Thursday, August 30, 2012

Have The Mets Finally Found A Catcher In Shoppach?

Newly acquired backstop Kelly Shoppach is starting to make Mets fans believe they might have finally found a catcher who:
  1. Can actually catch
  2. Knows how to manage the pitchers
  3. Hits better than .240
The Mets still have yet to realize what I and many Mets fans have known for two years: Josh Thole is a bust. 

The only reason Thole made it to the pro club in late 2009 is because he can hit. He was learning a new position as a catcher, and Thole, like many of the recent Mets prospects, is a hitter without a defensive position. In the three full seasons he's been a full time starting catcher, one thing is for certain - Josh Thole is not a Major League starter.

Thole's defense is offensive. He has not improved much, if at all since his call-up. If you ever watch him catch a game, he never positions himself well and he tends to backhand every pitch thrown, especially pitches in the dirt. Any decent high school catcher understands that balls in the dirt must be fore handed while keeping your body in front of the ball. Thole's body is always out of position because he backhands everything and doesn't get his body in front of the ball. Although it is not said, it seems like the Mets pitching staff does not like throwing to him. Nickeas and Johnson took control of the game, while Thole still seems reluctant to put his stamp on a game. Nickeas and Johnson would work with a pitcher and get on the same page, as well as going to the mound to settle the hurler down. Thole doesn't do this.

This wouldn't be so bad if Thole was bringing it at the dish, but he isn't. Over the last three seasons (2010, 2011, 2012) Thole's batting average has plummeted: .277, .268, .242. What little power he has has decreased also: 3, 3, 1. 

As primarily a starting catcher, and having been in 88 games this year, Thole has only 18 RBI. Rookie pitcher Matt Harvey has a third of that in merely 7 games.

Now enter Kelly Shoppach. The newly acquired backstop (from Boston for Pedro Beato) has shown more leadership qualities than Thole, and has hit 2 HR's and knocked in 5 in 25 official AB's while hitting .250. Shoppach isn't an All Star, but what he has shown in his brief Mets career is that he is certainly a much more viable choice to start than Thole.

Shoppach has had an elementary approach to the National League, a league he has never played in:

“This actually helps me calm down, coming to a league where I don’t really know what anybody’s doing. I don’t have the luxury of having faced them, most of them, in the past. So I just try to find a pitch in the middle of the plate.”

As for working with a new pitching staff in Flushing, Shoppach has approached his new teammates:

“I’ve been working hard to get to know these guys. For me, it’s more getting to know their personalities, understanding how they tick. They are all talented, but trying to know what they do well is a challenge.”

Mets manager Terry Collins has said he wants to play Shoppach more to see if he is a good fit with this team. Shoppach is a free agent at seasons' end, and TC and the Mets want a thorough evaluation to see if Shoppach is worth pursuing/retaining beyond this year.

Whether the Mets decide Shoppach, a career back-up catcher, is the answer or not, one thing is resoundingly clear: Josh Thole should not be a starting catcher for this club.

Sources: NY Times, Newsday, The Record, Baseball Reference

 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mets and Harvey vs Phillies: Hamels Scratched

The Mets have to feel pretty good after there come from behind victory last night in 10 innings . Funny useless stat the Mets played the Phillies in 1962 on this date and lost to them in 10 innings. At that point in the season it was there 100 loss. Of course it doesn’t make this year feel any better.


The Mets will miss lefty Hamels who had some stomach issues. They will see the Major league debut of Tyler Cloyd. He is a 25 year old righty who has been pitching lights out for their Triple A club. Not sure why this kid took until he is 25 to get up here but the Mets have fared well against guys making there debuts the last couple of years.

With a righty on the mound Jason Bay enjoys the pine for another night. 16M is a bit much to pay for an backup off the bench hitting a buck 50. Guess better than him collecting it sitting on his couch at home …or is it? Lineup below.

