Posts Tagged ‘Pedro Feliciano’

Manuel Takes a Strength and Turns It into a Weakness

August 5, 2009

With a record that has incurred more losses than wins, the Mets and their fans must savor any chance they can get in witnessing a victory. Heading into the top of the ninth inning last night, the Mets were leading by two runs and they had their All-Star closer, Francisco Rodriguez, on the mound to save it. To make a long story short, he blew the save and the Mets went on to lose the game in extra innings by the dreadful score of 12-7. Prior to the start of the game, Mets manager Jerry Manuel admitted that Rodriguez was being used sporadically. He also made reference to the fact that his closer loves to pitch and would have no qualms with being called upon to throw four out of five days. Manuel also reiterated these comments after the game as well.

After placing my violin back into its case, I waited for one of the many beat reporters to inquire why the Mets manager had pulled right hander Brian Stokes so quickly in the tenth. With the score tied at seven, Stokes was able to induce a ground ball that registered the first out of the inning. For his success, Stokes was taken out and replaced with left-hander Pedro Feliciano. If you haven’t noticed yet, Manuel loves to matchup his relievers, lefty-on-lefty, and then proceed by rolling the dice. After allowing the bases to load, Feliciano battled back to strike out Cardinals Skip Schumaker for the second out. Feliciano’s reward? An early trip to the showers. In comes, you guessed it, Sean Green. Not only does Green hit Cardinals Mark DeRosa with the first pitch he throws but he then goes on to surrender a grand slam to who else? Albert Pujols. I guess the only positive you could take from that hit was that unlike Pujols’ first home run of the game, this one didn’t land inside the Mets apple.

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That Raging Mets Fan May Not Be a Fan at All

May 12, 2009

During last night’s game with the score tied, 1-1, the Atlanta Braves had runners on first and second with two outs in the top half of the seventh inning. Mets manager Jerry Manuel had just taken out right-hander Bobby Parnell and replaced him with lefty Pedro Feliciano. Pitching to Braves catcher Brian McCann, Feliciano got exactly what he wanted, a ground ball. Unfortunately, Mets shortstop Jose Reyes bobbled it and failed to complete the play prolonging the inning. The Braves went on to tack on four runs upping the score, 5-1. It doesn’t take a baseball enthusiast to note that Reyes had made a big mistake.

The Mets sure-handed shortstop will must likely be criticized for what he was unable to accomplish last night. If the Mets hadn’t just won seven games in a row in convincing fashion, NY beat writers, local sports talk radio hosts, and all those fickle Mets fans would be calling for Reyes’ head. Prior to the Mets surge into first place atop the NL East, the team was catching an unbelievable amount of slack. Whether it was the inability of the Mets hitters to knock in runners while in scoring position or an over-taxed bullpen due to lackluster starting pitching, Mets fans were becoming steadfast believers that their team was heading towards a fate equal to that of the last two seasons.

Factor in a brand-new $800 million stadium that Mets fans consider unfriendly along with a free agent signing that stinks to high-heaven and you get self-proclaimed Mets fans who feel very strongly in the comments that they are spewing about. It wouldn’t surprise me if the majority of them were camped out in front of their HD TVs tuned to SNY shaking their heads and stomping their feet still reeling from the pre-winning streak performances of their favorite team. I gather that type of behavior will start to rear its ugly head once again. Why? The ace of their staff, Johan Santana, was tagged with his second loss of the season in which he again received limited run support.

It’s just a matter of time when the magnifying glass will be dusted off and young Daniel Murphy’s defense will be brought into focus. Manager Jerry Manuel’s mismanagement of the bullpen will be cause for concern and David Wright’s strikeouts will continue to mount. Yes, these are the non-stop reminders from so-called real Mets fans. Whose only intention is to unleash their childish criticisms and who probably would have never followed the Mets if they didn’t have such a high payroll. According to these fans, the sky is the limit as long as it’s not their sky and not their limit. I was happy that the Mets didn’t sign Derek Lowe. I’d rather spend an evening with Gary Sheffield than all day inside Mannywood. I knew Pedro Martinez was washed up. And most importantly, I like these Mets. So now I have to ask all those embittered Mets fans, do you?

Since the Rainout, the Mets Are On High Ground

May 7, 2009

Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth remained inside the visitor’s dugout after the game had ended last night and watched as Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and other Mets players celebrated their third consecutive win. It was obvious Werth had a lot on his mind. Perhaps, it was caused by his slight hesitation while attempting to throw out the Mets Carlos Delgado at home plate in the bottom of the seventh inning. It quite possibly may have cost his team the game.

