Archive for July, 2010

Here we are, the season teetering out of control for the New York Mets, yet nothing seems to be getting done.
The Mets are fresh off a disastrous 2-9 road trip in which they were shut out four times and lost winnable game after winnable game due to a pathetic offense, yet hitting coach Howard Johnson still has his job. In fact, Kevin Burkhardt of SNY just tweeted that the Mets aren’t expected to make any coaching changes at this time. I’m absolutely flabbergasted, but yet not totally surprised, since this is the Mets we’re talking about.
The Phillies fired hitting coach Milt Thompson last week, a guy with a much better track record than HoJo of actually being good at his job. Yet, the Phillies’ once high-powered offense was struggling and Charlie Manuel made the move. Coincidence or no, the Phillies are winning and scoring again.
The Mets’ once promising season is looking like yet another lost opportunity, as New York sits at 50-49 in third place in the NL East, a distant 7 1/2 games behind the Braves. The Phillies are all of the sudden three games ahead of the Mets and the fourth-place Marlins can move into a tie with New York for third with a win tonight. The Mets are closer to last place than first place.
Yet nothing is happening. Jerry Manuel’s moves and poor use of the bullpen continue to defy logic, yet he remains employed. I mean how many times is Pedro Feliciano going to allow a big hit to a righthanded batter before Jerry realizes the guy is a left-handed specialist only. It cost the Mets again yesterday. And using Elmer Dessens and Ollie Perez before K-Rod the other day was inexcusable. Why wait for the save opportunity that may never come? Actually using Perez in any spot is inexcusable, but that’s more Omar and the Wilpons’ fault than Jerry’s.
The trade deadline is coming up, and it will be interesting to see what the Mets do. If they lose the series to the red-hot Cardinals (especially if they are swept) they might as well sell off whatever useful pieces they can and build for next year. I feel Omar has waited much too long to make a move to improve the club, I was hoping it would come before the disastrous road trip. They keep saying the team needs starting pitching, yet the Mets lost six games on the trip in which the starters allowed three or fewer runs (4 of those were outings of two or fewer), so what good is another starter when the team can’t hit?
HoJo should have been fired long ago yet still remains on the bench. They’ve got guys on the roster who can hit, they just aren’t doing it. And as it has been the last few years with this team, everyone seems to go into a funk at the same time. Jason Bay, who has been dreadful all year, finally made corrections on his own the other day and is showing signs of snapping out of it. HoJo seems to serve no real purpose at this point. Anyway, the Mets are in dire straits. Another horrible week and the season is for all intent and purposes, over. The only positive might be the removal of Manuel, his coaching staff and (if we’re lucky) Omar before the start of the 2011 season. Something needs to change with this club, the sooner the better.

F you LeBron

Posted: July 8, 2010 in Knicks

LeBron James just made his announcement, and he certainly took the easy way out. He’s joining forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and joining the Miami Heat. Have fun LeBron. Can’t wait to see the rest of the league boo your ass, particularly in New York, Chicago and Cleveland. I’ve hated Pat Riley ever since he faxed his resignation when he coached the Knicks, the Heat have now passed the Lakers on my most hated list. Hope these clowns don’t win, since everybody and their mother will pick them now.

Tonight, it was learned that LeBron James will make his much anticipated decision on where he will play next season through an ESPN television special on Thursday night.
How else could this end than with a big tv spectacle? But to LeBron’s credit, part of the agreement with ESPN is that all proceeds from the special will go to the Boys and Girls Club of America. Classy move, as this special will certainly bring in mucho viewers, especially if the decision isn’t leaked somehow between now and Thursday night.
I could be wrong here, but I really don’t think LeBron would go through all this trouble if he was simply staying home and re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In recent days, talk has been picking up that the Knicks have a good shot at landing LeBron after most talking heads (including the clueless stammering know-it-alls on ESPN) gave New York pretty much zero chance, hardly ever mentioning the Knicks. Of course, these talking heads have had just about every scenario possible out there. You heard LeBron was going to team up with Dwyane Wade in Miami. We heard it was a “lock” he was going to the Bulls. We heard he and Chris Bosh were headed to the Nets. Also heard it was a done deal that he was staying with the Cavs. Through all this time, the Knicks haven’t been making a lot of noise, but have been doing a lot of work behind the scenes. They’ve had at least two meetings with the LeBron camp – one with James attending and another with a few of his agents/advisors. They made a big splash in signing free agent power forward Amar’e Stoudemire from the Suns, a player James coveted for the Cavs at last year’s trade deadline. I’m not saying it’s a done deal LeBron will choose the Knicks, I just feel much better about their chances now than I did a few days ago. If the Knicks somehow land LeBron, they become relevant for the first time in 10 years or so. Thursday night should be very, very interesting indeed.

