Posts Tagged ‘David Wright’

Manuel Prepares the Kool-Aid But Are We Ready to Drink It

February 20, 2010

As I sat by my computer yesterday listening to Mets manager Jerry Manuel discuss the many ways in which he would construct his starting lineup for the 2010 season, I felt compelled to jot down my own version of New York’s various batting orders. After several attempts to outdo the well-respected skipper by batting shortstop Jose Reyes sixth, I conceded and felt it best to leave the decision making up to the man in charge.

Manuel was his usual open-ended self on Friday as he addressed concerns regarding the Mets starting rotation, the catcher position, and how airy and light third baseman David Wright appeared to be carrying himself after such a demanding season.

Upbeat and clear-minded, Manuel even poked fun at himself while professing that the longer he stayed amongst the many sour-faced beat reporters, the worse off his team would be. Eventually, his bellowing laugh would finally subside. Only then did he begin to turn his attention to more serious matters for example, which reliever would bridge the gap to closer Francisco Rodriguez.

“We have to find that person,” Manuel said. “It’s going to be difficult. The quicker we resolve that…the better off in the long run.”

If health was the obvious reason why the 2009 season ended in such devastating fashion, a weak bullpen the previous year could be seen as a no-brainer when explaining why our beloved orange and blue were unable to patch things up and reach the post-season in 2008.

Fortunately for Manuel, he inherited that underperforming bullpen from his predecessor, Willie Randolph, and was given an incomplete for the struggles he was made to endure in that department. Manuel’s advice for a solid bullpen this year; throw strikes and consistently pound the strike zone, simple enough.

After quelling the rumors by stating that Daniel Murphy had all but solidified himself as the club’s first baseman, he also reinforced the notion that there was indeed a fifth starter race brewing between right-hander Fernando Nieve and Jon Niese, the Mets homegrown left-hander.

In reference to a question as to how much space separated the Mets from the first-place Phillies this season, Manuel proceeded with caution. When asked if he thought this particular group of guys could be a contender for the post season in 2010, the Mets skipper confidently replied, “What I like is the fact that almost seventy percent of the guys were here early for Spring Training.”

“That says a lot,” he added. “It’s a good sign of some positive things for us on the horizon.”

With the recent setbacks to starting centerfielder Carlos Beltran and the expected eighth inning reliever Kelvim Escobar all too real, these next four to five weeks will be either a springboard for better days to come or just a case of the same old story for the New York Mets.

Other tidbits from Manuel’s presser:

Alex Cora is the Mets back-up shortstop.

Catcher Henry Blanco will be limited in his usage behind the plate.

Angel Pagan and Mike Jacobs are very much in-line to make the Mets 25-man roster.

According to Manuel, Spring Training is a tough place to evaluate players, Florida’s Josh Johnson is a very good pitcher, and number 53 works just fine for him.

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When Cliff Floyd Spoke, Players Listened

February 6, 2010

Former Met Cliff Floyd was a very integral part of the Mets success during the 2006 season. That year, the Mets were one hit away from playing in their fifth World Series. Floyd, a natural contact hitter, was just as impressive off the field as he was on it. Some of those who hung around the Mets clubhouse throughout his tenure felt that when he left the organization the room changed.

With positive team chemistry deemed just as important as driving runners in, players like Floyd are considered necessities when building a championship team. Now, semi-retired, Floyd’s recent comments regarding the Mets current clubhouse as one of disconnect, have Mets fans concerned.

“I got the guys to believe in what I was saying,” Floyd said recently as a guest on a popular local radio show. “I didn’t take them down the road of destruction where they were going to go against the manager, or go against the coaches, or be a, me-type of player.”

The 37-year-old outfielder/DH embraced the role of mentor during his experiences with some of the Mets younger players including David Wright and Jose Reyes in 2006.

“My goal was to make sure they understand what it takes to play in the big leagues,” Floyd said. “Be productive and be accountable. Allow the clubhouse to be that sanctuary away from the world.”

Like a lot of other former Mets players, Floyd’s comments suggest that this current team could use someone like him to act as a support system when things take a turn for the worse. Lack of leadership and accountability has been a central theme regarding the Mets failures the last three seasons.

Floyd is currently an unsigned free agent who is contemplating retirement. His career as a journeyman player has spanned over 17 seasons in which he has played for eight different major league clubs.

Since he’ll be able to start the season with the Mets, I feel that right fielder Jeff Francoeur could be a formidable leader on and off the field. He’s an everyday player who plays every inning like it’s his last. Plus, he welcomes the pressures that come with playing in New York and plays hurt. He doesn’t give up easily and seems to have a positive demeanor, even on the worst of days.

