Archive for the '2011 Mets' Category

Last Three Opening Day Lineups

Here are the last three opening day lineups including today’s. The players in bold for 2011 and 2012 represent those still with the Mets. For 2011 and 2012, info in parenthesis indicates where former players are now while 2013 newcomers are indicated.

2011

Jose Reyes SS   (Toronto Blue Jays via Florida Marlins)
Willie Harris LF   (Whereabouts unknown, last season with Reds)
David Wright 3B
Carlos Beltran RF  (St. Louis Cardinals)
Angel Pagan CF  (San Francisco Giants)
Ike Davis 1B
Mark Emaus 2B (Wherabouts unknown)
Josh Thole C  (Toronto Blue Jays)
Mike Pelfrey P (Minnesota Twins)

2012

Andres Torres  CF  (San Francisco Giants)
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Ike Davis 1B
Jason Bay LF  (Seattle Mariners)
Lucas Duda RF
Josh Thole C  (Toronto Blue Jays)
Ruben Tejada SS
Johan Santana P

2013

Collin Cowgill CF (Oakland Athletics)
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Ike Davis 1B
Marlon Byrd RF  (Boston Red Sox)
Lucas Duda LF
John Buck C  (Miami Marlins but traded from Toronto)
Ruben Tejada  SS
Jon Niese  P

2011 Splits

Here are a bunch of splits from Mets 2011 season.  The amount of red says it all…

Final Record  77-85 .475
Road 34-47 .420
Home 43-38 .531

vs. NL East 33-39 .458
vs. NL Central 19-20 .487

vs. NL West 16-17 .485
vs. NL 68-76 .472
vs AL 9-9 .
500

vs. Atlanta 9-9 .500
vs. Florida 9-9 .500
vs. Philadelphia 7-11 .389
vs. Washington 8-10 .444
vs. Chicago Cubs 2-4 .333
vs. Cincinnati 5-2 .714
vs. Houston 3-3 .500
vs. Milwaukee 2-4 .333
vs. Pittsburgh 4-4 .333
vs. St, Louis 3-3 .500
vs. Arizona 3-3 .500
vs. Colorado 2-5 .286
vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2 .714
vs. San Diego 4-3 .571
vs. San Francisco 2-4 .333
vs. Detroit 2-1 .667
vs. Los Angeles Angels 1-2 .333
vs. NY Yankees 3-3 .500
vs. Oakland 2-1 .667
vs. Texas 2-1 .667
vs. teams that made the playoffs 22-26 .458

April 11-16 .407
May 14-13 .519
June 16-11 .593
July 14-13 .519
August 10-16 .385
September 12-16 .429

Sundays 12-13 .480
Mondays 7-10 .412
Tuesdays 11-12 .478
Wednesdays 14-9 .609
Thursdays 10-13 .435
Fridays 12-12 .500
Saturdays 11-16 .407

vs. righties 59-63 .484
vs. lefties 18-22 .450
Extra innings 7-7 .500
One run games 21-28 .429
Shutouts 8-9 .471
Rubber games 12-11 .522
Night games 50-56 .472
Day games 27-29 .482
Series 23-28 (split 3) .451
Series sweeps 4-8 .333

Other…

Longest winning streak  6, April 21 – 27 vs Houston, Arizona, and Washington
Longest losing streak  7, April 10-16 vs Washington, Colorado, and Atlanta

Who Is the Biggest Choker?

Did the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox of 2011 eclipse the Mets collapse of 2007?

Already this year’s  Red Sox have been given the title of the all time chokers. The Braves are right behind. As a Mets fan, I’m trying to determine if what happened to Boston and the NL team that originated in Boston actually out choked the ’07 Mets. After looking at the numbers, it really is a matter of perspective.

