Friday, April 29, 2011

Rinse, Lather, Repeat

Yes, the Mets lost last night to the Nationals, ending their 6-game winning streak.  But that's okay.  As I wrote the day, all ya gotta do is believe, and win series.

Tonight starts a new series; a tough and more important series.  Tonight the Mets open a three game series, on the road, against the Phillies.  Tonight is a must have as the Mets are going against the #5 pitcher for Philadelphia, Vance Worley.  After that, it's a heavy dosage of Halladay and Lee.  Get tonight's victory and then hope to 'steal' one over the weekend and boom!  There ya have it, it'll be another series win.

Big Pelf on the mound tonight.  He looked pretty dang solid in his last outing against Arizona.  His record is as ugly as most of his performances this year, 1-3 including a performance in Philadelphia three weeks ago when he got tattooed for seven runs.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just Win Series

Obviously what is written below is always easier said than done, but I don't know if I believe that professional ball players truly buy into this concept and I know for a fact that most fans do not.  In baseball, this is all that a team needs to do, win series.

Again, winning ball games is a tough task and the better team will do so more often than not.  So this isn't as much of a personnel or talent item but more so a mind set.  Teams should not be worrying about winning 6, 7, or 8 games in a row or even sweeping a particular team.  Just win the series.  Win majority of the games you play against an opponent.  For the fans out there, this is something that I don't think they will every grasp on to.  As fans, we're taught that doing something right only once out of three tries is a very good thing (.333 average), so then we're expected to accept losing once out of every three games?  In short, yes, we all should be very happy with that.

This formula/mind set is how the Mets can get into the playoffs this season, 2011.  Let's first take the team's 9-13 record almost a month into the season, so we're left 140 games remaining.  For the rest of the season, there are nine series that are either of the 2-game or 4-game variety, totally 32 games.  For the overall total, let's be conservative and figure the team will play .500 ball.  This will place the Mets at 25-29.  The remaining 108 games are broken into a total of 36 series.  If the club is able to win each series then that will give the Mets another 72 victories.  Add those and the 32 losses to the most recent record and the Mets will finish the season at 97-65.  

Laugh it up if you please, because yes, I know that this year's Mets winning 97 games may be the funniest thing most people have heard in a long, long time.  But by keeping things simple minded, it's not out of the realm.  And of those 36 remaining 3-game series, let's say that the Mets drop a few of those series, let's say seven of them, well that will leave their record at 90-72.  Since 2003, the National League Wild Card winner has, respectively, won 91, 92, 89, 88, 90, 90, 92, and 91 games.

Mr. Wilpon, if this formula is followed, you will have your wish of meaningful September games.

9-13.  Young vs Nationals, 7:10 PM

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vacation Again?

So maybe I should plan another trip away?  Maybe for the rest of the baseball season?

First off, I'm a bit tired since I got back this morning and only had an hour's worth of sleep last night, so if this post doesn't necessarily make sense or run smoothly, I'm blaming it on the drive home.

When I left my apartment Wednesday evening, the Mets were 5-12 and things were just looking bleak all around.  No quality outings, a bullpen that got hit harder than Sonny Bono hitting a tree, and an offensive line-up showing that their bats were made out of a Swiss wood, aka, nothing but holes in their sticks.  And sure enough, they lost Wednesday night.  A lot of the same issues flared their ugly heads that night.

But what happened next is a little bit of awesomeness.  New York played four games, which started while I was in a different state, and they were able to take all four of those games.  The finale against Houston and then a weekend sweep of the Diamondbacks.  Citi Field became the place to be for a few days.  Capuano, Pelfrey(!!!), Dickey, and Niese all put up solid, solid performances that allowed the bullpen to get some much needed, extended rest.  The whooping sticks that us fans thought would be around all season long started to gain some life.  Wright ended his horrible 0-20 skid by blasting some doubles and home runs.  Davis showed that he may actually hit the ball out of Citi Field one of these days.  Hell, the team hit its first 3-run home run of the season and it came off the bat of Jason Pridie!  Reyes and Bay (welcome back) and Beltran, oh my!

