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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June 27, 2012

Subway series again shows club’s weaknesses, Bullpen mess, Roster moves, Jason Bay update, Chicken gate

by @ 10:37 am. Filed under 2012 Mets

The recent 2nd round of the Subway series this past weekend(June 22-24) vs the hated New York Yankees at Citi Field showed fans of the New York Mets what their club is: a good team that plays hard but lacks power and elite bullpen arms. The Mets hit the ball, got good outings from their starting pitchers and battled but they do not hit homers(That is how the Yankees score more than 52% of their runs,hit 15 in 6 games .vs the Mets) and do not have enough strikeout throwers in their relief corps. These factors caused them to lose 5 of 6 to the Bronx Bombers and in 4 of those losses wrote the script. The bullpen issue killed the Mets in the Saturday and Sunday defeats when skipper Terry Collins was without closer Frank Francisco(oblique) and had to leave starter Chris Young in for one batter too many(Saturday June 23rd), he then attempted to stretch Miguel Batista over 2 innings(Sunday June 24th). Both Young and Batista gave up game changing home runs and the blasts show that at times Collins is forced to bring a knife to a gun fight. Think about this— if the Yankees bullpen was 100% healthy, Francisco would more than likely be throwing the 6th or 7th inning for the Bombers. Amazing to comprehend that but very true. Any long term injury to Frankie could be disastrous for the Mets heading forward in 2012.

ROSTER MOVES: The Mets made several moves related to both their bullpen and infield in the last 4-5 days. Both starting SS Ruben Tejada and top INF backup Ronny Cedeno have returned from the DL while the team sent down prospect INF-OF Jordany Valdespin to Triple A Buffalo. Valdespin was really starting to impress in the field and with the bat but Collins was concerned about stunting Jordany’s growth and wants him to play everyday wherever he is. Right now, he does not have an everyday spot in NY with the big club but with continued improvement, his stay will be short, according to TC. Valdespin has clearly headed the words and instruction for Buffalo manager and ex Met Wally Backman. With Francisco going on the DL June 24th, Collins has decided to go with RHRP Bobby Parnell as his closer. Bobby has the best pure stuff of all the Mets pitchers and after struggling late in 2011 when faced with some save opportunities, he can draw on those experiences in 2012. He and LHRP Tim Byrdak have been the two most consistent members of the bullpen this season. In another key move, Collins was given another LHRP when Justin Hampson was recalled from Buffalo on June 25th. The plan is to use Hampson in earlier innings while utilizing Byrdak late in games. The Mets also got some more bullpen reinforcements when veteran RHRP Ramon Ramirez returned from the DL June 24th. All of these transactions have made the Mets bench very left handed and when they DFA-ed OF Vinny Rotino(June 25th), Collins expressed concern. When OF Scott Hairston plays as regularly as he has due to his hot bat, the pinch hitting options are very limited. Again, when it happened I said it: although a left handed batter, the Mike Baxter injury really hurts this team in late innings. He was the top pinch hitter in the game and that is almost a position in the National League.

BAY CLOSE:Mets LF Jason Bay has greatly improved after suffering a minor concussion after colliding with the Citi Field fence June 15th. He rejoined the team at the stadium this past weekend and was feeling “a thousand times better.” He reported that the headaches and dizziness were going away, a good sign that this head injury is not as serious as the one that cost him 2 months in 2010. Bay has been cleared to resume physical activity June 25th and after riding a stationary bike, if he continues to be symptom free, running is next followed by baseball activities over the weekend.

CHICKEN GATE: Francisco caused a minor controversy before the Yankees series when he called the Bronx Bombers “chickens”. Byrdak saw an opportunity for humor and purchased a chicken at a local market. The team then adopted the bird as a team mascot, naming him “Little Jerry Seinfield.” The story got better when a Byrdak was contacted by an animal protection organization that wanted to provide “Little Jerry” with a home. Tim turned over the Chicken to Meredith Turner of Farm Sanctuary Sunday June 24th before the series finale and presented the organization with a check for $500 to care for the Bird. Further emphasizes what many have said about this group of Mets, fun team that does a lot in the community.

June 19, 2012

Dominant Dickey

by @ 12:25 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

Cannot say enough about Mets starter R.A. Dickey and how well he has pitched recently. Stats do not lie and clearly tell the story how great the Knuckleballer has been on the mound.

