30.6.08

Perez Gives Mets Subway Series Split

You figure it out. Oliver Perez, one of the more frustrating pitchers in baseball, is now 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA for the Mets when pitching against the Yankees and the Mets earned a deserved split of the Subway Series. Another one of those little mysteries of the universe, how Perez can seem so sweet some days and so utterly, devestatingly incompetent on others.


Hitting the ground in anticipation of the re-emergence of the Evil Ollie?

But look, Dan Warthen, the pitching coach who replaced guru Rick Peterson, has tinkered with Perez's delivery a little bit, wiped away the cobwebs of Peterson's one theory fits all coaching and who knows, maybe he's found a way to wipe off the soot and expose the shine of Oliver Perez once and for all. Then again, maybe Perez will walk a dozen when he pitches next, against the Phillies. There's simply no way of knowing.

In the meantime, the Mets earned their Subway Series split against the Number One team in NYC (and yes, Jerry Manuel is right regardless of what Mets fans think if for no other reason than it is reality, is not defeatist and should be a motivator rather than ego-buster...) and now hit the road for what may well be a devastating run against the Cardinals and Phillies.

We'll get a few hours to make a big deal about Jose Reyes throwing his glove in a little trantrum after Delgado let an off the mark throw glance off his glove for an error, a Reyes error. Sure, a better first baseman would have had it but this is Delgado we're talking about. He can't be arsed to exert himself too much very often.

This is the second noticeable tantrum by Reyes in the Manuel regime and comes a day after he was stupidly picked off second base at a key moment in the game. Is there much else he can do to fall out of everyone's good graces? Sure, you can argue he is showing passion out there and normally I'd say give the guy a pass, I'm sure you'd have been pissed off if you'd have done the same thing and then watched the ball bounce off Delgado's glove like that but the thing is, I'm still pissed off about that pick-off so I'm not in the mood to cut the kid some slack. Even if in the WHAT IF scenario, he hadn't been picked off 2nd and Wright ended up driving him home and the Mets ended up winning on Saturday instead of losing it only would have postponed a loss in today's game because well, That's How the Mets Roll. Win one, lose one. One up, one down. Good follows bad and bad follows good. Inconsistency - the same we castigate Perez for but the same the Mets demonstrate game after game, week after week, month after month.

But before more misery is heaped upon the Mets allow them to savour a few delicious moments.


Wagner thanks the Hillbilly Gods that A-Hole's long fly ball didn't go over the fence and tie the game.

There was Delgado's smash in the 3rd inning to make it 2-0, Ryan Church's successful return to the lineup and Billy Wagner's barely functional outing that earned a save in the 9th to solidify it.

Where does it all leave the Mets?

Well, at precisely the halfway point of the season it leaves them 1 game under .500 yet miraculously, only three games out of first place in the NL East.

It leaves them an even .500 under Jerry Manuel meaning well, right about the same place they've been this entire season regardless of whose running the show: A maddening team of ups and downs who cannot find the consistency to run off a nice 7 or 8 game winning streak.

So put this little Subway Series split up there on the fridge and enjoy it for a day because with the Mets heading for St Louis and then for Philly, I can't see a way for this week to end on a happy note.

Not unless the Mets are truly going to start finding their ritmo with the emergence of Perez (and maybe even Pedro if tipping pitches really IS his problem and not old age), the return of Church (and who knows, maybe even Alou), and of course, that long awaited spurt that pushes them forward and up over the top of the NL East.

Like the rest of the Mets limited fiefdom however, I've learned not to really wish for such crazy things.

You can only take them one win at a time.

29.6.08

Ace Outpitched Yet Again, Yankees Take Another

With Johan Santana starting on fire, striking out five of the first nine batters he faced in three scoreless innings, the temptation to contemplate victory and greatness was ripe for the plucking.

But for those of you who have watched the Mets at all this season, you know better.


Johan to Wright: Whattacha wanna do dees afternoon, Davey?
Wright to Johan: Oh, I dunno Johan, why don't we stand near the foul line and watch baseballs NOT roll foul and end up as base hits?
Johan to Wright: Ok, esounds like fung!

For three innings you could try and let yourself feel good but for the nagging feeling deep down, the knowing, that Santana would not keep it up (my favourite scenario between innings was surrendering a massive, solar-plexus punching gopherball to turn the game around considering Santana seems to throw at least one a game...)and you merely had to recall Pedro strolling along through 4 last Saturday in Colorado before the roof caved in and the floor gave way.

Well, nothing as melodramatic as Santana surrendering back-to-back homers, just a little chip here, a little chip there and the next thing you knew Santana had his 7th loss against 7 victories on the season, the fifth straight game the "ace" has started which ended in a Mets loss.

Of course early on, we could be distracted by the revelation that Pedro has been tipping his pitches of late, specifically his change-up by widening his glove, and this is the source of Pedro sucking his last few outings. So according to this legend, Pedro will return to Hall of Fame form his next start. Let's say I'll not be holding my breath on that one.

There are many keys to any game: their ace outpitching ours, a continued somnambulism at the plate, the occasional yip from David Wright at third sending Delgado all over the shop (and yes, Delgado did make a nice stab of it and did actually tag A-Hole out before he reached first but you can't blame the umps for malaise...)but the true key was held in the 5th and Pettitte, who outpitched Johan all the way, picked Reyes off second to kill a rally in the 5th.


Bonehead act of the game, Reyes getting picked off 2nd by Pettitte in the 5th with two men on and David Wright at the plate.

This is the kind of baffoonery that stares the Mets in the face every morning following a game. These little things they failed to do, like hit the cut off man, or pay attention to getting picked off by the man with the base pickoff move in baseball, getting hits in key places, not walking half a lineup home, not throwing balls away, etc. etc. etc. These are the little facial tics that are preventing the Mets from getting a good head shot this season.


In the A Bunker clubhouse, four strikeouts in four at-bats would mean your game salary gets donated to charity because YOU DIDN'T DESERVE A PENNY, Beltran.

There's certainly no reason why the Mets couldn't have won this game but they didn't and that's the story within the story. Just like Santana's pitching. Good but not good enough.

And Jerry Manuel? Gangsta? How about winning some focking games first, or does that interrupt studying the Gandhi quotes for secret morsels on winning?

28.6.08

Game Two: And Now The Bad News....

So typical of the Mets season.

Game One, an afternoon shit-kicking punctuated by Carlos Delgado, the least likely of heroes.

And this endless little caged mouse's exercise wheel spins again and the Mets come home to bedazzle their fans with a fresh form of malaise.

Is it surprising, a brief high followed by a rapidly sinking low?

It is the calling card of the 2008 Mets.


There'll be no jumping out of hotel windows tonight Pedro, you've had a great career.


Pedro tells the man upstairs if he doesn't start getting some love, he's going to cut him.


Now add insult to injury by allowing this muppet to stage his career comeback against the Mets.

So there you have it folks, a day/night doubleheader.

One massive win, one massive loss.

Just about where you'd expect it.