I know, I know, sweeping the Diamondbacks isn't the biggest deal in the world, I mean, they are (record wise) pretty close to the Mets.  But for this team, this week, in this fashion, it was a huge, huge, huge weekend.  And two more nuggets to further prove someone should plan me a trip away.  Good Bye Rangers.  Good Bye Knicks.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Really, when?

When is enough really enough?

For this fan base, how many more empty promises and 'meaningless' September games will we have to go through (I know it's only April, but I believe everyone can see which way the ship is headed)?

Last October/November was such a promising month for the Mets: ownership finally got rid of Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel and then promised the future would be brighter with Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins running the organization.  Alderson explained immediately that the team would not be big spenders and crash the off-season free agent party, that they're long term goal was to get the long term payroll under control and build from within.  For the most part, that's happened.  Chrises Young and Capuano were the biggest free agent signings, each for a year.  Youngsters such as Josh Thole, Brad Emaus, Lucas Duda, and Ike Davis were with the team on Opening Day. Collins did his part as skipper during Spring Training, energizing not only his players but the fans and media as well.  We all were ready for Opening Day, and although that day was a bit of a disappointment, the ensuing days were great.  3-1 was a very, very nice start to the season for the Metropolitians.

And then it all went downhill.  The squad has gone 2-10 since then and many of the ghosts of the Minaya/Manuel era seemed to be floating above the clubhouse each day.  The pitching staff has be abysmal as a collective unit.  No one can get the big out at the appropriate time.  The offense is way to stagnant in to many big moments.  I don't pretend to say I view the stats of all the MLB games played, however I doubt there have been many teams that have had as many bases loaded opportunities as the Mets and yet have done nothing with those opportunities.  The team as a whole strikes out too much; trying to work the count and draw walks have shown the reverse results.  Lastly, the defense has been horrendous.  The squad leads the majors in runs allowed due to defensive mishaps.  Not turning the double-play, not hitting the cut-off man, the pitcher airmailing the ball into the stands, it's all happened of late.

Speaking on behalf of Mets fans, I understand that 2011 is not a year that we should be expecting to make the playoffs.  But what all of us were hoping for is a competitive team that will be in every game and will allow us to openly be proud of being a Mets fan.  We haven't received that yet and not only is it frustrating but it has become disheartening because we believed this past off-season.  We thought things would be different.  Even if just slightly.  We feel lied to.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Break That was Needed?

So aside from last night's game cancellation ruining my birthday, yeah that's right Mother Nature, I was there after receiving tickets as a present you rainy bitch, last night's non-game may have been a blessing in disguise for the Mets.

Essentially, it gave the Mets a chance to get away from the ballpark for a night, lose focus that they've lost five of their last six and try to escape the sense this is a similar story to 2009 and 2010.

More importantly though, the night off meant that the bullpen could rest.  It's not a secret that the Mets pitching staff (aside from a few arms) has struggled mightily in the early going this season.  They rank next to last in ERA and offer the second most walks in the league.  And because of the starters struggles, the already questionable bullpen has been taxed a lot already.  We're not even at Tax Day and manager Terry Collins has stated that he can not burn out his bullpen by June.  So maybe there was a small shining light somewhere amongst the dark clouds over LaGuardia last night.  Let the guys rest their arms for a night and rest their minds.  It's an early season so we can't get too ahead of ourselves and keep the 'whoa is me' mentality.  But we also can't afford to watch the team constantly hitting rock bottom because of the pitching staff.

Now I play Devil's Advocate and say that last night's rainout will end up killing the team because not only may they be needed for multiple innings tomorrow (please Mr. Niese don't let that be the case) but if RA Dickey's fingernail or Chris Capuano's elbow bring up red flares during a double header on Thursday, any and all rest may be gone in the form of burnout.  And that doesn't include the safety net that may need to be provided on Sunday when a spot starter is needed.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Not the best, Not the worst

Starting a season .500 isn't the worst thing.  And hell, we're only a week and a half into the season so there isn't too too much stake to put into everything.  But ahhhh, to be a Mets fan, it's still a bit torturous.