Tejada, Murphy, Wright, Davis, Duda, Hairston, Baxter, Shoppach, Harvey

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Duda In LF, Murph Back In Lineup; Mets Try To Salvage Some Respect: Mets Lineup Vs. Phillies - August 28, 2012

The blistering hot Mets, 2-0 in their last two games, travel down the turnpike to take on their arch rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Mets appear desperate in starting Lucas Duda in LF. Not that Jason Bay has been having a Hall Of Fame caliber year, but at least he can play LF. Duda on the other hand is reminiscent of one Dave Kingman; trying to get the big guy in the lineup any way you can.


After being sent down to Buffalo a couple of months ago, Duda did not impress. He hit a paltry .260 with 3 HR and 8 RBI in 96 AB's. His OBP was a mere .327. All this from a guy who was with the parent club the second half of '11 and the first half of this year. The Mets have moved him from 1B to RF, to now LF. Learning at the pro level is a recipe for disaster, and the Mets have cooked up that recipe a multitude of times over the years. Remember Juan Samuel? Howard Johnson? Keith Miller? Mike Piazza? Todd Hundley? Just to name a few...

Daniel Murphy who had an MRI on his sore right shoulder after being removed from Sunday's game is in tonight's lineup. Murph's MRI was negative and he says he is feeling better.

The Mets need to make some noise against the Cheese Steaks. They have been worse than the Bad News Bears since the All Star Break. There is a less than zero chance this team will make the play-offs, but to finish the last month strong might bode well going into 2013; as long as the Mets don't believe they are only a player away from making a run at the East Division crown.

Tonight's Mets lineup:


Ruben Tejada - SS
Murphy - 2B
David Wright - 3B
Ike Davis - 1B
Lucas Duda - LF
Kelly Shoppach - C
Mike Baxter - RF
Andres Torres - CF
Chris Young - RSP


Sources: Baseball Reference, Adam Rubin

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mike Piazza Bobblehead Day, Mets Murdered Row Lineup: Mets Lineup V. Astros - August 25, 2012

The Mets haven't scored more than two runs in seven straight games, and it doesn't look like that will be the case today when RA Dickey and the Mets take on the lowly Astros.

Today will also be Mike Piazza Bobblehead Day at GHMP, and fans attending today's contest will receive the bobblehead of the beloved Mets catcher. The entire metsfan73 household will be attending this event, and hopefully they can muster more than two runs today.



Today's Mets lineup:


1.  Andres Torres - CF
2.  Ruben Tejada - SS
3.  David Wright - 3B
4.  Scott Hairston - RF
5.  Justin Turner - 1B
6.  Ronny Cedeno - 2B
7.  Jason Bay - LF
8. Josh Thole - C
9.  RA Dickey - RSP

Friday, August 24, 2012

McHugh Sent Down; Merengue Night At Citi - All Is Right In The World: Mets Lineup V. Astros - August 24 ,2012

It was announced today that yesterday's starter, Collin McHugh was sent down to AAA Buffalo to make room on the Mets roster for Jeremy Hefner.

McHugh, who pitched brilliantly in tossing seven scoreless innings yesterday will not be eligible to return to the Mets rotation until after the September 1st call-ups. McHugh will have to remain at Buffalo for 10 days unless there is an injury and he is recalled.

Mets manager Terry Collins said he expects McHugh to get a couple of starts in September.


Tonight is Merengue Night at GHMP. Hopefully a little salsa will be infused into the Mets offense which has been Little League like in recent weeks.

Daniel Murphy will get a few days off due to exhaustion, and Justin Turner will get some reps at second in his stead.

Tonight's Mets lineup V. Astros:

Ruben Tejada - SS
Mike Baxter - RF
David Wright - 3B
Ike Davis - 1B
Justin Turner - 2B
Jordany Valdespin - LF
Andres Torres - CF
Josh Thole - C
Jonathon Niese - LSP


Source: Adam Rubin

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mets Need The Luck Of The Irish: McHugh Gets First Major League Start: Mets Lineup V. Rockies - August 23, 2012

In a season that is quickly slipping into oblivion, the Mets are looking to their future for some bright spots.

