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Morning Mets Links: July 21, 2012

Here are this morning’s Mets links:

  • The Mets were defeated last night by a score of 7-6. Johan Santana struggled early, but the Mets mounted a comeback. The comeback wouldn’t be enough however, as the Mets fell one run short. (Box Score)
  • The Mets dealt Omar Quintanilla to the Orioles for cash considerations yesterday. The 30 year-old infielder played 29 games for the Mets this season before being designated for assignment on July 17. (Yahoo Sports)
  • Terry Collins explained to reporters yesterday why he doesn’t expect Dillon Gee back this season. He basically said that after six weeks, it will be like the beginning of spring training again. It does make sense. Usually pitchers take six to eight weeks off in the off-season before they resume their throwing program. It would be very, very difficult for Gee to come back this season and doing so could risk injury. (ESPN New York)
  • It seems possible that Johan Santana may not be 100% after being thrown right into the rotation a year after surgery. However, there will be no innings limit for Santana this season. (Mets Blog)
  • Mike Baxter's rehab is moving to Binghamton. (ESPN New York)
  • While everyone is talking about external solutions to the Mets’ bullpen woes, there may be a young arm in the farm system that we just aren’t talking about. Jeurys Familia, who scouts have long said is a future relief pitcher, could be moved to the bullpen and get the call to pitch in the big leagues. (Metszilla)

Morning Links: 7.18.12

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Morning Links: 7.14.12

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Morning Links: 7.12.12

[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”480”] Not ready for the big leagues…[/caption]

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Keeping 2012 In Perspective

Dillon Gee went on the DL yesterday with a blood clot in his right shoulder. Depending on the severity, he could be out anywhere from two weeks to over a month. So today, Terry Collins had to make an adjustment to the rotation. He had two choices: Miguel Batista or Matt Harvey.

He made the decision to plug in Miguel Batista into the rotation as opposed to Harvey, saying that he didn’t want to rush the young pitching prospect (according to MLB.com):

"I don’t want to put him in a situation where he can fail."

This decision may not be the best one for the team in the short-term, but it is a real reminder of what this year is all about.

Matt Harvey is clearly the better pitcher. He has two killer breaking balls to go along with a plus fastball and a developing changeup. On top of that, he’s been stellar for Triple-A Buffalo, going 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA and 9.3 K/9, earning himself an All-Star selection. Meanwhile, while Miguel Batista has been a useful innings-eater in mop-up situations, he has been inconsistent and proven that he can’t be relied on in big spots.

However, this year is a development year for the New York Mets. It’s a transition year. They’ve got a very young nucleus and are waiting on a few prospects to be ready before they can make a run. Don’t you remember?

We’ve all been swept up by the excitement this season. The Mets are contending, but let’s not go crazy. You never know what could make or break a pitching prospect. I’m fine with calling up Matt Harvey in September once the Triple-A season is over for a few starts, but calling him up now would be jumping the gun, in my opinion.

It seems like Sandy Alderson has made the purpose of 2012 pretty clear. Just look at this headline from CBS Sports: “Mets officials believe they may owe it to overachieving team to bolster roster." I don’t know about you, but top me, that sounds like a "let’s thrown this team a bone" as opposed to "we’re for real, let’s go for it!" This move really didn’t surprise me when I thought about it. There are certain things a pitcher must master before he can be called up to the majors. If the Mets don’t think Matt Harvey has done that yet, then he should not be playing for the big league club. It’s as simple as that.

Of course playing well and winning games is a goal of every team. Even the Astros field a team each year hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and make a playoff run. However, you have to keep in mind your long-term track as a franchise before making any impulsive decisions, such as calling up your second best pitching prospect before you’re sure he’s ready. Just look at the 2011 Pirates. They could have gotten excited with their fast start last year, and traded away some of their best pitching prospects for a few veteran bats. However, the Pittsburgh brass knew that they were likely going to collapse and were a year or two away from a legitimate playoff run. It’s not quite the same situation, but the concept is the same: Don’t take unnecessary risks just because you’re excited about how the team is doing.

Hopefully, Gee won’t be out too long and Batista will only make three or four starts, but yesterday’s decision was a good indicator that the Mets brass has this season in perspective.

Morning Links: 7.11.12

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Jul 8

Morning Links: 7.8.12

[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”512”] DOMINATION[/caption]

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Jul 6

Series Preview: Mets Get Rematch With Cubs

Tonight, the Mets begin a three-game series with the Cubs at Ciri Field. First pitch is at 7:10.

