Tag:Mets
Posted on: September 28, 2011 7:26 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 11:43 pm
 

Reyes tops Braun for NL batting title



By C. Trent Rosecrans

With Jose Reyes pulling himself from Wednesday afternoon's game against the Reds, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun knew exactly what he needed to do in the final game of the season to secure his first-ever batting title -- get three hits. He didn't manage one.

Braun went 0 for 4 on Wednesday, leaving his average at .332149, nearly five points behind Reyes.

Reyes left Wednesday's victory over the Reds in the first inning after his bunt single gave him an average of .337058. Braun entered Wednesday night's game with an average of .334526.

Reyes, whose first-inning bunt single gave him an average of .337058, was immediately pulled from the game for a pinch-runner in the Mets' victory over the Reds. Braun entered Wednesday night's game against the Pirates with an average of .334526.

While many (including our own Evan Brunell) weren't too fond of Reyes' tactic, Braun was nonplussed.

"I don't think it really matters about what the ethics of it are," Braun said before Wednesday's game (via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). "I respect whatever decision he decided to make. Ultimately he left the door open for me. It's not impossible. I've gotten three hits in a game plenty of times.

"It's still attainable; it's still a possibility. If he had stayed in the game and gotten multiple hits, it may not have been a possibility at all. I'm not really here to judge him."

In the end, it appeared to help Reyes more than hurt him, as the Mets shortstop will won his first batting title -- just in time to test free agency.

"I just want to say I’m humbled and honored to win the batting title," Reyes said in a statement released by the Mets. "It means so much to my family and my country, the Dominican Republic. I have been through a lot over the past few years so this really means a lot to me. It’s also very special to be the first Mets player to win a batting title. There have been so many great players throughout our history. I want to thank Terry Collins, my coaches and all my teammates and of course all the Mets fans who have always supported me and been behind me 100 percent." 

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Posted on: September 28, 2011 2:07 pm
 

Mets pull Jose Reyes from final game



By Evan Brunell

The Mets never fail to make hare-brained decisions, and the last day of the regular season was no exception.

In what could have been Jose Reyes' final Mets game, he only had one at-bat, reaching on a bunt single to lift his batting average to .337. Reyes is currently chasing the NL batting crown, with Ryan Braun hot on his tail. So what did the Mets do?

They pulled Reyes.

That's right -- in an attempt to win the batting crown, the Mets pulled one of the few franchise players the team has ever had. Reyes didn't even finish out his time on the bases -- he was immediately yanked after reaching, much to the fans' displeasure. Now, the last memory Mets fans will have of Reyes is that of booing him.

The horrid decision by the Mets leaves  fans without an ability to see Reyes play a full game... all at the expense of winning the batting average category. As if batting average matters these days. There's a reason there hasn't been much coverage of the chase for the batting title down the stretch, with Matt Kemp's potential Triple Crown chase only lifting the discussion into national consciousness for a brief moment.

To be fair, the Mets may have pulled the shortstop at Reyes' request. You can understand where Reyes might have been coming from -- he's capping off a sensational season with a potential batting title which will only improve his chances of a big contract in free agency. In addition, let's be honest -- 30 years from now, Reyes would remember and appreciate his batting titie far more than he would playing in a meaningless final game.

The only problem, again, is that this may be Reyes' final game as a Met. Shouldn't fans get a chance to watchs omeone who brought them much joy over the last nine season?

The Rangers' C.J. Wilson knows exactly where he stands calling the move "bush league!! Make him play. People pay a lot of money for tickets" on Twitter.

"Seriously people- taking out a star player to preserve his batting average lead...weak! I hope ryan braun goes 5- 5 and wins the title now," Wilson added.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 28, 2011 1:35 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Red Sox, Rays, Cards get it done



By Matt Snyder


Red Sox offense. They really, really needed this one. And you have to give the Red Sox credit, they came through when it mattered. They fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, but then Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run homer. Marco Scutaro would also hit a 2-run homer later in the game. Still, the Red Sox pitching staff allowed seven runs against the Orioles and a huge effort was needed from someone offensively. It was provided by an unlikely source, as emergency catcher Ryan Lavarnway hit two home runs and drove home four in the Red Sox's 8-4 victory. The two blasts were the first two of his career and he became the youngest Red Sox player to homer twice in the same game since Nomar Garciaparra did it in 1997 -- and they were the exact same ago to the day (Ian Browne via Twitter).