Delgado’s run was the only run scored in a 1-0 victory that earned Mets left-hander Johan Santana his fourth win of the season. Santana again pitched brilliantly for seven innings in which he struck out ten Phillies batters. By the way, three of those strikeouts were compliments of Werth. I’m not one to rub salt in an opposing player’s wounds, but I just feel it was “worth” noting. Santana’s ERA is now a measly 0.91. Mets closer Frankie Rodriguez pitched a one, two, three ninth to earn his eighth save and left-hander Pedro Feliciano shut down the heart of the Phillies order in the eighth inning.

Mets May Want to Rethink Their Bullpen Strategy

March 30, 2009

One of the drawbacks of looking for employment in New York City is that most of the time there is an ample supply of applicants who are vying for the same position as you. For Mets left-hander Pedro Feliciano, he is fortunate that he won’t be faced with such a dilemma. Glancing at the team’s active roster, the Puerto Rican-born reliever is listed as the only relief pitcher who throws left-handed. Feliciano, who will turn 33 by season’s end, has been with the club since 2002.

In 2006, the Mets began utilizing him in a much larger role, specifically as a left-handed specialist coming out of the bullpen. That season, his best thus far, he appeared in 64 games. Feliciano finished with a stingy 2.09 ERA and a W-L record of 7-2. The Mets were so impressed with his performance that they rewarded him with a heavier workload. The following season, he appeared in 78 games. In those appearances, he reinforced his durability as a strong reliever. However, the more the Mets leaned on the veteran left-hander, the more he began to struggle. In 2008, he appeared in almost ten more games than in 2007. With that, his ERA shot up from 3.09 to 4.05. In other key statistics such as on-base average against (.304 to .366) and slugging percentage against (.306 to .424), Feliciano experienced a significant rise in both.

It’s no secret that Feliciano is at his best when he’s pitching against left-handed hitters. Last season’s splits show a distinct contrast between hitters from both sides of the plate. Against lefties, he was able to command a respectable 2.76 ERA in which opposing hitters managed just .280 against him. Righties fared much better. They produced an impressive .453 batting average which led to a much higher ERA of 5.63.

Heading into the regular season, Manager Jerry Manuel feels comfortable carrying just one lefty, Feliciano, in his bullpen this season. Therefore, the veteran left-hander will most likely be his go-to-guy especially against hitters who reside from the left side of the plate. Having just one left-hander in the Mets bullpen may be a recipe for disaster. As history dictates, the more work Feliciano is asked to take on, the less effective he becomes. To combat this problem, Manuel has stated that he will carry right-handed “crossover guys,” who are successful pitching against both left and right-handed hitters.

An All Too Familiar Sign For the Mets

February 7, 2009

“I felt my elbow tighten up,” Mets 20 year-old prospect Fernando Martinez said. “It was a little swollen. It’s better. I feel I can play again. I don’t think I need to fly to New York to get a check up but the Mets want me to.”

The decision to fly Fernando Martinez to New York, at first, was a precautionary measure stemming from previous reports that anti-inflammatory medicine Martinez was taking for his sore right elbow wasn’t quite doing the trick. From a young player’s perspective, it may seem premature to assume that some early season growing pains could amount to anything worse. Martinez hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the top of the seventh inning, on Tuesday, to push the Tigres de Licey past Puerto Rico’s Leones de Ponce, 2-1, in the Caribbean Series. Unfortunately for the Mets, their medical staff was spot-on as the latest news regarding Martinez is that he will be sidelined for three weeks with a right elbow strain.

Martinez is considered the organization’s most coveted prospect. With respect to the Mets last two major off-season trades in which they acquired lefty Johan Santana and righty reliever J.J. Putz, the parties involved met with some prior opposition because of their refusal to give up their interest in the young right handed hitter. In Martinez’ previous two seasons, he has managed to stave off re-location but not injury. In 2007, he missed the final three months with an injured hand. In May and June of last season, he was unable to perform for six weeks with a strained right hamstring. With so much attention being given to Martinez, it’s obvious that the Mets have him in their plans for this up-coming season. With the reluctance to sign a high-profile right handed bat to balance out their lineup, the 20 year-old was sure to be next in line for the job.

The Mets have a history of relying on players who eventually don’t live up to their expectations. Former Mets outfield Alex Ochoa was considered a five-tool player before he was shipped out to Baltimore in a trade. Some experts have stated that Jay Payton was damaged goods by the time the Mets reaped his rewards. Most recently, former Mets outfielders who have followed suit are Preston Wilson and Lastings Milledge.

As we near the start of training camp, the fate of Martinez is just one of many concerns for the Mets that need addressing. Most notably, there are rumblings that the team should bring in another left handed reliever to join Pedro Feliciano who is currently their only lefty in the bullpen.