Friday, September 30, 2005

9/29 - Mets 11, Rockies 0

As I write this, Mike Piazza's 397th home run is still blazing its way through the Long Island sound. Wow, what a shot. And don't you think Tom Glavine wishes he had a few more starts this season?

The only reason to watch the games against Colorado this weekend is to see if Piazza makes HR # 400. I say he does it Sunday and rides out into Flushing sunset, a Mets hero forever.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Selling the Sizzle

It's been a lot of fun watching the Mets play consistently winning baseball the past two weeks, and tonight's been no exception--they're up 7-0 over the Rockies as I type. But I had to turn the sound off because the Mets broadcasters were doing nothing but trying to sell tickets for 2006.

Fran Healey: Ralph, when's the last time you saw such a young, exciting Mets team?

Ralph Kiner: The 1968 Mets.

Ok, ok, I get it. This team is young and fun and, yes, full of potential, but let's not lay it on too thick, guys. We're still talking about a team that will certainly fall short of 85 wins. All these big expectations for the coming season remind me of '96 when manager Dallas Green predicted that the Mets would have three pitchers--Jason Isringhausen, Bill Pulsipher, and Paul Wilson--win 15 games each. (Note: They pitched a combined 5-12 in '96 and ten seasons later not one of those pitchers has won even a dozen games in one year.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

9/28 - Phillies 16, Mets 6

Ugh. Glad I watched Lost before turning this painful game on. Back down to 4th, dammit.

We're #3! We're #3!

With their current hot streak, the Mets, winners of eight of their last 10, have leaped back into third place in the NL East (they're also third in the wild card standings, for what that's worth). And they've now won four series in a row (pretty sure that's their longest streak of the season). In fact, only the Angels have been hotter lately, winning nine of their last 10. 82 wins and third place? That's better than what I expected in '05.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

9/27 - Mets 3, Phillies 2

So the Mets were officially eliminated from the Wild Card race tonight when the Astros beat the Cardinals. So what! We knew that was going to happen. But who could have predicted that they would win 9 out of 11 and in the process knock out the Marlins, the Nationals and now (most likely) the Phillies out of playoff contention. You know what? That makes this Mets fan happy. Third place right now, with a good solid chance at finishing with 82-83 wins. And how about Aaron Heilman in the closer role tonight? I'd like to see a bit more of that before the season ends.

Make Room for Jacobs

Even though he's only played in 24 games this year, Mike Jacobs is a mere 3 HR and 10 RBI short from being the team's most productive first baseman this year. But how much faith will the Mets put in Jacobs when planning for '06? How about Diaz and Castro, for that matter? Or Seo and Heilman? Which of these guys will develop into Reyes or Wright caliber players and which are the Benny Agbayanis and Butch Huskeys of tomorrow?

9/26 - Mets 6, Phillies 5

8 out of 10? Huh? Why didn't this happen at the beginning of the month? And has any team ever had four Asian-born pitchers throw in the same game (Jae Seo, Danny Graves, Kaz Isshii, Shingo Takatsu)? And how did the Mets win this game with Graves, Ishii and Takatsu pitch in the same game? And how grateful were we all to not see Braden Looper come out in the 9th?

Finally, I really wish I had recorded last night's game--hearing Gary Cohen and Howie Rose talk about the death of Don Adams (with references to other famous 60s sitcom actors that lived next to their relatives) was better than any comeback win.

Three more wins this week, and the Mets will be over .500 for the first time in four seasons. A fan can dream, can't he?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

9/25 - Mets 6, Nationals 5

Ah, gotta love knocking another team officially out of the playoff hunt. Maybe they could do that again this week against the Phillies. And is it possible that Mike Piazza wants to hit 400 home runs before the year is over? He added two more today, which gives him 396 for his career.