Cardinals' offense. Starting pitcher Jake Westbrook was awful, and the Cardinals trailed 5-0 after three innings. It was of no matter in the end, though, because they'd piece together 13 runs in the final six frames to win the game. On the whole, the Cardinals pounded out 17 hits, including four doubles, a triple and two home runs. The biggest hits were Skip Schumaker's three-run double in the fourth, Ryan Theriot's go-ahead, two-run triple in the seventh and Allen Craig's three-run homer in the eighth to put the game out of reach.

Matt Joyce, Rays. Ben Zobrist hit a two-run homer earlier in the game and the Rays bailed themselves out with a huge triple play, but neither would have mattered if Joyce didn't come through with a pivotal three-run bomb in the bottom of the seventh to put the Rays on top 5-3. That was the eventual final score.

Bonus Up No. 1, Prince Fielder: Three home runs is a pretty decent night, don't you think? He hits home runs a lot (230 in his career now and he's only 27), but this was the first three-homer game of his big-league career.

Bonus Up No. 2, Jose Reyes: He went deep twice and maintained his percentage-point lead for the batting title.

Bonus Up No. 3, Jarrod Parker: The 22-year-old Diamondbacks' prospect made his major-league debut against the Dodgers. He went 5 2/3 shutout innings and allowed just four hits. If you don't take the D-Backs seriously yet, imagine them with Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Parker, Trevor Bauer (third overall pick this past June) and Archie Bradley (seventh overall pick this past June) in the rotation a few years from now. Oh, and Justin Upton's only 24. That's a strong foundation. And while we're here ... a walk-off grand slam after trailing 6-1 in the 10th? C'mon. Big ups to Ryan Roberts for imitating Kirk Gibson as he rounded the bases, too.



Derek Lowe, Braves. Four innings, six hits, five earned runs, a loss and the Braves are now tied in the NL wild-card race. Oh, and Lowe makes over $15 million a year.

Bronson Arroyo, Reds. How about this one? According to Elias Sports Bureau -- via a Reds' press release -- Arroyo is now the second pitcher in major-league history to have allowed at least 40 home runs and less than 50 walks in the same season. We've all heard the phrase "trust your stuff" when pitchers walk too many hitters. Maybe Arroyo should trust his stuff a bit less. Trade some of the bombs for free passes.

Russell Martin, Yankees. He hit into a huge triple play, but that's just a ground ball with bad timing. My issue came when he tried to beat the throw by diving into first base. See last night's 3 Up 3 Down -- the Nick Punto entry -- for the rant relating to that. (What, is it spreading?)

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Posted on: September 27, 2011 8:23 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 1:01 am
 

Kemp Watch: Batting title race

By Matt Snyder

As my colleague Evan Brunell pointed out earlier Tuesday, Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp has a shot -- albeit a small one -- to win the hitting triple crown. That means leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBI. It hasn't been done in the majors since Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox pulled it off in 1967. There hasn't been a triple crown winner in the NL since Joe "Ducky" Medwick did it in 1937 for the Cardinals. Both players won the MVP.

Kemp entered Tuesday night needing to make up some ground on both Ryan Braun of the Brewers and Jose Reyes of the Mets. We'll follow the race by each player here, updating after every plate appearance. If Kemp doesn't make up some serious ground -- meaning a 4-for-4 night or something like that -- he's not going to win the batting title. He even needs help (and so far isn't getting it) from the other two.

Reyes, vs. Cincinnati
Plate appearance 1: Grounded out
Plate appearance 2: Home run (.335)
Plate appearance 3: Home run (.336 ... and wow)
Plate appearance 4: Flied out (.335)
Plate appearance 5: Single (.336)
Plate appearance 6: Flied out (.336)

Braun, vs. Pittsburgh
Plate appearance 1: Single (.335)
Plate appearance 2: Grounded out (.335)
Plate appearance 3: Walk (.335)
Plate appearance 4: Walk (.335)

Kemp, at Arizona
Plate appearance 1: Flied out (.323)
Plate appearance 2: Double (.324)
Plate appearance 3: Flied out (.324)
Plate appearance 4: Grounded out (.323 ... and it's safe to say he isn't winning the batting title)
Plate appearance 5: Single (.324)

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Posted on: September 25, 2011 12:01 pm
 