-In his last two starts, he has allowed 2 hits, becoming only the 3rd pitcher since 1945 to throw back to back 1 hitters.

-Dickey is approaching Dwight Gooden’s(set in 1985) club record 49 innings without allowing an earned run (42 and 2 thirds as off 6/18).

Last 6 starts: 6-0 with a 0.18 ERA in 48 and 2 third innings. Dickey has K-ed 63 while allowing 21 hits and 5 walks.

R.A. became the only pitcher in Major League History to throw 5 straight starts with no earned runs and at least 8 strikeouts

-On the year, he know stands at 11-1 with an even 2.00 ERA in 14 outings. Since May 15th, 2011, Dickey’s ERA of 2.42 trails only reigning CY Young Winners Justin Verlander(AL) and Clayton Kershaw(NL) by four-hundredths of a run.

Team’s last 10 days shows what this club is, Bay hurt, More Notes

by @ 12:05 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

The Last 10 days have shown both how far they have come and how far away the 2012 New York Mets are from being an elite team. The Subway Series sweep at the hands of the hated New York Yankees(June 8th-10th) was not as one sided as it looks(Blowout loss in opener with a clearly off Johan Santana getting roughed up, two highly competitive games) but The Mets do not match up well strengths and weaknesses wise with the Bronx Bombers. The resilient group then took 3 straight from a strong Tampa Bay Rays team in Florida with the batters putting up crazy numbers(29 runs,40 hits in the 3 games) vs one of the top pitching staffs in all of baseball. However, the Mets then saw their offense go into a funk when they were shutdown in 3 straight losses vs. a solid Cincinnati Reds team. New York scored 5 runs and were outscored 14-5 in the series. The Mets are a young improving ball club that battles and plays hard nightly for Manager Terry Collins. They usually are in every game due to a workman like pitching staff and balanced offense. The variables that will determine the rest of the 2012 campaign are the bullpen and increased run production. It is pretty obvious that the Mets have turned the corner of respectability, the hard part is the next move, which is into a contender.

BAY BONKED: LF Jason Bay has been placed on the MLB special 7 day concussion DL after hitting his head while attempting to make a catch in Friday’s June 15th loss to the Reds. Bay suffered a serious concussion during the 2010 campaign and the club will be sure to be extra safe with their starting LF. A small personal note here: I have covered Jason Bay off and on for 6 seasons, here and with the Pittsburgh Pirates. I grew up in the Boston area and saw him put up great numbers with the Red Sox. He has not produced for the Mets. He has been a bust. But shame on those fans who booed this guy when he was injured and coming off the field. This is a great team guy, a hard worker who teammates like and respect. Jason Bay essentially got knocked out trying to make a catch for this team. Like Mike Baxter broke his collarbone saving the No-Han game. I am with Collins and 3B David Wright, that was wrong and an awful move by those “fans.” Baseball is a game of failure, if a guy tries and puts in the time, I am ok with that. Fans should think about how they have gotten behind 1B Ike Davis in his early 2012 struggles and how he has started to come around. More of the same might help Jason Bay. A good guy who deserves a break and much better treatment than he received on June 15th.

METS NOTES:INF Justin Turner was activated to replace Bay on the roster. Meanwhile, starting SS Ruben Tejada began his rehabbing his strained right quad in Class A St. Lucie Monday June 18th. Collins wants Tejada to get focus on getting his legs in good shape after the injury flared up when he attempted to come back in early June. The shortstop has been out since May 7th… RF Lucas Duda has 14 rbi in 17 June Games….. In other injury news, INF Ronny Cedeno(calf) has been rehabbing at both the High-A and Triple A but is not close to returning according to Collins. He has 2 hits in 15 at bats. RHRP Ramon Ramirez(Hamstring) was hit hard in his first rehab appearance since getting injured in the No-Han post game celebration June 1st, 2012. He is healthy and dealing with rust more than anything.

