Tag Archives: Joe Smith

Soggy Mets

I’ve always been a cynical sports fan. That’s what happens when you root for the Mets and Jets. But I think I sank to a new low last night when, watching David Wright poke a two-run shot in the second inning, my first reaction was “this isn’t going to be enough.” And after the tornado rain delay in the seventh, the Mets went on to prove me right, as Joe Smith and Duaner Sanchez shit a collective brick to give the game away to the struggling D-Backs. By the way, John Maine needs to figure out a way to get his pitch count down. There’s no excuse for having to turn to the bullpen so early when the team’s elite young pitcher is on the mound.

As a Mets fan, last night’s game was hard to watch. But as a baseball fan, there was something very refreshing that happened in the seventh inning. As Pedro Feliciano took the mound, Shea Stadium became the stage for a revival of the Wizard of Oz, with everything and anything swirling around the field. My experience in the last few years with impending weather at ballgames is that umpires will assume nothing until it becomes impossible to play the game. Everyone knew that the heavens were about to open on Flushing. Everyone expected to get wet. But instead of letting this happen, the umpires decided to stop the game right then and there. It turned out to be a great decision, as the grounds crew (with the help of Scott Schoeneweiss and Billy Wagner) got the tarp out there just in time.

MLB’s handling of rain delays has really bugged me this year. Baseball is so inclined not to postpone or cancel games due to so many factors that players are often put in harm’s way as a result. Recently I saw Odalis Perez leave a soaking wet Washington mound injured after it started pouring at a Nationals Cardinals game. The injury, no doubt, was a result of the conditions on the field. It just isn’t worth the risk.

-Jonathan Kraft

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Mets Beast (and least) of the week

And…we’re back. With apologies about the long layoff, we’ve retooled our approach to NL Beast and are looking forward to going forward. With that, here’s the Mets Beast (and least) of the week.

The Mets Beast of the week is…

Carlos Delgado, 1B. I never thought the day would come, but Delgado takes the top honor for the week. Carlos hit .318, .423, .455 for the week. He walked three times and struck out four, which is a huge improvement for him. Not the most impressive numbers, I know. But to say that the Mets have been mediocre of late would be a gigantic understatement.

Runners-Up: Jose Reyes, Duaner Sanchez, Joe Smith

And the Mets least of the week is…

Fernando Tatis, OF. Tatis was a nice surprise when he was thrust into duty for an injured Moises Alou, but he has recently returned to Earth, hitting .105, .150, .158 in 19 at-bats this week. Obviously he is not going to be the kind of replacement player that Mets fans were hoping for in lieu of Alou, Ryan Church, and Angel Pagan.

Runners-Down: Ramon Castro, Endy Chavez, Oliver Perez

-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

Postgame: Mets 12-Reds 6 (Game 1)

WP: Johan Santana (4-2, 3.10)

LP: Matt Belisle (1-3, 7.45)

Johan Santana gave up 10 hits, but it didn’t matter, as the Mets bats came to play today at Shea. Carlos Beltran drove in a season-high 5 RBIs, going 2-3 with a walk. Joining him in breaking out of offensive slumps were Carlos Delgado, who went 3-4 with a home run, and Brian Schneider, who went 2-4 with a long ball as well. Moises Alou drove in two runs, and both Ryan Church and David Wright also drove runs in.

Santana was not his dominant self, but he was still effective. Johan allowed 3 runs on 10 hits, walking 1, striking out 5, and giving up a home run to Edwin Encarnacion. Reds starter Matt Belisle did not pitch very well, pitching just 5 innings, allowing 6 runs, 5 earned, on 7 hits, walking 3 and striking out 2.

The Mets’ bullpen did not pitch well today. Aaron Heilman threw 32 pitches in the 7th, and gave up an earned run on a hit and a walk. Pedro Feliciano followed, giving up 2 earned runs on 3 hits. Jorge Sosa shut the door in the 9th, however, and did not surrender a hit.

It’s going to be a different team that takes the field tonight when Mike Pelfrey faces Bronson Arroyo in game two of this doubleheader. The possibility remains that Matt Wise will rejoin the bullpen for that game, which would require a roster move. I’m guessing that the two possibilities are a demotion for Joe Smith, which would be a shame, or a retroactive move of Angel Pagan to the DL. I’d prefer the second, but wouldn’t be surprised if Smith got sent down.

-Jonathan Kraft

Postgame: Dodgers 5-Mets 4

Unacceptable. It is unacceptable to strand 13 runners on base as Hiroki Kuroda blows up in the first few innings, loading the bases not once, but twice, only for Mets hitters to falter in the clutch. It is unacceptable for this team to be hitting a collective .245. And it is unacceptable to let the Dodgers steal the victory that they did last night.