Since we last left the Cubbies, they have played… surprisingly better. They took three against the Astros (is that an accomplishment?) and also played well against Atlanta in a four-game set.

These are the same old Cubbies, however. They’re towards the bottom in baseball in every major offensive category, and their pitching isn’t much better.

Hopefully the Mets can get their revenge this weekend against the team  that took two of three from them last week and head into the All-Star break with momentum in their favor.

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1- Tonight 7:10

Johan Santana (6-4, 2.76 ERA) vs. Travis Wood (3-3, 3.05 ERA)

Game 2- Saturday 4:10

Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.34 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzija (6-7, 4.77 ERA)

Game 3- Sunday 1:10

Jonathon Niese (7-3, 3.35 ERA) vs. Chris Volstad (0-7, 7.94 ERA)

Notes:

  • Andres Torres has a back problem and could miss some time in this series.
  • The Cubs through 81 games were on a pace to finish the season 62-100.
  • The Cubs’ starter for Sunday is currently Chris Volstad, but that could change. Ryan Dempster, the Cubs’ ace, is on the DL, but is begging his manager to start him on Sunday. Dempster, 35, has a 2.11 ERA  in 81 innings this season.
  • Volstad has been really, really bad. He hasn’t made it past the sixth inning all season and hasn’t allowed less than three runs in a start since his first outing of the season. In his last start against the Braves, Volstad lasted just 4.1 innings and allowed six runs on seven hits.
  • SNY will have the call the whole weekend. No FOX. No ESPN. :)
Jul 1

Morning News: Mets Sign Picks,

Here is this morning’s Mets news:

Series Preview: Mets Go To Chicago To Play The Worst Team In Baseball

The Mets begin a three-game set with the Cubs in Chicaco tonight at 8:05

The Cubs have been the worst team in baseball this season. Their .333 winning percentage is the worst in the MLB, and they are a team full of under-performing, overpaid veterans. This team’s so bad, it’s only a matter of time before the team is broken up by Theo Epstein.

The Cubs best player this season has clearly been Starlin Castro. Castro is having a breakout year at shortstop, hitting .308 with 38 RBI and 16 stolen bases. He has quickly cemented his status as a cornerstone of the Cubs franchise. He may be one of the few players not on the market for the Cubs as the trade deadline approaches

Here is a look at the pitching matchups:

Game 1- Tonight 8:05

Johan Santana (5-3, 3.00 ERA) vs. Travis Wood (1-3, 4.14 ERA)

Game 2- Tuesday 8:05

Dillon Gee (5-5, 4.27 ERA) vs. Randy Wells (1-2, 4.91 ERA)

Game 3- Wednesday 2:20

Jonathon Niese (5-3, 3.75 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzija (5-6, 4.34 ERA)

Notes:

  • The Cubs will be without Ryan Dempster, who went on the DL last week with a tight right lat. He was 3-3 with a 2.11 ERA.
  • If you missed the flurry of Mets roster moves last night, here they are.
  • Johan Santana bounced back after two bad outings with six shutout innings against the Orioles in his last start. He seems to be back to normal.
  • The Cubs are a very weak offensive team. Their 264 runs is 27th in baseball. They also have a .301 ob-base percentage, 28th in baseball. Their biggest power threat may be Bryan LaHair, who has 13 home runs this year, and hit 40 between Triple-A and the big league club last year.
  • The pitching staff isn’t much better. As you can see in the pitching matchups, the rotation hasn’t been good this year, but the bullpen has been awful as well. Their bullpen’s ERA is much better than the Mets’ but it’s still 26th in baseball at 4.49.The 1.55 WHIP as a bullpen is 29th in baseball.
  • Unless the Mets bullpen is heavily used in this series, the Mets should have an easy time taking care of the MLB-worst Cubs. But it’s baseball and this is the Mets so anything can happen.

Morning News: Mets Sweep O’s, Injury News, Minor League Moves

Every morning, we’ll give you the top three stories from Mets-land, as well news and notes from around Major League Baseball. 

The Mets finished off their sweep of the Orioles last night by a score of 4-3. Dillon Gee got the start and tossed 7.1 innings, allowing two runs on three hits. He also struck out nine and walked two.

David Wright had a big day at the plate, going 3-4 with an RBI and a run scored. He raised his batting average to .358. Scott Hairston was the only other Met to have multiple hits. He had two doubles and an RBI.

By the way, Frank Francisco almost blew it, allowing a run in the ninth. Thankfully, he made it out alive and so did the Mets.

With the win, the Mets are still three games behind the Nationals, who beat the Rays last night.