On Deck: Pivotal day for wild cards



By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

Big day: It's possible that by the second game of the doubleheader, the Red Sox will know a loss drops them into a tie for the wild card. In the first game of a doubleheader, the Sox throw Tim Wakefield against A.J. Burnett, two pitchers with ERAs north of 5.00. In the second game, Boston offers up sacrificial lamb John Lackey and his 6.49 ERA against Ivan Nova. That's not exactly a duo of pitchers that inspires confidence. If the Red Sox lose both games and the Rays win, there will be a tie in the wild card. Red Sox vs. Yankees, 1:05, 6:05 p.m. ET

MinorDetwilerStaving off collapse: A wild-card collapse is also possible in the NL, where the Braves are two up on the Cardinals. Unfortunately, Atlanta is going up against the Nationals, who has been on a hot streak lately and is sending Ross Detwiler to the mound. Detwiler has yet to put in a full year's work, but is locking up a 2012 rotation spot thanks to his strong 3.30 ERA in 60 innings, posting the best walk rate of his short major-league career. The Braves will counter with their own young lefty, Mike Minor. Minor has a 4.27 ERA in 78 innings. Braves vs. Nationals, 1:35 p.m. ET

Losing streak
: The stumbling Phillies, losers of eight straight, will look to Roy Halladay to play stopper against the Mets. Chasing his 19th win, Halladay is going up against the Mets as Philadelphia tries to avoid a MLB record ninth straight loss after clinching a division title. "I'm sitting there watching it. Don't know what I can do about it," manager Charlie Manuel told the Associated Press. "If you want to know the truth, our team's out of sync, definitely out of focus, and we're not playing. The Mets counter with Mike Pelfrey. Phillies vs. Mets, 2:10 p.m. ET

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Posted on: September 22, 2011 9:10 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 1:46 pm
 

Who are the NL's worst defenders?

Wright

By Evan Brunell

Over the past week, Eye on Baseball has taken a look at the AL Gold Glove award winners, along with the deserving NL candidates. In addition, the AL's worst defenders were scoured, and now comes the senior circuit's recipients of tin gloves...

Catcher: John Buck, Marlins -- One of the most important things a catcher can do is to throw out baserunners. To be sure, it's a total package -- calling pitches, acting as the general on the field, blocking pitches, framing pitches... but that pesky baserunner problem is also an issue, and Buck scores very low here. Out of 95 would-be basestealers, Buck only caught 17 of them, or 17.9 percent. Of all catchers who qualify for the batting title in the game -- not just the NL -- Buck's posted the worst caught-stealing rate. His reputation in all other aspects of catching are muted at best.

First base: Prince Fielder, Brewers -- Fielder looks as if he should easily clear $150 million in a new contract this offseason and $200 million is not out of reach given the right motivated bidder. Whoever is acquiring him, though, will be doing so for his home-run bat as opposed his defense, which has been consistently awful. This is a player who would have been shoved into the DH spot in the AL had he come up with an American League team, but the Brewers have had to live with his glove at first. Fielder offers nothing at first beyond a human blob that can block the occasional grounder.

Second base: Dan Uggla, Braves -- Uggla battled Jeff Keppinger for this honor, but Uggla takes the cake here by leading all NL second basemen in errors with 15, flashing both awful range and stone hands. It's surprising the Marlins didn't move him to third a while ago, and the Braves will certainly try to shift Uggla to third base once Chipper Jones retires. Until then, Atlanta's going to have to hope that Freddie Freeman at first and their shortstop can cover enough ground for Uggla to make his mark with the bat.

Third base: David Wright, Mets -- If David Wright's .929 fielding percentage holds, it will be the lowest mark by a third baseman since  2007, excluding Mark Reynolds who has "bested" Wright's fielding percentage twice in 2011 and 2008. In 2007, Ryan Braun tallied a .895 fielding percentage and was moved to left, which was always inevitable. Before that, you have to go to Edwin Encarnacion in 2006. Errors aren't always an indication of how good a fielder is, but in Wright's case, he's making them in such copious amounts without the benefit of superlative range.

Shortstop: Yuniesky Betancourt, Brewers -- Was there any doubt? The Brewers knew that they would have a horrendous left side of the infield, but the club could only hope that Betancourt and third baseman Casey McGehee's offensive production outstripped what they lost on defense. That hasn't been the case, and Betancourt remains the worst shortstop by a mile in the game. Really, there's no excuse for his still being considered a shortstop.

