the deadline…. Cannot sustain any injuries, particularily to the rotation

2- Los Angeles Angels

Strengths:Deep, talented lineup… Excellent bullpen that added underrated Brian Fuentes…..Great game manager in Mike Scioscia … Signing LF Bobby Abreu is an underrated move and will help the offense… Good team speed

Weaknesses: Team has had major injury issues with several key starters in Jon Lackey, Ervin Santana and Kelvin Escobar…. Team has some age in stars Vlad Guerrero and Torii Hunter…Replacing Mark Teixeira with Kendry Morales just does not cut it… Team is always afraid of making a big move with its prospects, ala the 90s Cleveland Indians, preventing this group from winning multiple titles

3- Texas Rangers

Strengths: Great lineup with power and speed, led by 2b Ian Kinsler and CF Josh Hamilton…New pitching coach in Mike Maddux, who helped build the Milwaukee Brewers….Solid top 2 of the rotation in veterans Vincente Padilla and Kevin Milwood…. Excellent farm system loaded with both arms and position players

Weaknesses: Team allowed 967 runs!!!!!…. Not a great glove team either… Moved star SS Michael Young to 3b to clear a spot for uber-prospect Elvis Andrus, which could cause some growing pains for both…. 3-4-5 spots in rotation up for grabs

FEARLESS PREDICTION: OF Nelson Cruz has a huge year and tops 100 rbis. Veteran FA signee RHP Kris Benson wins 10 games and helps this team A LOT.

4- Seattle Mariners

Strengths: Ichiro remains one of the games brightest stars…. RH SP Felix Hernandez is special….Team should excellent defensively with Gold Glove candidates at SS(Yuniesky Betancourt),3b(Adrian Belte) and 2 OF(Ichiro, Endy Chavez-TRUST ME, I AM A METS FAN! ASK ANY ST. LOUIS CARDINALS FOLLOWERS! ) spots.. New Management appears open to rebuilding with some of the offseason trades and moves

Weaknesses: Not much star power hitting wise…. Health issues with #2 starter Erik Bedard…. Finesse type pitchers throughout the rotation after Herandez, usually not a recipe for success in the AL… Huge loss in free agent defection LF Raul Ibanez


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