Tag Archives: Jerry Manuel

Another Shake My Head At The Mets

Maybe I’m just bitter and a sore loser. The Yankees biggest problem these days are how they will handle Alex Rodriguez’s 600th homerun ball.

Meanwhile the Mets remain, and I’m going to be polite, annoying. I use that word as a fan and not as some objective person writing a column about the Mets.

It would come off as arrogant to say I could do a better job at some of the key positions in management but if you look at the Mets recent track record I wouldn’t be too far off.

Pointing out the Mets warts is like staring at a leper and figuring out which one to pick on first. Its disappointing to say the least how this organization COULD be run and how it IS run. There’s a huge difference.

Being in the New York market gives one a major advantage financially right off the bat. Unfortunately if you don’t have smart and able minded individuals running the operation you will be prone to its pitfalls. And to say the Mets are prone to such things would be the understatement of the year.

My biggest regret is waking up and having to write these “shake my head” articles that do nothing but make me shake my head at what this Met team is.

Take for instance their current dilemma and major front page news: whether they should keep their coaching staff intact.

I’ve long been a fan of Jerry Manuel and I still think a guy with his personality is suited for the rigors of a management position in New York. To be short and sweet about it, to play/coach/GM in New York is incomparable to any other city. Apologies to Philadelphia, Chicago, and Dallas but we claim the title of “most demanding press corps” in the country.

He is calm, congenial and is able to laugh at himself which comes in handy when the pack comes calling. So one can assume that the demands of the job won’t interfere in how he manages.

If that’s true and I believe it is, then we need only focus on his managing abilities and to be frank, he’s just not that very good. I can bring up specific situations that had my blood pressure go up and down like Wall street but the fact is his collective body of work speaks for itself.

Throughout his tenure I made excuses as to why he wasn’t given a fair shake and this year, through half a season, I’ve seen that many of his moves lack any firm grasp of logic and that more than anything made me turn on Jerry.

Since the beginning of the season I’ve been on Howard Johnson who I personally blamed for David Wright’s regression because he was mimicking HoJo’s upper cut swing. It caused his strikeout numbers to skyrocket and his confidence to shoot low. The Mets during this 2-9* stretch rarely worked counts and constantly swung at first pitches which opposing pitchers caught on to regularly and got them out quickly. That’s approach at the plate and that lack of success warrants a change.
*= 1-10, come on, the Mets shouldve been swept out of San Francisco.

I never thought I’d say this but Dan Warthen has done a good job. The pitching staff and relief unit have done their job for the most part. I will not bash them because it doesn’t matter who they are, no team can win when the offense is only scoring two runs a game.

But Jerry has to go. His media appearances are getting tougher and tougher to stomach. At some point his material wore thin on me and every little thing bugs me about him. Even a screen shot of him will send me in a tailspin. I would think most Met fans are at that point with him as well.

Unfortunately, he’s not going anywhere until the end of the season I think. Omar Minaya is linked to Manuel. Their reigns run parallel to each other’s so one man getting fired likely means the end to the other so Omar won’t do Jerry in. He’s going to let Jerry sink or swim and he’s going to do what it takes for him to be successful whether its acquire a bullpen arm or a starting pitcher which means that the Mets are going to do what it takes to make a play for the playoffs.

And that very thinking is what is wrong with the Mets. They look to please the press by making what seem to be approved by the media kind of deals that keep the press off their backs but in doing so give the press license to take no blame for listening to them and making them look like a minor league outfit. They don’t have enough confidence to make a decision without taking into account what those “experts” may think.

For instance, the Mets find themselves in quite possibly the worst position. They are in playoff limbo; not yet contenders and not so far off that you can’t imagine a run. So whatever the Mets decide, you can be sure that the team will have to be able to back it up and who out of the Mets dying legion of supporters feel confident enough to believe that will happen?

