Archive for April, 2011

Mets 6, Nationals 3

Posted: April 27, 2011 in Mets

The Mets won their sixth in a row tonight with a well-earned 6-3 victory over the Washington Nationals.
The win moved the Mets out of the NL East cellar for the first time since the first week of the season and moved them within two games of the break-even mark.
Tonight’s win was a true team effort, as just about everybody chipped in, even little-used subs like Chin-Lung Hu, who delivered the game-tying sacrifice fly in the Mets’ four-run ninth.
Daniel Murphy didn’t start the game, but boy did he finish. After the Mets were blatantly ripped off by a horrendous call by the third-base umpire on Jose Reyes’ should-have-been triple, Murphy stepped up and lashed a pinch-hit homer off reliever Tyler Clippard. Murphy ripped a two-run double in the ninth off lefty Sean Burnett (further proving he should be starting every day, no matter who is on the mound) to cap the late outburst, making a winner of rookie Pedro Beato (1-0), giving him his first-ever win in the bigs.
The Mets played some sloppy D in the eighth to give the Nats the lead, but give them credit for fighting back, as they did throughout this one. The Mets (11-13) go for the sweep tomorrow night with Chris Capuano taking on Livan “How the hell am I still in the league” Hernandez. Would be nice to complete the sweep and head into Philly with tons of momentum.


Cautious optimism

Posted: April 27, 2011 in Mets

It’s funny what a little winning will do for you as a fan.
Last week, the Mets looked about as bad as a team could look, dropping to a league-worst 5-13 after dropping 12 of 14 contests.
Now on a five-game winning streak following tonight’s 6-4 win over the Washington Nationals, the Mets are now 10-13 and threatening to climb out of the NL East cellar.
But let’s not get crazy here. The wins have come against subpar teams (1 against Houston, 3 against Arizona and tonight’s win over the Nats). None of those teams is over .500, but the Mets were losing to these very teams during the cold spell, so I’ll take it.
The team’s winning streak has coincided with the return of Jason Bay to the lineup. Bay’s return lengthens the Mets’ lineup, as the hot-hitting Ike Davis is now batting sixth with ample RBI opportunities hitting behind David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Bay. So far, so good on Beltran’s knees holding up, as he’s playing well and showing no ill effects from his injuries. The Mets will need a healthy Beltran if it hopes to climb into wild card contention this year.
Daniel Murphy has basically taken the second base job and run with it, collecting two more hits tonight as the team’s new No. 2 hitter. I love Murph, and his line-drive bat is a big improvement over the early experiment of Rule 5 draftee Brad Emaus, who has since been cut.
The Mets’ bullpen has also improved of late, and I like how this regime is taking charge with roster moves. If a guy isn’t cutting it (like Emaus), Sandy Alderson is getting them off the roster quickly. It would take Omar Minaya weeks if not months to admit a roster mistake, and even then, he would find a way to botch the simplest of roster moves. A notorious Omar move would be to carry an injured player on the roster for a week before finally deciding to put him on the DL, thus making the team work a man down for a week. Alderson doesn’t do that. Angel Pagan tweaks his oblique, bam, he’s on the DL the next day. Bobby Parnell has a circulation problem in one of his fingers, he’s gone the next day as well. It’s little things like this that have me believing Alderson and his staff will have the Mets contending again sometime soon (can’t wait to see what these guys do with the draft in June).
I’m not ready to say the Mets will contend this year. The Phillies are the class of the division, and the Mets have way too many question marks to make you believe they can make the playoffs this year. However, they may not be the dregs of the league, either. I’m hoping to at least see a summer of competitive baseball with an eye on a hopeful future. The Mets’ minor leagues has more talent than its had in years, and I’d imagine this year’s draft will provide another influx of talent to make the system that much deeper.
Things might not be so bad in Metsland, after all.