9/24 - Mets 5, Nationals 2

Missed this game completely as I was at the White Stripes/The Shins/Brendan Benson show at Keyspan Park in Brooklyn. (Great show by the way.) I was very happy to see Tom Glavine throw yet another good game. Hopefully this will carry over to next year.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

9/23 - Mets 5, Nationals 2

Carlos Beltran with a game winning home run in extra innings--sure wish I had seen more that this year.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Moving on to '06

Last night was Open House at school, which is a very weird experience for me because I talk for 25+ minutes straight. Granted, I talk all day for a living, but seldom do I go for more than a couple of minutes without input from my students; the day is based in dialogue. Open House, though, is more like a lecture, my attempt to summarize 180 days worth of reading, writing, social studies, math, and science. Talking at people is as tiring as it is uncomfortable. By the time I got home the Mets game was over and, as I unwound, the only thing I could catch was Pedro's post-game interview, in which he said, basically, "I'm tired, Willie made the right move. I'm here for four years." He and Willie seem to be planning for 2006 already and that makes sense. I'm at that point, too. I tend to forget about Mets games at this point in the year, despite the fact that they've won four of their last six. I do hope they get to 81 wins, though.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

9/22 - Marlins 2, Mets 1

As predicted, this was a pitchers duel between Dontrelle Willis and Pedro Martinez--sort of. I didn't get to pick up the game until after Pedro was lifted in the 5th, so I don't know why he was taken out after only 75 pitches. But look at the results of Juan Padilla and Aaron Heilman--4 innings, no runs, 2 hits. I can see the future of the Mets bullpen, and it ain't Braden Looper and Danny Graves. Get an established closer, have these two guys as the setup men, and we could have something going here for next year.

Why do I sound like a broken record when I say "next year?"

9/21 - Mets 5, Marlins 4

The Mets didn't so much play spolier last night as they received a gift game from the Marlins. The "third team's a charm" reject Paul Quantrill should easily retire the 67 year old Miguel Cairo, but somehow a game-winning hit blooped in. Tonight should be a great game: Pedro vs. Dontrelle in the drive for .500.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

9/20 - Mets 3, Marlins 2 (12 Innings)

I can't believe I missed a taut game like this because I had to cover a Katrina benefit. Oh well, maybe the Mets would be better off if I didn't watch the rest of the season. It would be sweet if they took the Marlins out of the playoffs--that would be fair revenge for the Fish pushing the Flushing boys down the slope at the beginning of this month.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

9/18 - Mets 4, Braves 1

The way the Mets and the Braves both played today, I think our guys should franternize with the enemy more often. For my day job I covered the opening of the new Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square last night that featured a set by Velvet Revolver. And who should show up but Mike Piazza, David Wright, Steve Trachsel, Kris Benson and -- get this -- a bunch of the Braves, including Mike Hampton. Most of these Braves players stayed much later than Wright or Piazza, which could be an explanation for why these two Mets made some stellar defensive plays.

Or maybe it's that Tom Glavine once again pitched a great game, going the distance. Geez, this guy should have at least 13 more wins in his career as a Met, which would put him very close to that magical 300 number. Speaking another magical number, come on .500.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

9/17 - Braves 7, Mets 4

I like it when Mike Piazza gets pissed. He was robbed of a run scoring single on a bad call, so in his next at bat he crushes a ball somewhere close to the Hamptons. Otherwise, another dreary game on another humid day. When the hell will fall finally arrive?

9/16 - Mets 4, Braves 0

In what has become yet another lost season for our Metropolitans, we fans can be greatful for the presence of on Pedro Martinez. Last night he made Shea a happy place to be with this shutout. And Mike Jacobs returned to his Arizona form for one night, at least. Still, .500 seems like a dream at this point.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Stat Check

Faster than you can pull the plug on that new David Spade show, the Mets have slid from disappointing to pathetic. And while the dedo de you suck (which is Spanish for "finger of blame") should be pointed at Braden Looper, he's not alone. Take a look at how the Mets starters rank among their peers at various field positions (keeping in mind this is the with the second or third highest payroll in baseball).

