Posted on: July 4, 2008 1:32 pm

Headin' into Philly

A little catching up on the Mets, inspired by Tartans' awesome post from earlier today setting up the series.  Great job as usual, Tartans!

If I were in Mets' management, I'd tell Moises Alou to chill in St. Lucie until the Thursday game after the All Star Break.  As much as I'd like to see him in the Phillies series, I'd much rather give him the greatest chance of playing depper into the summer than seeing him one and done.

I continue to be concerned about Marlon Anderson, but his 2-5 last night was encouraging.  It'd be nice to see Jose Reyes get his average over .300, and David Wright as well.

Ryan Church has made a nice return, with hits in all 5 games including 3 multi-hit games.

Glad to see that Carlos Delgado is hitting 'em long, but those 7 HR in 16 hits has come in 72 ABs.  That's hitting .222 over that stretch, and needs to get better.  He's 5 for his last 9, so maybe he's turning a bit of a corner.  Also had a SF last night, which another unnamed Carlos was not able to do the night before in a big spot.  I'm thinking that if Carlos Beltran had been able to knock Wright in after his triple, even if Pedro Feliciano gives up a 2 run bomb to Chris Duncan, we see Billy Wagner in the ninth with a 1 run lead.  Trou Glaus may still have gone yard, but I'm thinking that Billy gives him a bit more trouble than Carlos Muniz did.

And speaking about Carlos Beltran.  He hit .306 in May and .286 in June.  I'd take those numbers.  Only 3 HR in May, but 7 in June is nice.  Been around .380 for OBP all year, and slugging about .525 since May 1.  Also nice.  Nothing happening in 2 games in July, so the day off is a nice idea.  But at least in St. Louis the last 2 days, he's not looked good.  I mentioned the failure to drive in Wright, and he had a 3 pitch (I believe) looking K the other night that I couldn't understand.  Maybe he's a bit fatigued, and the day off will do wonders.  Helped David some, didn't it?

And for those who are looking to trade Beltran, I respectfully disagree.  Actually, if what I said what I really thought it'd be a TOS violation, and you know we can't have that.  Suffice it to say that I just don't get where the "Trade Beltran" crowd is coming from.

Endy Chavez had a nice night last night, going 2-5 with his usual outstanding OF play.  He's hitting .286 since June 1, and I won't complain about that.

Damion Easley has been great.  Since June 1 he's hitting .371.  Only 6 XBHs, but it's not like Luis Castillo was slugging .600.  In fact, all of Easley's numbers offensively surpass Castillo's.  Take time and get healthy, Luis.  Damion's got it covered.

Let's talk pitching.  Mike Pelfrey may have turned the corner.  Since June 1 he is 4-0 with two ND, 37.2 IP, 38 H, 13 ER, NO HR, 25K, 18 BB.  Analyzing this a bit further shows you an average of about 6.1 IP per start, an ERA of 3.11, WHIP of 1.43.  The walks are too high, affecting the WHIP and the K:BB ratio badly.  But looking further, he gave up 6 ER against the Angels in a win, and 4 ER against the Yankees in a win.  Other than that, 3 ER in 4 starts covering 26.2 IP against the Padres, Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals.  Sure the NL West is down, but 0 ER in Coors in 5.2 ain't too shabby.  5 out of those 6 starts have been on the road also, the only home game being the Arizona game.  Other than Angels and Yankees, 1.01 ERA since June 1.  Way to go, kid.

Starting this weekend for the Mets will be Johan Santana, John Maine, Oliver Perez, and then Pedro Martinez.

Johan does not deserve his 7-7 record.  Since June 1, he is 1-4 in 6 starts.  His early season bugaboo, the HR, slacked off in June to 2 in 39.2 IP.  He has been striking out 1 an inning, and his K:BB is better than 2:1.  His BB are somewhat up in June, and that's not good, but do you get the feeling that he thinks he needs to be perfect in order to win?  I do, and that's a bad recipe for a pitcher.  In any case, in his 6 starts the Mets scored him 6 (6-1 W), 1 (2-1 L), 0 (5-4 XI loss), 1 (6-1 L), 1 (5-2 L), and 2 (3-2 L) runs while he was in the game.  1, 0, 1, 1, 2, and we wonder why he has lost his last 4 decisions. 