Last night Matt Harvey once again was outstanding and the bullpen and offense were abysmal. Harvey looks to be a bright spot for the 2013 season and years to come.

With Johan being shelved for the  remainder of the year with back spasms, the Mets will turn to Collin McHugh making his first Major League start to try and infuse some life into this dormant team. The 25 year old righty was an impressive 2.88 ERA between AA Binghamton and AAA Buffalo. Now he tries to continue his solid season with the lack luster 2012 Mets.

McHugh is a fellow blogger, and he writes some very interesting posts. You can follow McHugh at A Day Older A Day Wiser. McHugh also tweets, and can be fou.d on Twitter here,




This season hasn't been all terrible. David Wright has had a nice season in spite of his recent struggles. He has had no protection in the lineup.

Terry Collins has done a solid job skippering this team. My one complaint with Collins, as was with Randolph and Manuel is that he is too quick to change pitchers. I think he has the back of his players and they have his.

We will have a complete breakdown of the good, the bad and the ugly from 2012 in a later post at seasons' end.

Today's Mets lineup V. the Rockies:

Jordany Valdespin - CF
Daniel Murphy - 2B
David Wright - 3B
Ike Davis - 1B
Scott Hairston - LF
Mike Baxter - RF
Ruben Tejada - SS
Josh Thole - C
Collin McHugh - RSP


Sources: Adam Rubin, Baseball Reference, Twitter, A Day Older A Day Wiser

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Doctors To Johan: Wait Til Next Year!

Sandy Alderson just finished up his presser, and I don't think there was a surprised soul in the audience. As what has been expected, Johan Santana's 2012 season is over.
 
Johan had an MRI on his aching back, and it was determined to be he has inflammation on the L5 disk in his back. He is not expected to need surgery, but that's a song we've all heard before...just before the fat lady starts singing.



It is expected that the former Mets ace will be ready for the 2013 season, but with his age (34 next March) and diminishing fastball, do we really expect to see the Johan of old? His no-hitter on June 1st this year was stuff of legend, but the rest of his season is most likely what Johan is now: a broken down former ace, who gets by more on competitive spirit and guile than on ability alone.


Although not surprised, it is a bit disappointing that he can't finish the season. Truth be told, he has hurt the Mets greatly of late by allowing 6 runs over 4 innings since the All Star Break.

In other news, Kirk Nieuwenhuis will also finish the year on the DL with an injured foot, so we won't  see the rookie with reckless abandon again this year.

Sit tight Mets fans, only another 39 games left in the '12 season.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Santana Shelved will not start Thursday.Mets vs Rockies lineup.


The Mets will be with the services of Johan Santana Thursday when they wind up the series with the Rockies. No word as of yet if Johan is done for the season but at this point its kind of obvious it just has not been made official .

I am sure once the results are in from his MRI Sandy Alderson will make a statement. Johan has been rocked in his last couple of starts to a tune of a Era North of 15.00.


Jenrry Mejia is the most likely candidate as a replacement if the Mets stay with the 6 man rotation. He was lit up as a reliever but has done better of late as a starter. He had Tommy John surgery a year ago this past May.



The Mets play the Rockies tonight and hopefully with fingers crossed they can find some offense against the team with the worst ERA.



Baxter RF Tejada SS Davis 1B Wright 3B Murphy 2B Valdespin LF Torres CF Thole C Young P

    Source Adam Rubin

Mets lose with Dickey on the mound. Offense a big Zero again

The Mets as usual these days had no offense last night. This against a team that has the worst ERA in the National league by over a run! Pathetic! The Rockies working with a 4 man rotation and a 9 man bullpen were able to keep the Mets in check and won 3-1.


Dickey was taken out in the 7 inning for a pinch hitter and the Mets offense could do nothing against the Rockies bullpen. The Rockies had 1 starter in there lineup from opening day. Otherwise it was like watching a Independent league line up. Not that it mattered since the Mets couldnt do anything.