June 14, 2012

R.A. Dickey’s incredible run, Collins selected for All Star game, More Mets notes

by @ 12:43 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey(10-1,2.20) incredible season continued as he became the first ML pitcher to win 10 games Wednesday June 13th and set a franchise record in the same game. The popular veteran did not allow a run over 32 and 2 third innings(5 starts,Last run allowed, May 22nd .vs the Pittsburgh Pirates) and struck out 12 in the 9-1 win at the Tampa Rays . The only hit Dickey gave up was on a controversial play in the 1st when 3B David Wright could not handle a dribbler that was a tough play. The lone run was unearned after an error by Wright in the 9th and ended a string of 22 consecutive batters retired. Dickey became the 3rd pitcher in Mets history, joining Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver, to strike out 12 and toss a 1 hitter. Over his last 6 starts, the righty has struck out 58 and walked 4 with a 0.79 ERA. Dickey has to be in the mix to start the All Star game for the National League and continues to be one of the great stories in all of baseball.

SKIPPER SELECTED: Mets Manager Terry Collins, who should win the National League manager of the year award, has been selected by Tony LaRussa to join the NL coaching staff for this summer’s all star game. He was approached by LaRussa in spring training and was honored to be asked. The move became official June 13th.

METS NOTES: 2B Daniel Murphy has had a strong year both in the field and with the bat but has the most at bats in the majors without a homer this season. The number stands at 247 as of June 14th….. The Mets have petitioned MLB to reverse the scoring on the Wright play during Dickey’s 1 hitter. Not likely…. Cannot say enough about the work that SS Omar Quintanilla has done for this club since being recalled when both starter Ruben Tejada and back up Ronny Cedeno went down. He can swing the bat (.326, homer, 4 rbis in 46 at bats) and has played solid defensively after some rough patches early on….Wright continues to lead the National League 3rd basemen in All Star voting… INF Justin Turner and Cedeno will start rehabbing this Friday(June 15th) in Triple A Buffalo and could return next week. This will create an interesting log jam on the bench with Andres Torres or Jason Bay joining red hot Scott Hairston in the outfield mix plus a back up catcher and 2 infielders. Nice problem to have but tough to send a ML player down.

June 5, 2012

Johan NL Player of the Week, Rotation set,Wright’s not talking, Roster updates,More Mets notes

by @ 11:16 am. Filed under 2012 Mets

After pitching the first No hitter in Mets history June 1st, LHSP Johan Santana was named National League Player of the Week. A week after fellow starter R.A. Dickey(2-0 in 2 starts, 0.63 ERA in 14 and a third innings ) also won the award, Santana claimed his 5th weekly honor, the last in August 2008.

The Mets announced their starting rotation for the remainder of the week Monday June 4th. Here is the updated order. Manager Terry Collins has given Santana a full week of rest following his No,No.

Series at the Washington Nationals:
Wednesday- RH Jeremy Heffner
Thursday-R.A. Dickey

Subway Series in the Bronx vs the Yankees

Friday- Santana
Saturday-Dillon Gee
Sunday- Jon Niese

WRIGHT: WAIT TIL THE SEASON IS OVER: The face of the Mets franchise determined BEFORE the 2012 campaign started that he would not discuss or negotiate his contract. “I made the decision before the year even started,” Wright said Saturday. #5 has a $16 million team option for 2013 and Mets GM Sandy Alderson has stated the club would like to sign him to a long term extension. “We addressed it right now and that’s kinda it, so everyone’s on the same page, and we kinda let the front office know (Friday) or the day before as well so that everybody’s on the same page and we can focus baseball and that’s it, Its just not necessary.”Continued Wright, “It’s just not necessary. As I said, I think with the good vibes that are going on right now and the good surrounding the club, I feel somewhat selfish to be talking about myself, talking about me when we should be talking about we.”

METS NOTES: The team designated RHP Jack Egbert for assignment to open up a roster for LHSP Chris Young June 5th… NY has 14 comeback wins…. The Mets will have to make two additional roster moves sometime this week with RHP Miguel Batista(Lower back strain) set to rejoin the pitching staff and LF Jason Bay(Rib) also very close to returning. Bay was all set to go and rejoin the team Tuesday June 5th but came down with an illness….. Cannot say enough about how clutch this team is. Mets scored 3 more runs with 2 outs in Monday’s 5-4 loss, giving them a ML high 120 two out runs…. Niese suffered dizzineess and an accelerated heart rate during his strong outing Sunday night. He has been cleared by the Mets medical staff but will undergo a ablation surgery during the All-Star break. This procedure is a common treatment for treating heart arrhythmia…. Do not underestimate how big an impact OF-PH Scott Hairston has had on the Mets. He has been deadly vs lefties(.350, 6 homers, 16 rbi in 60 at bats) and solid(.278,7, 23 rbi) overall in spot duty.