The Mets are a team that individually and collectively is plagued by in attentiveness and lacks of concentration.  Apparently, it happens collectively at least every fifth day.  Johan should sue for non-support.  Forgot to mention.  His ERA in June?  2.27.  1-4 and 2.27.  Mets hitters should be ashamed (that's too benign, I know).

Next comes John Maine.  Wow.  He is the quintessential "enigma, wrapped in a riddle, shrouded in mystery" (with apologies to the actual originator of that phrase).<style type="text/css">e Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} -</style>  Maine's numbers in June are not great.  6 starts (3 home), 4.24 ERA, 34 IP (Less than 6 per start), He's 3-2, though.  But Johan would love the support Maine's getting.  Maybe he's not an enigma.  Maybe he's just been incredibly mediocre.  I think I will go with that.

Oliver Perez.  The human roller coaster.  6 June starts that went L, ND, W, ND, L, W.  Started off with the all-world 0.1 IP and 6 ER against the Giants (the Giants?  Come on).  Then starts against the Padres and Rangers that encompassed 12.1 IP and 2 ER.  Followed that up with 4 ER in 6 IP against the Angels.  Then 5 in 5 against the Mariners (nice job, Ollie).  But then 1 in 7 IP against the Yankess, who he has owned in his career.  Will the real Oliver Perez please stand up?  I am afraid that he has, and Ollie is likely always going to be a feast or famine pitcher.  Strangely, his K:BB was about 2.5:1 in June.  Where did that come from?  Against the Phillies this year he has 2 starts covering 11.1 IP and has given up 7 hits and no runs... while walking 8.  More hits than walks against a left hand-dominant hitting team.  Who knows what to expect on Sunday?

Pedro Martinez.  How painful has it been for a Mets fan to watch him pitching this year?  Numbers are not good.  Where's the silver lining?  Perhaps in that after the first inning against the Cardinals, he gave up 1 run in the next 4.  Generally speaking he has had tough first innings or two, but he also seems to tire easily and perhaps gets left in a bit too long (or the bullpen fails to rescue him - didn't spend the time to look up the details).  Three 2 HR against games isn't great either, but no HR against in any other game.  The Mets appear to be in a situation where they will need Pedro done the road, so hopefully he can get a few good starts under his belt because I've read that his confidenced has been rocked.

How's the bullpen been?  Feliciano, despite the big HR against St. Louis, has been good.  30 appearances, and in only been charged with a run in 9 of them.  ERA under 3.00, so that's a good job. 

Aaron Heilman?  Very strong June.  14 appearances with 1 ER in 14 IP.  14K and 4 BB.  1 HR allowed since May 1.  Bad luck getting a run charged against on the HR Feliciano gave up.  ERA against Philly this year is 18.00, so perhaps he might only play a minor role this weekend.  His confidence has to be better than it was back in April when he gave up 4 ER in 2 IP against Philly, though, so who knows?

Scott Schoeneweis had a tough June, in which he gave up 8 ER in 10 IP.  Actually, though, 6 of those game in 0.1 IP against the Giants and 0.2 IP against the Yankees.  His ERA is still under 3, so he's more than been holding his own.

Duaner Sanchez is a wild card after taking that shot off the inside of his knee.  Assuming he's OK, he had a decent June.  13 appearances, 15 IP, 6 ER.  5 of those came in back to back games against the Padres and Arizona covering 1.1 IP, so other than that he's given up 1 ER in his last 15.2 IP.  Interestingly, 8 out of the 15 ER he's given up this year have been in 2.0 innings against the D-backs.  The Mets don't face the D-backs anymore this year, right?

Moving on to Joe Smith.  Pitch the guy at night only, please, where his ERA is 1.40 in 25.2 IP versus an ERA of 9.39 during the day in 7.2 IP.  This guy used to be lights out against righties, but that seems to have changed lately.  His ERA against righties is now 3.54.  Heilman's is 1.59.  Use 'em right, Jerry.

And finally, Billy Wagner.  Remember the three blown saves in 3 days?  That remains the last time he's given up a run.  In fact, in 7 IP since, he's given up 2 hits and 2 walks.  Welcome back, Billy.  Also, if you take out the 3 game stretch in which he gave up 6 ER in 2.1 IP,  Billy has given up 1 earned run and 14 hits in 40.2 IP.  0.23 ERA anyone? 

Don't you love those cherry picked stats I have used?  I don't mean it in any way but to say that everyone has off days.  In Billy's case, it was an off three days, but other than that, he has been MONEY.

