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 30, 2012

Mets win 5 of 6 as Wright becomes team’s all time RBI leader, Pelfrey likely gone for the year

by @ 7:42 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

The New York Mets recipe for success continues to produce wins as the combination of solid pitching and contributions from the entire roster has them winners of 5 of 6 and carrying a 13-9 record as April draws to a close. The franchise’s face, 3B David Wright, became the team’s all time rbi leader mid week and the team carried a home series sweep of the division rival Miami Marlins into Colorado to face the Rockies. The Mets took 2 of 3 in the thrilling weekend set. However, the news was not all good. RHSP Mike Pelfrey is gone for the season with an elbow injury(torn UCL) in his pitching arm that will require he go under the knife. The tall righty will have Tommy John Surgery Tuesday May 1st after meeting with famed sports surgeon Dr. James Andrew’s Monday in Alabama.

WRIGHT IS ONE: Congratulations to Wright for becoming the franchise leader in rbi April 25th when he hit a two run homer in a 5-1 victory. The game winning shot put him at 735 rbi in a Mets uniform as he surpasses Met legend Darryl Strawberry(1983-1990) at 733. When you consider Wright is not even 30 years old(Born in 1982, December birthday), he should SHATTER this mark.

RESHAPED OUTFIELD: CF Andres Torres, who re-injured his calf in the season opener, rejoined the team in Houston and started tonight’s game in CenterField. Manager Terry Collins elected to move red hot rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis(.316 batting average, great defense) to Left field with Jason Bay(rib) on the DL. Lucas Duda, who was out of the lineup with the flu, will remain in Right when he is healthy.

NEW LINEUP: With Torres back, Collins would like to move forward with this batting order for the time being:
1- Niewenhuis
2- SS Ruben Tejada
3- 2B Daniel Murphy
4- Wright
5- 1B Ike Davis
6- Duda
7- Torres
8- C Josh Thole
9- Pitcher

JUMBO JOSH: The Mets back stop has been great from day one and has a hit in every start except 3. The 3rd year major leaguer is hitting .322 with an .852 OPS in 20 games. He also hit his 1st homer since August 15th, 2011 in the win at Colorado April 29th.

METS NOTES: Mets took 2 of 3 in Denver but the Rockies win Friday night April 27th was memorable. They trailed 6-2 heading into the bottom of the 6 and plated 11 runs added by 4 errors. Mets got all of their poor play out of their system in one inning… OF-INF Scott Hairston became the 10th Met in their history to hit for the cycle in that loss. Collins has used this versatile performer as a weapon of the bench particularly vs lefties. He joins OF Mike Baxter to give the Mets a dangerous tandem late in games…. Mets did something I have never seen before in a 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins April 24th. Trailing 1-0 in the 7th inning, they drew 4 straight two out walks from 4 different pitchers to tie the game!!! To make it even more historic, they pitchers went righty, lefty, righty, lefty!!!!!!!…. During the Marlins series, Collins approached Mets chief Operating officer Jeff Wilpon and told him how proud he should be of the club’s farm system and scouts. When ex Met Jose Reyes led off the game vs LHP Jon Niese, every player on the field was drafted or signed by New York when they got their start in pro ball.