Reason being?  The team starts 3-1, beat the feckin Phillies in their house, almost everything is clicking.  And then for three straight games, it falls apart.  First it's the starting pitching, then it's the offense, then it's the bullpen.  Ahh, the last three years all come back.  The feeling and the gut wrenching.

Yesterday was a needed win, if there is such a thing in Week #2.  Carlos Beltran showed that he still has a thundering bat with two long balls.  Chris Capuano had a nicely impressive first start as a Met.  And K-Rod locked it down!

---- On another note.... Feckin' Devils!!!  Allowed the bloody Rangers to get into the playoffs.  Feck!----


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Small Pelf

Piggy backing off of yesterday's post, one must realize that last night was just one game.  However, it was Game 2 for Mike Pelfrey and for the second consecutive outing, he looked small.  There are probably some excuses that could be found for his performance in Florida last week but not last night.  The man wasn't even able to make it out of the third inning, and that hurts the team in a number of ways.  

First off, all the more pressure is placed on the offense's shoulders to score a lot of runs and credit to them, they did, scoring seven runs to get Small Pelf off the hook.  Secondly, added innings to the bullpen.  Those guys had to pitch a few innings in securing Tuesday's win, tacked on a lot more work last night and have a short rest since there's an afternoon game today.  Finally, it has to kill Pelfrey's confidence.  He might be one of the most short fused, mental pitchers in the game.  One thing goes wrong for him and his mind starts to race and everything just seems to fall out of sync.

Listen, I'm not throwing the 'Ace' tag on him, because he's not that type of pitcher.  I'm hoping that the organization and the rest of the media shed that title from him because it's unfair.  He's a #2 pitcher and that's what we need from him; to be solid, get his 15 Ws, and give the team a chance to win each time he takes the mound.  It didn't happen last night.  It better happen Monday night at Citi Field vs the Rockies.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Only One Game

Last night's game, a 7-1 whooping over the Phillies, was just one game.  Just one game out of the 162 game schedule and just one game out of the 18 that the Mets play against their division opponent.  From tonight through the end of September, anything can happen.  There is a bunch of time for all the negative energy that has plagued this team recently to come back and show its ugly head.  Last night was just one game, one small sample of the good this team could do.

But it was one hell of a game.  Chris Young looked great, limiting the Phillies to only one run while striking out seven in his first start with his new team.  David Wright is on fire!  Four more hits last night.  Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan got on base and ran the bases with a purpose, and made the opposing defense look silly in the process.  The bullpen was lights out again.  That all pushed the Mets to a great victory over their division rivals.

Just one game, but one hell of a game at that.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

That's More Like It

Again, that is why the season is 162 games long.  After Friday night, the 'same old Mets' thoughts were creeping through the minds of the fans and some of the media as well.  There was the feeling that 2010 never ended, instead just rolled over into this March.

But 42 hours can change a lot, especially the feeling about the team.  The Mets finished the weekend by taking the last two games against the Marlins and won their first road series of 2011, something that didn't happen until August (I believe) last year.

Starting pitching was the key in both victories as Jon Niese allowed only two runs in 7 innings on Saturday and R.A. Dickey followed that with just one unearned run in 6 innings this afternoon.  The bullpen ended up getting a decent amount of work in while finishing out these two games because no one was particularly solid, but that's a good thing.  It allows all the arms to get some action early on.

Ike Davis, David Wright, Josh Thole and Willie Harris (!!!!!) all contributed with big at bats this weekend and the positive vibes transcended to the rest of the squad.  This is more like the offense that we expected coming out of Spring Training, putting 15 runs on the board while collecting the two Ws.

They now get a well deserved day off on Monday after traveling up north.  Their next stop, Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia.  Tuesday night is the first of 18 against the Phillies, and the Mets will give the ball to Chris Young who will be making his first start in a Mets uniform (he'll be opposed by Cole Hamels).