Mets 3, Reds 0

Posted: July 7, 2010 in Mets

It was all about Johan Santana tonight.
The Mets’ ace, who has struggled through a turbulent first half, seems ready to make one of his patented second-half runs, following a great start last Friday night against the Nats with a phenomenal one tonight against the NL Central-leading Reds.
Santana was masterful, tossing a three-hit shutout in the Mets’ 3-0 win. He also accounted for the first run of the game with his first career homer, a shot off the right-field foul pole after a tough 11-pitch at bat against Reds starter Matt Maloney.
With Johan at 103 pitches through eight innings, I thought Jerry Manuel might go to K-Rod for the ninth, but this one was Johan’s all the way. With one out, he surrendered a single and another runner reached on a dropped fly-ball error by Jason Bay, bringing Manuel out from the dugout to a chorus of boos. Johan basically gave Jerry the look of death and told him it was his game to finish, and to Jerry’s credit, the manager obliged. Johan got the next two outs (with a little help from a nice play by Ike Davis at first) and the Mets evened the series at a game apiece.
The Mets (47-37) remain two games behind the Braves, who beat the Phillies in extras tonight. New York sends Jon Niese to the hill Wednesday against Bronson Arroyo.

A few thoughts

Posted: July 5, 2010 in Knicks, Mets

The Mets rebounded nicely from one of their most frustrating losses of the season by beating the Nationals today, 9-5. This one should have been a laugher as the Mets built an 8-0 lead, but nothing ever seems to come easy in Mets land. So naturally, by the ninth inning, K-Rod was back out there hoping for a shot at redemption. He nailed down the save today after absolutely tanking it the day before, allowing three runs and recording only one out in the Mets’ 6-5 loss on Saturday. The Mets are now 46-36, two games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. They return home for six games against playoff contenders Cincinnati and Atlanta, and then the All-Star break comes.
This team has shown me a lot of positive things this season, namely a resilient quality that’s been lacking in the last few years. They’ve suffered many heartbreaking losses (10 walk-off defeats), yet usually don’t let the effects of those losses manifest themselves into a long losing streak. Still, I think the club is one frontline starter and a solid setup man away from being a playoff squad. Let’s see what happens in July as the trade deadline draws closer.

One thing which should help the Mets is the return of Carlos Beltran. My wife and I have seen Beltran in two of his rehab games for St. Lucie, and he’s swinging the bat well and moving pretty well, also. Getting him back around the All-Star break will be like making a major trade, assuming Beltran can stay healthy. Also saw a glimpse of the future, as 18-year-old shortstop Wilmer Flores looks like the real thing. He homered in last night’s game, and has plus-bat speed. Also doesn’t strike out much and should develop even more power as he fills out his 6-3 frame (has eight homers this season but I could see him developing into a 25-30 homer guy down the road). Also, starting pitcher Jeurys Familia has great stuff, with a fastball that consistently sat at 95-96, touching 97 on a few occasions. He’s still a bit raw command-wise, but he’s got a solid assortment of offspeed pitches. Will be interesting to see how he and Jenrry Mejia come along the next few years, assuming they aren’t traded.

I’ve been quiet on the Knicks’ pursuit of big-time free agents, waiting to see how things transpire. For the better part of two years, most Knicks fans thought they had a great shot of landing LeBron James. Now it seems the Knicks are barely mentioned in the LeBron sweepstakes. Not sure what to make of this, but LeBron would be the King of New York if he came to the Knicks. Granted, he probably wouldn’t win the title in his first season, but the Knicks (who are closing in on Amar’e Stoudemire) will have more salary coming off the books next year when Eddy Curry’s ridiculous contract (thanks Isaiah) is up. I know LeBron loves playing at Madison Square Garden, but he also wants to win, and his best shot at doing that is probably with the Bulls, unless he teams up with Dwyane Wade in Miami (still don’t see that happening, in fact there might be a better chance both end up in Chicago than Miami). Just glad they didn’t overspend on Joe Johnson, who the Hawks signed to a six-year, $119 million deal today. Johnson’s a nice player, but I don’t view him as a huge difference maker, definitely not worth that kind of money. Should be an interesting next couple of days. Just hope to see a winning team at the Garden next year. It’s been WAY too long…..