Entering the month of September, the Red Sox held a 9 game lead in the wild card race. Actually they were the division leaders at the time holding a 1.5 game lead on the Yankees. The Braves were leading the wild card by 8.5 games. In 2007, on the eve of September, the Mets led the division by just 2 games over the Philadelphia Phillies. From this vantage point, it’s hard to say the Mets were the bigger chokers considering their lead was much smaller. If you are rooting for a team that is 9 games ahead with one month to play, your team is in position to win a playoff spot.

But the ’07 Mets had a much different month of September than did the ’11 Braves and Red Sox. The Mets lead grew in the first two weeks of the month, extending to 7 games over the Phillies at one point. It has almost become a mantra in regard to the Mets… “7 game lead with 17 left to play”. Yeah, that’s correct. In fact the Mets lead of 7 with 17 left was larger than this year’s Sox and Braves who had a 4.5 and 5.5 game lead respectively with 17 left to play. So from this perspective, you would have to conclude the ’07 Mets are still the bigger chokers. The Braves record this month was 8-18, the Red Sox were 7-20. The Mets of  ’07 by contrast went 14-14 in September. But the Mets lost the last 6 of 7 to tank the season.

I guess another way to look at it is that both the Braves and Red Sox maintained a large lead over the wild card for much of the season. Boston was the best team in the American League for four months after getting off to a terrible start in April. I guess that 2-10 start for the Sox was an omen. The Mets did lead the division for most of the season in 2007 but never had a lead as big as the Red Sox or Braves of this season.

Certainly there can be much debate on who holds the record for the biggest collapse in baseball history. The ’51 Dodgers, the ’64 Phillies, and the ’07 Mets have two new members in the club. Welcome Boston and Atlanta.

Mets Batting Crown…

Jose Reyes is the first batting champ in Mets history but he is not the all time leader in Mets batting.

Reyes won the NL batting title yesterday by bunting his way on then leaving the game. He raised his average to .337. Ryan Braun of Milwaukee went 0 for 4 last evening lowering his average. Reyes won this year’s batting crown but is third overall in Mets history.

The all time Met batting champion for a single season is John Olerud who batted .354 in 1998. Olerud finished second to Lance Walker who batted .363 that season. Also ahead of Reyes is Cleon Jones who hit .340 in 1969 en route to the Mets first world championship. Pete Rose (.348) and Roberto Clemente (.354) beat out Jones for the title.

The Last Day Has Arrived

Well here it is, the final day of the regular baseball season, at least for the Mets it is. Because of the wild card races, it is possible we will have more baseball tomorrow. If the Cardinals win and the Braves lose, the Cards will be the wild card. The opposite result throws the Braves into the playoffs. If they both win or both lose, a playoff game in St. Louis will be on tap for Thursday in St. Louis.

The same scenario exists in the American League between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox. A playoff game in Tampa is possible tomorrow.

In both leagues, major collapses combined with resurgent teams created this situation. The Red Sox were 9 games ahead of the Rays on September 1st before play began. The Braves held an 8.5 game lead over the Cardinals. On the last day of the season, both the Sox and Braves (who were originally from Boston) share the same fate as the 2007 Mets. On the last day of that season, pitcher Tom Glavine turned in the worst outing of his Mets career surrendering 7 runs in the first inning. The Mets were gone before they ever got up to bat.

For Mets fans the only saving grace today will be if Boston or Atlanta fail to make the post season. It will mean their collapse of  this year could be considered worse than what happened to the Amazin’s four seasons ago. A small consolation prize to Mets fans to be sure.

Either next season or in 2013, two additional wild card teams will be added, one in each league. May I point out if that were true today, there would be no panic in Boston or Atlanta. Both clubs would make the playoffs. Instead of their being a mandatory playoff game(s) tomorrow, there would be a single game playoff, in each league,  regardless if both teams tie or one ends ahead of the other. In other words, the excitement of what is happening in four separate venues this evening would be completely absent from the new playoff format being proposed.

The purpose of additional wild card teams is to prevent a situation where there is no exciting races the last couple of weeks in the season. However, this seasons’ excitement, brought to you by the Red Sox and Braves, would be non existent under the new proposed format. I am not saying there should not be more wild card teams, I’m simply pointing out there is no perfect system.