If I was a player on that team I would have thrown everything in that clubhouse around after that loss! I mean come on the ERA of the Rockies is over 6 and we score 1 run? Collins really needs to get a fire under this team or something since they already have a worse record then last year.

The only guy who showed a little passion was Valdespin when he was called out at first on a close play. He might have went over the top as a rookie but he is the only guy who seems to wear it on his sleeve. The rest of the bunch looked like lambs going down to be slaughtered!

Look for Johan to be shut down soon. quite possible before his start on Thursday He will be heading for a MRI today for his stiff back.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Lineup for Mets vs Nats. Johans last stand?

The Mets start a 3 game set against the Nationals tonight. Johan Santana who didn’t make it out of the 2nd inning last weekend gets the start. Johan who just back from his stint on the DL will have to prove that he can still get it done. Love the guy and I am hoping he isnt injured and is able to get back a little of his mo jo because he really look defeated after last weeks shalacking which yours truly saw in person.



Here is the lineup with Ike Davis taking a seat and Murphy playing 1st.


Tejada SS, Torres CF, Wright 3B, Hairston RF, Murphy 1B, Cedeno 2B, Bay LF, Shoppach C, Santana LHP

Side note- Since the Giants are down a OF will they entertain a trade for Hairston?  Per Adam Rubin Hairston has not been placed on waivers as of yet.

TC juggles lineup and Mets breakout:


What a lineup….Bay, Shoppach, Turner. Hairston playing CF. TC was trying anything to get this team to score runs . They had 1 run scored in the first 2 games of the Cincy Series. Well it worked for a night has the Mets plated 8 runs!

Yes and even Jason Bay hit a ball that wasn’t 4-5 bounces in the infield. He jacked 1 to right over the wall even!

Not bad for a night that Matt Harvey used his fastball and lasted almost 8 innings. Yes Frank Francisco the clown of bullpen did his can I lose the game in 1 inning routine but he was given the hook and Rauch only needed 3 pitches to give the mets a 8-4 win.

Harvey also plated 2 with a double to left center…Maybe he can play LF on the days he doesn’t pitch.

The Mets now spend the weekend playing the first place Nationals. Sounds odd doesn’t it? Almost as odd as seeing Bay clock a opposite field homer!

Mets box score from 8-4 win

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Can anybody on this team pick up David Wright.

Must be tough for Wright. For most of the first half he was raking. He was hitting liners all of the park and was getting clutch hits. Now that he seems be expanding his strike zone and swigning at almost everthing he is slumping. Now that’s ok . No one can hit like he was hitting all year except maybe for the Pirates McCutchen.

It would be nice if someone on this team could pick up his slack. Last night the Mets had so many opportunities to score and they all ended with zippo! Over the last 8 games the Mets have plated a paltry 20 runs!

As well all know as Mets fans this offense stinks. We all knew that the first half was a gift for us fans. Everyone participated and took turns hitting in key spots. Now in the dog days of summer this team has faded. Why? Because no one on this team besides Hairston can hit a lick at this point. Murphy can hit doubles but that’s it. Tejada has been doing his part but he is not know for his power. Davis..is a modern version of Dave Kingman. Yeah ok so he has done better of late but he has not done much since his 3 homer game, which the Mets lost, in Arizona.


The Mets outfield is a joke besides Hairston. No one can hit for power. What will happen in the off season? Who knows but no one in the Mets system besides Duda has a home run swing. So the Mets in the off season will have to import power. OF course no one at this point knows how much $$ the Mets will spend. Whatever they do who knows if it will work out. I mean look at Bay..the minute he moved here he fell off a cliff. I am not saying this team is cursed but Wright has to be shaking his head and wondering if its worth re signing with this team. I know I would.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mets obtain Kelly Shoppach

The Mets put in a waiver claim and now have C Kelly Shoppach from the Red Sox.

He is pretty good against lefties with a career line of .270/.364/.530 .

