Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Don't lie to me, Mets

A colleague of mine from Louisiana has a phrase I find interesting. He says, "don't pee on my back and tell me it's raining". Well, the Mets must have been drinking a lot of coffee. The current mantra- in the booth, by the players, from TC, is "the effort is there, we're just not executing". What? Where's this "effort"? Funny thing, we heard the mantra after Tuesday's loss in Philly, when Pagan didn't slide at home, didn't try to knock Schneider over, and basically apologized for being on the field. We also saw this "effort" when Tejada didn't slide at home last week. We know they're depleted. We see it. But this does not excuse sub-par effort, and CERTAINLY should not invite the Manuel-esque self pity that is also popping up.

So during today's game, Gary "over-rated" Matthews called the Mets crybabies. Hey Sarge, how's your son, the one we DFA'ed, doing these days? Playing any baseball? Huh? Where is he, Sarge?

I still don't like the idea of Duda in RF. People are saying that the D needs to improve (3 more errors today), and you want to put the slowest runner in the NL in the NL's biggest RF? SMH.

And finally, PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT THE DIMENSIONS AT CITI. The field size is 100% irrelevant. It's the same for both teams, whether it's Wrigley, Fenway, or Citi. The better teams win no matter where they're playing. If the players are psyched out, get players who are more mentally tough. Enough of this excuse-making mentality. And by the way, don't you think that, with the Mets pitching, the opponents would have hit even more HRs at Citi this year if the fences were lower or moved in? It's such a lame argument. Finally, why not have a unique park, both in terms of dimensions and the fact that it's pitcher friendly.

I have spoken.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Baseball IS NOT a one-dimensional game

Unfortunately, it's time to talk about the future of the Mets. Remember August of five short years ago, when we were talking about playoff rotations, picking up Shawn Green (well, that's not a good memory)? Here's what's on my mind about next year and beyond.

Why is this organization obsessed with playing people out of position? This goes back beyond the Alderson/Collins era. For example, why do they think about Murphy at 2B? Did ya see what can happen when you play guys where they're not comfortable? But the bigger point to me is the issue of Lucas Duda as a right fielder. It's easy to get caught up (temporarily) in one-dimensional players. Remember Ordonez? Kingman? The pattern is the same. "We'll live with his shortcomings at X, because he's good at Y". Folks, it doesn't work. It's not sustainable. Baseball is a game where competence on offense AND defense is required. Some say defense in baseball is over-rated. Unto those, I submit the following from Steve Popper of the Bergen Record:

The defense has cost the team 38 runs, according to data accumulated by Baseball Info Solutions (BIS), a video scouting company. The company tracks every play each day, and compiles the data to show the number of runs saved or lost due to fielding. The Mets rank 14th among 16 National League teams. The team also ranks 29th among all major-league clubs in Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), an occasionally controversial metric that also utilizes BIS to determine the number of runs saved or lost against average. A word of caution here: In a one-year sample, the information is prone to major fluctuation. The Mets possess a minus-40.9 UZR this year. As a group in 2010, they finished at 6.2.

Now, let's get back to Duda. You put him in RF, and the 38 above goes up to...50?...55? The man is not fleet of foot, and as is Mets custom, would be out of position. The day needs to come when the Mets become attracted to COMPLETE players, not players for whom you're always apologizing for one or more aspects of their game. I'm not suggesting an all-star at every position, but at least guys who are in position, and are able to play those positions competently. We deserve it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Meet Ruben Ordonez

The similarities are striking. In 1995, we heard about this defensive wunderkind, Rey Ordonez. He was going to be the best ever. He wasn't much of a hitter, but wow, that defense. Intrigued, I ventured to Pawtucket to see Tidewater play there. What I saw that night was the precursor of Ordonez's career. He made two eye-popping plays, was over-matched at the plate, and booted a routine grounder late that cost the Tides the ballgame. There also was a bit of a laissez-faire attitude at times. A little bit of a lack of hustle. That was Ordonez's career. He'd make his web gems, boot the occasional easy one, and look lazy at times. Later, he put on weight, too.

Now it's 2011. Here's Ruben Tejada. We hear of his glove. We see some eye-poppers. We also see some nonchalance, and today it cost the Mets a game to a bad baseball team. Last night, we saw a lack of hustle, when he did not slide and was thrown out at home on a fly ball. And is it me, or do you see some head-up-the-ass play? They talk about his instincts. I say, "WHAT"? I've seen more brain farts form this kid than I've seen from many other young players. And his lack of offense...he still seems like he is playing at 33 while the game is played at 78. As far as I'm concerned, when you're all-glove, no bat, your fielding percentage better be 1.000, not .99999, but 1.000. This kid isn't there, and today, the Mets have an L to show for it.

If there's a bright side, I hope Sandy sees the downgrade that will take place if Tejada takes over at SS next year. This kid isn't ready, and that's okay. But this kid seems to be on a path to be Rey Ordonez, and that isn't.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rough stretch in Metsville

It's been a while since the last post. In this time, Carlos was dealt to SF (no surprise there). The Mets have looked like world beaters (following 5 in a row in Cincy and DC) and have looked like bumbling fools (after the last 2 in DC and the first two vs. FL). And so we have the trials and tribulations of a .500 team. And with them sitting at exactly .500 (tonight's game rained out) and little more than a third of the season left, let's grade the key aspects of the team. Comments are encouraged, disagreement welcomed.

Offense: B. I wanted to go higher here, but they are inconsistent. Dave Hudgens deserves all the credit, as the Mets have one of the highest BAs in the NL, and lead baseball in 2-out runs. But, they are subject to brown outs, and without Carlos, they lack power. Frightening thought-if you took Reyes out, this grade would be a C-. Did you read that, Sandy?

Starting pitching: C+. This is what we expected after all, in the Johan-less season. Gee has been the biggest surprise (I still don't know how he does it, like the Pinball Wizard). The rest of them are, well, mediocre. I expected more from Dickey. Cap has held up well, and perhaps exceeded expectations.

Bullpen: B. They've only blown 2 when they've led after 8 (yes, one was last night). K Rod was good as the closer, and Izzy's been okay. Parnell, Acosta, Beato and Byrdak have been up and down, but slightly more up than down. Carrasco is the 12th man, so what could you expect?

Defense: D. The Mets make too many mistakes. They aren't talented enough to out pitch or out hit those mistakes. With Duda in RF, the defense will be worse down the stretch. Thole is a disgrace behind the dish. Bay is outstanding in LF. Pagan should be better than he is in CF.

Base running: F. If you're a Mets fan, you know why. You've lived it.

Manager: A. After 5-13, this looked like 1979 all over again. Terry has kept them focused, and gotten all the he can out of this average bunch, so they can be...average.

The Mets will not play past Sept. 28th. I held out hope until last night. Atlanta stumbled, but the Mets were not good enough to cut the deficit to 5, or even 4 games. You know why? They're average. As Parcells says, "you are what your record says you are".