Left field: Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- There isn't much that left fielders are asked to do. Stand out there with a glove, catch the balls coming your way and smash lots of home runs. Well, Ibanez hasn't quite delivered on these fronts, especially defensively where he combines a noodle of an arm with a lack of speed or quickness, making him a statue. He's fortunate he doesn't play for the Cubs, otherwise the ivy on the outfield walls would already have overtaken him.

Canter field: Angel Pagan, Mets -- Pagan came out of nowhere to be a solid contributor to the Mets the last two seasons, but things have fallen apart this year. He leads all NL center fielders in erorrs and while he has good reaction time, his hands just aren't soft enough and his arm is a wash, too. Pagan may well have lost any shot at starting again after the year he's had.

Right field: Lance Berkman, Cardinals -- As I keep bringing up, a right fielder's arm is more valuable than a left fielder or center fielder. Thus, a player's defense in right should be judged with a bit more notice as to the player's arm. Well, one of the worst arms in the league belongs to Berkman, playing right consistently for the first time in his career. The verdict? The Cardinal has a lousy arm and lousy range. Maybe Berkman should stick to first base.

Pitcher: Matt Garza, Cubs -- A pitcher's job on defense basically comes down to this: field the grounders back to you and act as an irrelevant fly-ball pointer-outer. So when you make seven errors in just 191 innings for a fielding percentage of .774, you aren't doing too well. That's Garza, who has made five throwing errors while muffing two grounders. Garza's only made 10 putouts and 14 assists, so 22.5 percent of his involvement in fielding plays have resulted in an error. That's not good.

You'll notice no NL West players landed on the list. That's not surprising. With San Diego and Los Angeles playing in pitcher's parks and San Francisco's stadium rather spacious as well, defense is at a premium. Colorado also needs to emphasize defense as well to take away hits and patrol Coors Fields' cavernous gaps.

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Posted on: September 22, 2011 11:18 am
Edited on: September 22, 2011 11:34 am
 

Report: Red Sox desperately searching pitching

Chris CapuanoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

How desperate are the Red Sox to hold on to their incredible shrinking wild card lead? So desperate the team is looking to trade for pitchers to just finish out the regular season. According to the Boston Herald, the Red Sox have spent the last week trying to get lefty Chris Capuano from the Mets to start Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

According to the report, the Mets will hold on to Capuano, who is a free agent after the season. Capuano is the scheduled starter for the Mets on Thursady in a 1:45 p.m. game against the Cardinals.

If the Red Sox did get Capuano -- or any other pitcher -- that player wouldn't be eligible for the postseason, but they could use him over the last week of the season.

Capuano, 33, is 11-12 with a 4.47 ERA in 29 starts (and two relief appearances) for the Mets this season. He started for the Mets against the Yankees on May 21 and didn't fare well -- allowing six runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings while giving up four homers.

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Posted on: September 21, 2011 9:53 am
 

Pepper: Mets might change Citi Field dimensions



By Matt Snyder


A common refrain since the Mets moved into Citi Field is that the outfield dimensions cost the team loads of home runs in each given season. Notably, it's been discussed how many homers have turned into doubles for David Wright by several different New York reporters. Only Kauffman Stadium (Royals) and AT&T Park (Giants) have been worse for home runs this season and Citi Field ranked 27th in homers last season.

Two areas in particular that have drawn malign are the height of the left-field wall (why not have it the same height as the center-field wall?) and the well in right field (where it says "Modell's"). It feels like changing those two things would make it a pretty average ballpark for hitters.

Well, changes could be on the horizon, and not-so-small changes at that.

“If we do something, it won’t be subtle,” general manager Sandy Alderson said (NYTimes.com Bats blog), noting that changes are not definite but the Mets are looking hard at several different options.

“We’re not looking necessarily to gain an advantage with respect to home runs versus visitor’s home runs,” Alderson said (NYTimes.com Bats blog). “But at the same time, I think there is some sense that the park is a little more overwhelming to a team that spends half its time there, as opposed to a team that comes in for three games, doesn’t really have to alter its approach or think about it too much and leaves.”

I tend to agree with him. All things equal, I'd much rather have my team playing in a league-average ballpark instead of an extreme-hitter or extreme-pitcher park. Not that it definitely determines the fate of your ballclub -- it doesn't -- but if either pitchers or hitters collectively believe they're getting screwed for 81 games, it's hard to keep a positive mentality for the whole season.