Following each player's name, is his rank, compared to other NL players at the same position, in the following categories: batting average; on-base percentage; slugging percentage

Jose Reyes (SS) Tie-5 / T-9 / 5
David Wright (3B) 1 / 1 / 4
Cliff Floyd (LF) 5 / 7 / 7
Carlos Beltran (CF) 5 / 6 / 5

Why not investigate the various Mets who have played at C, 1B, 2B, and RF? None of them have had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. So the Mets offense is comprised of two kids with great promise (Reyes, Wright), two average outfielders (Floyd, Beltran), with a odds and ends assortment of fading stars, role players, and "dear god, let this one stay healthy" types. It is Looper's fault, but he's got plenty of company to shoulder the blame.

Or, another way to look at this mess, during the upcoming off-season, which can't come soon enough, which Mets do you consider untouchable when considering trades? I can think of three: Pedro, Reyes, and Wright.

9/15 - Nationals 6, Mets 5 (10 Innings)

I know those scissors are somewhere here on my desk. Ah yes, now, let's aim it perfectly for one eye...[stab]. Okay, now the other...[stab]. Ah, perfect, now I'll never have to see Braden Looper blow a game again.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

9/14 - Nationals 6, Mets 3

"Yes we go there
When summer is gone
Don't talk to her that way
You know something's wrong."
--"Something's Wrong" The Figgs

Lifting their pant legs up all the way is the best this team can do? Why has this team gone into a freefall at the end of each season for the past 4 years. (Under three different managers to boot!) The lack of focus over the past five games has been just frustrating.

Willie Randolph Calling Orson, Come In Orson...

As a kid I loved Mork and Mindy, especially when Jonathan Winters joined the cast as Mork's son, I think, who aged in reverse. Watching the Mets these past few days it's like they're from Ork, regressing before our eyes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

9/13 - Nationals 4, Mets 2

"Ugly. Ugly. Ug-ug-ug-ug, Ugly."
--Fishbone, "Ugly"

Jose Offerman completely missing the fact Kaz Matsui had a hit and getting thrown out at 2nd? Ugly.

Ramon Castro lobbing the ball past 1st in the 9th inning? Ugly.

The way this entire team has looked this month? You guessed it--ugly.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A Taste of Spring

What an afternoon for sports. The Mets in St. Louis, the Yankees hosting the Red Sox up in the Bronx, the NFL underway. I flipped between the Mets and Yankees games. It was a treat to see Pedro get a lot of run support, especially in light of how much of it came from the kiddie corp (a pair of doubles from Jacobs, three RBI from Diaz). But it felt like spring training, a workout to test talent for the future more than a game with immediate consequences, especially in contrast to the nail-bitter the Yankees and BoSox engaged in.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

9/11 - Mets 7, Cardinals 2

So my cable mysteriously came back, so I was able to watch this game. Well, kind of watch it. With the playoff chase over, I found myself flipping to other games that had playoff implications. It was good to see Pedro finally get some run support.

Can we get 84 wins? That would be nice.

9/10 - Cardinals 4, Mets 2

Mike Piazza comes back, hit a home run in his first at bat, and then gets beaned by the Cardinals prick Julian Tavarez. Now this is the Mets luck circa 2002-2004 coming back. Thank goodnes there's only one game left on the road trip.

Oh, and I have the feeling Albert Pujols will get plunked by Pedro as a little payback today.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Yes, Jim?

I want to thank you.

9/9 - Cardinals 3, Mets 2

I have the feeling these entries are going to start getting shorter, as the September swoon has diminished my passion somewhat. But what got my passion up this morning was reading the quote from Willie Randolph about last night's starter, Jae Seo:

"To me, Jae's still establishing himself. This is my first time seeing him up close. So he still has to prove to me consistently that he can be the pitcher he has shown."

Umm, Willie, does this guy have to pitch a no hitter every time to win your confidence? If you're going to become a better manager, you have to let go the "using my guys" mentality. Umm, hello Miguel Cairo?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005

9/8 - Cardinals 5, Mets 0

Ah, .500, the mark this team was meant to achieve. They haven't been there since August 4th, but I think they'll stay around there.

