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Blog Entry

The 2008 New York Mess

Posted on: May 21, 2008 11:35 pm
 

Yes, they're not Mets, they're a mess.

It's no secret that my favorite National League team is the New York Mets. My family is full of Mets fans, born and raised, and of course, living in the New York broadcast market, I got to follow the Mets more as a kid than I could the Red Sox (before Extra Innings and MLB.tv packages and what not). Last season, the Red Sox won the world series, and that was fantastic, but it was still difficult to watch the Mets lose in the way they did. I came into this season with similar expectations I had from last season; the possibility of a repeat of the 1986 World Series. The Mets blew it last year, and this year, they aquired one of the best pitchers in baseball to boost their staff. But what has it got them?

Right now, they're a .500 team. They have been since late last season. Old tendencies are coming back and this team is hurt internally and externally. Basically, from what I'm watching right now, they're awful. How can a .500 team who is under 5 games out of first place that awful, in May none the less. Well, there's plenty of reasons, and I'll touch on quite a few.

To me, this doesn't look anything like the team that came out in 2006 and dominated from the start, despite a lot of players being the same. This team looks more like the team that would have a 4 game win streak, and then a 3 game losing streak. The team that let the New York Media get to some of them. The team that struggled mightily with inconsistencies, disappointments, and did not win in the end.

This team looks like the 2005 Mets.

Now, the 2005 Mets should not be disappointed with what they accomplished. They were a building team that was moving the Mets out of a few very bad seasons, and under Willie Randolph's first year as manager, they finished 83-79, good enough for 3rd place in the NL East.

Think about it. The 2005 Mets had a big time superstar patroling centerfield, and despite his reputation for good power numbers, he hit .260 with 16 homers in the entire season. It was Carlos Beltran, and he definitely had a hard time adjusting to the NY media spotlight. In 2008, he declared the Mets the team to beat in Spring, trying to rile up his team and reclaim the NL East crown. Right now, he's batting .253 with 3 homers, on pace for an eerily similar season.

The 05 Mets had a lefty outfielder who had decent numbers through his career pretty much have a career year, at least in terms of power numbers, his name was Cliff Floyd. This year, Ryan Church is looking pretty similar to that.

The 05 Mets had 2 singles hitting second basemen who didn't walk enough playing for them, Kazuo Matsui and Miguel Cairo, and now, they have Luis Castillo.

Both teams have an outfielder who missed a lot of time to injury, but was solid when he actually managed to be on the field. Mike Cameron and Moises Alou.

That's just the offense. The pitching has it's similarities too.

Both teams had 2 very good front starters; Pedro Martinez (2.82 ERA) and Tom Glavine (3.53 ERA) against Johan Santana and John Maine currently. Both teams had 2 okay starters who were inconsistent but could put in decent outings; Kris Benson and Victor Zambrano, both had ERA's slightly above 4, and now, Oliver Perez and Mike Pelfry (I am placing Pelfry here because his past few outings were good, and if it weren't for a lazy Castillo tonight, he would've been out of a big inning).

Both teams had an erratic reliever who blew a lot of close games, right from the get-go. Braden Looper in 05, and Aaron Heilman in 08.

Diving a little deeper, the 05 Mets were 6-13 against the division rival Braves, this year so far, they're 2-6.

On May 22nd in 2005, the Mets were 23-21. This year, they'll be 21-21 (not counting tomorrow's game yet).

The 05 Mets would go on a 4-5 game winning streak, and then go 1-6 over the next stretch. The 08 Mets are looking similar to that, getting hot in a certain series, and then blowing a series or two to another team. 

It may be late May, but this team still has a legitimate chance. They have a good team, but a few things need to be done in order to get them rolling again. Here are some ideas of what I think would help these Mets get back on track:

  1. Willie needs to stop being a player's manager and just be a manager, not their friends. In the past 2 years, he'd take a player out for not hustling, yet after Castillo's lazy play tonight, he remained in the game. He should've been yanked faster than a wisdom tooth in the dentist's office. If he wants to keep his job, get tough, show some freakin' emotion, and kick some @$$ on and off the field. Threaten to bench a player if they're slumping, threaten to move a starter to the pen if they're struggling, threaten to remove a player if they don't hustle, and for the love of god, don't ever give Aaron Heilman the ball. If he can't do this, then he needs to be fired. This, in all honesty, is his very last chance.
  2. Move Aaron Heilman. He is awful, he doesn't have it. I've been saying it for over a year now, he can't consistently spot his fastball, which makes him overly rely on his changeup, which he will throw back to back, over the heart of the plate, which hitters sit on and drive. He is not a good pitcher, and he needs to go. Trade him, send him to AAA, something, but he should not be on their major league roster right now.
  3. Ban the sports section of newspapers, sports magazines, and sports shows on tv and radio. The LAST thing this team needs is to be listening to more drama. Willie's last concern should be what he said to the media. The players don't need any more controversies, playing into any more drama, and definitely not any more distractions.
  4. Pick a 2-hole hitter, STICK WITH IT. Is it Church? Is it Castillo? Is it Anderson? Is it Chavez? I say Church, since he gives good power, and doesn't load the middle of the lineup with 3 straight lefties when Delgado is batting 6th. Castillo, he's patient, and has decent speed, but isn't hitting too well this year, Church is. Stop flipping people around in the lineup, it's not good unless it's something like bumping someone down in the lineup because they're struggling. Speaking of which....
  5. If it comes to it, move Beltran to the 5-spot and have Church bat cleanup with Castillo batting 2nd.
  6. Don't rely on Pedro Martinez or Orlando Hernandez to come back and contribute too much. They might surprise, but if they struggle for a short period of time, a move needs to be made, quick. Even Mike Pelfry, he's been showing improvement, but if he starts struggling over a good stretch, move him, AAA, bullpen, whatever.
  7. Willie, stop holding off on going to the bullpen so that you can try and get your starter a win. The team win matters more, not the individual win. He's doing it with Pelfry, he did it with Glavine last year a lot (although that was partially for win #300, but still).
  8. This team makes unknown starters look like Brandon Webb, but actually hits well against Brandon Webb! They're too agressive at the plate for the most part, which is part of why the offense is so inconsistent; it works against some pitchers and not against others. Work counts more, see more pitches....
  9. Move runners over, especially you, Carlos Beltran. Play small ball, manufacture runs...you can't hit a grand slam without runners on base, so stop trying to. Big innings aren't sparked by solo homeruns, they're sparked by baserunners and smart hitting.
  10. Something needs to ignite this team. Someone needs to stand up and say something, without causing controversy like Wagner did (although it kind of worked). Wright, step up and say to the press "we suck right now", be the team leader, call a meeting and do something. Pitchers, don't be afraid to throw inside. You hit a guy, a benches clearing ball might happen, that could be the best thing for this team. Something to ignite them!
  11. Lastly, as much as I hate to say it, one more stupid distraction, one more stupid comment, one more stupid move or anything from Willie Randolph, and he should be fired. I like the guy, I really do, but something needs to wake this team up. His leash is as short as ever right now.

Right now, the Phillies have Jimmy Rollins back and Ryan Howard is starting to hit. The Braves have a great offense, and Jair Jurrjens is looking great, plus with Smoltz going to close out games upon his return, that makes the game almost virtually over in the 8th. Marlins, playing great ball, I don't think it'll last, but they're hitting and pitching right now. The Mets need to step it up, or else they will be too far out in this race, and I don't see the other teams blowing a lead like the Mets had last season.

-Mat

Category: MLB
Comments

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: May 22, 2008 3:45 pm
 

The 2008 New York Mess

Isn't it better to be in every game than to be blown out when you lose? That stat just tells me that when they win they are very impressive, and when they lose, they kept it close.

I absolutely agree, but keeping it close still doesn't count for a win. The stat just tells me that they can always add on to a good lead, but can't close the gap with a small deficit (or keep a small lead), which are just as important as winning big.

And anyway, my point was that on many occasions there would be blowouts, allowing Bobby to use his long relievers and rest his setup men and closer. If every game was close, it would be more important for pitchers to throw 7+ IP every time out.

That's true, I was just showing that it was almost even with close games/blowouts, 14 to 16 as of right now.



Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: May 22, 2008 3:39 pm
 

The 2008 New York Mess

but winning one run games is important too, and they haven't done it.

Isn't it better to be in every game than to be blown out when you lose? That stat just tells me that when they win they are very impressive, and when they lose, they kept it close.

And anyway, my point was that on many occasions there would be blowouts, allowing Bobby to use his long relievers and rest his setup men and closer. If every game was close, it would be more important for pitchers to throw 7+ IP every time out.




Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: May 22, 2008 3:34 pm
 

The 2008 New York Mess

14, the Braves only have 2 more blowouts (5+ runs) than they do 1 run games. They're 11-5 in blowouts, and 2-12 in 1-run games. So the blowouts are nice, but winning one run games is important too, and they haven't done it.



Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: May 22, 2008 3:28 pm
 

The 2008 New York Mess

That is correct that 6 IP isn't good for the 'pen, but with a lot of games being out of reach(that offense creates a LOT of blowouts) Cox should be able to mix in guys like Bennet and Boyer in a lot of games.



Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: May 22, 2008 3:23 pm
 

The 2008 New York Mess

14, you're right, Glavine has been nice for the Braves thus far, but even with the bullpen getting healthy, not being able to consistenly go beyond 5-6 innings isn't going to be good for the pen. However, he's not going to be facing the Mets everyday, and on certain days he won't be able to pitch that effectively...the difference is that Bobby Cox knows when to remove him from a game before it's out of reach.




Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: May 22, 2008 2:59 pm
 

The 2008 New York Mess

Atlanta is the starters behind Hudson and Jurrjens, And Glavine. Heck, we only need 6 IP once we have Soriano, Smoltz, and Gonzalez back(within 3 weeks, for all 3). Glavine has been really nice for us this year. Other than that, nice blog entry. Seriously, it was music to my ears. LOL.



Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: May 22, 2008 2:25 pm
 

The 2008 New York Mess

You see, it wasn't too long ago that you and I were arguing over how good of a pitcher Oliver Perez is, how well Willie Randolph manages ballgames, how effective the Mets bullpen is, and whether or not Jose Reyes would improve on his "career numbers" he put up in 2006

Oliver Perez is a good pitcher, he's just inconsistent, but even with his inconsistencies last year, he put up great numbers. He's an enigma, but can still be effective, when he's off though, the game could be out of reach quickly. I like Willie Randolph, but I never once said that he could manage games well, especially when it comes to the bullpen. The Mets bullpen is effective, if used properly (it was a big part of their success in 2006), and usually players at a young age do manage to improve on their numbers as they mature.

it seemed as if every other Met fan had moved on to try to tell me that trading Brian Bannister to Kansas City was a good move

The Mets were relying to heavily on Mike Pelfry pitching effectively last season, and wanted to maintain a good bullpen (they had lost some key relievers in the offseason), so they wanted to get Ambiorix Burgos. He's not even pitching now, and Bannister is pitching well, so the move was a bad one in retrospect. I wish Minaya didn't trust his minor league pitchers that much to go and trade Bannister, but that was his reasoning behind it. It wasn't a good move.

that Luis Castillo would make the Mets a better team

He's a decent second baseman, definitely not the worst in the league, but as far as adding a lot to any team, no, that's not the case, especially with his knees ailing him. The deal he got is ridiculous.

and that Tom Glavine never cared about winning ballgames

That's just stupid, whoever said that.

Jose Reyes 2006 numbers will be his career best

That's a little harsh to say, especially considering he's still only 24. He is still maturing has a hitter, is it possible they'll be his career best, absolutely, but to say that the way you did already just seems too rash.

Now, I understand the Mets fans should have high expectations from their ballclub, but I still think some of the expectations and hype were way overdone.

Absolutely! There is too much pressure on this team, which is why I mentioned starting to ignore the media's hype and everything.

The Mets only offseason improvement this year was landing Johan Santana, yet even that wasn't a "huge addition" as the team also lost a very effective and very underrated Tom Glavine.

Johan Santana to any team is a huge addition, and losing Tom Glavine, especially to a division rival, is tough, because he was effective last season, even if he blew the last game (also part Willie's fault because of a 3 pitch walk to lead off to Hanley Ramirez, great attention to detail there Willie, oh, but it was just one game). But, the way the Mets saw it, they had the depth with Santana's addition to Pedro, Maine, Perez, Pelfry, Hernandez....It was a stupid move though because, as we already see, Pedro and El Duque can't be relied upon.

Many like to combat my "Luis Castillo is useless argument" by telling me the guy is good at defense. Sure, his fielding percentage is above average, but the guys range factor has been well below league average the past three seasons straight.

He isn't completely useless, he can still play decent ball, but he should't be relied upon like he has been in the past. He needs a wake up call, and a benching for laziness is something that could get his attention.

