Archive for the 'Sports' Category

Should Matt Cain Be Suspended?

August 16, 2009

After Mets third baseman David Wright took a blow to the head from San Francisco starter Matt Cain’s 93-mph-fastball on Saturday, you can sense the tension in the air immediately. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Cain tipped his cap towards the Mets crowd on the way to the dugout after being taken out of the game. FOX’s Thom Brenneman’s reaction to the Giants pitcher was, “That’s bad.”

This thing is not over. If the timing was right earlier today, Big Pelf could have taken matters into his own hands. I, personally, as a Mets fan would like to see Cain suspended. I don’t think he was aiming at Wright intentionally. However, you have to make an example out of Cain for using poor judgment.

When Cain was asked why he tipped his cap towards the Giants dugout. His response was, “It’s New York.” Cain, who is 24 yrs-old, was winning at the time, 3-1. He let his confidence take over. I don’t think he was really that concerned about Wright having to make a trip to the hospital from what he had done in the previous inning.

When do you ever see an opposing pitcher tip his cap towards the other team’s fans in any circumstance? After three full seasons, the Giants right-hander has finally paid dividends. Good for him! Watching these last three games has shown me one thing about SF, they have no offense. Without Lincecum, they would just be another mediocre team.

Suspend Cain and these shenanigans will go away.

For further discussion regarding what happened on Saturday, check out this link.

Nice win for the Mets, today, in walk-off fashion.

Let’s Go Mets, minus the core.

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Are Left to Blame

August 1, 2009

With the July 31st trade deadline in the rear-view mirror, major league teams that professed themselves as buyers, bought and those who promised to sell, did just that. The Cleveland Indians, one of the league’s top sellers, took another step towards earning a set of steak knives yesterday by shipping out their first baseman/catcher Victor Martinez to the Boston Red Sox for two minor league pitchers and reliever Justin Masterson. Perhaps feeling giddy from their previous discharge of left-hander Cliff Lee, last year’s AL Cy Young Award-winner, to the first place Philadelphia Phillies, the Indians can know hold their heads high for acquiring so much raw talent. In exchange for Lee, Cleveland received a bunch of young prospects as well.

In an economic environment that has plagued a large part of major league ball clubs from signing big lucrative contracts or at the very least, holding on to what they still have; taking the poor man’s approach has become front and center. Looking at the current standings, you can’t help but notice the same cast of characters either leading their respective divisions or residing in second place. On the flipside, teams such as the Pittsburg Pirates or the aforementioned Indians have gladly distinguished themselves in a state of perpetual rebuilding.

With reports that this season’s attendance is at its highest level in years means that the sterilization, and I don’t mean ridding the game of performance-enhancing drugs, has not quite settled in to the current baseball fan’s mindset. Aside from the Tampa Bay Rays of last year, fans can expect the same song and dance with each and every post season.

Mets Manager Should Heed the Firing of Manny Acta

July 14, 2009

With the recent news of Manny Acta’s firing reverberating throughout the league at the start of this season’s All-Star break, Mets fans can’t help but ponder the unfortunate notion of their skipper perhaps one day sharing that very same fate. According to Washington Nationals acting general manager Mike Rizzo, a tipping point for the disposal of their third year manager was his propensity in keeping an even-keel clubhouse. Meaning, the Nationals’ one-time rookie manager may have been seen on one too many occasions comfortable and complacent with his own team’s misfortunes.

Using that very same criteria as the Nationals used, Mets GM Omar Minaya may decide to pull the plug on the Jerry Manuel Experience without any recourse. The Mets field general has already professed his admiration for those who follow the path of least resistance. That philosophy may work when concerned with positive social change but with baseball, I don’t think so.

In the heat of the battle, controlled aggression almost certainly conquers an opponent that harbors an inability to act on their instincts. With three days to digress, Manuel should spend some of his down time tinkering with his approach on how to get the most out of his players. He may want to start by grabbing the water cooler every now and then and tossing it across the room in anger the next time the Mets fail to score a run.