27.6.08

Subway Series Doublheader Diary Game 1

18:12 Pregame - listening to online WFAN to get warmed up. It's Friday, post-work in England, pissing down, got eight 440 ml draught cans of Guinness, combustibles and Mike Francesa is busy proving with a vengeance what a champion moron he is - I'd almost forgotten after all this time...I lost track of how many stupid things he said after about 45 seconds. After the first few I was going to keep a long list of stupid comments by Francesa but then I realised without a stenographer, it's impossible. And thankfully at least the Maddog has got a day off. That makes sense. Biggest NYC baseball day of the season and he's got the day off. Looking for work, no doubt.

Anyway, took advantage of free 5 day subscription to the MLBTV promotion so if all goes well I'll have the good fortune of watching rather than just listening. A dollop of Keef Hernandez to keep things interested. I sense from reading It's Mets For Me with my tea and crumpets every day that this isn't always the most reliable of sources - we'll see.

Hang on, 18:21, Francesa is 'splainin' the bad blood with his douchebag partner...
Christ, what the FUCK did Maddog say yesterday? Fat Boy waxing poetic about their relationship. Shrugs his shoulders about whether or not their idiot sitcom will go on after 19 years. Please, some tissues...



*****

18:32 So far, nothing. Blank screen. I know the game doesn't start for a half an hour but won't they have a pregame? Fuck it, switch to WFAN in the interim....

After 7 consecutive minutes of commericals and a brief soundbite I realise Endy Chavez and Jose Reyes should have an English mangling contest. Speak Spanish, boys - nobody's going to hold it against you. At least then a few people will understand you.

Pre-game interview with HoJo explaining the listlessness of the Mets lineup after jumping to their 8 run lead the other night against Seattle, said "Good things happen but it doesn't show up in the numbers." - doesn't that mean failure? Then alot of mumbling about injuries and balance and so and so not being Alou and Church. The day off versus game off theory he expoused about resting David Wright...makes sense though. HoJo's a good bloke but sometimes I just fucking hate the sports cliches that get bandied about in lieu of real words.

18:48 OK, more commericals - going to try the MLBTV again....
Sweet F.A. on. No sound no video. Not even buffering. Just playing and nothing happening. What a great promotion. Yeah! Give me a full year's subscription to this!

19:01 Good news and bad news. Good news is, it's working. Bad news, it's the fucking Yankee network with that douchebag Michael Kay. If this gets real bad, I'm going to have to switch to the FAN until the night game when the Mets are home and we get the Mets broadcast....

******

Top of the 1st: Dan Giese is the typical sort of pitcher the Mets flail against. A virtual nowhere man, almost no MLB experience, Cy bloody Young against the Mets. How many times have they been embarassed by a pitcher with no experience? Anyway, bad omen. Reyes out on strikes. Amazing that McClelland, the home plate ump, called the George Brett pine tar game and also David Wells' perfect game. Certainly a pitcher's ump. Well the Mets get some nice run manufacturing, a walk, stolen base and RBI single...Delgado is hitting .229. Jesus.

Commercial break: Holy shit, you can vote 25 times for the All Star game? So the game's going to be held in Zimbabwe?

Bottom of 1st: Nice debriefing from David Cone on the difference between the two seam and four seam pitch which is supposedly Pelfrey's bread and butter. Lefties hitting .350 against Pelfrey. No wonder he gets killed. Castillo could not make the play on A-Rod's blooper and Beltran is sitting on top of the centerfield wall and could not run in quick enough to make the play...Here come's Pelf's moment to shine. Broken bat RBI single for Cheesily Moustache Steroid Boyo Giambini. The two-seamer moving away so difficult that it broke Giambi's bat. Dan Werthen makes his inaugural visit to the mound to hold Pelf's hand and whisper sweet nothings about what a big bad muthafuckah Pelf is and just git these bastids out, etc in the faint hope that Pelf doesn't take this too seriously and suffer a meltdown. Does it matter much anymore? His pitch count is going off the rails already. And in the end all three outs recorded were Ks. No wonder the pitch count is so high.

MLB.COM commercial break :now they've got video updates by mobile phone on every and any game being played. Pssst. Stickball match going on corner of E 7th St and 2nd Avenue...well, it's the other side of the pond so getting video messages from MLB overseas might end up costing more than flying in to see the bloody games in person...

Top of 2nd: Trot Nixon, a "nose on the dirt" kind of guy according to Michael Kay. Wow, what an engaging intellect that muppet has. And can he please stop talking like he's holding his nose? I gets annoying after 5 seconds or so...Suddenly the video feed goes kaput. Blank screen. After a bit of hyperbolic cursing and a reboot of the website, bam, back in the game only this time, like a dream, the Mets already have runners on st and 3rd with 1 out. But then, Schneider, deservedly batting 9th in the absence of a hitting pitcher, the automatic out and Reyes, blahhhhh, end of inning. So much for that rally.

Monkey cam break

Let's go Mets or I'll put a knife to your thoat...

Bottom 2nd: Cano doubles and you wonder if Jeter is the only righty hitting in this lineup today with the lefty-shy Pelf on the mound. Two-seamer and sinker away are a buffet for lefties. But Pelf lives to tell about it for another inning.

Commercial Break: More MLB self-promotion. Will someone give Harold Reynolds a real job now please? Isn't his penance over yet?

Top of 3rd, 1-1: Smile of the Game? What the fuck? How do they know it's the smile of the game when it's only the 3rd bloody inning? Won't there be any fit birds arriving laugh to have a larf and show us a big toothy smile, a Missus Ed sort of horse smile of the Game? And as the cam goes back to the field I can see the years have not made Posada's ears any smaller. Couldn't he get surgery for that? Ear reduction surgery, like? But ho, look at Castillo who is not looking like an arthritic auld man any more today, stumbling around with all the agility of Fred Sanford. Two times on base in the first two at bats and two stolen bases. Must be on something new. Michael Kay begins a lengthy discussion on whether or not the players will shower between games. What's next, chatting about the plethera of colours in Giambi's stools? ....woa, SEE YA. Beltran pops a 2 run homer over the short RF porch, 3-1. Kay points out that the Mets' batting order is basically the first four guys and a bunch of empty jerseys after that. Delgado strikes out on queue.

Commerical Break


Bottom 3rd, 3-1: Feel good moment is over abruptly. Jeter, lead off double. A-Rod's RBI single rockets past Reyes. Great little story from Cone about Rickey Henderson referring to himself in the third person: Up against Cone on an 0-2 count, Henderson steps out of the box and starts talking to himself: "C'mon Rickey, you're a Hall of Famer..."...Giambi, no Hall of Famer, walks. Pelfrey in difficulties with one out against Dumbo. Beltran, back on top of the centerfield wall, rushes in and misses Dumbo's bloop single to load the bases. C'mon back on the field, Beltran. Fuck sake, over your head is a homer, stop giving up cheap singles...2-0 count on Can-No...trouble...Reyes makes a great stab to steal Can-No's near certain hit but Yankees still tie the game. Wright "nearly" makes a spectacular bare handed grab but nope, Yankees go up 4-3, the mutts.

Commercial Break "Dodge. Grab Life" - what the fuck does that mean? Driving a pickup truck makes my life worth living?

Top of 4th: Watch this: Yankees answer both times the Mets score. If Met's don't score in this inning to up the ante again, it'll be game over, demoralisation complete... And there you go, 1-2-3 inning.

