Tag Archives: Carlos Beltran

Wagner with men on base

Not that it matters so much now that Billy Wagner blew his third consecutive save, this one of the starting the ninth inning variety, but I still researched the split I referenced in yesterday’s rant post criticizing Willie Randolph‘s decision to have Mike Pelfrey start the ninth inning.

Wagner with no men on base in 2008: 60 PA, .158 BA, .446 OPS, 9 H, 3BB, 18 SO

Wagner with men on base in 2008: 43 PA, .244 BA, .670 OPS, 10 H, 1 BB, 13 SO

These numbers don’t include the blown save yesterday, by the way. So there you have it, the statistical basis for why Willie almost blew it in Wednesday’s game, only to be saved by Carlos Beltran‘s bat.

-Jonathan Kraft

Phew! Billy and Willie are saved

What a game last night, as Mike Pelfrey (8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO) outdualed Arizona ace Brandon Webb, in a 13-inning thriller that should have ended calmly in the ninth. Instead, due to what I believe was a poor decision by Willie Randolph, Billy Wagner gave up a three-run home run to Mark Reynolds that tied the game. In my view, Pelfrey should have been pinch-hit for in the bottom of the eighth, which would have let Wagner come on in the ninth with the bases clear. I’m not sure what Billy’s percentage of blown saves is with baserunners already aboard when he enters the game, but I’m sure when I look it up later I’ll find that it’s much higher than without baserunners aboard.

Pelfrey was through 110 pitches (a career high) in the 8th. He led off the bottom of that inning. Now, obviously, there are two conflicting schools of thought here. One would let the starter bat so that he could finish off his gem of a game, and go for the complete-game shutout. The other would play it safe for the team, and pinch-hit for the pitcher, trying to stimulate a rally and buy more insurance runs, letting the elite closer finish out the game, giving the starter what should be an automatic win.

It’s incredible how two fans can disagree about such a thing. MetsBlog’s Matt Cerone takes the first approach, even going so far as to say that Willie shouldn’t have pulled Pelfrey after he allowed a baserunner in the top of the ninth with no outs. I completely disagree, and think that it was a terrible idea for Willie to let Pelfrey bat in the eighth. Sure, I understand that it’s great to go for the complete game shutout for Pelfrey, a guy who’s arm is integral to the team’s future success. But Pelfrey is only one of twenty-five, and, in this situation, you have to play it safe. Sure, it’s Wagner who ultimately allowed the home run, but that lead baserunner would never have been aboard if Pelfrey hadn’t started the ninth inning.

The good news is that Carlos Beltran bailed everybody out, walking off with a long ball to end the game in the 13th. The bad news is that the Mets take the field this afternoon, with very little rest for an already banged-up team.

By the way, I now agree that Mike Pelfrey belongs on this team. He’s shown flashes in the past, but this year, despite a few roadblocks, his flashes have been closer and closer together. I think he’s finally turning the corner. Good for you, Big Pelf.

-Jonathan Kraft

Happy Days are here again

It’s a different clubhouse when Pedro Martinez is around, and the Mets were buoyed by his presence Tuesday as they defeated the San Francisco Giants 9-6. Pedro went 6 full innings, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits, walking 3 and striking 3 out. The most encouraging stat: he threw 109 pitches. The team rallied around him, with David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Ryan Church, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, Damion Easley, and Martinez all driving in runs.

The Mets certainly can’t count on Pedro for the entire rest of the season; his tenure in New York has proven that. But as long as Pedro is healthy and pitching well, we’ll take it.

-Jonathan Kraft

So is this Mr. Hyde?

This year’s New York Mets have shown flashes of brilliance, but have quickly slid back into mediocrity. The Mets limped home to Shea Stadium last week having gone 2-5 on the week, including a four-game sweep by the Braves at Turner Field. But they came home and made a statement, winning important series against the Marlins and the Dodgers.

Leading the way for the Mets was good starting pitching, including a great performance by Mike Pelfrey and, of course, an awesome outing by Johan Santana. Backing those efforts on the mound were superb weeks by Mets hitters, led by David Wright. David hit .407, .515, .741 with 2 HR and 6 RBI on the week for an OPS of 1.256. Jose Reyes hit .367, .457, .767 with 3 HR and 4 RBI on the week for an OPS of 1.224. Luis Castillo emerged from mediocrity, hitting .348, .464, .652 with 2 HR and 4 RBI for an OPS of 1.116. And Carlos Beltran woke up, hitting .320, .438, .600 with 2 HR and 5 RBI for an OPS of 1.038.

Of course, there are still problems. Carlos Delgado is still not hitting. The starting rotation is still sketchy behind Santana and John Maine. Any reliever not named Billy Wagner, Scott Schoeneweiss, or Joe Smith terrifies me. But Ryan Church has returned to the lineup, as has the swagger of 2006. The question is, will this Mets team continue to play to its potential and win these important games, or will it go lose a series to a terrible San Francisco team and continue its slide from grace? Will Willie Randolph be redeemed by his club’s performance, or will he become a scapegoat yet again? It’s time for the Mets to step it up and prove that this last week was not a fluke, and that the 12th inning victory against the Marlins was a true turning point, not a rare glimpse of what could have been.