'Fan' is short for 'fanatic:' A Yankees fan had the task of serving Red Sox starting pitcher Erik Bedard with child support papers Tuesday and relished in it. He wore a Yankees shirt and bragged on Facebook that he intentionally served Bedard on a day of his start (Big League Stew). Bedard went out and gave up five hits and four runs (though only one was earned) in 2 2/3 innings. Let's hope this fan never accuses any player of lacking professionalism, or else we've got a nice case of hypocrisy working.

Lincecum endorses Kershaw: The NL Cy Young vote is going to be quite competitive, with Clayton Kershaw, Ian Kennedy and some Phillies likely garnering most of the votes. Two-time winner Tim Lincecum believes the winner should be Kershaw. “Just with the numbers he has, he’s leading in a lot of categories, to put up a 20-win season is huge, especially with the team he’s got. He’s done a magnificent job with his year," Lincecum said after losing to Kershaw again (Extra Baggs). The two aces have squared off four times. Lincecum has a 1.24 ERA in those outings, but Kershaw has won all four.

Harwell's glasses are back: In Tuesday's Pepper, we passed along the story that a statue of late, great Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell had been stripped of its glasses. Well, the replacement set of frames is back at home (Detroit Free-Press). Let's hope these stay there for a while.

Aramis' swan song: Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was traded to the Cubs in July of 2003. He played on three playoff teams, in two All-Star games and solidified a position that hadn't been locked down since Ron Santo manned the hot corner. The Cubs have a $16 million option for 2012 on Ramirez and he has repeatedly said he wants to stay, but the feeling apparently isn't mutual. When asked if he believes this is his last run with the Cubs, he replied (Chicago Tribune): "Probably. There's a good chance. I'm a free agent and I don't know what's going to happen. But it looks like I'm going to hit the market."

Movie Night! "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was a huge hit in the 80s, and it includes a scene in Wrigley Field. It's only fitting that Wrigley's first "Movie Night" will be showing the Matthew Broderick film October 1 (Chicago Tribune). Bleacher seats are $10, while lawn seats are $25. That's steep for a movie that hit theaters in 1986, but would the novelty of sitting on Wrigley Field's playing surface be worth it? You make the call.

No ERA title for Cueto: Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto was already suspected to be ruled out for the season, and now he's even admitting as much (MLB.com). With the Reds out of the race, this wouldn't normally matter, but Cueto had a shot at leading the league in ERA. His 2.31 mark currently trails only Kershaw (2.27). The problem is that Cueto has only thrown 156 innings. In order to qualify for an ERA crown, a pitcher must have thrown at least one inning for each game his team has played. So once the Reds play game 157, Cueto falls off the ERA standings.

Rockies love Tracy, kind of: Rockies manager Jim Tracy is signed through 2012 and his job is safe at least through the length of the contract. "Jim is signed through next year, and we'd love to have him be manager here for much longer than that. But I have gone into the last year of my contract here more than you could imagine," general manager Dan O'Dowd told The Denver Post. So that sounds good, right? Well, depends upon the point of view. He's not offering a contract extension, and you'll notice the comment about going into the last year of a contract. So it sounds like O'Dowd likes Tracy for now, but he's giving himself a chance to change his mind by the end of next year. And he has every right to do that.

Watch those Nats: If you relish in the failures of the Nationals, you better enjoy it while you can. I've preached all season that the proverbial corner would be turned soon, with a great young base of talent and lots of money available for free agents. Speaking of which, expect the Nats to be hot after All-Star starting pitcher C.J. Wilson -- who is a free agent after this season -- this coming offseason (MLB.com via Twitter).

Saito can't get healthy: Brewers reliever Takashi Saito has been excellent this season, sporting a 1.90 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. Of course, he's only thrown 23 2/3 innings due to a series of injuries. Now he's dealing with a calf injury (MLB.com).

More roadblocks for McCourt: One of the ways embattled Dodgers owner Frank McCourt plans to get out of his financial mess is to sell the TV rights to Dodgers games for future seasons. Well, Fox holds the Dodgers' TV rights through 2013 and has a problem with McCourt trying to negotiate a deal immediately (LATimes.com).

Johan's progress: Mets' ace Johan Santana continues to work his surgically repaired shoulder back into shape. After throwing a three-inning simulated game Saturday, he's now slated for two instructional league games (Oct. 1 and Oct. 7). (ESPN New York)

Happy Anniversary: On this day 15 years ago, Vladimir Guerrero hit his first career home run (Hardball Times). He now has 449.

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