What the Mets should do is be logical. I think they should go after Ted Lilly. Then let him walk once the year runs out. He will be a type A free agent which means two picks that can be recouped if he goes and signs elsewhere. Lilly is a serviceable pitcher and if I were the Mets I’d use him as a mentor to Jon Niese who has a slightly better fastball and a getting-there cutter and that 12 to 6 curve. Lilly can help him hone his craft further. His demeanor can help this ball club as well.

Its not to say that I think this team can’t make the playoffs. I just don’t trust them to, not with this current management structure in place. The Mets have too many holes to fix.

But if you had to ask me for solutions. Here they are:

1. FIRE JERRY MANUEL. “PROMOTE” OMAR MINAYA AND WRITE BILLY BEANE A BLANK CHECK.
I don’t have a sure fire replacement that I believe will come in and lead this team so it only makes sens that they restructure the team in the offseason. If I had to pick three options to manage the team it’d be:
A. Bobby Valentine.
B. Buck Showalter
C. Ozzie Guillen

I don’t know how many GM’s have the patience to deal with A and C, and A and B have never won a world series but each has its good sides as well.
Bobby V is a popular figure for Met fans and his arrival would bring rejoicing for Met fans.

Buck Showalter’s teams always end up better than how he finds them.

Ozzie Guillen’s managerial style may not always be pretty but he surely will get the respect of his team by flashing that world series ring.

I still respect Omar’s eye for talent evaluation but we need a new set of eyes to be at the head of day to day dealings and player decisions. Who better than a former number one pick of the Mets, Billy Beane. He would be able to work with any budget (knowing he worked in Oakland and with limited resources managed to bring in premium talent every year is like music to my ears.), and keep the farm stocked and be able to go out and spend.

2. SPEND ON THE FARM
When I heard that the Mets spent the fewest dollars on the draft in all of the major leagues I thought it was the most absurd thing I had ever heard of and more proof of how poorly this organization was run. The draft is the way to get cheap talent for longer terms, why would you not spend on that? The Mets should go back to spending on the farm and begin decreasing their payroll on the major league level, even if we have to toil for a few seasons. I’d rather restructure the major league team and work on bringing a better structure and better model to the franchise than hope and pray that $36 million pitcher Oliver Perez and $25 million second baseman Luis Castillo will turn around their declining careers. By the way I think if Minaya were allowed to do it that way he would do a good job.

3. STOP THE BULL.
This encompasses the silly medical follies like once again taking a player with concussion like symptoms on a cross country flights. It sounds ridiculous that it can happen again but Jason Bay is the latest victim of shoddy managing. Even if he said he was ok, I would have him see area doctors.
Also, the Wilpons need to be honest with the fanbase about their money situation. If you have it then go out and spend on the draft and go hard after Cliff Lee. Don’t think you are fooling anybody with the whole “we kicked tires and they were all flat” kind of response. Its crap and we can smell it from a mile away as a fanbase.
Look, the Mets are not the Yankees, no one is. But there are enough financial advantages that if the Mets are run smarter and more efficiently than in the past, they can compete. They play in the National League and it doesn’t appear as if ANY team is building a dynasty there so its open every year. The Mets have lacked direction and thus have become the kind of team going through the motions and in a state of flux.

4. WILPONS SHOULD SELL.
It sounds cruel but the Mets ownership team is staring at a very high mortgage and it doesn’t look like gate receipts are going to keep them at the head of the Mets table for too long if this continues. It serves them right. They have continuously bungled the franchise and allowed it to become a laughingstock. I’m not blaming them for the Madoff scandal, but I am blaming them for leading the fans on and blatantly lying to us about whether it would affect day to day operations.

Look, this plan will take 3-5 years to put into action, but I’d rather wait that and know my team was headed in a specific direction then continue to see my team be a laughingstock and keep going through the same mediocre season.

The Mets are not the Yankees. They don’t have to be in order to be competitive. The sooner the Mets realize that, the sooner we come to respectability.

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Enough’s Enough- Jerry Manuel-ly guiding the Mets to the basement.