A loss tonight is not surprising, considering how awesome Chris Carpenter has been this season. He definitely showed his Cy Young credentials tonight.


Yes, son?

I want to kill you.

9/7 - Braves 4, Mets 3 (10 Innings)

I'm so looking forward to 2006, now that this pesky fantasy run at the 2005 playoffs was finally extinguished last night. I don't blame Shingo Takatsu for this loss--the blame rests on the shoulders of Braden Looper, who, in his words, "stunk it up," and Willie Randolph, who had no business sending Looper out there for the 10th inning after a 33 pitch 9th inning.

I still think this team can finish with 84 wins, which would be great considering all the holes in the lineup and the bullpen. 90% of the idiots calling into WFAN who expected more are morons.

2006 = 94 wins and the wildcard. You heard it here first.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Re: You Know It's Bad When

Just to complete your mental nightmare Mike, that Don Henley song is called "Dirty Laundry." It was covered by Lisa Marie Presley earlier this year.

Yeah, liked anyone needed to know that.

We now return you to normal, non-sucky music related posts. Just sucky in September team posts.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

You Know It's Bad When...

...a Don Henley song pops into my head (and by that I mean a song sung by Don Henley, not a song about Don Henley, like Mojo Nixon's "Don Henley Must Die"), in this case that song that goes "Kick 'em when they up/Kick 'em when they down."

Tonight I tuned in just in time to watch Victor Diaz take a 3-2 pitch for a called third strike that ended the ballgame. It was the first time all season that I saw dejected looks on the faces of Mets players, looks that said, We aren't going to make the playoffs.

The Mets need to start winning, not so much to make the playoffs--that ain't happening this year--but to prevent more crappy classic rock songs from seeping into my melon.

9/6 - Braves 3, Mets 1

Another night at Turner Field, another brutal loss. While listening to the game (my cable is out and the Cablevision bastards can't make it to my house until MONDAY), I was reminded of this horrible song by the Nirvana ripoffs Bush. The chorus in it goes, "Oh, those little things can kill." And indeed they can: Kaz Matsui not being able to turn a double play; Ramon Castro not making Pedro Martinez aware of Marcus Giles running home; the head-slapping failure of the Mets to get any of the folks that provided the 5 extra base hits across home plate. I could go on and on, but I think I won't.

Come to think of it, maybe it's good my cable is out--I didn't get to see the bungles in the field, and I don't have to hear Fran Healy and Keith Hernandez. Perhaps Cablevision knew what they were doing. Hmmmm.....

And tonight's WFAN highlight: When Willie Randolph called on Shingo Takatsu, Gary Cohen said, "Here's someone just old enough to remember The Beatles, which is good since he has was can only be described as a Beatles haircut." Howie Rose then said, "When was he born? 1968? That's right around the time of The White Album." Rose paused, and then said, "Am I really going to do this?" He chuckled, then said, "I bet he said to the White Sox, 'Don't Pass Me By.'"

Oh I laughed. These two guys are amazing. We should just do a blog about the references they bring into every game.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Are You Ready for the Old Yeller Treatment Yet?

I missed all of the Mets' games this weekend, including the stellar pitching performances by Dontrelle Willis and Jae Seo, and today, with Shaggs-like timing, turned on the radio just as Steve Trachsel gave up Rafael Furcal's eighth inning single. Before I heard the score I figured Trachsel's presence that late in the game was a good sign. Then Chipper did it again. It's one thing for the Mets to always lose when they play in Turner Field, but does it always have to be the same guy who crushes them?

9/5 - Braves 4, Mets 2

Arrrrrrgh Larry. I hate that scumbag. And I hate Turner Field.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

9/4 - Mets 7, Marlins 1

Jae Seo (7 innings with one run) returns to form and Kaz Matsui (3 hits) finds some form? Sounds like a good Sunday afternoon to me. If Matsui actually gets hot, I may need a trip to the E.R.