The 32 year old will split time now with Thole I am sure for the remainder of the season.

Shoppach will be a free agent at season's end.

The Mets have been in the market for a catcher that has some pop.




With Wright & Dickey In Limbo, Making The Play-Offs Is Least Of Mets Concerns

The Mets hold the option on David Wright for 2013, but after that, it's Jose Reyes all over again. The same can be said for Mets Ace RA Dickey.

Elvis and the Mets say they want to sign their hot corner sacker to a long term deal, but if history is any indicator, Wright will flee the Mets after the 2013 season, unless of course Alderson decides to trade him.

Wright says he wants to stay with the Mets, but he also wants to win. Although the Mets have some young talent in Harvey, Wheeler, Nieuwenhuis, den Dekker, Flores, etc, is that enough? Understandably Wright does not want to negotiate during the season, so that leaves the Mets only with this off-season to try and sign the "face of the franchise" beyond 2013.

The option on Wright is high, $15M, but that is money Elvis and the Mets have to spend, especially with Wright having a solid year. His recent slump can't entirely be put on his shoulders; he has absolutely no one protecting him in the lineup. Tejada's stats although respectable, are soft. He doesn't drive in runs, and rarely has he had that big hit when the club needs it; Murphy has been hot and cold all year; Torres until recently has been a let down; Ike looks like he's turned the corner, but has been so cold this year that he has hurt, not helped Wright.

When the Mets third baseman gets to this off-season there will be two questions at the very least; does Wright want to stay and will Alderson actually pony up the money?



As for RA Dickey, his option will most assuredly be picked up. It is a paltry $5M for 2013, and Dickey (15-3) is a bargain at that price. Dickey will be 38 at years' end, but age isn't as important for a knuckle ball pitcher like it is for a flame thrower. His is tied for the league lead in strikeouts and has a respectable 2.72 ERA in 162.1 IP. As for any long term deal beyond 2013, that remains to be seen. Dickey has said he would like to stay with the Mets, but again, are the Mets going to low ball an offer to him? If Dickey is looking for a three year deal, that would be reasonable. He would be 41 at contracts end. Much more than that, the Mets would be hard pressed to sign him. Again, this is going on the assumption that Alderson actually will offer a long term deal.

Sandy has said he wants to retain Wright, but talk is cheap. He said the same thing a year ago with their all world SS, and during the window of exclusivity, he didn't make an offer, and allowed Reyes to walk. Fans were livid over the lack of effort put into trying to retain their SS. If the same situation occurs with Wright, Alderson will be running for his life from Mets fans. Do it once is bad. Do it twice in two years is unacceptable.


Do I believe Wright will be a Met in 2013? Yes, I do, but I am not so confident he will be a Met after the 2013 season. Alderson has never shown the loyalty to a player to sign to big bucks for a long term deal, and I have no confidence his philosophy has changed.

Although this season has been disappointing after such an exciting start, like I said last year: 

"As fans, let’s enjoy. Love him or hate him, come 2012, if he is wearing another uniform, he will sorely be missed. A talent such as his comes along once in a generation. Time to be thankful we’ve been able to enjoy it…especially this year. "

Enjoy it Mets fans; there is a good chance we won't see Wright nor Dickey after next season.

Sources: Cots Baseball Contracts, Baseball Reference



Monday, August 13, 2012

The Mets pen is a joke

Sorry for stating the obvious but last night was ridiculous. It was almost to a point that you just wanted the Braves to clock a homerun in the 9th to just give a exclamation point to the Mets pen and there season. On the other hand Niese deserved a win and not have to watch 30 minutes of torture before he was able to claim it.


This is a tweet from Rubin as the inning started… Frank Francisco going to get an all-time cheap save. Enters up 6-1 with bases loaded and two outs. He only needed to get 1 out !! 1 freaking out..instead he walks 2 and give up a hit and has to be removed with the score 6-5! How do these guys live with themselves? I mean if that was me I would break everything in the freaking clubhouse and apologize to everyone of my teammates for putting them through it. Thankfully Rauch was able to get 1 out and give Niese is well deserved victory . Niese gave only 1 run over 8 innings.