For the longest time I defended Jerry Manuel. I lived through the same disappointing finish in 2008 as 2007 but I said, he inherited a team mid season and if you extrapolate the winning percentage over a whole season he wouldve won 95 games.

In 2009 when a team wide plague befell the Mets I chalked up the poor record to an unforseeable set of circumstances.

But 2010 has been enough. I’ve seen all I’ve needed to see to know that Jerry Manuel has no control over the team and his lack of strategic skill has been on full embarassing display for all to see and mock.

I still think Jerrys personality is perfect for New York. You need thick skin and an innate ability to block out criticism and over the top headlines. Its even more important when you are fighting an uphill battle against the Yankees for the heart of the city. And by hill I mean Mount Everest.

But Jerry’s flaws are too big to be ignored. I’ve thought about how he managed to get himself off the hot seat during the first half and field a winner and perform above expectations and foolishly I believed he could keep it up.

Jerry’s problem is that he can’t manage a big league ball club and that becomes a problem when it comes to managing a big league ball club.

The list of puzzling moves include using Jennry Mejia in a relief role and using him off and on. His wearing out of Fernando Nieve and Hisanori Takahashi early on. His insistence of putting Jose Reyes bat righty while nursing an injured mid section.

Its those pressure cooker induced decisions that have me feeling that he’s acting scared and panic than sound baseball knowledge which does away with my theory that his personality doesn’t let the atmosphere of New York affect him.

Which brings us to this: Carlos Beltran should NOT be playing center field. I don’t care that he’s a good center fielder but Beltran has lost range and speed, something Angel Pagan still has, he’s becoming a liability.

Beltrans biggest contribution is being off the DL and with the group. Pagan’s wheels make him the better fit at center and the more defensively sound outfield. Its just common sense Jerry. He said it himself that the best players play and that should extend to where they play. Pagan should be the center fielder and Beltran should play left for Jason Bay. Give him a week off. Take him to the back and get him to re-learn how to hit or have a talk with David Wright.

Its as if joining the Met franchise has made him revert back to his first stint with the Mets, in their farm system.

The Mets are technically still in the race and should operate under the premise that they will remain. The Braves have pitching but not the great hitting that many think. The Phillies are going through a rough season themselves. In my opinion the division is wide open despite a 6 and a half game lead entering tonights action but I have no confidence moving forward with Jerry.

He knows how to manage the media but not his own team and that makes him a liability. When I heard Alex Cora yelled at teammates (of whom one was Mike Pelfrey, he of the 9 ERA in his last 5 starts and the 1.1 inning effort just Monday), I thought that’s awesome.

Maybe that’s what the Mets need, a fiery guy that can demand the teams attention. However Lou Pinella plans to retire after what should be the most trying of his career. Bobby Valentine continues to overprice his services out of every job but ESPN. Of course Wally Backman is an option but he should be brought up as bench coach so he can be groomed to eventually take over.

The Mets need a chews nails kind of guy to light a fire under them. They play with complacency but they run hard out the box usually. They have an interesting core that underperforms.

Don’t get me wrong, this team could just as quickly go on a tear and win 10 of their next 12 and climb back into it but I won’t be foolish enough to give credit to Jerry Manuel. It appears that everytime you do give him credit, the Mets eventually go on a sustained run of mediocrity that makes it hard for them to be rooted for. I’m done with the Jerry experiment and I’m sure most Mets fans are as well.

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Mets 5- Reds 4

A great win by the Mets who finally managed to get the big hit when it counted.  Important to note that Fernando Nieve making his umpteenth appearance gave up the lead but Rod Barajas came in to clean it all up.  We’ll get into that and yet another managerial blunder that’s beginning to take me to the other side of the Fire Jerry Manuel debate.