I disagree.....He's had solid seasons in years past, so he's just going through a rough patch right now. If you take a look at his numbers (ignore his era for a second), Heilman has actually been extremely successful against right handed batters. The problem is he's also been terrible against lefties....While I don't think Heilman can be relied on at this point as a set up man, if I were Randolph, I'd temporarily use him as a situational pitcher, have him get some good results and build his confidence back up.....

You can't trade him as he has no trade value right now (and you never trade a player when their stock is low) and you can't send him down to the minors as he's out of options.

Didn't realize he was out of options, and I agree with the fact he has no trade value now, but something might also wake him up if he's out on the market and he knows of it. He's been successful against righties, so maybe using his as a righty specialist would be good, however, the Mets have Joe Smith, who is pitching overall better than Heilman. However, even in his past successful seasons, he's been the relatively same pitcher. He throws back-to-back changeups consistently, it's something that drives me insane, personally. Tom Seaver always said you never throw changeups back to back, it has to be mixed up effectively. When Heilman can't spot his fastball, he relies on the changeup, which stays over the plate and is driven. Against righties or not, right now, he can't be trusted in a close game, at all.

 I think you're right. Go with Church and stick Castillo in the 8th spot. As you mentioned, he has decent speed and an average bat. He's also a bat that you don't mind sacrificing to get a runner over. In addition, Church's career average when placed in the two spot is .323. Not too shabby.

It would work a lot better for the lineup to be given a consistent look, and the .323 average in the 2-hole as you brought up is the perfect fit. Church would be a very solid 2 hitter.

Ummm......No. Church chokes in the clutch. He only has a .232 avg with RISP 2 outs and a .236 avg in late and close ballgames. While the man is hitting fine right now, as you said earlier, the Mets need consistency and in no way will Church continue to hit this well all year long. If worst comes to worst, the team might as well put Beltran in the two hole, Wright batting third, Alou cleanup, Delgado 5th, Church 6th, Schneider 7th, and Castillo 8th.

I should have been more clear, it would only be temporary until Beltran starts swinging well. Church isn't a cleanup hitter, and I agree that he won't continue to hit this way all year long, but if Willie was to put Beltran 2nd (which would be good and bad in that he'd see a lot of breaking pitches which would make it better for Reyes to run on, but Beltran can't hit breaking pitches). If anything, in the order you brought up, Alou Cleanup, Church 5th, Delgado 6th...that's Delgado's spot, he can't be any higher anymore.

As for choking in the clutch, Beltran hasn't been much better in the past too.

 Not really. This is a trend I've been calling out for a long long time. I mean, after Glavine had win 300, he still did it. I mean, how slow was he to remove Glavine from the game against Florida last season? He should have treated it like an elimination playoff game, but instead allows his starter to get pounded......For what?

Because he's a player's manager, he wants to be their friend, not their manager. It's a mistake, a big one, and he consistently does it.

Paul Lo Duca....that's your queue....oh wait.....I forgot......

Now, we know that was roid rage! Someone needs to do that without being a cheat.

Management needs to make it happen. It really depends on who replaces him too though.....The only managers I can think of that are looking for jobs right now are Ken Macha, Grady Little, Jim Tracy, and Buck Showalter....Macha went 368-280 and led the A's to the ALCS in 2006 before being fired. Since most players don't like him, he might just be the perfect fit for New York.

NOT GRADY LITTLE! I like Ken Macha, and would prefer Showalter to Tracy, but both would be better than Randolph. But not Grady Little. What's Tommy Lasorda doing these days?

The main problem is that it's a 3 team (possibly four if Florida somehow defies the numbers) race which makes it a lot harder to move up in the standings. At least the team has Santana this season that can serve as a stopper to all serious losing streaks.The Mets have their problems, but the other teams do as well. Philadelphia's weakness is the starters behind Hamels, Atlanta is the starters behind Hudson and Jurrjens, and Florida is the bullpen and the young starters inconsistencies. The Mets have Santana as their stopper, and John Maine has shown he can step up in big games, but they're still in this race, no matter how many teams are in it. All teams suffer through inconsistencies and problems, the Mets are far from out of it, but they're problems are the biggest right now.




Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 22, 2008 2:57 am
 

The 2008 New York Mess

Mat,

I see your frustration with the Mets right now, but to me, this blog entry seems a little too belated. You see, it wasn't too long ago that you and I were arguing over how good of a pitcher Oliver Perez is, how well Willie Randolph manages ballgames, how effective the Mets bullpen is, and whether or not Jose Reyes would improve on his "career numbers" he put up in 2006.