Pittsburgh Gives Mets Fans a Quick and Painless Defeat

June 3, 2009

As a baseball fan, finding enjoyment in your team when they prove themselves victorious is just as important as loathing them when they struggle through a loss. Within a 162-game schedule, even very good teams manage to drop forty-five percent of their games. Mets fans in May were able to experience winning more so than losing as their ballclub produced a 19-9 record for the entire month. With that, subjecting them to an 0-2 start for June may feel as if the whole world is crashing down. It’s no secret that the Mets current roster looks more like a fourth-place team than a ballclub that is built for the post-season.

Ask Mets skipper Jerry Manuel and he most likely will agree. “We need some of our big guys to get hot,” was Manuel’s actual response. Reading between the lines, the Mets manager was probably alluding to David Wright. The Mets third baseman’s offensive output has dwindled during these last five games. Wright is hitting just 2 for his last 21 with no RBI and eight strikeouts. The good thing for Wright though is that he still has a batting average well above three hundred. With centerfielder Carlos Beltran scratched for his third straight start with a stomach virus and their clean-up hitter, Gary Sheffield, battling soreness in his right leg, the Mets are left with very little options in producing a big inning.

In desperation, Manuel called on his pitching staff and pleaded with them to carry the load while the majority of his position players lick their wounds. What Manuel needed most was a signature performance from his ace, Johan Santana, to help stop the bleeding. Santana was cruising along fine for the first four innings. Heading into the bottom of the fifth, he was staked with a 1-0 lead. However, as quick as Santana arrived at that lead, Pirates catcher Jason Jaramillo managed to single-handedly evaporate it. Jaramillo took the left-hander deep with a fastball. It was the sixth homerun surrendered by Santana this season. After a one-two-three top of the sixth inning for the Mets, the Pirates got to the Mets left-hander again. This time around with a string of extra-base hits that plated two more runs and put the Pirates ahead, 3-1.

On this night, it would be the Pirates bullpen not the Mets relievers who would successfully hold down their opposition and set up their closer, Matt Capps, to record his twelfth save.

Sheffield and Hernandez Revive the Old Saying: Age before Beauty

May 27, 2009

Mets GM Omar Minaya was the first to break the news prior to yesterday’s game that his shortstop, Jose Reyes, and his right fielder, Ryan Church, were heading to the disabled list retroactive to May 21st and May 23rd, respectively. With that, the possibility for the Mets most talked about prospect, Fernando Martinez, to get his chance at the big league level became a reality. The decision to grant Martinez, 20, the start in right field last night was also prompted by the Mets inability to use their everyday center fielder, Carlos Beltran. Beltran underwent an MRI yesterday which revealed a bone bruise and inflammation of his right tibia that will keep him out of action for at least until Friday’s game against the Florida Marlins. Martinez was hit by a pitch and finished the night 0 for 3 with a RBI.

As Mets fans and the New York media rejoiced over the thought of witnessing the young Martinez on a daily basis, Mets clean up hitter Gary Sheffield, almost twenty years his senior, provided the real firepower in leading the Mets to a 6-1 victory over the Washington Nationals. Sheffield, who is batting .419 over his last ten games, slammed a three-run homerun for the second time in as many nights well over the left-field wall. Unlike last night’s three-run shot, there was no doubt in the validity of this one. Sheffield’s 504th career homerun put the Mets up by five runs and allowed for their starter, Livan Hernandez, to go the distance and pick up his fourth win of the season. Hernandez, 34, is 3-0 in his last five starts. He has pitched 33 and a third innings during that stretch averaging almost seven innings a start.