I guess I’ve come to expect poor officiating in the NBA, and I honestly believe games are fixed because of it.
Don’t get me wrong, the Boston Celtics are one hell of a team. But they didn’t deserve tonight’s win over the Knicks. It was taken away from New York with a series of late head-scratching calls and non-calls, one after the other, almost to the point where I couldn’t believe what I was watching. Then again, I remembered, this is the NBA and it’s par for the course.
The Celtics beat the Knicks 87-85 tonight on a Ray Allen three with 11 seconds left. But the game really was lost before that. With the Knicks clinging to a one-point lead, Carmelo Anthony was whistled for an offensive foul on the ever-flopping Paul Pierce with 22 seconds left. Before that, Chauncey Billups was murdered driving to the hoop (he had to leave the game with an injury). Billups was actually fouled by two different Celtics players on that drive, but no call. Before that, the Knicks were whistled for a questionable offensive foul on a play that would have resulted in a Toney Douglas 3-pointer and seven-point Knicks lead.
And those are just three plays off the top of my head. I’m the first to give Boston credit, especially their veteran core and their magnificent head coach Doc Rivers (who drew up some big plays out of timeouts to help the Celtics comeback), but they’re tough enough when you’re playing them on a level playing field. When you have to play them and the refs, you’re in for a tough night. The thing that really steams me is the holier than thou attitude NBA dictator, excuse me, commissioner David Stern takes when talking about his refs. If someone criticizes his beloved refs, it’s fine city, yet anyone can see these guys aren’t getting the job done.
Still, lot of positives for the Knicks tonight. They played tough defense. Amar’e, as I stated earlier, was a beast. They showed they could go toe-to-toe with the Celtics on their home floor. Just hope this loss isn’t too deflating for them going forward.

What a disgrace

Posted: April 16, 2011 in Mets

Sometimes I really, really hate being a Mets fan. Today was certainly one of those days and it’s already shaping up to be another lost season for the Mess.
The Mets were swept in another doubleheader, falling 4-2 in Game 1 and 4-0 in Game 2 to the Atlanta Braves (who were struggling coming into the series). The Braves had to be celebrating knowing the Mets were coming into town, as this poor excuse for a team is the perfect elixir for any team down on its luck.
Fill-in starter D.J. Carrasco showed he’s equally adept at sucking in the rotation as he is in the bullpen, surrendering three solo homers in 3 2/3 innings to lose Game 1. The Mets were even worse in Game 2. Mike Pelfrey has been excruciatingly bad this year and tonight was no exception. Sir Licks A Lot gave up four runs and 11 hits in five innings, never able to execute a big pitch in key spots as usual. Didn’t seem to matter, because the Mets’ offense was again a no-show against just-off-the-DL Jair Jurrjens. The only threat the Mets had in this game was quickly erased on one of the biggest boneheaded baserunning moves I can remember in quite some time. Daniel Murphy led off the sixth with a double and down 3-0, took off for third base on a steal attempt. Of course, there was no reason to do this, and of course, he was thrown out. Typical.
The Mets are now 4-11, off to the third-worst start in franchise history. Only the 1962 and 1964 expansion-era Mets got off to worse starts. There are 147 games to go. That can be looked at as a positive for the Mets, but if they continue to play like this, it’s going to be a season for the ages, and not in a good way. The Mets’ next loss comes Sunday when Dillon Gee takes on Tommy Hanson in the finale of this three-game set. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Sell the team, Wilpons!

Always up for a good cause

Posted: April 16, 2011 in Odds and Sods

My friend Brian Westfall sent me this link, so I figured I’d help spread the word.

Rockies 5, Mets 4

Posted: April 13, 2011 in Mets

Poor Charlie Brown must have been a Mets fan.

We’re 11 games into the season, and I’m already downsizing what were modest expectations for this year’s Mets team to begin with. The early three-game winning streak is looking more and more like a tease, and this might be another in what is becoming a long line of long seasons for Mets fans.
It’s early, I know, and you can’t give up hope in April, but there are several alarming signs if you are a Mets fan.
Tonight’s 5-4 loss to the Rockies was frustrating in that it reminded me of poor managing in seasons past. So far, there are certain things I like about Terry Collins. He seems to be organized, intense and already had a team meeting after tonight’s game to try to straighten things out.
But why, Terry, why in God’s name did you pitch to a scalding hot Troy Tulowitzki with a base open with two outs in the fifth inning and the Mets up by two runs. Especially with the immortal Jose Lopez in the on-deck circle? Naturally, Tulo hits a three-run homer and the Mets’ bats went quietly into the night. At least the bullpen pitched well tonight for a change.
The Mets (4-7) host a doubleheader today, and only a sweep will keep it from being a totally disastrous opening homestand. R.A. Dickey and Chris Capuano take the hill for the Mets, opposed by Greg Reynolds and Jorge De la Rosa.