So next it's three games at the House of 1000 Losses, a.k.a. Turner Field. If the Mets can stay 2 1/2 games out of the wild card after the next 7 games, that would be pretty damn good in my eyes.

Willie Is Just All Right

Willie's an easy target--he makes the occasional first-year manager mistake and he's at the helm of a team that's brushed up against "on-track" status though they can't seem to stay there--but he's done a good job this year. He has the Mets playing meaningful games in September despite the fact that they've only had two hitters consistently produce this year (Wright and Floyd), they've gotten nothing--absolutely nothing--out of either first or second base all year (I keep wondering what life would be like with Carlos Delgado at first) and the bullpen is, at best, inconsistent. Should he have dumped Ishii earlier? Sure. Moved Piazza down in the line up and moved up Wright? Sure. But, like Steve said, Willie's changed the climate in the Mets clubhouse. I think the real payoff will come in 2006.

9/3 - Marlins 5, Mets 4

To go back to Mike's post of a couple days ago, this was a heartbreaker. The best line I heard about this loss was "Shingo Takatsu in Japanese means 'Danny Graves.'" It's not fair to put this latest rehabilition project in with the bases-loaded, but this guy used to be a closer, so he should be used to tight spots. The second guessing will probably go on for a while, but I like the fact that Willie Randolph didn't seem to care and was ready for the roasting by the press.

Of course, if they lose their fifth in a row today, I'll be ready to call for his hide. At least that's what most Met fans seem to do on WFAN. It's amazing how many people think Randolph is a complete moron. Apparently these people haven't seen the fact that the 2005 Mets seem to care about winning, as opposed to the lethargic 2004 edition. I'm in the minority, but I like our manager.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

9/2 - Marlins 4, Mets 1

I missed much of this game with late work crap on a Friday night, but what I did hear on WFAN was Gary Cohen and Howie Rose talking ominously about Victor Zambrano's rising pitch count in the early innings. That was all I needed to hear to make me glad I wasn't totally focused on the game.

Three losses in a row is no way to start September.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

...and in the words of Pat...

"You're a heartbreaker, neck-wringer/Lawdy mama don't you mess around with me--Pat Benetar

(Or something like that. I never did catch all of Pat's lyrics.)

Pennent fever had a grip on Shea earlier this week. The place was going crazy Wednesday night. On the heels of Tuesday's big comeback there was Pedro ready to go. For the first time all year, the Mets could taste the playoffs. A win on Wednesday would have put them first in the wild card standings. Another win today would have put them up by a game and a half. The fever spread into the broadcast booth, too. When Carlos Beltran tried to bunt early in the game, Keith Hernandez moaned, "No, you don't bunt now!" but his voice was that of a disappointed fan, not an impartial commentator. When Cliff Floyd sent a routine line drive into right field you could practically hear Fran Healey leap out of his seat as he yelled ("Floyd smashes that one into right!). Like every one watching the game, these guys were pulling for the Mets, hoping this was the series in which they turned the corner and blazed down the home stretch, enjoying that long winning streak that had elluded the team all year.

But then the Phillies opened the keg of whoop ass. My god, did they ever. 8-2? Against Pedro? And say what you will about the talent of the Phillies' Chase Utley, it stings worse when you get your ass kicked by a guy named Chase. Much, much worse. And now they've dropped two out of three and they're heading out on the road again.

9/1 - Phillies 3, Mets 1

Totally missed this game because of a hellish day at work. I thought it probably was a good thing I did, after reading over the recap.

Three in Florida next, with Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett looming. This could be bad.

8/31 - Phillies 8, Mets 2

Well, Pedro Martinez can't be superman all the time. He definitely labored in this game, and I hope the four home runs he gave up aren't a sign that he's a lot more wore down than he admits.

On the plus side, Ramon Castro seems determined to make fans forget that Mike Piazza isn't on the active roster. Hey, how about we keep this catching duo around next year too?

Oh, and Steve Trachsel is still around. Perhaps I got a little too emotional earlier in the week.