– First off, that’s two very impressive outings by John Maine.  6 IP, 6 K’s, 2 BB’s, 1 ER (2 R), on 4 hits and 102 pitches (62 for strikes- 60.8%).  The good thing about it was that by the 5th inning he only had 79 pitches.  If he had one quick inning he could’ve gone 7.  His new strategy is working, by using primarily fastballs in different spots and trying to throw people off and using the offspeed stuff as a complementary pitch instead of the one he throws all the time.  He’s getting more swings and misses because he has good movement on his fastball.  It tails away from lefties and comes in on righties which makes it a very tough pitch for sluggers to extend on.  There will be moments like the Brandon Phillips homerun where he’ll put it where people can extend but for the most part he kept it out of the zone.  So that makes it two consecutive nights where the unknown quantities of the Met rotation gave excellent efforts.  That’s also two straight nights where the Mets almost lost because the Reds were able to come back.

– The Mets offense seemed to show signs of life last night scoring 5 runs, 3 XBH, 2 home runs and a double by Reyes.  Barajas took the first pitch from closer Francisco Cordero and smashed it.  I love watching his home runs because right off the bat, it looks like its going to leave the stadium, bounce on the freeway and go right into the ocean.  I mean he crushes balls when he gets it.  As the old saying goes, he never gets cheated.  The first inning was especially sweet since it started off with 3 consecutive hits against Met killer Bronson Arroyo.  The top three guys got basehits and got Angel Pagan home which is the way it should be.  The first three guys get on, a single can score two, a double clears the bases and that’s the beauty having all that speed on the bases.*

*= The guys made a very good point about the Mets offense.  Right now, they aren’t getting the big hit, they need to rely on forcing the situation and that’s the formula to the Mets success even in 2006.  I remember it like it was yesterday. Reyes gets on, dances on first threatens to steal, hit and run, Castillo busts one through the hole and Reyes ends up on 3rd.   Beltran comes up and singles and Reyes scores.  Now, just replace Reyes with Pagan and Beltran with Reyes and you have the formula to the Mets first run of the game.  Its important that the Mets get back to their identity which is speed and forcing the issue with the guys that get on base.  We have good speed 1-5 (have you seen Bay on ground balls? The throws are barely beating him to the bag.  One day a fielder is going to get lackadaisical and he’s going to make it in a big spot, I’m calling it already) and it can come in handy when you need to score runs on singles with men on 2nd.  All five of those guys can score with their speed which doesn’t put much pressure on guys to get extra base hits to get them to score which is good.

– Ok, so I understand why Jerry brings in Fernando Nieve.  I do.  He’s been good for him this entire season whenever called up on and even up until 2 outs, Jerry looked like a genius.  But, he did give up the two back to back home runs which could’ve ended in disaster given the Mets recent history in being unable to get the big hit.  They were fortunate that Barajas got the home run but again, it could’ve ended badly.  My point is this: you have unofficially given the 8th inning role to Pedro Feliciano who’s done a terrific job.  Yes, he pitched the last two nights but if that’s his role then that’s his role.  Nieve needs to be rested.  Manuel brings him in for long duty, for an inning, and then in the 8th.  My point is, he doesn’t have a clue as to what Nieve’s role is except as his favorite button to push whenever he needs a lead kept safe.  Meanwhile, you have Jenrry Mejia coming in the 7th getting what kind of experience exactly?  IF he’s going to be the ace of the future he serves no purpose right now as a 7th inning reliever.  You either give him high leverage situations OR you get his butt back to the minors to stretch him out.  But back to defining roles.  You’ve seen these guys over a month now and you’ve given Feliciano the 8th on more than one occasion and he’s come through and now you’re giving Nieve the role?  Clearly Jerry has no clue and is now just bringing in Nieve just for the heck of it and actively ruining what is a bright spot on our bullpen.  I’m not suggesting bringing in Manny Acosta, but what I’m saying is you have to be smart in the way you use these guys this early in the season.  By July, Nieve’s arm is going to be in a sling and we’ll be shouting for Manuel’s neck for ruining what was one of the more dependable arms in the bullpen for overuse in April and May.  These are the kind of decisions that come back to haunt you.  Don’t you think the papers are going to suggest that Nieve is running out of gas (even though that pitch that Votto hit was 95 on the gun) in May and going to say that Manuel is ruining him?  Come on Jerry.  THINK!