Who do you think could fill a leadership role for the Mets in 2010?

Mets Strike First But End Up Looking Like a Dud

September 2, 2009

A slim layer of smoke hung around the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field for the start of the Mets and Rockies game last night. SNY’s Gary Cohen quickly assured Mets fans that it was not smog but a mixture of carbon and sulfur that had made its way from the California wildfires thousands of miles away. With such an unsettling atmosphere for a baseball game, Mets manager Jerry Manuel knew he was in store for a very eventful night.

The evening turned bizarre from the outset. In the top of the first inning, Mets leadoff man, Angel Pagan, proceeded to run the bases backwards. After poking a single into centerfield, Pagan was forced out at second base when he misjudged a single for a fly out hit by Luis Castillo. Instead of having runners on the corners with nobody out, the Mets were looking at one out and Castillo on first. Fortunately for Pagan, the Mets managed to squeak out two runs in the inning to take a 2-0 lead on Colorado. The Rockies would eventually finish off a 7-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning handing Mets starter Mike Pelfrey an early exit and his tenth loss of the season. Pelfrey surrendering seven runs, six earned, on six hits to go along with five walks.

On a more enthusiastic note, David Wright returned to the Mets starting lineup. If you recall, Wright was placed on the 15-day disabled list after experiencing post-concussion symptoms from being knocked in the head by a 93-mph fast ball. Along with his return to action, Wright managed to put a smile on everyone’s face by showcasing a larger more noticeable batting helmet. The Mets third baseman went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored to go along with two strikeouts. With last night’s 8-3 defeat, the Mets have now lost 10 out of their last 13 games.

Too Many Mets Losses Has Made Me a Dull Boy

September 1, 2009

As the Mets proceed headlong in their attempt to hit rock bottom this season, I too, have begun to slip into a creative wasteland. My motivation to watch this Mets team, let alone write about their many flaws and missteps, has reached a point of stagnation. How many blog posts can you muster up that show just how bad this team really is? With all the disappointment and frustration I have had to undergo so far this season, I feel very strongly that it is starting to catch up with me.

As a Mets fan heading into the final leg of a miserable season, I have been forced to rationalize one losing month after another. Unfortunately, I do not see any way out of it. I have tried taking a day off here and there to minimize the pain. Nonetheless, every time I seek redemption another Mets player falters and is labeled incompetent. If any of you reading this have any suggestions, I am all ears. If not, I guess my only solace will have to come by way of the pending return of the face of the Mets franchise, third baseman David Wright.

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.

Mets Lineup Showing Stability within an Unstable Environment

July 29, 2009

As chaotic as the Mets front office may seem these last few days, the makeup of their everyday starting lineup has remained a symbol of stability. Since placing veteran outfielder Gary Sheffield on the 15-day disabled list, Mets manager Jerry Manual has left his lineup card on auto pilot. With the exception of splitting up the catching duties, the remaining spots in the Mets lineup have been designated to include the same group of guys.

Centerfielder Angel Pagan has enjoyed the leadoff spot with three triples and two doubles in his last ten games. Second baseman Luis Castillo has seen his batting average skyrocket over three hundred and is currently batting .306. Third baseman David Wright continues to produce and get on base. He is now hitting .321. First baseman Daniel Murphy has benefitted greatly from the extra playing time. He has been able to sharpen up his defensive skills and concentrate on moving runners over. Since coming over to the Mets, right fielder Jeff Francoeur has gone 17-for-52 (.327 BA) with three home runs and fifteen RBIs. If you add the steady hands (no pun intended!) of shortstop Alex Cora and left fielder Cory Sullivan, it makes for a very cohesive lineup.

Not only is the Mets latest four game winning streak refreshing but the current approach of their manager can also be looked at as promising. There has been no bigger advocate than me in finally seeing some consistency in the Mets starting lineup. Jerry, I know you’re just itching to mix-and-match your everyday players for the remaining two games of this series but for the love of all things Wilpon, don’t you even think it.

For the Mets, Cancer Has Found Its Way On and Off the Field

July 23, 2009

Sandwiched between an impromptu press conference regarding the behavior and pending investigation of Mets vice president of development, Tony Bernazard, and a post-game reaction that felt more like the uncovering of manager Jerry Manuel’s last will and testament, the Mets dropped their second straight game, 3-1, to the Washington Nationals last night. Amid speculation that Bernazard tore off his shirt in front of a clubhouse full of Double-A ball players shouting, “You want a piece of me,” Manuel was asked to defend his current team’s crippling offense.