Kuroda was troubled from the start, serving up a long ball to Ryan Church in the first. The man from Osaka then loaded the bases, giving up RBI singles to Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes. The only other time the Mets would score was in the third, when Moises Alou stole home on a great double-steal call by Willie Randolph. As previously mentioned, the Mets stranded 13, yes, 13, on the night. Nelson Figueroa never looked dominant, and his breaking ball missed badly all night. He took the loss, going 5 full innings giving up 5 runs, all earned, on 8 hits, striking out 3 and walking 4. As per usual, when the team is losing, the bullpen pitched very well, with Aaron Heilman, Joe Smith, and Pedro Feliciano each turning in a scoreless inning.

Church barely missed a long fly ball at the wall that allowed Blake DeWitt to hit an inside the park home run. DeWitt might as well be Pat Burrell, because he has been tearing the Mets a new one, going 3-4 with 4 RBI last night. Juan Pierre also drove in a run for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers stole this one, with Hong Chih-Kuo pitching a masterful 3.2 in relief of Kuroda, striking out 8 Mets batters. The Dodgers’ great 8th and 9th combo of Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito subsequently finished off the Mets.

Carlos Beltran didn’t start last night because of flu-like symptoms. He struck out pinch hitting in the 8th. Beltran is hitting .219 on the year, by the way.

I’ve been the first one to defend Willie this season, but a few more games like this and my attitude is going to change very quickly.

-Jonathan Kraft

Mets Notes [Mediocre Pitchers Edition]

As Matt Wise looks to return from his stint on the DL, the question is, who gets bumped from the bullpen?Adam Rubin outlines the possible scenarios in today’s Daily News, which include moving Jorge Sosa to the rotation and sending Nelson Figueroa down to the minors. On behalf of all Mets fans, I will throw up many, many times if that happens. My pick? Leave Figgie in the rotation, leave Joe Smith in the bullpen, and designate Sosa for assignment. If he decides not to accept the assignment, oh well, he can go grace another bullpen with his mediocrity.

Always Amazin’ has a piece today asking whether or not the Mets’ pitching woes should be blamed on The Jacket aka Rick Peterson. The piece looks at the mediocre starts for Oliver Perez and John Maine in addition to the roller coaster also known as the Mets bullpen, and asks if Peterson should be held accountable. Don’t be surprised if Rick is out of a job by June 1 if the quality of both starting and relief pitching doesn’t improve.

-Jonathan Kraft

Mets Postgame: 5/2 at ARI

What a way to open the roadtrip, as the New York Mets defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-2 on the backs of their superstars, David Wright and Jose Reyes, and on their most valuable player so far, Ryan Church. David and Jose each fell one hit shy of the cycle–Wright needed a triple, Reyes a home run. Church hit his fourth home run of the year and drove in three on the night, bringing his RBI total to 19.

It doesn’t get much better than this. Reyes gets on base, Church advances him, David drives in runs, and the rest of the team follows the lead. These 3 guys are key to winning, as is John Maine, who looked shaky at times, but got the job done, going 6 full innings to pick up his 3rd win of the year (surprising after his pitch count got way up there–he even had 12 pitches on just one Micah Owings at bat), and surrendering 2 earned on 6 hits, striking out 6 and walking 2. Joe Smith, Pedro Feliciano, and Duaner Sanchez combined for 3 scoreless innings in relief.

The Diamondbacks were a shadow of their usual self tonight. Owings took the loss, going 5.2 giving up 7 earned runs on 11 hits, striking out 2 and walking 3. He’s obviously banged up, as anyone watching the game could tell based on his motion. 2B Orlando Hudson had to come out of the game with a minor leg injury (he’s day to day). Here’s my observation of the D-Backs. They have a ridiculous amount of talent (especially in Justin Upton who is a phenom to say the least), but they are very, very young. Their pitching needs to be solid to carry them, and tonight it obviously was not. But this is a team that is going places.

A happy note for the Mets, LF Moises Alou made his return to the lineup, batting in the 5 spot behind Carlos Beltran. Alou went 1-4 with an RBI on a hard hit ball up the middle that could have easily been a double play ball. Weird to see the bottom of the lineup consisting of Carlos Delgado, Raul Casanova, and Luis Castillo. Those 3 combined to go 2-11 on the night, by the way.

Great win tonight for the Amazins, it’s going to be a tough one tomorrow as Mike Pelfrey takes on Snakes ace Brandon Webb.

Jonathan Kraft