Tag:David Wright
Posted on: April 5, 2010 1:30 pm
 

Significant home runs miles apart

St. Louis MVP Albert Pujols and Mets third baseman David Wright each said hello to 2010 with a first at-bat home run, each dramatic for its own reason.

It took Pujols, who battled a bad back for part of the spring, about 10 minutes to become the clubhouse leader for another NL MVP award. (OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea).

As for Wright, his power diminished noticeably last year -- from 33 homers in 2008 to 10 last year.

Worse for Wright and the Mets, of those 10 homers in '09, only five came at Citi Field.

You can't judge a season on one at-bat, but for Wright to smash an opposite-field homer in Citi Field to greet 2010 ... if he can regain his power game, you can't underestimate how important that will be for both Wright and the Mets.

Posted on: May 18, 2009 9:39 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2009 10:12 pm
 

What's in store for Mets without Delgado

LOS ANGELES -- The New York Mets say they're not going to panic while Carlos Delgado is gone for what could be two months or more. They say they're going to use a combination of Fernando Tatis and Jeremy Reed at first base with maybe a little Daniel Murphy thrown in.

And that's all well and good.

Until the Mets, leading the NL East by half-a-game over Philadelphia heading into Monday night's games, hit one of those infamous valleys they've had a habit of slipping into over the past few summers. Then all bets are off.

"The team is playing well," says Tony Bernazard, the Mets' vice-president for player development. "As long as we continue to play well, I don't see any need to make changes."

Question is, are these Mets (21-16) capable of continuing to win at a .568 clip without Delgado?

That's a question that will come with a multi-layered answer over the next several days and weeks:

 Gary Sheffield, 40, will see more playing time in the immediate future, and for the Mets' sake, that cannot come with diminishing returns. He was hitting .254 with a .390 on-base percentage, two homers and seven RBI in 31 games heading into Monday night's. For a guy who looked nearly finished in Detroit, he's shown some life at the plate. But what's the shelf-life of that if he plays every day?

"These are the things we have to find out, and we don't know until we go through a stretch of games in a row without off days," Mets manager Jerry Manuel says.

Short-term, expect Sheffield to serve as designated hitter some this weekend in Boston when interleague play begins.

 Manuel's managing acumen will be tested. Because he's going to have to find the right combination of pushing Sheffield with more playing time than anybody originally planned, but by pulling back if Sheffield tires, his swing slows or his body begins to ache.

"I'm going to have to manage him," Manuel acknowledges.

The Mets like Sheffield in the middle of their lineup because, even though they acknowledge he's not the hitter he once was, he's a presence. That helps make up for the presence they've lost in Delgado (.298, four homers, 23 RBI).

 Now is a good time for third baseman David Wright, 26, to step up and lead. Wright's place in the Mets' clubhouse hierarchy has been debated before in his development. It's reached the point where it should be his team, but when longer-tenured and older veterans like Delgado are around, that's easier said than done.

Now, with a clear void, does Wright step into it?

"That's a good question," Manuel says. "I think you want a guy in the infield taking charge. It's difficult to do that from center field. To be a third baseman and out there every day performing, it's definitely a good opportunity. And I think I've seen some of that (already)."

 Wright, Carlos Beltran and shortstop Jose Reyes have to be careful not to try and make up for the loss of Delgado by themselves, but they need to produce.

"Of the two Carloses, Reyes and Wright, we've always wanted two of the four of them hot," Manuel says. "Now we want two of the three hot. As long as it's still two. ..."

 As for the first base combo, the right-handed Tatis and the lefty Reed should get most of the playing time at the bag. Tatis, 34, has been impressive so far: .308 and a .365 OBP in 23 games (65 at-bats). Reed, 27, is hitting .357 with a .400 OBP in 32 games (28 at-bats).

Murphy's time at first likely will depend on how much time Sheffield spends in the outfield and how Tatis and Reed are doing at first. While none of the three is a natural first baseman, that doesn't bother Manuel.

"We made a real good run last year with people not at their natural positions," he says. "We had two third basemen in the outfield (Tatis and Murphy) and they responded well."

 If things to falter and the Mets look to the outside for a trade, two names already floated are Baltimore's Aubrey Huff and Washington's Nick Johnson.

For now, the Mets will find out what they're made of.

They hope the answer is more positive than when they faced that same question in each of the past two seasons.

Posted on: July 16, 2008 4:01 am
 

Oh no -- not Milwaukee again!

NEW YORK -- It was shades of Milwaukee in the wee hours Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, and not in a good way.

Lovely town, Milwaukee, but baseball is still scarred from the embarrassing All-Star tie played there in 2002. And as the AL and NL were deadlocked in the 15th inning in the 79th All-Star Game, each manager had called on his last available pitcher -- Scott Kazmir in the AL, and Brad Lidge in the NL.

Things were so grim in the NL dugout, especially with San Francisco's Tim Lincecum unable to pitch because he was stricken with the flu Tuesday, that Cubs closer Kerry Wood volunteered. Wood was taken off of the active roster because of a blister on his right index finger, but he was here in uniform.

"I asked if I could go, but I don't think I was an option," Wood said. "I think because they had taken me off of the active roster."

He asked bench coach -- and Cubs manager -- Lou Piniella, and the two of them were stumped for a minute.

"Maybe," Piniella told Wood, on the basis of Lincecum being out.

While that was left unclear -- Wood never did even go down to the bullpen and warm up, let alone pitch in the game -- NL manager Clint Hurdle was dangerously close to asking Mets third baseman David Wright to make his major-league pitching debut had the game gone much further.

"I told David, 'You were the last pick, I went and got you, have you ever pitched in an All-Star Game?'" Hurdle said. "I said, 'You wanted to be in this thing, that's all I've read, all I've heard for the last three days. You won't believe how much you might be in it here real quick.'"

Wright's response?

"Let's go."

Indications were, though, that there was no way the game was going to let another Milwaukee occur.

"We were told the game would find a way to finish itself," Hurdle said. "I'm good with that. That's communication. Black and white. Plain and simple. We knew that going in. We talked about it before the game."

****

It was only the second walk-off victory for the AL in All-Star history, the other one coming in 1941.

And in a statistical oddity -- the Elias Sports Bureau dug this up -- the NL fielded a lineup Tuesday that included Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters with batting averages  of .340 or higher for the first time in an All-Star Game since ... 1941.

Back then,  the AL batted Joe DiMaggio (.357) third, Ted Williams (.405) fourth and Cleveland's Jeff Heath (.371) fifth. Tuesday, the NL batted Lance Berkman (.347) third, Albert Pujols (.350) fourth, Chipper Jones (.376) fifth.

The AL won that '41 game on Williams' game-ending homer.

****

Go figure: When the game got late and the lineups got crazy, NL manager Clint Hurdle moved Cristian Guzman to third base. Guzman has started more than 1,000 major-league games at shortstop, but had never played third. He made a terrific play on a Carlos Quentin chopper to end the 11th.

****

The NL had been 9-0-1 in All-Star extra inning games.

 

 
 
 
 
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