– The Mets close out the series with Niese going against Johnny Cueto today in a day game.  The Mets are attempting to win the 4th of 5 series and hoping that the Niese from Friday shows up again.

THE SEASON: 15-12

MY PREDICTION: 15-12

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Cardinals 5- Mets 3

Another brutal loss for the Mets.  The game winner was given up by Ryota Igarashi in the 8th when Ryan Ludwick sent his pitch into left center to break a 3-3 tie.  Another series, another 1-2 split.  At some point the growing concern over losing every single series is going to take hold and force management to make moves.  Right?

– Before we get into any on field action the most news was made off of it as the Mets designated Mike Jacobs for assignment and called up Tobi Stoner who ended up pitching in last night’s game.  Why is that important?  Other than getting one of the automatic rally killers out of the Met line up in Mike Jacobs, the Mets freed themselves up to make a roster move.  As it states in the most highly trustworthy sites in the world, Wikipedia*, the definition is as follows:

Designated for assignment is a contractual term used in Major League Baseball. When a player is designated for assignment, he is immediately removed from the club’s 40-man roster. This gives the club 10 days to decide what to do with the player while freeing up a roster spot for another transaction, if needed. After designating a player for assignment, the club must make one of the following contractual moves:

  • Place the player on waivers (which can only be done within the first 7 days of the 10-day period)
  • Trade the player
  • Release the player

This of course is setting the internet ablaze** with talk that perhaps this move was done to call up Ike Davis.  If so, Met fans will undoubtedly be rejoicing at the thought of their number one prospect finally joining the roster, a move many Met fans were hoping for when Spring Training broke.  Who knows what this will do for the team offensively as Jason Bay isn’t hitting and all David Wright can do is draw walks right now.  They need another major power bat to put fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers and no one on the Mets line up does that.

*= That was an “Office” reference for those that don’t know.

**= Maybe not the internet.  Maybe I was being a bit sarcastic.  Just a bit though.

– Regarding the game, for the fourth straight night, the Mets saw decent starts by their starting pitcher but this had to be the worst of them.  Maine only gave up 3 runs in 5 innings but given how thin the bullpen was after Saturday’s game and what he had to prove particularly after his last start in Colorado where he gave up 8 runs in 3 innings, he failed.  Simple as that.  I actually got upset hearing Maine give the same old tired excuse of him seeing improvement and him not caring about the pitch count*, so much as the result.  His demeanor was that of a person who is so secure in his role on the team that he can’t foresee being dropped or sent to the minors for anything.  I worry that if he gets into Jerry Manuel’s office he may kill everyone in the locker room after being sent down.**  Maine’s problem is that he’s too stubborn to see the writing on the wall; that being that he’s just not a good pitcher to be taking up space on a big league rotation.  He hasn’t showed great improvement on his fastball and seems like he’s confused as to why he’s not getting the results.  If he is serious about improving and not embarrassing himself, the Mets should send him down and he should graciously accept it and not see it as a huge failure.  That of course is the problem.  He is known for beating himself up over the smallest things so naturally he’ll blame himself and others around him.  Its difficult to be around people like that because their negativity can bring down people around him and he counts Mike Pelfrey as one of his closest friends on the team and yet Pelf is the exact opposite.  He’s Mr. Sunshine, always seeing the positive.***  Pelfrey’s early season improvement is something I hope he builds on and hanging out with a pout y John Maine won’t help him.  I hope it doesn’t affect him but I’ve seen too many occasions where one person’s negative outlook ruin other people in situations outside of sports and I can see how it can happen easily in sports as well.  I think him going 5 innings and hitting 90 regularly will give him one more start to prove himself and show further improvement but his leash has to be smaller.  He simply can’t do over 100 pitches in 5 innings.  The Mets have to get it through his head that a demotion isn’t the end of the world but his chance at getting himself back to his 2007 form where all the promise and potential was built into Mets management’s heads that he could be a very valuable addition to the roster.****

*= Really John?  Don’t care about the pitch count?  That right there made me so upset and had me cursing loudly at a computer monitor which made me upset that I was cursing at a computer monitor.  Its a vicious cycle really.