Then as you and reyesformvp faded both on and off these boards for a while, it seemed as if every other Met fan had moved on to try to tell me that trading Brian Bannister to Kansas City was a good move, that Luis Castillo would make the Mets a better team and that Tom Glavine never cared about winning ballgames. Met fans (not you) told me to "shut up, go back to following the A's, and that the Met fans on this board were the experts of all things New York."

Well, since I know many Met fans will read this blog, I only have to say one thing......How do ya like them apples?

While many Mets fans are surprised at how the team is performing, it has not come as a shock to me. On each matter that we've discussed about the Mets so far, I've been 100% correct........
  • Oliver Perez is one of the most inconsistent pitchers in the league
  • Willie Randolph does not know when to go to his pen, let alone who to go to
  • Aaron Heilman has NO TRADE VALUE (lol Sal)
  • Jose Reyes 2006 numbers will be his career best
  • Brian Bannister was/still is a solid starting pitcher (and certainly wasn't worth giving up for Burgos)
  • Luis Castillo has no real value without his speed
  • Tom Glavine can still pitch
Now, I understand the Mets fans should have high expectations from their ballclub, but I still think some of the expectations and hype were way overdone. The Mets only offseason improvement this year was landing Johan Santana, yet even that wasn't a "huge addition" as the team also lost a very effective and very underrated Tom Glavine.

I also agree with many of your points up there, so I guess it's time to comment on those.....

after Castillo's lazy play tonight, he remained in the game. He should've been yanked faster than a wisdom tooth in the dentist's office.Many like to combat my "Luis Castillo is useless argument" by telling me the guy is good at defense. Sure, his fielding percentage is above average, but the guys range factor has been well below league average the past three seasons straight.

He is not a good pitcher, and he needs to go. Trade him, send him to AAA, something, but he should not be on their major league roster right now.I disagree.....He's had solid seasons in years past, so he's just going through a rough patch right now. If you take a look at his numbers (ignore his era for a second), Heilman has actually been extremely successful against right handed batters. The problem is he's also been terrible against lefties....While I don't think Heilman can be relied on at this point as a set up man, if I were Randolph, I'd temporarily use him as a situational pitcher, have him get some good results and build his confidence back up.....

You can't trade him as he has no trade value right now (and you never trade a player when their stock is low) and you can't send him down to the minors as he's out of options.

Pick a 2-hole hitter, STICK WITH IT. I think you're right. Go with Church and stick Castillo in the 8th spot. As you mentioned, he has decent speed and an average bat. He's also a bat that you don't mind sacrificing to get a runner over. In addition, Church's career average when placed in the two spot is .323. Not too shabby.

If it comes to it, move Beltran to the 5-spot and have Church bat cleanup with Castillo batting 2nd.Ummm......No. Church chokes in the clutch. He only has a .232 avg with RISP 2 outs and a .236 avg in late and close ballgames. While the man is hitting fine right now, as you said earlier, the Mets need consistency and in no way will Church continue to hit this well all year long. If worst comes to worst, the team might as well put Beltran in the two hole, Wright batting third, Alou cleanup, Delgado 5th, Church 6th, Schneider 7th, and Castillo 8th.

he did it with Glavine last year a lot (although that was partially for win #300, but still).Not really. This is a trend I've been calling out for a long long time. I mean, after Glavine had win 300, he still did it. I mean, how slow was he to remove Glavine from the game against Florida last season? He should have treated it like an elimination playoff game, but instead allows his starter to get pounded......For what?

Something needs to ignite this team. Someone needs to stand up and say something, without causing controversy like Wagner didPaul Lo Duca....that's your queue....oh wait.....I forgot......

one more stupid move or anything from Willie Randolph, and he should be fired.Management needs to make it happen. It really depends on who replaces him too though.....The only managers I can think of that are looking for jobs right now are Ken Macha, Grady Little, Jim Tracy, and Buck Showalter....Macha went 368-280 and led the A's to the ALCS in 2006 before being fired. Since most players don't like him, he might just be the perfect fit for New York.

The Mets need to step it up, or else they will be too far out in this race,The main problem is that it's a 3 team (possibly four if Florida somehow defies the numbers) race which makes it a lot harder to move up in the standings. At least the team has Santana this season that can serve as a stopper to all serious losing streaks.


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