Commerical Break


Bottom of 4th: Getting there, believe me. It's amazing how much Guinness one can consume in 4 meagre, albeit drawn out innings..Tatis makes a great stop at first base, Pelfrey though, lost the ball. Then Wright saves Pelf from throwing it away to 3rd and stomps on Melky's ankle for good measure. Bonus. Dan Warthen back out again after 74 pitchers. Dumbo with the bases chucked, ooooh this is bad. But nyet, the day is saved.

Commecial Break


Top of 5th: Bases loaded nobody out, is Carlos Beltran going to bunt? No! Speed in addition to power, tie game, hooo-haaa. Delgado up though, that'll be the end of the inning. Hitless in last 12 at-bats but hooooo, what's this??? Clutch 2-run double? Next stop: The Apocalpse. Mets 6 Yankees 4.

I hate the Yankees and Michael Kay in particular, but this still beats getting dragged into homicidal rage by those Fox Chimps.



what? who snuck this bong up in here? This reminds me - perhaps you've heard that 1st of July the smoking ban takes effect in Holland. You might wonder about what happens to the coffee shops if there's no smoking...easy solution, you ban indoor smoking joints with tobacco in them. As if to say, go ahead, tobacco is bad but more THC in your system is better.

(editor's note: by now the consumption of banned substances are beginning to take their toll. The penmanship on the game notes decrease to illegibility, the stammering and hyperventilating tag team of incoherence make watching the game the sole activity.)

Suffice it to say Carlos Delgado wakes up in the 6th again to hit a grand slam and blow the game wide open which in turn, calls for a delivery of Chinese in celebration, firecrackers out the window and then, sweet bliss, the gradual stopping of the Yankees in Yankee Stadium.

A good afternoon out, boys. A good stomping. And Pedro coming up in the nightcap.

26.6.08

Mets Avoid Getting Swept By Crappy Mariners

You can't really say it's something to be proud of, avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.

But, taking in mind the bright side, at least they weren't swept by them.

They followed the humiliation of an 11-0 loss with miniature run explosion of their own through the first three innings, jumping ahead to an 8-0 lead through the first three innings before falling silent for the rest of the game.


Maybe the whole team should be given a day off.

David Wright, after being benched for a game (or call it a "day off", however you want to coin it,) homered in his first two at-bats over the first two innings and Jose Reyes hit a three-run homer of his his own in the third inning.

But Carlos Delgado, who unlike Wright, isn't getting benched, or "rested", had another hitless night to his credit, dropping his batting average down to .229. He may be getting more rest in the future though. Andy Phillips, conceivably a back-up first baseman was claimed off waivers yesterday. Claimed off waivers, mind you. He isn't a cure-all. Not with a career .248 batting average. But you don't really need much to improve upon Delgado, do you?

Carlos Beltran, a day after getting tossed from a game for the first time, had only a walk in four trips to the plate and unlike Jerry Manuel, no public apology from the ump, Brian Runge, who ejected both of them for his own miserable behaviour the night before in that debaucherie of an 11-0 loss to the worst team in baseball.

John Maine threw six innings in earning his 8th win of the season. It wasn't necessarily impressive, bar the first four hitless innings, simply reasonably effective yet his ability to get through innings flawlessly remains an issue. He has pitched at least 7 innings only once all season. It's an issue because the bullpen needs time off from time to time and none of the Mets starters seem capable of giving them one.


What a relief, not swept.

Last night, the bullpen did their job: Heilman, Smith and Sanchez surrendered one hit and two walks over three innings to keep the lead intact.

So rah, rah, the Mets won a game.

Big deal.

It doesn't make up for the first two losses to the worst team in baseball.

It doesn't make anyone believe that although his style is slightly different, Jerry Manuel is going to have any more luck than Willie did pinching performances out of this puny team.

25.6.08

Meet the Mets: Cure All For All Losers But Themselves

11-0 to one of the worst teams in baseball. Two losses in a row at home to one of the worst teams in baseball.

Rather than dissect every excruciating minute, rather than rant and rave and froth at the mouth at this steaming collection of disappointment I think in this case, this loss calls for some simple catharsis. And then just forget this game ever happened.

From Trailer Park Boys

24.6.08

Meet The New Mets, Same As The Old Mets

Well, did everyone who has watched the collective heads of the Mets bob up and down like an apple in a barrel of water this season have this predicted?


Disbelief or slow-burning acceptance of inability?

The crappiest, most dysfunctional team in MLB comes to town in the form of the Seattle Mariners and the Mets, as has been their MO all season, lose.

Lose with Santana, their alleged ace on the mound, the very same multi-year multi-million ace wannabe who gave up a grand slam homerun to the Seattle Mariners' pitcher, Felix Hernandez. The first grandslam EVER hit by a Mariner pitcher in their entire sordid and pathetic history. And the first grandslam hit by a pitcher since Dontrelle Willis did it against, wait for it boys, the effin Mets of course.

That means the Mets are winless in the "ace's" last four starts. Some ace.

I don't care if he was all smooth sailing other than that humiliating grand slam. I don't care if the Mets continued this hitting torpor that threatens the very foundation of the season. I don't care if four of the five runs he gave up in 7 innings were unearned. I really don't care. This is the ACE, the guy who stops losing streaks and maintains winning streaks. Not some muppet who gives up a grand slam to a pitcher with like 10 career previous at-bats. You think anybody wants to give up two or three decent prospects for this guy now?


No magic in this guy either. Omar's tenure looking weaker and slimmer by the day.

It doesn't matter. Jerry has already found his scapegoats in the form of David Wright and fatigue.

It was Wright who bobbled an easy third out in the 2nd inning that led to Hernandez hitting his grand slam instead of the inning being over. Wright who went hitless at the plate and Wright who is hitting .241 for June.

Now Jerry says he needs a day off. Let's hope Jerry is right and a day off is all Wright needs to fix himself.


Wrong bullseye...

Meanwhile Delgado continues to play first base and hit in the heart of the Mets lineup. Ok sure, he got Santana out of the 6th with a great diving stop but he still went hitless in 4 at-bats and is hitting .247 for June. Why doesn't he merit a day off? Isn't he tired too? I mean he's a decade or so older than Wright, why isn't HE tired? Why not rest him for a week or so and see if it has any results?

At the end of the day, the lack of hitting is bleeding the Mets to death. How you play up in Coors Field and put on the pathetic sort of hitting display the Mets did and still survive to win two of three is beyond me.

But a lack of hitting has plagued the Mets all season long - Delgado is rubbish, Wright is struggling and the outfield corners where the Mets could be prospering but for injuries if Church and Alou weren't injured, is a black hole of hitting. Endy Chavez is having a miserable season at the plate and let's face it, whilst Trot Nixon is a nice guy, don't you THINK there's a reason he was playing in Triple AAA this season?

Is Omar just going to let the Mets pitching staff have to do it all the rest of the season? I mean a GM needs to identify needs and go out and get some assistance. Engineer a trade for crissakes. Bring in a potent left fielder bat. Is it that bloody hard? Someone who can come in, smack a few homers, hit over .250 and kick some life into this weak and wimpering batting order. Or better still, bring up Josh Peterson and Mike Carp from Double AA Binghampton and see if their bats can't get hot for a week or two. Certainly they can't perform any more poorly than what's out there now, can they?