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Not What Was Envisioned

Well last night didn't turn out to be what Mets fans and myself had hoped for since the end of September last year.  Basically, it seemed as if it were the same team playing the same game from last year.

David Wright kept striking out.  Jose Reyes was jumpy at the plate.  The offense had no pop in its bats.  Mike Pelfrey struggled with his command and channelled his inner John Maine by allowing way to many foul tips.

There were some positives though.  Brad Emaus played well defensively at second base.  Carlos Beltran had a decent game in right field and had the first RBI on the season.  The bullpen, although giving up some hard hits, pitched decently.

That's the great thing about baseball though, there's 161 games left to be played and they Metsies get to do it all over again tonight at 7:10 (Jon Niese vs Ricky Nolasco, SNY/WFAN).  I believe the team will have settled down from their Opening Day nerves and get back to the team who hit the ball pretty well the last week of Spring Training.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day

The air is fresh, the grass is green and the hope is eternal!

Opening Day, Baseball 2011 is finally here.  Although the Mets don't officially open their season until tomorrow evening (7PM vs Florida.  Pelfrey vs Johnson.  SNY/WFAN), there is a newness in the air and anticipation in the nerves.

I know that most people believe the Mets have nothing to play for this season, that next season may be a season in which they can contend again, but forget those people, forget those negative thoughts.  The phrase "hope springs eternal" can never be more true.  The Mets have health, veterans, youngsters and the potential for some solid pitching, as well as a new manager.  All of those things can and should provide a fresh outlook and a glimmer of hope.

I'm not crazy, I'm not expecting the Mets to run away with the division this season. But I'm also dead serious with not expecting this team to finish 25 games under .500 and in last place.  I am very confident that this group of 25 men will be able to stay competitive and contend for the Wild Card come mid-August and September.

Opening Day is here, and tomorrow for the Mets.  All teams have a chance.  All have a hope.  And for Mets fans, we have an excitement that can wash away this cold, messy winter.  Finally, it's here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Time Keeps on Ticking

Ticking, into the future.

In my world of sports, there isn't too much to be excited about right now.  The Devils were an absolute disaster the first half of the season (don't believe me or remember?  Just check out the posts below).  They gave all of us a piece of hope, and a scare for some people, that yet in fact they would make the playoffs.  They went 22-3-2 at one point, climbing so close but still so far.  Losing three out of their last four games essentially put the nail in their coffin and the playoffs will be missed for the first time in 14 seasons.

The Nets?  Nah, we all knew that this wasn't to be a playoff season for this team.  Struggled for the most part and showed some glimpses at other times.  The most exciting thing, and yet potentially questionable thing, to happen this season was the acquisition of Derron Williams from Utah back at the trade deadline.  He's an exciting player to watch, no doubt about that.  He's one of the best point guards in all of basketball, yes we know.  But there's a great chance he'll be gone after next season because who right now, in their right mind, wants to sign an extension and play with the Nets?

There's no football to get excited about.  Damn greedy bastards.

Finally it leaves the Mets.  And that is something that I am excited about and ready to finally see the boys take the field.  But, that's still about eight days away.  And as usual, those eight days will be filled with all the negative things the Mets have done over the last few seasons, or what they will not accomplish this season.

So until the first crack of the bat, until the first meaningful ball game, time will just be moving along.

To Be Continued...

I've been gone for over two months, but fear not, I'm back.

Newest post to come in a few hours.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Long Off-Season So Far

For Mets fans it probably feels as if this current off-season started in late August-early September.  We all knew by then that the Mets were on a fast track to irrelevance down the stretch and we began to dream about a new General Manager and Manager for our beloved club.

Well two of those items panned themselves out during the last few weeks of 2010.  Sandy Alderson became the General Manager and Terry Collins was hired as the Manager.  But since those announcements, there hasn't been any huge splash.  Nothing that would take over the back pages from the local NFL teams, or the Knicks, or even the Yankees losing.  A few signings here and there would sneak into the Transaction column in the newspaper, but again, nothing that would get the blood boiling.