As far as the Mets go I predicted back in the spring, they would win 85 games. What I meant to say was they would lose 85 games. Actually in the coming days I may revisit games they blew. Had they won a number of games where they had the lead late, the Mets  could have easily reached 85 wins.

Major things that went wrong this season include injuries once again. We never had Johan Santana, this I correctly predicted. I said on a number of occasions that Santana would not pitch this year at the major league level. There was also the ridiculous play in Colorado that cost the Mets Ike Davis for the remainder of the season. Davis was off to a terrific start until an innocent looking roll of the ankle cost him his sophomore year. This injury was largely due to pitcher Mike Pelfrey standing on the mound doing nothing when he should have been directing who was to catch an infield pop fly. David Wright and Davis collided into each other causing the ankle injury.

David Wright missed two months with a fracture in his back he apparently got from a diving tag play at third base. Daniel Murphy who was sizzling with the bat blew out his knee in early August. Back in May, pitcher Chris Young’s shoulder blew up when he was showing great promise. Jason Bay started the season on the disabled list. Jose Reyes, who had a magnificent season, missed time twice because of a balking hamstring. Beyond the injuries, the Mets defense was atrocious and their bullpen was absolutely awful at times. Much must be addressed heading into next season.

One bright spot was new manager Terry Collins whose approach and intensity to the game was a welcome change that the ball club bought into. No doubt that this was a step in the right direction. But ultimately the Mets finished with  a worse record than last year when Jerry Manuel was the manager. The point here is that it is good the Mets attitude has changed but there is no substitution for good talent on the field.

As bad as the season was, frankly I will miss not being able to turn on the Mets each evening. We head into the long cold winter waiting for news of changes made to the team. Will Sandy Alderson be able to resign Jose Reyes? Will the Wilpons be able to spend some money? Who will the closer be? Will other moves be made to improve the ball club? This and more must be answered before Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 1:10PM when the Mets host the Braves at Citi Field.

Fred’s Place

Yesterday was the last time I will visit Citi Field this season. It was a bus trip for special needs kids that I helped to chaperone. It was actually great fun even though the Mets lost.

In fact I told my son the day before, let’s just go to enjoy the experience at being at the game. The fact that the Mets took two from the Phillies on Saturday combined with Pelfrey vs. Halladay at our game pretty much had loss written all over it. And of course Pelfrey did not disappoint looking completely lost losing 5-0 after three innings.

For us the highlight was being able to sit in a party suite on the first base side. Suite 204, above field level below the Excelsior level down the first base line. I have now had the opportunity to sit in all levels of the ballpark since it opened two years ago. I must say the experience of sitting in a suite is pretty special.

First off, the view was fabulous and the amenities were great. You get your own bar tender and a nice buffet selection. Ours was typical ballpark fare, all the hot dogs you can eat, chicken wings-hot or mild, and various salads. After, all most in our group were kids. As I sat next to one of the other fathers, we looked at each other and said it must be nice to have money. That brings me to an observation I made.

While looking around the ballpark from my vantage point, I could not help but notice the owner’s box which sits below our level behind home plate. Sitting there in a light purple shirt was owner Fred Wilpon gazing out over the team he owns. Various guests appeared to wander in and out of his suite all afternoon. They sat and chatted for a while, then off they would go while others would stop by. But through the entire nine inning, excruciating game (Mets lost 9-4 in case you were not aware), Fred sat there. I don’t even think he went to the men’s room. After Pelfrey grooved pitchs that landed either over the wall or against it, I never saw Fred wave his arms in disgust as another owner use to do in this town. He just sat there and took it like a man.

There has been a lot of criticism leveled at Fred. I have certainly contributed my share. But I have to give him credit. He stayed the entire game. A man with his money, even with the Madoff situation hanging over his head, could be doing something more fun then watching his team falter against the Philadelphia Phillies who exude the success he so desperately desires.