There’s a definite 90s alt-rock feel to Foo Fighter’s seventh album, Wasting Light. Butch Vig, producer of Nirvana’s classic Nevermind, joins forces with Dave Grohl again to man the boards for the latest release. Pat Smear, a late-era member of Nirvana and an early member of Foo Fighters, returns to the band for the first time since 1997’s classic, The Colour and the Shape. And ex-Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic even makes an appearance on the excellent slow burning track “I Should Have Known,” giving the album a bit of a Nirvana alumni reunion feel.
But make no mistake, the show’s all about Grohl and his killer band, who deliver their sharpest set of tunes since 1999’s There is Nothing Left to Lose.
Foo Fighters rocks perhaps as hard as they ever have on Wasting Light, right from the point album opener “Bridge Burning” begins to the point the redemptive closer and future single “Walk” ends. There’s no filler here, something that has plagued some of the more recent efforts by Foos. While Grohl isn’t capable of writing a bad song, sometimes it appears he has things in cruise control a bit. Not here, it’s full throttle all the way, as he and the boys have crafted an instant rock classic.
There’s something for everyone here. “White Limo” has Grohl screaming like he did on the album’s first two releases (think tracks like ‘Watershed or ‘Enough Space’), over a punk-thrash backdrop, almost a bit like Queens of the Stone Age’s heavier tracks (of which Grohl is a sometimes contributor). Lead single “Rope” has the loud-soft dynamics you come to expect from Foo Fighters, with tight harmonies between Grohl and drummer Taylor Hawkins giving way to a full-guitar assault. “These Days” is a more introspective number, but it also packs quite a punch come payoff time.
There’s not a wasted moment on Wasting Light, an album that certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome. Just the opposite, as soon as the final track ends, you’re back to track 1 for another round. Well played, boys.

Sod rating: **** 1/2

Same as it ever was: Mets pen sucks

Posted: April 11, 2011 in Mets

At this point, Charlie Brown would be an improvement for the beleaguered Mets pen.

Well, my optimism for the Mets lasted about a week. After winning three of their first four, the Mets have dropped five of six and as has been the case for several years now, much of the problems can be pinned on a terrible bullpen.
In yesterday’s loss to the Nats, Chris Young left after seven brilliant innings where he allowed one run on one hit. Immediately, D.J. Carrasco (with the help of some bad outfield defense), coughed up a two-run lead and the Mets would lose it in extras when the now departed Blaine Boyer gave up a four-spot.
In tonight’s 7-6 loss, Mike Pelfrey left with a 4-2 lead in the sixth, but recently recalled Ryota Igarashi couldn’t complete a 1-2-3 double play, eventually giving up a tying broken-bat single to Carlos Gonzalez. Bobby Parnell, who has been awful of late, gave up three runs in the eighth for the loss.
I know it’s still early, but it’s not like the Mets’ bullpen is a who’s who of awesomeness. D.J. Carrasco was a head-scratcher of a free agent signing, a righty reliever who doesn’t miss many bats. They had that guy much cheaper last year. His name was Elmer Dessens (another guy I didn’t like). Tim Byrdak is terrible as the lefty specialist, and the Mets’ decision to let both Pedro Feliciano and Hisanori Takahashi walk following last season is a curious one.
One positive note tonight was the return of Jason Isringhausen to the Mets. Izzy got out of a tough jam in the seventh, and he’ll be a nice addition as long as his elbow holds up. I remember thinking Izzy would be the Mets’ ace for years to come when he originally came up in 1995, but it was not to be. Still nice to see him back where he started.
The Mets (4-6) play the Rockies again tomorrow night, with Jon Niese taking on Esmil Rogers.

Mets looking good so far

Posted: April 5, 2011 in Mets

The Mets won their third straight tonight, ripping the NL favorite Phillies 7-1 with a six-run third inning and some solid pitching (and hitting) from Chris Young. Young worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing just one run while fanning seven. He also went 3 for 3 at the plate with an RBI. The Mets chased Cole Hamels (they own that guy) with the six-run outburst in the third, and while there weren’t a ton of hard-hit balls, it was nice to see them come through with some clutch hits. So far this season (and I know it’s a very small sample), I like what I’m seeing. There seems to be an optimism and enthusiasm with this team, and they are playing crisp baseball with just one error in four games. Manager Terry Collins seems to be a night-and-day difference from Jerry Manuel, and early reports say the team really enjoys playing for him. Of course, everything seems positive when you’re winning. We’ll get a better gauge for what type of character this team has after it endures a losing streak. There are some notable improvements this year. For one, the Mets have a much better bench than they’ve had in awhile. Guys like Willie Harris and Scott Hairston were nice under the radar moves by Sandy Alderson (man, it’s great to have a GM who knows what he’s doing), while Daniel Murphy adds a line-drive bat and the ability (albeit shakily) to play multiple positions. Chin-lung Hu is an outstanding defensive player, and the Mets have used him to spell both Brad Emaus and Murphy at second base. The bullpen, a concern coming in with the losses of Pedro Feliciano and Hisanori Takahashi to free agency, has been very effective so far. Still have to tell myself, it’s only four games. But 3-1 sure beats 1-3.