Tonight the Mets go for the sweep with their ace, Johan Santana, on the mound against the Nationals young right-hander, Jordan Zimmermann. On April 26th, Zimmermann pitched five and a third innings against the Mets. He gave up just one earned run and earned his second win of the season. Since then, he has been mired with four no-decisions and a loss in five starts. He currently has a 2-1 record and a 5.71 ERA.

Bruised and Battered, the Mets Find a Way to Win

May 26, 2009

It’s safe to say that on any given night this season the New York Mets have given themselves a good chance at winning. However, for the last week and a half that chance has been met with the question of which players will be asked to uphold it. With one third of their active roster decimated by injury, the Mets everyday lineup card these days can look as unpredictable as an Oliver Perez start. Prior to last night’s game, Mets manager Jerry Manuel delayed his decision to start centerfielder Carlos Beltran and back-up shortstop Ramon Martinez until thirty minutes before the start of the game. Reason being, Beltran was nursing a sore knee and Martinez was ailing from a bad back. Fortunately for the Mets, both players made their starts and helped the team to a 5-2 victory over the last place Washington Nationals.

Last night’s win earned Mets starter John Maine his fourth victory of the season. Maine looked well in command throughout the game, although he was not asked to pitch the seventh inning. Manuel was given the opportunity after the game to respond to why he opted for a reliever in the seventh instead of continuing with his starter. Manuel felt that too much time elapsed between the umpire’s review of Gary Sheffield’s three-run homerun and the start of the seventh inning. In hindsight, reliever Bobby Parnell began the seventh inning and surrendered three walks (the Mets pitchers had nine overall) which led to a run. Parnell was yanked and it took two more Mets relievers to limit the damage in the seventh.

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes continues his recovery from tendinitis of the calf and left fielder Ryan Church was again unavailable for the second straight game. On the bright side, closer Francisco Rodriguez kept his perfect save streak going last night and earned his thirteenth save of the season. If you remember, Rodriguez collapsed on Saturday in Boston from back spasms. He was rushed to the hospital where he received treatment and was then cleared to play.

With the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves losing their games yesterday, the Mets are now all alone in second place just one-half game back.

Murphy May Have Lost More than Just His Stroke

May 19, 2009

Many moons ago, the only disappointing aspect of young Daniel Murphy’s short tenure with the Mets occurred when a fly ball was headed straight towards him. In those days, Mets fans were comfortable with their left fielder’s shortcomings. Most of the time, they looked the other way, satisfied by the patience that he was showing at the plate. Through the Mets first twenty games, Murphy managed to hit safely in seventeen of them. Heading into the month of May, he was batting .324 with 13 runs scored and a .373 on-base percentage. With those numbers, Mets manager Jerry Manuel was finding it much easier to tolerate an occasional misplay or two by his young left fielder.

However, with the current absence of first baseman Carlos Delgado, Murphy’s playing time and his offensive output has diminished considerably. In his last ten games, Murphy has only been asked to start in half of them. During that span, he has managed just 2 hits in 21 at-bats. On Sunday night, Murphy started in left but was lifted in the eighth inning for a pinch hitter.

“I don’t think Murphy is swinging quite well now,” Manuel said. “I don’t see the quick hands. It’s probably mechanical or fundamental right now for him. He’s not playing on a consistent basis like he’d like to be, and he’s just kind of struggling.”

It’s worth mentioning that Murphy has gone 1 for 5 as a pinch hitter during that ten game stretch along with a RBI. Perhaps he could better serve the Mets coming off the bench. If you remember correctly, that’s where it all began for Murphy.

With Win, Manuel Decides to Wait One More Day

April 25, 2009

As Nationals catcher Jesus Flores began rounding the bases in the top of the ninth inning last night, Mets manager Jerry Manuel may have felt compelled to turn towards the larger-than-life Pepsi-Cola sign in right field and ask himself, “Why me?” Flores had just slammed a two-run homerun off Mets closer Frankie Rodriguez which reduced a comfortable Mets 4-1 lead down to 4-3. Before the game, Manuel made sure his constituents were well aware that even though his starting pitching was beyond lackluster, he was not going to “jump off a bridge” anytime soon.