I have heard Fred in interviews say how much he loves the Mets. I will take him at his word regardless of the fact that Mets fans had to scream to get a museum, murals, and other accoutrements representing the Mets into the ballpark after it first opened. Even yesterday some of the kids were asking me if Jackie Robinson played for the Mets. “Well, huh…”

I guess what amazed me was the fact he was sitting there watching the game, just like me and the other mostly Phillie fans in the crowd. I as well as most fans are worth a small fraction of what Fred has. Yet there we all were, in the same building watching the same game, rooting for the same team (well at least the Mets fans).  But for a couple of hours, perhaps three, Fred’s just a guy hanging out wearing a purple shirt watching the Mets, his Mets.

Looking through my telephoto lens, I saw a man worn down by years, and I’m sure by a certain law suit that could determine his future of being able to sit in that box. Honestly I hope he wins. I hope he retains his control of the team and I hope he sees his Mets become what every Mets fan wants them to be, a contender year in and year out. If that happens, none of us will care who owns the team.

My word to you Fred, if you ever happened to stumble upon this blog post, would be to simply leave Sandy Alderson alone. Let him do his thing. Give him the resources he needs to build the Mets into a perennial winner.  We Mets fans deserve it and so do you.

The one thing I would like to see very soon is to be sitting at Citi Field watching the contending New York Mets having their way with the opposition, and to look up and see a smile on your face. Those are the only things missing from Citi Field, a beautiful baseball palace you built.

Meaningful Games

Fred Wilpon is often quoted as saying he wants the Mets playing meaningful games in September. That is happening. The Mets took two of three from the Braves and will now play the Cardinals in a three game set in St. Louis starting tonight.

The Cardinals are fighting for a wild card spot trailing Atlanta by 2.5 games. The Mets had a lot to do with that slim lead. The Cardinals defeated the Phillies 3 games to 1 in a four game wrap around weekend set. Combine that with the series win by the Mets in Atlanta and the Marlins win last evening over the Braves.  That allowed the Cardinals to gain two full games on Atlanta.  Meanwhile the Giants are only 3.5 games back because they swept a three game set against Colorado over the weekend.

Now the Mets must head into Busch Stadium for three with the mindset of if  we are not going to the playoffs, neither are you (Cardinals). It is the first and only trip the Mets make to St. Louis this season. Back in July the Mets took two of three from the Cardinals at Citi Field.

Ironically the Mets have been in this position before. In 1964, the Cardinals were attempting to complete an overtake of the Phillies for the NL Pennant. The Phillies were in the midst of the biggest collapse in baseball history.

On September 16, 1964, the Phillies held a 6 game lead over St. Louis with 16 to play. Heading into the last weekend of the season, the Cardinals led the Reds by one half game with a three game set in St. Louis against none other than the Mets.  By the last weekend, the Phillies had actually dropped to 3rd place 2.5 games back.

In the Friday night game, the Mets defeated the Cardinals 1-0. Al Jackson pitched the complete game shutout. The Phillies playing the Reds in Cincinnati won their game. The Reds remained a half game out and the Phillies drew within 1.5.

On the next day, the Mets pummeled the Cardinals 15-5. With the Reds and Phillies idle, the Cardinals and Reds were tied for first place with the Phillies just a game back. The possibility now existed that the Reds could win the pennant if the Mets beat the Cardinals and the Reds defeated the Phillies. A three way tie was possible if the Phillies beat the Reds while the Mets beat St. Louis. That would have forced a playoff between the three teams.

The Phillies did defeat the Reds 10-0 but the Cardinals finally beat the Mets 11-5. The Cardinals won the pennant by one game over the Reds and Phillies. The oddity of this weekend outcome was the Mets. They finished the season with a record of 53-109, yet for the first time in their existence played meaningful games in October. Fred would have been proud had he been the owner then.