**= That bit is courtesy of the look that Maine gives Jerry Manuel everytime he comes to get him out of the game.  His eyes just scream serial killer and that’s not a good thing folks.  I’m just saying, bring in security if the Mets decide to send him down.  Either that or keep him on suicide alert.

***= He’s Mr. Happy go Lucky.  Seriously he is joking around and has a smile on his face and if he doesn’t, he usually is holding back a smile.  I think Maine just needs a hug from Mike Pelfrey.  Or just give him whatever Pelf is having that makes him so happy all the time.

****= I know he can be good but his attitude has to change.  Seriously it gets me upset to hear him talk about how he needs to improve.  That’s what spring training was for.  That’s what the minor leagues can be for as well but not the majors.  You can’t give this guy a major league salary to work out his laundry list of issues on the mound when you have candidates on your team ready to take his place.  Even Tobi Stoner who was brought in by the Mets for the sole purpose of giving the bullpen a rest has the ability to be economical and get outs.  Having no consideration for pitch counts in this day and age and thinking you can get by on a fastball that tails out over the heart of the plate is beyond ridiculous.  It would be one thing if he had velocity issues only, but he has control issues, is not economical and just doesn’t understand that his problems stem also from his outlook.  Its written all over his face.  When something bad happens, he loses it.  He needs to see the same guy that Pelfrey saw in the offseason to work it off.

– I’m not going to say it but last night’s Mets game saw 3 runs in the 2nd when a series of events went right for the Mets and then that was it.  The offense was shut down by Adam Wainwright who pitched a complete game striking out 9 and still throwing 8 less pitches than Maine did in his entire outing.  Now, I realize Wainwright has a much, much, much better pitching coach in Dave Duncan helping him but his mental make up also helps.  In the second, Angel Pagan got a clutch base hit that scored Catalanotto, and Francouer ran in to score and the throw went behind catcher Yadier Molina but was backed up by Wainwright.  He then spotted Pagan who was trying to go to second after taking a turn at first, and he tried to get him at first but threw it in to right field allowing Gary Mathews to score from 1st and Pagan to speed into 3rd.  After that Wainwright seemed to go offspeed all day and it worked on the Mets who couldn’t touch his 12 to 6 curve that for lefties broke in and then came down over the middle of the plate and was absolutely devastating.  The Mets could’ve won 2 of 3 in this series but were let down by their offense who clearly again needs to see some improvement.  Perhaps Ike Davis brings it but to expect one guy to carry a team is asking too much.  I hope its not setting him up to fail like they did with F-Mart last year.

– Which of course brings me to the eventual decision to bring up Ike Davis which is not expected to happen today (he’s scheduled to bat clean up in Triple A tonight), rather later this week.  It has something to do with starting his arbitration clock and him not having enough time this season for it to start.  The only thing is, if the Mets do have the 5th highest payroll in the majors, they don’t have to be cheap on moves like this could’ve afforded to bring up Davis earlier in the season but didn’t.  That’s what Met fans are clamoring for and the front office hasn’t done that.  The fact that they threw out Mike Jacobs on a daily basis to hit in the 4 hole based solely on breaking up the righty heavy middle part of the order is not reason enough.  The Mets need to start making smart baseball decisions.  Start playing your best players.  Don’t worry about how much you’re paying someone right now.  You can’t carry a John Maine on the big league roster if he’s going to suck like that.  Its been 3 starts and while this start showed some sort of improvement he needs more help.  Ike Davis in this line up will help but won’t be a cure-all to what ails the Mets and that’s their offense just not being good enough.  Let’s face it, the Mets have not had a single “I can’t pitch to him” hitter other than David Wright and even that status is in jeopardy.  At some point, the Mets have to make some key decisions and can’t use the same old tired excuse that its the beginning of the season and to have patience.  In fact, you can argue that Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya have the most to lose with just waiting for guys to come around.