Well I shall hold out this one little pebble of hope: they can still win the next two games and take the series. If I were Jerry Manuel I would make it imperative that the Mets take every series they play. Winning 2 out of every 3 the rest of the season will virtually guarantee at least a wild card.

Flubbering around like a bunch of headless, hitless muppets, I think it's safe to say, isn't.

23.6.08

Mets Take Another Series

That's three straight series victories over the Rangers, Angels and Rockies respectively, not all Jerry Manuel's doing of course, but still - enough to work the Phillies lead down to 3 1/2 games.

But don't go planning any parties. The Mariners are coming to town, a dysfunctional mess of a team that make the Mets almost seem competent are just the sort of team and situation that has turned the Mets back on their collective ear more than once this season.

Remember a few weeks ago when the Mets were feeling high and mighty about going to San Diego to face the loser Padres? A shit storm of losses followed. So before anyone gets cocky, just remember: this is precisely the sort of team the Mets might let their guard down against. It's not as though they've been any good at Shea this season.

Yesterday Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer which sort of made up for that idiotic bunt attempt with two men on and none out the day before. Oddly enough, Manuel seemed to have little to say on the subject publically "I kind of leave that up to him," Manuel said, letting us know the bonehead move had nothing to do with him. "There will be a time when we'll discuss that. And with the other Carlos swinging the bat OK, I don't mind that play." (Right, the other Carlos being the bastard who followed Beltran by grounding into a double play, swinging the bat ok, for a muppet, that is.)

As for Luis Castillo, who hustled like a nanogenarian and was removed from the game on Saturday now pronounces his hip flexor troublesome as some sort of excuse and will be noted as being day-to-day, the extent of his attention span and enthusiasm. I mean for f*cks's sake, if you're hurt, get on the bloody DL and give some one else a spot. Otherwise, get out there and play. And play like you mean it, like you're playing effin baseball, not working in a bloody coal mine.

The hell with it though, a 3-1 victory meant another day winning despite struggling against Rockie pitchers which is like struggling against Little League pitchers.

Mike Pelfrey got another win, the ugliest of wins possible but a win nonetheless. And the bullpen held it together well enough.

So keep the complaints down to a minimum. A win is a win and something the Phillies appear to be tiring of after getting swept by the Angels at home.

22.6.08

Beltran's Bunting Fetish Costs Mets

Jimenez, walking the first two batters of the inning in the 4th.

So everyone thinking first pitch fast ball, Beltran at the plate, hitting clean up for crissakes, a good place for an Earl Weaver favourite, the three run homer and what does Beltran do? Bunt foul down the third base line. And spontaneously, a thousand voices shout what the fuck?!

And the inning? Beltran ended with a fielder’s choice and Delgado does his patented groundball double play and that’s that. The Mets’ best chance it would turn out, not to lose the game.

Presumably this moment of idiocy was not sanctioned by Jerry Manuel. It will be intesting to hear his reaction. Will he pull out his shiv and hold it to Beltran's throat telling him if he ever bunts again as the clean up hitter with two men on, none out and the pitcher rapidly losing control, he'll cut him up. Cut him up good.


Ok, thanks for the reminder that your best years are behind you. Now on your bike, son.

So what happened to Pedro in the 5th? Jesus, strolling along and wham! Back to back homers followed by a double. The sun was no longer Pedro’s amigo and pitcher and hitters were all in the shadows. And whilst Jerry Manuel seemed optimistic of Pedro pitching 6 or 7 innings pre-game, Pedro’s pitch count grows. This was payback for the Mets’ explosive 2nd inning the day before. Funny thing is, the pre-game worries were of a pitcher like Pedro pitching in Coors Field and getting into a train wreck. Don’t need to worry about Pedro’s pitch count for long. By the time it’s 6-1, he’s on his way out.

Vargas induces a double play and the inning is mercifully over. Is this Vargas’ audition for 5th inning reliever?

The 6th inning will be the breaking point of this game. The Mets have 1 hit through the first 5, Jose Reyes’ game-opening triple. If they answer the Rockies’ big 5th with a few runs of their own, it’s still anyone’s game. Jimenez, the Rockies’ Oliver Perez clone will certainly be ready to give it up. But if the Mets go down with a whimper, you get bet this is getting marked down as the Mets’ first loss under Jerry Manuel which didn’t involve the distraction of the Sacking of Willie.


Reyes tests Manuel's new dugout toy

And while I’m thinking of it during the pitching change, These are the best mockumentaries I’ve seen in a looooong time.

The Trailer Park Boys and Flight of the Conchords

And, the Mets go down in the 6th like somnambulists. I think it’s safe to say game over already. Wonder what the traffic is like leaving Coors Field.

But oh yes, we keep listening, masochistically as Schoeneweiss does his best to blow the game even further open, a gaping, irreparable 7-1 hole.


No wonder he can't cover second - he can't even keep his bloody head up!

One glaring black eye was Castillo’s idiotic failure to cover second base, not once but twice. The kind of baseball moronity which should enshrine the culprit on the bench next to the manager for a spell to give a hustler like Easley a chance to make Manuel look smart.

Now down to the 9th inning and we know precisely that the Mets are not overcoming this deficit.

21.6.08

Don't Look Now Philly But I Think That's Mr Met Gaining In Your Rear View Mirror

So, they've crawled back to .500.

Sad to say but apparently, this is an accomplishment for the Mets.

Carlos Delgado had a two-run homer, Trot Nixon, resurrected from Triple AAA (and let's face it for Omar, a decent find...if you throw enough shit against the wall eventually some of it will stick...) had one of his own an inning later to complement a nice sliding catch. Beltran had three hits and is now out-hitting David Wright after his abysmal beginning.


Sweet Mother of God, Make Them Stop Hitting! the Rockies cried to themselves in their little hand towels in the dugout.

Overall, they just pounded Aaron Cook in the 2nd inning. Cook had 10 wins going into last night's game. And they just smacked him around the park like a little bitch. You almost thought it would never stop coming. Beltran was up twice and only Nixon and starting pitcher John Maine failed to get on base that inning.

Speaking of Maine, he failed to pitch 7 full innings despite throwing 110 pitches. But you had Smith, Feliciano and Heilman having scoreless outings in his stead so it wasn't such a big issue. It was enough to get him to 7 victories on the season.


Bad Ass GaNGSTA merchants ponder the who they're gonna bang tonight...Can't you just see Sandy Alomar getting his fat belly stuck underneath the table when he tries to jump up from his bathtub-sized bowl of sopĆ³n de garbanzos con patas de cerdo to bitch slap the Wilpon kid for talking out of turn.

The Phillies meanwhile were getting punked by the very same Angels the Mets easily handled in all games played where the sacking of their manager wasn't the primary distraction. That means their lead is down to 4 1/2 games and whilst no, this isn't September and a 7 game lead it suddenly occurs to the rest of us to think wow, how ironic if the Mets overtake the Phillies and reverse the rotten memories of last season?

19.6.08

Mets Renounce Losing: Losing Is For Losers

Two solid outings in a row and you knew Oliver Perez was due an implosion.


Is Amanda Beard going to be the designated Opening Pitch thrower the rest of the season for the Mets?

Olly's 5th, perhaps predictably, was the moment we were all waiting for, the meltdown.


Olly does his patented floating baseball trick

That was the one he entered with a 3-1 lead and exiting with a 4-3 deficit. But it could have been much, much worse were it not for some real bonehead baserunning by the Angels.