There was plenty of injury news yesterday. Here are the “highlights”:

The Mets made a flurry of minor league moves yesterday. St. Lucie third baseman Wilmer Flores was part of a four-player group who were promoted to Double-A Binghamton yesterday. Wilfredo Tovar, Francisco Pena, and pitcher Cory Mazzoni also got the call to Bingo.

Flores, who was recently named MVP of last Saturday’s 51st annual Florida State League All-Star game, is hitting .289 on the season with 10 home runs and 42 RBI.

To replace these four players on the roster, the Mets moved up Travis Taijeron, T.J. Rivera, Rafael Montero, and Jeff Walters from Savannah to Port St. Lucie.

Expect the Mets to also move players up from Brooklyn to Savannah later today.

In other baseball news- It’s official. Brandon Beachy will need Tommy John surgery. The right-hander saw Dr. James Andrews this week to get a second opinion. Beachy was 5-5 this season with a 2.00 ERA in 13 starts.

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will have groin surgery today, and will be out indefinitely. Tulowitzki hurt his groin on May 30, and had to pull himself from a rehab stint last week because of discomfort. He is hitting .278 this season with eight home runs and 27 RBI.

Roy Oswalt will make his debut for the Rangers on Friday against the Colorado Rockies. Oswalt, who hasn’t pitched this season, signed a one-year deal with the Rangers this spring.

 

Series Preview: Mets Resume Interleague Play With Three Games Against Baltimore

The Mets begin a three-game against the Baltimore Orioles at Citi Field tonight at 7:10.

The Orioles come into this series as arguably the biggest surprise in baseball this season. Led by Buck Showalter, Baltimore is 39-27 and only 1.5 games back in the tough American League East.

Baltimore is a young but balanced team on offense. Their biggest threat is Adam Jones, who is hitting .311 with 18 homers, 39 RBI, and a .360 on-base percentage. Young first baseman Chris Davis is also having a nice campaign, hitting .294 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI.

Luckily for the Mets in this series, they will avoid facing Baltimore’s two best pitchers, Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen. Hammel, who threw a one-hit shutout in his last outing, is 7-2 on the season with a 2.87 ERA. Chen, a rookie out of Taiwan, is 6-2 with a 3.36 ERA. Past these two, the Baltimore rotation is pretty weak.

Here are the pitching matchups:

Game 1- Tonight 7:10

R.A. Dickey (10-1, 2.20 ERA) vs. Jake Arrieta (3-8, 5.89 ERA)

Game 2- Tuesday 7:10

Johan Santana (4-3, 3.23 ERA) vs. Tommy Hunter (3-3, 5.58 ERA)

Game 3- Wednesday 7:10

Dillon Gee (4-5, 4.43 ERA) vs. Brian Matusz (5-7, 4.94 ERA)

More notes…

  • No hitter watch for Dickey? :)
  • Mark Reynolds, who used to be one of the most dangerous power hitters in the game, is having a terrible season. Coming off a 37 home run season, Reynolds has just five in 145 at-bats this year. Although he is hitting .241, better than last year and a lot better than two years ago, he just isn’t the power threat this year that he’s been in years past.
  • The Orioles will be without Endy Chavez, who was placed on the DL Thursday. They will also be missing Nick Markakis, who hasn’t played a game this month.
  • On paper, the Mets pitching should dominate this series. As long as the offense can score four runs in each game, which will be harder than it sounds with this lineup, the Mets will likely win the series.

Series Preview: Mets Open Up Inter-league Schedule With Set in Toronto

Tonight, the Mets begin their inter-league schedule with a three-game series against the Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays have been  somewhat of a surprise this year, considering the tough division they play in. They are currently in third place, but are only four games behind the Blue Jays in the division.

The Blue Jays, so far, have been led by a plethora of young, talented arms in their rotation. The Mets could have trouble with all three guys they face in this series. Brandon Morrow has been fantastic and may finally be living up to his potential. Ricky Romero also seems to be continuing the success he had last season with the Jays.

On offense, it’s been all about Edwin Encarnacion. Carnacion has 13 homers and 34 RBI this season, both of which lead his team. Jose Bautista, the one who was supposed to lead the team in every offensive catagory, is hitting just .207 with ten homers.

Overall, the Blue Jays are a team on the rise and could pose a problem for the Mets in this three-game series.