– I don’t agree with Adam Rubin that the team isn’t talented enough but more of these 0 fer and 1 for whatever with runners in scoring position and that argument has to be visited and if so, it falls on Omar Minaya and the entire coaching staff.  Managers and philosophy must be changed.  Like I’ve said, I think Jerry’s demeanor is perfect for NY and so was Willie Randolph’s but the team just didn’t perform.  Plain and simple and yet the manager will be the first to go.  I’m not saying Jerry is a good manager, no, but I think he gets a raw deal on this considering Howard Johnson hasn’t done anything to help the hitting of this team and also the pitching coach who I’ve been down on.  At this point the quality of the roster has to be questioned even if its only 12 games in.  I’m not saying blow it up now, but it does bear watching.  Omar Minaya has to believe that if they keep losing series, both he and Jerry will be on the unemployment line come mid May and may not see the return of Carlos Beltran.

– The Mets send out Jon Niese against the Cubs as the Mets start a four game series against Lou Piniella’s club.  It will be Niese followed by Pelfrey, then Ollie and then most likely Johan.  The Cubs are 5-7 and much more of a mirror image than we’d like to think.  They have issues in their pitching staff and don’t have as much pop but they are still producing and have one more win than the Mets.  Perhaps this four game set will restore order one way or another.  Either the Mets bite the bullet and lose another series or they feast on an opponent that’s more their speed and closer to their level.

SEASON: 4-8

MY PREDICTION: 6-6

For those of you wondering, I have the Mets taking 3 of 4 in this upcoming series. As always, LETS GO METS!

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Mets 5- Rockies 0

Phew.  And I mean that.  You have no idea how relieved I am to be talking about a Mets win but don’t worry doomsday fans, I have some negative Nancy stuff too but worry not optimists, nothing too much like the last few days.

– First things first and much kudos and respect goes to Mike Pelfrey.  7 innings, 6 K’s, and 0 walks.  Ok, so he had one balk*, but to his credit he didn’t lose his marbles and kept his cool.  Let’s be honest, the Mets needed this like the Houston Astros needed a win.**  Maybe this is what the Mets needed to get to start things going and get a winning streak started.

*= Here’s a guy that led the league last year with 6 and threw 3 in one game.  But this time the balk wasn’t his fault, Melvin Mora called time and the umpire didn’t grant time and Pelf stopped in mid pitching motion.  He saw a sports psychologist in the offseason to fix whatever was ailing him and for two starts it seems as though its paying off.  Remember a few nights ago that someone called in and asked if the Mets need to see a sports psychologist?  Well I think that answers that doesn’t it?  LET THE HEALING BEGIN!

**= I had a few dirty analogies but I figured I’d stay away from them.  Who knows if the kids are reading this?

– The Mets made Pelfrey add a pitch to his repertoire and I know I’ve been saying over the last few days about going away from the strength of the pitcher.  But Pelfrey mixed in the split finger effectively.  Its becoming an out pitch instead of solely relying on the sinker.  The sinker I suppose is a very useful pitch in the air with the humidor effect as Rockies hitters were getting good slices on the ball later on, but the hits either hung up there or just died at the warning track.  It seemed as though that luck that had eluded the Mets were repaying them back.

– The last two nights the Mets have been terrorized by really athletic Rockies pitchers who flashed some power.  Well today Mike Pelfrey did it all even getting a hit and drawing a walk.  Not only that, Pelfrey scored a run* and drove in a run which of course always helps.  I suppose it was all in the cards for him today.

*= Last night Aaron Cook took advantage of Mike Jacobs’ mental error and scored a run as Jacobs forgot to check him at 3rd.  So it was nice to see some shoddy defense by the Rockies which benefited the Mets.  Its about time some bad stuff happened to another team.  Geez!