-Jonathan Kraft

He’s Baaa-aack

Carlos Beltran has been faulted by just about everyone for his utter lack of production this year (.265, .374, .460, 6 HR, 34 RBI). But Beltran has been on a tear this last week, hitting .308, .406, .462 with 3 RBIs and a home run before tonight. And in his first at-bat tonight, Carlos went yard, driving in David Wright. When Beltran gets hot, he gets hot. It’s been a refreshing change at Shea of late as the Mets’ bats have finally woken up thanks in large part to Beltran.

-Jonathan Kraft

Beltran: Willie situation was a distraction

Newsday, this morning, reported Carlos Beltran‘s dissatisfaction with the media circus surrounding the controversy over Willie Randolph.

“I think they should say that and come out with something like that,” Beltran said. “Because it is a distraction. The reality is people say, ‘No, that doesn’t affect the ballclub,’ but it does. It does because you come to the ballpark wondering what’s going to happen. It’s natural as players, we all think like that.

“At one point, I was in that situation when they were talking every day about me being traded when I was in Kansas City. To me, it was thinking it might be today. Tomorrow might be the day. It’s not fun coming wondering like that every day to the ballpark.”

Later today, according to Newsday‘s David Lennon, Beltran updated his remarks.

“It was. Not anymore,” Beltran said when asked if it was still a distraction. “Like I said, before all the rumors about Willie being fired and all that, it is a distraction. You try not to think about it, but it’s still in the clubhouse because people talk about it. Right now they said that he’s going to be with us. We don’t want to talk about it anymore and we don’t want to hear about it anymore. It’s all about us playing better baseball.”

This puts into words what many of us have expected, that the team feels more pressure because of the extra media attention and the fact that their manager might not be with them tomorrow. It seems that they are pushing too hard to compensate, and the results on the field are visible. It goes to show that you can put a talented team together, but if the dynamic isn’t right in the clubhouse, it’s going to show on the field. I think this team can—and will—win, but it’s going to take a sustained stretch of good, solid play to convince these guys that they are a winning bunch. Ron Darling said it perfectly in last night’s broadcast, it starts with winning the first game of a series, then winning the series, then suddenly you’re winning more games than you are losing. In a division that is this close, it only takes a couple weeks of winning play to turn the tide. And if there is a team that has the talent to make a run in the NL East, it’s the Mets.

 

-Jonathan Kraft

 

Around the Beast

Braves 4-Mets 2

Atlanta starter Tim Hudson pitched masterfully, surrendering just 2 earned runs in 8 innings, striking out 4 and walking none on 100 pitches. Hudson got the win and is now 7-3 on the year. His only mistakes came in the second inning, when he served up home runs to Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado.

The Mets needed Johan Santana to pitch a gem, but their ace didn’t come through, allowing 3 earned runs on 12 hits in 7 innings on just 90 pitches, walking none and striking out only one. He drops to 5-3 on the season.

The damage came in the 7th, when Beltran misplayed a ball hit by Kelly Johnson, leading to RBIs by Omar Infante (who had been 0-19 against Santana), Chipper Jones, and Mark Teixiera. Willie Randolph didn’t take Santana out of the game, and the inning was only finished by a beautifully executed 1-6-3 double play.

Talk about teams headed in different directions; the hot-hitting Braves have won four in a row and are crusing while the mediocre Mets have lost 7 of 10 and are reeling.

Phillies 7-Astros 5

The Phillies scored early but almost blew it in their first game of the year at Minute Maid Park. Starter Kyle Kendrick did not pitch a great game, giving up 5 earned runs on 8 hits in just 5 innings of work on 91 pitches, walking one and striking out 2. But Astros ace Roy Oswalt was not much better, also giving up 5 earned runs on 11 hits in 6 innings of work, walking 2 and striking out 4 on 95 pitches.

Ryan Howard had a very good night, going 3-5 with a home run (his 14th) and 2 RBIs (and 2 strikeouts, as well). After the Astros had tied the game in the 6th, Pat Burrell hit a go-ahead pinch-hit home run in the 8th off of rookie Wesley Wright. Also driving in runs for the Phillies were Carlos Ruiz, Pedro Feliz, Geoff Jenkins, and Chase Utley (his 33rd of the year). Chad Durbin picked up his first win of the year, and Brad Lidge notched his 12th save of the year, this one against his former team.

Driving in runs for the Astros were Berkman, Brad Ausmus, Ty Wigginton, and Geoff Blum. Wright took his second loss on the year.

Marlins 4-Diamondbacks 0

The red-hot Marlins completed their sweep of the Diamondbacks in an outstanding performance by young Andrew Miller, who shut Arizona out in 7 innings, allowing 5 hits, striking out 9 and walking just one batter on 107 pitches. Miller, who picked up his 4th win, was opposed by Dan Haren, who allowed 4 runs on 8 hits, striking out 8 and walking none on 94 pitches.

Wes Helms drove in two on a pinch-hit double in the 7th to drive Haren from the game. Jorge Cantu also drove in two runs for the Marlins.