I have to admit, bases loaded with none out and then Magic Vlad's 2-run RBI single threatening to blow the game wide open I figured that was it, Olly's TKO. Especially when Torii Hunter singled in another run. I mean were talking Olly had faced 5 batters and they had all gotten on base. It was just a matter of time before a few walks and a few wild pitches turned this into an Angels' route.

But then something funny happened. The Angels blew the game FOR Olly.


Part I of the bonehead play that probably cost the Angels the game...

Vlad was tossed out at the plate trying to score on a grounder to 3rd with one out and then, lo and behold, not just this move but then Hunter got hung up between second and third and before you knew it, bang. The inning was over.


Part II of the bonehead play that probably cost the Angels the game...

I mean you don't see Olly in many escape acts like this, no matter how often he gets himself into trouble.

And then, another moment of unexpected magic: down by a run and facing the indominable Francisco Rodriguez who almost always finishes the game off on a high note for the Angels, David Wright smacks a two-out single to tie the game. Who did he drive in? Jose Reyes of course, the guy who scored three runs on his own last night, the guy with the new motor and no dodgy hammies, the guy who a night earlier was throwing a tantrum and challenging the manager on his first night out and then apologising. The man the Mets need as the batting order's spark plug if the Mets are going to go anywhere this season, with or without Willie.

Not enough? Not improbable enough for you rounding out a Mets victory like this? Not just Damon Easley's shot in the 10th to give the Mets the lead but how about the bullpen? Are they blossoming in this new find certainty about their identity and roles? You tell me. Smith, Schoeneweiss, Sanchez and Billy Hillbilly all pitch a scoreless inning to not only hold the Angels until they could catch them, but hold them down once they did.

I mean that's how it was drawn up in the offseason, more or less.


What, me worry?

And just like that, Jerry Manuel's got his first victory. And a day after putting Jose Reyes in his place he had Jose Reyes playing like magic.

And this time, in the new era of Jerry Manuel, I'm going to say it and say it even with a straight face. Fuck it. The Mets have turned the corner.

18.6.08

Meet the New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

So Morgan Freeman Jerry Manuel - you on the hot seat now too?

Is the honeymoon over after a night? Did it ever really begin other than a brief press conference?

Here's the thing. With Willie, the Mets beat the Angels. So far without Willie, they can't beat the Angels. Not even with their "ace" on the mound.

On the other hand perhaps given all the chaos of the last 24 hours added to the jet lag of 21,000 miles logged in recent times and well, the Mets have themselves a neat little excuse for a pathetic 6-1 loss to mark the Reign of Jerry.

So was it the distractions brought on by the Mets' moronic handling of the sacking of the manager or John Lackey and his pencil thin 1.92 ERA?

As far as I'm concerned this is a clean slate. The Mets are 0-0 this season albeit 6 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the East. You get the idea that ANYTHING would have been preferrable to Willie no matter how badly and illogically Omar went about making his final decision. And let's be clear on something, Omar. Saying something a thousand times aloud doesn't make it true. Your decision and your decision only. Good one. You selling the Brooklyn Bridge with that one, Omar?

Maybe not for Jose Reyes though, who threw a tantrum after Morgan Freeman Jerry Manuel pulled him out of the game after a lead-off single due to a dodgy hamstring. A good first test. Slap him down, talk about him to the press behind his back, slap him in the hammies? What's the best option in reaction to such a childish little display? End result, Reyes appropriately apologises to manager and team. And we can applaud his anger for wanting to play so bad as well. Everyone wins. Godd@mn this is a happy effin team, isn't it? The millstone is off their necks, the media scrutiny is finally gone, the hideous memories of last September, finally washed away with Willie's blood.

Now, we'll give them that 6-1 loss and forget about it. Call it a Willie hangover and move on.

So long as tonight is a victory, that is.

17.6.08

R.I.P. Willie

He was robbed of twenty dollars
His body found stripped
Cast into the harbour there and drowned

And I want to know the same thing
We all wanna know
How's it going to end?

The sirens are snaking,
their way up the hill
It’s last call somewhere in the world


--Tom Waits Hows It Gonna End

So, Manager Willie is no more.



Gone too are Rick Peterson and Tom Nieto.

A real gutting of the inner workings of a team clearly going nowhere with a justifiably unhappy and impatient fan base, saying good riddance to the man who engineered one of the worst collapses in baseball history last season.

The players act stunned but frankly, given the forewarnings over the last week no one should be surprised.

However, one can hope that if the players are in fact stunned, this sort of act is something that might stir the rustling of action in the players themselves - will this be what is finally required to get the players to act like they are taking the season seriously rather than simply going through the motions?

Well, Jerry Manuel is up next. 2000 Manager of the Year. A man who is not afraid, even as bench coach, to get tossed from a game, show some spunk.

The Mets have promoted three coaches from the Triple-A New Orleans team. Dan Warthen, the pitching coach there, will assume Peterson's role while Ken Oberkfell, the Zephyrs manager, and Luis Aguayo, the team's field coordinator, will join the team although perhaps typical of the lack of planning from the Mets management, no one knows quite what it is they will be doing.

According to some, Randolph's Firing Is a Joke, Just Like the Mets and I can't say that I really disagree.

If you could find a dumber way to go about things, ie float the idea of sacking the manager day after day after day and then to finally sack him after a victory and after midnight no less, well, again, this is the Mets management in their feeble-minded best.

Only two days ago I wrote Willie should be kept around. Most people agree he should have been sacked already if not sooner. Now Omar gets blasted on shows like Mike and Maddog for doing the illogical, the precise thing they've been saying all along should be done, fire Willie.

Admittedly, after listening to that radio show and listening to Omar explain his rationale, I don't get the impression Omar is very good at explanaining himself. Sure, a tough decision for many different reasons - and sure, once decided, Omar wanted to be the one to tell Willie himself yet still, it doesn't make sense to say well, Friday the media have made it unavoidable, to say either Willie stays all season or goes now and then wait until Monday, 3 am EST to make the call.

I dunno. It's just typical. Maybe Willie should have been fired after that horrific San Diego series - none of the media distraction pressure Omar cited as a reason for playing his hand - or maybe he should have been kept for the rest of the season but it just seems bloody odd, the timing.

Question now is, how will the Mets respond?

I listened to some of Jerry Manuel's press conference - well, a goofy guy, no doubt -and without dissing Willie he certainly sounded like he was going to make a few changes, like well-defined bullpen roles for example and no strict adherence to batting orders, etc. Will he make the difference? Who knows.

Regardless of what happens, it just got a helluva lot more interesting.

Willie Survives Another Day, Mets Outslug Angels

What do we say about Mike Pelfrey's outing last night against the Angels?


Steady as a sinking ship

Do we focus on the simple things like, well, he earned a rare victory, his first since what, like April 15th, kept the Mets in the game (sort of) and he bent but didn't break against the fearsome Angels offensive onslaught?

Or do we think well, he gave up 6 earned runs in a mere 6 innings of work, he almost blew the game open for fatigue in the 7th, or Pedro Feliciano did a good job of trying to blow the game open on his behalf before magically and mysteriously, Aaron Heilman came in and actually got the side out without further damage?