April 24, 2012

Mets continue to compete despite growing injury woes

by @ 9:48 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

The New York Mets rallied to defeat the division rival Miami Marlins Tuesday night at Citi Field 2-1 in game that had so many individual positives I have to list them. 1- Johan Santana looked like Johan Santana in both performance and results- over 6 and 2 third innings he was in complete control and made the Marlins hitters look feeble, striking out 11 and walking 2 while allowing 3 hits and run. 2- Rookie CF Kirk Niewenhuis continues to hit(.327 in 16 games with 2 homers and 4 rbi) and robbed ex-Met Jose Reyes of an extra base hit in the games 1st at bat. The kid just has the look of a player. And do not underestimate how big a catch that was for this team heading forward. After the Mets made a decision to let Reyes leave, you do not want him coming back and running all over Citi Field. HUGE psychological lift for the team. 3- The team somehow beat the Marlins bullpen in the 7th(4 straight two out walks by 4 different pitchers,Has to be a ML record?) then RF Lucas Duda smoked a come backer that hit Miami reliever Edwin Mujica for the winning run in the 8th. Niewenhuis, 2B Daniel Murphy and Duda had huge hits during the 8th inning rally and it is definitely fun to see the kids contributing. 4- Terry Collins. If you read my blog, you know I love having this guy in our dugout. He makes tough decisions, treats each player with respect and gives them a role. He also plays for today and goes by how the team or player is performing. He pinch hit for a struggling Ike Davis(.131,3 homers,7 rbi) during the 7th inning rally. It worked out because INF Justin Turner drew a walk but the key was what Collins said POST GAME. Ike is going to hit, Ike is a player, we need Ike. VERY cool.Type of guy you would want in fox hole with you. 5- The Bullpen- Key set up man Jon Rauch has not allowed a run all season and has three wins. The bigger story out of this win was the dominant 9th inning from Frank Francisco, who had tough week and was yanked from save situation April 21st by Collins after struggling for about a 5 day period. Terry backed him saying publicly that he was the closer and would step up. Frankie did with his 4th save in as many opportunities.

The win puts the Mets at 9-8 on the season and could not come at a better time. Today the team lost LF Jason Bay(.240, 3 homers,5 rbi) and RHSP Mike Pelfrey(0-0,2.29 in 3 starts) to the 15 day DL and Pelfrey’s injury could be season ending according to numerous reports. The big righty, who has looked great early in the season, has a partially torn ligament in his pitching elbow according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Pelfrey is seeking a 2nd opinion but the Mets are preparing to lose him to season ending elbow surgery. Just awful news. Bay has a fractured rib in his left side after diving for a ball during Monday’s doubleheader. He will be on the DL indefinitely. The team also placed utility infielder Ronny Cedeno on the list April 23rd with left side strain. With these three recent moves, the Mets have recalled INF Zach Lutz(who struck out as pinch hitter in his ML debut tonight), 2B Jordany Valdespin and LHP Robert Carson. How the team proceeds with both the LF and rotation spot will be key heading forward. CF Andres Torres is going to start rehab games April 24th and will rejoin the team for the series vs the Astros in Houston starting Monday barring any setbacks. Super subs Scott Hairston, Mike Baxter and Valdespin could fill in til Torres returns. The team will have to make a move to replace Pelfrey in the rotation with his next scheduled start this Friday in Colorado against the Rockies. Minor leaguer Chris Schwinden name has been mentioned to fill that role.

April 16, 2012

Mets balanced roster helps them get off to a surprising 6-3 start

by @ 1:15 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

The New York Mets strong start(6-3 vs three solid divisional rivals) has illustrated the offseason work of both the players, on field management and front office. With the team fielding 7 home grown fielders on most nights as well as several key members of the pitching staff also being drafted by the club, fans see a plan and development. The rebuilt bullpen has been outstanding while promising young outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis has fit nicely in place of injured CF Andres Torres. The offense has spotty at times(26 out of 30 major league teams in runs) but the Mets put the bat on the ball(13th in average and 9th in on base). Keep in mind star 3B David Wright missed the final two games of the home stand with the well documented right pinkie issue and the team scored 2 runs combined in those contests. In the 7 games Wright has started at 3B, NY scored 1,4,7,4,5,5 and 2 runs(4 per game).

The pitching has been outstanding on all levels since Day 1 and the starting rotation has led the way. The big three of LHPs Johan Santana(0-1,0.90 ERA,1.20 WHIP), Jon Niese(2-0,2.13,0.95) and Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey(2-0,2.08,1.46) set the tone and kept the team in all of their starts. Sophomore RH Dillon Gee(0-1,5.06) has only one start but did not pitch poorly vs the Nationals at Citi Field. The biggest positive for Mets fans regarding the starting pitching? Big righty Mike Pelfrey’s first two starts (0-0,3.09,1.80). After a tough 2011 campaign(7-13,4.74), the 7 year major leaguer looks to be close to regaining his strong 2010 numbers(15-9,3.66,1.47). As good as the rotation has been, the bullpen has been just as strong if not better. Lefty specialist Tim Byrdak, new closer Frank Francisco(3 saves) and giant righty Jon Rauch(no hits in 5 and 2 third innings) have not allowed an earned run. Meanwhile, Manager Terry Collins seems to be looking for ways to use super talented righty Bobby Parnell’s amazing arm in late inning situations and so far(1.80 ERA,6 Ks in 5 innings) the youngster seems to be rewarding the skipper’s confidence. No doubt about it, the pitching(2.48 team ERA, 3rd best in the sport) has been the driving force behind the start.