– Don’t mean to be a negative nancy but during the 3rd inning after Pelfrey scored to make it 2-0, David Wright came up to bat with Jose Reyes on 2nd and Luis Castillo on 1st and no outs.  Well, you’d think that Wright drew a walk or grounded into a double play right?  No.  Would you believe that Wright somehow made 3 outs?*  Well, not exactly but let me explain.  Its not quite sure what happened but based on the field it looked like Reyes faked the steal and Castillo jumped thinking he was stealing and tried to go double steal which is a great idea given both of their speed.  Unfortunately Reyes wasn’t going and just stood there as Castillo got caught in a run down.  That is one out.  The second out came when Reyes tried to steal 3rd and got caught**.  Which of course makes two outs and Wright struck out three pitches later.  Yes.  Somehow Wright put a cap on that rally with a punch out. ***

*= I know I’m tough on him but come on.  COME ON!  He’s the franchise, if he doesn’t like it, too bad.

**= Its clear Reyes still isn’t at full speed and while the Mets like to see him run and try to steal a base its clear he isn’t going all out and i’m noticing the drastic reduction in his speed which is troubling.  Its not like he’ll lose it completely but as he gets older, it only gets worse.

***= No, I refuse to be nice.  I hate watching Wright in situations like this because I feel bad looking at him struggling through it.  Its as if he is hearing the entire Met fan base screaming at him to come through and him worrying about letting them down.  He plays so tight in these situations and it s sad and frustrating all at the same time to see it happen.

– It was the Rockies B-team with Melvin Mora playing 2nd and Giambi playing 1st but a win is a win and I’ll take it.

The best thing about today’s game was how patient the Mets were.  Once again, they didn’t let a guy who clearly didn’t come out with his A stuff to beat them.  They were patient at the plate, especially David Wright who’s OBP right now is somewhere in the ridiculous .500 range.  He’s still striking out a lot but he comes up and makes sure to see a lot of pitches.  That plays well because if most of the line up is starting to be patient then the Mets can get quicker to the bullpen and take their chances with them in a close game.  The Mets have been using that approach this season and its helped a lot.  The best thing about this is that its been happening all season for the Mets, not just today so its a habit that’s sinking in and more often than not the Mets will be successful.

You’re not going to believe me if I told you but Fernando Nieve, Hisanori Takahashi and Ryota Igarashi never stepped foot into the game.  That’s right.  It was Pelf for 7 shutout 5 hit innings and then Pedro Feliciano with a scoreless 8th and then K-Rod for a solid ninth.  Yes sir, if the season continues to go like this the Mets will be fine.

– The Mets desperately needed this victory for morality more-so than anything else.  You can talk about this being the beginning of the season but playing here, in NYC, its a completely different ball game and to be honest those who aren’t from here will never understand it.  The season is young but the seat that Jerry Manuel is sitting on didn’t get that much cooler with today’s victory.  His job is on the line this early in the season and obviously if the team doesn’t produce the Mets will end up replacing him and while I don’t completely agree with it, I think that it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.  His job, GM Omar Minaya’s job is also on the brink of being lost had the Mets lost this game which would’ve made it 5 straight.  But this victory cemented in the Mets heads that they do have some semblance of pitching and can beat good teams.  Good teams battle adversity and live long enough to tell about it.  Again, last year who knows how this game would’v ended, but it seems as if the team unity and all the bonding that guys did and having a better, more lively clubhouse has something to do with it.  I like this group because they seem to like each other genuinely and support each other the same way.  Can’t wait to see how this victory helps Pelfrey gain some confidence and also for the Mets.

– Tomorrow’s game will be the first regular season on WB 11 so make sure you get tuned in for that.  While there was some debate over whether to put Johan Santana tomorrow night the Mets instead decided to stick to script and have Santana pitching the national game on FOX on Saturday.  It doesn’t get any easier for the Mets as they are slotted to face both Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright this weekend which always is interesting.  The Mets need this momentum to keep going.

SEASON: 3-6

MY PREDICTION: 5-4

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