Is this Jose Reyes' excited face or does he look a wee bit possessed as though someone's gotten hold of a voodoo doll in his likeness?

On the one hand you might say Pelfrey pitched just good enough to win but that is discounting the unusual display, the rare run support he was afforded by his teammates led in large part by the resurgent Carlos Beltran, who had a pair of homers making it 3 in 2 games.

Most games that Pelfrey pitches, if he gives up 6, the Mets are near-certain to lose because frankly, their offense has been wretched. No run support for Pelfrey. It's almost as though his teammates WANT him to lose. Waiting for a Mets run in a Pelfrey outing has been like waiting for an 85 year old woman to give birth.


Beltran is not wielding the Sword of Damocles to chop off Willie's head, just celebrating a hot streak...

But last night was different. Hell, they were even out on the coast, having already fulfilled their whinge quota with the usual complaints about coast-to-coast 21,000 miles logged sort of fatigue. They were out there with their manager's head on the chopping block, they were out there against the AL West leaders, a team that was 14 games over .500, they were out there, one would have imagined, just to lose in a different time zone. But no. Apparently, they were out there to win.

Now you tell me if most nights Heilman, Duaner Sanchez and Billy Hillbilly go out and toss three scoreless innings, i.e. do the job their hired to do, that the Mets don't win.

Or tell me if Beltran hits a pair of homers and Castillo and Reyes both have a pair of hits from the top of the order that this isn't the formula for Mets victory.

So you see, it really isn't that hard. The ingredients are there yet Willie's cake keeps going pffffft in the oven.

Last night, a little different tune.

Are we going to get spastic about the Mets turning the corner?

No.

Willie survives another day.

If we're able to say that the rest of the season, this might not have such a bad ending after all.

Willie survives another day.

Go on, say it with me:

Willie survives another day.

At this point, it's the best we can realistically hope for.

16.6.08

Willie Survives For Another Trip Out West

The bright side: the Mets avoided losing both ends of a doubleheader yesterday - I believe, without consulting the gurus who hold this information, that this is the first doubleheader they haven't lost both ends of so far this season...


Is Willie attempting to choke himself before someone else does?

In any event, it's a series won, isn't it. If they were to win two of three the rest of the season they'd be...Living in Fantasy Land...ha.

Game One, a dull monotonous affair punctuated by another stirling imitation by the bullpen of what it would be like if Willie summoned random spectators from the stands to close out his games for him rather than the muppets currently called in from the bullpen to do so.

Feliciano, Smith and Schoeneweiss, all equally adept at allowing that earned run when it's wanted least. That doesn't even count those left over from John Maine they ole'd home after he'd left. Then again, it's not like Maine was setting them on fire either but still, he was competent enough that for a good team, you could hand them over to the pen, get the outs, minimal damage and let your team score a few runs in the latter innnigs to get the win.

Yeah, the Mets made a little rally and wow, did we almost believe they were going to stage a comeback, or did we sit on our hands and shrug figuring fuck it, if they were facing the Mets' bullpen with that kind of run deficit sure, but the Rangers? Nah, just get close enough to remind us all of the Mets motto: Fall Just Short Enough. (in truth, I dunno that that's their current motto officially or not but if they aren't going with Meet the Mets, Beat the Mets, I think they're a little crazy.

This was Carlos Beltran's doubleheader most of the day.



Between running up walls, diving along the ground, blasting hits, etc. you'd think there was a guy on this club really putting in the effort.

I mean, to lose a game both Beltran AND that big stiff Carlos Delgado hitting homeruns well, that's just rubbish. You need to win games where Delgado gets a homer, it's like a national holiday or something.

Anyway, the little tease of a rally wasn't enough and you sit there pondering how these are just the effin Rangers for crissakes, are we asking all that much for a victory?!

Game Two: Well, a victory anyway. Not pretty, just workman like, sort of. Enough to squeak by which frankly all of us will be happy with if they did it every night. But nope. We'll just take this gnawed up chicken bone of a result back home with us and be happy the Mets weren't swept, I suppose.


Robinson Cancel - the Omar Special, pulling sad sacks from the dustbin. Hell, there must be at least several thousand former baseball players out there who deserve a stint with the Mets by now, isn't there?

1999? Is that for real? And he only hit .182 for the Brewers last year - no wonder he hasn't played in the Majors since. But a right handed bat off the bench, by the faintest of margins. What are the odds he gets another hit the rest of his career?

Speaking of which, not a bad debut by Trot Nixon in Game 1 either. Omar's making some king of ghetto stew of rejects and miscasts and faded stars and nobodies to replace the million dollar star-studded DL he's assembled.

But ok, Pedro gets a "W", Hillbilly Billy gets a save and everybody goes home happy because that's how they drew it up to begin with.

Wright, Beltran and Castillo had 7 hits between them. That's what we're talking about. Delgado had another hit. Now he's almost hitting .250 this season. That's quite a climb from .200. Think he's satisfied with that? He's hitting above the Mendoza line?

And the bullpen - night and day - 3 solid innings, no massive meltdowns. That's how they roll. When they're not blowing games, that is.

Well, nothing too encouraging from this doubleheader to come away with save for the fact that the Mets didn't lose another.

Now the Mets go out West again, already whingeing again about fatigue, blablablah. If they take one out of three there they'll be lucky. That's the benchmark, Willie to keep your job. Don't get swept.

15.6.08

The Willie Question: To Sack Or Not To Sack

Well one thing gleaned from reading a day's worth of New York media coverage of the Mets during a rain out is that surprise, surprise, Willie's job is in danger.

There must have been at least 8 different articles from 4 different sports pages taking disparate views; it's the players' fault, not Willie's for example. Or Willie should be sacked, just not on Father's Day. Or Willie should be sacked but replacing him with Jerry Manuel is a mistake. Or firing Rick Peterson along with Willie is a bone head move.

I've never really thought of Willie as a Manager of the Year sort of manager, he always seemed sort of fated as the guy who sinks or swims with how his players play rather than riding the wave of some overwhelming tactical genius to out-manage other managers in tight ball games.

He's made alot of visible errors, game-time decisions that are derided as borderline idiotic or pedantic.

His stamp on the team is made with invisible ink.

The issue with this team is age and that's Omar's, not Willie's fault. It's Willie's job to win with what he's got though and he isn't doing it. Has really only done it once, in 2006 and even then it seemed to be in spite of Willie, not because of him.

Nevertheless, I think sacking him this week if they continue to stumble in that detestable way the Mets have proved so capable of stumbling over the last 120 games or so, would be a mistake.

First of all, there's no logical, good replacement for him. You could make the argument for several former players who manage with spirit and fire that might inspire the Mets but let's face it, what's really needed is a healthy Alou and a Delgado suddenly re-discovering his hitting stroke to add some punch to the lineup and take some of the pressure off of David Wright and Carlos Beltran. Pedro ringing back his yesteryears would be a nice touch as well. What manager can do that?

Secondly, the Mets aren't out of it yet. I still think they've got one strong run in them this season, one which could at the very least propel them to wildcard favourite if not beyond the Phillies who, let's face it, are playing out of their minds at the moment and will have to cool off eventually. Baseball is several seasons in one and there's still plenty of games left to do something.