While I root for the Mets to win, beating the Cardinals now does not give me significant pleasure. Actually I almost prefer that the Cardinals win to put more pressure on Atlanta. From a baseball perspective, it will be more dramatic the longer the wild card race plays out. Also I have no love for the Braves. Seeing them squirm might be enjoyable. Plus the Mets have nothing to gain anyway and finishing lower in the standings gives them a slightly higher draft pick next June. But I am a Mets fan ultimately so in reality I will watch and root for them to win.

The Braves continue their series in Florida. The Giants move on to Los Angeles for a three game set. The Dodgers have had a miserable year but have been playing much better the last several weeks. They will be no pushover for the Giants. Plus Klayton Kershaw is going for his 20th win while the Dodgers are fighting to move above .500. Tim Lincecum, not having a great year, goes for the Giants. Carlos Beltran has been red hot. He went 6 for 13 in the three game set in Colorado.

Over in the American League, The Red Sox making like the 2007 Mets (5-14 in the month of September) are holding on for dear life. They split a day night doubleheader at Fenway yesterday and remain two games ahead of the Rays who face the Yankees starting this evening in New York.

On September 1st, the Red Sox led the AL East by a half game while the Yankees had an 8.5 game lead over the Rays in the wild card race. This morning, the Yankees lead the division by 6 games over Boston. Don’t count out the Angels either. They trail in the AL wild card by 4.5 games, 5 back of the Rangers in the AL West.

The division races should be all set but mathematically the Yankees, Rangers, Brewers, and Diamondbacks still have not clinched. Only Detroit and Philadelphia have sewn up a playoff spot.

Believe it or not it still is possible for the Yankees not to make the playoffs. If Boston could get hot (their pitching would indicate that will not happen), the Rays and Angels get hot, the Yankees could find themselves on the outside looking in. The Yankees play the Rays and Red Sox the rest of the way. Boston concludes with Baltimore and the Yankees while the Rays play the Yankees and Blue Jays. The Angels must play the Blue Jays, Athletics, and the Rangers. Your thinking this is just another pathetic Mets fan getting his jollies hoping the Yankees will fall flat on their face. You would be correct.

At least there are races heading into the last week of the season which ends next Wednesday. It looked for a while as if the entire post season would have been settled by now. Since the Mets are not in it, at least I look forward for some exciting games for the teams I have mentioned above. And at least for the next three, they will be meaningful for the Mets in that they can play the roll of spoiler.

It has been three years since the Mets played serious games in September that could have benefited them reaching the post season. Of course they did not, collapsing and losing a playoff berth the last day of 2007 and 2008. That was painful. Hopefully in a year or two, the Mets will once again be fighting for something more meaningful than being a thorn in the side of a true contender.

It All Went So Wrong

Are you as bummed out as me after the Phillies clinched their fifth consecutive eastern division title? Wasn’t this suppose to have been the fate of the Mets after they so easily won the division back in 2006? What the hell happened? How did things go so terribly wrong?

The Phillies won their 5th division title in a row last Saturday evening. That is the sum total of all division titles the Mets have collected in 50 seasons. The Mets have yet to win two division titles in a row let alone five. Next year the Mets will celebrate their 50th anniversary season. 43 of those 50 seasons did not involve a post season.

Two world championships, four National League Pennants, five division titles, two wild cards, and a lot of losing seasons is what defines the Mets for one half of a century. One could argue there are teams that have won less but it is hard to defend this record with the resources a team from New York has. Any one wanting to argue needs to just look at the Yankees. The same market with completely different results.

We are being asked to be patient again as Sandy Alderson works methodically to rebuild the Mets. I agree that time is what is necessary now. The hard part of swallowing that is we have been told this before.

Twenty-five years ago the Mets won the world series. It is the last world championship in franchise history (as if you needed reminding). Two years later, a season after injuries decimated the team thwarting a repeat of ’86, the Mets were poised to do it all again when they were shocked in the NLCS by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It seems to me that since that time, the Mets were never the same.  I can even site the exact moment. That was when Doc Gooden gave up a game tying home run to the Dodger’s Mike Scioscia. The Dodgers went on to win game 4 tying the series. The Mets would have had a commanding lead of 3-1 if they had won that game. Likely would have won the NLCS then met and defeated the Oakland Athletics for their second world championship in three years.  Had that happened, the Mets team of the 80′s would have been thought of much differently than they are today.