Further on into the Mets dugout, the game’s starter, Johan Santana, could be seen opting out of an early shower in exchange for the right to experience how this one would eventually end up. Santana had already done his job. The left-hander pitched brilliantly for six innings recording ten strikeouts and was looking forward to earning his third victory of the season. His only blemish was a solo shot by Washington first baseman Nick Johnson that caused his ERA to jump from 0.46 to 0.70.

Rodriguez, who hadn’t pitched in six days, finally found his groove. He closed out the inning and the game by forcing former Mets castoff Anderson Hernandez to fly out to center. Good job! The Mets, for the time being, are on the upswing and more importantly, they have given their manager good reason to live another day.

Mets Dugout Beginning to Resemble a Hospital Waiting Room

April 23, 2009

If Mets manager Jerry Manuel had been the only surgeon on-call at the now defunct St. John’s Hospital, he would have had his hands full attempting to explain why his team died on the operating table. Wednesday night’s suffocating defeat at the hands of the Cardinals was yet another setback on the road to recovery. St. Louis starting pitcher Joel Pinero managed to pitch his way into the ninth inning as if he were administering Novocain to the Mets’ bats in tiny little droplets and lulling them to sleep.

Aside from Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran, you would have thought that SNY’s broadcast last night was made to showcase Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa’s latest reclamation project. By witnessing another DOA-performance by one of his starters, Mets Pitching Coach Dan Warthen looked a tad queasy and could be seen exhibiting acute erratic behavior on his way back to the dugout. Could you blame him? He now has to phone his beloved wife and tell her that he will most likely be working overtime this weekend.

With a day-game-after-a-night scheduled for today before the Mets fly back to Citi Field, the team has requested a second opinion on their recent diagnosis. Hoping to avoid a sweep, the Mets will call on Livan Hernandez to jumpstart their flagging confidence and revive any notion of a heartbeat before Mets fans decide to pull the plug prematurely.

After Santana, It’s Work, Work, Work

April 10, 2009

The good news for the Mets is that they most likely won’t have to worry about Cincinnati’s Joey Votto anytime soon. The bad news though is that after a gutsy performance by their ace, Johan Santana, on Opening Day, there is some uncertainty as to who will follow. Flushing’s most lovable southpaw, good ol’ Ollie Perez, was up to his old tricks again yesterday. His first real start of this regular season began with a flash of greatness as he mowed down four consecutives Reds hitters during his first two innings of work. Then, he and everybody else watched as it all went up in smoke, surrendering eight earned runs within his remaining two and a third innings of work. After the game, in which the Mets lost 8-6, the newly-minted left hander seemed rather complacent in his performance. Somehow, the accumulation of seven strikeouts was enough to off-set his present earned run average of 16.62. I understand that it’s just one game but we have all witnessed enough of Perez to wonder how long the organization, and fans for that matter, are willing to tolerate.

On Wednesday night, it took Mike Pelfrey at least 44 pitches to find his rhythm. At that rate, Pelfrey could very well be burnt out before the All-Star break. Even though he was credited with a win, the tall and sturdy right hander more closely resembled his early days when he was fighting for a spot in the rotation. In those days, Mets fans would anxiously wait for the young Mets pitcher to record his first win. Night after night, Pelfrey’s pitches would fail to find the strike zone so much so that Mets fans would stomp their feet and pound their foreheads in anger. As upsetting as his performances were, fans still gave the 6’7” right hander the benefit of the doubt. However, Pelfrey is now considered the team’s number 2 starter. With that role comes a higher expectation, which means that fans most likely won’t exude the same amount of patience as in the past.

With the subpar performances thus far of Perez and Pelfrey, tonight’s starter, John Maine, will be asked to appease the critics who have already found fault in a championship caliber Mets ball club.