In the last two losses against the Nationals, the end result for the Mets batters has been just one measly run. In that time, they have also left seventeen men on base. Third basemen David Wright, considered their best hitter, went 2 for 12 in the three-game series producing no RBI and registering zero runs scored.

“We’re not meeting that challenge,” Wright said. “We are having a tough time at the plate scoring runs.”

With their biggest home run threat, Gary Sheffield, sidelined with a right hamstring cramp, the Mets are forced to rely on players like shortstop Angel Berroa and outfielder Cory Sullivan to fill the gap left in their lineup.

“We’re waiting to get hot, maybe we are hot,” Manuel said jokingly.

After an off-day on Thursday, the Mets will continue their southern road trip as they open up a weekend series in Houston against a surging Astros ballclub on Friday.

Mets Fans Need to Take It to the Streets

July 11, 2009

The stage is set. All the necessary phone calls have been made. Attention, all Mets fans! Grab your favorite Mets t-shirt, hop on the 7 train, and proceed to the right field gate entrance. Once we are all assembled adjacent to the old Shea Stadium apple with placards in hand we will introduce our demands. First off, we want some extra-base hits. Second, we could use a stolen base or two. Since this list of demands is long, I am not going to read them all but you get the picture. We want offense and we’re not going to leave until we get some. We have been made to play the fool long enough. We don’t care if David Wright has already stated that our team stinks. We want to hear it from the manager himself. Get Jerry Manuel out here.

We have a lot of grievances that need to be aired out. What happened to the starting pitching? What happened to the crisp defense? What happened to Ryan Church? Why did you ship him over to our old arch-nemesis, the Atlanta Braves? He was batting .280 with twenty-two RBIs. Ryan would have complemented the core group if and when they were healthy enough to return this season. Defensively, he was as good as any outfielder currently in the league.

If it’s one thing Mets fans do, it’s that they stick together. We can read between the lines, Omar. We may be gullible but we’re not stupid. I love the Shake Shack just as much as the next fan but we need runs not tacos or French fries. We want some bases-clearing doubles! We want some three-run bombs! We want to win! Is that so much to ask?

This is not 1973, this is now!

For the Mets, It’s A Team Funk

July 8, 2009

Prior to the final out in the top half of the eighth inning last night, Mets third baseman David Wright came streaking across the infield. With the bases loaded and two outs, Wright seized the opportunity to make sure and complete the catch before things got any worse. Earlier in the inning, Dodgers back-up outfielder Juan Pierre, who entered the game after Manny Ramirez was ejected in the fifth inning, had scored on a sacrifice fly to center field. Pierre’s run extended L.A.’s lead to seven zip. Some pitches later, Mets reliever Brian Stokes surrendered a walk with the bases loaded that all but assured the Mets another abysmal defeat.

Factoring in last night’s eight to nothing loss, the Mets inability to score a run has now reached twenty-two innings. Equaling disheartening is that they are currently sitting in fourth place behind the Atlanta Braves with a record that for the time being seems insurmountable at four games under five hundred. Mets manager Jerry Manuel looked somewhat discouraged after the Mets had just completed their ninth loss in their last eleven games.

“We are struggling as a whole,” Manuel said. “When you don’t hit, it makes your team look somewhat lethargic.”

The Mets skipper did however try and keep some semblance of hope by stating that if the Mets could exceed at starting pitching combined with solid defense then it would help level the playing field against the opposition. Unfortunately for the Mets these days those aspects of the game are easier said than done.

Let’s Ring the Liberty Bell on a Good Note

July 2, 2009

As the Mets head into the Fourth of July weekend, the realm of possibility awaits them. After a brief stay inside the Western part of Pennsylvania, all members included (players, coaches, and trainers) will be stepping into the City of Brotherly Love as one. How fitting for a team that former Mets closer John Franco labeled as a “team of individuals.” With that said, it will be up to third baseman David Wright and his trusted teammates to put those accusations in order and prove to the former closer that he has no clue what he is talking about.

For us fans, we must follow suit and make sure we come together through these difficult times. The road ahead is a path that is full of unknowns. Will the Mets be able to stay close enough so that when Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes finally make their way back it won’t be in vain? Will GM Omar Minaya use good judgment in his attempts to better the Mets ballclub? Or most importantly will manager Jerry Manuel stay grounded long enough to make sure he does not take that final leap and say, ‘I‘ve had enough?’ God forbid. I hope not.

Moving towards something positive, I wish all loyal Mets fans a very safe holiday weekend and I hope you enjoy the festivities that go along with it. With that, I will be away from any sort of computer or internet access this coming weekend. Please look out for my next post regarding the hometown Mets at the beginning of next week. Thanks for reading.