That's all I got.  Best of luck to the Mets this weekend.  Mets and Phillies haven't locked horns since April, and the Mets currently hold a 4-2 record, although the Phillies are certainly playingbetter than they were in April.  Let's see if the Mets can get out of Philadelphia 0.5 or 2.5 games back.  They would have to take 3 out of 4 or all 4 to do that, but stranger things have happened.  The Mets have 10 divisional games in July against Philly and the Marlins, so this might be the time to do it, if at all.  Only 14 games left against them after that.
Category: MLB
Tags: Mets
Posted on: June 25, 2008 9:32 am

Brian Runge - take an (unpaid) two week vacation

Anyone who saw the Mets game last night (11-0 loss to Mariners) saw several things that should raise a few eyebrows.

And I am not talking only about the Mets stinking up the joint, because while the magnitude of the egg they laid yesterday was surprising, the fact that they were much less than impressive was not.

I'm talking about Brian Runge instigating an event that led to both Jerry Manuel and Carlos Beltran getting ejected.  Now I know that the guys calling balls and strikes this year have generally speaking been less than perfect, but shall we cut to the chase and admit that balls and strikes have been called particularly horrendously this year?  Look at any game where they have an over the plate camera and you will see at least a half dozen strikes called on pitches significantly off the plate inside or outside.  Not to mention that other guys have these postage stamp strike zones that a guy needs to be able to hit a gnat's butt at 60 feet 6 inches to be able to get near. 

It's bad enough that these guys can't call balls and strikes to save their lives (not all, but many suffer this disease), but at least most are consistent and have enough of a track record that both hitters and pitchers know what to expect.  But when certain guys get called out on their inconsistency, they act like spolied little children, take the mask off, get in a player's face, and basically lose all dignity whatsoever.  And then they toss whosoever has the gall to point out that they are having a bad night.

I know that arguing balls and strikes will get you tossed, but both hitters and catchers make comments every at bat, and it seems to go by so long as the player's actions cannot be interpreted as showing up the umpire.

So what did we have last night.  Carlos Beltran takes a couple of borderline pitches for strikes, the second of which if you go to any of the "Gamechannel-like" pitching grids shows you that the ball was inside.  BTW: have you ever seen some of the balls and strikes that are called on that pitching grid and how, if they are reasonably accurate, umpires generally miss several calls each and every inning?  I am sure that is why stopped even putting the strike zone on the grid anymore, since it pointed out the massive inconsistency in the strike zone.  But teh umpire's union blew a gasket on that one.

But I digress.  So after the second call, Beltran turns his head and says a couple of things, but does not gesture, or lose his temper, or anything.  And what does this clown Runge do?  All of a sudden, the plate needs to be cleaned (probably explains why his previous call was so poor), and walks around, takes off the mask, and cleans the plate - all the while barking at Beltran.

This brings Jerry Manuel out of the dugout, and they get into it.  Next thing you know, Runge INTENTIONALLY thursts his chest into Manuel and tosses him for making contact.  That is among the most pathetic examples of an umpire losing his professionalism I have ever seen.  In fact, the only one it rivals to me is Mike Winters baiting Milton Bradley last year, which through a series of unfortunate events led to Bradley tearing up his knee.

Last time I checked, no one came to the ballpark to see the umpires (with all apologies to Mrs. Runge, if there is one).  Any time you actually notice the umpires at a game, it's usually because they screw something up.  But that's a part of baseball.  They are human, and it happens.

But what Brian Runge did last night went way beyond the line of acceptable professionalism for umpires, just like Mike Winters last year.  Winters got suspended for the rest of the season, and while it really was about a 2 week penalty (it occurred at the end of the year), Winters missed out on umpiring in the playoffs.  Runge should get at least that much time off, in my opinion.  Even though bumping the umpire usually only leads to a suspension of 1 or a few games, umpires should be held to a higher standard.  There is no way that an umpire should be able tocreate a situation that results in players and/or managers getting booted out of a game.  When they do, they should pay a very heavy price.

It is interesting to note that Winters was the first umpire suspended since 2003.  I think in a way that is a testament to the professionalism of the vast majority of umpires.  But this umpire was an embarrassment last night, and deserves a nice vacation.  How about two weeks, without pay, of course, since he picked up a paycheck he didn't earn last night.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or