BAY BACK:LF Jason Bay will be back in the lineup Monday after he missed Sunday’s game with a jammed right middle finger.He was available to pinch hit in the game but Collins gave the slow starting LF(.185, 1 homer, 3 rbi in 27 at bats) a full day off.

April 14, 2012

BREAKING METS NEWS: Wright avoids DL stint, homers on 1st pitch he sees, NY win 5-0

by @ 8:20 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

The New York Mets got an unexpected boost Saturday when star 3B David Wright(Broken right pinkie) was medically cleared to play then homered on the first pitch he saw in Saturday’s 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in Pennsylvania. Wright took batting practice earlier in the day, had no issues and was inserted into the lineup. Just having their #3 hitter and team leader escape a stint on the disabled list seemed to energize the Mets and they continued their strong April. The win puts NY at 6-2 on the year, their best start since 2006 when they won the National League East and advanced to the NLCS.

April 13, 2012

Wright is not Right: Star 3B out Friday, DL stint likely

by @ 12:33 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

3B David Wright’s right pinky remains swollen and he remains unable to swing a bat. If Wright does not improve Saturday, the team will place their franchise face on the DL. Manager Terry Collins plans on moving starting 2B Daniel Murphy to third if Wright is out for an extended period of time. #5 cannot even swing a bat after jamming the finger diving back into first base to avoid a pick off Tuesday.

April 10, 2012

BREAKING METS NEWS: David Wright has fractured right pinkie, Status to be determined by end of week

by @ 9:00 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

The New York Mets promising start to the 2012 baseball season has been dealt a major blow on Tuesday when the team’s franchise player 3b David Wright was diagnosed with a small fracture in the middle joint of his right pinky finger. The 3B jammed the joint in Monday night’s game when he tagged 1B on a pick off move. He was out of the lineup tonight and will more than likely miss Wednesday’s matinee as well. The finger has been placed in splint and the Mets will have more answers on a time frame for his return after they get a report back from a hand specialist Wednesday. Best case scenario is the injury improves with rest and he suits up Friday. However, SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt reported during the Tuesday night telecast that Wright could not even grip a bat pre game. Unfortunately, the Mets need to plan on not having their superstar and defacto captain heading forward. Wright was hitting .583 with a homer and 4 rbi in the first 4 Mets games- all wins- and remains 4 rbi short of tying Darryl Stawberry’s club record 733 rbi. Last season, he played for about a month with a serious stress fracture in his back and ended up missing over 50 games while hitting a career low .226. The Mets and Manager Terry Collins did the right thing tonight sitting him and should proceed with caution heading forward. Crushing news in the season’s early days, let hope for a positive medical report in the coming days. Frankly as both a fan and reporter of the Mets news, I am tired of sounding like I work for webmd.com.

April 8, 2012

Starting pitching, rebuilt bullpen and timely offense lead Mets to 3-0 start, 1st place in the NL East

by @ 9:58 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

The New York Mets could not ask for a better start to open 2012 as they combined great starting pitching,solid offense and a remade bullpen to sweep the hated division rival Atlanta Braves in a 3 game series to kick off the season at Citi field. For a team that has had its share of negative press and on field performance, this type of start was vital and hopefully sets the tone for what could be a surprising year. Lets take a look at the reasons for the 1st place Mets success in the 1st 3 contests.

BRILLIANT STARTING PITCHING: The 3 starters- LHs Johan Santana, Jon Niese and RH knuckleballer R.A. Dickey all pitched great and did so in different ways. Santana, who had not pitched in the majors since September 2010, allowed two hits and no runs over 5 innings in the home opener April 5th. He was economical, using 84 pitches and looked healthy. Dickey battled all day and did not have a grade “A” knuckleball but gave the team 6 workman like innings. He allowed 5 hits and 2 runs(2 run shot to Braves LF Martin Prado) while striking out 3 and walking 4. Niese gave up the most runs of the 3 starters but he was also the most impressive. The lefty carried a no hitter into the 7th after walking 4 in the first 2 innings, retiring 14 batters in a row. He K-ed 7 and allowed 4 runs on two hits over 6 plus innings.