I doubt the Wilpons are much interested in opening their new Capitalist Pig Stadium with a team of failed and ageing former stars who are running on fumes. There's little hope in that scheme. But let's hope for the moment the Wilpons keep quiet. Let the GM do the job he was hired to do. This is his and Willie's last run if it doesn't work but to sever it prematurely would be to admit to several years on a fool's errand and millions in wasted contracts.

And I'm starting to like Willie's cool in the face of this feeding frenzy. He's showing me a cool I didn't think he had. I say let him, like Omar, ride it out and if they drown along with the team, so be it. If Willie were going to be sacked, last season was the time. The damage is done. The team is built for better or worse. There's still more than half a season to get it right. I just can't see some miracle manager coming in and turning this team around. They're built as a team, let them sink or swim as a team. And hell, rooting for them as underdogs as they are right now is a helluva lot more fun than expecting them to have been built as a perfect baseball machine. I'm willing to wait it out.

Blast from the Past: Before the Army started marching, I was writing on sportspages.com - (now ussportspages.com) anyway - this article brought back memories of even drearier Met days and a similar sort of fire sale mentality the Mets were inspiring.

14.6.08

Rangers Whipping Boy For A Day

Here's the season summarised in a nut shell.


Here's everyone's worst nightmare.

The Mets finally win a game with a little breathing room to spare, knocking back a sad sack side like the Texas Rangers by a 7-1 margin only to be overshadowed by a 20-2 pasting by the Phillies over the Cardinals.


What, a hit or two and suddenly the world's a lovely place? Capture this, you won't see Delgado smiling again.

Nevertheless, Oliver Perez had his second successful outing in a row, looking almost Pelfreyesque with his domination but that only means that we all know his next outing is going to be the worst of his career (yes, try and top that 1/3 of an inning outing a few starts ago...


And look, even Olly is allowed to enter the dugout after an inning without a grimace on his face.

Now, if you wanted to get crazy and look at Pelfrey and Perez suddenly as the staff aces given their last few outings, you could make an argument for temporary insanity but the two can clearly pitch when they put their minds to it. That's what makes it all the more frustrating in the long run.

The lead was big enough this time around to make sure Billy Hillybilly and his fire-starting mates in the bullpen wouldn't have the opportunity to blow another game for the Mets.

And, a little icing on the cake, the Mets also announced they've got the Trots, picking up Trot Nixon from the D-Bags to assist in plugging the DL holes left in right AND left field by the injuries of both Moises Alou and Ryan Church.

Of course Nixon wasn't even playing in the Major Leagues which just shows you how barren the Mets' farm system is that they had to pay to dip into somebody elses' for a simple outfielder. Nixon, 34, was batting .309 with 10 home runs for Triple-A Tucson.

13.6.08

Psst: Meet The Mets, Beat The Mets

Look, what is this, another loss?

I'm not even going to use photos tonight.

MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS

MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS

MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS

MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS

MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS
MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS


MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS


MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS


MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS



MEET THE METS BEAT THE METS

12.6.08

Late Inning Gasp A Corner Turner?

So, titillating 13th inning walk off two-run blast finally sets the Mets straight, finally gives them the momentum that they...the season is now transformed, the Mets have turned the corner, it won't be long now, the Phillies must be quaking in their boots...naaaaah.


I suppose the warning label should read: Enjoy the celebration now, misery is just around the corner...

Ok, it was thrilling last night, a veritable roller coaster.


Big Cat Pelfrey: are these recent outings a hint of a promising future or like the rare Met victory a simple excuse to temporarily escape the misery?

You get Pelfrey's amazing 5 hit, one earned run, 8 strikeout 8 1/3 inning outing, probably the best of his Mets career which, on the heels of two less-than-shabby starts leading up to this, makes one almost begin to believe that he's beginning to master his problems and become the starter the organisation has been expecting.


Ok, maybe not as bad as Oliver Perez on his worst days but listen Billy, this was a game that had to be won and typically, you were found wanting...

You get the Mets rolling up a trio of runs in support which was more than sufficient leading to the 9th with Hillybilly Billy summoned to get the last two outs. Then you get the closer blowing the game after all that, surrendering a massively heart-breaking three-run homer to some middle of the road nowhereman named Mark Reynolds and suddenly bam! The Mets are back in the auld shittole, game tied, extra innings. Everyone's faces sag. The eyes get teary, the fists clench in frustration and the auld gut is rumbling, here we go again.

Certainly the ingredients for demoralising loss number 6 in a row, innit?

But then in the 13th, the Mets turned the tables. Beltran hit his walk-off blast and for a night anyway, the world seems a helluva lot less hideous than it could of or has been for this has-been collective.

No, you don't want to go getting strange ideas in your head like, oh this is finally it, the Mets have turned the corner. You don't want to do that because you know damned well you lost count a month ago how many times you told yourself that over some small, symbolic Mets success and you know good and well that the double body blow when you realise it's all a lie, a mirage, a half-truth, will sting and hurt twice as hard when that reality sets in again.

So I'm not buying it. If the Mets win 12 in a row I won't buy it. Know why? Because they're more likely than not to follow it up with a dozen losses in a row. That's these Mets. Less than .500. Never consistent. Always teasing us with what could be but isn't.

So enjoy this morning after the 13th inning surprise but don't expect it to lead anywhere promising. You'll only be setting yourself up for twice the pain later on.

11.6.08

Another Day, Another Collapse

Just call them losers.

That's what they are, go on. Losers.

Not just the last five games in a row, but as a team, for the season. Too many injuries, too much head hanging and very little reason left to hope for anything but inevitable disaster.


Eating your shirt collar is just no substitute for success. Some one throw this cat a spare rib.

Their first four losses were to the Padres, bottom dwellers of an already lowly NL West. Their most recent mess against the D'backs who although they lead the NL West, it is only by default, having lost 10 of their previous 14.

Welcome to the cure-all for team problems. Meet the Mets, Beat the Mets.

Although there was a rain delay that postponed the inevitable, inevitably of course, the 5-1 the Mets jumped to early on eventually faded and the Diamondbacks swallowed an ineffectual Mets bullpen en route to a 9-5 lead.

John Maine who struggled despite the lead with an early high pitch count, was still able to leave the game with the lead but the victory was inevitably swallowed by glaring errors by Claudio Vargas and Duaner Sanchez. The ugliness and futility is apparently inexhaustable.


This is about as useful as anyone in the bullpen got all night.

Whilst there are no quick fixes, i.e sacking Willie will not make the old men on this team any healthier, the starting rotation any more promising, the bullpen stronger or the batting order more formidable, and sacking Omar might be premature even if he's built a team of costly fragility, the foreseeable future does not look very bright and the best the team could hope for perhaps is a complete collapse which leads to the off-loading of Castillo, Alou, Pedro, Delgado and most of the bullpen, if anyone will have them. Just so they can hope to start again next season.

Not that it really matters. No one will give the Mets very much for costly, injured and/or incompetent veterans and there is not much in the farm system to harken forth for energy and style.

The bottom line is this team is built to win now or bust and it's become more and more clear that this team has nowhere to go but further and further down.

And again, if you're tired of watching the same losing story unfold night after night, have a look at the Euro 2008 via Sports Amnesia.