June 4, 2012

More facts from Johan’s No Hitter

by @ 6:57 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

Some notes and news from Johan Santana’s no hitter on June 1st– or the “No-Han”, as the Mets have classified the historic night.

-First time the St. Louis Cardinals have been no hit since 1990

– One of the players the Mets traded to Minnesota for Santana- P Phil Humber- threw a perfect game earlier this season for the Chicago White Sox.

– Mets starting Catcher Josh Thole backstopped the lefty and was making his 1st start since missing almost a month with a concussion.

– Friday night was a bit of an exorcism in many ways for the entire Mets organization. Besides the No Hitter history, the franchise has been haunted by the loss in Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship series to these very same St. Louis Cardinals. The two players who ended that crushing defeat- OF Carlos Beltran and P Adam Wainwright- were wearing Red and White in an iconic twist that was not lost on Mets fans.

– Mets fans already love Manager Terry Collins and could see him dying in the dugout late in this game. The man wanted to get the No no for the team but was genuinely concerned about his ace pitcher, who missed all of 2011 after undergoing major shoulder surgery. Collins is the type of guy you would want to play for or trust with your son. Total class act. He told a story about managing ex Met P Sid Fernandez in the minors. Fernandez, an amazing talent, threw two no hitters for Collins and in the first one, he had a 130 pitch limit set by the Dodgers front office. He entered the final inning with 18 strikeouts and 119 pitches. Collins told him before taking the mound it was out of his hands and Fernandez proceeded to strike out the side on 9 pitches. TRUE STORY.

THE SAD PART OF THE NO NO: If you were watching the game and saw the play OF Mike Baxter made, you were glad he caught the ball but you also feared for his safety. You were right to do the latter. The popular young super sub and top pinch hitter in all of MLB will miss 6-8 weeks with two injuries suffered from his collision with the right field wall. Baxter has a broken right collarbone as well as fractured rib cartilage. Meanwhile, RH RP Ramon Ramirez strained his hamstring running in from the bullpen and is listed as day to day. The Mets would like to avoid a Dl stint and Ramirez threw indoors Monday June 4th.

June 1, 2012

No More: Johan Santana tosses the 1st No Hitter in Mets 8020th game

by @ 11:19 pm. Filed under 2012 Mets

The long wait is over and an albatross around the organization was lifted on the June 1st, 2012 as Lefty Johan Santana, a 2 time AL CY Young winner, threw the first No hitter in the 51 year History of the New York Mets. The southpaw used 134 pitches to dominate the defending World Series Champion and top offensive team in the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-0 Friday night at Citi Field. The historic night is a flag ship achievement for the pitching rich Mets, who produced amazing talents like Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack and Dwight Gooden, yet could not get 27 outs without giving up a hit.

Two plays broke Santana’s way to help him get the No, No. Ex Met Outfielder Carlos Beltran hit a ball down the 3rd base line in the 6th that was called foul but was clearly fair. The all star then grounded out on the next pitch. Queens Native and Mets OF-INF Mike Baxter made the defensive play of the season when he caught Cardinals C Yadier Molina’s drive to left field , crashing into the wall to preserve the no hitter in the 7th. Baxter was hurt and left the game but appeared to not be seriously injured in a post game chat with reporters.

Mets Manager Terry Collins was put in a tough spot throughtout the night. Pre game, he talked about Santana’s pitch limit being at 110-115 max. He realized what this meant to both Johan and the organization but was clearly shaken up talking about his ace after the historic night. “Certainly I wanted it for him, wanted it for our organization and all of the people who were here tonight,” Collins said. “But you just don’t jeopardize the whole organization, a season, for one inning. So in five days we’ll see how it is.”

Cannot say enough about Santana, who many feared he would never pitch again in the majors after undergoing shoulder surgery in September 2010. He is an all time great and tremendous leader for this young team, could not happen to a better guy. His locker room speech to his teammates post game said it all, ” Tonight we all made history. That’s all that matters. Thanks to you guys, because you guys make it happen. I was just doing my job, and having fun.”

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