TIMELY OFFENSE: The lineup has made starters work and youngsters RF Lucas Duda(.273,2 home runs Saturday), 2B Daniel Murphy(.385, 3 doubles, 2 rbi) and SS Ruben Tejada(.364, 2 doubles,2 rbi, .462 On base) have been big contributors early on. Meanwhile, franchise face David Wright is off to a scorching start(.667, homer, 3 rbi, 3 walks) and has taken a more of a leadership role early on. He helped calm down 1B Ike Davis Saturday after the slugger disagreed with a umpire’s strike zone. Wright was also seen pumping up Niese on the mound after the youngster lost his no hit bid. Now more than ever, this is Wright’s team and he seems to sense it.

IMPROVED BULLPEN: Mets GM Sandy Alderson made several moves in the offseason to augment what was a major weakness in 2011 and the trades-signings had immediate payoff. New closer Frank Francisco saved all 3 wins, shaking off a rough spring. Big Jon Rauch(6’11) did not allow a hit in 2 innings while trade acquisition Ramon Ramirez chipped in an inning and a third in the home opener. Meanwhile, situational lefty Tim Byrdak got huge outs in games 1 and 3 after having knee surgery in spring training. Gutty performance by the veteran. Staff holdovers Bobby Parnell(1 inning, K) and Manny Acosta(Gave up the only run the pen has allowed on a home run to Braves all star C Brian McCann Sunday) have also pitched well. This group looks to have staying power and is vital to the team’s success long term.

HOME GROWN TALENT:When the Mets took the field Saturday, the team had 7 of the 8 position players on the field come thru the Mets farm system: Davis, Murphy, Tejada, Wright, C Josh Thole, Duda and new CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis all played in the NY minor league system. When you consider that even LF Jason Bay was Mets property early in his career, that is amazing achievement! Many people have criticized former Mets GM Omar Minaya but he did some good things here with this team and many of the current players on this roster are here due to his work.

MORE METS NEWS: Niewenhuis, one of the team’s top prospects, was recalled from Triple A after starting CF Andres Torres re-injured his left calf in the opener. Torres missed two weeks in the spring with the same injury and will rehab at the Mets minor league facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Niewenhuis is a very good defensive player who can hit at either the bottom or top of the lineup but has battled injuries over the past 2 seasons. Look for the rookie to play the majority of games in center with Scott Hairston filling in from time to time.

BAD BRAVES:The Braves had a catastrophic ending to their 2011 campaign,losing out on the wild card on the last day of the regular season after playing awful in the month of September. Things did not get off to good start and this lineup misses future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones desperately. Even on bad knees, the switch hitter stabilizes this lineup and gives them a huge veteran presence. This is an average offense with him and the drop off without Jones is very noticeable when you watch Atlanta for 3 days. A positive? RF Jason Heyward had some good at bats in the series and seems ready to put the sophomore slump of 2011 behind him. The staff will also improve when RHSP Tim Hudson(off season back surgery) rejoins the rotation near the end of April. The veteran had a rehab start Sunday April 8th and had no issues over 3 innings. The Braves have to survive this first Month and not over tax their deep and talented bullpen, a group that was running on fumes late in 2011. Could be a long year in Atlanta.

April 4, 2012

Niese extension a good sign, roster update, season expectations

by @ 8:51 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

The Mets signed one of their top young players to a 5 year extension today and this has to be viewed as a massive positive for a fan base that has been battered and bruised since losing game 7 of the NLCS in 2006. The club and LHP Jon Niese inked a 5 year, $25 million dollar extension that includes two option years that could add an additional $21 million in 2017 and 2018. For a team that has been in financial jail, this contract and the recent settlement in the Bernie Madoff case seem to be the start of the Mets being about the on field product and less about the bottom line. Locking up the lefty shows the team will take care of their own home grown talent and after losing star shortstop Jose Reyes to the Miami Marlins in free agency, vital for both the on field product and team perception throughout the baseball world. The club’s priority heading forward must be signing or trading franchise face, 3b David Wright. He is is either the leader of the rebuilding or a piece to speed up the process. His situation will be one to monitor throughout the season.