Here are the pitching matchups:

Game 1- Tonight 7:07

Jonathon Niese (39.2 IP, 3,40 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .224 BAA) vs. Ricky Romero (53.1 IP, 3.88 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .222 BAA)

Game 2- Saturday 1:07

Miguel Batista (25.1 IP, 4.26 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, .295 BAA) vs. Brandon Morrow (52.2 IP, 2.22 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, .200 BAA)

Game 3- Sunday 1:07

Dillon Gee (43 IP, 5.65 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .301 BAA) vs. Henderson Alvarez (55 IP, 2.62 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, .244 BAA)

More notes…

Brett Lawrie will miss the entire series after dropping the appeal of his four—game suspension he received for throwing his helmet at an umpire while arguing over balls and strikes. Lawrie is hitting a team-high .281.

Frank Francisco will continue to close for the Mets, despite recent struggles. Francisco has pitched, very, very badly of late, blowing a few games in a row. However, he is only part of the problem. The entire Mets bullpen has struggled this season, so Francisco is only part of the problem in the ‘pen.

David Wright is hitting .411!!!

May 7

Series Preview: Banged-Up Mets Head to Philly

Tonight, the Mets begin a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

[caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”168” caption=”(Photo Courtesy of Michael Baron)”]Jimmy  Rollins 4[/caption]

The Mets play the Phillies, who, up until this point, have been unable to get on any kind of a roll. Many thought before the season that due to the injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, as well as the age of Jimmy Rollins, their offense would struggle but no one thought it would be this bad. The Phils are in the bottom third in baseball in runs scored, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Catcher Carlos Ruiz has been their best hitter, which is a little odd considering he is a career number seven or eight hitter.

The decent pitching the Phillies have has been the only thing keeping them alive. Despite Cliff Lee (eho will return on Wednesday) hitting the DL, the Phillies’ staff is in the top ten in baseball in quality starts, WHIP, and ERA. Cole Hamels has been stellar, but luckily will not face the Mets in this series.

Here are the pitching matchups for the series:

Game 1- Tonight 7:05

Jon Niese- Niese finally had a bad start in his last outing in Houston. He went only three innings, but that was due to a desparation pinch-hitting move that Terry Collins made in the fourth inning. Niese allowed five earned on six hits in the start.

Roy Halladay- At 35 years old, Halladay is still going strong this season. He is 3-2 with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.110 WHIP. He is averaging about seven innings per outing this year.

Game 2- Tuesday 7:05

Miguel Batista- Here we go with Miguel Batista. The 41 year-old has been awful this year, but somehow got the nod from Terry Collins to join the rotation in place of Chris Schwinden. Batista is 0-1 with a 6.92 ERA this year.

Joe Blanton- You would think that you would have an easy go of it against a team’s fifth starter. That’s not the case with Blanton. He threw a shutout against the Braves in his last start, and has been looking good on the mound thus far in 2012.

Game 3- Wednesday 7:05

Dillon Gee- Gee pitched well on Friday against the D-Backs, tossing six innings of two-run ball. He also walked three and struck out six.

Cliff Lee- Lee, who has been suffering from a strained left oblique, will come off the DL on Wednesday to face the Mets in his first start since April 19. In three starts this year, Lee is 0-1 with a 1.96 ERA.

More notes

Ruben Tejada left yesterday’s game with a strained right quad. Tejada hit the DL today and will be replaced on the roster by Jordanny Valdespin.

— Even with Valdespin in the big leagues, we will probably not see much of him. Terry Colins has expressed his liking for Justin Turner. Turner, not Valdespin, will likely get the majority of the playing time at shortstop. I’m not the biggest fan of having Valdespin ride the bench in the majors. I’d much rather have him getting playing time in Buffalo, developing. For those of you wondering, the rule that states a player cannot be recalled until ten days after they were sent down does not apply if they are replacing an injured player.

Ike Davis is hitless in his last four games, going 0-11, which brings his batting average down to .168. Ike has shown signs of coming back to life, only to return to struggling.

Daniel Murphy, on the other hand, had a great series against Arizona. Murphy was 7-12 in the three games, and had two RBI. It’s great to see that maybe Murphy’s fantastic run at the plate last year may not have been a fluke. Terry Collins has moved him up in the lineup in place of Ike Davis.

—Tonight’s and Wednesday’s pitching matchups should be pretty interesting to watch. Both Niese and Gee have pitched well this season. Their ERA’s don’t quite say that, but each of them had one bad outing that basically ruined their ERAs. Other than that, they have pitched well this season. Of course, they will both be going up against two of Philly’s aces, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

—Jonathon Paplebon has been great so far for the Phillies, saving nine games and pitching to a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings pitched. Just something to look out for if any of these games are close.