Instead the Mets for some inexplicable reason began to dismantle the team that was dominating at least in terms of the regular season. After ’86 Kevin Mitchell was sent to San Diego. Eventually Darryl Strawberry was not pursued and allowed to sign with Los Angeles. Lenny Dystra was traded to Philadelphia and went on to win a pennant there. While you could argue that players change hands more frequently in the modern era, the Mets did little to fill those spots with good, winning players. Vince Coleman was not the correct reaction to Strawberry leaving. I hate to rant about ancient history but it is a pattern we have seen over and over again.

The Mets finally got respectable again in the late 90′s winning the wild card in back to back years. Again, an argument could be waged on who the best manager in Mets history was. While many would answer Gil Hodges and Davey Johnson, the only ones to win a World Series, Bobby Valentine has the unique distinction of getting the Mets to the playoffs in back to back years in 1999 and 2000, the only time it was ever done. That in itself is an indictment on this franchise. It took 38 years to accomplish that feat and it required a wild card process to boot.

And what did the Mets do after winning the pennant in 2000 then losing the World Series? They had Alex Rodriguez sitting in the palm of their hand prepared to team up with Mike Piazza in the middle of that lineup. Instead of making the big splash when it made sense for both the team and the player, the Mets went running scared. Of course the Yankees did not when they finally got their chance to claim A-Rod. Yes, the contract A-Rod got from Texas in the winter of 2000 was absurd. But the Mets never even attempted to negotiate with Scott Boras, A-Rod’s agent.

The Mets floundered after their playoff appearance in 2000, changing GMs and managers until Willie Randolph and Omar Minaya guided them back to the playoffs in 2006, a strike away from a fifth World Series. The progress that was made under Minaya came quick. He could have been elected mayor. But after that NLCS, the 2007 Mets were poised to win their second consecutive division title. With a seven game lead with 17 left to play, they collapsed, not even making the playoffs as a wild card. It happened mostly because of bad pitching. The Phillies stormed to the division title making Jimmy Rollin’s proclamation come true. Earlier that spring the Phillies shortstop arrogantly stated the Phillies were the team to beat. Philadelphia has not looked back since.

Instead of making the necessary changes to prevent what happened in ’07, band aids were put in place for the final year at Shea Stadium. For a second straight season, the Mets lost on the final day to the Florida Marlins. Once again the Mets had a lead with 17 to play, just three games this time, but were unable to hold on. You could not have asked for a more depressing farewell to Shea than the one the Mets provided. And since then the Mets have been dreadful.

Sure, we can be excited that the Mets showed a lot of guts this year and played competitive ball for a big part of the season. From May through July, the Mets went 44-37. Their farm hands, mostly picked by Minaya, proved to be better than any minor league evaluator had predicted. But the fact is the Mets are closing in on their third consecutive losing season while the Yankees continue to own the town and while Jimmy Rollins words are still true after 5 years.

The Mets have one chance of getting to where we all want them to be, a contending team year after year. That’s if Sandy Alderson is left alone to do his job. I have faith based on his history, the people he has brought into the front office, and his demeanor that Alderson can turn this team around. But quite simply the Wilpons have got to keep their noses out of the baseball business. They are the one constant this team has had over the last 31 seasons.

I think the Wilpons are good people who love New York and the Mets. I don’t subscribe as many do that they are villains toiling mustaches steeling our money. Citi Field is empty, they are losing money, and they still have Bernie Madoff hanging over their heads. But as baseball owners go, they are not very good, not at all. Maybe in ten years after the Mets have won their fifth consecutive division title, my opinion will change. But right now someone has to take the blame and the Wilpons are the obvious choice.