CF Andres Torres(calf) and LHRP Tim Byrak(knee surgery) both are healthy and made the final roster breaking camp. LHRP Daniel Herrera and OF Vinny Rottino were sent to Triple A when the two veterans were medically cleared and played well in a game April 3rd. Meanwhile, Relievers Pedro Beato and D.J. Carrasco will remain in Port St. Lucie to continue their rehab from injuries, they should be ready to go by May, at the latest. New closer Frank Francisco is good to go after dealing with a knee issue most of the spring. Francisco and fellow off season bullpen acquisitions Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez should greatly improve the Mets pen in 2012.

Season expectations? First off, I think getting the Madoff situation out of the way and off the back of the Papers is a huge check mark for the entire organization. On the field, I think the team will be better pitching wise with the return of Johan Santana being the key. Santana at 75% allows the rotation to be properly slotted and gives the club 5 solid major league starters. I like Niese, R.A. Dickey and Dillon Gee a lot. They are not Sandy Koufax but they are tough and keep the team in games. The bullpen additions and returnee Bobby Parnell are the key late inning questions. Parnell has as much talent as anyone and has shown raw ability, bringing it from game 1 to 162 is the difference from this team winning 85 games instead of 75.

Lineup wise, 4 people are going to greatly determine how many runs this team scores. Obviously Wright playing 150+ games is a key but the two corner outfielders, veteran LF Jason Bay and RF Lucas Duda, must hit and provide protection in the middle of the order. Bay had a tough spring and as someone who covered his career in Pittsburgh and regularly watches Boston Red Sox games, I am astounded. This guy can play plus he performed under pressure in the AL East and is a great team guy. Pulling for Bay but you have to wonder if he is done. I think Duda will hit and become a huge fan favorite. Ideally, if these two hit 50 home runs between them, I would be very happy. 1B Ike Davis has looked great after missing most of the 2011 with a fluky ankle injury. He seems ok after being diagnosed with Valley Fever early in spring training and remains a good bet to hit 25-30 home runs.

I have not been overly concerned about the Reyes situation and I can say this for several reasons. He was great in 2011 and is a tremendous talent, a huge loss for New York and the Mets. But he is reliant on his legs, has had numerous injuries to his lower half and father time is undefeated in the non-PED-steroid era. He was not worth that deal and the Marlins will live to regret it. Ask any of your Red Sox fan friends how they feel about the long term deal the team gave speedy Carl Crawford. Prepare to hear a lot of four letter words after you utter his name. Ruben Tejada is a good young player who can play defense and hit .270ish. You can win with this type of player if the everyone else does there job.

I do believe the Mets have a better team than 2011 but the entire division is deep and talented. Outside of the Phillies, who have been the class of the NL East since 2007, every team has improved. The Phillies have two stars hurting(2b Chase Utley and 1B Ryan Howard) but have the best rotation in the NL and a winning culture. The Braves are not far behind and boast an incredible bullpen. The Miami Marlins spent money on a new manager(Ozzie Guillen), starting pitcher(Mark Buehrle), SS(Reyes) and closer(Heath Bell) in the offseason and could win 90 games. The sleeping giant of this division are the Washington Nationals. This team has excellent young pitching and more offense than you think. If Stephen Strasburg is 75% healthy, this team could be a monster. That leaves the Mets. I think they could win anywhere from 75 to 85 games. Terry Collins will have them battle and compete hard but they are 2-3 years away from being a serious contender. The incredible NL East is not a good place to be rebuilding but the Mets are. However, recent news and signings give fans in Flushing hope for the future. That is reason enough to watch.

April 2, 2012

Mets rotation

by @ 6:38 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

Manager Terry Collins announced the 2012 New York Mets starting rotation this weekend, slots 1 thru 5(as expected):

LH Johan Santana
RH R.A. Dickey
LH Jon Niese
RH Mike Pelfrey
RH Dillon Gee

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