And you know what?  I'm okay with that.  I've enjoyed this off-season for the Mets.

For both the organization and the fans, you can say this off-season is all a breath of fresh air.  We haven't been bombarded with huge signing and huge names.  Haven't had to witness any blockbuster deals that chipped away some of our farm system.  We've just been able to sit back, relax, rejuvenate ourselves, weed our the bandwagon fans from 2006 (and some of those who may have stuck on during 2007-2008), find the optimism in our club and get ready for Spring Training.

I want people to take a second and recall the first few months of the 2010 season and remember that the Mets were a legit team back then.  Into the middle of June, June 22nd if I recall correctly, this Mets team was in the thick of things, battling for first place.  Neck and neck with the Phillies.  And then the team bottomed out.  Exactly why, I have no idea and I'm not sure if other people can exactly pinpoint it.

It was a combination of a lot of things that caused the doom of the Mets in 2010.  The offense was pretty bad.  Jason Bay could not live up to his numbers and then couldn't get on the field.  David Wright continued to be very streaky and saw the strikeout total climb to an absurd level.  No pop from our catcher or second baseman.  Who was our shortstop?  Don't say Jose Reyes because that truly wasn't him.  Didn't see the real Carlos Beltran until mid-September, and by then, it was over.
I'm slightly a bit more optimistic for our upcoming 2011 season.  I believe that offensively, we should finally be healthy (barring anything unforeseen in Port St. Lucie).  Beltran and Bay and Reyes will have their assortment of injuries put behind them.  Wright should continue to prove that 2009 was a fluke and continue to produce, even if the strikeouts stay.  Ike Davis, a breath of a fresh air during the season, is a year older and more mature and should keep growing.  Angel Pagan, our offensive MVP last season, should just continue where he left off last season.  Hopefully we get a solid average from our catcher position and I think we will with the short stroke of Josh Thole.

Look, I know that no one expects much from the Mets this season.  But it's January right now.  The real games don't start until April.  So until then, no one knows what to expect from anyone.  I'm optimistic.  Maybe a foolish optimistic, but an optimist nonetheless.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Well that was nice

I know I said a few weeks ago that I was pretty much done with attending, and almost overall watching, the Devils this season.  Worst team in the league, worst scoring team in the league, almost totally done with the playoffs.  Yet, yesterday afternoon saw me at The Rock for the afternoon matinee against the Tampa Bay Lightening.  And still, even though I also said I wouldn't spend any more money over there, I found myself dropping some plastic on a beer and soda.  I felt good, what could I say.

Then, less than two minutes into the game, it happened.  Tampa scores on a cheap rebound goal and just like that, all my good vibes went out the window.  I laughed.  It was so pathetic and bad that all I could do was laugh.  And remind myself to not buy a second beer.

Going into the start of the third period, down 2-1, I figured this would be another 'close game' but we still just score one goal and the mukiness continues.  But, somewhat quickly, I noticed there was a difference on the ice.  The Devils were flying.  They were quick.  They were winning the battles in the corners.  They were blocking shots and clearing the puck.  They were creating.  They were scoring.  Five goals in the final period and a 6-3 victory at the end of the day.

It's waaaaay to late to have post-season dreams.  But, to be personal and selfish, it was good to see the first win of the season.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

One Down, Three To Go

Well then, after a night of some stomach pains I figured now would be a good time to talk about last night's thrilling back and forth game that ended in a 17-16 Wild Card Weekend Jets victory. 

Thank you Nick Folk for nailing a 35 yard field goal to win it.  But also, thank you Mark Sanchise for calling and completing the 18 yard pass to Braylon Edwards, and thank you Braylon for catching it.  Thank you Antonio Cromartie for a 47 yard kick off return to start that last drive.  Thank you Ladanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene for Ground and Pound, running the football the way we came accustom to last season and keeping Peyton Manning off the field.  Thank you Rex Ryan for organizing a confusing defense and finally stopping Manning.