Series Preview: Mets Head Home to Face Giants in Four-Game Set

Tonight at 7:10, the Mets begin their four-game set against the Giants

The Mets return home after losing a best-of-three series to the Braves this week. The series started off on a high note-the only one of the series- with the Mets winning 6-1 on Monday. Dillon Gee dominated the Braves, allowing just one run on four hits. He finished up after seven innings. Ike Davis had a big three-run homer that broke a tie game, making the score 4-1 Mets. The Mets scored on a wild pitch in the seventh, making the game 5-1. Finally, Jason Bay finished up the game with a solo shot in the ninth.

The second and third games were far from pretty. In the second game, Johan Santana had the worst start of his career. He went just 1.1 innings, allowing six runs and throwing 55 pitches. The Braves made him work due to him falling behind early. Johan only threw first pitch strikes to four of 11 batters in his abbreviated outing. The Mets would go on to lose 9-3.

The weather in Atlanta had a big impact on the rubber match of the series. In the early innings, Jair Jurrjens struggled, and R.A. Dickey was stellar. In the warm, humid air in northern Georgia, Dickey’s knuckleball had more movement than I’d ever seen. Braves hitters didn’t have a chance. Then, the rain came and wow did it pour. Dickey was thrown off by the rain, his knuckleball losing its movement, causeing him to struggle. He gave up hit after hit, including three home runs. He ended the day with a loss after giving up eight runs in what would end in a 14-6 loss for the Mets.

The Giants, on the other hand, are coming in to Queens off a series win against the Phillies. The highlight of the series was Wednesday’s pitching duel between Cliff Lee and Matt Cain. Both held each other’s team scoreless for nine innings. Cain left the game after nine, but Lee stayed in- yes, a manager sent a pitcher out for a tenth inning of work. Lee pitched a scoreless tenth, and the Phillies scored in the eleventh to win the game. Cain and Lee both pitched gems, but neither got a win.

Here are the pitching matchups for the series:

Game 1- Tonight 7:10

Jon Niese- Since signing his five-year extension, Jon Niese has been stellar. He is 2-0 on the season with a 2.13 ERA in 12.2 innings pitched. Niese threw seven innings, allowing one run on six hits in his only start against the Giants in his career.

Barry Zito- Zito, considered a failure since signing with the Giants, has surprised everyone this season. He pitched a shutout in his first start of the season,and followed up with another impressive outing his last start. Zito pitched seven innings against the Pirates on April 14, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits while striking out four. Zito is 3-2 with a 3.31 ERA in six career starts against the Mets.

Game 2- Saturday 1:10

Mike Pelfrey- Pelfrey, to everyone’s surprise, has also pitched well this season. After allowing three runs on ten hits in his first start, Pelfrey allowed just one in six innings against the Phillies in his last outing.

Ryan Vogelsong- Vogelsong burst onto the scene last year for the Giants, earning an All-Star selection. He finished the season eleventh in the Cy Young Award voting, ending the year with a 13-7 record to go along with a 2.71 ERA. In his only start this season, he allowed two runs in 6.1 innings.

Game 3- Sunday 1:10

Dillon Gee-Gee, so far, has continued the success he had last season, pitching two decent games so far this season. The last one, on Monday against the Braves, he lasted seven innings and allowed just one run.

Tim Lincecum- “The Freak” has struggled more than he ever has so far this season for the Giants. In each of his three starts, he has allowed at least five runs. So far, he is 0-2 on the season with a 10.54 ERA on the season.

Game 4- Monday 7:10

Johan Santana- Coming off the worst outing of his career, Johan will look to brush back injury concerns against the Giants in the final game of the series.Johan was atrocious in Atlanta, which raised worries about his health. However, all signs still point to him starting the game.

Madison Bumgarner- Bumgarner, a young arm with Cy Young potential, recently signed an extension with the Giants, which could end up being seven years. The deal is very similar to the one Niese signed. Bumgarner allowed two runs in six innings in his last start against the Phillies.

Here are some more random notes:

— I’m excited to see Kirk Nieuwenhuis get some more at-bats from the leadoff spot. So far, he has impressed, showing he can do a little bit of everything. He needs to play well in the coming weeks to keep his job when Andres Torres returns.

— I’m really hoping Johan bounces back, just to get his last start, a big distraction, out of everyone’s minds. He needs to get ahead early, throwing first pitch strikes. If he doesn’t he falls into a groove and becomes predictable.

—There has been so much talk about Tim Lincecum’s struggles this year. I’m really want to see what all the buzz is about.

Ruben Tejada is awesome.