Everyone around MLB knows how bad the Mets pen is. Even the Braves manager mentioned how they just need to get into the Mets pen during Busters in game interview.  Luckily the Mets plated 6 last night since they needed all of them!

Mets bullpen ERA is 4.99!! last of course
Mets are off as they head to Cinci for 3 after there 1 win weekend . Frankie needs to stay in a corner somewhere…

Friday, August 10, 2012

Harvey To Get First Citi Start; Bay Gets To Play; Larry Scratched: Mets Lineup V. Braves

Don't cry Mets fans, but Larry Jones, the celebrated (and retiring) Braves 3B will not be playing tonight due to back stiffness.

We know the Mets faithful that show up at GHMP tonight will find it hard not to shed a tear, for Larry has been close and dear to Mets fans of all ages...


Even I'm about to throw up. With his record against the Mets, don't be surprised to see him hit a pinch hit HR at a crucial point in the game. Can't wait til he retires.

Mets rookie Matt Harvey will get his first Citi start tonight, and will be throwing to Rob Johnson, who is returning from a bruised hand injury.

Andres Torres moves to the lead-off spot and Ruben Tejada will slide down to the two hole.

Jason Bay will get the start against Braves lefty Paul Maholm.

Tonight's Mets lineup:

1.  Andres Torres - CF
2.  Ruben Tejada - SS
3.  David Wright - 3B
4.  Scott Hairston - RF
5.  Daniel Murphy - 1B

6.  Ronny CedeƱo - 2B
7.  Jason Bay - LF
8.  Rob Johnson - C
9.  Matt Harvey - RSP


 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hot Jose Returns, Bay Still Plays: Mets Lineup V. Marlins - August 7, 2012

Jose Reyes and his 24 game hitting streak return to Flushing. The former (it still kills me to write this) Mets SS has been on a rampage in raising his average to .288 and his OBP to .351. Hopefully this time the Flushing Faithful will cheer Jose and Jeer the Marlins.

Jason Bay will sit start tonight against the Marlin lefty Wade LeBlanc. Why it should matter whether the pitcher is right handed or left handed shouldn't matter; Bay isn't hitting the ball off a tee let along any pitcher no matter which side he throws from. If Mr. Bay goes 1-3 tonight, is that really enough to convince anyone that he is "back?" The Mets and their management have been loyal to the $16M annually they're paying Bay, but it's time to look in a different direction. Last thing they need is for his 2014 option to kick in. 

I like Bay, I really do, but this is his third horrible season, and each year he seems to get worse, not better. It's time to give Mike Baxter the chance to start everyday, not just against righties.

Tonight's Mets lineup:

1.  Ruben Tejada - SS
2.  Daniel Murphy - 1B
3.  David Wright - 3B
4.  Scott Hairston - RF
5.  Jason Bay - LF
6.  Ronny Cedeno - 2B
7.  Andres Torres - CF
8.  Josh Thole - C
9.  Jon Niese - LSP


Sources: Adam Rubin, Baseball Reference

Friday, August 3, 2012

Mets in San Diego :Bay's last stand

As the Mets get ready for the last 3 games of a 11 game home stand in bad weather San Diego, I wonder if Jason Bay knows his time is coming to a close as a starter for the Mets? 

I doubt that his 1 hit 2 rbi night against the Giants yesterday will be able to stop the sands of time which honestly has gone on long enough.

Everyone wants Bay to succeed. Heck I am one of them but how many times do we need to watch a rally go to die when he is up?

There was so much hope when the Mets landed him as a free agent but he has never delievered.  Not that I expect to see Mike Baxter to rock if he gets most of the playing time but you cant have guy in your lineup hitting .160. Especially when Davis at this point on the offensive side is like the old Dave Kingman. 

Mets start a 3 game set in Petco tonight.  Lets go Mets!