It was a great first quarter defensively.  Teams do not hold the Colts on three straight 3rd and 1's and force three and outs.  The Jets did.  The problem wound up on the offensive side of the ball.  They weren't bad, no, bad isn't the word.  But they weren't good enough.  Didn't do enough to get in the end zone, or even attempt a field goal for that matter.  Down 7-0 at the half, that proves it.

But old reliable reared it's great head in the second half.  Ground and Pound.  LT and Greene.  Just keeping running, keep pounding, keep grinding.  And that's exactly what the Jets did.  All the way down to Nick Folk's foot.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Playoff Day

So today is the day us Jets fans have been waiting for since last January.  Leading the Colts 17-6 at half time of the AFC Championship game, we were soo close.  So close to the Super Bowl.  And we watched it slip away.  Colts come back to win the game and us fans get to watch another Jets-less Super Bowl two weeks later.

But here we are again.  Wild Card weekend in the NFL, heading back to Indianapolis for a rematch with Mr. Peyton Manning and the Colts.  And I firmly believe that this time, the Jets will get it done for us.  The Jets will prevail this evening and set up a third game this season with the Patriots next weekend in New England.

Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, Ladanian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor.  All off-season acquisitions that were brought in for one purpose.  Today.  The Jets were close last year but as we all saw, not close enough.  These players were brought in to push us over the edge, to knock off all those opponents in front of them.  Tonight, we see that happen.

Mark Sanchise is a year older.  A year wiser.  A year better.  As a rookie he won two and a half playoff games on the road.  This year, he is ready to win the first road playoff game in 2011.  He has his weapons spread out wide around him so he will use them.  He will also use the two running backs behind him.

The biggest question mark will again the be the defensive backs.  They're still banged up and they can cause us fans to bang our heads.  But they will be stingy tonight.  They will not make it easy for Peyton.  And at some point, hopefully in the second half, we will witness the first interception of the season my Darrell Revis because Peyton will temporary lose his mind and throw in his direction.

We've waited for tonight for almost a year.  And it's close.  8 hours away.  Let's do it!

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's about time

That title right there can be for two things.  1) It's about time that I've updated the site.  In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Just consider it my two week vacation.  But more importantly it's #2 that the title is about.  And that is the New Jersey Devils have finally started their deconstruction.

Earlier today the Devils announced that they have traded captain Jamie Langenbrunner to the Dallas Stars for a conditional 3rd round pick this June (there are some ways it can become a 2nd round pick and/or we gain a 2nd round pick next off-season).

I truly know that this could not have been an easy move for Lou to make.  He traded for Jamie back in 2002 and watched him help the Devils win the Stanley Cup a season later and then supported him being named captain a few years ago under Brent Sutter.  However, the way this season has played out, things have to happen.  This possible trade almost took place back in September when Lou asked Langenbrunner to waive his no-trade clause because the Devils needed the cap space and could have saved $2.8 million if the captain agreed to it, but he obviously said no, which four months ago was the right thing to do.  But when Lou asked again the other day, Langenbrunner did the right thing for himself by going to a contender and did the right thing for the Devils by allowing them to start their regrouping process.

Because when the season is over, that's what the off-season will be for them.  A re-group.  Not a re-built and not much of a breakdown.  Let there be a bit of a breakdown of the roster during the season.  Sell the players you have to sell but do not mortgage the entire roster.  Just look at it.  The talent is there but the chemistry, the magic, the touch, the something wasn't there with the talent this season.

Other players will have to go, this season, which will allow some salary cap space, allow for some of our younger players to get quality ice time so the team can proper evaluate them, and allow the Devils to gain some draft picks so we can restock our minor league team.

They may very well finish last this season in the league, and if that happens, I'm totally okay with that.  As Devils fans, think about it.  We've been so good, for so long, when was the last time we had a Top-10 pick? A Top-5?  Hell, have we ever had the Top Pick?  Let's all suffer this season, get the best young player and re-group for the 2011-2012 season.

Until that happens, Thank You and Good-Bye, Captain.