9.6.08

Four Games, Four Losses, Four Shades of Hideousness

If you were one of the many encouraged by the recent spate of victories, who had perhaps fallen prey to some sort of baseless, giddy optimism based upon a couple wins in a season of mediocrity, you're ride is almost over.


The highlight of the Padre season and although not the lowest point of the Mets' season, not with so many other miserable performances and disappointments ahead of us.

Four losses in four games against the team which was in the basement of the NL West, especially in the face of a recent tear by the Phillies, the kind of tear we might add was precisely what the Mets were supposed to be gearing up for, is almost enough to sour your milk, piss on your cornflakes, wake you from your unreasonable slumber in time to join the new chorus of those singing for the sacking of Willie.

Of course, the optimists will point to an earlier sweep at the hands of the Braves, equally ugly, equally discouraging, equally humiliating and note smugly that the Mets bounced back from even that low just like they can bounce back from the most recent shock of failure piled upon failure in a sad little town like San Diego.

Of course, they can point to that. They will continue hoping and wishing despite the odds, despite the lack of conviction these Mets are often guilty of playing with. But you might as well face it, this little blurt of optimism brought on by a few victories was in essence the last gasps of a dying patient.


Any closer to Shea and he'd have been showered with garbage on his way out.

Thursday's walk-off hit batsman by Scott Schoeneweiss was only a sign of the times to come, a laughable four game sweep which culminated with the Mets' closer Billy the Hillbilly surrendering a game-losing three-run homer.

In between, two other 2-1 losses and in those losses, Friday and Saturday night, were highlighted by Johan Santana getting struck in the left shoulder outdueled by a paper lion like Randy Wolf and then in yet ANOTHER 2-1 loss, Oliver Perez escaping another humiliating performance only to see Pedro Feliciano blow the game by surrendering a walk off homer to Scott Hairston.

None of it matters, really. Losing three 2-1 games in a row shows the gutlessness of a team, the lack of fire, the absence of will power, the emptiness of their positive phrases, the uselessness of that mini run that gave so many a little encouragement for the first time all season.

Good luck to the Mets. They won't be able to convince their fans they have what it takes to make the post-season. From the looks of it, they can't even convince themselves.

Well, eff it. Worse comes to worse, there's always a month or so of the Euro 2008 coverage to distract.

6.6.08

Walk Off Hit By Pitch, How About That

In some ways, Scott Schoeneweis' meltdown choke up last night against the Padres was reminiscent of that 1999 Game 6 against the Braves when Kenny Rogers, legendary choke artist himself, walked Andrew Jones home with the bases loaded and gave the Braves the series.

Of course, last night's game was neither as important nor as tension-filled, but Schoeneweis, who started the inning off by walking the first two batters, loaded the bases eventually with an intentional walk only to hit Paul McAnulty, a .223 hitter for crissakes, to allow the winning run to score for the Padres, 2-1.


Is Jose pointed to Schoeneweis: You da problema, no da solution, meng...

Whilst Schoeneweis, who earlier this season had almost begun to look like he put a miserable 2007 season behind him but who is looking ugly so far in June, was certainly the bullseye goat for the game, he wasn't the only problem. Just the penultimate one.

For starters, point to the Mets managing only 5 hits off of Josh Banks, a guy the Blue Jays apparently in a moment of organisational stupidity, gave away for free to the Padres in April and a guy who was starting only his second game for the Padres.

Jose Reyes was immune from the hitting flu most of the Mets were suffering from but hey, with a few wins in our pocket we can afford to look on the bright side: at least they didn't strand 15 runners like the Padres did, right? Moral victory.

And perhaps most encouraging out of a loss was the continued resilience of Mike Pelfrey who yet again pitched in and out of trouble, inning after inning, showing both confidence and guts. He's no Cy Young candidate but at least he isn't, at the moment anyway, staging diving into pools of mediocrity any longer. Has he too turned a corner now? Difficult to say but if Oliver Perez had Pelfrey's mental strength and focus he'd probably be pointing towards another 15 win season rather than trying to escape a 15 loss season.


Pelfrey does it again: Struggled but swam, not drowned.

So, it is a loss that counts but, given the Mets' performance of late, a loss that is not piled atop another and another giving us a sense of forboding. Santana will be taking the mound next and, against a team as weak-hitting as the Padres, should be shooting for the first Mets no-hitter ever.

You think?

5.6.08

Job Done: Mets Take Series From Jints, 5-3

Success breeds success and since Wandering Willie was given a stay of execution by the Wilpons the Mets have now won the last three series' they've played against the Marlins, Dodgers and Giants. Won seven of their last nine.


The game was over, in essence, from this point on in the 1st.

Although the Mets jumped to an early 3-0 lead in this Maine v Cain battle, thanks to Carlos Beltran's two-run double and a rare timely hit from Carlos Delgado, due to a couple of miscues the game was never really fully secured until Billy Hillbilly recorded his 13th save of the season.

But perhaps that just a sign that for the moment anyway, the Mets fortunes are taking a turn for the better rather than a turn in the grave or a turn for the worse.


Late run for the All Star Game?

Not so long ago in Colorado, Jose Reyes made a bonehead error in a game John Maine was also pitching in and the eventual damage was a three-run that put the game away for the Rockies. Last night, in the third inning another bonehead error by Reyes but this time, only one run resulted and that was pretty much the difference in this game. The Mets aren't necessarily executing any better but their mistakes aren't killing them at the moment. Plus they're getting a little more timely hitting to boost them.

Maine was also a little perturbed to see a two-out pitch with a man on third turn into a run when it should have ended the inning - the culprit this time, Beltran, who dashed in from the deep centerfield positioning and then took his foot off the gas just before it came time - can't say as I blame him with Endy Chavez lingering around in his general direction which he surely caught out of the corner of his eye and had little flashbacks over, thinking in that split second perhaps, of his collision with Mike Cameron a few years ago.

Pernt is this: 1) It didn't cost the Mets the game 2) Both Reyes and Beltran contributed to more runs than their error/misplay caused.

But it is still far from perfect baseball, just as Pedro's outing the night before was far from perfect - just enough to get by which, after the numbing start the Mets have had to the season so far, is good enough for me and probably good enough for the Mets.

COMING UP: Four game series at the lowly Padres - considering both Pelfrey and Perez are do a turn in this series the Mets should consider themselves lucky to escape with a split.

DRAFT: I find it simultaneously difficult to stomach or understand that much like the hyperinflation of "mock" speculation for the NFL draft, you can just feel that in a few years, the baseball draft is going to be big news even though none of the players drafted will have an impact in the MLB this season. At least in the NFL the drafted players can go right to playing top level football and perhaps even star immediately. But baseball? Yeah, the draft might be important a couple of years down the road but for the purposes of the season to hand, it's absolutely meaningless.

Which is why I'm now prepared to give you the first 24 rounds of my MOCK DRAFT.

Just kidding.

ALL STARS: Now that we're almost a third of the way through the season the concenpt of contemplating the ballot doesn't feel as absurd as it didn't after the first bloody week of the season when the ballots first came out (or so it felt) - at the minute, Beltran is the closest Met to a starting position. Frankly, none are deserving given their play to date this season except for Ryan Church. You might like Wright but he hasn't had the season Chipper has had thus far. And even though Chipper is a big douchebag, unfortunately, personality and charm and an IQ over 11 aren't pre-requisites for the ballot.